Formerly a 15th century mediaeval fishing village which has grown into a town. During the 18th century, the “Ostend Company” brought wealth to the town through trade with the Far East. Ostend is situated on the North Sea coast, approximately midway along the 40-mile Belgian coastline stretching from De Panne via Nieuwpoort – Westende - Middelkerke - Oostende - Den Haan - Blankenberge to Knokke. Ostend (East-End), which lies east of Middelkerke (hence the name), was at one time the summer residence of the Belgian Royal Court and was therefore known as the “Queen of the Coastal Towns”. The “Royal Villa” (built in the reign of King Leopold I) has been transformed in to an hotel-restaurant. Nowadays the Royal Court only visits Ostend on official occasions. Ostend is the only Belgian coastal resort that is as lively in the summer as in the winter. Culture, sport or gastronomy: in short, there’s a huge variety of things to choose from.