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The following article is about the city in France. See Lille (disambiguation) for other meanings.

Lille is a city in northern France on the Deûle River. It is the capital of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais région. It is also the préfecture (capital) of the département of Nord. It lies near the border with Belgium and its Dutch name is Rijsel or Rijssel. The city of Lille absorbed Lomme on February 27, 2000. Their combined population at the 1999 census was 212,597 inhabitants. Population of the metropolitan area (in French: aire urbaine) at the 1999 census was 1,143,125. Including those parts of the Lille metropolitan area which are on Belgian territory (such as Kortrijk), the overall population of the Lille-Kortrijk metropolitan area was estimated in 2000 at around 1,700,000, ranking as one of the major metropolitan areas of Europe.



In 1312, the city of Lille was ceded to France but was subsequently subjected to Burgundian, Austrian, and Spanish rule. It was part of the Spanish Netherlands, until it was conquered by Louis XIV and incorporated into France in 1668.

The city's fortifications were upgraded by Sébastian Le Prestre de Vauban.

In the nineteenth century Lille became the centre of French industry due to the large nearby coal deposits. It thus became a central part of the country's rail network.


A major textile manufacturing center, Lille forms the heart of a larger conurbation, regrouping Lille, Roubaix and Tourcoing, which is France's 4th-largest urban conglomeration with a 1999 population of over 1.1 million.

Public transport

Lille is an important crossroads in the European TGV network: it lies on the Eurostar line to London and the Thalys network to Brussels, Amsterdam and Cologne. It has two train stations, which stand next door to each other. The Lille-Europe station (Gare Lille-Europe) and the Lille-Flandre station (Gare Lille-Flandre).

The VAL system (véhicule automatique léger = light automated vehicle) is a driverless metro. Line 2 is 32 km long with 43 stations, the first and longest automatic metro line in the world, opened May 16, 1983. Trains are only 26 m long (two linked cars) and are rubber-tired.


Lille has one of France's largest university student population with, depending on the information source, from 95,000 to 149,533 students in 2002-2003. The urban area is one of the biggest in France with more than 1 million inhabitants.

The Euralille urban development project, centred around the new TGV station has fostered a long debate among Lille's citizens. The project has finally been completed with modern architecture and disruption to the ancient city center.

Lille was elected European Capital of Culture in 2004, along with the Italian city of Genoa

Lille is part of the Lille Métropole Communauté urbaine (formerly also known as C.U.D.L.).

Famous persons born in Lille

Twin cities

External link

  • European Capital of Culture 2004

Last updated: 02-08-2005 04:14:31
Last updated: 02-19-2005 10:29:06