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Belgium’s Casino Kursaal Has New Concert Hall Coming



The Belgian seaside resort of Ostend will soon play host to the country’s largest adjustable concert hall following the completion of an estimated €25 million ($26.7 million) makeover to a major component of its Casino Kursaal, a premium casino destination in the area.

Situated on the Belgian coast about 70 miles from Brussels, Ostend has played host the Casino Kursaal venue with its 26,520 sq ft casino housing a collection of 220 slots and 33 gaming tables since 1950. The Leon Stynen-designed property also features a restaurant, a bar, smoking terraces and an array of distinctive artwork as well as a 2,000-seat auditorium previously used by acts including Tom Jones, Dionne Warwick and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Impressive Idea

Flemish-language public service broadcaster VRT reports the local government has now finalized a plan to see mechanical elevators installed below the Casino Kursaal’s concert hall so as to allow for its floor to be raised or lowered

Work set to start in October will eventually permit this space to drop its existing tiered seating area to the level of the stage in order to create one flat space capable of holding as many as 3,000 people.

The mayor for Ostend, Bart Tommelein, explained this scheme is destined to open up further opportunities for the concert hall including the ability to host much larger events and exhibitions. 

He went on to reveal the project, which should be completed by August of 2026, is being funded from a variety of sources, including a €100,000 ($106,800) grant from the province of West Flanders alongside a regional fund award worth €400,000 ($427,500).

“It will allow us to organize much larger concerts for a standing audience of up to 3,000 people but we can also hold large banquets or conferences in the hall,” Tommelein said. 

“If we level the stage and floor, they will be at the height of the large windows that open on to the beach, which will give you a beautiful sea view.”

Opportune Outcome

Tommelein explained the two largest sources of funding for the coming renovation are to come from the Flemish government and Casino Kursaal Oostende NV, which operates Casino Kursaal, at €9 million ($9.6 million) and €11.5 million ($13.3 million) respectively while the building’s owner, NV EKO, is to contribute a further €4 million ($4.2 million). 

He described the investment as ‘substantial’ allowing the auditorium to become ‘an important economic motor’ for the city of around 72,000 people.

“Every year we welcome over a quarter of a million visitors to our magnificent auditorium,” Tommelein said. 

“We want to raise that figure to 330,000 people a year and when you know that 60% of these visitors have a meal in a restaurant before or after the show and 30% book an overnight stay in the area, you realize why this investment is so important to us.”

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