June 2012 – Issue 13 – 4€ – www.delano.lu
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Understanding Luxembourg: current affairs, business, lifestyle, Culture
Match maker: Luxembourg’s man in London, Bruce Baker, on Haye v. Chisora
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While hundreds of Luxembourgers sailed around the Mediterranean on the traditional Whitsun cruise and local cycling fans worred about the state of Fränk Schleck’s fitness, UNICEF issued a fairly damning report on child poverty in the Grand Duchy. The report into poverty in the world’s richest countries found that some 12.3 percent of children here live in its strictly defined definition of “relative poverty”. That is higher than the average 11.5 percent and places Luxembourg 23rd out of 35 countries--an embarrassment for the country that is ranked the second richest per capita nation in the world. Admittedly, with relative poverty defined as a family with adjusted disposable income less than 50 percent of the national median, in Luxembourg the term does not conjure up images of kids wandering the streets of Hollerich searching for food or working on rubbish tips for a pitiful wage. However, another definition, which lists some of the items essential to a child’s well-being, results
in 4.4 percent of children in Luxembourg being labelled as “deprived”. That means they may be missing out on some meals and a daily intake of fruit and vegetables, may not have more than one pair of well-fitting shoes, may not have a suitable place to do homework or have the opportunity to invite friends home or have access to an internet connection. Again, many of these “deprivations” may not seem drastic. But childhood is precious, and every effort should be made to ensure that in a country like Luxembourg, children can enjoy their prepubescent years without suffering the trauma of neglect or social exclusion. As UNICEF’s Paul Heber says, there should be no excuse for not reducing that 4.4 percent figure to zero. Because, even if it is a cliché, children are the future and the more difficult life is for them as a child, the more problems they will have adjusting to adulthood--and that cannot be in the best interest of Luxembourg.
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42 cover story
BRUCE BAKER Match maker Luxembourg’s man in London talks about one of the most controversial boxing bouts in recent memory. And it is not just Haye v. Chisora, but the Grand Duchy v. Europe.
8 Current affairs
Sixty years of hurt How will Luxembourg’s team fare at the London Olympics?
Another crossroad Can Luxembourg’s financial centre remain competitive?
Networking British Sports Car Club
14 Sunday shopping
30 Training v. coaching
Three traditional summer events
18 Sacred Heart
34 Mobile payments
Weekend experiment stirs debate
50 Going native
How to push employees ahead
The MBA programme turns 20
New rules, new players
21 Dirty beaches Luxembourg water warning
35 British Chamber
20 Hubertus von Morr
36 Dutch treat SGG’s cross-border deal
Outgoing German ambassador on Juncker
48 Lifestyle 52 Staycation
Seven summer daytrip tips
56 Unique homes
Seven cool design shops
A look back at the past 20 years
regulars 38 THINK LOCAL Zheni Zhekova: the Bulgarian law student says Luxembourg is a puzzle. 66 MY OTHER LIFE Natalie Gerhardstein: the communications director’s deep diving passion.
58 Eclectic lady act
Grand Théâtre previews new season
SNAPSHOTS 6 Special victory Luxembourg triumph at Special Olympics tourney 12 Eastern promise When Luxembourg meets Japan 28 Avalanche, not tsunami Conference tackles financial regulations
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June 2012 - delano - 5
Special victory Photos: Luc Deflorenne
A Luxembourg team triumphed in this year’s UEFA-sponsored international football tournament for developmentally disabled athletes, held last month in Hollerich. Special Olympics Luxembourg (SOL) and Racing Football Club Union Luxembourg organised the event featuring four teams from the Grand Duchy, one from France and two from Germany. The annual tournament is one of several held across the Continent under the patronage of UEFA, European football’s governing board, says Marc Feltgen, director of SOL. The tournaments involve “unified games,” meaning each team is composed of six athletes with intellectual disabilities and four players from football clubs’ youth squads. In the case of the four Luxembourg teams, the young players were from Racing FC, which participated for the first time after partnering with SOL earlier this year, explains Feltgen. At the end of play on May 17, the champions were a team from LigueHMC, a work and housing centre for the developmentally disabled in Capellen. In addition to the football tourney, Special Olympics Luxembourg runs yearround programmes for many Olympic sports across the Grand Duchy. AG
René Peters, captain of Luxembourg’s national team
Marc Feltgen (right)
A team that included youth squad players from German team SG Ahrweiler
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Sixty years of hurt In today’s commercially competitive sporting climate, a repeat of Josy Barthel’s romantic Olympic victory in 1952 looks unlikely at London 2012. But COSL president André Hoffmann says success can be measured in other ways. Text: Duncan Roberts — Photos: Julien Becker
Département ministériel des Sports (archives)
André Hoffmann: athletes have to be acceptable representatives of Luxembourg
Romantic victory: Josy Barthel’s win in 1952 remains Luxembourg’s only Summer Olympic gold medal
It belongs to another era, to what might be called the golden age of the modern Olympic Games before the politicisation and then the commercialisation of the world’s greatest sporting celebration. In 1952, at the Helsinki games, Josy Barthel stunned the world by winning the 1,500 metres gold for Luxembourg, beating American Bob McMillen and German Werner Lueg (in the medal places) and also Britain’s Roger Bannister (who, two years later, would run the first sub-four minute mile). Barthel was presented with his gold medal-still Luxembourg’s only such medal at a summer games--by then Crown Prince Jean. While Barthel was hardly a favourite he had form going in to the games, having won both the 800 and 1,500 metres at the world student games the previous year and qualifying for the final of the same event at the 1948 London Olympics. In London in 2012, it will be a major surprise if any of Luxembourg’s athletes manage to win a medal. Sport has become more professional and the only members of the Luxembourg team who compete regu-
larly on the world stage are the Schleck brothers and tennis player Gilles Muller. But, as André Hoffmann, the president of the Comité Olympique et Sportif Luxembourgeois (COSL) says, in Beijing in 2008 Andy Schleck finished fourth in the cycling road race and with a bit more luck could have claimed one of the medal places. Even so, expectations are realistic. “We are not going because we are expecting a medal. In swimming it would be a success if one of our swimmers reached the semi-final, a place in the top 16. In each sport you have different ideas of what success could be.” As Hoffmann explains, the COSL sets criteria up front, which meet those of the international federations, for each potential member of the Luxembourg team. “We see to it that the people we send over are competitive enough to be acceptable representatives of Luxembourg in that sport.” Gilles Muller, for example, is ranked among the top 50 tennis players in the world and with the tournament on grass at Wimbledon--one of his favourite surfaces--he could go far. “But he could also lose in the first round. Not everyone can win a medal.”
Luxembourg’s delegation will total around 20 to 25 personnel as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) sets a limit according to the size of the team. “That is why it is crucial for us to have at least ten athletes, because that gives us an additional delegate,” says Hoffmann. Indeed, the limited number presents a logistical challenge for the Luxembourg delegation as many of the team compete in their first round events within a two and a half day period. “It is a tricky issue when athletes are competing at the same time and we have to decide how to allocate resources.” 200,000 euro While athletes live for free in the Olympic Village--and can stay there and attend events throughout the Games-the cost of preparations, taking other delegates and support staff and supplying uniforms and kit will cost the COSL around 200,000 euro. While the COSL has a roster of sponsors, these are for long-term support over a four-year period (basically between each Olympic games). The rest of its budget is covered by the IOC, which
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Flying the flag: the Luxembourg delegation at the Beijing Games four years ago
redistributes some money from its sponsorship income via solidarity funds that support specific training programmes, and from the Lotterie Nationale. The IOC has a strong hand regarding sponsorship and much has been made in certain sections of the media about new legislation introduced by the UK government designed to discourage ambush marketing by companies not officially associated with London 2012. “It is clear there are strict rules, but the impact in Luxembourg is limited--though we are prohibited from contacting the same sponsors as the IOC,” Hoffmann explains. On the other hand, one Luxembourg sponsor has stepped in to sponsor the London Games and this has provided the COSL with an extra payment. “This is unique and is not in the philosophy of our sponsorship programme, but it is always welcome to receive additional financing in times when financing is difficult.”
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Debate has also raged in the UK about the so-called “legacy” of the Games-not only the physical legacy of the new stadia and facilities, but also the way in which the Olympics will encourage take-up of sports. The COSL has at its grass-roots the support of sporting federations in Luxembourg, but also encourages the so-called “elite cadre” of sportsmen and women, and some teams, that show the most promise. “That obviously helps the federations who do not have to put additional money into those schemes,” says Hoffmann. Small nations games Next year Luxembourg once again hosts the Games of the Small States of Europe, which will see some 800 to 900 athletes from eight nations (Andorra, Cyprus. Iceland, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro and San Marino) descend on the Grand
Duchy. The biennial games is limited to European countries with a population of less than one million inhabitants, with Iceland, Cyprus and Luxembourg generally the teams that win the most medals. “The philosophy is a bit different, which is to allow a larger number of athletes to compete at an international level; a level at which they can find some common ground,” says Hoffmann. “It is a useful tool to allow the development of athletes in their personal field and to experience being part of an international team.” Indeed, the small nations games seem to capture the original spirit of the modern Olympics as envisioned by their founder Baron Pierre de Coubertin and his famous quote “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”
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Luxembourg meets Japan
Eastern promises Photos: Jessica Theis
The land of the rising sun was the focus of the second in Voyages Emile Weber’s “meet and greet” series. The events are aimed at bringing together decision makers from business and the public sector, diplomacy and culture, says the travel company. Guest speakers included Japanese ambassador Takashi Suetsuna and director general of the Chamber of Commerce (and former ambassador of Luxembourg to Japan), Pierre Gramegna. Following a walking dinner of Japanese specialities, it concluded with a performance in the Philharmonie’s grande auditorium by Les Frères, Japanese brothers Moriya and Keito Saito who first studied piano at the Luxembourg city conservatoire. Both Suetsuna and Gramegna highlighted the differences and similarities between the two countries, but both urged Luxembourgers to visit Japan and discover a completely different world and way of life. Indeed, Gramegna pointed out that the Japanese mentality is in stark contrast to that in Luxembourg, not only because of the huge discrepancy in population density (in Japan only 15 percent of the country is populated), but also because of the different influence of foreign residents in the respective countries--only one percent of residents in Japan are foreign. DR
Pianist brothers Les Frères both trained at the Luxembourg city conservatoire Pierre Gramegna with Japanese ambassador Takashi Suetsuna
The meet and greet took place in the Philharmonie
East meets west, culture meets business Tourism was one of the focuses of the event
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Shopping and rucking Plans for shops to open every third Sunday in the capital have sparked renewed debate about competition and the working conditions of retail staff. Text: Duncan Roberts — Photo: Julien Becker
The battle lines have long been drawn on Sunday shopping. On the one side of the ruck are those who view it as an opportunity for Luxembourg; an idea whose time is long overdue. On the other are those who feel opening shops on Sundays is exploiting the workers and making the world a more commercial, secular place. The fight has so far involved little more than some gentle sparring. Each year the ministry of small business grants Luxembourg retailers eight Sundays on which they can open, and the unions representing shop workers bristle with self-righteous indignity but realise there is little they can do. But now the capital city has plans to open shops every third Sunday of the month during the summer--a move supported by minister Françoise Hetto-Gaasch-and the unions have repeated their rally cry against the injustice. “Once again,
date Line May-June 2012
these politicians are unveiled as accomplices to the world of commerce. Once again they have shown they do not care about social dialogue or the involvement of unions in this debate,” says the unions. But Yves Piron of the capital city retailers’ association UCVL (Union Commerciale de la Ville de Luxembourg) argues that nobody will be forced to work on Sundays, and even claims that some retail staff are happy to work on a Sunday because they get paid a higher hourly rate and receive compensation time in lieu. “It depends on different family situations,” says Piron. “But working conditions remain the same. Nobody will work more hours and that is something that should be made clear to the unions.” That does not quite wash with the unions, who argue that the employers and the ministry are ignoring the hardship faced by families who cannot
People killed in 2011 due to speeding (STATEC)
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UP TO MOM Mothers spend an avmay erage 24 hours per week on housework, compared to 16 hours per week for women without children, 10 hours for men with kids and 8 hours for men without (STATEC). The average jumps in the 20s, but after 30 remains relatively stable.
SHORT FLICKS A capacity crowd at may the CarréRotondes watched Catherine Villeninot take best prize for Chômage Affectif at the first International Short Film Festival of Luxembourg and the Greater Region. Among the 20 entries were films from Canada, Italy and Spain.
be together on a Sunday, or the more practical difficulty of getting to work on a Sunday for those employees who rely on public transport. “That does not seem to interest them.” Opportunity The idea of opening every third Sunday in the month over the summer arose at the UCVL’s annual general meeting earlier this year. The capital city’s retailers have long argued that if shops in a smaller town such as Echternach is allowed to open because it is a tourist destination, then those in Luxembourg city should be afforded the same status. “If you look at the city centre on a sunny Sunday, it is full of tourists,” says Piron. “We see it as an opportunity for those who
want to open--it will not be obligatory. The only stores that will open will be those that think they can make money.” City mayor Xavier Bettel will introduce his videgrenier (see box) on the third Sunday of every month. With the monthly market on the Glacis also taking place on the third Sunday, it was deemed the perfect day on which to launch an experiment to test whether Sunday shop opening is viable. “The Glacis market also took time to become popular,” says Piron. “But now it is busy all day long.” The UCVL is not yet sure whether shops will be permitted to open all day (that is to say from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) or just in the afternoons, from 2 to 6 p.m. as they are on normal Sunday openings. “The problem is that well over 50 percent of retail staff come to Luxem-
The city centre on a sunny Sunday is full of tourists” Yves Piron
SIP / Charles Caratini
SIP / Charles Caratini
The PM visited the Luxembourg American Cultural Center.
Juncker then attended the NATO summit in Chicago.
Asian tourists Tourists represent a real new purchasing power in the city, argues Piron. Indeed, with Hetto-Gaasch holding both the retail and tourism portfolios, the two sectors should be working more closely together. And it is not just day trippers from the Greater Region who swarm into the capital city on a sunny Sunday, tourists from further afield-and especially from Asia--are also being seen more frequently. Hetto-Gaasch recently led a delegation, including Piron, to China to discuss the possibility of attracting more Chinese tourists by means of a direct flight to Luxembourg.
REPORT CARD I Total graduations, the may overall number of students and percentage of international students all rose last year at the University of Luxembourg. The university’s board also approved a €150 million budget, which includes adding more student housing.
bourg from the Greater Region, so coming in to work for just four hours is often not worth it.” Piron says that obviously it will be easier for some shops--the smaller, familyrun businesses--to arrange to have staff at their store on a Sunday than international chain stores. And he believes the focus will be in the upper city near the place Guillaume II (where the videgrenier will take place) and the Glacis. “It will provide real animation in the city.” Piron says that simply opening shops later in the evening will not work because a significant number of people who work in the capital rush to catch a train or jump in their car to beat the rush hour as soon as work finishes. “Shops can open later, and a few have tried to stay open until 7 p.m. But non-residents won’t stay in the city just to shop. Why not have one evening when administrative offices stay open later, or have more cultural happenings in the city?”
REPORT CARD II Noting 60% of the may country’s youngsters are foreign, the Chamber of Commerce called for schools to face “demographic reality.” The chamber wants students to put less emphasis on either French or German, while putting more emphasis on learning English.
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If you open, they will come: city retailers hope residents and tourists will flock to shop on the third Sunday of every month
Life in the city
“We are working with the ministry and incoming agencies, because we see tourism as a great potential. But it would be a shame if they would just arrive here, look at the Gëlle Fra and then leave because the shops are closed.” But it is not just tourists that count. Luxembourg wants to be competitive and attract international talent, yet the shop opening hours could be viewed as archaic by anyone tempted to move to Luxembourg from London or Frankfurt or Paris. And the Confédération Luxembourgeoise du Commerce (CLC) recently launched a paper titled Le commerce luxembourgeois à l’horizon 2020 in which it called for, among other recommendations, the abolition of all opening hour regulations in an effort to make Luxembourg’s retail sector more
Household gas price from 2nd half of 2010 to 2011 (Eurostat)
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CROWNED Luxembourg’s Andy may Schleck received the 2010 Tour de France champion’s jersey in Mondorf. Alberto Contador of Spain lost the title in February after testing positive for stimulants during the race. Schleck had finished just 39 seconds behind Contador.
competitive. The unions were quick to charge the CLC with wanting to “introduce the law of the capitalist jungle to Luxembourg, along the lines of the American model without any protection for employees.” But the CLC warns that the growth of e-commerce offering consumers more choice and increasing competition from the Greater Region are causing a slump in retail turnover, despite the fact that disposable household income is still on the rise, population growth is positive and Luxembourgers are spending less abroad. Whether the Sunday shopping experiment can halt that decline remains to be seen, but in the current climate the retail sector is keen to at least try something different to boost its fortunes.
On June 17 the Ville de Luxembourg is hosting the first of its “vide-grenier”. Restricted to private individuals, the event allows residents to set up a stand to sell off anything from their household between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Stands--2.5m2--can be booked in advance. They are restricted to two per person and cost just five euro. Folding tables can be booked to display goods, but sellers will be allowed to park their vehicle at their stand. Book via Mme Marie-France Lamesch, tel.: 4796 - 4299, email: email@example.com. The Glacis market also takes place every third Sunday, with stands selling everything from roast chickens to flowers, underwear and olive oils, set up on the car park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Shops will be open in the city every third Sunday, but the exact opening times have not yet been agreed.
DEBATED EU home affairs minjun isters met in Luxembourg to debate common rules on when and how border controls within the normally passport-free Schengen area can be temporarily implemented “in exceptional circumstances” and how to monitor for compliance.
ANTICIPATED Jean-Claude Juncker jun was expected to give the Chamber of Deputies a “very detailed statement” on the planned Livange stadium and shopping mall. Rumours persist that the government pressured BCEE to finance the project. See Delano.lu for full details.
Marathon shines spotlight on city Photos: Luc Deflorenne
Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg city mayor, towards the right and wearing team number 444
Thousands of runners, performers and spectators participated in one of Luxembourg city’s best known and largest international events last month. A record number 10,000 people registered for the 7th ING europe-marathon Luxembourg’s full, half, mini and team runs, according to Erich François, managing director of event organiser step by step. Bellor Yator of Kenya won the race in a record time of 2:13:45 hours--that was still over his 2012 personal best of 2:09:21, but enough to beat countrymen Kiprotich Kirui (2:19:39) and Stephen Rutto (2:21:27). Mahlet Melese of Ethiopia took the women’s title with a time of 2:45:56 hours, just 11 minutes shy of last year’s record time, achieved by Rael Kiyara of Kenya. Yet runners were only some of those who took part. About 40 bands performed along the course, including the nowfamous Samba de Luxe, a mini-festival featuring international samba bands. In addition, an estimated 150,000 spectators lined the race through the heart of Luxembourg city. Visitors are reckoned to have spent about two million euro over the weekend. AG & DR
Samba de Luxe member
June 2012 - delano - 17
“ Cost-benefit analysis” Previously focused on local professionals, Luxembourg’s oldest MBA programme now aims to attract international students. Interview: Aaron Grunwald — Photo: Olivier Minaire
This month marks the 20th anniversary of Sacred Heart University’s John F. Welch College of Business Luxembourg, which offers MBAs to working professionals in the Greater Region. More than 450 graduates later, Delano spoke about the programme--and Sacred Heart’s big expansion plans--with its academic director, Dr. Alfred Steinherr, a former chief economist at the European Investment Bank. AG: What was Sacred Heart’s original competitive advantage? AS: When someone has to go to London for a year, that creates a tremendous cost. Our purpose was to create something for people who live here or nearby and pursue their professional activity at the same time. That means you [can complete a MBA] in at most six years, but you can do it in two years, depending on how much time your job and your family situation gives you. AG: What do your students expect to get out of the programme? AS: They either have been promoted to a level where they realise ‘I don’t have enough,’ or they wish to be promoted and realise, ‘if I want to move on, I have to understand more about other things.’ The basic idea is to acquire a more complete preparation for a job of responsibility. Usually the further up you go, the more you have to have an overview of many things, not just one specialty. A little bit of marketing, a little bit of finance, a little bit of strategy, a little bit of production management, and so on.
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Alfred Steinherr: unique mix of students and experiences
AG: What is your goal for the next 20 years? AS: [Today] we don’t have students coming from far away. For that reason I created a new programme, unique in the world, where we bring people here and in 16 months they can complete their MBA. During nine of these 16 months, they do an internship. It’s not just any internship. It is an internship that is long [enough] that you really get something out of it. Because if you do a two or three month internship, that’s too short to really learn anything. It’s just long enough to know how the coffee machine works. Also firms are more interested, because it’s not a tourist who comes but someone who will do a job. Second, students will
be paid, so it reduces the cost of the whole programme. And, they will do it in a firm that has a worldwide reputation, like ArcelorMittal or JP Morgan, so that when they go back there’s something that has value on their CV. AG: Do you really think you can attract students from, say China or India? AS: The major countries offering MBA education--Australia, the US, the UK and France--all have toughened their visa requirements. And the nice thing about Luxembourg is [that] it’s a costbenefit analysis. It’s in the heart of Europe; Paris and other nice places are only one and half hours away. And it has the highest concentration of international firms of any location in Europe.
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It's been a good or bad month for:
“ No one can beat Juncker” The outgoing German ambassador reflects on his record setting stay in Luxembourg.
The prime minister regularly has approval ratings above 85%, but even he could not have imagined that he was more popular than Barack Obama and Jesus Christ. Yet that is the finding of a poll conducted on opinion.lu, in which Juncker placed 4th, behind Gandhi, Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela, but ahead of the likes of Churchill, JFK and the Dalai Lama. www.questions.lu
Yves Mersch In a dispute over building permission, the chief of the Luxembourg Central Bank lost a case brought by the Ville de Luxembourg to stop him constructing a luxury villa on a field above Eich in the capital city. Leopard Trek While Bob Jungels was providing the Luxembourg pro cycling team with cheer, the withdrawal of Fränk Schleck from the Giro d‘Italia following a crash and a subsequent war of words with team boss Johan Bruyneel hinted that all was not well in the Leopard Trek camp. Still, Andy Schleck did finally get his yellow jersey for his retroactive Tour de France 2010 win. www.leopardtrek.lu
pierre peters The Luxembourg activist was handed a suspended prison sentence of 30 months for disseminating anti-foreign material over the Internet and via flyers. Even in court, Peters showed no remorse and said he was simply telling “the truth”.
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Dr. Hubertus von Morr: hopes Luxembourg keeps fit
After nearly six years in the post, Dr. Hubertus von Morr will step down as Germany’s ambassador to the Grand Duchy on June 30, when he retires from the foreign service. As the longest ever serving German ambassador, he tells Delano about his favourite moments in the job and gives his take on JeanClaude Juncker. AG: What will you remember most about your time here? HvM: The highlights for any German ambassador are always the visits of the chancellor, Mrs. Merkel, and the president, and we had the state visit of the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess to Germany in the end of April. These were, of course, the highlights. But I have most fond memories of the country and its people, who are very, very nice, friendly and open. AG: What is the most pressing issue your successor will face? HvM: Number one on the agenda are the problems in the euro zone. And a lot will depend upon how the euro group will be chaired in the future. It
seems to be an open question right now. But a decision must be taken by the end of June at the council [of European ministers in Brussels]. AG: What about the Grand Duchy’s economic future? HvM: I have always said that Luxembourg is a paradise, but even a paradise has to stay in shape. AG: What do you think is needed? HvM: I think the government is fully aware of what needs to be done to stay in shape. I can only quote Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who--after I said Luxembourg was a paradise--replied that the paradise will have to be refurbished. I think it’s a very good expression. No one can beat Juncker when it comes to turning a phrase. AG: Do you think he will remain chair of the euro group? HvM: Who am I to say? I don’t know. Juncker has said he will not continue. I don’t know whether there’s any alternative who will get a consensus. We have to see. At the end of June, we’ll know more. AG
Luxembourg has the fifth worst bathing water quality in Europe, according to an EU report issued just in time for the summer swimming season. Text: Aaron Grunwald – Graphics: Maison Moderne Studio
River and lake bathing water quality Percentage of sites receiving the EU’s best grade
70.4% EU average
77.1% 50% EU average Luxembourg
Cleanest swimming areas, including coastal waters Percentage of sites receiving the EU’s best grade
Worst water quality results overall
Percentage of non-complaint, poor, banned or closed sites
7.6% Czech Republic
While the Grand Duchy has a high num ber of swimming locales available for its geographic size, an EU survey released in May finds the sites’ water quality lacking. The scorecard covered checks of more than 22,000 swimming sites at beaches, rivers and lakes conducted last year in all 27 EU member states, plus EU can didates Croatia, Montenegro, and Switzerland. Luxembourg was one of the countries that “had remarkably low proportions of sites meeting the strict guide values.” The Grand Duchy ranked 25th out of 30, only ahead of Switzerland, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and Latvia in water quality overall. Ger many, Austria, Greece, Belgium and the
UK topped the ratings for cleanest lake and river water (see chart 1). However, the number of sites tested in other coun tries varied from six in Greece and 20 in Luxembourg, to 1,300 in France and nearly 2,000 in Germany. When coastal waters are included-which does not change the evaluation of Luxembourg--the cleanest European waters are found in Cyprus, Croatia and Malta (see chart 2). In addition to Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic fare poorly in this comparison (see chart 3). The report also noted that Luxembourg has the third highest number of inland bathing waters for its geographic size,
2.8% EU average
with nearly eight sites per thousand square kilometres. The Grand Duchy only trails the Netherlands and Switzer land on this count, and is far ahead of both EU averages and neighbours in the Greater Region. “While these results for the quality of bathing waters are good, they are not enough to meet our expectations,” Janez Potočnik, European environment com missioner, and Jacqueline McGlade, executive director of the European Environment Agency, write in their jointly issued report. “More efforts are needed to achieve the good environmental status required by the Water Framework Directive.”
June 2012 - delano - 21
Sir Winston Churchill Memorial Lecture
Lord Hurd reflects on justice and peace Photos: Charles Caratini
Following a two-year break, the annual tradition of the Sir Winston Churchill Memorial Lecture was revived on May 9. This year’s guest speaker was Lord Hurd of Westwell, who served as home secretary and foreign secretary under Margaret Thatcher and John Major. Lord Hurd chose as his subject what he called the “tension” that often exists between peace and justice in the context of international law. He argued that the current clamour to arrest the president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, may not be in the best interest of those affected by conflict in the area and also sends mixed messages. “The difficulty in speaking in different tones is that one message will be disregarded,” he said. On the other hand, Lord Hurd praised the truth and reconciliation process in South Africa and a similar approach in Northern Ireland. But, he also recognised that it was very difficult emotionally for the victims of violence to accept that many of the perpetrators would go unpunished. “It is difficult to explain the benefits of the peace process when up against human reactions.” But long lasting peace and reconciliation must be given priority over the search for justice, Lord Hurd concluded. DR
Paul Schonenberg of Amcham and Sharon March
Lord Hurd and British ambassador Alice Walpole US ambassador Robert Mandell (left) and Finnish ambassador Marja Lehto (centre)
Fiona Parsons, Chris Vigar and La Vigar
Marc Angel (left)
Swiss ambassador Philippe Guex and Nigel Fielding
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10.01.2012 9:24:39 Uhr
Another crossroad As rules and tax rates become increasingly harmonised, will Luxembourg still be competitive 10 or 20 years from now? Text: Aaron Grunwald â€” Photos: Luc Deflorenne
Fernand Grulms: you’ve heard this story before
Esch-Belval: bright minds are the future of Luxembourg’s financial centre
In a world where financial regulations and tax rates are both increasing in total number and becoming increasingly harmonised across borders--as organisations from the G20 global group of large economies to the European Commission continue to pump out volumes of new rules--how can Luxembourg’s financial sector remain competitive in the coming decades? The second annual Horizon Conference, organised by consulting firm Deloitte Luxembourg and financial data provider Thomson Reuters on June 21, explores such forward looking questions. Unlike other confabs, the focus will be more on perceptions of the financial sector “not as seen from the inside, but as seen from outside Luxembourg,” says Pierre Castagne, head of Thomson Reuters in Luxembourg. In addition to the keynote speech by Luc Frieden, the finance minister, Castagne is particularly keen to hear from Fitch Ratings’ head of European funds, Aymeric Poizot, because global credit agencies have had huge economic influence in the recent years.
Like many of his clients, Castagne’s organisation operates in dozens of global markets. Customers “don’t want to hold a different conversation in Luxembourg than what the guys in Frankfurt, London or New York are having.” He agrees that everyone has to be in sync, especially when people face the same challenges. But “when you move to that kind of operating model, you tend to forget about market specialisation, the little geographies, and that’s what I want to remind everyone.” He sums the conference up as a chance to say: “Luxembourg is small, but Luxembourg is important” to the financial world. Indeed, the way global regulations are shaping up could help make Luxembourg’s specialisations go a bit more mainstream. Case in point: coming international capital requirements that will reshape banks’ balance sheets. Currently 80 percent of financing in Europe is raised from banks and 20 percent from the capital markets, “whereas in the US it is exactly the opposite,” notes Fernand Grulms, CEO of the official promotion agency Luxembourg for Finance. But the new “capital and liquidity require-
ments are strong incentives for banking institutions to increasingly adapt a business model like they have in the US: not buy and hold, but originate and distribute. It means banks will try to get risks of their balance sheet.” If this sounds a lot like the cross-border funds industry, then you are on the same page as Grulms. He says that fund-type structures have “already pushed Luxembourg ahead ” of European competitors. “We are well positioned in this trend.” New playbook In addition, next year new European rules come into effect on “alternative funds,” which are meant for professional investors. This is a chance for Luxembourg to replicate its story in retail mutual funds, reckons Anouck Agnes, head of communications and business development at the trade association ALFI. “The industry will prove that the experience Luxembourg has in the ‘passport’ business, in cross-border distribution, will also be beneficial to alternative fund managers.” She says the cross-border “knowhow that exists, but so far has been linked to the UCITS business, will also be an
June 2012 - delano - 25
Anouck Agnes: cross-border experience is transferable
advantage” for the institutional investors that fall under Brussels’ new regime. “But obviously we need to prove that” to the market. Another crossroads is on the mind of Ruth Bültmann, a partner at Deloitte Luxembourg. At the conference she will speak about family offices, which manage financial and legal matters for wealthy families. Deloitte estimates that the Grand Duchy already has about ten percent marketshare in the segment, but “there are new needs and we need new opportunities.” In her view, Luxembourg’s track record in private banking and investment management can combine to create a new family office hub. Plus all the things that made the Grand Duchy interesting to earlier investors--such as location, language, stability and agility--are just as much of a draw for wealthier clients. Even as regulatory environments in different countries are becoming more similar, the Grand Duchy need not get too distracted, says Sébastien Danloy, Luxembourg managing director at banking giant RBC Dexia. For example, tax policies here are “not always the most attrac-
26 - delano - June 2012
tive, but stable. A country that is stable, that still has its AAA rating, that’s very important. Yes, there is more of a level playing field on a global basis, but harmonisation of a legal framework is not what will make it a level playing field when it comes to expertise.” He notes that it took more than three decades for Luxembourg to build-up its financial centre. “For anyone to catch up, it will take much longer than that. I don’t see how someone would be competitive in the next 10 to 20 years.” At the same time, Danloy is confident the country is not resting on its laurels, especially because financial services represents an outsized percentage of the country’s economy. “Right in front of me, I see the cranes building the new University of Luxembourg [campus] here in Esch-Belval. The government is creating the environment to attract and educate smart, young people in the country and make sure that we have the right resources for the industry.” Even if all the coming rules are opening doors for the Grand Duchy, the financial centre has to “remain competitive on costs,” Agnes warns. “I’m thinking of the EU in general. We need to
remain competitive as the EU compared to the rest of the world. It’s not even just the competition amongst the 27. We need to keep in mind that there are other countries that a good job, like Hong Kong or Singapore.” She stresses: “to remain competitive in the next 20 years, it’s the 27 I think about.” Friend or foe Even with a more level playing field and increased competition, the world’s financial activity and market players still have to cluster somewhere. “China is a good example,” says Grulms. “The two largest Chinese banks have set up their European headquarters here,” and earlier this year financial regulator CSSF disclosed a third major Chinese bank will set up shop in the Grand Duchy shortly. “And I can tell you there are other files pending. When it comes to attracting financial institutions from emerging countries, we have a good chance to attract them to Luxembourg. You can say Luxembourg is a tiny market,” he adds. “But they can easily set up shop in Luxembourg to expand [across Europe] and that’s what they’re actually doing.”
4 musical discoveries: «Tristan goes to India» «Celtic connections» «The four elements» «Jazz on the horizon» Django Bates Human Chain, Andy Shepard, Kuljit Bhamra, Colin Currie, Susanna Malkkï, The Luxembourg Pipe Band, Christine Brewer… Get the best seats for 4 concerts (Friday 7 PM) (season tickets starting at 72 euros). Information & Billetterie: Tel (+352) 26 32 26 32 www.philharmonie.lu, www.aventureplus.lu
Under 27 = -40%!
Django Bates Human Chain photo: Nick White
Embark on a unique musical trip through continents, time and genres. Four stops in the lands of jazz, folk, classical and contemporary music filled with outstanding sounds and artists. A thematic journey led by British multitalented pianist Joanna MacGregor.
Avalanche, not tsunami Photos: Jessica Theis
The coming “MiFID II” regulations-that update the EU’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive--will have a wide-ranging impact on both the banking and investment spaces, attendees at a conference organised by KPMG heard in May. Since the onset of the global economic crisis, many in the financial sector have repeatedly said their industry faces a “tsunami” of new regulations. However, “this is an avalanche,” says the consulting firm’s Charles Muller. “Because you can survive an avalanche if you are prepared.” One proposed provision carries the “risk of opening the Pandora’s Box of casting doubt on UCITS,” warns JeanMichel Loehr of RBC Dexia Investor Services. The rules would split investment products into “complex” and “noncomplex” categories. Today all UCITS mutual funds are essentially treated as non-complex products, acceptable for all retail investors. Loehr reckons that creating two types of UCITS would send a confusing message to savers. Robert Goebbles, one of Luxembourg’s members of the European Parliament, said he had tabled an amendment to avoid the categorisation of UCITS funds, but could not predict if it would ultimately be adapted by the body. AG
Charles Muller with Robert Goebbels
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5/6/12 11:47 AM
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It’s always a good time to learn… with the Luxembourg Lifelong Learning Center
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Start : October 1st 2012
Introduction to Office tools Spreadsheets 1 : MS-Excel for Windows Spreadsheets 2 : MS-Excel for Windows Spreadsheets 3 : MS-Excel for Windows ACCOUNTING COURSES
General accounting : current operations General accounting : year-end operations LAW COURSES
The LLLC offers numerous other courses in French and German
from June to December
Duration: 1- 2 days 9:00 -17: 00 Place : Luxembourg City
Overview of Luxembourg Company Law Individual Income Tax Value Added Tax Corporate Income Tax International Taxation
FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING
Marketing and selling financial services Introduction to the preparation of consolidated accounts
25th and 26th June 14th and 15th November
Decision making Polish your presentation skills Time management and effective planning Self-efficiency
26th and 27th September 27th September 13th and 14th November 14th November
LLLC offers a large range of seminars in French and German
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20th and 21st June 25th and 26th June 18th and 19th September
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Taking it to the next level Coaching vs. training: which is right for your business? Text: Tonya Stoneman – Photos: Olivier Minaire
The FIFA World Cup is watched by nearly one-sixth of the world’s population. Football impacts people’s lives so much that in 2006 the World Bank reported a 0.7 percent gain in economic growth for a winning country, with that nation’s stock market considerably outperforming those of the losers. The significant correlation between the sports world and commerce is not lost on corporate executives, who are taking their cues from successful team managers. During the past two decades, a new approach to training employees has taken hold. Businesses seeking to develop high-level talent and push performance to new levels are enlisting the help of professionals to do more than merely teach their staff. They want workers to innovate, strategise and pioneer--skills that require more than route adherence to procedure. Most people don’t know that there is a major difference between coaching some-
date Line May–June 2012
30 - delano - June 2012
one and training them. And that difference has a major effect on the outcome. According to Claude Cardoso of the continuing education organisation INFPC, “training is directive. A trainer or teacher-expert will try to teach someone how to do something. But coaching is nondirective. A coach is a facilitator whose aim is to enhance performance.” Monique Bernard, HR director of Banque de Luxembourg, utilises the services of both coaches and trainers. “Our bank has been very supportive of training to ensure fidelity and employability of staff,” she says. “Even through crisis periods, we have not cut training.” Her bank amassed 22,000 hours in training last year in order to stay abreast of tax regulations and rapidly changing technology. She is quick to point out that it frequently solicits the services of coaches, as well. While the act of imparting knowledge, like new taxation laws, offers employees tools that will make them success-
SLIDING Luxembourg banks may collectively earned €1.4 billion in net profits during the first quarter of 2012, down 11.5% from the same period the year before (CSSF). While profits on banking products were down 4.7%, overall profits on fees were up 4.4%.
ful in specific tasks, coaching focuses on behaviours that impact competencies. This is a completely opposite pedagogy, says Monica Jonsson, founder of CoachDynamix. “I ask people to think for themselves,” she explains. “Where are you? Where do you want to be? Coaching requires a person to internalise. When I coach, I make people aware of their potential and help them find their own strategy for tapping into it.” HOW AND WHEN Jonsson will tell you that coaching is not just for “bad performers.” In her career, she has seen it used to groom people for promotion, to help new hires fit into a company’s culture, and to develop top talent. By her own admission, the principles of her craft come from the sports world. “A business coach doesn’t shout at his team,” she says, “but the principles are the same. Coaches customise their methods to their athletes because they want to win. It’s the same
Annualised inflation rate in April (STATEC)
STAGNANT GDP growth during may the first quarter was an estimated 0.0% in the 17 nation euro area and 0.1% in the 27 EU states, up from -0.3% in both zones in the fourth quarter of 2011 (Eurostat). In Luxemburg, GDP is forecast to only rise 1.0% in 2012 (STATEC).
Monique Bernard: relationship with a trainer or coach is based on confidence Coaches: Monica Jonsson, Nastja Raabe, Brandi Karlsted; photo taken at the Sofitel Luxembourg Le Grand Ducal
thing in business. We’re extremely results oriented.” When asked how he approaches the task of training and coaching, Cordoso offers four essential steps. First, identify your needs. Which competenc y are you addressing? What is not happening or what would you like to see happen? Second, identify your team’s level of competency. Find out exactly how your team is performing and evaluate the intellectual hardware available to meet tasks. ESSENTIAL PRACTICES Then identify the gap. Once you know where you want to go, and where you are, you can figure out the distance between these two points. Finally, build the programme. “In a yearly performance review, a manager identifies the skills gaps of everyone,” says Cardoso. “For each gap, we have to clarify it pedagogically.”
INCHING UP The unemployment may rate in the rich world was 8.2% during the first quarter, the same level recorded since February 2011 (OECD). The rate was 10.8% in the euro area--up from 10.5% the previous quarter-and 5.2% in Luxembourg--up from 4.8% a year ago.
Whether a company uses a coach or a training programme depends on the information gleaned through this process. Jonsson and Nastja Raabe of CoachDynamix suggest companies or individuals creating such programmes look for four features. First, it should be strategy driven. If you continue to run the same strategy you won’t get results. You need a different strategy if you want to improve your game. Second, it should be built around personal accountability. Individuals must own their work and make a commitment to it. They must have openness and willingness or they will not get to where they want to be. Commitment can move mountains.
LOWEST At 15%, Luxembourg may has the lowest standard VAT rate in Europe, followed by 17% in Cyprus, Germany and the Netherlands (Eurostat). Hungary’s 27% and Sweden and Denmark’s 25% tax on goods and services top the scale. The EU average is 21%.
Customisation is key. One size doesn’t fit all. A line manager points out areas of potential growth or need and coaches tailor a programme to address it. Finally, continuous follow-up is needed. Humans are creatures of habit. People who work with a coach see results fast, but then they need to stay with it. CoachDynamix recommends a commitment of at least four months. Because training is a directive process where the trainer delivers a specification, evaluation can be fairly simple: is your team or individual employee better able to confront the demands of their job? When it comes to selecting a consultant, “more than ever, the personality is very important,” says Bernard. “It’s really a question of integrating the values of a
MODEST GAINS At the end of the first may quarter, the value of euro area mutual fund shares was €407 billion higher than at the end of December 2011 (ECB). The increase in value--to €6,069 billion--was driven by rising share prices, not an inflow of investor funds.
STILL SELLING The euro zone bailout may fund EFSF sold €3 billion in 3-year bonds. While the offering was one and half times oversubscribed, demand was slightly lower than in previous sales. The agency supports the financial rescue of Greece, Ireland and Portugal.
June 2012 - delano - 31
You have to be precise with the goal” Claude Cardoso: each skills gap is different
company--corresponding with us, understanding our culture and what we’re doing. Very often, for the tailor-made solutions, real partnerships develop that go over a long time. And that relationship is based on confidence.” In order to ensure this dynamic, Banque de Luxembourg allows employees to meet several coaches before choosing one with whom they will work. Cordoso uses an enhanced evaluation process four months after each coaching or training series. “In both cases, you have to be precise with the goal,” he says. “You have to try to set indicators. It’s not always easy, but this way, your review will show how the training affects your daily work.” Executive coach-
Joint INFPC-CRP Henri Tudor seminar on continuing education held at the Abbaye de Neumünster in May
RBC HIT RBC, Canada’s largest may bank, announced a C$202 million net loss after buying out half of Esch-based RBC Dexia from its ex-joint venture partner in April. Without the deal, RBC’s international banking division would have posted a C$6 million profit.
32 - delano - June 2012
PRICELESS The EU General Court may upheld Brussels’ banning of minimum fees charged by MasterCard on cross-border purchases. The court agreed the price floor was anti-competitive. MasterCard said it would appeal to Europe’s top court, also based in Luxembourg.
ing is currently an unregulated field, so accreditation is important. Luxembourg has an active chapter of the International Coaching Federation. Their members are certified and meet exacting standards for excellence and professionalism. Coaching is trendy in the current business climate, and training programmes proliferate the web and corporate community. Whether experts in the field work as trainers or coaches, they agree on one thing: the field is diverse and no single solution will address every issue. There is no substitute for a tailor-made regimen coupled with hard work.
MASTER PLAN Euro zone leaders injun cluding Jean-Claude Juncker are working on a “master plan” to integrate budget policy and create a “political union” in the EU, German newspaper Welt am Sonntag said. The plan will be presented to EU ministers at the end of June.
Luxembourg’s global competitiveness ranking (IMD)
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6/5/12 10:04 AM
Mobile payments opportunities
Changes to regulations governing electronic money institutions and payment institutions means new entities are entering the market. Text: Duncan Roberts — Photo: Luc Deflorenne
The final of the four ‘APSI days’ for 2012 sees the association for the information society join forces with Amcham (specifically its IT committee) for the first time. “We want to have more coordination between the different associations that organise events like this. Both of us had the subject of mobile payments on our agenda,” says APSI vice-president and PwC partner Philippe Pierre. The September 27 conference will look at changes in regulations for mobile payments and the opportunities in the emerging market. Presentations will be made by Marc Hemmerling, the ABBL’s head of organisation, technology and payment systems, and Nadia Manzari, the CSSF’s deputy head of the general supervision department. Hemmerling will provide an overview of the challenges, trends and opportunities for mobile payment, Manzari will explain the authorisation procedures and conditions for payments and e-money institutions. The transposition of a European directive in May 2011 has opened up the mobile payments market to smaller companies. For instance, the capital requirements to set up an e-money institution have been reduced from one million to 350,000 euro, explains Emmanuelle Caruel-Henniaux, partner at PwC. “The law is only one year old, but the CSSF has told us, without wanting to quote precise figures, that there are already a couple of dozen applicants to create new entities.” The regulatory process to
34 - delano - June 2012
Emmanuelle Caruel-Henniaux and Philippe Pierre: dozens of companies are seeking to enter mobile payment market
obtain a licence is made all the easier by a special template questionnaire the CSSF has created especially for mobile payment and e-money entities--the first of its kind produced by the Luxembourg regulator. “It is clear form a business perspective that the landscape is changing dramatically, and will continue to change over the next five years,” says Pierre. “So the payment industry needs to respond to that, or maybe even drive innovative solutions to facilitate solutions.” The conference will address these challenges via a panel discussion moderated by PwC partner Gilles Vanderweyen and featuring Manzari, Alexandre Rocheguide of Mobey and Jonathan Prince of Digicash.
“Luxembourg is very attractive because it is the first country to transpose the EU directive. Companies from Israel and South Africa have shown interest in setting up entities here, because they then receive the European passport for their products,” says Caruel-Henniaux. This underlines the government’s continued efforts to make Luxembourg a centre for e-commerce. “It is good for the visibility of Luxembourg,” says Pierre. Recent investment in ICT infrastructure--improved connectivity and data centres--has also helped make Luxembourg more attractive. “All the ingredients are coming together at the same time.” www.apsi.lu; www.amcham.lu
Twenty candles for the BCC Photos: Steve Eastwood (archives) 2011: Claus Cramon Houmann and Gill Arcone on the greens during Golf Day
The British Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg celebrates its 20 th anniversary on June 27 during a summer fête--for its nearly 300 company and individual members--at the British ambassador’s residence. To mark the occasion, Delano takes a look back at the history and diversity of some of the chamber’s events. AG
David Laurent/Wide (archives)
2004: BCC members visit Cargolux facilities at Findel airport with then British ambassador James Clark
2011: Members ready to take the course in Colmar-Berg during the annual Drivers Day
2010: Ben Lyon, Thomas Flammant, Francoise Reuter and Daniel Eischen at a sustaining member’s cocktail
2004: The British Chamber opens its office at the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce building
2007: Current chair Robert Deed admires a singer from Opera à la carte, who is presenting a flower to James Clark during the chamber’s 15th anniversary in Mondorf
Olivier Minaire (archives)
2005: Former honorary chair Edmond Israel (right) during the annual Christmas dinner
2012: Luxembourg finance minister Luc Frieden and British ambassador Alice Walpole at a BCC monthly luncheon
2008: Joanna Asbury, Katrin Hoogewijs, Soo Popenda and Carole Miltgen during the first members’ trade fair
June 2012 - delano - 35
se s xit loes17, e r G l a olls on Jun ot e n t i
P ep heads to th As Greece the losses following ro of estimates reek exit from the eu nt. lG u a o ti m n te to o e p u a tin rexit,” con zone, a “G at stake? • AG is How much
re e k re to Gbt u s o p x E ig n de sovere
A Luxembourg corporate trust firm swallows a big competitor in the Netherlands.
on c59.6 billi c56 billion on c4 3.7 billi c22 billion
on c19.8 billi
c4.5 billion on c30.7 billi 10
n German state n European Central Bank n French state n French banks
n IMF n German banks Other banks in n the euro zone
ate to p r i v e r u s o E xp ebt G re e k d on c29.4 billi c6.4 billion c4.7 billion on c14.3 billi 10
n French banks n UK banks
n German banks Other international n banks
e r e to t h E xp o s u n t r a l b a n k e G re e k c on c77.1 billi on c30.2 billi on c22.7 billi 0
French central bank n Other 15 euro zone n German central central banks n bank
Sources: Berenberg Bank, Bank of International Settlements, Eurogroup, JP Morgan, The Economist, and the Université Catholique de Lille’s IESEG School of Management.
36 - delano - June 2012
Carlo Schlesser and Serge Krancenblum: adding to the firm’s global flavour
Acquisitions involving Luxembourg companies stereotypically involve a foreign player announcing its new subsidiary in the Grand Duchy. But one recent deal has gone the other way: SGG, one of the Luxembourg’s major corporate and fund administration services providers, bought out Dutch counterpart ANT earlier this year. While 118-year old ANT had seen many suitors come and go, none were able to convince the 200 shareholders--members of the founding Amsterdam and Rotterdam families--to sell their stakes, until SGG came calling. Being a firm from the Grand Duchy was a definite advantage in convincing the families, says CEO Serge Krancenblum. “They were convinced they had to team up with a Luxembourg firm because their clients, and our clients, both have needs on both sides of the border.” The deal expands SGG’s global reach rather than its line-up of services, he explains. Both corporate trust firms have long focused on supporting private equity
and real estate funds, multinationals and high net worth families. While SGG started a small Dutch branch in 2006 and acquired boutique provider IMFC in 2011, the addition of ANT means the group now has 230 staff in the Netherlands, almost as many as its 250 in Luxembourg. In addition, “they have strong operations in Hong Kong and Shanghai, and also in the Caribbean and we were not there,” Krancenblum notes. Moreover, SGG is integrating ANT executives into its global management team. For example, the head of ANT’s Rotterdam office, André Nagelmaker, is now SGG’s international business development chief, and former ANT director Adrie Beerepoot is now group CFO. But Krancenblum says SGG has no appetite to devour another firm in the near term. “If we are going to invest in another market, we want to be able to service the same kind of clients” that the firm has today. So “we won’t start offices and put a flag everywhere” if it means a chain AG of branches “with just two people.”
Think local: Zheni Zhekova
“ Look for the small pieces”
Nine month resident in Luxembourg Zheni Zhekova gives her insight into living and studying in the Grand Duchy.
Zheni Zhekova: the opportunities are there
Interview: Aaron Grunwald — Photo: Olivier Minaire
After finishing high school in her native Sofia, Zheni Zhekova studied political science in The Hague and Ottawa before starting a master of law programme in Maastricht. She moved to the University of Luxembourg last autumn for her second year of legal studies. She hopes to stay in the Grand Duchy to pursue a doctorate of law, and ultimately serve in a European institution. In April, Zhekova received first prize as the “best European Commission representative” in the European regional final of the European Law Moot Court Competition held at the European Court of Justice in Kirchberg.
Everyone says this, and it’s a little bit of a cliché, but ‘everybody knows everybody and you don’t have a chance.’ Well, then get to know people yourself! If you come in an environment where people have roots and families and they know each other, then you’re going to have to have something extra special to attract attention in that small environment. So it is different. I think it is small and it doesn’t look like it moves very intensely, but it moves quietly. AG: Is it vital to speak French here? ZZ: French is important here, but I would not say that you cannot survive without it. AG: What about off-campus? ZZ: You have to speak a little bit of French. AG: Why are you reluctant to find friends from your native country? ZZ: Of course I have several acquaintances from Bulgaria. There is a danger in affiliating with people from your home country. It’s comfortable. Comfortable is not necessarily productive; for personal growth, for fulfilling each other’s needs, for moving forward. You somehow cling to something that is no longer. You are no longer in your home country. You are who you are. Of course you can have friends, but why are you friends? Is it because you speak the same language? Is it because you went to the same high school? Is it
AG: How intense was the moot court competition? ZZ: I think it shorted my life by a year! About 80 universities from all over Europe, the States, Canada and China submitted written works. Only 48 got ranked. Then there’s four regionals. Our team was in the top four of our region, but then we came in second. It was that close. AG: How is Luxembourg different than the three other capital cities you’ve lived in? ZZ: In a big city, everybody wants to be seen. There’s a lot of exposure and you want to show that you’ve arrived as a business person, as a legal person, as a politician. And here, everybody’s someone.
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because you can keep up with the current politics? AG: What do you think about Luxembourgers? ZZ: This is probably very, very wrong, and this is a very superficial observation: I’m not sure if Luxembourgish people are so international. I think this is a place where needs can be sufficed, so you don’t really go out on a limb and go to different countries for opportunities. This is a very opportune place. I would imagine that’s why integrating, making friends with Luxembourgish people is very difficult. I’m not saying it’s a closed society. It [makes Luxembourg] even that much more beautiful. AG: What is your advice for newcomers? ZZ: You have to see that it’s a very small place and you have to put together your own puzzle out of it. If you’re looking to be entertained, it’s not a big city. A big city is like stepping on an escalator, the ground moves underneath you. This is more like a Rubik’s Cube. If you’re looking to be entertained or for opportunities to network with people, you have to look for the small pieces and arrange it for yourself. I can’t imagine you need this negativity that’s it’s not offering enough. You are not calculative enough to get what it has to offer.
EAQUALS (the European Association for Quality Language Services) est le seul standard de qualité largement reconnu au niveau européen dans le domaine de l’enseignement des langues.
61, rue de Strasbourg L-2561 Luxembourg T. +352 40 39 910 email@example.com
The events planner
ON THE HORIZON
Delano presents a guide to the next few months of business, social and informational events for Luxembourg’s international community. Events are listed by organiser. Advance registration or fees may be required, so consult the website indicated for full details. All events are held in English unless otherwise noted.
Part of the “leading edge” series, this conference examines the potential impact of the EU’s AIFMD regulatory regime on hedge funds.
RBC Dexia building, Esch-Alzette, all day event
Daniel Tesch, director of the Automobile Club of Luxembourg, talks about the public debate and lobbying effort behind the planned new taxi service “YellowCab by ACL.”
Organised with US partner NICSA and sep sep Hong Kong partner HKIFA, the conference tackles Asian markets, UCITS V and the AIFMD, among other investment management topics.
Conference Centre, Luxembourg-Kirchberg, all day event
DoubleTree by Hilton, LuxembourgDommeldange, 12:00-14:00
The chamber’s annual charity golf tournament is followed by cocktails and an evening prizegiving dinner. There will also be a beginner’s clinic in the afternoon.
Golf Club de Luxembourg, Junglinster, starting at 10:00
FEMALE CHIEFS www.ffcel.lu
Friendship, fun and networking, a great tombola, with a BBQ dinner, jun drinks, and music entertainment provided by “Come Back 60s”.
Kikuoka Golf Club, Canach, 18:30
British Chamber www.bcc.lu
You don’t have to be Canadian to join this national day celebration. Bring something to BBQ, as a free grill will be available on the terrace.
Marx Bar, Luxembourg-Hollerich, 14:00 through the evening
The group’s monthly speed networking event. A free welcome drink is included with admission (a beer or soft drink for all, or a glass of crémant for ladies only).
Trombar, Rives de Clausen, 19:00-23:59
THE NETWORK www.the-network.lu
Sylvain Cottong presents the new software and organisational techniques available to help improve customer relationship management via social media.
Abbaye de Neumünster, Luxembourg-Grund, 8:30-13:00
The club wraps up its fourth season of roundtables, speeches, expositions, workshops and tastings with a fun, informal networking cocktail.
Venue to be announced, 18:00-23:00
Dominique de Kuysche talks about managing “personalities” in the workplace during the group’s monthly luncheon conference. In French.
Restaurant Namur, Luxembourg-Hamm, 12:00-14:00
INDIAN CHAMBER www.ibcl.lu
Seminar on how India--with its growing pharmaceutical sectorjun -and Luxembourg--with its emerging pharmaceutical logistics niche--can develop in tandem.
JUl aug The professional women’s networking group hosts two casual after work events. If you’re in town, why not make some new connections? Frenchie’s, Luxembourg-city centre, 18:30
Louise Bang Jespersen, Denmark’s ambassador to Luxembourg, talks to the financial ethics club about the Danish presidency of the EU, which ends in July.
Cercle Munster, Luxembourng-Grund, 11:30
CRP Henri Tudor, Luxembourg-Kirchberg, 18:00
Claude Meisch, president of the Democratic Party and head of its parliamentary group, talks about the sovereign debt crisis.
Hotel Meliá, Luxembourg-Kirchberg, 12:00-14:00
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We invite you to submit an event by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
80 years Automobile Club of Luxembourg Exclusive trip to China for ACL-members 10-day trip Beijing – Xi’an – Shanghai October 2012 - February 2013 Experience the chinese culture and explore the most impressive cultural highlights. Travel together with the ACL, accompanied by china-experienced guides as well as ACL-staff. For detailed information about the trip and the Automobile Club of Luxembourg, please visit: www.acl.lu
as of 1.469,00 euros
17 JULY 2012 Parvis de l’Abbaye de Neumünster Concert
Send an email mentioning “den Atelier/BON IVER” to email@example.com Deadline for entries is 6 JULY 2012 Winners will be notified by email
Win rt ce o c nk e t s ! c i t
Delano_0612_Atelier.indd 041_ACLATELIER.indd 1 1
31/5/12 5/6/12 11:03 4:40 AM PM
“Luxembourg... is run by boxing people” The head of the PBPA explains why he has facilitated one of the most controversial boxing matches in years under the auspices of the Luxembourg Boxing Federation. Text: Duncan Roberts — Photos: Jelle Van Seghbroeck
Thorns in the side of the BBB of C: Toni Tiberi, Bruce Baker and Pierre Back
It is a tale of violence, political intrigue, international negotiation, legal threats and, of course, money. It could end with the career of one of two sportsmen in ruins, yet could be the first step on a road to redemption for the other. The boxing match between Dereck Chisora and David Haye on July 14 at the home of West Ham United has caused a stir far beyond the boxing community, and Luxembourg is right at the centre of the action. Neither of the fighters currently holds a British Boxing Board of Control (BBB of C) licence. Haye relinquished his when he retired in the autumn of 2011, while Chisora had his revoked after a brawl with Haye in Munich at a postmatch press conference after Chisora lost a fight to Vitali Klitschko. So both fighters will be licensed by the Fédération Luxembougeoise de Boxe (FLB), a move that has delighted many--including some 30,000 fight fans who have already bought tickets--and enraged others.
The media spotlight surrounding the fight falls quite naturally on the two combatants, whose antagonism at the press conference announcing the match bristled with the threat of violence; the uncontrolled sort that was seen in Munich. Chisora’s manager, the irrepressible boxing promoter Frank Warren, has also been the subject of media interest. But amid all the brouhaha and preening, self-promotion and mud-slinging, one man who has been instrumental in facilitating the match, Bruce Baker, has been calmly putting across his point of view. Baker is the chairman of the Professional Boxing Promoters Association (PBPA), which counts as its members around 20 promoters licensed by the BBB of C. Disenchantment “For some years now we have been concerned at the dictatorial way the board runs boxing in the UK,” explains Baker. This disenchantment culminated last year with licence holders protesting at
the BBB of C’s annual general meeting. Even though it agreed to a meeting with a delegation of those licence holders, the BBB of C decided not act on their grievances. “Unlike the Luxembourg Federation which is a democratic organisation, the BBB of C is a self appointed body with the directors appointing themselves and the area council officers, who are the only people who can vote at the AGM,” Baker says. “Therefore you have a ridiculous situation where the licence holders who are the shareholders have no vote and have no voice in how the company is run. It became obvious to us that the board would continue to operate boxing without the consent of the licence holders and that if we wanted to effect change we would have to look for an alternative.” That alternative presented itself in the form of the FLB. As Baker explains, “professional boxing is a village” and although the PBPA had considered negotiating with other federations to stage matches in the UK, it soon became
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Top billing: a promotional poster for the big fight
clear that Luxembourg was the premier choice. “Luxembourg attracted us because it is run by boxing people for the benefit of the clubs and boxers it represents. We knew that it was already sanctioning promotions outside of Luxembourg, so it was therefore well placed to work with us in the UK.” Indeed, as Pierre Back, president of the Luxembourg federation, explains, the FLB has worked with the German Boxing Association, a breakaway from the Bund Deutscher Berufsboxer, and has staged matches across the border. “We are keen to open our doors to anyone involved in boxing--managers, promoters, fighters--who are not content with the federation in their own country,” says Back. And, as Baker points out, Back and the FLB general secretary, Toni Tiberi, are both boxing men. Back is a former Luxembourg lightweight champion (1955-56) who has also written a definitive history of boxing in Luxembourg. Tiberi is a referee and judge who has adjudicated at international bouts in Belgium, Germany and France. Furthermore, the FLB has existed for 90 years, seven years
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longer than the BBB of C, which was founded in 1929. Five-year deal Formal discussions between the PBPA and the Luxembourg federation were started in February. On March 12 the PBPA was appointed as the UK representative for the FLB--long before the idea of a Haye versus Chisora match was being seriously mooted. It is a deal that will last for five years, and other shows will be announced in the future. “The deal with Frank Warren came after the agreement and not because of it,” Baker explains. Warren’s general manager attended a PBPA meeting and asked Baker if they would be interested in being involved with a possible Haye v. Chisora showdown. “We considered the matter and sent the proposal to Luxembourg, who, after reviewing all the evidence, agreed that we could sanction the show and license both boxers.” Pierre Back concurs, saying that the idea of the match had the full agreement of the FLB board save for the dissenting voice of Raymond Goy. A boxing manager, Goy resigned from the board in pro-
test, and also stepped down from his position as president of the Dudelange boxing club. “Nobody is shedding tears over that decision,” says Back. Perhaps slightly more serious is the position of the minister of sport, Romain Schneider, who has also voiced his disapproval of the FLB licensing the match. In a letter to Back, Schneider said that the federation’s decision threatened to shed poor light on Luxembourg sport in general. The minister also “suspended” the FLB’s advance subsidy of 2,458 euro for 2012. Back says the letter from Schneider is ridiculous, and that it says “ in order to have an agreement with the ministry, the federation has to meet a number of requirements that are not specifically enumerated.” But Back is not worried, as he has lined up a deal with a sponsor for a significantly higher sum--a sponsor who, in Back’s words, “was not happy with the minister’s reaction and found it shameful.” At a meeting in Liege over the first weekend of June the European Boxing Union (EBU) board voted to suspend the Luxembourg federation, and then
Courtesy Pierre Back
Rich history: a boxing match at the home of Racing-Club in 1918, four years before the FLB was founded
to exclude it if it went ahead with the licensing of the match on July 14. Both Frank Warren and Sauerland Event, a German company promoting three fights on the undercard at Upton Park-including one WBA International Championship contest--said they would go ahead with the show “regardless of the recent decision of the EBU regarding the Fédération Luxembourgeoise de Boxe.” Warren’s representatives said that even if Luxembourg were to pull out of licensing the match, there were five other federations interested in doing so. A meeting of the FLB two days later voted by 226 to 14 in favour of going ahead with the fight. Pierre Back said after that meeting that the FLB was “ keeping its word” on the fight. He said he was deeply disappointed by the EBU decision, especially as the FLB was a founding member of the group, and wondered if it was not time for an alternative European association to be set up to rival the EBU. While Haye, Chisora, Warren and Haye’s manager, Adam Booth, will undoubtedly make lots of money from the bout on July 14, Back says that the
FLB has not yet struck a deal regarding finances. “What we get is the money for issuing the licences. We looked at what they would pay in the UK and agreed on a fair price compared to what we usually charge. Nothing else has been decided. I said it was a matter of prestige, because never has so much been talked about boxing in Luxembourg--nobody wanted to know before.” Everbody’s talking Indeed, Luxembourg is on everyone’s lips when they talk about the big fight. “The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg makes an unlikely invading force, but their tanks are on the lawn of the British Boxing Board of Control,” writes chief sports writer Paul Hayward in The Telegraph. The fight has sparked heated debate among sports journalists, fight fans and professionals involved with the sport. Some are full of praise for Luxembourg for taking a stand against what they see as the hypocritical authority of the British Boxing Board of Control. After all, they argue, numerous other boxers have done worse than Chisora and still been allowed to
fight. Indeed, The Telegraph columnist Matthew Norman says boxing is a “sport historically populated by mobsters, drug addicts, rapists, killers and assorted villains” and that a minor brawl at a press conference would hardly be regarded as bringing the sport into disrepute. Kevin Mitchell, the tennis and boxing correspondent for The Guardian and Observer says that “British boxing stands on the brink of a damaging civil war” after the the BBB of C threatened to strip any of its licence holders involved in any way with the fight. “The implications are wide-ranging because the term licence-holder refers to everyone from promoters, managers, boxers and trainers through to officials, including referees, judges and timekeepers,” writes Mitchell. This does not faze Baker, who says the threat is “ just that.” He says that the BBB of C must comply with EU laws governing the free movement of goods and services. “We have taken legal advice on behalf of ourselves, our members and the Luxembourg Federation and we can tell you that should the Board of Control implement these threats, they will be met
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Pierre Back: never has so much been talked about boxing in Luxembourg
with a legal challenge. I would like to go on record and say that it is reprehensible that a governing body should threaten its members in such a dictatorial manner when they are just carrying out their normal course of business.”
sanctioning body for the Klitchkos, who have a fight coming up in Switzerland sanctioned by the German Federation. The BBB of C are using the Haye v. Chisora fight as a smoke screen to cloud the real issue, which is trying to prevent Luxembourg from sanctioning promotions in Open door the UK.” Baker explains that the BBB of C’s Baker clearly believes that the PBPA decision to withdraw Chisora’s license deal with the FLB is the first step to but not to ban him from the sport left revolutionising boxing in Britain by the door open for the fight to happen. providing competition. And his conThey told Chisora that he could either science is clear that the PBPA has appeal the decision or apply for a new acted above-board. Indeed, even as license. “Or, and this is the pertinent part, the deal with the FLB was being brohe could apply for a license with another kered, Baker told Robert Smith, the governing body. At that point the Boxing general secretary of the BBB of C, Board of Control had dealt with the mat- how it was going to work and the reater and as far as they were concerned that sons behind the cooperation with Luxwas the end of it. The German Federation embourg. and the WBC are both holding between “When I was a young man Radio Luxthem $100,000 of Chisora’s purse. They embourg broadcast pop music to the UK have found him guilty without a hearing. and was the front runner in changing This is no sort of justice.” broadcasting in the UK. I feel that the Baker says that the outrage concerning Luxembourg Federation with the support the Haye v. Chisora fight is mainly from of the Luxembourg people will help to interested parties. “The German Feder- modernise the Boxing Board of Control in ation holds Chisora’s money and is also the the UK.”
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Fédération Luxembourgeoise de Boxe
Founded: 1922 Member of: European Amateur Boxing Association (AEBA), European Boxing Union (EBU) World Boxing Council (WBC) Number of affiliated clubs: 7 Number of licensed boxers: 43 Number of pro boxers: 4 (the others are Kevin Haas and Urum Sylaj) www.boxe.lu
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British Sports Car Owner’s Club
No Sunday drivers Luxembourg has only one all-British sports car club that spans everything from Mini to Lotus, and from both classic to more modern models. “I’ve been passionate about cars from six years old on,” enthuses Jean Hansen, who has been president of the British Sports Car Owner’s Club for nearly 25 years. “When I was 18, there were no contemporary cabriolets on the market,” he recalls. “So I decided to search for an old one and found a 1964 Spitfire that I had to restore. I restored it over a year and I still have it now. Of course, that led to other cars.” Indeed, today Hansen also has a 1954 Jaguar MK II, which is “good for cruising,” a 1966 MGB coupe, and his main rally car, a 1970 Triumph 2000. In addition, he has several other British cars that he is in the process of refurbishing, and admits to driving a BMW as well. But it was while he was in the midst of fixing up that Spitfire that someone mentioned the then-newly formed British sports car club to him, which he joined in 1978. These days the BSCOC has about 150 active members, with Aston Martin, Austin Healy, Bentley, Jaguar, MG and Triumph the most common badges represented. The first Friday night of the month, the group meets in a Contern restaurant. “We talk, eat and drink.” Naturally much of the conversation centres on helping
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For 35 years the group has been helping Anglophile auto aficionados connect over everything from transmissions to tailfins.
Jean Hansen: getting there is more than half the fun
British Sports Car Owner’s Club Conservatoire National de Véhicules Historiques 20 rue de Stavelot L-9280 Diekirch Tel.: +352 23 67 71 32 firstname.lastname@example.org www.bscoc.org
Jean Hansen (president) Marc Weyer (vice president) Thierry Hilger (secretary) Bob Feyereisen (assistant secretary) Claude Betzen (treasurer) Claude Feyereisen (assistant treasurer) Luc Lamberty (board member)
It’s a passion
each other with restoration projects. “If someone has problems finding spares, we give him addresses and supply technical help.” The last Friday evening of the month members take a spin together, departing from the American cemetery in Hamm. In addition, the club organises about half a dozen special excursions each year, including two or three overnight trips in the Grand Duchy and abroad. Last year one notable expedition was a weekend ramble along the historic Reims race circuit that criss-crosses Champagne. Three big activities are planned for this coming summer and autumn’s driving weather. The pinnacle event will be the 36th British Sports Car Days, which will be held the weekend of June 16-17 in Bourscheid, along the Sûre river. Along with Luxembourg residents, car owners from Belgium and Germany are expected to participate. In July, the club will take part in the Luxembourg Oldtimer Federation’s summer tour in Echternach, which is a fundraiser for Télévie, the Grand Duchy’s largest charity appeal.
Then the annual autumn night rally takes place in October (at press time, the destination had not yet been announced). Hansen says that when the club hits the road, members normally get a positive response from folks they meet along the way. Although occasionally someone complains about their “old stinking cars,” he says with a laugh. While the club is mostly made up of Luxembourgers, it has a few international members and those originally from abroad are most welcome, stresses Hansen. In fact, former board members have hailed from the Netherlands and South Africa. “Our club is a friendly club,” Hansen underscores. “There are many members who are also friends in private.” He also prefers the group’s all-British, open minded approach. “When you have a club for one make, you have people who are very concentrated on this special car and then other cars are no good. We have all cars. So if someone comes with a Spitfire or with an Aston Martin, for us it’s AG the same guy.”
Austin Healey Club Luxembourg Tel.: 33 80 82
Lotus Club Luxembourg www.lotusclub.lu John O’Neill, Tom Embleton, Adrian Pingstone, Writegeist, Hunttriumph1500 (all Creative Commons)
There are dozens of motoring clubs in the Grand Duchy dedicated to specific makes and models. Here is a sampling of just a few.
MG Car Club Luxembourg www.mgcarclub.lu
Mighty Mini Frënn www.miniclub.lu
Spitfire Club Luxembourg Tel.: 54 89 75
Founded: 1977 Number of British makes represented: 110 Oldest active car: 1930 Bentley 4½ Blower
Roundtable The club sits down the first Friday of the month to cover all things British cars. Non-members welcome. Conterstuff, Contern, 8 p.m.
After work run Members hit the road the last Friday of the month. Contact the club in advance for details. US Cemetery, Luxembourg-Hamm, 6.30 p.m.
Links to groups with both a British and a non-British focus can be found on the website of the LOF, Luxembourg’s classic car club federation. www.lof.lu
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lifestyle going native
The biggest celebrations of the year are held on the eve of National Day as Luxembourg parties till dawn in honour of the Grand Duke’s official birthday. Tens of thousands of people flock to the capital city to watch a torch-light parade, a truly impressive fireworks display and to party until dawn. On National Day itself, a mass in the cathedral is followed by a military parade on avenue de la Liberté as well as a family party in the Pétrusse. June 22 (eve) and June 23, Luxembourg
Julien Becker (archives)
Luc Deflorenne (archives)
Charles Caratini (archives)
Three summer events
No event in Luxembourg attracts more visitors than the annual funfair on the Glacis. Originally a shepherd’s market, it is now a family day out, with parents guarding their wallets as kids go crazy for rides, games and all sorts of colourful sugary treats. For others it is a chance to meet in a group for a few drinks and then face tests of courage in front of friends who dare each other to go on the most hair-raising rides. And, it is also a place to try out local foods such as Gebackener (baked or fried) fish and chips and the ubiquitous Gromperekichelcher (friend potato cakes)
As summer draws to a close, the annual street sales in the city provide a chance of bargain hunters to shop till they drop. First launched in 1929, the street sales take place on the first Monday in September and coincide with the Schueberfouer funfair. Retailers set up stands on the sidewalks and food and drinks stalls as well as entertainment are also laid on. Be warned, the early bargain hunters are already shopping when the sales open at 8 a.m. and getting around the city, for those who have to work, is also trickier than usual. September 3, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. www.cityshopping.lu
August 23 to September 11, Glacis, www.fouer.lu
“ my home; a place of compromise and disagreement, conformity and difference, submission and resistance, ignorance and cultivation, a place where you could be lucky and happy and not even know it.” Laurent Kreintz: director of the Luxembourg City Youth Hostel
A regular list of local associations. Submit a text for inclusion by sending a mail to:
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InterNations Luxembourg is an expatriate community for people living and working in the Grand Duchy as well as all “global minds”.
The Scottish Association of Luxembourg promotes “all things Scottish” and raise money for worthy causes. Open to all nationalities. www.albaluxembourg.lu
going native lifestyle
People in the news
THE CRUCIAL THREE
RadioShack Nissan Trek
The Knowledge How to... Check your car for summer holidays
While the focus in Luxembourg of casual cycling fans falls quite naturally on the Schleck brothers ahead of this year’s Tour de France, a youngster rising through the ranks has caught the attention of those with a real passion for the sport. Bob Jungels is not yet 20, yet his results this year have been outstanding. In early May he won the Flèche du Sud, a race around the south of Luxembourg with a history dating back to 1949. That followed overall victory in the Le Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux over three days at the beginning of April (and he also won the best rush and best points classifications) and two second places in France and Italy. And then, in early June, Jungels won the best young rider title over the tough cobbles of the traditional one-day Paris–Roubaix road race. All pointing to a future packed with as much promise as that enjoyed by the more illustrious team-mates at RadioShack Nissan Trek. www.leopardtrek.lu
More and more people use their private car as a means of travel for their summer holidays. The Automobile Club offers drivers a full range of tests before setting out on a long journey: 1 You want to make sure your car is in good condition before setting out to drive to the south of France or somewhere of similar distance? 2 You don’t want to pay the service charges at your local dealership 3 Contact the Automobile Club Luxembourg’s Diagnostic Center 4 Tell them you want to put your car through a Test Vacances--this involves checking oil levels and tyre pressure among other things 5 Book an appointment. The test costs just 30 euro for members and 36 euro for non-members 6 Take your car to the Diagnostic Center in Bertrange and you and your passengers will feel that little bit safer on your holidays.
The 58-year doctor and ADR member of the Chamber of Deputies may well have to appear in court for prescribing cannabis to some of his patients. Colombera has been a strident lobbyist for a relaxation of the laws governing the use of cannabis, and says it can be used for medical treatments of depression or insomnia. But the law states that even when prescribed by a doctor, cannabis can only be taken for a maximum of seven days and must be obtained from a registered Luxembourg pharmacy.
The Luxembourg director sees her first feature film, Schatzritter an d’Geheimnis vun Melusina, released early in July. The children’s adventure film tells the story of four kids who become embroiled in a search for a secret while on summer camp. The film has been eagerly anticipated ever since Luxembourg producers, Lucil Film, launched a search for the four young leads some 18 months ago. Meanwhile, Laura is working on her second feature, Desperate Kingdom of Love, about the strained relationships between three generations of females from the same family.
Friskis & Svettis
Indian Business Chamber
Offers fun and accessible high quality workouts, with qualified instructors, for everybody. Outdoor sessions are held each summer.
The Telstar International Scout Group provides an exciting programme of activities for young people from 6-18 years of age.
Promotes the development of trade, economic, financial, educational, legal, scientific and cultural relations.
June 2012 - delano - 51
Dan Castiglia/Creative Commons
The national tourism office’s Luxembourg Pass features free entry into 55 tourist sites, including most of the country’s major museums, the Bock Casemates (photo), and swimming centres, along with free unlimited use of trains and buses nationwide. The card also gets you reduced prices on some summer performance tickets (such as at the Grand Théâtre) and the capital’s popular hop on-hop off bus. The price runs from 11 for a single one-day pass to 54 for a three-day pass good for five people.
There are more than 500 km of dedicated bike paths in Luxembourg, covering all levels of difficulty and all the types of terrain found in the Grand Duchy. www.biking-tours.lu
More than 60 hotels, B&Bs, hostels and campgrounds have been certified as “bike friendly” for cyclists touring the country.
In French & German www.bedandbike.lu
Olivier Minaire (archives)
DÉjeuner sur l’herbe at the Villa Discounts (II)
Leisure cards These free passes get you discounts on activities across the Greater Region. Order Escapades in Wallonia vouchers online: www.belgium-tourism.net In addition to its published guide, which includes the Pompidou Centre-Metz (photo), the Pass Lorraine offers “flash promos” on Facebook: www.facebook.com/passlorraine
Rheinland-Pfalz and Saarland have a handy joint FreizeitCard:
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Picnics are great fun in an idyllic setting, and they don’t come much more idyllic in the city centre than the garden of the Villa Vauban. The fine art museum is hosting picnic lunches every day, except Tuesdays and Sundays, throughout the summer. Food can be ordered online up to 10 a.m. on the day itself (so diners can check whether the weather is suitable) and a blanket is also provided. What’s more, picnickers get free entrance to the museum,
which is well worth checking out of only for the current exhibition featuring a restored Breughel masterpiece. And those who cannot find the time for a picnic during lunch break can still enjoy the experience on Fridays after work from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The food is prepared by Altrimenti in Limperstberg (www.altrimenti.lu) and includes Italian anti-pasti, salads, focaccia and ciabbata sandwiches as well as desserts. www.villavauban.lu
Much of the Greater Region was ori ginally founded by the Romans. The Roman Road--which goes through Luxembourg, Saarland, Rheinland-Pfalz and Lorraine--brings the era’s history to life. The trail links together more than 120 locales, from the original Moselle wineries in Remerschen and Roman villas in Echternach and Perl, to the baths and bathing museum in Zülpich and the UNESCO listed sites in Trier. Several Roman festivals, some featuring gladiator games, take place through the first weekend of September (photo). www.visitsaarland.co.uk/en/roman-road
Medienfabrik Trier/Creative Commons
Etienne Delorme (archives)
Take a dip
Taste local wine A summer’s day on a terrace is the best time to enjoy the crisp, fruity white wines made by vintners along the Moselle. The vineyards offer up some splendid views when walking, and after a hike several caves have restaurants or terraces at which visitors can enjoy a glass and watch the river glide by. Vinsmoselle offers wine tours for groups and also has a restaurant, An der Tourelle, in Stadbredimus. Bernard Massard in Grevenmacher also offers guided tours and has a tasting terrace open in the summer, and the Caves St Martin’s garden “pavilion” is also worth a visit. www.vinsmoselle.lu; www.bernard-massard.lu; www.cavesstmartin.lu
Although some of Luxembourg’s inland bathing areas failed to score the top marks in a recent survey, there is still fun to be had at the two main lakeside areas almost at opposite ends of the country. The manmade Upper Sûre reservoir is a magnet for sunbathers, swimmers and water-sports enthusiasts during the summer, while the artificial lake at Remerschen on the Moselle has become even more popular since the installation of the stylish Chalet du Plage (photo). www.lechalet.lu
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Oscar’s Beer Garden
The small terrace under the tree (hence the title) near Mesa Verde is a perfect place to enjoy the restaurant’s vegetarian and fish dishes--we still highly recommend the Kyoto-Dream menu. But owner Lucien Elsen is also launching a series of concerts during July. The Sound City Walk series starts on July 14 with performances by local female singers Sascha Ley, Deborah Lehnen and Vanessa Buffone and continues with jazz crossover from Sitha and Band and ambient poetry from Monophona on the 21st followed by Lata and Friends on the 28th. Lucien has also promised a clown festival sometime in August.
Ennert dem Bam (Mesa Verde)
The terrace at Oscar’s in the Grund has been transformed into a beer garden, though minus the oompah music and lederhosen. The garden is a veritable sun trap, ideal for a summer lunch (Friday is still Fish & Chips day) or late all-day breakfast on a Saturday, or simply to meet friends and relax in the early evening glow of an aperitif or predinner beers below the rock face of the valley walls.
11 rue du St. Esprit, Luxembourg-Centre, www.mesa.lu
9 Bisserwee, Luxembourg-Grund, follow Oscar’s Bar & Kitchen on Facebook
Four venues to enjoy
Terrace life Courtyard gatherings The courtyard of the Downtown complex hosts the terraces of Decibel, The Lab and Choco as well as restaurant Mama Loves You (and Marx Bar also has a nice separate garden terrace). The chat and drinks flow with ease during summer evenings, and especially at the weekends or after a concert at the nearby den Atelier. We recommend having a pizza at Mama, trying one of The Lab’s test-tube shots and sampling the great range of speciality beers selected by Gareth at Decibel.
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42-44 rue de Hollerich, Luxembourg-Hollerich, www.decibel.lu, www.mamalovesyou.lu, follow The Lab on Facebook
Chill with the in-crowd
If you want to hang out with the hippest creatives in Luxembourg, head down to Exit07. The venue hosts its regular Jeudiscover open evenings on Thursdays at which the art and design crowd gather to have a few drinks, view an exhibition and talk about their projects in a relaxed atmosphere. During Euro 2012, the bar is hosting “Goal Goal Goal“, a programme featuring concerts, documentary film and the screening of selected games with live commentary (in French). 1 rue de l’Aciérie, LuxembourgHollerich, www.rotondes.lu
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The next print edition of delano will be published on october 4.
This summer keep up-to-date with daily news at Delano.lu and with Ten Things To Do This Week, our free app for iphone & ipad.
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lifestyle Carré Rouge
Co-founder of Carré Rouge, Michèle Rob, lives and breathes design. “My father was the first to open a design store in Luxembourg, in 1954, and I took over his passion naturally.” The concept of this store is to offer “a selection of known classic brands and new quality ones.” Carré Rouge also has its own design studio, led by the other co-founder, Martin Dieterle. “What makes us different from most stores is that we don’t just sell furniture, we also make it and initiate projects,” says Rob. One of these projects is called “The Red Box”. “It’s a platform for young products and furniture designers. They can submit their portfolios and the one chosen by an external committee gets to showcase his or her work at Carré Rouge, most often prototypes or objects produced in small editions.” Carré Rouge also offers services like kitchen designing, interior design and transformation advice and planning. Carré Rouge, 119 rue de Hollerich, Luxembourg-Hollerich, www.carrerouge.lu
Seven ways to get
A unique home
Bang & Olufsen
Today’s and tomorrow’s classics Bang & Olufsen
Timeless perfection For Danes, Bang & Olufsen has always been a synonym for quality products with an indefinite life span. Outside Hamlet’s homeland, the brand has served as a global icon for Danish design for decades thanks to its unique and innovative range (B&O gave aesthetic electronic devices a cult status long before Apple came into the picture). As Mads Skak Olufsen, owner of Bang & Olufsen in Luxembourg, says: “We constantly question the ordinary in search of surprising, longlasting experiences.” The store offers the latest B&O products and concepts in a display showing how they can integrate into your home. Bang & Olufsen, 21 rue de Beggen, Luxembourg-Eich, www.bang-olufsen.com
Ben & Pepper
The feelgood touch
Ben & Pepper
Open since last year, Ben & Pepper goes for the unique, customized, “upcycling” concept. You’ll find vintage furniture restored with modern textiles and colours, along with exclusive handmade quality products, many of which are the work of new and upcoming local and international artists and designers. The store also has its own brand. “The idea is that you feel good as soon as you step into the boutique. Ben & Pepper isn’t just about opening a business, it’s about building and restoring the neighbourhood.” Ben & Pepper, 21 avenue de la Liberté, Luxembourg-Gare, www.benandpepper.com
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Roche Bobois is French for exclusive and inventive contemporary furniture. The store offers collections and creations from internationally renowned designers as well as astonishing stuff from young upand-coming ones, some of whom get their break-through thanks to Roche Bobois. The brand also shows a real commitment to the“eco concept” of making “responsible furniture”. Roche Bobois, 126a rue de Mamer, Bertrange, www.roche-bobois.com
Beckstreet Five (no relation to a boy band) aims to bring you “ beck to basics” by offering “the best of classic, contemporary and cutting-edge furniture”. The store carries all the big names, from Vitra and Stark to timeless giants such as Charles & Ray Eames and Arne Jacobsen. Much like a sanctuary for masterpieces where decades of design live together in perfect harmony.
Reed & Simon
A global experience
Beckstreet Five, 5 rue Beck, Luxembourg-City centre, www.beckstreet.lu
Abitare’s CEO, Pierre Friob, says his stores “fight global standardisation” through unique and colourful creations and offers “emotional and anti-crises design”. One thing is sure, Abitare--be it the big store (with a total boutique spirit) in Dommeldange or the Kids store in Junglinster--is a paradise for cool design afficionados and a place you visit again and again and again. Abitare, 1 rue Nennig, Luxembourg-Dommeldange & Abitare Kids, 7 rue Nic Glesener, Junglinster www.abitare.lu
Reed & Simon
The Reed and Simon store offers a subtle selection of furniture highlights, from the 1930s to contemporary design. You’ll find Italian genius as well as Scandinavian flawlessness, and get that overall feeling of having come to “the right place”. However, stylish furniture is not all you’ll find. “We’ll also help you find the best implementation plan and optimise the use of your interior space. Our team can suggest anything from lighting concepts to acoustic solutions in addition to helping with your interior design project.” Reed & Simon, 7a rue de Bitbourg, Luxembourg-Hamm, www.reedandsimon.com
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Seven performances to watch
on stage Patti Smith
Instant icon Few artists have managed to become a true icon after releasing just one album, but something about the music on 1975’s Horses, the style and attitude of Patti Smith, the cover photo taken by Robert Mapplethorpe, gave the singer instant appeal. Indeed, the enduring image everyone has of Smith is that of her staring at the camera with her jacket over her shoulder, while the sound of her wailing voice on the poetically mournful 'Birdland' or screaming a cover of Van Morrison’s 'Gloria' still have the power to move. This is a rare opportunity to catch a cultural icon in the flesh. July 3, Rockhal, Esch-Belval, www.rockhal.lu Tristan goes to India
Time for a
Beautiful setting This year’s Omni Festival in the beautiful summer’s evening setting of the courtyard of the Abbaye de Neumünster is packed with talent from all over the world. The festival has always been eclectic, thus living up to the name its acronym stands for: Objets Musicaux Non Identifiés--unidentified musical objects. This year features artists as diverse as Israeli singer Noa together with Palestinian singer songwriter Mira Awad, the “gypsy queen of Macedonia” Esma Redzepova, jazz veteran Jan Garbarek and (under the stewardship of den Atelier) singer-songwriter Norah Jones (already sold out) and
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new folk wave act Bon Iver (photo). The festival kicks off, though, with local talent in the shape of an evening titled Youth Gone Wild featuring artists who have been honing their sounds at the studios recently installed in the Maison des jeunes River (Clausen). The artists on show include Discordant System, The Gambling Badgers, Seany Sean, Mikrowave, Calypso’s Call, The Last 9 Minutes, BossMen et Why We Failed. The festival climaxes with performances as part of the annual Blues’n’ Jazz Rallye. July 11-21, Abbaye de Neumünster, Luxembourg-Grund, www.ccrn.lu
The return to work after the summer break will be made all the easier this year by the first in the Philharmonie’s new Aventure+ series of themed evenings featuring a symphony concert followed by a more unusual performance in the foyer. The first melds excerpts from Wagner’s opera Tristan und Isolde, featuring the OPL and pianist Joanna McGregor with a performance afterwards by table player Kuljit Bhamra. September 21, Philharmonie, Luxembourg-Kirchberg, www.philharmonie.lu
Rock um Knuedler
Free fest Now in its 22nd year, the annual Rock um Knuedler has come a long way since it started out as primarily a showcase for local bands. Still a free festival, it now attracts an international headline act as well as interesting bands from around Europe, while still giving Luxembourg artists a chance to perform in front of their home crowd. This year’s headline act is former Supertramp singer Roger Hodgson and Band. July 8, place Guillaume II (Knuedler), Luxembourg-Centre, www.rockumknuedler.lu
Valley sounds One of the highlights of the summer, the annual festival of jazz and blues organised by the Luxembourg City Tourist Office and the Blues Club Lëtzebuerg draws in thousands of spectators. The festival has been going since Luxembourg first reigned as European Capital of Culture in 1995 and features around 60 performances on around 14 open-air stages and in neighbourhood bars and restaurants. July 21, open-air stages, restaurants and bars, Luxembourg-Grund & Clausen, www.bluesjazzrallye.lu
Phil end of season
Cool close The Philharmonie’s End of Season Party traditionally features a legendary hip-hop or house artist as its headline act. This year's star turn is influential South Bronx DJ Afrika Bambaataa. Still most famous for ‘Planet Rock’, Bambaataa is hugely respected as the father of electro funk and was among the pioneers of hip-hop culture in New York in the early 80s. He will be joined on the bill by Kenny Dope from legendary house team Masters at Work. Also on the bill are Patrick and Double P from Clubzone and, as an opening act, the winning DJ from a competition organised by L’essentiel. June 29, Philharmonie, LuxembourgKirchberg, www.philharmonie.lu
No sleep for the wicked While the majority of cultural venues take a break during August, den Atelier will be providing a strong line-up for the quietist of months in Luxembourg. So far six concerts are on the programme, with the most interesting acts including US indie outfit Wilco, New York electropop diva Santigold (photo) and UK folk hero Ed Sheerin. Also on the bill are pysch-pop outfit Of Montreal, hip-hop collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All and death metal quintet The Black Dahlia Murder alongside Darkest Hour with support from local bands Miles to Perdition and Scarred. August 1 to 19, den Atelier, Luxembourg-Hollerich, www.atelier.lu
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Grand Théâtre 2012-13 season
The language of Shakespeare
English language productions are among the highlights of the city theatre’s new season starting in September.
The programming team at the Grand Théâtre continues to forge links with prestigious theatres and production companies outside Luxembourg. Among them are a number of renowned English-language companies, such as Cheek By Jowl, which returns following its acclaimed versions of Cymbeline, Macbeth and Jacobean classic The Changeling. This time Declan Donnellan and designer Nick Ormerod give us John Ford’s complex and ambiguous Jacobean tragedy ‘Tis A Pity She’s A Whore. Other English theatre highlights include Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord's The Second Woman, which is inspired by John Cassavetes’ film Opening Night, an adaptation by the great Peter Brook of South African writer Can Themba’s morality novel The Suit and a stage version of the influential reggae film The Harder They Come. Heiner Goebbels presents his latest musical production When the mountain changed its clothing. Opera includes English court composer John Blow’s, Venus and Adonis, which was thought to have been an influence on Dido and Aeneas by his one time student Henry Purcell. The Grand Théâtre’s growing reputation as a venue for innovative and acclaimed contemporary dance has attracted the return of British choreographer Michael Clark, who presents a triple bill of new work, while familiar choreographers such as Russell Maliphant and Akram Khan are also on the programme. DR
Cheek By Jowl returns with Jacobean tragedy ‘Tis A Pity She’s A Whore
Peter Brook, one of Britain’s most acclaimed directors, brings his version of The Suit to Luxembourg
Opera highlights include Jules Massenet’s Cendrillon Akram Khan finally brings Desh to the Grand Théâtre
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The museum of rural life in Peppange is a lot more fun than it may sound, and has an unexpectedly large collection of wonderful things from the last century, including tools, utensils, furniture, plus an array of farming and household equipment. Part of the museum is laid out exactly like a house; the rest is divided into themed spaces, so you get to go past areas like a classroom, a grocery store, a machine shed-and even a (slightly scary) dentist! There’s also a garden with a blacksmith, old beehives, chickens, a medicinal garden and a pond--amongst others. It’s a truly nice way to get an idea of what life and work was like “before”, without getting a “museumy” feeling. If you go there on a Sunday, you can even combine the visit with a trip to the carriage museum, just down the road. Musée rural, 38 rue de Crauthem, Peppange, www.musee-peppange.lu
Four ways to get
Trip to France
Artsy castle Yes, there are beautiful castles in Luxembourg--which is why when you go visit one in France, it should be special. Malbrouck castle, just next to Schengen, is exactly that: a beautifully renovated castle with a “knighty” history, a witch tower and a lot of stairs to run up and down. Until September 2, the children-friendly French artist Ben exhibits everywhere in the castle and on its grounds, and should not be missed! Château de Malbrouck, Manderen, France, www.chateau-malbrouck.com
Fête du vélo
The Fête du Vélo takes place on June 17, next to the Gëlle Fra in Luxembourg City. The programme promises lots of fun entertainment for children, including a bike trial show with world champion Thierry Klinkenberg and a skybike demonstration. The whole family can take a safe bike tour, as roads around the square will be closed to cars. The city will also offer family-friendly bike tours all summer. Place de la Constitution, Luxembourg, www.vdl.lu
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Trip to Germany
Luc Deflorenne (archives)
Germany isn’t far away and neither is the Eifel Park, a very big and beautiful woodland area (75 hectares) near Bitburg, complete with animals you can feed (and others you can’t), playgrounds, a mini amusement park (with a 900 meterlong summer toboggan and a mini-rollercoaster), a puppet theatre, a petting zoo and a lot of really nice peaceful nature trails. In other words, a no hassle day trip that will keep everyone happy. Eifel Park, Gondorf, Germany, www.eifelpark.de
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Four films to watch
on screen The Angel’s Share
Ken Loach’s latest film is a charming comedy set among the world of petty criminals and the unemployed in Scotland. Paul Branningan stars as Robbie, a new father serving a community sentence who finds his chance for a new life quite by accident while visiting a whisky distillery. It is “a likeable and sweet-natured movie”, according to Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian, who even said he preferred it to Loach’s Looking for Eric. Bradshaw likened it to the director’s breakthrough film, Kes, with the protagonist here finding his saving grace in a natural gift for nosing whisky rather than raising a kestrel. It is a totally uncynical film, and has been compared to the great Ealing comedies--such as Whisky Galore--though with cruder jokes. Judging from the trailer, audiences will be hard pressed to find a more enjoyable night out at the cinema this month.
Tess in India
Michael Winterbottom tackles Thomas Hardy for the third time following The Claim (The Mayor of Casterbridge set in the California gold rush) and Jude. Here he transposes Tess of the D’Urbevilles to contemporary India, with Slumdog Millionaire star Frida Pinto winning acclaim for her turn as Trishna (Tess) opposite Riz Ahemd as Jay (an amalgamation of the Angel Clare and Alec d’Urberville characters). Jay, the son of the owner of the luxury hotel in which Trishna works as a maid, takes her to Mumbai, where her life changes for ever.
Released June 29
Released June 15
Poe faced Marley
The ever watchable John Cusack stars as Edgar Allen Poe in this serial killer mystery. The killer in question is using Poe’s work as inspiration, and the writer is called upon by a detective, played by Luke Evans, to help the police stop the atrocities. Director James McTeigue lends the film the same panache he gave V for Vendetta. Released June 22
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Tuff Gong Pictures
Let the music play Award winning director Kevin Macdo nald returns to documentary mode, with which he made his name with the excellent Touching The Void. Here he reexamines the life and influence of the great reggae star Bob Marley, including interviews with the musician’s family, friends and colleagues as well as plenty of previously unseen footage. Released June 15
27 sept. to
10 OCT. 2012
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my other life: Natalie Gerhardstein
A Whole Other World Natalie Gerhardstein, communications director at Amcham, talks about her life under water.
Text: Tonya Stoneman
Groups in Luxembourg
The very first scuba diving club in Luxembourg was officially formed in 1963. Sub Aqua Club Luxembourg (www.sacl.lu) still exists and holds training sessions at the piscine de Bonnevoie and at the piscine Olympique in Kirchberg. It also visits the artificial Upper Sûre lake for training and practice. Jerome Konen’s excellent www.scuba.lu site offers advice for local divers in English, with detailed explanations about diving in Luxembourg. He also undertakes and reports on more exotic expeditions to locations all over the world.
There is a sculpture garden situated on the ocean floor off the west coast of Granada, West Indies. In 2006, British artist Jason deCaires Taylor began submerging his creations in the depths of Molinere Bay: 15 tons of cement lifesized replicas of the people living above. The Phlegraean Fields of Italy, which lie mostly underwater, are replete with craters, volcanic edifices, and a wealth of structural ruins. The Underwater Archaeological Park of Baiae features seven sites where Roman villas, pillars, a port and thermal baths can be seen. These are the things Natalie Gerhardstein thinks about when she’s not busy with her work as communications director of Amcham. A dual national American and German by birth, she completed her undergraduate and graduate work at Ohio State University, attended the Sorbonne for a period, and later moved to Luxembourg to be in a more international location. While doing course work in Bolivia and Peru, she fell in love with diving. “I was studying emerging markets--working with small groups of local weavers and other artisans--with a group of students,” she recalls. “A few students always talked about diving. The way they described it, it seemed like a whole other world below the water. I already loved to swim and snorkel, so I immediately registered for diving classes upon my return.” Five certified dives were required for her license after her coursework and train-
ing with Bill Margiotta of Underwater Connection in her then home town of Columbus, Ohio. So, she went to Cabo de Gata Natural Park off the coast of Almería, Spain. Natalie’s passion for diving has since taken her to numerous exotic locations. So far, her favourite has been the Red Sea, off the coast of Hurghada, Egypt, where the famous wrecks of the Salem Express and the Abu Nuhas graveyard lie. “The underwater life is phenomenal and it has wonderful visibility.” For Natalie, diving offers a new dimension for those who like to travel. “It’s a neat dynamic to see both parts of the area you’re visiting--above land and under water,” she says, citing a cave formation in Italy. “I love cave dives but they can be very dangerous. It’s not always easy to judge your distance from the top of a cave, and it can feel claustrophobic. It’s not natural, of course, to artificially inflate your lungs under water. Once you’re down there, though, and have your buoyancy correct, you glide through the water effortlessly, you forget about the breathing. There’s this dreamlike state, and it’s incredibly tranquil. I sleep the best after I do a dive.” To do the kind of dives that appeal to her most, Natalie needs another level of certification. That may be her next challenge. Off the southern Laconian coast of Greece is Pavlopetri, an ancient Mycenaean ruin of the world’s oldest submerged town.
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Published on Jun 3, 2012