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Oostende Travel Guide: 570 reviews and 1,783 photos

---------- Views of modern Ostend -----------

Oostende is a city of about 90.000 inhabitants and still the largest city at the Belgian coast.

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 spent their vacations in Oostende. Important monuments and villas were built to please the Royal Family. The rest of aristocratic Belgium followed and soon Oostende became known as "The Queen of the Belgian sea-side resorts" .

I'm not gonna bother you like some other vt-users do by giving must see tips as: The Aquarium, the Mercator Ship, the Cathedral,... these are definitely short-see tips. You can pass them & take a picture,nothing less nothing more.

I'd rather give you tips of atmospheric events/places that makes our city charmfull. That is what you will remember as a tourist. Static buildings are no must-see activities.

I try to bring over the atmosphere in pictures, events, fine restaurant tips,...

This picture here is our famous statue with a fisherman staring over the northsea with crossed arms, remembering all the fishers that died in the sea in history. A bit the statue of liberty of Ostend :)

The History of Ostend
Oostende, now a major Belgian city of about 90.000 people, was nothing more than a small village built on an island (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, of course, fishing. The North Sea coastline has always been rather unstable and in 1395 the inhabitants decided to build a new Oostende behind large dikes and further away from the always threatening sea.

The strategic position on the North Sea coast had major advantages for Oostende as a harbor but also proved to be a source of trouble. The city was frequently taken, destroyed and rampaged by conquering armies. After their independence from the Spanish Empire, the Dutch had preserved some strongholds in the Southern Netherlands, such as the cities of Nieuwpoort and Oostende. Between 1601 and 1604 the Spanish army succeeded in taking Oostende from the 'Geuzen (= Protestant Dutch seperationists)'.

After this era Oostende turned into a quiet harbor of some importance. In 1722 the Dutch closed off the entrance to the harbor of Antwerp. Therefore, Oostende rose in importance because the city provided an alternative entrance to the sea. The Southern Netherlands (now Belgium) had became 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 society) was allowed to found colonies overseas. However, in 1727 the 'Oostendse Compagnie' was forced to stop its activities because of Dutch and British pressure. Holland and Britain would not allow competitors on the international trade level. But nations regarded international trade as their privilege.

In later times the harbor of Oostende continued to expand because the harbor dock, as well as the traffic connections with the hinterland, were improved. In 1838 a railway connection with Brussels was constructed. Oostende became a transit harbor to England in 1846 when the first Ferryboat sailed to Dover. When King Leopold I & II built the Hypodrome, Casino and many other, Ostend became the Queen of all Seaside resorts. Nightlife was very much alive, lots of tourists yearly. Then Ostend lost his crown when Germans bombarded our city in WW II.
Then Ostend arised again with new architecture, and now is back for good. Now in 2006 the city is again in full expansion, new shoppingcentra, biggest basketballtemple, new restaurants....

Enjoy the Queen of all Seaside resorts!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Charming city, nice beach, peacefull
  • Cons:Nightlife is nothing, the city should invest in youth & creativity, new pubs, loungebars, discos, ...
  • Intro Updated May 21, 2009
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Reviews (80)

Comments (7)

  • bonio's Profile Photo
    Aug 2, 2008 at 4:11 PM

    Hey,We will visit Oostende soon, not all English are badly behaved! May even go to a KVO game

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Jul 19, 2008 at 11:16 AM

    Great tips, very interesting to read. Your city is a great place to visit!

  • Dec 17, 2006 at 7:29 AM

    Enjoyed your Oostende Page. Nice!

  • doreenellen's Profile Photo
    Apr 4, 2005 at 4:19 AM

    Lovely photographs, especially the sunsets. I was lucky enough to stay a few days in your hometown and had a great time.

  • Jun 10, 2004 at 8:31 PM

    Many many happy returns of the day. Wishing you a happy birthday, great time and all the best in life. Greetings from India. Your pages, albums , tips and information are really great.

  • conny_bazen's Profile Photo
    Apr 18, 2004 at 5:55 AM

    Great tips !! Leuke stad !

  • funkymama's Profile Photo
    Jul 4, 2003 at 12:50 PM

    Brooklyn my favorit shop:-) Tja de brazza is still the place to be:-)

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