Leuven, the oldest university town

Leuven, a Belgian city with a rich history and lively student atmosphere, reveals its singular charm. Dominated by the imposing medieval belfry, which offers a panoramic view of the Grand-Place, the city boasts a harmonious blend of Gothic and contemporary architecture. The cobbled streets reveal picturesque cafés and lively shops, while the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, founded in 1425, lends the city a youthful, intellectual energy. The city's relaxed, festive atmosphere flourishes around its lively squares, captivating museums and the joyous omnipresence of Belgian beer culture.

10 fun facts about Leuven!

  • 🐄 "Cow shooters": a historical event from 1691, in which the locals fired at night at silhouettes they could make out. At the time, they were under siege by the French and imagined they were shooting at enemy soldiers. The next morning, they realised that they had fired at a herd of cows.

  • 🏗️ Its little sister: In the 60s, the country's linguistic crises shook the university. Flemish nationalists couldn't stand to see Walloons (French-speakers) in a university on Flemish territory, so they marched through the streets shouting their demand: "Walen buiten" ("Walloons, out" in French). Eventually, the French-speaking section of the university left Leuven in September 1968. The university then created a city from scratch: Louvain-la-Neuve.

  • ✝️ The oldest Catholic university in the world: The Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, founded in 1425, is considered to be the oldest Catholic university in the world still in operation.

  • 🪟 Taxes based on windows: In the 18th century, the city of Leuven introduced a tax on windows, which led many residents to reduce the number of windows in their homes to save money.

  • 🍺 Fonske: According to a humorous legend, Fons, the character represented by the Fonske statue, has the ability to drink beer endlessly without ever getting tired. It's an amusing way of expressing the love of the people of Leuven for their local beer.

  • 👵 Kotmadam: In Leuven, a "Kotmadam" is a woman who rents out rooms to students. It's a well-established tradition in the city's student life.

  • 🍺 The "Langste Toog van de Wereld": Translated into English, this means "the longest bar in the world". It's a nickname given to Oude Markt, a square in Leuven known for its many bars. With more than 30 bars, it is often called this by the locals, underlining the abundance of places to socialise.

  • 🐀 The "Kot à Rat": Students in Leuven have coined the term "Kot à Rat" to humorously describe student accommodation that is not very luxurious but full of charm.

  • 🏛️ The university library: The library of the University of Leuven is one of the largest university libraries in Europe.

  • 🍺 The Stella Artois brewery: Stella Artois, one of the world's most famous beer brands, was originally brewed in Leuven in 1366.

Play in Leuven

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