This weekend in Antwerp: 21st, 22nd & 23rd February

Friday

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image from Antwerp Ghostwalk

Start your weekend with an Antwerp Ghostwalk – this week it’s the English version: explore the old, cobbled and dark streets of Antwerp and hear the supernatural tales associated with them … meet at Steenplein (by the Lange Wapper statue) at 8pm. 12,50 pp.

Or head to The Irish Times near Grote Markt to practise your language skills and have an informal drink with speakers of different language at the Swap Language #12 event at 8pm.

Saturday

A read-aloud to help kids with their reading. But with dogs! at de Studio (12.30). Free.

Afterwards, there’s kids’ films on in De Studio: Free Willy at 2.30pm, and Finding Dory at 6pm (these are ticketed -see links).

chihuahua-2726117_640Sunday

Rivierenhof hosts an annual Valentine Run which takes place today, having been twice postponed from due to Storm Ciara, and then Storm Dennis -will it be ‘third time lucky’ for this event? You can register for the run until Saturday.

UPDATE: Nope, unfortunately no ‘third time lucky’ for this event: Rivierenhof is expected to be closed again, and the Run is now sadly cancelled for 2020

Goegekregen are holding a large rommelmarkt in Waagnatie from 9am- 6pm. Unusually, this one is not free -it’s 1 euro in. It will be a massive sale -decide for yourself if you want to pay the euro …

Mundana is a Latin-American cultural centre and café on Paardenmarkt . They are holding a Sunday Market – “Las Pulgas” – offering home-made goods and crafts, music and workshops for all ages. 11am – 5pm.

2020 JEF festival campagnebeeld A4 300dpiIt should be a mild weekend, with some bright spells on Saturday. Some showers on Sunday.

Miscellaneous

The JEF festival is underway in Antwerp -it’s an annual film festival for kids which offers workshops and activities for kids from age 3 upwards. Most Antwerp activities are on at  Zuiderpershuis. My kids have enjoyed JEF activities in the past. Here is the complete Antwerp program for JEF. JEF also takes place in Gent, Bruges, Kortrijk, Leuven and Roeselare.

Next week is spring half-term (“krokus vakantie”) for Belgian schools. If you have kids to occupy, you might like to enrol them in some local activities. On this page, you can find sport activities for them, and Idee Kids runs camps for a variety of age groups and interests. Kamp Zoeker helps you search for a suitable camp according to age, activities and location.

Runners: You can now sign up for the Antwerp 10 Miles on 26th April 2020. It costs less if you sign up before the 6th April.

Sorry -no Nessascityblog post on the 27th February.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 14th, 15th & 16th February

masFriday

It’s Valentine’s Day -for something a bit different, why not swing by MAS museum at Eilandje if you are around over lunch? They are providing a ‘poetry massage’  featuring Antwerp city poetry between midday and 14h.
klappeiSaturday

Filmhuis Klappei is holding a film festival for children (Filmfestival van De Evenaar) on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend (see pic left; taken from Klappei Facebook page). Here is the Saturday programme: you can register your child(ren) here.

For grown-ups, it’s the closing party for Wintar  at 8pm -12, over near the de Koninck brewery.

Sunday

It’s the monthly second hand book market on de Coninckplein in front of the Permeke Library. Books, comics, graphic novels, postcards and more for very reasonable prices. 10am -4pm.

*** UPDATE: helaas, once again storm disrupts play – Boekenplein is cancelled due to predictions of bad weather, as is the Valentine Run (below) for the second time. Rivierenhof will be closed; and the Run is postponed until 23rd Feb. ***

Here is the Sunday programme for Filmfestival van De Evenaar: you can register your child(ren) here.

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Rivierenhof hosts an annual Valentine Run which takes place today, having been postponed from last weekend, due to Storm Ciara. You can register for the run until Saturday.

Every Sunday at 2pm at the “sprookjeshuis” there’s a  fairy story read aloud (in Dutch) for children aged 6+. It’s costs 5 euros and you can register your child(ren) here, in advance. The Sprookjeshuis is near the Rivierenhof Kasteel and the playground.

The weather is likely to be mild (11- 12 degrees) and showery on Saturday and Sunday, with wind -although not stormy like last weekend!

Miscellaneous

Runners: You can now sign up for the Antwerp 10 Miles on 26th April 2020. It costs less if you sign up before the 6th April.

Jazz Middelheim tickets are now on sale for 2020.

crocus-3996515_640The week beginning 24th February is spring half-term (“krokus vakantie”) for Belgian schools. If you have kids to occupy, you might like to enrol them in some local activities. On this page, you can find sport activities for them, and Idee Kids runs camps for a variety of age groups and interests. Kamp Zoeker helps you search for a suitable camp according to age, activities and location.

(Because I am away at that time, there will be no post on the 27th February).

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This weekend in Antwerp: 8th & 9th February

 

patisserie-1575070_640It is still Antwerp’s annual Pateekes Week  (until Sunday) Lovers of cakes and pastries can sample them at a discounted rate at participating bakeries, cafés and chocolatiers. To enjoy pateekesweek, you need to get a sheet of 10 vouchers (Pateekespass) for 10 euros. You can get these from the Visit Antwerp outlets at Central Station and on Grote Markt. They are already on sale.

Saturday

beerFOver at Boomgaardsestraat, right near de Koninck Brewery (currently Wintar) there’s a Wild Jo’s Market on today and on Sunday too. It’s free in, opens at 1pm and there will be clothing, arts & crafts, jewellery, accessories, food, drink & more for sale. This is a kid-friendly event, with some music and entertainment.

Sunday

UPDATE: It’s just been announced that unfortunately – on the very weekend that I do a focus on Rivierenhof, the Rivierenhof will be closed, due to a storm warning.

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A focus on Rivierenhof for three Sunday activities today. Rivierenhof is a large, green estate, which includes Kasteel Rivierenhof, Sterckshof and a large pond. There are other recreational facilities in Rivierenhof, which is Antwerp’s largest park. Rivierenhof is in Deurne.

Rivierenhof hosts an annual Valentine Run which takes place today. You can register for the run until Saturday.

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Sprookjeshuis

Every Sunday at 2pm at the “sprookjeshuis” there’s a  fairy story read aloud (in Dutch) for children aged 6+. It’s costs 5 euros and you can register your children here, in advance. The Sprookjeshuis is near the Rivierenhof Kasteel and the playground.

Rivierenhof has a  children’s farm (“kinder boerderij”)  for kids which is open again (not just on Sundays, but I am including it here.

As the weather improves, Rivierenhof is a handy place to know about (there’s also mini-golf, as well as ample space to run, exercise and play, and an open air-theatre for summer events and performances) and it’s easily reachable by tram (8 and 10) and bike.

Wild Jo’s Market (see Saturday) opens at 11am.

The weather this weekend is likely to be mild and showery.

Miscellaneous

BEOstaffCheck out this recent guest blog post by Grade 10 students of Antwerp International School who visited the Beo Versmarkt (pic right) on Lange Leemstraat to find out about making sustainable choices when grocery shopping in Antwerp.

As the UK drifted out of the EU with a whimper rather than a bang last week, British passport holders who are interested in retaining the advantages of European citizenship by becoming Belgian may find this recent article from The Brussels Times of use.

Jazz Middelheim tickets are now on sale for 2020.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 31st January; 1st & 2nd February.

Friday

cycle-path-3444914_640Critical Mass Antwerpen returns for monthly rides throughout 2020. Assemble on Theaterplein from 17.45 pm for an hour’s cycling en masse through the city. The theme for this month’s ride is reflection and visibility, so make sure you are there with your bike lights and reflectors working.

 

Saturday

patisserie-1575070_640Today is the start of Antwerp’s annual Pateekes Week.  Lovers of cakes and pastries can sample them at a discounted rate at participating bakeries, cafésand chocolatiers. To enjoy pateekesweek, you need to get a sheet of 10 vouchers (Pateekespass) for 10 euros. You can get these from the Visit Antwerp outlets at Central Station and on Grote Markt. They are already on sale.

For a philosophical discussion (in English) head down to Den Hopsack bar on Grote Pieterpotstraat for 2pm for their Philosophy Café. You can even email questions for discussion in advance: philosophycafe@protonmail.com

At Kavka on Oudaan there’s a plus-sized clothing closet sale. fIt starts at 1pm and sizes 44- 54 will be on sale.

meir

Sunday

It’s the first Sunday of the month so the shops are open in the centre of Antwerp and on other shopping streets too, for Sunday shopping.

Temperatures may rise slightly this weekend and it should feel a little less chilly, but -as well as bright spells – there are showers likely over the whole weekend.

Miscellaneous

BEOstaffCheck out this recent guest blog post by Grade 10 students of Antwerp International School who visited the Beo Versmarkt (pic right) on Lange Leemstraat to find out about making sustainable choices when grocery shopping in Antwerp.

Chinese New Year celebrations may have concluded, but the Legends of Liondance expo is still on in Permeke library, and this weekend is your last chance to catch it (until Sunday)

 

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image from Legends of Liondance Facebook page

This week I discovered this useful site: Toerisme voor autisme. This site helps you plan autism-friendly activities, visits and holidays in Belgium, to ensure full participation and inclusion of autistic visitors. The site includes destinations and activities which take into account the need for predictability and structure which visitors with autism often have.

Header Toerisme voor Autisme 2

As the UK drifts out of the EU with a whimper rather than a bang, British passport holders who are interested in retaining the advantages of European citizenship by becoming Belgian may find this recent article from The Brussels Times of use.

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Guest post by Grade 10 students of Antwerp International School: Environmentally Friendly Shopping in Antwerp

Where do you buy your groceries in Antwerp?
This blog post is about two different types of grocery shopping in the city, and will be of interest to you if you are keen to reduce your carbon footprint when you make your shopping choices.
By Vasco, Charlotte, Hendrik, Yumiko and Michelle 

Antwerp International School Grade 10 students went on a trip on Wednesday the 8th of January by train to the BeO Versmarkt and a Delhaize grocery store to contrast and compare them with one another: to study the pros and cons of both stores, and to also get a better understanding and learn new things based on what it’s like to shop in them. In this blog post, we will focus on the differences and similarities in looks, packaging, prices, and transport to, later on, conclude and give advice for more sustainable meal preparation.  We are studying a sustainability unit in our language classes so this experience connects to that topic.  

The Set-Up 

roots&grnaatappels
photo by Charlotte

When we first walked into the BeO store (image left), it was noticeably different from the grocery stores we are used to.  It was refreshing not walking into a store where you have to walk around for hours before finding the thing you were looking for. The store was really organized compared to normal grocery stores, partially due to the fact that there weren’t as many products and as big of a range of brands. The store wasn’t as big as Delhaize (grocery store) so there weren’t as many staff working, but that was no problem because it was easy to find staff if you needed help. the fact that almost nothing was wrapped in plastic and the food looked different from the processed food we are used to eating was a real eye-opener. You could tell that the food was organic by the way it was clearly not meant to look ‘perfect’, but instead looked like it came fresh from the farm.  The boxes that the food was placed in indicate where the food came from blue if the food was Belgian-made and in a different box with the name of the country on the label if it wasn’t domestic. But still, 90% of the non-Belgian-made products were produced in Europe. 

Packaging 

nutsandseeds
Differences in packaging. Image created by Charlotte & Michelle

One of the bigger differences were the packaging: for the Beo store there were containers filled up with all kinds of nuts, seeds, grains, dried fruits, spices, and pasta but for the Delhaize store they were all in plastic bags.  Which after visiting the Delhaize store seemed very unnecessary, as so many plastics were being used for proportions not everyone wants. The BeO store had an amazing self-service system, you could bring your own glass containers or buy one in the store and fill it up with oil, vinegar or honey. This way you don’t spend money on the extra packaging while also being sustainable. A lot of other products also had a self-service system, such as nuts, pasta, and seeds. It was a really innovative system, you can buy as much as you need and not waste any food.  

Prices

kerstomaatprice
Top: Delhaize; Below: Beo

We did pricing exercises for similar products in both the BEO V and the Delhaize. The products we’ve compared are simple and well-known, such as red tomatoes and eggs. We saw a big price difference between the tomatoes. The tomatoes in the BEO cost € 3.45/kg, which is € 1.14 more expensive than a kg of tomatoes in the Delhaize, which cost € 2.59 (pic left, by Charlotte). There is a big difference in price between tomatoes, but luckily it’s not the same for the eggs. A box of 6 eggs in the BEO cost € 2.28 as you can get the same amount in the Delhaize for € 2.35, that’s € 0.07 cheaper. So, the idea that eco-shops are always more expensive than regular ones is not true.

In the picture you can see both the difference between the tomatoes in the Delhaize and in the Beo store. 

Transport

Did you know that food production is one of the main causes of CO2 releases in the world? 

Most eco-friendly stores are spread out around the country than the normal stores. The number of eco-friendly shops is significantly smaller compared to the average supermarket. All these factors lead to fewer people going to these shops and when they go they might need to travel longer distances which produces more CO2 pollution.

If there is not an eco-friendly shop near you, you could go to the Exotic Market that opens on Saturdays from 8AM to 4PM in Theaterplein which offers natural products from nearby farms. The products in this market can sometimes be cheaper than in the eco-friendly store. All this contributes to not polluting our environment because the products don’t travel long distances and the customers that use that market can bike there.

BEOstaff
Staff at the Beo Versmarkt

Conclusion

We concluded that the Beo shop that we visited is more eco-friendly than the Delhaize; a regular supermarket. For some people, it might not be the most convenient for them,  since it can take more time, money and transport to get to the few environmental stores depending on where you live in Antwerp. However, despite the challenges, a suggestion from us would be to do your groceries on a Saturday. You could look up ways on how to store and keep your products fresh for the week. You can prepare your meals so you don’t have to worry about having food on the table during weekdays. Also, you don’t have to do all your grocery shopping at an organic store, but every little step helps!

Could you take the time to make your shopping more eco-friendly?

Let us know in the comments!

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This weekend in Antwerp: 24th, 25th & 26th January 2020

Happy New Year to everyone who is celebrating the beginning of the Year of The Rat this weekend!

Saturday

chinatownSaturday will be the busiest day for New Year celebrations in Antwerp’s Chinatown. The most popular part of the day is the Lion dance which takes place on van Wesenbekestraat. Come and enjoy the drama of the dance, and be prepared for the firecrackers, which are plentiful and LOUD. However, there are lots of accompanying events this year, so have a look at the full Chinese New Year programme as there is a lot going on in the Permeke Library, and in front of it on De Coninckplein, where there will be a new year’s market and a Tai Chi demonstration.

On Saturday evening Swaajp Invites (impro theatre) offers an evening of improvisational humour designed to delight all Potterheads.  The evening’s entertainment is in English and begins at 8pm. Reserve your tickets here.

Sunday

borgerhout stadhuis
The impressive Districtshuis of Borgerhout on Moorkensplein

Enjoy a new year’s drink with the good people of Borgerhout on the Moorkensplein from 3pm. It’s a free neighbourhood event with soup, drinks, kids’ fun and even a chance to see a giant or two -for which Borgerhout is justly famous.

Alternatively, head back to Viggo’s on de Coninckplein for coffee and Sunday afternoon music from 4pm, with DJ and saxophonist, Eric Morel.

The weather this weekend is likely to remain quite cold, but mainly dry. There might be some showers on Sunday afternoon. Top temps of 8-9 degrees.

 

 

 

Miscellaneous

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MAS

Don’t forget that some Antwerp museums  are free on the last Wednesday of the month (next Wednesday, the 29th). These are the Museum Plantin Moretus, the Rockox Museum, the Museum Mayer van den Bergh, the MAS and the Red Star Line Museum.

Look out for a guest post on Monday – I am especially proud of this one as it has been written by my students at Antwerp International School. We are studying a sustainability topic, and their post is about sustainable shopping in Antwerp.

 

LOL4_Facebook_cover
image from Legends of Liondance Facebook page

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This weekend in Antwerp: 17th, 18th & 19th January 2020

 

Screenshot 2020-01-15 at 13.42.13
Cafe Capital, Stadspark

Friday

Café Capital in Stadspark are starting the weekend with a fundraiser night to help wildlife organisations currently working to save animals affected by the fires in Australia, and also organisations which are fighting the fires. Sister events will be held in other cities in Europe and beyond.

Celebrate the birthday of Art itself at MUHKA’s Art’s Birthday event from 5pm. This is the 12th year that this has been marked in Antwerp; it was established in 1963 by the artist Robert Filliou: “Filliou first proposed “Art’s Birthday” in 1963. He suggested that 1,000,000 years ago, there was no art. But one day, on January 17 to be precise, Art was born. Filliou says it happened when someone dropped a dry sponge into a bucket of water. He also proposed a public holiday to celebrate the presence of art in our lives. Art’s Birthday was first publicly celebrated in 1973 in Aachen (i.e., Aix-la-Chapelle), Germany and at the same time in Paris, France.” (from Wikipedia)

At the Irish Times Bar it’s Swap Language Night and a chance to brush up your language skills for aspiring polyglots -from 8pm.

Saturday

Screenshot 2020-01-15 at 13.56.08On Astridplein there’s the chance to go tulip picking from 1pm – 4.30. The tulips on Astridplein looked beautiful last year (pic left), but you might have to be prepared to queue a bit to pick your own bunch.

It’s free movie night again at Het Roze Huis (Den Draak) at 8pm. This evening it’s Loving Annabelle. If you are new and not familiar with Het Roze Huis -it’s your first port-of-call for all things LGBTQ+ in Antwerp.

Sunday

Screenshot 2020-01-15 at 14.00.37It’s the monthly second hand book market on de Coninckplein in front of the Permeke Library. Books, comics, graphic novels, postcards and more for very reasonable prices. 10am -4pm.

It should be dry this weekend – with the possibility of light showers on Friday afternoon. There could be some bright spells, but it’s going to be quite cold with top temps of 11 degrees on Friday, and 8 degrees on Saturday and Sunday.

Miscellaneous

LOL4_Facebook_cover
image from: Legends of Liondance Facebook page

Don’t forget to book your tickets to the annual BATS panto, which takes place this weekend: Sleeping Beauty? (pic below, from BATS website) Tickets via the BATS website.

BATS-carrousel-SB2020

 

Need a productive, achievable new year’s resolution that doesn’t involve giving up something you enjoy? Let 2020 be the year you write your Antwerp story for Nessascityblog! Please get in touch with your idea. I’d love to have more guest posts, reviews, tips, personal stories and accounts connected to the city of Antwerp.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 10th, 11th & 12th January 2020

2020new-years-eve-4647528_640Happy New Year!

Welcome back to Nessascityblog, and to the first weekly post of 2020. Here’s a short post about the coming weekend to ease you into the new year. Winter In Antwerp has finished for the season and sometimes this can be a less busy time of year, but here are a few local events to start off your 2020 in Antwerp city …

Friday

Start your weekend with the first Antwerp  Apereau event of 2020 on Theaterplein from 5pm – a good way to wind down after the working week if you are still readjusting to being back at the grindstone after the festive season.

Saturday

LOL4_Facebook_cover
from: Legends of Liondance Facebook page

Chinese New Year (the Year of the Rat) approaches, and there’s a lot going on in the small but lively part of the city that comprises Antwerp’s China town. It’s a place where I spend quite a lot of time with my family, and this year there seems to be more than ever on the program-  including this walking tour of the area  today and the Legends of Liondance expo opening at Permeke library – a free and exciting exhibition which transforms the library with a display of the lions which form part of the traditional New Year celebrations.

Do plan ahead -some events and activities are ticketed or require registration so check out the full programme of readings, workshops, cinema and other events here.

zoolightsjunglebook
Jungle Book Lights at the Zoo

Sunday

 

Last chance to catch the Jungle Book Light Festival at Antwerp Zoo.

 

There’s a film and vinyl sale at De Roma theatre on the Turnhoutsebaan starting at 10am. It’s 4 euros in and includes a tour of the old projection room. There’s also a bar, and music throughout the event (DJ).

Miscellaneous

Monday 13th January is “Verloren Maandag” (“Lost Monday”) -a Belgian tradition explained in this recipe post which I found. Expect sausage rolls and appelbollen at your local baker. Update – a reader got in touch to advise reserving yoursausage rolls as most good bakers only bake as much as they need. Thanks for the tip!

Don’t forget to book your tickets to the annual BATS panto, which takes place next weekend: Sleeping Beauty? (pic below, from BATS website) Tickets via the BATS website.

BATS-carrousel-SB2020

 

Need a productive, achievable new year’s resolution that doesn’t involve giving up something you enjoy? Let 2020 be the year you write your Antwerp story for Nessascityblog! Please get in touch with your idea. I’d love to have more guest posts, reviews, tips, personal stories and accounts connected to the city of Antwerp.

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Nessascityblog Winter Holiday Post

edf_softI am taking a break so that I can get ready for my own family Christmas now, so here are a few dates for your diary to see out 2019. Have a wonderful winter break, and a very happy Christmas -see you again in 2020. Thank you for reading and sharing Nessascityblog in 2019.

Winter In Antwerp is now open: this is the highlight of the winter holiday season in Antwerp. If you are new to the city you have plenty of time to check out the various attractions which are on until 5th January. They key locations are Steenplein (especially if you have kids to entertain), Groenplaats and Grote Markt. Christmas market stands can be found in all of these places. There is always a winter bar (this year it’s called Bar Den and will be situated on Steenplein), a big wheel and the ice rink (Groenplaats).

From the 18th – 24th December it’s the Warmste Week -a week of charity events and fundraising across Belgium. You can search for activities and good causes in your area here. Look out for the Screen Shot 2019-12-12 at 10.56.17flame logo which accompanies De Warmste Week events (pic left, taken from the Warmste Week website).

Grand Cafe Capital in Stadspark are celebrating their first Christmas with a Christmas market on daily from the 19th -29th December.

Friday 20th December: BATS Open Evening starts at 5pm at The Little Theatre on Paardenmarkt. A chance to find out about the theatre group and maybe join in, as well as to enjoy some festive cheers, songs, soup and Gluhwein.

On Sunday 22nd December Goegekregen are in the shelter at Park Spoor Noord once more -it a great space for this event and the shelter means that the second-hand market can’t be rained off, but it is a bit drafty at this time of year, so wear a good coat!

Friday 27th is the last Critical Mass ride of 2019, setting off as usual from Theaterplein at 6pm for an hour’s cycling through the city before finishing up at Winter in Antwerp.

For carol services and Masses in English, see the calendar page of St Boniface Anglican Church.

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Antwerp Zoo

The Jungle Book Light Festival  is on at the zoo until 12th January. It is ticketed and enables visitors to see the colourful lights and figures supplied by the makers of China Light, which has taken place in previous years. It’s not the cheapest family evening out, but we have always enjoyed seeing the zoo this way in previous years and consider it a nice winter treat. Check the weather before you book, and wrap up warm if necessary!

Because it’s December, the shops will be open on all Sundays throughout the month, and again on January 5th 2020.

To see in the new year, here is an overview of different parties and ideas for 31st December.

And looking ahead to next year, why not finish the festive season with a trip to the annual BATS panto, which this year, is Sleeping Beauty? (pic below, from BATS website) Tickets via the BATS website.

BATS-carrousel-SB2020

 

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This weekend in Antwerp: 13th, 14th & 15th December

edf_soft
Winter in Antwerpen- Wishing Wall

Saturday & Sunday

Winter In Antwerp is now open: this is the highlight of the winter holiday season in Antwerp. If you are new to the city you have plenty of time to check out the various attractions which are on until 5th January. They key locations are Steenplein (especially if you have kids to entertain), Groenplaats and Grote Markt. Christmas market stands can be found in all of these places. There is always a winter bar (this year it’s called Bar Den and will be situated on Steenplein), a big wheel and the ice rink (Groenplaats).

There’s a smaller market on over both Saturday and Sunday at Wintar – the winter bar on Boomgaardstraat 17 (near the de Koninck brewery).

Screenshot 2019-12-11 at 13.58.47On Saturday the Vlaams Tram & Autobus Museum rides the Christmas tram to and from the Christmas Market for free. The route is Groenplaats – Bolivarplaats – via the new Line 1 to P+R Luchtbal – back to Nationale Bank – Groenplaats (for times see pic left; taken from the Vlatam website)

Book browsers can get away from the Christmas rush on Sunday by heading for de Coninckplein for the monthly second hand book market from 11am-4pm.

Also on Sunday this Arts & Crafts market called Winter Mart from 2pm -9pm at Koolkaai, near the river, in the old town.

Sunday shopping -because it’s December, the shops will be open on all Sundays throughout the month, and again on January 5th 2020.

It’s going to be a bit rainy this weekend unfortunately, although on Saturday and Sunday the rain should have cleared up by the afternoon.

DiscoveringBelgiumLogoMiscellaneous

If you are looking for Carol services in Antwerp (or even elsewhere in Belgium) over the Christmas season, see this post full of handy information on Discovering Belgium, which is always an absolute treasure trove of information for English speakers wishing to get to know Belgium better, whether as visitors or settlers.

And looking ahead to next year, why not finish the festive season with a trip to the annual BATS panto, which this year, is Sleeping Beauty? Tickets via the BATS website.

BATS-carrousel-SB2020
Sleeping Beauty (image from BATS VZW website)

Screen Shot 2019-12-12 at 10.56.17Next week it’s the Warmste Week -a week of charity events and fundraising across Belgium. You can search for activities and good causes in your area here. Look out for the flame logo which accompanies De Warmste Week events (pic right taken from the Warmste Week website).

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This weekend in Antwerp: 6th, 7th & 8th December

Screenshot 2019-11-27 at 15.49.40The  Markies Stock Sale (of books) at Zuiderpershuis, which is definitely a nice way to get discounted gifts for bookish loved ones -although most books are in Dutch, there is also a selection of books in English (and coffee table books) as well as picture books for children. It’s free and takes place from 10am -6pm on FridaySaturday and Sunday.

It is Sinterklaas avond in Belgium on Friday.

Saturday

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Christmas wheel

Winter In Antwerp starts today with a special opening celebration from noon. This is the highlight of the winter holiday season in Antwerp. If you are new to the city you have plenty of time to check out the various attractions which are on until 5th January. They key locations are Steenplein (especially if you have kids to entertain), Groenplaats and Grote Markt. Christmas market stands can be found in all of these places. There is always a winter bar (this year it’s called Bar Den and will be situated on Steenplein), a big wheel and the ice rink (Groenplaats).

Before the Noorderlijn events  on Sunday, come and see the Kipdorp Nocturne . The programme starts at 6pm and it will be the last chance to see this archaeological site, which will be specially illuminated with lights and projections.  There will also be a food truck selling hot snacks and drinks.

operaplein
Operaplein

Throughout December, look out for local winter festivities such as this one in Deurne: Deurne Wintert, which starts at 4pm – and which take place in different neighbourhoods around the city.

Sunday 

On Sunday the first trams will run on the Noorderlijn and the metro station Opera will re-open after four years of intensive construction works.  You can check out the pdf programme for the opening party here. There will be entertainment for the opening on and around Operaplein (also at Kinepolis and the Haven huis)  from 10am -6pm and a chance to ride the new tram routes (1 and 24).

On Kloosterstraat there’s a special Christmas edition of Markt van Morgen from midday until 6pm: locally and hand made fashion, jewellery interior and graphic design goods plus hot soup and glühwein for added warmth.

MVMxmas
Markt van Morgen (image from Facebook)

From 11am -7pm at Plein Publiek there’s a vegan Christmas market featuring food trucks, and a market of 40 stands of vegan and eco-friendly products.

This weekend should be (mostly) dry, cold and bright again with the possibility of some light showers on Friday evening.

Stadsfeestzaal
Stadsfeestzaal Shopping Centre

Miscellaneous 

Test your festive knowledge skills at the An Sibhin Quiz Night next Friday -participants should pre-register. It’s a general knowledge quiz for teams of maximum 5. Entry 5€ per person. Prizes for winners, fun for all! Reservations a must -via the Facebook page.

Throughout December, the shops in the city will be open on Sundays , and again on January 5th 2020.

Winter bars are starting to open, including Wintar on Boomgaardstraat 17,  near the Antwerp City Brewery (De Koninck) for drinks, food (especially cheese!) and events until the start of February.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 29th, 30th November, and 1st December

Screenshot 2019-11-27 at 15.49.40
book browsing at Zuiderpershuis

There are three events over the whole weekend this weekend firstly – the  Markies Stock Sale (of books) at Zuiderpershuis, which is definitely a nice way to get discounted gifts for bookish loved ones -although most books are in Dutch, there is also a selection of books in English (and coffee table books) as well as picture books for children. It’s free and takes place from 10am -6pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (if you don’t get the chance to go this weekend, it’s also on next weekend too).

Steez Festival is a free festival of urban arts, music, dance DJs and even a skate zone at de Studio on Maarschalk Gérardstraat 4 from 2pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

And for Lego lovers, there’s Brickmania at the Expo on Saturday and Sunday (ticketed).

 Friday

At 6pm it’s the monthly bike ride with Critical Mass Antwerpen – assemble as usual on Theaterplein with your bike for a kid-friendly hour’s cycling en masse through Antwerp, returning to Theaterplein for 7pm. 

If, like me you are somewhat averse to the whole concept of the annual grabfest horror that is Black Friday, you could head instead to the Kringloopwinkels (second hand shops) of Antwerp to check out their deals (there will be 50% reductions on many items), or to the  Kammenstraat fleamarket (cash only).

sdr_soft
Antwerp Zoo

The Jungle Book Light Festival  begins at Zoo Antwerp this evening and runs until 12th January. It is ticketed and enables visitors to see the colourful lights and figures supplied by the makers of China Light, which has taken place in previous years. It’s not the cheapest family evening out, but we have always seeing the zoo this way in previous years and consider it a nice winter treat. Check the weather before you book, and wrap up warm if necessary!
Saturday

LoveislandAntwerp artist Sacha Eckes opens a new exhibition at Shoobil Gallery so why not take the opportunity to slip away from the increasing busy-ness of the town centre, to view works characterised by skill and humour inspired by the theme of reality TV?  Love Island opens at 2pm with a vernissage (Museumstraat 4).

If you have children who want to see Sinterklaas, then you can find him at Grand Bazar shopping centre from 1.30pm, but be aware that this can be popular and there is sometimes a queue.

missiontoseafarersxmas

If you are more organised than me and ready to make some Christmas purchases (or just to enjoy a traditional British-style Christmas Bazaar) then head to the Antwerp Harbour hotel between 11am – 4pm and check out their Christmas goodies and treats, while also supporting the Mission to Seafarers in Antwerp.

Sunday

If you’re still missing hanging out at Bar Noord in Park Spoor Noord, head to Goegekregen second hand market which takes place in the shelter there this Sunday from 9am -6pm.

For those who can’t get enough of the high street, there’s Sunday shopping in the city from midday. If you have little ones who are excited about Sinterklaas, you may well catch a glimpse of him on Meir this afternoon.  And because it’s December, the shops will be open on all Sundays throughout the month, and again on January 5th 2020.

Screenshot 2019-11-27 at 16.01.36Sinterklaas (due to an uncanny ability to be in more than one place at a time) will also be at Wintar (see below) from 2pm enjoying waffles and other treats.

This weekend should be (mostly) dry, cold and bright with the possibility of some showers on Sunday morning.

Regular readers and wine- fans may remember this special blog post about Antwerp start-up Fine Wine Junkies. On Sunday they are holding a pop-up event to celebrate their first birthday and to invite wine lovers to taste and purchase some of the specially selected wines which they offer.
fwj

Miscellaneous

Winter bars are starting to open, including Wintar on Boomgaardstraat 17,  near the Antwerp City Brewery (De Koninck) for drinks, food (especially cheese!) and events until the start of February.

Stad Antwerpen have released the Winter in Antwerp programme! #WinterinA starts on the 7th of December and will be featured on Nessascityblog in more detail next week.

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