Ghent University opens academic year

On 23 September, more than 40,000 students and 12,000 employees will usher in the new academic year at our campuses in Ghent and Kortrijk.

Messages throughout the city

Dare to Think: that is the credo of Ghent University. This means, among other things, 'being open' to everything that happens around you and approaching the world with an 'open mind'. We want to emphasize this with an open and colorful campaign.

You can join in too! Hang a poster in front of your window, welcome the students in your business, company or in your neighborhood and thus open the new academic year with us.

Ghent University Opens Academic year


Colorful opening procession

UGent Groet Student For the second time in 202 years, not only administrators, deans, professors and directors will participate in the opening parade, but all 12,000 university employees are also invited.

No quiet and demure parade; but a colorful procession with flags and signs under the musical accompaniment of the Studentenfanfare Ghendt.

Traditionally, the procession goes from the Rectorate in Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat to the Aula in the Volderstraat. From now on, the intention is to have the procession depart from a different location every year. Last year this was the St. Bavo's Cathedral, this year the procession leaves at the Old Law Courts.

Standbeeld van Hippolyte Metdepenningen voor het Justitiepaleis (Collectie Universiteitsarchief Gent)At the Old Law Courts we find the statue of the first alumnus of Ghent University, a colorful Ghent figure: lawyer Hippolyte Metdepenningen (1799-1881). At its opening on October 9, 1817, Ghent University consisted of 16 professors who taught 190 students in their first academic year, including physician Joseph Guislain, mathematician Adolphe Quetelet and lawyer Hippolyte Metdepenningen.

The stately image of the lawyer, journalist, freemason and politician is by the Brussels sculptor Julien Dillens. It was cast in the studios of the Compagnie des Bronzes in Brussels and unveiled in 1886. In 1995, the statue, together with the court, was protected as a monument.

A festive start for students

After the official opening, there will also be a festive start for the students, both in Ghent and in Kortrijk.

Student Kick-Off 2019Student Kick-Off in Ghent

Student Kick-Off is the largest student welcome festival in Flanders. What started in 2006 with 7 students and 9000 spectators has become a fixture among the Ghent music events. An event that attracts over 30,000 spectators to Sint-Pietersplein every year.

For a couple of years now, the Student Kick-Off has been asking students a 1 euro entry fee. This money goes integrally to a number of charities, chosen according to the idea: students for students.


Student Welcome 2019Student Welcome in Kortrijk

The Schouwburgplein and the façade of the Schouwburg building are the ideal setting for the Student Welcome festival. You can enjoy the visual show from 7pm and the party continues until the late hours.

The entrance is completely free and the drinks are available at a reasonable price.