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Béthune (French pronunciation: ​[betyn] ; archaic Dutch: Betun and Bethwyn historically in English) is a city in northern France, sub-prefecture of the Pas-de-Calais department.

Béthune
Grand Place
Grand Place
Coat of arms of Béthune
Coat of arms
Location of Béthune
Béthune is located in France
Béthune
Béthune
Béthune is located in Hauts-de-France
Béthune
Béthune
Coordinates: 50°31′49″N 2°38′27″E / 50.5303°N 2.6408°E / 50.5303; 2.6408Coordinates: 50°31′49″N 2°38′27″E / 50.5303°N 2.6408°E / 50.5303; 2.6408
CountryFrance
RegionHauts-de-France
DepartmentPas-de-Calais
ArrondissementBéthune
CantonBéthune
IntercommunalityCommunauté d'agglomération de Béthune-Bruay, Artois-Lys Romane
Government
 • Mayor (2014-2020) Olivier Gacquerre
Area
1
9.43 km2 (3.64 sq mi)
Population
 (2016-01-01)[1]
25,753
 • Density2,700/km2 (7,100/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
62119 /62400
Elevation18–42 m (59–138 ft)
(avg. 26 m or 85 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Contents

GeographyEdit

Béthune is located in the former province of Artois. It is situated 73 kilometres (45 miles) south-east of Calais, 33 kilometres (21 miles) west of Lille, and 186 kilometres (116 miles) north of Paris.

LandmarksEdit

Béthune is a town rich in architectural heritage and history. It has, among other features, a large paved square with shops, cafés, and a 47-metre-tall (154 ft) (133 steps) belfry standing in the center from the top of which the Belgian border can be seen. The chime of the belfry is composed of thirty-six bells. A belfry (French:"beffroi") has stood on the site since 1346.[2] The current belfry plays melodies every 15 minutes, including the ch'ti (regional patois) children's lullaby "min p'tit quinquin" (my little darling).[3]

HistoryEdit

 
Bethune after the German bombardment of May 1918
 
Bethune British Military Cemetery

Hugh Hastings (died 1347), King Edward III of England's captain and lieutenant in Flanders, mounted an attack and laid siege to Béthune, with a combined English and Flemish force, during a diversionary raid as part of Chevauchée of Edward III of 1346. The Flemish component proved undisciplined and the siege was abandoned in failure before the end of August.[4]

During the War of the Spanish Succession in July-August 1710, Béthune was besieged by forces of the Grand Alliance. The town eventually surrendered after a vigorous defence conducted by Antoine de Vauban (1654-1731), a relative of the famous military engineer Vauban.[5]

In 1914-1918, Béthune was an important railway junction and command centre for the British Canadian Corps and Indian Expeditionary Force, as well as the 33rd Casualty Station until December 1917. It initially suffered little damage until the second phase of the Ludendorff Offensive in April 1918, when German forces reached Locon, 5 km (3 mi) away. On 21 May, a bombardment destroyed large parts of the town, killing more than 100 civilians.[6] Over 3,200 casualties are buried in Béthune Town Cemetery, the Commonwealth section of which was designed by Edwin Lutyens; the majority are British (2,933) or Canadian (55), the remainder German.[7]

Rebuilt after the war, Béthune was badly damaged once more by air attacks and house to house fighting on 24-26 May 1940 when it was captured by the SS Panzer Division Totenkopf. The Totenkopf suffered heavy casualties and anger at their losses allegedly played a role in the Le Paradis massacre on 27 May, when 97 members of the Royal Norfolk Regiment were shot after surrendering.[8] During the war, many townspeople were deported to work in Germany; the town was officially liberated on 4 September 1944.[9]

TransportEdit

 
East of Pas-de-Calais (Béthune, Lens, Hénin-Beaumont)

The railway station has seven daily TGV trains to Paris, a journey which takes 1 hour 15 minutes. There are also regular trains to Lille, Amiens, Dunkerque and several regional destinations.

By car, Béthune is accessible from the A26 which intersects the A1 (Lille to Paris) 42 kilometres (26 miles) to the South-East. By road, it is 2 hours 30 minutes from Paris, 1 hour from Calais, 30 minutes from Arras and 40 minutes from Lille. By using the Channel Tunnel and the A26, Béthune is 3 hours 30 minutes from London and 6 hours 45 minutes from Manchester. Using road connections on mainland Europe it is nearly 2 hours from Brussels, 3 hours from Aix-La-Chapelle, 3 hours from Cologne, 8 hours 30 minutes from Berlin and 3 hours 30 minutes from Amsterdam.

PopulationEdit

The inhabitants are called Béthunois.

YearPop.±%
1793 6,932—    
1800 6,046−12.8%
1806 6,379+5.5%
1821 6,319−0.9%
1831 6,889+9.0%
1836 6,805−1.2%
1841 7,448+9.4%
1846 7,727+3.7%
1851 7,692−0.5%
1856 7,720+0.4%
1861 8,264+7.0%
1866 8,178−1.0%
1872 8,410+2.8%
1876 9,315+10.8%
1881 10,374+11.4%
1886 10,917+5.2%
1891 11,098+1.7%
1896 11,627+4.8%
1901 12,404+6.7%
1906 13,607+9.7%
1911 15,309+12.5%
1921 16,795+9.7%
1926 20,141+19.9%
1931 19,956−0.9%
1936 20,073+0.6%
1946 22,081+10.0%
1954 22,376+1.3%
1962 23,445+4.8%
1968 27,154+15.8%
1975 26,982−0.6%
1982 25,508−5.5%
1990 24,556−3.7%
1999 27,808+13.2%
2006 26,472−4.8%
2009 25,766−2.7%
2011 25,430−1.3%
2015 24,995−1.7%

PersonalitiesEdit

Béthune was the birthplace of:

Béthune is also associated with the following historic personalities:

SportEdit

Stade Béthunois Football Club represent Béthune and was formed in 1902.[10] They currently play in Nord-Pas-de-Calais league.

International relationsEdit

GalleryEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Populations légales 2016". INSEE. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  2. ^ "La ville de Béthune - Le beffroi de Béthune". Ville-bethune.fr. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  3. ^ "Dors min petit quinquin - Chblog, le blog chti". Chblog.com. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  4. ^ Livingstone, Marilyn; Witzel, Morgen (2005). The Road to Crécy: The English Invasion of France, 1346. Harlow: Pearson Education. p. 143. ISBN 978-0582784208.
  5. ^ Reeve, JPF (1986). "The Siege of Bethune 1710: The Journals of Private Deane and General Vauban Compared". Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research. 64 (260): 205–211. JSTOR 44226494.
  6. ^ "Bethune; Monuments aux Mortes". Memoires de Pierre. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  7. ^ "Bethune; Monuments aux Mortes". Memoires de Pierre (in French). Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  8. ^ Jackson, Julian (2003). The Fall Of France: The Nazi Invasion of 1940 (Making of the Modern World). Oxford University Press, U.S.A. pp. 301–302. ISBN 978-0192805508.
  9. ^ "Béthune en 1939-1945". Ajpn.org. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  10. ^ fr:Stade béthunois FC

External linksEdit