At one end of the Exhibition, in the triangular space bounded by the Audenaerde road, the old railway from Ghent to Kortrijk, the International Hall, a space of three and a half hectares had been reserved for the Modern Village.
The aim of the Modern Village Study Committee, said Mr. Em. Tibbaut, member of the House of Representatives and President of the High Council of Agriculture, was "to provide an appropriate setting for agricultural participation and thus to place before the general public the interesting problem of contemporary rural life in the Modern Village. In collaboration with the Executive Committee, the Study Committee organised the agricultural community, in which the exhibitors had the legitimate ambition of showing the value of the products of their activity, but which had the social and economic aim of offering, for the critical examination of visitors, types of constructions and buildings grouped in villages, to see them analysed, discussed, to point out their faults and to suggest improvements: this was the wish of the Study Committee. The discussion of the problem, in which everyone could take part, thus focused on concrete objects; it took on a positive, objective, practical character and could do more for progress than the most eloquent dissertations. "
These lines are taken from the preface written by Mr. Tibbaut for the commemorative book of the Modern Village. This publication, in which some particularly authoritative men collaborated, is too developed for us to give a complete overview here. As this Golden Book has to mention all the events of the Universal Exhibition, we must limit ourselves to pointing out the main features of the Modern Village and to suggesting the memory by the image.
The Modern Village was a rural settlement built according to modern principles, designed according to rational and practical principles, but with a real concern for elegance, simplicity and, above all, for hygiene.
One could write countless pages on the errors of the builders of rural constructions. How many pretentious houses, how many ridiculous living rooms, how many cramped gardens have already taken the place of the beautiful and healthy peasant house of yesteryear. But on the other hand, how many prejudices need to be uprooted, how many new methods need to be introduced to preserve the beauty and practicality of the past and destroy the rooted errors.
©Livre d'Or de l'Exposition Universelle & Internationale de Gand 1913