What’s on: Taste your way across Flanders during Week van de Smaak


The region’s annual foodie festival, Armistice remembrance events and the opening of a brand new museum top our picks this week

Week van de Smaak

Food has long been a staple of art, with gloriously fat grapes, say, or vivid red wine in still lifes the most obvious example. But there are many more that shape our collective consciousness around history, heritage and food, such as Van Gogh’s “The Potato Eaters”, Broodthaers’s pots of mussels or Magritte’s trademark apple.

Flanders’ festival of all things food puts the food in art – and especially the vividly coloured variety – at the centre of this year’s edition. Not forgetting how this works the other way around – with chefs creating works of art right on our plates. Week van de Smaak’s activities and events are endless and happen across the region and in Brussels. 14-24 November, across Flanders and Brussels

Armistice Day

The national holiday that recognises the end of the First World War is memorialised across Flanders – home to the front line for much of the war. Many organisations hold ceremonies for their own nation’s fallen comrades, such as the Irish in Europe, which offers a Remembrance Saturday in the Heverlee War Cemetery. Along with the laying of wreaths, there will be speeches and war-time poetry readings. A Scottish Armistice Day takes places at Tyne Cot cemetery in Passchendaele, while Flanders Field American Cemetery will host its annual Veterans Day Ceremony. The largest gathering of Belgians will be seen in Brussels, where speeches and other activities are led by King Filip at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and in Ypres, where three days of events culminate in a special edition of the Last Post. 9-11 November, across Flanders and Brussels

Playground Festival

Leuven’s aptly titled Playground Festival celebrates artists who are not bound to one specific discipline, but who work at the intersection between the performing and visual arts. The results are a lot of fun as they make viewers question the traditional boundaries of both. Catch, for instance, Collective Exhibition for a Single Body, in which dancers perform gestures associated with parts of the body (limbs, muscles, organs), both in public space and within an exhibition. Or maybe you’d like Irish artist Orla Barry’s Spin, Spin, Scheherazade (pictured) in which objects at Museum M interrupt her monologue. 14-17 November, across Leuven

Opening: Museum of Abstract Art

The René Magritte Museum in Jette (not to be confused with the Magritte Museum in the centre of town) is opening its new Museum of Abstract Art this week. While the original museum is located inside its namesake’s former house, the new addition is in the house next door, following four years of renovations. It is the first museum dedicated to abstract art in Belgium, and only the fourth in the whole world. From 10 November, Esseghemstraat 137 (Jette)

Photos, from top: Courtesy carapelli.com; courtesy American Battle Monuments Commission; courtesy Orla Barry; Joseph Lacasse, “Lumière” (detail) 1946-47, courtesy Whitford Fine Art