This weekend in Antwerp: 13th, 14th & 15th September

There are a three fun festivals taking place over the whole weekend this weekend. They are Ramblas AntwerpenZuiderburen and Part of Antwerp. Las Ramblas in particular is lots of fun and very family friendly -the food, street theatre, and music which form this big neighbourhood event reflect the variety of communities which can be found around this part of town, and it’s really a great street party. It starts at 6pm on Friday, and the full list of events and performances can be found on the site if you click on “programma”.

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Ramblas Antwerpen

Zuiderburen takes place on the other side of town, in the area in front of the Gallery of Fine Art (aka. KMSKA). It’s on over Saturday and Sunday. The full programme is on their site under “Timetable”.

Screenshot 2019-09-11 at 18.24.41Part of Antwerp is a five week festival celebrating the harbour, and Antwerp’s status as a port city. It’s a mix of free and paying events and continues until next weekend.

And Comic Con Antwerp 2019  takes place on Saturday and Sunday (this is a ticketed event) for lovers of sc-fi, manga, comics, fantasy and cosplay.

 Friday

Start the weekend at Antwerp’s most sky-line altering building: it’s Aper’eau on Zaha Hadidplein from 5pm, or not far away at Dokmarkt near MAS (from 3pm).

Saturday

Saturday seems to be market day in Antwerp this weekend: as Part of Antwerp, there’s this retro and vintage market from midday until 6pm (again on the Zaha Hadidplein) and also offering food trucks and live music -all with a retro feel.

Over in the Dam area of the city from 8.30am Damsefeesten Rommelmarkt will be one enormous second-hand trading area, as this market takes up a number of streets: Twee Netenstraat, Lange Lobroekstraat, Rupelstraat, Demerstraat, Dijlestraat and Weilandstraat -all car-free -until 5.30pm

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Rommelmarkt in the Dam area

Kraakvers is a local food market for fresh and homemade produce. Find them on Sint Andriesplaats between 10am and 3pm, and if you are recently arrived in Antwerp, you will want to know about the biggest weekly food market in Antwerp, weekly on Saturdays on the Theaterplein and Oude Vaartplaats.

If dancing and coffee are more your thing, check out this Antwerp Underground festival organised by Viggo’s coffee car on de Coninckplein. I like this coffee shop, so this might be fun -mainly electronic music, and some food, from 2pm -10pm
Mollys30

There’ll be another fun party happening at Molly’s -one of Antwerp’s Irish bars (on the Jesuitenrui) as the pub celebrates its 30th birthday from 2pm. Swing by if you are in the old town; the Jesuitenrui is always car-free, which means space for revellers on the street. Enjoy plenty of music and food: the party continues until the taps run dry.

 

Sunday

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de langste veggie tafel

Every year, Antwerp holds a car-free Sunday (it should hold more of these) when locals can claim the streets for their own activity, and also explore alternative forms of personal transport in a fun way. There is a variety of events and activities on around the city, including on Groenplaats, Operaplein, and the Kaaien. Do not try to drive into the city between 10am and 6pm. If you have kids to entertain the Schedekaaien will be the best destination for you; cyclists will enjoy the bike based activities on Operaplein, but there are many, many additional activities which are listed hereI definitely recommend the veggie table (pic left) on Grote Markt for foodies.

There’s more street theatre and entertainment for children from Sinjor Circo: this weekend on Sint Andriesplaats from 1pm -6pm.

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Antwerp City Park (stadspark)

There’s also the monthly second hand book and magazine market on de Coninckplein from 10am until 4pm, or another enormous second hand market as Goegekregen bring their usual neighbourhood mix of selling and socialising to the Stadspark from 9am- 6pm.
The weather is not looking too bad; after a week which saw some distinctly autumnal temperatures, it should be mild and dry, with Sunday seeing an upturn in sun and warmth with top temps of 25 degrees.

 

Miscellaneous

 

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Bike path on Linkeroever

Last weekend I rode my bike with my daughter, simultaneously with women riding in the UK (a female peloton), to support The NIA Project -an organisation which provides essential support and services to women and girls who are victims of violence. The Ride For Murdered Women was organised by UK feminist and campaigner Jean Hatchet. We rode from Opera Plein in a circular route which took in Linkeroever and we saw some surprising sights on the way (see the Instagram shot below). Violence against women and girls is a problem all over the world. I do not ask for any donations to this blog, not do I make money from it but if you have some spare euros I would encourage you to donate to this to support the services we rode for last weekend, via Jean’s Just Giving page .

The peloton might become annual; give us a shout if you are a woman aged 18+ and you’d like to help make the Antwerp branch of the ride grow, by joining us next year.

 

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This weekend in Antwerp: 16th, 17th & 18th August

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.

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Bollekesfeest on Steenplein

It is also Jazz Middelheim (ticketed) all weekend.

Friday

Dokmarkt is on 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.

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Dageraadplaats

You could also start your weekend on Dageraadplaats with Muziek in de Wijk from 5pm, or at this weekend’s Free Friday gig at OLT Rivierenhof, from 7pm with Pink Floyd tribute act, Floyd Matters.

Here’s the Bollekesfeest Friday Programme

Saturday

Here’s the Bollekesfeest Saturday programme.

Sunday

It’s the monthly second hand book and comics/ graphic novels sale on De Coninckplein
in front of the Permeke library, from 10am- 4pm.

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de Coninkplein

And there’s more browsing to be had on Dageraadplaats at the secondhand market there from 9am- 6pm. This is always a good market, and the location is nice and very kid-friendly.

Here’s the Bollekesfeest Sunday programme.

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.

Miscellaneous

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) :

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dinner at Shad

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.

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Race For The Cure Antwerpen (pic courtesy of Think Pink Belgie)

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).

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

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This weekend in Antwerp: 14th, 15th & 16th June

Friday

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Atlas op het plein is an event organised by Atlas, integratie & inburgering Antwerpen, which provides help, support and information for those arriving from other countries to settle in Antwerp. Atlas op het Plein is a chance to socialise with people from a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures, and to have a good time: there will be a conversation café, music, workshops and child-friendly activities -starts at 4pm.

Jazz fans – check out this free Jazz Bar Tour: eleven Antwerp bars offering live Jazz music across the course of the evening. Most are in the Sint Andries area of the city, but some are a little further afield, however I think with a little planning, the walking distance is not too great, and a bike would make this even easier.

This week’s addition to the Antwerp summer bar scene can be found at Plein Publiek where they open their Congé Summer bar from 5pm.

Saturday

62307314_560860957653533_2036524160045285376_oThere’s a lot going on in the Dam area of Antwerp:-

You can come and enjoy some Basketball on Damplein …

Or browse local fresh produce at Kraakvers Farmers’ Market

or join in the Trottinettenkoers (fun bike race) and neighbourhood street party.

Back in the town centre Beerlovers Bar (de Coninkplein) turns three. Lovers of Belgian and craft beer should head to Beerlovers Bar 3rd birthday.

And if you didn’t get enough Jazz at the Friday night event, there’s a mini-jazz festival starting at 6pm in Borgerhout, hosted by Madame Fortuna VZW.

On Groenplaats, look out for vintage trams, music and vintage costume (from 1pm) as the tram museum prepares to open to the public tomorrow (see Sunday). The re-opening will also be celebrated at the Zomerfeest Groenenhoek 2019 neighbourhood party which is nearby the new museum, from 11am.

Sunday

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images courtesy of Kleur je Oma

Kleur je Oma is an event that’s a little further away than those I usually include, but what is not to like about this great idea? It’s an art project for anyone who has a beloved grandparent who is gone but not forgotten. You can submit a photo of your grandparent (Oma or Opa) to the project which makes colouring pages of your picture. You can email the photo to foto@kleurjeoma.be or attend the event (from 2pm -5pm) in Park Sorghvliedt and bring your picture with you. The images and stories will become part of an exhibition, taking place in July. The event is the brainchild of artist Elske van Lonkhuyzen, and Antwerp’s very own city poet Maud van Hauwaert.

Strip en Boekenplein takes place on de Conninckplein as is usual for the third Sunday of the month. Cheap books and graphic novels for all lovers of book browsing.

Thanks to Stephanie for getting in touch to let me know that on Sunday the Vlaams Tram en Autobus Museum in Berchem (pic below, courtesy of VlaTAM Facebook page) is reopening (following a period of closure for rennovation) at 2pm. On Sundays throughout July, vintage trams will be riding between Groenplaats and the museum at 1.45pm, 3pm, 4.15pm and 5pm.

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Markt van Morgen with it’s local, cheerful selection of creatives offering fashion, jewellery, stationery and accessories for sale is on Kloosterstraat from midday until 6pm.

The weather should become nicer after a drizzly week at times -top temps of 22 degrees, though there could still be showers on Saturday.

Miscellaneous

On Monday on Nessascityblog I am publishing a guest post by Jon Kemp who has experience of various different language courses available to those who wish to learn Dutch in Antwerp. Don’t forget to check in if you think it’s time to brush up on your Dutch language skills -there will be tips about how and where to find a course that’s right for you.

Sinksenfoor has opened at Park Spoor Oost! The traditional Antwerp fair will be open daily until the 7th July.

Screen Shot 2019-05-14 at 19.28.55It’s show time at BATS VZW! don’t forget to order your tickets for their annual Variety Showhow via their website -this year’s extravaganza is a riot of colour and fun, and there are still a few tickets available (particularly for Sunday night).

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.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 10th, 11th & 12th May

 

Friday

There’s a good choice of Antwerp places and events where you could kick off your weekend this Friday evening:

Another summer bar opens up today at midday: Bocadero at Waagnatie, by the River Schelde.

And for another option for drinks by the river, head to Flying Pig on Steenplein, where they are starting their summer season from 5pm, with wine, summer cocktails, DJs and street-food.

Meanwhile, there’s an evening market in Borgerhout, starting at 4pm on the Gitschotellei, Borgerhout. Open until 9pm

borgerhoutavondmarkt

 

Saturday

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It’s the Twintig Achttien (2018) Festival on the Konijnenwei (pic right) from midday until midnight: music, bands and DJs will be performing over the 12 hours of this free festival, which is also kid-friendly and will offer spaces and activities for children.

Antwerp Museum the Letterenhuis, is an exhibition space and archive housing Flanders’ largest literature collection (texts, pictures, documents, manuscripts, letters, magazines and other publications relevant to the history of Flemish texts and publishing from the last 200 years).

Today in various locations close to the Letterenhuis, a Letterenhuisfestival is taking place for the third time, bringing together writers, poets, artists, musicians and story-tellers. See the hyperlink and in particular the Programmakrant to find out what is going on, for free between 2pm and 6pm in this neighbourhood.

Fans of the Permeke’s monthly secondhand book market will be pleased to lean that as part of the Letterenhuisfestival, there will be an extra bookmarket on the Conscienceplein from 2pm.

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Antwerp’s farmers’ market – Kraakvers– takes places on the Sint Andriesplaats, from 10am- 3pm. Definitely check out this market if you are one of the many people who would like to eat more locally sourced food and products.

Sunday

Markt van Morgen returns to the Kloosterstraat (Antwerpen-Zuid) today from midday until 6pm, with it’s local, cheerful selection of creatives offering fashion, jewellery, stationery and accessories for sale.

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Dageraadplaats

A rommelmarkt is taking place on the Dageraadplaats today too, from 9am- 6pm. A nice chance to check out this relaxed, kid-friendly, pretty local square in the Zurenborg area if you don’t already know it.

Come and enjoy the Damse Pijl (bike races) on the Damplein from midday. This used to be part of the Damsefeesten, but is now a separate event in its own right -you can also register on the page if you would like to take part in one of the three events.

The weather will be mild (13- 14 degrees) with the possibility of showers on Friday and Saturday. Sunday will be a little brighter and dryer.

Miscellaneous

Guest post on Monday! read the story of Sylwia, from Poland who has made Antwerp her home since 1996.

If you’re a runner enthused by the Antwerp 10 Miles at the end of April, you may want to sign up for the annual Silver Run but be warned -this is no ordinary run: it consists of running up and down 1-3 tower blocks. Think you’re up to it? You can register here.

Why not have a look at this exhibition on Markgravelei? Offering painting, graphic work, ceramics, photography and jewellery, it’s hosted by Collegium Artificium which promotes the work of artists of various disciplines in the area. It’s on until 12th May. Screen Shot 2019-05-01 at 20.51.36

Featured Photo (summer drink) by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash

Other photos courtesy of Twintigachttien (festival goers) and Antwerpse markthandelaars vereniging  (evening market publicity poster)

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This weekend in Antwerp: 19th, 20th & 21st April

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 …

Friday

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.

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And don’t forget Dokmarkt down at Eilandje from 3pm -8pm.

Saturday

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.

GroenplaatsTake the kids to play outside on Groenplaats (pic right) from 1.30pm with Jespo on TourJespo 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.

Alternatively they may enjoy this Easter Egg Hunt at BATS Little Theatre at 2pm (Paardenmarkt 111). It’s only 2 euros per child and you can register via email: theatre@batsantwerp.be

 Sunday

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)

Miscellaneous

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.

There will be a Goegekregen secondhand market on Theaterplein for Easter Monday.

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Buitenspeeldag!

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.

Runners! There is still time to sign up for The Antwerp 10 miles and marathon. This event takes place on the 28th April.

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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.

Irishpubs

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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This weekend in Antwerp: 14th, 15th & 16th December

skatingF
skating on Groenplaats

The Winter In Antwerp season has started, 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.

On the other side of the water, there’s Club Cabane Winter Edition, also with Christmas food & drink, a skating rink and a Christmas Market.

Mekanik
Mekanik

Saturday

From 11-6pm at Mekanik store there is a Christmas sale of graphic artworks and illustrations by local graphic artists. Mekanik is Antwerp’s best-known store for . graphic novels, graphic series, animé, comics & more.

SNITT are at CostA on Sint Andriesplaats with a sale of second hand and vintage clothing from 11am- 4pm. This is part of the “Krijg de Klere” event:

Krijg de Klere is an event which asks questions about the textile industry and its impact. There will be activities which encourage and support a more environmentally friendly way of living, and of re-using what we already have. Come dressed in your favourite second-hand clothes, bring your second hand clothes for de Collectie and take part in workshops run by MoMU, a repair café run by Circuit Antwerpen, a speakers’ corner and more (music; drinks; food).

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At Het Roze Huis on Draakplaats, it’s a free film night, starting at 8pm and this month showing I Love You Phillip Norris.  Het Roze Huis holds free film nights on the third Saturday of every month.

Or if you’d like to be the star of the show (or even behind the scenes) head to BATS Little Theatre on Paardenmarkt from 8.30pm to find out more about English speaking theatre in Antwerp, at their Winter Wonderland Open Evening -also a great chance to find out about their upcoming panto: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in January 2019.

If you are ready for a full-on Christmas service with a Cathedral choir, then head to St Walburgiskerk at 8pm and enjoy the singers of the Portsmouth Cathedral Choir at this Christmas Concert. It’s free, but if you are certain you will be attending, you can reserve a place via this link.

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Sunday

Regular book-lovers’ secondhand market on de Coninckplein in front of the library from 10am: books, comics, etc and (if you are in that area with children) in the Permeke itself, it’s the read-aloud story hour in the library at 11 (free) for kids aged 4-8 (in Dutch).

More secondhand goodies in the Parkloods, courtesy of Goegekregen and the Christmas edition of their successful secondhand, retro and vintage markets. Free in, from 9am -6pm.

For shoppers -the shops are open in Antwerp on Sundays throughout December.

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Alas, it looks likely to be rainy again this weekend, particularly on Saturday and Sunday, and temperatures slightly colder than last weekend -down to 2 degrees on Friday; up to 6-8 degrees over Saturday and Sunday.

Miscellaneous

Two recent special posts: 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.

heart-1348870_640… and the previous 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.

 

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De Warmste Week

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.

If you are looking for carol services in English (also beyond Antwerp) this is a very helpful link from Discovering Belgium blog

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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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This weekend in Antwerp: 19th, 20th & 21st October

Hello! As promised, quite a bit more on Nessascityblog after a teeny tiny mini-post last week. So here’s your GOOGLE-TASTIC MAP with key locations for the events listed here for this weekend in Antwerp.

Antwerp gastro-fest Smaakmeesters continues throughout October with walks, offers, foodie workshops and markets …

Also over the whole weekend: events at Bar Noord in Park Spoor Noord which closes for the end of the summer season for 2018

Friday

eilandjeFFrom 3pm – 8pm you might want to check out Dok Markt -on Eilandje. I have passed by on my bike (alas, didn’t have time to stop) and thought it looked very nice, so am hoping to be able to make a more leisurely visit soon. Dokmarkt offers fruit, veg, flowers and other local food products, or the chance to hang out and start your weekend with some oysters and/ or a glass of cava.

For something else a little different you might want to enjoy the last Friday night at Bar Noord: they are holding a Silent Disco … which is a lot more fun than it sounds. It’s free in, but headphone hire is 8 euros. The headphones have three channels of dancey tunes and you can switch between them at will -the colour of our headphones shows which channel you are tuned into. Yes, it’s a bit odd … but in a good way.

Saturday
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If you wake up with flamenco feelz, head to Groenplaats for a Day of Spanish Culture from 11am – 7pm, featuring music and dance, food and kids’ face-painting. Here’s the full program.

For bargain hunters, look up and visit your local Kringwinkel (aka second hand store/ thrift shop) because it’s Dag van de Kringwinkel today, so a particularly good day to get a bargain. Scroll down this .pdf for a list of participating stores in the Antwerp area -each store has a focus re: the type of goods being offered.

I like the Kringwinkel on Sint Jorispoort -it has four floors and is well worth a browse at any time for household goods, clothes, white goods, and baby/ kids items.
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Bar Noord’s main end-of-season event –The Closing Party -will take care of your evening requirements: it’s free and starts at 8pm.

Sunday

Art lovers: Leopold Sunday is an event where eight galleries open their doors simultaneously in the area of the Leopoldplaats (that’s the square near the National Bank) between 2 and 6pm. The participating galleries are: Annie Gentils, Artelli Gallery, (re)D., Geukens & De Vil, mariondecanniere, Philippe Piessens, Keteleer Gallery and Next Door. Leopold Sundays will take place six times between now and next spring.

It’s the monthly Strip en Boekenplein (second hand book market) on de Coninckplein (just in front of Permeke Library) from 10am.

It’s the absolute last chance to enjoy Bar Noord in 2018 with its Sunday Matinee starting at 3pm. It’s such a handy hangout and I have to say that when Bar Noord closes its doors, we really have to accept that summer is done …

… on the other hand, the unseasonably warm weather is set to continue, and there is little chance of rain; top temps around 17- 18 degrees.

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Bar Noord @ Park Spoor Noord

Miscellaneous

I am pleased to share this interview I did for The Bulletin about life in Antwerp.

vote-2831241_640Last Sunday saw elections take place across Belgium. It is not always easy to understand the political processes and parties of your adopted country, but doing so can make non-Belgians feel a bit more integrated. Here is an article from Flanders Today that might help you understand the election, and the results, if you don’t speak a lot of Dutch yet. I voted for the first time as a Belgian (although non-Belgians may also vote in local elections). The next election will be a general election in May 2019.

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Ethiopian coffee at Elsie’s

Want a random restaurant recommendation?
Try Elsie’s Ethiopian and Eritrean Restaurant Mr Nessascityblog and I were there a couple of weeks ago and loved the food which was very reasonably priced. Elsie’s has moved to this new address (in Het Zuid) from the previous location on Turnhoutsebaan.
The food was delicious, the service was friendly and -ideally for us – there was a good range of vegetarian (and vegan) options.

 

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This weekend in Antwerp: 14th, 15th & 16th September

HERE’S THE GOOGLE MAP WITH THE LOCATIONS FOR THIS POST!

All weekend

There are two ongoing events taking place this weekend both in really nice areas of the city, so it’s a good chance to explore one or both of these neighbourhoods

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Zuiderburen (literally, southern neighbours) takes place (unsurprisingly) to the south of the centre and is a free street festival centred on the area which incorporates the kaaien, and Leopold de Waalplaats (in front of MUHKA). It’s a festival of music, sport, culture and food, with activities for kids too.

Part of Antwerp is a 10 day festival celebrating the port area of the city. It is focussed on the area from Eilandje, taking in Schengenplein, Sloepenweg, Red Star Line Museum … up to the Zaha Hadidplein (at the new port of Antwerp building). Expect events which celebrate the city’s status as a major port, as well as food, music and parties in this much gentrified and historic area of the city. See the full program here.

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Port of Antwerp – Zaha Hadid building

Friday

Aper’eau  joins forces with Part of Antwerp festival to begin the program with their usual brand of open-air drinks and music on Zaha Hadidplein from 5pm.

Saturday

There’s a Free film showing at Het Roze Huis at 8pm. This week it’s BPM (aka 120 battements par minute)

Kilo Verkoop is a different way of buying vintage and second hand clothes -by the kilo. This sale takes place at HAAR (in conjunction with Goegekragen) on Montevideostraat from 2pm.

Screen Shot 2018-09-12 at 20.45.46The Klappeistraat Rommelmarkt will be something of a street party as well as chance to pick up bargains. The street will be car-free from 9am, and the “Klappei Bar” will open at midday to further encourage the festive atmosphere.

It’s the opening night BATS variety show (see below for details and tickets)

Sunday

Antwerp Car Free Day is an annual event which my family and I always enjoy. Between 10am- 6pm the  city centre and surrounding streets are car-free, and replaced by a variety of stalls and activities which centre pedestrians, kids, cyclists, skaters and loiterers. Start on Meir and see where you go from there. Here’s the full programme. Enjoy experiencing a car-free Antwerp. Great for kids, with some surprising and fun alternative ways to travel around city streets .

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Autovrij (car free) Antwerp

Boekenplein on de Conninckplein is a regular monthly fixture for secondhand book lovers and browsers -from 10am -4pm.

Goegekregen (second hand market) is yet another opportunity to get your second hand, vintage and retro bargains; this time in Stadspark. A huge and very sociable occasion, with a decent food and drinks stand too. From 9am -6pm.

The weather this weekend should be warm and dry again -Sunday should be really warm, maybe going up to 24 degrees.

Antwerp Art Fair is coming to Antwerp Expo in October and I will have 5 pairs of tickets to give away to Nessascityblog readers, so watch this space for more info and a chance to win soon!

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Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 20.27.00Miscellaneous

Recently 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!

 

Click here for Bats Variety show info & tickets. “Around The World” opens this weekend, on Saturday night.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 17th, 18th & 19th August

 

bfsp2018Greetings! I hope you are having a great summer in Antwerp and that readers survived the heatwave, and enjoyed safe travels. Weekly posts are back, but some of the information on the Big Fat Summer post may still be useful to you.

This weekend the most important event is the annual Bollekesfeest -for newbies, a ‘bolleke’ is the local name for a glass of Antwerp’s best known beer: de Koninck, which obviously will be flowing in copious quantities this weekend. Bollekesfeest takes place over all three days, and over a few different locations, most notably round the Historic Centre: Suikerrui, Groenplaats, Grote Markt and Steenplein, with smaller events on Sint Andriesplaats. It’s about a lot more than beer: this is a hugely social and popular event, also featuring music, DJs, foodstalls and additional events, some of which connect to the Baroque Season. Check the program carefully to see what you would like to do, or alternative just show up and wander from location to location. If you have kids to entertain, the Steenplein will be the best venue for you, where as well as the beers, food and music, there is a Kidzone and a play fountain (tip: bring a change of clothes and a towel).

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dancing at Bollekesfeest

It is free to attend Bollekesfeest (food and drink purchases are made with a Betaalkaart this year). Here are the opening times:
Friday 17/8: 16.00 – 24.00 uur.
Saturdag 18/8: 11.00 – 24.00 uur
Sunday 19/8: 11.00 – 20.00 uur

 

Friday

Here the Friday programme for Bollekesfeest.

The Zomer van Antwerpen (ZVA) is by no means over and there are still a number of free music events taking place on squares around the city. This Friday night the band Handkerchief (blues, ska, gypsy, gospel, surf, calypso and rumba influences) are playing on Dageraadplaats from 7.30pm. Or show up earlier, as there are kids’ activities from 3pm.

The OLT free music event this week comes courtesy of The Mambo Queens and starts at 8.30pm.

 

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Bollekesfeest on Steenplein by the River Schelde

 

Saturday

Here is the Saturday programme for Bollekesfeest

 

 

 

Sunday

Here is the Sunday programme for Bollekesfeest

Your Rommelmarkt this weekend comes courtesy of SNITT and Goegekregen and takes place along the Singel from 9-6.

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Permeke Library

Secondhand goodies can also be found at the monthly Strip -en- boekenplein (second hand books, comics, graphic novels and more) on De Coninckplein just in front of Antwerp’s Permeke Library, from 10am -4pm.

Sunday is also a good day to head to FOMU if you have kids to entertain. They offer special activities for children as part of their Zomerse Zondagen.

The weather is likely to remain somewhat cloudy and overcast this weekend, but nonetheless dry and warm with top temperatures around 23- 24 degrees.

 

Miscellaneous

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)


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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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