In 1997, the Trade Association of Leuven gifted this statue to the city because of its 50th anniversary.
Renée is the opposite of another sculpture in Leuven, namely Fonske. While Fonske represents the fun making student, Renée refers to the active, hardworking female students in Leuven.
Renée is built near Atrecht College, the first to offer university degrees in teaching to women (1921). It was named after René Depret, head of the Merchants Association of Leuven and the Friends of Leuven Museums, among many other associations.
The book this diligent student is holding, is entitled ‘Loveniers Armand’, which is the name of the sculptor.
The place where she stands has not been chosen arbitrarily. The Naamsestraat is almost the main street of the university. This is where the university halls are located, the administrative heart of the university; This is also where the university's many historic colleges have been based for centuries. Nearby you will also find the first girls' pedagogy of the KU Leuven (from 1921 to 1977); she's here a few yards away. The name of the building where the girls' pedagogy was located is Atrechtcollege or Arrascollege. Originally a college for poor students, it was founded in 1508 by Nicolaus Ruterius. The Japanese honey tree in the courtyard is better known as “the tree of great sorrow” because the students had to say goodbye to their sweetheart every night.
The image Renée indirectly evokes those love stories from the past and present. Although, she does not radiate much passion. She could also be called "the waiting", as this modern girl puts it, in miniskirt, posing elegantly, one leg slightly bent, waiting for what must inevitably come. She clutches the books in her arms, as if stepping into the exam confidently, confident that she will pass.
(Source: http://2020group1.onlinepublishing.ulyssis.be/renee , Leuven Gebeiteld_metkaft - Leuven statues.pdf, and A guide to the statues of Leuven.pdf)
photo by Aslı Tezcan