Unmissable events this winter in Brussels

With its Christmas tree, the superb son et lumière show in the Grand-Place, the exhibitions and Christmas markets, Brussels can provide an abundance of winter activities. Here is a glimpse of the events on offer throughout the season.

Winter Wonders [Plaisirs d’Hiver] 2017

From 24 November to 31st December this year, the centre of Brussels will be the sumptuous setting for Winter Wonders, an unmissable event that makes the city even more attractive and puts it high on the list of favourite winter city trip destinations.

A breathtaking son et lumière show and a lavish Christmas tree will deck out the Grand- Place. The skating rink in the Place de la Monnaie, novel lighting, festive attractions, a string of cultural and fun events…The wide range of activities is what makes Winter Wonders so original and enjoyable for all the family.

Five weeks of delightful events, colourful stalls, gift ideas and original tastings to enable you to share an unique experience!

The Winter Wonders’ 4 unmissable activities

Big Wheel
Safely out of the winter wind, the Winter Wonders Big Wheel takes visitors on board for a journey to new heights! Just take your place in the snug pod and admire the view.
Skating rink
Have a glide on the Winter Wonders skating rink: opposite the majestic Monnaie theatre, the ice is perfect for skating, a special children’s area and a welcoming terrace await all who love to slide along… what icy joy!
Son & Lumière
At nightfall, come to the Grand-Place for a moment of pure magic: around the majestic illuminated Christmas tree, a fantastic son & lumière spectacle that will leave young and old with stars in their eyes for a long time.
Christmas Market
With its Christmas market, Winter Wonders casts its spell over Brussels’ historic centre. Visitors wander at will through its wooden cabins and follow the scents of chocolate and mulled wine. The place to unearth the perfect gift made by one of the many dedicated artisans and to have a nice gourmet break: tartiflettes, waffles and other heartwarming delicacies.


Islam, it’s our story, too! (15/09/2017 – 21/01/2018)
The civilisation that grew up around Islam has left its mark on Europe. Physical marks in Spain, Sicily and the Balkans; intellectual marks all over the continent. This is the heritage that the ISLAM, IT’S OUR STORY, TOO! exhibition proposes we explore. A way of linking past and present.

Europalia Art Festival Indonesia – (10/10/2017 – 21/01/2018)
Launched in Brussels in 1969, Europalia is a big international festival that presents the essentials of a country’s cultural heritage every two years.

From October to February, in Brussels and a number of Belgian and neighbouring cities, the festival presents all the arts: music, plastic arts, film, theatre, dance, literature. All Belgium and its neighbouring countries deck themselves out in the colours of the guest country. The aim of the festival is to promote exchange between peoples, offering partner countries the chance to present their cultural heritage and their contemporary artists.

This year, Indonesia takes the floor. How can you represent the culture of a country as complex and varied as Indonesia in one month and also go off the beaten track? In cooperation with Indonesian and European artists, curators and experts, Europalia has taken up the challenge and unveils Indonesia in all its most unexpected and contrasting forms.

Ancestors & Rituals – (11/10/2017 – 14/01/2018)

From Sumatra to Papua, not forgetting Java and the Maluku Islands: ancestors have played and still play a major role in Indonesia. The religions based on their veneration and their representations powerfully and poetically reflect the vast diversity of the country. A captivating introduction to Indonesia, presenting its heritage and also questioning the place of tradition and ritual in contemporary society. Archaeological and ethnographic treasures will be presented for the first time, contextualised with unique iconographic material and interviews. In collaboration with the Jakarta National Museum and many other collections from the four corners of the archipelago.

Magritte, Atomium meets surrealism (21/09/2017 – 10/09/2018)

Fifty years after the death of René Magritte, known all over the world and an icon of Belgian surrealism, the Atomium pays a unique tribute to him. Some of his most memorable works come to life. Transformed into decor and unveiled, they allow visitors to get visually acquainted with the surreal world of René Magritte.

Magritte, Broodthaers & contemporary art (13/10/2017 – 18/02/2018)

Since his death in 1967, Magritte has never left us and indeed is still with us. The exhibition of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (MRBAB) shows this, focusing on the dialogue that Marcel Broodthaers has forged with Magritte’s work since 1964. The influence of the “word-image” paintings (1927-1929) was decisive, both in Belgium and in the United States, and contributed to the emergence of conceptual art. Broodthaers’ debt to Magritte is huge, and is based on a mutual relationship with Mallarmé.

Pompeii – The immortal city – (24/11/2017 – 15/04/2018)

After feeling the physical shock of the Vesuvius eruption that destroyed the city in the year 79, the visitor will discover a hundred or so authentic objects (including the famous casts of bodies entombed in the ash from the volcano) that tell the story of the city from two angles: nature and technology. What was the natural world like around the city? How did its inhabitants use it to feed themselves? What wines were produced there? And how was the city built? How was water brought in and how were the roads laid?

The monkeys (11/10/2017 – 26/08/2018)

Penetrate the heart of the jungle, immerse yourself in its vegetation, its sounds… and discover the extraordinary diversity of its primates. Watch the orangutan in the branches, spot one of the world’s smallest primates, the grey mouse lemur, admire the chimpanzee’s termite catching technique, look the male gorilla in the eye… Learn where these animals live, how they move around, what they eat, how they communicate and interact with each other.

Robert Doisneau (19/10/2017 – 04/02/2018)

Ixelles Museum will no doubt have record visiting figures for an outstanding exhibition. Hard to believe, but this is the first retrospective dedicated to Robert Doisneau in Belgium! Despite the fact that the French photographer’s work is part of the collective memory of a multi-generational public. His humorous and benevolent gaze focused on the world of childhood with a sensitivity that marked his style. Witness of the twentieth century, the Paris of the 30s, the Liberation, he was also an admirer of great figures of his time, such as Picasso.

Le remorqueur du Champs de Mars, Paris, 1943

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Christo & Jeanne-Claude – ‘Urban Projets’- (25/10/2017 – 25/02/2018)

“Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Urban Projects” is the first retrospective since the 1980s of the urban projects of Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

A unique opportunity to discover the entire creative process of this unclassifiable artist couple. With a narrowed-down selection of about eighty original works, this exhibition is intended to evoke a number of urban projects, some realised and some not, by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, from Wall of Oil Barrels, Visconti Street, Paris in 1962 to The Gates, Central Park, New York, completed in 2005. Their projects in the city were realised through their temporary appropriation of buildings, monuments and public places of high symbolic value.

Oceania (26/10/2017 – 29/04/2018)

This exhibition was conceived as an invitation to cross the great ocean in the wake of 18th century explorers, in search of the aesthetics of Oceanic art and its cultural context reconstructed by ethnography and archaeology. The rich oceanic collections of the Royal Museums of Art and History (Museum of the Cinquantenaire and Museum of Musical Instruments) and the Royal Museum of Central Africa will be showcased in this exhibition.

More than 200 items from New Zealand, Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, Hawaii and Easter Island, as well as old maps and mappae mundi, model ships and archives, will be on display for the occasion.