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May 2011 – Issue 04 – 4€ – www.delano.lu

5 453000 010015

Understanding Luxembourg: current affairs, business, lifestyle, Culture

Dressed for success: samsa film’s Claude Waringo prepares for Cannes

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editorial

impressum May - Issue 04

Editor in chief: Duncan Roberts (duncan.roberts@maisonmoderne.lu) Journalist: Aaron Grunwald (aaron.grunwald@maisonmoderne.lu) Contributor: Cordula Schnuer Photography: Julien Becker, Luc Deflorenne, Etienne Delorme, David Laurent/Wide, Andrés Lejona, Olivier Minaire Proofreading: Cynthia Schreiber, Cathy Weber

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Judging classroom performance Text: Duncan Roberts — Illustration: Quentin Vijoux

In an era when performance is judged by results, Luxembourg’s education system would appear to be in trouble. The latest PISA study in 2009 showed that on nearly all counts the Grand Duchy’s 15-year-olds performed below the OECD average. And, as Jean-Claude Juncker pointed out in his State of the Nation address, far too many youngsters are being left behind. The local education system appears to work well for those who can keep up with the language challenge and has produced some world class intellectual talent. But despite their multilingualism, many well-educated Luxembourgers would admit they are, as one contributor to our article in this edition put it, “a Jack of all languages and a master of none”. And that is just the Luxembourgers. Close to two-thirds of school students are non-Luxembourgish, which means they are learning a foreign language before they even begin their formal education. It is a unique situation caused by geo-

graphical and historical circumstances, but the call for some sort of language streaming grows louder every day. There are other problems with the local system. At AMCHAM’s Luxembourg: 2015 event last month, Nicolas Buck said it is too geared towards preparing students for a career in the civil service. Educating youngsters for the “real world”, with qualifications that match the requirements of the economy, is a challenge that clearly needs to be addressed. And that requires reform of the system and a change in attitude from many teachers. Creativity and communication skills need to be encouraged as much as learning by rote. There are plenty of enthusiastic teachers who actively engage with and inspire their charges, and they should be rewarded. Surely the government’s intention to introduce performance-related criteria for the civil service--if it ever comes to fruition in the face of strong union opposition--can also be applied to the teaching profession.

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CONTENTS

46 COVER STORY

CLAUDE WARINGO Making quality cinema As he prepares for Cannes, samsa fi lm co-founder Claude Waringo reflects on the state of the local fi lm industry, his company’s achievements over the past 25 years, and why he supports new studio facilities being built in Dudelange.

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26

8 CURRENT AFFAIRS

26 BUSINESS

THE SCHOOLS CHALLENGE What’s wrong with local education?

TIME FOR A JOB CHANGE? Demand for Anglophones is perking up

14 RUNNING ON EMPTY

30 IT SECURITY

18 PUBLIC SPACES

31 OBJECTIVE: OSLO

20 LUXEMBOURG WINE

34 CANNES FILM FESTIVAL

Will Greens block new fuel depots? The Cercle Municipal finally reopens

52 LIFESTYLE

Luxembourg’s trade mission to Norway

A difficult vintage produces quality

Luxembourg & More takes over prime beach

“New Luxembourg” underway in Wisconsin

36 VAT RECOVERY Your company could be owed thousands

24 CROSS BORDER CULTURE

38 SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

REGULARS 40 THINK LOCAL

Dave Evans

42 THE VIEW FROM ABROAD Itai Horstock

66 MY OTHER LIFE

Xavier Thillen

NETWORKING Nordic Countries-Belgium-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce

54 GOING NATIVE

Is financial data safe in the cloud?

22 HERITAGE PROJECT

The 20th Prix d’Art Robert Schuman

56

Can green buildings be profitable?

Activities, people in the news and how to win show-jumping tickets

56 CULTURE CHOICES Malkovich on stage, Cruz on screen and dancing in Hollerich (photo) 58 INTERNATIONAL THEATRE

Douglas Rintoul on Patrick Marber’s Closer

62 EPICUREANS/NIGHT OWLS

Piano bar, terrace picks & Thai fest

SNAPSHOTS 12 ROSE OF TRALEE Luxembourg’s Irish community fetes Aisling Mc Inerney with a reception at the residency of the Irish ambassador ahead of a series of public events this summer 32 LUXEMBOURG 2015

AMCHAM panel of guest experts debates reform of the education system, integration and national identity as well as infrastructure challenges for the future

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Goeres Delano 420x265_Layout 1 02.05.11 11:35 Seite 1

Your Golden Angel

No one else can see it, but you know the secret of your Wellendorff ring – a little golden angel is hidden inside. Read the whole story which inspired us to create this new collection at: www.wellendorff.com/goldenangel

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A true story: “One day a raging fire destroyed everything I possessed, including my beloved jewellery. Only one piece survived the inferno practically undamaged: my Wellendorff necklace adorned with a golden angel. After this fire, jewellery has a completely different meaning for me; because it proves that miracles do happen.� Letter from Inga Lasmane of Riga, Latvia.

This letter is the inspiration for our new collection. It came as a welcome reminder of the true value of jewellery: To offer joy and protection.

Invitation Wellendorff-Day "Your Golden Angel" at Goeres Joaillerie Friday, 20th May, 14 - 18 o`clock

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Education

The schools challenge

One of the first items Jean-Claude Juncker tackled in his State of the Nation address last month was the education system. What are the main challenges facing the government, and what are the alternatives for those seeking an English-language education? Text: Duncan Roberts & Aaron Grunwald — Photos: Luc Deflorenne

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current affairs

Samantha O’Dea and Helen Clarke: in early years, learning can be effortless

Anemone Thomas: students get lost in primary school Pierre Gramegna: qualifications must match needs of the economy

While Jean-Claude Juncker focused in his State of the Nation address on providing solutions to ensure that children with learning and other difficulties do not get left behind by the system, it is clear that Luxembourg is facing an education challenge on several fronts. Reform of the local system, and the need to meet an increasing demand for English-language education to maintain the country’s international competitivity, are the subject of debate among educators and parents, social scientists and business leaders. Language choices Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results over the last decade show that the Grand Duchy is one of the worst performers in the OECD’s worldwide educational evaluation. Blame for these poor showings has often been attributed to the fact that the local school system requires children to be proficient in two languages--German and French--at school. All too many students fail a subject, which can then jeopardise their choices for later study, because it is taught in a language with which they struggle.

“Some children can cope with working in both French and German at school. For those who struggle with one or the other, I would like to see more provision of lycée education focusing on a choice of French or German or English,” says Sue Pidgley of the Luxembourgish Schools Support Group. Pierre Gramegna, director of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, agrees that the multi-lingual system is not suited to everyone. “The Chamber of Commerce has been saying we should study the possibility for those who come [from abroad] having a lesser commitment to learn German and French in parallel at the same level as native residents.” He adds: “Otherwise people will fail just on language. And if you fail on language, how do you want to succeed in maths, biology and so on?” Swiss mother-of-three Anemone Thomas reckons the nation’s high rate of early school-leavers--especially among students coming from Latin-language families--is because students get lost in primary school. “They don’t learn properly what needs to be learned, because it’s all in German.” When she arrived in Luxembourg in 1994, more than twothirds of pre-school students spoke Luxem-

bourgish at home. The proportion has more or less flipped, with Juncker noting in his speech that 61.8 percent of preschoolers today do not speak Luxembourgish at all. For Nigel Fossey, head of secondary education at St. George’s International School, one of the key challenges is globalisation. “We live in an increasingly globalised world and many international schools are wrestling with the idea of to what extent you provide a truly international education. Cultural intelligence and awareness of cultural expectations is a concept that is arising in international schools. But the key is also transferability of qualifications, how accepted they are across borders.” St. George’s offers school leavers a range of GCE A levels, but Fossey says the curriculum is now not just looking at content, but also at skills. “Students are going to be expected to have a vast array of skills, communication and creative, at their fingertips.” Pierre Gramegna also wants more of a focus in education on the skills required for the job market. “If the qualifications of people don’t match the needs of the economy, in the long term we will have huge problems,” he says. “That’s the only way

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current affairs

Nigel Fossey: students will be expected to have a vast array of skills Jean-Claude Juncker: children should not be sent abroad

you can explain the situation in Luxembourg,” which he says is one of the “very few countries in the world where unemployment goes up when there’s a net creation of jobs.” Education reform Gramegna says he is encouraged that Juncker is revisiting the schools reform issue with gusto. “The fact that he started [his speech] with the weaknesses in education, to me, is the best proof that he’s really understood and really believes that fundamental change is necessary,” he says. Blathnaid O’hAnnrachain of the Luxembourgish Schools Support Group says that before the introduction of the reforms in September 2009, 25.8 percent of children had repeated at least one year of their primary education. “Any educative system where onethird of the students are failing their final exams needs to be over-hauled,” she says. One of the fundamental changes was the introduction of a “comité de l’école”, made up of members of staff and elected parent representatives.  “In the event of problems with the school, the first point of contact should be the class teacher and then the president of the comité, who, in essence,

fulfils the role of headteacher,” explains O’hAnnrachain. But, like everywhere, finding good teachers is not always easy. Luxembourg teachers are notoriously well-paid, especially compared to their counterparts in the state systems in the UK or US, which often leads to questions about some teacher’s motivation in entering the profession. “Teaching should be a vocation,” says Helen Clarke of Sunflower Montessori crèche. “A teacher has to gain respect not demand it,” adds her colleague, Samantha O’Dea. Juncker said in his address that some 140 specialists, including psychologists, speech therapists and psycho motor therapists are required for the country’s 20 primary school districts. Currently there are 46. “Many families with special needs children have been forced to send their children across the border or to boarding schools in their own countries, as Luxembourg does not seem to have the resources, and more importantly, the depth of experience in dealing with these children,” says O’hAnnrachain. Jean-Claude Juncker said that this situation is unacceptable. “We cannot continue sending these [special needs] children abroad, because that is not a solution to their problems,” he said. But

Sue Pidgley is sceptical about the need for psychologists. “I think that teachers can sometimes be too quick to recommend that children see a psychologist or other professional. I wonder if it is an easy option for teachers who would prefer not to deal with more challenging children or needs themselves within the classroom.” Samantha O’Dea thinks many teachers--and not just in Luxembourg--are too quick to apportion blame for failures on the children. “As a teacher you never stop learning,” she says. “Before pointing the finger at the children, teachers should question themselves. I know it is hard, but teachers should ask how they can make lessons more interesting and challenging.” English language There is no doubt that English is becoming more and more important in Luxembourg, and providing English-language education opportunities for ex-pat employees is vital to attracting international companies to the Grand Duchy. The government and local authorities are providing support for English facilities. Sunflower crèche, for example, could claim back much of its expenditure on furni-

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current affairs

Nicki Crush: government support for English-language schools has been fantastic

ture and equipment. In addition, the family ministry had input with the design of the purpose-built Moutfort crèche, and the commune of Contern was also welcoming. Over at International School Luxembourg (ISL), Upper School head Nicki Crush says government support has been fantastic. “We are very grateful and have had positive feedback from them.” And the Athénée, one of the oldest and most prestigious local lycées, has introduced an international baccalaureate programme in English. “I do welcome the introduction of the International Bac in English,” says Sue Pidgley. “It is a good initiative, but is only a solution for lycée students who tend to be very academic. A solution for state education focused on English, but accessible to less academicallyinclined students would be helpful.” ISL has seen its student body almost double in the ten years since it moved to its new site, and further expansion is a clear indication of increasing demand for English-language education. And it is not just those temporary families who are sending children to the school. “Seven percent of our students are Luxembourgish. Their parents see English as in important

language to learn,” says Nicki Crush. But even children of “ex-pats” often return to Luxembourg to find work after completing their higher education abroad. “An increasing number of our graduates are looking at Luxembourg as their home, their permanent residence. It is a very attractive place to live and work. And that is one way we are giving back to the economy.” At Sunflower, O’Dea believes that Luxembourg would be educationally richer if the government looked more closely at early years education. “Maria Montessori said that from birth to age six are the most important in a child’s life. We need to ensure that separation from mother is a positive experience for the child. Get it wrong, and I believe it will stay with the child forever.” In addition, children at an early age can learn that education can be fun, boosting their self-esteem and confidence for later years. The Sunflower team believes that learning to read and write can be taught much earlier--in Spillschoul from the age of four, for example. “We shouldn’t be educating children by putting information in front of them and asking them to feed it back. They should physically be part of the learning process.”

David Laurent/Wide (archives)

Blathnaid O’hAnnrachain: lack of resources for special needs

Information evening

Pre-school and Primary Education The Luxembourgish Schools Support Group is organising an information evening with teachers from the preschool and primary school streams and a school inspector. The primary school system will be explained and there will be the opportunity to ask questions and meet other parents. May 19, 19:30, Centre Prince Henri, Salle de projection, Walferdange. Admission €5 per person. www.lssg.lu

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SNAPSHOTS

Rose of Tralee 2011

AISLING WEARS THE CROWN Photos: Luc Deflorenne

Irish ambassador Diarmuid O’Leary and his wife Emma hosted a reception for the Luxembourg Rose of Tralee committee and Luxembourg’s representative for the 2011 contest, Aisling Mc Inerney, at their residence in midApril. Aisling, the 2010 runner-up, takes over the crown from Clare McGing without the traditional Luxembourg contest because of a change in qualification rules for European Roses. Rather than compete for the right to represent Luxembourg with other candidates based in the Grand Duchy, she will now have to compete in international heats in Portlaoise, in County Laois, to try and make it to the final selection at the Tralee festival in August. Nevertheless, in its tenth anniversary year, the popular Luxembourg Rose Ball will still go ahead at the Hotel Royal on July 2. Before that, the traditional fund-raising Boogie Nights 70s/80s disco takes place at the Black Stuff on May 14 and plans are also afoot to stage the annual Rose of Tralee DR karaoke event.

Irish ambassador Diarmuid O’Leary in conversation with Sinéad O’Donnell

Ambassador O’Leary and his wife Emma pose with the former and current Roses Last year’s Rose Clare McGing, master of ceremonies Dominique Vitali and 2011 Luxembourg Rose Aisling Mc Inerney

www.rose.lu

Luxembourg Rose of Tralee president Deirdre Ecock with Niamh Huggard

Carolyn Milne, Brian Killeen, Therese Collins and Steve Moynihan Britta Borneff, Carole Miltgen and David Micallef

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VENTES, LOCATIONS, TOUS SERVICES IMMOBILIERS

HIGHLIGHTS IN REAL ESTATE

T 26 47 76

www.livin.lu

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current affairs

Fuel depots

RUNNING ON eMpTy Luxembourg’s oil storage facilities must close by the end of the decade, but greens are opposed to the government’s plan to build replacement sites. Will the Grand Duchy run out of gas? Text: Aaron Grunwald — Photos: Olivier Minaire

The operating permits for most of the Grand Duchy’s wholesale storage tanks stocking petrol, diesel and home heating fuel will expire between 2012 and 2019, and due to European regulations there is no chance the licenses will be renewed. The government’s replacement proposal--to build two new sites in Bascharage and Luxembourg-Merl, and expand the existing site in Mertert-has met with stiff opposition from environmental groups who say the plan does not do enough to address climate change. European rules revised in 2005 require a safety zone between industrial sites handling dangerous materials, and areas with housing, commercial facilities and transportation infrastructure, explains Etienne Schneider, director general for

DATE LINE April - May 2011

economic development, new technologies and energy, at the ministry of economy and foreign trade. Housing and commercial sites have simply been built too close to today’s fuel depots in Bertrange, Cessange, Leudelange and Findel. Schneider says the government took two years to study alternative sites, before finding locations that were large enough to accommodate tanks, safety zones and logistics facilities. In order to avoid traffic congestion, the sites also had to be relatively near the majority of petrol consumers (meaning the south and centre of Luxembourg), and be accessible via the existing links used to transport petrol (a rail line from Belgium and the Moselle River from Germany).

CRIME RATE DROPS APR Police announced the 2010 crime rate dropped by 5.7% from 2009. Minors committed 12.5% of all reported crime, up from 11.2%. Crimes against persons rose by 4.3% to 6,132 offences. Police say Luxembourg remains safe.

4•

However, Luxembourg greens say the actual site selection process has been too opaque. OpAQUe decISION? “The government says, ‘we have found two areas, believe us, those are the best,’” says Blanche Weber, president of the environmental association Mouvement Ecologique. “We want to have facts why those two areas have been chosen, why others were not.” While acknowledging the need for a safety zone creates a unique challenge, “are there other areas corresponding to the criteria, other than the two chosen by the government?” she asks. “There is by far not enough transparency into why these areas have been chosen.” In addition, Weber questions the need for building such a large quantity of

ELECTRICITY FLAT Enovos Luxembourg APR CEO Jean Lucius said electricity prices should remain stable this year, with probable increases in 2012. He added that Enovos has acknowledged the demand for green energies with, for example, investments in North Sea wind farms.

6•

AID INCREASES The OECD announced APR 2010 development assistance was the highest ever at US$129 billion. Luxembourg gave US$399 million, 1.09% of its GNI. One of five countries to meet the United Nations’ 0.7% target, it ranked second after Norway and ahead of Sweden.

6•

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current affairs

you’d have to raise our VAT to 23 percent” Etienne Schneider: the government took two years to develop the most realistic plan possible

storage capacity. The government, she says, has made its plan “as if we would need the same quantity of fuel in the future as today. But we would like to talk about climate change and the need to reduce our energy consumption. We would like to talk about better insulation, electric mobility and the expansion of renewable energy. So we think that we need new calculations about the real needs of Luxembourg, if we are going to address climate change, alternative energy and energy savings.” In fact, the petroleum industry does recognise that “the long term tendency in the oil market is that sales will decrease,” says René Winkin, secretary general of the Luxembourg Petroleum Association. “That’s what energy and climate policy is about.” However, the current Bertrange facility represents more than

TANK TOURISM Schneider calls the critiques of “tank tourism”--drivers specifically coming to the Grand Duchy to buy cheaper petrol--somewhat skewed. That’s because “all the crossborder commuters are considered ‘tourists.’ That’s not true. They just work here. They’ve got the right to get their petrol here. They go to Cactus [then fill up

11-12 MIGRANT DISCORD

7•

• APR

MTE

APR

The labour minister visited Wiltz during “employment day”.

60 percent of Luxembourg’s fuel storage capacity, he states. “Oil will not disappear in the coming decades. Someone who says we don’t need storage because we have decided to stop using oil, that’s the wrong decision.” Winkin believes new facilities are needed, since it is impossible that demand in the Grand Duchy will decrease by such a correspondingly large amount in such a short period of time.

EU home affairs ministers met in Luxembourg to discuss the influx of migrants from North Africa entering Italy, but resolved little. Rome said the EU was not supporting it during a crisis and angered neighbours by issuing Schengen zone visas to refugees.

on their way home] and there’s no harm done anyway.” In terms of actual fuel tourists, “that’s right, we could try to get rid of them,” he says. However, “we would have to raise our prices to the highest price of our neighbours, which would mean prices would go up 20 to 30 cents per litre.” He says petrol tourism also accounts for ten percent of government revenues: “It’s 1.2 billion euro in petrol duties, and taxes on cigarettes and alcohol sold at the same time.” To make up the shortfall in the Grand Duchy’s budget, “you’d have to raise our VAT to 23 percent, just for example, on everything sold in Luxembourg.” “That’s not the point,” responds Weber. “Naturally frontaliers should be able to buy fuel if they want to. The point is: does our government want to build out the

CULTURE WORKERS One and a half million APR people worked as writers or artists in the EU27 in 2009, or 0.7% of total employment, said Eurostat. Finland and Sweden had the highest percentage of creatives in the workforce (1.5), while Luxembourg had the European average.

14 •

NUCLEAR SUMMIT Prime minister Juncker APR met with Greater Region government chiefs in Metz to discuss new EU stress tests for nuclear facilities. The leaders want to tackle safety concerns about the Cattenom power plant and improve the region’s civil protection plan.

20 •

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current affairs

renÉ WinKin: safe fuel storage is still needed during the transition from oil to renewables

Blanche WeBer: the government’s decision making process is too opaque and fails to address climate change goals

economy, reduce it or what is the strategy? And when does Luxembourg finally, really, make an effort to offer attractive public transport for frontaliers?” She continues: “And again, we want facts! What is the strategy of the government to reduce fuel consumption, to reduce energy consumption? On what numbers are the plans for the two fuel depots based? In 30 or 40 years, all the fuel reserves of the world will be exhausted. So our country--like all countries--needs an energy strategy to cope with this situation. But our government does not have one yet. It only plans fuel depots with capacities as if a gradual shift from fuel and gas to energy savings and renewables would not be needed.” Winkin counters that reduced consumption is built into the government’s plan, as over-capacity in a declining

pUBLIc RevIeW Schneider says the government is preparing environmental impact reports for the three projects, which he expects

29 •

APR

More than 2,500 visited the myenergy days fair.

will be published later this year and will be followed by a public comment period. “If, during the public consultation procedure, people come and say there’s a problem which doesn’t fit with the environmental protection laws, we will have to get an answer. If [the objecting member of the public] is right, there’s a problem and we don’t have a solution,” then the government might have to stop or modify the project. For her part, Weber does not feel that green voices are going totally unheard. She says of the government: “On the one hand, they want to consider arguments advanced by us. On the other side, they frequently seem to search for ‘easy solutions’,” and do not consider “ long-term necessities, even though it is in the interest of future generations.”

DUCK RACE Nearly 10,000 little APR yellow ducks entered the Round Table Luxembourg’s annual fundraiser. Each duck cost €5 with proceeds this year going to charities in Mauritius and Romania. The owner of the first-placed duck won a new Renault Twingo.

30 •

myenergy

NOT ILLEGAL Being in Europe illeAPR gally is not in itself a jailable offense, ruled the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. The court said that Italy violated European law when it sentenced an alien to a year in prison after he failed to obey a deportation order.

28 •

market would be a bad investment for energy companies. In addition, Weber is concerned about the environmental impact of the proposed sites. For example, construction in Bascharage would involve the construction of a bypass to provide a direct route from the depot to the A13 highway. However, Weber states the bypass “would go straight through a site of very high natural value.” Winkin defends the government’s proposed bypass, saying it will reduce road congestion and therefore air pollution in the neighbourhood.

3

• MAY

511,840 STATEC said Luxembourg’s population rose 2% in 2010.

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current affairs

Public building

David Laurent/Wide

The Cercle re-opens

Perhaps the most prestigious public building in Luxembourg, the Cercle Municipal on the place d’Armes, has re-opened after five years of renovation and remodelling work.

Right to reply Last month you wrote about how the plans of den Atelier to move into the former slaughterhouse in Hollerich were derailed. Allow me to set the record straight. What caused the opposition was the fact that public interest should take precedence over private business interests. But instead of going through a democratic process of consultation and debate, the mayor tried to push through a project accounting only for the interests of his business partners. Moreover, neither we nor the local residents are against any project being realised on said site. Indeed, on several occasions, we spoke out in favour of a youth and cultural centre consisting of several rehearsal rooms, a recording studio, dance studios, a bar, etc. Cultural policy must not only enable passive consumption but also support active creation. However, den Atelier was opposed to this. That might be its role; but that of politicians must be to look further than the short term profit  of private interests. If populism means looking out for the public interest instead of the interests of just one private company, if it means supporting creation in arts rather than consu­­merism, if it means fighting for a transparent democratic process instead of shady backroom deals, then yes, we’re populists. And in that case, every politician should be. Christophe Schiltz, President, Luxembourg City Socialists (LSAP)

Luc Deflorenne

Schluechthaus

Performance art: Trixie Weis stands on the balcony of the restored Cercle

Following its invite-only official inauguration on April 29, an open-house weekend attracted thousands of guests to the Cercle. They wanted to look at the renovation work and the new conference centre that links the stately building to the modern Cité complex across the rue Génistre. Guests were treated to performance art and exhibitions of dance, finger food and behind the scenes tours. Inaugurated in September 1910, the Cercle was originally used as administration offices by the city of Luxembourg and later as the headquarters of the European Steel and Coal Community--the forerunner of the European Union. More recently it has been used to host exhibitions and public events, as well as banquets during state visits by the likes of Queen Elizabeth II and French president François Mitterrand. Work carried out includes the strengthening of floors and installation of sophisticated safety equipment, particularly in the Grande Salle and the Salon Bleu on the so-called bel étage level.

The new fifth floor conference centre comprises four state-of-the-art meeting rooms and a 48-seat auditorium and is linked to the Cité via a glass walkway. The Cité complex was opened in January 2010, a year after the inauguration of the new municipal library on its ground floor. And the old Ratskeller has also been transformed into an exhibition space with a separate entrance. The total cost of the project ran to some 38 million euro--21 million to renovate and restore the Cercle and 17 million to build the Cité. On either side of the grand main entrance, smaller spaces house public institutions connected to the city. The former city tourist office is now the City­ ­shopping Info Point, managed by the Union Commerciale de la Ville de Luxembourg and inaugurated on April 28. The space on the other side will eventually house the city’s Youth Bureau, which will provide families and youngsters with information about activities in the DR city.

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04.05.2011 16:06:57 Uhr


current affairs

Wine

Quality wins out again Luxembourg’s vintners have unveiled their 2010 vintages. Despite difficult conditions during last year’s harvest, top producers have once again managed to produce some classy Moselle wines. Text: Duncan Roberts — Photos: Olivier Minaire

Wine growers along the Moselle have rarely, in recent times at least, been as concerned about the quality of their pro­ duce as when unveiling the 2010 vin­ tages this spring. Not only was total production down by an average of around 20 percent on the previous year, but dif­ ficult, at times atrocious, weather con­ ditions during the critical period of the 2010 harvest had left many grape varie­ ties suffering from rot. However, those vintners who took their time and care­ fully selected only the very best grapes for production, and then lovingly pre­ pared them in the cellar, appear to have been rewarded with wines packed with potential. The policy of less is more that has been the watchword of producers, especially independent wine makers, since the early 1990s continues to pay off. Yves Sunnen, head of Domaine Sun­ nen-Hoffmann in Remerschen, explains that he lost up to 40 percent of his har­ vest last year as his pickers battled with ever-changing conditions. Sunnen would check the vines late afternoon, but by evening rain and wind could have affected their status drastically. “It was my 24th harvest as a vintner, but I have never suffered so much,” says Sunnen,

Yves Sunnen (with Corinne Kox-Sunnen): difficult harvest but quality produce

whose family domain dates back to 1872 and which he now runs with his sister, Corinne Kox-Sunnen. He explains that two ladies who have helped him harvest for many years were almost in tears when they saw the state of the grapes. “It is obvious that under such difficult conditions we could not expect blockbuster wines like those we produced in 2009,” he says. “But we wanted to produce nice, clean but well-rounded wines.”

Sunnen belongs to a new generation of wine makers who have brought inno­ vative techniques and specialist exper­ tise to the Moselle. They have not been afraid to seek advice from foreign oenologists, which has often led to an improvement in quality that is now winning new respect for Luxembourg’s wines among foreign wine writers and juries at international competitions. But Sunnen has gone a step further and

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current affairs

We want to make gastronomy wines” Hubert Clasen (Bernard-Massard)

is this year celebrating the domain’s tenth anniversary as an organic producer. That means he adheres to strict grow­ ing criteria--controlled by an institute for organic agriculture in Karlsruhe-and has had to install signs forbidding helicopters from spraying his vine yards with pesticides. In between the rows of vines at his Hommelsbierg plantations up to 40 varieties of weed and grass have been sown to help provide the necessary nutrients for the soil. The results are well worth tasting and this year Sunnen-Hoffmann has launched Luxembourg’s first ever organic cré­ mant, the Cuvée L. et F., made from 45% Riesling, 23% each of Auxerrois and Pinot Blanc and 9% Chardonnay. “This is definitely a Riesling year,” says Sunnen during a tasting with local wine journalists, many of whom are pleas­ antly surprised by the quality of the domain’s 2010 vintages and use adjec­ tives such as “ fresh, long, elegant” to describe the wines. Pinot Gris wines, on the other hand, proved more diffi­ cult to make as the grapes took in too much water and many ended up rotting. Further down the Moselle in Greven­ macher, Bernard-Massard is best known for its crémants, such as its Cuvée de l’Ecusson flagship, but also produces some excellent wines under its own brand as well as under the Domaine Thill and Domaine Clos des Rochers labels. If Yves Sunnen epitomises the younger

generation of hands on wine-grower, then Bernard-Massard’s executive direc­ tor Hubert Clasen is exactly how you would picture a gentleman vintner. Charming and with an English sense of style and humour, he has worked for the Grevenmacher wine maker since the age of 30--his grandfather, Bernard Clasen, was a co-founder of the house alongside Jean Bernard-Massard in 1921. “That was a historical year for Luxem­ bourg,” says Clasen. “New markets were emerging thanks to the economic union with Belgium and the opening up of Germany.” He says the 2010 wines still need time to reach their potential, but Clasen and technical director Freddy Sinner are generally pleased with the vintage. “The wines we have produced are in line with our house charter,” says Clasen. “We want to make gastronomy wines. We are thinking long term and that has been our approach for the last ten years.” Sinner explains that Rieslings did not suffer as much because they were har­ vested late, but that the Pinots did grow very quickly and didn’t have time to “fix” their aroma or taste before the bad weather when the soil really started to “ fall apart”. Nevertheless, BernardMassard does not seem to have suffered the dramatic fall in production of some other houses and many of the Domaine Thill and Clos des Rochers wines show great potential for laying down in a cel­ lar for a few years.

2010 vintage

Eight picks Sunnen-Hoffmann Auxerrois Wintrange Hommelsbierg: a beautifully crisp and spicy wine, perfect for an aperitif Sunnen-Hoffmann Pinot Gris Schwebsange Kolteschbierg: a fully rounded wine, with a mineral aroma and great potential Sunnen-Hoffmann Riesling Wintrange Felsbierg: 70-year old vines give this elegant wine added complexity Sunnen-Hoffmann Cuvée L. et F.: Luxembourg’s first organic crémant is deliciously refined Clos des Rochers Auxerrois Grevenmacher Fels: fresh with hints of pear and pineapple and a long finish Clos des Rochers Pinot Blanc Grevenmacher Fels: crisp but well-rounded and almost peachy wine Thill Riesling Château de Schengen: a classic of its kind, with plenty of minerals Clos des Rochers dr. Frederic Clasen crémant: a special edition sparkling wine with a creamy finish www.bernard-massard.com www.caves-sunnen.lu

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05.05.2011 16:45:57 Uhr


IT'S BEEN A GOOD OR BAD MONTH FOR: TESSY SCHOLTES

Luc Deflorenne

CURRENT AFFAIRS

KEVIN WESTER: grateful to Luxembourg for cultural centre support

Luxembourg-US relations

The former sportswoman of the year (left with Luc Frieden and Mariette Zenners) became the youngest member of parliament in the current Chambre des deputes after being sworn in onto the CSV benches. But a scandal over her status as a trainee teacher left her in a precarious position. ROAD USERS The number of deaths on Luxembourg‘s roads dropped to just 32 in 2010, the best figures recorded since 1947. The number of accidents involving death or injury fell by ten percent to 787. However, nearly half of the deaths involved young drivers or passengers between the ages of 18 and 24. JUKKA VUORI The Finnish engineer, resident in Luxembourg, briefly saw his 2008 idea of an escalator to the Kirchberg from a new train station in Pfaffenthal being reconsidered by the transport ministry. But a few days later, according to Point 24, the ministry seemed to have given preference to the idea of a funicular cable car system. PIERRE FELLER The 25-year-old worker at the Ponts et Chaussées won Germany’s third annual office chair race, and even made it into the pages of The Sun in the UK. Feller beat 63 challengers to win the 200-metre downhill race in Bad Konig, Hessen, in a record time of 26.95 seconds.

VISIT REVEALS PROGRESS

A delegation from the Luxembourg American Cultural Society was in the Grand Duchy at the beginning of April to report on progress of its projects in Wisconsin.

Having inaugurated the Luxembourg American Cultural Center in the town of Belgium, Wisconsin, last August, the Luxembourg American Cultural Society (LACS) is now busy working on another development project, a settlement named New Luxembourg. During the recent visit, LACS representatives informed members of its Luxembourgbased counterpart, the Roots and Leaves Association, of progress. The village is planned around the new cultural centre, which incorporates the Mamer-Hansen barn, a restored Luxembourg stone farm building dating from 1872. The last of its kind in the state, it was carefully dismantled from its original site and transported and rebuilt to accommodate the cultural centre’s museum. A second, modern building, houses a research centre. The new settlement will include family housing but also homes for the elderly and a square named after Grand Duke Jean. Director of the Luxembourg American Cultural Center, Kevin Wester and Dave Perrot, incoming

LACS president, detailed future developments for the site and also revealed plans to kick-start a university internship programme at the cultural centre. The group was given a tour of the Hugo Gernsback exhibition at the Centre National de Littérature by one of its curators, Paul Lesch, and met with former head civil servant at the cultural ministry Guy Dockendorff and former director of the Service des sites et monuments nationaux, Georges Calteux. Wester was keen to thank them and successive ministers of culture, François Biltgen and Octavie Modert, for their support for the cultural centre project. The cultural centre will be the focus of a weekend of celebrations in August when it hosts a four-day Luxembourg Heritage Weekend including a gala dinner, parade and pageant. “Our ancestors left their hearts here,” said Wester. “But they felt they had to leave for a better life. We have roots here; our heritage in Luxembourg makes us who we are.” DR www.luxamculturalsociety.org

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05.05.2011 17:02:37 Uhr


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03.05.11 16:35


current affairs

Culture

Art prize anniversary

Royal wedding

Celebrating nuptials in art Close to 100 primary and secondary students from St. George’s International School took part in an art competition organised in collaboration with the British Embassy Luxembourg to celebrate the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middelton. A short list of 17 paintings was made by the school and a jury of representatives from institutions with links to the UK--including the British Chamber of Commerce, the Anglican Church, British Ladies Club, RAFA, BritishLuxembourg Society, Telstar Scouts and British Guides, 352 Lux Mag and Ara City Radio--chose three winners. “The paintings capture the glorious celebration,” said Amanda Ross McDowell, chargé d’affaires at the embassy. She hosted a lunch for the jury guests at the embassy residence the day before the wedding. The three winning paintings --two from the primary short-list and one from the secondary school section--will be sent to the happy couple. www.st-georges.lu

Olivier Minaire

David Laurent/Wide

The 20th edition of the Prix d’Art Robert Schuman, being held in Luxembourg, shows that culture can cross borders.

Sabine Dorscheid: good art doesn’t recognise borders

The biennial Prix d’Art Robert Schuman is a collaboration between the cities of Luxembourg, Metz, Saarbrücken and Trier. “Good art doesn’t know any borders” says curator Dr. Sabine Dor­scheid, who has selected a diverse quartet of Luxembourg artists for this year’s competition. Christophe de la Fontaine, based in Milan, incorporates his experiences as a designer into his art. Catherine Lorent, working in Luxembourg and Berlin, uses painting to create new and ironic connections. Armand Quetsch, who recently moved back to Luxembourg from Brussels, works in the medium of photography, and Berlinbased artist Danielle Scheuer will contribute a sculptural work. Dorscheid says that bringing 16 artists together in the final exhibition, taking place in the newly refurbished CercleCité from May 20 to July 10, is an exciting but challenging opportunity. All the pieces must come together in a harmonic way, “ like a puzzle.” Working with the other curators and artists “can be complicated” says Dor­ scheid, but she emphasises that it is

important to maintain these links, and that language is no barrier. With a 10,000 euro endowment, the Prix d’Art Robert Schuman ranks highly in comparison to other European art prizes. Nevertheless, Dorscheid says there is still scope to widen the network and open up the contest. Luxembourg is taking a first step by appointing Belgian curator and museum director Joost Declercq alongside Luxembourg judge Danièle Wagener. With each city sending two judges, the process of choosing the winner is a mixture of open discussion as well as anonymous voting. Local patriotism should not play a role in the decision. Considering that all artists work transnationally Dorscheid says that they don’t belong to any one country and that “the best artist should win.” This year’s anniversary edition will include a special catalogue. The organisers want to create “something that lasts” once the exhibition is over. Together with the new venue, Dorscheid hopes that this year will be “truly spectacular.” CS

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06.05.2011 11:33:57 Uhr


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Mudam Luxembourg, I. M. Pei Architect Design. Photo (detail) Š Christian Aschman

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BUSINESS

Recruitment

TIME FOR A JOB CHANGE? There is increasing demand in Luxembourg for English fluency and Anglophone country qualifications, say recruiters. But has the Grand Duchy’s employment market really rebounded? Text: Aaron Grunwald — Photos: David Laurent/Wide

After a few rough years, recruiters remain cautiously optimistic but do say the Grand Duchy’s job market is perking up. Those focused on Englishspeaking roles say there is ever more interest in the language, as well as increased specialisation, both in terms of what employers are looking for and in terms of recruitment firms themselves. “A lot of people are talking about a huge increase in jobs opening in the market, but that’s not the case,” says Sinéad O’Donnell, co-founder of DO Recruitment Advisors. “A lot of the jobs that are opening are replacements. There are very, very few newly created roles. [It] may feel like there’s been a pickup, but the recruitment process is much longer. We’ve had some

DATE LINE April - May 2011

recruitments that take four to six months” for senior roles, which means the same positions may linger on job boards for weeks. Nevertheless, Darren Robinson, director at Badenoch & Clark in Luxembourg, reckons it is a good time for job changes for both sides of the equation. “For the first time in a long time, people are more comfortable leaving their current employers than they were 18 to 24 months ago, when nobody was really sure whether it was the right moment to change. Now people are feeling more comfortable that if they change, they’ll still be employed in six months’ time.” Robinson admits that a large portion of current recruitment in Luxembourg is driven by corporate

EU CUTS STEEL FINES APR The European Commission reduced price fixing fines for 17 European steel companies, after they complained they were unable to pay. ArcelorMittal’s fine was cut by 80% from €230 million to just under €48 million.

4•

restructuring, with job changes as a result of change not growth. REPLACEMENT ROLES O’Donnell adds that employers have exact profi les in mind. “Last year we had lots of redundancies… now [companies] have opened two or three replacement roles, where they need the skill set.” She explains that a few years ago, “You’d have a lot of general roles,” while today’s open jobs are geared towards those with particular expertise within, for example, risk management, legal or accounting. “The more generalist profiles? We don’t have so many opportunities for them at the moment. It is very, very skills specific.”

INFLATION RISES AGAIN APR Consumer inflation rose to 3.7% in March, according to STATEC. This means that inflation accelerated for the fourth month in a row, with high oil prices mainly to blame. The cost of petroleum products increased 20% over the past year.

6•

MERGED BANK UP BGL BNP Paribas reAPR ported a “steep rise in consolidated net profit” of €277 million in 2010, compared to €6.2 million in 2009. The jump is mainly due to former BNP Paribas Luxembourg’s business, which merged with former Fortis assets last year.

8•

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05.05.2011 12:51:28 Uhr


BUSINESS

OLE ROED: English has become the lingua franca of Luxembourg professionals CHRISTOPHER PURDY: understanding the Anglophone business perspective is as important as fluency

18 •

APR

1,5%

Ernst & Young forecast for 2011 Eurozone GDP growth.

Just as important for client-facing positions is the “Anglo-centric business” perspective, Purdy believes. “This isn’t to say you’ve got to be a native English speaker, but you have to be fluent and have ‘that’ understanding of business practices” in Anglophone countries. ENGLISH IMPORTANCE By the same token, English language capabilities continue to gain importance. Over the past 20 years, Nigel Plumpton, partner at Harvey Weston--which concentrates on recruitment of financial services professionals--has seen English become the primary business language and “quite a marked shift away from German to French as the second language of

CARGOLUX DEAL? Qatar Airways will APR buy a 35% stake in Cargolux, a source told paperJam.lu. The source said the deal is worth between €100-150 million and could be officially signed after Cargolux’s board meeting on May 23. The air cargo company refused to comment.

19 •

the population active in Luxembourg.” This shift includes Luxembourg’s crossborder commuters. Plumpton notes French frontaliers have switched en masse from speaking German to English as their second tongue. “I went to the retirement party last night for a German banker,” recounts Ole Roed, another partner at Harvey Weston. “There were mostly Germans there, but also a good mix of nationalities. Three senior German bankers spoke, and all three spoke in English. And good English. A few years ago they would have spoken in German.” Plumpton predicts “the Anglophonic trend will continue more rapidly as we start going into India and China and emerging markets, where English is the second language

AGRIA FINE The CSSF fined LuxAPR embourg-listed Agria Finance an unspecified amount for failing to publish 2008 and 2009 annual financial reports and half-yearly reports in 2009 and 2010. The Italy-based firm also failed to respond to the financial regulator’s inquiries.

19 •

21

• APR Luc Deflorenne

At the same time, there are new positions being created in the Grand Duchy. “We’re seeing lots of international clients coming to Luxembourg and setting up new structures and new operations,” says Christopher Purdy, director at Greenfield, which is active in the accounting and legal areas. He is seeing British legal professionals being “very, very sought after,” specifically those with Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators qualifications. “It’s a very Anglo-centric company secretary qualification, but it’s been quite in demand in Luxembourg for UK and US fund businesses. Because they want the same level and same standards of corporate governance and compliance as you’d find in London or New York.”

Frank Wagener was named chair of the Luxembourg bourse.

May 2011 - DELANO - 27

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05.05.2011 12:51:42 Uhr


BUSINESS

SINÉAD O'DONNELL: employers are looking for ultra-specialised profiles

DARREN ROBINSON: Luxembourg employers look favourably on UK qualifications

SPECIALISATION As for native English speakers, “There is a preconceived notion that in Luxembourg you need multiple languages,” says Robinson, whose firm focuses on the banking and accounting fields. “It can be an advantage, but in accounting it’s not necessary,” he says, noting the strong current demand in the Grand Duchy for UK qualified accountants. He sees Luxembourg recruiters becoming increasingly specialised. “If

WEB STARTUP The economy minisAPR ter said three statebacked investment firms took a stake in German web security company regify. The start-up’s new Luxembourg subsidiary will serve as the firm’s international hub. Regify’s first Benelux customer is P&T Luxembourg.

26 •

you’ve got consultants that only focus on one discipline, they understand the market better. They’re faster.” That is one reason he set up a practice dedicated to private law firm positions earlier this year. “More and more people... are looking for a recruitment firm to represent them to organisations.” He says senior lawyers need a discreet agent to avoid rumours spreading around in what is still a relatively small job market. “I’m finding many other people in private banking and fund services, especially those with more senior profiles, require this type of approach.” Yet recruiters have a mixed outlook for the remainder of 2011. “We’re not out of the water yet, we’re not over the tough times,” says O’Donnell. For the rest of

28 • APR

12%

Headcount increase reported by CSSF last year.

the year, “I imagine it will continue pretty much as it is for the moment,” she says. “Companies are still replacing, and maybe opening some newly created roles. The nature of the business in Luxembourg is changing. Companies are still outsourcing. Jobs are still moving out of Luxembourg, so the roles that are opening are more senior, they’re more technical. There’s more added value to roles in Luxembourg these days. Most of the operational roles have moved out and will continue to do so.” Purdy is more optimistic: “For the fi rst time we’re actually seeing some candidates come onto the market and then being offered two or three jobs. We haven’t seen that for three years. And now it’s happened a few times within the last month.”

2•

MAY

Luc Frieden met with EU’s new chief bank regulator (photo).

European Banking Authority

and French and German will not feature.” He adds: “It means there are going to be people who’ve been working in the more traditional European environment, who will find themselves no longer of great added value.”

BANNER YEAR Lombard Int’l AssurMAY ance posted record results. New business premium income was €3.54 bill., up 15% from 2009, and funds under management jumped to €20 bill. compared to €16.25 bill. in 2009. The firm expects sales “to continue rising in 2011.”

3•

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Business

Information technology

Safe in the cloud?

Luxembourg financial firms have been missing out on the cloud computing craze because of the Grand Duchy’s strict data regulations. Might that be changing? Text: Aaron Grunwald — Photo: Olivier Minaire

Cloud computing provides huge cost and time advantages over traditional IT, but Luxembourg lags in its adaption rate, experts say. One main reason is the Grand Duchy’s strict data protection laws, which require financial institutions to keep all electronic information physically inside Luxembourg’s borders. Yet the industry is cautiously moving towards the cloud, as workable solutions become available. An Ernst & Young survey last year found that 79 percent of Luxembourg respondents--about half of whom were in financial services--“are not planning to move towards cloud computing,” reports Piet-Hein Prince, senior manager of IT risk and assurance at the firm’s Luxembourg office. “That is almost a mirror image of the rest of the world.” According to his colleague, Maxime Briere, 100 percent of Luxembourg companies cited “data leakage” as the main risk. “Surprisingly zero percent of Luxembourg respondents found performance management a risk.” At the same time, 75 percent of Luxembourg firms said they would consider using cloud solutions if providers were officially certified. Clear benefits The attraction comes down to simple economics. “Rolling out a server in your own environment might take you a couple days to a couple of weeks,” says Patrick Dalvinck, Benelux region director at Trend Micro. Just as an individual user could use Google’s email service, “If you go to a cloud, with a couple clicks of a mouse,

Patrick Dalvinck: hopes cloud-based security strikes the right chord with Luxembourg’s financial institutions

all of a sudden you’ve got your additional infrastructure up and running.” At Luxembourg’s financial institutions today, “the closer you get to core data, the more hesitant they are to put it in the cloud,” explains Bernard Moreau, CEO at Lab Group, a storage vendor certified by Luxembourg’s financial regulator. “Some of them do use the cloud for particular purposes. The main goal is not to move all applications, but just some specific applications,” such as marketing or website content, “where they can distinguish between critical and non-critical data.” However, he says, “There’s no black and white [rule], you just have to find the balance” that works for each firm.

Dalvinck reckons there are security advantages to be found in the cloud. Instead of putting performance-sapping programmes directly on a server or a PC, Trend Micro can checks internet traffic against a more powerful cloud-based system, and verify the physical location of servers that access data. He says his company is currently negotiating a deal to implement this new technology with one of Luxembourg’s largest banks. As for the risk of breaching the Grand Duchy’s specific regulations, Moreau admits “with cloud computing you could access the data from anywhere in the world. But it’s not because you can that you do.”

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05.05.2011 16:48:39 Uhr


Business

Trade and investment

objective: oslo A state visit to Norway is a chance to develop Luxembourg’s economic ties with the energy and eco-tech giant.

David Laurent/Wide

“DIRECT LINE TO LUXEMBOURG”

David Laurent/Wide

When the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess visit Norway May 30-June 1 with the foreign and trade ministers, they will be accompanied by a couple dozen Luxembourg business executives hoping to boost trade and investment between the two countries. According to STATEC, last year Luxembourg exported about 50 million euro worth of goods to Luxembourg--mainly metals and metal products--and imported goods valued at approximately two and half million euro, more than half of which was machines and appliances. While the economic mission is multisectoral in nature, three industries are being highlighted, says Carlo Thelen, head of the international department at the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce. Roundtables and matchmaking events in Oslo will focus on the renewable energy and eco-technology, healthcare and finance spaces. The tour will continue to Trondheim, home to several of Norway’s science and technology universities and research centres. Being part of a state visit “opens a lot of doors” for Luxembourg firms, explains Thelen. For example, member companies can invite key Norwegian contacts to the official reception with both heads of state, which will be held at Oslo’s city hall. “That is always very interesting” when building relationships with customers and partners. One company joining the visit is Société Electrique de l’Our (SEO), Luxembourg’s largest hydro- and wind-power generator. Although not currently active in the market, “Norway is a place where hydro is very developed,” says Claude Strasser, the firm’s secretary general. So

Bangladesh chamber

CHRISTINE STATUCKI: cautiously optimistic about finding potential partners in Norway

SEO is looking for big players interested in partnering on projects in third countries, depending on how European and Luxembourg regulations allow the CO2 emission certificates to be accounted. Another participant is the environmental engineering consultancy Betavi, based in Windhof. The firm helps dampen noise and vibration pollution at business, industrial and residential sites, such as the Banque de Luxembourg building on boulevard Royal in Luxembourg city (photo). Like SEO, Betavi does not yet have Norwegian connections and is interested in finding project partners, explains its director, Christine Statucki. For her, the visit is more fact-finding mission than marketing junket. “When you participate in these missions, you’ve got no guarantees that you’ll get something back.” A few years ago Statucki went with a delegation to the Netherlands, yet despite several promising follow-up meetings signed no deals. “But I’d like to try again.” AG

The new Bangladesh Business Chamber of Commerce of Luxembourg (BBCCL) launched in early May. Roy Suhash, president of the chamber and proprietor of the Restaurant Orchidée in Bonnevoie, says the association’s objective is “to make a direct line to Luxembourg.” Today imported Bangladeshi goods typically pass through three or four middlemen before they reach the Luxembourg market. Suhash would rather see profits go straight to Luxembourgish and Bangladeshi businesses. About 95 percent of scampi sold in the Grand Duchy comes from Bangladesh, he says. In addition to expanding seafood sales, Suhash reckons Bangladesh’s porcelain and garment markets are ripe for growth. The South Asian nation is also one of the world’s major scrap metal re-processing hubs, so “this could be one of the most interest things for a company like ArcelorMittal.” The BBCCL plans to host a conference later this year to give Bangladeshi entrepreneurs opportunities to network with businesses in the Grand Duchy. The group would like to see improved transport links as well. “Cargolux now flies to India.” He says the chamber will lobby carriers to fly “a little bit further to Bangladesh.” The BBCCL also has a cultural mission. “As you know Bangladesh has a very good cricket team,” states Suhash, who is keen the team visits Luxembourg and vice versa. “There could be some good practices.”

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05.05.2011 12:58:40 Uhr


SNAPSHOTS

Luxembourg 2015 (part II)

CALL FOR A COMMON VISION Photos: Olivier Minaire

On a sweltering evening in the auditorium of the International School of Luxembourg, the American Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg hosted the sequel to its successful Luxembourg 2015 talk last October. Not afraid to be what he called “contentious”, guest speaker Nicolas Buck cited reform of the education system, integration and national identity, the power of the public sector, delays in infrastructure development, the pensions problem and the need to attract people with skills among the key issues Luxembourg must tackle if it is to remain competitive. “There is a lack of a consolidated CEO model to work on a common mission,” said Buck of the problems minister of the economy Jeannot Krecké faces when “ fighting alone” to diversify the economy. “We seem to have five or six different ministries of the economy.” A panel consisting of Paul Heuschling (Universiy of Luxembourg), Sylvie Schmit (European Relocation Services) and Tom Theves (ministry of the economy) discussed the issues raised by Buck in a lively debate under the watchful eye of moderator Guy Castegnaro. DR

Nicolas Buck (Victor Buck Services)

Stefan Chorus (Streff ) and Sylvie Schmit (European Relocation Services)

Guy Castegnaro (Castegnaro Cabinet d’Avocats)

www.amcham.lu

Paul Heuschling (University of Luxembourg), Thierry Leterre (Miami University) and Adrienne Leterre Paul Schonenberg (AMCHAM) and Margot Parra (ISL)

Patrick Mina (Mina-Alexander Associates LLP) and Doug Sutherland

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05.05.2011 12:36:24 Uhr


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Business

Promoting Luxembourg

Life’s a beach Local production companies are not the only Luxembourg businesses attending this year’s Cannes film festival. Luxembourg & More is taking over the Croisette Beach Hotel’s private beach for the duration. Text: Duncan Roberts — Photos: Olivier Minaire

A prime slice of seafront real estate during this year’s Festival de Cannes will be in the hands of a company from the Grand Duchy. Luxembourg & More, a subsidiary of Events & More, is taking over the running of the private beach of the prestigious Croisette Beach Hotel. The opportunity arose after Events & More won a public tender to redesign the furniture and décor of the beach for the festival. “During subsequent discussions we were offered the chance to rent out the beach for ourselves,” explains Line Lesiakowski, marketing and communications manager. The company will be running the beach together with Jérôme Aubert, who has managed the beach for the past 19 years. It will be transformed into Les Jardins du Luxembourg, a real meeting place for film industry professionals during the festival and the Marché du Film-the huge market at the real business end of the industry that attracts a wealth of producers, creatives and sales teams to the south of France every May. “The beach will be a cosy networking venue, but not really extravagant like other beaches. We want to welcome visitors in a calm environment, with lounge music and a piano bar.” During the Semaine de la critique, for example, the beach will hold after-work events for journalists and industry players. And because it will not be hosting loud DJ parties, the Croisette Beach will also be the only plage with permission to stay open until

Cannes team: Olgert Gorani, Yann Crussely and Romain Profeta

5 a.m. “That is a huge advantage,” she says. “We want to create an atmosphere where stars can come and relax and not be bothered by paparazzi.” A Gentleman’s Club on the beach, complete with Chesterfields supplied by Brussels specialists London Gallery, will be run by Daniel Vallera--one of the unsung heroes of the festival, a sort of semi-­ official shoe-shiner to the stars--and will host whisky and cigar tastings. “We will be promoting Luxembourg, but in a more indirect manner,” explains Lesiakowski. “We will be showcasing Luxembourg’s potential, and will bring

some of our Luxembourg clients to Cannes to hold conferences and product presentations.” To help with the local promotion, Tara James from Ara City Radio will be broadcasting live from the Croisette Beach during the station’s morning show. And the beach will play host to an exclusive Luxembourg & More evening, with some 250 clients from the Grand Duchy and VIPs such as model Adriana Karembeu. Event project manager Romain Profeta will be managing the logistics, while the company’s sales and strategy development team of Olgert Goranio and

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05.05.2011 16:50:07 Uhr


Business

We will be showcasing Luxembourg’s potential”

Line Lesiakowski (here with Stéphane Mockels) Luxembourg & More

Luxembourg & More

Yann Crussley have been crucial in seeking sponsors for the project. The contract with the Croisette Beach Hotel is for five years. “This first edition is something of a test,” says Lesiakowski. “We will have to see what reaction we get down there. Our director, Stéphane Mockels, has already been to the festival a few times, but it is a first for the rest of us.” Away from the glamour of Cannes, Luxembourg & More works throughout the year to promote the Grand Duchy as a business tourist and incentive travel destination. “Luxembourg is either not well known--some people even think it is

the capital of the Benelux--or it has a clichéd image as being just a banking centre and nothing else. We want to break that image, to promote Luxembourg’s cultural and cosmopolitan aspect as well as its advantage as a central location--many European capitals are just two hours away by train or plane.” She is also a fan of the series of Is it true what they say about Luxembourg? promotional films made by several institutional partners last year. “They are very dynamic and contemporary, and that is the direction we are trying to go in. That is the image of Luxembourg we are also trying to communicate.”

In its efforts to promote Luxembourg as a business travel and MICE (meeting, incentive, conventions and events) destination, Luxembourg & More hosts “Fam Trips”, attends the industry’s most prestigious trade fairs such as the ITB in Berlin and IMEX in Frankfurt, participates in workshops organised by the National Tourist Office and the ministry of tourism, and is a member of EUROMIC and World of DMCs. The Croisette Beach Hotel opportunity provides the company with a chance to promote Luxembourg via prestigious partners to a wide range of businesses related to the film and media industries. www.luxembourgandmore.lu

May 2011 - delano - 35

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05.05.2011 16:50:12 Uhr


Business

Cross-border contracts

Attorney Jean-Luc Schaus of Pierre Thielen Avocats recently spoke at a British Chamber of Commerce luncheon about the pitfalls of international transactions. He told Delano that businesses should carefully consider the “applicable law” clause in their cross-border agreements. AG: What is an “applicable law” clause? J-LS: Most international contracts, if not all, bear a provision stating what law is supposed to apply to such contract. For instance a clause could say “this contract shall be governed by Luxembourg law.“ AG: Is it better to sign contracts under Luxembourg law? J-LS: As long as you choose the law of a civilised country--the UK, US, Luxembourg, Spain--it will not have a substantive influence on the outcome. All legal systems are reasonable and coherent in their own way. You can’t argue New York or Luxembourg laws are better or worse. They’re just different. What is true is that if you go to a judge here in Luxembourg and you plead a case under, for example, Spanish law, then it will cost you two or three times as much, and it will last two or three times as long. AG: WHY IS THAT? J-LS: You need to hire at least two legal teams. For example, an English law team and if you sue here, a Luxembourg legal team. If you plead a case under foreign law, then you have to prove [the foreign laws]. The judge does not know foreign law; he knows the law in his own jurisdiction. All of this is a nightmare in practice.

Olivier Minaire

Olivier Minaire

AVOIDING HEADACHES

Nicolas Kadri: mid-sized firms could potentially recover 20,000 euro

Tax

MONEY LEFT ON THE TABLE

The eyes of many business managers glaze over at the mention of cross-border VAT refunds, but KPMG aims to help recover millions of euro due to companies in the Grand Duchy. Luxembourg firms are failing to claim millions of euro in tax refunds each year, says KPMG Luxembourg. That’s despite the launch of an official online portal last year that was supposed to help make the process easier. So the consultancy recently launched a service to help clients recover cross-border value-added taxes (VAT). Under EU rules, companies are entitled to refunds on VAT paid in European countries where they do not operate. According to KPMG, this can include everything from travel expenses and professional service fees, to training courses and even mobile phone charges. Figuring out the eligible amounts is fairly complicated, as each country determines its own tax and refund rates for each good and service. There are no hard-and-fast rules for how much VAT a company can recover, explains Nicolas Kadri, the big four’s VAT manager. However, he estimates that KPMG can--for example--recover 20,000 to 30,000 euro for a Luxembourg-

based IT company with 150 employees. Until last year, companies had to “complete paper-based claim forms for every single country, in their language, and follow-up with each different VAT authority.” The Grand Duchy’s government introduced www.VATrefund.lu in 2010, which allows simpler electronic filings. Yet “you still have to follow-up with individual VAT authorities and there’s still the language issue,” Kadri says. In addition, users are limited to attaching five mega­ bytes of data for their supporting documents. “Most of the time companies don’t recuperate VAT because they don’t know they can or they don’t know how. Or if they know how, they don’t want to because it’s a complete hassle.” KPMG charges a fixed percentage of recovered taxes. “So there’s no risk: if there’s no refunded VAT, there’s no fee.” “We believe there is huge potential for this market,” says Kadri. He estimates that today only about 3,000 out of 30,000 Luxembourg firms are recovering crossAG border VAT refunds.

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05.05.2011 12:46:20 Uhr


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BUSINESS

Being green

NOT SO PASSIVE HOUSE

PwC hopes a recent acquisition will help make it the sustainable development leader. Can it make the fight against climate change profitable?

OECD data

RESTRICTIVE RETAIL CHINA - 4,58 LUXEMBOURG - 4,28 BELGIUM - 3,74 FRANCE - 3,11 GERMANY - 2,67 UNITED STATES - 2,63 EU AVERAGE - 2,43 UK - 2,03 RUSSIA - 1,94 BRAZIL - 1,77 SWEDEN - 0,50

LAURENT ROUACH AND JEAN-FRANÇOIS CHAMPIGNY: say PwC has the technical and financial savvy to make eco-friendly investments a success

Luxembourg ranks worst in the EU and second worst globally in retail sector over-regulation, according to a recent OECD study. Of the countries surveyed, only China has higher barriers to entry in retail trade. The Grand Duchy also has the most restrictive professional services market aside from South Africa. www.oecd.org

TAX TREATY REFRESH

Since January, revised double taxation agreements with Iceland, the Netherlands and Switzerland have officially gone into effect. The government also asked the Chamber of Deputies to approve revamped agreements initialled with seven jurisdictions, including Hong Kong, Panama and Sweden. www.impotsdirects.public.lu

WASTE NOT

Luxembourg residents are the most supportive in Europe of “pay as you go” garbage collection fees. According to a European Commission survey, 88% said they preferred paying an amount related to the quantity of waste their household generated, rather than taxes. Only 47% in Portugal supported the idea. www.ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/

Olivier Minaire

least restrictive = 0

The Grand Duchy’s sustainable development sector saw a big boost in visibility with the March 31 acquisition of engineering firm PROgena by PwC Luxembourg. With climate change and socially responsible investing ever higher on business and government agendas, the blended PwC team says it will offer investors the combined technical and financial services needed to ensure green investments are profitable. In the next few years, a plethora of new European regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency and waste reduction will come into effect, notes Laurent Rouach, founder of PROgena and now sustainability partner at PwC Luxembourg. At the same time, Jean-François Champigny, sustainability director at PwC Luxembourg notes it is already “obligatory for all CAC 40 listed companies” to produce environmental and sustainability reports. “We are sure it will also become obligatory” across Europe, eventually even for smaller firms. Most pressing for the real estate sector are the “passive house” requi-

rements that buildings generate nearly as much energy as they consume. Rouach says his fi rm, although large for Luxembourg, was often perceived as too small by real estate developers and fund managers. When PwC carried out its sustainable buildings survey last year, he was impressed with the calibre of people he met and its client base in the real estate funds market. While PwC could have tried to enhance its technical skills internally, purchasing PROgena “was the fastest way to acquire the relevant competencies, and the fastest way to be relevant in the industry,” says Champigny. The new group’s goal? “We want to be in the position to demonstrate to investors that a green building is better than investing in a non-green building,” he says. Since PROgena can certify buildings under French, German, UK and US rules, he says the new Luxembourgbased team will be able to address client challenges worldwide. “We are very confident we will become one of the centres of AG excellence in the field.”

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04.05.2011 18:34:03 Uhr


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THINK LOCAL: DAVE EVANS

British

“CHANGE YOUR PACE” DAVE EVANS: forget about how things worked where you lived before

Dave Evans is an advisor at the insurance broker Spectrum-IFA Group. Born in Holyhead, Wales, he grew up in Durban, South Africa, before returning to live in the UK for eight years. He has been a resident of Luxembourg since 1995. AG: Why did you move to the Grand Duchy? DE: My sister arrived a couple years before I did. We came to visit her and we had two very young children at the time. We liked the looks of Luxembourg, the feel of it. AG: What was the biggest surprise when you arrived? DE: The way the authorities make it so easy for you to arrive and get settled in. From the receptionist at the local commune to the tax office, they’re all approachable. They’ll all give you advice. They don’t just give you a form and say “read the manual.” AG: What was the biggest integration challenge you had? DE: When we first arrived we put our children in the local school system. That was pretty tough. I look back and it was a good move. They got basics in French, German and Luxembourgish. That’s a hell of a start for kids today. They still have these languages. One of my kids is at university in the UK and my son is doing his bac this year. I don’t think they appreciate--yet--

Resident in Luxembourg since the year Jean-Claude Juncker became prime minister, Dave Evans gives his insight into working and living in the Grand Duchy. Interview: Aaron Grunwald — Photo: David Laurent/Wide

what opportunities are out there because of their languages. It doesn’t matter what course of life they follow, what career, the languages do help. AG: Was the local school system frustrating for you as a parent? DE: They start giving them homework at a very early age. Not having the languages, it was very difficult to help with their homework. That was the greatest struggle for the family. We had a very candid, frank conversation with a teacher at our local school. He put his cards on the table when my kids were 10 and 11. He said, “ find another system. They’re struggling now; it’s not going to change. Get them out.” So eventually we got them into the European school, and the whole family dynamic changed. Life became so much easier. They were better behaved. I think they lost their frustration. AG: Do you think Luxembourg schools should change the lingual system? DE: It would be tough to do that without losing identity. Luxembourg is their country; they want to keep their identity, which is fi ne. But maybe there should be two school systems. AG: What is the biggest difference you see between Luxembourg and the UK, for adults? DE: I think everybody is less stressed in Luxembourg. There’s a lot more laidback attitude.

I used to travel three hours between Kent and London each day. That puts a huge amount of stress on people’s lives. It shortens their day. I think in Luxembourg, because there’s no real commute, you can become more familyoriented. There is time to do things. AG: What about in professional life? DE: Really, the country works. Through my work and being president of Rugby Club Luxembourg, I meet a lot of new arrivals in Luxembourg. Sometimes they get a bit stressed at the pace things work. Things do happen slowly, especially over the summer months. My advice is, don’t bang your head against the wall. It will happen. Change your pace; don’t expect Luxembourgers to change theirs. AG: How about in the insurance sector? DE: The insurance industry in the UK is so, in my view, over-regulated. I do believe regulation is good, but there are limits and I think the UK has gone too far. Europe has not, as yet, over-regulated things. AG: What advice would you give newcomers? DE: Mainly, forget about how things worked where you lived before. Every country is different. You really do give yourself a headache when you compare. I’m not an expat. I chose to come here, so I don’t have the “expat attitude.”

40 - DELANO - May 2011 08_p40_thinklocal.indd 40

05.05.2011 12:51:00 Uhr


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THE VIEW FROM ABROAD: ITAI HORSTOCK

Tel Aviv

HIGH-TECH POTENTIAL

Thanks to a new presence in Tel Aviv, Luxembourg’s relations with Israel’s technologically advanced economy could play a role in driving diversification

Sambach

Text: Duncan Roberts

Nahalat Binyamin Street

ITAI HORSTOCK Executive director of the Luxembourg Trade and Investment Office in Israel

Holding an LLM from New York University School of Law and LLB from Tel Aviv University School of Law, Itai Horstock is founder and managing partner at the Israeli venture capital fund Evolution. Since 1998, Horstock has served on various boards of directors of US and Israeli based funds and companies. He was also previously the legal advisor for the Israel consulate and economic mission to the USA and north of America.

Israel last year became the 3rd largest trade partner for Luxembourg in the Middle East region. This despite a fall in trade during 2010 from the heights of 2007 when exports from Luxembourg to Israel reached some 18 million euro (trade the other way stood at 1.9 million last year, compared to five million in 2007). Itai Horstock, executive director of the Luxembourg Trade and Investment Office in Tel Aviv, believes that the fact that Luxembourg’s economy is largely dependent on the banking sector, and that diversification efforts are still ongoing, partly accounts for the variations in the trade balance. “Such diversification efforts naturally take a lot of time.” Israeli presence in the financial sector is represented by Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi, while another Israeli company, Raval Europe S.A., has been in Luxembourg since 2002 and today has a staff of around 40. Furthermore, SNCI and BGL Investment Partners from Luxembourg have both invested in the Israeli Millennium Materials Technologies Funds. Luxembourg’s first trade mission to Israel was led by minister of the economy and foreign trade Jeannot Krecké shortly after the opening of the Tel Aviv office in June 2010. Recent visits by R&D and science delegations and by foreign minister Asselborn have also taken place. “All these presences are

crucial for strengthening trade links between both countries,” says Horstock. It is in the ICT and life sciences sector that Horstock believes trade between the two countries has potential to grow. “Industrial growth in Israel during the past decade…reflects a gradual transition from a declining traditional industry to the growing high-tech industry. Approximately 40 percent of the manufacturing industry is now classified as high-tech.” The Tel Aviv office is in discussion with the Israel Office of the Chief Scientist to explore the possibility of a bilateral R&D agreement with Luxembourg, which would serve as a platform for cooperation between companies from both countries interested in implementing joint R&D projects. “Luxembourg provides Israeli companies with a highly competitive legal and regulatory framework, a favourable economic environment and state-of-the-art IT hosting infrastructures,” says Horstock. Attractive intellectual property incentives, good government R&D support, rates, political stability and one of lowest VAT in Europe are other advantages that could attract Israeli investment. “What I personally like most about Luxembourg is that the government is very attuned to business needs; always open to suggestions before and during an investment.”

42 - DELANO - May 2011 08_p42_viewfromabroad.indd 42

05.05.2011 12:57:52 Uhr


11 july 2011 Open air at the Neumünster Abbey Concert

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To mark its tenth anniversary, paperJam is getting together with MyClimateLux asbl with the aim of raising awareness of climate change, the use of renewable energy sources and voluntary reduction of CO2 emissions among businesses and institutions. Concurrently, paperJam is launching a fund-raising campaign for MyClimateLux asbl, and is seeking companies willing to assist with this effort. In June 2011, to conclude our tenth anniversary year, paperJam will donate 100,000  to MyClimateLux asbl as part of a grand open-air celebration. The highlight of this event will be the release of 1,000 sky lanterns sponsored by 100 partners of the project. paperJam is looking for 100 businesses that will each sponsor 10 lanterns with a donation of 1,000  Please visit: http://myclimate.paperjam.lu/

02.03.2011 10:02:57 Uhr

06.05.2011 9:50:15 Uhr


business

The events planner

ON THE HORIZON

Delano presents a guide to the next two 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.

AMCHAM www.amcham.lu

British Chamber www.bcc.lu

15 •

TAX MAN

This evening business forum covers tax information exjune change and how to respond to a tax investigation.

26

NETWORKING EVENT

AMCHAM’s IT Committee hosts keynote speaker François Biltgen, minister of communications and media, for a members-only networking event.

• may

RTL Studios, Luxembourg-Kirchberg, 18:30

6•

june

ABAL LUNCHEON

Tom Seale, CEO of European Fund Administration, is keynote speaker.

Sofitel, Luxembourg-Kirchberg, 12:00

9

Expat Voting Issues

An evening panel discussion including key governmental and party leaders on political and voting issues impacting the expat community.

Hilton, Luxembourg-Kirchberg, time to be announced

1•

21

PHILANTHROPY

AMCHAM’s financial services committee hosts an event that asks how philanthropy in Luxembourg can gain momentum.

• june

Banque de Luxembourg, Luxembourg-Centre Ville, 18:00

7•

july

THE BIG ONE-FIVE

AMCHAM celebrates its 15 th anniversary.

Kikuoka Club, Canach, time to be announced

www.emiss.org

ICT MASTERS INFO

30 •

Informational session for those considering the new European may executive master’s degree in innovative service systems, which begins in September.

Deloitte

GOLF DAy

www.deloitte.com/lu

www.thebusinesslunch.lu

1•

JULY LUNCH

Organisers promote the monthly confab as “an opportunity to promote yourself and promote your business in this relaxed networking event.”

CANADIAN CLUB www.canadiansinlux.com

5•

july

COFFEE MORNING

Luxembourg’s Canadian community catches-up the first Tuesday of the month.

Art Café, Luxembourg-Centre Ville, 10:30-12:30

The group will join with other American organizations in hosting a Fourth of July picnic.

Venue and time to be announced

English-Speaking Church (Anglican) www.anglican.lu

19 •

june

CHURCH FAIR

One of Luxembourg’s best known charity fundraising events. Family friendly.

EUROPEAN JURIST’S FORUM www.eurojurist2011.lu

ART BANKING

26

Presentations on how to understand clients’ collecting behaviour and how to take informed decisions in an art banking environment, followed by a networking cocktail. Speakers include Deloitte’s Adriano Picinati di Torcello.

• may

Deloitte, Luxembourg-Cents, 17:00

july

The Last Supper, Luxembourg-Kirchberg, 12:30-14:30

july

INDEPENDENCE DAY

14 rue de Boevange, Useldange, 12:30

Golf Club de Luxembourg, Junglinster, starting at 10:00

The Business Lunch

4•

CRP Henri Tudor, 14:00-15:00

The chamber’s annual charity golf tournament, an 18-hole injuly dividual Stableford competition, is followed by cocktails and an evening prizegiving dinner. There will also be a Golf Clinic with the club pro in the afternoon, for beginners looking for an introduction to golf. 

• june

Venue and time to be announced

CRP Henri Tudor

Democrats Abroad Luxembourg www.democratsabroad.org

30

• may

MEMORIAL DAY

Democrats Abroad will participate with other associations in Memorial Day ceremonies.

Luxembourg American Cemetery, LuxembourgHamm, time to be announced

14 •

17

• june

18

• june

19

• june

6th ANNUAL FORUM

This legal conference addresses cross-border financial regulation, fundamental rights, and information law. Prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker and European commissioner Viviane Reding keynote. Simultaneous translation will be provided during each workshop in English, French and German.

Conference Centre, Luxembourg-Kirchberg, Thursday 14:00-18:30, Friday 09:30-12:30 and 15:00-17:30, Saturday 10:00-12:00

SECOND TUESDAY

The group’s regular monthly gathering is an informal gathering to discuss current political topics, upcoming events of interest to the overseas community, and ways to contribute to American politics.

june

The next edition of Delano will feature events starting from June 23 through the summer. We invite you to submit your events by sending an email no later than June 3 to: aaron.grunwald@maisonmoderne.lu

Brasserie Basso, Luxembourg-Grund, 19:00

44 - delano - May 2011 05_p44-45_business.indd 44

05.05.2011 16:56:41 Uhr


business

FFCEL

KPMG

www.ffcel.lu

www.kpmg.lu

Netherlands Commerce Forum www.nhf.lu

CHINA TRADE

17 •

Former consul general of the Netherlands in China Jochum may Haakma talks about doing business in the People’s Republic. In Dutch.

WORK-LIFE BALANCE

19 •

During this monthly networking lunch, Béatrice Martin of Kids june Care discusses how to reconcile personal and professional life.

Restaurant Brasserie Le Jardin, LuxembourgCentre Ville, 12:00

22 •

UCITS V DEBATE

Golf-Club Grand-Ducal, Senningerberg 19.00

Free seminar to discuss the European Commission consultation june paper and exchange views on the potential implications of UCITS V for Luxembourg, followed by cocktails.

The Network www.the-network.lu

KPMG, Strassen, 17:30

Indian Association Luxembourg

LUXEMBOURG FOR FINANCE

www.ial-lux.org

www.financialforum.lu

22 •

GOLF INTRO

The Network members, and their friends and families, get an intromay duction to the sport from golf pro Alexander Born.

Golf & Country Club, Christnach, time to be announced

CLASSIC CARNATIC

21 •

The IAL hosts a music performance by ‘Sushma Somasekhamay ran & her young troupe’ as part of their first European tour. Fundraiser for the construction of the Sankara Eye Care centre in Punjab province (www.sankareye.com)

Mamer Schlass, site of Mamer commune hall, 19:00

Indian Chamber www.ibcl.lu

INDIAN FUNDS

20 •

june Luxembourg.

The chamber hosts a discussion of asset management opportunities between India and

Venue and time to be announced

15 •

june

26 •

The 6th annual edition will discuss accelerated changes in international finance. Speakers include the prime minister, Jean-Claude Juncker and the head of Luxembourg’s financial regulator, Jean Guill (photo). In English and German.

may

13 •

MONTHLY MEETING

The Junior Chamber of Commerce Luxembourg promotes july citizenship and entrepreneurship for 18-40 year olds.

Venue to be announced, 19:30

European Investment Bank, LuxembourgKirchberg, 18:00

Rose of Tralee Luxembourg www.rose.lu

BOOGIE NIGHTS

14 •

“Start dusting down the jump suits and lacing up the platform boots” for this fancy dress fundraiser.

may

The Black Stuff Irish Pub, LuxembourgPulvermühle, 20:00

An insider’s guided tour of one of Luxembourg’s largest breweries.

Luxinnovation

ROSE BALL

Tenth anniversary ball will celebrate this year’s Rose, Aisling Mc Inerney, as well Roses from the past decade.

july

club.paperjam.lu

21 •

Hotel Royal, Luxembourg-Centre Ville, 19:30

Rugby Club Luxembourg

ONLINE HR 2.0

Keynote speaker Dave Mendoza is an award winning blogger and june open networking expert. In 2010 he was chosen as one of HRExaminer’s Top 25 Most Influential Online Recruiters.

Venue to be announced, 18:30

www.rcl.lu

18 •

GALA BALL

Much anticipated annual fête starts with a champagne reception, followed by dinner and “dancing till late.”

june

CYEL GALA

Venue to be announced, 17:30

The UN decade of biodiversity runs through 2020. This roundtable explores constructing infrastructure projects internationally and in Luxembourg.

may

2•

Centre de Conférence, Luxembourg-Kirchberg, 08:00-16:30

www.jcluxembourg.com

The chamber presents the 5th annual Creative Young Entrepreneurs Luxembourg Award.

BIODIVERSITY

24 •

LUXEMBOURG FINANCIAL FORUM

JUNIOR CHAMBER

june

www.pmi.lu

Brasserie Bofferding, Bascharage, time to be announced

www.luxinnovation.lu

16 •

BEER TOUR

PROJECT MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE

Hilton, Dommeldange, 19:00

26 •

BUSINESS MEETS RESEARCh

Informational and networking event for entrepreneurs and scientists seeking collaboration partners. Presenters include Biohealth Cluster chief Françoise Liners.

may

Chamber of Commerce, Luxembourg-Kirchberg, all day event

28

• june

Reinventing your Business

Presented by Marc Sniukas of Doujak Corporate Development, this interactive workshop provides insights on business model innovation in theory and practice.

Abbaye de Neumünster, Luxembourg-Grund, 08:30-13:00

14 •

University of Luxembourg www.uni.lu

25 •

may

GEODESY

Prof. Felix Norman Teferle lectures on global navigation satellite systems in the 21st century.

University of Luxembourg, Campus Limpertsberg, 16:00

FRENCH COCKTAIL

Although the event (nominally) celebrates Bastille Day with (mostly) French music, “Je t’aime moi non plus” aims to be a multicultural moment to mark the end of paperJam Business Club’s 3rd season.

july

Cat Club, Luxembourg-Hollerich, 18:00

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cover story

Claude Waringo

“Making quality cinema is the right road” As he prepares for Cannes, samsa film co-founder Claude Waringo reflects on the state of the local film industry and the company’s achievements over the past 25 years. Text: Duncan Roberts ­— Photos: David Laurent/Wide – cover and opener shot with analogic Mju camera

Claude Waringo (with Jani Thiltges, left): maintaining contact with young talent

The Hollywood cliché of a film producer as a brash, arrogant, egomaniac is thrown out of the window when you sit down for any amount of time with Claude Waringo. Like his co-founder at samsa film, Jani Thiltges, Waringo is softly spoken, assured and witty and has a soupçon of self-deprecation thrown in for good measure. The assuredness might seem a given to outsiders, who will note that samsa film this year marks its 25th anniversary--an achievement that is unique in the Luxembourg film industry. Waringo, however, does not take anything for granted. “If I think back to what I imagined 25 years ago, we are certainly in a position that you could never have even dreamed of,” he says. “We have had lots of luck. Things could have gone wrong over the last few years. But, I also think we have been good managers and our project choices have not been bad. And in many ways, some good news has always followed bad news;

whether it was a film that went well, a change to the law or simply filling a financial hole from a previous project.” Indeed, finances in the film industry are notoriously difficult to balance. Production companies more often than not live from one film to the next, and the collapse of project can have disastrous consequences. Waringo readily admits that samsa has really only achieved what he calls “stability” over the last five years. “Before that it was really a fight for survival.” Now samsa has grown and has a permanent staff of 12, but the company hires according to its needs for different projects. He explains that there is not a day goes by where ten people are not coming or going during the development stage or as part of a shoot. The samsa offices reflect this nomadic spirit, with a multi-functional office/meeting room that any of the company’s collaborators can use.

What pleases Waringo most, though, is that samsa has not only maintained but also nurtured contact with young directors and creative talent. “I have observed the situation abroad where young directors have said they would rather work with young producers or smaller companies.” Indeed, there is a plethora of up and coming youngsters working on features, short films, documentaries and animation projects who are eager to make films with samsa. “More than financial success or stability or whatever, that is what has given me the most joy.” So he has clearly not become jaded over the past quarter of a century? “It is not the great adventure it was before. You become more professional and have more responsibility, but it is still fun. Through the young directors you get to continue to experience what you did at the beginning. And you see them asking the same existential questions--am I good enough, do I have the strength and energy to survive in this

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cover story

Past achievements: posters of films, such as last year’s award winning La Régate, line the office walls

samsa film-artemis productions -amour fou filmproduktion-Patrick Müller

Future glory: Rob Stanley in Beryl Koltz’s Hot Hot Hot, due for release this autumn

industry. They are questions we still ask ourselves now and again.” Co-producing Keeping the job interesting comes easy to Waringo, simply by choosing different types of projects. Samsa makes art house cinema and some more commercial films, often with a budget of up to eight or ten million euro. “People who like our art et essai films can’t understand why we make something like a French comedy, and vice-versa--some question us making a film like Beryl Kolz’s Hot Hot Hot, with its strange universe. But we always try to find a balance, and you have to understand that everyone--technicians and actors, as well as ourselves--makes a good living from the commercial films. They can earn up to 20 or 30 percent more than their ‘normal’ wage.” Waringo and Thiltges share production duties, depending on which company is involved. Both have established networks that have

evolved almost organically over the years, though as a general rule Waringo is more likely to go with a project from Belgium (where samsa has its sister company, Artemis Productions) and Thiltges with France (where the company’s sister is called Liaison Cinématographique). The ever increasing significance of Germany, with its wealth of distributors, TV companies and sales agents, has also been noted by samsa. “Last year was the first time since the Second World War that Germany made more films than France. It is a market we cannot afford to miss out on. But it will not be a case of us saying ‘ here we are’. We want to find strategic partners.” Another samsa ambition is to develop its own world sales agency. “We simply loose too much money in commissions and costs. But as a sales agent you can get even closer to the market, make connections with other production companies that might eventually be interested in a project with

the group.” Although at an embryonic stage, Waringo also hints that samsa is looking at the idea of working even closer with its sister companies and maybe even creating one label--a strong brand identity that would give the company a more prominent presence at Cannes and other festivals and markets such as Berlin. “So we could be celebrating our 30th anniversary under a new name.” As a veteran producer, and an active member, and former president, of ULPA--the Luxembourg union of audiovisual producers--Waringo is in a good position to comment on the state of the local film industry. ULPA was instrumental in working with politicians and successive ministers to ensure the audiovisual law has been constantly improved to meet new challenges--it has been changed four times since 1989. “Which was vital, because although we were among the first in central Europe to introduce a tax shelter, we now have com-

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cover story

Jani Thiltges: samsa film’s co-founder is the producer of Cannes-selected Les Géants

Christian Kmiotek: samsa's finance director is an active player in the local and European film industry

petition from everywhere in Europe--even though many countries, and in particular France, were critical of the law when it was introduced. And we have had to react to that competition by altering the law. Not by increasing the amount of money available, but by making the system compatible for co-productions. As a small country we were forced to think differently, which has helped us stay one step ahead.” That has also helped samsa, as the company--and especially its back office team--has become highly skilled in the technical aspects of co-financing. “We can perform services for our production partners.” Studio project Looking into the future, a project for purpose-built studios in Dudelange is also in development. The complex, in the Hall Fondouq--the former steel mill used for events during Luxembourg’s capital of culture year in 2007--would

include four sound stages, post-production studios and even room for outdoor sets. “It would be a vital step in concentrating the local industry in one place. That would help improve the quality of service for foreign producers, because everything is rather scattered at the moment. It would really be a showcase for the Luxembourg industry, a sort of mini, mini, mini Cinicittà.” The principle for financing has been agreed, with costs being shared equally between the state, the production companies and the city of Dudelange, which is also home to the Centre National de l’Audiovisuel and is keen to set itself up as a “city of images”. Luxembourg’s industry is also being showcased at Cannes this year, where once again a Luxembourg film has been selected for the official programme (in 2010 it was Iris Productions’ Illégal, in 2009 samsa’s Ne te retourne pas and Melusine Productions’ Panique au Village). Samsa’s Les Géants has been given

the honour of closing the festival’s prestigious Quinzaine des réalisateurs selection. “I am really pleased because [the director] Bouli Lanners really insisted on shooting in the north of Luxembourg, because some of his family originated from there.” Les Géants already has a sales agent--Memento, which also invested in the film-but the prestige of being shown as the closing slot of the Quinzaine cannot be underestimated. Although Cannes, which is not just a festival but also a huge film market, is more important in terms of networking rather than doing actual business, says Waringo. “We now have partners in the natural co-production countries. So we no longer have to go actively seeking new projects and have meeting after meeting just to get our name known. Nevertheless, if you are not at Cannes, you are dead.” In addition, Thiltges is president of the Luxembourg-based EAVE training programme for audiovisual entrepreneurs,

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cover story

In the can: a selection of samsa film titles Christophe Wagner: the young director is preparing his first feature film, which will shoot this summer

Samsa film

which allows him to make contact with young producers across Europe. Les Géants will be released in Luxembourg this autumn, as will Hot Hot Hot, Beryl Koltz’s English-language feature film debut about which Waringo truly enthuses. “She is a natural screenwriter. She has managed to take the atmosphere of her short films and successfully transpose it into a feature.” Meanwhile, shooting starts this summer on Christophe Wagner’s first feature film following his impressive short Un Combat for samsa in 2002 and his well-received documentaries Ligne de vie and Luxembourg, USA. The new film, a crime thriller, pairs Luxembourg’s two finest actors, Jules Werner and André Jung, on screen for the first time. “I am optimistic about the future,” says Waringo. “I like the films we are making, even if some of them become commercial. Making quality cinema is the right road to take. We have to keep small films small, and not go down the road France has gone where films are 15 per-

cent more expensive each year.” But he also thinks that video on demand should be embraced--especially for Luxembourg films that have a limited market in the Grand Duchy because of the size of the country but that could interest foreign audiences and especially Luxembourgers living abroad. “ULPA is interested in improving the distribution and marketing of Luxembourg films via a VOD platform.” With cinemas becoming more geared towards the “event” of going to the movies, rather than a place to sit and watch films, and with home cinema technology becoming more and more sophisticated, there is little doubt the way audiences watch films is changing. “On the other hand technology also means that our product, to call it that, can be viewed anywhere. Maybe we just have to adapt the format to that technology. But still, I look at a film we have made and have the pride of a father, and can say ‘that’s why I am here’.”

25 years of production Samsa film can justifiably claim to have been there right at the start of what is now a thriving Luxembourg film industry. The company’s third feature film, WWII occupation drama Schacko Klak (1989), is often cited as the spark for the creation of Film Fund Luxembourg, which last year celebrated its 20 th anniversary. Since then samsa has produced and co-produced close to 60 feature films that have starred the likes of Jean-Claude Van Damme, Marianne Faithfull, Gerard Depardieu, Sophie Marceau and Monica Bellucci, as well as local films and a slew of shorts and award-winning documentaries. It currently employs 12 full-time staff and has sister companies in France and Belgium. www.samsa.lu

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04/05/11 17:03


NETWORKING

Nordic Countries-Belgium-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce

OPENING DOORS AND CLOSING GAPS Best known for its high level business lunch series, the chamber now hopes to improve networking opportunities in the middle ranks, and between Nordic interests in Belgium and Luxembourg.

Although it originated 14 years ago in Sweden, the founder and managing director of the Nordic Countries-Belgium-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (Nobelux) stresses the multilateral mission and structure of the group. In true Nordic egalitarian fashion, managing director Mathilde Nankwaya explains that its offices in Brussels, Luxembourg and Stockholm are all equal branches of the organisation. In contrast to the numerous national chambers of commerce active in the Grand Duchy which have a country or linguistic focus, Nobelux represents companies from across the Nordic region--Denmark, Finland, Iceland,

PRACTICAL INFO

Nordic Countries-BelgiumLuxembourg-Chamber of Commerce 13, place d'Armes L-1136 Luxembourg Tel: +352 26 45 96 73 info@nobelux.se www.nobelux.lu

Norway and Sweden--that have a presence in Belgium and Luxembourg, as well as Belgium and Luxembourg firms with operations or clients in the Nordic markets. While the American and British chambers in Luxembourg have successfully positioned themselves as serving the English speaking business community, Nankwaya says, Nobelux has a “strong Nordic identity.” “Like any other networking-oriented chamber, we give members opportunities to network and [raise the] profile of their businesses,” she says. “We also represent the interests of our members, of course, before different organisations and authorities. We are also a door-opener for members,

COUNCIL

Chair: Jan Stig Rasmussen Vice chairs: Michel Maquil Berndt Kockum Fredrik Rågmark Mathilde Nankwaya

EXECUTIVE

both to the local authorities and also to other members. From time to time I get calls from members, who say ‘I would like to get in contact with this company... can you help?’” She continues: “To a certain extent, we offer services for those seeking contacts when they are establishing themselves in the market. Some services they can get from Nobelux directly, and for some services we try to include other members’ competencies.” In Luxembourg, the chamber is probably best known for its monthly “Get together lunch” events, which attract high level speakers (such as government ministers and European commissioners) and high level attendees (such as CEOs and

Founder & managing director: Mathilde Nankwaya

MEETINGS

The chamber’s monthly Get Together Lunch is usually held on a Monday in Luxembourg. All Nobelux members can also attend the chamber’s monthly Business Lunch events held in Brussels (see box opposite).

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NETWORKING

THREE UPCOMING EVENTS:

MATHILDE NANKWAYA: building bridges between Belgium and Luxembourg

ticipate in events in Belgium, and vice versa. However, Nankwaya believes a more specific effort is needed because of the organisational structure of many Nordic companies. Many have offices in Belgium covering the Luxembourg market, or alternately an office in Luxembourg that must also serve customers in Belgium. Yet many are “not necessarily succeeding” with this approach. “It’s quite clear to me, there’s a need,” Nankwaya states. The goal is to “create a bridge between our members in Belgium and our members in Luxembourg, to facilitate exchange and networking, and to develop business opportunities.” The project will strictly target the Nordic-interested audience, and not seek to replicate the other well-established Belgium-Luxembourg groupings. The “more targeted events” should help Luxembourg members gain insight and exposure in Belgium. Likewise Nobelux will bring “Belgium company leaders to Luxembourg, so they can see how the Luxembourg financial sector works, how other AG markets here work.”

ASSET ALLOCATION

25

• MAY

SEB

country managing directors). “We’ve found a trademark with” the lunches, Nankwaya says. “When you attend our events, you meet the right people.” However, “we need to do more.” In fact, she notes another contrast with the Anglophone chambers, saying they do a better job of reaching down into members’ organisations. “Most of those participating [in Nobelux events] are top management,” Nankwaya explains. “You see a large representation in the British and American chambers at the middle management level.” To attract a wider crosssection of company employees, Nobelux started developing a new series of informal business networking events, which will be unveiled later this year. Nankwaya also stepped up use of social media, notably Nobelux’s LinkedIn group, to better connect with member companies’ staff. The chamber’s second big initiative this year is a programme to close the gap between Nobelux members in Belgium and those in Luxembourg. Already Luxembourg members can freely par-

18

• MAY

Speaker: Didier Reynders, Belgium’s deputy prime minister and finance minister (photo: on left, with Jean-Claude Juncker) Time: 12:30-14:30 Venue: Stanhope Hotel, Brussels

Speaker: Thomas Thygesen, head of X-asset research at SEB Time: 12:00-14:00 Venue: Hotel Parc Belair, Luxembourg GET TOGETHER LUNCH The Council of the European Union

Olivier Minaire

The Council of the European Union

ECONOMIC GOVERNANCE

20 • JUN

Speaker: Anders Borg, Sweden’s finance minister Time: 12:00-14:00 Venue: Hotel Parc Belair, Luxembourg More information on these events can be found at www.nobelux.lu

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LIFESTYLE GOING NATIVE

Local events

Now moved to a 7 p.m. start on Whit weekend, the 6th ING europe-marathon Luxembourg will once again attract a vast field of professional, amateur and novice runners.The course, one of the toughest on the circuit due to several climbs, winds its way through the city centre from Kirchberg. Additional vibes will be provided by samba bands, who also play on the eve of the race. Participants can choose to enter the full or half marathon, and there is also an event for teams of four. Regular registration is open until May 22, with late registration also possible on June 10 and 11. June 11, Luxembourg-Kirchberg and centre, www.ing-europe-marathon.lu

SPRANGPROZESSIOUN

So bizarrely unique that it was even deemed worthy of mention on UK satirical quiz Have I Got News For You, the Echternach hopping procession was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list last year. The event, held on Whit Tuesday, attracts thousands of visitors and participants to the town to watch or join in the procession that winds its way through the streets. Participants are linked by white handkerchiefs and move in preordained manner (there is a myth that this involves two steps forward and one step back, but it is slightly more complicated than that). First documented in 1100, the procession is founded on the cult of Saint Willibrord, a founder of the Abbey of Echternach, revered for his missionary activities and gift of curing certain illnesses. June 14, Echternach, http://willibrord.cathol.lu

ONT

ING EUROPE-MARATHON LUXEMBOURG

ONT

Luc Deflorenne (archives)

THREE PARTICIPATIVE EVENTS

OCTAVE

The sight of weary pilgrims trudging through the streets of the capital towards the NotreDame cathedral will become familiar to morning commuters in May. They are going to honour Our Lady of Luxembourg. All those weary pilgrims need sustenance, so food and drinks tents and stalls are set up on the place Guillaume II during the Octave. The traditional speciality is baked fish in a light batter, served with a generous portion of freshly cooked fries and washed down with a crisp Luxembourg white wine. May 14 to 29, Notre-Dame cathedral and Place Guillaume II, www.cathol.lu

Luxembourg is...

“ A DELICATE BLEND OF TRADITION AND MODERNITY, MIXED WITH A PINCH OF FRANCE, GERMANY, BELGIUM, PORTUGAL, ITALY AND MUCH MORE… THERE’S ACTUALLY A LOT OF EUROPE IN IT” JEAN-MICHEL COLLIGNON: director, Luxexpo

CLUB LIFE

A regular list of local associations. Submit a text for inclusion by sending a mail to: duncan.roberts@maisonmoderne.lu

SOCIAL

BUSINESS

A social club for Australians, New Zealanders, their families and friends, as well as for those who lived the down-under lifestyle.

A multilingual group of personal assistants who are building their professional networks.

THE ANZ CLUB www.anzclub.lu

EUROPEAN MANAGEMENT ASSISTANTS ASSOC. www.euma.lu

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GOING NATIVE LIFESTYLE

People in the news

THE CRUCIAL THREE THE KNOWLEDGE HOW TO... WIN CSI SHOWJUMPING TICKETS

Ranga Yogeshwar

RANGA YOGESHWAR

The Luxembourg-born TV presenter was awarded the German cardiologists’ association’s (DGK) annual prize for science journalism. Yogeshwar was born in Luxembourg in 1959 to a Luxembourg art historian and Indian engineer, and was educated in the Grand Duchy and India--finishing high school at the Lycée classique in Diekirch. He studied experimental physics at university in Aachen and is now a star of popular German television science shows such as Wissen vor 8, and is also the author of several books. He was awarded the 2,500 euro DGK prize for service to broadening the appeal of science.

PASCAL SCHUMACHER

Delano is giving away two pairs of Sponsors’ Lounge tickets for each day on June 17, 18 & 19 at the Réiser Päerdsdag CSI Luxembourg international show-jumping tournament. The three-star level tournament attracts quality horses and riders from all around the world, and also includes a host of entertainment and culinary attractions. Competitions take part each day, climaxing with the Grand Prix Luxembourg on Sunday afternoon.

Boris Breuer

The vibraphone player has just released his fifth Pascal Schumacher Quartet album, Bang the Can, on Enja Records. The 32-year old studied at the Conservatoire in Luxembourg City and is now back there teaching in between composing and playing with his own quartet (featuring pianist Franz von Chossy, bassist Christophe Devisscher and drummer Jens Düppe) and as a duo with pianist Jeff Neve. The quartet plays Dudelange on May 19 and then selected European dates before heading to Australia for six dates in June.

To win a pair of tickets, simply answer this question: The Réiser Päerdsdag CSI Luxembourg now has how many stars on the international tournament scale? Send answers and contact details and preferred date to: duncan.roberts@maisonmoderne.lu. Deadline is May 30. Winners will be notified by email.

MARIE-JEANNE CHÈVREMONT-LORENZINI

Julien Becker

The former managing partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers and current senior advisory at Arendt&Medernach was awarded the honour of Les Insignes de Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur at a reception hosted by French ambassador Charles-Henri d’Aragon on May 12. As well as being a leading figure in the local business scene, Mme. ChèvremontLorenzini is actively engaged in several philanthropic activities, including the Little Plus--Toutes à l’école association that encourages education for girls all over the world.

www.jumping-reiser.com

SPORT

SOCIAL

POLITICAL

Offers competitive and leisure rowing on the Moselle from May to October.

Women from across the Nordic region get together in Luxembourg to participate in trips, dinners, cultural activities and sports.

Group that represents the interests of overseas Americans, and communicates their concerns to leaders in Washington.

LUXEMBOURG INT’L ROWING CLUB www.luxrow.org

NORDIC WOMEN’S CLUB

www.nwc.lu

REPUBLICANS ABROAD www.republicansabroad.lu

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LIFESTYLE

Seven live performances to watch

ON STAGE

MOBY

SELL OUT GUARANTEE

Den Atelier is bringing Moby back to Luxembourg for a fifth show, this time at the Rockhal. Be warned, the previous four shows at the Hollerich venue sold out very quickly, so tickets may already be gone but will be worth seeking out via ticket exchanges. Moby will be releasing his latest album, Destroyed, on May 13.

Winfried Koks

June 15, Rockhal, Esch-Belval, www.atelier.lu

DANZ FESTIVAL LËTZEBUERG

DELIGHTFUL FINNISH The annual festival of dance focuses on Finland with performances by the Alpo Aaltokoski group as well as the latest work by Luxembourg-based Finnish choreographer Anu Sistonen. Titled Image X, the abstract multimedia work sees Sistonen join forces with photographer and video artist Miikka Heinonen, whose dance photos will also be shown in an exhibition titled Motional Issues during the festival Finland is also represented by Johanna Ikola, who will be giving dance classes. Other foreign guests include France’s Camille Mutel,

and Spanish troupe CobosMika company. Local dance artist Tania Soubry and didgeridoo player Lex Gillen also team up for one of three “After Hours” performances at 10 p.m. Before each evening’s feature show, at 8 p.m., Belgian troupe Compagnie Irene K. will perform a different dance on the forecourt for free (photo shows Masami Sakurai and Hiroshi Wakamatsu performing Inside Time/Outside Space, scheduled for May 27). May 26 to 29, CarréRotondes, Exit07 & Fondarch, Luxembourg-Hollerich, www.danzfestival.lu

SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY

MAHLER’S DEATH KNELL Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony have come to specialise in Mahler’s symphonies, and here play the composer’s final (completed) work. It is, says the conductor, one of the most profound works in the symphonic repertoire. ”The Ninth is in turns poignant and devastating, encompassing the depth of Mahler’s passion for life as he knowingly approached his own demise.” May 27, Philharmonie, LuxembourgKirchberg, www.philharmonie.lu

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LIFESTYLE TRANSATLANTIC DIALOGUE

CULTURE CROSSES OCEANS The University of Luxembourg has teamed up with universities in the USA, including Miami University (Ohio), Northern Arizona and Bowling Green State to produce a programme of conferences, exhibitions and live performances. Several events are open to the public, including a European Soirée at the Cercle featuring a reading with music of Dana Rufalo’s epic poem I am the viola da gamba of the singing building, an American Soirée at Abbaye Neumünster with dance troupe Steps Afrika! and a concert by the Miami University Men’s Glee Club (photo) at the Protestant church. May 25 to 28, Cercle, Abbaye de Neumünster, Protestant Church, Luxembourg, http://transatlanticdialogue.uni.lu

DARKSTAR

DUB DREAMS Recruiting singer James Buttery for their first album was clearly a smart move by James Young and Aiden Whalley, the duo who formed Darkstar at university. Their ear for a melody coupled with the downbeat, almost industrial melancholia is perfect for a record titled North. Imagine the dark materials of early 80s northern English electronica --Human League or New Order-melded with dubstep sensibilities. May 20, Exit07, LuxembourgHollerich, www.rotondes.lu

POPS AT THE PHIL

Joshua Jordan

BENIN BEATS

Beautiful Beninoise singer Angélique Kidjo brings her band to the Philharmonie to join local composer Gast Waltzing for the annual Pops concert. Waltzing takes up the baton to conduct the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg for a programme that promises to run the whole gamut of popular music-- Kidjo’s repertoire includes cover versions of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Gimme Shelter’ and Santana’s ‘Samba Pa Ti’. June 8, Philharmonie, LuxembourgKirchberg, www.philharmionie.lu

THE GIACOMO VARIATIONS

MALKOVICH IN THE MIDDLE John Malkovich is no stranger to Luxembourg. He was here to film The Shadow of the Vampire some eleven years ago, and last year made his debut at the Philharmonie in The Infernal Comedy. This time he plays Giaciomo Casanova in this complex chamber opera play written and directed by Michael Sturminger. In the face of his approaching death, Casanova looks back on his life and slips into various roles from Mozart operas--he was a close friend of librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte. The result is a piece that is both philosophical and humorous. May 21 & 22, Philharmonie, Luxembourg-Kirchberg, www.philharmonie.lu

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LIFESTYLE

Theatre

THE RIGHT CONNECTION English director Douglas Rintoul speaks about Patrick Marber’s Closer, which he is directing at the Capucins this month. Text: Duncan Roberts — Photo: David Laurent/Wide

Douglas Rintoul’s latest professional engagement in Luxembourg, Patrick Marber’s Closer, is, he says, a continuation of his previous work as a director at the Capucins, Noel Coward’s Design for Living. Not only in that two of the lead actors--Jules Werner and Myriam Muller--are the same, but also in its context. “I knew Closer and it felt the right sort of connection to the Coward piece. It is a continuation in a much more 20th century way.” Indeed, Patrick Marber has admitted that the form of his play was “stolen” from Coward’s Private Lives-the idea of two couples switching-while the time frame is derived from Harold Pinter’s Betrayal. Appropriately enough, Rintoul has directed Betrayal and Werner and Muller have also previously acted in Pinter’s acclaimed play. “It is seemed right that there was a thread, a journey through the work, which you don’t always have the opportunity to do.” That thread is also underlined by a connection with the local English-language theatre community. For Design for Living Rintoul added local Englishspeaking actors to the cast, and while here this time he led a series of free workshops for the community. Working in Luxembourg has also been enlightening in other ways. “One of the great joys of working in theatre is that it is so immediate. You have all that investment and then it disappears. Because of that, each country has its own way of working, and, though rare, it is exciting to cross borders, because you discover such different ways of working.” The director thinks he shocked everyone with his technical rehearsal,

DOUGLAS RINTOUL: a journey through the work

because in Britain he was used to having everything in place and slowly and meticulously working through the rehearsal. “Whereas here you just keep running and everything accumulates gradually. But at the end of the process the technical team said they saw the validity of working in that way as well. There is no one way of making theatre.” Working with a non-native English speaking cast has not fazed the director. “It is a very British play, but it could actually take place anywhere.” Indeed, Rintoul has enjoyed working with actors with different training--Icelandic actress Elisabet Johannesdottir has American, Stanislavsky training, Myriam Muller has a French background and Jules Werner was trained in the UK. The only English actor, Richard Shackley,

whom Rintoul brought with him, actually trained in Wales. In November Rintoul will return to Luxembourg with Invisible, a production for his own Transport company. “It is about globalisation and migration, fluidity of identity and language. So Luxembourg, with its confluence of people, is exactly the place a piece like that should be.” Rintoul, who first visited Luxembourg in 2005 as director of the chorus in the Barbican production of Julius Caesar, is delighted that Frank Feitler, director of the city’s two theatres, and Marc Olinger, the former head of the Capucins, have recognised that there is a place in Luxembourg for home-made English-language productions, and not just touring companies. www.theatres.lu

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season

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LIFESTYLE

Four films to watch

ON SCREEN

Summit Entertainment

TALK TO THE HAND If Mel Gibson is trying to re-ingratiate himself with cinema audiences, he could hardly have chosen a more off the wall role than this. In Jodie Foster’s third film as director, Gibson plays successful businessman and father Walter Black, who has lost his way and suffers from debilitating depression. When Walter’s wife (Foster) kicks him out he fi nds rehabilitation via a glove puppet beaver. Billed as a darker version of Harvey, in which James Stewart befriended an imaginary six-foot rabbit, the trailer to The Beaver seems to indicate that Foster has not shied away from sentimental melodrama. Released May 27

Screen Gems

THE BEAVER

COUNTRY STRONG

TWANG

Country music has made for some brilliant films--think Robert Altman’s Nashville or last year’s Crazy Heart starring Jeff Bridges, or even the biopics of Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline. Sadly, everything points to the fact that Country Strong will not be joining that illustrious roll call. Gwyneth Paltrow plays (and sings) a washed up alcoholic country legend who begins A Star is Born type relationship with a young buck, played by TRON: Legacy star Garrett Hedlund. Predictable and probably for true Country fans only. Released May 27

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES

SAIL FOURTH

THE TREE OF LIFE

Walt Disney Pictures

Belga Films

MALICK AFORETHOUGHT

With annoying Brits Bloom and Knightley out of the equation, and Penelope Cruz adding lustre, maybe the Pirates franchise can recover from its disastrous third outing. Johnny Depp returns as Jack Sparrow searching for the fabled Fountain of Youth. Cruz is his former lover and Geoffrey Rush is also on board, while Richard Griffiths plays King George II. Released May 18

Having taken a 20-year sabbatical bet ween his second fi lm, Days of Heaven, and The Thin Red Line, Terrence Malick is becoming veritably prolific by making his third fi lm in 12 years. The Tree of Life may well repeat his Cannes triumph with Days of Heaven (which won the best director award) as it has been selected in competition at this year’s festival. The appearance of Brad Pitt and Sean Penn and their respective partners on the Croisette will certainly cause a media storm. Pitt plays a father who tries to give his son (played in adult life by Penn) valuable life lessons that inevitably lead to conflict in what is essentially a coming of age, loss of innocence story. This being Malick, the film is beautifully shot and judging from the trailer has what Roger Ebert described as the “elegiac” tone of Days of Heaven. Released May 18

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with a Full English Menu


LIFESTYLE

ANDRÉ HUFER AT THE PIANO BAR

Casino 2000

Luc Deflorenne

BEHIND BARS

SPRING MENU

LES ROSES’S SIGNATURES

André Hufer has returned to the country of his birth to take over as the new head bartender at the Hotel Le Royal. He began his career as a baker’s apprentice, but then re-schooled to enter the hotel business. After some local jobs as a receptionist, Hufer started as a barman at the Marriott in Hamburg and then worked at several top-class hotels in Switzerland. Apart from the piano, the Royal’s bar is renowned for its selection of whiskies, with some 107 different brands and vintages available, as well as creative cocktails.

The seasonal selection created by chef Alain Pierron at Les Roses at the Casino 2000 in Mondorf reflects the style he has brought to the restaurant since taking over from his former boss, Peter Körner, in September 2009. One of his signatures is finger food entrées such as a crisp of brown shrimps with sweetbread caviar and cold ratatouille or Ourdal trout with artichoke. A five-course tasting menu including three glasses of wine and coffee is available on Thursday evenings.

www.leroyalluxembourg.com

News and recommendations for

EPICUREANS AND NIGHT OWLS

www.casino2000.lu

CELEBRATE THAI FLAVOURS Luc Deflorenne

TERRACE BREW NEWS

Just in time for the warmer weather, locally produced Battin brews have a new look. While the taste remains the same, all three blondes sport new packaging: Battin Gambrinus (youthful, easy to drink); Extra (strong, take your time); and Fruitée (distinctive, fruity). The brand has no website: “Just log off and have a Battin,” a spokesman says playfully.

The Thailand restaurant in Belair and its city centre sister Thai Celadon host their eighth Ramayana Festival. The fortnight celebrates not only the best of Thai cuisine, but also an important work in Thai culture derived from the Hindu epic detailing the life of Rama. Restaurant founder Lek Zimmer creates a superb menu that provides regular diners with something different and novices with a real taste of Thai cuisine. Starters, for example, include a selection of

Comed

FESTIVAL RAMAYANA SPRING BEERS

Thai hors-d’œuvres or a beautifully refreshing salad with scampi, beans and groundnuts. Scampi--this time stuffed with green asparagus--also feature among the choice of fish dishes, alongside steamed Gulf of Siam bass. Meat dishes are either an Udorn chicken with noodles and fresh vegetables (photo) or pork served Bangkok street style with potato salad. Dishes can be ordered à la carte or as a three-course menu. Until May 29, www.thai.lu

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LIFESTYLE

Good table guide

TERRACE DINING Texts: Duncan Roberts — Photos: Olivier Minaire

The unique menu du jour lunch menu at Go Ten is delicious and beautifully simple, and the carrot cake is divine. But, situated near the Chambre des deputés and Urban, not to mention the Grand Ducal palace, the terrace is also a great place for people watching--spotting parliamentarians, people sneaking in a long lunch at Urban and groups of tourists will keep you entertained for hours. Go Ten, 10 rue du Marché-aux-Herbes, Luxembourg, tel: 26 20 36 52, www.goten.lu

Luc Deflorenne

GO TEN

MELUSINA

Down in Clausen the view from the sun-drenched terrace of the Melusina may have been spoiled somewhat by the Rives de Clausen complex on the opposite river bank, but you can still enjoy a fine lunch menu (combining a choice of a main course, starter and dessert) and views onto the Bock rock and the old town. The evening menu by Gilbert Welter is also well worth checking out--fine dining at reasonable prices. Melusina, 145 rue de la Tour Jacob, tel: 43 59 22, www.melusina.lu

IL FRAGOLINO

JUEGDSCHLASS A veritable Luxembourg institution, the Juegdschlass is one of those places where it seems the menu and décor hasn’t changed for decades--though seasonal dishes such as asparagus and game are added to the menu when appropriate. The terrace offers some great views across the valley into the Grünewald and is a calm and discrete place to enjoy a light lunch such as a brochette de scampi or a typically Luxembourgish dish such as Ham, fritten an zalot and then stay for an aperitif (a chilled framboise sauvage, for example). The historical building, built in 1873 as a hunting lodge for steel mill owners, is also home to peacocks and a playground for kids, and is a great starting point for a walk in the woods. Juegdschlass, 400 rue des Sept-Arpents, Luxembourg, tel: 33 71 37, www.juegdschlass.lu

The walled garden of Il Fragolino is a perfect getaway, an oasis in the city. The waiters may be a bit posey--many of them prance around like wannabe Italian male models--but the service is efficiently managed by Lauria Rosa and the food is very good. A great lunchtime or evening venue on a warm spring or summer day. Il Fragolino, 56-58 Montée de la Pétrusse, tel: 26 48 02 67, www.il-fragolino.lu

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LIFESTYLE

MAYA WEYERMANN: CHANDIGARH

GINO RICCA

CULTURE CLASH

GOING UNDERGROUND

Maja Weyermann

Maja Weyermann’s photos take an in depth look at Chandigarh, the Indian city largely designed by Swiss architect Le Corbusier in the 1950s. In particular she focuses on the contradictions and confl icts that arose when Corbusier’s European urban planning and architecture met Indian social and cultural traditions. The exhibition is presented by the Fondation de l’Architecture et de l’Ingénierie and galerie Nosbaum & Reding, under the patronage of the Swiss embassy and with support from Swiss Re. Gino Ricca

Until June 4, Fondation de l’Architecture et de l’Ingénierie, Luxembourg-Hollerich, www.fondarch.lu

Known for his X-Non-Magazine fanzine in the 80s and 90s, Gino Ricca was a true “face” of the Luxembourg nightlife scene. But before he arrived in Luxembourg he spent time in London, Paris and Berlin as an artist and photographer. This exhibition is a chance to view some of the photos he took of Underground Models of the 60s.

Four exhibitions to see

VISUAL ARTS

Until May 14, Galerie Nosbaum & Reding, Luxembourg-old town, www.nosbaumreding.lu

ROBERT DOISNEAU

Atelier Robert Doisneau

Just across the border from Schengen, the Château de Malbrouck is well worth a visit before the end of August to take in an exhibition of photographs by Robert Doisneau. Renowned for Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville, the iconic “kiss” photo that came to symbolise Parisian post-war romance, Doisneau’s real skill was in finding beauty in the mundane, and especially in children’s street culture after WWII. “The marvels of daily life are so exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street,” he said. The exhibition features some 300 photographs, including some previously unseen and around 50 taken in Lorraine, providing a touch

Aneta Grzeszykowska

MORE THAN A KISS

of local fl avour. Many of the images are memorable and convey what the Encyclopaedia Britannica calls Doisneau’s “exquisite sense of humour...anti-establishment values, and...deeply felt humanism.” Until August 28, Château de Malbrouck, Manderen (France), www.chateau-malbrouck.com

SECOND LIVES

VIRTUAL REALITY Curators Paul Di Felice, Kevin Muhlen and Pierre Stiwer have brought together a selection of artists who tackle the theme of virtual worlds and the people who find refuge in them. Often these are people who hide their identity behind a “mask” that allows them to express themselves freely. From May 15 to September 11, Casino - Forum d’art contemporain, Luxembourg-centre, www.casino-luxembourg.lu

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LIFESTYLE

Four events for

FAMILIES AND KIDS SUMMER ACTIVITIES (I)

The city of Luxembourg’s SdS Sportwochen programme provides opportunities for youngsters to take part in courses including football, sailing, golf, horse riding, mountain biking, skateboarding and rock climbing throughout the summer. Most of the courses are in Luxembourg, though sailing and surfing courses--strictly limited to kids aged between 13 and 17--take place at Brouwersdam in the Netherlands and Lake Como in Italy. Courses take place between July 17 and September 4. Registration is open to anyone, though residents of Luxembourg City get reduced prices. www.vdl.lu

KPMG-CITCO LUXEMBOURG OPEN

LANGUAGE CAMPS Travel agency Sales-Lentz is offering new language learning camps together with the Berlitz language centre. The camps are hosted in Luxembourg and are aimed at children aged 10-17. Combining language learning with activities such as kayaking, hiking and other sports, students can playfully learn English or French.

Olivier Minaire

OPEN DAY

KPMG-Citco Luxembourg Junior Open

May 27-29, Top Squash, Sandweiler, www.ljopen.lu

SUMMER ACTIVITIES (II)

www.sales-lentz.lu

SQUASH

A first for Luxembourg, the KPMG and Citco Luxembourg Junior Open Squash Tournament will be held in at the Top Squash club in Sandweiler over the last weekend in May. President of the Luxembourg Squash Federation, Stephen Kaiser, hopes that if the tournament is a success, it will become an annual fi xture in the squash calendar. “The birth of the tournament came from enthusiastic parents whose children have participated in European Junior Circuit tournaments.” Spectators are welcome to lend support.

Berlitz Luxembourg

SPORTS CAMPS

The Luxembourg City conservatory is hosting an open day featuring presentations and information sessions on its music singing and dance courses, and a behind the scenes look at the institution. Students from the school will also be performing throughout the day. May 21, 10:00-16:00, Conservatoire de Musique de la Ville de Luxembourg, www.cml.lu

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MY OTHER LIFE: XAVIER THILLEN

Long distance running

MARATHON MAN The head of production at Broadcasting Center Europe (BCE) regularly races and loves to discover new cities with his running shoes.

Olivier Minaire

Text: Duncan Roberts

Xavier Thillen

Xavier Thillen

LONG DISTANCE RUNNING

The Fédération Luxembourgeoise d’Athlétisme (FLA) helps organise numerous fun runs and street races throughout the year. Many are open to the public, with the most popular annual events being the Postlaf in March, the Ousterlaf in Grevenmacher on Easter Monday, the ING Europe-marathon Luxembourg in June, the JP Morgan City Jogging in July and the Route du Vin semimarathon and Walfer Vollekslaf in the autumn. But the joy of running is that it can be practised anywhere --as Xavier proves in Zagreb (photo). www.fla.lu

Although it was football that first caught Xavier Thillen’s sporting imagination, by the time he was a student he had started running. An encounter with the Hash House Harriers (the fun run group with branches all over the world) while on a student exchange in Nicaragua served to fire what is now a true passion. Upon his return to Luxembourg to work for RTL productions in 1993, Xavier started doing 10K street races and half-marathons--though he admits he had off seasons and that it was only after his children were born that he became a truly dedicated runner. He is now a regular participant in the Route du Vin along the Moselle at the end of September and the Walfer Vollekslaf at the beginning of October. “The climate is perfect for running at that time of year,” he says. Xavier ran his first full marathon when he did the ING Europe-marathon Luxembourg in 2009, and is keen to run one a year--time restrictions not really permitting the commitment to train for more. “I think running the marathon requires a certain maturity. I had wanted to do my first marathon at 40, but I missed out. So I did it at 42; for 42 kilometres.” He followed the ING with the Berlin marathon last year, joining an official delegation of some 40 runners, and 15 rollerbladers, from RTL Group. Many of those runners have carried on training in an informal capacity and, along with Xavier, will

take part in the Cologne marathon this October. The group trains for races two evenings a week with a dedicated trainer; in the Kirchberg woods during the seasons of late daylight and at the Coque in winter. “It is great that we have the woods up here, they are a perfect location. And the company has a fitness room with shower facilities, so we can even run at lunchtime.” As head of production at BCE, Xavier travels all over Europe and to the United States to meet clients. His running shoes are now automatically part of his luggage. “In a city I haven’t before been to I love to get up early, as soon as the sun rises, and run. It is a great way to discover a city and it also frees the mind, to help me think about the day ahead, prepare for a meeting or even find a solution to a problem.” Xavier’s children have followed in his footsteps. Xavier jr. is a goalkeeper for RM Hamm Benfica under 11s and also trains with the football federation’s under 12s, while Christina is as keen a runner as her father. Indeed, she is the current Luxembourg cross country champion in her age group. “We spotted quickly that she was a fast runner; she could keep up with her older brother. And she enjoyed it and felt good running,” says Xavier with pride. But Xavier can also take pride in his own achievements--his personal best for the marathon is a very respectable 3h36mins, while he has run the half marathon in 1h34mins.

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Delano May 2011  

Delano Magazine May 2011