What’s on: World premiere ice palace of light in Bruges


Flanders’ annual ice sculpture festival has let in the light this year, with a whole new concept, and there’s no shortage of Christmas concerts and family festivals, as well as a solstice meditation

Digital Ice Art Museum

Bruges’ annual ice sculpture festival has shaken things up this year, infusing the hand-sculpted mammoth blocks of ice with 3D video projections and LED lightings. The more than 3,000 blocks of ice were carved by 40 international artists specifically to make the most of the digital light displays.

The theme is Greek mythology, meaning fantastical creatures, ships, Greek gods and columned temples, all of a colossal size. The entire festival, which organisers say is the first of its kind in the world, is enclosed and kept to a strict -6°C. So visitors are warned to dress for the occasion. It can take an hour to see everything. Until 6 January, Stationsplein, Bruges

Christmas of the Angels

There’s nothing like a Christmas concert in a cathedral. The Christmas of the Angels features works from the French and Belgian repertoire, including Gabriel Fauré and François Gevaert, performed by the La Cambre Abbey Vocal Ensemble and accompanied by the cathedral’s famous organ. 27 December 18.00, Saint Michael and Saint Gudula Cathedral, Wilde Woudstraat, Brussels

Family theatre festivals

While you might be taking the school Christmas holiday off, Flanders’ theatres are not. Both Antwerp and Ghent host kids’ theatre festivals during and after the big holiday. De Studio in Antwerp is home to Kerst in de Studio. This festival of stage arts is ostensibly aimed at kids under 10, though parents will be hard-pressed not to laugh along at shows like De Plank, in which a figure emerges from what seems like a simple plank of wood.

In Ghent, meanwhile, the annual children’s theatre festival Spekken delights kids up to 12 years old with a huge variety of shows, from puppet theatre to musicals to a bit of on-stage cooking – of a magical potion, no less. Some productions are wordless, while the rest are in Dutch. Kerst in de Studio: 27 December to 6 January, Maarschalk Gérardstraat 4, Antwerp. Spekken: 22-23, 26 December & 2-5 January, Tinnenpot, Tinnenpotstraat 21, Ghent

Dancing in the Dark

Bruce Springsteen’s famous “Dancing in the Dark” was about letting go of your own inhibitions, and First Light Brussels’ event of the same name gets behind this – literally. The lights go out and everybody starts to dance. Held in a medieval cellar, it’s not so dark that you smash into people, but dark enough so you can dance like no one is watching, so to speak. It’s a morning event that ends with a candlelight cool down and meditation to welcome in the light of the longer days. 22 December 10.00-12.00, Koninklijke Galerijen 26, Brussels