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3 Flanders Contemporary Art Festivals


From May 2021, Flanders celebrates no less than three contemporary art festivals, all of which will be staged outdoors: Triennial Bruges in the medieval city of Bruges, Beaufort 21 on the Belgian coast, and Paradise in the creative city of Kortrijk.

The contemporary art scene in Flanders continues to flourish beyond its festivals.


Every three years Bruges provides the magnificent backdrop for the Bruges Triennial. This unique event brings contemporary art and architecture to the historic city centre, a unique UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This year, thirteen global contemporary artists and architects will present their interpretations of the festival theme, via a series of original outdoor installations, in and around the city. The display will be free to view and open to the general public from 8 May to 24 October 2021.This year’s festival theme is TraumA and sets out to explore the fine line between dreams and trauma, paradise and hell.

Read our preview of the Bruges Triennial (Triennale Brugge). For further information about contemporary art in Bruges, visit


Beaufort 21 Triennial, Belgium
Beaufort 21 Triennial, Belgium

Flanders boasts a breath-taking coastline stretching across nearly forty miles and provides the perfect venue for an open-air festival for contemporary arts, held every three years: Beaufort. From 27 May to 7 November 2021 there will be a plethora of stimulating and thought-provoking works of art on display, all inspired by the sea, stretching along the coastal banks, beaches and dunes.

This year will be Beaufort’s 7th festival and its curator, Heidi Ballet, has selected 21 contemporary international artists who will create their own unique work of art, to be placed in various locations along the entire Flemish coastline. Works of art are selected from each festival to form part of the permanent Beaufort Sculpture Park, currently showing 30 works of art from earlier shows.

Read our preview of Beaufort 21. For further information about the permanent Beaufort sculpture park, visit


Kortrijk’s Triennial will take place from 26 June to 24 October 2021.

Entitled ‘Paradise’ , its name is inspired by individual interpretations of the utopian dream of paradise and invites artists to see and interpret how society can be improved for everyone.

Read our preview of Paradise Kortrijk. For further information about the city of Kortrijk, visit

Main image: I Can Hear It – Ivars Drulle © westtoer, courtesy of Visit Flanders.

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Mark Bibby Jackson

Mark Bibby Jackson

Before setting up Travel Begins at 40, Mark was the publisher of AsiaLIFE Cambodia and a freelance travel writer. When he is not packing and unpacking his travelling bag, Mark writes novels, including To Cook A Spider and Peppered Justice. He loves walking, eating, tasting beer, isolation and arthouse movies, as well as talking to strangers on planes, buses and trains whenever possible. Most at home when not at home.

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