Heilige Geestcollege – Leuven, Belgium - Atlas Obscura

Heilige Geestcollege

Where George Lemaître discovered the expanding nature of the universe. 


The Catholic University of Leuven is the oldest university in the low countries, dating back to 1425. Over its many centuries, the school has acquired (and lost) many buildings, which dot the city even today. One of the oldest buildings in its collection is the Heilige Geestcollege (Holy Spirit College). 

This college dates back to 1442, when it was donated to the university and used to house staff and theology students. Over the years it expanded, (primarily in the 17th century), but never lost this function—it is used for the same purpose today. 

Many influential people have lived in this college, but it is best known because of one: Georges Lemaître, a Belgian physicist and astronomer credited with discovering the expanding nature of the universe. Lemaître made his discovery independently, but around the same time as Edwin Hubble. Lemaître also proposed the Big Bang theory for the origin of the universe, which he called the “hypothesis of the primeval atom.”

Know Before You Go

The college square is freely accessible during the day, and some information signs are found in the inside of the gate on both sides of the gate. 

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April 15, 2024

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