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What’s on this week: 16–22 September

09:57 15/09/2022
Peace and tranquility descend on Brussels for car-free Sunday, heritage sites open their doors, cinemas stage special events and a series of festivals liven up a week of diverse entertainment

Brussels is home to the largest Car-Free Sunday in Europe. That’s because it’s not just the token city centre that is closed to motorised vehicles but the entire Capital-Region. Activities are endless, from big events like folk festival Folklorissimo and sustainability fair Bucolic Brussels to neighbourhood gatherings such as a street picnic in Ixelles. Every municipality has a mobility and entertainment village. Local venues get in on the act, with a street party – complete with breakfast, DJs and workshops – at Beursschouwburg and the season opener at Bronks Youth Theatre. Be aware that there are two websites offering info on events and activities. 18 September, across Brussels

Heritage Days

Do you hear about the traces of colonialism in Brussels but don’t really know what they are? The subject is central to Heritage Days, with guided walks, talks and tours taking you through reminders of this dark period of history. Many embassies are opening their doors for the event this year, too, and there are plenty of other options, like a tour of the 18th century former headquarters of BNP Paribas Fortis – now used as an upmarket reception area for wealthy clients – and of the David and Alice van Buuren Museum and Gardens in Uccle. The 1928 house boasts an exceptional original Art Deco interior, while the gardens were beautifully landscaped by designers Buyssens and Pechère. 17-18 September, across Brussels

Art Beats (c) Sarah Crew

Treasured masterpieces from Belfius bank’s astounding Belgian art collection form a unique dialogue with recent acquisitions in the exhibition Art Beats. Around 60 works present a dazzling display of the country’s finest Belgian artists, selected from a collection that boasts more than 4,300 works. Star names include Rubens, Ensor, Magritte, Spillaert, Permeke, Tymans, Borremans and Van de Velde, shown alongside talented emerging artists. The gallery is perched atop the 32nd floor of the Belfius tower with the panoramic view of city an additional attraction. Its open to the public twice a month by appointment only. 17 September-24 June, Belfius Art Gallery, Place Rogier 11

World clean up

World Cleanup Day 2022 invites the population of Brussels to get together and help clean up the streets. The City of Brussels is honouring neighbourhood sweepers by asking citizens to join staff at various depots to help them for a day and enjoy a drink together. The Manneken-Pis isn’t missing out on the action either as the city’s popular character will be dressed up as a member of the team on 16 September. 17 September, across Brussels

We Love Cinema

For four days, We Love Cinema Days is partnering up with BNP Paribas for the ultimate film experience. Cinemas around Belgium will lower their ticket prices to €6 per person so that audiences can catch up on the films they’ve missed during this summer, plus enjoy a sneak peek of titles screened later this year. If that hasn’t piqued your interest already, Cinebuzz has announced that a number of prizes will be up for grabs during the trailers, including a 10-day trip for four to Phantasialand. 21-24 September, cinemas across Belgium


Cinematek is celebrating influential Japanese director Akira Kurosawa in a major overview of his work. With 30 titles under his belt, 10 of them remakes and known for opening Western film markets to the Japanese film industry, Kurosawa gives viewers a unique perspective on Japanese culture. As someone who has inspired many films around the world, including George Lucas’s Star Wars, this is an experience that moviegoers will not want to miss. Among the numerous titles coming up is Ikiru Vivre on 3 October (pictured). 16 September - 19 November, Rue Baron Horta 9

Marni Jazz Festival

Get your jazz on at the 16th edition of the Marni Jazz Festival, where numerous musical artists and events immerse audiences in a world of jazz. Five female performers: Manou Gallo, Naïma Joris, Verononika Harcsa, Barbara Wiernik and the An Pierlé Quartet take to the stage to amaze audiences with their techniques and vocals. For anyone involved in the music industry, a four-hour workshop allows participants to reflect on their current projects and how to improve them. There’s also an exhibition by Philippe Debongnie at the theatre’s bar until the end of October. 20-24 September, Rue de Vergnies 25

Bozar (c)Giuseppe Lo Schiavo

Welcome back to Bozar! The autumn music calendar returns for its 157th season with a festive Opening Weekend. A joyful mix of genres fills the arts centre’s many spaces over the two days, offering a taster of what awaits audiences over the coming months. Check out electro jazz duo Glass Museum, Anouar Brahem on the oud, and Iceland pianist Eydís Evensen. Sunday’s programme is particularly family-friendly with a performance of the Carnival of the Animals by Les Siècles ensemble. 17-18 September, Rue Ravenstein 23

Racines Festival

Racines Festival in Evere is the first event of its kind celebrating the universe of graffiti and street art. Founded by artist Fouad Hachmi, it pays tribute to the network of people involved in urban art and their intertwined roots. Discover large-scale frescoes and live performances by around 40 artists from Belgium and abroad in streets and venues across the municipality. 15-29 September, across Evere

Feral festival (c)Courtesy Feral Festival

Head back to the nature during the Feral Festival, which shakes up the boundaries between urban and rural. On the outskirts of Brussels, you will find art and rituals in public space, rap about privilege and the gentrification of the countryside and confront the politics of food production. Go barefoot in the weeds and plant the seeds of celebration – literally and metaphorically. 21-23 September, across Brussels and periphery

Full circle yoga

The Full Circle international club hosts its first Ideas Salon of the season. British economist Helen Thompson’s talk Disorder: Hard Times in the 21st Century covers Covid-19, the US-China relationship, the geopolitics of energy and more. Also this week, the club launches a six-session yoga series for beginners. All events are open to non-members as well. Yoga: 18 September 10.00-11.15; Disorder: 23 September 8.30-20.30, Chaussée de Vleurgat 89


The Anglican Holy Trinity church welcomes people of all nations at a thanksgiving and memorial service for the late Queen Elizabeth II on Saturday evening. A condolence book is also available for signing in the church until Friday 16 September,  between 11.00 and 15.00. 17 September 18.30, Rue Capitaine Crespel 29 (Ixelles)


Serve the City Brussels

Looking to donate or purchase English books? Serve the City’s Second Hand English Booksale will be offering second hand books of all genres at Stonemanor. People can also donate their books (until 13.00) so that new readers can enjoy their favourite reads. Note: Organisers will not accept DVDs or CDs. 17 September 10.00-15.30, Stonemanor British Store. Steenhofstraat 28, Everberg

Doel (c)City of Beveren

Almost everyone knows the story of the little village of Doel. In a polder area near the Scheldt, it was slated for demolition to make way for the expansion of the port of Antwerp. After decades of protest, it was saved, but most of the residents had already moved out. It’s now a haven of street art, curious tourists and a clutch of stray cats. The Doel Festival now brings electronic music into the mix, staged in possibly the most unique setting of any Belgian music festival. 17-18 September, across Doel (East Flanders)


Across Wallonia, the region celebrates its folklore, its traditions and its appetite for merrymaking in the annual Fêtes de Wallonie. From Namur and Liège to La Louvière, Ottiginies, Andenne and plenty of other towns in-between, get ready for an intense and free programme of music concerts, colourful ceremonies and traditional festivities. Warning: The pekèt will be flowing and Walloon dialect hymns ringing out! Until 19 September, towns and cities across Wallonia


As night fall, the eerie ruins of Villers Abbey come alive with a sound and light show that recounts a journey through time. Visitors is a 70-minute spectacle that introduces audiences to a world of strange and fascinating characters, benevolent phantoms from the past who want to pass on their secrets (in French and Dutch). 22 September-5 November, Thursday to Sunday, Villers Abbey, Rue de l’Abbaye (Walloon Brabant)

Photos: (main image) Car-Free (c) Benedicte Maindiaux, Environnement Brussels; Bozar (c)Giuseppe Lo Schiavo; Doel (c)City of Beveren

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