Name on the map: S. Quintens kerck
Other names: Ecclesia Sancti Quintini de Hovis
Current name: Sint-Kwintenskerk
The Sint-Kwintenskerk in Leuven was built in the Brabant High-Gothic style in 1450. Located on the Naamsestraat it was closed to the second city wall of the city.
It was the church in the neighbourhood of Ten Hove, most likely the local chapel (first recorded in 1015 then in 1180 it was rebuilt in Maas-Romanesque style dedicated to Saint Quentin), when it was still a village outside the first city wall. Today, only the foundation of the tower is all that remains of the 11th century chapel building.
The ‘hill’ on which the church is located, was called the “Waayberg“, meaning “wailing hill” (presumably from the wind).
What’s special about this place?
In his writing “Lovanium”, Justus Lipsius, Leuven’s most famous philologist, philosopher and humanist called Sint-Kwintens the most beautiful of all churches in Leuven.
On the one hand, the church has not undergone any physical changes since its construction, so you can truly see what he meant. It is indeed a building of extreme elegance, perched on a hill. On the other hand, modern tall houses surround it, taking away some of the awe it was supposed to inspire, especially when coming in to Leuven from the Naamsepoort city gate.
Also, close to the choir, you can still see 15th century wall frescoes dedicated to the saint (yes, churches used to be very colourful and completely painted on every spot). The wooden sculpture of Christ has rare gold paint on his very expensive looking loincloth.
How it looked like in 1649:
How it looks like today: