Design: René Cliquet (°1899, Brussel - †1977, Brussel)
Material: Belgian bluestone, bronze
Inscription (in Latin):
THIS MARKS THE PLACE WHERE LEOPOLD
THE FIRST KING OF BELGIUM ENTERED BELGIAN
GROUND AND WAS SOLEMNLY RECEIVED ON
THE 17th DAY OF JULY IN THE YEAR 1831
It was indeed in De Panne that the then Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha first entered the newly independent state of Belgium on 17 July 1831. Accompanied by a squadron of French cavalry, he rode across the beach from Dunkirk (F) to De Panne. The Minister of the Interior de Sauvage and the generals Chastelain, comte d'Haene and Baron d'Hoogvorst awaited the new king at the border. Mayor Ryckeboer of the then independent Adinkerke represented the local population. De Panne itself was just a hamlet of Adinkerke at that time.
The Leopold I memorial is based on a design by the architect Victor Martiny and was commissioned by the 'National Committee of Leopold I Monument in De Panne', of which Lieutenant General Nyssens was president. On 5 October 1958, Mayor Gevaert inaugurated the monument in the presence of King Baudouin and Prime Minister Gaston Eyskens.