What's on

Ghent's Lands

22.03.2024 29.09.2024
Beeld gentsegronden web
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Practical info

  • 22 March 2024 - 29 September 2024
  • Gallery texts: NL - FR - EN
  • In association with ILVO (Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)

    Image: Michiel Hendryckx

There was a time when Ghent owned 5,000 hectares of agricultural land. Today that figure is 1,800 hectares, mostly outside the city boundaries. The city in the countryside. What is the story behind that land? Where does its future lie? The 'Ghent’s Lands' exhibition is a history of land ownership, of the relationship between city and countryside, of care for the poor and sick, and of food security. It also provides food for thought in the here and now.

Unknown, untold and thought provoking

Web1 Wynantz Panoramisch zicht op Gent

The story of Ghent’s vast swathes of farmland begins in the thirteenth century, when its charitable organizations came into possession of land outside the city walls. Those organizations were in desperate need of the land to sustain them financially and provide food for the city’s poor and sick. In the twentieth century, the city expanded with the port and motorways, the food aid distributed by the new Public Centre for Social Welfare (OCMW) became the living wage system and radical changes took place in the agricultural sector. Some of Ghent’s farmland was sold off and consigned to oblivion.

The 'Ghent’s Lands' exhibition changes all that. With the help of maps, paintings, illustrations, photographs, film footage and extraordinary objects, it unearths an intriguing chapter in the history of Ghent and other cities.

Topical debate

Aardappeloost hand Marie

Times change. Today the land in Ghent’s ownership is fodder for debate. What will the future bring? Will more land be sold off to finance social policy? What will happen to today’s almost two-hundred tenants and the young farmers looking for land? Could the land have a role to play in issues such as climate change, food security and urban policy? Differing views are aired in interviews in the 'Ghent’s Lands' exhibition, ranging from those of OCMW policy-makers to investors, through young and established farmers to food aid organizations. Can their divergent ideas be consolidated into a shared vision for the future of Ghent’s land?

Exhibition and...

The 'Ghent’s Lands' exhibition will be accompanied by a programme of activities, such as guided tours (by experts), a series of debates, bicycle excursions and ‘lend a hand’ days on farms around Ghent. Keep an eye on our website, social media and newsletter for updates!

Image: Stadsarchief Gent and Gilbert Verschatse


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Also at STAM

Ghent City Museum

Godshuizenlaan 2 - 9000 Gent
09 267 14 00

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