Culture & heritage

Horseback shrimp fishing

At Oostduinkerke, visitors can get a taste of a fisherman’s life from the past. Folklore is kept alive as this is the only place in Europe where the trade of horseback shrimp fishing is still practised. You can watch the fishermen at work during low tide, attend any of the cooking demonstrations that are regularly held along the beach, or buy freshly caught shrimp.

  • Shrimp fishermen on horseback wearing bright yellow slickers, tall rubber boots and sou’westers are seated in their wooden saddles on the back of their horses that drag the large nets behind them.
  • The horses are in the water up to the top of their legs. Draft horses famous for their enormous strength, such as the Brabant draft horse, are used for this task.
  • Every now and then, the fishermen and their horses will return to the shore to empty their nets and deposit their catch in the baskets hung from each side of the horses.
  • Shrimps caught by fishermen on horseback are exceptionally fresh and are a true delicacy when cooked.

On this website, you will find an overview of the dates and times at which you can witness this trade of horseback shrimp fishing.

Recommended: During the last weekend of June, the tradition of horseback shrimp fishing is highlighted during the Shrimp Festival. The annual Shrimp Festival is an ode to the sea and to shrimps, and focuses on the fishermen on horseback. Numerous activities are planned for the weekend. Make sure you attend the Shrimp Parade on Sunday afternoon, when 'Miss Shrimp' and her ladies of honour parade through the streets of Oostduinkerke.

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