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Festivals in the Benelux

Festivals in the Benelux are entertaining just to read about, never mind attending: cinema fairs for days, huge musical events ranging from harpsichord to heavy metal, and celebrations of the most beloved local products, be they floral, edible or potable. You’re in for some fun at festivals in Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg.

The Riesling Open is not a golf tournament but one of the many wine and other festivals that make Luxembourg such an entertaining destination. This particular one puts four villages on the Moselle, where those fabulous grapes grow, under the reign of King Riesling and his royal entourage (a temporary and quite vivacious monarchy). The fun for you comes in when sample Luxembourg’s wines and crémants and their production in the local wine cellars. You might like the International Comics Festival (for strips, not stand-up), or a trip to a fantastical past at the Vianden Medieval Festival. There you’ll be dazzled by the medieval inn, a Knights' encampment, jugglers, fire eaters, troubadours and minstrels, wizards, crossbows, magical elixirs, dancers, games and an exceedingly merry crowd.

Yes, of course there are chocolate festivals in Belgium. One is on the elegant Place du Sablon in Brussels; convene with fellow chocoholics to taste the latest trends in choco-expression as well as the melt-in-your-mouth classics. Belgium is mad for the cinema and holds over 30 festivals focusing on diverse film genres. The Ghent Music Festival that began in 1959 has expanded to include seven music festivals in the cities of Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Kortrijk, Limburg, Mechelen and Flemish Brabant. The Louvain-la-neuve Open Jazz festival welcomes professionals and amateurs alike - it’s only fitting that playing jazz is so popular in country that gave us the saxophone. Visual and performing arts, beer and comic strips, sand castle building and shrimp harvesting all get their due in Belgium, land of a zillion festivals.

Holland hosts an amazing antiques and treasures event called The European Fine Arts Fair. Serious collectors and museums come here to acquire beauty, and you can attend and feel closer to the art than in almost any museum; the people watching is also spectacular. The Holland Flowers Festival kicks off the spring with a scintillating spectacle of blossoming bulb flowers, trees, shrubs and other ornamental cultivation products. The International Film Festival Rotterdam defines it unique character by focusing on new, innovative, independent films and filmmakers. The festival is a mixture of cinema, film-related visual art exhibitions and live performances. These are just a few of the major festivals in Holland; you’ll find wonderful local celebrations of art, food, and performance all over the country.


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