Musée L opens its doors


Belgium has gained yet another museum: on Tuesday 14 November Musée L opened its doors in Louvain-la-Neuve in the presence of Princess Astrid. However, it is not just any ordinary museum, but Belgium's very first university museum.

Those who know a little about Belgium will know that the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) is Belgium's largest French-speaking university. Based on the number of students, the UCL is the country's third university with 30,000 students, after KU Leuven (46,000) and Ghent University (36,000). Even so, the UCL is the first Belgian university to open its very own museum, known as Musée L.

The UCL is promoting Musée L as a place for meetings, experiences and discoveries. The permanent exhibition is based on five key elements, characterising people all over the world: amazement, asking questions, sharing experiences, turmoil and contemplation. The collection is very varied: featuring scientific elements, natural history objects and art from every era (Ancient times, the Middle Ages, Modern art, European and African tribal art). Areas are also provided for meditation, reflection and tranquillity, for the visitor's comfort.

Musée L covers eight floors, five of which are dedicated to the permanent exhibition. The museum's other attractions include temporary exhibitions, the natural history cabinet, various art laboratories, areas for studying, the library, a public picnic and recreation area, a museum shop, a café and the reception. According to Rector Vincent Blondel, the museum aims in this digital age to take the students closer to the real works, rather than merely referring to them online. Musée L has also added video and audio fragments to a number of works, making the visit more interactive. Furthermore, all explanations and information on the premises are provided in three languages (Dutch, French and English) and there are special facilities for the visually impaired and hard of hearing, extending the museum's appeal.

The brand new museum is located in the UCL's former 'Science and Technology Library’, designed by the Belgian architect André Jacqmain. The building was one of the first to be constructed in Louvain-la-Neuve (1969-1975) following the division of the University of Leuven. For more information about the exhibitions, agenda, prices and opening times, please go to