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What’s on this fortnight: 18-31 December

13:23 18/12/2020
Our pick of Belgium’s best activities – online and off – for the coming two weeks

No one throws a party like Tomorrowland, and why should this New Year’s Eve be any different? The digital celebration is set to ring in the New Year in 193 countries – including this one, natch. Live performances, fireworks and fantastical animations envelope you in the action for an evening that is almost as good as the real thing. 31 December 20.00-3.00

Ballet Vlaanderen is giving free access to its popular annual Choreolab, wherein dancers become choreographers. Nine of them have choreographed pieces for their fellow dancers, but, while they usually have carte blanche to create whatever they want, this year corona has imposed a few rules: No more than five dancers onstage, and none of them may touch each other. See what these incredibly talented artists have come up with live via Facebook. 18 December 20.00

Illustration by Grégoire Pont

Bozar lights up our winter nights with Keep Music A-Live, a free festival of livestreamed concerts. Among the several acts coming up are Rêve d’Eléphant Orchestra, the lively Belgian jazz ensemble with healthy doses of eastern and African influences; and family concert Ma Mère l’Oye, Maurice Ravel’s five-piece suite for children, played by the Belgian National Orchestra against a film animated by world-renowned illustrator Grégoire Pont. Past concerts are also available to watch on the Bozar website. Until 20 December

Dance in the new year at Frisse Folk’s Digital Ball. The Brussels folk dance collective is livestreaming a concert and lessons together with others from around the world. Follow along on its Facebook or YouTube channel. 31 December from 22.00

Ningyo, a ‘human fish’, from 19th-century Japan

Fake news isn’t new, it’s just spread more easily. That’s the revelation behind the exhibition Fake for Real: A History of Forgery and Falsification at the House of European History. Erased records of the Roman emperors, manipulated biographies of medieval saints, stories of great adventure that never happened, and perhaps a faked mermaid that fooled plenty of people … artefacts, documents and texts take us through centuries of deceit, allowing us to reflect on how falsehoods are told and for what purpose. The final section brings us to the social media of today, illustrating how emotions and personal beliefs can impact how we understand the world, and why some of us choose to deliberately misrepresent it. Until 31 October 2021, Rue Belliard 135

Cycle with the masses during Christical Mass on 25 December. Don your Santa hat, wrap yourself in lights or just bring along your pool noodles to keep those cars at a healthy distance away. 25 December 18.00

Letsticktogether logo

Letsticktogether – meaning both ‘tick together’ and ‘stick together’ – gets us all playing a tune at the same time on 30 December. You take a glass and a spoon and learn one of the four clinking rhythms, then you throw open your door or window and perform it during the livestream at 20.00. Belgian musicians are playing along, making the livestream alone a memorable show of solidarity. Get your neighbours to play along for one big neighbourhood glass ticking concert of your own. 30 December 20.00

While a majority of the population drinks coffee every single day, few knows how it is grown and harvested or how the beans are processed. The supply chain of coffee is vast, and it’s surprising how many people from how many parts of the world are involved. Check out Histoires de Café to take a trip through the life of coffee, from the plant all the way to your cup. (In French and Dutch) Until 3 January, BELvue Museum, Place des Palais 7

Painting by Gauthier Hubert

Brussels painter Gauthier Hubert’s fils de … les retrouvailles (son of … reunion) is a follow-up exhibition to his previous series, familiere-unies, which explored relationships among the figurative paintings. He has added more of his colourful and curious – and occasional disturbing – figures to create a wholly new family tree. Whether this is a family reunion you’d want to attend in real life is questionable, but it’s certainly a show worth seeing at Botanique. Until 31 January, Rue Royale 236 (Saint-Josse)

What to do on the shortest day of the year? See short films! That’s the idea behind Le Jour le Plus Court, a celebration of award-winning Belgian shorts. Normally staged on one day across Brussels and Wallonia, this year it’s online for no fewer than six days. There are nearly 30 films to view, totally free of charge, including animation and documentary. All have been produced over the last five years, and all have won awards, whether at home or abroad. All films are in French with no subtitles. Until 22 December

Bull made of wood in Sart Tilman open-air museum

OUTSIDE BRUSSELS

For an outdoor cultural escapade, head to the Sart Tilman open-air museum on the outskirts of Liège, which combines nature and contemporary art. Located on the campus of the city’s university, the exceptional site contains monumental sculptures and paintings that illustrate the diversity of contemporary art in Belgium. Artists include Pierre Alechinsky, Jo Delahaut and Peter Downsbrough. The site is freely accessible, and a map with a themed walking tour can be found outside the welcome pavilion at the Simone David-Constant roundabout. Socially distanced guided tours are also available by appointment for up to four people. Place du 20-Août 7, Liège

Twentieth-century Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti was obsessed with exploring ways to represent the human body, constantly painting and sculpting it and recreating each piece over and over again. His models were quite often his wife and his brother. See L’Humanité absolue (Absolute Humanity), an exhibition of his bronze sculptures, beautifully displayed in La Cité Miroir’s George Truffaut Room previously a massive municipal swimming pool. Until 17 January, Place Xavier Neujean 22, Liège

Photos, from top: Courtesy Tomorrowland; courtesy Bozar; Ningyo, a ‘human fish’, Japan, 1800-1823 ©Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen, Nederland; courtesy Vooruit; courtesy Ardenneweb.eu; courtesy Liège Université

Written by Lisa Bradshaw and Sarah Crew