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What’s on this week: 14-20 April

14:22 13/04/2023
Discover our dizzying selection of activities and events this coming week, from performing arts to influential architecture

Anyone living in Brussels – or further afield – should consider making a pilgrimage to the Royal Greenhouses in Laeken. Only open to the public a few weeks a year, they are a sight to behold, with thousands of varieties of plants and trees, including rare species and some that have been growing since the time of King Leopold II, who commissioned the greenhouses’ construction. The classical-style buildings themselves are a design marvel, signed by illustrious Belgian architect Alphonse Balat. There are long and short walking routes, but book ahead as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. 14 April to 7 May, Avenue du Parc royal 61 (Laeken)

Modern architecture ©Valentine Van den Eynde

“It’s never just about the architecture,” a tour guide once told The Bulletin. “It’s also about why architects decided to change architecture and how this is connected to developments in society.” A marvellous example of this is Willy Van Der Meeren, the post-war architect who helped usher in a new built-for-purpose era, answering the call for more social housing with a community feel and function. Tours of Van Der Meeren’s buildings, such as VUB’s well-known student housing and the Moreau House in Laeken, is one of the  highlights of this year’s Brussels Biennale of Modern Architecture. But there are many more gems to discover. Tours are in English, French and Dutch but are selling out quickly. 18-23 April, across Brussels

MIMA Local Heroes

The Mima museum continues to stage boxing events as part of its Local Heroes exhibition. The BBA (Brussels Boxing Academy) and Vlaamse Boks Liga host a special sparring event in the museum's boxing ring with national champions showing off their skills and encouraging spectators to learn the ropes of the sport. The event is included in the entrance ticket to the museum. 15 April 15.00-18.00, Quai du Hainaut 39-41 (Molenbeek)

Tero Parbon

The Bengali New Year – Poila Baishakh 1430 - is close and Tero Parbon brings the celebrations to Brussels. Delicious food and multiple cultural programmes offer guests the opportunity to experience this significant Eastern Indian cultural event. With traditional dishes such as mung dal and mutton curry, everyone should be satisfied by the end of the evening. Entry is €5 and free for children under 10, with menus (veggie and non-veggie) priced at €20 (€12 for children under 10). Please note that the event has limited seating. 15 April 12.00-22.00, Everna community centre, Rue Saint-Vincent 30 (Evere)


Bargain hunters should head to Voddemet – Brussels Flea market this Sunday. With its regular mix of vintage and brocante stalls, the market is a perfect place to snap up some treasures. Free entry. 16 April 10.00-18.00, Gare Maritime, Tour & Taxis, Rue Picard 11


South Korea’s national contemporary dance company (KNCDC) performs a double bill of two dramatic and emotional works by new-generation choreographers. Founder member of the SIGA dance collective, Jaeyoung Lee, presents Mechanism, while former international dancer Sungim Her, has created Everything Falls Dramatic. The world-renowned KNCDC platform aspires to create performances that tell stories of history, society and daily lives, which can be appreciated across regions and by all generations. 16 April 20.00, KVS Bol, 146 Rue de Laeken

Plaisirs d'amour au MIM

Sometimes an artist – whether fine arts, musician or actor – is best remembered for their earliest works, created with a freshness of vision. This is why the Courants d’air Festival has become so popular: Final-year students from conservatories in Brussels and Wallonia present their original works in performing arts, music and visual arts. Held in the Royal Conservatory as well as less obvious locations, like the Brussels Parliament’s Hall of Mirrors, this free festival is a great way to discover the geniuses of tomorrow (pictured, Plaisirs d'amour at the MIM). 19-23 April, across Brussels


The circus is coming to town thanks to the 16th edition of HOPLA! The festival that’s been entertaining crowds since 2007, promises to be even bigger this year. Some 18 shows are taking place around Brussels, from Lone with Luuk Brantjes, who’ll demonstrate what it feels like to be alone in a connected world, to Inertie, which has two performers twisting and turning in a rotating frame. Each programme has a unique theme and performance which will bring audiences closer to the breathtaking circus world. 18-23 April, various locations in Brussels


Having met at uni in 2005, the four lads who make up The Noise Next Door have honed their improv acts to comedic perfection. So spot-on and lightning fast, it’s hard to believe it isn’t rehearsed again and again. But it isn’t; the British quartet’s subjects of song, sketch and outlandish stories come straight from the audience. Venues are clamouring to get The Noise Next Door on their stages. Don’t miss this chance to see them in Brussels. 18 April 20.00, Bouche-à-Oreille, Rue Félix Hap 11 (Etterbeek)

La gioia © Luca Del Pia

Pippo Delbono’s La Gioia is a colourful and expressive work that seeks out simple joy (gioia). The Italian author and director created the work in 2018 following a long period of melancholy sparked by the death of fellow-Italian actor Bobò who spent his latter years in a psychiatric hospital.  Delbono’s creation consists of a dreamlike and floral symphony, overflowing with fantasy and emotion. In Italian with French surtitles. 18-22 April, Théâtre National, Boulevard Emile Jacquemain 111-115

A 2 mètres

Family-orientated Mini D Festival is a multidisciplinary project that mixes dance, visual arts, sound and new technology. With nine shows for children aged four months to 12 years, the festival is staged in six venues in the capital. It’s aimed at making contemporary dance accessible to young audiences. As well as Théâtre Marni, venues include Théâtre Mercelis, Charleroi danse / La Raffinerie, Maison des Cultures et de la Cohésion Sociale de Molenbeek and Senghor. Don’t miss an outdoor acrobat duo performing for free in Place Fernand Cocq on 22 April at 15.00 (pictured). Until 26 April, multiple locations


Don’t miss this joyful and noisy procession that brings together local footballers and folklore groups in a celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Royale Union Saint-Gilloise football club. The 2nd edition of the Zwanze Parade is raising money for the women’s team of RUSG. It kicks off in the Marolles and will wind its way through the city centre to the Saint-Gilles town hall in Place Van Meenen for the inauguration of a special anniversary enamel plaque before heading to the club’s Marien stadium for the Union-Seraing match at 19.15. 16 April from 11.00, city-centre and Saint-Gilles


The American Women’s Club of Brussels is a lively bunch of expats who run lots of social and fundraising activities. Coming up on their agenda is a guided tour of the Grand Place city hall on 16 April at 12.00, which requires €15 tickets to be purchased at the city hall here. It has also organised a special Soul Food Experience Dinner at Dooley's Smokehouse with delicious desserts from Eat Dessert First by Laura on 20 April at 19.00, which is open to members and friends.  


Belgium’s musical icon Toots is the subject of conversation at the International Study Group’s talk this month. Hugo Rodriguez presents From Brussels To New York Across The Sounding Roads of Toots Thielemans. The musicologist was one of the curators of the exhibition Toots 100: The Sound of a Belgian Legend at KBR in 2022, one of the flagship events during the 'Toots 100' year (€10 non-members). 17 April 10.30 (10.00 welcome) Château Sainte-Anne, Rue du Vieux Moulin 103 (Auderghem)


Skyline, ‘Camouflage’, 2006, Rotterdam, (c)Hans Wilschut

How a city moulds its skyline tells us how it wants to be seen. That is the fascinating idea behind Skyline: Highrise in the Low Countries, an exhibition devoted to the buildings that create the landscape of a city and, hence, a self-portrait. And from the middle ages through to today, that portrait is never neutral. Until 21 May, Stam Museum, Godshuizenlaan 2, Ghent

Water Z33 ©Kobe Vanderzande

Hasselt’s leading art space, Z33, is all wet this year. A months-long program explores the endless forms and facets of water – from its ability to control nature and human migration to its journey through our bodies. Three exhibitions – River of Rebirth, Healing Water and Water Expeditions – prove that our respect for the power of water is seriously lacking. Until 20 August, Bonnefantenstraat 1, Hasselt

Tous au jardin

The start of spring is accompanied by a blossoming of garden fairs around the country. Tous au Jardin is a new event in Aywaille, Liège province, that gives visitors the opportunity to meet horticultural professionals and suppliers of garden tools and materials as well as buy seasonal plants. The fair is hosted by the Brasserie Elfique on the banks of the Amblève river: enjoy visits of the brasserie, gourmet walks and a food market selling regional produce. Free entry. 15 & 16 April, Raborive 2, Aywailles (Liège province)

Folklore Nam

It's the 25th edition of Namur’s day dedicated to its folklore traditions on Saturday. The Walloon capital welcomes any excuse to don costumes, parade through the city centre and entertain everyone with dance and music celebrating its long and illustrious history. The procession includes the city's famed stiltwalkers (Les Echasseurs). An artisan market will be setting up stalls in Place d’Armes, where a sound and light show will thrill crowds in the square at 20.30. Among the host of other colourful activities, there's a two-hour tour of the city’s folklore history at 13.30, Sur les traces du folklore namurois (€3). 15 April, Namur city-centre

Photos: (main image) Greenhouses ©Guy Philippart, Visit Brussels; Modern architecture ©Valentine Van den Eynde; KNCDC Mechanism by Lee Jaeyoung ©Aiden Hhwang; La gioia ©Luca Del Pia; Skyline, ‘Camouflage’, 2006, Rotterdam, ©Hans Wilschut; Water Z33 ©Kobe Vanderzande



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