visit STAM

ghent, occupied city

Bezettestad 2
now

Ghent may have been a long way from the front during the First World War, but that doesn’t mean the conflict passed the city by. Quite the reverse, in fact. German troops arrived in the city on October 12th 1914, the beginning of an occupation that lasted over four years. Ghent came under military rule, making living conditions extremely harsh and depriving the city of almost all contact with the rest of the country. The people of Ghent faced mass unemployment and an ever more acute shortage of food. Daily life was dominated by constant demands, checks and strict censorship. The saddest milestones were the deportation of 12,000 workers and the execution of 52 citizens.

This summer STAM tells that story with an outdoor photographic exhibition in the gardens in front of the museum.

Photographs, taken by the occupier during the war and belonging to the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK/IRPA) are juxtaposed with textual and visual material from Ghent City Archive. Sometimes the photographs say more than we might think at first glance, but they can also give a distorted picture of the reality of everyday life.

You can browse the German Negatives (KIK/IRPA) and the Ghent War Album (Ghent City Archive) digitally in the entrance hall to STAM during STAM opening hours.