Home | Battle For The North Sea

About the exhibition

Winston Churchill once said: The only thing that ever really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril.



For four years, the German-occupied harbours of Bruges, Ostend and Zeebrugge were used as a base for the impressive U-boat fleet.  These submarines sank no less than 2,554 allied ships and brought the United Kingdom to the brink of famine and surrender. But on Saint George’s Day (23 April) 1918, the Royal Navy struck back and launched a large-scale maritime operation to eliminate the world’s most heavily defended U-boat harbours.  A fleet of 136 ships simultaneously attacked the ports of Zeebrugge and Ostend.  One hour of intense fighting resulted in more medals for bravery than any other battle in Britain’s entire military history. The exhibition “WWI, the battle for the North Sea” takes place at a historic location, since it was from Provinciaal Hof on the market square of Bruges that the Imperial German Navy organised the dreaded U-boat war during the First World War. Here you can experience the claustrophobic atmosphere of life on board a U-boat or feel the tension of the heroic British nighttime raids on Zeebrugge and Ostend.  Historical objects which are on display for the first time will transport you to this dark as well as hopeful period. After visiting the exhibition, the raids on the Belgian coastal ports will no longer have any secrets for you.


21 April
31 August

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Jan Seys

Flanders Marine Institute

E-mail: jan.seys@vliz.be

Phone: + 32 59 34 21 30

Flanders Marine Institute – VLIZ

Wandelaarkaai 7, 8400 Oostende


Email: info@vliz.be

Phone: +32 59 34 21 30