Louvain-la-Neuve, Louvain or Leuven ???!

Belgium is a small but complex country with two main languages (French and Dutch) and thus two names for each city. Sometimes it's easy (Bruxelles = Brussel, Bruges = Brugge) and sometimes it's a bit more complicated (Mons = Bergen, Anvers = Antwerpen). Hence if you're not used to it, you can easily become confused. So here's a short explanation to guide you in the Belgian linguistic jungle.

Leuven (in Dutch) or Louvain (in French) is the original location of the University of Leuven. This city is located in Flanders in the Dutch speaking province of Flemish Brabant. In the past French and Dutch speaking students studied in this same city, but because of the "Wallen Buiten" (= French speakers outside) movement, the university split to form two institutions in 1968:

Hence Louvain-la-Neuve (identically in French or in Dutch) is the city that has been built to welcome the French speaking university (UCL) after its eviction from Leuven. This new city is located in Wallonia, in the French speaking province of Walloon Brabant.

To conclude:


  • UCL
  • Wallonia

Leuven = Louvain

  • KU Leuven
  • Flanders

How to reach Louvain-la-Neuve

From Brussels South Charleroi Airport

Use the bus (line A) from the airport to the train station of Charleroi-Sud (bus schedule here) and then take the train going to Louvain-la-Neuve (train schedule here).

From Brussels Airport

The train station of Brussels Airport - Zaventem is at the level -1 of the Brussels Airport building. From there, take the train going to Louvain-la-Neuve (train schedule here).

Short presentation of Louvain-la-Neuve

Established in 1972, the city of Louvain-la-Neuve has been specially designed for welcoming students. Its modern architecture reflects the youth of the city. Its campus is located in the heart of Belgium. You will find everything you need here: a new shopping center (Esplanade), cinema, various restaurants, a large sports center (Blocry), a theater, and a lake surrounded by grass areas where students come to study and walk in fine weather. Another great advantage of Louvain-la-Neuve: most of the city is pedestrian. All the roads of the city are underground. In fact, the city was built up, so that students are not bothered by cars

Moreover, Louvain-la-Neuve has a very rich student life, which is centered around three main organizations:

To conclude, there is at least some sort of activity occurring almost every day in Louvain-la-Neuve during the week thus leaving no time for boredom :) ! To get ready for partying in LLN, you can find a non-exhaustive Belgian party lexicon here.

Here is a short video of Louvain-la-Neuve made by the talented Eduardo Mattiello (big thanks to him!), a member of the amazing 2015-2016 Brazilian crew :