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What’s on this week: 15 to 21 March

11:10 14/03/2024
Green is the colour to wear as St Patrick’s Day celebrations ring out and the arrival of spring is heralded by a cultural feast of festivals, exhibitions and events...

Belgian national treasure the Manneken-Pis adopts Irish nationality for St Patrick's Day on Sunday. The Brussels ketje will be attired in traditional Irish clothing for the celebrations. Join members of the Irish community as the special outfit gifted by the Irish Embassy and Tourism Ireland is officially unveiled or simply swing by to admire it all-day-long. 17 March 11.00, Rue de l’Etuve 46

Irish in Europe

Dress up in green along with the Brussels’ Irish community at the 16th annual Brussels Saint Patrick´s Day Parade in the city centre. Organised by Irish in Europe, the festivities kick off at 13.00 in Halles Saint-Géry with the colourful procession winding through cobbled streets before arriving in the Grand Place at around 15.30. Expect marching bands, ceremonies and presentations. Along the route, shops and restaurants will show their support with Emerald Isle-themed decorations and illuminations. 17 March 13.00-17.00, city centre

Irish in Europe

Before and after the traditional St Patricks Day Parade, there’s free festivities for all the family at Saint-Géry cultural centre. Kids and adults - all nationalities welcome - can have fun making paper Celtic knots at an arts and crafts workshop (10.30-13.30) and enjoy a concert of Irish melodies (12.00-13.00). Following the parade, the Cork Jazz Festival Club of Brussels swings into action in a session with The Lazy Jazz Men Street Band (17.00-18.30) followed by an open house music jam session (18.30-21.00). Food and drinks served all day. 17 March, Place Saint-Géry


Titanic The Artifact Exhibition is a new immersive experience into the ill-fated ocean liner at Tour & Taxis. Offering a fresh look at the tragedy of the 1912 tragedy, the exhibition evokes the stories of the passengers and crew on board via more than 260 original objects recovered from the wreckage of the liner. From a night gown worn by a survivor on the night the liner sank, to elegant period tableware found in its first-class section, they are all poignant relics of the world's best-known shipwreck. 15 March to 15 April, Avenue du Port 86C (Shed 3)

banner_oliver_stoneAward-winning American film director Oliver Stone is the guest of honour at the 16th edition of the Millenium Festival. With a programme dedicated to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, it showcases documentaries from around the globe. The festival also provides an important platform for emerging talents, staging exclusive masterclasses that explore the art and craft of documentary filmmaking, including one by Stone. Screenings and events are at Flagey, Vendôme, Centre Bruegel and CIVA. 15 to 22 March, venues across Brussels


Limited Edition Art Fair ©Lde Broca

Pick up prints, lithographs, etchings, ceramics and photographs at the Limited Edition Art Fair. This event not only acts as an exhibition on the latest in prints and multiples on show in galleries around the world, it also gives art seekers the chance to buy some beautiful pieces at affordable prices. And you can’t get a better venue to showcase all of this than the Villa Empain. 15-17 March, Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 67 (Ixelles)


For the first time since the pandemic, Scharnaval celebrations return to Schaerbeek. Although the 91st edition of the carnival procession is a lighter version than pre-Covid festivities, it takes to the streets around the Helmet area. Numerous folklore groups participate, including Gilles from Binche, the country’s carnival capital, and music and dance is courtesy of the Celtic Passion Pipe Band, Brazilian percussionists and stilt walkers. The parade sets off from Place Van Ysendyck at 14.00. 16 March (Schaerbeek)

Tapissérie - détail (c) Anissa Moukaouame

A Show of Resistance, that’s the title of the first Biennale of Women in Art organised in the capital. Bringing together 25 women artists and staging a series of talks and workshops, it explores the role of women in art. The NGO-run event, in collaboration with other initiatives, aims to achieve greater gender parity in the art world. The artists on display for the Zero Edition – all working or living in Belgium – were selected from 200 applicants. Although the exhibition is free, donations are welcome. 18 to 31 March, Espace Vanderborght, Rue de l’Ecuyer 50


The second weekend of the Banad Festival focuses on Art Nouveau and Art Deco treasures in the city centre, Louise area, Koekelberg, Laeken and Molenbeek. From classic sites such as the Solvay and Max Hallet mansions to public buildings including churches, Brugmann hospital, L’Espérance Taverne and Palace cinema, discover guided tours, interior visits and other events on the programme. 16-17 & 23-24 March, across Brussels


Among the many musical nuggets illuminating the Klarafestival is Canadian singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright’s appearance at Bozar. The New York-born musician joins forces with the Brussels Philharmonic orchestra for his second opera Hadrian: A Visual Concert, with musical direction by Clark Rundell. It features Belgian soloists Katrien Baerts, Denzil Delaere, along with bass-baritone Davóne Tines in the title role. Wainwright performs an anthology from his song repertoire in the second half. 16 March 20.00, Rue Ravenstein 23

Serve the City Brussels

Is it time to clear out your bookshelves or stock up with reading material? Bookworms can do both at Serve the City’s Second Hand English Book Sale: Winter Edition at the Vineyard on Saturday. Browse fiction titles, non-fiction and children’s books. 16 March 10.00-15.30 (book donations from 10.00 to 13.00), Boulevard du Souverain 220 (Auderghem)


Art exhibition Our Voices, Our Needs sheds light on the struggles of women amid Myanmar’s deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation. Some 25 creators from different ethnicities, religions and backgrounds in the southeast Asian country showcase their daily lives, needs, and dreams through painting, dance, photography, installation and film. The free show is funded by the European Union and organised in collaboration with the European Parliament.  20-24 March 11.00 to 19.00, Rue Simonis 33 (Ixelles)

UP FESTIVAL ©Clara Pedrol

It used to be referred to as a circus festival, but that doesn’t begin to describe the extraordinary range of physical performance you’ll find at the Up Festival. Taking place in locations both theatre-like and offbeat, it features some of the greatest local and international artists who are acrobatic or otherwise perform some feats of physical fury that wow the crowds. Highly recommended. 21 March to 1 April, across Brussels

Pinkie_Ponkie (c)Hichem Dahes

You Shall Be the Messenger of Freedom, You Shall Give Something Back, You Shall Party Eternally … just three of the 10 Gay Commandments as put forth by Belgian choreographer Thierry Smits in his campy Pinkie Ponkie, a highlight of the Les Brigittines’ In Movement Festival this week. Smits’ dancers compete on a pink-carpeted playing field as they reinterpret iconic expressions of the LGBTQ+ movement. A joyful, thoughtful evening of pure gaytitude. 21-23 March, Petite Rue des Brigittines



Irish celebrations continue in Waterloo at the Celtic Rock Festival this weekend. The battlefield site of Mont-Saint-Jean farm welcomes four music bands and crowds, and the Guinness will be flowing amid the St Patrick’s Day shenanigans. 16-17 March 19.00-midnight, Ferme de Mont Saint Jean, Chaussée de Charleroi 591, Waterloo 

Leuven Jazz (c)Tina Herbots

Warm up these cool spring nights with some hot jazz. The annual Leuven Jazz is a completely free festival featuring young and local talent. Check out the first round of the B-Jazz International Contest or the phenomenal Belgian drummer Lander Gyselinck, who has formed the BeeraadGeslagen duo with electronic musician and singer Fulco Ottervanger (pictured). The festival also includes living room and lunch-time concerts. 15-24 March, across Leuven


Documentary films always get a bit of a boost around Oscar time, but Docville introduces us to many more excellent entries in the genre every year. Put together your own programme by exploring the festival by topic or by other categories like Scienceville, Belgian Selection or the intriguingly titled Failure Succeeded. There you’ll find a man who plans to become rich and famous by building an organ from singing glasses, a neurologist who set out to replicate a human brain on a supercomputer and a filmmaker fooled by a magician – or was he? 20-28 March, across Leuven

Destination Lune

Euro Space Center launches a weekend of special moon-themed activities designed to entertain and educate all ages. Destination Lune responds to the long fascination for space exploration. As well as the centre’s classic astronaut for the day activities, there’s explorations of robotics, a special planetary show and workshops. 16-17 March, Transinne, Luxembourg province

Chambres avec Vues

More than 500 artists show off their work in around 100 exhibitions over two weekends in Namur. Chambres avec Vues is an annual and highly anticipated art trail that for its 8th edition adopts the theme of Sens dessus dessous! (Upside Down!). Cultural venues, galleries, shops, churches, coworking spaces, cafés and other buildings are transformed into exhibition spaces. The hub for the trail, that includes student collectives and amateur artists, is Galerie Beffroi in the city centre. Info also available from the tourism office. 16 & 17 & 22 & 23 March 11.00-18.00 (some venues open until 20.00), Rue du Beffroi 13

Night of the Proms (c)Freya Goossens

Book now: Night of the Proms This massive and very popular annual event mixes classical orchestra with pop, bringing international and locals legends to the stage. This year the Antwerp Philharmonic Orchestra backs Toto, Anastacia, James Morrison, star cellist Nathan Chan and Proms regulars Clouseau. It’s a bold, bright mishmash of sublime strings, killer chords and accomplished voices. 22-24 November, Sportpaleis, Schijnpoortweg 119, Antwerp

Discover more upcoming events at The Bulletin's events page.

Photos: (main image) Irish in Europe; Limited Edition Art Fair ©Lde Broca; Biennale Women in Art Tapestry detail ©Anissa Moukaouame; © Ancien Cinema Pathe Palace - Endre Sebok; Rufus Wainwright, credit v Tony Hauser; Pinkie_Ponkie ©Hichem Dahes; Leuven Jazz ©Tina Herbots


Written by Sarah Crew and Lisa Bradshaw