Dunes of Flanders

Sustainable mobility for a much-visited natural site

The Dunes of Flanders are an exceptional ecological and heritage site. Bordering the North Sea, it extends over 13 kilometres and attracts over two million visitors every year. With a view to being awarded the “Grand Site de France” label by the French Ministry of Ecology, the Dunkerque urban community has commissioned Artelia to draw up a visitor scheme for the site, based on sustainable mobility.


With its 15 km of fine sandy beaches, its 1,000 hectares of preserved dune areas, its stretch of water at the entrance to the North Sea and its listed natural areas, the Dunes de Flandre is an extremely rich site that the Metropolitan Council of Dunkirk is aiming to have recognised as a Grand Site de France. This label, involving the State and local authorities, was set up by the Ministry of Ecology to preserve natural areas and landscapes. In particular, the aim is to encourage sustainable management of these areas by improving the way visitors are welcomed and supervised. The label is based on a number of key principles: respect for the “spirit of the place” and its history, controlled visitor numbers compatible with the conservation of the site, management of visitor facilities and educational activities, involvement of local residents in the project, local economic spin-offs, etc.

Artelia assisted the urban community of Dunkirk in defining a scheme for welcoming visitors and organising the discovery of the site, which is one of the key elements in obtaining the label. The aim was to understand visitor flows and mobility in relation to places of interest, and then to propose practical strategies for organising the discovery of the area while managing travel as effectively as possible. One of the key objectives was to promote alternatives to the car, by proposing convincing solutions tailored to the challenges of preserving the natural environment. Our teams carried out a full technical analysis, drew up a visitor scheme including several scenarios and designed an action and management plan.