Vakantie op’t Zuid takes place over the whole weekend on the gedempte Zuiderdokken, and promises four days (it opens today, Thursday, at 10am) of speciality food stalls, drinks, entertainment, music and kids spaces (think bouncy castles).
Just back from exhibiting in Detroit, Antwerp artist Sacha Eckes opens her Imposter exhibition at 7pm. This is on at the Life Is Art gallery on Sint-Jorispoort until mid-June. You may be familiar with her weekly cartoons in Week Up. The works exhibited will be available to buy.
There’s also a vernissage at Design Center Winkelhaak. It’s free and starts at 7pm and features the photography of Jasper Léonard and his Antwerp Resized exhibition.
It’s the last Friday of the month so bike riding advocates Critical Mass assemble on Theaterplein at 6pm for a bike ride through Antwerp.
Plein Publiek reopens, following a hiccup with its license. It is open over the whole weekend, starting on Friday night at 8pm with aperitifs and a DJ.
Park festival (free) takes place in Koning Albertpark from 2pm -11pm, and there is an afterparty at Het Bos.
If you have a bit more cash to spare, then beer, whiskey and wine lovers should head to the Zuiderpershuis today for the Meug festival starting at 2pm. It’s 10 euros to get in (+ drink costs) and promises over 120 different beverages to taste. Tip: you can get an 8 euro ticket using the promo code Meug2016 via this link. (NB -this is a temporary offer, for the first 100 tickets only).
The 1st May is International Workers’ Day (AKA Labour Day) and is a public holiday in Belgium and in many countries around the world. In Antwerp there is a May Day Parade, going from Leopold De Waelplaats (that’s just in front of the Fine Arts Museum) to Grote Markt. It will depart at 11.15 and proceed through Leopold De Waelstraat, Volkstraat, Lange Vlierstraat, Kloosterstraat, Den Oever, Sint Jansvliet, Ernest Van Dijckkaai and Suikerrui, before arriving at Grote Markt around 1.30, where there will be bands, and rides for the kids.
You must know the Antwerp tower on the crossroads between Keyserlei and Meir. On the 1st May it opens it doors until October with a series of summer events, expos and pop-ups. A roomy bar on the 4th floor will be a fixture throughout.
Moderate/ cool temperatures expected this weekend with the possibility of light rain on Friday, and heavier showers on Sunday. Hopefully no hail …
Finally, thanks for reading.
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How about a Picnic lunch on Theaterplein? If you didn’t order a lunch, you can just turn up with your own. There will be hot and cold drinks and musical performances -starts at midday. Proceeds to Studio Globo, Oxfam and Broederlijk Delen.
‘Curtis’ -a Joy Division tribute evening at 8pm at De Kleine Hedonist should get your weekend off to a cheery start.
Summer bar Bar Paniek opens tonight on the Kattendijkdok, Oostkaai 21B.
There is the 2018 festival on the Konijnenwei park, starting at 10am with a fleamarket, but also including musical performances from local bands, and entertainment for kids, throughout the day.
A festival of a different sort is on at ‘t Werkhuys in Borgerhout -for 3 euros fans of comics and cartoons can enjoy talks, expos and events at Klaxon Festival, starting at midday and continuing until 11.oo pm.
It’s the great big Antwerp Spring Clean! Enjoy – if you and your neighbours have registered for that. Don’t forget to take beer breaks.
More music -from the lovely and talented Down to Earth Diva who is fundraising for Urban Renewal at Café de Lijnstok at midday. Your donation will contribute to a good cause, and enable you to hear Nicola singing a variety of songs. There will also be a brunch.
At 3pm there is a folk jam in Den Hopsack which is a friendly little music bar tucked away on Grote Pieter Potstraat in the old town.
Sunday is Heritage Day across Brussels and Flanders. There’s lots going on in the Antwerp area. There are many events (readings, film, walking tours, dance performances) celebrating rituals and traditions of different types. Many activities are free but check the details carefully in case reservation is required.
The project Coming World Remember Me has started and will continue until the 8th May. At workshops at Steen, you can make a sculpture out of clay to honour one of the Belgian fallen of World War One. These sculptures will form an installation in Ypres which will be opened in 2018. Each one will incorporate a dog tag with the name of a soldier. You will be provided with the dog tag. It is free to take part but you need to register by calling 03 292 36 51 or mailing email@example.com
… And not far away at Chatleroi there’s a record sale.
Swan Market comes to Antwerp. Previously having taken place at Grote Markt (and where it will be again, on 22nd May), but -NB- this time it’s at Park Loods, in Park Spoor Noord, from midday until 6pm. Food trucks, drinks and snacks, and lots of stands selling gifts, jewellery, accessories, antique and vintage items. It has a nice vibe and won’t break the banks. Always handy if you are looking for a special present (or want to treat the kids or yourself to a yummy homemade cupcake or two)….
The weather is due to be mild and cloudy with a fair chance of showers on Sunday.
Fashion fiends and label addicts might want to check out Belmodo Fashion Days 2016 which take place until the 24th April and promise to supply designer pieces at below their usual prices at various locations around Antwerp. Check this link for times and locations.
The 23rd of April marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare‘s death. I couldn’t find a great deal going on around Antwerp except in the bookshop De Groene Waterman where there will be a reading and talk (in Dutch) analysing why Shakespeare’s themes and plays continue to endure to this day. This is free and starts at 4pm.
Sporting A is offering free basketball coaching for kids aged 6- 14 years of age every Wednesday from 20th April until 25th May. It’s on in various locations from 2pm -4pm (except Sint-Jansplein where it’s 3-5pm). No need to register, just show up if you are interested. My seven year old really enjoyed it this week.
There’s free live music at The Irish Times (Steve Jones) at 10pm, and if you are around earlier, you can see Augustana (currently supporting Dixie Chicks at Lotto Arena!) at Cafè Ami at 3pm for a matinée. If you are looking for after-work drinks, Gusta is serving from 5pm with music from Böky Bros. Gusta is also a useful address to know if you need gluten -free and dairy-free resources.
A big shout out to the Antwerp International School in Ekeren! Today is their International Day where all the various communities come together to show off their nation’s food, drink, and culture. There’s much to see and enjoy -both indoors and outdoors. It only happens once every two years and is a chance to see the school at its very best!
It’s a day to get planting, if you live in Antwerp. You can pick up a free sack of potting soil, courtesy of Stad Antwerpen, between 11 and 4pm today as part of Dag van de Potgrond -an initiative to encourage residents to add some greenery or flowers to their street. Pick up at Cargo Summer Bar (Park Spoor Noord) or at coStA.
It’s Flanders’ largest running event: The Antwerp 10 miles & Marathon! Good luck to everyone running today. Here’s the schedule if you would like to go and cheer the runners on. You can cross the river by free ferry on the day of the run, between 11.30 am and 7.30pm (Steenplein -St Annastrand)
If you prefer a less energetic type of recreation you could Travel The World in 80 Games (that’s board and table games) at Atlas on Carnotstraat for free. It’s not far from de Coninckplein where the book fair will be taking place right in front of the library between 10am and 4pm.
This week’s free flea market takes place at Skate Planet, near Sportpaleis between 10am and 6pm.
On Sundays at Rivierenhof, there are fairytale readings (in Dutch) for 5 euros from 2 -3.30pm. Reserve for your kid(s) via the link.
The weather is predicted to be mild (tops of 12 degrees) with the possibility of a some showers on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Some bright spells on Sunday too.
For beautiful Antwerp views …did you know that during the summer period the roof of MAS museum is free and open until midnight, Tuesday to Sunday?
… and the project Coming World Remember Me has started and will continue until the 8th May. At workshops at Steen, you can make a sculpture out of clay to honour one of the Belgian fallen of World War One. These sculptures will form an installation in Ypres which will be opened in 2018. Each one will incorporate a dog tag with the name of a soldier. You will be provided with the dog tag.
It is free to take part but you need to register by calling 03 292 36 51 or mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Sporting A is offering free basketball coaching for kids aged 6- 14 years of age every Wednesday from 20th April until 25th May. It’s on in various locations from 2pm -4pm (except Sint-Jansplein where it’s 3-5pm). No need to register, just show up if you are interested.
If you follow the blog on Twitter, you will know that I spent some of my weekend trying to counter some misinformation that was being spread by a Belgian blogger who claimed that the police had issued a warning to stay away from Meir. I tweeted the police who confirmed that this was not true. Members of my own family were on Meir and were clear that all was well there: it was sunny, and packed with shoppers as usual. The police had extra security in some places because of information they had received.
It was a useful lesson in cross-referencing, as one Tweet and a bit of Googling demonstrated that the blogger in question was spreading misinformation and alarm. In times where it is not unreasonable to be anxious about such things, we tend to focus on information sources that seem to keep us up to date (especially if you require the information to be in English). Although I demonstrated that the content of the blog post was false in this regard, the blogger has unfortunately declined to alter it.
I will do my best to keep you informed about the official advice as best I can; here and on Twitter. I am happy to correct any information that is shown not to be correct, so don’t hesitate to let me know if you spot a factual error. However, Nessascityblog is for weekend event information and I’d like it to stay that way, so here are a couple of sources where you can check for yourself: if there are any precautions advised by the security authorities, I am sure that the Gazet van Antwerpen will report the news very quickly. If you need news in English, check out the very useful Flanders Today. Additionally, you can aways check the page of the Antwerp police, or follow them on Twitter. Another good source for security information in Belgium is the Crisis Centre, who are also on Twitter with tweets in Dutch, French and English. It’s always a good idea to check with sources like those before sharing anything that adds to the general anxiety or causes worry to our loved ones, especially those in other countries. The current situation is that the threat level is at 3, and there are no warnings to stay away from Antwerp city centre, or any other area around Antwerp.
This weekend, why not check out Café Ami? It’s on the Katelijnevest, just off Meir, and is a friendly, unpretentious bar where there is often free music. This Friday it’s live blues & folk from Johan Corthals, at 8pm. More folk at Ami at the same time on Saturday night too.
Recycle your clothes at the indoor Revive Market. Note: Plein Publiek is still closed; this event will take place at Nassaustraat 38, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium -that’s the Monique Stam store on Eilandje.
The Grand Bazar still have the kids’ farm -finishing up this weekend, though. I was there last weekend and while it is nice for children to see animals, I have to say I don’t think it was a very animal-friendly initiative, and personally, I agree with many of the points raised in this open letter to Grand Bazar Shopping Centre regarding the welfare of the animals.
This weekend’s best fleamarket option is Goegekregen in Park Loods on Park Spoor Noord. It’s a good venue to have it in (airy, lots of space) and when last there I thought that there was a great mix of goods, with something for every pocket (clothes for mere eurocents, or more costly retro chic for your home) and is free entry. There is also one at Kinepolis starting at 10 -that’s 2.50 to get in though.
Klein Antwerpen are organising an egg hunt in Stadspark. Come to the King Albert Statue (that’s the big one on the Rubenslei – Van Eycklei corner) at 11am.
After an Easter break, Madam Woll is open again for her regular knitting and crochet café from 10am -12, costing 8 euros. Mail email@example.com to register.
Markt van Morgen is back and on Kloosterstraat this Sunday from 12-6. Markt van Morgen spotlights local creative talent (jewellers, artists, designers) as well as being a social and friendly place to hang out.
… Or how about a Tea Dance (free entry) down by the river from 6pm?
Summer season activities/ miscellaneous
A sweet-toothed friend of mine reminded me of the Pancake Boat here in Antwerp, which is deeply popular with all three of my kids. This has just started up again for the holiday season. It’s fun to do with kids and is a great activity if you have visitors with children.
Don’t forget that the summer bars will begin opening up from this point on. Cargo is already open. Bar Paniek will open later this month. Others will open when Zomer van Antwerpen begins. But maybe I am getting a bit ahead of myself here … I am very much looking forward to summer already.
Did you know that if you live in Antwerp, you could get a free climbing plant? The idea is to offer these to home-owning neighbours who would like to grow them from one side of their street (up the wall and above the street) to the other. If you and your neighbour are interested apply here. You will receive information, and assistance in choosing the right sort of plant if you don’t know that much about gardening.
And a reminder that from this year the cathedral is free to enter if you live in Antwerp.
The weather is predicted to be mainly dry, with the possibility of some light rain/ drizzle on Saturday.