Search form

menu menu
  • Daily & Weekly newsletters
  • Buy & download The Bulletin
  • Comment on our articles

What’s on this week: 31 March-6 April

12:55 30/03/2023
Contemporary art, Egyptian history and Belgian design are among new exhibitions on show, plus our usual round-up of upcoming cultural highlights

Known for figurative paintings and drawings usually focused on faces that are blurred or otherwise fantastical, Belgian artist Johan Van Mullem longed for what we all did during lockdown: The great outdoors. His new works in the exhibition For Love’s S(n)ake! are abstract but clearly organic, bringing to mind flowers, horizons and rich bottom soils, rendered bold and colourful. Originally from Bruges and now based in Brussels, Van Mullem is the only Belgian contemporary artist to be exhibited at the museum this year as part of its mission to support local creators. 31 March to 23 July, Museums of Fine Arts, Rue de la Régence 3

Expedition Egypt (c)Art & History Museum

The Art & History Museum is putting the most wonderous pieces from its Egyptian collection in the spotlight for Expedition Egypt, the story of two centuries of fascinating archaeological discoveries in the land of the pharaohs. There are some real treasures here, such as richly decorated coffins from the famed Deir el-Bahari burial site, a beautifully illustrated Book of the Dead and ushabtis figurines, which accompanied the dead in the afterlife. Don’t miss one of the highlights of Brussels’ exhibition calendar this year. 31 March to 1 October, Cinquantenaire Park 10

La foire du livre de Bruxelles

After its absence last year and an online edition in 2021, the capital celebrates the return of the Foire du livre de Bruxelles. The flagship francophone literary event fills Tour & Taxis, including the recently renovated Gare Maritime building. Free to the public, it gathers not only avid readers, but authors, publishers and distributers, creating a bustling literary marketplace. As well as star writers, it shines a light on the indie publishing world, a sector much in need of a financial boost. Until 2 April, Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 86C

Friends Experience

The much-anticipated Friends Experience* opens at Brussels Expo this Friday. Fans of the iconic US sitcom Friends can enjoy an immersive experience with 12 hyper realistic sets recreating some of the best episodes in the series. They include the fountain depicted in every intro, the apartments of Chandler and Joey, Rachel and Monica, and of course the mythical Central Perk coffee shop and its famous orange sofa (pictured above). Until 18 June, Brussels Expo Palais 4, Place de la Belgique 1 (Laeken)

Ways around festival

The Ways Around festival was founded following the period of endless measures to combat the coronavirus. The idea was to support European alt rock bands in their attempts to recoup financial losses. It’s not back for a second edition because we are still struggling with Covid but because its spot-on line-up captured the attention of hardcore, punk and psychedelic rock fans. Catch British band Penelope Isles, French trio Madam and Belgian post-industrial rock outfit Thot, just to name a few. 31 March to 2 April, across Brussels

Zephir Busine in collaboration with G Boulmant, Vitraux de la gare de Mons, 1954, photo by JD Busine

Zéphir Busine (1916-1976) was a true Renaissance man, taking advantage of the 1940s-1960s post-war rebuilding era to turn his attention from painting and drawing to design, sculpture and décor. Get to know the major Belgian artist’s tableware, furniture and stained glass at the exhibition Zéphir Busine, Designer. Curated by his designer grandson Sylvain Busine, it highlights the overlooked multidisciplinary nature of his work. 31 March to 27 August, Design Museum Brussels, Place de la Belgique 1 (Laeken)

Glenn Wool

The personal is political for comedian Glenn Wool, whose shaggy, everyman exterior belies a sharp political wit. From “curating the 1980s and ’90s” for his younger girlfriend (killing off celebrities who long ceased being cool) to the perils of snorting coke with conspiracy theorists, Wool sneaks in jabs at the ridiculous side of current affairs. Expect yelling during this edition of English Comedy Brussels, where special guest Jeroen Leenders gets things off to a good start. 4 April 20.00, Chaussée de Boondael 8 (Ixelles)

Blan Foundation

The capital boasts a new art space with Fondation Blan that opens with a show by the contemporary visual artist Stephan BalleuxARTIFICIALA fills the four-storey hôtel de maître close to Ixelles ponds, showing some 50 works in the carte blanche exhibition. The foundation, a form of art salon, has been set up by collector Thomas de Wouters, whose approach to art can be defined as open-minded, eclectic and questioning. The latter also characterises the work of Balleux, who interrogates the image and our perception of it via mixed medium works. Boulevard Général Jacques 26 (Ixelles)

Philipine Food Festival

Did you know that April is Filipino Food Month? Every year the Pacific island chain celebrates its culinary heritage, which doesn’t go unnoticed in Brussels. The Philippine Food Festival offers up a variety of traditional dishes and products, like the Pili Nut, tinola and lumpia. European Filipinos present their own versions of foods, snacks – and brews. Visitors can win these in a number of drawings, as well as a trip to the breathtaking Hundred Islands National Park. Free entrance. 2 April 10.00-18.00, Centre communautaire de Joli Bois, Avenue du Haras 100 (Woluwe-Saint-Pierre)


FLY is a film-dance-performance by Sidney Leoni that delves into the mind and work of the complex Russian artist Vaslav Nijinsky. Equally famous as a choreographer, when unhappily exiled in Bolshevik Russia and suffering from mental ill health, he wrote his now infamous diary describing his fears and increasing paranoia. This work catapults a cast of contemporary dancers back to this period. The powerful show includes factual events projected onto a large screen while being mirrored by dancers onstage. History intertwines with the imagination and feelings of the characters in a dreamlike and experimental way. The work is part of the Charleroi Danse - Festival LEGS 2023. 1 April 20.30, Rue du Manchester 21 (Molenbeek) 

Damien Maguire

Two talented British photographers in Belgium launch their exhibition of landscape images on Sunday. Damien Maguire and Alun Foster explore the relationship between landscapes and light and our own perceptions of this individually perceived reality. Fine art photography from both the UK and Belgium is on display at the Octopus Heart Centre, along with other work from the two artists (pictured, photo by Maguire). The exhibition officially opens on 2 April (15.00-19.00) with light refreshments and a live DJ (free entry). Until 26 April, 253 Rue Haute


It’s official: art makes us happy! A recent study by the WHO discovered that art raises a person’s dopamine levels. The exhibition Happy Immersive has adopted this as a core theme. A world of colour, sound, music and interaction serve to mesmerise visitors and prove that this scientific theory really works. The 360° art installations are equipped with augmented reality, video mapping, computer animations and more, demonstrate all these positive effects. 31 March, Mont Des Arts


More than 70 hours of fiery tango await visitors in spots around the city during The Brussels Tango Festival. Evening balls, workshops, afterparties and more will provide an optimal dancing experience for everyone, whether you’re taking your first steps or benefit from a few years’ experience under your belt. In addition, the festival has three partner hotels this year that are located close to its workshops and activities. So festival goers should get their tango on and get ready for a weeks’ worth of dancing. 6-10 April, multiple locations around the city


Women’s club The Nine partners with cultural association ExpArt for an exclusive vernissage of artist Veronika Fekete (pictured above). Learn more about Veronika's inspiration and motivation at the Friday evening event. The clubhouse is now open to the public for lunch, drinks and dinner on Friday (by reservation). pop-up art exhibition is. 31 March 19.00 (exhibition opening), Rue Archimede 69


Sustainable village Be-Here hosts a new series of Brussels Artisan Markets (BAM). Gathering around 40 local producers and creators, discover original and locally-sourced jewellery, illustrations, textiles, decoration and cosmetics. The village’s regular stores are also open for the occasion, including sellers of delicious food and drinks. Little ones will be entertained by a bunch of fun activities. 1 April 12.00-18.00, Rue Dieudonné Lefèvre


Crystal Ship (c)Julien De Casabianca

Take in the biggest open-air gallery in Belgium at The Crystal Ship, a marvellous street art trail in Ostend. Launched seven years ago, it is now one of the most revered street art shows in the world, attracting international artists to Belgium’s biggest beach town. Curious visitors can see artists creating new works until 8 April, at which point they will join previous creations that have stood the test of time. Murals at Crystal Ship are extremely creative, with 3D effects and multi-disciplinary techniques. Portuguese artist Aheneah, for instance, turns her grandmother’s love for embroidery into large-scale urban art masterpieces. Permanent, across Ostend


The open gallery weekend ART Knokke-Heist is a perfect opportunity for visitors to appreciate why the Belgian coastal resort is such a cultural beacon. With more than 90 art galleries presenting an exciting range of artworks from all around the globe, the town is the country’s third art destination after Brussels and Antwerp. The 34th edition of the gallery weekend promises a highly-accessible gathering for all art lovers, whether serious collectors or curious onlookers. 1 & 2 April, art galleries across Knokke-Heist


Immerse yourself in the world of international experimental visual expression at the annual INDISCIPLINE (WIELS). The cutting-edge arts event boasts a vibrant line-up of contemporary art, dance and musical performance. They include a fascinating insight by Xavier Garcia Bardon (Bel) into the infamous 1967 EXPRMNTL avant-garde film festival, a performance by Darius Dolatyari-Dolatdoust (Ire/Fr/Pol) and a host of other international performers. The Art Deco influenced casino venue is an arty destination in itself with large-scale artworks by Keith Haring, Paul Delvaux and René Magritte. 1 April, 15.00-23.00 (DJ until 1.00), Grand Casino Knokke, Zeedijk-Albertstrand 509

Domaine de Bataille de Waterloo

The Domain of the Battle of Waterloo celebrates the beginning of its tourist season and a new cultural programme with a festive weekend of guided tours and activities. Among the upcoming programme highlights are: Dinner in the Sky (1-25 June); commemoration of the battle (18 June); historic weekend with re-enactment (1 & 2 July); festive weekend with hot air balloons, barbecue and equestrian activities (15 August); series of historic talks. The site also becomes more easily accessible from May with the arrival of a special shuttle service ‘navette 1815’. 1 & 2 April, Route du Lion, Braine l’Alleud

Reflets Les Bateliers

Discover fine ceramics, glassware, jewellery, textiles and objects in the free exhibition Reflets that reveals the exceptional artisan skills during Belgium’s Merovingian period. Numerous collections resulting from archaeological explorations of the 18th and 19th centuries throw a unique light on the lives of the people who commissioned and created these works. Until 24 September, Pôle Muséal Les Bateliers, Rue Joseph Saintraint 3, Namur

Photos: (main image) Johan Van Mullem, 'Monochrome Pink I (2021) (c) Courtesy of the artist, Photo Henri Weyrich; Expedition Egypt (c)Art & History Museum; Zephir Busine in collaboration with G Boulmant, Vitraux de la gare de Mons, 1954, photo by JD Busine; Blan Foundation, Stephan Balleux; Crystal Ship (c)Julien De Casabianca; Knokke-Heist Tourism; Berko Fine Paintings; Indiscipline-Wiels; Domaine de Bataille de Waterloo

Sometimes The Bulletin earns a small commission when a reader buys a ticket to an event we have featured. These affiliate links are clearly labelled with an asterisk (*). Our choice of events is unbiased, made independently by our journalists and never influenced by advertisers.

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