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What’s on this week: 24 to 30 November

Winter Wonder Brussels Christmas Market 2022
17:31 22/11/2023
While seasonal festivities kick off in Brussels, new exhibitions and music and film events provide alternative distractions.

Brussels’ Winter Wonders opens midday Friday with its 250 wooden chalets welcoming visitors with an array of gifts and seasonal food and drink. As dark descends, it’s time to switch on the lights of the giant Christmas tree gracing the Grand Place. The medieval square is also the setting of the evening sound and light show. Both are inspired by the 23rd edition’s guest of honour, the 11 indigenous nations of Quebec. While the labyrinth market fills the city’s central squares, the ice and curling rink are set up in Place De Brouckère and the Ferris Wheel and fairground rides animate Place Sainte-Catherine. 24 November to 31 December (market), until 7 January (other attractions), across the city centre

Brussels by Lights Eikosis

For its 11th edition, Brussels By Lights goes interactive. Under a new name Eikosis, it’s transformed into a 5km geocaching game. The festive treasure hunt begins at 65 Boulevard Anspach under the gaze of giant cat Eikosis. Combining digital art and light sculptures, participants need to find mini-Eikosis (small luminous felines) hidden along the route via an app downloaded onto their smartphones. Two 10-stage trails are interspersed with anecdotes, quizzes, and prize games, including promotional offers from partner retailers. Until 31 December, across the city centre

Coudenberg ©Giancarlo Maria Ricci

Do you ever happen upon string quartets playing beautiful music in your basement? No? Well, visit the Coudenberg Sound Box Fest to experience this in Brussels’ most famous cellar. On four days, music will fill the passageways – some of it from the time the palace above still existed and some much more contemporary. The concerts couldn’t be more different – from baroque lute to digital waves to Japanese drumming – which should encourage you to pick up the special ticket taking in all four. 26 November, 3, 10 & 17 December, Coudenberg Palace, Place des Palais 7


In 2016, Stib replaced all its old ticket punching machines by contactless card readers. Some 3,000 obsolete machines were given a new life in the upcycling project Sésame with the help of designer Pierre-Emmanuel Vandeputte and L’Ouvroir, which helps people with disabilities integrate into the workplace. Now the final 100 objects go up for sale, all transformed into original art works and on display in the ground floor of the Bourse during Disability Week. 25 November to 3 December, Place de la Bourse

150 Joseph Jongen

Festival Joseph Jongen 150 honours the 20th-century Belgian composer on this milestone anniversary. Emblematic of the Art Nouveau period, the free concert series presents his musical journey and places he visited marked by the pioneering architectural and design movement. A contemporary of Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy, and influenced in his musical language by the 'French school', Jongen left Belgium a considerable musical heritage. 27 November to 14 December, Royal Conservatory of Music, Rue de la Régence 30


I Am Tomorrow Film Festival opens for the first time in Brussels, screening inspiring films directed by women from all corners of the world. It also serves as an important network platform for filmmakers and technicians. On the programme are 34 short, documentary and feature films. They were carefully selected from a total of 82 submissions, originating from 32 countries. All films have English subtitles. 23 November (Cinema Galeries) 14.00-20.00; 24 November (Silver Square Bailli) 10.00-18.00


Art3F is a itinerant contemporary art fair that features thousands of paintings, sculptures, photographs and other works of original art, often in the presence of the artists themselves. A special feature of its Brussels edition is the central bar-restaurant with live jazz throughout the day. The democratic entry price (€10) helps make this a fun and artistic day out. 24-26 November, Brussels Expo, Place de Belgique 1

Guitar festival

The 12th Brussel’s International Guitar Festival and Competition offers a highly-varied musical programme themed ‘Freedoms’. Concerts, shows, master classes and exhibitions as well as the public final rounds of the national, international and composition competitions guarantee the best in guitar entertainment. Classical, baroque, Latin, modern, contemporary and Brazilian jazz are among the styles of the instrument performed, while a Flamenco show adds to the colourful ambiance. The Ilse and Nicholas Alfonso exhibition follows the exceptional lives and contributions of the pair to guitar teaching and performance in the capital. 24-28 November, Théâtre du Vaudeville, Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert

KCC concert

Providing a musical flourish to the 60th Anniversary of Korea-EU Relations is the Queen Elisabeth Competition Winners Concert at Flagey on Tuesday evening. Two winners of the prestigious voice competition, Sumi Hwang (soprano) and Taehan Kim (baritone), perform alongside illustrious pianist Helmut Deutsch. 28 November 20.00, Flagey, Studio 4, Place Sainte-Croix (Ixelles)

Being Human (c)Gonzalo Orquin

“Migrants are systematically photographed when they arrive – mugshots, merciless, vivid, a snapshot of pain without a name.” These words by Spanish painter Gonzalo Orquin are all you need to understand Being Human, an exhibition featuring portraits of migrants entering Europe via the main immigration routes. With broad strokes and bright colours, Orquin captures the gaze, the fear and the longing in an effort to fill the void caused by the absence of place. The exhibition is part of Spain’s cultural agenda during its presidency of the Council of the European Union. Until 15 February, MigratieMuseumMigration, Rue des Ateliers 17 (Molenbeek)

Code & Algorithms (c)Espacio Fundacion Telefonica

We love to hate the algorithm, but our everyday lives are inconceivable without them: They tell us how to get from one place to another, which films we will like, and whether we are likely to have a stroke anytime soon. Code & Algorithms: Wisdom in a Calculated World at the iMAL art centre for digital culture is a series of intriguing installations to help us understand how algorithms work and the ethical challenges they pose. The exhibition is part of Spain’s cultural agenda during its presidency of the Council of the European Union. Until 18 February, 30 Quai des Charbonnages (Molenbeek)

2017.04.28 OPRL, Le Petit Prince (c) Anthony Dehez (1)

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic tale The Little Prince is adapted into a classical music show in this series of concerts for children aged five and up. Staged by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Liège and the Jeunesses Musicales of Liège and Brussels, snap up final tickets for the concert at Bozar in Brussels on 25 November. All other dates are sold out! 25 November to 3 December, Rue de Ravenstein 23

Festival Cadeaux Cartre postale Recto

The Schuman quarter kicks off its Festival of Gifts to boost seasonal shopping in the district. Organised by Association des Commerçants du Carrefour Jean Monnet, some 20 businesses feature. Customers who make purchases of over €20 have the opportunity to participate in a prize tombola that will be drawn in a special ceremony on 6 December. Trips to Madrid, an Apple smartphone and Smeg blenders are all up for grabs. 25 November to 6 December, Rue Archimède, Rue Stevin, Rue Franklin Boulevard Charlemagne


Night of the proms (c)©Freya Goossens

There are still a few tickets left to the wildly popular Night of the Proms, where classical and pop music meet. This year’s edition features Toto, James Morrison, Anastacia and Belgium’s own Clouseau, all backed by the Antwerp Philharmonic Orchestra. With dozens of supporting musicians and singers and a light show to rival any other, it’s quite a spectacle of sight and sound. 24-26 November, Sportpaleis, Schijnpoortweg 119, Antwerp

Leuven Short Film Festival

Short films can remain elusive to audiences, but the Leuven Short Film Festival makes it easy to enjoy these snippets of storytelling. All the films are under 40 minutes so are bundled together for screenings by theme. In the European Competition, say, you’ll find films about feuding Irish sisters during the gold rush, absurd expectations of masculinity in Sardinia, a Norwegian “offline” meeting gone awry, sexual awakening and a very special film about anxiety shot in a circle rather than the usual rectangle shape. There are many themes to choose from such as comedy, animation and Oscar winners. 24 November to 2 December, Cinema ZED and Stuk, Leuven

Carpetland (c)Fátima Rodrigo Gonzales, courtesy of Liverpool Biennial, photo by Stuart Whipps

Those of us who do not invest in original art might just buy a hand-made carpet, especially when we are on holiday. Carpets are indeed labour-intensive works with their own aesthetics and complex symbolism. Carpetland: Critical Tapestries puts 12 international textile artists on show, focusing less on aesthetic beauty and more on questions about female labour, production processes and the demise of old techniques, as well as cultural identity, migration and various forms of exoticism. Until 14 April, Extra City, Provinciestraat 112, Antwerp


Discover and admire exceptional pieces from the National Silk Museum of Tbilisi that are showcased in Soie at Les Drapiers in Liège. As part of the Europalia arts festival dedicated to the country of Georgia, the exhibition presents a variety of objects and textiles. Hand-woven Georgian fabrics dating from the end of the 19th century, industrial pieces from the Soviet era and cardboard boxes with avant-garde designs are among the astonishing works on display. Until 16 December, Rue Hors Château 68, Liège

Winter Flow

Book now Flow Winter Tickets are selling fast for this new festive programme consisting of two promenade shows by Nicolas Buysse. Walking Thérapie (30 November to 29 December) and Le Dernier Salut (6-23 December), invite audiences to enjoy live storytelling via an actor (pictured) and acoustic entertainment while walking around the city equipped with individual headsets. Starting point and information at the chalet Flow Winter. The shows can also be combined with dinner at La Nef on some evenings. 30 November to 30 December, Place du Théâtre 2, Namur

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

Photos: (main image) ©City of Brussels: Coudenberg ©Giancarlo Maria Ricci; Being Human (c)Gonzalo Orquin; OPRL, Le Petit Prince (c) Anthony Dehez; Night of the proms ©Freya Goossens; Carpetland ©Fátima Rodrigo Gonzales, courtesy of Liverpool Biennial, photo by Stuart Whipps; Echantillon-de-jejim-caucasien-fin-19e-siecle ©les drapiers 

Written by Sarah Crew and Lisa Bradshaw