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What’s on this week: 3 to 9 May

15:22 02/05/2024
Welcome to a bumper edition of our weekly cultural agenda as the capital and the EU celebrate significant birthdays and spring events blossom around the country.

Brussels celebrates its 35th anniversary with a packed weekend of free activities in the 2024 Iris Festival. On Saturday, Schaerbeek, Evere and Saint-Josse organise numerous guided tours before the Iris Tipik Electro Night transforms the Place des Palais into a mega dance floor. The lineup features French electro duo Ofenbach, social media stars TRINIX and local heroes Alex Germys, Emjie and Raql. On Sunday, Party in the Park in Brussels park offers day-long fun with seven-themed villages providing activities for visitors and families. Meanwhile the Brussels Parliament throws open its doors. Check out the full programme... 4 & 5 May, multiple locations around the city


Take a sneak peek into the hallowed buildings of the European institutions on 4 May. The annual open-door event is a key part of the Europe Day celebrations on 9 May that commemorate the Schuman Declaration on this day in 1950. It enables the public to learn about the actions and priorities of the institutions. Visitors can participate in debates and enjoy guided tours of the buildings. 4 May from 10.00, Schuman roundabout, Rue Belliard, Place Luxembourg

CurieuCity (c)Bruxelles Environnement

Science has much to do with art, from artists needing to calculate spatial relationships to the encroaching influence of AI. The debut edition of CurieuCity Brussels combines the scientific rigor of universities with the experiential impact of art and socio-cultural activities. The festival is spread over four locations throughout the year, with the theme “the city of the future” addressing the reality of the different neighbourhoods. It kicks off this week in Molenbeek, with free workshops, guided tours and creative activities for the whole family. Some require registration. 3-5 May, Gare de l’Ouest & Parc Ouest

Star Wars

May the Fourth Be With You! If you know what that means, you might want to check out Kinepolis’ Star Wars Marathon. But be warned – it’s hardcore. Should you stay for the whole thing, you will be in the cinema for 24 hours, with a package that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, drinks and a goodie bag. The films are being shown in chronological universe order, so starting with Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. Do or do not. There is no try. 4-5 May, Kinepolis Brussels & Antwerp

Living Room FestivalIxelles hosts the convivial Living Room Musical Festival on Sunday. Ten residents in Rue Gray open their doors for live world, folk and country music. Each artist or group performs a 30-minute set, with audiences invited to choose from three concerts for €19 (€15 pre-sale). They can then move from one location to another, by foot or by bike. It’s a brilliant opportunity to meet other people through the medium of music. 5 May 14.00-18.30 (doors open 13.00), Rue Gray (Ixelles)


Contacts at A Foundation showcases the creative process behind photographers’ choice of images via contact prints – images produced from a film, usually a negative. Works by French photographer Olivier Kervern (pictured), who views contact prints in the same way others show ‘prints’, are shown in dialogue with contacts by 20th century masters Walker Evans, Guido Guidi and Luc Chessex. Highlights include Labor Anonymous, Evans’ series of passers-by from assemblers to welders one afternoon in 1946 Detroit; Guidi’s Farnsworth House, a tribute to Bauhaus architect Mies van der Rohe’s modern glass-walled masterpiece, and Chessex’s 1970s Havana scenes. Until 30 June, Avenue Van Volxem 304 (Forest)


“Come to Tangier, the land of Eternal Sunshine,” is the invitation in this enchanting new exhibition at the Jewish Museum of Belgium. Tangier, Mythical City also shows in a poignant message, given current events, that Jews, Arabs and Europeans have lived in harmony there for centuries. Admire beautiful costumes, jewellery, film posters, travel books, engravings, photographs and paintings. Artist Eugène Delacroix adored the city; his painting  Jewish Wedding is given pride of place. Official documents from George Washington and King Léopold show Tangier’s political and strategic importance. And a special ‘Jewish wedding room’ comes complete with original music. Until 31 July, Rue des Minimes 21



It’s Mustang Mania at Autoworld this spring! The motoring museum’s new exhibition Ford Mustang 60 Years: Celebrating the Golden Sixties honours the iconic car with a display of some exclusive models and a large collection of miniature Mustangs by Eric Janssen. The Ford Mustang launched spectacularly in 1964 with the Blue Oval, which was named after the famous WW2 fighter plane. The brand soon established itself in American culture and rolled out highly-popular models, from the sporty to the second generation Pony Car. 3 May to 30 June, Cinquantenaire park 11

Le jardin extraordinaire

François Bauer studied graphic design before ceramics, and it shows. He draws his ceramic object first and paints it in bright colours – sometimes with an absurd image – then he creates the ceramic piece and redraws it there. It’s like a 2D image come to life. The show Le jardin extraordinaire is a solo show of his works, most of which are as utilitarian as they are delightful. 5 May to 6 July, La Peau de L’Ours gallery, Rivoli building, Rue Emile Claus 55 (Ixelles)


The world renowned Queen Elisabeth Competition kicks off with the first public rounds at Flagey from 6 to 11 May. This year, the prestigious classical music competition is dedicated to the violin. Rising stars from around the globe are performing in the marathon contest with semi-finals scheduled for 13 to 18 May and the final from 27 May to 1 June. If you can’t snag tickets, follow all the action on social media and YouTube. National TV and radio stations also broadcast performances from the semi-final rounds onwards. 6 May to 12 June, Flagey (Place Sainte-Croix) and Bozar (Rue Ravenstein 23)

Europe DayAncienne Belgique hosts the Europe Day musical celebration while also marking the 10th anniversary of LiveEurope. For the occasion, a special programme offers talks on pressing topics for the music sector and concerts in the AB’s main hall and club. With Belgium’s current EU presidency role, there’s a spotlight on national musical talent as well as some of the hottest artists around the continent. Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo and other senior politicians will be in attendance. 9 May, 16.00 (conference); 19.30-midnight (concerts), Rue Royale 236 (Saint-Josse)


All aboard Brussels’ waterbus! The canal service launched on 1 May, ferrying passengers for the season along the Zenne between Sainctelette and Vilvoorde. With the trip taking around one hour and including five stops (all connected to pubic transport), it’s popular with commuters, tourists and day trippers, as well as cyclists who can take their bikes on to the boat and cycle back. At weekends, the company also offers themed trips and cruises. Waterbus tickets from €3.50. Online reservations recommended. Monday to Friday, 1 May to 30 June & 15 August to 31 October; daily 1 July to 14 August, Quai des Péniches (Brussels) and Steenkaai (Vilvoorde)


Book now Dive into Korean contemporary culture with these three film screenings of performances and shows. SAC on Screen – a collaboration with the Seoul Arts Center at the Korean Cultural Center provides an immersive experience with shows programmed twice on the following dates: Into Thin Air (contemporary dance) on 14 May; Dance Speaks (contemporary dance) on 16 May; and Dallae Story (non-verbal puppet show) on 6 June. Rue de Régence 4

jane_graverol_sans_titre_femme_libereeBook now More than muses: the importance of female artists in the Surrealist movement is the illuminating topic of the International Study Group’s upcoming talk in English by Isabel Vermote. Female artists such as Leonora Carrington and Jane Graverol (pictured above) played a crucial role in shaping the development of Surrealism, both as artists and muses. Belgium is currently celebrating the centenary of the birth of surrealism with exhibitions in Bozar and the Museum of Fine Arts featuring works by these women artists. Details: (guests welcome €10 payable upon entrance). 13May 10.30, Chateau Malou, Allée Pierre Levie 2 (Woluwe-Saint-Lambert)



Geuze beers have a special place in Belgium’s brewing heritage and tradition. The Toer de Geuze 2024 is the perfect opportunity to explore the refreshing sour brews and the breweries in Flemish Brabant that produce them. In this open brewery weekend, admission is free and visitors are invited to either use their own transport – car or bike – or join the tour’s special shuttle bus (to and from Biercentrum De Lambiek; reservation required). 4-5 May, Flemish Brabant province

Holy Blood (c)Visit Bruges

Every year on Ascension Day, an extraordinary event takes places in Bruges. The Procession of the Holy Blood is part parade, part theatre and part heritage, as hundreds of citizens in period costume take to the streets to re-enact scenes from the Bible and from the history of the city. Taking place since the 13th century, it is led by a horseback rider carrying the relic of the holy blood – ostensibly a cloth stained with the blood of Christ – the only time it leaves its home at the Basilica. You can show up anywhere along the route to watch or book reasonably priced tickets to get a place in the grandstands or on a bench. 9 May, across Bruges

In Rumis Footsteps

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” The great 13th-century Persian poet Jalal ad-Din Rumi left behind a treasure trove of more than 100,000 verses. For centuries, his mystical poetry has influenced music, literature, the visual arts and more than a few social media memes. In Rumi’s Footsteps is an evening of ruminating about Rumi featuring Dutch-Iranian writer Kader Abdolah, Ensemble Constantinople and Hathor Consort, which brings along Whirling Dervishes. 4 May, deSingel, Desguinlei 25, Antwerp

Dunk Festival

Emma Ruth Rundle, sleepmakeswaves, Tangled Thoughts of Leaving, Wang Wen … whether you have heard of them or not, be assured that they are contemporary masters of the guitar riff. The international Dunk Festival is an Ascension weekend mainstay, bringing together unique and loud post-rock, post-metal, drone, ambient, experimental and other alternative heavy guitars. 9-11 May, VierNulVier, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 23, Ghent


The city of Liège is hopping this weekend with yet another eclectic and international line up of musicians. Uhoda Jazz à Liège is a festival that has been gracing the Walloon city for 30 years. This year’s edition, in various venues, includes local talents such as Aka Moon and the Alexandre Cavaliere Quartet as well as Manchester breakbeat trio GoGo Penguin and young drum sensation Roni Kaspi (pictured). There’s also an off programme, kids’ activities and masterclasses. Until 5 May, multiple locations around Liège


Set in the enchanting seven-hectare English park of the Cistercian abbey, Les Jardins d’Aywiers is a popular event in gardeners’ calendars. Some 200 professional nurseries, landscape gardeners and other experts are on hand to advise with a focus this tear on healthy soil and what’s happening underground in your garden. There are also visits of the abbey, a variety of workshops and kids’ activities. 3-5 May, Rue de l’Abbaye 14, Lasne

Namur en mai - Suede

Convivial street theatre festival Namur in May sets up camp in the narrow streets and squares of the historic cobbled centre. Fairytale lamps suspended above the streets are decorative and colourful by day, festive and magical at night. Carousels, mime artists, jesters, clowns, buskers and cabaret performers fill theatres, streets, big tops and impromptu spaces. Street entertainment is free, while tickets required for shows. 9-11 May, Namur city centre

Discover more upcoming events at The Bulletin's events page.

Photos: (main image) CurieuCity ©Bruxelles Environnement; ©Olivier-Kervern Kagoshima Japon 2015; Tangier exhibition: SOLDAT RIFFAIN, Wilson, Georges Washington, 1880; Jane Graverol, Untitled (Liberated Woman) ©Sabam Belgium 2024; Holy Blood ©Visit Bruges; Namur in May: photo Suhde

Written by Sarah Crew, Lisa Bradshaw, Liz Newmark