A beautiful story
In 2013 Danny Drooghenbroodt started a Facebook page
on which he appealed to Trans Europa Ferries to take foot passengers on board too. With a few tens of likes this page went unnoticed for a long time.
Only after the cessation of the last ferry line to England, the awareness that the Ferry lines from Oostende did not only help to determine the soul of our town, but are also indispensable for the economy and hence the future of our youth and the generations began to grow.
A growing public
Very soon, the Facebook page grew to be the voice of the people who love the harbour and who want the port authority, the politicians and the business world to do a maximal effort to make this ideally situated port flourish again. The Facebook page nearly has 4000 members now and the reach of the posts now averages around 30.000 people. The activities of the page regularly make it into the press. Apart from freight ferries and green energy a passenger line must be an important pillar of the port activities.
In 2014, members of the Facebook page went to England with more than 200 people under the slogan "Keerdekiwere" - which roughly means "come back". This lead to an interview on BBC and massive interest in both the British as well as the Belgian local press. The participants and organisors got a warm reception in both Canterbury and Ramsgate.
After an enjoyable crossing with the Calais Seaways, which we playfully renamed into "Fluppe" for this occasion, the participants traveled on to Canterbury for a great day of shopping, sightseeing or just for enjoying the typical British atmosphere from a terrace.
In the late afternoon, the group left for Ramsgate where they were received by the port authority and the mayor.
Thanks to our actions, the awareness that a new ferry line is really essential and means an added value to Oostende and its extensive surroundings is really beginning to seep in now.
At the end of 2014, the Facebook page "Restart Ferries Oostende", a real non profit organisation (vzw in Dutch), was started. With the group, a great deal of activities were organised to make people, politicians and entrepreneurs aware of the possibilities our harbour has to offer.
One of the first activities was the organisation of a major harbour debate with on the panel port president Johan Vande Lanotte, professor Georges Allaert and for Restart Danny Drooghenbroodt and Noël van de Maele were thrown for the lions.
Goals of vzw Restart:
Vzw Restart is a very active organisation with ambitous goals. Very simply put we are a kind of consumer group which tries to take the needs and interests of the users of the port of Oostende to heart. Originally and in the first place those people are the foot and car passengers. However, more and more we start getting questions from and contacts within the transport sector.
In our manifesto the goals are stated as follows:
Restart can undertake all possible actions to sensitise the populatio, investors, the port authority and the politicians for the economic and social interest of the Ostend port and for the interest of diverse and sustainable activities in this port.
Not restrictive, those concern all aspects of inter-modality in Oostende, passenger ferry transport in all shapes, freight, road transport, railway transport and aviation.
The organisation can take initiative to bring people from communities, linked by harbour activities, in touch with each other.
Endeavoring to forge links between the towns and those communities is one of our goals.
The organisation can also take initiative to organise maritime activities themselves or as an intermediary.
The organisation can extend its activities to all activities which are directly or indirectly related to that goal.
Who are our members?
Vzw Restart tries to connect people with a heart for the port of Oostende across all ideological and politcal boundaries. We watch very strictly that we preserve our political neutrality at all times. Our main rule is that we never attack anyone personally, but only raise points where changes are needed.
If things have been done well, we will be the first to give a compliment.
There is no such thing as a free lunch, so some of our actions have the aim of raising funds.
Those funds are used for flyers, paying for printing costs, lobbying work, organising various activities, study work
Our main actions:
Major harbour debate
Publication of the vision text about the Churchill quay, which we sent to all MPs, members of the Town Council and the European commission.
Singing for the port. By chance we had enough people during "Oostende voor anker" to sing sailor's songs and our signature song "Woa is de moale nu noatoe".
Visit Port Authority Ramsgate
Visit Direction Stena Lines
Trip to Ramsgate on 12th of September
Talking with Chamber of Commerce of Kent
Trip to London on the 26th of november
How can you support us?
Contact us and become an active member.
You can also help us to do our actions. Your gifts are indispensable for this.
You can deposit on this account number:
BE08 9731 2603 9713
vzw. Restart ferries Oostende