Destination: Ghent
Viewing Ghent
Viewing Ghent
Time Line
Peace & Quiet
Famous People

Maurice Maeterlinck

Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949) received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1911. His play Pelléas et Melisande was set to music by Debussy and De Blauwe Vogel (The Bluebird) was filmed twice, once with Shirley Temple.

Ghent's Famous

Jacob van Artevelde

Jacob van Artevelde (1290-1345), an aristocrat, sided with England during the Hundred Years War in order to protect the city's most important livelihood, the cloth industry. The people of Ghent have a great affection for this 'Protector of Flanders' and they still refer to the city as 'Arteveldestad'.

John of Gaunt

John of Gaunt (Jan van Gent 1341-99) was the fourth son of Edward III and was born in the St Baafsabdij during the Hundred Years War. He later became Duke of Lancaster. He has lent his name to a bird: the northern gannet is called Jan van Gent in Dutch.

Hugo van der Goes

Hugo van der Goes (1440-82) is one of the most important modernisers in painting. He painted the Portinari Altar, which now hangs in the Uffizi gallery in Florence. The house in St Pietersnieuwstraat where the huge canvas was painted bears a brass plaque.

Charles V

Charles V (1500-58), at the age of 16, became ruler of an empire on which 'the sun never set'. He had many mistresses and is said to have fathered at least 57 illegitimate children. Charles V ruled the Burgundian Netherlands, Spain, the Austrian inheritance, the Holy Roman Empire, and Central and South America. Thousands of non-Catholics lost their lives because of his religious zeal.

Jan Palfijn

Jan Palfijn (1650-1730) established himself in Ghent as a surgeon. Although most of them do not know his name his invention of the obstetric forceps has alleviated pain for countless women in childbirth.

Joseph Plateau

Several years before he became blind Joseph Plateau (1801-83) discovered that a rapid succession of still images would produce a moving picture. As an originator of the cinema he gave his name to the trophy that is awarded annually at the Film Festival of Flanders.


  Top Ten
  What To See
  Where To ...
  Practical Matters