The city of Leuven, only 25 kilometres east of Brussels, thrives as a bustling student town with a strong international allure. Leuven has 150,000 inhabitants of which almost 50,000 students. More than 170 different nationalities call Leuven home. The city is known for the KU Leuven – the oldest university of the Low Countries (°1425) and according to Reuters newspaper the most innovative in Europe – and for its beer, as it is the home town of Stella Artois.
With a vibrant culture, arts and heritage and more than 300 organisations providing a wide range of activities there is never a dull moment in Leuven. The M Museum for example boasts many renowned exhibitions and masterpieces from Dieric Bouts to Rogier van der Weyden. 30CC, the city cultural centre, hosts a wide, varied and qualitative programme in performing arts. Tweebronnen, built by the renowned architect Henri Van de Velde is home to the public library and archives. STUK, the arts centre, focuses on dance, image and sound. Music is heard all year around at Het Depot, a venue offering from classic to rock and pop. OPEK, the independent art centre in the Vaartkom is a dynamic creative space. All these organisations connect strongly in creating and presenting a lively cultural scene.
Leuven’s rich history is visible in cultural, architectural and industrial heritage. The city believes in re-activating this heritage via co-creation. It also offers affordable spaces for entrepreneurship and creativity, such as the HAL 5, the Comenius, the Vaartkom, and the Park Abbey. The Grand Béguinage of Leuven, a well preserved historical quarter, is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Leuven recently became the European Capital of Innovation. It is a mission-driven city that excels through inspiring governance models and by involving its people to innovate and to participate in critical decision-making processes.
Leuven MindGate is an important programme that underscores Leuven as one of the world’s prime regions for health, high-tech and creativity. It creates a perfect breeding ground for companies, entrepreneurs, investors and talent, with the ‘And summit and festival’ as an important bi-annual international event.
The key to this vibrant Leuven soul? Partnership. Known as the ‘Leuven Model’, local authority, knowledge institutions, citizens, companies all work towards a better future, with all, and for all.