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Gent (Dutch)
Gand (French)
Belfry of Ghent. Behind it the Saint Nicholas church is visible.
Municipal flag
Coat of arms
Coat of arms
Ghent in the province of East Flanders
Ghent in the province of East Flanders
Ghent is located in Belgium
Location in Belgium
Sovereign state Belgium Belgium
Region  Flemish Region
Community Flanders Flemish Community
Province  East Flanders
Arrondissement Ghent
Coordinates 51°3′0″N 3°44′0″E / 51.05°N 3.733333°E / 51.05; 3.733333Coordinates: 51°3′0″N 3°44′0″E / 51.05°N 3.733333°E / 51.05; 3.733333
Area 156.18 km²
– Males
– Females
233,120 (2006-01-01)
1493 inhab./km²
Age distribution
0–19 years
20–64 years
65+ years
Foreigners 7.31% (01/07/2005)
Unemployment rate 14.22% (1 January 2006)
Mean annual income €13,617/pers. (2003)
Mayor (list) Daniël Termont (SP.A)
Governing parties SP.A, VLD, SLP
Postal codes 9000-9052
Area codes 09

Ghent (English pronunciation: /ˈɡɛnt/; Dutch: Gent, pronounced [ʝɛnt]; French: Gand, pronounced: [ɡɑ̃]; and formerly Gaunt in English) is a city and a municipality located in the Flemish region of Belgium. It is the capital and biggest city of the East Flanders province. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys and in the Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of northern Europe. Today it is a busy city with a port and a university.

The municipality comprises the city of Ghent proper and the towns of Afsnee, Desteldonk, Drongen, Gentbrugge, Ledeberg, Mariakerke, Mendonk, Oostakker, Sint-Amandsberg, Sint-Denijs-Westrem, Sint-Kruis-Winkel, Wondelgem and Zwijnaarde. With 237,250 inhabitants in the beginning of 2008,[1] Ghent is Belgium's second largest municipality by number of inhabitants. The metropolitan area, including the outer commuter zone, covers an area of 1,205 km2 (465 sq mi) and has a total population of 594,582 as of 1 January 2008, which ranks it as the fourth most populous in Belgium.[1][2] The current mayor of Ghent, Daniël Termont, leads a coalition of the SP.a,SLP and VLD.

Every year a ten day long street festival is held called the "Ghent Fests" (Gentse Feesten in Dutch). About 2 million visitors attend the festival every year.



Ghent in 1775

Archeological evidence shows human presence in the region of the confluence of Scheldt and Lys going back as far as the Stone Age and the Iron Age.[3] Most historians believe that the older name for Ghent, 'Ganda' is derived from the Celtic word 'ganda' which means confluence[3]. There are no written records of the Roman period but archeological research confirms that the region of Ghent was further inhabited.

When the Franks invaded the Roman territories (from the end of the 4th century and well into the 5th century) they brought their language with them and Celtic and Latin were replaced by Old Dutch.

Around 650 Saint Amand founded two abbeys in Ghent: the Saint Peter Abbey and the St. Bavo's Abbey. The city grew from several nuclei, the abbeys and a commercial centre. Around 800 Louis the Pious, son of Charlemagne, appointed Einhard, the biographer of Charlemagne, as abbot of both abbeys. In 851 and 879 the city was however attacked and plundered twice by the Vikings.

The city recovered and flourished from the 11th century on. Until the 13th century Ghent was the biggest city in Europe after Paris; it was bigger than London, Cologne or Moscow. Within the city walls lived up to 65,000 people. Today, the belfry and the towers of the Saint Bavo Cathedral and Saint Nicholas' Church are just a few examples of the skyline of the period.

The rivers flowed in an area where a lot of land was periodically inundated. These richly grassed 'meersen' ("water-meadows": a word related to the English 'marsh', but not meaning exactly the same, a 'meers' is not permanently under water) were ideally suited for herding sheep, the wool of which was used for making cloth. In fact, Ghent was during the Middle Ages the most important city for cloth.

The wool-industry, originally established at Bruges, created the first European industrialized zone in Ghent in the High Middle Ages. The mercantile zone was so highly-developed that wool had to be imported from Scotland and England. This was one of the reasons for Flanders' good relationship with Scotland and England. Ghent was the birthplace of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. The trade with England (but not Scotland) suffered significantly during the Hundred Years' War.

The city recovered in the 14th century, while Flanders was united with neighbouring provinces under the Dukes of Burgundy. High taxes led to a rebellion and eventually the Battle of Gavere, in which Ghent suffered a terrible defeat at the hands of Philip the Good. Around this time the center of gravity in the Low Countries started to shift from Flanders (Bruges–Ghent) to Brabant (AntwerpBrussels), although Ghent would continue to play an important role.

Buildings along a canal in Ghent

In 1500 Juana of Castile gave birth to Charles V, who became Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain. Although native to Ghent, he punished the city after the 1539 Revolt of Ghent and obliged the city's nobles to walk in front of the emperor barefoot with a noose (Dutch: strop) around the neck; since this incident, the people of Ghent have been called "Stroppendragers" (noose bearers). The Saint Bavo Abbey was abolished, torn down, and replaced with a fortress for Spanish troops. Only a small portion of the abbey was spared demolition.

The late 16th and the 17th century brought devastation because of the Religious wars. At one time Ghent was a Calvinistic republic, but eventually the Spanish army reinstated Catholicism. The wars ended the role of Ghent as a center of international importance.

In the 18th and 19th century Ghent the textile industry flourished again in Ghent. Lieven Bauwens introduced the first mechanical weaving machine on the European continent, of which he smuggled the plans out of England, in 1800.

Ghent was also the site of the signing of the Treaty of Ghent which formally ended the War of 1812 between Britain and the United States of America. After the battle of Waterloo Ghent became a part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands for 15 years. In this period Ghent got its own university (1817) and a new connection to the sea (1824–27).

After the Belgian Revolution, with the loss of port access to the sea for more than a decade, the local economy collapsed and the first Belgian trade-union originated in Ghent. In 1913 there was a World exhibition in Ghent. As a preparation for these festivities, the Sint-Pieters railway station was completed in 1912.





After the 1965 and 1977 fusions the city is made up of:

Neighbouring municipalities


The Graslei is one of the most scenic places in Ghent's old city centre. The bridge to the right is the Sint-Michielsbrug, the building on the corner is the former postal office and in the distance to the right the three towers of Ghent can be seen.


Historical centre of Ghent – from left to right: Old post office, Saint-Nicholas Church, Belfry, and Saint Bavo Cathedral.
Ghent at Night
Riverside in Ghent

Much of the city's medieval architecture remains intact and is remarkably well preserved and restored. Its centre is the largest carfree area in Belgium. Interesting highlights are the Saint Bavo Cathedral with the Ghent Altarpiece, the belfry, the Gravensteen castle, and the splendid architecture along the old Graslei harbour. Ghent established a nice blend between comfort of living and history – it is not a city-museum. The city of Ghent houses also three béguinages and numerous churches, among which the Saint-James' church, the Saint-Nicolas' church and the Saint Michael's church are the most beautiful examples.

In the nineteenth century Ghent's most famous architect, Louis Roelandt, built the university hall Aula, the opera and the main courthouse. Highlights of modern architecture are the university buildings (the Boekentoren or Book Tower) by Henry Van de Velde. There are also a few theatres from diverse periods.

The beguinages, as well as the belfry and adjacent cloth hall, were recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites in 1998 and 1999.


Important museums in Ghent are the Museum voor Schone Kunsten (Museum of Fine Arts), with paintings by Hieronymus Bosch, Peter Paul Rubens, and many Flemish masters; the SMAK or Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (City Museum for Contemporary Art), with works of the 20th century, including Joseph Beuys and Andy Warhol; and the Designmuseum with masterpieces of Victor Horta and Le Corbusier. The Huis van Alijn (House of the Alijn family) was originally a beguinage and is now a museum for folk art where theatre and puppet shows for children are presented. The Museum voor Industriële Archeologie en Textiel or MIAT displays the industrial strength of Ghent with recreations of workshops and stores from the 1800s and original spinning and weaving machines that remain from the time when the building was a weaving mill. The new STAM museum, about the history of the city, will open in 2010.

Restaurants and culinary traditions

As most Belgian cities, Ghent offers a rich variety of local and foreign cuisine. The city centre and quarter called "Patershol" has a huge concentration of restaurants. The "Sleepstraat" a little bit further north houses a number of Turkish restaurants and food bars. By contrast, restaurants are rather spartan beyond the "historic centre".

In Ghent and other regions of East-Flanders, bakeries sell a donut-shaped bun called a "mastel" (plural "mastellen"), which is basically a bagel. "Mastellen" are also called "Saint Hubert bread", because on the Saint's feast day, which is 3 November, the bakers bring their batches to the early Mass to be blessed. Traditionally, it is thought that blessed mastellen immunize against rabies.

As with many areas of northern Belgium the diet centres around hearty stews and soups. Flemish beef stew (stoverij) is available almost everywhere as is "Waterzooi", a local stew originally made from freshwater fish caught in the rivers and creeks of Ghent, but nowadays often made with chicken instead of fish. It is usually served nouvelle-cuisine-style, and will be supplemented by a large pot on the side.

The city promotes a meat-free day on Thursdays called Veggiedag[4],[5] with vegetarian food being promoted in public canteens for civil servants and elected concillors, in all city funded schools, and promotion of vegetarian eating options in town (through the distribution of "veggie street maps"). This campaign is linked to the recognition of the detrimental environmental effects of meat production, which the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization has established to represent nearly one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions.


The city is host to some big cultural events such as the Gentse Feesten, I Love Techno, "10 Days Off" musical festival, Flanders International Film Festival Ghent (with the World Soundtrack Awards) and the Internationaal Festival van Vlaanderen Gent. Also, every five years, a huge botanical exhibition (Gentse Floraliën) takes place in Ghent, attracting numerous visitors to the city.

The International Festival van Vlaanderen, which had its 50th celebration in 2008, is one of the fastest growing music festivals in Europe. Yearly it opens with the OdeGand City festivities that takes place on the second Saturday of September. Some 50 concerts takes place in diverse locations throughout the medieval inner-city and some 250 internationally acclaimed virtuosi performs. The new Festival MADE dimension of the festival introduces in its program both the innovative experiments of local artists and feature the original version of Mozart's Kleine Nacht Music. Since 2002, the festivities have begun with the now renowned OdeGand street festival that takes Classical Music to every corner of the city, even onto the boats on the canals where spectators get 'live' classical rides. The whole of the medieval town of Ghent turns classical in September, and although the Festival has something of the exuberance of a 'Night of the Proms', it is many notches higher on the scales of inventiveness and quality. Other major Flemish cities follow suit with similar events during Festival Time, all of which form part of the International Festival (Antwerp with Laus Polyphoniae; Bruges with MAfestival; Brussels with KlaraFestival; Limburg with Basilica, Mechelen and Brabant with Novecento and Transit).


The port of Ghent, in the north of the city, is the third largest port of Belgium. It is accessed by the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal, which ends near the Dutch port of Terneuzen on the Western Scheldt. The port houses, among others, big companies like Sidmar, Volvo Cars, Volvo Trucks, Volvo Parts, Honda, and Stora Enso.

The Ghent University and a number of research oriented companies are situated in the central and southern part of the city.

As the biggest city of East-Flanders, Ghent has many hospitals, schools and shopping streets.

Tourism is increasingly becoming a major employer in the local area.


As one of the largest cities in Belgium, Ghent has a highly developed transportation system.

  • In addition Ghent also has two ringways:
    • The R4: connects the outskirts of Ghent with each other and the surrounding villages, and also leads to the E40 and E17 roads.
    • The R40: connects the different downtown quarters with each other, and provides access to the main avenues.
  • The municipality of Ghent comprises five train stations:
    • Gent-Sint-Pieters Station: an international train station with connections to Bruges, Brussels, Antwerp, Kortrijk, other Belgian towns and Lille. The station also offers a direct connection to Brussels Airport.
    • Gent-Dampoort Station: an intercity train station with connections to Sint-Niklaas, Antwerp, Kortrijk and Eeklo.
    • Gentbrugge Station: a regional train station in between the two main train stations, Sint-Pieters and Dampoort.
    • Wondelgem Station: a regional train station with connections to Eeklo once an hour.
    • Drongen Station: a regional train station in the village of Drongen with only a limited number of trains a day.
  • Ghent has an extensive web of public transport lines, operated by De Lijn:
    • Ghent Tram (see pictures below):
      • Line 1: Flanders Expo - Sint-Pieters-Station - Korenmarkt (city centre) - Evergem
      • Line 4: Sint-Pieters-Station - Muide - Korenmarkt (city centre) - Zuid - Moscou
      • Line 21: Zwijnaardebrug - UZ - Sint-Pieters-Station - Zonnestraat (city centre) - Zuid - Melle Leeuw
      • Line 22: Zwijnaardebrug - UZ - Sint-Pieters-Station - Zonnestraat (city centre) - Zuid - Gentbrugge
    • Trolleybus (unique in Belgium; see picture below):
      • Line 3: Mariakerke - Korenmarkt (city centre) - Dampoort-Station - Gentbrugge
    • City buses (see picture below):
      • Line 5: Van Beverenplein - Sint-Jacobs (city centre) - Zuid - UZ - Zwijnaarde
      • Line 6: Watersportbaan - Zuid - Dampoort-Station - Wondelgem - Mariakerke
      • Line 8: Zuid - University - Sint-Pieters-Station - Blaarmeersen
      • Line 9: Mariakerke - Malem - Sint-Pieters-Station - Gentbrugge
      • Line 17/18: Drongen - Korenmarkt (city centre) - Dampoort-Station - Oostakker
      • Line 38/39: Blaarmeersen - Korenmarkt (city centre) - Dampoort-Station - Sint-Amandsberg
    • At Sint-Pieters-Station and the Zuid bus station there are several regional buses as well.

When arriving in Ghent, it is best to leave cars in Park & Ride zones next to the road. The actual city centre is a car free area, and parking is difficult and expensive in the city. On weekends, night buses provide free transportation through the night.

Famous people

Emperor Charles V was born in Ghent in 1500
Statue of Jacob van Artevelde on the Friday market in Ghent

See also: Notable people from Ghent

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Ghent is twinned with:[6]

See also


  1. ^ a b Statistics Belgium; Werkelijke bevolking per gemeente op 1 januari 2008 (excel-file) Population of all municipalities in Belgium, as of 1 January 2008. Retrieved on 2008-10-19.
  2. ^ Statistics Belgium; De Belgische Stadsgewesten 2001 (pdf-file) Definitions of metropolitan areas in Belgium. The metropolitan area of Ghent is divided into three levels. First, the central agglomeration (agglomeratie) with 278,457 inhabitants (2008-01-01). Adding the closest surroundings (banlieue) gives a total of 423,320. And, including the outer commuter zone (forensenwoonzone) the population is 594,582. Retrieved on 2008-10-19.
  3. ^ a b "History of Ghent". Retrieved 2006-05-05.  
  4. ^ "Ghent's veggie day: for English speaking visitors" on
  5. ^ "Belgian city plans 'veggie' days" on BBCNews (2009-05-12).
  6. ^ Gent van A tot Z: Zustersteden.

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Ghent [1] is a city in Flanders, the northern part of Belgium.

Gent at Night
Gent at Night


Ghent (Gent in Dutch; Gand in French) is a city with a population of a quarter of a million. Its size and position allow the inhabitants to enjoy a city with an interesting crossover between open cosmopolitanism and the quiet atmosphere of a provincial town. Ghent is thriving as many young people choose to live here instead of in the narrow-minded countryside or the crowded and disintegrating city centers of Brussels and Antwerp

Ghent is a city of history. During the Middle Ages, it was one of the richest and most powerful cities in Europe, in some quarters considered second only to Paris (the Italian peninsula excluded). The impact of this rich past can be clearly seen when viewing the imposing architecture of churches and the houses of rich traders. The whole of the city center is restored in this fashion, and still breathes the atmosphere of a thriving late-medieval city state. As the city council made the center free of cars, it is now a very welcoming and open area, which does not fail to impress even the people who live there.

Ghent is also a university city with more than 50,000 students. As such, its streets are filled with young people. But, unlike Leuven, another university town in Flanders, youth is not the only category of people living there. There is an interesting mixture of foreigners who came to live there, or artists, amongst the native people of Ghent. Interestingly, other than the smaller provincial cities or the bigger city of Antwerp, this mixture makes the people more tolerant and open-minded. This atmosphere seeps into every aspect of city life. Many people of Ghent truly see the place like home, and are very proud to live there, seeing it as a place that will always welcome them back home.

Have a look at the official website of Tourism Ghent for more information Visit Gent.


As Ghent is a part of Flanders, the main language is Dutch. Many of the inhabitants will be happy to answer you in English and/or French. German is also quite prevalent.

Get in

By Train

Ghent is only a 30-minute train ride away from Brussels and is on the line from Brussels to Bruges and the coast. If you're planning to visit Bruges and Brussels, definitely stop over in Ghent as well. There are also direct trains to Brussels Airport, Antwerp, Lille and Paris.

There are two train stations in Ghent, Gent-Dampoort and Gent-Sint-Pieters. Gent-Sint-Pieters is the main station, to go to the centre, take tram 1 (until 'Korenmarkt'). Journey time is ten minutes. Gent-Dampoort is located closer to the center (about 15 minutes walk), but only trains coming from/in the direction of Antwerp stop there.

If you're visiting from Bruges, Brussels or Antwerp during the weekend, it's much cheaper to get a return ticket (special rate: weekendreturn).


By Car

The dense highway network in Belgium allows you to access Ghent easily by car. Two main highways E40 (Liege-Brussels-Ghent-Bruges-Ostend) and E17 (Antwerp-Ghent-Kortrijk-Lille) cross at Ghent. Brussels and Antwerp are 40 min away, Bruges 30 min. During rush hour you can easily double these times.

Get around

On Foot

The center of Ghent is quite small, so you can walk around on foot. However, the main station (Gent Sint-Pieters) is not in the city center, but takes a walk of about half an hour.

By Bicycle

A bicycle is the recommended way to get around in Ghent. However, there are many roads with cobblestones that make cycling a shaking experience. Also make sure you stay clear of the tram rails. Nevertheless, you will see you are not alone on your bike: many inhabitants use bikes to get around. Even the former mayor uses his bicycle all day! There are many bike stands around to make it easy to lock your bike (important!). Many one-way roads are made two-way for bikes.

Public Transportation

The transport system is Ghent is excellent and always on time. A single ticket costs € 1.60 if bought in the bus/tram or € 1.20 if bought from ticket machines near stops, such ticket is valid for an hour's travel on all trams and buses. If you are planning to stay for a while, buy a pass for € 8.00, it is valid for 10 trips within the city and can also be used in other Flemish cities (such as Antwerp or Bruges). The trams are the quickest and most comfortable way to travel, especially from the railway station to the city centre.

Note that if the bus/tram stop has a ticket machine, you will have to buy the ticket there, as the bus/tram driver will not sell you one in this case.

The transportation company is De Lijn [2].

In the Lijnwinkel kiosk (located near Sint-Pieters train station), you can get free map of city and surroundings, with all bus and tram lines.

The view of center, Gent
The view of center, Gent
  • Belfort en Lakenhalle (Belfry and Cloth Hall), Emile Braunplein (Tram: 1 or 4 to Sint-Baafsplein), +32 09/223-99-22. Mid-Mar to mid-Nov daily 10am-12:30pm and 2-6pm; free guided tours of Belfry Easter vacations and May-Sept Tues-Sun 2:10, 3:10, and 4:10pm. The Belfry was a symbol of the city's autonomy, begun in 1313 and completed in 1380. This municipal tower holds the great bells that have rung out Ghent's civic pride through the centuries. Take the elevator to the Belfry's upper gallery, 66m high, to see the bells and take in fantastic panoramic views of the city. The Cloth Hall dates from 1425 and was the gathering place of wool and cloth merchants. 3€ adults, 2.50€ seniors and students, free for children under 13.  edit
  • Sint-Baafskathedraal (St. Bavo's Cathedral), Sint-Baafsplein (Tram: 1 or 4 to Sint-Baafsplein), +32 09/269-20-45. Cathedral: Apr-Oct Mon-Sat 8:30am-6pm, Sun 1-6pm; Nov-Mar Mon-Sat 8:30am-5pm, Sun 1-5pm. Mystic Lamb chapel and crypt: Apr-Oct Mon-Sat 9:30am-5pm, Sun 1-5pm; Nov-Mar Mon-Sat 10:30am-4pm, Sun 1-4pm. Don't miss this cathedral. Rather unimpressive exterior of Romanesque, Gothic, and baroque architecture. However, the interior is filled with priceless paintings and sculptures, including the 24-panel altarpiece "The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb", completed by Jan van Eyck in 1432. Simply spellbinding, this work was commissioned by a wealthy city alderman in 1420. Other art treasures in the cathedral include Rubens's restored "The Conversion of St. Bavo" from 1623. Cathedral: Free admission; Mystic Lamb chapel and crypt: 3€ adults (includes audio guide in English), 1.50€ children 6-12, free for children under 6.  edit
  • Het Gravensteen (Castle of the Counts), Sint-Veerleplein (Tram: 1 or 4 to Sint-Veerleplein), +32 09/225-93-06. Apr-Sept daily 9am-6pm; Oct-Mar daily 9am-5pm. Closed Jan 1, Dec 24-25 and 31. Built by Count Philip of Alsace, count of Flanders, soon after he returned from the Crusades in 1180 with images of similar crusader castles in the Holy Land. If its walls (2m thick), battlements, and turrets failed to intimidate attackers, the count could always turn to a well-equipped torture chamber inside. You can view relics of the chamber in a small museum in the castle. Climb up to the ramparts of the high central building, the donjon, which has great views of Ghent's rooftops and towers. 6€ adults, 1.20€ seniors and ages 13-25, free for children under 13.  edit
  • Sint-Niklaaskerk (St Nicholas's Church), Korenmarkt (entrance on Cataloniestraat) (Tram: 1 or 4 to Korenmarkt), +32 09/225-37-00. Mon 2:30-5pm; Tues-Sun 10am-5pm. A mixture of surviving Romanesque elements of the Flemish architectural style known as Schelde Gothic, the impressive 13th- to 15th-century church was paid for by Ghent's wealthy medieval merchants and guilds. In recent years, it has undergone extensive renovation work that's still ongoing. The tower is one of the "three towers of Ghent" - in fact, it was the first of the three to grace the city skyline. Free admission.  edit
  • Rederij Dewaele Canal Cruise, Graslei or Korenlei, +32 09/223-88-53, [3]. April to October, daily from 10am to 6pm, and November to March on weekends from 11am to 4pm. A cruise on the canals is a good way to view the city's highlights. The tour lasts approximately 40 minutes; longer tours are available. 5€ for adults; 4.50€ for seniors, students, and those under 26; 2.50€ for children agest 3 to 12; free for children under 3.  edit
  • Vrijdagmarkt (Friday Market). Vrijdagmarkt has been a fixture since the 13th century. It is the scene of a lively street markets on Friday (7:30am-1pm) and Saturday (11am-6pm), as well as the Sunday bird market (7am-1pm).  edit


Ghent provides an excellent and affordable sample of Flemish cuisine, which in the eyes of the locals is one of Europe's finest as it combines French delicacy with German sturdiness. Try some local specialties like mussels, spare ribs or 'stoverij' (a kind of tender meat cooked for three hours in dark beer with a brown gravy) with Belgian fries.

Another dish from Ghent is the "Gentse waterzooi" (litt. "boiled water from Ghent"), which was the food for the poor originally, a stew of cheap fish (usually turbot) and vegetables. Now it is often made with chicken as well.

The restaurants on Korenmarkt are a good deal, reasonably priced; the menus and 'menus of the day' at the Brasserie Borluut provide terrific value and this includes Gentse waterzooi. The real upmarket restaurants are to be found in the 14th century quarter called 'Patershol', near the Castle. There is also a big Turkish community in Ghent, centred around Sleepstraat a bit further north, which is home to numerous Turkish pizza places.


For authentic pubs, go to St. Veerleplein (the square in front of the Castle), the pubs around St. Jacob's church (especially during weekends), or the student area around Blandijnberg (Mount Blandin), especially in the proximity of the School of Arts and Philosophy, recognisable from afar by the 64 metres tall art deco Library Tower. Central Area: Castle-Korenmarkt-Graslei

  • Waterhuis aan de bierkant (The Waterhouse on the beerside), Groentenmarkt 9 (near the Castle), Tel +32 9 225 06 80,[4]. Boasts about 400 different kinds of Belgian beer, but is fairly touristy.
  • Het Galgenhuis (the Gallows house) near Waterhuis aan de Bierkant is a tiny tavern in a lean-to built on to the Gothic Butchers' Hall. A good selection of draught and bottled beers.
  • 't Dreupelkot, Groentenmarkt 12 (near the Castle), Tel +32 9 224 21 20, [5]. 200 kinds of Belgian Genever, a number of which is home made. Try the pepper genever if you are a tough guy/girl (be cautious!). Pol, the owner, is a friendly guy, altough it might look the other way at first sight. Around € 2 for a genever.
  • Hot Club de Gand, Schuddevisstraatje - Groentenmarkt 15b, is not a club, but a small, cracking little pub accessed down a narrow lane and has its own small courtyard. Barman told us it closes "when the last person leaves", famous for it's jazz concerts and jam sessions. The same owners opened the pub Hot Cub Reserva, Jan Breydelstraat 32, offering food and more live concerts a few hunderd meters further.
  • On Korenmarkt, you'll find the live Jazz pub Damberd.

Sint-Jacobs (Vlasmarkt-Beestenmarkt)

Student Area

  • Overpoortstraat is a street packed with 34 pubs and bars where during the week (especially Wednesday and Thursday nights) all the students go crazy. Because on Thursday it is so crowdy over there, dancing usually happens on the tables. Some notorious bars/clubs are the Cuba Libre [6] (commercial, R&B,...), Decadance [7] (house, techno, drum&bass), Twieoo [8] (alternative).
  • Hemelsbreed Verschil, Stalhof 31-33 (near the Overpoortstraat). The official pub for Erasmus students from over Europe. Free internet access available.
  • Plan b [9] Typical cosy local bar located in the center of Ghent. Nice view on the river. Street: Verlorenkost 17 - 9000 Gent 0498/10 66 03
  • Youth Hostel De Draecke, Sint-Widostraat 11, Tel.: +32 9 233-7050 Fax: +32 9 233-8001 -, [10]. This hostel is located on a quiet street in the city center. Free breakfast and bedsheets are provided. Youth Hostel De Draecke has a bar on the premises that offers a range of Belgian beers.
  • A list of B&Bs can be found at:
  • Hotel Trianon I St-Denijslaan 203, Tel.: +32 9 220-4840 Fax: +32 9 220-4950.[11]. Hotel Trianon I is situated close to St. Pieter's train station. Prices start at €62 per night; breakfast is an additional €5. Each room has an attached bathroom. The luxury rooms are equipped with jacuzzi's.
  • Best Western, Cour Saint-Georges Botermarkt 2, Tel. +32 9 224-2424 Fax:+32 9 224-2640. [12], 'The oldest Hotel in Europe, since 1228'. Right in the center, near the towers. Recently, it was taken over by the American "Best Western" hotel group. Rates from €125 - €200 for a room.
  • Brooderie Tel.: +32 9 225-0623. [13] Primarily a cafe & bakery, but with three rooms located on Jan Breydelstraat opposite the Design Museum. Shared bathrooms and showers with the cafe below but a cheap way of getting a fine room in a superb location - delicious bread with breakfast. €50 for a single, €70-75 for a double.
  • Autour des Tours (Around the Towers), Limburgstraat 26, 9000 Gent, +32 (0)488.77.78.36 [14]. This recently renovated house dates from the 19th century and offers a B&B formula. No car needed here, this hotel is located nearby the historical city centre. Exploring the area can be done by foot.
  • Ecohostel Andromeda Bargiekaai 35, +32 (0)486.67.80.33 [15]. Low-energy, low-budget (beds start at €22) hostel-on-a-boat, 10 minutes walk from the centre. Creative, modern interior, surprisingly spacious and with better showers than many "land" hostels! Internet and breakfast available.



If you want to call to North America, find the "Club Plus" card. Do not be talked into any other card. They are usually found at the nightshops (Nacht Winkels). You can get more than 200 minutes to North America for 5 Euros from a payphone. This is great since payphones cost quite a lot if you just insert money.

Canals of Ghent
Canals of Ghent


In recent years, the number of Internet Cafes has grown very rapidly; it is always very easy to find one within walking distance. The going price ranges from 1.5 euro to 3 euro per hour.

  • There is a cargo line to Gothenburg, Sweden.
  • World War I Flanders Field American Cemetery and Memorial[16]: 48 kilometers (30 miles) from Ghent in Waregem, along the Lille-Gent AutoRoute E-17. Open daily except for December 25 and January 1; 9AM to 5PM The final resting place for 368 American military dead lost during the liberation of Belgium. The chapel is inscribed with the names of 93 Americans whose remains were never found or identified. Free.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

GHENT (Flem. Gent, Fr. Gand), the capital of East Flanders, Belgium, at the junction of the Scheldt and the Lys (Ley). Pop. (1880) 131,431, (1904) 162,482. The city is divided by the rivers (including the small streams Lieve and Moere) and by canals, some navigable, into numerous islands connected by over 200 bridges of various sorts. Within the limits of the town, which is 6 m. in circumference, are many gardens, meadows and promenades; and, though its characteristic lanes are gloomy and narrow, there are also broad new streets and fine quays and docks. The most conspicuous building in the city is the cathedral of St Bavon 1 (Sint Baafs), the rich interior of which contrasts strongly with its somewhat heavy exterior. Its crypt dates from 941, the choir from 1274-1300, the Late Gothic choir chapels from the 15th century, and the nave and transept from 1533-1554. Among the treasures of the church is the famous "Worship of the Lamb" by Hubert and Jan van Eyck. Of the original 12 panels, taken to France during the Revolutionary Wars, only 4 are now here, 6 being in the Berlin museum and two in that of Brussels. Among the other 55 churches may be mentioned that of St Nicholas, an Early Gothic building, the oldest church in date of foundation in Ghent, and that of St Michael, completed in 1480, with an unfinished tower. In the centre of the city stands the unfinished Belfry (Beffroi), a square tower some 300 ft. high, built 1183-1339. It has a cast-iron steeple (restored in 1854), on the top of which is a gold dragon which, according to tradition, was brought from Constantinople either by the Varangians or by the emperor Baldwin after the Latin conquest. Close to it is the former Cloth-hall, a Gothic building of 1325. The hotel-de-ville consists of two distinct parts. The northern façade, a magnificent example of Flamboyant Gothic, was erected between 1518 and 1533, restored in 1829 and again some fifty years later. The eastern façade overlooking the market-place was built in 1595-1628, in the Renaissance style, with three tiers of columns. It contains a valuable collection of archives, from the 13th century onwards. On the left bank of the Lys is the Oudeburg (s'Gravenstein, Château des Contes), the former castle of the first counts of Flanders, dating from 1180 and now restored. The château of the later counts, in which the emperor Charles V. was born, is commemorated only in the name of a street, the Cours des Princes.

To the north of the Oudeburg, on the other side of the Lys, is the Marche du Vendredi, the principal square of the city. This was the centre of the life of the medieval city, the scene of all great public functions, such as the homage of the burghers to 1 Bavo, or Allowin (c. 589-c. 653), patron saint of Ghent, was a nobleman converted by St Amandus, the apostle of Flanders. He lived first as an anchorite in the forest of Mendonk, and afterwards in the monastery founded with his assistance by Amandus at Ghent.

the counts, and of the auto-da-fes under the Spanish regime. In it stands a bronze statue of Jacob van Artevelde, by DevigneQuyo, erected in 1863. At a corner of the square is a remarkable cannon, known as Dulle Griete (Mad Meg), 19 ft. long and ii ft. in circumference. It is ornamented with the arms of Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy, and must have been cast between 1419 and 1467. On the Scheldt, near the Place Laurent, is the Geerard-duivelsteen (château of Gerard the Devil), a 13th-century tower formerly belonging to one of the patrician families, now restored and used as the office of the provincial records. Of modern buildings may be mentioned the University (1826), the Palais de Justice (1844), and the new theatre (1848), all designed by Roelandt, and the Institut des Sciences (1890) by A. Pauli. In the park on the site of the citadel erected by Charles V. are some ruins of the ancient abbey of St Bavon and of a 12th-century octagonal chapel dedicated to St Macharius. In the park is also situated the Museum of Fine Arts, completed in 1902.

One of the most interesting institutions of Ghent is the great Beguinage (Begynhof) which, originally established in 1234 by the Bruges gate, was transferred in 1874 to the suburb of St Amandsberg. It constitutes a little town of itself, surrounded by walls and a moat, and contains numerous small houses, 18 convents and a church. It is occupied by some 700 Beguines, women devoted to good works (see Beguines). Near the station is a second Beguinage with 400 inmates. In addition to these there were in Ghent in 1901 fifty religious houses of various orders. As a manufacturing centre Ghent, though not so conspicuous as it was in the middle ages, is of considerable importance. The main industries are cotton-spinning, flax-spinning, cottonprinting, tanning and sugar refining; in addition to which there are iron and copper foundries, machine-building works, breweries and factories of soap, paper, tobacco, &c. As a trading centre the city is even more important. It has direct communication with the sea by a ship-canal, greatly enlarged and deepened since 1895, which connects the Grand Basin, stretching along the north side of the city, with a spacious harbour excavated at Terneuzen on the Scheldt, 212 m. to the north, thus making Ghent practically a sea-port; while a second canal, from the Lys, connects the city via Bruges with Ostende.

Among the educational establishments is the State University, founded by King William I. of the Netherlands in 1816. With it are connected a school of engineering, a school of arts and industries and the famous library (about 300,000 printed volumes and 2000 MSS.) formerly belonging to the city. In addition there are training schools for teachers, an episcopal seminary, a conservatoire and an art academy with a fine collection of pictures mainly taken from the religious houses of the city on their suppression in 1795. The oldest Belgian newspaper, the Gazet van Gent, was founded here in 1667.


The history of the city is closely associated with that of the countship of Flanders (q.v.), of which it was the seat. It is mentioned so early as the 7th century and in 868 Baldwin of the Iron Arm, first count of Flanders, who had been entrusted by Charles the Bald with the defence of the northern marches, built a castle here against the Normans raiding up the Scheldt. This was captured in 949 by the emperor Otto I. and was occupied by an imperial burgrave for some fifty years, after which it was retaken by the counts of Flanders. Under their protection, and favoured by its site, the city rapidly grew in wealth and population, the zenith of its power and prosperity being reached between the 13th and 15th centuries, when it was the emporium of the trade of Germany and the Low Countries, the centre of a great cloth industry, and could put some 20,000 armed citizens into the field. The wealth of the burghers during this period was equalled by their turbulent spirit of independence; feuds were frequent, - against the rival city of Bruges, against the counts, or, within the city itself, between the plebeian crafts and the patrician governing class. Of these risings the most notable was that, in the earlier half of the 14th century, against Louis de Crecy, count of Flanders, under the leadership of Jacob van Artevelde (q.v.).

The earliest charter to the citizens of Ghent was that granted by Count Philip of Flanders between 1169 and 1191. It did little more than arrange for the administration of justice by nominated jurats (scabini) under the count's bailli. Far more comprehensive was the second charter, granted by Philip's widow Mathilda, after his death on crusade in 1191, as the price paid for the faithfulness of the city to her cause. The magistrates of the city were still nominated scabini (fixed at thirteen), but their duties and rights were strictly defined and the liberties of the citizens safe-guarded; the city, moreover, received the right to fortify itself and even individuals within it to fortify their houses. This charter was confirmed and extended by Count Baldwin VIII. when he took over the city from Mathilda, an important new provision being that general rules for the government of the city were only to be made by arrangement between the count or his officials and the common council of the citizens. The burghers thus attained to a very considerable measure of self-government. A charter of 1212 of Count Ferdinand (of Portugal) and his wife Johanna introduced a modified system of election for the scabini; a further charter (1228) fixed the executive at 39 members, including scabini and members of the commune, and ordained that the bailli of the count and his servientes, like the podestds of Italian cities, were not to be natives of Ghent.

Thus far the constitution of the city had been wholly aristocratic; in the 13th century the patricians seem to have been united into a gild (Commans-gulde) from whose members the magistrates were chosen. By the 14th century, however, the democratic craft gilds, notably that of the weavers, had asserted themselves; the citizens were divided for civic and military purposes into three classes; the rich (i.e. those living on capital), the weavers and the members of the 52 other gilds. In the civic executive, as it existed to the time of Charles V., the deans of the two lower classes sat with the scabini and councillors.

The constitution and liberties of the city, which survived its incorporation in Burgundy, were lost for a time as a result of the unsuccessful rising against Duke Philip the Good (1450). The citizens, however, retained their turbulent spirit. After the death of Mary of Burgundy, who had resided in the city, they forced her husband, the archduke Maximilian, to conclude the treaty of Arras (1482). They were less fortunate in their opposition to Maximilian's son, the emperor Charles V. In 1539 they refused, on the plea of their privileges, to contribute to a general tax laid on Flanders, and when Charles's sister Mary, the governess of the Netherlands, seized some merchants as bail for the payment, they retaliated by driving out the nobles and the adherents of Charles's government. The appearance of Charles himself, however, with an overwhelming force quelled the disturbance; the ringleaders were executed, and all the property and privileges of the city were confiscated. In addition, a fine of 150,000 golden gulden was levied on the city, and used to build the "Spanish Citadel" on the site of what is now the public park.

In the long struggle of the Netherlands against Spain, Ghent took a conspicuous part, and it was here that, on the 8th of November 1576, was signed the instrument, known as the Pacification of Ghent, which established the league against Spanish tyranny. In 1584, however, the city had to surrender on onerous terms to the prince of Parma.

The horrors of war and of religious persecution, and the consequent emigration or expulsion of its inhabitants, had wrecked the prosperity of Ghent, the recovery of which was made impossible by the closing of the Scheldt. The city was captured by the French in 1698, 1708 and 1745. After 1714 it formed part of the Austrian Netherlands, and in 1794 became the capital of the French department of the Scheldt. In 1814 it was incorporated in the kingdom of the United Netherlands, and it was here that Louis XVIII. of France took refuge during the Hundred Days. Here too was signed (December 24, 1814) the treaty of peace between Great Britain and the United States of America. After 1815 Ghent was for a time the centre of Catholic opposition to Dutch rule, as it is now that of the Flemish movement in Belgium. During the 19th century its prosperity rapidly increased. In 1866-1867 , however, a serious outbreak of cholera again threatened it with ruin; but improved sanitation, the provision of a supply of pure water and the demolition of a mass of houses unfit for habitation soon effected a radical cure.

See L. A. Warnkonig, Flandrische Staatsand Rechtsgeschichte bis 1305 (3 vols., Tubingen, 1835-1842), and Gueldorf, Hist. de Gand, translated from Warnkonig, with corrections and additions (Brussels, 1846); F. de Potter, Gent van den oudsten tijd tot heden (6 vols., Ghent, 1883-1891); Van Duyse, Gand monumental et pittoresque (Brussels, 1886); de Vlaminck, Les Origines de la vale de Gand (Brussels, 1891); Annales Gandenses, ed. G. Funck-Brentano (Paris, 1895); Vuylsteke, Oorkondenboek der stad Gent (Ghent,' 1900, &c.); Karl Hegel, Steidle and Gilden (Leipzig, 1891), vol. ii. p. 175, where further authorities are cited. For a comprehensive bibliography, including monographs and published documents, see Ulysse Chevalier, Repertoire des sources hist. Topo-bibliogr., s.v., " Gand."

The 1922 extension to the 1911 encyclopedia has updated information on this subject.
See Ghent (addition) for this information.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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Proper noun




  1. Capital city of the province of East Flanders, Belgium.

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  • Anagrams of eghnt
  • thegn


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