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What’s on this week: 31 May to 6 June

18:11 29/05/2024
Come rain or hopefully a ray of sunshine, the Zinneke parade brings Brussels to life this Saturday. Alternatively, indoor and outdoor events fill the agenda, including an environment festival, a celebration of the Middle Ages and rooftop live music.

For so many Brussels residents, Zinneke is the parade of their dreams. Arts, advocacy and community come together in a quirky, joyful procession of “Zinnodes” – a diverse variety of collaborative artistic projects  by schools, neighbourhood associations, fanfares and socially oriented ateliers. They work for months to make their Zinneke appearance thoughtful and creative. If you live in Saint-Gilles or Forest, join the Parade Poétik, where everyone will march to the Zinneke parade together. It is the official launch of Park Poétik, a summer-long festival of poetry, performance and community activities. 1 June 15.00-17.00, across the city centre

Renaissance Festival 2 (c)Eric Danhier, Visit Brussels

Hobnob with folk from the Middle Ages, experience the Brussels Cathedral’s 16th-century splendour, learn to shoot a crossbow or send the kids to help little Charles V find the Golden Fleece. Anything is possible during the Brussels Renaissance Festival, a month long celebration of the historical period of profound cultural and scientific achievements. The highlight – to say the least – is the Ommegang on 3 and 5 July, a re-enactment of Charles V’s entry into Brussels in 1549, complete with 1,400 costumed performers and of course the emperor himself. Join the throngs for the procession or book a seat in the grandstands on Grand Place for the big performance. 2 June to 5 July, across Brussels


Let’s hope the rain eases for Garden Tales – the annual chance to explore Uccle’s gardens, with guided walks, workshops, concerts, plays and children’s activities from circus to capoeira. There is even a picnic in Parc Brugmann and pétanque at Moensberg pond. Three weeks later, CIVA’s ‘women in gardening’ day highlights the role females played throughout the centuries, although this was rarely acknowledged before 1850. You can visit stunning gardens all over Brussels designed by female architects, join a bike ride showing women’s role in public spaces or a ‘Laeken au féminin’ walk, or meet the women behind ParckFarm near Tour et Taxis. 1-2 June, Uccle; 30 June, various muncipalities

Parlamentarium concerts

“A musical voyage through the vision and history of the European Union”. It sounds ambitious, and it is: The Parlamentarium’s evening concert series highlights the role of composers in political and social changes, Jewish prisoners in Treblinka and Majdanek and the mythological journey of the Phoenician princess Europa (featuring the Abdo Buda Marconi trio, pictured). Places are limited, so register asap. 4-7 June 19.00, Esplanade Solidarnosc 1980, Rue Wiertz 60


It is hard not to feel sorry for Stanislas Jasinski (1901-1978) – the Belgian architect and writer with big dreams and gargantuan projects, which, apart from Deurne airport near Antwerp and Bordet hospital, were never realised. A Le Corbusier-style Modernist – seen in Uccle’s ‘Eden Green’ residence – he wanted to radically modernise Brussels, “the city with a rotten core”. Think high-rise administrative towers and sci-fi walkways, with tall housing blocks in suburban park areas easily accessible by car. The Modernisation of Brussels showcases Jasinski’s controversial work, including plans for a Royal Library, luxury tower on Avenue Louise, Mundaneum and Palace of the Academies, alongside international projects inspired by Le Corbusier, Marcel Breuer and Oscar Niemeyer. Until 13 October, CIVA, Rue de l’Ermitage 55 (Ixelles)


The Queen Elisabeth Competition  is its final tense stage. Each finalist performs the imposed work Variations Litaniques alongside a violin concerto of their own choice with the Belgian National Orchestra under the baton of Antony Hermus. The final round on Saturday at Bozar will be followed by the proclamation of the results. Follow, or more importantly, listen to  the final rounds on national TV and radio stations. Until 1 June, Bozar, Rue Ravenstein 23


Throwing open its elegant doors this weekend is Maison Hannon when the Art Nouveau treasure celebrates its first anniversary. In the past year since its reopening, the new museum has clocked up more than 60,000 visitors. Festivities include three guided tours and musical performances while the inaugural exhibition featuring some masterpieces of the architecture and design movement is extended for the occasion.  All proceeds go to the restoration of an early album of James Ensor works, a crowdfunding project run by the Royal Library and Royal Museum of Fine Arts. Reservation necessary. 1-2 June, Avenue de la Jonction 1 (Saint-Gilles)


The Instituto Cervantes celebrates the first edition of Iceberg: a literary festival for children with free activities (in Fr & Sp): storytelling, discussions with writers and workshops. It’s hosted mainly in the Cervantes library as well as two public libraries in Ixelles. The festival is a collaboration with BiblioXL, Bibliotheek Sans Souci, Le Wolf and Bimbi Books. 30 May to 1 June, Avenue Louise 140 (Ixelles)


Pop In the City is a pan-Europe urban adventure race for women that heads to Brussels for its second edition in the city this weekend. Gathering hundreds of participants, it provides runners, walkers and cyclists with a roadbook that takes them on a tour of the artistic and cultural landmarks of the city. Saturday’s races (including a mixed one) are already sold out, but places remain for Sunday. Social activities follow each event.  1-2 June, city centre


The city’s annual celebration of nature returns this weekend with yet another packed agenda for all ages. The Environment Festival is an inspiring and festive day out in the outdoor space of Tour & Taxis. Join in interactive workshops and talks, sit back and watch film screenings, browse informative stands about environment protection and enjoy some musical entertainment. Food trucks and stands will be selling an array of quality bites. 2 June 11.00-19.00, Avenue du Port 86C

Artcrush 5

Public art goes digital in this brand new urban project, the Artcrush Scavenger Hunt. It’s an immersive exploration of Belgian creativity through the lens of seven of the country’s remarkable artists. Each day until 3 June, a different artwork is displayed on some 1,000 digital billboards in Belgium. Via QR codes integrated into the visuals, viewers are invited to collect one of the works every day. Until 3 June, across Brussels and Belgium


Head to the rooftop of the Beursschouwburg for the Out Loud Festival, an annual free music event run by the lively city-centre venue. Check out the programme for the full line-up of live concerts by local and international musicians... Watch the sunset – it surely will stop raining at some point – with a sundowner, thanks to drinks on the house until 19.00. 5-22 June, Thursday to Saturday from 17.00, Rue Auguste Orts


Don't miss The Nine’s inaugural Summer Fair, where our female members will showcase their creativity and talents. Wander through the clubhouse and garden to explore a variety of handmade crafts, delicious treats, artwork, and more. This vibrant event celebrates female empowerment and entrepreneurship, providing a platform for members to share their passions with the wider community. Everyone is welcome! 31 May 12.00-21.00, 9 Rue Archimède


The Bridge Theatre returns to the capital’s stage with a promising brilliant production of Terence McNally’s comedy Frankie and Johnny at the Clair de Lune. Two restaurant workers embark on a one-night stand, expecting little beyond a brief passionate interlude from the loneliness of their lives, yet start exploring a deeper connection. The tender two-hander stars Debra Baker and Alan Turkington and is set against Debussy’s haunting Clair de Lune6-22 June, RESET The Venue, Rue de Ligne 8

cast photo 2

Book now The Brussels Shakespeare Society is in final rehearsals for its upcoming production of The Merry Wives of Windsor at Théâtre Mercelis. The action takes place in summer 2024 when Sir John Falstaff arrives at The Garter Hotel in Windsor with his henchmen, looking to scam some easy money by romancing two wealthy Windsor wives with his fading charms. Discover how the latter plot their revenge in this modern-day take on Shakespeare’s suburban comedy where it’s the women who enjoy the last laugh. Performances in English with surtitles in French and Dutch. 11-16 June, Rue Mercelis 13 (Ixelles)



The Royal Domain of Mariemont inaugurates its Japanese site this weekend with guided tours, workshops and other free activities destined for visitors of all ages. After more than 25 years’ absence, the park’s emblematic Japanese gateway the Torii – unique in Europe – returns to the paradisical park after major renovation. Naturally, a Japanese theme pervades all the action with Manga, kimonos, origami and other themes from the land of the rising sun running through the programme. The event is part of Wallonia’s park and garden weekend. 1-2 June, Chaussée de Morlanwelz 100, Morlanwelz (Hainaut)

Bar Bricolage (c)Isaac Ponseele

Step out of the noise of the city at Bar Bricolage in Ghent’s old dock area. The bar created from recycled materials is in the massive back garden of the Chinastraat creative space. During the spring and summer months locals gather for cocktails and pizza as well as concerts, workshops, exhibitions, dances, ping-pong and the occasional flea market. Until 15 September, Chinastraat 1, Ghent

De Quaeye Werelt

Interact with merchants, knights and craftspeople during De Quaeye Werelt, a fully costumed living history medieval settlement. Pick up wares at the market, enjoy 15th-century foods prepared over open fires and see sword fights and battles as they were actually fought. Entry is free. 1-2 June, Rivierenhof, Antwerp

RESISTERS (c)Judy Chicago, Artists Rights Society

Lay the systemic links between the degradation of the planet and the oppression of women and minorities at RE/SISTERS: A Lens on Gender and Ecology. The photo exhibition is rooted in ecofeminism, a movement that arose in the 1970s and is still going strong today. RE/SISTERS brings visitors eye-to-eye with women and communities at the forefront of advocating and caring for the planet, as both they and the planet suffer under the same social, economic and political power structures. Until 14 August, FoMu, Waalsekaai 47, Antwerp


As Belgium gets set to head to the polls on 9 June, Travers Emotion heads to the garden (covered) for a series of concerts and theatre on the theme of elections and democracy. The annual outdoor festival invites a variety of artists and musicians, including Papayazz Septet from Colombia (pictured) and Laurent Doumont Soul Band L’Americano. Until 1 June, Rue Alphone Robert 70, Sart-Risbart, Incourt (Walloon Brabant)


Liège’s Biennale de l’Image Possible (BIP) comes to a close with a festive weekend  of events, from open studios and artist-run spaces to a closing party on Saturday afternoon. With its MUTANTX theme, some 50 artists, from home and abroad, have been exhibiting eclectic contemporary works in the glass and concrete setting of the vast 1970s former Chiroux library in Liège. Until 1 June, Quai Paul Van Hoegaerden 2Liège

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

Photos: (main image) Zinneke Parade ©Eric Danhier, Visit Brussels; Renaissance Festival ©Eric Danhier, Visit Brussels; Museum gardens vanbuuren; courtesy QEC; Maison Hannon ©David Plas; Bar Bricolage ©Isaac Ponseele; RESISTERS ©Judy Chicago, Artists Rights Society

Written by Sarah Crew and Lisa Bradshaw