1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ostend

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OSTEND (Flemish and French Ostende), a town of Belgium in the province of West Flanders. Pop. (1904) 41,181. It is the most fashionable seaside resort and the second port of the kingdom. Situated on the North Sea it forms almost the central point on the 42 m. of sea-coast that belong to Belgium. In the middle ages it was strongly fortified and underwent several sieges; the most notable was that of 1601-1604, when it only surrendered by order of the states to Spinola. In 1865 the last vestiges of its ramparts were removed, and since that date, but more especially since 1898, a new town has been created. The digue or parade, constructed of solid granite, extends for over 2 m. along the shore in a southerly direction from the long jetty which protects the entrance to the port. A fine casino and the royal chalet are prominent objects along the sea front, and the sea-bathing is unsurpassed. In the rear of the town is a fine park to which a race-course has been added. Extensive works were begun in 1900 for the purpose of carrying the harbour back 2 m., and a series of large docks were excavated and extensive quays constructed. The docks accommodate ships of large tonnage. Apart from these docks Ostend has a very considerable passenger and provision traffic with England, and is the headquarters of the Belgian fishing fleet, estimated to employ 400 boats and 1600 men and boys. Ostend is in direct railway communication with Brussels, Cologne and Berlin. It is also the starting point of several light railways along the coast and to the southern towns of Flanders.