Vue aérienne du Fort des Dunes à Leffrinckoucke à proximité de la Mer du Nord

A fort in the heart of the sand dunes

A camouflaged military structure

Fort des Dunes is a military structure located in the Dunes de Flandres area, in the commune of Leffrinckoucke. Just a few kilometers from Dunkirk and close to the beach, this fortified structure was not built by chance.

The fort has weathered the great tragic events of the 20th century.

150 years of story(s) to tell

The Fort des Dunes through the ages

A defensive military structure

With its buildings hidden beneath the sand, Fort des Dunes is a remarkable example of the military architecture conceived by General Séré de Rivières. Built in 1878, the Fort is part of a series of fortifications erected following France’s defeat by Prussia in 1871. Its purpose was to defend the port of Dunkirk from an attack from the east. The Zuydcoote coastal battery, located 800 meters from the Fort, was built in 1879 as an annex.

Following the invention of new explosives, it soon lost its strategic role and was used as a barracks, housing 450 men.

The Fort during Operation Dynamo

During the Second World War, the Fort des Dunes was at the heart of Operation Dynamo. This embarkation, the largest in history, enabled the evacuation of 338,000 Allies. Several French units were stationed at the Fort before being sent out to fight.

On June 2, 1940, General Janssen and his men of the 12th Motorized Infantry Division were killed by stukas in the fort itself. The bombardments continued on June 3, causing the death of around a hundred men and a great deal of material damage. Next to the Fort is the Leffrinckoucke National Necropolis, with 190 graves, including that of General Janssen. This necropolis bears witness to the heavy losses suffered by the French army during those apocalyptic days.

Other dramatic events took place here during the war, including the execution of eight resistance fighters in 1944.

The post-war period

After the war, the fort experienced various fortunes and long years of abandonment before being bought by the town of Leffrinckoucke in 1998. Today, it is a space of memory, museography and culture radiating throughout Leffrinckoucke, the territory of Dunkirk and its surroundings.

L'exposition permanente au Musée du Fort des Dunes à Leffrinckoucke-Dunkerque

A witness to military history

From military work to cultural and heritage site

A superb witness to 19th century military architecture, the Fort now aims to be a cultural and heritage site, a place of memory and a museum dedicated to the Second World War.

Museum and Memorial

Visit a military fort
in the heart of the Dunes

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Organiser un ANNIVERSAIRE au Fort

The Museum nowadays

A place for cultural events, remembrance and varied activities.

L'exposition permanente au Musée du Fort des Dunes à Leffrinckoucke-Dunkerque

The new scenography

A renovated space with 600m² of permanent exhibition space

Cour intérieure du musérial du Fort des Dunes

Photo gallery

Discover the Fort in pictures, photographed from every angle...

Visit the Museum

A unique fortified site on the edge of a remarkable dune area.