A street and the belfry of Bergues
|Intercommunality||Communauté de communes des Hauts de Flandre|
|o Mayor (2014-2020)||Sylvie Brachet|
|1.32 km2 (0.51 sq mi)|
|o Density||2,800/km2 (7,200/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
|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.|
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).
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.
Near industrialized Dunkirk, its many monuments are reminders of a rich past, and tourism has been developed in recent years.
|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.