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.

Helen Defever

Helen Defever

Community worker, ’t Plukgeluk (1976)

Can you describe what you do?

I run, together with my partner Chris, the little community-supported flower farm ‘t Plukgeluk. At the start of the growing season, anyone can purchase a share in the flower harvest, and then come and collect them as soon as they are ready for picking. Visits are possible all-day round, but the best moments are either early mornings or evenings. We started very small in 2012, but today boast flower cultivation for 130 families – and have another 50 who wish to join us next year.

People are becoming more and more aware of the various impacts our way of living has on our planet; and so are increasingly keen on joining low-impact, sustainable projects such as ours to lower their ecological footprint.

How do you perceive Leuven? What would you say is Leuven’s main appeal as a city?

Leuven is a great place for our line of business: people are becoming more and more aware of the various impacts our way of living has on our planet; and so are increasingly keen on joining low-impact, sustainable projects such as ours to lower their ecological footprint. This makes me hopeful for the future!

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

Leuven is a university city, which sometimes makes it a bit too homogenous to me. It’d be great to see more multicultural and social dynamism. Having said that, there is a lot going on in Leuven, thanks to all the creative minds present. Locals are beginning to organise themselves, with a lot of bottom-up, fancy projects appearing. Many of them with a link to sustainable lifestyles, dining, or mobility.

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

Places not to miss when spending a weekend in Leuven include the Botanical Garden – a beauty all year round! A walk through the historical city centre, right up to the more modern urban development projects in the newly formed neighbourhoods is also highly interesting, with its increasing attention for higher quality urban park design. Finish it off with dinner at some of Leuven’s finest slow food restaurants!

tplukgeluk.be