Royal Destination - Old University Library of Leuven, Louvain, in Belgium

During the summer of 2017, I visited a lot of interesting places, which really had
great royal connections. One of them was the Old University Library of Leuven 
(in French: Louvain), Belgium. 

University Library Louvain, Belgium


Some history

The University of Louvain was founded in 1425 with the support of John I, Duke of
Brabant.

Until 1636 there was no library on the University. Then it was very likely that students
had access to printed books or manuscripts through their professors or to
the houses of their colleges. 

In 1636, however, a library was founded in the former cloth hall of Louvain. That year
the southern Netherlands were ruled by the Spanish Habsburgs.

Louvain, Belgium University Library the building in the former Cloth Hall


During the first days of World War I, in 1914, the library was burned down by armies
of the German Empire. 

Fire during World War I in Louvain, Belgium


After World War I, the idea to restore the library arose in Paris, France. But the new
building was American due to the architect Whitney Warren (1864 -1943), who took
care for the design and due to the American gifts.

The University Library received many important visitors. In 1961, King Baudouin of
Belgium visited the buildings.

King Baudouin of Belgium during a visit in 1961

The American connection of the library always existed. The building received
visits from inter alia Barbara Bush and Laura Bush.

American visitors in Louvain, Belgium

Nowadays this library contains more than 4 million books. 
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