Useful information | 53rd European Marine Biology Symposium (EMBS)

About Belgium

  • Language: The Kingdom of Belgium has three official languages: Dutch, French, and German. Dutch is the official language in Flanders (North Belgium including Ostend). In Wallonia (South Belgium) and Brussels the main spoken language is French.
  • Time Zone: Belgium uses the Central European Time zone (UTC+02.00).
  • Climate and weather: Belgium has a temperate maritime climate influenced by the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean, with cool summers and moderate winters. Expect September temperatures to be between 10 and 20 °C. Check the Ostend weather forecast at
  • Currency:The currency of Belgium is EURO
  • AMT & Credit Card info: Cash dispensers or ATMs are found at most Belgian bank locations. Cash can be withdrawn there, all days 24 hours (24/7). National and foreign Maestro Cards (Cash Cards) as well as Mastercard and VISA are accepted. Major credit cards are accepted almost everywhere. Certain ATMs may not issue cash on credit cards, in which case sometimes trying a different Belgian bank's ATM can work, otherwise you will need to visit a bank office to take out cash.
  • Electricity supply: Voltage in Belgium is 220V at a frequency of 50 Hz. Plugs are continental style, two-pin. A plug adaptor should be taken along for incompatible electric / electronic appliances that will be used.

Things to do in Ostend

Visit the tourist sites of Ostend and Bruges for elaborate tourist information. Some highlights:

  • North Sea Aquarium: In the Ostend North Sea aquarium you can admire about sixty living marine animals, housed in 13 different aquariums (website in Dutch). The aquarium is located close to the train station (locate on map).
  • Lighthouse Lange Nelle: The famous lighthouse is the fourth one in the history of Ostend and the third one on this location. It was built between 1947 and 1949, rises 65 metres above the sea and guides the fishermen safely in the Ostend harbour. The lighthouse is not open to the public. (locate on map)
  • Fort Napoleon: At the end of the 18th century, France annexed the region. Napoleon feared an invasion from England via Ostend harbour and therefore ordered an imposing fort to be built in the dunes in 1811. More info. (Locate on map)

Visa Information

Some participants from foreign countries may require a visa to enter Belgium. Please note that Belgium is a part of the Schengen Area. You are encouraged to apply for a visa as soon as possible. The time frames for visa processing are difficult to predict with accuracy for any individual applicant and could vary significantly depending on the country of residence of the applicant. All the information concerning visa applications for Belgium is available on the website of the Foreigners Department of the FPS Home Affairs, which is the competent Belgian authority for access to the territory, stay, residence and removal of foreigners in Belgium.

If you need a Letter of invitation for your visa application, please contact

How to get there

From Brussels Airport to Ostend

On the lower floor of Brussels Airport, take the train to Brussels-Midi/Zuid (frequency: every 20 min.). Then take the hourly direct train to Ostend (1 hour 42 minutes) or you can transfer in Brugge (Bruges) to go to Ostend (1 hour 47 minutes). At the airport it is also possible to take the train to Gent (Ghent) – St.-Pieters and rail to Ostend from there (2 hours 19 minutes).
Timetable and route planner

From the Netherlands or Germany

Drive towards Gent (Ghent), then towards Brugge (Bruges) (E40) and finally towards Oostende (Ostend) (E40/A10).

From France

Drive towards Kortrijk (Courtrai), then towards Brugge (Bruges) (E17) and finally towards Oostende (Ostend) (E40/A10).

From the UK

- If you take the Channel Tunnel or the ferry to Calais or Dunkirk (Dunkerque): drive towards Bruges (Brugge) – Ostend (Oostende) – Brussels (Bruxelles/Brussel) (A16/E40); at Jabbeke take the turning to Ostend (Oostende) (A10 – turning 6).
- If you take the ferry to Zeebrugge: follow the N34 to Ostend.

Map to the Venue