|Town and municipality|
Location of the municipality of Bečej within Serbia
|• Mayor||Vuk Radojević|
|• Municipality||487 km2 (188 sq mi)|
|Population (2011 census)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Area code||+381 21|
Bečej (Serbian: Бечеј / Bečej, pronounced [bɛ̌tʃɛːj], Hungarian: Óbecse, pronounced [ˈoːbɛt͡ʃɛ]) is a town and municipality located in the South Bačka District of the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Serbia. The town has a population of 23,895, while the municipality has 37,351 inhabitants. It is a multiethnic town, predominantly inhabited by Serbs and Hungarians.
Bečej was mentioned first during the administration of the Kingdom of Hungary in 1091 under Latin name Bechey and later in 1238 under Hungarian name Becse. Name probably originated from Bechey family that had possessions in this area. In the 15th century (from 1419 to 1441) the town was a possession of the Serbian despot Đurađ Branković. In the end of the 15th century, army of the Kingdom of Hungary led by Serbian despot Vuk Grgurević (Zmaj Ognjeni Vuk) defeated the Ottoman army near Bečej. In 1551, an Ottoman army led by Mehmed paša Sokolović conquered the town. Bečej was administered by the Ottomans between 1551 and 1687 (nominally to 1699) and was part of the Sanjak of Segedin, which was initially in Budin eyalet, laterly in Eğri Eyalet. In Ottoman Turkish it was known as "Beçe".
In the end of the 17th century the Ottoman administration was replaced by Habsburg one and settlement was populated by ethnic Serbs from Banat who ran away from the Ottoman Empire. Between 1702 and 1751, the town belonged to the Tisa-Mureş section of the Habsburg Military Frontier. After the abolishment of this part of the Frontier in 1751, many Serbs that lived in the town emigrated to Russia (notably to New Serbia and Slavo-Serbia). They founded a new settlement with name Bečej in New Serbia. To prevent this emigration, the Habsburg authorities formed autonomous District of Potisje with seat in Bečej. District of Potisje existed between 1751 and 1848. The three privileges were given to the district in 1759, 1774 and 1800. First privilege of the District defined its autonomous status, while the second one allowed ethnic Hungarians to settle in the district. In the following period many Hungarians settled in Bečej (the first ones in 1757) and they replaced Serbs as a dominant nation in the town. In 1751, the entire population of the town was composed of Serbs, while in 1774 half of the population was composed of Serbs and another half was composed of Hungarians. According to the 1910 census, the population of Bečej municipality numbered 54,275 people, of whom 30,465 spoke Hungarian and 22,821 Serbian. The town of Bečej had 19,372 inhabitants in 1910, of which 12,488 spoke Hungarian (64.46%), 6,582 Serbian (33.98%) and 193 German (1%).
Serb elementary school in Bečej was opened in 1703 and it is one of the oldest schools in Vojvodina as well as the first elementary school among Serbs. Hungarian elementary school was opened in Bečej in 1765, while Jewish elementary school was opened in 1882. Serb reading house was opened in 1862, while Hungarian reading house was opened in 1869.
Since 1918, Bečej was part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and subsequent South Slavic states. During the Hungarian Axis occupation, in the 1942 raid, 215 inhabitants of the town were murdered by Hungarian forces, of whom 111 were men, 72 women, 13 children, and 19 old people. By nationality, victims included 110 Jews, 102 Serbs, and 1 Hungarian.
Bečej municipality includes the town of Bečej and the following villages:
- Bačko Gradište (Hungarian: Bácsföldvár)
- Bačko Petrovo Selo (Hungarian: Péterréve)
- Mileševo (Hungarian: Kutaspuszta and Drea)
- Radičević (Also known as Čikerija)
Note: for settlements with absolute or relative Hungarian majority names are also given in Hungarian.
There are also several sub-settlements in the municipality, including:
- Poljanice (Hungarian: Pecesor)
- Novo Selo
Bečej is an ethnically mixed town and municipality. The statistics according to the 2011 census is the following:
- Ethnic groups in the town
- Serbs = 10,574 (44.25%)
- Hungarians = 10,323 (43.20%)
- Roma = 337 (1.41%)
- Others and undeclared = 2661 (11.14%)
- Ethnic groups in the municipality
- Hungarians = 17,309 (46.34%)
- Serbs = 15,451 (41.37%)
- Romani = 842 (2.25%)
- Others and undeclared = 3,749 (10.04%)
- Settlements by ethnic majority
Settlements with a Hungarian ethnic majority are: Bačko Petrovo Selo and Mileševo. There is one settlement with a Serb ethnic majority: Radičević. Two settlements: Bečej and Bačko Gradište are ethnically mixed.
Languages spoken in the municipality include:
- Historical population of the town
- 1910: 19,372
- 1961: 24,963
- 1971: 26,722
- 1981: 27,102
- 1991: 26,634
- 2011: 23,907
Results of 2008 local elections in Bečej municipality: 
- Hungarian Coalition - Pásztor István - Sándor Pál - 6.366 votes- 29.63% - 13 seats
- Movement for Bečej - Dušan Jovanović - 3.859 votes- 22,22% - 8 seats
- For a European municipality of Bečej - Boris Tadić - Budislav Medurić - 3.646 votes- 16,97% - 7 seats
- Coalition "Serbian Unity for Bečej" - SRS - DSS - NS - Dragan Živkov Džaja - 3.236 votes- 15.06% - 6 seats
- Kao jedna kuća - Mint egy ház (As One Home) - Goran Sadžakov - 1.128 votes- 5.25% - 2 seats
- List "For Our Municipality" - Coalition of PUPS and CG "Successful People" - Milovanov Živko Braca - 756 votes- 3.25%
- Liberal Democratic Party - Old Bečej - New people - Čedomir Jovanović - 732 votes- 3.41%
- Movement for Turn-Over - Jovan Ječanski Jole - 673 votes- 3.13%
- Socialist Party of Serbia - Dr Zora Apić - 627 votes - 2.92%
Municipality Assembly, counting 36 members, according to party's membership:
- Movement for Bečej (Pokret za Bečej - PzB) - Dušan Jovanović - 8 delegates (now in Democratic party)
- Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians (Savez vojvođanskih Mađara - SVM) - 6 delegates
- Serbian Radical Party (Srpska radikalna stranka - SRS) - 5 delegates
- Democratic Fellowship of Vojvodina Hungarians (Demokratska zajednica vojvođanskih Mađara - DZVM)- 5 delegates
- Democratic Party (Demokratska stranka - DS) - 4 delegates
- As One Home (Kao jedna kuća - Mint egy ház) - 2 delegates
- Democratic Party of Vojvodina Hungarians (Demokratska stranka vojvođanskih Mađara - DSVM)- 2 delegates
- G17 Plus - 2 delegates (now in Democratic party)
- League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina (Liga socijaldemokrata Vojvodine - LSV) - 1 delegate
- Democratic Party of Serbia (Demokratska stranka Srbije - DSS) - 1 delegate
Local Government consists of: Movement for Bečej (now Democratic party), Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, Democratic Party of Vojvodina Hungarians, League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina, Democratic Party and G17 Plus (now Democratic party). Local Parliament's Speaker is Dušan Jovanović (PzB - now DS). Mayor is Péter Knézi (SVM), and his deputy is Budislav Medurić (DS). Members of Municipality Council are: György Ricz (SVM - Health and Social Work), István Acsai (SVM - Local Communities and Civil Organizations), Ilona Varnyú (DSVM - Education and Culture), Dušan Radivojević (PzB - now DS - Economy and Investment), András Boja (PzB - now DS - Agriculture), Marjan Radičević (G17 Plus - now DS - National Investment Plan), Pál Sándor (LSV - Relations of National and Religious Communities) i Dragan Mesaroš (DS - Small and Medium Enterprises)
- Janika Balaž, Romani tamburica musician.
- Dejan Perić, Serbian handball player
- Aleksandar Popović Sandor, first Serb geologist.
- Stevan Popović, Serb cultural worker, publisher, parliamentarian.
- Miloš Šarčev, Serbian bodybuilder.
- Carl von Than, Austro-Hungarian chemist.
- Mór Than, Hungarian painter.
- Aleksandar Maćašev, Serbian artist and designer.
- Emeric Feher, French photographer.
- Marko Novaković, Serbian sprint canoer, World and European champion
- Dejan Terzić, Serbian sprint canoer
- Marko Tomićević, Serbian sprint canoer, Olympic silver medalist
- Borislava Perić, Serbian table tennis player, Paralympic champion and three-time silver medalist
Twin towns – Sister cities
Bečej is twinned with:
- List of cities, towns and villages in Vojvodina
- Fantast Castle, 19th-century castle in the vicinity of Bečej
- Sojaprotein, agribusiness company based in Bečej
- Slobodan Ćurčić, Broj stanovnika Vojvodine, Novi Sad, 1996.
- Zvonimir Golubović, Racija u južnoj Bačkoj 1942. godine, Novi Sad, 1991.
- Jovan Mirosavljević, Brevijar ulica Novog Sada 1745-2001, Novi Sad, 2002.
- "Municipalities of Serbia, 2006". Statistical Office of Serbia. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
- "2011 Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in the Republic of Serbia: Comparative Overview of the Number of Population in 1948, 1953, 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991, 2002 and 2011, Data by settlements" (PDF). Statistical Office of Republic Of Serbia, Belgrade. 2014. ISBN 978-86-6161-109-4. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
- "Körmendi Ferenc". Szgnye.vmmi.org. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
- "Internet prezentacija Beceja i Novog Beceja - Istorija Beceja". Backabanat.com. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
- Dr Slobodan Ćurčić, Naselja Bačke - geografske karakteristike, Novi Sad, 2007, page 243.
- Óbecse. Révai nagy lexikona, vol. 14. p. 627. Hungarian Electronic Library. (in Hungarian).
- "Južnobački Okrug Srbija, Vodič kroz Srbiju, Go Serbia goserbia.rs, Srbija na 011info.com". 381info.com. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
- Zvonimir Golubović, Racija u Južnoj Bačkoj 1942. godine, Novi Sad, 1992, page 147.
- "Population by ethnicity – Bečej". Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia (SORS). Retrieved 23 February 2013.
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