Ostend Street Art festival, The Crystal Ship returns to the city for the fourth time

Belgium — Following on from last year's successful festival which attracted some 253,000 visitors, The Crystal Ship contemporary art festival sails into Ostend for its fourth edition over the first week of the Easter holidays.

Crystal Ship Festival And Why You Should Be Going

International street artists have traveled to Ostend where they will create a series of striking artworks against the backdrop of the City by the Sea. Their completed murals and installations will be unveiled to the public on Saturday 13 April at the official launch event for the festival which this year will see a new dimension with the introduction of a theme, ‘The Dictatorship of Art’, based on this quote by contemporary German artist Jonathan Meese:

“Art is total leadership, the total power. Art rules the world, art is number one. Art is the leader, the total leader. Art is total power, art is stronger than religion. Art is stronger than in politics and self-fulfillment. Art is not self-fulfillment. Art is no human politics. Art is no religion, but every religion is art (...)”
 — Jonathan Meese

Speaking about this years festival, curator Bjorn Van Poucke has said, “In the past, we never chose a theme explicitly, but we always had a clear societal, political and social message, This year, we decided to change course, which is a logical and interesting development for The Crystal Ship.”
We look forward to seeing how the invited festival artists interrupt this year's festival theme.

The Crystal Ship Festival Artists

The Crystal Ship has invited world-famous Belgian and international artists to the largest city on the Belgian coast who will be creating unique murals and installations. Artists adding their work to the walls of Ostend this year include the following:

Crystal Wagner (USA), David Walker (UK) (Previously on Hookedblog), Jaune (BE)(Previously on Hookedblog), Helen Bur (UK), Leon Keer (NL), Lonac (HR), Wasted Rita (POR), Marina Capdevila (SPA), Mohamed L’Ghacham (SPA), Tom Herck (BE), ESCIF (ES), Miss Van (FR) (Previously on Hookedblog), Case Maclain (DE) and Paola Delfin (MX)

The latest edition of The Crystal Ship will be based at Achturenplein Ostend, where you can pick up a copy of the free map that will guide you through the cities spectacular open-air street art trail.

Colourful streets in Ostend, Belgium

Getting to Ostend

Traveling to Ostend from London is extremely easy and stress-free, the Eurostar from London’s St.Pancras station has been our go-to since 2016. And with their Any Belgian Station ticket which lets you travel to Brussels via the Eurostar and then catch another connecting train onwards to your final destination which for us will be Ostend.

The train runs from Brussels stopping in Ghent, Bruges, and finishes in Ostend. For each of the previous visits we have tried to book the last return Eurostar train from Brussels as this is usually long enough for us to make a quick stopover in Brussels to visit the MIMA Museum before heading back to London.

Ostend Street Art 

As we head into the fourth year of the Crytal Ship festival, Ostend's street art collection already includes more than 54 impressive permanent artworks across the city.  This year's edition of the festival will see the addition of new murals making a must-visit city for the street art enthusiast.

Exploring The Crystal Ship murals in the city is easily accessible by public transport, car, and/or bicycle or if it's a nice day you can walk to a large number of the works but we would suggest getting one of the city trams to see those on the outskirts of the center.

Birds by artist BUE in Ostend for Street Art festival, The Crystal Ship in Belgium

Street Art Tour in Ostend

A great starting point for those of you wanting to take in all the Ostend Street Art is the Tourism Ostend office where you can request a copy of a freecycling and walking map that will help guide you through the free open-air exhibition.

The map includes the locations of the works from the three previous editions of the festival. We have previously used the cycling map and found it the best way to get around the city and with the city's extensive bike network it's super easy cycling around Ostend and we highly recommend it.

For those of you who want a little background behind the works, the Ostend Tourist Office will also be organizing a number of guided tours from the 10 - 22nd April. For additional info on the guided tour times, dates, and how to purchase tickets head over The Crystal Ship: Street Art Tour Facebook event page or alternatively call the Ostend Tourist Office for more info.

Ostend Street Art Gallery

Tourists stood in front of artist Hell'O Collective Mural in Ostend, Belgium.

Vibrant work from two Belgian artists from Brussels working under the name of Hell’O Collective pictured is a small section of the gigantic wall they painted near the city's train station. Click through the link below to see more of this mural.

Street artist Matthew Dawn's BLIND mural in Ostend, Belgium.

Antwerp artist Matthew Dawn

We were first introduced to Antwerp-based artist Matthew Dawn back in 2016 at the inaugural edition of the Crystal Ship festival when he was working with the festival providing assistance for some of the invited artists.

We later discovered some of Dawn's mural work while traveling in Belgium and last year saw him invited to paint the above mural piece for the 2018 edition of the festival.

Street Artist OakOak and Jaunes' collaborative stencils in Ostend, Belgium.

Belgian street artists and Crystal Ship regular Jaune collaborated with French street artist OAK OAK on several works across the city for the 2018 edition of the festival, we featured the collection of works produced by the artists over the duration of the festival in a dedicated blog post, follow the link below.

Bjørn Van Poucke photographing the stencil work of French Street Artist C215

The Crystal Ship festival curator, Bjørn Van Poucke capturing a photo of one of French street artist C215's stencils portraits painted for the 2017 edition of the festival.

Street Art Portrait by French street artist C215 painted in Ostend, Belgium

Black and white mural featuring birds and creatures by artist Phlegm

Painted on the other side of the port in Ostend is one of UK street artist Phlegm's epic black and white murals, with a guest appearance from Doug at FithWallsTV for scale.

Female figure painted on wall by artist Faith47 in Ostend

The mural work of South African artist Faith47.

Mural by Argentine artist Nicolas Romero Escalada aka Eversiempre in Ostend, Belgium

One of the first things you see as you pull into the Ostend train station from Brussels is this wonderful mural by Argentine artist Nicolas Romero Escalada aka Eversiempre.

The Crystal Ship Offical Opening

Invited artists have already begun to arrive in Ostend and many will be painting from the 6-13 April across the city.

The official festival opening taking place on Saturday 13th April from 2pm at Guldensporenlaan 2, Oostende where the artist's artworks will be officially unveiled to the general public.

Follow our Ostend Adventures

Hookedblog will once again travel to the City By Sea and we will be in Ostend for a number of days we will be bringing you coverage from The Crystal Ship Festival across our social channels so make sure to join us on Hookedblog Twitter and follow our daily adventures via our Hookedblog #InstagramStories on Instagram.

We will also be sharing highlights on the blog from our trip for those of you not using Instagram, so stay tuned. And if any of our readers are planning to visit the festival please let us know and we can arrange to catch up for a Belgian beer or a few!

Miniature stencil of city worker on a phone by artist Jaune in Belgium

Join Us on Instagram

Hookedblog on Instagram — @hookedblog
The Crystal Ship on Instagram — @thcrstlshp

Related Street Art Stories

Belgian Artist Roa's Mural in Ostend for The Crystal Ship Festival
Belgian Stencil Artist Jaune sails into Ostend for The Crystal Ship Festival
Discover some of the best Street Art in Brussels

Find Hookedblog on — Facebook — Twitter — Instagram — Bloglovin'Pinterest