Ghent is a historic city, yet at the same time a contemporary one. It is the capital and largest city of the East Flanders province and after Antwerp the largest municipality of Belgium. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Leie and in the Late Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of northern Europe, with some 50,000 people in 1300. It is a port and University city.

Archaeological evidence shows human presence in the region of the confluence of Scheldt and Leie going back as far as the Stone Age and the Iron Age.Most historians believe that the older name for Ghent, 'Ganda', is derived from the Celtic word ganda which means confluence.[5] Other sources connect its name with an obscure deity named Gontia.

Much of the city's medieval architecture remains intact and is remarkably well preserved and restored. Its centre is the largest carfree area in Belgium. Highlights are the Saint Bavo Cathedral with the Ghent Altarpiece, the belfry, the Gravensteen castle, and the splendid architecture along the old Graslei harbour. Ghent has established a blend between comfort of living and history. In the 19th century Ghent's most famous architect, Louis Roelandt, built the university hall Aula, the opera house and the main courthouse. Highlights of modern architecture are the university buildings (the Boekentoren or Book Tower) by Henry Van de Velde. There are also a few theatres from diverse periods.

The beguinages, as well as the belfry and adjacent cloth hall, were recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites in 1998 and 1999.

The most important and famous museum in Ghent is the Museum voor Schone Kunsten (Museum of Fine Arts), with paintings by Hieronymus Bosch, Peter Paul Rubens, and many Flemish masters. The ten-day-long Ghent Festival (Gentse Feesten in Dutch) is held every year and attended by about 1–1.5 million visitors.



Ghent University is in the list of the top 100 universities and one of the major universities in Belgium with more than 41,000 students and 9,000 staff members. Its 11 faculties are divided into more than 100 departments and offer high-quality and research-supported training courses in most scientific disciplines. each inspired by innovative research. Ghent University has five Doctoral Schools just for doctoral researchers. These schools provide support to doctoral students through specialized courses as well transferable skills training, they contribute to a quality culture in research, and take care of the social and international visibility of the doctoral degree.
It was established in 1817 by King William I of the Netherlands. After the Belgian revolution of 1830, the newly formed Belgian state began to administer the university. In 1930, it became the first Dutch-speaking university in Belgium, whereas French had previously been the standard academic language. In 1991, the university was granted major autonomy and changed its name accordingly from State University of Ghent (Dutch: Rijksuniversiteit Gent, abbreviated as RUG) to its current designation. The University supports the University Library and the University Hospital, which is one of the largest hospitals in Belgium.


UGent is one of the largest Flemish universities. In contrast to the Catholic University of Leuven or the Free University of Brussels, it considers itself a pluralist university in a special sense, i.e. not connected to any particular religion or ideology. For this reason, its motto Inter Utrumque ('In Between Both Extremes') means the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom can only happen in a country in peace and when the institution is fully supported by the government.
Ghent University consistently rates among the top universities not only in Belgium but also throughout the world.