New Year’s Eve 2015

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Wishing you a very happy 2016

Just in time for New Year’s Eve, here’s a brief run-down of what is available in Antwerp this year. I am not going to attempt to do a full clubs-and-pubs guide, particularly for very expensive ticketed events, as they are generally fairly easy to find out about. Here’s the usual low-budget/ free local selection, which I will continue to edit, where necessary, for the next day or so. So if you are someone who tends to make spontaneous and last-minute plans for the last party of the year, do check back for updates.

The weather is predicted to continue dry and mild on New Year’s Eve in Antwerp. There may be a little cloud and light rain in the evening.

The most obvious public destination for midnight is the Schelde for the fireworks. Turn up at 11pm for a free concert -it all happens around Steenplein and Zuiderterras. Drinks will be for sale; do not bring any glass drink containers into the area. The Christmas market will also be busy with Grote Markt likely being a good location for the bars, but Christmas market stalls are now only on Groenplaats. If you are staying in or at a house party and wanting to count down,  Een on TV will be at the river side.

Bar Lucy will be having a free party from 10 pm, as will Café au Lait.

Jazz and swing fans wishing to get away from it all may enjoy this event for which they will need to reserve.

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MAS

 

There will be a party at Café Storm (MAS) for 15 euros. You need to reserve here (20 tickets left at time of writing this!).

Den Beulebak also has a 10 euro entry fee for a musical evening from 10pm (a more expensive ticket includes dinner).

 

 

 

 

….And down on the site of the Petrol Club there are a few events going  on which are also more reasonably priced and for which you can reserve tickets here.

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Also more reasonably priced (12 euros pre-sale; 15 on the door) is this Jamaican style party night at Kavka on Oudaan.

Stay safe, have fun -see you in 2016 for more weekly updates in English about events and activities in the city.

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This weekend: December 19th & 20th

 

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Christmas Wheel

 

The Christmas market is in full swing and will be on until 3rd January. Go on a clear day for great views from the top of the wheel, down by the Schelde. The bamboo installation on Grote Markt is also very impressive.

If you are looking ahead already, and would like to see a panto in English in the new year, you can order tickets already for the BATS production of Little Red Riding Hood. Guaranteed to provide traditional fun and please children of all ages.

BATS vzw
http://www.batsantwerp.be

Saturday

Fashion Market  Plein publiek

Free showing of the film The Normal Heart at Het Roze Huis at 20h.

Free Art Exhibition at Bar Lucy in aid of Flemish Refugees.

On De Conninckplein, it’s the last day to a “Spiegeltent” which opens on the evening of the 17th December for a four day program by Time Circus. There will be music performances and various activities (face painting, Tibetan music, food workshops) on the De Conninckplein (in front of Permeke library) on the Saturday, which is Family Day.

 

Sunday

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Fleamarket at Park Spoor Noord, 10am -18pm, under cover of Park Loods- free. Also one on Krugerplein

 

 

High street shopping can be done on and around Meir, as shops will be open for the last Sunday before Christmas.

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Story reading hour (in Dutch) at Permeke Library at 11am for children aged 4-8. The theme is sleep and dreams. Meanwhile, outside the library there is a revue starting at 14h, costing 2 euros.

 

 

 

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Use the #WinterinA hashtag for your pictures on social media

For anyone wishing to volunteer or donate over Christmas (or beyond), here are a few links:

De Grijze Kat (Antwerp north)

Sant’ Egidio

volunteering via Stad Antwerpen

Moeders voor Moeders

Give away your stuff

 

Christmas day: Shops will be closed; Christmas market will be open; UGC cinema and the zoo will be open; some restaurants will be open and offering Christmas menus. Check for times, as there may be later opening hours for anything that is open. It’s business as usual for Turkish and Moroccan shops.

Have a fantastic Christmas!  I will be posting again on a regular basis in 2016, and possibly before then with some suggestions for the days around New Year.

Thanks so much for following; please leave comments, feedbacks and any suggestions for events which you think I should include.

 

Vanessa

 

 

This weekend: December 11th, 12th and 13th 2015

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Friday 11th December

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Antwerp International School

A special shout out to staff and students of the Antwerp International School who finish up for the winter break this Friday! Happy holidays!

 

 

If you are ready for the weekend on Friday night and in immediate need of food, drink and music then head to the Flying Pig festival on the Napoleonkaai at 5pm (near MAS) when the fun begins and its winter bar opens.

 

 

Over the weekend …

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As well as the main Christmas market in the old town, other smaller markets will also be happening, including ones like this one at Grand Cafe Le Roi on Kasteelpleinstraat. This will be on on both Saturday and Sunday.

Details of two Christmas church concerts can be found here.

Saturday

If you are feeling sporty, Antwerp has its own  Santa Run sponsored by the Gazet van Antwerpen. If you want to run you need to register here. Be quick -registration ends at midnight on the 11th. If you aren’t running, you can go along to Park Spoor Noord to cheer on those who are: the run starts at 5pm, and will follow a route through Meir and The Christmas market. This is how it looked last year …

After which you might feel inclined to head to the Festive Open Stage at An Sibhin on Nationalestraat for spontaneous performances of music, comedy and song.

 

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pic courtesy of Leah Sheola, An Sibhin

And there is a second hand  fashion market at Plein Publiek (Van Craesbeeckstraat 33). 10am -5pm.

Sunday

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Park Spoor Noord

 

It’s back to Park Spoor Noord for a Christmas edition of the Goedgekregen Fleamarket starting at 10am. Don’t be put off if it is raining -it will be under cover (where the Cargo bar is, during summer)

There also going to be a Christmas edition of the Markt van Morgen on the Kloosterstraat -food trucks, art, design, crafts and jewellery…. even a hairdresser who will be cutting and donating proceeds to cancer charity Music for Life.

For Christmas shoppers, shops around Meir (and in Stadsfeestzaal) will be open, as per the shopping Sundays (so that means a later start -in Stadsfeestzaal, it’s midday, and closing at 6pm).

Wednesday 16th December

A special midweek mention for the lovely Down to Earth Diva, Nicola Mills who will be singing Christmas songs at Vinoteka starting at 8, and promising to go full Christmas, complete with sing-along if you are feeling merry/ daring.

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Christmas Cathedral by Daniel Ruiz-Cecconello

 

 

This Weekend: December 5th & 6th 2015

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Lights on the Keyserlei

If you have not noticed the festive feeling starting up in Antwerp, then you really need to get out and do so, if you can. For us -as a family resident in Belgium, with both Dutch and UK influences- this weekend is the one where Christmas overlaps with Sinterklaas, so this post will hopefully contain a bit of both ….

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Plein Publiek -Van Craesbeeckstraat

If you are ready to start the weekend immediately after work on Friday, I recommend Plein Publiek which opens at 4 for drinks, 5 for food and the dancing starts at 9. It’s a very attractive venue, placed in the middle of a now-disused social housing complex, near Nationalestraat..

Saturday

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If you have walked through the old town this week, you will have seen the stalls being set up for the Christmas Market which will dominate this part of the city from this Saturday when it opens. Stalls selling Christmas goods, foods and snacks will be found near the cathedral, on Grote Markt, Suikkerui, Groenplaats and Steenplein. The ice rink is usually on Steenplein, and the Christmas wheel is nearby. It’s the perfect place to meet friends, or take family. The market is on daily until 27th December. sintgrandbazar

For a smaller and more off-beat Christmas Market experience, head to the Vrijdag Markt at 4pm for music, DJs and food trucks.

BUT … If you have children who are in Sinterklaas mode, then he can be seen in various locations around the town centre and will be stopping in Grand Bazar; this is usually quite busy, with kids queuing, seeing Sint and being pictured with him. He is also believed to be visiting this fleamarket on the Sint Jansplein, at 2pm, with his Pieten.

I recommend the bookmarket at the Zuiderpershuis, which is still on. It’s a stock sale and the reductions are good. Most titles offered are in Dutch, but with some fashion, design and art books in English. Lots of books for children and toddlers, if you are buying gifts for kids and babies. It’s worth going just to see this attractive venue, if you don’t already know it, and it is a short walk from FOMU and Cinema Zuid, which are also worth knowing about.

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book sale at Zuiderpershuis.

If you like to donate and recycle at this time of year, why not take clothes, food and children’s items to Moeders voor Moeders on Helmstraat? They receive deliveries on the first Saturday of each month, between 10 and 12, and work to support families with children in need, in the Antwerp area.

Sunday

It’s the first Sunday of the month, so there is Sunday shopping around the town centre (note that most shops open a little later, though, at around midday).

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Eva Steynen (photo courtesy of Eva Steynen)

However, maybe you would like to get away from Sinterklaas, Christmas and shopping, to a vernissage (3pm) at this Gallery in Zurenborg curated by local artist, Eva Steynen?

There is a different type of Exhibition for fans of Tintin (and other Belgian comic book characters)  which finishes up on Sunday.

Another way to take a break from the consumerist side of this season would be to donate clothing to The Empty Shop project, which is running until the 12th December at the Youth Hostel on Bogaardplein. Your clothing will be restyled and sold to raise funds for the Kamiano Restaurant which provides meals for homeless people in Antwerp.

Whether you are enjoying Christmas, Sinterklaas, shopping or something a bit different, have a great weekend. Alas, it might be a good idea to take an umbrella out with you so that the predicted drizzle doesn’t spoil your fun

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Grote Markt on a winter’s night by Daniel Ruiz- Cecconello