A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Leuven is a city very much like Leiden. A famous Univeristy town and one which is easily accessible by foot. Last week I took a walking tour of this student city known as the “Jewel of the River Dyle”.
Taking a walking tour has its own advantages and by the end of the end after an exhaustive day of walking I had a very interesting idea about Leuven. One of the aspects which struck me most was the presence of some very interesting statutes and art forms throughout this city. One of the first structures I saw was a Totem sculpture. This is one of the weirdest things I have seen and is basically a beetle which measures about 3 metres across that has been speared onto a needle which is at a height of 23 metres. This structure is placed in the square in front of the central university library. I found out that this was a gift from the the University of Leuven to the city on its 575th anniversary. Apparently this Totem emphasizes the relationship between art and science, because imagination is indispensable for both good art and good science.
There was also a very interesting stature by the name of Paep Thoon which came to my attention. This was the statute of a jester called as Paep Thoon who was a jester at the Holy Sacrament of St Peter’s church in the 15th century, who used to tell the truth through dark humor.
Being in Leuven also means that you cannot escape from beer, one of the largest beer companies in the world Anheuser-Busch InBev of Stella Artois fame is operating from this city. This city is a must visit for beer lovers around the world. It would be a good idea to visit Leuven soon because Leuven is the host of the Zythos Beer Festival, which usually happens in April. Zythos is the national beer-drinkers group that promotes the best in Belgian beer and over 100 breweries are expected to attend, beers-crates in tow, for 2014. So this is a very good reason to red-line April in your calendar, for your visit to Leuven.
Leuven also has the Stadhuis which is one of the most famous Gothic town halls in the world. It also has the very impressive St. Peterskerk. However one of my favorite spots in the city would be the Keizersberg Abbey, this is a monastery which is situated in a beautiful location surrounded by a beautiful park. Interestingly the abbey’s name is used commercially by a brewer under license, but the monastery has never itself been involved in brewing. It was a great feeling to relax here after quite a bit of walking around, including an arduous climb to reach the monastery. There is a huge statue of Virgin Mary and Child which dominates over this monastery and one can have a bird’s eye view of Leuven from the place where this statue is located.
A very beautiful town and I had a good time exploring it.