The Big Fat Summer Post 2019

Summer is underway!

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Well, I am taking some time off now, for a month or so, so here’s a grab-bag of useful links and information for a great Antwerp summer. I will be back in August. Until then, additional events will be posted on other social media, listed at the end of this post. For Antwerp pictures, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram!

Thank you for reading and following  Nessascityblog; do please keep sharing it with anyone who might find it handy to have this information in English, especially if they are arriving new in the city this summer -WELCOME!  -and have a fabulous summer 2019 in Antwerp.

Eat & Drink

… at Dokmarkt every Friday from 3pm until 8, and if you want to stay out later, you’re very close to summer bars like Jardim, Sommar and Bocadero -all of which are along the Schelde.

Check out Café Capital in the Stadspark if you haven’t already done so. It’s great if you IMG_20190718_174847_resized_20190718_054908004are taking kids to the play area; for an evening out try Bar Jeudi on Thursdays.

Fiesta Europa is a popular, diverse and accessible five day food festival on Groenplaats which is on until Sunday 21st July.

Flying Pig are on Steenplein on the 2nd August; drinks, music, food trucks and general revelry from 5pm.

Bollekesfeest is an annual Nessascityblog not-to-be-missed favourite, celebrating our local beer: de Koninck, or Bollekes as it is known once served in its distinctive bow-like glass. Bollekesfeest is on the 16th, 17th and 18th August, and like other Stad Antwerpen events will be cashless this year. As well as the local brew there will be lots of other foods and drinks to enjoy. If you have kids to entertain (or are hungry) then the Steenplein is the best location for you -there you will find the Kids’ Village and all the food stands.

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Bollekesfeest on Steenplein, next to the river

Visit

Experience the excitement of going around Antwerp’s best museums throughout the night on Museum Night on the 3rd August, and don’t forget that Stad Antwerpen museums are free on the last Wednesday of the month.

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MUHKA is Antwerp’s museum of contemporary art

Enjoy Lambermonmartre the largest open-air local art market: on Leopold de Waalplaats (in front of KMSKA) on the 28th July and the 25th August. For the other regular markets in Antwerp, here’s a useful list.

Take a stroll along the renewed Scheldekaaien – the banks of the river from Sint Andries to the south of the city have been renovated with open spaces, places to sit, stroll or for kids to play (pic below).

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If you are scratching your head looking for something cheap and cheerful to occupy the kids on their summer holidays, then have a look at Speel-O-Rama at the Zuiderpershuis, starting next week: it’s on from 15th July -9th August and costs only 2 euros per day, per child. It’s for kids aged 7-13, and offers workshops, activities, creative play, theatre and water games.

These Antwerp Sports Activities are for children aged 6-13. You need to register your child for a place on an activity. These usually mean a week sport sessions (Mon- Fri) in your chosen sport.

Bookish and creative kids might enjoy Bibfabriek at the Permeke library, on Wednesdays at 2pm during July.

belgium-flag-1332904_640Neighbourhood parties and festivals

The 21st of July is Belgium’s national day. Here are a few places which will be marking the formation of our relatively youthful nation.

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Antwerp Library Cafe wearing Pride colours on De Coninckplein

You can find all you need to know about Antwerp Pride, which is celebrated in Antwerp from the 7th-11th August. Of course there will be loads of Pride-related events taking place around the city, but for many the most important is the Pride Parade which takes place on Saturday 10th August, starting with a pre-parade event at midday. See here for the details, including the route of the parade.

Also taking place during Pride week (and continuing until the 18th August) is the Antwerp Queer Arts Festival. For a great general guide in English to LGBT+ life in Antwerp see this guest post from last year by Timothy Junes.

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Linkerwoofer

Sfinks Festival (25th-28th July) and Linkerwoofer (2nd -3rd August) are two popular Antwerp music festivals. Sfinks is a free four day festival, Linkerwoofer is ticketed. Both events are child-friendly.


Browse, buy & sell

Antwerp regulars-  for those in search of a second hard bargain- include Goegekregen rommelmarkt (28th July) and Permeke Boekenplein (21st July)

You can go Sunday Shopping in the shopping areas of the city on the first Sunday of the month.

Handy summer links

The complete Antwerp summer programme (Zomer van Antwerpen) was released on 28th May at http://www.zva.be/. Helpfully, there are English and French versions of the programme in downloadable pdf form.

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Summerbars.com is a really useful link with the details of all the summer bars in Antwerp for this season.

And there are a couple of open-air swimming pools in Antwerp, which can be found here.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 31st May, 1st & 2nd June

macaroons-1957310_640There’s a few two-three day events this weekend, and if you are a food and drink lover (that’s a polite way of saying GLUTTON)  it’s going to be a great (if expensive) weekend for you, as with a little planning you could eat and drink your way along the Schelde from Friday to Sunday (even from Thursday if you are already peckish).

Down on the Plantinkaai it’s Fiesta Europa – this is a fun mix of  on-the-spot eating, drink ing and socialising, and a market with plenty of stands selling food products to take home: European products are central, so plenty in the way of great cheeses, meats, olives, honeys and tapenades. Food and drink stands a-plenty throughout means it’s a fun hang-out if the weather is good, especially since the event is always kid-friendly (yes, there is the obligatory bouncy castle!). Thanks to reader, Arwin, for reminding me about this event!

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HAP Festival is another food festival, this one is more focussed on food trucks and hip street food. It’s on Steenplein and although can be pricey. It’s not kid-unfriendly, but Fiesta Europa is better if you have small people to consider.

Antwerp Wine Festival is also on Steenplein; this is more for the grown-ups for obvious reasons, and wines from 12 different countries form the centre of this event.

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And last, but by no means least, one of my absolutely favourite events of the year De Quaeye Werelt! In which the Rivierenhof is transformed into a bustling medieval community of  traders, knights, noblemen and ladies, and artisans of every type. Re-enactors hold a noisy battle. It’s the historical element which makes this event so special

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re-enactors at De Quaeye Werelt

(it’s 1477) as well as the good natured, enthusiastic and friendly atmosphere created by everyone who takes part. There’s loads of cheap, hearty food and affordable drinks -if the weather is nice bring a picnic blanket and settle in for the day. The kids will love the battle, the puppet show and the costumes (but the littlest ones might want ear-defenders if they are near the battle, which is very loud indeed).

Friday

If you’re worried about what all this will do to your waistline, why not join Critical Mass for their monthly bike ride through the streets of Antwerp? Assemble at 6pm at Theaterplein, with your bike as usual. I expect Critical Mass will still be riding high on the buzz created by last weekend’s fantastic Critical Mass Belgium ride, and party at Park Spoor Noord, which is captured in this footage made by Critical Mass riders from Brussels who looked as though they enjoyed themselves here in Antwerp!

 

Aper’eau will be on Antwerp’s newest outdoor party place: Operaplein from 5pm to start the weekend with their usual blend of outdoor drinking, summer cocktails and DJs.

Saturday

For a more local food experience, farmers’ market Kraakvers are in Borgerhout on the Vincottestraat from 10am-3pm.

Sunday

vegansstuffAnother healthy food option could be Vegan Vibes Picnic at Park Spoor Noord from 11am- 7pm. Food trucks and stands selling vegan only options – see the link for the exact location (it is near – but not right at – Bar Noord).

If you cannot eat another thing, maybe a browse round this vinyl market would suit you. It’s at Giraffenplein (behind of the zoo) and hosted by Vitesse Coffee & Cycling.

Finally a reminder that it’s Sunday Shopping in Antwerp, and the regular shops will be open too, in the main shopping areas of the city, like Meir, Nationalestraat Kammenstraat and Kloosterstraat.

A warm and dry (though sometimes cloudy) weekend is predicted, with possible top temps as high as 27 degrees (Sunday).

Miscellaneous

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The complete Antwerp summer programme (Zomer van Antwerpen) was released on 28th May at http://www.zva.be/ -get in early for ticketed events that you are interested in. Helpfully, there are English and French versions of the programme in downloadable pdf form.

nature-4202726_640You may remember Daniel McBrearty from his fascinating guest post on Nessascityblog all about the Plantin Moretus museum. Daniel has launched a campaign in Belgium to persuade the supermarket chain Colruyt to reduce plastic packaging and single-use plastics in their stores. Please support the campaign! You can listen to him explain its reasoning in this short film, and the links to the campaign are here (in English), here (in het Nederlands) and here (en Francais).

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It’s very nearly show time at BATS VZW don’t forget to order your tickets for their annual show via their website -this year’s extravanganza promises to be a riot of colour and fun.

Runners: you can now register for the Reuzenloop in Borgerhout (choose from runs of 4, 8 or 12 km; there is also a free kids’ run). This takes place on the 9th June: click on ‘schrijf hier in!’ to sign up.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 3rd, 4th & 5th May

There are a few things taking place over the whole weekend which you might like to have a look at:

For foodies, it’s Antwerpen Proeft in an around Waagnatie. You can buy tickets in advance (cheaper) or on the day.  It takes place on Friday (5 PM until 12 midnight (food until 10 PM)), Saturday (12 noon until 12 midnight (food until 10 PM)) and
Sunday (11 AM until 8 PM)

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pics by Kringwinkel Antwerpen

If, like me, you love finding unique quality items of secondhand, retro and vintage clothing, you will be pleased to know that the Kringwinkel (recycling shop; pic above) is opening a new and spacious new branch, just off Meir on Otto Veniusstraat this weekend: and is marking the occasion over the whole weekend.

Why not have a look at this exhibition on Markgravelei? Offering painting, graphic work, ceramics, photography and jewellery, it’s hosted by Collegium Artificium which promotes the work of artists of various disciplines in the area. It’s on until 12th May. Screen Shot 2019-05-01 at 20.51.36

Friday

HURRAH! We have a SPECIAL OFFER – just for Nessascityblog readers – from Antwerp Ghostwalk!

When making a booking for this Friday’s Antwerp Ghostwalk -which is in English –
don’t forget to mention “as seen on nessascityblog” in the remarks field and you will get
€2,5 reduction on each ticket that you reserve. 
The Ghostwalk begins at 21h on Steenplein (by the Wapper statue).
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Saturday

Today is  Free Comic Book Day and Antwerp’s best know comic & graphic novel shop Mekanik Strip on Sint Jacobsmarkt (and easily recognisable from the Spiderman climbing the wall above the door) will be taking part. So swing by to pick up a free comic from the range available for Free Comic Book Day.

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Marnixplein

At the Kringwinkels (thrift stores/ second hand shops) across Belgium it’s Dag van de Gever -a special day dedicated to those who donate to Kringwinkels, so it’s a good day to have a clear out and bring your unused clothes and items to your local branch. This .pdf shows participating shops in the Antwerp area and the special activities and offers which are taking place in-store. If you donate items to the store at Sint Jorispoort, you will receive a discount and a surprise offer/ gift.

 

It’s the annual Marnixfeest on Marnixplein in the trendy Zuid, from 2pm. Expect music, DJs, and food & drink from the bars and restaurants in the area, until midnight.


Sunday

Ringlandaffiche-05What is the Ringland Project? Well, if you have seen the logo and the word but wondered what it is, here is a useful explainer in English and there is also a chance to find out more at The Ringland Festival today on Conscienceplein, from 2pm- 6pm (pic right).

 

Popular Swan Market takes place on Grote Markt from 11am- 5pm with its usual array of stands offering homemade food and locally made products, such as clothes, stationery, jewellery and accessories, from small businesses and local creators.

As it’s the first Sunday of the month, it’s Sunday shopping in Antwerp with shops on Meir and beyond opening for business from midday.

The weather looks like it will be changeable, with both bright spots and showers, but also the possibility of storms. Temperatures around 10-11 degrees.

Miscellaneous

If you’re a runner enthused by the Antwerp 10 Miles last weekend, you may want to sign up for the annual Silver Run but be warned -this is no ordinary run: it consists of running up and down 1-3 tower blocks. Think you’re up to it? You can register here

WwelcomelogoTwo recent special Nessacityblog posts are available now: one about The Chef’s Cut, for foodies, and one about the VZW Wwelcome, which has a variety of services for newcomers to the city, to help them settle in and integrate into local life.

 

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This Weekend: September 29th – 1st October

*NEXT POST OCTOBER 5TH*

 

This weekend it’s all about two-day events:

SO HERE’S THE MAP…

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pic courtesy of Antwerp Fashion Weekend (2017)


FASHION
: It is Antwerp Fashion Weekend! There are four key areas to shop and enjoy events like fashion shows, because AFW coincides with Weekend van de Klant in Belgium, and Sunday shopping.

ART: Continuing this weekend on Saturday and on Sunday is Open Ateliers which offers the opportunity to see artists and their work in the context of their own workshops and ateliers. On the OA website, you can select the medium which most interests you and pick which ateliers and art spaces you would like to see, or you can head to Zuiderperhuis between 11am and 6pm (on both Saturday and Sunday) for an overview of the whole event.

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FOOD: Also over both days it’s food fest Smaakmeesters: tastings, walks and workshops at various locations round the city. The four key locations are Groenplaats, Leopold de Waelplaats, Nassaustraat and Vrijdagmarkt, with programmes for Saturday and Sunday.

BEER: If beer is more your cup of tea. then the Modeste Beer Festival is on over at the de Koninck Brewery from 11am -7pm. I like this one -many different beers, not too pricey and a very informal atmosphere. If the weather is nice, there’s space to hang out outside too.

Friday

This week’s “and now for something slightly different” spot is occupied by this vernissage at MAF from 7.30pm (Keistraat 1, 2000 Antwerp).  I have to admit a certain bias here: I own a large trunk painted by Djuna, and although it is assigned the inglorious function of containing my dirty laundry, it is very beautiful.

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The last Friday of the month means Critical Mass: assemble on Theaterplein at 6pm as usual -it’s the back-to-college edition, but everyone is welcome, as ever.

Or you could go and get your household items (PCs, electrical goods, furniture or sewing work) fixed for free at The Repair Café, ‘Twerkhuys, Borgerhout between 4 and 7pm.

Saturday

There’s a food fest on Jezusstraat (off Meir) from 10am -10pm to coincide with the Antwerp Fashion Weekend, while Grand Bazar shopping centre has a surprise offer for their Dag van de Klant between 10am- 6.30pm.

Sunday

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Shops in Stadsfeestzaal

It’s the first Sunday of the month, so Antwerp shops are open for continued enjoyment of AFW, and general shopping.

A dry, mild weekend is forecast with some sun and temperatures of around 16 degrees. Friday afternoon/ evening will be warmest, and might be the best time for one more “terasje”…

Miscellaneous

Don’t forget to find me on social media, where additional events and locations are also posted:

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This weekend: 8th, 9th & 10th September

Friday

Heres the GOOGLE MAP for this post, and a few options for kicking off your weekend:

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Flying Pig is at Waagnatie from 5pm until midnight: this is a Part of Antwerp event. Part of Antwerp is a 10-day festival comprising of various events taking place in the Eilandje area of the city. A varied program including food, sport, music and cultural activities can be found here. Some events are ticketed but many are free, or are for spectators (such as the Dragon Boat Festival and  the Haven Challenge (next weekend) or the fireworks.

Antwerp art space Extra City re-opens after a refurb with the exhibition ‘Extra Citizen’ at 7pm. There are additional events over the weekend, and also as part of Heritage Day on Sunday. Find the full program on their Facebook page. Extra City is free.

NB: If you were planning to head to Aper’eau or HAP food festival, these events have unfortunately been cancelled due to expected bad weather.

Saturday

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Facelift underway at Het Paleis

Het Paleis youth & children’s theatre reopens its doors after a refurb on Saturday evening at 6pm. The re-opening celebrations continue on Sunday too. Het Paleis offers theatre expperiences (plays and workshops) for children of all ages and this is a good chance to see the coming programme, as well as to join in the activities and see the new-look theatre and café.

 

 

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It’s the annual Damse Feesten in the Dam area to the north of the city. Various fun wheel races (Dam Plein), music, food, entertainment (Dam Plein) and a second hand market (Lange Lobroekstraat)  to be enjoyed at this popular neighbourhood street party, for locals of all ages. Plenty for kids and adults

 

Sunday

It’s Open Monumenten Dag (Heritage Day). An annual Flanders event -the largest one day event of its kind -with lots going on in Antwerp and the surrounding area, of course. A huge variety of cultural locations will be opening their doors and showcasing what they offer: libraries, theatre, music venues, archives, museums and ateliers to name but a few. Look for the ‘vlieg’ sign for activities and venues with activities and exhibits of particular interest to kids.

The (re)opening party of Het Paleis continues, with a Family Day at the kids’ theatre on Theaterplein, from 11am.

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Markt van Morgen

Swan Market lifestyle and design market will be on Grote Markt from 11am until 6pm.

… Or browse Markt van Morgen on Kloosterstraat from midday until 6pm -gifts, clothes, accessories, home interior items, jewellery -all made by local creatives and small businesses.

And on Dageraadplaats there will be a big second hand/ fleamarket  from 9am -6pm.

 

 

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Alternatively, dance the afternoon and evening away at Bar Nord’s Sunday Matinee, from 2pm. It’s large covered area means that rain can’t spoil play.

The weather continues to become more autumnal with possibilities of showers on Friday and Saturday (afternoon). Sunday could well be dry all day. Temperatures remain mild though (around 17 degrees).

Miscellaneous

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Think Pink Run

Runners! You can register now for Race For The Cure which is a 6km run (or 3km walk) taking place on 24th September on the Kaaien, in aid of Breast Cancer research and awareness. It’s a special edition of the run, as this year Think Pink celebrates its 10th birthday.

Also for runners -the Bollekesloop takes place on the 10th of September. You can register until the 7th and it costs 10 euros (the 1km kids’ run is free). You get a free shirt (while supplies last), and -when you hand in your runner’s number at the end – a bolleke (for over 18s).

If you are sad about the closing of summer bars round Antwerp, then there was good news fro Bar Noord (Park Spoor Noord) this week -it will be remaining open until 22nd October and will continue to hold events. Check their website and Facebook page for details!

Open- air swimming pools are open for one more week until 17th September.

Race for the Cure image courtesy of Think Pink; Sunday Matinee pic from Bar Noord; thanks to Damse Feesten for the info poster pic. 

Don’t forget to find me on social media, where additional events and locations are also posted:

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This weekend: 26th, 27th & 28th May

[Next post: 1st June]

Yasssss …. it’s a long weekend and the weather is going to be toasty. We will respond to this winning combination in the traditional Antwerpian fashion by sloping around in the sunshine, eating and drinking. What luck! For this weekend seems to hold many opportunities to do just that. Just watch out for a wee bit of drizzle or thunder on Sunday, but nonetheless temperatures are set to be high …

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HERE’S THE MAP!

A fun event which is fairly new to the Antwerp Summer scene is Vakantie op T’ Zuid
which describes itself as a holiday market. This event is very much focused on food or drink and it is fairly easy to tailor your consumption to your budget, as the food ranges from small snacks and sweets to larger meals. It has a truly international feel with stands from all over the world, as well as some performances (we saw some Indonesian dancing last year). It takes place down on the Vlaamse Kaai, so there is also a handy playground for kids, as well as a play area for the event itself. Starts Thursday at midday and continues until Sunday.

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Mercado on Groenplaats is also having a food festival that takes place over the whole weekend (25th -28th May) offering -in addition to their usual stands – outdoor stands, street musicians and magicians, and kids’ entertainment.

Friday

Update: No picnic today apologies for the error!

Critical Mass takes place as usual for the last Friday of the month, meeting at 6pm -also on Theaterplein. Bring your bike for the musical edition of this monthly communal bike ride

Aper’eau is back for the summer -their kick-off event takes place on Groenplaats from 5pm. Outdoor drinks and cocktails in the sun in Antwerp’s most famous square. Sounds like a good way to start the weekend…

Groenplaats
Groenplaats

Saturday

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Brick Boat in Stadspark   This plinth (where different exhibits are featured) is a project from Middelheim Museum

Middelheim -Antwerp’s free  sculpture museum is a beautiful place to visit, but even more so when the weather is good. So this weekend should be a good time to take advantage of the opening event of the Richard Deacon exhibition, complete with a free guided tour.

Or enjoy a browse round the ABC (Antiques Books Curiosa) market at Den Beulebak from 11- 5pm. Free.

Sunday

Snitt are holding a second hand market at a fun location today: at Stack (formerly Convoi)  the container village down by Waagnatie. It’s free and you can bring your own secondhand items to donate to local initiative ‘de Collectie’.

Lambermontmartre is another regular presence on the Antwerp summer scene. It’s not only a chance to browse or buy lots of art works by local and amateur artists, and to support their work, but there is always a band and some good, cheap food and drinks. The area has some lovely cafés (Finjan’s is a favourite of mine for great Falafel and middle-Eastern food) and there is usually a table where kids can paint a canvas of their own for a small price.

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Ascension is the reason for the long weekend. If you would like to enjoy some choral music, head to the Begijnhofkerk at 3pm, where for 5 euros you can hear the Cathedral Singers of Oxford with special music for Ascensiontide.

Reserve by calling 03 232 01 03

Miscellaneous

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.

Next week Wednesday is the last Wednesday of the month so Antwerp City museums are free (Plantin Moretus, Rockox, Mayer van den Bergh, The MAS and The Red Star Line Museum).

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).

Runners again -here’s a run with a difference: Silver Run takes you up and down towerblocks, on the 11th June, for which you can register now. It does cost to take part, unless you live in social housing, in which case it is free.

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I’m proud to share my first guest blog post on Nessascityblog! If you missed it, have a read of Dolrish’s personal story of coming to live and work in Antwerp, all the way from the Philippines. And if you’d like to contribute and tell your story, please get in touch via nessascityblog@gmail.com

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