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Leuven leads the way for culture and creativity
Leuven is the best-performing cultural and creative city in Belgium, according to a ranking published this week by the European Commission. It’s followed by Ghent, Antwerp and Kortrijk, all of which score higher in their size categories than Brussels.
This second edition of the Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor covers 190 cities in 30 European countries. To be included, a city must be a past or future European Capital of Culture, a Unesco Creative City, or host two or more international cultural festivals.
The Flemish cities included are Leuven, Ghent, Antwerp, Bruges, Ostend and Kortrijk (a new addition since the monitor first appeared in 2017). Other Belgian cities included are Brussels, Liège, Mons and Namur.
Each city is assessed in three broad areas: its cultural vibrancy, its creative economy, and how enabling its environment is. These three facets are informed by 29 indicators, detail that allows the cities to see where their strengths and weaknesses lie relative to their peers.
Leuven ranked 10th among the 79 European cities in the monitor with a comparable population size, but saw its creative economy ranked fourth. And on the indicator devoted to human capital and education, it came first in its population group.
“The creative and cultural sector in Leuven is flourishing, that much is clear,” said Mohamed Ridouani, the city’s mayor. “It also shows that our policy in recent years to stimulate the creative and cultural scene in Leuven is bearing fruit.”
These include setting up a meeting place for creative entrepreneurs under the umbrella of Leuven MindGate, and the collaboration between the city and KU Leuven university.
“And with projects such as the Podiumkunstensite and the further development of the Vaartkom as a creative hub, our city's creative and cultural sector will continue to grow,” Ridouani added.
Ghent also performed well, ranking 13th in the group of 40 European cities of comparable size. But it was placed fifth for cultural vibrancy, thanks to its dynamic music scene and international festivals.
Photo: courtesy Stad Leuven. This article first appeared in Flanders Today