Rector De Somerplein Square, Leuven

Rector De Somerplein Square, Leuven

Situated near the choir of the Sint-Pieterskerk, Rector De Somerplein Squaree occupies the former site of Leuven's Hay Market, which once served as a bustling hub connecting three major streets. However, the area underwent a dramatic transformation in the aftermath of the Great Fire of Leuven in August 1914, when German troops laid waste to the city center. To rejuvenate the devastated space, it was converted into a green zone and eventually developed into Rector De Somerplein in 1925.

Originally named Maarschalk Fochplein after the French Marshal Ferdinand Foch, the square was redesigned in 1975 to coincide with the 550-year anniversary of Leuven University. At its heart stands a water fountain adorned with a bronze statue known as Source of Wisdom, sculpted by J. Claerhout. Affectionately referred to as 'Fonske' by locals, the statue depicts a student engrossed in reading an open book, with a glass continuously pouring water into his open head. While the imagery may seem somewhat macabre, university students humorously interpret the never-ending glass as a beer glass, humorously claiming it as their source of wisdom.

In 2011, the square was renamed Rector De Somerplein in honor of Pieter De Somer, the first rector of the new Dutch-language Catholic University in Leuven. Today, Rector De Somerplein Square serves as a vibrant public space, inviting locals and visitors alike to gather, relax, and admire the iconic Fonske statue while reflecting on the city's rich academic heritage and enduring spirit of resilience.

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Rector De Somerplein Square on Map

Sight Name: Rector De Somerplein Square
Sight Location: Leuven, Belgium (See walking tours in Leuven)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Leuven, Belgium

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