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What’s on this week: 30 November - 6 December

20:27 29/11/2018
Our top picks of cultural events and activities in and around Brussels

One of Europe’s finest Christmas markets, Winter Wonders opens across downtown Brussels on Friday. For the next five weeks, from Place de Monnaie to Grand Place, across the Bourse and further to Saint-Catherine and Marché aux Poissons, hundreds of chalets and hundreds of thousands of lights lend the capital a fairy-tale atmosphere. A light show plays off the side of city hall every half an hour or so, in the shadow of the 22-metre high Grand Place Christmas tree.
The guest country this year, with special chalets near Bourse, is Finland, while the big wheel and merry-go-rounds can be found at Marché aux Poissons. The ice skating rink this year is in front of the La Monnaie opera house. New this year is a high-tech dome on Blvd Anspach between Bourse and De Brouckere with 360° audio-visual performances, films, concerts and family activities. Winter Pop, meanwhile, finds pop-up markets in Square Ambiorix, the Marolles, Neder-Over-Heembeek and Laeken on successive weekends. Until 6 January, across Brussels

Whether behaviour in public spaces alters due to design or whether design alters due to behaviour is a chicken-and-egg question, but Adam Design Museum tackles it in a terribly entertaining manner with Night Fever: Designing Club Culture 1960 – Today. From 1960s Italian clubs to Studio 54 to the Ministry of Sound in London, visitors are enveloped in the sound, light, fashion, graphics and visual effects that makes clubbing so addictive. Until 5 May, Adam, Place de Belgique

While most social media sensations are frivolous and short-lived, Aboud Saeed is neither. See the man who brought the war in Syria to our smartphones, as he updated the world about his tumultuous daily life in a country under constant siege. His posts in Arabic have now been translated and published in English as The Smartest Guy on Facebook, which he discusses at Passa Porta. (In English and Arabic) 5 December 20.00, Antoine Dansaert 46

Carmen & Lola

Warm up at the Mediterranean Cinema Festival, where dozens of films from countries bordering the eponymous sea, as well as documentaries on issues related to these countries, screen this week. A couple of gems on the programme are Carmen & Lola, an alternatively amusing and dramatic look at what happens when two young Roma women in working-class Madrid fall for each other (pictured), and Her Job, a powerful social drama in which a job cleaning a local mall could spell freedom for an oppressed wife in Athens. The festival also hosts parties, concerts and a special programme for young people. Until 7 December, across Brussels

Slick, smart and subversive, British stand-up comedian Tez Ilyas uses his ethnicity to great effect in a show The Telegraph once described as “candyfloss with a razorblade inside”. He’s performing for the first time ever in Brussels this week, in a show opened by Esther Manito. (In English) 4 December 20.00, Black Sheep, Chaussée de Boondael 8 (Ixelles)

Nearly as old as the union itself, the European Union Choir is celebrating its 60th anniversary this week at Bozar with a performance of Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem. The 90 singers are accompanied by Belgium’s Mosan Orchestral Ensemble, conducted by Jean-Pierre Haeck. 2 December 18.00, Bozar, Rue Ravenstein 23

 Château Terlinden

It’s  a festive weekend at the Château Terlinden to celebrate a complete restoration. A true 19th-century gem, the château is concealed behind the dusty Chaussée de Haecht in Schaerbeek. Now the Maison des Arts of the borough, it has undergone months of meticulous restoration by master craftsmen with original wallpapers brought back to life, architectural details freshly gold-leafed, wood panelling and brass lamps cleaned and polished, the library completely restored and more. There’s a DJ party on Friday night, with tours on Saturday as well as a themed dinner in the old stables at which all the food will be white. Super Family Sunday includes cake and games in the cellars. 30 November to 2 December, Chaussée de Haecht 147 (Schaerbeek)

Act now for tickets to one of the Moscow City Ballet’s performances: Swan Lake or The Nutcracker Suite; they’re both selling out fast. One of the world’s most extensively touring ballet companies, the Moscow City Ballet is best known for these Tchaikovsky classics. Swan Lake: 1-2 December; Nutcracker: 2 December, Paleis 12 Theatre, Place de Belgique 1  

Ever danced Kizomba? Check out the third edition of this raging party in Tour & Taxi’s beautiful Hotel de la Poste, with four days and nights dedicated to the genre of dance and music that originated in Angola and is now practiced worldwide. Workshops will get you into the swing of things. 6-9 December, Hotel de la Poste, Avenue du Port 86

December Dance


With the tagline ‘dancing down under’, Bruges stages its 12th edition of the annual holiday-season festival of dance. Every year December Dance puts contemporary dance from a specific country or region in the spotlight, and this year is (you probably guessed) Australia and New Zealand. Internationally renowned choreographers mix with new innovators to put the rich and textured dance landscape of two large countries into perspective. Check out Attractor, where dance meets heavy metal, and the Australian Dance Theatre’s The Beginning of Nature, with a gorgeous set and an electronic beat. 6-16 December, across Bruges

Judging by local radio, the 1980s is alive and well. As many of us were coming of age at the time, Generation 80 Experience is one nostalgic trip. This major exposition at Liége’s phenomenal train station covers every aspect of a culturally defining decade, from the music (Michael Jackson, MTV) to the movies (Indiana Jones, ET) to politics, economics and social movements such as the anti-sexual harassment movement and Aids activism. Relive your youth or discover some of the world events that have led us to our current global situation. Until 2 June, Liége train station

Photos: Winter Wonders/Eric Danhier, December Dance/Gregory Lorenzutti

Written by Lisa Bradshaw



So sad that our Christmas Market has a new name.

Dec 1, 2018 08:24