Greetings! 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).
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
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.
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.
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.
Just a brief post this time as I am away (again) and starting my summer holidays with a weekend in Namur (insta pics will be hashtagged #nessascityblognamur – last weekend’s were #nessascityblogaachen)
HERE IS THE GOOGLE MAP -it includes all the venues listed for World Cup Football, and for the Jazz Kroegentocht.
Alfresco drinking to start the weekend takes place at Apereau Boeienweide this week -just across the water on Linkeroever, from 5pm. Take your bike and enjoy the fiets tunnel.
Alternatively check out CoSintAndries Jazz Kroegentocht– (jazz pub tour): eight bars between the Sint Andries neighbourhood and the Schippenkwartier bring you live jazz music from 8.30pm. See the link to check the program and plan your evening: it’s all very walkable from bar to bar -these bars are all marked on the Google Map for this post.
And very happy holidays to students and staff at Antwerp International School who start their summer break today!
Regular fixture for bibliophiles Boekenplein takes place at de Coninckplein just in front of Permeke Library from 10am -4pm: second hand books, magazines, graphic novels, picture postcards and children’s books at low prices.
If you are feeling sporty check out the Antwerp Triathlon at Eilandje, or just go along to support the participants and enjoy the atmosphere. If you are not familiar with this part of town (near the city’s iconic MAS museum) it will be a good day to check it out as there will be DJs and a foodmarket as well as the sporting activities. There is even a free Kids Triathlon organised by Jespo: register your child(ren) here
Temperatures this weekend are predicted to be between 21 -23 degrees. It should be dry and warm, but cloudy
As Pride month begins, and in preparation for Antwerp Pride (August), iconic locations around the city are lit in rainbow colours this weekend! Look out for the rainbow version of the Stad Antwerpen logo (right), and posters with the motto “In Antwerpen Kan Iedereen Stralen” (“Everyone Can Shine In Antwerp”).
Tickets for the ticketed events on the Zomer van Antwerpen agenda are now for sale via the program page of the ZVA website.
The OLT (Rivierenhof) has a summer music program. Info and tickets here.
Sinksenfoor (annual funfair) is underway in Park Spoor Oost and it is HUGE. We went and had a great time. It’s on until 24th June. And you can print out some vouchers for deals and reductions on rides & food here.
For World Cup Big Screen action try the Irish Bars (An Sibhin, Molly’s, Irish Times & Kelly’s). Games are also being shown on the big screen at Dagerraadplaats, The Hyundai Fan Village, Bar Nord, Bar Leon and at de Koninck brewery. Some games are showing at Bocadero. Here is the schedule of World Cup matches. Do you know of other fun venues to watch the games? Let us know in the comments below.
FEATS (Festival of European Anglophone Theatrical Societies) is on over this weekend on (18th -21st). It is hosted by BATS VZW (Antwerp’s own British American Theatre Society) and takes place at the Fakkel Theatre on Hoogstraat. Tickets are popular, so waste no time in getting yours if you would like to go. Tickets via this link will get you an evening comprising of three performances. Here is the list of participating groups, and the FEATS program.
On Steenplein, some and enjoy another Aper’eau event next to the river from 5pm.
A little way along the river, summer bar Bocadero opens for the summer season at Waagnatie from midday.
Amorika host an evening of Greek music at ‘T Werkhuys (8pm) for just 5 euros (pic right, courtest of Amorika).
Cross the river for an Evening Market on Frederik Van Eedenplein from 3pm to 9pm.
Friday will be cool/ mild (16 degrees) The weekend should be mostly dry, with temperatures warming up on Saturday (20-21 degrees, cloudy with sunny patches) when there could be a light shower. Sunnier on Sunday.
Monday is Pentecost Monday (aka Whit Monday). It’s a public holiday so most shops will be closed. Warm sunshine expected! How about this bike market on Dageraadplaats instead? Goegekregen are also holding one of their secondhand markets on Theaterplein from 9am.
Also on Monday a guest post here on Nessascityblog, from the lovely Nonnative Blog
Keep an eye on the ZVA website for the release of the Antwerp summer programme on the 22nd May (Tuesday). Tickets for events will be available from 2nd June.
I’m pleased to share this blog post: Three Great Spots For When The Sun Is Shining which was published recently on the Stad Antwerpen website and optimistically describes three places in the city you might want to check out if the weather holds out …
Open- air swimming pool De Molen is now open on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from midday until 6pm.
HERE’S THE GOOGLE MAP TO HELP YOU FIND YOUR WAY TO ALL THE EVENTS MENTIONED IN THIS POST …
All weekend on the kaaien you can enjoy Vakantie op ‘t Zuid which continues on into next week, to take in the 1st May holiday. This is a fun kiddie- friendly event with lots of great local products for sale and a wide variety of food and drink. It starts this Friday at 1pm and remains open until 10pm. On all other days it’s open from 10am -9pm. We really enjoyed this event last year and went more than once. The food (especially the Asian food) was very reasonably priced.
On the last Friday of the month it’s always Critical Mass: as usual assemble at 6pm on Theaterplein for an hour’s riding en masse through the city. This month with a bike to work theme.
It’s the Mercado Food Market closing weekend. The Food Hall will be closing temporarily. There will be music and food on both Friday (from 8.30pm) and Saturday (from 9)night
PARK Festival is a festival of music, food and art which focuses on young artists in the community. It takes place on Baron Joostensstraat from midday until 11pm. This is followed by an afterparty at Ampere. The day festival is free, but the afterparty is ticketed (see link).
It is the monthly ABC (Antiques, Books, Curiosa) Markt at den Beulebak from 11am -5pm.
Shops in Grand Bazar are open today from 12 -18h due to the re-opening of the Mango store.
Temperatures this weekend are expected to be pleasant (16-17 degrees) but not as hot as last weekend. Sunday may bring some showers or a summer storm.
I’m pleased to share this blog post: Three Great Spots For When The Sun Is Shining which was published this week on the Stad Antwerpen website and optimistically describes three places in the city you might want to check out if the weather holds out …
From 27th April- 6th May its Amateur Arts Week (Week Van De Amateurkunsten). Search the link for events in your area.
Tuesday 1st May is a public holiday (Labour Day). There are “feestmarkten” on Theaterplein and at Park Spoor Noord (Goegekregen) as well as the annual May Day parade from Leopold de Waalplaats, through the old town) concluding at Grote Markt, where there will be food, music and kids entertainment.
Open- air pool De Molen is now open on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from midday until 6pm.
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HERE IS THE GOOGLE MAP WITH THE LOCATIONS FOR THIS POST
Fashionistas will want to head down to Antwerp’s Fashion Museum on Nationalestraat where they are having a stock sale on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend from 10am. Up for grabs will be DVDs, books, mannequins, posters and postcards from previous exhibitions at MOMU on Nationalestraat.
Today is Slow Art Day -an annual international art event; the idea being that you take time to look at a selection of pieces for 10 minutes, and then discuss them. In Antwerp, The Red Star Line Museum, St Paulus Kerk, MuHKA and FOMU will be taking part. Click on the links of participating venues here.
It’s the third Sunday of the month so it’s boekenplein from 10am on de Coninckplein in front of Permeke library -browse second hand books, magazines, graphic novels and old picture postcards until 4pm
MoMu stocksale continues (see above)
There is a plant market for gardeners and other green-fingered individuals on Klooster Straat (on the same square by the Peter the Great statue, where they hold Markt van Morgen) from 10 am until 5pm.
If the kids need one more Easter activity before returning to school after the break, there is an Easter Egg Hunt on Paradeplein from 11 -3pm.
Next Wednesday (18th April) it’s Buitenspeeldag (‘Play Outside Day’). Buitenspeeldag encourages children to play outside all afternoon (and no homework should be given!). Various activities and toys are provided in different locations: last year I took my kids to the reading garden (‘leestuin’) at the Permeke Library. You can search here for particpating venues in the Antwerp area.
If you are a runner, you can still register for the Antwerp Ten Miles which takes place on the 22nd April. If ten miles is a bit too far for you then I can recommend The Race For The Cure which is now open for individual and team registrations. My son and I did this last year – it was a lovely event down on the Kaaien, and a great cause.
The weather should be nice again this weekend -quite warm and dry, with top temperatures around 21 degrees. It is also predicted to be good next week (for buitenspeeldag on Wednesday).
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Antwerp Wine Festival is on all weekend at the times stated on the days/ times below. You can get tickets here and the event is held in the Park Loods sport hall in Park Spoor. Noord. As well as wines from around the world, the event promises music, wine workshops/ masterclasses and a kids’ space.
Molly’s Irish Pub are warming up for St Patrick’s day with a pre- St Paddy’s Night promising live music & Irish food, plus Guinness & Jameson Promos from 7pm. Then they will be starting up again with more of the same at 11am on the day itself (Saturday)
Happy St Patrick’s Day!
An Sibhin on Nationalestraat will kick off at 11am with an Irish Breakfast, and there will be Oysters, Irish Stew, Guinness, and Irish Music all day long. Punters are urged to dress up in your finest green and put your dancing shoes on!
Also at The Irish Times they will be celebrating; music, promos and the Six Nations games on the Big Screen.
Closer to the station there is Kelly’s on the Keyserlei, where they will also be partying, and where the Red Hackle Pipe band will put in an appearance.
Check the Google Map -if you are determined, you can do all four of Antwerp’s Irish bars (Kelly’s, Molly’s, Irish Times and An Sibhin).
BATS vzw (British American Theatre Society) are revamping their open evenings which used to be held monthly. They are now seasonal, so if you are interested in any aspect of theatre production head along to the Little Theatre on Paardenmarkt from 5pm to find out more about what they do, take part in the quiz, hang out at the bar or even do a workshop on stage lighting.
Antwerp Wine Festival from midday -midnight
It’s Boekenplein as is usual for the third Sunday of the month in Antwerp. Come and browse second hand books, magazines and graphic novels on de Coninckplein from 10am, just in front of Permeke library.
There are still some places left in workshops and activities for the Children’s University at the University of Antwerp. See what’s available for free for kids aged 8+ and enrol here.
Antwerp Wine Festival from midday – 22h.
The weather could be quite changeable, with a mild (but possibly showery) Friday, and temperatures dropping for Saturday (also showery) and Sunday (cold, but dry & bright)
Youth Book Month (Jeugd Boekenmaand) continues until the 25th March and has a science & tech theme this year. Here’s the information for related events in Permeke Library.
Check out this month’s agenda for Colectivo Amorika for March (left). They provide cultural and language activities for Spanish speaking families in the Antwerp area, and those with an interest in understanding Spanish culture and language.
If you have children who are budding film-makers, they might like to catch a film or workshop activity at Youth Film Festival (JEF) before they go back after the spring break.
Antwerp’s China town is located near the station in the streets between Astrid Plein and Permeke Library on Coninckplein. The Lion Dance will begin at 1pm (we caught it in previous years around the Wesenbekestraat). It is very noisy and fun, with lots of firecrackers (younger and more sensitive children may not like the noise). If you are planning to stick around and eat, here’s a review I wrote for Nonnative blog last October about our favourite restaurant in this district.
Free and no need to reserve, Het Roze Huis monthly film is Departure (2015) starting at 8pm (Draakplaats 1)
It’s Boekenplein on de Coninckplein (in front of Permeke Library) for lovers of secondhand books, magazines, graphic novels and comics. Free, 10am – 4pm
This month sees the start of some blog posts that I am writing for Visit Antwerp this year. Check out my FIVE FEBRUARY FAVOURITES
At the Permeke Library the free exhibition Legends of Liondance is on until 25th February. I recommend this as I went last year with my kids. It’s also a good chance to see the relocated children’s section of the Permeke library.
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It’s National Tulip Day –really. It marks the beginning of the tulip season, and while this might be more of a big deal for our friends in the Netherlands, it will be marked here in Antwerp too, with a tulip garden on Astridplein where you may pick one bunch of tulips for free, between 1pm -4.30pm
It’s the annual Children’s Ball at Opera Vlaanderen (Frankrijklei 3) at 11pm. Tickets are 8 euros via the link
At Het Roze Huis it’s the regular free film night. Tonight showing the 1990 Madonna movie- Strike a Pose at 8pm.
Or head for the Little Theatre on Paardenmarkt for an evening of fun impro theatre (in English) courtesy of Swaajp at 8pm. Tickets are 9 euros (a mere 6 for students) and this week the special guest is Hila di Castro, from Israel.
Two events at Permeke library today: the first is the regular “boekenplein” (second hand books, graphic novels, magazines and more) which takes place on the third Sunday of every month on de Coninckplein from 10am -4pm) and the second is a read-aloud hour for kids aged 4-8 at 11am (Dutch). Both are free. I also really like the cafe at Permeke (that’s the glassy green cube by the library entrance).
If your finances are looking a bit on the thin side after the festive season, you will be pleased to know it’s the first Goegekregen/ SNITT second hand market (‘rommelmarkt’ in Dutch) this year -at the Park Loods from 9am -6pm. Free.
And here’s a children’s opera-based show which caught my eye. There are two performances on Sunday (at 3pm and 5pm), for kids aged 8+ and tickets cost 8 euros (via the link).
Wrap up, Antwerplings! It’s been a chilly week and not going to be a warm weekend, and alas, both Saturday and Sunday are likely to be showery.
One week to go until BATS panto …. the last remaining tickets can be purchased here.
If you want to keep those winter warmth feelings going for as long as you can, winter bar Aspen Bocadero is still open (until January 21st)
If you are young and in a band and want to play live at the Antwerp 2018 Festival in May, check out this contest run at KAVKA -you need to register by the end of the month.
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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 on Steenplein for the kids, and funfair activities along the riverside.
For something festive but a little off the beaten track, try Kerst in Boho (3pm -9pm) on the Krugerplein (Borgerhout). This is a nice local square with space for kids to play (and a bouncy castle). There will also be live music, food and drink and local creatives offering their Christmas wares for sale. And a ‘Geeftent’ where you can donate goods and clothes which are in good condition, and which you no longer need.
It’s likely to continue cold, with showers likely over the weekend. Sunday will be coldest when temperatures go down to zero.
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.
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 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
Next week will be my last blog post for a few weeks while I take a break for Christmas. But look out for a Christmas post by me on another well-known Antwerp site … more info soon!
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