Centre Placet ASBL - Rue des Sports 2, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium)

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Welcome to Centre Placet, the international hostel of UCLouvain and a place for intercultural exchange.

"The Placet was a place where you didn't feel like a foreigner ... We felt at home, in a place in the world where it was possible, with others, to rebuild or strengthen an identity..."
Elena Bicera, former Placet resident (Uruguay) - 2001

The origin of the name “PLACET comes from the the Brothers of Christian Doctrine - also called Placet College, founded in 1889 in Leuven. The College, which has now disappeared, had this name inscribed above its front door: “PLACET DEUS” (“who pleases God in Latin). With time, the inscription “DEUS” faded away, leaving only the name “PLACET. The name was retained when the building was purchased in Leuven to convert it into a student house. The name was retained when the UCLouvain was transferred to Louvain-la-Neuve, where the hostel now resides.

The name of our Association is deeply linked to both "Louvain" (Leuven, in Dutch and located in Flanders, & Louvain-la-Neuve, located in Wallonia, french-speaking region of Belgium) as well as to the University.

1425

Foundation of the Catholic University of Leuven in Leuven (Flemish Brabant).

1889

Foundation of the Institute of the Brothers of Christian Doctrine, also called Placet College, in Leuven.

Lithography of Placet College (only the entrance gate remains in Leuven), made by Gustaaf Wellis - Museum M of Leuven (licence CC BY-NC-SA).

1967

The Catholic University of Leuven, which was bilingual in French and Dutch at the time, is about to be split into two separate entities following a language conflict in Belgium between Flemish and French-speaking students.

One will be Flemish and Dutch-speaking (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven - KU Leuven), the other French-speaking (Université catholique de Louvain - UCLouvain).

The official name in English of the Université catholique de Louvain is University of Louvain.

Archive of Hythlodaeus (CC BY-NC-SA licence).

1968

Creation of the hostel at College Placet in Leuven. The Centre Placet was created by Jean-Marie Lechat, who was the 1st director. The new hostel would provide students with access to accommodation in a city from which they risked being excluded.

1972

The new French-speaking University of Louvain moves to the new town of Louvain-la-Neuve (Walloon Brabant).

Placet helps its first students find accommodation on the Louvain-la-Neuve campus.

1973

The Centre Placet is founded as an ASBL ("association sans but lucratif", nonprofit organization under the Belgian law) with the support of the University of Louvain.

The university, informed by decree of the Belgian government's encouragement of the creation of clubs and hostels for international scholarship holders, takes the opportunity to set up the hostel as an nonprofit organization. Centre Placet is recognised and subsidised by the General Agency for Development Cooperation (AGCD) of Belgian government.

Relocation to Louvain-la-Neuve.

1974

The statutes of the Centre Placet provide for the parity management of the hostel by representatives of the University of Louvain and student representatives elected within the Placet Residents' Association (ARP, "Association des Résident·es du Placet" in French).

The members of the ARP, an existing de facto association recognised on this occasion as a partner of the Univeristy of Louvain for this project, are actively involved in the development and evaluation of projects, stimulating and supporting staff and management in the search for resources, the many negotiations and the implementation of the various actions.

Archives of the University of Louvain, Jean-Jacques Rousseaux, CO029-Lieux

1979

Michel Ledent is the 2nd Director of the Centre Placet.

1980

Successive agreements have been signed with the Walloon region to obtain qualified personnel as part of employment promotion.

1989

Inauguration of the OVO statue by Aberlado Mancinas (former resident) in Rue des Sports, opposite to the Centre Placet head office and accomodations.

90's-00's

Centre Placet was experienced as a small village by its residents and staff, in the heart of the Hocaille district of Louvain-la-Neuve. At this time, the majority of international students living at Placet came to study in Belgium with their families.

1997

Inauguration of the "Wall to the Victims of Intolerance" at the Place des Sciences in Louvain-la-Neuve.

The work consists of two plaques. The second mentions : "Created on the initiative of the Town of Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve, the University of Louvain (UCL), the Woitrin Foundation, the Centre Placet, the Association des Habitants, the CIEE, the AGL, Amnesty International and MRAX, this wall is dedicated to the victims of intolerance on the five continents of our planet. A register listing the names of identified victims who stayed in the town can be consulted in the Halles universitaires, model room."

Photo of EmDee (licence CC BY-NC-SA).

2001

Armando Merino is the 3rd Director of the Centre Placet.

2002

The General Agency for Development Cooperation (AGCD) becomes the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGD). It reports to the Federal Public Service of Belgium (Ministry) for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.

2007

Inauguration of the fresco "Allegory of interculturality", created by Roxana Alvarado, on the walls of our offices at the Farm of Blocry.

Photo of EmDee (licence CC BY-NC-SA).

2015

Centre Placet co-founded a solidarity grocery shop with the support of the town of Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve, Wallonia, University of Louvain and kots-à-projets, AlimenTerre and the Belgian Red Cross.

The management of the grocery store has since been delegated to the Belgian Red Cross.

2016

Andrés Patuelli is the 4th Director of the Centre Placet.

2016

Recognition by the Wallonia-Brussels Federation of the Centre for Expression and Creativity (CEC).

2017

Recognition as a Continuing Education Association by the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.

2018

New acronym and logo for the University of Louvain : UCLouvain.

2020

Jean-Marie Mutore is the 5th Director of Centre Placet.

2020

To celebrate interculturality, the children created a totem pole in front of our offices in Rue des Sports. The statue was completed in July 2020.

2023

50th anniversary of Centre Placet as part of a week of reflection at UCLouvain on equity, diversity and inclusion.

2024

Florence Thibaut and David Amram have been appointed co-directors of the hostel.


We also have a photo album of the people who have come to stay in our home over the years. The photos are published with the agreement of our former residents. 




Many thanks to Jean-Marie Lechat & Michel Ledent, formers directors of Centre Placet, for the additional information that made the writing of this page possible.