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10 top facts about a little known corner of coastal Belgium

1st April 2014 Print

Koksijde-Oostduinkerke is a holiday destination that is little known, and rarely written about in the British press. This cluster of coastal resorts in the Flemish province of West Flanders on the north sea coast is within a short ferry or Channel Tunnel `no fly’ trip from the UK, it has long sandy beaches backed with towering sand-dunes, traversed by walking routes and cycle paths. Other attractions include award winning museums, quaint towns and excellent sport facilities on land and water, cosy hotels and good quality restaurants, and as many shrimps as you can eat or fish.

Here are top ten facts that you may not have known about this enticing corner of Belgium:-

Koksijde-Oostduinkerke is made up of two coastal seaside resorts on Belgium’s North Sea coast, adjacent to France, and the name Oostduinkerke literally means east of Dunkirk.

Koksijde-Oostduinkerke is home to the only fisherman in the world who fish for shrimp on horseback, click here for more information and fishing times.

Once through the Channel Tunnel, it takes just 50 minutes to drive to Koksijde, or take the Sealink ferry from Dover to Dunkirk from where it’s a 25 minute drive.

The highest dune on the Belgian coast, called De Hoge Blekker, rising to 33 metres high, can be found at Koksijde-Oostduinkerke.

Female fisherwomen, dressed in bright yellow sou’westers and wellies are called Stienesteekers and can be seen wielding their huge shrimping nets along the coastline. Click here for more information.

The area is included in the top ten of Europe’s most sustainable coastal areas and has thirteen nature reserves, a total of 701 hectares (1732 acres) of natural, protected landscapes, criss crossed with walks and cycling routes.

Visitors to Koksijde-Oostduinkerke can be shown the local area by `Belgian Coast Greeters’, local volunteers who love their home so much they are keen to share it with visiting tourists who can arrange the time and place to meet up at

Koksijde-Oostduinkerke is less than an hour’s drive to the cobbled streets and canals of Belgium’s medieval capital of Bruges, and just 20 miles from Ypres, with its many war memorials.

The Paul Delvaux museum in St-Idesbald houses the largest collection of paintings from this Belgian surrealist painter in the world.

Belgian’s national fisheries museum, `Navigo’, is in Oostduinkerke and tells the story of the Flemish fishing industry, including information about local horseback shrimp fishing and with two aquariums of north sea fish adding to its appeal.

The area is easily accessible from Dover by ferry with Sealink ( or through the Channel Tunnel (

Details of accommodation and how to get to Koksijde-Oostduinkerke can be found at