Institution: City of Ghent

City of Ghent


Tel: 09 210 10 10




Anja Van den Durpel

International Relations and Networking

Email :

Tel: + 32 478789501

“Ghent, a medieval masterpiece on the surface, but bang up to date with its underground music scene, cutting edge design and pioneering sustainable projects". “A young and principled population supporting socially aware businesses from food to fashion” (The Guardian).

With its 263,608 inhabitants (2020), Ghent is the second largest city in Flanders. Only half an hour’s train ride from Brussels, Ghent city is located in the economic heart of the European Pentagon (Milan-Paris-London-Hamburg-Munich) and at the crossroads of other economically strong areas such as the Randstad Holland in the north, the Ruhr Area in the east, London in the west and the big French cities Paris and Lille-Roubaix-Tourcoing in the south.

Ghent aims to be an open, sustainable, smart and child-friendly city, pursuing an ambitious goal to become climate neutral by 2050. Or, as the mission of the Ghent City Council (2020-2025) puts it: “Ghent is a proud city where people like to live, work and enjoy. A city that breathes and lets it breathe. Everyone is just as different and as much Gentenaar. Children are given room to grow here. People are given the opportunity to develop their talents. We undertake and experiment in Ghent. Focused on the world. We create the city together. And make the transition to an even better Ghent for the next generations.”

Over 75,000 students make Ghent the largest student city in Flanders, including Ghent University that ranks66 on the ‘2019 Academic Ranking of World Universities’. The young heart of the city boosts innovation and creativity. Ghent is a city that combines a strong logistic and industrial complex and hi-tech knowledge activities.

In 2018, the Port of Ghent merged with the ports of Terneuzen and Vlissingen into the North Sea Port, making it the number 3 in terms of added value (14.5 billion euros in 2019). The North Sea Port comprises 525 companies and employs 100,000 people. The North Sea Port focuses on cargo transhipment by sea (71.5 million tons of cargo in 2019) and inland shipping (60 million tons of cargo in 2019).

The city is developing a pro-active approach to attract activities of world-leading companies that strengthen the existing industrial clusters in the cleantech, biotech, materials and ICT sector. Attracted by a climate of entrepreneurship and innovation and by a pool of creative young talent, investors and companies have since long discovered Ghent.

Ghent is linked with China in various ways:

  • A number of Ghent-based companies, including North Sea Port, have a sales market in China. In addition, two large Chinese companies, Volvo Cars NV and Huawei Technologies Research & Development NV have a branch in Ghent
  • The City of Ghent, together with Ghent University, the Flanders-China Chamber of Commerce and Port of Ghent form the China Platform, a central point of contact for all matters relating to China. It directs, coordinates and supports initiatives in education, research and business.
  • Ghent regularly receives Chinese delegations. These are often cities accompanied by companies, sometimes these are national government services.
  • The City of Ghent has contact with 2 Chinese cities: Weihai (Shandong province) and Taizhou (Zheijang province). On September 24, 2013, Weihai and Ghent signed a 5-year agreement on establishing friendship between the two cities. On November 21, 2013, both cities also signed a “Declaration of Intent for the Implementation of a Sino-European Demonstrative Urbanisation Collaboration”, with a duration of 2 years. On June 4, 2018, Ghent signed a “Letter of intent on the preparation of a partnership relationship” with Taizhou. There appeared not enough common interests to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding between both cities.