Catholic University of Leuven (1834–1968)

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Pope Gregory XVI, co-founder in 1834 with the bishops of Belgium of the Catholic University of Malines, which would later become the Catholic University of Leuven Gregory XVI.jpg
Pope Gregory XVI, co-founder in 1834 with the bishops of Belgium of the Catholic University of Malines, which would later become the Catholic University of Leuven

The Catholic University of Leuven or Louvain (French : Université catholique de Louvain, Dutch : Katholieke Hogeschool te Leuven, later Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven) was founded in 1834 in Mechelen as the Catholic University of Belgium, and moved its seat to the town of Leuven in 1835, changing its name to Catholic University of Leuven. [1] In 1968 it was split into two universities, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and the Université catholique de Louvain, following tensions between the Dutch and French-speaking student bodies.

Contents

History

Pierre de Ram, first rector of the new Catholic University of Belgium. Pierre de Ram 1836.png
Pierre de Ram, first rector of the new Catholic University of Belgium.
Castle Arenberg, part of the University Castle Arenberg, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven adj.jpg
Castle Arenberg, part of the University

An earlier University of Leuven was founded in 1425 by John IV, Duke of Brabant and chartered by a papal bull of Pope Martin V. [2] It flourished for hundreds of years as the most prominent university in what would become Belgium, and one of the more prominent in Europe. Once formally integrated into the French Republic, the law of 15 September 1793 had decreed the suppression of all the colleges and universities in France and it was abolished by Decree of the Departement of the Dijle on 25 October 1797. [3]

A new institution, the State University of Louvain, was established in the city in 1816, but closed in 1835. With the closing of the State University, the Catholic University of Mechelen moved its seat to Leuven, adjusted its name and declared itself as a "re-founding" of the 1425 University of Leuven. This claim to continuity with the older institution was challenged in the courts, with Belgium's highest court issuing rulings (in 1844, 1855 and 1861) that as a matter of law the Catholic University of Leuven was a different institution created under a different charter. [4] Nonetheless, the Catholic University of Leuven is very frequently identified as a continuation of the older institution. [5]

In 1968, the Catholic University of Leuven split to form two institutions:

This entry deals with the three historic university/universities established in the town of Leuven, 1425–1797, 1817–1835 and 1834–1968. For the current successor institutions and their separate development since 1968, see the individual articles linked above.

Timeline

Old University (1425–1797)

In the 15th century the city of Leuven, with the support of John IV, Duke of Brabant, made a formal request to the Holy See for a university. [5] Pope Martin V issued a papal bull dated 9 December 1425 founding the University in Leuven as a Studium Generale. In its early years, the university was modelled on those of Paris, Cologne and Vienna. The university flourished in the 16th century due to the presence of famous scholars and professors, such as Adriaan Florenszoon Boeyens (Pope Adrian VI), Desiderius Erasmus, Johannes Molanus, Joan Lluís Vives, Andreas Vesalius, Ferdinand Verbiest and Gerardus Mercator.

In the time of the Directory, by the Treaty of Campo Formio, this region was ceded to the French Republic by Austria in exchange for the Republic of Venice. [6] Once formally integrated into the French Republic, a law from 1793 which mandated that all universities in France be closed came into effect. The University of Leuven was abolished by decree of the Département of Dijle on 25 October 1797. [7]

State University (1816–1835)

The region next became part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815–1830), and William I of the Netherlands founded a new university in 1816 in Leuven as a state university (Dutch : Rijksuniversiteit) which was a secular university and where several professors from the old university continued their teaching. This university was also abolished in 1835. In 1830, the Southern Provinces of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands became the independent state of Belgium.

Catholic University (1834–1968)

On 8 November 1834, on the basis of authorisation in a papal brief of 13 December 1833 from Pope Gregory XVI, [8] the Belgian bishops founded a new Catholic University of Mechelen. The announcement of the bishops' founding of the University in Mechelen was met with demonstrations and disturbances in the cities of Ghent, Leuven and Liège. [9] The first rector was Pierre de Ram. [10]

The Catholic University of Belgium (Latin : Universitas catholica Belgii), generally referred to as the Catholic University of Mechelen, was a university that was founded in Mechelen (French : Malines), Belgium, on 8 November 1834 by the bishops of Belgium, who aimed to create a university "to accommodate any doctrine from the Holy Apostolic See and to repudiate anything that does not flow from this august source". The first and only rector was the priest and historian Peter de Ram. The university was short-lived in Mechelen, as the bishops already moved the university to Leuven on 1 December 1835, where it took the name "Catholic University of Leuven". This outraged Belgian liberal opinion, which depicted it as an attempt to usurp the past of the former Old University of Leuven. [11] It also reinvigorated demands for the foundation of a secular university in Brussels which would lead to the foundation of the Free University of Brussels.

The Catholic University of Leuven subsequently did widely come to be seen as a refounding of the old University of Leuven, [5] although the Belgian Court of Cassation ruled that the two entities are legally distinct, [12] and in spite of the liberal protests of the time. [13]

On 3 November 1859, the Catholic University celebrated the silver jubilee of its foundation. [14] A banquet for more than five hundred guests offered by the students to the Rector and the faculty, took place the 23 November 1859 in the great festival hall of the Music Academy of Louvain. [15]

In the year 1884 the Catholic University of Louvain celebrated solemnly its 50th anniversary. [16]

In 1909, the Catholic University celebrated its 75th anniversary, and struck a medal where for the first time it officially used the French word "réinstallation" (resettlement), and the Dutch word "herstelling" (restoration) beginning of a new "official" history.

In 1914, during World War I, Leuven was looted by German troops. They set fire to a large part of the city, effectively destroying about half of it, including the university library (see below). In the early stages of the war, Allied propaganda capitalized on the German destruction as a reflection on German Kultur.

Split (1962–1970)

From its beginning in 1834, the Catholic University of Louvain provided lectures only in French. Latin was sometimes used in the theology faculty, but it was essentially a French-language institution. Lectures in Dutch, the other official language of Belgium and the language spoken in Leuven, began to be provided in 1930.

In 1962, in line with constitutional reforms governing official language use, the French and Dutch sections of the university became autonomous within a common governing structure. Flemish nationalists continued to demand a division of the university, and Dutch speakers expressed resentment at privileges given to French-speaking academic staff and the perceived disdain by the local French-speaking community for their Dutch-speaking neighbours. At the time, Brussels and Leuven were both part of the officially bilingual and now defunct Province of Brabant; but unlike Brussels, Leuven had retained its Dutch-speaking character. Tensions rose when a French-speaking social geographer suggested in a televised lecture that the city of Leuven should be incorporated into an enlarged bilingual 'Greater-Brussels' region. Mainstream Flemish politicians and students began demonstrating under the slogan Leuven Vlaams – Walen Buiten ("Leuven [is] Flemish – Walloons out"). Student demonstrations escalated into violence throughout the mid-1960s. Student unrest fueled by the history of discrimination against Flemings eventually brought down the Belgian government in February 1968.

The dispute was resolved in June 1968 by turning the Dutch-language section of the university into the independent Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, which remained in Leuven. The French-speaking university, called the Université catholique de Louvain, was moved to a greenfield campus called Louvain-la-Neuve ("New Leuven"), farther south in the French-speaking part of the Province of Brabant. Acrimony about the split was long-lasting. Currently, however, research collaborations and student exchanges between the two "sister universities" take place with increasing frequency.

Library

The ruins of the library of the Catholic University of Leuven after the library was burned by the German army in 1914. Louvain Library WWI.jpg
The ruins of the library of the Catholic University of Leuven after the library was burned by the German army in 1914.

The library of the Catholic University dating from 1834 was housed in the University Hall, a building which in its oldest parts dated back to 1317. This was destroyed in August 1914 by invading German forces, with the loss of approximately 230,000 books, 950 manuscripts, and 800 incunabula. [17] Materials lost included the Easter Island tablet bearing Rongorongo text E and the oldest Czech Bible. [18]

The library building designed by Whitney Warren and built from 1921 to 1928, now the KUL's central library. Leuven-University-Library.jpg
The library building designed by Whitney Warren and built from 1921 to 1928, now the KUL's central library.

After the First World War, a new library was built on the Mgr. Ladeuzeplein, designed by the American architect Whitney Warren in a neo-Flemish-Renaissance style. Construction took place between 1921 and 1928. [19] Its monumental size is a reflection of the Allied victory against Germany, and it is one of the largest university buildings in the city. The library's collections were rebuilt with donations from all around the world, outraged by the barbaric act which it had suffered. In 1940, during the second German invasion of Leuven, the building largely burnt down, with the loss of 900,000 manuscripts and books. The building was rebuilt after the war in accordance with Warren's design.

The library's collections were again restored after the war, and by the time of the split in 1968 had approximately four million books. The separation of the university into distinct French-language and Dutch-language institutions in 1968 entailed a division of the central library holdings. This was done on the basis of alternate shelfmarks (except in cases where a work clearly belonged to one section or the other, e.g. was written by a member of faculty or bequeathed by an alumnus whose linguistic allegiance was clear). This gave rise to the factoid that encyclopedias and runs of periodicals were divided by volume between the two universities, but actually such series bear single shelfmarks.

The building on the Mgr. Ladeuzeplein is now the central library of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

Notable alumni

Bibliography

See also

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References

  1. Encyclopédie théologique, tome 54, Dictionnaire de l'histoire universelle de l'Église, Paris : éd. J.P. Migne, 1863, sub verboGrégoire XVI, col. 1131 : "Après sa séparation de la Hollande en 1830, la Belgique libérale a vu son Église jouir d'une véritable indépendance. Les évêques s'assemblent en conciles, communiquent avec le Saint-Siège en toute liberté. Sur l'article fondamental des études, ils ont fondé l'université catholique de Louvain, où les jeunes Belges vont en foule puiser aux sources les plus pures toutes les richesses de la science". And : Edward van Even, Louvain dans le passé et dans le présent, Louvain, 1895, p. 606 : "Par lettre collective du 14 novembre 1833, le corps épiscopal s'adressa à Grégoire XVI, à l'effet d'obtenir l'autorisation nécessaire pour ouvrir l'école. Cette autorisation fut octroyée par un bref du 13 décembre suivant. Une circulaire épiscopale, datée du 20 février 1834, annonça aux fidèles la fondation d'une Université catholique".
  2. "About K.U.Leuven". Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. 21 September 2009. Archived from the original on 5 July 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  3. Jan Roegiers et al., Leuven University, Leuven, Leuven University Press, 1990, p. 31: "With the Law of 3 Brumaire of Year IV, which reorganized higher education in the French Republic, there was no place for the University of Louvain, and it was abolished by Decree of the Departement of the Dijle on 25 October (1797)".
  4. Several rulings of the Belgian Courts, of Cassation and Appel, forbid the identification of the Catholic University with the Old University: "L'université catholique de Louvain ne peut être considérée comme continuant l'ancienne université de Louvain; et lorsqu'un acte de fondation a désigné pour collateur un professeur de cette ancienne université, il y a lieu d'y pourvoir par le gouvernement", (Table générale alphabétique et chronologique de la Pasicrisie Belge contenant la jurisprudence du Royaume de 1814 à 1850, Bruxelles, 1855, p. 585, colonne 1, alinea 2. Voir également: Bulletin Usuel des Lois et Arrêtés, 1861, p.166.) See also the ruling of the Cour d'Appel of 1844: La Belgique Judiciaire, 28 July 1844 n° 69, p. 1 : "Cour d’Appel de Bruxelles. Deuxième chambre. L'université libre de Louvain ne représente pas légalement l’antique université de cette ville. Attendu que cette université (l’ancienne Université de Louvain), instituée par une bulle papale, de concert avec l'autorité souveraine, formait un corps reconnu dans l'État, ayant différentes attributions, dont plusieurs même lui étaient déléguées par le pouvoir civil; Attendu que ce corps a été supprimé par les lois de la république française; Attendu que l'université existant actuellement à Louvain ne peut être considérée comme continuant celle qui existait en 1457, ces deux établissemens ayant un caractère bien distinct, puisque l'université actuelle, non reconnue comme personne civile, n'est qu'un établissement tout-à-fait privé, résultat de la liberté d'enseignement, en dehors de toute action du pouvoir et sans autorité dans l'État...".
  5. 1 2 3 Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "University of Louvain"  . Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  6. Jules Delhaize, La domination française en Belgique, Bruxelles, 1909, tome III, p. 171 : " Les articles 3 et 4 du traité de Campo-Formio consacrèrent enfin, au point de vue international, la réunion de la Belgique à la France. Voici ces articles. Art. 3 – Sa Majesté l'Empereur, Roi de Hongrie et de Bohême, renonce pour elle et ses successeurs en faveur de la République française, à tous ses droits et titres sur les ci-devant provinces belgiques, connues sous le nom de Pays-Bas autrichiens. La République française possédera ces pays à perpétuité, en toute souveraineté et propriété, et avec tous les biens territoriaux qui en dépendent'".
  7. Jan Roegiers et al., Leuven University, Leuven, Leuven University Press, 1990, p. 31: "With the Law of 3 Brumaire of Year IV, which reorganized higher education in the French Republic, there was no place for the University of Louvain, and it was abolished by Decree of the Departement of the Dijle on 25 octobre (1797)".
  8. Edward van Even, Louvain dans le passé et dans le présent, Louvain, 1895, p. 606: "Par lettre collective du 14 novembre 1833, le corps épiscopal s'adressa à Grégoire XVI, à l'effet d'obtenir l'autorisation nécessaire pour ouvrir l'école. Cette autorisation fut octroyée par un bref du 13 décembre suivant. Une circulaire épiscopale, datée du 20 février 1834, annonça aux fidèles la fondation d'une Université catholique".
  9. John Bartier, Guy Cambier, Libéralisme et socialisme au XIXe siècle, Université libre de Bruxelles, Institut d'histoire du christianisme, 1981, p. 17. And Emiel Lamberts and Jan Roegiers, Leuven University, Louvain, 1990, p. 194 : "There were demonstrations in protest, especially at Ghent and Louvain [...] and the Liberals responded by setting up a parallel university in Brussels".
  10. Père V. De Buck S.J., Mgr de Ram, recteur magnifique de l'université catholique de Louvain, Paris : Ch. Douniol, 1865 : "Naturellement, on songea à lui pour lui confier une charge dans l'université catholique dont on projetait la fondation. On n'a pas écrit jusqu'ici et nous ne rechercherons pas qui, le premier, osa concevoir cette idée, une des plus hardies qui aient jamais été mises à exécution. Le pays est petit, et il possédait déjà trois universités soutenues par l'autorité et l'argent du gouvernement (....)et de faire apprécier les énormes difficultés qui s'attachaient à la fondation de l'université catholique".
  11. According to Maurice Voituron, who wrote in his Le parti libéral joué par le parti catholique dans la question de l'enseignement supérieur, (Brussels, 1850): "et alors aurait paru plus évidente encore aux yeux du pays l'intention du parti catholique de tuer l'enseignement de l'État, afin de ne laisser debout que l'Université catholique de Malines, qui allait prendre le titre d'Université de Louvain, pour y usurper la renommée de l'ancienne, ainsi que ses fondations de bourses. Cependant, malgré lui, le parti catholique laissa échapper cet espoir par la bouche de son rapporteur M. Dechamps, lorsqu'il disait : "la confiance entourera de telle façon les établissements privés que les Universités de l'État, par exemple, deviendront à peu près désertes"
  12. Table générale alphabétique et chronologique de la Pasicrisie Belge contenant la jurisprudence du Royaume de 1814 à 1850, Brussels, 1855, p. 585, column 1, alinea 2. See also: Bulletin Usuel des Lois et Arrêtés, 1861, p.166
  13. Discussion de la loi sur l'enseignement supérieur du 27 septembre 1835, et de la loi sur le jury d'examen du 8 avril 1844 : précédée d'un aperçu historique sur l'organisation universitaire en Belgique, Bruxelles : Th. Lesigne, 1844, p.1143 : « M. d'ELHOUGNE (député) : Messieurs, permettez-moi de rétablir la vérité des faits. Entre l'ancienne Université de Louvain, dont la gloire appartient à toute la Belgique, et l'université catholique, la filiation me paraît quelque peu douteuse. Il y a plus d'une solution de continuité dans la généalogie. Ce n'est pas comme héritière légitime que l'université catholique a recueilli la succession de l'université de Louvain, elle s'est emparée d'une succession en deshérence » Lire en ligne.
  14. Souvenir du XXVe anniversaire de la fondation de l'Université catholique: Novembre 1859, Louvain, typographie Vanlinthout et Cie, 1860 : "Inaugurée à Malines, le 4 novembre 1834, l'Université catholique a célébré à Louvain, le jeudi 3 novembre 1859, sa vingt-cinquième année d'existence"
  15. Souvenir du XXVe anniversaire de la fondation de l'Université catholique: Novembre 1859, p. 24 : "Banquet offert par les étudiants au Recteur et au Corps professoral le 23 novembre" ; and : Emiel Lamberts, Jan Roegiers, et alii, Leuven University, "The Catholic University", Leuven, 1990, p. 199 (illustration 11)
  16. E. Descamps, in : Université catholique de Louvain : Liber Memorialis : 1834–1884, Louvain : Peeters, 1887, p. V : "les fêtes du cinquantième anniversaire de l'Université catholique de Louvain ont eu un brillant éclat et un immense retentissement".
  17. "Universiteitshal" (in Dutch). Flemish organization for Immovable Heritage. 2020.
  18. Lost Memory – Libraries and Archives Destroyed in the Twentieth Century ( Archived 5 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine )
  19. Jan van Impe (20 November 2012). De Leuvense universiteitsbibliotheek / druk 2: historische wandelgids. Leuven University Press. p. 26. ISBN   978-90-5867-920-8 . Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  20. "Father Michael Hurley dies aged 87". RTÉ News and Current Affairs . 16 April 2011. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  21. Jeffrey M. Elliot and Mervyn M. Dymally, eds., Voices of Zaire: Rhetoric or Reality, p. 53

Further reading

Coordinates: 50°40′11″N4°36′44″E / 50.66972°N 4.61222°E / 50.66972; 4.61222