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Brussels | © Anton_Ivanov / Shutterstock.com
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What's On In Brussels In December

Picture of Nana Van De Poel
Updated: 14 November 2016
The holiday season is upon us and Brussels is gearing up for a jolly good time this December with a massive Winter Wonderland, carol concerts, special designer markets and even a Manneken Pis charity run. For those wanting no part of the holiday madness, there’s plenty of exciting new exhibitions and creative performances to help you escape the festivities. Here’s your guide to a cheerful and cultured December.

THURSDAY 1st – SUNDAY 4th DECEMBER

Winter Wonders | © Eric Danhier/courtesy of visitbrussels.be / SpeakEasy | © Shannon Damery/courtesy of SpeakEasy-Spoken Word Brussels / Meg Stuart and Tim Etchells | © Guy Kokken/courtesy of Kaaitheater / Neruda | © AZ Films
Winter Wonders | © Eric Danhier/courtesy of visitbrussels.be / SpeakEasy | © Shannon Damery/courtesy of SpeakEasy-Spoken Word Brussels / Meg Stuart and Tim Etchells | © Guy Kokken/courtesy of Kaaitheater / Neruda | © AZ Films

MARKET | Get Jolly At Winter Wonders

📅 Until Sunday, January 1st

The holiday season has arrived and Brussels is decking out its biggest squares in an especially festive outfit again. The Grand-Place will boasts its enormous Christmas tree and light show, the Place de la Bourse will be home to fumbling skaters who only try their luck on the rink once a year, and over two hundred chalets will be dotted all around to provide you with hot chocolate, glühwein, wintery snacks and anything else you might need to get into the holiday spirit.

Free entry

📍 Grand-Place, Place de la Bourse and other squares across Brussels

SPOKEN WORD | Try Out Your Language Chops At SpeakEasy

📅 Thursday, December 1st, 8pm

Whether you’re a rapper, a poet, a rapping poet, a magician of the spoken word or just a big fan of those who are, SpeakEasy offers a chance to make life in Brussels even more enchanting. Join the creatives on stage in whatever language you prefer – there’s even a prohibition bar for performers in need of a little liquid courage – or show them your appreciation with your loudest cheers.

Free entry

📍 Pianofabriek

DANCE | Delve Into Abstract Improv At ‘Shown and Told’

📅 Thursday, December 1st and Friday, December 2nd, 8:30pm

The latest in creative collaborations between Kaaitheater regulars Meg Stuart and Tim Etchells promises to be as abstract and intriguing as ever. The dancer/choreographer and writer/performance artist plan on letting inspiration come to them in the moment via an improvised show, making for a completely unique public dialogue with every event. Themes that the pairing shall explore include presence and absence, loss and emptiness and fragmented storylines.

Tickets: €8 – €16

📍 Kaaitheater

FILM | Sample Neruda And cocktails At Peliculatina’s Closing Night

📅 Sunday, December 4th, 8:15pm

Brussels’ annual Latin-American film festival spools to an end on the first Sunday of December with Pablo Larraín’s brand-new Neruda. The Chilean director du jour has made what was originally expected to be a biopic of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda into an entertaining slice-of-life telling in which fact and fiction blend together with a magical realist touch. Lifting you up further will be the complimentary cocktail after the screening.

Tickets: €14

📍 Flagey

PHOTOGRAPHY | Get Nostalgic For Postcards At ‘From Brussels with Love’

📅 Until Saturday, December 10th

Léopoldine Roux’s work ‘From Brussels with Love’ adorns the rooms of Schaerbeek’s Maison des Arts. In the hallway are old black and white postcards collected at the capital’s markets, echoing the authentic correspondences between families and friends, long before email or Facebook.

📍 Maison des Arts de Schaerbeek

MONDAY 5th – SUNDAY 11th DECEMBER

EVENT | Patch Up Your Pants At Sewing Salon FemmaXL

📅 Monday, December 5th, 7:45pm

The holiday season calls for pleasant gatherings, and not just family ones with drunken uncles. At FemmaXL’s monthly sewing salon in Saint-Gilles women flock together to sew, knit and crochet their butts off while having a chat over a warm tea or well-deserved wine. Beginners are more than welcome to join and can count on a helping hand from more experienced ladies. Be sure to bring your own kit.

Tickets: €2, free for Femma members

📍 Pianofabriek

MUSIC | Enjoy The First Christmas Carols At Brussels’ Royal Wedding Cathedral

📅 Tuesday, December 6th, 8pm

As far as idyllic spots to listen to Christmas carols go, Saint Michael and Saint Gudula Cathedral is one for the books. The 16th-century Gothic gem – and the monarchy’s preferred wedding venue – is hosting its annual Christmas concert on December 6th, the day of Sinterklaas. Traditional English carols, a skilled choir and the cathedral’s unique Grenzig organ should combine to make it a musical night bursting with Christmas spirit.

Tickets: €16 – €18, free entry for anyone under 18

📍 Saint Michael and Saint Gudula Cathedral

ART INSTALLATION | Dive Into An Ocean Of Sound At ‘Geografia Sonora’

📅 Wednesday, November 16th – Friday, December 9th

Ascend to the sixth floor of the non-profit Alliance française Bruxelles-Europe – no fear if your French is rusty at best or non-existent at worst – all you need to experience Greek composer’s Georgia Spiropoulos’ installation piece are your eyes and ears. Hear the Mediterranean breathe, whisper and sing while you witness her changing colors in the wave of impressions that is ‘Geografia Sonora’.

Free entry

📍 Alliance française de Bruxelles-Europe

PHOTOGRAPHY | See An Unknown Side To Italy At Guido Guidi’s ‘Col Tempo’

📅 Until Sunday, December 11th

A neorealist sensibility weaves throughout the work of Guido Guidi, the esteemed Italian photographer who recorded his homeland in the most unexpected and frayed of places, shattering an idyllic fantasy tourists like to cherish about the country. For the new exhibit Col Tempo or ‘With Time’, a number of never before shown Guidi photographs from the 1970s and 1980s have been dusted off. You can witness Italy at its most desolate at Fondation A Stichting until Friday, December 19th.

Tickets: €2 – €4

📍 Fondation A Stichting

DESIGN | Find Your Trendiest Gifts At Brussels Designers Market

📅 Sunday, December 11th, 12pm-7pm

The capital’s beloved Vintage Market at the covered market halls of Saint-Géry is doing its share to make the holidays as stylish as possible. Aside from its traditional market the first Sunday of the month (where the Sint is already rumored to appear from 3pm onwards), it’s hosting a special edition on December 11th. About fifty Brussels designers will bring one-of-a-kind garments, light fixtures and small furniture for you to treat family and friends with (or yourself, of course). Add to that thirty artists who’ll set up shop from December 2nd until December 23rd to guide you on a special artistic winter walk and you’ve found yourself Christmas central.

Free entry

📍 Halles de Saint-Géry

MONDAY 12th – SUNDAY 18th DECEMBER

Bozar | © Jérôme Lateur/courtesy of visitbrussels.be / Inland Voyages In An Inland Voyage by Mira Sanders | © Mira Sanders/courtesy of Argos / Inland Voyages In An Inland Voyage by Mira Sanders | © Mira Sanders/courtesy of Argos / Le Botanique | © Kmeron/courtesy of Le Botanique
Bozar | © Jérôme Lateur/courtesy of visitbrussels.be / Inland Voyages In An Inland Voyage by Mira Sanders | © Mira Sanders/courtesy of Argos / Inland Voyages In An Inland Voyage by Mira Sanders | © Mira Sanders/courtesy of Argos / Le Botanique | © Kmeron/courtesy of Le Botanique

OPERA | Be Blown Away By Verdi’s Choruses ‘Nabucco’ Choruses

📅 Thursday December 15th, 8pm

To many an opera-lover’s delight, the Festival Opera Prague has embarked on a European tour with Nabucco. Considered by many to be Verdi’s magnum opus, the Italian composer’s greatest musical tale is a sweeping epic, which means huge choruses will be landing in Brussels’ Bozar on Thursday, December 15th to carry Belgian audiences off into higher places.

Tickets: €35 – €59,50

📍 Bozar

HISTORY | Pay A Visit To The Pop-up Museum of Capitalism

📅 Until Saturday, December 17th

Saturday, December 17th marks your last chance to discover a pop-up museum that’s entirely run by volunteering youngsters. While its focus may be capitalism – a rug quoting Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher warns that there’s simply no alternative – its founders are a remarkably selfless bunch. Access to four exhibition rooms comes at whatever price you see fit, and unpaid guides stand at the ready on request on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Tickets: free contribution with a minimum of two euros for a guided visit

📍 Cité Culture de Laeken

ART | Wander Around In A 3D Representation Of A 19th-century Travel Tale

📅 Until Sunday, December 18th

A travel story transformed into a monumental work of art to wander around in: ‘Inland Voyages in an Inland Voyage’ at Argos is Mira Sanders’ multi-dimensional exploration of the travel writings of Robert Louis Stevenson. The writer’s 19th-century tale, dubbed An Inland Voyage, regales how he paddled all the way from Antwerp, Belgium to Pontoise, France on a canoe with a friend. This was enough to inspire Sanders to design 22 panels in graphite pencil and watercolors.

Tickets: €4 – €6

📍 Argos centre for media and art

MUSIC | Bid Fall Farewell At The Last ‘Autumn Falls’ Concerts

📅 Until Friday, December 23rd

With Frosty the Snowman in sight, the fall’s premier music festival is wrapping up. You can catch Autumn Fall’s last Brussels concert at Le Botanique on Monday, December 12th, when classically schooled instrumentalists Lubomyr Melnyk and Carlos Sipa will fill the night with innovative piano tunes. Or head to Antwerp on Friday, December 23rd for your very last fix with Begian veteran Mauro Pawlowski and young talent Pauwel de Meyer.

Tickets: Lybomyr Melnyk and Carlos Sipa €18, Maurits Pauwels Groep and Pauwel de Meyer €13 – €16

📍 Le Botanique, Arenberg

MONDAY 19th – SUNDAY 25th DECEMBER

Artists for India | Courtesy of Cinemajax | I Breathe You in My Dreams, Trixie Whitley | © N.E.W.S. / Belgica | © Menuet Pictures / Vincent | © A Private View
Artists for India | Courtesy of Cinemajax | I Breathe You in My Dreams, Trixie Whitley | © N.E.W.S. / Belgica | © Menuet Pictures / Vincent | © A Private View Artists for India | Courtesy of Cinemajax | I Breathe You in My Dreams, Trixie Whitley | © N.E.W.S. / Belgica | © Menuet Pictures / Vincent | © A Private View

MUSIC | Show You Care At ‘Artists for India’

📅 Monday, December 19th, 7:30pm

Holidays are usually the time to open our hearts, and a lot of Belgian musicians feel the same. Four days before Christmas, up-and-coming Brussels band Jacle Bow is hosting a musical tribute to Jeanne Devos, the Belgian sister who has devoted her life to helping India’s domestic workers. Powered by radio channel Studio Brussels’ annual Music for Life charity week, the AB artist in residence will be joined on stage by Belgian heavy hitters Clouseau, Adamo, Guy Swinnen & Willy Willy and many more. Proceeds will go directly to Jeanne Devos’ National Domestic Workers Movement.

Tickets: €29 (online) – €30 (at the door)

📍 Ancienne Belgique

MUSIC | Meet Belgian-American Badass Trixie Whitley

📅 Tuesday, December 20th, 20pm

Always torn between Ghent and the Big Apple, Belgian-American badass Trixie Whitley has lived and breathed music since the age of three when her father, bluesman Chris Whitley, first took her on stage with him. At the age of seventeen she made her way to New York to carve out her songwriting path, but Whitley still frequently returns to her home country to deliver increasingly confident live sets, this time at Brussels’ Cirque Royal. Pay special attention to the booming ‘Breathe You in My Dreams’.

Tickets: €33

📍 Cirque Royal

FILM | Catch Up On The Best Of Belgian Cinema At ‘Be Film Festival’

📅 Thursday, December 22nd – Friday, December 30th

Holidays are an outstanding opportunity to treat friends and family to the magic of the silver screen, and what better to dazzle them with than the best of local cinema at Be Film Festival. Belgian pride is held high at Cinematek and Bozar by screening 2016’s most worthy Flemish and Walloon gems. Belgica, L’Économie du Couple and Vincent are just a few in the line-up announced so far.

📍 Bozar and Cinematek

MONDAY 25th – SATURDAY 31st DECEMBER

SPORTS | Run For A Good Cause At The Manneken Pis Corrida

📅 Monday, December 26th, 8:30pm

The Second Day of Christmas and already there’s an opportunity to work off those excess pounds and be charitable at the same time. The 7th edition of the Manneken Pis Corrida allows you to take part in a magical run (4 or 8 kilometers) through the city center that’s bathed in lights and rich with Christmas cheer. Part of the proceeds go to homeless shelter Chez Nous. Runners will pass the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, the Grand-Place and Manneken Pis. Reserve your spot here.

Tickets: €16 (small corrida) – €18 (big corrida)

📍 Start and finish: Place d’Espagne

FOOD MARKET | Keep It Seasonal At ‘Rendez-vous Gourmand’

📅 Thursday, December 29th, 12pm-8pm

Keeping it eco-friendly on Thursday afternoons is Rendez-vous gourmand. Relaxed and infused with a passion for their foods, the street vendors and farmers here come together on December 29th to transform the Royal district into a little piece of the South of France. Shop according to the season or sample wine with friends for aperitif as the sun sets.

Free entry

📍 Notre-Dame-aux-Neiges

EVENT | Ring In The New Year With Fireworks

📅 Saturday, December 31st, 12am

Last year’s cancellation was understandable given the circumstances but also a bit of a downer. So far all signs point to this year’s edition of Brussels’ traditional firework extravaganza on New Year’s Eve as the ultimate way to ring in the new year, however, so bundle up and get to Place de Brouckère for a front row seat to the magic.

Free

📍 Place de Brouckère