Nord Pas de Calais Nord for short, is one of the 27 regions of France. It consists of the departments of Nord and Pas de Calais, in the north and has a border with Belgium. Most of the region was once part of the Southern Netherlands, within the Low Countries, and gradually became part of France between 1477 and 1678. The historical provinces now included in Nord Pas de Calais are Artois, Boulonnais, Calaisis, Cambraisis, French Flanders, French Hainaut and portions of northern Picardy, and the regional nickname Bassin Minier or Meiners Bassen derived from historically large mining deposits. These provincial designations are still frequently used by the inhabitants, which offers a sense of civic pride.
The name Nord Pas de Calais combines the names of the constituent departments of Nord and Pas de Calais. The regional council, however, spells the name Nord Pas de Calais. The northern part of the region was historically a part of Flanders, with Douai (Dutch: Dowaai) as its capital. The minority who wish to evidence the historical links the region has with Belgium and the Netherlands prefer to call this region the French Low Countries, which also means French Netherlands in French. Various petitions, which have impact on the population but not on the politicians nor the local governments, are currently taking place in favour of renaming.