Historical Safari Leuven

Rebuilding Leuven after WWI
"Pauscollege" in Leuven (Belgium)
“Pauscollege” in Leuven (Belgium)

The survival of knowledge in times of conflict: the KU Leuven and its library

If you are fond of learning and looking to discover Belgium in a unique and surprising way, then this safari is just the thing for you!

Our historical safari in the university city of Leuven is a full day out, and is centered around the question of how knowledge can survive in a context of conflict. Because it is an open-air lesson and not your average guided tour, this safari is restricted to a maximum of 10 participants.

The history of the city of Leuven in the 20th century shows how knowledge can be a distinct target of violence, in this case the violence that accompanied both the first and the second world wars. Both times the university library, as ‘keeper’ and ‘memory’ of that knowledge was destroyed. The scars of these wars are still visible in the city today and will be one of the themes of the safari.

Leuven during WW I
Leuven during WW I

However, in the almost 600 years of its existence, the university has also had to endure conflicts from within. Discussions about the nature of knowledge, conflicts with the church or the government, or conflicts within the university community about politics, religion, language, etc, have all had a profound influence on the way certain aspects of Belgian society took shape through the centuries.


10h: we meet on the “Martelarenplein” (Square of the Martyrs) at the monument in front of the railway station of Leuven, where a short introduction on the theme is given.

From there we’ll tour the university colleges and some remarkable university buildings, and the part they played in the history of Belgium (and the world!). This walk will take about 1h30 to 2h.

12h30: lunch

After lunch we’ll take a short walk to the “Ladeuzeplein” for the next part of our ‘open air-lesson’, including a visit to the tower of the university library. This visit will take about 1h30.

15h30 coffee break

After the coffee break you will get a short tour of the “Grote Markt” (Grand Place), and some tips on how to spend time in Leuven before you go home.

This will be a long walk, sometimes on uneven terrain. The tower of the university has 289 steps, so climbing it requires a good health and some strength! There is no lift in the tower. For this reason this safari is not suitable for very young children or people with health problems. And remember, this is Belgium, an umbrella is not a luxury item!

See you in Leuven!

You can book this tour at any time as a private tour. If you would like more information on that, just fill in the contact form.


Rebuilding Leuven after WWI
Rebuilding Leuven after WWI