City information

City of Gent

Ganda, as Gent was originally called, arose at the confluence of the rivers Lys and Scheldt. Roman and Celtic settlements developed into a genuine town in the early Middle Ages. In the 13th century, Gent was the third largest city in North-Western Europe, preceded only by Paris and London. It is, what you could call a pocket-sized metropolis: a compact (16,000 ha and 240,000 inhabitants) but complete city where people live, work and shop and in which youngsters go to school.

Gent is centrally located in Europe at the intersection of roads and waterways, but also at crossroads of cultures and people. Metropolises such as Paris, Amsterdam, London, Cologne or Brussels are situated within a range of 300 kilometres. Although Gent is not situated along the coast, it boasts a genuine port. The port is connected to the North Sea by means of the Western Scheldt, and the Gent-Terneuzen canal.

Gent is know as the largest education city of Flanders, with 60,000 highly skilled students in 11 faculties and 10 colleges of higher education. This results in a great many spin-off companies and a Flanders Biotech Valley (which is a cradle of biotechnology and bio-energy).

Furthermore, Gent is a significant centre of culture and tourism with over 700,000 overnight stays and over 1.7 million daytrip tourists a year. There are many cultural activities in the field of theatre, opera, concerts, internationally renowned municipal museums (Museum of Fine Arts, Design Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art “SMAK”, STAM,…) and some impressive festivals like the International Film Festival, the Festival of Flanders and the Gent Festivities (which is the largest city festival in Europe). At the end of November 2008, the National Geographic Traveller Magazine published a top 109 of the most authentic destinations worldwide. The historic city centre of Gent ranked third. Gent was praised for its ‘brilliant mix of a wonderful past and a contemporary, vibrant city’.


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