Please find driving directions and map below the main text
We invite you for a discovery tour by public transport in Ghent, gathering in the Sint-Pieters Station and taking the tram all together to visit: firstly, a stained glass workshop hidden in the historic centre and, secondly, Belgium’s oldest psychiatric hospital that also houses a museum and an extraordinary collection of art.
The Atelier Mestdagh is one of the most respected workshops of handcrafted stained glass in the country, a family business that was founded in 1947. When the founder’s son, Luc Mestdagh, married lngrid Meyvaert, traditional craftsmanship met contemporary innovation.
Together with their oldest daughter Katrien and a team of devoted, skilled artisans, the workshop now runs three main activities: it executes designs of in-house designer lngrid Meyvaert, for private houses, religious and public buildings.
The Mestdagh team works with architects and artists from home or abroad, to develop ideas and designs.
Finally, conservation and restoration of historical painted and stained glasswork also remains one of the key activities.
Katrien and lngrid will show us how their stained glass projects are designed and produced.
Lunch will be served at the nearby restaurant ‘Ter Burg” (Burgstraat 180). We then continue by the same tram nr 1 to the Dr Guislain hospital.
Besides being a working mental health institute, the impressive 19th C Victorian-like buildings now also house a museum, or rather, several collections, some permanent, others temporary.
A storyteller (a more appropriate term than ‘guide’) accompanies us on a tour along the main collection that documents the sometimes scaring and, at times, hilarious history of psychiatry.
After the tour you can visit the other collections on your own, with the same entrance ticket.
We highly recommend spending at least 45 minutes at the permanent exhibition of “Outsiders’ Art”, which is really unique. Vaut le voyage!
No need for a guide because there are explanatory texts and you may prefer to take more time at specific objects. On show is a collection of art created by artists who do not belong to any formal style or school; some suffered from mental disorder, others didn’t, but all had an exceptionally vivid imagination, as you will see.
The Guislain site closes at 5 p.m. Tram nr 1, which stops near the entrance gate, will return you comfortably to the railway station in 30 minutes.
N.B.Ihe visit to the stained glass workshopinvolves climbing many stairs.
we take tram no. 1 from the station, and travel as a group through city centre and get out at the second tram stop in Burgstraat - shortwalk to Mestdagh Studlo, Koolsteeg 10
(narrow alley in Burgstraat, next to house no. 180 - restaurant Ter Burg)