GHENT CITY OF MUSIC
UNESCO Creative City of Music
Music lovers who visit Ghent can choose from a wide range of events. It is no coincidence that Ghent is of the 19 cities of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the category 'Music’.
Ghent was given this UNESCO title because of the many festivals colouring the music scene in the city, the use of historical buildings for musical events, the wide range of initiatives on music education and the large-scale participation of inhabitants and visitors in the music life in the city.
Enjoy music in a historic setting
In Ghent many music houses are located in magnificent historic buildings. The climax of your evening out!
- Music Centre De Bijloke is an absolute highlight in Ghent’s concert infrastructure, including an impressive concert hall in the 13th-century ward of the former Bijloke hospital.
- Flanders Opera Ballet is located in the Ghent opera house (19th century), which combines great luxury and a sophisticated design.
- The building of the former ‘Main Guardhouse’ in typically Ghent rococo style, now houses the concert hall of the Handelsbeurs.
- The Flemish arts centre Vooruit is housed in an impressive monument built in 1913.
In a number of city palaces you can attend small-scale concerts.
Many churches in Ghent often open their doors for music.
- St Bavo’s Cathedral is one of the fixed venues for the Festival of Flanders
- St Nicholas’ Church has a Cavaillé-Coll organ
- Our Lady of St Peter's Church has a magnificent organ built by the Van Peteghem family who is world-famous as an organ builder
Academy of Music
In the 18th and 19th centuries Ghent also played a prominent role in the manufacture of musical instruments, in particular organs and pianos. The Academy of Music offers to date a training in instrument manufacturing, in particular for lute and harpsichord, and regularly organizes concerts.
Weekly carillon concerts
The carillon in the Ghent belfry has 54 bells that regularly resound over the old city. The city carilloneur plays a concert every Sunday.
A real festival town
In summertime, the Ghent Festivities, one of Europe's largest urban festivals, combine street festivals with a lot of creative events.
Learn more about many other smaller music festivals throughout the year.
Music lovers are welcome!
Many music events in Ghent are easily accessible and intended for a wide audience. Some of them are free. Furthermore, there are a lot of popular music cafés which have a comprehensive programme.
Moreover, you can collect points with a digital card, called UiTPAS. You can trade in these points for all kinds of interesting benefits: discounts, free tickets, etc. That way, more and more cultural activities are made financially accessible for everyone.
The full agenda is always available via www.uitingent.be. If you are looking for concerts with a twist, you should certainly listen to Urgent.fm, the radio station for students that extensively reports on cultural events and concerts in Ghent.
No matter how old you are, Ghent has a wide spectrum of music training and activities for everyone, aimed at both professional and amateur musicians. This does not only include schools of music, but also many other organizations and art institutions that develop projects to make music more accessible for both children and adults.
Take a look at the overview page of organizations that provide music education in Ghent.
Music from Ghent
A lot of management agencies and concert organizers are located in Ghent. In addition, there are also many music labels and music shops in the city.
Ghent is also a productive breeding ground for musicians. Numerous music groups and companies started in Ghent, and even internationally renowned music groups and companies continue to maintain their bond with Ghent. In addition, many thousands of amateur musicians are active in Ghent.
In the Ghent music sector you will undoubtedly find your favourite music genre:
The city council supports Ghent as a lively city of music by developing various initiatives:
- Subsidies for cultural and artistic projects
- Rooms for cultural associations
- Subsidies for equipping rehearsal rooms
- Subsidies for amateur groups
Through the project ‘Artist looking for a partygoer’ a selection of musicians and music groups are given chances to perform.
In 2017 the City of Ghent appointed a new city composer, Fulco Ottervanger.
Ghent is also the first city in Belgium with a sound logo.