Peace & Quiet
The multicultural character of Ghent is striking. It is not clear how many members of ethnic minorities are living in the city, legally or illegally. Yet the city council is regularly at loggerheads with the central government over deportation of foreigners, sometimes to the great annoyance of the central government. Romanian gypsies in particular have found their way to Ghent.
Ghent in Figures
Area: 15,642 hectares Population
Total population 250,000 of whom 8 percent are from ethnic minorities. Historic buildings
Ghent, with 1,400 years of history, is the city with the largest number of listed buildings in Belgium. Medieval castles: 2 Abbeys: 5 Begijnhofs: 3 Churches: 59 Museums: 19 Exhibitions, fairs and markets
Exhibitions: 61 Fairs: 38 Markets: 24 Library
32 percent of the population of Ghent has a library ticket, which means they read more books than any other Belgians. Trams and buses
Tram and bus routes: 98 The tram is held up 513 times a year by accidents or a vehicle parked on the lines. Miscellaneous
3,000 gravestones vanish every year. There are 300,000 trees, 165kg of weed-killer is used annually and only 25 percent of the well water is drinkable. Working on the internet has reduced the amount of paper used by the city council by only 330,000 sheets a year. Foreign visitors to conferences spend four times the amount of the average tourist and a Japanese tourist spends about 12,000 Belgian francs per day. 20,000 new students enrol each year in the University of Ghent There are 500 recognised sports clubs, 3 cinemas, 8 swimming pools, 85 places of worship for 17 different faith communities. One man from Ghent has been into space. Average annual consumption of beer is 114 litres per head.