De Panne

Beach hut  (click to enlarge)

Went to Belgium for autumn break and stayed in De Panne. It’s the last town at the Belgian west coast bordering France. You can actually see the port of Dunkirk in the far distance. We have been going to De Panne on holidays for over 20 years. The kids love the beach, the pancakes and the Belgian waffles … I love the walks along the waterline in crisp fresh windy autumn weather when the air smells of salty sea water.

A rather wide beach at low tide  (click to enlarge)De Panne has the widest beach of the entire Belgian coast line. Particularly when it is low tide the beach can stretch to a few hundred meters in width. Hence it provides for plenty of space for sun bathers in summer and for a lot of different types of recreation in winter like walking and jogging along the water line or horse riding, or sail cart competitions.

Leopold I  (click to enlarge)After Belgium had declared and been granted independance by the big powers of the 19th century the first King of Belgium, the German Leopold I of Saksen-Coburg first set foot on Belgian territory when he disembarked on the beach of De Panne on the 17th of July 1831, four days before his installation as King of Belgium on 21 July 1831. There is a large monument to commemorate this. De Panne also served as the base for King Albert I during WWI.

Sailing cart competitions   (click to enlarge)De Panne is the only location in Belgium where one can prcatice the sailing cart sport on the beach as only there is the beach wide enough. These carts can accelerate to really strong speeds with the slightest wind. They are a really beautiful sight.

WWII memorial  (click to enlarge)The beach in De Panne also functioned as a staging ground for the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force and French troops in 1940 after Germany invaded France and the allied troops had retretead to the port of Dunkirk and the surrounding beaches. A memorial at the beach today is testimony of De Panne’s contributions to this successful effort of saving the troops by repatriating them to England.

Dunes   (click to enlarge)De Panne has a large protected nature reserve consisting of a small remaining part of what historically was a huge area of sand dunes bordering the sea. It’s a beautiful and quiet oasis of tranquility and peace. It remains one of the key attractions of the seaside town.

Last Updated: 29-10-2014

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