STUK grew from the K.U.Leuven's student movement at the end of the 1970s, and has become one of the biggest and most important arts centres in Flanders.
In 1986, STUK (then named 't Stuc) was one of five ‘receptive production centres' that first received an allowance from the Flemish government. At that time, STUK existed for 9 years. Since it is clear STUK has an extensive history, we focus on a couple of benchmarks.
In 1983, the KLAPSTUKfestival was devoted completely to contemporary dance for the first time. It marks the start of over 20 years of prominent and (internationally) appreciated festivals.
In 1993, STUK and KLAPSTUK received structural grants for the first time. The 1986 recognition mentioned above proved to be a stepping-stone.
In 1986 already, the Totta Project arose: the first consistent building plan for STUK and KLAPSTUK, then situated in the Arenberg Building on the Naamsestraat. But it was too soon. Not so, however, in the middle of the 1990s: the teamwork of the Flemish Community, the city of Leuven, the Province of Vlaams-Brabant and K.U.Leuven paved the road for the rebuilding of the Arenberg site, creating a well-equipped arts centre. And so in January of 2002, STUK has a new home.
In the years leading up to the move, changes in both form and content are made in support of the new momentum in infrastructure. On July 1, 2001, Stuc and KLAPSTUK merge into one big, new structure: STUK. Meanwhile, the program is altered radically, whereby STUK gives room to a larger artistic field and recruits a broader audience. The programming directly addresses not only students, but the regional and super-regional population. This leads to a significant leap in the public figures: from 40.000 in 2000 (in the old building) to 70.000 in 2002-2003 (in the new building). And the number of visitors keeps on growing, to over 85.000 in the year 2008.
The expansion also affects the choice of disciplines, especially after the 2002 move. In recent years, STUK (as an arts centre rooted in performing arts and film) emphatically presents and produces a broad range of disciplines: theater, dance and film, but also music, visual arts and media art. This evolution is by no means a result of a blind urge to expand, but an adequate response to certain tendencies in the arts world. Artists from different disciplines inspire and meet one another, making it evident that their work is shown side by side, in a multi-discipline working.