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What’s on this week: 17 to 23 May

11:27 16/05/2024
Brussels Pride continues to colour the city, along with a variety of festivals and outdoor attractions for the long weekend and beyond.

Regardless of what might fall out of the sky, nothing is raining on the Brussels Pride parade! Expect about a million people to descend on the centre for this massive celebratory event of the queer community. Whether you are LGBTQ+ or simply a supporter of equal rights for all, you’re welcome at this culmination of Pride Week. The parade starts at the Mont des Arts at 14.00 and snakes its way around the city’s downtown. Mont des Arts also hosts a stage with concerts and DJ sets, and don’t miss Pride Village on Boulevard de l’Empereur. 18 May, across Brussels-City

JEM festival

If you think that the JEM International Puppet Festival is only for kids, think again. There is some wonderful work here, artistically speaking but also in terms of technique and storytelling. Spend a day or two seeing many forms that fall under puppetry, like paper theatre, shadow puppetry, banraku, rod puppetry and good old-fashioned stringed puppets. Artists travel to Brussels from across the world, and many productions are without dialogue. 17 May to 9 June, Théâtre Royale de Peruchet, Avenue de la Forêt 50 (Ixelles)

Jam'in Jette 2023

Jam’in Jette Outdoor is a fantastic kick-off to Brussels’ summer festivities. During the day there’s a family-friendly mix of villages dedicated to kids, crafts and solidarity, while the tempo of the music festival rises more than a notch come nightfall with a line-up of world, soul and jazz concerts. The atmosphere and happy vibes at Park de la Jeanesse are completed by wandering street performers decked in fairy lighting. The event is free and public transport network Stib is laying on late-night shuttle buses between midnight and 2.30. 17-18 May, Avenue du Comté de Jette

Streat Fest

The third edition of popular foodie event StrEat Fest at Tour & Taxis in Brussels for a mighty celebration of street food. Serving up a multitude of delicious dishes, it promises to be one of the best tasting events of the year. An additional bonus is a diverse programme of entertainment, from workshops – culinary and otherwise – concerts, performances, street art, kids’ activities and a special edition of Brussels Vintage Market. On the foodie front, more than 100 chefs, from Belgium and abroad, including many star names, will be serving their delicious takes on street food (€5 a dish). Entry €12 pre-sale. Until 19 May, Avenue du Port 86C (Sheds 1 & 2)


The Brussels Food Festival returns to Auderghem with some 30 stands taking visitors on a culinary journey around the world, from Chile to India via Africa and Europe. A 200m terrace has been set up – the longest in Brussels – for the convivial gathering. 17-20 May, Boulevard du Souverain (opposite 183), Auderghem


More than 100 artists from around the world gather at venues in Saint-Gilles, Etterbeek and Ixelles for the 18th edition of fiEstival MaelstrOm REvolution. Enjoy poetry, slam, dance and music in various forms and for all ages (in Italian, French and English), while the highpoint of the festival is the all-night La Traversée de la Nuit on 18 May (20.30-06.30) at Rideau theatre. Until 20 May, multiple locations

Belgica Biladi - 12 (C) BE CULTURE

Exactly 60 years ago Belgium signed a bilateral labour agreement with Morocco to support a booming 1960s industrial economy. Some 40,000 Moroccans immigrated here to live and work. In the city-wide exhibition Belgica Biladi: A Belgian-Moroccan Story, archival documents, personal stories, photos and videos bear witness to multiple generations of Moroccan families. Set up by ULB (Université libre de Bruxelles) as an art trail, there are installations in several public spaces. The exhibition can be viewed in its entirety on the ULB campus this autumn. Until 21 July, across Brussels-City


Canalside contemporary art museum MIMA says goodbye its current exhibition POPCORN by opening its doors for a free activity-packed farewell. As well as access to the group show, accompanied by ‘standing guides’, visitors can join workshops and tune in to an evening DJ set by Marcel. 19 May 11.00-19.00, Quai du Hainaut 39-41, Molenbeek-Saint-Jean


In an artistic adieu from the capital, François Avril pays tribute to his beloved city in the exhibition BXL. A new series of paintings and drawings reveal a personal and poetic vision of city neighbourhoods off the beaten tourist track. Showing at Huberty & Breyne Gallery, the exhibition is accompanied by a book featuring some 100 of the artist’s paintings from the past 12 years. 17 May to 15 June, Place du Châtelain 33 (Ixelles)

B acad

Brussels – a visionary capital for Europe? Reimagining the Belgian capital’s role as the EU hub is the topic up for debate by a varied panel of movers and shakers in the Brussels bubble. After these experts pitch their ideas, the floor will open to the audience who can also vote on keys aspects of the discussion. Organised by Brussels Academy and the Brussels Commissioners’ office, the free event is in English. Registration required. 22 May 19.00-21.00, House of European History, 135 Rue Belliard


English Comedy Brussels combines the best of British sitcom with fine cuisine in its Fawlty Towers dining experience. A first in Belgium, the themed evening stars John Cleese impersonator Ed Wells, who boasts the right lofty stature to mimic the celebrated comic actor. He is joined of course by Manuel and Sybil to complete the Fawlty team, while the fabulous Barsey boutique hotel and restaurant serves as a fitting location. Meanwhile, chef Nicholas Tsiknakos delivers a three-course gourmet dinner to accompany the entertainment. 24 May 19.00, Barsey Hotel by Warwick, Avenue Louise 381 (Ixelles)


Brussels women’s club The Nine boasts its own all-female theatre company, which is staging The God of Carnage by Yasmine Reza as its maiden production. Translated to English by dramatist Christopher Hampton, the play is a famous satire of two rather smug bourgeois couples as they attempt to resolve a conflict between their children. The Nine’s all-women cast are on a mission to challenge the theatrical convention of giving masculine characters more central roles. 24-25 May 19.00, Rue Archimède 69


Perpetua – An Everlasting Musical is not only a story about a captivating leading lady, it’s a visual and audio feast of a show with break dancing, live music and tap dance rhythms. Staged by the New Musical company, the extravaganza recounts an emotional tale of resilience and unwavering determination. The company produces a range of original musical shows in English and French. 25 May 19.30, Rue de Fierlant (Forest)


Book now Frankie and Johnny at the Clair de Lune The Bridge Theatre returns to the capital’s stage with a promising brilliant production of Terence McNally’s comedy. Two restaurant workers embark on a one-night stand, expecting little beyond a brief passionate interlude from the loneliness of their lives, yet start exploring a deeper connection. The tender two-hander stars Debra Baker and Alan Turkington and is set against Debussy’s haunting Clair de Lune. 6-22 June, RESET The Venue, Rue de Ligne 8


Willy Vanderperre-momu

Belgian photographer Willy Vanderperre’s work is a who’s who of international fashion and celebrities who sport it. His long-time cooperation with designer Raf Simons is legendary, with Vanderperre turning shots of people wearing clothes into works of art. The focus is often on the person more than the clothes – a reflection of his obsession with youth as much as the subtle message: “This is the kind of person who wears this brand”. His gorgeous photos make for a great show at Antwerp’s fashion museum. Until 4 August, Nationalestraat 28, Antwerp

The Fountain Show (c)Chloé op de Beeck

From antiquity to today, fountains are mainstays of creative urban architecture and often one of the most-visited tourist sites in a city. Consider Rom’s Trevi Fountain or Singapore’s Fountain of Wealth or – dare we say – the Manneken Pis. The exhibition The Fountain Show explores the fountain as an artistic genre in its own right – a structure that shapes and makes audible the flow of water in an endless number of ways. Until 25 August, De Garage, Onder den Toren 12, Mechelen


The Resonances Festival is a jewel of a chamber music celebration that takes audiences on a musical journey, themed this year L’Intime et l’extase. It kicks off with an introductory concert, Valse au Grand Manège, at the new Namur Concert Hall, before moving to its traditional home at the gorgeous Château de Halloy. Talented international musicians stage intimate performances of chamber music in the 12th-century manor’s former stables. The varied programme includes a homage to Fauré, an open masterclass and a festive dinner with the musicians. The manor’s bar and restaurant are open after every performance. 23 May (Namur Concert Hall, Rue Rogier) 24-26 May, Château de Halloy, Route du Chateau de Halloy, Ciney


Liège’s gastronomic tour, The Epicuriales, returns for its 18th edition in the fabulous setting of Parc de la Boverie on the banks of the Meuse river and adjacent to the cycle and footbridge La Belle Liègoise. The gourmet stroll invites visitors to sample first a range of appetisers (in one tent before moving on to a series of other tents offering main dishes and desserts.  All the savoury and sweet bites are at affordable prices and prepared by some of the country’s top chefs. Until 19 May, Parc de la Boverie, Liège


A fun maritime festival for all the family, Ostend at Anchor offers concerts, street theatre, demonstration of traditional crafts and activities for children. The cornerstone of the event, though, are the hundreds of ships that sail in to Ostend for the occasion. Many of them are historical, from gaff-rigged cutters to 1920s motorised houseboats to the “El Galeon” – a replica of a 17th-century Spanish galleon. Some boats are open for guided tours. 23-26 May, across Ostend

jouetToy enthusiast Jean-Pierre Laloux has turned back time by collecting some 2,500 toys, largely dating from the past century. From carousels and clowns to dolls, mechanical toys and rare objects, he is now showing them off the public every Sunday afternoon at the Musée du Jouet Ancien. Entrance €5. Sundays 14.00-17.00, Avenue du bourgmestre Jean Materne 61, Jambes (Namur)

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

Photos: (main image) Brussels Pride ©Eric Danhier, Visit Brussels; Jam'in Jette 2023; Belgica Biladi ©BE CULTURE; Bxl vii 2024 ©Francois Avril; Willy Vanderperre, courtesy Momu; The Fountain Show ©Chloé op de Beeck

Written by Sarah Crew and Lisa Bradshaw



For those who would like an alternative plan, there is a demonstration in favour of Palestine this Sunday, 19 of May, at North Station. Starting from 13:30, and finishing at Place Jean Rey. Please, spread the word!

May 16, 2024 12:40