KU Leuven named Belgium’s top university

KU Leuven named Belgium’s top university
KU Leuven University. Credit: KU Leuven

Leuven university – full name Catholic University Leuven (KU Leuven) – has once again topped the Times Higher Education rankings for universities in Belgium.

KUL came in 42nd place in the 2022 World University Rankings of a total of more than 1600 higher education establishments across the world. That wins it – not for the first time – first place among Belgium's ten higher education institutions.

Only four Belgian universities featured in the international listing earned a numbered place: KUL at 1, Ghent university at 107, the university of Antwerp at 131 and the Catholic university of Louvain (UCL), which ranks 155th. The others each form part of a group, with the Free University of Brussels (ULB) and its Flemish equivalent VUB in the group 201-250, Hasselt university in 301-350, the university of Liege in 351-400, Mons in 501-600 and, bringing up the rear, Namur in group 801-1000.

KUL has more students than any other Belgian institution, with 47,663. Add in the numbers from its Francophone equivalent, and the total comes to 72,186 students – far ahead of the 42,574 in the two universities in Brussels.

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All but one Belgian universities have more women than men in its student body, ranging from 54% (UCL) to 58-42 (Liege). Only Hasselt is the exception, with 49% women.

Namur has the lowest student-staff ratio, with only 20.8 students per member of staff. The highest ratio comes from ULB, with 49.3 students per staff member.

The Belgian leader of the table, KUL, has moved up the ranking since its first appearance in 2011, from an initial 119 to 49 in 2017, since when it has remained in the 40s.

Notable alumni include TV journalists Kathleen Cools and Martine Tanghe, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, author Herman De Coninck, molecular biologist Bart De Strooper, politicians Gaston Eyskens and his son Marc, both of whom became prime minister, as did Leo Tindemans and Herman Van Rompuy, athlete Kim Gevaert, industrialist Fernand Huts, musician Wim Mertens, economist Geert Noels.

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