February 2011 – Issue 01 – 4€
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Understanding Luxembourg: current affairs, business, lifestyle, Culture
team building: Leopard Trek’s Brian Nygaard
impressum February - Issue 01
Editor in chief: Duncan Roberts (firstname.lastname@example.org) Journalist: Aaron Grunwald (email@example.com) Photography: Julien Becker, Luc Deflorenne, Etienne Delorme, David Laurent, Andrés Lejona
Phone: (+352) 29 66 18-1 Offices: 10 rue des Gaulois, Luxembourg-Bonnevoie Write to: PO Box 728, L-2017 Luxembourg E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.maisonmoderne.lu
UNDERSTANDING LUXEMBOURG Text: Duncan Roberts — Illustration: Quentin Vijoux
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In accordance with article 66 of the law of 08.06.2004 on the freedom of expression in the media: the company that publishes Delano is indirectly held, by a stake exceeding 25%, by Mike Koedinger, an independent editor registered in Luxembourg. Mike Koedinger is chartered with daily management. Delano™ and Maison Moderne™ are trademarks used under licence by MM Publishing S.A. © MM Publishing S.A. (Luxembourg)
When various national and local government institutions last year commissioned a series of films entitled Is it true what they say…about Luxembourg? they were clearly aiming to promote the Grand Duchy abroad by debunking several popular myths about the country. But, truth be told, some of the questions raised in the films could just as well have been asked by a significant number of ex-pat residents in Luxembourg. The Grand Duchy is a unique place and understanding its traditions, business culture, political system and the vagaries of its social mores can be perplexing, even for those foreigners who have made an effort to integrate. We struggle with references to laws, institutions and history that are obscure to anyone not born and raised here. Language provides another barrier to understanding. Even those of us who read the German and French language press or listen to Luxembourgish broadcast media may often find that detail and subtleties are lost in translation.
Which is where Delano comes in. The aim of this publication is to provide clear and concise information about what is happening in Luxembourg – picking out those topics that affect the international community or that will help them better understand current affairs and the local business environment. That is complemented by a guide to cultural events and lifestyle trends, as well as essential information to help readers make the best out of living in Luxembourg. Quite simply, Delano will be a bridge between Luxembourg and its international community. *The magazine’s name clearly references Franklin Delano Roosevelt, one of the most popular presidents of the United States who was in the White House during the liberation of Luxembourg from the Nazi occupation. One of Roosevelt’s distant ancestors, Philippe de la Noye (later anglicised to Delano) was, according to the European Reading Room at the Library of Congress, thought to be the first Luxembourger to arrive in the United States on the Mayflower’s sister ship, Fortune.
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great_audiences_delano.indd 1 Daniel Buren, Architecture, contre-architecture : transposition. Travail in situ. Mudam Luxembourg 09.10.2010 – 22.05.2011. © Photo : Andrés Lejona
Great Audiences deserve Great Art
46 cover story
LEOPARD TREK General manager Brian Nygaard on the pro-cycling business The fanfare surrounding the launch of the Schleck brothers‘ new team definitely put Luxembourg on the map. Already ranked number one in the world, can the riders live up to expectations?
8 Current affairs
EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT International School’s expansion plans
12 GETTING THE VOTE Can local elections attract non-Luxembourg voters?
FATCA IS COMING How will Luxembourg cope with new regulations?
NETWORKING The American Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg
28 Euro Zone Debt Crisis Can the EFSF perform under pressure?
54 GOING NATIVE Making the most of life in Luxembourg
16 CITY BRANDING
30 Brazilian Banking
18 DIPLOMATIC SURPRISE Cynthia Stroum leaves Luxembourg
32 MIXED PROSPECTS What’s in store for 2011?
56 CULTURE CHOICES From Nicolas Hytner’s Hamlet to David Lynch’s lithographs via Buster Keaton
20 DENNIS HASTERT
38 Gender Gap
How the capital became multiplicity
Bradesco expands in Luxembourg
The former Speaker speaks out
How brands speak to women
22 ECONOMIC FREEDOM INDEX
44 ON THE HORIZON Business event planner
Luxembourg third in the EU
62 EPICUREANS / NIGHT OWLS Thai dining guide, Sergio’s Mojito secret, our favourite shop and more
36 THE VIEW FROM ABROAD Georges Schmit from San Francisco
34 JUNCKER AND THE EU Portrait of a crisis negotiator
40 THINK LOCAL Michael Delano on Luxembourg’s business environment
37 NEW YEAR’S RECEPTION Press council welcomes prime minister
66 MY OTHER LIFE Thomas Seale talks olive oil
42 AUDIOVISUAL SECTOR Film Fund celebrations
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No other watch is engineered quite like a Rolex. The Day-Date II, launched in 2008, enhances the legacy of the original Day-Date, which was the first watch to display the date, as well as the day in its entirety. Now in a larger, more commanding 41 mm size, the Day-Date II is a natural evolution of a classic. The Day-Date II can display the day in a wide choice of languages and is presented here in platinum.
the day- date ii
1PDelano.indd 6 GoeresRW_LW_218206-0047_420x265.indd 1
18.01.2011 16:42:01 Uhr
18.01.2011 16:42:32 Uhr 18/01/11 15:39
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL FORGES AHEAD WITH AMBITIOUS PLANS Ten years after moving from Limpertsberg to a purpose-built facility on the Geesseknäppchen campus in Merl, the International School of Luxembourg is expanding further. Text: Duncan Roberts — Photos: David Laurent / Wide
Chris Bowman: ISL is consciously defining its connection to Luxembourg
State of the art: a science lab in the new Upper School extension
The new ISL extension has been open to students since the beginning of the 2010-11 school year last September, but was officially inaugurated at the end of November by minister for finance Luc Frieden. Its 15 classrooms on five floors include a new art studio, drama rehearsal space, language and maths classrooms and state-of-the-art science labs. Frieden underlined the excellence of the school and its role in helping to attract and retain foreign investors who seek top international education facilities for the families of their employees. Chris Bowman, director at ISL concurs. “The expatriate business community requires places for children of newly arriving families. The government clearly recognises the demand for these places and ISL’s positive reputation in meeting this need. This is evident in the financial assistance and the support ISL receives from the government. We recognize the need to reciprocate by providing these educational opportunities through the quality of our programmes and the provision of spaces for students.” Less than a week after the inauguration, ISL received the welcome news
that its plans for the construction of a new Lower School facility had been officially approved. Ever-increasing enrolment and demand for an ISL education since the school’s move from Limpertsberg to the Geesseknäppchen Campus in 2000 have been the driving forces behind ISL’s expansion projects. Back then the school had a student body of 500, which has almost doubled to 960 for the start of the current school year. Once completed, the expansion programme will further increase capacity at ISL to 1500 students. ECOLOGICAL ISL’s requirements for the new 15,000m 2 Lower School facility had called for a building that is open, bright and visually appealing, employing natural products as much as possible. “ We developed an extensive and extremely detailed brief, which had to be incorporated into the building specifications and design,” Bowman explains. “An important section of this brief focused upon sustainability, ecological efficiency and low environmental impact. As a result there are numerous elements of the ISL2 project which ensure that it will be
a model of environmental efficiency and responsibility. Environmental Label certification will be sought for the building.” As well as being a matter of social responsibility, Bowman says the environmental aspect of the new building is consistent with ISL’s mission to actively instil a sense of global responsibility in its students. But he also hopes it might serve as a positive model for future school projects in the country. Luxembourg architects ARCO won an international architectural competition to which 12 international architecture firms were invited to design the building. They will partner with project manager Paul Wurth, which has been involved in the construction of all the school’s facilities. Gary Haycock, a British architect at ARCO, explains that the design utilises a large ground floor volume floating on a plinth. Above these are a number of blocks, which will house the main classrooms and library, offset at different angles. “The intention is to create a perception of continual movement to the whole building." The new school will be the first building that is visible as you approach Luxembourg City
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ARCO architecture company
Eco friendly: ARCO’s plans for the new Lower School meet a detailed brief
from the south-west and Bowman is also aware that it will serve as a powerful marketing tool within the Luxembourg community and within the wider international community. By utilising local markets and expertise, he says, “we are consciously defining our connection to Luxembourg and its immediate environment.” Ground breaking is planned for this spring, with construction scheduled to be completed for the start of the 2013-14 school year. The new facility will include classroom specifically conceived for different age groups, science labs, drama and art studios a purpose-built physical education space directly adjacent to an outdoor playground, an auditorium and a cafeteria. Once the Lower School vacates the wing of the main building that it currently occupies, the space will be refitted to exclusively serve Upper School programmes. “The provision of separate Upper School and Lower School facilities will enable each division of the school to operate at a more effective, efficient and functional level,” says Bowman.
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The growth of the school will also require additional staff, though ISL does recruit regularly each January based on constantly updated analyses of projected student numbers for the coming school year. Recruitment of staff is predominantly from numerous unsolicited applications the school receive from teachers worldwide, from the local professional pool, and from professionally run teacher recruitment fairs that ISL attends in the UK, Asia, Canada and the United States. The school may well be affirming its place within Luxembourg, as Bowman puts it, but does it really engage with the local schools on the huge Geesseknäppchen Campus? The director is certain it does and sees further opportunities for interaction and crosscampus involvement in the future. “Aspects of the ISL programme which already provide interactive opportunities include the Global Issues Network and musical performances, and I not only expect these interactions to increase but to be enhanced by others.”
SCHOLARSHIP AVAILABLE For the 12 th consecutive year, ISL is offering a full academic scholarship to a qualifying student from the greater Luxembourg community, in recognition of the Grand Duchy’s generosity to the school. The scholarship is open to students aged 15 and over who are not already enrolled at ISL and will cover the final three years of high school. Applicants will have to sit examinations, after which a short list of candidates will be invited to meet a panel of teachers, the Upper School Principal and Higher Education/ Careers Counsellor. Application forms are available from the Upper School Office and must be submitted by 7 March. A two-hour information session is being held at the school on 15 February at 14:00. www.islux.lu
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Local elections 2011
VOTERS WANTED A more inclusive electoral law has come into effect, meaning more non-Luxembourg residents are now eligible to vote. Will it be enough to get foreigners to the polls? Text: Aaron Grunwald — Photos: David Laurent/Wide
The Luxembourg government is looking for more non-Luxembourg residents to participate in local elections that will be held October 9 th. A revamped electoral law makes more foreigners eligible to vote, and even run for local office, with further reforms currently being mooted. Yet doubts remain that the Grand Duchy’s nonnative population will make a significant impact on Luxembourg’s political landscape. As of October 2010, there were only 22,720 foreign residents registered to vote in local elections, according to a research report issued by the Center for Intercultural and Social Research and Training (www.cefis.lu). While this represents an increase in registration of more than 60% since the 1999 local elections, it is still only about a third of eligible voters, compared with more than half of EU citizens who registered for European elections. In a statistical anomaly, the foreign resident election
date Line December 2010 & January 2011
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rolls have actually shrunk by about 5% since the 2005 local elections. That is primarily because Luxembourg’s 2009 dual nationality law means some voters previously defined as foreigners are now also Luxembourgish. Poor Participation Rate Why the relatively low turnout at the polls? Many foreign-born residents are essentially “satisfied with their lives and so not interested in changing things in their commune,” believes Christiane Martin, director of the Luxembourg Reception and Integration Office (LRIO). Laure Amoyel, an official at the LRIO contends that if prospective foreign-born voters knew they had “the power to make an impact” then they would become more involved. After 15 years of living in Luxembourg, “I haven’t voted, I must admit to my shame,” says Keith O’Donnell, managing partner at tax advisory firm ATOZ. The Irishman explains it is a question
More Vel’Ohs The Ville de Luxemdec bourg announced that ten new Vel'Oh stands will be built in 2011, bringing the total to 64 stations. The project will cost about €750,000. Since it launched in 2008, Vel’Oh bikes have been hired more than 360,000 times.
of the “ level of the relevance” of local issues compared with national affairs: “I don’t feel strongly about local issues.” In his view, local politics are merely “reflections of the national parties and national policies.” Luxembourg’s electoral legislation has evolved over the past dozen years to become increasingly inclusive of foreigners, explains Martin. The 1999 ballot was the first time EU citizens could vote and be elected to local councils, although they cannot serve as a mayor or sit on executive boards. This year’s election is open to both EU and non-EU citizens alike, with absolutely no restriction on nationality. Martin adds that voter registration will close 86 days before election day, in stark contrast to 18 months before the 2005 poll. To boost registration rates, the LRIO recently unveiled a multi-lingual promotion campaign called “I can vote” which it hopes will help foreign residents identify more personally with the
Jean Monnet 2 Cologne architects dec JSWD won the “Jean Monnet 2” building design competition. The new €340 million tower will host 1,900 European Commission staff when it opens in 2016. The neighbouring “Jean Monnet 1” will then get a two year makeover.
Preservation order dec The Château des Septfontaines was placed under a conservation order by the Service des sites et monuments. The decree protects the Villeroy & Boch-owned 18th century villa and grounds which are currently used as an events venue.
Christiane Martin: wishes more foreign-born voters knew they have “the power to make an impact”
Voter Registration Drive The agency is also working with community organizations--such as Rancho Folclorico Provincias de Portugal and Associacao de Pais de Ettelbruck--to reach potential voters at the grassroots level. At the same time, the LRIO is actively looking to partner with a wider group of community associations, espe-
New head student dec Martine Krieps was elected president of the ACEL association of student groups. The 26 year old is a law student at the University of Luxembourg. The ACEL represents some 10,000 students, both in Luxembourg and abroad.
cially those representing nationals of African and neighbouring European countries. Local authorities are responsible for primary schools and childcare facilities, municipal registration (births, deaths, marriages and partnerships), garbage and recycling, town planning, transport and mobility, and social housing, among other issues. “If you don’t want a motorway going through your back yard, you have to get involved,” says Amoyel. However, for her, participating in local politics goes beyond simply being able to complain about the roads not being gritted properly in
Communists turn 90 jan Luxembourg’s communist KPL party celebrated its 90 th anniversary. The KPL, today led by the Zeitung’s Ali Ruckert, was founded by members who split from the socialist party in 1911 over affiliation to the International Communists.
It’s an integration issue” Laure Amoyel
winter: “It’s an integration issue.” Sometimes people are simply “not aware of what’s happening in Luxembourg,” she states. “It is a question of shared responsibility.” While the registration campaign obviously seeks to increase voter turnout, Amoyel explains, it also aims
issues. In addition to flyers and posters being distributed in commune facilities, the agency launched a new voter information website (www.icanvote.lu) --all available in English, French, German and Portuguese.
HRH Grand-Duc Jean celebrated his 90 th birthday.
Esch theatre is back jan The municipal theatre in Esch reopened following two years and 16 million euros worth of renovation work that includes tunnel access with the adjacent car park, new backstage technical facilities, and a new restaurant run by Favaro.
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to encourage more foreign-born residents to take part in the community. A draft law is currently being considered by the Chamber of Deputies that would allow non-Luxembourgers to serve as mayor or executive board members, which Martin says would be “a big step forward.” She admits it is sometimes disconcerting that only about half of Luxembourg’s residents make political decisions impacting the whole country. “If more non-nationals vote, it will make politicians change their priorities.” Martin adds that even if political figures see more non-Luxembourgish voters on their lists and active in parties, “that will make a lot of things change.” Potential Reforms O’Donnell says he “would definitely vote in national elections” if it were possible. “In fact, that’s one reason I’m considering applying for dual nationality.” He argues greater political participation would “create more loyalty and attachment to Luxembourg” amongst foreign-born workers. In addition, O’Donnell believes that-while unusual--somehow opening up national elections would force the Grand Duchy’s political parties to take into greater consideration the views of non-native stakeholders, who despite constituting a major portion of Luxembourg’s economic and social fabric, often lack a political voice. While the debate is far from closed, Martin notes that commune offices across the Grand Duchy will be open Saturday, June 18th, as part of a National Day registration drive.
Fixerstube plans jan Luxembourg City mayor Paul Helminger revealed plans for new provisional containers for the Fixerstube in Bonnevoie. He told the Luxemburger Wort the city is still keen to build a permanent site for the needle exchange and addict hang out.
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Luxembourg Reception and Integration Office: launched a multi-lingual promotion campaign to increase voter registration among foreign-born residents
For information on how to register to vote, see article on page 55.
British departure jan Peter Bateman, Britain’s ambassador to Luxembourg since 2007, was named ambassador to Azerbaijan. He previously served in Berlin, La Paz and Tokyo, as well as in the City of London. Bateman leaves the Grand Duchy at the end of March.
15 • jan
The Gëlle Fra exhibition welcomed its 20,000 th visitor.
Back from Tunisia jan 121 Luxair-Tours holiday makers returned from Tunisia on a Luxair flight laid on especially for their repatriation. Foreign minister Jean Asselborn had appealed for their return. Around 20 clients declined the offer of an early flight home.
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Wishing you a very successful 2011
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VILLE DE LUXEMBOURG IS MULTIPLICITY
With the help of Brussels-based consultants Minale Design Strategy and local communications agency Binsfeld, the capital city has developed a new claim. Text: Duncan Roberts — Photo: Olivier Minaire
Eagle-eyed residents and visitors to Luxembourg City will have noticed a change to the Ville de Luxembourg’s lion logo since the start of the year. The word “multiplicity”, with colourful “i”s has been added beneath the lion’s mane. The new claim is the brainchild of Brussels design and strategy consultants Minale, which was charged with finding a slogan that defined--in the words of city mayor Paul Helminger --“what we are… and, equally importantly, what we want to be.” Minale was provided with a brief following a process initiated by the Ville’s city management and communications teams. They launched a series of workshops involving city departments as well as market analysis during which criteria were established and the values of the city were clearly defined. “If you want to sell or promote a product, you have to be fully aware of what the characteristics of that product are. And a city is no different,” says City Manager Geraldine Knudson. As Pascale Kauffman, head of public relations at the Ville de Luxembourg, points out, it was also important that those who live, work and visit the city accept the values defined by the new slogan. “Because once they do accept them as being the true values of the city, they become ambassadors of the brand.” So Minale tested its ideas on both local and ex-pat residents before submitting the “multiplicity” idea. The thinking, after all, was not just to change the city’s logo, but to create a real brand
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Pascale Kauffman and Geraldine Knudson: those who live and work in the city will become ambassadors of the multiplicity brand
that would express the very idea of the capital and that could be used for a multitude of marketing purposes. Pascale Kaufman suggests that cities that create strong but simple brands, such as “I New York” or “I amsterdam” have been successful in ways that other cities, whose marketing efforts are muddled by lengthy explanations, can only dream of. The multiplicity brand was enthusiastically welcomed by everyone involved-and most importantly by the mayor and the college of aldermen. “The fact that we have chosen multiplicity as our claim is both an acknowledgement of and support for the diversity of the city,” says Paul Helminger.
Local communications specialist Binsfeld then developed the visual identity. “We fairly quickly decided that we would have to develop the visual aspect of the claim, of the word multiplicity itself,” explains Marc Binsfeld. The Binsfeld team eventually selected a logotype that would be distinctive, but that could also be easily married with the existing Lion logo. And it picked out the three “i”s as the distinctive feature, a strong visual element that can be used for a multitude of marketing purposes. “The new visual reflects on the people, the colourful aspect of Luxembourg,” says Knudson.
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US AMBASSADOR STROUM RESIGNS
IT’S BEEN A GOOD OR BAD MONTH FOR:
Just over a year into what is usually a three to four year appointment, US ambassador Cynthia Stroum leaves Luxembourg.
An article in Time magazine listing “Five reasons to visit Luxembourg” may provide a much needed shot in the arm. The essentials picked by author Leo Cendrowiz are the capital city, the cycle path network, Vianden, the Echternach “Sprangprozessioun”, and the spa at Mondorf-les-Bains. Ann Wagner The former US ambassador to Luxembourg placed last in the first round of voting for the post of Republican National Committee Chair. Wagner had at one stage been among the top three favourites to win the race, but Republicans eventually plumped for Wisconsin party Chairman Reince Priebus. Minale Design Strategy Work by the international Brussels based consultants has had a significant impact on Luxembourg this month. The bureau is responsible for the concept of the Ville de Luxembourg’s new “multiplicity” claim and also lists the branding of cycle team Leopard Trek among its achievements. National football team It’s tough enough for the Red Lions, but when Dan Da Mota, Ben Payal and Stefano Bensi from F91 Dudelange failed to turn up for training, and coach Luc Holtz ruled them out of selection as a consequence, the job became even harder. Luxembourg plays France in a Euro 2012 qualifier on 25 March.
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The tourist industry
Cynthia Stroum: need to focus on family and personal business
Speculation was rife in mid-January after US ambassador Cynthia Stroum announced, out of the blue, that she was resigning from her post with almost immediate effect. Stroum, who officially leaves her post on 31 January, issued a statement to say that she is resigning for personal reasons. “The reality is that I now need to focus on my family and personal business.” Some local commentators, however, suggested that the catalyst behind Stroum’s decision may have been that she was one of the diplomats caught up in the Wikileaks scandal. The whistle-blowing website released an alleged memo from her to the State Department commenting on the visit to Luxembourg for former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg. In the memo Stroum suggested that Begg had delivered an "articulate, reasoned presentation” during a screening of documentary film Taxi to the Dark Side. "Mr Begg is doing our work for us…" she wrote. Stroum reacted strongly to the leaks, sending an open letter to the local media at the end of November in which she claimed she could not “verify
the authenticity” of the documents published by Wikileaks and condemned the website in no uncertain terms. She claims that her brief time in Luxembourg has been a challenging and rewarding experience. “While I will be returning home to Seattle, I will always have great affection for Luxembourg as my second home.” Stroum was appointed by Barack Obama in September 2009 but did not arrive to take up her post until December of that year. The daughter of Seattle self-made man and philanthropist Sam Stroum, she is a successful business woman and patron of the arts and contributed to Obama’s presidential campaign. Her reward was the ambassadorial appointment, as is so often the case in the United States. Indeed, the last “career” diplomat to serve as US ambassador to Luxembourg was Edward Rowell between 1990 and 1994. Arnold Campbell, the deputy chief of mission will take over the running of the embassy until a new ambassador is DR appointed.
A community in Print.
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The British Chamber of Commerce welcomes Delano. The British Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg organises regular events with expert speakers focusing on current issues, as well as social events. For more information, to register, and to join the Chamber, visit www.bcc.lu or call +â€‰352 465 466.
The perpetual coach The longest serving Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives was a fourth generation Luxembourger. The former coach still enjoys watching those he mentored on “the Hill” and still has forthright opinions.
Almost exactly ten years ago a fourth generation Luxembourger came mightily close to being--at least temporarily --the most powerful man on the planet. Dennis Hastert was close to two years into his term as leader of the House of Representatives when the outcome of the presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore hung by the thread of a few chads and successive legal challenges. Such was the uncertainty, that by early December 2000 the notion was being touted that Hastert would have to step up to the plate at noon on January 20, 2001, when President Bill Clinton’s term as president officially ended. It is not something that Hastert reflects on now. Indeed at the time he was busy laying the groundwork for a fully functioning Congress by holding talks with senior Democrats such as Dick Gephardt. That is, by all accounts, Hastert’s style. “You serve at the pleasure of the members of the Congress,” he says. “So it is not something that you impose on people. It is something that they ask you to do. Few have the honour. It was a hard job, a job that you loved at the same time.” When Hastert retired from the office of Speaker, most reports – even those writ-
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Text: Duncan Roberts
ten by commentators who did not agree with his politics – paid tribute to a man who shunned attention and gave praise to his colleagues rather than take the plaudits for himself. And they agreed that he was someone who had tried, at least in the early days of his tenure, to work with Democrats and create some sort of consensus on many issues. Hastert’s great-grandfather, Christian, had emigrated from Osweiler (near Echternach) in the late 1860s and
ended up settling in Aurora, Illinois. “I spent a lot of time with my grandfather and enjoyed his cooking and stories about his father. We lived in town with lots of Luxembourgers, and our family business dealt with them on a daily basis,” he now recalls. CULTURAL ROOTS The Speaker made three trips to Luxembourg while in office and he fondly recalls being warmly received in Osweiler. “The whole village turned out
and I met more Hasterts than I ever knew existed,” he says. The visits were also used to strengthen ties between the two countries, as Hastert took time to meet with Luxembourg’s political leaders and the Grand Duke. But those relations, which have always been excellent, were soured somewhat by the criticism dished out by Luxembourg-along with other nations from what Donald Rumsfeld labelled “the old Europe”--of the 2003 military operation in Iraq. So, do Americans still think in terms of “new” and “old” Europe? “Americans are always looking back to their roots, and I think sometimes Europeans forget that most Americans came from Europe. They often see Americans as being maverick or cowboys, but I think Americans are very much basically rooted in the same cultural ideals as Europeans. But we also know that Europe has become more Euro-centric and inward looking and sometimes looks at the United States as an adversary. We see that Europeans shun us in favour of a pro-central European alliance.” Nevertheless, Hastert, now a consultant at law firm Dickstein Shapiro LLP, is keen to maintain ties with Luxembourg. “We still work closely with the Luxembourg embassy on a lot of issues pro bono,” the former Speaker explains. And he is involved in the continued development of the Luxembourg American Cultural Center in Wisconsin, together with his son, Ethan, who sits on the board. “Ironically, it is in a place called Belgium. But it is somewhere Americans can go to search out their Luxembourg roots.” Looking back on his time as Speaker, Hastert insists that Congress did much to help improve and build relationships around the world. “We worked to help countries like Lithuania come into NATO. And I spent a lot of time working to make a place like Colombia drug free - we have basically helped rescue that democracy. So, internationally we did a lot of things, as much as we could as a Congress.” He
luxembourg visit: Dennis Hastert signs the livre d'or at the Chambre des Députés in December 2004
We see that Europeans shun us in favour of a pro-central European alliance” would like to see that relationship building continue in both the political and economic sphere. But Hastert recognises that, like most countries in the world, getting its fiscal house in order should be America’s top priority. “We need to throttle back on spending and pay down debt.” So, does he miss being involved in the decision making process, the cut and thrust of public life? “I am close enough. A lot of the people who I have mentored in Congress today have leadership roles either in committees or in the leadership of the House. I guess as an old coach you want to see your people have success and I think that is what is happening now.”
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE J. Dennis Hastert served as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from January 6, 1999 until January 3, 2007. He had been elected to the House in 1987 to serve Illinois’ 14th Congressional District and was later Chief Deputy Majority Whip in the 104th Congress. Born in January 1942 in Kane County, Illinois, Hastert graduated with a B.A. in economics from Wheaton College in 1964 and went on to gain an M.S. in philosophy of education from Northern Illinois University. In 2008 he joined Dickstein Shapiro LLP as a member of the firm’s Public Policy & Law Practice. He has been honoured by the governments of Japan, Colombia, Lithuania, and Luxembourg for his contributions to international relations and his public service.
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Economic Freedom Index
LUXEMBOURG THIRD IN THE EU
Jacky Beck, Country manager Luxembourg and France, Utopia S.A.
DR: Why has the utopia been renovated now? JB: It was high time. We are a young team at Utopia S.A. and the Utopia cinema has always been the company’s pet, it was always treated differently. We want it to retain its identity, just as the Utopolis on the Kirchberg should have its own identity. But if we could no longer identify with the old design, if we thought it was no longer cosy, then we guessed audiences couldn’t either. DR: What exactly has changed apart from the décor? JB: Nico Simon, the group’s CEO, actually gave us carte blanche. We changed the bar and the ticket offices and have created a lounge space. We wanted to offer customers something different, a new range of specialist coffees and a bar serving alcohol and finger food. The Tom Notebaert architecture bureau designed the interior and Belgian artists Nic & Balboa created the new neon sign. DR: HOW HAVE THE LONGSTANDING REGULAR AUDIENCE REACTED? JB: Well we were a bit worried that it might be a culture shock. Without patronising the regular audience, we wanted to make sure it was still “their” Utopia. The Utopia programme is very different, but we have also attracted new audiences with our Live from the Met and National Theatre live programmes.
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The Grand Duchy is the third freest economy in the EU, fourth freest in Europe and 13th freest in the world, according to a study published this month by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. Luxembourg earned 76.2 out of 100 points in the Index of Economic Freedom--published jointly by the conservative US think tank and America’s largest daily newspaper--up 0.8 points from last year. The study finds the country performs well in “entrepreneurial activity” but “performs weakly in such areas as fiscal freedom, government spending, and labour freedom.” Luxembourg ranks first in the world in investment freedom, earning a score of 95 out of 100, outpacing Denmark, Hong Kong and Ireland (90 each), as well as Singapore and the United States (75). T he report’s authors note: “Bureaucratic procedures, including those for licenses and permits, are streamlined and transparent, and there is far less red tape than in larger European countries.” In financial freedom, Luxembourg ranks behind Denmark (90), ties with Switzerland (80), and leads Belgium, France and Ireland (70). “As a global financial hub, Luxembourg’s sophisticated banking sector is well capitalised and competitive,” the study says. “Regulations are transparent and effective.” The researchers say Luxembourg (44.1) fairs poorly in labour freedom, scoring lower than Denmark (92.1), Switzerland (87.8), Ireland (77.5), Belgium
The Grand Duchy is one of most economically free countries in the world, a new US report finds. In which measures does it lag neighbours?
Heritage Foundation: Luxembourg ranks first in the world in investment freedom
(71.0), and even France (51.4). The Grand Duchy does, however, manage to scrape past Germany (40.6). “Luxembourg’s labour regulations are burdensome. Unemployment benefits are almost twice as high as those in neighbouring countries. The minimum wage is one of the highest in the OECD and labour union membership stands at over 50 percent of all wage earners.” The authors explain that “higher levels of economic freedom” are “associated with higher per capita incomes,” and “strongly correlates to overall well-being, which takes into account factors such as health, education, security and personal freedom.” AG The study is available online at www.heritage.org/Index/
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FATCA IS COMING New US financial reporting rules are likely to touch every Luxembourg bank and investment fund. With almost two years to go, why are tensions running so high? Text: Aaron Grunwald — Photos: David Laurent/Wide
New US regulations could potentially impact every financial institution around the world, including all those in the Grand Duchy. With less than two years before the rules take effect, tension within the financial community is mounting. One reason: the stakes are high. Non-compliant foreign banks and investment funds will face an automatic 30% withholding tax on all US revenue, applied across the board to all their own and all their client accounts. The Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) passed the United States Congress in March 2010. A US Treasury Department spokesperson in Washington told Delano that “FATCA is intended to assure the vast majority of Americans that fulfill their taxpaying responsibilities that others are not taking advantage of offshore accounts to evade those responsibilities.” The legislation creates a new requirement for any financial institution that deals with any US citizen, in any country in the world, to report account bal-
date Line December 2010 & January 2011
24 - delano - February 2011
ances and total transaction values to the Internal Revenue Service. This is a notable shift from the 10-year-old Qualified Intermediary (QI) system, which required internationally-based institutions to report on any US source income, such as trades in US securities, says Frederic Batardy, tax advisor at KBL European Private Bankers and chairman of the QI working group at the European Banking Federation. That means there could be “no link between US territory” and some of the reported income, says Rüdiger Jung, head of legal and tax and member of the executive committee at the Luxembourg Bankers’ Association. “This is something which some people put into question, because this touches on the sovereignty of the state in which the financial institution is located.” Regulations Still Unclear In August 2010, the IRS published its first guidance for foreign financial institutions, a circular called Notice 2010-60. Jung says the document is too
LABOUR COSTS UP Eurostat said hourly dec labour costs in the Eurozone rose 0.8% during the first nine months of 2010, the lowest increase since 2000. In Luxembourg, hourly labour costs in the third quarter of 2010 rose 2.8% compared to same period last year.
unclear and “raises more questions than it gives answers.” This creates a problem from a technology perspective, explains Batardy, since IT departments normally need at least two years lead time between implementation and the moment regulations are 100 percent finalized. He says some Luxembourg banks may face major challenges, because their IT teams are not sure they can design and build systems that will comply with the still unfinalized rules. However, Nigel Fielding, country CEO at HSBC Luxembourg, says his IT team already has a handle on FATCA. “Yes, it’s a challenge, but it is doable.” He is “not concerned about”
Is it using a sledgehammer to crack a nut?” Nigel Fielding (HSBC)
UCITS IV Luxembourg became dec the first country to adopt the EU’s new investment funds directive. Under UCITS IV, asset managers can operate more freely across borders, but must provide more standardized documentation to investors. The law takes effect July 1st.
STEEL SPINOFF ArcelorMittal pubdec lished a prospectus and demerger plan for the proposed flotation of its stainless steel division. French newspaper Les Echos reported earlier that financial analysts value the new company, Aperam, at US$3.4-4.2 billion.
missing the 2013 deadline: “I don’t know what the cost will be yet,” but since it is global legislation, HSBC is essentially able to develop a single solution for all its 80 markets. The Joint Committee on Taxation of the US Congress estimates that FATCA implementation would raise $8.7 billion over ten years. However, many in Luxembourg’s financial community are unconvinced the incremental tax revenue justifies the industry’s anticipated expenditures. “Everyone is shocked by the enormously disproportionate cost of compliance, compared to the potential benefit to the US Treasury,” says Jung. While none of the financial executives interviewed by Delano disclosed their estimated compliance costs, Jung believes the figures will be significant. “Imagine a huge investment fund in Luxembourg with 500,000 retail investors. If the fund now has to rescreen all these clients, you can imagine what this costs.” At the same time, Jung questions the need for collecting additional information about clients. He notes that Luxembourg banks have a decade of experience working with the QI rules, and random audits have demonstrated that Luxembourg banks “ know our clients”
€100 MILL. SNOW Belgium’s transport dec sector lost €100 million due to snow-related road closures in the Grand Duchy, reported the Luxembourg Confederation of Commerce. The trade group said more than 30,000 trucks were stopped for at least 60 hours in December.
Rüdiger Jung: complying with FATCA will force banks to violate EU privacy rules
and there has been full compliance. Fielding is more sanguine about FATCA. He sees a parallel with the European Union Savings Directive, implemented in 2005, that also required sharing of information--between EU countries--in the face of financial penalties. “That was a significant change, and a significant cost of compliance,” he explains. “All of these things do drive up the cost of business. But if that’s what governments want, that is what will happen. And we want to comply properly, and in line with the timetable.” Rules Too Burdensome? FATCA requires banks to file reports on all US citizens or residents, not just on financial transactions involving the US, Jung explains. If someone born in
END OF HOLDING 29 The last Holding 1929 dec Company ceased to exist. The vehicle allowed noncommercial firms to benefit from several tax exemptions, but were ruled illegal by the European Commission in 2006. More than 9,000 were still in operation in February 2010.
the US has lived abroad for years, banks may not know they are a US citizen and therefore will likely breech the new rules inadvertently, Jung submits. “Obviously this is like finding a needle in a haystack.” The US Treasury downplays the potential impact: “These requirements generally represent simplified requirements when compared to the extensive reporting domestic financial institutions are required to provide to the IRS.” Fielding agrees: “We have a lot of that data through our existing account opening, know-your-customer” and QI processes. He says although there is still much work to be done, “it’s not like we’re starting from scratch here.” In complying with FATCA banks run the risk of running afoul of European
The stock index LuxX closed the year over 1500 points.
EU TAKE CHARGE Three new EU finanjan cial regulators began operations. The European Banking Authority, European Securities and Markets Authority, and European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority are chartered with reducing systemic risk.
February 2011 - delano - 25
nigel fielding: implementing FATCA will be a challenge that is doable, like the European Savings Directive was in 2005
privacy laws, Jung contends. EU data protection rules “require the consent of customers for all processing of data. Sending this information to the US is processing of data. So banks have a conflict of interest, because they need the consent of clients” yet still want to comply with US rules. Fielding concurs that data privacy is an area “where the discussion has to happen with the US. There are privacy rules in almost every country, including the US. So you’ve got to get to a balance that’s workable. It happened with the EU savings directive. So it can be done, but it needs to be done sensibly.” Further Discussions Batardy says Luxembourg financiers have no objection to the principle behind FATCA, but “the problem we have is the way it is implemented.” As it stands now, “ banks bear all the costs and all the risks on behalf of the IRS.” “It is clear that everyone should pay their taxes,” Jung emphasizes. “We want to do all we can to help the US on this issue. But we would like to avoid a conflict of laws. We need to discuss ways to harmonize existing and improved European rules with the US. It would help the Treasury if all the banks in the world could adapt to
NEW TO LUXEMBOURG jan The European Corporate Governance Institute agreed with the Luxembourg government to move its headquarters from Brussels. The institute researches and promotes corporate governance best practices.
26 - delano - February 2011
the wishes of the US without having to completely overhaul their national rules.” He also fears the lack of harmonization will open a Pandora’s Box where “international banks have to apply Italian rules to Italian clients, French rules to French clients, German rules to German clients, US rules to US clients” in every jurisdiction they operate in across the world. The US Treasury spokesperson states the IRS and Treasury Department are “in the process of developing further guidance regarding the implementation of the FATCA provisions.” The spokesperson adds that both agencies have “ had several meetings with foreign financial institutions, trade associations, and governments to discuss” FATCA, and plan to continue doing so. Batardy, who himself is currently in discussions with US officials, wants “to
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make sure client reporting rules are done in an adequate way.” If the cost of compliance is too high, he argues the “risk for the IRS is that some banks will be compliant, and some banks will not.” He concludes, “That’s why we are working with Treasury and the IRS: to make the rules so workable that a majority of institutions can opt into the system. There’s no point in making the rules too risky and too complex that banks drop out.” Fielding agrees “some people may make a decision about that. If the cost of reporting is so significant that the withholding route, whilst maybe not pleasant, is actually less expensive and easier to deal with.” And even the upbeat Fielding wonders if FATCA might be too heavy handed: “I’m a little surprised that this method seems necessary.” He adds: “Is it using a sledgehammer to crack a nut?”
NEW RBC DEXIA CHIEF jan RBC Dexia Investor Services named Sébastien Danloy as its new Luxembourg managing director. He will join the fund administrator May 2, pending regulatory approval. Danloy moves from Société Générale.
ICBC GROWS China’s largest bank jan said it will expand its European operations. It will double its branch network in Europe to serve both Chinese and local clients, ICBC head Jiang Jianqing told a news conference at the firm’s regional headquarters in Luxembourg.
10.01.2011 17:35:05 Uhr
European Financial Stability Facility
FIRST EU BONDS
Chartered with helping Euro-governments get their finances in order, can the Luxembourg-based EFSF perform under pressure?
Jean Guill, head of Luxembourg financial regulator CSSF, was elected to the European Securities and Markets Authority’s management board. The Paris-based ESMA is the new pan-EU securities watchdog. Guill serves as one of six representatives of national supervisors from across the EU27. esma.europa.eu
GDP UP 3.6%
STATEC published initial GDP figures for the third quarter of 2010. It estimated Luxembourg’s overall economy grew 3.6% in comparison to the third quarter of 2009, while the real estate sector was up 2.3% and financial services were down 1.2%. www.statec.lu
Flagstone Reinsurance issued $210 million in three-year catastrophe bonds late last month. The bonds help the company cover hurricanes and earthquakes in the US and Japan, and windstorms in Europe. The company issued $175 million in catastrophe bonds in late 2009. www.flagstonere.com
FRENCH MOST WANTED A study conducted at the University of Luxembourg of job vacancy adverts in the Luxemburger Wort has revealed that French is by far the most sought after language by employers. French was required by 61.1 percent of ads in the Wort. However, a study of L’Essentiel ads showed that in 35.7 percent of cases no language was specified. www.uni.lu
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The Council of the European Union
On January 5 the EU successfully placed a €5 billion bond issue, and the funds will be dispersed to Ireland. It was the first bond offering managed by the Luxembourg-based European Financial Stability Facility, created last year in response to the Euro-zone’s sovereign debt crisis. With dozens more bond issues on the horizon, the EFSF finds itself playing a critical role in stabilizing European governments’ finances, despite being limited by relatively short lifespan. The financial markets’ response to the EFSF has been quite positive to date. It received the highest credit rankings from ratings agencies Standard & Poor’s, Fitch and Moody’s; its first bond issue was three times oversubscribed within an hour; and the Japanese government said it intended to buy about 20% of the second tranche. The EFSF is theoretically authorized to issue up to a total of €440 billion in bonds, to support any Euro-zone country. However, only about €250 billion has been explicitly guaranteed by the 16 Euro area member states. At press
Klaus Regling: left, with Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker and European Economy Commissioner Olli Rehn
time, Euro-zone finance ministers were discussing doubling the guarantees in order to further boost market confidence, with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso telling Reuters a decision could be made as soon as early February. SMALL AND FOCUSED During a speech in Singapore late last year, CEO Klaus Regling, said the EFSF only has a staff of about a dozen. “The lean structure is possible because the German Debt Management Office and the European Investment Bank provide operational support to the EFSF.” “The EFSF has been created as a temporary crisis mechanism until 2013,” Regling went on to explain. A permanent crisis resolution body, the European Stability Mechanism, will begin operations when the EFSF closes shop in three years time. “The funding and the lending activities of the ESM will be very similar to the operation of the EFSF,” Regling said. “The key difference will be the involvement of private creditors in a crisis AG resolution on a case-by-case basis.”
2011_ATOZ_sieges_V33_PAperjam_26Page 1 17/01/2011 17:22:55
DRIVING YOU TO SUCCESS
G BOUR OURG LUXEM M LUXEMB LUXEMBOURG TAX FIRM LUXEMBOURG R A E Y AR THE YEAR TAX FIRM OF THE YEOF OF THE YEAR
R M D X FI EAN X FIR XANTA THE OP TA A OF EUR IRECT AR - T IND THE YE F O
8 2 1020029002007 0 006 2
BRAZILIAN BANK GETS BIGGER Strategic Insight found that Luxembourg-domiciled funds accounted for nearly half of all Alternative UCITS assets and new asset flows from January through September 2010. The research firm said the “industry is anticipating a ramp up in 2011.” www.alfi.lu
The European Commission launched a review of the three-year old Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, one of the key regulatory frameworks that allows investment firms to operate freely across the EU. The deadline for replies is February 2. www.ec.europa.eu/internal_market/ securities/
Clearstream and Spanish markets operator BME launched a pan-European OTC derivatives trade repository. REGIS-TR says it is first to give clients and regulators “a consolidated global view” of OTC derivative positions. Based in Luxembourg, initial users include Banco Sabadell and BBVA. www.regis-tr.com
Support FOR ETHIOPIA
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa presented a
donation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to an Ethiopian microfinance project. “Harbu provides access to financial services for rural Ethiopians in areas traditionally not served by conventional banks,” says the ministry. www.cooperation.mae.lu
30 - delano - February 2011
Brazil’s second largest lender has expanded its operations in the Grand Duchy. Banco Bradesco’s Luxembourg office now serves as the European and Middle Eastern headquarters for the firm’s commercial, investment and private banking services, a company spokeswoman told Delano. The 68-year-old bank--listed on the São Paulo, New York and Madrid exchanges--has been expanding its business outside Brazil to match increased demand for Brazilian bonds and equities in global markets, and rising demand from international investors for Brazilian assets. “Europe is one of the largest Brazilian import and export partners,” notes the spokeswoman. The bank--which is also Brazil’s third-largest debt underwriter and Latin America’s largest insurance company--says it will augment its staff by 20% worldwide this year. Bradesco has been present in Luxembourg since 2001 via acquisitions of Banco Banespa International and Banco Mercantil de São Paulo. Last year it moved into larger offices, leasing 936 square meters of new space in the Corec Building on avenue de la Porte Neuve, according to real estate advisory firm DTZ. The bank chose to expand in the Grand Duchy “ because of the geographic location of Luxembourg in Europe. It was a logical decision to be here,” explains the spokeswoman. “ The business friendly environment of Luxembourg and the proactivity of its government were key
One of Latin America’s largest and fastest growing financial firms has made Luxembourg its European hub.
elements for this choice,” she adds. The spokeswoman says the bank plans to be “aggressive” in the coming years, and may expand further in the Grand Duchy. Luxembourg did not benefit from all of Bradesco’s recent international growth. The bank’s European brokerage operations are now headquartered at its London office. Its Asian investment banking business moved from Luxembourg to Brandesco’s newly opened office in Hong Kong, which will address the firm’s recent increase in Chinese and Japanese clients looking for Brazilian trade and investment opportunities. AG
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ROUGH ROAD AHEAD? Luxembourg financial leaders are cautiously optimistic as 2011 gets under way. What challenges and opportunities does the Grand Duchy’s economy face? Text: Aaron Grunwald — Photos: David Laurent/Wide
“I think the key word is uncertainty,” says Alain Kinsch, country managing partner of Ernst & Young Luxembourg, when asked for his outlook on 2011. It was a sentiment shared by other economic leaders interviewed by Delano. Significant challenges face Luxembourg this year--not least of which is a sense the fallout from the economic and financial crisis is not fully complete--and much reform is still needed. Nevertheless, they report the Grand Duchy’s financial centre remains robust and that further economic diversification is starting to take shape. “Consumer confidence is still very low,” affirms Kinsch. “People are saving too much.” However he notes that “Luxembourg GDP is forecast to grow this year by three percent, double the Eurozone average. That is good, but far from the growth we’ve had” in previous years. Yet “Luxembourg still has inherent competitive advantages which other countries can’t copy,” he maintains. Kinsch points out the Grand Duchy became the first country to adapt UCITS IV, the EU’s new investment funds directive, into national law. He also predicts Luxembourg will be first to transpose the Directive on Alternative Investment Funds Managers when the final text is
32 - delano - February 2011
Keith O’Donnell: wants Luxembourg to develop more high-value-add offerings
agreed this year. Such speed will help the country remain a major funds centre, he reckons. At the same time, “we clearly need to reinvent private banking,” says Kinsch. “The clientele has changed.” He continues: “It’s a new environment. New clients will come for top-line services” and not banking secrecy. He also expects a shakeout in the sector. “There will be fewer private banks in the future, not more. Some will no longer be profitable,”
he predicts, since the emerging middle market client-base provides banks with lower margins than the disappearing high-end customer pool. In response, “some banks will concentrate on the EU, and some will focus on new markets such as Brazil, Latin America, China and the Middle East.” Growing Diversification Outside of finance, Kinsch would like to see the Grand Duchy build more
John Parkhouse: some the best opportunities for Luxembourg firms this year in the Greater Region Alain Kinsch: optimistic about Luxembourg’s economy in 2011, even though consumer confidence is low
sophisticated services into its logistics cluster, since “this is a sector that continues to grow.” Speaking rhetorically of a plan currently he says is being considered by investors, “Why don’t we have in Luxembourg a high end packaging facility --for example, to package medicines--that could be right next to the airport? Logistically it would make much sense.” John Parkhouse, Central Region (Europe and Middle East) asset management practice leader at PwC Luxembourg, says his firm aims to make the idea of the Greater Region more of “a reality.” To that end, “we’re looking at our market as much broader than just Luxembourg” but including the neighbouring regions of Belgium, France and Germany. He explains “we are working with our partners” in those countries “to build skills for those markets” and to “align our resources” to meet client needs “outside of Luxembourg’s borders.” He sees the strongest opportunities for this expanded approach in the healthcare, mid-sized business and public sectors.
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“ The clearing out process won’t be pleasant.”
Fundamental Questions On a broader note, “We need to get a real handle on what the value proposition of Luxembourg is,” says Keith O’Donnell, managing partner of ATOZ. “Everyone understands financial services are a key pillar of the economy, but it can’t be the whole economy.” Noting already high and growing labour costs, he stresses the Grand Duchy simply cannot compete on price. The long term future of Luxembourg depends on further developing products and services where the value-added justifies high costs, such
Keith O’Donnell, ATOZ
as in automotive components design or in the space sector, he asserts. Kinsch agrees there “needs to be a paradigm shift in Luxembourg.” Noting the Grand Duchy has the highest GDP per capita in Europe--270% of the average-- he warns the economy “won’t go on like this if people don’t change.” He argues there “must be no golden cows” when it comes to revisiting the acquis social. “Everything must be put into question. I do not mean abolishing social insurance or worker protections... of course not! It’s just that rigid thinking inhibits progress.” Parkhouse says a key challenge for Luxembourg is to keep focused on the future and not “sit back and rest on its laurels.” This is particularly true in financial services, where there is increasing regionalisation and globali-
sation. It is increasingly “ less important where things are done. For example, the servicing of Luxembourg funds used to be required by law to be done here in Luxembourg. In principle, now it can be done anywhere in Europe.” “The risk of a large, painful event in 2011 is as high as ever,” says O’Donnell, like a sovereign default or restructuring. He also is watching the risk of a major default in the banking sector, noting several institutions “ haven’t finished cleaning up their books. The chance of a ‘Black Swan Event’ in this regard is pretty significant.” Kinsch agrees: “We’ve only seen part of the write-offs. There’s still €200-300 billion of assets still to be written down” in the banking sector. O’Donnell says many of his clients, along with his firm, are planning for “ defensive” growth. That is to say, they are developing their 2011 business plans with the potential for strong, moderate, zero or even negative economic growth. “You’ve got to be realistic about it,” he explains, citing the potential for currency wars, and governments’ burgeoning budget and debt levels. “2011 may be the year that all gets cleared out, and the clearing out process won’t be pleasant.”
February 2011 - delano - 33
Juncker and the EU
Juncker with Fernando Teixeira Dos Santos, Portugal's finance minister
34 - delano - February 2011
The Council of the European Union
Juncker with Didier Reynders, Belgium's finance minister (left) and Luc Frieden
Luxembourg Prime Minister and Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker under the global media spotlight
The Council of the European Union
Juncker with German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel
The Council of the European Union
Juncker with European Economy Commissioner Olli Rehn
The Council of the European Union
Luxembourg Prime Minister JeanClaude Juncker finds himself at the centre of what may be the Euro zone’s most existential crisis since it came into use in 2002. In his role as Eurogroup chair, Juncker referees the debate between those who want an extension of the Euro zone’s €750 billion rescue fund--such as Belgium, Spain and the European Central Bank--and those who oppose such a move--namely Germany. While the market has responded positively since the programme was introduced last year to counteract Europe’s sovereign debt crisis, many analysts still publicly speculate about a break-up of the currency union. European ministers met in Brussels January 17 and 18 to discuss a revamp of the scheme, in order to calm market fears that Portugal, Greece or other debt-heavy governments might overwhelm the EU’s emergency lending facility. After the talks, Juncker told the press that leaders of the 17 Euro zone countries attained a “very high level of convergence,” but would not be pressed into setting a deadline for concluding the negotiations. With so many opposing currents, Juncker will surely need to call on all his experience at the eye of the EU storm. AG
Juncker with, from left to right, Austrian Finance Minister Josef Proell, Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees De Jager, Luxembourg Finance Minister Luc Frieden, and Tonio Fenech, Malta's finance minister
Juncker with Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihan
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The view from abroad: georges schmit
Luxembourg’s trade and investment office on the west coast is promoting the Grand Duchy to a wealth of technology companies. Text: Duncan Roberts
Georges Schmit Consul General and Executive Director of the Luxembourg Trade and Investment Office San Francisco
A graduated in economics from the Catholic University of Louvain and the University of Michigan, Georges Schmit began his civil service career with the Luxembourg government in 1981. He has been secretary general of the Ministry of the Economy and executive chairman of the National Credit and Investment Corporation. In addition, he has served on the board of directors of companies including ArcelorMittal, SES, Luxembourg P&T, BCEE, Paul Wurth and CTI Systems.
36 - delano - February 2011
It was back in 1986 that Luxembourg opened a Consulate General and Trade and Investment Office in San Francisco. “The then government concluded that the western United States, and in particular California and Silicon Valley, represented a significant source of technology and business opportunities for Luxembourg,” explains experienced civil servant and specialist in economic policy Georges Schmit, who has been in his current post since October 2009. Indeed, as Luxembourg sought to diversify its economy the industry structure and innovative climate of the Pacific states became particularly significant. “ These states are world leaders in sectors such as new materials, information and communication technologies, e-commerce, health technologies and clean technologies.” In addition, the logistics and mutual funds industries in these states are also relevant to Luxembourg’s business climate. Schmit says the business climate on the US west coast is marked by a strong entrepreneurial and innovation culture. “Supported by a network of world class academic institutions and research and development infrastructure, this provides for a high resilience and adaptability of the economy as a whole and for the setting of ambitious goals in technology, business and public policy alike.” The efforts of the Trade and Investment Office in promoting Luxembourg includes hosting trade missions organ-
ised by the ministry of the economy and foreign trade--the last, in March of 2010, in the presence of Crown Prince Guillaume--and visits from the likes of ALFI. More concretely, strategic partnerships and agreements have been signed, such as that with Wafergen Biosystems based in Fremont, California. The agreement will see the developer of genetic analysis systems locate its European headquarters and lab infrastructure in Luxembourg. “That decision certainly provides for increased visibility and credibility as Luxembourg is gaining traction in its efforts to build a European centre of excellence in health technologies. It will help convince other health tech companies to seriously consider Luxembourg for their European business location,” says Schmit. Luxembourg’s advantages, he explains, range from its central location with easy access to the major markets in the EU to its highly productive, multilingual, multicultural business environment. “Its competitive corporate and personal income tax climate, an internationally recognized ICT and logistics infrastructure and, last but not least, an increasingly innovative and knowledge intensive economy,” also play a role. Equally importantly, Luxembourg can offer the employees of foreign companies an international education and high level cultural programme as well as high personal safety standards and exceptional quality of life.
Media Claude François (Télécran)
JUNCKER FORTHRIGHT AT NEW YEAR’S RECEPTION Photos: Olivier Minaire
Jean-Claude Juncker and Josy Lorent (president, press council) Alain Berwick (RTL), Luc Rollinger (RTL) and Pascal Steinwachs (Journal)
Guy Schuller (Service et Information Presse)
Jean-Claude Juncker delivered his usual forthright and humorous off-the-cuff address at the annual New Year’s reception for the press. Before he spoke, however, Josy Laurent, president of the Press Council, delivered the news that the number of accredited journalists in Luxembourg had surpassed the 500 mark for the first time. The prime minister attacked new media laws in Hungary and defended Jean Asselborn’s statements on the subject-he had questioned whether Hungary was a “worthy” president of the Council of the European Union if it went ahead with the law. But Juncker also said that some Hungarian media had taken press freedom too far and had an “ugly character” about them. As always, the prime minister gave modest praise to the local press. But he also seemed to criticize the Wikileaks phenomenon by saying that that the media should not have access to public administration documents. “You should not reveal publicly the intellectual processes of public administrations before DR they have been concluded," he said.
Danièle Fonck (Editpress) and Paul Lenert (Saint-Paul Luxembourg)
Claude Wolf (Revue) Mil Jung (SIP) and Roger Infalt (Tageblatt)
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Different Minds? Barcelona-based brand consultant Marisa Iturbide says marketers could improve their conversations with women.
O3b Networks raised US$1.2 billion to build its high speed Internet-based satellite network, including up to US$230 million from O3b’s largest minority stakeholder SES. The deal helps SES extend its reach into emerging markets. HSBC, ING and Dexia, among others, also back the start-up. www.o3bnetworks.com
GERMAN NETWORKING A new networking group launched for German-speakers in the Greater Region. The German-Luxembourg Economic Initiative (DLWI) aims to serve as an information exchange on doing business in the Grand Duchy, and to promote cross-border economic links. www.dlwi.lu
BCE IS MASTER
Broadcasting Center Europe has received the award of Master from Corporate Media for its production “Is it true... what they say about Luxembourg?” The series of films, made for a number of institutional partners to promote the Grand Duchy, was released early last year. www.bce.lu
SALES-LENTZ BUYS BELGIAN
Travel company Sales-Lentz has completed the purchase of Belgian family business Voyages Léonard, the largest tour operator in Wallonia. The take-over is in line with Sales-Lentz’s programme of expansion outside of the Grand Duchy. www.saleslentz.lu
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SES BACKS O3B
Are men’s and women’s brains so fundamentally different from each other to warrant two distinct marketing cultures? That is the question that will be addressed during a paperJam Business Club (club.paperjam.lu) event on March 3rd , when Barcelona-based brand consultant Marisa Iturbide will present “WOMEN. Lost in translation.” In advance of her speech, Delano asked her how marketers could improve conversations with women. AG: You frequently say “consumers are playing roles.” What do you mean? MI: We are born into a social context built up around our gender that has an enormous impact on our identity and the roles we play. In other words, the social context influences who you are, how you think and what you do and gender roles strongly determine a person’s actions, feelings, lifestyles and consumption habits. Exaggerated claims of gender role differences and consistent gender-biased speech in media and advertising have been used to support [the idea] that the two sexes are better suited to different lifestyles, experiences, products and actions.
Marisa Iturbide: to engage with women, brands need to go beyond gender
AG: What are examples of “exaggerated claims?” MI: You find many examples in the roles typically assigned to women in ads. Many involve a woman’s confinement to the domestic sphere--caring for children, cleaning the house, shopping for groceries and making meals for the family or husband. Women have been portrayed as domestic providers who do not make significant decisions, are dependent on men, and are essentially sex “claims.” Ironically they also reflect the multiple roles that women have to play. AG: Is it possible for brands to reach women and men with the same message? MI: Men and women provide and respond to messages in ways that are much more similar than different. Studies underscore that men and women are basically alike in terms of personality, cognitive ability and leadership. Women’s’ language is very context and mood dependent; so are her needs and desires. Brands need to open their minds to women’s way of thinking, and build and tell stories that go beyond gender to get women to enter their conversation.
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18.01.2011 12:17:38 Uhr 20.01.2011 12:02:13 Uhr
Think local: Michael Delano
“ ORIGINALLY WE WERE HERE ON A TWO-YEAR SECONDMENT” Michael Delano: the US is multicultural, while Luxembourg has different cultures
Each month we ask an established non-Luxembourg resident for their insight into working and living in the Grand Duchy. We begin, auspiciously enough, with PwC’s Michael Delano. Interview: Aaron Grunwald — Photo: David Laurent/Wide
The newly appointed PwC Luxembourg audit partner has lived in the Grand Duchy since moving from New York in 2007. His firm employs about 2,000 people from 54 countries, making PwC one of the largest--and most diverse--employers in the Grand Duchy. Delano counsels several major Luxembourg investment funds, across the UCITS, hedge and fund-of-funds spaces. AG: Why did you decide to move to the Grand Duchy? MD: My wife and I both work in the funds industry. We wanted to live outside the US for a few years, in a place with a large funds market. There were only a few options, but Luxembourg was an easy choice. AG: What was the biggest surprise when you arrived in Luxembourg? MD: We arrived in August and it was a bit strange. No one warned us that August was vacation month in Europe. We thought, ‘where did everyone go??’ Once vacation ended, we were re-assured that people actually lived here.
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AG: What are the big cultural differences you have seen? MD: The US is very, very multicultural, with people from so many different backgrounds, but there’s still an overarching sense of Americanism. Here in Luxembourg... you are working with different cultures. We work very well together, but it’s also interesting to figure out how to work with French, British, Swiss, German clients. Also, the US fund industry generally focuses on the US fund market, and you don’t know much about fund markets outside the US. I like having the opportunity to always learn more about the international funds markets. AG: What have been some of the biggest integration challenges you have had? MD: Neither my wife nor I speak French very well, and that is something I need to work on. The language definitely helps you integrate into the community, both personally and in business. We have so many Francophone friends and professional contacts, and I don’t feel as integrated and informed when everyone has to change the conversation
from French to English so that you can be included. Fortunately we only speak with our nanny in French! AG: What amusing misconceptions about Luxembourg that you have heard? MD: A lot of Americans think it’s in Germany. It is a small country, but very well developed. I think the infrastructure is better than neighbouring countries. AG: Why did you decide to settle permanently in the Grand Duchy? MD: Originally we were here on a two-year year secondment. It’s a common story in Luxembourg! There’s a nice work-life balance that’s very different from New York. You can have a challenging career here and still see your children at the end of the day. AG: What do you think about this magazine’s name, and are you related to the same family? MD: I think it’s neat there’s a Delano magazine, although obviously it has nothing to do with me. I am related to the Philippe de la Noye who went to Boston, although not to the Roosevelt branch. It’s also interesting because now I’m back in Luxembourg.
06.01.2011 14:55:23 Uhr
20 YEARS ON, A NEW ERA FOR FILM FUND Photos: Olivier Minaire
Celebrating its 20th anniversary at the Utopolis cinema in December, Film Fund Luxembourg presented its new logo and unveiled Bob Krieps as the new president of its executive committee. The general directior at the culture ministry takes over from Jean-Paul Zens. The gala event was attended by Crown Prince Guillaume and ministers François Biltgen and Octavie Modert. Film Fund director Guy Daleiden provided a retrospective and a look at the future of the Luxembourg film industry, delighting in the fact that that the industry that started with amateur pioneers has now become a fully-fledged sector of the economy that employs between 500 and 600 people. The Film Fund not only supports film production--by managing direct subsidies and the indirect financial support mechanism of the tax certificate scheme--but also promotes Luxembourg’s audiovisual industry abroad at major events such as the Film Market at the Cannes Film Festival. But the evening belonged to François Biltgen, who delivered a brilliantly clever and witty speech in which he managed in cite the titles of over 50 films made in Luxembourg over the DR last 20 years.
Jacques Molitor (director)
Nico Simon (Utopolis), Paul Lesch (film historian), Guy Daleiden (Film Fund Luxembourg), Pierre Mores (Maréchal de la Cour), Octavie Modert (minister of culture), François Biltgen (minister of communications) Fred Neuen (director) and Max Hochmuth (eldo tv)
Gast Waltzing (composer)
Andy Bausch (director) and Françoise Nilles
Bob Krieps (ministry of culture) Crown Prince Guillaume
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17.01.2011 13:00:41 Uhr
Business events planner
ON THE HORIZON February
THE DEVELOPMENT OF feb E-SERVICES IN LUXEMBOURG
TOP TIPS FOR BUILDING BRAND BUZZ
APSI and the British Chamber of Commerce present a conference facilitated by APSI president Jean Diederich. Speakers include Rick Minor, Former CEO, AOL Europe Services, Gilles Vanderweyen, Partner PwC Luxembourg, Uwe Schnepf, Director of nacamar, Frédéric Foeteler, Sales director, Luxtrust. Time: 17:30 Venue: PWC Luxembourg Organiser: APSI and BCC www.apsi.lu
NOBELUX GET TOGETHER LUNCH
With Serge Saussoy, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers Luxembourg. Time: 12:00 Venue: Hotel Parc Belair Organiser: Nobelux www.nobelux.lu
paperJam Business Club workshop. Boz Temple-Morris facilitates a workshop showing how authentic brand power can be harnessed to drive success in business.
ABAL luncheon with Claude Briade, Deputy General Director at Medecins Sans Frontières Luxembourg.
Time: 08:30-13:00 Venue: Légère Premium Hôtel Organiser: paperJam Business Club www.club.paperjam.lu
PROJECT MANAGEMENT, OUTSOURCING & ITS CHALLENGES
BRITISH CHAMBER feb OF COMMERCE LUNCH
With guest speaker Réné Meyer, Marque Nationale. Time: 12:00 Venue: NH Hotel Organiser: British Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg www.bcc.lu
12TH ANNUAL FUND feb COMPLIANCE CONFERENCE
A focus overview of the main challenges that the compliance function needs to master.
Time: 12:00 Venue: Alvisse Parc Hotel. Organiser: American Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg www.amcham.lu
Time: all day Venue: Kikuoka Golf Club (Canach) Organiser: MGI Management Global Information www.mgi-direct.com
The Indian Business Chamber invites speakers Ashutosh Vaidya, Senior Vice President & Global Head at Wipro BPO Solutions and Alain Maquet, Senior Project Manager, Threon, Luxembourg.
Time: 18:00 Venue: BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg, city centre Organiser: Indian Business Chamber Luxembourg www.ibcl.lu
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IT'S YOUR STORY - nEW feb APPROACHES IN BRANDING AND COMMUNICATIONS
10 • feb
11 • feb
LOGISTICS MANAGEMENT FORUM
B2B fair with conferences and workshops aimed at institutional and private operators in the transport and logistics sector Time: 10:00-19:00 both days Venue: Luxexpo Organiser: Luxexpo and GC Partner www.bcc.lu
15 • feb
4G LEADERSHIP. Mistakes LEADERS MAKe
With John Frank, Tower Training, talking about fast-tracking the young generation born after 1980. Time: 08:30 Venue: Cercle Munster Organiser: Tower Training & Consulting www.ttc.lu
THE LOGIC BEHIND feb LOGISTICS: A CHANCE TO DIVERSIFY THE REGIONAL ECONOMY AT GLOBAL SCALE
paperJam Business Club talk with guest speaker Hjoerdis Stahl, Executive Vice-President at LuxairCARGO explaining how Luxembourg’s and the Greater Region’s economy can benefit from the implementation of the logistics platform.
GRAND PRIX PAPERJAM. feb COMMUNICATION, MARKETING, DESIGN 2011
Awards ceremony followed by winners’ party. Reservation only. Time: 18:30 Venue: Transchapp Organiser: paperJam Business Club www.grandprix.paperjam.lu
Time: 18:30 Venue: to be confirmed Organiser: paperJam Business Club www.club.paperjam.lu
16 • feb
THE NETWORK MONTHLY MEETING
Michael Doyle speaks about the State Pensions system in Luxembourg. Time: 20:00 Venue: Sofitel Kirchberg Organiser: The Network www.the-network.lu
WOMEN. LOST IN TRANSLATION
Time: 18:30 Venue: to be confirmed Organiser: paperJam Business Club www.club.paperjam.lu
NOBELUX BUSINESS LUNCH
With Leif Johansson, President & CEO, AB Volvo.
ALFI SUSTAINABLE AND feb RESPONSIBIE INVESTMENTS CONFERENCE
All-day conference looking at various aspects of SR investing, Carbon finance and forestry funds and LuxFLAG’s Environment Impact Label launch. Time: 08:45-17:30 Venue: Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce Organiser: ALFI www.alfi.lu
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
paperJam Business Club talk by Marisa Iturbide of brandnewoman in Barcelona, examining how brands address women.
Time: 12:00 Venue: Stanhope Hotel – Brussels Organiser: Nobelux www.nobelux.lu
FEMALE BOARD POOL SEMINAR
AmCham all day seminar in partnership with Maison du Coaching, Mentoring et Consulting (MCMC) on International Women's Day. Time: 08:40 (all day) Venue: to be confirmed Organiser: American Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg www.amcham.lu
AmCham lunch talk with guest speaker Viviane Reding, Luxembourg’s European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. Time: 18:30 Venue: Alvisse Parc Hotel Organiser: American Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg www.amcham.lu
FATCA AND ITS IMPACT ON THE BANKING SECTOR
A joint event, hosted by AMCHAM’s Tax and Financial Services Committees, with speakers from Deloitte, Ernst&Young and KPMG. Time: 18:30 Venue: KPMG, Strassen Organiser: American Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg www.amcham.lu
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“ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD CAN’T BUY YOU A SOUL”
The top ranked pro-cycling team in the world is based in Luxembourg. The general manager of Leopard Trek talks about the phenomenal six months it took to build the team, its ambitions and his business philosophy. Text: Duncan Roberts — Photos: David Laurent
Brian Nygaard: not a career person
Rarely has a pro-cycling team been launched to more anticipation or fanfare than Leopard Trek. Ever since the Luxembourg pro-cycling project (as it was then called) was announced last September, news of rider signings, sponsorship deals, organisational structure, has been released in steady drips from the team’s Howald headquarters. The campaign culminated with a press conference that attracted international media to the Coque on the Kirchberg, and a sold-out public unveiling of the team and its colours at the same venue on 6 January. “I think we chose the right strategy to announce the team and the name,” says general manager Brian Nygaard. “Nobody has paid so much attention to the launch of a team before, so it speaks for itself that we got that right. We are not only a sports team, but we want to be a platform for fans and sponsors.” The genial Dane, 36, has been involved with the team building process right from the start. Like many in the pro-
cycling business he had heard rumours about the Luxembourg project while he was still working at Team Sky. Then his former colleague at team Saxo Bank, sports director Kim Andersen, asked him for some advice. “I have seen cycling teams start and crash pretty fast before--Pegasus and before that Mercury --so I told him just to be sure who he was dealing with.” FLAVIO BECCA Who Andersen was dealing with was Luxembourg entrepreneur Flavio Becca, who called Nygaard out of the blue to ask for a meeting in March last year. “He said he was seeking advice and would just need half an hour of my time, but we ended up talking for three hours. He had planned everything and the meeting ended with him offering me the job of general manager of the new team.” Nygaard asked for time to think, but he had been deeply impressed by Becca. And although he returned to his home
in Italy and asked friends for advice, he admits his mind was pretty much made up. “Flavio is a very ambitious man and when he sets out to do something, he does it. He has a capacity to take in information like I have never seen before. I had to really up my game a lot to feel like I was at his level of knowledge about cycling.” Nygaard, who speaks Italian with Becca, says the businessman has been a huge inspiration in the way that he just gets on with doing things. “He is a good example of Luxembourg. He considers himself 100% Luxembourgish and he thrives in this environment.” Realising the offer from Becca was a once in a lifetime opportunity, Nygaard jumped at the chance. “I definitely never thought I would be in this position. I am not a career person. I have just been really, really lucky.” Indeed, Nygaard had originally planned, after completing his MA in philosophy in Denmark, to become an academic. He had already lined up studies for his PhD when he
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Title sponsor: Trek is attached, for now, to the Leopard name
got the opportunity to go on the Tour de France with Bjarne Riis’s CSC team in the summer holiday before the next academic year. He enjoyed it so much that when, the day after the Tour ended, he was asked to join the team as its press officer he immediately said yes. “I would have been a good academic, but I don’t necessarily think I would have been a happy academic,” he explains. Coming from a communications background, he says the last six months have been a crash course in management. Certainly it is a phenomenal achievement to build a cycling team from scratch, even if it was clear from the outset that the team would include the Schleck brothers. “They are two athletes who are already a part of cycling history--almost legends in their own right. So the vision was there. But you need a thousand other things to make a bike team. There are so many details just to get your pro licence, and to get that done in six months… I thought it would be easier to
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send people to the moon in a paper hat.” But Nygaard built up a solid management team whom he is eager to praise --especially senior sports director Kim Andersen. “Fränk and Andy made it clear from the outset that if they were going anywhere, it would be with Kim. He has been a permanent fixture in their careers, and in their personal life. There is none better when it comes to intuition in the ability to pick riders. There are few people I have more respect for in the world of cycling.” LUXEMBOURG PROJECT Although both are Danes, Nygaard says that he and Andersen are absolutely opposite characters who complement each other and share a mutual respect. The manager admits he is impatient and jokes that if the team were a family then Andersen “would definitely be the Mum.” Despite his achievement, Nygaard remains humble about his own management skills.
“A good manager is someone who knows what he doesn’t know.” There is little doubt in Nygaard’s mind that Leopard Trek is a Luxembourg project. Although he has only lived here for five months, he says that everything he has experienced of Luxembourg is what he would like the team to be. “It is almost like a local tribe in an international environment. The team needs that sense of familiarity, that we belong locally, but if you look at the line-up we are truly international.” After the presentation of the team at the Coque--the fruition of those six months of non-stop had work--he says the challenge now is to keep the motivation going. “But I think we also need to
want to “We take cycling back to its roots.”
Essentials: a thousand things are needed to make a bike team
Leopard: the name choice was almost inadvertent
take a step back, because the last six months have gone so quickly. We need to make sure we are true to what we started out with.” As for the team name, which, though alluded to on the team’s website, was not confirmed until the press launch, Nygaard is quite candid. It was chosen, almost inadvertently, by the Luxembourg notary used by Nygaard and Becca to set up the company. They had told the notary that they were not particularly bothered what the company was called, and that he could write down whatever he wanted. “When we returned, he had chosen the name Leopard, and the more I thought about it the more I liked it. A Leopard is a slick, strong and elegant animal. If we are like that as a team I will be happy.” Nygaard has said that the identity of the team will always be Leopard, and whether the Leopard Trek name changes down the line--with a change of sponsorship-remains to be seen. As a former communications director, Nygaard knows
full well the value for maintaining good relations with the press. Even so, he is surprisingly frank and open about the doping scandals that have blighted the sport in the past. “Lots of people have had their hearts broken by cycling over the years. But even with a broken heart you keep falling in love again.” Leopard Trek’s attitude is straightforward. “We have a zero tolerance policy towards doping, but we have no problem talking about it.” Before picking the riders for the team, the sports directors evaluated them and checked their biological passports. Nygaard explains that they were not interested in anyone with a grey area, which is why some riders didn’t join the team. He believes that the introduction of biological passports is of major significance to the sport. “It is important to have external and independent analysis. I honestly think the cheaters are now being caught.” Prior to taking up his current post, Nygaard was employed by Sky--a job
that he says he thought would be a way out of cycling. He frankly admits that he had always been more interested in the media and communications side of his job at CSC and Saxo Bank than in the sport of cycling itself. And he thrives in crisis situations. “I had a lot more fun dealing with the big scandals than when we won the Tour.” He was hired by Sky to integrate the BSkyB and News Corp. marketing platforms with the performance team that grew out of the highly successful British track cycle team. “I found myself in the perfect position of being between a huge media demand and a very high performing mentality.” He left Sky after forming a good working partnership with Dave Brailsford, and although the Team Sky manager was disappointed that Nygaard quit after just eight months, he was also one of the first to congratulate him. And Nygaard does not regret his time at Sky. “I worked eight years in one job and learned a lot,
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Financing and sponsorship
FOUR YEARS SECURED Manager: Nygaard says he thrives in crisis situations
but I learned just as much at Sky in eight months.” Was that because of the difference between a European and a more American style of business management? “It was an extremely ambitious corporate environment, I am not sure if it was American as I have no experience of that. But News Corp basically wants to own the world. They don’t take prisoners.” Nygaard prefers a more go-getting way of doing things, rather than the plethora of reporting and documentation he experienced at Sky. “I would rather create an atmosphere than an Excel file. Everyone needs to be on the same page, I mean we are 60 people spread all across Europe. But I think you can over structure things.” It is this idea of a team character that Nygaard has underlined again and again during the launch of Leopard Trek. “We want to take cycling back to its roots. To be fit and race hard but fair. All the money in the world can’t buy you a soul.” On the other hand, the healthy budget in place for the team over the next four years also
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pays dividends. Leopard Trek has managed to attract some of the world’s best riders and sports directors, as well mechanics and soigneurs who play an equally important role in ensuring that the riders will race well. “If you pay peanuts you get monkeys,” says Nygaard. Indeed, such is the quality of the team-he says they are all “phenomenal athletes” in their own right--that the first official UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) rankings of 2011 places Leopard Trek at number one. That may put additional pressure on the team, but Nygaard has a relaxed attitude and says that it won’t matter if Leopard Trek doesn’t win its first or even its second race. “If I look at the line up I think we can win the biggest races. We have the riders for all types of conditions. There are too many ‘best teams in the world.’ If anyone else wants to claim that title, they are welcome. It is up to us to show it. But we will be humble and keep our feet on the ground. We will take account at the end of the season.”
Although Brian Nygaard is open and frank about Leopard Trek, its finances are not in the public domain. The team is backed by Leopard S.A., the company financed to a large extent by Flavio Becca. Nygaard explains that the team has secured financing for four years, and figures circulating in the media suggest an annual investment of 15 million euros is required to maintain a pro-cycling team of Leopard Trek’s standard. The new team’s name sponsor, bike manufacturer Trek, has won nine of the last 12 Tours de France. There had been rumours that Belgacom, represented in Luxembourg by Tango, might have been a major sponsor. Indeed, research on some cycling blogs reveals that domain names belgacomleopard.com and belgacom-leopard.com were registered in late November. Craft Performance Clothing is among the second-tier of sponsors, which includes Mercedes-Benz Luxembourg and local energy supply company Enovos. Jean Lucius, CEO of Enovos Luxembourg says:"Our support for this international team with its Luxemburg roots is a good match for our sustainable corporate philosophy: 'Energy for today. Caring for tomorrow.’”
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The American Chamber of Business in Luxembourg
ACTIVE AND INFLUENTIAL AFTER 15 YEARS AMCHAM has existed since 1996, when the goal of promoting ties between the US and Luxembourg business communities was first mooted by then ambassador Clay Constantinou (see box).
Since those pioneering days, The American Chamber of Business in Luxembourg has grown to become a highly active and influential business organisation. It lobbies government for changes to local laws affecting business interests, publishes books on the rules, practices and customs of the Luxembourg business environment and hosts numerous events organised by its specialist committees. These committees are run by highly experienced specialists from leading companies based in Luxembourg in the areas of financial services, human resources, information technologies, tax and more. They provide a platform for debate and information exchange that is aimed not only at helping members understand the Luxembourg market, but also to actively improve competitiveness and raise awareness of the relevant issues with the government. “The main objectives of our lobbying activities are to encourage the economic expansion of Luxembourg, to make Luxembourg a better environment for international businesses to operate in, and to promote quality
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of life activities for expatriates and other employees,” says AMCHAM Chairman and CEO Paul Michael Schonenberg. LOBBYING Its lobbying activities focus on such topics as general taxation, education or work permits. The latter has been a particular hobbyhorse of the chairman, who is especially keen to see an improvement in work permit regulations for travelling spouses from outside the European Union. Many of those spouses, he says, have had successful careers in the United States, for example, and find it frustrating that they are hindered in seeking to continue their careers in Luxembourg. During his time as chairman, Schonenberg says he has noticed that local politicians have started to become much more international in their outlook. For instance, the decision to offer an English-language Baccalaureate at the Athénée de Luxembourg, plus its continued support of the International School of Luxembourg, is a clear sign that the government is aware of the
need for Luxembourg to improve its education offer to expatriates. The Grand Duchy, after all, needs to attract a pool of quality talent, many of whom expect their children to be able to take up an English-language curriculum that offers continuity for their studies. On the other hand, Schonenberg would like to see more of a commitment to life-long learning. “What’s lacking is an effective mechanism that provides more opportunities for the re-skilling and upward mobility of people in fulltime employment,” he has said. AMCHAM has also published a popular guide, now in its third edition, titled Working in Luxembourg. The book, also available on CD-ROM,
American Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg 6, rue de Antoine de SaintExupéry L-1432 Luxembourg (Kirchberg) Tel: 43 17 56 www.amcham.lu
Clay constantinou was the US ambassador to Luxembourg from 1994-1999
AMCHAM’S ROLE IN THE LUXEMBOURG INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS COMMUNITY
Paul Schonenberg: the AMCHAM member list represents a "who's who" of the international and expatriate communities
provides a clear guide to the rules, practices and customs of the Luxembourg business environment, as well as to government and social support systems. The chamber’s in-house magazine, Connexion, covers a wide range of topics related to the activities of AMCHAM’s committees and also features interviews with decision makers in Luxembourg as well as articles written by specialists. In collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers, AMCHAM also publishes Why Luxembourg?, a presentation of Luxembourg’s key advantages as a business location. The latest version of this guide is now also available in Chinese, Russian and DR Turkish.
Chairman & CEO: Paul-Michael Schonenberg Vice-Chairman: Ian Whitecourt, Fiduciaire Whitecourt-Kornerup Treasurer: Yves Cheret, Alter Domus
Secretary: Heloise Bock, Arendt & Medernach, Attorneys at Law
I am delighted to offer my congratulations to the American Chamber of Commerce on its 15th Anniversary. Over the years I have followed, with a sense of personal pride, the Chamber’s remarkable growth and achievements under the outstanding leadership of Paul Schonenberg and his colleagues. I learned early on of the exceptional business environment in the Grand Duchy. I became aware however, that unlike many other European states, there was not an American Chamber in Luxembourg. Luxembourg’s strong pro-business record helped attract some of the biggest labels from around the world and especially from the United States. I was therefore surprised when I sensed a certain reluctance to establish an American Chamber. President Clinton had directed all his Ambassadors to actively support the business community, and I was convinced that an American Chamber would be an excellent vehicle to achieve such an objective.
With the support of my deputy, Rob Faucher, we began to meet with key business leaders to allay their concerns, pointing out that the Embassy’s objective was to support the business community and to partner on appropriate projects. With the outstanding leadership and support from the business community, the Chamber was soon on solid ground. Transatlantic delegations, luncheons, and other networking and social events were but a few of the many projects on which we collaborated. My tenure in Luxembourg was greatly enriched as a result of my association and friendship with the Chamber’s members. Today, more than fifteen years later, I fondly remember my Luxembourg friends. When I see some of them during my frequent visits to Luxembourg or at the many events I attend at the Luxembourg Consulate in New York and the Embassy in Washington, I feel that I have never left—and that Luxembourg never left me.
Operations Director: Iris Ovadiya Communications Manager: Natalie Gerhardstein Office Manager: Dilek Ayaydin
Connexion official news magazine Working in Luxembourg guide to Luxembourg business environment Perle Mesta: Playing her Part the story of the first American Minister to Luxembourg Why Luxembourg? the differentiating advantages of Luxembourg (with PwC)
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lifestyle going native
It might not have the exotic flavour of Carnival in Rio or the soul of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, nor, indeed the ritual and ceremony of Karnival in Mainz, Cologne or other German cities, but Fuesend in Luxembourg is celebrated by one and all. The carnival period stretches over several weeks and takes in parades through the streets in town such as Diekirch, Schifflange, Esch and Petange as well as huge costume balls. Other traditions include the burning of a straw man effigy in Remich, which is then thrown off the bridge into the Moselle. March 6 (Diekirch), March 9 (Remich), March 13 (Schifflange, April 3 (Esch-Alzette and Petange)
Be sure to have a plentiful supply of sweets, or candy if you prefer, on February 2 because you will need to hand out goodies to gangs of children. Don’t worry, they are not threatening a Trick or Treat, merely bearing lanterns and signing a traditional song that promises good health to the giver of the goodies. In fact they are asking for bacon and peas in the song, but will expect sweets and chocolate these days. The tradition celebrates the feast of St. Blaise, who is the patron saint of curing throat afflictions, and suggests that the poor begged for food before Lent. The song is rather dark though, as it asks God to let the young live and the old die.
THREE winter traditions
Another winter tradition, Buurgbrennen occurs on the first Sunday in Lent (the Buurgsonndeg) and involves the lighting of a huge fire in each village or neighbourhood. The fire represents the victory of the sun over winter. Local associations such as Scout troops or the volunteer fire brigade will organise the collection of combustible material for the fire--the Burg--and the festivities will include the ubiquitous grill selling sausages and pork chops as well as a drinks stand selling champagne, beer and even Glühwein if the weather is cold enough. Incidentally, the word Burg in this case is not derived from the German word for castle, but from the Latin comburere, meaning to burn. Sunday March 13, Petrusse valley in Luxembourg City and in towns and villages throughout the country
February 2, on the street where you live
“like a glass of wine: for some half empty, for others half full” ENRICO LUNGHI (Director, Mudam)
A regular list of local associations. Submit a text for inclusion by sending a mail to: email@example.com
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A social club for women of all nationalities that hosts regular activities and fund raising events.
Successful sports club that trains regularly and fields teams at all levels in leagues in Germany and Belgium. www.rcl.lu
AMERICAN WOMEN’S CLUB OF LUXEMBOURG (AWCL) www.awcluxembourg.com
RUGBY CLUB LUXEMBOURG (RCL)
going native lifestyle
People in the news
THE CRUCIAL THREE Lea Linster
The Knowledge How to... register to vote
Already Luxembourg’s most famous chef, Lea Linster has further enhanced her reputation by being chosen as Lufthansa’s Star Chef for January and February. The German airline’s culinary programme has seen a host of internationally renowned chefs create special menus for First and Business Class passengers. Lea’s menu for First Class includes filet of sole with crayfish on tarragon sauce or spring lamb on rosemary sauce, while Business Class passengers can enjoy her pike quenelles and king prawns in lobster sauce or a wild mushroom ragout with chive dumplings. And her classic madeleines are also being served with coffee. Lea has held a Michelin star at her eponymously named restaurant in Frisange for 20 years and remains the only woman to win the prestigious Bocuse d’Or prize.
1 All foreign residents, regardless of nationality, can vote in local elections on October 9 th if they are at 18 years old on election day, and have lived in the Grand Duchy for at least 5 years. 2 You must register in-person at your local commune by Thursday, July 14th. 3 Bring a current ID card, passport or residence permit; and certificates of residence proving you have lived in Luxembourg for at least 5 years. You must have certificats de résidence from all of your previous communes. 4 EU nationals can register for European Parliament elections during the same visit, but need to complete a separate form. Be sure to tell the commune official if you intend to register for both election lists. 5 Once you register, voting is compulsory (subject to a potential fine of €100 to €1000). Following an election, however, you can request to be removed from the electoral rolls.
Manuel da Costa One of the best known, and most upbeat, faces on the nightlife scene, Manuel da Costa has been in charge of the bars at two of the city’s hippest venues, d:qliq and Exit07. Now his concept for the so-called Polaris kiosk next to the pétanque pitches at the Coque in Kirchberg has been accepted as the best in a competition by the Ville de Luxembourg. Manu is a keen pétanque player and no doubt pastis will be on the bar menu during what we all hope will be a memorable summer.
Luxembourg film director Eileen Byrne had her film Legal.Illegal selected for the “Fremde” short film programme at the prestigious Max Ophüls Festival for emerging talent in Saarbrücken. Eileen has been studying directing at the Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film in Munich since 2007. Legal.Illegal, starring Eileen’s good friend, Luxembourg actress Vicky Krieps, is the second short film she has directed as part of her studies. It is sponsored inter alia by Caritas Luxembourg and Sesopi - Centre intercommunautaire.
More information is available at www.icanvote.lu
Singing ensemble open to all adults of all levels of musical training and knowledge that rehearses and performs two seasons of concerts in June and December. www.voicesinternational.lu
Group that serves as a focal point for the career and personal development of women in Luxembourg and holds regular meetings with a guest speaker. www.the-network.lu
Drama group that stages several productions a year and also runs workshops and a summer school. www.nwtc.lu
NEW WORLD THEATRE CLUB
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Seven live performances to watch
on stage Music
TINY INSTRUMENTS PRODUCE BIG SOUND
The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain may sound like the sort of novelty act that makes it to the semi-finals of a second-rate talent show, but this brilliant octet really do make innovative and entertaining music. With a repertoire that covers everything from The Who to Wagner via James Bond themes and Talking Heads, they do indeed, “demolish the pretensions of the pop industry with flourish...” as The Guardian so succinctly puts it.
February 15, 20:00, Philharmonie, www.philharmonie.lu
THE PRINCE OF PRINCES Hamlet may be the greatest role a young actor can take on, but it also presents a challenge that can leave even accomplished thespians floundering. Merely adequate will not do when it comes to playing the Danish prince, so great have some actors been and so familiar is the text. So all hail, then, Rory Kinnear, whose performance in Nicholas Hytner’s production for the National Theatre had the critics in London positively drooling praise. In the words of the Daily Telegraph, “Rory Kinnear captures the humanity, humour, pain and
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multi-layered complexity of the role”. Praise from the critics also goes to Claire Higgins’s “revelatory” performance that redefines the role of Gertrude and Patrick Malahide as an “utterly convincing...cold, unremorseful and unrepentant Claudius”. The production is in modern dress and is definitely of our times as Hytner reflects the paranoid, surveillance society. This is a rare chance to see one of the best actors and most innovative directors in the UK at work. March 17 & 18; 19:00, Grand Théâtre, www.theatres.lu
MODERN MASTERS FOR CHARITY Acclaimed British conductor Wayne Marshall takes on his favourite composers--George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein--in this charity concert in aid of the Luxembourg Red Cross. Marshall will conduct the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg as they perform the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, the overture and suite from Candide, Gershwin’s Cuban Overture and Promenade. February 10, 20:00, Philharmonie, www.philharmonie.lu
INDIE DARLINGS ON THE BACKFOOT
Like many of their contemporaries-Editors, to name but one--Interpol were compared to Joy Division when they first emerged. Indeed, when debut album Turn On The Bright Lights was released in 2002 it would have been all too easy to start a backlash against what many deemed an over-hyped band. But the richness and emotional honesty of that album garnered them only more praise. Subsequent releases have not quite matched that debut-and even some hardcore fans were disappointed by this year’s eponymously titled fourth studio album. Nevertheless, the band has a reputation as a great live act.
THE GREAT ORATOR Opera singer Graham Clark’s debut in straight theatre takes him on the lead role in The Trial of Socrates. Clark, who has sung in some of the great opera houses all over the world delivers the great philosopher’s Apology, as written by Plato, in his own defence against charges of corrupting youth and disrespecting the gods. The play is directed by acclaimed Norwegian theatre and opera director Stein Winge. February 10 & 11; 20:00, in English (st. f & d), Grand Théâtre, www.theatres.lu
Listen to any of the three albums Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan have made together and it soon becomes obvious that their contrasting backgrounds and vocal styles are the perfect marriage. Campbell, formerly of Scottish indie darlings Belle and Sebastien, has a great ear for melody and a sweet and delicate voice. Lanegan, from the west coast of America, has a much rougher voice that suited his stints as vocalist with Screaming Trees and, temporarily, Queens of the Stone Age. The resulting music is beautifully soulful and melancholic. February 17, 20:00, Rockhal, www.rockhal.lu
March 11, 20:00, Rockhal, www.rockhal.lu
who are we? Garry Stewart's new creation for Australia Dance Theatre is titled Be Your Self. Arising from conversations with a Buddhist monk, neurologist, physiologist and literary academic, Stewart’s work examines contemporary ideas of selfhood. Stewart has worked with avant-garde architectural firm Diller, Scofidio + Renfro as well as legendary Los Angeles-based breakdancer PoeOne for what promises to be a startling production. February 11 & 12; 20:00, Grand Théâtre, www.theatres.lu
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NEW ASPECTS ON A FAMILIAR SPACE
FULL SAIl The Villa Vauban’s exhibition of 17th century Dutch seascapes, à plein voile, evokes the sense of adventure and also colonialism that began with the rise of the Netherlands as a major seafaring power. More than 80 masterpieces from international private and institutional collections are on show and visitors can learn more about specific paintings from the Villa Vauban’s excellent information panels. Younger visitors can also learn about 17th century seafaring life thanks to an interactive programme that takes in nautical instruments, a bunk, knots and a cord-making machine. Until March 28, Villa Vauban, www.villavauban.lu
Four exhibitions to see
Daniel Buren’s installation in the grand hall of Mudam gives architect I.M. Pei’s building a new aspect – it is architecture within architecture, but also a museum within the museum as light reflects from the colourful panels of his frame on to white walls below. Also currently on show at Mudam are works by Attila Csörgõ and a selection of works from the Mudam collection. Until May 22, Mudam, www.mudam.lu
THE DARK ARTS Only hardcore fans and contemporary art enthusiasts were probably aware that director David Lynch was initially an art student. He studied at the Corcoran School of Art, the Boston Museum School, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Art and has been producing paintings ever since--he once said his films were attempts to make his paintings move. This exhibition focuses on lithographs and drawings. His works are, as one would expect, often dark and menacing but also studded with black humour--words are mixed in with images. And they are monotone--black or a muddy brown--be-
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cause Lynch, in his own words, says that colour doesn’t thrill him and, in any case he hasn’t learned to use colour properly. “Although I like to do brown and brown is a color. I also like earth colors and sometimes I use red and yellow - the red is used for blood a lot and the yellow is used for fire.” Until February 26, Galerie Nosbaum-Reding www.nosbaumreding.lu
The first solo exhibition by Pascal Grandmaison in Europe--Half The Darkness--includes new work as well as pieces produced over the past few years. The Montreal artist, who creates distinctive work with video and film, has been described in the National Post as “the stuff of art stardom.” His work often explores objects in a surreal manner, stripping them of their context and focusing on their very form. As curator Kevin Muhlen puts it: “In the artist’s narrations black and white, visible and invisible, gravity and weightlessness come across, mix up or softly clash.” Until May 1, Casino – forum d’art contemporain, www.casino-luxembourg.lu
© design : apart / photos : Christof Weber
Ahoy! Discover the world of seafaring! > 28 March 2011
For the exhibition Under Full Sail. Dutch 17th-century seascapes we have conceived a special room for kids allowing them to explore the secrets of the world of seafaring.
Discover the complete educational and cultural programme at www.villavauban.lu or contact us at T +352 4796 4570.
Four films to watch
PLAYING IT STRAIGHT Remaking a famous movie is always a tricky business, one that will inevitably lead to stepping on a few toes. So it is refreshing to see that the Coen broth-
ers, Ethan and Joel, have stated categorically that their latest film, True Grit, is a screen adaptation of the Charles Portis novel rather than a retreading of the 1969 film starring John Wayne. Coen regular Jeff Bridges takes on the role of Rooster Cogburn, the irritable, eye-patch wearing Marshall. But the film belongs, by all accounts, to young Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross, the plucky 13-year old girl who hires Cogburn to track down her father’s killers. Matt Damon and Josh Brolin take the other principal roles. The Coens play it straight, eschewing their usual idiosyncrasies, but have created a beautiful Western (shot by regular cinematographer Roger Deakins) packed with tension and realistic dialogue. Released February 25
Photo: Warner Bros.
on screen Black Swan
THE LAST DANCE Natalie Portman delivers what many are claiming is a career-best performance as ballet dancer Nina Sayers in Darren Aronofsky’s mesmerizing psychological drama. Portman’s character, dominated by her mother (played by Barbara Hershey,) seems to have made her breakthrough when she is chosen by her troupe’s artistic director (Vincent Cassell) as the lead in a production of Swan Lake. But the emergence of a rival, played by Mila Kunis, unbalances Nina and sends her spiralling into a nervous breakdown that reveals her dark side. Released February 11
The King’s Speech
LOOK WHO’S TALKING
Colin Firth stars as the stammering King George VI in this sumptuous historical drama. George--familiarly known as Bertie--must undergo therapy with Australian actor Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) in order to prepare for his reluctant role as a sovereign who has to speak in public. Helena Bonham Carter stars as George’s wife, Elizabeth, in Tom Hopper’s acclaimed film. Released February 4
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GIVE YOU RIGHT ARM
Although a popular saying, few people would actually give their right arm to achieve or get what they want. Not so Aron Ralston, who was forced to do just that in order to save his life. In May 2003 he found himself trapped under a boulder in a canyon, miles from anywhere and with nobody aware of his whereabouts. Danny Boyle’s film, starring James Franco, recounts the story of how Ralston was eventually faced with only one choice--to cut off his own right arm with a penknife to free himself and save his life. Not for the faint-hearted. Released February 25
Best of British theatre broadcast to cinemas around the world
Live HD performance transmissions at Ciné Utopia Donmar Warehouse’s
3 February 2011 at 8.00 pm
Frankenstein 17 March 2011 at 8.00 pm
The Cherry Orchard 30 June 2011 at 8.00 pm The programm starts at 7.30 pm Broadcast in English with English subtitles Buy your ticket at Ciné Utopia or book it on +352 22 46 11
1/19/11 4:30 PM
19.01.2011 16:36:27 Uhr
SERGIO COSTA AT D:QLIQ
DEDICATED FOLLOWERS OF BACCHUS
Local journalists Romain Batya and Liliane Turmes, together with German colleague Wilfried Moselt, have just launched the third edition of Vinum. lu, Luxembourg’s first online wine magazine. But the magazine deals with more than just wines from the Moselle. Indeed, the three writers travel the world seeking out the best wines at international competitions, provide tips on tasting, buying and savouring wine, recommend hotels near vineyards and also write about the history of selected wine regions. And, true to Luxembourg, content is written in German, French and English.
Even during the most manic of d:qliq’s party nights, Sergio keeps his cool and greets everyone with a smile. “I work with a wonderful team and I have the most coolest, foolest and craziest clients in Luxembourg.” Formerly of Cat Club, where Vicky and Julien helped him develop his skills, Sergio’s reputation for making the best Mojito in town is well-deserved. The secret? There is none. “I make them in the simplest way, but I do it with lots of love. So it is nice to get a compliment.” Sergio even has his own Facebook fan site set up by none other than Ole Sandström of Plankton Waves. www.dqliq.com
News and recommendations for
EPICUREANS AND NIGHT OWLS
Our favourite shop
CAVE À FROMAGES The acclaimed Cuisine de Zheng in Leesbach and its sister restaurant Le Zai in Strassen are celebrating Chinese New Year with special menus and live traditional Chinese music. The Year of the Rabbit menus, accompanied by selected wines for each course, include an amusebouche and choice of main dishes. Until February 2 at Cuisine de Zheng and from February 3 to 9 at le Zai. www.cuisinedezheng.lu & www.lezai.lu
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Pierre Avon, maître-fromager, has just opened a splendid cheese shop on the rue Fort Wallis in Luxembourg city. Specialising in organic produce, Cave à Fromages stocks a wide selection of top quality cheese that Avon buys directly from the supplier, as well as accompaniments such as wine, bread (from the Obertin bakery in Remerschen) and chutney and a little charcuterie. Avon started as a shepherd in the Alps and Pyrenées, before training for his mastership and, after travelling
CHINESE NEW YEAR MENUS
through France for four years, landing the job of director at famous Parisian cheese specialist Pierre Androuët. The cave will soon have a downstairs tasting corner from which customers can see directly into the maturing cellar. Having spent ten years at KaempffKohler, Avon knows Luxembourg well and as well as supplying European institutions he also supplies fine dining restaurants such as Lea Linster and Clairefontaine. Facebook – Pierre le Fromager
Good table guide
thai Dining Text: Duncan Roberts
It took some time for Thai food to take off in Luxembourg, but the recent opening in Bridel of Feuille de Banana is proof of its continuing popularity. The Bridel restaurant serves what many of us in the west regard as classic Thai cuisine, with nems, chicken green curry and prawn red curry among the main dishes. A value for money lunchtime menu du jour-often with a vegetarian option--is also worth trying. Feuille de Banana, 40, rue de Luxembourg, Bridel, tel: 26 33 27 15, www.feuilledebanana.lu
to say she enjoys incorporating local produce and inspiration from other Asian countries into the more traditional Thai dishes. Firm favourites at Thailand remain the beef, basil and lemongrass salad starter or the lobster served with a mild pimento and curry sauce. Remember, though, this is fine dining so expect dinner prices to match the quality of the food and service. Thailand, 72 avenue Gaston Diederich, Luxembourg- Belair, tel. 44 27 66, www.thai.lu Thai Celadon, 1 rue du Nord, Luxembourg-centre, tel. 47 94 34, www.thai.lu
David Laurent / Wide
Its popularity also means that several restaurants have added Thai cuisine to menus offering food from other countries. Takobo, for example, mixes Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai on its menus, but actually succeeds in serving passable food at a decent price and with good service. More successful among the hip crowd is the Cat Club, where Laurence Sauer has instigated a very popular Thai plat du jour
The restaurant that started the Thai fine dining trend in Luxembourg is the simply named Thailand in Belair. Run by the indefatigable Lek Zimmer, the restaurant opened in 1986 and now has a reputation for exquisite and beautifully presented Thai food served in a discreet atmosphere. Five years later, Lek opened a second restaurant, Thai Celadon, which has since moved to rue du Nord and is firmly ensconced as a favourite business lunch venue. The menus at the two restaurants vary slightly, but both bear Lek’s distinctive signature--that is
and also incorporated Thai cuisine alongside European dishes on the restaurant’s dinner menu. Highly recommended here is the Bass cooked in banana leaf with a coconut milk sauce and Thai vegetables or a Moo Pat King --pork with ginger. Takobo, 18 avenue Monterrey, Luxembourgcentre, Tel. 46 90 05 Cat Club, 18 rue de l'Acierie, LuxembourgHollerich, tel. 40 08 15 69, www.catclub.lu
But no guide to Thai food in Luxembourg would be complete without mention of the Sawasdee café in Bonnevoie. Now something of a cult venue at lunchtime, the café serves, under the watchful eye of Ponipa Chiya, a superb all-you-can eat buffet featuring nems and calamars as well as a selection of two or three curries, varying in spiciness, and fried noodles. It is excellent value for money, but our advice is to book a table and get there early--the food is constantly replenished, but sometimes the buffet can look bare after 12:30. Our only other concern is the lack of a vegetarian option at the buffet. Sawasdee Café, 20 rue Verger, Luxembourg-Bonnevoie, tel. 26 12 39 08.
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Three tips for body and mind
LAUGHTER IN THE WORKPLACE Laughter yoga is a phenomenon that has swept across much of the Indian subcontinent, north America and Europe, where it has proven to be particularly popular in Germany. The concept is the brainchild of Mumbai physician Dr. Madan Kataria and was first conceived in 1995. Its basic principle is that laughter is healthy and invigorating--scientific studies have shown that laughter releases endorphins and lowers the level of stress hormones in the blood. Senior training and coaching consultant Paul Flasse, from Belgian company TQ16, has six years experience in Business Laugh Yoga Animation. He brought his enthusiastic personality to a workshop organised by AMCHAM and the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) held at St. George’s School at the beginning of December. Via a series of exercises, Flasse demonstrated that laughter can be induced spontaneously, and that it can be contagious. Indeed, laughter doesn’t even have to be genuine--that is to say it need not rely on humour--as the body reacts exactly the same to fake laughter. Combined with Yogic Breathing (Pranayama), the session proved that stress levels can be reduced while at the same time energy is increased. The benefits for businesses are manifold, including increased productivity, improved communication and teamwork, and reduced sick leave. www.TQ16.be
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Existence opened in the Findel Business Centre last September under the guidance of experienced fitness instructor André van Spaandonck. The focus is on preventative health and improved fitness, gearing individual programmes towards goals agreed upon between coaches and clients. André’s philosophy is that fitness should be about health rather than aiming to get a nicely sculpted body. Furthermore, Existence’s interactive web site uniquely allows members to manage their class time reservations online. www.existence.lu
DANCE PARTY WORKOUT Zumba is the latest fitness craze to arrive in Luxembourg. Based on Latin dance rhythms and created by a Colombian dance instructor and choreographer in the 1990s, the workout is marketed as being more akin to a party than a fitness routine. Here in Luxembourg Zumba classes are available at Ellipse in Kirchberg, Vitalvie in Senningerberg and New Life in Esch among other places. www.ellipse.lu; www.zumbafitness.lu
ARTFREAK WORDS AND PERFORMANCE
Author and slam poet Luc Spada leads a three-day afternoon workshop at Mudam in which youngsters between the ages of 12 and 19 will create texts that they will later perform live to the accompaniment of a DJ. The texts can take the form of a prose, poetry, song, and rap in the preferred language of the participant--English included. Luc Spada has co-hosted poetry slam evenings at d:qliq under the auspices of the playsucré collective, but he has also written a play--Stirb für Mich--that has
been performed at the Théâtre Nationale de Luxembourg and a published collection of poetry. The workshop takes place as part of Mudam’s ArtFreak programme, which has been inviting artist, designers, photographers, architects, writers and other creative talent to share their experience with youngsters. Participation is free of charge, but requires prior registration via firstname.lastname@example.org or on tel. 45 37 85 531. February 22-26, Mudam, Kirchberg. www.artfreak.lu
Four events for
FAMILIES AND KIDS
FEELING MUSIC TRAFFO at CarréRotondes is hosting interactive exhibition BOING! The exhibition allows children to discover sound sculptures in a hands-on way. Sounds, shapes and colours all intermingle as children learn to listen with their eyes and see with their ears. The exhibition is part of the Feeling Music programme organised with with A’Musée et Mobiles Musik Museum. February 1 - 22, CarréRotondes, Hollerich. www.traffo.lu
James McAvoy and Emily Blunt voice the star-crossed lovers in this animated take on Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy in which garden gnomes come to life. We guess that the tragic ending has been somewhat played down, but with a cast that includes Michael Caine, Patrick Stewart, Maggie Smith and Julie Walters it must have something going for it. Opens February 18 at Utopolis www.utopolis.lu
THE GREAT SILENT COMEDIAN There is a well-founded argument, put forward by the likes of the brilliant critic Roger Ebert, that Buster Keaton was the greatest comic of the silent era. Charlie Chaplin fans will no doubt be apoplectic at such heresy, but The General is a superior film to The Gold Rush, and this, The Navigator stands up to anything done by the great Harold Lloyd. Keaton plays a rich young man, Rollow Treadway, who is cast adrift on a luxury ship with a young woman of similar standing played by Kathryn McGuire. The scene is set for all manner of inventive set pieces that Keaton delivers--as usual he also directs--with brilliant aplomb. Günter A.Buchwald provides live accompaniment on the piano. February 20, 15:00, Cinémathèque, city centre. www.cinematheque.lu
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my other life: thomas Seale
Olive oil producer
A FAMILY PROJECT
The CEO of European Fund Administration makes high quality olive oil at the family farmhouse in Provence. Text: Duncan Roberts — Photo: David Laurent
Les templiers de Provence
Hand-picked and cold-pressed, Les Templiers De Provence olive oil is 100% natural. Scientific and medical experts agree that olive oil has certain properties that can help reduce cholesterol, improve the arterial system, reduce hypertension and insulin resistance, alleviate inflammation and benefit the skin. Les Templiers De Provence can be found at the Brasserie Guillaume and Cercle Munster and can be bought at l’Epicerie on rue Louvigny or ordered from the producer’s website. www.lestempliersdeprovence.com
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“Olive trees have been around forever. The more I look in to olive oil, the more I learn about not only its culinary uses, but also its health benefits,” says Thomas Seale. The former ALFI chairman is holding a half-litre bottle of Les Templiers De Provence olive oil, the result of a harvest last November that involved family and friends spending a few days in a very communal atmosphere at the Seale farmhouse in the hills of the Parc du Luberon in Provence. “It is a fun event and the dynamics require people to work in teams of two or three per tree, and everyone ends up talking to each other and exchanging ideas in the groves. We combine it with a Thanksgiving dinner.” They bought the property ten years ago and use it as a family holiday home. It was Thomas’s wifewho first mooted the idea of planting olive trees. She wanted three trees, but after speaking to a local farmer (who now manages the day to day running of the plantation) Thomas went 597 better and planted 600 trees. “We employ a local farmer--not an easy profession in France --and use local suppliers and workers So we are trying to do something that is sustainable.” The plantation now counts over 3,000 trees, the most mature of which this year yielded a harvest of four tonnes of the Mediterranean fruit. In France olive oil is something of a
niche product--Italy, Spain and Greece as well as Tunisia and Morocco are the big producers--but Thomas is distributing all his produce in Luxembourg. “It’s a family project--we’re not in it for money--something that we could do together. It is small time and the aim is to produce the highest possible quality product.” The oil already has the AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlé) classification and is in the process of gaining approval for “organic” labelling. “The problems we have are predator insects and weeds between the trees, so we have to find products to tackle these that are approved for organic farming.” The health benefits he mentions are manifold. As a source of mono-unsaturated fats and antioxidants, olive oil can help reduce cholesterol and reduce cancer risk, among other things. Oh, and it also tastes good--Thomas has a bottle permanently on the dining table at home and likes to use it as a substitute for butter. The olives are harvested quite early so that the end product, which has a distinctive green colour, is fresh and fruity with, what experts describe as, “ leafy, almondy undertones”. “It tastes nothing like the olive oil you find in supermarkets,” says Thomas. A look at the label on the bottles also reveals the family connection--the design features three olive trees, representing the Seale’s three children.
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