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What’s on this week: 7-13 May
After being forced to skip a year, the Royal Greenhouses in Laeken are back open to the public. The historical gardens and greenhouses of the royal domain are open for a few short weeks every year. While not every greenhouse can be open as social distancing cannot be guaranteed, the royal family is making up for it by increasing the outdoor space open to visitors. See the circular rose garden and temple ruins on the shore of one of the domain’s lakes. The tour continues to greenhouses with subtropical plants, palm trees and the Orangery, where orange and laurel trees are safe all winter. 13 May to 6 June, Avenue du Parc Royal 61
The Different Strokes Arts Festival is devoted to women artists and performers of all sorts and will take place both online and in real-life. An exhibition, workshops, dance and concerts, plus food & drinks. 8-9 May, LaVallée, Rue Adolphe Lavallée (Molenbeek)
Brussels biggest multidisciplinary arts festival Kunstenfestivaldesarts is back for its 26th edition. Spread out over May and July, it will bring as many people together as allowed for theatre, film, exhibitions, installations (that can be experienced in bubbles), soundscapes for gardens and one performance that is enjoyed in a swimming pool filled with water. Suit up and check out the programme. 7-30 May & 1-8 July, across Brussels
The Fête de L’Avenue de Tervueren will not be quite the car-free street party as in years past, but it is still offering many events and activities along this famous stretch of road between Cinquantenaire and Woluwe Park. Check out the programme to sign up for one of them, from a walking quiz to guided tours to a ride in antique tram 41. 9 May (some events last longer)
Surely you remember a little place called Wuhan? The Train World museum takes us back to simpler times when the city was known as Hankow and Belgians built the rail line that finally connected north and south China. From Peking to Hankow: A Belgian Adventure in China introduces us to the young Belgian engineer, Jean Jadot, who co-ordinated the whole massive undertaking in the early 20th century. 7 May to 10 October, Schaerbeek Station, Place Princesse Élisabeth 5
Brussels Imagination Club hosts business and personal coach Johan van de Put for the workshop Childhood Wounding and the Imposter Syndrome. He will explain how we are influenced by the messages from our childhood and take them into adult life, where they impact our thinking and our behaviour ... until we do something about it. 12 May 19.00
Cancelled last year for obvious reasons, Brussels’ annual bash is back with a hybrid version. The Iris Festival, marking Brussels’ official regional holiday, offers both online and offline activities, including intimate concerts, tours of architectural gems, street art walks, cycle trips and the ULB village at See-U. 8-9 May, across Brussels
The Nature Trail Series brings people together to run in the most beautiful outdoor areas Belgium has to offer, and it has just added Brussels to its list. The Brussels Nature Run abandons the well-known Sonian Forest for the area around Jette, including the Laerbeek Forest and the area known as the Brabantse Kouters. Sign up now for a nine-, 16- or 26-kilometre run. (You can walk them, too.) 29-30 May
The annual Europe Day on 9 May – marking the signing of the Schuman Declaration – is online this year, with digital activities for the whole family. One live event is the opening of the new Europe Now exhibition space at the House of European History. It considers the many challenges facing Europe today – climate change, colonial heritage, Brexit, the Covid pandemic, – through a dynamic blend of film, photos, objects and artwork (pictured). Also check out Bozar’s May Days, a series of discussions that brings together journalists, authors and activists to talk about the big issues.
Franz Kegeljan was a proud son of Namur – so much so that he dedicated his life to painting accurate images of the city from centuries past. Working with archaeological and architectural societies, his works provide a complete visual archive of the city, from pre-history until the time of his death in 1921. On the 100th anniversary of that occasion, Namur has launched a digital tour of Kegeljan’s work that allows visitors to walk in his footsteps around the city. More exhibitions are planned in the autumn.
Ghent’s Fine Arts Museum has restructured its permanent collection and brought dozens of works out of storage. Forty completely altered spaces offer a new parcours for visitors, emphasising certain themes, such as rich vs poor, the image of women and the creative process. There are also finally dedicated spaces to much-deserving Belgian artists such as Frans Masereel, Raoul De Keyser and Constant Permeke. F Scribedreef 1, Ghent
Photos, from top: ©Laurie Dieffembacq/BELGA, ©Ruben Pioline/Kunstenfestivaldesarts, ©Jean Jadot Archives/Train World, courtesy Iris Festival, courtesy House of European History, courtesy RTBF