American Express-- There is no office in Ghent. The nearest is in Brussels.

Area Code-- Ghent's telephone area code is 09. You need to dial 09 both inside Ghent and from elsewhere in Belgium. Dial just 9 (without the initial 0) if you're phoning Ghent from outside Belgium.

Business Hours-- Banks are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 1pm and 2 to 4:30 or 5pm. Open hours for offices are Monday to Friday from 9 or 10am to 4 or 5pm. Most stores are open Monday to Saturday from 9 or 10am to 6 or 7pm; some stay open on Friday until 8 or 9pm.

Car Rental-- Avis, Kortrijksesteenweg 676 (tel. 09/222-00-53); Hertz, Coupure 707 (tel. 09/224-04-06); Europcar, Einde Were 1 (tel. 09/235-87-11).

Currency Exchange-- The tourist office is a good place to change money and traveler's checks, as are banks. ATMs, identified by MISTER CASH and BANCONTACT signs, on Korenmarkt and at numerous other points in the city center, can be accessed by credit cards, bank cards, and charge cards linked to the Cirrus and PLUS networks.

Emergencies-- For police assistance, call tel. 101. For an ambulance or the fire department, call tel. 100.

Hospital-- For medical assistance, go to the Sint-Lucasziekenhuis, Groenebriel 1 (tel. 09/224-61-11).

Newspapers & Magazines-- The Bulletin, Belgium's Brussels-based weekly magazine in English, also covers Ghent, though not in as much depth as it does the capital.

Police (Politie)-- In an emergency, call tel. 101. In nonurgent situations, go to the Central Police Station, Belfortstraat 4 (tel. 09/266-61-30).

Post Office-- The main post office is at Lange Kruisstraat 55 (tel. 09/269-27-50), open Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm, Saturday 9am to noon.

Restrooms-- Should you have a toilet emergency in the center of Ghent, the very best address to find relief is at the Sofitel Gent Belfort hotel, on Hoogpoort.

Safety-- Crime is not much of a problem in Ghent. The city is safe and there are no areas you need to fear going into. That said, it can't hurt to take routine precautions against pickpocketing and other types of theft.

Transit Info-- For information regarding tram, bus, and M├ętro services, call tel. 070/22-02-00.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.