Leuven Tourist Attractions
Leuven (French Louvain) lies on both banks of the Dijle east of Brussels. Together with the suburbs, which were incorporated in 1977, the town is a conglomeration of over 85,000 inhabitants and is the commercial, cultural and administrative center of East Brabant and southern Kempenland. The many different industries are based mainly in the north of the town along the canal which links the Dijle with the Rupel. Despite heavy bombardment in both world wars the university buildings, which are dispersed throughout the town, provide a good impression of architecture from the 15th C. onwards.Some examples include the Gothic syle Town Hall, Saint-Anthony's Chapel, the Linen Hall that now serves as a University Hall, the University Library and St Peter's Church.Leuven is well known for its summer rock festival Marktrock and orchestras, such as the famous Arenberg Orchestra.The Giants' Festival takes place here.
The Catholic university, which was founded in 1425 and rapidly became one of the most highly regarded universities in Europe, is world famous. Once the great humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam and Justus Lipsius taught here. The geographer Gerhard Mercator studied here and one of its chancellors was elected Pope Adrian VI in 1459. The university library was unparalleled yet was set on fire by the German occupying forces in 1914 and again in 1940 with the irretrievable loss of over a million volumes. Many regard the division of the university in 1968, following linguistic quarrels between the Flemish and Walloons, as the "Third Destruction": the Francophile teachers and students broke away and established the "Université Catholique de Louvain" in the new university town of Louvain-la-Neuve. The books were divided between them on the basis of odd and even shelf-marks - a really insane initiative.Today 24,000 students are matriculated at the university to soak up knowledge as amusingly demonstrated by the statue on the fountain "Fons Sapientiae", known as "Fonske", in the Grote Markt.
The shrine-like building of Leuven's City Hall is striking. Ornately decorated in the late Gothic Style, the City Hall features 236 prominent figures from the town's history on its external fascades.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, St.Peter's Church in Leuven is located in the very centre of the Grote Markt. The Church boasts a beautiful interior featuring Baroque and Gothic elements.
Lueven - Burgundian Festival
The festival lasts for three days in May. The celebrations starts on Friday evening and continues on Saturday and Sunday with a festival of street theater featuring artists from Belgium and abroad. The artists will perform in a surprising way in parades and on open-air theaters. The highlight would be the original parade with over 1,000 participants, 200 horses, wagons, giants and dragons.
A museum and gallery found on the ground floor of Erasmus College. It contains anonymous works from all over the world and others by Picasso, Magritte, Delcaux and Delahaut.
This museum includes a fine art collection and historical lounges from 19th C. mansions.
More Leuven Pictures
Map of Leuven Attractions