Ronse or Rebaix (in French) is a village in Oost Vlannderen (East Flanders), 40 km south of Ghent, that has long connections with textile manufacturing. The cottage-based industry declined from mid-nineteenth century as workers migrated to nearby French textile centres, such as Lille and Tourcoing, but gained renewed prosperity from the 1870s. Like textile areas in other parts of Europe it suffered severe decline in the 1960s.
The community’s history is portrayed in two buildings in the village. In a museum visitors can wander at will and can gain an impression of the way of life of a domestic weaver. They can also take a guided tour of the Cambier-Robette factory where the whole process of making cloth, from raw material to the finished product can be seen. It includes a weaving shed with 40 looms powered by a steam engine.