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City Sights

Sights not to miss


In 2000 the Grand Beguinage earned his place on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

The Small Beguinage dates from the 13th century.

Small Beguinage

In the shadow of the St. Gertrude Abbey beguines once lived. The ‘St. Catherine Beguinage’ or ‘Small Beguinage’ is named after its patron saint. It had its origins in 1269 when Bertula, beghina de sancta Gertrude de Lovanio, gave a tribute to the St. Gertrude’s Priory. In 1275 an infirmary was build that may have formed the core of the beguinage. Twenty years later the convent build its own chapel, which has been on the site where the convent church is situated today.

In the 17th century the small convent flourished, the majority of todays preserved buildings date from that period. The domain stretched from the Mechelsestraat in the west to the the banks of the river Dijle in the east. Most beguines lived in the west along the road extending from St. Gertrude’s Church towards the convent church.

The Small Beguinage was a official convent, how small it may have been, hardly a street and a square.

in 1789 the French reign brought an end to the ‘Little Beguinage’. The different services provided by the beguines were moved and grouped within the Commission’s Hospices. The church was closed and demolished in 1862.

In 1974, the ‘Little Beguinage’ became a protected monument. About half of the homes are sold now and are in private hands.

Great Beguinage

The origine of the beguine is still a mistery today. These women only temporary followed a life of chastity and obedience towards their chosen ‘mistresses’. Unlike the monks, they were not bound by the rule of poverty, so they were able to gain an income and have personal property. For the remains they make their living via donations made to the convent. They also generated income from education, health care and labor like embroidery, washing, spinning …

In the early 13th century the beguinage was founded, outside the city walls. The oldest houses date from the 16th century, when the original clay houses were rebuilt in stone. Some of the 72 houses were named after a saint or an event from the bible. The St. John the Baptist Church is early-gothic: a memorial built in the buttress mentions it was build in 1305.


In the 16th century, the carillon made its appearance in Flanders and Brabant. They were an instant hit amongst the inhabitants of large cities and became a typical feature in the Lower Countries. During the French Revolution many carillons were robbed and destroyed, but today they are more alive than ever to stun their admirers with surprise.

Leuven has four singing towers within its walls, and therefor occupies a prominent place in the international carillon society. Those four carillons roar more than 200 times a year. No other city in Belgium has this much carillion music.

Tower of St. Peter (Grand Place)

From 1525, a competition is held to determine who plays the best on the bells of St. Peter. The current carillon is a piece of Leuvens bell-founder Sergey and includes 49 bells with a total weight of 17 tons. The carillon was deported in 1943 to be melted for war purposes, but most clocks were recovered after the war and re-hung in the tower. The playing drum contains 14,760 holes and plays new music each year. The hour is beaten by Master John, who in 1998 replaced the historic bell ringer. City Carillonneurs Eddy Marien and Koen Van Assche play the carillon at the Friday market from 12 to 13 h and during the Saturday afternoon shopping from 15 to 16 hours.

Tower of the University (Mgr. Ladeuzeplein)

The carillon of the library is a memorial to the American engineers during the First World War. The 48 bells were cast by Gillett & Johnston famous British bell foundry. The instrument survived the fire that ravaged the library in 1940 and currently has 63 bells weighing a total of over 35 tons. Each quarter the machine plays a fantasy on the Reuzegom. The hour is beaten by the 7-ton Liberty Bell or Louvain. University Carillonneur Luc Rombouts and guest carillon play the carillon during the academic year on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 19 to 19.45 pm During each play, the public can visit the tower (reservation The carillon is best heard on the Mgr. Ladeuzeplein or in the theater at the Erasmus Garden (reverse library).

Tower of St. Gertrude’s Church (Mid March Street)

The carillon of St. Gertrude, the oldest in the city. He was in 1778 by William the Abbot Renesse ordered the famous bell-founder Andrew Vanden Gheyn Leuven. He was only slightly damaged in 1944 when the tower was struck by an allied air bombardment and currently has 49 bells with a total weight of 15 tons. Every half hour let the fresh sounds heard on the machine near St. Gertrude. On Sunday, the machine plays even an hour from 15 to 16 h. On special occasions, church bell ringer late Marc Van Eyck instrument sound Hook baton keyboard. The courtyard of St. Gertrude Abbey offers an excellent listening environment.

Tower of St. John the Baptist Church (Great Beguinage)

The carillon of the Grand Beguinage is a lightweight, the 45 bells together weigh only 1.3 tons. The core of the instrument are 16 bells which until 1983 were part of the carillon of the University. The instrument allows a fresh sound to hear the residents of the quiet Great Convent. Every half hour playing the machine tunes, adapted to the time of year. Every first and third Wednesday of the month, the carillon of 19 to 20 you played by university carillonneur Luc Rombouts.


Who during his visit to Louvain some culture, you can soak in one of the Leuven museums.


M, the new Museum of Leuven, opened its doors in September 2009. The impressive, sleek museum building, located in the heart of the city, is a real eye catcher.

The whole, designed by Belgian architect Stéphane Beel, integrates existing historic buildings and contemporary architecture, built around a stately old oak tree in a quiet courtyard. Of the museumdak have a beautiful view over the city.

M Leuven Website

Treasury of St Peter’s

The Treasury is in the choir of St. Peter, known as a of the finest examples of 15th-century Brabant High Gothic.

Since 1998 you will find numerous statues, paintings and various objects of precious metals such as relic statues, chalices and monstrances.
The best known works are The Last Supper by Dirk Bouts, the paintings range Fiere Margriet, the tomb of Henry I and the Head Christ.

Scout Museum

The Scouts and Scout Museum Archives are located in the former chapel of St. Gertrude Abbey, already in the 13th century it was inhabited. The abbey altered several times and destination served, the chapel became a museum function, as well as business and housing.

In the museum using flags, badges, documents and photographs a historical overview of the scouts and guides operating in Belgium and abroad. The archive serves as a memory of the movement and is often consulted for the organization of exhibitions or anniversary or the creation of historical publications.

Spoelberch Museum

in Leuven on 27 September 1995 the museum reopened Spoelberch. The art collection is exhibited in it, was donated to the university after the death of Charles-Victor de Spoelberch (1836-1907). Charles-Victor was the last male heir of a branch of the family that the old family estate in the municipality Lovenjoel (west of Leuven) inhabited. He himself was a noted bibliographer and collector, his collection which autographs, manuscripts, and printed documentation and writers such as Balzac, Sand, Gautier, Sainte-Beuve gave at the Institut de France. Until today it is in the Biblioth&egave;que Mazarine a mandatory stop for literary historians. The art collection of the family he gave along with the domains Lovenjoel University. In the family domain has a university psychiatric hospital and a Medical-Pedagogical Institute to establish.

The art collection contains the ancestral portrait, some splendid furniture from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and pieces of family silver. Perhaps the part is a collection belangrijste European and Oriental porcelain from the 18th and 19th centuries, collected by Maximilien de Spoelberch, father of Charles-Victor. The collection was first in the Holy Ghost College showcased and after finishing the University in 1927 transferred to there. There she was heavily damaged, but not quite destroyed by the great fire that destroyed the library in the ashes after the shooting by the Germans in 1940. Thanks to the patronage of members of another branch of the family, were the paintings and furniture restoration. The result is now again be admired in the Holy Ghost College.

Spoelberch The Museum is open for groups by appointment and reservation of a guide at the university. The museum is also open to individuals on the second Saturday of the month from 14 to 17 pm, except on public holidays. Museum Address: Holy Ghost College, Naamsestraat 40, 3000 Leuven. Group bookings visit: Service Communication KULeuven, Naamsestraat 22, 3000 Leuven, call 32 / (0) 16/324015. If hiking guide for the museum published a richly illustrated brochure in Dutch, French and English, which the history of the family and some highlights from the collection described.

Museum of Flemish Student Life

Students in the Museum you will find all sorts of souvenirs and memorabilia of the Leuven student life from the 19th and 20th centuries.

This unique collection, compiled by the Dr Sun Goeyse to include:

  • Archives of dozens of student organizations mainly from Leuven (With Time and Diligence, General Catholic Flemish Student Association, Catholic Student Association Supreme Flemish, General Student)
  • A collection of photographs, drawings and posters
  • A library with a rich collection of student journals, books, brochures and pamphlets
  • A museum department with flags of student associations, objects of club life, memories of the Dutchification, and souvenirs of famous student leaders such as Albrecht Rodenbach and Jef van den Eynde.

    You can go visit the museum after reservation and is located in the University.

  • HistarUZ

    Leuven University Hospital is now more than 80 years. Since precious objects and materials from the assets may not disappear, they are since 2006 in an expert manner archived and kept at the Kapucijnenvoer 35 – Block J, in HistarUZ, the historical archives of UZ Leuven.

    Here you will find an impressive collection of heritage: instruments, all types of examination tables, wheelchairs, carts and cabinets to all kinds of books, photographs, images and documents. A staff member will, together with 13 volunteers for everything cleaned, restored, digitally photographed and cataloged is. Thus, a comprehensive database for the history of medicine and health care university in Leuven developed.

    In 2007, 2009 and 2011 was successfully participated in the heritage day, each with more than 850 visitors. To celebrate the heritage day were 16 rooms in the back 50 years to life with fascinating objects, photographs and documents from the first year of the hospital.

    The exhibition is open to the public: every first and third Thursday of the month from 9 to 12 and every second and fourth Saturday of the month from 14 to 17h. Closed on holidays.


    Leuven offers many opportunities for your family and / or friends are out and about again.

    Stella Artois

    The first glass of Stella Artois was brewed in 1926, as a Christmas beer in the Artois brewery in Leuven. This brewery has been around since 1366, and was widely known as the Den Hoorn brewery.

    The name “Stella Artois” is an amalgamation of the Latin word for ‘star’ (Stella) and the name of the founder of the brewery, SéBASTIEN Artois, master brewer since 1708. The beer became so successful that the then brewer permanently on the market.

    The subtle taste of Stella Artois comes from the best malts and the finest hops to mix. Using only natural ingredients ensures a fresh quality beer with a slightly bitter taste.

    For more info about a brewery visit:

    Leuven Botanical Garden

    The first scientific gardens were botanical gardens, collections, while stocks of medicinal plants. The herb gardens were thus directly related to medicine.

    Later on, more purely botanical gardens decorated with plants with ornamental value, potential economic crops, unusual plants as study objects. The old name “herb garden” is certain institutions continue to exist, as in Leuven.

    The botanical garden in the center of the university town of Leuven is mainly educational, economic, scientific and recreational (passive) level is very important.

    On an area of approximately 2.2 acres has an extensive collection of trees, shrubs and bushes. Besides the collection of herbaceous plants, herbs, water and container plants, a greenhouse complex, the variety of tropical and subtropical species exhibited (450 sqm).

    By Royal Decree of July 6, 1976, the conservatory as a monument and the landscape as a whole ranked Botanique. There are regular exhibitions in the orangery, the gatehouse and outdoors. The garden is managed and renovated by the parks department.


    There are many interesting buildings to visit in Leuven. Of churches and monasteries to the mysterious seven wonders.

    Seven Wonders

    In ancient times was known of the seven wonders of the world, including the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Colossus of Rhodes, the pyramid of Cheops, …

    When the students learned that in the 16th century, they sought and found in Leuven, seven wonders.

  • people go under the roots of the trees.

    Also the current Tervuursepoort was formerly a gate, the gate groove. On top of this port grew seven elms. And so one could go through the trees below. This miracle disappeared in the 19th century, when the gate was demolished.

  • are living among the dead.

    Until 1781 it was wonderful to visit the following Hoelstraatpoort, one of the gates of the ancient ramparts Leuven, in Tiensestraat. On this wall, and partly to the gate, stood the Romanesque church of Saint Michael. As usual in the church were many prominent people buried. But these people were so buried in the gate so they could walk among them.

  • The water flows against the current.

    This miracle is related to the legend of the Fiere Margrietje. Legend of the corpse floated on Margriet upstream Dyle. This is (was), but perfectly possible. The Dyle at Louvain splits into many arms, usually equipped with locks. And the locks on the Oratoriënhof water could flow back into town. The arm through which this happened is subsequently filled.

  • below the church tower.

    The last miracle is again located at a church. The baroque church of the convent of Discalced Carmelites, or the fact Theresianen had no tower. The bell tower was located above the vestry and was slightly higher than the ridge of the roof. The church was demolished in 1808.

  • The altar outside the church.

    And the last remaining wonder, is the former Jesuit church, now St. Michael’s Church. Father W. Van Hees, the designer, which created a baroque work of art. The resemblance was so striking with an altar – even St. Wafer is shown at the top – this is a true ‘altar outside the church “is. The church is also very numerous among the Gothic churches of Leuven.

  • tower without nails.

    When the tower of the abbey and parish church of St Gertrude was completed in 1453, this was done without even one nail came along. He is in fact entirely of stone, including the spire. And because there is no reason or wood shingles were used, there were no nails required.

  • The clock tower outside
    Another peculiarity is one of the bells of St. James’ Church. This – according to legend unbaptized, and so devilish clock – could not hang in the church and is therefore outside the tower. A somewhat profane truth is that the clock was donated by the socialists and not allowed to hang in the church.

    Currently only the three latest “miracles”. The others are in the centuries gone.

  • Hall

    This is the third town hall of Leuven. The first was on the Old Market, the second on the Market area by the church.

    Construction will start in 1439. The cellars of existing homes remain. They have been restored and accessible through the left door. The first architect was now deceased. He was succeeded in 1439 by Jan Keldermans II.

    In 1448 Matthew was the turn of the Layens. He deletes the belfry tower at the corner of rue de Namur. This gives the building its typical late Gothic View (4 towers, 2 noktorens and a parapet that runs around the building).

    St. Peter

    St Peter’s Church is the oldest of Leuven. She was probably founded in 986.

    The first church burned down in 1176. Then a new Romanesque church built with a crypt behind the choir. The west building was flanked by two towers can be seen in the old city seal.

    The construction of the present Gothic building – much broader than the Romanesque church – started in 1425. The choir was built by Sulpicius of Forest. After Several architects succeeded him on. Again played in January Keldermans II and Matthew the Layens an important role.

    The church was practically completed in 1497.

    St Michael’s Church

    The church was built between 1650 and 1666 in white sand and iron stone.

    The façade, with Ionic columns, pilasters and decorated with Friesen include angels, grapes and corn, has the appearance of an altar. The facade is like “the altar outside the church” one of the seven wonders of Leuven.

    The church was almost completely destroyed during an air raid on the town the night of May 10 to 11, 1944. Only the facade was saved as if by magic. The rebuilding of the church was completed in 1950.


    During the First World War the library of the university in the University destroyed by fire. With U.S. funds in 1921 according to the plans of Whitney Warren a new library building in Flemish Renaissance style was established.

    The hundreds of sculptured stones in the building are reminders of the gifts. The mid-wing are the busts of Queen Elizabeth, King Albert and Prince Leopold. Top of bas-relief, the fire of the University. On the side walls of the images sedes Sapientiae and Cardinal Mercier.

    The library contains over three million volumes.

    Abbey Park

    Around 1100 the southeast edge of Leuven was mainly woodland. Here the Duke of Brabant in Leuven as his residence, had his hunting ground.

    Around 1129 gave Godfrey the Bearded his hunting ground south-east of Leuven at the Norbertine, still seeing the occupants of a building complex, surrounded by green meadows and ponds.

    If a circle around the abbey walls and gatehouses, the watermill, the powerful farm and the barn, in earlier years for agricultural and economic activities.

    The successive architectural styles from Romanesque to Gothic to Renaissance, and finally (late-) baroque, have their traces in a typical Brabant version. The visitor as it were incorporated into the abbey life when he beautifully restored abbey church and sacristy enters, sits down in the quiet chapter house, or walking in the cloister of the atmosphere breathing of petrified beauty, his eyes roam gives the refectory and in the library to the superb plaster ceilings and walk back to the dorm to the output can only consider that a convent more than eight centuries of history here is palpable.

    In the cemetery are graves of famous people.

    Round Table

    (On the east side of the Market)

    A building with a lot of lives. The city authorities ordered in 1479 by the architect of City Hall. He pulls a building that is actually three houses together. The rhetorician guilds and rooms for rent rooms there.

    In 1817, the Round Table was ready for demolition. The substitute is a building in Empire style in 1914 completely burns out. The National Bank decided in 1921 to reconstruct.

    The Round Table is one of the last examples of Gothic Revival architecture in Belgium.

    The images in the niches set regional crafts and the administrators and the governor of the bank.