The Ithaka Arts Festival began as a one day exhibition in 1992 and has since evolved into a mature project. Originally, the exhibition took place in multiple locations at a time, but in recent years we have opted to use only one location, giving recent iterations of Ithaka a location-bound character. This year, we are happy to welcome you to the Keizersberg Abbey.

At ‘Ithaka: Down to Earth’, you experience nature through the lens of our artists. They express their unique experience of nature in a diverse array of disciplines, and challenge you to rethink that what has covered Earth since a long time before us. The artists remove nature from its traditional frame of landscape paintings and invite you to reflect on the relationship between culture and nature.

Ithaka is a platform for beginning artists. It is not easy to gain traction as a young artist, which is why LOKO Cultuur provides them with a budget to realize and exhibit a project.

Our goal is to bring students in contact with contemporary art. We attempt to make the festival as inviting as possible for them by organizing various activities. Both Flemish and international students are welcome. Besides students, we invite residents from Leuven or elsewhere to visit the festival. To fully enable that, we keep the festival open in the weekend.

Apart from the exhibition itself, we organize daily activities such as open mics, concerts and workshops. That means Ithaka is different every day and that you can unleash your creativity on the festival yourself.

Keizersberg Abbey

From 1230 to 1232, Hendrik I, count of Leuven, ordered for a castle to be built on the city’s north hill. The count’s residence was built outside the city walls to ensure the inhabitants’ independence and their power over the citizens. In 1357, walls were built around the castle. When Charles became emperor, he had the castle expanded and embellished. The universities’ humanists named the castle “Castrum Caesaris”, the emperor’s castle.

After this, the castle went into decline. In 1783, Emperor Joseph II ordered for the whole thing to be taken apart and sold. The towers and the emperor’s residence were completely annihilated and even the foundation was dug up. The domain became subject to allotment.

In 1187, the counts built a house for the Templars at the east side of the hill. It had a chapel that was replaced by a gothic church in 1454. In 1798, the French regime secularized this commandery, after which the buildings were sold and the church was destroyed. Dom Robert de Kerchove, the first abt, used the remnants of the commandery as a workplace and a farm for the abbey. The remnants were lost during the bombing of May 1944.

Sourced from abdijkeizersberg.be