Oostende

Introduction

Ostend is a Belgian coasted city and municipality, located in the province of West-Flanders. It comprises the boroughs of Mariakerke, Raversijde, Stene and Zandvoorde, and the city of Ostend proper – the largest on the Belgian coast.

Only 15 minutes away from Bruges by train and just an hour from Brussels, the port city of Ostend – rejoicing in the titles, “the Queen of Beaches” or “The City by the Sea” with around 70.000 inhabitants, Belgium’s biggest and best known coastal resort.

And it’s a vibrant, historically rich place to visit. Belgium’s premier seaside resort effortlessly succeeds in combining all its assets in one stunning package. Nature, art, music, fashion, food… and its greatest asset: the sea. Ostend’s spirit is egalitarian and welcoming; everyone goes to the seaside to enjoy themselves and everyone is welcome here.

From Lord Byron to Caruso and Albert Einstein everyone who’s anyone has spent time – and money – in Ostend. Marvin Gaye made his home here for a while in his turbulent 1980s, recuperating from a severe drug addiction and writing “Sexual Healing” the video to which was shot in the local casino.

To Belgians the most famous Ostendais of them all remains painter James Ensor who spent most of his life here.

Today Ostend has a modern look and feel and is geared to hosting major conferences and welcoming hordes of tourists.

Ostend may have lost some of its Belle Époque grandeur but it’s still very much alive and kicking and it’s a great little city to visit all year round.

Besides its several renowned beaches Ostend is packed with an enormous and diverse variety of accommodation and there’s plenty to do when the rain comes down.

There’s a lively nightlife scene with plenty of good restaurants and the city is a major shopping centre.

Ostend’s inhabitants are fiercely proud to be ‘Ostendais’ and are known in Belgium for their joie de vivre. The city has a well-equipped Tourism Office located right in front of the Casino.

Let our city stimulate all your senses and discover beautiful Ostend.

To see and to do

Mu.Zee

Mu.ZEE is the museum for Belgian art with absolute openness and accessibility. It tells stories with a unique Belgian art collection from 1830 to now and is in constant conversation with the international art scene through its state-of-the-art exhibition programme and collection policy. Artists and public will find each other in a museum where they can experiment, question and discover.

Location

Romestraat 11

Oostende 8400

+32 59 50 81 18

Ostend City Museum

The museum tells you Ostend’s fascinating life story and also casts light on its future. A host of objects, posters, documents and multimedia applications reveal the secrets behind the development of the city, its tourism, fishing industry and shipping. Discover the Ostend of former times and the most famous resident of the premises, Louise-Marie, the first Belgian queen. She shows a strong presence, and even has her say.

Location

Langestraat 69

Oostende 8400

+32 59 51 67 21

James Ensor House

Visit the house where the Ostend master painter lived and worked from 1917 until his death. The interior has been preserved and you can experience his life firsthand and see the masks, the drawing room which he used as a studio, a harmonium and many other recognisable objects.

Do not fear. To truly understand the master, you must visit his house at least once. The displaying cupboards full of crazy, bizarre, bewildering objects will bring you into the atmosphere of his work.

Location

Vlaanderenstraat 27

Oostende 8400

+32 59 50 81 18

Fort Napoleon

At the end of the 18th century, France annexed the region. Napoleon feared an invasion from England via Ostend harbour and therefore ordered an imposing fort to be built in the dunes in 1811. In both world wars, the fort got a new lease of life as artillery quarter for the German army. Since 1995 the Flemish Heritage Association has managed the fort. It made sure it was restored and turned into an open monument.

Fort Napoleon is well hidden in the dunes on the east bank or “Oosteroever”. Walk through 2 centuries of history, experience plenty of action and thrilling stories.

Location

Vuurtorenweg z/n

Oostende 8400

+32 59 32 00 48

Provincial domain Raversyde – ATLANTIC WALL

Walk through two world wars via bunkers and trenches… More than sixty bunkers, observation posts and gun batteries connected with two kilometres of open and underground passages together form one of the best preserved parts of the German Atlantic wall defences. These German fortifications were built during WWII from the French-Spanish border in the south all the way up to Norway. The domain also houses the only preserved German coastal battery from WWI. The Prince Charles memorial honours Belgium’s Prince Charles who was Prince Regent of the country from 1944 until 1950 and made the domain his home after his regency. Step into the lives of 15th-century fishing families in Walraversijde. Three houses and a bakery were lovingly reconstructed with excavated bricks and faithful replicas of furniture and other household items. Raversyde is a unique piece of nature at the Belgian coast. The domain of almost 50 hectares is partially located in protected dunes and offers visitors a wonderful area to explore on foot.

Location

Nieuwpoortsesteenweg 636

Oostende 8400

+32 59 70 22 85

Mercator

Say the name Mercator and people think of the cartoghrapher. But also of the eponymous threemaster. Board the museum ship and discover the soul of this barquentine. The interactive tour is the best way to visit it.

Since 1964, it has been the pearl in Ostend’s crown.

The Mercator has left its berth on 29/09/2015. Currently, the ship is not open to the public. Expected homeward journey: September 2016

Location

Mercatordek, Oostende 8400

+32 59 51 70 10

Venetian Galleries

In 1900, Belgian King Leopold II commissioned architect Henri Maquet to design the first royal gallery: an L-shaped, closed and covered walkway between the royal villa and a large octagonal salon. When the Belgian royal family decided they would no longer use their coastal residence, Ostend was given the concession of the entire complex and resolved that the building be used for cultural purposes. The city renovated the Venetian Galleries between 1998 – 1999 and converted them into exhibition space.

Location

Zeedijk, Oostende 8400

+32 59 56 20 16

Kursaal Oostende

The building dominates the view at the Albert I promenade. The Casino, a design by Leon Stynen (1953) stands on the spot where in 1875 the first casino already stood. The latter was destroyed during WWII. After the war it would still be eight years before the current building was erected. This strikingly large building can boast being the largest in Belgium and is a typical example of modernism. The eye-catchers are of course the murals by Paul Delvaux. On 17th December 2004, the renovated casino of Ostend was re-opened.

Location

Monacoplein

Oostende 8400

+32 59 29 50 50

Food and drink

A cosy evening, just the two of you? Or a fabulous dinner with a group of friends? If it’s a nice meal you’re looking for, then be assured than there’s plenty of that in Ostend. Because we have a long and proud tradition of good food.

Do you want to eat with a fork and knife? Of do you prefer using your hands? Or… chopsticks?  It’s all possible in Ostend. Regardless of what you’re looking for there is sure to be something on the following page which will whet your appetite.

Enjoy your meal!

 aqua Aqua Del Mar

Kursaal Westhelling 12, 8400 Oostende

Chef Olivier Van Weijnen performs real miracles in his kitchen, in-corporating seafood and meat in divine dishes.

 botteltje Café Botteltje

Louisastraat 19, 8400 Oostende

Beer-based dishes, such as beer bread, beer paté, stews and much more. But they also serve a daily selection of fresh fish, oysters and lobster as well as several different types of beers.

 eclips Eclips

Van Iseghemlaan 85, 8400 Oostende

Are you up for something else? At Eclipse you can choose between fondue and gourmet in a unique setting. And of course the Irish Coffee after your meal is prepared at your table, as tradition dictates.

 el greco El Greco

Langestraat 55B, 8400 Oostende

As you may have surmised form its name, you can taste all the best that Greece has to offer at El Greco.

 faro Faro

Vindictivelaan 3B, 8400 Oostende

If you like a nice piece of fish or a good steak from the polders then do visit this brasserie. They serve the best fish and meat, fresh from the market to your plate.

 ostend queen Ostend Queen

Monacoplein 1, 8400 Oostende

Haute cuisine in every sense of the word, on the top floor Ostend’s casino. The perfect setting to enjoy the excellent oyster buffet and some of the best Ostend fish menus.

 pica Pica Pica

Mijnplein 4, 8400 Oostende

It is not your average Spanish bar. This is the real thing and they only serve real Spanish tapas. But it is mostly known for its amazing selection of wines, cava and sherry.

 sensai Sensai

Albert I Promenade 11 – 12, 8400 Oostende

Dinner at Sensai really is a unique experience. You slip on the traditional kimono after which the Teppan-Yaki cooks show off their skills as they prepare your dinner. Spectacular and healthy too!

 tao TAO

Langestraat 25-26, 8400 Oostende

TAO is a lounge bar which also serves good food. Choose from over 20 different appetizers and main courses.

 tex mex Tex Mex

Monacoplein 7, 8400 Oostende

At Tex Mex you know what to expect: a mix of American and Mexican food. Big portions, sunny favours and a summer athmosphere!

 zeezot ‘t ZeezotjeBonenstraat 17, 8400 Oostende

A tastefully refurbished bistro with a unique and trendy lounge terrace on the first floor. Specialties: marmitta, pasta con frutti di mare!