A street and the belfry of Bergues

Coat of arms

Coordinates: 50°58′09″N 2°26′06″E / 50.9692°N 2.435°E / 50.9692; 2.435Coordinates: 50°58′09″N 2°26′06″E / 50.9692°N 2.435°E / 50.9692; 2.435
Country France
Region Hauts-de-France
Department Nord
Arrondissement Dunkerque
Canton Bergues
Intercommunality Canton of Bergues
  Mayor (20082014) Madame Sylvie Brachet
Area1 1.32 km2 (0.51 sq mi)
Population (2009)2 3,874
  Density 2,900/km2 (7,600/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
INSEE/Postal code 59067 / 59380
Elevation 1–22 m (3.3–72.2 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Bergues (Dutch: Sint-Winoksbergen) is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.

It is situated 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) to the south of Dunkirk and 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from the Belgian border. Locally it is referred to as "the other Bruges in Flanders". Bergues is a setting for the 2008 movie Welcome to the Sticks (French original title Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis).


Plan-relief of the citadel of Bergues

The town's name derives from the Flemish groene berg, which means "green hill". According to legend, St Winnoc, son of the Breton king, retired to Groenberg, a hill on the edge of the coastal marshes. His establishment soon developed into a small monastery.

In 882, when the Normans began their incursions, the Flanders count Baudouin II built primitive fortifications. Later, about 1022, count Baudouin IV built Saint-Winnoc church and interred the relics of St Winnoc there. This church formed the basis of an abbey.

Trade was aided by proximity to the sea, which had not yet receded to Dunkirk, and the abbey. Bergues was chartered in 1240, and its independence was later expressed in the construction of a belfry. It became a port and textile center of regional importance, and part of the Hanseatic League. Its wool market began in 1276 and over the following centuries it was fortified and maintained its independence from France. In 1583, Bergues was besieged and conquered by Alexander Farnese, but king Philip II of Spain allowed it to be rebuilt, establishing the present appearance of the town. Bergues became a major port city and eventually was attached to France by the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1668. Louis XIV later developed Dunkirk, and Bergues was eclipsed as a major port. After the French Revolution, its decline continued.

Bergues was devastated by bombardment in World War I, and again in 1940 during the Battle of Dunkirk. The city was entered on June 2 of that year, and 80% of it was ruined during World War II.

Near industrialized Dunkirk, its many monuments are reminders of a rich past, and tourism has been developed in recent years.

Bergues was the setting for the 2008 French film Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis. The film, which broke French box office records, is credited with triggering a tourism boom in Bergues.[1]


Historical population
1793 6,108    
1800 5,085−16.7%
1806 5,667+11.4%
1821 5,528−2.5%
1831 5,962+7.9%
1836 5,968+0.1%
1841 6,045+1.3%
1846 5,967−1.3%
1851 5,968+0.0%
1856 5,665−5.1%
1861 6,022+6.3%
1866 5,738−4.7%
1872 5,774+0.6%
1876 5,368−7.0%
1881 5,385+0.3%
1886 5,435+0.9%
1891 5,380−1.0%
1896 5,258−2.3%
Historical population
1901 5,227    
1906 5,032−3.7%
1911 4,856−3.5%
1921 3,922−19.2%
1926 3,878−1.1%
1931 3,756−3.1%
1936 3,839+2.2%
1946 3,237−15.7%
1954 3,842+18.7%
1962 4,469+16.3%
1968 4,545+1.7%
1975 4,485−1.3%
1982 4,488+0.1%
1990 4,163−7.2%
1999 4,207+1.1%
2006 3,959−5.9%
2009 3,874−2.1%


The arms of Bergues are blazoned :
Argent, a lion contourny sable langued gules impaled with Argent, a fess sable, and on a canton Or, a lion sable within a bordure gules.



International relations

Location of Bergues in the arrondissement of Dunkirk
Twin towns

Popular culture

The movie Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis (by Dany Boon) is set in Bergues.

See also


External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bergues.
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