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In order to book an accommodation in Leuven enter the proper dates and do the hotel search. If needed, sort the found Leuven hotels by price, star rating, property type, guest rating, hotel features, hotel theme or hotel chain. Then take a look at the found hotels on Leuven map to estimate the distance from the main Leuven attractions and sights. You can also read the guest reviews of Leuven hotels and see their ratings.

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Hotels of Leuven

A hotel in Leuven is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Leuven hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Leuven are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Leuven hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Leuven hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Leuven have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels in Leuven
An upscale full service hotel facility in Leuven that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Leuven hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels in Leuven
Full service Leuven hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels in Leuven
Boutique hotels of Leuven are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Leuven boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Leuven may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels in Leuven
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Leuven travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Leuven focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels in Leuven
Small to medium-sized Leuven hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Leuven traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Leuven hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs in Leuven
A bed and breakfast in Leuven is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Leuven bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Leuven B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels in Leuven
Leuven hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Leuven hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Leuven
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Leuven hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Leuven lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs in Leuven
Leuven timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Leuven often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Leuven on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels in Leuven
A Leuven motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Leuven for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Leuven motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation in Leuven

Leuven Town Hall
Leuven Town Hall
Flag of Leuven
Coat of arms of Leuven
Coat of arms
Leuven is located in Belgium
Location in Belgium
Coordinates:  / 50.883; 4.700  / 50.883; 4.700
Country Belgium
Community Flanders Flemish Community
Region Flemish Region
Province Flemish Brabant
Arrondissement Leuven
• Mayor Louis Tobback (sp.a)
• Governing party/ies SP.A, CD&V
• Total 56.63 km (21.86 sq mi)
Population (1 January 2016)
• Total 99,288
• Density 1,800/km (4,500/sq mi)
Postal codes 3000, 3001, 3010, 3012, 3018
Area codes 016
Website www.leuven.be

Leuven (Dutch: [ˈløːvə(n)]) or Louvain (French: Louvain, pronounced [luvɛ̃]; German: Löwen; Italian: Lovanio) is the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant in Belgium. It is located about 25 kilometres (16 miles) east of Brussels. The municipality itself comprises the historic city and the former neighboring municipalities of Heverlee, Kessel-Lo, a part of Korbeek-Lo, Wilsele and Wijgmaal. It is the 8th largest city in Belgium and the fourth in Flanders with more than 100,244 inhabitants (Federal Ministry of Home Affairs, 1/11/2016).

Leuven is home to the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, the largest and oldest university of the Low Countries and the oldest Catholic university still in existence. The related university hospital of UZ Leuven is one of the largest hospitals in Europe. The city is also known for being the headquarters of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer and one of the five largest consumer-goods companies in the world.

Leuven: History

Leuven on the Ferraris map (around 1775)
View over Leuven, late 19th century
Destruction of the university library, 1914

The earliest mention of Leuven ("Loven") is from 891, when a Viking army was defeated by the Frankish king Arnulf of Carinthia (see: Battle of Leuven). According to a legend the city's red and white arms depict the blood-stained shores of the river Dyle after this battle.

Situated beside this river, and near to the stronghold of the Dukes of Brabant, Leuven became the most important centre of trade in the duchy between the 11th and 14th centuries. A token of its former importance as a centre of cloth manufacture is shown in that ordinary linen cloth is known in late-14th-century and 15th-century texts as lewyn (other spellings: Leuwyn, Levyne, Lewan(e), Lovanium, Louvain).

In the 15th century a new golden era began with the founding of what is now the largest and oldest university in the Low Countries, the Catholic University of Leuven, in 1425.

In the 18th century the brewery Den Horen (meaning "the horn") flourished. In 1708 Sebastien Artois became the master brewer at Den Horen, and gave his name to the brewery in 1717, now part of AB InBev, whose flagship beer, Stella Artois, is brewed in Leuven and sold in many countries.

Leuven has several times been besieged or occupied by foreign armies; these include the Battle of Leuven (891), Siege of Leuven (1635) and Battle of Leuven (1831).

Both world wars in the 20th century inflicted major damage upon the city. Upon Germany's entry into World War I, the town was heavily damaged by rampaging soldiers. In all, about 300 civilians lost their lives. The university library was also destroyed on 25 August 1914, using petrol and incendiary pastilles. 230,000 volumes were lost in the destruction, including Gothic and Renaissance manuscripts, a collection of 750 medieval manuscripts, and more than 1,000 incunabula (books printed before 1501). The destruction of the library shocked the world, with the Daily Chronicle describing it as war not only against civilians but also against "posterity to the utmost generation." It was rebuilt after the war, and much of the collection was replaced. Great Britain (on the initiative of the John Rylands Library, Manchester) and the United States were major providers of material for the replenishment of the collection. The new library building was financed by the National Committee of the United States for the Restoration of the University of Louvain and built to the design of architect Whitney Warren; it was officially opened on 4 July 1928. Richard Harding Davis, a war correspondent for the New York Tribune, was in Leuven (or Louvain, in Davis' account) and wrote a column titled "The Germans Were Like Men After an Orgy" in which he described the organized civilian murders and vandalism committed by the occupying troops.

In World War II, after the start of the German offensive, Leuven formed part of the British Expeditionary Force's front line and was defended by units of the 3rd Division and Belgian troops. From 14 to 16 May 1940, the German Army Group B assaulted the city with heavy air and artillery support. The British withdrew their forces to the River Senne on the night of 16 May and the town was occupied the next day. The new university library building was set on fire by shelling on 16 May and nearly a million books were lost.

Leuven: Climate

Climate data for Leuven (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 5.9
Daily mean °C (°F) 3.2
Average low °C (°F) 0.5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 70.5
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 12.6 10.9 12.9 9.9 11.3 10.7 10.4 10.2 10.6 11.1 11.9 12.7 135.2
Mean monthly sunshine hours 56 74 119 170 202 197 210 200 143 118 63 46 1,597
Source: KMI/IRM

Leuven: Economy

Given the presence of the KULeuven, an important European institution for academic research and education, much of the local economy is concentrated on spin-offs from academic research. There are several biotech and ICT companies; Gasthuisberg (nl), the academic hospital and research centre and a large number of private service providers in the medical and legal fields.

Because it is the capital of the region of Flemish-Brabant, many governmental institutions are located in Leuven, as well as the regional headquarters of transport corporations such as De Lijn. As the largest and one of the oldest Flemish cities in the immediate vicinity, with a large range of cafés, restaurants, cultural institutions and shopping neighbourhoods, Leuven also attracts people from nearby cities and villages.

Leuven is the worldwide headquarters of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the largest beer company in the world. InBev's Stella Artois brewery and main offices dominate the entire north-eastern part of the town, between the railway station and the canal to Mechelen.

Leuven: Demographics

As of 1/11/2016, the population of Leuven was 100,244. The arrondissement of Leuven counted 494,189 in 2014.

The city itself is made up out of the center of Leuven (30,313), Kessel-Lo (29,147), Heverlee (22,521), Wilsele (9,786) and Wijgmaal (3,592).

Leuven: Student population

Nowadays Leuven has a large student population, mainly concentrated around the city centre. The Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven; University of Leuven) is the oldest Catholic university still in existence in the world, and the largest university in Belgium. There are also a number of hogescholen (technical universities, literally translated: "high schools"), such as the KHLeuven (the Catholic High School Leuven).

Leuven: Transport

Within the city and its immediate surroundings most distances can be covered on foot or with a bicycle. Several streets are off-limits to vehicle traffic and within the city centre road speed regulations prescribe 30 km/h (19 mph) as the maximum speed limit, making it a pedestrian and bicycle-friendly city. There are also a few car parking lots.

There are numerous buses, primarily from the public transport company De Lijn, that connect the city with the region while providing travel options within the city center. The so-called Ringbus follows the ring road of the city. Except for long distance routes (such as to other cities) and other irregular bus services, most buses come by every 10 minutes. Buses 616, 652 and 651 connect Leuven with Brussels Airport.

Leuven railway station is located on the NMBS railway lines 35 (Leuven - Aarschot - Hasselt), 36 (Brussels - Liège), 36N (Schaarbeek - Leuven), 53 (Schellebelle - Leuven), and 139 (Leuven - Ottignies). In Bierbeek, south-west of Leuven, lies the beginning of HSL 2, the high-speed railway towards Liège.

Leuven: Politics

Leuven: Mayor

The current mayor of Leuven is Louis Tobback, a socialist prominent on the national level, formerly minister of internal affairs and leader of the socialist faction in the lower chamber of the Belgian parliament, among other positions held. The governing coalition consists of SP.A (16 out of 45 seats in the municipal council) and CD&V (9 seats). The opposition is composed of N-VA (9 seats), Groen! (7 seats), open VLD (3 seats) and Vlaams Belang (1 seat).

Leuven: Culture

One of Belgium's finest conservatories is based in Leuven: the Lemmens Institute, which is described as "Faculty of Music, Performing Arts and Education". It is known for its Music Therapy Education and its Wordart-Drama Education.

Leuven is well known for its summer rock festival, Marktrock. The main football club of the municipality is Oud-Heverlee Leuven, successor of K. Stade Leuven. The city's prime basketball team are the Leuven Bears. They play their home games in the SportOase. Leuven also has some orchestras, such as the famous Arenberg Orchestra (nl). The Cyclocross Leuven is a cyclo-cross race held in January.

In September 2009 the 'M - Museum Leuven' opened in Leuven. It is a museum for both contemporary and historical art located near het Ladeuzeplein. It has hosted exhibitions by international artists such as Angus Fairhurst, Sol LeWitt, Roe Ethridge and Charles Burns as well as Belgian artists like Ilse D'Hollander, Jan Vercruysse, Antoon Van Dyck and Freek Wambacq.

Leuven also has a rich beer culture, being the birthplace of several beers such as Stella Artois, Leuvense Tripel, Domus and Keizersberg. It also has several bars priding themselves in offering a wide variety of local and international beers, including a bar that claims to offer more than 3000 different beers.

The Higher Institute of Philosophy is famous worldwide for the archives of the German philosopher Edmund Husserl.

Leuven: Buildings and landmarks

  • The Town Hall, built by Sulpitius van Vorst (nl), Jan II Keldermans, and, after both of them died, Matheus de Layens between 1439 and 1463 in a Brabantian late-Gothic style. In the 19th century, 236 statues were added to the exterior, each representing a prominent local scholar, artist or noble from the city’s history. The reception hall dates from 1750.
  • The St. Peter's Church (1425–1500) was finished by Jan Keldermans and Matheus de Layens. During the Second World War the church was damaged; during the restoration a Romanesque crypt from the 11th century was found. In the church itself there are several paintings from the 15th to 18th centuries (among which, Dirk Bouts' famous painting of the last supper) and the grave of Duke Henry I of Brabant. The 50-metre-high tower - which was meant to be 169 metres high, but was never completed - is home to a carillon. The tower was included in UNESCO's list of Belfries of Belgium and France in 1999.
  • Saint-Anthony's Chapel, Pater Damiaanplein, from the 17th to the 20th centuries, contains the tomb of Father Damien, the "leper priest" of Molokai, who was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday 11 October 2009. The Catholic Encyclopedia calls him "the Apostle of the Lepers", and elsewhere he is known as the "leper priest". The Catholic priest's remains were returned in Belgium with great fanfare in 1936, after having been originally buried on the Hawaiian Island of Molokai where he had served the outcast lepers until his death.
  • The Linen-hall, in an early-Gothic style, with baroque addition, is today the University Hall.
  • The Church of Saint Michael was built in the typical Jesuit Baroque Style.
  • The Church of Saint Quinten incorporates remains of a Romanesque church built in the 13th century.
  • The University Library on the Ladeuzeplein was built by the American architect Whitney Warren. It was a gift from the American people to Leuven after World War I, during which the Germans burned down the original library. The tower houses one of the largest carillons in the world.
  • Totem is a statue at the centre of the Ladeuzeplein; it is a work of the Belgian artist Jan Fabre. Featuring a 23-metre-high needle impaling a giant jewelled beetle, the statue towers over the square in front of the university library.
  • There is a neo-Romanesque Abbey on the Keizersberg ("Emperor's Mountain"), where there once stood a 12th-century ducal castle, which was demolished in the 17th Century.
  • The Large Beguinage is one of the world's best remaining examples of its architectural type. It was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1998.
  • There are several other smaller churches and chapels throughout the town.
  • "Fonske" is a statue near the centre of town. Its full name is Fons Sapientiae, Latin for "fountain of wisdom". The statue represents a university student who, while reading a book, lets wisdom flow into his head as liquid from a glass. Just like Manneken Pis in Brussels, Fonske is, from time to time, dressed in costumes appropriate for specific occasions.
  • The 'Oude Markt' or "Old Market" square located in the center of Leuven features a vibrant social scene the center of which displays a lifesize statue of 'De Kotmadam', or "The Landlady" resting on a bench.
  • Lerkeveld is a famous Jesuit abbey, and headquarters of the Jesuits in Belgium.
  • St Anthony's College, Leuven was located in the city, on Pater Damiaanplein. The Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe is now located on the premises.
  • Sint-Donatus Park contains remains of the medieval city wall

Leuven: Notable people from Leuven

Leuven: Born in Leuven

  • Most Dukes of Brabant in the 12th and 13th centuries
  • Maria of Brabant, queen consort of France (1256–1321)
  • Louis Elsevier, book publisher (1540–1617)
  • Quentin Matsys, painter (1466–1530)
  • Petrus van der Aa, jurist (1530–1594)
  • Valerio Profondavalle, painter (b. 1533)
  • Adriaan van Roomen, mathematician (1561–1615)
  • Charles de Bériot, violinist (1802–1870)
  • Eugène Prévinaire, (1805–1877), second governor of the National Bank of Belgium
  • Laurent-Guillaume de Koninck, palaeontologist and chemist (1809–1887)
  • Jean Stas, analytical chemist (1813–1891)
  • Bernardine Hamaekers, (1836–1912), opera singer
  • Arthur De Greef, pianist and composer (1862–1940)
  • Jean Hissette, ophthalmologist (1888-1965)
  • Hortense Clews World War II Resistance worker and concentration camp survivor (b. 1926)
  • Arthur Berckmans, comics author (b. 1929)
  • Mark Eyskens, politician and former Prime Minister of Belgium (b. 1933)
  • Jan Hoet, curator, art critic (b. 1936)
  • Louis Tobback, politician and mayor (b. 1938)
  • Emiel Puttemans, middle- and long-distance runner (b. 1947)
  • Jaak Pijpen (nl), media personality (b. 1952)
  • Frank Vandenbroucke, politician (b. 1955)
  • Martin Margiela, fashion designer (b. 1957)
  • Didier de Radiguès, professional motorsports competitor (b. 1958)
  • Thomas Meuwissen, violinmaker (b. 1966)
  • Bruno Bosteels, philosopher, known for English translations of Alain Badiou (b. 1967)
  • Kim Gevaert, sprint athlete, Olympic gold medalist in 4×100 relay Beijing 2008 (Silver -> Gold after Russian DQ) (b. 1978)
  • Jonathan Vandenbroeck, singer-songwriter, better known as Milow (b. 1981)
  • Dries Mertens, footballer (b. 1987)
  • Selah Sue, musician and songwriter (b. 1989)

Leuven: Lived in Leuven

  • Jean Baptiste Abbeloos, orientalist and rector of the University of Leuven (1836–1906)
  • Adrian VI, pope and theologian (1459–1523)
  • Michel Baius, theologian (1513–1589)
  • Dirk Bouts, painter (c. 1410/20-1475)
  • Eustace Chapuys, Imperial ambassador to England (1489–1556)
  • Matheus de Layens, architect (d.1483)
  • Koenraad Elst
  • Desiderius Erasmus, humanist and theologian (1466–1536)
  • Cornelius Jansen, father of Jansenism (1585–1638)
  • Jean-Baptiste Janssens, philosophy teacher, Superior General of the Society of Jesus (1889–1964)
  • Georges Lemaître, astronomer (1894–1966)
  • Christian de Duve, cytologist and biochemist, recipient of the 1974 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine (b. 1917)
  • Abdul Qadeer Khan, metallurgical engineer (b. 1935)
  • Daniël Theys, expressive artist and glassmaker (b. 1953)
  • Ron Lewis, basketball player (b. 1984)
  • Justus Lipsius, philologist and humanist (1547–1606)
  • Mícheál Ó Cléirigh, Irish chronicler (1590–1643)
  • Jan Van der Roost, composer (b. 1956)
  • Philip Verheyen, surgeon and rector of the University of Leuven (1648–1711)
  • Andreas Vesalius, anatomist, physician (1514–1564)
  • Gerardus Mercator, Flemish cartographer (1512–1594)
  • Johannes Basius, agent and advisor of William of Orange (1540-1596)

Leuven: International relations

Leuven: Twin towns/sister cities

Leuven is twinned with:

  • Netherlands 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
  • Poland Kraków, Poland
  • Germany Lüdenscheid, Germany
  • France Rennes, France
  • Taiwan Tainan, Taiwan

Leuven: Friendly relations

Aside from the aforementioned cities, Leuven has friendly relations with:

  • South Africa Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • Romania Cristian, Romania

Leuven: References

  1. Population per municipality as of 1 January 2016 (XLS; 397 KB)
  2. "History of KU Leuven". kuleuven.be.
  3. "Blaeu Atlas (UCLA Library – YRL Reference and Instructional Services)". Library.ucla.edu. 2 April 2003. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
  4. Fodor's Travel Publications, Inc (January 2009). Fodor's Belgium. Fodor's Travel Publications. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-4000-0881-0.
  5. Michael S. Neiberg, Fighting the Great War: A Global History, Harvard University Press, 2005. p. 15.
  6. Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1922). "Louvain". Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.). London & New York.
  7. Kramer, Alan (2008). Dynamic Of Destruction, Culture and mass killing in the first world war. Penguin. ISBN 9781846140136.
  8. Gibson, Craig (30 January 2008). "The culture of destruction in the First World War". Times Literary Supplement. Retrieved 18 February 2008.
  9. Knuth 2006, p. 164.
  10. Tuchman 1962, p. 321.
  11. The burning of the library of Leuven and the international response, Mark Derez, 2012, University Archives KU Leuven (pp. 9-12)
  12. https://wwi.lib.byu.edu/index.php/The_Burning_of_Louvain
  13. *Ellis, L. F. (1954) The War in France and Flanders 1939–1940. J. R. M. Butler (ed.). HMSO. London (p. 62)
  14. Derez p. 13
  15. "Climate data Leuven" (PDF). KMI/IRM. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  16. arenbergorkest.ulyssis.be (in Dutch)
  17. "‘Apostle of the Lepers,’ Spanish mystic among 10 to be canonized". Catholic News Agency. www.catholicnewsagency.com. Retrieved 21 July 2010.
  18. "Pope Proclaims Five New Saints". Radio Vaticana. Retrieved 21 July 2010.
  19. Wikisource-logo.svg Boeynaems, Libert H. (1913). "Father Damien (Joseph de Veuster)". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  20. "Kraków - Miasta Bliźniacze" [Kraków - Twin Cities]. Miejska Platforma Internetowa Magiczny Kraków (in Polish). Archived from the original on 2 July 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2013.

Leuven: Bibliography

See also: Bibliography of the history of Leuven
  • "Louvain", chapter from George Wharton Edwards's 1911 book, Some Old Flemish Towns. (Wikisource)
  • Knuth, Rebecca (2006). Burning Books and Leveling Libraries: Extremist Violence and Cultural Destruction. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.
  • Tuchman, Barbara (1962). The Guns of August. New York: Macmillan.
  • Official website
  • Detailed map of Leuven (detailed map of Leuven by the KUL)
  • Streets worldwide named after Leuven, zoomable
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