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: 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”
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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…

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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: 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:

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

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This weekend: 16th, 17th & 18th December + more

This will be Nessascityblog’s last post for 2016 , so I am trying to include as much as possible to see you into 2017 in Antwerp.

NEXT POST: THURSDAY 5TH JANUARY 2017

 

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Tubing slide on Steen

As mentioned last week Stad Antwerp’s Winter Festivities have now started so head down to the old town and you can’t miss it. The Christmas market can be found around Steenplein, Suikerrui, Groenplaats 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 & Patrasche (A Dog of Flanders) statue was unveiled last weekend 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

Festive & Miscellaneous

If you are planning a clear- out of your home you might want to revisit this post for ideas about where to take still useable toys, books, household goods and wearable clothes, instead of throwing them out.You could also contact the EVA centre in Ekeren who often take items to assist the refugees that they welcome and care for. At the moment, there is also a drop- off for clothes, shoes and fabric in Het Steen Café -make sure all your items are bagged before bringing them there.

MAF is opening a new art space on Keistraat 1 on the 21st December. Head along at 8pm to find out about their approach and what they do.

A random recommendation from me for this time of year is to go to Antwerp Market on Theaterplein. It’s open on both on Saturdays and Sundays, but Saturday is better, in my opinion. If you are going to be cooking a lot over the Christmas period, then this is the place to get great food from all over the world at a really good price. I always get veg here, and if I can, cheeses too. Over the time that I have lived in Antwerp, the market has also become increasingly social, with cava stands, oyster bars and food trucks, adding to the more traditional food sellers here. You can also get fresh coffee and pasta on the market, and a huge range of the sort of food you would want to offer at a party or to Christmas guests, including many varieties of olives, dips and tapenades. The market on Sunday is less food orientated, with more clothes and household items -it also closes earlier. Since the Theaterplein gained a roof, rain no longer stops play.

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Delicious food at Antwerp Market -every Saturday

Don’t forget to reserve your BATS panto tickets:
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China Light is an event that is slightly pricier (15 euros for an adult ticket) than the usual events and activities I post here, but it is a really nice tour if you want to do something a bit unusual this winter. The lights do look magical and the zoo is a great setting in which to display them. I would check the weather forecast before going as rain would spoil this tour.

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China Light, Antwerp Zoo

The last Wednesday of the month means free museum entry for Stad Antwerp museums (Wednesday 28th December).

Next weekend is of course Christmas, and I am away for New Year, so I will be posting again on the 5th January. For New Year’s Eve in Antwerp head to The Schelde if you want fireworks. But if clubs and parties are more your thing, then I recommend that you keep an eye on This Is Antwerp who I am sure will be posting all the information you need as NYE approaches.

There are lots of #WinterinA snaps on the Nessascityblog Instagram feed. You can also find me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Thank you very much for reading and following Nessascityblog during 2016. Please comment and include links to any additional winter events which I have missed. If you have found this blog helpful, please share it with your friends, on social media and in groups where it may be useful.
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*** Here’s the GOOGLE MAP with all the locations from this post for the specific Friday- Sunday events***

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Nello & Patrasche

Friday

Street Art Antwerp has featured a few times on this blog, and earlier this year my son and I joined a tour which we both very much enjoyed. This Friday, Tim is finishing up for the year with a special Flame Edition of his tour: bring torches and flashlights, and wear luminous clothing. It starts at 8 at the entrance to Zomerfabriek, Minkelersstraat in Berchem and will conclude at a tba venue, with music and snacks. Check the Facebook event page to register and to be informed of final details. Tim does not charge for these excellent tours, but you can make a donation which will go to Music For Life

Special holiday wishes to everyone at the Antwerp International School which finishes today for the winter break – safe travels and have a wonderful festive season!

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Saturday

At 1pm at bar Bato Batu there’s a record fair -for last minute gifts for the vinyl freak in your life (or for yourself, or course!)

If you are at the Christmas market during the day and are an incomer from abroad to the city of Antwerp, and would like to meet other parents and their kids, then head to Café Den Engel on Groote Markt at 2.30 for this Expat Parents & Kids Party.

Fancy a short trip out of town? Cosplay on ice: Cosplayers of Antwerp will assemble at Antwerp central station at midday and take the bus to Antartica Ice Rink in Wilrijk, returning for 5.30pm. You need the cost of the bus fare + skate hire (don’t forget ID too) which in total comes to E7,25

Improtheatre on Saturday Night: Swaajp describe this as a theatre show full of new stories, surprising adventures with intriguing plot twists, sometimes emotional, frequently hilarious, always made up on the spot. Swaajp Improtheater presents the second episode of their new regular improv theatre show ‘Swaajp Invites’.

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Our guest for this show is Flavien Reppert (France). As the director of the Strasbourg-based Cie du Théâtre de l’Oignon, this moustache-bearing Frenchman will astonish you with his many talents, one of which is a delightfully scraping Rrr in his English pronunciation.

When: Sat. 17 December 2016, 20:00
Where: BATS Little Theatre, Paardenmarkt 111, Antwerp
Tickets: €9  via: www.swaajp.be

If you are crafty and like making things, head to Little Brewers Winter Garden at 2pm to make Christmas decorations. There’s also kids’ entertainment and a kids’ play area. These activities take place between 2 -5pm and are free with no pre-registration necessary LBWG is the De Koninck Brewery winter bar which is open until February 19th (you might know the venue from its summer incarnation -Smokey Jo’s).

At 8pm Het Roze Huis will be showing the film The Imitation Game. Het Roze Huis has monthly film screenings for the LGBT community in and around Antwerp, and these are free. I saw The Imitation Game when it came out in cinemas in 2014, and it is well worth seeing.

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Sunday

There’s a Goedgekregen fleamarket down at Eilandje between 9 and 6pm. It’s indoors at ’t Kot (port employment centre), Kempischdok-Westkaai, and is free.

Design Market ‘Ieder Zenne Meug‘ holds a Christmas edition at Zuiderpershuis between 11 and 6pm, and because it is the third Sunday of the month, it’s the book market at de Coninckplein (Permeke library) from 10 until 4pm.

There’s read-aloud for kids aged 4-8 at Permeke library at 11am (free, no registration registration, in Dutch). This weekend the story will have a festive theme.

Shops in the city centre will be open today for Christmas shopping.

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The weather is set to be mild and dry again this weekend, with some cloud and fog at times.

 

May your festive season be all sparkly and completely stress-free!

NEXT POST: THURSDAY 5TH JANUARY 2017

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Thanks to Peggy & Marco on Pixabay for the wee santa person pics.

Thanks to MAF for the Nessascityblog banner made earlier this year.

Thanks to BATS and SWAAJP for the publicity images for their events.

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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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 19th & 20th

 

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Christmas Wheel

 

The Christmas market is in full swing and will be on until 3rd January. Go on a clear day for great views from the top of the wheel, down by the Schelde. The bamboo installation on Grote Markt is also very impressive.

If you are looking ahead already, and would like to see a panto in English in the new year, you can order tickets already for the BATS production of Little Red Riding Hood. Guaranteed to provide traditional fun and please children of all ages.

BATS vzw
http://www.batsantwerp.be

Saturday

Fashion Market  Plein publiek

Free showing of the film The Normal Heart at Het Roze Huis at 20h.

Free Art Exhibition at Bar Lucy in aid of Flemish Refugees.

On De Conninckplein, it’s the last day to a “Spiegeltent” which opens on the evening of the 17th December for a four day program by Time Circus. There will be music performances and various activities (face painting, Tibetan music, food workshops) on the De Conninckplein (in front of Permeke library) on the Saturday, which is Family Day.

 

Sunday

rommel

 

Fleamarket at Park Spoor Noord, 10am -18pm, under cover of Park Loods- free. Also one on Krugerplein

 

 

High street shopping can be done on and around Meir, as shops will be open for the last Sunday before Christmas.

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Story reading hour (in Dutch) at Permeke Library at 11am for children aged 4-8. The theme is sleep and dreams. Meanwhile, outside the library there is a revue starting at 14h, costing 2 euros.

 

 

 

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Use the #WinterinA hashtag for your pictures on social media

For anyone wishing to volunteer or donate over Christmas (or beyond), here are a few links:

De Grijze Kat (Antwerp north)

Sant’ Egidio

volunteering via Stad Antwerpen

Moeders voor Moeders

Give away your stuff

 

Christmas day: Shops will be closed; Christmas market will be open; UGC cinema and the zoo will be open; some restaurants will be open and offering Christmas menus. Check for times, as there may be later opening hours for anything that is open. It’s business as usual for Turkish and Moroccan shops.

Have a fantastic Christmas!  I will be posting again on a regular basis in 2016, and possibly before then with some suggestions for the days around New Year.

Thanks so much for following; please leave comments, feedbacks and any suggestions for events which you think I should include.

 

Vanessa

 

 

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