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What’s on this week: 8-14 February

19:15 07/02/2019
Our top picks of cultural events and activities in and around Brussels

Artistic, interactive and playful light installations are all the rage, though they’re usually a holiday-related thing. Bright Brussels comes along just when we need it – when the others have all finished, and we’re due for a pick-me-up during these final cold, cloudy days of winter. And it is truly spectacular: a parcours through the centre of the capital boasts eye-popping and downright magical installations, from glowing building blocks to curvy shapes that move with music to the dazzling Light Cathedral – which lives up to its name. 14-17 February, across Brussels-City

Guess who the special guest region is at this year’s Foire du Livre? Flanders! You don’t get more Belgian than that, and you won’t find more books in one place than at Brussels’ annual book fair. Aside from tens of thousands of books (mostly in French), you’ll find speakers, signing sessions and kids’ activities. This year is the 50th edition of the stalwart Brussels event. 14-17 February, Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 86

This year’s ode to the iconic Volkswagen Bug, the Love Bug Parade, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, which took place in the summer of 1969. The car was desperately popular in 1969 America because of the spring release of the movie The Love Bug, which introduced the anthropomorphic Herbie. In Brussels, visitors can check out the cars – with owners sporting suitably hippie attire – or line up for the big parade. 10 February from 11.00, parade at 14.30, Autoworld, Parc du Cinquantenaire 11

Pint of Science

If the thought of attending a speed-dating event on Valentine’s Day sends shivers down your spine (and it should), take comfort in Pint of Science, which invites you to spend the holiday ‘falling in love with science’. The London-based organisation hosts the Pint of Science festival every May, with the Brussels edition debuting last year. In English, it’s all about soaking up both beer and the latest in scientific discoveries at the same time. And now you can speed date with scientists and ask them all those burning questions you have, like ‘have you ever dissected an animal larger than your head?’. To make it even more user-friendly, you can sign up in pairs and bring a friend along. The evening kicks off with the talk ‘To swap or not to swap: A neuroscience and psychological approach to Tinder’. Sign up in advance. (In English) 14 February 19.30-22.30, L’Harmonium, Rue Vanderkindere 293 (Uccle)

Yes, you can go to an art gallery any old time. But do you? The Brussels, I Love You art walk aims to introduce you to art outside of museums in the capital of Europe, where a diverse array of artists, collectors and enthusiasts come together. Art centres and special events join the mix. 9-17 February, across Brussels

The next edition of Lunch with an Architect, the lunchtime series that sees famous architects from around the world talking about their work and inspirations, features Kim Herforth Nielsen, the founder of Danish firm 3XN. Find out how it became one of the most famous and innovative architectural firms in the world, with projects like Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw, Munchen’s Sportarena and, next year, Namur’s Grognon Esplanade. Flagey, Place Sainte Croix (Ixelles)

Michael Chabon

One of America’s hipster literary heroes, Michael Chabon is famed the world over for the novels Wonder Boys, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001. Like other contemporary American authors who write brilliant but still eminently readable works – think John Irving and Larry McMurtry – Chabon peppers his novels with quirky and/or hapless characters, who are thrown into oddball situations beyond their control. His adventures are the every-day variety, rather than the epic kind, making them real and ultimately endearing. He talks to Belgian journalist Marnix Verplancke about his vast oeuvre. (In English) 14 February 20.00, Bozar, Rue Ravenstein 23

With a title that whisks you away to a sunny field of windmills, wooden shoes and tulips, Dutch Spring is an ode to the Dutch Golden Age. The Royal Museum of Fine Arts is re-opening nine newly renovated wings, which means its exquisite permanent collection of masters such as Rembrandt, Nicolaes Maes, Abraham Bloemaert and Jan van Goyen are back, many having undergone restoration. A separate temporary exhibition is focused on portraits by Frans Hals, while another highlights Dutch drawings of the 18th century. Temporary exhibition until 19 May, Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Rue de la Régence 3

Two of the coolest women working in their respective genres – Deborah Hay (dance) and Laurie Anderson (experimental music) – have collaborated on Figure a Sea, a heaving constellation of bodies that move to a soundscape. A study in synchronicity, and the unexpected moments that interrupt it. 15-16 February, Kaaitheater, Sainctelettesquare 20

The Great Gatsby Immersive Experience

Looking ahead: Want to party like it’s 1929? After two years of sold-out shows in London, The Great Gatsby Immersive Experience is coming to Brussels. Your ticket gets you into one of the legendary parties hosted by millionaire Jay Gatsby. You wander around as you wish, while the story’s drama, music and dance unfolds around you. You can interact with the actors … we mean guests … as much or as little as you want, and 1920s dress is strongly encouraged but not compulsory. So don’t be shy: Hurtle yourself into Jazz-age America. Depending on the night, Mr Gatsby’s party is in English, French or Dutch. 14 March to 19 May, secret location in Brussels


Written by Lisa Bradshaw