The weekly antique market
Every sunday morning there is an antique and curiousity market in Tongeren.
In the past 30 years it has grown to become an international well known market.
The market takes place the whole year through, summer and winter, rain or sun.
With over 350 vendors it is the largest in the Benelux. Tongeren also has a lot of antique shops where you can find antiques small and large, old and somewhat less old, restaured or yet to be restaured, ...
On sunday morning, starting at 5 am., Tongeren becomes a melting pot of nationalities. Walking around, you encounter not only Belgian's, but also a lot of Dutch, French, German, British, American, Danish, ... visitors. A lot of them are looking for that one piece of curious or antique they can't find anywhere else. Others just enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and may incidently stumble on something to buy.
But no matter if you are looking for something specific or just walking around, you'll enjoy a visit. And the cost ... make it very cheap or extremely expensive ... it all depends on you !
- Arts and Culture
The coronation celebrations
Tongeren was a cradle of christianity. It was known as the first sanctuary of the Holy Virgin.
Every 7 years there are coronation celebrations, the "Kroningsfeesten". These celebrations are in honour of the miraculous statue "Causa nostrae Laetitiae".
Along with this statue, a lot of other relics are carried out in the procession.
There are 4 processions followed by 4 evening performances.
Over 3.300 participants (a new record in 2009!) are already preparing for the 2016 edition.
They start about 3 years before the actual festivities. All of this is to make it an unforgettable experience for the over 700.000 visitors that visit Tongeren especially for these celebrations every 7 years!
These were the timetables for the 2009 edition. I don't have the exact dates for 2016 yet, but it should be around the same period as the previous ones.
July 5 2009 : procession at 15.00 - evening performance at 22.30
July 7 2009 : procession at 19.00 - evening performance at 22.30
July 10 2009 : procession at 19.00 - evening performance at 22.30
July 12 2009 : procession at 15.00 - evening performance at 22.30
Even for non-catholics it's amazing to see how an entire town worked for several years towards 1 goal : these processions. The entire town is decorated and an average of 1 out of 10 inhabitants takes part in the procession.
If you have missed out on it in 2009, your next chance will be 2016 ...
- Arts and Culture
The Festival of Flanders is a festival that already exists for almost 5 decades and became one of the most important widespread cultural events.
Between june and december, over 550 concerts are organised in about 80 cities. It's not all classical music that is being performed. Festivals especially for street musicians are also on the program, as are concerts in open air, in cathedrals, ...
The Basilica Festival in Tongeren is part of this bigger picture.
It invites you to a series of musical concerts : concerts in castles in the region, old music, new music, organ recitals, concerts by musical laureates,... all by young musicians end more experienced musicians.
The Basilica Festival celebrated its 50th birthday in 2007.
This year the Limburg part of the festival will take place from mai 3rd until july 10th. The highlight will be the concerts in the Basilica of our lady in Tongeren.
More info on the Tongeren part of the festival : http://www.festival.be/index.php?id=130&L=2
Tongeren also has a long history of Christian traditions. First sanctuary of the Holy Virgin north of the Alpes, pilgrimages were already organized during the Middle Age.
When in 1890 the mercyful statue "Cause of Our Joy" was crowned by Mgr. Doutreloux, the inhabitants of Tongeren decided to extend the pilgrimages to Coronation Celebrations every seven years.This tradition is kept alive up to the present day.The last one was in 2002 and in 2009 the Coronation will be organized for the seventeenth time.By means of pontifical masses, processions and evening happenings, with the cooperation of more than threethousand townsmen, but also through concerts and by decorating the streets, Tongeren expresses his admiration for the "Cause of Our Joy".
Even if you are not a Christian, like me, it's still worth going to it if you have the chance. It's nice to see how the whole city worked so hard to make it something special.
There are pictures of the 2002-edition on the website.
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