The 67 kms of pristine sandy beaches of the Belgian coast have long been a popular holiday destination. This was already the case a century ago. Decades before the First World War, the upper classes and aspiring classes had found their way to the sea, as had the occasional working-class day tripper – paid time off work for more than a day only became established in law in 1936.
In the image collection of Liberas many photos and postcards testify of the attraction of seaside resorts like Ostend, Blankenberge and Knokke before the Great War. While still a long way from the unsightly “concrete coast” of today, grand hotels, glamorous casinos and posh villas already profoundly marked the belle époque look and feel of these places. Whether for health reasons, socializing or pure recreation, and regardless of the fickle Belgian weather, the beautiful sea was simply the place to be.