Issue three | Portrait of an M-bassador Family

Friends of M:

Portrait of an M-bassador Family

Issue three of M
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Liesbet Vanderwegen (56) works as a specialist in neurology at the Sacred Heart Hospital in Leuven, Stefan Van Lani (50) is policy coordinator at Park Abbey. From the very beginning they have been M ambassadors, together with their daughters An-Sofie (15) and Barbara (11) To them, it is self-evident: “If you are involved in Leuven, you also commit to M.”

When we tell the children we’re going to the museum, the first thing they say is: “Oh but, do we have to do that again! But once they are there, they quickly change their mind.

Liesbet: “I have been coming to the museum for a long time, from when it was still called City Museum Vander Kelen-Mertens. My mother was a guide in Leuven, also in the museum, and she often took me along. That’s how I got to know many of the old collections: the stained glass windows, the 19th-century sculptures, the Christian art...”

Stefan: “Liesbet and I both used to be city guides. That is why we stayed in touch with Leuven’s cultural life.


“In the 2000s, plans came up to turn Vander Kelen-Mertens into a new kind of city museum, with international appeal. At the time, we took part in information sessions and brainstorming sessions. Architect Stéphane Beel came into the picture, Jan Hoet was involved... It was very fascinating to witness the birth of M close at hand. So there was a link with the museum, and interest too. Through my work for Park Abbey, I also knew Veronique Vandekerckhove very well – the head curator of M, who died in 2012 after a dramatic traffic accident.”


Liesbet: “When M opened in 2009, we immediately became M ambassadors, as a family. We follow everything that happens in the museum. I really like the digital newsletter, and the magazine as well: very contemporary, with a good balance between informing and recruiting. Once or twice a year, we go to the museum with the whole family.”


Stefan: “We both have very busy jobs. We don’t have much time to participate in the M-bassador activities. A pity, because we are still interested, of course. We sometimes go to openings of exhibitions, and there you always notice that M also is something of a meeting place for art lovers.”


Liesbet: “I went on one of M.’s trips to Tourinnes-la-Grosse, a Walloon village that organises an annual art event in farms, ordinary houses and so on. The artists themselves explain their work. A very pleasant day, our eldest daughter was also there. We consciously became M ambassadors with the whole family. We wanted to give our children the opportunity to learn what art is.”

Stefan: When we tell them we are going to the museum, the first thing they say is: “Do we really have to, again? We understand that, because we often take them to see churches and abbeys – that’s part of my job. But once they are there, they change their minds. They’re stimulated by the stories, the audio guide, the multimedia applications...” 


Liesbet: “Screens and buttons help. They like interactivity. When they were younger, they once took part in a quest at M. They were allowed to make things themselves, and they loved it.”


Stefan: “Yes, there is some fuss in the beginning, but afterwards it usually turns out to be great (laughs).”

What is the M-bassador membership?

What is the M-bassador membership?

As an M-bassador you are part of a close community of enthusiastic visitors. You get extra information, guided tours, and we also organise an annual friends day and exclusive excursions. On top of that, you have unlimited access to M Leuven. Do you want to experience unique moments together with your partner, family, friend or neighbour? Do you want to meet other people who share your interest in culture?

Enjoying all the beauty that art has to offer together

Enjoying all the beauty that art has to offer together

Children and young people under 18 become an M-bassador for free. When you sign up as an M-bassador with at least two people, you get a discount of €5. This also applies if one of the participants is under 18 years of age and therefore does not have to pay. Any child, grandchild, plus child or foster child under 18 years of age is eligible. You receive the discount both on the standard M-bassador formula and on the combination with the museum pass. So you can enjoy all the beauty that art has to offer together.

More to read!

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