Brouwerij Den Hoorn


‘Brouwerij Den Hoorn’ brewed his first beer in 1366. The brewery was part of a tavern where hunters came to rest after a day of hunting at the hunting ground of the counts of Leuven. The brewery is named after the hunter’s horn.

With the presence of students after the establishment of the University of Leuven in 1425 and because of the poor quality of the contaminated available drinking water, Brouwerij Den Hoorn is flourishing.

During the 15th century, the company grows into one of the largest companies in the city. Those days, a Leuvenaar easily drinks 300 to 440 liters of beer a year, because drinking beer was healthier than water. In 1537 Den Hoorn became the most important enterprise in the city. Sébastien Artois became Master Brewer in Den Hoorn in 1708. He bought the brewery nine years later and named it ‘Brouwerij Artois’. He kept the horn logo. The brewery would be handed over from father to son for more than a century. Grandson Leonard Artois bought two other breweries in Brussels for the expansion. At the time of the First French Empire, Artois was the largest brewery in the entire empire. Leonard Artois dies childless in 1814. His sister Johanna-Maria Artois will become the last Artois in the company.

Stella Artois

In 1922, this brewery is built after a design by architect L. Monnoyer. The very first Stella Artois is brewed in this building as Christmas beer. The name ‘Stella Artois’ is an amalgamation of the Latin word for ‘star’ and the name of the founder of the brewery, Sebastiaan Artois. The beer is such a success that it remains permanently on the market.

In the 1990s the Stella Artois brewery moved to the other side of the Leuven Canal and the old Den Hoorn brewery is left abandoned. During our visit, the old copper beer cuves are covered in dust. The abandoned buildings of the former Brewery Den Hoorn were bought in 2007 and completely renovated, while retaining the old brewing installation. The building was given a new use as a business complex from October 2012. I took these photos of ‘Brouwerij Den Hoorn’ in 2005.

Built 1922
Abandoned 1992
Reconverted 2012