The article explains how the Southern Netherlands, later Belgium, evolved from a country with one coast to a country with two coasts or a bi-maritime state. Bi-maritime states always have to make a choice on which coast investments are going to be made, so did the Belgian state: on the North Sea coast in the province of West-Flanders or along the river Scheldt in Antwerp. It opted to invest in Antwerp and to desinvest in Ostend and Bruges. The North Sea coast thus became a place of tourism and nostalgia, the so-called 'Romantic coast' versus the 'Economic coast' near Antwerp. These characteristics have been displayed over and over on monuments, in parades, Railway stations, books, children's games, road signs, etc. This article gives an overview how Belgium became a bi-maritime state, how it coped with it and how the people view this bi-maritimity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Pages (from-to)87-118
Number of pages32
JournalMededelingen van de Koninklijke Belgische Marine Academie
Volume35
Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Research areas

  • Bi-maritimity, Belgium, National identity, History, harbour, Antwerp, Ostend, Bruges, seaside tourism

ID: 5232792