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"" (Dutch: "Bergen", Picard: "Mont") is a Walloon city and municipality located in the Belgian province of , of which it is the capital. The municipality includes the old communes of Cuesmes, Flénu, Ghlin, Hyon, Nimy, Obourg, Baudour (partly), Jemappes, Ciply, Harmignies, Harveng, Havré, Maisières, Mesvin, Nouvelles, Saint-Denis, Saint-Symphorien, Spiennes, Villers-Saint-Ghislain, Casteau (partly), Masnuy-Saint-Jean (partly), and Ville-sur-Haine (partly).

Early settlements to the Middle Ages


The first signs of activity in the region of can be found at Spiennes, where some of the best flint tools in Europe were found dating from the Neolithic period. When Julius Caesar arrived in the region in the 1st century BC, the region was settled by the Nervii. A castrum was built in Roman times, giving the settlement its first Latin name "Castrilocus"; the name was later changed into "Montes" for the hills on which the castrum was built. In the 7th century, Saint Ghislain and two of his disciples built an oratory or chapel dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul near the hill, at a place called Ursidongus, now known as Saint-Ghislain. Soon after, Saint Waltrude (in French "Sainte Waudru"), daughter of one of Clotaire II’s intendants, came to the oratory and was proclaimed a saint upon her death in 688. She was canonized in 1039.

Like Ath, its neighbour to the north-west, was made a fortified city by Baldwin IV, Count of in the 12th century. The population grew fast, trade flourished, and several commercial buildings were erected near the "Grand’Place". The 12th century also saw the appearance of the first town halls. The city had 4,700 inhabitants by the end of the 13th century. succeeded Valenciennes as the capital of the county of in 1295 and grew to 8,900 inhabitants by the end of the 15th century. In the 1450s, Matheus de Layens took over the construction of the Saint Waltrude church from Jan Spijkens and restored the town hall.


From 1500 to 1800

In 1515, Charles V took an oath in as Count of . In this period of its history, the city became the target of various occupations, starting in May 1572 with the Protestant takeover by Louis of Nassau, who had hoped to clear the way for the French Protestant leader Gaspard de Coligny to oppose Spanish rule. After the murder of de Coligny during the St. Bartholomew"s Day massacre, the Duke of Alba took control of in September of 1572 in the name of the catholic King of Spain. This spelled the ruin of the city and the arrest of many of its inhabitants; from 1580 to 1584, became the capital of the Southern Netherlands. On April 8, 1691, after a nine-month siege, Louis XIV’s army stormed the city, which again suffered heavy casualties. From 1697 to 1701, was alternately French or Austrian. After being under French control from 1701 to 1709, the Dutch army gained the upper hand in the Battle of Malplaquet. In 1715, returned to Austria under the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht (1713). But the French did not give up easily; Louis XV besieged the city again in 1746. After the Battle of Jemappes (1792), the area was annexed to France and became the capital of the Jemappes district.

From 1800 to the present
Canadians entering in 1918 (source: Archives of Ontario)
Following the fall of the First French Empire in 1814, King William I of the Netherlands fortified the city heavily. In 1830, however, Belgium gained its independence and the decision was made to dismantle fortified cities such as , Charleroi, and Namur. The actual removal of fortifications only happened in the 1860s, allowing the creation of large boulevards and other urban projects. The Industrial Revolution and coal mining made a center of heavy industry, which strongly influenced the culture and image of the Borinage region as a whole. It was to become an integral part of the sillon industriel, the industrial backbone of Wallonia.

On August 23 and 24, 1914, was the site of the first battle fought by the British Army in World War I. The British were forced to retreat and the town was occupied by the Germans, until its liberation by the Canadian Corps during the final days of the war. As an important industrial centre, the city was heavily bombed and several skirmishes took place in September 1944 between the American troops and the retreating German forces. After the war, most industries went into decline. NATO"s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) was relocated in Casteau, a village near , from Fontainebleau after France"s withdrawal from the military structure of the alliance in 1967. The relocation of SHAPE to this particular region of Belgium was largely a political decision, based in large part on the depressed economic conditions of the area at the time with the view to bolstering the economy of the region. A riot in the prison of took place in April 2006 after prisoner complaints concerning living conditions and treatment; no deaths were reported as a result of the riot, but the event focused attention on prisons throughout Belgium. Today, the city is an important university town and commercial centre.

Main sights

The "Spanish House" and belfry.

The "Car d"Or".

* The "Grand Place" is the centre of the historic town and the stage for the annual mock-battle of the "Lumeçon".
* The City Hall, originally built near the current location of the belfry, was moved on the "Grand Place" in the 13th century. The flamboyant gothic building we see today dates from the 15th century. In front of it stands a statue of a monkey, which is said to bring good fortune to those who pat his head.
* The collegiate church of Saint Waltrude is paradoxically a good specimen of the Gothic architecture of Brabant.
* The neighbouring belfry, classified as a World Heritage Site, dates from the 17th century and is the only Baroque-style belfry in Belgium.
* The so-called "Spanish House" dates from the 16th century.


* The Doudou is the name of a week-long series of festivities or "Ducasse", which originates from the 14th century and takes place every year on Trinity Sunday. Highlights include:
** The entrusting of the reliquary of Saint Waltrude to the mayor of the city on the eve of the procession.
** The placement of the reliquary on the "Car d’Or" (golden carriage), before it is carried in the city streets in a colourful procession that counts more than a thousand costumed participants.
** The lifting of the "Car d’Or" on a paved area near the church of Saint Waltrude; tradition holds that this operation must be successful for the city to prosper.
** The "Lumeçon" fight, where Saint George confronts the dragon. The fight lasts for about half an hour, accompanied by the rhythmic "Doudou" music. The tradition of the processional dragon is listed among the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.


There are 3 universities and one conservatory in . They are:
* Faculté polytechnique de or "FPMs"
* Facultés universitaires catholiques de or "FUCAM" (pronounced "fu cahm")
* Université de - or "UMH"
* Conservatoire Royal de or "CRM"

is located along N56 road.


The town hosts a football club named R.A.E.C. .

People born in

* Gilles Binchois, composer (15th century, birth in is uncertain)
* Jan Provoost, painter (15th-16th century)
* Jacques du Broeucq, painter and architect (16th century, birth in is uncertain)
* Orlande de Lassus, composer (16th century)
* Guido de Bres, theologian (1522 to 31 May 1567)
* Nicolas Neufchatel, painter (16th century)
* Jean Yeuwain, writer (16th - 17th century)
* Giuseppe Grisoni, painter and sculptor (17th century)
* François-Joseph Fétis, musicologist, composer, critic, and teacher (18th century)
* François-Philippe de Haussy, first governor of the National Bank of Belgium (18th century)
* Paul Émile de Puydt, botanist, economist, and writer (19th century)
* Émile Motte, painter (19th century)
* Louis Dewis, painter (19th century)

Twin cities

* : Briare
* : Thoissey
* : Vannes
* : Sefton
* : Changsha
* : Little Rock, Arkansas

See also

* Battle of , 1914
* Angels of
* Meg
* Grand Hornu
* Initialis Science Park
* Mundaneum (Paul Otlet)

External links

* , an exhaustive list of references on the history of the region, in French.
* , in French.
* , in French.
* , in French.
* , in French (summary in English).
* , in French

Category:Municipalities of
Category:Cities and towns in Belgium
Category:World Heritage Sites in Belgium

af:Bergen, België
br: (Wallonia)
eo: (Belgio)
id:, Belgia
it: (Belgio)
la: (Vallonia)
lb: ()
nl:Bergen (België)
vls:Bergn (België)
Dieser Artikel stammt aus der freien Enzyklopädie Wikipedia und kann dort bearbeitet werden. Der Text ist unter der Lizenz Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike verfügbar. Fassung vom 14.12.2018 21:08 von den Wikipedia-Autoren.


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