Leuven Journals

Leuven, a belgian surprise

A May 2002 trip to Leuven by Adelaide

Town Hall Photo, Leuven, Belgium More Photos
Quote: Leuven is a charming Flemish city that I came to know by accident, when I stopped there to change trains decided to take a stroll during the wait. Having never heard of Leuven before, I was surprised with its architecture.

Leuven, a belgian surprise

Overview

Quote:
The city's architecture is remarkable. Most of all, I enjoyed the town hall, located at the Grotemarkt (Great Market), a 15th century gothic structure, decorated with turrets and 236 statues representing citizens of its past. Next to it is Saint-Peter's Church, the oldest in Leuven. Also noteworthy are the façades of the Oudemarkt (Old Market).

Quick Tips:

Best Way To Get Around:

Definitely on foot. The city is not big and every street has something attractive.

Town Hall

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Town Hall Photo, Leuven, Belgium
Quote:
The construction of the Town Hall started in 1439. There are three floors. Between the windows there are oriels, each with two niches; three corner-turrets also have niches. The carved bases of these niches represent biblical subjects. The 236 statues in the niches were only placed after 1850. Contrary to the figures in the bases who wear Burgundian clothes, the persons in the niches wear the clothes of the period in which they lived. The two rows of the ground floor represent artists, scholars and eminent citizens of the Leuven past. The first floor displays figures who symbolize the municipal privileges and the patron saints of the parishes. On the second floor the Counts of Leuven and the Dukes of ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 26, 2002

Town Hall
Great Market Square
Leuven, Belgium

Old Market Square

Attraction | "Saint-Peter's Church"

Quote:
The Saint-Peter's Church is the oldest in Leuven. It was presumably founded in 986. The first church burnt down in 1176. A new Romanesque church was built with a crypt and an extension at the back of the choir. The construction of the present Gothic building, much larger than the Romanesque church, started in 1425. It was designed by the same architects of the Town Hall. Of the three towers that were planned, one of which should have reached a height of 170 meters, only the bases remain. In 1541 when the height of 50 meters was reached, work was stopped. The subsoil was not stable enough to support a higher tower. After some collapses, the tower was lowered to its present level. The successive ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 26, 2002

Old Market Square
Old Market Square
Leuven, Belgium

Old Market Square

Attraction

Quote:
The Oude Markt (Old Market) is a large square surrounded by those marvelous multi-windowed houses characteristic of Flemish architecture. As its name suggests, it served as a marketplace, but now is a place to go if you want to relax and enjoy your evening, a glass of beer or wine, or some food. On Fridays, one can also enjoy live music, sitting outside of one of at least 30 bars, restaurants or pizzerias. And don't forget that Leuven is the home of Stella Artois, one of Belgium's most famous breweries.

Nearby you can find "De Kotmadam" (The Landlady), the statue of a woman on a bench holding a teapot. She is as typical for Leuven as the "Manneken Pis" is for Brussels.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 26, 2002

Old Market Square
Old Market Square
Leuven, Belgium

Quote:
Leuven is situated in the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, at about 20 km east of Brussels. The city of Leuven appears in historical documents for the first time in the year 884. In that year, the Vikings settled around an old fortification at the Dijle river, called 'Luvanium' in Latin. In the middle ages, the cloth trade became the cornerstone of Leuven's wealth and prosperity, but in the 14th century the cloth trade lost its importance and the city's economy slowly declined. Nevertheless, in 1425 Duke John IV founded the University of Leuven, which until today has remained the most important university in Belgium, and one of the leading catholic universities in the world. ...Read More
Quote:
The K.U.L (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, or Catholic University of Leuven) is one of the oldest still existing Catholic universities in the world, founded in 1425 by Pope Martin V. At the start of the university, four faculties were created: arts, civil justice, religious justice and medicine. In the 16th century the humanist, Desiderius Erasmus, lectured there. He founded the Collegium Trilingue in 1517 for the study of Hebrew, Latin and Greek - the first of its kind. The tutor of the young emperor Charles V, Adriaan Cardinal Florensz of Utrecht, was a professor there before being elected in 1522 as the last non-Italian Pope before Pope John Paul II. The famous cartographer Gerard Mercator, w...Read More

Stella Artois

Story/Tip

Quote:
Stella Artois is Belgium's best known lager beer, and it's made in Leuven. The history of the beer can be traced back to at least 1366 with a brewery dubbed Den Horen, or "the Horn". In 1717 Den Horen was under control of master-brewer Sebastien Artois, and thus for more than a century all the brewer's know-how was handed down from father to son.
In 1926, the brewery brought a barley beer onto the market and called it with the name "Stella", the Latin word for "Star".
Visit their website.