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Oostende is a Belgian seaside city and municipality located in the Flemish province of West Flanders. It comprises the boroughs of Mariakerke, Stene and Zandvoorde, and the city of Oostende proper – the largest city on the Belgian coast. Interesting locations in the city are the Casino and Fort Napoleon. The James Ensor museum can be visited in the house where the artist lived from 1917 until 1949. The Mercator, an educational tall ship of the Belgian merchant fleet, has been converted into a maritime museum.
The city of Oostende is also famous for its seaside esplanade, pier and fine-sand beaches. Ostende is visited by many 'day' tourists, especially during July and August. Tourists from the Belgian inland and foreigners mostly arrive by train on day trips and head for the closest beach area from the station (kleinstrand). The locals and other residents in Belgium usually occupy the larger beach (grootstrand). Ostende is widely visited by British, Germans, French and Dutch. Buses from Brussels tend to pass through giving the opportunity to North American and Asian tourists to see the city of Oostende.
Near the beach is a well-preserved section of the World War II Atlantic Wall. There are views from the pier promenade or beach of departing and arriving passenger ferry ships from Ramsgate (UK). During summer evenings - or just any kind of weather you can walk through the little streets around Het Vissersplein. At certain times there are local markets in the neighbourhood streets and in the summer the Vissersplein has music festivals. The Vissersplein (Bonenstraat/Kadzandstraat) is a car free zone with many brasseries where you can sit outside and have a drink. Look towards the port side and find many little fish outlets, and beyond that, again, you can view up-close the ferries as they are docking.
Oostende is a medium-sized Belgian seaside city, which has all the assets of a large town, thanks to its success as a seaside resort and busy trade center. In addition to its seaport, Oostende is also home to an international freight and passenger airport. The multi modal function is further emphasized by the presence of comprehensive railroad infrastructure, of a canal leading up to the European inland waterway network and of course the motorway A10-E40 linked directly to the port Terminals. Jetairfly has its headquarters in Oostende and TAAG - Angola Airlines's Oostende offices are on the grounds of Ostende Airport.
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