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What’s on this week: 20-26 May

Belgian Pride
12:12 19/05/2022
Rainbow colours brighten up Brussels for Pride, manga culture invades Tour & Taxis and Belgium’s number one home building fair opens at Heysel... just some of the country's eclectic upcoming activities and events

If you’ve noticed a lot of rainbow colours popping up around the capital this month, it’s not your imagination: Belgian Pride is back for the first time in two years. Join the LGBTQ+ community this weekend for the big Pride Parade, featuring floats, drag queens, leather mamas, politicians, dance clubs, celebrities and lots and lots of confetti. Then check out the Pride Village and/or the Rainbow Village to party all night long (Volume Rainbow pass available here). The festive event literally takes over central Brussels, delivering a bash you won’t soon forget. 21 May, across downtown Brussels

Vanderborght Building_2020. © COLLECTIBLE

The original designs of today are the collectibles of tomorrow. That’s the idea behind Collectible, a design fair where you can browse to your heart’s content among the thousands of pieces of furniture, lamps, works of art and other home or office accessories. Everything here at the Vanderborght building (pictured) is one-of-a-kind or part of a limited edition. There’s also a Collectible Café and an afterparty. 20-22 May, Vanderborght, Rue de l’Ecuyer 50

Batibouw - Japandi Design

If you’re in search for inspiration for your dream home, look no further than Belgium’s annual show dedicated to house building and renovation, Batibouw. New virtual reality digital zones enable visitors to visualise future home projects. Other new features include Flex Living and Interior Design Trends, offering an aspirational array of decors (Japandi Design, pictured). 21-29 May, Brussels Expo, Place de la Belgique (Heysel)

Brussels Manga Japan Con

Immerse yourself in Asian pop culture at Japan Con Brussels Manga this weekend. The celebration of the cult subculture offers fans of all ages activities ranging from manga, cosplay and gaming to concerts and guests including Vincent Ropion (Nicky Larson) and Aurelien Ringelheim (Sasha Pokemon). Concerts and an Asian food court provide distraction from all the gaming. 21 & 22 May, Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 86C

Allee du Kaai

Splashdown at the Brussels canal open day Allee du Kaai on Saturday. The waterside interior and exterior space is hosting workshops, music, children’s activities, food stands and an exhibition among numerous activities. Serving as a hub for multiple organisations operating along the stretch of water, the multicultural urban project collaborates with Brussels Environment and is a former nominee of the Mixity Award. 21 May 14.00-22.00, Avenue du Port 49-53

Afropolitan Black female stakeholders in the music industry) ©GR-DR

Check out Europe’s intersection with the African diaspora from every angle during Bozar’s Afropolitan festival. Under the title Women Power, this year’s edition investigates and celebrates the creative force of African and Afro-descendant women artists. Through talks, music, film, slam, literature and fashion, women will explore their struggles, victories and challenges for the future. Many activities are in English, including the discussion on stakeholders in the music industry, featuring Charisse Beaumont Oyediwura (pictured) of London’s Black Lives in Music. 26-29 May, Bozar, Rue Ravenstein 23

Tom McGuire

Listen to the crooner’s familiar tunes at this candlelit open-air concert Tribute to Frank Sinatra by Tom McGuire at the  landmark BluePoint tower. The Bronx-born, Brussels singer and his NY-style jazz quintet The New Yorkers will deliver a passionate and rhythmic performance. 27 March, 20.30 & 22.30, BluePoint Tower, Boulevard Auguste Reyers 80 (Schaerbeek)

Courtesy The Schuman Show

Peek into Charles Michel’s closet, try to figure out what a lobbyist is selling and find your way out of endless revolving doors during The Schuman Show, that monthly send-up of our collective political culture. The live performance is peppered with improv, sketches and songs that celebrate – or castigate – the people and policies that make up the EU. (In English) 26 May 20.30, Espace Lumen, Chaussée de Boondael 36 (Ixelles)

Outside Brussels

Guided tours for internationals ©KEV&CAM

What do Julius Caesar, Hagar the Horrible and Stephen Hawking have in common? They’ve all been inspired by the city of Leuven in one way or another. Walk in the footsteps of some of the most famous travellers to the capital of Flemish Brabant during the next activity in the Guided Tours for Internationals series. 21 May 10.00-12.00, across Leuven

Dunk Festival (c)Davy De Pauw

Belgium’s biggest post-rock festival takes to four stages in Ghent’s massive Vooruit cultural centre, delivering its biggest edition to date. Put together your own schedule among the 52 local and international bands to immerse yourself in minimalist folk, thundering percussion or instrumental soundscapes. No two bands at Dunk! are ever alike. 26-28 May, Vooruit, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 23, Ghent

Mons Memorial Museum

Mons Memorial Museum has partnered with UMons and artist Pitcho Womba to re-examine Belgium’s colonial past in the exhibition Identités décoloniales. De l’Afrique à Mons. Exploring multiple strands of collective memory, it traces the colonial history of the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi via some 40 audio and visual accounts collected over a year. Numerous objects, from school reports to scouting paraphernalia and photos contribute to this attempt to offer an alternative representation of this chapter in Belgium’s past.
Until 21 May 2023, Boulevard Dolez 51, Mons

Hommes et Hirondelles

Discover how industry and the natural world came together to rescue a colony of sand martins at Carrières Les Petons stone quarry’s open day on Saturday. Immortalised in the documentary Hommes et Hirondelles (Swallows and Men) by Murielle Decarpenterie, it’s a magical story of how a group of nature lovers and industrialists joined forces to build a ‘wall hotel’ for the migratory birds that call the quarry home. The open day includes a nature walk, visit of the installation and a refreshment break (register at 21 May 10.00-14.00, Rue Beau Séjour 52, Yves-Gomezée (Namur province)

Written by Sarah Crew and Lisa Bradshaw