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What’s on this week: 7-13 December

13:17 06/12/2018
Our top picks of cultural events and activities in and around Brussels

Following five years of renovations and more than a decade of debates on how it should present its extensive collection, archives and research – all the spoils of colonialisation – the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren re-opens this Sunday. Visit on opening day or check out the films and debates at Bozar dedicated to the museum and the technical challenges of the renovations, as well as its role in Belgium and the legacy of the colonialisation of the Congo. Museum: Opens 9 December, Leuvensesteenweg 13, Tervuren. Bozar: 9-11 December, Rue Ravenstein 23

Tickets to see mega dinosaurs have sold mega fast, but there are still some seats available for this weekend’s Walking with Dinosaurs, where animatronic prehistoric creatures scare and delight the audience in turn. Warning: Littler kids might find this a bit too frightening. (Narration in French or Dutch, depending on show) 7-9 December, Brussels Expo, Place de Belgique 1

The Brussels Folk Club welcomes French-born, UK-based Flossie Malavialle to its monthly folk music night this weekend. Malavialle is back by popular demand, with her wide repertoire ranging from well-known folk songs to jazz standards and chanson classics. Local performers open the evening concert. 9 December, 19.15, La Porte Noire, Rue des Alexiens 67

Don Pasquale

Though perhaps best known to the general public for the great tragedy Lucia di Lammermoor, the prolific 19th-century Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti wrote some of the world’s finest comedic operas. La Monnaie has wisely chosen French theatre director Laurent Pelly’s version of Don Pasquale, as madcap as they come. The hilarious story of the grouchy old Pasquale who decides to marry to prevent his nephew from inheriting his fortune, only to be tricked into marrying his nephew’s beloved, is lively, colourful and deliciously exaggerated. Pelly calls Don Pasquale Donizetti’s best comedy, and you’ll be hard-pressed to disagree. (In Italian, surtitles in French and Dutch) 9-23 December, La Monnaie, Place de la Monnaie 5

Remember the movie Best in Show? Come see how that plays out in real life during the Brussels Dog Show, where more than 4,000 dogs from across Europe preen and prance for your affection – and the jury’s votes. You can even bring your own four-footer along, or meet breeders if you’re in the market. 8-9 December, Brussels Expo, Place de Belgique 1

“The full scope of Nile Rodgers’ career is still hard to fathom,” wrote Rolling Stone magazine in 2014. And the absolute king of funk and soul just keeps on going. There are still tickets to Nile Rodgers and Chic this weekend at Forest National. Relive whichever decade of his work you came of age during or discover what makes this man and this group a living legend. 9 December, Forest National, Avenue Victor Rousseau 208 (Forest)

Musée Comme Chez Soi

Ever wonder what the ‘Mona Lisa’ would look like above your fireplace? Or one of the Water Lilies opposite your dining table? That’s the idea behind Musée Comme Chez Soi, where the Museum of Ixelles lends pieces from its collection to residents in the neighbourhood. The museum is currently closed for renovations, so it’s a nice way to come in contact with some of its works, all of which were personally chosen by the resident to hang at home for two days. On the first day, residents open up their homes to friends and family to admire the work in its whole new environment. On the second day, the public is invited on a free walking trail of all 10 sites. A lovely way to meet both people and artworks. 9 December 13.00-18.00, pick up free map on Place Fernand Cocq

The last couple of weeks alone have provided enough fodder for this year’s Christmas Revue, a kind of State of the Union delivered by Belgian artists. Naturally, it’s creative … expect poetry, performance, majorettes and other related fanfare. (In Dutch and French) 12 December 20.30, Kaaitheater, Square Sainctelette 20

“Textiles were not only items for wearing, but also symbols of power and identity,” reads the Art & History Museum’s website. Sounds like not much has changed since the Inca Empire, but the Incas had a tougher time getting their hands on fine textiles, hence the exhibition Inca Dress Code, where precious items are shown that were both worn by the Peruvian civilisation and used as currency. Until 24 March, Parc du Cinquantenaire 10

BOOK NOW: One of the most famous comedians in the world, Eddie Izzard is back in Brussels. The world tour of Wunderbar will be in both Brussels and Antwerp next April. According to press info, he might use “strong and imaginative language”. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Brussels: 24 April, Cirque Royal, Rue de l’Enseignement 81

China Light Zoo


Antwerp’s China Light Zoo is a parcours of colossal light installations that tell the story of a princess and her beloved. Gorgeous Chinese lanterns, arches, waterlilies and the story’s characters all glow with bright colours, occasionally supplemented by dance performances. Since it happens in the evening, you could combine the trip with a matinee in the Elisabeth Hall, right inside the zoo. The Charkov City Opera & Ballet, for instance, present the family-friendly Nutcracker on 16 December and Swan Lake on 6 January. Until 13 January, Antwerp Zoo, Koningin Astridplein 20 (at Central Station)

Are Christmas markets starting to look the same to you as any old weekend market in Belgium? Fighting the homogeneity creeping into holiday markets, the La Spirale Christmas Market in Natoye is a breath of fresh winter air. Some 90 Belgian artisans show hand-made crafts, including jewellery, leather goods, ceramics, toys and decorative wood and stone boxes. It’s how Christmas markets used to be. 8-9 December 11.00-19.00, Chaussée de Namur 22, Natoye (Hamois)

Written by Lisa Bradshaw