9 Reasons Why You Should Move to Leuven

Welcome to the enchanting city of Leuven, where history, culture, and vibrant urban living converge. We have summarised 9 compelling reasons to pack your bags and embark on a new chapter of your life!

International House Leuven
10 January 2024

1. The Best of Both Worlds

While Leuven's proximity to Brussels allows for easy access to the capital's bustling energy and opportunities, it also provides a refreshing escape to a city with a more relaxed pace, cleaner air, and a stronger sense of community. You can enjoy the cultural scene and excellent amenities, while also benefiting from the tranquility and green spaces. Leuven strikes the perfect balance, allowing you to savor the advantages of Brussels while embracing a higher quality of life in a city that feels like home.

2. Internationally Oriented

Leuven offers a vibrant and diverse international community. It houses companies such as IMEC and INBEV and one of the top universities in Belgium, KU Leuven (ranking #13 in all of Europe!). Thanks to this, you can find students, researchers and expats from all over the world. The city's multicultural atmosphere fosters connections, promotes understanding, and enriches your experience in this welcoming hub. In 2023 Leuven hosts a total of 166 nationalities!

And, of course, in Leuven there is an international welcome/community center, the International House Leuven! We are here to answer all of your questions about life in Leuven and to help you find a community. Come see us soon!

3. Geographically central location

Situated in the heart of Belgium, Leuven serves as an excellent geographic base for discovering the country. Thanks to its efficient transportation network, Leuven offers convenient access to various cities and attractions throughout Belgium. Whether you prefer day trips or weekend getaways, Leuven's strategic position allows you to easily explore the diverse regions and cultural treasures that Belgium has to offer.

4. Historic Splendor

Leuven boasts a rich history that dates back to the Middle Ages, and its architectural wonders beautifully reflect its past. Wander through the cobblestone streets and marvel at the iconic landmark, the Gothic-style Town Hall (Stadhuis). The stunning architecture continues with the UNESCO-listed Groot Begijnhof, St. Peter's Church and the renowned University Library. Living in Leuven means being surrounded by centuries of history, creating a unique atmosphere that enchants residents every day.

5. Prestigious Academic Institutions

Home to one of Europe's oldest and most respected universities, KU Leuven, the city attracts a diverse community of students, researchers, and academics from around the world. The university's reputation for academic excellence ensures a stimulating intellectual environment and numerous opportunities for personal and professional growth. Leuven was even ranked the most innovative city in Europe in 2020!

6. Cosmopolitan Cultural Scene

Despite its modest size, Leuven offers a vibrant cultural landscape that rivals that of larger cities. The city hosts a multitude of festivals, concerts, and exhibitions throughout the year, catering to all tastes and interests. From the internationally acclaimed Leuven Jazz Festival to the vibrant Leuven Beer Month, there is always something exciting happening. Moreover, Leuven's diverse population ensures a rich multicultural experience, with various cuisines, art galleries, and theaters to explore.

7. Very Bike Friendly

The city's well-developed cycling infrastructure and (flat) ish terrain make it a haven for bike enthusiasts. Whether you're commuting to work, running errands, or simply going for a ride for fun, you'll find yourself seamlessly blending into the city's cycling culture. Embracing the bicycle as your primary mode of transportation not only promotes a healthy lifestyle but also allows you to fully experience the city at a pleasant pace.

8. Culinary Delights

From cozy cafés serving delectable waffles and chocolates to traditional Flemish beer houses offering an extensive selection of brews, the city is a food lover's paradise. Indulge in hearty Belgian cuisine, sample local craft beers, and explore the vibrant food markets to satisfy your taste buds. Did you know Leuven has the longest bar in Europe? Nowhere else you will find more bars next to each other than at the Oude Markt! If you are looking for some fine dining in the city, you can dine in one of Leuven’s many Michelin stars restaurants. Still not convinced? Well then come to the yearly food festival, Hapje Tapje, after joining the rest of the town for good eats and drink you’ll be loving to Leuven in no time!

9. Shopping Scene

It might be unexpected, but lots of people come to shop in Leuven and the city has many options for sustainable shopping and vintage clothing. There's also weekend markets people enjoy shopping at. Evenmore, the first Sunday of every month is “shopping Sunday” where a lot of shops are open from 1 pm to 6 pm.

Leuven was ranked in the top five best European destinations in 2022. And that whilst it was up against some of the more ‘mainstream’ cities such as London and Rome! Plus, the city consistently ranks among the top cities in Belgium and Europe for its exceptional quality of life. With its efficient public transportation system, high standard of healthcare, and commitment to sustainability, the city is designed to make residents' lives comfortable. If you have any questions about living in Leuven, the International House Leuven is here for you.

Have we convinced you that Leuven is the best!? Then make sure to check out our activities page because we have monthly Welcome to Leuven events (in-person and online) so you can ask all of your questions about Leuven. We also have regular webinars/info sessions on renting and buying a home in Leuven.

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This page was last updated on: 14 March 2024