GRP width=

The majority has left the Vleeshuis to rot for decades.

The fact that cyclists are given priority in Ghent city centre, motorists are no longer welcome and an emission zone was necessary, can only be welcomed. But the moment that cultural heritage is sacrificed as bicycle parking, that goes too far for many Ghent residents. 

According to Hafsa El-Bazioui, those amounts would be even higher with a different interpretation, and there was not even interest from potential other partners. Filip Watteeuw, Alderman for Mobility, Public Space and Urban Planning (Green) has found a budget together with Hafsa El-Bazioui, Alderman for Personnel, Facilities Management, International Solidarity and Youth (Green). After the renovation of the Groot Vleeshuis, the building will serve as a bicycle shed for 15 years. 

"I'm not at all ashamed, on the contrary. I'm proud that I finally realized a restart in a file that had been at a standstill for far too long. I would be ashamed if I allowed this important building in the heart of our city to deteriorate further, propped up by ugly yellow bars, and not even accessible to Ghent residents and visitors."

The Ghent Meat House is a historic building dating back to the 14th century and is an important cultural heritage for the city of Ghent. It serves as a major tourist attraction and a place where visitors can learn about the history of the city and the role meat processing played in medieval times.

cultural heritage

For these reasons, the Ghent Vleeshuis should not become a bicycle shed. Changing the building's use would result in the degradation of the cultural heritage and diminish the valuable experiences visitors can have. In addition, increasing cyclist traffic would unnecessarily burden the building and the surrounding area, endangering the stability and integrity of the building.

Read also  Investing in accessibility and mobility is essential for provinces

There are numerous other locations in the city where bicycle parking facilities can be set up without affecting historic buildings and cultural heritage. It is important to recognize and preserve the unique value of the Ghent Butchers' Hall for future generations.

What was once a medieval market hall has now become a point of discussion. During the last Ghent Festivities, the closure of the Groot Vleeshuis was already a great loss. After all, it was the best meeting point in the city center and the ideal meeting place for tourists where they could taste and enjoy East Flemish regional products such as cheeses, preskop, ham and matching beers. All served with pearl onions, pickles and Ghent mustard from Tierenteyn.

(Text continues below the photo)
All served with pearl onions, pickles and Ghent mustard from Tierenteyn.

The costs for the renovation of the roof and structure of the building are estimated at 7,5 million euros. The Mobility Company is contributing approximately 3,1 million euros to the restoration. Almost one million euros must come through a subsidy from the Agency for Immovable Heritage. The center for regional products will not return because the lease with the city will not be renewed.


The reactions are divided. According to Lydie Neufcourt, national secretary of PVDA, it seems more and more that the vocabulary of the political party Groen does not extend further than 'bicycle'. Paul Groeninckx tweeted that he thinks it's a disgusting idea. A heritage as a bicycle shed and then a budget of 7,5 million. “It makes me sick.” Wouter Duyck wonders why we use the heritage as a bicycle rack and advises to process the Ghent Altarpiece into a fender. The Flemish Government Architect Erik Wieërs, who shapes architectural policy in Flanders, disagrees. He thinks a bicycle shed with a toilet in such a historic building is not a bad idea.

Read also  Caroline van der Plas and BBB good for our mobility

The meat house was originally a covered marketplace. In this hall, which dates from the 15th century, the meat was centrally inspected and traded. Also because home sales of meat were prohibited in the Middle Ages.

(Text continues below the photo)
After the renovation, it will serve as a bicycle shed for 15 years. The hams can disappear.

According to Matthias Diependaele (N-VA), the Flemish Minister for Immovable Heritage, it is doubtful whether a bicycle shed in one of the oldest, most beautiful and most valuable buildings in the medieval center of Ghent is the best solution. Diependaele says that he “in the first place let's see if this is serious, since our first reaction is rather one of disbelief. If it turns out to be a realistic proposal, our Agency will have to judge whether the planned infrastructure is compatible with the Vleeshuis. If heritage value is lost, it is generally not possible.”

Minister Matthias Diependaele "extremely shocked": "Not convinced that this is the best solution. I was shocked when I heard the proposal, we will certainly discuss this with the Ghent city council"

In order to find money for the renovation of the Groot Vleeshuis, the plans for the Koophandelsplein in front of the Old Courthouse have been adjusted. That square will be redesigned in the coming years. The intention was to provide an underground bicycle shed, but that is not happening now.

Related articles:
DVDP width=
Print Friendly, PDF & Email