Free Lens On Ghent app offers visitors a unique insight into Ghent's history thanks to AR

Anyone walking through Ghent can now use their smartphone to take a special glimpse at the city's rich history. The new app Lens On Ghent takes visitors and local residents on a journey back in time, bringing the medieval character of three iconic sites to life in augmented reality (AR). The app, developed by VisitGent and Proximus, was presented to media and stakeholders today.

The 800-year-old concert hall on the Bijloke site once served as a hospital. A majestic palace was hidden behind the arched gate of the Prinsenhof, while the Graslei and Korenlei were teeming with merchant ships. Those who are familiar with the Ghent's history understand that these three iconic locations must have looked completely different in the distant past.

The city of Ghent and Proximus joined forces to make that rich cultural heritage visible again thanks to contemporary technology. With the Lens On Ghent app, visitors at each of these locations will get a unique, interactive AR experience through their smartphone screen. The app was created not only for visitors, but also for residents. It allows them to rediscover their hometown and go back in time to explore Ghent's rich history thanks to AR technology. Proximus' 5G network, available throughout Ghent city center, ensures an optimal user experience when using the app.

Practical operation of the Lens On Ghent app

Anyone close enough to any of the above landmarks will receive a notification that allows them to unlock a true AR experience in full exploration mode:

  • Anyone wandering around the Bijloke site can have a "digital peek" inside the century-old concert hall, which is usually only accessible during music events. Numerous patients were cared for in the former hospital between the 13th and 20th centuries. The Lens On Ghent app lets users experience the evolution from medieval hospital to contemporary music center.
  • The Prinsenhof houses the monumental Hof ten Walle, a fully walled palace with courtyard garden that was inhabited by counts, dukes and wealthy patricians over the centuries until it fell into disrepair in the 17th century. The place rings a bell for many people in Ghent, as it was once the birthplace of Emperor Charles V.
  • Along the Graslei and Korenlei, two of Ghent's most famous tourist attractions, the user can see the docked ships which bear witness to a thriving port activity. Thanks to its strategic location at the confluence of Schelde and Leie, Ghent became the center of Flanders' grain supply for centuries.

All of these monuments are also located along VisitGent's city walk. Those who walk with an audio guide are encouraged to pause at each of these locations and dive into Ghent's history. Through the various discovery loops, Visit Gent aims to encourage visitors to discover not only Ghent's city center, but also other areas such as the Arts Quarter, Prinsenhof and Portus Ganda.

The app will be available for free download on the Google Play Store and the App Store in a few days.

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The development of the Lens On Ghent app illustrates how we at Proximus create superior experiences and invest in innovation for the user's benefit. The unique AR experience is also supported by the availability of our high-performance 5G network, which is now fully rolled out in Ghent. We are very grateful to the city for working with us on this beautiful blend between culture, tourism and cutting-edge technology, and are confident that this app has potential in other cities and towns as well.

With this app, we invite visitors to take the time to really get to know the beauty and story of the city. Ghent cannot be discovered and experienced in one day, and this app proves that once again.