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What’s on this week: 3-9 September

14:56 02/09/2021
The autumn season is underway, and we have the events to prove it. All activities in Brussels unless otherwise noted

The first month of the autumn culture season sees the return of Brussels’ big celebration of all things design oriented, from the racks that hold our bicycles to the chairs we buy. Highlights of Design September include the Contemporary Design Market, events devoted to women and design and a route to all kinds of shops to help you decide what you really like so that your interior doesn’t look the same as everyone else’s. 7-30 September, across Brussels

The Belgian National Orchestra is opening its new season with the national premiere of These Premises are Alarmed by British composer Thomas Adès. Then violinist Sergey Khachatryan, a former winner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition, will join the orchestra for Max Bruch’s famous Violin Concerto No 1, before moving on to Brahms’ Symphony No 2. Adès, by the way, is BNO’s composer in residence, so we can expect more from him this season. 10 September 20.00, Bozar, Rue Ravenstein 23

A film still from Censor

Brussels’ indispensable cult film festival, Offscreen, postponed its usual spring edition to now, opening this week with the stylish new psychothriller Censor. Welsh director Prano Bailey-Bond’s film debut (pictured) is the story of a woman who watches violent and gory movies all day as a censor for the British film board – until her missing sister pops up in one. It’s part of the Offscreenings programme, 11 carefully selected newer movies with the potential to become cult classics. For the rest, Offscreen offers its usual fantastic blend of pulp, grindhouse, horror and simply offbeat cinema. If it swims against the mainstream, it’s in Offscreen. 8-26 September, across Brussels

Brussels Women’s Club is holding an Open Day to introduce potential new members to all its activities. If you’re an expat woman looking for new friends, drop by to learn about the club’s many activities and maybe take part in a workshop: cook Thai delicacies, create your own jewellery, do some yoga. 9 September 10.00-13.00, Rue au Bois 509 (Woluwe-Saint-Pierre)

Brussels Gallery Weekend features not just special shows in 46 galleries and 14 guest venues but talks, guided tours, book presentations, tours via podcast and ‘Generation Brussels,’ a section dedicated to up-and-coming Brussels-based artists. Whether because corona has motivated us to add a little joy and creativity to our homes or because people are simply tired of cookie-cutter art at chain retail outlets, interest in galleries is booming at the moment. This is your ultimate chance for a discovery tour. 9-12 September, across Brussels

Artist Marco Ladola’s ‘Il Volto degli Altri’

Let there be light: The latest show Deodato Art gallery features neon art and luminous sculptures that glow with intensity. While this makes some of the works in Pop Lights all the sweeter, such as Marco Ladola’s ‘Il Volto degli Altri’ (‘The Face of Others’, pictured), it adds a touch of irony to others, such as Mr Brainwash’s simple phrase ‘All You Need is Love’, in a frame backed by splatters of blood-like red paint. 3-30 September, Avenue Minerve 9 (Forest)

Hailing from Uganda but living in Manchester, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is coming to Brussels for Passa Porta’s Reading Club. Her prizewinning book The First Woman has been translated into Dutch, and this event sees the author interviewed by journalist Catherine Vuylsteke. The First Woman is based on the Ugandan myth of human creation, where man came from the earth and women from the ocean – leading to women being seen as subservient wanderers in a world of men. (In English and Dutch) 8 September 20.00-22.00, Ixelles Library, Rue Sans Souci 131

Group of mountain bikers

Sport in Brussel hosts guided mountain bike rides through the Sonian Forest on the first Sunday of every month. Bring your own bike or borrow one of theirs. If you’re new at this, no worries, they split the group into experience levels based on who shows up. 5 September 10.00-12.30

Feeling helpless in the face of political and economic lethargy when it comes to the climate crisis? You’re not alone. Join the Brussels Imagination Club’s next event, How to Fix the Planet, to learn how you can affect real change. You have far more power than you think to tackle social and global issues. 8 September 18.45-21.00, Kreativa, Rue Volta 8 (Ixelles)

Book now: La Monnaie opens its new season with the world premiere of The Time of Our Singing, a contemporary opera by Belgian composer Kris Defoort. Based on the best-selling novel by American author Richard Powers, it follows a musical family of mixed descent, embedding them in the story of 20th-century America. 14-26 September, Rue Léopold 23

Violinist Amandine Beyer


It’s the 50th anniversary of Les Nuits de Septembre, the Liège edition of the Festivals of Wallonia, a series of celebrations of classical and new music. Liège is marking the occasion with a homage to French Renaissance composer Josquin des Prez (on the 500th anniversary of his death) and a focus on their 17th-century homegrown composer Henri Dumont. 9 September to 9 October, across Liège

Book now: Rallye de la Petite Reine  Reserve your spot for this popular event in Lessines that sees the audience cycling around from one street theatre act to another. It’s a superb idea that allows visitors to see some fun performances as well as the historical city and the Dender Valley countryside around it. For those who can’t cycle 25 kilometres, there are buses and cute little trains to jet them around. 11-12 September, across Lessines (Hainaut province)

Photos, from top: ©Les Pieds de Biche, courtesy Offscreen, courtesy Deodato, courtesy Sport in Brussel, ©DR/Les Festivals de Wallonie


Written by Lisa Bradshaw