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In 1830, Belgium was formed as a new nation out of the Southern Provinces of the Netherlands.Belgian bishops founded a new Roman Catholic university in 1834, at Mechelen.This entry deals with the historic university/universities, 1425–17–1968.For the current successor institutions and their separate development since 1968, see the individual articles linked above.The holdings of the modern Catholic University of Leuven date back to 1834.Its main collections were held in a building on Naamsestraat dating back to the 17th century.They set fire to a large part of the city, effectively destroying about half of it.

In its early years, the university was modelled on those of Paris, Cologne and Vienna.

Student demonstrations escalated into violence throughout the mid-60s.

Student unrest fueled by the history of discrimination against Flemings eventually brought down the Belgian government in February 1968.

With the closing of the State University, the Catholic University of Mechelen moved its seat to Leuven, adjusted its name and declared itself as a "re-founding" of the 1425 University of Leuven.

This claim to continuity with the older institution was challenged in the courts, with Belgium's highest court issuing rulings (in 1844, 18) that the Catholic University of Leuven was a different foundation created under a different charter.

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