Statues Leuven Reviews
Jul 04, 2007
There are many statues around Leuven and they all have their own story attached to them, but there are 4 works that are a bit more special to the people of Leuven (or at least to me) than the others.
The first one is "DE KOTMADAM".
I don't know how to translate this the best way, but a "kotmadam" is a person that keeps order in student houses. Since there are many of those in Leuven, this is a very suitable theme to make a statue about. The work dates from 1984 (created by Fred Bellefroid), so it's there for as long as I can remember and it's a very typical part of Leuven. Hard to explain, but it would feel strange if the government would choose to take it away. It is placed at the "Oude markt" or Old market, where most cafés are and therefor most students. Many people use "de kotmadam" as a meetingpoint, or to park their bikes against :)
Second is de "FIERE MARGRIET".
Freely translated something like "lofty Margriet" (a Margriet is a flower but a girlsname as well). There is a whole legend attached to this statue (created by Willy Meysmans in 1982). Well, actually, there are two tales:
The oldest one dates back to the 13th century and tells the story of Amandus and his wife (I have however no idea who Amandus might be). They went to live in Villers, an abbey. But on the night of their arrival they were robbed and murdered. One of the girls living in the cloister, called Margriet, was kidnapped by the thieves and murdered in the forests outside the city. Fishermen found her body some days later but buried it near the river "Dijle". A light was said to shine upon the grave, so inhabitants of Leuven found it and brought the corps to Leuven. Close to the the chapel that was build for Margriet, several miracles have taken place. Well, that's what the story tells right?
The second story is younger, from the 16th century. It says that after being killed and raped by the thieves, Margerit was thrown into the river Dijle. The body then was pushed upon the water by fish and, surrounded by a glow of light, carried up the river by them, into the city of Leuven.
But whatever, it is clear that the story of Margriet is old and was changed many times, to make it more spectacular. For ages, Margeriet has been very important for the people of Leuven, to pray to and ask favors. She was (or is) a symbol for innocence and virtue. The statue shows here floating up the river. It is placed where the "Muntstraat" (with many restaurants) and the "Tiensestraat" meet. So it is as well in the hart of Leuven. I like this one because it's related to a myth that has been so alive in ancient Leuven, and so specific for the city.
The third statue I'd like to write about is the "FONSKE".
Fonske is just the name of the boy in the statue, but he represents the source of wisdom and the "eternal student". The exact name of the work is "Fons sapientiae", but no one ever calls it that way. I believe Fonske was donated to the city by the university. Again, this is a popular meeting point for many people, in the hart of the city. It is made by "Jef Claerhout" and placed on the "Fochplein" or square Foch, in 1976.
Last but not least is the most recent work of art, named "BEATLE PINNED AGAINST THE SKY".
It consists of a giant needle, pointed upwards. At the end is a green beatle, also facing the sky, pinned onto the needle, as if it were a butterfly in one of those biologists collections. This work is made by Jan Fabre, a Belgian artist who has a special fascination for the green beatles (he decorated a whole ceiling in the royal palace with those). Just like the "Fonske" this work is donated to Leuven by it's university, and again it represents the need for investigation, research and study. There has been much said about it, since most people don't like it at all. But I think it's ok. You can view this one at the "Ladeuzenplein" or Ladeuze square.
Part of the Leuven: hometown of me, many students and Stella Artois travel blog
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