What’s on: Festive fires to keep the winter at bay


Also to be found on the agenda in Flanders this week are fairy-tale opera-ballet based on a classic tale, and a meaty exhibition exploring school architecture and its role in the community of the future


Antwerp’s brilliant nomadic winter festival is in Dam this year, a very diverse neighbourhood in the north of the port city. Festivities are centred at the Lobroek dock, host to circus acts, theatre, live music and fire, lots of fire.

Wintervuur (pictured above) is free to access, but some of the shows require a ticket. The goal behind Wintervuur is to get residents to explore parts of the city they don’t know very well – and it works. 28 December to 4 January, Lobroekdok, Denderstraat & Slachthuislaan, Antwerp


Opera and ballet meet in Rusalka, inspired by the fairy tale The Little Mermaid in which a water nymph sacrifices her voice out of love for a human prince. The Rusalka of the title is a modern figure who longs to become something she cannot be – a common theme, according to Norwegian director and choreographer Alan Lucien Øyen. “I think that many people feel like outsiders and don’t feel at home anywhere,” he says. In this performance, Dvořák’s lyrical score is permeated with a late-romantic heroism with Wagnerian influences and the unique sound of Czech folk melodies. Performed in Czech, with Dutch and English surtitles. 27 & 31 December, Opera Antwerpen; 9-23 January, Opera Ghent


Are Flanders’ schools and learning environments fit to tackle the future problems facing the world of architecture? In the context of complex social challenges, the exhibition Back to School examines this vital question, presenting a selection of interesting school buildings from recent years. They reflect typological innovations in school building, illustrate the contribution a school can make to the fabric of a community, and point to the role architecture can have in both a social and spatial context. Until 16 February, DeSingel, Desguinlei 25, Antwerp