It is unlikely that Leuven students aren’t at least cursorily familiar with the Groot Begijnhof, however, many not be aware that for one night only, it will be illuminated by candlelight. On December 8th from 5 until 10PM, the Begijnhof will be open to visitors. Lucky for us students, admission is free.
The Begijnhof has an impressive history, warranting its status as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is debated whether there was a settlement which preceded the Begijnhof. Whether it was inhabited by some of the first Lords of Leuven who had their court there is a subject of debate. Though the Begijnhof was founded in the 13th century, the buildings we find today have their origins in the 16th century. Today it is all owned by the KU Leuven and many of the buildings are inhabited by students and faculty. The Begijnhof’s church has a carillon which has bells that play every half hour. It’s an enchanting section of the city any time of year or time of day for that matter. But this December 8th will be special.
Those who have seen the Begijnhof by candlelight can assure you readers that this is a special and cozy occasion. A fine chance to share the streets with other students and Leuvenaars, appreciate the historic architecture and craftsmanship of the Begijnhof as winter approaches. Candles will line the pathways, adorn windows, and perch atop the low stone walls of the Begijnhof. The candles will number in the thousands, an impressive display with a lot of labor behind it. Whether you go for a contemplative stroll on your own, bring your partner, or a gaggle of friends, it’s worth it, as someone who has been before can assure you.