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What’s on this week: 29 June to 5 July

09:51 29/06/2018
Our top picks of culture and activities in and around Brussels

One of Brussels – and Belgium’s – favourite summer music festivals is this weekend, and there are still tickets available! Couleur Café is at the foot of the Atomium for the second year running. Headliners of the world music fest include American soul singer Leon Bridges, the Togo All Stars, funk master George Clinton and Belgium’s greatest blues, hip-hop and rap acts, including Damso (pictured), Selah Sue and L’Or du Commun. International food trucks, a forest of hammocks and street performers who wander the festival grounds complete the scene. If you feel ambitious, try and find the ‘secret bar’ for a unique experience. This is the weekend’s coolest ticket in the capital. 29 June to 1 July, Atomiumsquare

French author and illustrator Catel Muller has spent her 20-year career breaking down the door of the boys’ club of graphic novels and comic strips. Inspired at a young age by the journalist Benoîte Groult, Muller has told the stories of a variety of women, from historians to musicians, both well-known and obscure. The exhibition Drawn Destinies of Strong Women depicts the lives of influential women, including Groult, superstar Edith Piaf and the nightclub singer and painter Kiki de Montparnasse. Until 25 November, Belgian Comic Strip Center, Rue des Sables 20

Food Talk

Discover new foods, flavours and recipes at Food Talks, an enormous potluck with the goal of sharing culture through food. Everyone is invited to bring a dish to share that is unique to their culture. The event is hosted by Food Bridge, a non-profit promoting food culture and sustainable agriculture. There will be a cooking demo as well as activities for kids. 1 July 14.00-19.00, Jadot Park, Rue du Bourgmestre (Ixelles)

What’s in store for trade, migration and tourism in a post-Brexit world? At the event The Future of Belgium-UK relations after Brexit: New Horizons, several speakers will discuss the issue, including UK ambassador to Belgium Alison Rose; Olivier Hinnekens, the secretary-general of the European Movement in Belgium and Claire Tillekaerts, CEO of Flanders Investment & Trade. The discussion is open to everyone, but preference will be given to members of specific organisation. 5 July 17.45-21.00, House of European History, Rue Belliard 135

This week is the 14th annual Big Volunteer Week across Brussels. Hundreds of good Samaritans from across the country will flock to the capital to the homeless, the elderly, asylum seekers, victims of abuse and more people who need a helping hand. The initiative is put on by Serve the City, and organizers are still calling for more volunteers or donations. 30 June to 7 July, across Brussels

Ommegang pageant

A favourite event for Belgians and expats alike, the annual Ommegang procession and pageant takes place on two nights next week. It's a startlingly massive re-enactment of Charles V’s entry into Brussels in 1549. The procession through downtown, complete with Belgium’s favourite giants and, if you’re lucky, an old wooden cart handing out beer, ends at Grand’Place, where jousting, dancing and other entertainments – the same kind Charles himself would have seen – take place. You can watch the procession from anywhere and then hang about the sides of Grand’Place to catch a peep of the pageant or buy tickets to get a good seat for the evening pageant. Ommegang is accompanied by a four-day Renaissance Village and a crossbow competition, and the entire event is part of Brussels’ Carolus Festival. Ommegang: 4 and 6 July, Village: 4-7 July, Carolus Festival: Until 2 September, across Brussels

The summer-long Festival des Minimes is wonderful for a variety of reasons. There’s a concert every weekday. They’re just 45 minutes long, so you can attend during your lunch hour. They take place this year in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels, which offers a unique atmosphere and acoustics. And they’re free. But the best reason to attend is for the fine programme, which includes Queen Elisabeth Audience Prize-winner pianist Johan Schmidt and opera arias by award-winning soprano Cécile Latchenko. 2 July to 31 August 12.00-12.45, Fine Arts Museums, Rue de la Régence 3

Resist! at Bozar

Bozar is buzzing inside and out this summer. The stalwart Brussels arts centre once again invites the community to Bozar Open Air, which finds a terrace, deck chairs, bar and a fake swimming pool on Rue Baron Horta. The installation is co-sponsored by activist group Pool is Cool to point to the fact that Brussels has no open-air swimming pool. The whole thing fits in with Bozar’s summer exhibition Resist!, an archive of iconic 1960s photography, rare video and mixed media. Throughout the exhibition there is space to create your own slogans and posters just in case you feel moved to express yourself. You’ll find related activities throughout the summer, including workshops, dance battles and live music. Resist! Until 26 August; Open Air until 28 September, Bozar, Rue Ravenstein 23

Paradise City is back for its fourth year of guilt-free partying. Incorporating extensive recycling efforts, green energy and organic food, the music festival does its best to reduce its carbon footprint and have little to no harmful effects on the environment. The electronic music festival is set on the grounds of the gorgeous Ribaucourt Castle, just outside Brussels. 29 June to 1 July, Kasteelhoekstraat 1, Steenokkerzeel

Can’t make it to a music festival this weekend? Check out our festival guide for more than 20 others taking place across Belgium this summer.

Un|Settled in Ostend and Bruges


If a collaboration between culture centres in Brussels, Bruges and Ostend that features guerrilla interventions in public space sounds a little unsettled, well, that’s the point. The months-long festival Un|Settled features an exhibition, a seaside café with free concerts and surprise performances in the Bruges train station area. A station is where people in transit pass through, meeting for a moment before moving on. It’s a symbolic space for a festival that asks how we think of home, what strangers think of our home and what we think about the strangers. 30 June to 11 November, across Ostend and Bruges

A visit to the Mundaneum in Mons is a must for anyone living in Belgium. It’s a fascinating place, a collection of knowledge begun in the 19th century that was meant to be a world library of facts – all the facts, every fact. Begun by an early pioneer in information science, the Mundaneum is considered a precursor to the internet. Right now you can also see the exhibition China: Travel Notebooks, a delightful collection of journals that illustrate how Westerners experienced the land of the red dragon from the 16th to the 20th centuries. Until 6 January, 76 Rue de Nimy, Mons

Photos: Colour Café/courtesy Damso-Facebook, Food Talks/courtesy The Food Bridge, Ommegang/courtesy Visit Brussels, Resist!/courtesy Bozar, Un|Settled/work by Meggy Rustamova/photo by Kerlijn Van der Cruyssen

Written by Lisa Bradshaw and Hannah Rodriguez