The 5 most mysterious sculptures in Ghent

1) The little girl with the knitting needles

Only a few people notice the little bronze statue of a girl with knitting needles on the corner of a house in the Patershol. It was created in 1976 by a French artist called Jean-Pierre Clemençon who incorporated some odd symbols including a broken column, a car wheel and a jam jar.

Zilverhof 35

2) Neptune

The flamboyant 17th-century baroque gate that once led into the old fish market is surmounted by a splendid figure of Neptune surrounded by seahorses and dolphins. The two naked figures below the sea god represent the rivers that meet in Ghent. The man on the left holding a sail symbolises the Leie, while the woman on the right with a catch of fish stands for the far more important Scheldt.


3) Diving lady

A bronze statue of a diving woman stands on a balcony overlooking the River Leie. Created by the British artist Ronald Cameron, it was acquired by a local collector. A bronze statue of a diving man stands on the roof of a building on the opposite side of the river.


4) De Mammelokker

Look out for the strange carved stone relief above the entrance to a small 18th-century building, formerly a prison, at the foot of the Belfry. Known as De Mammelokker (literally ‘the breast suckler’), the sculpture illustrates the old Roman legend in which a man called Cimon was being starved to death in prison when his daughter Pero visited him and fed him from her breast. You can now buy a local beer called Mammelokker.

Emile Braunplein/Botermarkt 17

5) Bruges-La-Morte

A strange Symbolist figure of a woman was carved by the sculptor George Minne in 1903 to commemorate Georges Rodenbach’s 1892 novel Bruges-la-Morte. It was originally intended to stand in front of the Begijnhof in Bruges, but the city didn’t agree and so Bruges-la-Morte ended up outside the old St.-Elisabeth Begijnhof in Ghent.



Want to share new hidden secrets in your hometown? Are you the author of the next hot city guide? Or do you want to team up in some other way? We look forward to hearing from you!