commune in Nord, France

Dunkirk (French: Dunkerque, Dutch: Duinkerke) is a town in the region of Hauts-de-France in France.

The free-standing belfry
Town Hall


The name Dunkirk comes from the Dutch language "Church of the Dunes". The town is a historic resort located on the northern region of France, 10 km from the border with Belgium. It's a great place to start your journey further into the Continent, but also a great holiday destination on its own, featuring historic beaches, shopping locations, and many places to eat local food, which is an interesting fusion of traditional Flemish cooking and seafood.

In World War II, the Allied expeditionary force was surrounded in Dunkirk in 1940. 300,000 soldiers were evacuated from Dunkirk to England in Operation Dynamo. The operation has been depicted in several motion pictures, including Christopher Nolan's 2017 film Dunkirk. The withdrawal - while technically speaking a defeat - was seen as a miraculous saving of soldiers whom the British public had thought lost to capture or killing and gave a much needed morale boost. Winston Churchill called it "Our finest hour" in a famous speech and to this day British politicians like to invoke the "Dunkirk spirit" in times of national crisis.

Get inEdit

The closest airport in the area is the international 1 Calais–Dunkerque Airport (CQF IATA), which is located to the west, closer to Calais further down the coast. 2 Ostend-Bruges International Airport (OST IATA) is less than 60 km (37 mi) east, across the Belgian border near Oostende, however due to the Schengen Agreement there is no passport control when crossing it.

The second closest airport on many maps is Merville/Calonne Airport, built by the German Luftwaffe, has no commercial airline services scheduled.

You can also get into Dunkirk by ferry using the Dover-Dunkirk service run by DFDS Seaways or by train from Paris or Arras. Be warned, the ferry service does not accept passengers on foot (but does accept cyclists).

Get aroundEdit

The public buses are free of charge since September 2018.


  • 1 Port Museum (Musée Portuaire), 9 Quai de la Citadelle, +33 3 28 63 33 39. Daily 10:00-12:30, 13:30-18:00. The Port Museum is housed in a former 19th-century tobacco warehouse. Inside the museum one shall find insights into the nautical world of a large port from both historical and contemporary perspectives. €6.  
  • 2 Saint-Éloi church, 2 Rue Clemenceau, +33 3 28 29 07 74.   UNESCO World Heritage site.    
  • Town Hall.
  • Allies Memorial.
  • Memorial and Town Cemetery.
  • Malo-les-Bains beach front.
  • 3 [dead link] Operation Dynamo 1940 Museum (Musée Dunkerque 1940 – Opération Dynamo), Rue des Chantiers de France, +33 9 75 86 23 03. Daily 10:00-18:00.
  • 4 LAAC Museum of Contemporary Art (LAAC, Lieu D'art et Action Contemporaine), Avenue des Bordées, +33 3 28 29 56 00, . Daily 10:00-12:15, 14:00-18:00. This museum is at the heart of a sculpture garden. It presents an exhibition of art from 1950s to today. €3.  
  • 5 Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts), Place du Général de Gaulle. This museum present a collection of Flemish, Dutch, French, and Italian paintings from the 16th to 19th centuries. The collections also include a collection which includes over 10,000 natural history specimens, numerous decorative crafts and archeological finds.  


Façade of Saint-Éloi Church






Go nextEdit

Routes through Dunkirk
Dover  UK   France  END

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