Ostend is a medium-sized Belgian city that has all the assets of a large town, thanks to its success as a seaside resort and busy trade centre. The presence of a seaport and an airport are very important economical strengths.
The Port of Ostend is situated in Europe’s busiest maritime area. The port has recently been modernised in both infrastructure and organisation and changed its focus to the development of renewable energy projects. Ostend is also home to an international freight and passenger airport. The railroad infrastructure and the canal leading up to the European inland waterway network further emphasise Ostend’s importance within the multi-modal transport sector.
It is the Belgian coastline’s main city and its diverse population – representing 130 different nationalities – keeps growing. Ostend is also a main tourist centre – in 2018, it had 2,5 million stay overs and 3,7 million day trips. On peak days the population reaches 300,000 people.
While most visitors come for its shores and the sea, Ostend also excels in art, culture, leisure, sports and nature. In 2013, Ostend won the ‘Thuis in de stad’ award – the most important recognition for urban projects in Flanders – with the project ‘Groen Lint’, which literally means ’emerald necklace’ or the green belt. Groen Lint puts together and links different green spaces in one beautiful green oasis surrounding the city. As a result of the project, other initiatives emerged such as community-supported agriculture.