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 …
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.
And don’t forget Dokmarkt down at Eilandje from 3pm -8pm.
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.
Take the kids to play outside on Groenplaats (pic right) from 1.30pm with Jespo on Tour. Jespo 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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If 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.
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).
A 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).
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.
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’.
Hello! As promised, quite a bit more on Nessascityblog after a teeny tiny mini-post last week. So here’s your GOOGLE-TASTIC MAPwith key locations for the events listed here for this weekend in Antwerp.
Antwerp gastro-fest Smaakmeesters continues throughout October with walks, offers, foodie workshops and markets …
From 3pm – 8pm you might want to check out Dok Markt -on Eilandje. I have passed by on my bike (alas, didn’t have time to stop) and thought it looked very nice, so am hoping to be able to make a more leisurely visit soon. Dokmarkt offers fruit, veg, flowers and other local food products, or the chance to hang out and start your weekend with some oysters and/ or a glass of cava.
For something else a little different you might want to enjoy the last Friday night at Bar Noord: they are holding a Silent Disco … which is a lot more fun than it sounds. It’s free in, but headphone hire is 8 euros. The headphones have three channels of dancey tunes and you can switch between them at will -the colour of our headphones shows which channel you are tuned into. Yes, it’s a bit odd … but in a good way.
If you wake up with flamenco feelz, head to Groenplaats for a Day of Spanish Culture from 11am – 7pm, featuring music and dance, food and kids’ face-painting. Here’s the full program.
For bargain hunters, look up and visit your local Kringwinkel (aka second hand store/ thrift shop) because it’s Dag van de Kringwinkel today, so a particularly good day to get a bargain. Scroll down this .pdf for a list of participating stores in the Antwerp area -each store has a focus re: the type of goods being offered.
I like the Kringwinkel on Sint Jorispoort -it has four floors and is well worth a browse at any time for household goods, clothes, white goods, and baby/ kids items.
Bar Noord’s main end-of-season event –The Closing Party -will take care of your evening requirements: it’s free and starts at 8pm.
Art lovers: Leopold Sunday is an event where eight galleries open their doors simultaneously in the area of the Leopoldplaats (that’s the square near the National Bank) between 2 and 6pm. The participating galleries are: Annie Gentils, Artelli Gallery, (re)D., Geukens & De Vil, mariondecanniere, Philippe Piessens, Keteleer Gallery and Next Door. Leopold Sundays will take place six times between now and next spring.
It’s the monthly Strip en Boekenplein (second hand book market) on de Coninckplein (just in front of Permeke Library) from 10am.
It’s the absolute last chance to enjoy Bar Noord in 2018 with its Sunday Matinee starting at 3pm. It’s such a handy hangout and I have to say that when Bar Noord closes its doors, we really have to accept that summer is done …
… on the other hand, the unseasonably warm weather is set to continue, and there is little chance of rain; top temps around 17- 18 degrees.
Last Sunday saw elections take place across Belgium. It is not always easy to understand the political processes and parties of your adopted country, but doing so can make non-Belgians feel a bit more integrated. Here is an article from Flanders Today that might help you understand the election, and the results, if you don’t speak a lot of Dutch yet. I voted for the first time as a Belgian (although non-Belgians may also vote in local elections). The next election will be a general election in May 2019.
Want a random restaurant recommendation?
Try Elsie’s Ethiopian and Eritrean Restaurant Mr Nessascityblog and I were there a couple of weeks ago and loved the food which was very reasonably priced. Elsie’s has moved to this new address (in Het Zuid) from the previous location on Turnhoutsebaan.
The food was delicious, the service was friendly and -ideally for us – there was a good range of vegetarian (and vegan) options.
Pop-up summer bars are at the heart of the Antwerp Summer experience, and are always an excellent go-to option for simply getting out in the city with friends or family. I can’t list them all but here is a breif guide to some I have been to. For a full list of all the summer bars in Antwerp (and beyond) this site is very useful and has an English version now too.
The Zomer van Antwerpen summer bar on Sloepenweg is the mother of all summer bars and is completely all-purpose, providing affordable food, drink, an outdoor library, ZVA info-booth, circus tent, and loads of space for kids to play. Professional loafers (like myself during the summer holidays) think of it as ZVA HQ.
In Park Spoor Noord, Bar Noord is similarly all-purpose if you are entertaining kids for the warm summer days (the fountains in which children can play are a big draw when temperatures rise). Bar Noord is open until late with more events and music for when it’s grown-up time.
Another huge bar is Bocadero at Waagnatie. It’s got a great location right by the water and is a pretty hip place to see and be seen. Kids will like the sand but Bocadero is definitely more of a venue for those sans enfants, as is Jardim just a little further along the river. There is more of a cocktail atmosphere at these two bars
Bar Paniek is another bar we have enjoyed: it’s got a more quirky and somewhat arty vibe, and is located on the Kattendijkdok with an industrial waterside feel and a standard drink selection: come for a glass of wine or a Seefbeer, rather than to hang with the cocktail crowd. Bar Paniek has also served as a nice location for food and second hand markets in the past. I get the impression that the Cadix Wijk in this area is an up-and-coming one.
Also part of ZVA, the Zomerfabriek -is a spacious urban- style bar in Zurenborg, with a busy programme of regular events (e.g. urban sports, dance workshops) aimed mostly at a younger crowd, but the bar itself is a really nice place for anyone wanting a food and drink.
Right in the centre of the city is Strandhof at Kavka. Kavka is a youth-club but even as a crumbly middle-aged person, I really liked being able to go to a summer bar here, two years ago, in the courtyard of this attractive building on Oudaan. It was missed last summer. It’s a perfect location if you are shopping or running errands in the centre and want to get away from busy shops or sticky streets.
A Dozen Dates For Your Summer Diary:
1) On the 11th July, head to Groenplaats for Vlaanderen Feest (the kids entertainments start at midday, courtesy of Ketnet) and the evening entertainment begins on the Grote Markt at 17.45. Both squares will have stages, music, drink, activities and dancing. This is the Day of the Flemish Community, not to be confused with Belgium’s National Day (see number 5, below)
2) On the 15th July, it’s the usual second hand book market on de Coninckplein in front of Permeke Library, starting at 10am.
3) Food and Drinks Festival Fiesta Europa is on Groenplaats for five days from the 18th July
5) 21st of July is a national holiday in Belgium, it being Belgian National Day What better way to celebrate than by going to Roller Disco Dageraad ? It’s on all day from 1pm on Dageraadplaats: bring your skates if you have them (there will be a limited number for hire if you don’t) and dress as per roller disco style!
6) Staying on Dageraadplaats for the 22nd July for Rommelmarkt Dageraad. These second hand markets are pretty good as many of the local residents are quite well-heeled…
7) Art Lovers: on 29th July it’s Lambermontmartre -support local artists, photographers and creatives while enjoying outdoor food, drinks and music. Free, from midday -in front of the museum of modern art (aka KMSKA).
8) On the 3rd August Flying Pig is at Antwerp’s Theaterplein. Outdoor evening drinks, DJs and music from 5pm.
9) Also on the 3rd August and continuing on to the 4th it’s annual music festival Linkerwoofer.Tickets here – this is a kid-friendly event.
10) Stay up late and visit your favourite Antwerp museum on the 4th August because it’s the annual Antwerp Museum Night
11) The next day (5th August) you can sing your heart out at Antwerp Zingt. This is a super-friendly, kid-friendly event based around the simple idea that it is fun for a community to get together in song. As well as local songs, there are usually plenty of well-known tunes that everyone can join in with, and a song sheet to help you along. Free, on the Gedempte Zuiderdokken from 6pm
16) And last, but never least, it is the rainbow jewel in the crown of the Antwerp summer: from 8th-12th August it’s Antwerp Pride. The Parade is on the Saturday, starting at 2pm and taking this route: Route: Vlaamse Kaai (start) – Verschansingsstraat – Leopold De Waelplaats – Karel Rogierstraat – Marnixplaats – Scheldestraat – Scheldekaaien – Sint-Pietersvliet (end). For the full program (including pre- and post Pride events) see here.
Five For The Rugrats
1) For just 2 euros per day per kid there’s Speel -O- Rama at Zuiderpershuis
2) Time your drinking to coincide with kids’ read-aloud: daily stories at the outdoor library in the Zomerbar.
3) Check out these sport programs and activities (you need to register for these and pay a fee when you do so). Choose your activity and click on “inschrijven”. Here is the full list For other types of workshops, it is worth looking at the websites of local museums such as MUHKA who have additional holiday workshops for kids.
4) For cheap indoor play there is Sportopia at the Park Loods building (Park Spoor Noord)
5) The kids’ workshops and activities which have previously been held at Cafe Het Steen have moved to a new venue further along the river on the Drogendokkenweg, and is now called STORMKOP. Here’s their program.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or via the other social media in the Find & Follow section. I’d love to hear and share your Antwerp story! Nessascityblog weekly posts will return on 16th August.
I think we are all feeling fed up of the seemingly endless winter, so the opening party of Bar Noord in Park Spoor Noord will hopefully usher in some warmer weather and some spring and summer vibes.
The party is free and starts at 4pm. It kicks off a weekend of events to mark the opening of this popular Antwerp summer bar. Check barnood.be for details of events on Saturday and Sunday too.
Warm up for the big cycling event by joining the Critical Mass Easter Ride which departs from Theaterplein at 6pm for approximately one hour of biking through the city, returning to the Theaterplein at about 7pm. This edition of the regular bike ride promises music and chocolate as part of its Easter theme. Kid friendly and always free.
Check the Saturday Programme for the Tour of Flanders information. The actual race starts on Sunday, but the pre-race builds up will be very much underway in the Fan Village on Groenplaats which opens Saturday at midday
Browse the regular open-air flea market on the Sint Jansplein from 9am -5pm and pick up a bargain in this bustling and diverse neighbourhood.
The Tour begins! Here’s the Sunday Programme . Early birds can see the cycling slebs from 8.30am on stage at Grote Markt, and the starting gun will be fired at Steen at 10.30. This is the second time that Antwerp has started this famous Belgian cycling race. Big screens on Groenplaats will be showing the race until 6pm.
Snitt and Goegekregen will be holding one of their big second hand, retro & vintage markets at Parkloods from 9am -6pm. It’s free and ideally located to combine with a visit to Bar Noord (opening this weekend -see Friday)
There’s Sunday shopping in town and also in the Quartier National for Easter and the Tour.
The weather looks likely to be dry and mild for the most part (9-12 degrees) with the possibility of some showers on Friday.
Antwerp’s Pancake Boat starts up for the season this weekend.
Kids are off school of course. You might want to check out these Easter Holiday Activities and enrol your child(ren) using the form. The city museums in Antwerp are also offering a number of ateliers for kids aged 5-12. Search here.
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Wild Jo’s Market takes place over Saturday and Sunday at de Koninck Brouwerij It’s a nice market if you have time on your hand and like design, but it does cost 4 euros to get in, which I personally think is a bit steep (although it’s free for under 16s) as an entry charge to a place where you are likely to be spending further. There is both an inside and an outside area, and there will be local creatives and entrepreneurs selling clothes, design and household items, art, crafts, food, clothing and more. There will also be live music.
Over in Park Spoor Noord, Bar Noord is closing, which confirms that summer is over and it’s definitely autumn. SNITT and Goegekregen are holding a second hand market in the shelter from 9am -6pm and over the weekend there is a program of events from Bar Noord to mark the end of their summer 2017 season.
It’s also Kringwinkel Day – a good day to get a bargain in any one of Antwerp’s second hand stores. I like the one at St Jorispoort as it is very big -three floors of furniture, household goods, clothes, toys and well, anything, really. Here’s the program for the day (scroll down for De Kringwinkel Antwerpen -page 3/ 5- where you can see the specific themes/ specialties for each of the stores). Sunday
And from 10am -5pm Brilliant Foodies – a food festival organised by Antwerp World Diamond Centre at Felix Pakhuis (Eilandje, near MAS). Free entry.
Temperatures are likely to be pleasant this weekend (reaching 17 degrees) but there are chances of showers on both Saturday and Sunday.
Coming Soon: I’m looking forward to pressing another guest post this time from Laura, an Italian who lives in Antwerp and is the the writer of Nonnative blog
Don’t forget to get in touch via email@example.com if you would like to write a post telling your Antwerp story.
Next Wednesday (25th) is the last Wednesday of the month so don’t forget that Stad Antwerp museums are free on that day, which is handy to know if you have kids to occupy. Also handy to know if you have kids, is that Filmhuis Klappei is showing children’s films on Wednesday afternoons, starting at 2.15. This coming Wednesday it’s Viana (in Dutch): cost -2.50 for kids and 3.50 for adults (reserve via the email link).
And one more for the kids: you may be pleased to know that the indoor playground above Mercado (Groenplaats) is reopening this weekend. It will be open on Saturdays and Sundays (and during school holidays) from 10am- 6pm and on Wednesdays from 1pm -6pm.