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What’s on this fortnight: 23 December-5 January

Le Sablier de Noel - Luc Petit - Les Nocturnales
11:32 22/12/2022
If you’re home for the holidays, check out our agenda of events and activities livening up the country over the next fortnight

Tick tock, tick tick tock… the hourglass of Christmas counts down in the magical family show Le Sablier de Noël. Staged by world-famous Belgian impressario Luc Petit and Les Nocturnales, the audio-visual spectacle transforms a Brussels church into a world where a clockmaker needs to call on all his scientific skills so that everyone can hear the timepiece strike 12 at midnight. 27-30 December, Eglise Notre Dame de la Chapelle (Sablon), Place de la Chapelle; 3-8 January, Tournai
Noël au ThéâtreIt’s the 40th anniversary edition of Noël au Théâtre, a theatre festival for the whole family. The title of the festival refers to the time of year, not the themes of the 24 shows, which are simply excellent productions for children and young people. See a comedy duo interact with “shy” tropical plants to explore our emotions and search for belonging (pictured), the story of King Gilgamesh in shadow puppetry or a piece inspired by traditional dance and games. And that’s just the beginning. 26-30 December, across Brussels

Supercars 2 Autoworld

Experience the best that the car world has to offer in the Supercars 2 exhibition at Autoworld. A mix of historic and modern cars have been generously lent by private collectors and museums, which range from the all-time classic BMW M1 to the more recent Aston Martin Speedster. For fans of Formula 1, two simulators are available between 24 December and 8 January for testing driving reflexes, while children can show off their colouring talents. Enjoy the atmospheric setting at Nocturnals, an evening event on 2 January with a DJ, Champagne bar and magical lighting (18.00-22.00). Until 29 January, Autoworld Museum, Cinquantenaire Park 11


Upcoming Christmas concert A Ceremony of Carols, organised by ARS in Cathedrali, features a Anglo-German programme in the splendid setting St Michael and St Gudula Cathedral. Johann Bast’s Canonic Variations on Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her, aria Flösst mein Heiland, Handel’s Rejoice and Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols. Musical aaccompaniment is provided by soprano Elise Gäbele soprano, harp, organ and female choir Cantus Firmus. Tickets are €15 and free for under 18s. 27 December, St Michael and St Gudula Cathedral, Parvis Sainte-Gudule

Briana Ashley Stuart

New interactive family show Be The Rhythm is performed by Brussels-based US choreographer and dancer Briana Ashley Stuart. Featuring Stepping, a rrhythmic Afro-American dance that inspires creativity and confidence through clapping and stamping, it celebrates the connection through movement and sound for children aged seven to 11. 26-29 December, Atelier 210, Chaussée Saint-Pierre (Etterbeek)

Jean-Marie Massou

Jean-Marie Massou is one of France’s most famous art brut artists, but much of his work is not exactly fit for museums since it consists of massive chasms that he literally dug out with his bare hands and primitive drawings on rocks and boulders. It is perfect, though, for Photo | Brut BXL, a collaboration among European art centres, including four in Brussels. Art et Marges, dedicated to art brut – also known as outsider art – is hosting a photo exhibition featuring the fascinating life and work of Massou, who died two years ago. It also features his sound recordings and drawings. Until 19 March, Rue Haute 314

Grand Casino

Step back in time to the roaring 20s at the Grand Casino’s stylish New Year’s Eve party, complete with burlesque cabaret and live DJ. The five-course menu may be sold out, but doors are open to partygoers from 21.00. The €20 entrance includes €20 of casino chips and free bubbles until midnight (membership provided on the spot with valid ID; 21 and over). 31 December, 21.00, Viage, Boulevard Anspach 30


Fuse techno club presents a stellar line-up to ring in the New Year with a  full flight of top DJs in the multi-room space. Tickets €21 (presale); €25 on the door. 31 December 22.00-8.00, Rue Blaes 208

Cactus Club

The Cactus Club invites revellers to its New Year’s Eve party, with DJs G-Froy and Phil Harlet spinning the discs. Free entrance before 23.00 (doors open at 22.00; dress code in place). 31 December 22.00, Boulevard du Souverain 147 (Auderghem)

Holy Trinity Church

Community A Nativity Service on 24 December at 16.00 is followed by Holy Communion Service at 22.00 at Holy Trinity Brussels (pictured above). On 25 December, the Anglican church’s Christmas Day programme starts with a Book of Common Prayer Service at 9.00, followed by a Family Holy Communion Service at 10.30 and a Christmas Service (in Eng/Fr) at 15.00. At St Anthony’s Parish (Roman Catholic), the Christmas Eve programme on 24 December is as follows: Children’s Mass at 19.00, Carols at 23.00 and Vigil Mass at 23.30. On 25 December, the Christmas Day Mass services are at 10.00 and 11.30. Holy Trinity Church: Rue Capitaine Crespel 29 (Ixelles); St Anthony’s Parish: Oudstrijderslaan 23-25 (Kraainem)

Kiss (c)Courtesy Greenhouse Talent

Book now Should you be of, ahem, a certain age, you surely remember the catchy beats produced by Kiss, who ruled the shock rock stages of the 1970s and ’80s. One of the most influential rock bands of all time, they are in Brussels next June for End of the Road World Tour. Two of the original members – Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons – have donned their original facepaint and costumes for a nostalgic show that will remind you why numbers like I Was Made for Lovin’ You and Rock and Roll All Nite have gone down in history. 13 June, Paleis 12, Ave de Miramar

Outside Brussels

Europa Oxala ©Malala Andrialavidrazana

The notion of a Europe that is home to millions of migrants looking for a better life is hopeful to some, frightening to others. The exhibition Europa Oxalá embraces both emotions, using in its title the Portuguese version of the Arabic phrase meaning “and may God will it”, which they use in a broader sense to convey a future under construction. The Africa Museum is looking to break down stereotypes and question the concept of identity in this creative project. Until 5 March, Leuvensesteenweg 13, Tervuren


Knokke-Heist stretches out your New Year festivities with winter fireworks on the beach during the first week of 2023. Knokke is known for its outstanding fireworks, so don’t hesitate to bundle up and take to the sand in this fun coastal resort. 4 & 6 January 18.30, beach at Meerlaan

New Year Concert Octopus

If you’re spending your year-end at the coast – or are looking for a good reason for a night away – the Octopus Symphonic Choir of Antwerp (pictured) is playing a New Year concert at Sint-Margaret Church. The Petite messe solonnelle was titled by its composer Gioachino Rossini satirically, as it is anything but petit. Octopus’s version features four soloists, a harmonium and piano, conducted by Bart Van Reyn, musical director of the Flemish Radio Choir. 29 December 20.00, Sint-Margaret Church, Maurice Lippensplein 1, Knokke Heist


The breath-taking audio-visual seasonal show Le Combat des anges by internationally renowned director Luc Petit is part of Les Nocturnales tour that’s performed in cathedrals in Wallonia. The re-telling of the Christmas story sees angels Michel and Gabriel call on fellow celestial beings, shepherds and kings to prepare for the newborn’s arrival in Bethlehem. 26-30 December (Cathédrale de Saint-Paul, Liège); 2-4 January (Cathédrale Saint-Aubain, Namur); 6-8 January (Eglise Saint-Martin, Arlon)

Stad Gent - Dienst Tourisme

Ghent turns its downtown castle into a holiday fantasy during Winterfeesten, with music, a fun audio tour and a winter bar. It’s not far from the big Christmas market, complete with a fun fair and the largest mobile ice skating rink in the country. Duck into a winter pop-up bar to warm up following your tour of magical holiday lighting. Different attractions start and end on different dates, so check ahead. Market until 31 December, across Ghent


The Meise Botanical Garden is beautiful in every season, but it has an especially enchanting look in the weeks bridging the new year. Winter Floridylle is a trail of glowing light installations of flowers and other plants, inspired by the garden’s collections. There is also a convivial winter village with food and drinks. Until 8 January, Nieuwelaan 38, Meise


The Bokrijk open-air museum in Limburg is getting its light from fire during the first week of the school holiday. Winterlicht features fire performers and installations, as well as a traditional holiday village with craftspeople and historical attractions. 26-30 December, Bokrijklaan 1, Genk


Hainaut capital Mons hosts Cœur en Neige in five designated zones spread around the city: the medieval Grand-Place, Place du Marché, Croix-Place, Carré des Arts, the Anciens Abattoirs and Place Louise. The surrounding cobbled shopping streets also get a look in with illuminations and activities brightening their way. In the main square, find giant nutcrackers, ski cabins and real fir trees. A two-storey Alsatian wood-clad chalet is an atmospheric hub for eating and drinking, while guest country Germany fills some 12 wooden huts serving delicious regional fare, and provides music and storytelling activities. Until 31 December, across Mons


One of Wallonia’s most popular holiday attractions is Durbuy Christmas Village and Market. The tourist village specialises in artisan goodies and decorative crib scenes. One of the prettiest spots in the Ardennes, it’s narrow cobbled streets, peppered with restaurants, are a perfect backdrop for festive scenes. Among the popular gourmet treats, and not for the faint-hearted, are hot potatoes served with melting foie gras. For the holiday season there’s also an ice skating rink in Roi Baudouin park. Until 8 January, Parc Roi Baudouin, Durbuy


Neighbouring Luxembourg boasts two festive Christmas markets running until New Year, while the Winterlights festival brightens up the city until 8 January. Wantermaart is a gathering of chalets on Place de la Constitution as well as rides and attractions for children. Lëtzebuerger Chrëschtmaart on Place d’Armes offers activities for all ages in addition to a tradition Christmas tree and creche. Warming drinks and delicacies are an added bonus. Until 1 January, across Luxembourg city

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

Photos: Kiss © Courtesy Greenhouse Talent; Europa Oxala © Malala Andrialavidrazana; Stad Gent - Dienst Tourisme; Luxembourg © VdL_David Laurent

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