Belgian Geographers Days 2019

Friday October 18th - Academic Day

Saturday October 19th - Teachers Day


We warmly invite all geographers to the 8th Belgian Geographers Days, which will take place on Friday October 18th 2019 at "Het Pand" & on Saturday 19th 2019 at Campus Sterre, Ghent.

Friday October 18th - Academic Day


The overall theme of this year’s conference is “Geography for the Future - The Future of Geography?”. Poverty, famines, political conflicts and cultural contrasts, (in)equality, the quest for clean energy, the limits to economic growth, climate change, untenable mobility systems and air quality, indigenous struggles, responsible resource management,... These are only a few of the crucial and often interconnected issues today, which all bear a strong geographical component. Therefore, the challenges and opportunities are numerous for the discipline of Geography and will also shape the manner in which the field will develop in the future.

In order to consolidate this broad spectrum of critical issues during the Belgian Geographers Days, we believe the Sustainable Development Goals, formulated in 2016 by the United Nations, will provide a convenient and workable framework. The SDGs provide a global blueprint for a future-proof society, planet, prosperity, peace and partnerships. Besides the open sessions, which will be organized based on the received abstracts, we distilled the following 6 key sessions for the conference, based on the SDGs:

  • Quality of Life

    This theme gathers three SDGs focusing on the people’s quality of life: (1) No Poverty, (2) Zero Hunger, (3) Health and Well-Being. Many different geographic research disciplines contribute to this broader goal, ranging from studies in physical geography on hydrology systems and erosion management to enable sustainable agriculture, over efforts in landscape-ecology that investigate the impact of people’s surroundings on their health and well-being, to developing geographic information systems assisting rescue workers in areas affected by epidemics or calamities.

  • (In)equalities

    Inequality can be studied in relation to a wide variety of topics such as space, locations, gender, ethnicity, (social) mobility, accessibility, economy, trade and income,... Unsurprisingly, a plethora of geographic subdisciplines deal with this matter: economic geographers, transport geographers, feminist geographers, spatial analysts, human geographers, ... This session is open to scholars whose work strongly centers on the issues of (in)equality.

  • Climate Change

    Climate change is inevitably the major environmental threat we face nowadays. Geography allows the understanding of the geospatial characteristics of climate change with its impacts, and consequently contributes to sustainable and eco-driven land management decisions. Therefore, we encourage presentations regarding climate change research and exchange of information and ideas among researchers in geography and its related domains.

  • Innovation and Infrastructure

    The 9th sustainable development goal stimulates us to build a resilient infrastructure, to promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and to foster innovation. Innovation is one of the main objectives of scientific research these days and many studies, especially in geography, focus on infrastructure and industrialization. The availability of big data (e.g. sensor data, point clouds) provides new possibilities but also offers challenges for the design and management of infrastructure and industry. How future innovations will influence both the technology and the environment of infrastructure and industry, is an important question for the geographers.

  • Sustainable Cities and Communities

    The UN have estimated that two-thirds of the global population will be living in cities by 2050. Next to the pressure on housing and infrastructure caused by this rapid urbanization, cities are also faced with other challenges such as the impacts of climate change, migration and mobility issues. The environmental impact of the urban sprawl, the heat-island effect, vulnerability to disasters, social segregation,... are all issues to be tackled when working towards sustainable cities and communities.

  • Life on Land

    Humans live on the Earth’s surface and have substantially changed it. Land changes have allowed settlement and development, while at the same time landscapes have not always changed for the better. Direct human impacts on the environment have resulted in strong modifications of the geomorphic processes, soils, vegetation and water management. This is the realm of many landscape and physical geographers in Belgium.


Check out the detailed programme
Keynote speaker Ingrid Vanden Berghe

Ingrid Vanden Berghe graduated as an agricultural engineer at KULeuven, specialized in soil science. After her studies, she stayed at KULeuven to work as a researcher. After four years of research, she started as advisor to the minister of Environment, Public Works, Town and Land Use Planning. In 2002 she returned to the world of geographical information as General administrator of the National Geographic Institute, the national mapping agency of Belgium. She is currently President of EuroGeographics, member of the board of several research organizations and part-time lecturer at KULeuven. In her keynote speech, she will talk about the work of the United Nations Committee of experts on global geospatial information management.

Keynote speaker Ricardo Petrella

Ricardo Petrella obtained his doctoral degree in Political Sciences from the University of Florence in Italy. After working as a scientific secretary, he became Director of the European Centre for research coordination in Social Sciences in Vienna (Austria). From 1976 to 1978, he was a senior researcher in the International Council of Social Sciences in Paris (France) and also a fellow of the Ford Foundation. From 1978 to 1994, he led the FAST programme (Forecasting and Assessment in Science and Technology) in the European Commission. In 1991, he established the Lisbon Group, six years later the International Committee for a global water contract and in 2003, he took the initiative to set up the University of the Public Good. Outstanding universities around the world, such as KULeuven and VUB, welcomed him to teach classes. Today, we are welcoming him on the Belgian geography days to talk about resilient cities.


For late registrations, please contact ( us.


The BGD2019 (Academic Day) will take place in Het Pand. There is a good connection with public transportation.


Het Pand
Onderbergen 1
9000 Gent


How to reach the venue by public transport from the railway station?

Take tram 1 (direction Evergem or Wondelgem) from Sint-Pieters train station to the stop “Gent Korte Meer”, get off and walk 5 minutes.

Saturday October 19th - Teachers day


Saturday 19 October focuses on education: a mix of lectures, workshops and excursions that is also based as much as possible on the selected SDGs. As these are the Belgian geographers days, there will be workshops in Dutch, French and English.


  • from 8.30 a.m. welcome with coffee
  • 9 am: Keynote: Dr. Marjolein Cox
  • 9.45 am: workshops round 1
  • 11 am: coffee break
  • 11.30 am: workshops round 2
  • 12.45 pm: lunch break
  • 1.30 pm: workshops round 3 or excursion (includes round 3 and 4)
  • 2.45 pm: coffee break
  • 3.15 pm: workshops round 4 or excursion (continuation)
  • 4.30 pm: concluding drink




The BGD2019 (Teachers Day) will take place in the S8 building of the Department of Geography at the Sterre, Krijgslaan 281, 9000 Ghent. On spot parking + good connection with public transportation.


Department of Geography
Sterre, Building S8
Krijgslaan 281
9000 Ghent

Important Dates

  • Abstract due by: June 30th 2019 July 31th 2019
  • Notification of acceptance: July 10th September 15th 2019
  • Registration opens: September 15th 2019
  • Registration ends: October 4th 2019
  • Conference: October 18th 2019