A trip to Flanders’ musical gem

Ghent sounds like music to the ear. This sparkling art city bears the UNESCO title of “Creative City of Music”, an accolade it owes to the Ghent Festivities, the Gent Jazz festival and the many temples of music, both large and small, that are spread across the city.

Ghent is a city with a proud past and many faces. Above all, its splendid historic setting is what is so striking. Since time immemorial, the three towers have stood high and mighty. St Bavo’s Cathedral, the Belfry and St Nicholas’ Church have defined Ghent’s skyline for centuries. Around and between them, you will find charming alleys, picturesque bridges, and countless romantic spots on the banks of the Lys. And then there is the Ghent Altarpiece: also known as The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, it is probably one of the most enigmatic pieces in European art history. It was almost 600 years ago that the van Eyck brothers painted this Flemish masterpiece, and when they did so, they had Ghent Cathedral in mind. The polyptych still stands there today —  albeit following a very turbulent history. 

Quite clearly: Ghent is the perfect destination for a cultural city trip. The gems mentioned above are only part of the story: the city has a great many other assets to offer. For example, Ghent is a city of music through and through — and it’s not just the locals who say that the sound of this city moves hearts and souls. UNESCO does too, having given Ghent the title of Creative City of Music. The city owes that honor to its status as a prominent trendsetter in music. 

During the summer months in particular, you will find evidence of this, for example with the Ghent Festivities, the biggest city festival in Europe, when the city goes wild for ten days. During this period, hundreds of artists give their best on dozens of stages across the whole city center. You’ve never seen or heard anything like it. 

Around the same time, the Gent Jazz Festival takes place in the city. Throughout the year, the charming Bijloke site is a focal point for early, symphonic, vocal and contemporary music, but during Gent Jazz, it’s the backdrop for a wonderful selection of illustrious artists from Belgium and abroad. 

Those who head off to Ghent a little earlier in 2024 can enjoy the Stroom festival. This event stretches along the banks of the River Scheldt, kicking off summer in Ghent once again with a unique blend of music and nature. 

So, as you can see — and hear— Ghent gives you plenty of reasons to visit. Not only for the big events that prove it, there’s always something going on here, in all kinds of  styles and genres. From Ghent’s Opera to its eclectic Handelsbeurs concert hall; from the VIERNULVIER arts center to the brand-new music club Wintercircus; or simply in the uncountable music cafés and intimate stages scattered throughout the city, there’s always music in Ghent. 

Enjoy a wonderful selection of glorious artists from Belgium and abroad, every year at Gent Jazz.
Enjoy a wonderful selection of glorious artists from Belgium and abroad, every year at Gent Jazz.

Things to consider before traveling

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Some tips to consider while traveling

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