LIFE + Nature project FLANDRE (English)

LIFE + Nature project FLANDRE (English)

Flemish And North French Dunes Restoration is a joint nature restoration project of the Agency for nature and forests of the Flemish Government, the Conservatoire de l’Espace Littoral et des Rivages lacustres and the Département du Nord for the coastal dunes between Dunkerque (France) and Westende (Belgium), that is co-financed by the European Union.

  • Read the flyer with more information (pdf - 900 KB)

Dunkirk 12, 13 and 14 june 2018: "Management of coastal dunes and sandy beaches"
International workshop organized by the Agency of Nature and Forests of the Flemish authority with the cooperation of the Université du Littoral Côte d’Opale in the frame of the LIFE+ Nature project FLANDRE

The workshop will take place at the ULCO Dunkerque: 189 B avenue Maurice Schumann, bâtiment des Darses at 59140 Dunkerque. 

Registration is open until 25 may 2018, click here to register
Click here for more information regarding the programme, registration, hotels and travel.


  • Networking among coastal LIFE projects
  • Natura 2000 Biogeographical Process – Coastal dunes roadmap
  • Climate change and atmospheric nitrogen deposition vs coastal dune dynamics and biodiversity
  • Sea level rise, coastal squeeze: need of synergies between coastal defense and nature development
  • Restoring ecological connectivity between dune sites along urbanized coasts
  • Nature management planning and scientific monitoring in coastal dunes and sandy beaches
  • Ecosystem services of coastal dunes and sandy beaches

Read the flyer (pdf)
More information and registration


Monday 21st May 2018: European ‘Natura 2000 Day’
Hannecartbos and Oostvoorduinen at Oostduinkerke  in the spotlight !

Start at 2 pm on the parking lot of the restaurant 'De Hoeve', Polderstraat 148, 8670 Koksijde (Oostduinkerke). The walk lasts two and a half hours and ends with a drink and a small snack in restaurant 'De Hoeve', offered by the Agency of Nature and Forests. Participation is free.

The LIFE Nature project ‘FLANDRE’ participates on the 21st of May 2018 to the annual celebration of the ‘birthday’ of the European Natura 2000 network and the LIFE financial instrument with a visit guided by nature management expert Marc Leten and LIFE+ FLANDRE project manager Jean-Louis Herrier to the ‘Hannecartbos’ and the ‘Oostvoorduinen’ at Oostduinkerke, followed by a drink with an appetizer at the restaurant ‘De Hoeve’.

The guided visit aims to highlight the achievements of the European LIFE funding instrument on nature restoration in that very varied dune area. The ‘Hannecartbos’ and the ‘Oostvoorduinen’ are part of the ‘Ter Yde’ dune complex, with its surface of more than 260 hectares, the third largest dune area on the Flemish coast.

The LIFE Nature project ‘FEYDRA’  (which stood for ‘Fossil Estuary of the Yzer Dunes Restoration Action’) ran from 2002 to 2005. As one of the most drastic actions of that project, a dying artificial afforestation of alders and poplars was removed in the ‘Hannecart forest’ over an area of about 6 hectares to successfully restore a lime marsh. A species rich and colorfully flowering hay meadow now stretches here, a true caress to the eye. On the other side of the Polderstraat are the ‘Oostvoorduinen-Oost’. In the context of the currently ongoing LIFE + Nature project 'FLANDRE' (which stands for 'Flemish And North French Dunes Restoration'), in 2015 a 15-hectare part of the ‘Oostvoorduinen-Oost’ was purchased by the Agency for Nature and Forests, a management plan for the entire ‘Oostvoorduinen’ site with a surface area of 54 hectares has been elaborated and during the winter half year 2015-2016 earthworks were carried out for the restoration of a 'humid dune slack' and 'dry dune grasslands'. The guided visit will provide a view on the one hand on the terrain in the ‘Oostvoorduinen’ that was the object of groundworks only two years ago and on the other hand on the stunning results of the works that were executed 13 years ago and the maintenance management that has been continued since then in the ‘Hannecartbos’. During the guided walk not only richly flowering dry dune grasslands and humid dune slacks can be admired, but of course also song birds, birds of prey and other birds can be seen and heard, including a cormorant colony and a heron colony. The guided visit leaves the usual pathways and sometimes runs through fairly rough terrain. Sturdy walking shoes are therefore recommended.

Flowering hay-field with Southern Marsh Orchid, Ragged Robin and Yellow Rattle.

Guided visits to the dunes of French Flanders

  • Sunday 6th May 2018: “Life of the dunes” in the National Nature Reserve “Dune Marchand”. Start at 2:00 PM in front of the “Ferme Nord” at Zuydcoote
  • Sunday 15th Juyly 2018: “Dragonflies in the dunes” in the “Dune Dewulf”. Start at 2:00 PM in front of the “Ferme Nord” at Zuydcoote.

Visit the exhibition
From Tuesday  15th May until Friday 8th June 2018 in the building of the CUD Communauté Urbaine de Dunkerque, Pertuis de la Marine, at 59386 Dunkirk

Access times: from Monday until Friday, 08:00 AM – 12:30 PM and 01:30 PM – 06:00 PM

Second visit of the European Commission
On the 22nd August 2017 the European Commission visited for the second time the LIFE+ Nature project FLANDRE. With the elaboration of a legal base for cross border cooperation and a legal status of transnational nature park, the LIFE+ FLANDRE project wants to provide a tool that is useful for transnational cooperation for the protection and management of cross border Natura 2000-sites in general. The representatives of the European Commission, Laszlo Becsy and Päivi Rauma, visited together with Ben Delbaere, of the external monitoring team NEEMO, that is supporting the European Commission, among other sites, the “Dune Dewulf” at Leffrinckoucke (France) where during last winter 11 hectare of scrub was removed and 5 pools dug out by the Département du Nord. In the newly dug out pools reproduction of Natterjack toad has already occured and on the areas cleared of scrub, plant species that are typical for the target habitats ‘humid dune slack’ (yellow-wort (Blackstonia perfoliata), marsh helle borine (Epipactis palustris) …) and ‘grey dunes’ (common milk-wort (Polygala vulgaris)) are already appearing.

Photo: The delegation of the EC (Päivi Rauma and Laszlo Becsy) and NEEMO (Ben Delbaere) together with the transnational French and Belgian LIFE+ FLANDRE-team in front of a panel providing explanations about the project at the entrance of the ‘Dune Dewulf’ (© Herman Spruytte)

Guided FLANDRE-visits summer 2017 to the Belgian dunes
The ANB organized during the summers 2016 and 2017 guided visits to nature domains that were quite recently acquired by the Flemish region and that are not (yet) accessible to the public.

The visit to the Oostvoorduinen-Oost at Oostduinkerke, that on Sunday 16 July 2017 was guided by the LIFE+ FLANDRE project manager Jean-Louis Herrier and warden Guy Vileyn enjoyed the interest of 24 participants. The attention went mainly to the pioneer vegetation of humid dune slacks that is emerging from the seed bank on the excavated part of the site (read more about action C.1 under “project program”) and to the effects of the mowing management and grazing management of the dune grasslands (action C.7).

The visit to the Belvédère-dunes at Koksijde (Belgium), one of the last uninterrupted transition zones between the dunes and the polders along the Flemish coast, on Saturday 12th August 2017 guided by management expert Marc Leten  and Coastal region manager Evy Dewulf was attended by 30 persons. The numerous attendance at the guided visits focused on the management of dune sites in 2016 and 2017, encourages the Agency of Nature and Forests to repeat these sensitization activities next year.


The advisory committee met for the fourth time and visited the the works in progress of the large scale removal of scrub in the “Dune Dewulf” at Leffrinckoucke
In November 2013 46 (27 French and 19 Belgian) representatives of concerned public authorities, scientific institutes, and non-governmental conservation organisations were invited to join the advisory committee of the LIFE+12 Nature project ‘FLANDRE’. 44 (27 French and 17 Belgian) persons accepted to join the committee. The first meeting of that advisory committee took place on the 7th May 2014 at Zuydcoote (France), the second on the 11th December 2015 at Koksijde (Belgium), the third on the 9th November 2016 and the fourth on the 13th of December 2017 at Zuydcoote again. During this fourth meeting of the advisory committee the attention of the 24 present members was directed towards the progress of the acquisition of land (actions B.1 and B.2), the preparation of the international workshop about the management  of dunes of tje 12th until the 14th of June 2018 at Dunkerque (action E.5) and the execution of the large scale removal of scrub (action C.2) and the digging out of new pools (action C.5) in the ‘Dune Dewulf’ at Leffrinckoucke.

With support of the financial instrument LIFE+ of the European Community
LIFE is the EU’s financial instrument supporting environmental, conservation and climate action projects throughout the EU. The general objective of LIFE is to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of the EU environmental and climate policy and legislation by co-financing projects with European added value. Since 1992 LIFE has co-financed some 4.171 projects, contributing approximately 3.4 billion euros to the protection of the environment and climate.