50 years after the split, the time has come for UCL and KUL to (re)unite


Fifty years after its creation, Louvain-la-Neuve has become one of the most attractive economic centres in Belgium.

Created in 1968 from a painful obligation for the French-speaking section of the country's oldest university to leave Louvain, the Université Catholique de Louvain found an area conducive to its development on the vast plains of Walloon Brabant. Now seeing 50,000 people a day pass through its doors, with 350 shops and providing 15,000 jobs, we can speak of a Belgian success story.  UCL, the 2nd largest employer in Walloon Brabant (after GSK) can also boast that it is now the leading French-speaking university according to an official world ranking produced from performance indicators in terms of teaching, research, citations, the international dimension and industrial opportunities.

Such development in scientific research is of course only possible by forging partnerships. And in recent years, UCL's primary partner has been none other than KU Leuven. More than the recent signing of a twinning between the two institutions, joint actions are increasingly making this (re)union a reality.  A first joint mission at MIT in Boston last March, with an exchange of researchers, is a good illustration of the fraternal links that are also demonstrated by possible "joint degrees" for students in several fields of study. It is therefore unsurprising that over 50% of the students who attend one of the two universities under Erasmus Belgica come from the other institution.