Step back in time with a visit to the Great Beguinage
in Leuven, a long-preserved and fully restored historical district. Located on Schapenstraat, south of the city centre, the dozens of streets and historical buildings in the area are definitely worth a visit if you’re a history buff. What used to be a 13th century community for unmarried, semi-religious women (beguines), this beguinage is now owned and operated by the University of Leuven. Today, the buildings are home to students and serve as a campus for the university as well as a popular tourist attraction in the city.
A city within the city
Spread across three hectares, the Great Beguinage is one of the largest of its kind in all of Flanders. It is a bewitching piece of pure relaxation in the heart of the city. As you walk through its cobbled streets you’ll find yourself immersed in squares, lush gardens and parks, as well as surrounded by dozens of houses and convents built in traditional sandstone. It is not without reason the Great Beguinage is seen as a ‘city within the city’. During its heyday in the 17th
century, around 360 beguines lived here.
The Great Beguinage is found on both sides over the river Dyle, which splits into two islands inside the beguinage, thus forming an island. Three bridges connect the parts of the beguinage. With some 300 apartments in around 100 houses, the area is still bustling with life and a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours when visiting Leuven. It was officially recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998, after being restored.
If you want to admire and walk the streets of the Great Beguinage, a room at our Park Inn by Radisson Leuven Hotel puts you close to this wonderful area. After waking up in your comfortable room you can easily hop on a bus to the beguinage, or drive your way down in a car. If you need tips on how to get there or to other attractions in the city, please ask our staff whom will be happy to help you.