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Winter circus Mahy

Winter circus Mahy

Revamped winter circus in Ghent

After the Second World War, the acrobats and horses in the Ghent Winter Circus made way for the out-of-control classic car collection of the Mahy car garage. After more than 20 years of vacancy, the Ghent circus was renovated.

There is no trace of the first Ghent winter circus, built in 1894, because it largely burned down in 1920. Architect Jules Pascal Ledoux drew the plans for the new building in 1923, which still stands today.

Around the central, covered central square in the New Circus, the audience watched revues, circus, film performances and variety programs. However, the curtain fell in 1944.


A ramshackle organ reminds you of the circus past, but you could also find other traces under the central square.

Horse stables

The horses were eagerly waiting in the cellars. The underground rooms, supported by cast iron columns, also hid the walls and foundations of the Van den Kerckhove cotton factory, which burned down in 1878.

Mahy garage

The Winter Circus reopened its doors in 1947 as the Mahy garage. Around the central track, the garage built ramps to stow cars up to the top floors.

After the garage closed in 1978, an impressive collection of vintage cars remained there until Mahy moved his collection to Wallonia. What was left behind were the grease pits, a petrol pump, and an idle tap.


The Winter Circus has been empty since the 1990s. However, the first works to renovate the Winter Circus started in 2017. In the shadow of the new library, the Winter Circus will house an underground concert hall that opened its doors at the end of 2023.

The central track will become a pedestrian area. From 2024, it's surrounded by offices operated by TENT, a consortium that wants to turn the Winter Circus into a technology temple.

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