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Ghent: they are the city, the European Youth Capital city


It’s been a while since you heard from Ghent, but as summer approaches the city is buzzing more than ever! After a spectacular opening in February, Ghent has continued to impress with a series of events celebrating young people and creativity. Check out a recap of the highlights so far and a preview of what's to come. And if you have no plans for the end of spring and early summer - no need to worry! Cause Ghent has you covered 👇

Would you like to know more? Get in touch!

Ivan Neirotti

let’s recap

February for celebrating

The month kicked off with a grand opening that left everyone wanting more. The official opening began at the top of Saint Bavo’s Cathedral, where the Youth Capital team and young people raised the Ghent European Youth Capital flag. An impressive show, for and from young people, followed featuring hip hop, circus acts, opera, and drag performances. But that was far from all! At night, the CLUSTER Festival took over the city, with over 100 artists, including DJs, live bands, and drag queens. The celebrations continued with Open Call projects, where young people organised a variety of events such as skate jams, barista workshops, and a Valentine’s Day party for deaf youth. Last but not least, an informative event for youth workers focused on how to communicate the upcoming European elections to young people.

March for embracing social inclusion & public spaces

March was the month of conferences! A conference on social inclusion, brought together 350 young people and policymakers from across Europe. This event was an opportunity to evaluate the European Youth Strategy on Social Inclusion and set the agenda for the next two years. To bridge local practices and the European level, many other public events were organised to inspire and engage the local community. Not long after, a conference on public space gathered youth workers, researchers, designers, and spatial planners to explore how to address challenges and connections at various levels—from individual to societal.

April for debating

April in Ghent was all about engaging young people in critical discussions and debates. The Big Debate brought together more than 700 young first-time voters to discuss six key issues: mental wellbeing, climate, money, the city of the future, democracy, and living together. The day began with table debates, where students shared their perspectives. This was followed by a market, where young voters visited booths of political parties and their young party members/youth departments, engaged in speed-dating sessions with politicians, and learned about the European elections. Finally, the final debate, offered youth ambassadors the space to engage in an in-depth discussion with Belgian politicians, even King Philippe was there!

coming up in Ghent

Curious about what young people need to thrive? Don’t miss the closing event of the Ghent X Vila Cruzeiro project on May 29. This initiative brought together numerous organisations and young people from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro and neighbourhoods in Ghent, including Nieuw Gent, Gent Dampoort, Rabot, and Ledeberg. They shared their stories and together they came up with a powerful message. At this event, local young people will share their struggles and what they need to make their dreams come true and participate fully in society. They won’t do this alone. Five young people from Vila Cruzeiro, one of Rio de Janeiro’s most notorious favelas, will be with them. So, on May 29, don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn from the experiences of these young people and listen to their message! From discussions to a documentary screening and performances of slam poetry, rap, and hip hop this event is all about building bridges and gaining new insights.

Ready for some skate action? As part of Asphalt, the Flanders Street Sports and Culture Festival, the skating community Hall of Skate, in collaboration with Hip Hop Hooray, is hosting four skate contests. The contests will take place late June, 23 & 30, and everyone's invited! Open to various age groups and skill levels (-16, +16, girls, and sponsored), these skate contests promise high energy and impressive tricks. Whether you're a participant or a spectator, it's an event not to be missed. So don’t hesitate to visit!

Stay tuned for more updates and join us in celebrating the vibrant youth culture and young people in Ghent!

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