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AU Brussels | Entertainment

Meet Europeans

Looking for some evening entertainment in Brussels? Here are some things to do:

A poster advertising the Bolero ballet in Brussels

Classical Entertainment: Some of the best opera performances in Europe can be found at the Theatre Royal de la Monnaie, and wonderful concerts are performed at the Palai des Beaux Arts and the Royal Music Conservatory. If you want to experience a theater performance in French or Dutch, there are a wide number of theatres in Brussels. However, English language theater can also be found, particularly the Brussels Light Opera Company, the American Theater Company, and the Irish Theater Group.

Students gather at an outdoor winter market

Festivals: Belgium is a land of festivals with each town, city and community hosting its own unique display. Some are historic like the Ommegang Procession in downtown Brussels during the Summer. Some are frivolous like the famous Carnaval (Mardi Gras) in the Spring. Some celebrate Belgium’s treasures, like the Beer Festival in September. The Tourist Information Offices of Brussels, Flanders, and Wallonia provide listings.

A student holds a soccer scarf up at a match

Sports: In addition to the sports center on campus, each community has its own local sports center, many with swimming pools. There are also bowling allies, pool halls, climbing walls, fencing, etc. In short, there is nearly every sport that you would expect in a major city.

Rock Concerts: Despite its small size, Belgium hosts a large number of rock concerts every year. In Brussels, they are usually held at Forest National or at the Ancienne Belgique.  However, you can also find them an easy train ride away in Ghent, Oostende or Antwerp. In the warmer months, outdoor concerts and major concert festivals can be found through out the country.

A poster advertising the movie Party Girl.

Movies: Brussels has several large movie theater complexes. Films are usually shown in the original language with subtitles, but are sometimes dubbed into French. If the theater listing says “ov” or “vo”, it means that the film is in the original language (origineeel versie/version original). If it says “vf”, it has been dubbed into French. The largest theater is Kinepolis at Brupark. It is a 27-theatre complex with large screens, business-class seating, and an IMAX theater. Closer to downtown are the UGC theaters, one at avenue de la Toison d'Or and one at Place de Brouckère. There are also smaller theaters like the Arenberg in the Galerie de la Reine which allow you to see 10 films on the cheap. The Film Museum shows old classics. You can find which films are playing on the theaters’ websites or on Cinebel which lists all movies playing in Belgium.

Students play a game of pool at local hangout

Nightlife: As an international capital city, Brussels boasts an international nightlife. Young people from all over the continent come to Brussels to intern at the European institutions and related organizations. Place Luxembourg (Place Lux), Schuman, and the area around the Grand Place are all places to find them. You will have the opportunity to meet people from everywhere!

Students sit out on a patio at local coffee house

Where do students hang out?

  • The area surrounding the Grand Place, where there is always something to do at the various festivals, restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs, and concert venues
  • Place Luxembourg (Place Lux), near the European Parliament. During the day, MEPs and their staffs frequent the establishments. At night, interns rule. In between, both happily coexist.
  • Geneva, Kandersteg and Strasbourg
  • Schuman Circle, near the European Commission. A variety of establishments where Commission officials, journalists, lobbyists, interns, and students can all find a place to roost
  • On campus. Belgian universities in general, and our campus in particular, host a wide variety of restaurants, cafes, bars, and party venues.