7 Best Cities to Study in Belgium

7 Best Cities to Study in Belgium

Have you ever thought about doing your exchange in Belgium? According to CountryAAH, this small European country has one of the best qualities of life in the world and a good offer of top quality universities. Just to give you an idea, in the ranking of QS World Universities 2021, the land of waffles, beers and chocolates has 8 universities among the 500 best in the world, which is a great result considering the size of the Belgian population. But what are the best cities to study in Belgium? This is what you will discover now!

Best cities to study in Belgium: Brussels

The capital of Belgium is a true cultural melting pot that brings together people from different parts of the world and, consequently, from different cultural backgrounds. No wonder it is an international political center, being considered the capital of the European Union. There you will find, for example, the headquarters of the European Commission and the European Council.

In addition to capital, Brussels is also the country’s main financial and cultural center, concentrating a population of around 2 million people in its metropolitan region.

The main universities in the city are Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Universite libre de Bruxelles (ULB). If you translate into Portuguese, you will see that both are called the Free University of Brussels. This is because, in the past, they were one institution. But in 1970 they were separated and each adopted an official language. Today VUB is a Dutch-speaking university and ULB is a French – speaking university.

Best cities to study in Belgium Brussels

Best cities to study in Belgium: Leuven

Located just 25 kilometers from Brussels, Leuven has about 100 thousand inhabitants and is home to the largest and best university in Belgium, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven), a Dutch-speaking institution that has two campuses in the city and around 45 thousand students.

As in the case of the universities in Brussels, KU Leuven also has its counterpart in the French language: Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain), which is the largest French-speaking institution in the country. Both were one institution in the past and were also separated in 1970.

Best cities to study in Belgium Leuven

Best cities to study in Belgium: Ghent

Located in the north of Belgium, Ghent is a university city par excellence. With a population of around 260 thousand people, it is the third largest city in the country and concentrates a high percentage of foreign residents (about 14.5%).

Most of these foreigners study at the University of Ghent, a Dutch-speaking institution founded in 1817 that is now the second best in the country.

Best cities to study in Belgium Ghent

Best cities to study in Belgium: Antwerp

With 520 thousand inhabitants (1.2 million in the metropolitan area), Antwerp is the second largest city in Belgium, behind only the capital. It is best known for its port, which is the second largest in Europe and one of the largest in the world. In addition, it is also famous internationally for the diamond trade.

In the field of education, the main institution in the city is the University of Antwerp, which was founded in 2003 as a result of the merger of three education institutes and today has about 23 thousand students.

Best cities to study in Belgium Antwerp

Best cities to study in Belgium: Liège

Liège is a city that is very close to the border with two other European countries, being just 33 kilometers from Maastricht, in the Netherlands; and 53 kilometers from Aachen, Germany.

With about 200 thousand inhabitants, it is an important center for mechanical industry, space engineering, information technology and biotechnology. It also stands out nationally in the production of beer and chocolate, two major landmarks in the country.

The University of Liège, which was founded in 1817, is the main university in the city and has about 17,000 students.

Best cities to study in Belgium Liège

Best cities to study in Belgium: Hasselt

Much less well known than the other cities on this list so far, Hasselt has just under 80,000 inhabitants but it also has an important educational institution: the University of Hasselt, founded in 1971, which is considered one of the top 100 universities in the world with less than 100 years.

Best cities to study in Belgium Hasselt

Best cities to study in Belgium: Mons

With just under 100 thousand inhabitants, Mons is very close to the border with France and is home to one of the newest universities in the country, the University of Mons, which was founded in 2009 from the merger of two other institutions: Mons Polytechnic Faculty and Mons-Hainaut University.

In addition, the city also has a UCLouvain satellite campus: the UCLouvain FUCaM Mons, which has undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Economics, Political Sciences, Communication, Public Administration, Sociology and Anthropology.


Now that you know the best cities to study in Belgium, find out how the universities mentioned in this text are performing in the QS World Universities 2021 ranking. Attention: not all institutions mentioned here appear on the list.

University City Position in the world ranking
KU Leuven Leuven 84th
University of Ghent Ghent 135th
UCLouvain Leuven 189th
Vrije Universiteit Brussel Brussels 200th
University of Antwerp Antwerp 238th
Universite libre de Bruxelles Brussels 250th
University of Liège Liège 451st
Hasselt University Hasselt 456th
Mons University Mons 651-700
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