A West Ham fan’s guide to Gent for Conference League clash

GENT, BELGIUM - FEBRUARY 19: Illustrative picture showing the Ghelamco Arena ahead of the Jupiler Pro League match between KAA Gent and OH Leuven at the Ghelamco Arena on February 19, 2023 in Gent, Belgium. (Photo by Plumb Images/Getty Images)
GENT, BELGIUM - FEBRUARY 19: Illustrative picture showing the Ghelamco Arena ahead of the Jupiler Pro League match between KAA Gent and OH Leuven at the Ghelamco Arena on February 19, 2023 in Gent, Belgium. (Photo by Plumb Images/Getty Images) /

Once again, West Ham fans find themselves booking flights to Belgium for a European game.

They have seen brilliance in Brussels versus Anderlecht this season in the Conference League and a gritty performance in Genk in last year’s Europa League – and this week it is time for a great night versus Gent.

West Ham have the chance to take a huge step towards sealing their place in the semi-finals if they can win on the latest European away day.

Like many other cities in the Low Countries, Ghent has a lot of medieval history and architecture from the 19th century. Old suburban areas have been reconstructed to form bustling neighbourhoods, with many of the city’s resident choosing to live on the outskirts and seek a quiet life. Ghent is also known for its nightlife and student scene, so some Hammers may be interested in the variety of bars and clubs in the area.

Just a word of warning – West Ham is playing Gent, NOT Genk. Genk is two hours away from where you need to be Thursday. Make sure you double check your flight and ticket information!

West Ham celebrate Conference League goal
West Ham are hoping to go all the way in the Conference League /


Population 11,496,000

Language French/Dutch

Name in Official Language Belgique/België

Dialling Code +32

Currency Euro/€


Ghent is the largest city and capital of the East Flanders province, and it is a major city within the Flemish community. It has the third-largest port in the country, with many European car manufacturers relying on the port to ship materials.

Ghent hosts many national and international festivals throughout year. From botanical garden exhibitions to music and food, there is always something going on and something for everyone. A night out in Ghent is a must-do, purely for the food and drink. You will try local delicacies and Belgian beers – a good one for food lovers!


The Castle of the Counts (De Gravensteen)

De Gravensteen was built in 1180 to house the Counts of Flanders in the 13th century. Since then, it has been used for many different purposes; it has been refurbished into a court, prison, mint, and a cotton factory.

Belgian architect Joseph de Waele redesigned the castle’s interior in the early 20th century. He ordered the construction of a new roof and windows, as well as gothic-themed walls. Today, the castle is used as a museum to inform tourists of the city’s history.

Grass Quay (Graslei) 

Graslei is a popular tourist spot because of how scenic it is. Once an old port on the bank of the Leie River, it is now home to a strip of cafes and restaurants. The area is bustling in the summer, with many residents dining on patios and socialising.

Zebrastraat (Zebra Street)

Many Belgian cities have conducted urban projects to encourage cultural growth. In Ghent’s case, Zebrastraat was created to help entrepreneurs and artists to showcase their work. The textiles industry boomed due to this project.

The street is now used for housing, local businesses and art. Older buildings have been modernised thanks to artists, who have painted their work on the walls. Students now live in the short-term rental units on this street due to the affordability of apartments.


Ghelamco Arena

Ghent’s 20,000-seater stadium was opened to the public in 2013. It took five years to build and was the first newly-built football stadium in Belgium since 1974.

The stadium has hosted watch parties for the World Cup and many concerts for Belgian artists. It has a Michelin star restaurant and a supermarket, so you can fine dine or grab a sandwich on game day.

How Hammers Can Get There

Tram The nearest tram station is Zwijnaarde Gestichtstraat. The tram is on the Yellow-2 line, and the station is a 20-minute walk away from the stadium.

Bus The number 8 bus stops outside the stadium.


See Track, Think Train

Ghent has an extensive tram network, and some intersections on tram lines are unmarked. The trams always have right of way, regardless if the crossings are marked or not. Therefore, if you see a tram crossing, stop and wait until the way is completely clear before you cross.

Be Vigilant At Red Lights

Thieves have been known to stop next to cars at red lights. They generally ride on motorbikes or bicycles, and they can smash windows and steal items from passengers. They even target those sitting in the back of the vehicle. If you see any suspicious activity, inform local authorities.

Be Prepared For Security Measures

Belgian police will sometimes conduct emergency security operations at short notice. Follow the instructions of the police if this happens during your visit. It is not advised to comment about these operations on social media.

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