Discover the vibrant city center of Leuven
A vibrant student metropolis with a great architectural heritage, Leuven is one of those places that will capture your heart and spur on your imagination. The town is actually made up of the historical city of Leuven and the nearby villages of Heverlee and Kessel-Lo and while many of the inhabitants have been living here for generations, it is the regular influx of studious scholars which breath new life into the streets each year.
The earliest mention of Leuven dates back to 891 when German emperor Arnulf of Carinthia defeated a Viking army on the sight. According to legend it is this battle which gave the city its red-white-red colors - a graphic representation of the blood soaked shores of the Dijle river. The city then rose importance as a center of cloth manufacture and it produced a fine Leuven linen cloth which gained a good reputation on a fairly global scale. In 1425 the Catholic University Leuven, largest and oldest university in the Low Countries, was founded which ushered in a new golden era for the city. This success was further built on in the 18th century when Leuven become home to a flourishing brewery that is today named InBev and is the largest brewery company in the world. Leuven suffered quite a lot of damage during the World Wars when the university library, among other things, was destroyed not once but twice. Today the restored but somewhat scarred building serves as a symbol of the terrible wars.
If you are planning on booking in at a hotel in Leuven, you'd best pack your walking shoes. While Leuven car hire is readily available, most of the attractions are quite accessible on foot. The Town Hall, which was built by three people features a curious Brabantian late-Gothic style. The Church of Saint Peter is another fine structure worth viewing as it features a Romanesque crypt dating back to the 11th century which was uncovered during the Second World War. The church also boasts several 17th and 18th century paintings, among other things. Likewise the Church of Saint Michael and the Church of Saint Quinten are also worthy of a visit. The University Library has one of the largest carillons in the world while the ruins of a 12th century ducal castle can be found on Keizersberg. Another feature is that of the Fons Sapientiae statue fountain near the center of town. The statue is intriguing and is often dressed up on festive occasions. While most people come to Leuven to study, many others come here to find good Leuven jobs. Some even try their hand at dating in Leuven. The city is truly charming and worthy of a visit so book your Leuven hotel now to make sure you don't miss out.