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.

Bram Jaenen

Bram Jaenen

Chocolatier and founder, bittersweet (1986)

Can you describe what you do?

I am a business owner and chocolatier based in the centre of Leuven, working together with three young employees. Giving them the space and opportunity to grow is my biggest priority – something I was never granted, since most chocolatiers look for employees who already have experience. 

How do you perceive Leuven?

I perceive Leuven to be primarily a student city with a nice mix of different people. Plenty of foodies who appreciate quality restaurants, too. There’s also a decent selection of music, art and food festivals within the city. 

I see a lot of young people starting their own businesses here, because there’s a real market and need for it.

What would you say is Leuven’s main appeal as a city? What gives it its edge?

Leuven is a small, quiet city that has everything you need. I see a lot of young people starting their own businesses here, because there’s a real market and need for it.

How has Leuven contributed to making you who you are today? What role has the city played in shaping your outlook and career?

The City has always supported bittersweet, with guided tours, Sunday shopping and events.

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

Honestly, I don’t think Leuven could do anymore for my business, since I’m a firm believer that it’s my responsibility to make it work!

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

If I have friends visiting, I’d bring them to the beautiful Town Hall, the grand University Library and surrounding churches, as well as all of my favourite shops and restaurants. But, of course, a tasting tour at bittersweet is on the cards!

bittersweet.be