Places where art & science meet in Leuven

With Leuven being voted as the most innovative city in 2020 and ranked in the top 5 for European Best Destinations in 2022, it’s no wonder there are multiple areas of the city where art and science can be found existing in harmony. Our city is home to KU Leuven University which is well known for its research, allowing students to expand their minds when it comes to art and science. Travelers who enjoy experiencing unique art pieces and inspiring scientific work, Leuven is the place to visit. Here are just a few examples of exhibits and places in Leuven where art and science meet:
By
Rebecca Poulsen
20 September 2022

Urban Artwork 'Primeval Atom'

Few people know that the city of Leuven is actually where the Big Bang Theory originated. Georges Lemaître (1894-1966), a professor and priest in Leuven, proposed the idea that the universe began with a single primeval atom in 1931.

To celebrate the discovery of the Big Bang Theory originating in Leuven, the city has installed an expansive project created by Félicie d'Estienne d'Orves where art and science meet. As you wander around the city, don’t forget to look down. Scattered across the city, you’ll find 80 metal medallions that depict different galaxies at certain time periods after the Big Bang occured.

The center of this art piece can be found near the Central Bus Station. This area has a large metal sphere with flashing lights that represents earth in 1931 when the Big Bang Theory was presented. Each meter from that spot represents 10 million years back in time. The outer ring road of Leuven illustrates the beginning of the Big Bang, making this art installment span across the entire city. Grab a map and discover one of Leuven’s most innovative art meets science projects!

Eye Tracking Research and Art at museum M Leuven

Leuven is home to KU Leuven, a high ranking research university. The campus is spread across much of Leuven and other parts of Belgium, making it easy to conduct research all throughout the city. Some of the perks of being in the same city as a research focused university is the access we have to incredible tools such as eye tracking technology.

This technology was used at M Leuven to understand how people view art in different capacities. From these studies, experts discovered that people view art differently based on their gender. Research is important to the city of Leuven to generate innovation and creativity.

More recently, in 2022, the museum M is conducting more research using eye tracking technology to better understand how people view art inside and outside of the museum. Research never ends in the city of Leuven and innovation is alive and well!

See for yourself what makes M Leuven so incredible. You can visit daily 11:00-18:00 (except Wednesdays) and Thursday 11:00-22:00. Tickets can be bought online or at the front counter of the museum.

'Totem' Statue at Ladeuzeplein

If you’ve been to Leuven, you’ve likely seen the massive statue of a needle impaling a bug in the Ladeuzeplein. This is an iconic piece to Leuven’s history. In 2004 this sculpture was installed to commemorate 575 years of the KU Leuven University.

The sculpture is an ode to the scientific programs at the university and represents the importance of small, precise mechanisms, which is seen by the artists as a product of science and technology.

Fun fact, this bug is similar to those that cover the ceiling in one of the rooms at the Royal Palace in Brussels. In fact, the artist that did the ceiling design, Jan Fabre is the very same person that created the Leuven bug statue.

BAC ART LAB

The BAC ART LAB is a place where art and science are paired together to create something beautiful. In this art lab, there is a focus on artistic trajectories interesting with scientific research.

The research of KU Leuven is ever present throughout the city of Leuven, and this art lab is the perfect example. So what can you do here? The BAC ART LAB showcases exhibitions created by PhD students from KU Leuven and often hosts events for the public to see. You can find upcoming events at the BAC ART LAB here.

Come visit Leuven

If you’re looking to include a unique city with a wonderful history in your future travel plans, look no further than Leuven. We welcome travelers with open arms and look forward to showing off our local beers, innovative ideas, and beautiful nature that surrounds our city.

The best way to experience Leuven is to stay for a few days to ensure you can see and do everything we have to offer. Why not book a weekend trip? We hope to see you soon!