Information for Parents: Secondary School Registration and Allocation in Antwerp Region

A guest post by Timo Carlier.

 

Meldjeaan.antwerpen.be 

meldjeaan
image source: meldjeaan.antwerpen.be

 

If your child is currently enrolled in Grade 6 in a local primary school – het 6e leerjaar – then it’s time to choose a school for secondary education, or secundair onderwijs. If you have not yet registered your child, you may have received a letter in the mail reminding you that this process should be completed before 5 PM on April 3rd, 2020, which is this Friday.

In the wider Antwerp region, registration is done through a centralised process, via this website: https://meldjeaansecundair.antwerpen.be/

NB: Corona virus regulations have not affected the timeline of the registration process. 

Should you miss the 3 April 2020 deadline, you will still be able to register with individual schools from 11 May 2020 onwards, but keep in mind that places will be full in some schools by this point. This late registration process closes 3 June 2020.

Gent and Brussels have their own Meldjeaan sites here: https://www.meldjeaan.be/
The registration process

I found signing up on the website straightforward. You will need your child’s rijksregisternummer (national registration number) which can be found on their ISI+ health insurance card (or on the pink stickers used for doctors), or on the back of their ID card (see pic below).

kaart
image source: halloouders.be

If your child does not have an ID card yet, it is probably best to contact your local city council, or districtshuis.

Once signed up, you can select the schools you are interested in by typing the names into a search bar and selecting the schools you want. I’ve been recommended to list at least five schools by a representative of Meldjeaan. Then rank your schools by dragging a small arrow next to each selected school’s name up or down. This is an important step; the order counts. You are now ready to complete the process, though you can revisit the site any time and make changes, up until April 3rd.

Note about 1A and 1B streams

Most children who complete primary school will need to sign up for the 1A stream in secondary school. Children who are unable to successfully complete their primary education will most likely need to choose 1B. However, if you are unsure, it is always best to ask your child’s teacher for advice.

If you are unable to access the website or don’t understand a step in the process, you can call the Meldjeaan team or email them for help (see below.

Results and registration

Results will be sent to parents on 6 May 2020, after which you should register your child at the school you have been allocated. This should be done by appointment and by contacting the school directly.

If the allocated school is not your number 1 choice, you will automatically be put on a waiting list for the schools higher up your list.

Waiting list and follow-up process

This is where things may get a little complicated. It is possible to move up your waiting list, even into the start of the academic year. Please keep the following points in mind:

 

  • Always register your child with the highest ranked school on your list you’ve been allocated
  • By doing so, the schools lower down on your list automatically fall away; this frees new spaces for other applicants
  • You will automatically be put on a waiting list for schools higher up on your list
  • If a space higher up is freed up, you will be notified and can now register with that school; the previous registration is annulled
  • You cannot register with multiple schools
  • It is perfectly acceptable to annul registrations in favour of a school higher up your list, should they become free
  • If you want to see high up on the waiting list for a particular school you are after 6 May, log back into the meldjeaan.antwerpen.be website
  • Waiting list positions are valid until 7 October 2020 (note: this is after the start of the school year!). After that, it’s best to contact the school in question directly for information.

 

Overall, this seems like a fair system to me. It certainly beats parents having to camp out in front of schools, which I’ve heard so much about. 

I have not included details about special education, or early selection for children who have older siblings already enrolled in a school, or whose parents work in Flemish education. Please contact the organisation for more information on that.

Useful information

You can find a list of secondary schools in Antwerp here. You can find information about schools and subject choices here. You can find a current list of available places in schools here. From 10 AM 8 May on, the Meldjeaan website will publish a list of remaining free places for those who have missed online registration. You can also contact them by email or phone: 0800 62 185

helpdesk.meldjeaan@antwerpen.be

classroom-2787754_640

Disclaimer: I am just a parent who has recently gone through and learned about the school registration process over a period of two years, by asking many people lots of questions (and taking lots of notes). I am not an authority on the subject, but I am sharing what I learned here. It is therefore always best to consult the helpdesk above for information.

 

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Antwerp Life During Corona Virus Restrictions

Hello, and thanks for reading Nessascityblog!

As you can imagine, a blog which is usually devoted to sharing information about events, is not going to be very busy right now, so I though I would just do a general post about life in Antwerp and Belgium under the new restrictions, and share some useful links. I will keep editing this, so if you think there is a link I have missed, do get in touch.

UPDATE 27th March: Extension -current measures to stay in place until 19th April.

Information and News from Belgium in English

Flanders Today and The Brussels Times are the news outlets which will bring you the latest Belgian headlines and information in English.

The government website with information about Covid 19 is here and available in French, Dutch, German and English. You can also follow the Federal Health Department on Twitter.

Screen Shot 2020-03-24 at 12.36.05
The Stad Antwerpen Instagram page.

(translation of text in image above: Stay home; do not gather with others; keep a distance of 1.5m; outdoor exercise is OK, with max 2 people; look after yourself and each other)

The Stad Antwerpen page is mainly in Dutch, but if you go here and scroll down, you will find .PDFs in a variety of languages.

Last week I published this blog post with information in English about organisations and help lines, if being at home is not safe for you or your children (or if you are anxious that someone you know is not safe).

Kids

school table
home school

Lessons are suspended and children are learning from home. Only those who work in essential services (and who cannot find childcare) may take their children into school. Colleges and universities are delivering classes and assignments online.

For learners in English, I have this list of educational sites.

Support and interaction

Lots of people want to help at this time. Others needs help. Stad Antwerpen has this page (in Dutch) for those either requiring help, or wanting to volunteer their help. In both cases you need to fill in a form:

Here is the form if you need help

These are slips to download and deliver if you want to offer help to your neighbours who may be in a vulnerable group. NB: you need to do this while observing social distancing as much as is possible. Other forms of volunteer work can be found here 8pm

At 8pm many people are taking to their balconies and windows every evening to applaud the frontline workers who are keeping essential services -especially health services – open and functioning.

It’s important to make time to Skype/ Zoom/ WhatsApp/ Facetime with friends and family.  If your family is in an other country, you may have extra anxieties and feel home-sick. That’s very understandable – so if you are on Facebook you are very welcome in our group Expats in Antwerp. Not just for Covid 19 info- we have a daily chat thread each day, for general conversation, sharing news, recipes and -of course – pet pics!

Screen Shot 2020-03-24 at 12.53.26
Expats in Antwerp on Facebook

Financial support and assistance for incomes and businesses affected by Covid 19

RVA Antwerp

PMV.eu

Finally….

blogging-1168076_640If  you would like to help keep Nessascityblog going by writing a blog post for me, then now is the time! I welcome posts about how you are managing your time; the challenges and achievements of our changed circumstances; creative writing; how you are working and how your Antwerp business has been affected. Feel free to get in touch if you have an idea!

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This weekend in Antwerp: 14th & 15 March

UPDATE: Stad Antwerpen closes museums, libraries, sports facilities (including pools), community centres and all non-essential services from Friday 13th March until the end of the month. Here’s the update from the website

From midnight 13th March – Belgian schools suspend lessons -some are staying open to provide care if needed for the children of essential workers) until 3rd April; as well as cafés, restaurants. At the weekends, shops (apart from pharmacies and supermarkets) will close.

March is Black History Month in Belgium. Here is the agenda, where you can search for events near you. The theme of Black History Month 2020 is “The Roots Of Our Health” and it will be explored through events such as debates, movies, exhibitions and performances.

If you have a young reader, then you may also know that March is “Jeugdboekenmaand” (Youth Book Month) which means that there’s plenty going on in Bib Permeke for children and young people throughout the month. The theme this year is ART.  See the Permeke library website for events, activities and exhibitions taking place there, or the search the complete agenda on the Jeugdboekenmaand page.

Next Tuesday is St Patrick’s Day, and we wish our Irish readers a wonderful day! Although, it looks as though some celebrations around the world will be cancelled due to the corona virus, let’s hope that the Irish pubs in Antwerp are able to keep their doors open for what is always a fun night/ weekend in the city.

Saturday

Screenshot 2020-03-11 at 17.31.27
An Sibhin

Antwerp has four Irish bars: An Sibhin, Molly’s, Kelly’s and The Irish Times. All have celebrations for St Patrick’s Day planned, but they’re clearly over-excited at Molly’s on Jesuitenrui, who are kicking off already with live music, promos, sport & giveaways, and at  An Sibhin on Nationalestraat (pic right) with the 6 Nations Finals on today, (and a breakfast on Sunday).***CANCELLED

It’s Retro Day in the second hand stores (‘kringloopwinkels’) around Antwerp.

CANCELLED *** Beer lovers who look forward to MEUG festival will also be getting in the mood at Bar Chapel with a one-night pop-up bar, opening at 7pm – register on the link, for a free drink. ***CANCELLED

Sunday

Screenshot 2020-03-11 at 17.27.09
Plantin Moretus

CANCELLED *** One of my favourite museums is having a birthday party. After all, it’s not every day you turn 500, like Christoffel Plantin. The Plantin Moretus Museum on Vrijdagmarkt will be celebrating with a few different events, but starts today with a party, taking place both in the museum and on the Vrijdagmarkt: here is the agenda for the day. You can read more about the museum and Christoffel Plantin on this excellent guest post by Daniel McBrearty, from last year. ***CANCELLED

If you see runners in unusual places around the city today, that’s because it’s the Antwerp Urban Trail. You can register for this event until the day before. Register here. There are 7km and 12km runs, which go through famous Antwerp buildings that will be opened especially for the event, and you can view the routes here.

And if you see some well-fed looking oxen on Grote Markt, that’s because of an old Antwerp tradition called (literally translated) Weighing The Fat Ox which starts at 2pm. This dates back to Napoleonic times and you can see the animals being weighed on the traditional scales. Here’s an explanation of the history behind this tradition:

bull-3541819_640“In 1795 the French occupation put a stop to Antwerp’s butchers’ guild. The Vleeshuis then closed its doors and new covered market halls sprung up in its place. Butchers started organising themselves by market hall. Those from Sint-Jan founded an annual weigh-in for the fattest ox on the Grote Markt in the middle of the 19th century. The market hall no longer stands but the weigh-in still takes place. It is a remnant of what, for a long time, was a daily sight in the city: cattle wandering around.” (source)

It’s Boekenplein on de Coninckplein in from of Antwerp’s Permeke library. The monthly second hand book market returns after a cancellation last moth due to storms. The book market will be on from 10am -4pm.

After a grey and dreary week, there might be some improvement in the weather, although Friday is likely to still be rainy (mainly in the morning). Saturday and Sunday will be brighter, with a much lower chance of showers. Top temps on Sunday – around 14 degrees.

Miscellaneous

hand-washing-4818792_640If you are concerned about the corona virus, this page will keep you updated about the current situation in Belgium (or via the Federal Health Department on Twitter). The situation is subject to change, and I will attempt to update if any of the events listed here are cancelled. At time of writing, larger indoor events (over 1000 people) are likely not to go ahead -if you have plans or tickets for such an event, check the event organiser or venue website.

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

It’s March already!

And if you have a young reader, then you should know that March is also “Jeugdboekenmaand” (Youth Book Month) which means that there’s plenty going on in Bib Permeke for children and young people throughout the month. The theme this year is ART.  See the Permeke library website for events, activities and exhibitions taking place there, or the search the complete agenda on the Jeugdboekenmaand page.

Friday

movie-918655_640Why not start your weekend at the pictures? De Cinema (at De Studio) is showing one of my favourites –The Big Lebowski (1998) – at 8pm. Tickets via the link. It’s conveniently located near a bar/ bistro I like too: Zeppos is just a few doors down and easily recognisable by its red exterior.

Saturday

At Den Beulebak there’s a free vintage comic fair from 10am -5pm. It will take place alongside their regular monthly second hand book market.

Screenshot 2020-03-04 at 15.04.43 Sunday

Today is International Women’s Day. Here are two events you can attend to mark the day here in Antwerp, and there are further events listed in the Events section of this Facebook page.

Proefkonijnen is a children’s theatre on Frankrijklei: maybe their show Drakenjacht (Dragon Hunt) at 2.30pm would be something for your 4+ year old(s) on a Sunday afternoon? If you want to check it out, find tickets here.

Now that the storms have (hopefully) passed, you might like to (re)visit Rivierenhof:  every Sunday at 2pm at the “sprookjeshuis” there’s a  fairy story read aloud (in Dutch) for children aged 6+. It’s costs 5 euros and you can register your child(ren) here, in advance. The Sprookjeshuis is near the Rivierenhof Kasteel and the playground, and there’s a vegetable gardening workshop going on at the same time -click the link; and then on to the Eventbrite link in order to register for this.

The weather will continue to be cooler this weekend max temps 11 degrees), with Saturday likely to be the best day – dry and bright, and showers expected on Friday and on Sunday morning.

Miscellaneous

Runners: You can now sign up for the Antwerp 10 Miles on 26th April 2020. It costs less if you sign up before the 6th April.Screenshot 2020-03-04 at 15.07.56

If you are concerned about the corona virus, this page will keep you updated about the current situation in Belgium (or via the Federal Health Department on Twitter).

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This weekend in Antwerp: 21st, 22nd & 23rd February

Friday

Screenshot 2020-02-18 at 19.18.13
image from Antwerp Ghostwalk

Start your weekend with an Antwerp Ghostwalk – this week it’s the English version: explore the old, cobbled and dark streets of Antwerp and hear the supernatural tales associated with them … meet at Steenplein (by the Lange Wapper statue) at 8pm. 12,50 pp.

Or head to The Irish Times near Grote Markt to practise your language skills and have an informal drink with speakers of different language at the Swap Language #12 event at 8pm.

Saturday

A read-aloud to help kids with their reading. But with dogs! at de Studio (12.30). Free.

Afterwards, there’s kids’ films on in De Studio: Free Willy at 2.30pm, and Finding Dory at 6pm (these are ticketed -see links).

chihuahua-2726117_640Sunday

Rivierenhof hosts an annual Valentine Run which takes place today, having been twice postponed from due to Storm Ciara, and then Storm Dennis -will it be ‘third time lucky’ for this event? You can register for the run until Saturday.

UPDATE: Nope, unfortunately no ‘third time lucky’ for this event: Rivierenhof is expected to be closed again, and the Run is now sadly cancelled for 2020

Goegekregen are holding a large rommelmarkt in Waagnatie from 9am- 6pm. Unusually, this one is not free -it’s 1 euro in. It will be a massive sale -decide for yourself if you want to pay the euro …

Mundana is a Latin-American cultural centre and café on Paardenmarkt . They are holding a Sunday Market – “Las Pulgas” – offering home-made goods and crafts, music and workshops for all ages. 11am – 5pm.

2020 JEF festival campagnebeeld A4 300dpiIt should be a mild weekend, with some bright spells on Saturday. Some showers on Sunday.

Miscellaneous

The JEF festival is underway in Antwerp -it’s an annual film festival for kids which offers workshops and activities for kids from age 3 upwards. Most Antwerp activities are on at  Zuiderpershuis. My kids have enjoyed JEF activities in the past. Here is the complete Antwerp program for JEF. JEF also takes place in Gent, Bruges, Kortrijk, Leuven and Roeselare.

Next week is spring half-term (“krokus vakantie”) for Belgian schools. If you have kids to occupy, you might like to enrol them in some local activities. On this page, you can find sport activities for them, and Idee Kids runs camps for a variety of age groups and interests. Kamp Zoeker helps you search for a suitable camp according to age, activities and location.

Runners: You can now sign up for the Antwerp 10 Miles on 26th April 2020. It costs less if you sign up before the 6th April.

Sorry -no Nessascityblog post on the 27th February.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 14th, 15th & 16th February

masFriday

It’s Valentine’s Day -for something a bit different, why not swing by MAS museum at Eilandje if you are around over lunch? They are providing a ‘poetry massage’  featuring Antwerp city poetry between midday and 14h.
klappeiSaturday

Filmhuis Klappei is holding a film festival for children (Filmfestival van De Evenaar) on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend (see pic left; taken from Klappei Facebook page). Here is the Saturday programme: you can register your child(ren) here.

For grown-ups, it’s the closing party for Wintar  at 8pm -12, over near the de Koninck brewery.

Sunday

It’s the monthly second hand book market on de Coninckplein in front of the Permeke Library. Books, comics, graphic novels, postcards and more for very reasonable prices. 10am -4pm.

*** UPDATE: helaas, once again storm disrupts play – Boekenplein is cancelled due to predictions of bad weather, as is the Valentine Run (below) for the second time. Rivierenhof will be closed; and the Run is postponed until 23rd Feb. ***

Here is the Sunday programme for Filmfestival van De Evenaar: you can register your child(ren) here.

heart-307525_640

 

Rivierenhof hosts an annual Valentine Run which takes place today, having been postponed from last weekend, due to Storm Ciara. You can register for the run until Saturday.

Every Sunday at 2pm at the “sprookjeshuis” there’s a  fairy story read aloud (in Dutch) for children aged 6+. It’s costs 5 euros and you can register your child(ren) here, in advance. The Sprookjeshuis is near the Rivierenhof Kasteel and the playground.

The weather is likely to be mild (11- 12 degrees) and showery on Saturday and Sunday, with wind -although not stormy like last weekend!

Miscellaneous

Runners: You can now sign up for the Antwerp 10 Miles on 26th April 2020. It costs less if you sign up before the 6th April.

Jazz Middelheim tickets are now on sale for 2020.

crocus-3996515_640The week beginning 24th February is spring half-term (“krokus vakantie”) for Belgian schools. If you have kids to occupy, you might like to enrol them in some local activities. On this page, you can find sport activities for them, and Idee Kids runs camps for a variety of age groups and interests. Kamp Zoeker helps you search for a suitable camp according to age, activities and location.

(Because I am away at that time, there will be no post on the 27th February).

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This weekend in Antwerp: 8th & 9th February

 

patisserie-1575070_640It is still Antwerp’s annual Pateekes Week  (until Sunday) Lovers of cakes and pastries can sample them at a discounted rate at participating bakeries, cafés and chocolatiers. To enjoy pateekesweek, you need to get a sheet of 10 vouchers (Pateekespass) for 10 euros. You can get these from the Visit Antwerp outlets at Central Station and on Grote Markt. They are already on sale.

Saturday

beerFOver at Boomgaardsestraat, right near de Koninck Brewery (currently Wintar) there’s a Wild Jo’s Market on today and on Sunday too. It’s free in, opens at 1pm and there will be clothing, arts & crafts, jewellery, accessories, food, drink & more for sale. This is a kid-friendly event, with some music and entertainment.

Sunday

UPDATE: It’s just been announced that unfortunately – on the very weekend that I do a focus on Rivierenhof, the Rivierenhof will be closed, due to a storm warning.

heart-307525_640

A focus on Rivierenhof for three Sunday activities today. Rivierenhof is a large, green estate, which includes Kasteel Rivierenhof, Sterckshof and a large pond. There are other recreational facilities in Rivierenhof, which is Antwerp’s largest park. Rivierenhof is in Deurne.

Rivierenhof hosts an annual Valentine Run which takes place today. You can register for the run until Saturday.

Screenshot 2020-02-05 at 15.00.39
Sprookjeshuis

Every Sunday at 2pm at the “sprookjeshuis” there’s a  fairy story read aloud (in Dutch) for children aged 6+. It’s costs 5 euros and you can register your children here, in advance. The Sprookjeshuis is near the Rivierenhof Kasteel and the playground.

Rivierenhof has a  children’s farm (“kinder boerderij”)  for kids which is open again (not just on Sundays, but I am including it here.

As the weather improves, Rivierenhof is a handy place to know about (there’s also mini-golf, as well as ample space to run, exercise and play, and an open air-theatre for summer events and performances) and it’s easily reachable by tram (8 and 10) and bike.

Wild Jo’s Market (see Saturday) opens at 11am.

The weather this weekend is likely to be mild and showery.

Miscellaneous

BEOstaffCheck out this recent guest blog post by Grade 10 students of Antwerp International School who visited the Beo Versmarkt (pic right) on Lange Leemstraat to find out about making sustainable choices when grocery shopping in Antwerp.

As the UK drifted out of the EU with a whimper rather than a bang last week, British passport holders who are interested in retaining the advantages of European citizenship by becoming Belgian may find this recent article from The Brussels Times of use.

Jazz Middelheim tickets are now on sale for 2020.

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Guest post by Grade 10 students of Antwerp International School: Environmentally Friendly Shopping in Antwerp

Where do you buy your groceries in Antwerp?
This blog post is about two different types of grocery shopping in the city, and will be of interest to you if you are keen to reduce your carbon footprint when you make your shopping choices.
By Vasco, Charlotte, Hendrik, Yumiko and Michelle 

Antwerp International School Grade 10 students went on a trip on Wednesday the 8th of January by train to the BeO Versmarkt and a Delhaize grocery store to contrast and compare them with one another: to study the pros and cons of both stores, and to also get a better understanding and learn new things based on what it’s like to shop in them. In this blog post, we will focus on the differences and similarities in looks, packaging, prices, and transport to, later on, conclude and give advice for more sustainable meal preparation.  We are studying a sustainability unit in our language classes so this experience connects to that topic.  

The Set-Up 

roots&grnaatappels
photo by Charlotte

When we first walked into the BeO store (image left), it was noticeably different from the grocery stores we are used to.  It was refreshing not walking into a store where you have to walk around for hours before finding the thing you were looking for. The store was really organized compared to normal grocery stores, partially due to the fact that there weren’t as many products and as big of a range of brands. The store wasn’t as big as Delhaize (grocery store) so there weren’t as many staff working, but that was no problem because it was easy to find staff if you needed help. the fact that almost nothing was wrapped in plastic and the food looked different from the processed food we are used to eating was a real eye-opener. You could tell that the food was organic by the way it was clearly not meant to look ‘perfect’, but instead looked like it came fresh from the farm.  The boxes that the food was placed in indicate where the food came from blue if the food was Belgian-made and in a different box with the name of the country on the label if it wasn’t domestic. But still, 90% of the non-Belgian-made products were produced in Europe. 

Packaging 

nutsandseeds
Differences in packaging. Image created by Charlotte & Michelle

One of the bigger differences were the packaging: for the Beo store there were containers filled up with all kinds of nuts, seeds, grains, dried fruits, spices, and pasta but for the Delhaize store they were all in plastic bags.  Which after visiting the Delhaize store seemed very unnecessary, as so many plastics were being used for proportions not everyone wants. The BeO store had an amazing self-service system, you could bring your own glass containers or buy one in the store and fill it up with oil, vinegar or honey. This way you don’t spend money on the extra packaging while also being sustainable. A lot of other products also had a self-service system, such as nuts, pasta, and seeds. It was a really innovative system, you can buy as much as you need and not waste any food.  

Prices

kerstomaatprice
Top: Delhaize; Below: Beo

We did pricing exercises for similar products in both the BEO V and the Delhaize. The products we’ve compared are simple and well-known, such as red tomatoes and eggs. We saw a big price difference between the tomatoes. The tomatoes in the BEO cost € 3.45/kg, which is € 1.14 more expensive than a kg of tomatoes in the Delhaize, which cost € 2.59 (pic left, by Charlotte). There is a big difference in price between tomatoes, but luckily it’s not the same for the eggs. A box of 6 eggs in the BEO cost € 2.28 as you can get the same amount in the Delhaize for € 2.35, that’s € 0.07 cheaper. So, the idea that eco-shops are always more expensive than regular ones is not true.

In the picture you can see both the difference between the tomatoes in the Delhaize and in the Beo store. 

Transport

Did you know that food production is one of the main causes of CO2 releases in the world? 

Most eco-friendly stores are spread out around the country than the normal stores. The number of eco-friendly shops is significantly smaller compared to the average supermarket. All these factors lead to fewer people going to these shops and when they go they might need to travel longer distances which produces more CO2 pollution.

If there is not an eco-friendly shop near you, you could go to the Exotic Market that opens on Saturdays from 8AM to 4PM in Theaterplein which offers natural products from nearby farms. The products in this market can sometimes be cheaper than in the eco-friendly store. All this contributes to not polluting our environment because the products don’t travel long distances and the customers that use that market can bike there.

BEOstaff
Staff at the Beo Versmarkt

Conclusion

We concluded that the Beo shop that we visited is more eco-friendly than the Delhaize; a regular supermarket. For some people, it might not be the most convenient for them,  since it can take more time, money and transport to get to the few environmental stores depending on where you live in Antwerp. However, despite the challenges, a suggestion from us would be to do your groceries on a Saturday. You could look up ways on how to store and keep your products fresh for the week. You can prepare your meals so you don’t have to worry about having food on the table during weekdays. Also, you don’t have to do all your grocery shopping at an organic store, but every little step helps!

Could you take the time to make your shopping more eco-friendly?

Let us know in the comments!

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This weekend in Antwerp: 24th, 25th & 26th January 2020

Happy New Year to everyone who is celebrating the beginning of the Year of The Rat this weekend!

Saturday

chinatownSaturday will be the busiest day for New Year celebrations in Antwerp’s Chinatown. The most popular part of the day is the Lion dance which takes place on van Wesenbekestraat. Come and enjoy the drama of the dance, and be prepared for the firecrackers, which are plentiful and LOUD. However, there are lots of accompanying events this year, so have a look at the full Chinese New Year programme as there is a lot going on in the Permeke Library, and in front of it on De Coninckplein, where there will be a new year’s market and a Tai Chi demonstration.

On Saturday evening Swaajp Invites (impro theatre) offers an evening of improvisational humour designed to delight all Potterheads.  The evening’s entertainment is in English and begins at 8pm. Reserve your tickets here.

Sunday

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The impressive Districtshuis of Borgerhout on Moorkensplein

Enjoy a new year’s drink with the good people of Borgerhout on the Moorkensplein from 3pm. It’s a free neighbourhood event with soup, drinks, kids’ fun and even a chance to see a giant or two -for which Borgerhout is justly famous.

Alternatively, head back to Viggo’s on de Coninckplein for coffee and Sunday afternoon music from 4pm, with DJ and saxophonist, Eric Morel.

The weather this weekend is likely to remain quite cold, but mainly dry. There might be some showers on Sunday afternoon. Top temps of 8-9 degrees.

 

 

 

Miscellaneous

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MAS

Don’t forget that some Antwerp museums  are free on the last Wednesday of the month (next Wednesday, the 29th). These are the Museum Plantin Moretus, the Rockox Museum, the Museum Mayer van den Bergh, the MAS and the Red Star Line Museum.

Look out for a guest post on Monday – I am especially proud of this one as it has been written by my students at Antwerp International School. We are studying a sustainability topic, and their post is about sustainable shopping in Antwerp.

 

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image from Legends of Liondance Facebook page

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This weekend in Antwerp: 17th, 18th & 19th January 2020

 

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Cafe Capital, Stadspark

Friday

Café Capital in Stadspark are starting the weekend with a fundraiser night to help wildlife organisations currently working to save animals affected by the fires in Australia, and also organisations which are fighting the fires. Sister events will be held in other cities in Europe and beyond.

Celebrate the birthday of Art itself at MUHKA’s Art’s Birthday event from 5pm. This is the 12th year that this has been marked in Antwerp; it was established in 1963 by the artist Robert Filliou: “Filliou first proposed “Art’s Birthday” in 1963. He suggested that 1,000,000 years ago, there was no art. But one day, on January 17 to be precise, Art was born. Filliou says it happened when someone dropped a dry sponge into a bucket of water. He also proposed a public holiday to celebrate the presence of art in our lives. Art’s Birthday was first publicly celebrated in 1973 in Aachen (i.e., Aix-la-Chapelle), Germany and at the same time in Paris, France.” (from Wikipedia)

At the Irish Times Bar it’s Swap Language Night and a chance to brush up your language skills for aspiring polyglots -from 8pm.

Saturday

Screenshot 2020-01-15 at 13.56.08On Astridplein there’s the chance to go tulip picking from 1pm – 4.30. The tulips on Astridplein looked beautiful last year (pic left), but you might have to be prepared to queue a bit to pick your own bunch.

It’s free movie night again at Het Roze Huis (Den Draak) at 8pm. This evening it’s Loving Annabelle. If you are new and not familiar with Het Roze Huis -it’s your first port-of-call for all things LGBTQ+ in Antwerp.

Sunday

Screenshot 2020-01-15 at 14.00.37It’s the monthly second hand book market on de Coninckplein in front of the Permeke Library. Books, comics, graphic novels, postcards and more for very reasonable prices. 10am -4pm.

It should be dry this weekend – with the possibility of light showers on Friday afternoon. There could be some bright spells, but it’s going to be quite cold with top temps of 11 degrees on Friday, and 8 degrees on Saturday and Sunday.

Miscellaneous

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image from: Legends of Liondance Facebook page

Don’t forget to book your tickets to the annual BATS panto, which takes place this weekend: Sleeping Beauty? (pic below, from BATS website) Tickets via the BATS website.

BATS-carrousel-SB2020

 

Need a productive, achievable new year’s resolution that doesn’t involve giving up something you enjoy? Let 2020 be the year you write your Antwerp story for Nessascityblog! Please get in touch with your idea. I’d love to have more guest posts, reviews, tips, personal stories and accounts connected to the city of Antwerp.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 10th, 11th & 12th January 2020

2020new-years-eve-4647528_640Happy New Year!

Welcome back to Nessascityblog, and to the first weekly post of 2020. Here’s a short post about the coming weekend to ease you into the new year. Winter In Antwerp has finished for the season and sometimes this can be a less busy time of year, but here are a few local events to start off your 2020 in Antwerp city …

Friday

Start your weekend with the first Antwerp  Apereau event of 2020 on Theaterplein from 5pm – a good way to wind down after the working week if you are still readjusting to being back at the grindstone after the festive season.

Saturday

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from: Legends of Liondance Facebook page

Chinese New Year (the Year of the Rat) approaches, and there’s a lot going on in the small but lively part of the city that comprises Antwerp’s China town. It’s a place where I spend quite a lot of time with my family, and this year there seems to be more than ever on the program-  including this walking tour of the area  today and the Legends of Liondance expo opening at Permeke library – a free and exciting exhibition which transforms the library with a display of the lions which form part of the traditional New Year celebrations.

Do plan ahead -some events and activities are ticketed or require registration so check out the full programme of readings, workshops, cinema and other events here.

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Jungle Book Lights at the Zoo

Sunday

 

Last chance to catch the Jungle Book Light Festival at Antwerp Zoo.

 

There’s a film and vinyl sale at De Roma theatre on the Turnhoutsebaan starting at 10am. It’s 4 euros in and includes a tour of the old projection room. There’s also a bar, and music throughout the event (DJ).

Miscellaneous

Monday 13th January is “Verloren Maandag” (“Lost Monday”) -a Belgian tradition explained in this recipe post which I found. Expect sausage rolls and appelbollen at your local baker. Update – a reader got in touch to advise reserving yoursausage rolls as most good bakers only bake as much as they need. Thanks for the tip!

Don’t forget to book your tickets to the annual BATS panto, which takes place next weekend: Sleeping Beauty? (pic below, from BATS website) Tickets via the BATS website.

BATS-carrousel-SB2020

 

Need a productive, achievable new year’s resolution that doesn’t involve giving up something you enjoy? Let 2020 be the year you write your Antwerp story for Nessascityblog! Please get in touch with your idea. I’d love to have more guest posts, reviews, tips, personal stories and accounts connected to the city of Antwerp.

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Nessascityblog Winter Holiday Post

edf_softI am taking a break so that I can get ready for my own family Christmas now, so here are a few dates for your diary to see out 2019. Have a wonderful winter break, and a very happy Christmas -see you again in 2020. Thank you for reading and sharing Nessascityblog in 2019.

Winter In Antwerp is now open: this is the highlight of the winter holiday season in Antwerp. If you are new to the city you have plenty of time to check out the various attractions which are on until 5th January. They key locations are Steenplein (especially if you have kids to entertain), Groenplaats and Grote Markt. Christmas market stands can be found in all of these places. There is always a winter bar (this year it’s called Bar Den and will be situated on Steenplein), a big wheel and the ice rink (Groenplaats).

From the 18th – 24th December it’s the Warmste Week -a week of charity events and fundraising across Belgium. You can search for activities and good causes in your area here. Look out for the Screen Shot 2019-12-12 at 10.56.17flame logo which accompanies De Warmste Week events (pic left, taken from the Warmste Week website).

Grand Cafe Capital in Stadspark are celebrating their first Christmas with a Christmas market on daily from the 19th -29th December.

Friday 20th December: BATS Open Evening starts at 5pm at The Little Theatre on Paardenmarkt. A chance to find out about the theatre group and maybe join in, as well as to enjoy some festive cheers, songs, soup and Gluhwein.

On Sunday 22nd December Goegekregen are in the shelter at Park Spoor Noord once more -it a great space for this event and the shelter means that the second-hand market can’t be rained off, but it is a bit drafty at this time of year, so wear a good coat!

Friday 27th is the last Critical Mass ride of 2019, setting off as usual from Theaterplein at 6pm for an hour’s cycling through the city before finishing up at Winter in Antwerp.

For carol services and Masses in English, see the calendar page of St Boniface Anglican Church.

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Antwerp Zoo

The Jungle Book Light Festival  is on at the zoo until 12th January. It is ticketed and enables visitors to see the colourful lights and figures supplied by the makers of China Light, which has taken place in previous years. It’s not the cheapest family evening out, but we have always enjoyed seeing the zoo this way in previous years and consider it a nice winter treat. Check the weather before you book, and wrap up warm if necessary!

Because it’s December, the shops will be open on all Sundays throughout the month, and again on January 5th 2020.

To see in the new year, here is an overview of different parties and ideas for 31st December.

And looking ahead to next year, why not finish the festive season with a trip to the annual BATS panto, which this year, is Sleeping Beauty? (pic below, from BATS website) Tickets via the BATS website.

BATS-carrousel-SB2020

 

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