This weekend in Antwerp: 26th, 27th & 28th October

Here’s the Google Map to help you find your way around Antwerp this weekend.

Antwerp gastro-fest Smaakmeesters continues this weekend until the end of the month with walks, offers, foodie workshops and markets …

Friday

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It’s the Hallowe’en edition of Critical Mass! Assemble as usual at 6pm with your bike on Theaterplein. After a group bike-ride of about an hour around Antwerp, you will -if you have dressed up for the occasion be rewarded with a mug of soup on arrival at Sint-Paulusplaats, courtesy of veggie fast food restaurant De Krewelligen Bidet (which comes personally recommended -tasty, cheap home-cooked vegetarian & vegan fast-food).

Last week I mentioned Antwerp’s newest market: Dokmarket, which takes place weekly on Fridays from 3pm- 8pm and finally last week I went along to Napoleonkaai where I enjoyed a cava and a quiche from Quichenette, bought some delicious Save The Queen honey gin and a couple of jars of pickles from Spijs en Valies. It’s a nice mix of local products to eat or drink on the spot or to buy to take home. Although partly covered, it’s one to enjoy while it’s still dry and not too cold.

Saturday

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It’s the ABC (Antiques, Brocante, Curiosa) at Den Beulebak from 11am-5pm.

If you are keen to start your Hallowe’en festivities, then The Irish Times (just off Grote Markt) is the place to start tonight. It’s a fancy dress party (of course) with live music from 10pm. Other Irish pubs will be holding events on the day itself (Wednesday -see miscellaneous).

Union Love Affair is a festival taking place on Steenplein from midday until midnight – funk, hip-hop, DJs -only 5 euros in, plus this also includes drinks jetons for two drinks… you do the maths.

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Steenplein

Sunday

dayofthedeadCommemorating and celebrating The Day of The Dead has become an annual event at the MAS museum, Eilandje. This takes place on the 8th floor of the museum from 3pm -6pm. Visitors are invited to bring a photograph or keepsake associated with a loved one who has died.  This event is free and includes the opportunity to see the exhibition Feest.

A reminder that clocks go back an hour today!

The weather is going to feel cooler and more autumnal (11-13 degrees) with a possibility of some showers on Saturday and on Sunday too.


Miscellaneous

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Vleeshuis

I am pleased to share this interview I did for The Bulletin about life in Antwerp.

Next Wednesday is the last Wednesday of the month which means that Antwerp City museums are free. Of particular interest at the moment might be the De Reede Museum which is presently exhibiting Edvard Munch’s The Scream.

Also on the last Wednesday of the month, you can also catch a free classical concert at 2.30pm at the Vleeshuis.
Wednesday is Hallowe’en: Irish pubs around the city are always a good bet: fancy dress party  & games at Kelly’s on Keyserlei; the traditional Annual Hallowe’en Quiz & fancy dress at An Sibhin on Nationalestraat (register teams via the Facebook page);  and a big fancy dress party at Molly’s on Jezuitenrui, with costumes, games, prizes and free candy ..)

November 1st is a public holiday. There will be a holiday “rommelmarkt” on Theaterplein, courtesy of Goegekregen, from 9am -6pm.

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English speaking theatre in Antwerp: meet BATS!

BATS (British American Theatrical Society) has been bringing a wide variety of stage productions to English speaking audiences in Antwerp for over 60 years now. They have their own theatre (the “Little Theatre”) at Paardenmarkt 111 and recently I attended their production of Dracula. Here’s the review I wrote for them, and if that makes you think you should get tickets for their next show in January, then continue reading for all the info and links you need ….

A BLOODY GOOD NIGHT AT THE LITTLE THEATRE

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“Dracula” by Stephen Dietz, performed by  BATS vzw, at The Little Theatre, Paardenmarkt

Kids love Hallowe’en but for grown-ups, October and November can be a bit of a bleak time as the days get darker, yet Christmas cheer still seems a long way off.

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Getting with the program

This year, BATS production of Dracula (Dir: Robert Meyvisch) was -literally -just the ticket for anybody who shares my feelings of autumnal glumness. And it was most certainly not for children. I went to see it on Hallowe’en night and it was sold out, so I was pleased to have booked my seat.

I wasn’t familiar with this play version of the story by Stephen Dietz. Naturally as an English undergraduate, I’d read the novel, and also The Liz Lochhead play version, both of which I love.

BATS Little Theatre is a very small venue for a very big story, so the staging had to be cleverly done with characters frequently positioned on stage performing lines that also had a semi-narratorial function -for example, Jonathon’s accounts of his time at Dracula castle v. his fiancee’s experience back at home, at the point where she receives his letter. This really worked, and the feeling of the various settings -and the distance between them -was very successfully conveyed.

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Photo: Robert Meyvisch

Visually this production was very pleasing and stylish -again, this is an achievement in a smaller venue. The use of the bed as a central focus for much of the action was simple yet effective, emphasising -with its changing colour schemes of black/ red and black/ white – its association with illness, sex and death.

The combination of the traditional and the contemporary was spot on: the traditional elements were all there in the form of its Victorian feel, the madness, the inclusion of all the Vampire lore we would expect (plenty of garlic and unwitting invites to cross the threshold) and a satisfying quantity of blood, vampire-induced agonies and horrid red mouths. I delighted in the creepy hand shadow effect -a nod to traditional horror movies (especially Nosferatu, 1922). The more modern edge was provided by the costumes which I loved -these all had a steam-punk element: a carefully placed accessory on a boot or hat made all the difference.

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The enthusiasm, imagination and commitment of the cast to be faithful to the story was evident -it sometimes had the feel of a murderous pantomime because the story and characters are ones which as adults we feel as familiar with as children do about Cinderella or Peter Pan -but it was steam-punk, blood-bespattered panto for sure. For the grown-ups. I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope that BATS will consider doing something similarly macabre every Hallowe’en.

♦     ♦     ♦

AND NEXT …

Every year BATS stages a pantomime. If, like me you grew up with panto as an essential part of your childhood around Christmas and new year, you will be pleased to know that BATS delivers the traditional pantomime stories, in the traditional way, with plenty of corny jokes, songs, a Dame and lots of audience participation. If it’s not part of your childhood, well, I am willing to bet your kids will love it. This year’s production is the story of Aladdin, and will be shown at Theater ‘t Eilandje. You can order your tickets HERE, for one of three performances in January 2018.

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This is just a taster of what BATS is all about. If you would like to find out more, you can go along to one of their Open Evenings, which will resume next year: the first is the Spring Open Evening on Saturday, 17th of March 2018.

Images courtesy of BATS VZW

(except program image which is from @nessascityblog insta)

 

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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: 27th, 28th & 29th October

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Pumpkins at Antwerp market (Theaterplein, Saturdays)

Here is your GOOGLE MAP for all the locations mentioned in this weekend’s post!

Plein Publiek celebrates two years at the Fierensblokken this weekend. There’s also a fair amount of Hallowe’en events on, although Hallowe’en itself falls on Tuesday.

One option for some Hallowe’en entertainment would be the BATS production of Dracula. Tickets for the 31st are sold out but there are still some left for the 28th, 29th & 30th. I have already heard very positive reviews of this production!

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Friday

Critical Mass takes place as usual for the last Friday of the month, and this is a special edition for children and young cyclists. Be aware that this route will, however, comprise three sites where cyclists have been killed in accidents lately in Antwerp, so that flowers can be laid at these places. If you’re a cyclist, do be especially careful as the weather gets darker, and especially at crossings (all the recent fatalities occurred at crossings).

Saturday

The Antwerp Fire Services celebrate their 200th birthday with an open door day at their main depot on Noorderlaan, between 9.30 am- 5pm. Ideal for a visit if you have a child who aspires to be a fire-fighter.

It’s the legendary An Sibhin Hallowe’en Quiz! General knowledge quiz in fancy dress, in English. Teams of max. 5 players – 5€ per person entry. The quiz starts at 8pm.
Reserve your team by messaging the An Sibhin Facebook page  or in person at the bar.

London Calling are celebrating 50 Years of Sergeant Pepper at Ampere! SuperEarly bird tickets are sold out but a few early birds are left at 7 euros… Otherwise it’s 11 euros. DOORS OPEN: 10.30

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Sunday

There is a free Dia de los Muertos event at MAS museum from 3pm on the 8th floor. It is suggested that visitors bring a photo or object that evokes the memory of a lost loved one.  There’s music, and a free visit to the expo on the 8th floor, as well as some activities for children.

The weather this weekend is likely to be mixed with showers (particularly on Sunday) and maximum temperatures of around 15 degrees.
Miscellaneous

Wednesday 1st November is a public holiday (All Saints) and there will be a Goegekregen Rommelmarkt all day (9am- 6pm) on Theaterplein.

On MONDAY 30th Oct: I’m looking forward to pressing another guest post – this time from Laura, an Italian who lives in Antwerp and is the the writer of Nonnative blog

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Don’t forget to get in touch via nessascityblog@gmail.com if you would like to write a post telling your Antwerp story.

I have also guest-blogged for Nonnative. Read my restaurant review here.

Antwerp has been included in the Lonely Planet Top Ten Cities for 2018!

For kids: you may be pleased to know that the indoor playground above Mercado (Groenplaats) has re-opened. It will be open on Saturdays and Sundays (and during school holidays) from 10am- 6pm and on Wednesdays from 1pm -6pm.

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

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Instagram

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

Twitter

&

Pinterest

This weekend: 28th, 29th & 30th October

***NEXT POST: THURSDAY 3RD NOV***

Hello, Fellow Antwerpenaars! It’s good to be back after a bit of travelling and an October break from blogging. Having been away, I’m way behind and  have a backlog on my personal Antwerp to-do list. I still haven’t properly scoped out the new Zaha Hadid Port House Building, the renovated Plantin Moretus Museum on Vrijdagmarkt (which family members visited *gasp* WITHOUT ME in my absence and heartily recommend) or Mercado on Groenplaats (well, I did go in but it was crazy busy. Will return when it’s settled down).

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However … for now let’s take a more detailed look at what is going on this Hallowe’en weekend, as autumn gets well underway. Here’s the GOOGLE MAP with all the places mentioned here, so that you can find them …

 

Friday
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It being the last Friday of the month, it’s Critical Mass -assemble as usual at 6pm on Theaterplein, but this month is a special Hallowe’en Edition so get dressed up for this one, and decorate your bike!

For a night out with a difference, and costing a mere 3 euros, head to FOMU at 8pm for Nightwatch (performance, poetry & party …).

Saturday

Vinyl lovers: head to Plein Publiek from 11am for a record fair held in conjunction with Rotkat record store.

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Deek the Dragon is in Love by Vered Ben Kiki

If you have a younger reader in your family then this book presentation at the  Sjokkel Toy Shop will be of interest to you, as local children’s writer, Vered Ben Kiki shows a number of her books, such as’De Andere Kous’, ‘Arthur nodigt je uit naar zijn event’, ‘Hanna is bang om naar school te gaan’, ‘Elias Opa & Het Amsterdamse Piratenkantoor’ and ‘Dick De Draak wordt verliefd’. The books are available in a variety of languages: English, Dutch, French, Hebrew and Arabic, wth one story (‘Hanna is bang om naar school te gaan’) also in Japanese.

 

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The White Stripes by Sacha Eckes (ICU Expo)

 

Singles organisation Sling opens its doors to everyone (you don’t need to be single) at the ICU Art Expo at the Mosterdfabriek right near Par Spoor Noord. It’s free, but the afterparty is ticketed (7 euros)

Creative autumn shoppers might like to hang out in Grand Bazar shopping centre, where between the 29th October and 6th November, you can join in decorating a mug and get some free pumpkin soup -from 1.30 each day, except Sunday.

And there is a huge second hand market on Sint -Jansplein (9am -5pm).

 

Sunday

At 11.30 at the Sint Carolus Borromeuskerk  The Manchester Chorale will sing for an hour. This is free. It’s also a very beautiful church -perhaps it gets overlooked, dwelling as it does in the shadow of Antwerp’s much better known OLV Cathedral.

ICU expo continues.

The weather this weekend is expected to be cool and dry this weekend (13- 14 degrees) with highest chances of showers on Sunday.

Miscellaneous

Monday is Hallowe’en in case you have failed to notice. The Irish pubs in particular are always big on this event -there’s always a busy dress-up party at Kelly’s (Keyserlei) and this year there is a Rocky Horror Picture Show party at An Sibhin with the film showing at 9pm. This party at music pub Cabron (right near Grote Markt) also looks promising.

Don’t forget that (happily for those with hangovers) the next day- 1st November – is a public holiday in Belgium. From 9 -6 on Theaterplein, Goegekregen will be holding a big second hand market. There’s usually a very reasonably priced bar for those requiring a little hair of the dog.

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by journalist Laura de Backer for local paper Den Triangel about Nessacityblog and the post-referendum Brexit post(s) I have written.

Great news for street art fans who read this blog: Street Art Antwerp  (AKA Tim Streetwerpenaar) are indeed going ahead with  tours in English on Wednesday mornings. Discover the hidden world of graffiti and street art in Antwerp during a tour which last 90 mins -2 hours, starting at 10am (Berchem Station). There is no official charge, but participants are encouraged to make a voluntary donation, which will be gifted to charity -in this case Music For Life. Make contact with Tim via his Facebook page or on streetartantwerpen@gmail.com if you would like to join a tour. Additionally, Street Art Antwerp offers this sparkly new app so you can find your own way too.

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Street Art Tours of Antwerp -now available in English

 

Find Nessascityblog on TwitterPinterest and Instagram!

Brexit posts are here (part 1) and here (part 2).

 

Thanks to Vered Ben Kiki, Street Art Antwerp, Sacha Eckes and Pixabay for the images they supplied for this post, and to Math Artist Foundation for the banner (below)


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This weekend: 31st October -1st November 2015

Saturday

Saturday is Hallowe’en. There is a separate post about Hallowe’en activities, and bars which are celebrating Hallowe’en around Antwerp; be sure to check it if you are going out.

The Antwerp Book Fair begins this weekend (continuing until the 11th November). Lots of Flemish writers, publishers and retailers will be present, but there will be books of all sorts and in many different languages, including English. Writers Robert Harris and Kate Mosse will be in attendance this year.

The young people’s theatre group Up With People are in Antwerp and performing two musical shows here. These will be in English at Theater Elckerlyck .

Over this weekend there are a number of activities and events for Plein Publiek which open on the afternoon of the 30th October and continues until Sunday. Details of specific events (music, brunch, workshops) can be found on Facebook

Sunday

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Yoga flashmob, promoting “Yoga For The People” Event.

There will be an enormous yoga event this Sunday, at Sportpaleis, starting at 12.30 and concluding at 4pm. You can register here and find out more about the program. It doesn’t cost to register but the event’s purpose is to raise money for Medecins sans Frontieres/ Doctors without Borders.

It’s the first Sunday of the month, so shoppers will be pleased to learn that on and around Meir many shops will be open for business, even though it is All Saints Day, and officially a holiday too.

Bargain hunters may prefer one of two flea-markets on this Sunday, at either Park Spoor Noord (starting 9am) or Kinepolis (starting 10am, also on Saturday)

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Hallowe’en Special!

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Increasingly, Hallowe’en is a festival that adults like to make a night of, rather than being solely an opportunity for kids to dress up.

During the day, however, if zombies are your thing there will be a Zombie Walk. Assemble in appropriate attire on Kammenstraat at 2pm. The parade will conclude with a free drink courtesy of Cafe Congé.

If you are heading out  in the evening sans enfants, you may find that the Irish bars in Antwerp are the ones which are most keen to celebrate Hallowe’en. I’m hyperlinking to their webpages, but if you are on Facebook, you might find more up-to-date information on the page of each pub there.

As previously mentioned An Sibhin on the Nationalestraat will be holding their Hallowe’en Quiz on the 29th this year (Thursday), to make space for the Rugby Final on the 31st itself. This will be shown on the pub’s big screen and is a popular and lively place to watch games.

On Friday you can join the Critical Mass cycling movement for a Hallowe’en Themed Bike Ride. Assemble on Theaterplein at 6. The bike ride concludes at Park Spoor Noord where there will be snacks and hot drinks.

On the 31st,  The Irish Times on Grote Markt will be showing the game too, and also having a Hallowe’en Dress-Up night.

Kelly’s  on Keyserlei (the street leading up to the main entrance of Antwerp Central Station) always goes a bundle for Hallowe’en, and it will be a busy night there.

On the Rijnkaai for free you can dance until late to a indie/ rock/ Britpop at London Calling Hallowe’en Special.

The Highlander Café will also be having a Hallowe’en part, starting at 9pm.

If you are looking to buy a pumpkin, I recommend the Saturday market, on Theaterplein. They usually still have them, even if you have left it to the last minute!

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Antwerp Market

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Enjoy your Hallowe’en. If you are taking your kids Trick or Treating, have fun and stay safe.