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Write to PO Box 728 L-2017 Luxembourg Offices 10 rue des Gaulois, Luxembourg-Bonnevoie ISSN 2220-5535 Web Founder and CEO Mike Koedinger Administrative and financial director Etienne Velasti Innovation, quality and operations director Rudy Lafontaine PUBLISHER Phone (+352) 20 70 70 Fax (+352) 29 66 19 E-mail Publisher Mike Koedinger Editor in chief Duncan Roberts ( Desk editor Aaron Grunwald ( Contributors Wendy Casey, Alessandro Maria Esposito, Stephen Evans, Marina Lai, Bjarke Smith-Meyer, Sarah Pitt, Alix Rassel, Zuza Reda-Jakima, Tonya Stoneman, Kimberly Willardson, Wendy Winn Photography Sven Becker, Benjamin Champenois, Marion Dessard, Steve Eastwood, Jan Hanrion, Lala La Photo, Mike Zenari Proofreading Pauline Berg, Muriel Dietsch, Sarah Lambolez, Cynthia Schreiber





DESIGN Phone (+352) 20 70 70-200 Fax (+352) 27 62 12 62-84 E-mail Director, Maison Moderne Studio Guido Kröger Creative director Jeremy Leslie Art director Cassandre Bourtembourg Studio manager Stéphanie Poras Layout Sophie Melai (coordination), Monique Bernard, Bernard Gissinger, Jan Hanrion ADVERTISING Phone (+352) 20 70 70-300 Fax (+352) 26 29 66 20 E-mail Director, Maison Moderne Advertising Sales Francis Gasparotto ( Sales director Luciana Restivo ( Account manager Aysel Boschian ( SUBSCRIPTIONS For subscriptions, please visit Luxembourg (shipping included) 1 year / 8 issues / 25 euros 2 years / 16 issues / 50 euros Europe (shipping included) 1 year / 8 issues / 31 euros 2 years / 16 issues / 68 euros Printed by Imprimerie Centrale Distribution by Valora Services Luxembourg

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

Mike Zenari shot ArcelorMittal’s François Gaasch inside the Gadderscheier industrial estate. NOTE TO OUR READERS

The next print edition of Delano will be published on 11 December. For updates, commentary and our weekly what’s on guide, visit


he Grand Duchy takes pride in its ability to adapt to economic circumstance, to diversify and recognise opportunity ahead of the competition. Not for nothing is Luxembourg the largest investment fund centre in Europe (and second globally behind only the United States) and also home to the biggest satellite operator in the world, SES Astra. It arrived in these enviable positions through careful strategy and planning by successive governments, by reaching out to global partners and consulting experienced advisors in these specialist fields. Now the current government is seeking to gain early adopter advantage again in what is being labelled “the third industrial revolution”, by hiring the very man who coined the phrase back in 2011. US economist and social thinker Jeremy Rifkin has been meeting with minister of the economy Étienne Schneider to discuss how he and his team can work with the government, and with the local private sector and academia, to create a model economy that is fully prepared for the future. Rifkin wants to work with the government so that “Luxembourg can once again be a flagship for the EU.” There is no doubt that Rifkin is a brilliant mind who recognises the lessons

of history and sees right now the sunrise of a new paradigm shift with the convergence of revolutionary new digital developments, based on the internet of things, in three defining technologies--communications, energy and transportation. But can he adapt his theories to the special case of Luxembourg? That is the challenge both sides face as they workshop the ideas over. And is Luxembourg willing to adapt, to undergo what economy professor Carlo Klein calls (in a carte blanche on “a shift from thinking in terms of competition to thinking in terms of cooperation and sharing...” What is clear is that by getting a thinker of the calibre of Rifkin on board, the government is showing that it is planning ahead and not leaving the future to chance, to have to improvise when it is too late. As Schneider recently put it, the revolution is inevitable and Luxembourg has the opportunity of “being in the driving seat and to make progress in the way that we want to.” JEREMY RIFKIN Wants to make Luxembourg a flagship of the EU December 2015 CMD.desktop

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UPFRONT Carte blanche

The International Bazaar is keeping pace with the times, says Marie-Hélène Ehrke-Harf.  8

SNAPSHOTS From the Alzette to Korogocho

This family friendly run is helping bring books and internet access to a Nairobi slum.  10


THE JOURNAL Dispatches from Delano writers

Feeling welcomed, nationality debate continued, working her way to the top, no green bonds, a Christmas legend and who’s Guy Daleiden?  16


INTERNATIONAL Is Luxembourg good?



UPFRONT Carte blanche

Luxembourg needs a dramatic overhaul of its corporate taxation system in order to remain internationally competitive, says Georges Bock.

SNAPSHOTS A dynamic exchange

These CEOs talked about learning to lead during a recent British chamber conference.  36

TECHNOLOGY Get off of my cloud

Cloud computing is getting complicated. So are privacy and security stronger if you go “public”, “private” or “hybrid”?  42


Plan a perfect pre-Xmas weekend and how the capital’s Chrëschtmaart stacks up with some better known neighbours.



HEALTH Breaking taboos

The American Women’s Club tours Bofferding brewery; what a great way to meet fellow expats and learn about the country.  72

Suicide prevention campaigners want to talk frankly, and perhaps more importantly, want you to know the signs.  26

It represents thousands of jobs and millions of euro on businesses’ bottom lines here in Luxembourg. What is this revolutionary idea and how are firms hitching their stars to the “circular economy”?  58

CAREERS Behind the HR curtain



Small touches can make or break your style. Are these accoutrements worth their weight in gold?

University expands California deal berkeley-bound


PETS Set tails wagging

How to keep your dog healthy and happy in the Grand Duchy; plus how to obey your local commune. Sit down and have a read.  88



READY FOR REVOLUTION? Luxembourg economy needs to change

HAVE A COMMENT? Delano is always looking for reader comments and guest contributors:


IN FOCUS TTIP protestor What happens to your CV? Recruiters explain the application steps, and spill some job posting secrets.  66

What message did this anti-free trade deal demonstrator want to deliver?

Why 1 in 3 Brits in Luxembourg are disenfranchised

FASHION Investing in accessories


COVER STORY No more consumers



SNAPSHOTS Spreading good cheers


Does the Grand Duchy make the world a better place? It contributes to economic development, but what about military aid?


UPFRONT The run up to Christmas





MY OTHER LIFE The energy cycle

The Julebasar is a pre-holiday highlight for the Danish community in Luxembourg; proceeds help the Danish Church all year round.  98

MY FAVOURITES She’s got a beef

Rani Roloff talks about helping people find mindfulness as a reiki master, and the positive energy she picks up as a scout master. Butcher Anne Kaiffer shares three spots to enjoy a magnificent meat meal.

WHERE TO FIND DELANO The print edition is available at the K Kiosk in the central train station. More locations listed at:

December 2015

Flickr user secretlondon123 (Creative Commons) Flickr user Charlie Nguyen (Creative Commons) MECO Benjamin Champenois






The ranking of the University of Luxembourg in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. It is the first time the university, which was founded in 2003, has made the top 200. It ranked 98th among European universities.



The director of the office of policy planning at the Department of State has been nominated by president Barack Obama to be the next US ambassador to Luxembourg.


A survey by TNS Ilres reveals that 76 percent of Luxem­bourg residents feel the Grand Duchy has a moral obligation to help refugees. However, 34 percent think that the government should put a halt on accepting further refugees and 54 percent think the influx of refugees will increase unemployment in the country.


The MSF nurse, who has worked in Ebola high risk regions and war zones, has received a 2015 European Citizen’s Prize for her courage and selflessness.

Due to an editing error in the October edition we misspelled the name of our bitcoin correspondent. It was France Ewen.

Décember 2015

"THANK YOU FOR THE FRUITFUL DISCUSSIONS ON THE MIGRANT CRISIS & THE FUTURE OF THE EU @DAVID_CAMERON" XAVIER BETTEL Tweeting after meeting a strikingly similar looking UK prime minister at Downing Street on 27 October.

Ten communes in the south of the country have declared their support for a bid by Esch-surAlzette to become European Capital of Culture in 2022. The ProSud syndicate of communes includes Esch as well as Bettembourg, Differdange, Dudelange, Käerjeng, Mondercange, Pétange, Rumelange, Sanem and Schifflange. Luxembourg City has already twice been awarded the European Capital of Culture crown--in 1995 and again in 2007, when the Greater Region was also incorporated into the programme. The legacy left by those reigns boosted the capital’s cultural scene and the southern cities are clearly hoping for the same impact--the ProSud syndicate has already said it would seize the initiative to create new cultural life in the area. Reports suggest the bid would be contingent on receiving as much as 80 percent finance from the state, based on a budget of anywhere between 10 and 50 million euros. The bid would have to be submitted by March next year.

Crown copyright > Rockhal > SIP/Charles Caratini

The successor to Alice Walpole as British ambassador to Luxem­bourg will take up his post in February 2016. Ambassador Walpole will leave Luxembourg in late December.


The Banque de Luxembourg’s recent “La philanthropie, ça marche!” (philanthropy, it’s working) festival aimed to recruit volunteers, not just fundraise.


Full report:

HOW HAS THE BAZAAR GROWN This staple of the international community is keeping pace with the times, says Marie-Hélène Ehrke-Harf. A



Charles Caratini


GETTING INVOLVED A. Lydie Polfer, mayor of Luxembourg City, giving an opening address during the volunteering fair B. The booth presenting Stëmm vun der Strooss’s “Stëmm Caddy” C. Frédéric Haupert of Care Luxembourg D. Manuel Rudkin (left) and Alix Reboul-Salze (right) of Serve the City Luxembourg flank the festival’s board president, Etienne Eichenberger

The International Bazaar of Luxembourg is an independent, secular and voluntary organisation which traces its origins back to a series of small church bazaars in the early 1960s. Gradually stands representing nations (initially Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, UK and US) came together to cooperate in common humanitarian causes. After becoming an autonomous non-profit organisation in 1967 the IB was placed under the high patronage of Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte and this tradition continues today under the high patronage of Grand Duchess Maria Teresa. It was during the long presidency of Huguette Rischard that the IB saw a period of expansion: more stands, more charities supported and the added prestige of the diplomatic community on the honorary committee. In 1974 the IB moved to the Foire Internationale (renamed Luxexpo in 2004) where the bazaar is now a tradition. Of course these developments improved “profits”. Fifty-five years ago the IB raised 10,000 Luxembourg francs (about €250) and back then no one imagined that last year €600,000 would be distributed to its selected charities worldwide. At the same time, the development of the IB has largely mirrored the events in the Grand Duchy. As the international community in Luxembourg continued growing at a fast pace, the 1,000 or so volunteers helped spread awareness and recognition of the IB, not only as a charitable organisation but also as a multi-cultural phenomenon unique to the Grand Duchy. I was elected president of the IB in 2009, the first Luxembourg national to

hold the post. In September I announced that I would step down. I look back on this period of labour intensive but most fulfilling seven years with the satisfaction of having achieved some progress for the IB. I feel especially proud of the success achieved by the celebration of the 50th anniversary in 2010. This was our very first high profile event which helped put the IB firmly on the map of seriously recognised organisations in Luxembourg. It was also the launch of the “Fonds d’aide humanitaire d’urgence du BI” available to victims of wars, emergencies and natural disasters around the world. These days the selection of charities continues to be a challenge as there is a growing demand due to the severe problems incurred by the migration of refugees. There is also a certain need for rejuvenation amongst the stands and the committee, i.e., more new volunteers. A generational shift is called for. In addition the IB could attract more funds from private and corporate donors if it obtained tax deductibility status. I look forward to the election of the new president and am confident that the IB will continue to thrive as it has done and deserves to do in the future. Please join us on 28-29 November for the 55th International Bazaar and help support charities worldwide!

Marie-Hélène Ehrke-Harf is outgoing president of the Bazar International de Luxembourg. December 2015





Photography by LALA LA PHOTO



orogocho is a 1.5 square kilometre slum northeast of Nairobi’s city centre, home to 150,000 inhabitants living in extreme poverty and neighbouring Kenya’s biggest dump. But luckily for Korogocho’s inhabitants some people in Luxembourg have not forgotten about it, such as the ­volunteers at the NGO Coopération Nord-Sud (North-South Cooperation). In October they organised a 10km run along the Alzette for a wonderful cause: the extension of an existing library in Korogocho. About 100 runners and walkers of all ages and levels participated. Many of the participants--mostly expats and residents of the Greater Region--said the non-competitive nature of the challenge gave them a chance to discover the beautiful surroundings and meet new people while making an important contribution to Korogocho. Funds will go to adding a new ICT centre, six new classrooms and 4,000 new textbooks to the library. There will be more races and events in support of the Korogocho library starting in June 2016. Search “Korogocho Run” on Facebook










December 2015



BRINGING BOOKS TO KENYAN SLUM A. The inaugural Korogocho Run, along the Alzette river, in mid-October B. Warming up together C. Andrea, Laura and Naki D. Emanuela and Roberto E. Stéphanie, Olivia, Chrystele and Arnaud F. Abdel and Annika G. Iacopini holding Cuba, Federico and Sergio H. Daniela and Giuseppe I. Luca, Katia, Massimo and Valentina




FEELING WELCOMED IN LUXEMBOURG Get to know this electrical engineering student. Do people in the Grand Duchy look beyond his “official status” and see a regular guy?


hen I met Ayham Bawadukji after class one afternoon recently, he seemed like so many 20-somethings in Luxembourg. Backpack casually thrown on the floor, he struck me as friendly and open minded, nicely put together in the way that only cool

December 2015

students on a budget can pull off, and slightly unsure of precisely what I wanted to speak to him about. I just wanted to hear his story. Ayham arrived in the Grand Duchy nearly a year and a half ago and is currently a “guest student” at the University of Luxembourg. He was in the middle of his third year in electrical engineering when he left his home country. He’ll formally continue studying when his German improves. Right now, “I’m not that

good in the language,” he says in English, which is why he is auditing courses this academic year. While his older brother and sister also reside in the Grand Duchy, Ayham lives with a Luxembourger named Geneviève. She was “the first Luxembourger I had met” and beforehand he wasn’t even sure if they’d get along. “I’m not going to lie, I had some fear that Luxembourgers were scared of us or they hate us or something. So after I met Geneviève, she let me meet her friends, her family, and I saw how nice these people are.” He says socialising with Geneviève has “helped me a lot to integrate into this society” and that “she’s the best, really the best.”

Sven Becker


WHY HE LEFT HOME Ayham is officially a refugee in Luxembourg. He left Syria on 18 December 2013. He grew up and was attending university in Damascus when the “Arab spring” revolution began in 2011, he tells me. “I was against the regime, Bashar al-Assad, and I was a photographer” providing pictures and videos to activists. After two years, the regime threw him in jail. “I stayed two months and five days. I had been tortured there. It was a really horrible situation there. I saw people tortured to death.” “I don’t know how I got out” of jail, Ayham states. “I tried to continue university but it was impossible. Everyone was looking at me, everyone was checking on what I was doing. I’m not gonna shut up and do nothing and live my life like there’s nothing happening in Syria.” But he feared a return to jail would be a death sentence. So after talking with his parents, he entered Turkey where he tried to settle in. “It was so hard without papers… I wasn’t allowed to study or to work, and I wanted to continue to study, so I thought to come here to Europe. And I managed.” Ayham hopes “to really be fluent in the German language” soon and continue his engineering studies here or at the prestigious university in Aachen (“I want to learn French too; it’s a beautiful language”). He hasn’t faced much hostility in the Grand Duchy. “I don’t want to say it never happened, but it’s rare.” At the same time, “most people are scared

to ask personal questions, like ‘what happened to you in Syria?’,” or about being tortured in jail, but Ayham feels “free” to talk about those experiences. Although his voice seemed to quiver a bit when he was telling me about it. Reported by AARON GRUNWALD

THE DEBATE THAT WON’T GO AWAY Plans to reform Luxembourg’s nationality law have been criticised by familiar opponents, and sparked a wave of diatribe on social media.


he draft legislation presented by justice minister Félix Braz in early October will make it much easier to obtain Luxembourg nationality, by lowering residency and Luxembourg language knowledge requirements. But it also includes provisions for obtaining nationality through marriage and by birthright, if certain conditions are fulfilled. The most significant change is that applicants need only have proof of five years of cumulative residency in the Grand Duchy instead of the seven required under the current law. That term is even reduced to three years for residents who have completed the CAI Welcome and Integration Contract (which involves language and citizenship courses), as well as for those under the age 18, with refugee status or who are officially recognised as “stateless”. This distinction has already angered some commentators who say the law would effectively create two-tier citizenship. The draft legislation will see compulsory civics courses extended from six to 24 hours. But it is the change in language requirements that has sparked the most controversy. The new law will lower the

standard of both passive and active knowledge of Luxembourgish to level A2. Applicants who have lived in Luxembourg for at least eight years and have taken a minimum of 100 hours of Luxembourg language classes, as well as those over the age of 65 or who are deemed incapable, physically or mentally, of learning to speak Luxem­bourgish will even be exempt from taking the language test.

RIDING ROUGHSHOD Comments via social media on reports posted by local news sites included some opponents labelling Braz a “Portuguese-Luxembourger”, and claiming that the government’s plans are riding roughshod over the will of the people. On the other hand, many argued that Luxembourg has other more pressing problems to deal with and should welcome anyone who wants to become a citizen, while some even suggested that Luxembourgish is merely a dialect that many locals do not even know how to write correctly, and therefore language requirements are of secondary importance. One national, Steven Heer, of Portuguese and Belgian parentage, has even launched a petition (no. 564) to challenge the easing of the new law’s language requirements. Criticism of the government proposals also rained down from familiar official quarters--notably the populist ADR party, the “” group and the CGFP civil servants’ union. The “” platform, which campaigned successfully against December 2015

Julien Becker

Like so many students, money’s tight. Since he is under 25, Ayham is not eligible for Luxembourg’s public financial assistance scheme. Each month he does receive a €25 cash allowance and a transit pass from the government, plus each week €50 in food bank vouchers. At press time he was also expecting three months of top-up aid from the City of Eschsur-Alzette. And if he officially registers at the university next year then he’ll be eligible for an education ministry bourse. So he’s not complaining: “I’m living, I can live, I’m happy.”





allowing foreigners the right to vote in national elections in June’s referendum, accused Braz of trying to give foreigners the vote by the back door. But prime minister Xavier Bettel sprang to the government’s defence. In an interview in the Tageblatt, he said, “the electorate told us [in the referendum] that they did not agree that non-Luxembourgers should be given the right to vote for parliament. They did not voice their opinion on whether the criteria to obtain nationality should be made easier or more strict.” Reported by DUNCAN ROBERTS

FROM RAGS TO RICHES A modern day Cinderella Béatrice Fichou started off cleaning the kitchen at one famous Luxembourg restaurant and is now the proud owner of another. Her recipe for success? Follow your heart, and do whatever you’re doing to the best of your ability because who knows where it will lead.


he tells her young daughters to follow their passion. Even though the girls were born into a family where both mum and dad own restaurants, Béatrice Fichou says she wants them to follow their hearts, not their parents’ footsteps. Is that how she became owner of the Mercedes Café in Luxembourg? Well, yes, in a roundabout way. “I didn’t know what I was passionate about,” she admits, which will come as a relief to anyone hasn’t figured that out for themselves yet. Béatrice took the first step in what would become her career without knowing that she was taking it. Her brother, who was working at the prestigious La Lorraine restaurant in the city centre, told her that his

December 2015



employer needed a cleaning lady. She was young and unemployed, so she pulled on the plastic gloves and took the job. It’s a Cinderella story, but Béatrice was her own fairy godmother. She worked hard, kept her eyes open, asked questions and was eager to learn. “The manager, José Monivas, saw my potential,” she says with gratitude. “He offered to train me as a server.” Out of the kitchen and into the salle: that’s where Béatrice discovered what she really loved--meeting clients, making them feel welcome and appreciated.

HAND IN GLOVE Someone else at La Lorraine saw her potential too. When chef Jérôme

Fichou left that restaurant to open up his own--Movie Time, in Kirchberg--he asked both Béatrice and her manager José to join him. They did. Not too much later he asked Béatrice to join him somewhere else as well… at the altar. They eventually separated--professionally, not privately! He now runs the famous Sapori Ristorante on the place Dargent and she’s in the driving seat at Mercedes Café, located at the Mercedes car dealership in Hollerich. When she first heard the café was looking for a manager, it felt like a good fit, and it wasn’t long before she became the owner. Running a restaurant is hard on families, so how does one couple manage to run two? “We don’t see each other much, but we make the most of it,” she says, giving that smile that wins clients over. “We only serve lunch, except for parties and cooking courses that can be booked privately. A lot of my customers ask me to open in the evenings, and I might in the future, but for now, following my heart means at home as well as being at the café.” So for now, the Mercedes Café remains a midday delight, open weekdays from 12 to 2:30 p.m. Chef Jérôme Finot’s wonderful fare and Béatrice’s warm welcome pack them in, so remember to book ahead. “The food is great, really great, but it’s more than that,” says Marina Zanella, who joins friends there nearly every Friday. “Béatrice makes us really feel at home!” Reported by WENDY WINN and KIMBERLY WILLARDSON




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he European Commission will not use its Capital Markets Union project as a means to promote green finance, as UN countries struggle to agree on reduced carbon emission targets ahead of the Paris climate summit that starts 30 November. The CMU was officially launched in September this year, with the goal of revamping economic growth in the EU. The project aims to increase funding to cash-strapped companies in Europe that remain heavily dependent on banks for funding. The EU had pitched a range of ideas back in February to help rekindle the European economy in a discussion paper. One of those ideas included the use of “green bonds”. A green bond is a financial product designed to promote environmental projects and is sold in the shape of a loan. The original pitch highlighted how the total sales of green bonds managed to generate €35bn last year--quadruple the amount of sales in 2013. Promoting the green industry would have helped generate alternative sources of energy in Europe, while reducing the world’s dependence on fossil fuels. But instead, the EU has said it will only “continue to assess and support these and other developments [in green finance],” according to the final CMU plan. The decision comes despite lobbying from the pension industry. “This is something we’re hungry to invest in,” said Aviva’s head of responsible investment, Abigail Herron. “We’re very keen to see green bonds grow in the way they have.” The commission is concerned that the market hasn’t been developed enough, and doesn’t want to regulate an industry that remains in its infancy. “Green bonds [standards] are December 2015

non-existent,” the head of the CMU unit, Niall Bohan, said at a conference in Brussels. “We need to develop the technology to standardise these markets before we can jump in.” He added: “Perhaps now is too early to intervene.” The commission’s reluctance comes as the UN continues to push for a new climate deal, which will supersede the 18 year-old Kyoto Protocol. Developed nations have promised to generate €90bn by 2020 to help emerging economies curb emissions. But many countries have been reluctant to commit to the proposed deal, and want to shorten the proposed legal text. Concerns of legal short cuts are attracting the attention of the European Parliament, which is determined to see a successful outcome in Paris later this year. “The climate is changing and there is no more room for bickering and postponing,” said the EU parliament’s president, Martin Schulz.

“We know the results of inaction,” Schulz continued. “We know that it will be costly to adapt and that many people will need to leave their homes to survive, becoming refugees in the process.” The capital markets initiative, it seems, will be of little help. Reported by BJARKE SMITH-MEYER

A LASTING LEGEND In 1944 a young GI acted as St. Nick to bring a little joy to war-weary children in Wiltz. That story was turned into a book and now a documentary.


he best Christmas tales include compassion, kindness and a hint of magic. So it can’t get much better than the--true--story of the “American St. Nick”. In December 1944 the north of Luxembourg was coming out of nearly five years of Nazi occupation. American soldiers there did not dwell on the fact that they would not be going home to their families for Christmas. Instead, they

organised a traditional St. Nick parade for the children of Wiltz, who hadn’t seen “Kleeschen” since the outbreak of the war. Richard Brookins, a 22 year old corporal, was chosen to play Santa. He borrowed a robe from the town’s priest, wore a beard made from rope and rode his jeep through the town giving out treats the GIs had donated from their rations. Little did he know that he would become a legend. The visit of the American St. Nick has been reenacted each 6 December in Wiltz since then. Brookins himself has been back several times to play his own role, the last time in 2014,

Tony Webster (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The UN climate deal gets no help from EU’s Capital Markets Union.

at the age of 92. This year, if his health permits it, Brookins will once more make the trip back to Luxembourg. A film about him produced by Tim Gray, chairman of the World War II Foundation, and completely based on Peter Lion’s book The American St. Nick, will be shown in Wiltz on 28 and 29 November at the Prabbeli theatre. “I decided to make the documentary as soon as I read the book,” says Gray. “I knew it would make an incredible film because it was about compassion and humanity in a time of world war and not about killing or strategy, as is often the case with war films.” Gray travelled to Luxembourg several times while working on the project. “It’s one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever visited, with so much history and people who are always incredibly helpful and friendly. There is an evident deep love between veterans and the citizens of Luxembourg.” To date he has produced 15 films about veterans of the second world war, but raising money for each project is difficult. “I wish more individuals and corporations understood that we are running out of time to record these stories. In 10 years, most veterans and survivors will be gone. We need to preserve their stories for future generations. They should be made aware of what the WWII generation went through and accomplished so the lessons of history are understood and errors not repeated.” In history books Wiltz is referred to as the martyr town. It is where the general strike--a proud moment for the Grand Duchy--broke out in 1942 as a reaction to the forced enrolment of more than 10,000 young Luxembourgers into the German Wehrmacht. Later, the town was close to being destroyed when it was the battleground for confrontations between Allied and German forces, which resulted in many of its residents being killed. That was two weeks after the American St. Nick had brought Christmas back to the town’s children.



As the Film Fund celebrates its 25th anniversary, director Guy Daleiden has become synonymous with the growing success of the Luxemburg film industry. If proof is needed that Luxembourg’s film industry is being taken seriously abroad, look no further than recent news articles in the United Arab Emirates, which has similar ambitions in the audio-visual sector. They demonstrate that Luxembourg is being held up as a shining example of what a small country can achieve. The articles followed a visit by representatives from the Grand Duchy’s film industry led by Guy Daleiden, who has been at the helm of the Luxembourg Film Fund since 1999. A civil servant and politician (he is a councillor for the DP in the commune of Steinsel and was the party’s vice president for seven years),

Daleiden is a pragmatic ambassador for the Luxembourg film industry. Even when the country won its first Oscar--the best animated short statuette for Mr Hublot in 2014--Daleiden refused to get carried away. He still insists that while awards are nice and help raise visibility, the main goal of the fund is to develop the industry. “Luxembourgers are now being sought abroad, which is a remarkable evolution in our industry in less than 25 years,” he told Luxair in-flight magazine Flydoscope in April. Over those 25 years the Film Fund has supported more than 600 productions, including feature films, shorts, documentaries and to animated movies. Many of them are co-productions with countries that Daleiden and his team have targeted as useful allies-he has strong personal ties with Ireland, for example, and has been attending the Galway Film Fleadh for over 15 years. DR



QUICK BIO Born In 1963 in Steinsel. Father Jos Daleiden was a long-time general secretary of the CGFP civil servants’ union Education Athénée in Luxembourg City, then at Freiburg University in Germany Career In 1990 he entered the civil service working for the Service des Médias in the ministry of state In 1999 he was named director of the Fonds National de Soutien à la Production Audio­visuelle, the Film Fund, succeeding Guy Dockendorf in the post 2005 elected to the Steinsel council at the communal elections, representing the Democratic Party 2006 elected national vice president of the Democratic Party (until 2013) December 2015






Photography by MIKE ZENARI

LUXEMBOURG: GOOD OR BAD? Does Luxembourg make the world a better place? Although representing just 0.008% of the global population, the country has an international impact. But is this for good or ill?


uxembourg residents have a guaranteed minimum monthly income of €1,267, and state employees drive around checking up on people sleeping rough. Just two examples of how voters like to be generous with tax money domestically. Globally, the country is a leader for the amount of foreign aid it gives. But, say the critics, this comes at the price of a country which encourages corporations and rich people to avoid tax, so boosting global inequality and poverty. Is this fair comment? “An economic colony of the international financial industry, Luxembourg is at the heart of European tax evasion and has paralysed the struggle against this scourge for decades,” is how the French economist Gabriel Zucman sees it in his recently published book The Hidden Wealth of Nations. Last year’s LuxLeaks furore highlighted how this is a place through which international businesses work to keep their tax bills low. Another way of looking at it: between 2011-13 no less than 54% of all EU outward December 2015

foreign direct investment came from Luxembourg. Although perfectly legal, campaigners want to see change. Zucman says: “the impact on inequality is very big and could be even bigger down the road.” It is a persuasive message and people do tend to think that inequality is getting worse. For example, a survey from the Swedish charity Gapminder, conducted in the UK in 2013, asked people about their ideas about whether extreme poverty has increased or fallen recently. “Increased” received 58% of the votes, “stayed the same” took one third, with only 10% picking “decreased”. In fact, poverty and inequality has probably fallen in recent decades.

SOME FIGURES “The period [1988-2008] might have witnessed the first decline in global inequality between world citizens since the Industrial Revolution,” noted the World Bank publication Global Income Inequality by the Numbers. Moreover, less than 10% of humanity

ROMAIN SCHNEIDER Luxembourg has exceeded UN aid goals since 2000

December 2015




will be living in absolute poverty at the end of this year, the World Bank announced recently. This is down from over half in the mid-1980s. Figures are adjusted for inflation. They define absolute poverty as daily income of $1.95 to be spent on goods at prices found in the US. This indeed is grinding poverty, but the direction of travel is encouraging. What has this got to do with Luxem­ bourg? Economists disagree about much, but all believe that increasing foreign investment and trade boosts wealth, and global businesses find Luxembourg a good place from which to base their international operations. China is central to this good news. Around 700 million people there have been lifted out of absolute poverty since 1978, the Chinese government reported recently. China uses the Grand Duchy as a hub for investment into Europe and for international trade; a relationship which has played some part in the fall of poverty and inequality.

GENEROSITY WITH AID… This is a complicated, controversial argument, so the country is generally happier talking about its aid budget. “Luxembourg has been donating 1% of gross national income for official development assistance since 2009, and has given more than the UN target of 0.7% since 2000,” said Romain Schneider, the minister for international cooperation and humanitarian aid. This compares to an OECD average of 0.29%. “Development cooperation is a cornerstone of Luxembourg’s foreign policy, and an integral part of our responsibility and commitment to international solidarity,” he added. … BUT STINGY ON DEFENCE? Fine, but is this just half of the picture? Whether it is countering diseases like Ebola, providing emergency disaster assistance, or securing safe areas for refugees, military capability is required. This is before you get into the argument of whether military power helps assert democratic values internationally. December 2015






OVERSEAS ACTION A. Luxembourg’s army during a humanitarian mission in Pakistan in 2010 B. An army nurse treats local civilians C. A mine-clearing team along the “Blue Line” in Lebanon D. Luxembourg instructors at a training camp for Malian forces

Luxembourg Armed Forces


Luxembourg plays a part (see box on next page) but could it do more? In 2013 the country spent 0.5% of GDP on defence, a quarter of NATO’s 2% target. Long-term promises to purchase a large military transport plane continue to be deferred. That said, the country has put its troops in harm’s way, offering support on tricky missions. For example, NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, recently visited Luxembourg and said “your contribution matters.” He highlighted participation in Kosovo and Afghanistan, as well as investment in high-tech military capabilities, particularly satellite communications.

PROVIDING HELP FROM SPACE This latter point recently stirred the ire of The Left party. They expressed concern that the Luxembourg-based satellite firm SES offered defence services. SES Government Solutions advertises on its website “communications capacity for Unmanned Aerial and Remotely Piloted Aircraft,” popularly known as drones. As well as highlighting their use for intelligence and reconnaissance missions, the firm noted how they can be used in combat with “Predators, Reapers and Gray Eagles”. Less controversially, SES provides support for mobile communications around the world, and this has done much to transform lives in countries without fixed line infrastructure. Thus businesses are better able to build strong, beneficial partnerships, helping them find good prices for their products and source good value supplies. Satellite communication often makes the difference between life and death in emergencies, when land-based systems may be out of action after a natural disaster. Education is also brought to remote communities via space links. IS AID THE ANSWER? Returning to aid, all agree it has to be well targeted to be effective, and a debate is ongoing about the best way forward. “Foreign aid... has much to its credit, particularly in

terms of health care,” noted the latest economics Nobel prize winner Angus Deaton in 2013, “but foreign aid also undermines the development of local state capacity,” he warned. In effect, he and others fear that ill-directed spending can reduce the local government’s drive and ability to find locally generated sustainable solutions. Hence he favours things like providing technical advice and developing better drugs for illnesses that effect poor people. He also advocates improving trade with rich countries. This latter point has had the biggest impact for China and India, countries that have seen poverty fall with relatively low levels of aid. Of the €318m this country gave in aid last year, about one-tenth went to humanitarian disaster relief. Improving long term health was also heighted by the government as a key part of their strategy. These are areas Deaton would support, as would be the contribution made to microfinance, which provides financial services (e.g., loans, insurance, money transfers) to the world’s poor.

MICROFINANCE: TRANSFORMING LIVES This country helps microfinance providers raise funding from big financial institutions, wealthy people, governments and non-governmental organisations. Nearly half of all the world’s microfinance funds are based here. This is largely because the Grand Duchy is the world leader in the cross-border investment fund business, and because the government abolished the subscription tax on microfinance funds in 2006. “Various players in financial market and politicians came together with the idea of boosting the attractiveness of Luxembourg to encourage microfinance funds to come here,” noted Annemarie Arens, general manager of the LuxFlag agency. In fact LuxFlag was one of the results. They check that microfinance, environmental and socially responsible funds are making the investments they promise. This work is also supported by the state aid budget. December 2015



ANNEMARIE ARENS Boosting microfinance funds is official policy



“The Luxembourg microfinance fund industry represents around €3.1bn and most is invested in microfinance institutions in developing countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia,” noted Schneider. This is about ten times the country’s total aid budget.

MORE PROS AND CONS The government might be generous with taxpayers’ money on our behalf, but what about individuals’ willingness to give? The World Giving Index is an attempt by the UK-based Charities Aid Foundation to compare performance, and surveys were conducted in 135 countries in 2013. As regards individuals donating money, Luxem­ bourg was 31st, but only 55th for volunteering and just 126th for “helping a stranger”. The result was a middle ranking 65th in the overall World Giving Index. The government encourages giving with tax breaks on donations up to €1m to Luxembourg-based charities, but maybe more could be done to encourage a culture of giving. The wealth management industry has structures to encourage largescale philanthropy. However, Dr. Zucman’s book also takes a dim view of the sector in general, estimating that: “8% of the world’s financial wealth is held offshore.” This amounts December 2015

to $7.6bn in places like Luxembourg, and Zucman argues that this money would be better off working in to boost growth in countries around the world, including developing countries. However, is he right to assume there is something disreputable about keeping money abroad? Individuals have a right to invest and save their money where they wish, and developing country banks may not be the safest place to do this. Luxembourg abides by international anti-money laundering rules, and the authorities here freeze accounts if there is evidence of illegal activity. More can be added to the plus or minus column. For example, the investment fund industry is helping people save, not least for their pensions. Amazon’s Luxembourg-based European HQ is giving the continent easy, low-cost access to an extremely broad range of books. However, critics see a firm that is driving local high street bookshops out of business. So is Luxembourg one of the good guys or not? Yes the country gives a lot in aid, but the big global impact comes from the financial industry in which Luxembourg is a globally important player. Ultimately a judgement will come down to how you read the economics.

WHAT ROLE FOR LUXEMBOURG’S ARMY? It only makes sense for Luxembourg’s 450-strong army to work outside the country as part of multinational missions. Work focuses on providing humanitarian assistance, including tasks such as mine clearance. They also check that international agreements are being enforced. Luxembourg’s presence is politically significant as it adds to the representativeness of coalitions. In recent years this has seen their presence within EU, NATO and UN backed peace keeping and reconstruction efforts in places like Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Chad, the Central African Republic, Macedonia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Libya. Currently, they are working in Mali, helping to train the army and advising the government on military reform. It is also “working with a firm specialised in air surveillance and reconnaissance” on an EU mission to combat human trafficking. A similar type of work was carried out between 2009-2014 in EU-led anti-piracy work off the coast of Somalia. Disaster relief is a lower priority. Recent examples include a medical team travelling to Sri Lanka after the 2004 tsunami, water purification technical help provided to Pakistan after floods in 2010, and last year transportation during the Ebola outbreak.

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Photography by MIKE ZENARI

BREAKING THE TABOO Some things are so difficult to talk about that we choose not to. But we always should. Even--or rather, especially-where suicide is concerned.


lexander says: “My father committed suicide when he was 45. I spent years trying to understand why, resenting him--and myself too, for not seeing it coming. But as a family we never really spoke about what happened. It always felt like we should be ashamed.” It took a persistent girlfriend for him to finally consult a therapist and start processing his father’s death. “She probably saved my life.” The stigma of suicide is what makes preventing it that much harder. So when Luxembourg officially launched its National Plan of Suicide Prevention (PNPSL) this summer, it was “above all to break the taboo,” says Lydia Mutsch, the health minister. “In the Grand Duchy, one death out of fifty is a suicide. Between 2000 and 2013, 1,017 people took their own lives, but to understand the extent of the problem you have to take into account that between ten and 20 times more people attempted suicide during that period. Our plan is inspired by the Australian LIFE [Life Is For Everyone] model and emphasises community capacity building. We want to strengthen individuals, families and the community to increase their ability to respond rapidly and take coordinated action when faced with people in distress. Everyone has a role to play, our health structures and schools of course, but also the business community and society in general,” says Mutsch.

MEN HAVE HIGHER RATES Luxembourg’s suicide rate lies below the EU average, with the Grand Duchy ranking 21 out of 28 countries. In Luxembourg, men commit suicide December 2015

LYDIA MUTSCH Wants to break taboos

three times more often than women. This is a trend seen worldwide, in part due to the fact that women use less lethal methods and therefore fail in their attempts more frequently. “Men are also less inclined to get help when they have problems,” explains Fränz D’Onghia, a psychologist and director of Luxembourg’s Suicide Information and Prevention Centre. “They are more reluctant to open up to friends and family or to seek professional assistance. Men have a hard time understanding how a doctor can help and why it’s important to consult.”

According to D’Onghia, a proactive environment also plays an important role in preventing suicide. “A curious friend is more efficient than a psychologist. If you see a break of behaviour in a person you know, ask questions, don’t ignore the warning signals. When you sense something is wrong, suggest places to get support and explain how it works. A suicidal crisis takes from four to eight weeks, so there is time to react. Everyone can have a flash of suicidal thoughts when things are bad. But for some the thoughts occur repeatedly until it takes up

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GET SUPPORT see a doctor. Accepting that there’s a problem and getting the proper help is key. This applies to young people too.

all their time. Once they get to planning their suicide, any trigger can make them cross the line.” “When a person says ‘I want to kill myself ’, it means ‘I don’t want to continue living like now and I don’t know how to solve my problems,” explains Marcelle Walch, director of Luxembourg’s 40-year old helpline, SOS Détresse, and she insists that such a statement should always be taken seriously. The helpline handles several callers each week with suicidal thoughts, but also gets a lot of calls from people concerned about their loved ones. “It’s a frightening situation; December 2015

you want to help but you don’t know how. Therefore connecting with others and getting information about the suicidal process is important. It’s not something you can tackle alone. You have to set your own limits too. Instead of saying ‘I’ll always be here for you’, say ‘You can call me every morning or every evening’.” Depression is the cause of around three-quarters of all suicides, which is why detecting its symptoms is extremely important. A persistent depressive state that lasts for more than two weeks is a clear signal that you--or any other person concerned--should

VULNERABLE YOUTH Though suicide rates are the highest among people over 70, it remains the second leading cause of death in 15-29 year olds, and the internet generation is particularly exposed. “According to Unicef, cyberbullying is now the principal cause for depression and suicide among school-aged youngsters,” says Catherine Verdier, psychologist, founder of Psyfamille ( and organiser of the symposium about bullying and cyberbullying, which takes place in Luxembourg 28 November ( “And someone who has been bullied in school is four times more likely to commit suicide.” However, bullying, whether online or not, is not always easy for parents to detect nor is telling the difference between a sulky teenager and a depressive one. “Warning signs of bullying--and these can also indicate depression--include loss of self-esteem, difficulties concentrating, changes in eating and sleeping habits, avoidance of school, withdrawal, feelings of worthlessness… If you can’t get your child to open up to you, try finding someone in your circle who can help: another family member, a teacher, a sports coach, a doctor. Consult a professional yourself to get advice on how to react. Never doubt your instincts and never challenge a child who mentions suicide. And above all, let your children know they are always entitled to talk, that they should never remain silent.” At any age, the tendency to avoid talking about the things that distress us makes us more vulnerable. Speaking up isn’t all though. We also have to be willing to listen to others.

IN CASE OF AN URGENT SITUATION OR ACUTE DANGER, ALWAYS CALL 112 OR GO DIRECTLY TO THE NEAREST HOSPITAL OR MEDICAL CENTRE. HELP IN ENGLISH SOS Détresse Anonymous support line Kanner Jugend Telefon Anonymous helpline for children and teenagers Tel.: 116 111 Anonymous helpline for parents Tel.: 26 64 05 55 Bee secure Helpline for all things web related MORE RESOURCES Centre d’information et de prévention Information and complete list of contacts for people in distress and those close to them (in French and German) Tel.: 45 55 33

CATHERINE VERDIER Take suicide threats seriously

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Photography by SVEN BECKER


December 2015

TTIP OBJECTOR A demonstrator updates his placard during a 10 October rally against the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which would create a free trade zone between the EU and US. A study carried out for the European Commission estimates that TTIP would boost EU exports by 6%, adding 0.5% to GDP and wages. Critics say TTIP would jeopardise European consumer standards and lead to job losses. The campaign group Stop TTIP claims more than 3.2m Europeans signed its formal petition to the commission to halt the deal, including more than 11,000 in Luxembourg. Organisers say more than 1,500 people attended the “Stop TTIP” rally on the place Clairefontaine. Initially many thought this protestor (who wore a scarf over his face during the entire demonstration) was begging for money. Only after reading his cardboard sign did they realise he was agitating against the trade accord. When this photo was taken, he was adding the word “future”, without a question mark or other punctuation, to his banner. TTIP negotiations began in July 2013 and officials aim to conclude talks by January 2017. AG

December 2015






The German state of Nordrhein-Westfalen reportedly paid €5m for the records of 50,000 accounts at Banque et Caisse d’Épargne de l’État, Luxembourg’s state savings bank, which allegedly contain details of tax fraud, according to the German publications Der Spiegel, Handelsblatt and Süddeutsche Zeitung. The data supposedly shows €70bn in phony business transactions, including the double deduction of capital gains tax, which led to unjustified tax refunds. BCEE said it would file a complaint with authorities in the Grand Duchy. “If it were found that bank details were leaked it would be a flagrant violation of Luxembourg law,” the bank said. It also stressed that its practices comply with Luxembourg and EU banking rules. In recent years, Nordrhein-Westfalen authorities have recovered €2bn in back taxes and fines by paying for leaked bank data; tax authorities across Germany have caught around 120,000 German tax evaders since 2010, leading to the recovery of €5bn.

"THE PROBLEMS OF LUXEMBOURG ARE A GENERALISED PRACTICE, IT IS NOT JUST LUXEMBOURG… IT IS A GAME THAT IS NOT CONTROLLED" Portuguese MEP Elisa Ferreira, the social democrat co-rapporteur of the European Parliament’s special committee on tax rulings, speaking to in October. December 2015

The government said nearly 56,000 Volkswagens registered in Luxem­bourg had the carmaker’s software that cheated emissions control tests. >>> Brand Finance, a consultancy, said Luxembourg had the 8th “most powerful” and 58th “most valuable” nation brand (worth $60bn) in the world. >>> Paris prosecutors are investigating the former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn over his role in Leyne Strauss-Kahn & Partners, a bankrupt Luxem­ bourg investment firm; StraussKahn says he was misled by his former partner, Thierry Leyne, who committed suicide. >>> The European Commission said Luxem­ bourg’s favourable tax treatment of Fiat was illegal “state aid” and is due €20m-€30m in back taxes; Luxembourg’s finance ministry said it “disagrees with” the commission, which used “unprecedented criteria”, and would “analyse the decision”. >>> Bitcoin is a currency and bitcoin exchanges are exempt from VAT, the European Court of Justice said in a ruling against the Swedish Tax Agency. >>> It is easier to do business in Greece, Mongolia and Russia than in Luxembourg, according to the recent World Bank “Doing Business” survey. >>> Luxembourg was declared “largely compliant” with the OECD’s Global Forum on tax cooperation; it had been “non compliant”. >>> Imprime­ rie Faber, a 101 year old family run printing firm, which printed Delano, was declared bankrupt by a Luxembourg commercial court.

David Laurent (archives) European Parliament Wikimedia user Jwh (CC BY-SA 3.0 LU)



Paperjam Club recently hosted a seminar giving practical professional and personal advice to newly arrived expats. Full report:






Jan Hanrion


EXPAT ORIENTATION A. Vincent Hieff B. Nathalie Hanck and Simone Van Schouwenburg C. Alessandro Palagiano, Elena Ader, Imène Arfaoui and Bruno Robert D. Claudio Senatore and Dino Bonanno

The term “reforms” is often thrown around in a casual manner. However it is not a series of minor measures that Luxembourg requires when considering tax reform--planned to take place in 2017--but rather an ambitious recasting of its taxation system in order that the system be more easily understandable, more modern and more coherent. It is imperative that we put aside biased political preoccupations and take a long hard look in the mirror. International economic competition--including fiscal competition--has doubtlessly never been as great as it is today. In Ireland the corporate taxation rate dropped from about 50% in 1987 to 12.5% since 2003. The UK has gradually reduced its rate to 20% from the 28% rate which applied in 2011, and an additional drop to 18% is expected by 2020. The Netherlands recently announced that it wanted to follow suit. By comparison the overall taxation rate paid by companies in Luxembourg--29.22%--is far from being the most advantageous. A significant reduction in this rate is thus vital. But let us get this straight. A reduction of a few percentage points would have little or no impact on the investment decisions of large international players. For Luxembourg to be competitive again it has to reduce the global tax rate to below 20%. The taxation of companies in the Grand Duchy must additionally be simplified by merging the national and municipality-based taxes. Modernisation also notably means abolishing the tax on the wealth of companies,

which constitutes a sad Luxembourgish curiosity. Net wealth tax, when it comes to firms at least, is not widely accepted at international level. This is a fact. Is it possible to reduce the taxation of companies to such a large extent without negatively and drastically affecting the budgets of the state and of municipalities? Yes. A hundred times yes. The international fiscal environment is being reformed by both the OECD and the EU. The international trend will be to lower the tax rates and broaden the tax base. This means that the taxable income of Luxembourg companies will be increased, compensating the possible loss of tax revenues from the lower corporate income tax rates. Would doing so be unfair on households? No, absolutely not. Companies that are doing well are companies which contribute to the development of the national economy, notably by hiring people and by providing their employees with better pay. If the right decisions are taken, then the Luxembourgish economy has the capacity to convert the challenges which it faces in the coming years into opportunities. The time has thus come to take the bull by the horns, to put political dogma aside and to decide--as of now--what the new Luxembourgish fiscal landscape of the future will be, in the longterm interests of the country. Georges Bock is managing partner of KPMG Luxembourg. December 2015

Julien Becker (archives)

Luxembourg needs a drastic reduction in corporate tax rates to remain competitive, but that will not negatively impact households, says Georges Bock.





Photography by STEVE EASTWOOD



espite working in the financial sector for more than 20 years, Jean-Marc Crepin said: “I will not give too much advice, because I too, am still learning.” The head of the Brown Brothers Harriman office in Luxembourg was speaking at a British Chamber of Commerce forum, where indeed his advice was solicited. Broadly speaking, the chiefs on the panel concluded that leadership is not always at the top of an organisation and can be found in many unexpected areas. Marie-Hélène Massard, who has been the CEO of AXA in Luxem­ bourg for more than three years, defined true leadership as “leading without a title”, saying it often can be found not in a title but in the character and experiences of a person. “It was so refreshing to hear individual reflections from CEOs and their willingness to share with us their true stories was what made it so interesting,” stated one attendee, Yvonne O’Reilly of Avanteam. Jules Muller of BT said: “It was assuring to hear that a crucial element of business and leadership is to have fun!”


LEADERSHIP INSIGHTS A. Laurent Schonckert speaking at the British Chamber of Commerce’s CEO forum entitled, “A dynamic exchange about leadership with the persons behind the title” B. Monica Jonsson and Alison Mcleod C. Jean-Marc Crepin, Yvonne O’Reilly and Fabio Dioguardi D. Paola Crepin, Jean-Benoit Naudin and Edith Magyarics E. Rodrigo Benito Alonso, Claude Lacasse and Jules Muller F. Alice Kaprom and Aldona Budna G. Rebecca Kellagher and Colin Haggart H. Marie-Hélène Massard










December 2015

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Photography by MIKE ZENARI

HOW SAFE IS THE CLOUD? No one would knowingly place his or her data or assets into the hands of an organisation with questionable data protection measures in place. So should your firm go “public”, “private” or “hybrid”?


dequate security is essential so it’s comforting to know that EU data protection laws are particularly stringent. A recent ruling by the European Court of Justice invalidated the current version of “Safe Harbour”, a data sharing agreement between the EU and US. That the personal data of European citizens was deemed to have been insufficiently protected in the US will come as no surprise, in the light of revelations made by Edward Snowden concerning US intelligence agency surveillance. It will, however, have triggered a flurry of contingency planning across the 4,000 or so businesses that opted into the agreement, including Apple, LinkedIn, Twitter and Yahoo. They subsequently have had to assess affected data flows and consider alternative options while the US and EU retreat to the boardroom to review the shortcomings and renegotiate terms. Joe McNamee, executive director of European Digital Rights (EDRi), a lobby group in Brussels, believes these companies will take different measures. “Obviously for non-essential transfers to the US, the easiest thing to do is to use EU cloud providers,” he explains. So let’s take a step back. Although all EU Facebook users enter into an agreement with Facebook Ireland when they sign up, some of their personal data is stored on servers that are located in the US. Maximilian Schrems, an Austrian citizen and Facebook user, complained to Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner that December 2015

such data was inadequately protected against US state surveillance, and the case eventually wound its way to the ECJ in Kirchberg. Facebook, like many tech outfits, uses web apps to keep information up to date. These run in “the cloud” (when data is not stored on your device but accessed via the internet) so there’s no need to install them individually on a computer. Other commonly used web apps include Google Docs and online email services such as Gmail, which require no installation and store your emails in the cloud.

SAVING TIME Such information is kept on internet servers rather than on an individual computer and the benefits are numerous. You can, for example, access files from any computer or device with an internet connection which facilitates working from different locations. Cloud-based storage services can be used to back up computer files and since these run continually and are backed up automatically, you can strike this task from your to do list. What is the difference between a public, private and hybrid cloud? A private or internal cloud is located on a company’s intranet or data centre where it is protected behind a firewall and can use the company’s existing infrastructure. Private cloud hosting solutions can offer increased levels of security and generally share few resources with other organisations. The downside is that the company itself is responsible for cloud maintenance and management, which may prove costly and time consuming. This is not the case with a public cloud since information is stored within an external data centre--but the company relinquishes control of data security. For this reason, a large company may opt for a private cloud in order to maximise security levels

CÉDRIC MAUNY & THOMAS SCHERER Big data centres can stay more up-todate than standalone servers


since it will have the necessary finances to manage the facility while a smaller enterprise may go for a public cloud to minimise costs and benefit from economies of scale. Then there’s the hybrid: an integrated cloud service comprising both private and public to perform specific tasks. This is a viable, cost effective option for companies wishing to store sensitive client data in a private, internal cloud, for instance, while publically available data (which can be accessed by multiple users) can be directed to a public cloud. This approach has become the preferred strategy for companies who are heavily security focussed--private cloud costs can be managed down by moving all non-sensitive functions to a public cloud facility. But are security risks greater or reduced out of the cloud? McNamee believes that depends. “If you back your data up on an external hard drive and put it in a cupboard when you’re not using it, then the data is pretty safe while it remains in the cupboard, although this is obviously not very convenient. If you store your data on an internet-connected Windows PC that does not have an anti-virus program, for example, then it’s not very safe and a well managed cloud service would be safer.” Clearly there are measures and infrastructures in place to mitigate security risks, but as McNamee points out, these depend on the providers. “Are the servers of the provider located in a safe jurisdiction? Are server connections encrypted? Is data encrypted on the server and how many back-up copies are there? These aspects are all significant,” he says.

INDUSTRY STANDARDS Denis Yakovlev, head of IT and development at Cashcloud, agrees that the quality of provider is paramount. Cashcloud has developed a mobile December 2015





BJÖRN OTTERSTEN People are not really aware of the information that they give away online

payment app called eWallet that converts a regular smartphone into a virtual wallet. “We use our hosting provider, EBRC in Luxembourg, who offers a secure and trusted infrastructure, on which to build our own cloud. We also have Mastercard as a partner who provides the money cloud in compliance with industry security standards--we don’t do any financial transactions ourselves.” Yakovlev believes the benefits of this structure are significant: “If we were to use one of our own servers standing in one of our own buildings, it would be possible to break a window, get in, plug in your laptop and then hack the system. From this perspective we are far more protected. Otherwise December 2015

it would cost us a significant amount of time and money to provide an equivalent level of security--it’s just not possible to compete.” Services provided by companies such as Telindus Luxembourg take care of security, both physically and electronically, across all sections of the ICT infrastructure. Thomas Scherer, the firm’s chief architect, is keen to expand. “Our cloud service is operated and located in Luxembourg which is considered to be a safe country for storing data. We do not store client data outside of the country.” And it’s not only the location that alleviates certain security concerns. “When moving into its cloud, Telindus’ clients benefit from Tier IV data centre facilities [the highest of four international standards] to host their data and IT systems. This is a highly reliable, secured infrastructure, which would not be available in the standard IT room of a company. As a result, there’s a significant reduction of risk.” And what of the risks of the future; how will these be monitored and managed? His colleague Cédric Mauny, manager of the firm’s Security Audits and Governance Services department, explains, for example: “Security is about being up-to-date. There’s an international security conference in Luxembourg that’s presented by security researchers who anticipate new threats in terms of cyber security. So by attending the conference, by being active and involved in all of the relevant professional organisations in Luxembourg, we protect our clients. Threats such as ‘malware’ [malicious software] are moving very fast and have significant privacy consequences. We have to move very fast also.”

EVOLVING RULES As cloud usage gains momentum, the format and design is evolving to accommodate client needs. “The next step is to further automate the cloud,” Scherer elaborates. “We are putting in place an additional level of automation beyond pure IaaS [Internet as a Service] automation so that the infrastructure will be self-generated according to

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client business needs. IT departments will no longer have to translate such demands. The second development will be to bring forward interoperability and standardisation across cloud platforms, notably in a hybrid context.” Mauny adds: “We also expect to see an increase in cloud regulation going forward as client expectations and requirements for data privacy become stronger and stronger.” Professor Björn Ottersten--director of the University of Luxembourg’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust--believes that we don’t put a high enough value on our private information: “When you use certain cloud services, you have to be aware that you are disclosing private information that may be used in a variety of different ways.” Right now, Ottersten believes that individuals aren’t appreciative of the related value but this may change in the future when awareness is increased. “I could see a future in which we’ll use brokers or a trusted third party to broker services for us. Currently many services track our location and movements so it’s easy to imagine a trusted third party brokering a good deal on our insurance premiums, for example.” As an individual, he believes the cloud offers many distinct advantages and that maintaining a reliable and secure service on your own, out of the cloud is challenging if you’re not an expert. In addition, “one shouldn’t underestimate the investment required to secure your own infrastructure and make it reliable.” In the wake of the recent cyber-attack against UK telecoms firm TalkTalk, in which bank account and sorting code details of four million customers may have been stolen, the issue of client confidentiality is unlikely to diminish any time soon. In fact a recent OECD recommendation indicated that digital security risk should be treated as an economic risk and not just a technology matter--and as such should be incorporated into a company’s overall risk management strategy. It seems that irrespective of the direction in which you are travelling, all roads lead to the cloud. December 2015

DENIS YAKOVLEV It’s not possible to compete with the level of security in the cloud

LEARN MORE European Digital Rights Cashcloud Telindus Luxembourg University of Luxembourg’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust



your target. Flexible and responsive, Telindus offers ICT solutions which evolve with your business and increase your efficiency and productivity. Being an entrepreneur is a daily struggle in which hitting your target offers your company a better perception of the issues and more accessible ambitions. Accelerate your growth, take part in key decisions, save time, these are the objectives we help you achieve. Far more than just technology, our innovative solutions match your business needs and budget.

together with







The looming pensions crisis is one of the world’s most pressing problems, and Luxembourg is part of the solution. convenient to outsource asset management to investment funds. Hence of the $19trn investment-fund assets under management globally, 33% is from pension funds. Given that Luxembourg is the world leader in cross-border investment funds, this is good news for this country. “Even in the midst of new challenges, pension fund managers are facing a future brimming with opportunities,” Yazdini notes. The report, Beyond their Borders: Evolution of foreign investment by pension funds, is available on the ALFI website.


Text by STEPHEN EVANS Photography by SVEN BECKER


Investors mistakenly believe that private equity funds deliver higher returns, according to a recent study conducted by Roman Kräussl of the Luxembourg School of Finance (part of the University of Luxembourg) and colleagues. They compared the returns of listed private equity funds with the “performance of normal stock market indices” and found that “returns are very similar to those of holding listed securities on the major exchanges”, varying between -0.5% and +2%. Private equity funds invest in firms not traded on the stock market, and are popular with institutional and wealthy investors. The study will be published in the academic journal The Review of Financial Studies, the university said.

DARIUSH YAZDANI Pension funds are looking further afield


“China is still badly integrated in the international economy. It means that the effects of the economic changes are harder to predict,” said Kim Asger Olsen of Origo, an asset management company in the Grand Duchy. He was speaking about slowing growth in the Middle Kingdom during the second Nordic Investment Managers Forum in Luxembourg, in October. December 2015

University of Luxembourg/Michel Brumat Sven Becker (archives)

Publicly provided pensions are starting to feel the strain of our aging populations, and this offers an opportunity for the Luxembourg fund industry. “There are significantly more people retiring today than there were even a decade ago and this is putting pressure on pension funds’ investment strategies,” says Dariush Yazdani, a partner at PwC Luxembourg. Pension funds are finding it harder than before 2008 to generate returns, plus they are even more aware of the need to manage risk. The result has been a rise in investment outside of domestic markets. Foreign investment by pension funds in the OECD excluding the US has risen from about 25% of the total in 2008 to almost 31% in 2014, found a survey conducted by PwC for the Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry. The report pointed to three broad ways for pension funds to increase geographic exposure. Larger operations are able to establish their own asset management offices abroad and build partnerships. However, medium and small funds tend to find it most






Photography by LALA LA PHOTO

SMART HOMES PREPARED FOR THE FUTURE The speed with which technology is developing means that even the smartest of smart homes will require upgrades to keep up to date with the latest trends and owners’ requirements.


t is easy to be seduced by the smart home technology that Bernard Ndolo demonstrates in the living area of his company’s show house in Kirchberg. A simple tap on his smartphone’s screen changes the lighting to a pre-set mood and even ignites a designer ethanol fireplace. The technology installed in the home allows Ndolo to remotely pre-heat the oven or run a dishwasher, and it can be programmed to do anything from ensure that the blinds on the windows automatically react to allow a specific amount of sunlight into the room to employing a robotic vacuum cleaner to emerge from its cubbyhole and do its rounds while residents are out. Discreet security systems with tuckaway cameras and fingerprint recognition entry are the sort of thing many of us may only dream of, but the features Ndolo demonstrates may soon be standard equipment in many homes. Indeed, he says that home security is becoming more and more in demand in Luxem­ bourg, but protection of data and the systems installed by Jbit, the company he founded some eight years ago, is also vital. Energy consumption and entertainment are equally important to customers, as is general convenience. “A lot of people travel for business and people are on the go much more these days, so they want to stay connected with their house.” Customers can choose their favourite brands for the appliances in the system, but Ndolo advises that they plump for hardware that are based on open standards that can communicate with December 2015



other brands and devices. “If you have a closed system, you are locked into that technology. So instead of upgrading in future, you will have to change the whole system, which is quite an expensive venture.”

NICHE IN THE MARKET Ndolo started to steer his business in the direction of smart home technology after being contacted by an acquaintance who was having difficulty getting the service he wanted in the Grand Duchy. “He wanted a smart home solution, offering a range of comfort and security for his family that nobody in Luxembourg could offer him. We designed a complete smart home programme for his house.” Ndolo had found a niche market in Luxembourg. He understood that the days were numbered when an architect would design a home and an electrician would subsequently explain what sort of offthe-shelf solutions were available. “Technology has surpassed that limited approach. Nowadays you need a myriad of knowledge about technology--you have to know about security, programming, networks, different standards, privacy law and so forth. We have people with a wide range of skills, who understand these various aspects, and together we can therefore find solutions and offer customers something quite unique that is adapted to their lifestyle.” Jbit works closely with architects and clients from the outset, because, as Ndolo explains, they both will have their idea of how the home should look in terms of design and functionality, what levels of comfort, energy consumption, and security to expect. “We have to work with them to match the technology with their vision.” For instance, some


HOME COMFORTS A. Bernard Ndolo says installing a smart home system requires a myriad of knowledge B. The smart system can set a lighting mood and ignite a fire at the touch of a button

clients may have allergy concerns and will want to check the air quality in their home--which can be done via a simple app and open source technology allowing a smartphone to connect with air quality monitors and ventilation systems.

EVOLVING TECHNOLOGY Customers are mainly those building a new home rather than renovating. “Technology is part of the DNA of the house, so it is much easier and cheaper to do these things at the beginning of a project,” Ndolo says. He is frustrated when potential customers approach him when their house is nearing completion. “At that point it is too late, no more adjustments can be made to the basic structure. We explain that off-theshelf solutions are available, but the problem is that they are half-baked and will not meet all of the client’s needs. And won’t be so adaptable in the future.”

The latter point is key, because Jbit do not just design and install the technology requested by the client, but also make sure that the system can adapt as technology evolves, and to the ways that residents will want to interact with technology in the future. “The design aspect of the system is important. Because a house is the most expensive purchase most of us will ever make. In Luxem­ bourg the average time people live in a house is about 12 years. So they should be aware that the house needs to be up to date. It can only add to the value of the home.” New technologies, such as voice command, are inevitable but not yet mainstream, says Ndolo. So anticipating technology developments and also fitting a system ready to adapt to innovation that may still be just a pipe dream is important, especially because the next generation of homebuyers have grown up with this sort of technology at their fingertips. December 2015






Photography by MIKE ZENARI






igging resources up, using them, and burying them again doesn’t sound like a great idea, but that is largely how we do things. Is there another way? Could a “circular economy” be developed so that products and components are used over and over again? “Much of the economy is based around purchasing relatively cheap items which are then disposed of relatively quickly,” says Christian Tock of the economy ministry’s sustainable technologies directorate. “It makes environmental and long-term economic sense to build high quality, durable products that can be refurbished and reused. But many consumers and businesses cannot afford the higher short term costs.”

SELL SERVICES, NOT PRODUCTS So as well as a challenge to the materials and manufacturing sectors, there is also potential for innovation by the financial sector to find ways to redistribute costs throughout a product’s life. “Circularity could mean that suppliers become continually responsible for their products,” Tock notes. For example, consumers might no longer buy washing machines, but they would engage a service provider who would clean their clothes in a convenient fashion. “This means would put the emphasis on making products as durable as possible because you want to be able to reuse them rather than having to fix them or throw them away,” he explains. Business is more open to this way of working than customers. It is already common to pay for each photocopy or print made rather than purchasing the machine, paper and toner. The hope is that such a model could be made to fit many different consumer items. Refurbishing, maintaining and recycling are labour-intensive activities, so at present it is frequently cheaper to buy stuff and just throw it away after it breaks down. People often have no choice other than to purchase cheap consumer items, December 2015

even though these might be relatively expensive to run in terms of energy and water use. And these less durable machines will be dumped after just a few years. It would be better if a way could be found to make hard wearing, efficient, recyclable products accessible to people on all budgets.

NEW JOBS AND PROFITS A move to a circular economy would require a rethink of the whole chain of supply, production and retail, as well as new designs for products. This research, development and innovation process would generate jobs. The price of products would be more dependent on repairing and refurbishing costs rather than resources costs. Another source of new employment: traditional logistics industries ship goods in one direction: towards the end-consumer. But a circular economy requires flows to and from several temporary users. Developing and running these systems will also create value and jobs. New revenue would be generated by turning waste into a valued resource. Only 5% of the original value of raw materials is recovered during recycling in Europe, says a recent report, “Growth within: a circular economy vision for a competitive Europe”, by the consultants McKinsey. The aim is to find ways to access the precious resources in the 95% that is lost. Also, firms would be more efficient and profitable if they didn’t have to deal with volatile raw material prices. More circularity would help smooth price rises and falls. Commodity prices have fallen recently, but in all likelihood competition for resources will resume over the long term, making our livelihoods increasingly vulnerable to political instability in supplier countries. Of course, environmental protection would be the main driver of policy. Refurbishing and repairing longer lasting products, and reusing components would generate less carbon dioxide than the traditional

WHAT IS A CIRCULAR ECONOMY? A purely circular economy would operate with a fixed and renewable stock of material resources. It requires reuse, repairing and refurbishing to become central to the way products are designed and businesses operate. It contrasts with the traditional “linear” method of “take, make, consume, dispose”, which assumes abundant resources and cheap disposal methods. It is also different from the “recycle and reduce” notion of resource-efficiency, as materials cannot be recycled infinitely. It is unlikely that perfect circularity can be achieved, but moving in that direction requires new models based on “rethink and reuse” rather than just seeking to waste less. When a product or component is designed to last, it becomes a long term asset, rather than something that depreciates quickly in value and then becomes a cost at the time of disposal. Waste is considered a valuable resource, rather than an expensive cost, with materials being leased, paying interest and retaining value. Products will not necessarily stay the same, but could be reused in other forms. Many sectors could be involved. New products and processes will be required, but they must be supported by enabling innovations from the finance and logistics industries.

“take, make, consume, dispose” model. In 2012, the average European used 16 tonnes of materials, and 60% of discarded materials were either landfilled or incinerated, according to the McKinsey report. They reckon the average manufactured asset (excluding housing) lasts only nine years.

MARKO KOERNER Innovation needed in everything from manufacturing methods and financing models to supply chain management and influencing consumer attitudes. Photographed at KPMG Luxembourg in Kirchberg


HOW TO BE MORE CIRCULAR Should the government step in? Some argue that most easy-toachieve opportunities to recycle, remanufacture, and reuse have been exploited, or will be. State subsidies are not always efficient, and tax disincentives or legal impediments could result in higher prices and angry voters. Arguably, Europe’s economy is picking up due to the recent fall in the cost of commodity prices, and “circularity taxes” could set this back. Others argue that market friendly, tax neutral policies can be developed to give the sector a boost. “The circular economy could be a main focus of the government’s planned tax reform, to shift the burden from labour to resources,” notes Marko Koerner of the advisory firm KPMG Luxembourg. The aim would be to level the playing field for more labour-intensive, but less resource-intensive practices. Also, government intervention could correct the market failure that sees consumers avoiding paying for clearing up pollution and waste disposal, with the bill falling to taxpayers. POTENTIAL IN LUXEMBOURG “The public sector and policy-makers strongly influence business today--for example, through infrastructure investments, public transp o r t , z o n i n g l a w s , bu i l d i n g standards, and agricultural subsidies,” the McKinsey report adds. Also new technology could force a change in urban planning, mobility systems, and food systems. The consultants also warn that if greater resource efficiency led to lower prices, this could actually increase linear consumption rather than the December 2015

Oesterreichs Energie/Martin Vandory





development of circularity. Intelligent taxes could be an answer. Most likely, a long term approach would be the most viable, enabling individuals and organisations to adapt to new realities and technologies. The government wants to be part of this evolution. “Luxembourg has the capacity to become a knowledge capital and testing ground for the circular economy,” states Tock. “The government could lead on selected priorities while empowering stakeholders with educational and training platforms to innovate on their own.” Details were highlighted in a government report, “Luxembourg as a knowledge capital and testing ground for the circular economy”, published in February. Two main goals are promoting the country as an “initiator, orchestrator and enabler of circular economy activities by combining design, material flow/logistics and enabling competencies (i.e., financing and planning)”. Then it mentions becoming “an important circular economy showroom and test-lab for circular economy applications in construction and consumer products.” This work coincides with an investigation into how Luxembourg could participate in the convergence between ICT and energy and transport technologies. The government has asked economist and futurologist Jeremy Rifkin to look at how this country could embrace what he has dubbed the “Third Industrial Revolution.” He sees our current hydrocarbon-based economies as fundamentally unsound, but that these are about to be swept away by a hyper-connected world. “By 2030, it is estimated that there will be more than 100 trillion sensors connecting the human and natural environment in a global, intelligent and horizontal network,” Rifkin said during a 24 September press conference held with the economy minister Étienne Schneider. December 2015


For example, carbon-neutral micro power plants will drive efficient 3D printers backed up with a fully automated, seamless supply chain. The idea is that working and living environments, transport systems, energy grids, and production facilities will be intricately connected, communicating constantly. Waste would be minimised and our lives transformed.

CHRISTIAN TOCK Luxembourg could be the testing ground for new circular economy ideas. Photographed at the Fonds d’Urbanisation et d’Aménagement du Plateau de Kirchberg

AN EU DIMENSION This has been made a theme of Luxembourg’s presidency of the Council of the European Union. The European Commission is currently working on a circular economy strategy to be published at a conference in December in Luxembourg. Their ambition is to tackle: “barriers through a comprehensive and coherent approach... rather than focusing exclusively on one part of the economic cycle.” The Luxembourg-based European Investment Bank is participating in this review, looking at how its funding could be adapted to encourage circularity. The government reckons there are currently up to 15,000 people working in circular economy jobs. Participating firms include ArcelorMittal (see page 49) and the flooring manufacturer Tarkett, which collects and cleans waste to produce recyclable granulates at its Clervaux plant. Building products manufacturer Chaux de Contern is testing new service-related business models as well as using bio-sourced and recycled materials. The consultants KPMG point to their efforts to make paper procurement and use more efficient. POTENTIAL MONEY MAKING IDEAS Also involved are manufacturing firms such as Eurofoil, Guardian Industries, Norsk, and Tontarelli; retailers such as Oikopolis, Pall Center and Cactus; buildings like Ecoparc Windhof; and building equipment leasing and sharing operations such as Floow2 and Loxam.

“It makes sense to look across industries and across borders for partners,” notes Koerner. This is certainly how ArcelorMittal and Tarkett operate from this country, using Luxembourg’s multilingual, multicultural expertise to coordinate between different countries. Where else could this idea go? Mobility, food and the built environment account for 80% of resource use, says the McKinsey report. Driverless taxi-buses made of light new materials and powered by renewable electricity could crisscross the country, being on call almost instantly via a mobile app. Fully automated vehicles would be cheaper to run and this could eliminate many people’s need to own a car. Given that cars are parked 92% of the time (say McKinsey) that is a lot of unproductive steel and plastic. Luxembourg already has a well developed car leasing business (thanks to tax advantages), and a small car sharing service (“Carloh”) was launched in the capital in October. Could this be developed?

RAISING AWARENESS, THE FIRST STEP As for the construction industry, industrial and modular processes allied with 3D printers could make building a much more eff icient business. A quarter to a third of building costs are linked to materials, but currently, these lose their value after about 15 years, and over half of demolition materials end up in landfill. For food supply, technolog y using information from sensors and drones could run hyper efficient precision agricultural systems, so cutting energy, water and fertiliser use. Digital supply chains cou ld reduce food wa ste a nd increase the availability of locally provided food. These examples show how difficult it is to achieve true circularity with no waste. And it demonstrates how marginal these processes are at the moment. However, these are early days, and awareness raising is December 2015





RENTED IN LUXEMBOURG When digging foundations, underground car parks and the like, walls need to be created to retain the surrounding earth and water. Specially shaped steel elements, called “sheet piles” are a popular option, one of the key products of ArcelorMittal’s operations in Belval. They make these products from recycled scrap. In the majority of cases the sheet piles are driven into the ground by a construction company and stay there permanently. This, in other words, is a linear “produce, use, dispose” model. However ArcelorMittal also rent their sheet piles: these valuable products are removed from the ground once the purpose of their use has been fulfilled, and sent to a local plant to be cleaned and reconditioned ready for use by the next client. If required, the damaged areas of the sheet piles, which cannot be repaired, will be removed and recycled. François Gaasch of ArcelorMittal Sheet Piling says that although 80% of sheet piles used worldwide remain in the ground for permanent applications, the remaining 20% are often retrieved. These used piles are either scrapped, or re-injected in the circular economy on a rental basis. “You need a wide, experienced customer base to make this possible, so that the products can be passed from project to project. Transport distance and availability of the required type of sheet pile section are of course key to the success,” he reckons. This is an attractive option as the full renting, recovery and renewal process costs are substantially lower than the purchase price of new material. This rental model works for a couple of dozen tons to several thousand. The Luxembourg office is responsible for this service throughout the EU. December 2015


FRANÇOIS GAASCH These steel sheet piles, stored at DSD International Contractors in Sanem, are destined for construction sites in France and Germany

Additional reporting by AARON GRUNWALD



Extending a product’s life cycle. An example of the circular use of sheet piles. After use, sheet piles are reconditioned. This involves cleaning, coating, reshaping, and often removing damaged ends. Scrap is recycled. Hence sheet piles get shorter over time.


Back to steel mill



Sheet piles damaged beyond repair







Charles Caratini

a priority. One of the government’s main tools for this is the EcoInnovation Cluster, a network run by the economy ministry’s Luxinnovation agency that brings together the private and public sectors, as well as research outfits. They run the Fit4Circularity programme that helps firms develop circular activities by offering advice and financial support. This is also of interest to public sector researchers at the University of Luxembourg and the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology. Informing the general public is also key. In October a zone in the northern town of Wiltz was declared a circular economy “hotspot” by Francine Closener, the secretary of state for the economy. It features a “repair café”, at which people can get their stuff fixed, and a “fab lab”, a small-scale workshop offering personal digital fabrication options, such as a 3D printer. The Housing Fund is set to underwrite the construction of six apartment blocks using reusable building material. There are also efforts to engage young people in schools and beyond. Maybe it is far fetched to think that the circular economy will change the way humans live, given that people love owning new stuff. Making this new way of working attractive will be another challenge. But then maybe resources will become so scarce that we will not have any choice.





Photography by LALA LA PHOTO



ne of the fastest growing logistics categories globally is pharmaceuticals and that is a big opportunity for Findel airport, attendees heard during a recent Cluster for Logistics Luxembourg conference. Its board chair, Carlo Thelen, said the value of a single pharmaceutical pallet often exceeds €1m. That is a tempting target. Across Europe


supply chain theft costs businesses over €8.2bn each year, noted Mark Gruentjes of the Transported Asset Protection Association. “Due to often poor, not standardised packaging loss and damage risk in air transport is much higher than it could be,” explained Redwane Chani of Interbox Holding.





SAFE DRUGS DELIVERY A. Malik Zeniti of the Cluster for Logistics Luxembourg (on right) during its “Autumn Evening” dedicated to security and quality in handling healthcare products B. Redwane Chani, Marc Belleville and Tom Reichert C. Amy Shortman, Patrick Schomburg and Luciano Pizziolo D. Ram Menon, Ram C. Menen, Rudy Hemeleers and Lucien Schummer E. Paul Faltz and André Schaack F. Micael Arguello, Jean-Claude Moretti and Bruna Levresse G. Luis Diaz-Correira and Paula Astudillo H. Christine Devillet-Klein and Thomas Flammant I. Mark Gruentjes





December 2015





Photography by JAN HANRION

GOT THE FLU? CONTROLS Kits include positive controls (to show the test worked properly) and negative controls (to show there’s been no contamination in handling)

EXTRACTION A patient sample, such as a mouth or nasal swab, is taken and DNA extracted using another process

21-IN-1 This kit lets labs simultaneously look for 21 different respiratory pathogens--including types of influenza, coronavirus and pneumonia--and contains enough material to test 30 different patients over 12 months


PRIMER AND PROBE MIXES DNA from target viruses will bind to each type of PP mix

EXPANDING MARKET The global infectious diseases diagnostics market is forecast to grow from $12.4bn in 2014 to $18.2bn in 2019 December 2015

ENZYMES Start the “amplification” process (where DNA is rapidly duplicated) so target viruses can be detected

INFECTIOUS DISEASE DETECTION You’re sick and your doctor orders a lab test. That’s not new but the way technicians carry out those tests increasingly is. Many are switching to special kits such as those made by Fast Track Diagnostics, which is based in Esch-Alzette and ships to more than 50 countries. The company claims its approach cuts time to diagnosis and improves patient care. Instead of doctors ordering tests one by one (and waiting for results to come back one by one) lab techs can look for all the likely suspects in one go, using a method called “syndromic multiplex testing”. Eight year old Fast Track Diagnostics makes more than 60 different types of “polymerase chain reaction” test kits, detecting diseases such as Ebola, gastroenteritis, gonorrhea, hepatitis, malaria, and childhood measles and mumps. The one pictured here checks for respiratory illnesses.

GROWING BUSINESS The firm recorded total turnover of €6.6m in 2014, up from €4.6m in 2013 and €2.7m in 2012

Sources: Delano interview with company representative; company documentation; “Infectious Disease Diagnostics Market” report issued by MarketsandMarkets, a research firm, in January





TRAINING 6,000 listed training courses

Diplomas accessible through continuing training Training support

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Photography by MIKE ZENARI

BEHIND THE HR CURTAIN Have you ever wondered what happens to your CV after you have applied? Delano talks to recruiters about what to do and how to win their hearts.


o you made the decision to take the next big step: you revamped your CV, went online, searched for interesting jobs and applied. Then days pass, weeks even, and you don’t hear back from the company. You start wondering why--even though your profile matches perfectly--no one has even called? Is it really possible that there are so many better candidates in the running? Maybe your email got stuck in the recruiter’s junk mail? Should you call and check? Is it OK to kindly ask for feedback on your candidature? You don’t want to be pushy and seem desperate though; or be annoying and get put on “the nagging guys” black list. You keep on waiting and waiting, only to finally forget that you had ever applied there. It happens to those who search for junior positions, but is equally common among candidates with 20 years of experience. Why? What is the process from when they receive your resume until you get a job offer? To find out, Delano interviewed the interviewers. We found out about the differences between being recruited by an agency and directly through corporate HR teams, and the tricks some recruiters play to find the best candidates.

YOU VERSUS THE WORLD There are two general strategies when applying for a job: respond to an open position, with specific details and requirements of the post, and the so-called spontaneous application, when you contact a company and present yourself, explaining your interest in a given firm, and suggesting various positions that you would be eligible for. December 2015

“Spontaneous applications are never lost. I do read all the CVs I receive and keep those which are really interesting. A matching position, however, might not open for several months or more,” says Sandra Sidon, HR and administration director at the mobile carrier Tango. That is why this job-seeking method is more than adequate for those who do not need to change positions quickly. The downside of such an approach is that not all companies are so scrupulous and methodic, and they might not run a reliable database. Sometimes an HR manager only has an email folder where they put interesting prospects. It is very difficult to search through them, so even though a matching position could open up, the potential hire never gets contacted as their application was simply not found. In Luxembourg jobseekers more often apply to concrete, currently open positions. If you have done your homework well you know that to have chances of getting an interview you must be at least relevant to a position. If you apply for a Swedish-speaking customer service position and you don’t speak the language, but you are fluent in Spanish, your chances of being called back are minimal. In general the more your profile matches a job description, the higher the chances of getting shortlisted. The

combination of industry knowledge with languages makes you attractive on the Luxembourg job market, and any additional job specific qualifications can only help you get through to the next round. Sometimes, though, it is one specific skill that makes a difference and makes you stand out from the crowd. If that is the case, even if your profile is not fully relevant, you can still give it a try. Success stories of those recruited even though not 100% matching abound. “We recently received an application from an overqualified candidate,” explains Karen French, head of HR and administration at Moventum, a technology provider in the funds sector. “His profile was interesting enough that I decided to meet him and find out more about his motivations. We ended up offering him a post which was much more relevant to his experience.”

COMMUNICATION IS KEY In the hiring process companies often work with multiple external recruitment agencies. Each chooses several candidates for the first round of interviews, but only four or five best are presented to the hiring company. “It seems not that much, but companies rarely work with one agency, hence they also get candidates from other recruiters,” says Anita De Viell, director at Fast Recruitment.


December 2015





Because of heavy competition within the recruitment agency sector, some play dirty. Some recruiters post fake job ads just to fish for candidates. If they expect increased demand for fund accountants, for example, building up a database in advance is supposed to put them ahead of the game when a position finally opens. “It is, however, very unfair towards potential candidates as you play with people’s emotions and create expectations that often cannot be met,” states Angela Taylor, head of candidate service at the recruitment firm Badenoch & Clark in Luxembourg. “We only post existing jobs and this is one of the key differentiators of a professional agency.” The easiest way to find out if the job is a “real” one is to ask for the name of the company that is hiring. Agencies normally disclose this information to candidates, so if they are reluctant it should set off alarm bells.


“From the altogether 15 to 20 people already pre-selected by agencies, the company will only choose several to meet in person. The competition is harsh.” Some companies, however, recruit directly through their in-house HR teams. To make sure your CV stands out from the pile on the desk you should highlight not only your relevance to the job but also to this specific company. “When I get a blank email, with not a word of introduction and justification of why the person is interested in working for us, I never invite him or her to an interview,” Sidon points out. “And this is regardless of the relevance of the profile. The recruitment process is a lot about the first impression and being likable.”

PLAYING HARD It is still an employers’ market, but the trend is slowly changing. Especially for highly qualified, technical profiles, there is more demand from firms than there are adequate and available candidates. “It happened only once so far, but we did not fill an opening simply because there was no good match on the market,” says Sidon.

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY Giving the best possible offer to a promising candidate is not only satisfactory for the newly recruited, but also rewarding for a company in the long run. “It happened to me that a hiring manager suggested a higher salary than I had asked for. I was of course very pleasantly surprised but also asked for the reason. He believed that I would be very good at my job and he didn’t want to risk the competition ‘buying me out’,” recalls Susan, a communications manager, who wanted to keep her family name and employer confidential. Confidentiality is also often raised when recruiters explain why companies don’t state salary brackets in job ads. “There is simply no such tradition in Luxembourg. Apart from confidentiality reasons, not disclosing possible earnings gives a wider field for negotiations,” explains French. “It does not happen often, but if we have an outstanding candidate who asks for more that we have budgeted, there is still an option for us to find the money,” comments Sidon. “If we had stated the salary in the job specification, this person would have probably not even applied.”

3 SOLID NETWORKS TO FIND THE BEST TALENT FOR YOU! ................................................... ................................................... ...................................................

Recruitment of junior profiles • Banking & Finance • Information Technology • Office • Industry • Construction • Hospitality

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• Banking & Insurance • Accounting & Finance • Legal





On the other hand, it can be frustrating at times. “I once negotiated with a company that offered a very interesting position which required relocation to one of the eastern European countries,” recounts Mathew, who works in the financial industry. “The description of the position was very appealing, the scope of responsibilities and challenges as well. During my first interview we discussed my salary expectations and we moved to the next rounds. I finally got the job, but to my surprise the salary that I was offered was denominated in local currency and not in euro, as I assumed it was. The difference was enormous and the whole recruitment process was a clear waste of time for me and for the hiring company. If they were clear about the package from the start I wouldn’t have even applied.”



YOU ARE A PRODUCT It happens sometimes that already after having accepted a job offer you get an attractive counter-offer from your current employer. “People seek new jobs not only because of better money,” notes Taylor. “In the majority of cases they also want a more challenging position, a slight shift in their career, elements that are hard to counter-offer. However, when a person decides to stay with his current employer our statistics show that he is back seeking before a year passes.” Finding the perfect employment is not easy. Especially if you are tired with your current position you might be tempted to accept the first offer you get, trying hard to convince yourself that it is what you have been searching for. If you have doubts, regardless if they concern your role or simply the office location is inconvenient, give it a second thought. After all, you are a product a company wants to buy, so both sides should be sure they are satisfied with the terms of the “hiring transaction”. Remember, not counting your sleep time, your new job will be the place where for the next couple of years you will spend the majority of your life.

STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD A CV should be an introduction to a conversation, a teaser, a short presentation of oneself. You are your own personal brand so spend some time and think what gives you the competitive edge. Here is what HR experts recommend. A short introduction with highlights of your assets will help catch recruiter’s eye, a smart move knowing that he or she is probably screening dozens of CVs. Make sure that when applying for a specific role, you make your profile relevant to the job: look at the job description and highlight your skills, competencies and experience matching the job. Keep your CV short; it shouldn’t exceed two pages. It comes as a surprise to some, but mentioning your hobbies can make a difference: when a recruiter is deciding between two almost identical profiles, your free time activities may win you the job. It’s not about judging if you are cool, but it does indicate a different personality when one is on a rugby team and the other one practices yoga. And the most important of them all: make sure that there are no spelling mistakes or errors in your CV or cover letter--remember first impressions last.

Accountants looking for a rewarding career… The outlook is bright for the Aztec Group and it looks set to continue. Following recent business wins in our Luxembourg office, we are on the lookout for ACCA / ACA qualified accountants, ideally with a minimum of two years’ experience, but all qualified accountants will be considered. A range of opportunities are open within our Luxembourg Private Equity administration business. Working in one of the fastest growing and most exciting businesses in Europe, these roles offer a great opportunity to experience life in a bright, enthusiastic and people orientated company. We’re seeking team players with a passion for excellence, individuals who are adaptable, enthusiastic, diligent and possess great communication skills. Private Equity experience is not essential on day one, but the desire to learn and roll up your sleeves is fundamental. Successful candidates can expect a competitive tailored package, coupled with career opportunities that our fast growing business can offer. If you have strong accountancy skills and are looking for a rewarding career, please email or explore to find out more.

The Bright Alternative Explore: Aztec Group is a regulated financial services group


Our bright alternative approach over the years and our unwavering dedication to the people behind our services has resulted in some remarkable credentials since our inception in 2001:

We’ve maintained a 90%+ employee retention rate for over 10 years

Over 80% of our employees are either qualified or studying for professional qualifications

We’ve grown organically to over 400 people in seven offices

Our employees have been recognised by leading industry awards





Photography by MIKE ZENARI

BECOMING A GLOBAL PLAYER IN AVIATION and the expectations of their clients. This we want to keep intact, which is why we maintain each of our aviation companies locally managed. But you can keep an identity and still develop and improve. For this purpose, we have closely analysed each of our companies to learn in which area they excel. The combined knowledge of this study is now being implemented in all our companies in order to become even better. PORTRAIT You were the first woman to join the military pilot programme in the Danish Armed Forces. What triggered your decision? What challenges Charlotte Pedersen, chief did you face? operating officer of Luxavia­ The Danish military opened their tion, talks about being part of doors for female pilot applicants in a quickly growing group, now 1988 and being brought up in a family the second largest corporate which encouraged me to step into aircraft operator in the world. any challenges, I applied because it sounded interesting. I surprisingly Neel Chrillesen: You joined passed all tests and started the military Luxaviation just as it started to pilot training in August 1989. Not expand. How have the many long after, my colleague Lotte Fredsoe changes in the group’s structure passed as well, so we were two women in the programme. The challenges been tackled? Charlotte Pedersen: Changes in an were many, not only the training as organisation can be very positive, a soldier and officer, but also the fact bring new opportunities and fresh that we were pioneers in a traditionally air but can of course also be diffi- male profession. All eyes were on us cult--because change is challenging and on our results. The flying part for any individual person. As a leader was probably the easiest to excel in. it is important to understand what it Running 8km at male speed was means for each employee. Commu- much more difficult for me! nication and involvement is the key What attracted you to the business to success. With this in mind, we have aviation sector and in particular established an integration management Luxaviation? office, which ensures communication Business aviation is interesting because and coordination across our compa- each day is different. We do not fly nies, plus involvement of the right to the same destinations day after day. There are always changes, but everyone people for each change. To what extent do operators in the business is used to this and integrated into the Luxaviation remains flexible and ready to work on the new direction they get. This Group keep their identity? Each company’s identity is closely is inspiring and fun to work with. I linked to the culture of the country chose Luxaviation because of the December 2015

atmosphere in the company and the visionary, out of the box thinking and entrepreneurial mindset of the CEO, Patrick Hansen. It is very refreshing and inspiring to find this leadership in an otherwise very old fashioned business as aviation. To work with a CEO who questions the traditional ways of doing things and who challenges me into looking at the world outside, noticing new trends and ideas, is really turning my workplace into my hobby. Has your pilot training with the Danish air force, but also with the US navy as a helicopter pilot influenced your management style? Having a military officer and pilot background, plus being a mother of three wonderful children, has most likely taught me to be able to multitask in an organised way. My management style is probably very ordinary, meaning down to earth, honest and direct, with great respect for the individual. There has been talk about a new Luxaviation maintenance centre in Luxembourg, have there been any new developments? No, unfortunately not. Therefore we have recently started developments in Kortrijk airport in Belgium where we have a new large hangar available for maintenance. We expect to create a lot of new jobs due to the high demand for this kind of business. It’s no secret that Luxaviation plans further expansion. Has a timeline been set? We have promised our shareholders to use the next 12 months for internal purposes. Having recently acquired ExecuJet, who has a similar group structure to us, we need the time to integrate the two groups into one. After this has been achieved, we will continue to develop to ensure continued improvements and opportunities for our clients, shareholders and employees.

ON CONSOLIDATION “In my opinion, it is unfortunately the only way forward in the aviation business. As much as I value small businesses and new start-ups, I also realise that due to the heavy regulatory requirements and the demand for high technical experience within our workforce, the benefit of scale provides us a much higher competitive advantage compared to a small aviation company. Due to the nature of aviation, the high quality and safety requirements, employees are constantly trained and updated with new knowledge and information. They therefore very rapidly become experts in their area. Due to our consolidation, we are now a group of almost 1,600 experts within business aviation.” COMPANY GROWTH 2008: Luxaviation is founded. Operates one plane. 2009: Receives its first air operator’s certificate. 2011: Acquires Fairjets. 2013: Acquires Abelag. 2014: Acquires Unijet and London Executive Aviation (LEA). 2015: Acquires Masterjet and ExecuJet. Becomes the second largest corporate aircraft operator in the world, managing a fleet of 250 planes.

Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, U.S.

Miami University in Differdange, Luxembourg

OxfOrd, OHiO




Over 10,800

students from Miami University have been educated in Luxembourg

Miami University John E. Dolibois European Center is located in the Castle of Differdange, Luxembourg



John E. Dolibois European Center in Luxembourg, 1 impasse du Château Differdange +352 58 22 22 1


Miami University’s European Center in Luxembourg is named after John E. Dolibois (1918–2014) a native of Luxembourg who became U.S. Ambassador to his country of origin


Each year Miami University makes up to $150,000 available in scholarships for Luxembourgish students to study at Miami











Photography by MARION DESSARD

PUTTING WIND IN LUXEMBOURG SAILS Denmark presents a wide platform for potential colla­ boration in several sectors.

GREENEST CAPITAL IN EUROPE? Copenhagen declared itself the environmental capital of Europe in 2007 and was awarded the prestigious European Green Capital Award in 2014. The city says: “Copenhagen’s growth in the green sector has increased turnover by 55% over the course of five years.” Now it wants to show other capitals how a greener urban environment can enhance the quality of life in practical terms. Copenhagen also has the ambition of becoming the first carbon neutral capital by 2025.


hen it comes to advancing and applying sustainable solutions, it is no secret that Denmark is a nation that soars ahead of the field. Denmark’s highly sophisticated economy and thriving industries in the areas of clean technology, ICT, logistics, maritime and shipping made it an obvious destination for the next multi-sectoral economic mission organised by the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce with the Grand Duchy’s embassy in Copenhagen (24-26 November). “We are looking forward to exploring the opportunities of this market with our Luxembourg companies, some of which already actively work with Denmark,” explains the chamber’s Jeannot Erpelding. The mission comprises seminars, workshops and site visits with a particular focus on energy and the environment. “With the forthcoming COP21 and rising global environmental awareness, the race against climate change motivates this type of mission as the Luxembourgish industry expresses its interest in clean technologies and green solutions,” says Erpelding.

OLD AND NEW “As a start-up it is fantastic to be able to visit Denmark at such an early stage,” explains Georgi Taskov of one year old ICT outfit Evvos. “It is good for our visibility to exchange with both Luxembourg and Danish companies and sharing a platform with well-established sectoral leaders adds to our credibility.” Dirk Martin of the cleantech firm Apateq tells Delano: “As Denmark is one of the biggest actors in the December 2015


GEORGI TASKOV The founder and CEO of Luxembourg start-up Evvos says being a delegation member burnishes his firm’s credentials

shipping industry, we see a huge opportunity for the deployment of our new environmentally friendly product for the treatment of wastewater.” Trade missions are invaluable for start-ups, but what is the appeal for well-established companies? Alain Krecké of CFL multimodal, Luxem­b ourg’s leading logistics operator, explains: “These missions allow us to position ourselves on the market and to promote better knowledge of Luxem­bourg abroad. I find that internationally, knowledge about Luxem­bourg is rather poor. We may be a small country but we

are a big player and it is important to communicate this.” “We are attending primarily to support the industries and to support initiatives, rather than to do business, although we also aim to present our new equipment and to find partners for new offshore wind renewables in the sea industry. Denmark is surely the place to find them!” says David Lutty of Luxem­bourg’s Jan de Nul Group, an international dredging contractor. While those leaders are well established, there is always room to develop new business and learn about advances in their industries.


John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) was a British economist and is widely considered to be one of the founders of modern macroeconomics. According to Keynesian economic policies, in the short run, economic output is strongly influenced by total spending in the economy, especially during recessions






Registration required :

BIL 69, route d’Esch Luxembourg

Car park on site



Marc WAGENER Director of economic affairs


Carlo KLEIN Faculty member Miami University Luxembourg Campus

Hilmar SCHNEIDER Managing director Liser (formerly CEPS/INSTEAD)

Christos KOULOVATIANOS Professor of Economics University of Luxembourg





Delano presents a selection of upcoming business and networking events for Luxembourg’s international community. Advance registration or fees may be required, so consult the website indicated for full details. All events are held in English unless otherwise noted. GENDER BALANCE Wed 18 Nov


The Network

The international women’s business networking group’s “event will highlight women who have benefited from highly successful teams and relationships in furthering their careers and vision.” Hotel Le Royal, LuxembourgCentre, 19:00


Mon 23 - Tue 24 Nov


MENTORING MILESTONE Tue 24 Nov Irish chamber




Exhibits, panel talks, workshops and site visits to promote reindustrialising Europe and boosting the EU’s economy. Part of Luxembourg’s European Council presidency. Free entry. Conference Centre, LuxembourgKirchberg, all day


Pitch your startup idea for “Smart cities” and have the chance to hash out the business model, code and marketing over 54 nonstop hours. Then get feedback from VCs and tech execs. Technoport, Esch-Belval, Friday 18:30-Sunday 21:00

“A special retrospective evening which will focus on the past five years of BusinessMentoring”. An address by Francine Closener, the secretary of state for economy, and previous participants plus the kick-off of this year’s programme. Chamber of Commerce, Luxembourg-Kirchberg, 18:30

Mon 7 - Tue 8 Dec


Tue 1 Dec

Fri 20 - Sun 22 Nov

Thu 3 Dec

Chamber of Commerce

The ILCC hosts a seminar on the future of maths and science education in Europe. Speakers include the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology’s Gabriel Crean. Hotel Parc Belle-Vue, Luxembourg-Merl, 18:00

Female Board Pool

UP Luxembourg

“fors” and Hilmar Schneider of LISER is one of the “againsts”. BIL, Luxembourg-Merl, 18:30

Tue 24 Nov


This “Leading Edge” funds conference covers product and investor taxation. Panel topics include BEPS, Common Reporting Standards, FATCA and transfer pricing, among others. RBC building, Esch-Belval, all day

7th annual conference in Luxembourg of the group that raises the profile of women who are ready, willing and able to serve on boards of directors. Speakers include Lydia Mutsch, the equality minister. Neimënster, Luxembourg-Grund, all day


Oxford Union debate on the economic crisis. Did John Maynard Keynes get it right? Carlo Klein of Miami University is one of the

The internet trade group’s annual conference and expo focuses this year on financial technology, cloud computing and data security. Chamber of Commerce, Luxembourg-Kirchberg, Monday afternoon, Tuesday all day


Thu 10 Dec Luxinnovation

“Financing the circular economy” speakers include Luxembourg’s prime minister Xavier Bettel (photo), European innovation commissioner Carlos Moedas and European Investment Bank president Werner Hoyer. EIB, Luxembourg-Kirchberg, all day

your FARE real estate partner sales · rentals · commercial · residential www.FARE.LU · t. 26 897 897

December 2015

YOUR EVENT MISSING? If your organisation’s upcoming event belongs on this page, let us know the details:












Photography by MIKE ZENARI

THE ENERGY CYCLE Reiki master and scout leader Rani Roloff is in tune with Luxembourg families.


ani Roloff gives and receives positive energy from the world around her. The transference of energy is something most people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about, but for Rani it’s a way of life. She derives energy from nearly everything around her--other people, animals, sun light, plants--and makes a point of sharing it with others. She is a reiki master by day and a scout master in her spare time. When she’s not ministering to people’s interior lives, she addresses their more immediate physical needs by organising handicraft events, hiking trips and safety trainings. Reiki is basically a process of healing with natural energy, and Rani became involved in the practice four years ago when it helped her confront a serious illness. The experience opened her mind to a different way of thinking. “With reiki you can heal physical, mental, spiritual ailments,” she says. “Most of the time, they are interconnected. Some people call it alternative medicine, but I don’t think it’s medicine. It’s finding mindfulness, being connected with yourself and the energy around you.” She moved to the Grand Duchy eight years ago with her husband and two sons, and opened an Indian concept store called Mélange. Although she’s incredibly busy, Rani has managed to strike an enviable work-life balance. “That’s the beauty of it,” she says. “I love my job. It’s so peaceful and satisfying. Although I have a studio that I practice in, I also do house calls and visit hospitals.” According to reiki teachings, every human has seven energy centres, and it is Rani’s job to open up these centres so her clients can connect with universal energy. The process is called “attuenement”. Once her clients have gone through that December 2015


process, she teaches them how to do it themselves so they don’t have to depend on her. On the other hand, the Telstar scouts depend heavily on Rani’s skills. She’s the scout leader for Luxembourg, where her own boys started as Beavers; now one is an Explorer and the other is a Scout. Telstar is part of the British Scout Association and caters to English speaking boys and girls aged 6 and upwards. Currently, they have over 200 scouts and 40 adult leaders from 21 different nations, as well as a waiting list of more than 80 young people. “It’s a bit like running a mini corporation,” she says. “We have an executive committee that deals with finance and logistics.” Every year, Rani and her team coordinate the district camp for which they organise tents, food, and gear for around 150 people who join another 500 or so in Belgium for a camping extravaganza. The work is invigorating. “With the kids, you have instant energy rapport,” she says. “You go home filled with their smiles and happy faces. And the best part is you are so exhausted and burning with energy.”

TELSTAR The group is affiliated with both the British Scout Association and the FNEL (Luxembourg’s scouting federation). Families can get involved regardless of nationality.

Every month, Delano targets 50.000 anglophone expats living and working in Luxembourg. To advertise in Delano, visit

Reach the English-speaking international community in Luxembourg.





MADE UP Trendy make-up retailer M.A.C cosmetics has opened a store in Luxembourg City centre, its first in the Grand Duchy. The Canadian company was originally aimed at professionals (its acronym stands for Make-up Art Cosmetics), but is now very popular with clients all around the world. The M.A.C range includes lipsticks and lip-gloss foundation, eye shadow, mascara and nail polish as well as fragrances and make-up application tools. Where: 79 Grand-Rue, Luxembourg-Centre Info:

SCANDINAVIAN CHIC Swedish mid-level fashion retailer COS (which belongs to H&M group) has finally landed in Luxembourg. The fashion chain’s clothes have been described in no less a publication than The New York Times as “studiously austere and, as often as not, neutral.” Indeed, the brand leans towards casual chic rather than business or formal attire, but the clothes have strong overtones of art and design and are clearly aimed at what the NYT calls “professional creatives”. Where: COS, 2 rue Philippe II, Centre Rosenstiel, Luxembourg-Centre Info:

December 2015



ompared to the Christmas markets in neighbouring Germany and France, the Chrëschtmaart in Luxembourg City always seemed rather quaint and tiny. Focussed on the bandstand on the place d’Armes, the market was limited to what seemed like a handful of stalls selling Teutonic Christmas tree decorations, wooden toys and tacky Santa hats. These were largely ignored by the throngs of expats who gathered at the market in the early evening to meet friends and drink heartily the local Glühwäin and listen to some indistinguishable local fanfare parp their way through ‘Stille Nacht’ et al. Things changed in 2012 under the stewardship of then Luxembourg mayor Xavier Bettel when the market expanded to the place de la Constitution and came to resemble more closely the funfair and international aspect of “foreign” Christmas markets. Who can forget Marilyn Manson taking a spin on the big wheel that first year? A sore sight, indeed, for the staunch defenders of the traditional Christmas market. Now Luxembourg has such confidence in its Chrëschtmaart that it is exporting it to one of the most famous Christmas markets in the region. The Marché de Noël in Strasbourg, which has been in existence since 1570 and comprises some 300 chalets, will be hosting a “Village luxembourgeois” from 27 November to 31 December. But the big question surrounding the Chrëschtmaart is whether Gromperekichelcher taste better accompanied by a steaming ceramic mug of Glühwäin (and yes, we insist on the Luxembourg spelling) on a cold and dark winter evening, or downed with a cool glass of pale amber Luxembourg beer on a sweltering summer evening at the Schueberfouer. The answer, of course, is that both are extremely satisfying in their own way and the conclusion can only be that the humble deep fried potato cake is indeed a truly universal food. Info:

Luc Deflorenne Olivier Minaire Yileste COS

LOCAL STYLE We have featured Stéphanie Comes of Yileste before, but now she has opened her first boutique after years of selling her unique designs by appointment only. Yileste focuses on beautifully crafted small collections using quality fabric. The store is reserved for appointment only clients on Mondays and on Thursday evenings, but is open for shoppers as usual on weekdays and Saturdays. Where: Yileste, 8 Côte d’Eich, Luxembourg-Centre Info:

TIMELESS SIMPLICITY As its name does not suggest, American Vintage is a brand created in Marseille by Michael Azoulay. It has now opened its first outlet in Luxembourg. The label specialises in simple, ready-to-wear clothing using soft and light cottons. It is supposed to be a simple and timeless take on fashion that appeals to a broad clientele. Latest lines focus on “British countryside chic”, while men can pick out items from the “Gentlemen of the road” collection. Where: American Vintage, 67 Grand-Rue, Luxembourg-Centre Info:


Per fect pre-Xmas weekend

kick off in the last ions ahead of Christmascember. Here’s how rat leb ce l na so sea s rg’ y on 6 De Luxembou ahead of St. Nicolas Da weekend of November, to celebrate.


Local jazz singer Edith van den Heuvel will perform with pianist Frank Harrison and bass player Davide Petrocca at Pianos Kelly (rue de Munsbach, Niederanven) on Saturday 28 November at 8 p.m.


Sunflower Montessori’s latest crèche in Ersange is hosting an open doors evening for parents interested in the Montessori method and the new facilities. Visitors can take a look as of 5.30 p.m. on Wednesday 18 November.


Luc Deflorenne Creative Commons

The annual Red Cross Bazaar takes place at the Halle Victor Hugo in Limpertsberg on Sunday 15 November. This year’s proceeds will help refugees in Luxembourg and abroad, as well as families in precarious situations in the Grand Duchy.

FRIDAY 27.11 – 6 P.M.


The Cercle Cité is hosting a tea dance. Take in the magnificent setting of its grande salle on 6 December from 3 to 6.30 p.m.


Luxair has announced plans to fly to Prague four times a week starting 27 March 2016. The airline is also increasing frequency to Dublin, Stockholm and Copenhagen.


Acclaimed storyteller Ben Haggarty comes to Neimënster for two performances as part of the abbey’s Festival Contes sans Frontières. He will read “dark, beautiful and startling… IndoEuropean wondertales and modern myths.” 23 and 24 November.


Fabrice Salvador from the La Cristallerie restaurant in the Hôtel Le Place d’Armes was named the Gault&Millau chef of the year for 2016.


15 artists from The Art Group will be showing their work at Caves Bernard-Massard in Grevenmacher over the weekend of 4 to 6 December. The exhibition is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

VISIT THE CHRISTMAS MARKETS… …to meet friends, hear seasonal music, buy local Christmas decorations and enjoy a Gromperekichelcher or Bouneschlupp (bean soup) and a first taste of Glühwäin at the traditional markets, which open today. Where: place d’Armes & place de la Constitution, Luxembourg-Centre Info:

REGISTER FOR RELAIS Registration for the annual cancer awareness 24 hour relay run Relais pour la Vie opens in early December, says organiser Fondation Cancer. Always a popular event, team places fill up quickly. The event takes place over the weekend of 19 and 20 March 2016.


Fans who have been complaining about the lack of a Starbucks in Luxembourg will soon have no more to moan about. The coffee shop franchise is due to open at Luxembourg airport and the Aire de Berchem filling station on the A3 motorway. This in addition to the store planned for the city centre once the Royal­ Hamilius opens.

SATURDAY 28.11 – 12.30 P.M.

SPEND AT THE BAZAAR… …the biggest international community event of the year is held at Luxexpo the weekend before St. Nicolas Day. A tour of the world in the form of food, drink and gifts from over 60 countries. And all in a good cause--unmissable. Where: Luxexpo, Luxembourg-Kirchberg

SUNDAY 29.11 – 2 P.M.

SKATE AND SEE ST. NICK… …as he tours the capital city. The traditional “cortège Saint Nicolas” winds it way around the city and the auld fella dishes to kids. Then head to the place Guillaume II for a whirl around the open-air ice rink. Where: place Guillaume II, Luxembourg-Centre

December 2015





Photography by STEVE EASTWOOD

Spreading good cheers



s one of its regular excursions, the American Women’s Club of Luxembourg visited the Brasserie Nationale (Bofferding), the largest brewery in the Grand Duchy, in late October. It’s one of numerous outings they take together to introduce expats to Luxembourg and to one another. There’s a lot of membership turnover in the club because people come and go with job transfers, but the group is tight. Today there are more than 300 members from 40 different countries. “The tour is fantastic,” says Sue Makrickas, the club’s current president. “But, then again, I would expect nothing less of Luxembourg.” This is her second tour here--she and her husband were expats in the Grand Duchy 25 years ago. Our guide, Fred Merens, a retired volunteer, is genuinely enthusiastic. He takes us through the facility rattling off facts about barley, hops, yeast and water as we inhale the aromas and taste the product in its various stages. Sipping the frothy beverage in a room full of massive fermentation and holding tanks gives one a new appreciation for beer. After the sampling, we make our way to the area where bottles are cleaned, filled, capped and labeled at a rate of 27,000 per hour. It’s an impressive tour for a brewery that produces a beer worthy of its DLG Gold Medal distinction. Then we head to the brasserie to raise a glass to new friends in a new country. And to Luxembourg’s fine beer. December 2015

RAISE A GLASS A. Fred Merens (speaking, on far right) gives members of the American Women’s Club of Luxembourg a tour of the Bofferding brewery in Bascharage B. Quality control C. Rick and Sue Makrickas D. Curt and Megan Narwold E. Emily Halcrow, Alison Watson and Erin Pickens F. Becky Bednarek, and Lone and Jesper Woidermann G. Andrea and Todd Fiebelkorn H. Paul and Susan Farrell I. Siiri, Anna-Liis and Andres Sutt J. Giny and Roger Behrend




















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Photography by LALA LA PHOTO

n i g n i t s e v In accessories hion correspondent t your style. Delano’s fas Small touches can boos grading your colder weather look. shares these tips for up


hen it comes to dressing well, accessories provide the ultimate finishing touches. They can transform an outfit from “perfectly average” to “exquisitely stylish” at a stroke and their worth should never be underestimated. In fact they deserve your full attention. You may not be entirely convinced of this at 6 a.m. when you’re rooting through the wardrobe for a tie that matches your suit, or at 8 p.m. when you can’t find that second cufflink and you’re already running half an hour late, but it’s true. And they don’t just provide a perfect gloss finish. The tilt and angle of your fedora or the height of your heel can say more about your character than a thousand carefully selected words and it’s worth bearing in mind that it’s not always what you spend that counts.

SIMPLE STEPS A keen eye and an educated knowledge of the shapes, styles and colours that flatter will take you far. A simple outfit comprising dark jeans and navy V-neck cashmere sweater can be dramatically upgraded with the addition of the right belt, boots, scarf and watch. Accessories can transform inexpensive basics and give them a whole new lease of life; they empower you to embrace some of the very latest fashion trends without overdoing it. They also present an opportunity to invest in some carefully selected inheritance December 2015



pieces that can be passed down through the generations, whilst continuing to provide uninterrupted pleasure to the wearer--and therein lies the appeal. So what’s hot and what’s not in the accessories arena this coming winter? Bear in mind that the average man is more limited in choice: statement necklaces and silk stockings fall outside the male domain despite the blurring of certain boundaries. So be selective, take time to identify those pieces that are absolutely right for you and enjoy the admiring glances that result. It’s not just women who notice the shine on your loafers or the elegant line of your designer sunglasses; men are equally observant, and sometimes more so.

Happily, the classic hat has made a comeback, which affords greater opportunity to shine. With the exception of the flat cap and baseball cap, the hat fell out of favour at the end of the 1970s and is now making a welcome return.

HATS ARE BACK The fedora, once favoured by screen idols such as Humphrey Bogart and Cary Grant, is being worn widebrimmed and with a central dent. This hat is not only stylish but great at keeping the head warm. Check out an established milliner for handcrafted, deluxe versions traditionally made from rabbit or beaver fur, which doesn’t shrink when wet and is less likely to lose its shape.

GMT-Master II watch in white gold at Goeres Horlogerie

One of the more popular ladies versions boasts a particularly wide brim and is regularly referred to as a “floppy” hat--think back to the original 70s TV version of Charlie’s Angels and you’ve got the idea. These are widely available at a snip from many high street stores and will look great worn at the Christmas market, steaming gluhwein in hand. The trilby has a narrower brim that curls up at the rear and is often seen on the heads of stars like Ollie Murs. It has a funky, young, “cheeky chappy” appeal and is a most welcome alternative to the baseball cap which continues to reign supreme. This winter’s baseball cap is rather more stylish and less gangster rapper which can only be a good thing.

Worn in buttery soft leather, woollen felt, polyester or heavy cotton, the hip colours are neutral (black, grey, stone, denim) and any logos are stitched in tonal cottons--quite understated and dare I say it, tasteful. Wear frontwards or backwards, and note with caution that only the coolest of adolescents should spend time pulling that little tuft of carefully styled hair through the fastening. Don’t attempt to carry this off if you are over 15 years of age.

SKI STYLE Knitted pull-on hats or beanies have crossed from ski slope to the capital city and are worn in thick, soft wools-or cashmere for those wishing to splash the cash. Great with heavy

winter coats and puffas, these wonderfully warm hats are immensely stylish and incredibly trendy. Microfiber-lined and pulled down low over the ears, they can be worn with large fluffy fur pompoms which are entirely optional, but highly recommended! Wear close to the head or with a slightly elongated loose end section which slouches down to the rear or side. Sounds strange, but looks great. Freelander’s in the Belle Etoile shopping centre offers a superb cashmere selection by William Sharp, together with a wide variety of scarves, gloves and some fantastic winter and ski wear, which will see you looking suitably sophisticated on the slopes. December 2015





Scarves continue to serve both a functional and aesthetic purpose. Ultra large, shawl-type squares come in some sumptuously soft yarns and a myriad of colours and designs. If you wish to take a longer term position, invest in cashmere or pashmina, then choose a classic weave and colour that won’t date.

CLASSIC CHOICE Block neutral colours, Burberry-style checks and muted tartans or classic military stripes are always a safe bet, yet make a statement. Hit the high street stores for the cheaper, trendier versions that provide a fashion shot without breaking the bank. Wear folded diagonally into a triangle and swathed around the neck-nomad style. Alternatively there’s the thickly knitted and incredibly long scarves designed to wrap round and around the neck. These ensure no breath of wind will ever make contact with your skin--time to call up granny and practice some sweet talk. And for the ladies preferring something a little more demure, there are the traditional silk squares introduced to the Hermès range in 1937. These became embedded in French culture thereafter and can be worn and tied in a myriad of ways. A consistent favourite drapes around the head and is tied under the chin, Grace Kelly or Audrey Hepburn style. Jewel-encrusted, plastic-heeled Cinderella slippers were an intrinsic part of growing up for many girls and so the current androgynous trend for flat-heeled loafers, monk straps, oxfords and brogues is incredibly refreshing. Available in leather, suede, patent, fabric and combinations thereof, with or without tassels, the focus is on quality and style. Long considered the most formal of male shoes, the head-turning monk strap comes in a single or double strap version and has become the younger man’s favourite footwear. THINK LEATHER Adopted by stylish lycée and university students several years ago, they’ve transferred to the mainstream and are now widely available in differing grades--I’d recommend investing in a well-made, quality leather pair if your shoe budget extends thus far, since your December 2015

Blonde no.8 Aspen jacket at Freelander’s

great-grandchildren will be fighting over these in years to come. This season’s jewellery is big, bold and quite frankly, over the top. Chandelier earrings graze shoulders, giant linked chains encircle necks, while super-sized metal cuffs adorn much of the lower arm. This XXL women’s trend is not for the faint hearted, so you may be relieved to hear that Swarovski offers a far more elegant collection. From timeless daywear to bold, glamorous pieces and some stunning evening bags, Swarovski crystal provides great craftsmanship at very affordable prices. Male jewellery remains unexplored territory, unfortunately, and is

generally frowned upon with the exception of low-key, weekend bracelets in leather, stainless steel and precious metals and of course, the traditional wedding band. “Masculine pendants” can be seen adorning the necks of certain trendy, urban men--but only when they dare to unbutton their shirt collars.

IN THE LOOP Didn’t your mother tell you that if there are loops on your trousers, you must wear a belt? Well she had a point, but one that’s passed straight over the heads of today’s younger, jean-wearing generation. Belts are still an essential piece of kit and they not

Looking for an original Christmas gift? Thanks to our ‘ciné chèque’, you will offer laughs, shivers, adventure and so much more… The ‘ciné chèque’, an original gift that will please anyone ! Find out more on or at our cash desks at Utopolis & Ciné Utopia.

Free : Special gift cards featuring THE PEANUTS ! (limited edition)



09.07.2015 – 17.01.2016 MUDAM LUXEMBOURG

Exhibition under the High Patronage of Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister On the occassion of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second semester of 2015 MUDAM LUXEMBOURG | MUSée D’ART MODERNE grand-DUC JEAN 3, PARK DRÄI EECHELEN | L-1499 Luxembourg | Painting of a phenomenon of interferences realised by Pierre Ernest Peuchot in 1882 (détail) © Musée des arts et métiers – Cnam, Paris / Photo: Aurélien Mole

Exhibition Partners Fonds National de la Recherche Luxembourg, The Loo & Lou Foundation, under the aegis of Fondation de Luxembourg, CFL - Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Luxembourgeois.

2015_06_EPPUR_Delano.indd 1

Media Partners

6/29/15 4:59 PM






USEFUL GUIDES HAT SIZING CHART Check: sizing_chart.html HOW TO SIZE A WATCH Find out: What-Size-Watch-Band

only prevent trousers from moving south but they make a style statement all of their own. Plain, dark slim leather belts with simple buckles are the smartest options, slightly wider versions work well with jeans while plaited belts (leather or fine rope) work with cords and chinos. Ladies can opt for a purse-belt as presented by Marc Jacobs, a chain belt, Louis Vuitton style, or an understated masculine look favoured by Dsquared2.

NOT FOR TELLING TIME There’s no doubt that watches are the accessory of choice for the majority of men. The vast range can be quite December 2015

The “Dramatic” necklace at Swarovski

overwhelming, particularly when you include second-hand, classic and ­vintage pieces with heavyweight price tags. Luxury watch brands such as Patek Philippe, Chanel, and Rolex can be found at Goeres Horlogerie in Luxembourg City centre. This family-owned jewellery and watch-making store has been in operation since 1956 and Robert Goeres clearly has a passion for his craft. “You no longer need a watch to tell the time, it’s all around us so you don’t need to wear it on your wrist,” he told me. “So we sell emotions, how you want to identify yourself and of course we focus on the art of watchmaking.”

Mint condition, pre-owned timepieces are worthy of consideration as Eric Clapton would no doubt be inclined to agree. His stainless steel-cased “Oyster Albino” broke Rolex auction records when it made a cool $1.4 million back in 2015. But you’ll rarely need to take out a mortgage to fund your perfect time piece. Think through your requirements; if you prefer the highly functional, techno “smart watch”, then the “Oyster Albino” will not cut it, despite the price tag, while the Apple watch or Casio’s sub-brand “G-Shock” just might. And finally, try before you buy. If you’re going to become emotionally attached, then it’s got to feel absolutely right.

Discover the new Archiduc now on newsstands.




100% cashmere, 100% well-being when we hear the rds that spring to mind ial on the market. wo ee thr t jus are se the ter Luxury, comfort, qualit y…clusive wool is the softest, warmest, finest ma ex is Th re. ial? me ec sh sp ca so rd it wo mere and what makes But what exac tly is cash


ashmere is back at BRAM for winter, to provide you with the perfect idea for a Christmas gift. BRAM boasts the largest selection of ladies’ cashmere sweaters in the region, cardigans, plaids, scarves and accessories, in a whole range of styles, cuts and colours. BRAM in City Concorde, Bertrange, has been selling cashmere clothing for over a decade. “We started with a very small, exclusive collection and it has expanded significantly over the years to include more items, more varieties and a larger selection of colours,” says Mireille Kirsch, Women’s Knitwear Buyer at BRAM. The 2015 winter collection includes designs by different labels, sourced from Germany and Switzerland, including Donna Lane, Repeat, Princess goes Hollywood and Herzensangelegenheit.

WHAT IS CASHMERE? Cashmere is a term that is associated with class, luxury and incredible softness and comfort. The valuable wool is obtained exclusively from the neck of Cashmere goats, whose only habitat was the high plateaus of the Himalayas, but for many years now, this specific type of goat has been found in other countries, particularly Northern China and Mongolia, which is where most of the cashmere in the world now originates. To withstand the harsh living conditions of high mountain ranges, over the centuries the goats have developed a unique fur: in the summer, it shields them from dust and sun; in the frosty winter it has a protective, insulating effect. The warming layer of hair is very close to the skin and is the finest part of the coat: the cashmere. The cashmere is collected only once a year during the moulting season in spring, in the transition from winter to summer, when the goats naturally shed their coarse winter coat. They are not shorn or shaved, but the valuable, soft, strong, and supple cashmere fibres are removed by gently combing them, 100% CASHMERE causing no harm to the goat. IS ALWAYS CLASSY, Cashmere is softer than regular wool, HIGH QUALITY is much warmer and provides over AND STYLISH twice the insulation. “No other material is as fine in texture while being strong, light and incredibly soft. BRAM only sells


December 2015

labels that use 100% cashmere, which means it is not mixed with fur from other goats, which would compromise quality and comfort,” states Mrs Kirsch.

MODERN LOOK As well as being extremely comfortable, BRAM’s Contemporary Cashmere collection offers clothing that is versatile. “You can wear your cashmere sweater with jogpants and sneakers for a sporty, casual look or a cardigan can be worn with a silk shirt for a more elegant style, for example. Marsalla is the ‘in’ colour this year, but you can go for cool and subtle by opting for the ever-popular nude tones, or choose a brighter look from our range of 12 different colours.” BRAM’s Basic cashmere includes simple, classic cuts, while the Fancy selection has more fashionable, modern styles. “Cashmere is becoming increasingly popular among our male customers, as they have begun to acquire a taste for its luxurious, light warmth. Our collection includes sweaters for men, a selection that gets bigger every year as more and more men discover this wonderful material,” affirms Mrs Kirsch. IDEAL GIFT “Once you have worn it once, there is no other sensation like it against your skin. It is extremely soft and comfortable,” describes Mrs Kirsch. “For anyone who has worn cashmere once, they are sure to want more. It is a material like no other: warm, yet wonderfully light and delicate but also durable.” Cashmere is very popular among those in the know, but it still maintains exclusivity unrivalled by other materials, in part due to the scarcity of the goats but also the labour-intensive technique of obtaining the much sought-after undercoat. It is very rare and delicate, difficult and expensive to obtain, making it one of the most luxurious materials on the market. Cashmere is always classy, high quality and stylish. Whether you are after a more structured, thicker sweater or something loose knit, very fine and light, you can find it in BRAM’s Contemporary Cashmere collection. The BRAM employees know



A. No other material is as fine in texture while being strong, light and incredibly soft B. A cashmere sweater is a very special gift – and certainly a great idea

ONCE YOU HAVE WORN IT ONCE, THERE IS NO OTHER SENSATION LIKE IT AGAINST YOUR SKIN. " everything there is to know about cashmere and can offer shoppers first-class advice, including key tips on how to take care of your favourite cashmere items properly, to make sure that you can enjoy wearing them for as long as possible. 100% cashmere at BRAM: a popular gift for someone who deserves something special this Christmas. BRAM at City Concorde in Bertrange is open for Sunday shopping on: 29 November, 6, 13, 20 and 27 December.

WHERE TO FIND US? BRAM Zweigniederlassung der Konen Bekleidungshaus KG Shopping Center City Concorde 80, route de Longwy L-8060 Bertrange Lundi-jeudi 9 h-20 h, Vendredi 9 h-21 h, Samedi 9 h-19 h

December 2015





Photography by MIKE ZENARI

3 new discoveries

A popular venue for predinner drinks as well as for lunch, Forum has a new chef. It now serves a dish or soup of the day, salads and dietary options. Where: Forum, 16 rue des Bains, Luxembourg-Centre Info:


Diners enjoy the best view of Luxembourg City and can taste some of the best food in the capital at the Sofitel Le Grand Ducal’s fine dining restaurant.


hef Sébastien Perrot is not resting on his laurels. The head of the kitchen at l’Étoile restaurant on the top floor of the Sofitel Le Grand Ducal has recently made some significant changes to the look and content of his menu. The most obvious change is cosmetic--the menu is now a clean and accessible broadsheet format labelled “Expecting the unexpected”. As if to prove a point, an illustration of a chandelier bedecked with pairs of lobster claws adorns the front of the menu. The interior features a mouth-watering à la carte selection, which also includes a section that Perrot has labelled “Little Italie” (with dishes such as vitello tonnato) and a choice of dishes that conform with the Sofitel’s own calorie controlled “De-light” label. In addition, some dishes are available in reduced portions. A seasonal market menu provides a weekly alternative to the à la carte. But it is the main programme that allows Perrot to showcase his skills. Starters such as a crab meat remoulade with mango and coriander, poached egg and Parmesan crisp are beautifully December 2015

presented, while even a more simple dish such as Cod ravioli with smoked bacon in a light potato cream with olive oil is a feast for the eyes (and Perrot manages to get each delicate flavour to shine). Main courses are equally impressive. Pan-fried scallops with citrus fruits, cauliflower puree with hazelnut, and crunchy cauliflower is served on a wooden plate. A dish of beef cheek on a red wine and lemongrass sauce, mashed pot-au-feu style vegetables and pan-fried foie gras is a wonderful balance of the earthy and exotic. The exotic is also well represented in the dessert selection (a Japanese inspired Sudachi juice iced mousse with buckwheat and fermented yuzu bursts with citrus flavours), while diners can also plump for a selection of ripened French cheeses. This sort of food, coupled with exquisite and friendly but not overly familiar service, is not cheap but well worth the experience. Where: Sofitel Le Grand Ducal, boulevard d’Avranches, Luxembourg-Gare When: Mon-Sat, 12:00 – 14:30 & 19:00 – 23:00

BURGERS, BEER AND SPORT The venue vacated by Lesters now serves a range of burgers and has a fine selection of draft and bottled beers plus a big screen showing sports. Where: Snooze, 27 rue Philippe II, Luxembourg-Centre Info:

BROTHERS IN ARMS Brothers Raphaël and Angelo Possing focus on Luxembourg cuisine, including Kniddelen (small dumplings) in various forms. Where: Bei de Bouwen, 35 rue Laurent Menager, Luxembourg-Pfaffenthal Info:

LaLa La Photo Olivier Minaire Mike Zenari

Heavenly changes at l’Étoile






s u o r u t n e v Ad troubadour LIFESTYLE



entlessly riter Rob Moir tours rel Canadian singer-songwourg for a fifth show in December. and returns to Luxemb


ob Moir’s third solo album, Adventure Handbook, showcases the Canadian’s exquisite turn of phrase and ear for a great melody. The singer-songwriter completed the record when he returned to his home town of Toronto after a relentless two years of touring, which included a 3,000 kilometre trek from Paris to Berlin on a bicycle over the summer of 2014. He describes that as “a great personal accomplishment” packed with wonderful memories, even though he was initially nervous about announcing such an outlandish adventure. “The reaction was everybody embracing and supporting the adventure completely. It’s definitely December 2015

something I am planning to do again.” The touring pays off in many ways. Moir loves meeting new people and will often play shows in private homes as well as music clubs. And it provided material for the songs that would come to form Adventure Handbook. “The new album themes would be vastly different had I not taken on two years of nonstop touring, it was completely inspired from the roller coaster highs and lows,” he explains. Not that he had much time to write while on the road, travelling most days and playing gigs at night. “I did get in this habit of taking nights off, locking myself in hotel rooms so I could put thoughts and melodies together, and I found I had to focus a little more


than I ever had to before with the constant changing surrounding. When I got home to Toronto and my band, we put the rest together with ease and general excitement.” Now he is in the midst of another marathon European tour, which includes a show at Konrad Café & Bar on 9 December. Fans appreciate his authentic sound and the passion he has for music, as well as the lyrics and the emotions they conjure up. “Northern Europeans are much more conservative [than north Americans] with their praise. If they are complimenting you, it comes from a real place not just a customary one. It is incredible to know what I do can translate beyond my familiar surroundings.”

Jeremy Lewis


“So, how was the walking dinner?” That is certainly the most commonly asked question the day after a work event.


For your future business events or private receptions, there should only be one name on your lips: Niessen Traiteur






Photography by MIKE ZENARI

g n o s a g n i d l i Bu m o r f , e u g o l a cat p u d n u o r g the r Lata Gouveia The Grund Club. Foundedwest music by t os bo a en giv en be n mi has The art of songwriting d to bring an essential element of the America explains how he wante ourg artists. scene to inspire Luxemb


he founder of The Grund Club, Lata Gouveia’s journey as a musician has almost come full circle since his formative years singing in a band while ostensibly studying and working in London. Having learned to play guitar, he spent much of his time around the Denmark Street area visiting vinyl shops, guitar shops and trying to get to perform at open mics. “Even then they were quite elitist, so it was difficult to get in.” But eventually he got noticed and, at the age of 32, Gouveia went to the US at the invitation of piano player Rocky Frisco. “I didn’t think twice, because he had played for my hero, JJ Cale. I thought this was my ticket, actually. That I would be rich and famous. But when I got there, I realised Rocky himself was really struggling.” The experience proved to be rewarding in other ways, as Gouveia discovered the influential Tulsa sound, to which Frisco had contributed so much, and the so-called Red Dirt music scene which spreads throughout Oklahoma and Texas. “Musically it was life changing. Everything I have done since was moulded by that, maybe not stylistically but philosophically in terms of what is music about, what is it for?” Gouveia spent a total of four years out in the States while maintaining a base in London. But finding some cultural differences insurmountable on a permanent basis, he eventually returned to Luxembourg. He soon noticed that while the musicians in the local jazz scene would often play in each other’s bands, there was no such interaction on the rock scene. “Musicians and singers would often see each other backstage during the festival season, or at a CD release, but kept pretty much to themselves and December 2015

their bands.” This presented a challenge to Gouveia, who had become accustomed in places like Tulsa to joining a group of musicians sitting on a porch all day swapping song ideas. “But you realise that Oklahoma is one of the poorest states with high unemployment, which means that they have nothing else to do all day, except play and get better as musicians.” Luxembourg is very different--“people use their free time much more efficiently”--and it took Gouveia two years to come up with a concept that would work here while also working on his own career (he released a studio album, Radio Nights, last year).

SHOWCASING LOCAL TALENT The first Songwriters in the Grund event took place in September 2013 in Liquid. Twelve months later Gouveia had set up a backing band and created a rotation system to allow the growing troupe of songwriters to have their songs performed by guest singers and give audiences and musicians a chance to discover new talent. The club now represents a collective of more than 25 musicians and songwriters, who perform official Grund Club Songwriter season shows at neimënster. It also holds less formal sessions to give club singers

the opportunity to perform longer sets or to showcase the best songwriters in an unplugged setting. The Grund Club has also become a “resident artist” at the Red Cross’s Hariko building in Bonnevoie, where it hosts workshops and music lessons, as well as career counselling for aspiring singers and singer-songwriters. The club itself has a formal structure as a non-profit organisation. “I knew I could not run the club in the same risk-taking kamikaze way I run my personal career.” The board is comprised of non-musician members, to ensure there is no conflict of interest. But there seems to be little bickering or jealousy among the songwriters when it comes to choosing whose songs are performed at the shows. “We now have a catalogue of around 30 or 40 original songs, written in Luxembourg. That is what is really important.” One of his proudest moments was when a singer, who had just sung a crowd-pleasing performance of one of those original songs, came up to him afterwards and asked who had written it. “She knew it was one of us, but she didn’t know who. That was a moment I had been waiting for, it was a validation of what I had wanted to pursue.”



December 2015





Keeping up the tail-wagging y and healthy r-legged friend is happ in rules to obey fou ur yo re su ke ma to rta ce Ways ourg, but there are also are plentiful in Luxemb r here. ne when you’re a dog ow


ogs have been kept as pets for thousands of centuries, long before it was proved scientifically that they make their owners happier and lower their blood pressure and stress levels. But while a household can certainly benefit from having a furry family member, it also involves a fair amount of time and money. The lifetime cost of a dog is estimated to be between €20,000 and €40,000 but for many doting owners the bill is much heftier, thanks to an ever-increasing offer of premium food, care products and pet bling. In Luxembourg alone, people spend twice as much on pet services today than they did eight years ago, and 20% more on pet products.

DOG DUTIES Canine owners in the Grand Duchy must follow certain rules. All dogs have to be rabies-vaccinated and microchipped by a vet within four months of birth, or within one month of adoption, purchase or importation. The vet also has to issue a certificate with a detailed description of the animal. Furthermore, every dog has to be registered with their local commune (with the dog’s certificate and a proof of liability insurance) and owners pay an annual dog tax. Furthermore, the law stipulates that dogs must be kept on a leash inside agglomerations and residential areas, on public transportation, and in parking lots and sports fields. Most communes also have regulations requiring owners to pick up their dog’s excrement and provide bags for this purpose (further rules apply to dog breeds considered dangerous). Last year, there were 41,149 dogs registered in Luxembourg (only half of the human/dog ratio of the UK). According to dog trainer Ingrid Johansson (, not all of them have perfect owners though. “There’s a huge difference between Luxembourg and for example Scandinavia, where everyone picks up their dog’s poop and it’s expected that you have an obedient dog. Getting a dog requires planning, knowledge and time. It’s a lot of investment but you’ll get so much more back.” Though no dog is ever too old to train, Johansson suggests starting as soon as you get a puppy. “The most common problems people


December 2015

HEALTHY AND HAPPY A. Nathalie Janssen helps canines get back into pawfect shape B. Ingrid Johansson takes dogs on daytime adventures


Info: The Dog Company

Info: DOG WALKING Dog & Walk



Info: B

have with their dogs is pulling on the leash, not being good around other dogs and barking.” A proper, positive, training can prevent these problems, and many more, so it’s definitely a worthwhile venture. Probably even the most important thing you can do for your dog, yourself… and others. For people who have to go to work every day, leaving their dog alone at home can be a difficult decision (and rarely a good one). Luckily, the booming dog walking industry has long since made its way across the pond and now also to Luxembourg. Stephen Copeland, for example, started his dog walking, day care and sitting service Walkies Walkies ( two years ago, and his team is available 24/7. “It’s a great job if you have a passion for dogs like us. We look forward to every day.” The dogs are picked up and taken for walks in the forest and the owners can even track them via a dedicated GPS system. “Most of our clients are professionals who would usually have to leave the office at lunchtime to go home and walk their dog. We also have some customers who can’t physically walk their dog anymore.” When it’s the other way around--that is, when it’s the four-legged family member who has difficulties walking--there are solutions too. Dog physiotherapist Nathalie Janssen ( takes care of dogs recovering from surgery or

DOG PENSION Animal Hotel Belle-Vue

suffering from injuries, as well as overweight, ageing and/or arthritic ones. Through massages, exercises, stretching and hydrotherapy, she helps them regain mobility. “It’s a complementary treatment to anti-inflammatories and other medications. The underwater treadmill, for example, is very successful for all kind of conditions, especially older dogs that can hardly go out on walks anymore. They become much more active and happy. There’s no reason to give up on your ageing dog.”

NEW ANIMAL CENTRE The Deiere-Reha centre ( opened in Dudelange at the end of October and offers a large range of complementary and paramedical treatments for animals, including acupuncture, laser therapy, hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, osteopathy, bioresonance therapy and aromatherapy. One of the founders, Géraldine Flammang, is a wellknown animal acupuncturist in Luxembourg. “I first went to her with an obese cat I had adopted from the shelter,” says Laurence Rumor. “When Tess, my 10-year-old dog, began having joint pains I took her for laser acupuncture too. Next day Tess was running around like a puppy and every time she has a session, she moans with pleasure!” As the saying goes, love is a four-legged word and with dogs too, loyalty goes both ways.

Info: Lassie Boarding Kennels

Info: DOG TRAINING Dogcoach

Info: Kynos


Info: HOUSE-CALL VET Dr. Olivia Shoenfeld

Info: GOOD TO KNOW In case of the death of your pet (dog, cat or other) you can bring it to the Service d’hygiène, 48 route d’Arlon, Luxembourg-Belair, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Phone: 47 96 36 40

December 2015






Photography by LALA LA PHOTO

Julebasar lights up Danish community Few nationalities celebrate Christ­m as with as much joie de vivre as the Danes (December is considered “Christmas month”). In Luxembourg, the Danish Church has held an annual holiday market fundraiser for some 20 years.


his year the Danske Kirke (Danish Church) celebrated its 21st anniversary in Luxembourg. There have been many changes since its initial inception, but the annual Julebasar (Christmas bazaar) has always been an important part of the church’s heritage. “In Denmark the church is funded by the state,” explains its pastor, Vicky Popp. “However, here in Luxembourg, I am the only paid employee, and so we are completely dependent on volunteers. The Julebasar allows us to raise funds for the church and the many active groups that it organises.” At present, the Danish Church has more than half a dozen active groups encompassing all demographics. “We start with singing hymns for newly born babies,” Vicky says, “to the very active 60+ group who hold social events for retired people. In between there are youth groups, confirmation groups, au pairs and three choirs who sing at our Sunday services.” Unlike the church in Denmark, Vicky also

runs a Danish language and culture club, so that children can learn more about their heritage. “This isn’t a group that you would find in Denmark, but I believe it’s important for young people, perhaps born in Luxembourg, to know a little more about Danish customs and traditions.” Whilst only 2% of the population in Denmark regularly attends church services, 15% of Danes in Luxembourg are members of the church with the rest of the Danish population usually having some kind of church interaction. The most popular events include the confirmation ceremony held at Pentecost, the annual volunteers’ party and the Christmas bazaar. This year the Christmas bazaar will take place the third Saturday of November at Halle Victor Hugo. It is only the second year that the bazaar has been held at this location, having previously been located near the vicarage in Cents. The larger space saw the addition of a second hand clothes stand and plenty of extra room for the popular restaurant selling Danish hot dogs, smorgasbord and Æbleskiver (traditional Danish Christmas donuts). Other stands include the second hand book stall (complete with cosy reading area), handmade Christmas decorations, advent wreaths adorned with candles, tombola, and a bar selling Danish beer, aquavit (an eau de vie) and crémant.

“All the Christmas gifts are handcrafted by our volunteers,” says Vicky. “They are truly artisanal and make excellent presents.” The Christmas lottery is always a highlight of the event with prizes donated by local and Danish businesses. This year’s prizes include Luxair flights to Denmark and gifts sponsored by Dania in Belair, amongst others. Lottery tickets can be purchased in advance via the Danish Church website with limited numbers available to purchase on the day itself. “The lottery is very traditional,” Vicky adds. “There is a number to ring on the website and a volunteer sends out the tickets by post. It’s become part of the bazaar customs.” Whilst the majority of visitors to the bazaar are Scandinavian and other expats, more and more Luxembourgers are attending the event. “We hope that because the venue is so central and parking is readily available, we will attract more people.” In 2014, the bazaar fell on the same day as several other Christmas fairs. However, an impressive €40,000 was raised to support the church and its associations. “This year the date does not coincide with any other large markets,” notes Vicky. “We hope that people who haven’t had the chance to attend before will come along to enjoy the atmosphere and try a hot dog or two.”

Community notebook





BRITISH LADIES CLUB The BLC presented a €4,400 cheque to the City of Luxembourg’s social welfare fund, proceeds from the club’s annual car boot sale. Info:

AWCL The club published the 17th edition of Living in Luxembourg for freshly arrived expats. €20 (€15 for members) at the AWCL clubhouse. Info:

RBC The family fun run raised €61,000 for the Luxembourg Red Cross’s Kannerhaus Jean, a specialised children’s treatment centre. Info:

INTERNATIONS Check out the new RestoClub Limbo (the former Secret Garden) during a mixer hosted by the expat networking club. 19 Nov. Info:

December 2015

SPIRIT OF THE SEASON HYGGE The Danish word “hygge” is key to finding the holiday spirit and an important part of the Danish psyche. The closest translation in English would be “cosiness” but any Dane will tell you that hygge means much more than this. Hygge means a sense of conviviality, warmth and contentment all rolled into one. During Christmas month, hygge is socialising with friends and family, Christmas traditions, good food and drink, and the obligatory use of candles everywhere. All the ingredients for your own hyggelig atmosphere can be found at the Danish Christmas bazaar. Glædelig jul! JULEBASAR The Danish Christmas bazaar takes place on Saturday 21 November from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Halle Victor Hugo, 60 avenue Victor Hugo, LuxembourgLimpertsberg. Entrance is free.






AMCHAM The annual chamber highlight features a great meal, good company, music and entertainment, and a big tombola drawing. 20 Nov. Info:

INDIAN ASSOCIATION LUX. The festival of lights comes to the Tramsschapp, with traditional prayers, dancing and dining. “Everyone is welcome”. 21 Nov. Info: on Facebook

LUXEMBOURG EXPAT MEETUP November’s book is Wind, Sand and Stars (Terre des hommes in the original French). Come discuss over a drink. 25 Nov. Info:

SCOTTISH ASSOCIATION A cocktail reception celebrating Scotland’s national day with traditional music and dance, hosted by the British ambassador. 27 Nov. Info: December 2015

Steve Eastwood AWCL Luxembourg Red Cross Lala La Photo Charles Caratini






Photography by MARION DESSARD

You can’t cure a cold, but you can alleviate the symptoms and shorten its duration.


hops may be stocking up on all things Christmas-y, but ‘tis also the season for stuffed noses, coughs and sore throats--all of which can get you down and take their toll on the festive spirit. Viruses--over 200 different sorts--cause colds, so antibiotics (which treat bacterial infection) can’t be used to cure them. But while there are no ways of getting rid of a cold by popping a pill, you can make the symptoms more bearable. Start by (really) following the usual recommendations: rest more, drink lots of fluids, gargle and rinse your nose (Google “nasal irrigation” if you don’t know how). And then, eat chicken soup. Lots of it. The medical profession has finally caught up with your grandmother and studies confirm chicken soup does help alleviate cold symptoms and is a much better (and safer) choice than any over-the-counter medication. The Rennard study, conducted by the University of Nebraska Medical Center (, showed that even store-bought chicken soups are effective. But let’s be honest, nothing beats the taste of a homemade one. December 2015

“Broths have been used since ancient times to strengthen the body and are extremely nourishing, much more than one would imagine,” says Pascal Henrot, chef at the À la soupe restaurant group that serves, sells and delivers fresh soups in and around the capital ( “When cooking a chicken for soup start it off in cold water to get all of the nutritional elements from the meat. Add a bouquet garni (carrot, leek, thyme, bay and a celery branch), tying it together so it’s easier to remove. Bring to boil, then let simmer, which will allow the elements to disperse in the water. Skim if necessary. You shouldn’t cook poultry for more than an hour if you want to keep all the good stuff,” says Henrot. With each of us doomed to suffer an average of 200 colds in a lifetime, using a comforting weapon like chicken soup, guaranteed with no side effects, seems like a wise move. As for prevention, even though strengthening your immune system won’t hurt (especially via probiotics), washing your hands frequently remains the most important thing to do.

FEEL-BETTER DRINKS Warm drinks can soothe a sore throat and ease congestion, so drink plenty of them when you have a cold. From the very first cold symptoms onwards, try this feel-better drink: Place a cinnamon stick in a cup, add a few slices of fresh ginger and some honey, pour boiling water over it and infuse for at least 10 minutes. Strain and drink. Ginger is a wellknown antimicrobial and antiinflammatory, cinnamon is an energising anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory, whereas honey is antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiseptic. To soothe coughs and loosen mucus, use thyme--a perfect expectorant (also antimicrobial and antibacterial). Pouring boiling water into a cup with 1 ½ teaspoons of dried thyme (or 3 teaspoons of fresh thyme), the juice from half a lemon (which reduces phlegm) and honey. Steep for at least 10 minutes, strain and drink. Children under 1 year should not be given honey.

PASCAL HENROT Get it while it’s hot

Flickr user heymrleej (CC)

Chicken soup for the cold

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14 shows you must see

HITCHCOCK LIVE New score Luxembourg composer Tatsiana Zelianko has created a brand new score to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1927 classic The Lodger. It will be performed live by United Instruments of Lucilin. The film is based loosely on the Jack The Ripper murders and makes great use of the London fog to create a chilling atmosphere that will no doubt be reflected in Zelianko’s new score. Where: Philharmonie, Luxembourg-Kirchberg When: 25 November Tickets: December 2015

JOHN GRANT Brighten the corners Living in Iceland with his boyfriend clearly agrees with John Grant. The American singer-songwriter describes his third solo album, Grey Tickles, Black Pressure, as “the brightest record I’ve made.” But Grant, a brilliant and engaging live performer, still retains his often brutally honest and caustically witty lyrics and his way with a catchy pop melody. Where: den Atelier, Luxembourg-Gare When: 20 November Tickets:

BELLE AND SEBASTIAN Defining pop There is much more to Belle and Sebastian, who play their first ever gig in Luxembourg, than the supposedly twee Scottish pop band of the late 1990s. Even back then Stuart Murdoch’s songs were defined by bittersweet lyrics. Nowadays Belle and Sebastian’s sound has expanded and incorporates a much broader definition of pop on latest album Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance. Where: Rockhal, Esch-Belval When: 20 November Tickets:

SHAUN PARKER & COMPANY Incredible journey The acclaimed Australian dance troupe presents AM I, choreographed by its director Shaun Parker and scored by composer Nick Wales. It features seven musicians and seven dancers, including the Indianborn, Paris-raised Shantala Shivalingappa, who take the audience on a journey from the creation of the universe through birth, love, war, belief and death. Where: Grand Théâtre, Luxembourg-Limpertsberg When: 24 & 25 November Tickets:

PRIVATE VIEW Hitchcockian A one off chance to catch the debut opera by Annelies Van Parys, which won a best production award at the Armel Opera Festival in Budapest. The opera explores the themes of voyeurism and social isolation, and has been described as Hitchcockian. It is directed by Tom Creed and sung by Die Neue Vocalsolisten, with video projections by Collective 33 ⅓. Where: Grand Théâtre, Luxembourg-Limpertsberg When: 27 November Tickets:

BLUES NIGHT Three for one Triple-bill headliner Brother Dege has been described as “the possessed offspring of Faulkner and Son House.” He is most famous for ‘Too Old To Die Young’, which appeared on the Django Unchained soundtrack. Support comes from Hundred Seventy Split, featuring former Ten Years After members Leo Lyons and Joe Gooch, and Luxembourg’s Heavy Petrol. Where: opderschmelz, Dudelange When: 27 November Tickets:

DAVID GOLDRAKE Imaginarium The Luxembourg magician soldiers on and continues his Imaginarium tour of the Grand Duchy well into November. The show features some spectacular tricks and stunts, including David’s own version of Harry Houdini’s water torture cell, stealing one million euros and 3D projection mapping. He leaves for Las Vegas early next year, so catch him while you can. Where: Rockhal, Esch-Belval When: 27 November Tickets:

Soeren Solkaer Prudence Upton Koen Broos Alexandre Isard Johann Sebastian Hanel Marco Borggreve Brinkhoff-Mögenburg

ir Luxembourg debut Plenty of artists make the coming week s, including performances over the d Sebastian . There is also an lle John Grant and Be ema and opera and an dark and mysterious cinnd off the year. rou uplifting musical to

GAVIN JAMES The real deal The Irish singer-songwriter is the latest in a line of humble artists proving to the world that they are authentic, the real deal. In James’ case, that involved making his first full-length release a live album. Live at Whelans received a slew of rave reviews and was praised for capturing the raw energy and appreciative crowd of a typical Gavin James gig. Where: Rotondes, Luxembourg-Gare When: 28 November Tickets:

CHILLY GONZALES Cheeky chappie The Canadian musician appears at the Philharmonie courtesy of the Rockhal. He will perform with the Kaiser Quartett, with whom he released this year’s Chambers album featuring songs such as ‘Advantage Points’. Gonzales is a true entertainer, a hugely talented pianist, who engages with his audience and makes jokes during his shows. Where: Philharmonie, Luxembourg-Kirchberg When: 5 December Tickets:

WILLIS EARL BEALE Unique voice Critics don’t quite seem to know what to make of Willis Earl Beale, and that’s probably the way he likes it. A soulful troubadour who has drifted around the United States, he channels the spirit of Tom Waits and the social conscience of Marvin Gaye. Where: Rotondes, Luxembourg-Bonnevoie When: 13 December Tickets:

ADAM BLOOM Whirlwind stand-up With patronage from people as diverse as Ricky Gervais, Jerry Sadowitz and Sir Ian McKellen, comedian Adam Bloom comes with a top-notch pedigree. Described by The Standard as “a jabby-fingered whirlwind”, Bloom’s shtick is to engage the audience from the outset with a series of audacious, short, sharp jokes. Where: Konrad Café & Bar, Luxembourg-Centre When: 16 & 17 December Tickets:

CHRISTMAS GALA Classical for charity Now an annual tradition, the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg performs a charity gala concert for SOS Villages d’Enfants Monde. This year, under the baton of Christian Vásquez, the concert features the Chœur de Femmes-INECC in a performance of Gustav Holst’s The Planets and Ji Young Lim playing Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s violin concerto Where: Philharmonie, Luxembourg-Kirchberg When: 10 December Tickets:

CHAMBRE PHILHARMONIQUE Imaginative violinist Former OPL musical director Emmanuel Krivine returns to conduct the Chambre Philharmonique in a concert featuring Patricia Kopatchinskaja-“one of the most imaginative violinists around today,” according to the jury of the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award. She will perform Johannes Brahms’s violin concerto and his 3rd symphony. Where: Philharmonie, Luxembourg-Kirchberg When: 12 December Tickets:

MAMMA MIA! HIT MUSICAL The Grand Théâtre has a relatively new tradition of staging a family show over the New Year period, and more recently started staging hit musicals. Now the two are combined in an extended festive period run for the hit musical based on the songs of Swedish pop combo ABBA, which are woven into a rather trite yet fun story. The 22-show run is in English with German and French surtitles. Where: Grand Théâtre, Luxembourg-Limpertsberg When: 16 December-3 January 2016 Tickets: December 2015






Photography by LALA LA PHOTO

Take a hike

ngs, trails and nature wanderi When it comes to hiking n. of its ow Luxembourg is in a class


hose who say Luxembourg is a small country haven’t walked through its smorgasbord of landscapes. The Grand Duchy has one of the densest pedestrian networks in Europe, situated in an amazingly varied countryside. There are paths you have to take and sceneries you have to see before you can say that you “know” Luxembourg. “Hiking is a great way to discover the country and learn more about it, both for newcomers and people who have lived here a while,” agree Julie Smeaton and Amanda Surbey, both on the committee of the American Women Club of Luxembourg’s popular hiking group (www.awcluxembourg. com), which has been hitting the trails for over 15 years. Of course, according to scientists, hiking has other benefits too, like decreasing blood pressure and cholesterol, increasing creative problem-solving skills by up to 50%, and giving you a serious workout without putting too much strain on your joints. Plus, getting a bout of fresh air, natural light, trees and exercise does wonders for the mind and soul. The AWCL group (pictured) meets up every Friday, all year round, for two hour hikes of 9km to 11km. Some come along every week, others just from time to time. “We walk rain or shine, through all the seasons.” It’s not a leisurely stroll. These women walk at a brisk pace (but insist they’ve never lost anyone). “I was more of a walker than a hiker when I joined,” explains Amanda, “but I’ve become a real convert. It’s addictive. If we don’t go hiking, we get depressed. It’s like therapy.” “Hiking can be life changing on many levels,” adds Julie. “In our group there are people from all over the world. We talk while we walk, learn lots of things from each other, and well, swap recipes too! It’s netwalking!” To make sure that the Friday hikes go well, Julie, Amanda and a few others even walk the whole trail beforehand, on a Monday “prehike”. They also take part in the AWCL’s December 2015

Rambling group--that organises longer monthly hikes of around 20km--and weekends, well, Julie and Amanda go hiking too. For ordinary people like the rest of us, there is no need to go to those extremes. The great thing about Luxembourg is that there are trails for every taste and ability and that it’s very easy to indulge, thanks to the availability of ready-made maps and well-signed routes. To start off, Julie and Amanda suggest joining one of the walks organised by the Fédération Luxembourgeoise de Marche Populaire (, which costs a very reasonable €1.50 per outing. “There are plenty of people who meet up every weekend and you can start off whenever you want between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. and chose to walk different distances, generally 5, 10 and 15km. You go at your own pace, just following the crowd. Upon arrival, there’s often sausages, tea or crémant. It’s very nice,” says Julie. The hikes are announced on the website, where you will also find the corresponding maps. You can also print maps yourself by using Luxembourg’s national geoportal ( and click on “tourism”). Most communes have free maps indicating sign-posted walks in their area and some even have their own hiking group you can join or propose organised tours. In addition, hiking trails are listed on websites like (search for “Luxembourg” and then select “Hiking”). If you’re looking for people to hike with try Another well-established hiking group is the Grey Hares ( It is clearly safest to hike in a group (ideally of three people or more), but you can gather a few friends or family members yourself and head out. Julie’s all-time favourite hike is the one in Nommern, while Amanda’s are the ones in Beaufort (and not only because

of the schnapps tasting at the castle afterwards) and Manternach. For walks with children, the two hiking experts suggest the Klangwee Hoscheid, where big instruments are placed along the way, or the Bech trail. “There are so many different kinds of trails you can follow here--national trails, local trails, cross-border trails, European trails, thematic walks, circular or linear ones, flat routes or more demanding ones--and so many wonderful landscapes to discover. All you need to enjoy them is a pair of good waterproof hiking shoes,” says Amanda. Are your boots ready? Then start walking!

THE APP Before going on a hike, be sure to download the free official mapping app from Luxembourg’s national geoportal and search for trails. The app allows you to use maps in offline mode. Info:

FIND TRAILS To get inspiration, maps and information or to do a search and find the walk that suits you, simply head to the newly updated ONT website. Info: (search for “hiking”)

MULLERTHAL Luxembourg’s “Little Switzerland” is an absolute “must do”. It has top-notch trails and there’s even a “Wandern Testcenter” where you can borrow hiking gear for the day. Info:

December 2015

Neel Chrillesen





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GET CRAFTY The 40th Differdange Hobby and Art market is 13-15 Nov. Discover crafty ideas for winter at this handball team fundraiser. Info: hobbydiff@ BECOME A SCIENTIST! Dozens of cool workshops for everyone from young kids to old adults are on offer, free, 14-15 Nov. at various sites in the city. Info:


ith shorter daylight hours and falling temperatures upon us, it is time to line up more indoor activities. So why not go with the flow and use some of these darker days to delve into local history? You can start right at the beginning, at the National History and Art Museum (, travelling back to prehistory to see the mammoth and other creatures who walked along the Grund before we ever came along. Then climb through the ages as you work your way up the museum’s floors--they are in chronological order.Then make a stop at the Luxembourg City History Museum ( where you can meet one of the capital’s most famous rulers and residents, Count Siegfried, on specified dates between 14 November and 20 February. Old Siggy will be leading city tours (in French) and telling you all about how the city, founded as a garrison, took shape back when he was just as young as your kids… before the first millennium. December 2015

He might very well point across the valley to what is now the Draï Eechelen Museum ( explaining how the area’s deep valleys and solid rock walls led to Luxembourg being a coveted stronghold. The newly revamped museum, once a heavily armed fortress, has permanent, virtual and temporary exhibitions and has just opened again on Mondays. The National Mining Museum in Rumelange ( is open the second Sunday of every month through March for tours, and you can also book private interactive visits for up to 18 kids at a reasonable fee. Of course there are other museums in the Grand Duchy to explore Luxembourg’s past, but you can also go further afield and head out to one of Belgium’s best archeology museum, just across the border. The Arlon Archeology Museum ( is hosting a prehistoric and protohistoric exhibition through 20 December. And while you’re out, take in some important WWI and WWII sites and monuments (

SEEING RED Kleeschen, or St. Nicolas, makes lots of appearances through his big day (6 Dec.), including at the International Bazaar, 28-29 Nov. Info:

David Pettersson / Creative Commons

From mammoths to mines, the whole family can learn about Luxembourg’s and the Greater Region’s roots at area museums.

HÄNSEL UND GRETEL Even if your kids don’t speak German they surely know the story and will love seeing it come to life with music and magic, 28 Nov. Info:

SUNFLOWER MONTESSORI CRÈCHE Tel +352 26 15 93 1 Sunflower Montessori Crèche




Photography by MIKE ZENARI

She’s got a beef


Anne Kaiffer wanted toung be a butcher from as yothe as she can remember. At red ughte tender age of 17, she slaers during pe r he d a live chicken to fee l. Her father, a girl scouts trip to Nepa s was no life thi t however, thought tha rsuaded her pe d an r hte for his daug re “intellec tual to pursue something mohours”. Initially with friendlier working r’s advice and Anne followed her fathe mo re tha n wo rke d in jou rna lism forally took seven years . But she find bu tch ery in the plu ng e an d stu die the off icia l Sw itzerl an d, co mp let ing an d is no w the qu ali fic ati on s in 20 14 , the Ka iffe r run to fou rth ge ne rat ion e, Luxembourg family shop (77 Grand-Ru sh are s he r ne An Cit y-Centre). He re a magnificent favourite spots to enjoy meat meal.

ELCH “The first time I went to Elch, it was actually for an apéritif, we had such a good time here, we stayed for dinner,” says Anne. It is a favourite because: “It is the only place where they cook it ‘bleu bleu, mais chaud’ [raw inside but still hot]. I always order the faux filet there, it is never heavily laden with sauces. Here’s a tip: you can always know that a steak is fresh when it is served simply with some salt and pepper. When they cover it with sauces, especially lots of black pepper sauce, it’s often not fresh meat.” Where: 2 Grevelsbarriere, Bertrange Info: December 2015

CAFETIN DE BUENOS AIRES “At the time that this restaurant first opened, you could not get an Argentinian steak anywhere in Luxembourg”. Although there are now more restaurants which serve Argentinian steak, this is still Anne’s favourite place to visit for this dish. The restaurant is a great dinner place because “it is small and cozy”, she muses. “They do amazing cocktails. Particularly their mojitos and caipirinhas!” With an extensive wine list, cocktail list and food menu, Anne always leaves “pretty satisfied”. Where: 5 passage Roger Manderscheid, Luxembourg-Centre Info:

LA TABLE DE FRANK “Frank Steffen [the owner] is a very good friend of mine so I had to go and check it out!” The restaurant is located next to the Maison Steffen Boucherie and “it has a nice brasserie feel to it”, says Anne. The restaurant is at the top of her list because: “It is the only place where you can order a côte à l’os [T-bone] cut of the Blonde de Galice steak, which is a very special Spanish breed.” She explains that it is so special because it has lots of intramuscular fat, which creates that “delicious marbling effect”. Although Anne sells this special cut at her shop, this is the only restaurant she knows which serves it. Where: 10 route d’Arlon, Steinfort Info:


Delano december 2015  
Delano december 2015