As a city of knowledge and innovation, Leuven and its university have been closely linked for centuries. The cityscape is partially defined by the impressive University Library and tower, the University Hall, and the numerous colleges and faculties. Thousands of students help to create a lively, vibrant ambience. Over 100 spin-off companies also help make Leuven a leader in innovative health, high tech, and creativity projects.
THE HISTORIC UNIVERSITY HALL
Welcome to the heart of KU Leuven, the University Hall. Every year, thousands of students come here to register for the new academic year. After the university was founded in the 15th century, Leuven’s former Clothmakers’ Hall was soon put to use as a classroom and library.
The University Hall was severely damaged in the fire of 25 August 1914. Approximately 300,000 books and manuscripts went up in flames. After the war, the university was given a new library and the old building was restored. It is now home to the central registration site, as well as hosting conferences and dissertation defences. Come soak up the ambience in the historic Museum Room. You can visit the cosy coffee bar and the university shop there, too.
A SYMBOL OF LEUVEN’S UNIVERSITY: THE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
The impressive University Library, with its 87-metre-high tower, serves as one of Leuven’s landmarks. This building has an eventful past. After the original library was destroyed during the First World War, an American donation made it possible to erect a new monument. The new building, done in a neo-Renaissance style, has now become the symbol of the university and knowledge in Leuven.
A captivating photo exhibition takes you through the building’s history. Climb through the tower’s five floors and be rewarded with a panoramic view across Leuven.
COME SOAK UP THE AMBIENCE IN THE GRAND READING ROOM
Another must-see while you’re visiting the University Library is the Grand Reading Room. The wooden bookshelves form an impressive decor for the students who come to study here or consult the reference works. In addition to the Grand Reading Room’s collection of books – approximately 20,000 all told – there is an even larger number of historical books and valuable reference works stored here.
- Practical info about your visit to the University Library and tower
UNIQUE Anatomical THEATRE DATING BACK TO 1744
A stunning octagonal building stands across from the Botanical Garden. This is the Anatomical theatre, founded in 1744 with the goal of creating the perfect conditions for researching the human body. The high windows allowed sufficient light to get in, while the students could watch everything being done on the dissection table from the wooden bleachers. Two smaller rooms served as a storage room and a stock room.
- Free entry
- Check the opening hours
HEALTH HOUSE: NEW HORIZONS IN HEALTH TECHNOLOGY
The upcoming Health House project interactively demonstrates the future of health and healthcare. Learn more about the ground-breaking technologies and high-tech innovations, as well as their applications in the medical world. Health House highlights this state-of-the-art technology that is being developed and applied in and around Leuven.