106 years ago Ghent was the location of the World’s Fair. These fairs were a product of the 19th century: the industrial society wanted to show off its new technologies and convince the public at large of the benefits of progress. In Ghent the exposition was held on the terrains of the Sint-Pieters-Aalswijk neighbourhood, close to the Sint-Pieters railway station.
The many pavilions of the World’s Fair are long gone now, but on the website of STAM, the city museum of Ghent, this glorious part of Ghent’s history is brought back to life by means of an impressive 3D model. You can stroll virtually across the entire domain, and here and there you come across information posts, which you can click for additional explanations and pictures.
Did you know that our hotel Astoria is right next to the former terrains of the World’s Fair? Of the expo itself only the statue of the legendary horse Ros Beyaert and the symbolic statues “Sagesse, Force, Beauté” remain in the De Smet De Naeyer Park, just around the corner. After the First World War the neighbourhood attracted the wealthy bourgeoisie, which led to its current name of “Miljoenenkwartier” (“Millionaires’ Quarter”).