Leuven and Surrounding Areas
The City of Leuven
The city of Leuven first appeared in historical documents in the year 884 as a Roman settlement. During the Middle Ages the area became home to the Counts of Leuven and developed into an important administrative and commercial centre.
In 1425 the renowned University of Leuven was founded and to this day remains the most important centre of higher education in Belgium, one of the leading universities in the world and number 1 in Europe for innovation for four consecutive years.
Leuven, today, positions itself as a top destination in health, high-tech and creativity, strengthening the region’s economy and ecosystem. It is home to several world-renowned knowledge institutes and leading global companies.
EU Quarter Brussels
With a short commute into neighbouring Brussels, Leuven provides easy access to decision makers and policy formulation in the European Union.
The EU Quarter, in the centre of the Belgium capital, is home to the European Institutions, including the European Parliament, European Commission and European Council.
The area is a centre of political activity with embassies, interest representation organisations, business and business associations, NGOs, journalists and lobbyists engaging on a daily basis to promote their activities and influence EU laws.
Just outside the city, the newly-opened NATO European Headquarters provide an addition to their local bases at Mons and Geilenkirchen where study visits are welcomed.
In North East Belgium, the horrors of the First World War scar the landscape, which acts as a reminder of the futile conflict one hundred years ago and serves as a warning to those who visit that such loss of life and destruction should never happen again.
Over the past 100 years the community in Flanders, and in particular around the Ieper Salient, has worked hard to remember the fallen and the young soldiers, from both sides, who gave their lives between 1914 and 1918.
Today, programmes organised by the Irish College Leuven bring students to the Salient and arrange visits to local museums and education centres, former battlefields and preserved archaeological sites, and cemeteries and memorials.
The College is also within easy reach of the Somme, France, and day visits to this area can also be included in a programme.
Within a 100 kilometre radius of Leuven, and a little over one hour's drive, five countries can be reached. Each of these countries has a unique offering that can be included in a tailor-made programme.
There are opportunities for groups to visit other towns in Belgium such as Ghent, Antwerp and Bruges. In Germany, study visits can include the destinations of Aachen and Köln. In The Netherlands, there is easy access to Eindhoven, Rotterdam and Maastricht. While in France the cities of Lille, Reims and Dunkirk are within easy reach. An Excursion is also possible to Luxembourg to visit other European Institutions and one of Europe’s leading financial centres.
Programme content designed by the Irish College Leuven stretches well into Europe and our wide network of connections provide the latest developments and integration in all policy areas.