Leuven is the capital city of the Flemish Brabant region of Belgium. Less than 26 kilometers east of Brussels, Leuven is well connected to most other major cities in the area, and indeed to other parts of mainland Europe, including France, Germany, and the Netherlands.
The population of Leuven was recorded as just under 100,000 people in 2013, although many of these inhabitants are relatively transient due to the high number of students living in Leuven. This large student population also drives the high diversity of nationalities found in the city — with young people traveling from around Europe, and further afield, to study there. Many stay on in Leuven for at least a few years after finishing their studies, and this relatively youthful population has led to a flourishing nightlife and cultural scene in the area.
There is relatively little variation in climate across Belgium, and the country typically enjoys moderate winters and cool summers. The strong influence from the Atlantic weather systems can bring gales and extremely wet weather in autumn and winter, with the dry period in Leuven and surrounding area considered only to last from April to September. The relatively flat landscape often leaves the city feeling windswept, and despite reaching highs of 22°C in the summer, the wind chill factor means that a jumper or coat is required for much of the year.
Leuven has a large number of rental properties available throughout the year. The high proportion of students in the city means that rates of home ownership are low, but there is generally a good choice of short or long term lets. The loca university, KU Leuven, has its own properties which are often made available to staff coming to work at the university, or flat rental sites such as Immo offer a good range of reasonably priced properties often available at short notice.
Depending on your country of origin, you might not even need a visa to move to Leuven; this is the case for all citizens of EU/EEA countries as well as Swiss nationals. All others usually need to apply for a Belgian visa. You can learn more about visa regulations in our article on Moving to Belgium.