Sunday, January 8, 2012
Window detail: Grand Beguinage at Leuven, Belgium
Founded in the 13th Century, the Grand Beguinage in Leuven, Belgium, was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Considered the oldest surviving beguinage, the Leuven location is now part of the University of Leuven, the oldest Catholic university in the world.
Leuven also has a unique connection with the United States. When the library was deliberately bombed by Germans during WWI, Herbert Hoover spearheaded a campaign to have American students contribute to the rebuilding.
Donations from universities, high schools and academic associations were combined with money raised by school children from across the country. Etched in the stones of the exterior of the new building were the names of American schools and organizations that had helped make the new library a reality.
You can read more about the Leuven Library story here.