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What’s on this week: 17-23 December

14:36 16/12/2021
Our top picks of events and activities in Brussels and beyond

The good news is: Not every indoor performance has been cancelled. Bozar’s See Festival, for instance, is largely intact, with music and cinema focused on south-eastern Europe. This weekend’s Psychedelic Night features Belgian jazz collective Compro Oro, the Monsieur Doumani trio from Cyprus and Balkan Taksim, a Romanian multi-instrumental and electronic music duo (pictured) that truly amaze audiences with a psychedelic reworkings of traditional Balkan music. 18 December 22.00-1.30 (Festival 18-19 December), Rue Ravenstein 23

Are we there yet? Beursschouwburg looks back on another bizarre year with the Closing Party, a weekend featuring an exhibition, reading group, performances and DJ sets. It opens with hot drinks right on the doorstop. And the superb rooftop winter bar is open throughout. 17-18 December from 17.00, Rue Auguste Orts 20

A Lamborghini Miura, part of Supercar Story

Supercar Story kicks off on 17 December with a nocturne party at Autoworld. More than 40 sportscars dating from the post-war years to 2015 exemplify the supercar concept – exclusivity, speed and high performance. Visitors will find gorgeous specimens of the Lamborghini Miura (pictured), Porsche 911 Turbo and Ferrari F40 road racer, to name but a few. 17 December to 23 January, Parc du Cinquantenaire 11

More than 2,000 entries were received from amateur artists to be considered for L’Expo Nationale, an overview of artworks that capsulise the immense creativity pulsing through Belgium. A mere 30 chosen works are on show in 15 museums across Belgium, with two in each museum. 22 December to 9 January, across Belgium

A film still from Amélie

Bozar screens the famous film Amélie (technically Le Fanuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain), Jean-Pierre Juenet’s wonderfully quirky 2001 film in which a young Parisian embarks on a life’s mission to have a positive influence on others. It’s not what you’d call a Christmas film, but its look and its heart make it a perfect outing for the season. 21 December 20.30, Rue Ravenstein 23

The full concert by the Mariinsky Orchestra led by famous Russian composer Valery Gergiev was cancelled at Bozar, but – a Christmas miracle! – the maestro and part of the band are staging a more intimate affair instead. Debussy, Prokofiev, Lyadov and Mendelssohn are all on the programme. 19 December 17.30, Rue Ravenstein 23

A photo by Jérusalem Pierard from the Covid 19 exhibition

The medical unit of Belgium’s Defence department had their hands full when the coronavirus pandemic broke out in March of 2020. Photographer (and reserve sergeant) Jérusalem Pierard captured many memorable moments, on view in the exhibition Covid 19 (Frontline Medics). Until 31 March, War Heritage Institute, Parc du Cinquantenaire 3

Within the Folds of Time is a sensory experience and one that insists we slow down and take in the works, whether with our eyes, our ears or our hands. Visitors are sometimes surrounded by sounds, must enter a dark room to feel works created by blind people or appreciate intricate, complicated pieces that were made over many, many years. Until 13 March, Art et Marges, Rue Haute 314

TEDIxelles is fully in English and freely accessible online, so pull up an easy chair and listen to Belgian and European scientists, entrepreneurs and migration experts talk about the climate crisis. Under the title Countdown, all the TED talks will be focused on championing and accelerating solutions to the biggest challenge the world has ever faced. 18 December 14.40-17.00

One of the installation at the Alice in Wonderland light festival


Enormous glowing figures tell the story of Alice in Wonderland at the Antwerp Zoo. Follow the white rabbit to enter the dreamworld of Alice as she interacts with all the story’s familiar characters: The Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts, to name a few. Chinese light artists put together the zoo’s light festival every year, and their attention to detail is impressive. Until 16 January, Koningin Astridplein 20, Antwerp

Belgian artist Cindy Wright is famous for her vanitas paintings, and she carries on the tradition in Trash & Treasure, using found materials to create work that illustrates humans’ impact on the planet. It is staged in the former Adornes palace in Bruges, which is worth a look on its own. Until 22 January, Peperstraat 3

Light and sound merge in Knokke, with Light Art featuring sculptural installations along a 2.5 kilometre parcours. Dynamic movements, optical illusion and interactive functions mix with musical compositions. There is also an app that explains each work’s relationship to specific art movements, as well as a children’s trail for the wee ones. Until 9 January, across Knokke

Photos, from top: ©Miluţă Flueraş, courtesy Autoworld, ©Jean-Pierre Jeunet/Bozar, ©Jérusalem Pierard, ©Jonas Verhulst


Written by Lisa Bradshaw