Get outside and smell the fresh scent of spring! Whether you are a car enthusiast, a flower fan or a foodie, May is full of amazing activities and events out in the open air. Don’t worry about the weather though: with plenty of century-old processions passing the Benelux’ historic streets, the weather gods will surely be on our side. And even if the rain does fall, the region’s splendid museums offer more than enough to keep you entertained.
12 – 18 May, Valkenburg, the Netherlands
With the tulips in colourful bloom this month, the annual Tulpenrallye rides out as well. The characteristic race kicks off in Andorra, after which it explores the versatile roads of France. The finish line lies in the atmospheric Dutch city of Valkenburg, where activities galore await the many supporters.
Creatures Made to Measure & Generous Nature
17 May – 29 September, Gent, Belgium
This summer, Design Museum Gent unites fauna and flora. In their exhibition Creatures Made to Measure, they zoom in on the relationship between humans and animals and fantasise about how we can change each other’s future. Belgian Design: Generous Nature, on the other hand, shows the work of Belgian design prodigies who create objects with a sustainable and ecological mindset. A theme that, in a time of eco strikes, is more relevant than ever.
Rollende Keukens. Photo: NBTC
Luxembourg Museum Days
18 – 19 May, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Despite its small size, Luxembourg City is rich in museums. For two days a year, 40 of them open their doors free of charge. Hop from one cultural temple to the next and explore the diverse collection of art and history the capital houses. In many of them, you can even join a free tour or participate in an exciting cultural activity.
Les Nuits du Cirque
25 May, Villers-la-Ville, Belgium
With the dark night as its backdrop, a circus extravaganza ignites the picturesque abbey of Villers-la-Ville once a year. A hurricane of colours, sounds and magic creates a universe that amazes all ages. Be fooled by the clowns and enchanted by the acrobats during the most mesmerising night of the year.
Les Nuits du Cirque. Photo: Philippe Renard
29 May – 2 June, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Few restaurants are as diverse and atmospheric as Rollende Keukens. The food truck festival in the heart of the Dutch capital takes the edge off your appetite with a myriad of exotic cuisines and surprising snacks. You had better be starving upon arrival, however, since the temptation to try a bit of everything might be too hard to resist.
29 May – 2 June, Heerenveen, the Netherlands
Oranjewoud Festival tickles all your senses. Not only is it the perfect place to enjoy world-class classical music, but it also stands out with its amazing (often unconventional) concert locations which add an extra dimension to the fantastic music. Among other places, gardens, plastic domes and an ice-hockey stadium will become temporary concert halls during the cosy music festival.
Oranjewoud Festival. Photo: Majanka Fotografie
29 May – 2 June, Ghent, Belgium
Gent’s favourite food festival, Gent Smaakt, serves the best the town’s cuisine has to offer. Underneath the iconic Stadshal, the city’s known culinary quantities and upcoming gastronomical talents prepare amazing dishes which will surprise with every bite. Because in a young and vibrant city like Gent, the world comes together on your plate.
The Procession of the Holy Blood
30 May, Bruges, Belgium
May is traditionally a great month for procession aficionados. During the month of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the most beautiful, folkloristic parades stroll through the Flemish streets. The most famous one is Bruges’ Procession of the Holy Blood, during which they carry the relic with Jesus’ blood through the historic town. One weekend earlier, on Sunday 19 May, you can witness the Hanswijk procession in the streets of Mechelen; a parade that has been organised for the past 747 years.
Leeuwarden. Photo: NBTC
30 May, Leeuwarden, the Netherlands
Do you want to spruce up your interior with a touch of spring? Then head to the flower market of Leeuwarden. With over 200 stalls selling their fragrant flora, it is the longest flower market in the country. Every year, over 30,000 people stroll over the traditional fair to watch, smell and, of course, purchase themselves a few living souvenirs.
ING Night Marathon
1 June, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
As a metropole in pocket size, Luxembourg City is perfect to explore by foot. On the first day of June, hundreds of athletes will do just that. During the ING Night Marathon, you see all the city’s hotspots in the moonlight while running a dazzling 42,195 kilometres. The starting signal sounds at twilight, after which your night-time endeavour can commence.
TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS