When the school gates open again and the sun starts to hide that bit more often, the Benelux celebrates the best that autumn has to offer. With plenty of exquisite wines, finger-licking-good dishes and surprising cultural activities, the season is bound to be full of fun. And be sure to hit the road during the Heritage Days, to explore the region’s historic, hidden pearls.
TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS | MAIN PHOTO © HIDDENRAVEN
13 – 15 September, Wormeldange, Luxembourg
Few regions know how to bottle an elegant Riesling as the Luxembourgian Moselle. During Riesling Open, winemakers open their domains to the public for an exquisite dinner accompanied by the nicest Rieslings. Between meals, the region’s prettiest girl is granted the prestigious title ‘Rieslingskinnigin’ (Riesling queen).
OdeGand. Photo © Thijs de langhe
14 September, Ghent, Belgium
To kick off the Flemish cultural season with a bang, OdeGand fills the historic city of Ghent with music of all sorts. Brass bands, tango sessions, jazz quartets and piano battles brighten up the day and prelude the spectacular, nocturnal magnum opus, with its sky full of acrobats and fireworks.
14 – 15 September, Europe
On the old continent, you will find tangible pieces of history anywhere you look. Yet, in the Benelux, they have even a little bit more. Did you know that Belgium is the country with the most castles per square metre anywhere in the world? The tiny nation counts no less than 3,000 of them! During the Heritage Days, many of these historic buildings open their doors to the public. Peek behind private doors and discover the Benelux’ most extraordinary buildings and their long, long history.
Heritage Days, Gaasbeeck Castle. Photo © Visit Flanders
17 September, The Hague, the Netherlands
Prinsjesdag (or, Prince’s Day) is a celebration with rituals galore. With a grand parade, the royal family roaming the streets of The Hague in golden carriages, cannon shots, an elaborate speech by His Majesty the king and a traditional ‘acte de présence’ on the palace’s balcony, the third Tuesday of September is a true festival for royalty watchers.
Brussels Museums Nocturnes
19 September – 5 December, Brussels, Belgium
When the temperatures drop in the capital of Europe, its museums welcome you into their warm houses. Every Thursday, a handful of cultural temples open their doors in the evening for you to explore their collections in the moonlight’s shadow. On the first Thursday, among others, GardeRobe MannekenPis, Museum Market on the Grand Place and Maison du Roi will welcome your for just four euros.
Prinsjesdag. Photo © NTBC
Van Gogh’s Inner Circle. Friends, Family, Models
21 September – 12 January, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands
Vincent van Gogh’s relationships were almost as turbulent as his dynamic pencil strokes. During his life, he managed to attract and repel many a loved one. With his paintings as a guideline, the Noordbrabants Museum explores his stormy life’s path and its many colourful characters.
Netherlands Film Festival
27 September – 5 October, Utrecht, the Netherlands
During the Netherlands Film Festival, the Dutch cinema industry points the spotlight at its country’s biggest talents. The best films of the year compete for the Golden Calf awards and the most promising new pictures premiere in the festival’s theatres.
Netherlands Film Festival. Photo © Golden Calf
28 September, Antwerp, Belgium
Her biggest hit Believe is over two decades old, but Cher is still alive and kicking. In the aftermath of Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!, the godmother of autotune comes to Belgium to mix her greatest songs in with all your favourite tunes by ABBA; from Strong Enough to Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!.
Scheveningen Kite Festival
28 – 29 September, Scheveningen, the Netherlands
In Scheveningen (the beach district of The Hague), flying kites is more than just a fun afternoon activity to occupy your kids with. Annually, the world’s best kite flyers come to the beach to let their kites hit the sky. Come and gaze at this colourful spectacle and see the highly-talented stunt kite flyers in action.
Scheveningen Kite Festival. Photo © NBTC
28 – 30 September, Bruges, Belgium
As a city with tower-high culinary standards, Bruges counts more extraordinary fine-dining chefs than restaurants. During Kookeet, the best 32 of them hit the road to prepare their most delicious dishes out in the open air. Stroll past the many stalls and assemble the perfect menu to your own personal taste.