"Ballon van de Vriendschap" Top 5 Page for this destination Leuven Off The Beaten Path Tip by Christophe_Ons
Leuven Off The Beaten Path: 54 reviews and 71 photos
Leuven is infested with statues, but that's not necessarily a bad thing - some of them are quite lovely, like the one entitled "Ballon van de Vriendschap" (Balloon of Friendship) by Danny Tulkens (inaugurated in 1988) at the Herbert Hoover Plein (the square adjacent to the Ladeuze Plein, where the gorgeous university libarary is).
It symbolizes the friendship between the people of Leuven and was a gift of the guild "Mannen van het Jaar ..." (Men of the Year ...) - which is a group of men who turn 40 that year. So there are basically guilds for each calendar year.
You see, in Leuven they'll throw a parade at the drop of a hat, and the "Mannen van het Jaar..." are practically always present or participate in the festivities. These guilds do a lot of good things like giving to charity or, as in this case, raising funds to put even more statues in Leuven - which gives them a new reason to party down during the inauguration of course ... see, it all makes perfect sense in the end :)
Directions : when you're at the Ladeuze Plein, facing the university library, it's near the right side of the building, across the street.
(note : during business hours you can also enter the ground level of the library, there's an entrance right across the street - see tip below)
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