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What is happening in Brussels in the New Year?

There are plenty of events and festivities set to take place in Brussels in the first months of 2020. Credit: Brussels, Dance!/Facebook, Fabrice Debatty, Bright Brussels Festival of Light/Facebook. 

Following in the footsteps of the festive season, the first few months of 2020 will see Brussels playing host to a wide array of events, festivals and cultural activities that will light up the city and entertain its residents.

Kicking off 2020 with the Jauzzaury festival, there will be something for everyone this new year in Brussels.


Concert goers gathered at Jazz Station venue in 2017. Credit: Jazz Station/Facebook.

Setting Brussels’ new year in motion will be Jazzuary festival; a two-week-long period that will see three different jazz festivals take to the streets of Brussels for the best part of the month of January.

Brussels Jazz Festival will set the tone in Flagey, with performances from international stars and local musicians taking place from 1 to 18 January.

The River Jazz Festival, organised by Théâtre Marni, Jazz Station and Le Senghor, will kick off on 9 January and cut through cultures and genres to offer audiences the opportunity to hear from prestigious guests and wild ensembles, culminating in the River Jazz Night on 25 January.

Last but not least, the Djangofolllies jazz festival, which celebrates the legacy of Django Reinhardt and will be held in different locations across the city, is where tradition meets innovation. This festival, which runs from 14 to 25 January in Brussels, kicks off with a cross-generational performance by The Jazzy Strings group- a collaboration between three fathers and three sons.

BRAFA Art Fair: Brussels Antique & Fine Arts Fair 

BRAFA 2018-Stand Marc Heiremans © Fabrice Debatty

The Marc Heiremans exhibition at the 2018 BRAFA fair. Credit: Fabrice Debatty

The 65th edition of Brussels Antique and Fine Arts Fair will return to the streets of the capital this January.

From 26 January to 2 February, thousands of people will fill tour and Taxis to view hundreds of exhibitions of a wide array of different artwork, including, but not limited to African art, watercolours, sculpture, impressionist painting, furniture, as well as modern and contemporary art.

This year, during the art show, there will also be a series of daily lectures by important figures from the art world, museum curators, art market experts and collectors, all of whom will share their knowledge with guests.

Brussels, Dance!

Captured during a show by Les Brigittines – Playhouse for Movement in Brussels, Dance!, 2018. Credit: Brussels, Dance!/Facebook.

From 1 February to 4 April, 14 venues will come together and pool their resources to host Brussels, Dance! festival, which will see 130 contemporary dance shows take place in different locations across the city.

Aiming to raise awareness of the richness and diversity of dance, the 130 shows include around 60 talks.

The venues at which different shows will take place are Le 140, La Balsamine, La Bellone, Beursschouwburg, Les Brigittines, BOZAR, Charleroi Danse/La Raffinerie, Kaaitheater, KVS, Le Jacques Franck, Les Halles de Schaerbeek, Le Senghor, le Théâtre National and le Théâtre Les Tanneurs.

Bright Brussels Festival of Light

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A light installation on show during the Bright Brussels Festival of Light journey in 2019. Credit: Bright Brussels Festival of Light/Facebook. 

A festival of lights, Bright Brussels Festival of Light takes participants towards the historic heart of the upper part of the city, crossing the Poelaert, Marolles, Sablon and Quartier Royal districts and going as far as the Porte de Hal.

Made up of around 14 different light installations, some of them interactive, Bright Brussels is a free event that offers participants the opportunity to be taken along a beautiful and artistic journey. It is open to all audiences from 6:30 PM to 11:00 PM for four evenings, from 13 to 16 February 2020.

Lasting around 1 hour and 15 minutes, there is also an option of following the installation trail via a guided tour.

Salon du Chocolat

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A model, dressed in chocolate, walking on a catwalk during the Salon du Chocolat 2018 festival.

For its seventh edition, the Salon du Chocolat- the world’s largest event dedicated to tasty snack- will return to Brussels.

An unmissable event for chocolate lovers, the Salon du Chocolat will take place in sheds 3 and 4 in Tour and Taxis, from 14 to 16 February.

With over 100 chocolatiers participating, the event gives guests the opportunity to observe recipe demonstrations by famous chefs, to see fashion shows in which models don chocolate dresses, to visit an array of exhibitions and works made of chocolate and to attend pastry workshops for adults and children.

The Salon du Chocolat event also takes place in numerous other cities across the world, including Paris, Lyon, Moscow, Kuwait, Bierut, New York, Seoul, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

Festival Anima

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Visitors to Festival Anima in 2018. Credit: Festival Anima/Facebook

Anima, Brussels’ international animated film festival will take place from 21 February to 1 March in Flagey and at the Cinéma Palace, opening its doors with a showing of the magnificent feature film L’Extraordinaire Voyage by Marona by Anca Damian.

Back with screenings of both new short films as well as feature films, Festival Anima offers something for both the old and young, offering workshops for children, training courses for teenagers, concerts, conferences and much more.

The full program for the festival will be available as of 30 January 2020.

Comic Con Brussels

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Attendees mock fighting with light sabres at Comic Con 2017. Credit: Comic Con/Facebook.

On 22 and 23 February, Brussels’ most popular comic strip festival, Comic Con, will take place at Tour and Taxis.

Every year, Comic Con welcomes in and around 10,000 visitors who attend the festival to marvel at the costumes of cosplayers, meet global stars and lose themselves in the midst of hundreds of specialised stands to do with comics, cosplay, gaming, movies, manga, series, collectables, clothing, toys, gadgets and much more.

Confirmed celebrity guests that will be in attendance are Sean Astin, Warwick Davis, Holly Marie Combs and Katie Leung.

Evie McCullough
The Brussels Times

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