Sandy shores or beaches line 70 % of the world’s oceans, including the entire Belgian coastline. They have a multitude of ecosystem functions, constitute an important habitat for a variety of fauna and flora and hold important economic, social and cultural value as prime recreational assets. Predictions on sea level rise, intensified storms, accelerated erosion and flood risk for the North Sea have led to the drafting of the Belgian Integrated Coastal Safety Plan. In order to protect the Belgian coastline against erosion and coastal flooding on a short and long term basis (up to 2050), the Belgian sandy beaches face a multitude of beach nourishment activities over the next years. This soft coastal defence measure safeguards the natural dynamics of the coast and has little impact on the beach ecology and tourism compared to other options. However, together with the multitude of human beach functions such as tourism and economic development, beach nourishment potentially threatens the natural balance of the beach and coastal ecosystem. As management of the coastal zone is clearly a multi-faceted and complex endeavour, where the interests of several stakeholders need to be combined, coastal management desperately needs ecological dimensions. Hence, solid and meaningful biological and ecological information is needed. Clear and user-friendly management tools are essential to guide integrative and ecosystem-based strategies to sustainably manage ongoing space-use activities at the Belgian beaches and coast.