Lens is a commune in the Pas-de-Calais department in northern France. It is one of the main towns of Hauts-de-France along with Lille, Valenciennes, Amiens, Roubaix, Tourcoing, Arras and Douai. The inhabitants are called Lensois.
|Mayor (2020–2026)||Sylvain Robert|
|Area1||11.70 km2 (4.52 sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
Lens belongs to the intercommunality of Lens-Liévin, which consists of 36 communes, with a total population of 250,000. Lens, along with Douai, forms the metropolitan area of Douai-Lens, whose population at the 1999 census was 552,682.
Lens was initially a fortification from the Norman invasions. In 1180, it was owned by the Count of Flanders, and sovereignty was exercised by the Crown of France. In the 13th century, Lens received a charter from Louis VIII of France, allowing it to become a city. In 1849, coal was discovered in Lens after surveys were carried out at Annay, Courrières and Loos-en-Gohelle. This led to the expansion of the city into an important industrial center.The city was largely destroyed in the First World War and half of the population perished. The Gare de Lens railway station, built in 1927, is served by regional trains towards Lille, Arras, Douai, Dunkirk, Calais and Valenciennes.
Approximately nine kilometres from Lens, the Canadian National Vimy Memorial was opened in 1936, dedicated to the Battle of Vimy Ridge (part of the Battle of Arras) and the First World War Canadian soldiers who lost their lives during the war; the Memorial is also the site of two Canadian cemeteries. The last coal mine in Lens closed in 1986. Since 2012, Lens has been the location of the Louvre-Lens art museum.
Lens is connected to the TGV network, with high speed trains to Paris. It is served by the Lens-Béthune bus network, with bus services running across Lens and connecting it to nearby towns.
Football club RC Lens plays in the town. Their stadium, Stade Bollaert-Delelis, was used for UEFA Euro 1984, the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2016 and the 1999 Rugby World Cup and the 2007 Rugby World Cup.