Ostend is a city of unrivalled beauty along the beautiful Belgian coast and the city has many notable buildings and sites of interest. Here are some of our favourite historic buildings, close to the ideal accommodation in Belgium, Leopold Hotel Ostend.
Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul
Among the many significant historic buildings in the city, one of the more popular tourist-friendly sites is the Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul (Sint-Petrus-en-Pauluskerk). The Roman Catholic church was built between the 19th & 20th Century and stands at an enormous 72 metres high. The church was built in the Neo-Gothic style and the centrepiece of the entire ornate structure are the colourful stained-glass windows which were destroyed in WW2 and were subsequently replaced. The tomb of Louise-Marie, the first queen of Belgium who died in Ostend, is also situated in the chapel.
Spanish House (Spaans huisje)
Although the name is misleading (it was built in a time of Austrian rule in Belgium, not Spanish) the Spaans huisje is actually the oldest house still standing in the city of Ostend. It was built in 1741 and its stepped façade is unmistakable among the modern buildings that surround it. The house was originally a place of residence, going on to become a laundry and later a candy & toy store and was left derelict for a long time after. It was then It was saved from the demolition ball by the government in 1981 and it has been a building of historical significance ever since. Fun fact: the house was taken apart in the late 1990s to facilitate the building of the apartments next door. Each brick was labelled, and it was carefully rebuilt in 2000/2001 exactly as it was.
James Ensor Museum
If you are not familiar with James Ensor, he was a very famous Belgian painter and printmaker who had a profound influence on expressionism and surrealism in Belgian Art. Ensor was born in 1860 in Ostend and spend almost his entire life living and working in the city. His work mainly focused on religious subjects and his house, which is open to the public is still filled with haunting dolls and grim paintings. Baron Ensors works is not immediately recognisable as it varies greatly depending on the subject matter and the time in his career it was completed. A visit to his house is like a step into his very strange but very talented mind.
Raversyde Museum Complex
Otherwise known as the Atlantic Wall Open Air Museum, it’s not exactly a building but it has a huge significance in Ostend’s History. The site is about an hours walk, or 10 minutes’ drive from the centre of the city and contains one of the countries best-preserved sections of the infamous German Atlantikwall. This defensive series of bunkers ran all the way from Norway to the Pyrenees and you’ll need an entire day to wander around this expansive site. While there, you’ll learn what life was like for the soldiers stationed inside and visit the Prince Charles Memorial and the Anno 1465 Fishing Village Museum.
Mu.Zee – Modern Art Gallery
From ancient history to Modern Art, one of the more notable tourist attractions in Ostend is our Modern Art Gallery Mu. Zee. From your accommodation in Ostend, Leopold Hotel, you can walk just 6-minutes to reach the museum and while it is not a historic site itself, it contains some of the most important works of art from this century back to the 1830s. The art tells the story of Belgium’s rich history in its own unique way and there are some formidable pieces on display. James Ensor (above) is a regularly featured artist and the art comes in a variety of mediums from paint on canvas to sculpture. They offer guided and family tours and you can even hold your birthday party in the building if you’re lucky!