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What’s on this week: 8-14 April

Hopla! Circus Festival Brussels
12:59 07/04/2022
The weather forecast may be dismal this weekend, but the school holidays roll on with new exhibition openings, circus activities and musical distractions

If it’s the Easter school holidays, then it’s time for Hopla! (main image) one of Belgium’s best circus festivals. It’s the 15th edition of the free week-long event dedicated to every circus art imaginable, from trapeze and acrobatics to eye-popping antics atop a Chinese mast and hilariously absurd situations (like two women, a chair and a stick of chewing gum). Parents love Hopla! as much as their kids. 11-17 April, across Brussels city

Made in Asia

You don’t have to be a cosplay pro to have fun at Made In Asia, Brussels’ massive expo devoted to all things manga, anime and video games. It’s a fascinating place to just browse, with hundreds of stands sporting the latest graphic novels and gadgets as well as interactive activities for young and old. Try your hand at space laser games, beat the Titan in the obstacle course or learn origami and calligraphy in Little Asia. And, of course, cheer on your favourite entries in the cosplay competition. 8-10 April, Brussels Expo, Place de Belgique 1

Fondation Boghossian Plaza Hotel Michel Polak

The man behind many of Brussels’ emblematic buildings, Belgian-Swiss architect Michel Polak, finally has his moment in the spotlight thanks to the exhibition Technology and craftsmanship, an architecture of wonder. A collaborative show between CIVA and the Villa Empain, the latter is just one example of Polak’s opulent and aesthetic sense of design. Others include the Residence Palace and the Hotel Plaza in Boulevard Adolph Max (pictured). Discover his influences - frequently from the East - and how he reinterpreted architecture codes prevalent in the first half of the 20th century via unseen films and original documents in the museum’s Project Space. Until 21 August, Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 67 (Ixelles)

New Horizons Audrey Marques Miller, 2022 ©courtesy l’artiste

Belgium’s best and brightest young painters have been brought together in the exhibition New Horizons in Painting. Whether figurative or conceptual, the works present a telling overview of the possibilities and challenges, both aesthetic and formal, of this age-old medium (New Horisons, Audrey Marques Miller, pictured). Until 28 May, Iselp, Boulevard de Waterloo 31

Sausage Party Rodolphe Janssen

Rodolphe Janssen shares his love of the ground meat staple in Sausage Party, inviting 24 international artists to display works dedicated to the humble banger. From salami to saucisson and even mortadella, sausages in some form or other are enjoyed around their world and are usually the result of industrial food processes. This group show – equally divided between male and female artists – offers a feast of  artworks exploring its various representations. Belgian Wim Delvoye elevates the texture of salami to something resembling pink marble, photographer Lucas Blalock hones in on a pile of hot dogs, transforming them into a formal plastic object (pictured left). Until 30 April, Rue de Livourne 35 (Ixelles)

(c) Rave Rebels

Now that corona is not standing in the way, tickets are flying out the door for Rave Rebels, the 14-hour indoor electronic music festival. It’s the biggest rave in Belgium, this year featuring DJs Anna, Boris Brejcha and acid techno authority Reinier Zonneveld, among many more. 9 April from 20.00, Paleis 12, Avenue de Miramar

(c) Universal Music France

Cirque Royal has some stellar concerts on the programme this week. Jane Birkin needs no introduction: The British-French actress and singer’s brilliant career has produced legendary numbers like Je ‘T’Aime… Moi Non Plus’ and ‘Ford Mustang’. With a life marked by loss, Birkin dug into her diaries for inspiration for the new album Oh! Pardon tu dormais. Also at Cirque are the international lounge and world music group Pink Martini, one of the most unique big bands in the world. Expect everything from Latin to jazz to classical to pop, mostly in combination. Birkin 13 April, Pink Martini 14 April, Rue de l'Enseignement 81

The Nine

The Nine women’s club opens its elegant doors for an Easter egg hunt this Friday evening. After tracking down chocolate treats (baskets provided) in the beautiful Art Deco townhouse and landscaped garden, the club is organising an Easter dinner, laying on creative cocktails and getting competitive with a games night. Book here. The private member’s club for women is also currently showing an exhibition of contemporary art for sale, in addition to its own eclectic collection of art and sculpture. 8 April, from 17.30, Rue Archimède 69

Royal Greenhouses Laeken (c) Jean-Paul Remy Visitbrussels

Reserve now: Royal Greenhouses of Laeken Every year for just three weeks the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken are opened to the public. On the property of Belgium’s royal family, the series of greenhouses, built from glass and steel in the 19th century, represent some of Brussels’ most glorious architecture. With names like the Palm, the Diana and the central domed Winter Garden, the greenhouses also once served at reception spaces for guests. Visitors can walk a route to admire the structures as well as the tropical plants and flowers that grow there year-round. 15 April to 8 May, Avenue du Parc Royal


Book ahead: Brussels Shakespeare Society Tickets are now on sale for the BSS’s long-awaited production of Macbeth directed by Stephen Challens (in English; surtitles in French). The tragedy will be headlining the company’s Brussels Shakespeare Festival. Tickets from thelittleboxoffice. 1-11 June (matinée and evening performances), Espace Lumen, Chaussée de Boondael 36 (Ixelles)


Europaexpo I Love Japan

After the highly-popular Tutankhamun show, it’s time to immerse yourself in Japanese culture at the Liège train station’s 1,500m2 exhibition space. I Love Japan is one of the largest ever shows in Belgium to be devoted to the Asian country. Colourful and detailed scenography plus hundreds of authentic objects reveal the many facets of Japan, from the lively streets of Tokyo, peaceful zen gardens, historical legends, manga culture, video games and of course its world-famous gastronomy (reservation necessary). Daily, 10.00-19.00, Liège-Guillemins train station, Liège

Red Star Line refugees exhibition

Dedicated to the history of emigration, Antwerp’s Red Star Line Museum is currently showing the timely temporary exhibition Stories of Refugees 1951-2021. It marks the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Refugee Convention in Geneva in the aftermath of the second world war. With 80 million people currently estimated to be fleeing their homes worldwide, this show explores the reality of their lives with stories, personal objects and interviews. The museum itself, located in Het Eilandje district, traces the journey of two million passengers who travelled to the US on the Red Star Line’s steamships, many of them fleeing persecution. Montevideostraat 3, Antwerp

Walibi Tikiwaka

Walibi amusement park re-opened at the beginning of the Easter holidays following months of closure due to the pandemic and 2021 floods. The popular attraction south of Brussels boasts a number of thrilling attractions, from the sky-high tower Dalton Terror to the Cobra and Konda roller coasters, plus plenty of family rides and attractions, including the Tiki Waka fun coaster (pictured). Water park Aqualibi also welcomes visitors again with late opening (until 22.00) from 7 to 9 April. Boulevard de l’Europe 100, Wavre

Written by Sarah Crew and Lisa Bradshaw