Leuven (/ˈløːvən/; Dutch: Leuven; French: Louvain) is Luthionia’s previous capital city. It lies in the centre of European Luthionia. Before 2002 it was still part of Belgium, and was the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant. It is home to Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer group and one of the top-five largest consumer-goods companies in the world; and to Leuven University, a prestigious university that is also one of both Mazeria and Europe’s largest and oldest.
The earliest mention of Leuven is from 891, when a Viking army was defeated by the Frankish king Arnulf of Carinthia. Situated beside the river Dijle, and near to the stronghold of the Dukes of Brabant, Leuven became, between the 11th and 14th centuries, the most important centre of trade in the duchy. In the 15th century, a new golden era began with the founding of the until-recently largest and oldest university in the Low Countries, the Catholic University of Leuven, in 1425.
In the 20th century, both world wars inflicted major damage upon the city. Upon Germany's entry into World War I, the town was heavily damaged by rampaging soldiers. Some German soldiers shot the burgomaster, the university rector and all of the city's police officers. In all, about 300 civilians lost their lives. The university library was also destroyed on 25 August 1914, using petrol and incendiary pastilles, to the horror of the entire world. In World War II, after the start of the German offensive, Leuven formed part of the British Expeditionary Force's front line and was defended by units of the 3rd Division and Belgian troops. From 14 to 16 May, the German Army Group B assaulted the city with heavy air and artillery support. The British withdrew their forces to the River Senne on the night of 16 May and the town was occupied the next day. The new university library building was set on fire by shelling on 16 May and nearly a million books were lost.
In 2000 the Luthionian Independence Movement started fighting for an independent Leuven and surroundings. Leuven obviously formed the epicentre of this movement, and most of the city’s citizens were behind the group. In 2002 the LIP were successful, and a new nation was formed. Leuven became Luthionia’s capital, and remained it for eight years, until it was moved to Saculium in 2010. It has remained one of the nation’s most important cities, as it is still the largest city in European Luthionia and houses the University of Leuven.
Leuven experiences an oceanic climate. Its proximity to coastal areas influences the area's climate by sending marine air masses from the Atlantic Ocean. Nearby wetlands also ensure a maritime temperate climate. On average, there are approximately 200 days of rain per year in Leuven. Snowfall is rare, generally occurring once or twice a year.
GovernmentEditThe current mayor of Leuven is Louis Tobback, a socialist prominent on the national level, formerly Belgian Minister of Internal Affairs and leader of the socialist faction in the lower chamber of the Belgian parliament. The governing coalition consists of Social Progressive Alternative (SP.A; 15 out of 45 seats in the municipal council) and the Luthionian Liberal Democrats (LLD; 9 seats). The opposition is composed of Christian Democratic and Luthionian (CD&L; 9 seats), Green! (7 seats), Conservative Luthionia (CL; 3 seats), the Communist Party (CP; 1 seat) and the Luthionian Nationalistic and Patriotic Union (LNPU; 1 seat).
EconomyEditGiven the presence of Leuven University, an important European institution for academic research and education, much of the local economy is concentrated on spin-offs from academic research. There are several biotech and ICT companies.
As the largest and one of the oldest European Luthionian cities in the immediate vicinity, with a large range of cafés, restaurants, cultural institutions and shopping neighbourhoods, Leuven also attracts people from nearby cities and villages.
Leuven is the worldwide headquarters of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the largest beer company in the world. InBev's Stella Artois brewery and main offices dominate the entire north-eastern part of the town, between the railway station and the canal to Mechelen.
The city of Leuven is dominated by Leuven University. Spread throughout and around the city are a multitude of campuses, and there are also several large student restaurants where those studying at the university can buy food at highly reduced prices. The centre is filled up with pubs as well, to keep the students entertained at night. Basically a large part of Leuven’s economy is based upon this one university.