Lifestyle & Culture

Dispatches’ weekly weekend event guide for Europe: 13 April through 16 April 2017

It’s Easter in Europe! Wondering how you’ll spend time with you and yours on this holiday?

We have your weekend guide to the most wonderful happenings all over Europe, including flower festivals in Amsterdam and Barcelona, Easter in London, and an early warning for two of the biggest summer music festivals in England. Let’s go!

Amsterdam – Onegin: When it comes to the arts, Amsterdam is – along with Berlin and London – one of Europe’s capitals of culture. Now through this Sunday at the Dutch National Ballet & Opera, you can see Onegin, the ballet based on the novel Eugene Onegin by Aleksandr Poesjkin.

Onegin is set in Russia in the year 1820, and is filled with all sorts of drama, including a duel!

From the summary on the website:

The aristocrat Onegin rejects the young, lovesick Tatjana and occasionally adorns her sister Olga, although already his friend Lenski is engaged. It leads to a duel between Onegin and Lenski to the death. When Onegin unexpectedly meets the now married Tatyana at a ball, his love ignites again. He begs her forgiveness, but Tatyana rejects him. Both their lives are doomed to be unhappy.

Love and tragedy… okay, it sounds like a bummer, but ballet – above all art forms – appeals to your emotions in the most poetic ways. Real European culture in a most elegant setting.

Even the Dutch National Ballet website is divine, with elaborate videos.

Tickets start at about €20, and you can get them here.

unnamedTulp Festival: Flowers more your thing? Then what better way to welcome the warm days of spring than with Holland’s national flower, the tulip, with the annual Tulp Festival!

Continuing through 14 May 2017, 60 locations around Amsterdam will blossom with color of 500,000 tulips, including: the Amsterdam Tulip Museum; NEMO Science Museum; and the Van Gogh Museum.

We went, and it was divine!

A guide to where you can see every tulip planted can be purchased for 2€; the map with purchasing locations is here.

entrades-de-flor-en-florBarcelona – De Flor en Flor: Want more flowers? Want more variety of flowers?

Barcelona’s Poble Espanyol is calling you to attend the second annual De Flor en Flor!

The flower and garden festival will transform the village into a colourful paradise of floral art, live music, 18 floral arrangements, workshops, and exhibition of roses, orchids and bonsais.

Tickets for non-Catalonia residents range from free for those under 4 years of age, to €12.50 for adults under 65.

The festival runs from today through Monday 18 April between 11:00 and 19:00.

Berlin – Achtung Berlin – New Berlin Film Award: This one starts Wednesday, but we like for you not to miss out on a single moment of the 2017 edition of Achtung Berlin – New Berlin Film Award.

Between then and 26 April, more than 80 films of various lengths are shown around a handful of cinemas in Berlin, including: Kino International; Babylon; and Filmtheater Friedrichshain.

Also important to note: the week-long festival shows only films which were shot entirely or in part in Berlin and Brandenburg, and all of the films will be seen for the first time ever.

Ticket prices range between €6 and €9, depending on the venue; ticket purchasing information can be found here.

Chios – Rocket Wars: A list dedicated solely to Easter events around Europe would be a mile long, but this one … this one literally is da’ bomb.

Two Greek Orthodox parishes in neighboring villages on the Greek island of Chios fight it out with rockets to celebrate Easter. We couldn’t make this up.

The rival churches in the parishes of Saint Mark and Virgin Mary Erithiani fire about 60,000 handmade fireworks rockets at each other starting at about 8 p.m. Saturday, and they keep it up till after midnight on Easter. The object is to hit the other church’s bell.

We’re thinking this would be one of more memorable Easters you’ve ever celebrated, especially considering it’s on our favorite Greek island.

If you’re in the neighborhood, right?

Frankfurt – Spring Dippemess: Say hello to spring in Frankfurt with the month-long Spring Dippemess!

Taking place at the Ratsweg Fairground from Friday through 1 May 2017, the spring edition of Dippemess will bring warm memories of state and county fairs gone by to many an expat, from the market full of wares, to the fairground full of food and fun.

From the website:

The Dippemess is a traditional fair that dates back to the 14th century. At that time, the “Maamess,” as it was then called, was a medieval market proffering domestic articles. Potters from the Westerwald, Kannebäckerland and Urberach came here to sell their wares, especially their ceramic bowls and pots. These were known in the Frankfurt dialect as “Dippe,” from which the event soon took its name. Over the years, more and more fairground booths and popular attractions joined the market.

Entrance to the fair is free, while rides range from €1 to €3.

Handbagged: Need a break from the fair? Want to put aside those Brexit fears for a while? Then grab your handbag and head over to the English Theatre of Frankfurt for Handbagged, an English-language play about the rocky relationship/rivalry between late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Queen Elizabeth II.

From the website:

One destined to rule, the other elected to lead. But when the stiff upper lip softened and the gloves came off, which one had the upper hand? Moira Buffini’s new comedy speculates on what the world’s most powerful women really talked about behind closed palace doors.

Tickets for Handbagged start at €27, and can be had here. The play runs through 30 April 2017.

99581-640x360-hampton-court-palace-easter-daffodils-640London – Easter Weekend: We can’t let this guide go out without at least one Easter-related activity.

Over in Brexit-era London, there’s so much to do to welcome the end of Lent, the resurrection of Jesus, and the return of the Easter Bunny!

For instance, on Good Friday, the annual performance of The Passion of Christ by the Wintershall Players will be held at Trafalgar Square.

More than 100 actors and volunteers bring to life the last day of Jesus’ life, and in such a realistic manner as to advise parental discretion.

And of course, there are lots of Easter egg hunts and trails at places like WWT London Wetland Centre, Kew Gardens, and Hampton Court Palace; Easter chocolate markets and teas in Chelsea and Montagu; and, last but not least, the traditional Sunday roast at Borough Market, Rules, and The Ritz!

When it comes to Easter in London, there’s never a dull moment!

Tall Ships: Then, there are the Tall Ships! More than 30 classic ships will cast anchor at Maritime Greenwich and Royal Arsenal Woolrich between now and Sunday before setting sail towards Canada.

VIP dinner and fireworks cruises, a boat parade, and nautical-themed activities await the whole family when the Tall Ships come to port.

kaberg_headVienna – Kalvarienberg Festival: Welcome the Easter Bunny at the third edition of the Kalvarienberg Festival at Kalvarienberggasse, set to conclude this Sunday!

There’s something for everyone at Kalvarienberg arts and culture fair, including jazz concerts, Easter art, workshops, a wide range of programs tailored to specific age groups, a gift shop… lots to do and experience!

Admission is free.

If that’s not enough for you, then head over to Secession for its latest exhibition, The Visible Spectrum.

The exhibition features the abstract art of American Anoka Faruqee, whose works “are characterised by pulsating optical and chromatic effects… Influenced by digital technologies on the one hand and the geometries of Islamic art on the other.”

As part of her first institutional exhibition, Faruqee will present selections from Moiré Paintings, Circle Paintings and Wave Paintings.

Tickets to Secession are €9.50, children under 10 enter free. The Visible Spectrum runs from now through 25 June 2017.


Reading and Leeds – Reading Music Festival and Leeds Music Festival: As Europe’s music festival season draws closer and closer, we want you to be able to attend the biggest festivals all over the continent, all of which will be sold out by the time they actually occur.

This week’s festival is a double-bill: Reading Music Festival and Leeds Music Festival in Reading and Leeds, England.

Both festivals occur at the same time with the same bill during the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the August bank holiday weekend, which this year is 25 through 27 August 2017. Together, Reading and Leeds pull in around 90,000 guests annually at Richfield Avenue and Bramham Park, with big names like The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac and Metallica gracing the stages over the years.

This year’s lineup will be no different: Eminem, Korn, Liam Gallagher, Muse and Two Door Cinema Club are some of the acts gracing the main stage.

And if you want to see any of them or the other dozens of artists at both festivals, you better jump on it now; Saturday tickets for Reading are already sold out!

Tickets for Reading can be had here, those for Leeds over here.

• Chaumont International Garden Festival, France, starting later this month

• Kings Day, Netherlands, Thursday, 27 April

•  Stockholm Gin & Beer Festival, 21 April

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