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

kringwinkelretrodag
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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This weekend in Antwerp: 16th, 17th & 18th February

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Dog figure from the Legends of Liondance expo at Permeke

HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone celebrating Chinese New Year. Welcome to the Year of The Dog.

Here’s your Google Map with the locations mentioned for the events in this post.

If you have children who are budding film-makers, they might like to catch a film or workshop activity at Youth Film Festival (JEF) before they go back after the spring break.

Saturday

LiondancegreenAntwerp’s China town is located near the station in the streets between Astrid Plein and Permeke Library on Coninckplein. The Lion Dance will begin at 1pm (we caught it in previous years around the Wesenbekestraat). It is very noisy and fun, with lots of firecrackers (younger and more sensitive children may not like the noise). If you are planning to stick around and eat, here’s a review I wrote for Nonnative blog last October about our favourite restaurant in this district.

Free and no need to reserve, Het Roze Huis monthly film is  Departure (2015) starting at 8pm (Draakplaats 1)

Sunday

It’s Boekenplein on de Coninckplein (in front of Permeke Library) for lovers of secondhand books, magazines, graphic novels and comics. Free, 10am – 4pm

There’s more than one reason to visit MuHKA today -it’s family day at the museum, it’s also the last day of Krokuskriebels plus there is the AMVK exhibition. We enjoyed the last two this week during half term.

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MuHKA

The weather looks likely to be dry, maybe even with some sunny patches, and not feeling quite so bitterly cold as has been the case at times recently (8 -9 degrees).

 
Miscellaneous

Next weekend is MEUG Beer & Whiskey festival – you can get tickets in advance here.

This month sees the start of some blog posts that I am writing for Visit Antwerp this year. Check out my FIVE FEBRUARY FAVOURITES

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At the Permeke Library the free exhibition Legends of Liondance is on until 25th February. I recommend this as I went last year with my kids. It’s also a good chance to see the relocated children’s section of the Permeke library.

 

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This weekend in Antwerp: 20th & 21st January

Here’s the GOOGLE MAP for this weekend!

Saturday

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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.

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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.

 
Sunday

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Permeke Library and Café

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.

Miscellaneous

One week to go until BATS panto …. the last remaining tickets can be purchased here.

AladdinBATS

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.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 15th, 16th & 17th December

HERE’S THE GOOGLE MAP!

The Christmas Market

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Skating round Rubens on Groenplaats

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

 
Saturday

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Art Market at Washboard Café

Het Roze Huis are showing the film The Danish Girl for free at 8pm

All day (from 9am- 5pm) there is an indoor fleamarket at Kinepolis Event Centre, which is free.

There’s also a free festive art market at the Washboard Art & Jazz café (opposite the Justitie Palace) from 2pm -11pm. Thanks to Nessascityblog reader, Klio, for sending that one in.

Sunday

Shops are open in the centre of town for Sunday shopping this weekend, and also next weekend.

Permeke Library holds it’s regular monthly second hand book market on de Coninckplein from 10am

For something festive but a little off the beaten track, try Kerst in Boho (3pm -9pm) on the Krugerplein (Borgerhout). This is a nice local square with space for kids to play (and a bouncy castle). There will also be live music, food and drink and local creatives offering their Christmas wares for sale. And a ‘Geeftent’ where you can donate goods and clothes which are in good condition, and which you no longer need.

It’s likely to continue cold, with showers likely over the weekend. Sunday will be coldest when temperatures go down to zero.

Miscellaneous

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Spotted by Locals

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

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

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China Light at Antwerp Zoo

 

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

 

AladdinBATS

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diciembre -Colectivo Amorika

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

 

Next week will be my last blog post for a few weeks while I take a break for Christmas. But look out for a Christmas post by me on another well-known Antwerp site … more info soon!

 

 

 
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This weekend in Antwerp: 24th, 25th & 26th November

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Hello Kitty in Lego (Brickmania)

There’s a lot on this weekend so don’t let November blues keep you in -here’s your GOOGLE MAP with the locations mentioned in this post.

Over Saturday (10am -6pm) and Sunday (10am -5pm) it’s Brickmania at Waagnatie- an absolute must for Lego fans. We’ve been to this in the past and always had a good time, even though it can get really busy. It’s 5 euros in (free for kids under 6) and some of the Lego constructions are just amazing. There are all sorts of beautiful scenes and building recreated in Lego, as well as mechanised constructions with moving parts, as well as Disney and film characters in Lego. It’s also a chance to buy for Sinterklaas or Christmas, for the Lego-lovers in your life.

1WvdS_Vierkant beeld + logoFoodies – Week van de Smaak finishes up this weekend – various food-related activities, workshops and tastings are taking place in the Antwerp area, based around the theme of healthy eating and reducing food-waste. Here are the activities taking place in and around Antwerp.

 

Also over the whole weekend is the annual stock sale of books at Zuiderpershuis -De Markies book sale is free entry, and also a good tip for reduced books if you need to buy gifts for a reader. Most books are in Dutch, with some (e.g. non-fiction, art) in English, and there is usually a good range of kids’ books for your younger readers in Dutch. Doors open at midday.

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Browsing at De Markies stock sale 

 Friday

It’s Black Friday in Antwerp. More than that I do not know and am not prepared to research, as anything that I have ever seen that is to do with Black Friday looks absolutely terrifying. Late night shopping on Kloosterstraat (many shops open until 22h) might be a lot less stressful.

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Critical Mass has an important safety theme this month as recent cyclist casualties need to be kept in the spotlight of current traffic safety debates in Antwerp. Assemble on Theaterplein at 6pm -the theme is ‘light in the darkness‘, emphasising the importance for cyclists to be seen, and bikes to be lit -especially at this time of year, so wear your fluo and put your brightest bike lights on.

Saturday

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Mission to Seafarers Christmas Bazar

Antwerp’s Mission to Seafarers holds its yearly Christmas Bazar this year on the Noorderlaan for the first time. Head to the Antwerp Harbour Hotel if you would like some British Christmas cards, festive foods and other Christmas goodies this year.

Markies Bookmarket & Brickmania continue (see above)

Sunday

Across Brussels and Flanders it’s Dag van de Wetenschap (Science Day) with lots of free and fascinating events in and around Antwerp. Last year, we spent most of the day in Kavka where they learnt about robots, had a go at taking blood and learned about bacteria on hands, but there are lots of other activities for kids and adults across the city.

In The Roma Theatre there’s a kids’ rommelmarkt -everything for kids: toys, games, books and clothes. The stands are also run by kids, and it’s just 1 euro in (50cts for children).

Markies Bookmarket & Brickmania continue (see above)

The weather continues to be typically Novemberish -quite cold with slight chance of showers throughout the weekend.

Miscellaneous

If you are looking for times to take your child/ren to see Sinterklaas, he is around at the following central locations over the coming days:
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Mercado on Wednesday 29th from 1pm

Grand Bazar on the 2nd December 1- 5pm

Meir and Grand Bazar on the 3rd December

The last Wednesday of the month (29th) means the City of Antwerp Museums are free.

Shops will be open on Sundays throughout December in Antwerp.

If you have younger kids, they may like to write a letter to Sinterklaas. This is organised each year by Bpost. Post the letter(s) in special Sint letterboxes (there’s one in the Quellinstraat post office) before 29th November. Don’t forget to ensure that the child’s name and home address is clearly written on the outside of the envelope, so that the child can receive a letter back and a surprise from the Sint. You do not need a stamp. If your child doesn’t write, you can send a Babbel Brief!

If you are new to this tradition, be aware that it takes place on the 6th December and is VERY important to the children of Belgium. You can read about it here.

I was recently contacted by Sandra from Colectivo Amorika. This is a group which offers cultural and arts activities for Spanish speaking families in Antwerp, as well as conversation lessons for intermediate and advanced non-native speakers. They are based in Borgerhout and you can see their program below

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Colectivo Amorika

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

If you haven’t done so yet, have a read of this recently pressed guest post by Laura, the creator of the lovely Nonnative Antwerp blog, and do get in touch if you would like to contribute your own Antwerp story.

I have also guest-blogged for Nonnative. Read my restaurant review here .

Inspired to write a guest blog post telling your Antwerp story? Please get in touch via nessascityblog@gmail.com -I’d love to hear from you.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 3rd, 4th & 5th November

Here’s your GOOGLE MAP for this weekend ….

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MAS museum

WATT Kunst Festival at MAS museum takes place on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend and celebrates the work of young artists from the Antwerp area and incorporates various artistic disciplines: words, music, dance, visual arts, installations, comedy and performances. This is a free event.

Antwerp Book Fair  is underway. This is an annual, ticketed event which takes place at Antwerp Expo until the 12th November. It’s a huge event with books and comics of every type, as well as additional events such as authors appearances and book signing sessions.

Friday

MAF open a new exhibition at their gallery on Keistraat. The vernissage begins at 7.30pm.

Saturday

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Sint Janspkein

There’s the regular fixture of the Sint-Jansplein massive fleamarket from 10am

Sunday

Swan Market is on from 11am -6pm on Grote Markt, with its regular brands offering gifts, jewellery, clothes, gadgets, accessories for sale on the stands, as well as kids activities and music. Also plenty of food and drink stands as well.

From 1-4pm at Plein Publiek, you can grab a clothing bargain at the Bloggers’ Thrift Shop.

And it being the first Sunday of the month, it is of course Sunday shopping in Antwerp city centre.

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Swan Market Antwerp Edition

It’s definitely getting a bit chillier with temperatures dropping by a couple of degrees this weekend. Alas, it could also be rainy, so take your umbrella when you head out…

Miscellaneous

If you haven’t done so yet, have a read of this recently pressed guest post by Laura, the creator of the lovely Nonnative Antwerp blog, and do get in touch if you would like to contribute your own Antwerp story.

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Guest blogger Laura (Nonnative blog)

I have also guest-blogged for Nonnative. Read my restaurant review here.

Antwerp has been included in the Lonely Planet Top Ten Cities for 2018!

For kids: you may be pleased to know that the indoor playground above Mercado (Groenplaats) has re-opened. It will be open on Saturdays and Sundays (and during school holidays) from 10am- 6pm and on Wednesdays from 1pm -6pm.

Find me on social media, where additional events and locations are also posted:

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Instagram

Facebook (Events in Antwerp: in conjunction with London Calling)   Twitter   &   Pinterest

 

 

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This Weekend: 18th, 19th & 20th August

100balloons-343246_640It’s the 100th post on Nessascityblog! Thank you for following, and if you are finding this guide useful please share it with your friends and any groups you are in where it might be handy to English speakers who want to be part of life in Antwerp.

Here’s the GOOGLE MAP to help you find your way this weekend …

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Evening on Steenplein at Bollekesfeest

After Pride last weekend, we are once again lucky enough to have a great party event which which will dominate the weekend: this weekend is Bollekesfeest!  This beer festival primarily promotes and sells Antwerp’s best known local brew de Koninck (aka bollekes) but over the years it’s become more than that and lots of other breweries and food sellers are involved. If you are new to the city, it is a great way to feel part of local life and it is enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.

I would even go so far as to say, that you can enjoy this beer festival if you do not drink beer or alcohol, as on two occasions since I lived here I have not been drinking due to being pregnant but I have still had a good time with friends. It is also perfectly OK to take kids to this event during the day time and evenings. There will be more information here on the City of Antwerp site soon, but in my experience the best place if you are en famille is the Steenplein (although the fountains for them to play in have in previous years been on Groenplaats) during the afternoons and earlier part of the evening, but keep an eye on the link as there may be more information about kids’ areas. Either way, all three locations are very close by one another (Steenplein, Grote Markt and Groenplaats, so pick your spot.)

Friday

Bollekesfeest: 1pm -midnight

basketballeventOn de Coninckplein from midday until 7pm there is a selection of basketball contests and activities for all ages. There will also be live music, and the basketball fun continues on Saturday too, and it is all free.

Saturday

Bollekesfeest: 11am -midnight
Basketball continues on de Coninckplein
There’s the regular big rommelmarkt (fleamarket) on Sint Jansplein from 9 am

Sunday

Bollekesfeest: 11am -8pm

From 10am Snitt will be holding a vintage and second-hand market at Stack container village.

And back to de Coninckplein for their regular second-hand book, graphic novel and magazine market from 10am

Yoyogi (part of ZvA) is back for Sundays in August -not just yoga, but music, games, workshops and other activities are on offer for free between 2- 7pm on the green at Rivierenhof.

The weather looks like it might be showery on Friday afternoon, but thereafter likely dry for Saturday and Sunday, with temperatures of 18-20 degrees.

Miscellaneous

Don’t forget that all Zomer van Antwerpen events can be found on the zva site (I can’t list them all individually here).

In case you missed it – have a read of Sally’s story on last week’s Nessascityblog Guest Post … a fascinating personal story. If you would like to share your story on a guest post, please get in touch: nessascityblog@gmail.com

sportopiaFSportopia is on in Park Spoor Noord (in the Loods building) for kids and teens until the 27th August. It will stay open in September and October at the weekends only (except the 24th September) and will be open again on weekdays for one week during the October break (28th October- 5th November).

Buurtpleintjes is an initiative from Stad Antwerpen offering free sporting activities on local squares around the city, until October. Last year, my son really enjoyed a series of free basketball lessons on Sint Andriesplaats as part of this initiative. Start by checking here to see what’s on offer near you.

Don’t forget to find me on social media, where additional events and locations are also posted:

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Instagram

Facebook (Events in Antwerp: in conjunction with London Calling)

Twitter

Pinterest

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This weekend: 16th, 17th & 18th June

This weekend the Zomer van Antwerp officially begins! For those who don’t know, this is a program of venues and cultural events (cinema, theatre, circus and music) which are in place until the 3rd September. Many events are free, some are ticketed or have an entry cost. The ZVA website is the go-to place online for information and tickets. The Zomerbar on Sloepenweg is one of the hubs of ZVA and it is an ideal place to hang out for everyone really, as it is a great bar and location, but also has a play area for kids and plenty of sand. There’s also food (or you can bring your own), and an outdoor library. It’s also a place where you can pick up ZVA tickets and info.

location-162102_640Here’s the MAP!

Friday

The ZVA kicks off at the Zomerfabriek at 10pm but doors -and the bar- will be open from 5pm.

Those interesting people down at MAF have a vernissage …

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Saturday

At Bato Batu bar from 1.30- 6pm there’s a second hand vinyl sale in the side-street by the bar.

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… and regular rommelmarkts in Appelstraat, Borgerhout and in Berchem from 8am, for early birds…

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Other than that, Saturday seems a bit quiet -I would take the time to either check out one of the summer bars, or spend the day at Antwerp’s regular Saturday market on Theaterplein, which is much more than a place where you can just pick up your weekly fruit and veg: more and more stands are selling food and drinks for on the spot, and it is making the market an increasingly social place to hang out. There’s a busy cava and seafood stand in front of the theatre, but also worth a visit is a stand with a Spanish flavour, a little further along (usually almost parallel with Belgian Wines) which does decent tapas, or egg rolls for a late breakfast, which you can wash down with wine, coffee or Cava, depending on your levels of bon viveurism (or hangover).

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The evening, however, brings the perfect event for the jazz fan: The Sint- Andries Jazz Bar Tour: five bars, all within easy walking distance of one another, each offering a menu of live jazz, starting at 8, with the last band signing off at midnight. Check the link to plan your route (the venues are all marked on the map with the sax image, left).

 

Sunday

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Swan Market

Swan Market is on Grote Markt from 11am (design, accessories, clothing, food)

… and the usual strip & boekenplein (second hand books and graphic novels) is on de Coninckplein in front of Permeke Library.

There’s a rommelmarkt (second hand clothes and goods) on  Dageraadplaats from 9am. This is a very nice local square with plenty of cafés, bars and a playground so you can keep an eye on your kids while you have a drink or browse the stands.

Weather forecast: lovely.

Miscellaneous

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Antwerp has a new museum – Museum de Reede which casts a spotlight on the work of Goya, Munch and Rops. It is just opposite Steenplein near the river (Ernest van Dijckkaai 7).

Please note that during July I will be away. As was the case last year, there will be a Big Fat Summer Post (pressing on the 29th June) for the time that I am not here to write weekly posts.

Summer bar Smokey Jo’s Cantina (formerly Smokey Joe’s Garage) at de Koninck  Brewery is another summer bar (also with kids play area) which is now open.

Get your tickets for BATS Variety Show  (this weekend and next weekend) I hear they are selling out fast!

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If you are finding it a challenge to get around the various roadworks in Antwerp these days (especially since the Leien were closed off on the 5th June) then check slimnaarantwerpen.be to help you negotiate your way around town.

Don’t forget that the Sinksenfoor (funfair) is open daily in Park Spoor Oost until 9th July.

And the View on The Zoo ferris wheel (featured pic) is on Astridplein until August.

Buurtpleintjes is an initiative from Stad Antwerpen offering free sporting activities on local squares around the city. Last year, my son really enjoyed a series of free basketball lessons on Sint Andriesplaats as part of this initiative. Start by checking here to see what’s on offer near you.

During summer Antwerp offers two open-air swimming pools which are now open! It is free to swim at Boekenberg, but there is a small entrance charge at the Linkeroever pool (it is also recommended that you have a 1 euro coin with you to use the lockers; and your A-kaart, if you have one).

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This is actually me

 

Please note that during July I will be away. As was the case last year, there will be a Big Fat Summer Post (pressing on the 29th June) for the time that I am not here to write weekly posts.

 

 

Don’t forget to find and follow Nessascityblog on social media, where additional events are also posted:

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Instagram

Facebook (in conjunction with London Calling)

Twitter

Pinterest

 

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This weekend: 26th, 27th & 28th May

[Next post: 1st June]

Yasssss …. it’s a long weekend and the weather is going to be toasty. We will respond to this winning combination in the traditional Antwerpian fashion by sloping around in the sunshine, eating and drinking. What luck! For this weekend seems to hold many opportunities to do just that. Just watch out for a wee bit of drizzle or thunder on Sunday, but nonetheless temperatures are set to be high …

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HERE’S THE MAP!

A fun event which is fairly new to the Antwerp Summer scene is Vakantie op T’ Zuid
which describes itself as a holiday market. This event is very much focused on food or drink and it is fairly easy to tailor your consumption to your budget, as the food ranges from small snacks and sweets to larger meals. It has a truly international feel with stands from all over the world, as well as some performances (we saw some Indonesian dancing last year). It takes place down on the Vlaamse Kaai, so there is also a handy playground for kids, as well as a play area for the event itself. Starts Thursday at midday and continues until Sunday.

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Mercado on Groenplaats is also having a food festival that takes place over the whole weekend (25th -28th May) offering -in addition to their usual stands – outdoor stands, street musicians and magicians, and kids’ entertainment.

Friday

Update: No picnic today apologies for the error!

Critical Mass takes place as usual for the last Friday of the month, meeting at 6pm -also on Theaterplein. Bring your bike for the musical edition of this monthly communal bike ride

Aper’eau is back for the summer -their kick-off event takes place on Groenplaats from 5pm. Outdoor drinks and cocktails in the sun in Antwerp’s most famous square. Sounds like a good way to start the weekend…

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Groenplaats

Saturday

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Brick Boat in Stadspark   This plinth (where different exhibits are featured) is a project from Middelheim Museum

Middelheim -Antwerp’s free  sculpture museum is a beautiful place to visit, but even more so when the weather is good. So this weekend should be a good time to take advantage of the opening event of the Richard Deacon exhibition, complete with a free guided tour.

Or enjoy a browse round the ABC (Antiques Books Curiosa) market at Den Beulebak from 11- 5pm. Free.

Sunday

Snitt are holding a second hand market at a fun location today: at Stack (formerly Convoi)  the container village down by Waagnatie. It’s free and you can bring your own secondhand items to donate to local initiative ‘de Collectie’.

Lambermontmartre is another regular presence on the Antwerp summer scene. It’s not only a chance to browse or buy lots of art works by local and amateur artists, and to support their work, but there is always a band and some good, cheap food and drinks. The area has some lovely cafés (Finjan’s is a favourite of mine for great Falafel and middle-Eastern food) and there is usually a table where kids can paint a canvas of their own for a small price.

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Ascension is the reason for the long weekend. If you would like to enjoy some choral music, head to the Begijnhofkerk at 3pm, where for 5 euros you can hear the Cathedral Singers of Oxford with special music for Ascensiontide.

Reserve by calling 03 232 01 03

Miscellaneous

Buurtpleintjes is an initiative from Stad Antwerpen offering free sporting activities on local squares around the city. Last year my son really enjoyed a series of free basketball lessons on Sint Andriesplaats as part of this initiative. Start by checking here to see what’s on offer near you.

Next week Wednesday is the last Wednesday of the month so Antwerp City museums are free (Plantin Moretus, Rockox, Mayer van den Bergh, The MAS and The Red Star Line Museum).

During summer Antwerp offers two open-air swimming pools which are now open! It is free to swim at Boekenberg, but there is a small entrance charge at the Linkeroever pool (it is also recommended that you have a 1 euro coin with you to use the lockers; and your A-kaart, if you have one).

Runners again -here’s a run with a difference: Silver Run takes you up and down towerblocks, on the 11th June, for which you can register now. It does cost to take part, unless you live in social housing, in which case it is free.

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I’m proud to share my first guest blog post on Nessascityblog! If you missed it, have a read of Dolrish’s personal story of coming to live and work in Antwerp, all the way from the Philippines. And if you’d like to contribute and tell your story, please get in touch via nessascityblog@gmail.com

Don’t forget to find and follow Nessascityblog on …

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Instagram

Facebook (in conjunction with London Calling)

Twitter

Pinterest

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