Press release Expo Gentse Gronden tells story of public farmland


Ghent's city museum STAM and ILVO (Institute for Agricultural, Fisheries and Food Research) are joining forces for the 'Gentse Gronden' expo. The exhibition exposes an unknown and intriguing chapter in the history of the city of Ghent. 'Gentse Gronden' runs from Friday, March 22 to September 29, 2024 at the city museum.

"Access to farmland for farmers is a hot topic. Land for agriculture and food is of great strategic value. With agricultural lands in public ownership, governments have the opportunity to pursue thoughtful agricultural policies. The cooperation STAM-ILVO is unique for us as a scientific institute. Here we can communicate agricultural - spatial research results in a special way." - Joris Relaes, Administrator General ILVO.

Today, Ghent owns some 1,800 hectares of rural land, mostly outside the city. Once it was 5,000 hectares. Through historical objects, maps and paintings, visitors learn the story of those lands. Video interviews show the family histories, diverse interests, ideas and dreams that gather around the lands.

Ghent's OCMW owns 1,438 acres of farmland outside Ghent and 104 acres within the city limits. Agricultural land accounts for some 85 percent of the land owned by the City of Ghent. This expo not only provides historical interpretation, but also offers new angles for debate.

Sami Souguir, city council member, Cultuur Stad Gent

The new exhibition, from the hand of curators Esther Beeckaert (STAM) and Hans Vandermaelen (ILVO and UGent), is accompanied by an extensive series of activities, from bicycle tours and cooperative days on farms to 'Gentse Gronden Sessies', lectures and conferences.

The story of Ghent's rural land begins as early as the 13th century, when wealthy families, abbeys, churches and hospitals become owners of farms and fields. The lands become the basis for poor and sick care, as a source of food and income. 800 years later, many lands are in the hands of PCSWs and are the subject of debate. The exhibition also takes a closer look at this.

More info about the expo at

Copyright Zeeuws Vlaanderen ca 1570 Archief Gent Copyright Familie Scheele Zaamslag ca 1900 Copyright De haven van Gent 1974 Archief Gent
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