The principle of free enquiry remains at the university's core today; the motto "scientia vincere tenebras" (science will triumph over darkness) advocates independent, critical thinking, driven by evidence, not by dogma, politics, prejudice or greed.
In the late 18th century, the French occupiers closed the university, but the institution reopened as a state university in 1816, shortly after the region became part of the Netherlands. In 1830, Belgium was founded through revolution, and Belgian bishops reorganised the institution. Decades later, KULeuven was hit severely during the two World Wars - in particular, the library lost 300,000 valuable books to a German fire in 1914 and nearly 900,000 volumes during a second fire in 1940.
Ghent University, or UGent, goes by the motto "dare to think". It is one of the most liberal educational institutions in Flanders: the official mission statement insists that the university encourages critical and creative thinking, welcomes all cultures and backgrounds and strives to entrench its social commitment and broaden its international horizons.
A petite 22-year-old foreign exchange student at the University of Ghent, Duggal isn't your typical cold-blooded killer. But then, this isn't murder - it's paintball.
A sport that began in 1981 in the American state of New Hampshire (whose motto is appropriately "Live Free or Die"), the game is now played worldwide, both indoors and out. Rules vary and, with them, strategies, but one guideline is constant: don't get hit by a paintball.
Reality check: that is what a big city is like. And we only have one of those. Life is too long not to discover how well Brussels, amidst all the hustle, manages to retain its individuality and colour. In just one visit, you come across some amazing people and incre- dibly diverse neighbourhoods, all gravitating around a bustling historic centre. The whole world is right here. For cosmopolitans, one- day tourists and its one million residents, only Brussels will do.
In this protected monument, dating back to the 15th century, a water mill ground grain for the local community until 1983. Making use of the passing stream, the Klapscheutmolen provided milled grain as food for cattle, as well as the ingredients for the neighbouring family De Troch’s brewing activities.
For the past two hours, I've been flying an enormous sail 20 meters in the air as the first step in learning how to kitesurf. A relatively new sport, this ocean- based pastime has been gaining in popularity all over the world. Your body is harnessed to a kite, while your feet are secured to a surfboard with straps. Once you know what you're doing, the winds pulls you along the water and potentially up and out of the water.
Antwerp is a river city par excellence, so the ideal way to capture its essence is to see it from the water. The first thing that strikes you is how the river splits the city. At the level of the old town, it's 500 metres to the other side, which is so distant that the best name they could come up with for the built-up area is Linkeroever - Left Bank.
Trying to peg down Hasselt is a tough job. Its split personality escapes all cliché. Life is a bit slower-paced in this small city, but Hasselt is extremely posh as well. Even Antwerp’s fashionistas descend on Hasselt’s shopping streets like little ants. Clothes and shoes, preferably by local designers, is what they are looking for. Names and labels, darling. If Eddy Monsoon had to pick a Belgian town to live in, she’d do great in Hasselt.
Enter Ghent’s tree-lined Koningin Astrid Park on Ferdinand Lousbergkaai. Every Sunday in August from 14.00 to dusk, the young, creative and often child-carrying enter the park en masse to enjoy a pretty special atmosphere.
In a handful of wading pools near a large sand pit, kids of all ages are screaming, running and having the time of their lives. A small walking path around the park is filled with strollers, Frisbee and games of tag. A van is on hand to teach circus tricks, while parents are camped nearby on benches or picnic blankets.