A beautiful view upon the Sint Michielsbrug and traditional guild houses in the historic centre of Gent, Belgium. Ghent (known as Gent in Dutch and Gand in French) was medieval Europe's largest city outside Paris. It's glory lies in its industrious and rebellious past. By the mid - 14th century Gent had become Europe's largest cloth producer, importing wool from England and employing thousands of people. The townsfolk were well known for their armed battles, civil liberties and their protests against the heavy taxes imposed on them. Charles V, one of the most important rulers in European history was born in Gent in 1500. In 1540, when the inhabitants refused to pay taxes to fund Charles' military forays into France, he came down swiftly and heavily on the city, crushing the rebellion and abolishing the towns' privileges. His actions gave the folk of Gent their nickname: "De Stropdragers". He had forced them to wear the noose (Strop) around their neck. These days, Gent is the capital of the province Oost - Vlaanderen, counts about 250 000 inhabitants and is home to many university students who give it a cheerful, innovative air. To explain this city in a few words: compact, unpretentious and real.