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What's on this week: 2-8 August

21:33 29/07/2019

We are blessed with a lot of excellent firework displays in Brussels and there's always space in the sky for more. Fires of Laeken is a festival of fireworks launched from behind the Atomium, which was an immediate hit. Now in its fourth year, it will be lighting up the city skyline over the next four Friday evenings. Activities and food start at 18.00, fireworks at 23.00. The Atomium and Mini-Europe will be open late on those nights.

Created as a classical counterpoint to the pop/rock Brussels Summer Festival, Classissimo is going strong and its 13th edition will take place as usual at the Théâtre Royal du Parc. Originally scheduled during the BSF, it now takes place the week before so that music fans can enjoy both. Around 80% of the musicians featured are Belgian and they perform an eclectic programme, including Chopin’s waltzes, a spotlight on the violin, lied from Schubert and songs from Ravel, Gounod, Saint-Saëns, and Poulenc, plus opera, Klezmer and Gypsy music.
2-10 August

Palace cinema is offering Sun Screens, a mini-festival of programmes, including one featuring four classic movies impeccably restored in 4K with digitally restored sound. It's a wonderful opportunity to see Easy Rider, Solaris, Some Like it Hot and Suddenly Last Summer in a visual and audio perfection that hasn’t existed since their original releases. In English with French subtitles. See the complete summer offering here.

With so many people out of town, this first Sunday of the month might be the perfect occasion to unearth some treasures at the monthly Brussels Vintage Market at Halles Saint-Géry. Clothing, accessories, jewellery, vinyl records, small furniture, toys and decorative objects are all on sale. Also on hand, a hand-picked selection of the latest creations by local designers, plus food and DJs.

Founded in 1121, the Abbey of Floreffe is a harmonious combination of buildings hailing from the 12th to the 18th centuries including the oldest industrial building in Namur Province, the mill/brewery which dates from 1250 and where you can partake of all the abbey’s food and drink products. Surrounded by beautiful countryside and overlooking the Sambre valley, it’s always a great idea for a day trip but especially this weekend when it hosts the 18th edition of Festival Esperanzah, the celebrated world music bonanza that boasts a colouful atmosphere and a beating socially-conscious heart .

While waiting for the building of an outdoor swimming pool, the city has identified three existing bodies of water as spots for public swimming. Your last chance this summer is this weekend at the Pêcheries Royales in Watermael-Boitsfort. Online reservations are filling up quickly but there will be the opportunity to sign up on site for any available spaces (no-shows, etc).

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to see someone making bobbin lace, you know how magical a product it is. Originally, Brussels Lace, the finest and most costly, was only made from the best  thread, which was spun in dark damp rooms to keep the thread from becoming too brittle. Only one ray of light was allowed into the room, and and it fell upon the thread. The city’s Lace and Fashion Museum is running a show that highlights the museum’s extensive historical lace collections by presenting some of their best pieces alongside the work of contemporary artist Carine Gilson who takes inspiration from the Garden of Eden, the kimono, Art Nouveau and famous paintings. If you live within the city of Brussels, entry is free.

Under the direction of Prince Amaury de Merode, the Merode Foundation organises a series of free 45-minute lunchtime concerts that are held in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium. This Friday it’s music for oboe and piano by Francis Poulenc.

On Saturday, Brussels by Water is offering an aperitif cruise. It’s a two-hour evening cruise along the canal with chilled background music and the first drink is on the house. Supper can be ordered. Departure 19.30.

The quirky folks at 10/12 (just off Saint-Géry) are holding a Summer Art Shop, presenting the work of various local artists “who will offer for sale their regular creations as well as works specially designed for the occasion at exceptional prices; limited photographic prints, small editions, bindings, engravings, texts and other objects”.
Thursdays to Sundays until 11 August

Written by Richard Harris