Heverlee capitalises on the stunning heritage of the Dukes of Arenberg. The park with its Renaissance castle and Romanesque chapel and Egenhoven Forest are remnants of the former estate of this prominent noble, family.
After World War I, Arenberg Park passed into the university’s hands, which built a science campus there. But more importantly, the university also conserved the green heritage of this estate. The castle park has an impressive collection of striking trees. The small ponds and the River Dijle combine to create a water-rich biotope that is host to plenty of vegetation and animals.
Humid Egenhoven Forest, with its many sources, is completely different in nature from Heverlee Forest, which is drier. It is enclosed between the river Dijle and its tributary, the river Voer. Here indigenous common oak is even used as a seed bank. The Agency for Nature and Forests regularly gathers acorns here to protect this indigenous tree species through selective cultivation.