Rector of Ghent University Paul Vancauwenberge welcomes you to UGentPassage
Our university would not be the same without Ghent as a very hospitable city. Throughout history, the City Council has provided the university with a lot of resources and support. The city donated its botanical garden and library, and until 1928 it contributed largely to what, in effect, was a state university... But moreover, the city of Ghent has always been an important source of inspiration: scientists of the university have researched its landscape, population, industry, history and language at length.
But the city would not be the same without the university either. Students and scientists have coloured the city’s landscape for a long time now. They live, work, buy a house and marry in Ghent. Numerous public buildings and private residences have been designed or rebuilt by the engineers trained at Ghent University. And then there are the dozens of university buildings themselves...
The tale of Ghent and Ghent University begins almost 200 years ago, on October 9th 1817. On that day the flags were flying high at City Hall and the bells of the belfry were ring. In the presence of twelve professors and municipal, provincial and military authorities, the Dutch Crown Prince inaugurated the new university in City Hall. The city celebrated. Ghent was happy. For a moment it had been close, though: Antwerp and Bruges had also been in the running for hosting a new state university. We can only imagine how the course of history would have changed if it had been the other way around.
This ‘tour past city and university' takes you through the history and collective memory of city and university. The eleven locations along the route are symbolic places where the university has grown into the city. They are "lieux de mémoire", places of memory that highlight the relationship between university, city and society. Whether you're a student, a citizen from Ghent or a passing visitor, you will look at the city from a different perspective. I wish you a most enjoyable tour!