Koksijde is a seaside resort which has three marvellous museums: Abdijmuseum Ten Duinen, Delvaux museum and Visserij museum. When the weather isn’t fit for sunbathing on the beach they are a perfect place to spend a few interesting hours enriching your cultural and historic “baggage” . The Abdijmuseum Ten Duinen is maybe the best known..
The museum offers the visitor an educative and extensive journey into the world of the Cistercian religious order and at the same time an insight into the Middle Ages. The Cistercian order was really a European multinational avant-la-lettre founded early 12th century by Bernardus of Clairvaux and having franchise abbeys all over Europe... including the UK!
In the museum the audiovisual means ( although at times some are broken) are picturing very well how the monks were living and some of the audiovisuals require the participation of the visitor. There is even a short romantic movie (flashback included) with the abbey and the North Sea as background. Adults and children alike will enjoy the experience.
The visit will take you between one and two hours. After that you go through the alley to ....nothing. Actually only a few bricks are left of the once majestic church and abbey. The ruins only give you an idea of the layout and size of the abbey, the rest is up to your imagination , of course helped by what you just have been experiencing in the museum.
To prepare your visit have a look at the website : www.tenduinen.be It has an English version.
To end your visit go to the recently restored old fisherman’s house ( on the grounds of the ruins) which is now converted into a café with terrace. You can get there a good Belgian beer en a snack.