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Saturday, 29 February 2020

De Haan, Belgium

The small town of De Haan lies on the Belgian coast, between Oostende and Blankenberge.  Its population of around 12,000 is swelled during the summer months by holidaymakers drawn to its long, sandy beach.

Belgium's coastal tramway is the main public service in De Haan.  The tramway is the world's longest tram route, stretching for around 70 kilometres along the entire coastline of Belgium.  It is operated by De Lijn, which provides local public transport services throughout Belgium's Flanders region.

The tram is around 600 metres inland as it passes through De Haan.











When I visited De Haan in August 2018, I found many of the trams carrying advertising liveries.



























De Haan's main tram stop is in the centre of the town.



The original station building now serves as De Haan's tourist information office.

It carries the town's name in French, Le Coq sur Mer, as well as in Flemish.  Le coq means "the hen", as does "de haan" - the town takes its name from a hotel of this name.

























Although the station building is no longer used in connecton with the tram, there is a "Lijnwinkel" kiosk on the opposite platform for De Lijn tickets and information.

This may only be open seasonally.







The coastal tram operates seven days a week throughout the year.  The basic frequency is every 15 minutes throughout the day, although on Mondays to Fridays durng the winter months, this is reduced to every 20 minutes.  Late evening services also operate less frequently.

During the summer months, however, the tram frequency is enhanced to every 10 minutes to cater for holiday traffic.  This requires additional trams, which are loaned from the system in Gent for the peak summer season.

The Gent trams appear to be freely mixed with those belonging to the coastal tramway.

 






 

Apart from the tram, public transport in De Haan is limited to a couple of bus services, both of which are infrequent.

Bus route 31 heads inland from De Haan to Brugge, better known (at least to visitors from the UK) as Bruges.

This operates six times a day on Mondays to Saturdays, with three journeys a day on Sundays.

I found some journeys on route 31 were operated with articulated buses.





Other journeys were operated with standard single-deck buses.

 








The other bus route to serve De Haan is route 46.

This is a very limited service running on Mondays to Fridays, comprising a single early morning journey from De Haan to Oostende, then two round trips from Oostende to De Haan in the late afternoon.

It does not reach the centre of De Haan, terminating instead as it reaches the edge of the town.

Buses on route 46 display Klemskerke as their destination, rather than De Haan.

I found a small single-deck bus in use on route 46.









Fares on the De Lijn system are quite simple.  A single-journey ticket costs €3.  This allows interchange for up to 60 minutes after boarding.  However, 10-journey tickets offer a considerable saving, as they can be bought for €16.  Two or more people can travel together using one 10-journey ticket - you simply validate it once per person when first boarding.

A one-day ticket allowing unlimited travel on all DeLijn services throughout the whole of Flanders (apart from one or two express buses in the Brussels region) is available for €7, with a three-day version costing €14.

There is also a seven-day pass allowing unlimited travel in West Flanders province, covering the whole of Belgium's coastline and also stretching inland to include places such as Brugge (Bruges) and Ieper (Ypres).  This costs €26 for one person, or €40 for two people travelling together.

Private coach tours from other places can be seen visiting De Haan.  This image shows a coach from Luxembourg.









Finally, in recent years, cycle hire schemes have become quite widespread.  De Haan doesn't have one.  It does, however, have one or two cycle hire businesses renting bicycles and go-karts.

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