Ghent is proud of its industrial past, and that makes the Museum of Industry a hotspot for many Ghent locals: a sight in Ghent that needs to be on your to-do list for your city trip.

Much of the industrial heritage that bore witness to the first and second industrial revolutions was scrapped and demolished from the 1970s onwards. Ghent City Council has made efforts to preserve machines and objects.

In the main exhibition “About people and machinery” the Museum of Industry tells the story of the industrial revolutions.

In addition, the museum features two other exhibitions. “Three centuries of graphic industry” will show you the evolution of the printing industry over the past 300 years. In “From cotton plant to finished product” you will discover how cotton is processed as well as the different weaving methods.

Jenny spins a tale of industrial espionage

Did you know? Ghent was the first city where the industrial revolution took hold on the continent, after the United Kingdom, at the end of the 18th century. The British government was terrified of espionage and guarded its technological progress by banning the export of machines. But it hadn’t reckoned with the Belgian entrepreneur Lieven Bauwens, who smuggled the components of a ‘Spinning Mule’ out of the country in 1798 in sacks of coffee and flour. The ‘Spinning Mule’ or ‘Spinning Jenny’ is a spinning machine that can still be admired at the Museum of Industry in Ghent.

In addition to the “Mule Jenny" or spinning mule, you can also admire Europe’s oldest conserved twine mill, dating from 1789, as well as the “self-actor”, a gigantic spinning machine.

The Museum of Industry: industrial heritage in Ghent

The Museum of Industry is housed in an old cotton mill. It provides a unique picture of the profound technological changes that our society has undergone in the last 250 years. Enjoy a magnificent view of the city from the highest floor of this transparent building. The museum also features a device you can use to scan the skyline and discover the industrial past of the buildings you see.

Museum of Industry in Ghent: mega kid-friendly!

If you’re out in Ghent on a weekend break with your children, this is the ideal museum to visit with your curious kids. Explore everything together. Children aged between 1.5 and 12 years can enjoy themselves with the museum game ‘About people and machines’. Discover the exhibition together with your family by means of a booklet and a lunch box full of assignments. Every child is given specific assignments depending on their age category. The exhibition “Three centuries of graphic industry” offers both children and adults the opportunity to make their very own mini zine. A nice memento of your visit.  Do you fancy imitating the sounds of machines together with your family? Then be sure to visit the Museum of Industry and experience an hour of family fun! Fantastic fun!

Traces of Industrial Ghent

A walk throug the industrial heritage in the centre of Ghent.