Symposium venue

IDS2012 will take place in the city of Ghent, ‘one of Europe’s finest panoramas of water, spires and centuries-old grand houses (Lonely Planet 2011).

The city was founded in 640 AD and is considered to be one of the most beautiful historic places in Europe, voted 3rd most authentic historic place by National Geographic Traveller Magazine in 2008, and listed among the Top Ten Cities by Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2011. For more information on the city of Ghent, see While being rich in history and art, Ghent is also a lively place with plenty of restaurants and bars to suit everyone’s taste (and wallet).

The meeting will be held in the Aula Academica of Ghent University, located in the historic city centre.

Ghent is easily accessible, less than an hour away by train from Brussels Airport or by bus and train from Brussels South Charleroi Airport (the Belgian Ryanair and Wizzair hub), ensuring easy access by plane or high speed train (Eurostar, Thalys).

‘It’s surprising how Belgium has managed to stay so quiet about Ghent for so long. Ghent hides away in the middle of Belgium’s big three – Brussels, Bruges and Antwerp, but combines the best of what they have to offer in a single captivating and enchanting city!

Most Belgium-bound visitors rushing between these see nothing more than the stately fortifications of Ghent’s St Pieter’s Station. Those who do hop off the train and stroll along the Leie River to the historic centre will have their eyes out on stalks. Here hides one of Europe’s finest panoramas of water, spires and centuries-old grand houses.

Once medieval Europe’s second largest city, over the past century this unsung treasure of a town has developed a strong artistic bent, and is now one of the best places in Europe for culture – there are many fantastic museums and galleries here, and more listed buildings than any other Belgian city. Ghent’s architecture is elegant and imposing, particularly along the scenic old Graslei harbour, and grand medieval cathedrals and the Gravensteen castle congregate nicely around the central public squares – the largest car-free area in Belgium.

And when you’ve soaked up enough architecture, there are many welcoming bars and cafes along the banks of the canal.’

(Lonely Planet's top 10 cities for 2011)

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