Ghent in Belgium is hands down one of Europe‘s coolest cities. It is filled with heritage treasures like the St-Baafskathedraal, has some really quirky museums and is a vibrant metropolis, small enough to be called cozy. Containing some of Belgium‘s most stunning canal side architecture, Ghent is more young, lively and gritty than fairy tale perfect Brugge. There is a lived-in quality about Ghent and its young student population, make sure that the city has enough restaurants, cafes, bars, and pubs for fun and frolic. There is also a lot of creativity bubbling in the city and love for culture lurks at every corner. Needless, to say, this third largest Belgian conurbation has a very active street art and according to Anuradha of Travel Highway, Ghent street art experience is one of the best things about the city.
City’s balanced approach towards Ghent street art
Street art is scattered all over Ghent and the city walls are covered in colour splashes, murals, and tags. As a young, freedom loving, creative city, Ghent has a very balanced civic policy when comes to street art. The city actually tries to track people who are responsible for graffiti in places where it isn’t allowed to ask them to remove their works. It also offers free removal of Ghent street art from both private and public properties upon request. Finally, so as to promote an organized street art scene, Ghent allows certain areas within the city for being used for graffiti. It is also open for suggestions from people for providing more graffiti walls.
Follow the Concrete Canvas Tour map of Ghent street art
Due to this relaxed civil authority mindset, many renowned graffiti artists like ROA, Bue the Warrior mark the Ghent as the territory. Their combined artwork turns the city into a beautiful canvas for thoughts, expressions, and ideas. Thankfully, all these artworks have been curated on the Concrete Canvas Tour map and this is available at Tourist Offices, at cultural center Vooruit and in shops Zimba and Dope. A brainchild of Streetart Belgium, which has its headquarters in Ghent, the Concrete Canvas Tour was launched in May 2014. Taking visitors to over 50 locations during the 7.5 kilometers walk (14.5 kilometers by bike), this tour goes along some of the best of Ghent street art.
Get the map or take a local tour
Revealing interesting works by the likes of Bue the Warrior, Chase, ROA, Steve Locatelli and Smates, almost all the well-known graffiti painters in the world have left their creative mark in this cool Belgian town. With luck, one might even happen to see an artist at work with his spray cans during this tour. Since the Street Art Belgium took a lot of pain to cover every inch of Ghent before coming out with the map, this DIY tour takes a visitor to offbeat areas of the city, which probably one would have skipped otherwise. It is also a great way of enjoying the less touristy trail of Ghent. However, if an easier experience with equal fun and inside local tips about the artists and their artwork is more preferred, then simply join one of Street Art Belgium‘s guided tours. Available on request, they can be booked them online on their official website. It is also possible to download the tour map on Visit Ghent website.
The Ghent street art turns the city into a giant canvas
Despite Ghent street art being scattered all across the city, finding their locations is often not easy. Anuradha of Travel Highway writes, “I almost missed the famous Graffiti Street called Werregarenstraat during my street art hunt in Ghent. An ongoing construction had blocked the entrance and by the time, I managed to get in and explore it not a soul was around. Both the walls of the tunnel were covered completely with paint, words, art and the whole place seemed to have been created for me. It was a sort of Alice in Wonderland falling down the magical tunnel feeling and one of my best travel experiences ever.” To check out more of Anuradha‘s work, follow her on Facebook, Facebook, and Instagram.
NOTE – “Writings on the Walls” is an ongoing series in which I hope to collate awesome street art from around the world. If you wish to collaborate, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can take it from there.
RESPONSIBLE TRAVELING-BECAUSE I CARE