Vaartkom, Leuven, Belgium
De vaartkom Leuven Reviews
Jul 04, 2007
"De Vaartkom" is were the canal between Mechelen and Leuven ends. It used to be a busy industrial zone some decades ago, but now it is no longer that importance. Goods are transported by truck these days, and therefore the canal has lost it's benefits for the economy. The times that factories and silo's were build next to the water to simplify the distributions are over.
What you will find in de Vaartkom are the old and rundown buildings that once were the heart of the Leuven economy. The old Interbrew (Stella) factories and the Hungaria-silo are the most remarkable ones. These buildings can't be visited from the inside, but I find their rundown architecture somehow intriguing. Actually they aren't a tourist attraction at all, but I like the atmosphere hanging around the canal and the infrastructure.
Nowadays most of the buildings that were once emptied have made place for offices. Inbev has occupied a large part of the Hungaria-building (and other areas), and on the main floor there is the trendy Hungaria restaurant. Apple has one of it's stores at this side of the water too. Last but not least there is the disco/club "Silo" in what used to be a tower for grain storage. Some of the old Interbrew factories are still in use, either for manufacturing or storage. And in the old mills of "Orshoven", some of Leuvens most remarkable youth dance and theater studios have found shelter (Braakland Zhe Building, Fabuleus, Mooss,...).
The area may look rundown and deadly, some of the more fancier organizations and enterprises have found the location as intriguing as I do and made it their home. That's why I think that when you're in Leuven and have some spare time, you could as well come down here to witness the old industrial history of the city.
Part of the Leuven: hometown of me, many students and Stella Artois travel blog
Part of the list My favorite places in Belgium
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