The Leuven Hundreds

Portraits of a city's people, today

We’ve joined forces with Leuven to highlight 100 local people, places and projects that contribute towards making the city what it is today. From artists and architects to producers and professors, these are the driving forces powering Leuven forward one ingenious initiative at a time.

Amber Vansintjan

Amber Vansintjan

BAZART project manager, Mooss (1990)

Can you describe what you do?

Five years ago, during my third bachelor year, I started BAZART with Mooss as part of my internship. Mooss is an art education organisation in collaboration with the Leuven-based art centre OPEK, located right on the north bank of the Leuven-Mechelen canal. The aim for BAZART was to develop a new initiative for an art youth movement. I founded the first group in Leuven, and we grew to a size we could have never hoped for. Thanks to this success, I was given the opportunity to stay on at Mooss, precisely as project leader for BAZART. Today, BAZART has local charters in nine different cities and I get to work with three inspired and jolly colleagues as well as a bunch of volunteers who coach the children and youngsters. My desk is even messier than before, but I still love my job.

How do you perceive Leuven?

Leuven is a very culturally dynamic city, with a wide range of cultural activities constantly made available to us locals. But, Leuven also remains somewhat of a village to me. Going to the pleasant Sunday market in Heverlee or having a drink in de Kamy (or Kaminsky), you’re sure to meet someone who you can share your baguette or nachos with.

What would you say is Leuven’s main appeal as a city? How has it contributed to making you who you are today?

When I was 15, Leuven was an important location for me. I co-organised an art festival Licht Gekanteld, which has now been renamed Studio Cactus. I took courses at Spelewei, a youth organization which has also just changed its name from Koning Kevin. And I was also an instructor for the AKABE department of Scouts Sint Paulus. AKABE offers the opportunity for disabled children to participate in scouting activities. Youth work and organisations are my natural habitat, and during the last few years my involvement has grown even more – and not only because of my work at BAZART! I really hope that Leuven and its youth organisations in general will remain young and bold enough. That we keep on listening to what children and youths find important, and that we keep on playing.

Leuven is a very culturally dynamic city, with a wide range of cultural activities constantly made available to us locals.

On a personal level, what would you like to see more of in the city? What could it do better?

A bit more boldness and out-of-the-box initiatives, and a somewhat less “organized” urban life. That we succeed in making Leuven an inviting and open-minded city. And yes, a wind turbine or two please!

If you had to take out-of-towners to one place that truly symbolises the city, what would it be?

I would go for a cycling trip through Heverlee Forest, fetch some pasta at L’inizio, and then to conclude, a pint at the pub Inn ‘t Joor 1. My absolute recommendation is to end a long night there – even if you’re not a fan of their specialty, hard-boiled eggs!