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.

Emeraude Kabeya

Emeraude Kabeya

Musician, EME / Shop manager, Think Twice (1990)

Can you describe what you do?

I’m a mum, manager and musician. I live just outside of Leuven, but my professional and personal life is located in the streets of 3000. It’s been this way for ten years now. My day job is managing the vintage shop Think Twice, close to the station, where I work with two lovely, creative, young women. By night I turn into a musician, under the moniker EME. I’m not alone in that hustle, though: I work with a band of six talented musicians.

I feel very much connected to my city’s live scene. You’ll often find me in Het Depot catching a show, or at Leuven Live supporting friends. I’m also quite active within the Urban Woorden organisation; a platform dedicated to giving the urban arts like rap, slam and breakdance an outlet.

How do you perceive Leuven?

I think Leuven is only now realising that it has a lot of potential – and it’s finally living up to it. It’s a small town, so people get to know each other quite easily, especially if they have common interests. You see a lot of organisations and new stores popping up in the city, which feels like a breath of fresh air.

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

Leuven is an ever-changing city, thanks to its students. Every year you have new people coming in. New faces, new talents, new musicians – it’s an interesting mix.

Leuven provided me with my band. Leuven gives me inspiration for my songs. Leuven gave me life-long friendships and experiences I will never forget.

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

Leuven provided me with my band. Leuven gives me inspiration for my songs. Leuven gave me life-long friendships and experiences I will never forget. A network of like-minded people I can rely on. If it wasn’t for this city, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I want to represent the city, and make it here before I reach for bigger success. If the people on my own turf don’t have my back, then who will?

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

I would like to see more and somewhat stronger representations of the urban arts. I’d also like for locals to connect with each other even more, and on a deeper level. To link up more. To support each other. It’s one thing to have acquaintances and even to know everybody – but people should also work and collaborate more together. To be able to place your city on the map together.

To you, what is the best way to spend a weekend in Leuven?

For me, an ideal weekend in Leuven would consist of catching a show at Het Depot, going out for a meal on Muntstraat, or just chilling with some music in one of the many secluded green areas in and around Leuven, like Kesselberg. Sometimes all you need is a blanket and a bottle of wine.