Opening night of Brussels Museum Nocturnes – The Jewish Museum of Belgium

The 18th edition of Brussels Museum Nocturnes starts today! Between 13th September and 6 December 2018, 73 museums in Brussels invite you to discover the history and art of Belgium in a novel way. Every Thursday evening from 5pm to 10pm you can visit at least 3 museums at a very affordable price. The initiative of Brussels Museums and the non-profit Brussels Museums Council aims to introduce the citizens with the charm and treasures kept in memorable buildings. New exhibitions, workshops, music, food and drink, alternative guided tours and screenings, promise to soften the first signs of winter. Brussels Express will introduce you to curious stories and curators of one of the museums every week.

Jewish Museum of Belgium – a new look on history and art

The museum exists for almost 30 years and it is located in the present building on 21 Rue des Minimes since 2004. The permanent exhibition of Jewish culture and history is currently under renovation until 19th October. However, visitors have the chance to visit the temporary section that presents “Amy Winehouse. A Family Portrait”

’’It has traveled the whole world – from London to USA, Amsterdam and Melbourne, Australia just before coming to Brussels. It is the very last stop. It is not the same as making an art exhibition where you show paintings, here you are really immersed into the life of the singer by seeing her most precious personal belongings with a sentimental meaning. People are very moved because they follow someone they admire,” says the museum curator Pascale Falek-Alhadeff.

’’This is her first and main guitar. She could afford a much better guitar later but she kept composing songs on this one.”

The curator of the exhibition Bruno Benvindo places the display into a bigger picture, “She was a star with unordinary life and through her life we wanted to share the story of one family which is emblematic for a huge population displacement. At the end of 19th century there was a huge Jewish migration from Eastern Europe. They fled both poverty and anti-Semitism. For these refugees England was often the last stop before the American Dream. But some of them stayed.’’

Grammy Award 2011 ”When she was at school she had such a diverse taste in music. Her playlist includes Ella Fitzgerald, but also The Fugees and Pearl Jam.”

’’Hundreds of people left notes since April in the Karaoke room. What made an impression on me is that people from all generations admire her. A certain sign she will be remembered as a classic.’’

The exhibition of Amy Winehouse closes 16th September and it will be replaced by the work of the American Magnum photojournalist Leonard Freed. His photography explores racial discrimination of Afro-American society and covered the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 1967, Romanian Revolution and other events which form the modern history. We try to be open with a lively spirit and explore engaging aspects of the Jewish society. We aim to be appealing for all, engaging younger visitors as well and exhibit contemporary artists.’’ Another part of the museum shows the work of the young artist Stephan Goldrajch ’’Le Chantier Poetique.’’

’’The fact that the museum will be open until 10 o’clock is great. It is important for museums to open until late for special events. No institution can do it every night, but vising in the evening adds up to the experience. The people who work full-time can’t fit in their schedule a public museum with a timetable from 9 to 5 o’clock,’’ says Pascale Falek-Alhadeff.

Today in the Jewish museum people can listen to Afro Grooves from DJ Mukambo & live music and a documentary film for Amy Winehouse in Egmont Palace.

On 13th September you can also visit:

Egmont Palace – Built in 16thcentury, the aristocratic complex hosted famous royalties like Voltaire and Jean-Baptiste Rousseau. Nowadays, almost five hundred years after, it is open for tourists and used as a prestigious conference centre. In the open day you will be able to get a taste of the 2018 summer exhibitions, produced in collaboration with the Africa Museum in Tervuren.

Museums Village – Located in the historical centre of Brussels, the antique district Sablon includes the notable church Notre-Dame founded in 13th century, remarkable houses with unique facades and numerous cafes, chocolatiers and antique shops. In the evening, Village des Musees will present numerous activities for their visitors.