city and university. since 1817

Campagnebeeld Stad En Universiteit

October 9th 1817 saw the ceremonious opening of the university in Ghent. At that stage it had 4 faculties, 16 professors and 190 students, all housed in disused buildings such as monasteries, abbeys and in the Civic Hospital belonging to the Bijloke. Today Ghent University is one of the largest universities in the Dutch-speaking region with over 40,000 students and 9,000 members of staff.

Since that day back in 1817 the university has become firmly embedded in the city and is now an unmissable part of the streetscape. Students live here, hurry by bicycle from one building to another and also take advantage of the university city’s vibrant nightlife. Campuses are expanding and a fourth tower has appeared on the skyline, the book tower. Ghent would not be Ghent without it. Less visible are the professors who use the city as a place for research and experimentation.

The exhibition looks back at the interaction between city and university over the last 200 years. It also looks to the future. It asks questions like: why did Ghent get a university? How does modern-day student life differ from the old days? What is the potential of the university’s rich and diverse patrimony? Furthermore, the exhibition covers past protests and demonstrations and the struggle to make it a Dutch-speaking institution.

‘City and University. Since 1817’ is a STAM exhibition about the university, the city and above all about their coexistence – yesterday, today and tomorrow.

In cooperation with the History and Architecture & Urban Planning Departments.


  • Erkend Museum
  • Vlaanderen
  • Gent
  • Logouniversiteitgent
  • Radio2 Red Rgb
  • De Standaard
  • Urgent200
  • Delijn