Summer is the ideal time for a visit to Antwerp. Not only because you have a better chance the weather will be good (no guarantees though) or because it gets dark later (around 10pm), but also because there are a lot of events.
It’s impossible to list everything happening in the city, but I’ve tried to list all the big events and some of the most interesting smaller ones. In any case, whether you like art, sports, music or fashion, you will find a reason to visit Antwerp this month.
Mode 2001 LANDED/GELAND
May 26-Oct. 7, all over the city
As I mentioned before in the April museum article, 2001 is the year of fashion. The most visible manifestation of the event is the dressing up of some landmark buildings in flashy colours ” but most of it looks quite hideous, if you ask me.
Mode 2001 is made up of 4 main exhibitions: Mutilate – Vermink in the Museum of Contemporary Art (MUHKA; Leuvenstraat 32) takes a look at mutilation in different cultures and times; 2 women – 2 vrouwen, in the former Royal Palace (Meir 50) focuses on 2 female fashion designers; Emotions – Emoties, in the Police tower (Oudaan 5) shows an array of filmed testimonies about fashion; and finally Radicals – Radicalen, on an abandonded field next to the river Scheldt (Sloepenweg), consists of a circle of rotating advertisment panels.
For more info, see the official website.
Exhibition: De Schelde – verhaal van een rivier
(The Scheldt – story of a
June 23-Sept. 30; Museum Vleeshuis, Vleeshouwersstraat 38-40
Without the Scheldt river, there would be no Antwerp. This exhibition tells us all about the river’s history, about the people who have lived around it, and about how man and nature have been influencing each other for 13 millenia. See the museum’s website for more details.
Venus, Forgotten Myth: From Cranach to Cï¿½zanne.
May 20-Aug. 19; Royal Museum of Fine Arts
A collection of artworks from the 15th to the 19th centuries representing the Roman godess Venus. Take a look at the museum’s website for more details.
Cutty Sark Tall Ships’ Race
July 5-8; Scheldt
Great sailing boats from all over the world will gather in Antwerp for this event. For more info click here.
Tour de France
It’s not the first time the Tour passes through Antwerp, but it is the first time there will be an arrival and departure in the city. On one hand, it is probably a lot more exciting then just seeing them pass through; on the other hand, it has caused a lot of commotion in the last couple of months. For example, pubs and restaurants in the city centre were not too happy about having to close down during the height of the tourist season, as it is apparently stipulated in the contract the city signed with the organisation of the Tour. Anyway there are a lot of pros and cons to this event, but let’s just hope some Belgian cyclist wins on the 9th and all will be forgotten!
Architects of Air (Arcazaar)
July 9-22; Sint Jansplein
Alan Parkinson is an architect of “luminaria”, which according to his website is “a sculpture that people enter to be immersed in radiant light and colour”. You can enter his latest work, Arcazaar, inspired by Iranian bazaars, in Antwerp this month on the recently renovated Sint Jansplein.
Muziek in de wijk
(Music in the Neighbourhood)
July & August, various locations
If you want to see more of Antwerp than just the touristy historic centre, and enjoy some music while you’re at it, this event is ideal. Bands from all over the world will perform on squares in neighbourhoods all over the city all summer. For an overview of who and where, click here.
July 16-20; Scheldekaai 28
Circus from Guinea. Click here for more details.
“Trix” by Cirkus Cirkï¿½r & Orionteatern
July 23-Aug. 3; Scheldekaai 28
Swedish circus. Click here for more details.
July 26-29; Molenveld, Boechout
This is the 26th edition of Belgium’s most important “world music” festival, a great opportunity to discover music from all 5 continents. It doesn’t even have to cost you any money, as the first day’s entrance is free! Boechout, a village near Antwerp, can be reached by train or by bus (from Rooseveltplaats). This year’s program, ticket prices, etc., can be found at the festival’s website.