CURRENT AFFAIRS • BUSINESS • LIFESTYLE
LUXEMBOURG V. DUBLIN INTERNATIONAL BAZAAR
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THRIVING AS AN ACCOMPANYING SPOUSE DAVID LEICK-BURNS Illustrator
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Three days in October
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SLAP IN THE FACE FOR CYNICS Text by Duncan Roberts
t is all too easy, these days, to be a cynic. And tiny Luxembourg is an easy target for those thus inclined. However, over the space of three days in October the Grand Duchy managed to steal headlines around the world and showed itself to be a country that punches above its weight. Securing one of the non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council for the very first time may not be earth-shattering news, but the fight for that seat was being taken very seriously by Luxembourg’s rivals, Australia and Finland. Indeed, the Australians, perhaps sobered by recent blows to their country’s traditional sporting prowess, seemed besotted with the idea of winning the vote. And they appeared to be even more obsessed with the emasculation of losing to tiny Luxembourg. “If we can’t beat Luxembourg, there’s something wrong, frankly,” said opposition leader Tony Abbott ahead of the vote. Back home some commentators have expressed concern about how Luxembourg’s diplomats will handle the extra workload involved in its new position of responsibility. But being on the UN Security Council will demonstrate that it has serious credentials and is not just all about finance. And, as foreign minister Jean Asselborn told Delano
last month it will also show that Luxembourg is not afraid to voice its opinion. “Every sovereign country has to have a very clear political position concerning the problems of security in the world,” he said. The two days after the vote also provided Luxembourg with a chance to shine on the world stage, and most of the international media that covered the wedding of Crown Prince Guillaume and Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy did so respectfully. Of course, there is always going to be some jingoism from the likes of the Daily Mail, which reported that the wedding was one of the biggest days in Luxembourg’s “not hugely-illustrious history.” Arguments rage about whether the monarchy should even exist, what role it should play and the costs of the wedding. And local satirists quite rightly had a field day with the parade of Luxembourg wannabe celebrities who attended the wedding or attached their name to the celebrations. But the fact is that, as Etienne Schneider has said, the wedding was the best advertisement for Luxembourg that money could buy and could provide a boost to the economy. In these troubled times that can be no bad thing. After all, even cynics have to earn a living somehow. NOVEMBER 2012
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ANOTHER GOOD REASON TO LOVE LUXEMBOURG...
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NOVEMBER 2012 International bazaar
Delano’s guide to this huge holiday tradition
Luxembourg celebrates Guillaume and Stephanie’s nuptials 12
EU agency gets new powers 13
MOBILE PHONES ‘TIS A PITY KIDS
Five cold weather activities
Doping charge rebuttal
11 ways to keep the bill down Edgy new theatre production
Armstrong scandal hits Luxembourg 14
An Englishman in Metz
New public lecture series 14
48 ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVERS
42 THINK LOCAL Niraj Trivedi Why he joined the Indian Association and co-founded a cricket club.
Luxembourg v. Dublin
The impact of Brussel’s new “alternative” fund rules 24
Frank Amcham talk 34
Rare look inside Clearstream IT hub 36
ADA’s new push 40
EU banking union worries
LUXEMBOURG’S “TRAILING” PARTNERS: traditionally women were the “accompanying spouse” but these days more and more men are taking on the role. What unique challenges do they face?
MY OTHER LIFE Romain Roll How the film promoter got involved in Stop AIDS Now. NOVEMBER 2012
CURRENT AFFAIRS Charles Caratini
DISTINCTION FOR GA-RAM KIM
Matteo Nenna became the 100,000th resident of Luxembourg City on October 23. The capital now officially can call itself a “big city” after a definition created in 1887. Nenna’s partner, Sophie Olivier was resident 100,001.
Alan Kotok/Creative Commons
LUXEMBOURG WINS UN BID
The foreign ministers of Australia, Bob Carr, Rwanda, Louise Mushikiwabo, and Luxembourg, Jean Asselborn, after the three countries garnered a two-year seat on the UN Security Council starting January 1.
TEACHERS ON THE EDGE Teaching unions could call a strike if the government presses ahead with civil service reforms that they say are inappropriate for teachers. The two unions, SEW and Apess, say that performance appraisals and reforms to career hierarchy should not be applied to them. The government counters by saying that it has an agreement on the reforms with civil service union CGFP, which also applies to the teaching unions because the larger union is representative of the sector.
UNI APP TO BEAT TRAFFIC
COMPULSORY VOTING STAYS Luxembourg has no plans to abandon its law making voting compulsory, says justice minister François Biltgen. However, unofficially, those who fail to vote are unlikely to be prosecuted.
David Laurent/Wide (archives)
Julien Becker (archives)
The Grand Duchy topped the “aid as a proportion of GDP” category in the World Bank-backed think tank Center for Global Development’s review of 27 rich countries’ support for the developing world.
University of Luxembourg
LUXEMBOURG TOPS AID LIST
Ga-Ram Kim is the latest young student from the Internatinal School of Luxembourg to be awarded a Young Women in Public Affairs by the Zonta Clubs of Luxembourg. The award encourages young women to become involved in social or political life and recognises those who have demonstrated initiative, responsibility and altruism. The 17-year old Korean national has been engaged with the Mothers for All organisation that supports women in Botswana and South Africa, as well as cares for orphaned children.
The University of Luxembourg’s SnT computer lab launched a mobile app to help drivers more efficiently navigate the Grand Duchy’s roads. The “LuxTraffic” app takes advantage of each user’s anonymised location data to calculate current speed of drivers on different roads, identify traffic jams and suggest varying routes as traffic conditions change. Luxembourg postal service P&T has already signed up all the vehicles in its fleet.
TOPS FOR TONGUES David Laurent/Wide
Rich world think tank OECD has published a comparison of educational systems. The organisation found that Luxembourg schools dedicated the most time proportionally, out of 30 countries, to modern foreign languages as part of the total compulsory curriculum. Here is selection of instruction times for 12 to 14 year olds:
BETTEL TOPS THE POPS Luxembourg * 25%
Belgium, Flemish 17%
Belgium, French 13%
*In the case of Luxembourg, German instruction was included under the “mother tongue” category and is not reflected in this figure.
“I AM CONVINCED THAT THE COMMITTEE HAS TAKEN THE RIGHT DECISION”
The Council of the European Union (archives)
Luxembourg City mayor Xavier Bettel has surpassed prime minister JeanClaude Juncker to become Luxembourg’s favourite politician, according to a poll conducted by TNS-Ilres on behalf of the Luxemburger Wort and RTL. Bettel records an 83% popularity rating compared to Juncker’s 78%. However, Juncker still leads when pollsters asked about “competence”, with 87% compared to Bettel’s 85%. The news will lead to speculation about Bettel as a lead candidate for the Democratic Party in the 2014 parliamentary elections (he is way more popular than DP president Claude Meisch), although the mayor himself has always underlined his commitment to concluding his mandate in the capital, which runs until 2017.
MEP Sharon Bowles, on the European Parliament’s non-binding rejection of Yves Mersch’s nomination to the European Central Bank’s executive board, to protest the lack of women candidates for top EU posts.
With a shortfall of some 90 soldiers and with recruits protesting at conditions, the Luxembourg army is not in the rudest of health. Former minister for the armed forces Marc Fischbach delivered a report at the end of October in which he made several recommendations to solve the crisis. These include extending the service of recruits by one year to ensure the contingent is at the 350 required to meet the army’s commitments (it currently stands at 260 soldiers) and improving communication between the general staff and the Diekirch barracks. Fischbach also says that training to help recruits gain employment after they leave the army should be carried out in state educational institutions rather than at Diekirch.
St. George's International School
Primary students at St. George’s International School track the International Space Station moments before participating in a NASA-arranged teleconference with astronauts on-board the satellite. NOVEMBER 2012
Crowds toasted the newlyweds with crémant on the Knuedler
Security forces were present in numbers over the wedding weekend
LUXEMBOURG IN THE SPOTLIGHT Thousands of well-wishers and hundreds of local and foreign media representatives crowded into the capital city over the third weekend of October to celebrate the wedding of Crown Prince Guillaume and Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy. The place Guillaume II was packed on both days as the couple as the mingled with crowds after the civil ceremony in the Hôtel de Ville, then on Saturday the religious ceremony and the traditional kiss on the balcony were broadcast on a giant screen. Local Luxembourgers told Delano they were immensely proud of their country and one guest even admitted to crying during the ceremony. The festivities concluded with an impressive fireworks display and concerts on the Knuedler. Despite the crowds and tight security, the well-organised weekend passed without incident. DR
Stéphanie’s dress and train won her plaudits from style watchers
Grand Duke Henri, Countess Stéphanie, Crown Prince Guillaume and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa on the palace balcony The happy couple mingle with the crowd after the civil ceremony
Photographed by Jessica Theis and Cour Grand Ducale / Guy Wolff
Young and old alike were fascinated by the events
Prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker meets the couple at a gala dinner
Foreign media covered the whole weekend
Crowds watched the religious ceremony on a giant screen courtesy of the Ville de Luxembourg and BCE
L E T E M P S AV E C S O I
Hermès. 13, rue Philippe II Luxembourg Tél. (352) 220 981 Hermes.com
“WE GO EARLIER, AND WE GO FURTHER UP” The head of the EU’s statistics office talks to Delano about the agency’s new “quality assurance” powers. Interview by Aaron Grunwald Photography by Olivier Minaire
AG: What is Eurostat’s role? WR: We produce around 350 statistical products. Some of them are well known: how much income we have, how many fruit trees do we have. Then come the more difficult things, like what is the production of the states of the union, the famous GDP, what is the state of the environment, what is the link between pollution and lifestyle.
WALTER RADERMACHER “Our aim is that our figures are not contested”
This autumn Brussels revamped the law governing Eurostat, the EU’s official statistics agency. Founded in 1952 under the auspices of the European Coal and Steel Community, it is one of the oldest EU institutions, and the only one that has always been based in the Grand Duchy. Today it employs around 800 staff at its headquarters, who in turn work with national statistics bureaus. Walter Radermacher, Eurostat’s director general since 2008 and a former chief of Germany’s federal statistics office, spoke to Delano about the Kirchberg-based agency’s new found authority.
AG: Are all European institutions your clients, for example the European Central Bank? WR: The European Central Bank is a client. For example, it was deliberately chosen that we produce the inflation rate. The harmonised consumer price index, as it is called in our jargon. And the ECB is the user of that. This is true also for quite a few quarterly national accounts figures. AG: What is different under the new law regulating Eurostat? WR: What changed is that over the years the governance has changed from a loosely coordinated system to a very, I would say, disciplined production, which I would compare with, say, the production of a premium car or a luxury good or very reliable machine. So we
are the final producer, delivering the car, the machine to the decision makers. And what has changed is that we now have the powers to also establish and to run a quality assurance system for the whole production chain. So we are the final producer of the car. We have a lot of providers. And, as in industry, we check at the entrance of our door the quality of these input data. AG: Does this mean that you’ll go to inspect national agencies’ work earlier? WR: Yes and this is new. So now we go earlier, and we go further up. To give you an example: the famous public finance data, the debt and deficit, which is part of the crisis. Of course our colleagues in national statistical offices are recipients of data from the public sector. If they receive lousy quality data, what can they do? So it’s really important to go upstream to ensure finally that the public accounts, for example, in the municipality, in the social insurance scheme, are correct. AG: Why is this important? WR: The question is linked to the use of the data. Imagine we produced data which are totally irrelevant--imagine--then nobody would care. And nobody would try to influence the data. But as soon as you are producing data which are relevant for decision making, which have a direct or indirect impact on money flows, such as structural funds going to regions in Slovakia or a region in Spain, then the figures are under pressure. There is a famous saying by an English economist Charles Goodhart, known as Goodhart’s law, which says as soon as you use an indicator and put pressure on it, it ceases to be a high quality indicator. This is what we have seen particularly in one of the countries which have led to this crisis of the public finances. AG: So you’re trying to prevent political manipulation? WR: It’s urgently needed that decisions made by the European political decision makers are trusted from Helsinki to Lisbon, Athens, Luxembourg and Edinburgh. And for that you need a higher level of premium class statistics.
Sacred Heart conference cycle
PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE IN THE SPOTLIGHT Sacred Heart University Luxembourg has just launched a programme of public conferences that will ask questions and spark debate about Luxembourg’s past and present and, more importantly, where the country is headed. Text by Duncan Roberts Photography by Olivier Minaire
erhaps it is the past success of Luxembourg that has sparked an unprecedented flurry of debate about the country’s future among academics, politicians, analysts and commentators. Amidst the crisis, think tanks such as the 5 vir 12 group have been asking some tough questions and proposing radical changes to the country’s traditional approach to decision making and doing business. Now Sacred Heart University Luxembourg is opening up the debate to a wider audience and a broader context through a series of monthly lectures scheduled until June next year. However, Dr. Alfred Steinherr, SHU Luxembourg academic director, insists that even if some of the guest speakers are politicians, the lecture cycle is not a political initiative but an academic one. The lecture evenings, supported by paperJam, the Chamber of Commerce of Luxembourg and the American Chamber of Commerce, each tackle a specific theme via three presentations by guest speakers. For instance, in November the focus is on statistics and economic indicators, with Steinherr and Statec director Guy Schuller asking “What do the statistics say about Luxembourg?”, Carlo Thelen, chief economist at the Chamber of Commerce asking “Is the social welfare state sustainable?” and CNAP president Robert Kieffer talking about the sustainability of the pension scheme. “We have to pose questions about the GDP statistics,” Steinherr told paperJam.tv in a recent interview. “Are we really two or three times as productive as our neighbouring countries? It is almost impossible.” He points to the 100,000 plus frontalier workers who contribute to economic production but who also skew the statistics when GDP is calculated. “It [GDP] is clearly a figure that makes no sense.” Steinherr says that the aim of the series is to stimulate thinking and an exchange of views, which he argues is something important in a democratic process. That is especially true in a country like Luxembourg that, perhaps because of its size, has not always had a tradition of crit-
DR. ALFRED STEINHERR Stimulating critical debate
Statistics do not always lie November 15
ical debate because, as Steinherr says, everyone knows everyone. Luxembourg’s size is the subject of December’s lectures, which include a talk by former prime minister and president of the European Commission Jacques Santer on Luxembourg’s largely unacknowledged role in the search for compromise between larger EU member states. On the same evening, Mario Hirsch, director of the Institute Pierre Werner, will talk about the historical advantage of being small, but also potential disadvantages and its role as the epicentre of the Grande Region. Next year the series continues with talks on Luxembourg’s industrial heritage and future, the financial industry and high tech sector and what role they can play in the country’s development, urban and regional development, the development of the population and the costs and benefits of having a university, and an evening looking at moral values and the recent cultural history of Luxembourg. The series conclude in June with a panel that will provide “a tentative sketch of Luxembourg in 2030”.
The European destination of a small country December 13 Industry means steel in Luxembourg. Still true? January 17 Finance: the second pillar of the economy. For how long? February 21 Champions League: Regional and urban development March 14 Brain-driven future? April 18 The beauty and the beast May 16 Summing up: A tentative sketch of Luxembourg in 2030 June 13 (tbc) www.shu.lu
CURRENT AFFAIRS FRÄNK SCHLECK Denies doping accusations
Cycling, part I
BRUYNEEL OUT; GUERCILENA IN Julien Becker (archives)
The general manager of the Schleck brothers’ cycling team parted ways with the group after being implicated in the Lance Armstrong doping scandal. Text by Aaron Grunwald
Paul Coster/Creative Commons (archives)
uca Guercilena, previously a sports director at RadioShack Nissan Trek, has been promoted to general manager, team owner Leopard SA announced in midOctober. He replaces Johan Bruyneel, who left the GM post just days before--by “mutual agreement”--after being linked to a doping scandal in the US. “Luca is one of the most gifted coaches in cycling,” team owner Flavio Becca said in a statement. “I have great faith in his capacities to lead our team and to appease the buzz around our team.” Bruyneel is definitely part of that “buzz” (also see next article). The Belgian was manager of Lance Armstrong’s US Postal Service team during the seven years the cyclist won Tour de France titles, from 1999 to 2005. Bruyneel was named last month in a report by the United States Anti-Doping Agency as allegedly taking part in what the USADA says was wide-
Article B 1
spread and systematic doping by Armstrong and his USPS teammates during that era. The agency says there is “overwhelming evidence” that Armstrong and Bruyneel, among others, were involved in the use of unauthorised performance enhancing drugs and techniques. The USADA report is based on affidavits from several of the team’s former cyclists and support staff. Both Armstrong and Bruyneel have has publicly denied the accusations, but Armstrong ended his legal opposition and the International Cycling Union has since stripped the Texan of his Tour de France titles. Bruyneel is currently fighting the accusations under USADA arbitration procedures, which he has said is stacked against him, noting that the report was released before he had a chance to respond to the allegations. Leopard SA stressed to the press that “the USADA investigation does not concern the activities of Mr. Bruyneel while managing the RadioShack Nissan Trek team. Johan Bruyneel contests the validity of the procedure as well as the charges against him.” LANCE ARMSTRONG AND JOHAN BRUYNEEL Deny doping allegations
Cycling, part II
SCHLECK MAKES HIS CASE
One of Luxembourg’s biggest sports stars has refuted anti-doping allegations, though his father says he should quit cycling.
Fränk Schleck faced an official hearing last month before Luxembourg’s anti-doping disciplinary council, the CDD. The hearing followed a positive test for the banned diuretic xipamide during the Tour de France in July. Schleck’s attorneys called long-time teammate Maxime Monfort as a character witness and Swiss scientist Dr. Laurent Rivier to counter the original lab findings. The CDD adjourned to review the case and no date for the next hearing has been set. RadioShack Nissan Trek has voluntarily withdrawn Schleck from competition while the proceedings are underway. But Johny Schleck, father of Fränk and younger brother Andy (who missed this year’s Tour through injury), told a French newspaper that he had advised both his sons to quit cycling.
“THE CHANCES ARE GOOD THAT LUXEMBOURG WILL HOST S A STAGE ST STA ST TA IN 2014 OR 2015” 20 Sports minister Romain Schneider at the presentation of next yyear’s Tour de F T France rance in PParis on October 24. 24
european alternative investment funds conference
private equity funds
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centre de confĂŠrences kirchberg, luxembourg november 20th & 21st, 2012
DAVID LEICK-BURNS WITH HUSBAND TOM AND TEGAN
It is not an uncommon story. A partner moves to Luxembourg to be with their loved one and faces a different set of challenges to their working spouse. Integrating, finding work, coping with daily routine are all hurdles to overcome. Traditionally accompanying spouse were women, but more and more men are taking on the role.
A LAND OF OPPORTUNITY
Text by Duncan Roberts with Aaron Grunwald Photography by Julien Becker
NICOLAS SCHMIT, IMMIGRATION AND LABOUR MINISTER
Are traveling spouses an important issue for the government? As we want to be a country that is open to ‘talents’ it’s very important to also have a very flexible policy concerning family members. Why is that? I’m in favour of allowing people who are accompanying somebody to work, because that’s the reality. If you have a spouse who finds a good job and she’s hired or just moving from a post from somewhere in the US or India or wherever to Luxembourg and the husband accompanies her, well, in order [for her to be] ready to go, normally people expect that there’s also the possibility for [their spouse] to work. That’s practiced by other countries like Ireland, for instance. And I think we should do that and I want to do that, no discussion. What is the obstacle then? The challenge is that in principle the ‘highly qualified’ status applies only to the person that is ‘highly qualified’ as such. It’s not very reasonable to exclude these people--who are very often also well qualified-from our labour market, because they can add some value to [it]. In that respect, well, we have to be flexible and we have to grant this person the right to work. Is that currently permitted under today’s two systems, Luxembourg’s “highly qualified” scheme and the EU “blue card”? [It] is not excluded at all; the only question is the procedures.
robably the most famous accompanying spouse to have lived in Luxembourg is Chris Pavone, the author of best-selling thriller The Expats. Pavone, whose wife worked here for Amazon, used his time in Luxembourg without employment to write the novel that revealed, to some extent, the problems faced by those who follow their partner’s career move to the Grand Duchy. The rigmarole of making new friends, dealing with schools and real estate agents, getting to grips with local bureaucracy, shopping for food in alien supermarkets and maybe even looking for work are all challenges that expat wives have faced down the years. Indeed, Pavone made the accompanying spouse heroine of his novel a woman. But as more and more women find executive jobs and more and more men take on house-husband roles and follow their career chasing spouses, the shoe is often on the other foot. For David Leick-Burns moving to Luxembourg was somehow inevitable once he met and fell in love with a Luxembourger; though in many ways it has not turned out as he had expected. An experienced animator (he has worked on Gorillaz videos and on the Monkey inspired TV stings for the BBC’s coverage of the 2008 Olympic games) David came to Luxembourg some five years ago to be with his husband Tom, who at time was moving away from being a fulltime actor to becoming more involved in the production side of theatre at the Grand Théâtre.
The work challenge Leick-Burns has seen his industry change dramatically over the years as computer animation took over from traditional hand drawn animation. “It’s a shame, but that’s just the way the industry, and especially in advertising, has gone.” The couple knew that at some stage they would have to choose whether they would settle in London or Luxembourg, with David realising that he could work from just about anywhere and Tom,
Charles Caratini (archive)
CHRIS PAVONE Made his name by being an accompanying spouse
who had already spent several years living in London, becoming more deeply involved with the Grand Théâtre. The work challenge didn’t prove as difficult as Leick-Burns may have feared. “I met somebody through a friend of a friend, which I think is the way things work in Luxembourg. He was in charge of the education programme at the Philharmonie and he was looking for someone who could draw and could tell stories and had a certain amount of musicality.” Leick-Burns was no professional musician, but understood music and it seemed like he fit the bill perfectly for the project. At first the work involved simple illustration, but then they started making the images move through animation. Other commissions from the Philharmonie followed, including a full five minutes to accompany an extract of ‘The Storm’ from Benjamin Britten’s opera Peter Grimes. “I made it in as many pieces as possible, so that I could animate it live in time to the music.” This led to even more work, including a 20-minute piece for Romeo and Juliet. Working alone, each one takes David around four months to complete. Other illustration work derived from a contact with design and communication agency Vidale & Gloesener, which had created the logo for Tom and David’s company As You Like It* (www.asyoulikeit.lu). Leick-Burns clear-
In 2011, there were 1,714 marriages in the Grand Duchy, of which 808 were between Luxembourgers, Statec reports. Here’s how the other marriages were formed: Luxembourg husband
ly sees Luxembourg as a land of opportunity. “In Luxembourg you only need one little door in, and then word spreads. And I think the jobs I have been offered is the kind of work I would never have landed in London.” He has just received financing from the Luxembourg Film Fund for an animated short film. “Tom keeps saying it just seems like fate that I landed here. Career wise, Luxembourg has been nothing but good for me.” Working alone from home is “a solitary existence” made all the more bearable by the couple’s dog, Tegan. And it has affected his social life. He points out, without a heavy heart, that he has no friends of his own here. “My friends are Tom’s friends. But I think once you get to a certain point in life, new friends are few and far between. That’s got nothing to do with living abroad.” When he first moved here he thought he would be travelling back every month to visit friends in London, because he and Tom had been exchanging visits every week. But now he probably visits twice a year. “But the whole modern way of living, Facebook and Skype and so on, has made it all so much easier.” LeickBurns does feel he has reached that stage of life where he has new appreciation for the quieter life--in London he lived in the city centre, close to Covent Garden. “The thought of coming to live in suburbia, which this is,
would have terrified my 20 years ago. In London, I loved living in the West End and the buzz of it all going on morning, noon and night. But I am replacing that with the stability of the life Tom and I have built here. The quality of life is much better here, and I have discovered new skills--who knew that I had a musical gift?--so Luxembourg has come up trumps,” he says. He even admits that when he flies back into Luxembourg from London, he does feel as though he is coming home.
Male caregivers “Everyone says there are a lot more traveling spouses than there used to be, and everyone says that there are more male caregivers of various kinds,” says William Bakker, who arrived in Luxembourg in 2009 after two years, also as a trailing spouse, in Dublin. When Bakker, a former philosophy teacher from Illinois, arrived in the Grand Duchy, “I had taken the attitude of just joining everything you can and see what shakes out, which I hadn’t done in Ireland.” He has since become active in Democrats Abroad Luxembourg and a local mountain biking club. Yet Bakker notes that “as a trailing spouse, the things you do during the day tend to be segregated by activity” meaning there are fewer opportunities to meet new, and differ-
PAUL SCHONENBERG, CHAIRMAN AND CEO AMCHAM
Amcham has long lobbied for automatic work permits for accompanying spouses from third countries. Why is this necessary? In Luxembourg it normally takes three months to get a work permit and there are limitations on the accompanying family. In a modern, mobile society that causes problems. Granting a work permit to the person you recruited, but not to the accompanying spouse is a recipe for ensuring the person you want to hire may not stay too long. Could the EU blue card help? I would argue that they are ‘light’ blue and not a rich dark blue, because the benefits are only modest. It doesn’t offer spouses a work permit. It has a lot of embedded fear, because it is not really unleashing the power and capability and opportunity to give back to society that international people are fully able to deliver. What would be your solution? We would like approval for a work permit to also be given to an accompanying spouse, because we need to retain the intellectual capital at the end of the day. You only have one chance to make a good first impression, and if Luxembourg really wants to deliver on its promise to be a welcoming place for international business it needs to make sure there are no problems at all with delivery of work permits. At the same time, that is not a criticism. It is still easier to get a work permit in Luxembourg than in the United States.
“IN LUXEMBOURG YOU ONLY NEED ONE LITTLE DOOR IN, AND THEN WORD SPREADS” DAVID LEICK-BURNS
NUPTUALS ent, people by chance. “It’s attractive to think there’s a group of people and what they have in common is figuring out how to live as a trailing spouse in Luxembourg.” In his view, “the Ville [of Luxembourg] does a perfectly good job of telling you what forms you have to fill out and what the activities are, but the informal knowledge” is the missing part of the equation for most expats. So he and Boston native James McGill, who moved to Luxembourg two years ago and does not consider himself an “expat”, are organising what is temporarily being called the “men’s activity group” affiliated with the American Women’s Club of Luxembourg, a name which Bakker admits is “bland” and hopes to change. The AWCL “is very good at welcoming new people, and they want to be available for [traveling spouses] as well, but they don’t want to lose the essential character of being a women’s club,” Bakker explains. At the same, McGill, father of five kids between the ages of six and 16 who are all in Luxembourg state schools, reckons there is a
certain truth to the stereotype that “women are more happy to get-together in an organisation than men, who tend to look to be ‘ doing something’ in a group.” Thus the call for a separate entity. While the AWCL board is supporting the development of the men’s group, things are being kept informal for the next few months, while Bakker and McGill see how many potential members can be recruited and figure out how to structure the club. McGill, who was an attorney in Massachusetts and started a master’s in law at the University of Luxembourg this autumn, sees the future group as good way to “transition” and “engage life” here for any number of people. “The AWCL isn’t strictly American and isn’t even, strictly speaking, only English speaking,” a spirit which Bakker hopes will be reproduced. “That’s part of the reason we can’t come up with a name!” The group is looking for both volunteers and suggestions on potential activities, and can be reached via its Facebook page (www.facebook.com/MenLuxembourg).
Since 2000, about 40 percent of marriages in the Grand Duchy have been between Luxembourgers, according to national statistics agency Statec. About 30 percent have been between foreigners, and 30 percent have been “mixed marriages” between a Luxembourger and a foreigner.
The 2001 census suggests that about seven percent of Luxembourg couples lived in a “free union”, Statec says, although this was not specifically surveyed. The number of civil partnerships, introduced in 2004, has steadily replaced the number of traditional marriages. In 2008, there were two civil unions concluded for every four marriages; by 2009, there were two partnerships per every three marriages. The agency notes that 95 percent of civil unions in 2009 were concluded between opposite sex couples.
Patricia Plaza Villasante Vice President, Network Management European Markets, Clearstream International Alumna LSF
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… be part of it FACULTY OF LAW, ECONOMICS AND FINANCE
Frédéric Humblet (archives)
The Grand Duchy was the most affordable place in the world to buy a beer last year, according to UBS. The Swiss bank calculated the minutes of work required to purchase 500ml of brew for those who earn the median wage in 150 countries. Here’s a sampling:
United Kingdom 14min
Global average 19min
South Africa 22min
Western European average 12min
Lasse Fuss/Creative Commons
Continuing to bleed red ink, Europe’s largest air freight carrier Cargolux has terminated its collective work agreement--a legal option built into the company’s contracts--forcing unions back to the negotiating table earlier than expected. “A reduction in labour cost and improvement in productivity are only two of several initiatives to be undertaken by Cargolux in order to achieve sustainability in the long term,” the firm says. Indeed, the carrier reportedly needs more than a €500 million capital injection. One source of that cash could be Qatar Airways, which bought 35% of Cargolux more than a year ago, but could increase its stake to half through Precision Capital, a Luxembourg firm controlled by Qatar’s royal family. In exchange, Qatar reportedly wants Cargolux to dramatically reduce its fleet and eliminate more than 400 jobs by outsourcing all of its maintenance and some of its flight crews. Industry analysts say the Grand Duchy’s government, which still owns a majority share, could not support the moves, given the political costs involved, not to mention Luxembourg’s goal of building Findel Airport into a heavy-weight global logistics hub. Qatari’s chief has allegedly threatened to sell its stake entirely if Doha’s plan is not put into place. Cargolux’s board is expected to meet this month to mull over its options.
THREE HOUR RULE
Air carriers in the EU must pay compensation of up to €600 to travellers who are significantly delayed, except in “extraordinary” cases, the European Court of Justice said. The court rejected airlines’ requests that the rule only apply to cancelled flights.
The European Commission has told the Grand Duchy to charge 15% VAT on e-books. Luxembourg temporarily lowered the rate to 3% last year, which benefits e-commerce firms such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. VAT rates will be harmonised across the EU in 2015.
BIG WHEELS The Grand Duchy had the world’s second highest proportion of automobile ownership last year, according to the International Road Federation and World Bank. Here are select rates of passenger cars per 1,000 inhabitants:
NEW ZEALAND 603
David Laurent/Wide (archives)
Private bank Lloyds TSB Bank Luxembourg will shutter its doors, making at least half of its staff redundant. The unit’s client portfolio is being sold to Banque de Luxembourg, however only 12 to 15 of Lloyd’s employees will transfer to BdL as part of the deal. Discussions have begun over the social plan for the remaining Lloyd’s staff. In 2009 parent Lloyd’s Banking Group was involved in the largest bank bailout in history, with the UK government injecting more than £20 billion. Lloyd’s sold its Luxembourg investment fund unit in 2010 to State Street Bank. Lloyd’s Luxembourg private banking operation has €18.5 billion in assets under management. BdL said the takeover fits with its strategy of growing its wealth management business with an increasingly international clientele.
Julien Becker (archives) Carlos Goulão/Creative Commons
The managers of the “Nobles Crus” wine investment fund, run by Luxembourg’s Elite Advisors, have firmly rejected Belgian and British press reports that they over-value the bottles in their portfolio by as much as 37%. Le Vif/L’Express and the Financial Times cite data from Liv-ex, a large London-based fine wine marketplace, which the papers say serves as the industry standard for pricing information. But Elite Advisors co-founder Miriam Mascherin tells Delano that Liv-ex is only “significant” in the UK market, and contrasts the papers’ 37% figure with data from “Wine Searcher” which only shows a “4.52% deviation” from the fund’s valuation. The fund’s figures are checked by depository bank Caceis and auditor Deloitte, and Elite managers have ordered a second review of its valuation from E&Y. Nobles Crus has more than €100 million in assets under management.
"TAKING ON THE BA AND LUXAIR DUOPOLY" The Council of the European Union
TEMPEST IN A BOTTLE
EURO FUND LAUNCHES
Two global credit agencies have reaffirmed Banque Internationale à Luxembourg’s post-Dexia ratings. BIL kept its investment grade scores following the buyout by Qatar’s Precision Capital and the Luxembourg state.
Europe’s permanent bailout fund officially got off the ground in Luxembourg. The European Stability Mechanism will be headed by Klaus Regling (photo, left), who is also chief of temporary rescue agency EFSF.
The Grand Duchy has the smallest ratio of government deficit to GDP and the third lowest ratio of government debt to GDP in the EU, reports Eurostat. Only Estonia and Bulgaria have lower debt levels. NOVEMBER 2012
Gary Kneip and his wife, Julie Walker Mandell and Robert Mandell
Marita Ruiter and Ricarda Braun
Amcham fall welcome back
SCHNEIDER SPEAKS FRANKLY
Yves Cheret and James O’Neal
The American Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg’s traditional fall welcome back reception at the end of October saw minister for the economy Etienne Schneider deliver an entertaining and candid speech at the US Ambassador’s residence. The minister spoke about the challenges facing Luxembourg, such as attracting qualified talent and businesses in new sectors of the economy to Luxembourg, promoting Luxembourg abroad and the problems of balancing the budget--he is dead against raising taxes, which would be
Guy de Muyser and Roeland Pels
Hélène Michel and Dilek Ayaydin
“poison for the economy.”
Schneider said that best promotion for the country recently had been the wedding of Crown Prince Guillaume. “The 350,000 euro contribution from the government was a bargain,” he said. “They should marry more often,” he joked. For a full report and more photos see www.delano.lu DR Photographed by Olivier Minaire Keith Hopper and Adrienne Chang and Thierry Leterre
Roy Suhash and Charles Oakes
Guy Castegnaro and Paul Schonenberg
US Ambassador Robert Mandell and minister for the economy Etienne Schneider
Banque et Caisse d’Epargne de l’Etat, Luxembourg, établissement public autonome, 1, Place de Metz, L-2954 Luxembourg, R.C.S. Luxembourg B 30775
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LUXEMBOURG V. DUBLIN Dublin has long been Luxembourgâ€™s investment fund rival, but both financial centres were pipped last month by the Netherlands, whose lower house of parliament passed a bill transposing the EUâ€™s European Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive. But first mover advantage will only go so far with this particular set of rules, which are scheduled to take effect in the summer of 2013, and the Grand Duchy is likely to win out over rival European hubs, Luxembourg fund executives say. Yet implementing the directive is only half the battle, with another set of technical rules yet to be revealed by Brussels. Text by Aaron Grunwald Photography by Charles Caratini
KEITH BURMAN Dublin and Luxembourg retain their respective strengths
he AIFMD is meant to regulate “alternative” investments intended for professional investors, namely hedge funds, private equity funds and real estate funds. This is in contrast to UCITS mutual funds, which form the backbone of Luxembourg’s financial centre and are marketed to retail investors. Alternative funds have historically been lightly regulated, although political leaders in the EU, US and elsewhere vowed to clamp down in wake of the Madoff Ponzi scheme and the financial crisis. Like all EU directives, the AIFMD eventually has to be adopted by all 27 member states, but the Grand Duchy has long prided itself as being an early adopter of European financial rules, which has given it a competitive edge in developing its investment funds sector. Luxembourg’s government submitted its own transposition bill to the Chamber of Deputies in August, which at press time was still winding its way through the legislative process (while the Dutch measure was still moving its way through the Netherlands’ Senate). One provision of the directive is that, in order to be sold in the EU, alternative funds from “offshore” centres such as the Cayman Islands or Jersey “will have no other choice” but to relocate to inside Europe because otherwise such funds essentially “will not comply with the regulations,” believes Sandrine Leclercq, an attorney in the funds practice of Baker & McKenzie in Luxembourg. Of course once inside the EU, ex-offshore investment managers will be able to use the “passport” which will allow funds to be sold across European borders starting in 2015. So where inside the EU will alternative funds settle? “Dublin has an enormous advantage in hedge funds,” with roughly 40 percent of global hedge
fund assets domiciled in Ireland, says Keith Burman, head of the private equity and real estate sectors for both the Grand Duchy and Ireland at State Street Bank, which provides administrative and data services to fund firms. “To the extent that people go ‘onshore’ Ireland will be a strong winner. They’ve been less successful in private equity and real estate in the past, but Luxembourg has the strong track record in regulated private equity and real estate funds that Ireland doesn’t have. That being said, the Irish fund industry is very closely connected with Anglo-Saxon promoters” which dominate the hedge sector, according to Burman, who is based in Kirchberg. Leclercq counters that the pending Luxembourg bill not only transposes the required components of the directive, but added some extra elements that should make the Grand Duchy a more attractive EU base. For example, it creates a simplified form of limited partnership not commonly found in the Continent.
The AIFMD is definitely top of the agenda during ALFI’s European Alternative Investments Funds Conference, to be held November 20 and 21 at the Conference Centre in Kirchberg. The event is an authoritative look at the hedge, private equity and real estate funds spaces. Speakers include top notch fund managers and service providers, European Commission policy maker Roger Havenith, Luxembourg Freeport chief David Arendt and The Economist’s European business correspondent David Shirreff. www.alfi.lu
SANDRINE LECLERCQ Luxembourg’s bill will give Dublin a run for its money
“This is something very much comparable to partnerships used in the US, Dublin, UK and offshore jurisdictions. This structure has the great advantage of being familiar to all Anglo-Saxon managers and it’s important to be able to offer this.” There’s also a carried interest regime for employees who relocate to Luxembourg that “is particularly important for the private equity sector.” While Leclercq concedes Ireland remains a formidable competitor, “I’m not sure what part the Netherlands expects to play. It’s not a recognised place of reference for running these types of funds, it’s [known] more for tax optimised structures.” “The Netherlands is very interesting competition, because in the unregulated space it’s clearly one of the key players,” in Burman’s view. “They’ve seen it as an opportunity.” Commenting on the fast treatment of its transposition bill, he says that “urgency does matter. People want to start making decisions. They won’t wait until next year. So it’s tremendously important to focus and make sure [Luxembourg] is one of the first to get this done.” In any event, Leclercq “definitely” thinks the Grand Duchy has the upper hand. “Luxembourg, as you know, is the biggest distribution platform for Europe. You will now have exactly the same procedures [as with UCITS] in place with respect of the implementation of the passport of alternative funds.” While adaptations are clearly needed, “I have no doubt that Luxembourg will be able to leverage its infrastructure to distribute alternative funds and gain market share.” In this aspect, Burman agrees the Grand Duchy has a head start and could even bring European regulated alternatives to a global audience. “Luxembourg has done so much more about the distribution of UCITS” including “going out and convincing non-European jurisdictions” to accept the label. “That whole dialogue is something Luxembourg could and should build on. It’s not the same product, but they’ve got the relationships with regulators [outside the EU] already.” At the same time, the transposition bills tell only half the story. A whole other set of regulations, called “Level 2” rules, have yet to be finalised. One huge distinction about Level 2
requirements is that they will not be incorporated into national laws and administered by member states. Rather, they will be enforced directly by the European Commission, bypassing the 27 national regulators. The commission was expected to submit its final version of the proposal to the council of European finance ministers in September, a date that has slipped back. Brussels has not announced a new publication date, but it is rumoured to be in December or early next year. That uncertainty adds to the sense that the industry is not being heard in Brussels. “There hasn’t been much in the way of formal text coming out of the commission,” an industry source tells Delano. When a draft was released a few months ago, 20 large fund managers wrote to Michel Barnier, the European commissioner in charge of financial regulations, expressing concerns that the rules will undermine Europe’s fund industry, particularly those on “delegation” which require fund managers and risk managers to be
"IT’S PROBABLY MUCH BETTER THAN WHERE WE STARTED" INDUSTRY SOURCE
CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES Likely to “fast track” debate on the AIFMD bill
located in the country where their fund is domiciled. The aim is to crackdown down on “empty shell” or “letterbox” companies which mainly exist for fiscal purposes. But the fund companies--members of the lobby group Forum of European Asset Managers that includes Allianz, ABN Amro, AXA, Fidelity, ING, J.P. Morgan, Merrill Lynch, Schroeders and UBS, among others--argued that the rules would stifle the single market in funds, according to the industry source.
Delegation debate For example, a Grand Duchy-domiciled fund may have European portfolio managers based in Frankfurt or London, and a firm’s Asian focused funds are likely to have managers in Asia and its US focused funds to have managers in the US. If these “delegated” managers had to relocate back to their “home” market, it would increase risk and decrease returns for investors, because managers would be less able to keep tabs on local markets, the executives argue.
A spokesman for Barnier confirms that the commission received the letter, but will not comment on its content. As a compromise of sorts, Efama, the European fund industry’s lobby group, has suggested the commission adopt French style rules, which would go “a long way to alleviate most firms’ concerns,” the industry source says. Under this proposal, “delegation within the same [corporate] group is permitted without any conditions. For some firms, it won’t go far enough, but for the majority it’s probably much better than where we started.” He says that Brussels has not replied to the proposal, adding “I don’t think the commission is engaging with industry on this point now.” He says in recent months “the industry has been engaging more with national finance ministers, because this really has got into the realm of politics now rather than technical debate.” Burman is a bit more sanguine: “If we compare it to the original draft, the current law is so much better. I would say that we’ve had very effective cooperation with the government and regulators here. Are there things still at the European level that are still concerning? Absolutely.”
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LUXEMBOURG WORKERS BY NATIONALITY In 2010, about one-third of the Grand Duchy’s labour market participants were Luxembourgers and two-thirds were foreigners, figures from Statec and the Inspection générale de la Sécurité sociale reveal. Here are some of the main nationalities:
Cape Verde 1,200
Czech Republic 800
Other nationalities 6,800
Former Yugoslavia 3,300
HIDDEN NEEDS A business professor says that to understand your customers, don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do. Text by Aaron Grunwald
KEITH GOFFIN Teenage boys are not always truthful with market researchers
eenage boys lie to market researchers. Asked in recent face-to-face interviews about shower gels, many of the boys denied using a certain brand. “We found out afterwards, it’s a product they do use,” says Professor Keith Goffin. While this anecdote may not surprise parents and educators, it does illustrate the need for ethnographic market research, a concept presented during a public lecture and series of seminars conducted by Goffin last month as part of national research agency Luxinnovation’s “Masterclass” series. This type of inquiry uses techniques from anthropology and psychology “to observe people and understand their point of view rather than what they’re telling you,” explains Goffin, who is director of
the Centre for Innovative Products and Services at Cranfield University School of Management. Ethnographic market researchers watch and film people who have agreed to participate because “we tend, as customers, to not be totally honest in market research,” he told Delano in advance of the conference. “We tell questioners the things we think they want to hear.” Or like those teenage boys, we shape our answers to minimise embarrassment. But the professor’s approach demonstrates the power of observation and can unearth what he calls “hidden needs”. For example, his centre worked with Bosch on the development of a new line of pharmaceutical production equipment. The German firm wanted to enter a sector with three estab-
lished players, so really wanted to stand out. Goffin’s team visited drug manufactures and “filmed people as they were actually working on production lines” as syringes were being prepared for shipment to hospitals, which ultimately led to a more efficient process. “The business books always say be first to market, but we managed to work with them so that fourth to market was very successful.” Nevertheless, many firms resist changing their ways. “In some organisations, marketing departments are very sceptical,” says Goffin. Yet they all end up “using the same agencies” to query customers because those agencies are “experienced” in their respective sectors. “But the agencies are finding out the same things and so [companies] end up with quite similar products.”
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00:21 COLLATERAL MANAGEMENT TRANSACTION
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This server could, for example, be running a corporate action for a customer in Brazil. Clearstream’s IT infrastructure manages a total of €11.2 trillion of assets--such as bonds, equities, investment funds--under custody.
06:45 INVESTMENT FUND TRANSACTION
Clearstream has more than 100,000 investment funds in its order routing platform and processed 5.3 million investment fund transaction last year.
In our representative day, this server would be processing a customer instruction to buy Russian OFZ bonds. In 2011, Clearstream processed 126.3 million settlement transactions in real-time and the firm’s settlement engine can process 43 global currencies, the firm reports.
A day in the life of a…
DATA CENTRE Delano takes you inside one of Luxembourg’s coolest IT hubs.
ast an unmarked door, in an unmarked building, Delano is accompanied by several Clearstream staff members--including a security guard to keep tabs on the external visitor--for a rare look inside one of its two data centres in the Grand Duchy. Clearstream, owned by Deutsche Börse, provides services to financial institutions, and employs approximately 1,000 staff in Luxembourg and 1,600 worldwide. “Clearstream’s IT has to meet 300 deadlines every day, across all its technologies,” says the firm’s Nicolas Nonnenmacher. “The challenge is to manage this complexity and to make sure all technologies interact properly. Clearstream has a system availability of close to 100 percent, 24 hours per day, seven days per week, 365 days per year.” Approximately 30 meters underground, the sound is slightly deafening as fans keep the multi-million euro worth of compute and storage servers cool. This image reveals just one small portion of the data centre. Everything there is completely replicated in its twin data centre. That means if there were ever any problem--a power failure, for example--the second hub would kick-it immediately. Of course, if there ever were a power cut, then a diesel generator could keep the place running for a week without anyone flipping a switch. Clearstream techies have configured the data centre so that each device is constantly changing what function it performs, with the aim of keeping the data flowing at maximum efficiency. The explanatory boxes seen here indicate representative figures for a hypothetical day, which were provided by the company to illustrate the types of activities that are handled at the facility. In reality, each machine almost never performs the same task at any given hour or day. AG
RETAIL BANKING TASK
Clearstream provides IT outsourcing solutions to several Luxembourg and international banks. This server could, for instance, be processing high street banks’ debit and credit operations.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE As Luxembourg gears up to host one of the biggest meetings in the industry in Europe, local non-profit ADA is aiming to raise awareness of microfinance and what it entails. Text by Duncan Roberts Photography by Charles Caratini
hink of microfinance and the majority of people immediately think of smallholders and new businesses in the developing world borrowing a sum of money to improve their lot. “There is a lack of awareness. When you step out of the sector I rarely meet people who understand what microfinance is really about. Their knowledge is limited to microcredit and the work of Muhammad Yunus. I always have to elaborate,” says Emma-Jayne Paul, ADA’s capacity-building programme manager. Paul explains that microfinance is a complex world that covers a range of services--encompassing micro-insurance, micro-pensions, savings and money transfers. Indeed, many people in the developing world, or migrants working in other countries who want to send money back to their families, don’t have somewhere safe to put their money or access to secure methods of transfer. They can be given assistance by a micro finance institution. MFIs differ greatly depending on geographical location and cultural context. Some start as small NGOs that develop and mature and attract investors from further up the scale in the financial world, others such as cooperatives, mobilise their member’s savings to fund their activities. Part of ADA’s remit is to provide support. “We help MFIs achieve a certain level of professionalism so that they can take on investor funding from the commercial sector. Then they will have longer-term sources of funding than if they are just relying on donations or grants or subsidies,” explains Paul. “The ideal, she says, is to have local banks and financial institutions lending to MFIs in their own country.” MFIs also have different criteria regarding the projects they fund through micro-loans, but what holds true is that the vast majority, upwards of 90 percent, are repaid. “That’s a lot, lot higher than in the traditional financial sector,” says Paul. “In the developed world loans are made based on collateral, so if you are missing that guarantee the evaluation of the client is much more in-depth.” ADA itself has grown sigNOVEMBER 2012
EMMA-JAYNE PAUL Luxembourg is committed to microfinance
nificantly over the last five years, and Paul says that the Luxembourg ministry of foreign affairs has shown unswerving commitment to the sector. “We have grown both in terms of size and the budget at our disposal, so that we are able to really increase our activities and roll them out on a larger scale. And with that comes the challenge of making the public aware of what we do and why we do it.” Unlike some organisations, ADA doesn’t have regional offices but rather works with established partners that already have a strong presence. “We try to allow the institutions to become autonomous in the end.” Paul works closely with microfinance ratings agencies, which gives her an honest picture of the positive and the negative aspect of individual MFIs. But she also does field visits all over the world and enjoys making random visits to micro finance clients. “I get very honest feedback and the majority of the time you see that it does make a big difference.” www.microfinance.lu
European Microfinance Week (November 14 to 16) sees professionals gather in Luxembourg to discuss developments in the sector and to create new synergies. “It is a fabulous opportunity,” says Paul. “Over the years it has attracted a much wider group of stakeholders, whether they’re microfinance practioners, donors, NGOs, development agencies, university researchers or independent consultants. It is all-encompassing,” says Paul. This year’s guests includes Nobel Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus and climaxes with the 4th Microfinance Award – Microfinance for Food Security. www.e-mfp.eu
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The British Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg’s traditional golf day and prize-giving dinner
Alan Botfield, overall gross and longest drive male prize winner
The autumn sun held for the British Chamber of Commerce’s annual charity golf tournament at the Golf Club de Luxembourg in Junglinster. The event saw approximately 50 golfers take part in an 18-hole individual Stableford competition, with a BBQ lunch offered by Streff on the ninth hole. Other activities included a clinic for beginners with the club pro, which gave “a taste of golf for those who haven’t played before,” explained the chamber’s Sophie Kerschen. Those events were followed in the evening by cocktails--which was sponsored by Delano and featured a sports trivia quiz--and then a prize-giving dinner. This year’s trophy winner was Arno Tijink (male 1st place). AG
Robert Deed, chair of the British Chamber, speaking with Darren Robinson
Dennis Robertson and Sophie Kerschen
Photographed by Jessica Theis
Lisbeth Kjellberg, female 2nd place prize winner
Mark Gillies, nearest the pin male prize winner
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Herman Schommarz, male 2nd prize winner
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The new “EU banking union” will see euro zone banks come under a single regulatory regime. Luxembourg institutions fear this will result in a less competitive environment and rising administrative costs. Text by Aaron Grunwald Photography by Olivier Minaire
JEAN-FRANÇOIS WILLEMS (RIGHT) In the long run, the rules should help rebuild the public’s trust in banks
ast month European leaders finalised a deal to set-up a common banking regulator for all 6,000 plus banks in the euro zone, which will operate under the auspices of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. This “EU banking union” is meant to address shortfalls that helped lead to the global financial crisis. The new authority will have ultimate responsibility for banks, but akin to the relationship between the ECB and member states’ central banks, today’s national financial regulators will be the new body’s arms and legs. “The new system of EU supervision will be responsible for applying important macro prudential tasks; and the system with ECB at the top will be in charge of applying standards indeed,” a spokesman for Michel Barnier, the European commissioner responsible for financial services, tells Delano. At press time the new entity had a staff of zero, but it is meant to be up and running, in three stages, over the next 15 months. The “system will be phased in,” the spokesman says. “We want adoption of legislation by end of this year, to start working in January 2013, with all banks covered by January 2014. That is feasible. Up until then, national supervisors will continue playing a role” as they do under existing practices. The Grand Duchy’s banking sector broadly supports Brussels’ goals while withholding final judgement until the finer details are known. “They want to enhance the financial stability of European banks, and certainly centralised supervision of banks will enhance the credibility and stability of the financial system as a whole,” says Jean-Jacques Rommes, head of Luxembourg’s banking trade group ABBL.
JEAN-FRANÇOIS WILLEMS (RIGHT), WITH VENETIA LEAN Short-term uncertainty
While praising the objectives, Rommes notes that in the process “each and every country will lose sovereignty in this,” a particularly sensitive question for the Grand Duchy, which has long used its super responsive regulatory environment to attract banking business. Luxembourg’s financial supervisor CSSF “will only be an execution arm of decisions taken in Frankfurt,” he warns. “And this is very risky for us. It is certainly risky for others, but it is very risky for us.”
Delegation debate Rommes is warning about the issue of “delegation” from Frankfurt to “home” countries. Today most Grand Duchy banks are subsidiaries of foreign institutions, but are still regulated by the CSSF. Under the principle of delegation, the new Frankfurt agency could assign certain supervisory duties to the regulator where a Luxembourg bank’s parent company is located, leaving the CSSF with less authority, and Paris and Rome, for example, with more. “If Frankfurt shifts power to [Germany’s financial
"IT IS VERY RISKY FOR US" JEAN-JACQUES ROMMES
The Council of the European Union (archives)confi-
MICHEL BARNIER (LEFT) New Frankfurt-based system will help restore public confidence
regulator] BaFin to look over the whole group, then we will have lost everything and the German government will have regained control. And that would make it very difficult to explain why [a bank] should still have a subsidiary here in Luxembourg.” Barnier’s spokesman says delegation definitely “will be part of the regulation” when final rules are published. At the same time, the CSSF will not be totally taken out of the loop. “The granting of new banking licenses will be in the hands of the central regulator,” notes Jean-François Willems, CEO of Banque Havilland. “Everything that is compliance and ‘know your customer’ will stay with local regulators, so it shouldn’t have an impact on ‘banking secrecy’, as far as Luxembourg banks are concerned.” Yet the loss of local control will likely damage banks’ relationships with their current regulators, he says. As a result, the Grand Duchy is “going to probably lose some of this competitive edge they had.” Willems says he has gotten used to fast feedback from the CSSF. “I can imagine going forward that you’re going to talk
to someone but you won’t get any answer, because they won’t have any say, because they’ll have to go back to Frankfurt. We will lose this really attractive side of doing business in Luxembourg, which is pragmatic and quick to answer.” Willems agrees that Europe needs to restore confidence in the sector. But “in the meantime, in particular for us, there’s a lot of questions, a lot of doubts and a lot of uncertainty.” “You’re going to have a minimum of two regulatory authorities to interact with on a day-to-day basis, and [ for example] if you’re a euro zone bank operating in the UK, then you could have up to seven authorities that you have to deal with on a daily basis,” observes Venetia Lean, Banque Havilland’s COO. “That just creates a whole new dynamic to your compliance infrastructure and your reporting and what you need to put in place to manage this going forward. We agree with the principle of this single rulebook, but I think the implications for what banks have today, and what they have to have in the future--not only with this, but with [US rules] Fatca and all the other regulations coming--it’s quite a mountain to get over.”
NOT THE EBA
“The devil is in the details,” says Jean-Jacques Rommes. The Frankfurt-based single banking regulator, which will govern banks within the euro zone, is quite separate from the year and half old London-based European Banking Authority, which coordinates actions between regulators from across the whole EU27. While the European Central Bank operates under a “one country, one vote” system, Rommes explains the EBA is run under a weighted voted system, giving larger countries more say. He hopes the central euro area bank regulator will take the ECB approach to governance. When it comes to technical matters, “the best solution cannot automatically be the decisions of the biggest countries.”
“GET INTO THE MAINSTREAM” Twenty-one year resident in Luxembourg Niraj Trivedi gives his insight into living and working in the Grand Duchy. Interview by Aaron Grunwald Photography by Olivier Minaire
Ahmedabad native Niraj Trivedi moved to Luxembourg in 1991, after graduating as a qualified radio officer from one of India’s main merchant marine academies, and returned after a stint in Frankfurt. Today he is marketing manager at IT services firm Netbay, and active in both the Indian Association of Luxembourg and Star Cricket Club.
NIRAJ TRIVEDI Make an effort to meet both natives and foreigners
AG: What brought you to Luxembourg? NT: I came to support my mother, who was living here and had health issues. I had planned to stay a short time, only three or four months, and then I was supposed to go back. Then suddenly it was already one year! AG: After you arrived, was it a big culture shock? NT: It was a huge difference, I would say, since I had only been studying in India. It was a good experience to come into an open market with open minded people. AG: How did you integrate yourself? NT: I didn’t know any Indians, so the first things first, I learned French. I joined the Centre de Langues and got to know many different people from different countries. Not only from Luxembourg, but from France, Scandinavia, Iceland, Eastern Europe. That was more or less my ‘centre’ for three or four years. Then I met my wife in Frankfurt. We got married and we came to Luxembourg. That’s when we realised that we needed to mix it up, and we started to go to the Indian Association. AG: The Indian Association hosts its annual Diwali festival on November 10. Is it different to celebrate the holiday abroad? NT: The glamour of that event [compared to celebrations in India] is missing here in Luxembourg. But I’m a committee member of the IAL and we do celebrate it in quite a big way. We have more local Luxembourgers and people from other nations than Indians themselves [attending]! AG: You’re also match manager of a team in the national cricket league. Is the stereotype about your countrymen true?
NT: You know the Indians: it comes from school. You play for the school. When I came [to Luxembourg] I didn’t know that cricket existed here. But I met some players from the Optimists Cricket Club, which has the same founder as the Luxembourg Cricket League. We saw there was a lack of Asians getting involved in the local league. So we, with one of my colleagues, started Star Cricket Club, and then Asians interested in playing cricket started joining. But Star Cricket Club is open to anyone interested in competitive cricket, not only Asians. AG: Do people in Luxembourg know India well? NT: They do. Sometimes I’m a bit surprised when people are talking to us at events and functions. They have travelled to India, they’ve worked in India, and they’ve spent some time in India. AG: Do you ever think about moving back? NT: I’ve got my family here, two kids, but half of your heart is always in India. Always somewhere in the corner of my mind, I think that I should come back, that I could do something there. The Indian market has opened up, there are more opportunities. But my kids are going to local schools and they’re happy with their studies. They speak English, so it could be OK. At some point in life, I will move back. AG: What advice do you have for newcomers? NT: Get into the mainstream. Go and meet local people. Luxembourgers are very nice people. English is not an issue here, so anybody else coming from outside, you can speak with them. Feel at home, I would say.
Everyone has his own vision of the future. An intelligent building, a solar tower or a hydropower plant. Medical scanners that are just as easy to use as tablets. Islands to shelter climate refugees. We all have a different vision of the future. For the past 25 years in Luxembourg, we have been striving to maintain this focus on the future and serving everyone in all aspects of life and finance. This focus is also shared by many students. And because they will be the ones moulding the future, they too deserve to make their vision of it known. As such, we are organising “Visions de demain”, a competition in which students can express their own perception(s) of innovation and at the end of which three of the most unexpected and innovative student visions will be awarded with €10,000 for first prize, €7,500 for second prize and €5,000 for third prize.
TOMORROW WILL BE WHAT WE MAKE OF IT
Delano presents a selection of the next two months of business and networking events for Luxembourg’s international community. Advance registration or fees may be required, so consult the website indicated for full details. All events are held in English unless otherwise noted.
Startup Weekend luxembourg.startupweekend.org
European Investment Bank
Even during turbulent times, marketing is a must, but this does not have to “entail spending a lot of money.” Panel speakers including Interact’s Daniel Eischen offer tips on stretching your budget. Sofitel, Luxembourg-Kirchberg, 19:30
The foreign ministry and two Luxembourg NGOs present the 4th European Microfinance Award, which this year honours “the most complete, innovative and efficient activity in the field of microfinance for food security”. European Investment Bank, Luxembourg-Kirchberg, 18:00
Junior Chamber www.jci.lu
Wolfgang Staudt/Creative Commons
British Chamber www.bcc.lu
Claude Frisoni, director of Abbaye de Neumünster, offers an insider’s view of the world of art expositions. The presentation is free with advanced registration. Location to be announced, 19:15
Already active in more than 200 cities worldwide, “Startup Weekend” comes to Luxembourg. Budding entrepreneurs can pitch, present, network and get feedback throughout the weekend. Technoport, Esch-Belval, 18:30 Friday through 21:00 Sunday
MIX IT UP
The Nordic chamber’s “After work mingle” series continues with an information networking event hosted by change management consultancy MindForest. Mindforest, Luxembourg-Gare, 18:00-20:00
NEW LABOUR LAW
Employment attorney Guy Castegnaro moderates an evening seminar on Luxembourg’s labour code. Panelists include reprentatives from both business groups and trade union LCGB. Allen & Overy, Luxembourg-Kirchberg, 18:30
ACI Luxembourg – The Financial Markets Association hosts a conference on the financial transactions tax--as originally mooted by economist James Tobin--that was recently introduced in the EU. BGL BNP Paribas, avenue Monterrey, Luxembourg-city centre, 18:30
20 NOVEMBER PRIVATE EQUITY
The economy and trade ministry’s Patrizia Luchetta moderates a panel on “How to create value in Luxembourg through private equity” at this LfB business breakfast. Chamber of Commerce, Luxembourg-Kirchberg, 08:30
Chamber of Commerce
Tax expert Karl Horsburgh compares Luxembourg’s “tax wedge” with the rest of Europe. How much does the taxman in each EU state really get from employees, companies and investors? Conference Centre, Luxembourg-Kirchberg, 12:00
Luxembourg for Business
14 NOVEMBER HOW EXPOS WORK
28 NOVEMBER MENTORING EVENING
The third cycle of the BusinessMentoring programme kicks-off with “graduating” entrepreneurs offering their testimony and the presentation of this year’s new mentees. Conference Centre, Luxembourg-Kirchberg, all day
And you ? What are you expecting from your bank ? Because what really matters, is you. More than ever before, BIL is listening to you. So, tell us what you are expecting from us, on www.togetherforyou.lu
Together for you
Banque Internationale à Luxembourg SA, 69 route d’Esch, L-2953 Luxembourg, RCS Luxembourg B-6307
“THE BEST WATER SKIER IN LUXEMBOURG” Keith Kahn-Harris, who lectures at Birkbeck University of London, has posted the first chapter of his book on niche high performers, The Best Water Skier in Luxembourg, on crowd-funding site Unbound, which opens with the story of Jeff Bidinger (photo). “I’m one of the top sociologists in the fields of heavy metal studies and contemporary British Jewish studies,” Kahn-Harris tells Delano. “So I used to joke that I was just a big fish in a small pond, like the best water skier in Luxembourg. It was only last year that I suddenly had the thought to turn the joke into a serious project.” unbound.co.uk/books/the-bestwater-skier-in-luxembourg
SCOTCH & SODA
Eva Ferranti has moved her tailor-made men’s fashion store to the place du Théâtre. The new store offers the designer more space to show off Eva’s classic bespoke and made-to-measure tailoring. Her style incorporates what she calls “timeless elegance” with attention to detail and modern design. All her suits are made using hand-picked luxury textiles from the most reputable Italian mills. www.evaferranti.lu
The Dutch fashion chain has opened its very first dedicated store in Luxembourg on rue des Bains. The label has a range of collections including Scotch & Soda for men, Maison Scotch for women, Scotch Shrunk for boys and Scotch R’Belle for girls. Launched in the 1980s the label was rebranded some 10 years ago and now features lines of updated classic and vintage styles. www.scotch-soda.com
Mélange on rue Nennig in Dommeldange is a new 1,000m2 furniture and furnishings store by Karsten Roloff specializing in traditional and modern design from India. It stocks authentic Indian mystical art, sculptures, architectural features, furniture, décor items, textiles, rugs and home wares, including a selected choice of organic teas and other delicious natural snacks. www.melange.info
Renato Favaro’s new restaurant on the Glacis, in the space formerly occupied by Wengé, has already proven popular. The décor has hardly changed and the menu is typical Favaro, simple dishes with Italian and French leanings and some truly tempting flavour combinations--the osso bucco is excellent and the choice of wine by the glass is also interesting. www.mammabianca.lu
EXPLORATOR IS OUT The best guide to dining out in the Grand Duchy, for the past 18 years Explorator has been an indispensable publication for anyone who enjoys good restaurants and going out. The 2012/13 edition lists some 320 restaurants throughout the country, divided into regions for easy location. The listings include a summary of the cuisine at each address as well as a description of the atmosphere and a “personal choice” tip. www.explorator.lu
TOP NOIR Christophe Wagner’s first feature film, Doudege Wénkel, jumped to the top of the Luxembourg box office charts a week after its release. The noir thriller has attracted well over 10,000 spectators since it opened at the beginning of October. It has also enjoyed critical success and already looks like a shoe-in for the next Luxembourg Film Prize. Still on show at cinemas across the country it is screened with English subtitles. www.samsa.lu
FREE TAXIS With the festive season fast approaching two organisations have joined forces to offer residents of the capital city free taxi rides during the string of Sunday openings on December 2, 16 and 23. The service offered by the Union Commerciale de la Ville de Luxembourg and the Automobile Club Luxembourg will see some 70 taxis made available between noon and 6 p.m. Taxis can be ordered by calling tel. 8002 9595. www.cityshopping.lu
FAMILY GUIDE Popular since its launch some seven years ago, Family Guide has undergone something of a revamp for its latest edition. Now produced by Delano publisher Maison Moderne, the guide’s facelift includes a new format, new graphics, and a comprehensive update of addresses. The fourth edition retains the same chapter headings as previous editions by founder Viviane Bumb, but also features maps to make locating addresses easier. www.familyguide.lu
THE ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS MARKET If you are looking for alternative gift items from local designers and retailers this Christmas, then Konrad Bar and Café’s Design Delights market is the place to be the second weekend in December. The designers include two whose products bear a distinct Luxembourg flair. Linda Bos from Pretty Forest (www.prettyforest.com), has designed a graphically clever Luxembourg poster as well as designer Peckvillercher (the ceramic birds usually associated with the Easter market). She also draws inspiration from Japanese arts and crafts. And Marie Pedersen from Silk & Burg (www.silkandburg.com) already famous for her screen prints of Luxembourg city scenes and recipes for local traditional dishes, has a new fabric wall calendar (photo). Other designers and sellers at the event include Anatoli Papadopoulou, a Luxembourgish-Greek fashion designer, with her own Anatoli label (www.anatoli.lu) selling hand-made, uniquely individual accessories for women, Valérie Conrot from Denicheuse.com which specialises in finding unique designer objects, home furnishings boutique Ben & Pepper Boutique (www.benandpepper.com) and Alejandra Solar from Sak Label (cargocollective.com/saklabel), which produces playful designer jewellery. Christmas Design Delights 2012, December 8 & 9, Konrad Bar and Café, rue du Nord, Luxembourg-Centre www.konradcafe.com
CRAZY BALD GUYS Staff colleagues of Chris Bowman shaved their heads in front of the high school student body in early October as a show of unity for the ISL director, who is undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. The event also raises awareness of what is the second most common disease afflicting men over the age of 40. Bowman urges men over 40 to get tested once a year, because if detected early enough it can be easily treated. www.islux.lu
XMAS CHALETS Two stands at the Xmas market this year will be made available on a day-today basis for artisans and artists wishing to sell their creations--jewellery, clothes, gift items, decorations or whatever. The chalets can be hired at a cost of 25 euro per day. Anyone interested should contact Marie-France Lamesch at the Ville de Luxembourg’s the Service des fêtes et marchés on tel. 47 96 42 99. www.vdl.lu NOVEMBER 2012
ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES EUVRES Since this summer, just over the border in Metz, an Englishman has been in charge of a prestigious orchestra that has one of the best concert halls and rehearsal facilities in France. Text by Duncan Roberts Photography by Bertrand Pichene
hanges are afoot at the Orchestre National de Lorraine. New general director, London-born Christopher Bayton, has ambitious plans for the orchestra as it faces challenges regarding finances, collaborations with other orchestras and meeting the expectations of increasingly discerning audiences. Bayton, a graduate of the Royal Holloway College who has worked in France since 1987, took little persuasion to accept the job in Metz. “I have worked with a number of orchestras in France, and I can safely say that the ONL has the best conditions of any orchestra in the country.” Financially the orchestra is not at the top of the league, however. “We have some work to do to see how we can improve our financial resources, in a climate that is not good at all.” To this end the orchestra has started a new sponsorship initiative called “Prelude”, presided over by Metz businessman Hervé Obed. “That is very positive. Obviously the increase in financial resources will have to come from the private sector. So we look quite enviously towards Luxembourg, where there is much less of a financial problem.” Bayton reveals that moves are afoot to bring together, in some form, the ONL with the Orchestre symphonique et lyrique de Nancy. “Nancy and Metz are great rivals, and talk about bringing them together has been on-going for the last 15 years, and that is now becoming concrete. What we need to
do is think of ways that both orchestras can work together--both have around 70 musicians, which is quite small for a symphony orchestra because some works require more musicians.” Indeed, in September an unprecedented performance by some 116 musicians from both orchestras of Mahler’s 6th Symphony was a success. “It was a first step forward, but it went very well both artistically and from a human point of view. So I think we can move on from there and imagine other ways we can use musicians from both orchestras together.” Bayton has already mooted other projects, such as creating a contemporary music ensemble, a group working on the baroque repertoire using baroque techniques or a light music orchestra like the Boston Pops. Bayton also wants to open up the repertoire of the ONL itself, and has plans to develop a strategy for recordings. He wants to use funds raise by the Prelude campaign to fit out the Arsenal concert hall with state of the art audiovisual recording equipment. “Things are changing so rapidly, and we need to move with those changes. Music lovers are becoming more and more demanding, so we have to have image and sound on our website and other classical music platforms, such as Medici.tv. If we don’t do that, we don’t exist.” CHRISTOPHER BAYTON Ambitious plans for the ONL
With Enovos FIX naturstroum, pay less for your renewable energy over 3 years. * This offer does not cover either the distribution costs nor the statutory fees. These costs will be clearly shown on your electricity bill. ** Offer valid for low and medium voltage rates only.
Lower prices for renewable energy for 3 years!*
From 1st January 2013, prices for naturstroum, the renewable energy, will be reduced for all our standard rate customers. Our domestic customers will thus benefit from a 2% discount compared to 2012. Moreover, if you opt for the new FIX naturstroum agreement (100% renewable energy), your rate will decrease over a period of three years. Domestic customers will save 2% in 2013, 3% in 2014 and 4% in 2015 compared to the prices of Enovos naturstroum in 2012. This limited offer is available both to existing and new clients.** • The additional cost of naturstroum renewable energy will be borne by Enovos throughout the period in question. • This offer can be combined with the nova naturstroum option. • M aximise your discount by selecting e.connect. Take advantage of this offer today and subscribe before 13.01.2013. For more information, please contact: 8006-6000 (Serviceline free phone number) or firstname.lastname@example.org Energy for today. Caring for tomorrow.
Mix naturstroum 2011
(approuvé par l’ILR)
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Mix total Enovos 2011
(approuvé par l’ILR)
60,8% énergies fossiles 14,5% énergie nucléaire 24,3% énergies renouvelables 0,4% autres sources émissions de CO2: déchets radioactifs:
458 g/kWh 1,47 mg/kWh
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55,24% énergies renouvelables 44,76% énergies fossiles émissions de CO2: 287,01 g/kWh déchets radioactifs: 0,0 mg/kWh
10/29/12 9:20 AM
Dan Mills/Creative Commons
SPENDING LESS MONEY ON YOUR MOBILE
KEEP AN EYE ON DATA
It may have become your pocket office and your dearest travel companion, but are you paying too high a price? Here’s how to keep phone costs down, no matter where you are. NC
If you have an iPhone, you can monitor your data by going into ‘settings’, ‘general’ and then ‘usage’. Check it from time to time to see how much data you actually use. There are also a great deal of excellent apps available for all smartphones that give you a detailed breakdown of the data you use, thus preventing you going overboard (MyDataManager, DataMan and Data Usage to name but a few).
Sean Lamb/Creative Commons
GET A LOCAL SIM CARD
It’s the roaming that hurts. This is when you connect to an overseas network and calls are routed via that network provider instead of your home network--at a sometimes shockingly increased cost. “Whether you stay for an extended period in another country or come to Luxembourg for a few weeks, the best solution is without any doubt to get a local prepaid SIM card,” says Alexis Pisano, marketing manager at Orange. To make things even better, once you’ve installed your local prepaid card, download the TreePhone app before calling home--it allows you to
make international calls at a pretty good rate. Many cross-border commuters choose to get two phones so they don’t have the hassle of changing numbers all the time and can opt for plans suited for their different needs. If you travel a lot to many different countries, you might want to get an international SIM card. A Google search will get you a good listing of the offers available. Otherwise you can try out the Swiss-based firm XXsim (xxsim.com) whose travel SIM card offers free incoming calls in addition to keeping other costs down.
Use a cloud-based mobile browser which works by shrinking the webpages you visit before they land on your phone. Your phone will then have fewer megabytes to load--saving you both time and money. An example is the Opera mini browser (opera.com/ mobile). BlackBerrys also allow you to crunch down web pages, if you have the right licence. If you’re on iPhone, steer clear of Safari and use something like iCab instead. 04
USE A MOBILE BROWSER
TURN OFF AUTOMATIC APP UPDATES Most apps and programs--as well as your phone’s operating system--like to check routinely for available updates and don’t mind downloading them automatically. Downloads equal data consumption, so be sure to turn these automatic updates off when you’re abroad.
Luc Deflorenne (archives)
BE PATIENT “When you’re abroad, don’t open emails with large attachments if it isn’t urgent,” says Luis Camara, marketing director at Tango. “Downloading photos and big files uses a lot of data, so unless it’s absolutely necessary, wait till you’re in a place with Wi-Fi.” Retrieve emails manually. “Or, if you have an iPhone, you can also set the ‘push’ mode for loading emails to once an hour or once a day even,” adds Pisano.
Mobile phone providers are aware that customers today need options compatible with travelling--and even more so in Luxembourg. All of them therefore offer special plans which include roaming minutes. “The most important thing is to be well informed,” insists Camara. “Tell your provider what your specific needs are and you’ll get the best solutions. It’s often possible to get a special package with only what you want.”
Robert Scoble/Creative Commons
Olivier Minaire (archives)
the case for example for Manifone (manifone.com) or Rebtel (rebtel.com), but a Google search will list you many more possibilities. For texting, use WhatsApp Messenger (whatsapp. com), a free cross-platform mobile app allowing you to text without having to pay for SMSes no matter your location. Finally, get a special app to compress the amount of data you use. The free app Onavo (onavo.com) for example compresses apps like Facebook so you can extend your data plan by up to five times.
There are a number of apps that can help you keep the costs down in different ways, whether phoning, sending texts or browsing the internet. One of the most popular ones today is Viber (viber.com), which allows you to make free calls and send free texts to other Viber users no matter where you are. There is also the obvious choice of using Skype (skype. com) or a whole lot of other VoIP services (for which you will need a Wi-Fi or 3G connection), some proposing to slash your call fees by up to 90 percent. This is
Derek A.R./Creative Commons
GET TO KNOW THE APPS
Sean Lamb/Creative Commons
KNOW YOUR NEEDS
Sam Michel/Creative Commons
Thomas Benkö/Creative Commons
CHECK YOUR LOCATION
DON’T WATCH VIDEOS
USE SOCIAL MEDIA APPS
BEWARE OF HOTSPOTS
Mobile roaming doesn’t only happen when you cross borders. Sometimes your phone will switch automatically to another network if you’re close to a border--which, let’s face it, you often are here in Luxembourg. To avoid this, and the extra costs linked to it, change your network access to manual.
Watching videos once you’ve crossed a border is an absolute no-no unless you have a lot of money to spare. “Videos swallow up data like nothing else, so abroad is definitely not the place to browse on YouTube or stream movies,” states Pisano. If you do have an urge to watch pictures in motion or download music, wait till you are Wi-Fi connected.
“If you use the apps for websites like Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin, you use less data than if you go through an internet browser,” explains Pisano. This being said, unless you watch videos there, your Facebook addiction won’t cost you a lot. “Simply looking at your friend’s statuses won’t use up much data,” underlines Camara.
“Hotspots may seem a good idea, but it’s not always the case,” says Orange’s Pisano. “First of all, they’re not always free and sometimes you end up paying for much more than you actually use.” Points out Tango’s Camara: “It always takes quite a lot of time to log on to and there’s also the issue of security. Hotspots don’t always protect your data very well.” NOVEMBER 2012
CLUB LIFE – NEWS FROM THE COMMUNITY 01
BLC CHRISTMAS LUNCH
DONATE TO BOOK STAND
The British Ladies’ Club of Luxembourg is hosting its annual Christmas Lunch at the Hotel Parc Alvisse on Wednesday December 12. The lunch features a seafood starter, followed by a traditional Christmas dinner (with wine) rounded off by Christmas pudding. Bookings should be made by December 4 via email: email@example.com www.blc.lu
The Book Stand is one of the most popular stands at the International Bazaar (see pages 54-56). The stand organisers are accepting donations of books up until November 23. It is also seeking volunteers with a passion for books. Contact Catherine Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org or Gisèle Elliott at email@example.com www.bazar-international.lu
LOOKING FOR ROSES The Luxembourg Rose of Tralee committee is looking for Irish girls to enter next year’s local competition, the winner of which will represent Luxembourg in the international Rose of Tralee contest. This year Luxembourg’s Rose, Nicola McEvoy, famously won the international competition and has since been representing the Rose of Tralee all over the world. To enter the Luxembourg Rose candidates must: by 18 years of age by January 1, 2013 and not have reached their 28th birthday on or prior to September 1, 2013; be unmarried or never have been married; have been living in Luxembourg for two years or more; and must have been born in Ireland or be of Irish origin by virtue of one ancestor having been born in Ireland. Past participants have said that the Rose in Luxembourg is always fun and is a great way to make new friends and become involved in the community. The closing date for entries is November 15 and the Rose Ball will take place in Luxembourg on March 9 next year. www.rose.lu
AWCL SILENT AUCTION
IRISH CLUB SKI TRIP
The American Women’s Club of Luxembourg is holding a Silent Auction to benefit the charities of the International Bazaar on November 14. The auction, hosted at the US ambassador’s residence by Julie Mandell, will feature a large range of generously donated items, from original artwork and photo shoot packages to massages and gym memberships. Advance registration is required. www.awcluxembourg.com
The annual Irish Club ski trip is heading back to Morzine in France next year, from Wednesday January 23 to Sunday January 27, 2013. Morzine provides access to over 650km of ski slopes across 12 resorts accessible with just one ski pass. It is suitable for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. To book and for other queries visit the Irish Club website or email firstname.lastname@example.org www.irishclub.lu
MAJOR FUNDRAISER IS SEASONAL CELEBRATION Luxembourg’s biggest charity fundraiser, the International Bazaar, is a showcase for dozens of different countries, but it has also become a truly Luxembourgish tradition that ties people to this country as well as proudly displaying all things foreign. Text by Wendy Winn Photography by Olivier Minaire
he Bazar International, to give it its correct title, is so entrenched a tradition in the Grand Duchy that people who have moved back to wherever home is sometimes fly, drive, bus or hop a train and come back to Luxembourg just to revisit it. This event, after all, is where they are most likely to run into everyone they ever knew here. And even more than a kind of homecoming event that brings far-flung expats back to roost, it’s become a tradition that is handed down through the generations--a sure sign that it’s become a permanent and cherished part of life in Luxembourg. Now in its 52nd year, there are adult volunteers who grew up with the bazaar as children and helped their own parents set up stands, sell merchandise, cook national dishes, greet visitors and sweep up after the bazaar ends on Sunday evening. And there are parents involved whose children have come up in the ranks and are now taking their turns boxing up stock, unpacking wares, selling tombola tickets and performing
the myriad of jobs that go along with volunteering. One of those whose International Bazaar experience goes back to the years she was tugging at her mother’s apron strings is now the president of the international bazaar committee, Marie-Helene EhrkeHarf. “My mother used to do the Antiques Stand, so I grew up with it,” she says. EhrkeHarf later moved to England, and her polished accent gives proof that she was resident there for 30 years. “This sort of thing, a charity bazaar run entirely by volunteers, is really very English,” the native Luxembourger says, “it’s not typical European.” In fact, this major event on the Luxembourg calendar started off as an English event--it sprung from the humble roots of the English church bazaar and took off from there. Last year, it raised more than 500,000 euro for numerous charities, a sum EhrkeHarf expects to at least equal this year. Ehrke-Harf was involved in charity work and fundraising in England, which helped prepare her for her work at the international bazaar. She first served
on the committee for a few years before retiring president Pia Shapiro asked if she would fill her shoes. “I was very honoured to take on such a big organisation,” she says. Asked what was most needed for the job, she replies; “common sense and dedication, the ability to listen and the desire to make things even better.” Being the president of the bazaar is a little bit like being the CEO of a major company. Besides coordinating the eight-member committee serving with her, she oversees 65 different participating stands, each with its own chair and its own committee. All the stands meet at assembly meetings held four times a year, planning and making decisions like which charities will be selected. Attending these meetings for the British stand is chairwoman Paola Liszka Draper, another dedicated volunteer who sees the bazaar as a family affair. The fact that she gave her nearly five-year-old daughter a new baby brother a few months ago didn’t prevent her from continuing working for the bazaar as she’s done for
98 CHARITIES This year, the bazaar will support 98 charities around the world, which are selected by the participating stands with the final decision made by the general committee. Smaller charities with someone local involved on the spot are given priority. The main beneficiary for 2012 is Little Plus, a Luxembourg organisation working in Cambodia. Funds from the bazaar will support a vaccination programme there. Other major beneficiaries will be: The Centre for Infant Development project, El Salvador Dignity, India A Roof in My Country, Mexico Aide au Bénin, Benin Hand an Hand, Brazil ADS, Laos. Several local charities will also receive funding: ATP (association d’aide par le travail thérapeutique pour personnes psychotiques) in Walferdange, EPI (Encouragement, Promotion, Intégration) in Schrassig, Caritas Jeunes et Familles. The full list of charities selected is listed on the bazaar’s website.
MARIE-HELENE EHRKE-HARF Honoured to take on presidency
RADU RAZVAN-PETRU Sees bazaar as a big party
PAOLA LISZKA DRAPER A unique family affair
DATES & LOCATION
Saturday, December 1, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday December 2, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Luxexpo, Luxembourg-Kirchberg www.luxexpo.lu 11 years now. “My husband and I are very happy here in Luxembourg; we’re in it for the long term. I can imagine that in 15 years’ time, our children will be carrying on for mum and dad.” Draper got involved quite by accident. “I was single, just arrived in Luxembourg and saw a sign at work for a British stand book sale. I thought ‘great!’ and I went along.” As well as picking up some bargains on second hand books, she got roped into helping. “A few months later it was the AGM and I’ve been involved ever since.” “I don’t know what it is exactly about it, but it’s unique,” Draper explains. “You can see people you only ever see at the bazaar from year to year, and you can almost go around the world in a day! Where else could you have whisky and mince pies at our stand and treats from over 50 different countries at a single event?” The British stand has been around since the very beginning, but newer to the scene is the Romanian stand, presided by Radu Razvan-Petru. “We had our first stand in 2007, which was very symbolic
for us because it’s the year Romania entered the European Union,” he says. This year, there’s another happy coincidence--the first day of the bazaar, December 1, happens to fall on Romania’s National Day. “That’s the day the Grand Duchess will visit the bazaar, and we’re hoping she’ll make a stop at our stand for our national holiday,” Razvan-Petru says. Starting off very small, with no room even to cook up Romanian specialties, this relative newcomer has grown and now serves up regular performances of Romanian folk music and dance as well as delicious sarmale. Razvan-Petru, who heads the Romanian Luxembourg Business Forum, says he loves the overall atmosphere at the bazaar and the chance to represent his country. “I see it as a very nice and very big party,” he says. It is indeed a party, albeit one with childminding facilities, incomparable food and drink, great items to browse through and buy in aid of worthy causes and the very best guest list of all--absolutely everyone is invited!
NOTE: the event has moved to Halls 2 and 3, but the layout hasn’t changed. To find the bazaar, turn right after you enter Luxexpo.
Free entrance but you’ll want to bring lots of money for mojitos, Turkish coffee, American brownies and everything else edible, drinkable and buyable. It’s all for a good cause, so dig deep and spend all you can. After two mojitos, you won’t care. Take advantage of the park and ride services on offer. The car park fills up fast. Those following our mojito advice, take the bus. All pertinent info can be found on the bazaar’s website. Except, maybe which stand you ought to visit first and whether you should have a Spanish red wine or an Irish coffee first. Some things you’ll just have to work out on your own. www.bazar-international.lu
CHOOSE THE CRÉMANT TO MATCH YOUR MOOD
Cheek by Jowl
SEXY AND UNNERVING The influential theatre company brings its latest production, a blood-spattered tale of incest, to the Grand Théâtre. Text by Duncan Roberts Photography by Manuel Harlan
t the beginning of 2012 the theatre editor of The Guardian, Andrew Dickson, wrote an enlightening piece about the trend for Jacobean revenge tragedies on the London stage. He spoke to directors and actors of then current productions of The Changeling and The Duchess of Malfi, as well as literary experts, about how these 17th century plays “haunt our contemporary imagination.” Because, says Dickson, many of the Jacobean plays were ignored for centuries and only performed in public during the 20th century--first as “the writings of Freud began to take hold in Britain”, then during the theatrical revolution of the 1950s and again during the height of industrial unrest at the end of the 1970s. Dickson says that the current trend could be a reaction to the current crisis, and says that one director, Cheek by Jowl’s Declan Donnellan admits the idea that “in troubled times we don’t always yearn for feelgood entertainment.” Donnellan, shares an unashamed enthusiasm with his partner, designer Nick Ormerod, for Jacobean revenge. The company has already brought a thrilling production of The Changeling to Luxembourg and prior to that toured with The Duchess of Malfi. Indeed, Cheek by Jowl is recognised as one of the most vibrant and influential theatre companies in the world. “It is not merely an institution; it is a kiss of life,” writes
Caroline McGinn in Time Out. Its latest blood soaked tale of intrigue and sex is John Ford’s ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore, which was first performed in the late 1620s. Its story of incest and murder was so scandalous and thought to be in poor taste that according to Dickson no record exists of it being performed between 1663 and 1923. Donnellan has revived it before, but his new production is set in modern dress and is less of a feminist approach than his first effort. Indeed, he seems to revel in using the taboo of incest to comment on contemporary culture, which he tells Time Out, has had the effect of “virtualising” life. Incest is the final taboo, one that Donnellan says, is untouched. “It has never lost its capacity to get under our skin,” he told classical.tv. McGinn calls the production “sexy and unnerving.” It contains violence that the Sydney Morning Herald says is laced with “21st-century Tarantino-toned viciousness.” Donnellan seems to lean more towards another master of cinema. He told Dickson that “a really good horror reminds you that you’re not just the victim; you’re also the monster. Psycho is a great film because of the very subtle shifts of identification. You’re not just the woman who is murdered in the shower, you’re also the murderer. It’s entertainment at the deepest level.”
‘TIS PITY SHE’S A WHORE Gets under the skin
03.11. 07.11. 08.11. 09.11. 10.11. 10.11.
CITIZENS! LIONEL RICHIE DEEP PURPLE VITALIC MATT CORBY (FREE ENTRY)
LES INOUÏS DU PRINTEMPS DE BOURGES (FREE ENTRY) KETTCAR ALANIS MORISSETTE GUARDIAN ANGEL TOUR
JASON MRAZ THE FINAL STING SCORPIONS FAREWELL WORLD TOUR 2012
NETSKY 17.11. DEICHKIND 18.11. SAEZ (SOLD OUT) 22.11. ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA 23.+24.11. SONIC VISIONS FESTIVAL 2012 16.11.
(THE XX, C2C, DJANGO DJANGO AND MANY MORE)
DRAGONFORCE FLORENCE & THE MACHINE
TWINS OF EVIL TOUR: MARYLIN MANSON & ROB ZOMBIE CRYSTAL CASTLES BALTHAZAR (FREE ENTRY) AMY MACDONALD
02.12. 03.12. 04.12.
LIFE IN A BEAUTIFULL LIGHT TOUR
02.02. 03.02. 08.02. 09.02. 22.02.
ZITA SWOON GROUP DROPKICK MURPHYS REA GARVEY LILLY WOOD AND THE PRICK LOU DOILLON TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB LETZ ZEP
DAN SAN (FREE ENTRY) STUPEFLIP: NOUVEAU SPECTAC WAX TAILOR STAHLZEIT
THE RAMMSTEIN TRIBUTE SHOW NO 1
16.-21.04. WE WILL ROCK YOU
IN EXTREMO MONO CHILLY GONZALES
EMILY LOIZEAU SUAREZ BILLY TALENT PAUL KALKBRENNER
05.12. 06.12. 07.12. 07.12. 08.12. 11.12.
SOLO PIANO II
26.01. 27.01. 01.02.
ZAPPA PLA ZAPPA PLAY YS ZAPP ZAPPA 22-11-2012
JOE BONAMASSA EMELI SANDE JOE COCKER FIRE IT UP EUROPEAN TOUR
20.04. 26.04. 27.04. 04.05. 15.05.
ARNO THE BOOTLEG BEATLES 24 HEURES ELECTRONIQUES: GOOSE... PSY 4 DE LA RIME AN EVENING WITH MARK KNOPFLER AND BAND
WAX T WAX TAILO AILOR 07-12-2012
www.rockhal.lu CHILL GONZALES CHILLY 12-12-2012 Annonce_AufMont_190x117_vec.pdf
11 LIVE SHOWS From John Cage to the XX via Nigel Kennedy music plays a major role in this month’s cultural highlights. But there is also keenly anticipated English-language theatre in the shape of Cheek By Jowl’s ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore and Mind The Gap’s The Birthday Party. 01
BEAK > Geoff Barrow’s project, featuring Billy Fuller and Matt Williams, was born in 2009 and has since released two albums. The Portishead composer and producer has clearly allowed his love of Kraut rock to shine on this year’s >>, but other influences such as psychedelia and electro post-punk also shove their way into the Beak sound. Live, this should be one of the more sonically interesting shows of the year. November 30, Exit07 (CarréRotondes), rue de l’Aciérie, Luxembourg-Hollerich 03
FLORENCE & THE MACHINE Florence Welch ’s British folk maiden loveliness, has been embraced by fans all over the world. She returns to Luxembourg following an acclaimed show at Kulturfabrik in June 2010, this time playing to a much larger audience that has lapped up second album Ceremonials. November 28, Rockhal, avenue du Rock’n’Roll, Esch-Belval, www.atelier.lu 04
JOHN CAGE CENTENNIAL
Arnold Schönberg called him an “inventor of genius” and he has influenced composers Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Gavin Bryars, choreographer Merce Cunnighma and rock groups such as Sonic Youth, Radiohead and Stereolab. John Cage was born 100 years ago and is the subject of a major retrospective at this year’s Rainy Days festival, the annual celebration of new music. The programme includes an evening concert by the OPL featuring the composer’s Postcard from Heaven for 20 harps and his famous 4’33”, as well as Haydn’s Symphony no. 45 and a world premiere of a new work by Johannes S. Sistermanns; a children’s event called Listen to the Silence; an evening titled A Liquid Room for John Cage with works by Cage and Bach, Satie and Schönberg among others performed non-stop on four stages; an evening with United Instruments of Lucilin; and an open-house day featuring the first Toy Piano World Summit with toy piano soloists from New York to Luxembourg and some 50 other musical performances. Rainy Days promises to be veritable treasure trove that should have something to please everyone. November 24 to December 2, Philharmonie, Luxembourg-Kirchberg, www.rainydays.lu
CALEXICO Joey Burns and John Convertino 's new album Algiers, named after a neighbourhood in New Orleans, where they relocated to record the album, is more slickly produced than previous efforts, but still packed with epic songs of soulful yearning that conjure up the sort of places Barry Gifford writes about. Live, the band delivers that sound in spades. November 20, den Atelier, rue de Hollerich, Luxembourg-Hollerich, www.atelier.lu
20 NOVEMBER 2012 Atelier Concert
Win rt ce c o nk e t s ! tic
Send an email mentioning “den Atelier/CALEXICO” to email@example.com Deadline for entries is 16 NOVEMBER 2012 Winners will be notified by email
18/10/12 11:40 AM
Our wine shop offers a wide range of sparkling wines, crémants and still wines from Luxembourg and abroad. Opening hours from 1st April to 31st October: every day from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Caves Bernard-Massard S.A. 22, route du vin L-6794 Grevenmacher Tel.: 75 05 45-228/229 Fax: 75 05 45 280 firstname.lastname@example.org www.bernard-massard.com ANNONCE VINOTHEQUE_ DELANO_190x117.indd 1
From 1st November to 31st March: Monday-Friday from 10:00 to 12:00 am and 1:30 to 6:00 pm Saturday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm Visitors are most welcome to tour our cellars and to discover the secrets of the production of our sparkling wines. Parking facilities for easy loading.
10/24/12 3:41 PM
THE SECOND WOMAN
THE BIRTHDAY PARTY
Described by The Guardian as “the most urgent, beautiful and confident work of his career”, Akram Khan’s Desh is an homage to his native Bangladesh. The choreographer/dancer has teamed up with Oscarwinning Chinese visual artist Tim Yip for this solo performance that sees him portray characters familiar in daily Bangladeshi culture. The Telegraph called it “poignant, thrilling, magical, moving”. November 14, Grand Théâtre, rond-point Schuman, Luxembourg-Limpertsberg, www.theatres.lu
Inspired by John Cassavetes’ Opening Night, in which Gena Rowlands plays an actress rehearsing for a play titled The Second Woman, the latest work by composer Frédéric Verrières and librettist Bastien Gallet is an opera within an opera-a story about transformation as the “fictional” work is modified. The acclaimed and award winning work is performed in French and English with subtitles. November 30 & December 1, Grand Théâtre, rond-point Schuman, Luxembourg-Limpertsberg, www.theatres.lu
Russian conductor Valery Gergiev returns with the London Symphony Orchestra (and chorus) as it completes the cycle of works by Karol Szymanowski and Johannes Brahms it began at the Philharmonie in October. The December programme features the 3rd and 4th symphonies of both composers as well as Szymanowski’s 2nd concerto for violin and orchestra and Brahms’ Variations on a theme by Joseph Haydn. December 13 & 14, Philharmonie, place de l’Europe, Luxembourg-Kirchberg, www.philharmonie.lu
Timothy Lone directs a cast including Fran Potasnik and Adrian Diffey (making their farewell performances), Gavan Guilfoyle, Emma Farrell and Tom Shiels in this production of Harold Pinter’s classic play. The Birthday Party contains Pinter’s trademark melange of comedy, hatred, terror, and superb story-telling and has been described as “disturbing”, “unforgettable”, and “an exploration of the individual’s secret dreads and anxieties.” December 5,6, 7, 10, 11 & 13, Théâtre National de Luxembourg, route de Longwy, Luxembourg-Merl, www.tnl.lu
NIGEL KENNEDY In a potentially fascinating and lively programme, Nigel Kennedy marries solo violin works by Johann Sebastian Bach, such as the Sonata No 2 in A minor, to tunes like ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’ by Fats Waller and, in the words of LondonJazz, “builds a daring bridge between baroque and jazz”. He is joined on stage by a trio of Polish jazz musicians. November 18, Philharmonie, place de l’Europe, LuxembourgKirchberg, www.philharmonie.lu
TY SEGALL A prolific figure on the west coast music scene Ty Segall has just released his latest solo album Twins, to critical acclaim. He is, according to Kitty Empire in The Guardian, “one of American rock’s best kept secrets”. She praised his genre-bending album by saying, “Everything he does is good: melodic, enervated and loud.” His live shows usually end as a wild party. November 26, Exit07, rue de l’Aciérie, Luxembourg-Hollerich, www.rotondes.lu
The undoubted star attraction at this year’s Sonic Visions festival is The XX (photo). The trio of Romy Madley Croft, Jamie Smith and Oliver Sim has built a real cut following since the release of its eponymously titled, Mercury Prize-winning debut album. The band returns to Luxembourg for a show to highlight new release Coexist, which has received similarly rave reviews. But the festival of new music also features a slew of other acts that should attract just as much interest from the discerning fan.
For instance, Viennese band Elektro Guzzi (recently at Exit07) also plays the opening night, alongside French turntablism trio C2C. On Saturday local band Monophona, which has just released its debut album to loud acclaim, plays alongside other Luxembourg-based bands Seed to Tree and Natas Loves You. Also on the Saturday bill is British indie band Clock Opera and Dutch-based postmodern trio Say Yes Dog. November 23 and 24, Rockhal, avenue du Rock’n’Roll, Esch-Belval
Family Guide: tips, advice and the best spots for parents and kids
tion, i d e 4 tings. s i l 0 0 7 th
FAMILY GUIDE 3 editions FranĂ§ais, English, Deutsch 260 pages 21,90 â‚Ź www.familyguide.lu
HAPPY KIDS: FIVE IDEAS FOR COOLER DAYS
So the weather isn’t great for picnics anymore but there are still loads of fun stuff to do with the kids, inside and out! And the good thing is that they can learn a lot all while being wonderfully entertained. NC 01
Jeunesses Musicales Luxembourg
A great way to enjoy the autumn splendour is to go on one of Luxembourg City’s promenades. The Vauban Walk, which follows the traces of the French fortress builder Sébastien le Prestre de Vauban, is perfect for kids as it offers variety, fun history and isn’t too long. Get the pamphlet at the LCTO, place Guillaume II, Luxembourg-Centre, or download the map at www.lcto.lu
JEWELERY BIRTHDAY A great new form of entertainment for your child’s birthday has just arrived in Luxembourg: the jewelery party. Over 1 1/2 hours the kids make their own, high quality necklace or bracelet, which they bring home in a pretty pouch (no need to think about party bags!). Suitable for 5 years and up, €120 for 10 kids. Contact Liza Danielson at tel. 691 569 505 or email@example.com
There’s no better way to introduce children to concerts than at one especially created for them. Jeunesses Musicales Luxembourg offers free Sunday concerts called Musicroissants on a regular basis all year round, where three to ten year olds and their parents can explore and discover music. The concerts offer happy, dynamic performances during which musicians, storytellers and actors demonstrate how instruments can talk and sing. Everything is done to help the youngsters develop their auditory senses and perceive music as something magical and fun. The concerts take place in auditoriums with room for 150 to 200 people and last about 50 minutes. After the concerts, the children are offered croissants and chocolate milk or juice. November 18, 10:30 a.m. at Château de Mamer, place de l’Indépendance, Mamer and November 25, 10:30 a.m. at Conservatoire de Musique, 33 rue Charles Martel, Luxembourg-Merl www.jml.lu
PHILHARMONIE FOR KIDS The Philharmonie offers an incredibly rich youth programme for children and teenagers, with more than 140 events taking place each season. The setting provides direct contact between audience and musicians. As the events are hugely popular, it’s a good idea to reserve well in advance. Philharmonie Luxembourg, 1 place de l’Europe, Luxembourg-Kirchberg, www.philharmonie.lu
PRINTING MUSEUM The Printing Museum houses a superb collection of objects covering printing history from 1850 to 1930. If you haven’t been yet, enjoy one of the free guided tours (small activities included). The next ones are November 11 & 25 at 2:30 p.m. & 4 p.m. The Card Museum, at the same site, is definitely also worth a visit! Kulturhuef, 54 route de Trèves, Grevenmacher, www.kulturhuef.lu
VIVEZ LE LAIT
The dairy company Luxlait presents the Vitarium: a milk-discovery center 45 interactive stations / 3D cinema / gallery to visit the dairy production / Luxlounge restaurant / Multifunctional room / Cooking workshop / Teambuilding / Events / Show-cooking / Banquets / Seminars ACCESS By car: A7 Exit Mierscherbierg By train: Station Mersch By bus: Busline 800/810 Luxembourg - Colmar Usines
Information & booking
Free Parking spaces
Enjoy the authentic Egg Nog drink exclusively from Luxlait
Annonce_Delano_24 10 2012.indd 1
MY OTHER LIFE
INSPIRED BY FILM
Producer Romain Roll speaks up on screen and off. Text by Tonya Stoneman Photography by Olivier Minaire
omain Roll got hooked on horror flicks early. He started going to the cinema when he was seven years old and became a big fan of the Hammer studio in England. They remade horror classics like Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Mummy, giving them a genuinely gritty flavor. What once was black-and-white camp became bloody abomination in living colour. Roll was mesmerised. Roll’s parents urged him to pursue a practical career, so he studied economics and accounting. But the absence of a proper film school education did not deter him. He learned his trade by reading books, watching documentaries, and making a movie of his own. When he was 17, Roll wrote, directed, and produced a social drama, called D’Spillauer. The film didn’t earn him industry praise, but it taught him a valuable lesson. “I realised I was more interested in festivals and liaison with productions,” he says. He never made another movie of his own, but has spent the past 30 years working on everything from low-budget indie films to mainstream movies, with eager-to-please novices and never-satisfied starlets. And he loves every minute of it. Luxembourg has a number of film companies making co-productions with others from France, Belgium, Germany and several other European countries, so Roll has found steady work doing what he loves. As an independent line producer/UPM, he makes two to three movies a year; seeing the process through from beginning to end. “I like being a part of the process from building up the script till the movie is on the screen,” he says. “I was born a little bit in Rosemary’s cradle. Everyday is different. You can prepare as much as possible, but then something goes wrong and you immediately have to find a new solution.”
When Roll sees the final result of his hard work and stress on the big screen, he breathes a sigh of relief. Then another project comes along. “It’s a work of continuity,” he says. “At times saying farewell to friends is a bit sad, but often you work with them on another project, so you know you will see them again.” One friend who left a lasting impact is Jean-Claude Schlim, who wrote and directed House of Boys, a film that deals with the reality of AIDS in the 1980s. The film struck a deep chord with Roll and prompted him to volunteer with Stop AIDS Now, an organisation that works to heighten awareness. “The fight against AIDS is far from over,” he says. “More than 25 million people have died and an estimated 30 million people are infected. It’s not only important in Luxembourg, it’s important worldwide because many people are not aware of the risks they face. It’s very important to remind everyday people that they have to protect themselves. If you are hetero and you meet a new partner, are you 100 percent sure he or she is not seropositive? It’s not just for the gay community or the drug addicts, it’s for everyone.” Currently, Roll is volunteering his time planning for World AIDS Day. When he’s not busy with that, he’s involved in the pre-production of a short film and working for the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation, where he is developing an international co-production market for genre movies.
WORLD AIDS DAY
World AIDS Day on December 1 is a chance to learn about HIV and put knowledge into action. If you understand how HIV is transmitted, how it can be prevented, and the reality of living with HIV today, you can take better care of your own health and that of others. You can show your support for people living with HIV on World AIDS Day by wearing a red ribbon, the international symbol of HIV awareness. Call Stop AIDS Now (tel.: 40 42 51) to find out how you can get involved.
ROMAIN ROLL “ The fight against AIDS is far from over”
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