Search form

menu menu

What’s on this week: 5-11 May

11:05 04/05/2023
Brussels and Europe stage celebrations across the city, plus arts festivals and a street food extravaganza

The capital of Brussels celebrates it’s 34th anniversary with the 2023 Iris Festival this weekend. Each commune hosts a multitude of activities. Guided tours and bike tours offer the chance to discover the capital’s historic monuments and locations, from cycling around Tour & Taxis and the canal to a guided tour with activities in the Brussels parliament. Iris Tipik Electro Night at Place de Palais on Saturday evening gathers top DJs from Belgium and France, such as Martin Solveig and Kid Noize. On Sunday, the Royal quarter celebrations fill Brussels Park and Place de Palais with an array of themed villages and people to meet. For example, a deep dive into ULB and VUB university life and sports will be on offer at the Universities Village, whereas public services and organisations will be located at the Public Village with a fire engine on display. 6 & 7 May, multiple locations around the city


Take a sneak peek into the hallowed buildings of the European institutions on Saturday. The annual open-door event is a key part of the Europe Day celebrations on 9 May that commemorates the Schuman Declaration on this day in 1950. It enables the public to learn about the actions and priorities of the institutions. Visitors can participate in debates and enjoy guided tours of the buildings. 6 May from 10.00, Schuman roundabout, Rue Belliard, Place Luxembourg


The humble staple bread, one of the first ever food products made by man, is also symbolic of togetherness. That’s why its tradition is celebrated every year at the European Bread Fair in the EU quarter as part of the EU Open Day. For the event’s 10th anniversary, enthusiastic bakers from across Europe come together to share their finest baked specialties. Alongside bread of all kinds, expect other accompaniments, including wine, sausages and cheese. In addition, this family-friendly event is offering a free bread making workshop for children among a host of other activities for youngsters. 6 May 10.00-20.00, Schuman Roundabout


Participating in the Brussels and EU celebrations this weekend, Poland’s regions present stands in Cinquantenaire Park on Sunday. During #PLDayinBrussels, check out the Malopolska Region Office in Brussels, which invites the public to get information on the European Games 2023. Its programme includes a virtual tour of Małopolska's tourist attractions in VR goggles, a tour of the Małopolska camper van, virtual archery initiation and basketball, plus competitions with prizes. In addition, an interactive knowledge quiz about Małopolska, the European Games 2023 and Nicolaus Copernicus will be staged three times (twice in Polish, once in English). Don’t forget to bring your smartphone and install the free Kahoot app! 7 May 14.00-22.00, Cinquantenaire Park (Etterbeek)


An inaugural festival celebrating women over the age of 40 presents a programme that invites the public to change their attitudes to aging while bringing people together via a multitude of activities. Staged in Tournay-Solvay Park, Sublime, la vieille is an opportunity to participate in wellness and creative workshops, roundtable discussions, outdoor performances, exhibitions, a documentary screening and enjoy a picnic (a food truck will be present) that’s open to everyone. The event is organised by La Venerie/Ecuries and the park. 6 & 7 May, Chaussée de la Hulpe (Watermael-Boitsfort)

Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Gosia Wdowik, ©Thomas Lenden

The annual Kunstenfestivaldesarts celebrates contemporary theatre, dance and other performance arts from around the world. These adventurous artistic works come to life in more than 30 locations, many of them in public space or in quirky spots like skate parks, nightclubs or Duden Park at dawn. The festival’s Free School hosts discussions and readings on how knowledge is conveyed and who conveys it. This year the Free School is dedicated to learning languages in recognition of the dozens of languages the festival brings to the capital. 11 May to 3 June, across Brussels

Stadskriebels, courtesy Urban Center Brussel

A completely free day of sports and activities for the whole family await at Stadskriebels, when clubs and organisations come together to show you what they have to offer – from badminton to boxing to breakdance. There are also demonstrations, live music, entertaining acts and a few cosy terraces to catch your breath. 7 May 11.00-18.00, Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 88

Living Room Festival

Live music is entering people’s living rooms on Sunday with the Living Room Musical Festival. Ten lucky residents in Transvaal, Auderghem will enjoy a live country band in their living room along with neighbours, spectators and volunteers. People can experience an afternoon of traditional music in someone else’s living room for €12, a great experience to meet new people through the medium of music. 7 May, Transvaal, Auderghem


While the official languages of Belgium are French, Dutch and German, English is widely spoken, particularly in Brussels. The Wonders of Multiculturalism series explores different aspects of our multi-lingual society and this particular event focuses on de-colonalisation and its impact on the evolution of communication. Three guests cover these questions in three different languages (Dutch, French and English): theatre-maker Salim Djaferi, writer Rachida Lamrabet and researcher Ilham Essalih. 8 May 20.00, Kaaistudios, Rue Notre Dame de Sommeil 81

Open Studio Days (c)Renaat Nijs

No reservations nor payment apps needed for Open Studio Days, when some 2,500 artists and organisations throw open the doors to their ateliers and other assorted spaces. Spread across Brussels and Flanders, the event is super diverse, letting the public peek into the working methods of painters, designers, photographers, sculptors, glass-blowers, graffiti artists, ceramicists and more. There are both professionals and amateurs, and many of them will even let you try your hand at their craft. 6 & 7 May, across Brussels and Flanders

Streat Fest

For its second edition, foodie extravaganza StrEat Fest welcomes a top flight of chefs and artisan producers for its colourful celebration of street food. From Top Chef stars to major gastronomy trends, get ready for a mouth-watering selection of culinary dishes and events. It’s also an occasion to travel with exotic world food also on the menu. Dishes cost €5 and the entrance ticket is €14 (pre-sale discounts on offer). 11-14 May, Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 86C


Horst Festival 2 (c)Illias Teirlinck

Horst Arts & Music is not your typical music festival, instead bringing together arts, electronica and inventive stage design to create a fully immersive cultural experience. Talks, performance, spoken word and workshops are intermingled with music on six unique stages, with all but one created anew each year. Here you’ll find local and international electronic music acts like Bored Lord, Jennifer Loveless and S-Candalo. The location itself plays a big part in the ambiance: Horst takes place at abandoned barracks and warehouses once used by the Belgian military and left to go wild. 5-7 May, Mechelsesteenweg 255, Vilvoorde


More than 20 collectives made up of disabled or otherwise vulnerable artists have spent three years working under the theme Gust of Wind, a project exploring the balance of power in society. The work produced has come together in the exhibition Gust of Wind: The Power of Limitation at Ghent’s museum of outsider art. The title was taken from the painting of the same name by Belgian artist Léon Spilliaert, which pictures a girl on the edge of a quay screaming soundless into the wind, a metaphor for feeling powerless and, in this case, giving a voice to the artist. Until 1 October, Guislain Museum, Jozef Guislainstraat 43, Ghent

Sneaker Gold (c)Brecht Helsmoortel

Sport shoes, tennis shoes, sneakers … the original intention of this style was very clear. You wore them to play sports, or, according to one clever ad agency to move around soundlessly. But now no one wants their sneakers to go unnoticed. They accompany our evening gowns and hip suits and are the subject of limited series (Kanye’s Yeezy Boost 750 sold out in one second). Sneakers have never been more popular nor so versatile. Sneaker Gold explores the vast universe of the shoes we love to love. Until 14 September 2024, Eperon d’Or, Prins Albertlaan 5, Izegem

Private views_4_(C) BE CULTURE

La Boverie continues its exploration of collecting in Private views, a presentation of contemporary art by 21 Liège collectors. The city has a culture of art patrons that continues today and for the first time in Wallonia, they have loaned major works for this show. This selection of 250 pieces – with 10 works from Liège’s Fine-Arts Museum providing a thematic – includes art by Pierre Alechinsky, Charlotte Beaudry, Daniel Buren, Sol LeWitt, Niki de Saint Phalle, Walter Swennen and many other Belgian and international artists. Until 13 August, Parc de la Boverie, Liège


The magnificent Cistercian abbey of Aywiers is the perfect setting for this garden and plant fair. Fêtes des Plantes et du Jardin d’Aywiers takes place within the abbey walls and hosts 200 professionals from the horticultural world. The seven-hectare site contains ancient trees, rare shrubs and plants, a water feature, natural springs and a garden with medicinal plants and herbs. Refreshments available. Entrance €12 (€10 pre-sale), under 12s free. 5-7 May 10.00-18.00, Rue de l’Abbaye 14, Lasne


Stonemanor hosts a Coronation Garden Party at its Everberg store on Sunday, with the support of the Brussels British Community Association (BBCA). Marking the coronation of King Charles in the UK the previous day, the festivities include a free cream tea, food and drink stands, plus an array of entertainment for all ages. The charity event will raise funds for WWF. Large tents and covered seating are planned in case of inclement weather. 7 May 11.00-18.00, Stonemanor, Steenhofstraat 28, Everberg

Photos: Iris Day 2019 © - Eric Danhier; Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Gosia Wdowik, ©Thomas Lenden; Stadskriebels, courtesy Urban Center Brussel; Open Studio Days ©Renaat Nijs; Horst Festival 2 ©Illias Teirlinck; Gust of Wind, courtesy Guislain Museum; Sneaker Gold ©Brecht Helsmoortel; Private views © BE CULTURE; Aywiers


Written by Sarah Crew, Lisa Bradshaw, Louis Kernoa-Pascoe, Damien Maguire