Souvenirs of Bloomsday in Ostend, 16 June 2022

The ‘portiers van de oceaan’ from left to right, Jef Van Eynde, Hendrik Tratsaert (Exit vzw), Lieven Van Den Abeele, Xavier Tricot (Ostendiana), Helen Simpson (Ostendiana), Philippe Braem, Koen Peeters and Dierk Beirens.

Bloomsday in Ostend was a huge success and we thank everyone who participated: you made the day! Click on the Bloomsday menu above for a slideshow of Jef Van Eynde’s photo reportage of the proceedings. Enjoy!


Full programme!

Berenice Abbott, Portrait of James Joyce, 1928, printed 1982, Gelatin silver print. Gift of A&M Penn Photography Foundation by Arthur Stephen Penn and Paul Katz, 2007. The Clark Art Institute, 2007.2.182.

Only ten more days until we celebrate Bloomsday in Ostend. Join us on 16 June as we celebrate the centenary of Ulysses in the city where James Joyce spent his summer holiday in 1926. Dress up! We’ll be celebrating in the sartorial style of 1926. There’s an exhibition of eighteen original prints based on Ulysses in the Ostend Library, the launch of a new gazette Ostende!, a picnic (bring your own food and drink), live music and song, a James Joyce walk along the promenade and pier, all interspersed with readings from Ulysses in multiple languages.

Click on the Bloomsday menu option above for all the details.
Click on the Ostende! menu option for details of the gazette.

JAMES (2020) by Hans Verhaegen

Telemachus (detail) from JAMES by Hans Verhaegen (a series of eighteen digital prints)

Bloomsday kicks off on 16 June with the opening of JAMES, an exhibition by Hans Verhaegen in the Ostend Library. Using his own unique font, the artist has created a ‘translation’ of ‘Ulysses’ by James Joyce. All 1.726.112 characters in the book are transformed into a series of eighteen digital prints. Join us at the Library for the opening on Thursday 16 June from 10.30 – 12.30. We’ll be dressing in the style of 1926, the year that James Joyce spent his summer holiday in Ostend – will you?

Bibliotheek Oostende Wellingtonstraat 17 8400 Oostende
Click here for library opening hours



Photo: James and Nora Joyce, with Patrick J. Hoey, lying in the grass at Ostend, August 1926. Collection: University at Buffalo, the State University of New York.

It’s not long to go until we celebrate Bloomsday in Ostend on 16 June 2022! We’re also launching Ostende! a special gazette featuring original texts on James Joyce and other cultural figures associated with the city. With contributions by Dirk Beirens, Philippe Braem, Koen Broucke, Paul Claes, Adriaan Gonnissen, Geert Leernout, Nicola Nord, Koen Peeters, Jean-Yves Plamont, Helen Simpson, Els Snick, Hendrik Tratsaert, Xavier Tricot, Jef Van Eynde, Lieven Van Den Abeele and Hans Verhaegen. Designed by Lodewijk Joye.

Expect an art exhibition based on the book by Hans Verhaegen in the municipal library, readings from Ulysses in different languages and dialects, a picnic on the beach (bring your own) and much more… Full details to follow soon!


James and Nora Joyce enjoy lunch with their son Giorgio in the garden of the Hôtel L’Océan, 1926
Published in James Joyce in Ostend by Xavier Tricot (Pandora, Antwerp, 2018)

Celebrate Leopold Bloom and the centenary of Ulysses in Ostend

16 June 2022

Readings, events, and performances – details to follow

Plus the launch of Ostende! a special Bloomsday publication dedicated to James Joyce and other eminent figures connected to the city.

Few realise it, but Ostend has its own unique connection to James Joyce. Four years after the publication of Ulysses, the author spent a happy holiday in the city with his wife, Nora, and their two children. It was the summer of 1926. Joyce wrote letters and postcards to his friends while here, many of which survive, as does an evocative set of photographs. This material forms the basis for Xavier Tricot’s detailed account of James Joyce in Ostend.

Ulysses is undoubtedly one of the most famous books about Dublin. Written over seven years in three different cities, and totalling 265,000 words, Joyce’s epic novel depicts the events of a single day in the city. The protagonist is one Leopold Bloom. Dublin has been celebrating Bloomsday on the anniversary of the date that features in the book – 16 June 1904 – since 1954. From small beginnings, it is now a city-wide festival that attracts an international audience. But the festivities aren’t limited to Ireland: Bloomsday is now celebrated by Joyce lovers around the world. This year, the party will be extra special as Ulysses turns 100.

Celebrating 100 years of a literary masterpiece

On 2 February 1922, Paris bookseller Sylvia Beach – founder of the legendary Shakespeare & Company – published the first edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses. It was a brave decision. The editors of The Little Review, an American literary journal that published excerpts of the book, had been tried for obscenity the previous year (effectively banning the book in the US). But Beach was undeterred, writing to her friend Marion Peters:

Dear Marion,

My shop is a great success and self-supporting and all that sort of thing and just think I am publishing a book now. Ulysses by James Joyce, the greatest book and author of the age. . ..! You probably saw in the papers the uproar caused by the trial of the Editors of the Little Review for printing some of Ulysses in it, and how they were fined $100, and their thumb prints taken. Nine stenographers gave up the typing of the last episode here in Paris and a gentleman from the British Embassy burned a dozen pages . . . he threw ’em into the fire in a rage. Ulysses is a masterpiece and one day it will be ranked among the classics in English literature. Joyce is in Paris, and I told him I would publish his book, after the publisher in New York threw up the job in a fright.