Happy New Year to everyone who is celebrating the beginning of the Year of The Rat this weekend!
Saturday will be the busiest day for New Year celebrations in Antwerp’s Chinatown. The most popular part of the day is the Lion dance which takes place on van Wesenbekestraat. Come and enjoy the drama of the dance, and be prepared for the firecrackers, which are plentiful and LOUD. However, there are lots of accompanying events this year, so have a look at the full Chinese New Year programme as there is a lot going on in the Permeke Library, and in front of it on De Coninckplein, where there will be a new year’s market and a Tai Chi demonstration.
On Saturday evening Swaajp Invites (impro theatre) offers an evening of improvisational humour designed to delight all Potterheads. The evening’s entertainment is in English and begins at 8pm. Reserve your tickets here.
Enjoy a new year’s drink with the good people of Borgerhout on the Moorkensplein from 3pm. It’s a free neighbourhood event with soup, drinks, kids’ fun and even a chance to see a giant or two -for which Borgerhout is justly famous.
Alternatively, head back to Viggo’s on de Coninckplein for coffee and Sunday afternoon music from 4pm, with DJ and saxophonist, Eric Morel.
The weather this weekend is likely to remain quite cold, but mainly dry. There might be some showers on Sunday afternoon. Top temps of 8-9 degrees.
Don’t forget that some Antwerp museums are free on the last Wednesday of the month (next Wednesday, the 29th). These are the Museum Plantin Moretus, the Rockox Museum, the Museum Mayer van den Bergh, the MAS and the Red Star Line Museum.
Look out for a guest post on Monday – I am especially proud of this one as it has been written by my students at Antwerp International School. We are studying a sustainability topic, and their post is about sustainable shopping in Antwerp.
It seems to be market weekend in Antwerp so keep reading if you enjoy food markets, retro markets, browsing for second hand goods or visiting lifestyle markets: there’s loads to choose from this weekend. And if you need to stop for a snack, Smaakmeesters 2019 Food Festival -a two week food event at various locations around the city- finishes up this weekend.
What’s your favourite market? If I’ve missed one, let me know!
Dokmarkt is the market where you can also start your weekend: food and drink stands
sell everything from curry to cavas for consuming on the spot with friends, but a number of stands offer local products to purchase and take home. My favourites are the pickles and chutneys from Spijs & Valies, and gin from Save The Queen.
The Mega Grote Rommelmarkt on Sint Jansplein from 10am- 6pm is indeed mega-big: you can find anything here, from clothing to bikes to electrical parts. It’s a busy, local market in a diverse area of the city. If you’re stopping for a drink after the market, I recommend the bar Rode 7 which is also on the square, and also serves good, fresh food. Rode 7 supports local artists by displaying their work.
Back in the city centre, Swan Market is a totally different type of market: the stalls are held by individuals, start-ups and local creatives, some of whom come from The Netherlands, where Swan Market also hold events. Swan Market is hip, and always insta-ready. You can find stationery, accessories, clothing, jewellery, household items and food stands. There’s usually music, and it’s quite kid-friendly too. Swan Market is on Grote Markt from 11am- 6pm.
Foodies will also enjoy Kraakvers on the Sint Andriesplaats from 10am -3pm. Kraakvers also sells locally made food products -including beers, preserves and bread – as well as fresh fruit and vegetables.
Cyclists will enjoy this small bike market on Giraffenplein (behind the zoo) from 10am- 5pm. Hosted by Vitesse Coffee Bar, you will be able to browse vintage bikes and pick up any spare parts you need for your bike.
Markt van Morgen is a little like Swan Market, but I like it better -it’s smaller and less busy and stressful, but does a great job of packing in a wide variety of nice products into a small space. The location is also nice, and many of the shops along Kloosterstraat are worth browsing while you are there, especially if you like antiques.
Lovers of all things retro should make their way to The Vintage Market Live -6th Edition at the Sint-Jan-Evangelistkerk (aka De Peperbus Kerk) in Borgerhout. Vintage clothing, toys, design and furniture will be for sale. This is the only market that isn’t free, but it’s only 2 euros to go in.
Goegekregen is one of the best known providers of second hand markets in Antwerp, holding frequent events across the city. This weekend they can be found along the Singel (Desguinlei/Kielsevest) from 9am-6pm. This is always a big market offering clothes, toys, furniture and household goods. There’s always a stand selling food and drinks at Goegekregen markets too, and a friendly atmosphere.
We could see some scattered showers on Friday, but temperatures will rise on Saturday (18 degrees max) and Sunday (23 degrees max) when it should also be dry (though cloudy).
English speaking bookworms: this reading club has just begun holding sessions in Permeke Library. Meet at the main desk at 10am on the dates listed on the link. It’s free and you don’t have to register, but it’s recommended that you do via email@example.com or tel: 03 338 38 00
There’s a good choice of Antwerp places and events where you could kick off your weekend this Friday evening:
Another summer bar opens up today at midday: Bocadero at Waagnatie, by the River Schelde.
And for another option for drinks by the river, head to Flying Pig on Steenplein, where they are starting their summer season from 5pm, with wine, summer cocktails, DJs and street-food.
Meanwhile, there’s an evening market in Borgerhout, starting at 4pm on the Gitschotellei, Borgerhout. Open until 9pm
It’s the Twintig Achttien (2018) Festival on the Konijnenwei (pic right) from midday until midnight: music, bands and DJs will be performing over the 12 hours of this free festival, which is also kid-friendly and will offer spaces and activities for children.
Antwerp Museum the Letterenhuis, is an exhibition space and archive housing Flanders’ largest literature collection (texts, pictures, documents, manuscripts, letters, magazines and other publications relevant to the history of Flemish texts and publishing from the last 200 years).
Today in various locations close to the Letterenhuis, a Letterenhuisfestival is taking place for the third time, bringing together writers, poets, artists, musicians and story-tellers. See the hyperlink and in particular the Programmakrant to find out what is going on, for free between 2pm and 6pm in this neighbourhood.
Fans of the Permeke’s monthly secondhand book market will be pleased to lean that as part of the Letterenhuisfestival, there will be an extra bookmarket on the Conscienceplein from 2pm.
Antwerp’s farmers’ market – Kraakvers– takes places on the Sint Andriesplaats, from 10am- 3pm. Definitely check out this market if you are one of the many people who would like to eat more locally sourced food and products.
Markt van Morgen returns to the Kloosterstraat (Antwerpen-Zuid) today from midday until 6pm, with it’s local, cheerful selection of creatives offering fashion, jewellery, stationery and accessories for sale.
A rommelmarkt is taking place on the Dageraadplaats today too, from 9am- 6pm. A nice chance to check out this relaxed, kid-friendly, pretty local square in the Zurenborg area if you don’t already know it.
Come and enjoy the Damse Pijl (bike races) on the Damplein from midday. This used to be part of the Damsefeesten, but is now a separate event in its own right -you can also register on the page if you would like to take part in one of the three events.
The weather will be mild (13- 14 degrees) with the possibility of showers on Friday and Saturday. Sunday will be a little brighter and dryer.
Guest post on Monday! read the story of Sylwia, from Poland who has made Antwerp her home since 1996.
If you’re a runner enthused by the Antwerp 10 Miles at the end of April, you may want to sign up for the annual Silver Run but be warned -this is no ordinary run: it consists of running up and down 1-3 tower blocks. Think you’re up to it? You can register here.
Why not have a look at this exhibition on Markgravelei? Offering painting, graphic work, ceramics, photography and jewellery, it’s hosted by Collegium Artificium which promotes the work of artists of various disciplines in the area. It’s on until 12th May.
There’s a three day festival over the whole of this weekend on the Moorkensplein (Borgerhout). The Fiesta Fortuna starts on Friday at 17.30h and continues until Sunday night. Here’s the full programme. This event is hosted by arts organisation Madam Fortuna which is based in Borgerhout and celebrates its 10th birthday this year.
The last Friday of the month means Critical Mass: assemble on Theaterplein with your bike at 6pm as usual for an hour’s cycling through the city.
On Sint-Jansplein there will be a great big fleamarket from 10 – 6pm. I like this part of town and my favourite bar on this square is Rode 7 -check it out, for reasonably priced, tasty home-cooked food and a friendly atmosphere.
From 1pm community centre coStA Sint Andries celebrate their 25th birthday on Sint Andriesplaats with the Fiesta de San Andres -expect live music, food, and entertainment until 11pm (free).
At Permeke Library there’s a story-telling festival from 10am – 6pm, which takes place every two years and has a programme for various age groups. Here’s a general overview of the programme, and here you can find links to programmes and events for the specific age groups.
The Rubenshuis (on Wapper, off Meir; pic right) has renovated the museum garden and is open to the public from 12 -5pm for an Italian Garden Party. It’s free and there will be characters in costume, guided walks, games, workshops and music. The museum will also be free. You can bring your own picnic to enjoy in the newly restored gardens.
Down at Eilandje on the Napoleonkaai, there’s a vegan street festival from 10am- 10pm: speakers, street-food, drinks and music.
And Swaajp offer their unique brand of improvised comedy and storytelling at BATS Little Theatre with Swaajp Invites -this time with a whole gang of guests for their two-hour show, starting at 8pm. Tickets here.
If you need to relax after running, or a busy weekend, you might like to check out two workshops held at the Biologisch Dynamische Bakkerij Lapin on Mechelsesteenweg 72, run by Mindful Thinking at Play.Each workshop costs 10 euros, and is in English. To register, email Kym@mindfulthinkingatplay.com
And if you want more dancing -there’s free Salsa dancing at Bar Noord from 3- 10pm.
After last weekend’s tropical temperatures, the weather will be a bit of a disappointment. Friday should be nice but there are strong chances of rain on Saturday and Sunday (less so). Top temps of around 15 degrees. There will be some bright spells too though.
May 1st -Public Holiday
May 1st (Labour Day) is a national holiday in Belgium: there will be a Labour Day Parade, which starts on Leopold de Waalplaats (from 10am in front of KMSKA), and makes its way to Grote Markt for 1pm, where there will be music and kids’ entertainments on Grote Markt until 5pm.
Also on May 1st there will be an extra ‘Holiday Market’ (Feestmarkt) on Theaterplein from 8am -6pm.
Whilst over at Park Spoor Oost, Goegekregen/ SNITT will be holding their usual brand of retro/ vintage/ secondhand rommelmarkt from 9am -6pm.
I was recently contacted by Sharifa from ITAKA language school. They are holding a fun open day on 1st May (see poster below). As it’s a holiday, it would be a good chance to go and find out about the work that they do offering language learning for people who are over 50 years of of age, including Chinese, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, English, Spanish, Arabic, and Art History in Dutch. See the website for more information, of have a look at their Facebook page.
Two recent special Nessacityblog posts are available now: one about The Chef’s Cut, for foodies, and one about the VZW Wwelcome, which has a variety of services for newcomers to the city, to help them settle in and integrate into local life.
I recently saw this interesting campaign to encourage Belgian restaurants and cafés to serve tap water. Being forced to pay for bottled water in restaurants and cafés is something I resent: I consider it an unnecessary cost to both the environment and myself. The page offers these template letters in French and Dutch which you can C&P to establishments which refuse to serve tap water, and this Google map enables you to see which places do serve tap water, so that you can make a more economical and environmentally-friendly choice of watering-hole, should you wish to do so. You can also find them on Twitter and Instagram.
Hurrah! MEUG Tasting Festival opens at Zuiderpershuis with a one-day craft café from 4pm. It’s free but you need to purchase a tasting glass and jetons to buy drinks. photocredit: Meug – Frauke Photography.
BATS hold their spring open evening, from 8.30pm – a chance to find out about joining BATS, being involved in a production and hearing more about their current program. Join them at BATS Little Theatre on Paardenmarkt.
Dokmarkt starts up again at Eilandje (near MAS on the Napoleonkaai) from 3pm. With spring like weather forecast, Dokmarkt would be a nice place to start your weekend.
Saturday is MEUG’s main day. Buy tickets in advance or on the door (if it’s not sold out) each ticket includes 4 jetons. I really enjoy this festival. There are loads of beers to try -and also whiskies, which Mr Nessascityblog enjoys. Zuiderpershuis is a great venue for this purpose and it’s always a friendly and relaxed event.
For a real piece of Antwerp folklore, come and see the Seminiviering. This is a very local festivity, dating back a long time in reverence of Semini, a fertility figure who can be spotted (sadly, minus his original phallus) in the stonework above the entrance to Het Steen. You can read his story here. Couples who marry on this day are celebrated, and the festivities start on Grote Markt (pic left) at 11am with song and dance, followed by a procession which will set off for Sint Andriesplaats at 1.30pm.
Need something fixed? There are two possibilities: head to the Repair Café at Archipel from 10am – 4pm (entrance is via the Lange Lobroekstraat), or there’s this one at ‘T Werkhuys in Borgerhout from 12- 4pm, where you can also sell your own used items. Both are free.
On the shopping streets of Dambruggestraat- Offerandestraat they’re celebrating spring (to coincide with the Persian New Year) on both Saturday and Sunday -featuring extra stands, and a bouncy castle.
Or head down to Plein Publiek (D’Herbouvillekaai 19) for this weekend’s rommelmarkt (second hand market) from 11am, courtesy of STULP.
Music on Dambruggestraat- Offerandestraat (see above) from 18pm.
Take the kids to Cinema Zuid for “Gus” (in Dutch) for 5 euros at 10.30am -much cheaper than the mainstream cinemas, plus you have the chance to look around FOMU while you are there. Both Cinema Zuid and FOMU are holding events for Black History Month at the moment, and you can see these and other BHM events here.
There’s a big rommelmarkt at Kinepolis (indoor) from 10am- 6pm. There is a 3 euro entry charge for this one.
Weather’s looking up – Friday should be warm and dry, cooling off to a milder Saturday and Sunday (12- 14 degrees) but still staying dry. *crosses fingers*.