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What’s on this week: 15-21 July

11:48 14/07/2022
As the country basks in glorious sunshine, follow our suggestions for enjoying summer activities in Brussels and beyond

New free urban sport and cultural event In the streets aims to further promote diversity in the capital. Organised by the city of Brussels, two ‘villages’ are dedicated to future Olympic sport disciplines. Play up on the ramps of the law courts is filled with climbing walls, an XXL parkour module obstacle course, workshops for kids and an outdoor café. Meanwhile, Play down in Place De Brouckère is transformed into a roller skating track, again with free demos, activities and café. Linking the two energetic villages is a walking art trail with five original installations. Until 14 August, Place Poelaert & Place De Brouckère

courtesy foire du midi

Create some summer memories at the capital’s big funfair Foire du Midi. It’s the 141st edition of the popular annual event, enjoyed by young and old. Pick your poison among hundreds of possibilities: dizzying rides, shooting galleries, sugary treats, casinos and a trip through New York City. There are new attractions this year, including the X-Treme, which simultaneously whips you around in a circle and swirls you in a somersault. Rather fittingly, the slogan for this year’s event is ‘Fly away with the Midi Fair this summer’. There’s also an abundance of food stalls, many with convivial terraces. The colourful event stretches for some 2kms between Porte de Hal and Porte de Ninove. 16 July to 21 August 13.00-midnight, along Blvd du Midi & Blvd de l’Abattoir

Walden Festival (2021)

Celebrating music in all its diversity in an outdoor setting, Walden Festival combines classical music with the vibe of a pop festival. Initiated by the organisers of the Klara festival, a mix of classical, jazz and world music virtuoso artists is guaranteed to draw crowds to the EU quarter park, along with a tempting array of food and drink stands. Headlining the programme is soprano Rabih Abou-Khalil and jazz saxophonist Robin Verheyen. Family-friendly concerts also feature. 16-17 July, Parc Léopold 

Imagine me (for what I could be) @ Petra Israël

With the 2022 Czech presidency of the Council of the European Union comes a slew of cultural events. Admire the festooned flags suspended above Rue Archimède, Rue Franklin and Rue Stevin in the EU quarter, a public art project called Imagine me (for what I could be). Some 23 artists from 11 countries – including Ukraine - have re-imagined the present-day aesthetics and symbolism of Czech and European flags to create their own colourful and meaningful versions. Until 31 July, EU quarter

Fête nationale - Nationale feestdag - National Day © - Eric Danhier

National Day celebrations in Brussels promise to be a bumper affair with an evening concert and firework display staged in Cinquantenaire park for the first time. After the disappointment of the last two years’ editions, the city is determined to inject a fiesta atmosphere into proceedings. Traditional favourites continue, including the national ball the evening before in the Marolles, which is also the venue for the resto national and musical entertainment on the big day. A military parade will be trooping in front of the Royal Palace, while the adjacent park hosts family-friendly activities and stands. 20 & 21 July, city-centre

Recyclart Holidays

Check out the Recyclart Holidays annual summer festival with its lively programme of cultural and popular events. The community arts centre – complete with vegan resto (pictured) - hosts urban entertainment, visual arts and creative workshops, from recycling to nail art. Upcoming events include Los Ninos exploring Afro diaspora music on 15 July and the clubbing Topia collective mixing music with visual arts on 22 July. Until 29 July, 13-15 Rue de Manchester (Molenbeek-Saint-Jean)

Royal Palace Empire Room two

Book now: Tour the Royal Palace Twice a year, the public gets to peek behind the curtains of Belgium’s royal properties – in the spring at the greenhouses in Laeken and in the summer at the Palace in the middle of town. The 19th-century Royal Palace is the administrative heart of the royal family and where all those important visiting dignitaries meet with the king and queen. From the Empire Room to the Mirror Room to the Venetian Staircase, it’s as dazzling and plush as you fully expect. Two exhibitions and a science activity room are included in the tour, which is good for the whole family. Reserve your spot now23 July to 28 August, Place des Palais


Silly Silence ©Michel d'Oultremont

Silly hosts a multi-disciplinary arts festival that brings concerts, readings, storytelling walks and more to the little town in Hainaut province. Called Silly Silence, the event is meant to draw attention to the natural sounds around us – wind, trees, wildlife and, indeed, silence. The backbone of the festival is an open-air exhibition by Belgian wildlife photographer Michel d’Oultremont, whose large-scale photos taken around the world are hung from ropes strung between the trees in the Silly Forest. 14 July to 30 September, across Silly (Hainaut)

Dinos (c)Courtesy MB Productions

Roar! You can practically hear the dinosaurs at the incredibly lifelike Dinos in the Sand, a sand sculpture festival at the Belgian coast. Special sand and the world’s top sand sculptors were shipped in to create a veritable Jurassic Park. There is also an archaeological zone and workshops good for the whole family. Until 11 September, beach at Middelkerke

Gentse Feesten

One of Europe’s biggest free music festivals, Gentse Feesten is a sprawling event featuring numerous stages in parks and squares. Music plays day and night, so create your own schedule or just wander around. There’s also street food, street theatre, tours, workshops and kids’ activities. Really, there’s no end to what you can stumble across at this legendary annual event. 15-24 July, across Ghent


Get ready for some of the best artists on the alternative music scene at Dour Festival , one of Belgium’s cult events. At Rockamadour, Kiosk Radio presents a line-up that perfectly matches its identity: modern and eclectic. For this five-day bumper edition, music fans will be discovering music, meeting people and creating memories that will last a lifetime. Angèle, Amelie Lesn, Floating Points, Blessed Madonna and Princess Nokia all feature on the programme. 13-17 July, Dour (Hainaut province) 

The Festival Musical de Namur

The theme of this year’s classical music series Festivals of Wallonia is ‘It’s A Mad World’, reflecting how ‘madness’ seems to have contributed to artistic works throughout history. The summer-long programme in Namur offers a range of musical styles, from baroque and jazz, to classical, tango, contemporary and world music. Until 11 September, multiple venues, Namur 

Photos: © Courtesy Foire du Midi; Imagine me (for what I could be) @ Petra Israël; National Day © Danhier; Silly Silence ©Michel d'Oultremont; Dinos (c) Courtesy MB Productions

Written by Sarah Crew and Lisa Bradshaw