This weekend in Antwerp: 28th, 29th & 30th June

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Summer is underway and it’s the last day of school on Friday. There are a lot of inexpensive events to enjoy, and new places to hangout. This is a great link which provides the names and locations of all the summer bars in Antwerp!

Friday

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Sint-Andriesplaats

Music, food, DJs, performance and kids games and entertainment at the Sint Andries Feesten  (pic right)from 3pm, in the square (Sint-Andriesplaats).

Circus Boelaere takes place over the whole weekend and has an extensive program of music, workshops, kids’ entertainment with a circus theme. It also comes with a reader recommendation from a local who got in touch to recommend that it be included in this week’s post!

Bar Oost also opens this weekend in Park Spoor Oost and they are holding their opening weekend (same venue as Sinksenfoor).

Take part in the monthly Critical Mass bike ride, starting as usual on Theaterplein at 6pm

Aper’eau  are on Leopold de Waalplaats -that’s the square right in front of the fine arts museum (aka KMSKA) with summer cocktails, wines and beers, DJs, and al fresco drinking from 5pm -11pm

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lots on for Beer lovers this weekend!

Down at the Seefbeer brewery and cafe, they’re holding a beergarden opening with festivities continuing over the weekend, starting at 3pm on Friday and including live music, a BBQ and a bouncy castle for the kids. Seef makes some really good beers and this is a lovely, slightly out-of-the way venue -recommended!

And there’s even more for beerlovers: all weekend on Groenplaats it’s the annual Bierpassie Weekend!

Saturday

kiloAt Plein Publiek there’s another vintage Kilo Sale from 12 -5pm, where as the name suggests you make your vintage/ retro/ pre-loved clothing purchases by the kilo (20 euros per kilo).

Lovers of street art should head to the Permeke Library reading garden (leestuin) today where street art festival Colours of Antwerp is taking place; check the agenda on the link since some activities require pre-registration. Most of them are free, except the tour led by Antwerp’s most popular and knowledgeable street art guide, Tim Marschang.

The ZOO summer bar opens today at 4pm; it’s a real little oasis of a summer bar just next to the flamingos at the zoo entrance and a lovely place to hang out right in the centre, next to the station, with frequent live music performances on the bandstand. ZOOmerbar is open until 19th August.

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The Zoo Summer Bar (pic by Zoo Antwerpen)

triodesfemmeRound off your Saturday with something a bit different in the form of this boisterous performance hosted by Antwerp’s English speaking theatre group Mixed and United, welcoming Trio de Femmes (pic right) and their show Girly Show: What We Sacrifice For The Dream of Love. Tickets 10euros, via email to info@mixedandunited.be
(stating: 1. show name: GirlyShow & 2. Names of the attendees).
Sunday

Fabric and craft fans, today is your day: it’s the fabric market on Grote Markt  brought to you by Stoffencircus from 10am -5pm, for all your stitching, sewing and fabric needs.

Around the St Pauluskerk area it’s the Utopia Festival -see the link for the full programme which comprises music, reading, guided tours and kids’ activities.

There’s an hour’s free zumba in the Harmoniepark from 4-5pm.

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Lambermontmartre

It’s the second Lambermontmartre of the season: Antwerp’s most relaxed and friendly art market, Lambermontmartre takes place in front of KMSKA on five Sundays over summer from midday until 5pm. It supports local artists in selling their work and is the perfect way to spend a stress-free summer afternoon. There’s always a band; snacks and drinks for sale and some kid-friendly art activities too.

Not only is Plantin Moretus an amazing place to visit because of what is inside the museums, but also because of what is outside and today is the day to go and find out about their historical gardens because it’s Open Gardens 2019 which is an annual event run by Open Tuinen VZW. This is an extra activity provided for visitors to the museum today (so you do need to pay the cost of visiting the museum, which is a must in itself)

Miscellaneous

 

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Bolt (source: Instagram)

The most important thing in this section this week is Bolt The Bearded Dragon! Just before term ended, I had the pleasure of guest-teaching a class of young bloggers at Antwerp International School who were improving their English skills by beginning blogs and writing blog entries. They all made amazing blogs, but this blog post was voted as the best one: it’s by Julian who blogs about looking after his fascinating and unusual pet -a very handsome bearded dragon who goes by the name of Bolt. Please have a look and give him a LIKE to encourage this young blogger -keep on writing, Julian!

(NB: Bolt also has his own Instagram account!)

On Monday last week, I published a helpful guest post by Jon Kemp all about how and where to learn Dutch in Antwerp

It’s truly summer when Summer HQ opens in the form of the Zomerbar on Sloepenweg which it did on the 24th June (last Monday) at 2pm. It’s a familiar and essential summer hangout that’s very relaxed and kid-friendly. Note: Stad Antwerp summer bars will be cashless this year.

The complete Antwerp summer programme (Zomer van Antwerpen) was released on 28th May at http://www.zva.be/ -get in quick for ticketed events that you are interested in. Helpfully, there are English and French versions of the programme in downloadable pdf form.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 6th, 7th & 8th July

If you live in or close to the centre, you don’t need to go far for a full weekend of entertainment this weekend. Feesten in het Stadspark is a free event in the Stadspark over both days. There’s food, drink, kids entertainment, live music, performances and dancing to be had. On Sunday, things kick off quite early with a big second hand market from Goegekregen (from 9am).

The hot weather is going to continue, so there is nothing to spoil your fun at this event: as ever don’t forget water-bottles, sun hats, shades and plenty of sunscreen for the whole family, especially kids.

Here is your GOOGLE MAP for this weekend!

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There’s a huge second hand market on Sint Jansplein from 10am -6pm.

 

 

Sunday

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Hungry? head to Brilliant Foodies at Felix Pakhuis (this is near MAAS museum, Eilandje). Felix Pakhuis is a beautiful venue for this free multicultural food event. In addition to the amazing food, there will be live music, diamond and jewelry workshops and fun activities for the whole family. Brilliant Foodies is hosted by Diamonds and Antwerp.

Another really nice part of the Zomer van Antwerpen is the “Muziek in de Wijk” events, which bring local bands to the local squares and parks of the city. This weekend on Sunday Muziek in de Wijk is on Krugerplein from 2.30pm with the main program beginning at 4pm.

Miscellaneous

On Wednesday 11th July Vlaanderen Feest will be held on Grote Markt with a busy party program that starts at midday. This is a fun local event, and definitely one to enjoy if you are recently arrived and want to enjoy an authentic part of Antwerp cultural life. You can read about why this is celebrated as an important day for Flanders here.
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Have you noticed the life-sized statues of zoo animals (pic right) around the town? These commemorate 175 years of Antwerp Zoo. Happy birthday, Antwerp Zoo!

Also from the zoo: every evening on the Flamingo Plein  (zoo entrance) live music and -yes, you guessed it – a summer bar, between 5pm -7.30pm. A perfect summer after-work for when you step off the train -until 23rd September.

 

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bumper summer post coming on the 11th July

The Big Fat Summer Post is coming out on the 11th July, while I take a break for about a month for my own summer holidays, and to enable me to get out and enjoy some of the events and places I blog about!

I hope you have a lovely Antwerp summer and I am very grateful to everyone who reads the blog, and who takes the time to contact me with events, information or a positive comment.

Don’t forget that if you would like to write a special post for Nessascityblog or do a short interview (in person, or via email) then please get in touch: nessascityblog@gmail.com or via the other social media in the Find & Follow section. I’d love to hear and share your Antwerp story!

Recently I have shared guest posts from Timo: Five Places to Read & Relax in Antwerp and Sonny: Take Five With Sonny Dhanowa.

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Guest post: Five Places to Read and Relax in Antwerp

Timo is a teacher of English Language and Literature at an international school in the Antwerp area, and enjoys reading, cycling, and playing, recording and mixing music in his free time. He was one of the very first people to subscribe to Nessascityblog, and remains a loyal reader to this day. Timo is Dutch/ American, but has lived and worked in Antwerp for over a decade, and also plays in a local band (110). You can listen to his music here.

I would like to share with you some good locations for reading in the central Antwerp area. If you live in an apartment in the city, as I do, you’ll find that it is important to get out once in a while. I tend to go for walks, and sometimes bring a book with me. Here are a five of my favourite “walking & reading” locations.

  1. Harmoniepark

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About a two kilometre walk from Antwerp Central Station, Harmoniepark (left) is nestled next to the slightly bigger Koning Albertpark; the latter was once Antwerp’s prime location for a hanging! Harmoniepark is great for readers, as it has extended, comfortable wooden benches, both in the sun and shade. The Feestzaal Harmonie building is currently under renovation – scheduled to finish in 2020 – after which it will function as one of Antwerp’s districtshuizen (or town halls). During the summer months, you’ll notice there are a number of free sporting activities taking place in this park, including yoga, for adults and for children.

 

  1. Permeke Library

The Permeke library – about a 5 minute walk from Central Station – contains several good reading places. If you want a quiet  indoor area to read or study, try the upper floor inside the library. You do not need a membership card to enter and use the facilities, and summer opening hours are from 10 am to 5 pm Mondays to Saturdays, and from 10 am to 2 pm on Sundays. Do keep in mind the opening times change in winter. A hidden gem is the vast CD and DVD collection in the back on the first floor. On sunny days, you can use the reading courtyard out back (leestuin)  and if you prefer having a coffee or even lunch with reading, you can visit Cafe Kubus right across from the library entrance. This is the only cafe I know of in Antwerp where you are actively encouraged to study and read.

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Kubus Cafe & reading courtyard at Permeke Library
  1. “Den Botaniek”  – botanical garden

Den Botaniek” is a tiny but beautiful botanical garden located next to St Elisabeth Hospital, about a 15 minute walk from Central Station. Sometimes referred to as “the garden of poets”, this is an oasis for readers who like quiet, serene spaces. There are benches throughout the park, and, if you want to stretch your legs, you can visit the greenhouse (a warm place during winter!) or admire the gorgeous Koi fish in the garden’s ponds. Den Botaniek is open to the public from 8 am to 8 pm during summer, and until 5.30 pm during winter.

 

  1. Antwerp Zoo
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Antwerp Zoo

Antwerp has been investing a lot in improving its zoo, and one of my new favourite spaces is the small square just inside the zoo’s main entrance. Access to this area is free. There are numerous benches, and it is surprisingly quiet, given its central location next to Antwerp’s main station. Do keep in mind that the gates to the free area close with the zoo’s closing hours. Inside the zoo itself, there are many places to relax and read as well. If you are interested in this, I suggest you look into their year pass options. If you have children, the family zoo pass is a good deal, given the zoo contains a large playground and several cafes serving relatively cheap food and drink, with a 10% discount for card holders or “abonnees”.

  1. Zaha Hadidplein & Willemdok area

I’m cheating a little bit here by combining two different places, but they are very similar in atmosphere and relatively close together. The Antwerp Port Building, designed by the late award-winning British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, is striking and controversial- some people love it; others don’t. There is a big open space underneath the building, with great views of the city and some of its docks. Personally, I think this area could do with a few more places to sit, but there are some stone benches by the waterside, providing a great location to read and relax. Do keep in mind this is slightly further out if you live in the centre of town; it will take you about 45 minutes to walk from the station, but it is well worth a visit. When heading back south and into the centre of town, you’ll find another reading haven: the attractive Willemdok area, with its many benches and great views of the MAS building.

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I hope you will enjoy some of these mostly free places and read in Antwerp. Next time you feel you need to get out of your apartment or house, why not carry book or e-reader with you, and perhaps even leave your phone at home?

 

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This weekend in Antwerp: 22nd, 23rd & 24th December

I am taking a break for Christmas now and will be posting again in the new year on the 11th January, so there are a couple of extra events in the miscellaneous section to take you beyond this weekend. Additionally, I am proud to share this post on the Visit Antwerpen site, all about Winter in Antwerp. Please read and share 🙂

Have a fantastic Christmas and a very happy new year!

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The Christmas Market

AKA – Winter In Antwerp. If you have lived in Antwerp for more than a year, then you will know that Winter in A means that the historic centre is lit up for the Christmas season. It’s a lot more than a Christmas market -you will find festive activities on Steenplein, Suikerrui, Grote Markt, Handschoenmarkt and Groenplaats. There are market stands on Grote Markt, Groenplaats, Steenplein and Suikkerui and the ice rink is on Groenplaats. There is also a big wheel, tubing and the Spiegeltent on Steenplein for the kids, and funfair activities along the riverside.

Friday
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De Warmste Week is a week of charity activities organised by Studio Brussels. It takes place between 17th- 24th December and on Friday there is a 2.7km Warmathon Run from 2pm in the Stadspark (Rubenslei entry). Sign up via the hyperlink in the ‘inschrijven’ section, or on the day itself, if places are still available. Your participation fee goes to a number of good causes supported by De Warmste Week.

Saturday

Go dancing for free courtesy of Meatpack and London Calling, from 10pm with all your favourite Britpop and Indie tunes. Meatpack (Samberstraat 40) is a new venue describing itself as an old warehouse where “art, food, fashion, crafts, music and nightlife will finally meet in a concrete labyrinth … the size of a football field”
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Sunday (Christmas Eve)

Last chance for Christmas shopping -yes, Antwerp shops are open on Christmas Eve.

This weekend looks likely to be dry and fresh, but without the freezing temperatures. Chances of a white Christmas are very low … sorry, snow lovers…

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I was delighted to learn that Nessascityblog was listed by Spotted by Locals in their list of Best Antwerp Blogs 2017. Spotted by Locals provides city tips from people who live in the 67 cities they feature.

Antwerp City museums are FREE on the last Wednesday of the month.

From the 28th December you can enjoy theatre, circus and music at Park Spoor Oost’s Wintervuur.

The New Year’s edition of Critical Mass will be on the 29th December -meet on Theaterplein at 6pm with your bike and round of 2017 with an 8km bike ride that will take you round the city and finish up on Grote Markt, right in the middle of the Christmas Market.

There will be fireworks on New Year’s Eve, as usual down by the river.

China Light has opened at Antwerp Zoo. It’s a little bit more expensive than the events I usually include here, but it has become something of an annual feature of the Antwerp winter scene, and -if it’s dry – it’s worth seeing. The colours and lights are pretty and magical. It’s on until the 14th January.

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China Light at Antwerp Zoo

 

And on Monday 12th I pressed a special Nessascityblog post about English speaking theatre in Antwerp, featuring a review of BATS performance of Dracula, and information about an upcoming BATS production which will please theatre-goers of all ages …

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Aladdin Panto
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diciembre -Colectivo Amorika

 

 

International families with Spanish speakers, in Antwerp -see the green poster (left) for the December program of Colectivo Amorika

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This weekend in Antwerp: 1st, 2nd and 3rd December

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HERE’S YOUR GOOGLE MAP (as used by Sinterklaas himself)

Friday

China Light opens at Antwerp Zoo. It’s a little bit more expensive than the events I usually include here, but it has become something of an annual feature of the Antwerp winter scene, and -if it’s dry – it’s worth seeing. The colours and lights are pretty and magical. It’s on until the 14th January.

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China Light at Antwerp Zoo

BATS (English speaking theatre) have their last Open Evening of 2017, so head along to the Little Theatre on Paardenmarkt if you would like to get involved. It’s a busy time of year for them, as they gear up for their annual panto -this year it’s Aladdin!

Saturday

Kids can come and see Sinterklaas at Grand Bazar shopping centre today.

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Band 110

For grown-ups: Band 110 are playing at Fabrik, near Theaterplein. They’re my complete and unbiased favourite.

Update: band 110 are sorry to announce that due to illness this event has been cancelled 😦

Oxfam shops around Antwerp are promoting fairly traded gifts today -at their store in town (Minderbroedersrui 33).

 

Sunday

Goegekregen are at Park Spoor Noord today, in the sheltered area by Bar Noord, from 9am -6pm, offering the usual array of second hand clothing, books, toys, antiques, vinyl, accessories, vintage & retro goods to suit every budget.

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Park Spoor Noord

Meanwhile, another Antwerp favourite – Markt van Morgen  -is on Kloosterstraat from midday to 6pm. This Christmas edition will include a food truck, DJs and Gluhwein.

Kids can come and see Sinterklaas on Meir and at Grand Bazar

At around this time of year, various neighbourhoods organise a communal winter event (look out for words like ‘wintervuur’, ‘XYZ Wintert’ etc). This one is on Schengenplein -a new development which opened in the Cadixwijk in summer (it’s right near the Kattendijkdok which you will know if you have ever hung out in Bar Paniek during warmer weather).

Shops in Antwerp will be open today for Sunday shopping, and on Sundays throughout December in Antwerp -including on Christmas Eve.

The weather will continue pretty chilly (4- 7 degrees). Saturday will be coldest. Showers are likely on Sunday.

 

Miscellaneous
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Sinterklaas takes place on the 6th December and is VERY important to the children of Belgium. You can read about it here..

De Collectie is a means by which you can give away your second hand clothing, shoes, accessories (belts, scarves, gloves, hats) and bedding if they are in good condition. They will be passed to people who need them in Belgium and abroad. You can arrange to have them picked up or can bring them to a collection point. Very handy if you are planning a clear out before the festive season. You can find more information about how this works in Antwerp on De Collectie Antwerpen site.

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