More than 71.000 people live in Ostend. The city is located in the Belgian province of West Flanders on the North Sea. Ostend is a port city, a traffic hub and Belgium's most famous seaside resort.
Ostend in the changing times
Ostend was first mentioned in documents at the beginning of the 9th century. The place was nothing more than a modest fishing settlement at the eastern end of the former island of Testerup. As an exporter of herring preserved in brine, Ostend achieved prosperity in the Middle Ages. Later, in the years 1601 to 1604, the city got caught in the so-called 80 Years War between the fronts of Dutch freedom fighters and Spanish troops. The consequences: Ostend was starved and the rebelling Dutch were defeated by the Spanish troops. In 1722 the Keizerlijke Oostendse Compagnie was set up in Oostende for maritime trade with East India and China. The good trading contacts lasted for a while before falling asleep again.
Amandine fishing trawler
With the construction of the Mechelen - Ostend railway line and the expansion of the harbor basin, Ostend began its career as a seaside resort. The city was, unimaginable by today's standards, the most glamorous seaside resort on the continent. Ostend was the meeting point of the rulers, the rich and the beautiful and was nicknamed the Queen of the seaside resorts. Little has been preserved of its original splendor. In 1944 Allied bombers carried out heavy attacks on the port. The city was largely destroyed.
Lots of beach - behind the Venetian galleries
Ostend is still Belgium's largest and most important seaside resort today. It has miles of wide beaches and the associated dune landscape. The transport infrastructure is remarkably good. Ostend can be easily reached by air, road and rail. Ferries also operate between England and Ostend.
Ostend Central Station
The city presents itself to visitors mainly with uninspired, unadorned architecture. The unattractive skyscrapers along the wonderful lake promenade are examples of many building sins. The tallest building, the Residentie Europacentrum, is 104 meters high and has 35 floors. The wide, well-tended beaches, contemporary accommodation and varied gastronomic offers make stays in Ostend still recommendable.
City panorama of Ostend
A marina with 260 berths is located in an exposed location in the city center. The marina is not far from the largest shopping street, the Kapellestraat. The further the visitor goes towards the beach promenade, the higher the quality of the shops. Most of the shops in the center are also open on Sundays.
The Wapenplein in the city center
Ostend - a destination for cruise ships
From time to time, cruise ships dock right next to the handsome, Belle Époque-style train station. From our point of view, Oostende is also an interesting destination for cruise ship guests. What is worth looking at is described below Ostend sights.