Marvel at the fireworks firing off above the Atomium
Ongoing construction works in the heart of the city might be the best thing that could have happened to Brussels’ traditional New Year’s Eve celebration. Because of reconstructions of the Place de Brouckère square, normally fireworks and countdown central, the explosive event is being moved to the Atomium. The city’s foremost symbol, built for the 1958 World Fair, also gets to blow out 60 candles in 2018, making the occasion doubly worthy of a colourful extravaganza with accompanying music. The end-of-year festivities will also continue to include a large screen that projects onlookers’ different wishes and resolutions.
Dine mightily fine, then dance at Belga Queen
For 15 years, Antoine Pinto’s Belga Queen has stood for Belgian cuisine at its finest, and the chic restaurant in a gorgeously renovated 19th-century bank building has a mouth-watering end to 2017 in mind. A particularly delicious menu – think roasted langoust, Jerusalem artichoke cream, blackcurrant sorbet and a deer rib in red Bouzy sauce – has been composed to bid adieu to the past year. All are, as always, prepared with Belgian produce, but this time the food will be accompanied by live musical entertainment. After dinner the bon vivant life continues downstairs, in the former bank vaults that have been transformed into the rather exclusive Belga Queen Club.
Menus range from €145 / $171,9 to €230 / $272,6
Get wild at the alternative FCKNYE
At the massive Palais 12, a mere ten-minute walk from the Atomium, 10,000 revellers are expected to show up and go wild to the tunes of 40 different acts, spread out across five different stages. Belgium’s young flock here for a sample of everything from techno and house, to soul and reggae. The capital’s most famed alternative music NYE is up to its eighth edition, and manning the stage for this year’s fever dream are DJs Sam Paganini, Dr. Peacock and fast emerging rap talent Roméo Elvis, whose lyrics paint a bittersweet picture of hometown Brussels.
€42 / $48,8
Palais 12, L’Esplanade, 1020 Brussels, from 8pm to 6am
Flash back to the roaring 20s at a Gatsby-themed casino party
Intent on kicking off 2018 in style, Brussels’ Viage casino will be channeling the Great Gatsby on December 31st. Besides feasting on a five-course gourmet meal, gentlemen in dapper suits and ladies in sequined dresses can listen to live jazz, win big at the roulette table and enjoy cabaret as if the Roaring Twenties never came to and end. A ‘Champagne Girl’ has been appointed to keep the glasses full, and only 21-and-over are admitted to this night of dapper debauchery.
Optional five-course dinner: €99 / $117,8 + €23,8 entrance for non-members
Grand Casino Brussels Viage, Boulevard Anspach 30, from 7:30pm to 4am
Float the party on down to a mid-lake chalet
After-work party experts Les belges jeunesses are calling on all the young Belgians and internationals out there to make this NYE an extraordinary one by choosing a particularly enchanting location: the Chalet Robinson, smack-dab in the middle of park Bois de la Cambre’s lake. Transportation to this magical cabin all decked out in twinkle lights happens in cute dinghies, followed by a three-course meal and a party that lasts well into 2018’s first night.
Entrance: €11,7 / $13,8 + three-course dinner: €55 / $65
Soak up the last day of Brussels’ enchanting Christmas market
A romantic ride on a lit-up ferris wheel, sips of toasty glühwein, bites of steaming Brussels’ waffles and knitted hats everywhere – Brussels’ Winter Wonders has the goods to deliver a heartwarming ending to 2017. The 200-chalet-rich Christmas market is spread out over the city’s nicest squares, from the historic Grand Place, where an inimitable light show is triggered every 15 minutes, to the atmospheric Place Sainte-Catherine, where a choir of carollers will be doling out musical joy between 2 and 5pm.