Leuven: the home to Alma Mater and Stella Artois

A real student city, Leuven hosts the biggest Belgian Catholic University. The famous university “Alma Mater” exists in Leuven since in 1425. Erasmus founded the Three Language College where Hebrew, Latin and Greek was taught and which served as model for the College de France in Paris. Justus Lipsius, Mercator, Vesalius were all famous scholars in Leuven.

It is impossible to walk in the city without immediately noticing the spectacular flamboyant Gothic Town Hall. The ornate sculpted turrets, gables; pinnacles and balustrade make it look like it was made of lace.

Leuven’s finely sculpted Town Hall and Saint Peter’s church with its magnificent interior which is hung with the famous ‘Last Supper’ by Thierry Bouts, are fine examples of flamboyant Gothic architecture at its best. Dating from the same period are the Cloth Hall, ‘t Sestich House and many churches, including St Gertrude’s with its magnificent choir stalls.

Other architectural styles are not quite so much in evidence, but they can still be found. The Romanesque Gate, the Saint Lambert’s church and the remains of the first town walls are still clearly in evidence.

Stella Artois breweryWith a large thirsty student population, Leuven is a great beer town. Stella Artois, the world famous beer brand, has its original Stella Artois brewery in Leuven. It is now controlled by InBev (and Interbrew until recently) and remains to be one of the largest breweries in the world and can be visited. A much smaller Leuven’s brewery Domus brews seasonal beers and is linked by pipeline to the taps in the tavern.

On January 1st January 1995, Leuven became the capital of the province Flemish Brabant. The former province of Brabant was split into Flemish and Walloon Brabant and the metropolitan region of Brussels.

Leuven hosts a great number of cultural events including International Organ Festival and Marktrock (Market Rock festival to take place in Leuven on the 8-9-10 August, 2008).

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