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Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar Salon du Chocolat 14-16 February, Brussels, Belgium 8,000 square metres of cacao pleasure: that is the best way to describe the annual Salon du Chocolat. Located in the capital of chocolate, it is no surprise that this is the best place to find the finest pralines, bars and cups of hot cocoa. Belgium’s greatest pastry chefs and chocolatiers will be present, as well as models running the catwalk in chocolate couture. brussels.salon-du-chocolat.com

Comic Con 22-23 February, Brussels, Belgium What the World Cup is to soccer fans, Comic Con is to film-, game- and comic-buffs. It is their annual shot to see a glimpse of their Hollywood heroes and to fraternise with like-minded fans. This year, the list of scheduled appearances is jam-packed with heroes from Hogwarts, the Shire, Westeros and a galaxy far, far away. Among many others, attendees will meet the actors behind Hogwarts’ caretaker Argus Filch, Hobbit Samwise Gamgee, priestess Melisandre and robots C-3PO, R2-D2 and BB-8. www.comicconbrussels.com

Carnival of Binche. Photo: Mich Verbelen

Photo: Carnival of Maastricht

Carnival of Binche

Carnival of Maastricht

23-25 February, Binche, Belgium Though carnivals come in all colours and sizes in the Benelux, few are as iconic as the one in Binche. Besides the colourful floats and costumes, the traditional ‘Gilles de Binche’ steal the show. Folklore states that these masked men with feathers on their heads and stuffed orange suits fertilise the soil again and scare away demons. In 2003, UNESCO added this whimsical parade to their list of intangible cultural heritages.  www.carnavaldebinche.be

23-25 February, Maastricht, the Netherlands The carnival of Maastricht is a full-option one. The three days of madness contain parades, floats, comedy, dances and – the biggest attraction of them all – ‘de zatte hermeniekes’ (the drunk harmonies). These brass bands parade through the city from one pub to the next, guiding the partygoers to their next pitstop. Symphonies are often lost on them, since loudness overrules all artistic aspirations. The carnival even grants awards to those bands for playing the most ‘off-tone’.   www.visitmaastricht.com

Carnival of Aalst 23-25 February, Aalst, Belgium Aalst is the home of ‘de voil jeanetten’, featuring grown men in trashy women’s clothing who often wear a lampshade on their head or push a stroller ahead of them. Together with the many satirical floats, they give shape to Belgium’s biggest carnival. Welcome to the temporary court of Prince Carnival.   www.aalstcarnaval.be

Anima

Anima, Animals. Photo: Miyu Distributions

72  |  Issue 74  |  February 2020

21 February – 1 March, Brussels, Belgium Being the home of drawn superstars like Tintin and the Smurfs, Brussels loves all that’s animated. During the annual Anima festival, all eyes are pointed at the white screen and the fabulous creations which the world’s animators have created for it; in its traditional, long form as well in a series of over 50 short films during the animation night. This bingewatching session will keep you awake in your cinema seat until the early hours. www.animafestival.be

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Discover Benelux, Issue 74, February 2020  

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