Nieuwpoort is both a municipality and a city situated in Flanders, one of the three major regions of Belgium, specifically in the province of West Flanders. The municipality encompasses not only the central town of Nieuwpoort but also Ramskapelle and Sint-Joris. By January 1, 2008, Nieuwpoort was home to a total population of 11,062 residents. Its land area spans 31.00 km², resulting in a population density of 350 individuals per km². The incumbent mayor of Nieuwpoort is Geert Vanden Broucke (CD&V).
Within Nieuwpoort, the Yser River flows into the North Sea. The city is also notable for housing a sculpture titled “Searching for Utopia,” crafted by Jan Fabre. The Stadshalle Grain Hall, featuring a belfry, was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999 as part of the larger Belfries of Belgium and France site. This recognition is attributed to its historical significance as a civic (rather than religious) structure and its architecturally noteworthy design
It was granted city privileges in 1163 by Count Philip of Flanders. The year 1600 witnessed the Battle of Nieuwpoort, a significant conflict involving the Dutch and the Spanish. This location served as a base for the Dunkirkers. In the 17th century, renowned artist Victor Boucquet created two of the altarpieces for the grand church.
From 1757 to 1763, Nieuwpoort experienced a six-year occupation by French forces, a result of the terms outlined in the Second Treaty of Versailles between France and Austria. In the 19th century, a major water infrastructure initiative named the Ganzepoot (meaning “goose foot” in Dutch) was undertaken in Nieuwpoort. This project aimed to drain the polders and manage water flow in and around the town and towards the North Sea.
Amidst World War I’s First Battle of Ypres, during the Battle of the Yser, Hendrik Geeraert deliberately opened the sluice gates at the mouth of the Yser River twice. This strategic flooding effectively halted the advancing German troops on lower-lying terrain. In close proximity to the Ganzepoot, you can find two World War I memorials, namely the Nieuport Memorial and the King Albert I Memorial.