Leuven Fact Card
Located 25 kilometres east of Brussels, capital of the Kingdom of Belgium
Leuven is the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant
Just over 100,000 inhabitants, making it the 8th largest city of Belgium
Born in Leuven: Mark Eyskens, former prime minister and Dries Mertens, footballer of SSC Napoli
The city of Leuven has already quite a few centuries under its belt. Founded at the beginning of the Middle Ages, the history of Leuven is intrinsically linked with its university, the Catholic University of Leuven (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), which was founded in 1425 and currently is the largest and oldest university of the Low Countries. The KU Leuven has over 55,000 students enrolled at its faculties of which more than 40,000 are located in Leuven itself. All active KULMUN members by the way are attached to the KU Leuven.
The impact of the university and its students on the evolution of Leuven cannot be overestimated. It has led to an unique city centre in which century-old buildings meet youthful enthusiasm on a daily (and nightly) basis.
If you wish to get more information on Leuven & its touristic highlights, we heartily recommend you to visit the following website: http://www.visitleuven.be/en
It is the task of the KULMUN association to assist its foreign participants in helping them discover this bustling university city. Therefore we are actively trying to host as many events as possible in locations which represent the defining aspects of Leuven, be it historical or more recent ones. More information concerning those will be revealed at a later time.
Leuven Town Hall (Opening Reception; Tuesday)
After the opening ceremony, a small reception will take place in one of the landmark buildings of Leuven: the Leuven Town Hall. Het Stadhuis van Leuven, as is said in Dutch, is one of the most beautiful examples of Gothic architecture in the Low Countries. Situated on the Grote Markt (Great Market) it was built between 1448 and 1469 in the Brabantine Gothic style.
In the 19th century, the city Hall underwent renovations made necessary by centuries’ worth of decay. The building remained standing amid the devastation of Leuven during World War I escaping with only minor damage. In the Second World War a bomb strike in front of the building caused more damage as it took until 1983 before repairs were completed. The office of the mayor is still located in het Stadhuis, however all administration has been moved to a more recent complex close to the train station. The reception will take place in the vast Wandelzaal on the main floor.
University Library (Closing Ceremony; Saturday)
While the Leuven University was founded in 1425, it took until 1636 before there was any mention of official university library. The first collection was stored in the Lakenhal on the Old Market. During centuries the collection grew, until the French Revolutionary forces closed the university in 1797 and moved the literature to Brussels and Paris.
After the reopening of the Leuven university in 1835, a new collection was started which was destroyed during German attacks in August 1914. As a result of American funding activities, the new current library on the Ladeuzeplein was constructed from 1921 to 1928. The tower of the complex, measures 87 meters and comprises one of the world’s largest carillons. The whole collection (900,000 volumes) was again destroyed in 1940 as a result of artillery fire, however the building was restored. Nowadays the KU Leuven collection approximates 4 million books.
The closing ceremony will take place in the completey wooden Grote Leeszaal (Great Lecture Hall).