The Small Beguinage, Dated From 1272...

The Small Beguinage (Klein Begijnhof ) of Leuven is a neighborhood consisting of two dead-end streets. This district was inhabited until the 19th century by beguines. There is no common history between Great Beguinage and these beguinages.

Beguines were women who took a temporary vow of chastity and obedience. Unlike nuns, they had not taken any religious vows and were not bound to the rule of poverty.

The Klein Begijnhof is also known as the Oud (Old) Begijnhof. The word ‘old’ would not mean that this beguinage is older than the others, but that this beguinage had fewer financial resources than its large counterpart.

The number of beguines never exceeded 100 and subsided very quickly after the French Revolution. The church was demolished in the 19th century (1862) and in 1954 the infirmary also had to make way for the advancing beer brewery Artois.

A timid restoration was carried out in the 1990s and a thorough restoration later in the 2000s. After the restoration, the houses were painted white again. About thirty houses in traditional Flemish style remain from this beguinage. About half of the houses were sold to private individuals in 2005.


 (Source:,  Photo by Aslı Tezcan

Klein Begijnhof of Leuven