Built between 1439 and 1463 from the profits of the cloth trade, Leuven’s Stadhuis was designed to demonstrate the wealth of the city’s merchants. This tall and distinctive building is renowned for its lavishly carved and decorated facade. A line of narrow windows rises up over three floors beneath a steeply pitched roof adorned with dormer windows and pencil-thin turrets. *

Temptation in the Garden of Eden

However, it is in the exquisite quality of its stonework that the building excels, with delicately carved tracery and detailed medieval figures beneath 300 niche bases. There are grotesques of every description as well as representations of folktales and biblical stories, all of which are carved in an exuberant style. Within the niche alcoves are 19th-century statues depicting local dignitaries and politicians. *


*From Eyewitness Travel Guide to Belgium and Luxembourg

18 Comments CherryPie on Jul 27th 2015

18 Responses to “Stadhuis – Leuven”

  1. lisl says:

    Imagine being able to work stone like this, Cherie!

  2. Astrid says:

    After seeing all of your wonderful pictures from Leuven, one day I like to go there. what an impressive Stadhuis/townhall.
    Today we are off for Brussels, Ginnie’s Grandson is with us and we like to show him ‘another country’…

  3. Oh – that’s just amazing, isn’t it?! Wow.

  4. Ayush says:

    i love the front of this – the facade is completely staked!

  5. James Higham says:

    They really went to town with those grotesques.

  6. Awesome architecture

  7. Chrysalis says:

    If I were there on vacation (holiday, I should say, I guess) I could spend about 3 days just looking at this building until someone had to drag me away to look at something else:)

    Do you know if this building remained untouched in WWII, Cherie, or was it damaged?

    I find the addition of 19th century dignitaries interesting – the societal trend to transition from gratitude and glory of others to self- glory when we’re feeling happy and well – the equivalent of a 19th century selfie lol.

    “Yes, yes, there’s Jesus and our founding fathers and all that, but you can get that anywhere – look, there’s ME, let’s talk about ME, who helped fund the renovations on this magnificent building which now includes a statue of ME” ;)

    I suppose the intent of the building was to “demonstrate the wealth of city merchants” from its inception, though, and it’s a way to sort of “give back”.

    • CherryPie says:

      Here is a bit more information about the statues that adorn the building, they are quoted from the Town Hall guidebook:

      In the 19th century, there was a trend in Belgium and other countries for statues: statues of national figures in public places were meant to give the young country and identity. This was the green light for embellishing monuments. The initiative for the town hall of Leuven came from the Minister of Interior Affairs, with the support of King Leopold.

      On the ground floor: artists, scholars, historic figures who were active in Leuven including the painters Bouts and Metsys and Pope Adrian VI

      On the first floor: patron saints of the Leuven parishes, and men who symbolise municipal priveliges of freedom and independence such as mayors, aldermen and guild masters

      On the second floor: the counts of Leuven and the dukes of Brabant among others. As well as Maria Van Brabant, the Queen of France and even Napoleon and the Belgian King Leopold II

      In the turrets: mainly characters from the bible.

  8. ubermouth says:

    It’s a sin that modern architecture lacks the artistry and intricacies of such marvels as these. That last pic is phenomenal ! It’s one thing I really miss about England- aside from the gardens- the architecture.