Part of Antwerp starts this weekend, although most events take place from next weekend, and I will post again about it next week. It’s a series of events over September which centre on the Port and the Eilandje area of the city. Eilandje is always a great area to visit or take guests -if you are recently arrived, it is the area where the well-known MAS museum is situated; there are also lots of nice bars and cafés around the water.
Following on from the Liberation Ball, there are also Remembrance ceremonies for the Liberation of Antwerp all over Antwerp this weekend (starting at the monument in the Stadspark at 10:00 on Saturday) and a tattoo on the Grote Markt on Saturday evening with marching bands from the US, Russia & Belgium..
It’s the annual Damse Feesten around the Dam area of Antwerp: a neighbourhood street party with fun competitions, a flea market, performances and kids’ fun in streets near Park Spoor Noord (Lange Lobroekstraat, Twee Netenstraat and Ijzerlaan) from 9am, with the last performance starting at 8pm.
If you have children interested in theatre, take them along for some taster sessions at BATS VZW to meet the Pipistrelle Youth Theatre.
Paardenmarkt 111, Antwerp
12.30 – 14.00 Group 1. 7 – 10 y
14.15 – 15.45 Group 2. 11 – 14 y
16.00 – 18.00 Group 3. 15+
Heritage Day or “Open Monument Day” (Open Monumentendag) takes place across Flanders, with plenty to see and do in Antwerp. You can see the cultural centres and monuments which open their doors for free in the Antwerp area here -there are over 100 of them!
Markt van Morgen are on the Kloosterstraat again from midday until 6pm -you can find jewellery, stationery, household goods and accessories for sale.
There’s a second hand market on Dageraadplaats from 9am -6pm. This is also a good local square to know about, with a play area for kids, and numerous bars with terraces.
The roller-skating at the Dageraadplaats was fun -come and enjoy a similar event on Krugerplein this Sunday at 2pm.
This week I pressed Buskers and Street Musicians in Antwerp a guest blog post by Dave Llewellyn, now returned to Scotland who played music in the streets of Antwerp between 1998- 2012: read all about his fascinating memories of our city. Get in touch if you have an Antwerp story to tell!
BATS do shows in English. Their variety show “Around The World” is coming soon. You can read about it and order tickets here.
The weather this weekend should remain warm and dry with temperatures between 18- 22 degrees, and some clouds.
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.
This post covers the next month while I am on holiday (even bloggers need a break from time to time). The first section lists some ongoing activities, whilst the second section lists specific activities and events by date.
I’ll be back at the start of August -if you feel so inclined you can follow my #nessascityblogUSA adventures on Instagram
In the meantime, here are some Antwerp highlights which I am sorry to be missing …
During or throughout July
The most useful thing to know is the Zomer van Antwerpen website, which lists all the special summer events provided by the City of Antwerp, including theatre performances, summer bars, live music and Cinema Urbana (outdoor cinema venue next to The Schelde, opens in August). You can also buy tickets for those events which are not free, but many are, as is access to the summer bars of course. Zomerfabriek has a bit more of a clubby vibe to it, while the Zomerbar on Sloepenweg has a very broad appeal, and is probably better for younger kids -there’s a playground as well as an outdoor library there. Muziek in de Wijk is pretty much as the name (Music in the Neighbourhood) suggests -stages with live music on local squares or parks, and is free. Again, these are very much occasions for all ages and there are refreshments available. It’s a good chance to hear some local bands. Other summer bars which I really like are Bar Noord in Park Spoor Noord and Smokey Jo’s Cantina -both kid-friendly, also Bar Paniek right next to the water on the Kattendijkdok.
Another special program of summer performances and music can be found at the Openlucht Theater (OLT) at Rivierenhof (Open Air Theatre) which is a really nice place to see a band on a summer’s evening. Order tickets via the site (some sell out quickly and more well known performers are already sold out) but there are also free shows on Fridays (search for Gratis Vrijdagen) .
For kids up to the age of 13, there is Speel-O-Rama in the Zuiderpershuis every week day for 2 euros per kid (17th July -11th August)
During summer Antwerp offers two open-air swimming pools which are now open! It is free to swim at Boekenberg, but there is a small entrance charge at the Linkeroever pool (it is also recommended that you have a 1 euro coin with you to use the lockers; and your A-kaart, if you have one).
Buurtpleintjes is an initiative from Stad Antwerpen offering free sporting activities on local squares around the city. Last year, my son really enjoyed a series of free basketball lessons on Sint Andriesplaats as part of this initiative. Start by checking here to see what’s on offer near you.
A grab-bag of events in order of date…
Saturday July 1st You can join a ghostwalk for 7,50, starting at 7pm from Steen
Sunday 2nd July:Goegekregen in the Stadspark these are always big and very sociable. There’s pretty much nothing you can’t get on the cheap here -including- usually – a haircut.
Sunday 2nd July: First Sunday of the month means Sunday shopping in Antwerp
Tuesday 11th July:Vlaanderen Feest Dag celebrating Flanders and the Flemish Community –check here for the program in Antwerp (note that there are also events in the days running up to the 11th of July itself). There are kids shows on Groenplaats from midday until 6pm (Studio 100). The Feest Dag finishes on Grotemarkt with a party at night from 7.30.
Sunday 16th July: Swan Market is on Grote Markt from 11am -6pm (accessories, food, music, clothes, jewellery, interiors) and Boekenplein (second hand books & graphic novels) is on de Coninckplein in front of the library from 10am.
Friday July 21st: Re:set fleamarket at Het Eiland from 11am -5.30. Last time I went to Het Eiland it was a little quiet in terms of the stands (I guess some stand holders are on their summer holidays) but even so, it is worth going to Het Eiland to see the location. A relaxed bar with a great view of MAS. This is a pop-up in the Port of Antwerp old harbour building.
and a (free) Roller Disco on Dageraadplaats from 11am -10pm, with food, music, yoga and art installations.
Wednesday July 26th -City of Antwerp museums are FREE on the last Wednesday of the month
If the activity and heat of summer in the city get a bit much, did you know that Antwerp has a Botanical Garden? It’s a haven of green and peace. Sit on the lawns or benches, or wander through to the back and find De Serre
And so …
Enjoy July in beautiful Antwerp! I hope this post serves as a useful pick ‘n’ mix for the time that there are no weekly posts. Feel free to add comments & ideas in the below. See y’all in August!
And please don’t forget that I am still looking for guest posts -if you have some free time over the holiday period, you might like to think about telling YOUR Antwerp story on Nessascityblog. Don’t forget to find me on social media, where additional events and locations are also posted: