I am taking a break so that I can get ready for my own family Christmas now, so here are a few dates for your diary to see out 2019. Have a wonderful winter break, and a very happy Christmas -see you again in 2020. Thank you for reading and sharing Nessascityblog in 2019.
Winter In Antwerp is now open: this is the highlight of the winter holiday season in Antwerp. If you are new to the city you have plenty of time to check out the various attractions which are on until 5th January. They key locations are Steenplein (especially if you have kids to entertain), Groenplaats and Grote Markt. Christmas market stands can be found in all of these places. There is always a winter bar (this year it’s called Bar Den and will be situated on Steenplein), a big wheel and the ice rink (Groenplaats).
From the 18th – 24th December it’s the Warmste Week -a week of charity events and fundraising across Belgium. You can search for activities and good causes in your area here. Look out for the flame logo which accompanies De Warmste Week events (pic left, taken from the Warmste Week website).
Grand Cafe Capital in Stadspark are celebrating their first Christmas with a Christmas market on daily from the 19th -29th December.
Friday 20th December:BATS Open Evening starts at 5pm at The Little Theatre on Paardenmarkt. A chance to find out about the theatre group and maybe join in, as well as to enjoy some festive cheers, songs, soup and Gluhwein.
On Sunday 22nd DecemberGoegekregen are in the shelter at Park Spoor Noord once more -it a great space for this event and the shelter means that the second-hand market can’t be rained off, but it is a bit drafty at this time of year, so wear a good coat!
Friday 27th is the last Critical Mass ride of 2019, setting off as usual from Theaterplein at 6pm for an hour’s cycling through the city before finishing up at Winter in Antwerp.
The Jungle Book Light Festival is on at the zoo until 12th January. It is ticketed and enables visitors to see the colourful lights and figures supplied by the makers of China Light, which has taken place in previous years. It’s not the cheapest family evening out, but we have always enjoyed seeing the zoo this way in previous years and consider it a nice winter treat. Check the weather before you book, and wrap up warm if necessary!
Because it’s December, the shops will be open on all Sundays throughout the month, and again on January 5th 2020.
And looking ahead to next year, why not finish the festive season with a trip to the annual BATS panto, which this year, is Sleeping Beauty? (pic below, from BATS website) Tickets via the BATS website.
I am taking a break for Christmas now and will be posting again in the new year on the 11th January, so there are a couple of extra events in the miscellaneous section to take you beyond this weekend. Additionally, I am proud to share this post on the Visit Antwerpen site, all about Winter in Antwerp. Please read and share 🙂
Have a fantastic Christmas and a very happy new year!
The Christmas Market
AKA – Winter In Antwerp. If you have lived in Antwerp for more than a year, then you will know that Winter in A means that the historic centre is lit up for the Christmas season. It’s a lot more than a Christmas market -you will find festive activities on Steenplein, Suikerrui, Grote Markt, Handschoenmarkt and Groenplaats. There are market stands on Grote Markt, Groenplaats, Steenplein and Suikkerui and the ice rink is on Groenplaats. There is also a big wheel, tubing and the Spiegeltent on Steenplein for the kids, and funfair activities along the riverside.
De Warmste Week is a week of charity activities organised by Studio Brussels. It takes place between 17th- 24th December and on Friday there is a 2.7km Warmathon Run from 2pm in the Stadspark (Rubenslei entry). Sign up via the hyperlink in the ‘inschrijven’ section, or on the day itself, if places are still available. Your participation fee goes to a number of good causes supported by De Warmste Week.
Go dancing for free courtesy of Meatpack and London Calling, from 10pm with all your favourite Britpop and Indie tunes. Meatpack (Samberstraat 40) is a new venue describing itself as an old warehouse where “art, food, fashion, crafts, music and nightlife will finally meet in a concrete labyrinth … the size of a football field”
Sunday (Christmas Eve)
Last chance for Christmas shopping -yes, Antwerp shops are open on Christmas Eve.
This weekend looks likely to be dry and fresh, but without the freezing temperatures. Chances of a white Christmas are very low … sorry, snow lovers…
I was delighted to learn that Nessascityblog was listed by Spotted by Locals in their list of Best Antwerp Blogs 2017. Spotted by Locals provides city tips from people who live in the 67 cities they feature.
Antwerp City museums are FREE on the last Wednesday of the month.
From the 28th December you can enjoy theatre, circus and music at Park Spoor Oost’s Wintervuur.
The New Year’s edition of Critical Mass will be on the 29th December -meet on Theaterplein at 6pm with your bike and round of 2017 with an 8km bike ride that will take you round the city and finish up on Grote Markt, right in the middle of the Christmas Market.
China Light has opened at Antwerp Zoo. It’s a little bit more expensive than the events I usually include here, but it has become something of an annual feature of the Antwerp winter scene, and -if it’s dry – it’s worth seeing. The colours and lights are pretty and magical. It’s on until the 14th January.
And on Monday 12th I pressed a special Nessascityblog post about English speaking theatre in Antwerp, featuring a review of BATS performance of Dracula, and information about an upcoming BATS production which will please theatre-goers of all ages …
International families with Spanish speakers, in Antwerp -see the green poster (left) for the December program of Colectivo Amorika
Find me on social media, where additional events and locations are also posted:
This will be Nessascityblog’s last post for 2016 , so I am trying to include as much as possible to see you into 2017 in Antwerp.
NEXT POST: THURSDAY 5TH JANUARY 2017
As mentioned last week Stad Antwerp’s Winter Festivities have now started so head down to the old town and you can’t miss it. The Christmas market can be found around Steenplein, Suikerrui, Groenplaats and Grotemarkt, with gluhwein and hot chocolate aplenty. There’s skating on Groenplaats, a tubing slide on Steenplein and the ferris wheel by the Schelde. The atmosphere is friendly and festive, and it’s a great place to take visiting friends or family and kids. The Nello & Patrasche (A Dog of Flanders) statue was unveiled last weekend in front of the Cathedral. This beautiful piece is the work Batist Vermeulen of Studio Tist.
On social media, you can share your Antwerp festive pictures with the hashtag #WinterinA
Festive & Miscellaneous
If you are planning a clear- out of your home you might want to revisit this post for ideas about where to take still useable toys, books, household goods and wearable clothes, instead of throwing them out.You could also contact the EVA centre in Ekeren who often take items to assist the refugees that they welcome and care for. At the moment, there is also a drop- off for clothes, shoes and fabric in Het Steen Café -make sure all your items are bagged before bringing them there.
MAF is opening a new art space on Keistraat 1 on the 21st December. Head along at 8pm to find out about their approach and what they do.
A random recommendation from me for this time of year is to go to Antwerp Market on Theaterplein. It’s open on both on Saturdays and Sundays, but Saturday is better, in my opinion. If you are going to be cooking a lot over the Christmas period, then this is the place to get great food from all over the world at a really good price. I always get veg here, and if I can, cheeses too. Over the time that I have lived in Antwerp, the market has also become increasingly social, with cava stands, oyster bars and food trucks, adding to the more traditional food sellers here. You can also get fresh coffee and pasta on the market, and a huge range of the sort of food you would want to offer at a party or to Christmas guests, including many varieties of olives, dips and tapenades. The market on Sunday is less food orientated, with more clothes and household items -it also closes earlier. Since the Theaterplein gained a roof, rain no longer stops play.
China Light is an event that is slightly pricier (15 euros for an adult ticket) than the usual events and activities I post here, but it is a really nice tour if you want to do something a bit unusual this winter. The lights do look magical and the zoo is a great setting in which to display them. I would check the weather forecast before going as rain would spoil this tour.
The last Wednesday of the month means free museum entry for Stad Antwerp museums (Wednesday 28th December).
Next weekend is of course Christmas, and I am away for New Year, so I will be posting again on the 5th January. For New Year’s Eve in Antwerp head to The Schelde if you want fireworks. But if clubs and parties are more your thing, then I recommend that you keep an eye on This Is Antwerp who I am sure will be posting all the information you need as NYE approaches.
Thank you very much for reading and following Nessascityblog during 2016. Please comment and include links to any additional winter events which I have missed. If you have found this blog helpful, please share it with your friends, on social media and in groups where it may be useful.
*** Here’s the GOOGLE MAP with all the locations from this post for the specific Friday- Sunday events***
Street Art Antwerp has featured a few times on this blog, and earlier this year my son and I joined a tour which we both very much enjoyed. This Friday, Tim is finishing up for the year with a special Flame Edition of his tour: bring torches and flashlights, and wear luminous clothing. It starts at 8 at the entrance to Zomerfabriek, Minkelersstraat in Berchem and will conclude at a tba venue, with music and snacks. Check the Facebook event page to register and to be informed of final details. Tim does not charge for these excellent tours, but you can make a donation which will go to Music For Life
Special holiday wishes to everyone at the Antwerp International School which finishes today for the winter break – safe travels and have a wonderful festive season!
At 1pm at bar Bato Batu there’s a record fair -for last minute gifts for the vinyl freak in your life (or for yourself, or course!)
If you are at the Christmas market during the day and are an incomer from abroad to the city of Antwerp, and would like to meet other parents and their kids, then head to Café Den Engel on Groote Markt at 2.30 for this Expat Parents & Kids Party.
Fancy a short trip out of town? Cosplay on ice: Cosplayers of Antwerp will assemble at Antwerp central station at midday and take the bus to Antartica Ice Rink in Wilrijk, returning for 5.30pm. You need the cost of the bus fare + skate hire (don’t forget ID too) which in total comes to E7,25
Improtheatre on Saturday Night: Swaajp describe this as a theatre show full of new stories, surprising adventures with intriguing plot twists, sometimes emotional, frequently hilarious, always made up on the spot. Swaajp Improtheater presents the second episode of their new regular improv theatre show ‘Swaajp Invites’.
Our guest for this show is Flavien Reppert (France). As the director of the Strasbourg-based Cie du Théâtre de l’Oignon, this moustache-bearing Frenchman will astonish you with his many talents, one of which is a delightfully scraping Rrr in his English pronunciation.
When: Sat. 17 December 2016, 20:00
Where: BATS Little Theatre, Paardenmarkt 111, Antwerp
Tickets: €9 via: www.swaajp.be
If you are crafty and like making things, head to Little Brewers Winter Garden at 2pm to make Christmas decorations. There’s also kids’ entertainment and a kids’ play area. These activities take place between 2 -5pm and are free with no pre-registration necessary LBWG is the De Koninck Brewery winter bar which is open until February 19th (you might know the venue from its summer incarnation -Smokey Jo’s).
At 8pm Het Roze Huis will be showing the film The Imitation Game. Het Roze Huis has monthly film screenings for the LGBT community in and around Antwerp, and these are free. I saw The Imitation Game when it came out in cinemas in 2014, and it is well worth seeing.
There’s a Goedgekregen fleamarket down at Eilandje between 9 and 6pm. It’s indoors at ’t Kot (port employment centre), Kempischdok-Westkaai, and is free.
Design Market ‘Ieder Zenne Meug‘ holds a Christmas edition at Zuiderpershuis between 11 and 6pm, and because it is the third Sunday of the month, it’s the book market at de Coninckplein (Permeke library) from 10 until 4pm.
There’s read-aloud for kids aged 4-8 at Permeke library at 11am (free, no registration registration, in Dutch). This weekend the story will have a festive theme.
Shops in the city centre will be open today for Christmas shopping.
The weather is set to be mild and dry again this weekend, with some cloud and fog at times.
May your festive season be all sparkly and completely stress-free!
Just in time for New Year’s Eve, here’s a brief run-down of what is available in Antwerp this year. I am not going to attempt to do a full clubs-and-pubs guide, particularly for very expensive ticketed events, as they are generally fairly easy to find out about. Here’s the usual low-budget/ free local selection, which I will continue to edit, where necessary, for the next day or so. So if you are someone who tends to make spontaneous and last-minute plans for the last party of the year, do check back for updates.
The weather is predicted to continue dry and mild on New Year’s Eve in Antwerp. There may be a little cloud and light rain in the evening.
The most obvious public destination for midnight is the Schelde for the fireworks. Turn up at 11pm for a free concert -it all happens around Steenplein and Zuiderterras. Drinks will be for sale; do not bring any glass drink containers into the area. The Christmas market will also be busy with Grote Markt likely being a good location for the bars, but Christmas market stalls are now only on Groenplaats. If you are staying in or at a house party and wanting to count down, Een on TV will be at the river side.