Nowadays, Vlasmarkt square is the beating heart of Ghent’s nightlife, but that has not always been the case.

Vlasmarkt, Ghent

Sint-Jacobs has become a magnet for foreign hippies who indulge in immoral acts,” Ghent’s superintendent of police reported to the mayor about the ‘new’ Ghent Festivities in 1976. It goes to show that moral standards were different back then, and that Vlasmarkt (aka Flash Mart) still had to become the real cesspool of vice.

That did not happen until the start of this century, mainly under the impulse of De Charlatan, a traditional café that was completely revamped and has since then been the birthplace of an endless list of influential party concepts. However, we should not underestimate the role played by the other bars on the square (Kinky Star, Aap, Giraf, Jos, etc.) in the development of Vlasmarkt as a mecca for nightlife.

Café Charlatan on Vlasmarkt in Ghent