The University Library

Leuven Travel Blog

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The Totem of Ladeuzeplein
In the centre of the city the largest square, the Ladeuzeplein, is dominated by the University Library. The square is named after a former rector of the University, Monseigneur Paulin Ladeuze, but is still known as the Clarisse, the religious order who had a monestery that was pulled down in 1783 to build the square.

The University Library was first built in 1725, built in baroque style. However the original building was destroyed in 1914, when German troops set fire to it. It was rebuilt by Whitney Warrens in Low Countries neo-renaissance style in 1921 with aid from the universities in the United States. This aid is reflected in the building, which is inscribed with the names of the American universities who provided funding, sports an American Eagle holding an American flag and has the number "48" incorporated into the building to reflect the 48 states (such as the 48 bells of the carillon). The building was largely destroyed again in 1944 (ironically enough by American bombs), but was reconstructed according to the 1921 design.

There are two interesting statues in the square outside the University Library. The first is "Ode to Friendship", a statue of a hot air balloon rising up into the sky bearing three men and a dog. The second statue, the Totem, was built in 2005 by Jan Fabre on a commission by the University to celebrate its 575th anniversary. Oddly enough, he created a 23 metre tall steel spike skewering a giant bug.
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The Totem of Ladeuzeplein
The Totem of Ladeuzeplein
The Totem of Ladeuzeplein
The Totem of Ladeuzeplein
The University Library
The University Library
Ode Aan de Vriendschap (Ode to Fri…
Ode Aan de Vriendschap (Ode to Fr…
Leuven Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Great food in the town square
This little cafĂ© in the town square would in most places be a tourist trap, because it is in the perfect location, looking out across the incredibly … read entire review
Leuven
photo by: Chokk