pictures © Michiel Devijver

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Ghent is a city of knowledge and culture. There are many educational institutions, but there is also a wide range of culture: theaters, neighborhood and citizens’ initiatives, museums, cinemas, libraries, etc. This combination makes the city popular. The number of tourists is increasing and determines the streetscape, and many students stick around in Ghent after completing their higher education. It is one of the factors that makes the city a lively place and which presents the municipality with tough social and economic challenges. An urban art policy can and must deal with this. This is why we are now taking a step towards structural dialogue within the arts sector: in Kunstenoverleg Ghent.


The how, why and what of Kunstenoverleg Ghent can be read in the note.



  • Every year, more than 1,000 people come to Ghent to settle. 

  • A compliance rate for public transport

  • An action plan nightlife

  • The application for the European Capital of Culture 2030

  • The development of Ghent as the technological capital of Europe

  • The strong reduction in family size as a result of rising house prices

  • Digital innovation

  • Sector-wide cooperation with economic operators and with the education or welfare sector

  • Dividing the wealth of the cultural scene among all inhabitants of Ghent

  • Redevelopment of churches

  • ...


Op de jaarlijkse Grote Vergadering wordt samen vastgelegd welke punten door welke actiegroep gedurende één jaar worden aangepakt.


There are already cultural collaborations at the urban level: Greentrack (about ecology in the arts), Diversiteitswerf (about diversity), Zalenoverleg (about infrastructure and calendar opportunities), the recently started nightlife consultation... To name but a few. Each of these initiatives has proven its worth for the sector and will remain active in the future. By creating Kunstenoverleg Ghent, we are, as it were, adding another level: an advising platform for general issues in art and culture policy. In the long term, Kunstenoverleg can serve as an umbrella for other initiatives which promote specific needs, such as ecology and diversity. In the short term, Kunstenoverleg is needed as a structural discussion partner for the local government, as a friendly provocateur of a city in transition.


Kunstenoverleg Ghent combines a number of tasks, like:

  • Stimulating meeting and exchange through an annual Grand Assembly and targeted communication to anyone who wants to be an accomplice;

  • Formulating points of view and advice on art and culture in Ghent, for example on infrastructure, sustainability, mobility... This is done by the ‘Petit Committee’ whose members are appointed at the annual Grand Assembly;

  • Detecting common needs and, if necessary, setting up an action group with a concrete goal for one year. Anyone can pitch a topic for the start of an action group at the annual Grand Assembly;

  • Acting as a discussion partner for the government and as a bridge builder to education, tourism, economy, urban development, media...


In short, it concerns dialogue, reflection, policy advice and representation of the interests of, with and by the Ghent arts sector.