From Philips to Corda

On 2 March 1954, the City of Hasselt and the technology company Philips signed an agreement to build a Philips factory south of the Hasselt-Genk railway line, in the Banneux neighbourhood. Fast forward a few years, and record players, tape and cassette recorders, and loudspeakers were assembled, and metal parts were produced at the newly built production halls and office buildings. The Philips Hasselt site was the first branch outside of Eindhoven to also design products in-house. In 1964 Philips Hasselt developed and produced the first ever ‘Philicorda’ organ (do we hear ‘Corda’ there?). Throughout the years the staff base soared and so did the number of new products. Unfortunately, Philips encountered some difficulties in the early noughties and in late 2002 the 1,450 remaining employees were informed the factory was closing down.

The Philips buildings then became part of the ‘Research Campus Hasselt’, whose name soon needed an upgrade as it no longer reflected the real scope of the campus. In 2013 the site was renamed ‘Corda Campus’, the economic epicentre of Limburg.

What’s in a name?

‘Cor’ is ‘heart’ in Latin, which refers to the beating business heart we strive to be, and ‘corda’ is Italian for rope, used to join companies, talents and experiences in business communities. ‘Corda’ is also a reference to our past as an epicentre of technology. The ‘Philicorda’ was the first electronic organ made by Philips in 1964, right here in Hasselt. This instrument was recently given a new lease of life in songs by Adèle, The Cardigans, The Hives and many more.