I come to Leuven and take with me.

Re-invent Leuven is an online community to which people who are new in Leuven can contribute stories about their passions and the things they would like to share in Leuven society. Whether you’re from Benin, Blankenbergen or Berlin, you are welcome to share your ideas. From poetry to paintball and from cooking to calligraphy, sharing your passions with others can help to make Leuven your ideal society.

Who lives in Leuven?

Positive attitude

63% percent of the population has a positive attitude towards diversity, which means that over one third of the population still claims to have a negative attitude. Even though there is still a long way to go for Leuven, the city populated by student scores the highest percentage of positive attitudes of all major cities in Flanders.

Top 10 non-Belgians in Leuven

About: Dutch

“Most Dutch immigrants in Leuven are students. Dutch students choose to study in Belgium because of the low university expenses and the appealing bachelor and master programs. Most Dutch students study medicine in Leuven.”

People of Leuven

Yohandys came from Cuba to Belgium to obtain his master’s degree in physics at the KU Leuven. He enjoys living in Leuven and sees a lot of similarities between Leuven and the city he comes from. However the one thing he really misses is playing Cuba’s national sport, baseball. He reminisces about summer days in the Cuban streets, spontaneously engaging in baseball matches between teams of people from the neighbourhood.

Pol (28) comes from the Mediterranean city of Thessaloniki and studies social and cultural anthropology at the KU Leuven. Back in hot and dry Greece, his big passion is... snowboarding. He knows that sounds weird, but actually it does make sense. (listen) He goes on snowboard holiday in the snowy Greek mountains ever since he was 13 years old. Now that he studies in flat and rainy Belgium, he misses that time. He would like to snowboard here too, but unfortunately that’s not possible.
Snowboard documentary

Jens is a 22 year old student from Holland. If there is one thing he misses in Leuven it’s Pindakaas. “It is like peanut butter” he says, “but totally different”. He is waiting for the ‘Albert Hein’, a dutch supermarket to open in Leuven. “When the supermarket opens its doors I will no longer have to take so many jars in my baggage from Holland, they’re very heavy”. Jens would like to share his love for Pindakaas with all members of Leuven society. “Tasting Pindakaas is something I wish for everyone to experience, it’s like heaven”.

Limin studies economics and management in Brussels and lives in Leuven since 4 years. She is from the north of China, being a long way from home is always difficult but Limin really enjoys her life in Belgium. She says she even likes it better in Leuven, though there is one thing she would like to change.

listen here what she wants to change

This is Roshan from Nepal, he lives in Leuven since 2006. He studies kineology and often helps his parents in their restaurant. “In Nepal everyone knows each other, speaks to each other and celebrates together. In Leuven it is not like this, here it is all work and not much play ” says Rohan. During the eastern holidays Rohan will celebrate the Nepalese New Year. He and his friends organized a party for people to come together at his parents house to eat, socialize and listen to Nepalese and Bollywood music. “I would like non-Nepalese people to join us in celebrations, actually I would like to get to know a lot more non-Nepalese people. I don't even know my neighbors“.

Francesco is an Italian with a love for traditional food. He came to Belgium in 1973. Francesco says it’s not easy to introduce new Italian dishes in Belgium. First, people have to get used to the ‘unknown’ tastes and learn to eat the typical specialities. That’s what he tries to do in his restaurant in the Muntstraat, Pepenero. Sometimes a dish works, sometimes it doesn’t.” Most Belgian people think Italians only eat pasta and pizza, but this is of course not the case. Francesco tries to get rid of this cliché. Francesco likes going back to Italy on vacation, enjoy la vita bella and the sun. But his life is situated here in Belgium. “I feel more Belgian, than Italian.”

Hector on Vimeo.

Heb je al zo iemand gevonden?
Iemand die niet alleen mee naar zee gaat
Maar er ook met je in gaat
Niet om mee te zwemmen
Maar om je te redden
Wanneer je krachten wankelen
En de golven winnen
Heb je zo iemand al gevonden?
Iemand die je 360 graden omarmt
En een totale aanwezigheid schenkt
Als de zwaluwen in de winter
Iemand als de aarde om je te omarmen
Wanneer je dreigt te verdwalen
Iemand die als kompas altijd oriënteert op “Ik ben hier voor jou”
Zo iemand moet je zijn.

Hector Zanvo (English version)

Hector was only four years old when he fell in love with poetry. It all started back in Benin with his mother telling him stories and reading him poems. That’s how he developed his passion. When he came to Leuven three years ago, he immediately engaged in learning Dutch. Now he’s doing a master in psychology. When he feels lonely, he can express his feelings in poems. Hector made over a hundred poems in French and Dutch. That he doesn’t know every Dutch word, doesn’t bother him. “It is not about the amount of words you know, it’s about knowing how to express yourself with the little words you know.”