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Brussels Events

Brussels Jazz Marathon

The Brussels Jazz Marathon is increasingly popular, with more than 400 musicians performing on the most beautiful squares in Brussels, as well in many clubs, cafés, hotels and even in special 'free jazz line' buses.

Date (to be confirmed): 2018-05-01
Venue: Grand-Place and various venues.
Website: http://www.brusselsjazzmarathon.be

Zinneke Parade

The multicultural communities of Brussels come together in the middle of the city on this day of colourful, exuberant celebration of the Zinneke Parade. Around 4,000 participants converge in the main avenues of the city centre, creating a carnival atmosphere with brass bands, actors, dancers and musicians. The Zinnodes, as the workshops are known, work hard for months following a preparatory stage of about a year and a half. With the input of thousands of volunteers the result is always varied and surprising, a delightful mixture of styles and genres in one happy street party. Zinneke is also an artistic and social experiment which aims to combat inequality and to form a project in which everyone can participate.

Date: 2018-05-12
Venue: Boulevard Anspach and main avenues of centre.
Website: http://www.zinneke.org

Lesbian and Gay Pride Day

Lesbian and Gay Pride Day in Brussels attracts around 15,000 participants and visitors to a full programme of events, running way past midnight. In amongst it all there is a church service, a political debate, and city tours on foot and by bicycle. The four main events though are a street party, with bars, stalls, music, and entertainment in the Bourse area; a parade through the streets of the city centre, beginning and ending at Boulevard Anspach; the Pride show and concert and, finally, the Pride Party itself. The latter includes music in four rooms with 15 DJs which keeps revellers on their feet well into the early hours of the following day.

Date: 2018-05-01
Venue: Ancienne Belgique and various venues.
Website: https://pride.be/en

Flower Carpet

A huge area at the centre of the celebrated Grand-Place becomes a floral work of art every other year as a giant carpet is laid out to a pre-determined theme. It's an incredible sight as each year a huge team of artists and helpers set to work creating this famous display from turf and fresh begonias. About 300 blooms go into the making of each square metre, and they are so tightly packed they create their own microclimate and resist wind damage. In all, about 700,000 flowers go into the magnificent display. The margins of the square are freely accessible throughout, but to gain a panoramic view, buy a ticket to the Town Hall and go out onto the balcony from where the views are sensational.

Date (to be confirmed): 2018-08-16
Venue: Grand-Place.
Website: http://www.flowercarpet.be

Kunsten Festival des Arts

This arts festival covers a lot of ground. Not only are 20 diverse venues employed all around the city, but the scope of the festival embraces theatre, music, dance, film, visual arts and all imaginable combinations thereof. Kunsten describes itself as a resolutely forward-looking festival. 20 artistic and technical teams are drawn together in May in a single project producing some 30 events. Besides Belgian talent, the festival also invites a good number of performing arts companies from abroad, who find a platform for expression before an attentive and generous audience. Many first productions are performed, using this as a testing ground for future creative work. Theatres, arts centres, cinemas and exhibition rooms are used to provide a great variety of performance spaces.

Date: 2018-05-04
Venue: Various indoor and outdoor venues.
Website: http://www.kfda.be

Couleur Café

This world music event is a highly atmospheric, vibrant and multicultural affair which brings a touch of the tropics to Brussels. Apart from stage performances by leading musicians from the developing world, their wider cultures come together in the 'Global Village', where exotic restaurants offer eclectic menus representing cuisines from all over the world. The growing popularity of Couleur Café may be attributed to its exciting programming, with 50 concerts introducing the sounds of Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and more. Performing across four stages, the shows begin during the day and continue late into the night and parties often run through to the early hours.

Date: 2018-06-29
Venue: Tour and Taxis Building.
Website: http://www.couleurcafe.be

Ommegang Royal Pageant

Each summer the Ommegang Royal Pageant lights up the magnificent Brussels' Grand Place. It is a colourful reconstruction of the spectacle originally held in 1549 to honour Emperor Charles V and the royal family. Festivities begin at the Grand Place where guests of honour (including many descendents from those present in 1549) sit at the ornate windows of the Town Hall to watch the procession in the square below. Once the peasant dancers and performers have led the way, the Emperor follows them through the streets past the Gothic and Renaissance façades of the old guildhouses followed by horses, dogs, flagbearers, ladies-in-waiting and falconers. The participants dress in elaborate costumes, faithful reconstructions of the originals. The procession makes its way through the streets and ends at rue Charles Buls.

Date: 2018-07-04
Venue: City and Grand Place.
Website: http://www.ommegang.be

Art Brussels

Since it was first held in 1982, Art Brussels has established itself as a leading European platform for contemporary art. Many international artists have taken up residence in the Belgian capital which is fast becoming a creative laboratory, with a dynamic fusion of artistic talents and ideas. This show gives foreign galleries and artists an ideal platform to present themselves to Belgian collectors, and gives young Belgian talent an opportunity to introduce itself to the international market. Both a contemporary art fair and a meeting place for collectors, curators and art lovers, it features 125 galleries from over 20 countries, carefully selected by an international committee to ensure a sound representation of all contemporary trends.

Date: 2018-04-19
Venue: Tour & Taxis
Website: http://www.artbrussels.com/

Plaisirs d'Hiver

Festive Christmas market stalls and open-air ice skating are some of the activities that mark the annual Winter Wonders, which animates the heart of Brussels during the Christmas period. The event takes place at the Grand-Place and around the Bourse, the Place Sainte-Catherine and the Marché aux Poissons. It includes a Christmas market with approximately 250 stalls, fairground attraction, an ice rink and a Christmas tree and light show on the Grand-Place.

Date (to be confirmed): 2018-11-01
Venue: Various Brussels venues.

Ancient Art Fair

BAAF, BOAF and BRUNEAF - these are not characters from Belgian mythology but groups of antique specialists in Brussels. Respectively their specialities are ancient, oriental and non-European art. In this festival, collectively known as '3B', dealers in classical, Egyptian and Near Eastern antiquities from all over the world bring their treasures and put them on display in leading galleries. Recent visitors have included Fritz Hugelmann of Ascona, Alan Safani of New York and Rupert Wace of London. The event began in 2003 and has already attracted a big and international following of collectors, experts and museum curators. The art galleries and antique shops are in the streets and squares of Sablon, a fashionable cafe district.

Date (to be confirmed): 2018-06-01
Venue: Various galleries in Sablon district.
Website: http://baaf.be/

Brussels Film Festival

Indoor and outdoor cinema screenings and related events.

Date (to be confirmed): 2018-06-01
Venue: Various Brussels venues.
Website: http://www.brff.be

Belgian Beer Weekend

Beer drinkers beat a path to Brussels' Grand Place for this cultural, boozy weekend celebrating the amber (and various other shades) nectar. Belgium boasts the biggest range of different beers and labels in the world and over 50 breweries are represented each year. Belgian breweries of all sizes bring their best selections of beers and offer them for sale at reasonable prices in the agreeable surroundings of 'the most beautiful square in the world'. Apart from the actual drinking, the attractions include the Consecration of the Beer by the Knighthood of the Brewers' Mash Staff, the Solemn Inauguration of the Beer Stands by the Grand Master of the Knighthood of the Brewers; a gathering of vintage brewery carts and beer wagons and a Brewers' Parade through the centre of the city.

Date: 2018-09-07
Venue: Grand Place and other locations.
Website: http://www.belgianbrewers.be/en

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24 hours in: Brussels

On the lookout for great food, culture and plenty of art? Then Brussels is the city for you: cheaper than Paris and more off-beat than you'd think, travel to this charming capital to uncover what lies beyond the beer and chocolate.