Lifestyle & Culture

Dispatches’ weekly weekend event guide for Europe: 9 February through 12 February 2017

Though Valentine’s Day won’t be here until this coming Tuesday, there are a few ways to make this weekend a romantic one, full of flowers, chocolates, wine, Agent Provocateur lingerie ….

Of course, if V-Day is only a day for you to buy discounted candy, we do have events lacking red hearts and arrows. This week’s itinerary includes the Berlin Independent Film Festival, a chocolate salon in Brussels, and a sexy time in Paris. Let’s go!

Amsterdam – Dutch Ice Sculpture Festival: If you haven’t gone already, you should now! The annual Dutch Ice Sculpture Festival was set to leave Amsterdam, but will now continue through 5 March.

The festival – the theme for 2016-17 is “Music Inspires” – made its Amsterdam debut this past December, featuring sculptures as tall as 6 meters!

Expect to see the likes of Prince, David Bowie, Mozart, and lots of crystal-clear instruments – all made with more than 550,000 kilograms of ice and snow by 42 international ice sculptors, and housed inside a 3,000 m² warehouse along Arena Boulevard. Be sure to dress warmly, though: temps are kept around 14° Fahrenheit (10° Celsius).

Tickets range from free for little ones under 3, to 28€ for a combination ticket (which includes rail service into the city).

adaptive-imagesBarcelona – 1,000m2 of desire: architecture and sexuality: Since Valentine’s Day is around the corner, why not spend the day (or this weekend) at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona to view its latest exhibition, 1,000m2 of desire: architecture and sexuality?

The exhibition features 250 smaller exhibits aimed at exploring “the way Western society has planned, built and imagined spaces for sex from the 18th century to the present day,” and is divided into three sections: sexual utopias, libertine refuges and sexographs.

Admission is 6€, and is open Tuesdays through Sundays.

BIFF2016-BabylonKino-PlakatA1Berlin – Berlin Independent Film Festival: From today through Wednesday, the Babylon is proud to host the 2017 edition of the Berlin Independent Film Festival!

Every night, a mix of short-film blocks and single feature films transform the silver screen into wondrous worlds, all created by new filmmakers on low budgets.

Films on the program for this year include The Uncertainty Has Settled, Why Siegfried Teitelbaum Had to Die, Seat in Shadow, and Virtual Revolution.

All films shown during the festival are in English or have English subtitles.

Showings occur every night at 18:00, 20:00 and 22:00. Tickets are available at the box office at 17:00 and online for 8€/show. Film trailers can be viewed here.

logo_sdcBrussels – Salon du Chocolat/Chocoladesalon: It’s not Valentine’s Day without chocolate, so plan to spend this Friday through Saturday at Tour & Taxis for Salon du Chocolat/Chocoladesalon, making its first stop in 2017 at the de facto capital of the European Union.

Over 130 participants will be offering tastings, workshops, demos, exhibitions and so much more during the fourth edition of Brussels’ chocolate salon, as well as the traveling show’s famed chocolate fashion show, with clothes made from… I think you know!

Ticket prices range from free to those under three, to 25€ for a family pack; purchase here.

Copenhagen – Vinterjazz 2017: When the Danes throw a jazz festival, they really throw a jazz festival! With 600 concerts at 125 venues across Copenhagen from now through 26 February, Vinterjazz is part music festival, part marathon.

Fortunately, the Vinterjazz website lists all the offerings by day, so you can choose what works best with your schedule. You can also download festival apps for either iOS or Android here.

Perennial favorite Herbie Hancock — with a new band — is the headliner this year, but if you can’t make it to see him or anyone else on the bill perform in person, there’s always the live stream!

valentines-day-in-london_valentines-day-in-london-with-city-cruises_5b67d615848fb908c640ae75b601490fLondon – Valentine’s Day in London: London is known for being a few things this time of year: cold; grey; damp; trying to figure out how to exit England as England is stumbling through its exit of the E.U. But this weekend, it is also a city for lovers.

Let’s start with flowers! The annual Orchids Festival at Kew Gardens will rock your world with color, as this year’s theme celebrates the marvelous botanical wonders of India.

Vanda orchids will hang from the sky, elephants and peacocks of exotic plants will dazzle the eyes, and Indian foods will fill the belly.

Tickets start at £2.50/child, £14/adult. The exhibit runs until 5 March.

And you mustn’t forget the perfect love poem! Saturday night, head over to the house of John Keats for a reading of his most romantic poems.

Live jazz, Regency-inspired Valentine’s card-making, and more await on this romantic evening! Get your £15 ticket here.

And if you want to know what else there is to do when Cupid comes to London town, the link at the start of this entry will be all you and your special someone need.

144_10Paris – Valentine’s Day at Crazy Horse: Paris is the City of Love for lots of reasons.

For those looking for a sexier time on Valentine’s Day, though, might we suggest spending 90 minutes at the city’s famed cabaret, Crazy Horse?

The legendary cabaret will have two shows Tuesday night – 20:30 and 23:00 – and couples can opt for a bottle of champagne rosé for two, a souvenir photo, and a small pastry per person.

Ticket prices range from €155 to €175; trust us when we say you’ll get a lot of bang for your euro at Crazy Horse!

Vienna – Ball of the Viennese Industry: This Saturday, don your reddest dress or blackest black tie, and head over to the Imperial Palace (Hofburg) for the Ball of the Viennese Industry (Ball der Wiener Wirtschaft).

What industry, you ask? The kind involving entrepreneurs (based on Vienna’s event page, at least)!

Network and strike a few deals for that startup you always wanted to do, all the while dancing the night away in your finest!

85€ will net you a dance card, good for entering the palace to dance the night away! Doors open at 20:00, dancing commences at 21:00, an after party begins at 3:00, and the ball ends at 4:00.

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