Ostend, also known as 'Oostende', is a major commercial and fishing port, connected by canals with Bruges and Ghent. Ostend is also an industrial and rail center, as well as a seaside resort. It has a ferry terminal that connects the city with England. Not much larger than the state of Maryland, Belgium is one of the most densely populated nations in Europe. Surrounded by France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, Belgium lies at the crossroads of the continent. Within the country's boundaries are the relics of a colorful past and a promising future. Excellent ports and few natural defenses have long made Belgium a natural battleground. During both World Wars the country was the scene of fierce battles, but its recovery was swift and prosperous.
Belgium is known for lace, chocolates, ceramics, crystal, linen and pewter. There are plenty of shopping possibilities in Ostend, both on the seaside promenade as in the city center's major commercial streets. Ostend is a good place to buy luxury goods like designer clothes and accessories.
The local currency is the euro.