The St. Peter's Church of Leuven

The collegiate St. Peter's Church is a Roman Catholic church in Leuven, built in the Brabant Gothic style. The building of the church took place in the course of the 15th century by a number of famous late Gothic architects, including Sulpitius van Vorst, Jan II Keldermans and Matthijs de Layens. Although the church was built until the 17th century, the Saint Peter's church remained unfinished, the two west towers in particular have never reached their full height.

Picture by Harry Fabel
The church suffered badly during the First World War. She fell victim to a fire that cost her the roof. The baroque roof rider of the Namur architect Denis-Georges Bayar was also destroyed. The church was also bombed during the Second World War. Many church treasures were lost during those both wars.

Picture by Harry Fabel
Inside the Saint Peter's church you can find among others art masterpieces, the famous triptych by Dirk Bouts "The Last Supper". This triptych dates from the 15th century and underwent a thorough restoration from 1996 to 1998. Until September 2018, the masterpiece was in the M-Treasury of Saint Peter's. From September 2019, the Saint Peter's Church will open with a new museum arrangement and the painting will return to its original location.

Picture by Harry Fabel

Around 1435 Rogier van der Weyden painted his world-famous Descent from the Cross in Leuven, which now hangs in the Prado in Madrid and whose side panels are missing. The work, in which ten figures express their intense emotions against a golden background, is immediately considered a great masterpiece.

Barely eight years later, an unknown, presumably also a Leuven painter makes for the Leuven patrician Willem Edelheere this sharply reduced but fairly faithful copy, the oldest in a long line. It is intended for the altar of the family burial chapel in the choir of St Peter's Church. The differences literally emphasize the greatness of Van der Weyden. This "flat" copy, for example, lacks the masterful impression of depth in the original. But the fact that it is still hanging in Leuven is extremely important for our collective memory. At one time the work served as a coat rack and later it was offered for sale at the flea market ...

Picture by Harry Fabel
You can find the St. Peter's Church at this address: Grote Markt 1, Leuven.

The historical pump house of dry dock 7

The building of the pumphouse started in 1918 and was completed in 1920. The 3 giant cast-iron installations of the building were the largest in Europe at that time, they were able to empty the adjacent dry dock n ° 7 so that a ship in it could be maintained, loaded and discharged again after the dock was refilled with water.

Picture by Pixabay

The shipping company "Red Star Line" used it. One of their ships "Belgenland", which operated a service between Antwerp and New York, was frequently maintained in the dock. The atmosphere of that ship and the luxury of the Art Nouveau era can also be found inside the building.

The centrifugal pumps performed to empty the dry dock in a time of 2 hours. Since 1982 Het Pomphuis has been taken out of service. The dry dock has meanwhile disappeared to enable a widening of the Albert Canal. In 1996 they even wanted to demolish the building, but preservation of monuments stopped this and considered it a historical site and building.

The architectural style is eclectic with Jugendstil, Art Nouveau features. Inside there is one large room with an impressive 7 meters deep pit. The stairs against the inner walls of the hall lead to metal galleries with ornate iron parapets on two levels. Also very impressive are the beautiful high round windows with the still original metal rod distribution.

In order not to leave this monument to the test of time, the port authority granted permission to find a new destination for it. After several proposals, it was eventually decided to convert it into an impressive restaurant and bar, the restorations of the building where completed on May, 25, 2002. After a spectacular opening it became clear that Antwerp had a new gem in its diamond city.

You can find the Pumphouse at this address: Siberiastraat, Antwerp.

The famous student landlady of Leuven

The "Kotmadam", the Flemish name for a landlady who let student rooms, is a statue on the old market square of the city Leuven.

The statue is made by "Luc De Blick" and was inaugurated on May, 16, 1985. It was a gift from the VVV, the Tourist Office organisation of Flanders to the city. The inauguration more than twenty years ago was attended by "Maria Swerts", the then oldest student landlady of Leuven and also the godmother of the statue.

Picture by Harry Fabel

Despite the amusing nature of the landlady sitting on a bench and holding a coffee pot, the statue initially evoked mixed feelings among the students. One of the things was that the figure depicted did not correspond to the typical image of the landlady they had, old and obese. On the contrary, the "kotmadam" on the "Oude Markt" square is a youthful and attractive lady.

However, over the years the statue became an eye catcher and many people have already taken a seat next to her for the perfect selfie of family portrait with this famous figure from the world praised student city Leuven.

Picture by Harry Fabel

You can find the statue on this address: Oude Markt, Leuven.