Louvain


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Louvain

(lo͞oväN`), Du. Leuven, city (1991 pop. 85,018), Flemish Brabant prov., central Belgium, on the Dijle River. It is a commercial, industrial, and cultural center, as well as a rail junction. Mentioned in the 9th cent., Louvain was a center of the wool trade and of the cloth industry in the Middle Ages. For a time it was the capital of the duchy of BrabantBrabant, duchy of,
former duchy, divided between Belgium (Brabant and Antwerp provs.) and the Netherlands (North Brabant prov.). Louvain, Brussels, and Antwerp were its chief cities. The duchy of Brabant emerged (1190) from the duchy of Lower Lorraine.
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, and in 1356 the Joyeuse Entrée, a charter of liberties, was granted there. In the 14th cent., strife between the nobles and the weavers was prevalent; after the nobles gained authority most of the weavers emigrated to Holland and England, and the city declined. In 1426, Duke John IV of Brabant founded a Roman Catholic university. Its library was destroyed by the Germans in World Wars I and II, but was rebuilt after each. In 1968, as a result of a long-standing dispute between Dutch- and French-speaking sectors, the university was divided into two autonomous units. The Dutch-speaking Universiteit de Leuven (KU Leuven) remained in Louvain, and the French-speaking Université Catholique de Louvain was established at Ottignies. Among the noted buildings of Louvain are the Gothic city hall (15th cent.; damaged in both world wars); the 14th-century Cloth Workers' Hall, and several medieval churches.

Louvain

 

(Flemish, Leuven), a city in Belgium, in the province of Brabant; a port on the Dyle River and on a canal linking the city with the Schelde River. Population, 32,200 (1971). It has metalworking, sawmilling, chemical, and textile industries. The city is the site of Belgium’s oldest Catholic university (since 1425; in 1968 the French-speaking faculties of the university were transferred to the cities of Brussels and Ottignies).

Louvain was first mentioned in 884 as a Norman camp. In the late ninth century it became the residence of the counts of Louvain, and in 1106 the residence of the dukes of Louvain (later called Brabant). In the 11th and 12th centuries, Louvain acquired much commercial importance, becoming a major center for the manufacture of cloth and one of the principal economic centers of Brabant. As a result of their uprising in 1378, the weavers achieved some degree of participation in the administration of the city. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Louvain lost its previous economic importance. During World War I (1914–18) and World War II (1939–45), the city was occupied by German troops.

Louvain has retained its medieval radial plan. Its Gothic buildings include the churches of St. Quentin (1252–1453) and St. Peter (c. 1425 to sometime after 1507; the stone tabernacle, height 12 m, c. 1450, architect Mathieu de Layens), the Town Hall (1448–59, architect Mathieu de Layens), and several residences. The Church of St. Michael (1650–66, architect W. Hessius) is in the baroque style. Louvain’s university buildings belong to the 16th to 20th centuries.

REFERENCE

De Borchgrave d’Altena, J., E. van Cauwenberghe, and J. Francotte. Kunst te Leuven. Louvain, 1946.

Louvain

a town in central Belgium, in Flemish Brabant province: capital of the duchy of Brabant (11th--15th centuries) and centre of the cloth trade; university (1426). Pop.: 89 777 (2004 est.)
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