Oud Leuven: #58 Maria-Theresia- en Veteranencollege

Oud Leuven: #58 Maria-Theresia- en Veteranencollege

  • Name in 1649:

    Meyers huys

  • Other names:

    Meiershuis, Hof van Chièvres, Jezuïetencollege

  • Current name:

    Maria-Theresia- en Veteranencollege

  • SHARE:


The former ‘Meiershuis’ (Mayor’s House) was located on the site of the current Maria-Theresia- en Veteranencollege on the Sint-Michielsstraat.


The Hof van Chièvres

In the Middle Ages, one of Leuven’s noble families was the van Pynnocks. In the centre of Leuven, on what they then called the Muntstraat (today’s Sint-Michielsstraat), was a large mansion owned by the Pynnock family, called the Hof van Chièvres.

It was not known when the Hof van Chièvres was built. But we do know when it passed to Lodewijk III van Pynnock (1435- 1504), who was appointed Mayor of Leuven by Duke of Burgundy Philip the Good on 4 March 1461.

To be more precise: Lord Lodewijk III van Pynnock (1435- 1504) was the son of Lord Lodewijk II (1415-1448) and Lady Maria van Kortembach. Lord Lodewijk II was the son of Lord Almeric (1395-?), who was the son of Lord Hendrik (1360-?).

In the title of a deed dating from 9 January 1483 stated that Lord Lodewijk III van Pynnock inherited it from Lord Hendrik:

“Akte waarbij Louis PYNNOCK, ridder en heer van VELP, HORST, enz. en eveneens meyer van LEUVEN het huis dat hij bewoont in ”Monetestrata” tegen erfbare cijns overneemt van Hendrik PYNNOCK, zoon van wijlen Amaury, en dit door middel van 12 gouden Rijngulden jaarlijkse cijns. Hij had dit huis voordien – voor de schepenen van LEUVEN – overgedragen aan de reeds genoemde Hendrik.”

Thus the Hof van Chièvres became known as the Meiershuis (Mayor’s House).


The Founding of the Jezuïetencollege

In 1583, the powerful Order of the Jesuits founded a college along the Sint-Michielsstraat. To do so, they purchased three houses on the street, among which was the Meiershuis ‘Hof van Chièvres’. The complex was huge: the Jezuïetencollege bordered the Pauscollege and it stretched all the way to the Naamsestraat. Their first chapel was built in 1601, was located on the side of the Naamsestraat. But in 1650, this was replaced by the current Baroque church – known today as the Sint-Michielskerk – designed by fellow Jesuit, Willem Hesius. The first stone of the monumental facade was laid by the Grave Ernest-Charles van Isenburg, dedicated to the Archduke of Brabant, Leopold-Willem. The interior was only completed towards the end of the 17th century.

Leuven’s Jesuit community became the intellectual centre of the Counter Reformation in Northwest Europe. This church produced influential Jesuits like the Italian Cardinal, Robertus Bellarminus (1542-1621), adviser to the Archduke Albrecht and Archduchess Isabella, Leonardus Lessius (1554-1623,as well as Cornelius a Lapide (1567-1637) – all teaching at the Leuven University.


The College for the Veterans

After the Jesuits were outlawed in 1773, the whole complex were repurposed. Their church became the new Sint-Michielskerk, as the original was falling apart. Their college, was turned into a hostel in 1778 for veteran students in theology, hence the name ‘Collegium Veteranorum‘.

Between the years from 1779 to 1815, the college also served as a theology seminary, a hospital, storage spaces and then the Chemistry Faculty of the newly-founded Rijksuniversiteit. With these very different functions, modifications were made to the space. Many walls were broken down and the gardens were cleared for new buildings.

What's so special about this place?

The Joseph II Cellar

The Maria-Theresia- en Veteranencollege was so named because it was the Habsburg Empress Maria Theresia herself who decided to turn the former Jezuïetencollege into a theological seminary in 1778. This is recorded in the stone plaque above the entrance of the Veteranencollege:


Today, in the 16th century cellar of the college, it still houses one of the closed stacks of her son and heir Emperor Joseph II. The KU Leuven library staff calls it the ‘Joseph II Cellar’.

It was Joseph II who ordered the extension of the building by adding the right wing in 1786-87 to house his General Seminary.

In fact, the Maria-Theresia- en Veteranencollege is nowadays divided into two with two separate entrances: the Maria-Theresiacollege at Number 6 and the Veteranencollege at Number 2.
The Maria-Theresiacollege houses two ‘aulas‘ lecture halls: the big aula with its semi-circular neo-classical look, and the small aula with its half dome resting on four Doric columns.
The Veteranencollege is mostly 19th century, with cold cement floors.

The Changing Streetnames

The street on which the Maria-Theresia- en Veteranencollege is located, is called the Sint-Michielsstraat, after the Sint-Michielskerk at the end of the street along the Naamsestraat. In fact, this street was much longer in the Middle Ages and was called by different names, when it connected from today’s Muntstraat.

Muntstraat: In the act from 9 January 1483 mentioned above, the street was specifically named as ‘Monetestrata‘ (Muntstraat). Already in 1297, this street was called so because of the mint located there.

Oude Muntstraat: When the mint moved from this street to the perpendicular street – current-day Muntstraat – this street became known confusingly as the ‘Oude Muntstraat‘ (Old Mintstreet).

’s-Meyersstraat: In reference to the Mayor’s House located further down the road, the Oude Muntstraat is fortunately baptised around 1523 as the “’s-Meyersstraat“, a name that it retained until today, albeit just the part adjoining the Muntstraat.

Jezuïetenstraat: The street was thus cut into two by the 16th century in terms of its name. The part where the Jesuits’ college is located is now called the ‘Jezuïetenstraat‘.

Rue Charlier: When the French occupied Leuven in 1795, they abolished all religious institutions and also renamed the streets. So the Jezuïetenstraat was now called the ‘Rue Charlier‘.

Sint-Michielsstraat: With the demolition of the Standonckcollege and the Pedagogie Het Varken and the establishment of the Hogeschoolplein square from 1807-1812, it was made even clearer the break between the Jezuïetenstraat and its lost arm of ’s-Meyersstraat. It was then that the street was baptised again to Sint-Michielsstraat.

Current situation

The Maria-Theresia- en Veteranencollege still houses the university’s theology department.

With so many changes that took place, there is no trace of the former Meiershuis, the Hof van Chièvres.

When you enter the college, you can see the imposing eastern facade of the Sint-Michielskerk, a tell-tale sign that the church used to be closely connected to the college.



Iusti Lipsi Lovanium


Click on the zoom icon to view the full size.

  • SHARE:

Oud Leuven: #11 Sint-Michielskerk The "Iesuiten cloost. en collegie" (Jesuit Monastery) mentioned in the map, is no more. The exact location of this monastery is the current-day Sint-Michielskerk (St Michael's Church) located in the Naamsestraat. This former Jesuit church is now one of the Seven Wonders of Leuven still existing, and one of the most monumental Baroque churches in... 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: #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. Harold Tor - Oud Leuven - Sint-Jakobskerk Oud Leuven: #4 Sint-Jacobskerk The Sint-Jacobskerk was formally located 300 metres outside the first city walls, from the closest city gate of Biestpoort (current-day SPAR supermarket and Sole d’Italia on the Brusselsestraat). It was one of the original five medieval parish churches of Leuven, located in the west of the city. Oud Leuven: #56 Waag Leuven, like many trading centres across the Benelux, used to have a public weighing house, or a 'weighhouse' called 'waag'. This allows the city administration to control the weighing of goods, to ensure a fair levying of taxes on goods. Leuven's Waag was located on the Zeelstraat, at the exit to the Oude Markt. Oud Leuven: #63 Pensstraat The 'Pensmarkt' (Tripes Market) is the only surviving remnant of the previous Meat District of Leuven. Also called 'Pensstraat' (Tripes Street), the street still hosts two butchers one of whom - Rondou - is a Leuven institution. Oud Leuven: #16 Het Klein Begijnhof Het Klein Begijnhof (The Small Beguinage) is one of the two beguinages in Leuven. Located north of the Sint-Geertrui-abdij (Saint Gertude Abbey), it is a small, secret picturesque spot in the city, consisting of one main and two side streets. Oud Leuven: #23 Kapel van Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-ginder-buiten The Kapel van Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-ginder-buiten (Chapel of Our Lady Without the Walls) was the house chapel of the Greater Guild of Crossbowmen of Leuven from 1364 until 1798. Located just before the Tiensepoort Gate of the second city wall, the chapel was completely destroyed by the French invaders during the French Revolution. Oud Leuven: #51 Stadhuis Leuven's historic City Hall - Stadhuis - is one of the most beautiful buildings in Brabant Late Gothic style in Belgium. Located on the Grote Markt (the Great Market), this architectural jewel was enclosed by the Naamsestraat, the Muntstraat and the Boekhandelstraat, with an inner courtyard called Vrijthof. Harold Tor - Oud-Leuven-7-Predikherenkerk Oud Leuven: #7 Predikherenkerk The Predikherenkerk, short for “Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-ten-Predikherenkerk”, is located not far from the Brusselsestraat. Hidden at the end of a beautiful medieval alleyway now called the Predikherenstraat, you will find this oldest Gothic church in Leuven and one of the earliest Gothic churches in Belgium. Oud Leuven: #30 Villerscollege Located at Number 24 on the Vaartstraat, the former Villerscollege was founded by and for the student friars of the powerful Cisterian Abbey of Villers, between Gembloux and Nivelles, today laid in ruins. Oud Leuven: #18 Kapucijnenklooster There is nothing left of Leuven's original Capuchin Monastery (Kapucijnenklooster) which was founded in 1591 and destroyed by the French Revolution in 1796. Today, the spot houses the "Hortus Botanicus Lovaniensis", popularly known was the "Kruidtuin" - Leuven's own Botanical Garden. It is one of the most beautiful and tranquil places in the city. 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. Oud Leuven: #45 Sint-Antoniuskapel The Sint-Antoniuskapel is located on the current-day Pater Damiaanplein, at the foot of the Ramberg hill at the meeting point of the two streets - Ramberg and Sint-Antoniusberg. The chapel is also the mausoleum and pilgrimage site of the world-famous Belgian priest, Pater Damiaan.
  • Share:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *