Top choice in Ghent

Styled like a Greek temple, this superb 1903 fine-art gallery introduces a veritable A–Z of great Belgian and other Low Countries' painters from the 14th to mid-20th centuries. Highlights include a happy family of coffins by Magritte, luminist canvases by Emile Claus, and Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s 1621 Dorpsadvocaat – a brilliant portrait of a village lawyer oozing with arrogance. English-language explanation cards are available in each room.

The gallery also hosts visiting temporary exhibitions for which a supplemental admission fee is normally charged.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Ghent attractions

1. S.M.A.K.

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Ghent’s highly regarded Museum of Contemporary Art is one of Belgium's largest. Works from its 3000-strong permanent collection (dating from 1939 to the…

2. Universiteit Gent Botanical Garden

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Home to more than 10,000 species, the pièce de résistance of Ghent's 2.75-hectare botanic gardens is its glasshouses, which contain an impressive…

3. De Wereld van Kina: het Huis


This mishmash of a natural history museum is aimed primarily at school kids. Meet Pterygotus (a man-sized prehistoric lobster), walk through a human body…

4. St-Pietersabdij

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Once the country’s biggest abbey, St-Pieters was the original centre around which Ghent grew. Its fabulous wealth evaporated after French revolutionary…


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Shoehorned into a 17th-century former nunnery-hospital complex, this fabulous, architecturally striking, ultra-modern museum does a very thorough job of…

6. St-Annakerk

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The imposing and beautiful St Anne's church was designed by architect Louis Roelandt in 1851 but never completed in the true Byzantine-style he envisioned…

7. Geeraard de Duivelsteen

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This 13th-century Gothic castle has had many incarnations; it's been used as a monastery, a school, a seminary, a prison and an asylum. It also housed a…

8. Statue of Van Eyck Brothers


This statue of the creators of Ghent's world-renowned Adoration of the Mystic Lamb was unveiled here for the 1913 World Expo.