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Hauts-de-France: Our region gets a new name

01 Apr 2016 | Front page, A region on the move

On March 14, Northern France was renamed Hauts-de-France. Learn more about the name change and our new, expanded region.

Catalyst: regional reform

The process started in 2014, when the government announced plans to redefine France’s then 22 regions, merging them into just 13 larger and more powerful administrative districts.

The tie-up between Northern France and Picardy was sealed two years later, on January 1, 2016, and the two neighbors have now adopted a new name—Hauts-de-France.

By popular demand

Renaming took place in stages, kicked off by a two-week competition for young people that called on 252,000 high school students and 35,000 apprentices to submit their favorites. Next, Regional president Xavier Bertrand and his team submitted three finalists—Hauts-de-France, Nord-de-France and Terres-du-Nord—to the region’s entire population in an on-line poll. In the first survey of its kind, the people spoke. And on March 14, the Regional Council voted unanimously to adopt their choice: “Hauts-de-France”. The next and final stage in the renaming process will be the French State’s confirmation, set to take place before July.

Broad scale, broad horizons

Hauts-de-France is a name and an identity—a giant, powerful and strategically positioned region that’s home to six million people. France’s second most densely populated region, and also its youngest, it boasts a powerful regional economy, ranked fourth in France, with a GDP higher than that of Hungary. With a strategic location, too: this is the only French region within easy reach of the capital that has both a seacoast and an international border (with Belgium).

Bottom line: a new name and shared resources that point to a promising future for this new, expanded region. 

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