Social Work Researchers gather in Leuven

From 10-12 April 2019, Leuven hosted the annual European Conference for Social Work Research (ECSWR). Koen Hermans, ESWRA board member and 2019 ECSWR conference chair, points out the strengths of Leuven as a conference city and talks about the opportunities for network expansion afforded by hosting the international conference.

Prof. Koen Hermans

Leuven as a conference city

According to Prof. Hermans, the city of Leuven is very well located, being only 15 minutes from Brussels airport. You’re even faster into Leuven than you would be into downtown Brussels. That’s one thing, for another, Leuven isn’t that big, so most of the conference venues are within easy walking distance. As a side note let’s not forget Belgium’s greatest benefits, the Beer and chocolate that are so attractive to participants from overseas.

“The flexibility allowing us to give the conference our own touch was very much appreciated”

- Prof. Koen Hermans

During the Conference

‘As a conference host, it is our duty to make sure the conference attendees have a good time. Most importantly the conference should be strong in terms of content. You need a message and a clear topic. In addition, people need to feel comfortable in the city. In my opinion, they need adequate time for ad hoc, informal meetings. A conference means presentations, workshops, poster sessions, keynotes… but it’s nevertheless an opportunity to meet other people. So I believe a conference requires a place where the participants, as well as I, can connect and network. We received positive feedback on the relaxed atmosphere during the reception in Hal 5 and the walking dinner in the University Halls.’, Prof. Hermans enthuses.


‘The organisation, in collaboration with the Leuven Convention Bureau and KU Leuven Conference & Event Office, was very professional. The process was well-organised in advance and the possibility to give the conference our own touch was always there. That type of flexibility was very much appreciated.’