Oud Leuven: #5 Sint-Kwintenskerk

Oud Leuven: #5 Sint-Kwintenskerk

  • Name on the map:

    S. Quintens kerck

  • Other names:

    Ecclesia Sancti Quintini de Hovis

  • Current name:

    Sint-Kwintenskerk

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ABOUT

The Sint-Kwintenskerk (Saint Quentin’s Church) in Leuven was built in the Brabant High-Gothic style in 1450. Located on the Naamsestraat it was close to the Naamsepoort city gate of the second city wall of the city.

Origin

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.

In 1252, Sint-Kwintens, together with Sint-MichielsSint-Jacobs and Sint-Geertrui were promoted to parish churches.

The ‘hill’ on which the church is located, was called the “Waayberg“, meaning “wailing hill” (presumably from the wind).

What's so 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.

Medieval Frescoes

I truly believe this is a very elegant church. 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.

Current situation

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.

HOW IT LOOKS LIKE TODAY

Click on the zoom icon to view the full size.

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