Ranked 4th on the 2022 QS ranking in the field of Theology, Divinity and Religious Studies the KU Leuven FTRS holds a central position in the Flemish, Belgian and international research field on religion/s. This is in no small part due to the rich diversity of collections and libraries at the disposal of researchers, culminating in the world renowned Maurits Sabbe Library theological library.
Founded in 1432, this KU Leuven Faculty is one of the oldest theological faculties in the world. It is anchored in the Catholic tradition and inspired by the Second Vatican Council. Education and research are characterized by a caring approach to the past, a strong commitment with regard to the present secularized and religious plural context, both locally and globally, and an optimistic belief in a meaningful future.
The faculty is located in the centre of the city, housed in some of the oldest architecture of Leuven. Numerous churches, chapels, parks and museums can be find nearby, as well as a continuous progamme of seminars, conferences, events, and lectures.
The star asset of the Faculty is the Maurits Sabbe Library one of the largest and richest theological libraries in the world. It was conceived from the very beginning as a research and heritage library, and its particularly rich collection of more than 1,300,000 volumes in the fields of theology and religious studies makes it a world leading library. It also possesses a vast, up-to-date collection of physical and electronic journals and academic literature. The library has five reading rooms with 140 workplaces and 85 offices and attracts both local and foreign scholars and researchers.
Because of its rich collection and thanks to the support of the University, the Flemish Community and private sponsoring, the Faculty was able to create a Book Heritage Lab. This lab not only restores precious manuscripts, but also conducts research on manuscripts, book bindings, provenances and the like. It offers ample opportunities to researchers to participate in workshops, seminars, colloquia etc.
The library contains a rich collection of rare manuscripts and special collections. The focus of the heritage collections (also called the special collections) is on the printed religious heritage from the Low Countries. Notable collections include the library of the Norther Belgian province of the Jesuit order, and the library of the archiepiscopal seminary of Mechlin. Famous masterpieces include The Library of Cardinal d’Alsace, and the famous Anjou Library.
KADOC is the Interfaculty Documentation and Research Centre on Religion, Culture and Society at KU Leuven. Established in 1976, KADOC preserves and discloses an impressive collection of archives, data, and heritage that has emerged from the interplay between religion, culture and society in a Belgian, European and global context. The collections document interactions between Europe and the Americas, Asia and Africa that were intermediated by missionaries, political movements, churches, NGOs and migrants, as well as political and social developments such as the development of civil society, the welfare state, democratization, European integration, and secularization.