Retired royal couple Queen Paola and King Albert of Belgium, visited the coastal city of Ostend, known for its long beach and promenade and its historical museums, on Wednesday.
The retired King and Queen came to the city for an art exhibition in the mu.ZEE art museum entitled ‘Het Vlot’, meaning ‘The Raft. Art is (not) lonely’ and received a guided tour from long known friend and artist, Jan Fabre and his co-curator Joanna De Vos.
Over the years Queen Paolo has had a strong relationship with artist and curator Jan Fabre, who covered the ceiling of the grand mirror room in the Royal Palace in Brussels with the colourful iridescent green-blue shells of one and a half million beetles in 2002.
Jan Fabre and Joanna De Vos, led the royal couple around many of the city’s cultural and historical points, providing information on the art in the Venetian Galleries, the Mercator ship, and discussed the works of Michaël Borremans, Luc Tuymans and Michael Fliri in the Dominican church. The couple also visited the Casino-Kursaal, known for being the largest casino in Europe.
After their artistic guide around the city, the couple enjoyed lunch in the Royal North Sea Yacht Club.
Albert and Paola ended their trip with a visit to the Huis aan Zee, translating to ‘House by the Sea’ on the seawall in Ostend. The house is one of 5 houses to be opened in Flanders as a result of the 4 million euros raised on Belgian Red Nose Day.
Houses like Huis aan Zee, offer a place for young people to relax and seek quick, professional psychological help.
Founder Chris Van Lysebetten and Red Nose Ambassador Evi Hanssen welcomed the royal couple together with many children and young people who handed over drawings and posed for photographs.