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Friday Briefing: Where have all the children gone?

Good morning and welcome to PORTUGAL DECODED. Tomorrow is Children's Day and it's looking like a quiet one here in Portugal. Here's why.



Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Portugal this week to sign a €126 million military agreement. Zelensky thanked Portugal for welcoming refugees and providing military and police training to Ukrainian forces (More).
An election that forebears (yet) another election: 8 months after the last regional elections, Miguel Albuquerque was again appointed President of Madeira’s Government, after narrowly winning Sunday’s snap elections (More).


Wildfire season has started: on Tuesday, a large fire tore through Espiunca forest, in Arouca, forcing the evacuation of the Paiva walkways. Eight aerial vehicles and 91 crew members were able to hold it later in the day (More).
The Government presented a new emergency plan for the health sector that, among other measures, seeks to cut waiting lists for cancer surgeries by paying more to teams who perform surgeries in overtime (More).


The Government approved a series of measures focused on youth, including tax exemptions for first-time buyers, the extension of scholarships for student-workers and a 15% ceiling for income tax for under-35s (More).
The retirement age in Portugal will rise to 66 years and 7 months in 2025, following the confirmation that life expectancy at 65 for the total population in Portugal has increased, reaching almost 20 years in 2021-2023 (More).


Filmmaker Miguel Gomes won Best Director award at 77th Cannes Film Festival for “Grand Tour”, a 1917-set drama about a British civil servant's journey across Asia (More).
FC Porto claimed their 20th Portuguese Cup title in their history last Sunday. The victory was sealed by Mehdi Taremi’s goal, converting a penalty in extra time (More).


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Lisbon Book Fair

From May 29 to June 16, Parque Eduardo VII will once again host Lisbon’s biggest cultural event, with 960 publishing brands represented by 140 participants, spread over 350 pavilions, as well as the Small Publishers’ Space and the National Reading Plan. For the youngest, the Camping with Stories initiative is back, allowing children between the ages of eight and 10 to sleep in Parque Eduardo VII surrounded by literature and away from electronic equipment. This is the fifth edition, held in partnership with McDonald's. More information here.

Picadeiro Jazz

Between June 1-15, Largo do Picadeiro will host seven free outdoor jazz concerts in an initiative by Teatro São Luiz that aims to bring together different styles, contexts and generations, with the participation of some of the most exciting artists on the national and international scene. With a strong focus on adventurous and original music, Picadeiro Jazz combines sound and silence with the Chiado landscape and the festive and warm atmosphere of June. Full details here.


Serralves em Festa

The biggest contemporary arts festival in Portugal and one of the largest in Europe, offers hundreds of free activities taking place for 50 hours non-stop in the spaces of the Serralves Foundation. Over the years it has become a must-see event for thousands of Portuguese and foreign visitors and in 2019 broke all audience records, with more than 264,000 visitors With the presence of artists from Portugal and all around the world, it features hundreds of events for audiences of all ages and generations: music, dance, theatre, performance and contemporary circus, exhibitions in the museum, film, video, photography and numerous workshops. Full program here.

Domingos Sequeira’s Descent from the Cross

It’s a story that we’be following here: in 2023, the Ministry of Culture authorised the export of a national heritage painting for sale abroad, contrary to expert advice. On 12 March, amid a growing backlash, the Government announced the purchase of the painting by a private Portuguese company, with a view to exhibiting it in a national museum. And it now happens. The painting ‘Descida da Cruz’ (Descent from the Cross) by Domingos Sequeira (1768-1837) will be on display at the Soares dos Reis National Museum in Porto from 1 June.

Global Kitchen

Bolhão Market will once again host the 'Global Kitchen in Porto' event on 1 June. This time, one Portuguese chef (Aurora Goy, from “Apego” in Porto) and one Spanish chef (Lucía Freitas, from “A Tafona” in Santiago de Compostela) will bring Iberian flavours to the table, but always with recipes prepared with the ingredients available in Porto's historic market. Between talks, showcookings and tastings of exclusive menus, served free of charge and limited to all those who want to take part in the gastronomic journey.


Children’s Day

  • Porto: The Palácio de Cristal Gardens will be transformed into a huge amusement park for three days, where the youngest (and even the oldest) will be able to try out countless activities and watch performances that will surprise everyone. From 31 May to 2 June, it's time to be a child again - and be happy to travel back in time.

  • Mealhada: the City Park will be hosting a range of free activities from 10am to 4pm on 1 June. There will be inflatables, trampolines, human table football, shows and demonstrations by the fire brigade and the GNR (including the dogs of the cynotechnical intervention group).

  • Oliveira do Hospital: the celebrations begin on Saturday with face painting, traditional games, inflatables, popcorn and balloon modelling, starting at 2.30pm in Parque do Mandanelho. At 3pm, the Oliveira do Hospital Gymnastics Club’s Gymnastics Gala will take place. On Sunday, the Parque dos Marmelos hosts the ‘Family Picnic’ followed by an afternoon of festivities packed with traditional games, inflatables and musical moments. On Monday and Tuesday, it's back to Mandanelho Park for the ‘Children's Festival’, which includes music, dancing, group games and traditional games, balloon modelling, inflatables, bicycles, skateboards, face painting, animated poetry and a colour run.

  • Lousã: Carlos Reis Park and the Comendador Montenegro Municipal Library are the settings for the celebrations. The programme kicks off at 3.30pm in the Library Auditorium with the activity ‘The child who just wanted to play!’, as part of the ‘Mindfulness, Growing Up Happy’ project. From 4pm, the park will host a range of free activities (including those involving the Lousã and Serpins fire brigades), including popcorn. There will be inflatables, face painting, balloon modelling, board games, traditional games and sports. Other highlights include the theatre play ‘A Viagem de Gotília’, by Companhia Muzumbos, at 5.30pm, next to the bandstand; and a foam party, with a built-in Zumba class, which kicks off at 7.30pm.

  • Entroncamento: Mínimo - National Railway Modelling Meeting returns to the National Railway Museum in Entroncamento; access is free, and for the youngest there is an area with educational activities involving board games, but also a railway driving simulator and a mini train. On Saturday, the opening hours are from 10.30 am to 7.30 pm and on Sunday the doors close two hours earlier.

  • Lisbon: for an overview of events see here. In addition, the gardens of the Belém Palace will be open to families for free on Saturday between 10am and 7pm to celebrate World Children's Day. At the centre of the experience will be the Olympic and Paralympic sports with national representation at the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Initiation to skateboarding and boccia, canoeing or tennis on an inflatable court, bike rides through the Jardim do Buxo, breaking classes and horse riding are just some of the activities on offer, on a day also marked by gymnastic exhibitions, a parade of sports federation mascots and talks on sport with the presence of Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

  • Cuba: the Herdade do Rocim, in Cuba, Alentejo - winner of the Best Wine Tourism in Portugal in the Inclusive Category at the third edition of the APENO National Wine Tourism Award - offers a peddy-paper through the vineyards. The ‘Rocim Valley Family Day’, for two adults and two children up to the age of 12, costs starts at 15 euros and is subject to prior registration. There are three times available this Saturday (11am, 3pm and 6pm), and participation in each is limited to six families, or 24 people. The activity ends with a snack.

  • Albufeira: The NAU Salgados Palace and NAU Salgados Palm Village hotels in Albufeira are marking Children's Day with a party based on the imagery of pirates, including boats, mazes, inflatables, water slides, cinema sessions, magic shows and football tournaments. Until 10.30pm, there are professional entertainers supervising the kids' activities, while the adults have access to their own programme, ranging from live music, karaoke or bingo to aqua zumba, water polo, archery or volleyball tournaments.


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