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Hammam Steaming Stories

This project gives you a rare glimpse through the keyhole of a special cultural heritage, namely the bathhouse – the hammam, and the evolution of bathing habits. By examining the authentic hammam culture in Morocco and its breakthrough elsewhere in the world, w-Art shares the cultural richness of hammam and bath culture.


A bathhouse between heaven and hell, where time and space evaporate as quickly as the stress and worries of everyday life. You can now find them all over the world, from Ghent to Paris. Wellness centers and saunas are hip, even in people's homes. In Morocco, the hammam has been a household name for centuries: Men and women not only come here to relax, but also to meet each other, share secrets and perform rituals. “Hammam. Steaming Stories.” offers you a rare glimpse through the keyhole of Moroccan hammam culture and by extension also into the cultural evolution of bathing habits: in Morocco and in Flanders.



The hammam is dead! Long live the hammam! Eucalyptus scent, rosemary ointment, body scrubs, black soap, ...

The wellness sector knows where to get the mustard: Traditional recipes from the Moroccan hammam culture are becoming commonplace today. New hammams are popping up in more and more European cities thanks to globalization and migration. You will not only find hammam spaces in large sauna complexes, more and more Flemish people with Moroccan roots are opening their own bathhouse, where the authentic Moroccan hammam culture is used. Just as the Moroccan hammam breaks through worldwide, it threatens to disappear in Morocco itself. Old bathhouses are closing their doors or being replaced by modern sauna complexes. As a result, an important piece of cultural heritage is in danger of being lost. In Morocco, the hammam is much more than a wellness center, it has been an anchor point for the social fabric for centuries, especially for women. Their historical value is also great: the roots of the hammam lie in Roman baculture, which means that these public baths keep a tradition of 2000 years alive!



'Hammam. Steaming Stories' examines the relationship between two phenomena: the worldwide breakthrough of hammam on the one hand and the demise of the authentic hammam in Morocco on the other. What makes the hammam so universal and what makes it so unique? How do Flemish bathhouses deal with Moroccan traditions and what effect does the worldwide hammam hype have on bathhouses in Morocco, Lebanon, Syria,...

With this project, initiator Nakhla vzw wants to offer the public a new perspective on the hammam: a look behind the scenes, a different light, but also insight into the past and present of this wellness hype. To do this, we collect as many stories about hammams as possible, through interviews (in Morocco and Flanders) and historical research.

3 editions

Mehdy Mariouch.JPG

Ghent (2018)

April 22, 2018

14h - 17h

The STAM in Ghent

Godshuizenlaan 2, 9000 Ghent


Brussels (2020)

March 5, 2020


House of Cultures/Maison des Cultures

Rue Mommaerts 4, 1080 Brussels

Antwerpen 3de editie HSS

Antwerp (2022)

March 3, 2023



Turnhoutsebaan 92,

2140 Antwerp

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