This weekend in Antwerp: 29th, 30th November, and 1st December

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book browsing at Zuiderpershuis

There are three events over the whole weekend this weekend firstly – the  Markies Stock Sale (of books) at Zuiderpershuis, which is definitely a nice way to get discounted gifts for bookish loved ones -although most books are in Dutch, there is also a selection of books in English (and coffee table books) as well as picture books for children. It’s free and takes place from 10am -6pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (if you don’t get the chance to go this weekend, it’s also on next weekend too).

Steez Festival is a free festival of urban arts, music, dance DJs and even a skate zone at de Studio on Maarschalk Gérardstraat 4 from 2pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

And for Lego lovers, there’s Brickmania at the Expo on Saturday and Sunday (ticketed).

 Friday

At 6pm it’s the monthly bike ride with Critical Mass Antwerpen – assemble as usual on Theaterplein with your bike for a kid-friendly hour’s cycling en masse through Antwerp, returning to Theaterplein for 7pm. 

If, like me you are somewhat averse to the whole concept of the annual grabfest horror that is Black Friday, you could head instead to the Kringloopwinkels (second hand shops) of Antwerp to check out their deals (there will be 50% reductions on many items), or to the  Kammenstraat fleamarket (cash only).

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Antwerp Zoo

The Jungle Book Light Festival  begins at Zoo Antwerp this evening and runs until 12th January. It is ticketed and enables visitors to see the colourful lights and figures supplied by the makers of China Light, which has taken place in previous years. It’s not the cheapest family evening out, but we have always seeing the zoo this way in previous years and consider it a nice winter treat. Check the weather before you book, and wrap up warm if necessary!
Saturday

LoveislandAntwerp artist Sacha Eckes opens a new exhibition at Shoobil Gallery so why not take the opportunity to slip away from the increasing busy-ness of the town centre, to view works characterised by skill and humour inspired by the theme of reality TV?  Love Island opens at 2pm with a vernissage (Museumstraat 4).

If you have children who want to see Sinterklaas, then you can find him at Grand Bazar shopping centre from 1.30pm, but be aware that this can be popular and there is sometimes a queue.

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If you are more organised than me and ready to make some Christmas purchases (or just to enjoy a traditional British-style Christmas Bazaar) then head to the Antwerp Harbour hotel between 11am – 4pm and check out their Christmas goodies and treats, while also supporting the Mission to Seafarers in Antwerp.

Sunday

If you’re still missing hanging out at Bar Noord in Park Spoor Noord, head to Goegekregen second hand market which takes place in the shelter there this Sunday from 9am -6pm.

For those who can’t get enough of the high street, there’s Sunday shopping in the city from midday. If you have little ones who are excited about Sinterklaas, you may well catch a glimpse of him on Meir this afternoon.  And because it’s December, the shops will be open on all Sundays throughout the month, and again on January 5th 2020.

Screenshot 2019-11-27 at 16.01.36Sinterklaas (due to an uncanny ability to be in more than one place at a time) will also be at Wintar (see below) from 2pm enjoying waffles and other treats.

This weekend should be (mostly) dry, cold and bright with the possibility of some showers on Sunday morning.

Regular readers and wine- fans may remember this special blog post about Antwerp start-up Fine Wine Junkies. On Sunday they are holding a pop-up event to celebrate their first birthday and to invite wine lovers to taste and purchase some of the specially selected wines which they offer.
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Miscellaneous

Winter bars are starting to open, including Wintar on Boomgaardstraat 17,  near the Antwerp City Brewery (De Koninck) for drinks, food (especially cheese!) and events until the start of February.

Stad Antwerpen have released the Winter in Antwerp programme! #WinterinA starts on the 7th of December and will be featured on Nessascityblog in more detail next week.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 22nd, 23rd and 24th November

For Kunstendag voor Kinderen last weekend the smallest and I ended up in Museum van der Bergh and then Plantin Moretus Museum; these are beautiful Antwerp museums and well worth a visit. Coincidentally, these same two museums are together holding a Breugel Weekend this weekend so this would be an opportunity to visit both.

Foodies -it’s Week Van De Smaak, which continues until the 24th November: food related events taking place across Flanders which centres colour as its theme for this the 13th edition of the event, so there’s a food photography contest for those who can capture #kunstopmijnbord [“art on my plate”] on social media – tag @weekvandesmaak. Here’s the  program which comprises workshops, tastings, reading and more.

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Saturday

There’s an ABC (Antiques Books Curiosa) market in the lovely setting of Den Beulebak from 11am -5pm for bookish browsers.

Sunday

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Today is Dag van de Wetenschap (Science Day) across Flanders: see up-to-the-minute science in action via workshops, readings, activities and demonstrations for young and old. Our family have really enjoyed Dag van de Wetenschap in the past and I recommend it.

Here’s a selection of events taking place in and around Antwerp.

At De Roma theatre there’a special children’s rommelmarkt (fleamarket) just for kids’ toys and clothes. It starts at 1.30 and it’s just 50 cents in for kids, and a euro for grownups.  The theatre’s café will also be open throughout.

Miscellaneous

Stad Antwerpen have released the Winter in Antwerp programme! #WinterinA starts on the 7th of December and will be featured on Nessascityblog in more detail over the coming weeks

WallsofBohoStreet art fans will be interested in the Walls Of Boho project (pic left from Walls of Boho Facebook page) which was unveiled last week: five striking new murals on display in Borgerhout. Look out for them when you are in the area, or get on your bike and see them all.

Belgian children like to write letters or send their pictures to Sinterklaas -each year Bpost enables kids to do this, and this year is not exception: your kid(s) can send a letter to The Sint  until 29th November. Write the sender’s name and address clearly on the back of the envelope, in order to receive a gift in return.

It should be slightly less cold this weekend (10-11 degrees) and dry with bright spells.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 16th & 17th November

This is a VERY important weekend for the children of Antwerp, particularly the ones who are good and never naughty- which is basically all Antwerp children, of course.

Yep –Sinterklaas arrives from Spain this weekend and will be in the area until 6th December, distributing gifts and sweets to believers.

Saturday

Screenshot 2019-11-13 at 16.50.12The arrival (aka intrede or intocht) takes place at Eilandje (Verbindingsdok-Westkaai at 2pm). Sint arrives on a steamboat and will be welcomed by the Mayor of Antwerp (Bart de Wever) and TV presenter, Bart Peeters. The Sint will proceed to the MAS via the Napoleonkaai, the Nassaubrug en the Oostendekaai, and will address children on the Hanzestedenplaats at around 14.50. This is an important moment where the waiting crowd will be informed about whether there are any children in Antwerp who have been naughty this year.

Belgian children like to write letters or send their pictures to Sinterklaas -each year Bpost enables kids to do this, and this year is not exception: your kid(s) can send a letter to The Sint  until 29th November. Write the sender’s name and address clearly on the back of the envelope, in order to receive a gift in return.

If you need something fixed being it to this repair cafe at Twee Netenstraat 13a (Den Dam) and have it mended for free between 10am -4pm. If you like fixing things for others, then this event is also for you.

It’s “Dag van de Smaak” in the Kringwinkels (second hand/ thrift stores) of Antwerp today. Cooking utensils and recipe books will be centred in this activity where there will also be lots of tasty international treats for customers throughout the day.

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On Saturday night there’s a BATS benefit night at their current home: The Little Theatre, Paardenmarkt 111. It’s a night of musical entertainment (tickets via the link) whose proceeds go to support the work of BATS as Antwerp’s best known creators of English speaking theatre, shows, entertainment and pantos, as they prepare to move to a new venue!

Sunday

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Vintage postcards on Boekenplein

It’s the monthly Boekenplein on de Coninckplein in front of Permeke library -second hand books, magazines, graphic novels and comics from 10am -4pm

It’s Kunsten dag voor kinderen (Arts for children) today -an annual event across Flanders (and Brussels) with plenty of activities for youngsters to enjoy in and around Antwerp too.

The weather will continue to be pretty chilly this weekend, with temperaturs as low as 7 degrees, and the possibility of showers on both Saturday and Sunday (especially Saturday). Brr!

Miscellaneous

Last week I published a special post featuring photographs taken by people like myself who are not Antwerp born-and-bred but who have made their home in Antwerp: check out these beautiful images of the city.
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Street art fans will be interested in the Walls Of Boho project (pic left from Walls of Boho Facebook page) which was unveiled this week: five striking new murals on display in Borgerhout. Look out for them when you are in the area, or get on your bike and see them all.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 30th November; 1st & 2nd December

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Book Sale at Zuiderpershuis

All weekend: at Zuiderpershuis there’s the annual book stock sale over the whole weekend. It’s free in and there are some English books, as well as other books (e.g. children’s books) which make good presents if you are one of these organised people who is ready to do some Christmas shopping already. It’s free in, open from 10- 18h on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I went last weekend and picked up a few bargains.

Friday

Light up your bike for the dark nights and the festive season: it’s Critical Mass, as usual assembling on Theaterplein at 6pm for an hour’s biking through the city. This month with the theme of bike- lighting. Be seen!

China Light at Antwerp Zoo opens today,  until the 13th January. It’s an event that my kids always enjoy -just make sure you wrap up warm and check the weather so that you go on a night when it won’t be raining! You can order tickets online via the hyperlink.

Offering local food products and a chance to start your weekend with a glass of Cava and a tasty locally produced snack – it’s Dokmarkt at Eilandje from 15h -20h.

Saturday

vinylOver on the other side of the water, the Linkeroever winter program is starting, with a variety of winter events, continuing until the 12th January.

Vinyl lovers can start their Christmas shopping at Het Bos (Ankerrui 5-7, 2000 Antwerp) Record Fair -it starts at 1pm and is free in.

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And if you are looking for a British style Christmas Fair, it’s the The Mission to Seafarers Christmas Bazaar at the Antwerp Harbour Hotel, Noorderlaan 100, from 11am -16h.

Sunday

It’s the first Sunday of the month, so shops will be open on Meir and other shopping areas in town (Kloosterstraat, Nationalestraat) for Sunday shopping; in fact, throughout December, shops are open every Sunday in Antwerp (9th, 16th, 23rd & 30th).

If your children are excited about Sinterklaas in Grand Bazar shopping centre (from 13h -15h) and on walkabout round Meir from 15.30 – 18h.

Weather might not be as cold as last weekend (11-12 degrees) but there is a high chance of showers on both Saturday and Sunday.

Miscellaneous

heart-1348870_640Surely you didn’t miss the Nessascityblog guest post earlier this week?! If so, have a look -it’s a super-handy A-Z of LGBT Antwerp, listing bars, clubs, festivals, community groups and more -by Timothy Junes of Be Out.

And hot on the heels of that one -next week another special post: all about a talented Italian lady who brings the authentic taste of her homeland to Antwerp – a must for lovers of real Italian food. 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.

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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.

Don’t forget: 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.

Yes, it’s December already and that time of year is fast approaching and the Winter In Antwerp website is now up!

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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: 1st, 2nd and 3rd December

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HERE’S YOUR GOOGLE MAP (as used by Sinterklaas himself)

Friday

China Light opens 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.

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China Light at Antwerp Zoo

BATS (English speaking theatre) have their last Open Evening of 2017, so head along to the Little Theatre on Paardenmarkt if you would like to get involved. It’s a busy time of year for them, as they gear up for their annual panto -this year it’s Aladdin!

Saturday

Kids can come and see Sinterklaas at Grand Bazar shopping centre today.

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Band 110

For grown-ups: Band 110 are playing at Fabrik, near Theaterplein. They’re my complete and unbiased favourite.

Update: band 110 are sorry to announce that due to illness this event has been cancelled 😦

Oxfam shops around Antwerp are promoting fairly traded gifts today -at their store in town (Minderbroedersrui 33).

 

Sunday

Goegekregen are at Park Spoor Noord today, in the sheltered area by Bar Noord, from 9am -6pm, offering the usual array of second hand clothing, books, toys, antiques, vinyl, accessories, vintage & retro goods to suit every budget.

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Park Spoor Noord

Meanwhile, another Antwerp favourite – Markt van Morgen  -is on Kloosterstraat from midday to 6pm. This Christmas edition will include a food truck, DJs and Gluhwein.

Kids can come and see Sinterklaas on Meir and at Grand Bazar

At around this time of year, various neighbourhoods organise a communal winter event (look out for words like ‘wintervuur’, ‘XYZ Wintert’ etc). This one is on Schengenplein -a new development which opened in the Cadixwijk in summer (it’s right near the Kattendijkdok which you will know if you have ever hung out in Bar Paniek during warmer weather).

Shops in Antwerp will be open today for Sunday shopping, and on Sundays throughout December in Antwerp -including on Christmas Eve.

The weather will continue pretty chilly (4- 7 degrees). Saturday will be coldest. Showers are likely on Sunday.

 

Miscellaneous
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Sinterklaas takes place on the 6th December and is VERY important to the children of Belgium. You can read about it here..

De Collectie is a means by which you can give away your second hand clothing, shoes, accessories (belts, scarves, gloves, hats) and bedding if they are in good condition. They will be passed to people who need them in Belgium and abroad. You can arrange to have them picked up or can bring them to a collection point. Very handy if you are planning a clear out before the festive season. You can find more information about how this works in Antwerp on De Collectie Antwerpen site.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 24th, 25th & 26th November

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Hello Kitty in Lego (Brickmania)

There’s a lot on this weekend so don’t let November blues keep you in -here’s your GOOGLE MAP with the locations mentioned in this post.

Over Saturday (10am -6pm) and Sunday (10am -5pm) it’s Brickmania at Waagnatie- an absolute must for Lego fans. We’ve been to this in the past and always had a good time, even though it can get really busy. It’s 5 euros in (free for kids under 6) and some of the Lego constructions are just amazing. There are all sorts of beautiful scenes and building recreated in Lego, as well as mechanised constructions with moving parts, as well as Disney and film characters in Lego. It’s also a chance to buy for Sinterklaas or Christmas, for the Lego-lovers in your life.

1WvdS_Vierkant beeld + logoFoodies – Week van de Smaak finishes up this weekend – various food-related activities, workshops and tastings are taking place in the Antwerp area, based around the theme of healthy eating and reducing food-waste. Here are the activities taking place in and around Antwerp.

 

Also over the whole weekend is the annual stock sale of books at Zuiderpershuis -De Markies book sale is free entry, and also a good tip for reduced books if you need to buy gifts for a reader. Most books are in Dutch, with some (e.g. non-fiction, art) in English, and there is usually a good range of kids’ books for your younger readers in Dutch. Doors open at midday.

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Browsing at De Markies stock sale 

 Friday

It’s Black Friday in Antwerp. More than that I do not know and am not prepared to research, as anything that I have ever seen that is to do with Black Friday looks absolutely terrifying. Late night shopping on Kloosterstraat (many shops open until 22h) might be a lot less stressful.

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Critical Mass has an important safety theme this month as recent cyclist casualties need to be kept in the spotlight of current traffic safety debates in Antwerp. Assemble on Theaterplein at 6pm -the theme is ‘light in the darkness‘, emphasising the importance for cyclists to be seen, and bikes to be lit -especially at this time of year, so wear your fluo and put your brightest bike lights on.

Saturday

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Mission to Seafarers Christmas Bazar

Antwerp’s Mission to Seafarers holds its yearly Christmas Bazar this year on the Noorderlaan for the first time. Head to the Antwerp Harbour Hotel if you would like some British Christmas cards, festive foods and other Christmas goodies this year.

Markies Bookmarket & Brickmania continue (see above)

Sunday

Across Brussels and Flanders it’s Dag van de Wetenschap (Science Day) with lots of free and fascinating events in and around Antwerp. Last year, we spent most of the day in Kavka where they learnt about robots, had a go at taking blood and learned about bacteria on hands, but there are lots of other activities for kids and adults across the city.

In The Roma Theatre there’s a kids’ rommelmarkt -everything for kids: toys, games, books and clothes. The stands are also run by kids, and it’s just 1 euro in (50cts for children).

Markies Bookmarket & Brickmania continue (see above)

The weather continues to be typically Novemberish -quite cold with slight chance of showers throughout the weekend.

Miscellaneous

If you are looking for times to take your child/ren to see Sinterklaas, he is around at the following central locations over the coming days:
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Mercado on Wednesday 29th from 1pm

Grand Bazar on the 2nd December 1- 5pm

Meir and Grand Bazar on the 3rd December

The last Wednesday of the month (29th) means the City of Antwerp Museums are free.

Shops will be open on Sundays throughout December in Antwerp.

If you have younger kids, they may like to write a letter to Sinterklaas. This is organised each year by Bpost. Post the letter(s) in special Sint letterboxes (there’s one in the Quellinstraat post office) before 29th November. Don’t forget to ensure that the child’s name and home address is clearly written on the outside of the envelope, so that the child can receive a letter back and a surprise from the Sint. You do not need a stamp. If your child doesn’t write, you can send a Babbel Brief!

If you are new to this tradition, be aware that it takes place on the 6th December and is VERY important to the children of Belgium. You can read about it here.

I was recently contacted by Sandra from Colectivo Amorika. This is a group which offers cultural and arts activities for Spanish speaking families in Antwerp, as well as conversation lessons for intermediate and advanced non-native speakers. They are based in Borgerhout and you can see their program below

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Colectivo Amorika

De Collectie is a means by which you can give away your second hand clothing, shoes, accessories (belts, scarves, gloves, hats) and bedding if they are in good condition. They will be passed to people who need them in Belgium and abroad. You can arrange to have them picked up or can bring them to a collection point. Very handy if you are planning a clear out before the festive season. You can find more information about how this works in Antwerp on De Collectie Antwerpen site.

If you haven’t done so yet, have a read of this recently pressed guest post by Laura, the creator of the lovely Nonnative Antwerp blog, and do get in touch if you would like to contribute your own Antwerp story.

I have also guest-blogged for Nonnative. Read my restaurant review here .

Inspired to write a guest blog post telling your Antwerp story? Please get in touch via nessascityblog@gmail.com -I’d love to hear from you.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 18th & 19th November

Such an exciting weekend (especially if you are a kid)!
HERE’S YOUR GOOGLE MAP!

It’s Eco Builders 2017 on both Saturday and Sunday -this is an event for you if you have a home-project underway or are planning one: sign up for tours around project homes (both new-build and restorations) to get ideas about how it is done in an eco-friendly and energy-efficient way.

Foodies -it’s Week van de Smaak over the weekend and continuing until the 26th November. Workshops, events, markets and readings for food lovers. Here’s the complete programme in Borgerhout.

Saturday

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Pepernoten and a chocolate letter (traditional Sinterklaas sweets)

Hij komt! Hij Komt!

Sinterklaas arrives in Antwerp! He is expected to arrive on his traditional Steamboat at Steenplein at 1pm and will make his way from Steenplein via Suikerrui to Grote Markt, accompanied by his usual jaunty entourage. This is usually a very busy event -expect crowds and possibly a fair bit of waiting to see the Sint. To be honest, I have found that the wait can be a bit challenging for the very youngest children, especially if the weather is not great (although this year it is predicted to be dry). His annual appearance and speech on the balcony of the Town Hall is expected at 14.45. This is the thrilling moment when the city learns if there are any naughty children in Antwerp, or whether they can all expect gifts this year. If you can’t make it, you can follow the action live on TV on Ketnet.

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Crowds waiting for the Sint to appear on the balcony at Grote Markt

 

At De Roma theatre from 9am it’s Kraakvers#3 – a local market for fresh goods and locally made products.

There’s a Vinyl fair at Plein Publiek from 11am -4.30pm … perfect if you are a vinyl lover or need to shop for the vinyl lover in your life as the festive season approaches. 

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Swaajp Impro. Photo: Armin Zarbock

For evening entertainment with a difference, head to Zaal Zirkus for some impro theatre with Swaajp! whose guests for this show are Inbal Lori and Tim Orr who take their inspiration from photographs provided by the audience, rather than verbal suggestions.

 

Sunday

It’s a day of arts activities for children: Kunstendag voor Kinderen. These take place across Flanders. Here are the events in the Antwerp area. Click on ‘meer info’ to find put the costs of participation (most are low-cost; some are free), age range and whether you need to reserve beforehand.

It’s the monthly secondhand book and comic fair on De Coninckplein -in front of the library- from 10am

Unsurprisingly, it’s pretty nippy out this weekend (max temperatures 8 degrees) but it should be dry, with the a slight possibility of some showers, especially around Sunday evening.

 sintletterboxMiscellaneous

If you have younger kids, they may like to write a letter to Sinterklaas. This is organised each year by Bpost. Post the letter(s) in special Sint letterboxes (there’s one in the Quellinstraat post office) before 29th November. Don’t forget to ensure that the child’s name and home address is clearly written on the outside of the envelope, so that the child can receive a letter back and a surprise from the Sint. You do not need a stamp. If your child doesn’t write, you can send a Babbel Brief!

If you are new to this tradition, be aware that it takes place on the 6th December and is VERY important to the children of Belgium. You can read about it here.

I was recently contacted by Sandra from Colectivo Amorika. This is a group which offers cultural and arts activities for Spanish speaking families in Antwerp, as well as conversation lessons for intermediate and advanced non-native speakers. They are based in Borgerhout and you can see their program below

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Colectivo Amorika

De Collectie is a means by which you can give away your second hand clothing, shoes, accessories (belts, scarves, gloves, hats) and bedding if they are in good condition. They will be passed to people who need them in Belgium and abroad. You can arrange to have them picked up or can bring them to a collection point. Very handy if you are planning a clear out before the festive season. You can find more information about how this works in Antwerp on De Collectie Antwerpen site.

If you haven’t done so yet, have a read of this recently pressed guest post by Laura, the creator of the lovely Nonnative Antwerp blog, and do get in touch if you would like to contribute your own Antwerp story.

I have also guest-blogged for Nonnative. Read my restaurant review here .

Inspired to write a guest blog post telling your Antwerp story? Please get in touch via nessascityblog@gmail.com -I’d love to hear from you.

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Find me on social media, where additional events and locations are also posted:

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Instagram

Facebook (Events in Antwerp: in conjunction with London Calling)

Twitter &

Pinterest

This weekend: 2nd, 3rd & 4th December

NEXT POST: TOMORROW (8TH DECEMBER)

Bit of a short post this week because I am away for most of this weekend. I think it’s also a fairly quiet weekend before the Antwerp winter and Christmas events open.

Over the whole weekend (again) is the De Markies stock sale of books at Zuiderpershuis. Most of the books are in Dutch but last year there were some art and travel books in English too. If you have Dutch- speaking kids to buy for (Sinterklaas or Christmas) the children’s book sections will definitely have good bargains.

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Friday

BATS Theatre group hold their monthly open evening at their Little Theatre and bar on Paardenmarkt 111 from 8.30. This week there’s a music quiz and cocktails too.

Just a bit further out of town is the opening of Winter Festival Deurne Wintert. Most of the activities are free, but some require registration beforehand. The program include theatre, music and children’s activities.

Saturday

There’s a print & ceramics sale between 3- 6pm on Britselei (also Sunday).
Sunday

A couple of options if you have a child or children who would like to see Sinterklaas:  first on Meir; then there’s Grand Bazar between 1 and 3 (be prepared to queue for a bit, but it is generally fairly efficient) -no pre-registration needed; just show up.

This option in Schipperskwartier at 2pm at the Cultureel Ontmoetingscentrum Stadsmagazijnrequires pre-registration for each child and costs 3euros.

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Stadsfeestzaal Shopping centre, Meir

It’s the first Sunday of the month so shops will be open in and around the town centre (some open a little later -e.g. at midday)

For a thriftier and more eco-friendly way to acquire what you need head to de Roma Theatre for their Give-away & swap fleamarket. As well as being able to swap items or receive them for free from stand-holders, the Ecohuis will also be at the event running a repair café for clothing, and giving you the chance to sign up for the Apen op Wieltjes scheme, which enables you to borrow a bike for your child as they out of their existing bike, or to exchange the existing bike for a better fit. There will also be gift-making and upcycling workshops.

Weather looks not too bad for this time of year. Some cloudiness but it will also be bright at times. Top temperature of 10 on Friday. Should be dry.

Miscellaneous

Find Nessascityblog on TwitterPinterest and Instagram -recent snaps include some of Science Day (Dag van de Wetenschap), a Sinterklaas activity in Grand Bazaar and some of the festive lights that are now being put up around town.

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image courtesy of BATS Antwerp

If you are looking ahead to the winter season and have kids to entertain, I recommend that you book Antwerp’s only traditional, old -school panto in English, for January in the Arendberg Theatre, by BATS theatre group. Another recommended from me -this time it’s Jack and the Beanstalk.

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This weekend: 11th, 12th & 13th November

***NEXT POSTING ON THURSDAY 17TH NOVEMBER***

Things are a little quieter at the moment -a bit of down time until the Christmas and winter events get going at the start of December, but I found a few low- budget/ free options for this long weekend…

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Firstly, here’s the GOOGLE MAP with all the locations from this post.

 

Friday

It’s a public holiday for Armistice Day. Schools are off. There will be a big second hand market courtesy of Goegekregen and Snitt on Theaterplein from 9am -6pm.

Het Roze Huis -HQ for activities, events, lobbying and information for Antwerp’s LGBTQ+ community launches L-week  today, kicking off a programme of events, workshops, film and socialising for lesbians in Antwerp.

It’s the last day of the Antwerp Book Expo 2016.

Saturday

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Antwerp kids await the arrival of the Sint on Grote Markt

Today is a big day for all Antwerp children who have been well- behaved of late: Sinterklaas is arriving on Antwerp and will be in the area until 6th December. He will arrive on his boat from Spain and make his way to Grote Markt to address crowds from the Stadhuis. It’s a traditional, local occasion; kids are in awe to see the Sint and there is always an upbeat kiddie-friendly atmosphere, but be prepared for a fair amount of waiting around, and quite dense crowds. Take waterproofs and umbrellas. Sint is expected at Steenplein at 13.30 and will make his way to the Town Hall for 2.45. For couch potatoes -it will be on TV (Ketnet).

An alternative, indoor event takes place at Waagnatie: Brickmania which is a MUST for Lego enthusiasts -don’t worry if your kids want to do both though, because Brickmania is takes place over Saturday and Sunday.

It’s five euros in, but free for under 6s. We went last year and the kids really loved it. Some of the creations are really remarkable: complex and detailed. Kids get a goodie bag, and if you are already thinking of Christmas shopping for the Lego fans in your family, you can get that done here too.

Also over both days is the 30th Festival of Japanese Culture at Zuiderkroon on the Vlaamsekaai.

Sunday

legoBrickmania  contd.

Japanese Culture Festival contd.

On Krugerplein there is a food event: Food in The Hood.

 

 

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Weather will be quite wintry, with temperatures of about 6 degrees and highest chances of showers on Saturday. Sunday should be more pleasant, and dry.

Miscellaneous

Find Nessascityblog on TwitterPinterest and Instagram!

Nessascityblog Brexit posts are here (part 1) and here (part 2).

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Nessascityblog also featured in Den Triangel recently. If you would like a .pdf of that interview, send me a message at nessascityblog@gmail.com

Sinterklaas sweets & cloud pics from Pixabay

 

*** NEXT POST: THURSDAY 17TH NOVEMBER ***

 

 

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This Weekend: December 5th & 6th 2015

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Lights on the Keyserlei

If you have not noticed the festive feeling starting up in Antwerp, then you really need to get out and do so, if you can. For us -as a family resident in Belgium, with both Dutch and UK influences- this weekend is the one where Christmas overlaps with Sinterklaas, so this post will hopefully contain a bit of both ….

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Plein Publiek -Van Craesbeeckstraat

If you are ready to start the weekend immediately after work on Friday, I recommend Plein Publiek which opens at 4 for drinks, 5 for food and the dancing starts at 9. It’s a very attractive venue, placed in the middle of a now-disused social housing complex, near Nationalestraat..

Saturday

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If you have walked through the old town this week, you will have seen the stalls being set up for the Christmas Market which will dominate this part of the city from this Saturday when it opens. Stalls selling Christmas goods, foods and snacks will be found near the cathedral, on Grote Markt, Suikkerui, Groenplaats and Steenplein. The ice rink is usually on Steenplein, and the Christmas wheel is nearby. It’s the perfect place to meet friends, or take family. The market is on daily until 27th December. sintgrandbazar

For a smaller and more off-beat Christmas Market experience, head to the Vrijdag Markt at 4pm for music, DJs and food trucks.

BUT … If you have children who are in Sinterklaas mode, then he can be seen in various locations around the town centre and will be stopping in Grand Bazar; this is usually quite busy, with kids queuing, seeing Sint and being pictured with him. He is also believed to be visiting this fleamarket on the Sint Jansplein, at 2pm, with his Pieten.

I recommend the bookmarket at the Zuiderpershuis, which is still on. It’s a stock sale and the reductions are good. Most titles offered are in Dutch, but with some fashion, design and art books in English. Lots of books for children and toddlers, if you are buying gifts for kids and babies. It’s worth going just to see this attractive venue, if you don’t already know it, and it is a short walk from FOMU and Cinema Zuid, which are also worth knowing about.

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book sale at Zuiderpershuis.

If you like to donate and recycle at this time of year, why not take clothes, food and children’s items to Moeders voor Moeders on Helmstraat? They receive deliveries on the first Saturday of each month, between 10 and 12, and work to support families with children in need, in the Antwerp area.

Sunday

It’s the first Sunday of the month, so there is Sunday shopping around the town centre (note that most shops open a little later, though, at around midday).

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Eva Steynen (photo courtesy of Eva Steynen)

However, maybe you would like to get away from Sinterklaas, Christmas and shopping, to a vernissage (3pm) at this Gallery in Zurenborg curated by local artist, Eva Steynen?

There is a different type of Exhibition for fans of Tintin (and other Belgian comic book characters)  which finishes up on Sunday.

Another way to take a break from the consumerist side of this season would be to donate clothing to The Empty Shop project, which is running until the 12th December at the Youth Hostel on Bogaardplein. Your clothing will be restyled and sold to raise funds for the Kamiano Restaurant which provides meals for homeless people in Antwerp.

Whether you are enjoying Christmas, Sinterklaas, shopping or something a bit different, have a great weekend. Alas, it might be a good idea to take an umbrella out with you so that the predicted drizzle doesn’t spoil your fun

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Grote Markt on a winter’s night by Daniel Ruiz- Cecconello

 

 

 

 

This weekend: 27th, 28th & 29th November

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It seems impossible to write a post without mentioning the security alerts that all residents of this part of the world have been living with this past week. The decision we made in our home has been to continue to going to events we enjoy, unless otherwise advised by the police. Security has been visible around Antwerp central station but last weekend, we went to the market as usual on Saturday, and on Sunday to the 50th Birthday celebrations at FOMU which were lots of fun. Everyone has to make their own decisions about the risks they want to take, but we prefer to try to keep calm and enjoy our free time as much as we usually do. If Madge isn’t cancelling her gig on Saturday at Sportpaleis, then I don’t see why we shouldn’t be out and about as usual ;-).  For updates on the situation, you can follow @crisiscenterBE on Twitter.

And so to the weekend ….

If you want to avoid the shopping hordes, Friday offers the perfect excuse because it is Buy Nothing Day . Alternatively, you could go along to Meir anyway, just to check out Antwerp’s own Diva, Nicola Mills who will (weather permitting) be getting into the festive spirit by carolling with a group of four singers between 2 and 4pm. You could head out later in the evening to join the Critical Mass Bike Ride at 6pm on Theaterplein.

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There are a couple of events which are occurring over both days: a book market  and a Kids’ Paradise promising toys, games, gadgets and clothes for sale. There are also some activities and workshops for kids. Both of these events are at the Zuiderpershuis on the Waalse Kaai. If you are feeling sporty, you can swim for free  at Antwerp swimming pools all weekend.

Saturday

Kids who want to see Sinterklaas, can do so at The Century Shopping Centre on Keyserlei between 10 and 6pm, where they can also take part in a Sinterklaas quest activity. Other than that, it seems rather quiet this Saturday, so I will probably be at the market as usual!

Sunday

gluhwein

 

If you are someone who is looking forward to the opening of the winter bars, and the taste of Gluhwein, this Winter Terrace event will please you, if you can’t wait until the Christmas market in December.

If you have children aged 5+ to entertain, then you could take them to this production of Tom Thumb for just 4 euros a ticket or for the same price to a showing of this animated film at the Permeke library (for kids aged 3+).

 

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This weekend’s fleamarket is being held in Schijnpoort and costs 2,50 to get in.

 

Finally, Sunday is the last day of Week van de Friet, so if you have a voucher from De Zondag you can pick up freebies (like an extra beer or snack) at participating chippies. In Antwerp, that’s Frituur Max on Groenplaats.

Have fun and stay safe. 🙂