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Leuven is located 26 kilometers (16 miles) east of Brussels. By international standards it is a relatively small city with a population of about 93,000 (2008). Leuven is an historic long established Flemish city, with impressive buildings, Belgium's largest university (founded in 1425), and home to Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewing group. The Stella Artois brewery is still very visible, located close to Leuven's railway station.
The Catholic University of Leuven is ranked 68th in the world at QS World University Rankings (2011), higher than any other university in Belgium. Founded in 1425 by Pope Martin V, the University is considered the oldest catholic university in the world, though its services were temporarily interrupted during French occupation at the end of the 18th century. For a long time, both a Dutch- (Flemish) and French-speaking section coexisted in Leuven, but the university was split in 1968, and Louvain-la-Neuve was established in the French speaking region of Belgium, south of Brussels.
Leuven is also the capital of the Province of Flemish Brabant. As such houses a lot of administrative services and the Province Building, where the province council is located. Municipal and provincial administration buildings are located close to the railway station.
Famous inhabitants of Leuven include : Quentin Matsys (or Quinten Matsijs in Dutch, 1466-1530, painter), Dirk Bouts (1410/20-1475, painter), pope (H)Adrian VI (1459-1523), Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564, anatomist), Emiel Puttemans (long-distance runner), Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536, humanist), Justus Lipsius (1547-1606, humanist).
Of particular interest to visitors is that the town of Leuven is very well connected with the other main cities of interest in Flandres and the Belgian capital Brussels.
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