By the end of the 18th century, beguines only existed in the Low Countries. They had a relatively independent status. The last Ghent beguine died in 2008 shortly before her 100th birthday.

‘Small’, atmospheric and hidden

The Small Beguinage, Our Lady ter Hoyen, is the best preserved beguinage from before the French Revolution. It dates back to 1235, and was founded by the Countess of Flanders, after the Old St Elizabeth Beguinage. UNESCO has also recognised the Small Beguinage in the world heritage list. 

A Ghent sight inhabited by locals

Feel free to peek over the wall and see for yourself. Come here for a breather from bustling Ghent on your weekend getaway. Unsuspecting but curious passers-by find a church, about a hundred homes and a meadow (once the churchyard) behind the long wall along the street. Today people actually live here, and the former infirmary is used for exhibitions and artists’ studios.