This cemetery was a pleasant surprise. It wasn’t even on my initial list of cemeteries to visit in Belgium, but it turned out to be one of the best (so far). If Ghent has a Pere Lachaise-like Cemetery, this is it. It’s a fairly large cemetery, but it’s easy to get around and explore. It was established as a landscape garden cemetery, so it is a really nice place to wander and walk around.
There are some pretty interesting statues here too, the non-religious ones are mostly women, although there’s a beautiful sculpture of what looks like an Afghan hound waiting for his master. This cemetery has a lot of open squares, with the graves forming a perimeter around the squares. Not sure if those squares are meant to be open spaces, or for possible future burials. While I was there some locals were using those spaces to play with their dogs, or to just hang out.
This isn’t exactly on the main tourist trail in Ghent, but it’s a fairly straightforward place to get to. If you only have time to explore one cemetery while in town, this is the one to go to.
And a few more:
Monuments: A lot of nice monuments here, made of good quality stone, so they’ve weathered the elements well.
Grounds: I’d say this is a medium-sized cemetery – easy to cover in an hour, but you could spend at least half a day here, depending on your interest level. It’s all flat and the paths are well maintained.
Visitors: A few locals were using its park-like features, and a few mourners were there too.
Notes: A nice thing about winter is the lack of foliage, which can result in some very uneven light. Not an issue now!
Cemetery: Western Cemetery (Westerbegraafplaats)
Notable Internments: This Cemetery was open to all faiths. It has 197 commonwealth soldiers buried here (and one Dutch soldier).
Location: Palinghuizen 143, Ghent. I believe the number 1 tram gets pretty close to here, but I walked it from the downtown area (about 50 minutes)
Hours: 09:00-17:00 daily