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What’s on this week: 8 to 14 December

Porsche, Driven by Dreams, exhibition at Autoworld, Brussels
10:04 07/12/2023
Art initiatives and exhibitions are among this week’s offerings, and if you’re after some seasonal glitter, there’s no shortage of festive treats.

It remains one of best luxury cars on the market. To celebrate the German brand’s 75th birthday, Autoworld is staging the exhibition, Porsche, Driven by Dreams. Discover thematic collections, including the iconic models that participated in the gruelling Dakar race (pictured), and some of the famous names behind the brand, such as Belgian drivers Jacky Ickx and Thierry Boutsen. Photographer Bart Kuykens also exhibits his work, in which the Porsche 911 invariably plays a prominent role. 8 December to 25 February, Parc du Cinquantenaire 11

L’art de rien (c)Courtesy Centrale

Do you continue hanging on to a household object even though it is cracked, rusted or missing a handle? The artists featured in L’art de rien feel your pain. They create works out of the once valued but now discarded. The results run from the amusing to the emotional, as we see such familiar objects seemingly expressing themselves in clever and unexpected ways. Until 17 March, Centrale for Contemporary Art, Place Sainte-Catherine 45


Artists Richard Mosse and Daisy Ginsberg showcase climate change in an extraordinary video installation and large-format photographs at Bozar. Winners of the European Commission art innovation initiative, STARTS Prize 2023, the Irish-British duo’s works, Our Impact on Ecosystems, include Broken Spectre (pictured). Its a highly personal video experience, says The Guardian: “The sound travels along the floor and up into your body. Your brain stretches to breaking point trying to take in the images stretched across the 20-metre screen. In a pitch-black room, it’s like being suspended in a black hole, devoid of any distraction.” Until 21 January, Rue Ravenstein 23

Catch Art

Do you fancy adorning your home with an original artwork but don’t know how to navigate the art market? The personalised art purchase service Catch-Art invites the public to a show house to view works by eight artists. This weekend’s Experience is focusing on interior design and includes the work Espiritu by Eddy Van Gestel (pictured). Sunday’s viewing closes with an acoustic concert by 2 Red Boys. 9 December 16.00-20.00; 10 December 11.00-16.00, Rue de la Brasserie 76 (Ixelles)

Jingle Belge

What would like for Christmas? A curry salted caramel spread? Chocolate praline bombs? Cocktail syrup made with foraged herbs? How about all three? Then send your friends to Jingle Belge, a pop-up market brought to you by the Fooding culinary guide. It’s located inside Le Petit Marcado, and on Friday evening, there is a special dinner served by guests from Ghent, with food by Alberte and cocktails by Jigger’s. At the weekend, sit down to Le Petit Mercado’s massive weekly brunch, this week featuring beer-infused chicken. 8-10 December, Rue de l’Hôtel des Monnaies 82 (Saint-Gilles)


The Bruocsella Symphony Orchestra returns with it holiday season concert for children. Mystery on the Bruocsella Express takes audiences on a train journey with a story recounted by actors and narrators (in English, French and Dutch versions). On the musical front, works by Saint-Saëns, Nielsen, Sibelius and Stravinsky will be performed by the orchestra, which is a mix of professional and top amateur musicians. 9 & 10 December, W:Halll, Avenue Charles Thielemans 93 (Woluwe-Saint-Pierre)


A popular tradition among the international community, The Snowman with Peter and the Wolf is great fun for all ages. The family show featuring a live orchestra is based on the classic book The Snowman, but follows its own winding, satirical path, courtesy of narrator Emma Watkinson. The orchestra is conducted by David Navarro Turres with Mary Gow on piano. All proceeds to Brugmann children’s hospital. 10 December 15.00 & 17.30, Auderghem Cultural Centre, Boulevard du Souverain 183


It’s the turn of Square Ambiorix in the EU Quarter to host the Winter Pop programme this weekend. Expect festive caravans with concerts, choirs, film screenings, performances, fire shows, festive walks, face painting and association stands. Glowing braziers, bright lights, appetising edibles and warming drinks all add to the atmosphere. The final weekend of the seasonal activity will be in Place Willems (Laeken) from 15 to 17 December. 8-10 December, Square Ambiorix

sapin_etoile_-_copie schaerbeek

Schaerbeek’s Christmas market promotes local businesses occupying 40 festive stands. They include tempting places for a tipple and snacks, as well as dance shows and a concert celebrating multiculturality (19.00 in the church). 9 December 14.00-21.00, Square Riga around Sainte-Famille church (Schaerbeek) 


Book now: System_D Film Festival  See Brussels through someone else’s eyes during the System_D Film Festival at KVS. The idea is to give filmmakers who have not been formally trained a chance to show their work. Literally anyone who has shot a film in Brussels, long or short, can send it in and hope it gets chosen. The resulting programme is an exciting, unique look at how a wide diversity of people experience the capital. 15-17 December, KVS Box, Quai aux Pierres de Taille 9


Among Friends, Fernand Khnopff, 'In de Ardennen. De brug in Fosset', 1897, private collection

An exquisite collection of works has been brought together for Among Friends, an exhibition devoted to all of the private donations Ghent’s Fine Arts Museum has amassed since it opened 125 years ago. The museum has also borrowed works from private collectors with whom it has a good working relationship, honouring the legacy of co-operation between the museum and benefactors. Among the paintings, sculptures and drawings are works by Pierre Alechinsky, Karel Appel, Raoul De Keyser, Fernand Khnopff (pictured), Auguste Rodin and Peter Paul Rubens. Until 28 April, Fernand Scribedreef 1, Ghent

Ocean of Sound ©Helena Majewska

Experience Belgium’s first 4DSound music festival during Ocean of Sound. What is 4D? Well, sound vibrations travel through the air, collide with walls and reach our ears from all sides. 4DSound is a new technology that imitates this spatial experience. The concert hall has been fitted with a made-to-measure system of 48 speakers, letting the sounds buzz from left to right, top to bottom, front to back. This creates a sea of possibilities for composers and sound artists. The event is part of the ongoing Dieric Bouts Festival in Leuven. 7-17 December, Stuk, Naamsestraat 96, Leuven

Art Antwerp (c) Almicheal

Got art? If your answer to this is a resounding ‘no’, then head to Art Antwerp, which features 72 galleries this year. They bring works by artists in mid or early career, offering a seemingly never-ending array of paintings, installations, textiles, photography and sculptures big and small. The fair’s Off Programme invites visitors to galleries and other art spaces around town for special exhibitions. 14-17 December, Antwerp Expo, Jan van Rijswijcklaan 191

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Charleroi

Aimed at drawing a wide public, the city of Charleroi’s new winter exhibition Le sport, tout en art also has the ambition of showing that sport is an artistic subject in its own right. In the first section, visitors can discover how different artists from a variety of countries have attempted to capture sporting moments. In the second, the focus is on a range of sporting disciplines and the city’s champions in particular.  Until 21 April, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Charleroi


Bruges’s Winter Glow has everything: A light experience trail, ice rink, winter bar, Christmas concerts, an old world-style Midwinter Festival and not one but two Christmas markets. Grote Markt hosts the biggest one, with chalets, gifts and all the usual festive trappings. Simon Stevenplein, meanwhile, offers more handmade crafts and artisanal delicacies – as does the Midwinterfeest, an incredibly atmospheric market for one day only (10 December) in the Sint-Anna quarter. Some of the surrounding chapels and monuments are free of charge on the day and offer special tours. Until 7 January, across Bruges


Hasselt couldn’t wait to open Winterland, launching it in mid-November. Being out of the way does not stop the capital of Limburg from hosting one of the biggest, loudest and most jovial holiday events in Belgium. There is a Christmas market, ice skating rink and fun fair – complete with a giant wooden slide and Grand Carrousel – and several cosy winter bistros and bars. Dance in the mirror tent or pretend you’re on ski holiday in the Aspen Lounge. The Sint’s visits will give way to those from Santa, who is right at home amid the Christmas Hotel, Santa’s Labyrinth and – why not? – Santa’s Ghost Village. Don’t forget to check the programme of DJs, concerts and club nights on the ice. Until 7 January, across central Hasselt


Antwerp was already home to one of Belgium’s most sprawling Christmas markets, but this year they have thrown two more squares into the mix. It’s quite fun to happen upon the seven squares, each with their own holiday personality. The website helpfully describes them all. Start off in the Grote Markt Christmas Village with giant twinkly tree, then head through the light tunnel to Hendrik Consienceplein for musical intermezzos and storytelling in the Heritage Library. Visit a few chalets in the shadow of the city’s famed opera house or lose yourself in the magical lighting on Suikerrui. It’s an endless trail of discoveries. 8 December to 7 January, across Antwerp


It’s hard to imagine a better place for WonderLights than the grounds of Groot-Bijgaarden Castle, a lovely place year round. It’s a trail of light installations similar to last year’s Lightopia, but the emphasis is more on nature and wildlife, including some spectacular undersea creatures. A special winter garden includes fairies and unicorns, and there is even a Christmas Express train. There’s no hurry either: WonderLights runs for more than two months. Until 16 February, Isidoor van Beverenstraat 5, Groot-Bijgaarden


With the festivities fast approaching, Father Christmas is prepping his reindeers for their busiest time of year. Magie de Noël (Kerstmagie in Flanders) includes two castles in the south of the country: Corroy-le-Château near Gembloux (Namur province) and Louvignies at Soignies (Hainaut province). Families will uncover this Christmas mystery on a tour through rooms filled with Christmas decorations and live actors. A winter bar awaits after the visit. 8 to 26 December, across Belgium


There’s a pagan feel to Putteke Winter, evening festivals of light installations, music, fire performances and mysterious forest figures. While they all have this in common, they take place in recreation parks, and each has its own character. Food and drinks are available as well. Buy tickets to your chosen location ahead of time; they regularly sell out. Until 12 January, across Flanders


Ghent’s Christmas market features holiday-themed fun fair attractions – step into a human-sized ornament on the Christmas tree ride – and a roller-skating rink in addition to the usual ice skating. There are winter bars and a smaller, cozier market over on Veerleplein. Be sure to stop by Santa’s House. 7-31 December, across central Ghent


While Ghent’s castle isn’t wholly authentic, it certainly makes for a good atmosphere at Christmas with enchanting lighting, festive decoration and merry music. Inside is an incredibly cosy winter bar and funny audio stories told by stand-up comedian Wouter Deprez. 9 December to 7 January, Sint-Veerleplein 11


Les Féeries du Parc is a magical event that draws crowds to the castle domain of Parc Saint-Roch, near the market town of Ciney. The idyllic park comes alive at night with glowing trees, illuminated chalets and fairy lights lining winding paths and grand facades. For the 6th edition, 80% of the 270 stalls are devoted to artisan gifts, from jewellery and candles to Christmas decorations, textiles, and gourmet specialities. One speciality is mulled wine pimped with flambéed apple brandy! 7-11 & 14-18 December, near Ciney 

Hors Champs

Restaurant Hors-Champs loves green activities, including its three-day creative and sustainable Christmas market. Staged in a grange, the event is a platform for some 35 local designers and artisans, offering decor, tableware, slow fashion, wine and produce. On the culinary front, you’ll need to reserve in advance for wood-fire cooked flammekueche: info@hors-champs.be8-10 December, Chaussée de Wavre 170, near Gembloux

Discover more upcoming events at The Bulletin's events page, our full guide to Christmas markets here, plus other seasonal shows and events here.

Photos: (main image) Autoworld Porsche, Driven by Dreams; L’art de rien ©Courtesy Centrale; Richard Mosse, Broken Spectre 2022 ©Richard Mosse, Jack Shainman and Carlier Gerbauer; Among Friends, Fernand Khnopff, 'In de Ardennen. De brug in Fosset', 1897, private collection; Ocean of Sound ©Helena Majewska; Art Antwerp ©Almicheal; Musée des Beaux-Arts de Charleroi; ©jan darthet visit bruges; Hasselt ©roland winterland; ©lucid city of antwerp; ©courtesy stad gent

Written by Sarah Crew and Lisa Bradshaw