Leuven is a vital city combining the advantages of a metropolitan city with those of a provincial urban environment. Various companies, hospitals and knowledge institutions have adopted an international perspective and operate according to world class standards, while the city itself is manageable, safe and extremely pleasant. These qualities have helped the city to attract a very highly skilled population, who are able to enjoy the large areas of greenery, the large houses, the outstanding provision of cultural services, the myriad restaurants, the pedestrianised shopping streets – the list goes on and on.
Leuven is located in the economic and cultural centre of Western Europe. A well thought-through and decisive urban policy has enabled the city and the economy to undergo a process of rapid development in recent years. In addition to the science parks, the city also boasts a series of new growth areas located in what used to be industrial areas, and large-scale urban development projects that are conducive for enhancing the many attractive historical buildings and squares.
Thanks to the KU Leuven Association, imec (nano electronics research institute) and the VIB (Flanders Interuniversity Institute of Biotechnology) divisions, Leuven boasts three knowledge institutions enjoying an enviable international reputation. They are responsible for guaranteeing a constant flow of knowledge and innovative ideas. The large number of patents and publications are a testament to the dynamism and the constant thirst to build up knowledge among the young, highly-skilled population. These three institutions have a combined R&D budget of €632 million and employ about 19,500 people, 6,000 of which are researchers. They also generate a huge inflow of state-of-the-art knowledge that brings about innovative ideas for new as well as existing companies. The city of Leuven collaborates closely with the province of Vlaams-Brabant and the Flemish government on regional development, resulting in a strong and dynamic triple helix cooperation between industry, knowledge institutes and government. This favourable climate for knowledge-driven entrepreneurship and innovation makes the Leuven region an attractive location for many high-tech companies.