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Cluysen – Ter Donck Regatta: Wikis

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Cluysen - Ter Donck is now a hamlet along the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal, but for almost a century, there was a huge and very important international sporting event at that place.

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History

Ter Donck was part of Cluysen, today Kluizen is a District of the Belgian town Evergem, just next to the famous historical City of Ghent.

At Ascension Day traditionally quite a lot of people where walking barefoot in the dew before sunrise, and then enjoyed the first rays of spring sun in these rural areas at that time.

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Ghent May Regatta and Bootjesvaring

From the end of the nineteenth century, there was also the Bootjesvaring or May - Regatta, by a combination of a Sailing Regatta, during the morning. The audience from working class to aristocrats populate both channel banks. It was organised by Royal Club Nautique de Gand and it was happening on the Belgian - Dutch Ghent-Terneuzen Canal.

Belgian challenge for the leading British

From 1906 to 1909 Ghent rowing associations won, as the first foreign teams, the Grand Challenge Cup, an international rowing contest in the eight men at the famous Henley Royal Regatta, in England.

Immediately the sport of rowing became extremely popular in Ghent. On their return on the European continent, the Belgian winning team was received with the highest honor. King Leopold II admitted the clubs immediately to add the title Royal to their club name. They decided also to add additional funds to the biggest Belgian rowing regatta of Cluysen - Ter Donck.

Until then, no English Rowing teams ever visited a foreign rowing regatta. After the defeats in Henley they left the Albion for the Belgian Cluysen - Ter Donck to offer an appropriate reply to the clubs of Ghent.

An (originally in French language) press article from those years says:

The audience is moving en masse to Cluysen: The company Ghent-Terneuzen made a series of special trains, a special service of steamboats will be organized on this occasion, and when the weather is favorable, everything Ghent has of automobiles, horse carriages, wagons and bicycles will be put in motion to make the beautiful promenade of Ghent Ter Donck. It is not unusual to see twenty- to twenty-five thousand people to Cluysen Ter Donck on the day of Ascension.

European Rowing Championships during the Expo World's Fair

In 1913, during the World Expo of Ghent the European Rowing Championships where held at Cluysen - Terdonck ( the highest rowing level, together with the Olympic rowing regatta, in those years).

The latest edition of 1957

After the Second World War, the petrochemical industry came up very strongly in the sea channel zone. The construction of the Municipal Watersportbaan for the European Rowing Championships of 1956 was a last upsurge of old glory. During at least 15 years Ghent fell further and further away and the International Regatta of Oostende took over as annual Belgian rowers place to be.

Today, the annual International Open Belgian Rowing Championships on the Watersportbaan in Ghent are still named May – regatta by British and Irish Rowing adepts.

Sources


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