Belgium is slowly opening again. As of April 18th travel to Belgium is allowed again but travelers to Belgium have to follow certain guidelines. On entering the country you should present a negative Covid-19 PCR test no older than 72 hours and fill out the Passenger Locator Form. Depending on the answers given on the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) you might have to go into quaratainte with a test on day 7. Tourists coming from Brazil, Sout-Africa or India are not allowed into Belgium. Travelers from the UK have to go into quarantaine upon arrival. If you are staying less than 48 hours in Belgium and come from the EU of Shengen area than you do not need a negative PCR test. As of May 8th, bars and restaurants can serve drinks and food outdoors at tables seating max. 4 people between 8 AM and 10 PM. All shops are open. Musea, touristic sights, outdoor theme parks and zoos are open but you need to make reservations in advance. Outside guided tours can be organized for groups of up to 25, the guide included. Hotels, B&B and campings are all open. During the day you can meet with ten people outside, children under the age of 12 not included. The curfew is lifted and replaced by an assembly ban, between midnight and 5 AM when you can only be outside with max. 3 persons with the exception of families living under the same roof. Outdoor markets are open.
If all goes well bars and restaurants can serve indoors as of June 9th, until 10 PM, and on the outside terrace until 11:30 PM, with a max. of 4 people per table with the exception of families living under one roof. Fitnessrooms, casino’s, indoor play gardens, tropical swimming pools, bowling halls, saunas, cinemas and theaters will open again on June 9th. Indoor events are open for up to 200 visitors, outdoors for 400 visitors. More will be possible as of July first, August first and festivals will be allowed as of August 13th, if the numbers keep going in the right direction. By then Europe will probably use a covid passport for travel within the European Union. All should return to normal as of September first 2021, fingers crossed.
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 plan certain events into their trip to Bruges. So here comes a list with all events in Bruges for the year 2021! 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 on Saturdays and Sundays via the Visitors’ Trail, with surprising additions, such as a huge sound model of the building and a musical postcard. (10 euro for adults, 5 euro for under 26 years old, free under 6)
February 12th – June 13th, 2021 (exhibition in the Museum of Folk Life)
Mind the Artist – Pieter Chanterie : In the museum of Folk Life, Pieter examines how the 19th century artefacts in the collection relate to his paintings. How does a hand-made, everyday object connect with a ‘work of art’? (included in the ticket for the Museum of Folk Life, make reservations in advance online)
March 13th – November 28th, 2021 (Komvest)
Sluit(er)tijd – Lockdown: Outdoor photo exhibitionon on the walls of the Du Pont factory, where 60 photos are shown taken by photographers of Bruges during the lockdown, showing the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on the city and its inhabitants. The photos were selected by a professional jury out of the more than 600 photos that were sent in. (free of charge)
April 22nd – May 30th, 2021 (Biekorf)
Air Biekorf 5.0: Art exhibition of work by 80 artists who fomulated an answer on the work ‘The wall is as Soft as Lace’ by Sylvie de Meerleer on the walls of the theatre Biekorf. (free of charge)
April 30th – October 3rd, 2021 (Groeningenmuseum)
Exhibition Sanam Khatibi: Using two large paintings and a series of still lifes, Khatibi will immerse the viewer in a strange and surprising world, populated with colourful fauna and flora. Sanam Khatibi lives and works in Brussels. She has already shown her work at numerous national and international exhibitions, but now for the first time she will be exhibiting in the Groeningemuseum. (included in the ticket for the Groeningemuseum, make reservations in advance online)
May 8th – October 24th, 2021 ( city centre)
The Triennial Bruges 2021: This years theme TraumA, combines the dreamy destination Bruges is for many tourists with the underlying and hidden other aspects we find in every city, in search of the hidden dimensions of the city. Does the fabulous city Bruges is also have a downside? And if so, dare we show it? Thirteen national and international artists and architects pondered this very question. Their artistic interventions form a trail of imagination and wonder. They take you to the less explored parts of this medieval Unesco world heritage city. (free of charge, maps can be found in In&Out on ‘tZand, the Poortersloge and the Touristic info point in the Historium on the Markt)
May 8th – October 24th, 2020 (Poortersloge – Burghers’ Lodge) (Exhibition)
‘The Porous City’: In addition to the installations of the Triennial in the city centre of Bruges, a group exhibition will be organised to further explore the ambivalent theme: between dream and nightmare, under the skin or underground, from analogue to digital alienation. A selection of around 40 sculptures, photographs, drawings, paintings and videos link the ‘unnerving’ nature of the rooms within the Burghers’ Lodge with dissonant voices, story lines and wondrous worlds. The artists portray their view of the world, mankind and architecture, which sometimes appears to be fragmented or distorted, but at other times also idyllic or heavenly. (Daily 10:00 – 18:00, entry free of charge, you need to book in advance)
May 8th – September 9th, 2021 ( Grootseminarie Bruges)
Unveilig Piet Peere: Exhibition of oil paintings, charcoal drawings and monotypes by Piet Peere, inspired by Greek mythology. The exhibition runs in the cloister aisle of an old Cistercian abbey, a beautiful decor for this exhibition. (Thursday til Sunday 2-6 PM free entry)
May 15th – September 25th, 2021 (Adornes Domain)
Exhibition Oxymoron: Nick Ervinck exhibits his ceramic works, inspired by sea coral and plant life, for the first time. Nick Ervinck is first of all a sculptor, and his works are shown in the beautiful decor of the Jerusalem church and the Adornes house. You can visit the Adornes museum that tells the story of the family domain that was built by Anselm Adornes in the 15th century and have a coffee or tea in the lounge or the garden. Open Monday till Saturday.
May 22nd – August 29th, 2021 (Concertgebouw)
The Invisible Cowboy: A Photo exhibition where we follow Vincen Beeckman and Kasper Demeulemeester’s trail through the mythical Wild West. Vincen presents a series of photos he took during his travels through the States. On one such trip – at a motel near Lake Mead, Arizona – he was handed a series of notebooks that had been left behind by an unknown writer over a decade earlier. Intrigued by those notebooks, Vincen asked Kasper Demeulemeester to go through them and to rework interesting parts into a text that could be presented alongside the photos.
Mid June to Mid September 2020 (inner courtyard Belfry)
Carillon concerts: The carillon is played every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 12 pm. During the summer there are concerts on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. These summer concerts attract a lot of listeners to the inner courtyard of the Belfry. The opening concert on June 12th and final concert in theatre on September 25th start at 8 PM.
June 25th – August 29th, 2021 (Old Saint-Johnshospital)
Exhibition SEADS stands for ‘Space Ecologies Art & Design’. The collective brings together artists, scientists, engineers and activists from all over the world who like to think critically and experiment in a forward-looking manner. Through a participative process, they develop unique projects on the theme of ecology and technology. One of these projects is ‘Biomodd’. During the project, members of the collective work together with members of the local population to give new meaning to discarded pieces of technological equipment that have outlived their usefulness (the so-called e-waste). The end result is an interactive installation that is tailor-made for the Sint-Janshospitaal. The installation will also be used as a starting point for a wider debate involving lectures, panel discussions and workshops on the themes of nature, science and technology. (included in the entrance ticket for the Old Saint-Johnshospital, make reservations online in advance)
June 26th – August 31st, 2021 (Canal Coupure – Predikherenrei)
Swimming in the Coupure: Just like the previous years one can swim outdoors in one of the canals of Bruges, every afternoon from 1 PM till 8 PM. You do need to make reservations in advance via the website. Showers and toilets are available, but there are no changing rooms, so don’t forget to already put on your swimsuit! There are pool rescuers on site. Free of charge.
June 30th – September 1st, 2021 (different cafés and pubs in the city centre)
Klinkende kroegen: Every wednesday evening there are three free concerts in different pubs in the city centre, between 6 PM and midnight.
Fridays in July and August 2021 (Vismarkt)
Summer at the fishmarket: Every Friday you can drink and eat something from 4 PM to 10 PM with some live musical animation.
Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays in July and August
Dancing on the Fishmarket: folklore dance on Thursdays, Salsa on Saturdays and Tango on Sundays between 6 PM and 10 PM, everyone can join. (free entrance)
July 4th , August 1st and September 26th, 2021 (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 11th, 2021 (Burg)
Flemish national day: On July 11th the Flemish part of Belgian celebrates its national day. On the eve of July 11th there is a free concert on the Burg. Starts at 8:45 PM.
July 11th, 2021 (Burg)
Burgrock: Free festival that celebrated its 15th birthday in 2019. Free concerts starting at 3:30 Pm on the Burg. Young bands compete to win the Rock Rally trophee.
July 20th – 25th, 2021 (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!
July 30th – August 14th, 2021 ( beach Zeebrugge) (music festival)
We Can Dance – To bee free again: Electronic Beach Festival, International musical talent on 5 stages and one livestage. Total of six stages exploring hip hop, techno, house & disco, all-round, slow dance and live music.
August 1st – 19th, 2021 (city centre)
Moods: Summer music festival in the historic centre of Bruges. On several concertnights it brings music from different corners of the world. (some concerts are free, for others you need to buy an entrance ticket)
August 6th- August 14th, 2021 (Concertgebouw) (music festival)
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 7th – 8th, 2021 (Steenhouwersdijk)
Book market: A cozy book market along Steenhouwersdijk (near the Fish Market). Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm Sunday from 10am to 6pm.
August 8th, 2021 (start Concertgebouw)
Vélo Baroque: Musical cylcling route around Bruges.
August 21st and 22nd, 2021 (Beach Zeebrugge)
Bomboclat music festival: Tropical Afrobeats and Dancehallfestival. With a kidsvillage where children are looked after by professional entertainers.
August 27th – 30th, 2021 (Entrepot)
Konvooi: A multidisciplinary arts festival curated by young artists or collectives. An arts route in the port of Bruges with gigs and afterparties.
September 4th – 5th, 2021 (Steenhouwersdijk)
Book market: A cozy book market along Steenhouwersdijk (near the Fish Market). Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm Sunday from 10am to 6pm.
September 10th -12th, 2021 (city centre)
Art Gallery weekend: A weekend long 12 galeries open their doors for the public. Discover contemporary art in 12 art galeries and cultural centres in the centre of the city. Friday 6-8 PM, Saturday and Sunday 11 AM -6 PM. Find the map on the website.
September 11th – 12th, 2021 (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)
Sunday September 19th, 2021 (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… From 11 AM till 9 PM.
September 24th – November 21st, 2021 (Arentshuis)
Mind the artist – Tille Pepermans: Tille Pepermans designs new drawings and murals for this exhibition in the Arentshuis.Tille Pepermans found inspiration in various works from the Musea Brugge collection. She uses these works as a basis for transporting the viewer into a surrealistic world, where the many striking details make it possible to embark on a visual voyage of discovery.
October 30th – March 6th, 2022 (Musea Brugge)
Mind the artist – Strook: Strook, is a Belgian contemporary artist. The central theme that can be distilled from his oeuvre is ‘time’, a concept that has always inspired Strook. This is evident from the raw materials he chooses. For Musea Brugge’s ‘Mind the Artist’ project, Stefaan will go in search of patinated materials in and around a number of heritages sites in Bruges. In this way, the city’s rich historical past will form the basis for several new installations and works of art.
October 31st, 2020 (Concertgebouw)
Iedereen klassiek: Everyone classic: A veritable feast of classical music. The Concertgebouw is putting together a lavish celebration, with offshoots all over the inner city. As always, we warm up with Crazy about Bach and close with the wonderful Brussels Philharmonic, this time performing some well-known classics. (entrance free )
November 9th – 26th, 2020( Cinema Lumiere)
Holebi film festival: Where gays, lesbians, transgenders … can meet, and where we put gender diversity at the centre of the attention.
November 2021 – January 2022 (Central market square and Simon Stevinplein)
Wintergloed – Winterglow: Winter Glow consists of a light trail through the centre of Bruges. On several locations light installations are placed around a theme. In the centre of Bruges and abundance of Christmas trees and decoration will create a warm atmosphere in these dark and cold days. (dates follow later)
December 10th – March 13th, 2022 (Arentshuis)
Mind the artist – Line Boogaerts: The oeuvre of Line Boogaerts focuses primarily on the creation of temporary designs on windows. By using tinted oils or soap, brushes, window wipers and other cleaning materials, she adds a new layer on top of existing reality. Her work is presented as a performance, as a maquette or as an animated video recording in stop-motion.The windows of the Arentshuis museum are hidden behind the walls of a black box. Line creates new windows, which offer a view on the reality behind reality, a ‘mise-en-abyme’.
December 2nd – 12th 2021 (Concertgebouw)
December Dance: International Dance Festival: Every year another curator chooses international dance performances resulting in an exciting program featuring mostly modern dance. Concertgebouw Brugge and Cultuurcentrum Brugge will be focussing on the world around us, a world that is dramatically and drastically changing. Our choreographers are also aware of the endless succession of worrying ecological developments and (health) crises. In their creations they question the precarious position we humans now occupy on our planet and challenge our worldview.
December 31st, 2021, 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. The repertoire consists of the biggest sing-along songs of pop music, complemented by some Christmas and winter classics (32 songs in total). These songs are a mix of all languages, so do not hesitate to sing along. Followed by fireworks or light show at midnight.
Live music – when the bars can fully open again:
Every Wednesday evening in July and August 2020
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)
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) Check their website because the place changed owners in february 2019!
Every Wednesday morning and every Saturday morning on ’t Zand. (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.