Departures and Arrivals

DETAIL

PARTNERS

VOORUIT
Ghent, Belgium

With a four-fold program including Performing Arts, Music, Books and City & Transition, Vooruit’s artistic policy aims to be trend-setting, contemporary and international. We welcome our increasingly diverse audiences with warm hospitality and a spirit of openness toward knowledge-sharing and partnerships. Vooruit aims to be an enduring and surprising presence within the urban fabric. We see culture as a driving force behind the transition towards a socially fair and sustainable society.

SIGNIFICANT MEETING PLACE
With its broad range of activities, from stage shows, performances and concerts, to book presentations, debates and parties, Vooruit is a significant meeting place for a very diverse public.
Contributing to this is our popular Café, where anyone can come enjoy a (vegetarian) meal or drink, meet for a chat, or catch up on some work. Moreover, our central location in the heart of Ghent, makes Vooruit an ideal place to meet new and familiar faces.

MONUMENT / BUILDING
Vooruit is located in an impressive one-hundred-year-old monument that houses four stages, four studios (for lectures/exhibitions/rehearsals) and a large café with connecting patio and bicycle parking lot.  With 20,000 m² of hallways and chambers, you can stroll for hours in this official historical landmark.

 

HISTORY

Around 1880, workers in Ghent were living in dreadful conditions. They had no voting rights, no trade unions and were paid a pittance. In various places in the world people started experimenting with cooperatives* and Ghent was one of the places where a cooperative was established. The Vooruit Cooperative (under the leadership of Edward Anseele) defended & united the interests of workers and was used to spread the socialist ideology among workers. The cooperative started with a bakery, but expanded rapidly to include coffee houses, attire stores, coffee-plantations, weaving mills, and pharmacies. A Festivities Hall offered workers a spot to relax. The first Festivities Hall was located in the Bagattenstraat, but quickly became too small, so the decision was made to establish a new Festivities Hall in the Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat. However, the 1913 deadline was not met and for the World Fair in Ghent that year, only the Café opened. A year later the festive grand opening had to make way for the First World War. In 1918, the cooperative regained ownership of the building and socialist activities were able to resume. During the interwar period the Festivities Hall blossomed, but this came to an abrupt end when the Germans occupied the building for the second time in 1940. In 1946 the building was again returned to the Vooruit Cooperative. During the seventies, the Vooruit Festivities Hall entered a period of decline. The building was no longer in good condition, the cinema had lost income and associations could no longer be subsidized. There were fewer and fewer activities in the building, income dwindled and the building fell into further disrepair. In 1980 a group of young people negotiated with the cooperative to use the Festivities Hall as a venue, as a means of offering local artistic talent a stage. They succeeded. In 1983 the ‘vzw Socio-cultureel centrum Vooruit’ (Vooruit Socio-Cultural Non-Profit) was created and this later became ‘Kunstencentrum Vooruit’ (Vooruit Arts Center), as it is known today. The building, however, needed some serious work. Once the building was recognized as a monument in 1983, interest in renovating it followed. Thorough restoration works started in 1990 and were completed in 2000, the same year Vooruit was awarded the ‘Monumentenprijs’ (Monuments’ Award)