Leuven Local Customs

  • Pic of St-Peter's church was taken from Fochplein
    Pic of St-Peter's church was taken from...
    by Norali
  • happy b-day filip!
    happy b-day filip!
    by irisbe
  • balloon of friendship
    balloon of friendship
    by marc56

Best Rated Local Customs in Leuven

  • Norali's Profile Photo

    If not you, your kids may need this :)

    by Norali Updated Mar 20, 2004

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    Somewhere where to sit when you have a very urgent need. Very often, public toilets are not that clean. I tried the ones at some train stations and they were not that neat, for instance. In pubs and restaurants, they don't have dame-pipi either.

    Instead, for 30 eurocents, Quick restaurants have clean toilets (with an active dame-pipi and not the ones who just sit on her chair knitting).

    Plus, Quick restaurants are spread all over the country. :)

    In Leuven, you may head to QUICK restaurants centrally located :
    *Fochplein 1 - 3000 LEUVEN

    Pic of St-Peter's church was taken from Fochplein so I guess you can locate the restaurant.

    OK... For those who don't know, Quick is a Belgian chain of fast food, quite developed in Europe. No mussels and fries there but rather hamburgers and fries. OK.. you name it, like McDo. A bit cheaper, I think.
    I am not advertising about Quick. But I noticed that their toilets are clean... It's up to you to have hamburgers or taste local food. Read my restaurant & shopping tips and you'll know there are better things to try than hamburgers. :)

    And they are OK too in the central Library of KUL... but access is limited to the visitors, students and personnel, I think. You will have to pass the gate, in fact. And very often, you have to show a membership card or be an awaited visitor of the Library.

    Pic of St-Peter's church was taken from Fochplein
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    by marc56 Updated Mar 12, 2003

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    Once in the five years a beerfestival happens in Leuven.
    This year 2003 its in the weekend of 7 and 8 june.
    On 8 june a parade goes trow the city.
    In this parade 2000 people and 250 horses, shows the history of the city.
    And all over the town, you can have free for free.

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  • marc56's Profile Photo

    The story of Fiere Margriet

    by marc56 Written Feb 20, 2003

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    The story of Fiere Margriet is the story of a young girl, who was been wraped and murderd.
    After she was murdered, the bandits throw her body in the water.
    But the body doesn't sink, and float on the surface.
    But not only the body kept floating, it als floated against the water.
    The chapel of Fiere Margriet can be seen in the Sint-Pieterschurch.

    Fiere Margriet

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  • marc56's Profile Photo

    The balloon of friendship.

    by marc56 Written Feb 22, 2003

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    In Leuven, every man born in the same year is in a foundation, named after the year.
    So the men born in 1954 are in the foundation 1954.
    Every year, on the second sunday in september, all the man come in the streets of Leuven and go in parade in the streets.
    This parade start with the men who are 40 years old.
    So this year the men of 1963 will open the parade.
    The balloon of friendship is the symbol for the friendship true all the inhabitants of Leuven.

    balloon of friendship

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  • OlafS's Profile Photo

    Bi-lingual streetsigns

    by OlafS Updated Mar 19, 2003

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    I noticed that many streets had two signs with different names on them, one with the official one, the other in local dialect. Sometimes this is a translation of the official name, but often it is something totally different. I'm not sure what pottekesmèt means, but surely not Father Damiaan Square.

    Leuven: streetsigns

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  • Christophe_Ons's Profile Photo

    Annual Carnival

    by Christophe_Ons Written Sep 3, 2005

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    The annual carnival in Leuven is held the first three weeks of September. It is mainly held on the Ladeuze square and adjacent H. Hoover square, but also on the Oude Markt (old market square).
    Aside from the obvious rides and attractions, it's also a great opportunity to sample some Belgian snacks like waffles etc... For atmosphere, I would recommend going there at night - it's safe since the carnival is located in the heart of town.

    The monday after the first saturday of September, most of the city center is closed for traffic and Leuven becomes one big street fair. It's a day off for schools, banks and people who work in the city (except of course stores/restaurants etc, which put their stands out on the sidewalk).

    Leuven Kermis (carnival) a lovely, old fashioned merry-go-round a ride/attraction at Leuven carnival
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  • Christophe_Ons's Profile Photo

    Go to a bakery on Sunday morning

    by Christophe_Ons Updated Aug 6, 2005

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    Belgians are fairly old fashioned when it comes to their "guaranteed off-day" : Sunday.
    It's a typical day for family visits/activities, dining out, or just kicking back at home. Practically all shops are closed. Services like banks and the post office are closed all weekend, a few exceptions (on Saturday morning only) set aside.

    One thing you'll often see on Sunday mornings is people eagerly waiting at the bakery to place their order. A lot of people buy fresh bread at the bakery every day, but on Sundays it's customary to get your breakfeast rolls (either sandwiches or "pistolets", which are small round buns), maybe a pie and/or or a few "patisserie" items, which are pastries chock full of whipped cream or butter cream (cream au beurre) and/or pudding, chocolate, powder sugar and other extremely fattening ingredients. Needles to say those are delicious if you have a sweet tooth. Moreover, Belgians have this thing with chocolate, you know ...

    You will basically find a good bakery in every main street of the city center. Don't hesitate to go into a place that looks busy - most of them are on a Sunday morning - that way you'll at least have time to look at the goods in the display before they take your order.
    Meanwhile, see what those beefy, elderly women standing in line before you order and stuff down the huge tote bags they always seem to be carrying around. Observe and learn.

    Belgian patisserie / pastries
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  • Christophe_Ons's Profile Photo


    by Christophe_Ons Written Jul 31, 2005

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    Well you have them everywhere of course, but during weekends and when the weather permits, you'll see plenty of buskers throughout the city center. Some of these guys (and gals) are actually very, very good and I often enjoy sitting on a bench watching and hearing them play. So if you like what they're doing, throw 'em a few coins you can spare.

    Buskers in the Brusselsestraat, Leuven
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  • Christophe_Ons's Profile Photo

    Bilingual street signs

    by Christophe_Ons Updated Aug 8, 2005

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    On quite a few street corners in Leuven, you'll see a secondary plaque underneath the street name sign with a totally different name on it. This is the name of the street like it is known in "Leives", the Leuven dialect. It more often than not refers to activities which would take place in the street in question, or any other particularities.

    In the case of the street pictured here, Vital Decosterstraat (mayor of Leuven during 1901-1904) , the name is Petatemèt - which literally means "Potato Market".

    There are plenty of others throughout the city, such as a square called "De Zeve Ukke" ("the Seven Corners"), or a tree lined street called "De Klaan Bummekes" (the Little Trees") - all of which have little or nothing to do with their actual, official street names.

    So what is the streetname, then ?
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  • Norali's Profile Photo

    Jef Lambeaux has roots here

    by Norali Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The man who sculpted Brabo fountain on Antwerp's Grote Markt and some pieces in Brussels' Petit Sablon area (Kleine Zavel) has roots in Leuven, dixit our voluble guide at City Hall.

    Yes, some of his works are in the entrance hall of the Louvain's City Hall.

    The most famous ones are his fountain in Antwerp (1886), Robbing the Eagles Eyrie (1890), Drunkenness (1893), The Triumph of Woman, The Bitten Faun (seemingly created a great stir at the Exposition Universelle at Liege in 1905).. and...

    Of course, the Human Passions, the colossal marble haut-relief in a forbidden pavillion in Brussels (not open for public, require reservation to go there). The pavillion had only some days (less than a week) of opening then got closed. Lambeaux 's work was considered as pornography (check website for pics). Some authorities estimated it as pornography..

    Ironically, it is reported to be his greatest work: Lambeaux 's haut-relief in a Horta design pavillion. They carefully designed the relief and the room to give Lambeaux 's work a full exposure to light. Oh well. I wouldn't even call it soft porn... See for yourself.

    He also designed numerous busts, including the one of Hendrik Conscience in Antwerp (Sint Andrieskwartier, I think). The one of Charles Buls, the burgomaster of Brussels ("Place Agora" or Rue Marché-aux-herbes).

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  • Jaco_Emmen's Profile Photo


    by Jaco_Emmen Updated Oct 1, 2005

    Like on so many airports also in Leuven it is a good custom to bring your friends or relatives some chocolat for their good health! In Belgium you can find these shops in the pedestrian area in the larger cities, they are almost on the street, you can eat from the paper or pack in a large variety of boxes and such.

    Please give it a try and taste the wonderful Belgium chocolat, it is a good way to keep fit :)


    Brusselsestraat 18
    3000 Leuven

    Price level Oktober 2005 = 16 Euro per kilo chocolat

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  • miketrudeau's Profile Photo

    Town-wide Snowball Fights

    by miketrudeau Written Nov 19, 2005

    Although the winters in Leuven are cold, damp and dark, it generally does not snow. In my year living in this city, there was only one snowfall. It was great. about four inches of nice, damp, packing snow. The whole town, which consists almost completely of students, fell to throwing snowballs at each other all afternoon. If you visit Leuven, it will very most likely not snow on you. If it does, however, you'd better take care and watch your back!
    What fun!

    The only snowfally in Leuven
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