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.Beautiful grounds and pathwaysOne image that a lot of Belgian cemeteries have is that of the handshake. It’s everywhere. Military cemeteryInteresting honeycomb-like columbariumSacred treeI don’t know what the tree was for, but it seems to be decorated by children. This was one of the decorations.

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.

Sensual angel

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.

FlowersAmazing veil

And a few more:

Loyalty to the endEgyptian revivalFather TimeCemetery cats are fat catsHuge woman, tiny man

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!

DETAILS

Cemetery: Western Cemetery (Westerbegraafplaats)

Established: 1873

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