History

Ghent is a city with a rich history and Hostel Uppelink plays a significant role in it...


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Erasmus of Rotterdam

Erasmus of Rotterdam

Desiderius Erasmus was born in the 15th century under the name of Geert Geerts. He was an illegitimate child born out of wedlock: his father was a priest from Gouda and his mother was the priest’s housekeeper. Both his father and his mother died at a young age. After their death, the legal guardianship of the young Erasmus was bestowed upon the Stein monastery near Gouda. This is where he was given the opportunity to develop himself as an intellectual by reading plenty of books. Later on in his life, he would go on to study abroad in Paris, Leuven and Italy. He would become a priest and eventually a Doctor in Theology.

Erasmus was in awe of Ghent. He visited the city on a regular basis and had several friends who lived here, amongst whom Robert De Keysere. De Keysere owned a printer that published several humanistic works and a Latin school. This Latin school was located in the Lintworm, where the hostel is nowadays. Erasmus visited this school and praised the education system in place, which had received criticism from others.

The Erasmus student exchange programme is named after this famous philospher.


Philip II

Philip II

Philip II was King of Spain, Naples, Sicily, the Habsburgs Netherlands and Portugal. He was the only son of emperor Charles V (King of Spain under the title of Charles I) and Isabella of Portugal. He ruled over the largest colonial empire of the sixteenth century. As a result, he disposed over substantial funds to battle the Islamic Ottoman Turks and the Protestant Reformation as defender of the Catholic faith.


In the Netherlands (which also included Flanders), there were a series of revolts due to high tax pressure, the infringement of the traditional power/jurisdictions of the regions and the anti-heretic 'plakkaten' (ordonnances) that started during the era of Charles V. These revolts reached their climax during the 'Beeldenstorm', a series of iconoclastic attacks that involved the large-scale destruction of religious images and liturgical objects. Philip II responded by sending over the infamous Duke of Alva to pacify the revolts. Alva acted mercilessly and consequently, his reign was met with violent outbursts of protest. The Counts of Egmont and of Horn, two of the most prominent noblemen, were decapitated on the Grand Place in Brussels. William, Prince of Orange, managed to escape to Germany just in time. Many other noblemen followed suit.


Philip II had been a guest of the Count of Egmont in Ghent before. He and his party of 400 men resided in the Court of Fiennes and the Lintworm (the present-day hostel).


Count of Egmont

Count of Egmont

Lamoral of Egmont was commander-in-chief of the Spanish troops in the Netherlands. Their headquarters were located in Ghent. He was also the steward of Flanders and of Artois. The Count of Egmont owned a residence in Ghent, known as the Court of Fiennes or the Court of Gruuthuuse. This residence was adjacent to the stone house ‘Lintworm’, which is the same building as the present-day hostel.

As steward, Egmont received the new King of Spain, Philip II, in Ghent in the year of 1556 and 1559. Philip II had brought along a part of 400 men for the occasion. However, the Count of Egmont’s abode, the Court of Fiennes, was too small to receive such a large party. Therefore, the Count temporarily rented the buildings adjacent to his own residence, amongst which the Lintworm, in order to accommodate all the courtiers.

Egmont was falsely accused of high treason and was put to death in 1568 by the Duke of Alva. The famous Egmont Overture by Ludwig von Beethoven narrates the Count of Egmont’s life story and his remarkable heroic courage.

 



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