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.

Peter-Jan Depreeuw and Jonas van Riel

Peter-Jan Depreeuw and Jonas van Riel

Architect and vinyl selector Peje, Brokers (1986) / Music copyrights and vinyl selector Oswald Moris, Brokers and Mensch, Erger Je Niet! (1988)

Can you describe what you do?

P-J: I’m an architect by day and the collector and selector for Brokers – a party held at Café Apéro every last Friday of the month – by night. I grew up and studied in Leuven and Brussels but eventually settled down in Leuven, near Park Abbey and Frituur Tivoli.

J: I work in the copyrights sector for the music industry whilst also working as a collector and selector for Brokers as well as Mensch, Erger Je Niet! (a strictly 7” dedicated duo with my partner-in-crime Zeno). I was born and raised in Leuven, but currently live in Brussels.

In your view, what kind of city is Leuven? How does it compare to other similarly-sized cities?

P-J: Leuven is cosy, it’s a village with the appearance of a city. Well organised and convenient – despite the chaos occasionally caused by the large number of students. As a local, you can’t help but live by the rhythm of the school-semester; the presence of the University is undeniable. That being said, thanks to Leuven’s size, inspiring and like-minded people can get to know each other pretty easily.

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

P-J: Apart from its rich history, Leuven also has a very appealing industrial heritage, stemming largely from the former Stella Artois brewery. Most of our interesting local projects, initiatives and events take place in and around these buildings.

J: Also, we shouldn’t ignore that Leuven holds a significant place in the nation’s music history. Luckily the City and local promoters fully recognise this, and are both very supportive of local artists.

Leuven’s nightlife needs a descent injection of communal support – otherwise the rich, local history concerning electronic (and other) music runs the risk of evaporating completely.

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

P-J: From a fairly young age, we came in contact with the best electronic music through Club Silo, a former club here in Leuven. Most of what we heard there led us to dig deeper and look further into the roots of the genre.

J: As mentioned above, all like-minded music geeks will eventually find each other pretty quickly in Leuven. This is how I was introduced to the inner workings of local station Radio Scorpio, a great supporter of underground music, and the scenes that gravitated around it.

On a personal level, what would you like to see more of in the city?

P-J: There is a lot of renewal taking place in Leuven right now. Some residential projects feed on the presence of creative initiatives and enterprises, while more often than not the people working on refreshing these neighbourhoods can’t afford to buy property there. This is a well-known cause-and-effect, but Leuven hasn’t yet been able to find a solution or alternative to this.

J: Too often those projects lead to the diminishment of music-orientated venues, which never get replaced. Leuven’s nightlife needs a descent injection of communal support – otherwise the rich, local history concerning electronic (and other) music runs the risk of evaporating completely.

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

P-J: Start the day with a coffee at MOK, then head to the flea-market at De Layensplein for early morning record digging, after that check what’s on at M-Museum and then later on catch a show at Het Depot. Top it all off with a whiskey sour at our favourite bar Café ApérO.