What’s on: Da Vinci’s divine music throughout the Kempen


The Festival of Flanders is sweeping the region, while architecture is on the agenda in Ghent and late-night museum shenanigans abound in Brussels

Musica Divina

Seriously, was there anything Leonardo Da Vinci couldn’t do? Add to painter, engineer, astronomer and botanist the title of musician.

Not only did he play musical instruments – most notable the lira da braccio (the precursor to the violin) – he sketched out ideas to invent a few. This edition of Musica Divina – the Kempen leg of the region-wide Festival of Flanders – is devoted to music of Da Vinci’s time, as well as to the instruments he played. Also kicking off this week is the Flemish Brabant version of the festival, which itself is split into two parts: Festival 20-21 concentrates on a 20th-century repertoire, while Transit focuses on contemporary compositions. And just in case that isn’t enough, the Ghent Festival of Flanders is on now, too. Musica Divina: 20 September to 5 October, across Antwerp province and Flemish Brabant; Festival 20-21 & Transit, 23 September to 25 October, across Flemish Brabant

Brussels Museums Nocturnes

Aside from convenience, with its evening opening hours, Brussels Museums Nocturnes offers myriad extras to museum-goers. Every Thursday, a handful of museums in the capital are open late, with special tours, workshops and even dance parties. The quirkier the better, so while one museum this year plans to offer a tai chi session, another will make you part of a murder mystery. More than 70 museums take part, so it goes well beyond the usual suspects. There are activities designed for kids, too, and entry fees are also adapted: only €4 per person. Thursdays until 5 December

Festival of Architecture

Since its erection in 2012, Ghent’s Stadshal – a kind of massive canopy in the heart of the city centre – has sparked great emotion from residents, who seem to either love it or hate it. What on earth were they thinking? many citizens asked. Well, the Festival of Architecture, which focuses on the capital of East Flanders this year, will help visitors learn just what architects are thinking. There are a wealth of events, such as guided tours, movies and exhibitions. Sunday is, furthermore, the Day of Architecture, with activities across Flanders and Brussels. 21-27 September

The Decoy

If you saw Pieter De Buysser’s recent planetarium show The Tip of the Tongue, with its live theatre mixed with domed video, you’ll have some idea of the look of his latest, De Lokvogel (The Decoy). A multi-media stage production, it is the story of a group of international intellectuals who have decided that the only way to save democracy, the economy and the environment is to bridge the divide between the haves and the have-nots. By way of an advanced algorithm, they choose an unremarkable Flemish man to embody the ideals of the elite without losing his everyman qualities. He is to become the greatest leader Europe has ever known. That’s the plan anyway. (In Dutch) 27-28 September, Kaaistudio’s, OLV Van Vaakstraat 81, Brussels

Photos, from top: ©Andreas Greiner, ©Hidden Raven, Ghent master architect Peter Vanden Abeele ©Stad Gent, ©Herman Sorgeloos