a brochure about living & working
Table of content
1. Introduction 4
a 1.1.Belgium 4
1.2. Leuven 6
2. Arrival 8
a 2.1. General information 8
2.2. IMEC specific information 9
3.1. Practical information 10
3.2. Relocation 11
4. Social security 12
a 4.1. General information 12
4.2. IMEC specific information 13
5. Insurances 13
a 5.1. General information 13
5.2. IMEC specific information 14
6. Health care 15
a 6.1. General information 15
7. Money matters 17
a 7.1. General information 17
7.2. IMEC specific information 18
8. Education 19
9. Transport 23
a 9.1. Getting there 23
9.2. Getting around 23
10. Communication 27
11. Security, police & legalities 29
12. Day-to-day life 30
a 12.1. Contact 30
12.2. Shopping in Leuven 30
12.3. Dining 32
12.4. Environment 32
12.5. Sport 34
12.6. Culture 35
12.7. Libraries 37
12.8. Religion 38
We want to welcome you at Belgium, Leuven and foremost at IMEC.
Joining IMEC means working in a new environment but also living in a whole new country,
with it’s own typical life-style, habits, arrangements, etc.
Moving to an other country is a great adventure, it creates a lot of questions and will take
many preparations. During your first days you will probably be overwhelmed with
impressions and information.
This brochure contains information concerning Belgium, the daily life in Leuven and IMEC
specific information. It will help you to better understand the Belgian idiosyncrasies and
way of being so that your day-to-day life in Leuven soon becomes a positive and fruitful
experience. We hope that it will already answer some questions about relocation, housing,
family and other practical problems that everybody has to face when arriving in this country.
Of course this brochure will not answer all your questions. The Relocation Officers - Marion
Van Tichelen and Veronique Vanautgaerden - at the personnel administration of IMEC will
be happy to help you during the process of relocation and your first days in Belgium. Please
feel free to contact them with any question you might have about finding your way around at
IMEC or in Leuven and in Belgium.
You can contact them on
IMEC wishes you an interesting and successful career!
1.1. BELGIUM Name Three Famous Belgians
Synopsis Before coming here, hardly anyone is able to name
even three famous Belgians. We hope that, by the
Belgium is a small, densely populated country time you leave Leuven, you will be able to identify
(10,39 million inhabitants with 339 people/km²), at least the following ten:
with three official languages: Dutch, French and
German. Its capital, Brussels, doubles as the capital ♦ Hieronymus Bosch
of the European Union. Belgians enjoy their
“creature comforts”: most own their own homes ♦ Pieter Breughel and sons
and spend a lot of time and money in constantly
renovating, decorating and improving them. They ♦ Peter Paul Rubens
tend their gardens meticulously, love good food
and drink, benefit from an excellent social security ♦ Victor Horta
and health-care system, and insist on having their
roads and highways brightly lit at night (the ♦ Adolphe Sax
illuminated “Belgian Window” can apparently be
seen from space). ♦ Father Damien
Politics and Languages ♦ Jacques Brel
Despite its small size, Belgium has a unique and ♦ Hergé (creator of Tintin)
complex institutional and political structure.
Belgium itself is a democratic monarchy with a
♦ Peyo (creator of the Smurfs)
King, Albert II, a parliament (house of common)
and a senate (House of Lords). The country is
divided into three language groups (three ♦ Jean-Claude Van Damme
communities), Dutch-speaking (6 million), French-
speaking (4 million) and German-speaking (70,000), ♦ Justine Henin
each with their own administration in charge mainly
of cultural and educational affairs. In addition, there ♦ Kim Clijsters
are three regions, linked to economic interests,
again with their own governments: Flanders (in the Climate
north), Wallonia (in the south), and Brussels. The
federal government mainly had authority over The Belgian, maritime climate is characterized by a
foreign affairs, immigration issues, social security mixture of sunny periods and precipitation that is
and defense. Belgium has 10 provinces; Leuven is rather equally spread over the year. It is rather
the capital of the Province of Flemish Brabant. variable and moderate (average temperature in
January: 1°C, in July: 16° C). Extreme temperatures
Leuven is situated in Flanders and is part of the can occur in summer and winter time.
Dutch-speaking community. Brussels and the
language border with Wallonia are very close. Rich Past, Thriving Present
Although seven governments might seem a touch
exaggerated for such a small country, and the Some Belgian towns, notably Tongeren and
situation is often derided by Belgians and non- Tournai, date back to Roman times, when Julius
Belgians alike, this system is a typical embodiment Caesar declared ancient Belgians to be the «of all
of one of the most attractive features of the Belgian Gauls», after conquering them of course. In the
character: the art of compromise. When Belgians High Middle Ages (1200-1500) many Belgian cities
disagree, they try and find the middle ground. No flourished and expanded. The ports of Bruges and
civil wars or ethnic conflicts have ever taken place Antwerp were among the largest and busiest in
between Belgians. Europe, cathedrals rose up everywhere, elaborate
town halls proudly proclaimed the city-dwellers’
new-found freedoms and wealth. At that time, only
Northern Italy could boast a similar level of
development and culture. Many different countries
ruled over what is now known as Belgium,
including the Spanish, Austrians, French and Dutch.
Finally, Belgium gained its independence in 1830, social-security coverage, usually own their own
drew up a constitution and imported a monarch homes, and have never started or engaged in an
from among the German nobility. It entered the armed conflict, either internally or internationally,
Industrial Era at an early stage, and is now firmly except for a futile attempt of self-defense against
established primarily as a service economy with the Germans in World Wars I and II.
over 70% of the working population employed
outside of agriculture and industry. The standard of This lack of pride in its own achievements
living in Belgium is among the highest in the world. contributes largely to Belgium’s indeterminate, or
non-existent, identity abroad. Chocolate springs
Religion most readily to mind when foreigners are asked
what they know of Belgium, an embarrassed silence
Historically, Flanders is a predominantly Catholic usually follows further enquiries. Whereas other
region. Even though churches nowadays draw only small countries, such as the Netherlands, Portugal
a minority of the inhabitants, Catholicism is still the or Norway, have been successful in projecting a
most important religion. Weekly masses, coherent image of them to the outside world,
celebrations and services like marriages, Belgians have never really tried.
communions, and funerals take mostly place in the
catholic churches. However, all world religions are The Belgian Character
represented in Flanders (freedom of religion is
guaranteed in the Belgian Constitution), and even The one thing that most non-Belgians would agree
smaller denominations usually have at least one on when first confronted with Belgians on their
established community and place of worship in one home turf is that they are a reserved and
of the larger cities. introverted people. This impression usually lasts
until their first visit to a Belgian’s home, where they
The state currently recognizes six religions (and a will be very cordially welcomed and fed large
non-confessional community since 1993): Roman amounts of excellent food and drink. A Belgian
Catholicism (representing the majority of feels most relaxed and comfortable in the midst of
believers), as well as the Protestant, Orthodox, his close circle of family and friends. Family ties are
Jewish and Anglican religions. Islam was added in very important – witness the weekly exodus of
1976. Islam is currently the second largest religion Belgian students from Leuven, who routinely spend
in Belgium due to the wave of immigration of every weekend at home with their parents and
foreign workers. childhood friends. Friendships are enduring; once
you have made a Belgian friend, you will find that it
“There are no Belgians” is very hard to get rid of him.
“Your Majesty, there are no Belgians” – a Belgian Another attractive feature of the Belgian character
politician once famously exclaimed to the king. This is the trend towards egalitarianism. There are no
statement exemplifies the attitude of many Belgians obscenely wide gaps in income, the rich are never
towards their own country. Although the politician super rich, the poor are provided for, and the
in question meant to refer to the fact that Belgium number of homeless people might well be the
is divided into different linguistic groups, it also smallest in the entire industrial world. It is
reflects the high degree of self-criticism fashionable among Belgians and non-Belgians alike
characteristic of almost all Belgians. There is no to complain about the level of bureaucracy in the
such thing as a patriotic Belgian. Attractively country and the inordinate number of holidays that
modest though this attitude might seem, it does Belgians enjoy. In fact, economic productivity is
lead to a distorted image of Belgium abroad. After among the highest in the world, and the anarchic
all, who will take a country seriously when even its streak in the Belgian character ensures that
own citizens deride it? bureaucrats never gain the upper hand. Belgium is
also a very safe country, with a remarkably low
As a foreigner in Belgium, you will find that most crime rate. Brussels, according to some surveys, is
Belgians will agree whole-heartedly with any the safest capital in the world in terms of the
criticism you have to offer of their country, murder rate.
customs or politics. To redress the balance, we
would like to reiterate that the standard of living in Leuven, we can assure you from a lifetime of
Belgium is among the highest in the world, its personal experience, is without a doubt a quite safe
citizen benefit from an excellent (almost free) university town. The main crime element to watch
educational system, universal health-care and out for is bicycle thieves.
A very short introduction to Belgian Gilles with their eerie blank-faced masks, is highly
popular culture recommended, and was recently elevated to the
status of a UNESCO World Heritage tradition.
Some aspects of Belgian popular culture hardly
need an introduction. Most people will not need Read more on www.belgium.be
any encouragement to try out the hundreds of
delicious Belgian beers. According to one 1.2. LEUVEN
commentator, Belgian beer is “a heavenly liquid
which Belgians have perfected thanks to centuries History of Leuven
of intense contemplation by silent orders of monks.
Beer is the very essence of the land, the blood of Leuven is very proud of both its past and its
the nation, heaven served in a variety of peculiarly heritage, and rightly so. Although the first
shaped drinking receptacles.” references to the town can be traced back as far as
the 9th century and in spite of its strategic location
A lesser-known attraction, and one that routinely on the river Dyle, it was not until around the 11th-
creates confusion among the non-Belgians, is the 12th century that Leuven began to develop as an
figure of Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas). important trading centre within the Duchy of
Affectionately known as de Sint, he is often Brabant. It was at this time that its first town wall,
described as the Belgian (and Dutch) version of churches, monasteries and abbeys were built.
Santa Claus. However, he has no connection with
Christmas. Dressed in magnificent red robes and a The town's once flourishing cloth trade had fallen
bishop’s mitre, Sinterklaas visits Belgian (and into decline by the 14th century, but a new golden
Dutch) children’s homes on the eve of December age dawned with the 15th century. The university
5, and climbs the roof seated on his white horse, was founded, various industrial concerns flourished
accompanied by his faithful servant Zwarte Piet and the main market square with its fine Gothic
(Black Peter) to surreptitiously deliver presents town hall was laid out. The building of paved roads,
through the chimney. The Sinterklaas tradition is the canal in the 18th century and the expansion of
much older than any mention of Santa Claus or the brewery created a great impetus for trade and
Father Christmas, and dates back to a legend about population growth. Unfortunately, this prosperity
the 4th century Bishop of Smyrna (now Izmir in came to a sudden end under the reign of Joseph II
Turkey) who once miraculously saved some when the French invaded.
children from captivity and death. Extravagant
amounts of chocolate are consumed by both adults The most significant development for Leuven in the
and children to celebrate the Sinterklaas feast. 19th century was the building of the railway station
and the construction of Bondgenotenlaan leading to
An excellent opportunity to observe Belgians it. The two World Wars in the 20th century
having fun in large numbers outdoors is on the destroyed much of Leuven and a great deal of the
occasion of a local kermis. A kermis is a typically reconstruction work lasted well into the nineteen-
Belgian type of fair, complete with noisy fairground sixties.
rides, bumper cars, smoutebollen (a variety of
doughnut), escargots (snails) and frites (fries) Leuven has developed into a well-equipped,
stands, and the penetrating cries of lottery ticket modern town with a thriving service industry
vendors (“Everybody wins!”). When you arrive in economy and with a good balance of old and new
Leuven during the first 3 weeks of September, you buildings combining to offer a well-designed
will witness what the kermis is! infrastructure to suit the demands of today's
modern town with a rich tradition. On January 1st
Though a kermis can be enjoyed by most people, it January 1995, Leuven became the capital of the
is quite a different matter to participate in a Belgian province Flemish Brabant.
carnival. Though hardly comparable to the
bacchanalia in Rio de Janeiro, carnival in Belgium Places of interest in Leuven are: abbeys, beguinages,
can get very lively indeed. Some towns with a churches, museums, the Great Market Square, the
particularly strong carnival tradition are Old Market, Square, cemeteries, public parks and
completely taken over by noisy parades and rowdy of course the Catholic University of Leuven.
drunks for two, three or even four days before Ash
Wednesday, the official end of the carnival season.
For a more artistic experience, the carnival in The University of Leuven was founded almost six
Binche (Wallonia), famous for its colorfully clad hundred years ago. The University's academic fame
has attracted scholars and scientists as Justus
Lipsius, Gerard Mercator and Andreas Vesalius
who all have made valuable contribution to
theintellectual life. The University of Leuven can
look back on a glorious past, but it also moves with
the times. The University's educational concept is
modern, with research activities focused on the
needs and aspirations of contemporary people and
society. The University of Leuven is famous not just
within the borders of Belgium, but far beyond as
well. Being a very lively city of and for students,
Leuven aspires to maintain that reputation. In
contrast to most university cities, Leuven does not
have a closed campus. The University buildings are
spread throughout the city and were originally built
for completely different purposes.
The city of Leuven is an agglomeration of five
communities: Leuven, Heverlee, Kessel-Lo, Wilsele
and Wijgmaal. Leuven has more than 90,000
inhabitants. If we add to this the 35,000 post-
secondary and 11,000 high-school students, it
should come as no surprise that the streets are
filled with young faces and that the city lives at a
student’s rhythm: hectic weeks at the beginning of
the academic year and, later, relative calm during
vacation and examination periods. The centuries-
long presence of the university has also left its
marks in other areas of city life. The population of
Leuven has a high average level of education,
probably because many students remain in Leuven
after they have graduated. Employment is primarily
in the tertiary and quaternary sectors; though
Leuven’s global image is also influenced by the city’s
other large employer, Inbev (Beer brewery).
Read more on, www.leuven.com and www.kuleuven.be
D ocumen t Titl e
2.1 GENERAL INFORMATION related to the expiration date of the work permit.
The end date of the residence permit is equal to
the one on the work permit + 1 month. With each
renewal of the work permit, a renewal of the
Before coming to Belgium you will be informed residence permit has to be acquired at the town
hall. Since the work permit is limited to an overall
about the right procedure to follow.
period of 4 years, the residence permit is limited to
Which documents you need will depend on your
that same period.
status: e.g. whether you are a student or a resident,
or whether you are coming from a EU country or
City of Leuven: town services
Work Permit (for non EU assignees) Foreigners’ office – Stadsdiensten— Dienst
bevolking – afdeling buitenlanders
A work permit is required for non EU assignees. It
is the responsibility of the host company to apply Professor Van Overstraetenplein 1, B-3000 Leuven
for the work permit. For citizens of new EU Tel. 016 27 20 00 – Fax 016 27 29 95
member states, a transition regulation applies.
Host Agreement or Gastenovereenkomst Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:00
(for EU payroll employees) a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Thursday from 12:00 noon to 8:00 p.m.
For non EU payroll employees who intend to stay
in Belgium for more than three months with the Ask for your ticket at the counter, at the latest one
purpose of carrying out a profession or being hour before closing time.
employed normally a work permit must be
obtained from the Ministry of Labor before their
arrival in Belgium. Imec has been recognised as a Identity card
specialised institute for research and therefore our
The card you receive after registering at the town
payroll employees are exempted from the work
services is your official residence permit. It also
permit application. Instead, the relocation officers
functions as your identity card in Belgium. This is an
will provide you with a host agreement or
extremely important document and you are
‘gastenovereenkomst’. With the original document
required to carry it with you at all times! Take care
in Dutch, you can apply for the D-visa if you are
coming from a visa submitted country. not to lose it.
Extend the validity of your identity card
For students and people coming via
You should report in person to the Leuven
KULeuven Foreigners’ Office preferably before the expiry date
of your identity card. Bring a proof of extension of
Students will receive the procedure from IMEC and
work permit/contract, a new letter of appointment
the KULeuven will inform the registered KUL
students, visiting professors, etc. about the or grant attestation.
procedure to follow.
Change of address
Every time you change your address within Leuven,
As future employee in Belgium you are required to you must report your new address within eight
register at the Foreigner’s Office in your city of days to the Foreigners’ Office. If you are moving to
residence. For Leuven this is called town services another town of city in Belgium, you must report
(Stadsdiensten ) and the office is situated next to to the Foreigners’ Office or town hall of your new
the railway station. city or town.
The procedure and the documents to be submitted You are likewise required to inform the health-
depend on whether you are an EU citizen or not. insurance, and other relevant offices of your change
of address. At the end of your stay in Belgium and
Issuing time can be 6 weeks.
before your actual departure, you should give
The duration of this residence permit is directly notice of your departure to the Foreigners’ Office
and hand in your identity card.
Loss of your identity card town services (dienst bevolking) where a copy will
be taken and records updated.
If you lose your identity card, you must report this
in person at the Foreigners’ Office and sign an Other foreigners permanently residing in Belgium
official declaration of loss. Bring along three and driving in the country may use an International
passport photographs as well. After an investigation Driving license initially, but should apply for a valid
by the police, you will be given a duplicate identity Belgian driving license on being issued an identity
Leaving Belgium temporarily A Belgian driving license will be given automatically
to some nationals including Switzerland and
If you temporarily have to leave Belgium for a Norway. Other nationals may need to take a
period longer than three months, you must contact Belgian driving test to qualify.
the Foreigners’ Office at city hall to find out what
administrative procedures you must follow. An application must be made at the local town
services, usually at the same time as residence
registration. It is required that you provide an
existing driver's license, two passport photographs
and a residence permit.
2.2. IMEC SPECIFIC
Depending on your status, you will find detailed
instructions in the separate guideline for students,
Visit from the police officer
After you register at the Leuven Foreigners’ Office,
your neighborhood police officer will drop by your
Leuven address to verify that you actually live
there. If you are not at home at the time of the
officer’s visit, you will receive a letter inviting you
to report to the police station in your district.
Make sure you do this as soon as possible in order
to avoid misunderstandings or future administrative
Before leaving Belgium permanently, please make
sure that you visit the Foreigners’ Office to turn in
your Belgian identity card. If you ever need to
come back to Leuven, this will save you and the
city’s officials a great deal of time and trouble.
EU citizen can continue to drive under their
current driving license but must submit this to the
3.1. PRACTICAL INFORMATION should be concluded n writing. As of 15 June 2007,
however, all rental contracts must be concluded in
writing. There must be at least three copies: one
for the landlord, one for you (the tenant) and one
It is advisable to start looking for housing facilities for the compulsory registration of contract.
as soon as possible, because finding appropriate
In this written contract the following information
accommodation takes time.
must be given: the identity of the landlord and the
tenant, the starting date of the contract, an
A usefull website to start with is :
indication of all the rooms and parts of the rented
building and the rent. The contract is definitive
Immoweb – www.immoweb.be
when both you and the landlord sign it.
This website covers nearly all real estate agencies. Your landlord is obliged to register the written
rental contract. He must present it to the
Cost registration office in the place where the property
is situated. This will give the rental contract a
Hotel around € 100 per night “fixed date” and becomes binding on third parties.
(breakfast included) From this fixed date, you are legally protected
against eviction by the new owner if the leased
Small studio between € 300 and € 500 per
premises are sold.
month (furnished but without
hotel facilities like sheets,
There are different types of rental contracts
cleaning, etc.) depending on the duration of lease. Ask your
landlord detailed information on the duration of
Furnished flat between € 1000 and € 1500 per the lease (1, 3 or 9 year contract), the penalty
month (separate bedroom and when leaving before end of contract, deposit,
hotel facilities) expenses, etc. before signing the contract.
Conctact the IMEC relocation officers if you need
Apartment between € 600 and € 1500 per
assistance with the legal aspects.
month depending on comfort and
number of bedrooms but most
likely for renting at least on an The deposit
annual basis When you conclude a contract, the payment of a
deposit is required. For rooms, a deposit of one
House at least € 1000 per month but
month’s rent is usual. For studios and apartments,
most likely for renting at least on
deposits may amount to 2 or 3 month’s rent. This
an annual basis sum should never be considered as payment for
rent and can only be used to compensate for
Rental contract damage to the rented property, caused by the
tenant or by third parties to whom the tenant has
A rental contract between you and the landlord
The deposit or its balance will be reimbursed upon
return of the keys and after the landlord has
inspected the state of the property. The landlord
should have the opportunity to draw the final bill
for heating, electricity, etc. before he can return
the balance of the deposit.
Supplementary expenses (utilities)
If the cost of heating, electricity, water, etc. is not
included in the rent, it should be clearly stated in
the contract how these costs will be calculated. If
each housing unit is equipped with an individual
electricity and gas meter, the tenant and the
landlord should make a note of the meter reading What to do in case of problems?
at the beginning and at the end of the rental period.
The tenant pays for these units at the rate In case you need advise about your rental contract
stipulated in the contract. If no individual meters or you have problems with your landlord you can
are available, the landlord is allowed to divide the always contact our relocation officers. IMEC is
total costs proportionally among the residents of member of the tenants association specialized in
the house. Many contracts state that the tenants Legal issues. Our relocation officers will be happy
have to pay a monthly advance for the costs, over to give you our registration number so that you
and above the cost of the rent. can contact this organization for information:
When the final bill is submitted, tenants are entitled Huurdersbond Vlaams Brabant
to see the individual invoices for the various Eén Meilaan 10 – 3010 Kessel-Lo
utilities. Tenants of apartments and houses Tel : 016/25 05 14
normally have an individual contract with the gas, Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
electricity and water utility companies. In this case www.wetswinkel-leuven.be
they will receive the invoices directly from the
Fire insurance 3.2. RELOCATION
Fire insurance is not a legal requirement however, IMEC does not work with a Relocation Company
if you are renting it usually forms a condition of the
to organize your relocation.
lease. Tenants must, therefore, insure their
premises against damages caused during occupancy. But the IMEC relocation officers (Marion Van
On the basis, the tenant is responsible for damage Tichelen and Veronique Vanautgaerden) are at
caused by fire, water and for broken glass in your disposal during your preparation as well as
windows or doors. Standard lease contracts state upon your arrival in Belgium. They will help you
that the tenant must furnish proof of insurance to with relocation matters from the start till your first
the owner within 30 days of signing the lease. days in Belgium.
The fire insurance includes a Third Party Liability Once your registration at IMEC is final and we get
for accidents to non-family members. It is also a clear view on the expected arrival date, you can
important to have your own household content start thinking about booking the flight. Depending
insured on what goods you are planning to move over,
additional arrangements will have to be made
Besides the insurance agents concerning: international moving companies,
(Verzekeringsmaatschappijen) most of the banks customs (importing goods), home company budget
also offer policies for relocation, etc.
If you want to insure damage to your own Specific difficulties can occur while trying to bring
property, you need to take out separate insurance along valuables, antiques, a car, … For each and
coverage. Tenants of apartments and houses every topic and depending on the country where
normally cannot insure themselves through the the goods are coming from, rules can be different.
landlord’s policy. They need to take out individual That is why it is imperative to check everything
insurance to cover the risks of damage both to the with the airport and flight company before the
landlord’s property and to their personal
shipment of the goods.
belongings. An individual policy is obviously more
expensive, and may amount to € 75.000 or more
per year, depending on the coverage and the value
of the property and furnishing insured.
4 Social Security & Insurances
4.1. SOCIAL SECURITY USA, Canada, Turkey …) can continue to submit
there employees to social security in the home
Belgium has a very extensive social security system. country during a certain period of time providing
Foreigners also are entitled to certain allowances they can confirm that with a document to proving
and to social services. the employee to be submitted in the home country
(E101 form in the EC). Non-EC and countries with
The benefits which you may enjoy as a foreigner no bilateral treaties should submit there employees
are strictly dependent on the conditions under to local Belgian social security.
which you are resident on Belgian soil.
Not being submitted to Belgian social security also
The Belgian social security system is based on the means that no legal rights can be build up in
payment of social contributions on your income Belgium (child allowance, unemployment insurance,
from work. These social contributions serve to legal pension, health care). That is why it is
finance the social security system. Each month the imperative that the home company always takes
employer pays between 30 and 40% on top of your care of sufficient insurance coverage for its
salary into the social security fund. The employee employees. We strongly advise the home company
also pays a proportion of his gross salary in social to contact an international insurance provider to
security contributions. This fund is then used to cover for the health care, hospitalization, travel
pay social security: accident insurance, repatriation, and disability …
This is clearly a responsibility of the home country.
♦ Allowances in the event of sickness
Since IMEC is not the employer, we are not
♦ Unemployment benefits allowed to do anything in this field.
♦ Allowances in the event of incapacity for work
There is a possibility also to affiliate with a ‘mutual
through sickness or invalidity insurance company’ in Belgium. For a fee of
approx. 75 € a month, the employee will be
♦ Allowances in the event of accidents at work covered for basic medical, dental and
♦ Allowances in the event of industrial disease hospitalization treatment.
♦ Family allowances Again, it is extremely important that the home
♦ Pensions company takes care of all insurance related issues.
We kindly ask the home HR-departments to
Social services inform their employees of the insurance coverage
before sending over people.
Everyone in Belgium is entitled to social services
from the public social welfare centre, OCMW. As mentioned before the most important fields to
They provide social services so that everyone can cover are:
live with dignity. They investigate what help is most
appropriate given the personal or family ♦ Health care
circumstances, and offer the appropriate means to
meet people's needs. ♦ Hospitalization
♦ Work-related accident
Information for IMEC Residents ♦ Travel accidents
Besides these employee related insurances, it
As your home office continues to be your
seems advisable to obtain liability insurance in case
employer and as such continues to pay your salary,
one of your employees would damage IMEC and/or
they have to check out if social security
contributions are due in Belgium. In accordance to one of its other residents.
international law, social security contributions are
due in the host country (country were the work is
done) even when your company does not have a
legal entity over here. European countries and
countries with bilateral social security treaties (i.e.
4 Social Security & Insurances
4.2. INSURANCES proving you already have insurance coverage in
your home country.
Any medical costs you may incur will be
All residents of the country, Belgian or otherwise, reimbursed by a Belgian health-insurance company
are required by law to be covered by a health- if you show them the EHIC. This also applies to the
insurance policy. It is also in you own best interest. cost of drugs and medication: ask for a 704N form
Without insurance coverage, the cost of medical at the pharmacist’s.
care can quickly spiral out of control. For instance,
a single night’s stay in the hospital can cost up to € Care insurance
300 not including treatment or medicine. A
standard health-insurance policy will reimburse In 2002 the Flemish government introduced the
about 75% of the cost of a doctor’s visit, medicine care insurance. It is a collective insurance to
and hospitalization. provide financial assistance to seriously ill patients.
Every year, you will receive a bill of € 25 for this
SIS Card insurance when you live in Flanders and are at least
25 years old. You are encouraged to pay this bill
When you take out health insurance you will before December 31st.
receive a membership card (known as the SIS card),
an information booklet and a number of yellow Hospitalization
stickers. Please take your SIS card and stickers
every time you go to the pharmacist, visit a doctor, The basic health insurance will not cover all
go to a hospital or to the health-insurance office. hospital costs and medical costs in case of
You may be asked to show your SIS card or use hospitalization can amount quickly. Therefore an
one of the yellow stickers. extra insurance on top of your basic compulsory
health insurance is advisable. Hospitalization
If you have to go to the hospital and you don’t have insurance will relieve the financial burdens after a
your SIS card you will get an invoice of the total hospitalization.
cost. Don’t pay it and bring it to the health
insurance company. They will take care of a Repatriation
In case of serious illness or injury during a holiday
Coverage outside Belgium or stay abroad you will get assistance (24 hours a
day), repatriation for the sick or injured person and
Whether or not you have coverage abroad (i.e. reimbursement of the medical costs abroad. Ask if
outside Belgium) depends on a number of criteria. your health insurance covers this.
Just to be sure, you should contact your own
health-insurance company to get advice. Travel accidents
Coverage for family During holiday or work-related travel problems
can occur. A car accident with your own car,
When coming to Leuven for a visit, your parents, sickness, theft, loss of personal goods, etc. Check if
partner, siblings or friends are not covered by you you are specifically insured for problems abroad.
health-insurance policy. We would advice your
guests to take out a temporary private insurance Work-related accidents
policy to cover their period of stay in Belgium.
IMEC automatically covers you for accidents on the
EEA Nationals way to and from your company and for accidents
on the workplace itself. All other accidents must
If you are a EEA national (Austria, Denmark, be covered by your private insurance.
Finland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden,
the United Kingdom, Liechtenstein, Iceland,
Third party liability insurance
Norway and the new gary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta,
Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania) as This policy protects the head of the household and
well as the nationals from Algeria, Tunisia, Turkey, all people for whom he is responsible, from third
and the former Yugoslavia, you should obtain a so party damage claims. This policy covers any
called European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) damages to third party parties caused by you or
4 Social Security & Insurances
one of your family members. Personal injury is not
covered by this policy, only damage to third parties.
The policy also covers the costs of legal assistance. 4.3. IMEC SPECIFIC
Everyone needs to be covered, even if you are
without family. INFORMATION
IMEC provides hospitalization insurance for IMEC
Car insurance payroll employees, as well for IWT, FWO and FRIA
Each car owner is obliged to have civil liability car scholars.
cover whereby the insurance company of the car
Disability and death insurance is provided for IMEC
deemed responsible for the accident, pays for the
repairs, injuries, or death caused to the other payroll employees.
party. Premiums are based on car’s horsepower
Travel insurance is provided for IMEC payroll
and the accident record of the insured. Based on a
employees and any other co-worker making a
bonus point system, annual rates jump rapidly, with
point increases following accidents where the business trip on behalf of IMEC. You are covered
against sickness, accidents, proven theft and loss of
insured is at fault, whilst descending only a single
point for each year of unclaimed accidents, until the personal goods.
lowest level of 1 is achieved. You can choose the
A Pension Plan is for IMEC payroll employees from
range of your car insurance coverage. the age of 25 having a contract of unlimited
More information about these extra-legal will be
given by the HR Services on your arrival at IMEC
and is available on the IMEC Intranet.
5 Health care
5.1. GENERAL INFORMATION Medical bills and reimbursement
There are three different levels of health care If you do not require hospitalization, 75% of you
service in Belgium: medical expenses will be reimbursed by you health-
insurance-company. You will pay the full cost for a
♦ General practitioners (GPs) consultation with a general practitioner (about
€20) but, you will be reimbursed for about €15
♦ Specialists afterwards.,. In cases of hospitalization, the hospital
will charge you a supplement (the charges not
♦ Specialists at a local or an academic hospital covered by the insurance policy).
The main costs are paid directly by the insurance
General practitioners (GPs) and
company to the hospital. Fees for convenient
specialists extras (e.g. a private room, telephone costs) will
never be reimbursed by the insurance company.
If you have a health-related problem, it is best to When buying drugs, reductions amount to 60%.
see a general practitioner first rather than going The pharmacist charges you only the noninsured
immediately to the hospital. amount upon presentation of your SIS card.
A GP can solve most medical problems. If the GP
decides that you should consult a specialist, he/she
will refer you to one who is best qualified to deal
with your problem. You can usually reach a GP
during office hours and in emergencies even at
night. If your regular GP is unavailable when you
call, you will be referred to another GP. There are
many advantages to consulting a GP first, before
seeing a specialist:
♦ GP’s are easier to reach; there could be a long
waiting list to consult a specialist.
♦ A GP will keep your medical history on file. This
is important since information from previous
medical examinations may be relevant to your
present condition. It also means that the GP does
not need to repeat medical tests or examinations
you may already have had. This can save you a lot
of money, time and possible discomfort.
♦ With certain medical conditions, it is not always
clear which specialist is best qualified. On your In Belgium, drugs and medicines are only sold in
own, you might have to try several specialists pharmacies (to be recognized by the green cross).
before finding the right one, whereas a GP can In the yellow pages of the phone directory
quickly diagnose your problem and refer you to pharmacies and drugstores are listed under the
the proper specialist. word “apotheken”. Or check the online directory
http://goldenpages.truvo.be. They are open every
Most medical doctors speak English, French and day except Saturday afternoons, Sundays and
Dutch. When discussing your condition, however, holidays. When closed, all pharmacies will post in
please try to make yourself clear, and speak slowly their window a list of after-hours pharmacies
and calmly. For consultation, make an appointment (“wachtdienst”). This information is also published
or go to the doctor’s office when he/she is available in the weekly newspaper Passe-Partout (see the
for general consultation. If necessary, the GP will section entitled “Apothekers van dienst in Leuven
refer you to a specialist in a private or a local en omliggende”). Or call 0900 10 500 for the
hospital, or to the University Hospitals. pharmacy on duty in your neighborhood.
5 Health care
Hospitals SOS – Emergency services and numbers
University Hospitals In cases of emergency, always give your address
and Telephone number. Speak slowly. It would be
useful for you to learn a few words or expressions
016 33 22 11 for all University Hospitals related to such cases in Dutch or French.
100 Ambulance and fire department
Herestraat 49, B-3000 Leuven (Emergency)
♦ Sint-Pieter 101 Police emergency number
Brusselsestraat 69, B-3000 Leuven 112 International Emergency number
105 Red Cross Flanders ambulance service
Kapucijnenvoer 33, B-3000 Leuven
♦ Pellenberg 106 Teleonthaal
Weligerveld 1, B-3041 Pellenberg Doctors on call
070 25 70 25
070 25 40 40 Dentist on call
Naamsestraat 150, B-3000 Leuven (Emergency) 0900 10 500 Pharmacies on duty
(after hours and on weekends)
070 24 52 45 Poison antidote centre
In Belgium we use Celsius thermometers. These 070 34 43 44 Card stop for bank and credit cards
are larger than the Fahrenheit ones, and are usually
placed in the armpit. Readings from the armpit will 02 649 95 55 Suicide prevention centre
be one degree lower than those taken orally.
Always tell the doctor which method you have
Parents are required to vaccinate their babies and
young children at regular intervals. In Belgium, this
service is organized by “Kind en Gezin”. Please
contact them if you have children below 3 years of
6 Money matters
6.1. GENERAL INFORMATION which the rate of interest varies according to the
ups and downs of the investments of the bank.
After opening a bank account, customers receive a
debit card, which needs to be signed and activated
by choosing and confirming a personal “PIN code”.
These services are attached to your bank account:
♦ Cash withdrawals, either at one of the
branches of the bank or at any ATM machine
♦ Debit card payments for items bought in shops
or commercial centers.
♦ Forms to transfer money directly from the
bank account to somebody else’s bank
account. This is very useful for paying rent and
utility bills such as water, electricity, internet
and telephone. To be able to make use of this
service customers need to go in person to a
branch of their bank.
♦ Transfers from any “self-banking” machine of
any branch of the bank.
♦ Standing orders with the bank for making
regularly recurring payments such as rent, gas,
The Belgian currency is the Euro since the 1st of electricity, water or telephone. This is highly
January 2002. The Euro is the currency of the recommended since the payments are made
following twelve European Union Countries: even if customers forget or are away for a
Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, period of time.
Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria,
Portugal, and Finland. ♦ Most banks provide Home-Banking possibilities
Euro notes: €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and via internet.
Payments and account statements
Euro coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent pieces and
the 1 and 2 euro pieces. Payment by bank transfer is a very common
method of paying bills in Belgium. The companies
Opening bank account will normally indicate on their bills how they
prefer to be paid. Payments by credit card such as
Belgium has a very efficient and modern banking Visa, Mastercard/Eurocard, American Express, etc.
system. Branches of the principal Belgian and are also common practice. For a small fee to cover
international banks can be found in all larger Belgian postage, Belgian banks will mail daily, weekly or
cities. Among the best known Belgian banks are the monthly transactions statements for a current
following: ING, KBC, Dexia, Fortis, Argenta and account. It is a good idea to make use of this
Citibank. service. An alternative to the daily posting service
is the “poste restante”, whereby transaction
Belgian bank accounts can be “current statements are kept at the bank for the customer
accounts” (zichtrekening), “savings to pick up. The easiest way of obtaining account
accounts” (spaarrekening) or “term accounts”. The statements is to print them out at a “self-banking”
first are customarily used for current transactions, terminal.
payments or transfers; the second are self-
explanatory; and the third are interest-bearing
accounts fixed for a given period of time, and for
6 Money matters
Proton: electronic payments for small 6.2. IMEC SPECIFIC
Most Belgian banks in Leuven include a special
facility on their debit cards, which is called ‘Proton’.
Think of ‘Proton’ as a 21st century electronic coin
Foreigners in Belgium
purse. As holder of the current account, you will
be able to ‘load’ the ‘Proton’ chip on your debit Foreigners taking up residence in Belgium are liable,
card up to a maximum amount of €125 only and in principle, to taxation on their worldwide income.
the ‘loading’ is done in your bank’s self-service
ATM machine. You can use your debit cards
‘Proton’ facility to pay (small amounts) in many
stores and shops that avail of a ‘Proton machine’. ♦ Income from real estate property.
There are no PIN codes to remember; all you have
to do is press the button ‘OK’ on the machine and ♦ Income from personal property, such as
dividends, interest on loans and bonds, and
your payment is done.
income from capital invested in partnerships.
Taxes ♦ Income from occupation and businesses,
The Belgian tax year for personal income tax begins including
on 1 January and ends on 31 December.If you are
liable to Belgian taxation, you will typically receive a • Salary, wages, pension, as well as
tax return (declaration/aangifte) during May relating remuneration of directors and
to the previous year’s income.. This form must be statutory auditors of companies.
returned completed by mid July (you will find the
exact date on the tax return from).If you don’t • Fees and other remuneration of
receive a return, request one from the Ministry of professional men and women.
Finance before 1 June or risk a penalty!
• Tradesmen’s profit and those earned
The taxpayer reports the amount of his taxable as a partner of a business enterprise.
income, deducting personal and other allowances.
In Belgium, married couples, and couples having
made a legal declaration of cohabitation, make a
joint income declaration. Some of the IMEC foreign payroll employees are
eligible to the status of non-resident in Belgium,
which implies a special tax regime. This special
status is granted by the Fiscal Authorities and
allows a lower tax assessment.
The Recruitment & Selection and HR Services at
IMEC will give you information and assist you
during application and actions during the year.
More information is available on the IMEC intranet.
7.1. DAY CARE & BABY SITTING ♦ De Villa @ IMEC
Steengroevenlaan 1, B-3001 Heverlee
Tel. 016 23 32 58
Open: from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
There are a number of day-care centers in the ♦ Kabouterberg
Leuven area. Bear in mind that most day-care Herestraat 49, B-3000 Leuven
centers have a long waiting list, in some cases Tel. 016 33 08 60
longer than one year, so you are strongly advised
Open: from 6:15 a.m. to 8:15 p.m.
to apply for a place as soon as possible, from the
moment that you know that you are pregnant. ♦ ‘t Grootpark
There are several channels through which Groot Park 17, B-3360 Lovenjoel
organised day-care can be found : Tel. 016 46 31 12
Open: from 7:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
1) Kind en Gezin ♦ Day-Care for Sick Children - Kabouterberg
Herestraat 49, B-3001 Heverlee
Hallepoortlaan 27 – B-1060 Brussel
Mrs. Christine Broossens Tel. 016 33 08 60
Tel: 02 542 12 11
3) City of Leuven Day-Care
They will send you a list of officially recognized and
approved childcare services in your region. They Kindercentrum Craenendonck, Lei 10, B-3000 Leuven
also run consultancy services for infants in each email@example.com - www.leuven.be
comune once or twice a week where young babies
can be examined by Kind en Gezin nurses and Anyone looking for child-care is strongly advised to
doctors and they can get vaccinated without any begin early. Usually, there are long waiting lists.
cost. These nurses will also provide information Kindercentrum Craenendonck can help you in your
on childminding services in your area. search: they can provide an address list of day-care
centres, private individuals who care for children,
2) IMEC & K.U.Leuven Day-Care and facilities for after-school care. Kindercentrum
Craenendonck provides the following services, all
As an IMEC payroll employee or equivalent others at the above address:
you can apply for a place at the Day Care Center
“De Villa”. The center “De Villa” is owned by ♦ Regular day-care centre
IMEC, but is operated by the K.U.Leuven as part of The day-care centre receives children from 6
its group of Day Care Centers. A place at “De weeks to 3 years of age. They are placed in
Villa” or in another K.U.Leuven day-care centre is small groups according to age. The cost
not guaranteed as they all have waiting lists. depends on the parents’ income.
The following K.U.Leuven day-care centers Tel. 016 27 19 10
welcome children between six weeks and three Open: Weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
years of age. The cost depends on your income and
includes meals and regular costs. Nappies and ♦ Day-care in a host family for children under 12
bottle formula are not included. The day-care This service helps you to find a place for your
centers provide your child with the daily care and child with a host mother or host father. The
education that he/she requires. Children are placed cost depends on your income.
in small groups. The same person remains in charge Stedelijke Dienst Opvanggezinnen
of the same children throughout their stay there. Tel. 016 27 19 11
Open: 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon and also on
♦ Babyhome Thursdays from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Tervuursevest 105, B-3001 Heverlee
Tel. 016 32 92 92 ♦ Limited day-care centre ‘t Margrietje
Open: from 7:45 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. ‘t Margrietje offers a flexible solution for
children up to 3 years. Children can come for a
♦ Peutertuin maximum of 20 hours a week.
De Croylaan 8, B-3001 Heverlee Tel. 016 20 04 79
Tel. 016 32 24 51 Open: Weekdays and Saturday (also during
Open: from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. vacations) from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
All kinder gardens, primary and secondary schools
♦ Hotline for Sick and Disabled Children have a five-day school week (Monday to Friday) and
If your child is sick and you are unable to stay at Wednesday afternoon off.
home to look after him/her, a caretaker will
come to your home to take care of your child. The choice of schools includes :
Maximum 10 hours a day between 7:00 a.m. and
6:30 p.m. ♦ Schools run by the government, provinces
Tel. 016 20 04 95 or 0475 65 16 72 and communes
Open: Weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
and from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. (except Fridays). ♦ Catholic Education
Sundays from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
♦ Alternative Education (Steiner, Freinet,
Babysitting Services Montessori)
Student Employment Office ♦ Private schools
The Student Employment Office of the Catholic
University of Leuven can help you find a babysitter-
student to take care of your children. Applications Most English speaking expatriates coming to reside
should be made a few days in advance. temporarily in Belgium opt for an English-language
education for their children. These international
Student Employment Office private schools allow a child to follow the same
Naamsestraat 80, B-3000 Leuven curriculum and to continue his education
Tel. 016 32 44 34, firstname.lastname@example.org uninterrupted as the family moves around the
Weekdays from 9:00 a.m. tot 5:00 p.m world.
Babysitting Services of the “Gezinsbond” When choosing between a Belgian school and a
international school , there are many factors to be
Parents interested in making use of this service may
borne in mind.
consult the Gezinsbond’s register which provides
the names of the babysitters, as well as the number The location : consider the distance between the
of hours that they are willing to work. The
home and school
babysitters have been screened beforehand and
they are insured. The prices are fixed per The reputation : your local doctor, friends or
hour. In addition, you pay a small annual fee to the colleagues can be most informative about schools
Gezinsbond. You have to be a member of the in the area.
Gezinsbond to use this service. When your child is
born in Leuven, you automatically and for free
become a member of the Gezinsbond for one year.
For information and referral services:
Except in private schools , no fees are paid for
Baplu Lydia, Mob. 0497 60 35 10
kindergarten, primary or secondary education,
which is subsided by the government. However,
you will receive a monthly bill for various incidental
expenses such as trips, swimming, school magazine,
7.2. SCHOOL SYSTEM drinks, meals and day-care after school hours.
Schools in Belgium provide education from nursery
school to secondary school at little or no cost, and
their academic standards are consistently high.
International pupils are welcome in the public
school system. They can study either in Dutch or in
French, depending on the language of the town or
district in which the school is located. Schools in
Flanders can organize special Dutch lessons for
children who do not speak Dutch yet (OKAN
Subscription The Britisch School of Brussels
Parents are encouraged to examine and visit
several schools in their area first to see whether
one might be right for their children As the Tel : 02/766 04 30
waiting lists are long, they are advised to apply for a email@example.com
place as soon as they have made their choice . www.britishschool.be
A full list of schools in Leuven can be found on :
www.leuven.be School calendar
click on ‘onderwijs’ (= education),
then click on ‘overzicht scholen’ (= list of schools) All kindergarten, primary and secondary schools
have a five-day school week (Monday to Friday)
from around 8.30 am till around 16.00 pm. Note:
OKAN school in Leuven
there is no school on Wednesdays afternoons!
Geldenaarksebaan 177 Kindergarten: September 1 to June 30
3000 Leuven Primary school: September 1 to June 30
Tel. 016/40 50 60 Secondary school: September 1 to June 30
One week in early November
The International School of Brussels Two weeks at Christmas
Kattenberg 19 One week in February or early March
1170 Watermael Bosvoorde Two weeks at Easter
Tel : 02/661 42 11 Two months in the summer: July and August
firstname.lastname@example.org Higher Education: September to July (varies)
Age ENGLISH DUTCH FRENCH
Type of school Type school Niveau d’école
2,5 - 6 Kindergarten or Nusery school Kleuterschool Jardin d’enfants
6 - 12 Primary or Elementary school Basisschool Ecole primaire
12 - 18 Secondary school containing Secundaire of middelbare Ecole moyenne
general, technical or vocational school
From 18 Higher education Hoger onderwijs Enseignement supérieure
University education Bachelor - Universitair onderwijs Enseignement universitair
Non-univesity education Hoger niet-universitair Enseignement supérieure
Playground activities during school 7.3. FURTHER EDUCATION
Belgium has an extensive network of university and
IMEC non-university education. You can study in the
Flemish, French and German speaking part of
In July and August, IMEC offers to all its co- Belgium. Information about the different
workers summer day-care for children between 2.5 programmes, structure of the higher education,
and 12 years old. More information is available at cost, admission requirements, … is available on
the Intranet. www.highereducation.be and www.diplomatie.be
K.U.Leuven Language education
University Sports Centre organizes sports activities Instituut voor Levende Talen (ILT )
during two weeks in July and August at the price of
The Institute of Modern Languages organizes Dutch
€ 60,00 per week. courses throughout the academic year, both for
Universitair Sportcentrum beginners and for advanced students.
Tervuursevest 101, B-3001 Heverlee These coursess can be followed either intensively
Tel.: 016 32 91 30 016 32 91 31 (twelve hours/week) or regularly way (six hours/
Fax: 016 32 91 95 email@example.com week). Intensive courses are held in the morning,
www.kuleuven.be/sport/sportkampen.htm while regular courses can be followed either in the
afternoon or in the evening.
City of Leuven playground activities ILT - Dekenstraat 6, B-3000 Leuven
Tel: 016 32 56 60 Fax: 016 32 56 56
During school holidays, children can go to a
playground to play with children of their own age firstname.lastname@example.org ilt.kuleuven.be
from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Leuven, Heverlee,
Kessel-Lo and Wilsele. They can play in groups CLT Language Centre Centrum voor
oriented around a specific theme, or they can Levende Talen
choose what they want to do. The fee is € 5.00 a The CLT Language Centre runs language courses
day or € 2.50 for half a day (reductions possible). mainly in the evening. You can study Arabic,
Chinese, English, French, German, Modern Greek,
The “Grabbelpas”- activities (only in Leuven from Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian,
7:30 a.m. till 6:00 p.m.) offer workshops such as Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.
handcraft, sport, culture, daytrips, … during school
holidays. The fee is depending on the kind of CLT - Dekenstraat 4, B-3000 Leuven
Tel: 016 32 56 61 Fax: 016 32 56 95
Leuven: 4-15 years (Easter and summer)
ACE Groep T
Heverlee: 3-15 years (Easter and summer)
ACE-Group T organizes language courses that
Kessel-Lo: 3-15 years (only summer) focus on oral communication. You can follow
courses on Italian, English, French, Dutch for
Wilsele: 3-12 years (only summer till aug.15) foreigners, Chinese, Thai, Spanish and German.
You need to sign up for all these activities at ACE Groep T - Vesaliussttraat 13, B-3000 Leuven
Jeugdcentrum Vleugel F, Brusselsestraat 61a, Tel: 016 30 11 16 Fax: 016 30 10 40
B-3000 Leuven. You have to pay a onetime fee of
€ 5.00 for a “Youth Centre Pass”. See you in the
More information (addresses, prices, programme, etc.) on the Contact HR Learning & Development for
website www.leuven.be/jeugd or tel. 016 24 66 90. information about the language courses organized
8.1. GETTING THERE ♦ your national valid driving license
♦ driving license has to valid before your
Airport arrival in Belgium
♦ residence permit
The national airport of Belgium is located at ♦ official translation of your driving license,
Zaventem, Brussel. More information available on done by a sworn translator in Belgium.
www.brusselsairport.be/en/ Translation should be in Dutch or French.
You can ask a list of legally certified
IMEC is about 30 km from the airport. You can translators at the local council office.
take a taxi (around €50 fare) or public transport
(train, bus) to reach IMEC. After you have submitted these documents to the
town hall, they will send your file to the police and
There are also regional airports in Belgium. The this can take 3 weeks. During these 3 weeks you
most known is Brussels South Charleroi Airport. are not allowed to drive a car.
Information, accessibility and operating airlines is
available on www.charleroi-airport.com The police will send an approval to the town hall
and then they will invite you to come and collect
the driving license.
cost : 16 €
2 passport pictures are requested
Experience has learned that importing a car is not
advisable. Importing a car can be very expensive
because the car is not conform to Belgian
standards and also a lot of customs administration
8.2. GETTING AROUND
Buying a new or used car
When buying a new car, the car dealer will take
Driving license care of the paperwork. At this point, you need
your residence permit. You will be given a
EU Citizens: can drive with a European driving registration form to complete, and you will need to
license in Belgium. insure the car. Once all formalities are completed,
registration documents will be sent to you, as well
In case you want to switch your own driving license as the back license plate. You will also need to pay
into a Belgian one, you need to get an official a “mise en circulation/belasting op de
translation (preferably in Dutch or French), done inverkeerstelling” tax as well as annual road tax. If
by a sworn translator in Belgium. You can ask a list your car is equipped with a MPG engine, motor
of legally certified translators at the local council diesel engine, you will have to pay an additional tax.
office. When buying a used car, the car must be delivered
with a contrôle technique/technische controle”
cost : 16 € certificate. As with buying a new car, you will need
2 passport pictures are requested to complete the registration form and insure the
car before receiving the license plate.
NON EU Citizens: only tourists can drive with an
international driving license, or persons who are in
Leasing/renting a car
the process of getting a residence permit in
Belgium Belgium tax legislation makes leasing far more
attractive than in many other countries. The added
In order to obtain a Belgian driving license, you advantage, of course, is that all the repair bills are
need to submit the following: covered and the paperwork is arranged by the
In case you want to rent a car for a short or long quickly in the city centre as otherwise. For further
term, you can contact Hertz or Avis: information about the above issues, you’re
welcome to contact the mobility advisors at
Avis Head Office Leuven email@example.com or 016 32 93 01
Nieuwstraat 28 and 016 32 93 02.
3360 Leuven (Korbeek-Lo)
Tel : 016 25 00 55 Traffic Rules
Fax : 016 25 02 08
firstname.lastname@example.org Please note that the police is very strict on
www.avis-brabant.be checking the traffic rules. High fines and penalties
will have to be paid in case you don’t respect them.
Hertz Belgium Also be aware that automatic cameras are watching
Kolonel Bourgstraat 120 you. You can quickly loose your driving license for
1140 Brussels speeding etc.
Tel : 02 717 32 01
Fax : 02 717 32 02
When showing your Imec badge, you can get a
Starting fee: € 2,40 . Price per kilometer: € 2,15
discount with the company below:
You will find taxi companies online on
Autocenter Hein N.V. www.goldenpages.truvo.be or call 1207 (national
Steenweg op Wezemaal 149 information number) and ask for a taxi company in
3110 Rotselaar the neighborhood.
Tel : 016 58 06 57
Fax : 016 58 34 78
Leuven is an important hub in the Belgian railway
Too few parking spots or too many cars? From Leuven station, there are connections to
every other major Belgian train station. You can
One thing is clear: it is not easy to find a parking find the best connection and itinerary using the
spot in Leuven or in other big cities in Belgium. No
b-rail online search engine.
new parking spots are being created. Moreover,
parking fines are very high and in order to use the Leuven Station
existing parking spots in the best possible way, the Martelarenplein 16, B-3000 Leuven
city has introduced time limits by means of parking Tel. 016 21 21 11 Fax: 016 21 21 48
machines and blue-zone rules. Exceptions are only Info for travellers: 016 21 21 21
made for inhabitants of the neighborhood and International Information & Eurostar, Thalys, HST: 02
disabled persons. 528.28.28
Found items: 016 21 24 10
You can save a lot of money by using your bicycle Fax: 016 21 24 11
or taking the bus. If you cannot find a parking spot www.b-rail.be (possibility to buy tickets online)
on the street, you could try one of the many car
parks, where you will have to pay. Or even better, Heverlee Station
park at one of the outlying car parks in Heverlee
Naamsesteenweg 180, B-3001 Heverlee.
(e.g. Bodart, Engels Plein parking lots), most of
which are free. An overview of all parking facilities
GoPass and RailPass
in the city centre can be found on the Leuven
website: www.leuven.be. With a Go Pass (-26 years old), you can make 10
one-way trips in second class (price, spring ‘08: for
But there is also P+BUS parking. If you park on the € 46.00. You will get the most benefit if you travel
edge of the shopping centre, in the car park of De between two stations that are far apart (e.g.
Bond and on the Sint-Jacobsplein, you can take the Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, ...). If you hold a RailPass
bus to the city centre and back free of charge. You (+ 26 years), you can make 10 one-way trips in
park cheaper in these car parks and still you are as
second class (price, spring ‘08: € 71).
Practical Tip quickest way to get from one place to another.
Cyclists are very welcome in Leuven, but need to
On Fridays and weekends, ask for a “Weekend know the traffic rules.
Ticket”. When you travel alone, you get up to a
40% discount. When travelling with friends, the VELO (v.z.w.)
first passenger gets a 50% discount. The 2nd, 3rd,
4th, 5th and 6th passengers get a 70% discount, VELO is a non-profit organization that promotes
provided that all members of the group travel the bicycle as an ecological means of transport in
together. the city by recycling, renting and repairing bikes.
VELO offers a bike rental and repair service and is
Bus organized as a training and employment project in
the social economy.
De Lijn (Flemish Bus Company)
Minderbroederstraat 12 U, B-3000 Leuven,
Belgium has an extensive bus network that Tel. 016 33 74 30
operates in and between most cities. You can find email@example.com - www.velo.be
time schedules on the bus stops along the road. Open: Weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Destinations, route planner, time schedules and Tuesday: from 10:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
more information you will find on the website.
Bicycle Rental and Repair
Bus lines nr. 2 and 616 will drop you at the IMEC
Campus. You can rent a safe, fully equipped and registered
second-hand bike with a solid lock at VELO. A
De Lijn rental contract will be drawn up (please bring your
Martelarenplein 19b, B-3000 Leuven passport, student card/badge and bank account
Tel. 070 22 02 00 (general information) number) and you must pay the rental price plus a
Tel. 016 31 37 11 (province of Vlaams-Brabant) deposit. You can also come to repair your own
Info Pass: Tel. 016 31 37 20 Fax: 016 31 37 25 bike at the bike repair shop or have your bike
Info Groups: Tel. 016 31 37 17 repaired for a small price. At VELO you can also
firstname.lastname@example.org - www.delijn.be report bike theft and have your bike registered
(engraving + bike ID).
Some Bicycle Repair Shops
- A-Bikes, Gemeentestraat 37, Kessel-Lo
- Huis Boydens, Diestsestraat 205, Leuven
- Rijwielen Cadans, Naamsestraat 123, Levuen
- Rijwielen Hugo Jacobs, Diestsestraat 192, Leuven
- Fietsen Koen, Martelarenlaan 201, Kessel-Lo
- Fietsen Niclaes, Naamsesteenweg 76, Heverlee
Every year the local police, together with the
K.U.Leuven and the city services, campaign to
increase bike safety in Leuven. Spot checks for
bicycle ownership are held on regular basis. A
police patrol can stop you anywhere at any time. In
Travelling through Europe with Eurolines
the worst-case scenario you will get a fine if the
Eurolines has direct and inexpensive connections bike you are riding has been reported as stolen.
from Leuven to 500 destinations in Europe. The most important pieces of advice to prevent
www.eurolines.com - email@example.com fines and bicycle theft are these:
- Do not steal a bike
Bicycles - Lock your bike properly
- Register your bike
Cycling is healthy, inexpensive and cool.
Furthermore, in a city like Leuven it is often the - Report theft
Global Action Plan Cyclists Fietsendienst
Mechelsestraat 162-168, B-3000 Leuven
The Leuven Police has developed a global action Tel. 016 21 09 90 - www.leuven.be
plan for cyclists with four priorities: driving without Open:
lights when this is obligatory, ignoring a red light Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Fridayfrom 8:00
(one also has to stop when turning right!), driving a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
in the wrong direction and not giving way. These Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
four priorities were set up on basis of accident Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
statistics of the last years. During the academic
year, traffic surveillances will be held which will Practical Tips
focus on the movement summary offences by
cyclists. If you want more info on how to prevent - Rent a safe, fully equipped and registered
expensive fines check out the website: secondhand bicycle.
- To prevent theft, get a solid lock.
www.kuleuven.be/transportation/ - To prevent accidents and fines, respect the rights
GuideforCyclingIn-Belgium.pdf. of pedestrians and the local traffic rules.
- If your bicycle is stolen, please report it. Bicycle
It has all the information about the Belgian Highway theft report forms can be found in the offices of
Code specialized in cycling with lots of pictures of VELO and at the police office. By reporting theft,
traffic situations in Leuven. you are supplying the police the information they
need to recover your bike and to locate you if they
Bicycle Theft and the Bicycle Office find your bike.
Bicycle theft is very common in Leuven. A good
lock to secure your bicycle is very important and You can download the map of bicycle routes from
always recommended. In Leuven you can get your the City of Leuven web site. This map provides an
bicycle engraved with an ID number. This is no overview of all safe bicycle routes www.leuven.be/
guarantee against theft, but it helps to prevent showpage.asp?iPageID=5892y -to-day life
theft. For free engraving, go to the bicycle office of
the local police on Wednesdays from 1:00 to 3:30
p.m. and on Thursdays from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Postal Services Telephone and internet services
In Belgium mail is delivered by the Postman to your Country Number for Belgium: 32
address. Post boxes are red in color and are Area Code Leuven: (0)16: international call, skip 0
situated in towns, shopping centers and road sides. (0032 16 …); when calling within Belgium, always
dial the full area code, 016. Other examples of area
National mail may be placed in any letterbox in codes: Brussels: 02; Antwerp: 03; Ghent: 09;
Belgium or posted at a post-office counter and may Bruges: 050; Louvain-la- Neuve: 010.
be open or sealed. Postage of a standardized letter
costs € 0.54. For international mail: the items may Useful Numbers
be open or sealed and weigh a maximum of 2 kg.
See www.depost.be National Information: 1207
International Information: 1204
Post Office Addresses in Leuven
Philipssite, B-3001 Heverlee, tel. 016 50 93 60 There are two main providers of fixed telephone
Open: lines in Belgium: Belgacom and Telenet.
Weekdays from 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
and from 1:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Belgacom operates a special toll-free number for
Tuesdays until 6 p.m. expatriate services (0800-32005) if you call from
Belgium, and +32 2 819 80 04 if you call from
Leuven Centrum abroad). To get a fixed line, phone this toll-free
Jan Stasstraat 12, B-3000 Leuven, number or visit one of the Belgacom Teleboutiques
Tel. 016 50 95 60 Fax: 016 50 95 70
Open: (www.belgacom.be) or go to a recognized
Weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. except for Belgacom dealer. Belgacom has a toll-free customer
Thursday : 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. service line for general information: 0800-55800.
There is a network of 60 private retailers
Heverlee Ambassade authorised to order new lines or sell you Belgacom
Naamsesteenweg 380, B-3001 Heverlee, equipment. Belgacom Teleboutiques also sell or
Tel. 016 40 60 06 rent a full range of Belgacom telephones, fax
Open: machines, answering machines, pagers and mobile
Weekdays from 9:00 a.m.to 12:30 pm. and telephones. Belgacom also provides internet and
from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. television.
Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Telenet provides broadband telephone, internet
Postpunten (in case post offices are closed) and multimedia services via cable. For further
information about Telenet and its services call 0800
SuperGB Heverlee - Tervuursevest 113, Leuven 66000, free of charge, or consult their website:
AD Delhaize Luna - Tervuursesteenweg 154, Heverlee www.telenet.be.
SPAR Sint-Jacob - Brusselsestraat 124, Leuven
Cable television and digital television Calling Cards
Calling cards have two main advantages over
Cable & Digital TV is available in each commune. regular lines: since the card is pre-paid there is no
Each commune provides exclusive rights to various bill at the end of the month; and calls can be made
cable TV operators and each operator chooses the from any telephone (public, private, mobile, etc.).
channels it wishes to offer. The cable operator can Calling cards for international calls are available at
also provide internet and telephone services. newsagents, post offices, supermarkets, train
Contact your local commune or local telecom stations and night shops.
shops to establish which operator is authorized to
provide services in your commune. Always ask which card is the most suitable for the
call and the country you want to call.
Without cable you will receive two Dutch
channels: Eén and Canvas. Cable television will Radio
provide you with more channels, such as: VTM,
KA2, VT4, VijfTV, Vitaya, Jim TV, BBC, RTBF, … Here are some radio channels which you can tune
in to in Belgium:
Mobile Telephones (Cell phones)
Radio 1, Radio 2, Klara, Radio Donna, Studio
Newcomers from most European countries can Brussel and PureFM.
continue to use their mobile telephones in Belgium
if their contract includes a roaming feature,
although this will be rather costly in the long term.
However, newcomers from the United States are
generally unable to use their American cell phones
in Europe. For them, connection to the Belgian
telephone and mobile networks remains the most
cost-effective solution. Mobile telephones or cell-
phones are widely available in specialized shops and
large retail outlets. Many specialized dealers are
also official agents for one of the three major
Belgian mobile operators: Proximus, Mobistar and
Base (main shops in Diestsestraat and
Bondgenotenlaan). These operators are authorized
to open an account for you and have various
payment formulas, including pre-paid cards and
Please don’t sign any contract without fully
understanding its terms and implications!
10 Security, police and legalities
Leuven Police Headquarters Births, Marriages and Deaths
The police department is in charge of maintaining Registry Office Burgerlijke Stand
law and order. Prof. Van Overstraetenplein1, B-3000 Leuven
Police officers are there for your security Tel. 016 27 20 00 – Fax 016 27 29 95
whenever you need them. www.leuven.be
Philipssite 4, B-3001 Heverlee Births
Tel. 016 21 07 40 Fax: 016 21 07 39
You are required to inform the Registry Office of
the birth of your baby within 15 days of the birth.
Open: The hospital will give you the necessary papers and
Weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and from information. Ask the HR Services at IMEC or at
12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (or by appointment) your home company for information on including
For emergencies (24 hours a day) please contact: your child in the insurance policy.
Interventieafdeling Algemene Politiezorg
Philipssite 4, B-3001 Heverlee
Tel. 016 21 06 10 Fax: 016 21 06 09
The municipal authorities in Belgium only recognize
civil weddings, not church weddings. If you plan to
The local district station Leuven Center is at have both a civil and a religious marriage ceremony,
the civil ceremony must take place first. You do
Grote Markt 8 not need to have both on the same day. All
3000 LEUVEN information concerning marriage and the
Phone (016) 21 09 00 (switchboard) documents required, can be obtained at the
from 0.00 to 24.00 (for all emergencies)
The Registry Office must be informed of all deaths.
Quarter Section: If death occurs in a hospital, this formality will be
from 08.00 to 22.00, Sat 08.30 to 12.30 normally done by the undertaker, but has to be
paid. You can do this yourself, but you then need
to inquire at the Registry Office. If death occurs
outside a hospital, a doctor must be called first to
certify the death and to determine the cause of
death. After that, the registry office must be
informed. It is advisable to ask for several copies of
the death certificate, since they may be needed for
insurance, banks, embassies, etc
11 Day-to-day life
11.1. CONTACT Supermarkets, Shops and Markets
The K.U.Leuven organizes activities for their Most supermarkets and shops are open every day
international students. There are international except on Sunday. Some will have a closing
students associations (http://international.loko.be), weekday. There are a few supermarkets that do
activities at the International Meeting Centre open on Sunday morning: GB Express
Pangaea (www.kuleuven.be/pangaea) and activities (Brusselsestraat 60, Tiensevest 10 and
with the International Contact Club (ICC Naamsestraat 48, open until 8 p.m), Super GB
www.kuleuven.be/icc) Partner (Koning Albertlaan 147, Kessel-Lo), Evin’s
Winkel (Leeuwerikenstraat 23, Heverlee). Bakeries
On the intranet of IMEC you will find some are usually open on Sundays and holidays. Many
references to other international associations in Night Shops open after 6 p.m. until late at night.
Belgium. Evening Shopping in the centre of Leuven on
Thursdays until 8:00 p.m.
11.2. SHOPPING IN LEUVEN
Cost of living
Mgr. Ladeuzeplein (food and goods),
Bread – white, sliced: € 2
H. Hooverplein (food),
Milk, 1 liter, skimmed: € 0.66
Wednesday afternoon from 3:00 p.m.:
Eggs, white (container of 6): € 1.41 A. de Becker-Remyplein (Kessel-Lo)
Sunday morning until 1:00 p.m.:
Rice, 500g: € 1.80
At Heverlee station
Pasta, 500g: € 0.80
Sausage, 1kg: € 7.50
(M. de Layensplein, Mechelsestraat)
Steak, 1kg: € 14
(vegetables, cheese, etc.) on Brusselsestraat
Grilled Chicken, per kg: € 8
Apples, 1kg: € 1.30
Carrots, 1kg: € 0.60
Pizza, medium: + 10 €
Indicative prices as per Jan 1st, 2009 (please note that
vegetable and fruit prices are strongly influenced by
supply and weather conditions)
11 Day-to-day life
Weldadigheidsstraat 58 and J. P. Minckelerstraat 76 Wibra
J.P. Minckelerstraat 116, Leuven Carrefour
Vlinderlaan 2, Kessel-Lo Vlinderlaan 1, Bierbeek
(also has an extensive collection at very fair prices)
Lombaardenstraat 2, Leuven INNO
Tiensesteenweg 237, Kessel-Lo Diestsestraat 67
Groenveldstraat 71, Heverlee
(furniture, household, electronic appliances
and school supplies at very affordable prices)
(clothes, houseware, gadgets and food)
Weiveldlaan 19(close to E40), Zaventem
11 Day-to-day life
Health and beauty products De Gouden Draad
Diestsestraat 55 Quick Shop
Bondgenotenlaan 95 Diestsestraat 224
DI Slachthuislaan 1
Het Leuvens Strijkatelier
Second hand shops Frederik Lintstraat 37
SPIT Wassalons het Poederke
IJzermolenstraat 10-12 A. Vesaliusstraat 16
Rawette De Washoek
Parijsstraat 53A (only clothing) Tervuursevest 12
Cyaankali For prices, ‘how to use a washing machine’, see
Diestsestraat 217 (only clothing) brochure ‘Housekeeping tips’, www.kuleuven.be/
Tiensestraat 225 (children’s clothing and needs) 11.3. DINING
International food shops Leuven has a lot of restaurants, cafes and pubs.
Situated mostly in the centre, around the Great
Thai House Supermarket Market. You will find a list with restaurants on the
Alfons Smetsplein website of Leuven. www.leuven.be Expect to pay
about €1.80 for a drink – cola, water or beer.
Naamsestraat 28 11.4. ENVIRONMENT
African food shop Voodoo The educational and civil authorities are fully
Tiensestraat 220 committed to sustainable development and the
creation of an environmentally friendly city. They
La Méditerrannée for north-African food encourage citizens and students to reduce their
Maria-Theresiastraat 52 garbage production, to properly sort their garbage,
to use energy in a responsible and sustainable way
Fair Trade Shop (products from Africa, Asia and and to adopt sustainable transportation.
Laundrettes, laundries and dry cleaning
Pressing nr 1
L. Melsensstraat 4
Maria Van Belstraat 7
11 Day-to-day life
Waste Prevention, Selection and your green waste is to start composting or to get
Reduction some chickens.
In Leuven garbage needs to be sorted. The more PMD (Plastic, Metal and Drink cartons -
you produce, the more brown bags you will need blue bag)
and they cost money. You can reduce your garbage
by buying fewer packages, by using glass instead of There is a lot of confusion about what you can and
plastic bottles, etc. The following paragraphs cannot put in the blue bag. It is very important that
explain the different kinds of waste, and how they you know what goes in the blue bag, since they will
are collected. not be picked up if they contain the wrong things.
Paper and cardboard Always allowed: washed “tetra packs”, plastic
bottles, metal cans, aluminum tins and trays (from
Paper and cardboard are collected separately from lasagna for instance).
other garbage. You can include any kind of paper, if
it’s clean and if there is not any plastic attached to Never allowed: butter tubs, yoghurt cups, plastic
it. All paper needs to be tied up with string or bags, plastic objects, aluminum foil, badly rinsed
twine and left in front of the house or residence on tetra packs.
collection mornings between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m.
Everything else (brown bag)
All the household garbage not mentioned above
Glass should be taken to one of the big glass has to go in the brown bag. Large objects like
containers located throughout the city. Light bulbs furniture are collected five times a year. You have
or flat glass (for instance from a window) are NOT to put a special sticker on it that can be purchased
allowed! Always rinse out glass bottles. Colored at the “Stadswinkel” (see below). If the furniture
glass usually goes in a separate container from clear can still be used, or if you want to get rid of an
glass. electronic appliance, contact Spit (see below).
KGA (Small dangerous waste) You can find all the information on the free ‘waste
collection calendar’, which outlines the garbage
Most people have quite a lot of stuff that is pick-up schedule. The environment advisors also
dangerous if it is dumped or burned since it might provide an English translation.
lead to soil contamination. Batteries can be taken
to supermarkets and deposited in the green boxes Where to buy garbage bags and stickers
provided especially for old batteries. Expired or
unused medication can be taken to any You can also find garbage bags in most
pharmacist’s but please remove the paper from the supermarkets, except in Aldi.
box. There are also collections of small dangerous
waste such as leftover cleaning products, used City Shop - Stadswinkel
cooking oil, cosmetics, writing materials, etc, by the Waversebaan 66, B-3001 Heverlee (at Heverlee City
Leuven ’chemobiel’. Dates and places will be Hall) - Tel. 016 30 90 56
announced via the website of the city Open:
(www.leuven.be) and via the municipal Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and
infobrochure ‘Stad Leuven info’. Or you can bring it Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.and from 1:00 to
to one of the guarded containerparks. 4:30 p.m.
Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:00
GFT (Kitchen and garden waste - green to 8:00 p.m.(klopt dit nog?)
City Registry Office - Bevolkingsdienst stad Leuven
Vegetables, fruit and garden waste belong in the Prof. Van Overstraetenplein 1, B-3000 Leuven
green bag. Coffee filters, teabags and eggshells are Open:
also allowed. Please do not put anything else in the Only on Thursdays from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (only
green bag! In a number of residences and houses stickers).
little green buckets are used instead of bags. The
most environmentally friendly way to get rid of
11 Day-to-day life
Responsible energy use Second Hand Shop (Kringloopwinkel)
IJzermolenstraat 10-12, B-3001 Heverlee
Everybody is encouraged to consume energy and Tel. 016 65 29 35 Fax: 016 35 92 89
water in a sustainable way. Here are some tips that firstname.lastname@example.org www.spit.be
you can put into practice in your university Open:
residence or student house: Tuesday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Turn off the lights when you are the last person to
leave a room. 11.5. SPORTS
Turn off the screen of your computer if you are K.U.Leuven Sports Centre Leuven
not working on it for an extended period of time.
Put a lid on your pot or pan (60 to 70 % less
energy wasted), and turn off the heat a bit before As an IMEC employee you can apply for a sports
you finish cooking. The ideal temperature for your
card from the K.U.Leuven.
refrigerator is 5°C; try to avoid a layer of ice in the
freezer. If you open your window, turn off the heat The Sports Centre features a state-of-the-art
(but do not forget to put it on minimum when it fitness room for which you pay supplementary. To
freezes). book a tennis court, soccer field, or any other
facility call or drop by the sports secretariat. If you
and your team mates have a sports card, everything
is free. The only thing you pay extra for is indoor
The Sports Centre yearly organizes the following
events: Bike&Run, Indoor Athletics Meeting, the
Flemish University Competition, the Belgian
University Competition, Sports Camps for kids,
Badminton Competition, the fence competition
‘Challenge Maître Minnen’.
Tervuursevest 101, B-3001 Heverlee
Tel. 016 32 91 30 Fax: 016 32 91 95
email@example.com - www.kuleuven.be/sports
Open: Weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 12.00 noon and
from1:00 to 6:00 p.m. (5:30 during the summer
Do not leave any towels or clothing on the central
Do not wash your dishes under running water.
Report leaky taps to the landlord.
Copy and print on both sides of the paper.
Realizing that you can reduce consumption without
reducing comfort is already a good start.
SPIT (second-hand shop)
Spit is a centre that recycles household items. You
can bring them your old furniture, electric
appliances, bicycles, clothes, etc. All items should
be in a condition that allows them to be re-used.
Spit personnel can pick up articles from your
house. After repairs are carried out, these items
are then sold in Spit’s shop.
11 Day-to-day life
City of Leuven Sports Office Fit-o-meter
Heverleebos, Naamsesteenweg, Heverlee
Prof. Van Overstraetenplein 1, B-3000 Leuven
firstname.lastname@example.org www.leuven.be Jeugdvoetbalcentrum Bruineveld
Domeinstraat 61, 3010 Kessel-Lo
The city of Leuven has several sports facilities: For information concerning fees & prices contact the
swimming pools, indoor and outdoor facilities. staff in charge of the facility or call the sports office:
016 44 26 50
City’s Sports Facilities: An Overview
Sport Clubs in Leuven
Stadionlaan 4, The Sports Office has a comprehensive list of sport
B-3010 Kessel-Lo clubs in the Leuven area. This list is constantly
016 25 34 80 updated. Its content comes from information
collected by the staff of the Sports Office. It is
Aarschotsesteenweg 730, available in every municipal sports facility.
016 44 33 88 11.6. CULTURE
Sportoase, Leuven is a young and dynamic city where it is
Philipssite 6, almost impossible to get bored. Apart from the
B-3001 Heverlee numerous cafes and restaurants, there is also a
016 74 07 40 www.sportoase.be large assortment of cultural activities.
Indoor Sports Facilities The Leuven Cultural Centre, with 200,000 visitors
Sportoase and approximately 280 activities per season, is the
most important organiser of performing arts in the
Sportcomplex Kessel-Lo, region. They’ll bring you a fascinating mix of
Stadionlaan 4, B- 3010 Kessel-Lo theatre, dance, classical and non-classical music,
016 25 34 80 workshops, lectures, children’s performances, and
much more. There is always something for
Sporthal Wilsele-centrum everybody.
Aarschotsesteenweg 163, B-3012 Wilsele
016 44 51 36 30CC holds performances, concerts and shows at
many different venues around the city: the
Turn- & sportzaal Boudewijnstadion Diestsesteenweg Stadsschouwburg (municipal theatre)
288, B-3010 Kessel-Lo (Bondgenotenlaan 21), the “Minnepoort”
016 89 52 12 Auditorium (Dirk Boutslaan 62), the “Romaanse
Poort” and the “Wagehuys” (Brusselsestraat 63),
Sporthal KHLeuven the “Predikherenkerk” (O.L.Vrouwstraat), the
Hertogstraat 178, B-3001 Heverlee public library “Tweebronnen” (Diestsestraat 49),
and sometimes even on the city’s street corners.
Outdoor Sports Facilities After the performance you can always continue
Boudewijnstadion chatting and meeting people in any of the various
Diestsesteenweg, B-3010 Kessel-Lo halls where these activities are held. There is also a
016 25 12 21 cultural café - Improvisio - in the main area of
30CC (Romaanse Poort, Brusselsestraat 63). In
Den Bruul mounting new and innovative projects like
Brouwersstraat, B-3000 Leuven “Kulturama”, “Rode Hond”, “Dubbelspel”,
016 22 95 51 “Kunstbende”, “Licht Gekanteld”,... 30CC plays a
pioneering role in terms of creating partnerships
Atletiek Arena Gaston Roelants and collaboration with the musical groups and arts
Diestsesteenweg, B-3010 companies in the Leuven area.
Kessel-Lo 016 25 12 21
30CC also has a supporting function for the musical
company “La Petite Bande”, and the theatre
11 Day-to-day life
co mp an ies “B r a ak l an d / Z h eB il d in g ” an d information on www.stuk.be where you can also
“fABULEUS”. You can also contact the centre to buy tickets on line.
rent some of the facilities mentioned above. STUK has also an elegant ‘grand café’ where you
However, you need to get there early. Contact can drink or eat something, read a newspaper or a
them as soon as you know that you want to book or go on internet for free. Friday evenings
organise an event. you can listen to a DJ and every Sunday evening
you can enjoy a free jazz concert (‘Jazz on Sunday’).
Brusselsestraat 63, B-3000 Leuven
Tel. 016 23 84 27 Fax: 016 29 12 CinemaZed (see further on this page) is
1530CC@leuven.be - www.30CC.be/ incorporated into STUK and offers a wide range of
In&Uit, Naamsestraat 1,B-3000 Leuven Naamsestraat 96, B-3000 Leuven
Open: Tel. 016 32 03 20
Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. email@example.com - www.stuk.be
Booking by phone: Tel. 016 20 30 20
Online tickets: on www.30CC.be
Tourism IN&UIT Leuven
In&Uit (literally “In&Out”) is located in the
sidewing of City Hall. It is a central reception desk
where you can pick up all kinds of information and
documentation concerning leisure in Leuven.
Basically, In&Uit informs tourists as well as
residents about how they can spend their free time
in Leuven. You can learn about Leuven’s major
sights, attractions and ongoing expositions, and
about what is going on in music and performing Movie Theatres in Leuven
arts. Moreover, In&Uit sells visitor tickets
for City Hall and other places of interest and The Studio’s
entrance tickets for local cultural activities (see Burgermeesterstraat 30, B-3000 Leuven
above).This is where you can obtain your free copy Tel. 016 30 07 00
of Leuven’s culture and leisure magazine ‘Uit in www.studios.be
Leuven’. And while you’re there, also take a look at
the media screens showing the cultural and tourist Kinepolis Leuven
highlights of the moment. Bondgenotenlaan 145-149, B-3000 Leuven
Tel. 016 31 96 00
In&Uit Leuven www.kinepolis.be
Naamsestraat 1, B-3000 Leuven Cinema Zed
Tel. 016 20 30 20 Fax 016 20 30 03 Cinema Zed is a not-for-profit movie theatre
firstname.lastname@example.org - www.inenuitleuven.be screening primarily films from the alternative
Naamsestraat 96, B-3000 Leuven
STUK is an important venue in Leuven and one of Tel. 016 32 03 20
the most important arts centres in Flanders. Its Monday to Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.;
programming features theatre, dance, films, music, Saturday from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
fine arts, and new media. In addition to the big Sunday from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30
names, you can also find the work of innovative p.m.www.cinemazed.be
newcomers. Prices are in general very affordable.
The opening week, at the beginning of the cultural
season, is a unique opportunity to get to know
STUK. You can find all
12 Day-to-day life
Museums than 30 libraries spread out over the various
campuses. The Central library has a special mission:
Municipal Museums M. Leuven to collect and preserve old book collections and to
preserve old documents of general interest. In the
Willemsstraat 7, 3000 Leuven reading room you will find an extensive collection
Tel. 016 22 69 06 Fax 016 23 89 30 of encyclopaedias, bibliographies and reference
M@leuven.be - www.leuven.be/M works; in addition, there is a collection of basic
reference works for each discipline. Most books
M/Treasury of Saint Peter’s Church - M/ and periodicals are kept in closed stacks but you
Schatkamer van Sint-Pieters can request them at the circulation desk. Faculty or
department libraries house books and periodicals in
Grote Markt, B-3000 Leuven their respective fields.
Tel. 016 29 51 33
The beautiful Campus Library Arenberg (W. de
*From March 16 to October 15: Croylaan 6, Heverlee) is the main library for
Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. reseachers in the fields of Science, Bioscience
Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Engineering, Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Science.
Sundays and public holidays from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 pm
*From October 16 to March 15: closed on Monday University Library
Mgr.Ladeuzeplein 21, B-3000 Leuven
M. M from «Museum Leuven» Tel. 016 32 46 60 Fax: 016 32 46 91
Due to important renovation works, the Museum
will be closed from May 2006 until the autumn of Leuven Public Library
2009. Since October 2007 the Museum operates as “TWeeBRONNEN ”
M.M for Museum Leuven. Until 2009 M brings -
rather, takes - its collection to the public. Three The mission of the Leuven public library is to
different partners will be hosting the museum promote knowledge and general culture among the
pieces, each of them for one year. In 2006-2007 the inhabitants of Leuven. The library has two floors,
Leuven shops and businesses took the first turn each with its own opening hours and distinct
(Hors d’oeuvre), followed by the public sector in character.
2007-2008 (Main Dish) and finally by the Leuven
enterprises in 2008-2009 (Dessert). In 2009 M will Rijschoolstraat 4, B-3000 Leuven
reopen with a new museum display and the Tel. 016 22 65 22.
prestigious exhibitions as Rogier van der Weyden email@example.com
14\1464 - Master of Passions and an exhibition with www.leuven.be/bibliotheek
new work by the Belgian contemporary artist Jan
Vercruysse. Opening hours
11.7. LIBRARIES Tuesday: 12:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 12:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Thursday: 12:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m
K.U.Leuven University Library
Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
The university library system is composed of more Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
12 Day-to-day life
The upper floor houses the reading room
There you will find reference works in several
languages, journals, newspapers and weekly
periodicals (also in languages other than Dutch).
There is a documentation centre that provides
information on the province of Vlaams Brabant and
its various communities, internet PC’s, online
catalogues of the collections. The reading room has
plenty of seating, working tables and a few
screened-off study carrels.
The lower floor houses the lending library
The library has extensive collections on loan:
novels in Dutch, French, English, German, Spanish,
Italian, Arabic and Kurdish; non-fiction works
(books and dvd’s) ordered by subject and a diverse
collection of comic books. You can borrow books
for up to four weeks. But there is more. The Roman-Catolic
library presents a large collection of cd’s and dvd’s
Church of St John the Baptist St. Jan de
and a collection of reference works on music,
movies and stage arts. You can borrow library Doper Kerk Groot Begijnhof
items for four weeks. Masses in Dutch: Sundays at 11:00 a.m., Saturday
evenings at 6:15 p.m., and Wednesday evenings
To be able to borrow library materials, you need a
library card. The annual fee for a library card is student celebration at 6:15 p.m.
€2.50 for persons between 18 and 25; and €5,00
for those older than 26. When you’re younger than University Parish K.U.Leuven - International
18, membership of the library doesn’t cost you Community
anything! Most of the materials in the library can be
lent free of charge; only cd’s and movies have a The University Parish has an English-speaking
lending fee. More information can be found in the international community whose goal is to welcome
people from anywhere in the world to form a
Christian community. They foster an open
atmosphere where people from different
Practical Tip backgrounds, cultures and countries, and various
conducts in life, can meet and experience Christian
In order to register as a library user, and obtain your
library card, you will need to show your ID card. community in the Catholic tradition.
Enrolment is simple and easy when your ID mentions
your address in Belgium. If you do not have an official Every Sunday of the year, at 10:30 a.m., the
address in Belgium, you can still get your library card, community celebrates the Eucharist. The liturgy is
followed by a reception where people have the
but then you will be asked to pay a deposit. opportunity to meet informally. The community
publishes a weekly bulletin entitled “Bridges”. It
contains reflections, news, and spiritual-theological
insights. It is available at the Sunday liturgy.
Sacraments (baptism, confirmation, first
communion, reconciliation, and marriage) are
prepared and celebrated as community events.
Minderbroedersstraat 15, bus 0.09, B-3000 Leuven
Tel. 016 32 08 13 or 016 32 08 14
Responsable: Reimund Bieringer
Masses in English: Sundays at 10:30 a.m.
11 Day-to-day life
University Parish K.U.Leuven Evangelical
French speaking community
The International Church of Evangelicals in
The University Parish has also a french-speaking, Leuven
african community. The community celebrates the
Eucharist at 11 a.m. in the chapel of Leo XIII- Services in the Pauscollege, Hogeschoolplein 3, on
seminary, entrance via Vesaliusstraat 2. Sundays at 10:00 a.m. (separate nursery and Sunday
School for children under 12).
Tiensestraat 124, B-3000 Leuven
Tel. 016 32 55 85 Pauscollege,
www.kuleuven.be/up/international/francais/ Hogeschoolplein 3, B-3000 Leuven
Responsable: Catho Schoofs Worship Service: Sundays at 10:00 a.m.
Masses in French: Sundays at 11 a.m. Contact persons: Kees & Toos Rosies
Beekstraat 39, 3051 Sint-Joris-Weert
Holy Spirit College Heilige Geest College Tel. 016 40 54 67 or 0475 83 27 46 - www.icel.be
Naamsestraat 40, B-3000 Leuven Orthodox
In English: Sundays at 11:30 a.m.
The Orthodox Parish of the Holy Apostel
Saint Michael’s Church Sint-Michielskerk and Evangelist Mattheos
A Roman Catholic Mass is held in Spanish on All services (liturgy – Sundays at 10:00 a.m. - and
Sundays at 12:00 noon. vespers – Saturdays at 6:00 p.m.) in Dutch and Old-
Slavonic, occasionally with some Greek, English or
Naamsestraat 57A, B-3000 Leuven Romanian.
Tel. 016 20 09 06
Contact person: Paul Aerts Contact Person: Priest, Father Alexander Yavarouski,
Tel. 016 31 63 69 speeks Dutch and Russian,
firstname.lastname@example.org Tervuursestraat 56 (Collegium pro Latina America or
COPAL), B- 3000 Leuven
Anglican Tel. 0498 83 45 56
The Anglican community of St M&M’s: St. www.leuven.orthodoxy.ru/ (website in Dutch, Russian
Martha and St. Mary of Bethany Anglican and Greek).
Church of Leuven
The Anglican community M&M’s has a celebration
every Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m. in the St. Martha International Muslim Students Association of
and St. Mary of Bethany Chapel, Leuven (IMSAL )
Minderbroedersstraat, 15 (Justus Lipsius College).
IMSAL is the official representative of Muslim
Justus Lipsius College, students of KU Leuven. It has its own Students
Minderbroedersstraat 15, B-3000 Leuven Mosque in Rijschoolstraat 25, where the daily five
Contact person: Church Warden prayers are held in addition to the Friday prayer
email@example.com preceded by Khutba (sermon) in both Arabic and
www.anglicanleuven.be English. Friday prayer starts at 1:00 pm (2:00 pm.
during the summer months). Celebration of Islamic
Protestant Service feasts and daily collective Iftar in Ramadan are
arranged every year.
There is a Protestant service in Dutch every
Sunday at 10:00 a.m. at Jesuit Church, Rijschoolstraat 25, B-3000 Leuven
Tel. 016 33 24 39
Waversebaan220, B-3001 Heverlee. For contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel. 016 22 98 83 www.imsal.be
Contact person: Ernst Veen
11 Day-to-day life
Al Fath mosque
The mosque belongs to the resident Muslim
community of Leuven. Here the daily five prayers
are held as well as Friday and Feasts prayers. The
Khutbas (sermons) of Friday and Eid prayers are
delivered only in Arabic.
Penitentienenstraat 33, B-3000 Leuven
Contact person: Mr. Bachiri
Tel. 016 20 87 02
Other Cities around Leuven
Brussels and Antwerp have communities of most
religions, including a large Muslim, Jewish and
Orthodox community. Smaller denominations and
religions most likely have a community in Brussels,
Antwerp and/or Ghent as well.
11. 9. PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
In the Belgian system there are 10 fxed holidays :
1 New years Day 1 January
2 Easter Monday Depending on the
3 “Feest van de 1 May
4 Ascension Day Depending on the
5 Pentecost Mon- Depending on the
6 National holiday 21 July
7 “OLV Hemel- 15 August
8 All Saints 1 November
9 Armistice day 11 November
10 Christmas Day 25 December
On these holidays, all shops, banks and public
services will be closed.