A personal grab bag of Antwerp events which I am looking forward to this month. January sometimes feels a bit quiet after Winter In Antwerp has packed up for the season, but things definitely pick up in February, and these are the events which I am hoping to make it to this month.
Antwerp Pateekesweek starts on the 2nd February, and continues until 11th February. During Pateekesweek, various bakeries, patisseries, coffee & tea houses allow cake-lovers to sample a variety of treats at different places for a lower price. To take part, you buy a Pateekes Pas for 10 euros which has 10 bonnetjes (vouchers) on it. These can be exchanged in the participating venues which are listed here and you can buy the Pateekes Pas at the tourist offices on Grote Markt or at Antwerp Central Station.
Chinese New Year occurs in February and this is enthusiastically celebrated in the Chinese district near Central Station. At the Permeke Library the free exhibition Legends of Liondance opens on the 2nd February and runs until the 25th. I went to this last year with my children -it’s a free exhibition which showcases the lions and explains how each tells a story. We really liked seeing the lions close-up -they are very impressive and the colours are amazing.
As the Chinese New Year arrives (The Year of The Dog) you can see the Lion Dance taking place in the streets of the Chinese District on the 17th February from 1pm. Expect a lot of noise, and people.
Additionally, Asian culture is celebrated in Antwerp at Waagnatie at the Asia In Antwerp event which takes place over the weekend of the 9th-11th February. Tickets can be reserved online here. There will be food and drink stands from all over Asia (as well as cooking and food preparation workshops) and performances of Asian music and dance from a variety of countries: Bali, Indonesia, Korea, China and Thailand.
Meug Festival takes place on the 23rd and 24th February at Zuiderpershuis. I went to this last year with friends and we really enjoyed it - there is much to please both beer and whisky drinkers. The Zuiderpershuis is also a really nice venue for this laid back and friendly event. There are a variety of ticket types on sale here.
You have until the 18th February to catch The Ai Wei Wei photo exhibition at FOMU. Ai Wei Wei is a very famous artist and human rights campaigner who visited Antwerp last October to introduce the exhibition and to discuss his work, in particular his acclaimed movie Human Flow which addresses the subject of migration and the experiences of refugees.
These are events and activities which are on our radar every month, because they occur at set times. I always find them handy to know about: they become go-to events which we regularly enjoy in the city.
The shops in Antwerp are open on the first Sunday of each month -that’s the high street stores along Meir. Some open a little later (at midday) but it’s a good opportunity for clothes shopping if your schedule makes it hard to do so on Saturdays.
We love Antwerp market on Theaterplein, with its sociable atmosphere and wide range of international foods: Saturday is definitely the best day for food, but there is also a market on Sunday (although it finishes earlier at around one o’clock).
A must for book-lovers: second-hand books, comics, graphic novels and magazines for sale on the third Sunday of every month from 10am-4pm on de Coninckplein which is right in front of the Permeke library.
On the last Friday of the month, Antwerp cyclists reclaim the streets for an hour’s bike ride through the city. There is usually a fun theme to the rides. Assemble with your bike at 6pm on Theaterplein.
Antwerp City museums are all free on the last Wednesday of every month: MAS (Museum Aan de Stroom), Red Star Line, Plantin Moretus, Mayer van den Bergh and the Rubenshuis. The Middelheim Museum (sculpture park) is free at all times.
If you’d like to see a weekly overview like this one, take a look at my blog which presses each Thursday with a pick of Antwerp free and affordable events, explained in English.
I started Nessascityblog two years ago to help those of us who are not completely native to the city access useful and fun information; particularly if you don’t speak great Dutch (yet). You can also find me on social media: Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Feel free to get in touch with comments and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great February in Antwerp!
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