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Ostend 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 later times the harbour of Ostend 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. Ostend 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 Ostend 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).
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia