Ostend by all seasons
Architecture: The queen of beaches
It reigns a retro charm on the city and as of the exit of the station. With its Belle Epoque French-inspired architecture, its listed hall has undergone major restoration work. The sovereign Leopold II is a railroad enthusiast and it is under his impulse that Ostend becomes the queen of the beaches with a casino, a tram, a racecourse, a covered gallery to walk along the beach, thermal baths… Remains still very present which certainly seduced the two masters who are James Ensor and Léon Spilliaert whose Mu.ZEE has works of foreground. Current exhibition: James Ensor and Léon Spilliaert.
Art and coast
2018, tribute to James Ensor
The exhibition James Ensor, a mother-of-pearl dream (from 12/05) at Mu.ZEE organised with the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp, as part of the Ensor Research Project programme.
James Ensor House reopens its doors!
The current succession:
Two great masters from Ostend and also a generation of closer artists, such as Arno Quinze who conceived “Rock Strangers” on the dike as part of Beaufort04, rocks in red-orange colours or Kris Martin and Altar on the beach inspired by Van Eyck’s Mystic Lamb.
The Triennale de Beaufort, a bold concept launched in 2003 by Willy Van den Bussche, curator of the Musée d’art moderne d’Ostende on the 65 km coastline of Knokke le Zoute à la Panne (10 participating municipalities), sees an open-air museum being built up over the years.
For Beaufort 2018, curator Heidi Ballet (our interview to follow) has selected 3 artists for Ostend: Stief DeSmet (monument for a Wullok), Guillaume Bijl (Sorry) and Basim Magdy (No Shooting Stars).
Other cultural highlights :
Guido van Helten’s Crystal Ship (who thinks he is our JR?) with the enlargement of the fisherman Norbert Desmidt’s face, on a silo at quai Henri Bael, a nod to the city’s port vocation.
Mercator and Amandine, two ships to visit,
The Mercator is a jewel of Belgium’s maritime past, entirely restored in 2009.
In 1935, he went to Easter Island where a monumental statue (Moaï) was loaded on board. A year later, in 1936, the ship became mythical by bringing back Father Damien’s remains from Hawaii. The Mercator also served under the English flag during the Second World War.
Amandine, the tribute to fishermen in the Iceland Sea.
Gastronomy: flavours of the sea
Luc Deklerck (Bistrot Mathilda) “Six coastal fishermen are still active in Ostend and almost every day they deliver fresh shrimp to us.
Christophe Snauwaert (Toi Moi et la Mer) “I give carte blanche to my fish suppliers at the Ostend fish auction, who deliver us their daily supplies.
In addition to its 2 addresses, numerous breweries among which,
With sea view
Brasserie Albert is part of the famous hotel “Thermae Palace” in Ostend. The decor is luxurious with a touch of nostalgia
Koningin Astridlaan 7
Waterhuis (for those in a hurry, opposite the station)
CultuurCafé in the De Grote Post building, a listed building with a modern character, designed by Gaston Eysselinck and which has served for decades as a Post Office and now offers a remarkable programme of shows and performing arts.
His table: a little expensive but the decor is at that price!
Hendrik Serruyslaan 18A
Beau Site Art Gallery
also offers a table run by owner Ann Rommelaere, both local and international, through her travels:
Albert I-Promenade 39
T VISTRAPJE (Michelin Guide)
World cuisine: Thai
Hertstraat 1, Ostend 8400
Kapellestraat 4, Ostend 8400
Coffee break and brunch: Coffee Shop Familie Jansen
Test the “kokoslimoentje” a coffee with lime and coconut milk. Sunday mornings brunch.
Caruso Tea Room Pastry
A good ice cream:
Hertstraat 3, Ostend 8400
The 2 Ostend beers: “Keyte” (a triple or double-triple blond or amber beer) and “Schelpje” (a blond beer)
Ostend’s summer cocktail: Negroni made from gin-campari-vermouth
Hotels/Bed and Breakfast
Van Iseghemlaan 110, 8400 Oostende
Villa les Pâquerettes (with charming garden)
Velodroomstraat 43, 8400 Ostend
The forbidden passion (classified building)
Porto Bello Bed & BreakfastWith long weekends in May, enjoy it!
Organize your stay:
www.thalys.com and SNCB (the Belgian company for the trip from Brussels to Ostend)
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