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On Jan Piersplein, next to the Mercator, you will find a colourfully painted wooden fishing boat. This pirogue, a traditional fishing boat from The Gambia, symbolises the city link between the city of Ostend and Banjul, the capital city of The Gambia.

Navy ship A960 Godetia brought the small boat to Belgium. On 22 November 2022, city staff placed the traditional boat on Jan Piersplein.

Pirogues in Banjul

Local fishermen from Banjul and Senegal use pirogues to fish, to transport goods and people, and recently also as a tourist attraction. On Banjul beach, handmade fishing boats with their typical brightly coloured, canoe-like hulls set sail every day.

In Banjul, master carpenters take up to a month to make a customised pirogue. Their workplace is Banjul’s beach where you can watch them at work. Each pirogue is unique.

The fishing boats are hand-painted using traditional methods. The colours and unique pattern are often inspired by the Gambian flag. The one in Ostend bears colours that refer to the Gambian and Belgian flags. The Senegalese flag has also been integrated. The many eyes on the hull are there as protection against forces of evil. The words ‘Oostende Banjul’ stand on the hull.

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