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In the nineteenth century, at the instigation of Pope Leo XIII, K. Leuven became an important centre of Thomist philosophy.
The former province of Brabant was split into Flemish and Walloon Brabant and the metropolitan region of Brussels. Leuven has been a centre of learning for almost six centuries. In its early days this university was modelled on the universities of Paris, Cologne, and Vienna.The university was founded, various industrial concerns flourished and the main market square with its fine Gothic town hall was laid out.Its finely sculpted Town Hall and Saint Peter's church with its magnificent interior which is hung with the famous 'Last Supper' by Thierry Bouts, are fine examples of flamboyant Gothic architecture at its best.Unfortunately this library was burned down in 1940 during the Second World War and this time only 15,000 of its 900,000 volumes were saved.Since then, the university library, and in fact the entire university, has undergone a thorough reconstruction.