Tag Archives: Flanders

Wanna Beered up! Brussels coming up with many festivals!!

If you would have thought that Oktoberfest was the only thing corresponding to a beer festival in Europe and Bavaria was the only place to get best chilled beer on this planet than think again. Here is some quick fact checking- In 2016 UNESCO recognised the important role played by beer culture in Belgian everyday life and celebrations by proclaiming it an intangible cultural heritage. Throughout the year, Brussels residents and visitors can come and discover this delicious heritage during one of Brussels’ many beer festivals. And in these festivals, you will not only be served amazing Belgian beer but also the best beers other countries in world have to offer.

So, here are some of the festivals celebrating Belgian Beer that will take place in coming months this year:

BXLBeerFest – The Crossroads of Beers and Friends: 26-27 August 2017

BXLBeerFest brings a number of independent, artisanal brewers closer to the guests. The selection of Brussels breweries will be supplemented by some of the best that Belgium and other countries have to offer, with 50 breweries from ten different nations presenting over 200 beers to the public. BXLBeerFest also pays attention to the culinary aspect, with food trucks and an actual on-site restaurant led by chef Dirk Myny of Les Brigittines.

Belgian Beer Weekend 2016, Belgian Brewers

Belgian Beer Weekend: 1-3 September 2017

From Friday 1 to Sunday 3 September 2017, the “Ridderschap van de Roerstok der Brouwers” and the Belgian Breweries, in cooperation with the City of Brussels and the Brussels-Capital Region, present the 19th edition of the Belgian Beer Weekend. This year the Grote Markt (Grand-Place) in Brussels will serve as a unique backdrop for this event, which has been dedicated entirely to Belgium’s national beverage.

Belgian Beer Weekend 2016, Belgian Brewers

This will allow 60,000 beer lovers to partake of fine Belgian beers in one of the most beautiful squares in the world (UNESCO World Heritage). Throughout the weekend, numerous small, mid-sized and large Belgian breweries will have a large selection of their products on offer. Here, one can discover the various types of beers that give this country its well-deserved reputation.

Belgian Beer Weekend 2016, Belgian Brewers

International Craft Festival: 20-21 October 2017

The Brussels Beer Project brewery will hold the 2nd edition of the International Craft Festival on 20 and 21 October. This festival will bring together ten artisanal breweries from Europe, the United States and Asia in a festive atmosphere at an exclusive secret location.

Read More: Getting Tipsy in Belgium

Vini Birre Ribelli. Salon of rebellious wines and beers: 25-26 November 2017

Just like with the previous editions, this salon is once again all about artisanal, sustainable, organic and – whenever possible – natural products. Though the emphasis is on wine, the alternative side of beer brewing is also represented. Bringing these two worlds together offers a unique perspective. Also noteworthy: Vini Birre Rebelli is Belgium’s first salon bearing the label ‘zero waste’.

Being Indian? Looking form some desi spirits! Read: Getting ‘high’ on hills!

I would also like to mention that even without any festival, Belgium in general and Brussels specifically has one of some historical breweries worth visit and some exclusive beer bars and cafe with beer collection which you won’t find anywhere else on earth. So if not to Oktoberfest, than now perhaps you know where to head for that exclusive beer fest this year. You have the time… go and plan it!

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Time for some wine & food indulgence!

Immediately after the Comic Strip Festival at start of September, European Capital Brussels will get ready for another extravaganza, this time for the connoisseurs of food and wine. From 7 to 10 September this year, Brussels Park will once again serve as the setting for the eat! Brussels, drink! Bordeaux festival. Twenty Brussels chefs will slave over their stoves to share their signature dishes with the public. Fifty Bordeaux wine growers and sellers will also be on hand to provide the accompaniment for these delicious foods. They will offer the optimal wine pairings to complement the chefs’ dishes. There’s sure to be plenty to delight the senses of their foodie visitors! For its sixth edition, the eat! Brussels, drink! Bordeaux Festival has once again invited a selection of Brussels’ best chefs to the heart of Brussels Park. There will be new workshops: Wine & patisseries; Wine and chocolate.

Also Read: Comic Strip festival gets bigger, bolder and rewarding too!

Photo: VisitBrussels/ ©E.Danhier

A sixth edition with its fair share of new offerings

  • Restaurant offerings are expanding. Several chefs on the Brussels scene are joining in the fun to present their iconic dishes to the public.
  • A central “square” will be set up right at the heart of the festival grounds. It’s a chance for visitors to partake and socialize with family and friends.
  • This year, the eat! Awards are making their debut. These prizes will be awarded to chefs whose dishes enjoy the greatest success over the course of the event.
  • In this latest edition, several pastry chefs will complement the event menu with dessert plate suggestions.
  • The Ecole du Vin de Bordeaux invites amateurs to discover new wine workshops that focus on patisserie and chocolate.
  • The Tchin Vittel! space will offer cooking workshops to visitors. Accompanied by talented chef Bruno Antoine, they will concoct their “bistronomy” box together, which they will then be able to savour in this friendly atmosphere.

Also Read: Getting tipsy in Belgium

New iconic Brussels chefs are joining the party and enhancing the festival’s offerings. The will offer visitors a signature dish representing their culinary identity at the special price of € 9. Several pastry chefs will also enhance the festival’s menu. They will offer sweets aficionados delicious desserts by the plate at the special price of €9.

The perfect pairing

Vins de Bordeaux, the festival’s essential partners, are coming together once again on this journey through fine cuisine. For the occasion, nearly 50 Bordeaux wine growers and merchants will meet in Brussels to reveal the history and secrets of their wine.

These elegant and unique wines, the fruits of the meticulous blending of several grape varieties, will thrill the public’s taste buds. It’s a singular chance to discover the new Bordeaux reds, fresh and fruity, the dry whites, the rosés, the clairets and the sweet wines that can be paired with all cuisine, whether simple or refined. A wine pairing carefully selected for the occasion will also be offered for each dish, sweet or savoury, presented at the festival.

eat Brussels

The Bordeaux pavilion, the Belgian selection

For the second year running, the pavilion will present the 2017 selection of Bordeaux wines chosen by a panel of Belgian wine and gastronomy professionals. These wines, selling for €4 to €25 are all available in Belgium. eat! Brussels, drink! Bordeaux will be the only opportunity to sample the sumptuousness of this 2017 selection.

The Ecole du Vin de Bordeaux pavilion

The Ecole du Vin de Bordeaux will once again be on hand to conduct a variety of workshops for Wine Pass holders. It’s a wonderful opportunity for the public, expert or novice, to (re)discover Bordeaux wines in an original, fun way and participate in tastings.

Young tourists look for kicks other than waffles

Well, these are maps which are as good as any tourist guide but actually they are so good that they are also souvenir in themselves. That means, when you are visiting a city then in search of a good souvenir, you first get a souvenir in form of a map. And these are no normal maps. These maps are now turning 10. USE-IT, the tourist info for young people, will soon celebrate its first ten years in European capital Brussels. They’re a household name for city maps made by young locals, with no-nonsense tips for how not to be caught as a tourist in Belgium. (Nope, we don’t have fruit on our waffles.)

These maps are starting to conquer Europe, and the research team Expeditions has measured the impact on tourism in the entire network. Does alternative city info really make people move outside of the city centre? Do they stay longer? And what does this imply for the local economy? The results were very positive, and Brussels stands out. 59% of users say they went further from the centre indeed. Desk personnel at hostels and the tourist infos confirm. 86% think also that off-the-beaten track information boosts the investment in the local economy. Furthermore, 14% of the young tourists extended their stay with one or more nights, and nearly everybody (97%) would like to get the same kind of no-nonsense info on their next city trips.

When asked about their best experience in Brussels, the maps’ local tips are mentioned more often than the tourist classics. Highlights include the panorama on top of Parking 58, the vegetable garden on top of the Albertina library, a walk through Molenbeek, going out at Bonnefooi until the morning, and pissing in the public urinal that’s built against Sint-Katelijne church.

The survey ran in the entire European USE-IT network (more than 40 cities) and Brussels came out on top. Of the 4,000 respondents, one out of three had already used the Brussels map. Strikingly, a large number of them (38%) was also motivated to start up a USE-IT map for their own city.

ALSO READ: Travelling to Where Locals Go

“The creative side of Brussels speaks to many tourists’ hearts, and USE-IT embodies that side well. As Alderman for Tourism it’s important that we support young innovative teams. So we’re proud that these city maps have spread out all over Europe from Brussels,” says Philippe Close, the Alderman of Tourism in Brussels.

The USE-IT headquarters is stationed in the Galerie Ravenstein, where it attracts more than 20,000 travellers per year. Apart from all the European free maps, visitors also get tips about nightlife there from the young Brussels volunteers, or they head out together for a walk along the Anderlecht supporters’ bars or the latest genital graffiti in town. Anything but the Manneken Pis.

Welcome New Year in Style at Brussels!

Brussels PartyBrussel’s nightlife is shaped in the city’s image : lively, convivial, and eclectic. In fact, the capital of Europe has innumerable bars, night spots, and themed nights out, their hot electric atmospheres seduces fun seeking revellers. But here’s the flipside : it is sometimes difficult to choose from among all of these options, above all where to enjoy seeing the New Year in. This is why the third version of the Happy Brussels pass created by visit.brussels and PLAY Asbl opens the doors to the better nights out for revellers to celebrate the start of 2017 at the party in good humour.

Are you a fans of techno, tech house, underground, dance, r’n’b, hiphop, jazz, or even bollywood fusion ? Do you want to see the New Year in at a club, in a bar, or in an unusual place ? Do you want to have good fun going around on an exuberant night out until the break of dawn ? The Happy Brussels pass rolls out the red carpet for all revellers in search of new experiences and places just made to celebrate the passing of the old year into the start of 2017. In particular, you will find the FUSE New Year’s Eve, the Stereo & Leftorium NYE 2017 at the Stereo, the Deep in House NYE 2017 at the Galerie Horta, the Acid New Year at the Wild Gallery, the Los Ninos New Year’s Eve at the Bodega, the night out at Madame Moustache, at the Mirano Continental, and a good many others too.

In addition to entry into 14 of the best nights out on New Year’s Eve, the pass lets you make rich discoveries during the rest of your visit to the city. In fact, Happy Brussels lists the locations of a selection of trendy chic bars and unusual places where you can kick off the celebrations  . You can get into the Atomium, the not-to-be-missed architectural giant and symbol of Europe’s capital  . It includes entry into the Jim Jarmusch exhibition and a seat at the Cinéma Galeries show. Lastly, it offers a few additional pleasures such as tingling the taste buds with a good waffle.

Brussels gets brighter this winter!

As soon as darkness fell yesterday evening i.e., 2 December, the European capital became a lot brighter and perhaps more beautiful. Until 5 February 2017, Bright Brussels Winter will illuminate the environs of Brussels’ small inner circle. Unusual and playful light works are installed for a sparkling outdoor exhibition across 12 emblematic places, such as Place Stéphanie, Place Poelaert, Place Rogier, Place du Luxembourg or Porte de Flandre. These giant installations illuminate the magical atmosphere of Brussels during this winter period.

edan6276While the sun becomes more and more distant in the final weeks of the year, Brussels allows a fairy-like and unusual atmosphere to envelop parts of the city. At the initiative of the Brussels Ministry of Mobility and Public Works, visit.brussels, with the support of the Brussels-Capital Region and Atrium, coordinates the installation of these large-scale works in the heart of the capital of Europe. A multi-faceted ball, 12-metre tall flowers, giant pocket torches are to be found, among many others… In addition to these works of art placed around the small inner circle, several imposing edifices are taking part in this enlightenment of the Region: the Belfius tower, the P&V tower and the ING Marnix building offer scintillating and colourful projections of light. Whether on foot, by bicycle, public transport or by car, passers by will be able to admire these illuminations.

edan6423“The Brussels Region is doing its bit to add some magic to the festive season with a number of stunning light installations all around Brussels. These temporary displays will be lighting up the capital thanks to the support of the government, which is always keen to promote the Region’s image. This beautiful sight will be a real treat for lots of tourists, young and old alike,” enthused Rudi Vervoort, Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region.

edan6627“The events of the last year have put Brussels in the news. Today, as we work to enhance the quality of our public spaces, we are investing in improving our Region’s image. The lights around the Small Ring and along the canal provide a great opportunity for locals and visitors to meet. During the darkest days of the year, we will be lighting up our city, and this year, we have decided to put Molenbeek under some welcome spotlights. We wanted to change the atmosphere after a year in which attention has been focused on this particular neighbourhood after the terrorist attacks,” explains Brussels Minister for Mobility and Public Works, Pascal Smet.

edan2307Didier Gosuin, Minister of Economy and Employment: “I am thrilled with the installation of these illuminations. They make the business centre of Brussels even more attractive for shoppers and tourists. From now on, visit.brussels is the only operator in charge of this work. Note also that an overall, regional “lighting” plan is being prepared for installation in several phases. It includes year-end lights, a lights festival and the illumination of works of art and edifices. The objective? Boost the image of Brussels and the business of our commercial centre.”

Here is a list of illuminated works and edifices to admire all along the Brussels inner circle.

Place StéphanieTree of Light is a majestic Christmas tree ten metres tall made entirely of LED lights, bringing festivity to the magic of holiday lights.

Place Poelaert: Disco-Light is a giant mirror ball over 5 metres in diameter will take centre stage at the heart of the square, while a light show will cast shimmering light over the neighbouring buildings.

Porte de Namur: Pocket pays tribute to the old French torches (called “pocket lamps” in French). Reimagined on a massive scale, this giant torch plays with proportion, scale and size. Its modern touch can be seen when it lights up, revealing not only the traditional warm white light of torches, but also a kaleidoscope of joyful colours. It lights up the surrounding area with a beam that varies in intensity.

Place du Luxembourg et Square de Meeus: Pix-Light are 12 giant desk lamps bring a hint of fun to these everyday objects from the world of work. Located on the Place du Luxembourg and the Square du Meeus, these multicoloured objects will warm up the Brussels winter.

Rue Royale, Sapin P&V made up of 351 neon lights, an impressive Christmas tree 40 metres wide and 51 metres high lights up the facade of this tower, located along Rue Royale and the Botanical Garden, each and every day.

Boulevard du Jardin Botanique: Botasalon. The Boulevard du Jardin Botanique, an urban highway that can sometimes be a bit austere, was likely in need of warm lighting. This is where Bright Brussels Winter takes centre stage, transforming the boulevard into one long living-room with its warm lamp shades. More than two metres in diameter, these lamp shades exhibit tropical hues and exotic patterns – all that is needed to bring warmth to your heart during the cold winter months.

Place RogierSynergie is a lighting concept between the vertical and horizontal, between buildings and streets. It symbolises the crossing of lives that come together in the city. The project resolutely aims to be dynamic, graphical, and contemporary, in order to highlight the architectural aspects of what is being illuminated. It is an interaction of light between three places: the Belfius tower, an altogether imposing edifice that attracts the eyes of passers-by on the Place Rogier, and the strips on the edge of the boulevard. This new layout of the Place Rogier breathes life back into the Belfius tower, an emblem that casts red, purple, and white light, giving new purpose to the public spaces while opening up the passage toward the economic heart of Brussels via Rue Neuve and its shopping centres.

Place Sainctelette: L’Astera is a wild flower, a distant cousin of the thistle found in our countries and that easily reaches over twelve metres in height. An intriguing silvery plant with a bright glimmer during the day, at sunset it transforms into a mesmerizing creature, its heart erupting into a storm of coloured beams of light that illuminate its bristling structure. A night-flower with a curious form of photosynthesis, the Aster blooms at sunset, revealing its splendour as it flares up in a kaleidoscope of dazzling colours.

Quai des charbonnages: Fleur à Souffler is a creation, like a new plant species, that gets its inspiration from the grace and airiness of what some call the “fleur à souffler” (literally, “blow-flower”): the dandelion. The lights are 10 metres high and the flower is 5 metres in diameter. From its luminous calyx, fine, exquisite petals flow outward. The stem that bears the elegant corolla is gently inclined, as though trying to reach out with its flower toward the luminous eyes. Brought together in number, these lights make up a starry bouquet with a soft and warm glow. With two wooden benches just below, as though waiting for an audience, this luminous sculpture also transforms itself into street furniture, bringing a bit of poetry and the sensuality of nature to the urban landscape.

Porte de Flandre: The bridge of the Porte de Flandre is the physical tie between the affluent Rue Antoine Dansaert and the multicultural Chaussée de Gand. As such, it was important to celebrate this crossroads between two populations and the Brussels canal. First, the “Light Canal” is an installation made of four lines of LED lights crossing the water and spawning waves of light 15 metres in the air. In all, 360 coloured tubes bring cheer and festiveness to this liquid link between the city centre and Molenbeek. Then, the Chaussée de Gand also boasts festive lighting to mark the start of this shopping street. Finally, an artistic installation, overlooking the Porte de Flandre, will undoubtedly get spoken about. In order to reinvigorate the pride of the inhabitants and shopkeepers for their municipality, the letters of the name of Molenbeek are created in the same font as the famous Hollywood landmark. Topping a building at the corner of the Chaussée de Gand and the Canal, they will light up by night on certain occasions. This work was realized in collaboration with Frédéric Nicolay.

Place de la Bourse: Impulsion, playground lumineux! Giant see-saws, brimming with light and sound, is installed just at the foot of the Brussels Stock Exchange (La Bourse). Equipped with lights and speakers, the see-saws are activated by sitting down on either side, which triggers melodies that are accompanied by oscillating waves of light.  This means that passers-by can produce fleeting, constantly changing original creations. Thanks to the use of architectural lines, their hypnotic sound will create an astonishing impression of depth that will light up the central boulevard. Playing with the notions of balance and imbalance, symmetry and asymmetry, tension and harmony, video projections will represent a visual experience. “Impulsion” is an urban feature that will constantly change with those who visit it. In the time it takes to ride a see-saw, visitors will become musicians playing a novel kind of instrument.

Trône: ING Marnix. An unusual “aurora brusselalis” electrifies the Marnix façade. A rare phenomenon, day and night in Brussels’ small loop “constellation”: bizarre magnetic, electric, and luminous. Finally, in collaboration with Atrium, the regional agency for commerce, the commercial neighbourhoods in the upper part of the city also share the spirit of Christmas with illuminated decorations of all types. They will brighten year-end shopping on the Boulevard de Waterloo, Avenue de la Toison d’Or, Avenue Louise, Chaussée de Charleroi, Place Stéphanie, Goulet Louise, rue Stas and rue Jourdan, as well as at the top of the Chaussée de Gand in Molenbeek.

edan2720Finally, in collaboration with Atrium, the regional agency for commerce, the commercial neighbourhoods in the upper part of the city also share the spirit of Christmas with illuminated decorations of all types. They will brighten year-end shopping on the Boulevard de Waterloo, Avenue de la Toison d’Or, Avenue Louise, Chaussée de Charleroi, Place Stéphanie, Goulet Louise, rue Stas and rue Jourdan, as well as at the top of the Chaussée de Gand in Molenbeek.

(For all photos in this post : Copyright Eric Danhier – visit.brussels)

Tintin is calling for the Comic Strip Festival

Fete de la BD - StripfeestIf you love comics, then you will certainly love Tintin and when it comes to Tintin, Belgians love him. He is fondly considered as the first citizen of the capital city Brussels. No doubt that Brussels celebrates every year a festival dedicated to comics and comic strips. A unique event of this type anywhere in the world. Belgium has actually created a niche for itself in organising some exclusive festivals, and Comic strip is one of them. This year, festival will be from 2nd to 4th September. So, if you are a comic lover, then it is time to pack and head to Brussels. Here is everything you would like to know about this year’s edition of Comic Strip Festival.

Ninth Art

Belgium, and Brussels in particular, have been fertile ground for comic strips from the very beginning, so it’s entirely fitting that they dedicate a full weekend to the rich cultural heritage that is the “Ninth Art.” Since it began in 2010, the Brussels Comic Strip Festival has grown by leaps and bounds and acquired a reputation as a premier festival in the Ninth Art world. More than 100,000 people are now expected to attend each year as well as 250 renowned authors. And there will be a lot to entice everybody: The endless mazes of the Brussels Comic Strip Festival, the superb collector’s items from the great Journal Tintin Rally, and the impressive giant floats of the Balloon’s Day Parade. A wide array of offerings to delight little kids as much as grown-up comic strip fans and Sunday readers.

Fete de la BD - StripfeestAt the Brussels Comic Strip Festival, which will set up shop in the Parc de Bruxelles, there will be hundreds of signings, exhibits, a packed international pavilion, workshops, and activities in every direction. Sales, and contests awaiting festival-goers. This year the Brussels Comic Strip Festival will also provide the perfect occasion to celebrate several important anniversaries: the tenth anniversary of the Raymond Leblanc prize for Young Artists, the 70th anniversary of Le Lombard’s publishing house, as well as Lucky Luke’s 70th birthday. This is the chance to top off the weekend with a few extra surprises!

Finally, it should be noted that this year, the Brussels Comic Strip Festival will play host to a greatly expanded international programme. Just like the multiculturalism in Brussels, the stands under the tents and the outdoor activities will be conducted in various languages. French, Dutch and English will of course be widely present, but also Spanish, Italian, Finnish or even Korean will be heard. As to help the visitor to quickly identify the language in which an event will take place, a free programme of the Brussels Comic Strip Festival, mentioning all languages of all events, will be distributed in the tents.

Comic FestivalBrussels will show more than ever that it deserves the title of comic strip capital. Comic strip walls, museums, and bookstores will be in the spotlight while special comic strip activities will pop up around Brussels throughout the weekend and beyond. The whole of Brussels will be decked out in comic strip colours for the first weekend of September. The occasion to highlight the fact that Brussels is bursting with can’t-miss comic strip places: whether it is the 53 comic strip walls scattered around the city, the numerous specialised bookstores and museums, ninth art lovers have found their headquarters.

A Little Train will link these hotspots throughout the weekend. Free of charge, it will make its way through the streets of Brussels from the Brussels Comic Strip Festival’s marquee entrance. It will take visitors on a tour several kilometres in length, passing by, or stopping at, the Comic Strip Museum, the MoOF (Museum of Original Figurines), the Korean Cultural Centre which will present its second comic strip exhibition, comic strip walls, specialised bookstores, and other points of interest.A free Comic Strip Pass comes with this tour and offers discounts at museums and stores.

Comic stripsAnother way to explore these comic strip sites is to take advantage of the free guided tours led by professional guides specialising in comic strips. On one hand, there will be a walking tour of comic strip murals dotting the European capital: over the course of an hour and a half, the guides will share the unique history of the murals, these sections of abandoned walls decorated with comic strip themes. On the other hand, there will be a three-hour bicycle tour departing from, and returning to BIP (Brussels Info Place) that runs to Laeken, off the beaten path, and visits jewels like the Corto Maltese mural and the Parc de Laeken.

Special Comic Strip Festival activities

The Improv League, in addition to its performances under the marquees, will offer fans the chance to take full advantage of two weekend performances at the Marni Theatre. The Improv Match will obviously be enhanced with the concept of randomness: along with three comedians, the show will include two cartoonists. Together, they will share a funny improvisational moment, combining theatre and drawing. The Cinematek will also play along by presenting a comic strip film each day during the Brussels Comic Strip Festival weekend. Personalities from the comic strip world whose works inspired the film or vice versa will introduce “Paul in Quebec,” “The Army of the Twelve Monkeys,” and “Planet of the Vampires.” The films will be shown in their original language with subtitles in French and Dutch or English.

Comic StripIn addition to the five major publishing houses, and tens of small and micro publishers, the many merchants and BD booksellers and 250 authors present, the chapters of the Comic Festival will bubble with cultural, recreational and professional activities on first weekend of September. This year, the Comic Festival aims to launch on the discovery of the ninth art of close or distant lands. An international pavilion will welcome representatives from more than ten countries around the world, as well as their authors, their works and their curiosities.

Talks: For the third consecutive year, the Comic Festival programme is complemented by a double series of conferences, hosted by the authors and designers of all backgrounds. This year, the first series is entitled “Comics around the world”. Quebec, the guest of honour this year, and the participants of the International Pavilion will host discussions, round tables and presentations to lead visitors through the culture of the ninth art. The second series, “When Comics become teachers”, analyses how comics can offer everyone current topics, society matters and sometimes complex science.

Exhibitions: A number of free exhibitions will pop up under the big top. These vital partners are also bringing the renowned exhibitions and retrospectives of their author. It’s a chance to discover unexpected gems or original drawings! The Jeu de Bulles gallery in Brussels will also flaunt its impressive collection of pieces from the world of Hergé. Finally, the 22 cartoonists of The Cartoonist will celebrate the comic strip and its heroes in their exhibition, with which they have grown up and frequently referred to in their own drawings. And this is but a brief selection: the Centre belge de la bande dessinée, The Cartoonist, BD Enchères, Banque Dessinée, 501st FanWars Garrison and the 9th Art Gallery also provide a nice compilation of the most original surprises.

Comic FestivalWorkshops and entertainment: In addition to the necessary Spirou Festival and entertainment and games planned for the 70 years of Lombard, an infinity of other options are available to all festival-goers. Those who want to laugh uproariously can relax in the spectacle of the improvisation of the actors of the Ligue d’Impro, led by Quebec’s designers. Those who like to see things large can admire the giant fresco which Frank Pé will make during the Brussels Comic Strip Festival.  Those who want to engage in the delicate art of caricature can follow the advice of the Atelier 24. Finally, the “geeks” and fans of manga can meet in Belgotaku to hunt for manga treasure, to read or to learn to draw the Japanese way. For the most avid of new horizons, the International Pavilion will reveal the comic in all its diversity.

Finally, toddlers and youth will see their creativity challenged; they will have fun tinkering, becoming revampers or by colouring in the Kids Zone, or learn the ropes of humorous comics by creating their own board at the Macadam Valley stand. The more adventurous will visit the “Sky High Survival”, an inflatable structure over six metres high erected by Éditions Kana.

Tintin RallyThe journal Tintin Rally: The Brussels Comic Strip Festival is organising the journal Tintin Rally for the third year in a row. In what has become an essential weekend tradition, the race of vintage vehicles will gather nearly 80 collector cars. On Sunday, 4 September, vintage vehicles found in the journal Tintin from 1946 to 1988 will be invited to participate in the great rally. After a journey of about one hundred kilometres and a stop at the Hergé Museum, these cars will arrive in Brussels from 2:30 PM. The public will then be able to come and admire the myriad of auto bodies at Place des Palais/Paleizenplein next to Parc de Bruxelles/Warandepark where the festival of the Brussels Comic Strip Festival will be in full swing at the same time. This should be a delightful spectacle for people of all ages and interests. At the end of the race, a panel of judges will award the prizes for the cars that best match the journal Tintin.

EDAN5232The Balloon’s Day Parade: On the occasion of the Brussels Comic Strip Festival, the 8th Balloons’ Day Parade will take place along the main streets of Brussels. Composed of famous Belgian comic strip characters, the Balloons’ Day Parade will give kids young and old the opportunity to see these gigantic balloons. This year, the Balloons’ Day Parade will take place on Sunday 4 September. For an hour and a half, a parade of giant balloons taking the form of comic strip characters will cross the city, turning it upside down. The Balloons’ Day Parade and the Comic Strip festival will plunge comic fans into the fantastic world of Belgian comics. Another brand new balloon representing a famous comic strip character will join this year’s parade.  The impressive sight of the balloons being inflated will begin in the morning at the Place des Palais. During the afternoon, Billy, Spirou, Tintin, Le Chat and their new friends will parade through the city centre. The route comes to an end at De Brouckère, where the balloons will be deflated. The Brussels Police Band will open the parade. In addition, folk groups from around Belgium will join this colourful parade to provide entertainment.

(All photos: courtesy Visit Brussels)

Its Japan all over at the Grand Place in Brussels, in flowers!

Flower-Carpet-2016_6We said some time back that it would be Japanese Kacho-Fugetsu & Koi at Brussels Flower Carpet this year. So the time has finally come and its Japan all over the Brussels Grand Place, and with beautiful flowers. This year’s Flower carpet is now open for the visitors today. The Brussels Flower Carpet is one of the most amazing flower shows in the world and also one of the most awaited ones. Hence here it comes.

A  look at the this years’s carpet-

After two years of preparation, the 20th Flower Carpet is finally on show in the Grand Place at Brussels for visitors to admire over the next three days. This year’s carpet at the Belgium capital celebrates 150 years of Belgo-Japanese relations and features a Japanese design in honour of the occasion.

Flower carpet making is a very specialised process which needs precision, knowledge and timing. So here are five facts you need to know about the 20th Flower Carpet:

  1. It is made up of 600,000 flowers. Most of them are begonias, but there are also dahlias, grasses and dyed bark.
  2. It is 75 m long and 24 m wide – that’s more than 1,800m² of flowers!
  3. It took a team of 100 volunteers eight hours to put it together.
  4. It was conceived by a young Japanese designer, Fuji Suzuki, who drew inspiration from Japanese representations of flowers, birds, the wind and the moon to depict the beauty of nature.
  5. It honours more than 150 years of friendly commercial, diplomatic and social relations between Belgium and Japan.

A look at this years carpet in making-

Practical info

The Grand Place in Brussels will be dressed in its Flower Carpet on 12, 13, 14 and 15 August 2016. The public will be able to access it on 12 August from 1 pm to 5:30 pm and on 13, 14 and 15 August from 10 am to 10 pm. The opening ceremony, fireworks and sound and light show will take place on 12 August at 10 pm. If you want to admire the carpet as a whole, don’t miss the panoramic view from the balcony of the Town Hall. Visits will be available from 10 am to 10 pm (last entry at 9:30 pm). There is a entry price of €5 but children under 10 get in free.

(All photos in the post courtesy VisitBrussels ©Wim Vanmaele)