This weekend in Antwerp: 31st May, 1st & 2nd June

macaroons-1957310_640There’s a few two-three day events this weekend, and if you are a food and drink lover (that’s a polite way of saying GLUTTON)  it’s going to be a great (if expensive) weekend for you, as with a little planning you could eat and drink your way along the Schelde from Friday to Sunday (even from Thursday if you are already peckish).

Down on the Plantinkaai it’s Fiesta Europa – this is a fun mix of  on-the-spot eating, drink ing and socialising, and a market with plenty of stands selling food products to take home: European products are central, so plenty in the way of great cheeses, meats, olives, honeys and tapenades. Food and drink stands a-plenty throughout means it’s a fun hang-out if the weather is good, especially since the event is always kid-friendly (yes, there is the obligatory bouncy castle!). Thanks to reader, Arwin, for reminding me about this event!

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HAP Festival is another food festival, this one is more focussed on food trucks and hip street food. It’s on Steenplein and although can be pricey. It’s not kid-unfriendly, but Fiesta Europa is better if you have small people to consider.

Antwerp Wine Festival is also on Steenplein; this is more for the grown-ups for obvious reasons, and wines from 12 different countries form the centre of this event.

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And last, but by no means least, one of my absolutely favourite events of the year De Quaeye Werelt! In which the Rivierenhof is transformed into a bustling medieval community of  traders, knights, noblemen and ladies, and artisans of every type. Re-enactors hold a noisy battle. It’s the historical element which makes this event so special

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re-enactors at De Quaeye Werelt

(it’s 1477) as well as the good natured, enthusiastic and friendly atmosphere created by everyone who takes part. There’s loads of cheap, hearty food and affordable drinks -if the weather is nice bring a picnic blanket and settle in for the day. The kids will love the battle, the puppet show and the costumes (but the littlest ones might want ear-defenders if they are near the battle, which is very loud indeed).

Friday

If you’re worried about what all this will do to your waistline, why not join Critical Mass for their monthly bike ride through the streets of Antwerp? Assemble at 6pm at Theaterplein, with your bike as usual. I expect Critical Mass will still be riding high on the buzz created by last weekend’s fantastic Critical Mass Belgium ride, and party at Park Spoor Noord, which is captured in this footage made by Critical Mass riders from Brussels who looked as though they enjoyed themselves here in Antwerp!

 

Aper’eau will be on Antwerp’s newest outdoor party place: Operaplein from 5pm to start the weekend with their usual blend of outdoor drinking, summer cocktails and DJs.

Saturday

For a more local food experience, farmers’ market Kraakvers are in Borgerhout on the Vincottestraat from 10am-3pm.

Sunday

vegansstuffAnother healthy food option could be Vegan Vibes Picnic at Park Spoor Noord from 11am- 7pm. Food trucks and stands selling vegan only options – see the link for the exact location (it is near – but not right at – Bar Noord).

If you cannot eat another thing, maybe a browse round this vinyl market would suit you. It’s at Giraffenplein (behind of the zoo) and hosted by Vitesse Coffee & Cycling.

Finally a reminder that it’s Sunday Shopping in Antwerp, and the regular shops will be open too, in the main shopping areas of the city, like Meir, Nationalestraat Kammenstraat and Kloosterstraat.

A warm and dry (though sometimes cloudy) weekend is predicted, with possible top temps as high as 27 degrees (Sunday).

Miscellaneous

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The complete Antwerp summer programme (Zomer van Antwerpen) was released on 28th May at http://www.zva.be/ -get in early for ticketed events that you are interested in. Helpfully, there are English and French versions of the programme in downloadable pdf form.

nature-4202726_640You may remember Daniel McBrearty from his fascinating guest post on Nessascityblog all about the Plantin Moretus museum. Daniel has launched a campaign in Belgium to persuade the supermarket chain Colruyt to reduce plastic packaging and single-use plastics in their stores. Please support the campaign! You can listen to him explain its reasoning in this short film, and the links to the campaign are here (in English), here (in het Nederlands) and here (en Francais).

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It’s very nearly show time at BATS VZW don’t forget to order your tickets for their annual show via their website -this year’s extravanganza promises to be a riot of colour and fun.

Runners: you can now register for the Reuzenloop in Borgerhout (choose from runs of 4, 8 or 12 km; there is also a free kids’ run). This takes place on the 9th June: click on ‘schrijf hier in!’ to sign up.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 16th & 17th March

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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.

MollysFMolly’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.

Saturday

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.

guinnessFThere’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).

Sunday (St Patrick’s Day)

From 10am it’s the usual second book market at the library (“boekenplein”).

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.

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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.

Look out for runners taking part in the Antwerp Urban Trail.

The weather will be reasonably mild (top temps of 12 -13 degrees) but showers likely each day.

Miscellaneous

chocopassFChocolate 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.

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The Big Fat Summer Post 2018

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Here is the Nessascityblog Big Fat Summer post for 2018 -a bumper post to keep you informed and equipped to enjoy summer in Antwerp while I take my own summer holiday.

Regular weekly posts for the weekend will be back on 16th August!

The first information source you need to plan your Antwerp summer is the Stad Antwerpen Zomer Van Antwerpen website!

Summer Bars

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.

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Bar Noord (Park Spoor Noord)

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.

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Antwerp summer bars

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)

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Groenplaats

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

4) On 20th -21st July it’s Borgerwood Musical festival at Trix music venue and Spoor Oost

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!

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The 21st July is Belgium’s National Day

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.

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Sommar

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.

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Pride Parade

Five For The Rugrats

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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.

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Sportopia

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.

Ongoing

Baroque Antwerp season continues until January 2019.

The OLT (Open Air Theatre) concert season program is here. To go for free, see events entitled “Gratis Vrijdagen” (Free Fridays).

Over summer, Stad Antwerp offers two outdoor swimming pools (Boekenberg and de Molen)

Follow Nessascityblog on Instagram for pictures of summer 2018 in Antwerp!

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: nessascityblog@gmail.com 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.

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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

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