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Mons
The Belfry in Mons
Municipal flag
Flag
Coat of arms
Coat of arms
Location of Mons in Hainaut
Location of Mons in Hainaut
Mons is located in Belgium
Mons
Location in Belgium
Sovereign state Belgium Belgium
Region  Wallonia
Community Wallonia French Community
Province  Hainaut
Arrondissement Mons
Coordinates 50°27′0″N 03°57′0″E / 50.45°N 3.95°E / 50.45; 3.95Coordinates: 50°27′0″N 03°57′0″E / 50.45°N 3.95°E / 50.45; 3.95
Area 146.56 km²
Population
– Males
– Females
Density
91,221 (2006-01-01)
47.78%
52.22%
623 inhab./km²
Unemployment rate 25.96% (1 January 2006)
Mean annual income €11,012/pers. (2003)
Mayor Elio Di Rupo (PS)
Governing parties PS, MR
Postal codes 7000-7034
Area codes 065
Website www.mons.be

Mons (Dutch: Bergen, Picard: Mont) is a Walloon city and municipality located in the Belgian province of Hainaut, of which it is the capital. The Mons 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).

Contents

History

Early settlements to the Middle Ages

The Sainte Waudru collegiate church and the belfry.

The first signs of activity in the region of Mons 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 Mons 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, Mons was made a fortified city by Baldwin IV, Count of Hainaut 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. Mons succeeded Valenciennes as the capital of the county of Hainaut 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.

The central square and town hall of Mons with the belfry in the background

From 1500 to 1800

In 1515, Charles V took an oath in Mons as Count of Hainaut. 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 Mons 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, Mons 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, Mons 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, Mons 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 Hainaut area was annexed to France and Mons became the capital of the Jemappes district.

From 1800 to the present

Canadians entering Mons 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 Mons, 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 Mons 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, Mons 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 Mons, 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 Mons 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.

Festivities

  • 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.

Education

There are 3 universities and one conservatory in Mons. They are:

Transportation

Mons is located along N56 road.

Sports

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

People born in Mons

Twin cities

See also

External links

Armes de la ville de Mons Villages of the municipality of Mons Drapeau de la ville de Mons

Mons · Ciply · Cuesmes · Flénu · Ghlin · Harmignies · Harveng · Havré · Hyon · Jemappes · Maisières · Mesvin · Nimy · Nouvelles · Obourg · Saint-Denis · Saint-Symphorien · Spiennes · Villers-Saint-Ghislain


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Mons [1] is the capital of the Belgian province of Hainaut, in the region of Wallonia

Get in

Airports

By train

There are regular train links with Brussels and other major Belgian cities

By car

Take the Mons exit from the E19/E42

Get around

The city is serviced by free shuttle service that runs between 0700 and 2100. The shuttles run along three circuits, all of which terminate at the train station Gare B. All run past Sainte Waudru and the Grand Place.

  • 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 Brabantic Gothic architecture.
  • 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.
  • Van Gogh House (Maison Van Gogh), 3 Rue du Pavillon, Cuesmes 7033 (Mons), +32 (0) 65 / 35.56.11 or 33.55.80. Tue-Sat 10:30-12:30, 13:30-18:00. Cuesmoise the house where he lived from August 1879 to October 1880, was saved from ruin in the 1970s and is now accessible to the public. €5.  edit
  • The Ducasse de Mons of 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.
  • Ibis Hôtel Mons, Boulevard Charles Quint 27 (400m from Gare), 065 84 74 40‎.  edit
  • St-James, Place de Flandre 8, 065 72 48 11‎, [2].  edit
  • Hotel INFOTEL, Rue d'Havré 32, 065 40 18 30‎, [3].  edit
  • Brasserie Georges, Place Léopold 1, 065 39 93 93.  edit
  • Metropole, Rue Léopold II 20, 065 31 46 64.  edit
  • Ruttar / Rosa‎, Place Léopold 3, 065 34 05 64.  edit
  • Ingredients du Monde, Avenue Reine Astrid 45, 065 36 07 63‎.  edit
  • Dutrieux Ets‎, Rue de la Petite Guirlande 19, 065 33 56 55, [4].  edit
  • Prodhygen‎, Chemin de La Vallière 23, 065 59 05 01, [5].  edit

Get out

Mons is the Capital of the Province of Hainaut, and is a good base to explore the region.

The historic town of Nimy is a few kilometers to the north up the N6.

The Grand-Large Marina is close to the IMAGIPARK amusement park, and is a good place to start a canal tour of the local waterways.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

MONS (Flemish Bergen), a town of Belgium situated on a small river called the Trouille in the province of Hainaut of which it is the capital. Pop. (1904), 27,072. Mons was the capital of the ancient countdom of Hainaut, well known in English history from the marriage of Edward III. with its Countess Philippa. The town was founded by the Countess Waudru in the 8th century, whereupon Charlemagne recognized it as the capital of Hainaut, and it has retained the position ever since. It was only in the 11th century, however, that it became the fixed residence of the counts, who had previously occupied the castle of Hornu, leaving Mons to the abbey and the church of St Waudru. Regnier V. moved to Mons at the beginning of that century, and his only child - a daughter - Richilde, married Baldwin VI. of Flanders. The junction of the two countdoms was only temporary, and they again separated in the person of Richilde's sons. In this age Hainaut was known as "the poor land of a proud people," and it was not until the beginning of the 14th century that Mons was converted into a trading town by the establishment of a cloth market. At the same time the count transferred his principal fortress from Valenciennes to Mons. When the Hainaut title became merged in the duchy of Burgundy, Mons was a place of considerable importance on account of its being a stronghold near the French frontier. Its capture, defence and surrender by Louis of Nassau in 1572 was one of the striking incidents of the religious troubles. In the long wars of the 17th and 18th centuries Mons underwent several sieges, but none of the same striking character as those of Namur. Several times dismantled and refortified, Mons was finally converted into an open town in 1862.

The most remarkable building in the city is the cathedral of St Waudru, named after the first countess,. which was begun in the middle of the 15th century, but not finished for more than a century and a half later. It is a fine specimen of later Gothic, and contains some good glass as well as a few pictures by Van Thudden. The Hotel de Ville is about the same age as the cathedral, having been commenced in 1458 and finished in 1606. The tower was added a century later. There is also a fine belfry with a peal of bells. Mons is now a flourishing town with a good trade in cloth, lace, sugar refinery, &c.; but its chief importance is derived from its proximity to the Borinage (place of boring), district containing mines of the finest coal in Belgium. The military engineering college for the Belgian army is here, and not far from Mons are the battle-fields of Malplaquet (1709) and Jemappes (1792).


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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also mons

Contents

Translingual

Etymology

Latin mōns (mountain)

Proper noun

Mons (plural Montes)

  1. (planetology) A mountain.

English

Proper noun

Singular
Mons

Plural
-

Mons

  1. Capital city of the province of Hainaut, Belgium.

Translations

Anagrams

  • Anagrams of mnos
  • nMOS

French

Proper noun

Mons

  1. Mons

See also

Anagrams

  • Anagrams of mnos
  • noms







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