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What’s on this week: 9-15 December

16:14 08/12/2022
Seasonal fun for all ages, plus exhibitions, music and movie screenings. Discover more in our weekly agenda of events and activities

The Bruocsella Symphony Orchestra, a mix of professional and top amateur musicians, presents its holiday season concert for children. This year, tales from the high seas are told by actors and narrators, together with the mix of classical and modern music for which the symphony is known. You’ll hear Rimsky-Korsakov, Wagner, Rachmaninov and … The Village People during BSO at Sea, which has English, French and Dutch versions. 10 & 11 December, W:Halll, Avenue Charles Thielemans 93 (Woluwe-Saint-Pierre)

The Snowman

A popular expat tradition, The Snowman & Musical Discoveries is back this holiday season. The family show featuring a live orchestra is based on the classic book The Snowman, but follows its own winding, satirical path, courtesy of long-time narrator Ian Forrester. Great fun for young and old. There are two performances; the first includes an interval (in English). 11 December, Auderghem Cultural Centre, Boulevard du Souverain 183

Géraldine Tobe

Géraldine Tobe of Kinshasa creates artworks out of smoke emitted from tins of burning petrol. Based on experiences in her own life as well as the DRC’s colonial past, the shadowy images are captivating and haunting. Kalunga: Vous n’êtes pas prêt pour ça is sponsored by Wonderlust, a VUB projects that arranges exhibitions in partnership with international cities. The exhibition itself is staged in the Lever House, once owned by the British family of the same name – who made a fortune importing palm oil from Congo. Until 15 January, Rue Royal 10


Former racing driver Didier de Radiguès teams up with photographer Philippe Graton in the pop-up exhibition Hors Courses. The pair share a similar interest in the medium of photography, but possess juxtaposing styles. Brussels-born Graton is a French author and photographer who has written scenarios for the comic strip Michel Vaillant and an illustrated biography of Jean-Philippe Van Damme (pictured). In contrast to Graton’s black-and-white works, de Radiguès, now a sports commentator and artist, is inspired by abstract painters such as Miró in his photographic oeuvre. Staged in an otherwise unoccupied grandiose town house, some 50 photos from various series are on display (free entrance). Until 15 January, Avenue Louise 262

Alexandre Cavalière

Belgian violinist Alexandre Cavalière (pictured) is honoured in River Jazz Night’s special closing evening, featuring three concerts in three venues. The itinerant event kicks off at Jazz Station at 18.00, continues in Espace Senghor at 20.00 and concludes in the bar of Théâtre Marni at 21.30. It reveals the musician’s multi-facetted talent, from the jazz manouche he played aged 11 to the modern jazz style he adopted in recent years, and includes a tribute to his mentor Didier Lockwood. Don’t miss the bar’s exhibition of 40 Chinese ink illustrations, Jazzpresse Ristretto, predominantly of international female artists who’ve performed during the festival. 10 December, from 18.00, multiple venues


The recent Halaqat festival continues its mission to provide a bridge between Europe and the Arab world via a film and music collaboration with the Cinemamed festival. The current focus includes two concerts: Abeer Nehme (pictured) on 11 December and the Halaquat Orchestra on 14 December. Singer songwriter Nehme performs with a 17-piece ensemble to take the audience on a musical journey through the Middle East with Aramean chants, Levantine folk songs and classics from the region. Appearing with the Halaquat Orchestra is American composer and trumpeter Amir ElSaffar. Of Iraqi origin, he’s considered one of the most promising figures in the jazz world, effortlessly fusing jazz and Arabic music. 11 & 14 December 19.00, Bozar, Rue Ravenstein 23


For its last event of the year, Cinema Mouv’ stages a cinema-concert at the BRASS cultural centre. The film Plogoff, Stones Against Rifles, based in 1970s France, focuses on a Breton community’s fight against the local installation of a nuclear power plant by the French government. Monolithe Noir’s live music accompanies the film for a musical and cinematic experience. 10 December, Forest, Avenue Van Volxem 364


The Royal Gallery of Saint-Hubert is celebrating its 175th year by offering everyone the chance to learn about its long history in the heart of downtown Brussels. Some 150 documents, original plans and photos of restaurants, cinemas and cafes will show how the gallery has adapted and stayed relevant in the capital. New projects will also be on display to give an insight on how it’s planning to further adapt in the future. 15 December-30 June daily 14.00-20.00, Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert

Peter Lindbergh

New exhibition Untold Stories showcases the 40-year career of legendary German photographer Peter Lindbergh. Discover the photographic oeuvre, videos and wide shots that have earned him the reputation of being amongst the greatest contemporary photographers in recent times. The exhibition is a collaboration between the Peter Lindbergh foundation and the city of Brussels. 15 December-14 May, Espace Vanderborght, Rue de l’Ecuyer 50


Women’s club The Nine transforms into a pop-up winter wonderland for its first Christmas Design Market. The two-day evening with all-female artisans and creators from Belgium and abroad. Enjoy delicious treats, Christmas cocktails and mocktails, and festive music and entertainment. 10 December 10.00-18.00, Rue Archimède 69

Brussels by Lights

In the 10th edition of Brussels by Lights, the Chartreux quarter is honoured with a Geometrix parade: a 45-minute walk around the hip Saint-Géry and Dansaert area. In addition to six light installations, other geometric forms are suspended above streets, while phosphorescent frescoes brighten up 12 empty show windows. Children will love an illuminated polar village in Place de Fontainas, filled with animals from the north. The focus of the annual sparkler is on boosting local businesses, including those in the suburbs of Haren and Laeken. Until 8 January, across the city centre, Laeken, Haren


For the second year running, cosy artisan gathering L’hiver des Glacières, presents Belgian seasonal products and produce, including winter-warming mulled wine. 8-18 December, Thursday (evening), Saturday & Sunday, Rue de la Glacière 16, Saint-Gilles


The Brussel Food Festival set up home for a weekend in Auderghem alongside an artisan Christmas market showcasing local produce and crafts folk. Gifts for all budgets are waiting to be snapped up, while the delicious food stands guarantee a gourmet moment to remember. Free entrance. 9-11 December, Boulevard du Souverain (opposite no 183), Auderghem

Schaerbeek Christmas market

Schaerbeek’s Christmas market promotes local businesses, providing tempting places for a tipple and a snack, along with dance shows and a concert celebrating multiculturality. 10 December 14.00-21.00, Place Colignon and town hall, Schaerbeek 

Outside Brussels

Art Antwerp

It’s the second edition of Art Antwerp, an international art fair mixing all kinds of work by new and established artists. While there is plenty here to choose from, it’s small enough to feel welcoming and intimate, with gallery owners and art dealers on hand to introduce you to artists you might like and show you the kind of work you are looking for. Whether you’re in the market for a small, inexpensive sketch or a large-scale sculpture worth thousands, you might find something to take home here. 15-18 December, Antwerp Expo, Jan Van Rijswijcklaan 191

Rose-Wylie (c)Courtesy the artist and David ZwirnerGhent’s museum of contemporary art hosts the first solo exhibition by British artist Rose Wylie in Belgium. Picky People Notice… is part retrospective, part premiere of totally new works, featuring her trademark cartoonish paintings that offer a sharp critique on society – from climate change to celebrity culture to cliché images of women in art history. Now 88, Wylie is considering one of the most significant figurative painters working today. Until 30 April, Smak, Jan Hoetplein 1, Ghent

Nuts Weekend - Bastogne

Ten US veterans fly into Bastogne for the town’s 78th anniversary of the Battle of the Ardennes. Nuts Weekend offers a packed weekend of commemorative activities, including meet and greets with the veterans, re-enactments (pictured), parades, book signings and the traditional nut-throwing game. The event is named after Brigadier General Anthony Clement ‘Nuts’ McAuliffe, who famously retorted ‘Nuts’ to the German offer of surrender or annihilation during the besiege of Bastogne in the winter of 1944. Also known as the Battle of the Bulge, the deadly conflict was the final major offensive by the German army in WW2. 9-11 December, Bastogne War Museum, Bastogne Barracks and other sites across the town

Suzanne Vega

Book now: Suzanne Vega The first two Suzanne Vega shows at De Roma sold out so quickly, the venue has added another. But don’t wait to snap up tickets to see the folk-inspired American pop star known for her melancholy and deeply affecting hits such as “Luka”, “Tom’s Diner” and “Solitude Standing”. Expect a fair few numbers from her latest album An Evening of New York Songs and Stories. 6 March, De Roma, Turnhoutsebaan 286, Antwerp


Feeling the need for a little bling-bling in your holiday celebrations? Look no further than Lightopia, the over-the-top festival of light installations in the extensive grounds of Groot-Bijgaarden Castle. Prepare to be blinded by monstrous dragons, panda, flowers, fairies, hallucinogenic mushrooms and butterflies with moving wings. A water show offers additional entertainment, and the Twinkling Café will provide you with the necessary nourishment. Until 8 January, Isidoor van Beverenstraat 5, Groot-Bijgaarden


Brisk walks along a stormy sea are not the only entertainment in Ostend, as Winter in het Park is a lovely little Christmas market and ice skating rink in Leopold Park. The skating is on an actual pond, which is covered in case of inclement weather. Some 200 Christmas trees and 170,000 lights provide an unforgettable atmosphere. Until 8 January, Leopold Park, Leopold II-laan


Restaurant Hors-Champs has long offered green activities, and its three-day creative and sustainable Christmas market is no exception. Staged in a grange, the event is a platform for some 35 local designers and artisans, offering decor, tableware, slow fashion, wine and produce. A series of concerts is among the additional attractions. On the culinary front, you’ll need to reserve in advance for wood-fire cooked flammekueche. Information and reservations: info@hors-champs.be9-11 December, Chaussée de Wavre 170, Gembloux


One of a new generation of Christmas markets, Les Féeries du Parc is a magical event that draws crowds to the castle domain of Parc Saint-Roch, near the market town of Ciney. The idyllic park comes alive at nights with glowing trees, illuminated chalets and fairy lights lining the paths and grounds. For the 5th edition, 80% of the 180 stalls are devoted to artisan gifts, from jewellery and candles to Christmas decorations, textiles, and gourmet specialities. Keep an eye out for Father Christmas, who pops in every evening from 17.30-20.00. 8-12 & 15-19 December, Ciney (Namur province)


More than 50 chalets fill the Christmas Village in Place de la Digue. The square is also the stage for nuggets of festive entertainment, including a wish tree, seasonal parades, an evening dedicated to the 90s and choir performances. A series of Pop Up Chalets invites new artisans weekly to ply gifts and delicious fare, from Christmas cookies and home-made chocolate to pastries and charcuterie. An ice rink graces Place Verte (skating lessons on Tuesday evening and Sunday mornings), plus initiations into artistic skating.  It’s time to get your skates on! Until 31 December 12.00-22.00, Place de la Digue & Place Verte, Charleroi

For more Christmas markets and light festival around the country, check out The Bulletin’s bumper seasonal guide.

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