Gent Local Customs

  • Local Customs
    by Nemorino
  • Local Customs
    by Nemorino
  • Local Customs
    by Nemorino

Most Recent Local Customs in Gent

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    European survey

    by Nemorino Updated Dec 11, 2012

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    These young people in red T-shirts, from various European countries, were doing some sort of project for a summer school that they were on. They wanted to ask me some questions in English about European integration and also wanted to take my picture, which I said was fine if I could also take their picture.

    Their English was somewhat rudimentary (A2 level, I would say) and I didn’t always understand their questions, so their teacher, the man on the right, had to help a couple of times.

    I told them all the usual things: European integration is fine, Nationalism is a relic of the nineteenth century, young people should travel around, learn languages, meet and marry people from other countries. I think I also said that ideally each person should have grandparents of four different nationalities (which I later posted as my VT motto for a while).

    Also I said Europe needs more young people but also more jobs for them. Europe is the only continent whose population is declining, but youth unemployment is at an all-time (I think) high.

    I don’t know how much they understood of all this, but they took notes and no doubt presented it in some way at their wrap-up session on Friday morning, as we used to have our groups do in Birmingham. And the main thing is that they got out and tried to practice their English a bit.

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    Brick houses

    by Nemorino Updated Dec 11, 2012

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    Buildings in Ghent, as in the rest of Belgium (and the Netherlands, northern Germany, Denmark and Poland) have traditionally been made of bricks, rather than stone or wood.

    The choice of bricks as the main building material is logical when you consider that this low-lying region has no huge stone quarries or towering forests, but it does have ample supplies of sand and clay to make bricks out of.

    By using bricks of different colors and shapes, architects can create a wide range of effects, as in this building on the Oude Houtlei from the year 1910 (first photo).

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    Gent Festival

    by mindcrime Written Oct 16, 2012

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    We arrived in Gent the day that the annual festival started. Every july the yearly open air festival starts and the complete city celebrates for 10 days.

    There are a lot events, I checked the program on the site below and there were numerous concerts, theatrical plays, events for kids etc Unfortunately not everything is translated but you don’t really needed, you can do what the locals do, just walk around, enjoy the live music from the stages that are all over the city center, actually the festival covers the complete inner city with happy people enjoying the festival, most of them in the evening when the center is packed, if you have a car forget, everyone comes in by tram those days.

    As I said there is all kind of music, street theater, .... and so much more activities. It is one of the bigger open air festivals, during the last year close to 1 million people visited the 10 day event. And guess what, no tickets are needed, almost everything is for free!
    www.gentsefeesten.be

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    House Plaques, Part I

    by von.otter Updated Oct 10, 2012
    House Plaques, Ghent, May 2011
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    Throughout Ghent many buildings are decorated with what I have come to call plaques. This architectural feature was a reminder of Amsterdam and Brugge, both of which decorate houses and other buildings with gable stones. These often amusing and colorful additions to building façades fascinated me during our day trip.

    This practice comes down to us from the Middle Ages, when many people were illiterate. To help guide those who could not read houses were identified by a stone plaque, which either carried a picture of the owner’s profession or a reference to the owner’s name, which, sometimes, were one-and-the-same. The plaques often carry the year when the house was built. There are hundreds of plaques preserved throughout Ghent. Keep your eyes peeled for them. Belgian humor is sometimes a part of these house decorations (see photo #4).

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    House Plaques, Part II

    by von.otter Updated Oct 10, 2012

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    “Ghent, tho’ a fine city, is far less impressive than Bruges, a great part being more modern, and all that is modern proportionately in worse taste. The Cathedral is not such an edifice as might be expected in a place of such antiquity and ancient opulence. The tower is not remarkable, and the body of the building was built in a mean age, the former one having been destroyed by lightning in 1641. The crypt, however, is curious. This is as old as the days of Charlemagne, and service is still performed in its chapels; but there is a certain air of neglect as well as of dampness there which it is melancholy to observe. The pulpit is a fine thing, with marble statues about it and a marble tree with a gilt serpent twisted about its branches, more probably representing the brazen serpent, I think, than the tempter. An antiquary would find much to interest him in the pictures in the crypt. The most remarkable is that of a Bishop, on his knees, reading these words: “It is appointed to all men to die,” upon a scroll which Death is presenting to him. The skeleton, I know not why, is gilt, the rest of the monument being marble. Our cicerone told us that this bishop was put to death at Madrid about the year 1660, and that the intention of the artist was to express that he resigned himself to his fate there as willingly as if it had been in his own country. I believe the history as little as the explanation.”
    — from “Journal of a Tour in the Netherlands” Autumn 1815 by Robert Southey (1774-1843, English poet)

    Ghent, part of the Flemish or Dutch region of Belgium, has much in common with Amsterdam’s fondness for house plaques. It is a charming traditional custom to preserve.

    Some of the plaques have Roman Catholic roots, which is surprising. When the Netherlands turned from Roman Catholicism to Reformed Dutch and other Protestant sects there was great violence and destruction of all Catholic icons.

    The last photo, #5, is not a plaque at all, but a weather vane in the shape of a ship, a nod to Ghent’s maritime past.

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    Graffiti

    by von.otter Updated Sep 26, 2012

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    Street Graffiti, Ghent, May 2011
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    Wandering around the old town of Ghent, with its picturesque canals, Belgian-brick paved streets, and medieval buildings, we came across a contrast to this Old World — an entire alley, from the street pavement and covering every inch of the tall concrete walls, covered with amusing graffiti. The child-like naivety makes this work so attractive.

    I cannot tell you the exact location of the graffiti photos here. Take a stroll through town and make your own discoveries.

    The graffiti art form is an excepted form of expression in Ghent. So much so, that on Werregarenstraat an ever-changing display of graffiti covers the walls of this street in Ghent. In the 1990s, the space was designated by city government as a legal spot for graffiti. This was an attempt to keep the rest of the city free of spray paint.

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    Gentse feesten

    by Norali Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Ghentse feesten

    A kind of tradition in Ghent: the Gentse Feesten.

    Some days (10) to party in the city. It was the first time I attended it and only attended one day. But, in fact, I just discovered that it has some roots back in old times. They have been organized for 160 years.

    Again, the website of the city of Gent gives you an insight of the history of the Festivities.

    In the Feesten, there were many festivals. Check here the program of 2003. The one I attended to was La fiesta tropical Pol? Pol?, a Latino festival.

    Good coincidence, these Gentse feesten use to take place at a period of time that includes the July 21 celebration. Hence the exotic way to celebrate Independence day in Ghent. As far as I know, without the usual march past.. yet with the fireworks!

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    Knitting club

    by mvtouring Written Jul 14, 2009

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    As we were exploring the city, we walked past this lot of ladies that looked like they belonged to a knitting club and were exchanging patterns and one lady seemed to help the others with difficult stitches.

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    Gentsche Fieste 2008 - Teater Exces

    by Luchonda Updated Jul 28, 2008
    Elisabeth - Catharina - Louis and Charles
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    Eminences Grises - A street performance by my favorite group : Exces
    Theme : A walk through the streets of Ghent. 4 "eminences grises" are carrying a table fully loaded with food and wine. Suddenly they stop and start their last meal.
    The psychotic previous "elite" is discussing and leave the table to get the public involved in dancing and singing .....
    The four eminences grises are :
    - Emperor Charles V ( 1500-1558)
    - Elisabeth I ( 1533-1603)
    - Louis XIV ( 1638-1715)
    - Catharina II ( 1729-1796)
    I know- they lived in different periods - but who cares - the performances was just great

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    Gentsche Fieste 2008 - Capoeira

    by Luchonda Updated Jul 27, 2008
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    The methods of CAPOEIRA combine the elegance of dance, the power of martial arts, the science of biomechanics and the rhytms of Afro-Brazilian music
    It was the first time i saw this "cult" in practice, and this in Ghent at the occasion of the GF
    The people in the circle are usually other capoeiristas waiting to "play", and observers. Player or not you are expected to give energy to the roda by clapping and singing in response to the person "in charge" of the roda.

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    Gentsche Fieste 2008 - Ghent Koerse

    by Luchonda Written Jul 26, 2008
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    There is a new sportsevent in Ghent !!! I never saw this before : a horse show... during the
    Yearly GGGGentsche FFFFieste. An event you might not miss. West flanders has it reputaded
    Waregem Koerse, now Ghent has it's proper Koerse

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    Gentsche Fieste - 2008

    by Luchonda Updated Jul 26, 2008
    The fieste can start for ten days
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    Streetfestival and their performers. Every year a highlight for me to watch them.
    I'm not so attracted by the many and different music shows in the evening till early morning.
    Maybe my age, but in general the many places to be for music are overcrowded. Imagine daily more than 100.000 visitors
    Gentse Fieste Edition 2008 was a good festival, for me, relaxed during the day

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    Flikkendag - a local tradition - edition 2007

    by Luchonda Updated Oct 1, 2007

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    EEC celebration was the theme
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    This year the theme was - fifty years EEC or the"Treaty of Rome", signed by France, West Germany, Italy and Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) on March 25, 1957.
    Since than a lot of things changed - more and more countries jointed the Euro Community and made Europe a strong economical and politic part of this world

    Humour and street acts, a joy for everone on this day of the 50th celebration.
    Whenever you have the occassion, in 2008, join the festivities of the european community club.. in Ghent

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    Flikkenfestival - a joy for children

    by Luchonda Updated Sep 30, 2007

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    Walking over the Leie - Gras/Kraanlei
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    A one day theme Park in the center of Ghent, Flikkendag.
    How many children aren't dreaming to become a police officer, a fire fighter, an officer or pilot in the army
    Ghent is offering the chance to fullfill this dream, by climbing on a safety net, by driving as
    co-pilot on a mototcycle of the local police ... etc
    For many of them, a dream came true on sept.30th 2007 (Ninth edition of Flikken)
    A tip for everyone, young and old

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    Shaking hands with the local police - flikken

    by Luchonda Updated Sep 30, 2007

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    Flikkendag 2007
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    Now a day a yearly tradition to invite the people to the "Flikkendag". Even more, police from the Netherlands, the Belgian Armee, French customs are inviting you and will show you the working of their forces.
    On a nice sunny sunday it became a real event for old and young. In 2007- ninth edition, Gent had more than 120.000 visitors. As much as one day Gentsche Fieste
    It is al based on the popular TV soap "Flikken" produced and filmed in Ghent

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Gent Local Customs

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