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

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Winter in Antwerpen- Wishing Wall

Saturday & Sunday

Winter In Antwerp is now open: this is the highlight of the winter holiday season in Antwerp. If you are new to the city you have plenty of time to check out the various attractions which are on until 5th January. They key locations are Steenplein (especially if you have kids to entertain), Groenplaats and Grote Markt. Christmas market stands can be found in all of these places. There is always a winter bar (this year it’s called Bar Den and will be situated on Steenplein), a big wheel and the ice rink (Groenplaats).

There’s a smaller market on over both Saturday and Sunday at Wintar – the winter bar on Boomgaardstraat 17 (near the de Koninck brewery).

Screenshot 2019-12-11 at 13.58.47On Saturday the Vlaams Tram & Autobus Museum rides the Christmas tram to and from the Christmas Market for free. The route is Groenplaats – Bolivarplaats – via the new Line 1 to P+R Luchtbal – back to Nationale Bank – Groenplaats (for times see pic left; taken from the Vlatam website)

Book browsers can get away from the Christmas rush on Sunday by heading for de Coninckplein for the monthly second hand book market from 11am-4pm.

Also on Sunday this Arts & Crafts market called Winter Mart from 2pm -9pm at Koolkaai, near the river, in the old town.

Sunday shopping -because it’s December, the shops will be open on all Sundays throughout the month, and again on January 5th 2020.

It’s going to be a bit rainy this weekend unfortunately, although on Saturday and Sunday the rain should have cleared up by the afternoon.

DiscoveringBelgiumLogoMiscellaneous

If you are looking for Carol services in Antwerp (or even elsewhere in Belgium) over the Christmas season, see this post full of handy information on Discovering Belgium, which is always an absolute treasure trove of information for English speakers wishing to get to know Belgium better, whether as visitors or settlers.

And looking ahead to next year, why not finish the festive season with a trip to the annual BATS panto, which this year, is Sleeping Beauty? Tickets via the BATS website.

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Sleeping Beauty (image from BATS VZW website)

Screen Shot 2019-12-12 at 10.56.17Next week it’s the Warmste Week -a week of charity events and fundraising across Belgium. You can search for activities and good causes in your area here. Look out for the flame logo which accompanies De Warmste Week events (pic right taken from the Warmste Week website).

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This weekend in Antwerp: 6th, 7th & 8th December

Screenshot 2019-11-27 at 15.49.40The  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 FridaySaturday and Sunday.

It is Sinterklaas avond in Belgium on Friday.

Saturday

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Christmas wheel

Winter In Antwerp starts today with a special opening celebration from noon. This is the highlight of the winter holiday season in Antwerp. If you are new to the city you have plenty of time to check out the various attractions which are on until 5th January. They key locations are Steenplein (especially if you have kids to entertain), Groenplaats and Grote Markt. Christmas market stands can be found in all of these places. There is always a winter bar (this year it’s called Bar Den and will be situated on Steenplein), a big wheel and the ice rink (Groenplaats).

Before the Noorderlijn events  on Sunday, come and see the Kipdorp Nocturne . The programme starts at 6pm and it will be the last chance to see this archaeological site, which will be specially illuminated with lights and projections.  There will also be a food truck selling hot snacks and drinks.

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Operaplein

Throughout December, look out for local winter festivities such as this one in Deurne: Deurne Wintert, which starts at 4pm – and which take place in different neighbourhoods around the city.

Sunday 

On Sunday the first trams will run on the Noorderlijn and the metro station Opera will re-open after four years of intensive construction works.  You can check out the pdf programme for the opening party here. There will be entertainment for the opening on and around Operaplein (also at Kinepolis and the Haven huis)  from 10am -6pm and a chance to ride the new tram routes (1 and 24).

On Kloosterstraat there’s a special Christmas edition of Markt van Morgen from midday until 6pm: locally and hand made fashion, jewellery interior and graphic design goods plus hot soup and glühwein for added warmth.

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Markt van Morgen (image from Facebook)

From 11am -7pm at Plein Publiek there’s a vegan Christmas market featuring food trucks, and a market of 40 stands of vegan and eco-friendly products.

This weekend should be (mostly) dry, cold and bright again with the possibility of some light showers on Friday evening.

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Stadsfeestzaal Shopping Centre

Miscellaneous 

Test your festive knowledge skills at the An Sibhin Quiz Night next Friday -participants should pre-register. It’s a general knowledge quiz for teams of maximum 5. Entry 5€ per person. Prizes for winners, fun for all! Reservations a must -via the Facebook page.

Throughout December, the shops in the city will be open on Sundays , and again on January 5th 2020.

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.

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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: 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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