On a treasure hunt at sea: discover the architectuurparels of our coast

Of our journey of discovery between De Panne and Knokke we will remember at least a dozen of special buildings and architectuurlandschappen: from villas to a picket fence and a yard.

Paul near a riding school in Sint-Idesbald © Belga


For the most beautiful view on the sea of our coast, we climb on the Molly Hill (corner Zeedijk-Strandlaan) where you are on the dune, one of the last free-standing villas to admire. It was once a tearoom, now a somewhat surreal hermitage, a perfect backdrop for Paul Delvaux in this municipality an underground museum. On the way to Newport you will pass in the middle of the dunes the two pre-war concrete pakketboten, La Péniche and the Normandie, two folly’s from the inter-war Period.

De Panne © Westtoer

De Panne

The Dumontwijk from around 1900, is the most picturesque residential area of the coast. For the cutest houses you walk by the High Duinenlaan and the Kykhillweg, the highest point from where the fishermen’s wives at the time their men uitwuifden. In the vicinity of the Leopold II Laan, the villa’s younger and built in a funny Hollywood.

Nieuwpoort © LimoWreck, Wikicommons


The skeleton of Nieuwpoort-bad is an impressionistic painting with walkers and passing barges: a fine example of marine timber construction. For those who like the hustle and bustle wants to escape, there are two possibilities : a tree-lined walk in the vicinity of the Mosweg, where beautiful villas from the sixties and seventies of Peter Callebaut, or a visit to the tour Albertmonument. If Zaha Hadid for the war have lived, had this monument of her hand. This spacious wheel from 1938 was designed by the unknown Julien The Knight. Climb the concrete stairs to the top and enjoy a unique panorama.

Westende ©


Here we speak, first to the Roundabout, also known as the Grand Hôtel Belle-Vue, from 1911, of the famous architect Octave Van Rysselberghe, some of the most elegant building of the coast. Quite in the center we visit the interior of the villa Les Zéphyrs, with an original interior by Henry van de Velde in pure art nouveau.

Ostend © Westtoer


First we drink a glass in the Duivenschieting (Sportstraat 48), now the clubhouse of the Wellington Golf. At this quiet and stylish place came the beau monde in 1900, live pigeons shooting, later on, it was ‘sport’ banned. Here you have a unique view on the Wellington Racecourse and the Thermae Palace. Near you keep a stop at the stables of Leopold II (Koninginnelaan 76), in 1903, built to the plans of the Norwegian Ivar Knudsen. This unique wooden ensemble in vikingstijl in the years to come, hopefully, restored.

For the most exciting urban landscape, you will drive to the east bank where, in addition to the lighthouse, the Long Fast and the Fort Napoleon, on the slipway, between the pilots, enjoy all the towers of the city. Via the ferry you come to the center.

The Hann © Westtoer

The Cock

Are you in a nostalgic mood, then you feel The Cock as fit as a fiddle from all the monuments from the belle epoque. From the many beautiful buildings we pick up there is for once not the flat photographed tram station, but the white villas of the Rembrandtlaan, just after 1920 erected by the Ghent architect Valentin Vaerwyck.

Blankenberge © Westtoer


What should Blankenberge ever have been nice, I think, stroll through the Saint-Rochuswijk where the Villa Olga with ornate tiles admires. In this neighbourhood, the belle époque is still a bit on. Walking through the centre you can see here and there are beautiful tile between the banal new built. For more tiles, we refer you to the belle-époquecentrum (Elisabethstraat 24). The screen, connected from 1908 to the marina is undoubtedly one of the most architectuurcreaties from the glory days of the city.

Zeebrugge © Agrillo Mario, Wikicommons


Zeebrugge may almost disappear in the shadow of his port, yet there is certainly something to see, such as the wooden villa in a Scandinavian style that Peter Callebaut in the early sixties, together with Fernand Sohier designed on the dike. Behind the fish market is the neo-gothic collegiate church of St donatian, and behind it a large working-class neighborhood, whose exceptional round Admiral Keyesplein full in Bruges, stepped gables, a landmark of social architecture. We forget at times that the boats to the heritage of the maritime architecture. In the dock next to the fish market you will visit the lightship Westhinder from 1950 and a Russian submarine.

Knokke © LimoWreck, Wikicommons


Bike through the picturesque villas of Duinbergen, Knokke and het Zoute to the Zoutekerkje in the Sparrendreef. The little white church with cloisters in 1927, designed by Joseph and Luc Viérin and Antoine Dugardijn is not only a place of reflection. Although neoromaans of style looks minimalist modern, almost as modern as The Black House from 1924 of Huib Hoste (water sports 8) or the dubbelvilla Noordhinder-Westhinder on the seawall of Henry Van de Velde.

For the most intimate corners of The Salt, you’re walking the Flemish Pad, the Polish Pad, the British Path, the Swedish path and the Danish path. Only a pity that many old-fashioned villas the place clean for rustic pastiches.

Your coast this fall

  • On a treasure hunt at sea: discover the architectuurparels of our coast
  • The new Zwin: international airport for birds
  • Delicious Brussels waffles to the sea: seven addresses
  • Fighting for Knokke
  • Read all of the articles on Your coast this fall

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