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What’s on this week: 5 to 11 January

10:54 04/01/2024
After the festive flurry, ease yourself into the new year with a spot of culture, from classical music and jazz to contemporary art. Alternatively, there’s still plenty of opportunities to party or enjoy the final weekend of seasonal winter markets across the country.

The Brussels Vintage Market hosts its first edition of the new year this week. Featuring mostly clothes and shoes – but also vinyl, dishes, toys, jewellery and design – from decades past, it is also rather a party, with food trucks, drinks and DJs. Find it the first Sunday of every month at Reset. 7 January, Rue de Ligne 8


There’s no letting up on the dance floor as international party Just a Night x Spirito Brussels presents urban music event Canopee on Saturday night. The desacralised church venue is transformed into a winter garden of Eden for the occasion, where partygoers will be unable to resist temptations, say organisers! 6 January 23.00, Rue de Stassart 12 (Ixelles)

English comedy

Kick off the new year with a healthy dose of humour thanks to English Comedy Brussels’ international line-up. Award-winning British comedian Carey Marx is ready to entertain the audience at the Black Sheep pub with special guest, German funny man Michael Wollf. 9 January 20.00 (doors open 18.30), Chaussée de Boondael 8 (Ixelles)

Wald Ensemble

Three talented young Korean musicians take to the stage for an exceptional concert by the Wald Ensemble chamber orchestra. They include Jehye Lee, the second violinist of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, as well as members of other renowned international orchestras. It’s the ensemble’s first return to Flagey following its European debut at the concert venue in 2021.  Adding to the allure, award-winning pianist Chloe Jiyeong Mun joins the ensemble. 10 January 20.00, Place Sainte-Croix (Ixelles)

(c)Courtesy Galerie Greta Meert

Galerie Greta Meert presents a solo show dedicated to Belgian artist David Claerbout. He introduces the Birdcage series with a video work of a tranquil garden in full bloom, soon interrupted by the stately home in the background being blown to bits. The absence of sound makes the experience all the more disconcerting. Further works mixing paint, ink and pencil recreate these scenes, a reminder that humans are obsessed with controlling and destroying the world around them. Until 3 February, 13 Rue du Canal

Brussels Jazz Festival

Flagey warms up cold nights with hot jazz during the Brussels Jazz Festival. Tickets are already flying out the door for this annual celebration of the music genre with roots in late 19th century African America and its many fusions and offshoots. Artist-in-residence, Brussels keyboardist Casimir Liberski (pictured), has been given carte blanche and has created a solo act as well as two collaborations – one bringing him together with contemporary American jazz greats like Greg Osby and Larry Grenadier and one featuring electro-jazz artists Roman Hiele and Tolouse Low Trax. 11-24 January, Place Sainte-Croix (Ixelles)


Final tickets are available for the acclaimed Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s appearance at Bozar. The first Belgian performance under new conductor Riccardo Muti is a much-anticipated affair. After the Belgian premiere of Philip Glass’ The Triumph of the Octagon, Muti’s programme turns to his home country for Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony, followed by Prokofiev’s Symphony No 5. 11 January 20.00, Rue Ravenstein 23

Do You Remember ©️Willem Van Puyenbroeck

Book now: Do You Remember? Buckle up for a trip down memory lane during this interactive cocktail party cum video dance club. You will hear the hits you grew up with, whether they be from the ’70s, 80s or 90s or 00s. A 360° screen experience also splashes you with pop culture vibes from the eras, and a bartender splashes down drinks to match. Go with a bunch of friends for some nostalgic fun. All ages are allowed; mocktails are served to minors. Friday and Saturday, 19 January to 24 February, Plein Publiek, Rue des Sols


Tix now: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof The box office is now open for the American Theatre Company’s adaptation of the classic Tennessee Williams play. Directed by Carrie Ellwanger, the three-act drama set in 1950s bourbon-soaked Mississippi is one antidote to the post-holiday blues. The searing and finely-tuned melodrama around the meltdown of a wealthy family is always a scorching experience. 30 January to 3 February 19.30, Centre Culturel Jacques Franck, Chaussée de Waterloo 94 (Saint-Gilles)


Zebrawoods (c)Courtesy Visit Gent

There are still tickets to two nights of Zebrawoods in Ghent – but act fast. This exceedingly popular winter music festival is in the inner courtyard of the Zebrastraat mixed-use space. While not exactly the woods, the very cosy tent encloses the courtyard’s trees along with the stage and fans. Tickets remain for Arbeid Adelt and the closing night featuring It Was A Storm, winner of Zebra Café’s Showcase#Music 2023. Until 7 January, Zebrastraat 32, Ghent

Peter Paul Rubens, Head of Bearded Man, National Gallery of Ireland

The first major exhibition at Antwerp’s Fine Arts Museum since it reopened last year is Turning Heads: Bruegel, Rubens and Rembrandt. The “head study” saw artists such as these concentrating on the human face. Often the results are small, intimate works that incorporate the lines, features and myriad looks that cross the faces of their subjects. While the three artists in the title are featured heavily, works by many painters – including Johannes Vermeer, Michael Sweerts and Hieronymus Bosch – have been borrowed from museums around the world. Until 21 January, Leopold de Waelplaats 1, Antwerp


Perles Universelles is a striking year-long urban art project by Ukrainian artist Maria Vita Gorel. Her series of monumental pearls adorn four Titan statues bearing bronze shells atop the famous Fragnée bridge in the centre of Liège. The embellishment of the Victor Rousseau statues creates a unique poetic and contemporary dialogue. Based in the Walloon city since 2017, the young artist is a graduate of art schools in Lviv and Liège and has participated in several international artist residencies and art workshops. Until April, Pont de Fragnée, Liège

Felicien Rops dans son Atelier, Paul Mathey 1988 (c) Musee d'Orsay

The artist’s studio possesses a special and mysterious place in the collective imagination. Not only was it a place of work and exhibition space, it also served as a bolt hole for many a tortured creative soul. This exhibition at the Félicien Rops museum, Au travail! Les ateliers d’artistes en Belgique au XIXE siècle, reveals details of Rops own fevered artistic process, and that of many of his fellow Belgian artists during the latter half of the 19th century. Until 10 March, Rue Fumal 12, Namur


Planckendael animal park’s annual light festival features Dragons & Unicorns. The mythical creatures are brought back to life in colourful, glowing installations dotted around the park or perched above the entryway. There are also giant flowers, mushrooms, treehouses, funky light tunnels and bursting lights that look like fireworks. Until 7 January, Leuvensesteenweg 582, Mechelen


The Meise Botanical Garden is beautiful in every season, but it has an especially enchanting look at this time of the year. Winter Floridylle is a trail of site-specific light installations glowing against a backdrop of original music composed by Belgian musician Ozark Henry. Stroll through the illuminated Island Garden and the bamboo forest and don’t miss the Plant Palace greenhouse by night. There is also a convivial winter village with food and drinks. Until 8 January, Nieuwelaan 38, Meise


The amusement park Walibi Winter is open for the first time over the Christmas holiday season with four themed zones at the Wavre site. All the usual attractions will be open, except those involving water (Radja River and Flash Back) and the Vampire ride. Otherwise, an alpine village, Frozen Land, Christmas market and Polar Playground await for the amusement of all ages. Until 7 January, Boulevard de l’Europe 100, Wavre

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

Photos: (main image) Brussels Vintage Market ©Courtesy RevoLu Art; ©Courtesy Galerie Greta Meert; Riccardo Muti and the chicago symphony orchestra ©Todd Rosenberg; Do You Remember ©️Willem Van Puyenbroeck; Zebrawoods ©Courtesy Visit Gent; Perles Universelles ©Maria Vita Goral; Felicien Rops dans son Atelier, Paul Mathey 1988 ©Musee d'Orsay; Dragons unicorns ©Mathias Roelants

Written by Sarah Crew and Lisa Bradshaw