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What’s on this week: 12-18 May

10:17 11/05/2023
Come rain or shine, make the most of the spring season and its brimming agenda of activities and events for all ages

Brussels Pride Week is stuffed full of activities leading up to the big Belgian and European Pride Parade and Village. This annual celebration of the LGBTQ+ community takes in such events as queer karaoke, the Pimp my Pride workshop and, naturally, big screen broadcasts of the Eurovision Song Festival. The Design Museum also launches its new show this week: Brussels Queer Graphics looks at graphic design in the community from the 1950s to now, which saw the development of a specific language and signalled the embrace of shared principles, identities and values. Pride Week until 20 May, Queer Graphics 17 May to 5 November

Cemeteries Spring 2 (c)Brussels City

A guided tour of a graveyard might seem odd, but Cemeteries’ Spring is all about the glorious Art Nouveau designs in the Brussels Cemetery. There are free multilingual guided tours on the style in funerary symbolism as well as maps to follow the theme on your own. The event is appropriate for ages 10 and up, with a trail and quiz for the younger visitors. Hurry, though, tours must be booked by 12 May. 13 & 14 May 9.30-17.00, Avenue du Cimetière (Evere)

MIMA - Mother's Day

MIMA celebrates Mother’s Day this with an open-air market honouring ‘strong women’, which is rather appropriate as the museum’s current exhibition Local Heroes dedicated to the world of boxing. Pick up some unique T-shirts and tote bags from past shows at the market and explore the contemporary art museum. Free entrance for all mums!  Visual by Rocío Álvarez. 13 & 14 May 11.00-19.00, Quai du Hainaut 39-41 (Molenbeek)


After huge success in cities in US and Brazil with over 22,000 visitors, Authentic Flamenco Presents Yolanda Osuna* finally lands in Brussels. On this international tour, the renowned flamenco artist performs in a passionate flamenco show brought by the Royal Opera of Madrid and Fever. Witness the raw power of the captivating Spanish art form in the majestic setting of the Concert Noble concert and ballroom venue. 12-28 May, Concert Noble, Rue d’Arlon 82

Food Festival

Brussels enjoys multicultural diversity when it comes to cuisine. This weekend, over 32 different types of cooking from around the world are coming together for the Brussels Food Festival. A 230 metre-long outside terrace will provide ample space for visitors, while food stands and trucks from around the city have been selected for their quality of food. They’ll be serving sumptuous global cuisine dishes at fair prices. 12-14 May, Boulevard du Souverain (Auderghem)

Forro na Chinela

New concert venue Le Baixu stages a free world music extravaganza this weekend. Festival Brasil is part of a season-long programme of Latin American music staged by the non-profit organisation. Enjoy a line-up of performances, including Concert Kids Percu (on Saturday) and Forró na Chinela on Sunday. The latter (pictured) perform the northeast Brazilian style of music with an accordion and percussion instruments. Located in the atmospheric cellars of Tour & Taxis, Le Baixu hosts classical, jazz and world music concerts all-year-round. 13 & 14 May from 14.00, Sheds, Tour & Taxis, Rue Picard 3


It’s Eurovision time and David Lloyd Leisure in Brussels is once again inviting you to watch the entire spectacle unfold live on their big screens. It’s offering a BBQ for €35 per head, although this is optional and the event is open for people just to watch the song contest itself for €15. The venue is actually a converted castle in the middle of the beautiful Sonian forest in Uccle so a glamorous and fun night out is  guaranteed. Dress code is given as colourful and funky! 13 May 19.30, David Lloyd Leisure, 41 Drève de Lorraine (Uccle)

Forever Sabena

For many Belgians, foreign travel was once synonymous with the country’s national airline Sabena. On 23 May 2023, the company – which suffered bankruptcy in 2001 – would have celebrated its 100th anniversary. Celebrating its pioneering role in commercial aviation history and the emotional attachment that continues to unite its employees, a preview of the film Sabena Forever is screening at Cinema Le Stockel (in French). An interview with director, RTBF journalist Marianne Klaric, follows. 15 May 20.00, Avenue de Hinnisdael 17-19 (Woluwe-Saint-Pierre)


It’s the last weekend of The Art of the Brick*, an exhibition dedicated to sculptures made entirely from the famous plastic building blocks. Dinosaur skeletons, wild animals, even reproductions of famous works of art like Michelangelo’s David and the Mona Lisa – nothing is too complicated or too big for Lego artist Nathan Sawaya. The whole family will marvel at his creativity, on show in the heart of Brussels, which has been extended for a couple of months. Until 14 May, Grand Place 5


In addition to its packed programme of contemporary theatre, dance and performance from around the world, the annual Kunstenfestivaldesarts runs an energetic nightlife schedule. It kicks off with an opening party at Théâtre National on Friday night (23.00-05.30) with live music and DJs, including Blacksapho, Prince Kongo, Turkana, Nsasi Ug and Authentically Plastic. The festival also takes over other locations to stage its parties, such as Les Brigittines (with Propaganda) and Le Reservoir Bar, who jointly host Pride After-Parties on 20 May in collaboration with Bozar’s Afropolitan festival. Get ready for a genre-bending world tour of sounds include local power hitters such as Soumaya Phéline and Nina Champs, as well as international guest stars Cheetah and DIDI. 12 May to 3 June, multiple locations in the city centre


Foodie extravaganza StrEat Fest welcomes a top flight of chefs and artisan producers for its colourful celebration of street food for its second edition this weekend. From Top Chef stars to major gastronomy trends, get ready for a mouth-watering selection of culinary dishes and events. It’s also an occasion to travel with exotic world food also on the menu. Dishes cost €5 and the entrance ticket is €14 (pre-sale discounts on offer). Until 14 May, Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 86C


Looking for a spring service for your bicycle? Selle Royal Van is setting up shop in Flagey to offer free bike repairs. Currently on a European tour, the cycle specialist welcomes all two-wheel fans to the square to provide advice on looking after your bikes, as well as workshops and free Italian coffee. 16-18 May 9.30-13.00 & 14.00-18.00, Place Saint-Croix (Ixelles)

The Bridge

The Bridge, Brussels’ English-language theatre, presents Lungs. The theme of the two-person play is even more relevant now than when British playwright Duncan Macmillan wrote it in 2011: Should we bring children into a world destroying itself by the minute? The Guardian’s four-star review noted that the couple on stage “encapsulate the paradoxes of modern masculinity and empowered femininity, enacting its conflicts and contradictions in scenes that range from comically bathetic to tender and enraged”. This production stars British actors Georgina Armfield  and Tim Bowie (pictured). 17 May to 3 June, Reset, Rue du Ligne 8

Bond in Motion

Now extended by two months, the largest exhibition of 007 memorabilia ever assembled outside the UK awaits visitors at Bond in Motion*. It features a full range of the world-famous spy’s vehicles, from his iconic Aston Martins to the Little Nellie autogyro and an array of other planes, trains and automobiles. Celebrating 60 years of Bond films, the immersive show also displays gadgets and props, while models and maquettes reveal the ‘making of’ thrilling special effects. A British restaurant-bar, serving up specialities such as fish & chips and 007’s trademark ‘shaken but not stirred’ vodka martini, only add to the experience. Until 25 June, Brussels Expo, Place de la Belgique 1 (Laeken)

Van Gogh Immersive

Bathe in the intense colours and evocative images of tortured artist Vincent Van Gogh* in this immersive exhibition. See the Dutch painter’s iconic works come to life as they’re projected onto every corner of the exhibition space. As well as  submerging you in his bright Mediterranean landscapes and still life paintings, the show traces key moments of Van Gogh life. A new space, ‘From Woodblocks to Van Gogh’, shows off wood-cutting techniques, developed in China more than 1,000 years ago. Galerie Horta, Rue du Marché aux Herbes 116


International Museum Day is back! Organised by the International Council of Museums, some 37,000 museums around the world take part each year, and for 2023, the theme is sustainability and well-being. Each museum will offer an array of eco-friendly activities and exhibits designed to entertain and educate visitors about the planet and the fight against climate change. One participating Brussels museum is Train World, which invites Zero Waste Belgium professionals to lead upcycling workshops and activities. Along with their exhibition Animalia. Tracks of life. Railway Tracks, the team at Train World has also introduced a Multisenso rail trolley. The multi-sensory visit will enable people living with mental health challenges to experience the history of the SNCB in a new interactive experience. 18 May, various locations in Brussels


Bubble World is an immersive experience full of bubbles of all kinds due to open this summer. Step into a planet beyond your imagination with themed rooms, fantastical landscapes and more, all using VR technology. Move from one enveloping space to the next and explore them all with your senses. This is a very family-friendly activity which offers discounts* for accompanied children from four years old and pensioners as well as groups of more than nine people. Open from Summer 2023, Avenue du Port 86C, Tours and Taxis


Procession of the Holy Blood 2 ©Jan Darthet, Visit Bruges

The traditional Ascension Day Procession of the Holy Blood in Bruges sees the vial that holds the cloth reportedly stained with the blood of Christ – the source of many a pilgrimage to the Basilica of the Holy Blood – transported through the city on horseback. Thousands of participants march behind in period costumes, including groups of performers who act out scenes from the Old and New Testaments. Staged annually for more than 700 years and recognised as Unesco World Heritage, it’s really quite a spectacle. 18 May from 14.30, Bruges

(c)Beervelde Garden Days 2

Beervelde Garden Days is a burst of colour, partly because of the spectacular plants and flowers on sale and partly due to its location on the grounds of the Beervelde Castle in East Flanders. A cheery – and hopefully sunny – atmosphere permeates the event, which includes workshops, live music, regional products and entertainment for kids. 12-14 May, Beervelde-dorp 75, Lochristi

Antwerp Art Weekend (c)Courtesy De Studio

More than 70 contemporary art spaces take part in Antwerp Art Weekend, from galleries to culture centres and museums. The idea is to show how contemporary art is a valuable and essential part of society. An expansive programme includes activities like workshops on how to buy art, in-situ performances, a gallery-hopping tour, auctions and parties. 18-21 May, across Antwerp


For another dose of British pomp and circumstance, don’t miss the Brussels Light Opera Company's production of Iolanthe. The worlds of fairyland and parliament collide chaotically in this musical masterpiece famed duo Gilbert & Sullivan. First performed in 1882, Iolanthe satirises many aspects of British government, law and society. This production by the long-established am-dram group is directed by Tony and Angela Lowe, with maestro Lionel Bams conducting the BLOC orchestra.18 to 21 May, De Bosuil Cultural Centre, Witherendreef 1, Overijse

Divercity-Cathedrale St Pauls

Four emblematic sites in the city of Liège all open their arms to street culture in free urban trails this weekend. Divercity mixes concerts, DJ sets, rap, video games, virtual games, martial arts and workshops in this inaugural edition. St Paul’s Cathedral, the Prince-Bishops’ Palace, La Grande Poste and Reflektor welcome these activities in a bid to break down barriers and honour Liège’s vibrant urban culture. The event kicks off with a party at Reflektor on Saturday evening and continues all day Sunday. 13 & 14 May, multiple locations in Liège city centre

Spa-Classic (2) (c) Julien Hergault

One of the most popular events at the mythical Ardennes circuit, Spa-Classic stages two Heritage Touring Cup races, one in the daytime, the other at night. On the track are saloons and coupes that raced in the event between 1966 and 1984: Alfa Romeo 1750 GTAMs, BMW 3.0 CSLs, Chevrolet Camaros, Ford Capris, Jaguar XJSs, as well as sports prototypes and GTs. They’ll all be testing their skills on the legendary hairpin bends and elevated corners of this historic circuit. Off-track activities include exhibitions and boutiques in the paddock area. 12-14 May, Route du Circuit 55, Spa-Francorchamps (Liège province)

Seneffe 2

More than 70 artists from various disciplines show off their work at the Festival des Arts Seneffe. In addition to the exhibition, numerous activities are staged over the weekend, from bodypainting, pole dancing and yoga,  face painting, and concerts, including 70s folk. Free entrance. 12-14 May, Espace Culturel de la Samme, Place Penne d’Aginais, Seneffe (Hainaut province)

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.

Photos: Cemeteries Spring 2 © Brussels City; nightlife © lyse ishimwe; Procession of the Holy Blood 2 ©Jan Darthet, Visit Bruges; Antwerp Art Weekend © Courtesy De Studio; Iolanthe © Eva Konrad-Just; Spa-Classic  ©Julien Hergault

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