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What’s on this week: 19-25 June

13:46 18/06/2020
Our top picks of cultural events and activities in and around Brussels

Villa Empain’s Friday Late lets you see the Art Deco mansion’s latest exhibitions after hours, sipping a drink and with a soundtrack – this month DJ Isabel (pictured) is behind the decks. 26 June 18.00-21.00, Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 67 (Ixelles)

Of course the awesome summer solstice music festival Fête de la Musique is cancelled (for the first time in 30 years), but it is holding a special edition online. It’s not giving away any secrets, calling it a “surprise”, so just tune in to find out. The same day, the organisation’s Brussels office is throwing open its doors to host a music market where you can buy albums, T-shirts and other goodies in support of Belgian musicians and bands. And they certainly need it right now. Festival: 21 June 13.00-14.00. Market: 21 June 11.00-19.00, Rue Lebeau 39

International Yoga Day is 21 June, and there are several online and on-site activities in which to take part. The big event is the Brussels Yoga Day session, which usually draws hundreds to a park somewhere. This year it’s online, but still a lovely way to start the day. Or you might like to attend a live session at Leopold Park. In the afternoon, there’s a free session of Laughter Yoga online (did you know that your body does not know the difference between spontaneous and intentional laughter?). Local community group Indian Confluence, meanwhile, hosts a live Facebook event with yoga experts from India, Singapore and Belgium. It kicks off at 9.30 with soulful Carnatic music before sessions on sun salutations, hatha yoga and corporate yoga - designed to ease workplace stress.

A painting by Sébastien Bonin

While many artists strive to be unique, Sébastien Bonin has succeeded. The Brussels-based artist employs the same technique used to create photograms, which pre-dates photography. Objects are placed on light-sensitive materials, which are then exposed to light, creating X-ray like images in black, white and shades of grey. He deconstructs his own paintings, meanwhile, shifting bits around, putting them in a new light and questioning art history itself. See the fantastic results of all of this at the Documenti exhibition at Botanique. Until 19 July, Rue Royale 236

The Brussels-based Board of European Students of Technology are holding a Virtual Summit. Free and focused on the pandemic, sessions bring together students and young professionals with global experts to discuss the impact of Covid-19 on the future of education, work and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Fully in English, it’s focused on young people interested in tackling societal issues, but anyone can listen in. Until 21 June

According to a recent study, up to half of us are getting more exercise than we did pre-coronavirus. Keep it up with Freeletics, the Brussels chapter of a global ‘move’ment that brings people together for different kinds of workouts. The Brussels group meets on Tuesday evenings in Parc du Cinquantenaire and is open to all fitness levels. It’s free but sign up ahead of time. 23 June (and every Tuesday) 18.30, Parc du Cinquantenaire

 The Architect and the Painter

Open-air film screenings should prove to be popular this summer since social distancing can be respected. Here’s one already: Adam museum of design invites you to their garden to see Eames: The Architect and the Painter. This snappy and enlightening documentary finds all kinds of interesting people talking about the Eames Office, or rather its founders, husband and wife team Charles and Ray Eames. The “painter who rarely painted” and the “architecture school drop-out who never got his license” were two of America’s most influential figures in modern architecture, furniture and graphic design. Free, but reservation required. (In English) 25 June 20.30, Place de Belgique

The House of European History re-opened to the public this week with a new exhibition, and it’s certainly timely. Documenting Covid presents a snapshot of the lives of residents of Belgium and other parts of Europe during the coronavirus pandemic. The collection of objects, photographs, drawings and banners show the deep social, economic and cultural impact of the health crisis and explores the common themes of solidarity and resilience. Until 31 December, Rue Belliard 135

Book now: A performance, a performance! Brussels’ venues are inching their way towards opening with some very specific options for a very limited number of people. So snap up tickets for Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s Goldberg Variations. The famous Brussels choreographer will be performing the new solo piece herself. The world premiere was meant for Vienna three weeks ago, but Brussels lucked out and is seeing it happen here next month. Four performances for audiences of 40. Tickets go on sale at noon on 25 June. (Should you miss it, it will be back in December) 1-4 July 20.30, Rosas, Avenue Van Volxem (Forest)

Painting by Salvatore Pirchio


Liège’s iconic Trinkhall building in Parc d’Avroy has undergone an extensive renovation and expansion, making the modernist structure from the 1960s as striking on the inside as it is on the outside. It is the home of the Madmusée and Madcafé, both of which are now also known as Trinkhall. The museum houses an outstanding collection of art brut, mostly created by developmentally disabled people, and the café tables spill outside into the park. While the splashy grand opening will have to wait until September, Trinkhall opened to the public this week, with advance reservation according to time slots. Well worth a visit. Parc d’Avroy, Liège

Photos, from top: Courtesy Villa Empain/Facebook; ©Sébastien Bonin’s “Qui trompe-t-on ici” (cropped), 2019/Courtesy Michel Rein; courtesy PBS; ©(cropped)/M Thies Collection/Trinkhall Museum

Written by Lisa Bradshaw