There is still time to catch the latest BATS production at the Little Theatre on Paardenmarkt: Agnes of God (image below; source BATS on Facebook) is a dark, mystery drama about an investigation taking place in a convent, following the discovery of a murdered infant. Tickets available via online booking for Friday and Saturday night
Dag van de Kringwinkel takes place across Flanders today, with various events and promos in the second hand shops (Kringwinkels) of Antwerp. There are a number of these across the city and it is a well-organised day in that each store has a different type of product focus -eg. if you are looking for a secondhand bike, head to the Kringwinkel in Borgerhout. You can see what each Antwerp store is offering in the first column of this .pdf.
As the weather turns a bit, parents might be looking for indoor activities and events to keep little ones occupied. Boekstart at Permeke is a read-aloud (in Dutch) for kids aged 0-4, starting at 11pm -it’s free -just turn up with your small person at the kids’s section of the library.
It’s the event that for many of us means summer is truly done Bar Noord in Park Spoor Noord is closing this weekend – you can enjoy the last party from 4pm.
Antwerp Art Book Fair is an annual art book fair event (this is the 6th year) taking place at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp (Mutsaardstraat 31) from 10am- 6pm. It is the largest event of this kind in the Benelux region
More book-love at the library with the monthly second hand book fair on de Coninckplein: Boekenplein takes place from 10am -4pm.
This weekend should be mild (15-16 degrees with sunny spells) but there will be chances of light showers over on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
Hi again! It’s back to weekly posts on Nessascityblog and I hope you have enjoyed a great summer so far -don’t forget that the summer post will still contain relevant information, but let’s get back to the specifics for the coming weekend.
It’s Bollekes Feest 2019! For those newly arrived in Antwerp, this is a great way to see the city at its best. “Bollekes” are beers, from the local De Koninck Brewery (as well as the usual pils -aka a ‘pintje’- a bolleke is always standard in Antwerp bars and restaurants) and Bollekesfeest is a festival which showcases De Koninck beers as well as others, in an annual festival of beer, foods, music and general bon viveur-ism.
Bollekesfeest is on over the whole weekend, at various locations. It’s a family friendly event, and if you have kids with you, Steenplein will be ideal -there’s always activities for children to enjoy while their parents have a drink.
The other main locations for Bollekesfeest are Groenplaats, Grote Markt and Suikerrui – just head to the old town (Historic Centre) and you can’t miss it. Payment this year (as last year) is cashless -a system which worked well. Get your Bollekesfeest card, load it up at the kassa, and off you go.
The weather should be warm this weekend, with top temperatures of around 22- 23 degrees. It should also be dry with the possibility of light showers only on Saturday evening.
Always keen on finding new places to eat and drink at an affordable price in Antwerp you will be pleased to learn that this summer I discovered three new (or fairly new) places to dine, which I am happy to recommend to you. These are (in no particular order) :
Shad on Tabakvest near Theaterplein, does a lovely curry, very reasonably priced and handily located near other bars (Theaterplein) for going on with drinks with friends too.
Baby Pinoy is more of a lunch venue. It serves delicious Philipino-inspired meals in a pretty restaurant near the zoo. I also enjoyed the Korean iced coffee that they do there.
Bentosan is a very recent arrival in China town on Van Wesenbekestraat. My daughter and I were hugely impressed by the vegetarian hotpot. A great place to take your time with your food in a friendly environment.
All of the above are very different in their style of food, but I’d give them all a recommend for some qualities they have in common: reasonable prices, informal ambience and really friendly service. Also, I am always on the look out for places with good veggie options (I am vegetarian, but most of my friends are not) so that I can enjoy a meal out alongside my omnivorous companions.
For the last two years I have run Think Pink Race For The Cure Antwerpen with friends and with my son. It’s on Linkeroever and participants can choose between a 6km run, or a 3km walk. You can sign up here -it’s always a great day, and a very worthy cause (breas cancer awareness and research).
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 are 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.
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.
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).
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.
Neighbourhood 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.
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.
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.
Summer is underway and it’s the last day of school on Friday. There are a lot of inexpensive events to enjoy, and new places to hangout. This is a great link which provides the names and locations of all the summer bars in Antwerp!
Music, food, DJs, performance and kids games and entertainment at the Sint Andries Feesten (pic right)from 3pm, in the square (Sint-Andriesplaats).
Circus Boelaere takes place over the whole weekend and has an extensive program of music, workshops, kids’ entertainment with a circus theme. It also comes with a reader recommendation from a local who got in touch to recommend that it be included in this week’s post!
Bar Oost also opens this weekend in Park Spoor Oost and they are holding their opening weekend (same venue as Sinksenfoor).
Take part in the monthly Critical Mass bike ride, starting as usual on Theaterplein at 6pm
Aper’eau are on Leopold de Waalplaats -that’s the square right in front of the fine arts museum (aka KMSKA) with summer cocktails, wines and beers, DJs, and al fresco drinking from 5pm -11pm
Down at the Seefbeer brewery and cafe, they’re holding a beergarden opening with festivities continuing over the weekend, starting at 3pm on Friday and including live music, a BBQ and a bouncy castle for the kids. Seef makes some really good beers and this is a lovely, slightly out-of-the way venue -recommended!
And there’s even more for beerlovers: all weekend on Groenplaats it’s the annual Bierpassie Weekend!
At Plein Publiek there’s another vintage Kilo Sale from 12 -5pm, where as the name suggests you make your vintage/ retro/ pre-loved clothing purchases by the kilo (20 euros per kilo).
Lovers of street art should head to the Permeke Library reading garden (leestuin) today where street art festival Colours of Antwerp is taking place; check the agenda on the link since some activities require pre-registration. Most of them are free, except the tour led by Antwerp’s most popular and knowledgeable street art guide, Tim Marschang.
The ZOO summer bar opens today at 4pm; it’s a real little oasis of a summer bar just next to the flamingos at the zoo entrance and a lovely place to hang out right in the centre, next to the station, with frequent live music performances on the bandstand. ZOOmerbar is open until 19th August.
Fabric and craft fans, today is your day: it’s the fabric market on Grote Markt brought to you by Stoffencircus from 10am -5pm, for all your stitching, sewing and fabric needs.
Around the St Pauluskerk area it’s the Utopia Festival -see the link for the full programme which comprises music, reading, guided tours and kids’ activities.
There’s an hour’s free zumba in the Harmoniepark from 4-5pm.
It’s the second Lambermontmartre of the season: Antwerp’s most relaxed and friendly art market, Lambermontmartre takes place in front of KMSKA on five Sundays over summer from midday until 5pm. It supports local artists in selling their work and is the perfect way to spend a stress-free summer afternoon. There’s always a band; snacks and drinks for sale and some kid-friendly art activities too.
Not only is Plantin Moretus an amazing place to visit because of what is inside the museums, but also because of what is outside and today is the day to go and find out about their historical gardens because it’s Open Gardens 2019 which is an annual event run by Open Tuinen VZW. This is an extra activity provided for visitors to the museum today (so you do need to pay the cost of visiting the museum, which is a must in itself)
The most important thing in this section this week is Bolt The Bearded Dragon! Just before term ended, I had the pleasure of guest-teaching a class of young bloggers at Antwerp International School who were improving their English skills by beginning blogs and writing blog entries. They all made amazing blogs, but this blog post was voted as the best one: it’s by Julian who blogs about looking after his fascinating and unusual pet -a very handsome bearded dragon who goes by the name of Bolt. Please have a look and give him a LIKE to encourage this young blogger -keep on writing, Julian!
On Monday last week, I published a helpful guest post by Jon Kemp all about how and where to learn Dutch in Antwerp
It’s truly summer when Summer HQ opens in the form of the Zomerbar on Sloepenweg which it did on the 24th June (last Monday) at 2pm. It’s a familiar and essential summer hangout that’s very relaxed and kid-friendly. Note: Stad Antwerp summer bars will be cashless this year.
It’s international Yoga Day today and if you enjoy yoga or would like to try it, the Permeke library might be a good place to be. They have a programme of events for the day, taking place in their Leestuin (reading garden) which is a lovely secluded courtyard at the back of the library. Check out the Permeke Flow Yoga workshops for the day
Flying Pig are down on the Zuiderdokken ready to help you kick off your weekend with their usual blend of summer outside drinking, food trucks and DJs from 5pm.
If there is a more colourful carnival event than Borgerrio in Antwerp, then I’d love to hear about it -in the meantime this streetparty is the queen of Antwerp street parties, bringing -as it’s name suggests -a taste of the Rio carnival spirit to Borgerhout. From 13h – 18h there will be a splendid parade, music, kids activities and lots of stands offering food and goods from the various communities that live in this richly diverse part of Antwerp. For those ready to party way into the night there’s the Borgerrio Afterparty at Pekfabrik
For something a little more low key there’s the ABC (Antiques, Bric-a-brac, Books, Curiosa) Market den Beulebak from 11am-5pm in the University area.
Govinda is an annual Indian festival in Antwerp (organised by the Hare Krishna movement) which takes place on Groenplaats.
Sunday doesn’t seem like a day of rest at all this weekend. Firstly here are a couple of sporty events for you. The Antwerp Triathlon welcomes supporters at Eilandje: it will be a warm busy day as athletes take part in three events around the Eilandje and port area of the city, featuring swimming, cycling and running.
For those wanting to enjoy some outdoor exercise themselves, head to this free zumba event at Harmonie Park at 4pm. These hour-long sessions are on until 25th August.
For bargain hunters and browsers check out one or two of these markets today: from 9am-6pm there’s a secondhand market on Dageraadplaats.
Brocantwerpen is on Grotemarkt from 10am -6 (this is more an antique and curiosa market)
Stulp (11am-6pm) at Costa Sint Andies (Sint Andriesplaats) is a market with an emphasis on recycling and upcycling pre-loved clothes, books, plants and other items.
It’s set to be warm and dry this weekend, with temperatures of around 21-22 degrees on Friday and Saturday, rising to 25 degrees on Sunday.
It’s truly summer when Summer HQ opens in the form of the Zomerbar on Sloepenweg which is does on the 24th June (Monday) at 2pm. It’s a familiar and essential summer hangout that’s very relaxed and kid-friendly. Note: Stad Antwerp summer bars will be cashless this year.
As usual at the end of the month Stad Antwerpen museums are open for free on Wednesday
And don’t forget the Buurt Pleintjes which are on over summer and offer sporting activities and classes for very low prices. You need to register for some of these but sometimes that is not directly possible via that link: click on “meer lezen” where there will be info about registering for the activity you are interested in (eg. via email). In some cases it’s not necessary (where it says “Inschrijven is niet nodig”) and you can
Antwerp’s biggest annual funfair has opened at Park Spoor Oost: Sinksenfoor 2019 – a traditional funfair with all the rides, colour, noise and high-carb food you could wish for! Sinksenfoor is on daily until the 7th July.
Just a short post as I am out of town this week, but I hope you have a great Easter weekend in Antwerp. If you are celebrating Easter, here is a list of the services at Antwerp Cathedral over the Easter weekend.
And here are a few possible highlights …
Bollyfit offers Bollywood dancing lessons in Antwerp and on Friday there are two free trial lessons at Parkloods; the first at 5pm, and the second at 6pm.
And don’t forget Dokmarkt down at Eilandje from 3pm -8pm.
If you’re a vinyl lover who didn’t quite get enough of Record Store Day last weekend, then head to the bar Bato Batu for their second hand record fair from 1pm -6pm.
Take the kids to play outside on Groenplaats (pic right) from 1.30pm with Jespo on Tour. Jespo is a non-profit organisation aiming to bring sporting activities and opportunities to kids aged 3-18 at an affordable price. Kids will have the chance to try out different sports activities at this event.
It’s the monthly secondhand book, magazine and comics market on de Conninckplein in front of Permeke Library from 10am.
If you prefer to celebrate your easter with an afternoon/ evening dance session, then head to Bar Noord in Park Spoor Noord where Soulshakers will be playing some Dancehall, reggae and Afrobeats from 4pm (free)
Two 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.
24th April is Buitenspeeldag (play outside day) from 1pm -5pm. There are a number of areas where kids can join in with this and where outside toys and games are provided for them. Last year mine enjoyed this day in the reading garden at Permeke Library, and on de Coninckplein (left), but elsewhere in and around town there are other places too: Kielpark, Agorapark, Stuivenbergplein, Sint-Andriesplaats, Koning Albertpark and Boeienweide.
Brocantwerpen is an antiques and bric-a-brac market held on Grotemarkt over the summer months: the first one is next Wednesday (24th) from 10am -6pm.
Also on the last Wednesday of the months, these Antwerp City Museums are free.
Hurrah! MEUG Tasting Festival opens at Zuiderpershuis with a one-day craft café from 4pm. It’s free but you need to purchase a tasting glass and jetons to buy drinks. photocredit: Meug – Frauke Photography.
BATS hold their spring open evening, from 8.30pm – a chance to find out about joining BATS, being involved in a production and hearing more about their current program. Join them at BATS Little Theatre on Paardenmarkt.
Dokmarkt starts up again at Eilandje (near MAS on the Napoleonkaai) from 3pm. With spring like weather forecast, Dokmarkt would be a nice place to start your weekend.
Saturday is MEUG’s main day. Buy tickets in advance or on the door (if it’s not sold out) each ticket includes 4 jetons. I really enjoy this festival. There are loads of beers to try -and also whiskies, which Mr Nessascityblog enjoys. Zuiderpershuis is a great venue for this purpose and it’s always a friendly and relaxed event.
For a real piece of Antwerp folklore, come and see the Seminiviering. This is a very local festivity, dating back a long time in reverence of Semini, a fertility figure who can be spotted (sadly, minus his original phallus) in the stonework above the entrance to Het Steen. You can read his story here. Couples who marry on this day are celebrated, and the festivities start on Grote Markt (pic left) at 11am with song and dance, followed by a procession which will set off for Sint Andriesplaats at 1.30pm.
Need something fixed? There are two possibilities: head to the Repair Café at Archipel from 10am – 4pm (entrance is via the Lange Lobroekstraat), or there’s this one at ‘T Werkhuys in Borgerhout from 12- 4pm, where you can also sell your own used items. Both are free.
On the shopping streets of Dambruggestraat- Offerandestraat they’re celebrating spring (to coincide with the Persian New Year) on both Saturday and Sunday -featuring extra stands, and a bouncy castle.
Or head down to Plein Publiek (D’Herbouvillekaai 19) for this weekend’s rommelmarkt (second hand market) from 11am, courtesy of STULP.
Music on Dambruggestraat- Offerandestraat (see above) from 18pm.
Take the kids to Cinema Zuid for “Gus” (in Dutch) for 5 euros at 10.30am -much cheaper than the mainstream cinemas, plus you have the chance to look around FOMU while you are there. Both Cinema Zuid and FOMU are holding events for Black History Month at the moment, and you can see these and other BHM events here.
There’s a big rommelmarkt at Kinepolis (indoor) from 10am- 6pm. There is a 3 euro entry charge for this one.
Weather’s looking up – Friday should be warm and dry, cooling off to a milder Saturday and Sunday (12- 14 degrees) but still staying dry. *crosses fingers*.
It’s St Patrick’s day on Sunday, but as the ‘day’ has long since morphed into an entire weekend, it’s worth listing all of Antwerp’s Irish bars on this post. They will all be offering promos, music and other events or offers this weekend.
Nearest the station is Kelly’s – popular with tourists and sports fans, this is the most central of the bars, and the largest.
Also popular with tourists is The Irish Times on Grote Markt, a busy bar with a great location, it’s also known for sports and for live music on Friday and Saturday nights.
Molly’s Irish Pub is tucked away on Jesuitenrui on the old town -it’s smaller, very friendly and also popular for sport.
And last (but never least) An Sibhin on Nationalestraat -like Molly’s it’s smaller and friendly, with a relaxed crowd, sports and live music (also excellent sandwiches).
In a city the size of Antwerp, these pubs are not far from each other, so there is no reason why you shouldn’t aim high and hope to do a crawl which takes in all four of them this weekend.
If you are interested in ebikes, Park Spoor Noord is the place to be for this E-bike test event from 10am- 5pm.
It’s the monthly film night at Het Roze Huis, Draakplaats. Film nights and free and you don’t need to reserve. Starting at 8pm, the film this month is the 2011 Dutch documentary film “Allemaal Lesbisch” by Mildred Roethof.
There’s a Guinness promo (and the chance to pour your own Guinness) at Molly’s all day, with music from 8pm (and a very similar program for the next day too).
Art lovers -enjoy a selection of Antwerp galleries opening their doors on and around the Leopoldplaats: it’s the second of the Leopold Sundays this year (participating galleries are Annie Gentils, Artelli Gallery, (re)D., Geukens & De Vil, mariondecanniere, Philippe Piessens, Keteleer Gallery and Next Door.)
An Sibhin will be great for food with Irish breakfasts being served from 11am and, oysters and stew on the terrace for lunch / afternoon. There will be a live band at 6pm.
If you like a really big, traditional sound, a St Patrick’s Day highlight for you could be the Red Hackle Pipe Band at 3pm in Kelly’s bar.
A different way of going green on St Patrick’s Day would be these gardening workshops at Rivierenhof 2100 Deurne (near the kids’ farm). They’re free but you do need to register in advance here. Choose a 10am or 2pm start time.
The weather will be reasonably mild (top temps of 12 -13 degrees) but showers likely each day.
Chocolate Week continues in Antwerp – if you are familiar with Pateekes Week, then you will know the format, as it is the same: get your Chocolate Pass (“chocoladepas”; pic right) for 10 euros and then benefit from special chocolatey bargains around the city by exchanging the vouchers on the pass. You can buy the pass at one of Antwerp’s tourist offices (in central station, and on Grote Markt). Chocolate week continues until Sunday and you can see a list of participating chocolatiers and cafés here. Not only do you get bargain-priced chocolate but you can get in free to the Expo Chocolat Martougin which tells the interesting story story of this Antwerp brand (which has been revived and is being sold again in the city from this year) and its founder, Alfred Martougin (1875-1952). I stumbled across this exhibition on Wednesday and found it all really intriguing. It is in Dutch but there are some lovely images and examples of Martougin products and packaging over the years which anyone would enjoy.
March is Youth Book Month -encourage your young reader by checking out the agenda: there will be lots going on at Bib Permeke.
Legends of Liondance begins at Permeke library today as part of the approaching Chinese New Year festivities. This is a colourful display of the lions which lasts until 10th February, and is free.
And if you fancy an old-school date, classic film The Italian job is on at Cinema Zuid. This is such a nice venue to watch classic movies, and -at 5 euros – much cheaper than the corporate cinema multiplexes. I recommend checking out the cinema, and their program. Cinema Zuid is in FOMU (the photography museum).
On Saturday afternoon, from 1pm the Astridplein (next to central station) will be transformed into a tulip field containing tens of thousands of tulips from Flanders: you can come and pick some for free, until 4.30pm.
Similar to the Leopold Sundays (see below), Artland sees galleries around the Eilandje area open their doors and also offer a New Year’s drink to visitors, as well as a chance to see the works on display in the art-spaces around MAS. Free, from 1pm -6pm
It’s the first Boeken Plein of 2019 at de Coninckplein in front of Permeke Library: second hand books, magazines, postcards and graphic novels for sale from 10am -4pm. This event takes place monthly on the third Sunday of every month.
Not far away around the Leopoldplaats area, it’s another Leopold Sunday: seven galleries open their doors simultaneously enabling you to enjoy for free a variety of local art exhibitions between 2 and 6pm.
The weather will feel pretty cold, but Friday and Sunday should have some periods of brightness. Possibility of showers.
This week I published a special post by Daniel McBrearty. If you haven’t seen it yet, it is a lively and fascinating account of the history, ideas and current expo behind the Plantin Moretus museum on the Vrijdag markt: How An Antwerp Immigrant Changed The World In 1550.
January in Antwerp wouldn’t be complete without the BATS panto! This year it’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (oh, yes it is!) at Theater ‘t Eilandje, and tickets are available via the BATS VZW website.
It’s here! This weekend sees the start of the Winter In Antwerp season, 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 Grote Markt; the Christmas Market on Grotemarkt, Suikerrui and Steenplein; The Big Christmas Wheel 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.
Opening of Winter in Antwerp (see above)
On Krugerplein from 6pm there will be a winter camp fire, music and warming winter “stoofpot” (stew) to coincide with a local winter market at De Kleine Wereldburger school (from 2pm – 8pm).
Berchem Schittert is an end-of-year winter event on Plein aan de Vredestraat, starting at 4.30pm. The festive lights will be turned on, and there will be a fire show and a small Christmas market
Markt van Morgen offers a way of doing your Christmas shopping that is a little less stressful than the main shopping areas and a bit more likely to support local businesses and their products. Check out the Christmas edition on Kloosterstraat from midday.
Another means of escape from the hubbub would be Leopold Sundays: eight galleries around the Leopoldplein area open their doors for art lovers between 2 and 6pm. Annie Gentils, Artelli Gallery, (re)D., Geukens & De Vil, mariondecanniere, Philippe Piessens, Keteleer Gallery and Next Door are the galleries taking part in Leopold Sundays.
It sounds like an unlikely venue for such an event, but Meatpack is hosting a Vegan Christmas Market from 11am -10pm. 3 euros entry (under 12s go free).
For shoppers -the shops are open in Antwerp on Sundays throughout December.
Weather could be a bit mixed this weekend. It’s not freezing cold yet (temps around 9- 11 degrees) however, there could be light rain, on and off over the weekend.
This week on Monday I was delighted to press this guest post all about an Italian home-run business called Whisk & Scoop. Have a look if you haven’t read it yet: it’s a must for lovers of authentic Italian food.
… and last week Nessascityblog also had a guestblog post: a super-handy A-Z of LGBT Antwerp, listing bars, clubs, festivals, community groups and more -by Timothy Junes of Be Out.
De Warmste Week (The Warmest Week) is an annual week of fundraising and charity events taking place across Flanders. If you wish to organise an event or activity you can do so and register it via the website. For more fundraising events, look for the Warmste Week logo (left). Charity runs are a big part of De Warmste Week and you can now register for the Antwerp Run which takes place on the 21st December. The first step is to pick the cause you would like to run and raise money for. You can do this as a group or an individual, and will need to be able to make a minimum donation of 15 euros when you register to participate.
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 email@example.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.
Pop-up summer bars are at the heart of the Antwerp Summer experience, and are always an excellent go-to option for simply getting out in the city with friends or family. I can’t list them all but here is a breif guide to some I have been to. For a full list of all the summer bars in Antwerp (and beyond) this site is very useful and has an English version now too.
The Zomer van Antwerpen summer bar on Sloepenweg is the mother of all summer bars and is completely all-purpose, providing affordable food, drink, an outdoor library, ZVA info-booth, circus tent, and loads of space for kids to play. Professional loafers (like myself during the summer holidays) think of it as ZVA HQ.
In Park Spoor Noord, Bar Noord is similarly all-purpose if you are entertaining kids for the warm summer days (the fountains in which children can play are a big draw when temperatures rise). Bar Noord is open until late with more events and music for when it’s grown-up time.
Another huge bar is Bocadero at Waagnatie. It’s got a great location right by the water and is a pretty hip place to see and be seen. Kids will like the sand but Bocadero is definitely more of a venue for those sans enfants, as is Jardim just a little further along the river. There is more of a cocktail atmosphere at these two bars
Bar Paniek is another bar we have enjoyed: it’s got a more quirky and somewhat arty vibe, and is located on the Kattendijkdok with an industrial waterside feel and a standard drink selection: come for a glass of wine or a Seefbeer, rather than to hang with the cocktail crowd. Bar Paniek has also served as a nice location for food and second hand markets in the past. I get the impression that the Cadix Wijk in this area is an up-and-coming one.
Also part of ZVA, the Zomerfabriek -is a spacious urban- style bar in Zurenborg, with a busy programme of regular events (e.g. urban sports, dance workshops) aimed mostly at a younger crowd, but the bar itself is a really nice place for anyone wanting a food and drink.
Right in the centre of the city is Strandhof at Kavka. Kavka is a youth-club but even as a crumbly middle-aged person, I really liked being able to go to a summer bar here, two years ago, in the courtyard of this attractive building on Oudaan. It was missed last summer. It’s a perfect location if you are shopping or running errands in the centre and want to get away from busy shops or sticky streets.
A Dozen Dates For Your Summer Diary:
1) On the 11th July, head to Groenplaats for Vlaanderen Feest (the kids entertainments start at midday, courtesy of Ketnet) and the evening entertainment begins on the Grote Markt at 17.45. Both squares will have stages, music, drink, activities and dancing. This is the Day of the Flemish Community, not to be confused with Belgium’s National Day (see number 5, below)
2) On the 15th July, it’s the usual second hand book market on de Coninckplein in front of Permeke Library, starting at 10am.
3) Food and Drinks Festival Fiesta Europa is on Groenplaats for five days from the 18th July
5) 21st of July is a national holiday in Belgium, it being Belgian National Day What better way to celebrate than by going to Roller Disco Dageraad ? It’s on all day from 1pm on Dageraadplaats: bring your skates if you have them (there will be a limited number for hire if you don’t) and dress as per roller disco style!
6) Staying on Dageraadplaats for the 22nd July for Rommelmarkt Dageraad. These second hand markets are pretty good as many of the local residents are quite well-heeled…
7) Art Lovers: on 29th July it’s Lambermontmartre -support local artists, photographers and creatives while enjoying outdoor food, drinks and music. Free, from midday -in front of the museum of modern art (aka KMSKA).
8) On the 3rd August Flying Pig is at Antwerp’s Theaterplein. Outdoor evening drinks, DJs and music from 5pm.
9) Also on the 3rd August and continuing on to the 4th it’s annual music festival Linkerwoofer.Tickets here – this is a kid-friendly event.
10) Stay up late and visit your favourite Antwerp museum on the 4th August because it’s the annual Antwerp Museum Night
11) The next day (5th August) you can sing your heart out at Antwerp Zingt. This is a super-friendly, kid-friendly event based around the simple idea that it is fun for a community to get together in song. As well as local songs, there are usually plenty of well-known tunes that everyone can join in with, and a song sheet to help you along. Free, on the Gedempte Zuiderdokken from 6pm
16) And last, but never least, it is the rainbow jewel in the crown of the Antwerp summer: from 8th-12th August it’s Antwerp Pride. The Parade is on the Saturday, starting at 2pm and taking this route: Route: Vlaamse Kaai (start) – Verschansingsstraat – Leopold De Waelplaats – Karel Rogierstraat – Marnixplaats – Scheldestraat – Scheldekaaien – Sint-Pietersvliet (end). For the full program (including pre- and post Pride events) see here.
Five For The Rugrats
1) For just 2 euros per day per kid there’s Speel -O- Rama at Zuiderpershuis
2) Time your drinking to coincide with kids’ read-aloud: daily stories at the outdoor library in the Zomerbar.
3) Check out these sport programs and activities (you need to register for these and pay a fee when you do so). Choose your activity and click on “inschrijven”. Here is the full list For other types of workshops, it is worth looking at the websites of local museums such as MUHKA who have additional holiday workshops for kids.
4) For cheap indoor play there is Sportopia at the Park Loods building (Park Spoor Noord)
5) The kids’ workshops and activities which have previously been held at Cafe Het Steen have moved to a new venue further along the river on the Drogendokkenweg, and is now called STORMKOP. Here’s their program.
I hope you have a lovely Antwerp summer and I am very grateful to everyone who reads the blog, and who takes the time to contact me with events, information or a positive comment.
Don’t forget that if you would like to write a special post for Nessascityblog or do a short interview (in person, or via email) then please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org or via the other social media in the Find & Follow section. I’d love to hear and share your Antwerp story! Nessascityblog weekly posts will return on 16th August.