This weekend in Antwerp: 2nd, 3rd & 4th March

I’ve been asked to publicise this good cause. The event (an exhibition costing just 5 euros entry) is raising money to research Wolfram Syndrome -a rare condition affecting children and young people. The event is called EYEOPENER and takes place over Saturday and Sunday this weekend at KASKA on Blindestraat (no. 35) from 11am -5pm.

You can find EYEOPENER and all the other locations mentioned on this post on the GOOGLE MAP as usual.

Friday

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Koekenstad Chocolate Week

Antwerp Chocolate Week begins today and works on the same principle as the Pateekes Week: get your 10 euros Chocolate Pass from the tourist offices, and you will be able to sample discounted chocolatey treats at the participating chocolatiers, coffee shops and cake shops

Another interesting Antwerp tour: City Gossip (in English) from Achterklap, starting at 3pm (meet at Restaurant aan de Stroom, Ernest Van Dijkkaai 37) and make sure you register beforehand by mailing katrien.van.geystelen1@telenet.be A local walking tour can be a great way to see the city if you are a recent arrival, or if you have visitors to whom you would like to show your new home city!

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Achterklap Tours (pic courtesy of Achterklap)

Saturday

For kids, there is indoor play at Park Loods Jungle Jump for kids aged 2-15 (below 2, over 15 and accompanying adults are free, otherwise it’s 5 euros per kid; 8 euros for a 2-day ticket). Tickets here.

Sunday

Jungle Jump (see above)

Sunday shopping -shops are open in the centre of town and in other areas like Quartier Nationale because it is the first Sunday of the month (winkelzondag)

Swan Market (Dutch and Belgian artisans and creators) takes place today at a new Antwerp venue (Meatpack- so, indoors!). 11-5pm.

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Sunday Shopping: Stadsfeeszaal

Miscellaneous

If you are a runner, you can now register for the Antwerp Ten Miles which takes place on  the 22nd April.

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Check out this month’s agenda for Colectivo Amorika for March (left). They provide cultural and language activities for Spanish speaking families in the Antwerp area, and those with an interest in understanding Spanish culture and language.

Brrrr! It has been incredibly cold this week. Temperatures are set to rise above freezing this weekend, but it will still be cold on Friday (with the possibility of some snow). Saturday will be better (around 8 degrees) and dry, but showers are expected on Sunday.

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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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This weekend in Antwerp: 21st & 22nd October

Feels like a post-summer lull is upon us a bit, but there are still a few things on. Here’s the map for this weekend’s picks.

dkbeerfWild Jo’s Market takes place over Saturday and Sunday at de Koninck Brouwerij It’s a nice market if you have time on your hand and like design, but it does cost 4 euros to get in, which I personally think is a bit steep (although it’s free for under 16s) as an entry charge to a place where you are likely to be spending further. There is both an inside and an outside area, and there will be local creatives and entrepreneurs selling clothes, design and household items, art, crafts, food, clothing and more. There will also be live music.

Saturday

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Over in Park Spoor Noord, Bar Noord is closing, which confirms that summer is over and it’s definitely autumn. SNITT and Goegekregen are holding a second hand market in the shelter from 9am -6pm and over the weekend there is a program of events from Bar Noord to mark the end of their summer 2017 season.

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It’s also Kringwinkel Day – a good day to get a bargain in any one of Antwerp’s second hand stores. I like the one at St Jorispoort as it is very big -three floors of furniture, household goods, clothes, toys and well, anything, really. Here’s the program for the day (scroll down for De Kringwinkel Antwerpen -page 3/ 5- where you can see the specific themes/ specialties for each of the stores).
Sunday

There is a running event at Park Spoor Noord from 10.30 (go to the Loods Sport hall to register at 10.30). Take part in  5km, 10km or 15km run. Here’s the program for the whole day.

WP_20171018_14_42_46_RichAnd from 10am -5pm Brilliant Foodies – a food festival organised by Antwerp World Diamond Centre at Felix Pakhuis (Eilandje, near MAS). Free entry.

Miscellaneous

Temperatures are likely to be pleasant this weekend (reaching 17 degrees) but there are chances of showers on both Saturday and Sunday.

Coming Soon: 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.

Next Wednesday (25th) is the last Wednesday of the month so don’t forget that Stad Antwerp museums are free on that day, which is handy to know if you have kids to occupy. Also handy to know if you have kids, is that Filmhuis Klappei is showing children’s films on Wednesday afternoons, starting at 2.15. This coming Wednesday it’s Viana (in Dutch): cost -2.50 for kids and 3.50 for adults (reserve via the email link).

And one more for the kids: you may be pleased to know that the indoor playground above Mercado (Groenplaats) is reopening this weekend. It will be open on Saturdays and Sundays (and during school holidays) from 10am- 6pm and on Wednesdays from 1pm -6pm.

If you use public transport a lot in Antwerp, you may be interested in the City Pass Antwerp from De Lijn.

Good news if you want to fly from Antwerp – London

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

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This weekend: 10th, 11th & 12th February

–Next post: Thur 16TH FEBRUARY  —–

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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.

Saturday

There’s what looks like a posh jumble sale at Plein Publiek at 2pm in the form of a Blogger Closet Sale.

Or the opening of this photography exhibit It’s Not About Cars at Gallery 51 at 2pm. If you prefer painting, there’s this one, starting at the same time.

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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.

Sunday

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.

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Het Steen

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.

Miscellaneous

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

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Indoor play above Mercado on Groenplaats

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.

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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.

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additional images this week from Pixabay

 —– BACK ON THE 16TH FEBRUARY  —–

 

 

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Antwerp with Kids

Out and about in Antwerp.

This post is about hanging out in Antwerp with kids, and is especially for the grandparents of my kids who do so much to look after our two youngest, when their school holidays do not coincide with ours.

In summer, keeping kids entertained is pretty easy. When the sun shines there are so many parks and pop- up bars with play areas and activities that it’s not hard to find somewhere budget- friendly to take them to each day, where adults will also be able to relax. The parks and play areas we most commonly visit are Stadspark (also has a skate park), Park Spoor Noord, the play area at the Gedempte zuiderdokken (kaaien) and the play area on Dageraadplaats in the Zurenborg area. The scenic Rivierenhof also has a lot of space and a play area for kids and it’s a lovely place to walk and get away from the city if you need some peace.

Stadspark
Stadspark

In autumn, when the weather turns colder, it is not always so simple, so this a brief guide to some of the places we like to go with our kids, when the weather is no longer so warm.

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The most obvious choices in the centre of town are the zoo and Comics Station , which are both good days out, but not cheap, especially if you are taking a few kids. At time of writing (October 2015) the zoo is undergoing renovation in some parts, meaning that some animals are not around, and there are parts which are occupied by building works. On the other hand, the aquarium section is finished and open and is a huge improvement on what was previously there. If you live in Antwerp, you may want to consider buying a year pass to make your visits more cost effective. I would also recommend keeping costs down by bringing your own picnic. There is a new restaurant in the zoo (La Latteria) and although the venue itself is very attractive, being one of the old zoo buildings, the food is nothing special and it is not cheap, again, especially if you are there with a few mouths to feed.

Flamingos at Antwerp Zoo
Flamingos at Antwerp Zoo

When we are sloping around town, there are two cafés in particular which welcome children and have facilities for them. The first is on Theatreplein (where the market is) and is called Het Geluk. It looks like a regular café, but is geared to kids and families. Because the outside area is covered, it is a good way to get kids out and about with their own trikes, scooters, bikes, roller skates etc in a place that they can use them, even if it is raining. Additionally, there is a play corner, and a selection of toys and games which the kids can borrow while they are there by asking at the bar and leaving their name. Het Geluk is open from Wednesday – Sunday.

Het Geluk is part of the theatre Het Paleis which runs performances and shows for children. These are in Dutch. They also run workshops and activities during the Belgian school holidays. You can pick up a programme or go along to the theatre for information and leaflets. I am sure they would also be happy to advise you which activities would be suitable for kids who do not speak Dutch. Theater performances and drama activities for kids can also be found at De Studio.

Pick up a programme for Het Paleis
Pick up a programme for Het Paleis

Affiliated to Het Geluk is Het Steen (open on Wednesdays- Sundays) which also offers a play area and toys within the café. During summer there is a water and sand play area at the back of the café. Het Steen also runs educational themed workshops during the holidays and at weekends. They have an atelier below the café where these take place. They are usually aimed at kids aged 6+ and are in Dutch. I like this café because of its location in the historic part of town, by the river.  At both Het Steen and Het Geluk, food and drinks are very reasonably priced, with a large bowl of soup for example, costing only 4 euros.

I haven’t been to Plaasj Kaffee yet, but I am planning to at some point this autumn or winter as I have heard good things about it and it has play areas for kids which are both outdoor and covered. It’s also a bit away from the city centre, being on Linkeroever (other side of the river) over the water from the Eilandje area.

Also over the water is Antwerp Bowling . It’s very easy to reach by bike, tram or car. It’s certainly a pricier way to kill an afternoon than Het Geluk or Het Steen but my kids always have a good time here. For younger kids, there is a soft play and climbing area which they really like. This costs 5 euros for unlimited play. The food and drinks are moderately priced. Antwerp Bowling is open seven days per week. Our son also had a really good birthday party here one year. The staff are efficient, friendly and used to children.

Cinemas in town include The UGC on Keyserlei, right in front of Central Station, Kinepolis just outside of town, to the north on Groenendaallan (Tram 6) and Cartoons cinema (open Thursday -Sunday) on Kasstraat in the old town (off Suikerrui, in front of the cathedral). Cartoons also has a really nice basement bar/ café.

It’s cheap to go swimming in Antwerp, but you do need to check the website to ensure that you turn up at the right times for public swimming, as some hours are set aside for particular groups of swimmers (e.g. women only). The two closest pools to the city centre are Zwembad Plantin Moretus and Sportoase. Note that pools can also be a bit strict about suitable swimwear: guys are expected to wear swimming trunks, but not long beach-style shorts or itsy bitsy speedos. If you forget, you can usually purchase a pair at the pool. If you have long hair, make sure you tie it back.

For workshops and activities for children during holidays and half-terms, it is worth keeping an eye on the many museums in Antwerp. As well as being worth a family visit, they sometimes have special activities for kids. My son enjoyed a workshop at Mayer van den Bergh museum and also at The Museum of Modern Art which is near the river and the kaaien. MAS and The Red Star Line Museum also have activities for kids. Note that for workshops, children may need to reserve places online, in advance.

The Permeke Library on De Coninckplein (near China town area) also has a programme (again in Dutch) of reading and activities for children.

If you live in Antwerp and often make use of the city facilities (e.g. swimming pools, museums, library) then you will get reductions if you get an A -Kaart. You can get them at any venue where a reduction is given for card holders (I got mine at the Red Star Line Museum) or at the Districtshuis.