The LinkedIn-Route

The route that takes in Knokke-Heist’s coolest entrepreneurs

This summer, social media will show you the way in Knokke-Heist. Three new walking and cycling routes based on well-known social media will take you on a tour of the most interesting places for your favourite platform.

The LinkedIn route is a 20 km bike ride specially designed for people with an eye for business. Discover the history behind the façades of the many iconic companies, listen to the fascinating anecdotes of genuine entrepreneurs, admire the oldest golf club in the country and visit the favourite addresses of global stars. After all, Knokke-Heist is a hotbed of success stories and interesting networks. Just like LinkedIn itself!

You can find the map of the route below.

1. THE LIGHTHOUSE

Lichttorenplein      KM: 0

In collaboration with architecture firm E&L, artist Gert Verhoeven came up with a new look for Lichttorenplein. Since then, it has generally been known as ‘the pink square’ for obvious reasons. The concept included the nineteenth-century lighthouse that has been rebuilt and now serves as an information point for lost tourists.

 

2. THE SKY HAS NO LIMITS

Zeedijk 749-752, One Carlton      KM: 0.65

Welcome to the ‘place m’as-tu vu’, the place to see and be seen. The ‘beau monde’ of our seaside resort used to parade past all the terraces here, giving Albertplein its famous nickname. Even the Kennedys had a close link with the area and would sometimes try to stroll around incognito. On the left, a spacious apartment building will immediately catch your eye. Property developer Bart Versluys had a personal connection with the former residence ‘The Carlton’, which disappeared from the Knokke-Heist skyline in 2016. The new building became his pièce de résistance and adopted the name of its predecessor. The Versluys Group was able to strike an extraordinary deal last year. One of the apartments at this prestigious ‘One Carlton’ was sold for €15 million. That’s €30,000 per square metre, not bad at all ;-)

3. FROM KEITH HARING TO JAN FABRE

Albertplein 15, Guy Pieters Gallery      KM: 0.7

Guy Pieters is one of the leading lights of the West Flemish art world. This art dealer is well known both at home and abroad. From Knokke to Paris, the enthusiastic connoisseur has helped various talented creatives to become great artists. After seeing big names such as Jan Fabre, James Ensor, Christo, Andy Warhol, Panamarenko, Gilbert & George, Keith Haring and Niki de Saint Phalle step through the door of his gallery on Zeedijk, he opened this venue at Albertplein in 2014. His motto: ‘Embrace the unexpected, that’s what makes life worth living.’

4. ROOFTOP VIEWS

Elizabetlaan 2, Memlinc hotel, bar, restaurant & rooftop      KM: 0.8

The Memlinc is an icon. The hotel is simply bursting with history, from a collapsed basement during World War II to visits by global stars such as Tom Jones, Cliff Richards and Claude Brasseur. Today, this listed building continues to attract international business clients and offer a taste of luxury. The 3Sixty bar – referring to the panoramic view – is a glorious spot at the top of the hotel. This rooftop bar offers wonderful views of the sea and attractive villa districts.

5. FIFTH AVENUE BY THE SEA!

Kustlaan      KM: 0.8

Brussels has its Nieuwstraat. Antwerp has its Nationalestraat. And in Knokke-Heist, you simply have to visit Kustlaan. Here, international names such as Louis Vuitton, Rolex and Hermès rub shoulders with Belgian brands such as Rue Blanche or Essentiel. On this coastal Fifth Avenue, you might well find car enthusiasts cruising by in their Jaguars and Ferraris. No wonder the largest number of Porsche Cayennes in the whole of Europe is found in Knokke-Heist. According to Belgian politician Leopold Lippens, strangely enough there are always women behind the wheel. ‘Perhaps their husbands had something to make up for.’ Another cool fact about Kustlaan? King Leopold III is said to have crawled beneath the half-open roller door of Neuhaus before dawn to tuck into his favourite chocolate undisturbed.

6. BEACH, PLEASE

Zeedijk 832, River Woods Beach Club      KM: 1.8

Choose the perfect setting to relax. On the beach, you will find a characteristic lounge bar where young socialites and elegant businesspeople can enjoy an aperitif or a game of pétanque. Sporty and relaxed, that's what the River Woods Beach Club stands for. Among other things, they live up to these values with their extensive range of water sports for the whole family: surfing, kayaking, kiting and sailing. By the way, did you know that you can drive from Knokke-Heist to Saint-Tropez without encountering a single traffic light? A fact provided by Leopold Lippens himself.

7. ON LAND, AT SEA AND IN THE AIR

Dunes in front of the Zwin at the end of Zeedijk, Hospitality by Barry Flanagan      KM: 4.4

With his legs stretched out, the ‘Keuning van ’t Zwin’ or King of the Zwin appears to be flying over the dunes. This work by Barry Flanagan has been greeting passers-by since 1997. Further away are the remains of the old airport which opened in the summer of 1930 to get tourists to the coast more quickly. As well as birds, a keen eye may also spot Sergio Herman’s restaurants in nearby Cadzand, just across the Dutch border.

8. KNOKKE-OUT

Bronlaan 113, Knokke-Out      KM: 7.3

The façade of this impressive white villa already hints at the opulence and pleasure found behind its walls. This elegant restaurant has everything you need for a truly charming evening. The terrace is adjacent to the Royal Tennis Club, where you can see the local elite working up a sweat. The establishment is a popular location for corporate events or private parties. Anyone who moors here often ends up in ‘Knokke-Out’.

9. GETTING STARTED WITH GOLF

Prins Filiplaan 1, Approach Golf      KM: 8.3

The name says it all: Approach Golf is the perfect place to get a taste for this popular sport. Come here to try it out to your heart's content before you start the hard work. You won’t find any experienced golfers here, and you have to carry your own clubs. For the real deal you’ll need to take out your wallet, because at the Royal Zoute Golf Club you will end up paying a hefty green fee without a membership card and with a handicap above 35.

10. GETTING STARTED WITH GOLF – ANNEX

Sioen Industries      KM: 8.3

In the 1960s, husband-and-wife team Jacqueline and Jean-Jacques Sioen founded what would become one of the most impressive Flemish family businesses. The listed textile company Sioen Industries is a world leader in technical textiles. Amongst other things, they produced bulletproof vests for the Irish army. The late Jacqueline subsequently transferred her position as CEO to her daughter Michèle so she could study winemaking at Château La Marzelle in France. The origins of this successful family lie in the cosmopolitan resort of Knokke-Heist and they still live in the municipality, near Approach Golf.

11. PUT 19

Sparrendreef 74, last hole after the golf course      KM: 8.6

One of the cafés at the heart of the small village of Het Zoute bears the name ‘Put 19’. You will find 19 holes or ‘putten’ here instead of the usual 18, as on most golf courses. After all, this traditional pub is the last stop on the course. It remains a fixture on the coast and welcomes all kinds of businesspeople on a daily basis, who call in to discuss jokes and deals over a pint.

12. ANGLICAN CHURCH

Zoutelaan 77, St. George’s Anglican Church by architect Adolphe Pirenne      KM: 9.4

In the nineteenth century, the Belgian coast was already popular with the British. Cosmopolitan tourists crossed the pond by steamboat to Ostend, Bruges or Knokke-Heist. Before long there was a small English colony in our municipality, whose members lived in villas and enjoyed playing golf. The Lippens family gave them a piece of land on which they could build an Anglican Church. It is still standing today, despite the turbulent history of the building: it was used by the Germans as a horse stable during World War I and was shelled a few times during World War II.

13. LEBEAU COURALLY

Zoutelaan 175, Golfhotel Lebeau Courally      KM: 11

A hotel surrounded by nature appeals to everyone, golf lovers or otherwise. Lebeau Courally is located close to the Royal Golf Club and the Zwin. That makes it ideal for holding a business meeting during a game of golf or on a walk through the reserve. With a typically English rustic style, the hotel exudes an appealing elegance. Inside the focus is on high-level comfort, including an extensive brunch. Flemish cuisine at its best, and you don’t even have to stay here to enjoy it!

14. FORT SINT-POL

Zoutelaan, Fort Sint-Pol      KM: 11.5

Niki de Saint Phalle's colourful, whimsical and friendly dragon is almost impossible to describe in words. The artwork ‘Le Dragon’ can be admired in the garden of Fort Sint-Pol. This art temple was long owned by the Nellens family, the same family that put Knokke Casino on the cultural map all those years ago. It organised ‘déjeuners sur l'herbe’ at the Fort, bringing together some 400 artists (including big names such as Picasso, Delvaux, Magritte, Beuys and Dalì) on a regular basis. These days, it is owned by Bart Versluys who aims to turn it back into the beating heart of the art scene in Knokke-Heist with a ‘Versluys Foundation’. Although it is not currently open to the public, you might catch a glimpse of the dragon as you cycle past.

15. LE BOUDIN SAUVAGE

Graaf Jansdijk 270, Le Boudin Sauvage      KM: 13.6

A classic example of how a French translation can lend cachet to any phrase. Nonetheless, The Wild Sausage - as odd as it sounds in English - has become a popular fixture on Knokke-Heist’s dining scene. Enjoy its excellent French cuisine and great ambience with a fondue fork in your hand (it’s a good place for groups, too). Business partners also like to clinch deals here.

16. CWART

Kalfstraat 42, CWART      KM: 14.4

CWART? It’s the new name for the old Ceuvelhoeve which underwent a transformation a few years ago. All the rustic elements of the building are now in dialogue with modern and industrial materials. The farm plays an important role in the municipality’s current art policy. The big names can easily be found in other galleries, but this is a place for experimentation. Up-and-coming artists find support here in the form of an exhibition space, interesting co-working activities or lectures. The place simply bustles with creativity and culinary activity: as well as enjoying art, you can also have a delicious dinner there.

17. ROYAL KNOKKE FOOTBALL CLUB

Smedenstraat 93, Royal Knokke FC      KM: 16.5

It’s common knowledge that people from Knokke-Heist love sport. That healthy sea air gets everyone moving, in the municipality and beyond. For example, well-known millionaires such as Bill Gates and Roman Abramovich like to make the most of Knokke-Heist's famous horse races. Then there is Royal Knokke FC, originally founded by the English mini-colony. As the growing interest in football was making the facilities burst at the seams, OYO Architects were appointed to carry out a complete overhaul. More space has been created at the top of the stands for the canteen, the medical station and the staff areas. And the whole venue has been painted in Knokke-Heist's favourite colour: white!

18. DUINENWATER

On the banks of the Duinenwater Lake, Duinenwater Knokke      KM: 17.5

Have you ever dreamed of a resort on the coast with all the amenities and recreation you could ever want, but without the annoying tourists? The Duinenwater promises to become the most idyllic residential site in the region. The design remains true to Knokke-Heist style, with its stately character and red roofs. Living, shopping and water sports will go hand in hand here. The area is also attracting many interesting start-ups and established entrepreneurs from the area, such as the restaurant Blanco and Boulangerie Henri on Keith Haringplein just around the corner. The future of Knokke-Heist is in the making here, something which investors understand extremely well.

19. LA RÉSERVE

Elizabetlaan 160, Hotel La Réserve      KM: 19.2

In the glory years of the casino, major international stars walked off the stage and into Hotel La Réserve. Staying here was the closest you could get to artists such as Edith Piaf, Jean-Paul Sartre or Gilbert Bécaud. Although the hotel became a status symbol, it failed to stand the test of time. Acquired by the famous Nellens family in 2007, it was demolished shortly afterwards. Design agency EL Architects started work on the prestigious project and turned it into a spacious residential complex. On the shores of the Zegemeer, where the stars of yesteryear slept off their hangovers, the beau monde of our coastal community now live in their customised apartments!

20. THE PHARMACY

Elizabetlaan 178, Cocktailbar The Pharmacy      KM: 19.5

Once you’ve spent a while soaking up the luxurious atmosphere of Knokke-Heist, you quickly start to get used to it. And the same absolutely applies to The Pharmacy. This high-end cocktail bar is (yet another) family business. The mixologist father Van Ongevalle and his children all used to be behind the bar, but these days the business is run by his youngest daughter Noa Van Ongevalle. The oldest daughter Hannah was previously declared the best bartender in our country and recently launched a new business: The Motel. Brother Ran Van Ongevalle won the international Bacardi Legacy and runs a bar in nearby Bruges. Father Jan launched a fun dining concept on Lippenslaan at the end of June: Ugly Duckling. Entrepreneurship clearly runs in the family!

21. CASINO KNOKKE

Zeedijk 509, Casino      KM: 20

Knokke-Heist's cultural monument requires little introduction. The casino is the municipality’s flagship. The Art Deco walls (after a design by Leon Stynen) remain wonderfully reminiscent of post-war glory. Global stars such as Charles Aznavour, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald performed on stage here. The king of surrealism, René Magritte, painted the 72 metre fresco on the inside in 1952. He commuted to the coast three times a week by train to complete his work. Partly as a result of this exposure, the artist grew into one of our best-known Belgian export products.

22. CALYPSO

Zeedijk 510, Calypso Restaurant & Bar      KM: 20

Calypso shares its name with the enchanting water nymph from Homer's Odyssey. Anyone who walks in here will certainly understand the comparison. The restaurant is located on the water with a view of the sunset, right next to the casino. The interior has an almost mythical quality. Just like the menu, where you will find all kinds of premium drinks. The strange vending machine turns out to be a magical door to the secret karaoke room. If the stage of the Casino proves too intimidating for you, you can practise here first without worrying about what other people think.

LinkedIn tip:

• Tag #myKH in your post on LinkedIn. We would also like to read your feedback about our route.

• Or who knows, perhaps you might discover even more interesting anecdotes!

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