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What’s on this week: 13-19 May

12:53 12/05/2022
With another fine weekend on the horizon, there’s no shortage of cultural activities and events to enjoy, including Brussels’ zany and surreal Zinneke Parade

Hurrah, the Zinneke Parade makes a triumphant return to Brussels on Saturday afternoon with around 2,000 people filling the centre with colour, sound and action. Under the theme of Trompe l’oeil, they’ll be celebrating the return of the parade and its resilient and diverse community spirit following a four-year hiatus. After wending its way through the city-centre, participants will gather at Place de la Bourse at 17.30 for the parade finale (2018 edition, main image). 14 May, 15.00-17.30, Grand Place, Boulevard Anspach, Marché des Graines, Bourse

Streat Fest

Foodies are in for a treat at Streat Fest, a festival dedicated to street food in all its myriad forms at Tour & Taxis. The culinary experience also proposes more than 80 tempting free activities. Cooking workshops by chefs and artisans of all stripes, smartphone food styling, classes on yoga & beer or wine, cocktail and mocktail creation (registration required on the day) plus live music and DJs for a festival vibe. A scooter trail, collaborative giant fresco, street theatre and a kids corner complete the entertainment programme. Tickets from €9.99; dishes €5. 12-15 May, Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 86C

Brussels food festival

Brussels Food Festival is back with 30 stands serving a variety of delicious savoury and sweet treats plus two cocktail bars offering a selection of drinks, wine, beer and juices (many of them artisan and locally-produced). A Ukrainian food stand is among the many world cuisines represented at the event. 13-15 May, Boulevard du Souverain, opposite 183 (Auderghem)

Living Traces (c)courtesy Horst Festival

Several cultural institutions are joining Kanal Centre in exploring Belgium’s post-colonial relationship with the DRC in the year-long programme Living Traces: Kinshasa-Brussels. Starting with a look back at 60 years of independence, this co-operation with the capital also looks at traces of colonialisation that we see in the two countries today and the incredible artistic diversity of both modern Belgium and modern Congo. Until March 2023, across Brussels & surroundings

CCF13122021_00012_foto BELGA_BA

Royal families in Europe long been avid rail travellers and the Royals & Trains exhibition at Train World celebrates the special relationship between Belgium’s monarchy and their once preferred means of transport. The highlight of the show is five royal carriages on display for the first time. Since rail pioneers Belgium opened its inaugural line in 1835, its royal family has enjoyed a love affair with trains, including the present monarch King Philip. Discover objects, rare documents and photos as well as the splendid royal suites (King Baudouin pictured in Belga image). 10 May to 22 January, Train World, Princess Elisabeth square 5 (Schaerbeek)

Gilbert Swimberghe, Composition II, 1961, oil on canvas, 113 x 142 mm Maurice Verbaet Center

The inaugural edition of the TWENTY 20th-Century Art Fair delves into iconic moments and movements of the past century at Brussels Expo. From the belle epoque and Art Nouveau to modernism, Bauhaus and pop art, discover artworks from major galleries covering the gamut of 100 years of extraordinary advances in the art world, including painting sculpture and furniture (Gilbert Swimberghe/Maurice Verbaet Center, pictured). Until 15 May, Place de Belgique 1 (Heysel)

Still courtesy Elles tournent, Freda 3

In an industry still overwhelmingly dominated by men, the Elles Tournent film festival boldly programmes unique movies made by women the world over. There are features, shorts and documentaries, and most of them you won’t find on a big screen anywhere else. The opening night features the film Freda by Gessica Généus (pictured), in which the titular character must make a decision facing millions of people every day – abandon their homeland for a better life or stay and fight for the future of their country. A selection of films will also go online after the close of the festival. 17-23 May, Vendôme, Chaussée de Wavre 18 (Ixelles)

TedXBrussels (c)Alejandra Laiton,

Mobility, sustainability, technology, design, the economy and other topics affecting the capital await you at the latest edition of TedXBrussels. Besides the 10 experts delivering Ted talks, you’ll get the chance to try out the technology of which they speak and network with 1,000 smart people over food & drink. This being Brussels, talks are either in English, French or Dutch, with simultaneous interpretation (image: TedXBrussels (c) Alejandra Laiton, 14 May 16.00-22.00, Brussels Expo, Avenue de Miramar 11

Curieuze Neuze

Evoking the hidden ghosts and secrets of four of the city’s museums, the creative guided tours, Souriez, vous êtes casqués, is the latest project of Curieuze Neuze. In collaboration with the non-profit Patrimoine à Roulettes and its partner, they offer an alternative look at these institutions and their rich collections. 14-22 May, Renée Magritte Museum (Jette), MoMusue (Molenbeek), Musée du Transport Urbain Bruxellois (Woluwe-Saint-Pierre) and Abbaye de la Cambre (Ixelles)

Michael Ignatieff (c) Karoly Effenberger

Bozar’s literary series Meet the Writer invites Canadian author, academic and former politican Michael Ignatieff (pictured) to talk about his latest book, On Consolation: Finding Solace in Dark Times. The once leader of the Canadian Liberal Party is a leading expert on the Middle East and the Balkans. Interview by Annelies Beck (in Eng). 17 May 19.30, Bozar, Rue Ravenstein 23

Benefit concert KOTK 2022

Mexian musician Gustavo Lopez performs a benefit concert for cancer charity Kom op tegen Kanker (KOTK). With support from Septentrio, Hot Mojito and the Aloft Brussels. Tickets €15. 13 May, Aloft Hotel, Place Jean Rey (Etterbeek)

It’s Singles Apero night at professional networking club Full Circle on Saturday. Organisers promise to break the ice with some social engineering magic and mix some signature cocktails (booking necessary). 14 May 19.00, Full Circle House, Chaussée de Vleurgat 89

Hans Op de Beeck The Boatman

Book now Belgium’s world-renowned choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui explores his Flemish and Moroccan cultural roots in new work Vlaemsch (chez moi). The prolific creator joins forces with three other Flemish artists, Hans Op de Beeck (The Boatman, pictured), Floris De Rycker and Jan-Jan Van Essche, to further examine Flemish identity, while a highly-international group of dancers perform the piece. 15-22 June, KVS Bol, Rue de Laeken 146

Outside Brussels

Scènes de village Orp Jaunche

The fifth edition of the itinerant cultural show Scènes de villages kicks off in Orp-Jauche on Saturday. Travelling around seven municipalities in the eastern Hesbaye region of Walloon Brabant, it invites villagers and visitors to (re)discover the conviviality of their communities via free performances, concerts and an entertainment programme. 14 May, Jauche); 28 May, Perwez (Thorembais Saint Trond); 25 June, Beauvechain (L’Écluse); 9 July, Ramillies; 20 August, Incourt (Piétrebais); 10 September, Jodoigne; 1 October, Hélécine

Antwerp Spring Festival ©Koen Broos

Old music meets hipster port city at the first edition of the Antwerp Spring Festival. Beethoven and Napoleon, who both celebrated landmark anniversaries during corona, both make an appearance in this programme, which injects dance, literature and rock’n’roll vibes (Mauro Pawlowski, Blindman) into classical traditions. 17-24 May, Handelsbeurs, Borzestraat 31, Antwerp

Endive musseum (c)Toerisme Vlaams-Brabant

While you never hear tourists say they came to Belgium for the endive (or chicory), this leafy vegetable is every bit as much to be proud of as beer and chocolate. Find out how it is grown – it’s so much more interesting than you think – and why it’s a Belgian speciality at the … wait for it … Belgian Endive Museum. It’s in Kampenhout, and this outing is part of the Guided Tours for Internationals, activities in English that introduce expats to the finer things in life in Flemish Brabant. 15 May 14.00

Dymphna (c)Kristof Donné

The city of Geel in Antwerp province is world famous for its unique foster care programme for the developmentally disabled. It’s been going on for centuries, thanks to Saint Dymphna, the poor Irish girl who – as the story goes – lost her head here at the hands of her insane father. The city became a place of pilgrimage for the mentally vulnerable, and every five years a major procession is held in Dymphna’s honour. That’s followed by Gheelamania, a massive musical about the influence of Dymphna’s story on contemporary Geel (in Dutch). There’s also an exhibition on Dymphna that lasts throughout the summer (pictured Dymphna (c) Kristof Donné). Procession 15 May; Gheelmania 20 May to 5 June, Dympna Depicted until 31 August

Choeur Universitaire de Nancy rehearsal

The international choral festival Namur en chœurs shows why the capital of Wallonia boasts a worldwide reputation for raising the roofs thanks to its long tradition for choirs and choral music. As well as some 50 free concerts, workshops and outdoor events, the festival includes two prestigious concerts: Le Temps du Rêve by Le Choeur Universitaire de Nancy (pictured in rehearsal) at the Grand Manège on Saturday at 20.00 and Jesu meine freude – Bach by the Petit Choeir de Ath at La Nef on Sunday at 17.00. 14 & 15 May, Place d’Armes (festival hub) plus venues across Namur

Cecilia Bengolea

Just across Belgium’s border in Luxembourg, Esch2022’s cultural programme heats up with the opening of the Deary Steel project's live dance performance, sculpture and video installation by Cecilia Benglolea (pictured). The free dance element explores the social and material dimensions of the industrial era. Its premiere unfolds in two unique spaces: Socle C – the concrete foundations of former Blast Furnace C in Esch-Belval on 14 May and the Grand Hall of Mudam in Luxembourg City on 15 May. The installation is part of Esch-sur-Alzatte’s extensive European culture capital programme. 14-29 May, Mudam, 3 Park Drai Eechelen

Romeo and Juliet at Villers Abbey

Book now Roméo et Juliette Shakespeare’s popular tragedy is this summer’s theatrical romp at Villers Abbey in Walloon Brabant. The box office is now open for Del Diffusions’s 36th francophone production at the historic site. As ever, the romantic ruins of the Cistercian abbey will provide an evocative and dramatic backdrop for the annual show (performances postponed in event of rain). From 12 July 21.00, Rue de l’Abbaye 55



Written by Sarah Crew and Lisa Bradshaw