Venetian gondolas color Ostend for Anchor this year

Venetian gondolas color Ostend for Anchor this year

New: Blue Innovation Village focuses on Ostend's maritime future

From Thursday, June 1 to Sunday, June 4, Ostend will be transformed briefly into Venice. The maritime festival Ostend at Anchor offers a unique look at Europe's water heritage and immerses visitors in a sea of information. The central theme this year is Venetian shipyards, and with four gondolas in the water, you will soon be able to go to Venice in Ostend for a while. This year there is also a Blue Innovation Village with various companies and organizations active in and around the North Sea. 

This year the maritime festival 'Ostend at Anchor' will take over the city from June 1 to 4 with everything the maritime world has to offer. Visitors can board more than 150 ships and learn all about the history and future of the seven seas

Mayor Bart Tommelein: "We are already looking forward to the largest maritime event on the Coast. Ostend at Anchor' is a fantastic four-day event that introduces the people of Ostend and visitors to everything related to shipping. This year, for the first time, we are also providing a look ahead to our maritime future, with a genuine Blue Innovation Village."

Blue Innovation Village showcases the many activities at sea

Ostend at Anchor is expanding this year with a Blue Innovation Village in cooperation with De Blauwe Cluster. The Blue Cluster is an independent and neutral partner that supports Flemish companies in setting up partnerships with other companies, knowledge centers and government institutions with a view to developing and promoting economic activities at sea. 

The Blue Innovation Village is composed of some 20 booths of companies, universities and organizations active on and around the sea. They tell a fascinating story using videos from models to demos. While children feast their eyes or get creative, adults learn more about the many opportunities the sea offers us.

Venetian shipyards

During Ostende at Anchor, you will be presented with an uncommon sight: gondolas sailing around the Mercator dock with the necessary flag display. With the three types of gondolas, Gondole del Settecento, Mussin 'Albino' and Gondolino 'Giorgio', you will be able to sail along on a daily basis. The three types have their own specificity, with the 'Giorgio' being the most well-known, as it is the basic vessel of today's gondolas used for the thousands of tourists in Venice. 

In addition to these traditional vessels, all the crafts needed to build a 'gondola' are also present in St. Peter and Paul Square. In the craft village you can see blacksmiths as well as woodworkers and artisans at work decorating the vessels. You can get expert explanations about, for example, the asymmetrical shape of the vessel, necessary for easy propulsion.

"The theme of Ostend at Anchor this year is Venetian Shipyards," says curator Hubert Rubbens. "In a city surrounded by water, gondolas have played an important role for centuries to transport people and goods along the narrow and shallow canals. Venice therefore has a rich maritime history. Especially for Ostend at Anchor, the typical boats leave their home port and dock in the Mercator dock."

Setting sail yourself

In addition to the gondolas in the Mercator dock, imposing ships are once again in attendance. With the Atlantis and the Morgenster, the festival welcomes two giants of the open sea. With the George Stephenson and Jantje, visitors can go to sea. These ships will be docked this year off Fishermen's Quay and Montgomery Quay. This will spread the event even more throughout the city. 

With the 'Zeezien' association, it will also be possible for people with physical or mental disabilities to go to sea. During Ostend at Anchor, four free daily sailings will be organized for organizations and associations with an operation for people with disabilities. 

Ostend at Anchor is also there for young people who have fewer opportunities in life. In cooperation with organizations for special youth care, free sailings are provided so that the children can have a great day. This year, they are collaborating with Ibis, De Takel and De Brem.

Ostend at Anchor with children

Ostend at Anchor is an ideal outing to introduce children to the wonders of the sea and shipping. A visit to one of the large ships immediately appeals to the imagination, but there is also a lot to do to give the smallest visitors a fascinating day. For example, there are reading sessions with Doris Klausing, there is a shrimp peeling competition for the little ones or they can already get started with a fun search in the city. 

Leading up to Ostend at Anchor, families can get started on a quest related to the maritime world. James - the child-friendly city character of the city of Ostend - lost his notebook in which he collected all his tips and facts about the port of the City by the Sea. During the scavenger hunt through the city center, children can complete various tasks and use Morse code to find out the location of the notebook. The quest immerses children in the world of oceans, boats and ships and prepares them for the maritime four-day event: Ostend at Anchor.

Peter Craeymeersch, General Director Tourism Ostend vzw: "In the run-up to the event we want to introduce families to the nautical DNA of our city. This year, during Ostend at Anchor, we are tackling a theme that appeals to the imagination: Venice. By focusing even more on the experience on the water, we want to immerse visitors in the maritime world. We also look to the future and the innovations that are happening right off our coast."

In addition to the ships, Ostend for Anchor also unpacks with a large maritime experience market. Some of what is on offer: feast on freshly smoked herring and salmon or regional products, listen to exciting stories from experienced seafarers or folklore music, enjoy the entertainment and performances or learn more about ship construction and restoration.



Oostende voor Anker

donderdag 1 juni - zondag 4 juni 2023

Van donderdag tot en met zaterdag van 10.00 tot 19.00 uur, op zondag van 10.00 tot 18.00 uur

​Voor meer informatie over het programma of de deelnemende standen, schepen en muzikale optredens kun je terecht op of

Margot Neyskens Kabinetchef, Burgemeester Bart Tommelein
Pieter Hens
Pieter Hens Manager team Marketing & Events, Toerisme Oostende vzw