Leuven – 24th of October

A unique insight into the life of a noble family

Five centuries long, the Arenberg family belonged to the highest nobility of the Low Countries. The combination of their power, financial wealth and love for art and culture resulted in a number of collections that are impressive because of their extent as well as their quality. The exhibition ‘Power and Beauty. The Arenbergs’ in M-Museum Leuven brings together more than 230 artworks and documents that were never shown before in a unique reunion that tells the story of the Arenbergs. The exhibition ‘Noble Living. The Castle at Heverlee from Croÿ to Arenberg' opens its doors at the University Library at the same moment. It tells the remarkable architectural history of the Arenberg Castle in Heverlee by displaying numerous exceptional pieces that were never shown before.

Power and Beauty. The Arenbergs, M-Museum Leuven  

A once-in-a-lifetime reunion of august names like Rubens, Jordaens, Veronese, Vivaldi and Dürer

The Arenbergs are already part of the highest nobility since the 16th century. The family left their mark on Europe as generals and diplomats, but also as entrepreneurs and lovers of art. The exhibition at M-Museum Leuven highlights these  different facets by means of foreign as well as Belgian artworks and documents that were never shown before. Visitors will get a picture of the weal and woe of a famous noble family, their politic and military fate, economic impact, cosmopolitan life style and their extraordinary interest for art and culture.

International art collection

The art collection of the Arenbergs was scattered in the course of the 20th century. You can find artworks with the quality mark Arenberg all over the world in museums and private collections such as the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. The exhibition at M-Museum Leuven reunites a select number of pieces from the fomer Arenberg collection for the first time. Masterpieces, by among others, Rubens, Veronese, Dürer and Jordaens are alternated with preciosa and archive documents, such as a never-shown-before hand-written score by Vivaldi and the parchment scroll Rouleau d'Arenberg. Finally, the exhibition presents a collection of ball gowns, masquerade costumes and precious interior textiles from the Arenberg family.

Curators: Peter Carpreau (M – Museum Leuven), Mark Derez and Anne Verbrugge (KU Leuven)

Noble Living, University Library KU Leuven

An exceptional insight into the Arenberg Castle   

At the same moment on a stone’s throw from M-Museum Leuven, the exhibition ‘Noble Living. The Castle at Heverlee from Croÿ to Arenberg’ opens its doors. The exhibition does not only shine light on the unique architectural history of the castle, but also on the architectural dreams of its illustrious residents.

As a visitor you will immediately be taken back in time when you enter. Through an immersive installation with image and sound, you experience the life at the castle and the different stages of its construction.

The life at the castle at the beginning of the 20th century, with its complex organization in upstairs and downstairs, is evoked with unique photographs from private and university archives.

The highlights of this exhibition include the 'Albums van Croÿ' with precious paintings on parchment, a 'blue' view of the city of Beaumont, a miniature illuminated manuscript by Petrus Angeli and a hitherto unknown graduale with choir songs from the beginning of the sixteenth century.

Curators: Krista De Jonge and Sanne Maekelberg (KU Leuven)

Arenberg Festival

The exhibitions' Power and Beauty. The Arenbergs' and ‘Noble Living. The Castle at Heverlee, from Croÿ to Arenberg' are part of the Arenberg Festival. Blue blood flows through Leuven and the region with over 30 activities during this autumn.

For the complete program:

The Arenberg Festival is an initiative of the non-profit KU[N]ST Leuven, the joint venture between the city and KU Leuven.


Contact us
Philippe Mertens Press and communication, M – Museum Leuven
Marleen Reynders Press contact Noble Living
Philippe Mertens Press and communication, M – Museum Leuven
Marleen Reynders Press contact Noble Living
About The Arenbergs

The very word ‘nobility’ fires the imagination. Particularly in the case of higher-ranking noblemen who have access to royalty, it conjures up images of grandeur and magnificence, elegance and refinement, of the glitter and glamour we associate with the jet set today, but the word also has the aura of a heightened sense of elevated purpose, of culture and history.

The Arenbergs are members of the higher nobility. A prestigious exhibition at M - Museum Leuven will tell the story of the Arenberg dynasty itself and, above all, of its collection. Artworks from that collection are being brought back together for the first time and put on public display. The exhibition is the focus of a wider cultural project that also brings the Arenbergs to life in the city of Leuven.