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The most English city in the country, it sees all the nationalities parade. Famous for its casino, racecourse and beaches, it is one of the most pleasant seaside resorts.
It was also particularly appreciated by King Leopold II and turned it into a cosmopolitan city at the beginning of the 20th century.

Coat of arms of Ostend

Coat of arms of Ostend

Yet nothing destined this peaceful maritime village to what it is today.
The city owes its name (Oost means "is" in Dutch, ende is an ancient form of einde, end) to its location on an ancient island (Terstreep) now disapeared.
At the other end is Westende (west). Between the two villages there is Middelkerke (middel means "middle" and kerk means "church", meaning "church in the middle" of both villages).

I propose this little guide in my own way.

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Welcome to Ostend. The usual landscape of the Belgian coast on the Koningin Astridlaan.

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Just opposite, the Wellington Racecourse. Opened in 1883, most of the current buildings date from 1947-1962. The whole site is protected.

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Main entrance.

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Although classified, the whole is rather in bad condition.

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Just behind, the tribune reserved for VIP (supposition).

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On the beach, the impeccable alignment of the cabins.

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Former bath palace, transformed into a luxury hotel.

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After the ancient baths, the Royal Villa and the Ostend dike, dominated by the Europacentrum, higher (and ugly) building of the Belgian coast (100 meters height).

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And to finish this overview, the casino.

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The old baths, designed by architect Daniels in 1933, on the will of King Leopold II.

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Closed in the 80's due to old age, they were almost demolished. The reconvention in a hotel has finally decided otherwise.

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The Royal Gallery, built in 1902, completed later by the baths.

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The royal villa, rebuilt in 1953 after the damage caused by the Second World War, returned to civilian life in 2004.

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The Middelkerke dike seen from Ostend.

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Equestrian statue of King Leopold II.

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Another covered gallery, this time in front of the royal villa.

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The Royal Gallery in its entirety. It runs along the beach for 380 meters.

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Monogram of King Leopold II, affixed on the buildings of which it is at the origin.

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Less solemn than that of his ancestor, the statue of Baudouin. As a simple citizen.

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The villas Yvonne and Simone, survivors of the Belle Epoque.

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Another survivor stuck between two bunkers.

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Destructive madness seems less pronounced in Ostend than elsewhere.

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The casino of Ostend. Opened in 1878, it's the largest in Belgium.

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Ravaged by the Second World War, it was completely rebuilt in 1953.

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The very "Stalinist" facade of the casino.

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The Museum of Fine Arts, rebuilt after the last war, on the Wapenplein. The belfry houses a carillon.

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Of the old Sint-Pieters church, there remains only this tower of the 15th-16th centuries. The rest of the building has been destroyed by fire in 1896.

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Close up on the upper floors.

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Next door is a new church dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul. At its end, the mausoleum of Louise-Marie, first queen of the Belgians.

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Monument to the honor of the royal couple Albert and Elisabeth.

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The main church of Ostend is a perfect summary of Gothic revival architecture, popular in the late nineteenth century.

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Built between 1899 and 1905, it looks like a cathedral. Wanted by King Leopold II and designed by Louis Delacenserie µ from Bruges, who is also architect of Antwerp Central Station.

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Now, let's go to the docks.

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The fish market at the entrance to the marina.

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Ostend Station, formerly known as Oostend-Kaai. It allowed direct sea connection with England.

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The site of the old station Oostende-Stad, demolished in 1956 and replaced by a supermarket. The two stations were only a few hundred meters apart.

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As is often the case on the Belgian coast, the old monuments find it difficult to resist the demolition. Here, Notre Dame college.

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The Mercator, named in honor of the famous geographer Gerardus Mercator (1512-1594).

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Three-masted barque built in 1932, it served as a training ship until 1961. During his career, it sailed around the world.

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Since its decommissioning, it's visited each year by nearly 130,000 people.

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Brussels in Ostend. We try to camouflage a shit of concrete by an old facade.

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The Belgian-Dutch naval military school.

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The Maria-Hendrik Park, the largest in the city and a paradise for birds.

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The new water tower, built in 1963...

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... and its predecessor.

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71 meters high, it should have included a restaurant at the top. Aborted project.

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The only vestige of the old station Oostende-Stad, the water tower built in 1900. Unused since the commissioning of the new water tower.

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One of the caryatids of the ancient villa Doris, destroyed during the Second World War.

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The national motto, forgotten for too long.

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We leave the park and we come back to town.

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City Hall adorned with communal colors.

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Last return to the docks to say hello to the seagulls...

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One of the jetties of the channel of Ostend. Its end is occupied by a restaurant.

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Opposition of styles.

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The fine sand beach stretches for kilometers.

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Zeebrugge in the distance.

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The Europacentrum. Its ground floor is occupied by a shopping mall more than creepy.

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At the end of the pier.

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A flying fish !

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The sky is covering, it's time to go back.

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This sailor has the same idea as me.

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The end of the day is coming... like the end of the summer.

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Bye bye Ostend.

16

August 2008

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