Charleroi: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Charleroi City Hall
Municipal flag
Coat of arms
Coat of arms
Location of Charleroi in the province of Hainaut
Location of Charleroi in the province of Hainaut
Charleroi is located in Belgium
Location in Belgium
Sovereign state Belgium Belgium
Region  Wallonia
Community Wallonia French Community
Province  Hainaut
Arrondissement Charleroi
Coordinates 50°24′0″N 04°26′0″E / 50.4°N 4.433333°E / 50.4; 4.433333Coordinates: 50°24′0″N 04°26′0″E / 50.4°N 4.433333°E / 50.4; 4.433333
Area 102.08 km²
– Males
– Females
201,300 (2006-01-01)
1972 inhab./km²
Age distribution
0–19 years
20–64 years
65+ years
Foreigners 14.01% (01/07/2005)
Unemployment rate 30.61% (1 January 2006)
Mean annual income €10,363/pers. (2003)
Mayor Jean-Jacques Viseur (CDH)
Governing parties PS, CDH, MR
Postal codes 6000, 6001, 6010, 6020,
6030-6032, 6040-6044, 6060, 6061
Area codes 071

Charleroi ("King Charles", Walloon: Tchålerwè) is the largest city and municipality of Wallonia, located in the province of Hainaut, Belgium. On 1 January 2008, Charleroi had a total population of 201,593.[1] The metropolitan area, including the outer commuter zone, covers an area of 1,462 square kilometres (564 sq mi) and has a total population of 522,522 as of 1 January 2008, which ranks it as the fourth most populous in Belgium.[1][2] The inhabitants are called Carolorégiens or simply Carolos.



The municipality of Charleroi is situated on both banks of the river Sambre, in an area that is marked by industrial activities (coal mining and steel industry), the so-called Pays Noir ("black country"), part of the larger sillon industriel. Although most of the factories have closed since the 1950s, the landscape is still dotted with slag heaps and old industrial buildings.

Charleroi is around 50 kilometres (31 mi) south of Brussels.

Municipality of Charleroi.

The municipality comprises:

  • I. the central city of Charleroi

and the following former municipalities, that were merged into Charleroi in 1977:

Neighbouring :


Belfry of Charleroi


The Charleroi area was already settled in the Prehistoric period, with traces of metallurgical and commercial activities along the Sambre. Several public buildings, temples and villas were built in that area in the Roman period. Burying places, with jewels and weapons, were also found. The first written mention of a place called Charnoy dates from a 9th-century offering in the Lobbes abbey, which lists various neighbouring towns and related tithe duties. During the Middle Ages, Charnoy was just one of the many small hamlets in the area, with no more than about 50 inhabitants, part of the County of Namur.


The history of the city of Charleroi starts in 1666. In the spring of that year, Francisco Castel Rodrigo, Governor of the Netherlands at the service of the five-year-old Charles II of Spain, expropriated the area from the local lords to build a fortress near the Sambre. In September of that same year, the name Charnoy was officially replaced by that of the newly founded city of Charles-Roy (King Charles), so named in honour of Charles II. The chronogram FVNDATVR CAROLOREGIVM (MLCDVVVI), can be found in the register of the parish of Charnoy for the year 1666. A year later, Louis XIV’s armies under the command of Turenne besieged the unfinished fortress. Vauban completed the fortification work; the future city was granted its privileges; a bridge was built over the river; and free land was distributed to the inhabitants.

From 1666 to the Belgian Revolution

Shortly after its foundation, the new city was in turn besieged by the Dutch, ceded to the Spanish in 1678 (Treaty of Nijmegen), taken by the French in 1693, ceded again to the Spanish in 1698 (Treaty of Rijswijk), then taken by the French, the Dutch, and the Austrians in 1714 (Treaty of Baden). The French Prince of Conti took the city again in 1745, but it was ceded back to Austria in 1748, starting a period of prosperity under Joseph II. The glass, steel and coal industries, which had already sprung up a century earlier, could now flourish.

Trouble started again in 1790, year of the civil uprising that eventually led to the United States of Belgium. The Austrians occupied the city, were forced out by the French after the Battle of Jemappes on November 6, 1792, but took it back again four months later. On June 12, 1794, the French revolutionary Army of Sambre-et-Meuse under the command of Jean-Baptiste Jourdan, invested Charleroi and won a decisive victory in the ensuing Battle of Fleurus. The city took the revolutionary name of Libre-sur-Sambre until 1800. Napoleon stayed in Charleroi for a couple of days in June 1815, just before the Battle of Waterloo. After his defeat, the whole area was annexed to the Netherlands and new walls were built around the city.

From 1830 until now

The Belgian Revolution of 1830 gave the area its freedom from the Netherlands and ushered in a new era of prosperity, still based mostly on glass, metallurgy, and coal, hence the area’s name of “Black Country” (in French Pays Noir). After the Industrial Revolution, Charleroi benefited from the increased use of coke in the metallurgical industry. People from all over Europe were attracted by the economic opportunities and the population grew rapidly. By 1871, the fortified walls around the city were completely torn down. Heavy fighting took place in World War I because of the city’s strategic location on the Sambre. After World War II, Charleroi witnessed a general decline of its heavy industry. Following the merger with several surrounding municipalities in 1977, the city is today the largest city in Wallonia and the fourth largest in Belgium.

Palais des Beaux-Arts


The Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste or PS) has had a stronghold in Charleroi for some time. However, in October 2006, PS mayor Jacques Van Gompel was jailed on fraud and forgery charges.[3] Léon Casaert, also of the PS, became the new mayor, with a PS, MR, cdH majority. The MR stepped down from the coalition just before the 2007 general election, citing official charges of corruption levelled against a PS alderman in Charleroi.[4] After the 2007 general election, the PS put its local party office under full confinement, with the city executive resigning.[5] Mayor Casaert was charged with fraud on June 18, 2007, but will only step down after a new city executive has been formed.[6]

Municipal elections

Party 2000 (%) 2006 (%)
Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste) 51.4 38.4
Reformist Movement (Mouvement Réformateur) 16.1 24.6
Humanist Democratic Centre (Centre Démocrate Humaniste) 9.6 14.4
National Front (Front National) 6.9 9.5
Ecolo 11.4 8.1


View of the Mountain street. (Rue de la Montagne)
View of the Charles II square from the belfry on market day.

The municipality contains an industrial area, iron and steel industry, glassworks, chemicals, and electrical engineering. Charleroi is in the center of a coal basin, called Pays noir.[citation needed] Many slag heaps still surround the city. Dupuis is a publisher of Franco-Belgian comics, located in Marcinelle.


  • The belfry is included in the list of World Heritage Sites.
  • The Maison Dorée was built in 1899 by the Art Nouveau architect Alfred Frère. The name of this masterpiece comes from the golden sgraffiti that adorn the façade.
  • The city is also the home of several museums (fine arts, glass, photography, ...)


Charleroi has many Belgian champion teams in various sports. Spirou Charleroi in basketball has been 8 times winner of the Basketball League Belgium. La Villette Charleroi in table tennis is the most successful club in the Champions League ever with 5 titles and has been Belgian champion multiple times. Action 21 Charleroi in futsal has won 1 UEFA Futsal Cup and 9 Belgian Division 1 titles. In football, R Charleroi SC and ROC Charleroi have finished once second in the Belgian First Division.



The Brussels South Charleroi Airport in Gosselies, 7 km north of the centre, opened in 1919 as a flight school[7]. Later, it housed a factory building Fairey aircraft under licence[8].

Charleroi Airport

Gosselies is now used as an alternate airport for Brussels. Low-cost carrier Ryanair is the largest airline, along with flights by Wizz Air, Jet4you and (in the summer only) On Air (airline). Seasonal holiday charters also use the airport.

A new terminal opened in January 2008[9], replacing a much smaller building which had exceeded capacity.

Brussels is 47 kilometres (29 mi) north of Charleroi Airport.

Public transport

Public transport is run by TEC (Transport En Commun), the Walloon public transport company. The greater Charleroi region is served by bus lines and a light rail Metro system (Métro Léger de Charleroi). Part of the latter is famous for incorporating one of the few remnants of the Vicinal, the former Belgian national tramway network.

Métro léger de Charleroi (MLC)

Charleroi Pré-Métro
West Station (MLC)

The TEC Light Rail Métro is equally famous for the parts of it which were never built, partially built, or fully completed but not opened. It was planned in the 1960s as a 48 kilometres (30 mi) light rail network, operating on heavy rail metro infrastructure, consisting of eight branch lines radiating from a central loop downtown[10]. However only one line (to Petria), part of another line (to Gilly), and three-quarters of the loop were actually built and opened to traffic, all between 1976 and 1996. Another branch line towards the suburb of Châtelet (Châtelineau) was almost fully built, to the extent of installing power cables, escalators and still-working electric signals in the first three stations[11], but never opened as passenger numbers would be too low to pay for the extra staff. The high costs of construction, together with a decline in Charleroi's traditional "smokestack" industries, and questioning of the scope of the whole project in proportion to the actual demand for it, are all cited as reasons for the original plan going unfulfilled.

Completion of the central loop and the Gilly branch as far as Soleilmont are planned within the next five years, with funding from the European Investment Bank[12]. The Gosselies branch will also open as a street-level tramline. There are no plans to open any part of the Chatelet branch[13].

People born in Charleroi

Other people who lived in Charleroi

View of Charleroi

Twin cities

See also


  1. ^ a b Statistics Belgium; Population de droit par commune au 1 janvier 2008 (excel-file) Population of all municipalities in Belgium, as of 1 January 2008. Retrieved on 2008-10-19.
  2. ^ Statistics Belgium; De Belgische Stadsgewesten 2001 (pdf-file) Definitions of metropolitan areas in Belgium. The metropolitan area of Charleroi is divided into three levels. First, the central agglomeration (agglomeratie) with 288,549 inhabitants (2008-01-01). Adding the closest surroundings (banlieue) gives a total of 405,236. And, including the outer commuter zone (forensenwoonzone) the population is 522,522. Retrieved on 2008-10-19.
  3. ^ "Discredited Charleroi mayor steps down". 
  4. ^ (French) "Le MR quitte la majorité à Charleroi". La Dernière Heure. 2007-05-28. Retrieved 2007-06-10. 
  5. ^ (French) "Le collège carolo démissionnera ce mardi". Le Soir. 2007-06-11. Retrieved 2007-06-12. 
  6. ^ (French) "Casaert reste bourgmestre". La Libre. 2007-06-19. Retrieved 2007-06-19. 
  7. ^ How it all started
  8. ^ Avions Fairey Gosselies
  9. ^ Tuesday 29 January 2008 : Opening of the new Terminal at Charleroi Brussels South airport User guide
  10. ^
  11. ^ Diggelfjoer: Abandoned
  12. ^ Railway Gazette: EIB loan for Charleroi light metro
  13. ^ UrbanRail.Net > Europe > Belgium > Charleroi Prémétro (Belgium)

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Benelux : Belgium : Wallonia : Hainaut : Charleroi

Charleroi is the third largest city in Belgium situated in Wallonia, the French speaking part of Belgium.


Charleroi has a strong image of a poor, polluted and violent city for the majority of the Belgians. This city is often considered as not attractive at all. It has become well-known to budget flyers as a destination for low-cost flights. The Brussels South-Charleroi airport, a few kilometres to the north of the city, serves Brussels (located 55 km north). Ryanair and Wizzair both fly out of Charleroi to many European and North African destinations.

  • Brussels South Charleroi Airport [1]
  • Charleroi Train Station South (SNCB) [2]- Square des Martyrs du 18 Août, 6000 CHARLEROI Info Phone +32 (0)71 60 22 94 or +32 (0)71 60 23 88

Get around

Charleroi has a half-built metro system, running partly around the centre with two branch lines into the suburbs.

  • TEC Charleroi (City Bus service) Place des Tramways 9 6000 CHARLEROI Info phone +32 (0)71 23 41 11 or +32 (0)71 23 41 15
  • Charleroi Expo [3]
  • The Fine Arts Museum - Hotel du Ville, Place du Manege, 6000 Charleroi 32(0)71 86 11 32346
  • Jules Destree Museum - Hotel du Ville, Place du Manege, 6000 Charleroi 32(0)71 86 11 32346
  • Cinéma Le Parc Rue de Montigny 58 2338
  • Cinema Paradiso 4 Place E Buisset
  • Museum of Photography Charleroi- 11 Avenue Paul Pastur, 6032 Charleroi Tel 32-71-43-58-10, fax: 32-71-36-46-45 e-mail: hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10:00-6:00
  • Centre culturel scientifique de l'ULB [4]
  • Musée des chasseurs à pied [5]
  • Site du bois du Cazier à Marcinelle [6]
  • Musée archéologique
  • Musée du verre [7]
  • Musée des Beaux-Arts [8]
  • Royal Charleroi Sporting Club [9]
  • Croc Midi - Rue du Calvaire (Centre Commercial du Calvaire), 22a 6041 Gosselies Tél. : 071 35 04 58
  • L'Oliveraie - Rue de la Croix Rouge, 7, 6000 Charleroi Tél. : 071 33 13 33
  • Mille Colonnes - Rue de Marchienne, 6-8, 6000 Charleroi, Tél. : 071 32 05 34
  • Hippopotame - Rue du Comptoir, 4-6-8, 6000 Charleroi, Tél. : 071 32 19 02
  • La Gondola - Place Emile Buisset, 6, 6000 Charleroi, Tél. : 071 31 30 17
  • Le Saint-Exupéry - Chaussée de Fleurus 181 à Gosselies Tél.: 071 35 59 62
  • Star Rock Cafe - Boulevard Joseph Tirou 122, 6000 CHARLEROI, Tél. :


Given the short distances to other Belgian cities, most people staying overnight are likely to be passengers at "Brussels South" airport. Unfortunately there are no hotels at the airport terminal itself, and reaching those nearby is difficult without a car.

Unless you have your own transport, the most convenient hotel is the IBIS Charleroi Gare in the city centre[12], just across the river Sambre facing the Gare du Sud and the bus station. Double rooms here start at €59 if booked in advance.

The IBIS "Aéroport" is 7km away from the terminal at a motorway junction, and costs the same as the city centre IBIS.

There are two cheaper hotels near the airport. The Formule 1, at junction 22 of the A54 motorway from Brussels [13], costs €38 for a triple room with shared shower and toilet. Take bus 42 or 63 from the city centre. The only way to the airport from here is by taxi, hitchhiking, or going back to the centre to take an airport bus.

The new Etap, 2km from the Heppignies exit of the E42 Paris-Liège motorway [14], has ensuite triples starting at €45. Take bus 68 from the centre. This hotel is about 2.5km walk from the airport.

It might be possible to stay overnight in the airport terminal. The Gare du Sud station building is closed for renovation, so don't plan on staying there.

The nearest youth hostels are in Brussels and Namur.

Some hotel addresses:

  • Best Western Charleroi - 1A Boulevard Mayence, 6000 Charleroi
  • IBIS - Charleroi Gare - 12 Quai de Flandre, 6000 Charleroi +32 (0)71 206060
  • IBIS - Charleroi Aéroport - 590 chaussée de Charleroi, 6220 Fleurus +32 (0)71 810130
  • Socatel - Boulevard Tirou 96, 6000 Charleroi +32 (0)71 319811 Fax: + 32 (0)71 301596 [15]
  • Formule 1 - 10 rue de Rosaire, 6041 Gosselies Tel +32 (0)71 372222
  • Etap Charleroi Aéroport - 33 Avenue Jean Mermoz, 6220 Fleurus, +32 (0)71 373632
  • Les Balladins - Route de la Basse Sambre +32 (0)71 420168
  • Le Piersoulx - Rue du Grand Piersoulx, 8, Tel +32 (0)71 356687

Stay safe

Charleroi is the poorest city in Belgium, stay away from the "lower" parts of the city. Don't go to neighborhoods with a lot of graffiti, those are mostly gang controlled. The gangs aren't likely to kill you but they can try to steal your money. Stay within the tourist center and you will be safe.

..... I've lived in Charleroi since 1972. I've never felt particularly in danger. (no more than in the underground in Brussels... I was robbed on a platform yesterday... 4.30PM). Some streets are unpleasant for sure, most around the '1 hour hotels' and their easy ladies or around the station. Just like what you can find around the 'north station' or 'midi station' in Brussels. Same kind of crowd. As to gang... there are youth gangs like everywhere... but they'd be far from scarring Horiatio Cain... hi hi hi Not the nicest town to visit but far from the Far West image that the 1st report suggests. signed: a travel agent

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

There is more than one meaning of Charleroi discussed in the 1911 Encyclopedia. We are planning to let all links go to the correct meaning directly, but for now you will have to search it out from the list below by yourself. If you want to change the link that led you here yourself, it would be appreciated.


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:



From French

Proper noun




  1. The largest city of Wallonia, in the province of Hainaut, Belgium.



Proper noun


  1. Charleroi

See also

  • Carolorégien
  • Carolorégienne



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