Ostend (Dutch: Oostende) is a Belgian city and municipality located in the Flemish province of West Flanders. It comprises the boroughs of Mariakerke, Stene and Zandvoorde, and the city of Ostend proper – the largest at the Belgian coast. In earlier times, Oostende 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 "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 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. In later times the harbour 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 harbour to England in 1846 when the first ferry sailed to Dover. It no longer serves in that role today, except for freight, as an alternative channel crossing point to Calais, France. 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 spend their vacations in Ostend. 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".

Nowadays tourists and locals have discovered the joys of windsurfing and kite surfing. With wind never in short supply on the Belgian coast these new to Belgium sports have taken a foothold in Oostende and are practised almost year round (wetsuit mandatory). Oostende attracts all kinds of interesting people. You may find Belgians from everywhere in the country that try to getaway from the stress of life and settle here. Foreigners are known to head this direction. Some arrivals stay some time, others leave and some remain forever. Every person has their own story as Oostende offers everyone something unique.

28 °C

Clear, clear sky

Wind4.12 m/s
Cloudiness0 %
Temperature (min/max)26/34 °C
Pressure1021 hpa
Humidity45 %
Last update: 11 Aug 2022 @ 13:44

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