Must do: The crystal ship art route

More than 40 renowned and world-famous artists made enormous paintings on walls as well as fantastic art installations in open spaces in Ostend. All together, this creates an artistic journey in and around Ostend. ‘The Crystal Ship - art festival in the city' is the biggest festival of its genre in Europe.

Ostend and the great war: a city full of memories

Do you associate the popular seaside resort of Ostend with the terrifying sound of guns and canons? No? Neither do we. And yet... One hundred years ago, when seaside tourism was just taking off and the wealthy upper classes travelled to Ostend to enjoy the restorative properties of sea water (and other stronger waters), the bombers unfortunately also found their way to the Queen of the Belgian sea-side resorts.

Curious to find out more? Then hop on to your bike, or take a stroll through the city and explore Ostend's impressive war heritage.


The digital city walk is based on the diary of the tram operator Charles Castelein, who was 52 years old when the war broke out in 1914. Learn more about Ostend's war past, as seen through the eyes of an Ostend local. You will receive an audio guide with a screen.

Experts and historians such as Professor Luc De Vos and Marc Reynebeau also weigh in with their views on Ostend during World War I talking about Ostend as an occupied city, the coastal defences, the role the port played, the destruction in the city and so on.


Arctic traveller Adrien de Gerlache designed this three-master which was built in Scotland. The Mercator had only two commanders and made 54 voyages. In 1956 it repatriated the remains of Father Damien from Molokai. In 1960, it sailed into the harbour of Antwerp and in 1961, it was equipped as a museum ship. Since 1964, it has been the pearl in Ostend’s crown.

Beaufort 2018 - Kunsttriënnale aan zee

Beaufort is a cultural tourist project along the Belgian coast. Every three years, a selection of national and international artists present their works of art in public space, particularly in the natural biotope of the Belgian coastal landscape. The sixth edition of Beaufort, Beaufort 2018, led by curator Heidi Ballet. takes place from 30 March to 30 September 2018.

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