This weekend: 25th, 26th & 27th November



And here is a new Brexit post… I can’t decide if it is the end or the beginning of the series though.

Friday/ whole weekend

Art Nocturnes this evening between 18h- 21h. Check for a map with locations (scroll down) and the Facebook page or Lifeisart page for details. The exhibitions will also be on over Saturday and Sunday at regular gallery opening hours.

Also starting Friday and over the whole weekend is the De Markies stock sale of books at Zuiderpershuis. Most of the books are in Dutch but last year there were some art and travel books in English too. If you have Dutch- speaking kids to buy for (Sinterklaas or Christmas) the children’s book sections will definitely have good bargains.





Last Friday of the month, so Critical Mass as usual on Theaterplein at 6pm, with your bike. This weekend it’s a Glow-In-The Dark edition, so brink your fluo, your sparkliest bike lights -anything that let’s you be seen (image: Pixabay)


At Den Beulebak there will be an ABC (Antiques Books Curiosa) market between 11am and 5pm.

If you are shopping with kids this weekend, you could take them to Grand Bazar where they can join in with a big colouring and drawing activity with Sinterklaas between 11 and 17h, on the upper floor.


Plein Publiek

Clothes, shoes and accessories for summer and winter for sale at Plein Publiek’s Closet Sale from 2- 6pm

For scientists, it’s Science Day at various locations around Antwerp (in Dutch). The events and workshops take place between 11- 17h and there is a brochure detailing what’s on. The events with the buzzing fly logo are for kids.

Wrap up -it’s not going to be warm, and probably not sunny either. It is looking likely that it will be dry though.

Science Day





Find Nessascityblog on TwitterPinterest and Instagram, with pictures of  Handgemaakts, and a couple of gigs I went to last weekend.

Many Stad Antwerp museums are free on the last Wednesday of the month which is next Wednesday (30th) for example:  Red Star Line, MAS, Museum van den Bergh, Rubenshuis.

Also next Wednesday at 2.30pm: Read- Aloud Hour at Permeke Library in Dutch and other languages for kids 4- 10.



Another one for kids: Bpost are providing a service for kids who would like to write a letter to Sint. Children should write a letter (or send a picture) and post it before the 1st December (no stamp needed). Make sure you include your home address and a letter and gift will be sent from the Sint.

image courtesy of BATS Antwerp

If you are looking ahead to the winter season and have kids to entertain, I recommend that you book Antwerp’s only traditional, old -school panto in English, for January in the Arendberg Theatre, by BATS theatre group. Another recommended from me -this time it’s Jack and the Beanstalk.

Beer Lovers Bar

Random place I have recently enjoyed, as per reader request: Beer Lovers Bar on de Conninckplein. Has established a somewhat trendy ambience but manages to just about not cross the red line of irritation and go full hipster. Good range of tasty beers -both from Belgium and other abroad. Staff are friendly and helpful should you require assistance in making a good choice. Definitely a great get-away from the bars on Keyserlei if you want something more relaxed and local.

I’m happy to add readers’ tips and suggestions. If you have had a good time at a venue around the city, mail or Tweet me a brief description of the place, your name as you would like it to appear, and (if possible) a picture you have taken there. Keep it clean. OK, cleanish will do.

Sneak a peak at what will be going on for this year’s Winter in A -starting December 10th.





Becoming Belgian: my post EU-referendum story so far (part 3).

Previous posts in this series are here (part 1) and here (part 2).

Other than the fact of it finally being Friday, last Friday was a crappy day. In the first post that I wrote about Brexit I expressed the view that the press did not provide realistic depictions of the lives of British people who live outside the UK, and tried to explain that for the most part  “We are … really NOT sunning our leathery beer bellies in Malaga, while refusing to learn a word of Spanish. Our lives -like those of people in the UK – consist of the usual unremarkable elements that form the basis of regular working days in the communities in which we live.” Well, Friday was certainly shaping up to be pretty unremarkable and unglamorous. Having made my way to the station, with my tired four year-old, after work, in the driving rain, to discover that the train back to Antwerp central was cancelled, we walked to the nearest bus stop. The crowded bus was crawling and lurching along the main drag from the north of the city, affording us drizzle-bespattered November views of muddy roadworks, when my grey-faced daughter began to complain that she felt sick. We were both very tired and it was just one of those parenting moments when you have no option but to stay put …. fortunately she decided in favour of dozing off, instead of covering our fellow passengers with vomit.

We finally arrived at the bus station. It was still pouring. Just to add to the expat glamour of our situation, we had to swing by the Lidl, as my eldest child would be home soon, with a friend for dinner, so I needed to get food. We found them waiting damply on the doorstep…

I checked the letter box and there were a couple of envelopes, including one from Stad Antwerpen, which I stuffed into my pocket. The four of us along with our work and school bags and a carrier bag full of shopping crammed ourselves into the lift, keen to get into the apartment and begin the process of getting dry.

So against this backdrop, you can probably imagine how it felt to read the words “on the 17/11/2016 you received Belgian nationality” – or, as it actually appeared: “U hebt op 17/11/2016 de Belgische nationaliteit gekregen”.  Wow -I had already been Belgian for a day and not known it! We all had a hug -including our lovely dinner guest, who as the product of a Belgian- British family, was well placed to share the moment. I may have shed a tear…


I’m simply so relieved. My children’s futures as European citizens are assured. They will continue to enjoy The Four Freedoms that being part of the EU provides. As I stated in a previous post, this is of particular importance to my oldest child as she approaches the point where she considers her life beyond school. She will leave school in 2019 -the point at which the Tories and the Leavers hope to have taken Britain out of the EU, and quite probably removed the rights of British kids to live, study and work with ease in the 27 remaining nations.

Our relief is fused with sadness and anger. I expressed this in a Brexit Testimonal last week (you can make one at and it will be shared on the Brexit Testimonial Facebook page)

My Brexit Testimonial

I am not going to stop engaging with this issue, despite the fact that we have been lucky enough to find a solution for our family. I continue to share the anger at the removal of EU rights and advantages from British citizens -especially the young, and those who, like me, were affected but not permitted to vote. The neologism ‘omnishambles‘ has never been more accurate, as it becomes painfully apparent that there is no plan in place for taking Britain safely out of the EU, and no sign of agreement on  what such a plan might look like. Every day, media headlines testify to the clueless incompetence of people like Boris Johnson who -embarrassingly – are charged with negotiating a path forward for Britain.

But this weekend we are enjoying the feeling of having been provided with a solution to a problem that has caused us worry and uncertainty since June. We know are lucky to have this solution. It’s like being asked by a good host to come in from the rain and take a seat.

Thank you, Belgium. Thank you, Stad Antwerpen. Don’t mind if I do.

Update: If you wish to apply for Belgian Nationality, you can now begin the process online:




This weekend: 18th, 19th & 20th November



***Here’s the GOOGLE MAP featuring all the locations for this weekend***


If you are still mourning the loss of the summer bars, you will want to keep an eye out for the Winter bars. Little Brewers Winter Garden (Smokey Jo’s in its summer incarnation) reopens at 6pm on Thursday and will be in operation until February 2017, open on Wednesdays -Sundays. Bar Gloed (winter edition) at the Antwerp Tower on Keyserlei is also open on Wednesdays -Sundays. There’s still a bit of a wait until the city’s ‘Winter In A’ program starts though: that will kick off on December 10th, in the old town .


Street art in the Old Town

Regular readers will know how much I and my son enjoyed the Street Art tour of Antwerp. This is a must for street art and graffiti fans, or anyone who simply would like to see the city through a different lens. A lack of Dutch is no barrier: Tim is now provided tours in English, including one this Saturday starting at the Mechelseplein at 11am. Recommended!

Perhaps along a similar vein is the evening event Exposed Music: a guided tour through Antwerp city, with musical experiences and performances in unexpected locations on the way. The tour concludes at midnight in Het Bos with a finale.




Lovely Hand Gemaakt is at Plein Publiek from 11 -5pm. If you need to start your Christmas shopping and can’t face busy shopping streets, this will be a lot more relaxed, and there is the added advantage of supporting the work of local creatives. I picked up quite a few gifts (such as soaps, jewellery) from Hand Gemaakt last year, and they were very well received.



Boekenplein, De Coninckplein

At FOMU and Cinema Zuid (which is in FOMU) there is a program of activities and workshops (yoga; light & photography workshop; family tree workshop; guided tours for kids) for children today, with activities for smalls aged 3+, some are more expensive than others, with the kids’ movies at only 3 euros. For most events, reserve via the links, except for the Smartbox activity, which is only 2 euros and is ongoing throughout the day.

Elsewhere, at various locations, it’s Children’ Art Day in and around Antwerp. Search the site for an activity or workshop for your child(ren) suited to their age(s) and location – these are free.

For Sinterklaas and other children’s gifts, go to The Roma theatre for a second hand market  devoted entirely to kids’ toys, books and clothes (1 euro in for adults; 50 cents for kids).

Bargains also to be had in front of the Permeke Library at the monthly boekenplein -graphic novels, second hand books and collectors’ books for sale, from 10am -4pm.

The weather looks not too bad, with a good chance of a dry -and even partly sunny – Saturday, but Sunday likely to be a bit windy, and with some rain.


image courtesy of BATS Antwerp

If you are looking ahead to the winter season and have kids to entertain, I recommend that you book Antwerp’s only traditional, old -school panto in English, for January in the Arendberg Theatre, by BATS theatre group. Another recommended from me -this time it’s Jack and the Beanstalk.


The bar at Filmhuis Klappei

I was asked by a reader to include more random suggestions and recommendations, so here is one which I think is just right for this time of year: Filmhuis Klappei, a little gem of a cinema not far from de Coninckplein. Half the price of mainstream cinemas, and always with an interesting and eclectic program, I haven’t been  for a while but am planning to go again soon. Last time I went I saw a Hitchcock film (Marnie) complete with an interesting intro from a movie buff. And the venue was just right for a movie of this type. The bar is also very attractive with old cinema posters and images, so go for a drink beforehand. It’s perfect for an old-fashioned movie date …

Find Nessascityblog on TwitterPinterest and Instagram -with pictures of Brickmania and Goegekregen from last weekend.

Nessascityblog Brexit posts are here (part 1) and here (part 2).

*Part 3 was pressed this weekend.



Nessascityblog also featured in Den Triangel recently. If you would like a .pdf of that interview, send me a message at







This weekend: 11th, 12th & 13th November


Things are a little quieter at the moment -a bit of down time until the Christmas and winter events get going at the start of December, but I found a few low- budget/ free options for this long weekend…


Firstly, here’s the GOOGLE MAP with all the locations from this post.



It’s a public holiday for Armistice Day. Schools are off. There will be a big second hand market courtesy of Goegekregen and Snitt on Theaterplein from 9am -6pm.

Het Roze Huis -HQ for activities, events, lobbying and information for Antwerp’s LGBTQ+ community launches L-week  today, kicking off a programme of events, workshops, film and socialising for lesbians in Antwerp.

It’s the last day of the Antwerp Book Expo 2016.


Antwerp kids await the arrival of the Sint on Grote Markt

Today is a big day for all Antwerp children who have been well- behaved of late: Sinterklaas is arriving on Antwerp and will be in the area until 6th December. He will arrive on his boat from Spain and make his way to Grote Markt to address crowds from the Stadhuis. It’s a traditional, local occasion; kids are in awe to see the Sint and there is always an upbeat kiddie-friendly atmosphere, but be prepared for a fair amount of waiting around, and quite dense crowds. Take waterproofs and umbrellas. Sint is expected at Steenplein at 13.30 and will make his way to the Town Hall for 2.45. For couch potatoes -it will be on TV (Ketnet).

An alternative, indoor event takes place at Waagnatie: Brickmania which is a MUST for Lego enthusiasts -don’t worry if your kids want to do both though, because Brickmania is takes place over Saturday and Sunday.

It’s five euros in, but free for under 6s. We went last year and the kids really loved it. Some of the creations are really remarkable: complex and detailed. Kids get a goodie bag, and if you are already thinking of Christmas shopping for the Lego fans in your family, you can get that done here too.

Also over both days is the 30th Festival of Japanese Culture at Zuiderkroon on the Vlaamsekaai.


legoBrickmania  contd.

Japanese Culture Festival contd.

On Krugerplein there is a food event: Food in The Hood.




Weather will be quite wintry, with temperatures of about 6 degrees and highest chances of showers on Saturday. Sunday should be more pleasant, and dry.


Find Nessascityblog on TwitterPinterest and Instagram!

Nessascityblog Brexit posts are here (part 1) and here (part 2).



Nessascityblog also featured in Den Triangel recently. If you would like a .pdf of that interview, send me a message at

Sinterklaas sweets & cloud pics from Pixabay









This weekend: 4th, 5th & 6th November

Here is the GOOGLE MAP for the venues and locations listed in this weekend’s post.


Plein Publiek celebrates its first birthday this weekend and is worth a visit if you have not seen this interesting venue. Check their Facebook event page for the details of what is taking place there this weekend.

A-Tower, Keyserlei

And if you enjoyed Bar Gloed, Klub Goud and other events at the A-Tower (Keyserlei) over summer, you will be pleased to learn that it is reopening for the winter edition following a seasonal make-over of the bar on the 4th floor, and the addition of a new restaurant on the top floor. This will be open until January 2017.

If you are interested in being involved in English speaking theatre in Antwerp, head along to BATS for their Open Evening at their friendly ‘Little Theatre’ on Paardenmarkt.





It’s the last MARTA Farmers’ Market for this year at the Kattendijkdok (9am-5pm). Last chance to get your organic, locally produced veg, cheese and meat and other local food products -stock up for autumn and Christmas.

Papa Jos

Head to Papa Jos for the first live performance by new local Band 110 at 9pm – Timo, Alex and Daniel providing tunes which combine rock sounds with electronic loops/ dance and chill-out beats.


This weekend’s rommelmarkten (fleamarkets) are at Waagnatie (Rijnkaai 150) from 10 or Plein Publiek from midday.

And shops are open in the city centre for Sunday shopping, with most having a later opening hour of midday.


Last weekend we enjoyed more  mild weather, untypical for the start of November, but this weekend it looks as though it will be colder with increased chances of showers on all three days (less so on Sunday).


Street Art Tour

Yesterday, I finally managed to strike off another item from my Antwerp to-do list and made it to a Street Art Tour led by Tim (aka Streetartwerpenaar). You can find out more about the tours on the link and also on Tim’s Facebook page under events. I really recommend this tour: it’s a different way to see the city and a great way to get out and about. It’s suitable for almost all ages -my 7 year old also enjoyed it very much.


Works by Antwerp artist, Sacha Eckes (at ICU Sling Expo)

The Antwerp Book Exhibition 2016 is on at the Expo until 11th November. This is a huge event, for which you need tickets.

The Sling UCU Art Expo continues on both days this weekend. I went along last weekend and really enjoyed seeing both the artworks and the venue, which is a former mustard factory, now converted to large attractive exhibition and work spaces, which have both an airy yet industrial feel.

Badminton players: you can now enrol for a badminton festival run by Sporting A on the 3rd and 4th December. It costs just three euros per half day, and you can register here -you don;t need to be a top player: there are also tournaments for beginners.

For your calendar: 11th November is a public holiday (Wapenstilstand/ Armistice).

Find Nessascityblog on TwitterPinterest and Instagram!

Nessascityblog Brexit posts are here (part 1) and here (part 2).


Nessascityblog also featured in Den Triangel recently. If you would like a .pdf of that interview, send me a message at