Youth centre Kavka (Oudaan) had a lot of renovation work done this summer (meaning that I for one missed being able to go to Bar Cour!) but it is completed now, and this weekend they re-open, starting Friday night at 5. Find the full weekend program on their Facebook event page.
Also taking place over the whole weekend is Water-Rant nautical festival. Maritime and sailing related events will be taking place in the harbour area round MAS museum, where over 100 boats will be arriving over the course of the weekend (from Friday at 5pm). Check the program and map here. Saturday
It’s Antwerp City Drops this weekend (so also Sunday). Antwerp City Drops is a festival of urban sports which takes place on various locations around the city. Last year my son and I were quite wowed by the stunt biking, when we came across it happening in the old town (it’s on Grote Markt this year).
Also over the two days (and next weekend) is Open Ateliers which offers the opportunity to see artists and their work in the context of their own workshops and ateliers. On the OA website, you can select the medium which most interests you and pick which ateliers and art spaces you would like to see, or you can head to Zuiderperhuis between 11am and 6pm (on both Saturday and Sunday) for an overview of the whole event.
Get away from the bustle of the city at Den Beulebak’s ABC Markt (Antiques, Books Curiosa) from 11am -5pm, Sint-Nicolaasplaats.
… Then dust off your deely-boppers, and plump up your shoulder-pads for a free 80s party at Bar Noord, starting at 7pm.
Or head to Het Roze Huis (Draakplaats 1) where they are resuming monthly free film evening, starting with Swedish movie Fucking Amal at 8pm.
It’s Race For The Cure Antwerp and I am going to be running with my son. Come and support a great cause, and cheer on runners, and those who are doing the 3km walk too. If you’d like to make a donation you can do so directly on the Think Pink page.
It’s the last Lambermonmartre of 2017 -from midday on Leopold de Wael plaats. Last chance to admire and buy works of art and photography created by local artists.
With all these outdoor events, we could use some decent weather and the good news is that it is predicted to be dry, with sunny periods, and temperatures are set to go up, reaching highs of around 21 degrees.
Antwerp museums are free for the last Wednesday of the month (next Wednesday)
Don’t forget to find me on social media, where additional events and locations are also posted:
This post covers the next month while I am on holiday (even bloggers need a break from time to time). The first section lists some ongoing activities, whilst the second section lists specific activities and events by date.
I’ll be back at the start of August -if you feel so inclined you can follow my #nessascityblogUSA adventures on Instagram
In the meantime, here are some Antwerp highlights which I am sorry to be missing …
During or throughout July
The most useful thing to know is the Zomer van Antwerpen website, which lists all the special summer events provided by the City of Antwerp, including theatre performances, summer bars, live music and Cinema Urbana (outdoor cinema venue next to The Schelde, opens in August). You can also buy tickets for those events which are not free, but many are, as is access to the summer bars of course. Zomerfabriek has a bit more of a clubby vibe to it, while the Zomerbar on Sloepenweg has a very broad appeal, and is probably better for younger kids -there’s a playground as well as an outdoor library there. Muziek in de Wijk is pretty much as the name (Music in the Neighbourhood) suggests -stages with live music on local squares or parks, and is free. Again, these are very much occasions for all ages and there are refreshments available. It’s a good chance to hear some local bands. Other summer bars which I really like are Bar Noord in Park Spoor Noord and Smokey Jo’s Cantina -both kid-friendly, also Bar Paniek right next to the water on the Kattendijkdok.
Another special program of summer performances and music can be found at the Openlucht Theater (OLT) at Rivierenhof (Open Air Theatre) which is a really nice place to see a band on a summer’s evening. Order tickets via the site (some sell out quickly and more well known performers are already sold out) but there are also free shows on Fridays (search for Gratis Vrijdagen) .
For kids up to the age of 13, there is Speel-O-Rama in the Zuiderpershuis every week day for 2 euros per kid (17th July -11th August)
During summer Antwerp offers two open-air swimming pools which are now open! It is free to swim at Boekenberg, but there is a small entrance charge at the Linkeroever pool (it is also recommended that you have a 1 euro coin with you to use the lockers; and your A-kaart, if you have one).
Buurtpleintjes is an initiative from Stad Antwerpen offering free sporting activities on local squares around the city. Last year, my son really enjoyed a series of free basketball lessons on Sint Andriesplaats as part of this initiative. Start by checking here to see what’s on offer near you.
A grab-bag of events in order of date…
Saturday July 1st You can join a ghostwalk for 7,50, starting at 7pm from Steen
Sunday 2nd July:Goegekregen in the Stadspark these are always big and very sociable. There’s pretty much nothing you can’t get on the cheap here -including- usually – a haircut.
Sunday 2nd July: First Sunday of the month means Sunday shopping in Antwerp
Tuesday 11th July:Vlaanderen Feest Dag celebrating Flanders and the Flemish Community –check here for the program in Antwerp (note that there are also events in the days running up to the 11th of July itself). There are kids shows on Groenplaats from midday until 6pm (Studio 100). The Feest Dag finishes on Grotemarkt with a party at night from 7.30.
Sunday 16th July: Swan Market is on Grote Markt from 11am -6pm (accessories, food, music, clothes, jewellery, interiors) and Boekenplein (second hand books & graphic novels) is on de Coninckplein in front of the library from 10am.
Friday July 21st: Re:set fleamarket at Het Eiland from 11am -5.30. Last time I went to Het Eiland it was a little quiet in terms of the stands (I guess some stand holders are on their summer holidays) but even so, it is worth going to Het Eiland to see the location. A relaxed bar with a great view of MAS. This is a pop-up in the Port of Antwerp old harbour building.
and a (free) Roller Disco on Dageraadplaats from 11am -10pm, with food, music, yoga and art installations.
Wednesday July 26th -City of Antwerp museums are FREE on the last Wednesday of the month
If the activity and heat of summer in the city get a bit much, did you know that Antwerp has a Botanical Garden? It’s a haven of green and peace. Sit on the lawns or benches, or wander through to the back and find De Serre
And so …
Enjoy July in beautiful Antwerp! I hope this post serves as a useful pick ‘n’ mix for the time that there are no weekly posts. Feel free to add comments & ideas in the below. See y’all in August!
And please don’t forget that I am still looking for guest posts -if you have some free time over the holiday period, you might like to think about telling YOUR Antwerp story on Nessascityblog. Don’t forget to find me on social media, where additional events and locations are also posted:
I am going to be away from Belgium for the next two weekends, so forgive me for producing this 3-in-1 post. As I am not returning until Thursday 20th October, it’s difficult to blog in detail for the next three weekends.
Normal weekly service will resume before November. Until then, here is a brief October guide – please add to it by posting links, suggestions and information in the comments.
The first Friday of the month is always Opening Evening at BATS Antwerp. Go along to the Little Theatre on Paardenmarkt, 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.
8 & 9th October
Street Art Antwerp comprises of Tim who will show you the hidden street art and graffiti work in Antwerp. Make a donation of your choosing and join the tour, starting at 11. Max 15 people so mail firstname.lastname@example.org to enrol. The tour is in Dutch, but I hear that if there is sufficient interest, there may be tours in English too later (image courtesy of Street Art Antwerp).
Maybe we finally have to face up to the end of summer, because Cargo Summer bar closes this weekend, with events on both Saturday night (18h start) and Sunday (brunch).
Markt van Morgen is on Kloosterstraat (just round the corner from Sint-Andriesplaats) from 12 -6pm.
It’s also the first birthday of this very blog. Happy birthday to me! (image: Pixabay)
Mercado Grand opening (see above)
The Ecohuis opens its doors for an Eco House Fest starting its program at 11am. There is a focus on creating and maintaining a roof garden as well as other activities and information on offer -e.g. a climbing wall. There is a supervised area for kids aged 0- 6. The Ecohuis also has a really good café, also with some toys and games for kids.
At the Permeke library is the regular book sale on de Coninckplein (10am -4pm)
22nd & 23rd October
Well, the name of this event makes me think it might be something for me…
Please check out a Nessascityblog post of a different kind: our post EU referendum story so far. Might be of particular interest to UK passport holders applying for Belgian nationality in the wake of Brexit, but hopefully to others too.
If you fancy starting your weekend with cocktails, head to the Zeppelin Bar on Damplein for a cocktail evening starting at 9pm.
If you are in the Borgerhout area, have a look at the schedule for Borger#8 -an annual collection of art events in galleries around Berchem, Zurenborg and Borgerhout, starting at 6pm. The best way to get from gallery to gallery is by bike. If you don’t have one, you might want to think about getting a pass or year card for an Antwerp Velo.
During the afternoon between 1 and 5pm there is a free “Winterfeest” on de Coninckplein
For your evening entertainment: free cinema at Het Roze Huis on Draakplaats in Berchem. You can see Mary Marie (no entrance cost) starting at 8pm.
If you want to be outdoors, have kids to entertain and the weather is not too cold, you might be interested to know that the children’s farm at the Rivierenhof Estate in Deurne is open again after a short winter closure.
Music lovers may want to head to Wally’s Groove World which is holding a new stock sale of “’80s funk, soul, disco, Hip Hop, 90’s house, rave, acid, Retro,techno, tech-house” and promises prices starting at just 1 and 2 euros.
If you are thinking of your holidays then head over to Expo for Vakantiesalon Vlaanderen which will help you decide where to go, and continues over the whole weekend.
For children who like to move and dance you might want to take them to Little Brewers Winter Garden for Dansen Met Lotte at 2pm (all kids) and for children aged 6+ from 4.30pm. LBWG is a large, airy, pop-up bar, which is going to be open until the end of February. It’s a really nice space, with some great beers (although personally I recommend avoiding the Gin Fizz which I had a couple of weeks ago, and is made with beer and raw egg white, and most definitely an acquired taste…) Other than that, a really nice hang- out for chilled weekend afternoons, with or without kids.
On Saturday afternoon there is a free classical concert at Het Steen for anyone who might enjoy a bit of Brahms, Schumann or Haydn. It is free and starts at 5pm, but reserving is recommended by calling 03 202 83 80.
Back to Het Steen: for kids 6+, again there is a workshop and activities based around the theme of Time, at Het Steen. I took my 7 year old son to this last weekend and he really liked it.
The space used for the activities is above the café, and is roomy and attractive. There is no need to register or reserve -you simply walk in and out as you wish from 1pm. It is completely accessible to English speaking children, as well as Dutch speakers.
All Belgian schools have a week’s holiday at the same time (8th- 12th February) and some of the English speaking schools (for example Antwerp International School) are also off that week.
During holiday times there are a number of kids’ activities available. These range from one-day activities or workshops to camps which are on daily for the entire week.
This is not an exhaustive list (and feel free to send additional links; I’ll edit to add them) but will provide some suggestions for keeping children occupied, happy and social during their time off. Please note: these activities tend to be popular, and you should enrol your child(ren) as soon as possible to be sure of a place/places. Some are more expensive than others. If your child is not a Dutch speaker, be sure to check that the activity is suitable. Also be aware that some places provide a lunch, and for other activities you need to make sure your child has lunch with them.
Here is a list of Sport Camps and activites in an around Antwerp. The price given is for the full week. For more information (and even details of the Easter holiday agenda) there are contact details on this page.
This one (same times, same location) is for younger kids (5+) and has a viking adventure theme.
This one completes the offering at KLA for the youngest group (3+).
Museums in and around Antwerp also offer art-based and creative activities at this time. These tend to be one-day workshops, or interactive guided tours, rather than a course for the whole week. You can search by location and age-group here.
If you like live music there are a few choices this evening -you might want to start your weekend listening to Kollectiv playing jazz at Cafe Kiebooms on Conninckplein at 9pm; or singer Kuba Kesy at The Irish Times bar on Groote Markt at 10pm. Described as ‘melancholy folk pop’, Second Son Sam will be playing Bar Lucy also at 9pm.
A new year’s reception in the evening at the Zuiderpershuis, including a theatrical performance, suitable for kids 5+. I don’t see a price on this one, so am assuming that it is free. Organised by Stad Antwerpen and Groen Antwerpen.
The Antwerp Opera opens it doors to children today, for a dance costing 8 euros for kids aged 6+ who would like to dress in their best finery and learn a few classical moves from a dance teacher. For 6 euros at 2pm and 3.30 children aged 4+ can get a guided walk through the world of opera.
Acroyoga, as the name suggests, combines yoga and acrobatic moves. If you would like to try it out, or are already familiar with it then this free event in Borgerhout could be for you. You can also do a trial class for 5 euros at the same location, in the morning (10am).
Also worth knowing for 2016, is that the cathedral will be free for city dwellers from 1st January 2016. It was extensively renovated during 2015, and previously cost 6 euros to visit.
Have a great weekend. I’m looking forward to keeping you up-to-date with Antwerp happenings in English throughout 2016, and to hearing your suggestions and tips for the best places to hang out in Antwerp!
*In the coming weeks, I am planning to do a post for stay-at-home parents who have toddlers and pre-schoolers at home during the week, so if there is something you do in town with your little ones on Mondays -Fridays, please let me know about it. It might be really useful for other stay-at-home-parents, or those people who have some time off during the week with their children. Thanks!
Just in time for New Year’s Eve, here’s a brief run-down of what is available in Antwerp this year. I am not going to attempt to do a full clubs-and-pubs guide, particularly for very expensive ticketed events, as they are generally fairly easy to find out about. Here’s the usual low-budget/ free local selection, which I will continue to edit, where necessary, for the next day or so. So if you are someone who tends to make spontaneous and last-minute plans for the last party of the year, do check back for updates.
The weather is predicted to continue dry and mild on New Year’s Eve in Antwerp. There may be a little cloud and light rain in the evening.
The most obvious public destination for midnight is the Schelde for the fireworks. Turn up at 11pm for a free concert -it all happens around Steenplein and Zuiderterras. Drinks will be for sale; do not bring any glass drink containers into the area. The Christmas market will also be busy with Grote Markt likely being a good location for the bars, but Christmas market stalls are now only on Groenplaats. If you are staying in or at a house party and wanting to count down, Een on TV will be at the river side.
A special shout out to staff and students of the Antwerp International School who finish up for the winter break this Friday! Happy holidays!
If you are ready for the weekend on Friday night and in immediate need of food, drink and music then head to the Flying Pig festival on the Napoleonkaai at 5pm (near MAS) when the fun begins and its winter bar opens.
Over the weekend …
As well as the main Christmas market in the old town, other smaller markets will also be happening, including ones like this one at Grand Cafe Le Roi on Kasteelpleinstraat. This will be on on both Saturday and Sunday.
Details of two Christmas church concerts can be found here.
If you are feeling sporty, Antwerp has its own Santa Run sponsored by the Gazet van Antwerpen. If you want to run you need to register here. Be quick -registration ends at midnight on the 11th. If you aren’t running, you can go along to Park Spoor Noord to cheer on those who are: the run starts at 5pm, and will follow a route through Meir and The Christmas market. This is how it looked last year …
After which you might feel inclined to head to the Festive Open Stage at An Sibhin on Nationalestraat for spontaneous performances of music, comedy and song.
And there is a second hand fashion market at Plein Publiek (Van Craesbeeckstraat 33). 10am -5pm.
It’s back to Park Spoor Noord for a Christmas edition of the Goedgekregen Fleamarket starting at 10am. Don’t be put off if it is raining -it will be under cover (where the Cargo bar is, during summer)
There also going to be a Christmas edition of the Markt van Morgen on the Kloosterstraat -food trucks, art, design, crafts and jewellery…. even a hairdresser who will be cutting and donating proceeds to cancer charity Music for Life.
For Christmas shoppers, shops around Meir (and in Stadsfeestzaal) will be open, as per the shopping Sundays (so that means a later start -in Stadsfeestzaal, it’s midday, and closing at 6pm).
Wednesday 16th December
A special midweek mention for the lovely Down to Earth Diva, Nicola Mills who will be singing Christmas songs at Vinoteka starting at 8, and promising to go full Christmas, complete with sing-along if you are feeling merry/ daring.
It seems impossible to write a post without mentioning the security alerts that all residents of this part of the world have been living with this past week. The decision we made in our home has been to continue to going to events we enjoy, unless otherwise advised by the police. Security has been visible around Antwerp central station but last weekend, we went to the market as usual on Saturday, and on Sunday to the 50th Birthday celebrations at FOMU which were lots of fun. Everyone has to make their own decisions about the risks they want to take, but we prefer to try to keep calm and enjoy our free time as much as we usually do. If Madge isn’t cancelling her gig on Saturday at Sportpaleis, then I don’t see why we shouldn’t be out and about as usual ;-). For updates on the situation, you can follow @crisiscenterBE on Twitter.
And so to the weekend ….
If you want to avoid the shopping hordes, Friday offers the perfect excuse because it is Buy Nothing Day . Alternatively, you could go along to Meir anyway, just to check out Antwerp’s own Diva, Nicola Mills who will (weather permitting) be getting into the festive spirit by carolling with a group of four singers between 2 and 4pm. You could head out later in the evening to join the Critical Mass Bike Ride at 6pm on Theaterplein.
There are a couple of events which are occurring over both days: a book market and a Kids’ Paradise promising toys, games, gadgets and clothes for sale. There are also some activities and workshops for kids. Both of these events are at the Zuiderpershuis on the Waalse Kaai. If you are feeling sporty, you can swim for free at Antwerp swimming pools all weekend.
Kids who want to see Sinterklaas, can do so at The Century Shopping Centre on Keyserlei between 10 and 6pm, where they can also take part in a Sinterklaas quest activity. Other than that, it seems rather quiet this Saturday, so I will probably be at the market as usual!
If you are someone who is looking forward to the opening of the winter bars, and the taste of Gluhwein, this Winter Terrace event will please you, if you can’t wait until the Christmas market in December.
If you have children aged 5+ to entertain, then you could take them to this production of Tom Thumb for just 4 euros a ticket or for the same price to a showing of this animated film at the Permeke library (for kids aged 3+).
This weekend’s fleamarket is being held in Schijnpoort and costs 2,50 to get in.
Finally, Sunday is the last day of Week van de Friet, so if you have a voucher from De Zondag you can pick up freebies (like an extra beer or snack) at participating chippies. In Antwerp, that’s Frituur Max on Groenplaats.