Living it up

Summary

Leuven, Bruges and Hasselt are the best Flemish cities for quality of life, according to a wide-ranging survey of the region published last week. The Stadsmonitor (City Monitor) is a 300-page document analysing the finest details of life in Flanders’ cities, ranging from everything from amateur dramatics to truancy, from bag-snatching to parking policies.

Antwerp
 
Antwerp

A new report tells you just about everything you need to know about life in Flemish cities

Leuven, Bruges and Hasselt are the best Flemish cities for quality of life, according to a wide-ranging survey of the region published last week. The Stadsmonitor (City Monitor) is a 300-page document analysing the finest details of life in Flanders’ cities, ranging from everything from amateur dramatics to truancy, from bag-snatching to parking policies.

The survey looked at the quality of living standards in the 13 largest Flemish cities: Antwerp, Ghent, Aalst, Bruges, Genk, Hasselt, Kortrijk, Leuven, Mechelen, Ostend, Roeselare, Sint-Niklaas and Turnhout. It follows the same approach as previous editions in 2004 and 2006, but adds two new themes: Care in the City and Enterprise in the City.

 

Research into key indicators in the field of care was carried out by the Centre for Sustainable Development at Ghent University, a department that has been closely associated with the creation of the Stadsmonitor since its launch. Research into enterprise was carried out by Idea-Consult.

 

In addition to research, 8,000 Flemish people over the age of 15 were interviewed by telephone on the subject of life in their cities, their neighbourhoods and their streets.

 

In general, taking the full panoply of 129 variables into account, Bruges, Hasselt and Leuven turned out to be the most congenial cities in which to live, with Aalst and Turnhout bringing up the rear. People in the three leading cities were happiest with conditions in their own neighbourhoods (all three cities rated above 80%) and in the city as a whole (87% for both Bruges and Hasselt and a whopping 90% for Leuven).

 

Leuven mayor Louis Tobback reacted by calling for city administrations to be given more power. “We need a kind of internal Flemish state reform in which cities and municipalities can take more decisions themselves and get the money they need for specific purposes,” he said. “Cities could score even better if they could decide in a really autonomous way. I can’t even move a bus shelter without first getting permission from De Lijn or the province.”

Nearly 47% of the people of Hasselt were "very proud" of their city, compared to only 18% in Sint-Niklaas.

 

 

 

Live performances per 10,000 inhabitants

 

dance            music             theatre

Antwerp                    15.9     104.1   95.8

Bruges                       9.7       158.4 66.0

Ghent                                    12.1     172.1   115.9

Hasselt                      11.8     137.1   98.0

Kortrijk                     10.7     181.4   64.2

Leuven                    20.3   139.9             152.6

Mechelen                  7.5       66.4    129.7

Ostend                      10.0    78.0    55.6

 

Satisfaction with restaurants, cafés and other nightlife

 

Restaurants

cafés             Nightlife       

Antwerp                    79.1%             63.5%

Bruges                       89.2                67.4

Gent                           85.9                71.1

Hasselt                    92.5               79.9

Kortrijk                     81.2                60.9

Leuven                      89.8               76.8

Mechelen                 82.4                55.7

Ostend                       87.6                66.3

 

Satisfaction with shopping

 

Satisfied       Very satisfied

Antwerp                    38.1%             45.2%

Bruges                       39.5                49.8

Gent                          43.4                43.4

Hasselt                    33.7               61.1

Kortrijk                     47.0                24.8

Leuven                      42.4                47.2

Mechelen                  53.0                26.2

Ostend                      42.1                49.8