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The tra m is su and aro und pposed to more pthe capital ci ease traffic c t eople t o o use yp, but how to ngestion in e ublic tr ansponr courage t?


othing seems to get Luxembourg so However, sceptics say that the tram will riled up as the tram that is set to start do little to ease traffic congestion, claiming operation on 10 December. Passions run that commuters will still choose to drive high whenever the project is mentioned--so to work. Indeed, the tram will only be a much so that recently had to issue success if the ease and efficiency of public an additional warning below a story on the transport into and out of the capital city tram, reminding the website’s is also improved. In the grand users that comments should duchy, it is not a question of remain respectful and they cost, but the lack of convenshould refrain from posting ience and comfort that leads “IT IS NOT A messages containing platitudes, QUESTION OF commuters to favour the car. hate speech and lies. COST, BUT THE Then again, there are those The tram has always been see the car as a status LACK OF CON- who controversial, and even some symbol, who will never give VENIENCE AND up driving to work. of its current champions, like COMFORT city mayor Lydie Polfer, were But for the rest of us, THAT LEADS opposed to the idea when it was capacity, reliability and rush being mooted in the late 1990s. hour frequency on rail routes COMMUTERS And when he was mayor, Xavier from all points south and TO FAVOUR Bettel (now prime minister) and south-west need to be more THE CAR.” his then deputy mayor François increased. Buses heading Bausch (now the minister in into the capital from outlying charge of the project), were communes should be able often left exasperated by the CSV-led govern- to speed past stationary traffic in dedicated ment’s intransigence when discussing the lanes all the way to the tram termini, financing of the tram project. rather than hit a standstill at congestion The first section of the tram will run from black spots. Providing passengers with the new funicular station--which links Kirchberg access to free wi-fi on public transport plateau with the train station in Pfaffenthal--to would also undoubtedly encourage more the Luxexpo stop. Only later, in the spring of use. This, rather than providing subsidies 2018, will it be linked to the Glacis, just across for buyers of electric cars, is where the the bridge. And it will take a further three years government should be investing in transor so before the 16km network is completed port policy. and passengers can travel from the Cloche d’Or to the airport at Findel via the railway DUNCAN ROBERTS station and city centre. Editor-in-chief

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Write to PO Box 728 L-2017 Luxembourg Offices 10 rue des Gaulois, Luxembourg-Bonnevoie ISSN 2220-5535 Web Founder and chairman Mike Koedinger CEO Richard Karacian Administrative and financial director Etienne Velasti Phone (+352) 20 70 70-150 Fax (+352) 29 66 19 E-mail Editor in chief Duncan Roberts ( Desk editor Aaron Grunwald ( Journalists Jess Bauldry ( Martine Huberty ( Contributors Neha Bhandari, Stephen Evans, Alix Rassel, Sarita Rao Intern Laurence Schaack Photography Sven Becker, Marion Dessard, Lala La Photo, Mike Zenari Proofreading Pauline Berg, Lisa Cacciatore, Laura Dubuisson, Sarah Lambolez, Elena Sebastiani DESIGN Phone (+352) 20 70 70-200 Fax (+352) 27 62 12 62-84 E-mail Director, Maison Moderne Studio Guido Kröger Creative director Jeremy Leslie Studio manager Stéphanie Poras-Schwickerath Art director Sascha Timplan Layout Tae Eun Kim (coordination), Ivan Labalestra





Public education in Luxembourg experienced a rather turbulent start to the new school year. What’s causing a massive shortage of primary school teachers?


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WORK FOR REFUGEES Finding a job when you’re an asylum seeker.








A new centre wants to boost private sector e-defences.

Many Luxembourg companies are doing a roaring trade in Asia. Ahead of a trade mission to Japan, Delano looks how these firms are tackling what can be difficult markets to crack.


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. Richard Karacian is chartered with daily management. Delano™ and Maison Moderne™ are trademarks used under licence by MM Publishing and Media S.A. © MM Publishing and Media S.A. (Luxembourg) COVER PHOTO

Antoine Clasen of Bernard-Massard and Makiko Witolla Hayashi from the Japanese Ladies’ Association were photographed by Maison Moderne in the company’s studio. NOTE TO OUR READERS

The next print edition of Delano will be published on 8 December. For daily news updates, commentary and our weekly what’s on guide, visit




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PASSIONATE BROADCASTERS Radio Ara turns 25; meet the voices behind the mic.

December 2017

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UNOFFICIAL AMBASSADORS These expats help newcomers get through those first few hard months in Luxembourg.








This annual confab has become a true highlight of the season.  72



PAPER TRAIL The new truck-rail terminal handles 600 lorries a day.  29




Jessie Thill talks about what drove her to stand for Walferdange council.  15


Meet Suzanne Cotter, the new head of Mudam.  22


The European Commission got it wrong, argues Keith O’Donnell.

It was a Havana-themed night for this gala fundraiser.







The finance minister has quietly made a U-turn on revamping employee tax rules.

This group is open to students of all ages, and isn’t just for men.  82


So-called “mobbing” takes its toll on Luxembourg staff, employers and the economy.  42


Two restaurants where you might want to book a table.  84

The speaker of Luxembourg’s parliament on the rising influence of national parliaments in the EU.

€1,500 PRIZE

Uni grad students win award for organising research fair. icon_website

OFF WITH THEIR LOCKS ISL students lose their hair for a good cause. icon_website

PAINTED EGGS AND MUM’S SWEATER The international confab culminates with a €100,000 prize.  54


What this IT developer brought in her suitcase when she moved to Luxembourg.  88

WHAT TO WEAR TO THE PARTY “Smart” materials, “metamaterials” and nanotechnologies are coming of age.

JUNCKER GREETS KURZ European diplomacy on display in Brussels. icon_website


ALTERNATIVE FUNDS Wardrobe tips for the holiday season.  92

JÉRÔME KONEN Will Brexit be a boom or a bust for Luxembourg’s private equity and real estate funds?


off the page… we’ve Delano is jumping -release par ty pre a g stin started ho ition comes out. before each print ed live on-stage es tur fea e Liv o Delan in subjects we cover interviews on the an afterwork open the magazine, and win free passes? to bar. Want a chance page for details. k Check our Faceboo icon_facebook Delano Magazine


EATING GAME IN LUXEMBOURG ‘Tis the season… bon appétit.

The Kinneksbond director wants to bring in younger audiences.  98


Delano’s advice columnist answers reader questions on Vegemite (or is Marmite?), Brexit news and St Nicholas.


Find a complete line-up of community, culture and networking events. icon_website WANT MORE? Sign up for Delano’s “Noon briefing” email newsletter. Go to the bottom of our home page.

December 2017

University of Luxembourg > International School of Luxembourg > Ian Bremmer on Twitter > Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry

Delano takes a peek inside the National Archives.





LUXEMBOURG’S UNOFFICIAL AMBASSADORS While moving to Luxembourg can be an enriching experience, most foreigners will agree that those first few months without your family and friend network are the hardest.


ith a limited knowledge of the local languages, even the first small steps, like finding out where the supermarket is, can seem like a colossal challenge. “Can you imagine when I came here 30 years

December 2017

ago? It was the end of the world,” Turkish national Hulya told Delano. “There was nobody to ask because I didn’t speak the language, and in those days it was Luxembourgish, especially in the villages.” Hulya is

a “just arrived ambassador” (JAA), one of dozens of unofficial representatives who, since 26 September, give up their free time to host a weekly drop-in centre at Luxembourg City’s town hall and answer newcomers’ questions. “I became an ambassador because I thought this was a good idea. I have lots of experience living here as a foreigner --good and bad--and I know how you can make it better.” Hulya found her own way in Luxembourg, by joining clubs and following her neighbour’s advice to learn Luxembourgish, but she admits it could have been easier had there been someone like

Camilla Cuppini, on right, helps a new resident in the city's integration office. Staff photo.


her to explain everything. Sirli is a volunteer ambassador representing her native country of Estonia. She said that when she came alone to Luxembourg for her job in 2004, the main challenge was finding information about activities. “I didn’t even know where to look because I didn’t speak French at the time,” she said. Today, Sirli likes to act as a “connector”, using her own network in Luxembourg to help those she meets in the JAA programme and elsewhere to expand theirs. “My advice to newcomers is to go to networking events. There are so many associations and events where you can get well connected.” The JAA project evolved out of the Just Arrived guide book, a free comprehensive directory in English and French covering anything from language courses to where to get your car fixed. Project coordinator Camilla Cuppini founded the group after recognising the need for a human touch when it came to welcoming newcomers, and for people who understand the various cultural differences that newcomers encounter. The ultimate goal, though, is to ease the integration process into Luxembourg society. “We thought it was important to have a network of ambassadors, not only someone from your country, but also from other countries to avoid people becoming isolated, which can become a risk sometimes,” she explained. In 2015, Camilla found people to share their integration experiences via the Just Arrived website. This small group blossomed into a team of around 47 unofficial ambassadors who are involved in their respective cultural communities as well as in Luxembourg society. In March 2017, JAA became a registered not-forprofit and, thanks to foundation funding and a partnership with the Luxembourg City Integration Office, the first drop-in session for newcomers took place on 26 September. The drop-in centre is located in the integration and special needs office in the lower level of City Hall, 42 place Guillaume II. It is open on

Tuesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. except during the holidays. JAA also organises cultural orientation events for newcomers, details on which can be found via their Facebook page. icon_facebook JAA CLUB Luxembourg

Reported by JESS BAULDRY



Total state expenditure forecast for 2018, according to the budget delivered by Pierre Gramegna on 11 October.


RECOGNISABLE NAMES PROVE POPULAR AT LOCAL ELECTIONS Among the 3,575 candidates who stood for the local elections on 8 October, 47 were MPs (out of a total 60). 46 were elected, and it is likely that 15 of them will be mayors.


he DP saw 9 MPs elected, the CSV 19, Déi Gréng 5, LSAP 10, while Déi Lénk will send 2 MPs and the ADR 1 to local councils across the country. MPs who are also mayors have a long-standing tradition in Luxembourg; the 2015 referendum asked whether the accumulation of mandates should be abolished, but that proposal was rejected by the voters. Lydie Polfer, the current and future mayor of the capital, is a long-standing example of this phenomenon. This will be her fifth mandate as mayor, but she has been involved in local and national politics since the 1980s. In smaller towns (under 3,000 inhabitants), a majoritarian system is applied, where no party candidates but only individuals stand in the local elections. In larger communes, Luxembourg’s electoral system allows votes to be cast for either an entire part lists or for a

selection of individual candidates from across several party lists. Well-known figures can draw in votes and may even win an extra seat for one of their fellow candidates. The vote for individual candidates is increasingly favoured, as party loyalties fade. The personality vote plays a big role in such a small country, where almost everyone is likely to know at least one national politician personally. Hence, it is logical that vote-winning parties send their bestknown representatives in race, and that discussions on the pressing issues were sometimes a bit light on concrete proposals, even if local councils do not have the competencies necessary to tackle all of these.

RESULTS Overall, the CSV was the winner in the bigger councils, bagging 30.4%. The LSAP came second with 24%, followed by the DP with 18.2%, and Déi Gréng with 16.4%. The liberal DP is geographically concentrated almost entirely in the centre electoral district, where income levels are above average. The LSAP is dominant in the industrial south, though it also still holds the mayoral post in a few other areas of the country. The CSV is most geographically spread and can boast that its December 2017






members have occupied mayoral roles in each of the four national constituencies. The CSV electorate does not seem to align to the rural-urban cleavage, or to any particular social status--at least at local level. In 2011, there were CSV mayors in both the richest local councils (like Niederanven) and some of the poorest (Clervaux). In the capital, the CSV, which has seen its share of the votes decrease over the past couple of decades, managed to win 6% more of the vote and gain two seats. The DP lost 3.6% but maintained a comfortable score of 30%. The personality-driven campaigns of both parties, focused on lead candidates Lydie Polfer (DP) and Serge Wilmes (CSV), seemed to have paid off and, at press time, coalition talks have started between the two parties. Reported by MARTINE HUBERTY



Lydie Polfer, mayor of Luxembourg City, is seen in an archive portrait by Olivier Minaire

DELVING INTO THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES Ever since the French Revolution, official documents have been stored at the National Archives. Currently, the archives total around 45km of documents, and a further 1.5km are added every year. Genealogists are among the most frequent visitors, followed by history students, local historians but also film producers, says archivist Nadine Zeien. The key mission of the national archives is to make the documents available to the public. Sanja Simic, head of communication, says that regular exhibitions held at the archives not only showcase documents, but also add value for the public. Delano went behind the scenes to see how documents are repaired, coded, digitalised, stored and made accessible to visitors. LS

HANDLE WITH CARE A. At the reception desk, visitors are assisted with their research B. Sanja Simic, head of communication, during a visit in October C. A historian is annotating documents by writing down key information for digitalisation D. Conservators repair damaged documents with a special archival glue E. A conservation worker oversees the storage of files and alerts the team if documents need to be adapted F. Nadine Zeien, archivist at the National Archives in Luxembourg, is a historian specialised in medieval studies G. The National Archives are located on the plateau St. Esprit icon_website








December 2017

Lala La Photo

Number of newly created posts that the state budget has allocated to the education sector in 2018.



JESSIE THILL The youngest councillor in Walferdange talks about what drove her to stand for election.


hen the Walferdange polling stations closed on 8 October, 21-year-old Green Party candidate Jessie Thill got in the car and drove back to university in Strasbourg. That’s when she got the call from her mum telling her she had been elected. “I was totally surprised. I never thought I would be elected,” she told Delano four days later. But while she modestly says she never expected the result, the final-year student, who has an uncle and aunt on other communal councils, will be no newcomer to the world of politics when she is sworn in to the communal council. “I’ve been interested in politics since the age of 16. It was my dream to go into politics when I got older,” she said. She served on the Luxembourg Youth Parliament, as vice president of the National Conference of Luxembourg students, and has been actively involved with the Luxembourg Red Cross. She went on to begin a bachelor’s degree in Strasbourg in physics and Earth science. Now in her final year of her bachelor’s, it was her studies which made her hesitate when she was first invited by the Green Party in Walferdange to join their list in spring. “Now I see I can do it and I’m going to do everything I can to make it possible,” she said. Her slogan before the elections was to help to build an attractive future for everybody in Walferdange. Thill thinks that perhaps what helped boost her standing was the fact she and the Green Party had sent a letter to all the young voters in the commune for whom it was their first communal election. Thill was one of 13 candidates on the Green Party list, from which just two candidates won seats. In addition to bringing down the average age by a few notches, she is also one of seven women to take up the 13 seats in the commune. “I think it’s important young people, and especially young women, are on councils in Luxembourg. Because if you look around Luxembourg, there are so many men who were voted in,” she said, adding: “It’s really important that young people are involved, because we are the future. We will live the consequences of the decisions made today.” Interview by JESS BAULDRY Photography by LALA LA PHOTO


Projected state income in 2018, as quoted by Pierre Gramegna in the state budget he presented to parliament.


CATCHING THE SCIENCE BUG Luxembourg’s multicultural demographic and the highly mobile nature of modernday work mean that not only is the population international, so too is the bacteria found there.


uropean School student Camilla Hurst found that to her surprise, when she began swabbing her school as part of a research project for the national Jonk Fuerscher (young scientist) contest. As well as learning the toilets were the cleanest place in the school, she discovered bacteria colonies on the banisters, basketballs and table surfaces, some of which could lead to chronic acne, meningitis, gonorrhoea and one that did not even match an international database. Remarkably, she traced one bacteria to South Korea and found it had adapted to the European environment December 2017


and mutated. “It was the first time it was detected in the European Union. It just goes to show how bacteria can travel from one country to another,” Hurst told Delano. The exercise, carried out with researchers from the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology, showed a depressing reality: people were not washing their hands. “I wanted to find a way to reduce bacteria so I could suggest to the school another way to reduce them,” Hurst said, explaining that it propelled her into her next project, studying school door handles to see how physical shape impacts bacteria transmission. She painted different handle types with UV paint (as a substitute for bacteria), classmates then donned rubber gloves and used each handle. The results showed the circular door knobs reduced transmission of the UV paint. The same year, having read about antibiotic resistant bacteria, Hurst studied natural ways to kill off bacteria by testing four types of wood, copper and plastic chopping boards. True to form, copper had antibacterial qualities, but the big surprise was that so too did pine. Plastic and woods with a plastic coating were the best breeding grounds for bacteria. Using these findings, in the third year Hurst went on to create something quite extraordinary--a mechanical, self-cleaning door handle. The prototype pine door knob, in which she installed a mechanism that releases alcohol-based hand sanitiser, still needs some fine-tuning but presents a very real hygiene solution. “There’s a reluctance in my school to wash your hands and it’s not always the case that there is soap in the toilets,” Hurst said, adding: “Having this door handle means you can quickly clean your hands during the day.” The 17-year-old daughter of a translator and economist has come a long way since her first project testing air quality in her school at the age of 12. She has represented Luxembourg at numerous international science contests and conflabs, most recently the London International Youth Science Forum, and won several accolades for her multidisciplinary December 2017


There’s a reluctance in my school to wash your hands and it’s not always the case that there is soap in the toilets.”

2016 BUDGET REPORT The opposition accused the finance minister of using “creative methods” in his budget statement in 2016, based on a Court of Auditors report. The year-end budgeting process checks whether the planned expenses and earnings have been properly voted, allocated and spent. Parliament approved a planned deficit of €438.24 million. The auditors found that in fact, the deficit amounted to €1,292,620,188.92 for 2016--an increase of €834.46 million. Finance minister Pierre Gramegna argued that this was due to exceptional spending, and his budget methods were those of the European Commission. Diane Adehm, MP for the opposition CSV, said: “The Court of Auditors has confirmed that the minister’s interpretation of the figures is wrong. He should base his explanations on where we are at on his deficit of €1.3 billion.”

research. Now in her final year of school, Hurst is focusing on her exams before embarking on a degree in the UK in material sciences and engineering. “It is definitely a passion that came out of the project,” Hurst said, adding: “The project has helped me find something I’m interested in and gave me time for that.” icon_website

Reported by JESS BAULDRY


€30 Amount the Luxembourg government has budgeted for a joint project with the European Investment Bank to promote green investment.


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JUNCKER CHATS WITH BELVAL STUDENTS The Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH) invited the president of the European Commission to talk to students, and he did not disappoint.


ean-Claude Juncker addressed “shaping the Europe of the future” to a packed auditorium of university and lycée students. He started with a grumpy “moin”, and immediately had the students’ attention. He remembered how he grew up “not 500 metres away from Belval”, which used to be a prairie then. Starting his speech with a reflection on geography, demographics and future economic weight, Juncker insisted that Europe was part of a multipolar world, and not “master of the planet”. It was a small continent with 5,000,000m2 and 44 countries. The EU will face challenges, he said. Europe will lose in economic importance. While it currently makes up 25% of global GDP, in a few years, it will have shrunk to 15%. Soon, the EU will only account for 3% of the global population, and no EU member state will belong to the G7, he warned.

INTEGRATION AND BREXIT Switching from French to English and also German, Juncker explained that any break up into national categories in this context would be a huge mistake. He insisted that the EU had achieved many great things: if there had been no common currency, individual member states would have been more vulnerable and poorer during the recent economic crises. Unifying east and west European countries was one of the EU’s greatest achievements. However, Juncker warned that the increased disparity between countries, as well as inequalities within countries, was dangerous. Talking about December 2017

terrorism, climate change, increased cooperation in defence, energy, digitisation and investment, he made a passionate plea for more integration and cooperation at EU level. Juncker said that the Brexit referendum had been “unexpected--but not totally,” adding that, “the first to be impressed with the disadvantages of leaving was the UK.”

STUDENTS IMPRESSED He said that discussions on citizens’ rights were particularly difficult, as the UK was asking for things to stay as they are. Juncker is well known for his pertinent analogies, and used one here. He said: “You go to a bar as a group of 28, and everyone orders

drinks. One suddenly says he won’t pay. That can’t work!” Naturally, this got a big laugh from the students. Jill, a master’s student in educational and social sciences, said: “Events like this are really necessary--to involve pupils and students, to enable them to participate in discussions and ask questions. And Juncker always answered our questions.” Myriam, from the ECG lycée, said: “It was very interesting to hear Juncker’s points of view. I think it’s good that he is not always very serious and uses different terms. It sounds better and one understands more.” Another student interjected: “He is funny.” Myriam added: “I do have the feeling that we have a say and that Europe is present in our lives. Europe is not just at the back of our heads. There is a feeling of togetherness.” Reported by MARTINE HUBERTY

LANGUAGE REFORM GETS POOR MARKS FROM UNIONS With three official languages and many others spoken, the grand duchy is a star pupil in multilingualism. People in education, however, fear that an imbalance between what’s taught in schools and state exam requirements could pose a threat to Luxembourg’s multilinguistic future.


or generations, students in Luxembourg have been taught and graded in the three official languages of the country, which lead to outstanding linguistic proficiency in comparison to other countries. To

land a job in the public sector, every candidate needs to pass a language exam in French, German and Luxembourgish, and even additional languages for some positions. However, as a response to the many recent educational reforms, many fear that the country has lost sight of its linguistic advantage. Monique Adam, president of the teachers union FGIL, told Delano in an interview in October that it is time to review language instruction: “We need to identify what languages are required and if other languages are gaining in importance. We should clearly state this, and inform parents that perhaps no longer German or

French are essential but English. We should discuss this matter and decide on a structured programme, rather than offer a system where everyone gets to choose their preference. I fear that people will fail with a language system based on preferences.” Following a reform of early education, pupils in state-supported pre-schools (“cycle 1”) are taught in both Luxembourgish and French. Adam, however, believes that the integration of French is unproductive to foster multilingualism, and that adapting to international standards should be done more carefully. “It is vital for children to have a reference person for one language.” Another reform changes tests of older students’ linguistic proficiency. According to the education ministry, final exams in secondary schools will now be based on six disciplines. Within these six, two disciplines entail “languages and mathematics”, three disciplines focus on a chosen specialisation, and the sixth discipline tests general education. If a student decides, for example, to specialise in natural sciences, only one out of the three languages taught in secondary school (German, French and English) will be tested during their final exams. Marvin Caldarella Weis, a member of the education union SEW, shared his personal opinion during an interview with Delano in October, noting the possible drawbacks of this new system: “Due to their diplomas, Luxembourgers always had the advantage of going abroad to study. However, when one considers that in Switzerland, students with a diploma from the A section [the languages and literature discipline] are not accepted at universities, then one has to wonder if this scenario risks happening with diplomas from other disciplines--for example, when one chooses the natural science path and stops learning languages. So, the quality of instructed material is slowly regressing, which always used to be an advantage of Luxembourgers.” Reported by LAURENCE SCHAACK



“It is important that visitors feel good, inspired and curious upon entering the museum.” Born Melbourne, Australia Education and professional career After graduating from the Queensland University of Technology, she studied history of art at the University of Melbourne and then museology at the École du Louvre in Paris. She then moved to London and continued her art history studies at the Courtauld Institute of Art before studying culture management at City University. Career highlights 1996-1998 Curator at the Serpentine, Hayward and Whitechapel art galleries in London 2002-2009 Curator and acting director of Modern Art Oxford 2010 Curator at the Guggenheim, Abu Dhabi 2012 Curator of the Sharjah Biennial 2013-present Director of the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves

Australian art historian and curator Suzanne Cotter will take up the post of director of Mudam, the contemporary art museum in Kirchberg, as the permanent successor to Enrico Lunghi, in January 2018. Suzanne Cotter was chosen as the new director of Mudam from among 44 candidates for the post. The fact that she is not local led to the usual flurry of comments wondering why a Luxembourger was not appointed--in fact, there were three Luxembourg candidates, but the board was unanimous in its choice of Cotter. Speculation that Cotter would be the new director was already circulating in September--she had actually signed a contract in August. She will retain one foot in Portugal during a transition phase while the Serralves Museum seeks a successor. She told Delano’s sister publication, Paperjam, that she wanted to make Mudam a venue that was part of the everyday life of residents, people who work in the city and visitors. She also said she likes the idea that Luxembourg has strong European values and a cosmopolitan aspect. Cotter would not reveal too many details of the sort of programme she has in mind for the contemporary art museum, but said that it would be “a multidisciplinary and international programme that would become a reference in Luxembourg, but also allow it to participate in the general conversation about contemporary art at a global level.” But she also wants to destroy any obstacles, “so that people can feel comfortable with the contemporary art.” December 2017





Photography by MIKE ZENARI

TEACHING CRISIS? WHAT CRISIS? Public education in Luxembourg experienced a rather turbulent start to the new school year, with a massive shortage of primary teachers at the centre of discussion. Is the seven years of training required to land a job in primary teaching making the profession unattractive? Or are there other reasons for the shortage?


December 2017


n September, the ministry for education announced that 291 qualified teachers were required for Luxembourg’s primary schools, but admitted that only 168 positions were filled. The problem is a direct result from previous years. As Claude Meisch announced in a parliamentary answer on 9 October, only two new primary teachers were hired between 2015/16 and 2016/17. Meisch explains why the ministry didn’t respond earlier to these decreasing numbers: “The shortage couldn’t be predicted, neither that it would be an acute situation. Indeed, until recently we struggled to find more substitute teachers. We therefore expected a difficult situation to substitute teachers during the year, a situation we already had last year and which will certainly become more difficult this year.” Meisch also links the exhausted resources to demographic development. “The other is a more fundamental problem, where pupil numbers are growing faster than was predicted in the multi-annual prognosis. In particular, from 2016 to 2017, these numbers have grown faster and we have problems to recruit teachers.” The numbers are not only striking on paper, but the dearth of teachers is clearly felt in schools, too. One student teacher who’s in her first year of teaching confirms the problem. “I notice it in my district. It’s very difficult to find replacement teachers when someone is sick. Sometimes, when one absolutely cannot go to school, it happens that

classes are being integrated into another class and that one teacher is suddenly in charge of 30 pupils.”

REASONS FOR SHORTAGE People within the sector echo each other when it comes to pinning down reasons for the shortage. Another primary school student teacher, who asked not to be named, reckons that the job is extremely demanding and that many potential teachers are refraining from entering the profession.

“Not enough people coming from university want to do it. The job is very hard, even impossible. If you enter a class as a nice teacher, you’ve lost.” Moreover, the minister says that many bachelor graduates decide to continue in higher education, instead of starting their internships. “Many have realised that we do not only recruit teachers with bachelor degrees but we also require teachers with a master, be it for school development or special pedagogy.”

CLAUDE MEISCH The education minister says it is crucial to show the necessary respect to teachers

December 2017





Meisch notes that at the University of Luxembourg, 18 graduates chose to continue with their masters last year instead of directly starting with their internship. However, Monique Adam, president of the FGIL teachers’ federation, criticises the additional training for primary teachers as it takes the required staff away from the classroom. Marvin Caldarella Weis, a member of the teacher trade union SEW, also reckons that many bachelor graduates continue with their masters, yet with a different intention. He thinks that the internship period for budding teachers, fixed at three years, December 2017


is off-putting for many students, after they’ve finished four years of studies. “Many young people are no longer willing to endure this, and have decided to follow a different master’s programme to exit the sector.”

“THE OMINOUS INTERNSHIP” The three-year long internship is mandatory for all candidates for teaching posts who have graduated from university. Their training entails pedagogical counselling, theoretical training organised by the National Institute for Education, exams and essays, parents’ talks, team talks, and

of course, teaching. For some candidates, it is however “an ominous” experience, as Adam characterises it. One of the interns, who first worked as a substitute teacher, notes the attractiveness of the job suffers from the length of training. “One extra year has been added to the bachelor, which, however, isn’t a master’s degree. Then follows an internship of three years, during which one earns little more than minimum wage. For many young people, this makes it difficult to settle down.” Caldarella adds that training during the internship, which is done by the

SCHOOLS SHORTAGE An extremely demanding threeyear internship could be putting young people off a career in teaching

training institute for education, is often too theoretical and deviates from what they really have to do as teachers. “The internship should be more practical and applied to our work, rather than a wasted afternoon.” He also criticises the ministry’s new system of internship “à la carte”, in which interns are eligible to choose their courses. According to Caldarella, he could only choose one course. The minister, however, explains that many efforts have been made to adapt the internship to the existing skills set of the students. The main difficulty, in Meisch’s opinion, is that students come from very diverse backgrounds. “If they come from Eupen [in the German-­ speaking province of Belgium], then they are very well prepared to alphabetise in the first two years of primary school. However, if they graduate from Brussels or Bastogne, they didn’t study the alphabet in German. It is clear that for the internship, we have to figure out how to balance their training and to pinpoint what wasn’t covered during their higher education.” A third point of dispute concerns the status of student teachers. During their internships, the candidates still receive grades for their essays and exams, meanwhile bearing responsibility for one class. According to Adam, this puts interns in a difficult, hybrid situation where they are neither employees nor students. “We don’t agree with this dual situation of having authority over a class but also attending school. It’s not a beneficial situation for their authority, because parents notice it. It’s also a rushed situation where they have to change from one role to the other.” A young intern supports Adam’s statement. She believes that the internship is vital, yet at the same time “what is frustrating to me is that one is still not established within the work as one still needs to get the grades to advance, while compiling reports and studying for exams. That’s stressful because from the first day they tell you what you need to do in order to pass. I still feel like I’m in school. At

first, I thought ‘now I am a teacher, with a class and a job’, but then it feels as if they want to hold me back through the training.” Meisch explains that even though the uncertainty among student teachers is recurring, it is unjustified. According to the minister, not a single intern failed their first internship year. “It really is an approach that aims to guide the young, to accompany them and to offer them a shoulder to lean on if needed and if they don’t feel ready. There are also pedagogic counsellors who are there to support them and accompany them to classes.” The minister hopes that the anxiety will disappear once the results of the first internship years have been published.

IMPROVE ATTRACTIVENESS OF TEACHING The difficulties are clearly determined by people from the education sector, and some of them even seem to overlap with the ministry’s analysis. Clear communication between the parties seems to be missing, whereas a constructive exchange could help identify the justified and perhaps the unjustified problems. The serious shortage, however, is a reality. People working in education propose similar solutions, with a focus on the internship. Caldarella notes that the training period could be cut to two years, but he also adds that “from the political side, it has to be understood what people’s needs are”. Another student teacher reflects that the internship is necessary overall but she would ditch the grading system. “We went through this for four years, I had two bachelor theses and next year, I have a third one to write.” Moreover, Adam suggests relocating more staff from the regional offices into the classrooms, where they are needed after all. She argues that for teaching it is best to have a “carrière plane” (flat career) in which all teachers “are used to be the same and where conflicts are avoided, but where everyone supports each other”. The minister believes that the teacher’s image in society greatly

impacts the attractiveness of the job. According to Meisch, it is crucial that “we show the necessary respect to teachers, the respect they’ve earned because it’s a very demanding job, in particular for Luxembourg”. He characterises the grand duchy’s situation as uniquely challenging due to its multilingualism, but also the diverse regional and social situations in the country that have to meet the timely demands. In Meisch’s view, the positive and enriching sides of the job need to be highlighted, and he adds: “When I see that in a school there exists a shared feeling of changing something and of getting together to improve things, then this is the best motivation a teacher can get. If we transmit this to the youth, then we’ll get more teachers in the future.”

LUXEMBOURG EDUCATION IN NUMBERS According to a response by education minister Claude Meisch to a parliamentary question, published on 9 October:

160 139 2 78 291 168 779

Qualified primary teachers hired for the 2015/16 school year Number of substitute teachers lost to schools at the start of the 2015/16 school year

Qualified teachers hired for the 2016/17 school year

Substitute teachers added for the 2016/17 school year Primary teacher vacancies sought by the education ministry for the start of the 2017/18 school year

Number of those posts actually filled Qualified teachers in primary schools the ministry wants to hire between 2018 and 2020

December 2017






Photography by MARION DESSARD

FINDING MEANINGFUL WORK FOR REFUGEES While the authorities have recognised that access to employment for refugees is important, what is actually being done to help them find work suited to their experience and abilities?


uring his recent trip to Luxem­ bourg, the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights Nils Muižnieks stated that “solutions must be found to enable asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection to integrate Luxembourg’s labour force as early as possible”. Whilst the Luxembourg government has implemented several initiatives to facilitate access to employment for asylum seekers, the numbers who actually find work remain low. Delano spoke with two organisations that are helping to bridge this gap. The Connections project was estab­ lished by the Association de Soutien aux Travailleurs Immigrés, the foreign workers’ rights association, in May 2016, and is open to both asylum seekers and those who have been granted refugee status. Funded by the Œuvre Nationale de Secours Grande-Duchesse Charlotte’s Mate­ neen coordination unit, Connections provides training, workshops and unpaid internships for those who complete the selection process, easing their path to integration in the local workplace. To date, 106 individuals have taken part in the programme, 58 of whom have gone on to find unpaid intern­ ships. Zina Menhal is a project co­ ordinator at Connections, and as a former journalist in Baghdad she is acutely aware of the difficulties faced by those entering the workplace. “The first barrier which must be overcome is language and especially French,” Menhal explains. “In general, French is the most requested language in job December 2017


offers and Asti offers language courses as well as conversational meeting groups where refugees can sit alone or with volunteers to practise their French language skills.” In addition, many refugees do not know the im­ portance of a CV or a job interview. “We offer workshops on subjects such as CV writing, how to attend a job interview and preparing for an in­ ternship,” adds Menhal. It is also vital that refugees adopt their pro­ fessional skills for the Luxembourg market. “An architect, who worked in Iraq, may have followed different procedures to those we have in

Luxembourg, so training is needed to allow them to learn the Luxembourg context of their job.” Since the beginning of the project the Connections team has worked closely with local companies to guaran­tee internships for their par­ ticipants. However, they are still actively looking for organisations willing to provide places for their applicants. “From our last group, we are currently seeking 27 unpaid internships for the remaining participants. These in­ ternships will support the work we are doing and further the integration of refugees into our society.”

PATRICK DE LA HAMETTE Access to the digital world is a necessity

Digital Inclusion is another organi­ sation helping refugees utilise their talents and learn new skills in order. Founded by Patrick de la Hamette and Isabelle Mousset in May 2016, Digital Inclusion is also funded by the Œuvre Nationale de Secours Grande-Duchesse Charlotte. “Our principle belief is that everyone in society should have the right to digital inclusion, that it should not be limited to refugees only, but include all vulnerable people living in Luxembourg,” says de la Hamette. “Having access to the digital world is becoming a necessity and everyone should have access to a computer.” De

la Hamette says he became aware of the lack of digital resources available to refugees from attending welcome meetings back in 2015 during the peak of the refugee crisis. “I started by myself helping one refugee gain access to the internet through a large antenna I happened to have. From there I began posting requests via my own social media site for used computers and laptops, and things just grew.” In 2016, Digital Inclusion received 700 requests from refugees and asylum seekers for computers. To date, de la Hamette and his team have distributed 1,070 and currently have 150 requests on their waiting list. All of the com­ puters have been donated by individuals from both the private and public sectors. “Once we started to receive the computers, we then set about the process of repairing them and ensuring data protection,” he explains. “We invited refugees and volunteers to attend workshops on how to repair the computers, so they could be pro­ actively involved and learn new skills.” Digital Inclusion runs repair workshops on Mondays and Tuesdays in the basement of the Hariko building, as well as a female-only repair workshop on Friday afternoons in partnership

with Women in Digital Empowerment. Digital Inclusion also teaches participants how to learn languages through computers and how to use MS Office in English and French rather than Arabic. “Through the programme and the support of the Œuvre we have been able to hire two employees, a project manager and an IT technician, so we have provided real jobs to refugees.” Indeed, Digital Inclusion was one of the first organisations permitted to employ asylum seekers to teach and run workshops. Like Menhal, de la Hamette believes that learning a European language is crucial for refugees to find work in Luxembourg and access to a computer facilitates the ability for individuals and families to proactively learn via online courses. “Digital access provides individuals with autonomy,” he says. “A computer can not only educate, but it allows social interaction with loved ones, entertainment and so much more.” De la Hamette’s goal is that every refugee in Luxembourg should have a computer and with the public’s ongoing support that is certainly an achievable goal.

MORE INFORMATION Connections icon_website icon_mail connections icon_facebook Connections Digital Inclusion icon_website icon_mail icon_facebook DigitalInclusion Asbl December 2017








Martine Huberty: If you could highlight three major dates in your life, what would they be? Mars Di Bartolomeo: Apart from my private key dates, of which there are many, there are three which may have led to this interview. I have never had a career plan, so these things just came about. The first is when I got the job as journalist at the Tageblatt in 1972, when Jacques Poos employed me. I landed at the Tageblatt almost by accident, but the journalistic method has not left me for the rest of my life. I approached most things more like a journalist than a professional politician. It’s about understanding the context; if I don’t understand, I ask someone who can explain it to me; then I share and explain the information. For me personally, it was always also about convincing others. I would say I was a commentator, not someone who just relayed information. Journalism influenced me a lot. The second was when Robert Goebbels recruited me to replace him as parliamentary secretary at the LSAP parliamentary group. The third stage is where I went from local councillor, to mayor, to member of the government, to speaker of parliament, which I think is the cherry on the cake. In 2013, I had the choice of becoming a member of the government or do this. I chose this, because I had two stints in December 2017

MARS DI BARTOLOMEO Banking on what unites rather than divides

government behind me, and was in charge of difficult policy areas [health and social security]. I wanted to start something new. If you were not a politician, what would you be? If I had not become a politician, I would have stayed a journalist, because I did that job with passion as well. Did you ever want to live abroad? No! I think it is good to live in ­Luxembourg. I love travelling and being away, but leaving the country

entirely…no. I never had the urge to emigrate. Maybe that’s because my ancestors immigrated here. That’s funny, I never saw it like that: I never wanted to emigrate because my grandparents moved to Luxembourg. They chose for me as well. And I think they made a good choice [laughs]. When was the last time you were proud of being a Luxembourger? I experienced it on a very emotional level when we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Rome declaration.

Christophe Olinger (archives)

Mars Di Bartolomeo has been the speaker of Luxembourg’s parliament since 2013. The grandson of Italian immigrants grew up in Dudelange. He joined the LSAP and later became mayor of Dudelange, then MP and minister of health and social security. He is not yet tired of his current post and wants to stand again in 2018.

We were constantly referred to as one of the founding members. I find that the European project is rather exceptional. It’s remarkable that Luxembourg played a very active role from the start in the construction and can claim the father- or mother­ hood of one of the nicest projects in European history. We can be proud of that, and of the European project, despite all the criticisms. Another thing I am proud of is that Luxembourg is not just rich, but also capable of solidarity, and is, along with Norway, at the top of development cooperation. What are Luxembourg’s strengths and weaknesses? Weaknesses can be strengths and strengths can be weaknesses at the same time. Luxembourg is small, which can sometimes be a huge advantage. A small country is much easier to manage, and can be a laboratory for certain things. If one is very small, then in big policy areas one does not have automatically, immediately, the weight to push things through. That is why Luxembourg was lucky to have among its representatives a series of truly exceptional personalities, which contributed to the fact that Luxembourg could play a bigger role than its size. One of Luxembourg’s biggest trump cards has been its openness, even though that was not automatic. This openness has been beneficial in economic and cultural terms as well.

It’s one of the keys of Luxembourg’s success. If it closed in on itself, it would go downhill very fast. This openness has entered our DNA. Multilingualism is certainly another of the biggest trump cards. Luxembourgish is a bridge between the different communities that live in Luxembourg and the multilingualism is our master key into the world. The two go well together. Another thing is that we dare to try out new things. The initiative to strengthen the financial sector, the courage to enter the satellite sector with SES Astra, more recently to launch into research, and maybe reach for the stars: sometimes things can go wrong, but if you don’t try, you have already lost. What do you tell your visitors about Luxembourg? I always start with the history: ­Luxembourg was a country of emigration, then became a country of immigration. It has a history where it was often invaded by other countries. Luxembourg used to be poor; it became rich through what was underneath its soil, its steel industry, and when that decreased, new sectors were developed. While the financial sector is certainly very important, it is reductive to see Luxembourg only as a financial centre. It is still an industrial country, it is strong in services and in high technology. I also tell them about the specificity in the composition of its population, with almost 50-50


Luxembourg citizens and non-Luxembourg citizens, and that this does not lead to great tensions. This is not least because we decided to organise our country in solidarity, where everyone has the same right to health care, decent pensions and nursing care for the elderly. It is that inclusive approach to keep everyone in the boat, which may be expensive now, but in the long run is less expensive if rifts appear in society. Your job is a lot about representing Luxembourg abroad, and showing it to important visitors from other countries. What is the role of parliament in this? I’ve made the experience that parliamentary diplomacy is increasingly important. This is partly due to the fact that national parliaments have received more influence in the ­European decision-making process through the Lisbon treaty. National parliaments cannot argue anymore that all the European decisions are taken in Brussels. That is poppycock! Parliaments can influence the decision-making process at an early stage. In order to do that well, the contacts to other parliaments are extremely important. If there is a majority of parliaments which has an issue or wants to change something, they can. The second issue is the exchange of best practice. I care especially about the nurturing of our democratic system, and this is best achieved when we have informed and involved citizens. That is why political education is very important; unfortunately, it has been severely neglected over the past decades. In 2017, what will you do to ensure that the slogan--Let’s make it happen--will happen? In 2017, I will do what I’ve done in all the previous years: give 100%. Furthermore, I’d rather bank on what unites us, rather than what divides us. If one joins forces, one can achieve much and change things. Naturally, it’s also about staying optimistic! What is your favourite Luxembourgish word? Kaweechelchen and Gromperekichelchen! They sound very funny and are typical Luxembourgish.

MARS DI BARTOLOMEO Born in Dudelange to Italian ancestors, Di Bartolomeo joined the LSAP in his early youth. He worked as a journalist at Tageblatt under Jacques Poos for 12 years. He was then recruited by Robert Goebbels as parliamentary secretary in the LSAP parliamentary group in 1984. In 1987, he was elected for the first time as local councillor in Dudelange. From 1994 to 2004, he was mayor of his hometown. In 1989, he became a member of parliament, and has been re-elected ever since. From 2004 to 2009, and 2009 to 2013, he was minister for health and for social security under the Juncker-Asselborn I and II governments. Since December 2013, he has taken over the post of speaker of parliament. CELEBRATING LUXEMBOURG In 2017, Maison Moderne and Nvision will celebrate Luxembourg by highlighting those who contribute positively to its international reputation. The climax of the year will be a Celebrating Luxembourg event at the Rockhal on 13 December 2017. icon_website en/celebrating luxembourg

December 2017


Environmental information:

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Photography by SVEN BECKER


Close to 350 guests attended the Thomson Reuters Oktoberfest at the Big Beer Company in Clausen on 19 October. The company used to host a “Grund en folie celebration” for financial industry invitees some years ago. “Looking at the way the financial market is constantly transforming or reinventing itself, we thought we had the responsibility to reinitiate a similar sizeable event,” says Nicolas Falmagne of Thomson Reuters. The event was a thank you to the company’s customers, partners and suppliers. Far from everyone dressed in the spirit of the Oktoberfest theme, but Delano photographer Sven Becker did manage to find a few guests dressed in traditional Dirndls and Lederhosen. “Looking at the success we had, we will organise a second edition,” says Falmagne. December 2017

December 2017










MULTIMODAL HUB A. In front of the first gate, each lorry is photographed from 10 different angles B. The gabarit, or second gate, gives physical control of lorries C. Only 5% of trailers in Europe are craneable, so the platform has a device to place non-craneable trailers onto specially-adapted wagons D. The crane can lift up to 41 tonnes for a container or 45 tonnes for a craneable trailer E. Maximum capacity is 600,000 tonnes per year F. In the control tower, rail planners communicate with the crane operators about what to move where icon_website



According to KPMG Luxembourg’s tally, as of 17 October, 24 banks, insurers and investment companies will set up operations in the grand duchy to maintain access to the EU single market after the UK leaves the bloc.

December 2017

DON’T “PUNISH” LONDON Pierre Gramegna, Luxembourg’s finance minister (centre), said striking a Brexit deal with the UK would benefit the EU during a speech at the London School of Economics. A “no deal” Brexit would simply send financial firms outside of Europe.

45,908 The number of jobs in Luxembourg’s financial sector, including 26,133 at banks, officials at the financial regulator CSSF told parliament in October.

European Council

In 2015, Luxembourg shifted the largest volume of road freight relative to population of any EU member. However, rail freight is expected to gain ground, particularly following the opening of the new multimodal platform in Bettembourg-­ Dudelange in June 2017. Site director Daniel Feyder took Delano on a tour of the 33-hectare site on 17 October. Feyder was actively involved in determining key features of the new terminal. “We went around and had a look at other terminals in Europe for best practices,” he said. Among the features are high-tech verification procedures in place to reduce wait times of lorry drivers. Only four months after opening, it is some way off maximum capacity, handling around 600 trucks per day, compared with 1,500. JB


SIP/Jean-Christophe Verhaegen

TICKER Cargolux signed a code-sharing deal with Emirates SkyCargo during a Luxembourg trade mission to the UAE, and the two countries’ space agencies inked a cooperation agreement. >>> Luxembourg’s strong national balance sheet remains one of the country’s main strengths, the credit ratings agency Moody’s said in a note to investors sent before the autumn budget statement; heavy exposure to the financial industry and international pressure to change the corporate tax system remain notable challenges. >>> The government and three financial firms launched the Forestry and Climate Change Fund to invest in sustainable forestry companies. >>> André Roeltgen, chair of the OGBL, repeated the trade union’s earlier call for a 10% rise in the minimum wage, telling RTL, “productivity gains must be distributed more fairly”; the union also wants a tax exemption on the minimum wage. >>> Michel Wurth, chair of the UEL business federation, argued against raising the minimum wage, telling RTL that Luxembourg’s economy had grown by 60% since 2000, but so had employment: “The cake has not gotten bigger.” >>> Luxembourg’s economy grew 3% in 2015 and 2016, not the 4% previously forecasted, the national statistics service Statec told parliament in October. >>> More than 40 jobs will be cut at Delphi, said the OGBL trade union, as the automotive supplier shifts production to Ireland.

AMAZON TAX RULING PUTS TRANSFER PRICING IN FOCUS The European Commission is judging yesterday’s tax treatment by today’s rules, writes Keith O’Donnell. In the last few years, interest in the field of international taxation has grown steadily. The topic has found its way into the heart of public debate where it is often subjected to oversimplification and political spin. The European Commission has amplified its activity, publicly denouncing a number of tax practices that it has judged to be illegal state aid. The Amazon case is one such case which (like the Apple, Starbucks, McDonald’s and Fiat case) has catapulted EU state aid rules into the headlines. The commission is using--or in our view, abusing--a competition law mechanism to pursue tax objectives. The tax objectives are deeply political, responding firstly, to public pressure on tax fairness and secondly, member state pressure on tax competition among states. While pursuing the objectives may be legitimate, the choice of mechanism is, at best opportunistic, at worst cynical, and in our view, damaging to the EU’s credibility. The commission disagrees about the transfer pricing (TP) method--as approved by Luxembourg in its tax ruling--used by the Amazon group to compute the amount of tax-deductible royalty payments made by one of its operating companies to another group company. These payments reduced the taxable basis of the Luxembourg operating company and in turn, its effective taxation. But what was Luxembourg/Amazon investigated for? Applying OECD principles that don’t meet the commission’s approval? TP is

not an exact science--it seeks to determine a hypothetical third-party price for a transaction occurring within the same group (arm’s length principle), but due to its nature, it will always be a “best guess”. So, how is the commission able to know which TP method is the right one and which transfer price is the only right price? Last but not least, it appears that the commission has ruled on a case which is more than 10 years old applying the TP rules currently applicable. TP rules have been quickly and constantly evolving over the last decade. Is the commission blaming Luxembourg for not having followed the standards of the future? The Amazon case deals with the TP rules as they existed a decade ago. Since then, both international and Luxembourg TP legislation have evolved considerably. For instance, Luxembourg recently implemented a new article into its income tax law on the arm’s length principle in line with OECD TP guidelines. In addition, Luxembourg tax authorities have released a new circular on the tax treatment of finance companies, setting out a TP regime that is consistent with the 2017 revision of the OECD guidelines. This burst of activity is a practical demonstration of the increasingly important role played by TP in Luxembourg, and a good clue as to future trends in transfer pricing worldwide. Keith O’Donnell is a managing partner of the tax advisory firm Atoz. icon_website December 2017




Photography by LALA LA PHOTO



he Luxembourg School of Finance celebrated its 15th anniversary with an event during the 6th Luxembourg Asset Management Summit at the Abbaye de Neumünster at the end of October. Finance minister Pierre Gramegna, LSF head professor Jang Schiltz and renowned Harvard economist Andrei Shleifer gave addresses to mark the anniversary. A research institution that has published findings in peerreviewed finance journals, LSF runs graduate programmes that have seen a total of 1,353 students from 89 countries take its master’s in banking and finance or its master in wealth management. The school has also developed outreach to the financial centre through conferences, events and internship matching. Schiltz said: “We are now working on bringing the LSF to the next level.”

ANNIVERSARY RECEPTION A. Professor Jang Schiltz (left) and Erna HennicotSchoepges B. Fiona Schintgen (left) C. Sot Xan (left) D. Guests celebrate LSF’s 15th anniversary at Abbaye de Neumünster E. Neil Underwood (second left) F. Huizhu Sun (right) G. Xuecan Cui (left) H. Renowned economist Andrei Shleifer (second left) delivered the keynote address










December 2017

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STOCK OPTION REFORM QUIETLY PUT ON BACK BURNER The finance minister announced in June 2017 that he would introduce a draft law to revamp the taxation of stock options; in his budget speech on 11 October, he only proposed hiking the tax rate.

OPPOSITION CRITICISM Claude Wiseler, head of the CSV, said that a more restrictive law was needed, telling 100,7 public radio: “The finance minister should implement what he announced a few months ago.” On Michel Wurth’s demand to leave parliament out of it (see main article), Wiseler said: “It is clear that we deal with a matter where a legal basis should be created, and that discussion must be public--it’s normal. I cannot share his opinion.”


ia Oppel, journalist at public radio 100,7, investigated whether this means the project is shelved and why this U-turn came about. The stock option law was introduced in 2002 by the then governing CSV to attract high income earners to Luxembourg, as Oppel recently reported. High income earners can choose to have part of their income paid in stock options, at a significantly lower tax rate (12-13%) than on wages (42% highest tax rate). Currently, this regime is regulated by an administrative circular, even though the constitution stipulates that all matters related to tax privileges must be written down in law. In June, the DP finance minister, Pierre Gramegna, said that he would propose measures to stop the misuse of stock options. Then, in his autumn budget speech, Gramegna only announced that he would raise the tax rate of stock options from 13% to 21%, and that “the system would become fairer and more coherent.” The finance ministry argued that they would first collect more data on the issue before changing the regime, and would not say if a bill would be submitted to parliament before the 2018 elections. Since January 2016, companies have already provided lists of beneficiaries; in March 2017, the ministry said that the loss on tax revenues was estimated at between €150m and €180m per year. The Lëtzebuerger Land newspaper revealed in October that the chair of the UEL business association, Michel Wurth, had sent a letter to the finance minister, in which he December 2017

PIERRE GRAMEGNA The finance minister (pictured addressing parliament) said over the summer that the stock option law should be reformed, but presented few changes to parliament during his autumn budget statement

argued for keeping the regime “as attractive as possible.” He added that “we consider that these proposed changes should not necessarily be laid down in a law. A legislative debate takes time and provokes certain reassessments, while economic actors ask to be reassured.”

COALITION DISCORD The DP-LSAP-Green coalition has trouble showing a united front on Gramegna’s change of heart. The head of the Green parliamentary group, Viviane Loschetter, said that they wanted the results of the twoyear review because “we think that the system must be abolished in the long term. If not, it should at least

be reformed. That can only be done by law, and we want to know the timeline on this from the finance minister.” Alex Bodry, the head of the LSAP parliamentary group, warned that Luxembourg should not “leave the path of virtue.” It was illogical to raise income tax for the highest earners if they don’t get paid that way. However, he conceded that, to get a quick change, a circular was appropriate. Toeing the party line was Eugène Berger, leader of the DP parliamentary bloc: “It is a question of pragmatism and realism.” He argued that everyone in the coalition wants to introduce a draft law, but that “we needed to do something now.” / speedinvest

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AS CYBER RISK GROWS, NEW CENTRE OPENS Computer security remains an increasing concern in this countr y, but a new state-backed outfit will help companies identify and counter cyberthreats.


uxembourg saw “continuous growth” in cyberattacks between 2010 and 2016, with the Computer Incident Response Center Luxembourg recording 1,200 cases in 2016 alone. Half of those attacks were attempted financial crimes, 40% were cyber­ espionage and 10% were committed by activists. Those figures were cited in a parliamentary response by Étienne Schneider, the LSAP deputy prime minister, and the DP finance minister, Pierre Gramegna, released on­ 18 September. The government was answering a question submitted by the CSV MPs Diane Adehm and Gilles Roth. An unrelated study, published on 7 September by Website Builder Expert, found that the grand duchy is the 18th country most at risk of cybercrime in the EU. Luxembourg had a “cybercrime vulnerability score” of 32%, as did Austria, Belgium and Sweden. Malta (42%) was the most vulnerable in the EU28; Finland (29%) was the least. The paper looked at the number of residents who had been victims of cybercrime, virus and malware report frequency, the nation’s commitment to cybersecurity and number of exposed internet connections in the country.

C3 STARTS UP Meanwhile, authorities are stepping up their cybergame. Luxembourg’s Cybersecurity Competence Center (C3) started operations in October. The centre--which tackles threat intelligence, training and testing--is run by a government-backed outfit called Security Made in Lëtzebuerg December 2017


(Smile). C3 opened its doors during Luxembourg’s Cybersecurity Week--a series of informational and networking events held in October--when its offices were the venue for a conference entitled “Meet the cyber future”. (That particular event was organised by Luxinnovation, the state-backed economic promotion group.) Before the talks on the country’s startup support programmes and a series of six-minute pitches from local and international entrepreneurs, Smile’s CEO had a chance to tout his sevenyear-old outfit and the new C3. Pascal Steichen explained that Smile is a publicly funded organisation that reports to the economy ministry. The outfit aims specifically to help the private sector in Luxembourg in all aspects of cybersecurity. Cybersecurity first came to the fore in the grand duchy back in “the year 2000, when there was a famous virus, called I Love You”, Steichen noted, “which hit a lot of companies because

at that time [people] had the same kind of reflex that people still have today: click, open and boom, all the computers are gone.” In 2002, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development published a paper--that Steichen called “our bible at the time”--entitled “Guidelines for the security of information systems and networks”. Back then, “we were talking about information systems and networks,” he said, deadpan. “Today we’d simply say ‘cyber’; this is”, and then Steichen paused for


DIGITAL TALK A. Claudine Bettendroffer of Luxinnovation talks about the support available to startups


B.-E. and O.-R. Attendees during the “Meet the cyber future” event, organised by Luxinnovation and held at the Cybersecurity Competence Center in the Gare district on 13 October F. and G. David Foy of Luxinnovation H. Aviad Dadoun and Ronne Dadoun I. Robert Carter (on the left)









dramatic effect, “cooler. But it’s basically the same [thing]. It is a really good read. It’s just ten pages, but it’s still very valid, because it had the aim to create a culture of security. And that’s still something which is ongoing. Influencing, adjusting, creating a culture is a long-term effort. So, 17 years is way not enough. We need way more time for having a real security culture.” Nevertheless, today, “we have a relatively dynamic cybersecurity ecosystem in Luxembourg. With not only technical companies, but also lawyers, researchers, authorities, incubators, all these kinds of structures that are part of the ecosystem.”

ONLINE FIREFIGHTERS Smile is made up of three different services, “which have their own branding”, Steichen said, since two of them were originally independent projects run by the economy ministry that were folded into Smile when it got started in 2010. “The first department [that’s] part of Security Made in Luxembourg is Circl. That stands for Computer Incident Response Center Luxembourg, which is a Cert [community emergency response team]. Or for the less ICT know­ ledgeable people, Cert are firefighters… and they provide this firefighting service… to companies for free. It’s a service but we also try to focus more and more on tools, to create competencies internally, so companies December 2017





can self-manage their incidents faster and more efficiently.” One such tool is “BGP Ranking. It’s a bit technical, but BGP is a protocol used on the internet. What we do is take all the internet service providers and all the different blacklists, and link them together, to rank who is the most attacked service provider. And that’s real time,” he said. “The tool is used by the ministry if there are submissions abroad to show that Luxembourg providers do their cyber­hygiene as expected. Another one of these tools, called Ail, Analysis of Information Leaks, is a kind of grabber which goes on the internet looking for public information about data leaks. Which is a tool that you can install, you can use for your own lookups based on, for instance, your brands, your IP addresses, or whatever is linked to your company.” “A third highlight I wanted to make is our threat sharing platform, which is called Misp, Malware Information Sharing Platform. That’s a platform to share knowledge about threats,” he continued. “That’s a platform which is used by many, many companies around the world. At the moment, we have about 800 companies connected to the platform.” Steichen called it an “early warning” system.

PREVENTION CHECKS “The second department, Cases [Cyberworld Awareness and Security Enhancement Services], focuses more on the organisational and policy areas of cybersecurity.” It, for example, provides “Diagnostic”, a self-audit tool and a service for small companies to boost their cybersecurity programme. It helps them “to identify where are the measures that [they’ve] put in place, are they efficient, what still needs to be done, to take [away] the fear of talking to a service provider” when they want to build up their electronic defences further. Another example: “Monarc, that’s a risk analysis, risk assessment, risk management method and platform [that] we developed. All these tools are available as open source, so that December 2017


companies that are working in cybersecurity can use them and enhance their service, or companies can use them internally to do risk assessment” on their systems. Then he had “a few words, about the newborn, the C3… It is based on three main areas of competences that we want to transfer, that we want to build, for you, or that we want to help that you can build up your people,” Steichen told the entrepreneurs. “The first one is a kind of observatory of threats, based on the more technical things [like] Mist, etc., to create a platform which can be used for decision taking. A bit like the weather forecast. Hopefully more precise than the weather forecast!” It was important to create a local observatory, “because Luxembourg being a small country, in all the different global reports and documents that you can find on the internet, the figures for Luxembourg are always very difficult to interpret and read and not really accurate.”

ROOM 42 “And the two other areas are testing and training, and both of these are based on a simulation platform. So, the idea is to [provide the] next level of training and really simulate an




J. Thorsten Ries of Post Group and Serge Hanssens of PwC Luxembourg (seated in front row) listen to David Foy speak K. and L. Serge Hanssens speaks on “EU smart borders” M. Julien Doussot

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N. Pascal Steichen introduces the new Cybersecurity Competence Center Q. Claudine Bettendroffer and Yael Idan S. Noam Herold, Daniel Bren and Yanai Moore T. Philippe Guerber and Edwige Brossard


incident, a cyberattack or crisis even, customised for the company or for one entity, and get the people to play [out] this incident, go through this exercise, and by this train themselves to [deal] with that kind of situation. Or, test their existing policies and measures that are placed in the company”, and see how they stack up. One big part of those services is “Room 42”, “which is basically a cyber­attack simulation game, including physical and emotional elements. It’s kind of a 4D thing, because there are lights, there are video and audio aspects” to make it as realistic as possible. One key difference about C3: it’s a commercially-oriented venture. “Circl and Cases are two departments that work as a public service, so it’s free for everybody, but it’s limited,” Steichen pointed out. “C3 is not a public service; it’s a partnership with companies and together with companies we define new services and sell them together.” In other words, “the C3 will have to finance itself in the coming years”. December 2017







CYBERSECURITY COMPETENCE CENTER The C3 has three tracks. The first pillar aims to collect strategic data and information to establish a knowledge network to identify illegitimate cyberactivities, the centre says. The second component will provide a programme of cybersecurity trainings to adapt to the diverse range of needs. The last pillar will be a test space for new product prototypes. icon_website w ww.

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BULLYING IN THE WORKPLACE COST ECONOMY €150M Workplace bullying took its toll on Luxembourg’s economy in 2016, pushing seven people to attempt suicide and thousands to go on sick leave. Mobbing asbl delivers its annual report.


ullying in the workplace, or “mobbing”, cost the Luxembourg economy an estimated €150 million in 2016, according to the latest figures from a victims’ support service. Mobbing asbl opened 144 new investigations into workplace bullying or harassment in 2016, up from 133 the year before. Of those who sought help with the agency, 55% said they went on sick leave after their first meeting with the organisation’s advisors, and the average sick leave of clients lasted 50.9 days.

55% SAID THEY WENT ON SICK LEAVE AFTER THEIR FIRST MEETING WITH THE ORGANISATION’S ADVISORS, AND THE AVERAGE SICK LEAVE OF CLIENTS LASTED 50.9 DAYS. In 2016, the organisation closed 22 cases, down from 31 in 2015. The annual summary noted that among its clients, 44 reported having suicidal thoughts and seven attempted suicide. In 2015, it reported zero suicide attempts but the number of clients who said they were experiencing suicidal thoughts was higher, at 55. December 2017

ECONOMIC DRAG Bullying in the workplace, or “mobbing”, cost the Luxembourg economy an estimated €150 million in 2016

In 2016, Mobbing was most commonly reported in the health and social sector (14% of cases), followed by banking and insurance (12%), sales (10%) and “other sectors” (10%). In 2015, the highest proportion of cases was reported in “other roles” (19%), followed by sales (16%), while health and social services, transport and real estate accounted for 8% of cases respectively.

Mobbing occurred more commonly in the private sector, the report suggests, with 84% of victims working in this sector. Meanwhile, workers with no qualifications were the most likely to be victims (35%), followed by graduates (26%) and workers with no higher education (25%). Abuse of power was indicated as the cause in over a quarter of cases (28%), followed by others (25%) and working conditions (24%).


TIP OF ICEBERG Mobbing asbl estimated that 9% of the country’s 430,000-strong workforce suffers from workplace bullying, suggesting the victims it has contact with are the tip of the iceberg. It calculated that if 55% of all victims took sick leave for 50.9 days, it would have cost an estimated €150m to the Luxembourg economy in 2016, up from €102.5m in 2015.

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SHELTER AND EMPOWERMENT The director of the Luxembourgbased European Microfinance Platform looks ahead to an annual conference that puts the grand duchy firmly in the spotlight of the inclusive finance sector.


onsultants and support service providers, investors, multilateral and national development agencies, NGOs and researchers will all descend on the Abbaye de Neumünster in Luxembourg for three days this autumn to discuss the latest developments in microfinance. The European Microfinance Week, hosted by the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), is a unique meeting point for microfinance professionals working worldwide--last year’s event attracted close to 500 participants from 58 countries. The highlight of the meeting is the European Microfinance Award, which this year will go to a project involved in providing loans for housing. Around 40 projects have now submitted applications to the European Microfinance Award, which is worth 100,000 euros to the winner. “It is not something you can complete in an hour, you really have to be committed to enter,” says e-MFP director Christoph Pausch. The winner is chosen by a high jury on the day of the award. “We have to be sure that the three finalists are of very high quality,” says Pausch. It’s a very rigorous process, because the award not only provides the winner with monetary reward. “It is not just a one-shot, but the idea is to also shine a spotlight on a topic that is maybe underappreciated and to advance the whole industry,” says Pausch, who recently visited the Buusaa Gonofaa project in Ethiopia, which was the winner of the 2008 award. “It was fantastic to see how they have developed.” December 2017

CHRISTOPH PAUSCH European Microfinance Week is based on the needs of e-MFP members

This year’s award will be given to one of three finalists who work in the housing sector. “Research shows that only 2% of microfinance goes to housing, whereas the demand is much higher. It is not a typical microfinance product, because most are usually income generating and those for housing are more a consumer loan.”

The subject of the award is selected by the ministry for development cooperation and humanitarian affairs on advice from the e-MFP board. “The Luxembourg government has been very supportive from the outset,” says Pausch. The humanitarian aid minister, Romain Schneider, says that housing is a fundamental need and

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a complex and multifaceted developmental challenge. “It requires a holistic view of clients’ needs, and partnership between financial institutions, governments, NGOs, technical providers and legal experts to provide access to quality and affordable housing.”

GOVERNMENT SUPPORT The three projects selected for the final include Cooperative Tosepantomin, which offers housing savings and loans combined with technical assistance to rural clients in Mexico. Also on the shortlist is Mi Banco, a Peruvian bank that offers long-term, collateralised mortgages, incremental home improvement loans and a water and sanitation connection product. The third finalist is First MicroFinance Bank Afghanistan, which has responded to war, natural disasters and lack of verifiable titles with a home improvement loan, provided with construction technical assistance offered through a network of partner experts. “These three finalists are addressing the issue through innovation, and we December 2017

HOUSING SUPPORT This year’s European Microfinance Award will be given to a project working in the underdeveloped housing loan sector

are delighted that the European Microfinance Award can again highlight the excellent practice that others can follow,” says Schneider. But Microfinance Week is much more than the award. The conference kicks off with an action group day during which specialised working groups meet to build on months of work by holding in-depth discussions and training on focus topics such as inclusive green finance, digital innovations, SME finance and rural finance. “We look at what our members propose, and then we target those requirements,” Pausch explains.

FEMALE EMPOWERMENT The conference will also tackle the subject of female empowerment. Microfinance loans have typically been given to women because they are often more responsible with money and take care of their family. But whether that has led to empowerment of women in societies that are very often male dominated, not just socially but even legally. “In most cases, men are privileged,” says Pausch.

“It’s a reflection of the maturity of the sector that they are looking beyond the numbers,” says e-MFP information officer Niamh Watters. “It’s not sufficient to have all these female clients. We also need to look at whether the products on offer meet women’s needs and do they address the empowerment of women.” For instance, in India, some women can now receive their credits electronically so that they have sole propriety of the money. Focus will also fall on how microfinance will position itself in the next decade. “Technology will play an increasingly important role,” says Pausch. Mobile phones have immense possibilities in regions where clients can be up to 30km away but microfinance institutions have no private transport, or the cloud can be used to save data in regions susceptible to earthquakes and flooding. MICROFINANCE WEEK icon_when 30 November-2 December icon_where Abbaye de Neumünster, Luxembourg-Grund icon_website

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December 2017



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That firms from one of the smallest countries on the planet should be able to do good business in Asia might appear surprising. Yet it is a prime example of how globalisation helps businesses target niches, even if they are half way around the world. Ahead of an official Luxembourg trade mission to Japan, Delano looks at what can be difficult markets. December 2017







umerous banks, other service providers and manufacturers from Asia use Luxembourg as their hub for the EU market. And many businesses make the return journey. Cargolux has been operating a hub in China since 2014, and has this year established a joint venture with a local freight carrier. SES satellites deliver TV to 43 million homes in the Asia-Pacific region. Luxembourg-based investment funds are the most widely used cross-border vehicles in the region. “Each country is different, and there are also sizeable regional differences too,” noted Jeannot Erpelding, director of international affairs at the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce. Hence the need for the country to pull together to help open doors. Official missions featuring a minister or a member of the grand ducal family make the biggest impact. One such trip is planned for Japan at the end of November, just four months after the signature of “Jefta”, the Japan-EU free trade agreement. Even so, “don’t expect to get a deal done on the first visit, as you have to build trust,” Erpelding advised. MU LT I-SE CTO R A L M I S S I O N

Erpelding stressed the multi-sectoral aspect of the November trade mission. Representatives from the automotive, ICT, logistics and space sectors will be on board, as will companies and institutions from sustainable finance, tourism and the December 2017

animation arm of the audiovisual production industry. As might be expected, technology plays a big role in Japan’s economy, even more so after the launch of a programme called Society 5.0. Japan will further increase its spending on technological projects such as autonomous driving cars, drone deliveries and interconnected electric equipment. Interest from Luxembourg’s automotive industry is keen, especially as the grand duchy is busy establishing its automotive cluster, but Erpelding explained that gaining a foothold for companies from outside Japan is very difficult. “They have their own eco-system,” he said. Tourism to Japan is set to rocket with the Tokyo 2020 summer Olympics on the horizon, and the green energy sector in particular is another subject of discussions in anticipation of the global sporting event. But Luxembourg for Tourism is also hoping to attract Japanese players in the industry to focus on including the grand duchy in the programmes they offer holiday makers seeking a trip to Europe. Japan has also traditionally been a home to many prodigies in the field of video animation and world renowned anime production studios. So the Luxembourg Film Fund is also heading out on the trade mission to establish contacts for the animation sector in the grand duchy, which, thanks to a string of awards for its co-productions, is fast emerging as a recognised place to come for reliable and high quality studio work. S HI F T I N G FO CU S

It’s no surprise that the greater Asian region has provided opportunities to Luxembourg’s venerable iron production-industry supplier Paul Wurth in recent decades.

However, the boom period when dozens of iron and steel plants were being created across the region--particularly in China--has gone. Now, the emphasis is on refurbishing and refitting existing plant in mature markets. Thus, the traditional regional economic powerhouse, Japan, is once again at the centre of the firm’s attention in the region. Many international businesses remark on the difficulty of breaking into Asian markets. However, Paul Wurth, being a global leader in this key industry, smoothed the path. Countries planning industrial growth reached out to the firm, and Paul Wurth have built on this experience to form long-term relationships. “Japan is really the main Asian market we have been focusing on in recent years,” commented Bob Greiveldinger, corporate technology and innovation officer with Paul Wurth. The firm has been selling ironmaking equipment in the country since the 1970s, and they stepped up their presence in 2012 by establishing a full joint venture with IHI Corporation, a major Japanese engineering equipment firm. This 50/50 joint venture employs around 100 people, more than double the figure when it began in 2012. Greiveldinger expects to see “a lot” of activity for Paul Wurth in Japan in the coming years. One of the high-profile stories of the world economy is about China seeking to manage its steel overproduction. Paul Wurth benefited from the initial boom, supplying technology to most of the country’s ironmaking plants. However, now much of the ongoing maintenance work is being handled locally. “When we were installing our equipment, we worked with local engineering firms and they are able to handle this by

selling spare parts costing €50, to big projects worth €150m,” he added. This can’t be done without hard-won knowledge and experience of local markets, as well as the ability to change in step with the market. BR E W E RY ’ S CA N - D O AT T I T U DE

JEANNOT ERPELDING Don’t expect to get a deal done on the first visit

themselves for most of the standard tasks,” he explained. LO C A L P R E S E N C E V I TA L

Rather than a loss of intellectual property, Greiveldinger sees this as a natural process. “When you do business, you learn from your partners. You can’t stop this, and nor should you try as this won’t be good for business,” he argued. He looks to the longer term, as in 15-20 years time wear and tear will mean these ironmaking plants will require larger scale refitting and refurbishment. This is where Paul Wurth can make a play. There is no choice to having local operations in the region, as the marketing effort is tightly linked

with technical discussions at an early stage. Project management, engineering, procurement, quality control and more are all needed locally. Of the company’s total 1,700 employees, there are around 150 in India, 100 in the Japanese joint venture, 80 in China, with offices also in Taiwan, South Korea and Vietnam. Moreover, these outposts are given substantial autonomy. “One of the main challenges is to keep your organisation fit so that your skills and capabilities match changing requirements,” said Greiveldinger. Each market is very different and they change at different rates, and working with local partners is vital. “Our business is everything from

Selling Luxembourg’s national beer in China seems an improbable exploit. But this is the 10th year that Brasserie Nationale have been shipping Bofferding and Battin the 13,000km to the country. “Getting the beer to China isn’t the problem, it’s selling it that’s the tricky part,” explained Mathias Lentz, global export manager with the firm. It costs surprisingly little to ship a cooled container of 23,800 bottles and cans from Rotterdam to China: around €1,500. This is because most goods on this route come east to west, with many containers returning empty. It takes about four weeks by sea, but when the shipment arrives, that is when the complications start. To survive the journey and the lengthy distribution process, they produce a beer with a 12-month shelf life, that is about three times that of the beer sold in Luxembourg and neighbouring countries. Clearing customs takes about a week. The most fiddly part is the requirement to attach paper labels in Chinese describing the ingredients, the product’s origin, the distributor and more. What’s more, the information needed on these stickers can vary depending on the destination region. But again, this is not an expensive process, costing less than €300 for the container. Then the beer is ready to be moved by truck. E STABLI SHI N G A FO OT HO LD

The brewery’s founding client in the country is a restaurant chain. Lau Yu Chun, originally from Hong December 2017






M AT H I A S L E N T Z Getting the beer to China isn’t the problem, it’s selling it that’s the tricky part

Kong, moved to Luxembourg in the 1970s. 20 years later, he returned to the region with the aim of founding the Jardin de Jade chain of high-end restaurants. He has been successful, picking up Michelin stars and expanding to more than 20 restaurants across the country. One way they have helped differentiate themselves is by selling an exclusive beer made in the heart of Europe: Bofferding. The relationship with the Lau family began in 2007, and after a successful few years Brasserie Nationale were encouraged to branch out. Since 2012, they have been supplying supermarkets in the northern costal town Jinzhou and the inland Hubei province. “Everyone thinks of going to Shanghai, but for us, that doesn’t make much sense,” Lentz explained. The main cities are already served by the big December 2017

multinationals, some of which have breweries in the country. Other competition comes from the local brand Snow. Retailing at about 30 cents a litre, this is the biggest selling beer in the world. R E D F R UI T FO R G O

Even though they have chosen somewhat out-of-the-way places, they are not the only international company to have had this idea. Often Bofferding and Battin are fighting it out on shelves of 350 different beers. Battin fruit beer helps. Being red in colour makes it stand out from the crowd, and is often the access point for drinkers to seek out other Luxembourg beers. Given the moderate transportation costs, the beer retails at a price in line with that charged in Europe. Lentz recognises that the firm’s distant markets in China, the US and

Columbia generate only a small percentage of the firm’s total sales, but they view this as a long-term investment. “At first this can be a very confusing market, but now we’re used to it and it’s working well,” Lentz commented. They now are eyeing further expansion into Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. A MAT U R E MA R K E T FO R W I N E

“Japan is not our biggest export market, it’s very niche,” said Bernard-Massard sales director Antoine Clasen, whose father Hubert, the company’s CEO, first developed ties with the Asian country. “But Japan is one of the biggest consumers of sparkling wine, and compared to China, which is a very new market for wine, it is quite a mature market. They are very knowledgeable and have a very good wine culture--I think that also

Following the official trade mission to Japan, the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce is taking a multi-sectoral mission to Taiwan. For reasons of political discretion, this mission is separate from the trade missions organised in conjunction with the government. The mission coincides with the 10th meeting of the Taiwan-Luxembourg Joint Business Council in Taipei (pictured). The chamber says the mission will be an opportunity for companies to engage in new business opportunities and get insights about the future economic development of Taiwan. “With an important backbone of SMEs and some industrial heavyweights, Taiwan constitutes a very interesting market for Luxembourgish companies,” a statement from the chamber reads. Indeed, its economy was flourishing in the 1980s, when Taiwan became renowned as an “Asian tiger”. After several years in the doldrums, it has regained momentum and Taiwan now ranks 11th in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report. Taiwan is an interesting platform from which to serve other Asian markets and its economic development policies focus on very specific niches in line with Luxembourg’s own development policies. As well as the Taiwan-Luxembourg Joint Business Council, the two countries also share a signing of a non-double taxation treaty that came into effect in January 2015. icon_website


BOB GREIVELDINGER Expects to see “a lot” of activity for Paul Wurth in Japan in the coming years

Peelden/Creative Commons > Lala La Photo (archives)


Founded in 2012, the Japanese Ladies Association currently has over 300 members, although less than half of these are actually Japanese and many are not “active” members. The initial purpose of the JLA was to provide its members, predominantly mothers and spouses, with information and orientation in the Japanese language on life in Luxembourg. However, it soon became apparent that there were many non-Japanese nationals interested in learning about Japanese culture, cuisine and language. The JLA organises a variety of events throughout the year to celebrate Japanese culture. It also hosts a monthly Japanese conversation evening. It also supports the Red Cross Bazar and the Bazar International--this year, the ladies will perform a dance at the latter event over the weekend of 25 and 26 November. The JLA also gives an annual monetary donation to Ashinaga, a charity that assists orphaned students, including children who lost parents in the Hanshin earthquake in 1995, the eastern Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011. icon_website

comes from the finesse of the sake, so they know about different tastes and styles.” Volume wise, China still leads the way and is set to become the biggest producer of wine in the world. Bernard-Massard has two importers in Japan, in Kobe and Tokyo, which divide focus on its Domaine Thill line and Clos des Rochers labels--both also import the house’s sparkling wine range. “They are not in the same region, which helps as well.” Before the financial crisis, the wine maker had one very good client. “One of those very, very big corporations that produced toilets and sold wine and trucks; anything and everything.” But when the crisis hit, the company refocused on its core business and stopped its wine sales. “So we went from sending a few thousand cases to Japan to sending nothing, basically.” December 2017




By chance, a Japanese lady living in Luxembourg contacted Bernard-­ Massard with a view to importing sake to the grand duchy. One of the Japanese suppliers also imported wine from Europe, and that led to a renewal of business. GIFT C ATA LO G UE S

The Japanese present each other exclusive and “fancy” gift catalogues for different monetary amounts, from which the recipient can choose different products. Wines are becoming increasingly popular items in these catalogues. “We have developed our sales quite dramatically in the last two years with that. We are the only Luxembourg product in the catalogue,” Clasen said. Earlier this autumn, the wine maker also sent its first pallet of wine to Taiwan following a visit from a Taiwanese customer. “He has a wine shop in Taiwan, which is also a fast developing market. They are trying to do something more upmarket.” The company is also eyeing up India as a potential market, while its other main export markets--it exports around 50% of its three million bottles of sparkling wine--are still Belgium, Canada and Finland. “In Finland, Bernard-Massard sparkling wine is almost as well known as it is in Luxembourg.” “Doing business with Japanese clients is very formal,” Clasen explained. “When you receive an order, it’s like receiving a royal invitation. On the other hand, they are very precise. And packaging is very important.” Exporters also often deal with intermediaries, usually a Japanese entrepreneur living in Europe who knows the market. Clasen also said that they are paid in euros by their Japanese customers, which is not the case in every market Bernard-Massard works with. “For us, there is no risk, no exposure. Of course, the downside is that it means prices for our wines vary. It’s in those moments you realise how practical it is to have a single currency. I can’t imagine how difficult it was for my father and grandfather before trading in the euro.” December 2017

No need to fly across the world to immerse yourself in Japanese art and architecture for the next few months. The Centre Pompidou-Metz is hosting two major exhibitions and a series of live events until early 2018. The Japan-ness exhibition of post-war architecture and urban planning on the ground floor of the museum is a fascinating insight into how Japanese architects took elements of European design and created their own language and a very future-looking approach to buildings and cities. It is packed with models, architectural drawings, photographs and films. The upper two floors are dedicated to modern and contemporary Japanese art. The Japanorama exhibition, curated by Yuko Hasegawa, features strange, quirky and exotic art and installations made since 1970. A series of ten live performances in the evenings has already started, but continues with dance in November and climaxes in March with a performance by the great composer and musician Ryuichi Sakamoto alongside Shiro Takatani and Satoshi Hama. icon_website



The Chinese business chamber ChinaLux was formally founded in May 2013. It represented a fresh start for an ageing structure that had originally been established over a decade earlier. Indeed, the launch of the new chamber coincided neatly with a flurry of activity by Chinese companies and institutions in the Luxembourg financial sector. The chamber lists as its specific goals a desire to organise, activate, motivate, promote and support China-Luxembourg-­ related trade initiatives and events in order to capture long-term opportunities, “with a regular focus on areas of mutual interest to accelerate these opportunities”, it says. ChinaLux also wants to build a knowledge base for its members, containing useful information regarding economic missions, contact persons with access to China, service propositions, brochures and so forth. And it will aim to provide members with assistance in contacting official bodies in China, Luxembourg and other countries, as well as international or national organisations in respect of Chinese inbound and outbound activities. Its honorary president is the Chinese ambassador to Luxembourg, Huang Changqing. It also hosts an annual celebration to mark Chinese New Year (photo). icon_website

LaLa La Photo (archives) > Takeshi Yamagishi
















Sven Roehler






Photography by MIKE ZENARI

MATERIALS FOR DIVERSIFICATION How can new innovation be unlocked? How can industry and our everyday lives become more environmentally stable? Often the answer to these vital questions are new high tech materials, and Luxembourg has for years played its part in the global research and development push.


round 800 manufacturing com­ panies operate out of Luxem­ bourg, and they’re all keen to find ways to improve their products and processes. Some call the current era a golden age for materials. “Smart” materials can repair themselves. “Metamaterials” can respond to light or sound. Nanotechnologies are constructed atom by atom. IT’S A LONG STORY Luxembourg industry has embraced cutting-edge technology for decades. This dates from at least 1879, when the Thomas-Gilchrist process enabled phosphorous to be removed from local iron ore, an innovation which transformed steel making in this country. Business based here and public research institutes receive generous state funding for their re­ search and development work. In­ vestment in innovation is excluded from EU rules forbidding state aid, and this is key to helping the grand duchy diversify its economy. Recent breakthroughs include work on solar-cell coatings at the University “ WE HAVE SEEN PARTICULARLY of Luxembourg, in collaboration with STRONG GROWTH IN AREAS SUCH Japanese electronics company TDK. They worked out how to remove AS NANO-MATERIALS IN SENSORS, impurities from the coating, increasing THE KEY TECHNOLOGY THAT the amount of light that could pass WILL POWER THE INTERNET OF THINGS through. Hard material cutting and AND AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES.” wear protection firm Ceratizit employs about 100 research staff in its 2,000m2 R&D facility. They are conducting fundamental as well as applied research December 2017

JENS KREISEL Smart materials are a priority for economic diversification

ROBERT DENNEWALD Focus on developments that increase the intrinsic resistance of materials

Olivier Minaire (archives)

into the basic physical and chemical properties of the hard materials and coatings it uses. The Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology have worked on “bio-bricks”, sustainable building material made from plant fibre. Sandweiler-based Saturne Technology operates one of the world’s largest additive manufacturing machines: part of 3D printing revolution. In July, OCSiAl announced plans for the “world’s largest nanotube pro­ duction facility” in Differdange. Up to 200 jobs are set to be created by 2020.

ENABLING TECHNOLOGY Although more than 32,000 people work in manufacturing in this country, the share of total employment and value added is amongst the lowest in the EU, and is about half the average for the bloc. This is not a surprising figure given the relatively high salaries earned here. This means the country has no choice but to explore high tech,

high value technologies if it is to prevent the economy being completely dominated by the services sector.

CONFRONTING MAJOR CHALLENGES “We have to focus on the enabling character of materials,” commented Jens Kreisel, director of the materials research and technology department at List, who will be speaking at the conference. “These create building blocks, so called “transversal enabling technologies”, which can be used by many sectors both in Luxembourg and internationally,” he added. Thus as well as working with the Luxem­ bourg operations of international businesses, the public research sector here plugs into EU and global re­ search networks. “Smart materials are a priority for economic diversification. We have seen particularly strong growth in areas such as nano-materials in sensors, the key technology that will power the internet of things and autonomous

vehicles,” Kreisel added. Robert Dennewald of building firm Chaux de Contern is also on a panel at the conference, and he agreed. “Special focus needs to be given to all devel­ opments that increase the intrinsic resistance of materials,” he argued. He pointed to ultra high strength concrete that allows structures to be made with a smaller construction footprint, while reducing raw material consumption. He has hopes for re­ newables, particularly from hemp and miscanthus. Aerospace, energy, construction, automotive, health care and consumer goods are all seeing the early benefits of this materials revolution. This conference is an opportunity for local businesses and research institutes in this field to raise their profile, both internationally and locally, with clients, partners and governments. New materials are opening the way for new industries, as well as helping solve some of humanity’s greatest challenges.

THE FUTURE OF MATERIALS SUMMIT The Future of Materials Summit is being heralded as the “first ever global summit bringing together business executives and leading politicians to debate the future of materials.” Organised by The Economist group, it is co-sponsored by the Russian nanotechnology firm OCSiAl. The conference is attracting senior people from some of the big names in global industry to give presentations, including representatives of Airbus, Goodyear, HP, Tata Steel and BP. icon_when 13-14 November icon_where European Convention Center, LuxembourgKirchberg icon_website events. December 2017





EU SUPERVISION PROPOSAL CRITICISED Luxembourg’s finance minister has criticised a European Commission reform proposal on making European Securities and Markets Authority the direct supervisor over certain sectors of capital markets across the EU. ntil now, this supervision was always handled by national agencies, in Luxembourg’s case, the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier. The proposal includes transferring powers to the European Securities and Markets Authority in the authorisation and supervision of certain funds. Esma would authorise and supervise certain investment funds with an EU label, with the aim of creating a genuine single market for these funds (European venture capital funds, European social entrepreneurship funds and European long-term investment funds). This would mean that Luxembourg’s CSSF supervision of cross-border funds would end. On the same day, 20 September, the finance minister, Pierre Gramegna, informed a parliamentary committee about the proposals. The Luxembourg government is worried that the competitiveness of the local funds industry might be affected. The proposal also raised concerns among several Luxembourg politicians. LSAP MP Franz Fayot said: “One of the strengths of the Luxembourg fund industry is the reactivity of the regulator,” and also cited the short timeframes for the approval of prospectuses, low costs and efficient supervision. He argued that the commission proposal questions the mechanism of delegation, meaning that a fund can be established in one country and its management delegated to a third country. CSV MP Laurent Mosar said that the proposal had taken everyone, December 2017

CLAUDE MARX Sought to calm tempers

both the parliamentary committee and the government, by surprise. He feared that “the funds would not all go to Paris, but that they would leave the EU.”

SINGLE MARKET RULES The Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry’s general director, Camille Thommes, argued that the proposal contained the risk of isolating Europe. “Actors might turn their back on the EU for their financing and operational activities, if it turned out that they could not intervene as delegates in daily activities.” Claude Marx, director of the CSSF, sought to calm tempers. He argued that not that many powers would be transferred to the European agency. However, he wondered whether it was necessary to reform the proposal,

as it would be more expensive and cumbersome. Adding that the current cooperation between national and European supervisors was working well, he said the European Commission wanted mostly to prevent a negative impact of Brexit. It was intended to prevent letter-box entities in Luxembourg. Marx said that there were no fund management companies without substance in Luxembourg. Because the proposal is a regulation concerning the single market, the Luxembourg government may be outvoted, as only a qualified majority of member states is necessary for the proposal to be adopted. The European Parliament will also vote on it. As the UK prepares to leave the EU, Luxembourg may only count on Ireland as an ally, and it may not get the required votes to block the proposal.

Mike Zenari (archives)







Photography by MARION DESSARD

ALTERNATIVE FUNDS: BOOMING, BUT WILL IT LAST? Things have never been better for the alternative fund sector. Already local players were benefiting after having built expertise and reputation while recent European regulation bedded down. Then global antitax avoidance rules and Britain voting to leave the EU drove major international players to revisit their strategies. Many decided that Luxembourg was the solution. But, are Brexit-related storm clouds approaching?

the EU’s move to enforce surveillance on this previously unregulated sector. Although the directive was approved in 2011, it is only in the last couple of years that it has been universally enforced across the EU, as well as becoming fully digested by the international financial industry. And in this shakedown, the champions of cross-border fund distribution--­ Luxembourg and Dublin--have been the favoured destinations for alternative funds and fund managers operating across borders. Then, in late 2015 the G20 group of leading world economies introduced n the private equity fund sector, “the “Beps”, rules designed to prevent market is very hot, and the influx of corporations avoiding tax via intermanagers and funds is like we’ve never national shell companies. “Both had before,” noted Gilles Dusemon, a AIFMD and Beps require more partner with the law firm Arendt & substance in Luxembourg, and largely Medernach. According to Keith ­Burman, this means middle office functions a partner with the fund services specialist such as compliance, risk management, ManagementPlus Group: “The last and often some of the management two years in particular have been team,” commented Alain Kinsch, particularly fruitful in the real estate country managing partner of EY fund sector. We are seeing new promoters Luxembourg. “Much of this had arrive, and the launch of fund vehicles been happening previously, but now where previously managers were only this must be clearly documented and using the country for structuring.” It is provable to the tax authorities,” he difficult to put figures on growth in the added. Dusemon agrees: “Tax quesdifferent sectors because it is tricky to tions are forcing companies to compare the diverse assets held by concentrate their whole operations private equity funds (investment in in one jurisdiction to build sufficient startups and growth companies), real substance. And Luxembourg is one estate funds (investment in building of the few places where you can do projects), and hedge funds (which use it all, with the funds, the management numerous investment strategies). companies, and operational resources. “We spent the last ten years building You can tick all the legal, regulatory the infrastructure to welcome multi-­ and tax boxes.” billion private equity fund managers and funds, and now it’s happening, BREXIT BOUNCE including attracting major global fund Thus, where once the grand duchy operators,” Dusemon said. The legal was famed for its prowess in adminand regulatory structures were created, istrative back-office cross-border and expertise was developed. services, it has moved up the value chain. The country has tended to DOUBLE BOOST specialise in private equity and real The first boost was the Alternative estate funds, while Dublin is generally Investment Fund Managers Directive, seen as the EU’s hedge fund centre.


December 2017

GILLES DUSEMON Tax questions are forcing companies to concentrate their whole operations in one jurisdiction

“The country has also built up substantial niche expertise such as private debt--the mezzanine debt area is growing very quickly--and the PE RE funds arena is also expanding quickly,” Kinsch noted. Then the Brexit vote happened. “Luxembourg was already emerging






off, a bottleneck was created at the regulator given the high demand, with fund approval taking up to three months. As alternative funds are only destined for experienced investors (financial institutions and very wealthy individuals), the government decided that only the fund managers needed to be regulated. They created the Reserved Alternative Investment Fund regime. Rather than months, it now takes weeks to get the regulatory approval. No fewer than 238 RAIFs have been registered since the measure was introduced in July 2016. This is not a game changer regarding whether to choose the grand duchy, but it is easing some of the stresses.

“THE FIRST QUESTION IS ‘WHERE IS THE PROOF OF MARKET FAILURE?’” KEITH BURMAN Why should the whole industry change to address a fringe or nonexistent issue?

December 2017

as one of the preferred alternative fund centres in the EU by mid-2016. Brexit has enabled us to transform this into international recognition that we have the most important private equity fund centre,” commented Dusemon. Ucits funds, which are aimed at the general public and which make up the bulk of the Luxembourg fund industry activity, will probably not be directly affected by any immediate post-Brexit changes. However, the rules on fund-raising for alternative funds are less clear, and there is clear potential for disruption. Raising investment into funds can take many years, and politics could disrupt this if there is a hard “cliff-edge” exit. “Previously, UK private equity fund managers could operate out of London to serve a European market, but now investors are worried,” Dusemon noted. This has led more fund managers to consider

Luxembourg which can boast longterm commitment to the EU and legal certainty. Burman is seeing the same effect in the real estate sector. “Everyone hopes there’ll be a sensible working relationship, with third country passporting, but it could be months or years before we know for sure. So many managers are deciding that they are safer using Luxembourg or Dublin rather than the Cayman Islands or Channel Islands.” There was an immediate effect after the Brexit vote, although implementation has taken longer to get going. As regards staffing, some people are being moved from London, but the bulk are being hired locally, creating hundreds of new openings.

EASED RED TAPE As well, a recent tweak to ­Luxembourg regulation has made it easier to create new funds. As AIFMD took

BUT… “Short term, Brexit has been very positive, but the long-term effect will be negative, a lose-lose for the UK and the rest of Europe,” commented Kinsch. “This view is not shared by everyone, but already we are seeing the signs of how this could go,” he added. He points to the recent moves and statements by the European Commission and the bloc-wide regulator European Securities and Markets Authority. Over the last 30 years, fund managers based in one EU country can delegate fund administration functions to another country in the bloc. ­Luxembourg and Dublin have benefited by becoming experts at running funds centrally and then distributing them across Europe and, increasingly, the world. However, there appears to be an appetite in some quarters to rethink the way the fund industry has operated in Europe. The current cross-border model that has benefited Luxembourg was, to a large extent, driven and supported by successive UK governments. Germany and France, on the other hand, have largely domestically oriented fund industries, so their governments tend to be less well attuned to the advantages of this model. This will affect the way EU regulation is framed and enforced.

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ALAIN KINSCH Long-term effect of Brexit will be negative for the UK and the rest of Europe

TROUBLE BREWING? The first open sign of a shift came on 13 July when Esma issued a series of guidance circulars regarding the cross-border fund industry. These suggested there was a need to prevent UK investment firms using shell companies in an EU country to gain access to the single market. On its own this move probably does not constitute a threat to delegation, but when an Esma representative told the Reuters news agency that “each situation has to be assessed on a caseby-case basis”, this started to make some people nervous. Then on 20 September, the European Commission made a proposal December 2017

ALFI PRIVATE EQUITY AND REAL ESTATE CONFERENCE icon_when 21-22 November icon_where European Convention Center, LuxembourgKirchberg icon_website

which would, if agreed, severely affect the delegation model. Under the proposals, national regulators will not be able to give authorisation to a manager if that manager plans to outsource or delegate a material part of their activities to a non-EU country. Esma would need to take a view first on the planned delegation relationship.

CONCERNS GROWING “This is increased bureaucracy, it lengthens time to market and it increases costs. This will undoubtedly have a negative effect on the competitiveness of EU funds as a whole, and ultimately the investor,” Denise Voss,

chairman of Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry, said of the September announcement. Dusemon is also concerned: “This could be a game changer. We have a good system and well-regulated arrangements in place, but then this opens the way for another regulator to come in, and this creates legal uncertainty, because nobody knows how knowledgeable or efficient that regulator will be.” So is Burman: “The first question is ‘where is the proof of market failure?’” he said. “If there have been problems, so tell us and we can work to fix them, but otherwise, why should the whole industry change to address a fringe or non-existent issue?”

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Almost every restaurant in Luxembourg has game on its menu during the autumn and winter. Whether it’s deer, wild boar or rabbit, most of these come from Luxembourg. [1]

IT IS THE SEASON This year, the drive hunt season lasts from 14 October to 17 December. A drive hunt means that hunters come together to flush out the animals, by making loud noises in the forest, to be able to fulfil their yearly quota. [1]

POPULATED FORESTS During the last hunting year (April 2016-March 2017), the total male, female and young animals shot in Luxembourg were: 5,956 roe deer, 4,701 wild boars, 860 wild ducks, 789 racoons, 705 wood pigeons, 400 hares, 363 deer, 167 fallow deer, 71 mouflons, 32 rabbits, 15 muskrats and 7 pheasants. [2]

GET THE PICTURE LICENCE TO CARRY The number of hunting permits issued in Luxembourg has varied over the decades, and did not rise with the increase in population. In 1946, at a population of 290,000, just above 2,000 had a hunting permit. There are currently between 2,000-2,100 permits for almost 600,000 inhabitants. [3]

SAFETY FIRST Only wild boar is checked for diseases. The trichinella spiralis swab is sent to the state laboratory of veterinary medicine, as this disease can also affect humans. All the other animals (such as deer) do not carry diseases which can infect humans, and are therefore not checked. [4]

FRESH MEAT In Luxembourg, hunters generate around 1kg of game meat per consumer every year. [1]

MORE BUCKS AND BOARS The trend for shooting rabbits, wood pigeons and hares has gone down dramatically. Bigger wild animals, such as wild boars and bucks has gone up, due to the increase in animal population. [3] Xxxxxxxxxx 2015

Sources: [1] Fédération Saint-Hubert des Chasseurs du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg; [2] Statec, Gibier tiré 1937/1938 - 2015/2016; [3] Administration de la Nature et des Forêts, Bulletin technique 2016; [4] Sandra Cellina, Administration de la Nature et des Forêts


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Delano presents a selection of upcoming business, informational and networking events for Luxembourg’s international community. Starting times omitted from all day happenings. Advance registration and fees may be required, so consult the website indicated for details. All events are held in English unless otherwise noted. MATERIALS SUMMIT


The Economist The Economist Events brings over 700 manufacturing leaders, research scientists, academics and decision-makers for a two-day conference exploring how new materials are generating new industries and helping to solve major challenges. See article page 54.

Lu-Cix Digitalisation and how decision makers in SMEs can make the most of the increasingly digitalised world is the focus of day 1, while day 2 will look at DDoS attacks and their threat to the global economy. Also included in the line-up are games, networking sessions, conferences, exhibitions and interactive debates.

icon_when Mon 13-Tue 14 November icon_where European Convention Center, Luxembourg-Kirchberg icon_website


LPBC The Luxembourg-Poland Business Club will award diplomas to the participants of this year’s entrepreneurial women project, while, at the same time, marking the club’s 5th anniversary. The evening will also incorporate a 30-minute AGM. icon_when Mon 13 November icon_where Arendt House, Luxembourg-Kirchberg icon_website

FIND MORE EVENTS Check Delano’s digital agenda for the latest happenings:

December 2017

icon_when Tue 14-Wed 15 November icon_where Chamber of Commerce, Luxembourg-Kirchberg icon_website


Tigfi The Institute for Global Finance Integrity welcomes associate professor at the University of Luxembourg Jos Van Bommel, who will talk about the governance of perpetual institutions. Van Bommel will cite his recent paper exploring the conflict of overlapping generations in asset-holding institutions and provide suggestions on resolving intergenerational conflicts. icon_when Wed 15 November icon_where Cercle Munster, Luxembourg-Centre icon_website



The Network Women’s professional networking group The Network welcomes a panel of speakers to share their stories and talk about who and what inspired them. Speakers include Jill Saville (pictured), Renée Aakran-Fezzo and Marilou Ashworth. Broaden your network and take home some inspiration.

Alfi This two-day conference examines alternative investment funds, focusing on operational efficiency and legal engineering. Speakers will share a range of strategies for dealing with these types of funds while Alfi will also present findings from surveys on private equity and real estate.

icon_when Wed 15 November icon_where Hotel Le Royal, Luxembourg-Centre icon_website


Amcham Celebrate the American Thanksgiving holiday in Luxembourg and expand your network at the same time at this dinner organised by Amcham. This relaxed event will welcome deputy prime minister Étienne Schneider as keynote speaker. The meal will be followed by a disco. icon_when Fri 17 November icon_where DoubleTree by Hilton, Luxembourg-Dommeldange icon_website

ENTREPRENEUR INSPIRATION European Entrepreneurs Over 500 European entrepreneurs are expected to attend this three-day conference aimed at strengthening relationships between entrepreneurs from different industries, countries and generations through storytelling. The event is organised with Hub Dot Luxembourg. icon_when Fri 17-Sun 19 November icon_where University of Luxembourg, Esch-Belval icon_website

icon_when Tue 21-Wed 22 November icon_where European Convention Center, Luxembourg-Kirchberg icon_website


IMS Luxembourg Find out who is blazing a trail in sustainable business and how you can be part of the transition at this half-day event to make the tenth anniversary of IMS Luxembourg. Special guests include ocean ambassador Lewis Pugh (pictured), climatologist Jean Jouzel and UN artist ambassador Natasha Taskos. icon_when Tue 21 November icon_where European Convention Center, Luxembourg-Kirchberg icon_website

PERSONAL BRAND Wide Women in Digital Empowerment welcome experienced multilingual marketing and communications executive Vania Henry for this workshop which aims to help attendees develop their personal brands to ensure they stand out and become the ‘go to’ person for their particular area of expertise. icon_when Fri 1 December icon_website

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in association with

21 & 22 November 2017, Luxembourg Agenda topics: •

PE & RE global market trends/ALFI surveys on Loan, Private Equity and Real Estate Investment Funds

Legal and regulatory toolbox for designing and structuring PE & RE products

Fund governance in a changing environment

The critical role of specialist asset servicing providers in supporting innovation and digitalisation across evolving PE & RE operating platforms

Regulatory challenges, solutions and best practices

Dedicated streams on private wealth, insurance & pensions, operational effiicency, risk management

Take advantage of the 2 hours lunch break with side events and even more subjects to learn from: Short & Sharp Stage - Live on stage informational and dynamic session

Confirmed Speakers include:

Nick Curwen SS&C Luxembourg

Jack Inglis AIMA

Patricia Volhard Debevoise & Plimpton

Anthony Shayle UBS-PREMF

Brian McMahon BNY Mellon

Ilse French PwC

Anja Grenner Intertrust Group

Steve Bernat Carne Group

Pascal Rapallino SGG Group

Oliver Heiland Allianz Global Investors

Neeral Patel BlackRock

Josephine Andonissamy Tishman Speyer

PRE-CONFERENCE EVENT & OPENING GALA COCKTAIL 20 November, 17.00 - 21.00, 19, Liberté (BCEE building) Loans, hedge, infrastructure, AltUCITS and other alternative strategies

Free for PE & RE Conference registrants

Make sure you get a full picture of the alternative investing space, please join us on the eve of the Conference for an exclusive seminar with experts and practitioners to expand on other types of funds such loan funds, debt funds, infrastructure and hedge funds and alternative UCITS.

Latest programme & registration:






ore than 200 people attended the first installment of “Delano Live” at the Big Beer Company in the Rives de Clausen on 5 October. The evening before each new print edition of the magazine comes out, “Delano Live” features live on-stage interviews, followed by networking with the international community. Delano’s Jess Bauldry interviewed Michel-Edouard Ruben, an economist at the Idea Foundation, and Madhumalti Sharma, Luxembourg ambassador for European Coding Week, about getting more women into the ICT workforce, a topic which came up while she was reporting the October cover story. Then Delano’s Duncan Roberts asked Amanda Surbey of Bee Together about beekeeping in the capital.









December 2017


DELANO LIVE A. Clare McGing and Ben Breckler B. Michel-Edouard Ruben C. Duncan Roberts, Madhumalti Sharma, Sarah Mellouet, MichelEdouard Ruben, Jess Bauldry, Aditya Sharma, Amanda Surbey D. Christophe Rahier, Laura Morgano and Namkhai Narankhuu of ING (the event sponsor) E. Natalie von Laufenberg, Saskia Müller F. Irina Troshkova, Oksana Domina G. Loïc Genin, Charlotte Nielsen H. Franck Macedo, Sam Jahan I. Enrica Garoni, Marija Garoni

Photo : ©Eric Chenal

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Yann Castano, chef at Oro e Argento restaurant at Sofitel Kirchberg, has been crowned the Gault & Millau Chef of the Year. The 2018 Gault & Millau Belux guide, which features reviews of 90 selected Luxembourg restaurants, is on sale from 14 November. icon_website


The International Motor Show is an unmissable annual event for fans of competition sports cars and all manner of soupedup and nostalgic vehicles. It also features action events including a drift show. icon_when 17-19 November icon_where Luxexpo, Luxembourg-Kirchberg icon_website


Amnesty International Luxembourg has launched its annual sale of candles ahead of Human Rights Day on 10 December. The candles raise between €50,000 and €60,000 for the Luxembourg chapter in its campaigns to get prisoners of conscience released and save lives. icon_website


The annual Red Cross Bazaar features a second-hand sale, gift items, food stands and entertainment for kids and adults as well as a visit from Saint Nicholas. Proceeds go to the youth section of the Luxembourg organisation and to its international aid fund. icon_when 12 November icon_where Halle Victor Hugo, Luxembourg-Limpertsberg icon_website


An intimate evening 5k or 10k run will help raise money for the Mark Pollock Trust, researching cures for paralysis. Participation costs €25 in return for which runners will receive Run in the Dark gear and bottled water and a snack at the finish line. icon_when 15 November icon_where Big Beer Company, Luxembourg-Clausen icon_website

December 2017



Now that Art Week is over, the four-day Luxembourg Art Fair opens with over 2,000 works from contemporary artists on show. icon_when 30 November-3 December icon_where Luxexpo, Luxembourg-Kirchberg icon_website

Luxembourg foodie magazine Kachen has published its first edition in English. The autumn edition features articles on Moselle wines, apples and vodka. icon_website


Rhythm and Carols is a seasonal fund-raiser concert jointly organised by Amcham, the Lions Club ­Luxembourg-Amitié and the British Chamber of Commerce. Festive music is performed by the percussion students of the Conservatoire conducted by Paul Mootz and Nancy Glesener. icon_when 10 December icon_where Conservatoire, Luxembourg-Merl icon_website

HOW BAZAR, HOW BIZARRE The annual Bazar International is a real highlight of the Advent season. For volunteers it is a weekend of hard but rewarding work, for some visitors it is a friendly fundraiser, for others a chance to get all their Christmas shopping down under one roof, and for others still a culinary (or binge drinking) journey around the world. Some devoted fans even post a Bazar countdown on Facebook, such is their impatience to attend the event. Indeed, the Bazar International is many things to many people, but at the end of the day it is an event that showcases the very best of Luxembourg, and especially its diverse and very active international community. The Bazar started humbly enough in 1961 as a one-day fund raising event at the Foyer Européen (now the Casino contemporary art forum), but the event now features 70 stands representing over 60 countries, manned by some 1,400 volunteers, and there is even a waiting list for new stands. Visitors can taste everything from sushi to Irish coffee, from curries to Australian wines. Many come away from the Bazar laden with gift items for loved ones ranging from Scandinavian knitwear to South African wooden carvings, while keen readers manage to snaffle a whole bag of swag at the Book Stand. And it’s all in a good cause. Each year the Bazar committee selects a principal charity that it supports, but a further 80 or so projects also receive funding through the receipts of the Bazar, which last year totalled €580,000. icon_when 25 & 26 November icon_where Luxexpo, Luxembourg-Kirchberg icon_website

Delano staff > Archives > AI Luxembourg > International Motor Show > Luc Deflorenne (archives)

The diar y

WEEKEND OF REMEMBRANCE Luxembourg paid tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for its liberation with various events organised by the RAF Luxembourg branch as part of the annual Wings weekend. The three days of commemorations began on 20 October with a reception at the British Embassy residence.





Lala La Photo > Joe Eagan


WINGS RECEPTION A. British ambassador John Marshall stands with two RAF members B. The RAF reception kicked off a weekend of activities C. Marshall received a tie and lapel pin D. Guests, included Luxembourg RAF branch coordinator Romain Reinard, third from left


icon_when 7-19 November icon_where Marionnette, Scott’s, Rocas, The Tube icon_facebook Luxembourg Comedy

ond edition of The line-up for the sec dy Festival is complete. me Co the event. the Luxembourg Joe Eagan talks about Founder and comedian D.R. How does this year’s festival differ from last year? J.E. After last year’s inaugural festival, of course there were a lot of “baby steps” learned about what is needed and not needed. So now everything will be perfect… (haha). This year, I also have a co-organiser, Deepu Dileepan, who is a pro comic living in Luxembourg. Besides all the shows being in English, we will also have a show in French with a top comic named Adrien Arnoux. Also new for this year is that all the shows are individually presented on, so people without Facebook can find show info there as well. D.R. What criteria do you use to choose the comedians who perform at the festival? J.E. Via the other shows I run in Holland and Scandinavia, as well as via my network of comedians and contacts around Europe, I have an idea about one or two years ahead of whom I have not booked yet, but know who is good enough, and who has not performed in a certain city in a long enough time. It’s very important to keep the variety. For example, none of the pro comics coming this year were at the 2016 festival, so lots of new faces and material to enjoy! D.R. What is the challenge for comedians when performing to a multicultural audience?  J.E. A big challenge, especially for comics who have been performing in their home country for a long time, for example a British comic who hasn’t performed abroad in a long time, I always sit them down and tell them to talk much slower, and explain too British references. Most audience members have English as a second language, so we really try to choose comedians who we know have broadly appealing material, especially things about different nationalities and stereotypes tends to go down well.  D.R. You have a few Luxembourg-based rising stars at the festival. How is the Luxembourg comedy scene developing? J.E. It has really exploded since the last festival. There are open mics in Luxembourg, I think at least every two weeks, and there are about 20 comics in the Luxembourg area now who are honing their skills and getting stage time. That is so important, since stage time is the key to getting better. It’s like a sport; only so much can be learned from books, watching YouTube, seeing our live showcase shows in Luxembourg with the pro acts... and watching me (just kidding). Stage time is the key to getting the feel and timing for it. The funniness eventually comes with this. Interview by DUNCAN ROBERTS December 2017





Photography by LALA LA PHOTO

r u o v a l f n a b Cu y t i r a h c s e m for Fem


ver 350 guests enjoyed a taste of Cuba at the annual Femmes Développement gala dinner on 19 October. The event, now in its 12th year, raises funds for the association which helps widows and orphans in Rwanda. The charity was established by Luxembourgbased businesswoman Luisella Moreschi, who serves as its vice-president, after a meeting with Rwandan priest Abbé Pierre, who is the association’s president. Abbé Pierre addressed guests with a moving speech and MC Gabriel Boisante kept the evening flowing in his inimitable style. Further entertainment was provided by Paris-based Luxembourg singer Magali Dahan, French singer Maryan Rousset and dancers from the Magma show revue. icon_facebook Femmes Développement Asbl


A. Nicole Avez-Nana (left) B. Luisella Moreschi and Abbé Pierre C. Magaly Carroll (second right) and JP Carroll (right) D. Liz Del Boccio and Aurélien Sepho E. MC Gabriel Boisante F. Carolina Lazo (left) G. Gauthier Destenay and Laurent Fischbach H. The evening had a Cuban theme I. Abbé Pierre gave a moving address








December 2017



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Photography by LALA LA PHOTO

” r e l t n e g “ e h T s t r a l a i t r a m ages of l arts, we conjure up im When we think of martiasports. But, as with so many things in life, highly physical contactcreated equal. not all martial arts are


he International Society of Martial Arts in Luxembourg teaches escrima and wing chun, two lesser-known specialities which require the patience and attention of all martial arts. Delano spoke with founder Hans Remmel to learn more about these ancient practices. Remmel, a Luxembourg national, started practising martial arts at a very young age before he found a wing chun school in Gummersbach led by the sifu (master or teacher) Sihing Leo Czech in 1982. “At that time, most available martial arts were sports with rules and competitions like judo or karate,” explains Remmel, who now is himself a dai-sifu (or first teacher). “I was looking for a martial art where I could continually grow and develop, challenging myself rather than others.” Wing chun is a traditional southern Chinese gong fu martial art specialising in close range combat. It is known for being economical, direct and efficient. Ng Mui, one of the legendary Five Elders of Shaolin, created wing chun in order to help another woman, Yim Wing Chun, defend herself by distilling Shaolin martial art knowledge into a system that could be learnt quickly, and used without the need to develop great strength. “Unlike some martial arts, you don’t need to be very strong or physically fit to learn wing chun,” says Remmel. “In our club, most of our members are over 40, with the oldest being 64. In wing chun, you are constantly learning, it is an art that you can never truly master.” Wing chun only emerged in the West in the late 1970s although it had been practised in China for hundreds of years. December 2017

It gained notoriety after the release of Ip Man in 2008, a biographical martial arts film based on the life of a grandmaster of the martial art and teacher of Bruce Lee. Donnie Yen, who played the part of Chirrut Îmwe in the last Star Wars film, Rogue One, was cast as the Ip Man himself. “Six months ago, I was contacted by someone who wanted to join ISMA because of the film Ip Man,” Remmel says with a smile, “But I would certainly say it is the exception and not the rule!” ISMA currently has approximately 20 active members and meets twice a week (Monday and Wednesday evenings) at the Kultur an Sportzentrum Soleuvre. “Most of our members are male, but we do have two women who regularly join us. Both are over 40,” he states. “Considering the art was created by a woman, it is a shame that we don’t have more female members, but there is still the perception that martial arts are orientated towards males. Which is completely unfounded.” “Practising wing chun and escrima will help calm the mind, keep your body healthy and increase your awareness,” says Remmel. “I have been practising wing chun for 35 years and I am better now than I was in my 20s.”


ROMAIN THIEL The sifu shares his passion for martial arts with students of all ages

ISMA TRAINING SCHEDULE Regular trainings take place on Mondays and Wednesdays at Sportshaal Scheierhaff, rue Jean Anen, Soleuvre: 18:00-19:00 escrima 19:00-20:00 fitness & self-defence 20:00-21:00 wing chun Members must be at least 15 years old. CONTACT Sifu Romain Thiel icon_phone 691 402 127 icon_facebook ISMA – Luxembourg (International Society of Martial Arts) icon_website

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e r u s a e l p e Th of giving l a c o l g n i h t some r, the frantic business as just around the corneed ones has well and truly started. tm ris Ch d an y Da ’ las friends and lov With Saint Nicho al flavour is much lists of gif ts to buy for of compiling shopping n to head online, buying gif ts with a strong locfrom fashionable ts, tio gif op t ec sy a list of sel While it is an ea e. Here, Delano provides ft toys for kids, more personal and uniqusigner dresses, hand-crafted jewellery and so s season. thi de l re tifu asu e real ple scarves and beau artists, that could provid al loc by s ok bo d an to music



Impashion sells sophisticated T-shirts designed by local artists like Françoise Ley and Filip Markiewicz for men and women as well as a range of children’s Ts. Proceeds from the items sold help eliminate child labour. icon_info


Rightly recognised as one of the most celebrated local fashion designers, Stéphanie Comes produces clothes that have flair and style. Her designs are striking for their use of luxury fabrics and architectural shapes paired with strong vivid colours. The brand has just made Luxembourg tennis player Mandy Minella (pictured) the new face of Yileste. icon_info

December 2017


Sisters Claudie and Stéphanie Grisius have come a long way since launching their Vol(t)age fashion label with a V-neck scarf in 2011. They still make the beautiful scarves, but also create witty slogan T-shirts, a variety of tops and coats. Pictured here is a V-neck Shine bright scarf and a black velvet bomber jacket. icon_info


Luxembourgish words and expressions never cease to amaze and amuse, so the range of organic cotton T-shirts and other items from Äddi a Merci are perfect for anyone wanting a taste of the local language. The website even has a glossary in English, so expat residents can get to learn some cool and cheeky phrases. icon_info




Anatoli’s colourful and extravagant designs are matched with functional basics to create vibrant brooches and scarves. icon_info

Marie Pedersen’s Silk & Burg fashions accessories including prints of Luxembourg landmarks such as the Rout Bréck, tea towels printed with recipes for local specialities Bouneschlupp and Gromperekichelchen, and baby clothes with “Moien” and other Luxembourg language slogans. icon_info






Les Couleurs de Zaza is an eclectic brand. Zaza uses materials such as polymer paste to make colourful and unique jewellery, but also wool for knitted and crocheted accessories and fabrics to create clothing and bags. icon_info

While no longer manufactured in Luxembourg, Villeroy & Boch will always be associated with the grand duchy. The porcelain maker has released a new Christmas edition mug in aid of the SOS Villages d’Enfants Monde charity. icon_info





Luxembourg artist Michèle Ludovicy-Hansel has been creating jewellery under the name Verraille in her small studio in the south of the country since 2011. Her creations are inspired by the everyday life. icon_info

Inspired by floral nature and modern architecture, trained goldsmith Patrice Parisotto crafts dazzling jewellery using high quality metals. icon_info




Delano went behind the scenes with this fairtrade goldsmith in October (see pictures on Annick Mersch makes unique and personalised jewellery, often using old pieces that her customers bring to refashion or melt down to create something entirely new. icon_info


Danish goldsmith Stine Bülow is recognised as one of the best in Luxembourg. Her creations are simple yet sophisticated and include hand-crafted one-off design pieces as well as a range of charming ready-to-wear jewellery. icon_info

A former cartographer, Natalie Zimmer now creates jewellery using high quality silver and gold that she fashions in what she calls a “raw” manner. Her handmade pieces are unpolished and set with natural precious and semi-precious stones or pearls. icon_info

December 2017








Luxembourg-based Niovilu makes beautifully designed yet practical baby sleeping bags. icon_info

You certainly won’t be disappointed with the gift from grandma if you buy from this group of “Super Grannies”. Mamie et Moi’s team knits and sews retro clothes for children from 0 to 4. And the retired ladies get to earn a few euros into the bargain. icon_info





Locally made bags, rucksacks and purses for kids with cute animal designs feature in the Goldstéck collection. icon_info


Luxembourg-made with Icelandic design flair, Nuvola Baby has a collection of cosy and super soft babywear (0-2 years) and accessories, including playsuits, pillows and a very popular range of blankets. icon_info


Sophie Dewalque makes easy to wear yet contemporary clothes for children (and women) as well as soft fabric toys and designer accessories that are fun and stylish. icon_info





Stuff4Kids hosts a range of blankets, bibs, bags and games made from soft fabric and designed with kids in mind. Loulou also takes orders for personalised items. icon_info


Based on a series of interviews with refugees in the grand duchy, the book features what author and project coordinator Frédérique Buck calls “a different, fairer and more human narrative” than the stereotypical representation of refugees in the mass media. The book is published by the same company as Delano, Maison Moderne.






A young adult novel about love and activism in the Europe of today, The Venus Zone won the Luxembourg National Literature Competition. It follows a trio of teens as they embark on a mission that takes them to London, Luxembourg and the south of France.


Described as a “time-travelling, edge-of-your-seat adventure”, Tommy Turner’s Tremendous Travels begin when the titular hero has a chance meeting with old Mr Petrovsky. Illustrated by Patrick Hawkins, the book is Ali Seegar’s first children’s novel.


December 2017

“HOME SWEET HOME” BY ANNE FABER The third book by the young Luxembourg chef, author and presenter features her takes on some classics of local cuisine, like Mettwurscht muffins and Judd mat Gaardebounen cannelloni. The recipes are easy and fun to follow and beautifully photographed. icon_info


Unfolding against the backdrop of the all but forgotten war in eastern Ukraine, Graham Fulbright’s thriller is a great travelogue of a book that takes in London, a “quiet European principality”, Lagos, Afghanistan and Beijing.


The NEW COLLECTION is exclusively available at your Wellendorff-Boutique in Luxembourg, Grand Rue 19. Contact your Wellendorff expert at tel. + 352 45 54 46 or






The jazz percussionist has released an album that is described as “a trip through the percussion worlds of the late 20th and early 21st centuries that 70s groupies would have taken large quantities of drugs in order to emulate”. icon_info




GEORGIO “THE DOVE” VALENTINO: “THE FUTURE LASTS A LONG TIME” The cool baritone releases his latest album, a collection of judiciously selected covers, such as Aztec Camera’s ‘Let your Love Decide’, P. Ciampi’s ‘Sobborghi’ and David Bowie’s ‘As the World Falls Down’, as well as his own songs, including last year’s single ‘Satyros Ironykos’ and ‘The Stranger’.


Close to celebrating eight years as a band, indie folk popsters Seed to Tree have matured since starting out as fresh-faced youngsters. The title track of new EP Unconcerned may have been played to death on Ara City Radio, but showcases a more expansive and richly produced sound. icon_info



Described as “a little bit angrier than its predecessors”, the third album by the trio of singer Claudine Muno, DJ Chook and percussionist Jorsch is one for fans of Portishead or London Grammar. icon_info

Funky post-rock with an Afro-beat bent is the hallmark of the young band. Their mathrock with attitude is beguiling and catchy as heck. icon_info



Inspired by 60s psychedelia, with a love of both its more bluesy and more experimental facets, the young Luxembourg band play music that transcends genres and also takes in elements of grunge, stoner, shoegaze and garage as well as the odd flourish of indie rock. icon_info





If lush guitars and catchy melodies à la Bloc Party or The Kooks are your thing, then Austinn are right up your street. The band’s debut album, Appetite, was recorded with James Lewis in Peterborough in England earlier this year and is hot off the press. icon_facebook austinnband


The rising star pianist has chosen works by Claude Debussy and Karol Szymanowski for her latest album, which was recorded in the chamber music hall at the Philharmonie. Krier says she is interested in the differences one can observe between the works of these composers, who were briefly contemporaries of each other. icon_info

December 2017


With guest appearances from string section Kaiser Quartett and guitarist Riaz Khabirpour, the young modern jazz quartet was praised by one reviewer for its “refreshing and ambitious artistry”. icon_info

Vol(t)age/Christian Wilmes > Impashion > Silk & Burg > Stine Bülow > Verraille > Mamie et Moi > Nuvola Baby > Stuff4Kids > Anne Faber > Delphine Jouandeau > Villeroy & Boch






Photography by MAISON MODERNE

Sharing is caring The top floor restaurant at the Sofitel Le Grand Ducal has undergone a transformation.



Unassuming from the outside, Le Châtelet is a cosy and elegant venue, perfect for a relaxed evening with friends.

December 2017

Still got room for dessert? These are also made with sharing in mind by pastry chef Yannick Ferraton, who used to ply his trade at the famous Sacher hotel in Vienna. The pièce de résistance is a luxurious chocolate Grand Duchess Charlotte. The adjacent bar is still a wonderful venue for an aperitif or after work drink and now has a new signature cocktail in the shape of the wonderfully refreshing “Le Mu’st”--a blend of blanc de noir wine infused with rosemary and tarragon, Gin Mare and Mediterranean tonic with a twist of lime.

It has been a year since husband and wife team Jean-Baptiste and Aleksandra Savary took over Le Châtelet in the Gare district. The hotel, bar and restaurant is now a cosy and discreet place that caters to a discerning crowd. The couple employed Guillaume Lempens, formerly at La Bergamot, to cook at the restaurant--which has retained its La Cantine du Châtelet name. The result is a menu that is refined yet affordable with


icon_where 40 boulevard d’Avranches, Luxembourg-Gare icon_website

lunchtime formulas available from between €16 and €29 and evening taster menus at just €35 or €55. Thanks to comments made by Delano’s sister publication Explorator, the wine list has been revised to include some more affordable bottles starting at €35, but also features a number of exceptional wines at €100 and upwards. The service is relaxed but meticulous. icon_where 2 boulevard de la Pétrusse, Luxembourg-Gare icon_website

Le Châtelet

Fresh on the market

on’t worry, the view across the city from the top of the Sofitel Le Grand Ducal is still unbeatable. But the décor at new restaurant Mu is cosier, while retaining a distinctive design element. As for the food, well it has also been styled by chef Sébastien Perrot to be more convivial for diners. The Mu menu features a list of refined starters inspired by cuisine from around the world and made for sharing, tapas style. Dishes include a deliciously tender octopus tentacle served with pimientos de Padrón, tuna tataki with a mango reduction, and a trendy salmon ceviche. Meat lovers will adore the beef gravlax and a pan-fried foie gras with spiced wine and rhubarb. There are also vegetarian dishes including a Greek salad and Sicilian aubergines. But meat is the star of the selection of main courses. Sourced from acclaimed butcher Guy Kirsch, the beef ranges from a 1.3kg premium tomahawk steak (at a whopping €159) to a Mu Burger via a filet de bœuf and a beautiful tartare prepared at the table.

fête des Vins et crémants

24./25./26. novembre @ d’ cOque kirchberg luxembourg

Vendredi / 24.11.2017 / 15h00 - 20h00 Ouverture officielle: Vendredi / 16h30 Samedi / 25.11.2017 / 14h00 - 19h00 Dimanche / 26.11.2017 / 14h00 - 19h00






Photography by MIKE ZENARI

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OANA MARANGOCI An IT developer and business analyst by day, Oana moved to Luxembourg for work in 2008, after a year spent living in France. Having lived abroad for ten years, during which she acquired the Luxembourg nationality, she remains nostalgic for her past, which she describes as one of her “favourite states”. A member of Toastmasters’ Green Hearts group, she drew on memories of her family and childhood for her very first “icebreaker” speech. Oana also has a blog and is wellknown in Luxembourg on the open mic standup comedy circuit. She began stand-up in 2016 after entering a public speaking contest with a comic speech written about three men she dated. She adapted it for stand-up, and it was well received. One year on and she has developed a repertoire of material around dating and her culture, performing in Luxembourg and Ireland. “I didn’t like talking about my culture in the beginning but apparently this is what makes people laugh,” she says. Indeed, one of her most memorable jokes comes from a Romanian expression to never reheat old soup. To hear it, check out her next performance during the Luxembourg International Comedy Festival from 17-19 November. icon_website December 2017

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December 2017






Photography by MIKE ZENARI

Passionate s broadcaster

its 25th anniversary, As Radio Ara celebrates the presenters making programmes of Delano looks at some broadcaster. in English on the niche


he majority of English-speaking expats are more than familiar with Ara City Radio, which broadcasts on the 102.9 and 105.3 frequency between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays. But they may not realise that there is also a wealth of English-language programming on Radio Ara outside of those hours. Launched as an independent radio station when Luxembourg opened up its airwaves in 1992, Radio Ara was immediately recognised as a niche broadcaster, free of the restraints of commercial radio. The majority of its presenters are volunteers with a passion for music, and for the format of radio, who are eager to share their taste or particular genre with listeners.

A SENSE OF COMMUNITY Sadly, perhaps the best-known English-language voice on Radio Ara, Ron Tuffel, passed away in 2016. He was an icon on the network, hosting Jump, Jive and Jam, which focused on African American music, and also a drive-time chat show that provided listeners with information about local music and culture. Wendy Winn’s Happy Hour show on Thursday evenings covers much of the same ground as Ron’s drive-time broadcasts. She invites an eclectic array of local and international guests to talk about culture, health and social issues-often linking her theme with appropriate music. “Happy Hour is meant to be fun and entertaining and to give people in the community a chance to talk about what they’re doing,” says Wendy. But she also likes to surprise her listeners, and her guests. “I really like asking guests questions other people might want to ask but wouldn’t because they’d sound stupid. It’s not that I want to put them on the spot, or that I really am stupid. I just want to have fun and get people to open up.” On his Transatlantic Tunes show, another American presenter, Filmore West, takes his listeners on a journey back in time to the golden age of rock music. He explains that he already had a “very nice association” with radio through his writer father and actress mother, who broadcast radio plays in the 1940s. And, growing up in California in the 1960s, he was influenced by his


December 2017

JOURNEY INTO THE PAST & THROWING IT OUT THERE A. Filmore West’s Transatlantic Tunes show features music from the 1960s and 1970s B. Isabel Scott likes challenging listeners on The Deep End

RADIO ARA IN ENGLISH ARA CITY RADIO Weekdays 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Music, national and international news, local information and events, interviews and competitions. icon_info HAPPY HOUR Thursdays 6:30-8 p.m. In-studio interviews and an eclectic selection of music.


older siblings’ taste in music. “I remember waking up to the likes of The Doors or Elvis or The Beatles. I was just in that mix.” When he got to university in the mid 1970s, he discovered a local radio station and managed to land a show playing contemporary music like The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. “Music had morphed from the innocent 1960s into maybe a tougher outlook, even before punk,” he says. 25 years later, he landed the weekly show he still presents now. He had realised that a lot of people still listen to old rock music, which inspired him to come up with the idea of Transatlantic Tunes. “If you go from 1960 to 1979, that period covers a lot of ground, from early rock and roll to new wave,” he says. “It was a very rich era.”

CHALLENGING LISTENERS The show also provides him with what he calls a neat “rupture” between his stressful day job in finance and the weekend. And thanks to the internet streaming, he has regular listeners all over the world, including New Orleans, Washington DC and Amsterdam, as well as locals such as a Luxembourger bus driver who has made phone calls in to the studio. The show nearly always has a central theme with links between the songs. “I like to have some cohesion in the show. I like being surprised and I like hearing some context about the artists.”

More contemporary sounds, as well as some surprising obscurities from the 1970s and 1980s, can be heard on Isabel Scott’s Sunday evening show The Deep End. An alumnus of Radio Ara’s Graffiti youth shows, which are broadcast on weekday afternoons, Isabel has been presenting her new show for four years. The Deep End reflects her maturing musical taste, moving away from the focus on grunge that she had in her early years as a broadcaster to incorporate everything from veteran post-punk (not many radio shows in Luxembourg feature Big Black and Hüsker Dü) to more contemporary artists like Sampha, James Blake or Shabazz Palaces. She puts that branching out down to her time spent at university in London. “You’ve got these internet radios… Many have that subculture community connection that I find very, very inspiring. I would love for Luxembourg to be more porous in that sense.” She still listens to the radio pretty much all the time and will note down songs that stand out and often play them in her next show. “I enjoy the challenge of throwing things out there at listeners. It’s about trying to find that complementarity…  I do go a lot with moods.” Like the other presenters on Radio Ara, Isabel is not paid and gives up her free time to prepare and present the show. And like the others, her enthusiasm for radio is infectious. “It’s a passion and something I look forward to every weekend.”

TRANSATLANTIC TUNES Fridays 8-9 p.m. Music primarily from the 1960s and 1970s (repeat broadcast on Saturdays at 8 a.m.). RAAGAMALIKA Sundays 9-10 a.m. Kavitha Ramachandran presents a show featuring classical, semi-classical and folk tunes from the Indian subcontinent. DESI VIBES Sundays 10-11:30 a.m. More contemporary music from Indian subcontinent as well as information aimed at the local Indian community and their friends. THE DEEP END Sundays 7-8:30 p.m. An eclectic mix of familiar and obscure contemporary and older music. GRAFFITI The station’s youth show slot from 2 to 5 p.m. on weekdays also has an ever-changing selection of English-language programming. icon_where Frequencies 102.9 and 105.3 FM icon_info

December 2017






Photography by MIKE ZENARI

o t t r o h s o o t s i e Lif s e h t o l c g n i r o b r wea fill up with when calendars rapidly It’s that time of the yearlas and dinner parties. Whether you have invites to receptions , gaup glamour or prefer to keep it classic and a penchant for amped here’s what’s trending. chic this festive season,


ure, the tuxedo or little black dress are always an option for the party scene, but who says holiday dressing has to be so stiff and dry when the stores are bursting with latest trends in fabric, design & cuts this season? Menswear trends this autumn and winter lean toward structured, tailored suits in unusual colours like moss green, teal blue, powder blue, taupe and camel. Fashion leaders could also dive into full corduroy and velvet suits paired with unique printed silk shirts. Kai Neu, the menswear area manager at Bram in City Concorde, suggests men should experiment with wool coats in varied weaves with a mix of ­patterns in shirts and waistcoats to add that extra edge this party season. With its top-notch service and in-house alteration facilities, Bram has been a go-to destination for fashion lovers since 1974. They stock all sizes from 44-62 and carry best selling labels such as Boss, Strellson, Tiger of Sweden, Drykorn and Sand, to name a few.

GLAMOROUS SHIMMER With shimmer, Lurex, silver, gold, lace and velvet taking centre stage for women this season, it’s time to get all glitzy and glamorous. Red, the colour of love, power and passion, dominates the fashion arena. Indulge in floral and animal prints in varied colours and textures, as now is the opportunity to adorn the perfect head turning look. Chantal Rizzi, buyer and department head for women coordinates and design at Bram oversees some 120m2 of floor space dedicated exclusively to women’s gala and party wear. This is in addition to the evening wear selection provided by the shopin-shops of brands like Ted Baker, Max & Co, Michael Kors and Patrizia Pepe. Based on a client’s needs, style and body shape, Rizzi suggests a plethora of choices for women ranging from elegant jumpsuits, strapless or longsleeved ball gowns to a simple short dress or even a well-tailored suit. These are available in luxurious fabrics like silk, chiffon, tulle, lace and also sequins. December 2017

To complete the party or gala look, Bram carries a range of complementary accessories including jewellery, bags, clutches and even capes, boleros or shawls to keep you warm during chilly winter evenings. International brand Karen Millen has a host of female fans across the world who love the label’s impeccable silhouettes, colourful collections, and vivacious and unique prints. Its store in the heart of Luxembourg City is managed by Hanna Medvedkina. She points out that the party wear collection usually accounts for around a quarter of its stock, with this offer increasing toward the end of the year. For the upcoming party season, she suggests long dresses, jumpsuits, one-sleeve-structured party dresses and mini- or midi-dresses, paired with their sublime shoes and unique clutches. Each Karen Millen piece is designed, developed and refined at its in-house atelier to ensure attention to detail and brand signature quality. Medvedki­na says that cold shoulder remains the key look for the season and opulent embroidery, power ruffles and colours like red, teal, gold and magenta command attention. Tops and dresses come in sumptuous fabrics like lace, satin, viscose and acetate.

BE YOURSELF Just two years after Hallhuber opened its doors in Luxembourg, the store on Grand-Rue is hard to miss. The design company headquartered in Munich churns out a whopping 25 or more new collections every year, giving its customers something fresh and new every couple of weeks. Store manager Eva Maria Lehmann suggests garments in Lurex and glitter and tops and cardigans with pearl embellishments for the upcoming party season. Fashionistas should be aware that this season’s runway trends of red, vintage florals and velvet are already available on the racks of Hallhuber. Their uniqueness lies in the completeness of their offer with a possibility of creating multiple outfits from each collection by mixing and matching various clothes and accessories.

HANNA MEDVEDKINA “Cold shoulder is the key look this party season”

December 2017





EVA MARIA LEHMANN Suggests Lurex and pearl embellishments

STORE FINDER Retail BRAM icon_where 80 route de Longwy (Centre Concorde), Bertrange icon_website KAREN MILLEN icon_where 34 rue Notre-Dame, Luxembourg-Centre icon_website HALLHUBER icon_where 47 Grand-Rue, Luxembourg-Centre icon_website 03_ SOUSTITRE ENCADRE TARA JARMON icon_where 4 rue des Capucins, Luxembourg-Centre icon_website PALLADIO icon_where 16 rue des Capucins, Luxembourg-Centre icon_facebook Palladioluxembourg MAISON FELGEN icon_where 22 rue Xavier Brasseur, Esch-sur-Alzette icon_website

Lehmann says the brand places great value on product presentation and congenial store staff. With a strong retail presence of over 250 retail outlets in nine countries, the design team headed by Susanne Hallhuber is internationally networked and always in tune with the current trends. If you’re feeling very adventurous, try out a snazzy jacquard print, or the must-have material of the moment: velvet. The braver, the better. Remember, even the iconic little black dress doesn’t have to be meek and unassuming--go asymmetric, strapless, semi-sheer or full on gothglam to add that extra punch. Wearing black is a great opportunity to let accessories do the talking. Invest in a little statement bling to finish your look--our adage is that it’s better to be over dressed than underdressed. Having said that, don’t be afraid to contact your host for dress code clarification. One man’s “dress to impress” is another man’s “barely-there everyday look”. If your host is making a real effort, you need to make one too. Lastly, be comfortable in whatever look you adorn and stay true to your personal style--as Oscar Wilde said: “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” December 2017

CAROLINE BISS icon_where 26 rue Philippe II, Luxembourg-Centre icon_website

DOS AND DON’TS Essentials for men: 100% wool fabric; single button or double-breasted jacket; shawl collar or peak lapel on jacket; classic rounded toe capless black leather shoes; silk pocket squares. Men should avoid: polyester or nylon tuxedos; plastic or metallic buttons on jackets; flaps on jacket pockets; cap toe or square toe shoes; bright colour dinner jackets. Essentials for women: the little black dress always works; gowns and cocktail dress; organza, silk, velvet, satin, sequins or lace; sparkles; some skin reveal. Women should avoid: dull colours and fabrics; too short a hemline; flat shoes; old unkempt shoes; anything too flashy.

FASHION BOOM icon_where 83 rue de Hollerich, Luxembourg-Hollerich icon_website

Tuxedo rentals COUTURE ANNE icon_where 30 rue Beaumont, Luxembourg-Centre icon_website

Dress rentals DRESS IN THE CITY icon_website

Second-hand stores SECONDHAND4SALE icon_where 59 rue du Dix Octobre, Bereldange FIRST AND SECOND HAND icon_where 120 Val Sainte-Croix, Luxembourg-Belair





Photography by SVEN BECKER

Curious audiences

attempt to create ôme Konen explains his Kinneksbond direc tor Jérn shed tears, laugh and exchange ideas. a space where people ca


hen Jérôme Konen took over as director at Kinneksbond Cultural Centre in Mamer in May 2015, the programme up until September 2016 had already been finalised. “When you arrive at a new place, you bring new ideas and views of what’s been done before and what you want to try out,” says Konen, a graduate in performing arts and audiovisual at the Paul Verlaine University in Metz. His own programme started in earnest a year ago. “I took a radical approach of ‘throw it at a wall and see what sticks’ in my first full year,” he says. The centre relies on ticket sales for one third of its budget, and presales of tickets are up, suggesting audiences have responded well, although Konen admits that the 2018 programme will take a more nuanced approach. He is not daunted, because his aim is to nurture existing audiences, to try out new things and invite new, younger audiences to do the same. “We were already running interactive theatre for kids under 12, but there was nothing for teenagers and a limited amount for young adults,” he says. He firmly believes that schools in Luxembourg should do more to educate teenagers beyond visits to see classical theatre performances. His centre has been working with Mierscher Kulturhaus on a youth programme. “Young people need a theatrical experience that is different from a typical show, where they sit facing the stage. Teenagers are also very self-aware and don’t want to be asked to get on stage. We try to get them engaged in a way they’re comfortable with,” he says. Konen also works with schools in the locality. This month’s groundbreaking Blockbuster, which syncs real time acting December 2017

with famous movie scenes, will also showcase artwork on the same theme from pupils of the Josy Barthel Lycée. Traditional crowd-pleasers will always be on the agenda, but Konen hopes to entice audiences to discover more. “I want to make audiences curious. Culture and art are not elitist and audiences don’t need prior knowledge to appreciate or relate to what they see or hear on an emotional level,” he argues, adding: “I have tried to create a space where people can shed tears, laugh and exchange ideas.” The centre is also home to the Luxembourg Chamber Orchestra and Konen has been hard at work expanding its

horizons. In addition to their regular and traditional concerts, a partnership with the opera in Metz gives the orchestra greater visibility and allows the centre to stage ballet performances with live music. Funding remains an issue for Kinneksbond. “Other regional structures like ours in Germany and France have a team of 20 people, when we are just six. This limits what we can physically achieve,” he says. Konen, at just 30 years of age, is optimistic: “I will keep having faith in what I do, in the artists and the shows, even if the audience is not ready. I am convinced that in the end, quality will succeed.” icon_website

grand théâtre dE luxembourg









Design: Target Live / Madalena Alberto as Eva Perón / Gian Marco Schiaretti as Che

19 - 31 dEcembER 2017






14 shows e you must se MITSUKO UCHIDA Schubert sonatas Highly acclaimed pianist Mitsuko Uchida is recognised as one of the most skilled interpreters of Schubert on the concert circuit. Here she tackles three sonatas, including the so-called Fantasie, described as “the most perfect in form and conception” of all his sonatas. She performs more Schubert in January. icon_when 12 November icon_where Philharmonie, Place de l’Europe, Luxembourg-Kirchberg icon_website

BRÖTZMANN & LEIGH Late night improvisation session Saxophonist Peter Brötzmann has had significant influence on free jazz in Europe. He has been at the forefront of improvisation since the late 1960s and worked with the legendary Bill Laswell. Here he performs a late night session with acclaimed pedal steel guitarist Heather Leigh.

CHAMBER ORCHESTRA OF EUROPE Mozart symphonies Conducted by Bernard Haitink, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe performs Mozart’s symphony No. 35, ‘Haffner’, and symphony No. 38, ‘Prague’ (named after the city in which it premiered). In between, the orchestra is joined by soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek for Richard Wagner’s Wesendonck-Lieder.

icon_when 18 November icon_where Philharmonie, Luxembourg-Kirchberg icon_website

icon_when 21 November icon_where Philharmonie, Place de l’Europe, Luxembourg-Kirchberg icon_website

December 2017

BODY-OPERA Physical music The third opera-installation composed and directed by Wojtek Blecharz, Body-Opera, challenges the way in which we usually listen to music, and explores the relationship between the human body and sound, and the very physical nature of music. It features a dancer, double bass and percussion.

LEIF VOLLEBEKK Minimalist beauty Leif Vollebekk, here courtesy of den Atelier, makes beautiful minimalist music on his third album, Twin Solitude. Lead track ‘Elegy’ is a mournful lament to lost love. His lyrics are a marvel, simple yet evo­ cative like the most meaningful intimate conversation, and brimful with poetic imagery.

icon_when 12 November (2 performances) icon_where Grand Théâtre, Luxembourg-Limpertsberg icon_website

icon_when 16 November icon_where Rotondes, Luxembourg-Bonnevoie icon_website

LONDON GRAMMAR Comforting London Grammar’s Truth is a Beautiful Thing proves the old adage about difficult second albums. Released in June, it has received mixed reviews. Some critics wailed at the group’s professional melancholy, but others have praised the record as a “comforting and often heartbreaking listen.” icon_when 22 November icon_where Rockhal, Esch-Belval icon_website

TOPS Soft rock hooks Montreal indie band Tops make catchy soft rock that is both timeless and sunny, described by Pitchfork as “straight out of the school of Fleetwood Mac and Mazzy Star.” Fronted by the delightfully saccharine voice of Jane Penny, Tops’s third album was fittingly called Sugar At The Gate. icon_when 26 November icon_where De Gudde Wëllen, Luxembourg-Centre icon_website

Justin Pumfrey > Brian Slater > Klaus Rudolph > Todd Rosenberg

h s the ground running wit The new school year hite-up of theatre, dance, music , a packed and varied lin happenings in Luxembourg. cinematic and comedy ks. Here are Delano’s top pic

Sascha Vaughan > Elmer de Haas > Marc Laroche > Bernhard Müller

BENJAMIN CLEMENTINE Uncompromising British singer-songwriter Benjamin Clementine is blessed with one of the most enchanting and unique voices in modern music. He is also uncompromising in his art – latest album I Tell a Fly tackles contemporary issues such as the refugee crisis, but the music is distinctly avant-garde.

ANNE-MAREIKE HESS Lost feelings The latest show by local choreographer Anne-Mareike Hess, Give Me a Reason to Feel, features three dancers searching for long-lost feelings and desires. In the face of overwhelming reliance on technology and the Internet they simply “want to feel again and be touched.”

LES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE CARLO Pure joy Fondly known as “The Trocks”, this troupe of male dancers parodies ballet classics by exag-­ gerating the foibles and underlying incongruities of serious dance while performing faithful renditions. The Guardian has described their shows as funny yet weirdly poignant.

MORGAN JAMES Soulful poise Discovering that she had a powerful voice at the age of 11 when she was given a karaoke machine, Morgan James comes to Luxembourg courtesy of Rockhal with her first album of self-penned songs, Reckless Abandon – a fine fusion of pop, funk and R&B that showcases her vocal prowess.

icon_when 27 November icon_where Philharmonie, Luxembourg-Kirchberg icon_website

icon_when 29-30 November icon_where Grand Théâtre, Luxembourg-Limpertsberg icon_website

icon_when 1-2 December icon_where Grand Théâtre, Luxembourg-Limpertsberg icon_website

icon_when 4 December icon_where Rotondes, Luxembourg-Bonnevoie icon_website

BARBARA HANNIGAN Soprano advocate Renowned for her advocacy of contemporary music, acclaimed soprano Barbara Hannigan performs here with the Ensemble Ludwig. The programme includes Luigi Nono’s Djamila Boupacha, Alban Berg’s Lulu Suite and George Gershwin’s Girl Crazy, as well as Arnold Schönberg’s Transfigured Night.

GOLEM Dystopian fable Described as “a dystopian fable for the 21st century”, Golem draws on the ancient Jewish folklore but here becomes a clever satire that explores the role of technology in the modern world. A fascinating show, it mixes live performance, animation, music, song and movement.

icon_when 5 December icon_where Philharmonie, Luxembourg-Kirchberg icon_website

icon_when 6-7 December icon_where Grand Théâtre, Luxembourg-Limpertsberg icon_website

HEART SUTRA / THE RAVEN Opera double A double-bill of chamber opera featuring United Instruments of Lucilin. Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa’s The Raven, based on the poem by Edgar Allan Poe and drawing analogies with analogies to Japanese Nō-Theatre. German composer Christian Jost’s mysterious love story Heart Sutra is set in 1930s Shanghai. icon_when 7-10 December icon_where Théâtre National du Luxembourg, Luxembourg-Merl icon_website December 2017





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PLAYGIRLS AND GAMEBOYS The Rotondes hosts an afternoon of fun and games for all the family, together with Spillfabrik and Capel. Kids can play all sorts of board and strategy games, and families can receive advice on what games might best be suited for them. There will also be a secondhand sale of toys and games, including some created by local designers. icon_when 25 November icon_where Rotondes, Luxembourg-Bonnevoie icon_info


ne of the shortest of the Grimm bro­ thers’ fairytales, Rumpelstiltskin, is a story that provides its characters with little back story or psychological depth. The story originated some 4,000 years ago, and was included by the Grimm brothers in their 1812 collection of Children’s and Household Tales. Now the Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, together with the Esch theatre and the CAPE arts centre in Ettelbrück, have chosen the story to revive a tradition of adapting popular fairytales for the stage in Luxembourgish. While accessible to children (but not under the age of ten), the show is also for adult audiences. Indeed, the producers use contemporary jargon when likening the basic “ancestral struggle” of the story--what they call the fight “between the thin mask of civilisation December 2017

and the untamed forces harboured within each and every one of us”--to that between creditors and debtors. The show is described as an “exercise in filling out this tale of betrayal and greed by illustrating hitherto little explored motives, and by using action and dialogue to fill in ellipses where, hitherto, there were things unmentioned and mere suppositions. Who is this Rumpelstiltskin, and why does he want to seize and take possession of the queen’s first-born child?” The production features a set by acclaimed designer Anouk Schiltz, film clips by award-winning director Christophe Wagner and a great cast that includes Larisa Faber, Marco Lorenzini, Elisabeth Johannesdottir and Pitt Simon. The show is in Luxembourgish, but there will be surtitles in English (and French). It will be performed twice in the evening and once as a matinée in the main auditorium of the Grand Théâtre. icon_when 15 & 16 December 8:00 p.m., 17 December 5:00 p.m. icon_where Grand Théâtre, Luxembourg-Limpertsberg icon_info

icon_when 2 December icon_where Philharmonie, Luxembourg-Kirchberg icon_info

HISTORICAL SELFIES The Villa Vauban has a host of fascinating guided tours and workshops for kids. For instance, children can take a short visit of an exhibition and then make an accessory inspired by the works on show. They can also take a selfie using a historical setting, with the photo then displayed on a special wall. icon_when Every day except Tuesdays icon_info

Bohumil Kostohryz

Luxembourg writer Ian de Toffoli and director Myriam Muller have teamed up for a brand new version of the legend of Rumpelstiltskin that aims to provide background and context to the famous story.

LES TRIPLETTES DE BELLEVILLE The Terrible Orchestre de Belleville performs a live score composed by conductor, singer and guitarist Benoît Charest to the Oscar winning animation film. Set in the jazz era and involving a kidnapping during the Tour de France, the wonderfully surreal film has little dialogue, but is not recommended for very young viewers.

Festival de musiques nouvelles Philharmonie Luxembourg 06.â&#x20AC;&#x201C;19.11.2017

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ught of yeast ex tract nist shudders at the tho Housécker. lum co e vic ad o’s lan De s to avoid This month , xit reporting and hope spreads , is bored with Bre

Dear Auntie Eleanor, my foreign friends were ecstatic to learn there is a new expat shop in Luxembourg selling Vegemite and Marmite. I’d like to know what is the difference and are you a Vegemite or Marmite fan? --Kevin in Bous Gentle reader, before your question I had never heard of these delicacies. A quick look on the world wide interweb tells me that both are savoury, vegetable-based spreads made from concentrated yeast extract which resemble molasses. Marmite, whose motto is “you either love it or hate it” is commonly found in the UK, and in Australia it is known as “Our Mate”. Vegemite is most popular in the southern hemisphere. Both are rich in B vitamins but high in salt if consumed in large quantities. I read that Vegemite contains the least salt of the two and has a slightly milder flavour. Looking at the photos I’m not sure my dentures could handle either. I’m also more of a mackerel pâté lady myself so suggest you pick up a jar of each at Home from Home and taste the difference for yourself. Dear Auntie Eleanor, it seems that half of the news in Luxembourg is currently related to Brexit. How is that possible? What is the obsession with Brexit? In Germany, they hardly mention it! --Brigitte from Schengen Gentle reader, you are right, it is getting a bit tedious--especially because not much progress has December 2017

Delano website where they recently published some rustic podcasts.


been made in the negotiations. The uncertainty and sheer number of unknowns keep everyone on the edge of their seats in this country. The continuous drip of companies saying they want to come to Luxembourg is like a leaking tap; once you have paid attention to it, you can’t ignore it. I guess the fascination is partly like watching a car crash in slow motion, partly glee that Luxembourg is the chosen land for “exiteers”. Dear Auntie Eleanor, I recently moved to Luxembourg and was wondering if you could

recommend some good podcasts about Luxembourg? --Patrick from Merl Gentle reader, as luck would have it, I am something of an avid podcast listener. Perhaps it is because I grew up listening to the wireless, but I do like podcasts that enable one to travel without having to leave one’s home. I tend not to listen to local podcasts but I hear the Lëtzcast has some interesting interviews with international residents-cum-celebrities. I am sure it is just a matter of time before they call me up. If you’re interested in local legends, you should also check out the

Dear Auntie Eleanor, we moved to Luxembourg this year from the UK, and my kids have been telling me about St. Nicholas, who comes on 6 December. As we want them to enjoy the local traditions, can you please tell me more about this mysterious man? --Shirley from Gasperich Gentle reader, it is true that St. Nicholas only comes to a few select countries and visits children on that day. For a week or two before, kids put one shoe outside of the house for him to bring treats; traditionally, they are satsumas, nuts and chocolates. If they haven’t behaved well that day, he doesn’t show up or doesn’t put anything in the shoe. The kids will know when he passes because he usually rings a bell under their window when they’ve gone to bed. On the great day, in every village, St. Nicholas will meet the kids and give them gifts. Beware of the Housécker though--that’s evil counterpart who gives the naughty kids a small tree branch called a “Rutt”.

SEND IN YOUR QUESTION Want to know something about Luxembourg? Contact Auntie Eleanor via Please indicate if Delano can publish your name or if you wish to remain anonymous.

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