On Tuesday December 14th 2010, participants from the FIRE conference, the Living Labs & Smart Cities conference, ServiceWave 2010 and the IPv6 conference will be able to attend a joint conference dinner at the “Handelsbeurs” in Ghent. Participation to the dinner is included in the attendance of the Living Labs & Smart Cities conference and thus free of extra charge.

This dinner will be preceeded by a boat trip from the conference venue (ICC, Ghent) to the dinner location, offering you a splendid view of the hostorical city center of Ghent, which is very prettly lighted in winter time. The guide will take you on an unforgettable adventure through the age-old houses and picturesque bridges along the canals of Ghent.

The boat trip will bring you right up to the landing stage of the “Handelsbeurs“, where drinks and dinner will be served upon arrival.

Protected since the 1940s but then neglected for several years, this building, with its imposing façade, was in dire need of thorough restoration. The transformation project chose, where possible, to preserve historic features or, where necessary, opted for complete rebuilding. The concept of the Handelsbeurs’ restoration was for the most part based on the concept of the Handelsbeurs as it was around the turn of the century, when the ‘twin building’ got its current outline.

Today, the two halls have different styles and characters. The foyer presents itself as a mundane banquet hall and has again found the original gilded glory it doubtlessly had when, in 1851, it first opened to serve that purpose. It also boasts spectacular, coloured LED lighting in the ceiling, which can transform the whole room into a more modern café or bar. The showpiece of the project, however, is the rather austere-looking concert hall. It measures 17 by 26 metres and is approximately 9 metres high. But there’s more to it than meets the eye. It looks most familiar in its ‘standing formation’, offering room for up to 850 concert-goers. With its parquet floor at street level, the concert hall is also on a level with the foyer, as it had been since 1906. The recent renovation, however, divided the floor into 4 platforms, each adjustable in height. The floor can thus be lowered by 6 metres, transforming the hall into a ‘classical concert hall’ with a grandstand holding up to 392 seats. In this configuration the stage is level with the river behind it.