Provided by: Stad Gent/Visit Gent
St Peter’s Abbey, peaceful vineyard

St Peter’s Abbey, peaceful vineyard

This Benedictine abbey was founded in the 7th century by St Amand, who christened the very city of Ghent itself. In the 14th and 15th centuries, it grew into nothing short of an abbey village, with farms, gardens, homes and estates. The abbey owed its prosperity to the privileges it had gained and the taxes it was allowed to impose on its estates. It owned land all the way to the port in Ghent. The virtual monk ‘Alison’ will give you a virtual tour of the abbey. ‘Jean-François Alison’ is your mystery movie guide during your visit to St Peter’s Abbey. In seventeen episodes, he takes you on an exciting and mysterious journey in search of his friend’s murderer. He takes you to places you would never otherwise go. The mediaeval dining hall, the majestic abbey church, a beautiful garden and endless attics: you will stumble from one surprise to the next, between heaven and earth. It is really thrilling, and suitable for children as well. Why not take a virtual look at St Peter’s Abbey now? The garden of this abbey is a real hotspot in Ghent that is particularly popular with the city’s students who come here to chill out or revise in the sunshine. A must-see during your city break. The magnificent garden with its vineyard and ruin is an oasis of greenery in the city. Prestigious exhibitions with an international allure are held every year in St Peter’s Abbey. The dining wing of St Peter’s Abbey is authentic, dating from the Middle Ages. Visit the ground floor of St Peter’s Abbey for free (cloisters and quadrangle, as well as the permanent exhibition Between Heaven & Earth and the abbey garden).
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Boat trips in Ghent

Boat trips in Ghent

Stretch your sea legs: the view of Ghent from the water is absolutely charming. Take a boat ride during your city break or weekend trip. There are various boat tours organised on the rivers and canals in Ghent. Travel back in time. Immerse yourself in the city of Emperor Charles V and discover hidden secrets. Ship ahoy! Different boat companies offer enjoyable trips on Ghent’s gentle waters. Traditional boat trips are held daily. The captain on board provides a guided tour in several languages. Boat companies: Rederij Dewaele - Departure: green boat house Korenlei Gent Watertoerist - Departure: Graslei Rederij De Gentenaer - Departure: Groentenmarkt, at the Vleeshuisbrug
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S.M.A.K.: contemporary art in Ghent

S.M.A.K.: contemporary art in Ghent

Lovers of contemporary art absolutely can’t afford to miss a visit to the S.M.A.K. during their weekend in Ghent. The Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art, or S.M.A.K. for short (in Dutch), was founded in 1999 and is located opposite the MSK in a former casino building. The city of Ghent is known for its rebelliousness, and its contemporary art museum is every bit as dynamic and unconventional as Ghent itself. The collection is considered to be the most important collection of contemporary art in Flanders, with world-famous works of art from Belgium and abroad. Every four months, the museum exhibits a selection of these works in alternation with original, often daring exhibitions. Recover at leisure from the assault on your senses in the museum café. Take a look at the sculpture by Jan Fabre on the roof: the body of ‘The Man who Measures the Clouds’ is modelled on Fabre himself, but the face belongs to his dead brother. Under the inspiring leadership of the controversial curator and ‘art pope’ Jan Hoet, the former ‘contemporary art wing’ of the MSK was given its own museum, the S.M.A.K. The permanent collection at this museum for contemporary art includes top Belgian and international works of art by Cobra, pop art, minimal art, conceptual art and arte povera artists, who are now among the most famous artists in the world.
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Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent

Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent

The strength of the Museum of Fine Arts (MSK) in Ghent, one of the oldest museums in Belgium, lies in the varied nature of its collection, which is nothing short of remarkable. Never before have old masters and modernists hung side-by-side so perfectly as in this iconic museum building. At the end of the 18th century, Ghent was under French rule and many of the city’s art treasures were seized. Some of them can still be seen in the Louvre in Paris today. Rebellious Ghent wasn’t having any of it, and slowly began to establish a wide-ranging art collection, searching for years to find an appropriate building. The ideal location was found in the building designed by the architect Van Rysselberghe in the Citadelpark, a temple to the arts with a fantastic feeling of spaciousness and a lot of light. The collection, which ranges from Hieronymus Bosch to Rubens and Magritte, has never been shown more attractively than it is today. It covers an enormous variety of paintings, statues, drawings, etchings and tapestries, from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. An auditorium, a library, a children’s workshop and a brasserie turn the MSK into a contemporary, multipurpose complex where you can spend many a pleasant hour surrounded by beauty during your weekend trip to Ghent.
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Museum of Industry

Museum of Industry

Ghent is proud of its industrial past, and that makes the Museum of Industry a hotspot for many Ghent locals: a sight in Ghent that needs to be on your to-do list for your city trip. In the Middle Ages, Ghent linen was an international household name. Much of the industrial heritage that bore witness to the first and second industrial revolutions was scrapped and demolished from the 1970s onwards. Ghent City Council has made efforts to preserve machines and objects. Did you know? Ghent was the first city where the industrial revolution took hold on the continent, after the United Kingdom, at the end of the 18th century. The British government was terrified of espionage and guarded its technological progress by banning the export of machines. But it hadn’t reckoned with the Belgian entrepreneur Lieven Bauwens, who smuggled the components of a ‘Spinning Mule’ out of the country in 1798 in sacks of coffee and flour. The ‘Spinning Mule’ or ‘Spinning Jenny’ is a spinning machine that can still be admired at the Museum of Industry in Ghent. The Museum of Industry is housed in an old cotton mill. It provides a unique picture of the profound technological changes that our society has undergone in the last 250 years. Enjoy a magnificent view of the city from the highest floor of this transparent building. Museum of Industry in Ghent: mega kid-friendly! If you’re out in Ghent on a weekend break with your children, this is the ideal museum to visit with your curious kids. Explore everything together. Toddlers will enjoy the game ‘Out with Emma and Emiel’. Children learn through games how the workers and their families used to live. Many of them will be thrilled by the straw bed they found here, the lights, the fabrics, the photos, the soap... Kids aged 6 to 12 can explore the museum building and collection in a creative way with the games ‘Bag of Surprises’ and ‘KidSafeBreaker’. Fantastic fun! All that fun with fabrics in the museum games is thirsty work. Never mind: you can quench your thirst at Bar Mitte, the museum café at the Museum of Industry. This creative space has great food and a lovely sun terrace with a view of the museum garden.
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Design Museum Gent

Design Museum Gent

Wild about design? Be sure to visit the Design Museum Gent. A modern, open building lurks behind a magnificent 18th century façade. This impressive city residence in Rococo style was bought by the City of Ghent in 1922, and used it to house the Design Museum. The temporary exhibitions complement the magnificent permanent collection, from art nouveau to trends in contemporary design. Toilet roll: sticking it to the man Even if you don’t need to go, the toilet enclosure at the museum is well worth a visit. The bathroom wing was built in defiance after Design Museum Gent kept being refused the funds for an expansion by Ghent City Council. When it did get a permit for a huge monumental work of art, a huge toilet roll with toilets hidden inside it, a message was added with a double meaning: ‘de pot op’. Literally it means “go to the loo” but what the expression really means colloquially is “go to hell”, giving the figurative finger to Ghent City Council. Child-friendly Design Museum in Ghent There is always something for families and children to do at the Design museum Gent. Play the museum game or take part in an exciting workshop. Everything is possible!
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House of Alijn Museum

House of Alijn Museum

The House of Alijn museum in Ghent puts the ordinary daily life of 20th century people in the spotlight. This was once the ‘Children of Alijn hospice’. It is the only almshouse—a charitable institution where the old and sick were cared for—to have been preserved in Ghent. Escape the city and even time itself for a moment during your weekend trip to Ghent. Stroll from the beginning of the 20th century through the two World Wars to the 1980s. Each room has its own ‘large as life’ story to tell from our collective memory. Traditions and rituals belong to the past and present. Daily routines and special events determine the rhythm of your life. During your weekend trip to Ghent, enjoy the customs, traditions and rituals at the House of Alijn museum that recall a recent or more distant past. Go ‘back to the future’: rediscover your very first baby photos, marbles in the playground, your first love, the excitement of the summer holidays... The way we approach ‘occasions and emotions’ changes over time: it is both personal and universal. Find out that everyday life is anything but ordinary. Enjoy these collective memories in the lovely courtyard garden and a typical working class pub. We recommend it! Alijn, where kids in Ghent feel right at home! A must-see during your city trip to Ghent with the kids. Visit the House of Alijn with your children or grandchildren and discover or rediscover together how daily life has changed. Dip into the dressing-up box, flick through photo albums from grandma’s time, revel in the nostalgia of old films, enjoy Play-Doh, hopscotch and knucklebones: rediscover your inner child!
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Dr Guislain Museum, art and psychiatry

Dr Guislain Museum, art and psychiatry

The oldest mental asylum in Belgium, which dates back to 1857 is in Jozef Guislainstraat. Today it houses an absolutely fascinating museum. It was the visionary Dr Guislain who was one of the first to think of mentally ill people as patients with a right to humane treatment. The shame that was felt at the way psychiatric patients had been treated in the past was the impetus for founding the Dr Guislain Museum in Ghent in 1986. Dr Guislain Museum in Ghent aims to break down the many prejudices that still define what is ‘mentally ill’ and what is ‘normal’. Discover the permanent collection and find out about the history of psychiatry, as well as an international collection of outsider art or art brut. The temporary exhibitions are always great too.
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The world of Kina: the House

The world of Kina: the House

A unique fossil of a pre-historic reptile, a splendid diorama room with native birds and an unbelievably cool interactive exhibition with thousands of rocks and minerals. The House is a museum where your children will uncover one surprise after another. The Heritage App gives you a lot of extra information on ‘Kei Cool’, an exhibition about rocks and minerals. It answers questions like, “What is desert rose?”, “How do tectonic plates move?” and “Which mineral is used to make the base of the FIFA World Cup?”. Tip: also check out The world of Kina: the Garden. This location, which includes an educational garden, is not within walking distance from the House, but it can easily be reached from Sint-Pietersplein by bus (Tolhuislaan).
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Hotel d'Hane Steenhuyse

Hotel d'Hane Steenhuyse

Discover the majestic home of the aristocratic d’Hane Steenhuyse family! Its colourful salons, fine furniture, sumptuous wall hangings and tantalizing murals whisk your back in time two hundred years. So don’t be surprised if you stumble upon a housemaid or coachman. And do take a stroll in the beautiful enclosed garden, an oasis of peace in the hectic Veldstraat. You’ll find the door open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 14 and 18.00 hrs. The house is suffused with the spirit of the ancien régime. You hear the sounds of dance music and approaching carriages. Here and there historical film clips elucidate the complicated rules of conduct and etiquette of that period. You soon lose all sense of time and imagine you are a guest of the Count and Countess d’Hane Steenhuyse. Those interested in more background information would do well to join the guided tour which takes place every Friday and Saturday at 14.30 hrs. Everyone loves a good story and when it comes to the history of the house, the guide holds nothing back. Find out what went on behind the doors of the boudoirs, cabinets and enfilades. This guided tour includes a visit to the Chinese Salon and the study of Nobel prizewinner Maurice Maeterlinck in Hotel Clemmen, opposite Hotel d’Hane Steenhuyse.
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CityCard Gent

Hotel Clemmen

The interiors of the Hotel Clemmen appeal for a lot of imagination. The most attractive rooms include the Chinese Salon and reconstruction of the study of Ghent's Nobel Prize winner in Literature, Maurice Maeterlinck. Those interested in more background information would do well to join the guided tour which takes place every Friday and Saturday at 14.30 hrs. Everyone loves a good story and when it comes to the history of the house, the guide holds nothing back. This guided tour includes a visit to Hotel d’Hane Steenhuyse, opposite Hotel Clemmen.
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Ghent Belfry, world heritage

Ghent Belfry, world heritage

Look up at the magical city skyline for a moment during your weekend trip in Ghent: you can’t miss it. The Belfry is the middle tower in the famous row of three, between St Bavo’s Cathedral and St Nicholas’ Church. A fiery dragon, the proud symbol and mascot of Ghent, guards the historic heart of the city. The Ghent Belfry symbolises the city’s prosperity and independence. The Cloth Hall, built onto the Belfry, was completed in 1907. The flamboyant Brabant Gothic style of the Cloth Hall is an ode to the industry to which Ghent owes so much. On the corner of the Cloth Hall is an old jailer’s house. The Ghent Belfry, a recognised UNESCO World Heritage, is well worth a visit. In 1402, it was the place where city privileges were kept: in a chest, locked up in the Belfry safe. The dragon, which has been up on the tower since 1377, kept an eye on the city as well as being the symbolic guardian of the belfry. The Belfry also proudly carried the alarm bell, the ‘Great Triumphant’. Today you will find this bell, nicknamed ‘Roland’ by the people of Ghent, not far from the Belfort on Emile Braunplein. Until 1442, St Nicholas’ Church was the main watchtower. In 1442, the watchmen in the tower moved across to the newly completed Belfry. Along with the bell ringers, these watchmen, or the corps of ‘men who guard the city’, served until 1869. Fire was a particular danger in Ghent. The Belfry tower is an absolute must-see! Climb the stairs, listen to the chiming sound of the carillon and enjoy the view of the vibrant city of Ghent. There is a lift from the first floor. The stunning view over Ghent is bound to enchant you. However, the Belfry is not accessible to visitors with reduced mobility. The Mammelokker, a legend behind bars In 1741, a building was erected between the Belfry and the Cloth Hall, which served as the entrance to the city jail. You will see a relief sculpture above the entrance. The sculpture tells an old Roman legend of a man, Cimon, who was sentenced to death by starvation. He survived his sentence because his daughter visited every day and breastfed him. ‘Mamme’ means ‘breast’ and ‘lokken’ means ‘suck’ in an old Ghent dialect. The Belfort, great fun for little dragons Ghent wouldn’t be Ghent without children and young people, so Ghent Belfry also has plenty to offer little dragons. Here you will find activities for kids aged 6 to 18 years old. Kids up to the age of 100 are more than welcome here as well ;-). Child-friendly Ghent: have fun on your weekend trip with the whole family. Do you know about the city game with Fosfor the dragon as well?
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St Bavo’s Cathedral: majestic tower

St Bavo’s Cathedral: majestic tower

Powerful Ghent church and home of the Mystic Lamb This magnificent sight on Sint-Baafsplein in Ghent is a proud old lady: don’t just walk past her on your city trip. St Bavo’s Cathedral is the oldest parish church in the lively heart of Ghent. It stands on the site of a 10th century church and a 12th century Romanesque church. The latter was dedicated to St John the Baptist. In the Middle Ages, Ghent was a rich and powerful city that had the means to commission ever-larger and more opulent churches. So the Church of St John the Baptist was converted during the 15th and 16th centuries into the imposing Gothic St Bavo’s Cathedral. A history of rebellion: from church to cathedral Looking for a weekend getaway that is just that little bit different? Do you like to explore off the beaten track? Welcome to Ghent, the city of rebels! St Bavo’s Cathedral literally carries Ghent’s rebellious history in its very stones. In the crypt, the Romanesque style can still be seen in the central nave. In the 15th century, it was decided that the Romanesque structure would be replaced with a larger Gothic church that was completed in 1559. In 1540, the church became the seat of the Chapter of St Bavo, and St Bavo became the patron saint of the church. Later, in 1559, the church was converted into the cathedral of the Bishops of Ghent. Bursting with riches: Ghent’s art treasures St Bavo’s Cathedral has a rich history and it is also filled with art treasures that make many an art-lover’s mouth water: from the baroque high altar in white, black and red flamed marble, the Rococo pulpit in oak, gilded wood and marble, to a masterpiece by Rubens: Saint Bavo enters the Convent at Ghent, and the Calvary Triptych by Justus van Gent, the Gothic chandelier/sanctuary lamp, the opulent tombs of the Bishops of Ghent – and of course the world-famous Mystic Lamb. Admire the divine glow of ‘The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’ by the Van Eyck brothers in St Bavo’s Cathedral. Read all about this famous work by the Flemish Primitives. Do you want to visit the Mystic Lamb? Find out the opening hours of the chapel where the Mystic Lamb is on display at St Bavo’s Cathedral. Fascinating fact about the Mystic Lamb: So that you have a chance to admire all the panels of the Ghent Altarpiece in all their glory, the outer panels of this masterpiece by Van Eyck are folded inwards every day between 12.00 and 13.00. Admission tickets for this chapel are sold until about 15 minutes before closing time. Souvenirs galore: the cathedral shop Of course you want memories to take home with you that are as beautiful as the cathedral itself. Pop into the cathedral gift shop for postcards, art books, posters etc. ‘Festive’ view of the city of Ghent You can only go up the tower of St Bavo’s Cathedral during the Ghent Festivities. Negotiate the stairs and enjoy the magnificent view of this unique party for the people in the heart of Ghent. At other times of the year, you can enjoy the most beautiful view of Ghent from directly beneath the golden dragon, Ghent’s mascot, on the Belfry tower opposite. From there you can continue exploring the heart of Ghent. Anything goes.
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