Gemeente De Panne

Memorial to Dunkirk veterans EN

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Title               Memorial to Dunkirk veterans
Design            Paul Baeteman (°1933, Nieuwpoort)
Material          Belgian Blue Stone
Installation     1977
Location         Leopold I Esplanade (small Esplanade)

Inscription (in English): 'This memorial was erected to commemorate the evacuation of the British and Allied forces from the beaches of De Panne in May 1940'

Right from the start, the sculptor Paul Baeteman regarded his monument as a symbol. The convex structure with curved edges has a circular opening at the top, allowing the image to emulate the waves on the sea. The rough edges are a reference to the merciless seas that took the lives of tens of thousands of men who, in 1940, embarked from this beach under German gunfire. The polished, parabolic surface on one side suggests the bridge between the continent and the UK. The smooth surface on the other side which starts wide before gradually narrowing refers to the return of allied troops whose ranks gradually dwindled. The same symbolism was envisaged by the sculptor with the broad, flat support of the sculpture, which narrows to an apex. The symbolic value of the sculpture also draws our attention to the tension between rough and polished surfaces, a tension that harks back to the struggle between nature (the sea) and culture (man). This monument originally stood on the Leopold I Esplanade near the Kapellelaan.

Source: SPELIERS, H., Paul Baeteman. Beeldhouwer tussen licht en lijn (Sculptor between light and line). (Veurne). (Drukkerij Pattyn), (1991).