The city of Leuven
Leuven (Louvain) is situated in the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium (i.e. the region of Flanders), at about 30 kilometers from the nation’s capital, Brussels. It is mostly known as a university town, being the location of the oldest university in the Low Countries, which was founded in 1425.
How to get there
Most international travelers will arrive in Brussels, either at Brussels National Airport (Zaventem) or at the railway station of Brussels Midi (where international trains arrive). In both cases, the cheapest and easiest way to travel onwards to Leuven is by train. Train connections are reliable and frequent, and the train journey from the airport or the Midi station to Leuven takes about 30 minutes. Tickets can be bought at the station. For more information, please visit the Belgian railway website where you can consult timetables and prices.
Beware that Brussels South Airport is not located in Brussels, but in Charleroi. From there it is still a two-hour journey to Leuven.
The Irish college (main conference venue)
This Franciscan College (Janseniusstraat 1) was established in 1607 by Flaithrí Ó Maolchonaire (Florence Conry, 1560-1629) under the patronage of the King of Spain. It was one of 34 such colleges which were established right across Europe – always in close proximity to an important university. Throughout the 17th century, the college was renowned as a center for academic excellence. It was also in this college that the font for the printing of Irish was developed, which set the standard for 350 years.
Since 1984, the Irish College Leuven houses the Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe and operates as an international residential center for education, training and research in European and international affairs. It also acts as a particularly attractive setting for conferences and events.
Adress: Janseniusstraat 1, Leuven
The University Library (poster/demo session & reception)
The poster/demo session and the conference reception will be held at the University Library (Monseigneur Ladeuzeplein 21), which is perhaps the most iconic building of the university.
Designed by the American architect Whitney Warren (1864-1943; Whitney also designed the Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan), the University Library was built between 1921 and 1928 after the destruction of the old library in the University Hall in the First World War. It was partially funded by numerous foreign institutions (whose support is commemorated through inscriptions all over the building) and is full of symbolism (notice for instance the military attire of the statue of Mary above the main entrance, crushing a German eagle).
Today, the library, and especially its tower, is a popular tourist attraction. Moreover, it is a fully operational research library, focused on Special Collections and the Arts and Humanities.
The Monseigneur Sencie Institute
The Monseigneur Sencie Institute is the main teaching building of the Faculty of Arts. It is named after Mgr. Pieter-Jozef Sencie, who was professor of history, and was inaugurated in 1952.
Adress: Erasmusplein 2, Leuven
The town hall (opening reception)
On Tuesday June 4, we invite you for a brief opening reception at the town hall of Leuven, where we will be welcomed by an alderman of the city. Together with the University Library, the Leuven Town Hall is an icon of the city. This masterpiece of Gothic architecture is still the place where people from Leuven get married and where the town council meets. Statues in canopied niches are distributed all over the building. The corbels supporting the statues are carved with Biblical scenes, whereas the statues themselves represent figures of importance in the city’s local history (an in-side joke is that you can earn your statue on the town hall if you are an important enough professor), patron saints and symbolic figures, and the Counts of Leuven and Dukes of Brabant from various ages.
Adress: Grote Markt 9, 300 Leuven
The Faculty Club (conference dinner)
The conference dinner will take place in the Faculty Club (Begijnhof 14).
This unique event location is located in restored buildings of the Grand Beguinage, which housed one of the oldest and biggest communities of beguines and which was declared UNESCO World Heritage in 2000. The whole site, with the exception of the church, is owned by KU Leuven since 1962. Most houses were converted into accommodation for students and faculty, whereas some of the bigger buildings were given other functions (such as the Faculty Club).
Adress: Begijnhof 14, Leuven
Leuven has numerous hotels that are located within walking distance of the conference venue. You can find an overview of the available hotels on the website Visit Leuven.