The changes

Aerial view of LensSince 1945, many facilities have been built: the new town hall (in 1965, on the site of the former town hall that was destroyed in the War), the swimming pool, the Condorcet lycee (6th form college), sports facilities (stadia, gyms...), cultural facilities (multimedia library, concert halls...). The Ernest SCHAFFNER hospital, the first buildings of which were built in 1932, has been extended and modernized. Currently, it stands as the second largest hospital facility in the region with 1500 beds. Public services were built: subprefecture, courts, chamber of trade and industry, branch of the general council... The Grande Residence, the Residence Sellier were built, as well as the mine bypass (in the 1960s and 1970s).

The changes also concerned the local economy. As soon the pit closures began over 25 years ago culminating in the end of mining in 1986, the town undertook a redevelopment strategy. It attracted businesses into the area by creating 7 business parks (businesses involved in a wide variety of sectors, particularly connected with: the food industry, retailing, transportation, construction, high-tech…) and two business centres.

The development of Lens has also been symbolized by the arrival of the science centre (Jean Perrin faculty) of the the Université d’Artois in the Grands Bureaux, former offices of the Lens Mining Company in 1992, the creation of the University Institute of Technology and an engineering school.

University of LensThis modernization plan is the result of the work done by the local authority of Lens under the authority of the mayors (socialist): Doctor Ernest SCHAFFNER (1947-1966) and André DELELIS (1966-1998) who succeeded Auguste LECOEUR, the communist mayor of Lens for two years (1945-1947). Ernest SCHAFFNER (1901-1966) was born in 1901 in Strasbourg, became a Doctor of medicine in 1924 and began his career in sanatoriums. In 1928, he was appointed surgeon-general for the health centres for social hygiene in the region of Lens and then in 1929, surgeon-general at Lens hospital. He worked to modernize and develop the hospital of Lens that now bears his name. He was also one of the first men to study the damaging effects of silicosis on the health of miners.

André DELELIS (born in 1924) was minister of trade and crafts under the Mauroy government (1981-1984) during the first seven-year mandate of François MITTERRAND. During his mandate, new facilities were created, in the area of sports, culture, education and health. He resigned from his mandate as mayor in October 1998 and was replaced by one of his deputies, Guy DELCOURT, who was re-elected on 11th March 2001 and who is continuing the modernization work undertaken.Lens, World Cup, France 98

Lens is widely recognized for its passion for football: the supporters of the Racing-Club de Lens are acknowledged among the most loyal in France. The Félix BOLLAERT stadium was renovated to host several matches for the Football World Cup in 1998.

At the end of the year 2004, the Ministry of Culture announced that the Louvre-Lens museum, the inauguration of which is planned for 2011/2012, would be located at the site of the former pithead of Lens's pit no. 9, in the middle of the Saint-Théodore mining town. This was a very significant decision for the Town and the surrounding agglomeration, sending out a powerful signal of the redevelopment of this former mining region.