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"Louvain" and "Lowen" redirect here. Leuven_sentence_0

For other uses, see Louvain (disambiguation) and Lowen (disambiguation). Leuven_sentence_1



Louvain  (French)

Löwen  (German)Leuven_header_cell_0_0_0
CountryLeuven_header_cell_0_1_0 BelgiumLeuven_cell_0_1_1
CommunityLeuven_header_cell_0_2_0 Flemish CommunityLeuven_cell_0_2_1
RegionLeuven_header_cell_0_3_0 Flemish RegionLeuven_cell_0_3_1
ProvinceLeuven_header_cell_0_4_0 Flemish BrabantLeuven_cell_0_4_1
ArrondissementLeuven_header_cell_0_5_0 LeuvenLeuven_cell_0_5_1
MayorLeuven_header_cell_0_7_0 Mohamed Ridouani [] (sp.a)Leuven_cell_0_7_1
Governing party/iesLeuven_header_cell_0_8_0 SP.A, Groen, CD&VLeuven_cell_0_8_1
TotalLeuven_header_cell_0_10_0 56.63 km (21.86 sq mi)Leuven_cell_0_10_1
Population (2018-01-01)Leuven_header_cell_0_11_0
TotalLeuven_header_cell_0_12_0 101,396Leuven_cell_0_12_1
DensityLeuven_header_cell_0_13_0 1,800/km (4,600/sq mi)Leuven_cell_0_13_1
Postal codesLeuven_header_cell_0_14_0 3000, 3001, 3010, 3012, 3018Leuven_cell_0_14_1
Area codesLeuven_header_cell_0_15_0 016Leuven_cell_0_15_1
WebsiteLeuven_header_cell_0_16_0 Leuven_cell_0_16_1

Leuven (/ˈlɜːvən/, Dutch: [ˈløːvə(n) (listen)) or Louvain (/luːˈvæ̃/, also US: /luːˈveɪn/, French: [luvɛ̃; German: Löwen [ˈløːvn̩ (listen)) is the capital and largest city of the province of Flemish Brabant in the Flemish Region of Belgium. Leuven_sentence_2

It is located about 25 kilometres (16 miles) east of Brussels. Leuven_sentence_3

The municipality itself comprises the historic city and the former neighbouring municipalities of Heverlee, Kessel-Lo, a part of Korbeek-Lo, Wilsele and Wijgmaal. Leuven_sentence_4

It is the eighth largest city in Belgium with more than 100,244 inhabitants. Leuven_sentence_5

KU Leuven, Belgium's largest university, has its flagship campus in Leuven, which has been a university city since 1425. Leuven_sentence_6

This makes it the oldest university city in the Low Countries. Leuven_sentence_7

The city is home of the headquarters of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest beer brewer and sixth-largest fast-moving consumer goods company. Leuven_sentence_8

History Leuven_section_0

See also: Timeline of Leuven Leuven_sentence_9

Middle ages Leuven_section_1

The earliest mention of Leuven (Loven) dates from 891, when a Viking army was defeated by the Frankish king Arnulf of Carinthia (see: Battle of Leuven). Leuven_sentence_10

According to a legend, the city's red and white arms depict the blood-stained shores of the river Dyle after this battle, similarly to the flag of Austria. Leuven_sentence_11

Situated beside this river, and near to the stronghold of the Dukes of Brabant, Leuven became the most important centre of trade in the duchy between the 11th and 14th centuries. Leuven_sentence_12

A token of its former importance as a centre of cloth manufacture is shown in that ordinary linen cloth was known, in late-14th-century and 15th-century texts, as lewyn (other spellings: Leuwyn, Levyne, Lewan(e), Lovanium, Louvain). Leuven_sentence_13

Early modern period Leuven_section_2

In the 15th century, a new golden era began with the founding of the predecessor of what is now the largest and oldest university in the Low Countries, the University of Leuven, in 1425. Leuven_sentence_14

Prestigious buildings like the Town Hall and the Saint Peter's Church were constructed. Leuven_sentence_15

The art of painting flourished with painters such as Dirk Bouts, Albrecht Bouts and Jan Rombouts the Elder. Leuven_sentence_16

The painter Quinten Metsys was born and trained in Leuven. Leuven_sentence_17

By the turn of the 16th century Leuven had become a major European center for art and knowledge with humanists like Erasmus and Hieronymus van Busleyden working there. Leuven_sentence_18

In 1517 the latter founded the Collegium Trilingue in which the three ancient languages: Latin, Greek and Hebrew were taught. Leuven_sentence_19

It promoted the critical study of classical literature and the Bible. Leuven_sentence_20

Thomas More published his Utopia at Dirk Martens printing house in Leuven in 1516. Leuven_sentence_21

Gemma Frisius laid the foundation for modern triangulation methods and cartography. Leuven_sentence_22

He further made important contributions to mathematics, geography and astronomy. Leuven_sentence_23

Gerardus Mercator and John Dee were among his students. Leuven_sentence_24

Leuven became a leading centre for the fabrication of precision astronomical instruments, such as the planetaria and the terrestrial and celestial globes built by Gaspard van der Heyden and Gualterus Arsenius. Leuven_sentence_25

Andreas Vesalius completed his medicine studies in Leuven, before moving to Padova and Basel. Leuven_sentence_26

Religious persecutions of protestants, followed by greater religious en political turmoil starting in the late 1560's, greatly affected intellectual life in Leuven. Leuven_sentence_27

Many professors and alumni from Leuven moved abroad. Leuven_sentence_28

The newly founded University of Leiden in Holland, amongst others, would profit greatly from this brain drain. Leuven_sentence_29

Despite this the University continued to excel in disciplines like theology with Johannes Molanus and classical studies with Justus Lipsius. Leuven_sentence_30

18th and 19th centuries Leuven_section_3

In the 18th century, the brewery Den Horn (meaning "the horn") flourished. Leuven_sentence_31

In 1708, Sebastien Artois became the master brewer at Den Horn, and gave his name to the brewery in 1717, now part of AB InBev, whose flagship beer, Stella Artois, is brewed in Leuven and sold in many countries. Leuven_sentence_32

20th century Leuven_section_4

Leuven has several times been besieged or occupied by foreign armies; these include the Battle of Leuven (891), Siege of Leuven (1635) and Battle of Leuven (1831). Leuven_sentence_33

In the 20th century, both world wars inflicted major damage upon the city. Leuven_sentence_34

Upon Germany's entry into World War I, the town was heavily damaged by rampaging soldiers. Leuven_sentence_35

In all, about 300 civilians lost their lives. Leuven_sentence_36

The university library was destroyed on 25 August 1914, using petrol and incendiary pastilles. Leuven_sentence_37

230,000 volumes were lost in the destruction, including Gothic and Renaissance manuscripts, a collection of 750 medieval manuscripts, and more than 1,000 incunabula (books printed before 1501). Leuven_sentence_38

The destruction of the library shocked the world, with the Daily Chronicle describing it as war not only against civilians but also against "posterity to the utmost generation." Leuven_sentence_39

It was rebuilt after the war, and much of the collection was replaced. Leuven_sentence_40

Great Britain (on the initiative of the John Rylands Library in Manchester) and the United States were major providers of material for the replenishment of the collection. Leuven_sentence_41

The new library building was financed by the National Committee of the United States for the Restoration of the University of Louvain and built to the design of architect Whitney Warren; it was officially opened on 4 July 1928. Leuven_sentence_42

Richard Harding Davis, a war correspondent for the New York Tribune, was in Leuven and wrote a column titled "The Germans Were Like Men After an Orgy" in which he described the organized civilian murders and vandalism committed by the occupying troops. Leuven_sentence_43

Further information: The Rape of Belgium § War crimes Leuven_sentence_44

In World War II, after the start of the German offensive, Leuven formed part of the British Expeditionary Force's front line and was defended by units of the 3rd Division and Belgian troops. Leuven_sentence_45

From 14 to 16 May 1940, the German Army Group B assaulted the city with heavy air and artillery support. Leuven_sentence_46

The British withdrew their forces to the River Senne on the night of 16 May and the town was occupied the next day. Leuven_sentence_47

The new university library building was set on fire by shelling, on 16 May, and nearly a million books were lost. Leuven_sentence_48

Climate Leuven_section_5

Economy Leuven_section_6

Given the presence of the KU Leuven, Europe's most innovative university according to Reuters, much of the local economy is concentrated on spin-offs from academic research. Leuven_sentence_49

In addition, the Leuven-based research centre, IMEC, is a world class research centre in the field of nano-electronics and digital technologies. Leuven_sentence_50

As a result, dozens of companies in high technological fields such as biotech, robotics, additive manufacturing and IT, are located near these research institutes on the Arenberg Science Park and Haasrode Research-Park. Leuven_sentence_51

Quite a few international companies such as Siemens, Huawei, Nitto Denko, JSR Corporation or Commscope have important, often research oriented branches, in Leuven. Leuven_sentence_52

The academic hospital UZ Leuven, first in Europe regarding the number of clinical tests per capita and approval rates for clinical trials , UZ Leuven is another advanced research institute. Leuven_sentence_53

It is one of Europe's largest and most advanced academic hospitals. Leuven_sentence_54

As a result, large numbers of private service providers are active in the medical, financial and legal fields. Leuven_sentence_55

Because it is the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant, many governmental institutions are located in Leuven, as well as the regional headquarters of transport corporations such as De Lijn. Leuven_sentence_56

As one of Flanders Art-Cities, with a large range of cafés, restaurants, cultural institutions and shopping neighbourhoods, Leuven also attracts a growing number of tourists. Leuven_sentence_57

Leuven is the worldwide headquarters of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the largest beer company in the world and is considered one of the largest fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies in the world. Leuven_sentence_58

InBev's Stella Artois brewery and main offices dominate the entire north-eastern part of the town, between the railway station and the canal to Mechelen. Leuven_sentence_59

Finally, Leuven is the ancestral home of the KBC bank. Leuven_sentence_60

KBC is one of the leading financial groups in Europe. Leuven_sentence_61

It is a multi-channel bank-insurance group, with a geographic focus on Belgium, Ireland & Central Europe, catering mainly to retail clients, SMEs and local midcaps. Leuven_sentence_62

As one of the largest companies in Belgium and it has its insurance and autolease HQ in Leuven. Leuven_sentence_63

Demographics Leuven_section_7

As of 1 November 2016, the population of Leuven was 100,244. Leuven_sentence_64

The arrondissement of Leuven counted 494,189 in 2014. Leuven_sentence_65

The city itself is made up out of the centre of Leuven (30,313), Kessel-Lo (29,147), Heverlee (22,521), Wilsele (9,786) and Wijgmaal (3,592). Leuven_sentence_66

Student population Leuven_section_8

Leuven has a large Dutch-speaking student population, mainly concentrated around the city centre. Leuven_sentence_67

The Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven; University of Leuven) has two campuses in the city, with a total of more than 45,000 students as of January 2020. Leuven_sentence_68

It is the oldest Catholic university still in existence in the world, and the largest university in Belgium. Leuven_sentence_69

There are also a number of hogescholen (universities of applied sciences), such as the UC Leuven-Limburg (UCLL). Leuven_sentence_70

Transport Leuven_section_9

Within the city and its immediate surroundings, most distances can be covered on foot or with a bicycle. Leuven_sentence_71

Several streets are off-limits to vehicle traffic and, within the city centre, road speed regulations prescribe 30 km/h (19 mph) as the maximum speed limit, making it a pedestrian and bicycle-friendly city. Leuven_sentence_72

There are also a few car parking lots. Leuven_sentence_73

There are numerous buses, primarily from the public transport company De Lijn, that connect the city with the region while providing travel options within the city centre. Leuven_sentence_74

The so-called Ringbus follows the ring road of the city. Leuven_sentence_75

Except for long distance routes (such as to other cities) and other irregular bus services, most buses come by every 10 minutes. Leuven_sentence_76

Buses 616, 652 and 651 connect Leuven with Brussels Airport. Leuven_sentence_77

Leuven railway station is located on the NMBS railway lines 35 (Leuven–AarschotHasselt), 36 (BrusselsLiège), 36N (Schaarbeek–Leuven), 53 (Schellebelle–Leuven), and 139 (Leuven–Ottignies). Leuven_sentence_78

In Bierbeek, south-east of Leuven, lies the beginning of HSL 2, the high-speed railway towards Liège. Leuven_sentence_79

The European route E40 passes Leuven in the south, the European route E314 connects Leuven with the city of Aachen. Leuven_sentence_80

Politics Leuven_section_10

Mayor Leuven_section_11

See also: List of mayors of Leuven Leuven_sentence_81

The governing coalition of Leuven consists of SP.A (14 out of 47 seats), Groen (10 seats) and CD&V (8 seats), with SP.A providing the mayor with Mohamed Ridouani. Leuven_sentence_82

The opposition is composed of N-VA (11 seats), open VLD (2 seats), PVDA (1 seat) and Vlaams Belang (1 seat). Leuven_sentence_83

Culture Leuven_section_12

One of Belgium's conservatories is based in Leuven: the Lemmens Institute, which is described as "Faculty of Music, Performing Arts and Education". Leuven_sentence_84

It is known for its music therapy education and its wordart-drama education. Leuven_sentence_85

Kunstencentrum STUK is a cultural centre and venue in the city center for music, theatre, sound art, and dance. Leuven_sentence_86

Leuven holds a summer rock festival, Marktrock. Leuven_sentence_87

Leuven has some university orchestras, such as the University Symphony Orchestra [] (USO), the University Symphonic Band [] (UGO). Leuven_sentence_88

and the Arenberg Orchestra [] Leuven_sentence_89

In September 2009, the M – Museum Leuven opened in Leuven. Leuven_sentence_90

It is a museum for both contemporary and historical art, located near het Ladeuzeplein. Leuven_sentence_91

It has hosted exhibitions by international artists such as Angus Fairhurst, Sol LeWitt, Roe Ethridge and Charles Burns as well as Belgian artists such as Ilse D'Hollander, Jan Vercruysse, Antoon Van Dyck and Freek Wambacq. Leuven_sentence_92

Leuven has a rich beer culture, being the birthplace of several beers such as Stella Artois, Leuvense Tripel, Domus and Keizersberg. Leuven_sentence_93

It has several bars priding themselves in offering a wide variety of local and international beers, including a bar that claims to offer more than 3000 different beers. Leuven_sentence_94

The Higher Institute of Philosophy holds the archives of the German philosopher Edmund Husserl. Leuven_sentence_95

Sport Leuven_section_13

The main football club of the municipality is Oud-Heverlee Leuven, successor of Stade Leuven. Leuven_sentence_96

The city's prime basketball team are the Leuven Bears. Leuven_sentence_97

They play their home games in the SportOase. Leuven_sentence_98

The Cyclocross Leuven is a cyclo-cross race held in January. Leuven_sentence_99

Buildings and landmarks Leuven_section_14

Secular Leuven_section_15


  • The Town Hall, built between 1439 and 1463 by Sulpitius van Vorst [], Jan II Keldermans, and following their death, Matheus de Layens, in a Brabantian late-Gothic style. In the 19th century, 236 statues were added to the exterior, each representing a prominent local scholar, artist or noble from the city's history. The reception hall dates from 1750.Leuven_item_0_0
  • Arenberg Castle was originally built in 16th century in the Renaissance style and was extensively renovated in the Neogothic style in the 19th century. The duke of Arenberg donated the domain to the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in 1916. It is open to the public. It has a beautiful green park outside with gardens. Eggs of wild ducks can be seen around the park.Leuven_item_0_1
  • The Linen-hall, in an early-Gothic style, with baroque addition, is today the University Hall.Leuven_item_0_2
  • The University Library on the Ladeuzeplein was built by the American architect Whitney Warren. It was a gift from the American people to Leuven after World War I, during which the Germans burned down the original library. The tower houses one of the largest carillons in the world.Leuven_item_0_3
  • The Oude Markt or Old Market square located in the centre of Leuven features a vibrant social scene, the centre of which displays a life-size statue of 'De Kotmadam', or "The Landlady" resting on a bench.Leuven_item_0_4


  • Sint-Donatus Park contains remains of the medieval city wall.Leuven_item_1_5
  • Totem is a statue at the centre of the Ladeuzeplein; it is a work of the Belgian artist Jan Fabre. Featuring a 23-metre-high needle impaling a giant jewelled beetle, the statue towers over the square in front of the university library.Leuven_item_1_6
  • Fonske is a statue near the centre of town. Its full name is Fons Sapientiae, Latin for "fountain of wisdom". The statue represents a university student who, while reading a book, lets wisdom flow into his head as liquid from a glass. Just like Manneken Pis in Brussels, Fonske is, from time to time, dressed in costumes appropriate for specific occasions.Leuven_item_1_7

Religious Leuven_section_16


  • St. Peter's Church (1425–1500) was finished by Jan Keldermans and Matheus de Layens. During the Second World War, the church was damaged. During the restoration, a Romanesque crypt from the 11th century was found. In the church itself, there are several paintings from the 15th to 18th centuries (among which, Dirk Bouts' famous painting of the last supper) and the grave of Duke Henry I of Brabant. The 50-metre-high tower – which was meant to be 169 metres high, but was never completed – is home to a carillon. The tower was included in UNESCO's list of Belfries of Belgium and France in 1999.Leuven_item_2_8
  • Saint-Anthony's Chapel, Pater Damiaanplein, from the 17th to the 20th centuries, contains the tomb of Father Damien, the "leper priest" of Molokai, who was canonised by Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday 11 October 2009. The Catholic Encyclopedia calls him "the Apostle of the Lepers", and elsewhere, he is known as the "leper priest". The Catholic priest's remains were returned in Belgium with great fanfare in 1936, after having been originally buried on the Hawaiian Island of Molokai where he had served the outcast lepers until his death.Leuven_item_2_9
  • The Church of Saint Michael was built in the typical Jesuit Baroque Style.Leuven_item_2_10
  • The Saint Quentin's Church incorporates remains of a Romanesque church built in the 13th century.Leuven_item_2_11
  • The Large Beguinage is one of the world's best remaining examples of its architectural type. It was recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1998.Leuven_item_2_12
  • Park Abbey, a 42ha Premonstratensian Abbey founded in 1129 and manufacturing site of the Parc Abbey Bible. It is one of the best preserved abbey complexes in the Low Countries and is still inhabited by a small community of Canons regular.Leuven_item_2_13
  • Keizersberg Abbey, an active Neo-Romanesque Benedictine Abbey founded in 1888. It is situated on the Keizersberg ("Emperor's Mountain") which used to be the location of a 12th-century ducal castle until it was demolished in 1782.Leuven_item_2_14
  • Vlierbeek Abbey, a former Benedictine abbey founded in 1127.Leuven_item_2_15
  • Sint-Geertrui Abdij, a former Augustinian abbey founded in 1206.Leuven_item_2_16
  • Lerkeveld is a Jesuit house, student residence, and headquarters of the Society of Jesus in Belgium.Leuven_item_2_17
  • There are several other smaller churches and chapels throughout the town.Leuven_item_2_18

Colleges Leuven_section_17

The Old University of Leuven used to have 40 constituent colleges and 4 pedagogies, some of which are still being used by KU Leuven. Leuven_sentence_100

The most notable ones are: Leuven_sentence_101


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leuven.