Taste of the sea: a dive in the lively visserijcultuur of yesteryear and of today

Our editor went to the coast with a mission: to enjoy the best the sea has to offer (and there seems still what about learn also). Some surprising ingredients for a tasty trip to our Belgian coast!

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Say ‘sea’ and you think of good food. Okay, that might be a projection of our own thoughts, but the fact that you have this piece you start to read, suggests that you are just as think as we do. If that is indeed the case, do you also like the story behind that tasty food to know. Before you sit quite right on the coast, because that piece of Belgium crack of the stories. And the good food.

DNA of the salty life

There are very few places in Flanders where folklore is still live so if in Koksijde and surroundings. In other towns, to countries, can it ever happen that the stubborn practitioners of an ancient craft for traditionalistisch – or worse: old-fashioned – worn, but not in this part of the coast. The stories about the glorious past of fishing call there still untold awe and also young people are still paardenvisser or kruien in their free time, shrimp. Because fisherman are economically less and less worth, there is a lot of knowledge lost, but the curiosity remains large.


Pastor Schmidzstraat 5, Oostduinkerke

In the summer open from Tuesday to Friday, from 10 to 18 hours, during weekends and public holidays from 14 to 18 hours.

You notice that for example in the flourishing National fisheries museum in Oostduinkerke, called Navigo. There you could you already have to immerse yourself in the nature of the North sea, the visserijerfgoed and the craft, and since June 30, is now the temporary exhibition ” Our Fishermen have been added that focuses on a few kernfiguren within the fishing of yesteryear. On the basis of several personal objects of fishermen, anecdotes, and dozens of photos (here we show a few of) is the human story of the whole Flemish coast told. That history lives still further, as we notice during the visit. Various surnames that we come across – be it as a signature on an old letter, she’s on the herdenkingsmuur for fishermen who are always at sea remained -, represent today still well known families in the coastal areas, some even still firmly anchored in the fisheries.


Every Friday, from 7 July to 25 August to 18 hours of Navigo.

When we after the opening of ‘Our fishermen,’ our road, is the folkoremarkt on the adjacent square is in full swing. There are people with a story and a passion for their craft, without that it feels like a kind of Bokrijk-On-Sea. The fisheries economically, then perhaps a quiet death to die, in the local souls, she remains firmly anchored.

Food like grandma

Hungry after an inspiring visit to Navigo and the fisheries market? There, you can easily do something about it, because near is Estaminet The Peerdevisscher, an authentic-sounding fishermen’s pub where you are very simple, but well-prepared dishes to eat. When we are within steps around lunchtime, the crowds are very silent and you can almost feel physically, how the average age of the clientele decreases significantly.

Estaminet The Peerdevisscher

Pastor Schmitzstraat 4, Oostduinkerke.

Closed Monday. A reservation is required.

We eat a very generous portion of fresh and in good butter fried soles, accompanied by a big bowl of fries and simple salad. Everything is on the table in bowls and on serveerborden, just after all, foolish enough. The Peerdevisscher serves a meal as you previously had with your grandmother: no fuss, but a doodeerlijke, traditional kitchen. The specialty coffee with a waffle, lawyer, ice cream and chocolate touches, there is really not more.

The real taste of shrimp

Almost even nicer to be right out of the sea to eat than tongue, ” our ” shrimp. You can buy them already peeled in a grocery store they have all kinds of treatments who have their shelf life stretch, but at the same time a large part of their friszilte taste and remove. With brown instances is the chance of all address greater that you can taste what a shrimp actually really is, but if you are one hundred percent sure that you have a genuine shrimp bite, there is only one thing: they themselves kruwen.

Kruwer Eddy and his wife to sort the catch. © EK

Armed with a waterproof kruierspak and a net of one and a half meters wide, we in the company of the warm Eddy Barber in the sea. He kruwt purely for his pleasure and that we will quickly understand: once in the sea, you can not much else more to think about than to the murmur of the waves, the shriek of the seagulls and how it feels when you have your feet on the sandy bottom. Those who meditate but nothing yet looking for a way to unwind: with this, you have a new hobby found.

Workshops and demonstrations

The kruwers are very proud of their hobby and would like to take you into the sea. When they are too much catch up to itself all to eat, you can through the associations (the Slepers, the Spanjaardbank, the Gernoarskruwers and the Stienesteekers) shrimp buy for eight euros per kilo.

The paardenvissers give regular demonstrations.

On the net we stumble, is a kind of beam that the sea will rise and all beings thereon or, in the hides, late of startling. If you can walk, jump shrimp, and they come in the above landscape net. At least: that is the intention, because this year there is a lot of gesakkerd on the catch. By the heat, the shrimp are not numerous, and the copies that were in the nets end up, are often still too small for consumption. Find quick the way to our nets: crabs, young tongscharren, the viciously stinging weeverfishes and especially lots of… whose. Nevertheless, it provides a trek – it’s up to you because of the great just that our back depends quite literally interpretation of half an hour, a small kilo of fresh shrimp. Just cook until they float up and become and the enjoyment can begin.

On shrimp fishing can be so perfect to foot, but it is also great to have a paardenvisser to see the work. Since the 16th century, they replace the trailing man by a Brabant draught horse, and since the recognition of the fishing technique as a world heritage site in 2013, growing their number again steadily. That their way of fishing is still completely imbued with tradition, is among others proven by the year in which the first female paardenvisser the gang joined: that did not happen until 2015.

On shrimp fishing with horses is already happening since the sixteenth century. ©

Once home, we eat a part of the shrimp as a garnish in a soup, the other half ends up as one shrimp croquette. What you can do with it, throw away the labels and headings never just go away: there you can have a delicious broth with them later as the basis of a fish soup.

Finish in style

A day as this may end in beauty. If we the sleek restaurant 8chef step, we get almost a bit of regret of all the shrimp and the third time to scoop up this afternoon, but the amuse-bouches from chef Véronique Dewulf know fortunately, our hunger to stir.


Strandlaan 266, 8670 Koksijde

Closed on Monday and Tuesday, reservations are recommended.

So we can still enjoy three dishes. The kohlrabi with doperwt, watercress, kamut and dragonmayo tastes like more, but also the tataki of catfish and dogfish with green herbs and fennel are surprisingly fresh, and we even doubt whether there is yet not even a dessert. The man of Véronique, Lieven Bothuyne, knows to tell us that they are not so dessert-minded because the couple of sugar to avoid, but he can still make some nice choices to enumerate. The doubt remains in position when we made ice cream with olive oil and sea salt’ hear fall, but we still decide it at a coffee keep. We still have a plate full of fresh cherries, cookies, and cake – after all, we are on the coast and a verwennerijtje is never far away.

Very notable in the restaurant is the quiet. That is partly because there are not many tables, but also by the well-oiled tandem that Véronique and Lieven forms. You can, straighten the kitchen a glimpse, but the only sound that you get out of catch, the soft hiss of fish or meat that is fried. A fantastic place to be a fine day to exit.

Visit for more information about Koksijde, the site of the tourist service.

Your coast this summer

  • Taste of the sea: a dive in the lively visserijcultuur of yesteryear and of today
  • 9 tips for a successful trip to the Belgian coast
  • Month longer rescuers to coast
  • Surfing on the Belgian coast: ‘You must be the sea to learn to read’
  • Read all of the articles on Your coast this summer

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