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What’s on this week: 16-22 June

Brussels Renaissance Festival - Ommegang (c) Eric Danhier city Brussels
10:50 15/06/2023
There’s plenty of outdoor events to soak up the sunshine in our weekly culture beat

Costumes, music and food from the days of old, children shooting crossbows and various citizens wielding swords: It must be the Brussels Renaissance Festival! This major event takes over the capital for three weeks every summer. Kicking off with Family Day at Coudenberg Palace (on 18 June), it continues with guided tours of the Brussels of centuries past, special exhibitions, the Quest of the Golden Key city game, storytelling, conferences and Renaissance Day at the Museum of the City of Brussels. The big event is Ommegang (28-30 June), a massive procession of hundreds of costumed actors and giant puppets culminating in a recreation of the festivities surrounding Charles V’s entry into Brussels in 1549. 17 June to 8 July, across Brussels


Brussels’ big bike event, the BXL tour, is back for it’s 7th edition on Sunday. Racers will set off from Place de Palais and finish at the Atomium where a festival village awaits. The tour promotes inclusivity with various racing categories. Master is for more experienced cyclists, Cyclo, a 40km race, and Ride a 32km race which also allows for e-bikes. Finally, RPM enables people with disabilities to join the Cyclo and Ride categories. As part of it’s contribution to women’s sport, the tour has brought back a special On the Road training programme. Belgian legend Eddy Merckx will start the Master category at 9.00 with the other categories following with races finishing around midday. The event then continues with concerts, bicycle demonstrations and more, and snacks and refreshments, including a collaboration with the Brussels Brewery Drink – Drink! Motorists in the capital should note that some major roads will be closed between 9.00 and 13.00. 18 June 9.00-18.00, start: Place des Palais; finish Atomium (Laeken)


Join the Korean Wave and experience many facets of the southeast Asian country at the outdoor Korean Culture Days: Hallyu Town this weekend. The city-centre location is transformed into a Korean brand fair with a host of leading SMEs connected to the global K-pop phenomenon gathered in one place. There’s a major entertainment programme – a first in Belgium, which includes fusion music and performance by four K-pop bands (E SANG pictured above), culinary classes and games. The festival is just one of the events marking the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between South Korean and Belgium. 17 & 18 June, Place De Brouckère


Throughout the summer, the City of Brussels runs free cultural events in Brussels Park, encompassing a wide programme of dance, music, cabaret, cinema and games all under the banner of Vaux-Hall Summer. The renovated historic building  – located behind Théâtre du Parc – hosts the evening events weekly from Thursday to Sunday. This year’s season opens on 16 June with a show called Strictly Niceness followed by Queen Elisabeth soloist recitals on Friday, Argentine Tango on Saturday and alfresco Mexican film screenings on Sunday. 16 June to 13 August, Vaux-Hall, Rue de la Loi 3, Brussels Park

the_best_of_portugal (1)

The park of Cinquantenaire filled with the colourful traditions and culture of Portugal this weekend. Now in it’s 9th edition, the Best of Portugal showcases the country’s quality products such as cheeses, meats, olives and wines. The guest of honour is the Douro Intermunicipal Community, which offers an incredible array of fine products such as apples, olive oil, almonds and wine, amongst others. The city was recently awarded the European Wine City of 2023. But food isn’t the only thing that the event has to offer; an entertainment programme includes concerts and other performances. It’s a perfect opportunity to enjoy the Mediterranean country’s fabulous culture. 17-18 June, Cinquantenaire Park


Female creativity takes centre stage at the sixth edition of the Cubalandz Festival, held this year in the dual locations of at Bozar and LaVallée. Dedicated to Cuba’s contemporary art scene, it focuses on productions not only created by Cuban women but also those influenced by the country’s rich an diverse culture. On the programme are concerts (including the talented Cuban-Swiss Yilian Cañizares at Bozar on 16 June, pictured above), films, performances and activities for children and families. 16 June, Bozar, Rue Ravenstein 23; 17 June, Lavallée, Rue Adolphe Lavallée 39 (Molenbeek)

Brussels in Roaring Twenties (c)Heritage Brussels

While Brussels is taken over by the Renaissance this month, Full Circle international club turns its attention to a much more recent period. Brussels in the Roaring Twenties is a full day of activities, including a guided tour with historian Paul Snell, who will tell you all about pre-war architecture from art nouveau to art deco to modernism, and a salon talk with conductor Luc Vertommen on music and arts of the interwar period. The Full Circle bar will be open for afternoon tea and cake and evening drinks. 17 June 14.00-16.30, Chaussee de Vleurgat 89 (Ixelles)


The huge and varied Fete de la Musique once again offers dozens of musical concerts and DJ sets in indoor and outdoor venues in Brussels and Wallonia. Since 1985, the French-community festival has celebrated the solstice by promoting its artists and musicians in cities, towns and villages in each of its provinces. In Brussels, the main fiesta returns to Cinquanteanire park on 23 and 24 June, while a jazz programme sets Jette jumping and Molenbeek welcomes a feminist programme. Check out the vast programme and peruse this map! for more information. 21-25 June, multiple locations in Brussels and Wallonia

African films

Book now Bozar is screening a selection of short films from the New York African Film Festival programme, followed by a discussion with all of the filmmakers. The theme Notes from Home: Recurring Dreams see films focused on shared aspirations over time and the voices of women who simultaneously uphold tradition and push culture forward (in English). 23 June 20.30, Rue Ravenstein 23


©Domaine de la bataille watertoo WE 4

To mark this year’s anniversary of the history-changing 1815 Battle of Waterloo, three events over a two-week period are being staged in and around the memorial centre. The official commemoration of the battle is held on 18 June with an afternoon of activities including a procession from the Lion’s Mound to the Monument aux Belges and back. To learn about the ongoing archaeological research at the site, don’t miss the conference (in Fr) on 22 June ‘Autopsie de deux soldats morts à Waterloo’. Finally, a historical weekend at the beginning of July sees the traditional bivouac camps erected in key sites, plus  a battle followers’ civilian village and a reenactment of the battle of Hougoumont. 18 June 13.30-17.00; 22 June 19.00 (memorial centre); 1 & 2 July, Lion’s Mound, Hougoumont

Stroom Festival

The Stroom Festival gets you out of the city and into the lovely countryside of the Scheldt Valley between Antwerp and Ghent. There are boat trips, bike rides, classical concerts along river banks and a jazz concert on the moat of a castle. During Dender Discover, a cycle route along the Dender river takes you to interesting places in and around Dendermonde, with musical interludes. It kicks off with a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream starring well-known actors like Koen De Graeve. Be aware that events involving language are in Dutch. 21 June to 14 July, across Antwerp province and East Flanders

Huma Bhabha (c)Collection Mario Testino, courtesy of the artist and Xavier Hufkens, photo by Adam Reich

Human, animal or monster? Huma Bhabha’s figures fall somewhere in between. The Pakistani-American artist creates monumental sculptures and other mixed-media works that are strange, dark and beautiful all at once, expressing themes like colonialism, war and memory. Livin’ Things at M Museum is her first solo exhibition in Belgium. Until 29 October, Vanderkelenstraat 28, Leuven


Book now Fever’s bestselling Candlelight series honours singer-songwriter Adele in a one-night-only concert* in Antwerp. The Marolles Ensemble string quartet pays tribute to the British Grammy award-winner in a 60-minute intimate performance of many of her global hits, including Someone like you, Rolling in the deep and Skyfall. The location is a historic building in the hip Eilandje harbour area of the city.  21 June 22.30, Felix Food Klub, Godefriduskaai 30, Antwerp

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: (main image) Ommegang ©Eric Danhier Vaux-Hall Summer 2022 ©Eric Danhier; Yilian Canizares ©Franck Socha; Brussels in Roaring Twenties ©Heritage Brussels; ©Domaine de la bataille waterloo

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