"Last year, during my #hosteltrip, I stopped in the lovely Leuven and instantly fell in love with this vibrant city. Obviously, there’s the gorgeous gothic Town Hall, the University Library, and the star of the show, Museum M, but you can’t forget about all the great little pubs scattered around this university city.
Leuven also has an enormous offering of fabulous activities to do throughout the year. The absolute eye-catcher every year is “Het Groot Verlof” (Summer in Leuven). This is a summer full of headliners and festival food. Soaking up the culture and gobbling down culinary delights. Stretched out in the city park or bellied up to the family bar. Of course, Leuven has much more in store than just this.
In recent days, I contacted the employees at Visit Leuven, among others, for information. I asked them to tell you why you absolutely must come to Leuven in 2017! And here is what they had to say."
In ’17, the Artefact thematic exhibition and festival will be immersed in magic & myth. Contemporary art, technology, society, and science will meld into something truly fascinating from 21 February to 9 March. You can find more information here.
2. Leuven Jazz
From 18 to 26 March, some of the biggest names in international jazz, including Avishai Cohen, Sun Ra Arkestra, and Chassol, will be descending upon Leuven. Book your tickets here.
3. Shop till you drop
If you’re on the lookout for a new outfit, then Leuven is the place to be. The best spot to shop till you drop is in the Diestestraat. You’ll find a lot of store branches, major chains, and great little thrift shops. There are also tons of shopping opportunities in the Bondgenotenlaan, Tiensestraat, Munstraat, Naamsestraat, Oude Markt, Vismarkt, and Brusselsestraat. If you’re looking for unique specialty stores and original clothing shops, then you should head over to Parijsstraat and Mechelsestraat.
Docville will take place in Leuven from 22 through 30 March 2017. For over 13 years now, people have been enraptured by the best national and international documentaries shown at various locations through out the Leuven city centre. All of the films are in English or subtitled. You can find more info here.
5. Passionate voices
The breath-takingly beautiful decors of the Park and Vlierbeek abbeys are the perfect setting for this centuries-old polyphony performed by contemporary elite ensembles. When? From 20 through 28 April 2017. Click here for info and tickets.
6. Leuven Wereldfeest
The Leuven Wereldfeest is once again being held in Den Bruul park on 3 June 2017.
7. Beer festival
Did somebody say BEER? J During Whit weekend, on 4 & 5 June, all beer connoisseurs must absolutely head to De Hoorn for the Leuven Innovation Beer Festival. There will be tastings, talks, and workshops. Visit this website for more info.
On 7, 14, & 21 July, three of the most musical summer evenings will be held on Leuven’s loveliest squares. Each one has its own vibe, so you’re bound to find a style that suits you. Stars from Belgium and abroad will be performing; plus, it’s totally free!
A culture and music festival will be held in and around Museum M on 27, 28, 29, & 30 July 2017 for those of you out there looking for a little something extra special. It promises to be a surprising mix of music, dance, performance art, films, and exhibitions.
10. Hapje Tapje
Hapje Tapje is held in Leuven on 6 August. Follow the tasty trail through the city and stop in at the 60 stands to savour some delicious dishes. You’ll find the beers on the Oude Markt or fabulous haute cuisine from the first-rate restaurants on the Grote Markt.
11. Half Oogst
Curious to know who will be headlining at the Half Oogst urban festival in 2017? We can already let you know that the second edition will be held on 12 & 13 August, so make sure to keep an eye on the website!
12. All year long…
Park Abbey is located within walking distance from the Leuven city centre. It is one of the most well-preserved abbey complexes in the Low Countries. Several restored rooms will be open to the public for the first time in 2017. A totally renovated museum will also be opening its doors there on 29 September. Park Abbey Museum will offer you the chance to discover never-before-seen artworks from Flemish convents and monasteries.
14. Rode Hond
You’ll be able to check out the 12th edition of the Rode Hond arts festival from 28 through 31 October (during autumn half-term). There will be theatre performances, circus acts, concerts, family films, and workshops for the whole family.
Playground is a unique festival that takes place on the stage between the visual arts and the performing arts. Renown international artists will be presenting their most fascinating performances and exhibitions in the STUK. When? 16 through 19 November.
16. Short Film Festival
Leuven is the stage for the 23rd edition of the renown International Short Film Festival in early December. You’ll be able to watch a wide selection of short films in the most varied genres. You can find more info here.