Building and history
Board of directors of Noordstarfonds vzw
Stefaan D’haeze, General Director
Henk Janssen, Chairman
Jan De Meulder, Director
Kurt Melens, Director
Katrien Laporte, Director
Hilde Braeken, Director
Filip Van der Poorten, secretary
Established in 1935, Noorstarfonds vzw was founded by the former insurance companies Noordstar and Boerhaave (now
) to further boost culture in Flanders. Over the years, Noordstarfonds has supported many events and organisations throughout Flanders. Major sponsored projects of recent years include Het Muziek Lod, Theaterwerkplaats Rataplan, Time Festival, Brugges Festival, Netwerk Aalst, De Spiegel, Behoud de Begeerte, Limelight, Monty, De Werf Brugge, Poëziecentrum, Festival van Vlaanderen, Nieuwpoorttheater, Victoria, Goeyvaerts Consort and Prometheus Ensemble.
In 1980 Noordstarfonds decided to build its own operational platform in addition to supporting activities. It became known as the Gele Zaal , a project that existed in Ghent until 1999. Besides temporary visual art exhibitions, it also presented world music and modern classical music. Later on, exhibitions were organised under the name Galerie Mercator in the Mercator building in Antwerp.
In 1997 it decided to take a long lease on the Handelsbeurs, a historic building in the centre of Ghent and together with the owner, Baloise Insurance (former Mercator Verzekeringen), renovate it. The project started in August 2000. The building itself opened its doors on 27 September 2002. Since then Handelsbeurs has been organising different genres of concerts at the venue and also offers the use of its facilities to others. Today Handelsbeurs Concert Hall is a creative music house that presents and (co)produces a wide range of musical genres.