# 53 SUMMER 2
W E L C O M E
L U X E M B O U R G
( B A C K )
A C U R R E NT BU S IN E SS LIFE STYLE
E N G L I S H
T O L U X E M B O U R G
English day tripsdaycare, to join, ho, groups local elec using, wills, wintions, e more &
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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
WHAT I AN EXP S AT? Face to esca it foreigners pe the expatr, iit’s hard ate lab el.
any of our readers bristle at the use abroad,” Mawuna Remarque Koutonin of of “expat” and “expatriate”. Several SiliconAfrica.com wrote in a blog post reof the people that we cover have specifically published by The Guardian in March 2015. asked us not to use those terms when de- “Africans are immigrants. Arabs are immiscribing them or their organisation. The grants. Asians are immigrants.” word, to some, conjures up the image of What about using “international migrants” pampered posted staff, riding out their instead? Those are “persons living in a short-term assignment on a fat expense country other than where they were born”, account and living in a bubble apart from according to the UN. There were 244m the local community. such people, including roughly 20m refuIn our articles, Delano often opts for the gees, in 2015. more encompassing “international resident”. Or how about simply “foreigners”? That’s Would “foreigner”, “immigrant” or “mi- based on nationality. There were 281,500 grant” be better? What’s in a name? non-citizens living in Luxembourg at the An expatriate is “a person beginning of this year, 48% who lives in a foreign country”, of the country’s total popuaccording to Dictionary.com. lation, says Statec. Yet some AT WHAT The word comes from the of those foreigners were born POINT DO Latin ex- (out of) and patria and raised in the grand duchy. THESE LABELS (one’s native country). In the I’ve now lived a quarter START TO 19th century, an expat was of my life outside the country someone “who has been of my birth. At what point DISSOLVE? do these labels start to disbanished” from their home country; the modern meaning solve? Does it really depend of “one who chooses to live abroad” took on years of residency or an integration hold in 1902, the site says. course or naturalisation papers? These days expatriates can be defined I think it’s more about your attitude. I as “those temporarily resident in a country certainly know plenty of people living in other than their country of origin for a the expat bubble, but there are plenty more period of between three months and ten trying to get the best out of their time years,” reckons Finaccord. The financial abroad, whether it’s a short stint or permaservices market research firm estimated nent move or something in-between. When last year that there were 83.3m “individual you find people and groups and traditions worker” expats worldwide. Another 21.8m to get involved with locally, you’re much were “transferees”, including diplomats less likely to care how you’re labelled. As and NGO staff, retirees, international William Shakespeare wrote, “a rose by any students and “non-employed spouses and other name would smell as sweet”. children”. Yet the term can be discriminatorily AARON GRUNWALD applied. “Expat is a term reserved exclusively Editor-in-chief ad interim for western white people going to work icon_twitter @aarongrunwald
ON MY MIND --If you qualify, register to vote in October’s local elections (www.jepeuxvoter.lu). --Are we headed for a record-breaking hot summer? --I should probably take up swimming again, but I probably won’t. Summer 2017
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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 PUBLISHER Phone (+352) 20 70 70-150 Fax (+352) 29 66 19 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Publisher Mike Koedinger Editorial director Sven Ehmann Editor in chief Duncan Roberts (email@example.com) Desk editor Aaron Grunwald (firstname.lastname@example.org) Journalists Jess Bauldry (email@example.com) Natalie Gerhardstein (firstname.lastname@example.org) Martine Huberty (email@example.com) Contributors Isabella Eastwood, Stephen Evans, Alix Rassel, Sarita Rao, Miriam Scargall Interns Audrey Davis, Isobel Paxton Photography Sven Becker, Marion Dessard, Patrick Galbats, Lala La Photo, Mike Zenari Proofreading Pauline Berg, Sarah Lambolez, Elena Sebastiani, 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 Studio manager Stéphanie Poras-Schwickerath Art director Sascha Timplan Layout Tae Kim (coordination) Intern Alexandre Weidert 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 Printed by Imprimerie Centrale Distribution by Valora Services Luxembourg
DELANO SUMMER 2017 EXPAT EDITION Throughout this issue, Delano presents special reports of interest to new arrivals and longer term international residents. Look for this logo.
COVER STORY 76
PEOPLE TO PEOPLE
Luxembourg’s castles and museums are hits with newcomers and tourists, but the grand duchy’s unsung attraction is… its residents. So, Delano turned to some “unofficial tour guides” to create a unique tourist map.
Many local Brits are campaigning for their post-Brexit rights, writes Fiona Godfrey.
NOTE TO OUR READERS
The next print edition of Delano will be published on 6 October. For updates, commentary and our weekly what’s on guide, visit www.delano.lu.
CRÈCHES AND DAYCARE
Legal traditions vary: here’s what expats need to know about writing their will in the grand duchy.
More than half of Luxembourg parents need childcare. An overview of the English-speaking options. 88
Get ready to vote in October: a guide to the parties and platforms in Luxembourg City.
Patty Neu poses on a hiking trail near Berdorf.
16 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)
ROCKIN’ MOMMA ENTREPRENEURS
These expat women needed career flexibility. So, without missing a beat, they launched their own firms.
Craving a taste from home or the best local produce? Here’s a cheat sheet on which markets to head to.
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CURRENT AFFAIRS 8
GUYS AND DOLLS
Why Jonathan Jäger founded The Luxembourg Daddy Group, and where to catch them next.
DRIP, DRIP, DRIP
Every day 60,000 cubic metres of drinking water is used in Luxembourg. Here’s where much of it comes from.
Ophelia Gartside on the Little English Bookworm’s challenge for kids in Luxembourg and beyond.
Highlights from the Nobelux business chamber conference on boosting women in the financial sector.
FIT FOR A QUEEN
Luxembourg’s financial regulator has clarified how the industry can tap cloud computing services.
This former church fair is now a sporty fun day. Race over to this page for highlights. 66
HITTING THE DOT
DELANO DIGITAL HIGHLIGHTS
From Xavier Bettel’s honorary doctorate to the opening of the new cider centre, check out our Facebook videos. icon_facebook Delano Magazine
The British embassy took Delano behind the scenes for Queen Elizabeth II’s official birthday reception. 14
Half a dozen people have complained about a rental agency that provides short-term accommodation.
A women’s networking group has celebrated three years of making unique connections in Luxembourg.
NO BUBBLE TROUBLE
Despite ever-increasing housing costs, a new study finds that real estate is not necessarily overpriced. 52
THE TRAINING JOURNEY
I scream, you scream, we all scream for these fun ice cream facts. 86
FUND SECTOR HEADHUNTERS
How Brexit is changing Luxembourg’s recruitment market. icon_website www.delano.lu/business
How to enjoy the best of Luxembourg’s Moselle valley, from now through October. 90
A look at the 100 or so staff who keep the Chamber of Deputies running. 26
GET THE SUMMER SCOOP
This meetup is a great way to go hiking, cycling or kayaking with likeminded expats.
REHEARSIN’ SOME MOVES
A moment captured from the Breakin’ Convention, held in June at the Grand Théâtre.
Employers are changing the way they train and develop staff in Luxembourg. Here’s how. 54
GRUB ON THE GO
Only have one free day? These 10 destinations are all less than a two-and-half hour drive from the capital. 92
The new app that’s feeding a food truck frenzy. icon_website www.delano.lu/lifestyle
Only 6% have teleworked in Luxembourg. But some employers are starting to make a push.
DELANO LIVE off the page… Delano is jumping
n we’ll host starting this autum before each print a pre-release par ty lano Live will De t. ou es com n editio interviews on the feature live on-stage the magazine, and in subjects we cover h bar. Organised wit an afterwork open Paperjam Club. the , our sister outfit b icon_website ww w.paperjam.clu
Delano’s “Clocking off!” series: Sascha Kettern, a banker by day, is a stand-up pilot by night. Buckle up.
A chance meeting in Kosovo led Elida Van Nierop to move to Luxembourg. What did she bring in her suitcase? 98
The latest community, culture and networking events. icon_website www.delano.lu/agenda
Delano’s advice columnist answers reader questions on written Luxembourgish, Mansfeld Palace and civics courses.
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Maison Moderne archives
DELIVERING THE PUNCH LINE
GUYS AND DOLLS When Jonathan Jäger started part-time parental leave in March to be with his one-year-old son, he quickly realised something was missing: there were plenty of Facebook groups for mums, but none for dads.
onathan says: “The issues dads are interested in are different [from those of mums]… Dads don’t run through the same pregnancy and post-pregnancy phases which are connected to a lot of issues and uncertainties.” So he decided to do something about it, founding The Luxembourg Daddy Group on Facebook in March. It was soon apparent he’d reached an untapped market: in under two months, the group grew to 250 members.
A “HIPSTER-FUN” LIFESTYLE On 21 May, the group had its first meetup at Parc de Merl, bringing together 30 dads and their kids. Summer 2017
Some dads had registered, but others merely stumbled upon the event, curious about the group’s poster and logo, a bearded man with sunglasses. Jonathan put a lot of thought into the design. “It’s reminiscent of a barbershop… a bit this hipster-fun-healthy lifestyle and transports a lot of emotions to dads who want to be part of that, and it creates a common identity.” The fun is evident from the group page, where members post daily-from jokes and videos on the joys and trials of fatherhood; pros and cons on crèches versus nannies; recommendations on the best hoovers; and, at the time of writing, members helped reunite a dog owner with a
Jonathan Jäger and Michele Trapella and their respective sons are seen in a portrait by Patrick Galbats
missing pup. The group even hopes to organise a beer brewing workshop (dads only, of course). There are also plenty of familyfriendly event suggestions. “We have a lot of farms in Luxembourg that do special days with barbecues, guided tours, where you can feed the animals,” Jonathan says. Sometimes fathers even say where they’ll be to encourage informal meetups.
it’s well-invested. It’s time your employer might not reward in the same way,” he says. “In the end, I think you need to ask yourself what will last longer: the time you invest in overtime, or the time you invest in your kids.” The group’s next meetup takes place on 16 July starting at 4 p.m. at Parc de Merl.
“TIME WELL INVESTED” Michele Trapella, father to a oneyear-old son and newborn, serves as group co-admin. “When my [first] son was born, I quit my job and wanted to spend time with him,” he says. “I don’t want to say I have a lot of free time because the little dude is a full-time job, but it’s a good time for me to do something different.” As a stay-at-home dad, Michele recalls at first feeling “almost sexist stuff” while he was doing things like pushing a pram. But as he started talking to dads, “they wished they could be in my position. It’s nice they can be proud of being stay-athome fathers.” Based on feedback he’s received, Jonathan thinks an increasing number of fathers are taking time to be with their children, especially after the December 2016 parental leave reform. Although it’s too soon to tell whether the reform has made an impact, family minister Corinne Cahen told Delano that the new system, which offers more flexibility and higher compensation, “has also been designed with a view to encourage more fathers to take advantage of their personal leave allowance.” Nevertheless, Jonathan acknowledges the practical challenges some still face vis-à-vis their employers when requesting leave: “If your employer is very demanding, it’s unlikely you’ll take parental leave. But this is changing: there’s a growing community of dads taking it, which is also why they needed a place to share their thoughts and experience.” For Jonathan, taking the time off has been well worth it. “If you invest your time in your family and kids,
Reported by NATALIE GERHARDSTEIN
15.8°C The highest average temperature in the spring of 2017 was recorded in Remich.
icon_facebook The Luxembourg Daddy Group
A PASTRY STORM IN A TEACUP A simple termination of contract letter, notifying a pastry chef that he couldn’t sell his delicacies to highschool students anymore, may lead to a general debate about using more local vendors in schools.
or the past two decades, the bakery Thinnes has been offering their pastries and sandwiches to the students of the Lycée d’Echternach in the schoolyard during the morning break. However, on 11 May, the owner of the bakery, Claude Thinnes, received a letter from the director of the lycée saying that his services would no longer be required. The government’s canteen provider, Restopolis, would have the exclusive right to sell pastries from 15 May onwards, the school said. Thinnes could not believe his eyes. He had had an excellent relationship with past and current students and was appalled at the short notice. He wrote a letter to the director, Henri Trauffler, in which he wanted to know whether he stood behind the decision, which Thinnes suspected came from the ministry of education. The pastry chef was so unnerved that he distributed copies of the notification letter at the school break the next day.
Thinnes said that neither the students nor the teachers were aware of the change. A wave of outrage swept over the school courtyard and even reached the parents’ association and the alumni network. A member of the student committee put a picture of the director’s letter on Facebook, and it was commented on and shared hundreds of times. A petition to allow Thinnes to keep selling his pastries in the schoolyard was started. Students started to boycott the Restopolis canteen. Trauffler explained that the licence had been given to Thinnes because Restopolis had been unable to serve all the 1,400 students during the 15-minute break. Now, however,
Restopolis was able to open two more selling points, and therefore there was no need for the baker to come to the schoolyard anymore. The story became not only about one baker selling pastries to students, but about smaller local shops being driven out of business by bigger, more powerful entities. The fact that Restopolis is government-owned probably made it worse. The ball was rolling and the story had gained considerable momentum. Many were mourning the loss of a tradition (bakers come to many high schools during school breaks). But Restopolis did not want to be the bad guy in all of this. It published a correction on Facebook, stating that it had been selling pastries in the cafeteria of the lycée for years, that Restopolis was not responsible for the decision and that it was wrong to state that the students had been boycotting the canteen--there had been a medium loss of revenue only on one single day. The momentum was such that the education minister, Claude Meisch, got involved. Meisch, showing that he’s in touch with the students, took to Twitter: “No pastry war in Echternach. Everything remains the same.” (“Keen Eechternoacher Mëtschekrich. Et bleift alles beim Alen”--a Mëtsch is a sort of pastry). Thinnes can apparently continue to sell his pastries to the students. According to the school’s director, the ministry of education considers the question of using local vendors a wider matter which needs to be addressed.
QUEEN’S BIRTHDAY PARTY British ambassador John Marshall took Delano behind the scenes before the start of Queen Elizabeth II’s 91st birthday fête on 21 June. Planning starts around six months in advance, and early on the morning of the event, British embassy staff, caterers and musicians were bustling to and fro: cooks were preparing fish and chips, caterers were setting up glasses and trays, while jazz riffs could be heard throughout the garden as the St George’s International School jazz combo set up. Luxembourg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, one of the first of around 300 guests to arrive, had a private tour of two exhibitions: the #LuxUKLinks display and British artist James Straffon’s “Tour de France”, which will be travelling later throughout Luxembourg. NG
BRITISH EMBASSY PREPARATIONS A. UK ambassador John Marshall shows Delano’s Natalie Gerhardstein and Isobel Paxton the #LuxUKLinks exhibition B. Welcoming the St George’s International School jazz combo C. Cooks and caterers prepared hot and cold nibbles D. The ambassador and British artist James Straffon (on left) show Jean Asselborn the “Tour de France” display E. Marshall spoke to the audience in English and Luxembourgish F. Author and chef Anne Faber (left) with Japanese ambassador Shigeji Suzuki, and his wife, Eriko G. Fish and chips were prepared for around 300 guests icon_website www.delano.lu/snapshots
5.3MM Total rainfall in April, the second-driest month at Findel airport since records began in 1947.
Lala La Photo
PROTECTING CITIZENS’ RIGHTS
Up to half of the first cut of permanent pasture was lost in some areas due to drought and frost this spring.
It’s been a year since the UK voted to leave the EU. For the 6,000 UK nationals living or working in Luxembourg, the “leave” result felt akin to a bereavement, writes Fiona Godfrey of British Immigrants Living in Luxembourg (Brill).
e have spent the last 12 months passing through the various stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance). I suspect most of us are stuck at the denial stage and few of us will make it through to acceptance. In response to the vote, a group of UK nationals set up Brill, which now has over 1,200 members. Brill members are a diverse bunch. 80% of our membership is of working age and employed in a range of occupations including, but not limited to, the finance sector and EU institutions. The majority of us have lived in Luxembourg for a decade or more. Brill provides a forum to discuss Brexit (not all members are opposed to it) and to share experiences of life here in Luxembourg. How to acquire Luxembourg citizenship has been a hot topic. A survey of members in 2016 revealed that over 80% wanted to stay here after Brexit and 70% intended to take out citizenship. Hundreds of members signed up for Luxembourgish language and civics classes last autumn and dozens have been granted nationality. This process has been helped by the adoption of the new nationality law in 2017, but more state-accredited language classes are needed to meet demand.
But what about UK nationals who don’t yet qualify for citizenship? Brill has been lobbying on citizens’ rights with British in Europe, a coalition of similar groups across the EU, at European level and in the UK. These include not only the right of residence, but the right to work, study or be economically inactive under Directive 2004/38/EC. Our pensions must continue to be aggregated and we need access to healthcare. We also need to keep our cross-border worker status because 10% of us live or work in surrounding countries. Once agreed, these rights have to be protected in the Article 50 withdrawal agreement with the status of international law. We now await the UK offer on citizens’ rights. Indications from London have been mixed since the general election. The Brexit minister, David Davis, has said the UK offer will be “generous”. The Queen’s speech on 21 June suggested that generous might not be quite the right term. As UK nationals abroad we know that every single right removed from our EU27 counterparts in Britain puts that right at risk for us. We therefore hope that London has been listening and will match the EU offer as soon as possible. icon_facebook British Immigrants Living in Luxembourg (Brill)
TIME TO GO DUTCH For some students in Luxembourg, going to the Netherlands for university is becoming an interesting alternative.
he president of Universities UK, Dame Julia Goodfellow, in light of Brexit talks, recently said, “it’s important that the voice of universities [be] heard clearly in the negotiations,” adding that over 125,000 EU students are currently studying at universities in the UK. Compare that to the Netherlands which, according to Study in Holland, saw around 112,000 international students in its higher education system, around 81,400 of whom were students enrolled for a full bachelor’s or master’s degree--the highest, in both absolute terms and growth, the country has ever recorded. While German students comprise the bulk of the international student body, the number of German students in universities of applied sciences has actually been on the Summer 2017
decline for the past five years, and the strongest growth in absolute terms among international students comes from Italy. Part of the reason might be costs: annual tuition fees at Dutch tertiary institutions hover around €2,000 for EU students (there are exceptions at private universities), compared to up to around €10,500 (£9,250) in the UK. Monthly living expenses in the Netherlands tend to be in the €800€1,100 range--less than the minimum required by UK Visa and Immigration of £1,265 (€1,440) per month if studying in London, or £1,015 (€1,155) anywhere else in the UK. The Nether lands also boasts an international environment, with many programmes available in English--and it’s close to Luxembourg to boot. Maribeth Byrne, higher education advisor at the International School of Luxembourg, states that over the last three years, fewer ISL students have been going to the UK to study (59% and 37% for the classes of 2013 and 2016, respectively). Some are concerned about how Brexit will impact tuition, she says, although the variety of nationalities can also impact decisions, as some students want to return to their home countries. Nevertheless, “The sharpest increase has been for the Netherlands,” which she says has to do with “the quality of education, cost and being close to home”.
The quality of education, cost and being close to home.” But the case hasn’t been the same everywhere. At St George’s International School, the figures can fluctuate quite a bit annually, also in part due to class size and students’ nationalities. According to Robert Shaw, director of sixth form, in 2017 he expects around 75% of students will attend uni in the UK (but figures aren’t final). Compare that to 48% and 63% in 2016 and 2015, respectively. “What is surprising is that only four want to go to Holland as opposed to eight last year,” he says. While it remains to be seen over the long term whether students in Luxembourg will opt away from the UK, at least for some students in Luxembourg, the Netherlands appears to be a compelling option. icon_website www.studyinholland.nl
Reported by NATALIE GERHARDSTEIN
MORE CHINESE CHOICES IN STATE SCHOOLS State-run Luxembourg high schools will offer more Mandarin Chinese language classes this autumn. Some schools have been offering Chinese as an extracurricular course for a few years, but for the first time, students attending the Lycée Athénée de Luxembourg (LA) will now have the chance to take Mandarin Chinese as an integrated course after 7th grade (the first year of secondary school) at the start of the 2007-2018 school year. The Athénée had already been offering a weekly Chinese class for its students as an extracurricular activity since 2010. In addition, any high school student in the country interested in taking Chinese can go to Lycée Aline Mayrisch (LAML) and take a level 1 introductory course or a refresher level 2 course on Thursday afternoons or Saturday mornings. AD icon_mail firstname.lastname@example.org icon_mail email@example.com
32.7°C 28 May was the warmest day this spring, also in Remich.
Pexels.com Bridget Coila
The new Volvo V90 Test drive it on the roads featured in our TV commercial You know those ads where you see a car driving through beautiful scenery? The commercial for the new Volvo V90 is no exception. In it, you see the V90, a superb example of Swedish innovation, driving in the impressive setting of Swedish forests, fjords and lakes. It’s already a thing of beauty itself. But there’s better to come: with a bit of luck, you could soon be test driving the splendid Volvo V90 yourself in the same Scandinavian landscape as our commercial. Sweden awaits you. GO TO TE STDRIVETHECOMMERCIAL .LU THERE’S A VOLVO V90 FROM € 40,614 *
2,0 - 7,4 L/100 KM I 46 - 169 G CO2/KM Environmental information (AR 19/03/2004): www.volvocars.lu. The visual is for illustrative purposes only. *Catalogue price of the Volvo V90 D3 Kinetic manual: € 40,614 incl. VAT. Price valid until 30/09/2017.
A HELPING HAND The Comité National de Défense Sociale has been offering help to Luxembourg’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable people for the past 50 years.
riginally set up in the 1960s for ex-convicts who had no place to sleep or work when they got out of prison, the National Committee for Social Protection (CDNS) has since expanded to providing care to drug and alcohol addicts, single-parent families, and people with learning disabilities and mental health pro blems. Many of its clients have fallen through cracks in Luxembourg’s social safety net, and the CDNS is often the only place they can turn to. The NGO is not well known to the general public, but the organisation--financed by the state and several charities--and its roughly 100 staff has had an impact on many lives. It runs several programmes. Nei Aarbecht (new work), created in 1986, for example, offers a way back into the job market for long-term unemployed people. It offers a job, housing, food and support. The shop, located in Helmdange, collects secondhand furniture, books, household appliances and wares and clothes. The items are cleaned and repaired before they are resold. There is also the CNDS Vollekskichen (community kitchen) in Bonnevoie, where people can get lunch and dinner at subsidised prices. The staff is recruited from those on the unemployment roles at the jobs agency Adem and people receiving public income support (RMG). CNDS Wunnen (housing) offers temporary shelter, transitional accommodation, and runs the “Housing First” scheme to tackle long-term homelessness. CNDS Naturaarbechten (working with nature) offers people who are very far removed from the jobs market therapeutic help by employing them in nature conservation projects. People Summer 2017
who have very few qualifications and mild disabilities can work without excessive pressure and according to their capabilities. Projects such as working with wood, maintaining ponds, beekeeping, and learning gardening and farming also provide a service for the community. Abrigado, also known as the “Fixerstuff”, is a drug addiction centre in Bonnevoie where the top priority is the reduction of harm. The Services de l’Entraide (mutual aid services) offer personal services to the public, such as gardening, cooking, carpentry, laundry, and selling second-hand clothes. The group says that it does not give up on people; some have been in their care for more than 20 years. Gilles Rod, the director, states that poverty is closely linked to housing in Luxembourg. So their next project is a housing project for 20 people in Mersch, and a new building for the Naturaarbechten and the Services
Poverty is closely linked to housing in Luxem bourg.”
de l’Entraide. Furthermore, Rod says, the job market is becoming increasingly specialised, making it difficult for people with low qualifications to find work. icon_website www.cnds.lu
Reported by MARTINE HUBERTY
SHORT-TERM RENTAL TROUBLE Half a dozen people have complained about a rental agency that provides serviced flats.
any expats arrive in the grand duchy needing short- or mediumterm accommodation while they work on a project or hunt for permanent digs. Furnished.lu, run by the Altea real estate agency, promises flat-rate fees that include rent, utilities, insu rance and even internet access. Plus they promote options to end or extend rental agreements on short notice. No wonder the company has been successful. In June, its website said Furnished.lu had 550 serviced
accommodations available and more than 2,500 “satisfied roomers”. However, Delano has heard from several residents about poor service and faulty kit that was never repaired. Nupur Mittal moved into one of the firm’s studio apartments, rented by her new employer, in December 2016, after relocating from France. The place “was not bad and pretty well located”. However, she found that company staff entered the flat one day while she was at work, “for no particular reason”, without any advance notice or her agreement. Mittal found out because she received a phone call from Furnished.lu at her office. A company representative asked
Gilles Rod is seen in a September 2016 picture by LaLa La Photo
if more than one person was living there, which would breach her contract; “there is a lot of luggage” in the apartment, she recalls them saying. “They counted the number of pieces.” Mittal also stated that the company ignored repeated complaints about a malfunctioning heater, and that “the bed in their studio is what Ikea sells in [the] kids section”. Xavier Guinot moved into Furnished.lu accommodations in June 2016, also arranged through work. The service “is extremely convenient for employers who are bringing staff from abroad, and is a great way to put a foot [down] in the city,” he said. However, “I had two important issues with my rented room over the past year, and none were solved.” He complained that “my heater was noisy. Noisy enough to prevent me from sleeping.” And according to Guinot, the kitchen in his shared flat was suddenly removed in the middle of his stay. “When I came back [from work] my kitchen had disappeared. No joke.” Guinot also told Delano about an unauthorised entry. A different customer, who did not want to be named out of fear of retribution by the company, detailed problems with the heating, washing machine and other appliances, but told Delano the company never made any repairs during her stay. She said that she ended up moving out oneand-a-half months before the end of her contract. Another claimed to have been charged to replace a key that did not work for four months, although otherwise “my room was as described”. A separate person said she found herself showering regularly at the gym and eventually had to leave the property over a mould issue that was never resolved. One prospective customer told Delano that he contacted the firm several times with questions about moving in, but instead of providing answers, representatives repeatedly pushed him to make his first payment. The company declined Delano’s request for comment for this article. Reported by MARINA LAI
“I have been a lawyer for the past 55 years and I hate nothing more than the courts of justice.” Express bio Born 9 October 1937 in Walferdange Education and professional career Studied law at the University of Nancy. 1962: starts working as a freelance associate with LSAP MP Robert Krieps and opens his own law practice. Career highlight The Bommeleeër case: Vogel defended Marc Scheer, a former member of the Brigade Mobile de la Gendarmerie (armed police intervention force). The case was suspended indefinitely.
Whether it’s the finance minister’s decision to sell a Picasso painting, education reform, or beggars in the streets of Luxembourg City, Gaston Vogel has an opinion on it and is very much inclined to write an open letter, to whomever it may concern. A lawyer by profession, he has become simultaneously a bête noire and a darling in Luxembourg’s political and social culture with his controversial and often brash statements. While he has written several essays and books, notably on Nietzsche and on Proust, he is most known for his irreverence towards anyone and everything, and thus provides high entertainment value. His flamboyant declarations and honest outrage on societal topics shock, such as when he deplores the lack of cultural attractions in the capital: “Our city is dead and the country wounded and humiliated by all these financial jugglers who darken the horizons of the grand duchy.” He also attacked the government for holding a referendum (including a question on foreigner voting rights) two years ago; when it lost on all three counts, Vogel sneered: “They say they’re proud of having advanced democracy through a bitter defeat.” Vogel is still a lawyer; he has specialised in contentious cases: he defended one of the suspects in the Bommeleeër case, one of the teachers supposedly involved in the “school leaks” affair, and civil servants who were accused of corruption in the ministry of economy. Summer 2017
Text by MARTINE HUBERTY
Infographics and Illustration by MAISON MODERNE
* not announced at press time
CITY ELECTIONS Local elections will be held on 8 October; time to have a look at the priorities of the six parties in the running.
one of the local party sections have presented their manifestoes yet. The official campaign starts only about a month before the elections. But the broad lines have been defined, except for the ADR. As it would be impossible to present all the parties’ programmes for every municipality in this issue, let’s hone in on the biggest one: the capital.
LUXEMBOURG CITY POLITICS Local elections are held every six years. The DP is traditionally the largest party in the capital, and has held the post of mayor since 1970. Historically, the liberal DP has mostly been in coalitions with the centre-right CSV. The social-democratic LSAP has not managed to get a foot in the local government since 1970. The current DP mayor, Lydie Polfer, had already been mayor from 1982 to 1999, and is currently serving her fourth term (in total). The party’s Xavier Bettel became mayor, for the first time, in 2011, but when the CSV-LSAP government toppled in 2013, Bettel got the prime ministerial post. Polfer then replaced him as mayor (see box, page 18). CURRENT COUNCIL Since 2005, Luxembourg City has been governed by a DP-Green coalition. The DP had the choice of coalition partner; it could also have entered a coalition with the CSV or the LSAP. However, the DP-Green coalition seems to be working well and they have divided their workload according to their policy priorities. The DP has been in charge of edu cation, urban development, planning permission and regulation, IT, tourism
CURRENT LUXEMBOURG CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS 5
and trade, infrastructure and new construction (housing and roads), water and other utilities, fire and rescue services, and sport infrastructures. The Greens are in charge of traffic, transport and environmental issues, but they also take care of social issues (such as drug prevention and youth activities), parks, waste management, housing and senior citizens.
27 Elected in 2011
GENDER EQUALITY 27 25
HOW THE CITY HAS CHANGED Traffic is the bane of many people’s existence. In 1997, 78,290 people lived in the capital; 10 years later there were 83,820 and in 2017 there are now 114,303 people living in the city. This huge increase in population, along with an even bigger increase of cross-border workers (1997: 66,419; 2007: 139,601; 2017: 179,297), have clogged up not just the roads leading into the capital, but also the traffic inside the city. It comes therefore as no surprise that “mobility” is one of the main issues for all the parties. In the capital, 70% of the resident population are foreign citizens. However, they are not obliged to vote, and foreign voter registration has been historically low (17% in the 2011 elections). THE DP: “WITH HEART AND SOUL FOR OUR CITY” The DP’s lead candidate is the current mayor, Lydie Polfer, who has put great emphasis on quality of life in the capital. While growth has made the capital prosperous, the downside is the increase in house prices and traffic. Polfer said in an interview that today’s construction sites are only there so that the city will be more beautiful tomorrow. The DP wants to ensure that the capital stays attractive, and Polfer stated: “Our track record is a point of pride.” Polfer noted the recent decisions of her council to build more affordable and
20 15 10 5 N/A 0 Number of female candidates (in Luxembourg City)
PARTY RENEWAL 27 25 20 15 10 5 N/A 0 Number of first-time candidates (in Luxembourg City)
DP Déi Gréng CSV LSAP Déi Lénk ADR
more social housing. Furthermore, childcare, especially after school care, sports and cultural activities for the young, is one of the priorities. Democratic participation is another issue. The mayor said: “We don’t take decisions in an airless room, we do it with people. Participation has always been the outstanding feature of the way we do politics.” Summer 2017
N/A* Déi Lénk
DÉI GRÉNG: “WORKING FOR MORE QUALITY OF LIFE” Sam Tanson is currently alderwoman and is one of the two leading candidates for the Greens. Their intention is to at least keep their number of seats. Along with François Benoy (see box on the left), she announced that quality of life is the priority and that she hopes “to convince people with what we have achieved in the past 12 years”. Naturally, mobility is the main issue for the Greens: “We’re preparing concretely the solutions for the future. They’re unfortunately not yet working, but we need to build on them, especially the offer of public transport and the network of cycle lanes.” For the Greens, childcare and equal opportunities are central. Tanson explained: “Because more children are in daycare after school, we need to give these children the same opportunities for activities as those who are not in a daycare facility. We want to diversify the offer, which means bringing schools and foyers [after-school centres] closer together so that these strict divisions are loosened.” Tanson came back to a key environmental issue: “Green areas must be maintained and improved, with the planned park in Gasperich. In a growing city which becomes more and more urban, we need more spaces where we can recharge.”
* not announced at press time
high school teacher
mayor of Luxembourg City
François Benoy Déi Gréng
Sam Tanson Déi Gréng
The DP supports all forms of transport, and wants to invest more in parking spaces and park-and-rides, to encourage the 110,000 cross-border workers to take the train, bus or tram. Polfer added that more collaboration with both the ministry of transport and her counterparts in the border regions of France and Belgium was necessary to stem the ever-increasing level of traffic.
MP local councillor
Serge Wilmes CSV
2015 2010 2005
Cathy Fayot LSAP
mayor of Luxembourg City
Marc Angel LSAP
Lydie Polfer DP
CSV: “LET’S LIVE OUR CITY” With a new and young leading candidate, the CSV can’t wait to get back into the driving seat. Serge Wilmes’ priority is housing: “We need to avoid that only the wealthy can afford to live in Luxembourg City.” The CSV
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wants to use some of the city’s €800m in reserves to build more housing; the council “should become more of a developer”. Linked to this is their urban development plan. Wilmes criticised the DP’s approach: “Their strategy is to build from within the city centre to without, like a snail’s house. We say: let’s stop focusing on the city centre. Let’s focus on densification of the bigger plots of land because we can organise the roads from the start.” Wilmes argued that they want to support all forms of mobility, not just bikes and the tram. He is in favour of constructing more bypass roads for residential areas. The third priority is expanding digital technology. The Hot City wifi network should cover all parts of the city. Wilmes seemed passionate: “The captors of these hotspots can transmit all sorts of data, such as air quality. Imagine an app which tells you where parking spaces are free.” Concerning shops in the capital, Wilmes stated: “This laissez-faire approach, which the liberals have practised over the past 30 years, has reached its limits. I am not talking about destroying the free market, but it should be regulated.”
PARTY POSITIONS (BEFORE MANIFESTOES WERE PUBLISHED) DP More safety measures for bike lanes More coordination between schools and daycare centres
Improve democratic participation More measures in favour of independent shops More measures to influence house prices
HOW OLD ARE THE CANDIDATES?
ADR 18 - 34 35 - 50
LSAP: “A CITY FOR ALL” Marc Angel, one of the two leading candidates of the LSAP along with Cathy Fayot, said the priority is urban development. Angel explained: “For a long time, it was said that the 30,000 Luxembourg voters who live here all have their own homes, and it was not a salient issue to them. But now that their kids can’t afford to live here, they realise how important it is. We want to do something about empty houses, against speculators, and want to stop that laisser-aller.” Angel took issue with planning permissions. “We won’t want these islands of artificial life, like the Auchan on Kirchberg. Now they are making the same mistake in Gasperich. It will be, once again, a shopping mall. We still build these boxes with artificial lighting and atmosphere, instead of bringing life to these neighbourhoods--it
51 - 69 70 - 80
* not announced at press time ** m anifesto published on 26 June
is not up to date.” Architectural quality is a subject close to Angel’s heart, saying: “We need a design revolution--I am sick of these standard catalogue designs.” Angel emphasised social policies as well: “We want a much more proactive social policy. We have a very good social net, but often people fall through anyway because they don’t know where to turn to.” Angel is in favour of a committee on economic and commercial development and of a city management service.
DÉI LÉNK: “MAKING PEOPLE STRONG” Guy Foetz, a rotating Déi Lénk (The Left) member of the council (they switch every two years), said: “It’s clear for us that the DP in the city conducts very neo-liberal policies. The stock of social accommodation makes up just 1% of housing in Luxembourg.” The socialist party stands for a thorough reform of how housing and
property are organised. It wants to create incentives for moderate rents on the private market and levy anti- speculation taxes on empty plots of land and unoccupied flats or conduct expropriations. The party wants to put the municipal energy networks back under the ownership of the council and has a detailed programme on environmental, energy and transport issues. It wants to increase the de mocratic participation of all inhabitants, including foreign residents, through a series of measures such as including English and Portuguese as languages to be used in communication with the local council. Déi Lénk wants “public crèches in every neighbourhood”, all-day daycare centres and more help for disadvantaged children with homework. If you are interested in the manifestoes of the parties, keep an eye out over the summer on their websites and check Delano’s online edition.
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Text by MARTINE HUBERTY
Photography by LALA LA PHOTO
staff of almost 100 is involved in preparing documents, supporting parliamentary committees and many other things that make the Chamber of Deputies work. Parliament is housed in three buildings: the iconic Hôtel de la Chambre and the Printz & Richard and Wiltheim buildings. Since 1860, MPs only had to vacate the premises on two occasions: from
1940 to 1944, when the Nazi occupation force installed a provincial propaganda office; and from 1997 to 1999, when the building was extensively renovated. On average, parliament receives one or two international delegations per week. There were 683 meetings and 46 plenary sessions in 2015/2016. icon_website www.chd.lu
A BUSY DAY A. The Chamber of Deputies plenary hall is seen on 15 June B. The Chamber TV control room, located behind the plenary hall C. The international events team has a tree in its office in the Wiltheim building D. The speaker of parliament, Mars Di Bartolomeo, on left, prepares for a press conference with Marco Schank, a committee chair E. A committee prepares for a meeting on public procurement contracts F. A corridor in the modern Printz & Richard building G. Filing cabinets between meeting rooms contain all the current draft legislation H. A master’s student writes his thesis in the library I. The bridge with glass walls connects the old parliament with the Printz & Richard building
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Interview by NATALIE GERHARDSTEIN
“IMPRESSED WITH OUR COUNTRY’S ACHIEVEMENTS”
freedom, reward for effort, respect and tolerance for other--non-violent-opinions and beliefs, equal opportunity and solidarity. When you talk about Luxembourg to non-Luxembourgers, what do they say? For those who know Luxembourg, most are impressed with our country’s achievements, its international role and contribution, its quality of life, and natural beauties. For those who don’t, they are curious and often wonder how such a small country can survive. Do you feel there is a real national identity? Is it threatened by the evolving demography and the fact that the foreign population is growing? We should remind ourselves that our today’s national identity is a rather recent occurrence. It has been formed to a large extent during and as a result of the Second World War and continues to evolve. As I previously said, I do not feel our identity is threatened by the evolving demo graphy. Quite the contrary, our identity is embracing demographic diversity as one of its unique constituent elements while encouraging the use of our language as the conduit for transmitting our values. What’s your favourite Luxembourgish word? Moien! Wéi geet et? Without us often realising, they reflect our welcoming openness and can be said at any time of the day! We should share them in Luxembourgish with anyone we meet! In 2017, what will you do to ensure that the slogan “Let’s make it happen” will happen? “Let’s make it happen” reflects Luxembourg’s ambition to evolve, to improve, to take up new challenges and succeed! I endeavour to promote these “can do” values with my teenage grandchildren.
SPACE RESOURCES One of the boards Georges Schmit serves on is the Spaceresources.lu initiative, launched in February 2016, which aims to establish a framework on the peaceful exploration and utilisation of space resources for the benefit of humankind, given that Earth’s resources are finite. Luxembourg--with its stable economy, regulatory and legal environment--builds on its established history in the field of satellite, telecommunications and Earth observation, while simultaneously looking forward to emerging technologies in, for example, artificial intelligence and robotics. icon_website w ww. spaceresources.lu CELEBRATING LUXEMBOURG In 2017 Maison Moderne and Nvision celebrate Luxembourg by profiling 100 people who contribute positively to the country’s international reputation and brand image. The series will culminate in a gala evening on 13 December at Luxembourg Congrès. icon_website w ww.celebrating luxembourg.com
Sven Becker (archives)
player in today’s world? What are its strengths and weaknesses? Competitiveness reflects the ability to attract and retain resources--capital, talent, technology--necessary for economic growth. It means that Luxembourg needs to be perceived by business decision makers, entrepreneurs and talented people as a country where they enjoy a high reward in implementing their business goals and live #CELEBRATING their personal dreams. LUXEMBOURG Agility and reactivity in policy making and a high service quality in infrastructure--transportation, energy, Georges Schmit was Luxem data and telecommunications, edu bourg’s top diplomat in Silicon cation, research, healthcare, culture, Valley from 2009 to 2016. He government services--appear to be currently serves on the advisory essential ingredients. Luxembourg board of the government’s does well in most of those areas, but Spaceresources.lu initiative. should strive for continuous improvement in all of them. Natalie Gerhardstein: Can you How has Luxembourg society sum up in a few sentences what evolved during the last 20 years? Increasing diversity seems to have been you do for a living? Georges Schmit: After having spent the leading factor to characterise some 35 years in economic develop Luxembourg society over the past ment and innovation policy design generation. Diversity of national origin and implementation, I recently retired of our population, diversity of the from the Luxembourg Ministry of economy and of value creation, diversity the Economy. I spent the last seven of educational and cultural offerings… years of my career as the consul While this trend may have caused fear general of Luxembourg in San of identity loss for some, I feel that Francisco, which gave me the op- diversity also has largely enriched our portunity to identify and understand society and has become an essential new technological and business ingredient of our ever-evolving identity trends. This in turn helped to ignite and the values it stands for. and design recent government policy What does it mean to be a initiatives, such as in the fintech and Luxembourger? space resource areas, and to promote To me it means both understanding Luxembourg as a forward-looking your roots--Luxembourg is a historical location to do business in Europe. accident as we have been reminded Today I continue to advise the gov- recently, and our identity as a nation ernment, the University of Luxem- is still very young and continues to bourg, as well as private companies evolve--and being open to new trends in these areas. and opportunities for personal growth What does Luxembourg need to and societal evolution. It means do to remain competitive and a embracing the values of personal
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REHEARSIN’ SOME MOVES GRAND THÉÂTRE, 18 JUNE, 6:35 P.M.
Dancers practice during the Breakin’ Convention, a touring festival of hip hop theatrical dance. Delano’s photographer, Mike Zenari, was granted access to a rehearsal held upstairs and took this picture almost immediately after walking up the stairway. “I like this shot because there’s a lot going on,” he says. “The DJ, music, people doing the choreography… and I also like the light coming in from outside.” AG icon_website www.breakinconvention.com Summer 2017
BUSINESS DRIP, DRIP, DRIP
Every day, 60,000 cubic metres of water are consumed in Luxembourg, says Georges Kraus of the public utility Sebes. All drinking water for Luxembourg’s North, Centre and South regions come from one facility: the dam near Esch-sur-Sûre and the water that Sebes collects in several area reservoirs. Built in the 1950s, the lake has a capacity of 60 million cubic metres. The dam is also used for electricity generation, flood control, tourism and water sports. The impressive control room, with huge panels showing all the stages of purification and transportation, is something out of a James Bond film. The complex filters water through flocculators, then through sand and then carbonate. This eliminates viruses, medical residues, pesticides and organic matter. Finally, the water is pumped up to the main reservoir in Eschdorf. MH icon_website www.sebes.lu
DRINKING WATER A. Georges Kraus of Sebes gives a tour of the Esch-sur-Sûre dam control room on 14 June B. Kraus shows off the vintage wooden model of the area C. One of the basins where water is filtered D. Below the basins, massive tubes purify the water further E. Bags of calcium carbonate, which is used for deacidification F. The view from 47m up A
Denise Voss was re-elected board chair of the Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry. Her new term ends in June 2019. Summer 2017
The fine levied by Luxembourg’s financial regulator, the CSSF, on the local branch of the Swiss private bank Edmond de Rothschild for failing to follow anti-money laundering rules. The case reportedly involved the scandal-hit Malaysian investment fund 1MDB.
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
AVERAGE FLAT PRICES
The average purchase price of an apartment in Luxembourg during the first quarter of the year, according to Statec.
CVC Capital Partners, a Luxembourg-based private equity group, raised €16bn for a new fund, “the largest fundraising for a European group in the continent,” reported the Financial Times. >>> CNA Hardy and RSA, two insurance firms, separately said they will open post-Brexit EU hubs in the grand duchy. >>> Windhof-based vyzVoice won the ICT prize in the EU’s Startup Europe Awards. >>> In the works since 2014, Cargolux’s Chinese joint venture, Henan Cargo Airlines, formally took flight. The prime ministers of Luxembourg and China, Xavier Bettel and Li Keqiang, signed the deal in Beijing (pictured above). Cargolux will invest €54m for a 25% stake. >>> Mathilde Argaud of Largowind was named the 11th Creative Young Entrepreneur Luxembourg by JCI Luxembourg. Largowind is developing a remote monitoring system for boat owners. >>> If proposed Basel 4 international banking rules take effect, European banks would have to put aside between €850m and €900m more in capital reserves, according to Serge de Cillia, head of the ABBL, Luxembourg’s banking trade group. >>> The European Space Agency signed on to the Spaceresources.lu asteroid mining programme. >>> The law firm Allen & Overy launched the Ladies in Law Luxembourg Association (Lilla), a networking and development group for women in the legal sector. >>> 76% of Luxembourg residents would like retailers to accept cashless payments, the latest ING International Survey found.
PUT YOURSELVES IN EXPATS’ SHOES Amy Amann works with organisations and individuals as a consultant, facilitator and coach. She has worked and lived for over 20 years as a localised foreign national in four countries outside her home country of the US. Luxembourg’s a country of expats and, according to a 2016 Eurostat report, 6.9% of Luxembourg residents are non-EU. Once Brexit is final, those numbers will grow. Plus, more employees are hired on “local” contracts, not a classic three-year transfer package. If projected growth in new sectors happens as planned and new talents with diverse profiles come to Luxembourg, the number of non-EU residents will grow. Are companies ready to help them succeed? This isn’t just about finding housing or schooling. People are being localised, but can’t immediately conform to local standards which often relate to financial and legal obligations at home and have long-term consequences (one example is the income tax filing requirement for Americans). Experience shows that many companies aren’t able to provide the support required for newcomers. Some companies have knowledgeable HR teams, yet many HR admins who support expats have never lived abroad themselves, nor have they put themselves in their shoes to really understand their perspective. They don’t help expats think of things they aren’t aware of--often until they make a mistake and it’s too late. A well-meaning HR advisor may, for example, offer a retirement savings plan that restricts
cross-border payouts at maturity or neglect to inform on certain rights. A friend wasn’t advised by the HR department about her eligibility to participate in a tax-beneficial savings plan. When she finally discovered and asked about it, the HR rep said: “Well, everyone knows this.” Really? My friend lost trust in the company with this seemingly myopic view at the expense of her long-term welfare. When I visit Facebook forums with expats, there are many questions that normally a good HR team can help answer. Such forums can be helpful and, judging by their traffic, are necessary. But not all advice from fellow expats is correct or current. Laws and practices change quickly; getting good advice is time-consuming. My appeal to HR: put yourselves in expats’ shoes, especially the localised ones who want to integrate. Provide resources and support to help them succeed not just in the job today, but in their personal affairs going forward. Help them put their energy into making your company flourish, rather than worrying about their future.
icon_twitter @AmannAmy Summer 2017
Text by STEPHEN EVANS
Photography by LALA LA PHOTO
COMPLETING THE GENDER EQUALITY PROJECT
he argument for gender equality has been won, but still inequality persists in the workplace. A recent panel stressed the importance of successful female role models. “Boys are raised to be brave, while girls are raised to be perfect,” was at the heart of the problem, said Denise Voss, chair of the Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry. She said the challenge is to increase confidence in women to enable them to make the inevitable mistakes without losing faith in their ability, something that comes naturally to most men. “We need people we can aspire to emulate, but that doesn’t mean a mythical superwoman working 20 hours a day,” said Cristina Ferreira of State Street Bank Luxembourg. Annemarie Arens, of the ethical investment body LuxFlag, is hopeful that sheer weight of numbers will have an impact. Voss was also hopeful. “Two out of the three financial industry employers federations in Luxembourg are headed by women,” she said. “Maybe there is a lack of bench strength, but we are working on this.” icon_website www.nobelux.se
ROLE MODELS A. Mathilde Hildenfeldt, head of the Nordic Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg (Nobelux), and Jean-Philippe Bachelet during the “Gender perspective in the financial industry” conference organised by Nobelux on 14 June B. Jessa Rimex and Annemarie Arens C. Helga Hlín Hákonardóttir and Bilyana Kuncheva D. David Schmidt, Viviane Clauss and Isabelle Lebbe E. Roxane Haas speaks during the “Women & Investments” panel F. Diana Senanayake and Melanie Fritz G. Clémence Langlois, Hakan Nyberg and Gabriela Nguyen-Groza H. An attendee takes a picture of a panel talk with her mobile phone
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Text by STEPHEN EVANS
Photography by LALA LA PHOTO
REGULATORY CLARITY ON CLOUD COMPUTING Cloud computing is about providing efficient IT services. Until recently the regulations regarding how financial sector firms could tap into these resources were often unclear. This has been put right.
ntil now, regulation has limited Luxembourg financial firms’ access to convenient cloud services. Much of this has been put right by new streamlined rules in circular 17/654, published on 17 May by the regulatory agency CSSF. Use of these solutions was largely limited by the need to accommodate professional secrecy laws, and this circular makes things clear.
THREE MODELS Three broad service models are offered to enable customers to tap into IT capacity when they need it without having to invest in-house. Infrastructure as a service gives remote access to processing, storage, networks and more. Platform as a service means applications written or purchased by clients can be run remotely, under the client’s control. Finally, software as a service sees clients use software functionality when they need it. Cloud computing is now defined clearly as a special form of outsour cing featuring five essential characteristics, four deployment models, supplying the three service models highlighted above. The five charac teristics are: services provided automatically on demand; access to a broad ICT network; the pooling of resources in a “multi-tenant” model; a system that can be flexible and quick to adapt to demand; and a measured service. Four types of cloud are deployed: private (for a single organisation); community (for linked organisations); public; and Summer 2017
YVES REDING The cloud computing association president says new rules are a plus for Luxembourg’s financial sector
hybrid (a combination of the previous three). In almost all cases the service provider will have no access to the data without consent, and processes will be automatic.
DATA CAN LEAVE THE COUNTRY It is a novelty that the cloud service provider does not need to be a body regulated or approved by the CSSF, and it can be abroad. The different roles in the relationship are defined. There is the end client which will already be supervised by the CSSF, the resources operator, the cloud service provider, and the supervised entity which manages these relationships. It is the supervised entity which must prove to the CSSF that the law and regulations are being upheld. As well, the resources operator will appoint a cloud officer who will be responsible for the use of the cloud solutions, while making sure they are well resourced.
Government and the regulators consulted widely with industry before introducing these regulations, and Yves Reding, president of Cloud Community Europe – Luxembourg, is pleased with the result. “This text brings to an end a regime based on derogations and it was often very limiting. The circular is very precise, defining clearly all cloud-access scenarios within banks, groups, support PSFs, and international cloud providers,” he said. “It will, we hope, facilitate cooperation with the big international cloud players, and it will strongly increase competition for local and European cloud firms,” he added. However, Reding had a warning for rule makers: “In the market, the large players make the rules,” he said. “In certain cases, the EU and national regulators will need to act to guarantee the success and sustainability of the local and regional digital ecosystems.”
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Text by STEPHEN EVANS
Photography by MARION DESSARD
ANOTHER WORLD: INHERITANCE LAW It’s said that nothing is certain in life except death and taxes. So, what do expats in the grand duchy need to know about writing their last testaments?
nheritance law in Luxembourg can surprise people used to a different legal tradition. For example, children can inherit half of their deceased parent’s home, even while the other parent is still alive. In another scenario, kids could miss out completely if the bereaved parent remarries. What can you do to make succession planning as painless as possible? Inheritance can get messy. Maybe it’s because emotions are heightened by grief, or maybe it’s the chance to play out long-simmering family rivalries, but often questions about inheritance lead to costly legal scraps. “Eight out of ten cases we see feature some type of contest,” said Silvia Brescia of the Moutrier notary office in Esch-surAlzette. This can be everything from debates over the share of the family home through to who gets to keep family heirlooms, even to relatively trivial matters such as who will pay the cost of funeral flowers. Even if the inheritance is well planned, there is often an incentive to make a fuss, as this helps strengthen a negotiating position. “Sadly, in my 25 years in this business I have seen the number of contested successions increase substantially. It was relatively rare when I began,” Brescia said. So, what are the key things to look out for to keep conflict to a minimum?
PARENTAL RELATIONSHIP IS KEY The starting point is to understand the significance of the different types of marriage and non-marriage contracts. First, the statutory marriage regime is the default situation when there is no other marriage contract. Summer 2017
Under this arrangement, all property acquired together during the marriage is held in common. However, assets acquired before marriage, and assets of a personal nature, such as certain gifts or an inheritance, are held separately and individually. Second, the married with universal joint ownership regime simply means that all assets gained by both parties before and during the marriage are held in common. Third, the separate ownership marriage regime has the same character regarding assets as civil partnerships and non-legally recognised relationships. There is no common ownership. All assets acquired during the marriage are held 50/50, with assets acquired before marriage and assets of a personal nature (mainly gifts and inheritance) also held separately.
THE IMPACT ON INHERITANCE When one spouse passes away, all assets held in common by the couple go automatically to the surviving spouse. All assets held individually are either distributed following the legal standard, or as per a will. According to the law, descendants (children, grandchildren, etc.) have the first claim on individually held assets, not the surviving spouse (see box on page 38 for the full hierarchy).
For example, if a family home is held 50/50 by a couple under the separate ownership regime or civil partnership, the law states that the children inherit half the house after the passing of one of the parents. The remaining spouse would hold the other half. They won’t be forced onto the street, though. The law allows the spouse automatic usufruct of the 50% of the home they don’t own, but only if they make an official application to the correct tribunal within three months and within 40 days of the opening of the inheritance procedure. However, if the surviving parent wished to sell a house to realise their 50% share, they would need the children to agree.
LEGAL BASIS OR WRITING A WILL When it comes to deciding who should inherit, the law sets out standard procedures that are enforced if there is no will. Quite simply, children receive an equal share of the amount being bequeathed, with two siblings each receiving 50%, three 33.33% each, four 25%, and so on. However, the parents can change this to a certain extent with a will, giving a share of their assets to any person or organisation they choose. However, there are limits. If there is one child, only half of the share that child would have received can be given to someone else. With two children, only one-third can be reallocated,
KARINE REUTER The former barrister and now notary says second marriages need special consideration
“ SOME OF THE MOST SOPHISTICATED PLANS THAT WE CAN PUT IN PLACE CAN’T BE REPLICATED WITH A WILL OUTSIDE A MARRIAGE.”
DIFFERENT HOUSEHOLDS, DIFFERENT INHERITANCE How different marriage/partnership regimes deal with property ownership, and thus inheritance
Statutory marriage regime
Assets held before marriage Assets received during the marriage from donations or inheritance Assets and income resulting from couple’s work
and if there are three or more children, the available chunk is just one-quarter. Parents can also alter the share of their assets that each child receives. There are two ways to write a will. You can simply write out your wishes in longhand, date it and sign it. This is nice and simple, but of course there is the risk that it gets lost, forgotten about, destroyed by a disinherited child, or the inheritors could also challenge its authenticity. Some of these problems can be avoided by registering the will with the Luxembourg Land Registration and Estates Department (Administration de l’Enregistrement et des Domaines, www.aed.public.lu) under the “Inscription des dispositions de dernière volonté” procedure. After death, any interested party can inform themselves of the existence of a will. However, this body will not hold the will for you, so there is still the risk of loss. Alternatively, you can work with a notary who will record and witness your last wishes. Of course, this will come at a cost, but as well as the convenience and security, the notary will be able to give advice about the will’s contents, and whether the stipulations are legally valid. The document will be registered with the Summer 2017
Assets held separately, with inheritance governed by the law or a will
Separate ownership marriage/civil partnership/ non-legally recognised partnership
Joint ownership marriage regime
Assets held separately, with inheritance governed by the law or a will
Assets held in common and inherited directly by surviving spouse
Assets held in common and inherited directly by surviving spouse
AED and held in the notary’s office. After death, any of the interested parties’ notaries will be able to request access to the document.
WHICH MARRIAGE REGIME TO CHOOSE? A married couple can change to any of the three regimes at any time, so which should they choose? “Maybe being under the universal joint owner ship regime is not ideal early in a marriage,” commented Stéphanie Alves, also of the Moutrier notary office. She suggested that if a bereaved parent remarries, then the assets that should belong to the children from the first marriage might end up being spent by the new family. Similarly, if a parent inherits a house, this might then be brought into a new marriage, with the original grandchildren missing out. “It might be preferable to opt for the statutory marriage regime,” suggested Karine Reuter, who runs her own practice in Luxembourg City. “This way, the couple have a degree of flexibility to specify which assets are held in common and which in a personal capacity. This is particularly relevant in the case of an inheritance, so that grandchildren can benefit from a bequest,” she added.
These are just two examples of the kind of legal structuring that can be undertaken to give the succession outcomes people want. The concepts discussed above are all relatively simple, but of course layers of complexity are added by the different family configurations that arise after divorces and remarriages. Luxembourg’s international population adds further wrinkles, with families spread around the world holding assets in different countries. It could be argued, for example, that European civil
“ MAYBE BEING UNDER THE UNIVERSAL JOINT OWNERSHIP REGIME IS NOT IDEAL EARLY IN A MARRIAGE.” STÉPHANIE ALVES
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more to one child than others, a tax of up to 16% could apply on the extra amount. Depending on who inherits and how much, the sum can vary, and the tax can get quite hefty when leaving money to brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, friends, lovers, etc. But for the immediate family, the tax is among the lowest in Europe. It should be noted that unmarried couples might find that they cannot benefit from structuring arrangements such those mentioned above. “Civil partnerships are a good way to avoid paying tax during a couples’ professional life, and they help with the avoidance of inheritance tax between couples,” noted Reuter. “However, some of the most sophisticated plans that we can put in place can’t be replicated with a will outside a marriage,” she added. Assets held abroad (such as a family home) will be taxed following the rules in that country. However, the rules generally do not require people to remain in Luxembourg for a given number of days for their residency status in this country to be maintained. This gives the option of finessing the situation to pay as little as possible on death.
“ I HAVE SEEN THE NUMBER OF CONTESTED SUCCESSIONS INCREASE SUBSTANTIALLY.”
servants have split domiciles, with a foot still in their country of origin.
ZERO OR LOW INHERITANCE TAX Inheritance tax is low or non-existent in Luxembourg, making this a good place to have your legal domicile and from where to hold property. There is no inheritance tax between married Summer 2017
people (and people in civil partnerships) with children, but if you are married and have no children, assets worth above €10,000 which are not held in common will be taxed from 5.5% to 16%, depending on the amount being inherited. For children and grandchildren, there is no inheritance tax if the parents follow the legally defined equal shares. However, if a will gives
SETTLE YOUR DIFFERENCES The concept of power of attorney does not exist under Luxembourg law. In other countries, one can arrange for specified individuals to be able to control the assets of someone who might become incapacitated. In Luxembourg, a judge will give this power to individuals based on medical reports. However, even with the best planned arrangements, there is still the chance that disputes could break out amongst inheritors and potential inheritors. “All you can do is live your life and put plans in place you think are fair,” noted Brescia. “If people want to pick a fight about it after you’ve gone, that’s not really something you should get too worried about.” icon_website For an overview, in French, of the basic ideas of the law, see www.guichet.public.lu under the section “Famille”.
SILVIA BRESCIA The law clerk points out that couples can change their matrimonial regime during their marriage
ORDER OF SUCCESSION The order of succession under the law is as follows for assets held by an individual (either under the statutory or the separate ownership marriage regime, or for unmarried partners): 1. Descedants (children, grandchildren, and so on) 2. The surviving spouse/partner 3. The deceased’s mother, father, brothers and sisters 4. The deceased’s grandparents, greatgrandparents, etc. 5. The deceased’s other relations, such as uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, etc. 6. The state This is only for assets held individually. Assets held in common automatically pass to the surviving spouse.
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Text by MIRIAM SCARGALL
Photography by LALA LA PHOTO
THREE YEARS OF HITTING THE DOT
ub Dot Luxembourg, a women’s networking group, marked its third birthday with a lively celebration. Attendees make connections based on their own unique stories. “‘What do you do?’ is the most boring question! Here, it is ‘What is your story?’” explained Carlotta Benedetti, the driving force behind Hub Dot Luxembourg. There are no traditional labels, simply a system of five coloured dots based on your state of mind. Green dot wearers are there to be inspired, for example; red dots denote someone established who could mentor others. Emma Zimer said such events are the ideal way to “meet new people and make new connections which are on a more human-to-human basis, talking about human histories rather than accomplishments”. Muriel Chandelon, who attended the very first Hub Dot evening in Luxembourg, said: “It’s positive to be among women, it removes more barriers. I find it motivating, and love the connection and the atmosphere.” icon_website www.hubdot.com
SNAPSHOTS SHARING STORIES A. Carlotta Benedetti B. Ingrid Lechantre and Fadila Sauden C. Rosa Villalobos and Pilar Requejo D. Ballet Leketh Malako performs a traditional African dance during Hub Dot Luxembourg’s third anniversary event on 13 June E. Shruti Tulsian of Vedic Maths Luxembourg was one of several speakers who shared personal stories F. Patricia Ferrante, Sandrine Fouassier and Stéphanie Moulin G. Christina Murphy and Karolina Prawdzik H. Zenaïya, Sabrina and Linda I. Federica Peirolo, Elena Oddone, Claudia Marotto and Elisabetta Lano
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Text by STEPHEN EVANS
POSSIBLE BREXIT REGULATORY BACKLASH Could Brexit mean more and tougher EU financial regulation? Some in the industry see the early stirrings of a new dynamic as the UK takes a back seat. Others are more relaxed.
NEW OR OLD NINE PRINCIPLES? Nine principles for regulatory action regarding post-Brexit relocation of asset management functions were published on 31 May by the European Securities and Markets Authority. Broadly, they sought to remind national regulators of the need to maintain a consistent regulatory position across the EU27. It also underlined the requirement to have sufficient operational substance, rather than shell “letterbox” entities. This has been standard practice for a while, nevertheless some have viewed this in a negative light. “There are things in the opinion that look like [Esma is] changing the standards to which we are currently operating,” said Waters. The principle that appears to have excited most negative comment reads: “Outsourcing and delegation to third countries is only possible under strict conditions.” Of course, the UK could become a third country, depending on how it leaves the EU. The Esma communication went on: “Certain key activities and functions should be present in the EU27 [and] cannot be outsourced or delegated outside the EU,” adding: “This is at least Summer 2017
an Waters of the international asset management trade body ICI Global described a recent statement of post-Brexit outsourcing principles by regulators as “worrying and unjustified”. On the other hand, “I didn’t see much that was new,” was the more relaxed view of Charles Muller, investment manager partner at KPMG Luxembourg.
the case for the substance of decision making.”
Olivier Minaire (archives)
REGULATORY ACTIVISM? Luxembourg and Irish cross-border fund service providers might also be concerned by the passage that talks of national supervisors needing to “establish a clear view on the geographical distribution of planned activities from the perspective of targeted clients and/ or services development”. According to Waters, this could mean: “The most important consideration when deciding where to locate is where most of [a firm’s] clients are.” Muller has few immediate concerns though. “These are high-level principles and obviously it is how you interpret them in practice that is key,” he told Delano. “The devil is in the detail, but I don’t think the CSSF would fundamentally change what they have been doing.” NEW DYNAMIC Maybe the disquiet about the nine principles is a manifestation of concern about how the EU’s regulatory environment might change post-Brexit. For years, the UK--along with the likes of Luxembourg, Ireland and the Netherlands--worked as a core team with experience of the realities of the finance industry. Now this politically heavy lifting is in the hands of relatively small countries, increasing the risk that inappropriate regulations could be driven through. Indeed, concerns were raised recently by the Luxembourg regulator CSSF’s counsel for international affairs, Jean-Marc Goy, speaking at an Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry conference held in London on 22 May. According to the Ignites website, he said that the “majority” of Esma members support the application of tough AIFMD rules to all asset managers, including for Ucits mutual funds. Ucits gives asset managers considerable flexibility to delegate core functions, and this has been key to the growth of Luxembourg and Dublin as cross-border fund hubs. This compares to AIFMD, which is more restrictive and requires
CHARLES MULLER A. The KPMG partner doesn’t see “much that was new” proposed post-Brexit fund guidelines introduced by an EU agency JEAN-MARC GOY B. The CSSF official says most EU regulators want tough rules applied to all funds across the board
tougher substance requirements. It is not clear if the latter approach leads to better regulation, but it is clearly more costly. “There is a majority view that we should take as a starting point for both directives what AIFMD currently requires,” said Goy. Ignites then quoted James Hughes of the lobbying group Cicero. He said there was a discussion between, on the one hand, regulators such as the CSSF which “believe that Esma’s work should be about clarifying the rules rather than imposing new ones”, and countries such as France which would like tighter rules. In the short to medium term this discussion is unlikely to cause problems for the industry, as Ucits rules cannot be changed without a new directive. However, this discussion does raise the spectre of a major regulatory overhaul in the future.
JOCKEYING FOR POSITION Some believe the moves within Esma are a response to concerns
that some jurisdictions are willing to offer UK asset managers a lax regulatory environment. Goy told the London conference that this did not apply to Luxembourg. “It will depend on the size and the technicality of the activities being relocated, but one thing is for sure: it cannot just be a postal address or a letterbox entity. That would be absolutely unacceptable.” A year into the post referendum process, and there have only been a handful of UK asset managers establishing operations in the EU27 in preparation. Most of those deciding to open an office in Luxembourg are taking a conservative line: employing anything from five to twenty people, and generally hiring people locally rather than moving them from the UK. Thus, if and when the British government decides on a “hard” or “soft” or “clean” or “smart” or “flexible” Brexit, these firms will be able to react accordingly.
C E L E B R AT I N G LUXEMBOURG MIR WËLLE WEISE WIE MIR SINN
W E D N E S D AY, 1 3 D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 7 — L U X E M B O U R G C O N G R È S
Maison Moderne will be celebrating Luxembourg with a gala evening attended by many of the country’s “ambassadors”, all of whom help promote the country abroad. celebratingluxembourg.com
VIKI GÓMEZ Originally from Spain, the triple world “flat” champion lives in Luxembourg. A true legend in freestyle BMX, he won the European X Game twice and the Red Bull Circle of Balance three times.
Text by SARITA RAO
Photography by MIKE ZENARI
ROCKIN’ MOMMA ENTREPRENEURS Looking for more career flexi bility, and boosted by Luxem bourg’s childcare system, many mothers are launching their own firms. Here’s a few that haven’t missed a beat.
ith 21% of business permit applications made by women, more mums in Luxembourg are choosing the startup route to get the right balance between work and family. The employment rate for women in Luxembourg, at 61%, stands 10% behind that of men. Only 11% of CEOs are women, and just 12% of listed boards include women. Work-life balance remains a key issue, with many women taking on responsibility for childcare and running the home, but still seeking fulfilment from work. Guatemalan Carolina De Leon is one of the three women founders of The Job Tailors, a business set up to promote flexible working. “Unfortunately, there are nowhere near enough flexible jobs in Luxembourg yet. We found that while they exist in the European institutions and Luxembourgish government, these jobs are the exception in the private sector, where the standard 40-hour week still dominates,” she says. “The Luxembourg government only recently came out in support of flexible work as a means to address population growth and its impact on mobility, with ideas around co-working spaces and working from home or using decentralised work spaces as an alternative,” De Leon adds. Her company works with businesses to establish flexible work programmes and also keeps a database of qualified people looking for flexible jobs. A recent workshop, “The Returners”, designed to support mothers with career gaps, sold out within a day. In an attempt to combine work fulfilment and more time with their Summer 2017
CAROLINA DE LEON A. She co-founded The Job Tailors to help place women into positions outside the standard 40-hour week AOIFE MURRAY B. The co-founder of Lucy Goosey’s Reading Adventure likes how every day is different as an entrepreneur
kids, many mothers are choosing to be self-employed.
SISTERS ARE DOING IT FOR THEMSELVES One such woman is Aoife Murray, a qualified obstetrician from Ireland who, with her business partner Sarah Homer Hutton, set up Lucy Goosey’s Reading Adventure, a mobile and online book business. “We found it difficult to find an inexpensive book store that had a wide variety of publishers,” she explains. “We keep the bookshop mobile and stock some of the international schools here and in Paris and Brussels, as well as running book stalls in local schools and at coffee shops.”
Murray admits that she would like to return to the medical profession when she’s improved her level of French, and when her four children are more independent, but that she enjoys the fact that “every day is different”. Greek-born Elfi Dontis recently started LuxKids Lab, which offers science workshops, children’s activities and educational visits. Her aim is to change the perception of science as “difficult” and “boring”, to engage more girls in science, and help children learn how to think. She and her business partner won a place in the 1,2,3 Go Social accele ration programme offered by Nyuko that helps startups with mentoring,
coaching and business planning. LuxKids Lab is now working on the administrative procedures to gain ASBL (not-for-profit) status, and hopes to employ university science students to grow the business. “Being a mother is a great entrepreneurial skill that many women don’t realise they have. You learn to lead with empathy and multitask. It helps that Luxembourg also offers a great supportive environment for new companies,” she says. Both Murray and Dontis are members of the Mumpreneurs
network, founded by Angélique Supka, one of the three business women behind the Unicorner concept store. The network has close to 700 members including architects, designers, IT specialists, photographers, consultants, craftswomen and shopkeepers, amongst other professions. “Connecting with like-minded women, creating new partnerships and projects, exchanging tips and getting moral support is important to women starting up business in Luxembourg,” Supka says.
“ BEING A MOTHER IS A GREAT ENTREPRENEURIAL SKILL THAT MANY WOMEN DON’T REALISE THEY HAVE.”
She cites early childcare support as a strong point for business mothers, but says overregulation, complexity of legislation and the high costs of real estate pose potential pitfalls. Neha Bhandari of StylizedU says she found the process for getting a business permit relatively straightforward: “I filled out a form, submitted it along with supporting documents at the Ministry of the Economy and got my authorisation number within two months.” She arrived in Luxembourg three years ago as a “trailing spouse” with a five- and three-year old. “I happened to attend a ‘mumpreneurs’ coffee morning and the speakers inspired me to go on this journey myself,” Bhandari recounts. A personal stylist, she helps Luxem bourgers and expats to ‘de-clutter’ and revamp their wardrobes. “My work has given me a new life in Luxembourg and introduced me to so many different people I might not have otherwise met,” she says.
MAMMA MIA Although she manages her business from home, Bhandari admits to working a 50-hour week, meeting clients in the evenings and at weekends. “I rely on a team of babysitters to make it happen.” She also regularly takes her daughters with her to business events. The family minister, Corinne Cahen, is a mother and managed her family’s shoe shop before becoming a journalist and then entering politics. “After the birth of my first baby, I went from the hospital to buy nappies, then to my family’s shop to work, and finally to the commune to register the birth of my child,” she says: “When they were very young, I took my babies to work.” No stranger to juggling family and career, she thinks it’s very important for women to be independent. Cahen has reformed parental leave in Luxembourg making it much more flexible for parents. “It’s important that fathers have the opportunity to take parental leave so that mothers can remain at work and both parents can enjoy a good balance between work and family.”
WANT TO BECOME A MUMPRENEUR? Get inspired Hear stories and exchange ideas at Hub Dot, a networking group now celebrating three years in Luxembourg, with more than 1,000 business women attending their various events. icon_website www.hubdot.com Get networked Find other women entrepreneurs to share experiences and get advice. icon_website w ww. mumpreneurs.lu Get a business permit Learn about the application process and download forms or apply online. icon_info Search for “Business permit application” on www.guichet. public.lu Get financial aid for your startup How to apply for a grant from Luxembourg’s Ministry of the Economy. icon_info Search for “Financial aid for a business startup or takeover” on www.guichet. public.lu Get flexible Register your CV with The Job Tailors or attend a workshop to get back into the job market or find a more flexible career path. icon_website w ww. thejobtailors.lu
Text by STEPHEN EVANS
Infographic by MAISON MODERNE
STILL NO BUBBLE TROUBLE
ouse prices continue to shoot up, so is there a speculative price bubble? “Over the short term, risks linked to Luxembourg’s housing market appear to be contained,” said a recent report, Revue de Stabilité Financière 2017, by the Luxembourg Central Bank. Over the 12 months through the third quarter of 2016, the purchase price of houses and apartments rose by 7.8% and 7.5% respectively. Yet these most recent figures from the government’s Housing Observatory don’t necessarily amount to unsustainable, bubble-like increases. An asset price bubble is normally defined as being caused by irrational forces rather than the law of supply and demand. As the graph on the right shows, the market continues in failing to keep pace with population growth. The central bank highlighted that between 2001 and 2011, around 3,700 new households were added each year, but with an average of just 2,700 new homes annually. The result is prices tripling in the 15 years to 2015, compared to a 50% rise in the rest of the eurozone. Housing market economists frequently use two measures to estimate if there is a bubble: comparing home prices with disposable income and rent. The first of these points to whether people have the resources to adequately fund property prices, and the second points to whether it is better value to rent rather than buy. The Luxembourg Central Bank analysed these and found that these ratios are 25-30 percentage points higher than the eurozone average.
NEW HOME COMPLETIONS, POPULATION GROWTH AND HOME PRICES
Despite ever-increasing housing costs, a new study finds that real estate is not necessarily overpriced.
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
umber of N new homes (left hand scale) Population increase (left hand scale) Home price index 2008=100 (right hand scale)
Although this might generally point to the existence of a bubble, the central bank is relatively relaxed, believing prices to be sustained by fundamentals of supply and demand. Not only has there been a sharp growth in population in recent years, but many apartments and houses are used as offices by new companies moving to Luxembourg. Moreover, low interest rates and generous tax breaks on housing loans add to demand. Also rents are highly regu lated in Luxembourg and do not follow market forces as smoothly as elsewhere.
The central bank report highlighted 7% average annual growth in housing loan issuance since 2009, compared to around 2% in the eurozone. As well, 43% of households in Luxembourg have a mortgage, as opposed to 28% in the eurozone. This picture raised the concerns of EU and national regulators about the longterm stability of local banks with substantial exposure to the domestic housing loan market. This resulted in the local prudential authority, the CSSF, asking certain banks to put aside more capital to cover potential future losses.
Text by JESS BAULDRY
Photography by MAISON MODERNE
THE TRAINING JOURNEY Employers are changing the way they train and develop staff in Luxembourg. Delano gets the lowdown on the latest trends.
ou know that you are working in the right place when you begin your first job with a week of training in an exotic destination. “Onboarding”, as it is known among Luxembourg’s biggest international employers, is a common practice for firms like KPMG and PwC that recruit hundreds of trainees at the same time. By flying or busing them to one site, they give intensive staff training on the compulsory technical side of the job while inducting them into the company culture through team activities.
“BECOME A TRAINER YOURSELF... I’M TALKING ABOUT USING AN OPPORTUNITY. IF THERE IS A NEW JOINER IN YOUR TEAM, WHY NOT SPEND AN HOUR ON THE JOB COACHING.” NICOLAS LEFÈVRE
But, as new research has discovered, this kind of formal training represents just 10% of the learning they will do. The challenge for employers today is to deliver the additional 70% of learning gained through experiential and 20% via social interactions. “We want to foster a learning culture where people are able to do their own development,” PwC head of human capital Claire Audollent tells Delano. PwC, a consultancy, has embedded the 70:20:10 learning pyramid into its learning development strategy by offering a blended approach to training and development. It does this by offering digital learning tools such as e-learning Summer 2017
modules and Moocs (massive open online courses), which are complemented by classroom and coaching or mentoring. At PwC this came about in part as a result of the changing needs of its staff, 87% of which are from the millennial gene ration. Audollent says: “We’ve a request for more flexible, bite-sized modules from 10 to 60 minutes that different people can follow at time of need.” The trend for ongoing, flexible learning is also growing at KPMG Luxembourg, likewise a consulting firm, where it is being largely driven by rapid changes to the job. KPMG director of learning and development Donna Lee Bauer explains: “Ten years ago most companies had a relatively static training calendar, issued once a year. That’s absolutely not the case anymore. We’ve moved to the point where we have to deliver training just in time.”
Bauer observes that the need for faster delivery of learning means training is often more compact: what was once a two-day course now lasts just one day, but includes resources for learners to follow up. “We have to make it available at the point of need and be agile and flexible because training needs come from the market place and client needs, and that is changing quickly.” KPMG also blends training methods and is increasingly using e-learning tools such as gamification to test learning in a more experiential way. It is even investigating the use of wearable technology to measure learning.
LESS TECHNICAL, MORE PEOPLE SKILLS The changing demands of the workplace are also largely responsible for a surge in interest in so-called soft skills, also known as “people skills”. Where communication, leadership
KEEP LEARNING The British Chamber of Commerce people skills breakfast forum “The Art and Science of Communication: It’s All About Them” took place on 14 June with speaker Keith Amoss, PhD
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and personal development skills were once the preserve of staff when they attained management level, increasingly these are being offered from day one in an individual’s career. “When we call them soft skills, they sound like a ‘nice to have’ but these are must-haves,” KPMG partner Thierry Ravasio says. Acknowledgement of their importance is widespread, and employers are increasingly seeing that investment in these skills brings returns. “When the auditors arrive at the client, they don’t say ‘oh great, the auditors are here!’, you need to do your job the right way, being able to properly interview the client, taking into account the stress this generates. This is a people skill,” says Nicolas Lefèvre, PwC’s Academy leader in Luxembourg. But not all employers fully appreciate the impact such investment could have on productivity and retention. “My perception is that a lot of forward-thinking companies are more focused on people engagement,” says Jill Saville of the British Chamber of Commerce people and leadership group. “On a global scale, they are moving away from command and control towards empowering people. But I wouldn’t say it’s the majority.” Saville suggests this is because “when there is less money, organisations tend to stop the soft skills training”.
BECOME A TRAINER YOURSELF One relatively inexpensive way to empower staff can be by harnessing their knowledge and expertise to train others. PwC’s Academy, which was founded 16 years ago in Luxembourg, owes its success to just that. “We have 2,700 people highly com- “ BE CURIOUS AND petent in the field… My job is to ALWAYS LEARN... identify the right trainer for the right WE’VE A LOT OF PEOPLE, topic and the right industry,” Lefèvre MYSELF INCLUDED, says, explaining that a tenth of the WHO TAKE LEARNING workforce regularly lead training at OUTSIDE OF WORK AS the centre. Not only can it be empowering, WELL BECAUSE THAT’S but delivering the training can also PART OF PERSONAL be an important step in the learning INVESTMENT.” and development experience. “If DONNA LEE BAUER Summer 2017
PWC DEVELOPMENT Partner and PwC’s Academy leader at PwC Luxembourg Nicolas Lefèvre and Claire Audollent, head of human capital at PwC Luxembourg
you want to learn a subject, go and become a trainer… It’s a great way to hone your skills and network,” says Bauer, who counted 330 staff trainers on the workforce at KPMG Luxembourg in 2016. And employees do not necessarily need to be at a senior level to be able to train someone. PwC found that in areas like digital skills, it tended to be the newer recruits or millennial generation who had the know-how. They are now seeking to identify tech-savvy employees who can train partners on the digital side. “It is really the wish of millennials to share what they know because this gene ration cherishes collaboration,” Audollent adds.
FIND A COURSE If there are specific skills you require, ask your HR department what they recommend. It may be that someone in-house can offer training or coaching. If your company cannot pay for your training, what’s stopping you from signing up for a course yourself? www.lifelonglearning.lu and www. houseoftraining.lu list thousands of adult education courses in Luxembourg. A range of free, online courses, meanwhile, can be found on www.coursera.org.
TO FIND YOUR
TRAINING 8,000 listed training courses
Diplomas accessible through continuing training Training support
Develop your skills: lifelong-learning.lu
Infoline: 26 20 40 An initiative of the national Institute for the development of continuing vocational training
Text by JESS BAULDRY
THE RISE OF THE VIRTUAL WORKPLACE Having been endorsed by the Luxembourg government in a bid to ease traffic, improve the lives of cross-border commuters and make staff more efficient, teleworking is the new open space of working practices. Delano looks at the reality. t is now widely accepted that increasing salaries is not the answer to creating an engaged, motivated workforce. But what if employers were to invest that money in a way that would enable staff to work more efficiently and autonomously through teleworking? Luxembourg lags behind the rest of the world when it comes to flexible working (37% of workers in the US telecommute), but it is slowly gaining ground. A recent Luxembourg survey, presented by the labour minister Nicolas Schmit, found the proportion of people teleworking doubled from 3% in 2010 to 6.1% in 2015. The trend is driven by employers like Société Générale Bank & Trust Luxembourg, which was the first bank to present a teleworking risk analysis to the CSSF, the financial regulator. Through a phased roll-out across departments begun in 2016, 101 employees (of which two-thirds are cross-border workers) now work from home once a week or once every two weeks. Once complete, around 300 of its 1,200-strong work force are expected to benefit. “When you see so many people commuting, really it was the right moment. Also, our work is changing. People are performing less production and doing more expertise and control tasks, so it’s a good moment for the transformation of banking,” says Catherine Janot, the bank’s deputy CEO. Having implemented a teleworking scheme at the bank’s global HQ in Paris, Janot set up a working Summer 2017
TELEWORKING A 2015 survey found 6.1% of people polled in Luxembourg had done teleworking
group with tax partners and legal teams to tackle the main barriers in Luxembourg. “At the beginning people were concerned about tax issues if they worked from home… We’re monitoring the number of days they work outside Luxembourg.” The bank assessed which teams and roles lent themselves to telework ing, excluding client-facing roles and preventing teleworkers from doing tasks involving large amounts of client data. It trained employees and managers and created a secure virtual interface for remote working. People who signed up then received laptops
and Skype for phone and visual conferences. A survey conducted three months into the scheme found three-quarters of beneficiaries felt less stressed and nine out of ten felt more efficient. “Importantly, they felt they had time, autonomy and more choice to organise their own work. This is a key element of motivation,” Janot says. It is not only the private sector getting on board. In autumn 2017, some civil servants will be able to telework under a pilot scheme. Meanwhile, a total 45 employees at the
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CATHERINE JANOT Société Générale Bank & Trust Luxembourg deputy CEO helped to roll out the teleworking initiative for specific roles in Luxembourg
establish processes,” de Leon explains, adding that a host of things must change including measurables and trust for it to succeed. The women are also addressing taxation concerns, having established a network of alternative working places within the Luxembourg border, areas where cross-border workers can work remotely while remaining Luxembourg employees for tax purposes. Co-working hubs are not a new concept, and PwC Luxembourg is conducting a feasibility study for the “S-Hub” in the Thionville region. Meanwhile, tax and teleworking are subject to ongoing bilateral talks between Luxembourg and France. But constructing satellite offices and negotiating bilateral agreements will take time, says de Leon. However, “the solutions we have can be started now”. Perhaps the biggest barriers to implementing teleworking are not laws or infrastructure, but attitudes. De Leon cites instances where she has heard managers say employees should “earn that flexibility”. Then
there is the common misconception that teleworking parents will be less focused on their work because they may have children around. Janot’s experience shows this is not the case. Among the days which bank employees opt to work from home, Wednesday, when French and Belgian schools are closed during the afternoon, was the least popular. Guerrero explains that to change mindsets requires effective training of managers to strengthen trust. “When, as an employee, your manager trusts you, you work with more passion. You feel you need to give back,” she says. While it may be a buzz concept, all agree teleworking is not for everyone, whether because of the job, a need for a clear work-home separation, lack of appropriate space or otherwise. Furthermore, such arrangements cannot be applied full-time to a lot of jobs in Luxembourg. That said, in a country facing major congestion where 180,000 workers commute over the border each day, teleworking is clearly more than just a work perk.
TELEWORKING FOR EMPLOYEES Employees who telework may benefit from reduced commute times and costs, greater life choice flexibility, autonomy and job satisfaction, and lower stress levels. Potential pitfalls include blurring of work-life boundaries, added family-work conflict, difficulties disconnecting from work, social and professional isolation and missed opportunities. Source: 2016 Global Dialogue Forum
LaLa La Photo
Ville de Luxembourg currently benefit from teleworking, over two-thirds of which are men. The arrangement was introduced in 2014 and tested by staff from five administrative departments who applied. While some are convinced of its benefits, making teleworking the norm in Luxembourg is not easy, as the team behind The Job Tailors found out. Carolina de Leon, Sabina Guerrero and Linda Kaestner founded the firm in 2017 as a recruitment company for flexible working posts, including telecommuting. They easily found talented candidates, but struggled to convince employers of the value of hiring people on a flexible basis. “We said we need to build a consulting programme to prepare the companies and teach them how to go flexible,” Guerrero says. The trio is now working on finding solutions to the main concerns employers have raised. “We’re finding a lot of companies have been asked to introduce teleworking by their headquarters, but it didn’t work, because they didn’t
TELEWORKING FOR EMPLOYERS Employers could benefit from reduced overheads, increased margins, lower staff turnover and access to a larger talent pool. Disadvantages include increased IT demands, security issues and incompatibility with some roles.
IMPROVE YOUR LANGUAGE SKILLS! Learn Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Luxembourgish, Portuguese, Spanish
INL @ LYCÉE ALINE MAYRISCH
ENROLMENT DAYS July 10th, 11th, 12th and September 15th, 18th and 19th More information:
www.inll.lu • T. +352 26 44 30-1 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Delano presents a selection of upcoming business, informational and networking events for Luxembourg’s international community. Starting times omitted from all day happenings. Advance registration and fees may be required, so consult the website indicated for details. All events are held in English unless otherwise noted. BLOCKCHAIN FOR DUMMIES
icon_when Wed 13-Fri 15 Sept icon_where Neumünster, Grund icon_website www.enviroinfo2017.org
ACCOUNTING TALK GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION CONFERENCE
Fintech Luxembourg Meetup A workshop led by Wim Stalmans, founder of The Blockchain Academy, for a non-technical audience, on how blockchain technology works.
University of Luxembourg Stephen A. Zeff, a professor at Rice University, in Houston, presents a “Lunch seminar in economics: A historical study of the first 30 years of accounting horizons”.
icon_when Tue 11 July, 08:30-10:30 icon_where The Office, Luxembourg-Merl icon_website www.meetup.com
icon_when Mon 17 July, 13:00-14:00 icon_where Limpertsberg Campus icon_website www.uni.lu
List The 31st edition of the “international and interdisciplinary conference series on leading environmental information and communication technologies”. Step The Estate Planners Group hosts its first regional confab, titled “A new era for private wealth”. Speakers include Luxembourg’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel.
icon_when Mon 25-Tue 26 Sept icon_where Hôtel Le Royal, Luxembourg-Centre icon_website www.step.org
RESOURCING IT Alfi Fund distributors and asset managers from around the world talk shop. Themes include “The yin & yang of distribution” and the “Distribution hall of fame”. icon_when Tue 19-Wed 20 Sept icon_where European Convention Center, Kirchberg icon_website www.alfi.lu
Amcham & Apsi It’s hard to recruit good tech staff. This seminar asks: “Where do we find the IT employees that Luxembourg needs to fulfil its IT vision?” icon_when Tue 26 Sept, 19:00 icon_where PwC, Cloche d’Or icon_website www.amcham.lu
BREXIT TAX TALK CATCH SOME ZS
icon_when Thu 13 July, 19:00 icon_where The Annex, Luxembourg-Centre icon_website www.thenetwork.lu
Toastmasters The Bossuet Gaveliers, Green Heart and Have Your Say clubs are just three of nine Toastmasters public speaking groups that meet twice a month in Luxembourg. icon_when 7, 9, 21, 23 & 25 Aug icon_where Check website for locations icon_website www.tmclub.eu
Christine Hansen leads a workshop on “How to sleep like a boss: grasp the power of sleep & optimise your nights to rule your days”. icon_when Wed 20 Sept, 09:30-12:45 icon_where Neumünster, Grund icon_website www.paperjam.club
FIND MORE EVENTS Check Delano’s digital agenda for the latest happenings: www.delano.lu/agenda
British Chamber of Commerce An evening tax seminar on “The impact of Brexit on customs and VAT”. Speakers include Karine Bellony of VAT Solutions. icon_when Wed 27 Sept, 18:00 icon_where Linklaters, Kirchberg icon_website www.bcc.lu
BTC Keychain Maison Moderne (archives) Alexander Baxevanis Mawoo86
The Network The professional women’s group, with roughly 200 members hailing from more than 30 countries, holds its annual pre-summer break mixer.
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Text by JESS BAULDRY
Photography by MIKE ZENARI
DELIVERING THE PUNCH LINE German national Sascha Kettern works in a bank by day, but in his free time he likes to make people laugh on the stand-up comedy circuit.
f the first time you meet Sascha Kettern is at an open mic stand-up comedy event, you may be forgiven for falling for his convincing stage persona. The German national’s clear English and immaculate suit sit well with the image of an airplane pilot. But then few pilots would carry a microphone with them everywhere. “People ask me what it’s like being a pilot… It’s interesting when I tell people I’m not because then they don’t believe me. They think maybe I’m lying by saying I’m not a pilot,” he laughs. Part of his material offers a rib-tickling take on a pilot seducing a woman, a skit which he stresses is purely based on observations of being a passenger, not a pilot. The idea behind the persona was inspired by an encounter with German comic Moritz Netenjakob, who gave him some personal advice on developing a comedy act a few years earlier. It would seem Kettern was destined for the entertainment industry. He recalls recording private “radio shows” onto cassettes in the living room of his home in Germany from the age of five. “Six years later I wrote comedy magazines for my school. I sold about 20 copies.” At the age of 30, Kettern began writing a comedy novel, which he read aloud to audiences in order to get feedback. He eventually abandoned the book for stand-up, having experienced the thrill of making people laugh. As he gained more experience, Kettern adapted his material for the emerging English stand-up scene in Luxembourg. He recently performed his act in French and wants to develop enough material to have his own show. But, he will not be quitting the day job. “I do it without pressure, for fun.” icon_website www.sascha-kettern.com Summer 2017
A CAREER IN CONTRAST Sascha Kettern’s career in a bank in Luxembourg developed over the past 11 years. He says he fell into the career “by coincidence” after completing a bachelor’s in financial studies through distance learning at the University of South Wales and landing a short-term contract with a recruitment firm. “They renewed the contract and then finally the bank hired me directly,” he says. He did not wish to name the bank he works for, but explained that his role entails auditing loans given to SMEs. “At work some people don’t believe that I do stand up,” he said, adding that he never uses work as material for stand-up. “I’ve not had any ideas for good jokes about work. It’s so technical. My colleagues might laugh about it, but I’m sure outsiders wouldn’t understand if I made jokes about interest rates and stocks.”
Paperjam Club, the biggest and most active business club in Luxembourg, is proud to welcome Delanoâ€™s community.
In 2018, half of Paperjam Club events will be in English! There will be nine bilingual 10x6 events, 108 workshops in English and a Delano Live event seven times a year. Each edition will take place the day before the release of the magazine. Come and meet the Delano team and their guests on stage, and enjoy an afterwork open bar â€“ an opportunity to meet and gather an even larger community. The first Delano Live will take place on 5 October 2017. Contact us to join the Club: email@example.com
The diar y COMIC BOOK FESTIVAL
Comic book fans will descend on Contern from 15-16 July for its 24th comic festival. Browse stands selling graphic novels and merchandise, meet illustrators and writers and pose for photos with the likes of Darth Vader as people dress up as their favourite characters. icon_where Contern icon_website www.bdcontern.lu
Crafty people who enjoy sewing will not want to miss this fabric market on 16 September. Visitors can browse scores of stands selling fabric at prices well below those you would find in many stores. Free entry and open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. icon_where Luxexpo The Box icon_website www.thebox.lu
Bargain hunters will want to mark 5 September in their diaries. This is the day when shops have a summer stock clearance sale. Streets in the Gare district will host scores of outdoor stands where people can shop in a festive atmosphere. icon_where Luxembourg City icon_website www.cityshopping.lu
On 15 July, joggers are invited to dash along a 5km course around the lake in Echternach through clouds of colourful powder. Messy fun for all the family. icon_where Echternach icon_website lu.thecolorrun.com
SUDSTROUM ESCHER KULTURLAF
THE COLOR RUN
If you recently arrived in Luxembourg, this English guidebook for expats offers a comprehensive overview to help people living in the capital settle in. It is free for new residents who register at the Bierger-Center. Long-term residents are invited to join the ambassadors club to organise integration projects. icon_website www.justarrived.lu icon_website jaaclub.org
This Mexican restaurant is the latest eatery to open on rue de Hollerich. Serving lunches, dinners and drinks until late, the place prides itself on serving authentic Mexican food, Mezcal cocktails and tequila in a fiesta atmosphere. icon_where 42-44 rue de Hollerich, Luxembourg-Hollerich icon_website www.frida-cantina.lu
On 2 September, choose between a 10 miler, 10km, 5km or kiddies’ dash. The longer routes take in Esch-surAlzette’s most iconic buildings and places. icon_where Esch-Belval icon_website www.kulturlaf.lu
ROUTE DU VIN
See the Moselle valley through a runner’s eyes on 24 September by participating in the annual halfmarathon. Shorter distances are offered for littlies or try the relay with teams of three. icon_where Remich icon_website www.ingrouteduvin.lu
There’s a new rugby club in Luxembourg! Starting in September 2017, the newly-formed Rugby Club Terres Rouges will welcome players aged 4 to 12 at Stade Kennedy, Dudelange. The club is aimed at people living in the south of Luxembourg and border regions. icon_facebook rugbyclubterresrouges
DE KOLLA FESTIVAL
This truly Luxembourg festival returns on 18-20 August for its 5th edition with a chance for people to discover local artists, musicians and performers, and do a bit of shopping. The eclectic music line-up spans a number of genres from pop and punk to blues and metal, with Sunday promising a chill-out line-up. De Kolla Festival does not hold back when it comes to food, and this year will serve local produce as well as vegetarian and vegan fayre and a selection of refreshing drinks, including free water, to wash it all down with. Don’t miss the market where people can buy groceries and find out more about local organisations. The public can participate in workshops at some, like the “Do-ityourself” stand, and also shop for second-hand clothing, CDs, DVDs, toys, books and more in the troc area. There is something for everyone among the line-up of performances on offer, which include circus shows, mini-cinema, yoga, karaoke and speed dating. To top it all off, a range of art works will be on display as part of the Antropical artist residency. Like it so much you want to stay? A free campsite facility by the grounds means that provided you have a tent, you can do just that. Entrance costs €10 and is free to children aged under 13. icon_where 1 rue Collart, Steinfort icon_website kollafestival.wordpress.com
Bob Trauffler Charles Caratini Ville de Luxembourg Mehmed Özen
LET’S TASTE: LUXEMBOURG WINES
Around 50 Paperjam Club members and Delano readers attended a wine tasting networking event on 8 June to discover more about Luxembourg wines. Delano was partner for the expat soirée, dubbed “Let’s taste: Luxembourg wines”, where guests tasted four wines from Caves Gales on the terrace at Laboratoires Ketterthill in Esch-Belval.
A GOOD RIESLING TO NETWORK A. Sala Makumbundu, Carolina Lazo, Jennifer Van Ette and Agnieszka Walczak B. Bruno Van de Vloet and Simône Van Schouwenburg C. Claire Venier, Katerina Petrova and Shelagh Rule D. Arnaud Michon, Soulaf Boukbiza, Jean-Philippe Dibon, Lionel Servais and Thibaut Barras
SUMMER READING CHALLENGE
fun back into reading as Ophelia Gartside puts thethird edition of the Lit tle English she goes global with the ding challenge. Book worm’s summer rea Mother-of-two Ophelia Gartside’s love for books is infectious. After founding English book fair the Little English Bookworm in Luxembourg three years ago, she has inspired hundreds of young readers with the summer reading challenge. This year, under the motto “Read around the world in 80 days,” she hopes to reach many more and not just within Luxembourg. “I thought a nice idea would be if a child in Luxembourg joins up to do the challenge and involves a cousin or friend in the UK or US. Then you have children all over the world reading and doing the challenge,” Gartside told Delano. “It would be really interesting to see how far this goes and how many countries it goes to.” She has also expanded the network of schools in which she organises her book fairs to include Englishspeaking schools in places such as Antwerp, Ghent and Dusseldorf, where children can also join the challenge. Participating children have until 11 September to read 12 English language books from different categories listed on the challenge card, which can be downloaded. Categories range from stories about real-life heroes, to non-fiction, a book borrowed from a library and poetry. All readers who complete the reading challenge will receive a certificate in the autumn. Participants are also urged to send in a photo of themselves reading in an unusual location (see photo for underwater reading), be it on their summer travels or at home, as part of an additional contest. “The aim is to make it fun. Yes, you’ve got to do reading but it’s with a twist so it’s seen as a challenge,” said Gartside. She added that the reading material does not necessarily have to be a book, it can be an article or audio book, for instance. A French-British national who built her career in corporate procurement, Gartside moved to Luxembourg in 2014 for her partner’s job. She set up the Little English Bookworm to offer a wider selection of books for children and value for money. Now, she hosts around 50 book fairs a year and said it was heartening to see how excited children are to discover the books she brings. “Children have so many ideas, it’s been about giving them books that will feed that or challenge their thinking, especially as they get older,” the businesswoman said. icon_website www.littleenglishbookworm.com icon_facebook Little English Bookworm
Text by JESS BAULDRY Photography by MIKE ZENARI Summer 2017
Text by ISABELLA EASTWOOD
Photography by LALA LA PHOTO
Church fair now sporty fun day
n a sunny and warm June afternoon, the Anglican Church of Luxembourg held its Charity Sports and Fun Day in the park area of the Coque in Kirchberg. Organisers of the popular confab, formerly known as the Church Fair, set up a host of games and stands. Proceedings from the day will be donated to a number of charities supported by the church. (The funds will not support church activities). Victoria Hodgson, the event organiser--and winner of the egg and spoon race--put the summer fête together with the help of what she called “amazing” volunteers. Opinions varied on activity favourites: 3-year-old Zara (alter-ego Superman) and 5-year-old Leo (Batman) voted bouncy castle, while 6-year-old Freya (Spiderman) went with apple bobbing and 9-year-old Nathaniel took pleasure in volunteering most.
icon_facebook Anglican Church of Luxembourg
SUMMER TRADITION A. Contestants in the adult’s egg and spoon race during the Anglican Church’s Fun Day on 18 June B. Carole Vlachavas, Jill Ghelfi and Anthea MacDonald display cakes for sale C. The children’s egg and spoon race D. Evelyn Sweerts and Nik Legge E. Newman S. Gompil (centre) F. Antonia Freya and Zara Hemmett G. Natasha, Destimona and Gabriel H. Thomas & Sylwia from the Cold Nights jazz band I. Alexandra and Jane-Anne A
the blast furnaces in BELVAL Arthur Witman ÂŠ The State Historical Society of Missouri
ÂŠ Walker Evans, Lucille Burroughs, The daughter of a cotton cropper, Hale County, Alabama, 1935/1936
Text by ALIX RASSEL
Photography by MIKE ZENARI
s ’ g r u o b m Luxe s r e r u t n e v outdoor ad and explore the beauty rtunit y to get outdoors side. Whether it’s hiking , po op ct rfe pe the es Summertime provid nd duchy and Greater Region’s country venture into and diversity of the gra kayaking, one group of individuals regularly o caught up en lan ev De ed individuals. running, cycling or p to find out more. to socialise with likemind the wilds together and the Luxembourg Outdoor Adventures Meetu of rs with the co -founde
hristian Kowalski, originally from Canada, and Carl Springer, from Germany, started the Luxembourg Outdoor Adventures group back in 2013. At the time, most Meetup groups in the grand duchy were focused around eating and drinking, but there weren’t many opportunities which combined socialising with some sort of physical activity. “Khristian wanted to share his passion for hiking and outdoor activities with others,” explains Carl. “Given that most expatriates living in Luxembourg spend their days working in an office, hiking offered a combination of physical activity, beautiful surroundings and the opportunity to make new friends.” The group’s hikes take place in and around Luxembourg, including on the German side of the Moselle river, in the Ardenne region and along the Escapardenne Eislek trail. All the hikes are planned in advance by Khristian and Carl with clear routes and available geo-maps posted on the Meetup website in advance. The group always remains together to ensure that nobody gets lost or left behind. The group has around 1,700 members, of which 500 are regularly active. Hiking is the main activity, but the group also arranges runs, kayaking and sometimes ski trips. “The key criteria is that there must be some link to the outdoors and some form of physical activity, whether easy or strenuous,” clarifies Khristian. Carl and Khristian organise the group on a voluntary basis and there are no membership costs. “Sometimes we combine our hikes with a meal or wine tasting, which individuals will pay for,” says Carl, “but it is not one of the Meetup groups you pay just to attend.” Summer 2017
“The real costs of hiking are quite low,” adds Khristian. “Hiking clothes are relatively inexpensive and there is no need for specialised equipment, so it is an affordable activity. We just ask members to adhere to the rules on the Meetup webpage before they join, which includes a liability disclaimer.” Recent activities have included an 8km run and a gentle 12km hike with lunch, and they are planning a week-long ski trip to Les Trois-Vallées in January 2018, which will naturally incur extra costs. If the reviews of the group are anything to go by, then it is certainly popular, with online comments ranging from “the best meet-up group in Luxembourg,” to “epic!” and “5-stars”. “I think people like the group for many reasons,” says Carl. “It’s organised, which means somebody--us--has taken the initiative to arrange activities, people can join for free and the participants are always friendly people of many different nationalities, reflecting the multiculturalism of Luxembourg.” Khristian agrees: “I think there is something for everyone, all skill levels are welcome, from beginner to ultra-adventurer.”
CARL SPRINGER The outdoors group organiser near Walferdange
GET IN TOUCH
TAKE A HIKE
DID YOU KNOW?
Luxembourg Outdoor Adventures group icon_website www.meetup.com
According to Mapmywalk, Luxembourg has over 231 walking and hiking routes: icon_website www.mapmywalk.com
The idea of taking a walk in the countryside for pleasure developed in the 18th century, and arose because of changing attitudes to the landscape and nature. In earlier times, walking generally indicated poverty and was also associated with vagrancy.
Find more trails: icon_website www.visitluxembourg.com
More than a book, now in bookstores.
180 pages / 25€ Available in bookstores and online maisonmoderne.com
Interviews by Frédérique Buck – Photography by Sven Becker and Mike Zenari Profits from the sale of this book will be used for the conception and creation of social inclusion projects. Find out more on iamnotarefugee.lu
Text by ISABELLA EASTWOOD
Photography by MARION DESSARD
: e r a c y a d d Crèches an ight care r e h t g n i d n fi are care support and there use some form of child estimates from Statec , rg ou mb xe Lu in ts ren latest 58% of pa d daycare re slots, according to the at least 46 ,000 childca reau. But what English-speaking crèches an bu s se? tic oo tis ch ts sta l ren na w do pa the natio d more importantly, ho centres are available, an
hoosing the right kind of daycare for your child counts as one of the most trying and daunting decisions of any parent’s life. Not only is the wellbeing of the child placed in the hands of others, but these formative years are pivotal to defining who youngsters become as an adult. The pressure on parents to make the best choice possible has to be balanced by practical concerns, such as location, language and cost.
WHICH APPROACH? The two main pedagogies available in Luxembourg are traditional formative structure and Montessori education. Fatimah Hettani of Children’s World, a Lavorel branch that follows a more classic approach to education, explains that the main difference between the two lies in their structuring. “The Montessori path is usually more open and fluid, while the more traditional way provides more structure. We generally have a rough plan that we follow on a daily, weekly and annual basis, covering different themes through various activities. Neither is better than the other, it really depends on the parents’ preferences.” Sam O’Dea, director of Sunflower Montessori Crèche, adds: “Montessori is experience-based. We teach by the help of concrete and real examples; if we study flowers, we will go out and get some flowers. The children are encouraged to make their discoveries Summer 2017
as well as their mistakes in their own time in a tactile way. This way, their education is based on sensorial and visual input, not on representation. Daycare centres can tend to be quite adult led, with adults in control, making decisions, but a Montessori environment is an environment where children are free to choose, paint or read. We still look towards the children’s needs, so if a silent activity is planned but they’re feeling restless, we’ll all go outside and return when they’re calmer and quieter.” Adapting the structure to evolving children’s needs is equally important, adds Sandrine Piette, a manager at the Aux Enfants Gâtés group of centres. “A personalised structure and awareness of modern demands is necessary to a good education.”
STATE OFFERS The Luxembourg government has a scheme to make private childcare establishments more affordable by offering parents chèques-service (service vouchers) and implementing legal reforms in April 2016. These laws require all daycare centres to provide a clear pedagogical agenda, a multilingual educational structure befitting the national and personal interest, and accessible care. The state runs crèches (for children aged 3 months to 4 years), day nurseries (2 months to 8 years), day centres (4 to 12 years), maisons relais (afterschool centres with more flexible hours and conditions) and
This site, run by a youth centre, lists babysitters by location and languages spoken. icon_website w ww.babysitting.lu
These are professionally trained caregivers who run family-style childcare centres out of their own homes. Contact the Agence Dageselteren. icon_website w ww.arcus.lu
subsidises parental assistants (who operate small-scale care centres out of their homes). According to O’Dea, the recent legal developments are very welcome to the sector that is rapidly increasing capacity: “I think it was definitely a lot more of a cottage industry beforehand, but the new laws are helping parents, children and crèches benefit from higher levels of care. The staff need more qualifications, infrastructures are checked for health and safety, and all these different establishments are lawfully required to take the time to conceptualise their pedagogy and to really think about how they plan to work with and teach the children. It’s really great.”
SAM O’DEA (ON RIGHT) The co-founder of Sunflower Montessori Crèche says that recent legal reforms, introducing stricter standards, have been good for both providers and families. She is pictured here with fellow Sunflower managers Tom O’Dea and Helen Clarke
However, while many improvements are on the horizon as well as already underway, waiting lists are still a reality for Luxembourg residents. “I’m very happy with the quality of care provided by the public daycares, and always knew that’s where I would send my children,” recounts Gabby, a mother of two. “However, not every commune has very many. Strassen only has two, for example. Two weeks after finding out I was pregnant I went to sign up and was still put on a waiting list with no guaranteed space, so it can definitely be difficult.”
PRIVATE AND SPECIALITY CRÈCHES For those parents wishing to enrol their children into private centres, the
government offers financial support in the form of childcare vouchers. The amount of financial aid provided depends on a number of variables: parent income, hours of care and number of children. The system has been widely praised by daycare centres and parents alike as a useful initiative. Private daycare centres offer a range of multilingual and specialised care. The Lavorel Kids and Baby group is one of the larger childcare companies of Luxembourg. Hettani is the director of the English/French branch, Children’s World, but the enterprise also runs French and French/Luxembourgish centres (although under the new law, monolingual crèches will soon have to add Luxembourgish).
“I think our extensive range of location and services is what we can really offer to parents,” states Hettani. “Our staff speak to the children in French or English, our larger buildings comprise both languages. We try to make sure they are completely involved in the language during daily routines in order to familiarise them with it. A typical day for us consists of a myriad of activities such as cooking, baking, talking about the weather, assessing which of our students are here and are not here, inviting them to speak and listen to each other and to express themselves and serving each other food at lunch time. We encourage them to learn for themselves and to help each other. Summer 2017
FACILITIES FEATURED IN THIS ARTICLE AUX ENFANTS GÂTÉS icon_website www.auxenfantsgates.lu CHILDREN’S WORLD icon_facebook Crèches & Foyers Children’s World - Luxembourg SUNFLOWER MONTESSORI CRÈCHE icon_website www.sunflower.lu
HELPFUL RESOURCES GOVERNMENT CHILDCARE GUIDE An English-language overview and links to official sources (which are mostly in French or German). icon_website Search for “Having your child looked after in a childcare structure” on www.luxembourg.public.lu ALL CRÈCHES IN LUXEMBOURG CITY icon_website www.vdl.lu/creches FINANCIAL AID Apply for childcare vouchers (in French). icon_website www.accueilenfant.lu LUXEMBOURG PARENTS GROUP A forum where all parents can ask each other questions and share experiences of family life in the grand duchy. icon_facebook Luxembourg Parents
Physical activity, both outside and in, is also incredibly important to us: we collaborate with Happy Fitness, which always goes down very well, and use our own little pedagogical garden in order to draw out an appreciation of nature.” “You never learn as much as you do from age 0 to 6,” states O’Dea, who is a mother and teacher, in addition to director of the Sunflower Crèche. “You learn to walk, talk, communicate and express yourself, you develop a sense of self that leads into adolescence. In order to help our children to develop into happy, confident adults, we need to treat and teach them accordingly. The right environment is fundamental to build a good base of self-esteem. Summer 2017
As regards to this, we don’t ridicule or speak down to our children, but respect them. If they spill something, we provide the tools and help them clean it up.” O’Dea drives the point home that parents need to be aware of the immense impact the different kinds of care will have on their offspring. In this sense, it’s vital to regard daycare centres as more than just temporary “storage” and to understand them as the first building blocks of growth and education.
LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION The core language of Sunflower is English, with French introduced at the age of 3 and with Luxembourgish to be added shortly. “We instruct
AUX ENFANTS GÂTÉS Despite the very multilingual environment at the daycare centre, kids pick up quickly how to communicate with each staff member, says Sandrine Piette
languages in an informal way, with play, songs and games. In general, when we teach children something new, we try to do so in a circular and comprehensive way: the lifecycle of a frog will include colouring, songs, stories, and so forth.” Another international crèche is Aux Enfants Gâtés, which was born in the living room of Isabella PadulaAgostini and Vera Agostini. “What started as a fairly modest setup grew in response to high demand into three different buildings in the vicinity,” explains Piette. Home to 48 different nationalities, heterogeneity is the defining trait of Aux Enfants Gâtés, in terms of both kids and staff. “The children are in constant contact with at least two
O PE NI NG
Trust begins by sharing
L’ENFANT ROI - MONTESSORI CRECHES Strassen - Bertrange - Findel - Kirchberg - Capellen - Cloche d’Or www.lenfant-roi.lu
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HOW TO CHOOSE AND APPLY When it comes to selecting the right crèche or daycare facility: “Language, location and residence period are the three factors most parents bear in mind when making their choice,” states Fatimah Hettani of Children’s World. Sam O’Dea of Sunflower recommends taking a frank look at “what fits your family, your preferences and lifestyles, your philosophy. Be aware of these, visit as many places as you can, ask questions, ask your friends. Get the best perspective you can.” Foresight ensures that you are much more likely to land the centre you want, rather than the daycare that is simply available. The longest waiting lists in Kirchberg run up to 2 years, so applying a good 6 to 18 months in advance is advisable. A simple phone call or email does the trick to get the ball rolling. The process usually involves a visit to the crèche and conversation about the educational structure, facilities, hours and other details.
FATIMAH HETTANI Routines are tied to specific languages, says the Children’s World director
languages. Children can either stay in one section for the entire year, or shuttle back and forth on a weekly basis. At this age, they just soak everything up. They know which educators speak what language and are usually able to express their needs successfully. Since our instructors are also from diverse backgrounds, they are generally able to explain whatever necessary in the child’s mother tongue.” Alongside arts and crafts, songs, music and psychometrics, the weekly preparation of food is one
of the highlights of their schedule. “The act of providing for one another, performing a service for another and creating something satisfying always goes down very well,” states Piette. On the topic of special needs services, Piette relies on her professional experience: “Inclusion is highly important. Children with special needs go on to be segregated their entire lives, to the point where they need to be ‘reintegrated’ into society as adults, which is awful. As a very young child,
you’re not aware of difference as a negative thing, and if anything we welcome the richness of diversity, of colours and cultures. We’ll keep an extra eye out for them, but it’s really about preserving a sense of normalcy, one that will inevitably get lost down the line. As long as we can still manage the kids, we don’t want to single anyone out. The wellbeing of the children is part of our educational background, and in my opinion, this means being inclusive and dealing with any challenges that come up.”
M U S I C • C O N FE R E N C E • FE ST I VAL
1 6 — 1 8 NOV 2017
17-20 JAN 2018 /rockhal
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Text by NATALIE GERHARDSTEIN
Photography by MAISON MODERNE
GET THE SUMMER SCOOP ICE CREAM CONSUMPTION
EUROPEAN CONSUMPTION Luxembourg didn’t make it in the top 10 in terms of ice cream market size, but one of its neighbours did: Germany topped the list with a total volume of 758.3m litres sold in 2016. Italy and the United Kingdom came second and third, at 585.6m and 513.2m litres, respectively. 
LOCAL MILK Luxlait produces 1.2m litres of ice cream and 700,000 ice cream cones per year. The company prides itself on using raw milk which comes “exclusively from dairy farmers established on Luxembourg soil”. 
BRAIN FREEZE Ever get an ice cream headache? The scientific term for it is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia, and the condition is officially recognised by the International Headache Society, which describes it as “frontal or temporal, and most commonly bilateral”. 
ITALIAN WINS According to Tripadvisor reviews, the two best ice cream parlours are Bonomeria--“best gelateria in Luxembourg City,” says one reviewer-and Bargello, where “you can enjoy the real Italian ice cream experience”, says another.  Special thanks to Bargello for serving up the cone in this photo.
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CONES FOR KIDS When asked whether they preferred ice cream in a cup or cone, 74% of students polled in grades 2 and 3 at the International School of Luxembourg indicated they preferred cones. Their reasoning: cones mean less waste, less potential taste of plastic, cups are a waste of money, and “cones are yummy”. 
 Euromonitor International  Luxlait  ISL teacher Lauren Spector  The International Headache Society  Tripadvisor.com
Whether temperatures during the summer stay at record highs or if there’s a chance of “sprinkles”, here are a few “cool” facts to keep in mind when ordering your next summer treat.
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Photography by MAISON MODERNE and MIKE ZENARI
PEOPLE TO PEOPLE For new arrivals and tourists alike, certainly no stay in Luxembourg is complete without visiting the Grand Ducal Palace, Casemates, Mudam and other top sites. But what of the grand duchy’s unsung attraction… its residents?
JESS BAULDRY, AUDREY DAVIS, NATALIE GERHARDSTEIN, AARON GRUNWALD, MARTINE HUBERTY and ALIX RASSELL
THE SOUTH 150 SMILING FACES
hile it may take a bit of extra effort, seeking out local in habitants to show you around can reveal hidden treasures and help forge personal connections. What better way to feel welcome? From student host families and returning Luxembourgers to established expats and a local postman, Delano spoke with several “unofficial tour guides” to find out what parts of Luxembourg they like to share, what they get out of it, and what they’ve passed on to others. “X” marks the spot, here’s one unique tourist map that we hope you’ll use this summer. Don’t forget to share it with someone.
Guy Graul was born and raised in Differdange where, despite working in Luxembourg City, he still lives today, and for the past 20 years, he’s shared both his hometown and his own home with more than 150 American students. The Miami University Dolibois European Center moved from Luxembourg City to Differdange in 1997. The idea of being a host appealed to Graul, but he saw one major problem: he didn’t speak any English. After expressing his concerns, the housing coordinator at the time encouraged him to give it a try anyway. His first semester was, as he puts it, “full of surprises”. Despite the language divide, his first student didn’t seem to have a problem talking to him. “He talked 24 hours a day,” Graul jokes. Through years of listening to his guests talk, Graul has picked up English on his own, but what helped him most was deciding to make a conscious effort to spend time with his guests. “Mudec keeps them so busy,” he says. “At least one day a week, I wanted to have them for me to get to know them.” Summer 2017
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Amanda Surbey hiking near Dalheim
Guy Graul at Miami University’s campus in Differdange
Graul’s mum showed him a few dif ferent recipes to cook, so he put together a menu of seven or eight dishes; thus, beginning the tradition of a weekly “family” dinner, featuring traditional Luxembourg meals. “Usually they talk about how good or how bad the teachers at Mudec are, what’s the next travel destination, what mistakes they made the last time they travelled, family things and how bad they miss their sports events,” Graul says. It’s clear upon entering his home that each of his students has impacted his life just as much as he impacted theirs. Different memorabilia from the US litter most surfaces, and many of his former guests have even returned to Differdange to visit him with families of their own. Summer 2017
“There’s been people with children, and people who bring their dates and their parents and friends,” he says. “Many people come back to visit.” Walk up the stairs, and you’ll be greeted by over 150 smiling faces. Just like any normal dad, Graul has a picture of each one of his “children”. “I would brag that I remember all of the names.”
FROM GUEST TO HOST Katie Smith, Jacques Meyers and Teresa Williams act like they’ve been friends for years. They’re constantly laughing and making jokes and talking over one another. Their friendship is an unconventional one, though: Smith and Meyers just so happen to be Williams’ host parents.
EXPLORING “AT A CELLULAR LEVEL” If you wanted to know where to find cherry trees, Amanda Surbey might point you in the direction of Trintange. Want to see a badger home? Try Schuttrange. For tiny lizards, giant hares or--for the more adventurous--wild boars, the Moselle area in the south and east of the country is your best bet. The American Women’s Club of Luxembourg Hikers group is part of the greater AWCL, and it’s an initiative Surbey was happy to take on. Through hiking, “you get to know the country really well,” she says. “Driving out to hike in some little village somewhere and walking it, you really have your nose in it at a very cellular level.” The AWCL hikers have a Facebook page with around 100 members, although on average anywhere between 2 to 20 people show up for any given hike. Although part of an “American” club, the group is increasingly international, with plenty from the UK, Ireland, Scandinavia, eastern Europe and more. Most of the regular hikers are “old ladies who walk fast,” Surbey says jokingly, but it ranges to people as young as their late 20s. Here’s how it works: Surbey organises a “pre-hike” most Mondays to scope out the trail, and then the group does the hike on Friday, which lasts on average about two hours. The “blue book” (Rundwanderwege – 201 circular walks) tends to serve as the group’s jumping off point. Hikes are normally between 6km and 11km, but the groups sometimes stop for a picnic along the way. The trails generally aren’t pram-friendly, but members can bring their dogs along. One of Surbey’s favourite hikes is Fischbach. “It’s jaw-droppingly, mind-blowingly gorgeous.” Other favourites include Lellingen for its wild daffodils and Manternach which “has old Roman walls, vineyards and a creek, but it’s really a bit strenuous”. In fact, Surbey has mapped out some of her favourite Roman ruins on a Google map. “Sometimes what you are walking along is an old Roman road, and some were discovered because pilots were paid to do aerial shots of the land,” she says. But much of the joy for her comes from others experiencing new places. “Luxembourg has a dense network of hiking and biking trails, and it’s nice to see walkers come around a new angle and see something in a totally new way.” icon_facebook AWCL Hikers
The young couple are alumni of Miami University in Ohio, where they met. But while Smith is from Ohio, Meyers was born and raised in Luxembourg. After graduating, Meyers had to return to Luxembourg, so Smith decided to join him. Meyers’ connection to Miami began when his brother attended university there, and, at the same time, his parents decided to host students attending the Miami University Dolibois European Center in Differdange. The pair wanted to stay involved with the university, so Meyers and Smith decided to host a student of their own this year. Williams, their first student, has lived with them since January and will stay through the summer to complete an internship. While other summer interns moved to the city to be closer to work, Williams stayed with Meyers and Smith in Esch-sur-Alzette. At the beginning of the semester, host families are supposed to plan a day of “family togetherness” to help integrate the students. The day turned out to be an actual family affair for them; Meyers’ brother and his parents host students of their own, too. “Normally on family day, as it’s the first weekend, we start out with things Luxembourgish people eat like…” Meyers begins. “A lot of sausage,” Williams interjects. “And cheese…” “After that, we just try to show them around Luxembourg,” Meyers says. After brunch, the large group went hiking in Little Switzerland followed by a game of Keelen. “I won,” Williams says, smirking. Looking back at this semester, Meyers and Smith agree that hosting has been a good experience for them. “I don’t know if we do good but…” Meyers says. “No, you guys are the worst,” Williams jokes. “We like to try to give them that culture,” says Smith. “Even though we’re very Americanised.” “It’s a good opportunity for students to travel, but at the same time, as a host family, we should show them what Luxembourg is about,” reckons Meyers. “Luxembourg should be more than just Differdange to them. That’s why we’ll take them to Little Switzerland and to Luxembourg City, and just show them around.”
For the past eight years, the Friends of St George’s International School have been helping people find their way around Luxembourg by organising walks every Tuesday morning. “We know there are a lot of new people, and this is about reaching out to them and saying ‘we’re welcoming you’,” group member Lisa Dishman explains. “The walks tend to be popular for people who are new and go along before they start doing language classes or get a job.” Dishman joined the group after moving to Luxembourg four years ago and says the walks have introduced her to new places and faces. “There is a lot of Luxembourg I might never have been to without this group. I would never have been to Parc de Merl or Bambesch, for example, because I live on the other side of the city.” Individuals take it in turns to lead walks lasting around one and a half hours in areas they know well. Dishman says she always leads the walk from Cents,
Lisa Dishman in Kirchberg
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1. Miami University campus in Differdange 49°31’16.6”N 5°53’11.3”E 2. Esch-sur-Alzette 49°29’46.0”N 5°59’00.5”E 3. Echternach in Little Switzerland 49°48’49.9 ”N 6°25’07.6”E 4. Merl park in Luxembourg City 49°36’22.5”N 6°06’43.8”E 5. Bambesch forest 49°38’14.1”N 6°05’48.9 ”E Summer 2017
6. Mudam in Kirchberg 49°37’01.5”N 6°08’17.3”E
11. Koeppchen 49°36’52.1”N 6°24’13.4”E
7. Café des Artistes 49°36’30.7”N 6°07’57.4”E
12. Wiltz garden 49°57’43.3”N 5°55’57.6”E
8. Neumünster abbey 49°36’38.1”N 6°08’08.4”E
13. Bourscheid 49°54’20.3”N 6°04’38.4”E
9. Breechkaul amphitheatre 49°48’59.2”N 6°21’35.4”E
14. Family of Man exhibition in Clervaux 50°03’16.3”N 6°01’39.9”E
10. Echternacherbrück in Germany 49°48’46.3”N 6°25’36.5”E
15. Old Diekirch 49°52’08.2”N 6°09’29.0”E
close to where she lives, to Clausen and then to the Mudam, where there is a mix of landscapes and architecture, and a stunning view at the end. Other city walks the group has done include the Wenzel walk, Kirchberg’s European district and some countryside hikes. “It doubles as a bit of exercise and social thing, and helps to orientate people,” Dishman notes, adding there are often new faces and not all of them parents of children at the school. “Every year I meet quite a few people who continue to be good friends or acquaintances.” In addition to helping people finding their way and make friends, the walks help people share information. “It leads to other stuff. People always ask a lot of other questions… about living in Luxembourg. And we always have coffee afterwards.” Walks are just one of the activities organised by the group--once a term, they also coordinate cultural trips. In the past, visits have taken in a Roman villa near Schengen, the Villeroy & Boch museum in Germany and a cho colate factory.
A COUCH AND A TOUR During his free time, Belgian national Pierre Blondelle likes to help new residents and tourists alike discover Luxembourg City via Couchsurfing. The website helps travellers connect with hosts around the world to find both accommodation and a friendly introduction to the place they are visiting. For several years now Blondelle has been involved as both a host and event organiser for members of the Couch surfing network. “It’s a good way for me to do something I love in the city… And they get to see places in the city they might not discover on their own,” he says. When organising a visit, he says his first step is to find out more about what the individual wishes to see and then build a tour around that. “Sometimes they don’t know what they’re looking for so I will ask about their passions,” he says. Past visits have included trips to va rious quirky bars in the capital like Café des Artistes, where at weekends a pianist will play piano and encourage customers to sing along in French,
8 July 2017 > 28 January 2018
Villa Vauban – Musée d’Art de la Ville de Luxembourg
Jan Havicksz. Steen (1626 –1679), La fête des Rois (détail), huile sur toile, vers 1664, © Villa Vauban – Musée d’Art de la Ville de Luxembourg
18, av. Émile Reuter L-2420 Luxembourg
The course of life A museum for all
T +352 47 96 49 00 F +352 27 47 84 32 Mon – Sun 10 a.m.– 6 p.m. Fri 10 a.m.– 9 p.m. Tue closed
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Luxembourgish, German or English. “It’s a charming little place.” “What I try to do with all couchsurfers is show them my favourite place: the [Stierches] bridge by Neumünster abbey. I try to go at dusk,” he says, showing a photo of the idyllic setting in the Grund. Blondelle says he has made good friends through the events he has organised. And it looks as though his initiative is being paid forward: a woman he showed around six years ago and who remains a friend today organises similar events on the Couchsurfing site in French. “I’ve met a lot of people who say Luxembourg is a cold place with cold people and that it is boring. It’s not true. You just have to try to talk to people,” he says.
HIS STAMP ON THE CITY Emile Espen, head of the Post’s philately department, gave a different tour of the capital this past national day as part of the economy ministry’s “Guide for one day” project. He was one of the 35 or so “ordinary” people who volunteered to give free tours of their own favourite parts of the country in June and July. By taking illustrations of buildings from postage stamps, Espen not only explained the history of those buildings, but also how artists have portrayed them over the decades. He showed off the upper town, starting at place Guillaume II and working his way around the city centre to the corniche. He’s always had an interest in the history of the capital and even passed the exam to become an official tour guide, but realised that he couldn’t find the time to do it on a regular basis--which is why he jumped at the chance to show people around over the holiday weekend.
PUB CRAWLING THE CAPITAL Another “guide for one day” was Frazer Alexander, a Brit who grew up in Luxembourg. He organised a pub crawl with a twist: participants had to run or cycle from bar to bar. But he’s been taking international friends around Luxembourg for years: “People always say: ‘You can drive through Luxembourg in 5 minutes’, but my friends told me that they had never thought it was such a cute little diamond in Europe.” Summer 2017
REACHING OUT Community initiative Reech eng Hand (Reaching a hand) helps asylum seekers and refugees integrate by taking them out to places near where they live. “We choose something that is not too expensive or too far away. We try to organise trips where they have the possibility to go back on their own,” Sylvie Grein of the BertrangeStrassen section explains. The types of visits can be anything from a free concert to a local tradition in their area. The last trip was to Biohaff Witry, an organic dairy farm in Dippach. “That was great because it was something they were familiar with from their own countries, but it was not something they would have visited on their own,” says Grein. Afterwards two families said they planned to return to the farm in the future. “One of the women said she wanted to go back to the farm and buy milk to make yoghurt and cheese. We were fascinated because we didn’t realise she used to do that in her country.” The volunteer group began in October 2015 and is comprised mostly of Luxembourg women, many of which grew up in the area, so they have insider knowledge. “This makes organising things easier,” Grein says. The group makes contact with refugees and asylum seekers via the local Red Cross shelter. But they are also in contact with people who have moved into their own homes and this is where the visits are especially important. “Because from the moment they leave the foyer and go to a place where there are perhaps no refugees, they can feel rather alone and not be in contact with the local people who know the country.” The need for these activities is greatest during the summer, Grein says, because there are usually no language classes, so many refugees and asylum seekers have nothing to do. “But that is also when our volunteers are away. It’s difficult.” In addition to organising visits, members have held parties and helped collect furniture for those moving into their own homes. The visits offer an ice-breaker for the women to get to know the new arrivals. “The point is we do these things together. Whether you’re sitting on a bus or eating together, you have the time to talk about so many things. I think this is what they really need most--the personal contact.” icon_mail firstname.lastname@example.org
THE EAST SIZE IS RELATIVE Patty Neu is a native Luxembourger who lives in Consdorf; she studied photography in London and has had friends visiting her since she moved back to the grand duchy. She loves the area around Echternach, so shares her favourite spots there with out-of-town guests. The mother of twin boys touts nearby Berdorf, which is known as a pretty flower village. Located in the centre of the Mullerthal, it is an excellent starting point for the many hiking tours. “Out of all the tours, the B11 and the Mullerthal trail route 2 are my favourites.” They both pass the Breechkaul amphitheatre, where concerts and parties are held in the summer. Climbing through the crevices in the bizarre rock formations in these ancient woods is always an adventure! Route 2, which is very hard, also includes the wolf’s ravine, the Schiessentümpel and the Kohlscheuer, where you need a flashlight because it’s so dark in that tunnel. “It starts in Echternach, which is where I went to high school.” You can rent paddle boards on the lake in Echternach and have a go at that, if hiking is not your thing. People also like to go there on hot summer evenings and have a barbecue. Neu’s insider tip for people who come from big countries is to show how small
Luxembourg is and how that has shaped our mentality: “What I always like to show foreigners in Echternach is how artificial country borders are: I would cross the bridge on foot to Germany and, if the weather was nice, I would take them to the swimming pool in Echternacherbrück. Then we’d walk back to Luxembourg and I would treat them to an ice cream on one of the many terraces! What a perfect day!”
FAMILY LIFE In 2012, Rute Vendeirinho left her life in Lisbon to follow her husband for a new job in Luxembourg. They packed up everything they owned and moved to a foreign country with their newborn baby girl and three-year-old son. Vendeirinho had a full-time job back in Portugal, but after the move she deci ded to stay at home for a few years in order to help her family integrate into the country. It only took a few weeks of being at home for her to realise she needed to find something else to do, so she turned to writing.
Patty Neu on a hiking trail near Berdorf
“I couldn’t find any English-speaking blogs about Luxembourg back then,” Vendeirinho tells Delano. “I was able to read in French, but the majority of Englishspeaking expats couldn’t do that at all.” So, she took it upon herself to start one-in fact, she’s started a few--to help people who were facing the same issues she was facing. On her blog, Expat Mum in Luxembourg, Vendeirinho writes about any and all things that relate to being an expat here, from weekend trips for families to simple tips for going to the supermarket. “I have a secret place that I love and love bringing my visitors,” she said. “It’s a viewpoint up in the vineyards of the Moselle. It’s called Koeppchen, near Wormeldange. It’s a tiny little chapel on top of the vineyards. From there you can see all the Moselle.” Her number one piece of advice to new expats, and to everyone else, is to simply get out of the house. “I’m surprised that after five years, I still find new places,” she said. “In such a tiny country, you can do a lot of things.”
Cassie Adelaïde at the Hariko building in Bonnevoie
CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS Passerell is a non-profit organisation founded in February 2016 which connects asylum seekers and refugees with “buddies” (which they call “tandems”). The idea is to create lasting relationships between the newcomers and established Luxembourg residents. “There have been about 40 tandems created between local citizens and asylum seekers [or] refugees, since the project started,” according to Cassie Adelaïde, one of the group’s founders. “It is always an individualised relationship between an asylum seeker or a refugee and a citizen. Some asylum seekers are very enthusiastic to learn about the country. They also enjoy practising languages with a ‘real’ person.” Passerell receives many specific requests, such as the case of a refugee who wanted support in preparing for the road traffic test in French. “It is much simpler for two people to sit down together and discuss the course than [for] a refugee [or] asylum seeker trying to make sense of the text in a booklet written in an unfamiliar language.” In addition, Passerell organises one event per month, such as a concert at Sang a Klang blues bar for World Refugee Day. “We are always looking for volunteers and the commitment is very flexible,” says Adelaïde. “Volunteers can… commit to as little as one hour per week, which is agreed directly between them and the asylum seeker.” icon_facebook Passerell icon_phone +352 691 311 890
UNOFFICIAL TOUR GUIDES
Bob Wetzel in Wiltz
FESTIVALS AND GARDENS Bob Wetzel, also a “guide for one day”, met visitors in the capital and took them by train up to his hometown of Wiltz. Wetzel was eager to sprinkle the tour with anecdotes of famous people who performed at the Wiltz festival, such as Miles Davis, Juliette Gréco and Joan Baez. He likes to show off the Wiltz garden, which was created by foreign artists in the 1970s. “I find it very interesting that the garden is maintained by people with disabilities.” “Another good subject in Wiltz is beer.” Wetzel recommends visiting the brewery museum and Jang Primus café, but his big insider tip: “There is also a microbrewery where workshops are offered to learn how to brew beer. Waiting lists are very long for that!”
them about myself. Many people don’t really know what the life of a professional cyclist is like. If I can share my experiences, that’s lovely.”
Annick Wolfers, a photographer and filmmaker, is from Diekirch, but has lived in London for almost two decades. The mother of one son has been regularly showing Brits around Luxembourg since then. Her guests are usually either musicians or photographers, so they absolutely have to see the Family of Man exhibition in Clervaux. “To show the ‘real’ Luxembourg, I try to invite people for the Al Dikkrich festival, the second weekend of July. The location around the Roman church is truly beautiful and there are thousands of people--the atmosphere TAKING A SPIN is buzzing and light hearted. They are Christine Majerus, who competed in the always impressed with the ‘metre of 2016 Rio Olympics, took amateur cyclists beer’ that you can order. Some British on two tours as a “guide for one day”. visitors were astounded that people One was a relatively leisurely route here can drink beer a whole evening along the Sûre river, from Diekirch to without starting any fights! We have a Echternach and back. The other--from Diekirch to Bourscheid back to Diekirch-- different mentality to the Brits in that department. Another thing they would was more challenging, so riders could notice is that I would greet and chat to “see what it means to train really hard”. almost every person I would meet--my While Majerus is keen to show off the friends thought I was famous, but I region’s impressive views, the social had to explain that Diekirch is a vilaspect is actually most important: lage. Luxembourg is really a big town, “It is a pleasure to cycle with people, and everyone knows everyone!” to teach them about cycling and tell Summer 2017
GETTING AROUND WITHOUT A CAR PUBLIC TR ANSPORT Explore the Moselle valley by bus from the capital or catch a train to Wasserbillig and start a tour from there. Want to reach Lac de la Haute-Sûre? Hop on the train to Ettelbruck from Luxembourg City and then take a bus. Clervaux can also be reached by train. icon_website www.mobiliteit.lu STEAM TR AIN Ride the Train 1900 and Minièrsbunn, operating from Pétange on Sunday afternoons, some Thursday afternoons and public holidays between May and September, stopping at the historic mining village Fond-de-Gras. icon_website www.minettpark.lu BIKE RENTAL Explore the Moselle valley using the Rentabike Miselerland bike rental network, with pick-up and drop-off stations along the way (book in advance), or find more places to rent bikes on the national tourist office site. icon_website www.visitluxembourg.com CARPOOLING Got no wheels? Then try a carpooling platform like BlaBlaCar. For a small contribution towards fuel costs, get a ride to somewhere new and maybe make new friendships. icon_website www.blablacar.com SHUTTLE BUSES Some events, like the Picadilly wine festival, offer public shuttles from large conurbations to the site of the action. If attending an event, check out the website to see if there is a shuttle bus.
Hey, I’m not a chocolate cream, but a real alien ! The question is not whether, but when one of its big cousins falls on our heads. A 4.5 billion-year journey took the iron meteorite SIKHOTE-ALIN to the museum’s collection : It’s a witness to the birth of the solar system.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY. WHAT YOU DO NOT SEE IN ANOTHER MUSEUM.
New ent perman ns h x e ibitio
Opening hours : Wednesday to Sunday : 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Tuesdays : 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
25, rue Münster, L-2160 LUXEMBOURG www.mnhn.lu | @naturmuseelux
Summer Special 100€ for one month unlimited Bikram Yoga is a complete system of wellness, restoration and rejuvenation. Bikram yoga cleans the body and calms the mind. The room is HOT (over 35 degrees) to facilitate deeper stretching, prevent injury, relieve stress and tension and detoxify the body. Bikram yoga is designed to systematically stimulate and restore health to every muscle, joints and organs of the body. Participants are guided through a series of 26 Postures during a 90 minute class. Participants of all ages notice an increase in energy, strength and balance, flexibility and mental focus.
Text by JESS BAULDRY
Luxembourg wine events
cape is the 42-kilometre of the Luxembourg landsund ten dif ferent grape els jew est fin the of e On h vineyards, where aro nt to the region that Moselle valley with its lus has become so importa ne Wi varieties are grown . e queen each year. some towns crown a win
Ehnen On 16 July, see an exhibition at the wine museum, hear live music and discover top wines and crémants in local cellars. icon_website www.wenzerdag.lu
WINE HISTORY The winegrowing tradition along the Moselle valley can be traced back to when Celtic tribes lived in the area. During the Middle Ages it was taken over by the monasteries, which extended the vineyards. By the end of the 19th century, nine out of ten vineyards grew purely Elbling, which was blended with wines in Germany. Vineyards later developed and diversified following the creation of the Institut Viti-vinicole in Remich in 1925 and the creation of the “Marque Nationale” in 1935. Today, wines grown in this region bear the quality label AOP Moselle Luxembourgeoise. Luxembourg is perhaps best known for its crisp sparkling wines and crémants, which have won numerous gold medals in the past. icon_website www.vins-cremants.lu
Wellenstein From 29-31 July, Wellenstein transforms with an exhibition on Saturday, concerts and dancing every day, food and, of course, local wines. icon_website www.siw.lu
PINOT AND FRIED FISH
Schengen From 5-6 August, try Schengen’s favourite pairing of pinot noir and “friture” (small fried fish), all served outdoors next to the Moselle. icon_website www.schengen.lu
Stadtbredimus Well-known among the younger set, this threeday celebration kicks off at 6 p.m. on 11 August with after-work drinks and party, followed by a wine fest on Saturday from 9 p.m., and family day on Sunday from 11 a.m. icon_website www.picadilly.lu
Remich On 15 August, browse the giant flea market, then enjoy a little aperitif concert with a glass of the finest local wines. icon_website www.si-remich.lu
Greiveldange This festival on 15 August shows work and play of yesteryear. Food, drink and musical entertainment are provided until late. icon_website w ww. greiweldengerleit.lu
Machtum/Nittel Head to the German side of the Moselle on 20 August for this street festival. After the wine is blessed, choose from over 40 different wines. Don’t miss the wine barrel parade at 3 p.m. icon_website w ww.machtumentente.lu
OTHER GRAPE EXPERIENCES
HUNNEFEIER On 15 October, Schengen celebrates the end of the grape Schwebsange harvest with a family-friendly On 2 September, wine programme of events. A flea literally flows from the village fountain. Discover market, exhibitions, street artists, historic farming equipment and Luxembourg cuisine, particularly fried fish, live Fiederwäissen or young wine, music, kids’ activities and all make this event a must-visit. SCHWÉIDSBENGER WÄIFESCHT
the open air museum. icon_website www.waifescht.lu
GREVENMACHER WINE FEST
Grevenmacher From 8-10 September, the village comes to life with the crowning of a new wine queen on Friday, fireworks and fun follow on Saturday, and then there is a folk procession on Sunday. icon_website www.cfg.events
Wormeldange Wine connoisseurs descend on the town from 15-17 September to taste local wines and crémants and share in the festivities. The Riesling queen is crowned on Friday at a formal dance followed by winery tastings on Saturday and Sunday. icon_website www.rieslingopen.com
DISTILLERY DAY On 22 October, the distilleries of Luxembourg’s Moselle region open their doors to the public. Visit the distilleries, discover how they work and taste some of the fine products they make. icon_website www.brenner-am-miselerland.lu
WINE MUSEUM If you want to learn more about Luxembourg’s wine making history and discover how it evolved, visit the Ehnen wine museum, open daily (except Mondays) from 1 April to 31 October. icon_where 115 route du Vin, Ehnen icon_info email@example.com
Tristan Schmurr Marc Schoentgen C. Rinnen
For all fans of quality food
Welcome to your supermarket å FIND ALL YOUR DAILY NEEDS HERE å
Fresh products in uncompromising quality!
New store opening soon in Marnach !
stores in Luxembourg Stay up to date:
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Nëmmen dat Bescht
FOOD & DRINKS
Text by ALIX RASSEL
Photography by MIKE ZENARI
Expat supermarket sweep
uxembourg City alone has more than six large supermarket chains and a multitude of local stores and markets. So, with baskets at the ready, Delano sought out some useful navigational tips from those in the know. “Convenience, pricing and quality is most important for me,” explains Fiona, who originally hails from Greece. “I tend to buy the bulk of my groceries from one supermarket located close to where I live, but might look further afield if I need specialist ingredients.” “In terms of price, it can be tempting to travel across the border,” adds Tom from Prague. “However, personally I find the quality of the produce in Luxembourg far superior, with much sourced from local providers.”
Indeed, foods grown or produced in Luxembourg have become increasingly popular as shoppers become more aware of environmental impacts. Christopher Probst from Cactus (whose Bereldange supermarket is pictured on the right) says: “We work closely with local producers to offer customers the best in the terrain as well as showcase the region.” Given that Luxembourg is a landlocked country, this would suggest that fish and seafood may not be on a par with other produce, but the retailer disagrees. “Over 150 tonnes of bacalhau is sold in Cactus every year,” says Probst. Fresh fish is transported on a daily basis from the Belgian coast by many supermarkets. “You may have to shop around a bit more to find certain ingredients,” adds Britishborn Sarah. “Especially if you have food intolerances, but the choice is there. The variety of foods on offer is as diverse as the local population; you just need to ask around!”
WHERE TO FIND IMPORTS Eirelux in Howald (www.eirelux.com) offers an impressive variety of Irish craft beers, ciders and whiskeys, as well as a selection of grocery products. For Nordic items, Scan Shop on rue de Neudorf (www.scanshop.lu) now offers an online service to its customers, as does the Asiamarket just off avenue de la Liberté (www.asiamarket.lu). For southern European products, La Rioja (www.larioja.lu), Enoteca Italiana (www.enotecaitaliana.lu) and Au gourmet grec (www.augourmetgrec. com) in Bonnevoie have long been popular locations for a taste of the Mediterranean. For Luxembourg’s growing Halalobservant population, the area surrounding the central train station has
become a popular and reasonably priced location for smaller stores selling Turkish and Arabic delicacies. Store Tandoori in Beggen (www. onlinestore.lu) also has an online shop selling Indian foods and spices. As specialty shops do not have the turnover of larger grocery stores, it is always advisable to check sellby and best before dates prior to purchasing items. The International Bazaar (www.bazarinternational.lu) takes place at Luxexpo The Box at the end of November or beginning of December every year. It offers the perfect opportunity to ‘eat yourself’ around the world over a coupe de champagne or two. Gudden Appétit!
When asked about grocery shopping in Luxembourg, variety and choice are two words which roll off most people’s tongues.
Where to shop
A taste of home With more than 170 nationalities living in Luxembourg (at last count), even the diverse range of supermarkets can leave residents wanting for certain specialties native to their homelands. So what do expats in Luxembourg miss the most and does it require a monthly care package from home?
andeep says: “I think the availability of certain foods has a lot to do with where you initially come from.” The native of India reckons: “If you are Portuguese or Italian there is plenty of choice due to the large local population. If you are from southern India like me, you have to travel to Paris or further afield for real Indian street food like dosa.” Fiona, originally from Greece (pictured at the Lidl in Beggen), agrees that there is a wide variety of choice, “but I miss the abundance of fresh local fish and the array of seafood available”. Pari agrees: “If you are European or even North American you can find certain items in both supermarkets and specialist shops in Luxembourg, but it’s more difficult to find traditional Asian, Caribbean and South American foods.”
Undoubtedly the popularity of the annual Bazar International at Luxexpo The Box reflects the diversity of the population and their fondness for home cooking. “Having lived in New York, I miss the variety of international cuisine which was readily available,” says Glenys. “The International Bazaar is the one event that really makes up for that.” In recent years, some stores selling expat foods have closed their doors, unable to keep up with the lower prices offered by larger supermarkets. Specialty items like Marmite, Reese’s Pieces and Tattles crisps are now available in several supermarkets across the country. “I think the major supermarket chains are getting more savvy when it comes to importing food and drinks,” adds Pari. “But with Brexit looming on the horizon, it may become more difficult for Brits to acquire certain items.” Susan, originally from England, is undeterred: “You can always find the ingredients to make a nice bread and butter pudding or apple pie, it’s just proper fish and chips with lashings of vinegar that I miss!” Perhaps the British stand at Luxexpo The Box should get cooking!
KNOW YOUR SUPERMARKETS Luxembourg is home to many large supermarkets, including Cactus, Auchan, Delhaize, Aldi, Lidl, Match and Cora. Smaller grocery stores from neighbouring countries can also be found in the city centre as well as the large organic supermarket Naturata. Shopping carts or trolleys in Luxembourg require a coin to use them or a jeton (token), which can often be acquired from the supermarket information desk. Unlike some other countries, Luxembourg does not have 24-hour supermarket opening hours. Most supermarkets close sometime between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., depending on the day of the week. Larger supermarkets are closed on Sunday afternoons. Luxembourg City has a twice weekly farmers market, held on Wednesdays and Saturdays, on place Guillaume II from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., where you can purchase everything from freshly roasted chickens to freshly made pasta. Due to growing demand, the Belgian supermarket Delhaize now stocks more than 90 vegetarian products, including 20 vegan products. Luxembourg produce is usually clearly labelled with a “Made in Luxembourg” or “Fabriqué au Luxembourg” sticker.
Text by AUDREY DAVIS
Ten fun day trips
You could probably spend an entire day shopping at the Hydrion shopping centre, but if that’s not your style, there’s beautiful countryside ready to be explored through hiking and cycling with trails for all skill levels. For a taste of traditional Belgian cuisine, head to one of the many gastropubs and restaurants around town.
Need to escape the summer heat? This family-friendly nature reserve along the Moselle has a shallow lake dedicated to children, with a lifeguard onsite and plenty of space near the lake for a picnic. Various water sports are also offered in the area. Once you’ve cooled off, you can walk on the trail around the reserve.
Check out the ruins of a medieval fortress and a functional Renaissance castle that was inhabited until 2012. The latter has only been open to the public for a few years and can be seen through pre-booked guided tours. And be sure to get a taste of the castle’s black currant liqueur, still produced there today.
Due to its close proximity to France, this German town offers a mix of cultures and enchants visitors with its French charm. The sights of the city can be best discovered through a guided tour that highlights the 18th- century Baroque architecture. But be sure to spend some time in St. Johanner Markt, too.
If you’re looking for a more adventurous trip to a castle, head to Wierschem and take the Eltzer Burgpanorama. Regarded as one of the most scenic hikes in Germany, the trail climbs along natural footpaths with views of the fairytale-esque Eltz Castle. There are many other trails of varying lengths and intensities.
The Grand Canyon may be over 5,000 miles away, but the Saar Loop in Germany is almost as grand. With a new, wheelchair accessible, 1,250m treetop walk and a view tower, experience the breathtaking views from 23m above the trees. Activity stations and other kid-friendly features ensure a great time for the whole family.
Sure, the city’s impressive Gothic cathedral, Michelinstarred dining scene and the Centre Pompidou-Metz are already worth a visit, but those are only a prelude to Metz’s other charms. There are more than 580 acres of parkland to explore; check out picturesque views along the Moselle and the city’s rich 3,000-year history.
Known as the “Rome of the North,” this ancient city has a history of over 2,000 years. Experience original Roman architecture such as the Porta Nigra or take a short walk from the city centre to the house where Karl Marx was born. Even if you’re not a history buff, you’ll find plenty to do in this German town.
After taking the 2½ hour drive, you deserve a glass of champagne, and the capital of France’s Champagne region is the perfect place. Once you’ve had a drink, take a guided tour around the city, marvel at the 13th-century Notre-Dame Cathedral or head to the vineyards. For all you foodies, a gourmet tour is offered every Saturday.
Home to around 2,000 animals from 5 continents, the zoo is perfect for a quick trip for families with kids of any age. Where else can you walk from the Amazon jungle to African plains in one day? Be sure to check for the special animal shows taking place during the summer. Open all day, every day, no matter the weather.
nitachem ORTMPSL JM / ONT Sarah Karlson e-tchango Vincent Brassinne ORT Région Moselle Luxembourgeoise/ONT Wolfgang Staudt Tristan Schmurr Daniel Mennerich Flickr user Mickaël
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Text by NATALIE GERHARDSTEIN
Photography by MIKE ZENARI
A move for love
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Illustration by MAISON MODERNE
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IN MY SUITCASE
ELIDA VAN NIEROP On a balmy spring evening in 2014, Elida went out with friends to the Kino Lumbardhi cinema club in Prizren, Kosovo, her hometown. There she met Floris, a Dutch national and Luxembourg resident. They chatted but didn’t exchange contact details; Elida later heard from him after he’d found her via Facebook. After much chatting and several visits, Floris proposed to her at the cinema--quite a feat as the cinema, despite its cultural significance even during Yugoslavian times, had temporarily closed (a citizens’ initiative has since reopened it). “He learned how to ask for my hand in Albanian,” she recalls. Elida, a former teacher, moved to Luxembourg in 2015 and delved into languages. “I thought if I start studying, I wouldn’t be bored, but it turned out to be very active.” She’s now working on a master’s degree in mathematics at the University of Luxembourg. “I hope to get back into teaching. I love working with kids.” Summer 2017
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Text by JESS BAULDRY
14 shows e you must se
not always heat up overrtainly does . ce Even if the weather does ourg, its cultural scene the summer in Luxemb festivals , concerts and Here are just a few of the u won’t want to miss. sporting events that yo
icon_when 8 July icon_where Lasauvage and Fond-de-Gras icon_website www.bluesexpress.lu
ROCK UM KNUEDLER Luxembourg music This year’s outdoor rock festival shines a light on the Luxembourg music scene, featuring over 20 home-grown acts. Among the more well-known are jazz musician Pascal Schumacher, folk band The Tame & The Wild, four-piece rock band Tuys and folk musician and songwriter Lata Gouveia. icon_when 16 July icon_where P lace Guillaume II, Luxembourg-Centre icon_website festivals.lcto.lu Summer 2017
AL DIKKRICH Local fair You have not seen real Luxembourg until you have visited a “Kiermes” or village fair, and Diekirch’s is one of the oldest. Given that the town has its own brewery, there is no risk this party will run out of beer. The parade begins on Thursday. icon_when 13-18 July icon_where Diekirch, several venues icon_website www.aldikkrich.lu
ALT-J Alt rock Alt-J garnered critical acclaim for albums An Awesome Wave and This Is All Yours. Now a trio, the band from Leeds bring their individualistic alternative rock act to the stunning courtyard of the abbey as part of a series of outdoor gigs. icon_when 13 July icon_where Abbaye de Neumünster, Luxembourg-Grund icon_website www.atelier.lu
WILTZ FESTIVAL Eclectic programme The 65th edition of this festival brings a diverse programme of classical, flamenco, tango, jazz, hip hop and acoustic acts to the Luxembourg Ardennes. Don’t miss the closing night featuring José González (pictured), Dillon, Monophona and Joy Wellboy. icon_when Until 23 July icon_where Amphithéâtre, 1 rue du Château, Wiltz icon_website www.festivalwiltz.lu
MEYOUZIK World music festival Experience the diversity of world music over four outdoor stages at this free, one-day festival featuring artists from everywhere. Festivities kick off at 2:45 p.m. with children’s workshops in place de la Constitution while concerts continue until 1 a.m. icon_when 15 July icon_where Luxembourg-Centre icon_website festivals.lcto.lu
CONGÉS ANNULÉS Off-season music Rotondes continues its summer season of concerts for people who stick around for the holidays. This year welcomes emerging bands La Jungle and Hyperculte (pictured), Douglas Dare, Cigarettes After Sex, and Parquet Courts, among others. icon_when 28 July-25 August icon_where Rotondes, Luxembourg-Bonnevoie icon_website www.rotondes.lu
José González Jay Blakesberg Photography Gabriel Green Warner Music Spain Claude Piscitelli LCTO Les Amis du Vieux Diekirch
BLUES EXPRESS Steam and stars Over two sites connected by a restored steam railway, visitors can see and hear 40 international groups across 11 stages. Headliners include The Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’ Band (USA) (pictured), Samantha Fish (USA), Kid Colling Cartel (Luxembourg), and more.
BLUES’N JAZZ RALLYE Street music Live blues and jazz music will fill the streets and bars between the Grund and Pfaffenthal for this huge-scale festival. Luxembourg audiences are spoiled rotten by the varied line-up which welcomes big acts from around the world.
Diego Sanchez Paper Plane Records Yannick Schmidt LCTO LaLa La Photo Claude Piscitelli
icon_when 29 July icon_where Luxembourg-Grund icon_website festivals.lcto.lu
ETTELBROOKLYN STREET FEST Street party Music, acrobatic performances and art will fill the streets of Ettelbruck DEN 9. SEPTEMBER 2017for the inaugural edition ofELASTIC Ettelbrooklyn STROOSSEKONSCHT: (BE), IGOR (LU), AKROBATIK mat JONN HÄPPI SUPERSHOW (LU), organised with the Food Truck GRAFFITI Association WORKSHOP mam RAPHAEL GINDT (LU) and local arts venue LIVE MUSEK:CAPE. AUSTINN (LU, Indie Pop), KID COLLING Opens at 10 a.m.; CARTEL (LU, Blues), THE COOL QUEST (NL, Hip Hop), LA FANFARElive DESperformances SUPER HEROS (FR,from Walking 2 p.m. Balkan Swing) 9-10 September IESSEN ANicon_whenDRÉNKEN: FOOD TRUCKS a BAREN icon_whereAn Pedestrian zone,méi Ettelbruck nach villes ! icon_website www.ettelbruck.lu
FOOD FOR YOUR SENSES Music, arts & more This eclectic festival returns with 35 local and international live acts spanning different musical genres to help expand people’s horizons. Don’t miss the “Sensibition”, a showcase for emerging artists as well as arty, on-site installations and workshops. icon_when 4-6 August icon_where Bd Pierre Frieden, Luxembourg-Kirchberg icon_website www.ffys.eu
SCHUEBERFOUER Giant funfair Luxembourg’s biggest funfair offers fairground rides for all tastes, ranging from the sedate big wheel and house of mirrors to the adrenalin-rush rides. Dine like a local on fried fish and hunneg drëpp or try to win prizes. icon_when 11 September icon_where Glacis car park, Luxembourg-Limpertsberg icon_website www.fouer.lu
STREETA(RT)NIMATION Street performance Always a feast for the eyes, this free, two-day, outdoor festival promises acrobatics, theatre, music and more for all the family with a number of mobile performances passing through the city centre.
E-LAKE Lakeside concert Quit the capital and head east for this outdoor festival set on the banks of the lake in Echternach. Among the confirmed bands playing across two stages will be De Läb, No Metal in this Battle, Montreal, Lucy Echo, and more.
icon_when 11-12 August icon_where Luxembourg-Centre icon_website festivals.lcto.lu
icon_when 11-13 August icon_where Lake Echternach icon_website www.e-lake.lu
STEAMPUNK CONVENTION Sci-fi fun Discover the world of steampunk, a colourful community of characters who live in a sci-fi world where machinery is powered by steam. Buy food, check out the old-school fairground and soak up the steampunk atmosphere. icon_when 23-24 September icon_where Fond-de-Gras icon_website www.minettpark.lu Summer 2017
Text by AUDREY DAVIS
Rain, rain, time to play IRISH MUSIC At the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Luxembourg Irish Music Summer School from 31 July4 August, children in primary school or older can get a taste of Ireland through step dancing, singing, playing the tin whistle and through dramas about Irish mythology and legends. icon_website www.comhaltas.lu
GYMNASTICS The Little Gym Luxembourg has themed summer camps that change every week to stimulate motor-skill development through games and gymnastics. Super Quest Camps are for ages 3-8 while Skill Thrill Camps are for ages 6-12. Camps run from 3 July to 1 September. icon_website www.thelittlegym.eu
igZag (pictured) brings the outside inside with two large playgrounds. Minizigs is the perfect place for kids under 3 to gain confidence in themselves and learn to socialise while having fun in a fully padded area. The older kids, up to age 10, have their own space with 3 floors including an obstacle course, foam slides, a ball pool and more, making it a great place to run off all of that pent-up rainy-day energy. The only down side: they’re closed from 31 July to 15 August. Mudam has a year-round programme for 6- to 12-year-olds called Mudamini. The programme Summer 2017
offers guided tours, an interactive trail called “Mudam Go” and creative workshops. Meanwhile, the younger ones who are between 3 and 5 years old can take a fairy tale tour which includes a selection of artworks, each one with a special story. The programme has events going on throughout the summer. Tours are offered in multiple languages, including English. If the kids are begging to go swimming despite the chance of a storm, take them to one of Luxembourg’s indoor pools such as Les Thermes. There’s a 25m swimming pool, a pool for beginners and a baby pool. They even have a wave pool and 30m turbo waterslide. The place also includes bars and restaurants and a full spa, that is, if you can get the kids to leave the water. icon_website www.zigzag.lu icon_website www.mudam.lu icon_website www.lesthermes.net
Jessica Theis (archives)
The last thing parents want to think about in the summer are those nasty rainy days where you feel trapped inside. Sure, you could watch a movie or do a fun craft, but Delano has a few indoor options that still get you and your family out of the house.
STORY TIME Il était une fois… is a multilingual non-profit library dedicated to children. They offer many events throughout the summer such as reading workshops and “sing along” sessions for young children. They also have a collection of children’s books in 16 languages.
At ISL our mission is to provide an outstanding education and inspire our students to engage in both academic and enriching extra-curricular programmes. Our students set high expectations for themselves, enjoy school and the community is constantly rewarded by their achievements. ISL has earned its outstanding reputation through its studentsâ€™ successes, its rigorous educational programme, its excellent and dedicated staff, its caring community and its engagement in global issues. With over 40 nationalities in our student body and more than 20 nationalities within our staff, friendship, international mindedness, diversity and inclusion are ways of life in our multi-cultural environment. www.islux.lu
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Written Luxembourgish thing in Luxembourg vice columnist on every d This month , Delano’s ad s on forgetting words , a castle in Clausen an ion est qu r de rea answers ation language test. changes to the naturalis
Dear Auntie Eleanor, I have just moved to Luxembourg and I have heard that, while Luxembourgish is a language, there is no “official” way to write it and everyone just writes it as they think. Is that true?--Barry in Bonnevoie Gentle reader, that is not true: there is an official way. However, what is true is that most people have not learnt to write it properly. Older generations never had any lessons; slightly younger ones had one hour a week for one year; how it is now I genuinely do not know--I must ask my grandchildren. Over the past three decades, many efforts have gone into clarifying the rules and developing dictionaries. You can familiarise yourself with the spelling on the interwebz nowadays: www. ortho.lod.lu is a good website which explains it all. Dear Auntie Eleanor, the longer I’ve lived abroad, the more I’m forgetting words in English. Sometimes a word or phrase is right on the tip of my tongue, but I can’t quite get it out. This is really frustrating. Am I the only one with this problem, and what can I do about it? --Stephen in Strassen Gentle reader, you most certainly are not alone. Researchers at Harvard University dubbed this the “tip of the tongue” phenomenon in the 1960s. More recently, Karin Summer 2017
Humphreys, a professor at McMaster University, in Canada, worked on six studies of the syndrome. One study found it more likely to occur when we’re tired. Other research showed that we often get stuck on the same words over and over again. Looking for the answer online is apparently counterproductive, Humphreys told the Mental Floss website. The best way to recover a word is to find it yourself, she says. Tell someone what you’re trying to say and then ask them to give
you a clue, such as the first few letters of the word. Dear Auntie Eleanor, rumour has it there’s a new park opening in the Clausen area. A dame of your standing surely must know more. What’s the scoop?--Louise in Contern Gentle reader, you’re most likely referring to the reopening of the grounds of La Fontaine Castle, also known as the Mansfeld Palace, opposite the new Clausen school which
opens in September. The 9,000-square metre space will include a 160m timeline in English, French and German, so you can read more about the castle’s fascinating history. The park’s opening, set for 11 July, marks the 500th birth anniversary of Count Peter Ernst von Mansfeld, whose castle was one of the most renowned in the greater Benelux region during its glory years. According to our friends at City magazine, Delano’s sister publication: upon the death of the count in 1604, the castle was transferred to the Spanish king Philip III, but was later destroyed during the Thirty Years’ War and Louis XIV’s Siege of Luxembourg. Dear Auntie Eleanor, back in 2016, I attended six hours of civics courses as part of the process of applying for Luxembourg nationality. Is my certificate still valid under the new law?--Corina in Weimerskirch Gentle reader, I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but if you did not submit your nationality application before the new law entered into force on 1 April, then you still have another step to go. The government, in its wisdom, has seen fit to introduce a special 20-question, multiple-choice test for those who did the six hours of courses. Presumably this is to ensure they paid attention and didn’t just attend and doze in the corner. Chin up, dear, it could be worse: under the new law applicants must attend 24 hours of classes or take a test.
SEND IN YOUR QUESTION Want to know something about Luxembourg? Contact Auntie Eleanor via AuntieEleanor@delano.lu. Please indicate if Delano can publish your name or if you wish to remain anonymous.
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