A weekend in…
A patchwork of cultures and peculiarities, Brussels hosts a wide array of events, from traditional, Medieval cavalcades to world music festivals and celebrations of light and fireworks. If you are lucky enough to arrive in Brussels when the city is prepar
The cold of winter is not enough to keep the Bruxellois inside their houses. During Bright Brussels, an enchanting light art festival in the centre of Brussels, thousands of locals and tourists conquer the streets at night to let the glow of the installations and projections warm their hearts.
MUSEUM NIGHT FEVER
After sunset, museums become magical places. During the annual Museum Night Fever, the city’s greatest cultural temples stay open until 1am and delight the crowds with workshops, performances and many surprises.
OPENING ROYAL GREENHOUSES
17 April - 8 May
The Royal Greenhouses are among the most beautiful pieces of nature in Brussels (see page 59) but are private property. For three weeks of the year, however, the King and Queen open their doors to the public. Make sure not to miss out on a magical stroll through this glass palace
1 - 5 May
The iris is the symbol of Brussels and thus lends its name to the city’s official holiday. During the Iris Festival, you can witness bizarre shows, participate in exciting activities and celebrate alongside thousands of locals.
By the end of May, the Brussels LGBTQ+ community hits the streets for a dynamic festival of love and acceptance. Parades, high-heel runs, and plenty of drag queens turn the city into the most cheerful place on earth. 31 May
Running the 20km of Brussels can be a nice change from sweating in the gym. Alongside many other recreational runners, you’ll jog past the most beautiful spots in the city. And it isn’t a race per se – the only thing that matters is that you make yourself proud.
26 - 28 June
In the shadow of the Atomium, Couleur Café gathers the greatest ethnic music stars and their loyal fans. Driven by beats and melodies from all over the world, this jovial festival feels like one big family gathering.
1 - 3 July
The Ommegang has been bringing the Bruxellois back to the 16th century for over 90 years now. Initially, it was a religious procession; today, it is a historical re-enactment of the entry of Emperor Charles V in Brussels
in 1549. A total of 1,400 actors and extras give shape to the entourage of the emperor, both during the cavalcade and during the magnum opus at Grand Place.
Mid-July to mid-August
What better way to end a summer evening than with a sky full of fireworks? The district of Laeken – home to the royal family and Brussels’ rich and famous – lights up the sky above the Atomium on the five warmest Friday nights of the year. All have a different theme and promise a different experience.
11 July - 16 August
Bumper cars, merry-go-rounds, luna parks… The Midi Fair turns the area around the Midi Station into one giant amusement park. As the secondbiggest fun fair in Belgium, it offers something for people of all ages, from newborns to centenarians.
Fireworks, parades and an ‘actes de presence’ of the royal family: the Belgian National Day has it all. Downtown, things can remain quite calm on the 21st, but around the Royal Palace and Mont Des Arts, there is more to see than your eyes can handle. But don’t let that put you off. Join the crowds and celebrate the Belgian independence of 1830.
13 - 16 August
Every two years, Grand Place gets taken over by the biggest flower carpet in the world. A floral canvas of 1,680 square metres then tickles eyes and noses aplenty. A total of 35 million bulbs are planted for the event, 80 per cent of which come from the
Brussels region. After four days, the organic artwork disappears again, not to return for another two years.
BELGIAN BEER WEEKEND
6 - 8 September
What is more Belgian than beer? During the Belgian Beer Weekend, you can grab a cold one while enjoying the soothing Indian summer. The only thing you have to worry about is which ones to sample, as over 400 brews are on offer.
BRUSSELS COMIC STRIP FESTIVAL
11 - 13 September
Belgium’s biggest heroes are made from paper and pencil. For one weekend a year, they come to life in a spectacular balloon parade. Make sure to pass the comic book market as well, as it provides the perfect opportunity to complete your collection.
Originally a French tradition, a Nuit Blanche (or white night) is a free festival of culture, light and entertainment that kicks off after sunset. From 7pm to 3am, visitors can walk through doors that usually remain locked and discover a different side of their beloved city.
27 November 2020 - 3 January 2021 The best time to visit Brussels is around the holidays. A huge Christmas Fair takes over the entire city centre, filling it with the smells of mulled wine, cheese and chocolate. Moreover, you can ice skate in front of the Opera House or gaze at the city from above while enjoying a Ferris wheel ride. In Grand Place and at the Sainte-Catherine Church, you can enjoy two different, stunning light shows as well. On New Year’s Eve, fireworks, countdown clocks and intriguing art installations help you kick off the New Year in style!