KV Kortrijk were established in 1901 under the name SC Courtraisien. The club adopted its current name in 1971, after a merger with another club, Stade Kortrijk, who were initially founded in 1923. As a result, the club's foundation date is sometimes considered to be 1971, the date of the merger, rather than the date SC Courtraisien were founded.
Kortrijk first appeared in the top flight of Belgian football in the 1906-07 season and were relegated several years later, after finishing bottom of the table in 1910–11. Their next taste of the First Division came in 1976. Between 1976 and 1992, they enjoyed their most prolonged period of stability and spent just one season outside of the top tier. During the late 1990s, Kortrijk had another brief spell in the division before enduring several years down in the Second Division. At the conclusion of the 2007–08 season, they gained promotion once again, going up as Second Division champions.
To date, the team has failed to win any major silverware. Their closest brush with success came in 2011-12, as they made it all the way to the final of the Belgian Cup. Unfortunately, they lost the match 1-0 to Lokeren. The 2009-10 season saw Kortrijk achieve their highest ever finish in the top division, as they ended the league campaign in fourth place.
Amongst the side's best-known former players are a host of full Belgian internationals, including names like Lorenzo Staelens, Michel De Wolf, Mbo Mpenza, Émile Mpenza and Christian Benteke. Some of the team's more notable foreign talents include Hendrie Krüzen, William Prunier and Salif Keita.
The Guldensporen Stadion has served as the club's home for many years. The stadium opened in 1947 and its name makes reference to the Battle of the Golden Spurs. In 2008, the venue underwent significant renovations, which included bringing its capacity up to 9,399.