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Disputes at the flea market in Heirnis Ghent 2-3 august 2014

Disputes at the flea market in Heirnis Ghent

It all started with a dispute during the annual flea market organised by “Dekenij Heirnis” in Ghent. Before explaining the history of a “Dekenij” in Ghent, I want to tell what the dispute was about.

Courtesy Koninklijke Dekenij Heirnis

In 1991 a local anti-racist committee “Hand in Hand, Heirnis Gent” organised an alternative flea market in the Zalmstraat, Ghent. Registration was mandatory, but no fee had to be paid.

For some reason “Hand in Hand, Heirnis Gent” didn’t continue this initiative. It was taken over by the “Dekenij Heirnis” later on. The “Dekenij Heirnis” claims to organise and have organised the 23st flea market in 2014, but it is a little lie or a misunderstanding in the organisation, I guess.

But next to some sloppiness with numbers, more things have changed drastically, and not for good in my opinion. The flea market, originally a limited local initiative,  is mentioned in all kind of media,, and so it is expanded. You will find adds or articles  at FoursquareDe Morgen, Facebook, Uit in Gent, Uit in Vlaanderen… and it is also on the official list of “Dienst Markten en Foren – Departement Werk en Economie – Stad Gent”.

Explosion of local flea market 1991 -2014

The local flea market has exploded from one day to two days and from one street to Zalmstraat, Forelstraat, Snoekstraat, Karperstraat, Eendrachtstraat, five streets. People from all over Flanders are visiting it. Enacting visiting tourists in the historical town of Ghent.

Though there is a  new big park since 2011 as announced,  the “Dekenij” refuses to move the flea market to the park, or isn’t allowed to? It would be much cosier. (Public conversation with the  “Deken”, 5 witnesses)

Plan of Lousbergpark Ghent

Also the admission procedure has changed. Registration is still mandatory, but everybody has to pay a fee. Volunteers today need to be paid? Maybe there are some “collateral” cost? Even local residents pay a fee to sell their used stuff, sitting before their own doors, visiting flea marketers pay double. It’s all on the website of the organizer. He claims that doors and garages must be left free (Public conversation with the  “Deken”, 5 witnesses), but the visible reality is they are not left free. Where is the police when you need them?

It is all on the webssite of the flea market. It is an anonymised website where the url’s of the sub pages are hidden. I bumped in it by accident. It uses frames and a cgi-script to generate the sub pages. It is outdated technology, not supported by Microsoft any longer, as you can sea in the code header of the index page ( WC3 warns for security issues concerning cgi in its security FAQ.  Most browsers refuse to generate frames like these, because they are really a threat, importing Trojan horses in your PC. Also the mail contact is anonymous: <> 

But there is a work-around-the-frame, web pages are always somewhere and can be called directly if you know how to do it. Of course the header also generated with cgi is gone, but not in the index page. Anyway here they are, the real sub pages, without a frame or cgi middle man, decapitated:

In the Infodoc.htm you can read:

“Standplaatsen wijkbewoners van 4m voor 1 dag = 3,00€ / 8m voor 1 dag = 6,00€”

“Standplaatsen wijkbewoners van 4m voor 2 dagen = 4,00€ / 8m voor 2 dagen = 8,00€”


“( De organisatie is niet verantwoordelijk voor schade en gebeurlijke ongevallen ! )”

Security issues and privatisation of the public domain

I myself moved from the ‘Brugse Poort  in 1990 and have lived in the “Heirnis “ from 1990 until 2002 and I live there again since 2006 until now. I have been talking to numerous people about the organization of the flea market. They are not happy. Their complaints were:

(1) Blocking the majority of the streets of the quarter, the safety is no longer guaranteed, Heirnis seems an occupied area, bringing together sellers and buyers from all over Flanders. The security of the residents is not guaranteed, neither the security of the visitors, and the visiting flea marketers are confronted with the complaints of the residents. It’s a mess, a chaos, but it is a created one.

(2) There is another hot issue: the “Dekenij” asked and collected a fee for every four meters of sidewalk along the houses in the street. The width of the façade being four meters, this means that also the front doors of the residents are given permission by the “Deken” to be invaded by visiting marketers. He denies, but it is on his website. And the overwhelming width of the houses in this former workers quarter is four meters.  So there is no work-around. Screenshots are available on demand via comments.

This kind of deliberately planning of urban chaos is a danger for the local residents, wanting to leave with bikes, strollers, rollators, wheel chairs, rolling luggage etcetera, and it is a reason for resentment for the visiting flea marketers, claiming they have paid for the full length of the façace of the sidewalk of the house they are invading, i.e. four meters. Time for a some apeasemnet talks, before the conflict derails, before accidents really happen.


Also the website mentions in red:

“the organisation is not responsible for accidents that might take place”.

In my opinion the ‘Deken’ is responsible anyway, because he figures as a ‘Verantwoordelijke Uigever’ on all promotions for the ‘Dekenij Feesten’ he organizes. A friend suggested that the “Dekenij Heirnis” is in fact organising a rave, with permission of the local authorities, the city hall of Ghent.

Also remarkable when looking at the list of the local flea markets, published by the city hall: “Rommelmarkten/tweedehandsbeurzen/garageverkopen in Gent – 2014.”, is that the indicated contact person is not a member of the “Dekenij Heirnis’, he lives at the other side of town… or is he roaming too? On the website of the city hall the “Deken” has its own record. The “Deken” has no email address published, but phonenumbers… are present.

I presume that the “Deken” is not aware that his name is all over the internet, not being an internet savvy at all. Or  he is, and thinks he can get away with it all the time. But the young families, concerned with the safety of their young children are not going to take this any longer, I presume. Next article we will dig further into this problem. We will treat questions like privacy, management and the similarities between created chaos in social media and in the real word, due to anonymity.


3 reacties op “Disputes at the flea market in Heirnis Ghent 2-3 august 2014

  1. Josip Reihl Kir
  2. Daniel Verhoeven

    Dear Josip,

    I think there are some screenshots of the pages that for some reason disappeared without notice. Here are the links:

    Kind regards,
    Daniël Verhoeven


  3. Josip Reihl Kir

    Thanx for te screenshots. The whole situation with those local flea markets is really wierd.

    As a citizen you are obliged to participate in the madness of a market that is the consequence of mad consumerism… poeple buying things they do not need and then fall short in money and have to sell these things they didn’t need anyway. Very weird.

    What I do not understand is that there is no way to opt out of that market. To me that is an invasion of the privacy of a resident that should not be tolerated. Do they keep flea markets in the rich quarters in Ghent also?

    Liked by 1 persoon

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Dit bericht was geplaatst op 18/08/2014 door in Gent, Gentse Markten, Heirnis, WWW en getagd als , .

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