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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Oostende (Dutch)
The beach at the pier.
Municipal flag
Coat of arms
Coat of arms
Location of Ostend in West Flanders
Location of Ostend in West Flanders
Ostend is located in Belgium
Location in Belgium
Sovereign state Belgium Belgium
Region  Flemish Region
Community Flanders Flemish Community
Province  West Flanders
Arrondissement Ostend
Coordinates 51°14′0″N 02°55′0″E / 51.233333°N 2.916667°E / 51.233333; 2.916667Coordinates: 51°14′0″N 02°55′0″E / 51.233333°N 2.916667°E / 51.233333; 2.916667
Area 37.72 km²
– Males
– Females
68,931 (2006-01-01)
1827 inhab./km²
Age distribution
0–19 years
20–64 years
65+ years
Foreigners 3.95% (01/07/2005)
Unemployment rate 13.23% (1 January 2006)
Mean annual income €12,863/pers. (2003)
Mayor Jean Vandecasteele (SP.A)
Governing parties SP.A, CD&V, VLD
Postal codes 8400
Area codes 059
St Petrus and St Paulus Church
Beach, seafront and Europacenter building

Ostend (Dutch: Oostende, Dutch pronunciation: [oˑstˈɛndə]) is a Belgian city and municipality located in the Flemish province of West Flanders. It comprises the boroughs of Mariakerke, Stene and Zandvoorde, and the city of Ostend proper – the largest on the Belgian coast.



Origin to Middle Ages

In earlier times, Ostend was nothing more than a small village built on the east-end (Dutch: oost-einde) of an island (originally called Testerep) between the North Sea and a beach lake. Although small, the village rose to the status of "city" around 1265 when the inhabitants were allowed to hold a market and to build a market hall.

The major source of income for the inhabitants was fishing. The North Sea coastline has always been rather unstable and in 1395 the inhabitants decided to build a new Ostend behind large dikes and further away from the always-threatening sea.

15th to 18th century

Ostend on the Ferraris map (around 1775)

The strategic position on the North Sea coast had major advantages for Ostend as a harbour but also proved to be a source of trouble. The city was frequently taken, ravaged, ransacked and destroyed by conquering armies. The most important of these events was the three-year Siege of Ostend between 1601 and 1604, with on both sides combined more than 80,000 dead or wounded. In their fight against the Spanish Empire during the Eighty Years' War, the Dutch rebels, the Geuzen, had occupied the city.

After this era Ostend turned into a harbour of some importance. In 1722 the Dutch again closed off the entrance to the harbour of Antwerp, the Westerschelde. Therefore, Ostend rose in importance because the city provided an alternative exit to the sea. The Southern Netherlands (largely the territory of present Belgium) had become part of the Austrian Empire. The Austrian Emperor Charles VI granted the city the trade monopoly with Africa and the Far-East. The Oostendse Compagnie (the "Ostend trade company") was allowed to found colonies overseas. However, in 1727 the Oostendse Compagnie was forced to stop its activities because of Dutch and British pressure. The Netherlands and Britain would not allow competitors on the international trade level. Both nations regarded international trade as their privilege.

Modern era

In later times the harbour of Ostend continued to expand because the harbour dock, as well as the traffic connections with the hinterland, were improved. In 1838 a railway connection with Brussels was constructed. Ostend became a transit harbour to England in 1846 when the first ferry sailed to Dover. It no longer serves in that role today, except for freight, as an alternative channel crossing point to Calais, France. Very important for the image of the city was the attention it started to receive from the Belgian kings Leopold I and Leopold II. Both liked to spend their vacations in Ostend. Important monuments and villas were built to please the Royal Family. The rest of aristocratic Belgium followed and soon Ostend became known as "The Queen of the Belgian sea-side resorts".


  • Interesting locations are the Casino and Fort Napoleon.
  • Ostend is also famous for its sea-side esplanade, pier, and fine-sand beaches.
  • The James Ensor museum can be visited in the house where the artist lived from 1917 until 1949.
  • The Mercator, an educational tall ship of the Belgian merchant fleet, has been converted into a maritime museum.
  • Hippodrome Wellington, horse racing venue
  • St Petrus and St Paulus Church, Ostend (Sint-Petrus-en-Pauluskerk), built in Neo Gothic style.
  • In the Mu.Zee (a new museum after the fusion of the Provinciaal Museum voor de Moderne Kunst-Aan-Zee and the "Museum voor Schone Kunsten"), the museum of modern art from the 1830s to the present, you can view works of noted local painters such as James Ensor, Leon Spilliaert, Constant Permeke and the revolutionary post-war Belgian COBRA movement amongst others.
  • Beach(es): Ostend is visited by many 'day' tourists, especially during July and August. Tourists from the Belgian inland and foreigners mostly arrive by train (day trips) and head for the closest beach area from the station (kleinstrand). The locals and other residents in Belgium usually occupy the larger beach (grootstrand). Ostend is widely visited by British, Germans, French and Dutch. Buses from Brussels tend to pass through giving the opportunity to North American and Asian tourists to view Ostend.
  • Views from the pier promenade or beach of departing and arriving passenger ferry ships from Ramsgate (UK).
  • During summer evenings (or just any kind of weather) you can walk through the little streets around Het Vissersplein. At certain times there are local markets in the neighbourhood streets and in the summer the Vissersplein has music festivals. The Vissersplein (Bonenstraat/Kadzandstraat) is a car free zone with many brasseries where you can sit outside and have a drink. Look towards the port side and find many little fish outlets, and beyond that, again, you can view close the ferries docking.
  • Train station
  • Film locations: more and more directors are filming in Ostend.
    The movies Place Vendôme with Catherine Deneuve; Daughters of Darkness [1] with Delphine Seyrig as Countess Bathory; Armaguedon [2] with Alain Delon; Camping Cosmos with Lolo Ferrari; and Ex-Drummer based on the novel by Herman Brusselmans were partially shot in Ostend.
  • The comic Le Bal du rat mort [3] about a dreadful invasion of rats, is set in Ostend.
Ostend beach and the promenade pier - panoramic view.


Jetairfly has its headquarters in Ostend.[4] TAAG Angola Airlines's Ostend offices are on the grounds of Ostend Airport in Ostend.[5]


Notable citizens of Ostend

References to these notable citizens of Ostend can be found here : Oostendse biografieën (in Dutch)

Sport clubs

See also

External links


  1. ^ Daughters of Darkness at IMDB
  2. ^ Armaguedon at IMDB
  3. ^ Le Bal du rat mort
  4. ^ "TUIfly Academy Brussels." Jetairfly. Retrieved on 23 October 2009.
  5. ^ "TAAG Offices." TAAG Angola Airlines. Retrieved on 23 January 2010.

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Benelux : Belgium : Flanders : Oostende

Oostende is a city in West Flanders in Belgium.

Get in

By plane

The airport of Oostende, at a few minutes by car from the city center, is in full expansion. Besides charters, private jets are welcome here too.

By train

The train stops in the centre of Oostende and offers a lot of direct connections from and to the midland. The Thalys will take you in 1.30 hour from Parijs and in 2:00 hours from Amsterdam to Oostende.

By car

Comming to Ostend by car is also possible. Ostend has a lot of parking lots.

By ferry

Trans Europa Ferries organises a passenger service (only with car) between Oostende and Ramsgate. This transfer takes about 4 hours.


Some places you really have to see while visiting Ostend:

Floral Clock

The 20 000 flowers and plants of the floral clock in the Leopold Park are beautiful to see.

Dikke Mathille (Big Matilda)

This bronze nude from 1954 lies next to the Leopold Park.

Saint Peter-& Pauls' church

This neo-gothic church with beautiful glass windows stands on the Wapenplein.

The Royal Galleries

Are built in 1905.

The Venetian Galleries

are built by Leopold II. The statue of King Boudewij I keeps an eye on things.


Pay a visit at Museum Ship Amandine. This interactive museum shows you the history of fishing in Ostend.

Domain Raversijde with the Atlantic Wall, Walraversijde & Prince Charles Memorial is an open air museum with memories from the Middle Ages to the Second World War.

Earth Explorer is a scientific fun park. Ideal for children.

Fort Napoleon is an impressive building with age-old walls and a magnificent modern entrance. It also has a stylisch restaurant.

James Ensor House' is a museum about the life of the famous artist James Ensor.

Art Museum by the Sea shows collections of the province of West-Flanders and the city of Ostend.

Three-master Mercator is an impressive sailing ship with a lenght of more than 78 meters and a width of 11 meters. This beautiful ship is really worth a visit.

Ostend's historical museum De Plate learns you more about the history of Ostend.

The North Sea Aquarium has more than 60 differents species of maritime life and lets you discover the exciting underwater world.


Ostend is a paradise for shopaholics. First of all, you have the Kapellestraat with all the important large chain stores. In the Adolf Buylstraat you can find designer clothing, shoes and accessories. Ostend has also a shopping center Shopping Center Feest- en Kultuurpaleis with 17 different shops. Other shopping streets are Christinastraat, Witte Nonnenstraat, James Ensorgalerij and Alfons Pieterslaan


There are a number of places to eat in Ostend, ranging from a Pizza Hut to charming old style Flemish Pannenkoekenhuis (Pancake Houses). There are also a number of chocolatiers and Dutch style Snoepje (Sweetie) stores, the latter lit up in bright pink neon. Most street corners are either a coffee shop or a bar.

The Restaurant l'Enfant Terrible, located at Nieuwstraat 16, an easy walk from the town centre and seconds from the harbour, serves an excellent selection of good, well prepared food. In particular, their entrecote steak with fries is outstanding.

No doubt the place with the most charm and character in Oostende is 'Stad Kortrijk', a 'friterie chique', offering you excellent steak, fish, omelettes,... with freshly baked fries and home-made mayonnaise. And all this for an excellent price. The shark mouth hanging on the wall, the boat lights,... all add to the character of the place...

A common sight is a coffee served with a small advocaat (eggnog). Sometimes these come with three or four profiteroles, free of chocolate sauce, for dipping in the liqueur.

  • Restaurant Foyer, Albert I Promenade 62B, +32 (0)59 516122, [1]. 12.00-14.30 and 18.00-21.30. Come and have dinner in our charming restaurant De Foyer. If your are looking for a nice lunch or dinner with seaside view, you came to the right place.  edit

No doubt the place with the most charm and character in Oostende is 'Stad Kortrijk', a 'friterie chique', offering you excellent steak, fish, and omelettes with freshly baked fries and home-made mayonnaise. And all this for an excellent price. The shark mouth hanging on the wall, and the boat lights all add to the character of the place.

  • Hotel de Hofkamers, ijzerstraat 5, [2]. checkin: 14.30; checkout: 11.00. Small charming hotel with only 25 rooms, situated in a quiet street in the heart of Ostend. The hotel has a secure parking/garage. At maximum 100m you will find the Casino-Kursaal of Ostend and the beach. 100.  edit
  • Hotel Ter Streep, Leopold II laan 14, [3]. checkin: 13.00; checkout: 11.00. Hotel Ter Streep, situated in Ostend along the avenue Leopold II, embellished with flowers. The hotel is near the beach, the casino of Ostend and the shopping centre. 90.00€.  edit
  • Vrienden op de Fiets, 3 adresses for members making a cycling or walking tour through Belgium, [4]
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Dutch Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia nl


  • IPA: /osˈtɛn.də/
  • Hyphenation: Oost‧en‧de


From oost (east) + ende (end); in the middle ages the city was on the easter end of an island, Testerep, which is now attached to the main land.

Proper noun


  1. Ostend

Related terms

  • Middelkerke
  • Westende

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