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The Terminus of the Continent. The Life and Times of Ostend
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The Terminus of the Continent. The Life and Times of Ostend

(Filip Matthijs) The Low Countries - 1996, № 4, pp. 25-38

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Ostend is a phoenix. Every town has periods of prosperity and decay in its history, but the history of this Flemish coastal town is indisputably a remarkable story, with many ups and downs. This portrait of past and present shows that contemporary Ostend cannot really be called a beautiful town. It is still a lively coastal town, though, if somewhat less fashionable than before, and every year it still attracts great numbers of visitors from Belgium and abroad. The town' s chief attraction is, therefore, its function as a seaside resort. As Conrad Busken Huet wrote as early as 1881: 'But the whole town shows a pleasant and laughing face in the beautiful summer time; in one's thoughts one wishes Ostend every happiness with the power of attraction it is able to exert on abundance from abroad. One feels and recognises that the ideal cannot be realised unless a certain amount of bad taste is mixed in with it.'

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