November 25-27, 2004 - Het Pand, Ghent, Belgium

Conference Venue



Conference Venue

Het Pand
is an old Dominican monastery located in the heart of the city on the banks of the river Leie, near the medieval port with the guildhalls as its remnants.
In 1201 a hospital was established next to Saint Michael's Chapel by Canon Utenhove. By 1225 the institute had become too small, and it was decided to construct a new one close to the Bijloke .By that time the first Dominicans had arrived in Ghent. By the agency of the then counts of Flanders, Ferdinand of Portugal and Johanna of Constantinople, the Dominicans were allocated the old hospital to serve as their new settlement.

 The year 1228 is considered to be the official date of establishment of the monastery in Ghent. The monks were very actively constructing, and very soon they started building a fully fledged monastery. By 1240 the construction of a church was launched, and it was finished after 25 years. During the period 1325-75 the wing at the river Leie was constructed, with a sacristy, a priory, the refectory and the chapter house, a brewery and a kitchen. All over the first floor was a spacious dormitory. The corridors of the courtyard date from the 15th century, and were constructed in different periods.

In 1473 Margaret of York, spouse of Charles the Bold, laid the first stone of the street wing or library wing, which was the most important extension of the monastery. In the beginning of the 16th century the construction of the middle wing was started, using sandstone for the ground floor and bricks for the upper, and applying the Tudor arch.

The Iconoclastic Fury of 1556 brought hard times for the building. The Calvinists threw all the library books in the Leie. After a brief period of peace, in 1578 the Calvinists took over the city again. The monastery was used as a Calvinist university until 1584.In 1651 the old Utenhove hospital was being pulled down and its foundations were used to construct a new hostel which was to be arranged to serve as a guest wing. The north-eastern part of the premise, with the priory and the pharmacy, was refurbished 1780-81 in Louis XVI-style, using stucco and decorative painting. The establishment of the monastery is thus spread over more then 5 centuries, the countless extensions and modifications show the busy activity of the order in the inner city.

In 1796, after the French Revolution; the monastery was closed and sold in lots. The fathers were able to purchase the building with the help of an agent. They let some part of the building to get some income, but still they were forced to sell the property in 1823, with the consent of Pope Leo XII.

The new civil owner, exploiting the rising need of housing occasioned by the speeding industrialization of the city, introduced intermediate floors and partitions. In this way, some two hundred rooms became available for those with little means, while the large rooms such as the sacristy and the chapter house were being used as depots for wine and the refectory became a 'Bazar', a market of furniture. In 1860, the church was demolished. Plans were being made to build a bridge across the river, and an avenue to connect the Volderstraat and its prestigious Aula with the Coupure, where the better class citizens lived. These plans were never realized.

In view of the world exhibition of 1913, some restoration was done at the Leie front in 1912. The building affected by age had deteriorated in such a way that it became untenable after the Second World War. It was prone to be demolished.

But the Decree of 29.10.1956 put the building on the list of classified premises. Thus the building was saved for future generations to enjoy.

Universiteit Gent
Het Pand
Onderbergen 1
9000 Gent

Tel. 09 264 83 05
Fax 09 264 83 96


History of Ghent and Tourist Information

Ghent is situated at the intersection of the motorways E17 and E40 and can easily be reached by car. National and international trains stop in Ghent (stations Sint-Pieters and Dampoort).

The city has an extensive public transport network serving the city centre and surrounding area.

It can be no coincidence that Ghent, the capital of East Flanders, was given several pretty names: historic heart of Flanders, a city of all times, one of the most beautiful historic cities in Europe


The city combines an impressive past with a vivid present. Numerous tourists visit Ghent of which the citizens carry the nickname "stroppendragers" or noose-bearers and use the extensive accommodation possibilities. The historic heart of the city offers a lot of places of interest. From St Michael's bridge there is a wonderful view on the skyline of Ghent with the three impressive towers of St Nicholas' Church, the Belfry with its bell tower and St Bavo's cathedral with the world famous painting "The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" by Jan van Eyck.

Traces of the Middle Ages were preserved at a lot of places. The old port with its guild halls on the Graslei and Korenlei is merely one example of the beautiful views this town has to offer.

Not far from the Graslei arises the Castle of the Counts, once the medieval fortress of the Count of Flanders. Nowadays it is a major tourist attraction.

Ghent also has several museums, abbeys, beguinages, dozens of churches and historical buildings.

Not only art lovers but everyone can find something here to suit his taste. Ghent offers a lot of shops, restaurants and an exciting nightlife.

Ghent can be discovered by boat, carriage, bicycle or on foot.

The official language in Ghent is Dutch, but most people also speak French, English and/or German.

The Belgian currency unit is the euro.
There are exchange offices and banks in the city centre.
Credit cards are accepted in most places.

All prices in Belgium include VAT and service.

More information on miscellaneous subjects, such as:

Unstable (and wet) weather. It can be both hot ( 30 C) and cool ( 11 C) during summertime.
In the wintertime temperatures vary between  10 C and  0 C.

Map of the city

If you are a backpacker, exchange student, day-tripper or student from anywhere in the world, if you don't have a lot of cash, but definitely do have a lot of curiosity and happen to be in and around Ghent for any length of time, then Use-it is the tourist information service for you.

Address Tourist Office - City of Ghent
Predikherenlei 2
B-9000 Ghent
Tel. +32 0(9) 266 56 60
Fax +32 0(9) 266 56 73

Inquiry desk
Crypt of the Belfry
Botermarkt 17A
B-9000 Ghent
Tel. +32 (0)9 266 52 32
Tel. +32 (0)9 266 52 33
Tel. +32 (0)9 266 52 34


01/04/2003 - 31/10/2004
9.30 a.m. - 6.30 p.m.
01/11/2004 - 31/03/2005
9.30 a.m. - 4.30 p.m.

Closed: 25/12 and 01/01

Download the city guide



By Plane

Brussels International Airport
Your best bet within Europe is to fly with SN Brussels Airlines to get a connection here. On the Brussels International webpage you will find links to the train connections to Brussels and further on to Ghent. When you arrive at Brussels Airport take the shuttle train to Brussels North. from there a train leaves for Ghent every twenty minutes. Take trains to Oostende, Knokke Blankenburge and to De Panne. All of these IC trains stop in Ghent-St.Pieters train station.

By Train

Ghent is an IC station, accessible seven days a week.
Train information: NMBS

For train schedules from Brussels airport and within Belgium check here.

  If you come from France by Thalys change in Brussels Midi (South) for a train to Ghent unless you are on the direct train from Paris , which stops in Ghent.
If you come from Germany, you can take the Thalys from Koln and then change trains in Brussels South.
If you come from the Netherlands, you change trains in Antwerp and take the IC train to Oostende or Lille-Flanders. (take care these trains also stop in Gent-Dampoort, don't exit there) but in Gent-St.Pieters.

If you come from the UK with EUROSTAR, you can either change trains in Lille or ride to Brussels South and change trains there.


This page will be expanded in the near future
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Page created by Philippe Geril. Last update 04-11-04
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