12 top attractions in 2022
What the coming year will ultimately bring is anyone's guess. In Bruges, however, we are beavering away behind the scenes to welcome you back in 2022 with exciting concerts, captivating exhibitions, surprising heritage, a diverse range of festivals and award-winning top gastronomy. All this in a unique World Heritage setting, in both established and brand new venues. Here's a run-down of the twelve planned top attractions!
1. January: opening BMCC
The new Bruges Meeting & Convention Centre is officially open! This sustainable urban renewal project, developed by the Partnership Souto de Moura - META – CFE, comprises an exhibition hall with state-of-the-art conference infrastructure. Ideally nestled in the heart of the World Heritage City, the BMCC also happens to be the city's largest multi-purpose event space. On 9 and 10 April, it will host the fourteenth Bruges Beer Festival.
Discover the BMCC >
2. February: 20th anniversary of Concertgebouw
Concertgebouw Brugge (Concert Hall), which officially opened its doors on 20 February 2002, celebrates! The twentieth anniversary of this house for music and contemporary dance will be extensively celebrated with, among others, a world premiere of Rosas, a children's book, new work by artist David Claerbout and a trip to the past with Anima Eterna. In addition to this week of festivities (13/02 > 27/02), the following festivals are in the pipeline this spring:
- SLOW(36h) Festival - 5/02 > 6/02
- (B)its of Dance - 24/02 >27/02
- Masterpiece week Händel - 4/03 > 6/03
- Masterpiece week Dowland - 13/05 > 15/05
- GOLD Festival - 25/05 > 29/05
- Budapest Festival - 3/06 > 4/06
3. March: last month of arts festival Mind the Artist
For a year, Musea Brugge supported versatile and creative talent during the difficult coronavirus period. The special exhibition 'Strook - It’s only a matter of time’ will be concluded in style on 5 March with a musical nocturne (in cooperation with Cactus Muziekcentrum). The layered exhibition ‘é/change’, the upshot of a dialogue between Line Boogaerts, several Congolese artists and the oeuvre of Frank Brangwyn will be running at the ‘Arents' House until 13 March.
4. April: Heritage Day
Prior to the traditional Heritage Day on Sunday 24 April, Bruges has organised a one-off Heritage Week (19 > 22 April), especially geared towards schools. This has everything to do with this year's theme, "Heritage Day for Schools". Numerous activities and initiatives are being launched with a view to bringing heritage and education closer together.
5. May: Procession of the Holy Blood
Since the late 13th century, the Procession of the Holy Blood has made its way through Bruges on on Ascension Day. After two cancelled editions, we hope that on Thursday 26 May the spectators will be impressed by the golden shrine, preceded by the members of the Noble Brotherhood of the Holy Blood and followed by a colourful procession with many hundreds of extras.
6. June: 'Underneath the Shade We Lay Grounded' - Otobong Nkanga
In this exceptional exhibition, in an equally exceptional location (St John’s Hospital), visual artist and performance artist Otobong Nkanga creates a dialogue between her artworks and a selection from the collection of Musea Brugge. She mixes diverse forms, such as installations, sculptures, drawings, tapestries, performance and poetry, creating a landscape that invites visitors to pause and contemplate. All the senses are bound to be engaged!
7. July: Festival month
In the musical city of Bruges, concerts do not only take place indoors; during the summer months various concerts are held at numerous outdoor locations. The festival summer kicks off in mid-June with the new three-day concert series Live /s Live featuring The National, Wilco, Duran Duran and dEUS in Zeebrugge (17 > 19/6).
As tradition has it, the second weekend of July is set aside for the 39th Cactus Festival (8 > 10/7), when the Lake of Love Park forms the perfect setting for numerous national and international musical heroes such as Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Ben Harper and Richard Hawley.
At the end of July, the historic city centre forms the backdrop for the many (often free) concert evenings of MOODS! (29/7 > 11/8).
8. August: Festival month take two
The summer of music continues with the renowned festival for 'musica antiqua', MAfestival (5 > 14/08), which showcases the rich, complex musical heritage of the 15th to the 18th centuries. With Vélo Baroque, we even organise a proper music-themed bicycle tour through Bruges’ woods and wetlands in the direction of Lissewege.
The event platform on the spacious Zeebrugge beach will be the scene for two weekends of WeCanDance (6, 7, 13 & 14/8) and Bomboclat (26 > 27/8) will also set up its tents, so tropical vibes guaranteed!
9. September: Kookeet
Food lovers get to sample the creations of Bruges' top chefs during Kookeet. The 10th edition of this top-quality culinary festival will take place from 23 to 26 September on the consecrated meadow near the Major Seminary.
10. October: 'Face to Face with Death. Hugo van der Goes, old masters and new interpretations'
The stunningly restored masterpiece 'Death of the Virgin' by Hugo van der Goes is literally and figuratively the centrepiece of this top exhibition at St John’s Hospital. In six themes - each fleshed out on the basis of several masterpieces (including Hans Memling, Jan Provoost and Albrecht Bouts), sculptures, manuscripts, and musical pieces - the exhibition takes a closer look at 'Death of the Virgin'. Reflecting on bidding farewell, meaning and spirituality.
11. November: Winter Glow
Winter Glow is a wonderful winter experience that brings light during the darkest days of the year: Christmas markets, Light Trail, Winter Bar, shopping fun over the course of the many shopping days, and much more. The historic city centre, full of Christmas lights and decorations, not only embraces you and warms you up, it also invites you to stay.
12. December: December Dance
This festival is the annual fixture for dance enthusiasts from all over the world. With combined forces,Concertgebouw Brugge (Concert Hall) and Cultuurcentrum Brugge (Cultural Centre) will be bringing premieres, established names, icons in the making and young talent to various stages.
* Information subject to (possible) change. Info on current coronavirus measures can be found here