ÂŠ Phile Deprez
Flanders heritage venue
Table of contents
Bijloke site today
History & heritage
18th century: impact of the French Revolution
Founding of Ghent university & New Civil Hospice.
20th century: from hospital & abbey to concert hall and city museum
2019 - 2020: major renovations of the main buildings
The Bijloke site in the year 2025
Living heritage: the Bijloke site as a historical seed bank
Strategic concept: nurturing creativity & innovation
Technical description of the meeting venue
Overview of the rooms on the Bijloke site
Meeting and heritage experience
Bijloke site in Ghent
Hotels & shuttle buses
3D images of the upcoming design of the main hall
Bijloke site today
The Bijloke site is located close to the centre of Ghent. It had been a centre of health care for centuries, now it is a unique arts and culture campus in the middle of an impressive historic building complex on the banks of the River Leie. The structure and architecture of the buildings are the result of more than seven centuries of development in care and medicine. The site is home to one of the best-preserved medieval hospitals in Europe, today a unique event venue, and the former Bijloke abbey has been transformed into a city museum and is home to various other organisations. Various complementary aspects of culture form the backbone of the heart-shaped site: heritage, art education, production and practice. Stroll across the grass on a sunny day and you will come across students reading, a class group on their way to the STAM Museum, a local resident walking his dog... and congress attendees, who can experience the combination of a charming environment and a high quality professional setting.
over the years. In addition, numerous companies and organisations have found their way to the monumental hall for congresses, anniversaries and private performances. In 2020, the concert hall and the adjoining foyers will be thoroughly renovated in order to optimise comfort, acoustics and accessibility, incorporating the latest techniques.
From Bijloke abbey to city museum STAM is the museum of the City of Ghent, which has been telling the story of Ghent in the wings of the 14th-century abbey since October 2010. It explores what makes Ghent Ghent, and what makes the city a city. It connects people living today with history, and looks towards the future of the city. Every year, STAM welcomes around seventy thousand visitors, as well as companies and groups looking for an original place to organise a meeting, teambuilding session, or networking event. This exhibition area offers a variety of modern and historic areas for use in MICE activities.
From medieval hospital to concert hall For seven centuries, the impressive roof has extended out to provide cover for the sick. Since 1999, it has hosted classical concerts, jazz and contemporary music. From Bach to Bartรณk, from a Classical Music Rave to a singing party for 900 children, various events have taken over the stage
Stronger together Today, event and congress organisers can arrange their events via both STAM and the Music Centre. We intend to put the Bijloke site on the national and international map in the MICE sector, by positioning ourselves more around heritage, bundling our offerings, marketing and spaces and thereby attracting more visitors.
A Green Oasis The Bijloke site offers a green oasis of calm within the Ghent periphery. The historical orchard has been given a revamp in this regard. Furthermore, the design for the gardens emphasises the green heritage and the connecting function of the various (monastery) gardens.
History & heritage
The beginning In the early 13th century, Ermentrudis uten Hove, a scion of a well-known Ghent patrician family, founded the Maria Hospital in her private home. This small-scale hospital had to make way when the Dominicans arrived around 1220 and demanded space for their monastery. Around 1250, construction began on a new hospital on the Bijlokemeersen. The sisters of the abbey OnzeLieve-Vrouw Ten Bos in Lokeren, also a ‘uten Hove’ foundation, were entrusted with looking after the sick. As a result, it was decided to establish a new Cistercian abbey at the Bijloke. The Bijloke was consequently founded, on a private or ‘enclosed’ area (the meaning of the word ‘beloken’).
18th century: impact of the French Revolution The sisters abandoned the Bijloke in 1797. The annexation of the Southern Netherlands by France and the introduction of the law abolishing religious institutions meant that caring for the sick became the responsibility of lay people. The situation soon became chaotic. People longed for the sisters to return and in 1802 they were allowed to resume administration of the hospital and care for the sick. They now worked in paid service of the Commission of Civil Hospices, founded by the French Revolutionaries. The abbey buildings were split up. The sisters converted the 17th-century wings into a monastery; the rest of the abbey housed an old men’s house.
Founding of Ghent university & New Civil Hospice
Kraakhuis Around 1511, a second, smaller infirmary was specially (re)built for the seriously ill. Today this building is called the “Craeckhuys”, a nickname which has survived from the 17th century. Historians disagree about the origins of the term “Craeckhuys”. “Craecken” means being seriously ill or dying, and may refer to a room where people were nursed before death. Others believe it may be from the German ‘Krankenhaus’, suggesting it was a separate location for the richer citizens of Ghent.
With the founding of Ghent University in 1817, the training of doctors and other medical staff was entrusted to the Bijloke Hospital, which expanded with classrooms, laboratories, libraries, dissection rooms and auditoriums such as the Anatomical Theatre. Pregnant women, who had not been admitted to hospitals for centuries, were also received in the Bijloke. A school for surgeons and midwives was set up, and later the famous maternity department was established. Medical development continued to advance. Between 1863 and 1880, a new neo-Gothic Civil Hospice was built on the Bijloke site, designed by city architect Adolphe Pauli. In addition, the Faculty of Medicine set up four new institutes in and around the Bijloke, between 1878 and 1905. The Bijloke site was known for care and medicine.
20th century: from hospital & abbey to concert hall and city museum More than a century later, after the closure of the old menâ€™s house, the City of Ghent purchased part of the abbey buildings. After restoration, they were re-purposed as the Archaeological Museum or Bijloke Museum, which officially opened its doors in 1928.
the existing historical windows, and wooden benches in the shape of a carved tree trunk that refer to the wooden roof truss of the main hall. The works will be completed by spring 2020. When finished, the large concert hall and adjoining foyers will be state-of-the-art, offering an unrivalled experience for congress attendees.
In the second half of the 20th century, the health and care sector became thoroughly professionalised, with the result that the old buildings were no longer fit for purpose. The university built its own hospital and housed its medical training department there. The remaining medical and care functions were moved to the brand new Jan Palfijn hospital, as a result of which the Bijloke functionally and intellectually lacked a purpose. Eventually, the empty medieval hospital and the Anatomical Institute were converted into a event centre at the end of the 1990s. The buildings of the 19th-century Civil Hospice now house part of Hogeschool Gent. In October 2010, STAM, the new museum of the City of Ghent, opened its doors as the successor to the Archaeological Museum. With the departure of the last Cistercian sisters, the museum was also able to use the 17th-century wings of the abbey.
Wooden benches in the shape of a carved tree trunk that refer to the wooden roof truss of the main hall
2019 - 2020: major renovations of the main buildings In the summer of 2019, the music centre started major works and adaptations in the foyers and the main hall. In the renovated foyers, unique decorative elements will create an extra visual link between the historical building and materials, and the contemporary design. Examples include new stained-glass windows that accentuate
New stained-glass windows that accentuate the existing historical windows
From May 2020, the exhibition area will also start a comprehensive update of the permanent route do some renovations including the infirmary. With this renovation, STAM is meeting the expectations of an increasingly international, diverse and engaged public.
Living heritage: the Bijloke site as a historical seed bank
We plan to invest further in the near future optimising accessibility for persons with disabilities. The basis for this is a screening by INTER, which will serve as a guide to subsequently obtaining the M label (the reference label of Toerisme Vlaanderen according to accessibility).
The Bijloke site in the year 2025
In the meantime, the Bijloke site Master Plan is ready and will provide a guiding framework for developing the site for the next 20 years. Together with the City of Ghent, various partners have the ambition to make the site a coherent driver for the arts, heritage and urban development.
Today, the site still houses many traces of living heritage. For example, the site has a unique collection of apple and pear trees, the relics of an orchard that is more than three centuries old. Historical sources indicate that cuttings from the orchard were sold and exported, to England among other places. The Bijloke site turned out to be a growing and experimental site for various fruit trees. For example, research carried out by the Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research showed that certain varieties do not appear in any of the Belgian databases. These could be unique breeds that have not been documented before...
The Master Plan offers the posibility of new alliances between other organisations that enclose the courtyard an that will help strengthen the Bijloke site as a conference venue. The main objective of this Master Plan is currently to improve access to the Bijloke site. This will be done, on the one hand, by optimising the existing access roads and creating new entrances to the site, including on the Leie side with the route to the city centre. At the same time, the outdoor areas will receive extra attention, with an emphasis placed on â€œliving heritageâ€? and by optimising the park experience.
nurturing creativity & innovation
Nurturing The Bijloke site is a place where nurturing is central. Nurturing is a term with many meanings. In the first instance it means ‘caring for’, which refers to the historical medical and caring activities. In a figurative sense, ‘caring for’ also refers to the current arts and culture campus, with culture as a means of recharging the batteries. In addition, ‘nurturing’ also refers to the ‘nourishing’ and ‘maturing’ of ideas, which from a historical perspective directly refers to the innovative character of the site through the centuries. In its various meanings, we can link the concept of ‘nurture’ with the economic spearhead sectors of biotech, medicine, healthcare and culture. The term also fits in with congress activities: the intellectual “caring” of attendees. In terms of experience, the term ‘nurturing’ has the advantage of an emotional association to distinguish itself from other venues. It also implies a degree of security, a direct reference to the name ‘Bijloke’: a closed, private, intimate space where you can give attention to people and ideas.
Creativity The site also places an emphasis on ‘creativity’, with room for experimentation and as a place of science and innovation. For centuries, the site took on the role of pioneer and incubator for ideas in the areas of medicine and healthcare. The pioneering role is primarily reflected in the establishment of one of the largest hospitals in Europe in the 13th century, as well as the establishment of the maternity department in the 19th century. Furthermore, we find the stateof-the-art buildings in the 19th and 20th century in relation to the medical-university needs (including the famous Cloquet architecture) and the groundbreaking ideas of various important historical figures, such as the physicians Jan Palfijn
(17th century) and Jozef Kluyskens (19th century). At the same time, the concept of ‘creativity’ refers to the site’s current role as an arts and culture campus. Creativity is also an essential characteristic of the knowledge-driven economic spearhead sectors of the City of Ghent, and fits in perfectly with the conference activities.
Innovation Finally, the Bijloke site is a place where people come together to work towards an innovative world. The progressive attitude of the site and its residents, their drive to make the world better, and their perseverance, can be found throughout its history. In the first instance, this can be seen of course in the medical and care functions for the poor, throughout the centuries. The site wanted to offer the best medicine and care. Innovation, with a view to well-being and welfare, was central. This was expressed, for example, in the combination of theory and practice in the field of medicine and healthcare, in the architecture that specifically adapted to the medical functions, and in medical breakthroughs by famous figures such as Jan Palfijn and Jozef Kluyskens. For congresses, the term ‘innovation’ means a major focus on the future. Innovation is one of the key elements for congresses. It is also crucial for the economic spearhead sectors of the City of Ghent. In addition, the term also focusses on social added value, an element that is also characteristic of the economic spearhead sectors of biotech, medicine, healthcare and culture.
the positioning of “nurturing creativity & innovation”… •
… refers to the historical role of the Bijloke site as a hospital, where innovative ideas in the areas of medicine and healthcare were developed and tested with the aim of offering the best medicine and care.
… refers to the site’s current function as a vibrant arts and culture campus, with an open view of the world.
… the historical and contemporary functions make it possible to establish links with the economic spearhead sectors of biotech, medicine, healthcare and culture
… is in keeping with the role of a conference venue: a place with an open view of the world, where attendees are looked after, ideas can mature, inspiration and creativity can blossom and innovation is stimulated to shape the future.
The Bijlokesite offers an MICE-area wich combines 12 old historical rooms, halls and foyers in a green oasis of tranquility nearby the Ghent city centre.
3-Chair Principle According to the 3-chair principle, the maximum capacity is 720 people. As such, we use the medieval hospital as a plenary area.
Rooms & foyers
The various rooms and foyers on the Bijloke site offer sufficient break-out possibilities and sufficient capacity for a walking dinner for 720 people.
Capacity Usual set-up
De Concertzaal 883 720
theatre set-up, lectures and information sessions
meeting set-up, theatre set-up, mobile screen reception, exhibition...
several set-ups possible
multi-functional room for (walking) dinner, reception, breakouts, trade fair stands,...
large screen, can be connected to a PC
theatre set-up & U set-up
Hert Van Maria 96
theatre set-up & U set-up
theatre set-up & U set-up
theatre set-up, lectures, information sessions,...
theatre set-up, plenary hall
multi-functional room for (walking) dinner, reception, breakouts...
Overview of the rooms & buildings on the Bijloke site
Meeting and heritage experience
Bijloke site in Ghent Although the term ‘bijloke’ refers to the enclosed character of the site from a historical viewpoint, that does not mean that this is still the case today.... On the contrary, if you walk along the Leie for ten minutes, you will come across the towers of Ghent, right in the historical centre. The station, with rapid and frequent connections to Brussels airport and other central cities, is also within walking distance. Tram 1 connects the station, the Bijloke site and the centre every
5 to 10 minutes. But if you really want a unique experience, take the boat, which moors at the outskirts of the site and enters the bustling city centre along the medieval banks. Congress attendees will find hotels here in various price ranges, an abundant choice of cosy bars and cuisine from all over the world. There’s a good reason why the Lonely Planet once wrote: ‘Ghent is Europe’s best kept secret’.
Heritage experience > The wooden roof trusses of the large medieval hospital (large infirmary): in the middle of the 13th century a whole swathe of oak trees were cut down in the Maasland for this roof. The tree trunks were transported from there, perhaps floating over the Meuse, via LiĂ¨ge and Dordrecht to the Zwinhaven from Damme to Ghent.
> The old library: the Library of the Anatomical Institute was built at the end of the 19th century as a museum of anatomy. It featured various dried-out skulls, human bones and muscles and organs preserved in formaldehyde. In addition to the library, this room was also used as a study room and later even as a linen room.
> The architectural symbiosis between medieval, 19th and 21st century architecture in the buildings. The contemporary concept of glass panes and concrete structures provide a visual and spatial connection between the various historical buildings. > The Anatomical Theatre: this auditorium is part of the Anatomical Institute, designed at the end of the 19th century by Adolphe Pauli for Ghent University. Here spectators could observe the dissections of human corpses and animal carcasses from the wooden stand. The institute also featured a surgery room and three large laboratories. Students were taught there until 1965, and the people of Ghent visited with horror. The Anatomical Institute subsequently moved to new buildings at the University of Ghent.
> The 14th-century murals in the abbey refectory. The mural by an anonymous artist depicts the Last Supper, an appropriate subject in the refectory.
> The original altar wall and confessional in the abbey church. Abbess Sabina Bruggheman had a new stucco decoration applied in 1791 - shortly before the closure of the abbey. Her coat of arms is above the altar. The heterogeneous interior reflects the turbulent history of the building. > The restrained, luminous corridors and the gardens of the monastery. The corridors exude peace and quiet, where you can listen to the story of Ghent on a bench, with a view of the green courtyard garden. The gallery around the courtyard garden connects all the living spaces of the abbey. It was a place of contemplation, but the dead were also buried here. > The authentic mantelpieces and high windows in the meeting rooms ‘Placidus’ and ‘Hert van Maria’. These meeting rooms served as prestigious guest rooms in the 17th century. > The 18th-century tapestries and authentic panelling in the Baudelozaal. This room is located in the gate building of the former Archaeological Museum, which is completely separate from the other buildings and has a separate entrance via the Godshuizenlaan
> Panels with clear historical explanations about the various locations or heritage elements are incorporated on the site and in the buildings. > There is a separate website about hiring rooms, with a more prominent place for the heritage story and digital storytelling.
> At the entrance to medieval hospital, archaeological research has uncovered numerous ancient graves of sick people and monks. Some of the remains have been covered again. We accentuate these ancient graves on the upper terrace, by incorporating contours around the graves, for example.
> The names of the various halls and foyers are in reference to the historical activities and/ or figures where possible.
> Old photos of the location and historical activities are incorporated into the furnishings of the buildings. The pictures on this page are examples of those photos.
> A Bijloke podcast (multi-lingual) with chronological stories about the functions of different areas narrated by historical figures such as Jan Palfijn (inventor of the forceps) or Countess Johanna van Vlaanderen/ Constantinople. Possibly combined with a heritage walk on the site and in the buildings.
> Provide adapted furnishings in the Baudelozaal to better reflect the prestigious aspect of this area.
> A translated website and an own Facebook page/Instagram account for campaigns.
> Installation of ipads in certain meeting rooms with additional information about the heritage & history. The ipads are inserted in a modern version of a church pulpit and confessional.
> Search for external partners such as museummakers.nl or Herita to further develop the heritage experience.
Meeting experience > Old medical clipboards Congress attendees will be able to receive old medical clipboards with typical and (empty) medical history papers to be able to make notes. On those papers there will be little inspirational anekdotes of medical or scientific achievements.
> Het Anatomisch Theater and Het Kabinet are redecorated in accordance with their original layout.
> Develop a Bijloke app when hovering with the smartphone over frescoes on the walls, paintings, historical objects or other elements telling about the history and historical figures which can inspire congress attendees.
> Testimonials of old students, nurses, patients, doctors, ... In the old hospital there will be inspirational video and audio with testimionals of former students and doctors who got their education in the old Anatomic Institute or testimonials of nurses and doctors who worked in de hospital.
> The selfie mirror: in the bathroom there will be some mirrors with a drawing of a nurse, a nun, doctor, ... which attendees can use for a creative selfie during the congress. The hashtags depend on the item or organisor of the congress. Below is an example of a princess. Google couldn’ offer an example of a nurse...
> There will be a new caterer from April 2020. This will offer various advantages in terms of logistics, finance and quality. Where possible, this caterer will examine whether culinary heritage can be given a place in the offering. > When entering the congress attendees will receive an ‘Innovation Pil’ to get inspired and as a ‘conversation starter’. This is a playful connection with the medical history of the site. On this pil we put a stamp of an apple as a reference to the historical orchard.
> The “creativity apple shot” after or during lunch attendees will receive in a small tube a small shot of apple juice to improve their creativity. Of course also this is a playful connection with the scientific historical background of the site and again the apple juice refers to the historical orchard.
> Installation of a meeting room with noise cancelling technology. This silence room can be used for a moment of reflection or utmost concentration. It refers to the peace and quiet of the former abbey and cloister. > Addition of a countdown timer to enhance meeting efficiency. Beside that, it’s a reference to a typical hospital clock. The timer can be set as an overall timekeeper or it can be used for individual portions of the meeting. Setting the timer for short periods of time (5-10 minutes at most) is also a unique and productive way to solicit ideas and collaboration. The creative brain loves a deadline.
Hotels & shuttle buses
The concert activities on the site and the associated expertise, professional audiovisual equipment and musical network offer the possibility to provide musical support during various MICE activities. This can even be linked to the programming for ‘musical heritage’ from certain time periods. In the past, we have already had a musical programme about the life of Emperor Charles V.
The event venue has framework agreements with several hotels in Ghent for overnight stays for artists and orchestras. The main advantage of this is discounted prices. This could be extended to overnight stays for congress attendees and offers a possibility for a better support for hotelreservations wich is one of the critics in the Quick scan ‘International level.’
In the same vein, the exhibition area offers the possibility of combining a conference or event with a visit to a museum. Guided tours on the site with various guide organisations are also possible. And thanks to its location on the Leie, it is even possible to combine an event with a guided boat trip or a cruise in the city centre.
In order to meet the mobility needs of congress attendees who come by car, we offer, in collaboration with the City of Ghent, the possibility of a large car park right next to the exit of the Brussels-Ostend motorway, and from a shuttle bus connection. In addition, the Bijlokaai has a number of permanent parking spaces reserved for buses.
Ticketing Thanks to its concert activities, the event venue has a comprehensive ticketing system. This offers congress organisers the opportunity to have their ticket reservations made directly via Bijloke.
General Quick scan
Quick Scan Bijloke — Gent 80%
Omgeving Randbeleving in directe nabijheid
Character and look
Interaction with (future) client
Character & look
3D images of the upcoming design of the main building
De Bijloke Congress & Events Godshuizenlaan 2 9000 Gent T +32 9 323 61 11 www.bijlokecongres.be firstname.lastname@example.org