1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Louvain
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LOUVAIN (see 17.67).—Pop. 42,490 in 1914, as against 42,194 in 1904. The Germans entered Louvain Aug. 19 1914. The city was systematically sacked and in large part destroyed by fire between Aug. 25 and Sept. 2. About one-third of the city perished, including the famous University Library with its treasures, the church of St. Pierre and the markets. About 300 civilians, many of whom were shot, lost their lives.
The destroyed fabrics were in process of reconstruction (as far as might be) in 1921, and about 700 out of 1,200 houses had been rebuilt. The foundation stone of the new library was laid July 28 1921 in the presence of the King and Queen of the Belgians. A clause of the Peace Treaty provides that Germany should make reparation for the burning of the library by furnishing books, MSS., etc., to the value of those destroyed. Great Britain (on the initiative of the John Rylands Library, Manchester) and the United States contributed largely to its replenishment; over 38,000 books had been sent to Belgium from the John Rylands Library up to Aug. 1921.