Academic heritage

From the collection of Antarctic researcher and UHasselt emeritus Tony Van Autenboer to the hundreds of scale models, old scientific instruments, and animal collections in the numerous cabinets and display cases. Countless objects at UHasselt have their own remarkable stories.

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Treasures in UHasselt cabinets

While UHasselt may be a young university, we are certainly old enough to have heritage. Numerous objects showcase compelling developments in scientific research and education at our university.

Academic heritage is a very broad term. The objects are as diverse as the wide range of disciplines practiced at UHasselt: from collections of minerals, herbaria, and architectural scale models to various scientific measuring instruments...

Objects that illustrate the history of UHasselt also belong to the academic heritage. Think of the attributes of student associations (caps, banners, songbooks...) or flags showing the various UHasselt and LUC logos throughout the years. Additionally, deep-rooted traditions, such as the annual student elections or the regatta, are part of our intangible DNA.

Academic heritage in your rooms or cabinets? Let us know!


Registering = preserving and validating

Whether these items are related to inspiring education, innovative research, or student experience, numerous unique objects embody the collective memory of our university. By mapping this academic heritage, we can better preserve these pieces and the stories they tell. In addition, the systematic inventorying of our heritage offers an excellent opportunity to make our collections more accessible to a wider audience. Indeed, we believe that all these fascinating stories are worth sharing: with UHasselt staff and current and former students, but also more broadly with our friends and supporters in Limburg and the academic community at large.

The University Library represents UHasselt in the interuniversity working group dedicated to the registration, dissemination, and valuation of academic heritage at the five Flemish universities. In the coming years, like our colleagues in Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent, and Leuven, we will systematically inventory and make accessible the academic heritage of our university, in first instance through a digital platform.

Anyone who has UHasselt heritage stored away can help us in this challenging venture. Items of interest potentially include mementos from your student days, dusty measuring instruments, or brand-new equipment that you recently used for groundbreaking research. Let us know because today's high-tech is tomorrow's academic heritage. The only condition is that the objects are managed by the university.

To be clear, we do not intend to remove the heritage from their homes in your faculty or research group. We would, however, be delighted to come by and learn the stories behind your collections, gain a general overview of the heritage objects, and describe the collection.

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Highlighted collections

Currently, we are still actively searching for all the unique objects in the cabinets of faculties and institutes, and the fascinating stories they embody. Some collections have already been partially mapped out. While awaiting a more comprehensive overview, we highlight a few collections below.

Antarctic wall ('Antarcticamuur')

Where Wise Men Dare Not Tread is the name given to the Antarctic Wall at UHasselt's X-LAB, a permanent exhibition on the Diepenbeek campus dedicated to polar explorers Barons Adrien and Gaston de Gerlache, as well as UHasselt Professor Emeritus Tony Van Autenboer. The Antarctic Wall showcases unique instruments, photos, and documents provided by Tony Van Autenboer and other donors. Van Autenboer himself was a geologist and led four expeditions to the South Pole between 1957 and 1970. During one of these expeditions, Van Autenboer explored Dronning Maud Land in the Sor Rondane region, which was then the last undiscovered major mountain range on our planet and later became the site of the Princess Elisabeth Station.

Organ museum ('Orgaanmuseum')

In UHasselt's Organ Museum, you will become acquainted with the human body and organs. Pathologist-anatomist Johan Van Robays assembled the collection over a period of more than three decades. This museum, located in the Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences, is a didactic treasure for students in medicine, biomedical sciences, and rehabilitation sciences.


During their medical studies at UHasselt, students have the opportunity to utilize osteological materials to gain a better 3D understanding of the structure of the human body. The osteological materials were regularly acquired in India during the 1970s by Prof. Dr. W. Robbrechts and Prof. Dr. J. Cremers. Nowadays, such materials can no longer be acquired from India due to the ban on the export of human remains that was put into effect in 1986.


The X-Lab focuses on exploratory and groundbreaking interdisciplinary cross-over research. The collection includes an impressive range of classic measuring devices, calculators, projectors, and personal computers.

Academic heritage in your rooms or cabinets? Let us know!