# 46 O CTO B E R
L U X E M B O U R G
E N G L I S H
GAME O F DRON E S TH E F U T U R E F O R LU X EM B O U RG ’ S UA S PI LOT S
CURRENT AFFAIRS BUSINESS LIFESTYLE
Vision means looking to the future without losing sight of the present. VP Bank looks ahead – with both feet firmly in the here and now. We guide you on your journey through the investment and finance universe. Because we don’t want to limit your potential. Safely ahead.
VP Bank (Luxembourg) SA · 26, Avenue de la Liberté · L-1930 Luxembourg · Luxembourg T +352 404 770-1 · F +352 481 117 · email@example.com · www.vpbank.com VP Bank Group is based in Liechtenstein and has offices in Vaduz, Zurich, Luxembourg, Tortola/BVI, Singapore, Hong Kong and Moscow.
Text by DUNCAN ROBERTS
LANGUAGE MATTERS A petition calling for Luxembourgish to be made the official language of the Grand Duchy has broken all records and sparked fresh debate about the identity of the country. nd so, here we go again. Thanks to a gentleman by the name of Lucien Welter, the passionate debate surrounding the role of the Luxembourgish language in the country has been reignited. Mr Welter, undoubtedly with good intention, submitted public petition no.698 to the Chambre des Députés website on 16 August. By the end of September, and with three weeks to go before its 24 October deadline, the number of supporters who had signed the petition was approaching 14,000. That is by far the most ever for a public petition since signature via the website was made possible, and well over the 4,500 required to force a parliamentary commission debate. The petition calls “to legally secure the Luxembourg language as the no.1 administrative and national language for all residents of Luxembourg.” Reaction and counter-reaction on social media was swift, often sarcastic, and at times fierce. The petition was dismissed as nonsense by many because the cost and practical logistics of translating all existing laws and administrative documents into Luxembourgish would be prohibitive. Others still were genuinely afraid that the move to protect the national language would be seized on by populists or even nationalists, and that it would discriminate against the majority non-Luxembourg population.
SO-CALLED INTELLECTUALS Singer and actor Serge Tonnar, who performs almost exclusively in Luxembourgish, said he would not be
SCHWÄTZT LËTZEBUERGESCH Entrepreneur Liz Wenger has designed a T-shirt that encourages locals to speak Luxembourgish with those foreigners learning the language
signing the petition. But he weighed in with the argument that “so-called intellectuals” who attacked its author and signatories were still failing to intelligently address in public the notions of identity, nationhood and the language. “They leave the monopoly in this discussion to the populists, and then wonder why.” It is this question of identity that is at the core of a debate that rears its head persistently--last year the question of Luxembourgish was at the heart of the referendum on foreigners voting rights. And the level of language proficiency required to acquire dual nationality is still being hotly discussed, even as the new law is about to come into effect. Many Luxembourgers are concerned that their language will die unless others are forced to learn it. They are annoyed that they have to speak French in many shops and restaurants. But evidence shows that the language is alive and well. Many restaurants and shops are encouraging their staff to learn at least
some Luxembourgish. And never before has so much culture--film, theatre, music--been made in Luxembourgish. The problem is, as one social media commentator pointed out, that many defenders of the Luxembourg language prefer to watch German television at home rather than go to the cinema or the theatre to watch a Luxembourg-language production. The petition is a well-meaning folly, and it should be dismissed by the parliamentary commission as thus. But politicians at national and local level must tackle the problem of the language and its role in national identity. There is a genuine need to make learning Luxembourgish more accessible and easier to practice. Sadly, there is still a large disconnect between the expat population and Luxembourgers outside of Tonnar’s sphere of “so-called intellectuals”. And as long as that gap persists those learning the language will not get the chance they deserve to use it, and both sides lose out. October 2016
Gaël Lesure (archives)
ONELIFE: A NEW PERCEPTION OF LIFE ASSURANCE Capitalising on 25 years of expertise, OneLife develops innovative wealth planning solutions through life assurance for a HNW international clientele. Here we take a look at the Group’s strategy and ambitions. Mr Stevens, as CEO of the Group, could you explain the strategy that led to the creation of OneLife last June? The creation of the unique OneLife brand is the result of an integration strategy spanning a number of years. Thanks to NPG Wealth Management and its life assurance company Private Estate Life our group has amassed extensive international expertise in the field of life assurance for wealth management and financial planning. This expertise was previously spread across a handful of companies; now, OneLife groups all of this expertise under a single brand strategy, and we hope that our new name will enable us to better serve an increasingly wealthy and demanding clientele of international standing. How is the wealth management market changing? The international wealth management market is undergoing major changes. Luxembourg, as the world’s secondlargest financial centre when it comes to fund administration, enjoys a strong international image and also boasts a centre of excellence in wealth management and planning. We are able to meet the requirements of an increasingly wealthy and cross-border clientele. Indeed, 39% of assets currently managed by Luxembourg players belong to wealthy clients based outside of the European Union. Furthermore, more than half of these assets belong to portfolios worth over 20 million euros. October 2016
A. OneLife exists to overturn conventional attitudes to life assurance B. Marc Stevens, CEO of OneLife Group
How do you manage to satisfy your clients using life assurance products? Every client’s life is unique in terms of the creation of their wealth, their family composition and their financial and personal goals. We have to meet the needs of these wealthy clients with adapted products that enable them to consider the future more serenely by not having to worry about security, structuring and transmission. Our aim is to enable them to live life to the full, and with this in mind, it is up to us to look after their best interests and those of their loved ones with tailored and sustainable solutions.
The life assurance contract enables us to meet these needs for sophistication and customisation perfectly and efficiently and in an increasingly cross-border context. Thanks to OneLife, our offering is now a lot clearer. To satisfy our clients’ needs we are able to capitalise on over 25 years’ of expertise. What are the cornerstones of this expertise? We are now able to meet the needs of a wealthy international clientele by mastering all of the legal and fiscal intricacies of each of the markets we operate in. To offer the most appropriate
" REGARDLESS OF WHETHER OR NOT BREXIT HAPPENS, BRITISH CLIENTS COULD HAVE A STRONG INTEREST IN OUR LUXEMBOURG LIFE ASSURANCE PRODUCTS."
What are your target markets? Historically, our key markets have been located within the European Union, with a strong presence in Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Finland and Sweden. We are the Belgian market leader for Luxembourg contracts (branch 23) and have a dominant position in Denmark with our pension assurance products. It is this expertise for a particular market and the corresponding fiscal and legal context that
enables us to offer innovative products. Beyond our key markets we also serve clients in other European countries such as Spain and Portugal. Our client-base is also now taking us further afield, to places like Brazil and Latin America, for example. With this in mind, does Brexit represent an opportunity for you to develop your business? Although it is still difficult to assess what medium-term impact Brexit will have, it has given rise to a lot of uncertainty within the United Kingdom. It didn’t take long for the Bank of England to intervene in support of the financial sector and the country’s economic development after the result of the referendum was announced. That said, Brexit or no Brexit, we still intend to develop our business in the United Kingdom. Regardless of the impact Brexit might have, clients could still benefit from our solutions, which would enable them to better structure their assets, particularly in a cross-border context. With this in mind, London-based financial institutions and asset managers could recommend that their clients use the Luxembourg-based products that we offer.
Lala La Photo
solutions possible it is vital that we know for each country how taxation applies to a contract, or even how to structure assets to take into account aspects of civil law. Our expertise lies in designing solutions and in providing advice on such matters, in partnership with other wealth management professionals with whom we work closely.
What makes Luxembourg a more interesting jurisdiction than another with regards to developing such initiatives? OneLife has chosen to operate out of Luxembourg because it is a jurisdiction with great international outlook and unique expertise. Furthermore, the legal and regulatory context allows for the implementation of innovative products. The Luxembourg life assurance contract offers many advantages, including, in addition to its very secure investment framework, the option of incorporating a wide variety of listed and unlisted assets with a view to meeting any kind of objective in terms of wealth management.
DIGITAL SOLUTIONS FOR MOBILE CLIENTS One of the main things that sets OneLife apart from the competition is its use of new digital channels. “We will launch soon a new tool to enable our clients and partners to interact whilst providing them easier access to the information they need, when they need it, wherever they may be”, Marc Stevens continues. “The digitalisation of our services is an exciting challenge, and we will need to rethink our client relations with this in mind, beginning, notably, with our new branding.”
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Write to PO Box 728 L-2017 Luxembourg Offices 10 rue des Gaulois, Luxembourg-Bonnevoie ISSN 2220-5535 Web www.maisonmoderne.com Founder and CEO Mike Koedinger Administrative and financial director Etienne Velasti Innovation, quality and operations director Rudy Lafontaine PUBLISHER Phone (+352) 20 70 70 Fax (+352) 29 66 19 E-mail email@example.com Publisher Mike Koedinger Editor-in-chief Duncan Roberts (firstname.lastname@example.org) Desk editor Aaron Grunwald (email@example.com) Contributors Wendy Casey, Neel Chrillesen, Jean Comte, Stephen Evans, Natascha Ewert, Martine Huberty, Marina Lai, Elodie Lamer, Sophia Miller, Sarah Pitt, Alix Rassel, Tonya Stoneman, Wendy Winn Photography Julien Becker, Sven Becker, Marion Dessard, Jan Hanrion, Anna Katina, Lala La Photo, Mike Zenari Proofreading Pauline Berg, Muriel Dietsch, Sarah Lambolez, Inès Sérizier DESIGN Phone (+352) 20 70 70-200 Fax (+352) 27 62 12 62-84 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Director, Maison Moderne Studio Guido Kröger Creative director Jeremy Leslie Art director Cassandre Bourtembourg Studio manager Stéphanie Poras-Schwickerath Layout Sascha Timplan (coordination), Monique Bernard, Sophie Melai
DELANO OCTOBER 2016
COVER STORY Game of drones
Unmanned aircraft systems are already buzzing the skies of the Grand Duchy. Delano speaks exclusively with the new Drone Club Luxembourg and with pilots about keeping those in the air and on the ground safe.
POLITICS No shouting please
Luxembourg voters prefer “slow and steady” to radical change, say these party insiders.
ADVERTISING Phone (+352) 20 70 70-300 Fax (+352) 26 29 66 20 E-mail email@example.com Director, Maison Moderne Advertising Sales Francis Gasparotto (firstname.lastname@example.org) Sales director Luciana Restivo (email@example.com) Account manager Anca Marinescu (firstname.lastname@example.org) SUBSCRIPTIONS For subscriptions, please visit www.delano.lu 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
HUMAN RESOURCES Atmospherics What makes a good workplace a good place to work, and others so bad?
BANKING The battle still brewing
Financial institutions that serve wealthy clients have made a momentous pivot over the past two years, but they are not done revising their recipe quite yet.
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In accordance with article 66 of the law of 08.06.2004 on the freedom of expression in the media: the company that publishes Delano is indirectly held, by a stake exceeding 25%, by Mike Koedinger, an independent editor registered in Luxembourg. Mike Koedinger is chartered with daily management. Delano™ and Maison Moderne™ are trademarks used under licence by MM Publishing S.A. © MM Publishing S.A. (Luxembourg) COVER PHOTO
Alvardo Garrido demonstrates a drone in a portrait by Julien Becker and a sketch by Eva Coste. NOTE TO OUR READERS
The next print edition of Delano will be published on 11 November. For updates, commentary and our weekly what’s on guide, visit www.delano.lu.
MEDIA The new black
Once viewed as a last resort by writers, many authors are gravitating to self-publishing as their first choice. These Grand Duchy-based scribes explain why.
FOOD & DRINK Sober appreciation
A new generation of specialist wine bars is springing up in Luxembourg.
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SALES RENTALS & VALUATIONS
CURRENT AFFAIRS 10
SNAPSHOTS Warm weather highlights
UPFRONT Carte blanche
EU competition officials are mixing apples and burgers, and creating uncertainty, reckons Keith O’Donnell.
PERSONAL BUSINESS Health insurance
DIGITAL HIGHLIGHTS: WWW.DELANO.LU
The Luxembourg-based creator of a new children’s book hopes to meet bottled-up demand.
SNAPSHOTS Welcome back
The head of the Automobile Club of Luxembourg, who wants you put your phone down before getting behind the wheel.
One senior financial regulator told the Alfi Global Conference that “numerous UK institutions” are quite likely to move to Luxembourg.
UPFRONT Catching up with…
UPFRONT Quick take
SNAPSHOTS Budding Brexit bonus Delano knows what Luxembourg expats did last summer… and now you will too. 15
Students and parents were in fine form at St. George’s International School “Freshers and Followers” event. 86
GETTING INVOLVED Movie night
Firms offering free wifi not responsible for illegal downloads, says EU top court Search for “Free wifi”
SNAPSHOTS Crash course
Amcham’s newcomers orientation class gives key details to freshly arrived expats. 18
THE JOURNAL Dispatches from Delano writers
With such a great state system, why do so many Luxembourg residents take out private coverage? 54
BREXIT Numbers game
How one NGO is giving refugees a much needed, and much appreciated, change of pace. 88
ON STAGE Top picks
How does Luxembourg stack up in the “race to replace London”? Delano’s inner nerd dug up some stats.
FROM LONDON TO LUXEMBOURG
Many investment funds may relocate after Brexit, says report Search for “More funds in Luxembourg”
PORTRAIT Thomas Seale
The CEO is marking European Fund Administration’s 20th anniversary. 64
From Feverish theatre and a Cole Porter musical to PJ Harvey and The Wedding Present, check out these live performances. Plus check out our page on Sonic Visions.
DEBATE Rethinking finance
QUICK GUIDE CinEast
“Trophy” in Kirchberg named one of the world’s ugliest sculptures Search for “2 deer”
Does Luxembourg’s financial sector need an overhaul? That is the topic of an upcoming public forum.
The new Pfaffenthal lift offers an impressive perspective.
Get the rundown on the central and eastern European film and culture festival.
MY OTHER LIFE Beneath the surface
A marcomm pro discovers new meaning with her paintbrush.
AUNTIE ELEANOR Roundabout mysteries
Delano’s new advice columnists helps solve readers’ Pfaffenthal and flag conundrums.
Can you give a cat or a dog a new home? Search for “Ebony” and “Jak” HAVE A COMMENT? Delano is always looking for reader feedback and guest contributors: email@example.com
Raul Lieberwirth Institutional Investor Awards Imgur Déierenasyl Gaasperech
The premiere of Luxembourg’s first ArabicEnglish radio programme; how effective is the Grand Duchy’s fight against corporate tax dodging; who stumped for Trump (and against The Donald) in Luxembourg; how is the Grand Duchy’s government getting ready for Brexit talks; a local charity is reaching out to refugee children; and who is Claude Wiseler?
Photography by SVEN BECKER, MARION DESSARD and LALA LA PHOTO
ELEGANT SOIRÉE: WWW.DELANO.LU/ BCCSUMMER16
ince our last print edition, Luxembourg’s international community took advantage of the warmer weather to celebrate, network and raise money for worthy causes. Here are just a few of the highlights from events held in July, August and September. Check the link listed in each bubble for the full story and lots more photos.
SUMMER DINNER Members and friends of the British Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg (www.bcc.lu) took a break from the office for a taste of opera and a sumptuous meal. A
Reported by Wendy Casey, Marina Lai, Sophia Miller, Sarah Pitt, Duncan Roberts, Tonya Stoneman and Wendy Winn
DIGITAL MEDIA: WWW.DELANO.LU/ IBCLTRUMPTALK16
TRUTH TALK A Pulitzer prize winning journalist spoke to the Indian Business Chamber of Luxembourg (www.ibcl.lu) on: “Donald Trump, thought leader? How bad infor mation leads to bad decisions”.
A. David Schrieberg of VitalBriefing speaks with image of Donald Trump in the background B. Aileen Edenholm Hopper and Keith Hopper C. Simône van Schouwenburg, Ricardo De Sousa, Carlo Oly and André Mersch
A. Robert Deed, BCC council member B. Christian Barkei, Merrin Bydder and Roel Schrijen C. Sandro PaceBonello and Carole Pace-Bonello D. Freda Deed, Judith Jungmann and Madeline Underwood E. Sophie Veinnant, Aishling O’Leary and Josée-Lynda Denis F. Nicholas Heath and Catharine Rogers, members of Opera à la Carte, during their performance
TRUE SPIRIT Everyone was on the same team as Kick Cancer Into Touch (on Facebook) raised money for Omega House and Een Häerz fir kriibskrank Kanner. A. Dominique, Jacob and Paul Sweetnam B. Kim and Molly Hirst C. Evan and David McKinney D. Paolo Tarakdjian, Giuliana Brandi and Ascanio Martinotti E. Play during the 16th annual family fundraiser F. Luxembourg’s international community-including Nasser Alkar (back, left) and Abbas Lali (back, second from right)--turn out in force
ON A ROLL The Pétrusse Skatepark (www.skatepark.lu) opened just below the viaduct. A., B. and C. Inauguration day D. Kids of all ages can enjoy the new skatepark E. Alderwoman Viviane Loschetter tries out a skateboard at the official opening, watched by mayor Lydie Polfer (left), deputy mayor Sam Tanson (not pictured) and alderman Patrick Goldschmidt, and Alex Welter and Dan Gantrel from skatepark.lu (in white T-shirts on the right)
CRICKET MILESTONE: WWW.DELANO.LU/ OPTIMISTS40TH
CATCHING THE BUG Optimists Cricket Club (www.optimists.cc) marked its 40th anniversary with a special match. A. The Galliver family B. Nina, John and Roger C. Owen Williamson, Deepak Gianchandani and Craig Fedderson D. Keeping score E. William Heath and Tony Whiteman
GIVE ’ER A WHISTLE: WWW.DELANO.LU/ IRISHSUMMERSCHOOL16
IRISH SUMMER SCHOOL Children learned all about Celtic culture during a course organised by the Luxembourg branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (www.comhaltas.lu). A. Bruno, Gordon and Lucas B. Chloe, Clara, Freddie & Phoebe Lynch C. Students perform for family and friends at the end of their classes
MORE PICTURES: WWW.DELANO.LU/ INDIADAY2016
COLOUR AND SPICE The Indian Association Luxembourg (www.ial.lu) organised “India Day” on the place d’Armes in Luxembourg City-Centre. A. Raju, Prem, Selva, Kavitha and Carla B. Vivek and Aarav C. Adhrit, Varun and Pallavi D. Danielle and Anjana E. Sofia and Babla
GOLF & LEADERSHIP Paperjam Club (www.paperjam. club) held a seminar for women executives on how golf can improve their management skills, and the other way around. A. Myriam Faber and Jessica Henriot B. Sandra Vogel, Christine Marchal and Gila Paris C. Odette Tonnaer
FORE! WWW.DELANO.LU/ GOLFDAY16
ASSELBORN FURORE OVER HUNGARY EXCLUSION CALL Luxembourg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, caused a political storm in September when he called for the EU to expel Hungary over its treatment of refugees. In an interview with German newspaper Die Welt, Asselborn expressed his anger at the Hungarian government’s policy on refugees, saying that Viktor Orbán’s regime was treating those who were fleeing war almost worse than animals. “The fence that Hungary is building along to keep out refugees is getting longer, higher and becoming more dangerous,” said Asselborn. “Hungary is not far from giving orders to shoot refugees. Anyone who wants to surmount
One of Luxembourg’s most successful entrepreneurs donated £400,000 to the British Conservative Party on 1 April this year, a report in The Guardian revealed. October 2016
the fence has to reckon with the worst.” Asselborn, the longest serving EU foreign minister, said that if Hungary were to apply to join the EU today its application would fail. “We cannot allow such basic values of the EU to be undermined,” he told Die Welt. “Those, like Hungary, that build fences to keep out war refugees or who injure the freedom of the press or the independence of the judiciary should be temporarily suspended, or if necessary, permanently expelled from the EU.” The interview came just days before an informal EU summit of 27 heads of state or government in Bratislava.
The Luxembourg cyclist has won €2 million in back pay from former employer Leopard AG after the cycling team was ruled to have unjustly terminated his contract.
State finances are in ruder health than forecast, according to a report delivered by finance minister Pierre Gramegna to the parliamentary commission. A deficit of 841 million euros was reduced to just 176 million in 2015. Gramegna said this was the result of the government continuing to pursue a rigorous budget in terms of public expenditure--it fell by 70% over the year--while maintaining a high level of investment. Indeed, spending on investment in 2015 was 2,427 million euros compared with 2,109 million euros in 2014. Revenue enjoyed a surprisingly positive trend, increasing by 30% over the year despite the loss of VAT earnings on e-commerce transactions, which were ended in 2015. The public administration surplus amounted to 796 million euros, which is 1.5 percent of GDP. The minister said that the government’s so-called Zukunftspak (future package) policy was clearly continuing to have a positive effect on state finances.
Charles Caratini > Trek > Olivier Minaire
STATE FINANCES LOOK GOOD
END OF MONARCHY
While the petition calling for Luxembourgish to be made the official language of the Grand Duchy (see page 3) has attracted all the media attention, another more radical petition on the Chambre des Députés website is also worth looking at. Pétition publique n°703 calls for the abolition of the monarchy and the introduction of a republic in Luxembourg. Submitted by Serge Hoffmann, the petition says that those currently undertaking the reform of the constitution should ask the people whether they want to retain the monarchy or would prefer to vote for their head of state. The petition had attracted fewer than 700 signatories by the end of September, but remains open until 24 October. www.chd.lu
Lala La Photo
EURO SCHOOL CAREERS DAY
Delano editor-in-chief Duncan Roberts (2nd from right) was among the professionals invited to the European School in Mamer’s careers day at the end of September. Students could choose to attend up to three sessions with professionals representing particular métiers. Seen with Roberts here are film producer Paul Thiltges (far left) and film maker Nicolas Neuhold (2nd left).
CATCHING UP WITH…
The director of the Automobile Club of Luxembourg is excited about the club’s new drive phone free campaign targeting young drivers. Just as authorities in the UK have doubled the fine and penalty points incurred by drivers caught using their mobile phones behind the wheel, so Luxembourg’s Automobile Club is taking a different approach. “Our thinking was that we can’t simply keep on creating sanctions, it would be perhaps good to make people understand the situation and make them more aware of the dangers. And to involve young people in creating and transmitting a message for young people. If ‘older’ people tell young drivers what to do, they don’t always pay attention. If I think back a generation, we were not much better,” says Jean-Claude Juchem, the director of the ACL. Older drivers don’t use mobile phones as much for texting or taking selfies, argues Juchem. They may use the phone in hands free mode, but he has noticed himself drivers in other cars holding their mobile phones while driving. He has also noticed that more and more call outs the ACL gets for its repair trucks from young drivers are for damage to the front and rear right-side tyres of a car--which could indicate that drivers are hitting the pavement because they are being distracted by their phone. Inspired by a young marketing intern, who has since been employed full time at the ACL, the club has launched a video and photo contest that encourages creative thinking and problem solving in its young members. Open to anyone between the ages of 16 and 25, the contest is seeking a video or a photograph and accompanying slogan that will help educate young drivers about the dangers of texting or taking selfies whilst driving. Entries, which must be submitted by 23 October, will be judged by a jury of six professionals, and the final selection will be posted online in November and open to a public vote. The makers of the winning video will receive 1,500 euros, with a further 500 euros for the best photo. “We hope that schools will take up the challenge, that they will tackle the subject in class and that groups of students will enter the contest,” says Juchem. www.acl.lu Interview by DUNCAN ROBERTS Photography by LALA LA PHOTO October 2016
Text by MARINA LAI
Photography by LALA LA PHOTO
CRASH COURSE FOR EXPATS
t’s not every day that recent arrivals get a free six-hour overview of their new country. But that’s precisely what happened during last month’s “Newcomers Orientation Course for Third Country Nationals”. The class, organised in English and in Portuguese by Amcham, aims to help attendees integrate and understand Luxembourg. One attendee, Kara Lammi, who arrived from Boston in September, said that a lot of information here is in French or German and as an Anglophone it is hard to navigate if you don’t speak either of those languages. Beverley Atkinson, one of the instructors, said she got involved because “I want people to feel good about living here”.
TAKING NOTES A. Marco Antonio, Clarissa Gomes and Thairo Rodrigues during the newcomers course organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg (www. amcham.lu) in September B. Viktor Klymonchuk and Valentyna Klymonchuk C. Patricia Ferrerezi and Leonardo Milazotto D. James Zawoul and Jaime Arango E. Kara Lammi and Will Tiernan F. Najma Sheikh, Rafik Sheikh and Ahmed Sheikh G. Rami Lahoud and Angelica Fernandez H. Paul Schonenberg of Amcham and Simône van Schouwenburg of ING, which sponsored the sessions I. Beverley Atkinson speaks during the orientation class
MORE HIGHLIGHTS: WWW.DELANO.LU/ NEWCOMERS16
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A REFUGE ON THE RADIO The Salam programme hopes to bring practical information to asylum seekers and highlight Luxembourg’s Arabic community.
alam, broadcast on Graffiti (Ara Radio’s youth programming), is the first Arabic and English radio show in the Grand Duchy. Its aim is to help Arabic speaking newcomers, predominantly asylum seekers, integrate into life in Luxembourg whilst also sharing Arabic culture and
heritage with the local population. Lama Alogli, a Syrian national studying at the University of Luxembourg (pictured, left), came up with the idea of a radio show to help the two societies integrate. “I thought it was important to explain in Arabic how things work in Luxembourg, the rules and processes,” she explained. “At the same time, I wanted to share Syrian and Iraqi culture with the local population so they know more about our countries’ rich heritage.”
In order to fund the project and buy necessary equipment, Alogli approached a major foundation, the Œuvre Nationale de Secours Grande-Duchesse Charlotte, and was awarded the money needed to launch the programme in September. In fact, Salam was recently selected as one of ten of the charity’s initiatives to be formally presented to the grand duke and prime minister. Ehab Ghandour, originally from Damascus (pictured, right), co-hosts the show with Alogli. A former teacher, he traveled across six countries to find asylum in Luxembourg. “I think many people associate Syrian society with negative images like war and terrorism, but Syria has a very
together so that we can live together in peace, hence the title… Salam!” Salam airs live on 102.9 FM and 105.3 FM Mondays between 2 and 3 p.m. and is repeated Tuesdays from 10 to 11 p.m. www.salam-ara.com
Reported by ALIX RASSEL
LUXEMBOURG IN A TRICKY POSITION When it comes to fighting tax dodging, it is quite challenging to understand how constructive the Grand Duchy really is.
ccused of organising tax avoidance on a wide scale after the LuxLeaks scandal, the Grand Duchy has been trying over the past year and half to show a cooperative face to its EU partners. When holding the rotating presidency of the EU council of finance ministers, from July to December 2015, Pierre Gramegna successfully negotiated a new European law requiring tax administrations to exchange details on each national tax ruling. The deal was criticised, as it excludes the European Commission, which initially wanted to be part of the exchange. But everyone praised the speed of the negotiations, which only took a few months, something quite unusual in tax matters. “The current Luxembourgish government is very cooperative and very eager to fight tax avoidance,” the German Liberal MEP Michael Theurer told Delano. “It is very different from the previous one, which set up these rulings.” The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Pascal Saint-Amans (pictured), who is behind the “Beps” action plan designed to fight tax dodging at global level, has the same praising tone. “Luxembourg is fully playing the game at
OECD level. At EU level, we can see that their sovereignty matters but they’re not a blocking force,” he said in an interview. But sources close to the talks are much more sceptical, and suggest that Luxembourg is still eager to protect the advantages linked to its historical tax policy. “Since the end of its EU presidency, its officials are less motivated by tax cooperation,” said one source, pointing at the difficult negotiations of the anti-tax-avoidance package which was agreed last June. Another source said that the country remained cooperative, but suggested the Grand Duchy took advantage of the Irish and Belgian positions--two countries which threatened to block the deal.
"OVER-RELIANCE" The Grand Duchy is also opposing the commission’s proposal to impose public country by country reporting, which would require companies operating in the EU to publicly disclose information such as profits they made and tax they paid. The commission managed to find a legal basis which would only require the greenlight of a majority of member states, as opposed to the unanimity rule in tax matters. The Grand Duchy was furious. “Luxembourg is cooperative only on the surface, but it doesn’t want to change its business model,” said the German Green MEP Sven Giegold. “They stole millions of euros from neighbouring countries, but never recognised that they did anything bad.” When presenting itself as October 2016
diverse ethnicity and history. Damascus, for example, is widely known as one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world, even older than Jerusalem. It is important to share this information and provide a fuller picture of our society.” In addition to providing news and cultural information, the Salam show interviews local organisations that offer assistance to asylum seekers. “So far we have interviewed members of Asti, Amnesty International and Hariko,” says Alogli. “However, we have also approached politicians and members of the civil service, such as the Adem [jobs bureau], who can provide important information to newcomers.” Amidst the discussions on culture and news, Salam plays an eclectic range of Arabic music. “We play different types of Arabic music to represent our broad society and all the different dialects,” she explains. “Some of the music is based on the traditional Arabic nasheeds, which are a form of poetry or story telling in our culture,” adds Ghandour. “However, we also play more popular music, even though we are yet to play Fairuz, one of the most popular Arabic singers.” Although at the time of publication Salam is still in its infancy, its popularity is growing. “I have had many Luxembourgish people contact me to say how much they like the show and the music,” says Alogli. “They are welcome to contact us either through the studio, our website or our Facebook page to ask questions or make suggestions.” Likewise, she and Ghandour encourage asylum seekers and refugees to use the website to propose questions and subjects about living in Luxembourg that they would like to know the answer to. “We are here to exchange information and bridge the gap between our societies, so that we can live and work together in peace,” he states. “There has been a lot of negative press regarding asylum seekers recently,” Alogli points out. “However, that is not the purpose of our show. The show aims to combine our societies
virtuous, it still challenged the commission’s decision to order Fiat to pay back €30m in taxes to the Grand Duchy. As for the LuxLeaks scandal--described by Gramegna as “the worst attack” his country had ever experienced--the whistleblowers were prosecuted (and face appeals hearings in December). According to Giegold, Luxembourg will never be more cooperative, because “its whole economy depends on the tax industry.” “The Grand Duchy is over-reliant on this economic sector, which became too powerful,” he said. Reported by JEAN COMTE and ELODIE LAMER
IN THRALL OF TRUMP Neutral outsiders are perplexed by the manner in which some American voters seem to be bewitched by Republican party presidential candidate Donald Trump. A recent debate in Luxembourg did little to dispel those concerns.
ust days before the first televised presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, US ambassador David McKean hosted Luxembourg’s own election debate. Featuring representatives of both parties’ expat branches in Luxembourg, the debate was billed as being about policy rather than personality. McKean had said in his introduction that he thought Trump and Clinton would exchange niceties, and then spend much time insulting each other and questioning the other’s fitness for office. “What I don’t think they’ll do enough of, but what I hope we will do tonight, is to discuss the issues… This debate will be about substance. Imagine that.” The ambassador did manage to pose specific and detailed questions about a range of subjects from
immigration and terrorism to the economy, race relations and gun control. Some were met with thoughtful and constructive answers by Democrats Will Bakker and Eva Moynihan and Republicans James O’Neal and William Abundes. While the ambassador had said he did not expect the panellists to channel the candidates, members of the audience could not help but notice that O’Neal and Abundes spoke in the same short sharp sentences, and used much of the rhetoric of fear, that Trump deploys to attract attention from his audience. On one of the most contentious issues of the campaign, Trump’s pledge to
build a wall on the US-Mexico border and getting the Mexicans to pay for it, O’Neal admitted he had not yet heard details of how Trump would force the Mexicans to pay for the wall. He said, however, that it was high on Trump’s priority and was sure he would achieve his goal. Unsurprisingly, the panellists failed to agree on the question of whether race relations in the US had improved or declined during Obama’s presidency, and were passionately divided on the merits or faults of the Black Lives Matter movement. And the issue of gun control also elicited fervent arguments on both sides, with Moynihan arguing for an improvement to the background checks system and questioning whether individuals should be allowed to own military assault weapons. Abundes cited the Waco siege as evidence that citizens should be allowed military-style assault weapons to defend themselves against the government. He also argued that if teachers were allowed to carry guns, fewer incidents like the Sandy Hook school massacre would happen. Closing the debate, Bakker said he was shocked that the Republican representatives had been completely captured by right wing media like Breitbart, the Drudge Report and the radical fringe of AM radio. “We need a reasonable, thoughtful opposition to the Democratic Party in the United States… I want to trade ideas and argue about principles and whether they lead to shared goals for the public good. But we’re not doing that this year.” Reported by DUNCAN ROBERTS
" I WANT TO TRADE IDEAS AND ARGUE ABOUT PRINCIPLES… BUT WE’RE NOT DOING THAT THIS YEAR." WILL BAKKER, DEMOCRATS ABROAD LUXEMBOURG
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LUXEMBOURG WANTS AN AMICABLE DIVORCE
s the UK government gets its ducks in order to prepare negotiations to leave the EU, the Luxembourg government has not been idle either. Luxembourg is preparing itself to be as accommodating as possible while keeping the integrity of the European single market. The government seems to be taking a dual approach to Brexit: on the one hand, it discusses the issue in the already established Interministerial European Policy Committee (Comité interministériel de coordination de la politique européenne), which is headed by the foreign affairs ministry, and on the other in the High Committee for the Financial Centre (Haut Comité de la place financière), which is under the direction of the finance ministry. The CICPE is, roughly, in charge of the political aspects and official negotiations and has already discussed the issue a few times, according to the foreign affairs ministry. The HCPF considers the economic impact and opportunities together with the most important players in the economy. Serge de Cillia, director of the Luxembourg Bankers’ Association (ABBL), said in an interview with radio 100,7 that the HCPF has created a “task force which gathers information from all the actors from the financial and economic sector and plans to develop a comprehensive offer for banks and companies who are interested in coming to Luxembourg.” He hoped that by the end of the year, an offer could be presented with answers related to regulation, business taxation, housing and schooling. Over the years, the two countries were allies on several policy areas in EU Council negotiations such as free trade, cutting red tape, and on financial October 2016
regulation (they were both against the proposals for a financial transaction tax). It is in Luxembourg’s interest to ensure the UK is not isolated in these negotiations, said the minister for the economy Étienne Schneider. While the government wants the negotiations to start as soon as possible because of the economic, political and financial uncertainties the vote has created, it is not in Luxembourg’s interest to pressure the UK unnecessarily. While the foreign affairs ministry has reiterated that the four freedoms (free movement of goods, people, services and capital) are indivisible, that the integrity of the single market should be safeguarded, it has also stated that the UK should remain one of the key bilateral partners. When asked if there would be a reciprocal restriction to UK migrants if the UK government were not willing to accept the free movement of workers, the ministry of foreign
affairs warned that that would not be an unlikely outcome, but hopes it won’t come to that, as maintaining access to the single market is in the interest of the UK. It seems clear Luxembourg wants to keep the UK as closely connected as possible to the EU while reaping any potential benefits from Brexit. Reported by MARTINE HUBERTY
SPORTUNITY EXPANDS ITS REMIT A local charity is reaching out to refugee children while maintaining its goal of improving lives through sport.
t is easy, especially in the chaotic back to school period, to see sport and exercise as a chore, or a necessary evil performed out of pressure to keep our bodies and minds in best condition. But for the people at Sportunity, it is much more than that. With a motto and goal of “improving lives through sport”, the Luxembourg-based charity, now in its fourth year, genuinely believes in the power of sport to improve the lives of the young and disadvantaged,
and act as a tool for integration into local communities. “Sport is so universal,” explains DeeDee Ostrowska, the charity’s head of strategic partnerships and operations. “It offers an immediate connection regardless of language and cultural differences, and helps build lasting connections and friendships that go deeper than verbal communication.” A charity with a global outreach, one of Sportunity’s lines of work is their talent development programme. Relying on private donations and sponsors, they provide support to promising young athletes without the financial means to develop their skills.
Julien Becker (archives)
How the Grand Duchy’s government is preparing for Brexit.
Illustration by Jan Harion
With outposts all over the world, sporting talent can be recognised before the young people are referred to Sportunity and accepted by the team at the headquarters in Luxembourg onto their support programme. By empowering high-potential children and teenagers, sport becomes a means of social change, and provides a crucial sense of self-improvement, that Ostrowska deems “so very important for children who have been uprooted from their homes.” Back in Luxembourg, the initiatives that form the backbone of the charity don’t merely aim to help refugee or underprivileged children. It also runs “integration through sport” and “meet an athlete” sessions that are open to young people of all backgrounds, and give the opportunity for interaction between young aspiring sportspeople and world-class athletes. “We always make sure that our training sessions are absolutely top-quality,” states Ostrowska. “It is good to work on healthy habits of children from the earliest stage and we see sport as a perfect way to introduce displaced children into our community in a very positive and constructive way.” Sportunity works closely in conjunction with refugee shelters, and in May had professional athletes coach a group of children from the Weilerbach shelter to run the ING mini-marathon. Now, since the beginning of September, the project has been expanding further, with regular classes in hip-hop dance and karate running twice a week. Taught in French and English, Sportunity are openly seeking local teenagers and children (the classes are segregated by age) to participate in these integrated sports lessons--a perfect opportunity to foster community spirit and give back to a charity that does so much to improve the lives of others. “What we do takes an immense amount of time and energy, but our Sportunity children can make it all worthwhile in a heartbeat,” adds Ostrowska. www.sportunity.org
Reported by SOPHIA MILLER
Born 30 January 1960 in Luxembourg City Education Athénée and the Sorbonne in Paris (doctorate in literature) Career 1983-1987: teacher at Athénée and the Lycée Technique du Centre 1987-1999: civil servant in the education, family, and small business ministries 1995-2000: general secretary of the CSV 1999: elected to the Chamber of Deputies as a CSV representative 2004: made minister for the civil service, administrative reform and public works 2009: minister for sustainable development 2013: leader of the CSV parliamentary faction
" THE OPPOSITION IS THERE
TO CRITICISE WHEREVER IT THINKS CRITICISM IS JUSTIFIED."
A vocal leader of the CSV on the opposition benches, Claude Wiseler has been selected to head his party’s election campaign. The right of centre CSV party is not used to being in opposition. Shorn of its talismanic leader Jean-Claude Juncker after the last election, the party faced a tough choice in selecting the candidate to head its campaign at the next parliamentary election. But in a meeting of the party’s national council in July, it plumped by an overwhelming margin for Claude Wiseler. He had faced a challenge from former finance and justice minister Luc Frieden (once seen as Juncker’s natural successor) as well as former European commissioner Viviane Reding and former higher education minister Martine Hansen. But Wiseler has demonstrated that even though he may lack the experience of Frieden or Reding, he has a solid background
and has experience in a number of government ministries both as a civil servant and as a minister. And as leader of the parliamentary faction, Wiseler has not been afraid to take the fight to the coalition government when the CSV has found fault with its policies. Often that has meant being on the side of the majority of the electorate-he was an opponent of the government’s proposal to give foreign residents a vote in parliamentary elections, although he did also call for making obtaining citizenship easier. Born and raised in Luxembourg City, like many career politicians Wiseler attended the Athénée high school. Unlike many politicians, however, he studied the arts at university, completing a degree in literature in Paris before returning to his alma mater to teach. October 2016
Text by MARTINE HUBERTY
Photography by SVEN BECKER
NO SHOUTING PLEASE, WE’RE LUXEMBOURGERS Why “slow and steady” wins the race in Luxembourg politics. Officials from two major parties give their take on the country’s political culture.
hether you’ve lived in the Grand Duchy for a short time or have been here for many years, one thing has surely struck you: political life is particularly calm and sedate compared to, for example, France, Belgium or the UK. You never hear the hot-headed discussions on current issues between politicians or even journalists you may be used to in other democracies. You may have wondered why this is so, and come up with any of the following explanations: it is a small country, so not much happens anyway; the problems in a small country are small as well; or people are just not that interested. However, these answers are too simplistic or only partially correct. But let us analyse the evidence. The first thing to notice is the lack of political change: the centre-right CSV was the largest party in every election since the end of World War II (in 1974, just as in 2013, the CSV was not considered a viable coalition partner and Gaston Thorn from the liberal DP became prime minister). Let me rephrase this: this is the first time in 35 years where we have a PM who did not emerge from the CSV! Let us add another fact which would at least raise an eyebrow in many other countries: Jean-Claude Juncker, now president of the European Commission, had previously been PM for 18 years (and initially was expected to have continued to be so, as his party was the winner in the 2013 poll as well). This is why the last election and the coalition--between the DP, centre-left LSAP and Greens--was such a sea change. Such little change in overall election results and personnel is puzzling in any democracy.
Could it be that voters genuinely don’t care about politics? As voting is compulsory, it is difficult to assess the interest of citizens in the democratic process. However, if we consider the referendum in 2015 where voting was voluntary, an 86% turnout suggests a huge interest in politics. Many people in Luxembourg are active in political and social associations and are members of a political party, trade unions, business associations or NGOs. They also have above average trust in these political institutions and think they can influence political decision-making.
THREE DECADES OF GROWTH Françoise Schlink, the secretary of the DP parliamentary group, puts this all down, primarily, to the country’s economy: “One important reason for the absence of change lies in the fact that economically the country is doing well. Low unemployment, high economic growth and a strong social security system are all stabilising factors and explain why the voters are not necessarily asking for change. Over the last 30 years Luxembourg was a success story. Political change happens more often when people are not doing well economically. Luxembourg has always managed, whoever was in power, to do well economically. A political change happens often in economic crises.” Nadia Rangan, the CSV parliamentary bloc secretary, agrees and argues that “trust in politics is high because we have lived quite well here over the past 30 years. Our problems are smaller compared to other countries’, and we can solve them quicker because we are a small country. We were also able to solve problems quicker because we had more financial means. That makes social cohesion easier [when] everyone is satisfied with their own life. And if everyone is satisfied, then you have higher trust in politics.”
Both Schlink and Rangan argue that the so-called Luxembourg model, based on an institutionalised dialogue between government, trade unions and business associations, has been a success and contributed to this political stability. Rangan says that “if important political decisions, which have an economic impact or, for example, on employment law, need to be taken, they used to be taken after consultation with business associations and trade unions. In the past consensus politics made it easier for the population to support and accept it, if their trade union was in favour or at least not totally against it. If business or trade unions would rally against a decision, people were more likely to question and criticise it. Our model helps people see beyond their own narrow interests, and that a decision may be good for them but not for others, and it helps them see the bigger picture. Our political culture is characterised by a great political stability based on economic success and this culture of consensus which we’ve been having for the last 40-50 years.”
NADIA RANGAN “Our model helps people see beyond their own narrow interests”
CONSERVATIVE ELECTORATE Nadia Rangan of the CSV party reckons the Grand Duchy’s voters are rather centrist: “Luxembourgers don’t like extremes; they like the golden middle road--not just CSV voters but most Luxembourgers. The other parties had misinterpreted their voters’ preferences during the [2015 foreigner voting rights] referendum and a lot of their own voters had voted against their proposals. The Luxembourger, even if he votes Social-Democrat or Green, is fundamentally conservative. Maybe if you are a labourer you have more affinity with the LSAP or maybe you are more concerned about the environment and so you are more open to the Green’s proposals, but in general the Luxembourger is fundamentally conservative. This is not to say that he hates change, but it should happen slowly. You need to approach it carefully and it needs time. Quick changes, changes that are top-down, are not things the Luxembourger appreciates.” October 2016
"SENSITIVE ISSUES ARE DISCUSSED EARLY IN THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS WITH THE CONCERNED ACTORS."
FRANÇOISE SCHLINK “We have an entrenched culture of dialogue rather than a debating culture”
Schlink adds: “This stability is due to the fact that most problems are solved through dialogue, combined with a strong state and a strong social security system which takes care of people.”
DISCUSSIONS, NOT PROTESTS Is this the reason why political exchanges are also relatively tame and dispassionate in Luxembourg? Schlink reflects that “we have an entrenched culture of dialogue rather than a debating culture. October 2016
Sensitive issues are discussed early in the decision-making process with the concerned actors. Solutions--or possible ways to solve things--can then already be sketched [out] early in the discussion.” “The Luxembourger doesn’t like it when people argue or shout. That is not in our DNA. We are not like the Italians who don’t stop arguing and criticising every political decision or the French who protest on the street for a yes or a no--it is just not in our DNA,” Rangan adds. So far, so calm.
However, the global economic and financial crisis has also left its mark on Luxembourg. The tripartite model came under severe strain when budget cuts and tax rises for businesses and individuals were announced and the dialogue between the social partners has not been easy since. Rangan is not happy about this development: “The crisis obviously played a role. This consensus culture has been suffering of late. There are many reasons for it. To a certain extent it has to do with the personalities of certain individuals. There is a new lack of solidarity, which is not unique to Luxembourg but noticeable all over Europe. The trade unions and the business associations still see the interest of the whole population, sure, but they are more individualised. Now they try to defend their own interests in a more intensive and stubborn way.” Schlink sees a new development: “The tripartite negotiations have now resumed but they have become much more difficult. What has changed since the 1970s is the participatory models and channels of engagement. The Rifkin study [editor’s note: an economic paper released by the government earlier this year] also recommended to develop a new economic model through a participatory process, which would not only include the trade unions, but also other associations, such as NGOs in the environment sector or in the social sector. These discussions with other societal actors run in parallel to the classic tripartite.” In the wake of the global financial crisis, there has certainly been a change in the mood and tone in relations between the social partners and the government, especially in the education sector. However, economic growth levels have increased, and the current coalition government is seen as stable. It has also changed tactics with the new fiscal reform and is trying to revive dialogue with the trade unions. So we may tentatively conclude that we will stay who we are and Luxembourg will continue to be a calm and moderate place to live.
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Text by DUNCAN ROBERTS
Photography by JULIEN BECKER
GAM OF DRO October 2016
The future is coming, and it may be shaped by drones: unmanned aircraft systems that can perform all sorts of tasks more safely and more efficiently than humans. But the surge in the use of drones over the past year has also raised questions about air space security and privacy protection. In the Grand Duchy, pilotsâ€™ association ALPL is joining an international call for more awareness and for the licencing of drone pilots. Meanwhile, the newly established Drone Club Luxembourg is not only advocating safe drone flying, but also serves as a forum for local UAS operators and is promoting new applications for drone use in all sorts of fields.
ONES October 2016
ome call them expensive toys for adults. Others are convinced they are a menace to air space and a threat to privacy, or even a cruel instrument of war. And a few see the significant economic, commercial and scientific impact they may play in the near future. Drones, it seems, strongly divide opinion. But these unmanned aircraft systems are constantly in the news and more and more individuals and businesses are using them for leisure or commercial activities. The newly launched Drone Club Luxembourg has already taken a lead in the discussions about UAS use in the Grand Duchy. It held its first formal meeting in early July. Alvaro Garrido and his fellow founding members had talked about their interest in drones and eventually decided to buy a vehicle. “At the same time we also undertook some research into the Luxembourg scene, but there was really nothing. So we set up a club for pilots but also for clients,” says Garrido. “The idea was to create a community for everyone interested in drones.” The club’s f irst meeting attracted people from all sorts of sectors--from agriculture, regulatory bodies, aviation authorities, marketing and journalism. The pair estimate that there are around 100 drone pilots, or operators, in the Grand Duchy. A good drone costs around 1,500 euros including batteries (they last only around 20 minutes). The world leader in consumer drones is China, with companies like DJI being dubbed “the Apple of drones”. “Cheaper drones are available, but they are more diff icult to operate. The one we have calibrates itself.” Indeed, a good drone is relatively easy to use, and can nowadays be operated with the use of a smartphone or tablet which, with the right software, can be used to fly the vehicle, check settings and calibrations and even operate the camera. “Like every gadget, you have to master it. You learn every day,” says Garrido. “Basically the most difficult things are take-off and landing--as they are with all flying objects. The other thing to watch out for is that the camera only shows you one direction, so you are blind on three sides and you have to be aware of distances, the immediate environment that the drone is flying in and watch out for trees or power lines and really use the map.” Control options can be tweaked to suit different pilots. October 2016
As lawyers, the Drone Club Luxembourg founders were interested in discovering the legal aspects of owning and operating a drone in Luxembourg, but found what they call “a bit of a legal void.” Garrido takes up the story. “It is difficult to understand fully what is required, what is forbidden. We had several phone calls with the civil aviation authority, who were very responsive. So we want to spread the word about the regulations.”
LEGAL ASPECT Currently no licence is required to fly a drone in Luxembourg. A bill of law is being drafted, and the club hopes to contact those responsible for drawing up the legislation and provide their point of view. “You have different systems in Europe. The French law is for amateur pilots. It is very clear and has ten guidelines that make sense-don’t fly over people or near the airport, don’t spy on private property. But Belgium has a licence model, without which you can only fly over your own property to a height of 50 metres. Obtaining the licence is like getting a driving licence.” In Luxembourg because there is so no licencing authority, Garrido says that permission from the civil aviation authority is required before each drone flight. Indeed, the civil aviation authority has published on its website a “good conduct code” for UAS operators, with lists of very
"THERE IS NO POINT HAVING RULES IF YOU DON’T ENFORCE THEM." DIRK BECKER, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, ALPL
common sense dos and don’ts. For instance, operators must obtain permission from the owners of any property over which they want to fly. There is also a rule that you cannot film people if they are recognisable, but filming crowds is not a problem.
SAFETY CONCERNS But invasion of privacy is just one of the concerns currently being expressed about drone flying. The much more serious worry is safety, especially when drones are being flown near airfields. Dirk Becker, executive secretary of the Luxembourg pilots’ association ALPL, says that the European Commission has expressed concern over airline safety. The pilots’ association is a member of the European Cockpit Association, which issued a call for a number of measures to improve safety including the registration of all drones. Becker says that it is important to inform the leisure users of drones--he likens flying such drones to a hobby like model railways--about safety issues. “There needs to be a thoughtful regulation process. We have our opinion on what this entails. Things like insurance, creating rules that can be enforceable--we are not talking about hindering the use of drones, but about making sure that air space is shared correctly.” Even though Becker says that there have been no reports of collisions or near misses in Luxembourg, there have been plenty of scare stories in other parts of the world. In August a near miss was reported He says that all drone operators should have the same between a Flybe airplane with training in “see and avoid principle” as other users of 62 people on board as it was going air space, such as helicopter, private plane, glider and in to land at Newquay airport. balloon pilots. “Even a small drone, of one or two And in April Bloomberg led with kilograms… If you have an aircraft like a 747 flying a piece that predicted that “drones at 200km/h near Findel, you have a lot of kinetic are the new threat to airline safety.” energy that could have a catastrophic result.”
Other concerns are if a drone is operating near the site of an accident to which an air rescue helicopter is attending. “The helicopters fly low and fast and the small drones are very hard to visually identify.” Becker says that while pilots’ associations recognise that the risk of a collision is very small, the risk needs to be addressed. “It is crucial to do something before a major incident happens.” However, the pilots do not want to vilify drone users and are not opposed to drone flying in principle. “It’s a nice toy and the pictures you can get are great. Many of these incidents with drones do not occur because operators have any intention of doing something wrong. They are just not aware sometimes, and that’s why we want drone operators and potential drone buyers to be educated about the dangers.” ALPL pilots have not undergone any specific training in dealing with drones, but near misses have to be reported. Sources suggest there are on average around 100 near misses each week in the United States, whereas in Germany it is just one per week. “Over the last 12 months in the United States there has been an increase of 80% of reported near misses, because everyone is buying drones.” Which is why it is important that any new regulations should not exempt smaller drones. The problem of enforcement has also not been fully resolved. At the moment it would fall to national police authorities. “There is no point having rules if you don’t enforce them. But we have pushed so much on to police at the moment, that they are stretched. And if you enforce something, you need to train people how to enforce it.” The pilots are also calling for mandatory insurance, which, says Becker, could lead to insurance companies requiring drone operators to take additional training to mitigate the risk of an incident as much as possible. Technology can also play a role. Some lobby groups have suggested that drones should be fitted with transponders that can send signals to aircraft and air traffic controllers, and the risk of incidents at or near airfields could be mitigated by the introduction of geo-fencing technology that would forcibly land a drone if it approaches a secured area. The Drone Club Luxembourg founders say one of the reasons they chose a DJI drone is that the manufacturer is working with aviation authorities in different countries to develop software that will disable the drone, and land it safely, if it approaches a no-fly zone. The company’s website even has lists of the no-fly zones in each country, including airports, sports stadia, prisons and nuclear power plants. October 2016
" DRONES PROVIDE A NEW PERSPECTIVE OF THE WORLD WE LIVE IN."
But even with these restrictions and awareness of safety, the pair’s enthusiasm is unabated. The club’s aim is to create an environment for drone pilots whatever their field--it can be filming commercials or checking on crops. So the club would be an exchange that could allow people to support each other in their endeavours.
INTRIGUING FUTURE The club is also receiving support from start-up incubator Technoport for its drone racing events. “We want to hold races in their premises, but they can also build the obstacles for the race courses in their Fab Lab facility.” FPV Racing Luxembourg has also hosted races in the Grand Duchy. “Drones provide a new perspective of the world we live in,” says Garrido. “There are multiple applications. They can be used for the film and music industry, for events and advertising or even for journalism. There are appliALVARO GARRIDO, DRONE CLUB LUXEMBOURG cations for real estate, for inspecting roofs, for example, or in the agriculture industry for soil analysis.” Drone racing is a fast-growing sport. Search and rescue agencies can also use drones Already there is a race worth prize money equipped with thermal imaging cameras in of $1m--the Dubai World Drone Prix--television catastrophe situations, which reduces the cost broadcasters like Sky are also investing in the sport, and risk. and different leagues are being set up. The Guardian Business Insider magazine ran an article in has labelled it “the new sport that could go sky high.” August under the title “How drones are turning everyday citizens into superheroes”. It cited examples of private drone operators volunteering to help out local fire departments in the United States, spotting stranded victims of flooding from the air and even delivering life vests to those in danger. The third generation of drones being used by the likes of Garrido includes safety technology that will land the drone safely if it is running out of battery or if for some reason the operator loses contact with the drone. “The rules are that you have to maintain visual contact with the drone, but in theory the drone could fly up to three kilometres away.” Prototypes are being developed for the next generation of machines that can be used underwater and sensors that help the drone avoid collision without pilot intervention. Stories about Amazon using drones to deliver orders to customers or even Domino’s Pizza in New Zealand experimenting with a drone delivery service showcase the more commercial applications of drones on the future. But such services would require custom-built drones to operate effectively. For the moment, the Drone Club Luxembourg says its pilots are split into two camps--those that are developing business models using drones and those that are using them for entertainment and leisure. “The sector is going to grow a lot. So the sooner you jump into it the more opportunities you will have.”
DRONE CLUB LUXEMBOURG Platform for drone pilots and users www.droneclub.lu October 2016
FPV RACING LUXEMBOURG Club hosting multicopter race meetings Info on Facebook
DRONE PROVIDE Provides drones for commercial users www.droneprovide.com
LUX-DRONES Aerial photography and filming services www.flyluxdrones.com
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DUSK VIEW PFAFFENTHAL LIFT, 22 JULY After six years of construction, a second public elevator connecting Luxembourg City-Centre and the Alzette Valley entered service over the summer. A lift connecting the St. Esprit plateau with the Grund opened in the 1980s. This new elevator runs 60m vertically between the Pfaffenthal district and near the Pescatore retirement home. It cost â‚Ź10.5m to build. The trip takes 30 seconds and offers an impressive view of the valley floor and across to Kirchberg. After less than one monthâ€™s service, the city shut down the elevator for technical work that took some 20 hours over the course of a week. AG October 2016
A sharp break with Europe “would likely be manageable for most UK-based financial firms,” a major credit ratings agency said. Even non-EU outfits that use London as a regional headquarters would not “suffer materially” if the UK lost its cross-border financial “passport” to the EU, according to a report issued by Moody’s in September. “Should the UK leave the single market as well as the EU, UK-based financial firms (including branches and subsidiaries of non-EU firms) may lose their passporting rights,” wrote Simon Ainsworth, a senior vice
FOREIGNERS OVERTAKE NATIVE STAFF
The number of foreign residents employed in the Grand Duchy surpassed the number of native Luxembourgers in the workforce for the first time during the second quarter. Cross-border commuters remain the largest category of employees. Cross-border workers Luxembourger resident employees Foreign resident employees Statec data released 19 September 2016; hat tip to the Fondation Idea thinktank for flagging the figures
president at the firm. This would require firms to relocate operations and capital to inside the union. However, “Moody’s considers it unlikely that all permissions granted to financial firms will be lost” because in many cases “EU law already provides for limited recognition of non-EU regulatory regimes.” At the same, Ainsworth stated that “uncertainty” over the UK’s new economic relationship with the EU means that “it is likely that some banks may choose to move some UK-based activities to the EU before the UK’s withdrawal negotiations are complete.”
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LOSS OF EU PASSPORT NOT DIRE
“Irish tax rulings to Apple are illegal state aid. Effective taxation as low as 0.005 pct. #Apple has to repay up to €13 billion unpaid tax,” tweeted Margrethe Vestager, the European competition commissioner (photo). >>> Statec, the national statistics bureau, said accumulating inflation could trigger an “indexation”, or automatic increase in salaries and pension payments, during the fourth quarter. >>> Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, the world’s 29th largest by one ranking, said it would open a European hub in Luxembourg; no timing was disclosed. >>> Standard & Poor’s reaffirmed its highest “AAA” rating for Luxembourg, citing the country’s strong bank sector and GDP growth forecast; EU state aid inquiries and high housing prices present risks. >>> EU antitrust regulators opened a probe into tax deals granted by Luxembourg to the French power utility Engie. >>> Appeals hearings in the LuxLeaks case have been scheduled for mid-December. >>> The University of Luxembourg jumped from 193rd to 178th place in this year’s Times Higher Education World University Rankings. >>> Luc Frieden, the ex-CSV finance minister, has joined the Elvinger Hoss Prussen law firm as partner. >>> A report by the economist Jeremy Rifkin on preparing Luxembourg’s economy for the “3rd industrial revolution” will be released in November, reported Paperjam.
Tesla opened its first dealership in Luxembourg. The California-based electric car company inaugurated the new showroom, located in Bonnevoie, in September. Full report: www.delano.lu/Tesla16
COMPARING APPLES TO BURGERS A
Marion Dessard Julien Becker (archives)
POWER LOCATION A. Tesla’s An de Pauw and Luxembourg’s deputy prime minister and economy minister, Étienne Schneider, cutting the ribbon B. Benji Kontz (second from left), Ed Goedert (second from right) C. Sam O’Dea (right) D. André Weidenhaupt
The EU’s competition authority is creating uncertainty about taxes, writes Keith O’Donnell. The European Commission’s Apple and McDonald’s state aid cases have piqued the interest of journalists worldwide. State aid, once an obscure legal field, has become a frontline topic. Here is why these cases are so important for the future of international tax laws. Shouldn’t the EU member states concerned take the money and be happy? This would be an error. The states believe that they were applying their tax rules in line with their administrative practice, exercising national sovereignty and respecting EU commitments. The EU Commission disagrees. The next step is to take the matter to the European Court of Justice for a binding decision on the extent of state sovereignty. Don’t the multinationals who avoid taxes deserve to be taxed? The fact is that there are vastly different beliefs of what is a fair level of tax. No amount of debate will reconcile these views into a single definition of what is fair. Differing views are balanced through a democratic process that leads to laws that must be respected by all. Any attempt to settle tax matters on extralegal moral grounds is therefore doomed to be subjective and anti-democratic. Aren’t the rulings in some way abusive and, therefore, by agreeing to them EU states granted special deals? This is the heart of the commission’s case. Simply put, the commission is saying that the laws under which these structures were implemented are valid under state aid law, but the states should not have granted the rulings. In Apple, the EU Commission second guesses the tax officials’ opinion and comes to a
different conclusion: that the local officials’ decision amounts to a selective advantage. There is no consideration of whether the same conclusion would have been inevitable in any comparable fact pattern. We believe this analysis to be fundamentally flawed as a matter of law. The initial findings in McDonald’s, and more recently Engie, seem to indicate the same line of thinking. The consequence of this analysis would be that any administrative decision in tax matters, which the commission might in future disagree with, is subject to a 10-year uncertainty. What’s next? The commission has taken state aid to a new level. If the commission is prepared to challenge an individual EU taxpayer’s tax affairs in any jurisdiction if it doesn’t like the outcome, it substitutes itself for national authorities and governments in a way that brings us into unexplored territory. For example, do all individual taxpayer assessments involving an element of judgement have to be reviewed? Will bilateral transfer pricing agreements and tax treaties also need the blessing of the commission? The US reaction, thinly veiled outrage at a perceived targeting of its companies and tax base, raises the stakes. Concerns about a new hybrid trade war are inevitable. In the middle of some difficult discussions about the future of Europe, this may be as a distraction that the EU can ill afford. Keith O’Donnell is managing partner of the tax advisory firm Atoz. www.atoz.lu October 2016
Text by STEPHEN EVANS
Photography by MARION DESSARD
BUDDING BREXIT BONUS
SEE WHO ELSE WAS THERE: WWW.DELANO.LU/ ALFIGLOBAL16
e could soon start to see the impact of the Brexit referendum vote on the way financial services businesses organise their European operations. According to one speaker at the recent Alfi Global Distribution Conference, strategic decisions will be taken soon. Claude Marx, the director general of the financial sector regulator CSSF, said that “we have had, and are continuing to have, discussions with numerous UK-based institutions,” in the context of Brexit. Uncertainty is bad for business, so he believes many will be adjusting their approaches in the “coming weeks and months.” It remains to be seen if there is more to this than a Luxembourger promoting the attractions of the Luxembourg hub, but a panel discussion at the conference pointed to high levels of uncertainty about how Brexit will affect fund businesses with UK interests. The local industry is hopeful that Luxembourg would be the favoured location for new EU operations. Already, Britain accounts for 16.7% of all fund assets based in the Grand Duchy, which equates to €475bn.
FUND TALK A. John Marshall, UK ambassador to the Grand Duchy, and Denise Voss, chair of Alfi (www. alfi.lu), during the Alfi Global Conference in September B. Bob Schaminé, Ben Lyon, Jeremy Albrecht and Gilles Moreau C. Fouad Rathle takes a quick break D. Freddy Brausch interviews Claude Marx during a morning session E. Pierre Gramegna, Luxembourg’s finance minister, shakes hands with a conference attendee F. Laurence Magloire, Sophie Veinnant and Josée-Lynda Denis G. Bilal Nasreddine, Laurence New, Ahmed Elghazaly and Ghassan Hakim H. Francesca Fanini and Marco Vidalli I. Yannick Arbaut, Joachim Kuske and Michael Hogan
Text by WENDY CASEY
Photography by JULIEN BECKER
ATMOSPHERE ISN’T EVERYTHING Here’s what makes a good place to work so good, and others so bad.
s G20 leaders gathered to discuss the promotion of international financial stability in September, the British prime minister Theresa May took time out to meet with a number of key players, including the US president Barack Obama, to talk through the impact of Brexit on trade and commercial relationships. One can’t help but wonder whether the atmosphere was positively charged and conducive to agreement, or somewhat defensive and downright uncomfortable. Because, be in no doubt, atmosphere hugely impacts outcomes. The same can be said of the workplace; a great workplace inevitably produces great results and while atmosphere is one defining factor, there are a whole host of elements that differentiate inspirational workplaces from the truly atrocious. The prevalence of workplace stress and burnout continues to augment levels of sick leave and, according to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, contributes to around half of all lost working days. As a result, Melanie Molz-Kroll, an occupational health psychologist, is experiencing an increased demand for counselling from companies and private individuals. “Employers tend to tackle stress management on a tertiary level, after the damage has been done rather than approaching it on a systemic level. They should be asking ‘what can we do to improve working conditions?’ and while 79% of European managers are concerned about stress in the workplace, less than 30% have procedures for dealing with it,” she says. “Many companies have no clear and strategic process and have to resort to a case-by-case approach,” Molz-Kroll October 2016
adds. She believes that negative work environments are the product of a combination of factors and that a good management structure tunes into these intuitively to detect the early warning signs. “You know things are bad when conflicts are not being resolved--when no leader is willing to take the necessary steps, and when people demonstrating uncivil behaviour are not taken to task. Sending a few half-hearted emails that are not followed through is highly ineffective.”
WARNING SIGNS She says that unclear roles and non-existent job descriptions are equally demotivating along with a lack of smart objectives, leadership vision, staff autonomy and “duty of care” guidelines. “I’ve witnessed ineffective meetings taking up valuable time; there’s much inefficiency placing people under unnecessary stress.” Molz-Kroll believes that a people management culture with a sense of social justice is the way forward. “An effort/reward balance--not an imbalance where effort remains unrewarded,” she exclaims. But she is quick to point out that employees carry their own burden of responsibility, and that the current mentality of investing the least effort in a bid to achieve the maximum is counterproductive. “We want it all--a rich family life and a fulfilling job, but
today’s technological advances mean we have the additional pressure of constant availability.” It’s a challenging juggling act.
USING TOOLS The rate of technological development has significantly increased the pace at which we work, but Joëlle Marsot, HR director at MNKS, a law firm, believes that technology is not the root of the issue: “The problem lies in the behaviour it induces in the users.” She recommends disconnecting from time to time, respecting the privacy of employees, taking breaks to recharge batteries and setting your own limits whilst continuing to be efficient. With 16 years of HR experience under her belt, Marsot has worked through a host of challenges including two strikes, three pollution-related environmental incidents, two redundancy plans and one merger. “Keeping staff happy has to be one of the main priorities of any business,” she stresses. “A happy employee is nine times more loyal, six times less absent, two times less sick, 30% more productive and 55% more creative,” she explains, and it’s certainly a compelling argument. “The challenge is to convince company leaders that every penny spent to foster a positive work environment is an investment in the company’s growth. In addition, you need to create an
MELANIE MOLZ-KROLL Lack of clarity is stressful
" EMPLOYERS TEND TO TACKLE STRESS MANAGEMENT… AFTER THE DAMAGE HAS BEEN DONE."
DAVID BRANDT Staff should be proud of their work
" THE NAME OF THE GAME IS NOT ALWAYS PROMOTION, BUT TO ENSURE THAT WHATEVER HAPPENS, YOU ARE ABLE TO DEMONSTRATE YOUR SKILLS AND COMPETENCES." October 2016
environment in which three generations of workers--each with different expectations and very different management and communication styles--can coexist happily.” She values tools such as regular employee surveys to connect with staff and identify adapted and sustainable solutions to meet their individual needs. “A bad climate is often about poor relationships, too much work pressure, no fair reward and insufficient opportunity to grow and learn. Companies need to work against these to reduce stress and all of its consequences.” According to Marsot, human relationships represent the “happiness lever” within a business. “While it is important to invest in certain material comforts such as gyms and nurseries, it is even more vital to develop people and to create a healthy environment based upon mutual respect and kindness. “It’s not without reason that more and more HR directors are being renamed chief happiness officers,” she laughs. “It reinforces the importance of happiness at work.”
INVEST ENERGY David Brandt, head of HR for Swiss Life Luxembourg, is acutely aware of the importance of creating a great
place to work. “It helps to attract and retain dynamic staff, and since we ask more and more of them, a motivational environment encourages these people to engage further--to invest the additional energy that’s required to deal with the workload, and to introduce their own ideas and so add value.” Originally from Belgium, Brandt has worked in the HR field for over 20 years. “You cannot be effective in HR if you don’t like or respect people. The fact that it’s very human and unpredictable makes it extremely diverse--our people are the company’s key success factors and HR is at the very heart of company life.” He is clear on what is needed to create a great workplace, and believes that a working culture based upon trust and mutual respect is the single most critical aspect. “Without this you will not love coming to work. When we grew in size, we decided it was important to protect our capacity to work well together and to collaborate across teams--this aspect of our company culture makes us special.” Openness and transparency, he says, are each critical elements: “We need to be clear and to avoid hidden messages and agendas. Also, as a small company there’s a high level of proximity between the staff and top management. You don’t need to go through a series of steps to talk with the CEO, you simply knock on the door, sit with him and enjoy a coffee.” Brandt then touches on the need to feel proud of the organisation for which you are working. “While we don’t have a fancy name like Google, we are a very dynamic, fast-moving company with a high level of expertise that makes us a very attractive employer.” But the importance of staff responsibility for career nourishment is not underestimated. “What makes a workplace attractive? The ability to maintain and develop your employability!” he exclaims. “The name of the game is not always promotion, but to ensure that whatever happens, you are able to demonstrate your skills and competences in order to
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DOUBLE DIVIDENDS So how realistic is it to expect a happy, dynamic workforce coupled with significant increases in net profit yearon-year? “I don’t think I need to be worrying about the security of my job,” laughs Dr. Patrizia Thiry, an occupational health physician and director general of the Association pour la Santé au Travail du Secteur Financier (ASTF) in Luxembourg. Set up in 1995, the ASTF provides companies and employees working in the financial and related sectors with primary, secondary and tertiary prevention for health and well-being in the workplace. Thiry’s role includes the development of training programmes in areas such as stress management, moral harassment, burn-out and management techniques. “One of the biggest challenges I face is to convince employers that every 1 cent invested in human resources--in the health and well-being of their staff--pays a return of 2 cents,” she explains. “The alpha and omega of a healthy company is a strong management team, trained in leadership--in the human sense and not the technical.” One of her biggest surprises dates back to 2006 when she developed and delivered a series of presentations on stress management. “I was very surprised by the success of this programme and while it’s most unfortunate that it is needed, it’s very fortunate that there’s a continued demand,” she muses. And Thiry’s “top five tips” for employers wishing to create a great place to work are as simple as they are practical: “Believe in your people and listen to them. Don’t try to make friends but allies. Respect your employees for who they are. Show your human face and be yourself--a model of work-life balance, of humanity and empathy. Give positive feedback as often as possible and be aware that people live up to who you think they are. Remember that if people believe in themselves, they can achieve the amazing!”
JOËLLE MARSOT Happier staff are nearly a third more productive
DISCONNECTED WORKFORCE Marcus Müller, professor of management at Sacred Heart University, in Kirchberg, was the principal researcher in a recent scientific study on the drivers of absenteeism and disengagement. Data collected from almost 2,500 employees in Luxembourg showed that 85% were either disengaged (simply doing as they were told) or actively disengaged (working against the value of the company). The greater the feeling of being controlled, the greater the disengagement which comes at a cost. Companies are losing between €12,400 and €22,800 in productivity per employee per year, which equates to between €5bn and €9bn per annum in Luxembourg, according to Dr. Müller. Happy people are more engaged and productive, and management should, therefore, be providing an environment in which staff can flourish.
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Text by SARAH PITT
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AN INVESTMENT LIKE NO OTHER Why Luxembourg companies sponsor cultural events and venues.
BANKING ON THE PHIL BGL BNP Paribas is an important sponsor of the Philharmonie. The bank’s Caroline Schmitz says that the concert hall in Kirchberg “has become an essential cultural actor in Luxembourg and we are proud to have participated in that evolution. Furthermore, we have a privileged relationship with the [Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg] since one of the cellos played by the two first cellists is an authentic Matteo Goffriller from the 17th century and property of BGL BNP Paribas.”
rom theatre productions and music festivals to art exhibitions and fashion shows, Luxembourg’s cultural offerings are bountiful. Typically, cultural sponsorship involves either hosting an event, acting as a service provider, being an external unrelated partner, or an amalgamation of any of these. Delano speaks to some of the big brands in Luxembourg that are actively involved in cultural sponsorship to find out how they go about it and what’s in it for them. Mark van Kauvenbergh of CFL, Luxembourg’s railway network, explains: “Sponsoring contributes to our visibility and image but this is not our main purpose. As a public company, we approach sponsorship more as an expression of our corporate social responsibility, therefore we do not go about it in the traditional marketing sense.”
LOCAL INITIATIVES, HERITAGE Social responsibility also plays a role for the car dealer Autopolis, a longstanding partner of the Rockhal which also supports local bands and artists. “Although the focus is not on sales, we do look for notoriety and maximum exposure to potential clients and to promote our image at events that are different for the automobile industry,” says Kevin Colas. “Our partnership with the Rockhal enables us to invite clients to concerts and to spend an evening with them in a cultural setting.” “Generally speaking, BGL BNP Paribas chooses partnerships with well-known institutions and established artists able to inspire their audiences, but we are also very much committed to encouraging young talents,” adds the bank’s Caroline Schmitz. October 2016
CAROLINE SCHMITZ Partnering with cultural institutions is a long term endeavour
CFL engages in two forms of sponsorship. The first concerns cultural events that take place on their premises, such as the many exhibitions that the main station hosts. “The current exhibit is by Médecins Sans Frontières until 19 October. This type of sponsorship is more a way of supporting local initiatives,” van Kauvenbergh states. “The second is to sponsor events and venues that have a direct connection to our services. We have a natural interest in promoting the Rotondes, not only because it is next to the main station but also because it is a significant part of the station’s heritage.”
BGL BNP Paribas has a slightly different approach: “There are so many great and interesting artists in a really broad variety of fields that it becomes more and more difficult to make a selection, since, of course, there are budget lines to respect,” underlines Schmitz. “It must be remembered that sponsoring in culture is not an investment like any other. It has to be considered in the long term and it is very complicated to predict the impacts. However, we are convinced that it is a strong and fantastic lever for economic and social development.”
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Text by ALIX RASSEL
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FILLING THE HEALTH INSURANCE GAPS Almost everyone officially living and working in the Grand Duchy has state-backed healthcare coverage. But according to the EU, 70% of residents have complementary policies. Why?
uxembourg is widely recognised throughout the EU as having one of the most comprehensive healthcare systems. Indeed, the country’s primary health insurer, the National Health Fund (Caisse Nationale de Santé, or CNS), reimburses between 80% and 100% of medical costs, depending on an individual’s circumstances. Given these statistics, private health insurance may seem an unnecessary expense. So why then do so many Luxembourg residents purchase additional cover? “The public health care system in Luxembourg is very good,” explains Stefan Pelger, CEO of DKV Luxembourg, one the largest private insurers. “However, it does not provide complete coverage, with some treatments only partially reimbursed and some not covered at all. Private health insurance gives you peace of mind and, in many cases, freedom of choice as to where you are treated.” Thomas Merton, director of global health at Foyer Global Health, which insures expats, agrees: “Private health insurance fills the gaps that the Caisse Nationale de Santé does not cover and provides you with options for the care you receive.”
DENTAL AND VISION Private health insurers offer a range of packages, from the very basic top-up between the cost of an invoice and the CNS reimbursement, to complete inpatient and outpatient cover at a hospital of your choice. However, one of the most popular packages taken is additional dental and ophthalmological treatment. October 2016
“Some orthodontic treatments are only reimbursed at 25%,” says Pelger of the public system. “This can be especially costly for families where bills can easily reach €7,000 or more per child. For a relatively low monthly premium, these costs can be avoided.” Similarly, prescription glasses (frames are not included) and contact lenses are only reimbursed every three years by the CNS (the period is less if the change of dioptre--the value of a visual defect--is greater than or equal to +/-0.5). If you choose to have both glasses and contact lenses, the CNS will only pay for one eyewear prescription. Whilst additional insurance for eyes and teeth maybe an obvious benefit to all, comprehensive health cover is especially important for expats and Merton views it as, “an essential insurance for anyone on an expatriate assignment”. “It is important that expats contact a private health insurer prior to arriving in Luxembourg and ask for individual advice. This can avoid additional costs and the need to buy new insurance policies when moving to a new assignment. It can also affect their entitlement to health care in their country of origin,” he adds. In the event that an individual requires medical treatment outside of Luxembourg, approval needs to be given by the CNS as to whether they will cover the medical cost. “Many expats would like to be treated in their home country in their mother tongue,” Pelger explains. “But if they do not have private health insurance, they are limited to where the CNS will send them.” Some private health insurers offer treatment at a hospital of the patient’s choice; however, the duration of treatment can be variable and is accrued in the monthly premium.
A. STEFAN PELGER Private coverage gives expats “peace of mind” and more flexibility B. FABIO SECCI Mutually owned insurers offer policyholders something “unique”
The Caisse Médico-Chirurgicale Mutualiste is Luxembourg’s largest voluntary health insurer and, unlike its competitors, is a mutual company (an insurer owned by its policyholders). Whilst the CMCM may not be as well known as some of its more global competitors, Fabio Secci, its director general, believes that the organisation’s mutual status and long history make it unique. “Everyone has the right to equal healthcare,” Secci eagerly explains. “We don’t require our members to complete medical questionnaires and there are no exclusions; our aim is to be there when people need us.”
IN TANDEM WITH CNS Like all other private health insurers, CMCM offers a range of products, including automatic holiday insurance, but limits hospital coverage to those pre-approved by the CNS. “Once the CNS has approved a hospitalisation in Luxembourg or abroad, it is covered by the CMCM, including repatriation
where necessary,” Secci explains. “If treatment is available in Luxembourg, then it will be tended to here at first.” As the population continues to age, private insurers are looking more into preventive care to eliminate additional costs later. “We are planning to introduce more regular health checks to prevent cases of disease before they can manifest themselves.” Secci says. “The advantage we have,” according to Merton, “is that we have the time to look into preventative care when doctors and other medical professionals don’t.”
Many bigger employers offer mutual coverage as a benefit; check with HR. Approved private insurers are listed, in French, on www.commassu.lu (click on “Opérateurs”), and a list of mutual insurers can be found at www.fnml.lu (click on “Mutuelles”). October 2016
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Text by AARON GRUNWALD
Photography by JAN HANRION
TRICK OR TREAT PUMPKIN TIME All Hallow’s Eve, 31 October, is a pretty big deal in English-speaking countries, and has made something of a comeback in the Grand Duchy too. Here are a few fine facts about the fest. Hope the kids don’t gourd too much on sweets.
SUNDAY 23 OCTOBER The date two authentic Halloween events are held in the Grand Duchy. The American Women’s Club of Luxembourg hosts its annual “Trick or Treating Extravaganza” in Hamm. Kids will have lots of terrain to cover. Non-members (and non-Americans) quite welcome. Tickets must be purchased in advance (none will be sold at the event itself). Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register. The British Ladies Club of Luxembourg holds its annual “Horrible Halloween Treasure Hunt” in Bambesch Park. In addition to the spooky treasure hunt, which includes a slithery snake pit and making magic spells, there will be craft activities and goodie bags. Non-members welcome. Space is limited. Email email@example.com to register. Proceeds from both events go to charity. (2) (3)
35 TO 40 POUNDS Average pumpkin yield per hectare, depending on the weather. This year’s weather has not been helpful, so 2016 production will be on the lower end. Yes, Luxembourg’s pumpkin harvest is recorded in pounds. (1)
12,000 Pieces of candy were handed out at last year’s AWCL Halloween party. 253 children and 300 adults attended. 34 decorated cars were used. The club sold 300 hotdogs, 350 bags of chips and nearly 400 cans of soda. (2)
10 HECTARES The amount of land in Luxembourg where pumpkins, along with other gourds, are grown in mixed crop fields. (1) October 2016
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50 Number of participants in the fancy dress competition at last year’s BLC Halloween event. Organisers counted two Star Wars stormtroopers, ten witches, four black cats and two Vikings. 50 is also the number of spider webs the kids made out of wool and pom-poms at the crafts table. (3)
Sources: (1) Luxembourg’s agriculture ministry; (2) American Women’s Club of Luxembourg; (3) British Ladies Club of Luxembourg
The name that holds it all As part of its strategic development, the holding company Enovos International changed its name to Encevo on 3 October 2016. The purpose of this move is to clearly differentiate between the parent company and its subsidiaries, energy supplier Enovos and grid operator Creos, and as a result, to clarify the groupâ€™s governance. This will also contribute to firmly position the group as a futureoriented regional energy leader with a strong focus on innovation. encevo.eu
Text by AARON GRUNWALD
Graphics by MAISON MODERNE
RACE TO REPLACE LONDON here has not, so far, been a mass exodus of financial institutions from the UK following the Brexit vote in June. But it is safe to say that a huge number of London-based banks, fund managers, insurers and service providers are at least exploring their options if Britain does lose its automatic access to the EU market when the UK quits the union. The promoters of rival European financial centres have wasted little time lobbying to be financial firms’ new home inside the EU (see www. delano.lu/BrexitBlog). But, from management’s perspective, how exactly does Luxembourg stack up against post-Brexit competitors? Here are a few select figures for leading contenders in the euro area.
PRIME OFFICE COSTS If a financial services firm is looking for cheap space, Luxembourg is not wildly overpriced compared to rivals, but better deals could be had in Amsterdam or Frankfurt. Total annual occupancy costs per square meter
Luxembourg’s lower tax and social insurance rates should look pretty attractive to both bosses and staff. Here are calculations for a married employee with no children with a €100,000 gross salary in 2015. Employer’s costs Employee take home pay
DOING BUSINESS Companies leaving London will theoretically face more bureaucratic hassles in Luxembourg than in Frankfurt or Dublin, according to the national scores in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2016 report.
LABOUR COSTS AND EARNINGS
World Bank’s ease of doing business score (out of 100)
London (City of London)
FINANCIAL COMPETITIVENESS €100,000
The Global Financial Centres Index ranks the competitiveness of financial centres, based on 102 factors. In the latest edition, issued prior to the Brexit poll, London was the most competitive financial hub in the world. Among euro area rivals, Luxembourg tops the list.
GFCI Rating (out of 1,000)
Sources: Luxembourg figure is a Delano estimate based on October 2014 and second quarter 2016 data provided by CBRE Research; all others from CBRE Research’s “June 2016 Global Prime Office Occupancy Costs” report; Z/Yen Group’s “GFCI Index” published in March 2016; Luxembourg for Finance, using European Commission data
QUALITY OF LIFE
COST OF LIVING
For managers looking to keep their soon-to-be-ex-Londoners staff happy, most euro zone financial capitals score pretty well, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Frankfurt is a cut cheaper to live in, according to a recent HR consulting firm study. Most expensive cities (out of 457 locations)
Overall EIU liveability rating (out of 100)
HOUSING COSTS While much cheaper than in London, a posh flat in the Grand Duchy is still pricier than its main euro zone rivals except Paris. Germany’s financial capital offers the most reasonable rents.
Sources: Economist Intelligence Unit’s “Global Liveability Ranking” published in August 2016; ECA International’s “Cost of Living” survey, published in June 2016, Expatistan.com user-generated cost comparison website. Figures for Luxembourg, London and Amsterdam updated on 19 September 2016; for Dublin, Frankfurt and Paris on 18 September 2016. London price published as £2,469 and converted 19 September 2016 using FT.com; BBC Weather; except Amsterdam figures from ClimaTemps.com
Monthly rent for 85m2 furnished accommodation in a high-end area
CLIMATE Paris arguably has the best weather out of these six cities, with on average each month the most sunshine and the second lowest amount of precipitation. In second place is Frankfurt, which actually has about the same average daily sunlight hours as Amsterdam, but fewer rainy days. Contrary to the cliché, the driest of the lot is London. Luxembourg does not fair well in either category, but squeaks by Dublin on the account of having… more sunshine. Average daily sunlight hours Average monthly precipitation (cm) January
Interview by WENDY CASEY
OUTLIVING YOUR COMPETITORS
and we’ve been able to steer through a variety of tempests and storms. We’re still here and have carved out a niche. Moving back to the present, what’s your number one challenge? There’s a lot, and I mean a lot of challenges! The regulatory environment is challenging because clients don’t always see value in the regulations imposed upon the industry, and as a result they don’t want to pay a great deal for these services. We’ve also avoided offshoring and operate from Luxembourg because we want to take a high-touch approach, as opposed to a commodity approach. We’re working in a very competitive space, competing with sizeable global players. What does Brexit mean for Luxembourg? It’s too early to tell and I’m prudent about making strong declarations. But it’s not all negative and it’s not all positive for Luxembourg. UKbased asset managers needing access to the European market may present an opportunity. At the same time, the UK often took a similar market position to Luxembourg from a lobbying standpoint and we will miss that in European negotiations. How will EFA be celebrating its 20-year anniversary? We’re arranging a reception at château Arbed to thank our clients and partners for believing in us. The prime minister and the [crown prince] will be in attendance. And then the very next morning we’ll begin to work on the next two decades.
THOMAS SEALE He is CEO of European Fund Administration and a member of the financial regulator Commission de surveillance du secteur financier’s OPC committee (a Ucits advisory board). In addition, Seale is chairman of the Luxembourg Fund Labelling Agency, and member of the board of the Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry, where he served as chairman between 2003 and 2007. Before EFA, he was managing director and country corporate officer at Citibank Luxembourg and led product marketing for Citibank in Switzerland. He also worked as a management consultant for the Mac Group in Paris and Los Angeles. He holds a BA and MA in economics and an MBA from the University of California. Seale founded a family olive business in 2010, which produces extra virgin olive oil on their farm in Provence. The oil won the gold medal in the 2015 Marseille olive oil competition. www.efa.lu
" WE’RE... COMPETING WITH SIZEABLE GLOBAL PLAYERS."
Marion Dessard (archives)
up Luxembourg funds that were then sold back into their country. Now Luxembourg’s become a global leader in cross-border investment funds and we’ve a really large toolkit of different vehicles at our disposal. How has EFA adapted over the last 20 years to keep pace? We’ve paralleled the Luxembourg fund industry in its changes, in terms of size and complexity of funds; you could say we’ve entered the alternative space. PORTRAIT We have hedge funds, private equity funds and insurance portfolios, and we cover a With European Fund broad range of regions including Administration marking France, Sweden and five other domits 20-year anniversary, CEO Thomas Seale reflects on the iciles. In addition, around a third of evolution of the Luxembourg our business now comes from outside fund industry, the fund services of our shareholders. Within that firm’s greatest achievement context, particularly since 2008, there’s and its present day challenges. been a regulatory tsunami and the level of regulation has become far Wendy Casey: What prompted the more restrictive. We try to simplify establishment of the European Fund the lives of our clients by digesting these regulations and coming up with Administration 20 years ago? Thomas Seale: In the early 1990s, the services that enable compliance at shareholder banks recognised the reasonable cost. growth potential of the investment What’s been the biggest surprise? funds sector and the fact that individ- That’s a good question. As I get older, ually, they did not have the capacity I tend to find that it’s people who to invest and build an administration enrich me the most. I’m a big believer support function. So they pooled their in the power of groups, yet it’s far resources, created EFA and hired me from easy to get people to work toto help manage the project. It was an gether--when our tendency as humans exciting new project, as up until that is to try and solve problems quickly point my experience of new assignments by ourselves. The trick is to avoid was that they generally carried a certain uncooperative behaviour and enamount of history--which in turn courage disparate groups to find entailed a number of limitations. By solutions. What happens then is that contrast, this was a unique opportunity the business becomes sustainable and difficult to replicate. to start with a blank sheet of paper. How has the Luxembourg funds In your opinion, what’s been EFA’s sector evolved in that time? greatest achievement? It’s got a lot bigger and now it’s almost It’s that we’ve built up a reputation for unrecognisable! I became involved in excellence. I’d add that we’ve been the industry in the early 90s when there around for 20 years when most of our was much more focus on round-trip competitors back then no longer exist. funds--German and Swiss banks setting The marketplace has really changed
The iconic Royal Hotel, right in the city centre of Luxembourg, is reborn. Le Royal Hotels & Resorts I Luxembourg I 12 Boulevard Royal I L-2449 Luxembourg I T +352 24 16 16-1 firstname.lastname@example.org I www.leroyalluxembourg.com
Text by STEPHEN EVANS
Photography by MIKE ZENARI
THE BATTLE FOR PRIVATE BANKING Financial institutions in the Grand Duchy that ser ve wealthy clients have made a momentous pivot over the past two years. But they are not finished evolving yet.
efying some predictions, Luxembourg’s wealth management sector has thrived in recent years. It’s not plain sailing, though, and worries about costs and competition are growing. What’s the outlook for the country’s private banks and family offices? There was a more than 10% increase in assets managed by Luxembourg private banks last year, following steady growth earlier in the decade. This appears to vindicate the decision to change strategy toward tax transparency. Since 2015 banks have been required to disclose information about clients’ savings to international tax offices. After the 2007/08 crisis, the country could no longer be seen as a hub for illegal tax evasion, so total secrecy had to go.
CHANGED STRATEGY “It was the big challenge we had to respond to in Luxembourg,” said Hubert Musseau, CEO of BGL BNP Paribas Wealth Management and vice-head of the Luxembourg Bankers Association’s (ABBL) Private Banking Group. “There was a willing strategic decision taken by government and industry players to proactively adapt to a new regulatory environment of tax transparency and compliance,” he explained. No longer would the country allow savers from abroad to hide savings in bank accounts and simple savings products. Details of these holdings were henceforth communicated to relevant tax offices abroad, thus making it impossible for savers to avoid paying their due. The aim was to shift from focusing on serving moderately affluent clients October 2016
living nearby towards wealthier global citizens. The latest figures from the ABBL and the financial regulator CSSF suggest this strategy is working. Clients with wealth of more than €20m account for 55% of the €351bn in assets held by Luxembourg’s private banks. This share is 14 percentage points higher than in 2011. Meanwhile, the relative holdings of the affluent (with wealth under €1m) halved to 12% of the total. Those in between still account for around a third of assets.
DOING MORE FOR THE SAME Other figures point to the efforts being made to achieve this adjustment. Private banks’ income has remained broadly consistent in recent years, at close to the 2015 figure of €1.66bn. Thus, while assets under management have risen, income is stable. In other words, the country’s private bankers are having to work harder just to stand still. This squeeze on profitability is partly the price of the country’s move to clean up its image and come off international financial sector blacklists. However, this is also a trend affecting the whole European industry. “Private banks in Europe now need to manage around 30 per cent more assets to deliver the same level of profits as before the crisis,” Sébastien Lacroix, leader of the McKinsey’s European private banking practice told the Financial Times in August. The consultant has calculated that European profit margins--earnings as a percentage of total assets--are down by a quarter since before the 2007/08 financial crisis. These figures were reported in McKinsey’s European Private Banking Survey 2016. Private banks will be cheered by the prediction that opportunities are increasing. The McKinsey survey suggested the pool of wealth
HUBERT MUSSEAU Private banks are now drawing more clients from outside the Grand Duchy and neighbouring countries
available to private banks in Europe will grow from €10.7tn in 2015 to €12.9tn by the end of 2020. While this is good news for the likes of Switzerland and Luxembourg, growth is set to be strongest in Hong Kong and Singapore due to their proximity to China.
" IT WAS THE BIG CHALLENGE WE HAD TO RESPOND TO IN LUXEMBOURG."
" EVERY BANK NEEDS A STRATEGY THAT EMBEDS DIGITALISATION."
ALAIN HONDEQUIN Technology is far from ready to replace human advice for wealth clients
“Traditionally we worked with clients from Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium and France, and that remains the case, but recently there has been more diversity with more clients from Spain, Italy, Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Americas,” noted Musseau. Indeed, industry statistics point to 42% of Luxembourg’s private banking assets coming from outside the EU, with a further 20% originating from European countries other than Luxembourg and its neighbours.
ATTRACTING INTERNATIONAL CLIENTELE What attracts these clients to Luxembourg? “They come to use the full toolbox of financial and wealth planning services,” said Musseau. Everything is on offer here, including investment advice and asset management, wealth structuring, real estate services, inheritance, and philanthropy. There is a October 2016
full array of service providers here, and all have particular experience working across borders, assisted by the multicultural, multilingual workforce. Hence a client with business, family and leisure interests in several countries can have this managed efficiently from a centralised hub. The country doesn’t have the brand recognition of Switzerland, but service quality is comparable, and Luxembourg has the advantages of working in the borderless EU single market. Moreover, although tax secrecy is gone, banking secrecy remains, with its legal penalties for those who divulge information other than to relevant tax offices. This protection of the private realm is important to many clients.
BIG CHANGES WITH REGULATION Regulations are also weighing on profitability. In recent years, the need for banks to put higher levels of capital
aside to guard against potential future losses has added to costs. Then there is the prospect of the new Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (Mifid II). This has the potential to have a major impact on the private banking business model when it comes into force in 2018. One aspect of Mifid II will be to forbid advisors from accepting commission for the sale of financial products such as funds, life insurance and pension products. All charges would need to be disclosed, while at the moment these fees can be wrapped up into signing-on charges. The aim is to reduce the potential for a conflict of interest. At the moment, clients perceive that they receive wealth management advice free of charge, as they don’t see costs being recouped through commission. Banks will need to find a new way to be remunerated. Will clients then be willing to pay advisory fees in the way that they do to lawyers? Some will, but others will seek cheaper options. Non-EU European jurisdictions like Switzerland are also adopting similar measures, so clients would have to go outside Europe to avoid these rules. Nevertheless, it will be a challenge for banks to explain this change and demonstrate where they add value. It also adds to the desire to move to serving wealthier clients who are already more used to paying service fees for the management of their complex estates.
FAMILY OFFICE COMPETITION There is also growing competition for the most wealthy clients from family offices. Those with over €200m of assets are able to appoint their own, dedicated financial advisor, while those with upwards of €50m can share a multi-family office. The role of a multi-family office varies, but in general they are aggregators who will assemble and supervise a team of third-party professionals to manage an estate to the precise requirements of each family. “A family office is generally someone who will administer your assets, not manage them; becoming your
B E C O M E P A R T O F T H E F A M I LY
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t. +352 463 131
SERGE KRANCENBLUM Many large Luxembourg banks have established separate family office units
own, personal CFO,” explained Serge Krancenblum, president of the Luxembourg Association of Family Offices. Some clients like the apparent independence of family offices, with the suggestion that their interests are more closely aligned. Also, Luxembourg’s family office sector sought to underline its trustworthiness by asking to be regulated, with a relevant law passed in 2012. This makes the Grand Duchy the only country in the world to have comprehensive rules governing multi-family offices. There are more than one hundred regulated multi-family offices, but it is impossible to quantify non-regulated or single family offices. Many lawyers, accountants, and notaries carry out family-office style services. What cannot October 2016
be doubted is the growing appeal of this model. “Large local organisations such as the Bil and BGL BNP Paribas have established their own family offices in structures separate from the bank,” noted Krancenblum.
FINTECH FOR COST-CUTTING Costs will need to be reduced. A sign of this was the recent announcement by UBS Luxembourg of their plan to off-shore 60 back office jobs to their Polish office. Others are looking to IT to streamline processes and boost operational flexibility. “Every bank needs a strategy that embeds digitalisation to gain a closer understanding of client relationships and improve the client experience,” explained Alain Hondequin, general counsel, business clusters at the ABBL.
There is much talk about “fintech”, with innovations such as sophisticated IT-based “robo-advisors” seen as potentially transforming financial services (see box on the right). Others believe the main challenge is to make processes as smooth as possible to improve reactivity and the ability to serve, while cutting costs. A widely cited example is how technology could help sift through masses of publicly available data to speed up “know-your-customer” procedures. The ABBL’s House of Training is developing courses that will begin in 2017 around digital transformation in many different banking business lines, including wealth management. An alliance between skills and efficient technology will be needed in these increasingly challenging times.
FINANCIAL ADVICE FROM A ROBOT? Imagine a clever algorithm reacting to an online questionnaire and producing the investment portfolio designed precisely to your needs. This is the essence of robo-advice, increasing number of clients are finding this to be a cheap solution to help them to decide how to invest. Some analysts have predicted this technology will capture private banking business, and there has been sharp growth in robo-advice platforms. However, this does not appear to threaten Luxembourg private banks at the moment. “Robo-advisors are constantly accessible and that is useful, but human expertise to meet clients’ countryspecific and more complex investment needs can not be replicated by IT at the moment,” noted Alain Hondequin of the ABBL. Some private banks offer these tools as an extra service to clients, but there is much more about high-end wealth management than picking a range of investments.
Peggy Damgé, Private banking adviser
“A successful property investment abroad involves taking into account legal and tax aspects. I make this a priority for my clients.” Like Peggy, we place your interests first. For almost a century, our House has been developing its unique expertise, conscientious approach and consideration of your needs at all times. Our commitment is to be by your side at every stage of your life. You can rely on Banque de Luxembourg to be there for you, whatever the future brings.
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Text by STEPHEN EVANS
Photography by MARION DESSARD
Do we need a “new financial services sector”? That is a topic of an upcoming public debate.
oes more need to be done to change Luxembourg’s key economic sector? Is there sufficient transparency in a world scarred by the financial crisis? Will the business model survive? Regulation, technology and unusual interest rates have already done much to change the global financial sector, and make many businesses less profitable. The 2007/8 crisis spurred the introduction of new, expensive-to-implement rules, and made it impossible for banking secrecy to survive. We are also still living with the economic aftershocks, with low (and even negative) interest rates making it difficult for banks to earn well from the traditional business of managing savers’ deposits. Then there is technology, with the likes of peer-to-peer lending and blockchain posing new challenges. As a globally significant financial centre, Luxembourg is directly impacted. Should more be done? “The financial services sector has changed considerably since 2008 and still is in a process of change,” comments Philipp von Restorff, head of communication with the Luxembourg Bankers’ Association (ABBL). “Creating a new one is not necessary.” Some campaigners are not so relaxed. “We need to have a fundamental rethink as to what economy we want but also what society we want,” Luc Dockendorf of Tax Justice Lëtzebuerg told Delano in March this year. This group is concerned that international finance has excessive control of politics, economics, culture and media. Luxembourg being a prime example of what critics term a “captured state”. Not so, says von Restorff: “The Luxembourg financial centre is more October 2016
OXFORD DEBATE A. Alfred Steinherr is speaking in favour of the motion “A new financial services sector is necessary” during the Paperjam Club event “Luxembourg finance in a world of transparency”. B. Philipp von Restorff is speaking against that motion during the Oxford style debate, held the evening of 9 November.
than 150 years old. It has grown organically, in parallel with political, economical and legal evolutions.”
EVOLVING EXPECTATIONS Maybe underlying forces are making further change inevitable. “Throughout Europe business conditions are difficult and technology is bringing change, thus putting profits under pressure,” notes Alfred Steinherr, professor of economics and finance at Sacred Heart University. He senses that more demanding consumers are becoming
dissatisfied with services on offer. “Fintech is seeking to replace custom-made services with technological solutions, with the potential that banking could become a commodity.” These opinions and more will be probed at an event on 9 November organised by the Paperjam Club (part of the same firm as Delano). It will be run using Oxford Union debating rules, at which the “house” will be asked to agree or disagree with the proposition: “A new financial services sector is necessary.”
IN A CHANGING WORLD,
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Delano presents a selection of upcoming business, informational and networking events for Luxembourg’s international community. Advance registration or fees may be required, so consult the website indicated for details. All events are held in English unless otherwise noted. FALL WELCOME
Wed 12 Oct Amcham www.amcham.lu This charter members only cocktail features a talk by Étienne Schneider, Luxembourg’s deputy prime minister and economy minister. Book ahead. US embassy, LuxembourgLimpertsberg, 18:30
BEER FOR SALES Thu 13 Oct
Lux.-Poland Business Club www.lpbc.lu “We would like to invite all our members and friends working or interested in sales to join us for this great networking opportunity,” says the club. “Free drinks for LPBC members.” Chi-Chi’s restaurant, LuxembourgCentre, 18:00
CYBER SECURITY DAY
Wed 12 Oct
Tue 18 Oct
The Network “TheNetwork.lu” on Facebook “You will learn effective ways to organise and pitch your ideas to your superiors, influence customers, and/or build agreement and enthusiasm with stakeholders,” says the women’s business group. Hôtel Le Royal, LuxembourgCentre, 19:30-22:00
PwC www.pwc.lu Talks on market trends and new threats. Plus ten promising tech firms pitch their solutions to global investors, corporate executives and government officials. PwC Luxembourg, LuxembourgGasperich, all day
Thu 27 Oct
Sat 22 Oct Indian Business Chamber www.ibcl.lu A Bollywood gala and musical dance show, and an Indian dinner and tombola, to mark India’s “Festival of Lights” (last year’s pictured). Children under 7 are free. Casino, Mondorf-les-Bains, 18:30
www.paperjam.club “The aim of this workshop is to provide you quick and effective tools for identifying stakeholders’ interests and building partnership to deliver results effectively,” states the club. Neimënster, Luxembourg-Grund, 09:30-12:45
GERMAN TAX Tue 25 Oct
Alfi www.alfi.lu This “Leading Edge” educational and networking conference covers “the new German investment tax act”. Non-Alfi members can also attend. Chamber of Commerce, Luxembourg-Kirchberg, all day
Thu 27 Oct British Chamber of Commerce www.bcc.lu An “exclusive and dynamic exchange with four Luxembourg CEOs who will share their perspectives and experiences about leadership,” says the BCC. Speakers include Citi’s Alberta Brusi. Banque de Luxembourg, Luxembourg-Centre, 17:45
1-1-1 COMPANIES Tue 8 Nov
Tue 25 Oct MNKS www.mnks.com Jean-François Trapp (photo) and Nam Nguyen-Groza of the MNKS law office discuss the new reserved alternative investment funds structure at this breakfast seminar. MNKS, Luxembourg-Gasperich, 08:00-09:30
SUBMIT YOUR EVENT FOR FREE If your organisation’s upcoming event belongs on this page, let us know the details two to four months in advance. Agenda listings are selected by Delano’s editorial department, so there is never any charge for organisers: email@example.com
Amcham www.amcham.lu A town hall with the justice minister, Félix Braz, and the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce’s chief Carlo Thelen on “how to set up and run” the new simplified “1-1-1” form of company. Autopolis, Bertrange, 18:30
www.perspecsys.com (CC BY-SA 2.0) > Maison Moderne archives
Text by TONYA STONEMAN
Photography by LALA LA PHOTO
BENEATH THE SURFACE A marcomm pro discovers new meaning with her paintbrush.
elén Irazola Uribe understands her own identity as a series of layers. So when she paints a story of identity, the topic she is currently working on, she has to build the canvas up first and then tear through it to reveal its essence. “I start with pigment,” she says. “Which symbolises the beginning of something. The purest moment. Then I added cement, which represents the changes that we go through. Then acrylic, another layer of change in our lives. Finally, I scratched into the acrylic so we can see a down to the pigment as a display of one moment of our life when we want to show our true selves--the purest part. When we can be seen as we were when we were children.” Belén discovered her love for painting quite by accident. She was living in Paris and had commissioned a friend to do a painting for her. The friend agreed, but tasked Belén with buying the canvas. A trip to a local art supply store proved fruitful and Belén found exactly what she was looking for. She paid for the canvas and took it outside to her car--but it would not fit. When she returned to the store and asked the clerk to deliver it to her house, he informed her that the shipping charges would be cheaper if she purchased two canvases, which she did. After living with the extra blank canvas for a while, she decided to go ahead and paint it. Immediately, she knew that she had found a true passion, so she began studying painting in earnest. She studied the materials and techniques at an atelier in Paris for three years and continued for two more when she moved to Luxembourg nine years ago with her husband and three children. Eventually, she started working with a studio in order to be alone when she paints. “It’s a moment October 2016
MY OTHER LIFE
where I find myself totally free,” she says, “and I want to enjoy it.” When she’s not painting, Belén is the marketing and communications manager for Sofitel Luxembourg Le Grand Ducal, one of the top hotels in the city. She loves living in Luxembourg because of its high concentration of international people that like to move around a lot. “It’s a small country, but there are so many international people who are in the same situation I’m in. Their families are elsewhere and they are dealing with the same issues, so it’s easy to make good friends,” she says. Belén normally does two shows a year: one individual show and a collaborative exhibition with Art2Cure, an organisation that raises money for Parkinson’s disease research. She also takes commissions from personal buyers. At the moment, she is working on a series about reflection. It’s still in the conceptual stage, though, so she doesn’t know precisely where the project will take her. “It opens my mind and gives me a lot,” she says. “It’s better than reading a book.”
BELÉN IRAZOLA URIBE Painting is a moment when she finds herself totally free
OXFORD DEBATE *
LUXEMBOURG FINANCE IN A WORLD OF TRANSPARENCE
WEDNESDAY 9 NOVEMBER
BIL is pleased to invite you to the "Oxford debate: Luxembourg finance in a world of Transparency" to be held on 9 November. The common thread of this sharing of information will be the motion, "A new financial services sector is necessary". G: SUA SIVE. *WARNIN C AN B E VERY PER S . DEBATER IB ER ATELY OTE DEL PLE A SE V
LOCATION BIL 69, route d’Esch Luxembourg
AGENDA 18:30 Welcome cocktail 19:00 First debates
TE A M
TE A M
YES ALFRED STEINHERR
Luxembourg for Finance
PHILIPP VON RESTORFF
LIFESTYLE The diar y 70
OUNI TO OPEN
FLYBE LANDS FROM MCR
Clare Jordan and Thomas Flammant from the British embassy in Luxembourg were joined by Lux-Airport boss Johan Vanneste to welcome the inaugural Flybe flight from Manchester to Luxembourg on 1 September. The route now operates twice on weekdays and once a day on weekends. A route to Birmingham, operating once a day, has also been launched. icon_website www.flybe.com
RYANAIR ANNOUNCES NEW DESTINATIONS Even before it started operations from Luxembourg, budget airline Ryanair announced it would add new routes to its schedule starting in March 2017. Milan, Lisbon and Madrid have now been added to the London and Porto routes that begin operating this month. icon_website www.ryanair.com
SAMSA AT TIFF
Samsa Film was at the Toronto International Film Festival in September to take part in the International Finance Forum. The Luxembourg production company was invited to the IFF event to present its Dead Noon project, the first feature film by Jeff Desom. The forum is an opportunity to meet and do business with international sales agents, distributors, funders, and executive producers. icon_website www.samsa.lu
LUXEMBOURG’S OSCAR SHOT
Pol Cruchten’s Voices from Chernobyl has been selected to represent Luxembourg in the best foreign language film category at next year’s Academy Awards. The film, adapted from the novel by Nobel Prize winning author Svetlana Aleksievitch, was screened at the Luxembourg Film Festival earlier this year. It has already won a slew of international awards and industry insiders say it may be the best chance yet Luxembourg has to make it to the final selection stage for next year’s Oscars. icon_website www.redlionlux.com
KIDS TAKE TO MUSIC WITH OPL
The Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg and its musical director Gustavo Gimeno hosted an Orchestramania open house at the Philharmonie on 24 September. Some 3,500 guests heard performances and took part in workshops that allowed children and adults to pick up an instrument. icon_website www.opl.lu
Ouni, the first packaging-free organic grocery store in Luxembourg, has announced that it will open its retail outlet in November in rue Glesener in the Gare neighbourhood of the capital city. The cooperative business has attracted 560 members. It plans to have three employees, supported by 250 volunteers from its active member list, to man the store. Meanwhile, the cooperative was awarded the Innovatiounspräis 2016 at the Oekofoire in September. icon_website www.ouni.lu
Romanian produce store Épicerie Fine Dracula has opened in the rue de Bonnevoie in the Gare neighbourhood. It stocks Matisbrand cold meats and cheeses, organic jams, preservatives and a range of Romanian and Moldovan wines. icon_facebook Épicerie Fine Dracula
Children’s shoe store Le Marquis de Lily has opened on avenue Monterey. It stocks brands including Babybotte, Igor and Bana Line. icon_website www.lemarquisdelily.lu
Local artists have been busy making and releasing new music over the summer. Coming up is a 7” single release by American-born, Luxembourg-based singer Georgio “the Dove” Valentino. ‘Satyros Ironykos’ is moody and slightly unsettling, yet also mesmerising and not without a touch of humour. It is the result of a long-distance songwriting experiment between Valentino and Scottish post-punk legend David McClymont, an original member of Orange Juice. The single was recorded with another post-punk legend, Mick Harvey from The Birthday Party (who has also played with PJ Harvey), alongside Dave Graney and Clare Moore. The release show happens on 20 October at Rockhal--entrance is free. icon_website www.georgiothedovevalentino.com Go By Brooks, fronted by Laetitia Koener, released a new EP. A followup to debut release Rivers, Oceans is a seven-track EP that includes lead single ‘Phoenix’, which features a fine contribution from Luxembourg cellist Lisa Berg. icon_website www.gobybrooks.com Singer-songwriter Lata Gouveia released his new single, ‘Today’, a reggae-inspired track from his Radio Cuts EP, which was released last autumn. The single received heavy rotation airplay on Radio Ara’s Bistro and Tuesday with Ron shows. icon_website www.lata-gouveia.com
DELANO DOES AB FAB WITH VOL(T)AGE Winners of a contest organised by Delano were among guests of fashion house vol(t)age as it hosted a special avant-premier cocktail and screening of Absolutely Fabulous, The Movie.
British embassy François Zuidberg Red Lion / Jerzy Palacz Lala La Photo vol(t)age
A. Delano winners Åsa Ohlson, Kate Crossey and Sam O’Dea pose with their guests B. vol(t)age founders Stéphanie and Claudie Grisius C. Gauthier Destenay; Laurent MartinKirchmann and Isabelle Faber (right) D. Gígja Birgisdóttir
More photos on the vol(t)age Facebook page
A FAR-OFF TALE QUICK TAKE
book t published a children’s Blueberr y & Pie has jus strator Tuire Siiriainen wants with a twist. CEO and illuge. expats to get the messa
Ermsdorf-based Tuire Siiriainen has recently come out with Message in a Bottle, a personalised children’s book in English, which she hopes will get young readers to engage with an educational story. The 24-year-old Finnish illustrator, who holds a degree in advertising, came up with the idea with her business partner last year and founded Blueberry & Pie here in the Grand Duchy to publish it. What makes the story so special? This book is quite literally a one-of-a-kind present: giftgivers--many of whom might be geographically apart from the child--write their very own “message in the bottle” while ordering the book online. One of the characters in the book, Kiki (who’s a scarlet Hawaiian honeycreeper), then discovers this message on the other side of the world and tries to deliver it to the child. An accurate world map is included and the animals help children learn about the different countries traversed in the voyage. With the personal message and customised template, the book’s creators hope that it becomes a keepsake, and that a bond is formed between the child and the adult giftgivers, and with the animals who appear in the story. From a young age, Siiriainen enjoyed telling stories because “it allows connecting people with each other”. Many years later, she rediscovered children’s books and had the idea of creating a story with a transparent message, which is the title of this book. Nevertheless, it was difficult for her to find a platform during her studies. After graduating, she decided to self-publish because larger, established publishers don’t print books on demand. Siiriainen says: “It’s a completely different model.” However, the process was complicated. It took months to find the right people, such as the designer and the author, who shared the same vision. Then, she stumbled upon the British author Tom Percival, who had already written several other children’s books and was an illustrator himself. After a flurry of emails and Skype calls, the book slowly took shape. They started selling the book online in August (www.blueberryandpie.com, €25.99). While they’ve just launched the website and are still promoting the book, Siiriainen says that a series might eventually follow. Interview by NATASCHA EWERT Photography by MIKE ZENARI
Text by DUNCAN ROBERTS
Photography by LALA LA PHOTO
Freshers and Followers
QUIZ ANSWERS: WWW.DELANO.LU/ FRESHERS2016
t. George’s International School in Hamm hosted its traditional “Freshers and Followers” event on Saturday 17 September. Held in the school’s playground and in the well-appointed theatre of its new Zinnen building, the event was organised by the Friends of St. George’s. It was an opportunity for guests to discover clubs and associations and other institutions useful to the English-speaking international community. “We estimated 250 people came through the gates during the afternoon and the feedback from those I spoke to was very positive,” said one of the organisers, Anne White. Delano also had a stand and hosted a quiz, which may have been a little tricky for newcomers to the country.
WELCOME BACK TO SCHOOL A. Jumping through hoops at the Freshers and Followers event B. Rachel Radway and Rebecca Parker C. Alessandro, Stefania and Isabella D. Oliwia and Kasia E. Veerle, Milena, Aubrey, Ismini and Eva F. Sarah, Harriet and Mike G. Elena Costa flanked by Tommaso and Giacomo Piva H. St. George’s (www.st-georges. lu) lower school head Claire Nuttall with Freddie, Akary and Safi Jadama I. The American Women’s Club of Luxembourg stand A
IN COLLABORATION WITH
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Welcome to the most popular festival of Irish music !
Tuesday The 25Th of ocTober 2016 Concert + Buffet: 67 € / Concert: 39 €
www.coque.lu Agenda & ticketing
• Buffet: 6:00 PM • Doors open 6:30 PM • Concert: 8:00 PM
Text by NEEL CHRILLESEN
Photography by MIKE ZENARI
: g n i h s i l b u p f l e S the new black
ing has become for writers, self-publish ort res t las of n tio op ns for this. Once viewed as the d there are good reaso authors’ first choice--an
t is said that there are three things you should accomplish in your lifetime: plant a tree, bring up a child and write a book. While we all probably should be doing more gardening, surveys show that the majority of us (over 80%) actually do dream of writing a book. One of the reasons we don’t--besides the daunting process of actually penning one down--is our fear of not being published. We’ve all heard of eminent authors, from J. K. Rowling and Stephen King to Marcel Proust and Ernest Hemingway, whose works
were painfully turned down before becoming bestsellers, but not everyone possesses the patience or self-confidence it takes to see the light at the end of the rejection slips. Which leaves the option of self-publishing. Not so long ago, self-publishing was seen as a last resort solution for frustrated writers, or was denigrated as “vanity publishing” for the less talented. Those days are long gone. Last month, half of the top 10 titles on the USA Today iBooks bestseller list were self-published, and so-called
indie-authored books are now estimated to compose 20% of the total book market. Self-publishing has become a cultural movement, attracting writers of all stripes keen on retaining total creative control of their work, getting faster access to global markets and higher royalties (up to 70% compared to the 7% to 25% in traditional publishing) while retaining all their rights. CHANGING LANDSCAPE “The publishing landscape has changed significantly since I first
"INVEST TIME AND LEARN HOW TO GET THE BEST POSSIBLE RESULT." NAYDEN KOSTOV
started out writing in the 1950s,” says Martin Thiebaut (pen name: Graham Fulbright), whose first novel Contraras received an enviable commendation in the Times Literary Supplement. The review won him a literary agent but no sales. “In those days, aspiring authors could submit their manuscripts to the publishing house or literary agent of their choice and sit back to await the inevitable rejection slip. Nowadays, the only way to approach a publishing house is through a literary agent, but most agents’ lists are already fully made up and they are loath to look beyond their existing portfolio of triedand-tested authors guaranteeing them a steady income,” explains the former head of English translation at the European Investment Bank, who has been in Luxembourg for over 40 years. “As for the major book retailers, they prefer to take in books from main distributors. They make their living out of modern-day bestsellers, classics, evergreen specialist and academic publications, reference and coffee table books. Although some leading bookshops have started to offer self-published authors shelf space.” Thiebaut has published his latest books, The Khazar Codex, Driving Mad and The Man with the Charmed Life through the UK selfpublishing house Troubadour. His next novel, thriller The Milan Briefcase, will be out 28 November. All of his books are available in both e-book format and in paperback, the latter through POD (print on demand), a technology commonly used by self-publishing platforms. Though self-publishing a book today is in principle easy (an e-book can be published and selling within
four to 72 hours), it still entails a lot of work apart from the actual writing. Before uploading your masterpiece for the world to read, it should be copy-edited and proofread and have a professional-looking cover design. To get it to stand out, you’ll also have to do some marketing (produce a booktrailer video, promote it on social media, send out press releases), get it reviewed (a service many selfpublished authors choose to pay for) and so on. This has a cost. For his last book, for example, Thiebaut invested around €2,000. And though everyone dreams of becoming the next selfpublished success story (think E. L. James, Mark Dawson, Rachel Abbott, Amanda Hocking or Hugh Howey), the vast majority of authors don’t make enough money to even think about quitting their daytime job. In fact, according to specialist blogs and websites, the average print selfpublished book sells only 100-150 copies (two-thirds most probably bought by family and friends). “You don’t publish a book to make money,” agrees Nayden Kostov, whose 1123 Hard To Believe Facts was released this summer. “My sole aspiration was that my book didn’t turn out to be a failure, and I have to admit that the whole experience has been very satisfying.” A former military intelligence analyst in Bulgaria, Nayden Kostov also worked at the European Commission in Brussels before joining the EIB in Luxembourg five years ago. His habit of collecting facts and knowledge of all sorts led him to set up a website, followed by a Facebook page. “An IT friend of mine told me it was easy to do, but it was actually a slow process. It took time for
me to master the technical aspects and I knew nothing about marketing. I read a lot to find the best ways to do it all.” Today his “Raise your brain” Facebook page has over 64,000 likes. TEST READERS In order to finance the publishing of his book, Kostov turned to Kickstarter, a popular crowdfunding platform. He managed to collect €2,000 in a month to cover editing, cover design and promotion expenses. “Again, this was something totally new to me and honestly, it was like having a second job! When you launch something like that you have to really include your supporters in your project.” At the same time, he kept reading everything he could about publishing, writing and formatting--and he finished re-reading his book for the umpteenth time. “When I couldn’t find any more mistakes I sent the final draft to over 30 test readers. They sacrificed many hours of their time, made valuable suggestions and contributed to making it better. For example, in the beginning there was only text, but they recommended I add illustrations. My test readers were also the ones who decided which cover should be used.” For publication, Kostov went with Amazon’s independent publishing tools: KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) for the e-book version (Amazon controls about 70% of the global e-book market) and CreateSpace for the print edition. Uploading a manuscript to Amazon’s e-book store via KDP is free. It doesn’t cost anything to make your book available in print via CreateSpace either and the same rules apply to most of the major selfpublishing platforms. Worth mentioning is that Luxembourg residents don’t even have to pay to get their own ISBN number: they just have to fill out a form via the Bibliothèque Nationale’s website to obtain it. “The whole publication process is pretty straightforward, but it’s a good idea to invest time beforehand and learn how to get the best possible result. October 2016
ADVICE FOR SELF-PUBLISHERS There are many, many websites, forums and blogs dedicated to self-publishing and browsing them is definitely a good idea. Among the most frequent advice given to writers wishing to self-publish is: get a good cover, do layout and formatting properly (get help if needed), get a copyeditor (and some test readers) and prepare a “roll-out” campaign (send advance copies, get reviews, seek blogger attention, write a good author page, use social media…). List of self-publishing platforms: www.allianceindependentauthors. org Self-publishing advice blog: www.selfpublishingadvice.org
MARTIN THIEBAUT enjoys sharing thoughts and experience with other people
There are a lot of people who share their experience on the web and who can be of great help,” says Kostov. WIN-WIN “We believe that independent publishing is a big win for everyone,” affirms Lizzy Erskine, PR manager for the author & reader programme at Amazon UK. “It’s bringing more books to more readers in more ways than were possible just a few years ago. In addition, the self-service nature of these platforms allows thousands of people to boldly experiment and accomplish things that would otherwise be impossible.” Self-publishing clearly offers perks that appeal to all sorts of writers. David Holland, one of Luxembourg’s prominent business coaches, has
published no less than 44 books. “And another four are underway,” he reveals. “I can write a 15,000-word book over a weekend, then my team edits it and does the graphics for upload. Over the last five years we have published a book on average every six weeks-some are only 35 to 50 pages whilst others are a few hundred pages. They are a mixture of professional and personal development books, combined with sales, marketing, and skills-based ones.“ Holland uses the Lulu platform, one of the other major players in independent publishing. “I write books mainly as a way of differentiating our business in the market, and having my ideas published also means that I control the intellectual property,” he says. “I’ve never seen the books as
being a money-making product--we use them with clients and in workshops and events. They are supporting material to our core business coaching and training workshops. I also treat them as 12mm-thick business cards, great to send to people, or give them as gifts to prospects and people in our network.” Most of us have stories to tell and messages we’d like to perpetuate, be it in form of a novel, a reference book, a poetry collection or a business manual. “Writing can be hard,” admits Thiebaut. “But it’s always pleasant to share your thoughts and experience with other people.” Self-publishing has never been more accessible. So if you do have a manuscript waiting to be set free, now might be the time.
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FOOD & DRINKS
Text by DUNCAN ROBERTS
Photography by ANNA KATINA
Klein waxes lyrical
Damien Klein’s latest venture in Pétange, Wax, sees the chef pay his own inimitable homage to Luxembourg cuisine.
nyone familiar with the food artistry of Damien Klein from his days at Apoteca or Rockhal Café may be concerned when they read that the Luxembourg chef’s latest menu is focused on traditional dishes from the Grand Duchy--Ham, Fritten an Zalot or Bouneschlupp, for example. But fans needn’t worry. Klein has produced his own unique take on the culinary heritage of his native country and the menu is replete dishes that he describes as “revisiting Luxembourg cuisine”. The setting, on the outskirts of the southern town of Pétange, directly accessible, and well signposted, from the E44, is Wax. A former mill, the spacious building has housed brasseries in the past, but Klein has definite ambitions for the place. Mill machinery still in situ, the venue has an upstairs exhibition and banqueting hall and a downstairs restaurant and bar with access to a large terrace at the rear. Work is also underway to create a luscious lawn in the front which will eventually give the venue a capacity for 5,000 people for events. October 2016
But people travel to Wax for Klein’s adventurous cuisine. Using local ingredients where possible-the exception being for the fish dishes--the restaurant’s menu includes a panoply of tempting salads and main courses, including a traditional Luxembourg Judd mat Gaardebounen. Klein likes to play with his food and his hearty but refined Bouneschlupp (bean soup) is a do-it-yourself affair, with the soup served in a ceramic topped bottle that diners pour over a selection of cooked root vegetables in a deep bowl, accompanied by a mushy pea-stuffed Mettwurscht. A forest appetiser includes a delicious tiny portion of Feierstengszalot (boiled beef salad) served on an edible spoon and a one-bite portion of toast aux champignons, which he has packed with the wonderfully earthy flavour of mushrooms. The service is attentive and multilingual, the wood-beam dining room airy and unpretentious. And Klein has enlisted the help of Tanja de Jager from Dipso (see page 80) to help create the wine list, which features plenty of quality Luxembourg whites and some great reds. WAX icon_where 2 rue d’Athus, Pétange icon_when Tue-Sun 12:00-01:00 (closed Mondays)
NEW IRISH BAR Vincent Clarke has opened his new pub inside the ÉireLux Food and Drinks Supplies store in Howald. The bar serves draught Guinness and a variety of other beers on tap and by the bottle and is looking to host special events. icon_where 40 rue des Bruyères, Howald icon_facebook ÉireLux Food & Drinks Supplies
LOW CAL BEER Fox is the latest Luxembourg beer brand to hit the market. A low calorie pilsner, Fox was created by two young Luxembourgers and is currently brewed in an artisanal brewery in Belgium. It is available in selected supermarkets and bars. icon_website www.foxbeer.lu
Lala La photo Fox Beer
MAD ABOUT PERÚ A new Peruvian restaurant has just opened in Dudelange. The proprietors of Mad about Perú say their Peruvian chefs will deliver the authentic “sazón peruana”. icon_where 76 avenue GrandeDuchesse Charlotte, Dudelange icon_facebook Mad about Perú
FRANZ • 32, Rue de la Poste L-2346 Luxembourg
+352 27 40 66 99 • email@example.com • www.franz.lu
Restaurant Franz is the new hot spot in the centre of Luxembourg-City. Located just next to the future Royal-Hamilius, the restaurant’s offer ranges from a coffee in the morning to a cocktail in the evening. Restaurant Franz serves lunch and dinner featuring an inviting menu with the best dishes the French cuisine has to offer. Franz also hosts a pulsing bar with a delicious cocktail menu, perfect to celebrate long afterworks among friends or colleagues.
HAPPY HOUR FROM MONDAY TO FRIDAY • 17H - 20H
LONGDRINKS, COCKTAILS & GIN TONICS 9€
END OF YEAR DINNER Think of Franz
Text by DUNCAN ROBERTS
Photography by MIKE ZENARI
Sober appreciation y wines rs specialising in qualit A new generation of baers is springing up in Luxembourg. and spirits and craft be
omething is shifting in the way we go out for drinks. No longer are we steaming into bars and getting in round after round of mass-produced beer and sickly shots and ending up, wilfully or not, inebriated by the end of the night. Instead, we are starting to appreciate quality and what might best be described by that dreaded buzzword, conviviality. This is evidenced by a new generation of bars that have opened over the last few years in Luxembourg. Serving top rated wines by the glass, original cocktails made with specialist spirits, as well as stocking a wide selection of craft beers, they are catering to customers who want quality over quantity. François Dickes and Rossi Petkova opened Vins Fins just over two years ago as an outlet for their wine import business. They had been looking for a venue for some time, and when the small bar on the corner in the Grund became available they jumped at the chance--though they faced stiff competition from two of Luxembourg’s breweries. “We worked hard and did all we could to convince the Ville de Luxembourg to give us a chance. In fact, they said they had never seen such a wellpresented dossier,” says Dickes. The partners decided not to make a big deal about the fact that the bar specialises in organic and biodynamic wines. “We are wine lovers, it’s our passion, but we are not sommeliers,” says Petkova. “But the more we explain what these wines are, the more they understand.” DIRECT FROM THE SOURCE The advantage Dickes and Petkova have is that they go directly to the source to obtain their wines. “We import directly from the winemakers, which allows us to have competitive prices,” says Dickes. They have recently travelled to Burgundy and Spain and Cahors in southwest France--“the mecca of Malbec,” Dickes calls it. “The whole point is to have products that others in Luxembourg don’t have. It’s great to be able to tell a story about the winemaker that you visited.” Indeed, organic wine, like organic food, is becoming more and more popular and producers are also constantly improving the quality. “Unfortunately, wine is the only alimentary product October 2016
that doesn’t have to list all its ingredients,” Dickes explains. The cosy bar also serves food from a limited menu but featuring regional, and often organic produce such as trout from the north of Luxembourg and cheese from Lorraine--which also features in a raclette in winter. Talking of which, Dickes, working with Tim Probyn from Oscars down the road, is hoping to organise a Grund Christmas market this festive season. Up the hill in the old town, Tanja de Jager is breathing a sigh of relief. The roadworks that have blighted the street outside her wine bar, Dipso – The Wine Republic, have finally finished. That allowed customers to truly enjoy the terrace at the wine bar, almost doubling her capacity to 90 guests. De Jager has always had a passion for wine and enjoyed going out for a drink in town after work-she was a journalist with local broadcaster RTL. “But as a wine lover, I was frustrated that none of the cafés really offered a quality selection of wines, or even just one good glass. Even if you were prepared to pay for it, the choice wasn’t available.” Carrying an ambition to work independently, de Jager started looking for a location for a wine bar. It took two years before she learned that the venue in the rue de la Loge would become available. DRINKS WITH FOOD “The idea was to offer customers a great selection of quality wines, and also a menu with something small to eat. Because that was the other thing I had noticed--when you were out with friends for a drink at one stage one or more of you would want to eat. Then you would spend time deciding where, finding a restaurant with a table available. This way those who want to eat can stay and have something without breaking up an enjoyable evening.”
"IT’S GREAT TO BE ABLE TO TELL A STORY ABOUT THE WINEMAKERS THAT YOU VISITED." ROSSI PETKOVA AND FRANÇOIS DICKES
TANJA DE JAGER opened Dipso because she couldn’t find quality wines in normal bars
Wine bars VINS FINS icon_where 18 rue Münster, Luxembourg-Grund icon_website www.vinsfins.lu DIPSO – THE WINE REPUBLIC icon_where 4 rue de la Loge, Luxembourg-Centre icon_website www.dipso.lu BARRELS icon_where 21 allée Scheffer, Luxembourg-Limpertsberg icon_website www.barrels.lu
Once a month, Dipso hosts a “cuisine des amis” evening, to which she invites locally renowned chefs such as Jan Schneidewind, René Mathieu or Katell Guillou, who create a six- or seven-course menu of small dishes which are served to customers sitting at large communal tables. The clientele features many regulars and is slightly older than the 20-something bar crowd, de Jager admits. And there are always more women than men. “They attract men towards the end of the evening,” she jokes. She deals with some 17 suppliers and enjoys immensely the enviable task of selecting the wines. “I did not want one supplier who will give you a free fridge.” Dipso has a large range of Luxembourg and French wines, but de Jager also makes sure she has Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, South African and South American reds by the glass. “People like robust wines, even in the warm weather. I am surprised not more champagne is being drunk, but maybe people who go to a wine bar want to drink wine rather than bubbly.” As for her own taste, de Jager prefers white Burgundy and a wide variety of reds--Italians, Roussillon and Portuguese are among her current favourites. Gabriel Boisante also enjoys the drinks served at his latest venture, Paname on the place de Paris. He describes Paname as an “all day experience”. It opens at 8 in the morning to serve coffee and breakfast and closes at 1 a.m., by which time cocktail aficionados have flocked to the bar. “We consider ourselves mixologists,” he says. “We work only with fresh ingredients and develop October 2016
our own creations or variations on cocktails. We want originality, whether it is spicy or salty cocktails. Customers want to discover new flavours, especially as people are drinking less and less but are seeking out quality.” Boisante, whose very first job as a student was working in a bar in Paris, says that the trend some years ago for mojitos, followed by the hype surrounding specialist gins, raised expectations and meant that drinkers got used to paying over ten euros for a cocktail. PRECISE MIXING “The game changed three of four years ago. But even so we try to do more. People know that there is something special inside the glass, that the classic London Dry and Schweppes tonic for six euros is over.” The focus is on the purity of the ingredients and the right recipe to provide a positive drinking experience. Boisante explains that the mixologists won’t use decoration that is not necessary. “We work as precisely as possible. It is like making pastry; without precision a drink can be wrecked.” Paname is the fruition of an idea that Boisante has had for several years--a bar that also serves food, light and small portions, but which regularly changes its menu. This is all part of the aim to get diners and drinkers to discover new things. “Clients follow us because they know they will get quality and we don’t want them to get bored. This is the sort of place I like to visit when I go back to Paris or another international city.”
VINOTECA icon_where 6 rue Wiltheim, Luxembourg-Centre icon_website www.vinoteca.lu LA BULLE DE VIN icon_where 24 rue de l’Eau, Luxembourg-Centre icon_website www.labulledevin.com BAR À VIN
icon_where 31 rue des Capucins, Luxembourg-Centre icon_website www.baravin.lu
COCKTAILS PANAME icon_where 50 rue Zithe, Luxembourg-Gare icon_facebook Paname OCTANS icon_where 15 rue du Curé, Luxembourg-Centre icon_website www.octansbar.com MAMACITA icon_where 9 rue des Bains, Luxembourg-Centre icon_website www.mamacita.lu COCO MANGO – SOFITEL LE GRAND DUCAL icon_where 40 boulevard d’Avranches, Luxembourg-Gare icon_facebook Coco Mango music&drinks
logo quadri et nĂŠgatif sur fond noir
Text by NEEL CHRILLESEN
Photography by LALA LA PHOTO
Let tur meurriclife colour yo
A key ingredient in Asian and Middle Eastern cooking, turmeric is also one of the best kitchen medicines, with wide-ranging health benefits.
orget kale, chia seeds, kefir, kombucha and whatever other so-called super or functional foods you’ve been trying to add to your diet lately in the quest for health and mindfulness. The real star--turmeric--has been sitting in your kitchen cupboard all along. The vibrant orange spice has actually been used for over 4,000 years to treat a variety of conditions, notably in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. “Turmeric’s active principle is curcumin and it is both a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant,” explains Viviane Craig, a medical herbalist based in Luxembourg and author of the booklet Medicinal flora on the Kirchberg (available for free: www.fondskirchberg.lu). Inflammation is thought to cause or contribute to almost every major disease, so it’s no surprise that studies have shown turmeric can improve a long list of health complaints, including indigestion, type 2 diabetes, October 2016
arthritis, cardiovascular problems, cancer, Alzheimer’s and depression. “Curcumin is also protective of the liver, it lowers blood fat levels and it reduces weight gain. In some cases it is effective against hay fever and it can help treat inflammatory skin conditions, too. Of course, as it is a bitter, it also stimulates digestion and keeps the digestive muscular system working smoothly.” The orange powder you buy for cooking is made from the turmeric plant’s crushed rhizomes (underground stems). It is an essential ingredient in curries and a great deal of other dishes, but is also used to colour food or as a preservative in cheeses for example. “Turmeric is the same family as ginger,” says Craig. “The ground version bought as a spice is perfectly adapted as a health enhancer and my advice would simply be: use it liberally. Just as I’d suggest adding cinnamon to sweet dishes, I’d advise adding turmeric to as many savoury dishes as you can: soups, casseroles, rice, omelettes… The taste is subtle and can easily be covered. Turmeric is not a heal-all of course, but it is a truly beneficial addition to your diet.”
GOLDEN MILK Drinking a cup of golden milk is a nice way of getting a healthy dose of turmeric. The most common and straightforward recipe involves heating a small cup of water in a saucepan with 1-2 teaspoons of ground turmeric. Let it simmer for 10 minutes. Add a pinch of black pepper (piperine increases the bioavailability of curcumin), ½ cup of milk and a little honey. For an extra boost, add cinnamon or ginger.
TURMERIC RHIZOME Your usual turmeric powder is perfectly potent for health purposes, but you can also use fresh turmeric root, grated or sliced. Be careful though because it stains--a lot. Available in selected Asian and health food stores. TURMERIC SWITCHEL To make the turmeric version of switchel (a refreshing drink from the 17th century, now a hipster favourite), combine 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, a small squeeze of lime juice, ½ tsp of ground turmeric and ½ tsp of ground ginger (or 1 tsp of grated/sliced root) and a pinch of black pepper in a glass of water. Stir, cover and let it steep in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Strain if needed and serve over ice.
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Text by ALIX RASSEL
Photography by LALA LA PHOTO
t h g i n e i v o M respite Cit y volunteers ourg in 2012, Serve thejec ts. mb xe Lu in h nc lau its Since variety of community pro have been involved in ahost a series of movie nights for refugees. Its latest initiative is to
SERVE THE CITY:
uided by a belief that “many people, doing small things together can make a big difference”, Serve the City’s army of volunteers provide services that include a twice-monthly “Street Team” to serve food for the homeless and chaperoning children in need and those with disabilities to events they otherwise might not be able to attend. Its latest project, “Filmowend mat Frënn” (Film Night with Friends), stemmed from the initiative of one volunteer who was showing monthly movies at the Foyer Saint Antoine in conjunction with Caritas. “Serve The City learnt about the project and thought it was an excellent way to provide entertainment for refugees living in foyers [shelters] with minimal leisure activities,” explains Pascale Soares, who is responsible for coordinating the Filmowend mat Frënn initiative. The organisation submitted a proposal for financial assistance to Œuvre Nationale de Secours Grande-Duchesse Charlotte, and were awarded a grant of €15,000 to purchase equipment. Currently movies are being screened once a month at four foyers. “But we hope to increase this in the future by collaborating with local communities to create a cultural exchange,” says Soares. The equipment was professionally calibrated by light and sound technicians, so all the STC team has to do is choose appropriate films, set up the equipment and clean up afterwards. “We usually choose family type movies,” explains Dominique Lorentz, one of the film night volunteers. “But it depends on the particular foyer. Monopol is males only and they may have different preferences to Foyer Logopédie where there are a lot of families with children.” Movies are usually shown in English with French or German subtitles, but where possible films can also be purchased with October 2016
Arabic subtitles and are usually sourced from the UK. “The children especially enjoy the movies,” says Lorentz, “as it provides them with a distraction from their usual routine. However, the adults are always very kind and offer to help clean up after the movie has finished.” “There are always two volunteers present at each movie night,” adds Soares, “as well as the security guards provided by the CroixRouge or Caritas in the shelters. It’s always good to have at least two people so they can help with the seating and find somewhere cosy for the children to sit.” Soares hopes that in the future STC will be able to provide popcorn, beanbags and cushions for the movie goers, so that they feel more at ease. “We are always grateful for corporate sponsors who might want to assist either on a financial basis or by donating traditional carpets, cushions or other equipment.” As Roman Polanski famously said: “Cinema should make you forget you are sitting in a theatre.” For asylum seekers who have been through so much, it offers a moment’s respite from reality. STC welcomes volunteers to help out at the movie nights, particularly in Oberkorn, Differdange and Weilerbach. Anyone interested can email Pascale Soares: firstname.lastname@example.org
" THE CHILDREN ESPECIALLY ENJOY THE MOVIES... AS IT PROVIDES THEM WITH A DISTRACTION FROM THEIR USUAL ROUTINE." DOMINIQUE LORENTZ
Text by DUNCAN ROBERTS
14 shows e you must se
ROTTERDAM PHIL With Hélène Grimaud The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin is joined by star pianist Hélène Grimaud for a concert featuring Béla Bartók’s 3rd Concerto for piano and orchestra, written during the final days of the composer’s life in 1945. The programme also features the overture to Haydn’s opera The Desert Island and Mahler’s 1st Symphony. icon_when 17 October icon_where Philharmonie, Luxembourg-Kirchberg icon_ticket www.philharmonie.lu October 2016
THE FEVER Sly One hander English-language theatre company Actors Rep brings its production of Wallace Shawn’s acclaimed play The Fever to Konrad over six nights. Written for one performer, the play mercilessly, and at times hilariously, examines comfortable liberal privilege in the modern world. Peter Zazzali directs Erik Abbott and Christine Probst in alternating performances. icon_when 12, 13, 15, 19, 20 & 22 October icon_where Konrad Café, Luxembourg-Centre icon_ticket www.actorsrep.lu
THE EMPEROR Actress showcase Adapted by Colin Teevan from the book by journalist Ryszard Kapuściński about the decline and fall of Haile Selassie in Ethiopia, The Emperor gives award-winning actress Kathryn Hunter a chance to showcase her technical versatility in a onewoman show. Walter Meierjohann directs what The Guardian called “a resonant and troubling metaphor for the great melancholy of power.” icon_when 12-14 October icon_where Grand Théâtre icon_ticket www.theatres.lu
KISS ME, KATE Porter’s bard musical In the year celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, this musical based on The Taming Of The Shrew is highly appropriate. Cole Porter provided the music and lyrics to Samuel and Bella Spewack’s show, which ran for more than 1,000 performances on Broadway. It has enjoyed several Broadway and London revivals and in 1953 was made into a film. icon_when 15 & 16, 18-20 October icon_where Grand Théâtre icon_ticket www.theatres.lu
PJ HARVEY Icon The only two-time Mercury Prize winner, and an MBE to boot, PJ Harvey made two excellent albums before garnering wider attention with 1995’s To Bring You My Love. More recent albums include 2011 Mercury winner Let England Shake, which she performed at neimënster courtesy of den Atelier, who brings her back with new album The Hope Six Demolition Project. icon_when 18 October icon_where Rockhal, Esch-Belval icon_ticket www.atelier.lu
DUCK DUCK GREY DUCK From Geneva with love Swiss trio Duck Duck Grey Duck make music that the band describes as “doo-wop, Lake Geneva soul-surf-garage”. It is most appealing on debut album Here Come..., which includes laid back tracks ‘Mexico’ and ‘Double Monk Strap’ but also surf-psyche rock outs ‘Like A Bee’ and ‘Ice Cream’.
THE WEDDING PRESENT Indie pioneers Still going strong some 30 years after forming, jangly guitar pioneers The Wedding Present, fronted by David Gedge, return to Luxembourg to promote new album Going, Going... An experiment in multimedia formatting, the album is a collection of 20 linked songs each accompanied by a film. Support comes from one of the best new local bands around, Autumn Sweater. icon_when 24 October icon_where Bar National, Luxembourg-Merl icon_ticket www.tnl.lu
icon_when 19 October icon_where De Gudde Wëllen, Luxembourg-Centre icon_ticket www.deguddewellen.lu
Théâtre du Châtelet / Marie-Noëlle Robert > Hugo Glendinning > Mat Henneck > Marco Borggreve > Maria Mochnacz > Mike Zenari
season nues kick off their new musical, Luxembourg’s culture ve lar pu po a ing lud inc mme with an eclec tic progra stras, cool pop ac ts and he orc l ca ssi cla ed s. laim acc uage theatre production challenging English-lang
MARK EITZEL Crafted songwriters Former Bad Seed Hugo Race brings his The Fatalists band to Dudelange for a show in the Touch of Noir programme. Promoting latest album, the beautiful and desolate 24 Hours to Nowhere, Race performs on a double bill with Mark Eitzel. Making his fourth visit to Dudelange, Eitzel is one of America’s greatest and most underrated talents, packing his technically crafted songs with acerbic wit and raw emotion. icon_when 26 October icon_where Opderschmelz, Dudelange icon_ticket www.opderschmelz.lu
DINOSAUR JR. Far from extinct J Mascis and Lou Barlow still head the band they reformed some 11 years ago after a hiatus of nine years. Indeed, Dinosaur Jr. is as popular now as they have ever been, recording a series of acclaimed albums featuring its trademark fuzztone sound, including 2012’s I Bet on Sky and this year’s Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not.
AGNES OBEL A Nordic haunting A Danish singer with a dazzling and haunting voice, Agnes Obel hit the big time with the release of 2013 album Aventine, which was praised for its exquisite arrangements and for creating a sustained mood of beautiful melancholy. About to release follow-up album, Citizen of Glass, Obel is touring again and promises to deliver a riveting concert.
icon_when 30 October icon_where den Atelier, Luxembourg-Gare icon_ticket www.atelier.lu
icon_when 1 November icon_where den Atelier, Luxembourg-Gare icon_ticket www.atelier.lu
JENNIFER LARMORE Nei Stëmmen masterclass A gala concert featuring mezzosoprano Jennifer Larmore and the singers she has put through their paces at this year’s Nei Stëmmen masterclass. 13 singers from all over Europe studied for five days with Larmore and vocal coaches Diego Mingolla and Philip Richardson. The gala concert will include excerpts from popular operas by the likes of Rossini, Verdi and Mozart. icon_when 4 November icon_where Conservatoire, Luxembourg-Merl icon_ticket www.conservatoire.lu
RUSSELL MALIPHANT Actress showcase A Grand Théâtre favourite, British choreographer Russell Maliphant brings to Luxembourg Conceal | Reveal, a performance of three works. They include his iconic Broken Fall, with music by Mancunian musician Barry Adamson, ‹‹both, and››, which is a solo for Maliphant’s wife Dana Fouras, and Piece No. 43, which celebrates Maliphant’s now 20-year collaboration with lighting designer Michael Hulls. icon_when 9 November icon_where Grand Théâtre icon_ticket www.theatres.lu
XENIA RUBINOS Intriguing soul New York singer Xenia Rubinos’ Black Terry Cat album has been described as the sound of the summer. Her Cuban and Puerto Rican heritage are influential but do not dominate her music, which blends R&B grooves with jazz and funk to create a sound that is both accessible and intriguing, with songs that veer from heart-broken romance to the politicised outrage. One not to miss. icon_when 3 November icon_where De Gudde Wëllen, Luxembourg-Centre icon_ticket www.deguddewellen.lu
JANINE JANSEN Artist in residence Dutch violinist Janine Jansen is one of four artists in residence at the Philharmonie this season. Here she performs the first of three scheduled concerts at the venue, playing Alban Berg’s violin concert (“To the memory of an angel”) with the OPL. Also on the programme are Franz Schubert’s Overture D590 (“in the Italian style”) and Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. icon_when 10 November icon_where Philharmonie, Luxembourg-Kirchberg icon_ticket www.philharmonie.lu
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Text by SOPHIA MILLER
n r a e l d n a n e t s i L s n o i s i V c i n o S at sic conference mber. Visions festival and mu Rockhal’s annual Sonic erse genres to Luxembourg from 10 to 12 Nove div of s brings musician
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© Prenom Nom
onic Visions returns once again this November to light up the Rockhal with an impressive line-up of bands and musicians from Luxembourg and abroad. A collaboration between Rockhal and Rocklab, the music resources centre that works to support upcoming local musicians, the festival features Luxembourg artists whose careers Rocklab has supported--Tuys and Edsun, amongst others--as well as bigger global acts. This year’s headliners are singer-songwriter Jake Bugg and US folk-pop trio The Lumineers (photo), whose break-out single ‘Ho Hey’ went platinum after its 2012 release. Whilst the programme of gigs is what draws most to Sonic Visions, the festival has a second and oftoverlooked facet--and internationally acclaimed music conference. Now in its ninth edition the conference attracts over 300 professionals from all fields of the music industry. One of last year’s guests, BBC Radio October 2016
Scotland’s Vic Galloway, praised the Rockhal as a “superb venue with state-of-the-art sound and lighting in each of the three indoor spaces.” And he was equally impressed with the conference. “The panels and seminars were genuinely thoughtprovoking and inspiring, helping us all find our way through this fast-moving, mutating music industry.” Accessible to the general public, but geared towards people working in or aspiring to work in the music industry--whether as artists, producers or promoters--the three-day conference provides opportunities for attendees to network and polish their skills. This year’s event includes masterclasses, panels, keynote addresses and showcases by highprofile music professionals. The focus is on entrepreneurship, the role of self-promotion and the future of the music industry in terms of technology and digital media. The conference runs alongside the festival and is held in three locations.
3 to watch
NAO Having placed third in the BBC’s Sound of 2016 rankings, Londoner Nao is enjoying a swift rise to fame. Originally a jazz-trained singer, she now layers her airy vocals over a smooth electronic soundscape reminiscent of the futuristic R&B of AlunaGeorge and FKA Twigs. icon_website www.thisnao.tumblr.com TUYS Luxembourg’s indie-rock success story has already opened for the likes of The Kooks and The 1975, as well as performing at festivals all over the country. After the success of their latest EP, ‘Carousel’, the young band hopes to break out of the Grand Duchy and take their sound abroad. icon_website www.tuys.lu JAKE BUGG Young singer-songwriter Jake Bugg shot to the top of the charts with his eponymously titled debut release in 2012, impressing audiences with his fresh take on old-school bluesy folk. The follow-up, Shangri La, was produced by the legendary Rick Rubin, and he has just released his third album, On My One. icon_website www.jakebugg.com
Text by DUNCAN ROBERTS
A cinema away from home features not only gramme (6-23 Oc tober) Europe, but also pro st Ea Cin s ar’ ye is Th m central and eastern highlights. a wide variety of films fro ncerts. Here are a few co d an exhibitions , debates
THE NEST OF THE TURTLEDOVE Ukrainian drama about a woman returning to her native village and her out-of-work husband after spending years working in Italy as the family breadwinner. But she returns with a secret…
AWAY FROM HOME One of the main themes of this year’s festival is “Away from Home”, which seems pertinent in this time of migration and the refugee crisis. But other aspects of the theme are also dealt with in several films that focus on expatriates, the Roma people or the homeless, “inspiring a broader reflection on what ‘home’ and ‘being away from home’ means,” say the festival organisers. In addition, a large scale exhibition featuring the work of Slovenian, Polish and Luxembourg photographers will also tackle the “Away from Home” theme. The photographs not only have as their subject refugees and new migrants, but also expats from Central and Eastern Europe who have built a new life for themselves in Luxembourg. A number of debates on the subject will also take place throughout the festival. icon_info www.cineast.lu
KILLS ON WHEELS Hungarian black comedy about a group of disabled friends who become involved with a wheelchair bound hitman, the star of a graphic novel they are creating. Unique and highly entertaining, the film can be viewed as a coming-of-age drama and an uplifting comedy about living life to the fullest.
MELLOW MUD A bittersweet coming-of-age drama about a 17-year-old Latvian girl who must use all her resources to look after her younger brother when their grandmother dies. Meanwhile, she dreams of getting to London to find her mother. The beautiful Elina Vaska gives a compelling performance in her first big screen role.
QUIT STARING AT MY PLATE The feature film debut of Croatian director Hana Jušić, this family saga centres around a 24-year-old woman still living in the midst of her family whom circumstance suddenly casts as its bread winner. The story has a “familiar sense of bleak realism,” says Hollywood Reporter critic Boyd van Hoeij.
THE QUEEN OF SILENCE An admirable Polish documentary about a 10-year-old Roma girl, shunned by many because of her deafness, who is obsessed with Bollywood films and expresses herself through dance. Director Agnieszka Zwiefka mixes staged musical numbers into her documentary.
EXILED A WWI thriller set in a Latvian convalescent home for shell-shocked soldiers overseen by a war-weary German doctor. When he finds a wild boy in the nearby forest, circumstances change forever.
MOM AND OTHER LOONIES… A welcome relief from the heavy drama that seems to dominate the festival, this zany Bulgarian comedy follows the story of a 94-year-old matriarch who recounts the story of her life and the 27 times she moved house, or even country, to escape trouble.
LOST IN MUNICH An absurd mockumen tary about a film crew shooting a drama about the 1938 Munich agreement, the Czech film features a film within a film, the kidnapping of a 90-year-old parrot (to whom the lead actor is allergic), and plenty of political intrigue and controversy.
THREE DAYS IN SEPTEMBER A thriller set in a small town in decline in the Macedonian mountains, Three Days in September centres around two very different women who share a secret while the local policeman starts investigating their story.
BALKAN NIGHT Live music from Toporkestra, a Ukrainian band that plays a heady mix of Bessarabian, Balkan, gypsy, klezmer and kolomyka music with some good old Soviet pop. Followed by DJ sets. icon_when Saturday 8 October icon_where Melusina, rue de la Tour Jacob, Luxembourg-Clausen icon_info www.melusina.lu
Polish alternative rock band The Washing Machine performs a live soundtrack to the classic surreal fantasy The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. icon_when Friday 14 October icon_where Cinémathèque, place du Théâtre, Luxembourg-Centre icon_info www.cinematheque.lu
Highly-rated Polish piano jazz duo, Krzysztof Karpiński and Krzysztof Sadowski, perform the music of composer Henryk Wars. A fellow Pole, Wars composed pop music as well as scores to over 100 films. icon_when Sunday 23 October icon_where Ancien Cinéma, Grand-Rue, Vianden icon_info www.anciencinema.lu
All images provided by CinEast
C T IC & ALT
I V E MU S I C T A N
Radio E N G L I S H NE
, CHAT & MU
Text by SOPHIA MILLER
Contemporar y art showcase
Watch out for…
med into a haven for Ar t Week . tor Hugo will be transfor rg Limpertsberg’s Halle Vic and collectors during the second Luxembou ers lov art ry ora contemp
DADADA Maison Moderne will also publish the first edition of brand new magazine Dadada this November to run alongside Luxembourg Art Week as an additional guide to the events of the week, as well as provide an annual insight into the Grand Duchy’s unique art scene.
AFFORDABLE ART The Take Off pavilion is dedicated to affordable art with a maximum price €3,000. It is housed in a temporary space in front of the Halle Victor Hugo. The idea was the brainchild of Xavier Bettel in his role as minister of culture.
GUIDED TOURS Every day at 3 p.m. a guided tour will take visitors around the main galleries and exhibition spaces and discover more details about the art world in Luxembourg.
As well as Luxembourg exhibitors ranging from the Galerie Clairefontaine and Galerie Schortgen to the Galerie Toxic and Nosbaum Reding, galleries from Paris in France, Dresden in Germany and Knokke, Brussels and Stavelot in Belgium will be among the 24 displaying their wares. Guided tours, discussions and conferences for collectors and the general public will run alongside the exhibitions. Entrance is free, as organisers hope to attract large numbers and draw more attention than ever to the country’s contemporary art movement. icon_where Halle Victor Hugo, avenue Victor Hugo, Luxembourg-Limpertsberg icon_when 9-13 November icon_ticket www.luxembourgartweek.lu SALON DU CAL A selection of works by 34 local artists from Luxembourg and the Greater Region who have gained entry to the Cercle Artistique de Luxembourg following a jury presentation that considered some 120 artists.
WINDSOR RESTAURANT The acclaimed Windsor restaurant run by local chef Jan Schneidewind will provide catering throughout the Luxembourg Art Week with a pop-up restaurant in the foyer of the Halle Victor Hugo.
PANELS AND DEBATES Mudam, Villa Vauban and Private Art Kirchberg, amongst others, will host panel discussions on topics such as gallery curation in a time of budget restrictions, and the status of Luxembourg art. The conferences take place on 10, 11 & 12 November at 5:30 p.m.
Charles Soubry/Luxembourg Art Week
project still in its infancy, Luxembourg Art Week debuted last year as a collaboration between the Cercle Artistique de Luxembourg (CAL), Artcontemporain.lu, the Luxembourg Agency for Cultural Action and the Ville de Luxembourg. Building on the tradition of the Salon du CAL--a showcase of local artwork chosen by a jury, first established in 1893--the primary attraction is an exhibition space devoted to galleries from Luxembourg and the Greater Region. Professionals will be able to stroll around the Halle Victor Hugo and meet others from the art world, discuss upcoming exhibitions and trade fairs, pricing and auctions, art as an investment and the merits of the Freeport.
SHOWCASES The main exhibition is to be held in the Halle Victor Hugo. Exhibiting art from 24 galleries from 6 countries (Luxembourg, Germany, France, Belgium, Italy and Austria) showing artists of their choice, visitors will for the first time be able to meet the gallery owners at their booths.
ING OPEN inster l Jung
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Savour the g second sprin
DANCE YOUR DIFFERENCE! Adults and kids dance in pairs in these workshops at Rotondes and Trois C-L. They are also open to handicapped children and various age groups. icon_website www.rotondes.lu 3D PHOTOS Kids between the ages of 4 and 12 are invited to make 3D photos at a two-day workshop on 11 and 13 October in Diekirch. icon_website www.mhsd.lu
lbert Camus called autumn “a second spring when every leaf is a flower”, and Luxembourg forests usually burst into bouquets of fiery red, bright oranges and yellows as the air grows decidedly chillier and the nights creep home earlier and earlier. Also brightening this time of year is a bumper harvest of seasonal activities. Take a horse-drawn carriage to the Discovery Centre at the Burfelt forest on the weekend of 15 and 16 October, try out your woodworking skills and watch craftsmen turn branches into art and walking sticks. You can also learn about the forest, take a canoe ride, discover nature and grab lunch! icon_website www.visitluxembourg.com
Also hard to “beet” is the annual Trauliichtwochen at the Robbesscheier Tourist Centre, where kids can carve their own lanterns out of beets from 22 October to 4 November in this regional take on the jack-o-lantern. There will be other activities around this theme, like lantern parades and a big bonfire to burn away the spirits of summer and winter alike, or at least warm up cold hands and faces. icon_website www.robbesscheier.lu Fill a few baskets more at the huge St. Hubert’s Day market, art and craft show in Berdorf on 5 and 6 November. icon_website www.visitluxembourg.com
Kids can also carve beet lanterns at the Rural Museum in Peppange from 2 to 5 p.m. on 29 October, and these better do their job of keeping baddies at bay because that evening, there’s a spooky night hike from 7 to 10 p.m. icon_website www.musee-rural.lu If it’s pumpkins you prefer, head to the Nature Museum to chisel triangular eyes and jagged teeth into a Kürbis and cook up a delicious soup from them too, at an afternoon workshop on 25 October. icon_website www.mnhn.lu
FAMILY DAY AT THE COQUE Mascots Croc and Crispy will encourage the crowd to try various sports and games, and there will be magic, music and more! 16 October, from noon. icon_website www.coque.lu EXPLORE ARTISTIC OXYMORONS This October kids aged 3 to 12 can take workshops inspired by the work of Belgian artist Wim Delvoye, who created Mudam’s chapel. icon_website www.mudam.lu
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Baffled by roundabouts
themselves at the office. At the same time, that means more than a quarter never quite feel like themselves at work. Undoubtedly this disposition is amplified as an expat. In Luxembourg, keeping track of what language to address which colleague and what time they must have lunch (and let’s not even get started on the bise) can only add to a newcomer’s stress. Or, the accumulation of faux pas can be quite amusing. Perhaps you should look at this fitting-in curve as just part of the adventure that you signed up for when you made the move here. And remember that your new colleagues are in the same boat as you: is your strange-to-them habit an important national trait or just your personality?
every thing w advice columnist on This month Delano’s ne der questions on the Luxembourg answers reaat work, and national flags . Pfaffenthal lift, fitting in
Dear Auntie Eleanor, why can’t Luxembourg drivers use roundabouts properly? — Joe in Hamm Gentle reader, this is a mystery that has baffled drivers for decades. It should be quite simple. You enter the right lane to take the first exit to the right, and enter the left lane to take a subsequent exit and then merge into the right lane when appropriate. But somehow local drivers and Belgians (oh, don’t get me started on the Belgians) enjoy hogging the right lane all the way around--blocking its access to drivers wishing to get on the roundabout. Maybe all Benelux drivers should be made to take their test in Milton Keynes, which has so many roundabouts (124 at the last count) it was once joked that the city planners accidentally kept putting their coffee mugs on the blueprints when designing the city’s road system. Dear Auntie Eleanor, why was the brand new Pfaffenthal lift out of action for a whole week, just after it opened? — Deborah in Dudelange Gentle reader, the “official” explanation from the Ville de Luxembourg was that the lift was being worked on for “adjustments”. This included work on waterproofing the cabin and to the ventilation and air October 2016
conditioning in the engine room. Rumours that the lift was subject to sabotage by city centre shopkeepers, afraid the upper town will be overrun by uncouth valley dwellers ill-suited to the etiquette of the boutiques that line rue Philippe II or the GrandRue, have proven unfounded. But then again, maybe it was the happy residents of Pfaffenthal who put a spanner in the works--they could equally be worried that the easy access provided by the lift will accelerate the gentrification of their neighbourhood, and that hipsters might try to buy up the relatively cheap houses and refurbish them with timber cladding.
Dear Auntie Eleanor, I’ve been here several months now, but still don’t fit into the office culture. How long will it take me to feel like myself at my new job? — Anonymous Gentle reader, this is a fraught question in Luxembourg’s multicultural workplaces. A study published earlier this year by Plasticity Labs, a research firm in Canada, found that only 72% of employees believe they are truly “authentic at work”. Of those people, 60% took three months, 22% took nine months, 9% took between 10 and 12 months, and 9% took more than a year to really feel like
Dear Auntie Eleanor, why do Luxembourg and the Netherlands have the same flag? — Jean-Luc in Metz Gentle reader, they are not precisely the same. “The Dutch blue is ultramarine and the Grand Duchy’s blue is sky blue,” according to Luxembourg’s official portal (www. luxembourg.public.lu). They are so strikingly similar because the king of the Netherlands and Luxembourg’s grand duke were one and the same for most of the 19th century. But red, white and blue had been used to represent Luxembourg since the Middle Ages, so there was no real impetus for change after the crowns were separated in 1890. One benefit of the nearly identical flags is that it causes never-ending confusion for the French.
ASK YOUR QUESTION Want to know something about Luxembourg? Contact Auntie Eleanor via email@example.com. Please indicate if Delano can publish your name or if you wish to remain anonymous.
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Delano Magazine October 2016