This church was built in Tournai bluestone and is one of the finest examples of the Scheldt Gothic style. St Nicholas' Church is not just any church; it is a dynamic tribute to the bustling city that surrounds it.

An Urban Symbol of Dynamism

As the first parish church in the Low Countries featuring emancipated urban architecture, St Nicholas' Church tells the story of Ghent throughout the centuries. A place where speed and dynamism went hand in hand with the city’s growing population and evolving architectural trends. Explore the history of a church reflecting the story of medieval Ghent, which originated as a flourishing trading post and developed into a prosperous city.  

Scheldt Gothic style

Established in the 13th century, St Nicholas' Church served as the spiritual centre for merchants and artisans. A unique feature is the lantern tower which is located not above the entrance, but above the crossing of the nave and the transepts. It serves as a kind of natural lantern as the light shines into the transept from the tower. The interior is a patchwork of artworks inspired by the various guilds that had their own chapels inside the building. Be sure to take a look at some of the masterpieces that turn this church into a real treasure trove. 

The main altar features a work by Nicolas De Liemaecker, a 17th-century painter praised by Rubens. Full of dynamism and emotion, the painting tells the story of the appointment of Nicholas as bishop of Myra. 

Dating from 1856, the romantic organ built by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll is brimming with musical history. Since the reopening of the restored nave, the organ on the rood loft above the western portal has been visible once again. 

The church features stained glass windows by Capronnier which depict the life of Mary and the Crucifixion of Jesus. Modern stained glass windows by Herman Blondeel depicting the seven sacraments add a contemporary touch. 

Monumentale Kerken Gent

The non-profit organisation Monumental Churches of Ghent tries to make the patrimony and cultural heritage of Ghent's central churches accessible to the general public.

Find out more about how the non-profit organisation MKG works

Monumentale Kerken Gent

Ghent's horizon is characterised by its many churches and their towers. This brochure takes you on a tour of Ghent's nine Monumental Churches. You will discover more about their rich history and the many works of art they house.

Available in 5 different languages: Dutch, French, English, German and Spanish

A paper version of this brochure is also available in the tourist office.

The information continues beneath the illustrations.