This weekend in Antwerp: 30th November; 1st & 2nd December

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Book Sale at Zuiderpershuis

All weekend: at Zuiderpershuis there’s the annual book stock sale over the whole weekend. It’s free in and there are some English books, as well as other books (e.g. children’s books) which make good presents if you are one of these organised people who is ready to do some Christmas shopping already. It’s free in, open from 10- 18h on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I went last weekend and picked up a few bargains.

Friday

Light up your bike for the dark nights and the festive season: it’s Critical Mass, as usual assembling on Theaterplein at 6pm for an hour’s biking through the city. This month with the theme of bike- lighting. Be seen!

China Light at Antwerp Zoo opens today,  until the 13th January. It’s an event that my kids always enjoy -just make sure you wrap up warm and check the weather so that you go on a night when it won’t be raining! You can order tickets online via the hyperlink.

Offering local food products and a chance to start your weekend with a glass of Cava and a tasty locally produced snack – it’s Dokmarkt at Eilandje from 15h -20h.

Saturday

vinylOver on the other side of the water, the Linkeroever winter program is starting, with a variety of winter events, continuing until the 12th January.

Vinyl lovers can start their Christmas shopping at Het Bos (Ankerrui 5-7, 2000 Antwerp) Record Fair -it starts at 1pm and is free in.

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And if you are looking for a British style Christmas Fair, it’s the The Mission to Seafarers Christmas Bazaar at the Antwerp Harbour Hotel, Noorderlaan 100, from 11am -16h.

Sunday

It’s the first Sunday of the month, so shops will be open on Meir and other shopping areas in town (Kloosterstraat, Nationalestraat) for Sunday shopping; in fact, throughout December, shops are open every Sunday in Antwerp (9th, 16th, 23rd & 30th).

If your children are excited about Sinterklaas in Grand Bazar shopping centre (from 13h -15h) and on walkabout round Meir from 15.30 – 18h.

Weather might not be as cold as last weekend (11-12 degrees) but there is a high chance of showers on both Saturday and Sunday.

Miscellaneous

heart-1348870_640Surely you didn’t miss the Nessascityblog guest post earlier this week?! If so, have a look -it’s a super-handy A-Z of LGBT Antwerp, listing bars, clubs, festivals, community groups and more -by Timothy Junes of Be Out.

And hot on the heels of that one -next week another special post: all about a talented Italian lady who brings the authentic taste of her homeland to Antwerp – a must for lovers of real Italian food. And if you have been thinking about writing a post for Nessascityblog, do seize the day -I’d love to hear your Antwerp story, or hear about an aspect of Antwerp life that you know well. Drop me a line at nessascityblog@gmail.com.

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De Warmste Week

De Warmste Week (The Warmest Week) is an annual week of fundraising and charity events taking place across Flanders. If you wish to organise an event or activity you can do so and register it via the website. For more fundraising events, look for the Warmste Week logo (left). Charity runs are a big part of De Warmste Week and you can now register for the Antwerp Run which takes place on the 21st December. The first step is to pick the cause you would like to run and raise money for. You can do this as a group or an individual, and will need to be able to make a minimum donation of 15 euros when you register to participate.

Don’t forget: for Sinterklaas -The Belgian postal service (Bpost) will deliver children’s letters and drawings to the Sint (until 29th November) -details and address here. NB -be sure to write the child’s name and address on the outside of the envelope, so that the Sint can reply and send a surprise.

Yes, it’s December already and that time of year is fast approaching and the Winter In Antwerp website is now up!

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The Ultimate A-Z of LGBT+ in Antwerp

The Ultimate A-Z of LGBTQ in Antwerp.

A guest post by Timothy Junes

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Timothy Junes (left) was born in Antwerp (1981) and still lives and works  here. He studied journalism and has written for LGBTQ media since 2000, both online and in print. His passions include LGBTQ news stories and travelling to new places. Nowadays he runs the Flemish language LGBT news blog Be Out and the English language travel blog Trip By Trip.

*

Antwerp has a long history of being a safe haven for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in Belgium. Let me introduce you, using the alphabet.

First, I’ll start with a disclaimer: this is not a ‘Complete Gay Guide to Antwerp’. That would be impossible since Pink Antwerp is constantly changing. Some blame the internet, some blame the economy and gentrification, some blame youth. There are many factors as to why LGBTQ oriented bars and cafés come and go. I should point out here that bars and cafés mostly cater to gay and bisexual men. Presently there’s no lesbian bar in town.

A

Active Company is Antwerp’s LGBTQ sports group. From athletics to swimming, from cycling to yoga, Active Company has it all. A great way to make friends.

Antwerp Pride is a highpoint of LGBTQ life in Antwerp. Four to five days to party, parade or attend a debate. Mark the second weekend of August in your calendar.

Coupled with Antwerp Pride, there is the Antwerp Queer Arts Festival. Exhibitions, performances, parties. While Antwerp Pride is more ‘party oriented’, the queer arts festival is more activist. Both work well together. First half of August.

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MAS museum lit up in Pride colours

B

The Bonaparte at the Grote Markt is a karaoke bar. But with a gay owner, it won’t surprise you there are drag nights and gay parties. Pannekoek on Sundays.

D

I’m not sure the managers of Den Draak like to call their bar a gay bar. Patrons are both LGBTQ and straight. It will throw a very gay Eurovision Song Contest viewing party, and it will also celebrate the Red Devils, Belgium’s football team.

Located at the Draakplaats, it’s very well integrated in the hipster, somewhat leftist neighbourhood of Zurenborg.

Café DeLux at Melkmarkt 16 is in the middle of it all. DeLux is what you could call a ‘mainstream gay bar’. Coffee and tea during the day, alcohol at night. Don’t forget in Belgium a café could both be a coffee and snacks place, and a bar!

E

Enig Verschil is the LGBTQ youth group of Antwerp. Flanders has a tradition of youth groups outside the scouting movement. For many LGBTQ’s in Flanders, such youth groups were a starting point.

F

Are you a student? Why not join De Flamingo’s? Student clubs in Belgium are not really like American style fraternities; they’re more open.  

H

H.I.M is a more or less monthly party concept. H.I.M is really ‘club scene’ as you’d imagine it: beats, shirtless men, flirting… People come from far and wide to attend.

The Hessenhuis at Hessenplein opened its doors in 1993. During the day it serves as the cafeteria of the event space Hessenhuis, but around 6PM the atmosphere changes and it becomes a gay bar.

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Het Roze Huis – çavaria Antwerpen (pictured above) is both a brick ‘pink house’ and an umbrella organisation for LGBTQ groups and associations in the Province of Antwerp. It organises the Antwerp Queer Arts Festival and L-week.

Each January, Het Roze Huis holds a New Year’s reception under the bridge of Draakplaats. An absolute must-attend event for LGBTQ’s in Antwerp. Beware! Due to engineering works on the bridge, the New Year’s reception will for once take place at De Roma. Mark 5 January 2019 in your calendar.

The offices are above Den Draak.

K

The Antwerp gay scene is not shy of kinky spots. The Boots in the Van Aertdtstraat and The Kinkys in de Lange Beeldekensstraat are too nice examples.

L

Leather & Fetish Pride Belgium in February accommodates lovers of leather, fetish and kinks. It consists of parties, socials and a fair. Darklands includes shops, workshops and activities for leather, fetish and kinks. If you open your eyes, you will definitely see men in leather, rubber and other fetishwear in the streets of Antwerp. The event mostly caters to men, but not exclusively.

There may not be L*-oriented bars in Antwerp but you can attend L-week in November. Ten days filled with activities, workshops and parties for women who like women. The asterisk stands for a broad interpretation of the word lesbian.

Q

Que Pasa in the Lange Koepoortstraat 1 is a latin drag queen bar. It organises performances and drag contests. It’s near one of the rainbow crossings.

R

The Red & Blue was founded in 1997. Nowadays it’s called Cargo Club but ‘Red & Blue’ remains its gay brand. It’s the obvious party location and an icon in Antwerp.

S

Sjalot & Schanul is a lesbian run restaurant behind City Hall. The address is Oude Beurs 12.  

SPEK (“bacon”) is a queer, ‘alternative’ party concept. Electro tunes, booze, cigarettes, other substances. Attracts queer, leftwing, hipster crowd.

Café Strange in the Dambruggestraat is the oldest, still open gay bar in town. Manager Armand Everaerts is well in his 80s but still serves you cheap beer. A special place.

Strangelove – A Queer Festival is a June based event. It combines film, performances and parties.

T

T-day is a day of activities, workshops and meet-ups for trans* people, their friends and their families. It is organised by çavaria, the Flemish LGBTQ umbrella organisation.

Café Twilight used to be located in the Van Schoonhovenstraat or Rue Vaseline. In the 20th century, the Rue Vaseline is where all the action happened. Twilight closed there but rose like a phoenix at Theaterplein.

U

The Unicorn Festival in July is not an exclusively gay event, but with such a name it clearly attracts LGBTQ people and their friends. Belgium is famous for its numerous summer festivals and Unicorn is one of them. It’s small but very cosy. It’s on Linkeroever (Left bank) and offers a great view of the Antwerp skyline.

 

All photos by Timothy Junes.

 

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This weekend in Antwerp: 23rd, 24th & 25th November

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Brickmania

At Zuiderpershuis there’s the annual book stock sale over the whole weekend. It’s free in and there are usually some English books, as well as other books (e.g. children’s books) which make good presents if you are one of these organised people who is ready to do some Christmas shopping already. It’s free in, open from 10- 18h on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and is also on next weekend too.

Also over both Saturday and Sunday, it’s another popular annual event: Brickmania – a must for Lego fans of all ages. Note, it’s at a different venue this year; not Waagnatie but Antwerp Expo. You can get tickets for 5 euros in advance (they are 7 euros if you buy them on the door) and kids up to 6 years old go free.

Friday

Buurthuis t’Pleintje is holding an Autumn Market  for the first time. On sale will be local handmade and craft products and foods, from 15h -20h. Syrian food is on the menu while you browse the stands which will offer products such as local honey, scarves and accessories, soaps, household items, candles, stationery and more.

Also offering local food products is Dokmarkt at Eilandje from 15h -20h.

Saturday

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Swaajp guest: Jacintha Damstrom. Photo by Quentin Le Gall

After Brickmania, or a day at the book sale, you might like to head to BATS Little Theater on Paardemarkt for an evening of impro theatre with Swaajp. Their guest this week is Jacintha Damstrom, who will bring an element of circus excitement to the show.

Sunday

It’s Dag van de Wetenschap today (Science Day) and Antwerp has a wide and varied programme of activities in various locations.

At De Roma Theatre there’s a kids’ rommelmarkt from 13.30h -17.30h. The kids themselves are the stallholders, and will be selling all sorts of children’s toys and books, so go and support them and pick up a bargain. It’s only 50 cents in for kids, and a euro for grownups.

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Dag van de Wetenschap

 

Another second hand market by Goegekregen will take place at Park Spoor Noord (in the shelter where Bar Cargo is). It will be on from 9h -18h and also promises street-food and drinks.

More second hand bargains at Plein Publiek (now up and running at its new location) with this Closet Sale from 10h- 16h.

Weather is mixed -Friday might be quite bright and pleasant (9 degrees), but there may rain on Saturday, and both Saturday and Sunday will be colder (only 5-7 degrees)

Miscellaneous

Next Wednesday is the last Wednesday of the month, so city museums are free (the Plantin Moretus, the Rockox, the Museum Mayer van den Bergh, the MAS and the Red Star Line Museum).

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I am really delighted to let you know that a special guest-blog post is on the way. Watch this space -especially if you’d like to know more about LGBTQ+ life in Antwerp: an LGBT+ special; posting on Monday! And if you have been thinking about writing a post for Nessascityblog, do seize the day -I’d love to hear your Antwerp story, or hear about an aspect of Antwerp life that you know well. Drop me a line at nessascityblog@gmail.com.

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De Warmste Week

De Warmste Week (The Warmest Week) is an annual week of fundraising and charity events taking place across Flanders. If you wish to organise an event or activity you can do so and register it via the website. For more fundraising events, look for the Warmste Week logo (left). Charity runs are a big part of De Warmste Week and you can now register for the Antwerp Run which takes place on the 21st December. The first step is to pick the cause you would like to run and raise money for. You can do this as a group or an individual, and will need to be able to make a minimum donation of 15 euros when you register to participate.

 

 

Don’t forget: for Sinterklaas -The Belgian postal service (Bpost) will deliver children’s letters and drawings to the Sint (until 29th November) -details and address here. NB -be sure to write the child’s name and address on the outside of the envelope, so that the Sint can reply and send a surprise.

I am interested in doing a post about Antwerp Apps. Do you use one? What does it do? Which devices is it compatible with and what do you think of it?

Bargain hunters -did you know that Antwerp has a Last Minute Ticket Shop? Well you do now. You can buy last-minute reduced cost tickets from 12- 5pm on Fridays and Saturdays, for shows, concerts, theatre performances etc.

Yes, that time of year is approaching and the Winter In Antwerp website is now up!

Find & Follow Nessascityblog

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This weekend: 17th & 18th November

It’s all about Sinterklaas this weekend. If you are new to Belgium, The Sint is the winter gift-bearing Saint, familiar to children in Belgium (on the 6th December) and The Netherlands (5th December). But 2-3 weeks prior to the day of celebration there is the arrival of the Sint (“intocht” or “intrede”) from Spain, in various cities, including Antwerp, where the children are known to be particularly well-behaved. This is a very important occasion.

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Children waiting for the Sint at the Town Hall 

Once arrived, The Sint is presumed to be generally in the area. Now and then -before the day itself – kids can put out a shoe, and in the morning it will be filled with sweets. The Sint travels on a horse, assisted by the “pieten”.  Children might also leave out some form of refreshment for the Sint, and some straw or carrot for his horse. His visits to our home indicate that he is not averse to Leffe. Also Gin.

On the day of Sinterklaas, children receive their presents. There are particular sweets eaten during Sinterklaas (pepernoten, kruidennoten, marzipan) and Sinterklaas songs.

Saturday

 

2018 signals a bit of a change in the usual Antwerp Sinterklaas arrival proceedings, which involved the Good Sint docking (he arrives by boat) near Steen, and making his way to Grote Markt, where he addresses the children of Antwerp and their families from the balcony of the Town Hall.

NB: This year, everything takes place around MAS and Eilandje – so this is now the area to avoid like the black death if you are kiddie-free (you can safely go to the old town instead).

Verbindingsdok-Westkaai is the location for the 2018 arrival, and the whole thing will be broadcast from 13.30 by Ketnet (TV Channel) who also provides the kids’ entertainment. The Sint will be welcomed by the Mayor at 13.45 and then make his way via Napoleonkaai, de Nassaubrug and the Oostendekaai to the square in front of the MAS museum (Hanzestedeplaats) where he will address the waiting crowds of sugar-fuelled youngsters.

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If you don’t have kids to amuse, you might prefer to go to Steez 02: Urban Culture Festival at de Studio, free entrance for the afternoon program from 2pm (also on Sunday)  -Live Music – Urban Art – Streetwear – Lifestyle – Food – DJ – Skate.

Sunday

Today is Kunstendag voor kinderen – day of arts activities for children across Flanders. Use the search facility to find out what is going on in your locality. Here are the activities for the Antwerp area. Many activities are free (such as this cute Miffy activity at Permeke Library at 11, for kids aged 4+) while others have a participation fee. Check also if you need to register (“inschrijven”) your child(ren) beforehand.

rednoseRodeneuzen Dag (Red Nose Day) raises money to support young people in Belgium in need of mental health services and support, and supports schools in attending to the mental and social wellbeing of students, with campaigns and projects. Many schools take part. Join in by visiting the second hand market being held on Groenplaats for Rode Neuzen Dag – from 9am -17h. Rode Neuzen Dag activities continue throughout November.

It’s the monthly Strip en boeken plein (second hand book market) on De Coninckplein in front of the Permeke Library from 10am.

This weekend is expected to be dry, with cool temperatures (8-11 degrees) and bright, sunny periods.

Miscellaneous

Also for Sinterklaas -The Belgian postal service (Bpost) will deliver children’s letters and drawings to the Sint (until 29th November) -details and address here. NB -be sure to write the child’s name and address on the outside of the envelope, so that the Sint can reply and send a surprise.

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I am really delighted to let you know that a special guest-blog post is on the way. Watch this space -especially if you’d like to know more about LGBTQ+ life in Antwerp – talking of which L-Week (10 day festival of events for lesbians) is currently underway in Antwerp, until 18th November.

And if you have been thinking about writing a post for Nessascityblog, do seize the day -I’d love to hear your Antwerp story, or hear about an aspect of Antwerp life that you know well. Drop me a line at nessascityblog@gmail.com.

I am interested in doing a post about Antwerp Apps. Do you use one? What does it do? Which devices is it compatible with and what do you think of it?

Bargain hunters -did you know that Antwerp has a Last Minute Ticket Shop? Well you do now. You can buy last-minute reduced cost tickets from 12- 5pm on Fridays and Saturdays, for shows, concerts, theatre performances etc.

Yes, that time of year is approaching and the Winter In Antwerp website is now up!

Find & Follow Nessascityblog

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This weekend in Antwerp: 9th, 10th & 11th November

There’s the annual huge Antwerp Book Expo on at the moment and until 11th November. For non-Dutch speakers there are a few stands exhibiting books in English.

Friday

saxophone-1287911_640The Jazz & Blues Bar Tour is an annual free Antwerp event for music lovers in the city.  10 bands play 10- bars and they are all within walking distance of one another. Starts at 9.30pm at Kid’s Rhythm & Blues Café just off Grote Markt.

Enjoy Dokmarkt down at Eilandje before it gets too cold -from 3pm -8pm, with food and drink to enjoy on the spot, or to buy for your own kitchen.

Saturday

See the World War One links below (Sunday) -some commemorative events are taking place today.

BoekowskiFHere’s an event for those bizarre individuals who are already irritatingly over-excited about Christmas: its the  Waagnatie Winter Fair.

Bookworms and vinyl lovers might wish to consider a Saturday night at Cafe Boekowski, which is holding a vinyl night starting at 8pm. Cafe Boekowski is a used-book and reading café: you can take books from the cafe by exchanging them for books of your own that you have finished with. Unsurprisingly, it’s also a great place to sit and read.

It seems to be a quiet weekend in Antwerp; a good chance to visit Antwerp market on Theaterplein, for fresh fruit and veg, international food and food to enjoy on the plein.

Sunday

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Names of fallen soldiers (1914-1918) at Antwerp Central Station

Today is a public holiday, marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One. This article from Flanders Today gives a useful guide in English about how this will be commemorated across Belgium. If you are looking for a church service, St Boniface is an Anglican church, which will be holding services at 10.30 and 18.30 on the 11th November. There are memorial programmes in Hoboken and Borgerhout. There will also be a memorial ceremony at the Monument to the Fallen at Stadspark, starting just before 11am. This takes place each year (a canon will be fired, so you may wish to take ear defenders).

This weekend’s second hand market comes from STULP and takes place at the new pop-op, Lokaal 25, at Costa Sint Andries from 10am -6pm.

The weather this weekend should be mild (13- 14 degrees), with periods of both sun and cloud. There may be some rain on Saturday.

Miscellaneous

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It’s been a little while since we had a guest blog, so if you -YES, YOU! – have been thinking about writing a post for Nessascityblog, do seize the day -I’d love to hear your Antwerp story, or hear about an aspect of Antwerp life that you know well. Drop me a line at nessascityblog@gmail.com

And here’s a recent article about Tim Marschang and street art in Antwerp from The Bulletin.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 2nd, 3rd & 4th November

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Hello! What a crappy week it has been, but if you are catching this post on Thursday, then you still have time to catch a holiday rommelmarkt on Theaterplein, courtesy of Goegekregen, from 9am -6pm as the 1st November is a public holiday. Good.

I always think there is a bit of a lull in events and activities at this time of year, between summer and winter, but here are a few things coming up this weekend.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on Nessascityblog Facebook (Events in Antwerp: in conjunction with London Calling), Twitter & Pinterest & Instagram where additional events and info are also posted.

There’s the annual huge Antwerp Book Expo on at the moment and until 11th November. For non-Dutch speakers there are a few stands exhibiting books in English.

Friday

For something a little different why not start your weekend at Bar Venetie on Turnhoutsebaan at a Dia de los muertos party starting at 8pm, 5 euros in. Playing music from recently departed greats. Also New Orleans funeral music.

Saturday

Down at Costa Sint Andries it’s the Opening of Lokaal 25 a community pop-up on Sint-Andriesplaats. Discover what’s on offer in terms of events, readings and workshops between 10am and 2pm -music and snacks on offer too.

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Meanwhile in the same area it’s local Farmers’ Market Kraakvers on the square from 9am -2pm.

On the other side of town (but not too far away) it’s the “mega groote rommelmarkt” on Sint-Jansplein from 10am -6pm

Sunday

It’s the first Sunday of the month, so shops will be open on Meir and other shopping areas in town (Kloosterstraat, Nationalestraat) for Sunday shopping.

Swan Market (food, gifts, design, stationery, jewellery, accessories) will be at Meatpack on Samberstraat from 11-5pm

Miscellaneous

I am pleased to share this interview I did for The Bulletin about life in Antwerp.

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It’s been a little while since we had a guest blog, so if you -YES, YOU! – have been thinking about writing a post for Nessascityblog, do seize the day -I’d love to hear your Antwerp story, or hear about an aspect of Antwerp life that you know well. Drop me a line at nessascityblog@gmail.com

Rain is predicted up to and including Friday, but thereafter it could be dry and reasonably mild (13- 14 degrees).

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