This weekend in Antwerp: 26th, 27th, 28th April (& May 1st).

There’s a three day festival over the whole of this weekend on the Moorkensplein (Borgerhout). The Fiesta Fortuna starts on Friday at 17.30h and continues until Sunday night. Here’s the full programme. This event is hosted by arts organisation Madam Fortuna which is based in Borgerhout and celebrates its 10th birthday this year.

Friday

The last Friday of the month means Critical Mass: assemble on Theaterplein with your bike at 6pm as usual for an hour’s cycling through the city.

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Bar Paniek

And perennial summer favourite Bar Paniek on the Kattendijkdok re-opens for summer 2019 at 11am.

Saturday

On Sint-Jansplein there will be a great big fleamarket from 10 – 6pm. I like this part of town and my favourite bar on this square is Rode 7 -check it out, for reasonably priced, tasty home-cooked food and a friendly atmosphere.

From 1pm community centre coStA Sint Andries celebrate their 25th birthday on Sint Andriesplaats with the Fiesta de San Andres -expect live music, food, and entertainment until 11pm (free).

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At Permeke Library there’s a story-telling festival from 10am – 6pm, which takes place every two years and has a programme for various age groups. Here’s a general overview of the programme, and here you can find links to programmes and events for the specific age groups.

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The Rubenshuis (on Wapper, off Meir; pic right) has renovated the museum garden and is open to the public from 12 -5pm for an Italian Garden Party. It’s free and there will be characters in costume, guided walks, games, workshops and music. The museum will also be free. You can bring your own picnic to enjoy in the newly restored gardens.

dance-310022_640If you are more of a dancer than a reader than check out Dag van de Dans which is today. Here’s a .pdf of all the events (Antwerp events can be found on pages 4-5). Four performances will be held in MUHKA.

Down at Eilandje on the Napoleonkaai, there’s a vegan street festival from 10am- 10pm: speakers, street-food, drinks and music.

swaajplogoAnd Swaajp offer their unique brand of improvised comedy and storytelling at BATS Little Theatre with Swaajp Invites -this time with a whole gang of guests for their two-hour show, starting at 8pm. Tickets here.

Sunday

Today is the Antwerp 10 Miles & Marathon -have a great run if you are taking part. Here a Google map of the route if you are planning on cheering on the runners, and there’s an NewLogooverview of times and info here.

If you need to relax after running, or a busy weekend, you might like to check out two workshops held at the Biologisch Dynamische Bakkerij Lapin on Mechelsesteenweg 72, run by Mindful Thinking at Play. Each workshop costs 10 euros, and is in English. To register, email Kym@mindfulthinkingatplay.com   

Screen Shot 2019-04-24 at 22.18.12And if you want more dancing -there’s free Salsa dancing at Bar Noord from 3- 10pm.

If you’d like to learn more about repairing and maintenance, head with your broken or faulty items to Plein Publiek at for FIXT!- Bike Maintenance & Repair Café -free from 11am- 4pm.

After last weekend’s tropical temperatures, the weather will be a bit of a disappointment. Friday should be nice but there are strong chances of rain on Saturday and Sunday (less so). Top temps of around 15 degrees. There will be some bright spells too though.

May 1st -Public Holiday

May 1st (Labour Day) is a national holiday in Belgium: there will be a Labour Day Parade, which starts on Leopold de Waalplaats (from 10am in front of KMSKA), and makes its way to Grote Markt for 1pm, where there will be music and kids’ entertainments on Grote Markt until 5pm.

Also on May 1st there will be an extra ‘Holiday Market’ (Feestmarkt) on Theaterplein from 8am -6pm.

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Whilst over at Park Spoor Oost, Goegekregen/ SNITT will be holding their usual brand of retro/ vintage/ secondhand rommelmarkt from 9am -6pm.

I was recently contacted by Sharifa from ITAKA language school. They are holding a fun open day on 1st May (see poster below). As it’s a holiday, it would be a good chance to go and find out about the work that they do offering language learning for people who are over 50 years of of age, including  Chinese, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, English, Spanish, Arabic, and Art History in Dutch. See the website for more information, of have a look at their Facebook page.

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Miscellaneous

Two recent special Nessacityblog posts are available now: one about The Chef’s Cut, for foodies, and one about the VZW Wwelcome, which has a variety of services for newcomers to the city, to help them settle in and integrate into local life.

tapwaterI recently saw this interesting campaign to encourage Belgian restaurants and cafés to serve tap water. Being forced to pay for bottled water in restaurants and cafés is something I resent: I consider it an unnecessary cost to both the environment and myself. The page offers these template letters in French and Dutch which you can C&P to establishments which refuse to serve tap water, and this Google map enables you to see which places do serve tap water, so that you can make a more economical and environmentally-friendly choice of watering-hole, should you wish to do so. You can also find them on Twitter and Instagram.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 19th, 20th & 21st April

Just a short post as I am out of town this week, but I hope you have a great Easter weekend in Antwerp. If you are celebrating Easter, here is a list of the services at Antwerp Cathedral over the Easter weekend.

And here are a few possible highlights …

Friday

Bollyfit offers Bollywood dancing lessons in Antwerp and on Friday there are two free trial lessons at Parkloods; the first at 5pm, and the second at 6pm.

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And don’t forget Dokmarkt down at Eilandje from 3pm -8pm.

Saturday

If you’re a vinyl lover who didn’t quite get enough of Record Store Day last weekend, then head to the bar Bato Batu for their second hand record fair from 1pm -6pm.

GroenplaatsTake the kids to play outside on Groenplaats (pic right) from 1.30pm with Jespo on TourJespo is a non-profit organisation aiming to bring sporting activities and opportunities to kids aged 3-18 at an affordable price. Kids will have the chance to try out different sports activities at this event.

Alternatively they may enjoy this Easter Egg Hunt at BATS Little Theatre at 2pm (Paardenmarkt 111). It’s only 2 euros per child and you can register via email: theatre@batsantwerp.be

 Sunday

It’s the monthly secondhand book, magazine and comics market on de Conninckplein in front of Permeke Library from 10am.

If you prefer to celebrate your easter with an afternoon/ evening dance session, then head to Bar Noord in Park Spoor Noord where Soulshakers will be playing some Dancehall, reggae and Afrobeats from 4pm (free)

Miscellaneous

Two recent special Nessacityblog posts are available now: one about The Chef’s Cut, for foodies, and one about the VZW Wwelcome, which has a variety of services for newcomers to the city, to help them settle in and integrate into local life.

There will be a Goegekregen secondhand market on Theaterplein for Easter Monday.

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Buitenspeeldag!

24th April is Buitenspeeldag (play outside day) from 1pm -5pm. There are a number of areas where kids can join in with this and where outside toys and games are provided for them. Last year mine enjoyed this day in the reading garden at Permeke Library, and on de Coninckplein (left), but elsewhere in and around town there are other places too: Kielpark, Agorapark, Stuivenbergplein, Sint-Andriesplaats, Koning Albertpark and Boeienweide.

Brocantwerpen is an antiques and bric-a-brac market held on Grotemarkt over the summer months: the first one is next Wednesday (24th) from 10am -6pm.

Also on the last Wednesday of the months, these Antwerp City Museums are free.

Runners! There is still time to sign up for The Antwerp 10 miles and marathon. This event takes place on the 28th April.

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Need a helping hand getting used to Antwerp life? Meet Wwelcome!

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1) Please tell us about Wwelcome: when, how and why it came to be established.

Wwelcome was established one year ago on April 1st 2018. While working for an insurance company, the two founders discovered a great need for personal assistance with the various sorts of documentation required of newcomers to Belgium.

Even though some organisations (including governmental) already provide administrative assistance, newcomers sometimes had challenging or negative experiences when trying to get their paperwork in order .

Our organisation supports immigrants to Belgium with whichever issues they bring to the table. It’s our mission to make them feel at home here: hence, Wwelcome.

2) What services do you offer and how are these funded?

Over the past year, we have noticed a great variety in the types of support that people need. Therefore we mostly operate in a Q&A style. Our members bring us letters, bills and contracts to translate and explain, or various application forms to enter. Sometimes, they ask for advice about immigration, naturalisation, buying a house or getting a divorce.

Next to explaining and offering advice, we mediate on behalf of our members with the government, insurance and energy companies, realtors, banks, employers, schools and landlords. Though we are not lawyers or accountants, we are the link between our members and these specialists.

All of this we provide for a monthly subscription of €10 (our “All-You-Can-Eat” formula!). If people prefer, we can also service for €10 per hour.

In addition we can accompany people to the hospital, police, OCMW, or any place else in order to interpret. We offer discounts at our partner organisations and various stores such as IKEA, Carrefour and Kinepolis. The more members we have, the bigger the discounts we can offer.

For business owners, we offer the above and a number of additional services. We support them with taking the first steps in establishing their business, creating financial plans, understanding social and health requirements, applying for loans and by advertising them through our media platforms. Business owners pay a different membership fee, depending on the type and size of their business.

3) What are the most common challenges or difficulties experienced by newcomers to Antwerp?

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8 different languages are spoken by Wwelcome staff

The most common challenges that are brought to our attention are firstly,  communication and arranging matters with the government and aligned associations. Bureaucracies are not always open-minded or willing to communicate in English, and people often don’t know what they are expected to do next. Even for Dutch-speakers, it is often difficult to grasp what is meant by some of the letters newcomers receive. Secondly, problems with justifying bills: many people just pay the invoice as is, even though they could reduce a payment by giving the correct information and not have to pay the (entire) bill. This means they avoid paying for a service that they don’t receive or don’t want.

4) Many are concerned by the rise in populism across Europe at the moment, and the racism, anti-immigrant or xenophobic feelings which accompany this rise. Is this something that is a you notice here in your work, or in your personal experiences?

We don’t come across direct racism. However, many people experience discrimination at an institutional level (government or companies) due to the fact that they cannot advocate for themselves in Dutch.

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Helping clients and partners alike

We notice that sometimes organisations (also landlords, employers and even business partners) try to outsmart our members. However, when we make the call or write the mail, they are quick to respond with “sorry, yes, I understand…”.

There also happens to be a rule that for administrative *Artikel 60 work, Muslim women are required to take off their scarf. If they don’t, they are fired and lose their allowance.

5) In your line of work, what does success look like?

Everyday success for us is bringing peace of mind to our members, resolving their worries and offering an optimistic view of their future.

Long-term success would be a flourishing organisation throughout Europe where we can touch the lives of millions of immigrants; welcoming them with open arms and providing an antidote to the negative populist voices. When people feel welcome, they are keen to contribute positively to the communities that they have made their home.

Wwelcome is located at Bredabaan 371 in Merksem. If you’re coming by tram, then trams 2 & 3 stop almost outside our office at the stop called Burgemeester Nolf.

*Artikel 60 is an employment opportunity arranged by the OCMW for people on a government allowance or those who have no income at all. 
For more info see: https://www.mi-is.be/nl/artikel-60-ss-7

Useful Wwelcome links

Wwelcome website                      Facebook

 

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This weekend in Antwerp: 12th, 13th & 14th April

Friday

My two favourite start-the-weekend options are now both open. Both are kiddie-friendly and very enjoyable as the weather improves. There’s Dokmarkt on Eilandje every Friday from 3- 8pm; or Bar Noord in Park Spoor Noord which opened for the summer season last week.

Swap Language are holding another meet up at The Irish Times pub at 8pm. No experience necessary -just an informal chance to share your language and culture, with others who in turn will share theirs with you.

swaplanguage

Saturday

Vinyl lovers – it’s your day: Record Store Day. Record shops celebrate this day with special offers, promos and live in-store appearances. Fatkat, The Rocking Bull, Tune Up, Warrecords and Wally’s Groove World will all be taking part and hoping to welcome vinyl fans in their stores.

Last chance to catch this free exhibition of nature-related graphic art in Mekanik: Naturama.

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Nature-lovers may also want to help out at this clean- up activity: an hour picking up the cigarette end around Grote Markt (starting at 11am; meet at Café Den Engel on the Grote Markt).

Sunday

Markt van Morgen is on Kloosterstraat from midday until 6pm. It’s a small market offering goods made by mainly local creatives such as household items, jewellery, stationery, accessories.

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MUHKA

It’s Family Day at MUHKA -a good day to take the kids to Antwerp’s Gallery of Modern Art. Here is the programme, listing the activities for kids of different ages (note that you need to register your child for the first one -a guided walk around the gallery for kids aged 4 and below).

Palm Sunday will be celebrated at Antwerp Cathedral, with the schedule for the day as follows:

9h Holy Mass.
10h Holy Mass with the bishop. High Mass starts with a procession in the cathedral.
12h Holy Mass.
17h Vespers in the choir stalls.

The weather will be a bit cooler this weekend: 9 -11 degrees, and likely to be dry.

Miscellaneous

If you didn’t already see it, have a read of the special post about The Chef’s Cut which I published at the start of the week. There’s another special post next Monday, of particular interest if you are a new or recent arrival in Antwerp -all about Wwelcome and the services they offer which can help you feel at home here.

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Brocantwerpen is an antiques and bric-a-brac market held on Grotemarkt over the summer months: the first one is Wednesday (24th) from 10am -6pm.

Week van de Provincie Domeinen promotes the great outdoors through workshops, walks, conservation activities and outdoor sports. These cater for both adults and children and some are free. The week coincides with the second week of the Easter school holidays. Here are the activities available in the areas surrounding Antwerp.

Runners! There is still time to sign up for The Antwerp 10 miles and marathon. This event takes place on the 28th April.

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The Chef’s Cut: culinary adventures in Antwerp

Tell us about when and why Chef’s Cut was established?

Established in 2012, The Chef’s Cut was set up to cater for a very specific niche of the culinary market: foodies and professionals alike, who like to travel to the foods’ places of origins, and to cook with the locals.

What services do you offer?

We offer culinary tours, professional cooking courses, barista courses, wine evening experiences and culinary consultation.

chefscut2I hear you have started offering some experiences at a more accessible price – can you share some information about these? 

We have identified a more moderate, differentiated niche for wine lovers. We have therefore decided to offer two types of wine evening experiences: the exclusive wine evenings, starting from € 85.- p/p; then the moderate wine evenings, starting at € 35.- p/p

Do you think that food and drink has a special role in bringing people of different backgrounds and origins together? 

Not only do we think so, but we have some clear cut evidence that indeed this is so! 

Tell us about the experts who lead guests through the food and wine experiences? 

Screen Shot 2019-04-07 at 18.35.02On our web site you can see a short CV of each our sommeliers:  https://www.thechefscut.com/en/wine-tasting/wine-tasting-evening/ 

We are now in the process of bringing on board a Spanish Sommelier for our Spanish wine collection, and a local Belgium sommelier who will talk about our unique Eastern European wines.

To what extent does Antwerp have a good culinary scene for “foodies”? 

Very much so. Antwerp can pride itself on having numerous restaurants and offering a very multicultural cuisine (it’s the city with the highest number of restaurant per capita in Europe). It has always been a hub where culinary trends are set.

chefscut1An Evening At The Chef’s Cut

I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to a Chef’s Cut wine tasting last week. I should probably be clear that although I regularly enjoy wine, I don’t really know anything about it, so it could be that such an evening would be an intimidating experience, however this was not the case. The sommelier (Alexis Caraux; pic left) was very relaxed, informative and hit precisely the right tone for this occasion, clearly reaching both inexperienced tasters like myself, and those present who knew a bit more. The evening was held in English and those present came from a variety of places.

The food provided to enjoy with the wines was really delicious. I’m vegetarian so didn’t take the meat, but my partner assures me that it was good, and I certainly enjoyed the cheeses.

The costs of this evening is 35 euros, which is a bit more than events and locations I tend include on this blog. However, I think this was great value, given that the price includes the aforementioned foods, a knowledgable sommelier to talk you through the experiences, and the chance to try seven different wines; ones which it is unlikely that you would ordinarily have the chance to taste, since they were described as a little “off the beaten track”.

If -like me you- don’t know a great deal about wine-tasting events it’s an accessible and informative introduction, and a chance to meet some new people. If you have a date that you’d like to impress or treat, this would be a classy way of doing so.

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Images: my own and one selected from Pixabay.

 

This weekend in Antwerp: 5th, 6th & 7th April

There are two exciting annual events occurring this weekend to delight sports and fashion fans in Antwerp!

The Tour de Flandres/ De Ronde van Vlaanderen 2019 starts in Antwerp, which will mean that the city (including the old town) will be busy this weekend…

While Antwerp Fashion Weekend will mean that it will -as ever -be classy and elegant.

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Also over both Saturday and Sunday: the Antwerp Tattoo Convention at Waagnatie, where tattooist from Belgium and beyond show off their latest works and styles.

Friday

Good times! Summer must be in the air when Bar Noord opens its doors for the season, which it does this weekend, from Friday at 4pm … with DJs, VJs, cocktails, fire show, dancing and an open kitchen.

ghostwalkFIf you prefer something a little darker, then Antwerp Ghostwalk (pic left) are offering one of their spooky tours in English this evening, starting at 8.30pm at Steen (by the statue of Lange Wapper). Reservations via this link; pay (cash) on the tour.

Saturday

Before the pros take to the road on Sunday, the We Ride Flanders event will showcase the route on Saturday with keen, super-fit amateur cyclists racing enjoying the thrill of racing along the route that will be followed by the elite cyclists the following day. There are four races of differing lengths but the longest starts in Antwerp: an early start for this race- the starting gun will be fired between 7am and 8am on the Ernest van Dijkkaai (near Het Steen).

Here is the schedule for Saturday.

AFWprogramma2019A fun part of the Antwerp Fashion Weekend are the catwalk shows with take places regularly on the important shopping streets of Antwerp: Meir, Wilde Zee and Nationalestraat and also at The Fashion Exchange (see schedule right).

New this year as part of AFW will be the Fashion Sweep clothing swap on Kammenstraat -bring your clothes to exchange; make a donation to Kamiano- who work with the homeless in Antwerp- and take home a new-to-you, pre-loved piece.

Over at Stormkop you can help out with a clean-up on the banks of the Schelde. Explanation in English and sign-up doc can be found here.

Today is Slow Art Day.  MUHKA is marking the occasion with two tours (at 14h and 17h) and  a workshop (at 15h).

Sunday

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De Ronde on Grote Markt

The pros ride on Sunday: there will be a fan village on Groenplaats from 10am (including a big screen where you can follow the action once the race has departed Antwerp) and a stage on Grote Markt where the sporting slebs will mingle with the autograph hunters, and you can snap a selfie on the podium (see insta pic below).

New this year is the VeloFoor on the Gedempte Zuiderdokken, featuring stunt bikes, a parcours for kids and other fun biking activities to test your skills.

Here is the schedule for Sunday.

It’s the first Sunday of the month meaning shops are open in the afternoon for Sunday shopping, which happily coincides with the Ronde and with Antwerp Fashion weekend.

Escape to the Cathedral at 4pm for Sunday music -you just pay the usual entrance price, but don’t forget that if you can show you’re a local resident (use your ID card) then you are in for free.

This weekend’s rommelmarkt is at Waagnatie from 10am -6pm  and costs 3 euros to get in.

The weather should be mild to warm, with very low chances of showers -top temps around 16 degrees. Nice.

Miscellaneous

Screen Shot 2019-04-02 at 13.37.58Look out for two Nessascityblog special posts coming up featuring The Chef’s Cut and Wwelcome.

If you have an eye on summer already, you may wish to know that the Open Air Theatre  (OLT) in Rivierenhof has finalised its program which you can see here. Tickets go quickly for the popular acts so get in early.

Similarly, Zomer van Antwerpen are getting ready for 2019 and they’re hiring. If you’d like a summer job with them, see their ‘vacatures’.

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