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Ghent study visits

Welcome to Ghent

The Belgian city of Ghent is the second largest city in Flanders. Counting more than 264,000 inhabitants, Ghent feels like an intimate city, while offering the openness of a metropolis. 

With 400 km of cycle paths and a car-free centre, the city combines tourism and sustainability

Ghent describes itself to be 'versatile, historic and yet contemporary at the same time'. The City administration stimulates its citizens’ initiatives as much as possible in order to become an even more open, solidarity-based, sustainable and child-friendly city.

The focus on entrepreneurship and innovation encourages investors and companies to discover and settle in the city. The city's economy shows commitment in the fields of biotech, cleantech, ICT, materials, logistics and health care. Ghent has the ambition to be 'the start-up & scale-up city of Belgium'.

About the study visits

Embedded in the experience of the event, we organise four study visits to make the most of your stay in Ghent and discover local initiatives. 

Your participation in a specific study visit is automatically distributed based on your topical interest, as indicated in the registration form.

  • Spaces for innovation > De Krook
  • Spaces for entrepreneurship > Timelab
  • Modern green districts > Oude Dokken neighbourhood 
  • Bringing back nature to the city >  Captain Zeppos park

Transportation from and back to the venue is ensured by bus, apart from the visit to De Krook, which is 14 minute-walk from Zebrastraat.

Overview per study visit

Since 2017, De Krook has been one of the most striking architectural landmarks in Ghent. The multi-award-winning building is home to, among other things, the public city library, labs and offices of Ghent University and the imec research center for nanoelectronics and digital technology.

Our hosts for the visit

We will have the pleasure to hear about the overall project, while visiting it, from Jeroen Bourgonjon, the coordinator of Delta, an interdisciplinary group of Ghent University. 

Timelab is a recent initiative in Ghent, a workplace for art, technology and society. Timelab consists of a FabLab, an artists-in-residence programme, social research and get-togethers where artists, experts and other interested parties can meet, exchange ideas and find inspiration.

Under the motto 'Creating time, space and reflection for a society on the move', Timelab is a citylab for new collaborative models of working. It gives examples of small and large-scale change, eliciting dialogue and offering new perspectives. Timelab hosts and initiates an open lab with digital prototyping tools, co-creation projects, artists-in-residencies, hand-on open workshops, lectures and debates, and a co-working space.

Our hosts for the visit

We will have the pleasure to hear about the overall project, while visiting it, from Evi Swinnen, team lead at Timelab.

Located 15 minutes away from the city center, De Oude Dokken is an urban renewal project located around the Houtdok, Achterdok and Handelsdok. Where there used to be a harbour industry, a brand-new district is being built.  

A new sustainable district between water and green 
The Oude Dokken will be a pleasant place to live with approximately 1,200 new homes with green zones, 3 neighborhood parks, a 5 km walking and cycling promenade and a city building containing a primary school, crèche and neighborhood sports hall. In the long term, the new campus of the Artveldehogeschool and numerous commercial opportunities will be added to the residential developments.

Connected with the city 
Until recently, the water of the Oude Dokken formed a hard boundary between the city center and what lies beyond.
The urban development project now connects the banks. In the future district, open and built-up zones alternate, always directly opposite each other, on both sides of the water. A sense of cohesion is the result. The cyclist and pedestrian bridges complete the connection. The construction of the Verapaz bridge and the relocation of the small ring road to the Afrikalaan ensure that the new district will really belong to the city centre. 

Our hosts for the visit

We will have the pleasure to hear about the overall project, while visiting it, from Agnieszka Zajac, Project leader at the Oude Dokken.

This study visits is made possible and hosted with the kind support of City of Ghent and Sogent (the Autonomous Municipal Ghent Development Authority).

Captain Zeppos is a modern maritime themed park located in the Northern part of Ghent. It is part of the Oude Dokken urban renewal project and is the first dock to be revitalised with a 3 ha neighbourhood park.

It includes an old port crane that has been dominating the western bank since 2019 and that will be equipped with an observation platform giving visitors a magnificent view of the docks. 

After the walk in Captain Zeppos park, we will equally visit two initiatives to restore the water course in Ghent: the Reep and Franse Vaart. 

Our hosts for the visit

We will have the pleasure to hear about the overall project, while visiting it, from Tom Beyaert, Landscape architect for the City of Ghent.