Farnaz Alimehri is a student at Regis University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Farnaz is currently studying abroad with ISA in Brussels, Belgium.
Brussels may be a small city, but the range of cultural activities it has to offer is quite broad. Whether you’re a club goer or a history buff, there will always be something for you to do in this city. I, being the multifaceted girl that I am, have enjoyed doing many things here in Brussels.
One of the first places I visited in Brussels was the famed Belgian Comic Strip Center. Surprisingly, Belgium is home to some of the world’s most famous comics. Ahem, Tin Tin anyone? And let’s not forget our favorite blue friends, the Smurfs! My visit was one of the many events sponsored by ISA, so it was completely free to get in and I got a free guided tour of the museum. If you are a fan of comics, or just art in general (seriously some of these comics were pretty incredible) I would definitely recommend you visit the center. Coincidentally, that same weekend after I visited the center, it happened to be Comic Book Festival in Brussels. So after having just gained some newly found comic book knowledge, I traveled down to Gran Place and watched a massive projection of a Tin Tin comic reel play over the Baroque-styled white stone buildings. Seeing such a modern cartoon being played in such old surroundings was quite breathtaking.
But wait—there’s more! Every year in October, there is a night commemorated to celebrating stellar modern art called Nuit Blanche. My friends and I managed to stay up late enough for the event and we were all really excited to see the cool art around Gran Sablon. The event starts at around 10:00 p.m. and ends at 5:00 a.m. (don’t worry; the exhaustion doesn’t hit you until the festivities are over and you are on your way home). One of the most famous attractions for Nuit Blanche is the image of the Virgin Mary that is projected on the Notre Dame in Gran Sablon, but the best part for me was the flashmob. My friends and I had heard that there was going to be a massive dance in the middle of the square in the “teaser trailer” for Nuit Blanche, so naturally we spent the hours learning the dance beforehand. The flashmob took place at midnight, and we danced to M83’s Midnight City. It was one of the most exhilarating experiences I have ever had. Not only was I dancing in public, but I was dancing in sync with hundreds of other people. So the moral of the story is: Nuit Blanche is a must-do in Brussels!
The music scene in Belgium is quite fantastic. Not only do they have really trendy clubs, but they also have really great concerts. Many world renowned musicians pass through Belgium. In my short time here in Brussels I have already attended two concerts. My first concert was at La Botanique, a small venue inside the botanical gardens here in Brussels and I saw an up and coming indie-alternative band, the Born Ruffians. The second concert I attended was for Goldfrapp, and she was performing in a larger venue called Ancienne Belgique. Both concerts were amazing and I definitely recommend checking out the music scene in Belgium. It’s quite different from the norm in the U.S., but definitely worthwhile.