Welcome Cocktail Reception (5th October, 2015)
Taking place at the Thermotechnical Institute of KU Leuven.
Tour at the Grand Beguinage (6th October, 2015)
This bit of Unesco World Heritage from the 13th century is a bewitching piece of pure relaxation right in the heart of the city.
The oldest houses date from the 16th century when the original houses were replaced by brick structures. It has a succession of streets, squares, gardens and parks, with dozens of houses and convents in traditional sandstone. Devout women, who for various reasons had chosen not to join a convent, formed communities on the fringes of society. They lived piously and had to work very hard to be able to provide for themselves. The beguines did not take the same vows as nuns and they did not live by the rules of a particular order. In 1311, it was decided that the whole movement should be abolished. The Pope made an exception for Flanders, which explains why the béguinage continued to exist in our parts. During the high days in the 17th century around 360 beguines still lived there.
The Grand Beguinage (Dutch:’Groot Begijnhof’) stretches on both sides of the river Dijle, which splits into two canals inside the béguinage, thus forming an island. Three bridges connect the parts of the béguinage. The complete béguinage is owned by the University of Leuven and used as a campus, especially for housing students and academic guests.
Conference Dinner (6th October, 2015)
The conference banquet will take place at the Faculty Club, whose building is part of the ancient historical site of the Grand Beguinage.