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Sustainable Ghent according to Nic Balthazar, a colourful collection of places that help set a good example. This varied tour, part of which can be done by bike, of course focuses on some of Ghent's green areas. What if you don’t have a bike? No worries! De Fietsambassade has got you covered. Some advice: there is an abundance of good food, so don’t forget your lunchbox for a picnic that you can put together along the way!

Film director, television maker, author and climate activist at heart

Nic Balthazar (1964), born and bred in Ghent, is mainly known as a television and film maker, but he also writes scripts, books and columns. Most of all, he fights for a healthier, better and nicer society. On all levels. Nic studied literature and theatre studies and went on to work as a journalist for De Morgen (Belgian newspaper), Radio 1 and Studio Brussel (Belgian radio stations). After having reviewed films, he started creating them himself. He presented/made programmes such as Filmfan and Vlaanderen Vakantieland, both for VRT (Flemish national public-service broadcaster). Nic started his career as a writer with Niets was alles wat hij zei (Nothing Was All He Said), which has also been turned into a play and the internationally acclaimed film Ben X. Almost the same thing happened with his creations Neeland, Tot Altijd (Time of My Life) and Everybody Happy.

We know Nic as a film and documentary maker, but also as a citizen fully committed to the environment and the climate. Remember The Big Ask and The Big Ask Again, when he managed to bring thousands of people together to convince politicians to vote for a climate bill. Sing for the Climate involved half a million people singing along in more than 30 countries. His documentary Plannen Voor Plaats, a film about the absurd spatial planning situation in Belgium, has also received  praise.

Walk a mile in my shoes

14.2km - 22.000 steps

Do you want to gain some energy before you set off? Ghent is full of vegetarian restaurants as well as cosy soup and salad bars. In the outdoor area of Boon, you can enjoy the view of the Castle of the Counts. Are you looking for something more unique? Then start your tour at The Fallen Angels, a paradise for those who love browsing through old advertising and film posters, vintage toys, antique postcards, etc. The characterful shop owner makes this heaven complete. Organic grocery store Beo-Versmarkt lies hidden between the three towers of Ghent, and is connected to a vegan restaurant and coffee place Knol en Kool. Ghent also boasts quite some fair-trade fashion shops, such as Supergood Store, Just Hazel, Cliché and Fanny. Fairware Yak & Yeti is a special shop because of its incredibly sympathetic shop manager, who seems to breathe Nepal, just like many of his fair-trade products. Zero-waste shops like Ohne at Steendam form an excellent alternative to regular shops, showing you how much fun shopping without plastic or other waste can be.

Time to hop on your bike. Ghent is a bicycle-friendly city. The Fietsambassade will fix a bike for you in 5 minutes! It's a social project that secures a future for its employees and simultaneously provides customers with a decent bike. Let’s go! One of the city's best-kept secrets is located at the site of St Bavo's Abbey. Where once monks strolled around lost in thought, more than 210 different plant species grow today. A unique example of biodiversity in the city! Yugen is one of the most sustainable Kombucha brands in Ghent. Yugen Kombucha is a trendy, fun and casual meeting place. A bit further down the road, you’ll find Lousbergmarkt, a unique cooperation between 4 local sustainable businesses, which stand for quality and craftsmanship. All of this takes place in the former cheese factory of Het Hinkelspel. Time for some bicycle action! Gentbrugse Meersen is a wonderful nature reserve full of wetlands, flowery grasslands and woodlands. The ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a moment.

One of my favourite city gems is Zebrastraat. It’s a beautifully renovated site that connects housing, culture and economy. Welcome to Muinkpark. This tiny park in English landscape style is the only remnant of the 19th-century zoo where lions, elephants, parrots and a crocodile amazed the public. The garden of St Peter’s Abbey is another gem in Ghent, with its herb garden, vines and orchard. This biodiverse courtyard is the ideal place to unwind. The World of Kina is a great museum for children, focusing on nature and all its miracles. Since 1982, Arts Centre Vooruit has been one of the most ecological and sustainable cultural spots in the country. Save the best for last and go to top chef Michaël Vrijmoed's restaurant Vrijmoed, a place where vegetables and fruit play the leading role. We’re Smart Green Guide nominated this restaurant as the second best vegetable restaurant in the world.

Walk Local - Nic Balthazar

Sustainable Ghent according to Nic Balthazar, a colourful collection of places that help set a good example. This varied tour, part of which can be done by bike, of course focuses on some of Ghent's green areas. What if you don’t have a bike? No worries! De Fietsambassade has got you covered. Some advice: there is an abundance of good food, so don’t forget your lunchbox for a picnic that you can put together along the way!

Walk Local

First date with our city? Here you can discover all the Walk Local walks that reveal a bunch of hidden gems in our city. Easy to follow and full of surprising suggestions.
Discover all the Walk Local walks here