Social Programme

On Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 September guided tours are scheduled to take place in Ghent. You can find more information on the themes of these tours in the document that is attached to this mail. The guided tours are free.

On Sunday 5 September, conference participants can participate in a guided tour to Ypres and the surrounding battlefields of World War I. The extra cost for this tour is 25 €, to be paid at the information desk in the conference centre.

We ask that all those who want to participate in one of the guided tours, and/or in the trip to Ypres, confirm their attendance before 25 August by email to (with subject: social programme).

A. Guided tour ‘The classics’
: a guided tour through the medieval city centre and its highlights: the castle of the counts, the cathedral, the belfry, the medieval port (Graslei-Korenlei), the main squares of the city, etcetera…

- Saturday 4 September, from 9.00 until 11.00 pm, French and English
- Sunday 5 September, from 10.00 until 12.00 am, English

The tours start at the Botermarkt, near the belfry and the city hall.

B. Special tours

  1. City of women: beguines in Ghent

A visit to Ghent’s two main beguinages: the Elisabethbegijnhof and the Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-ter-Hooie. Beguines, a unique phenomenon in the Low Countries, were religious women who lived in a gated community in town. This tour gives an insight in their remarkable way of living.

  1. Ghent, cradle of socialism

Ghent was one of the first cities on the Continent to industrialise. In the first half of the nineteenth century the textile industry boomed and factories sprang up. While Karl Marx finished his ‘Das Kapital’ in Brussels, Ghent workers’ unions were founded, and labour leaders tried to influence city politics. A visit to the impressive architectural buildings of urban corporations prove that the socialist movement was one of the most important political forces in the city

  1. The princely quarter in Ghent: the court of Emperor Charles V

This tour visits the birthplace of Charles V, count of Flanders, king of Spain, and emperor of the Holy Empire. The imperial castle may have disappeared, but the princely quarter in Ghent is still a vivid and interesting place to visit.

  1. Pink Ghent: from medieval prostitution to the present-day ‘Window street’

Prostitution is ageless. A guided tour through the medieval and the present-day quarter in which prostitutes lived and still live shows how mainly female prostitutes have lived in Ghent through the ages. It also focuses on the regulation of and the protest against prostitution in the city centre.

  1. Urban planning in Ghent, a city for the future?

This tour shows how recent economic, cultural and demographic trends have changed the city and influenced its planning. It starts at the recently renovated museum of the textile industry (on the nineteenth-century industrialisation of the city) and ends in the new port of the city (Portus Ganda).

  1. Saint Bavo, the oldest abbey in town

The turbulent history of the abbey of Saint Bavo (Sint-Baafs), from its foundation in the early Middle Ages until its demolition by Emperor Charles V in 1540, is the theme of this tour. The abbey, which faced the attacks of the Vikings and witnessed princely marriages, was one of the most important abbeys in the Low Countries. Its remains, attesting to the abbey’s glorious past, still astonish visitors.

- Saturday 4 September, 6.00-8.00 pm
- Sunday 5 September, 10.00-12.00 am

All tours start on the Sint-Baafsplein (near the belfry and the cathedral). Most of them are in English, some in French.


C. Trip to Ypres: medieval cloth centre, and victim of the First World War

Sunday 5 September, 9.00 am until 6.00 pm

9h00: Departure from the conference centre, main entrance of Sint-Pietersabdij
Arrival in the Ypres Flanders Fields Museum, guided tour through the most famous museum on the First World War in Belgium
Guided tour through the medieval city centre, and its monuments
Lunch in a restaurant (regional dishes)
Guided tour by bus through the main battlefields of the so-called ‘Ypres Salient’ (1914-1918), the German cemetery of Langemark, the most important cemeteries of the Commonwealth on the Continent (Tyne Cot and Essex Farm Cemetery – John McRae), Visit to restored trenches and British dugouts.
Departure for Ghent
Arrival in Gent


D. Trip to Brussels, capital of Europe 

A guided tour through the European District of Brussels proposes an overview on several key issues related to its recent planning history. It focuses on the relation between the birth and the development of the Brussels Capital Region from 1989 onwards, the progressive setting up of a rationale in infrastructure management by European institutions at the end of the 1990s, and the transformation of Brussels' civil society and its tools for political action at the start of the 2000s.

In this perspective, the visit tries to grasp how diverse initiatives attempted to warm up the place by introducing "culture" in a cold administrative zone and had a lasting impact on local planning policies. Following those initiatives will provide an opportunity to shed light on different aspects of the urban fabric in the area by showcasing how culture and economy mingled to produce the unexpected "politics of the Capital of Europe".

Sunday, 5 September, 9.00 am (train) until 5.00 pm, English-French

, Gare Centrale (ca. 10.00 am)