And if you have a young reader, then you should know that March is also “Jeugdboekenmaand” (Youth Book Month) which means that there’s plenty going on in Bib Permeke for children and young people throughout the month. The theme this year is ART. See the Permeke library website for events, activities and exhibitions taking place there, or the search the complete agenda on the Jeugdboekenmaand page.
Why not start your weekend at the pictures? De Cinema (at De Studio) is showing one of my favourites –The Big Lebowski (1998) – at 8pm. Tickets via the link. It’s conveniently located near a bar/ bistro I like too: Zeppos is just a few doors down and easily recognisable by its red exterior.
Proefkonijnen is a children’s theatre on Frankrijklei: maybe their show Drakenjacht (Dragon Hunt) at 2.30pm would be something for your 4+ year old(s) on a Sunday afternoon? If you want to check it out, find tickets here.
Now that the storms have (hopefully) passed, you might like to (re)visit Rivierenhof: every Sunday at 2pm at the “sprookjeshuis” there’s a fairy story read aloud (in Dutch) for children aged 6+. It’s costs 5 euros and you can register your child(ren) here, in advance. The Sprookjeshuis is near the Rivierenhof Kasteel and the playground, and there’s a vegetable gardening workshop going on at the same time -click the link; and then on to the Eventbrite link in order to register for this.
The weather will continue to be cooler this weekend max temps 11 degrees), with Saturday likely to be the best day – dry and bright, and showers expected on Friday and on Sunday morning.
Runners: You can now sign up for the Antwerp 10 Miles on 26th April 2020. It costs less if you sign up before the 6th April.
There’s free live music at The Irish Times (Steve Jones) at 10pm, and if you are around earlier, you can see Augustana (currently supporting Dixie Chicks at Lotto Arena!) at Cafè Ami at 3pm for a matinée. If you are looking for after-work drinks, Gusta is serving from 5pm with music from Böky Bros. Gusta is also a useful address to know if you need gluten -free and dairy-free resources.
A big shout out to the Antwerp International School in Ekeren! Today is their International Day where all the various communities come together to show off their nation’s food, drink, and culture. There’s much to see and enjoy -both indoors and outdoors. It only happens once every two years and is a chance to see the school at its very best!
It’s a day to get planting, if you live in Antwerp. You can pick up a free sack of potting soil, courtesy of Stad Antwerpen, between 11 and 4pm today as part of Dag van de Potgrond -an initiative to encourage residents to add some greenery or flowers to their street. Pick up at Cargo Summer Bar (Park Spoor Noord) or at coStA.
It’s Flanders’ largest running event: The Antwerp 10 miles & Marathon! Good luck to everyone running today. Here’s the schedule if you would like to go and cheer the runners on. You can cross the river by free ferry on the day of the run, between 11.30 am and 7.30pm (Steenplein -St Annastrand)
If you prefer a less energetic type of recreation you could Travel The World in 80 Games (that’s board and table games) at Atlas on Carnotstraat for free. It’s not far from de Coninckplein where the book fair will be taking place right in front of the library between 10am and 4pm.
This week’s free flea market takes place at Skate Planet, near Sportpaleis between 10am and 6pm.
On Sundays at Rivierenhof, there are fairytale readings (in Dutch) for 5 euros from 2 -3.30pm. Reserve for your kid(s) via the link.
The weather is predicted to be mild (tops of 12 degrees) with the possibility of a some showers on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Some bright spells on Sunday too.
For beautiful Antwerp views …did you know that during the summer period the roof of MAS museum is free and open until midnight, Tuesday to Sunday?
… and the project Coming World Remember Me has started and will continue until the 8th May. At workshops at Steen, you can make a sculpture out of clay to honour one of the Belgian fallen of World War One. These sculptures will form an installation in Ypres which will be opened in 2018. Each one will incorporate a dog tag with the name of a soldier. You will be provided with the dog tag.
It is free to take part but you need to register by calling 03 292 36 51 or mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Sporting A is offering free basketball coaching for kids aged 6- 14 years of age every Wednesday from 20th April until 25th May. It’s on in various locations from 2pm -4pm (except Sint-Jansplein where it’s 3-5pm). No need to register, just show up if you are interested.
If you follow the blog on Twitter, you will know that I spent some of my weekend trying to counter some misinformation that was being spread by a Belgian blogger who claimed that the police had issued a warning to stay away from Meir. I tweeted the police who confirmed that this was not true. Members of my own family were on Meir and were clear that all was well there: it was sunny, and packed with shoppers as usual. The police had extra security in some places because of information they had received.
It was a useful lesson in cross-referencing, as one Tweet and a bit of Googling demonstrated that the blogger in question was spreading misinformation and alarm. In times where it is not unreasonable to be anxious about such things, we tend to focus on information sources that seem to keep us up to date (especially if you require the information to be in English). Although I demonstrated that the content of the blog post was false in this regard, the blogger has unfortunately declined to alter it.
I will do my best to keep you informed about the official advice as best I can; here and on Twitter. I am happy to correct any information that is shown not to be correct, so don’t hesitate to let me know if you spot a factual error. However, Nessascityblog is for weekend event information and I’d like it to stay that way, so here are a couple of sources where you can check for yourself: if there are any precautions advised by the security authorities, I am sure that the Gazet van Antwerpen will report the news very quickly. If you need news in English, check out the very useful Flanders Today. Additionally, you can aways check the page of the Antwerp police, or follow them on Twitter. Another good source for security information in Belgium is the Crisis Centre, who are also on Twitter with tweets in Dutch, French and English. It’s always a good idea to check with sources like those before sharing anything that adds to the general anxiety or causes worry to our loved ones, especially those in other countries. The current situation is that the threat level is at 3, and there are no warnings to stay away from Antwerp city centre, or any other area around Antwerp.
Please note, this is the information I have about weekend events at the moment. If any are cancelled or rescheduled due to the recent raising of the security threat level, I will update the post as soon as I can and will Tweet additional info. Please comment here, or mention @nessascityblog in your own Tweet if you get information yourself, so that I can RT you, and edit this post. Thank you.
Tonight (Thursday) there will be a requiem mass at MAS and a chance to sign a book of condolence from 7.30pm
A Silent Vigil is planned for Friday, at 6pm on Grote Markt.
Brussels Airport remains closed at least for today and tomorrow. For train information about the Brussels area you can check here.
Here are the weekend’s events, as usual, which as far as I presently know, are still on course to take place over the Easter weekend.
Assemble on Theaterplein with your bike at 6pm for the Easter edition of Critical Mass. After which you could cycle on to Park Spoor Noord where the Cargo Summer Bar is opening for 2016 from 7pm, with music, drinks and food. Unfortunately, the big-screen showing of the football match which was due to take place at Cargo have been cancelled in the light of the attacks in Brussels, as Belgium will not be playing against Portugal on Tuesday.
There’s a new bar and bookshop opening on Grote Markt. Come and check out Kobalt from 7pm.
Head to the Spoor Oost Opening Party which kicks off at 11am and promises food, drinks, kids entertainment, playground, sport, fleamarket, BBQ and graffiti art space. Park Spoor Oost is going to serve as an huge public space and events venue for the Borgerhout/ Schijnpoort area of the city. Festivities will go on all day, and on into the night with an after-party starting at 9pm in Bahnhof (event venue/ bar).
For a traditional Antwerp experience, take part in the Semini Celebrations starting at 10am on Grote Markt, with traditional music and dance.
Who is is Semini? From Wikipedia: “At the entrance to Het Steen is a bas-relief of Semini, above the archway, around 2nd century. Semini is the Scandinavian God of youth and fertility (with symbolic phallus). A historical plaque near Het Steen explains that women of the town appealed to Semini when they desired children; the god was reviled by later religious clergy. Inhabitants of Antwerp previously referred to themselves as “children of Semini”. An organization concerned with the historic preservation of Het Steen and Semini, Antwerp Komitee Semini in Ere (AKSIE), formed in 1986, holds annual celebrations at Het Steen as cultural events.”
By “reviled by later religious clergy” what is actually meant is that the Jesuits chopped his phallus off. Prior to that, fragments of it had been supposedly chipped away by the women of Antwerp who believed they would help them conceive. Unlucky, Semini. He is a well known figure here and the people of Antwerp once referred to themselves as “Semini’s Children”.
Nonetheless, it’s still a special day to get married, if you are an Antwerp couple, and after the celebrations on Grote Markt, the procession will make its way to Sint Andriesplaats (coStA) arriving at around 1pm, for free musical performances and folk singers.
Not far away at the St Anna Tunnel -AKA Voetgangers (pedestrians) Tunnel- there will be a free urban dance event, The Antwerp Battle taking place just in front of the tunnel entrance, where there is a basketball court (St Jansplein). There’s a vintage/ antique market here each Sunday, but also one today.. If you have never been in the tunnel, it is really worth seeing. You can cross to Linkeroever, under the Schelde, by foot or by bike. The Antwerp Battle is one a a number of different dance events happening as part of Dans Promenade ,all of which are free.
Near Astridplein there is a free art market at the Afrikaans Cultureel Centrum, from midday.
If you are feeling sporty or need to run off an excess of chocolate, then head for Rivierenhof at 11am (meet at the lake in the centre of the estate) where you can join runners training for the Antwerp 10 miles & Marathon taking place this year on the 17th April.
It’s the last chance to see Le Bruit des Choses exhibition Middelheim Museum. Middelheim is free.
Note that most shops in Antwerp will be closed on Easter Monday.
I suggest eating some chocolate.
Tip for Wednesday: On the last Wednesday of the month, the permanent collections of the following museums are FREE. It’s worth noting that this Wednesday (30th) is a school holiday and taking the kids at this time will save you quite a bit. It’s useful to know that The Red Star Line museum is often particularly busy though, so have a Plan B if that is is full of visitors taking advantage of the free entrance.
Temperatures for the Easter weekend look fairly fresh and mild, but there is a distinct chance of rain on both Good Friday and Easter Day. Saturday and Monday are likely to be dry.
The attacks in Brussels at the start of this week cast a shadow over Easter for everyone living in Belgium. Perhaps you have changed your travel plans as a result. I know we are all thinking of those who lost their lives and were injured in the explosions. Let’s stay calm and not lead lives driven by fear. Wishing you a peaceful and happy Easter. X
Antwerp has its own Critical Mass bike rides, which take place on the last Friday of every month. Cyclists assemble on Theaterplein at 6pm and cycle in and around the city together for around an hour, for a healthy and eco-friendly start to the weekend.
Afterwards, you might wish to head to An Sibhin on Nationale Straat where Croque Manouche will be playing at 9. The kitchen is going to be open later than usual and serving food from 6.30 (chilli con carne, beef burritos, veggie burgers and beef burgers) if you want to eat beforehand.
The 29th January marks the start of Antwerp Patisserie Week (Pateekes week) which involves various bakeries, and tea & coffee houses round the town. This is an annual event and the way it works is that you buy a “Pateekes Pass” for 10 euros at the Tourist office on Grote Markt. This provides you with 10 vouchers (‘bonnetjes’) which you can exchange for cakes and pastries at the participating venues -you will be provided with a list of these when you buy the pass.
At 6pm head over to Design Center Winkelhaak for a retro and second hand furniture & design market called Dubieus Design. It’s 5 euros in (includes a glass of bubbles) but is also on on Saturday from 10am -6pm for free.
In the same building is the lovely Bar Oscar if you are feeling hungry or thirsty….
If you have children who like to move and dance you might want to take them to Little Brewers Winter Garden for Dansen Met Lotte at 2pm (all kids) and for children aged 6+ from 4.30pm. LBWG is a large, airy, pop-up bar, which is going to be open until the end of February. It’s a really nice, chilled space with plenty of room, but is likely to be busier and noisier when the kids’ dance event is taking place.
For adults who also love to dance there is a Flamenco festival at the Zuiderpershuis on both Saturday and Sunday night, it’s a little pricier than most events that I list here (36 euros pre-sale; 40 at the venue) but it is obviously an event that is a big deal if you are a flamenco fan!
And a cinema tip for grown-up film fans: the Belgian-made film Problemski Hotel, which is now showing in Antwerp at Cartoons Cinema near the cathedral was warmly recommended to me by a colleague this week.
Weather is likely to be much milder in terms of temperatures, this weekend, but with the possibility of some showers in the afternoon on Saturday and Sunday (and breezy). Friday is forecast to be dry all day.
Do comment, mail & Tweet your feedback and suggestions -are there events I am missing? Let me know.
Until next Thursday 🙂
For midweek updates and Antwerp related tweets, follow me on Twitter @nessascityblog