LOUVAIN, lird'v5N' Leuven, Ger.
Lihren). A famous town in the Province of Brabant. Belgium, situated on the Dyle. IS miles by rail east of Brussels (Map: Belgium, C 4). The old ramparts of the town. over 7 miles in circumference, have been converted into prome nades. Architecturally, Louvain is of consider able importance, and its town hall is regarded as among the finest on the Continent. It is a late Gothic building erected by Matthew de Lay ens in 1447-03. with three facades profusely adorned with statuary and reliefs and six octagonal turrets terminating in spires. The archives here are valuable. The Church of Saint Pierre (1425-97) is a well-proportioned cruci form buihling, and contains noteworthy pictures by Dierick Bouts. The Flamboyant fifteenth-cen tury Church of Saint Gertrude is noted for its carved choir-stalls, dating from the sixteenth cen tury. The churches of Saint Michel and Saint ;Jacques also contain some interesting paintings, and the modern Church of Saint Joseph has some good frescoes. The principal modern buildings are the theatre and the post-office. The famous Uni versity of Louvain (q.v.) occupies the former
warehouse of the elothmakers' guild. Besides the university, Louvain has an atheneum, two seminaries for teachers, and an industrial and an art school. In the fourteenth century Lou vain was one of the principal centres of cloth making in Europe. about 15.000 people having been engaged in that industry. After several insurrections in the second half of the fourteenth century the town was taken by Duke Wen eeslas of Brabant in 1382, and his severe treat ment of the citizens compelled thousands to emi grate to Holland and England. The textile in dustry of Louvain is now practically extinct. At present the chief products of the town are beer and spirits, tobacco. lace, and starch. Popula tion, 1891, 40,624: 1901, 42,308. Tn 891 the Normans were defeated by Arnulf at. Louvain. and in 980 the town became the residence of its own counts, who subsequently hecame the dukes of Brabant. Tn the sixteenth century the plague carried off about half of the population of the town.