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What's on this week: 31 July-6 August

15:25 31/07/2020
Our top picks of cultural events and activities in and around Brussels

Last year, Smile Safari - the Instagram Museum - had a popup existence at Tour & Taxis and attracted 25,000 visitors who used the more than 30 sets available for Instagram madness. Starting this Sunday, they are back but in a permanent location at Shopping Anspach. In addition to the best of last year’s Instagram backdrops there are new ones, plus TikTok backdrops, a Staycation Island, karaoke booth, the disco and many more environments.

Hello Summer is a combination of events, concerts, live art, events on terraces, cinema under the stars, museum events, theatre for kids and carte blanche events. There's something for everyone. This coming week includes the following events:

  • In the Royal Park on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Guignolet dans le Parc will be presenting puppet shows - and also on Sunday at the Vaux Hall in the park there will the Brussels Games Festival from 17.00 to 20.00.
  • From Thursday to Sunday there will be live music including Taiko drumming, solo guitar, classical solo singing, synth rock, opera and Summer Sessions which highlight artists from the various cancelled festivals of this summer.
  • Next Wednesday evening, the movie The Olive Tree by Spanish director Icíar Bollaín will be screening at 19.30 in Leopold Park on the lawn in front of the House of European History. There's just room for 90 people so be sure to register online.

See U, the reimagining of the 45,000m² old Ixelles barracks is presenting its (f)estival all summer long with a guinguette, music, velodrome, art workshops, yoga, food, playground and cinema. On Thursdays from 16.00 to 22.00 there's an afterwork DJ set and organic market, with open-air cinema every other Thursday. Fridays from 16.00 to 22.00 are all about local projects. Then, on Saturdays from noon to 22.00 it's zero travel: each week a different country is featured with activities for all age groups, plus culinary and musical discoveries. Sundays are chillout time, with DJ sets, yoga and dance courses and creative activities. And on Wednesdays from 16.00 to 22.00 there are musical apéros with live concerts. The guingette and the food trucks will be there every day but on different weeks there will be different markets: the Brussels Vintage Market, U Beach with its second hand nautical products, Pop Up Plants, the Creative and Durable Market, the Feria de l’Art and We Art Ixelles, all in the old armory.

Feel like a trip to the Vegas of the 50s and 60s? The Music Village in downtown Brussels will take you there with The Rat Pack Tribute concert this Sunday. Performed by the Mathieu De Wit & Tom McGuire Sextet, The Rat Pack Tribute presents signature jazz songs made famous by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. Shows are at 19.30 and 21.45.

Saturday is an opportunity to get away from it all by entering the entrancing environment that Victor Horta created for Max Hallet in the house he designed for him. Horta’s mastery of light is nowhere as apparent as it is in this house, where not only the remarkable skylight and the first floor veranda, but also the strategically placed windows allow light to permeate the entire house. The tour is at 11.00 and is in English.

The Museum of the City of Brussels has a guided tour in English on Zoom where you can find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the Grand-Place. Called the Grand Place to Be, the virtual tour is based on the newest room in the museum which is presided over by the original 17ft statue of Saint Michael which stood at the top of the city hall tower. It is filled with art and historical objects relating to the square’s history and evolution. Historian Dirk Van Roy tells you all about the square’s eventful history, its various functions and uses and its transformations from the 12th century to today. The virtual tour is this Sunday at 15.30 and you can register at this link.

Do you want to meet new people regularly while doing sport for free in Brussels? That’s what Freeletics is all about. Whatever your current fitness level you are welcome. They meet every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday for a warm-up followed by a 30-minute workout. No equipment necessary but consider bringing water and a gym mat. Also your smartphone since the workout is available on an app. Meeting place is the athletics track on the north side of Cinquantenaire Park.

The much-loved summer lunch time concert series Midis-Minimes has had to cut its audiences in half due to the health crisis but they’ve come up with a great solution: they will be presenting two concerts per day, one at 12.15 and another at 13.15. This coming week it’s Rachmaninoff on Wednesday and Beethoven on Thursday.

Originally a breakdancer, Julien Carlier is a Brussels choreographer and dancer who has turned towards contemporary dance without losing his urban dance origins. He is one of the 20 European choreographers to watch for in 2020, according to Aerowaves, and they highlight his piece Golem, which combines dance and sculpting, the two disciplines mirroring each other. It was supposed to be performed at Fringe Festival and at ABCDance this summer but that was before the health crisis. To replace those cancelled performances, Carlier and his group Cie Abis will be presenting a performance of Golem on Wednesday (5 August) in the great hall of See U. The piece has been rethought for this unusual space. The audience is limited to 100 - and wearing masks and respecting physical distancing is required.

It’s the last couple of weeks to see mattresses in a whole new light in Aviv Szabs’ show Horizontal Mattress at the Jewish Museum. The Israeli artist has created an installation that is also a performance. And for kids aged eight to 12 it's nearly the end for the summer treasure hunt at the museum.

The Center for Engravings and the Printed Image in La Louvière has an outstanding collection of 9,000 prints and 2,000 posters by 1,648 contemporary Belgian and international artists. This Sunday, entrance is free and you will be able to enjoy the temporary exhibition Jean Dubuffet: Le Preneur d’Empreintes presented in collaboration with the Dubuffet Foundation. And there’s a second temporary show: Tralala L’art for which the curators had fun pulling together an amusing show to tickle your fancies. There will be a guided tour at 11.00 and a family afternoon from 14.00 to 16.30 with hands-on workshops in the museum and on its very pleasant terrace.
Reservations required: or 064 27 87 27.

Written by Richard Harris