And if you have a young reader, then you should know that March is also “Jeugdboekenmaand” (Youth Book Month) which means that there’s plenty going on in Bib Permeke for children and young people throughout the month. The theme this year is ART. See the Permeke library website for events, activities and exhibitions taking place there, or the search the complete agenda on the Jeugdboekenmaand page.
Why not start your weekend at the pictures? De Cinema (at De Studio) is showing one of my favourites –The Big Lebowski (1998) – at 8pm. Tickets via the link. It’s conveniently located near a bar/ bistro I like too: Zeppos is just a few doors down and easily recognisable by its red exterior.
Proefkonijnen is a children’s theatre on Frankrijklei: maybe their show Drakenjacht (Dragon Hunt) at 2.30pm would be something for your 4+ year old(s) on a Sunday afternoon? If you want to check it out, find tickets here.
Now that the storms have (hopefully) passed, you might like to (re)visit Rivierenhof: every Sunday at 2pm at the “sprookjeshuis” there’s a fairy story read aloud (in Dutch) for children aged 6+. It’s costs 5 euros and you can register your child(ren) here, in advance. The Sprookjeshuis is near the Rivierenhof Kasteel and the playground, and there’s a vegetable gardening workshop going on at the same time -click the link; and then on to the Eventbrite link in order to register for this.
The weather will continue to be cooler this weekend max temps 11 degrees), with Saturday likely to be the best day – dry and bright, and showers expected on Friday and on Sunday morning.
Runners: You can now sign up for the Antwerp 10 Miles on 26th April 2020. It costs less if you sign up before the 6th April.
Start your weekend with an Antwerp Ghostwalk – this week it’s the English version: explore the old, cobbled and dark streets of Antwerp and hear the supernatural tales associated with them … meet at Steenplein (by the Lange Wapper statue) at 8pm. 12,50 pp.
Or head to The Irish Times near Grote Markt to practise your language skills and have an informal drink with speakers of different language at the Swap Language #12 event at 8pm.
A read-aloud to help kids with their reading. But with dogs! at de Studio (12.30). Free.
Afterwards, there’s kids’ films on in De Studio: Free Willy at 2.30pm, and Finding Dory at 6pm (these are ticketed -see links).
Rivierenhof hosts an annual Valentine Run which takes place today, having been twice postponed from due to Storm Ciara, and then Storm Dennis -will it be ‘third time lucky’ for this event? You can register for the run until Saturday.
UPDATE: Nope, unfortunately no ‘third time lucky’ for this event: Rivierenhof is expected to be closed again, and the Run is now sadly cancelled for 2020
Goegekregen are holding a large rommelmarkt in Waagnatie from 9am- 6pm. Unusually, this one is not free -it’s 1 euro in. It will be a massive sale -decide for yourself if you want to pay the euro …
Mundana is a Latin-American cultural centre and café on Paardenmarkt . They are holding a Sunday Market – “Las Pulgas” – offering home-made goods and crafts, music and workshops for all ages. 11am – 5pm.
It should be a mild weekend, with some bright spells on Saturday. Some showers on Sunday.
The JEF festival is underway in Antwerp -it’s an annual film festival for kids which offers workshops and activities for kids from age 3 upwards. Most Antwerp activities are on at Zuiderpershuis. My kids have enjoyed JEF activities in the past. Here is the complete Antwerp program for JEF. JEF also takes place in Gent, Bruges, Kortrijk, Leuven and Roeselare.
Next week is spring half-term (“krokus vakantie”) for Belgian schools. If you have kids to occupy, you might like to enrol them in some local activities. On this page, you can find sport activities for them, and Idee Kids runs camps for a variety of age groups and interests. Kamp Zoeker helps you search for a suitable camp according to age, activities and location.
Runners: You can now sign up for the Antwerp 10 Miles on 26th April 2020. It costs less if you sign up before the 6th April.
Sorry -no Nessascityblog post on the 27th February.
There are three events over the whole weekend this weekend firstly – the Markies Stock Sale (of books) at Zuiderpershuis, which is definitely a nice way to get discounted gifts for bookish loved ones -although most books are in Dutch, there is also a selection of books in English (and coffee table books) as well as picture books for children. It’s free and takes place from 10am -6pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (if you don’t get the chance to go this weekend, it’s also on next weekend too).
Steez Festival is a free festival of urban arts, music, dance DJs and even a skate zone at de Studio on Maarschalk Gérardstraat 4 from 2pm on both Saturday and Sunday.
And for Lego lovers, there’s Brickmania at the Expo on Saturday and Sunday (ticketed).
At 6pm it’s the monthly bike ride with Critical Mass Antwerpen – assemble as usual on Theaterplein with your bike for a kid-friendly hour’s cycling en masse through Antwerp, returning to Theaterplein for 7pm.
If, like me you are somewhat averse to the whole concept of the annual grabfest horror that is Black Friday, you could head instead to the Kringloopwinkels (second hand shops) of Antwerp to check out their deals (there will be 50% reductions on many items), or to the Kammenstraat fleamarket (cash only).
The Jungle Book Light Festival begins at Zoo Antwerp this evening and runs until 12th January. It is ticketed and enables visitors to see the colourful lights and figures supplied by the makers of China Light, which has taken place in previous years. It’s not the cheapest family evening out, but we have always seeing the zoo this way in previous years and consider it a nice winter treat. Check the weather before you book, and wrap up warm if necessary! Saturday
Antwerp artist Sacha Eckes opens a new exhibition at Shoobil Gallery so why not take the opportunity to slip away from the increasing busy-ness of the town centre, to view works characterised by skill and humour inspired by the theme of reality TV? Love Island opens at 2pm with a vernissage (Museumstraat 4).
If you have children who want to see Sinterklaas, then you can find him at Grand Bazar shopping centre from 1.30pm, but be aware that this can be popular and there is sometimes a queue.
If you are more organised than me and ready to make some Christmas purchases (or just to enjoy a traditional British-style Christmas Bazaar) then head to the Antwerp Harbour hotel between 11am – 4pm and check out their Christmas goodies and treats, while also supporting the Mission to Seafarers in Antwerp.
If you’re still missing hanging out at Bar Noord in Park Spoor Noord, head to Goegekregen second hand market which takes place in the shelter there this Sunday from 9am -6pm.
For those who can’t get enough of the high street, there’s Sunday shopping in the city from midday. If you have little ones who are excited about Sinterklaas, you may well catch a glimpse of him on Meir this afternoon. And because it’s December, the shops will be open on all Sundays throughout the month, and again on January 5th 2020.
Sinterklaas (due to an uncanny ability to be in more than one place at a time) will also be at Wintar (see below) from 2pm enjoying waffles and other treats.
This weekend should be (mostly) dry, cold and bright with the possibility of some showers on Sunday morning.
Regular readers and wine- fans may remember this special blog post about Antwerp start-up Fine Wine Junkies. On Sunday they are holding a pop-up event to celebrate their first birthday and to invite wine lovers to taste and purchase some of the specially selected wines which they offer.
Winter bars are starting to open, including Wintar on Boomgaardstraat 17, near the Antwerp City Brewery (De Koninck) for drinks, food (especially cheese!) and events until the start of February.
Stad Antwerpen have released the Winter in Antwerp programme! #WinterinA starts on the 7th of December and will be featured on Nessascityblog in more detail next week.
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.
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.
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.
If 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!
It’s all about Sinterklaas this weekend. If you are new to Belgium, The Sint is the winter gift-bearing Saint, familiar to children in Belgium (on the 6th December) and The Netherlands (5th December). But 2-3 weeks prior to the day of celebration there is the arrival of the Sint (“intocht” or “intrede”) from Spain, in various cities, including Antwerp, where the children are known to be particularly well-behaved. This is a very important occasion.
Once arrived, The Sint is presumed to be generally in the area. Now and then -before the day itself – kids can put out a shoe, and in the morning it will be filled with sweets. The Sint travels on a horse, assisted by the “pieten”. Children might also leave out some form of refreshment for the Sint, and some straw or carrot for his horse. His visits to our home indicate that he is not averse to Leffe. Also Gin.
2018 signals a bit of a change in the usual Antwerp Sinterklaas arrival proceedings, which involved the Good Sint docking (he arrives by boat) near Steen, and making his way to Grote Markt, where he addresses the children of Antwerp and their families from the balcony of the Town Hall.
NB: This year, everything takes place around MAS and Eilandje – so this is now the area to avoid like the black death if you are kiddie-free (you can safely go to the old town instead).
Verbindingsdok-Westkaai is the location for the 2018 arrival, and the whole thing will be broadcast from 13.30 by Ketnet (TV Channel) who also provides the kids’ entertainment. The Sint will be welcomed by the Mayor at 13.45 and then make his way via Napoleonkaai, de Nassaubrug and the Oostendekaai to the square in front of the MAS museum (Hanzestedeplaats) where he will address the waiting crowds of sugar-fuelled youngsters.
If you don’t have kids to amuse, you might prefer to go to Steez 02: Urban Culture Festival at de Studio, free entrance for the afternoon program from 2pm (also on Sunday) -Live Music – Urban Art – Streetwear – Lifestyle – Food – DJ – Skate.
Today is Kunstendag voor kinderen – day of arts activities for children across Flanders. Use the search facility to find out what is going on in your locality. Here are the activities for the Antwerp area. Many activities are free (such as this cute Miffy activity at Permeke Library at 11, for kids aged 4+) while others have a participation fee. Check also if you need to register (“inschrijven”) your child(ren) beforehand.
Rodeneuzen Dag (Red Nose Day) raises money to support young people in Belgium in need of mental health services and support, and supports schools in attending to the mental and social wellbeing of students, with campaigns and projects. Many schools take part. Join in by visiting the second hand market being held on Groenplaats for Rode Neuzen Dag – from 9am -17h. Rode Neuzen Dag activities continue throughout November.
It’s the monthly Strip en boeken plein (second hand book market) on De Coninckplein in front of the Permeke Library from 10am.
This weekend is expected to be dry, with cool temperatures (8-11 degrees) and bright, sunny periods.
Also for Sinterklaas -The Belgian postal service (Bpost) will deliver children’s letters and drawings to the Sint (until 29th November) -details and address here. NB -be sure to write the child’s name and address on the outside of the envelope, so that the Sint can reply and send a surprise.
I am really delighted to let you know that a special guest-blog post is on the way. Watch this space -especially if you’d like to know more about LGBTQ+ life in Antwerp – talking of which L-Week (10 day festival of events for lesbians) is currently underway in Antwerp, until 18th November.
And if you have been thinking about writing a post for Nessascityblog, do seize the day -I’d love to hear your Antwerp story, or hear about an aspect of Antwerp life that you know well. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am interested in doing a post about Antwerp Apps. Do you use one? What does it do? Which devices is it compatible with and what do you think of it?
Bargain hunters -did you know that Antwerp has a Last Minute Ticket Shop? Well you do now. You can buy last-minute reduced cost tickets from 12- 5pm on Fridays and Saturdays, for shows, concerts, theatre performances etc.