The official Europe Day is on 9 May and every year around this time, the European institutions in Brussels open their doors to the public. You can visit the European Parliament, European Commission, European Council and a host of other institutions that play a role in the daily rule of the European Union.
Put on your dancing shoes and have your best dance-floor moves ready, because spring is when the festival season in Belgium starts and Brussels has something to offer for lovers of all genres of music. Jazz fans get a double bill in May, with both Jazz Brussels and the Brussels Jazz Weekend on the agenda. Music venue The Botanique organises Les Nuits, which differs in length every year, but is generally around 10 days of concerts and after-parties with established, up-and-coming, and unheard-of artists in just about every type of music. May 8 is the feast day of the Brussels-Capital Region and every year around that date is Iris Festival, a two- or three-day festival with free concerts, street performances and other cultural events all over the city.
Spring is the time to get out of the house and roam about, but you can never depend on the weather so if it’s rainy, Brussels has plenty of cinemas in which to escape and watch a movie, and also an impressive roster of film festivals that drop into town. In spring, there is the Brussels Short Film Festival, the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival and the regular Brussels Film Festival. And Festival Massimadi is a three-day festival dedicated to LGBT films from Africa and the African diaspora and also features exhibitions, encounters, performances, and concerts around that theme.
Every year in May, Brussels celebrates the LGBTQI+ community with Brussels Pride. The Pride Festival offers a wide range of activities such as exhibitions, workshops, conferences, as well as DJ sets, concerts, and parties in various locations. Come wave your rainbow flag to show your solidarity.
Remember that Belgium is a northern European country, so despite it being spring, the sun may not show itself that much. Fortunately Brussels is a hugely cultural city, with many great museums open all year around. Every springtime the city’s art heritage becomes even more prominent with Art Brussels, one of Europe’s biggest art fairs coming to town. Kunstenfestivaldesarts might be a mouthful for non-Dutch speakers, but when this tongue-twister hits the city, you can gear up for three weeks of theatre, dance, street performances, visual art, music and film.
Spring is the glorious time of year when trees start to sprout leaves again and flowers blossom, so it’s the ideal time to go for a walk through one of the many beautiful parks in Brussels to enjoy nature’s vivid colours. You could take a trip to Grand Bigard Castle (Kasteel Groot-Bijgaarden in Dutch), on the western edge of Brussels, to enjoy Floralia, a yearly spring flower exhibition in the park and the greenhouses of the castle. This unforgettable floral experience covers 14 acres and features a whopping one million bulbs and almost 400 different varieties of tulips.
Grand Bigard Castle, Isidoor van Beverenstraat 5, 1702 Groot-Bijgaarden, Belgium, +32 494 47 72 56
After the gloomy months of autumn and winter, the bruxellois are keen to come out of their houses and catch some rays, so at the first hint of sunshine, you can expect the terraces and sidewalks of Brussels to be bustling with people. The city is a cosmopolitan hub, so you can treat your taste buds to all flavours of the world. Whether it’s Italian, Moroccan or vegetarian you’re looking for, Brussels has a wide selection of restaurants and bistros.
Belgium is not only the land of beer and fries, but also of chocolate, so what better place to spend the Easter festivities and gorge on chocolate creations? In the weeks leading up to the Easter weekend, Brussels’ chocolate shops will try and outdo each other with extravagant displays in their store windows. During the days after Easter, all the leftover chocolate will go on sale, so prepare to score some great chocolate bargains. Even if you’re not visiting around Easter, it’s worth discovering the chocolate shops in Brussels as they are the real deal for any chocolate aficionados!