Search form

menu menu
  • Daily & Weekly newsletters
  • Buy & download The Bulletin
  • Comment on our articles

What’s on this week: 17 to 23 November

11:43 16/11/2023
As the dark season encompasses us, seek solace in our shining selection of cultural activities and events…

Brightening up the glowering skies around the landmark Cinquantenaire site over the next week is Embrace of Lights, a media art project by the Korean Cultural Center. It celebrates the 60th anniversary of South Korea’s diplomatic relations with the EU. Beamed onto the triumphal Cinquantenaire arches, the illuminating work by Ligyung serves as “a radiant symbol of our shared history and mutual respect,” says the center. 16-22 November, Cinquantenaire Park


Franco-Canadian artist Kapwani Kiwanga’s latest work is a rug with an ornamental floral motif entitled Rootwork. Commissioned by Bozar, the monumental floor covering serves as a contemporary counterpoint to the arts centre’s exhibition Victor Horta and the Grammar of Art Nouveau. Evoking the visual language of the pioneering Belgian architect and designer, the artist also drew on the archives of Meise Botanic Gardens to question the history of plants and the role played by colonialism. Until 10 March, Rue Ravenstein 23

Arts Day (c)Kunstdagen voor kinderen

Arts Day for Kids lets people aged 0 to 18 get creative, get moving and get engaged. There are no limits to what art they can enjoy, from crafts to film to dance to music. Sometimes it’s about hearing, seeing and experiencing – like a guided tour of Wiels. Other times it’s about doing it yourself – like learning to paint like Van Eyck. The opportunities are endless. 19 November, across Brussels & Flanders

Gospel for Life (c)Philippe Renard

The annual Gospel for Life is always a good time, reinforcing the concept that faith is a celebration to be heard loud and clear but also an invitation to do charitable work. That’s why the proceeds of this major tour go to associations fighting poverty or assisting the sick and disabled. The upbeat, colourful shows take place in churches all over Brussels and Wallonia, including the Koekelberg Basilique on 9 December. This year the singers will also pay tribute to the work of Stevie Wonder. 17 November to 17 December


Explore your inner creativity at the third edition of the Brussels Workshop Festival running until Christmas Eve. Ttraders and artisans from the city of Brussels invite the public behind the scenes to reveal the secrets of their crafts and art. Whether by creating a home fragrance, discovering the art of bookbinding or tasting the mysteries of Mexican cuisine, embark on an artistic experience, solo or with family or friends. The festival is ideal for sourcing a gift for the holiday season. Until 24 December, Saint-Jacques district, Brussels


This double bill makes its first appearance on mainland Europe. Katsura Sunshine and Luca Cupani: Rakugo and other comic forms combine traditional Japanese storytelling with stand up laughs. Sunshine’s Rakugo show is a West End and Broadway regular, while Italian-British comic Cupani gigs around the world as well as his home city London. One free drink is included in the ticket price of the English Comedy Brussels event. 21 November 20.00 (doors open at 19.00), Le Bouche à Oreille, Rue Felix Hap 11 (Etterbeek)

Into the Blue (c)Pierre BOURAS

Into the Blue offers three evenings of short films about the sea and our interaction with it. Ecological concerns, sailing adventures and the shifting tides of change give us stories such as a solo trip around the world, sumptuous Mediterranean marine life and the last night of a lighthouse caretaker. There are also two master classes on circumnavigation. 23-25 November, Wolubilis, Cours Paul-Henri Spaak 1 (Woluwe-Saint-Lambert)


Celebrating the 360th anniversary of its 17th century chapel, Les Brigittines arts centre presents the colourful event 360°. And what a history! From a hospice to prison, military arsenal, charitable institution, covered market, ballroom, warehouse and school, the historic building has finally found its vocation as an atmospheric venue for contemporary performance. Three panoramic shows are programmed all aimed at showcasing the magnificent building. They include solo dancer Alexander Vantourhout (pictured). 23-25 November, Petite Rue des Brigittines 1


The 9th edition of the River Jazz Festival is a two-week long musical extravaganza spread across three amazing venues. Longstanding fans and newcomers will enjoy themselves with the variety of Belgian and international talent that’s on display. A diatonic accordion night, a swing party, big band music and family concerts (Griboujazz 2 pictured) all feature in the eclectic programme. Drinks, food and a jazzy ambiance add to the experience during this illustrious event, staged at Espace Senghor, Théâtre Marni and the Jazz Station. 23 November to 9 December, multiple venues in Brussels

Full Circle

Book now Full Circle Festival of Ideas. The highly anticipated festival returns to Brussels for a long weekend of lively discussion, events and live music. Offering a unique blend of cultural enjoyment and intellectual engagement, the packed programme is centred on the theme of ‘Hope’. Highlights include thought-provoking talks by authors and academics with appearances from Richard Fisher, Peter Turchin, Gaia Vince and William Sieghart. One-day and weekend passes are available. 1-3 December,Full Circle House, Chaussée de Vleurgat 89 (Ixelles)


Passion 2 (c)Courtesy Rockoxhuis

Collecting art is usually driven less by investment than by dedication and enthusiasm. This is the message behind Passion: Delightful 16th- and 17th-century Works from Private Collections, on show at the historical Snijders & Rockox House. It once belonged to Nicolaas Rockox, a 17th-century mayor of Antwerp who was also an avid art collector. This exhibition is an ode to today’s collectors who – like Rockox – are great fans of Renaissance and Baroque works of art and ensure that they are preserved and passed on to future generations. Until 31 March, Keizerstraat 10, Antwerp


Award-winning British author and director Tim Etchells, founder of Forced Entertainment, reflects on the history of theatre at the invitation of NTGent. In How Goes the World, four performers enter an absurd orgy of entrances and exits, sound cues, and memories. The eagerly-awaited production is being hailed by local media as a ‘must-see’ show. Final tickets available, while places remain for dates in February (Eng & NL surtitles). 17-18 November; 9-11 February, Minard Theatre, Walpoortstraat 15, Ghent

Scribble, Jacob Jordaens (c)Courtesy Plantin-Moretus

Regardless of the museum, paintings always take centre stage. The Museum Plantin-Moretus is making up for that with From Scribble to Cartoon: Drawings from Bruegel to Rubens. It brings together the finest pieces from Flemish collections, including works by masters such as Pieter Bruegel, Anthony van Dyck and Jacob Jordaens, but also fantastic drawings by unknown artists and the sketchbook of a 12-year-old Peter Paul Rubens. 17 November to 18 February, Vrijdagmarkt 22, Antwerp

Grafixx (c)Boycott Publishers

The Grafixx international festival of illustration, comics and printmaking is a superb event for both professionals involved in the genre and curious visitors alike. It encompasses a zine fest as well as a series of exhibitions, workshops, talks, film screenings and performances. Check out the market of stand-out picture books, a talk with French graphic novelist Yann Kebbi or a screening of the award-winning film The Painting, in which figures in an unfinished painting escape their canvas to convince the artist to complete the work. 17-19 November, De Studio, Maarschalk Gérardstraat 4, Antwerp


Fans of the Swedish supergroup are in for a treat at the exhibition ABBA 1974-2024, From Waterloo to the World. Staged by the Domain of the Battle of Waterloo, the historic site plays on the title of the band’s triumphant Eurovision song to present this tribute show. Discover fabulous replicas of their stunning costumes, a selection of unusual objects and a scenography that traces their career and fandom, which has undergone a revival thanks to the Mamma Mia musical and films. Until 18 May, Route du Lion 1815, Braine L’Alleud (Brabant Walloon)

Lionel Estève

Brussels-based French artist Lionel Estève presents The Seasons, a large sculptural  installation that unfolds in two rooms of the Museum of Contemporary Arts, MACS. The first section fluctuates between climate and light; the second is monumental and alternates between hot and cold temperatures. Together, they expose the contrasting worlds of dry and humid environment. From floating feather to stones, plants and material, this exploration of nature is delicate, poetic and emotional. Until 17 March, MACS Grand Hornu, Rue Sainte-Louise 82, Hornu (Hainaut)

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

Photos: (main image) Media Art, Korean Cultural Center; Kapwani Kiwanga Rootwork detail; Arts Day ©Kunstdagen voor kinderen; ©Gospel for Life; ©Philippe Renard; Into the Blue ©Pierre BOURAS; VanThorhout ©Bart-Grietens; griboujazz ©iicnicholas-yates; Passion 2 ©Courtesy Rockoxhuis; Courtesy NTGent; Grafixx ©Boycott Publishers

Written by Sarah Crew and Lisa Bradshaw