The Yser (US: /ˈzɛər/ ee-ZAIR,[1] French: [izɛʁ]; Dutch: IJzer [ˈɛizər] (About this soundlisten)) is a river that rises in French Flanders (the north of France), enters the Belgian province of West Flanders and flows through the Ganzepoot and into the North Sea at the town of Nieuwpoort.

Diksmuide - Polders - IJzer.jpg
The Yser and West Flemish polders near Diksmuide
Yser (fleuve).png
Native nameYser  (Picard)
IJzer  (Dutch)
CountryBelgium, France
Physical characteristics
 ⁃ locationNord
 ⁃ elevation30 m (98 ft)
 ⁃ location
North Sea
 ⁃ coordinates
51°9′10″N 2°43′23″E / 51.15278°N 2.72306°E / 51.15278; 2.72306 (North Sea-Yser)Coordinates: 51°9′10″N 2°43′23″E / 51.15278°N 2.72306°E / 51.15278; 2.72306 (North Sea-Yser)
Length78 km (48 mi)
Basin size1,101 km2 (425 sq mi)
 ⁃ average3 m3/s (110 cu ft/s)

The source of the Yser is in Buysscheure (Buisscheure), in the Nord department of northern France. It flows through Bollezeele (Bollezele), Esquelbecq (Ekelsbeke), and Bambecque (Bambeke). After approximately 30 kilometres (19 mi) of its 78-kilometre (48 mi) course, it leaves France and enters Belgium. It then flows through Diksmuide and out into the North Sea at Nieuwpoort.

During the Battle of the Yser in the First World War, by opening the sluices, part of the polder west of the Yser was flooded with seawater between Nieuwpoort and Diksmuide to provide an obstacle to the advancing German Army and keep westernmost Belgium safe from German occupation. The Yser river itself never overflowed its banks.[2]


  • Peene Becque (Penebeek)
  • Sale Becque (Vuilebeek)
  • Ey Becque (Heidebeek)
  • Zwyne Becque (Zwijnebeek)


  1. ^ "Yser". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  2. ^ Leper, J., Kunstmatige inundaties in Maritiem Vlaanderen 1316-1945, Michiels, Tongeren, 1957 (327 p.), p.205

External linksEdit