Castle Rijvissche in Zwijnaarde dates back to the Middle Ages. The castle surrounded by canals already functioned in the 12th century as a medieval moated castle for the defense around Ghent and belonged to St. Peter's abby. Maurice Sijs, an artist of natural talent was born in 1880 in Gent, where he spent most of his youth. His father, a shoemaker by profession, was a famous tenor singer and a respectable member of the St. Jacobs Church Choir in Gent. His uncle, Seraphijn Sijs, was also a well-known artist before the turn of the century.
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