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What’s on this week: 22-28 June

16:15 21/06/2018
Our top picks of culture and activities in and around Brussels

Star-crossed lovers have long been a popular subject for poets and playwrights, and this pan-European musical project has brought together two of literary history’s most famous: Orpheus and Eurydice and Layla and Majnun. Though one striking difference separates the two: While Majnun is kept from his true love by her father, Orpheus is to blame for Eurydice’s ultimate demise. How these four figures figure in each other’s lives is the fascinating story behind Orfeo & Majnun, a La Monnaie production in co-operation with six other cultural institutions across Europe. It is as such multi-lingual: Orpheus and Eurydice sing in English, Layla and Majnun in Arabic, and a narrator tells the story in both French and Dutch. On 30 June, the day after the premiere, Brussels celebrates the culmination of the Orfeo & Majnun community project with puppet-making workshops on the Grand-Place, a city parade, an exhibition created by Brussels residents in and around La Monnaie and a choral event. 29-30 June, La Monnaie, Place de la Monnaie

As you have no doubt noticed in your local grocery, cherry season has begun! And that means Fête de la Cérise, a Schaerbeek tradition. This annual celebration includes family activities, live music and creative workshops, as well as the ever-famous cherry-spitting contest. Open to all ages, the competition’s absolute record is 15 metres (let that sink in for a moment). 23-24 June, Josaphat park (Schaerbeek)

A festival dedicated to both cultural diversity and eco-friendliness, Festival Populaire de Bxl hosts activities and workshops for the whole family, from live orchestra to poetry. It is spread out across Brussels-City, Anderlecht and Molenbeek, and everyone is also invited to help decorate each venue to learn about recycling household waste. 22-23 June, across Brussels

Brussels Yoga Day

Test out your sun salutation on International Yoga Day. All ages are invited to practice their downward dog for free with hundreds of others at the Brussels edition of the worldwide event at Bois de la Cambre. You can also buy a T-shirt, with proceeds going to build a playground at the St Joseph de Cluny Orphanage in Pondicherry, India to celebrate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between India and Belgium. 24 June, 10.30, Bois de la Cambre

Who are Europe’s rising stars in the arts and how has the ability to freely cross borders influenced them? Find out at Bozar, which just opened Somewhere in Between: Contemporary Art Scenes in Europe. The group art show was curated not with nationality in mind, but with the artists’ relationships with each other. Until 19 August, Bozar, Rue Ravenstein 23

Brussels-City spent five years renovating the 18th-century Vauxhall in Brussels Park. Now, for the second year, the beautifully restored venue will host cultural activities every weekend during the summer. With both indoor and outdoor facilities, Vauxhall Summer includes concerts, film screenings, food tastings, workshops and more. Until 18 August

Nordic Vibes

The wonderful Brussels leg of Wallonia’s region-wide, months-long festival dedicated to classical and new music in their endless forms and variations features Europe’s northern-most musicians this year. Festival Musiq’3: Nordic Vibes gathers artists and ensembles from Scandinavia and shows us exactly why they are leading the way in bridging traditional approaches with cutting-edge classical, rock and jazz synergies. This annual event spills out of Flagey’s concert halls and into the square, where you can catch a drink and rub shoulders with some of Europe’s finest musicians. 29 June to 1 July, Flagey, Place Sainte-Croix

Fire is Gold is one of the newer festivals to break into Belgium’s renowned summer music festival scene, and it’s become a welcome addition, bringing hip-hop culture’s fashion, sport and music all to the same space. Among skateboard and breakdance exhibitions, sneaker expos and streetwear pop-ups, you’ll find four stages with nearly 30 acts, including French rapper Kalash, Belgian duo Caballero & JeanJass and Dutch rapper Sevn Alias. 23 June, Drie Fonteinen domain, Vilvoorde

It must be true that some of the best things in life are free because that’s the price put on Donuts 2 Year Anniversary bash. The electronic music group is partnering with the Kanal Centre Pompidou for this event that crosses effortlessly from indoor to out. It features concerts by Eagles & Butterflies and Fur Coat, food trucks and free access to the Kanal Centre. 22 June 16.00-midnight, Quai des Péniches

Food, food and more food. Try out South American delicacies or Asian treats at the three-day Smaak Festival this weekend. There are also bouncy castles for kids and live music. The festival will be traveling around Belgium for the summer, so if you can’t make it this weekend, check out the calendar to find all their stops. 22-24 June, Wolvendael Park (Uccle)

Mariemont estate in rural Hainaut


Spend the night at the museum – or flit between three – during Mechelen’s first Museum Night. Check out vintage toys at the Toy Museum, remember the Holocaust at Kazerne Dossin or hobnob with the cultural aesthetes of the Renaissance at the brand new Museum Hof van Busleyden. One ticket buys access to all three until midnight. As a bonus, Bus-Kruid will arrive with food and drink trucks for late night cravings. Oh, and the Hof van Busleyden will be in the midst of a three-day grand opening festival.  22 June, across Mechelen

A trip to the beautiful Mariemont estate in rural Hainaut (pictured above) is worth doing in and of itself, but the exhibition Galien: A Greek Doctor in the Roman Empire sweetens the deal. It is centred around the second-century physician and philosopher Galien of Pergamon, whose theories would dominate western medicine for the next century – for better or for worse. Explore the fascinating world of medicine during a time when scientists and philosophers were one and the same, struggling to understand both the physical and metaphysical worlds around them. Until 2 December, Chaussée de Mariemont 100, Morlanwelz

Photos: Orfeus/courtesy La Monnaie, Nordic Vibes/Veerle Vercauteren, Mariemont/courtesy, yoga/courtesy Brussels Yoga Day

Written by Hannah Rodriguez and Lisa Bradshaw