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What’s on this week: 11-17 June

15:06 10/06/2021
Welcome back culture! Still, with limited space available at venues, indoors and out, it’s best to snap up tickets early

The weather is good, so check out the summer bars that are slowly opening up around Brussels. The best known are the Guinguettes Barc, with eight across Brussels. They all have their own cute names – Maurice at Cinquantenaire, for instance, or Jeanne on the grounds of Rouge-Cloître – but all have well-curated drinks menus and desperately good burgers and wraps. Until 26 September (mostly), across Brussels

Cultural venues, including cinemas, re-opened this week! Thanks to the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, there are 17,000 movie tickets to be had for €1 each. Just choose your region, cinema and the movie on the website. Hurry, though, tickets are going fast.

 Scene from the production O

Only a poem – and a touching one at that – provides a clue to the piece called O presented by students graduating from the RITCS drama department. They struggled through a pandemic to reach this final-year performing arts conclusion. “We burn a candle, come find us in silence, feel coldness and fire, you are never alone.” The performance is free. 14-16 June 20.30, KVS, Quai aux Pierres de Taille 7

The European parliament is hosting free concerts in the Citizens’ Garden all summer long. The line-up includes virtuosos and new talent and runs from classical to opera to jazz and world. The Citizens’ Garden opened to the public just last year on the grounds of the former residence of painter Antoine Weirtz. Until 30 September, Rue Vautier 62 (Ixelles)

Kaaitheater has opened back up with a very democratic ‘pay what you can’ system. Just name your price to see, for instance, Belgian choreographer Michiel Vandevelde’s Dances of Death, or Moby Dick by the Ghana-born Gorges Ocloo. The latter takes asks the intriguing question of whether people would change their minds about certain actions if they knew what lay ahead – whether a search for a white whale or crossing the sea on a rubber raft. 12-16 June, Kaaitheater, Square Sainctelette


Botanique is offering up free garden concerts this summer. Next up is the quirky Brussels singer Pierres, whose electric pop is infused with comical musings and improvisation. 19 June 19.30

The Arabfuturism programme at Bozar aims to open up other discussions about the contemporary Middle East than uprisings and militarised territories. This week Monira Al Qadiri’s lecture-performance delves into a legend about lovers in ancient Egypt, questioning the notions of gender, while Malika Djardi expresses language through dance and questions the place of emotion in a world obsessed with technology. 15-16 June, Bozar, Rue Ravenstein 23

Villa Empain hosts Some Perfumes Diffuse Slowly, an evening of poetry from the Arab world (in French), followed the next night by Algerian singer Mohamed Lamouri, who first caught the public’s attention performing in the Paris metro, covering chanson in Arabic. 17-18 June 19.00, Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 67 (Ixelles)

Le Pavillon in Namur


A long festive weekend brings to a close the successful test phase of Namur’s Le Pavillon Pop-Up atop the city’s ancient citadel. A nocturnal opening of the exhibition Humans/Machines is followed by a drink and DJ set on the terrace of the adjacent Panorama café. The new digital and creative space is open the following two days with surprise entertainment, notably robots and a Covid piñata. Le Pavillon will re-open definitively in 2022 with a project taking into account public feedback. Don’t forget the citadel is now accessible via a new cable car. 14-16 June, Citadel Esplanade, Namur

Ostend’s art museum Mu.Zee, specialising in Belgian art from 1880 to the present day, has re-opened following a five-month renovation and complete redesign of its space. That in itself is worth seeing, but there’s also a new solo exhibition dedicated to the work of Olivia Hernaïz, who explores her fascinating family history: part of the 30,000 Spanish children who were sent to other European countries during the Franco regime. Until 29 August, Romestraat 11, Ostend

Book now: Gent Jazz  Summer music festivals are back! In case you have gotten lost in the raft of relaxed measures this summer: In July, groups of 2,500 people are allowed at outdoor events, rising to 5,000 in August. On 13 August, that leaps up to 75,000 – business as usual, in other words. Gent Jazz, which has had to kiss headliner Sting goodbye for three years in a row now (the first year he cancelled due to illness), didn’t waste any time putting together an excellent line-up. Snap tickets up now. 8-18 July, Bijloke courtyard, Godshuizenlaan 2, Ghent

Photos, from top: Courtesy Guinguettes Barc, courtesy Botanique, courtesy KVS, ©Stephane Gueulette


Written by Lisa Bradshaw and Sarah Crew