Knokke (ˈknɔkə) is one of a group of communities that are all grouped in the administrative community Knokke-Heist
Knokke-Heist is a municipality located in the Belgian province of West Flanders. The municipality comprises the towns of Heist-aan-Zee, Knokke, Duinbergen, Ramskapelle and Westkapelle. On January 1, 2006 Knokke-Heist had a total population of 34,063. The total area is 56.44 km² which gives a...

, in the province of West Flanders in Flanders
Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

, Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

. Knokke itself has 15,653 inhabitants (2003).

Knokke-Heist has 33,818 inhabitants (2009).
Knokke is the most North-Eastern seaside resort
Seaside resort
A seaside resort is a resort, or resort town, located on the coast. Where a beach is the primary focus for tourists, it may be called a beach resort.- Overview :...

 of the Belgian coast. It lies close to the Dutch border and is separated from the Dutch territory by the Zwin
The Zwin is a nature reserve at the North Sea coast, on the Belgian-Dutch border. It consists of the entrace area of a former tidal inlet which during the Middle Ages connected the North Sea with the ports of Sluis and Bruges inland....

, a beautiful and extremely interesting natural reserve.

Knokke is famous for its beaches, and for the dike system to which it owes its origins. Knokke came into existence because of the construction of dikes that were meant to protect the area around the 'Zwin' sea-arm. Originally a simple vacation haven for the city folk of Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

 in the early 19th century, artists such as James Ensor
James Ensor
James Sidney Edouard, Baron Ensor was a Flemish-Belgian painter and printmaker, an important influence on expressionism and surrealism who lived in Ostend for almost his entire life...

, Alfred Verwee and others, started to frequent the small hamlet to paint its beautiful vistas. The artists rented a small miller's cottage and founded the Cercle des Artistes in 1880. It gradually became a resort town with upscale clientele, restaurants and shops.

Knokke also has one of Belgium's ten casinos with art by Keith Haring
Keith Haring
Keith Haring was an artist and social activist whose work responded to the New York City street culture of the 1980s.-Early life:...

, Rene Magritte
René Magritte
René François Ghislain Magritte[p] was a Belgian surrealist artist. He became well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images...

 and Paul Delvaux
Paul Delvaux
Paul Delvaux was a Belgian painter, associated with Surrealism, famous for his paintings of female nudes.-Biography:...

. The Kroonluchterzaal (Chandelier room) contains a 6 ton chandelier made of Venetian crystal. The chandelier has a diameter of 8.5 m and is 6.5 m high. Some 22,000 pieces of glass were used and 2,700 lamps light up the main hall. It was created by Architect J. Selis and designer Al. David.

External links

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