What’s on: Local liquor flows like water at Jenever Feesten


While Ballet Flanders opens its 50th anniversary season, Hasselt celebrates its favourite elixir


Jenever literally flows like water this weekend in Hasselt, Belgium’s de facto capital of the liquor, at its big annual Jeneverfeesten bash. Crowd around to fill up your little cup or head over to Grote Markt to buy one of an endless number of varieties. Jenever producers have stands to sell you bottles to take home, as well.

On top of that, a huge programme of jenever-related activities awaits. Take a tour of the Jenever Museum, for instance, head to Jenever Village to taste food based on the tipple or visit the market selling old jenever advertising panels and other paraphernalia. Head’s up to expats: Rotary Hasselt wants to gather 100 nationalities at its stand this year. Head over to Den Toooog on Witte Nonnenstraat and show your ID card from your home country to get a flag to plant. The Rotary stand is the place to be, in any case, with jenever cocktails, oysters and DJ Cop. 19-20 October, across Hasselt


It’s been 50 years since Royal Ballet Flanders staged its first season, and it’s been five years since Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui became its artistic director, breathing fresh air into the then-troubled company. So, as the Flemish say: Feest! The entire season will be rife with special activities, and it all kicks off this weekend with the performance Brabants/Cherkaoui. Jeanne Brabants founded the company in 1969, and the production includes a reprisal of her piece Cantus Firmus. It is paired with Cherkaoui’s Mea Culpa, which he created for Les Ballets de Monte Carlo in 2006. Get tickets immediately to attend a performance in Antwerp or in Ghent; there are very few left.

Back to Bruegel

Bruegel Year might just have outdone itself with Back to Bruegel: Experience the 16th century. Visitors step into the formidable Halle Gate, the last vestige of Brussels’ medieval city walls, and don virtual reality headsets that allow them to wander around in the Flemish master’s paintings. Characters from the paintings glide past as you explore your 16th-century surroundings. The attraction also includes a number of period treasures from the Art & History Museum as well as the chance to take to the Halle Gate’s roof and peer down on medieval Brussels through virtual binoculars. Audio guides come in multiple languages. Until 18 February, Boulevard du Midi 150

Ocean Film Festival

Nature and wildlife are abiding subjects for the documentary genre, and, with sea life more threatened than ever by the growing plastic soup, the Ocean Film Festival has its finger on the pulse. The nomadic event sells out in cities across Belgium every year, pulling in fans of both the sea and cinema. The carefully curated short films are always educational but also extraordinarily beautiful as they introduce us to awe-inspiring creatures and landscapes. But even human beings get to be onscreen, sharing their adventures both above and below the surface. 24 October to 6 December, across Belgium