As a tourist it can be very gratifying to take part in cultural or other events in the city you visit. Bruges has many great cultural events throughout the year, that are primarily organised for locals but can also accommodate or interest visiting tourists. Theatre can be difficult because not everyone speaks Dutch. But concerts, flea markets or sport events are not limited by language barriers. For some events you might need to buy tickets and knowing about it in advance can help avoid disappointments when the event sells out. Knowing the correct dates helps tourists to plan certain events into their trip to Bruges. So here comes a list with all events in Bruges for the year 2019! Events will be added as they are being announced, so come back later for more news!!
All year (Concertgebouw)
Concertgebouw Circuit: You can visit the Concertgebouw and its (sound) art collection from Wednesdays to Sundays via the Visitors’ Trail, with surprising additions, such as a huge sound model of the building and a musical postcard. (8 euro for adults, 4 euro for under 26 years old)
November 16th 2018- November 18th, 2018 ( Concertgebouw)
Jazz Brugge : Three day of jazz, theme this year: Crossing cultures, bringing jazz from all over the world.
November 23th 2018 – January 1st 2019 (Central market square)
Christmas market and ice-skating rink: the historic city centre of Bruges will be transformed into a giant Christmas market. In addition to a wonderful atmosphere and plenty of seasonal jollity, you will also be able to find that unusual last-minute present for someone special. In addition you can enjoy the ice-skating rink.
November 24th, 2018 – January 6th, 2019 (Square in front of the Central Train Station)
The Ice Sculpture Festival: The theme of this years festival is will be an ode to Bruges. (open every day from 10 AM to 7 PM)
December 6th to December 16th, 2018 (Concertgebouw)
December Dance: International Dance Festival: Every year another curator chooses international dance performances resulting in an exciting program featuring mostly modern dance.
December 9th, 2018 (St-Anna quarter – Balstraat)
Midwinterfest – A small picturesque Christmas market where you find local handmade products and local drinks and foods. Discover the folk art museum with its authentic pub, and the lace museum on the domain of Adornes with the beautiful Jeruzalem church where Xmas carols will be sung in the chapel.
December 24th, 2018 to January 2nd, 2019
List of restaurants and a list of sights which are open for Xmas and New Year: The tourist office made a list of restaurants and a list of sights open for Xmas (December 24 and 25, 2018) and New Year (December 31 , 2018 and January first, 2019).
December 31st, 2018, 10:45 PM to 1 AM (Het Zand)
New Years Eve – Bruges sings: Bruges welcomes the new year with a songfest featuring the most popular hits of recent years. Followed by fireworks at midnight.
January 12 and 13, 2019 10 AM – 6 PM (Central market square)
Costumés de Venise: Costumés de Venise – an international group of 50 men and women dressed in magnificent costumes – are due to spend two whole days in Bruges, steeping the city in the atmosphere of Baroque Venice.
January 15 to 20th, 2019 (Concertgebouw)
Bach Academy: In this years Bach festival everything revolves around the relationship between heaven and earth, between the believers and their Saviour, at Ascension and Pentecost: with cantatas, concerti and cinematographic creations; with stars to worship and talent to discover; and of course with Collegium Vocale Gent and Philippe Herreweghe.
January 26 to 27, 2019 (Burg) (7 PM – 10:30 PM) (The Burg)
Winter Sparks – Wintervonken: A evening winter festival with fire installations, street-theatre and music. (Free entry)
February 2 and 3, 2019 (Markt, main square, Belfry and Burg square)
12th Bruges Beer Festival: Here you can taste more than 300 different kinds of beer from over 70 different brewers! A great event for all beer lovers and affecionados. This is one of the few, if not only, festivals in the world where all seven Belgian & Dutch Trappist beers are available, including the elusive Westvleteren. New beers are launched at the festival each year so there is always something to delight the returning visitor. (acces is free, you buy tokens for beer samples of 15 cl)
February 9-10, 2019 (10 AM – 6 PM) (Belfry Brugge)
Bruges in choc: We celebrate chocolate around the theme of Valentine ‘In Love with chocolate’, organized by the chocolate guild of Bruges. Come and taste and take some for your loved ones! (entrance 2,5 euro)
February 2nd – August 18th, 2019 (Museum Arentshuis)
Exhibition: The key to all arts. Masters drawings from the Bruges print room: The Print Cabinet of Musea Brugge has been the repository for many years of the old master drawings of, amongst others, Frans Floris, Roelandt Savery, Ambrosius Francken, Govert Flinck, Jan van Mieris, Federico Zuccaro, Jacques Callot and Pierre Mignard. These fragile works need to be protected against UV light and cannot normally be viewed. However, from 14 February 2019 they will be exceptionally on display in a unique exhibition in the Arentshuis.
From 8 March to 30 June 2019 (Sint-Janshospitaal)
Exhibition: Murillo, De Mena and Zurbaran. Masters of the Spanish Baroque: In the monumental hospital wards, some 20 works of religious sculpture and painting of remarkable Spanish art from the 17th century, full of Spanish passion, will be on display. It is a rare opportunity to become acquainted with some less well-known aspects of Spain’s Golden Century. The highlight of the exhibition, in addition to paintings by famous Spanish masters like Murillo and Zurbaran, is a group of no fewer than seven hyper-realistic sculptures by the greatest sculptor of the Spanish Baroque, Pedro De Mena.
April 6th – September 29th, 2019 (Volkskundemseum)
Photo exhibition Out of focus: The Japanese word ‘bokeh‘ not only means hazy and blurred, but is also the term for dementia. This idea was the starting point for the students of the Bruges Photo House (Bruges Municipal Academy for Fine Arts, Part-time Art Education) to offer their visual interpretation of the ‘dementia’ theme. The results can be seen in the garden and on the windows of the Volkskundemuseum.
April 10th – April 13th, 2019 (Concertgebouw)
More Music: The festival invites national and international artists who are at the forefront of the latest musical trends, innovators who come in all shapes and sizes: from singer-songwriters and spoken-word performers to electronics trailblazers and challenging multimedia projects.
Saturday afternoon April 27th and Sunday April 28th, 2019 (city centre)
Erfgoeddag – Heritage day: Yearly recurring event, where you can visit monuments and historical sites organized around a theme. This year the theme is ‘Craftsmanship’. (free of charge)
May 10th – June 2nd, 2019 (Zand)
Yearly May-fair: the largest funfair in the region. Bruges annual spring-time fair, dating back to 1200, is held after Easter with a month of festivities involving costumed parades, fun fairs and fireworks. Great for kids!
Thursday May 16th to Saturday May 18th, 2019 (Concertgebouw)
Budapest festival: The orchestral musician of the 21st century is perfectly at home in a wide variety of styles. That is why Iván Fischer presents his musicians with composers as diverse as Mozart, Rossini, Bartók and Mahler. In this mini-festival the orchestra smoothly traverses the course laid out for it by Schubert, Rossini and Bruckner.
May 25th-26th, 2019, Gruuthuuse palace
Party weekend and Grand opening of the Gruuthuuse museum: The Gruuthusemuseum and its rich collection of high quality artefacts will take you on a journey through the history of Bruges from Spring 2019 onwards. The museum is housed in what was once the city palace of Lodewijk – or Louis – of Gruuthuse. During the opening weekend, visitors will be given a series of extra treats in and around the museum: workshops, demonstrations, storytellers, breakfast on the new forecourt and much, much more! In the courtyard you can also enjoy a refreshing drink, while admiring the beautifully restored facades. (free of charge)
Thursday, May 30th, 2019 (city centre)
The Procession of the Holy Blood: The Procession of the Holy Blood takes place on Ascension Day every year. The biblical and historic evocation is well known as the religious procession which originated as a purely religious expression at the end of the thirteenth century. It has formed part of the city of Bruges’ rich history since that time. The Procession of the Holy Blood is included on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. (free event, you only have to pay for a seat on the tribune at the Central square)
June 29th, 2019 (Minnewater park)
Feest in ’t park, Festival in the park: A small scale music festival organized by NGO’ s working in aid and development, and promoting solidarity, human rights, fair trade and world peace. The different organisations promote their activities and projects. Lots of activities for children. (free entrance)
July 7, August 4th and September 22rd, 2018 (on and around Het Zand)
The Zandfeesten: The largest open air antique and flea market in Belgium, organised every year in the summer on three sundays, from dusk till dawn. The Zandfeesten attract hundreds of vendors, and thousand of bargain-hunters from far and wide. (free entrance)
July 5th, 6th and 7th, 2019 (Minnewater park)
Cactusfestival: An outdoor music festival in the cosy Minnewater park. It is one of the smaller scale music festival in this festival craze country Belgium. The festival also attracts families with children since it is very child friendly. The atmosphere is very relaxed. (exact program follows later)
July 26th till August 8th, 2019 (city centre)
Moods: Summer music festival in the historic centre of Bruges. On 8 concertnights it brings music from different corners of the world. (some concerts are free, for others you need to buy an entrance ticket) (exact program with dates and locations follows later)
August 2nd – August 11th (Concertgebouw)
MA-Festival: Musica Antiqua Bruges is a festival of ancient music and historically informed performances. The program includes concerts, master classes, conferences, visits in the region, exhibitions, instrument market, and international competitions that concentrates in a three-year cycle on organ, harpsichord, pianoforte and other period instruments, vocals, and baroque ensembles.
August 11th, 2019
Vélo Baroque: a bycicle route from Bruges to Lissewege with open air classical music concerts along the way. (exact program with locations follows later)
Saturday, August 10, 2019 (city centre)
Benenwerk: On one Saturday evening in August, the city centre becomes one large ballroom, with several styles of music on different squares and parks of Bruges. You can choose between a disco stage, a clubbing stage, latino stage, folkbal stage, modern, tango, tripping, dance…. Impossible not to move on this open air music event!
July 12th – 14th, 2019 (Grootseminarie Brugge)
Cirque Plus: Free Circus festival hosting national and international circus artists. You will find lots of humor, acrobats, large emotions and a cosy summer terrace with lots of summer vibes. Great to visit with kids! (exact program follows later)
September 8, 2019 (city centre)
Open Monumentendag – Heritage day Flanders: Yearly recurring event, in which cities and towns open their monuments. Hundreds of heritage sites throughout Flanders are open to visitors, free of charge, on the 2nd Sunday in September. (free of charge) (program follows later)
Sunday September 22th, 2019 (city centre)
Carfree day: Yearly day when cars are banned from most city centres in Belgium. Bruges organises lots of activities in the centre for pedestrian and bikers, music and theatre in the streets, flea markets, activities for children…
September 28th – 30th, 2019 (square behind the train station)
Kook-eet: Foodfestival where more than 30 topchefs serve gastronomy at its best.
December 2019 (Concertgebouw)
December Dance: International Dance Festival: Every year another curator chooses international dance performances resulting in an exciting program featuring mostly modern dance. (program follows later)
Every Wednesday evening in July and August 2019
Klinkende Kroegen – Free live music performances in three bars every Wednesday from 8 PM to midnight (free entrance) (program with dates and locations follows later)
Nothin’ but the blues– live blues performances in different bars in the centre of Bruges. (program with dates and locations follows later)
27B Flat: Jazz bar. Deep in the tourist heart of Bruges lies hidden 27Bflat: a jazz & blues club where music and cosiness take centre stage with weekly live performances, jam sessions… from well-established artists to up-and-coming musical talent.
Every 3rd Monday of the month – 8 PM (doors open 7 PM)
Monthly blues jam– Location: Café Comptoir des Arts. Long Tall Danny and a starting band invite several guest musicians – starters and more experienced – and give the audience some hours of live blues.
Sunday evenings – 9PM
Bistro Zwart huis: Monthly live performances on Sunday evenings (small entrance fee)
Every Wednesday morning on the central square and The Burg and every Saturday morning on ’t Zand or Beursplein and surrounding streets. (8 AM to 1:30 PM)
Weekly fresh food and flower market, on Saturday you can also find clothes and utensils.
Every Saturday, Sunday and holiday from March 15th to November 15th, and every Friday from June to September on De Dijver (in front of the Groeningemuseum) and on the Fishmarket – 10 AM to 6 PM
Antique and flea market– Folklore market
Every week from Wednesday to Saturday from 8 AM to 1:30 PM on the Fishmarket on the Fishmarket: fresh fish and seafood.