BATS is a very important part of Antwerp’s theatre scene -both for English speakers from other countries who have made Antwerp their home, and also for native Belgians here in Antwerp.
My own kids have loved their annual pantomimes and my oldest child has been part of a Variety Show, and a panto. It is a place where people not only express their love of theatre, but also make friends and socialise. Please read the flyer below which is from BATS and get in touch with them if you can help!
Antwerp simply wouldn’t be the same without BATS …
Atlas op het plein is an event organised by Atlas, integratie & inburgering Antwerpen, which provides help, support and information for those arriving from other countries to settle in Antwerp. Atlas op het Plein is a chance to socialise with people from a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures, and to have a good time: there will be a conversation café, music, workshops and child-friendly activities -starts at 4pm.
Jazz fans – check out this free Jazz Bar Tour: eleven Antwerp bars offering live Jazz music across the course of the evening. Most are in the Sint Andries area of the city, but some are a little further afield, however I think with a little planning, the walking distance is not too great, and a bike would make this even easier.
This week’s addition to the Antwerp summer bar scene can be found at Plein Publiek where they open their Congé Summer bar from 5pm.
There’s a lot going on in the Dam area of Antwerp:-
On Groenplaats, look out for vintage trams, music and vintage costume (from 1pm) as the tram museum prepares to open to the public tomorrow (see Sunday). The re-opening will also be celebrated at the Zomerfeest Groenenhoek 2019 neighbourhood party which is nearby the new museum, from 11am.
Kleur je Oma is an event that’s a little further away than those I usually include, but what is not to like about this great idea? It’s an art project for anyone who has a beloved grandparent who is gone but not forgotten. You can submit a photo of your grandparent (Oma or Opa) to the project which makes colouring pages of your picture. You can email the photo to firstname.lastname@example.org or attend the event (from 2pm -5pm) in Park Sorghvliedt and bring your picture with you. The images and stories will become part of an exhibition, taking place in July. The event is the brainchild of artist Elske van Lonkhuyzen, and Antwerp’s very own city poet Maud van Hauwaert.
Strip en Boekenplein takes place on de Conninckplein as is usual for the third Sunday of the month. Cheap books and graphic novels for all lovers of book browsing.
Thanks to Stephanie for getting in touch to let me know that on Sunday the Vlaams Tram en Autobus Museum in Berchem (pic below, courtesy of VlaTAM Facebook page) is reopening (following a period of closure for rennovation) at 2pm. On Sundays throughout July, vintage trams will be riding between Groenplaats and the museum at 1.45pm, 3pm, 4.15pm and 5pm.
Markt van Morgen with it’s local, cheerful selection of creatives offering fashion, jewellery, stationery and accessories for sale is on Kloosterstraat from midday until 6pm.
The weather should become nicer after a drizzly week at times -top temps of 22 degrees, though there could still be showers on Saturday.
On Monday on Nessascityblog I am publishing a guest post by Jon Kemp who has experience of various different language courses available to those who wish to learn Dutch in Antwerp. Don’t forget to check in if you think it’s time to brush up on your Dutch language skills -there will be tips about how and where to find a course that’s right for you.
Sinksenfoor has opened at Park Spoor Oost! The traditional Antwerp fair will be open daily until the 7th July.
It’s show time at BATS VZW! don’t forget to order your tickets for their annual Variety Showhow via their website -this year’s extravaganza is a riot of colour and fun, and there are still a few tickets available (particularly for Sunday night).
OXOtia! is a free festival taking place in and around Sterckshof Castle (Rivierenhof; you may know it from the recent de Quaeye Werelt event) over the whole weekend. It’s a weekend of arts, music, dance, performances and workshops. Some activities require registration beforehand via the contact form.
Another whole weekend option is the STORMKOP Festival: five days of kids’ activities centred around protecting the environment and living creatively in an eco-friendly way. Documentaries, science, food, workshops, cycling, eco-activism, music and even a parent-creche where kids can drop off their burdensome grown-ups, to be safely looked after while they enjoy the festival.
I’m going to give Dokmarkt another mention as it is set to be really warm on Friday afternoon and evening, and this location is a nice one for outdoor drinks (Napoleonkaai, near MAS) from 3pm -8pm, as well as for buying locally made food products to take home.
NB: Unfortunately, Flying Pig on Operaplein has been cancelled 😦
My personal recommendation for a good replacement would be to head along to the lovely Beerlovers Bar instead, where you are sure to discover a delicious beer that you haven’t tried or even heard of before.
Antwerp’s biggest annual funfair opens at Park Spoor Oost: Sinksenfoor 2019 starts today – a traditional funfair with all the rides, colour, noise and high-carb food you could wish for! Sinksenfoor is on daily until the 7th July.
Over in the Green Quarter, there will be a day of music and circus action with Circus Marcel from 2pm. This is a lovely area of Antwerp and a great place to take kids.
In Park Spoor Noord it’s the 200 Festival -celebrating 200 years of schools and learning in Antwerp, the day will be marked with talks, workshops, music, performance, activities, demonstrations and of course plenty of food and drink. Plenty going on for kids and their grown-ups. From 11am -8.30pm
Theatre fans: it’s the Flemish Impromarathon hosted by Swaajp and taking place at the Theater Het Klokhuis. It’s a 12 hour marathon, with performances in both English and Dutch (Dutch shows between 10am -4pm). Tickets here for either the full day or a half day.
Gardeners and lovers of flowers in Antwerp always speak highly of the beautiful blooms at the annual Rivierenhof Rozenfeest -it’s not just a chance to see the roses but also to get gardening advice, and enjoy other activities such as performances, music, a picnic and yoga. Rozenfeest takes place from 11am- 6pm, and is free.
Circus seems to be very much in this summer: catch Sinjor Circo on Falconplein from 1pm- 6pm.
Swan Marketis on Grote Markt from 11am- 6pm, with their usual brand of locally crafted jewellery, accessories, household items, stationery and foods.
Good luck to you if you’re running in the Borgerhout Reuzenloop (urban run), which occurs at the same time as the Terlopleinfeest, a free neighbourhood street party offering food, drinks, performances, facepainting and of course a bouncy castle. Both events start at 1pm; the festival continues until 8pm.
The weather will continue warm -especially Friday (up to 23 degrees)- cooling off a bit on Saturday. There may be some showers.
Cafe Capital has opened in Stadspark (on the spot where the nightclub Cafe Capital once stood, until it burned down in a fire in 2010) and this week we took the kids along for lunch. I totally recommend it, as I have often sat in the park while the kids played, wishing that there was a terrace where I could get a glass of wine or a coffee and now there is. They also serve food (I am vegetarian and really enjoyed the roasted carrot salad). Watchful parents have a good view of pretty much the whole playground from the terrace -perfect!
Monday (10th June) is a public holiday in Belgium (Whit Monday). Goegekregen will be on Theaterplein for a holiday edition of their retro/ vintage/ second hand markets
You may remember Daniel McBrearty from his fascinating guest post on Nessascityblog all about the Plantin Moretus museum. Daniel has launched a campaign in Belgium to persuade the supermarket chain Colruyt to reduce plastic packaging and single-use plastics in their stores. Please support the campaign! You can listen to him explain its reasoning in this short film, and the links to the campaign are here (in English), here (in het Nederlands) and here (en Francais).
It’s show time at BATS VZW! don’t forget to order your tickets for their annual show via their website -this year’s extravaganza promises to be a riot of colour and fun.
It’s Antwerp Art Weekend over the whole weekend. Galleries -both large and small- around the city open their doors to spotlight and celebrate contemporary art. Over 80 venues are participating and you can find a list of them here. This is the fifth edition of Antwerp Art Weekend.
Friday evening should be dry and mild, so here’s three possible options for starting the weekend with a few outdoors drinks:
Sun-lovers will be pleased to know that another summer bar is opening for the season. Sommar under Hangar 27 (near Eilandje) opens at 5pm.
And regular Dokmarkt is on Napoleonkaai (Eilandje). If you’re out the office early that starts at 3pm and combines music, outdoor drinks with stands which sell a variety of quality, small-batch products from local businesses. Saturday
For kids: encourage your smallest ones to begin enjoy books and reading at Bib Festival Voor Kleintjes: read aloud, creative fun, workshops and activities based around books, stories and reading for babies and toddlers from
On Sint Jansplein there’s the regular mega grote openlucht rommelmarkt (huge second hand market) from 10am -6pm
And at Plein Publiek it’s the revive market from 10am- 4pm, which is a classy closet sale of vintage and sustainable fashion, where there’s also a bar, and bites available. NB: most stands are cash only
Why not jump on your bike and head to Park Spoor Oost for Festa Primavera? Music and food from 5pm. It’s free but the buffet costs 15e (8e for kids) and it’s advisable to reserve via email@example.com
On the other side of the water, you can also enjoy festival feelz at Left Festival on Linkeroever: food, music, games and a rommelmarkt from 10am until midnight. This event is free, kid-friendly and takes place on Thonetlaan 133, 2050 Antwerpen
Goegekregen are in Park Spoor Noord from 9am with their usual vast array of second hand good, antiques, curiosa, vinyl and second hand & vintage fashion.
Bouger Bouger is a nice neighbourhood party on Krugerplein in Borgerhout from 10am -5pm and features music, food and again, a second hand market.
Openwervendag gives members of the public the chance to go and see building projects which are currently underway in various regions. Here are the sites which will be open in the Antwerp area.
A Piano Marathon will take place alongside the usual second-hand book market on de Conninckplein today from 10am-4pm
And if that isn’t enough secondhand eco-friendly goodness for you, head to nightspot Ampere and get your vintage fashion by the kilo from 10am -6pm.
The weather should continue to be pleasant (20-21 degrees over Saturday and Sunday) with the possibility of a bit of stormy weather on Sunday afternoon.
Pint of Science is coming to Antwerp to explain some cutting-edge scientific ideas and developments, and some of their presentations and discussions will be in English. Here is their program for Antwerp venues – events take place next week from 20th- 22nd May in bars around Antwerp.
This week on Monday I published an extra post: meet Sylwia, a life coach from Poland who has lived in Antwerp since 1996.
And tickets go on sale for the 2019 BATS Variety Show in June. This is a popular annual event, so get in early if you’d like to catch this fun show!
And here’s another option for theatre in English from Antwerp based theatre and impro group Mixed and United: Loads is a play written by Sebastian Badarau. It’s about student actors preparing a Chekhovian play and you can order tickets online here.
Dokmarkt is back on Napoleonkaai, from 3pm -8pm. This is a local market which began last year and which sells food and drink products from local and small businesses, both to take home, and to eat on the spot with drinks.
It’s Critical Mass– bring your bike to Theaterplein at 6pm for an hour’s cycling en masse around the city of Antwerp. And -if you are really keen -see Sunday …
Rude Awakenings (theatre in English) opens at BATS Little Theatre -tickets via the link for the spring production of this one-act play, described as comprising “broad and subtle humour with truthful insights into the pain and pathos that can sometimes lie beneath the surface of village life”. The ticket price even includes cottage pie after the show (send a message if you want the veggie option).
If you are a bookworm who hasn’t checked out Café Boekowski (Bolivarplaats 4) yet, then tonight from 9pm would be a good time to do so, as they celebrate their second birthday with live music and dancing.
Feesten op Linkeroever is a food truck festival on the Boeienweide (Frederik van Eedenplein) just next to the bike/ pedestrian tunnel. From 2pm, and also on Sunday
And here’s a newcomer to the closet sale scene which seems to have become popular lately: Clean Out Your Closet.
Round off your Saturday with a little comedy impro theatre from Swaajp at BATS Little Theatre at 8pm. Tickets can be purchased in advance.
Swan Market is on Grote Markt from 11am -6pm. Swan Market hosts standholders offering products such as clothing, jewellery, stationery, household items, accessories, and home-made food. There’s usually some music and a kids’ area too.
Meet at Theaterplein at 9pm and cycle with Critical Mass all the way to Brussels for Rise For Climate! The group will keep a steady pace, suited to a reasonably fit cyclist. You need to bring enough water and a picnic lunch for on the way.
Antwerp Fashion Exchange is an event idea which enables you to swap your used clothes. Bring them along, clean and ironed, and they will be added to the collection. You will receive token for your contribution which you are then able to exchange for other clothes which have been contributed in the same way.
The weather looks set to be dry this weekend, and quite warm on Friday and Saturday (up to 17 degrees) with temps dropping on Sunday (down to 12-ish).
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’.
Friday It’s the last Friday of the months and it’s a special Critical Mass: it’s the sixth birthday of the Antwerp group. Assemble at 17.45 on Theaterplein (look out for The Hangover Bar).
Saturday JEF is an annual film festival for children and young people in Belgium, with events taking place in various locations across the country. There is of course, a JEF program in Antwerp featuring screenings, activities and workshops for all ages. Most of these take place in the Zuiderpershuis, with a few at the Ecohuis too. JEF runs from today until the 10th March and is well worth looking at if you have kids to entertain during the Spring half-term break (“Krokusvakantie”).
Now that the weather is cheering up, why not head to Plein Publiek and check out the upcoming Circulair Zuid area? There’s a Revive closet sale at Plein Publiek (now at D’Herbouvillekaai 19, 2000) from 10am -4am.
The seed library at the Ecohuis re-opens today, and is a great idea for green-fingered people and gardeners in the city: borrow seeds, and bring back more seeds from your own harvest. Open from 1- 4pm; this is a good time to go along and learn about the work (advice, exhibitions, workshops) of the Ecohuis if you do not already know it (the cafe is really nice too!)
It’s Dag Van De Academies; celebrating the work of those who attend arts academies and follow courses on a part-time basis, with a number of activities, performances and exhibitions in the Antwerp area, including an art trail for children (5-15), starting at Meechelseplein (by the Willem Elsschot statue) at 11am.
Finish your Saturday at BATS Theatre on Paardenmarkt, for a show (in English) from energetic impro group Swaajp, starting at 8pm (and this week hosting “de Boterbrigade“). Tickets here.
Cyclists – it’s the Noordkasteel Cross. It’s 10 euros to take part and forms part of the Ronde van District Antwerpen. Register via the email on the link. Men and women ages 15- 95 may take part.
Temperatures will be mild (13- 14 degrees) cooling off on a Sunday to around 10 degrees. It should be a dry weekend, with some sunshine.
The last Wednesday of the month means free city museums in Antwerp.
… and if that doesn’t provide you with enough cultural enrichment, why not check out this musical event in Merksem (also on Wednesday) which I head about this week, and includes a beautiful classical music set based on dance and fantasy. The second part of the evening there will be a guitar & piano duo playing chansons.
The event (pic right) is free entrance and if you would like a meal before the concert starts, there will be a Volxkeuken providing dinner for just €6.
Next month is Youth Book Month -encourage your young reader by checking out the agenda: there will be lots going on at Bib Permeke.
Are you, or do you know, a young person who has taken part in the Climate Marches recently? If so, he/ she can get a 20% discount on any purchases from any of Antwerp’s eight second hand stores. To get the discount -show a selfie of yourself on the march. It’s available until the 8th March.
Legends of Liondance begins at Permeke library today as part of the approaching Chinese New Year festivities. This is a colourful display of the lions which lasts until 10th February, and is free.
And if you fancy an old-school date, classic film The Italian job is on at Cinema Zuid. This is such a nice venue to watch classic movies, and -at 5 euros – much cheaper than the corporate cinema multiplexes. I recommend checking out the cinema, and their program. Cinema Zuid is in FOMU (the photography museum).
On Saturday afternoon, from 1pm the Astridplein (next to central station) will be transformed into a tulip field containing tens of thousands of tulips from Flanders: you can come and pick some for free, until 4.30pm.
Similar to the Leopold Sundays (see below), Artland sees galleries around the Eilandje area open their doors and also offer a New Year’s drink to visitors, as well as a chance to see the works on display in the art-spaces around MAS. Free, from 1pm -6pm
It’s the first Boeken Plein of 2019 at de Coninckplein in front of Permeke Library: second hand books, magazines, postcards and graphic novels for sale from 10am -4pm. This event takes place monthly on the third Sunday of every month.
Not far away around the Leopoldplaats area, it’s another Leopold Sunday: seven galleries open their doors simultaneously enabling you to enjoy for free a variety of local art exhibitions between 2 and 6pm.
The weather will feel pretty cold, but Friday and Sunday should have some periods of brightness. Possibility of showers.
This week I published a special post by Daniel McBrearty. If you haven’t seen it yet, it is a lively and fascinating account of the history, ideas and current expo behind the Plantin Moretus museum on the Vrijdag markt: How An Antwerp Immigrant Changed The World In 1550.
January in Antwerp wouldn’t be complete without the BATS panto! This year it’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (oh, yes it is!) at Theater ‘t Eilandje, and tickets are available via the BATS VZW website.
Part of Antwerp starts this weekend, although most events take place from next weekend, and I will post again about it next week. It’s a series of events over September which centre on the Port and the Eilandje area of the city. Eilandje is always a great area to visit or take guests -if you are recently arrived, it is the area where the well-known MAS museum is situated; there are also lots of nice bars and cafés around the water.
Following on from the Liberation Ball, there are also Remembrance ceremonies for the Liberation of Antwerp all over Antwerp this weekend (starting at the monument in the Stadspark at 10:00 on Saturday) and a tattoo on the Grote Markt on Saturday evening with marching bands from the US, Russia & Belgium..
It’s the annual Damse Feesten around the Dam area of Antwerp: a neighbourhood street party with fun competitions, a flea market, performances and kids’ fun in streets near Park Spoor Noord (Lange Lobroekstraat, Twee Netenstraat and Ijzerlaan) from 9am, with the last performance starting at 8pm.
If you have children interested in theatre, take them along for some taster sessions at BATS VZW to meet the Pipistrelle Youth Theatre.
Paardenmarkt 111, Antwerp
12.30 – 14.00 Group 1. 7 – 10 y
14.15 – 15.45 Group 2. 11 – 14 y
16.00 – 18.00 Group 3. 15+
Heritage Day or “Open Monument Day” (Open Monumentendag) takes place across Flanders, with plenty to see and do in Antwerp. You can see the cultural centres and monuments which open their doors for free in the Antwerp area here -there are over 100 of them!
Markt van Morgen are on the Kloosterstraat again from midday until 6pm -you can find jewellery, stationery, household goods and accessories for sale.
There’s a second hand market on Dageraadplaats from 9am -6pm. This is also a good local square to know about, with a play area for kids, and numerous bars with terraces.
The roller-skating at the Dageraadplaats was fun -come and enjoy a similar event on Krugerplein this Sunday at 2pm.
This week I pressed Buskers and Street Musicians in Antwerp a guest blog post by Dave Llewellyn, now returned to Scotland who played music in the streets of Antwerp between 1998- 2012: read all about his fascinating memories of our city. Get in touch if you have an Antwerp story to tell!
BATS do shows in English. Their variety show “Around The World” is coming soon. You can read about it and order tickets here.
The weather this weekend should remain warm and dry with temperatures between 18- 22 degrees, and some clouds.
It’s National Tulip Day –really. It marks the beginning of the tulip season, and while this might be more of a big deal for our friends in the Netherlands, it will be marked here in Antwerp too, with a tulip garden on Astridplein where you may pick one bunch of tulips for free, between 1pm -4.30pm
It’s the annual Children’s Ball at Opera Vlaanderen (Frankrijklei 3) at 11pm. Tickets are 8 euros via the link
At Het Roze Huis it’s the regular free film night. Tonight showing the 1990 Madonna movie- Strike a Pose at 8pm.
Or head for the Little Theatre on Paardenmarkt for an evening of fun impro theatre (in English) courtesy of Swaajp at 8pm. Tickets are 9 euros (a mere 6 for students) and this week the special guest is Hila di Castro, from Israel.
Two events at Permeke library today: the first is the regular “boekenplein” (second hand books, graphic novels, magazines and more) which takes place on the third Sunday of every month on de Coninckplein from 10am -4pm) and the second is a read-aloud hour for kids aged 4-8 at 11am (Dutch). Both are free. I also really like the cafe at Permeke (that’s the glassy green cube by the library entrance).
If your finances are looking a bit on the thin side after the festive season, you will be pleased to know it’s the first Goegekregen/ SNITT second hand market (‘rommelmarkt’ in Dutch) this year -at the Park Loods from 9am -6pm. Free.
And here’s a children’s opera-based show which caught my eye. There are two performances on Sunday (at 3pm and 5pm), for kids aged 8+ and tickets cost 8 euros (via the link).
Wrap up, Antwerplings! It’s been a chilly week and not going to be a warm weekend, and alas, both Saturday and Sunday are likely to be showery.
One week to go until BATS panto …. the last remaining tickets can be purchased here.
If you want to keep those winter warmth feelings going for as long as you can, winter bar Aspen Bocadero is still open (until January 21st)
If you are young and in a band and want to play live at the Antwerp 2018 Festival in May, check out this contest run at KAVKA -you need to register by the end of the month.
Find me on social media, where additional events and locations are also posted: