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What’s on this week: 28 May to 3 June

16:41 27/05/2021
Our pick of the best activities in and around Brussels – and online – for the coming week

One of Europe’s biggest art markets, Art Brussels, has postponed its normal April run to June and spread itself across the country – and the world – for Art Brussels Week. The galleries that would normally descend on Tour & Taxis for the massive event are staying put, opening their doors to visitors for extended hours and featuring solo shows by select artists. There are walking tours in Brussels, Antwerp and Knokke, and an Off Programme section that flags up interesting exhibitions in other local venues. The online viewing room lets potential buyers check out artworks in international galleries. 1-14 June, across Brussels and Belgium

The annual Construction Site Open Day has decided to not take the risk of bringing people together, instead featuring projects online. Photographs and videos take you on virtual tours of building sites and renovations that are innovative in one way or another, such as fully sustainable, mixed-used or keeping historical integrity intact. On the day itself, a report presents viewers with building career options, innovative techniques and interviews with building and architectural professionals. (In French and Dutch) 30 May

Artwork by David Crunelle

Brussels artist David Crunelle turns to history and folklore to explore what he considers the abysmal job of Belgian authorities in managing the current health crisis. The colourful mixed-media works in Ordalie picture past glories and national ‘heroes’, reducing them to the level of today’s decision-makers. Until 26 June, Zedes Art Gallery, Rue Paul Lauters 36 (Ixelles)

The Brussels, I Love You gallery walk, better known as BILY, is giving it another go after having to cancel its edition at the end of March. The idea is not just to get people into galleries to see all kinds of work by international artists but to introduce us to neighbourhoods we’ve perhaps never ventured into. Chefs take to some of the galleries to offer nibblies, and special shows and activities take place here and there. 29 May to 5 June, across Brussels

Brussels Jazz Weekend

The absolutely free Brussels Jazz Weekend is back, with a ‘balcony edition’ to keep us out of doors. The region offers us jazz concerts from iconic balconies across every municipality in the capital, with a cycle route all worked out and everything. There’s a concert every hour, so you can catch them all if you choose. 29-30 May, across Brussels

Bozar’s Singing Week kicks off, rounding off the bigger Singing Brussels programme, in which professionals offer all kinds of workshops and talks to get your voice active and your body moving. You don’t have to be a good singer to take part in the workshops, which are both online and off – it’s all about the fun. Check out, for instance, workshops on meditative singing, circle singing or the body in rhythm. English, French or Dutch used, depending on the activity. Until 6 June

Illustration by Julie Stephen Chheng

Explore the joy of drawing and sketching during Brussels’ Picture Festival. Illustration is at the heart of this festival, from pop art to hyper realism to children’s books to art brut. The incredible diversity of the genre comes shining through in exhibitions, performances, talks, workshops and a special edition of Live Magazine. 29 May to 20 June, across Brussels

The Cauchie House in Etterbeek is now open to the public every Saturday and the first Sunday of every month. A masterpiece of art nouveau, the house was built by (and for) architect and decorator Paul Cauchie in 1905. He was inspired by the Glasgow School, so symmetry and geometry take precedence over the more organic, plant-inspired lines of Belgian art nouveau. Previously closed to the public, the house is now open for free guided tours in English, French and Dutch. Reservations required. Rue des Francs 5

Book now: Spaces are limited, to grab tickets now for Summer Palace Concerts. Bozar is taking over the inner courtyard of the Coudenberg Palace for nine days of concerts, including Afro-Cuban, jazz and classical. 12-20 June, Rue Villa Hermosa 5

Painting by Arne Quinze


Whether you are crazy for Arne Quinze’s large-scale floral colour bombs or his protective arcades made of tumbling pieces of wood, you’ll find plenty to inspire you at My Secret Garden, a retrospective in Mons of the Belgian artist’s work. Exploring the relationship between nature and culture, the exhibition will overlow into the city's streets as well. 29 May to 29 August, Bam, Rue Neuve 8, Mons

The Brussels Women’s Club invites everyone to join the Chateaux to Shelter Charity Walks, a series of walks in support of two non-profit organisations: Rolling Douche, serving the homeless of Brussels, and Face, which assists children living on the streets of Egypt. Next up is a seven-kilometre walk to the beautiful ruins of the Villers Abbey in Villers-la-Ville. Sign up asap. 3 June 10:30-12:30

A portrait of Esther Perel

Get tix now: Esther Perel If you think a talk by a relationship therapist cannot fill up a concert hall, then you haven’t heard Esther Perel. World famous for her podcast ‘Where Should We Begin’ and her books Mating in Captivity and The State of Affairs, Perel is renowned for getting to the heart of the matter when it comes to interpersonal conflicts. Lively, sharp and witty, Perel is Belgian but has spent her entire career in New York City. (In English) 18 October 20.00, Stadsschouwburg, Nieuwstad 1, Antwerp

Photos, from top: ©Samuel Yal/Galerie La Forest Divonne, courtesy Art Brussels; ©David Crunelle, courtesy Zedes; ©Iwona Pom, courtesy Brussels Jazz Weekend; ©Julie Stephen Chheng, courtesy Picture Festival; ©Arne Quinze, courtesy Bam; ©Ernesto Urdaneta


Written by Lisa Bradshaw