De Panne

De Panne is a Belgian town on the North Sea, close to the French border. It is the place of birth of beach sailing and harbours the widest beach of Flemish coast. The surrounding dunes are the oldest in Europe.

De Panne is very important in Belgian history because this is the first place King Leopold I set foot after the Belgian independency. The dunes between De Panne and Dunkirk were used during the evacuation of the British troops in WWII. Both these historic events are honoured with a monument for King Leopold I and a free WWII Museum.

De Panne is known for its beach and for nature reserves like Westhoek, where dunes and grasslands shelter migratory birds and Highland cattle. The top of the Kykhill Dune Park offers views of the century-old Dumont Quarter and the sea. In the Dumont Quarter, you can find a collection of buildings from the 19th and 20th century, built in the style of cottages, designed by the architect Albert Dumont.

In De Panne you can also find the theme park Plopsaland, which gets its name from the Belgian TV character Plop the gnome. As it is mainly built for children, people under 1 meter get in for free.

A must see in De Panne is the Beaufort Permanent Sculpture Park, or The Culture House De Scharbiellie, packed full of oceanic art which once belonged to Paul Simpelaere.

As De Panne is only a part of the Belgian Coast, you can easily visit the other cities by riding the Coastal Tram, which goes all the way up to Knokke-Heist.

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