This weekend in Antwerp: 16th & 17th November

This is a VERY important weekend for the children of Antwerp, particularly the ones who are good and never naughty- which is basically all Antwerp children, of course.

Yep –Sinterklaas arrives from Spain this weekend and will be in the area until 6th December, distributing gifts and sweets to believers.

Saturday

Screenshot 2019-11-13 at 16.50.12The arrival (aka intrede or intocht) takes place at Eilandje (Verbindingsdok-Westkaai at 2pm). Sint arrives on a steamboat and will be welcomed by the Mayor of Antwerp (Bart de Wever) and TV presenter, Bart Peeters. The Sint will proceed to the MAS via the Napoleonkaai, the Nassaubrug en the Oostendekaai, and will address children on the Hanzestedenplaats at around 14.50. This is an important moment where the waiting crowd will be informed about whether there are any children in Antwerp who have been naughty this year.

Belgian children like to write letters or send their pictures to Sinterklaas -each year Bpost enables kids to do this, and this year is not exception: your kid(s) can send a letter to The Sint  until 29th November. Write the sender’s name and address clearly on the back of the envelope, in order to receive a gift in return.

If you need something fixed being it to this repair cafe at Twee Netenstraat 13a (Den Dam) and have it mended for free between 10am -4pm. If you like fixing things for others, then this event is also for you.

It’s “Dag van de Smaak” in the Kringwinkels (second hand/ thrift stores) of Antwerp today. Cooking utensils and recipe books will be centred in this activity where there will also be lots of tasty international treats for customers throughout the day.

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On Saturday night there’s a BATS benefit night at their current home: The Little Theatre, Paardenmarkt 111. It’s a night of musical entertainment (tickets via the link) whose proceeds go to support the work of BATS as Antwerp’s best known creators of English speaking theatre, shows, entertainment and pantos, as they prepare to move to a new venue!

Sunday

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Vintage postcards on Boekenplein

It’s the monthly Boekenplein on de Coninckplein in front of Permeke library -second hand books, magazines, graphic novels and comics from 10am -4pm

It’s Kunsten dag voor kinderen (Arts for children) today -an annual event across Flanders (and Brussels) with plenty of activities for youngsters to enjoy in and around Antwerp too.

The weather will continue to be pretty chilly this weekend, with temperaturs as low as 7 degrees, and the possibility of showers on both Saturday and Sunday (especially Saturday). Brr!

Miscellaneous

Last week I published a special post featuring photographs taken by people like myself who are not Antwerp born-and-bred but who have made their home in Antwerp: check out these beautiful images of the city.
WallsofBoho
Street art fans will be interested in the Walls Of Boho project (pic left from Walls of Boho Facebook page) which was unveiled this week: five striking new murals on display in Borgerhout. Look out for them when you are in the area, or get on your bike and see them all.

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This weekend: 17th & 18th November

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.

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Children waiting for the Sint at the Town Hall 

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.

On the day of Sinterklaas, children receive their presents. There are particular sweets eaten during Sinterklaas (pepernoten, kruidennoten, marzipan) and Sinterklaas songs.

Saturday

 

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.

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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.

Sunday

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.

rednoseRodeneuzen 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.

Miscellaneous

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.

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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 nessascityblog@gmail.com.

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.

Yes, that time of year is approaching and the Winter In Antwerp website is now up!

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