The Word Magazine made its selection of 100 most influential people within the city of Leuven (BE). Leuven does not only have a beautiful historical center, and housing the biggest university of Belgium. Within Europe, it is reknowned for its innovative start-up scene. Elegnano founder Katrien Herdewyn was chosen by The Word Magazine as 1 of the 100 leading citizens of Leuven.
Before I enrolled at the University, I had never lived in Leuven but it was the closest City to the village where I grew up. I’d often come to the City as a child, especially for special occasions such as family outings, shopping sprees, the Leuven Kermis or Christmas Market. Going to Leuven was something special back then, and I’ve never lost that feeling, even when relocating there as a student. I’ve always felt at home here: it’s not too big, and is pretty cosy with all its restaurants, bars and shops close together. This combination of familiarity and cosiness all make for a comforting feel, where I’m never really alone when walking around in Leuven. I never got used to the beauty of the historic centre, especially the Town Hall and University Library. Over the past 15 years, I must’ve seen these buildings a thousand times, and yet I look up every time I pass by imagining how much work and effort was put in over the centuries to create and maintain such majestic buildings. Whenever I tell people I’m from Leuven, they automatically assume I’m studying there which is flattering of course because I’ve long passed the age of 23. But clearly the association of the City with its University is very strong. A couple of years after I graduated from KU Leuven, I was still living in the city centre and started feeling “old”. Not in a negative connotation, but rather because there are so many young people around, that it’s not uncommon at 28 to wonder if you’re the oldest person in your local sandwich bar during the academic lunch break. Every year a new generation settles down in the City, keeping the lively vibe of the city young in perpetuity.
Read the full interview here: thewordmagazine.com/the-hundreds/