Oostende (also known as Ostend) Railway Station is on the eastern edge of town right between the Marina and the Vissers Kaai. It is a monument itself, with Baroque-influenced architecture. There is a direct train to Oostende available every hour from Brussels Centraale- Eurostar trains between Brussels run around 10 times a day then passengers can change onto domestic lines on to Oostende. The Oostende tram line next to the station is also a good way to travel around, with over 70 stops. Oostende is connected to Bruges and Ghent by canal, and can be reached by ferry from England.
travellers between Ebbsfleet International and Oostende have average journey times of 1 hour, 41 minute; the route passes through Lille. Highspeed rail is a popular form of transport when reaching Belgium, because its domestic rail network is so well-developed that visitors can reach any Belgian city via train. The best time to visit is late spring through to early autumn, because of the beach resorts.
Oostende has been one of the main ferry harbours to Britain since the 19th century. The Belgian RMT operated a ferry-line between Oostende and Dover which has now been taken over by British companies including Hover Speed Fast Ferries. The English channel can also be crossed by catamaran.
Oostende has its own airport.
The city is on the North Sea in west Belgium. It is not only important because of its port, but also because of its rail links and industries (including soap, ships, tobacco, chemicals and processed food), and its seaside resort (it is called the “Queen of the Belgian Seaside Resorts”). Oostende was a Nazi submarine base during World War 1 and was bombed by the Allies in World War II. It was originally an 11th century port that was fortified by William the Silent in 1583 and played a part in the Dutch gaining independence. The whole city was nearly destroyed in 1604 after being besieged by Ambrogio Spinola and the Spanish. Oostende has a population of around 69000 inhabitants and was one of Europe’s most fashionable social centres.
Fishing is important in Oostende, and this is reflected in the local cuisine, including dishes like Sole à l'Ostendaise' (sole with a white wine sauce and shrimps), 'Tomate Crevette' (a tomato filled with shrimps) and 'Paling in 't groen' (eel in green sauce prepared with parsil, spinach and other green herbs).
Points of Interest
The only intact Napoleonic fortress in Europe, north of the city centre. It was used as a German barracks for the officers in WWII; then became a playground for local schools and is now training ground for climbers. Napoleon Bonaparte had it constructed during the French occupation of Belgium in 1810. Spanish prisoners of war were forced to build it with bricklayers from the local area.
Saint Peter and Saint Paul's church
The church, built between 1904-1905, was designed by the architect Delacenserie in the neo-gothic style. It differs from other churches in West-Flanders because it is made of sandstone, not bricks. The church has twin towers, and the mausoleum for Belgium's first queen Louise-Marie. The stained-glass windows depict Belgian Kings. An older tower, the 'Peperbusse', is a remainder of the former 18th century church that stood at the site before it was destroyed by fire in 1896. The tower now houses a small museum.
The Mausoleum of Queen Louise-Marie
Queen Louise-Marie died in 1850 at the age of 38 and was the wife of the first king of Belgium, Leopold I (Leopold of Saxonia Coburg). The mausoleum lies in the church of St Peter and St Paul, and was made in 1859 by K. Fraikin of white marble.
Street Names in Oostende
Because of its connections with the Royal Family, many of the city’s streets and parks are named after members of royalty, such as:
Leopold II Avenue
Maria Hendrika Park
Albert I Promenade
Queen Astrid Avenue
Leopold III Avenue
Princess Stephanie Square
Marie José Square
Oostende does not have the largest harbour in Belgium, but it is multi-faceted. The main area is across the bridge at the end of the boulevard 'De Smet-De Naeyer', marked at the sea entrance by a lighthouse called 'Lange where the freight harbour is being expanded. The new sealock can allow ships of up to 10.000 tons to enter, then access the canal 'Oostende-Plassendale' which links with the hinterland. Over the smaller boats towers the splendid 'Mercator', once the ship that the Belgian Navy used (until 1960) for the training and instruction of its sailors.
The fish harbour is 'de Vismijn’
The shallow dock for watersports is the 'Spuikom'
The smaller 'Yacht'-harbor is near the city centre.
The James Ensor House
This is the house where James Ensor spent most of his productive years, inherited from his uncle who had a shell shop there. After a restoration in the 1960's the now museum was opened to the public. There is a reconstructed shell shop on the ground floor, a documentation center on the first floor and a lounge workshop on the second floor. Reproductions of Ensor's paintings can be seen here, but there are no works by James Ensor.
The house is open during the Easter holidays, from June till September (10am-12pm, 2-5pm) and in the weekends of Christmas holiday season.
The Provincial Museum of Modern Art
This is important museums of Belgian modern art shows a rich overview of its recent history. The museum and its collection belong to the West-Flanders Province . The museum is housed in an old department store built by Gaston Eysselinck, in a style reminiscent of Le Corbusier. By 1967 the museum possessed around 120 pieces, but currently consists of over 2000. Artists that are represented here include: Prosper de Troyer, Victor Servranckx, Jean Milo, Edgard Tytgat, Jean Brusselmans, Leon Spilliaert, Jozef Peeters, Rene Magritte ('Le Forgeron' from 1920), expressionists Albert Servaes, Georges Minne, Frits Van den Berghe, Gustaaf De Smet and Constant Permeke. More recent artistic developments such asgeometrical art, construtivism, New Painting, Hyperrealism, Pop Art, etc are also represented.
The Museum of Fine Arts
One of the founders of the museum was Henri-Louis Permeke father of the Belgian expressionist painter Constant Permeke). About 400 pieces of work were destroyed by fire in 1940, but a new collection was acquired after the end of WWII that focused on painters from Oostende icluding James Ensor, Constant Permeke, Leon Spilliaert and Jan de Clerck.
Exhibits in the museum are:
James Ensor paintings
Leon Spilliaert paintings
Belgian art from the Romantic movement until the Postimpressionist movement
Important 19th and 20th century artists from Oostende
Contemporary art from different European countries
The Mercator Ship floating museum
The Raversijde Domain group of dunes
The Atlantikwall network of tunnels built by German troops in WWI and WWII
The Vindictive war ship remains
Statue of King Albert I and Queen Elisabeth outside the church of St Peter and St Paul
Partouche Casino- one of the largest in Europe
The 'Fish-mine' fish market
Thermae Palace Hotel- the most prestigious in Oostende
Ostende Main Attractions - Ostende Main Attractions
This open air museum is a unique historical site and consists of around 60 German constructions from both World Wars with underground tunnels, bunkers and trenches.... Ostend, Belgium
Church of the Dunes
The small church was built in the 14th century, it has been destroyed and reconstructed several times.... Ostend, Belgium
This harbour is protected by two massive breakwaters, containing a number of great tourist attractions that include a fish hall and the North Sea Aquarium.... Ostend, Belgium
Provincial Museum of Modern Art
This museum is devoted to Belgian art from modern day to medieval times, a great tourist attraction for tourists interested in the history of Belgium.... Ostend, Belgium