At the end of the 18th century, France annexed the region. Napoleon feared an invasion from England via Ostend harbour and therefore ordered an imposing fort to be built in the dunes in 1811. In both world wars, the fort got a new lease of life as artillery quarter for the German army. Since 1995, Erfgoed Vlaanderen (the Flemish Heritage Association) has managed the fort. It made sure it was restored and turned into an open monument.
Arctic traveller Adrien de Gerlache designed this three-master which was built in Scotland. The Mercator had only two commanders and made 54 voyages. In 1956 it repatriated the remains of Father Damien from Molokai. In 1960, it sailed into the harbour of Antwerp and in 1961, it was equipped as a museum ship. Since 1964, it has been the pearl in Ostend’s crown.
Mu.ZEE is the museum for Belgian art with absolute openness and accessibility. It tells stories with a unique Belgian art collection from 1830 to now and is in constant conversation with the international art scene through its state-of-the-art exhibition programme and collection policy. Artists and public will find each other in a museum where they can experiment, question and discover.
- Atlantic wall: Walk through two world wars via bunkers and trenches... More than sixty bunkers, observation posts and gun batteries connected with two kilometres of open and underground passages together form one of the best preserved parts of the German Atlantic wall defences. These German fortifications were built during WWII from the French-Spanish border in the south all the way up to Norway. The domain also houses the only preserved German coastal battery from WWI. The Prince Charles memorial honours Belgium’s Prince Charles who was Prince Regent of the country from 1944 until 1950 and made the domain his home after his regency.
- ANNO 1465: A medieval fishing village revived after 500 years... Step into the lives of 15th-century fishing families in Walraversijde. Three houses and a bakery were lovingly reconstructed with excavated bricks and faithful replicas of furniture and other household items. The audio guide with the voices of the medieval villagers accompanies visitors through the unique site. The original items that were excavated tell the lives of the villagers in more depth in the adjoining museum. NATURE PARK 50 hectares of unique nature experience on the Coast... Raversyde is a unique piece of nature at the Belgian coast. The domain of almost 50 hectares is partially located in protected dunes and offers visitors a wonderful area to explore on foot.
The museum tells you Ostend’s fascinating life story and also casts light on its future. A host of objects, posters, documents and multimedia applications reveal the secrets behind the development of the city, its tourism, fishing industry and shipping.