De Grote Schijn looks nice and opens Thursday evening until 11th November – a special route (ticketed) through the Rivierenhof which sees the estate transformed into a magical fantasy land of light and colour. The route is about 2km long and you can walk through it at your own pace enjoying the spectacle. Tickets via the link.
Antwerp Ghostwalks also offer an extra walk in English as Halloween approaches. These are ticketed (obtain tickets via the link) and start at 8pm from Steenplein. Consistently well reviewed, these walks are known as much for their humour as their horror. There is also a walk on Hallowe’en itself – this one is in English too.
Critical Mass is joining in with the Hallowe’en theme: assemble on Theaterplein at 6pm (with yourself and your bike suitably attired for the occasion if you wish!) for the monthly hour’s ride en masse through the city.
For bargain hunters, the weekend’s fleamarket can be found on the Desguinlei (Antwerpse Singel) from 9am -5pm (free). Sunday
The Day of The Dead is marked at MAS museum with this free event (no reservation needed). The programme and exhibits were created in collaboration between Mestizo Arts Platform and the Mexican Embassy.
Why not head to beautiful Borgerhout for this Repair Café and ‘shared’ fleamarket from midday until 4pm. The fleamarket works by vouchers, not cash -each visitor receives three. You can also bring your own items to donate to the market (clothing, toys, household goods).
Beer lovers may wish to head to de Koninck brewery to mark the arrival and launch of the de Koninck winter beer for this year, which will take place in the brewery’s bar between 3pm and 7pm.
The weather will be typically autumnal again -not cold, but the possibility of showers from time to time on both Saturday and Sunday, although Friday is likely to be dry. Max temps around 18 degrees.
Next week is the autumn break for Belgian schools, happily coinciding with the last Wednesday of the months, when Antwerp City museums are free.
If you’re a movie fan who can’t wait until next week for Critical Mass, head to the beautiful Roma theatre from 4pm -it will be transformed into a cinematic cyclists’ heaven for Bike-In-Cinema -this kicks off Critical Mass Belgium (see the link and find the Antwerp ride for Saturday.
For a more traditional Friday night activity, there this bar crawl in the Dam area. It’s free to join and around 6 bars will be visited -keep an eye on the Facebook event for details.
Regular ABC (antiques; Brocante; Curiosa) market is on at Den Beulebak from 11-5 on the pretty Sint-Nicolaasplaats in the university area.
Kraakvers Farmers’ Market (fresh and local artisanal products) is on at PAKT in the Groenekwartier from 10am-3pm (Regine Beerplein)
It’s the fourth annual Brasspartij – this is a fun event involving a “battle of the bands”. Vying for victory will be five Dutch and Belgian bands who will bring an upbeat New Orleans vibe to Harmoniepark. The bands will set off from various cafés and bars at 13.30 (see ‘de routes’ on the hyperlink if you want to stroll along with them)
There’s been a few serious running events shared on Nessascityblog lately, but the Sint Andries Run is definitely more of a ‘fun run’ and a family event in a real Antwerp neighbourhood. There are two kids’ runs, a 5k and a 10k. On Sint-Andriesplaats there will also be food and drink stands to cater for runners and supporters. The fun starts at 11am on Sint-Andriesplaats when you can register to join one of the runs, if you are not already signed up.
Hopefully there will be enough breeze on Sunday to lift the kites high above Linkeroever at this Vlieger Happening. Head to Park Middenvijver (corner of Blancefloerlaan/ A. Van Cauwelaertlaan) where amateurs and professionals can show their skills, as well as a variety of kid-friendly activities, food and drink stands and even a circus show – from 1pm-6pm.
Hurrah! It’s the first Lambermontmartre(pic left) of the season: Antwerp’s most relaxed and friendly art market, Lambermontmartre takes place in front of KMSKA on five Sundays over summer from midday until 5pm. It supports local artists in selling their work and is definitely a Nessascityblog recommend! There’s always a band; snacks and drinks for sale and some kid-friendly art activities too.
Good weather expected this weekend: generally bright and dry with top temperatures of 22-23 degrees!
The complete Antwerp summer programme (Zomer van Antwerpen) will be online from the 28th May at http://www.zva.be/ -get in early for ticketed events that you are interested in.
29th May is the last Wednesday of the month, so you can visit Stad Antwerpen museums for free on that day.
Last week on Monday I published an extra post: meet Sylwia, a life coach from Poland who has lived in Antwerp since 1996.
And tickets are now on sale for the 2019 BATS Variety Show in June. This is a popular annual event, so get in early if you’d like to catch this fun show!
And here’s another option for theatre in English from Antwerp based theatre and impro group Mixed and United: Loads is a play written by Sebastian Badarau, and the last performance is on Saturday. It’s about student actors preparing a Chekhovian play and you can order tickets online here.
Legends of Liondance begins at Permeke library today as part of the approaching Chinese New Year festivities. This is a colourful display of the lions which lasts until 10th February, and is free.
And if you fancy an old-school date, classic film The Italian job is on at Cinema Zuid. This is such a nice venue to watch classic movies, and -at 5 euros – much cheaper than the corporate cinema multiplexes. I recommend checking out the cinema, and their program. Cinema Zuid is in FOMU (the photography museum).
On Saturday afternoon, from 1pm the Astridplein (next to central station) will be transformed into a tulip field containing tens of thousands of tulips from Flanders: you can come and pick some for free, until 4.30pm.
Similar to the Leopold Sundays (see below), Artland sees galleries around the Eilandje area open their doors and also offer a New Year’s drink to visitors, as well as a chance to see the works on display in the art-spaces around MAS. Free, from 1pm -6pm
It’s the first Boeken Plein of 2019 at de Coninckplein in front of Permeke Library: second hand books, magazines, postcards and graphic novels for sale from 10am -4pm. This event takes place monthly on the third Sunday of every month.
Not far away around the Leopoldplaats area, it’s another Leopold Sunday: seven galleries open their doors simultaneously enabling you to enjoy for free a variety of local art exhibitions between 2 and 6pm.
The weather will feel pretty cold, but Friday and Sunday should have some periods of brightness. Possibility of showers.
This week I published a special post by Daniel McBrearty. If you haven’t seen it yet, it is a lively and fascinating account of the history, ideas and current expo behind the Plantin Moretus museum on the Vrijdag markt: How An Antwerp Immigrant Changed The World In 1550.
January in Antwerp wouldn’t be complete without the BATS panto! This year it’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (oh, yes it is!) at Theater ‘t Eilandje, and tickets are available via the BATS VZW website.
This post covers the next month while I am on holiday (even bloggers need a break from time to time). The first section lists some ongoing activities, whilst the second section lists specific activities and events by date.
I’ll be back at the start of August -if you feel so inclined you can follow my #nessascityblogUSA adventures on Instagram
In the meantime, here are some Antwerp highlights which I am sorry to be missing …
During or throughout July
The most useful thing to know is the Zomer van Antwerpen website, which lists all the special summer events provided by the City of Antwerp, including theatre performances, summer bars, live music and Cinema Urbana (outdoor cinema venue next to The Schelde, opens in August). You can also buy tickets for those events which are not free, but many are, as is access to the summer bars of course. Zomerfabriek has a bit more of a clubby vibe to it, while the Zomerbar on Sloepenweg has a very broad appeal, and is probably better for younger kids -there’s a playground as well as an outdoor library there. Muziek in de Wijk is pretty much as the name (Music in the Neighbourhood) suggests -stages with live music on local squares or parks, and is free. Again, these are very much occasions for all ages and there are refreshments available. It’s a good chance to hear some local bands. Other summer bars which I really like are Bar Noord in Park Spoor Noord and Smokey Jo’s Cantina -both kid-friendly, also Bar Paniek right next to the water on the Kattendijkdok.
Another special program of summer performances and music can be found at the Openlucht Theater (OLT) at Rivierenhof (Open Air Theatre) which is a really nice place to see a band on a summer’s evening. Order tickets via the site (some sell out quickly and more well known performers are already sold out) but there are also free shows on Fridays (search for Gratis Vrijdagen) .
For kids up to the age of 13, there is Speel-O-Rama in the Zuiderpershuis every week day for 2 euros per kid (17th July -11th August)
During summer Antwerp offers two open-air swimming pools which are now open! It is free to swim at Boekenberg, but there is a small entrance charge at the Linkeroever pool (it is also recommended that you have a 1 euro coin with you to use the lockers; and your A-kaart, if you have one).
Buurtpleintjes is an initiative from Stad Antwerpen offering free sporting activities on local squares around the city. Last year, my son really enjoyed a series of free basketball lessons on Sint Andriesplaats as part of this initiative. Start by checking here to see what’s on offer near you.
A grab-bag of events in order of date…
Saturday July 1st You can join a ghostwalk for 7,50, starting at 7pm from Steen
Sunday 2nd July:Goegekregen in the Stadspark these are always big and very sociable. There’s pretty much nothing you can’t get on the cheap here -including- usually – a haircut.
Sunday 2nd July: First Sunday of the month means Sunday shopping in Antwerp
Tuesday 11th July:Vlaanderen Feest Dag celebrating Flanders and the Flemish Community –check here for the program in Antwerp (note that there are also events in the days running up to the 11th of July itself). There are kids shows on Groenplaats from midday until 6pm (Studio 100). The Feest Dag finishes on Grotemarkt with a party at night from 7.30.
Sunday 16th July: Swan Market is on Grote Markt from 11am -6pm (accessories, food, music, clothes, jewellery, interiors) and Boekenplein (second hand books & graphic novels) is on de Coninckplein in front of the library from 10am.
Friday July 21st: Re:set fleamarket at Het Eiland from 11am -5.30. Last time I went to Het Eiland it was a little quiet in terms of the stands (I guess some stand holders are on their summer holidays) but even so, it is worth going to Het Eiland to see the location. A relaxed bar with a great view of MAS. This is a pop-up in the Port of Antwerp old harbour building.
and a (free) Roller Disco on Dageraadplaats from 11am -10pm, with food, music, yoga and art installations.
Wednesday July 26th -City of Antwerp museums are FREE on the last Wednesday of the month
If the activity and heat of summer in the city get a bit much, did you know that Antwerp has a Botanical Garden? It’s a haven of green and peace. Sit on the lawns or benches, or wander through to the back and find De Serre
And so …
Enjoy July in beautiful Antwerp! I hope this post serves as a useful pick ‘n’ mix for the time that there are no weekly posts. Feel free to add comments & ideas in the below. See y’all in August!
And please don’t forget that I am still looking for guest posts -if you have some free time over the holiday period, you might like to think about telling YOUR Antwerp story on Nessascityblog. Don’t forget to find me on social media, where additional events and locations are also posted:
Greetings! I’m back in Antwerp after a great week in The Hague at THIMUN. Here goes for this, the Valentine edition, starting with the Google map for all the locations mentioned in this post.
Cake-lovers -it’s “Pateekesweek” until the end of the weekend: this means that for 10 euros you can pick up a set of tokens to be exchanged for pastries and cakes in participating bakers, food sellers and cafés. The offer assures that you get twice your money’s worth by taking part this way, and you can get the tokens at the tourist offices on either Grote Markt or central station, along with details of participating outlets.
There’s what looks like a posh jumble sale at Plein Publiek at 2pm in the form of a Blogger Closet Sale.
A music loving child might find this event will be perfect for them. It’s for kids aged 6-12 and offers a choice of 30 minute workshops focused on different instruments. Note that parking is described as ‘difficult’, so come by bike or public transport (trams 2/3/5/6. Stops -Handel or Elisabeth). Register your kid(s) from 1pm on the day.
If you are shopping with your beloved, there is the offer of a free photo at Grand Bazar shopping centre between 10 and 6pm.
Runners – there’s the choice of a 5km or 10 km run at Rivierenhof which is free, although you need to register by email. It has a Valentines theme and starts at 11. Make sure you register before the 10th.
I’ve not mentioned these for a while, but if you are getting short on ideas about what to do with the smalls during this lousy weather, there are workshops at Het Steen for kids aged 6+. It’s a nice venue, where accompanying adults can get a decent beer, and where supervisors are used to working with kids of various nationalities and will take an inclusive approach if your child is not a native Dutch speaker.
Also with a Valentines theme is this free 2 hour creative workshop at Permeke library for kids aged 6-12 from 11am.
The weather looks pretty chilly, but bright at times. Should be dry.
This week I took the kids to the indoor playground at Mercado on Groenplaats. It was 5 euros in (for accompanying adults also) which included a drink jeton. Kinds under 3 are free. Plus points were that the kids loved it -it’s a very big, airy space with a wide range of activities (climbing, triking, ball pit, arts and crafts). My kids did not want to leave
For the accompanying adults, it’s not bad although I thought it could have been better heated (this is not an issue at for the kids who are constantly on the move) and I was disappointed that there is no wifi available. Also despite getting a jeton along with each entrance, there aren’t any drinks on the menu that only cost a single jeton. The bar is nice, service was fine and there are plenty of seats and tables. Even on Wednesday afternoon (when Belgian schools are out) it was not too crowded by any means.
Don’t forget that actual Valentine’s Day is next Tuesday. That’s not specific to Antwerp, but just a general reminder in case you have a partner who goes batshit if you forget.
For an old school date at the pictures, try Cinema Cartoons in the old town, and then maybe spend some time in the bars around Vrijdagmarkt. I like Bar 2 for reliably tasty, well-made and reasonably priced dishes, or just for a drink.
Over the whole weekend Bollekesfeestwill be taking place(4-day beer festival, plus local food products) started on Thursday evening at Steenplein, Groenplaats, Suikerui and Grote Markt. This is fast becoming a very important and enjoyable annual fixture on the Antwerp calendar, even though the event only began in 2007 (so 2016 is the 10th edition!). Great fun, also for kids, with activities and entertainment for younger ones on the Steenplein part of the festival. Buy the Gazet van Antwerpen on Thursday, Friday & Saturday and you will find a voucher for a free beer. (pic courtesy of Stephanie Hughes. Grote Markt image by Daniel Ruiz-Ceccenello).
The Redball Project is a public art event that has travelled through 25 cities around the world and comes to Antwerp Central Station today. I can’t tell you much more about it at the moment; you need to sign up via email to receive info/ notification.
*UPDATE: #redballproject will be at the market/ Het Paleis on Saturday and at MAS on Sunday.
On Friday evening at 5pm the Repair Café returns to ‘T Werkhuys in Borgerhout. Bring your broken items (e.g. clothes, furniture, tech) and maybe they can be fixed for free, or if you like fixing things, you might be able to help someone else. There’s also going to be a share market -bring things to give away that you no longer want. If you take part you will be able to pick three items from others who are doing the same.
Here’s one that’s a bit different if you want an unusual alternative to Bollekesfeest …bat watching at Rivierenhof. Free, but reserve beforehand by email email@example.com or call 03 360 52 18. Starts at 7.30.
If you haven’t checked out any of the movies showing as part of Cinema Urbana (Zomer van Antwerpen) Saturday might be a good time to do so: there’s a showing of The Martian at Plantinkaai by the river. It’s free and starts at 10pm.
If you are enjoying Bollekesfeest (see above) but by Sunday are feeling the need to finish festivities at a more relaxed location, then the Wild Jo’s Market might be the perfect destination. It’s on Vrijdagmarkt which is a really pleasant, smaller square which can be found off Reyndersstraat or Hoogstraat, so it is just a walk away from the rest of the beer festival.
It’s the third Sunday of the month so it’s the Strip & Boekenplein (graphic novels/ book market) on De Coninckplein
At Park Spoor Noord it’s World Picknick Day. Bring your own picnic basket -there will also be snacks for sale, and some sports sessions provided by Sport Club Het Eiland.
(image courtesy of Sport Club Het Eiland)
From 4pm -7pm at Rivierenhof, it’s Yoyogi again -an open performance opportunity for anyone who would like to come along and demonstrate their music, dance or performance skills, or to watch others. It’s free and there are also various workshops (e.g. kungfu, acro-yoga, ropeskipping, tai chi).
Design Market Ieder Zenne Meug is taking place on the Kattendijkdok today from 11am -6pm and you could then stay put at the same location to round off your weekend with some classical music: this free concert by trio Colour Collective will also take place at Born In Antwerp (Kattendijkdok), starting at 7pm. It’s recommended that you bring along a picnic blanket, camping chair or cushion to sit on. (image courtesy of Colour Collective)
… And the Redball will be at the Diamantpaviljoen, at MAS…
The weather should be pretty good for Friday with warm temperatures, although there might be showers in the evening. Alas, it’s likely to be cloudier, and less predictable in general over the weekend, with the possibility of showers both days. Temperatures remain good for Saturday, but fall a bit on Sunday.
To help you find the places mentioned in this blog, check the Google map for this post.
A heads-up on Story Time in English which will start September 14 and will take place every Wednesday from 1:00- 2:30pm, for children aged aged 4-11. Each week will have a different theme/story, and there will also be activities, music and snacks based around that theme. The cost is 5 euro and the max number of kids is 25. Contact Kay via the Facebook page to register your child in advance. Location: Centraal Cafe, Sint-Pietersvliet 11, Antwerp 2000 (Image courtesy of Central Collective)
Kids will also enjoy being taken to the summer edition of Sportopia in Park Loods (Park Spoor Noord). The winter version of this was good -my kids enjoyed it on more than one occasion, although it can get busy. It costs 6 euros per session, but is less than that if you have an A-Kaart and free to under 4s, or those with 10 points on their A-Kaart. Open 10- 6pm Wednesdays- Sundays. Finishing up soon (28th August).
Next Wednesday, being the last Wednesday of the month, District Antwerp museums are free.
How about a Picnic lunch on Theaterplein? If you didn’t order a lunch, you can just turn up with your own. There will be hot and cold drinks and musical performances -starts at midday. Proceeds to Studio Globo, Oxfam and Broederlijk Delen.
‘Curtis’ -a Joy Division tribute evening at 8pm at De Kleine Hedonist should get your weekend off to a cheery start.
Summer bar Bar Paniek opens tonight on the Kattendijkdok, Oostkaai 21B.
There is the 2018 festival on the Konijnenwei park, starting at 10am with a fleamarket, but also including musical performances from local bands, and entertainment for kids, throughout the day.
A festival of a different sort is on at ‘t Werkhuys in Borgerhout -for 3 euros fans of comics and cartoons can enjoy talks, expos and events at Klaxon Festival, starting at midday and continuing until 11.oo pm.
It’s the great big Antwerp Spring Clean! Enjoy – if you and your neighbours have registered for that. Don’t forget to take beer breaks.
More music -from the lovely and talented Down to Earth Diva who is fundraising for Urban Renewal at Café de Lijnstok at midday. Your donation will contribute to a good cause, and enable you to hear Nicola singing a variety of songs. There will also be a brunch.
At 3pm there is a folk jam in Den Hopsack which is a friendly little music bar tucked away on Grote Pieter Potstraat in the old town.
Sunday is Heritage Day across Brussels and Flanders. There’s lots going on in the Antwerp area. There are many events (readings, film, walking tours, dance performances) celebrating rituals and traditions of different types. Many activities are free but check the details carefully in case reservation is required.
The project Coming World Remember Me has started and will continue until the 8th May. At workshops at Steen, you can make a sculpture out of clay to honour one of the Belgian fallen of World War One. These sculptures will form an installation in Ypres which will be opened in 2018. Each one will incorporate a dog tag with the name of a soldier. You will be provided with the dog tag. It is free to take part but you need to register by calling 03 292 36 51 or mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
… And not far away at Chatleroi there’s a record sale.
Swan Market comes to Antwerp. Previously having taken place at Grote Markt (and where it will be again, on 22nd May), but -NB- this time it’s at Park Loods, in Park Spoor Noord, from midday until 6pm. Food trucks, drinks and snacks, and lots of stands selling gifts, jewellery, accessories, antique and vintage items. It has a nice vibe and won’t break the banks. Always handy if you are looking for a special present (or want to treat the kids or yourself to a yummy homemade cupcake or two)….
The weather is due to be mild and cloudy with a fair chance of showers on Sunday.
Fashion fiends and label addicts might want to check out Belmodo Fashion Days 2016 which take place until the 24th April and promise to supply designer pieces at below their usual prices at various locations around Antwerp. Check this link for times and locations.
The 23rd of April marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare‘s death. I couldn’t find a great deal going on around Antwerp except in the bookshop De Groene Waterman where there will be a reading and talk (in Dutch) analysing why Shakespeare’s themes and plays continue to endure to this day. This is free and starts at 4pm.
Sporting A is offering free basketball coaching for kids aged 6- 14 years of age every Wednesday from 20th April until 25th May. It’s on in various locations from 2pm -4pm (except Sint-Jansplein where it’s 3-5pm). No need to register, just show up if you are interested. My seven year old really enjoyed it this week.
Opening on Friday evening at 5, and continuing over Saturday and Sunday too is The Image Generator II an art ‘happening’ comprising events, performances and talks at Extra City (Eikelstraat 31, 2600 Antwerpen).
Also on Friday night is BATS Antwerp monthly open evening (also with a quiz this Friday) so feel free to head along to Paardenmarkt 111 from 8.30pm if you enjoyed their recent panto and would like to know more about getting involved in English speaking theatre productions in Antwerp.
At Plein Publiek there is a design market from 11-5pm for a 2 euro entry cost.
On Krugerplein in Borgerhout the Krugermarkt is taking place from 4pm, offering food, drink and locally made products such as textiles and jewellry. It’s worth checking out this cute neighbourhood if you don’t already know it. The square where the market is taking place is socially the heart of the neighbourhood and has a play area for little ones. This blog post has some really nice pictures of previous markets held there.
Another neighbourhood event is taking place on Dageraadplaats: starting at two and continuing until midnight there is a winter festival including music, dance, DJs, kids’ entertainment, and food & drink stands.
There’s a food market (local produce, food trucks and kids’ entertainment) at Felix Pakhuis, down at Eilandje (near MAS).
And two reasons to visit Madam Woll today: a 2 hour kids’ knitting atelier at 10am (8 euros; register beforehand via email: email@example.com & bring your own materials) and a kids’ clothes exhibition at 12.30 from Titi and Paca.
Take your brolly -there is a high chance of showers on all days over the weekend, alas.
Finally, a reminder that next week is half-term holiday for all Belgian schools (Krokus Vakantie). If you haven’t done so already have a read of this post which contains links to a number of activities, workshops and camps which are running for kids at this time. There may be some spaces left on some of the activities.
Do comment, mail & Tweet your feedback and suggestions -are there events I am missing? Let me know.
Until next Thursday 🙂
For midweek updates and Antwerp related tweets, follow me on Twitter@nessascityblog
Antwerp has its own Critical Mass bike rides, which take place on the last Friday of every month. Cyclists assemble on Theaterplein at 6pm and cycle in and around the city together for around an hour, for a healthy and eco-friendly start to the weekend.
Afterwards, you might wish to head to An Sibhin on Nationale Straat where Croque Manouche will be playing at 9. The kitchen is going to be open later than usual and serving food from 6.30 (chilli con carne, beef burritos, veggie burgers and beef burgers) if you want to eat beforehand.
The 29th January marks the start of Antwerp Patisserie Week (Pateekes week) which involves various bakeries, and tea & coffee houses round the town. This is an annual event and the way it works is that you buy a “Pateekes Pass” for 10 euros at the Tourist office on Grote Markt. This provides you with 10 vouchers (‘bonnetjes’) which you can exchange for cakes and pastries at the participating venues -you will be provided with a list of these when you buy the pass.
At 6pm head over to Design Center Winkelhaak for a retro and second hand furniture & design market called Dubieus Design. It’s 5 euros in (includes a glass of bubbles) but is also on on Saturday from 10am -6pm for free.
In the same building is the lovely Bar Oscar if you are feeling hungry or thirsty….
If you have children who like to move and dance you might want to take them to Little Brewers Winter Garden for Dansen Met Lotte at 2pm (all kids) and for children aged 6+ from 4.30pm. LBWG is a large, airy, pop-up bar, which is going to be open until the end of February. It’s a really nice, chilled space with plenty of room, but is likely to be busier and noisier when the kids’ dance event is taking place.
For adults who also love to dance there is a Flamenco festival at the Zuiderpershuis on both Saturday and Sunday night, it’s a little pricier than most events that I list here (36 euros pre-sale; 40 at the venue) but it is obviously an event that is a big deal if you are a flamenco fan!
And a cinema tip for grown-up film fans: the Belgian-made film Problemski Hotel, which is now showing in Antwerp at Cartoons Cinema near the cathedral was warmly recommended to me by a colleague this week.
Weather is likely to be much milder in terms of temperatures, this weekend, but with the possibility of some showers in the afternoon on Saturday and Sunday (and breezy). Friday is forecast to be dry all day.
Do comment, mail & Tweet your feedback and suggestions -are there events I am missing? Let me know.
Until next Thursday 🙂
For midweek updates and Antwerp related tweets, follow me on Twitter @nessascityblog
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 ….
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..
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
Film lovers might be interested in taking the opportunity to discover Filmhuis Klappei. It’s a very small film theatre, not too far from de Coninckplein On the 24th, film fans can catch three classic American noir movies for a very low price. Klappei also has a nice bar and is perfect if you want to get away from the multiplexes.
There is a new sculpture exhibition opening at Middelheim Museum. It’s really worth discovering this place which is a lovely place to visit whenever the weather is dry. There are some big names in sculpture as permanent exhibits here, and lots of space for kids to run free.
Shoppers with excess money burning a hole in their pocket might want to check out stores participating in Belmodo Fashion Days on both Saturday and Sunday.
If you have kids (or a sweet tooth) you may need to be quick if you want to book The Pancake Boat . This is a tour along the harbour, while simultaneously eating pancakes. The boat is packing up for the season, so this will be the last weekend (until next spring) that you can take a trip. It’s reasonably priced, and the serving of pancakes is friendly and efficient, so you aren’t waiting for long. The trip is about the right length, so smaller kids do not get bored
Espectro is an evening of arts and music, right in the centre of town on Sunday evening (Rooseveltplaats is where all the busses go to/ from). If you register on their site in advance you will get a free drink on arrival, and it is only 4 euros to get in.
Fleamarket at the Eco -café which is easy to find from Central Station. Cross Astridplein next to the station, turning right as you face Aquatopia and the Radisson. It’s about 10-15 minutes’ walk on your left. As well as the café, you can visit the Eco Huis, which is a resource and exhibition space devoted to eco -friendly living.
If you like knitting and want to chill out in a café with other knitters and improve your skills then The Sunday Sock Club starting at 10am will interest you. 8 euros.
For something a bit more active there is a Dance festival starting at 2pm at the Arenberg Theatre (right near Theatreplein) and costing 10 euros -various different types of dance will be featured. Price includes coffee & cake.
Thursday 29th October
OK, not strictly the weekend, but put the date in your diary ahead of time if you want to go to An Sibhin’s Quiz Night It’s my favourite Irish Bar (always friendly, unpretentious, welcoming of kids during the day, great sandwiches, soups, home-made cake) and can be found on Nationalestraat, not far from Groenplaats, and just past the fashion museum. Why is the quiz not on Hallowe’en itself? Hmmmm …..my guess is that the pub is going to be showing the Rugby World Cup Final that night. Thursday’s quiz will be in English and you need to be in a team of max. 5 people. Send a PM via the Facebook page to register.