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What’s on this week: 2-8 December

Sound Box Festival at Coudenberg Brussels
12:20 01/12/2022
Music, film, dance and debate mingle among a sprinkling of seasonal festivities in our sparkling agenda this week

It’s quite literally music of the underground as Coudenberg hosts its annual Sound Box Fest. Staged in the remaining caverns of this former royal palace, the festival brings together classical musicians who give their own spin to all kinds of music – from medieval to folk to pop. It’s a wholly unique way to experience the cellars – and the music. 4, 11 & 18 December, Place des Palais 7

Museum at Home(c)Cl‚mentine Roche

Museum at Home is back in Ixelles. This popular free event finds residents of a specific Ixelles neighbourhood hosting a painting from the Museum of Ixelles’ marvellous collection. This ninth edition is being staged in the Malibran-Gray-Brasserie district. You pick up a map of addresses in Place Flagey on the day and then make your way from one home to the next, seeing some lovely interiors, meeting friendly people and experiencing art outside a museum – where it was originally meant to be seen. 4 December 13.00-18.00, across Ixelles

Africa Neptune Frost

No continent offers more untapped opportunities than Africa, held back by corruption, climate change and civil war. Cinema Nova’s Africa is/in the Future looks at this potential through a variety of lenses. Check out Afro-futuristic sci-fi musical Neptune Frost (pictured) and the famed fiction-docu hybrid The Last Angel of History. There are also performances, concerts and discussions. Some activities are free. 8-10 December, Rue d’Arenberg 3

Hannah Critchlow

Concern for the climate is high on the agenda in Full Circle’s first Festival of Ideas. Sustainability expert Arthur Keller presents Rethinking Progress: Addressing the Real Issues (in Fr), professor of environmental geopolitics François Gemenne considers Can Democracies Save The Planet? And economist Christian Arnsperger discusses The Donut Decade: What Sustainability (Really) Means. Meanwhile, neuroscientist Hannah Critchlow (pictured) takes a look at Joined-Up Thinking, Why Two Heads Are Better Than One, and there’s plenty of other live activities designed to stimulate, inform, enrich and entertain. 2-4 December, Full Circle House, Chaussée de Vleurgat 89, Ixelles

Dr Jane Goodall

Legendary primatologist Dr Jane Goodall delivers a long-awaited public lecture on the future of the planet during An Evening of Hope. The 88-year-old will call for citizen action, highlighting the impact we can choose to have on the world around us. "If you feel there is no hope left on this planet, you should come to my lecture," says the visionary conservationist, who will be welcomed by minister Khattabi Zakia and EU Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius. The moderator is Ignace Schops. 2 December, Square-Brussels Convention Centre, Glass Entrance, Mont des Arts

Le Bleu du Caftan

Discover a selection of colourful films at the 22nd edition of the Cinemamed Festival, one of the capital’s favourite events for cinephiles. Themes of identity, intimacy, revenge and sadness weave through many of the 60 movies screened. Set in countries around the Mediterranean Sea, the vast programme offers a unique viewing experience into this part of the world. A documentary series includes for the first time, a musical section. In addition, there’s talks, meet and greets and concerts. Opening the festival is Moroccan drama Le Bleu du caftan by Maryam Touzani, starring Brussels-born actress Loubna Azabal (pictured). 2-10 December, Cinema Palace and Aventure, and other locations

Winter Pop Neder-Over-Hembeek

Winter Pop events are staged over successive weekends, kicking off in Neder-Over-Heembeek before moving on to Ambiorix square and Laeken. The 5th edition of Winter Wonders' off-festivities sees a caravan of colourful activities setting up camp in collaboration with local associations. Creative workshops, board games, entertainment, theatrical shows, fire-eaters, face-painting, storytelling, dance initiations, short film screening, circus arts… and a visit by Saint Nicolas on Saturday 3 December, 17.00-19.30. Concerts and brass bands provide a musical touch, while gourmet snacks and a variety of refreshments will keep everyone happy. 2-4 December, Place Peter Benoit (Neder-Over-Hembeek)


Musique Nouvelles concert is celebrating its 60th birthday with an anniversary concert, consisting of 60 compositions, each lasting 60 seconds. All the composers, from the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, have performed over the past 10 years. A variety of instruments, such as the trombone, flute and clarinet will fill Flagey’s studio 4 with sounds that promise to take the audience on a musical journey. For the special occasion, a six-CD album is released, compiled by Nouvelles Musique, and featuring 45 original works by the composers in question. 5 December 20.00, Flagey, Place Saine-Croix (Ixelles)

Grand Marché Noël

The big Christmas creative and sustainable market is a three-day bonanza for artisan an designer gifts organised by the nonprofit Fais le toi-même. Notable names include ceramist Alyssia Belloso, the Delfea Jewelry brand with ethical, hand-made treasures, and the illustrator Kat deMs, whose colourful works are inspired by daily lives. Until 4 & 8-11 December, Quincaillerie Vander Eycken, Rue du Viaduc 66 (Ixelles)

Brussels women's club

Brussel’s Women’s Club Christmas Fair is a seasonal sale that’s a delight for lovers of home-made goodies. There’s tempting yuletide fare such as cakes, mince pies, jams and chutneys, as well as hand-crafted table decorations and gifts. Enjoy a welcome refreshment and bite at the club’s cafe. 3 December 10.00-14.00, The Clubhouse, Rue au Bois 509 (Woluwe-Saint-Pierre)

schuman_lights_upA welcoming warm glow of lights, drinks and feasting await visitors in the elegant marquee of Schuman Lights Up. The annual festive feel-good is organised by nonprofit Schuman Square to show off and celebrate the cultural diversity of the EU quarter. It invites international partners to host a series of initiatives: Italian, Czech, Ukrainian, Welsh & Scottish (Ceilidh dancing), Congolese artists and an evening with various embassies and regions offering food and drink specialities. Three events present aspects of the European Green Deal, including a candle lighting and celebration for Eurochanuka. Events are free and open to the public. 5-19 December, Schuman roundabout


Book now Dust off your tux or ballgown and join the Italian community in a glitzy and glamorous evening of music and dance at the 5th edition of Le Grand Bal d'Italie. Dedicated to celebrated movie director Federico Fellini, it features ballets and an orchestra in the sumptuous setting of the Cercle Royal Gaulois as well as a gala dinner with an Italian chef. The dress code is dinner jacket or uniform for men, long gown for women. 10 December, Rue de la Loi 5

Outside Brussels

Nigel Ward

Final tickets are on sale for the charity concert Nigel Ward & Friends, raising money for research into children’s cancer. The get-together features founder and musician Nigel Ward, who’s joined on stage by the BSB Parents’ choir, the Military Wives Choir and Father Pat. For tickets and information, contact Nigel Ward at 0476.451.450 or 4 December, 17.00 Tervuren Theatre, GC de Warandepoort, Markt 7B, Tervuren

Leuven Short Film Festival, On My Mind

Short films are the unloved little sister of features, and the Leuven Short Film Festival illustrates what a shame that is. Collecting several shorts into each screening, the festival features local and international movies of 40 minutes or less. Dive into a world of cinema, from solid laughs to serious dramas. Some filmmakers don’t need a lot of time to tell a great story. 2-10 December, Vesalius Aula & Cinema Zed

December Dance (c)Jos‚ Caldeira

It is the 15th edition of December Dance, an event that has lasted due to its excellent programming, bringing international productions to Bruges, often in premiere or with live music. There are highly anticipated new works – such as Portuguese choreographer Marco da Silva Ferreira’s frenzied Carcass – and ongoing performances of recent works like Belgian choreographer Jan Martens’ Any Attempt Will End in Crushed Bodies and Shattered Bones (a reference to an actual statement made by Chinese president Xi Jinping during the recent protests in Hong Kong). 8-18 December, across Bruges

Latitude 50

Eco-friendly contemporary circus centre Latitude 50 presents Moments du cirque, temps fort in its new space. The inaugural event is a taster for festivals to follow in Liège and Namur. It presents 17 shows by 10 different companies that all share a joy in creating spectacular performances exploring street theatre as well as circus skills and artistry. 8-11 December, Latitude 50, Place de Grand Marchin, Marchin (Huy)

Elisabeth Recital

Book now: Elisabeth Recital Missed the Queen Elisabeth Competition for cello this year? No worries because the winner, Ha-young Choi, is performing an intimate concert in Antwerp. She is joined by no less than the winner of the 2015 Queen Elisabeth for violin, Ji-young Lim. Don’t miss this chance to see these two top talents from Korea playing together in this one-off recital that’s a co-production between the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra and the Korean Cultural Center, in collaboration with the Queen Elisabeth Competition. 17 December 20.00, Royal Elisabeth Hall, Koningin Astridplein 20, Antwerp

Magie du Noel

With the festivities fast approaching, Father Christmas is prepping his reindeers for their busiest time of year. However, Magie de Noël in Wallonia and Kerstmagie in Flanders have a bit of a situation on its hands. A huge auction has been set up to lighten the elves’ workload in 10 Belgian castles. As the little helpers have been a bit overwhelmed by the task, even losing Santa in the process, they need some extra help from visitors. Families will uncover this Christmas mystery on a tour through rooms filled with Christmas decorations and live actors. A winter bar awaits after the visit. Advance tickets required for the 50-minute tours. 3 to 23 December, multiple locations across Belgium


Bruges launched the light festival Winter Glow a few years ago, and it proved so popular, it’s become an annual event. All of the city’s holiday activities now fall under the moniker, and include not one but two Christmas markets. The first and biggest, in Grote Markt, is where you’ll find traditional chalets selling all sorts of products and edibles. A few minutes’ walk away on Simon Stevinplein are handmade crafts and artisanal delicacies. Throw in an ice skating rink flanked by a winter bar and lighting worthy of a medieval city, and you’ve got holiday cheer in your pocket. Until 8 January, across Bruges


As the oldest winter market in Belgium, Liège’s Christmas Village is a convivial feast of attractions modelled on German and Alsatian markets. It’s also the biggest with around 200 chalets spread around five zones in the city. Place Cathédrale hosts the popular light-festooned skating rink (open until 8 January), while the big wheel is conveniently located in Place Saint-Lambert. As well as local and gourmet edible delights, Liège folk have an endless appetite for cold-busting dishes such as raclette, tartiflette and fondue, served in cosy wooden chalet as well as individual stands. Naturally, local alcohol pekèt will be flowing along with other winter-warming liquid refreshments. The extensive programme includes a DJ set with dancing in Place Saint-Lambert every Thursday evening, while adjacent stands offer a welcome happy hour. Until 30 December, across Liège

For more Christmas markets and light festival around the country, check out The Bulletin’s bumper seasonal guide.

Photos: Museum at Home (c)Clementine Roche; Grand Italian Ball (c) Bernard Van Pouck; December Dance (c) Jos Caldeira; Bruges Wwinter Glow (c) Jan Darthet


Written by Sarah Crew, Lisa Bradshaw, Louis Kernoa-Pascoe