Louvain-la-Neuve was originally built as a student town to accommodate its flourishing university community back in the early 1970s. However, surrounded by beautiful countryside, it offers an excellent standard of living to all who choose to reside there.
Louvain-la-Neuve has a lot to offer both expats and locals choosing to live there.
1. Louvain-la-Neuve is a young and lively city
Louvain-la-Neuve, derived from the French for New Leuven, was a city originally founded with the sole purpose of housing students at the Université Catholique de Louvain. Construction began in 1968, with its first inhabitants arriving in 1972, principally there to attend the university.
A pedestrian city in the heart of Belgium, its modern and multicultural atmosphere draws visitors to stroll around and enjoy the culture and amenities that entertain both the student and working population alike. With a population of 31,000 inhabitants, two urban centres, a science park, and many other important infrastructures, it’s an increasingly popular location for young families and professionals.
2. Louvain la Neuve welcomes diversity
Nowadays, the city draws a community that is diverse, rich and varied. Louvain la Neuve is split into five districts: Biéreau, Lauzelle, Hocaille, Bruyères, and Baraque.
There is something for everyone in Biéreau, ranging from attracting prospective undergraduate scientists who flock to study at the faculties of science, applied sciences and agricultural sciences, to those who enjoy the lively Rue de Wallons, which has a variety of well-priced bars and restaurants. It’s an exciting area to live in with many concerts taking place annually at the Ferme du Biéreau. The district is even home to a famous microbrewery serving authentic Belgian beer.
Conveniently located just 10 minutes’ walk from the city centre, this district is located in the North East of Louvain-la-Neuve and is easy to reach by car. Attracting both students and young professionals, there is the well-known Urban Garden which provides an oasis of peaceful tranquillity amongst the hustle and bustle of city life. Culture vultures can get their fix at the Hergé museum, famed for its grand displays of comic books.
In contrast to much of the city, the Hocaille district is well suited to those looking for a slower, more relaxed pace of life. It houses a large sports centre that accommodates both athletes and fitness enthusiasts with an extensive variety of sporting activities. For those looking for the more refined things in life, there are several excellent restaurants located in Hocaille and a lake that provides an oasis of tranquillity while walking off the excess.
Bruyères plays host to the largest non-student population of Louvain-la-Neuve where many families choose to raise their families. Its green and pedestrian areas also attract the university’s post graduates who are seeking more space in their living surroundings. It’s located close by the lake, where many people enjoy a hot summer’s day relaxing – but the city centre is a mere ten minutes’ walk so Bruyères is not synonymous with living like a recluse.
This artsy and semi-alternative district located a 15 minute walk away from the city centre is derived from the original hamlet that existed before the creation of Louvain-la-Neuve, and is the oldest of the five boroughs. Baraque, home to many of the city’s artists (musicians, sculptors, photographers) is full of life and has an architecturally interesting look which is focused on environmentally recycled products. Communal gardens and vegetable patches and farm pets (goats, chicken) abound in Baraque, which is a real community-oriented neighbourhood.
3. Louvain-la-Neuve perfectly mixes business and pleasure
From its early beginnings of housing students, Louvain-la-Neuve has become a cultural hotspot for both working professionals and young families alike. It’s a well-planned city with a large shopping centre, sports complex, and bars and restaurants, all while being a stone’s throw from the greenery and peaceful surroundings of the woods and lake. With currently almost 30,000 students who attend the Université Catholique de Louvain, it comes as no surprise that many who graduate choose to stay in Louvain la Neuve and enjoy the excitement and tranquillity alike.
A quick train ride away from Brussels Schuman station and a hop away from Brussels National airport, Louvain-la-Neuve offers all the quality of life of the countryside without sacrificing easy access to the capital – or the rest of the world. It has an excellent public transportation network, and is also conveniently located 30 km southeast of Brussels, making it an attractive choice for the international commuter.
The LLN Science Park, which is over 231 hectares is divided into four zones: Einstein, Fleming, Athena and Monnet. It hosts 272 companies and 6,429 jobs in sectors such as life sciences, engineering, fine chemicals, information, communication and green technology.