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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
A N I N CO N S ISTENT F U DG E Easing ac is a wecl ess to Luxem co e m consen ove, bourg natio sus pom overco liticians habut by seekinnality v mplica ted thee unnecessagr ily new law .
on-Luxembourgers eager to obtain option of sitting what for them could be a nationality have some cause to simple test and instead must dedicate a not celebrate on 1 April when new legislation insignificant amount of time to language on obtaining citizenship comes into force. lessons that may be superfluous to their For too long they were left in limbo as needs. And it remains a mystery why those the new law was being drafted and its long-term residents are not required to take precise provisions were uncivics lessons. If they have not known. But even after the had the gumption to learn the law was published, clarity language, then one can also WITH was missing. Social media assume many will not have ELEVEN was awash with applicants bothered to sit down and study OPTIONS asking questions about whether Luxembourgâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s political system, TO OBTAIN they had to take a language history or law. CITIZENSHIP, test, how many hours of At least the law is doing away civics lessons they would be with the double standard of THE NEW required to attend, and which allowing access to recovering LEGISLATION language schools were acHAS RESULTED citizenship. This allowed applicredited to provide Luxemcants who may have only visited IN AN bourgish lessons. Luxembourg once to obtain ILLOGICAL By trying to accommodate certain papers the possibility MESS. a whole range of different of becoming a Luxembourger groups, the lawmakers have and therefore voting in national fudged an opportunity and elections, while some residents only created confusion. With eleven options who are fully engaged with local society were to obtain citizenship, the new legislation unable to vote because they had not obtained has resulted in an illogical mess. For instance, nationality. residents who have lived in the grand duchy Nevertheless, like the politicians who for more than 20 years no longer have to drafted the new law, we hope that as many take a language test--which may well suit non-Luxembourgers as possible take adsome people who struggle to learn languages, vantage of the easing of the requirements. especially if they are of advancing age. By obtaining nationality, residents can redress On the other hand, they are now obliged the demographic balance and have a say to sit through 24 hours of language lessons. in the way the country is run. So those applicants who have made an effort to learn the language without formal lessons DUNCAN ROBERTS are at a disadvantage--they do not have the Editor-in-chief
ON MY MIND Leaving Delano in excellent hands while I take six months parental leave--trying a selection of local beers ahead of a Delano IPA taste challenge for our next print edition--rediscovering some excellent local radio thanks to 100,7 (www.100komma7.lu) April 2017
Open from Monday to Friday from 10.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. 69, parc d’activités Mamer-Cap • L-8308 Capellen │ Tel.: 26 30 30 1
Write to PO Box 728 L-2017 Luxembourg Offices 10 rue des Gaulois, Luxembourg-Bonnevoie ISSN 2220-5535 Web www.maisonmoderne.com Founder and CEO Mike Koedinger Administrative and financial director Etienne Velasti PUBLISHER Phone (+352) 20 70 70 Fax (+352) 29 66 19 E-mail email@example.com Publisher Mike Koedinger Editorial director Sven Ehmann Editor in chief Duncan Roberts (firstname.lastname@example.org) Desk editor Aaron Grunwald (email@example.com) Journalists Jess Bauldry (firstname.lastname@example.org) Martine Huberty (email@example.com) Natalie Gerhardstein (firstname.lastname@example.org) Contributors Isabella Eastwood, Stephen Evans, Sarah Pitt, Alix Rassel, Wendy Winn Photography Sven Becker, Marion Dessard, Patrick Galbats, Lala La Photo, Maison Moderne staff, Mike Zenari Proofreading Pauline Berg, Muriel Dietsch, Sarah Lambolez, Inès Sérizier DESIGN Phone (+352) 20 70 70-200 Fax (+352) 27 62 12 62-84 E-mail email@example.com Director, Maison Moderne Studio Guido Kröger Creative director Jeremy Leslie Studio manager Stéphanie Poras-Schwickerath Art director Cassandre Bourtembourg Layout Sascha Timplan (coordination), Monique Bernard, Sophie Melai
DELANO APRIL 2017 CURRENT AFFAIRS
New legislation on obtaining Luxembourg nationality takes effect on 1 April. Delano breaks down the details, and also asks what it means to be a Luxembourger.
What do city councils actually do?
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Delano eavesdrops on a client visit.
REVERSE CULTURE SHOCK
When it comes time to “move back home”, how do employers prepare staff for repatriation, and what advice do “repats” give after their own experience?
In accordance with article 66 of the law of 08.06.2004 on the freedom of expression in the media: the company that publishes Delano is indirectly held, by a stake exceeding 25%, by Mike Koedinger, an independent editor registered in Luxembourg. Mike Koedinger is chartered with daily management. Delano™ and Maison Moderne™ are trademarks used under licence by MM Publishing S.A. © MM Publishing S.A. (Luxembourg) COVER PHOTO
Lisa McLean, managing director of Ara City Radio, with Luxembourg’s red lion. NOTE TO OUR READERS
The next print edition of Delano will be published on 24 April. For news updates, commentary and our weekly what’s on guide, visit www.delano.lu.
Can clever storage transform your home and de-stress your life a bit? Delano asks three Luxembourg designers to help clear the air.
KEEP ON TRUCKIN’
Park yourself at these food truck fairs.
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PONT ADOLPHE 2.0
NO SMALL BEER
How bar and café owners in Diekirch make the most out of the town’s annual cavalcade. 32
Delano gets a “behind the tarp” tour of the big bridge renovation project nearing completion in the city centre.
DELANO DIGITAL HIGHLIGHTS
Mea Shepard of Kick Cancer into Touch talks about why she keeps signing up for the annual Relais pour la vie charity race. 66
MUCH TO CROW ABOUT
Luxembourg’s prime minister was one of many dignitaries to help ring in the Year of the Rooster at a business reception in Kirchberg.
Children’s author Gillian Cross stoked the imagination of students (and teachers) at St. George’s International Primary School.
GET YOUR DEPOSIT BACK
Landlord horror stories abound, but tenants can take simple steps to help ensure a smoother move out.
Dispatches from Delano writers: with the spotlight on the refugee influx, meet two former asylum speakers who share their own integration path; will the capital be named a Unesco City of Design; how a local businessman is trying to get Luxembourg residents to cross over into a new sport; the pub joke that became an English-language publishing house; how to block cyberbullies; and who’s Jean-Claude Juncker? 28
FUND MEETINGS MAKEOVER
Handicap International is taking its antipersonnel landmine campaign to schools and the general public. 79
FEATS OF STRENGTH
What came out of EU parliament hearings in Luxembourg?
EQUAL PAY BILL
A new law is designed to close the pay gap between men and women, but employers are not sure how to comply.
As part of the “Celebrating Luxembourg” campaign, Delano meets with Guinness World Record holding strongman Georges Christen. 80
BREXIT PENSION PROBLEM
The Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry has remodeled its conference programme. Here’s a quick overview. 46
What ex-EU commissioner Mario Monti proposed in Kirchberg
“ARE YOU IN?”
Members of the Luxembourg Brazil Business Council were saying “everything is fine” at their annual Carnival dinner.
When the UK leaves the EU, British expats will need to convert their retirement plans. Here are a few questions to consider.
Take a peek inside Deepu Dileepan’s suitcase… Here’s what he brought when he moved to Luxembourg for a job at Amazon. 82
This group wants more female cybersecurity specialists
CATCH THESE SHOWS
Luxembourg’s finance minister wants people to know that the EU’s economy is growing. The good news he gave at a recent business luncheon. 62
THE HAPPY ENTREPRENEUR
14 intriguing performances by young and emerging talents, plus a guide to one of the grand duchy’s most distinct music festivals. 90
The latest community, culture and networking events
AUNTIE ELEANOR 8
NO WENT SOUTH
ry lano’s 6th anniversa Highlights from De es of the “good tur pic ing par ty, includ ING photo booth. sports” inside the
Nicolas Buck talks about his work-life balance in the first instalment of Delano’s new “Clocking off!” series.
Delano’s advice columnist answers reader questions on Tessy’s title, taxi fares and tram names.
WANT MORE? Sign up for Delano’s “10 things to do this week” and “10 things to read this week” email newsletters. Go to the bottom of our home page.
European Commission/Eric Vidal > SIP/Jean-Christophe Verhaegen > Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier (CC BY-SA 2.0) > Anna Katina (archives)
Find out why she’s been going door-todoor in the capital each spring for more than three decades.
Photography by MAISON MODERNE and ING LUXEMBOURG
DELANO WENT SOUTH
elano feted its 6th anniversary with a party in honour of the southern hemisphere’s sports-mad Anglophone countries. The “Going South” party shined a spotlight on Luxembourg’s Australian, New Zealand and South African communities. Those nationalities were featured in Delano’s February print edition, which “Going South” attendees were the first to read. The event began with an open bar and finger food, while attendees had their pictures taken at the ING Luxembourg photo booth. That was followed by DJ sets from (Kiwi) Kirsty Sutherland. Many guests turned up dressed for their favourite sport (and a couple of footballs made the rounds on the dancefloor in the party’s later hours). “Going South” was sponsored by ING Luxembourg and graciously organised by Delano’s sister outfit, the Paperjam Club. There are many more pictures from the soirée on our website. icon_website www.delano.lu/snapshots
GOOD SPORTS 1. Stefan Heynes, Ruud Kruis and Isabelle Teitgen 2. Andreia Nuno (2nd left), Elisabete Nuno (centre), Mary Carey (2nd right), Neil Johnston (far right) 3. Jacques Heinen and Carlo Klein 4. Delano’s Aaron Grunwald with Claude Michaux, Denis Lecanu and Gilles Christnach 5. Jean-Marc Schoenaers, Carole Bentner and Jacques Gomes 6. Eric Steffen, Sarah Huin and Jules Kraus 7. and 9. Philippe Corgié and Delano’s Anca Marinescu in the ING Luxembourg photo booth 8. Katie and Lindie 10., 11. and 12. Attendees selected stickers indicating their nationalities 13. Delano’s editorin-chief, Duncan Roberts, coaches the crowd
14. Delano’s Duncan Roberts, Aaron Grunwald, Luciana Restivo, Francis Gasparotto, Sascha Timplan, Jess Bauldry, Martine Huberty and Anca Marinescu on stage 15. José Diaz, Sophie Melai and Marie Maurer 16. Eliane Theissen, Seungeun Park, Yeonhee Yi and Tae Eun Kim 17. Pictured: Anne Kröger-Kieffer, Guido Kröger, Dan Thuy, Claudia Eustergerling, Yves Mentz, Sylvain Kirsch, Stéphane di Carlo, Amir Dolatshahi
18. Manon Jungen, Sarah Melcher, Aswin Lutchanah, Ariane Henry and Cordula Schnuer 19. ING’s Christophe Rahier and Frédéric Cousin 20. Jane Barton (holding a copy of her interview in the February edition) and Marie Helga Johannsson Ingvarsdóttir 21. Krystyna Dul 22., 37., 38. and 39. Delano’s 6th birthday bash was held at the Big Beer Company in Rives de Clausen on 9 February 23. Mary Rose De Vries and Annica Torneryd 24. Célina Castéran and Amélie Baran 25. David Hain and Rosalia Belluta
26. Duncan Roberts, Natalie Gerhardstein and Evelien d’Hertog 27. An attendee reads the February edition fresh off the presses 28. Claudine Nembrini and Danielle Meyer 29. Elsa Ponce and Emilie Venezia 30. Pierre-Yves Collin, Francis Gasparotto and Céline Bayle inside the ING Luxembourg photo booth
31. Guillaume Tanferri, Petra Kiss, MĂŠlanie Delannoy, Lucie Gautier and Andras Vas 32. All Blacks fans 33. Beth Park and John Park 34. Members of the Delano team take a time-out 35. Carole Miltgen and Jean-FranĂ§ois Lens 36. Marie-Louise Ashworth and Katerina Kapsani 37. DJ Kirsty Sutherland
CURRENT AFFAIRS PONT ADOLPHE 2.0
Behind a giant tarpaulin, an 80-strong team of experts are hard at work when Delano tours the Pont Adolphe in Luxembourg City on 17 February. Weeks before its reopening, the 114-yearold bridge looks far from ready: plastic pipes sprout from the ground and everywhere are piles of sand and masonry. After three years of renovations, the biggest job--dismantling parts of the bridge and rebuilding it with steel reinforcement rods in the arches--is behind them. “Thousands of stones were dismantled, we numbered each of them. It was a big puzzle of pieces of stone,” says Marc Ries of the Highways Department. Other changes include widening the pavements on both sides by 75cm, and adding two new tram tracks and new cycle paths. The latter opens later this year. JB
BRIDGE WORKS A. Project manager Marc Ries (foreground) says he is proud to work on such a landmark project B. Sand and plastic pipes remain exposed at one end of the bridge C. The view from behind the giant tarpaulin D. The lion relief on one side of the bridge has been replaced E. Around 80 people work daily on the bridge renovation F. The technical team works in a temporary office on the embankment beneath the bridge A
Luxembourg experienced its 4th sunniest January on record in 2017, while the entire winter received above average sunshine. Meteolux recorded 211.8 hours of sunshine across the season, 37 hours more than the 30-year historic average.
Having a Luxembourg passport is as highly-prized by high-achieving citizens as Swiss and Danish citizenship, the 2017 Nomad Passport Index suggests. Luxembourg citizenship was ranked joint-eighth place scoring top marks in taxation, dual citizenship and freedom.
Women on low incomes (below €4,800 per couple) spend 90 minutes a day more with their kids than their partner. This gap is even wider for better-off couples (above €5,800) where it is 115 minutes.
Lala La Photo
4. 8. 90.
RITA KROMBACH The Luxembourg Red Cross’ head of door-to-door
There have been 25 cases of cyber-grooming minors reported to Luxembourg police since 2012, with almost half (12) reported in 2016. The figures were revealed in a joint parliamentary question response by several ministers. It said the main thrust of the government’s preventative efforts focused on education and awareness-raising among young people. IT security courses have been offered to young people in Luxembourg since 2007 with the number of participants rising steadily until 2010 when they became compulsory for seventh year students. They will eventually be rolled out across all primary schools. Luxembourg is the only country in Europe to offer compulsory IT security courses for young people. This work is complemented by information campaigns run by the Bee Secure platform and its helpline for victims (see page 18).
NOSE FOR CASH
A Luxembourg customs dog, named Cash, helped sniff out over a quarter of a million euros in cash on a train. Officials found €50,000 on one passenger and €236,000 in the luggage of another. As neither passenger had registered a cash transport of over €10,000 and their origin and final destination were unclear, the cash was confiscated.
CATCHING UP WITH…
collections in the capital talks about the charity’s biggest fundraising drive of the year-- --the month of giving. As the days draw out and the winter chill thaws, Rita Krombach knows what is coming next. Each year in April, for more than three decades, she has pounded the pavements of the capital, going door-to-door to collect money for Luxembourg’s Red Cross. “Normally people are very friendly. Sometimes they are tired or don’t have time. We know that we’re doing this to help disadvantaged and vulnerable people. We know that we’re doing a good thing.” Known as the “mois du don” or month of giving, the volunteer-led campaign is a chance for one of the grand duchy’s biggest charities to gather much-needed funds. It raises between €800,000 and €900,000 through these nonmarked donations to fund the charity’s activities. Krombach first got involved as a collector 35 years ago, stepping up to manage a small team of collectors and then becoming president of the Luxembourg City section 20 years ago. “I coordinate collections around the city. Each sector has its own streets, which they visit with teams. They also distribute information and forms in case people are out so they can do a bank transfer.” There are around 2,000 collectors across the country, of which 200 collect as much from the 115,000 residents in the capital as they can. Because they are all volunteers, individuals decide the size of the area they want to cover. “If they want to visit a single residence or an entire street, they can choose,” says Krombach. “Some people collect in pairs. Because we don’t have many collectors, I tend to go alone and it means I can go out when I have time.” This year the volunteer will cover streets in Bonnevoie, where she will be out for two hours most evenings and often at weekends--when most people are at home--encouraging residents to donate. “You feel helpful and it’s very satisfying.” She explains it is not such a hard sell--because it is part of a global organisation, most residents are familiar with the Red Cross and often people will recognise her from previous years. “It’s always a nice surprise when people are kind or they come to find me,” she says. icon_website www.croix-rouge.lu Interview by JESS BAULDRY Photography by MAISON MODERNE April 2017
With the onset of the current refugee crisis, much has been said and written about how Luxembourg authorities have handled the influx. Whilst the scale of asylum applications may be greater than in previous years, the issue is by no means a new one.
n 1973, Andres Coro’s family fled Chile when a military coup ousted the democratically elected (and socialist) president, Salvador Allende, and led to a 17-year dictatorship run
by General Augusto Pinochet. “My father was just at the beginning of his political career and was fortunately on the green list of persons authorised to leave the country,” explains Andres (pictured). “As my father had worked in Belgium during the late 1960s, we initially moved to a monastery in Louvain, where we lived for two years.” The monastery was home to a variety of refugees from South America, Africa and Asia. “I remember that at first my family was not housed together at all. We slept in old style dormitories
with many other families. It wasn’t ideal, but we were safe,” says Andres. Hoang was born in Vietnam and moved to Luxembourg with his family to escape Kháng chiên chông Mỹ (the resistance war against America). “At first it was not easy to adapt because of the language barrier, but we had very kind neighbours who helped my family learn Luxembourgish and allow us to integrate into society here,” describes Hoang. Andres agrees that the lack of language skills can be very isolating when you first move to a new country.
LEARNING FROM REFUGEES OF THE PAST
ONE INCIDENT Whilst Andres and Hoang do not personally remember any bullying or ill treatment due to their refugee status, Andres does recall one particular situation at the monastery. “We were all gathered around watching TV and someone threw a brick at the monastery window, glass shattered everywhere and everyone fell silent. My father and some other men took off outside looking for the perpetrators, but to no avail. That’s the only time I remember any ill feeling toward us refugees.” Both Hoang and Andres were schooled in Europe and after a short period of time took local nationality; Hoang, Luxembourger, and Andres, Belgian. They both now have successful careers in the grand duchy’s financial sector. “Luxembourg is my home,” Hoang says. “I grew up here, I was educated here and my life is here. It’s nice to return to Vietnam for holidays, but I don’t consider myself Vietnamese.” After Pinochet was overthrown, Andres and his family often returned to Chile for holidays, but over the years he has found that he goes less and less. “My father would not return to Chile permanently, nor would I.” “I think of myself as a Chilean with Belgian nationality”, states Andres. “When I am in Chile, I am like a fish in water, but it is not somewhere I would want to live. The gap between the rich and the poor in Chile is huge and the middle class are getting poorer,” he explains. “The quality of life here is not comparable.” Whilst Hoang does not have any specific thoughts on the current immigration situation in Luxembourg, Andres is sad that politicians are using it as a key talking point. “I am worried that the younger generations
do not have a political conscience and are not as tolerant as those in the past,” he says with a sigh. “The most important thing to show is human solidarity; never forget the same thing could happen to you!” Reported by ALIX RASSEL
UNESCO CITY OF DESIGN BID Creative leaders in Luxembourg are looking to put the capital on the world design map.
ollowing on from its World Heritage status, Luxembourg City could soon be added to another Unesco list if a bid to be named City of Design is successful. Obtaining the status by 2020 is the target of Anna Loporcaro, member of the grand duchy’s Creative Industries Cluster, which launched in February. “It’s a two-year process doing the application and gathering stakeholders together. Afterwards, we have to be aware of the fact it’s not just a label; we have to be a real creative design city and make actions,” Loporcaro tells Delano, saying it is still far from being a fait accompli. If Loporcaro is successful, Luxembourg would join 22 existing Cities of Design within the Unesco Creative Cities Network. Among them are Graz, Austria, a city with over 300,000 residents which has held the status since 2011. Today Graz has a team of ten people to manage its project, Eberhard Schrempf of Creative Industries Styria, in Graz, and member of the Unesco jury, explained at the Luxembourg cluster launch. The Austrian town offers a good example
for Luxembourg to follow since both cities have Unesco World Heritage status and have succeeded in fusing old and contemporary. “The only part missing in Luxembourg is the educational part. We’ve no academy or university for design,” states Loporcaro. Anchoring design concepts in the education system is one of the cluster’s 11 goals. Though Loporcaro recognises it will take years to achieve, she says there is already a basis with the Lycée Technique des Arts et Métiers. The one big unknown in the application process will be getting the backing of the capital’s mayor, who must sign the application. This will not be easy since the next mayor will not be named until after local elections this autumn. “Fingers crossed,” states Loporcaro. In the meantime, the creative cluster task force is working on recruiting a manager to help put its goals into action. With a budget of around €50,000, they are some way off the €1.5m Graz has at its fingertips, but Loporcaro recognises things must start small. She also acknowledges it will take time to change attitudes and encourage the City of Luxembourg to use design to find innovative solutions to problems, so that it becomes a City of Design by nature as well as name. She cites the example of the mirrored bins which were installed in Kinnekswiss park during the 2014 Design Biennial. Previously “during the April 2017
Olivier Minaire (archives)
“In the beginning my family was living in a Dutch-speaking area and that was very difficult for my parents,” he states. “Fortunately we eventually moved to an apartment in Louvain-laNeuve and it was much easier for my family to speak French and do dayto-day activities.”
summer, the park was full of rubbish... the more bins they installed, the more trash there was on the ground,” Loporcaro says, adding: “Instead of 25 bins we installed eight mirrored bins and the following morning the park was cleaner.” The project was not continued after the exhibition, however. She hopes to introduce similar but more permanent design solutions at the next Design City biennial, planned
for autumn 2018, which will likely focus on Kirchberg. “My wish would be that proposals for Design City aren’t just done on a nice to have for one month in Luxembourg. But to consider it as a real proposal for the people to improve their daily lives.” icon_website www.designcity.lu icon_website www.unesco.org
Reported by JESS BAULDRY
CROSSING OVER TO A NEW SPORT A local businessman is making a fast break for Luxembourg Lacrosse.
mporting new sports to the grand duchy is never easy, but as success stories from the likes of the rugby and hockey scene have shown, it is not impossible. This is heartening for Luxembourg sportsman Pit Bingen who, for the past two years, has been trying to establish the sport of lacrosse in the grand duchy. Like rugby and hockey, lacrosse has a solid base on other continents, notably North America, which is why he believes it can catch on here. “We want to address the expat community because I think it is there that we have the greatest chance of finding people who already played the sport,” Bingen says. Lacrosse is a contact sport, which was first played
by native Americans before colonists made it their own. Played with a wooden stick curved into a kind of oval shape at one end and covered in a net, the sport was named because of the stick’s resemblance to a bishop’s crook. And, it has developed something of a religious following in recent years among people who enjoy its combination of skill, speed and, in the men’s game, contact. “It’s quite a unique sport in how we handle the stick. It’s not like you just hit something. You have a movement to catch and throw and there’s a technique for shooting, passing and picking up the ball,” Bingen enthuses. He first took up the sport in 2009 while studying in Heidelberg, Germany, a country in which lacrosse is gaining a firm hold. He later played in Paris, but when he returned to Luxembourg in 2015 to find no lacrosse scene,
he knew he had to do something. Bingen and a handful of players would meet informally for trainings in Kinnekswiss park or at the Geesseknäppchen. In November 2016, Bingen officially created the club, naming it “The Blacksmiths”, a nod to Luxembourg’s steel heritage. “The problem in Luxembourg is finding a pitch. It’s an even bigger problem if you’re not a sports club and if you’re not affiliated to a sports federation,” he says. The fact that a minimum of three clubs are needed to create a federation in Luxembourg complicated matters further. It appears a solution has been found and work is underway to welcome the Lacrosse Club into the Hockey Federation. “They roll the ball and we have it in the air. But otherwise the sports are quite similar,” says Bingen, adding that he hopes it will enable the new club to use the all-weather hockey pitch at Boy Konen stadium in Cessange with the hockey club. Once they have a regular ground, Bingen expects to be able to build a critical mass of players, with ultimately a youth section. And, with a qualified coach (and former vice president of the European Lacrosse Federation) already in their ranks, it looks as though they will be able to take a real shot at playing for Luxembourg in local leagues and perhaps one day internationally. The club will resume training on Thursday evenings starting at the end of March. Players of any gender or level are welcome. icon_mail firstname.lastname@example.org icon_website www.lacrosse.lu
Reported by JESS BAULDRY
"WE WANT TO ADDRESS THE EXPAT
COMMUNITY BECAUSE I THINK IT IS THERE THAT WE HAVE THE GREATEST CHANCE OF FINDING PEOPLE WHO ALREADY PLAYED THE SPORT." PIT BINGEN
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NEW CHAPTER FOR ENGLISH BOOKS A
t the beginning it was a joke,” Jeff Thill, an English teacher, writer and one of the four founders tells Delano, “the more we thought about it, the more we saw the potential”. Less than a year later the non-profit Black Fountain Press, named after Su-Mei Tse’s ink fountain at Mudam, is up and running and will see its first book published in May. “I thought we would have a hard time finding people to give us stuff to publish, it’s actually the opposite,” Thill says, listing the submissions received before Black Fountain had even launched. Given the growing importance of the English language in Luxembourg and the reluctance of publishers to go beyond the tried and tested market for German and French literature, the level of interest in Black Fountain should not be surprising. “We talked to a lot of publishers… I think they feel somehow that publishing in English would require them to address a completely different audience which they felt out of touch with,” says Anne-Marie Reuter, another English teacher and co-founder (pictured). “But through our jobs and experiences with English, I think we’re more in touch with the English-speaking world.” Black Fountain aims to publish original literary fiction by talented authors with a Luxembourg connection who “choose to express themselves in English”. The pair say they are open to all genres provided the work shows a level of excellence. The second focus of the house will look at publishing English translations of works by established Luxembourg authors, to help increase their exposure internationally. April 2017
“Our ambitious hope is to put Luxembourg on a different map--not the global economic or political one--but the cultural and literary map of the English-speaking world,” she says. The four founders, who also include editors Nathalie Jacoby and Laurent Fels, work entirely voluntarily on the project, but that does not mean they will stint on professionalism. Reuter says that one of their strengths will be in their meticulous editing, something which authors appreciate. “We’ve three PhDs between us and are used to looking at work quite thoroughly and going through them again and again. This is a service we would like to offer.” The founders put their hands in their own pockets to finance startup costs
and it is hoped that funding from places like Luxembourg’s culture ministry will be found later to cover printing. But none of them expects to get rich from the venture. “If we’re lucky we can even out costs after publishing. For the moment, it would be very optimistic to make a profit. The market is not big enough!” says Thill. In a way, that is nice, Reuter suggests. “We do this out of a passion for literature and we don’t depend on it for our income. That’s a luxury. It also means it is down to us how many novels or poetry collections we publish in a year.” icon_website www.blackfountain.lu
Reported by JESS BAULDRY
HOW TO BLOCK CYBERBULLIES Cyberbullying, the repeated victimisation of someone through online platforms and digital media, has transformed the nature of bullying in multiple ways: it is pervasive, provides anonymity, and encroaches on personal space to a whole new extent. And it is more common in the grand duchy than you might think.
ne in ten individuals between the ages of 12 and 24 has been victim of online harassment, while 4% admit to being subject to regular bullying, according to a recent study by Georges Steffgen, a professor at the University of Luxembourg. On- and offline worlds are not as clearly separated as older generations
might think. Rather, they bleed into each other, which can make the bullying relentless. Cyberbullying negates the concept of a safe space; a key aspect that renders the victim feeling increasingly threatened. Furthermore, signs and symptoms are not necessarily physiological. What there is, however, is a proliferation of messages, photos and videos for all to see, and those are difficult to erase. Two organisations aim to support youngsters. “The online Bee Secure Helpline provides more of a guide to online problems, such as hacked Facebook accounts, blocking offenders, online security and sexting or grooming situations,” says Aline Hartz, a psychologist at Kanner-Jugendtelefon (KJT), which runs an anonymous online helpline in English and other
Like all great plans, the idea to launch Luxembourg’s first publishing house for English literature came out of a conversation in the pub.
languages. “The KJT platform provides more psychological support. We refer individuals between the services according to their needs. We guarantee 100% anonymity and confidentiality.” The two groups work in tandem. Bee Secure (www.bee-secure.lu) visits primary and secondary schools to teach students about the dangers of the digital universe. Lessons focus on securing personal information and the problems with uploading potentially incriminating photos, videos and other details about private and intimate affairs. In the case of active incidents of bullying, they highlight the structures of support available. Individuals are encouraged to record, report and lastly, not to react or retaliate. However, these lessons are limited to two hours a year. This year KJT launched a campaign--that included its Bod cartoon postcard series, distributed in English language schools--to raise awareness of cyberbullying and promote its confidential support services. Communication with children isn’t always easy, especially with those in need, so family members and friends should keep their ears open and be aware of the symptoms. These include an unexplained drop in marks, signs of withdrawal and of distress, and anxiety at the buzz of a message arriving. Bullying is not a modern practice. “Unfortunately, young people are incredibly innovative and creative when it comes to finding new means to bully someone,” notes Georges Knell, another KJT psychologist, “so it makes little sense to ban the medium.” The best way to limit the impact and prevalence of bullying is to focus on prevention, awareness and support services, he advises. Remind the individual of their strengths, and restore some of the control that is taken during the bullying process. Be open and sympathetic, and remind them that they are so much more than a “victim”. icon_website www.kjt.lu
Reported by ISABELLA EASTWOOD
EXPRESS BIO Born 9 December 1954 in Redange
Education 1974: graduated from Lycée Michel Rodange 1979: graduated as master of law from the University of Strasbourg Career highlights 1984: elected to Chamber of Deputies and appointed minister of employment 1995: appointed prime minister to succeed Jacques Santer 2005: first permanent president of Eurogroup 2014: president of the European Commission
" WE ARE ACTUALLY NEVER REALLY PROUD ENOUGH OF EUROPE." At the age of 62, Luxembourg’s third European Commission president has announced that he will not seek a second term in office. A deeply committed European whose love of the European Union stems from the forced conscription of his father into the German army during WWII, Jean-Claude Juncker is set to leave his post as the head of the European Commission in two years’ time. In an interview with Deutschlandfunk in early February, Luxembourg’s most recognisable politician said he would not be seeking a second term. Then again, he also once said he would not be leaving Luxembourg politics for a European post, so a change in circumstances may yet allow him to revisit that decision. Often (wilfully) misunderstood by Eurosceptics on both sides of the English Channel, Juncker is acknowledged as a forceful and brilliant politician who does not suffer fools gladly. Yet he is not averse to playing the clown--most notably when greeting fellow politicians at a summit in
Latvia in 2016--and he has also demonstrated a neat sense of self-deprecation when delivering one of his off-the-cuff speeches at less formal occasions. Juncker is still greatly admired in Luxembourg, despite the spy scandal that led to him calling early elections in 2013. Indeed, the way in which the so-called Gambia coalition was formed despite Juncker’s CSV winning most parliamentary seats at that election has only gained him sympathy and has enhanced the feeling of regret among many citizens that he is no longer in charge of the country. He will be close to 65 when he steps down as EU commission president. That is too late in life to revive his domestic political career (especially with national elections taking place 12 months prior), but there is no doubt that he can still influence the political landscape in the grand duchy. April 2017
Text by MARTINE HUBERTY with JESS BAULDRY & DUNCAN ROBERTS
Photography by MIKE ZENARI & MAISON MODERNE
EMBRACING THE ROUDE LÃ&#x2030;IW
New legislation governing the conditions on obtaining Luxembourg nationality comes into effect on 1 April. Delano explores the background to the reform of the law, the practicalities for those seeking to become a Luxembourger and asks those affected what it means to be a Luxembourger.
I Jacques Gomes, Mikkel StrĂ¸rup, Vanessa Kunsch and Lisa McLean pictured at the Bouneweger Stuff
n June 2015, a referendum on the right of foreign residents to vote in national elections was resoundingly rejected by 78% of Luxembourg citizens. This was a slap in the face for the coalition government, composed of the DP, LSAP and Greens, who had all campaigned in favour of the proposal. However, with the foreign-born population currently at 47% and projections suggesting that net immigration will continue, the danger that a minority would soon be holding political power in the country led the government to seek a broad cross-party consensus for a new reform of the law on citizenship. The government worked in close collaboration with all parties, and on 9 February parliament passed the law with April 2017
57 out of 60 deputies voting in favour. It is rare, indeed, for the centre right CSV and the extreme left Déi Lénk to agree on anything, so credit should be given for the consensus achieved on the wording of the bill. Only the ADR voted against the new law. Historically, the proportion of foreign-born residents has been rising steadily: while in 1961, only 13% were foreign-born, this crept up to 26% in 1981, to 37% in 2000, and to 47% in 2016. Meanwhile, the percentage of eligible voters in the country has decreased from 62.5% of the population in 2004 to 54.9% in 2015. This poses serious challenges to the democratic legitimacy of the government. Indeed, it will not be long before Luxembourg citizens will be in a minority. Viviane Loschetter, MP for the Green party who was the parliamentary rapporteur on the law, noted that it was an “endeavour to take society as it is, and to adapt democratic participation to the demographic reality.” Politicians have tried to address the issue in the past: the requirements to obtain citizenship have been reformed four times over the past 17 years. In 2008, the concept of dual citizenship was introduced to make it easier for those who were still attached to their original nationality. Furthermore, the so-called “double droit du sol” allowed a child born in the country to one parent also born here to automatically become a Luxembourger. However, concerns that getting citizenship was becoming too easy were countered with an increase of the residency requirement from five to seven years. CHANGES IN THE LAW There are now automatic and voluntary ways to obtain citizenship, though the new law is by no means an administrative simplification, as Loschetter wryly remarked. The new feature is the introduction of nationality by birth. Children born in Luxembourg are automatically granted citizenship when they turn 18 if their parents have lived in the country during the year preceding their birth. However, parents do not need to have lived in the country the 12 months prior to the birth April 2017
of a child born before 1 July 2013. A child born here who has lived in the grand duchy for five successive years before their coming of age in Luxembourg also obtains automatic citizenship. The second major feature is that the residency clause has been reduced from seven to the five years it was previously. The language requirements have been maintained with applicants having to achieve levels A2 for oral expression and B1 for understanding. However, under the new law applicants only have to achieve an average score across the two tests, while previously both tests had to be passed. Finally, the civics course “Vivre au Luxembourg” entails 24 hours of classes rather than just six. There are 11 options which ease access to citizenship, including marriage to a Luxembourger, voluntary military service or the “Contrat d’accueil et d’intégration”. Furthermore, someone who has been living here for 20 years can become a citizen by completing the requisite paperwork and then taking 24 hours of Luxembourg language lessons at an accredited school (see box on opposite page), without sitting a test at the end of the course. Recovering Luxembourg citizenship via family links is only possible until 2018, and will not be extended--this applies only to people whose forebears were Luxembourgers on 1 January 1900 and now live abroad. This concerns mostly the descendants of Luxembourg immigrants to the USA and Latin America, but also French and Belgians. In 2016, the biggest groups of foreign nationalities living here were the Portuguese (93,000), followed by the French (41,000), Italians (20,000), Belgians (19,000) and Germans (12,000). Comparing the latest statistics on new citizenships, the French were most likely to take it up, followed by the Belgians, though high numbers of those were descendants of Luxembourgers living abroad. The Portuguese were only in third place. The number of naturalisations has been growing continuously since 2009. Last year over 7,100 took up nationality. Loschetter argued that the new law may stabilise the effect of net immigration over the next years.
VA N E S S A K U N S C H LUXEMBOURGER “I think it’s a positive thing if people don’t just want to integrate but also want to take on citizenship. It’s good that the residency requirements have been lowered. If a person has decided to stay here, I think it’s good if they take on citizenship--if they want to. It’s important that people can vote and participate in the decision-making process. But I understand that someone, who’s only here for two years, doesn’t want to learn Luxembourgish. I am in favour of our multilingualism-we wouldn’t get very far without the other languages! Foreigners are often surprised that we speak so many languages. But it’s also nice to know a language which no one in the world understands except us!”
JACQUES GOMES LUXEMBOURGER “My grandparents came with my mum and aunts to Luxembourg in 1975. Because I was born here and spent all my life here, I feel Luxembourgish, but I know that I am not a ‘Stack’ [through and through] Luxembourger. I know where I came from and I won’t forget that--so it is still a part of me. I don’t deny that. I feel both Cape Verdian and Luxembourgish, but because I don’t have that many Cape Verdian friends I see myself more as Luxembourger. I don’t forget that I am Cape Verdian; I still speak the language. I don’t know anyone who was born and raised here who says: ‘I don’t identify with my origins.’ I still know where I came from. But I was born here, I went to school here, then at some point I asked for the passport. Most of my friends are Luxembourgers and I know the language very well. Some people say to me: ‘You’re more of a Luxembourger than I am,’ which makes me laugh, as I think they’re being silly. But it’s true that my roots are here because I spent all my life in Luxembourg.”
NUMBER OF PEOPLE TAKING CITIZENSHIP EU nationals Third country nationals
NUMBER OF PEOPLE TAKING CITIZENSHIP BY PREVIOUS NATIONALITY IN 2016 OTHER COUNTRIES
BRAZIL UK MONTENEGRO USA
100 128 134 233
ASTI’S POSITION Migrant workers’ support group Asti says it is satisfied with the introduction of birthright in the new law, which it has advocated for some time. As a result, under certain conditions, a child born in Luxembourg will automatically receive nationality when they turn 18 or can take it by option at the age of 12. In a trilingual country, the nationality law should reflect the linguistic reality and Asti says that it is not the case in this law. It questions why access to nationality is based on the Luxembourgish language at the exclusion of the country’s two other languages. Asti concludes that it is a good law with a limited reach. It considers the projections of 9,000 new Luxembourgers per year overly optimistic, suggesting it will serve to stabilise the “democratic deficit” rather than remedy it. icon_website www.asti.lu
W H AT R O L E D O E S T H E I N L P L AY IN ALL OF THIS?
3,405 715 3,212
Luxembourg’s national language institute (INL) with its centres in Luxembourg-Kirchberg and Mersch will continue to be the main centre for teaching Luxembourgish, offering 89 courses per term, of which two thirds are at entry or A level. It is the only institution named in the law that can teach the 24 hours of language classes required for those applying for nationality who have been resident for 20 or more years. Other “accredited” institutions may offer the courses but no-one is yet clear on which institutions meet this criteria. The INL will also continue to run the language test for any applicants applying for nationality under the “option” category. To qualify, applicants must achieve levels A2 in oral expression and B1 in oral comprehension. The only change is that the average of both will be taken into account in the final grade. icon_website www.inll.lu
2000 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
The liaison committee for foreign associations, Clae, says it welcomes a relaxation of the legislation on acquiring Luxembourg nationality, which specifically reduces the duration of residence and introduces birthright citizenship, thus signifying an important recognition of children who were born in and grew up in the country. It says it regrets, however, some defensive discussions, particularly concerning the language and loss of identity of Luxembourg. Clae is convinced that those who acquire nationality express a real desire to engage in a country which has become their own and that they enhance Luxembourg’s evolving identity. icon_website www.clae.lu
LISA MCLEAN BRITISH “I started the paperwork for nationality when the Brexit discussions began. We always thought having European passports was enough but Brexit puts it in a whole different perspective. There have been three referendums that mattered to me recently: one in Luxembourg, one in Scotland and the Brexit vote. It brought it home to me how disenfranchised I was. Brexit was a kick in the pants to get a bit of security and be able to vote about the things that matter to me here because you don’t know how things will unravel. I don’t want to be a pawn in a game. I’ve been here 22 years and have lived here longer than anywhere else. If I think of home being anywhere else I can’t imagine it being anywhere other than here.”
MIKKEL STRØRUP DANISH AND LUXEMBOURGER “I was born in Luxembourg and acquired Luxembourg nationality in April 2016. I was born before December 1984 and could have got nationality without taking the tests but I was waiting for Denmark to allow double citizenship, which they did in September 2015. There was a political motivation for me--I had a Danish passport but wasn’t able to vote in national elections in Denmark or in Luxembourg. I would say in some ways I feel different now that I have the passport. There’s an official sense to it. I travel with my Luxembourg passport and show it to someone. On the other hand, I’ve always felt part of society here. I grew up a foreigner but I speak the languages and engage with Luxembourg people. So, in a non-official perspective not much has changed.” April 2017
Despite cross-party support for the new law, it has not escaped criticism. For some, like the NGO Asti, it does not go far enough, and they argue that language tests should not just focus on Luxembourgish, but also on the other two official languages of the country, French and German. For others, like the ADR, the language requirements are not strict enough. Loschetter said the fundamental question in this debate was: “What is citizenship? When does one get it? Do you get it at the start, when you know that you want to spend your life here and you make an effort over the next years to integrate? Or do you get it only at the end, when you’ve done everything?” IDENTITY POLITICS The issue is very sensitive because it touches upon notions of identity, community and belonging. The recent petition to make Luxembourgish the primary language of the country, which drew more than 14,000 signatures, is a case in point. The petitioner said he feared his mother tongue would be lost. He wanted the government to strengthen the use of Luxembourgish. “We will have so much immigration and it is not certain that they will all be French or German speaking--so we need a common language. Which should it be? For me it can only be Luxembourgish,” he said. He has since joined the ADR. For Loschetter, Luxembourg’s identity and culture are characterised instead by openness: “Multiculturalism is part of Luxembourgish culture. That is why I don’t think we don’t have a culture: we have achieved a lot, we have a history of emigration as well as immigration, we are a founding member state of the EU, we have always played an important role in the European project. But I think there is a fear that we will be absorbed, mixed in with… there is that fear.” Identity is an issue favoured by populists, as highlighted recently in several European countries and the United States. Loschetter insisted: “We have a parliamentary majority so we could have done it alone as well. But this
issue is dynamite and it happens very quickly because being populist is easy: everyone understands it. It is very difficult to counteract because there are no easy answers if you want to answer correctly.” Overall, however, the fact that there was such intense cooperation among all the main political actors prevented the debate from drifting into murky populist waters. UNDERREPRESENTATION European citizenship has had the perverse effect of creating disincentives to taking up citizenship of another EU state by conferring the same rights to EU citizens as nationals (except voting in national elections). This is particularly significant in the debate on democratic participation in Luxembourg, as the majority of foreign residents are EU citizens. Adding to this, Loschetter says that “people feel good as they are well off. There is no need, or not yet, to get actively involved for themselves. Most people are very satisfied.” She implies that there is no immediate utilitarian argument to be had. However, Loschetter argued that foreign residents who do have the right to register to vote in local elections and to take up citizenship should take advantage of it, for several reasons: “Firstly, the people who generate the most wealth in Luxembourg are foreign residents--and they cannot decide what happens with that wealth. Many Luxembourg citizens work in public services--they ensure the management of the country, but don’t produce the wealth. The people who do must have the right, or take up the right, to decide which policies they want implemented. For politicians, it is not easy to make policies for all residents, but only being accountable to certain kinds of residents. In Luxembourg City 80% are foreign residents, and the younger they are, the less likely they are to be Luxembourgers. We are very often busy with local interest groups from certain areas of the city and they are old white Luxembourg men. Many politicians would be happy if that was different.”
COULD YOU BE ELIGIBLE? Discover if you are eligible for Luxembourg nationality under the new law that enters into force on 1 April by answering the following questions.
Have you been a resident of Luxembourg for 20 or more years? NO
R E TA I N I N G E U S TA T U S
THE IRISH OPTION
Have you been a resident of Luxembourg for five or more years?
Were you born in Luxembourg to parents who were not born in Luxembourg?
Are you married to a Luxembourger, do you live in Luxembourg and have you lived together for three or more years?
Were you born in Luxembourg to non-Luxembourger parents?
Sorry, no nationality this time.
Did you attend for 7 or more years a school, public or private, which applies the Luxembourg national curriculum? NO
You could apply for Luxembourg nationality provided you take and pass the language test and attend or pass the civics classes.
You may apply for Luxembourg nationality provided you attend 24 hours of Luxembourgish classes in an accredited institution.
You could apply for nationality after your 12th birthday or be granted it automaically on your 18th birthday under the droit du sol.
You may apply for nationality provided you are a resident of the country for 12 months preceding your application.
While many British citizens living in the grand duchy are seeking to obtain Luxembourg nationality as an assurance that they can retain their EU citizenship status, many have opted for an alternative. Brits of Irish ancestry, and there are many, are looking into their eligibility to claim Irish citizenship. Claiming Irish citizenship is a much easier process than having to sit through language and citizenship lessons to obtain Luxembourg nationality. British citizens who were born to an Irish citizen who was born outside Ireland, or an Irish citizen who obtained nationality through marriage, adoption or naturalisation, for example, are entitled to become Irish. The same applies if one grandparent is an Irish citizen who was born in Ireland. But claims on extended previous ancestry or the fact that another relation is Irish are not eligible. Irish ambassador to Luxembourg Peadar Carpenter (pictured above) told Delano that the number of passport applications processed by the embassy increased by 50% in 2016 over 2015. “Virtually all of that increase occurred in the second half of the year,” says the ambassador, while stressing that “we do not speculate as to reasons for this.” Carpenter says the increased application rate is being maintained, and therefore a full year increase of 100% over 2015 is anticipated for 2017. “In addition there has been a three-fold increase in applications for Foreign Birth Registration, whereby citizenship can be claimed through an Irish grandparent.”
Text by MARTINE HUBERTY
Photography by MIKE ZENARI
WHAT DO CITY COUNCILS ACTUALLY DO? Local elections will be held on 8 October; the deadline for foreign residents who can register is 13 July. Hence, it is useful to know what city councils are, and are not, in charge of.
he basic historical missions of a local council were to ensure cleanliness, road safety and run the registry office. Today, their missions have vastly expanded, ranging from collecting local business taxes, organising public transport, cultural events, primary schools and crèches, to social housing and promoting integration. However, local autonomy is constrained by national laws. Viviane Loschetter, who has been a councillor for the Green party in Luxembourg City for the past 17 years and is not standing again, explains: “The laws which set out the management of councils are taken at national level, whether it’s the budget or the PAG [plan d’aménagement général, the urban development plan]. Local autonomy is a holy principle, but it is constrained by a legal framework set by the government. To put it bluntly you are told that you need to wear a sweater, but you can choose whether it is striped or coloured or made of wool or cotton.” For example, the city council is responsible for Sunday shopping, but within the law which sets the maximum number of times that retailers can be open. City councils also hand out late night operating permits for entertainment venues, but again within the parameters of the law.
OTHER ACTORS INVOLVED Many projects are carried out in collaboration with other actors, whether it’s the state, private companies or NGOs. An issue that is very April 2017
much on residents’ minds is roadworks: “Roadworks involve multiple actors; there is rarely a roadwork just because of one actor. Underneath a road, you have sewers, electricity, water, telecommunications, sometimes heating. For residents, the entity responsible is always their local authority--because it is the first point of contact. But roadworks are rarely down to local authorities alone; most of the time they are a coordination of a couple of things that need to be done.” The budgets of local authorities also vary according to how many big businesses are located on their territory. These businesses pay a local business tax--however, part of this revenue flows into a special fund. The state attempts an equal and adequate redistribution of resources so that every council is able to fulfil its missions. The richest authorities are those which have many big businesses who pay a lot of local business taxes, like Bertrange, home of Cactus, or Betzdorf, where SES is located. These councils are flush, but also have associated headaches, such as traffic and noise pollution. Luxembourg City, as the capital, is of course a special council. Loschetter notes that: “We have most of the high schools, hospitals and many businesses. The prosperity of the country is produced in the capital. The opposite is also the case: nowhere are the levels of poverty and social problems--drugs, prostitution--as high. This happens in every capital city, but entails a very different management: traffic-wise, infrastructure-wise, in terms of managing social problems.” However, she realises that it is confusing to know which issue falls under whose competence: “In Luxembourg City, many things are either run by the state or by the city council, and this confuses many people. People don’t care about the difference--they just want it to work. Concerning traffic, there are many complaints about things which are not in the hands of the local authority. Some roads are state roads, others city roads. Many complaints
IN LUXEMBOURG CITY, MANY THINGS ARE EITHER RUN BY THE STATE OR BY THE CITY COUNCIL, AND THIS CONFUSES MANY PEOPLE. PEOPLE DON’T CARE ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE-THEY JUST WANT IT TO WORK." VIVIANE LOSCHETTER A. After a certain amount of time here, foreign nationals need to take up their rights and responsibilities MEN AT WORK B. Municipal councils coordinate public works projects, such as this site in LuxembourgBonnevoie
are related to noise pollution and to the work of the police--but the city council can’t really do anything when it comes to public order offences.” Loschetter seems to have really enjoyed her time as city councillor. She will remain an MP but said that “sometimes local politics is not valued enough even though the council is the first point of contact. As a local councillor you are always right in the centre of things. Residents know where to find you and tell you what they want. They may be small things but the small things are what make a good quality of life. As an MP you are further away from the everyday.”
WHY VOTE? Getting foreign residents who have lived here for five years to register to vote is essential for the validity of our democratic system, the politician points out. 70% of residents in
Luxembourg City are foreign nationals, so it is vital that they register to vote in local elections; otherwise 30% of residents decide for them: “I think it is eminently important that when you are a part of a society and you have the rights and obligations of that society, that it is a duty to participate in the decision-making and to feel concerned with what happens with your money.” “Everyone has that civic responsibility,” states Loschetter. It is not enough to live somewhere and be satisfied, you also need to feel concerned and become involved. A community is made up of individuals, and if everyone thought like that, then not a lot would happen. For me, that is important: being part of a community, you have a duty to think about it as well. It is not enough to nag or to take. They--the foreign residents--work after all and so they need to sit at the decision-making table, and that also means voting.” April 2017
Photography by PATRICK GALBATS
“ TUDO BEM” RODIZIO PERROQUET, 1 MARCH The phrase means both “how are you?” and “everything is fine”. Members of the Luxembourg Brazil Business Council (www.luxbrazil.lu) were fine and dandy during their annual Carnival dinner, held on Ash Wednesday at the Portuguese restaurant in Schouweiler. Patrick Galbats, Delano’s photographer, was struck by the international nature of the crowd; at one point he was seated between a Russian and a German. In addition to the plates of famous Brazilian meat dishes, participants took in shows by samba dancers (and one from the Middle East). AG April 2017
BUSINESS ALL OUT FOR THE CAVALCADE
DIEKIRCH CARNIVAL PARADE A. Revelers flock (safely by train) to Diekirch for the Carnival parade on Sunday 26 February B. Frank Dillmann (dressed as a “Top Gun” pilot) serves guests in front of his Beim Frank bar; drinks cost between €3 and €4.50 C. Paulo Moreira behind the grill at the Grill restaurant D. Fabian Paladino (far right) in front of the Cappuccino bar E. The Pikachu parade float was a hit with kids F. A DJ on the place de la Libération aims to keep visitors in Diekirch icon_website www.delano.lu/snapshots
€10 BILLION SINGLE MARKET
A functioning EU is central to Luxembourg’s growth and prosperity, former finance minister Luc Frieden told a business luncheon. Europe is part of the country’s DNA, he said. icon_website www.delano.lu/business April 2017
The post-Brexit EU budget black hole, according to Politico magazine. EU and UK negotiators also need to tackle “more than 20,000 laws and regulations” and the “1,800 Brits on the EU payroll”. icon_website www.politico.eu
TOP 10 TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Number of visitors recorded in 2016, according to Luxembourg for Tourism: 273,480 Guided tours in Luxembourg City 222,839 Parc Merveilleux 171,722 Vianden Castle 129,683 Casemates 105,757 Mullerthal Trail 97,091 Mudam 81,945 Vianden ski lift 63,974 National History and Art Museum 49,346 Hop on, hop off tours 37,019 Butterfly garden in Grevenmacher
Mike Zenari > European Banking Authority
Apart from the “Al Dikkrich” festival and the Christmas market, the cavalcade is one of the biggest days for bars in Diekirch. Frank Dillmann of the Beim Frank café said of their preparations: “We usually order four times that of a normal weekend.” Paulo Moreira of the Grill restaurant stated: “We order twice as much beer than usual.” However, some see it as less of a boon; Fabian Paladino of the Cappuccino said: “The cavalcade is a good bonus for many cafés, but it’s all about location.” Three other cafés in town paid for a DJ to play at the main square to keep people around longer. The three all agree that the festivities provide good visibility. Paladino said proudly: “For the town itself it’s brilliant--Diekirch has a cult status because of its cavalcade.” MH
FELIPE CARRILLO The founder of the Golden Bean coffee shop CATCHING UP WITH…
ArcelorMittal (whose CEO, Lakshmi N. Mittal, is pictured) reported a $403m net profit for the fourth quarter of 2016; the steelmaker suffered a €6.7bn loss during the fourth quarter of 2015. >>> 7 out of 10 Luxembourg residents use their phone while watching TV, according to the consultancy Deloitte; 6 in 10 use it while talking with friends and having dinner with their family. >>> Amazon said it directly employed more than 1,500 permanent staff in the grand duchy “and we will continue to recruit hundreds more”; that’s a rise of roughly a third over the past couple of years. >>> Luxembourg’s government said it was the target of a “distributed denial of service” cyberattack for the first time. >>> Following his confirmation as Donald Trump’s commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross resigned from the board of directors at Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal. >>> Mike Koedinger, founder and CEO of the company that publishes Delano, will step aside from his current role as part of a strategic shake-up; after recruiting a new CEO, Koedinger will focus on Maison Moderne’s international expansion plans. >>> The grand duchy placed 5th in the European Commission’s 2017 Digital Economy and Society Index, which measures digital savviness in the EU28, up two places from 2016. >>> People employed in the grand duchy have the 2nd lowest average worker well-being levels in Europe, according to a Luxembourg Chamber of Employees report.
chain talks about standing out in the café crowd.
Entrepreneur Felipe Carrillo is something of an oddity in his business. An engineer with a PhD in economics from Cambridge University, he says he prefers smoothies to coffee. Nevertheless, he has managed to grow a success story from the humble bean, through the Golden Bean chain. “We’re opening the third branch in the ING building at the gare [central train station] at the end of March,” he says. Carrillo began the venture in 2013 when he and his barrista brother, Federico, opened their first café in rue de Chimay. “It’s not easy for a coffee shop to survive in Luxembourg,” he says, describing the high rents and staffing costs compared to the low “invoices” for beverages. “But, still, we’re doing fine. Our name is established among coffee lovers and people who want to chill out in a cool place.” The partners always planned to open a series of coffee shops, which Carrillo says makes things like administration and HR a bit easier. “Going from second to third shop isn’t as difficult as going from first to second, because it’s about putting systems in place.” The one major change since Golden Bean became established is the emergence of international café chains Starbucks and Coffee Fellows in Luxembourg. Carrillo is confident of Golden Bean’s appeal to discerning coffee drinkers. On the one hand, they handroast the coffee beans themselves, on a scale of around two kilos in 18 minutes. “Bigger, industrial roasters will roast two tonnes in oneand-a-half minutes. You cannot extract the same coffee flavours from coffee roasted that way,” he says. The entrepreneur works closely with the South American suppliers, who are selected with care. Among the growers is his mother, who runs a small organic plantation in his home country of Colombia. “We try to buy the coffee so that there is a story behind it, meaning that we are helping towards the development of rural communities,” he explains. Then there is the atmosphere of Golden Bean’s customised cafés. Whether it is the cosy nook in rue de Chimay or the light and airy Belval café. All in all, it’s a combination which works and on which Carrillo will continue to build. He recently signed a lease at the Infinity project, opening opposite the Philharmonie in 2019 and he hints more will happen before then. icon_website www.goldenbean.lu Interview by JESS BAULDRY Photography by MIKE ZENARI
Text by MARINA LAI
Photography by LALA LA PHOTO
MUCH TO CROW ABOUT
hinese investment is most welcome in the grand duchy, and China’s president was right to speak out in Davos against trade protectionism. The comments came during a reception to mark the Year of the Rooster. Carlo Thelen, managing director of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, formally welcomed China Everbright Bank and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank to Luxembourg, the 7th and 8th major Chinese banks to open EU hubs here. Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg’s prime minister, referred to Xi Jinping’s speech at the World Economic Forum, saying: “The Chinese president warned against the dangers of a trade war, saying that pursuing protectionism is just like locking yourself in a dark room. Wind and rain cannot enter, but neither can light and air.” Bettel said Luxembourg continues to stand for free and fair trade. “There are many parallels to be celebrated between both cultures”, one attendee, Valérie Dubois, who works in the textiles sector, told Delano. “We’re more alike than people think!” icon_website www.delano.lu/snapshots
YEAR OF THE ROOSTER A. Huang Changqing, Chinese ambassador to Luxembourg B. Xavier Bettel C. Christine Rehfeldt and Mikkel Strørup D. Johann Wydeau, Veronika Vilimkova, Jennifer Beaulieu and Thomas Duong E. Carlo Thelen (left), Laurent Mosar, MP (second from left) F. Heinrich Kreft, the German ambassador, and Carlo Krieger G. Floriana Prendi, Justyna Grzesiak and Yunxi Cui H. Students from the Luxembourg Chinese Language and Culture Centre (CLCCL) perform a traditional lion dance during the Chinese new year reception organised by the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office and China-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce
I. Dignitaries listen to the speech by Xavier Bettel J. Na Shi, MarieHélène Trouillez, Valérie Dubois and Joëlle Benguigui K. Johannes Roos, Arja Roos and Hongyan Wengler L. Ellie Wong (left) listens to the speech by Carlo Thelen M. Xavier Bettel poses with students from the Luxembourg Chinese Language and Culture Centre (www.clccl.lu). Also pictured is Zhang Yi, director of the CLCCL, and Li Yi of the Confucius Institute in Trier. N. Frank Christiaens and Xavier Kieffer O. Charlotte Lahaije-Hultman and Yves Knel P. Serge Ecker and Max Fischbach Q. Stéphane Compain, Max Chorus and Daniel Phong R. Michele JensenCarlen and Sebastian Kirch S. Eva Boehm, Richard Chan and Laurent Haag
Text by JESS BAULDRY
LOST IN ANIMATION led me to go to London to work for Spielberg and then to the US. The last date would be 2015 when I returned to animation to work for The Simpsons. Having been in the toy industry for eight years, the odds of me coming back into animation and having an opportunity like that are one in a million. Normally when you go back into an industry like that they ask for tests so they can see what you’re capable of. But #CELEBRATING they just took me as I was. LUXEMBOURG Why did you leave Luxembourg? I think the main reason I left was because I saw more potential to grow somewhere else back then. I Born in Echternach, Tanja think that has really changed because Majerus has spent most of there are a lot more opportunities in her life in Los Angeles where Luxembourg now. At that time I was she has a successful career in also very open to change and opporthe animation industr y. tunities and so I was very fortunate to Majerus is one of a number have these amazing opportunities of people featured in the presented to me. “Celebrating Luxembourg” Would you come back to Luxemseries, presented by Delano and bourg now given that the animation other titles published by industry is established there today? Maison Moderne. I would need to see what they do. If it’s Jess Bauldry: What do you do for something that strikes me, where my a living? heart sings, then it would be something. Tanja Majerus: Right now I work as It would also depend on what my ina character layout artist at Fox on the volvement would be. If it’s something TV series The Simpsons. I say right very exciting where I could see myself now because this title is limiting in grow, then yes. I would come back. But who I truly am because I am more I will always keep one foot in the US than that. I am an artist, an illustrator, because that’s my second home. a toy designer, graphic designer, How is Luxembourg viewed where you live? jewellery designer and storyteller. If you could highlight three It’s quite difficult because most people major dates in your life, what don’t even know what it is. Some people know it, mainly from TV, would they be? I would say where my life changed because it is mentioned in films as for the first time would be in 1984- the banking country where everyone 1986 when I was at the Lycée Tech- puts their money, but that’s not the nique des Arts et Métiers and won case anymore. quite a few awards. The second date What, if anything, do you miss would be in 1991, when I had the about Luxembourg? opportunity to study in Paris, which My family; then the good living and April 2017
the food. I miss the security of having medical insurance. You’ve no idea what it means not having medical insurance. I always worked in a setting where the studio provided medical insurance, but a lot of people out here just don’t have it. With Obamacare that has changed, but it’s still not as efficient as in Luxembourg. Has your impression of Luxembourg changed since moving abroad? Yes. From one year to another it’s different. Sometimes I come back and I fall in love with it again. Sometimes, I come back and see how stressful it has become in the sense of traffic. I have a feeling that sometimes it’s even worse than here in LA. I also find the parking situation pretty stressful. When was the last time you were proud of Luxembourg or of being a Luxembourger? I think I feel like that all the time. When I see someone, who is living their dream, then I’m proud. It could be a cook who is thriving, an artist, a film director. You get inspired by someone else. When was the last time you wanted to give up your nationality or link to Luxembourg? Never. I don’t know what Luxembourg would need to do for that to happen. Maybe if you had a Trump or something like that. Then I would consider it. In 2017, what will you do to ensure the slogan “Let’s make it happen” will happen? I think I would promote Luxembourg by just being myself. This slogan has been my motto for a long time. I wouldn’t have achieved what I did if I didn’t have a slogan like that to drive me forwards. I’m glad that they want to promote themselves like that. I would add to that slogan “Dream big and have the courage to jump!”
QUICK BIO Films and TV series Tanja Majerus has worked on include Les Babaloos, Balto, Father of the Pride, Ant Bully, Curious George, Sinbad, Spirit, El Dorado, Prince of Egypt and The Simpsons. TEACHING OTHERS Majerus has, for the last year, taught future animators in layout, animation and portfolio review at the Lycée Michel Lucius in Luxem bourg. She teaches via Skype and draws on a tablet which she screen-shares with students so they can see her corrections. CELEBRATING LUXEMBOURG In 2017 Maison Moderne and Nvision will celebrate Luxembourg by profiling 100 people who contribute positively to the country’s international reputation and brand image. The series will culminate in a gala evening on 13 December at Luxembourg Congrès. icon_info www.maison moderne.com/en icon_mail celebrating@ maisonmoderne.com
FOOD AND DRINK
Text by DUNCAN ROBERTS
Photography by MARION DESSARD
BURNING AMBITION BEARS FRUIT Gender breaking distiller Caroline Adam-Van Langendonck is concerned about the decline in the industry, and hopes a new generation of burners like her can help revive the art.
hen Belgian native Caroline Adam-Van Langendonck moved to Luxembourg some 13 years ago she never imagined she would one day be running a distillery. But that is where she finds herself now after marrying Joël Adam, whose family has been distilling local fruits in Kehlen since 1907. When her fatherin-law announced he was stepping down from running the distillery, Adam-Van Langendonck decided that she could take over, despite having little experience in the art of making eaux de vie. She took over the Distillerie Artisanale du Musée in 2015 and hasn’t looked back since. Adam-Van Langendonck has had to undergo a steep learning curve, but says she has appreciated the honesty and openness of her parents-in-law as she got to grips with the technicalities of operating the still and then started expressing her own ideas about new flavours and marketing. For instance, she has created a cumin-based eau de vie with the wonderfully Luxembourgish name Wisegimmelchen that delivers a delicate yet distinctive flavour. Or a pale green kiwi liquor that is popular with female customers. But Adam-Van Langendonck would be the last to designate any of her products to one particular sex. She is, after all, one of only three women distillers in Luxembourg. “I had to overcome many prejudices,” she says. “Distilling is still seen as a man’s job.” But not many men have a tattoo dedicated to their craft inked on the back of their neck. Hers reads: “It was a pleasure to burn,” which is not only a nod to the art of distilling but
DISTILLERIE ARTISANALE DU MUSÉE The name of the distillery derives from the museum housed in the adjoining buildings which displays a fascinating array of objects related to the history of the distilling tradition. Tours are available in English. icon_where 13 rue d’Olm, Kehlen icon_phone 621 76 852 icon_facebook Distillerie Artisanale du Musée
also the opening line of Ray Bradbury’s classic dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451. “It states simply that the pains I had in my life just brought me exactly to where I stand now, so I take them with pleasure,” Adam-Van Langendonck explains. However, the distillery industry is in decline, which has led to the loss of many fruit trees. A very handson business woman, Adam-Van Lagendonck is out in the field most days to ensure the trees and bushes
that supply her fruit are well maintained. Indeed, she sees it as her duty as part of the effort to keep Luxembourg green. Where there were once 2,000 distilleries in the grand duchy, only 60 still operate today and Adam-Van Langendonck reckons that could be down to 30 in a few years as the older distillers struggle to find successors for their business. “We have to get the younger generation interested and educate them to appreciate our products,” she says.
" I HAD TO OVERCOME MANY PREJUDICES... DISTILLING IS STILL SEEN AS A MAN’S JOB." April 2017
Text by STEPHEN EVANS
Photography by LALA LA PHOTO
BEFORE MAKING YOUR MOVE It’s boom time in the commercial property sector, with supply struggling to keep up with demand. To understand how tenants are reacting to this vibrant market, Delano eavesdropped on a client visit to a vacant property.
ormally it takes anything from six to 18 months to find the right commercial property in Luxembourg, depending on the size and location required. Striking the balance between the square meterage, location, price, and facilities is a time consuming business, particularly for businesses seeking a place in or around the central business district. This is the case for Shane, Marta and Riccardo of a local financial sector company. Delano interviewed them as they paid their third and final visit to a building on the route d’Esch in Luxembourg City on 23 February. “Our clients and partners, as well as visitors from head office, expect to find us in an attractive, convenient location,” Marta explained. About a year ago, they realised that with their business growing quickly they were set to outgrow their Kirchberg offices. “It’s really time for us to move, as we are sharing a floor with another firm, and this has become increasingly inconvenient in recent months,” Shane added. They added that life has got more difficult on the Kirchberg in recent years as the number of offices has boomed, and this is outstripping the supply of parking, public transport and places for lunch. They called commercial estate agent JLL in March last year, asking them to suggest good quality properties of about 500-600 square metres near the city centre. A longlist of about ten offices was whittled down to two after a series of visits. April 2017
The final options are offices on the boulevard Royal and the 600 square metre route d’Esch premises. A further two visits were paid to each.
LOCATION IMPORTANT “I think we all agree that this is the place for us,” Riccardo noted. Location is key, mainly for the prestige and convenience of being in the centre, with the proximity of business partners, restaurants, hotels, and the airport all important, with the city park being nearby also a plus. “We are put off the boulevard Royal by the construction work: the tram and the Hamilius site will be ongoing for years,” Marta said. “We can be on the third floor here and that gives us views onto attractive buildings, parkland and you can even see the cathedral,” she added. The 10-15 minute walk into the centre is not ideal but acceptable.
“We had a problem that the site is triangular, but we think the architect came up with an excellent solution,” said Aurélie Frédureau of Ikogest, the property developer. The result is a striking building that has been nominated for an architectural award. It is a space that makes the most of natural light, with maximum flexibility for creating offices of different sizes with partitions. This was another big plus for this property. “Due to regulations regarding air conditioning, it is only possible to partition-off one-third of the space in the boulevard Royal office,” explained Lotfi Behlouli of JLL. The route d’Esch site is also well appointed. It has the highest ecological construction rating, the keycard operated lift offers direct access to the floor, and there are showers in the basement for those who want to freshen up after cycling
HUNT FOR OFFICE SPACE A. Lotfi Behlouli of the real estate firm JLL explaining the finer points of this building on route d’Esch in the capital to Shane, who is part of the team at his financial sector company looking for new office space. They are pictured during a visit that Delano was permitted to accompany, on 23 February. B. The lifts bring visitors directly onto the floor from the downstairs reception area. This is both convivial and gives an added feeling of discretion.
to work or going for a jog. Being a new place also means the tenants don’t have to throw out carpets and partitions not to their taste. Places near town don’t come cheap, and both options are towards the top of the price range for commercial property in the capital. The route d’Esch place is slightly cheaper than the boulevard Royal option: €43 per square metre without VAT and services, rather than €45. “These figures are about standard for premium rents in the city at the moment,” explained Stéphanie Dantou of JLL. For properties of this size, she said the standard contract is for nine years, with the chance to opt out after six years. More flexibility is possible for smaller premises. “We have been involved with this project from the start,” she said. “This is standard practice, as we can give them insight into where the market may be headed, and we can start suggesting this space to clients who are thinking a long way ahead,” she added. Indeed, a couple of tenants committed to this building before building work had been completed. It has taken a long time to get to this point, with demolition and clearing of the old site having begun in 2013. An illustration that to find just the right property in the current tight market takes time, money and a bit of luck.
C. The office is V-shaped. This maximises internal space on the triangular plot of land that was previously occupied by houses and a restaurant. It also makes for a space illuminated by daylight. D. Aurélie Frédureau with the property developer Ikogest. The firm has owned this land for a number of years, with redevelopment starting in 2013 after the leases expired on the previous properties. E. Stéphanie Dantou with JLL (right) says it is normal for it to take 12 months between the first contact and the tenant signing the lease agreement. F. Located between the prestigious Belair district and the City-Centre proper, this building is in a great spot for impressing clients, partners, and the bosses at head office. Historic houses, a park and the cathedral are also visible, as are the backs of neighbouring apartments. G. Due to the triangular nature of the plot of land, the architect needed to innovate to maximise space. The solution was to place the five floors at different angles, with overhanging floors. Not only is this practical, it makes for a stunning building that has been nominated for an international award.
Text by STEPHEN EVANS
Photography by MIKE ZENARI
GETTING YOUR RENTAL DEPOSIT BACK Horror stories about home rental deposits are much less common than you might fear. Generally common sense prevails, but occasionally it gets nasty and can end up in the courts. What are some dos and don’ts?
enants generally have to pay up to three months’ rent in deposit (the legal maximum) when they rent a flat or house. Two months is common for unfurnished places, three for furnished. This is to protect the owner in the case of rent not being paid or there being damage to property. Tenants are not expected to cover the cost of normal wear and tear, but problems arise with defining this. Overzealous owners might interpret degrees of cleanliness as being excessive, whilst others will only act when there is clear material damage and excessive need to incur costs. Sometimes this goes badly wrong. We spoke to people who have faced bad experiences. None wished to go on the record, but all believed their respective landladies and landlords to have acted in bad faith. The experience of one was typical of the complaints we received. “Admittedly there were some bangs and scrapes, but that is normal after six years of tenancy,” said one. “Yes, they needed to redecorate, but the cost of that was clearly covered by the pretty high rents we were forking out each month,” they added. After mulling court action, they decided they did not want the cost and aggravation.
TAKE PRECAUTIONS “Every now and then, you get the impression that some owners will try their luck regarding the deposit,” commented Pascal Koehnen of the Luxembourg Consumers Union (www.ulc.lu) legal April 2017
department. He said that about half of the group’s cases per year relate to housing problems of some sort. “However, we don’t really see a lot of abusive behaviour on this topic, but it is better if tenants take a few precautions,” he added. Some systematically refuse to pay rent for the last three months of their tenancy, putting the onus on the landlord to recover any money for
damages. However, many owners are insured, so the ex-tenant could find themselves facing court action from the insurance company.
MAKE A STARTING INVENTORY “Upon entering your new home, be attentive and take time over the inventory-on-entry report,” said Paul Fabeck, owner and founder of Bricks, a real estate agency. “Test all
PASCAL KOEHNEN Most landlords play by the rules, but renters should still take precautions
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PAUL FABECK Be wary of giving a cash deposit instead of a bank guarantee
equipment and fixtures. Watch out for any damage or any malfunction, no matter how small. Have everything documented with pictures whenever possible.” This report will be compared with the exiting inventory, and a judgement will be made on the deposit then. For example, a slightly cracked floor tile could break completely under normal wear and tear. This would not be the tenant’s fault and should not lead to deposit being retained. But without proof this question would just come down to the word of one person against another. “Make sure to opt for deposit in the form of a banking guarantee,” said Fabeck. “Although most lease contracts will define the banking guarantee as being irrevocable and payable on the landlord’s first call, the money symbolically stands on more neutral ground.” He went on: “If a landlord insists on receiving the deposit in cash or wired to his private bank account, something’s fishy.” If a tenant causes damage, or thinks there is a problem, they need to talk to the owner or their agent, and back April 2017
this up with photos and registered letters. This will give you time to sort things out, and will avoid nasty surprises. Be aware that three years is generally the cut off period for normal wear and tear. If you are renting for less time than that, you may need pay the cost of redecoration. “Even if you do the painting and repairing yourself, the landlady may decide this work is not of sufficient quality and may charge you to have it done again,” Fabeck noted. “I saw a case of an apartment left in such a dirty, untidy condition that the new tenant had to stay in a hotel,” noted Thomas Fairfax-Jones, owner and managing director of the real estate agency Fare. He recommended not scrimping when leaving a place. “Do your removal several days ahead of schedule, not just a couple of hours before the new tenant is due to arrive.” Particularly important are things like mould, and also think of details like the oven and between sofa cushions. He recommended hiring a professional cleaning firm to do a thorough job, as you or your
cleaner might not think of going the extra mile to make sure everything is spotless. Koehnen, however, suggested that this might be excessive as long as the place is left in a respectable condition.
BE CAREFUL WHEN LEAVING With your thoughts on your new home, it can be easy to forget to tie up the loose ends. Keep an eye on the removal firm, and make sure you don’t end up being responsible for any damage they might cause. Make sure your leaving inventory is accurate and that you agree on the cost of any repairs before you sign off. Electricity and water meters should be included in this. “I knew of someone still paying utilities a year after they left their old place,” Fairfax-Jones said. There is no evidence of even a handful of owners being consistently abusive, but many will have their eyes open for opportunities of earning a few extra months’ rent. However, if you adopt a professional, reasonable approach there is every likelihood that you will be dealt with fairly.
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Text by STEPHEN EVANS
Photography by MIKE ZENARI
MAKEOVER FOR FUND CONFERENCES The Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry’s conferences will be remodelled this year. Dealing with the regulatory fallout after the financial crisis has dominated recently, this was reflected in the previous conference schedules. Now they want to refocus on clients’ needs and to encourage networking.
lthough growth in Luxembourg fund net assets was healthy last year, it was down relative to recent years. An increase of 6.7% in 2016 was creditable, but was preceded by four years of double-digit growth. So a gentle reminder that the industry needs to keep fighting for investors’ loyalty. A rethink for Alfi’s annual conferences is part of this process. Hence the upcoming “European Asset Management Conference” is the new name for the “Spring Conference”, and the “PE RE Conference” replaces the “European Alternative Investment Fund Conference”. Anouk Agnes, the organisation’s deputy director general and director of communications and business development, explains: “Renaming these conferences underlines our intention to focus more on the core business of funds: the day-to-day activity of managing assets.” The first morning of the 21-22 March 2017 event sets the tone. There are panels discussing “What’s driving the asset management world today?” and “10 years post-financial crisis--has asset management become a ‘better place’ for investing?” followed by a presentation on “A geopolitical world view of asset management”. Regulation can’t be forgotten, of course, with much of the second afternoon devoted to the latest trends. A further novelty is a wrap-up panel at the end of the conference where the broad strategic conclusions will be described. April 2017
ANOUK AGNES New conference line-up has a sharper focus on each area of the funds sector
As for November’s two-day “PE RE Conference”, it will focus principally on, respectively, private equity and real estate funds, with a day dedicated to each. Luxembourg is the leading European cross-border specialist in these areas. Hedge funds will not be forgotten, even though they are a smaller niche in Luxembourg. Specific sessions will be organised for those products.
WHAT’S THE ALTERNATIVE? “Asset managers generally don’t think of themselves as ‘alternative’ players, but private equity, real estate and hedge fund specialists, and we wanted to reflect this,” notes Agnes. The larger fund houses operate in both markets, but many are either real estate or private equity specialists. Alfi expects this new division will make it more attractive for specialist players to attend. Networking is for many the key motivating factor for attending conferences. Hence the format will be
tweaked to give more opportunities to talk to new people and firm up old business acquaintances. As well as a greater number of more tightly focused break-out sessions, the lunch and coffee breaks will feature “Short and Sharp” sessions where ideas and products will be introduced and discussed in a more informal environment.
NETWORKING ENCOURAGED There will be no change in name for the venerable “Global Distribution Conference” in September. The name of this event continues to do the job, explaining the essence of what the Luxembourg fund industry is about. These three major conferences generally attract in excess of 700 people. On a smaller scale will be the 26 April Impact Investing Conference, and the 31 May European Risk Management Conference. These, Alfi reckons, complete a package designed to keep the industry informed, networked and on its toes.
A C Q U I S I T I O N S I S A L E S I R E N T A L S I V A L U AT I O N S I I N S U R A N C E I R E A L E S T AT E C O N S U LT I N G
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2 , P L A C E D E N A N C Y I L - 2 2 1 2 L U X E M B O U R G I T : 2 6 4 4 1 1 6 1 I I N F O @ B R I C K S . L U I W W W. B R I C K S . L U
Text by JESS BAULDRY
Photography by MAISON MODERNE
ON THE TOURIST TRAIL THE TOURISM INDUSTRY
Whether it is for business or leisure, Luxembourg has plenty to offer visitors from abroad. Take a tour of the facts and figures in this growing sector, illustrated with some of the objects sold at the Luxembourg House concept store. icon_website www.luxembourghouse.lu icon_website www.visitluxembourg.com
TOURIST TARGETS Luxembourg for Tourism promotes the country as a destination for city breaks, wine tourism and outdoor escapes for hikers and cyclists in neighbouring countries as well as the Netherlands, UK and Switzerland. 
EMPLOYMENT Tourism in Luxembourg is linked directly or indirectly to 19,500 jobs.  Roughly 185 people work as tourist guides in Luxembourg City. 
CAMPING 6 out of every 10 people who used campsites in Luxembourg in 2016 were Dutch, while 2 out of 10 were Belgian and 1 in 10 were Luxembourgers. 
GDP Luxembourg’s tourism sector contributes approximately to 5.7% of the country’s GDP.  April 2017
AIRBNB IN LUXEMBOURG Regulation now exists in Luxembourg for people renting out rooms to tourists via Airbnb. Among the requirements recently introduced, hosts must register with their commune and fill out a form for each visitor. 
GET THE PICTURE MILITARY HISTORY A key branch of Luxembourg’s tourism industry is its military history. In addition to the American Military Cemetery in Hamm, there are a number of museums dedicated to the Battle of the Bulge, not to mention tours and support services from Ceba Luxembourg.
CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM Starting in 2017, Luxembourg will introduce a classification for hotels and campsites based on the “Hotelstars Union”. Ratings will be based on service and quality standards applied in around 15 European countries.   The World Tourism Council, 2013  Luxembourg for Tourism
TOP ATTRACTIONS The most popular tourist attraction in Luxembourg in 2016 was the Parc Merveilleux in Bettembourg, followed by Vianden Castle, the Casemates, Mullerthal Trail and Mudam. 
HITTING THE HOSTELS Over a third of people who stayed in youth hostels in Luxembourg in 2016 were Luxembourgers, 15% were German, 11% Belgian and 9% French.  April 2017
Text by MARTINE HUBERTY
Photography by MIKE ZENARI
EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK The pay gap between men and women is meant to close with a law coming into effect this year, but employers are not sure how to comply.
n December 2016, the government ratified the issue of equal pay for equal work into the law books. This means that companies who are found to pay one person less than another for the same job can be fined. Previously, the “equality of treatment between men and women” was set out in a technical regulation. Now it’s a national law, according to Lydia Mutsch, the LSAP equal opportunities minister. “That means if you don’t follow the law, it is not only a regulatory non-respect, but it is a legal infringement. The fine is between €251 and €25,000 if the employer does not respect the obligations of equal pay: ‘Every employer ensures equal pay for equal work and of equal value for men and women.’ If the employer repeats the offence within two years, those fines can be doubled.” However, the Chamber of Commerce issued a very critical opinion: firstly, it argued that equality between men and women was already set down in law in the labour code (Code du travail), in a technical regulation (Règlement grand-ducal) and in the constitution. Why add another one? Secondly, the criteria to establish “equal work” were unclear. Thirdly, the focus was on the job, not the qualifications of the employee, and finally that financial sanctions can be imposed.
DIFFERENT QUALIFICATIONS Anne-Sophie Theissen, head of the legal affairs service at the Chamber of Commerce, stated that: “Some criteria are confusing and focus too much on the job and not on the April 2017
LYDIA MUTSCH A. Wage equality has been upgraded from the rule book to the law book ANNE-SOPHIE THEISSEN B. The Chamber of Commerce is sceptical about the practical implications of the equal pay law
employee. We think that a difference could be made--not just between men and women--but also between men or women for the same job, because they may have different qualifications or a different professional experience. These things would justify in our eyes a difference in salary.” When asked for a clarification, neither the equality ministry nor the labour ministry could clarify how
the law would be applied; both simply sent Delano extracts from the bill that passed parliament last year without any additional comments. Theissen warned that the new law would make companies more hesitant to hire: “One should be more insecure when penal sanctions are introduced because in general there is a tendency to impose more and more fines. Fines should be
given only when something wrong was done. Employers will be even more careful when they hire someone.” The Chamber of Commerce has many questions: “It would have been better to keep the old regulation and the general principle, which is equality of treatment and not just salary. It is very complicated to work it out: how do you compare candidates now? What do you compare now? For that job, if the work is the same or of equal value, the salary needs to be the same--irrespective of the other things. It will be difficult to decide why a person should be employed and not another; or which pay to give for the same job where qualifications and/or experience are not the same. To find the balance between people for the same job under threat of sanctions will become very complicated. I am not sure how easily the companies will cope with this law.” The Chamber of Employees (CSL) recognised that equal pay for equal work was a significant problem, especially when salary was determined in accordance with the salary grids in collective labour agreements. The biggest inequalities of pay are in temporary employment, where women are predominant. The CSL had wanted stronger checks on inequality of pay by the labour inspectorate (ITM). When the law was being debated, the CSL had advocated that, when there were doubts, ITM should be able to check compliance by using the Logib-Lux tool, an IT program set up in 2012 and adapted to Luxembourg’s labour laws. This software can also be downloaded for free from the equality ministry’s website (www.mega.public. lu). It detects any potential pay inequalities between men and women within a company. However, this suggestion was not adopted by lawmakers.
POSITIVE ACTION PROGRAMMES The government continues with its positive action programmes which provide financial subsidies to companies who voluntarily set up a plan to detect and remedy any wage gaps,
Mutsch says. “70 companies have so far participated, and we touched more than 43,000 people. It is also increasing competitiveness because if everything is done to create a fair and human environment for employees, they will be more motivated to work. It really is a win-win situation.” New applications can now be sent directly to the ministry of the economy. The new law also stipulates the use of Logib-Lux as a pre-condition for any participation in these programmes. Mutsch explains: “The company fills in a questionnaire and with a mouse click, it gets the evaluation report which shows the pay structure by gender, identifies the causes and suggests improvements. The company gets a good
overview across the board.” There are numerous criteria to be met when a company applies to this programme, among them setting measurable objectives. The new law adds the criteria of setting objectives which companies must set themselves to get a better balance. Theissen criticised this double criteria: “We have the impression that companies already must fulfil the criteria before getting these subsidies. It’s like the snake eating its tail. These measures may be dissuasive and may not have the success that the authors wanted because the companies may fear that they don’t fulfil all these conditions and decide against even trying to participate in these positive actions. The law may miss its mark.”
WAGE GAP Women represent 39% of the labour market (including 32% of the public sector workforce). Women are most likely to work in the health, education, arts, events and other services and hospitality sectors. They earn less than men on average: the average annual salary for a man is €59,536, for a woman it is €49,188. This wage gap results mostly from the fact that many women work part-time. For full-time employment, the pay gap is reduced to 6% in Luxembourg: full-time employed men earn on average €61,182, while women earn €57,459. By contrast, the wage gap is 13% in Belgium and 24% in Germany. WHAT TO DO Employees can contact the equality delegate in their workplace about potential pay inequality. Their job is to ensure wage equality, access to certain positions, training, internal criteria for promotion and working conditions. The equality delegate must provide answers to employees. An employee can also contact the labour inspector (www.itm.lu), which handles official complaints. April 2017
Text by ISABELLA EASTWOOD
Photography by MIKE ZENARI
BELONGING TO NEITHER PLACE Reverse culture shock: how do employers help prepare staff for repatriation?
ultural exchange is intensifying, pushed further by globalisation and international mobility. It’s not unusual for people to move in and out of countries, to and from metropoles, back and forth between towns. The international melting pot of Luxembourg, for example, has a foreign population of 46.7%; 6,100 of these are Brits and 39,700 come from outside the EU, according to Statec, the grand duchy’s statistics agency. And yet culture shock is still a phenomenon many of us are familiar with; a disorientating experience when encountering foreign ways of life. The first time you break free from your domestic environment, a change in pace is not only expected, but also enthusiastically anticipated. A period of adjustment belongs to every new adventure, time needed to adjust to certain types of food, climate, religion or beliefs. This is expected, and can be difficult to overcome. However, the knowledge of challenges ahead and the excitement that accompanies these exploits into the unfamiliar often softens the blow. But what of the return? The longawaited arrival after the odyssey? Diane Ries of HRServices, a consultancy, warns soon-to-be-ex-expats of the shock that awaits the homecoming, when change transforms the environment in many small, seemingly imperceptible ways. New buildings, neighbours and shops, but also a shift in the professional sphere; all the little transformations that go unnoticed in real time make your time a foreign place when witnessed in one go. While talking to some “repats”, it seems like the return can hit harder than the departure. Hélène Rybol, April 2017
author of Culture Shock: A Practical Guide and a former Luxembourg resident who now lives in Canada, describes the disjunction in terms of mismatched puzzle fragments: “Everything feels familiar, but at the same time it doesn’t fit. It’s like a cultural implosion without the cushion of joy that accompanies the discovery of a new culture.” Self-proclaimed “country two-timer” Mary Carey (straddling not only two countries, but two continents by swinging back and forth between Canada and Luxembourg) elaborates on the challenges she has had to surmount as a boomeranging businesswoman: “Friends move on. Time stands still for no woman. Without a doubt, the toughest thing about repatriation is that, while you belong to both places, you also belong to neither, which can be painful.” This is the feeling of reverse culture shock, the unforeseen emotional fallout that occurs to those travelling home after many years away. While we prepare for a certain amount of fear, loneliness and discomfort when first leaving the nest, we are often taken by surprise by the struggle to fit back in once we’ve grown, and the nest has changed. Sonia Neffati, Lena Werme and Pascal Moisy from ArcelorMittal, the global steelmaker, which is one of the grand duchy’s largest employers, shed some light on the official
side of the move. First of all, the repatriation process starts even before the procedure of expatriation, in that the employees chosen for foreign assignments are also those most likely to succeed. “Reverse culture shock isn’t such an issue because we select people that are best suited for it. Choosing those who are most open to adapting and learning makes it less of a ‘shock’ and more of a transition period,” explains Moisy. Any individual who plans to make the move has to go through an orientation process. This means spending a certain amount of time--around a week--in the city in question, an opportunity to get a feel for the place. Determining the right person for the job is an important first step: if they can handle the move out, they can handle the move back. “The expat package involves finding housing, subscribing to language courses, registration and schooling,” says Moisy. “We try to provide our employees with all the support they need to succeed, which means creating a welcoming environment for the family. At least six months before their return, and at various intervals during their stay, we check up on them, to make sure they feel recognised and supported,” adds Werme. “After all, it needs to be a mutually beneficial investment.”
MARY CAREY Life carries on at home while expats are abroad
" THE WHOLE TIME I WAS AWAY, MY FAMILY GREW UP WITHOUT ME, WHICH HURT. THEN I DECIDED TO LEAVE AGAIN."
Upon return, these are also the steps that the ArcelorMittal team undertake in order to reintroduce their employees back into their home country. Making sure the post that expats return to is the right one is high on the list, states Neffati. “In regards to work, it depends on what kind of expatriate assignment they were on. If they go to gain professional experience and knowledge, we wouldn’t be able to place them in the same job as before, whereas if it’s more of a ‘transfer of expertise’ then they would keep the same position, either back at home or in another country altogether.”
DIANE RIES Home can seem “foreign” to many repats
REINTRODUCTION Most of the time, repatriation packages are negotiated at the same time as the expatriation package, but there is often a risk that some privileges are no longer provided. Stéphane Compain of Luxrelo, a relocation services provider, says some companies do little more than move household goods, leaving administrative work and house hunting to their employees. “In my experience, assignees often feel like their employers don’t care about their wellbeing. Many experience grief and depression without the right support, and statistically speaking, unsuccessfully repatriated employees often leave their companies a few years down the line.” Compain points out that some details might be forgotten in the lull of misplaced security: “Planning is the most important part of the process. You need to address the move as if you were moving to a new country. Has the cost of living changed? If you’ve cut all your ties, how easy will it be to get credit or a mortgage? What’s the state of the schools, the housing market? These are all the questions you need to be asking yourself.” HR NEEDS TO PREPARE STAFF As an employer, repatriation should be treated with the same care and foresight as expatriation. While expat clubs might welcome and assist new arrivals, there are fewer resources available for repats. “HR departments need to inform their employees that the
TIPS TO AVOID THE REPATRIATION BLUES As an employer: > Prepare yourself, and your employees, for a return the same way you would a departure. > Encourage communication and put individuals with similar experience in touch with each other. > Organise networking opportunities for expats and repats alike. > Listen to your employees concerns and be clear about the package you’re able to offer. As an employee: > Keep strong ties with your friends and family, even if the distance makes it difficult. > Use social media to learn about what’s on “at home”, culturally, politically, socially, or to just stay informed, or to limit your own estrangement. > Speak about your difficulties; chances are you’re not the only one to struggle. > Go easy on yourself, change is tough; but don’t let it scare you out of trying.
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was an unfamiliar home. “There was a disparity between what I expected to feel when I got back and how I really felt, and that sense of alienation never really goes away. But since then, I’ve managed to integrate it into a coherent sense of self.” However, it wasn’t only Rybol’s expectations that frustrated her reintegration. “The way I came back didn’t match the memory of me that people had,” she states. “It would surface in small things like my accent… it made me feel bad because I tried to fit back into the European way of living, only for everyone to tell me that I didn’t.”
SONIA NEFFATI Repatriated employees may need to be placed in a different position
" IF THEY GO TO GAIN PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE, WE WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO PLACE THEM IN THE SAME JOB AS BEFORE." April 2017
return can be tough, so that they can prepare themselves. They should arrange some networking opportunities prior to their return, encourage communication between employees and families, and highlight the importance of keeping in touch with local news. Some workshops, lectures and counselling sessions could also ease adjustment,” elaborates Compain. Communication is crucial in terms of bridging the gap between your past and present; no matter what direction you travel. Speaking to your employer about your issues and troubles helps them build a database to help future employees. However, admitting your difficulties can be a testing obstacle in itself, reveals Bernadette, a British expat who left the UK 20 years ago. “Sometimes you’ve burnt the bridges leading home. When we first left, my partner had left his job, we had rented our flat, and my old position wasn’t available. I personally felt a certain pressure to stay on and make it work, rather than to admit to myself and others it hadn’t.” What can prove to be tougher, then, is what happens off-paper, repats say. When she first returned to Luxembourg after years away, Rybol spent months getting used to a place that
THE VOYAGE BACK The pressure that Bernadette mentions is doubly problematic when it emanates not only from without, but also from within. To Rybol, travelling back home is a rigorous test to the values, perspective and worldview that expats build in any particular place. “Part of working through reverse culture shock means identifying your core identity and your cultural identity. You disassemble and reassemble the different parts of yourself to finally become something of a patchwork… but a patchwork with strong seams.” Feeling distanced from friends and family you count on for a sense of belonging is challenging, reckons Carey, who moved back to the grand duchy last year after five years back in the Toronto area, and now works at Luxinnovation. “Going back to Canada after 22 years, I don’t think my family there could understand how deep my connection to people in Luxembourg ran. Not to mention, it’s unlikely they’ll ever get to meet them. The whole time I was away, my family grew up without me, which hurt. Then I decided to leave again.” Social circles shift, people move away and move on, change happens slower or faster than expected. The best you can do is to go out and meet it, as Carey suggests: “Fresh air and exercise help when you feel blue. Keep busy. Learn a language. Go out a lot. Dine out! Make the most of the time you spend in any place. That’s what I’m going to do.”
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Text by STEPHEN EVANS
Photography by MIKE ZENARI
BREXIT COULD LOCK UK PENSIONS Britain’s exit from the EU might bring to an end the international transferability of UK private and ex-company pensions. This could have serious tax implications for Brits who previously worked in the UK and are not planning to return to retire. What are the options?
WHICH UK PENSION FUNDS COULD YOU MOVE? Eligible for QROPS: Private and ex-company pensions, and defined benefit pensions or final salary schemes. Ineligible for QROPS: The UK state pension was never eligible, and in the last two years the UK government extended this to all public sector employer pension schemes. There are two QROPS eligible trusts in Luxembourg which can accept pension pots from the UK.
uropean law enables British expats to take their pension savings out of certain private schemes in the UK. This can have major tax implications. For example, UK pension payments are taxed at source, and would be taxed again if brought over to Luxembourg. However, thanks to the Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS), pension savings in some private schemes can be moved out of the UK. This would guarantee harmonised tax treatment for an individual’s entire pension pot. Of course the full terms of the UK’s exit from the EU will remain unclear for several years, but QROPS would appear to be vulnerable to change. Abolishing it would be a quick way for the UK tax office to claim millions in revenue they are now losing. Potentially things could move extremely quickly. It has to be a possibility that with the country headed out of the EU, there would be the temptation to break existing arrangements unilaterally. After all, if politicians believe EU law would no longer apply in a couple of years, they might be tempted to make a bold, politically attractive move. As much as £9bn of pension savings have already moved out of the UK under this scheme, and the government might seek drastic measures to stop this flow. “My advice is that people should get their personal situation checked out,” said David Evans, a partner at April 2017
DAVID EVANS Every personal pension situation will be different
Spectrum IFA Group. “This can get quite complicated, so it is good to have the options spelt out, as a failure to act could be quite expensive,” he added.
QUESTIONS FOR EX-EU OFFICIALS Even if you have a QROPS you might need to check on its current status. Two Luxembourg trusts have recently been removed from the UK tax office’s authorised list, and this might leave you vulnerable to a tax bill if the courts decide an “unauthorised transfer” has taken place. EU employees also need to beware. Under
current rules, anyone who has worked for less than ten years at an EU institution (other than the European Investment Bank) will not receive an EU pension on these savings. To benefit the individual will need to “transfer out” to a national or private pension scheme. Again this could become relevant for many with Brexit in the offing. It was always important to have harmonised, logical pension arrangements. However, when article 50 is triggered, this need might become more pressing.
Text by MARTINE HUBERTY
THE IMPACT OF BREXIT ON LUXEMBOURG There are serious risks, but also some opportunities, for Luxembourg’s economy after Brexit, according to a recent report.
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uxembourg imports more services and goods from the UK than the other way around, says Luxembourg statistics bureau Statec, which has published a study on the impact of Brexit on Luxembourg’s economy. The UK is Luxembourg’s fifth largest trading partner in terms of exports. Over the past 10 years, trading links have decreased. The goods Luxembourg exports most to the UK are metals and construction materials (about 25% of the total between 2010-2015), plastics and rubber products (17%), and machines and appliances (16%). But the service sector is where the trading links are greatest: Luxembourg exported €14bn to the UK in 2015 (that is seven times the value of exports of goods). Half of that €14bn is geared towards the financial sector. In 2015, the UK represented 16% of Luxembourg’s exports, putting Britain in second place after Germany. That share has been growing continuously since 2000. Luxembourg has a trade deficit in financial services with the UK. However, this trade deficit is largely compensated by the positive balance in non-financial services, such as corporate services. These operate mostly in the e-commerce sector in Luxembourg and export to the UK, and represented three quarters of total non-financial services. Concerning the financial sector in Luxembourg, seven out of 141 credit establishments are British. In the investment fund sector, 17.2% or €600bn worth of net assets come from the UK. In 2015, Britain represented almost 17% of total investments in
Luxembourg abroad and 15% of total investments of foreign investments in Luxembourg.
RISKS, BUT ALSO OPPORTUNITIES Studies forecasting negative impact on the British economy after Brexit are numerous (search www.lse.ac.uk, for example). Considering the close economic ties between the grand duchy and UK, Brexit could also have a negative impact on the Luxembourg economy, especially for financial services exports to the UK.
A HARD BREXIT COULD RESULT IN A LOSS OF 1,600 JOBS, INCLUDING 600 IN THE FINANCIAL SECTOR. Statec has simulated how Brexit can affect Luxembourg’s economy. In case of a hard Brexit, which seems to be the most likely, this would result in a loss of 2.5% for financial services and 1% of GDP by 2020. It would
also lead to up to 1,600 job losses, 600 of which would be in the financial sector, according to the projection. This exercise does not take into account positive externalities, whether in activities or employment. There can also be opportunities if the UK loses its EU passporting rights. City of London operators would have to move parts of their operations to financial centres still inside the union. Luxembourg could have a good hand in this game, as it is specialised in investment funds, especially in wealth management. Many funds from the UK already have a subsidiary in Luxembourg, where funds are conceived and registered before they are managed elsewhere, primarily back in the City. Luxembourg could reinforce this subsidiary position and become the entry point to the European market. However, Luxembourg faces stiff competition from other financial centres such as Dublin, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.
STATEC REPORT The statistics agency’s report, “Regards 05/2017 sur l’impact potentiel du Brexit”, by Bastien Larue, was published in French on 16 February 2017 icon_website www.statistiques. public.lu
Text by MARTINE HUBERTY
Photography by MARION DESSARD
GRAMEGNA: EUROPE IS DOING BETTER
uxembourg’s finance minister, Pierre Gramegna, accused the media at a business luncheon of not reporting sufficiently on the progress the EU’s economy has made. Highlighting that growth was at an average of 1.6% in the EU, he said: “We are living through a recovery that is really good and that is not being celebrated. The worst that you can do when there is good news is that you don’t talk about it.” He added: “I hope that the media will write that down.” He emphasised that Luxembourg was not an exception to the rule, but it was doing even better than the average: it has close to 4% growth for the fourth year in a row. Referring to the decision to give up banking secrecy, he argued that: “Had we not done that, we would not be on the top list or the short list for any potential players to do something additional on the continent after Brexit. Instead we would be on the black list.” Gramegna also wanted to de-dramatise Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. icon_website www.delano.lu/snapshots
ECONOMIC GROWTH A. and D. Pierre Gramegna, the grand duchy’s finance minister, addresses a luncheon organised by the British Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg, with the American Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg, Dutch Trade Forum, Ireland Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, Nobelux and LuxembourgPoland Business Club, on 27 February B. Malek Lahmadi with Katharina Putzeys of Amcham C. Alain Trouillez, Daniel Eischen, Marie-Hélène Trouillez, Nicolas J. Ries and Marc Hemmerling E. John Marshall, the British ambassador to Luxembourg, Natacha Oskian and Guy de Muyser F. Jonathan Norman, Jill Saville and Matthieu Groetzinger G. Keith O’Donnell and Christophe Darche H. Annette Oostvogels-Fey and Stef Oostvogels I. Antoine Rech and Anemone Thomas
J. Peter Milne (right) K. Freda Deed, Robert Deed of the BCC, and Nicola Senior L. Luke Guerin and Ben Embleton M. Agata Kozolup (seated, front, right) and N. Jérôme Wiwinius listen to Pierre Gramegna speak O. Mady Chailloleau and Katia Jaggi Maloubier P. The conference was held at the La Table du Belvédère in Kirchberg Q. Alison ShorterLawrence, US embassy chargé d’affaires, Peadar Carpenter, the Irish ambassador, and Mathilde Hildenfeldt, head of Nobelux, listen to Arjan Kirthisingha introduce Pierre Gramegna R. Paula Correia S. Menelaos Menelaou (right) T. Ian Sanderson, Sandro Pace-Bonello and Tony Attwood
Text by JESS BAULDRY
Photography by MAISON MODERNE
WHAT IF THEY HAD NEVER LEFT HOME?
Does living abroad make a positive difference to a person’s life? It has for three international women who moved to Luxembourg.
vonne O’Reilly, an executive leadership and systemic team coach at Avanteam, says: “Really and truly, this move transformed my life.” A teacher in her native Ireland, O’Reilly used the move for her husband’s job 23 years ago to “try something very different”. She took a leap of faith, received offers from her first two interviews in HR and the rest is history. “It was a time in Luxembourg where the doors were open for different kinds of backgrounds. What people were looking for was aptitude, attitude and potential to grow,” she says. O’Reilly adds the biggest challenge for her was going for it. “It was only when I came to Luxembourg, I allowed myself to dream these dreams and understand there were opportunities April 2017
all around me and I could create a life that was different.” Independent director and business advisor Karen J. Wauters came from a small farming community in Alberta, Canada, so the move to Luxembourg 27 years ago was not dramatically different in terms of landscape. Wauters took a job in Luxembourg to experience continental European culture and improve her French. But it was her English that helped cement her role in the Big Four, working with multinationals. “I’m the kind of person who cannot sit still. I need variety and diversity,” she says.
VARIETY AND DIVERSITY Wauters has forged a varied life in her different professional roles, working with Time for Equality, helping develop the Canadian Chamber for Luxembourg and representing Luxembourg in the sport of curling. “I definitely feel a different person to when I first
KAREN J. WAUTERS, ROSA VILLALOBOS AND YVONNE O’REILLY Three of the ten expat women sharing their experiences with the Paperjam Club
came here. Maybe that’s age, but it’s also the experiences,” she says. Barcelona native and managing director of Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets Rosa Villalobos moved to Luxembourg for love in 2003. After joining Goldman Sachs in 2004, she saw her career take off. “I would say that I grew at the same time as Goldman Sachs did in Luxembourg,” she says, explaining that the firm went from having a few investments to over 100 in the five years she was with them. She also completed a master in banking and finance in Luxembourg, studied an international directors programme, is on the board of an NGO and recently set up her own sustainable clothing business. “What I have achieved… I would probably not have done had I not been in Luxembourg.” Hear these three women share their experiences at the Paperjam Club’s “10x6 Expat Women” event on 29 March. icon_website www.paperjam.club
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. TAX TALK
Amcham The American Chamber of Commerce hosts an “update on US and European tax policy and its impact on Luxembourg” with Marlies de Ruiter of EY in the Netherlands (photo) and Fred Gander of KPMG in the UK. icon_when Tue 21 March, 19:00 icon_where Banque de Luxembourg, Luxembourg-Centre icon_website www.alfi.lu
British Chamber of Commerce The “Brexit--Opportunity or threat?” conference examines “Brexit and its potential impact on the financial services sector”. Speakers include Jean-Marc Goy of Luxembourg regulator CSSF. icon_when Wed 22 March, 18:30 icon_where Banque Internationale à Luxembourg, Luxembourg-Hollerich icon_website www.bcc.lu
Luxembourg Investors Meetup “Discuss investments: stocks, bonds, real estate, new technologies, P2P lending,” the group says. “Meet with other traders & investors in our meetings and learn from one another.” icon_when Thu 23 March, 18:00-20:30 icon_where Casa do Benfica do Luxemburgo, Luxembourg-Neudorf icon_website www.meetup.com
LEAN & GREEN
Cluster for Logistics The group “invites every company interested in saving money by reducing its ecological footprint to join the information meeting” on the “Lean & Green” programme to reduce CO2 emissions. icon_when Mon 27 March, 10:30-12:30 icon_where Chamber of Commerce, Luxembourg-Kirchberg icon_website www.clusterforlogistics.lu
BOARD THIS LUNCHEON
Nobelux The Nordic Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg hosts a “Get Together Lunch” with Adrien Ney, president and CEO of Luxair, the grand duchy’s national airline. icon_when Thu 30 March, 12:00-14:00 icon_where Hôtel Parc Belair, Luxembourg-Merl icon_website www.nobelux.se
HEALTHTECH CONFAB Med-e-Tel “Med-e-Tel brings together stakeholders in the fields of telemedicine and e-health from 50 countries around the world (health care providers, industry representatives, researchers and policy makers).” icon_when Wed 5 - Fri 7 April icon_where Luxexpo, Luxembourg-Kirchberg icon_website www.medetel.eu
Lux.-Poland Business Club The LPBC and Deloitte host a seminar on the development of financial technology hubs in Luxembourg and Poland, including a talk by Nasir Zubairi of the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology. icon_when Thu 30 March, 17:00-19:30 icon_where Deloitte, Luxembourg-Neudorf icon_website www.lpbc.lu
Gigja Birgisdottir of Gia in Style holds a workshop on “Your professional image: The first impressions you give a client will set the tone for your future business relationship”. icon_when Thu 6 April, 09:30-12:45 icon_where Neimënster, Luxembourg-Grund icon_website www.paperjam.club
OPEN DAY Uni. of Luxembourg Prospective students and families can attend this informational fair to find out about the university’s courses, exchange programmes, and internship and career support services. icon_when Sat 1 April icon_where Belval campus, Esch-Belval icon_website www.uni.lu
Toastmasters Bossuet Gaveliers, Casemates and Green Heart Clubs are three of eight Toastmasters public speaking groups in Luxembourg that meet two evenings a month. No need to be a native Anglophone. icon_when Tue 11 - Wed 12 - Mon 17 April icon_where Check website icon_website www.district59.eu
FIND MORE EVENTS Check Delano’s online agenda for the latest happenings: www.delano.lu/agenda
OECD > Maison Moderne archives > Flickr user Fizzr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Ernesto Neto, Flower Crystal Power, 2014. Vue d'installation d'Ernesto Neto : Gratitude à Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, 2014. Photographe : Tony Prikryl. Courtesy the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
INFINITE GARDEN FROM GIVERNY TO AMAZONIA 18.03 > 28.08.17 centrepompidou-metz.fr #jardininfini
Some of the creations and proposals of this exhibition were carried out within the framework of the project “NOE-NOAH”. This operation is supported by the European Union under the INTERREG V Grande Région program (2014-2020).
Where are you going to eat today?
Interview by DUNCAN ROBERTS
Photography by MIKE ZENARI
THE HAPPY ENTREPRENEUR In the first of a new series of interviews looking at work-life balance, Nicolas Buck explains that he grafted hard and long to get to the point where he has never had it so good.
Duncan Roberts: What time do you generally finish work and how many hours a day do you work? Nicolas Buck: It is difficult to answer, because I have four different responsibilities. Which means I don’t relate to work in terms of working hours. Most of my day is spent in meetings and the rest of my day is spent reading, because a lot of these jobs require reading background and documents. It’s easier to answer if you’ve got one job. I am fortunate that I’ve managed to build a professional life that is varied and rich… to be in the position where I never ask myself “how many hours did I work today?” I don’t consider it as work--but that doesn’t mean I don’t work!
When you do finish work, how often do you go straight home and how often do you go out to socialise or take part in another activity?
I generally go home. Because I spend so much time with people during the day, listening or talking. The sport I do, I build into the day or at the weekend. For example, Monday is a day in the afternoon that I include at least two hours of sport. I play tennis then. Golf at the weekend. I like tennis because it gives you a workout, and ultimately it’s competitive and I like competing. It’s a fun thing to do.
When you are at home or on holiday do you still check work email?
Very, very rarely. In the position I am in, I get a lot of emails that are not directly addressed to me. So it’s not like I’m expected to respond to email, nobody has that leverage that they will send an email at 8 in the April 2017
NICOLAS BUCK Co-founder and CEO Seqvoia, a funds services provider. Chairman of the Fedil business federation, Nyuko and Banque de Luxembourg Investments
evening and expect an answer from me. I had that in a previous life, when I was running another business with clients in Asia or America. I wanted to get away from that, where a customer could reach out to you at any time during 24 hours and you would have to respond. I now have no “lien de subordination”. I am now taking more holiday than I ever took in my life. They are very active--I don’t sit at a beach all day, I play sport and so on. But I don’t work. The last thing I check in the evening, and the first thing when I wake up, is the BBC sport website.
So you feel you have a good work-life balance? Yes, it is the best I’ve ever had.
What advice about work-life balance would you give to young people starting out in the career?
To get to the fortunate position I am in, unfortunately you are going to have to put in 20 years of hard work. And you are only going to get there if you are an entrepreneur. If you have a really successful career, but you are working for someone else or even a large organisation you will have to retire to find that work-life balance. Because the demands of corporate life are such that there will always be someone out there chasing you. You’ll constantly have new bosses, new objectives, more growth, and you will be in the rat race. You cannot escape that pressure. Being an entrepreneur is a different time pressure, but at least nobody else is running your agenda. The meetings I chose to have, I can always say no to--except if the prime minister says he wants to see you.
Where are you going to eat today? The answer is at your bookstore.
10â&#x201A;Ź Available at newsagents and via eshop.maisonmoderne.com
Independent restaurant guide in Luxembourg since 1994
The diar y MULTI NATIONAL FOOTIE Registration of teams for the Ville de Luxembourg’s annual Rencontres sans frontières football and beach volleyball competition for teams of mixed nationality are now open. Registration is free of charge. The tournament takes place on Sunday 18 June at the Boy Konen sports grounds in Cessange. icon_website www.rsf.lu
VIDE-GRENIER SEASON The Ville de Luxembourg has launched its new Vide-Grenier season of second-hand sales. The sales take place on the first Sunday of the month from April to October on the place Guillaume II--except in May and July, when they are on the avenue de la Gare. The sales are reserved for private individuals, who can register one month before each event via the Ville de Luxembourg. icon_website www.vdl.lu
RAWDISH AT BELLE ÉTOILE Luxembourg start-up food company Rawdish has struck a deal with Cactus to have its range sold at the Um Märtchen store in the Belle Étoile shopping mall in Strassen. Rawdish uses 100% organic produce and sources locally where possible. icon_where Belle Étoile, 18 rue Philippe II, Luxembourg-Centre icon_website rawdish.bio
VEGAN FARE Cédric Feyereisen opened the Oak vegan restaurant in the former premises of Amapura with Thomas Jäger at the end of January. Oak serves a plat du jour that is always hearty and wholesome and staff are passionate about the food. icon_where Oak Bistro, 43 rue Goethe, Luxembourg-Gare icon_website oakbistro.lu
GOLD OLIVE OIL Luxembourg-based fund industry executive Thomas Seale’s Les Templiers de Provence (Fruité Vert) olive oil has been awarded a Gold Medal in the prestigious Concours général agricole de Paris. icon_website www.lestempliers deprovence.com LËTZ WRITE The schreiwen.lu website launched by the ministry of education provides users with a wealth of information on how to spell Luxem bourgish, including a special video guide to a number of orthographic and grammar rules. icon_website www.schreiwen.lu
NEW GUIDE FOR NEW RESIDENTS The latest edition of new resident guide Just Arrived was published in early March. The bilingual guide, in English and French, includes a wealth of information for newcomers to Luxembourg on settling in, education, health and well-being, shopping, sports, culture and going out, as well as getting away. icon_website www.justarrived.lu
BOOKS FOR THE LOVE OF A GOOD READ
For all the prophecies of doom surrounding the book publishing industry, it seems to the casual observer as though reading and talking about books have never been as popular. Book clubs have sprung up everywhere--either casual but passionate meetings between a small group of friends, or more formal organised clubs like that run by Ara City Radio. In the past two years two new English-language bookstores, Ernster’s All English Bookstore and Chapter 1’s Book Loft, have opened in Luxembourg. Local authors have been streaming out of the woodwork to publish their own tomes--Graham Fulbright’s political thriller The Milan Briefcase (which we wrote about in our October edition) or Ali Seegar’s children’s adventure Tommy Turner’s Tremendous Travels (see page 67) to name but two. Book exchanges have been set up in the capital city and Hesperange, and literary readings are regular features at the Cercle Cité. And the younger generation is being encouraged to read thanks to the efforts of the International School of Luxembourg and St. George’s International School, which both invite guest authors on a regular basis to address and inspire their students. And then there are the delights of second-hand book sales throughout the year. The latest is the traditional spring sale hosted by the Book Stand of the Bazar International, which now takes place over an entire weekend--8 and 9 April--at Am Duerf in Weimerskirch. The sale is a real treasure trove for true bargain hunters, with all books selling at just €1 each. “We have decided to make it a twoday event in the hope that people who are busy on Saturdays may be able to come on Sunday,” says Book Stand veteran Catherine Allen. The sale opens at 10 a.m. on both days and closes at 5 p.m. on Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday. icon_website www.bazar-international.lu
Les Templiers de Provence Cédric Feyereisen Maison Moderne
DINERS LIKE OLD SCHOOL Aal Schoul (old school) was the big winner of Explorator’s “People’s Choice Awards”. Thomas Murer’s new French restaurant in Hobscheid topped three categories. Um Plateau and Paname also proved to be popular with the 2,400 readers who voted.
Mike Zenari Lala La Photo
A. Explorator editor-in-chief France Clarinval announces the winners B. Guy Kirsch and Pascal Ruault from Aal Schoul with Maison Moderne’s Mélanie Juredieu C. The winners pose with France Clarinval and Paperjam Club’s Guy Benzeno D. Bella Napoli’s Luciano Infini and Paname’s Gabriel Boisante
d 2 April la vie takes place on 1 an The annual Relais pour o Touch vice president Mea Shepard this year. Kick Cancer int eps coming back . talks about why she ke J.B.: How did you first get involved with Relais pour la vie? M.S: 18 years ago my husband, Tim, died. We both used to help out with touch rugby events, on the barbecue. That’s how I got involved really. After Tim died I carried on then I met Joe Lister [the group’s president] and we decided to set up KCIT in 2005. When you’ve gone through this, you don’t want other people to have to as well. You look for anything you can do to support people, which is what we do with the donations for the Fondation Cancer and Haus Omega. Through that we thought the relais was something we could do to raise a team. I’ve been doing this since the start. J.B.: How hard is it to get a place and what does entering a team entail? M.S: It’s hard to register even one team nowadays because so many more people and teams are interested. Registration starts at 7a.m. on a certain day. Half of Luxembourg is sitting there at the computer ready to pounce. I was sitting there at 6:50a.m. with my cup of tea. Even then, because everyone else is doing it, the software can’t always cope. This year I was put on the waiting list straight away then I had the confirmation. It’s nerve-wracking. There are people who come back year after year to run for us. Then there are people who last year did it for the first time and asked to join again. The day-time is easier to fill than the night-time. I’ve an ex-colleague in Ireland, Anna, who runs the night shift. She comes over specially. I usually arrive at 7a.m. on the Sunday and stay until 8p.m.. J.B.: Why do you think the relais continues to be so popular in Luxembourg? M.S: It’s very joyous. It’s a lot of people coming together with the same aim--to support people who are undergoing treatment for cancer. I wonder if it’s not because you feel so helpless, there’s so little you can do but this is a good way to show your support to your friends or loved ones. I would like to continue doing it. This is something that’s in my agenda for the year. Nothing comes between that except for one year I couldn’t make it. icon_info The next KCIT event will be the Des McKenna Memorial Golf Tournament at the Kikuoka Golf Club in Canach on 10 June. icon_facebook Kick Cancer Into Touch icon_website www.relaispourlavie.lu Interview by JESS BAULDRY
Text by JESS BAULDRY
Photography by LALA LA PHOTO
Imagination at play
hildren’s author Gillian Cross told pupils at St. George’s International Primary School in March: “I have the best job in the world because it’s not really a job, I just make up stories all the time and write them down.” The 71-year-old came to Luxembourg to talk about writing and watch a performance of her book The Demon Headmaster for book week. During the assembly, the children laughed out loud when Cross animatedly recounted the fantastic stories she devised to entertain her little brother and friends as a child, right up to the moment she recognised the real power of storytelling. The school was awash with characters from children’s books as pupils and teachers dressed up. Cross said: “This is obviously a school where books are valued. You can tell that by the variety of characters the children are dressed up as.” icon_website www.delano.lu/snapshots
BOOK WEEK A. Gillian Cross gave an animated account of how she discovered her talent for storytelling B. and D. St. George’s International Primary School children engaged with Cross’ captivating stories in an assembly on 3 March C. A child dressed up as a knight points a toy sword at school principal Christian Barkei (on right) E. Among the favourite characters children dressed up as was “The Gruffalo” F., G. and H. Gillian Cross gave a number of story-writing workshops at the school (www.st-georges.lu) I. A teacher dressed up as Little Miss Muffet reads from the nursery rhyme
Text by JESS BAULDRY
Photography by MAISON MODERNE
Ali and travels Tommy’s apter in her life about starting a new ch Travels. Writer Ali Seegar talks her first book , Tommy Turner’s Tremendous of with the publication
ometimes the best things are worth waiting for. Writer Ali Seegar knows this only too well having recently self-published a children’s adventure book, ten years after starting the first draft. “When I was writing it I had a little boy read it who was ten at the time. He’s now 20! He kept saying ‘can you finish it because I want to see what happens to Tommy!’” Unable to secure an agent in the UK she turned to the self-publishing route via Amazon’s on-demand publishing platform CreateSpace and IngramSpark. “I thought if I’m going to self-publish, I’m going to do it properly,” the writer says. Seegar hired an independent editor in New York, an illustrator from the UK and laid out the book herself. The result is a charming children’s adventure story with a serious side aimed at level 5 readers (8 to 12 years old). The story begins with Tommy and his family moving house. As he struggles to adjust and make friends, Tommy uses his imagination to find ways to confront his problems. When Seegar first started the book, the story centred around Digby, who had a friend called Tommy. “Tommy was the one taking the story and after about two weeks I said this book isn’t about Digby, it’s Tommy’s book. Sometimes I couldn’t write quickly enough because he was wanting to go off and do something.” Since the book was published in November 2016, Ali has hosted a book signing in Luxembourg and presented it to children at St. George’s International School. “It was so lovely to have this interaction with the kids. They were so enthusiastic about books and writing,” she says. Seegar has also created a Facebook page for the book and a blog where she shares what she has learned about the selfpublishing process. Tommy Turner’s Tremendous Travels can be purchased at the All English Bookstore or online via Amazon. icon_facebook Tommy Turner’s Tremendous Travels icon_website blog.aliseegar.com April 2017
Text by ALIX RASSEL
Photography by LALA LA PHOTO
” ? n i u o y e “Ar p u o r g y c a c asks advo nel is taking its antiperson Handicap International schools and the general public. landmine campaign to
t’s difficult to hear the word “landmine” and not think back 20 years to images of the late Princess Diana walking through an Angolan minefield in a ballistic helmet and flak jacket. Despite that high profile media campaign and the resulting Ottawa Treaty creating an international ban on the use of antipersonnel landmines, the global danger of injury or death from such devices remains critical. “In 2015, 57 countries were still contaminated by antipersonnel landmines,” explains Cyrielle Chibaeff, communications officer at Handicap International Luxembourg. “That’s why Handicap International Luxembourg is campaigning to stop the bombing of civilians and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.” The group’s “Are you in?” campaign integrates four pillars of anti-landmine strategy: clearing the land of explosive remnants of war; educating at risk populations; providing victim assistance; and engaging in international advocacy to end the use of explosive weapons. Tshiala Kamunga-Badibanga is a volunteer for Handicap International Luxembourg and has actively participated in the “Are you in?” campaign by visiting schools within the Greater Region. “We explain the current situation to the children by educating them on what landmines, cluster bombs and other explosives are, and the impact they have on individual’s lives. I have been really surprised about how well educated the children are and the awareness they have of the situation.” In Syria alone, for example, at least 90 civilians are victims of explosive weapons every day; 25% of them require amputation. “These people can be forgotten and treated like second-class citizens,” says KamungaBadibanga. “At Handicap International we defend the rights of these people, improve their living conditions and promote respect April 2017
for their dignity and fundamental rights. Everyone deserves equality.” The NGO receives funding from the foreign ministry, including an agreement on education in Luxembourg schools. “We also receive donations from the general public and have agreements with a few corporations,” Chibaeff adds. “Sometimes private corporations provide skills sponsorship, where their employees come and help us at larger events.” “The largest event on the annual calendar is certainly the Pyramid of Shoes,” explains Chibaeff. “The public gather around a structure containing hundreds of single shoes symbolising the struggle to help the victims of land mines. We also provide information and deepen awareness, in addition to showing animations throughout the day.” It is held the first Saturday in October on the place d’Armes in Luxembourg City. The outfit is also organising an exhibition with the International School of Luxembourg at the end of March. The Remnants of War exhibition will give students the opportunity to make the connection between the historic world wars, which were fought in Europe, and what is happening in the rest of the world now, Chibaeff says. “It’s important to use history to help people identify and remember this too once happened to us.”
ANTI-MINE CAMPAIGNERS Tshiala Kamunga-Badibanga and Cyrielle Chibaeff at the Handicap International Luxembourg offices
ANTIPERSONNEL LANDMINES The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, known as the Ottawa Treaty, was first signed in 1997 and became effective on 1 March 1999.
Luxembourg ratified the treaty in June 1999. As of February 2017, 162 state parties have signed the treaty. Notable absent signatories include the US, Russia and China. icon_website www.icbl.org
HANDICAP INTERNATIONAL Contact Cyrielle Chibaeff, communications officer icon_phone (+352) 42 80 60 31 icon_mail cchibaeff@handicap international.lu icon_website www.handicap international.lu
Text by ISABELLA EASTWOOD
Photography by MARION DESSARD
d e s i n a g r o t e G form your home Can clever storage transa bit? Delano ask s three life ur yo s and de -stres to help clear the air. Luxembourg designers
n a society that largely considers our clothes as reflections of ourselves, it’s easy to see the connection between our physical environment and inner identities. And while some thrive in coordinated chaos and methodical madness, we generally assume that a well-kept personal space benefits and supports mental well-being. More than ever before, we have the choice to personalise our surroundings. Our tastes change and mature, varying between seasons, ages and circumstances. How do we maintain honest and positive reflections of ourselves within our homes without overcrowding it? Considering the fast pace of contemporary life, and the oftentimes busy and overwhelming quality of modern experience, having a space that provides a sense of calm and comfort is, if not essential, at the very least helpful. Seen in this light, the recent surge in minimalist design and architecture seems to respond to the metropolitan madness. “Design trends are often born out of need,” says interior designer Gerta Psachou (www.gertapsachou. com). “We need to come home to a place where we can relax and restore our inner balance and peace.” Thinking about your humble abode in terms of a residential refuge, safe from the burdens, obligations and responsibilities, highlights the importance and impact of a wellconstructed atmosphere.
" SOMETIMES JUST REARRANGING YOUR THINGS CAN BE BOTH THERAPEUTIC AND CREATE A SENSE OF EQUILIBRIUM."
In order to transform your home into your haven, one of the first steps involves stepping back to simplicity. “We need to focus on removing the excess of stimuli surrounding us,” she says. “You see the room as a whole before you start identifying individual items; clutter is confusing in that it inundates the senses with information.”
CLEAR THE DECKS There are different ways to clear the decks, so to speak. According to Psachou, an important part of the process is careful selection. This refers to the bits and bobs you populate your home with: they should resonate in an honest and sincere way, figuratively and metaphorically. Paintings, rugs and souvenirs should uphold your image and personality, as well as the colour scheme and layout of your house.
Isabelle Schweitzer of Lucien Schweitzer (www.lucienschweitzer.lu) elaborates on the emphasis on being selective: “You need focus on the essential. Uncluttered doesn’t necessarily mean a room without stuff, but a room without unnecessary stuff.”
SELF-DISCIPLINE FIRST In short, as interior designer Sandra Kapp (www.sandrakapp.lu) puts it, if your place is too crowded for free movement, it’s time to clear up space. Shedding old, familiar belongings can be difficult, nay, excruciating at times. How long have you held on to the top that, like your 20-year-old sofa, just doesn’t really fit anymore? Letting go of these and the burden of their history--not only in terms of fashion--is a large part of decluttering and consequently, revival. A mindful attitude towards the environment is integral to
ISABELLE SCHWEITZER Uncluttering your home does not mean getting rid of all your stuff
Sandra’s work ethic. “Too often we invest money in things we don’t need, things we replace or throw out without a thought. A certain amount of self-discipline is necessary to build your ideal home,” she states. “The things in your house should fill you with happiness, and if they don’t, maybe they will serve better in another home.” “The entrance hall is an important room to keep airy and organised, it’s where I try to introduce shelving space [for clients] when I can.” Aside from generating first impressions and setting the scene for the rest of the house, it has the capacity to inspire either comfort or distress. “I have a woven basket box with the word ‘Rangez’ [put it away] imprinted on
the lid by my door,” Sandra remarks. “It stores my children’s shoes while simultaneously acting as an attractive reminder to tidy up every time we come home.” Keeping your surroundings relatively content-light forms the building blocks of your ideal dwelling. And indeed, minimalism has been a growing trend in the last decade, especially in terms of architecture and interior design. One needs to roam the ever-evolving urban landscape of Luxembourg in order to notice an increase in geometric block buildings, a focus on monochrome colours and square layouts and interiors. While this set-up certainly exudes a sense of sophisticated, modern
simplicity, it rapidly risks descending into cool sterility. The methods to avoid this range from small craft projects to renovation plans, depending on your allowance, time and space.
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX (LITERALLY) In terms of a more extensive--and thus costlier--approach, Kapp suggests thinking outside of the box (and walls) and constructing space in unusual places. “I’ve previously knocked a hole into the wall separating bathroom and laundry room in order to put a wardrobe there. In a confined space, we managed to create room without taking up any.” April 2017
What Psachou, Schweitzer and Kapp all agree on is that built-in furniture space is optimal for storage and composition. Alternatively, wall-towall wardrobes, bookcases or shelving units disrupt the panorama less than smaller, bulky wardrobes that risk crowding a room--much like over-accessorising tends to produce an overall disjointed look. Should a closet be your only option, painting it the same colour as the wall helps it blend in nicely, advises Psachou. While planning allows for integrating storage into the foundation of your home, smaller, less intrusive investments come in the shape of personalised storage, “hidden storage” and thoughtful furniture placement. Custom-made cupboards and storage work well to blend harmonically into a room, recommends Schweitzer. Personalised furniture of this kind creates a sense of homeliness while simultaneously optimising the free space and light minimalist design allows. Having “hidden storage” places is an easy way to remove objects that you don’t require in your daily routine, such as drawers under your bed to store guest bedding or seasonal clothing, suggests Psachou.
OBJECTS TELL A STORY Thoughtful and vibrant objects are key to establishing an atmosphere that is simple without being Spartan. All belongings “tell a story,” Schweitzer explains: “Sometimes [particular objects] tell me more about a person, their character and lifestyle than words ever could.” When decorating your home, it helps to ask yourself some questions. What kind of person are you? How would you like to demonstrate these qualities? Does a leopard lamp speak to you on a spiritual level? Different people will exhibit their personality in different ways. A collector’s home may appear cluttered and full to the outsider, but have more to do with art than disorder to the owner, elaborates Schweitzer. Whether you lean towards minimalism or retro, art deco or kitsch, there are ways in which you can illustrate this without oversaturating your environment. “The thing to avoid is an allover look.” April 2017
Let’s say you’ve made your choice in terms of décor. How to display them without descending into disarray? “To produce a pleasing and non-cluttered result, we tend to group items together instead of placing them all over a room,” says Psachou. “It’s very much about putting objects into the right light,” confirms Kapp. “Sometimes just rearranging your things can be both therapeutic and create a sense of equilibrium,” adds Schweitzer. Look at your belongings: where would they stand out, where would they shine, where would they swamp?
COLOURS AND MATERIALS In addition to arranging your belongings in a way that promotes
ease and well-being, there are other small adjustments that you can make to your home, such as switching the colour and material of your curtains, rugs, bedclothes and so forth. Psachou explains: natural materials and textiles like wool, marble, wood and silk exude timelessness and sophistication. The fabric and matter of your furniture can have a tremendous impact on whether or not a place feels inviting. “Japanese architecture in particular is often minimalist, but far from being unfriendly, the combination of light, detail, material and placement generates a calming and set effect.” The awareness of colour and effect is part of Psachou’s philosophy too: “As for colours, we use natural colours
GERTA PSACHOU Try to create “hidden storage” spaces to maximise existing features
UPCYCLING “A project at university brought my attention to the waste of modern consumption,” says Jennifer Lopes Santos. “With a piece entitled ‘Sweet Pollution’ I used recycled materials and fabric to highlight the state of the environment and criticise our social indifference towards it.” “The experience made me more aware of recycling in general, which I began to incorporate into my work. I push myself to reclaim and revitalise the full potential of objects thrown away and forgotten, such as furniture, textiles, clothing and decoration.” “The Golpada project was born in a period where I was re-evaluating my life and my studies, which eventually led to a mental revolution that my work embodies. My Cape Verdean heritage and way of life has influenced me heavily. It preaches and praises resourcefulness, which is inspiring. Where money is lacking, creativity bubbles.” In the last two years, Lopes Santos has held various workshops on upcycling in Luxembourg, at times in collaboration with Caritas Luxembourg and other creators, such as What Eve Wears, Merlanne and Feyrouz Ashoura. Her work includes transforming jeans into a “snack bag”, an old shirt into a skirt, and lamps made with old textiles. She is currently working in Cape Verde.
icon_facebook Golpada Studio
as much as possible. Warm greys, ivory and taupes produce a relaxing feeling which explains their rise in popularity.”
DIY OPTIONS Changing your decoration seasonally can create warmth in winter and air in summer, a feeling of renewal that “changes the atmosphere and your way of living at the same time,” says Schweitzer. Traditional springcleaning sessions can be particularly therapeutic, and it helps to consider them as such: a way to make space mentally and physically, instead of a chore. Maintenance for your home should be easy, and not incessant. If you’re willing to invest some time
and effort, you can always go DIY. For the niftiest virtuosos around, there are a variety of options to clear out some space in your kitchen, bathroom and room. It takes roughly 5 to 10 minutes to peruse either Amazon or your local interior and furniture store to find disparate organisers, racks, trays and separators to fix onto the in- or outside of doors. This doesn’t promise elegance--unless you’re a manual master--but helps with clutter, as it involves maximising existing space. For a more arts and crafts look, you can always build your own box, or use the easy option that I go by: emptying fancy perfume boxes and
SANDRA KAPP Built-in furniture is the most efficient solution, when it’s possible
filling it with things I will eventually get rid of. To summarise, after speaking with these designers, I would suggest a few key rules to bear in mind. Firstly, the ever appropriate “less is more” rule applies to home as well as habit. Secondly, consideration is key, on more levels than one. If you stick by the mantra “Contemplate before you consume and/or cast aside!” you can avoid a lot of superfluous weight. Take the time to pick and arrange your belongings, make them count and stand out. Finally, happy living involves a holistic approach to life. Try finding use in old favourites, refashioning, reworking, and if it has to go, think: “Who could use this?” before chucking it. April 2017
Text by DUNCAN ROBERTS
A cool departure is one nist Pascal Schumacher Renowned jazz vibrapho sic exports . But he has veered jec t. of Luxembourg’s best mu ec tion with his latest pro in a completely new dir
Schumacher and his gang introduce different sound elements into the mix. “Maybe it’s jazz,” he says, “but it’s not the jazz that youngsters who come out of school play.” The album is produced by Joachim Olaya, who has worked with Schumacher on his two previous albums and has also served as sound engineer on his live shows. “We have a way of working together that is very intuitive. We don’t have to talk much--in any case he’s not the most talkative person on planet earth--so it’s good that we can just look at each other and know where we are going.” But in another departure from tradition, Schumacher has also chosen to present Drops and Points as a complete stage
show. “The audience comes to see a concert not just to listen to you play what’s on the album,” he explains. Olaya is a member of “Collectif Scale”, which has developed a stage set consisting of five round screens onto which original images are projected. It allows Schumacher to guide his audience on a journey. “It’s what Mozart was doing with opera--he had an urge to create the complete show. It’s an important step for me to take control of everything that happens on stage.” icon_star Drops and Points icon_when 25 March icon_where Philharmonie icon_website www.philharmonie.lu icon_website www.pascalschumacher.com
meeting with guitarist Maxime Delpierre in Paris seems to have changed Pascal Schumacher’s life. “He has become the big musical partner in my life,” says the Luxembourg vibraphone player. “He knows where I come from, and it has created a nice match.” The pair have now made their first album together. Drops and Points is a record that Schumacher, now in his late thirties, says had been in him for a while. “But it is something I couldn’t do earlier.” Schumacher explains that although he still loves the greats like Miles Davis and John Coltrane, he no longer buys new jazz albums but listens to what he calls “popular music of today… music that transports much more emotion than what is happening in the jazz world.” He cites Chet Faker and Antony and the Johnsons as examples, and says that his own album, Left Tokyo Right, was an example of how he was already veering away from the stereotypical “brainy” jazz. Widely admired as a virtuoso of the vibraphone, Schumacher recognises now that being highly trained on an instrument does not necessarily move people. “I play piano and synthesiser on my new album for the first time, and I am not a virtuoso on either instrument. But I can play music that at least touches me, and so perhaps touches other people.” It required a big mental change, says Schumacher, but he now plays to serve the music rather than the instrument. That willingness to sit back and not be tempted to perform elaborate solos on every track marks out the new album. Drops and Points is a completely new direction. It can best be described as intelligent minimalist ambient--gorgeous dream-like music that can both sweep over the listener and evoke emotions, yet also merits closer attention to detail as
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FOOD & DRINK
Text by JESS BAULDRY
Photography by LALA LA PHOTO
Keep on t r uckin’
in Luxembourg ened the first food truck When Kim Conrardy op ustry was in its infancy. in Oc tober 2013, the indd trucks in Luxembourg and the country Today, there are 28 foo ching saturation point, the entrepreneur says. is still some way off rea
im Conrardy, co-founder of The Food Truck Company, tells me, “I hate the cold,” as I meet him in Kirchberg on an icy February afternoon. “I should have opened a food truck in San Diego where it’s 25°C all year round,” he laughs. Winter is not only physically hard for people working a food truck, without indoor dining areas it takes its toll on customer footfall in Luxembourg where temperatures frequently dip below 0°C. Conrardy knows that only too well. Managing the first food truck to roll out in Luxembourg, he has already seen a few lean winters. “If you don’t have a cash buffer, winter is very hard. It’s a case of being down to 25% of what you normally do.” That said, “I’m still committed and every week more so.” He is not alone in his perseverance. Despite huge overhead (a good food truck costs between €50,000 and €100,000), high space rental costs, long working hours and the seasonal nature of the business, around 28 food trucks have sprung up in Luxembourg since 2013. Not all have stuck it out, but those who have found the right niche and model, like Conrardy, are making it work. “Not everyone is made for that. It’s not just about being an entrepreneur. You have to be there with your team because of the costs,” he says. Having been among the pioneers to steer through Luxembourg bureaucracy to establish the foundations of a food truck community, Conrardy sees the hurdles that remain. This is why he helped establish the Luxembourg Food Truck Association, a federation of food truckers with a Facebook page and website. Eventually he hopes the latter will host an agenda with food truck locations throughout Luxembourg and a FAQ section for wouldbe food truckers. “I want to motivate people April 2017
to do it,” he says. “But I don’t want to tell stories about making fast money because that’s not at all what it is. Anyone in the world with a food truck will tell you that!” Later in the year the association will begin to offer coaching in how to establish a food truck business in Luxembourg to grow the sector further. “We will not make decisions for them, but we will help them to find their way.” Conrardy believes the food truck market is far from saturation point, as customers’ demands for variety grow. “There are over 700,000 people working here, including cross-border workers, with 50,000 in Kirchberg and in a few years the Cloche d’Or development will have 60,000 people working there. We’ve so many possibilities!” Conrardy also has plenty of ideas to develop the industry further. He wants to create a permanent food truck park with seating areas open Friday and Saturday evenings and a summer festival. One of the big challenges facing food truckers is the off-hand way in which they are treated by event managers. Conrardy has experienced this himself in 2016 when he attended a number of festivals without reaping the benefits financially either because of a poor location or lack of publicity. “Organisers often promise you things and don’t often keep them,” he says, adding that events run by the association will aim to put the food truckers at the heart of the action. The Rythm n’ Food summer festival, to be hosted in Belval from 12-14 May, would be a first opportunity to apply this approach, Conrardy says. “We want to make it like a big family picnic where someone can get a burger at one truck and someone else can buy something vegetarian from another truck. Then they sit in the middle and eat together.”
"WE WANT TO MAKE IT LIKE A BIG FAMILY PICNIC."
Sven Becker (archives) > Mike Zenari (archives)
EAT IT Sample some of Luxembourg’s food truck wares at the next “Eat It” street food festival at the Rotondes in Bonnevoie on 1 and 2 April. Entry is free but food prices vary. icon_info www.rotondes.lu
SUMMER FESTIVAL Visitors to the “Rythm n’ Food” event can buy food from around 30 trucks while listening to live jazz, blues and rock in Belval’s Square Mile car park, 12-14 May. icon_website www.luxfta.com
DOWNLOAD SOON Trying to track down a specific food truck in Luxembourg? A new food truck tracker app, “Appetite”, is currently under development and should roll out in May. icon_facebook Luxembourg Food Truck Association
Text by JESS BAULDRY
Photography by MIKE ZENARI
s ’ g r u o b m Luxe strongman gth and old-time Records in feats of strenlities to be featured in rld Wo ess inn Gu 26 of mber of persona A sculptor, holder titles published risten , 54, is one of a nu strongman , Georges Ch ourg” series , presented by Delano and otherprofiles the people mb rg xe ou rating Luxemb the “Celebrating Lu n. roughout the year, Celeb by Maison Moderne. Thly to the grand duchy’s international reputatio who contribute positive
Jess Bauldry: What do you do for a living? Georges Christen: My main job is professional old-time strongman. Nowadays you’ve competitions for strong men who lift stones, that’s more sport. The old-time strongman was a mix of strength, sport and variety act. I’m more a stage artist. I’ve also been working with Caritas for ten years as a sport manager for disadvantaged people. This could be homeless people, people who have lost their job, people who have problems with alcohol. I also do iron sculptures using my hands with my associate, Bernie Klein. If you were not a strongman working on social projects, what would you be? As a child, I wanted to do something a bit more adventurous. Normally, when you grow up, you realise you cannot live off that. I always wanted to prove it’s possible to follow your dream, and so I did. But, even when you follow your dream, I would say 30% of my time is still spent in the office doing things like contracts and answering the phone. It’s not only travelling and being a strong man. But it’s OK--the older you are, the more you like the office. If you could highlight three major dates in your life, what would they be? When I set my first record, bending 250 20cm nails in 72’55” in 1982, I was just a 19-year-old who wanted to set a world record. Shortly afterwards I did my first show in Dommeldange. There were only about 20 people there, but it was a good audience April 2017
and that was when I realised this is the job I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Another date is today--the fact I’m still here in good shape and can still do all this and enjoy what I’m doing. When you talk about Luxembourg to non-Luxembourgers, what do they say? What I mostly hear is “yes, I know Belgium well”. You don’t have to go to Japan or China to hear that. Sometimes you hear it just 200 kilometres away in France. I remember I went to a kebab shop in France once and told the server I was from Luxembourg. He said: “It’s not a country, it’s a city.” He tried to convince me it wasn’t a country. The funny thing is that in China they knew about Luxembourg. I was very astonished. Maybe it was just a coincidence. That was in 2009. Things have changed so much since the internet, so it’s easier to learn about the world. What does it mean to be a Luxembourger? I never thought about this. For me, I’m a Luxembourger but I never had the feeling that when I go somewhere I need to say this. Perhaps someone will stand up at a show and say “moien”. It’s like if you travel from somewhere and meet someone from your village. You’re happy to see someone who comes from there. Do you want to live abroad? If so, where? I’ve a studio in Majorca. When I was seven, I took the plane to Majorca with my parents and have such fond memories. I didn’t go
back for 20 years. Now I go a few times a year. Maybe, when I retire I will stay there more often. But to completely change countries? No. I’m like a cordless phone, you take it from room to room, but in the evening it goes back on the stand to recharge. I like travelling, but when I come back it’s like putting the cordless phone back in the bank. Who do you think makes the best ambassador for Luxembourg abroad? The best way to determine who is a good ambassador, for me, is when you go to a country and come back and reflect on what the people were like. It could be someone in the street who gave you directions. I wouldn’t say there is just one person, it’s a little bit of everybody who should try to be the best ambassador for his country when he’s abroad. In 2017, what will you do to ensure that the slogan--Let’s make it happen--will happen? Francis of Assisi said that when you want to do the impossible, first you have to do the normal things, then the impossible things will happen by themselves. Often people get big ideas but when you explain all the small steps to get there, they lose interest. If you do it step by step, it can happen. My general philosophy is I try to be better each day. I try to be as good as possible. icon_website www.georges-christen.com icon_info www.celebratingluxembourg.com
Text by JESS BAULDRY
Photography by MIKE ZENARI
job with mbourg to start a new When he came to Luxe n brought with him some strong Amazon, Deepu Dileepaand life back in India. He explains reminders of his familyand what he regrets leaving behind. the things he brought
“The mod This is soma is a stool made from outside th ething my mum use cane and jute. That was he kitchen. She could sid to have just no-one at er favourite chair, eve t on that and eat. and eat. It ’sthe dining table, she likn if there was a constant reminder oef d to sit there my mum.”
IN MY SUITCASE
DEEPU DILEEPAN Deepu came to Luxembourg from Chennai, India, in October 2016 to work as senior leadership development specialist with Amazon. After a shaky start when he was strip searched by security at Frankfurt airport, he soon settled in largely thanks to his sense of humour. “It’s the first time I’ve lived abroad. Mistakes brought me here,” he jokes. Comedy has been an important part of his life ever since a “harrowing”, threeweek hospital stint three years ago. He adapted the experience into material for stand-up. “When I first tried it at a party with friends, I was met with stony silence. Then I started the stand-up comedy scene in Chennai,” Deepu remembers. In Luxembourg, he joined a stand-up open mic comedy group and performs regularly at Crossfire and Scott’s Pub. “Comedy is a great leveller for people to connect… It’s helped me a lot to integrate.” April 2017
all cups, [up] to ten smTy ns ai nt co cally, x, bo e c. tti, or spic illi, cinnamon, pepper, et lepiask “This anjarai pe ch op e: pe ic n sp he nt W re l. Indian] mea word: ‘cooking’.” each with a diffe e day to cook a[n it takes about aing at the weekend, I have on me what I’m do
ween ss betat ’s my o r c a ir is . Th th for sy cha mmock n “My ealiner and hato wait a montually a rec ate. I had it did eve e a bit soulm rrive. When ood to hav timated it to a , it felt so g . I underes .” arriveme with mewould make of ho ifference it th e d
“Pretty mu comedian ch every single I am from, in Chennai, where Back homehas held this mic. I started o three years ago, ff the stan comedy sc d-up It ’s a real p ene with the mic... ie go to a mu ce and is going to seum in a few years.”
“The jute m when my fa at reminds me of m and most cother kept telling me ity childhood sleep on it a mfortable bed. Whe ’s the best n s a kid I alm Now someth ost bro I tried to that mat fee ing has changed anke my bones. bed for dat ls good. I do also havd suddenly es.” e a normal
ET WHAT I RBEEGHRIND G IN V LEA
here we pical country wlig e hts here “I come from a tro th l Al s. ht lig read in have white tube lights. But if you are warm yellowd for your eyes. The first dim light, it’s bare I went to every single weeks I was heto try to find a white tube possible store settled for a table lamp.” light. Finally, I
Text by DUNCAN ROBERTS
14 shows you must see
YUJA WANG Solo recital Acclaimed pianist Yuja Wang is no stranger to the Philharmonie. The Chinese superstar has been on the concert circuit since her early teens. On this occasion she performs two of the three Impromptus written by Franz Schubert in May 1828, Johannes Brahms’ Händel Variations and Frédéric Chopin’s Preludes, a set of short pieces, one in each of the 24 keys. icon_when 30 March icon_where Philharmonie, Luxembourg-Kirchberg icon_info www.philharmonie.lu April 2017
YOUSSOU N’DOUR Senegalese superstar Following recent shows at neimënster and Grand Théâtre, Senegalese superstar Youssou N’Dour, who also starred in Luxembourg co-production documentary Retour à Gorée, this time plays den Atelier-a venue where he first performed at in 2000. His latest album, last year’s Africa Rekk, has been described as “an umbilical cord that links all of Africa.” icon_when 27 March icon_where Atelier, Luxembourg-Gare icon_info www.atelier.lu
RAG‘N’BONE MAN Soulful vintage Having just released his debut album, Human, East Sussexborn Rory Graham is riding a wave of popularity across Europe as well as in his native UK as Rag‘n’Bone Man. The album’s bluesy title track was a number one single in over ten countries. NME has said that the album is “at once modern and classic, fusing blues, hiphop and vintage sounds with a pop attitude”. icon_when 28 March icon_where Rockhal, Esch-Belval icon_info www.rockhal.lu
JOHN MALKOVICH Extraordinary encounter The charismatic actor returns to the Philharmonie for a performance of Just Call Me God, which is subtitled “The Final Speech of a Dictator”. It is a piece of musical theatre about tyranny and excess. The show, commissioned by the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, features five other actors and organist Martin Haselböck with music by the likes of Bach, Franck, Widor and Messiaen. icon_when 28 March icon_where Philharmonie, Luxembourg-Kirchberg icon_info www.philharmonie.lu
BRANFORD MARSALIS Intense with vocals Saxophonist Branford Marsalis plays a concert featuring special guest Kurt Elling on vocals. Elling joined the quartet of Marsalis, pianist Joey Calderazzo, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Justin Faulkner for last year’s Grammy-nominated album Upward Spiral. The quartet has been called “one of the most cohesive, intense small jazz ensembles on the scene today”. icon_when 31 March icon_where Philharmonie, Luxembourg-Kirchberg icon_info www.philharmonie.lu
CLOCK OPERA Ghostly euphoria London indie synth quartet Clock Opera have just released their second album, Venn. A different beast to their 2012 debut album, Ways to Forget, Venn is for the most part a darker record but still carries singer Guy Connelly’s distinctive voice. Drowned in Sound called Venn “as uplifting as it is sinister, and ghostly, menacing, and euphoric in equal measure”. icon_when 4 April icon_where De Gudde Wëllen, Luxembourg-Centre icon_info www.deguddewellen.lu
SOULWAX Belgian beats With the brothers David and Stephen Dewaele at their helm, alongside Stefaan Van Leuven and Bent Van Looy, Soulwax from Ghent in Belgium are an indie electronic outfit with a reputation for greatness forged in the late 1990s. Dormant while the Dewaele brothers focused on their 2manydjs project, Soulwax are back with some great tracks from the film Belgica. icon_when 5 April icon_where Rockhal, Esch-Belval icon_info www.rockhal.lu
Harald Hoffmann > Dean Chalkley > Roger Thomas
xembourg’s teran artists take to Lu A host of acclaimed ve there are also plenty of stages this month , but young and emerging talents live performances from erfully eclec tic line-up. in what is another wond
Norbert Kniat/DG > Julien Becker
MARIO BATKOVIC Experimental accordion Bosnian-born Swiss musician Mario Batkovic uses his accordion to fashion some wonderful and often experimental sounds. The six-minute track ‘Quatere’, for example, mirrors the minimalist approach of the great Philip Glass. But such is Batkovic’s mastery that he can also create distorted feedback or make the accordion sound like an obscure analogue synthesiser. icon_when 6 April icon_where Rotondes, Luxembourg-Bonnevoie icon_info www.rotondes.lu
JEAN-GUILLAUME WEIS Bucketful of Dreams One of Luxembourg’s most spirited choreographers presents his latest work. A Bucketful of Dreams is Jean-Guillaume Weis’ third production for the TNL. The show allows eight young dancers to express their dreams, hopes and desires on stage. His sister Trixi provides the sets and costumes, Marion Rothhaar is assistant director and Zeljko Sestak designs the lighting. icon_when 7 to 9 April icon_where Théâtre National du Luxembourg, Luxembourg-Merl icon_info www.tnl.lu
TALUNE & MONOPHONA Electronic folk A double bill of cool down-tempo folk-tinged electronics sees local trio Monophona and French quartet Talune take to the GW stage. Monophona, formed by singer-songwriter Claudine Muno and DJ and producer Chook, play melodic and inventive music that crosses genres. Paris-based Talune meld the warmth of folk songs and vocal harmonies with the cool of electronica. icon_when 19 April icon_where De Gudde Wëllen, Luxembourg-Centre icon_info www.deguddewellen.lu
CHICK COREA TRIO Talented tinkerer Labelled “a worthy luminary with the instincts of a tinkerer” by The New York Times, award-winning jazz pianist Chick Corea brings his trio of Eddie Gómez on double bass and Brian Blade on drums to town for a concert that will showcase his virtuosity. Through a career that has spanned the history of modern jazz, Corea has been nominated for over 60 Grammy awards, winning 22. icon_when 26 April icon_where Philharmonie, Luxembourg-Kirchberg icon_info www.philharmonie.lu
THE PARROTS Feelgood ferocity Touring their “raucous gigs of elemental garage noise,” The Parrots from Spain are a real feelgood trio who met at university in Madrid. The band released its debut album on Heavenly Recordings last summer. Los Niños Sin Miedo is a record that proudly flaunts its 60s garage rock influences--it may not be original, but you know their live shows are going to be messed up fun. icon_when 20 April icon_where Rotondes, Luxembourg-Bonnevoie icon_info www.rotondes.lu
BOB DYLAN Nobel winner Robert Zimmerman returns for a second show at Rockhal, this time as a Nobel Prize winner. He has released his critically-acclaimed 37th studio album, Fallen Angels, and will play numbers from that set as well as some old favourites. Even at 75, Dylan has not slowed down and continues to make some great music and performs live with real gusto. icon_when 22 April icon_where Rockhal, Esch-Belval icon_info www.rockhal.lu
DAISHIN KASHIMOTO Crossover genius Japanese violinist Daishin Kashimoto joins the OPL conducted by Gustavo Gimeno for a performance of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, which is considered the genius composer’s most successful realisation of the crossover genre. Also on the programme are two works by Johannes Brahms--Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn and his Symphony No. 2 with viola soloist Amihai Grosz. icon_when 28 April icon_where Philharmonie, Luxembourg-Kirchberg icon_info www.philharmonie.lu April 2017
Text by DUNCAN ROBERTS
Meaty indie fest
mbourg, best indie bands to Luxeent fix ture the ng bri to on ssi mi a an On festival has been a perm the Out Of The Crowd neer of music festivals in the grand duchy. since 2004 and is a pio
SCHALLTOT COLLECTIVE Out Of The Crowd is organised by the ultra-cool Schalltot Collective, which is basically a bunch of friends who got together in 2002 to put on shows by bands they want to see but that no local venue was booking. The collective has put on shows by the likes of Broken Social Scene, And So I Watch You From Afar, These Arms Are Snakes and The Black Dahlia Murder. But it is the annual Out Of The Crowd festival that put it on the map. Famous guest artists at previous festivals have included the likes of Battles, Minus The Bear, Breton, Other Lives and Tall Ships. “We choose bands we love. It’s just a way to share our passion with other people,” says the collective’s Nicolas Przeor (photo, right, pictured with co-organiser Marc Hauser). icon_when Saturday 22 April icon_info www.ootcfestival.com icon_facebook The Schalltot Collective ASBL
PVT Formed in 1999, Australian experimental electro-pop band PVT, pronounced “pivot”, can claim to be veterans of the scene, even if they only released their debut album, Make Me Love You, in 2005. Now they have released a compelling new record, New Spirit, which features “brooding synth lines that escalate and intertwine,” according to Rolling Stone.
HOOTON TENNIS CLUB A very traditional indie band, playing riff laden pop songs about love and the frustrations of daily life, Hooton Tennis Club are a quartet of lads from the Wirral. It comes as no surprise to learn that their latest album, with the wonderfully trite indie title Big Box of Chocolates, is produced by master of indie pop Edwyn Collins.
THE PHYSICS HOUSE BAND From the UK, The Physics House Band mix psychedelic rock, progressive jazz and experimental electronic music to create a unique and mesmerising sound made all the better for some truly erratic and creative drumming. The band releases its debut album, Mercury Fountain, in April.
MERCHANDISE Signed to the iconic 4AD label, Merchandise from Tampa in Florida have matured from their snarly and aggressive early sound to something more akin to “maudlin baladeering” as the band puts it. Their latest album A Corpse Wired For Sound was the first the band has recorded in a professional studio.
TRUE WIDOW Shoegaze, that much derided genre in the early 90s, has recently made a comeback and Dallas trio True Widow seem to have embraced the slow and heavy and cerebral elements of the movement.
DIE NERVEN Die Nerven have struck a chord with fans of noise rock ever since their breakthrough second album Fun was released in 2014. Follow-up Out won over even more fans and like its predecessor was acclaimed by the music press, some of whom have even said Die Nerven are the best live band in Germany at the moment.
CIVIL CIVIC More Australian music in the shape of Civil Civic from Melbourne. The duo makes catchy and danceable synth-rock instrumentals that incorporate great melodies with fantastic beats that sound unique yet familiar. This could be the most joyous set at the festival.
LUO Brighton-based fourpiece Luo play experi mental electronica with a real sense of style and substance. As one fan wrote, their music dives deep into emotional territory without feeling too indulgent.
THE KOOTERS Two local bands play at this year’s festival. The Kooters is a young quartet that explores the more moody side of psychedelia and lush atmospherics.
AUTUMN SWEATER Luxembourg band Autumn Sweater is one of the most promising acts on the local scene. Their brand of indie rock features a delightful mastery of English in their lyrics and they have a great ear for a catchy melody and know how to create great pop songs.
GOGO PENGUIN Mancunian electronica-jazz trio GoGo Penguin have been hailed as one of the most exciting new bands to emerge in the UK. Their sound features “skittering break-beats, powerful sub-bass… and a penchant for anthemic melody”.
THE ORIGINAL DIY VENUE The granddaddy of cool cultural venues in Luxembourg, Eschsur-Alzette’s Kulturfabrik is a former slaughterhouse that now houses a concert hall, workshop and rehearsal spaces, a ceramics studio, an art gallery, a cinema, a restaurant and administrative buildings. The slaughterhouse closed in 1979 after operating for close to 100 years. Three years later a group of artists decided the vacant buildings should be put to use, so they started squatting in the slaughterhouse and hosted all sorts of cultural events over the next ten years. In 1996 the city of Esch and the state signed an agreement with the Kulturfabrik association to transform the slaughterhouse into a more sustainable cultural venue. Luckily, the spirit of the original occupants has been retained and the venue continues to host a truly wide variety of concerts (with a leaning towards the heavier side of rock and metal, ska and reggae) as well as multicultural events such as an annual flamenco festival, an African festival, a clown meeting and exhibitions. Out Of The Crowd has been hosted there since its inception in 1994. icon_where 116 rue de Luxembourg, Esch-Alzette icon_info www.kulturfabrik.lu
Sven Becker (archives) > Patrick Herzog Images provided by festival organiser
Service clé en main et organisation
YES, we do.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Text by DUNCAN ROBERTS
Photography by SVEN BECKER
Aspects of a dramatic genius three productions ed with a mini-season of Rintoul and rat leb ce is r lle Mi r thu las The work and life of Ar le de Luxembourg in April. Direc tors Doug at the Théâtres de la Vilout their projec ts. Thierry Mousset talk ab
t’s an incredible gift to direct The Crucible, says Douglas Rintoul. The theatre director, whose work is familiar to Luxembourg audiences over the last decade or so with productions of Design for Living, Closer, Invisible and As You Like It, says that it is the precise nature of Miller’s play about the Salem witch trials that so attracts him. But there is more to it than that. “The story is about ordinary people going through the most extraordinary things. I think audiences really relate to those narratives.” This particular production of The Crucible came about in fortunate circumstances. When he became artistic director of the Queens Theatre, Hornchurch, Rintoul said he wanted to put on plays that were on the school curriculum, because the Queens had not done much of that recently. At the same time, touring company Selladoor wanted to take quite a big drama on tour of the UK. And a collaboration with the Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg seemed inevitable given their past history and the fact that the Grand Théâtre wanted to put on the French version of the Young Vic’s A View from the Bridge directed by Ivo van Hove (another favourite at the Luxembourg City theatres).
STRIKING A CHORD “But as the months moved by, political events all of a sudden made it the most relevant play to be doing. I mean, it’s always relevant but it strikes a particular chord at the moment.” After it has been in Luxembourg, The Crucible tours some of the UK’s major cities including Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow, until June. The play opened at the Queens in late February and received rave reviews. The Stage wrote that Rintoul had created a “clear-headed, clean and unflashy production” and also praised Luxembourg set designer Anouk Schiltz and the leading players. Schiltz has given the play what Rintoul calls “a continental aesthetic. Even though it feels quite classic, it looks quite European and that is very much my aesthetic anyway. So it is a really natural fit.” Projections of Miller’s original stage directions provide dramatic continuity to the production. There are apparently pages and pages and pages of stage directions and prose, because Miller dug
THIERRY MOUSSET A. Approaching Miller not just from a dramatic perspective THE CRUCIBLE B. Douglas Rintoul delivers a clear-headed production
into the archives in Salem and a lot of the play’s text is lifted from the court records. “I wanted to have this Brecht-like quality to it,” Rintoul explains. “I wanted audiences to just have that eye on the fact that it is an allegory, and that it speaks for now and not just the 17th century--or even the 1950s. So, it is a distancing effect and there is surprising humour in his stage directions.” Rintoul is looking forward to coming back to Luxembourg. “With all that’s going on with Brexit, it is important to have a European partner,” he says. “And partnerships allow us to be creative on this scale, which I think is almost a political statement.”
COLLABORATIVE EFFORT Rintoul has previously directed Miller’s All My Sons, whereas for Thierry Mousset, directing an original show titled Brooklyn Boy Made Good, it will be a new experience tackling the playwright’s work. “The idea is to think a bit broader about Arthur Miller, who is he, what does he have to say about our time today. To approach him not only from a dramatic perspective… he was an engaged intellectual and we want to highlight that with his other texts.” But the director says he faces a tricky question in what the audience will expect. Mousset hopes he can identify aspects of Miller’s life that may seem obvious--like his marriage to Marilyn Monroe or his fight against McCarthyism--things that might be relevant to our time. The texts have
been carefully selected by Marc Limpach to give an overview of what it meant to be a public intellectual in the United States for much of the 20th century. But they may also highlight some lesser-known facts about Miller, for instance that he was not always successful (he wrote a flop of a musical called Up From Paradise, which was recently revived in London). The project is a collaborative effort between Mousset, his young cast of Isaac Bush, Elisabet Johannesdottir and Leila Schaus, as well as two Brussels-based musicians--singer Claire Parsons, who grew up in Luxembourg, and pianist Margaux Vranken. The music will help avoid the evening becoming too much of a lecture, says Mousset. “On the one hand you want to dive into that world of the US in the 40s, 50s and 60s, and obviously the music helps. Also, in the 40s some music was censored as well as Miller’s texts. And on the other hand you don’t want to create just a historical thing. You want to see what speaks to us today.” It sounds like audiences are in for a fascinating evening, especially those who will have witnessed Rintoul’s The Crucible two weeks earlier and who understand enough French to watch van Hove’s Vu du Pont in the days following. Mousset is adamant that the readings will appeal to as wide an audience as possible. “You don’t want to teach, you want to engage,” he says emphatically.
THE CRUCIBLE Directed by Douglas Rintoul. With Eoin Slattery, Lucy Keirl, Cornelius Clarke and Augustina Seymour among others. Set design by Anouk Schiltz. Co-production with Selladoor, the Queens Theatre Hornchurch and the Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg. icon_when 6 & 7 April icon_where Grand Théâtre, Luxembourg-Limpertsberg icon_info www.theatres.lu BROOKLYN BOY MADE GOOD Directed by Thierry Mousset. With Isaac Bush, Elisabet Johannesdottir and Leila Schaus. Music by Claire Parsons and Margaux Vranken. icon_when 25 & 26 April icon_where Théâtre des Capucins VU DU PONT Directed by Ivo van Hove. With Charles Berling, Nicolas Avinée, Pierre Berriau and others In French. An Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe production originally created for the Young Vic in London. icon_when 27, 28 & 29 April icon_where Grand Théâtre, Luxembourg-Limpertsberg
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Text by WENDY WINN
CLOWN AROUND! It’s no joke: Luxembourg’s clown school is offering a children’s course from 10 to 15 April and there are even parent and child workshops, and adult courses too. icon_info www.luxclown.lu “SPRING WEEKS” IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS From 8 to 23 April, the Robbesscheier tourism centre offers a varied programme on the theme of spring. Kids can participate in full or half-day events. icon_info www.robbesscheier.lu
he British Ladies Club has long been assisting the Easter Bunny with a traditional Easter egg hunt at the Bambësch playground. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org if your kids want to join the fun from 10 a.m. to 12 noon on 2 April--the event books out early. If you don’t manage to get a place, the Bambësch is still a great place for an excursion with its lovely woods with trails as well as the playground. There’s another chance too, on 15 April, when the Villa Vauban invites parents to enjoy an exhibition at 2 p.m. while kids scour the park for eggs. Afterwards, everyone can paint ostrich eggs to take home. icon_info www.villavauban.lu
Easter in Luxembourg also brings flocks of unusual birds with a very distinctive call. Peckvillercher! These clay birds that double as whistles are created by local artists and sold at the Easter Monday markets, the Emaischen, in Nospelt and Luxembourg City. Each year artists come up with new designs, so the birds are real collectors’ items. The Emaischen in Nospelt opens at 10 a.m. on 17 April, with food, drink and entertainment as well as plenty of Peckvillercher, including a clay workshop, face-painting, a balloon artist, a bouncy castle and a very special guest with two long ears and a habit of hopping. icon_info www.emaischen.lu In the capital, follow the shrill bird calls to the fish market area of town. Here too, there will be food and drink and bird whistles and other art. Soak up the colours and sounds and treat yourself to lunch from a vendor or one of the area’s many restaurants. icon_info www.visitluxembourg.com
DISCOVER EURO SPACE CENTER The final frontier is over the border in Belgium! This science museum has space simulators, a space shuttle replica and even offers week-long camps. icon_info www.eurospacecenter.be
Luc Deflorenne (archives)
Easter doesn’t sneak up on anyone in Luxembourg, it announces itself with bouquets of branches adorned with Easter eggs, Easter wreaths and a clutch of fun events for the family.
A MERVEILLEUX SEASON The popular Parc Merveilleux reopens for the outdoor season on 1 April. The playground, zoo, tiny train and more are open daily 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. through October. icon_info www.parc-merveilleux.lu
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Dear Auntie Eleanor, shortly after you profiled Princess Tessy in the “Who’s Who” column of your magazine the poor lass divorced and has lost her title. Does Delano feel responsible, and how should we now address Tessy? --Giles in Beggen Gentle reader, Delano is usually a force of good, visiting nothing but positivity on those public figures we have profiled (although Gilles Muller was unfortunately injured not long after we put him on our cover). Indeed, a number of worthy subjects have seen their stock rise since gracing the cover of Delano. We are loath to speculate on the reasons for the divorce of Tessy and Prince Louis, and can only hope the children are not too badly affected by the separation of their parents. Nevertheless, I wonder why you are so concerned about how to address the former princess. Do you plan on meeting her? Intelligent and driven in her charity work, as well as being rather fetching to the eye, Tessy is certainly quite a catch. But I would hazard to guess that if you live in Beggen, she is way out of your league. However, to answer your question; on her LinkedIn profile she is now called Tessy de Luxembourg. Dear Auntie Eleanor, I recently took a taxi from Luxembourg City to my home 10 kilometres away. You can imagine my shock when, at my door, the driver asked for €52 in payment. This seems April 2017
an enormous amount of money for such a short journey. Was I conned? What can I do if this happens again? --Jill in Contern Gentle reader, welcome to Luxembourg. I am sure it will not have escaped your notice that costs are very high here and that includes for taxis. The government would have us believe that things are better since they reformed the taxi law last year. It means, among other things, that all drivers are obliged to display their rates (if offering special deals) and use meters. If your driver did not do these then you may be able to lodge a complaint via the hotline, by calling 247-74444 or emailing email@example.com.
I’m all for letting Uber in on the game, but I don’t see that happening any time soon. Dear Auntie Eleanor, every time I open a newspaper or a website, I am afraid I will be reading fake news. You hear so much about it that you can’t trust anyone anymore. Should I stop bothering to read? --Yvonne in Junglinster Gentle reader, first of all thank you for still bothering to buy Delano! I can tell that you are genuinely interested in good quality information. Do not be afraid--the usual sources like public broadcasters or established news outlets still
Dear Auntie Eleanor, I read on the pages of your esteemed website that the public are being asked to vote on the name for the new tram in the capital city. Can you explain why? --Barry in Belair Gentle reader, this trend to consult the great unwashed public on everything is part of a wider conspiracy to fool people into thinking they are living in a new era of open democracy. Hogwash. The city of Luxembourg asked people to vote for which Melusina statue would grace the banks of the Alzette, and now we have an eye-catching but unsightly purple likeness sitting forlornly opposite Neimënster. The shortlist of suggested tram names is quite ridiculous and if I am not mistaken people are being charged to text in their votes. This is not democracy, it is a marketing campaign with a nice little earner for someone. Why the tram needs a name is beyond me. It’s enough to make you yearn for a benevolent dictatorship. SEND IN YOUR QUESTION Want to know something about Luxembourg? Contact Auntie Eleanor via AuntieEleanor@delano.lu. Please indicate if Delano can publish your name or if you wish to remain anonymous.
Illustration by Maison Moderne
vu du PonT © ThierrY dePaGne
Thursday 6Th & Friday 7Th april 2017 aT 8pm
in enGlish, wiTh French surTiTles wiTh david KirKBride, cornelius clarKe, charlie condou, david delve, diana YeKinni, Paul Beech, eoin slaTTerY, vicToria YeaTes, JonaThan TaFler, auGusTina seYMour, eleanor MonTGoMerY, leona allen, carl PaTricK, lucY Keirl luXeMBurGish acTors To Join uK casT anne Klein, hana soFia loPes, soPhie Mousel direcTed BY douGlas rinToul desiGner anouK schilTz coProducTion Queen’s TheaTre hornchurch, sell a door TheaTre coMPanY, les ThéâTres de la ville de luXeMBourG
ThéâTre des caPucins
Tuesday 25Th & Wednesday 26Th april 2017 aT 8pm
brooklyn boy made Good
arThur Miller: PlaYwriGhT, PuBlic inTellecTual, huMan BeinG.
rehearsed readinG in enGlish
wiTh isaac Bush, elisaBeT JohannesdoTTir & leila schaus Musicians claire Parsons & MarGauX vranKen direcTor ThierrY MousseT selecTion oF TeXTs Marc liMPach ProducTion les ThéâTres de la ville de luXeMBourG
Jeudi 27, vendredi 28 & samedi 29 avril 2017 à 20h00
vu du ponT
avec nicolas avinée, charles BerlinG, Pierre Berriau, Frédéric Borie, Pauline cheviller, alain FroMaGer, laurenT PaPoT, caroline ProusT Mise en scène ivo van hove TraducTion Française daniel loaYza ProducTion odéon-ThéâTre de l’euroPe coProducTion liBerTé, scène naTionale de Toulon avec la ParTiciPaTion arTisTiQue du Jeune ThéâTre naTional créaTion oriGinale du YounG vic, londres, le 4 avril 2014 (version anGlaise)
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