This weekend: 26th, 27th & 28th May

[Next post: 1st June]

Yasssss …. it’s a long weekend and the weather is going to be toasty. We will respond to this winning combination in the traditional Antwerpian fashion by sloping around in the sunshine, eating and drinking. What luck! For this weekend seems to hold many opportunities to do just that. Just watch out for a wee bit of drizzle or thunder on Sunday, but nonetheless temperatures are set to be high …

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HERE’S THE MAP!

A fun event which is fairly new to the Antwerp Summer scene is Vakantie op T’ Zuid
which describes itself as a holiday market. This event is very much focused on food or drink and it is fairly easy to tailor your consumption to your budget, as the food ranges from small snacks and sweets to larger meals. It has a truly international feel with stands from all over the world, as well as some performances (we saw some Indonesian dancing last year). It takes place down on the Vlaamse Kaai, so there is also a handy playground for kids, as well as a play area for the event itself. Starts Thursday at midday and continues until Sunday.

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Mercado on Groenplaats is also having a food festival that takes place over the whole weekend (25th -28th May) offering -in addition to their usual stands – outdoor stands, street musicians and magicians, and kids’ entertainment.

Friday

Update: No picnic today apologies for the error!

Critical Mass takes place as usual for the last Friday of the month, meeting at 6pm -also on Theaterplein. Bring your bike for the musical edition of this monthly communal bike ride

Aper’eau is back for the summer -their kick-off event takes place on Groenplaats from 5pm. Outdoor drinks and cocktails in the sun in Antwerp’s most famous square. Sounds like a good way to start the weekend…

Groenplaats
Groenplaats

Saturday

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Brick Boat in Stadspark   This plinth (where different exhibits are featured) is a project from Middelheim Museum

Middelheim -Antwerp’s free  sculpture museum is a beautiful place to visit, but even more so when the weather is good. So this weekend should be a good time to take advantage of the opening event of the Richard Deacon exhibition, complete with a free guided tour.

Or enjoy a browse round the ABC (Antiques Books Curiosa) market at Den Beulebak from 11- 5pm. Free.

Sunday

Snitt are holding a second hand market at a fun location today: at Stack (formerly Convoi)  the container village down by Waagnatie. It’s free and you can bring your own secondhand items to donate to local initiative ‘de Collectie’.

Lambermontmartre is another regular presence on the Antwerp summer scene. It’s not only a chance to browse or buy lots of art works by local and amateur artists, and to support their work, but there is always a band and some good, cheap food and drinks. The area has some lovely cafés (Finjan’s is a favourite of mine for great Falafel and middle-Eastern food) and there is usually a table where kids can paint a canvas of their own for a small price.

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Ascension is the reason for the long weekend. If you would like to enjoy some choral music, head to the Begijnhofkerk at 3pm, where for 5 euros you can hear the Cathedral Singers of Oxford with special music for Ascensiontide.

Reserve by calling 03 232 01 03

Miscellaneous

Buurtpleintjes is an initiative from Stad Antwerpen offering free sporting activities on local squares around the city. Last year my son really enjoyed a series of free basketball lessons on Sint Andriesplaats as part of this initiative. Start by checking here to see what’s on offer near you.

Next week Wednesday is the last Wednesday of the month so Antwerp City museums are free (Plantin Moretus, Rockox, Mayer van den Bergh, The MAS and The Red Star Line Museum).

During summer Antwerp offers two open-air swimming pools which are now open! It is free to swim at Boekenberg, but there is a small entrance charge at the Linkeroever pool (it is also recommended that you have a 1 euro coin with you to use the lockers; and your A-kaart, if you have one).

Runners again -here’s a run with a difference: Silver Run takes you up and down towerblocks, on the 11th June, for which you can register now. It does cost to take part, unless you live in social housing, in which case it is free.

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I’m proud to share my first guest blog post on Nessascityblog! If you missed it, have a read of Dolrish’s personal story of coming to live and work in Antwerp, all the way from the Philippines. And if you’d like to contribute and tell your story, please get in touch via nessascityblog@gmail.com

Don’t forget to find and follow Nessascityblog on …

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This weekend: 19th, 20th & 21st May

It’s a busy weekend this weekend. You get a gold star if you can do all of this lot. Here’s the GOOGLE MAP to help you find your way…

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There are two events which takes place over the whole weekend. The first is the opening of Bar Noord (formerly The Cargo Summer Bar) in Park Spoor Noord. After nine years, the bar and is having a re-furb and getting a new name. This part of town has changed and developed greatly over recent years and Bar Noord has stated its intention to strengthen its position as a place for the community and for families, in what is becoming a distinct area of the city. This summer Bar Noord promises more sporting activities and live music than it has in the past, and aims to engage more members of this increasingly diverse, multicultural community. I’m curious to see what that is going to look like, as for my family this location has been the go-to destination when the weather is good during school holidays -it’s a great location. Bar Noord opening party kicks off on Friday at 6pm, with further events on both Saturday and Sunday.

AAW2017

Antwerp Art Weekend is also on over the whole weekend, from Friday at midday. There is more information on the Antwerp Art website (click on ‘venues’) to see which galleries are participating.Although larger museums are involved, Antwerp Art Weekend is a celebration of the many smaller galleries which display contemporary art around the city. For example, this temporary exhibition at Gallery M146, which opens on Friday evening with a reception.
The best way to work it, is to figure out what you want to see and go by bike from gallery to gallery between midday and 6pm. For night owls, there’s Nacht van de Beeldende Kunst or Night of the Visual Arts, at de Studio on the Saturday, costing a tenner and starting at 9pm.

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Untitled 3 by Michael Laird @ Open Systems, M146. Antwerp Art Weekend

At Antwerp Expo there’s a book & hobby fair. It’s free in, and opening at 10am on all three days.

Friday

Fabrik is a relatively new café venue near Theaterplein. They also offer live sessions on Fridays. This week, the wonderful 110 (a trippy, three piece improvisational electro rock band from the city of Antwerp) will be playing, starting at 9pm. Here’s a sample of what they do!

You can still get tickets for the one and only performance of A Sunburnt Country: a unique celebration of Australian music, dance and literature by Maddi Goodwin at de Singel. Hurry, hurry!

Fabrik
Fabrik

 

Saturday

TheMagicFluteforchildren

If you have musical children, head to the Antwerp International School for this special children’s performance of The Magic Flute at 2pm.

Borgerrio is a free, colourful, carnival-style festival that takes place along the Turnhoutsebaan from 2.30, when it begins with a parade. Check the full program for the food, stalls, and other entertainment that will be on offer.

Runners – head to the Rivierenhof for the park runs starting at 2pm. There are 300m (14h) and 800m (14.15h) races for kids, which are free;  and then 5km (14.30h) and 10km (15.30h) races for adults, costing 5 euros. If you have not already registered, you can do so there from 12, before the runs begin.

Sunday

It’s the third Sunday of the month, so as usual, there will be a second hand book and comics market in front of the Permeke Library from 10am; on this occasion accompanied by a piano marathon.

Food, live music, DJs and a flea market taking place for Bouger Bouger #11 on Krugerplein between 10am and 5pm.

Piano

There’s a Re: set Closet sale at Het Eiland from 10am- 5.30pm

And Swan Market is on Grote Markt from 11am.

The weather this weekend is predicted to be warm and dry (around 18-19 degrees), so not as hot as temperatures enjoyed earlier this week. It could be cloudy a times, and there is a chance of rain -particularly on Friday.

asunburntcountry
A Sunburnt Country: Friday at de Singel

Miscellaneous

AkaartF2During summer Antwerp offers two open-air swimming pools which are now open! It is free to swim at Boekenberg, but there is a small entrance charge at the Linkeroever pool (it is also recommended that you have a 1 euro coin with you to use the lockers; and your A-kaart, if you have one).

Runners again -here’s a run with a difference: Silver Run takes you up and down towerblocks, on the 11th June, for which you can register now. It does cost to take part, unless you live in social housing, in which case it is free.

I’m proud to share my first guest blog post on Nessascityblog! If you missed it, have a read of Dolrish’s personal story of coming to live and work in Antwerp, all the way from the Philippines. And if you’d like to contribute and tell your story, please get in touch via nessascityblog@gmail.com

Don’t forget to find and follow Nessascityblog on …

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This weekend: 24th, 25th & 26th February

lbwg
LBWG

This weekend sees the close of winter bar Little Brewers Winter Garden. It will doubtless re-open in a summer incarnation later this year. Here’s the full program of weekend events to mark the end of its winter season.

JEFF (Youth Film Festival) is also on the whole weekend (and thoughout the holiday week). Films will be showing in Ecohuis and Zuiderpershuis. There are also workshops. See the full program here.

If you are not familiar with the Eilandje area of Antwerp (the port area where MAS museum is situated) then this is a good weekend to discover it, with events on both days for Welkom op Het Eiland.

Over the whole weekend there is an exhibition of minerals, fossils and precious stones at Kinepolis, for 4 euros.

Here’s your GOOGLE MAP for all the places mentioned in this weekend’s post.

Friday

It’s the last Friday of the month, and -according to Critical Mass -never to late to enjoy some Valentine’s Romance. Assemble on Theaterplein with your bike at 6pm for the Valentine’s edition of the monthly bike ride.

Saturday

londoncallingbowie
London Calling

Skool’s out! Why not kick off the krokus vakantie with London Calling’s Let’s Bowie! at Bar Venetie, Saturday night on the Turnhoutsebaan from 10pm.

Gardeners of Antwerp -the Ecohuis is offering a day of free gardening workshops from 1pm until 6pm. To take part costs nothing but you need to register by mailing or calling: ecohuis@stad.antwerpen.be or tel. 03 217 08 11

Or head to Sint Jansplein for another big second hand market from 9am -6pm

It’s the monthly free film at Het Roze Huis at 8pm: Tru Love.

Sunday

More gardening tips! This time it’s pruning the roses at Rivierenhof, with the gardners that keep the rose garden there. Register by calling 03 3605218 . Free.

Alas, the weather is not looking great -about 10-12 degrees, but feeling colder, with chances of rain and drizzle on both Saturday and on Sunday.

Miscellaneous

asunburntcountry
Maddi Goodwin & A Sunburnt Country

I was pleased to be contacted by musician Maddi Goodwin, creator of A Sun Burnt Country project. I am very much looking forward to attending this eclectic event at de Singel on Friday 19th May. It’s a must for internationally-minded people, and doubly so if they are from- or have an interest in – Australia and Australian culture. The evening will comprise of music, readings and dance, and I am including it here because there is a 20% discount on tickets if you order them before the 1st March, which is not far away!

If you have children (aged 8-14) interested in the Children’s University event on 19th March, you can register them from now. You might also want to know that March is Youth Book Month.

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Also for kids -the spring break (Krokus vakantie) is coming up in Belgium (starting 27th February). If you have kids who are off that week and would enjoy some sports activities check out this Stad Antwerpen Page. The activities on offer can be seen here and you need to go here to register. Stad Antwerpen museums also offer some ateliers during the Krokus vakantie, some of these involve signing up for more than one day.

Idee Kids also offers a variety of activities and workshops during the holiday week.

Also during the break, some swimming pools in the Antwerp area have extended opening hours.

If you took part in Lei Reijnder’s (Cloudknitters) Let Sky The Limit postcard mail-art project last year, you can now see all the entries on this film

We are fast approaching the very end of the Stadhuis 450 expo, which closes in March. If you have been meaning to go but haven’t, then time is running out ….

It’s Carnaval!

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Het Beleg van Antwerpen

 

And just for fun, thank Het Beleg van Antwerpen for offering on our behalf, this very special greeting from the city of Antwerp, to President Trump.

 

 

 

 

Finally – would you like to write a guest post for Nessascityblog? As you are probably aware, I post on Thursdays, weekly. I’d like to include a guest post for after the weekend is over, but before the new post is out (so Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday). I’d like posts in English which tell personal Antwerp stories -yours. Where are you from? What are you doing in Antwerp? Why? And what are your experiences of living and/ or working in Antwerp? What are the pleasures and challenges of adapting to life here? You don’t need to be Shakespeare and you don’t need to have English as your first language. I will proof-read and edit posts if necessary. Please get in touch via the About page if you would like to contribute. If you have a different idea for an Antwerp-related post I’d also love to hear it.

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— NEXT POST: THURSDAY 2nd MARCH —

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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. 🙂

Antwerp with Kids

Out and about in Antwerp.

This post is about hanging out in Antwerp with kids, and is especially for the grandparents of my kids who do so much to look after our two youngest, when their school holidays do not coincide with ours.

In summer, keeping kids entertained is pretty easy. When the sun shines there are so many parks and pop- up bars with play areas and activities that it’s not hard to find somewhere budget- friendly to take them to each day, where adults will also be able to relax. The parks and play areas we most commonly visit are Stadspark (also has a skate park), Park Spoor Noord, the play area at the Gedempte zuiderdokken (kaaien) and the play area on Dageraadplaats in the Zurenborg area. The scenic Rivierenhof also has a lot of space and a play area for kids and it’s a lovely place to walk and get away from the city if you need some peace.

Stadspark
Stadspark

In autumn, when the weather turns colder, it is not always so simple, so this a brief guide to some of the places we like to go with our kids, when the weather is no longer so warm.

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The most obvious choices in the centre of town are the zoo and Comics Station , which are both good days out, but not cheap, especially if you are taking a few kids. At time of writing (October 2015) the zoo is undergoing renovation in some parts, meaning that some animals are not around, and there are parts which are occupied by building works. On the other hand, the aquarium section is finished and open and is a huge improvement on what was previously there. If you live in Antwerp, you may want to consider buying a year pass to make your visits more cost effective. I would also recommend keeping costs down by bringing your own picnic. There is a new restaurant in the zoo (La Latteria) and although the venue itself is very attractive, being one of the old zoo buildings, the food is nothing special and it is not cheap, again, especially if you are there with a few mouths to feed.

Flamingos at Antwerp Zoo
Flamingos at Antwerp Zoo

When we are sloping around town, there are two cafés in particular which welcome children and have facilities for them. The first is on Theatreplein (where the market is) and is called Het Geluk. It looks like a regular café, but is geared to kids and families. Because the outside area is covered, it is a good way to get kids out and about with their own trikes, scooters, bikes, roller skates etc in a place that they can use them, even if it is raining. Additionally, there is a play corner, and a selection of toys and games which the kids can borrow while they are there by asking at the bar and leaving their name. Het Geluk is open from Wednesday – Sunday.

Het Geluk is part of the theatre Het Paleis which runs performances and shows for children. These are in Dutch. They also run workshops and activities during the Belgian school holidays. You can pick up a programme or go along to the theatre for information and leaflets. I am sure they would also be happy to advise you which activities would be suitable for kids who do not speak Dutch. Theater performances and drama activities for kids can also be found at De Studio.

Pick up a programme for Het Paleis
Pick up a programme for Het Paleis

Affiliated to Het Geluk is Het Steen (open on Wednesdays- Sundays) which also offers a play area and toys within the café. During summer there is a water and sand play area at the back of the café. Het Steen also runs educational themed workshops during the holidays and at weekends. They have an atelier below the café where these take place. They are usually aimed at kids aged 6+ and are in Dutch. I like this café because of its location in the historic part of town, by the river.  At both Het Steen and Het Geluk, food and drinks are very reasonably priced, with a large bowl of soup for example, costing only 4 euros.

I haven’t been to Plaasj Kaffee yet, but I am planning to at some point this autumn or winter as I have heard good things about it and it has play areas for kids which are both outdoor and covered. It’s also a bit away from the city centre, being on Linkeroever (other side of the river) over the water from the Eilandje area.

Also over the water is Antwerp Bowling . It’s very easy to reach by bike, tram or car. It’s certainly a pricier way to kill an afternoon than Het Geluk or Het Steen but my kids always have a good time here. For younger kids, there is a soft play and climbing area which they really like. This costs 5 euros for unlimited play. The food and drinks are moderately priced. Antwerp Bowling is open seven days per week. Our son also had a really good birthday party here one year. The staff are efficient, friendly and used to children.

Cinemas in town include The UGC on Keyserlei, right in front of Central Station, Kinepolis just outside of town, to the north on Groenendaallan (Tram 6) and Cartoons cinema (open Thursday -Sunday) on Kasstraat in the old town (off Suikerrui, in front of the cathedral). Cartoons also has a really nice basement bar/ café.

It’s cheap to go swimming in Antwerp, but you do need to check the website to ensure that you turn up at the right times for public swimming, as some hours are set aside for particular groups of swimmers (e.g. women only). The two closest pools to the city centre are Zwembad Plantin Moretus and Sportoase. Note that pools can also be a bit strict about suitable swimwear: guys are expected to wear swimming trunks, but not long beach-style shorts or itsy bitsy speedos. If you forget, you can usually purchase a pair at the pool. If you have long hair, make sure you tie it back.

For workshops and activities for children during holidays and half-terms, it is worth keeping an eye on the many museums in Antwerp. As well as being worth a family visit, they sometimes have special activities for kids. My son enjoyed a workshop at Mayer van den Bergh museum and also at The Museum of Modern Art which is near the river and the kaaien. MAS and The Red Star Line Museum also have activities for kids. Note that for workshops, children may need to reserve places online, in advance.

The Permeke Library on De Coninckplein (near China town area) also has a programme (again in Dutch) of reading and activities for children.

If you live in Antwerp and often make use of the city facilities (e.g. swimming pools, museums, library) then you will get reductions if you get an A -Kaart. You can get them at any venue where a reduction is given for card holders (I got mine at the Red Star Line Museum) or at the Districtshuis.