Ostend at Anchor celebrates the 500th anniversary of Magellan. 

Ferdinand Magellan (1480-1521) was a Portuguese explorer (which is why he is often mentioned in history books by his Portuguese name Fernão de Magalhães).
With his ship the ‘Nao Victoria’ he discovered, among other things, the Strait of Magellan between South America and Tierra del Fuego.
In the early sixteenth century, Portugal and Spain fought for control of the newly discovered sea trade routes. Portugal had a monopoly on the African and Asian sea trade and Spain on the American one.
Because of its high profitability, Spain (Charles V) was all too keen to break the Portuguese monopoly on the Asian spice trade.
Because Portugal controlled the sea route via the Cape of Good Hope and because Vasco Nuñez de Balboa had discovered the Pacific Ocean in 1513, an expedition was equipped under the command of Magellan with the aim of bypassing America and reaching the spice islands by this route.
As the first explorer to sail around the world, Magellan proved that the earth was round.  The voyage itself, which took more than two years, had to contend with winter storms, mutiny, scurvy and other dangers. Only the commanders had any notion of sailing.
What fearlessness was needed to sail the unknown oceans in such conditions!
The sea routes to the Moluccas – around Africa (as Vasco da Gama sailed) or via a western route around South America (as Magellan sailed) – made it possible to avoid the massive tolls along the caravan routes, which made the eastern spices “extremely expensive”.
Those voyages of discovery triggered an unprecedented scientific, cultural and philosophical chain reaction that still drives a good part of the world today.
During ‘Ostend at Anchor’ you will be able to discover a unique collection of sea and world maps and artefacts, loaned by the Spanish Geographical Institute. Thanks to this exhibition, we will also be putting the spotlight on Flemings who played an important role during that exceptional voyage of discovery.