This weekend in Antwerp: last post for 2018

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Christmas wheel by the Schelde

A short post to bring 2018 to a close on Nessascityblog

The Winter In Antwerp season is well underway, 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 Groenplaats; the Christmas Market on Grotemarkt, Suikerrui and Steenplein; The Big Christmas Wheel (left) 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.

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Dokmarkt (Eilandje)

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.

Dokmarkt on Fridays (3pm -8pm) would be a good way to start a Christmas weekend, and also handy if you are on a dash to get a last-minute Christmas tree (yes, they sell them).

De Studio have a number of arts activities for kids during their Kerst in de Studio season.

Last minute Christmas shopping? the shops are open in Antwerp on Sundays throughout December.

 

boot-811075_640If you are done with buying things, take a civilised Victorian walk instead- assembling from 1pm; starting at 2pm on Astridplein on Sunday; dress up (think Victorian/ Belle Epoque/ Victorian Steampunk/ Victorian Gothic/ Dickens) or come as you are to join and enjoy the walk.

For New Year’s Eve, I’ll be keeping Events in Antwerp updated with “oud en nieuw” events as much as possible, but if you are in town, then the fireworks on the Schelde, near the old town, are a popular option.

I’m stopping for Christmas now. Nessascityblog will be back in January 2019. Until then I hope you have a wonderful winter break, safe travels and happy times with friends, family and loved ones.

Thank you very much for reading and supporting Nessascityblog in 2018!

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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.

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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 in Antwerp: December 8th, 9th & 10th

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Wishing Wall at Antwerp Christmas Market

It’s here! This weekend sees the start of the Winter In Antwerp season, 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.

Saturday

Opening of Winter in Antwerp (see above)

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On Krugerplein from 6pm there will be a winter camp fire, music and warming winter “stoofpot” (stew) to coincide with a local winter market at De Kleine Wereldburger school (from 2pm – 8pm).

Berchem Schittert is an end-of-year winter event on Plein aan de Vredestraat, starting at 4.30pm. The festive lights will be turned on, and there will be a fire show and a small Christmas market

Sunday

Markt van Morgen offers a way of doing your Christmas shopping that is a little less stressful than the main shopping areas and a bit more likely to support local businesses and their products. Check out the Christmas edition on Kloosterstraat from midday.

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Permeke Library

Another means of escape from the hubbub would be Leopold Sundays: eight galleries around the Leopoldplein area open their doors for art lovers between 2 and 6pm. Annie Gentils, Artelli Gallery, (re)D., Geukens & De Vil, mariondecanniere, Philippe Piessens, Keteleer Gallery and Next Door are the galleries taking part in Leopold Sundays.

It sounds like an unlikely venue for such an event, but Meatpack is hosting a Vegan Christmas Market from 11am -10pm. 3 euros entry (under 12s go free).

Kids may like this free pompom making activity from 11am- 1pm at Permeke Library.

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

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Weather could be a bit mixed this weekend. It’s not freezing cold yet (temps around 9- 11 degrees) however, there could be light rain, on and off over the weekend.

Miscellaneous

This week on Monday I was delighted to press 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 last 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.

Screen Shot 2018-11-20 at 10.53.05
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.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 22nd, 23rd & 24th December

I am taking a break for Christmas now and will be posting again in the new year on the 11th January, so there are a couple of extra events in the miscellaneous section to take you beyond this weekend. Additionally, I am proud to share this post on the Visit Antwerpen site, all about Winter in Antwerp. Please read and share 🙂

Have a fantastic Christmas and a very happy new year!

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The Christmas Market

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 and the Spiegeltent on Steenplein for the kids, and funfair activities along the riverside.

Friday
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De Warmste Week is a week of charity activities organised by Studio Brussels. It takes place between 17th- 24th December and on Friday there is a 2.7km Warmathon Run from 2pm in the Stadspark (Rubenslei entry). Sign up via the hyperlink in the ‘inschrijven’ section, or on the day itself, if places are still available. Your participation fee goes to a number of good causes supported by De Warmste Week.

Saturday

Go dancing for free courtesy of Meatpack and London Calling, from 10pm with all your favourite Britpop and Indie tunes. Meatpack (Samberstraat 40) is a new venue describing itself as an old warehouse where “art, food, fashion, crafts, music and nightlife will finally meet in a concrete labyrinth … the size of a football field”
meatpack

Sunday (Christmas Eve)

Last chance for Christmas shopping -yes, Antwerp shops are open on Christmas Eve.

This weekend looks likely to be dry and fresh, but without the freezing temperatures. Chances of a white Christmas are very low … sorry, snow lovers…

farewell-1188653_640Miscellaneous

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.

Antwerp City museums are FREE on the last Wednesday of the month.

From the 28th December you can enjoy theatre, circus and music at Park Spoor Oost’s Wintervuur.

The New Year’s edition of Critical Mass will be on the 29th December -meet on Theaterplein at 6pm with your bike and round of 2017 with an 8km bike ride that will take you round the city and finish up on Grote Markt, right in the middle of the Christmas Market.

There will be fireworks on New Year’s Eve, as usual down by the river.

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 12th 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 …

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Aladdin Panto
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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

WP_20171208_18_48_08_Rich
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!

 

 

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

socialmediaFbPTw

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

Twitter &

Pinterest

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This weekend in Antwerp: 8th, 9th & 10th December

HERE IS YOUR FESTIVE GOOGLE MAP!

Friday

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OLV Cathedral and Christmas Market

If you can’t quite wait for the Winter fare available at the Christmas market (see Saturday) then winter bar Aspen Bocadero has just opened at Waagnatie.
Saturday

It’s a big day in the Antwerp calendar:  today marks the start of 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. When I walked through last weekend preparations were well underway, with the market stands in place on Grote Markt and the ice rink ready to go on Groenplaats. There will also be a big wheel, and tubing on Steenplein for the kids.

The full program for the opening can be found on the Stad Antwerp website, but basically at 11am on Saturday all the attractions which locals associate with #winterinA  will open. Let the glühwein flow …

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Tubing on Steenplein

 

At Costa Sint Andries there is a “Geefplein” -giving market. Bring your second hand items (in good condition) to give away for free from 11- 18h. The Geefplein is about recycling, freecycling and sharing in the community.

Sunday

If you have kids who like making things, trundle them along to the Permeke library from 11am to take part this craft activity, where they can make a Christmas star decoration.

Shops in Antwerp will be open for Sunday shopping today, and on Sundays throughout December in Antwerp -including on Christmas Eve.

Alternatively, shop for something local and a little bit different at the last edition of Markt van Morgen of 2017 on the Kloosterstraat from midday until 6pm. Jewellery, accessories, cool tees, stationery and household items which you won’t find in the high street stores. Also featuring Comfort Food Truck, DJs and gluhwein.

It’s the annual Victorian Christmas Walk -pull on your bonnet and your finest muffler and set off from the zoo at 1pm.

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It’s going to be really quite cold, so wrap up warm (or buy hats, scarves and gloves from the Christmas market!) and there may even be snow on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday showers are possible.

 

Miscellaneous

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Spotted by Locals

I was delighted to learn this week 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 cities featured. There is also a Spotted By Locals app.

There’s currently a small fun fair on Sint Jansplein.

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, look out for a special Nessascityblog post about English speaking theatre in Antwerp, and an upcoming BATS production which will please theatre-goers of all ages …

 

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

socialmediaFbPTwInstagram

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

Twitter &

Pinterest

This weekend: 6th, 7th & 8th January 2017

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***  Happy New Year and welcome back to Nessascityblog for 2017!  ***

Here’s the GOOGLE MAP with locations for this post.

There are a few events to take us into the New Year as the Christmas festivities in the town draw to a close this weekend.

tubingwinterinaStad Antwerp’s Winter Festivities conclude this weekend. The Christmas market can be found around Steenplein, Suikerrui, Groenplaats and Grotemarkt, with gluhwein and hot chocolate aplenty -but the 8th is the last day. There’s skating on Groenplaats, a tubing slide on Steenplein and the ferris wheel by the Schelde. The atmosphere is friendly and festive, and it’s a great place to take visiting friends or family and kids. The Nello & Patrasche (A Dog of Flanders) statue was unveiled at the opening of the Christmas market, in December, in front of the Cathedral. This beautiful piece is the work Batist Vermeulen of Studio Tist.

On social media, you can share your Antwerp festive pictures with the hashtag #WinterinA

Friday

There’s a Winter Festival over at Spoor Oost, starting at 4pm and continuing until 9pm, including a ‘Burning Dragon’ spectacle, and activities for kids.

BATS (English Speaking Theatre in Antwerp) hold their usual Friday Open Evening at their Little Theatre on Paardemarkt at 8.30pm -go along to meet members of BATS, have a drink at the bar, or to find out more about being part of the productions they do. Their pantomime is coming soon to Arenberg Theatre!
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Saturday

For a different type of guided walk, you may enjoy an Antwerp Ghost Walk – again a good way to get to know the city if you are new. The full agenda can be seen on the site; it costs 12,50 and starts at 20.30 on Steenplein (by the statue of Lange Wapper).

Het Roze Huis holds its New Year’s reception at Den Draak starting at 8pm -enjoy dancing, and the tombola which will be raising money for their current project: LGBT youth suicide prevention & awareness.

Sunday

If you are new to Antwerp, this New Year’s walk might be a great way to get to know the town. It is organised by Walk Antwerp and costs 18 euros (including a drink). It starts at 2pm from TeaKoff coffee shop (Grote Pieter Potstraat) and lasts about hours. You need to register beforehand by mailing walkantwerp@telenet.be and the walk will take you round the historic centre of Antwerp, with a local guide.

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Stadsfeestzaal Shopping Centre

And if you really haven’t had enough of shopping, you can head into town for the January sales -it’s the first Sunday of the month, so shops are open.

Alternatively, from 11am at de Roma theatre there is a vinyl & film expo all day until 17.30 for 4 euros in -tickets at the door.

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There’s a New Year’s BBQ at the Scheldekaaien by the pedestrian tunnel from midday until 5pm.

 

The weather will be cold, but hopefully not freezing (around 3 degrees). There could be some light rain and drizzle, especially on Saturday.

 

 

Miscellaneous

Monday the 9th of January is “Verloren Maandag” (“Lost Monday”). It’s a tradition to eat sausage bread (worstenbrood) and  appelbollen (fried apple cakes) on Verloren Maandag, which is always the first Monday after the 6th January (“Driekoningen”). There seem to be varying stories about this day, but it is celebrated in Antwerp province and was traditionally a day when no one worked and therefore lost a day’s salary (hence, “Lost” Monday). The city was supposed to provide during this day, and a cost-effective way of doing so was with the sausage bread and apple beignets. Some cafés and bars will observe the tradition by serving these foods.

If you have had a real Christmas tree in your home over the festive period, it can be put out with your regular rubbish in Antwerp throughout January for collection. Some will be burned to mark the end of the Winter In A season on Linkeroever next weekend.

A heads-up for runners: if you want to take part in the Plan Belgium Run on Sunday, March 12, 2017 (Park Spoor Noord) sign up soon (Antwerp Urban Trail on the drop-down menu), as places are running out (no pun intended).

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This weekend: 9th, 10th & 11th December

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Lights on Keyserlei

I don’t do Elf-on-the-Shelf, and I couldn’t care less about the arrival of a certain soft-drink laden truck: for me it starts to feel like Christmas when Antwerp’s Christmas Market opens and Winter In A begins, which is does -this very weekend (on Saturday). Huzzah! (Also, if there are Belgian and/ or Dutch influences in your family, you don’t start to ‘do’ Christmas until The Good Sint has embarked on his return journey back to Spain).

Here’s the GOOGLE MAP for this weekend.

Friday

If you can’t wait until Saturday, Flying Pig will be holding a winter edition of an event you might have become familiar with during summer (outdoor drinks, snacks and music). This will take place at Napoleonkaai, starting at 5pm -that’s right by MAS.

Also on Friday, Aspen Bocadero Winter Bar (Waagnatie) opens its doors at 6pm. It has a variety of events taking place over the winter season, until mid January.

Saturday

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Christmas on Grote Markt (2015)

So the Antwerp City winter festivities will kick off at 5pm. If you are not familiar with the Stad Antwerp winter offering -head down to the old town and you can’t miss it. The Christmas market can be found around Steenplein, Suikerrui and Grotemarkt, with gluhwein and hot chocolate aplenty. There’s skating on Groenplaats, a tubing slide on Steenplein and the ferris wheel by the Schelde. The atmosphere is friendly and festive, and it’s a great place to take visiting friends or family, and kids. The Nello & Patrache (A Dog of Flanders) statue will be unveiled at the Cathedral at 7pm, when there will also be a video projection on the Cathedral. Winter In Antwerp continues until the 8th January 2017.

(image from Daniel Ruiz-Cecconello)

 

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Markt van Morgen on Lombardenvest

Not far away, Markt van Morgen will also be having a double Christmas edition (on both days) of their usual fare of jewellery, design, accessories, stationery and clothing -made by local creatives and small businesses, providing the opportunity to buy Christmas gifts that you won’t find in high street stores. Find MvM on Lombardenvest on Saturday, from 10-6pm

Fans and photographers interested in nature and wildlife photography will enjoy The Lowland Photo Festival at Kinepolis Event Centre. This opens on Saturday, and is also on on Sunday.  There is a program of talks which is paying, but it is free to see the photography which forms the wider exhibition, with a 2 euro entance cost for the Lowland exhibition. Download the info flyer HERE.

Sunday

Markt van Morgen  is on Kloosterstraat today, from midday until 6pm.

For a Victorian Christmas experience why not join the Victorian Christmas Walk, Antwerp? Assemble in your Victorian or Edwardian outfit at 1pm on Astridplein for a walk down to the Old Town and the Christmas Market.

Shops in the city centre will be opening today and next Sunday too, for Christmas shopping.

The weather is forecast to be dry, and not too horribly cold either -possibly going up to 9 degrees on Sunday.

Miscellaneous

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grandbazarkerst

Shopping centre Grand Bazar (Groenplaats) has various offers and activities on both Saturdays and Sundays remaining before Christmas between 1 and 5pm.

(image courtesy of Grand Bazar)

 

 

 

 

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If you are looking ahead to the winter season and have kids to entertain, I recommend that you book Antwerp’s only traditional, old -school panto in English, for January in the Arendberg Theatre, by BATS theatre group. Another recommended from me -this time it’s Jack and the Beanstalk. (image courstesy of BARS Antwerp)

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NEXT POST: Thursday 15th December

This weekend: December 11th, 12th and 13th 2015

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Friday 11th December

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Antwerp International School

A special shout out to staff and students of the Antwerp International School who finish up for the winter break this Friday! Happy holidays!

 

 

If you are ready for the weekend on Friday night and in immediate need of food, drink and music then head to the Flying Pig festival on the Napoleonkaai at 5pm (near MAS) when the fun begins and its winter bar opens.

 

 

Over the weekend …

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As well as the main Christmas market in the old town, other smaller markets will also be happening, including ones like this one at Grand Cafe Le Roi on Kasteelpleinstraat. This will be on on both Saturday and Sunday.

Details of two Christmas church concerts can be found here.

Saturday

If you are feeling sporty, Antwerp has its own  Santa Run sponsored by the Gazet van Antwerpen. If you want to run you need to register here. Be quick -registration ends at midnight on the 11th. If you aren’t running, you can go along to Park Spoor Noord to cheer on those who are: the run starts at 5pm, and will follow a route through Meir and The Christmas market. This is how it looked last year …

After which you might feel inclined to head to the Festive Open Stage at An Sibhin on Nationalestraat for spontaneous performances of music, comedy and song.

 

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pic courtesy of Leah Sheola, An Sibhin

And there is a second hand  fashion market at Plein Publiek (Van Craesbeeckstraat 33). 10am -5pm.

Sunday

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Park Spoor Noord

 

It’s back to Park Spoor Noord for a Christmas edition of the Goedgekregen Fleamarket starting at 10am. Don’t be put off if it is raining -it will be under cover (where the Cargo bar is, during summer)

There also going to be a Christmas edition of the Markt van Morgen on the Kloosterstraat -food trucks, art, design, crafts and jewellery…. even a hairdresser who will be cutting and donating proceeds to cancer charity Music for Life.

For Christmas shoppers, shops around Meir (and in Stadsfeestzaal) will be open, as per the shopping Sundays (so that means a later start -in Stadsfeestzaal, it’s midday, and closing at 6pm).

Wednesday 16th December

A special midweek mention for the lovely Down to Earth Diva, Nicola Mills who will be singing Christmas songs at Vinoteka starting at 8, and promising to go full Christmas, complete with sing-along if you are feeling merry/ daring.

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Christmas Cathedral by Daniel Ruiz-Cecconello

 

 

This Weekend: December 5th & 6th 2015

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Lights on the Keyserlei

If you have not noticed the festive feeling starting up in Antwerp, then you really need to get out and do so, if you can. For us -as a family resident in Belgium, with both Dutch and UK influences- this weekend is the one where Christmas overlaps with Sinterklaas, so this post will hopefully contain a bit of both ….

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Plein Publiek -Van Craesbeeckstraat

If you are ready to start the weekend immediately after work on Friday, I recommend Plein Publiek which opens at 4 for drinks, 5 for food and the dancing starts at 9. It’s a very attractive venue, placed in the middle of a now-disused social housing complex, near Nationalestraat..

Saturday

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If you have walked through the old town this week, you will have seen the stalls being set up for the Christmas Market which will dominate this part of the city from this Saturday when it opens. Stalls selling Christmas goods, foods and snacks will be found near the cathedral, on Grote Markt, Suikkerui, Groenplaats and Steenplein. The ice rink is usually on Steenplein, and the Christmas wheel is nearby. It’s the perfect place to meet friends, or take family. The market is on daily until 27th December. sintgrandbazar

For a smaller and more off-beat Christmas Market experience, head to the Vrijdag Markt at 4pm for music, DJs and food trucks.

BUT … If you have children who are in Sinterklaas mode, then he can be seen in various locations around the town centre and will be stopping in Grand Bazar; this is usually quite busy, with kids queuing, seeing Sint and being pictured with him. He is also believed to be visiting this fleamarket on the Sint Jansplein, at 2pm, with his Pieten.

I recommend the bookmarket at the Zuiderpershuis, which is still on. It’s a stock sale and the reductions are good. Most titles offered are in Dutch, but with some fashion, design and art books in English. Lots of books for children and toddlers, if you are buying gifts for kids and babies. It’s worth going just to see this attractive venue, if you don’t already know it, and it is a short walk from FOMU and Cinema Zuid, which are also worth knowing about.

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book sale at Zuiderpershuis.

If you like to donate and recycle at this time of year, why not take clothes, food and children’s items to Moeders voor Moeders on Helmstraat? They receive deliveries on the first Saturday of each month, between 10 and 12, and work to support families with children in need, in the Antwerp area.

Sunday

It’s the first Sunday of the month, so there is Sunday shopping around the town centre (note that most shops open a little later, though, at around midday).

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Eva Steynen (photo courtesy of Eva Steynen)

However, maybe you would like to get away from Sinterklaas, Christmas and shopping, to a vernissage (3pm) at this Gallery in Zurenborg curated by local artist, Eva Steynen?

There is a different type of Exhibition for fans of Tintin (and other Belgian comic book characters)  which finishes up on Sunday.

Another way to take a break from the consumerist side of this season would be to donate clothing to The Empty Shop project, which is running until the 12th December at the Youth Hostel on Bogaardplein. Your clothing will be restyled and sold to raise funds for the Kamiano Restaurant which provides meals for homeless people in Antwerp.

Whether you are enjoying Christmas, Sinterklaas, shopping or something a bit different, have a great weekend. Alas, it might be a good idea to take an umbrella out with you so that the predicted drizzle doesn’t spoil your fun

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Grote Markt on a winter’s night by Daniel Ruiz- Cecconello