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What’s on this week: 14-20 May

09:37 12/05/2021
Our pick of the best activities in and around Brussels – and online – for the coming week

Religious iconography became hip a couple of decades ago – think kitschy prayer candles and cheap picture frames with halo-topped saints. The exhibition Icons at Villa Empain has plenty to offer for fans of the genre while exploring how iconography has inspired both believers and artists for centuries. Until 24 October, Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 67 (Ixelles)

Dorrie Wilson, African-American academic, researcher and advisor to the European parliament, lives in Brussels and is hosting Bozar’s BE Side Lectures. Three online discussions with local experts will focus on the Africa diaspora’s place in social issues, such as the climate crisis and colonial monuments. (In English) Until 11 July

 A Murder Mystery ghost in the Coudenberg Palace

Ghosts haunt the remains of Charles V’s former palace, the Coudenberg. Do you dare descend to the labyrinth below to conduct an investigation into the death of a party guest? The guards are relying on your whole family during Murder Mystery Game. 20 May & 3 June, Place des Palais 7

Anyone who has loved working at home over the last 15 months and is keen to strike out on their own once and for all should sign up for the ING Start Your Own Business webinar. It’s free and features experts on retaining an accountant and a notary as well as creating a viable business plan. (In English) 20 May 14.00-16.45

 A photo from the Microplastics exhibition

Not that you need another reason to visit Brussels’ Sewer Museum, but the photo exhibition Microplastics does serve as an eye-opener to how invasive these tiny particles really are. An artist collaborated with scientists to magnify microscopic organisms – and the plastics they ingest. Until 19 June, Porte d’Anderlecht, Chaussée de Mons & Blvd Poincaré

Since corona broke out, there has been much talk of the spaces in which we live and our connection with nature. Belgian artist Anne Daems brings the concepts together with ‘Garden Room’, a space she has created in Bozar’s Board Lounge. She has utterly transformed it, installing delicate drawings and watercolours, folding screens, clay sculptures and a mural. She also paints doors into the space that used to be present, an ode to Victor Horta’s original design. 14 May to 31 October, Rue Ravenstein 23

Former US president Donald Trump, a climate crisis denier

Full Circle International Club presents the talk Climate Change: The Next Big Populist Cause? Catherine Fieschi, founder of British think-tank Counterpoint, is an expert on populism and contemporary forms of mobilisation and will discuss the huge potential for climate change policy to further fragment Europe’s political landscape. (In English) 20 May 19.00

De Markten’s new exhibition Reset looks at the interesting premise that modern life is built around worry and security, an obsessive protection of ourselves and our territories. What would the world look like if humans dared to be vulnerable, to live another way without knowing exactly how it looks? 13 May to 4 June, Rue du Vieux Marché aux Grains

A work by Henrique Oliveira at the Bruges Triennial


This is the third edition of the Bruges Triennial, which brings local and international artists together to stage monumental art interventions around the Venice of the North. The theme of this year’s mostly open-air edition is ‘Trauma’ – something we can all relate to considering the past 15 months. The artists were asked to consider the less than picture-perfect situations, history and stories behind all those beautiful historic facades. The result is a dynamic interaction between old and new, imagination and reality. Until 24 October, across Bruges

Make your way from room to room in Leuven’s Park Abbey – re-opened following a full restoration of the 900-year-old buildings – as you follow the route of the new exhibition Divine Lightning: 900 Years of the Norbertines. Park Abbey has the distinction of being the best preserved abbey in what was previously the Southern Netherlands, which includes most of modern-day Belgium and Luxembourg as well as parts of the Netherlands, Germany and northern France. Until 1 August, Abdij van Park 7, Leuven

Photos, from top: ©Pierre et Gilles, ‘La Madone au coeur blessé Lio’, 1991, Pinault collection; Courtesy Coudenberg Palace; Courtesy Sewer Museum; ©Chip Somodevilla/Staf/Getty; Henrique Oliveira, ‘Banisteria Caapi’, 2021, photo ©Matthias Desmet/Stad Brugge