Project Oud Leuven: 1649 today

Follow me in the footsteps of a 17th-century cartographer.

Exploring Old Leuven

What I really love to do, is to explore a city using an old map. This is a project which I have embarked on, to explore the university town of Leuven, located in the Brabant region of modern-day Belgium.

What are the buildings that have remained? How do things look like today, compared to a few hundred years ago? Using Google Map and Google Earth, I superimposed the old map onto the modern day navigation map in order to find the exact location of the lost and existing sights.

Join me in my quest to explore Old Leuven!

The Map of 1649

The map I am using dates from 1649, and it comes from the Atlas van Loon, now in the possession of Het Scheepvaartmuseum in the Netherlands. The atlas is a collection of 17th century maps compiled by Joan Blaeu of the North and South Netherlands:

De Atlas van Loon bevat de Nederlandse versie van de ‘Grooten Atlas (Atlas Maior)’ van Joan Blaeu (negen delen uit 1663-1665), de twee stedenboeken van de noordelijke en de zuidelijke Nederlanden uit 1649, en de uit 1663 stammende Italiaanse stedenboeken over de Kerkelijke Staat, de stad Rome en het koninkrijk Napels en Sicilië.” (Source)

Click below if you wish to download the image file of the map in JPG as wellas the overlay in KMZ file (for Google Earth or Open Street Map).

In eigen stilte zwijgend ingeklonken
Als steden in een donkere zee verdronken
Inscription marking the spot of Leuven's lost Castle

The List of Sites in Old Leuven

As you can see from the original map, sites are numbered and there is a Legend on the right with the names of each numbered Key. For each of the sites, I produce a page numbered accordingly as on the 1649 Map, complete with the old and current names, the precise location on Google Map, as well as photos of its current state. On top of that, I have found some really interesting sites which are drawn on the map but are unmarked, yet offer a surprisingly interesting perspective today.

  1. S. Pieters kercke – Sint-Pieterskerk
  2. S. Michiels kercke – Sint-Michielskerk
  3. S. Gheertruydts kerck, Clooster, abdie – Sint-Geertruikerk
  4. S. Iacobus kercke
  5. S. Quintens kerck
  6. Vlierbeke abdye
  7. Predicheeren Coll. Oratorium
  8. Minnebroeders Descalces
  9. Vrauwenbroeders Boogarden
  10. S. Augustinus cloost. en collegie
  11. Iesuiten cloost. en collegie
  12. t’ Groot bagynhoff
  13. Charthreusen
  14. Anonciaten
  15. Enghelsche Iesuyten
  16. t’ Kleyn Baghynhoff
  17. Graususter huys
  18. CapucynenHospitael
  19. S. Cornelis gasthuys
  20. Minimen clooster
  21. Enghelshe Iesuytersen
  22. Onse Vrauwe kercke gulden
  23. Clarissen Regulier klooster
  24. Swart Susterhuys
  25. Borcht Castri
  26. Collegie van Ghendt
  27. Collegium Castry
  28. Collegie van Mechelen
  29. Collegie verdoncq
  30. Collegie van Sauoyen
  31. Collegie van S hertoghenbos
  32. Collegium Valconi
  33. Collegium Leodiense
  34. Collegium Porci
  35. Colleg. Holl.
  36. Collegium Pont. Max.
  37. Collegium pauperum
  38. Collegium Pont. Minomorum
  39. Collegium Standoncq
  40. Collegium S. Mariae
  41. Collegium Regii Mag.
  42. Collegium van Dale
  43. Collegium Angliae Hiberniae
  44. S. Iooris Cappelle
  45. S. Anthonius Capelle
  46. S. Barbara Capelle
  47. d’Aerm Schole knechtiens huys
  48. Fiere Margriettien
  49. Cellebroeders
  50. Meyshuys arm Schole
  51. Stadhuys
  52. Guldenhuys taefelronde
  53. Vleeschuys
  54. Halle
  55. Coorenhuys
  56. Waeghe
  57. Mons Pietatis
  58. Meyers huys
  59. Groote Marckt
  60. Oude Marckt
  61. Hout en Hoy Marcht
  62. Vischmarckt
  63. Pense marckt
  64. Veemarckt
  65. Wynberghe
  66. Verlooren Cost
  67. Mechelsche poort
  68. Poort na Aerschoot
  69. Poort na Diest
  70. Poort na Thienen
  71. Poort na Perck
  72. Poort na Heueren
  73. Poort naer ter Bourg
  74. Wygaert Poort


  1. College van Premonstreit
  2. De Grote Spui
  3. De Kleine Spui
  4. Donkerstraat
  5. Hogeheuvelcollege
  6. Huis van t’ Sestich
  7. Keizershof
  8. Noormannenstraat
  9. Redingenstraat
  10. Stella Artois