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 my hometown – the city 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 or 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

List of 74 Sites in the 1649 Atlas van Loon

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.

Legend:

  • [ ] : Faulty attributions made by the cartographer.
  • *: Site does not exist anymore and is not replaced by a significant building on the same spot.

I. – XXXVII.

XXXVIII. – LXXIV.

Extras

De Zeven Wonderen van Leuven, 1646
The Seven Wonders of Leuven, 1646

In the 17th century, several sights in Leuven were elevated to the Seven Wonders. The concept of Seven Wonders was inherited from the antiquity’s Seven Wonders of the World. After humanist scholar Erycius Puteanus (Eric van der Putte) came up with the Seven Wonders of Brussels, Leuven quickly followed suit in 1646, in line with the seven legendary noble families of the city. Out of the list, only three remain today.

Kerken
Churches

  • Kapel van Jezus in ‘t Steentje
  • Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe ter Koorts
  • Sint-Eligiuskapel

Kloosters
Abbeys

  • Grauwzusters
    Klaverpark
  • Karmelieten (Ongeschoeid) van Sint-Jozef – ‘Placet’
  • Karmelieten (Ongeschoeid) van Sint-Albertus – ‘Tacet’
  • Karmelietessen (Geschoeid)
  • Karmelietessen (Ongeschoeid) ‘Theresianen’
  • Zwartzusters

Colleges
Colleges

  • Breugelcollege
  • College van Premonstreit
  • Drietongencollege
  • Drieuxcollege
  • Hogeheuvelcollege
  • Luxemburgcollege
  • Pedagogie De Lelie
  • Sint-Ivocollege
  • Vigliuscollege

Huizen
Houses

  • Dirk Bouts – Eygen Heerd
  • Huis Morillon
  • Justus Lipsius – Moribus Antiquis
  • Matthijs de Layens – De Cuythoek

Eerste Omwalling
Inner City Walls

Tweede Omwalling
Outer City Walls

  • Grote Spui
  • Heksentoren & de Luibank
  • Kleine Spui

Oud Leuven: #48 Clarissenklooster Located on today's Monseigneur Ladeuzeplein in Leuven, was the Clarissenklooster - Convent of the Poor Clares. Yet they were nothing but poor. Read here to find out about their fascinating history. Oud Leuven: #65 De Wijnpers On the 1649 map of Leuven in the Atlas van Loon, two areas were marked as Number 65 - Wijnberg (Wineberg). The correct one is the secondary school and agricultural school known as 'De Wijnpers' (the wine press), bordered by the Mechelsevest, the Donkerstraat and the Wijnpersstraat. The hill is the only remnant of... Oud Leuven: #49 Cellebroedersklooster Located at the end of the Brusselsestraat in Leuven, close to the Brusselsepoort, was the Monastery of the Cellites, known as the 'Cellebroeders'. Officially called 'Alexianen' (Alexians), the monastery existed from 1345 to 1889 - the longest continuously-running religious community in Leuven. Oud Leuven: #14 Klooster van de Annunciaten The site of the Klooster van de Annunciaten is completely gone. The current location is at Numbers 1 to 5 of the Monseigneur Van Waeyenberghlaan. The convent existed from 1530 to 1784. Oud Leuven: #50 Priorij van Sint-Maartensdal The former Priory of St Martin's Valley (Priorij van Sint-Maartensdal) of Leuven existed from 1433-1784. Today, the site is the location of the city's iconic public housing blocks known by the same name 'Sint-Maartensdal', between the Sint-Maartenstraat and the J.P. Minckelersstraat. Harold Tor - Oud Leuven: Pedagogie Het Varken Hogeschoolplein Oud Leuven: #35 Pedagogie Het Varken The "Pedagogie Het Varken" existed from 1428 to 1797. It was located on today's Hogeschoolplein. Oud Leuven: #59 Grote Markt On the east side of the Sint-Pieterskerk, the main square of Leuven 'Grote Markt' is located in the centre of Leuven, connecting the main street arteries of Brusselsestraat, Mechelsestraat, Naamsestraat and Tiensestraat. Oud Leuven: #2 Sint-Michielskerk Oud Leuven: #2 Sancta Maria Leuven The Sint-Michielskerk (Saint Michael’s Church) does not exist anymore. Yet this was one of the iconic sights and sites of Leuven, one of its Seven Wonders. Its former location is on the Tiensestraat by the external façade of the Sancta Maria Leuven school, before the entrance to the city park. Oud Leuven: #25 Abdij Onze-Lieve-Vrouw ten Wijngaert The cartographer misnamed the spot #25 as the "Swart Susterhuys" (Zwartzustersklooster) - Convent of the Augustinian "Black" Sisters. It was in fact the site of the Abbey of the Our Lady of the Vineyard (Abdij Onze-Lieve-Vrouw ten Wijngaert) that belonged to the Cistercian Sisters. Also, the spot was misplaced between modern-day Ridderstraat and de... Harold Tor - Oud Leuven: Augustijnenklooster Oud Leuven: #10 Augustijnenklooster The former Augustijnenklooster (Augustinian Monastery) occupied a huge space. It is enclosed by the current-day Vissersstraat, Vismarkt, Karel van Lotharingenstraat and Vaartstraat. Oud Leuven: #20 Sint-Laurentiusgasthuis The cartographer made two mistakes on this location: one, the guesthouse was called "Sint-Laurentiusgasthuis", not "Sint-Corneliusgasthuis". Secondly, the location was not directly in the compounds of the Sint-Jacobskerk but one block down the Brusselsestraat where the roundabout is nowadays. Oud Leuven: Klooster van de Grauwzusters of Penitenten recolletinen The area of the Klooster van de Grauwzusters (Convent of the Grey Sisters) is currently enclosed by the Mechelsestraat, Klaverpark and Penitentienenstraat. Oud Leuven: #58 Maria-Theresia- en Veteranencollege The former 'Meiershuis' (Mayor's House) was located on the site of the current Maria-Theresia- en Veteranencollege on the Sint-Michielsstraat. Harold Tor - Oud Leuven: Koningscollege Oud Leuven: #41 Koningscollege The King's College (Koningscollege) is located along the Naamsestraat at the corner of the Charles de Bériotstraat in Leuven. Today, the Koningscollege houses the Zoological Institute (Zoölogisch Instituut) of the KU Leuven. Read about its rise as a Royal College of the Spanish King. Oud Leuven: #53 Vleeshuis Directly in front of Leuven's Sint-Pieterskerk is a square called 'Mathieu de Layensplein', after the city's Late Gothic architect. In fact, right up until 1914, this was Leuven's indoor meat market called 'Vleeshuis'.
READ MY BLOG.