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What’s on this week: 10 to 16 May

16:54 08/05/2024
With a long weekend beckoning for many, holiday fever reigns in Belgium. Discover our cultural highlights, from festivals and films to exhibitions and shows.

Kunstenfestivaldesarts is arguably Brussels’ most revered arts festival, bringing together performers and visual artists from more than 30 countries. Most of the productions are world premieres, and many were developed to fit a specific kind of space, such as the abandoned Movy Club – where performers enter into dialogue with the late Belgian filmmaker Chantal Ackerman – and the former hotel Continental, where spectators peer into a cramped apartment, meeting the characters who pass through. Don’t miss the festival centre The Kitchen, with encounters that examine the kitchen table as a gathering place for hot food and heated debates. 10 May to 1 June, across Brussels

Identity on the Line

Recently on a Belgian TV programme, a celebrity was speaking with a Ukrainian refugee. The question “are you glad you’re here?” led to silence, and then tears. Because yes … and no. Migration within Europe can be due to forced relocation or war, both of which are examined in the exhibition Identity on the Line. It looks at the long-term effects of pan-European movements such as German occupations, the forced migration of Sámi within Sweden and the complex political history of the Istrian peninsula. The exhibition is part of a larger European project. Until 31 May, MigratieMuseumMigration, Rue des Ateliers 17 (Molenbeek)

Brussels Pride

It's Pride Week in the capital of Europe, with many events and activities leading up to the big Pride parade and festival on 18 May. Until then, check out the Rainbow Village in the Saint-Jacques neighbourhood, anecdotal Rainbow Tours, a free concert by Clelia (pictured), the photo exhibition Together or the zany theatrical/lecture Born to be Queer. And that’s just the half of it. Dates vary, across Brussels

comic con

Get your geek on at Comic Con Brussels where tickets are selling really fast! The annual gathering of the comic community is filled with events and shows, including gaming, cosplay, films, manga, sales of collectible items and more. Among the star guests is Andy Serkis of Planet of the Apes and Lord of the Rings and fame, along with fellow cast member from the fantasy trilogy, Elijah Wood (aka Frodo Baggins). Free entry for kids. 11-12 May, Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 86C


It’s fashion month at the Congolese Cultural Centre with a month-long programme of events fusing fashion with contemporary art. Discover the diversity and creativity of African designers via fashion parades, an art exhibition, workshops, talks and other activities. Until 30 May, Congolese Cultural Centre, Boulevard Poincarré 77


Spruce up your outdoor space with some spring blooms thanks to Brussels’ annual open day sale at its greenhouses in Sterrebeek. Flowers and plants are available plus an entertainment programme, including creative stands, kids’ activities, guided tours and food and drink. Free shuttle service from Brussels park (corner Rue Ducale) and Kraainem metro stop. 11 May 11.00-17.00, Zavelstraat 95 (Sterrebeek)


The Hidden Gems singing workshop will be taking its budding choral singers on a musical walk this Sunday, including two ‘pop-up’ public sessions on Sunday. Catch them in action at landmark venues, the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) at 15.30, followed by Bozar’s Horta hall at 16.00. 12 May, MIM (Rue Montagne de la Cour 2); Bozar (Rue Ravenstein 23)

Pint of science

Pint of Science is a global festival that invites scientists to the pub to present and discuss their research in an accessible format over a pint. Here in Belgium, it’s staged in Brussels, Leuven and Antwerp, with three bars in the capital joining in the action (Brussels Beer Project, RITCS café and Time-Out Pub). The programme covers topics including space, renewable energy, neurodevelopmental disorders, gender and diversity, wonders of plant and animal sciences, as well as bacteriophages. Tickets required. 13-15 May 19.00-21.00, locations in Brussels, Leuven and Antwerp  


Carcosian Film Night is back! The occasional evening dedicated to international short films in the occult, cosmic or folk horror genres has a promising line-up this week. There are seven shorts on the program, including The Thaw (pictured) – in which a 19th-century Vermont family has a very unconventional way of getting through the winter – and The Wyrm of Bwlcch Pen Barras, which sees three men called upon (once again) to carry out an awful assignment on a Welsh mountain pass. 16 May 20.30-23.00, Cinema Galeries, Galerie de la Reine 26



British grocer Stonemanor invites everyone to a Garden Party at its Everberg store this Sunday. The convivial gathering is offering delicious free cream teas (free ice-cream for children), while an array of food and drink stands will be selling British delicacies, from fish and chips, BBQ and Cornish pasties to strawberries and cream and Pimm’s cocktails. On the entertainment front, there’s garden games for all ages, live music and a tombola. As a charity event, the garden party is raising funds for local guide dog association Scale Dogs. The event is support by the Brussels British Community Association (BBCA)12 May 11.00-18.00Stonemanor, Steenhofstraat 28, Everberg

68102 Tuindagen Beervelde

Under the banner of Green Paradise, Flanders Garden Festival evokes lush vegetation and a green environment epitomised by Beervelde Park. Some 240 horticulturalists from Belgium and abroad are taking part in the spring event at the private family estate. It also promotes a sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle, and visitors can enjoy culinary delights, artisan crafts, music and children’s activities. 10-12 May, Beervelde Park, Beervelde-Dorp 75


Highlights of the annual street theatre festival Namur in May include a Burlesque Circus (18 and over) with Lolly Wish (pictured) and Alice au Cabaret (all ages), both staged in the Magic Mirror big top in Place d’Armes. While these are among the shows requiring tickets, there’s free entertainment with mime artists, jesters, clowns, buskers and artists in streets and squares all over the city. 9-11 May, Namur city centre

Antwerp Art Weekend

 It’s the 10th anniversary of Antwerp Art Weekend, where contemporary art spaces put on all kinds of events, workshops, special shows and legendary parties. Want to learn how to make flowers from glass? See funkpop duo QueenSeeds? Get a guided tour of the Fine Arts Museum? Meet the world-famous artist Julianknxx? Check out the programme and make your plan. It’s all free with the exception of some museum entry fees. 16-19 May, across Antwerp

Film Fest Gent Offroad

Unlike most film festivals that disappear for 12 months after the final screening, Film Fest Gent follows up its massive autumn festival with special programming throughout the year. Film Fest Gent Offroad offers open-air screenings, including music, performances or workshops – and always food. This week’s movie is Cidade de Deus (City of God), the celebrated 2002 film about a boy from a slum in Rio de Janeiro who straddles the line between inherent gang violence and a normal life. The film screening coincides with a visit to Ghent’s youth house by a group of youngsters who live in Vila Cruzeiro, one of Rio’s most violent favelas. From 11 May, across Ghent


Unesco-recognised Notre-Dame Cathedral of Tournai opens its resplendent doors as part of the Anglo-French initiative Nuit des Cathédrales on Saturday. Guided tours, concerts, visit of the cathedral’s treasure, bell ringing and workshops are among the varied activities proposed for all ages. Full programme here. Free entrance 11 May 18.00-23.00, Place de la Cathédrale, Tournai


Book now British American Theatrical Society BATS hosts the annual four-day Festival of Anglophone Theatrical Societies FEATS, gathering English-speaking amateur theatre groups from all over mainland Europe. The festival is centred around a competition: four evenings of three one-act plays, all in the running for awards for acting, directing and stagecraft. This year’s competition brings together six German, two Dutch, a French and a Swiss group, playing alongside Brussels-based groups ITG and ECC. 17 to 20 May, Zuiderpershuis, Waalse Kaai 14, Antwerp

Discover more upcoming events at The Bulletin's events page.

Photos: (main image) 2023 Hatched Ensemble Mamelanyamza ©Mark Wessels; Burlesque Circus with Lolly Wish ©Jean-Pol Serdan 


Written by Sarah Crew and Lisa Bradshaw