Ostend is a popular tourist destination on the Belgian coast, with exquisite beaches, trendy bars and restaurants, and a vibrant cultural scene. A city full of life, imbued with holiday feeling. One of the mainstays of Ostend is the Kursaal, a highly multifunctional building with a wide array of different-sized rooms. If you’re planning a conference or meeting, the Kursaal is sure to meet your needs. The city is easily accessible by car, by rail or by boat — it even has its own airport.
Ostend, a city on the Belgian coast, was one of the first tourist destinations in Europe. Starting in the Victorian era, affluent people from all over the world arrived here for a summer holiday by the sea. Much of the social life of these early tourists revolved around the Kursaal, a classy place where you could enjoy a meal, have a drink, watch a play, or attend a concert or a ball.
The original Kursaal - an eclectic, imposing 19th-century building – was demolished by German troops in World War II. Immediately after the war, the people of Ostend decided they wanted a new one. Belgian architect Léon Stynen won the commission and designed a daring, even revolutionary building, which took the Kursaal concept into the modern era. It consisted of a reinforced concrete skeleton, so most inner and outer walls had no load-bearing function. This allowed for huge windows on the sea-facing side. Stynen also incorporated works of art that were specifically designed for the building, including murals and sculptures by Paul Delvaux, a renowned Belgian surrealist artist. In 1998, the Kursaal was designated a listed monument.
Congress and meeting venue with a sea view
Today, Kursaal Oostende is available as an exceptional congress and meeting venue with several striking assets, not least the perspective the building offers. Uniquely, most rooms, even the large theatre, have stunning sea views, creating a holiday feeling even during the busiest of conferences. But there’s also the perspective within the building: the impressive vistas in the spacious, light-drenched rooms, halls, and corridors.
Another asset is the incorporation of art into the building. Everywhere you look you see sculptures, paintings, murals, ceramics, and glasswork, most of them specifically commissioned for the Kursaal. Attendees can sign in for ‘Kunstroute’ a tour of the most important artworks in and around the building - all high-quality pieces, as befits a city that is dedicated to art. Today, the city is home to internationally renowned theatre and film festivals - and the Kursaal is always at the heart of them.