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De Haan is a municipality located in the Belgian province of West Flanders. The municipality comprises the villages of De Haan proper, Klemskerke, Vlissegem and Wenduine. The coastal village of De Haan proper has maintained a low skyline so its many buildings in Belle Époque style are still prominently visible. Take a walk through De Haan centre where almost all of the buildings there date back from the Belle Epoque period. King Leopold II personnaly saw to the construction of the bathing resort of De Haan. Each building has a tale of its own: from the first luxury hotel with mains water to the hiding place of its most famous resident- Albert Einstein shortly before World War II.
De Haan has the longest beach of the whole Belgian coast. In between the seaside resorts, you'll find bits of unspoiled beach, where there is an abundance of tranquillity, making it the perfect place for those who wish to quietly enjoy the sun. This is a paradise for walkers where you can stroll along the waterline, quickly climbing the dunes for a view over the vast polderlanda while walking along barefoot.
In between Wenduine and Vosseslag and between the picturesque De Haan lies 157 acres of wooded dunes. Walking paths wind themselves in between the trees, the dunes and the sand gulleys. For those who want to explore wood and dune on horseback, there are bridle paths. Trees and plants continuously battle against the salt and sea wind. Erraticlly shaped tree roots are uncovered because of the shifting of the dunes. Elsewhere, small plants and mosses do succeed in surviving. There, you get to a flat moorland, with the odd bush in between. It's not surprising that De Haan has three nature reserves. "De Kijkuit" is situated immediately behind the dunes. The plants are very rough and prickly. The reserve "De Zandpanne" lies around a pool of water in the dune woods. Further inland, you'll find "D'Heye": the name describes the typical sandy heathland to be found there. It is also possible to join an organized walk through these reserves.
De Haan Centre is a special place for tourists. It retains a charming atmosphere with its many picturesque villas in the well known Belle Epoque style with hundreds of balconies, bay windows, verandas with colonnades, towers and dormer windows. The pink, yellow and creamy coloured pastel tones colour the many villas and hotels. Windy paths snake in between the lush green foliage rendering a sense of tranquillity. The bathing resort owes its charm not only to its construction style and layout, but because it has been protected from oppressive high-rise buildings.
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