Dest inat ion Repor t Ghent i s a spec ia l ed i t ion of M IM magaz ine N o 104 - APRIL 2009pub l i shed by Meet iing Med ia Company (Be lg ium) - www.MIMmagaz ine.eu
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ENJOYING THE GOOD LIFE
M E D I E VA L M A N H AT TA NThe ideal destination for your next congress, meeting or incentive
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9000 Gent Belgium
GhentWhy Ghent?sCENTRALLY LOCATEDANDEASYACCESSIBLEsEXCELLENTCONGRESSANDMEETING
Official Convention Bureau
for Ghent and East Flanders
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Alive and kicking: history meets modernityWandering about through picturesque medieval streets, along the imposing Gravensteen stronghold (Castle of the Counts) or over the magni cent St.-Michaels bridge, it's almost like travelling back in time. Indeed, the overwhelming historic heritage of this city immediately tickles your im-agination. The recent award for most authentic destination proves how well
the city is preserved. Wherever you go, you can feel the people are very proud of their city. And with good reason! The fact that the noose, once used by Emperor Charles V to humiliate the people, now is carried through the city with pride and used as its symbol, al-ready speaks for itself. On a side-note, this already reveals the obstinate, yet gentle-hearted character of the people of Ghent. In many ways, the historic heritage is given a second life. Former
Are you looking for a city that's really fun and charming to stage an event, meeting or incentive? Then Ghent has many things to offer. Thanks to Annick Debels, Director of Gent Congres, who guided us around, we got to see the city in a whole new light. We only knew the capital of East-Flanders from the typical sceneries, big events and famous museums, so this visit was a true revelation. Lots of interesting develop-ments and the latest places to be were con ded to us. At the same time, the city embraced us with a warmth and beauty like no other. Every visitor is given a warm welcome, whether it's a business traveller or a tourist. Nicolas Vanden Eynden, sales manager of the ICC Ghent describes it perfectly well: The people of Ghent are modest. Their hospitality gives you a good feeling about being in Ghent. Because of the offer and charm of the city, tourists are welcomed with open arms. And if there's already one thing I can tell: you just cant get bored here. The city is waiting to be explored!REPORT NATHALIE REGA
Ghent equals joie de vivre
warehouses are transformed into appealing res-taurants, hotels date back to the renaissance, and medieval festivities and folklore bring tradi-tions back to life. But the rich past of Ghent doesnt stand on its own. It goes together in perfect harmony with the modern, young and trendy feeling, creating a city that is alive and captivating. The frequent-ly used nickname Medieval Manhattan de nes it well. But the variety of what Ghent has to offer even goes beyond that. For instance, where else can you can nd shops selling sixties wallpaper, an artisanal mustard factory or a ower festival? Ghent is bursting with cultural life and art. Museums such as the S.M.A.K. present daring in-ternational art collections, whereas the amount of cinemas, theatres and all kinds of cultural activities is impressive. Of course, the people of Ghent are the ones who make it all happen.
Cover: real raspberry cuberdons of Ghent
They create a cultural dynamism and a fun atmosphere, while some 60,000 students keep the city young and vibrant.
Events on all sidesGhent is the largest university city in Flan-ders, so there's always something going on early (or late) in the evening. The beauti-fully illuminated night scenery already revealed to us that the city had come to life again. The night-life is pulsating in every corner and includes everything from cultural happenings, and hot clubs to trendy bars. We went to try out a few places ourselves. In the trendy brasserie Caf Theatre with its cosmopolitan style and classy bar, you can have an aperitif while you're waiting to go to the opera. The young and cosy Hot Club de Gand, is an ideal spot if you wish to see live jazz performances in an attractive setting. De nitely hot! And if you dont feel like partying, why dont you have a tea in the trendy and spacious caf, het Oeverloze Eiland? In addition to the many places to go out, events and festivities are going on all through the year. Wouldn't it be excel-
lent if they would take place at the same time of your meeting or event? Music lovers will certainly nd something to their liking among the many music festivals, while lm fans certainly cannot miss the International Film Festival of Ghent. The famous Ghent Festivities of July perfectly re ect the spirit of Ghent. And in 2010 the Ghent Floralies, a ower festival that offers possibilities to corporates, will take place again. It almost becomes dif cult to miss any of those festivities.
Ghent keeps surprisingWith several projects and investments, the city of Ghent constantly strives to improve city life and attract an international public. In April a crowd of thousands of twirlers and majorettes and their fellow travellers have taken in the city during the World Championship of Baton Twirling. It's no surprise that the sports event took place here: Ghent boasts the only indoor facility in the Benelux: The Topsporthal. Even to people like Annick Debels, who knows the city inside and out, Ghent keeps surpris-ing every day. The city's brand new logo,
consisting of the word Ghent, followed by a double point, marks the soul of the city: a place that has many stories to tell and where people are open minded.
The Burgundian way of living:a gastronomic ambianceIn every way, the city awakens your senses. As an indication, there's the many terraces on the river banks, the numerous cafs around the market squares, and the 300 or so different restaurants. Culinary adventurers will nd themselves at the right address here: Restaurants serve outstanding gastronomic delights next to the traditional local kitchen and multicul-tural menus. Be aware that choosing a restaurant will be harder than looking for a good one. With the Korenhuis, restaurant of the Ghent Marriott hotel, the Auberge du Pcheur outside of Ghent or The Belga Queen, just to name a few, a business diner becomes pure pleasure. An array of specialities makes the gastro-nomic diversity complete. For instance, who hasnt heard of the Ghent cuber-dons? The Butchers Hall, once a meat
market, promotes local products from dried hams to local gin, cheeses and cakes. In Chocolatier Van Hoorebeke on the St. Baafs square, two generations dedicate themselves to the traditional fabrication of the most exquisite Belgian chocolates. Just take a peek trough the partly glazed oor to discover the craftsmanship with which father and son create those great-tasting chocolates. Does that make your mouth water already? Then try one of the typical local beers in caf de Dulle Griet or a jenever in t Dreupelkot. Several of those breweries and local manufacturers open their doors for company visits. And in case you're interested to make your own bread or chocolates, workshops, such as Atelier Plus, provide these possibilities.
Good livingOn a Friday, Saturday or Sunday its very likely that you come across one of Ghents many markets. And can you imagine a more refreshing way to start the day on a lazy Sunday morning than with a glass of champagne and some Oysters at the Blau-we Kiosk at the Kouter? Afterwards you can continue your way up to the second hand book market at the Ajuinlei, followed by a visit of the Groentenmarkt with its traditional products, and maybe end with gazing upon the curiosa and antiques at the Beverhoutplein. Indeed a pleasant way to pass the day in a different way. A lucky thing everything is at walking distance. Moreover, you wont get stressed out from cars chasing by. The historic centre has the largest pedestrianised area of Belgium.The presence of the water in the city, with the rivers Lys and Scheldt is another thing that makes the city so very enjoyable. Who doesnt want to wake up in a hotel
room, such as the Ghent-River-Hotel, and have a marvelous view over the river? Small boats take you to one of the cafs or restaurants on the waterside. The Oude Vismijn (Old Fish Market), at the Lys is just one of those places. For a long time this former industrial building has been liter-ally covered with question marks. But we managed to nd out the answers for you; an info-box for tourists has already been set in place. In the future, a multifunctional event hall, and a modern brasserie with a completely glazed terrace will be added. Because it will be possible to open up the terrace near the river, the sh market will become the perfect spot to catch a cool breeze on a warm summer evening.
Easy accessGhents openness is also shown in its ac-cessibility. Coming from major European cities you can easily reach Ghent by car or coach, using one of the two European high-ways (E 17 and E 40) and Brussels airport is only 45 minutes away. Ghents railway station, Gent-Sint-Pieters, has connections to all Belgian cities, and to the European high-speed train network after a transfer in Brussels South or in Lille. The Thalys provides daily direct connections to Paris. Within Ghent itself, the public transport is well organized. Buses and trams take you to wherever you need to be. And in case you want to enter Ghent by car, you only need to follow the parking routes.
1. Always surprising2. Auberge du Pcheur
3. Caf Theatre 4. Chocolatier Van Hoorebeke
5. Paul Suy - General Manager Ghent Marriott 6. Cuberdons from Ghent
7. t Dreupelkot and Hot Club de Gand 8. Annick Debels, director of Gent Congres
9. Maarten Michels - RoomeR 10. Traditional Mustard
The new place to be When wandering around here, we soon discovered this neighbourhood revealed much of what is typical for Ghent. You could perfectly call it Ghent in a nutshell since it perfectly re ects the dynamic character of the city. Here too, old and trendy go hand in hand. Paul Suy, general manager of the Ghent Marriott, stated that Onderbergen, with its many little sidestreets, has slowly taken over the role of the Patershol. For a long time The Patershol was the place to be thanks to its unique medieval street pattern that attracted many restaurants and tourists. Onderbergen may not be a tourist attrac-tion, but it certainly shows the true nature of Ghent and its people. New restaurants, decoration stores and arty boutiques have revived the neighbourhood the last couple
of years. The nearby school of Sint Lucas ensures the artistic aspect is not left out and leaves a visible mark on Onderbergen. The many students that come here guar-antee the young look of the street.
Have an aperitif inYou dont feel like going out for a business dinner right away, but prefer to have an appetizer somewhere rst? In Onderber-gen, you can nd bars and restaurants that are there only to ful ll that wish. For ne wine enthusiasts, restaurant and wine bar Vintage is the right spot. A selec-tion of about 300 wines from all over the world has been brought together here, and a creative cuisine accompanies every wine. The warm red walls and the cosy wooden interior make you feel right away at ease in here. Companies and groups
enjoy special formulas that are offered or can choose to organize a tasting. Those who prefer to drink Champagne can enjoy a glass in the modern decor of Cham-pagne bar Chez de Beir, just one step
away from Vintage. Customized arrange-ments can be made for anything ranging from company reception to incentive. And if you dont feel like going there, you can always let Champagne bar Chez de Beir come to you.
One of the most interesting places we passed through was Onderbergen, a lovely part of Ghent, situ-ated in the centre of the Historic Quarter. Its a large, recently rebuilt alley starting from the Gothic St. Michaels Church, leading all the way to the Gebroeders Vandeveldestraat. Along the street, beautiful mansions are standing with pride and the large pathways make it agreeable to stroll along the superb boutiques and restaurants.
Onderbergen is Ghent in a nutshell
Trendy restaurantsTrendy restaurants and popular venues make Onderbergen even more attrac-tive. Day restaurant and coffee house het Lepelblad, housed in a stately building on the corner of Onderbergen and the Zwarte Zusterstraat, is a popular place among students and people who work nearby to have lunch. The spaghetti of the student-friendly bistro De Kastart is not your ordinary spaghetti, it's really famous in Ghent, and is appreciated by young and old. Maybe the lovely exterior of Mineral, a faade of little green mosaic stones and owers can seduce you into entering in this trendy restaurant. Here they serve vegetar-ian, Belgian and Mediterranean dishes in a home-like interior with art-deco in uences. There's space for groups of 15 to 65 people and special events can take place in the separate theatre hall. One of the trendy res-taurants that certainly cannot be left out is Domestica. We personally went to explore its cuisine and facilities and found that the attractive interior was a perfect match for the stately character of the old mansion. You can choose from different rooms, one being painted black with golden accents and decorated with a majestic chandelier, the other one offering a more romantic setting. Also dining at the outside terrace
on warmer days, and even at the long bar is possible. The gastronomic French cuisine was not of a lesser quality. We were served outstanding re ned meals in which the pure taste of the products dominated.
Not for dull peopleEveryone who enjoys the pleasure of shop-ping will be delighted to pass an afternoon in Ghent. Everything from big chain stores to small authentic shops and original bou-tiques is there. And Onderbergen forms part of the heart of the shopping area. You just cant pass through here without noticing all the special stores looking out on the street. Here, the combination of traditional and trendy comes forward very clearly. You can discover architectural book stores and arty boutiques, and nd modern design next-door to antique deal-ers and special lamp stores. We went to take a look in one of the more fancy shops, A ce Soir, a clothing and accessories store that character...