This weekend in Antwerp: 16th, 17th & 18th August

Hi again! It’s back to weekly posts on Nessascityblog and I hope you have enjoyed a great summer so far -don’t forget that the summer post will still contain relevant information, but let’s get back to the specifics for the coming weekend.

It’s Bollekes Feest 2019! For those newly arrived in Antwerp, this is a great way to see the city at its best. “Bollekes” are beers, from the local De Koninck Brewery (as well as the usual pils -aka a ‘pintje’- a bolleke is always standard in Antwerp bars and restaurants) and Bollekesfeest is a festival which showcases De Koninck beers as well as others, in an annual festival of beer, foods, music and general bon viveur-ism.

Bollekesfeest is on over the whole weekend, at various locations. It’s a family friendly event, and if you have kids with you, Steenplein will be ideal -there’s always activities for children to enjoy while their parents have a drink.

The other main locations for Bollekesfeest are Groenplaats, Grote Markt and Suikerrui – just head to the old town (Historic Centre) and you can’t miss it. Payment this year (as last year) is cashless -a system which worked well. Get your Bollekesfeest card, load it up at the kassa, and off you go.

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Bollekesfeest on Steenplein

It is also Jazz Middelheim (ticketed) all weekend.

Friday

Dokmarkt is on every Friday from 3pm until 8, and if you want to stay out later, you’re very close to summer bars like Jardim, Sommar and Bocadero -all of which are along the Schelde.

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Dageraadplaats

You could also start your weekend on Dageraadplaats with Muziek in de Wijk from 5pm, or at this weekend’s Free Friday gig at OLT Rivierenhof, from 7pm with Pink Floyd tribute act, Floyd Matters.

Here’s the Bollekesfeest Friday Programme

Saturday

Here’s the Bollekesfeest Saturday programme.

Sunday

It’s the monthly second hand book and comics/ graphic novels sale on De Coninckplein
in front of the Permeke library, from 10am- 4pm.

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de Coninkplein

And there’s more browsing to be had on Dageraadplaats at the secondhand market there from 9am- 6pm. This is always a good market, and the location is nice and very kid-friendly.

Here’s the Bollekesfeest Sunday programme.

The weather should be warm this weekend, with top temperatures of around 22- 23 degrees. It should also be dry with the possibility of light showers only on Saturday evening.

Miscellaneous

Always keen on finding new places to eat and drink at an affordable price in Antwerp you will be pleased to learn that this summer I discovered three new (or fairly new) places to dine, which I am happy to recommend to you. These are (in no particular order) :

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dinner at Shad

Shad on Tabakvest near Theaterplein, does a lovely curry, very reasonably priced and handily located near other bars (Theaterplein) for going on with drinks with friends too.

Baby Pinoy is more of a lunch venue. It serves delicious Philipino-inspired meals in a pretty restaurant near the zoo. I also enjoyed the Korean iced coffee that they do there.

Bentosan is a very recent arrival in China town on Van Wesenbekestraat. My daughter and I were hugely impressed by the vegetarian hotpot. A great place to take your time with your food in a friendly environment.

All of the above are very different in their style of food, but I’d give them all a recommend for some qualities they have in common: reasonable prices, informal ambience and really friendly service. Also, I am always on the look out for places with good veggie options (I am vegetarian, but most of my friends are not) so that I can enjoy a meal out alongside my omnivorous companions.

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Race For The Cure Antwerpen (pic courtesy of Think Pink Belgie)

For the last two years I have run Think Pink Race For The Cure Antwerpen with friends and with my son. It’s on Linkeroever and participants can choose between a 6km run, or a 3km walk. You can sign up here -it’s always a great day, and a very worthy cause (breas cancer awareness and research).

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

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This weekend in Antwerp: 29th, 30th & 31st March

Friday

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Dokmarkt

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).rudeawakenings BATS

 

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.

Saturday

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This way to Linkeroever

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.

 

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Sunday

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.

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Theaterplein

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).

Miscellaneous

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’.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 18th, 19th & 20th January

Friday

lolfLegends 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).

Saturday

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Eilandje

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

 

Sunday

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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.

Miscellaneous

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.

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

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skating on Groenplaats

The Winter In Antwerp season has started, bringing you winter warmers and festive cheer at various locations around the city, until the 6th January. If you have been in Antwerp for over a year, you will be familiar with the regular features of Winter In Antwerp, and will recognise many of them again this year, in their usual locations: skating on Grote Markt; the Christmas Market on Grotemarkt, Suikerrui and Steenplein; The Big Christmas Wheel also on Steenplein, and the Winterbar on Groenplaats. This year the tubing (2 euros a ride) will be at a new venue: Astridplein. If you have kids, then the Spiegeltent and kids’ corner might be best for you -on Steenplein. The funfair stalls will be along the riverside as usual.

On the other side of the water, there’s Club Cabane Winter Edition, also with Christmas food & drink, a skating rink and a Christmas Market.

Mekanik
Mekanik

Saturday

From 11-6pm at Mekanik store there is a Christmas sale of graphic artworks and illustrations by local graphic artists. Mekanik is Antwerp’s best-known store for . graphic novels, graphic series, animé, comics & more.

SNITT are at CostA on Sint Andriesplaats with a sale of second hand and vintage clothing from 11am- 4pm. This is part of the “Krijg de Klere” event:

Krijg de Klere is an event which asks questions about the textile industry and its impact. There will be activities which encourage and support a more environmentally friendly way of living, and of re-using what we already have. Come dressed in your favourite second-hand clothes, bring your second hand clothes for de Collectie and take part in workshops run by MoMU, a repair café run by Circuit Antwerpen, a speakers’ corner and more (music; drinks; food).

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At Het Roze Huis on Draakplaats, it’s a free film night, starting at 8pm and this month showing I Love You Phillip Norris.  Het Roze Huis holds free film nights on the third Saturday of every month.

Or if you’d like to be the star of the show (or even behind the scenes) head to BATS Little Theatre on Paardenmarkt from 8.30pm to find out more about English speaking theatre in Antwerp, at their Winter Wonderland Open Evening -also a great chance to find out about their upcoming panto: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in January 2019.

If you are ready for a full-on Christmas service with a Cathedral choir, then head to St Walburgiskerk at 8pm and enjoy the singers of the Portsmouth Cathedral Choir at this Christmas Concert. It’s free, but if you are certain you will be attending, you can reserve a place via this link.

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Sunday

Regular book-lovers’ secondhand market on de Coninckplein in front of the library from 10am: books, comics, etc and (if you are in that area with children) in the Permeke itself, it’s the read-aloud story hour in the library at 11 (free) for kids aged 4-8 (in Dutch).

More secondhand goodies in the Parkloods, courtesy of Goegekregen and the Christmas edition of their successful secondhand, retro and vintage markets. Free in, from 9am -6pm.

For shoppers -the shops are open in Antwerp on Sundays throughout December.

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Alas, it looks likely to be rainy again this weekend, particularly on Saturday and Sunday, and temperatures slightly colder than last weekend -down to 2 degrees on Friday; up to 6-8 degrees over Saturday and Sunday.

Miscellaneous

Two recent special posts: this guest post all about an Italian home-run business called Whisk & Scoop. Have a look if you haven’t read it yet: it’s a must for lovers of authentic Italian food.

heart-1348870_640… and the previous week Nessascityblog also had a guestblog post: a super-handy A-Z of LGBT Antwerp, listing bars, clubs, festivals, community groups and more -by Timothy Junes of Be Out.

 

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De Warmste Week

De Warmste Week (The Warmest Week) is an annual week of fundraising and charity events taking place across Flanders. If you wish to organise an event or activity you can do so and register it via the website. For more fundraising events, look for the Warmste Week logo (left). Charity runs are a big part of De Warmste Week and you can now register for the Antwerp Run which takes place on the 21st December. The first step is to pick the cause you would like to run and raise money for. You can do this as a group or an individual, and will need to be able to make a minimum donation of 15 euros when you register to participate.

If you are looking for carol services in English (also beyond Antwerp) this is a very helpful link from Discovering Belgium blog

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This weekend: 17th & 18th November

It’s all about Sinterklaas this weekend. If you are new to Belgium, The Sint is the winter gift-bearing Saint, familiar to children in Belgium (on the 6th December) and The Netherlands (5th December). But 2-3 weeks prior to the day of celebration there is the arrival of the Sint (“intocht” or “intrede”) from Spain, in various cities, including Antwerp, where the children are known to be particularly well-behaved. This is a very important occasion.

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Children waiting for the Sint at the Town Hall 

Once arrived, The Sint is presumed to be generally in the area. Now and then -before the day itself – kids can put out a shoe, and in the morning it will be filled with sweets. The Sint travels on a horse, assisted by the “pieten”.  Children might also leave out some form of refreshment for the Sint, and some straw or carrot for his horse. His visits to our home indicate that he is not averse to Leffe. Also Gin.

On the day of Sinterklaas, children receive their presents. There are particular sweets eaten during Sinterklaas (pepernoten, kruidennoten, marzipan) and Sinterklaas songs.

Saturday

 

2018 signals a bit of a change in the usual Antwerp Sinterklaas arrival proceedings, which involved the Good Sint docking (he arrives by boat) near Steen, and making his way to Grote Markt, where he addresses the children of Antwerp and their families from the balcony of the Town Hall.

NB: This year, everything takes place around MAS and Eilandje – so this is now the area to avoid like the black death if you are kiddie-free (you can safely go to the old town instead).

Verbindingsdok-Westkaai is the location for the 2018 arrival, and the whole thing will be broadcast from 13.30 by Ketnet (TV Channel) who also provides the kids’ entertainment. The Sint will be welcomed by the Mayor at 13.45 and then make his way via Napoleonkaai, de Nassaubrug and the Oostendekaai to the square in front of the MAS museum (Hanzestedeplaats) where he will address the waiting crowds of sugar-fuelled youngsters.

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If you don’t have kids to amuse, you might prefer to go to Steez 02: Urban Culture Festival at de Studio, free entrance for the afternoon program from 2pm (also on Sunday)  -Live Music – Urban Art – Streetwear – Lifestyle – Food – DJ – Skate.

Sunday

Today is Kunstendag voor kinderen – day of arts activities for children across Flanders. Use the search facility to find out what is going on in your locality. Here are the activities for the Antwerp area. Many activities are free (such as this cute Miffy activity at Permeke Library at 11, for kids aged 4+) while others have a participation fee. Check also if you need to register (“inschrijven”) your child(ren) beforehand.

rednoseRodeneuzen Dag (Red Nose Day) raises money to support young people in Belgium in need of mental health services and support, and supports schools in attending to the mental and social wellbeing of students, with campaigns and projects. Many schools take part. Join in by visiting the second hand market being held on Groenplaats for Rode Neuzen Dag – from 9am -17h. Rode Neuzen Dag activities continue throughout November.

It’s the monthly Strip en boeken plein (second hand book market) on De Coninckplein in front of the Permeke Library from 10am.

This weekend is expected to be dry, with cool temperatures (8-11 degrees) and bright, sunny periods.

Miscellaneous

Also for Sinterklaas -The Belgian postal service (Bpost) will deliver children’s letters and drawings to the Sint (until 29th November) -details and address here. NB -be sure to write the child’s name and address on the outside of the envelope, so that the Sint can reply and send a surprise.

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I am really delighted to let you know that a special guest-blog post is on the way. Watch this space -especially if you’d like to know more about LGBTQ+ life in Antwerp – talking of which L-Week (10 day festival of events for lesbians) is currently underway in Antwerp, until 18th November.

And if you have been thinking about writing a post for Nessascityblog, do seize the day -I’d love to hear your Antwerp story, or hear about an aspect of Antwerp life that you know well. Drop me a line at nessascityblog@gmail.com.

I am interested in doing a post about Antwerp Apps. Do you use one? What does it do? Which devices is it compatible with and what do you think of it?

Bargain hunters -did you know that Antwerp has a Last Minute Ticket Shop? Well you do now. You can buy last-minute reduced cost tickets from 12- 5pm on Fridays and Saturdays, for shows, concerts, theatre performances etc.

Yes, that time of year is approaching and the Winter In Antwerp website is now up!

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This weekend in Antwerp: 2nd, 3rd & 4th November

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Hello! What a crappy week it has been, but if you are catching this post on Thursday, then you still have time to catch a holiday rommelmarkt on Theaterplein, courtesy of Goegekregen, from 9am -6pm as the 1st November is a public holiday. Good.

I always think there is a bit of a lull in events and activities at this time of year, between summer and winter, but here are a few things coming up this weekend.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on Nessascityblog Facebook (Events in Antwerp: in conjunction with London Calling), Twitter & Pinterest & Instagram where additional events and info are also posted.

There’s the annual huge Antwerp Book Expo on at the moment and until 11th November. For non-Dutch speakers there are a few stands exhibiting books in English.

Friday

For something a little different why not start your weekend at Bar Venetie on Turnhoutsebaan at a Dia de los muertos party starting at 8pm, 5 euros in. Playing music from recently departed greats. Also New Orleans funeral music.

Saturday

Down at Costa Sint Andries it’s the Opening of Lokaal 25 a community pop-up on Sint-Andriesplaats. Discover what’s on offer in terms of events, readings and workshops between 10am and 2pm -music and snacks on offer too.

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Meanwhile in the same area it’s local Farmers’ Market Kraakvers on the square from 9am -2pm.

On the other side of town (but not too far away) it’s the “mega groote rommelmarkt” on Sint-Jansplein from 10am -6pm

Sunday

It’s the first Sunday of the month, so shops will be open on Meir and other shopping areas in town (Kloosterstraat, Nationalestraat) for Sunday shopping.

Swan Market (food, gifts, design, stationery, jewellery, accessories) will be at Meatpack on Samberstraat from 11-5pm

Miscellaneous

I am pleased to share this interview I did for The Bulletin about life in Antwerp.

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It’s been a little while since we had a guest blog, so if you -YES, YOU! – have been thinking about writing a post for Nessascityblog, do seize the day -I’d love to hear your Antwerp story, or hear about an aspect of Antwerp life that you know well. Drop me a line at nessascityblog@gmail.com

Rain is predicted up to and including Friday, but thereafter it could be dry and reasonably mild (13- 14 degrees).

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This weekend in Antwerp: 19th, 20th & 21st October

Hello! As promised, quite a bit more on Nessascityblog after a teeny tiny mini-post last week. So here’s your GOOGLE-TASTIC MAP with 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 …

Also over the whole weekend: events at Bar Noord in Park Spoor Noord which closes for the end of the summer season for 2018

Friday

eilandjeFFrom 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.

Saturday
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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.
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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.

Sunday

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.

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Bar Noord @ Park Spoor Noord

Miscellaneous

I am pleased to share this interview I did for The Bulletin about life in Antwerp.

vote-2831241_640Last 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.

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Ethiopian coffee at Elsie’s

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.

 

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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: 24th & 25th March

A mini post this weekend as I am away in Ireland for a couple of days. Normal service will resume next week, but in the meantime here are a few links which might be handy for you.

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Let’s start with a plug for the good folk of BATS VZW who are going to be bringing the stories of Sam Shepard to Antwerp all weekend at their event An Evening With Sam Shepard. Listen to stories in English, on Friday, Saturday & Sunday.

 

 

 

Saturday

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Het Steen

Seminiviering is a spring time fertility ritual and very much a local celebration which take place on the first Saturday of spring, and which you can read about here. Festivities begin on the Grote Markt at 11.30 am, with folk dancing and singing. You can then follow the procession to Sint Andries, via Het Steen, where the figure of Semini can be seen above the archway entrance.

The ABC (antiques, bric-a-brac, curiosa) market is on at Den Beulebak from 11am -5pm

And for the coolest Saturday night in town head to London Calling at Ampere, as they celebrate their third birthday.   Tix here!!

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Sunday

Jeugdboekenmaand is coming to an end. Head to Permeke Library for the free closing party, suitable for all ages and promising a photo exhibition and  futuristic tunes from a winged music machine …

SNITT (second hand market organisers) are holding a rommelmarkt at Haar on Montevideostraat from 10 am -7pm.

The weather is likely to be much milder (11-12 degrees) and dry on Friday and Saturday, with the possibility of some showers on Sunday.

Miscellaneous
Colective Amorika, March Agenda:

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If you are a runner, you can register for the Antwerp Ten Miles which takes place on  the 22nd April.

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This Weekend in Antwerp: 9th, 10th & 11th March

Friday

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Band 110 & Fabrik

Nessascityblog’s absolute favourite Antwerp band –Band 110 – are playing Fabrik, starting at 9.30pm. 110 are a three-piece improvisational electro-rock band from Antwerp described thus: “sometimes downtempo and haunting, other times whirring with energy, 110 make atmospheric, trippy instrumental music based around sampled loops”.

 

 

Saturday

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image courtesy of Retrodag

If you are a bargain hunter head to your nearest second hand or thrift store (‘Kringwinkel’) -it’s Thrift Store Day; an ideal time to pick up a bargain and keep your carbon footprint a little smaller. The theme is retro and vintage -so if you are keen on old-school furniture, decor, household items, clothes and shoes, today (‘retrodag’) is your day. Each shops has a focus (e.g. musical instruments in Deurne; wooden toys in Merksem) as well as a range of other second hand goods. You can see a list of the participating shops and their locations here.

Sunday

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It’s the Antwerp Urban Trail -the walk is fully subscribed, but you can register for the run right up until the 10th (Saturday). The route takes in some Antwerp landmarks, with participants running inside (through offices and bars!) as well as outside around the city. It starts at Park Spoor Noord (in the shelter) and ends at nearby Park Loods Sport Hall.

Last Day to register for the Antwerp Spring Clean (‘Lentepoets’)-this is a neighbourhood initiative that you can do along with others in your street. The idea is that you clean up your street (doorsteps, doorways, pavements, benches etc) while getting to know your neighbours better. All participants get a lunch box for taking part, and a flower pot with flowers.

The weather looks like it not be too cold but will be showery, on and off all weekend. So don’t forget your brolly.

Miscellaneous

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Street art in Antwerp (pic courtesy of streetart360)

Are you interested in Street Art in Antwerp? Here are a couple of links which may interest you: firstly this one on Facebook where Street Art enthusiast and expert Tim posts details of guided street art walks (keep a close eye though, as they often get fully booked quite quickly). My young son and I did one a while back and they are very good. I also received an email this week from Streetart360 who featured Antwerp recently in their Antwerp Street Art Guide.

There’s a funfair on Sint-Jansplein -I have no idea how long it will be there. They pop up from time to time and I noticed it, biking back from work today.

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Check out this month’s agenda for Colectivo Amorika for March (left). They provide cultural and language activities for Spanish speaking families in the Antwerp area, and those with an interest in understanding Spanish culture and language.

If you are a runner, you can now register for the Antwerp Ten Miles which takes place on  the 22nd April.

If you are a young reader, or parent of a young reader, you might be interested to know that March is Youth Book Month – this year with a science & tech theme.

 

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