A city palace in the heart of Ghent

In our continuing series on interesting buildings and sites in our region this week we visit the Hotel d’Hane-Steenhuyse, a palatial building in the heart of the East Flemish city of Ghent. Our photographer Alexander Dumarey has provided us with some superb photographs of what is a beautiful example of 18th century architecture.

The Hotel d'Hane-Steenhuyse dates from 1768. It was then that Count Emmanuel-Ignace d'Hane converted a number of medieval houses in what is now Ghent’s main shopping street, the Veldstraat, into a city palace. Remains of the medieval houses can still be seen in the palace’s cellar.

The façade on the street side of the building is in exuberant Louis XV style. In 1773 the façade on the garden side of the building was also renewed.

This time a more classical Louis XV style was used. Three generations of the d'Hane-Steenhuyses worked on making the palace what it is today. The palace was home to Jean-Baptiste d'Hane in the early 19th century. During this time numerous high-ranking figures, including the Russian Tsar Alexander I in 1814.

In the same year John Quincy Adam, who would later become the 6th president of the United States also stayed at the Hotel d’Hane-Steenhuyse. During the Hundred Days in 1815, King Louis XVIII of France stayed at the palace for a time.

The family continued to live in the building until 1902. After the Second World War the place become home to a museum about the Hundred Days.

The Hundred Days marked the period between Napoleon's return from exile on the island of Elba to Paris on 20 March 1815 and the second restoration of King Louis XVIII on 8 July 1815.

The museum was not a great success and the building’s then owner decided to let the ground floor as shops. Ghent City Council has owned the building since 1981. The City of Ghent has carried a thorough renovation of the palace.

On Good Friday the Hotel d’Hanne-Steenhuyse re-opened to the public. From now on you will be able to visit this impressive build every Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 2pm and 6pm.

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