Oostende (Dutch)
The beach at the pier.


Coat of arms
Ostend is located in Belgium
Location in Belgium
Coordinates: 51°14′N 02°55′E / 51.233°N 2.917°E / 51.233; 2.917
Country Belgium
Region Flemish Region
Community Flemish Community
Province West Flanders
Arrondissement Ostend
 - Mayor Jean Vandecasteele (SP.A)
 - Governing party/ies SP.A, CD&V, VLD
 - Total 37.72 km2 (14.6 sq mi)
Population (1 January 2010)[1]
 - Total 69,064
 - Density 1,831/km2 (4,742.2/sq mi)
 - Foreigners 3.95% (7 January 2005)
Postal codes 8400
Area codes 059
Website www.oostende.be
St Petrus and St Paulus Church
Beach, seafront and Europacenter building

Ostend (Dutch: Oostende, Dutch pronunciation: [oˑsˈtɛndə]; French: Ostende; German: Ostende, German pronunciation: [ɔsˈtɛndə]) is a Belgian city and municipality located in the Flemish province of West Flanders. It comprises the boroughs of Mariakerke (West Flanders), 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 "town" 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.

Fifteenth to eighteenth 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 town was frequently taken, ravaged, ransacked and destroyed by conquering armies. The Dutch rebels, the Geuzen, took control of the town. The Siege of Ostend, 1601 to 1604, of which it was said that "the Spanish assailed the unassailable and the Dutch defended the indefensible", cost a combined total of more than 80,000 dead or wounded, making it the single bloodiest battle of the Eighty Years' War. This shocking event set in motion negotiations that led to a truce several years later. When the truce broke down, it became a Dunkirker base.

After this era, Ostend was 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 town 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 town 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 the Dover route, but now has passenger and freight connections with Ramsgate. Very important for the image of the town was the attention it started to receive from the Belgian kings Leopold I and Leopold II. Both liked to spend their holidays 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".

In 1866 Ostend was the venue for a crucial meeting of exile Spanish Liberals and Republicans which laid the framework for a major uprising in their country, culminating in Spain's Glorious Revolution two years later.

The town hosted all but one of the sailing events for the 1920 Summer Olympics in neighbouring Antwerp.[2] They also hosted the polo events.[3]


  • 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, the ex training sailing ship for Belgian merchant navy officers, is now open to the public to view.
  • 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 used to be widely visited by British, Germans, French and Dutch, but is now mainly frequented by Belgians and Dutch.
  • Near the beach is a well-preserved section of the World War II Atlantic Wall.
  • 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[4] with Delphine Seyrig as Countess Bathory; Armaguedon[5] 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[6] about a dreadful invasion of rats, is set in Ostend.
Ostend beach and the promenade pier - panoramic view.


Climate data for Ostend
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 6.1
Average low °C (°F) 1.1
Precipitation mm (inches) 62.6
Avg. precipitation days 13 9 11 10 10 10 8 8 11 11 13 13 127
Source: World Meteorological Organisation (UN)[7]


Jetairfly has its headquarters in Ostend.[8] TAAG Angola Airlines's Ostend offices are on the grounds of Ostend Airport in Ostend.[9]


Notable residents

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

Sport clubs

See also


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ostend — Os*tend , v. t. [L. ostendere to show.] To exhibit; to manifest. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Mercy to mean offenders we ll ostend. J. Webster. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Ostend — Ostend, Theil der Stadt London, s.d. E) d) …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Ostend — [ō̂ ständ′äs tend′, äs′tend] seaport in NW Belgium, on the North Sea: pop. 69,000: Fr. name Ostende [ō̂ ständ′] …   English World dictionary

  • Ostend — Stadtteil von Frankfurt am Main …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ostend — /os tend , os tend/, n. a seaport in NW Belgium. 69,039. French, Ostende /aws tahonnd /. * * * ▪ Belgium Flemish  Oostende , French  Ostende        municipality, Flanders Region, northwestern Belgium. It lies along the North Sea and at the end of …   Universalium

  • Ostend — Ostende Ostende : la plage, la digue et la tour Europacenter …   Wikipédia en Français

  • ostend — äˈstend transitive verb ( ed/ ing/ s) Etymology: Middle English ostenden, from Latin ostendere to show : to show clearly : exhibit, manifest seemed to me somewhat to ostend his relationship with the … household H.H.Johnston …   Useful english dictionary

  • Ostend — or Flemish Oostende or French Ostende geographical name city & port NW Belgium population 68,500 …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Ostend — noun /ˈɒstˌɛnd/ The largest coastal city of Belgium …   Wiktionary

  • OSTEND —    (26), a favourite watering place on the SW. coast of Belgium, 65 m. due W. of Antwerp; attracts 20,000 visitors every summer; it is an important seaport, having daily mail communication with Dover, and it manufactures linen and sail cloth;… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia