Listed as a historic monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Dunkirk belfry was built during the 15th century.
Originally it was attached to the church of Saint Eloi before the latter was partially destroyed during a fire in 1558. Whilst a new church was built, the tower remained isolated by the ruins of the burnt church.
It served as a clock tower, the municipal belfry and a daymark for sailors. During the 19th century, it was restored under the supervision of local architect Charles Henry.
The tower still houses 48 working bells, of which the great bell, called "Jean Bart", weighs 7 tonnes.