I hope you have enjoyed a peaceful Easter so far. I can hardly believe it is April already.
The first Friday of the month is always Opening Evening at BATS Antwerp. Go along to the Little Theatre on Paardemarkt, to find out what they are up to, enjoy a drink at their
friendly bar or get involved on or off-stage, if you are interested in being part of English-speaking theatre productions locally. This Friday is special as it coincides with World Theatre Day and so there will also be a quiz at 8.30!
On Friday and over the whole weekend, there is going to be a kids’ farm in Grand Bazar and on Grote Markt, starting each day at 1pm and promising guineau pigs, bunnies, goats and piglets.
This weekend’s fleamarket will be on Sint Jansplein and starts at 8am, if you are up early to catch a bargain.
For kids, on both Saturday and Sunday Het Steen have their free open atelier from 1pm -4pm -walk in with your 6+ offspring at any time during the session.
In the evening, if you are in the old town area, you could head to Café Cabron which is reopening after refurbishment, just off Grote Markt.
DIY enthusiasts can do this short workshop for free at the Ecohuis at 10am -just ensure that you register first.
Free art expo with a New York theme at the lovely Coffee & Vinyl from 11am.
Please note, this is the information I have about weekend events at the moment. If any are cancelled or rescheduled due to the recent raising of the security threat level, I will update the post as soon as I can and will Tweet additional info. Please comment here, or mention @nessascityblog in your own Tweet if you get information yourself, so that I can RT you, and edit this post. Thank you.
Tonight (Thursday) there will be a requiem mass at MAS and a chance to sign a book of condolence from 7.30pm
A Silent Vigil is planned for Friday, at 6pm on Grote Markt.
Brussels Airport remains closed at least for today and tomorrow. For train information about the Brussels area you can check here.
Here are the weekend’s events, as usual, which as far as I presently know, are still on course to take place over the Easter weekend.
Assemble on Theaterplein with your bike at 6pm for the Easter edition of Critical Mass. After which you could cycle on to Park Spoor Noord where the Cargo Summer Bar is opening for 2016 from 7pm, with music, drinks and food. Unfortunately, the big-screen showing of the football match which was due to take place at Cargo have been cancelled in the light of the attacks in Brussels, as Belgium will not be playing against Portugal on Tuesday.
There’s a new bar and bookshop opening on Grote Markt. Come and check out Kobalt from 7pm.
Head to the Spoor Oost Opening Party which kicks off at 11am and promises food, drinks, kids entertainment, playground, sport, fleamarket, BBQ and graffiti art space. Park Spoor Oost is going to serve as an huge public space and events venue for the Borgerhout/ Schijnpoort area of the city. Festivities will go on all day, and on into the night with an after-party starting at 9pm in Bahnhof (event venue/ bar).
For a traditional Antwerp experience, take part in the Semini Celebrations starting at 10am on Grote Markt, with traditional music and dance.
Who is is Semini? From Wikipedia: “At the entrance to Het Steen is a bas-relief of Semini, above the archway, around 2nd century. Semini is the Scandinavian God of youth and fertility (with symbolic phallus). A historical plaque near Het Steen explains that women of the town appealed to Semini when they desired children; the god was reviled by later religious clergy. Inhabitants of Antwerp previously referred to themselves as “children of Semini”. An organization concerned with the historic preservation of Het Steen and Semini, Antwerp Komitee Semini in Ere (AKSIE), formed in 1986, holds annual celebrations at Het Steen as cultural events.”
By “reviled by later religious clergy” what is actually meant is that the Jesuits chopped his phallus off. Prior to that, fragments of it had been supposedly chipped away by the women of Antwerp who believed they would help them conceive. Unlucky, Semini. He is a well known figure here and the people of Antwerp once referred to themselves as “Semini’s Children”.
Nonetheless, it’s still a special day to get married, if you are an Antwerp couple, and after the celebrations on Grote Markt, the procession will make its way to Sint Andriesplaats (coStA) arriving at around 1pm, for free musical performances and folk singers.
Not far away at the St Anna Tunnel -AKA Voetgangers (pedestrians) Tunnel- there will be a free urban dance event, The Antwerp Battle taking place just in front of the tunnel entrance, where there is a basketball court (St Jansplein). There’s a vintage/ antique market here each Sunday, but also one today.. If you have never been in the tunnel, it is really worth seeing. You can cross to Linkeroever, under the Schelde, by foot or by bike. The Antwerp Battle is one a a number of different dance events happening as part of Dans Promenade ,all of which are free.
Near Astridplein there is a free art market at the Afrikaans Cultureel Centrum, from midday.
If you are feeling sporty or need to run off an excess of chocolate, then head for Rivierenhof at 11am (meet at the lake in the centre of the estate) where you can join runners training for the Antwerp 10 miles & Marathon taking place this year on the 17th April.
It’s the last chance to see Le Bruit des Choses exhibition Middelheim Museum. Middelheim is free.
Note that most shops in Antwerp will be closed on Easter Monday.
I suggest eating some chocolate.
Tip for Wednesday: On the last Wednesday of the month, the permanent collections of the following museums are FREE. It’s worth noting that this Wednesday (30th) is a school holiday and taking the kids at this time will save you quite a bit. It’s useful to know that The Red Star Line museum is often particularly busy though, so have a Plan B if that is is full of visitors taking advantage of the free entrance.
Temperatures for the Easter weekend look fairly fresh and mild, but there is a distinct chance of rain on both Good Friday and Easter Day. Saturday and Monday are likely to be dry.
The attacks in Brussels at the start of this week cast a shadow over Easter for everyone living in Belgium. Perhaps you have changed your travel plans as a result. I know we are all thinking of those who lost their lives and were injured in the explosions. Let’s stay calm and not lead lives driven by fear. Wishing you a peaceful and happy Easter. X
If you are interested in seeing Revolutionary Road and enjoying a meal of Syrian and vegetarian food for a mere 5 euros (+donation of choice for the movie) the head to ‘T Werkhuys at 6.30pm for their Filmavond + Volxkeuken. ‘T werkhuys are also currently looking for volunteers to help out with their Friday evening program.
Het Geluk on Theaterplein is usually a kid-friendly café but this Friday night it has a more grown-up offering of music, DJs and dancing. It’s free but once it’s full, there’s no further admittance.
During the day on Groenplaats and Meir, there are a number of activities aimed at young drivers intended to develop considerate driving habits. These activities take place between 12 and 5 and are free.
On De Conninckplein (in front of Permeke Library), it’s the monthly “Strip- & Boekenplein” which takes place on the third Sunday of every month and is a good place to snap up a bargain if you are into second hand books, collector’s books and graphic novels.
In the library itself, story reading for kids aged 4- 8 (free) starting at 11am for an hour.
On Sint Andriesplaats there’s a second-hand flea market and antique market. This is a pleasant local square to hang out on. There’s a little play area for kids and there’s a nice bar/ bistro called Het Missverstand with outdoor seating where you can enjoy a beer and keep an eye on your kids. I like this place in summer -it’s just slightly off the tourist track and a good place to enjoy good weather.
On a smaller scale The Cappucino Club (Klapdorp 37) is celebrating its second birthday with a party and flea-market from 11am if you are around the old town.
Temperatures are coolish, with reasonably low chance of rain on both Saturday and Sunday.
There are a couple of events which start on Friday and continue over the weekend. Over Tijd is a music and arts festival comprising of new electronic music, art, installations and readings. Check the link to see what is on over five Antwerp locations.
Another is Calamartes (opening on Thursday) which is a cultural festival run in conjunction with the University of Antwerp and also coincides with Open Campus Day (see Saturday)
For younger, curious minds there is a Time Workshop for kids at Het Steen at 2pm.
Music in the evening in Den Beulebak (which is a folk venue, but this performer combines electronic sounds with traditional ones) and also in Kiebooms (Polly Goes Psycho) on De Coninckplein, and at Sound Design Festival(The Royal Academy) where 10 students will be exhibiting their musical and audiovisual work for free.
For something entirely different there is the Antwerp Ghost Walk departing from Steenplein at 6.30pm and costing 7,50.
A couple of things for kids -firstly at Permeke Library a story-telling show for kids aged 6+ at 11am -tickets are only 4 euros if you get them in advance or you could get lucky and win free tickets on their Facebook Page.
And if you can afford/ cope with a hangover on Friday this week, don’t forget that it is Saint Patrick’s Day on Thursday. An Sibhin, Kelly’s and The Irish Times being Antwerp’s best known Irish Bars, and no doubt all worthy venues for a St Paddy’s Day party.
The weather this weekend is looking pretty chilly and sometimes bright, with fairly low chances of rain (20-30%) on both days.
A talented Grade 12 student of mine is singing in this concert at Elzenveld -it promises a mixture of choral pieces, modern Flemish folk pieces and some acapella numbers!
Cafe Kiebooms is a bar I really like and on Friday evening they will be starting the weekend with a some Swing Jazz music at 9.15.
If you are looking for a regular music night to start your weekends on Fridays, the The Irish Times on Grote Markt has music every weekend. This weekend Irish musician Steve Jones will be playing from 10pm.
And BATS has its monthly Open Evening at its venue on Paardenmarkt 111, starting at 8.30 -an opportunity to enjoy their bar and find out about upcoming productions, or even getting involved in some dramatics yourself!
If you are interested in volunteer work in Antwerp and not sure where to look in order to find the right work for you, then this exhibition between 1pm and 5pm at Kinepolis Event Center looks like a good place to start. Volunteers Week 2016 runs until the 6th March.
Registration for the Antwerp Urban Trail is full, but you can see the runners off from Park Spoor Noord on a 12km route that will take them through the city and back to PSN. Runners will depart in groups of 100 from 9am. This year the 10,000 runners will actually pass through Sportpaleis as part of the route.
On Krugerplein, Borgerhout, there is a spring edition of the Krugermarkt for drinks, snacks, general hanging out and bargain hunting. Entertainment for kids also promised, but not yet specified.
From the 5th- 20th March it’s Children’s Book Week(s) and there will be various events at libraries around Antwerp, such as this one for kids aged 4-8 in De Poort library, Berchem (2-3pm) which is free. The theme of this year’s events is “Weg van de Stad” (away from the city). Here’s the agenda, but note that some activities are for school classes.
Personally, I am falling out of love a bit with the current trend for Food Trucks, as I find that it often ends up being a lot more expensive than I anticipate (especially if you are en famille) given that it is usually marketed as ‘Street Food’, however for those who are still keen there is Dimange at Felix Pakhuis, in Eilandje.
There is an exhibition opening at Zeno X gallery in Borgerhout (Johannes Kahrs) -the preview for this exhibition takes place between 3 and 6pm..
BATS (British American Theatrical Society) begin preparing for their annual variety show. This year it has a 50s theme, so if you would like to be involved, I have been told that you must put on your blue suede shoes and hot-foot it to Paardenmarkt 111 for 7pm in order to be part of the show, which will take place at the end of May/ beginning of June, and will include music and sketches.
For kids aged 8 -14 with an interest in science, the Children’s University is taking place at the University of Antwerp (Prinsstraat 13, 2000 Antwerpen). Children can attend lectures, workshops, quizzes and experiments and need to register here. All activities are free.
Although the temperatures aren’t predicted to be freezing cold this weekend, there is a chance of rain on both Saturday and Sunday, especially during the afternoons. Hope you have fun anyway, and thanks as ever for following and sharing- here, on Twitter @nessascityblog, and elsewhere.