Hidden Belgium: Campo Santo, an artistic cemetery

Hidden Belgium: Campo Santo, an artistic cemetery

The overgrown Campo Santo cemetery clings to a hill in the Ghent suburb of Sint-Amandsberg.

Named after a secret cemetery near the Vatican where German and Flemish priests are buried, Campo Santo contains the graves of famous Flemish writers, artists, poets and thinkers. Some are commemorated by massive stone monuments decorated with laurel wreaths, broken columns and weeping angels. Others have more unusual modern tombs.

There is no map to guide you around, and no one seems to understand the layout, but it is interesting just to wander among the old tombs shaded by ancient trees.

You might, if you are lucky, find the simple stone inscribed Unter der Erde (Below the Earth) where museum director Jan Hoet is buried, or the little metal table with a coffee cup and waffle marking the tomb of the comic book illustrator Marc Sleen.

Derek Blyth’s hidden secret of the day: Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Belgium”. He picks out one of his favourite hidden secrets for The Brussels Times every day.

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