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UNDERSTANDING LUXEMBOURG: CURRENT AFFAIRS, BUSINESS, LIFESTYLE, CULTURE
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Luxembourg’s first reign as European Capital of Culture in 1995 is often seen as a watershed for culture in the Grand Duchy. The conservative, elitist stranglehold on culture was broken and there suddenly emerged a tribe of fresh and exciting administrators, curators, artists and entrepreneurs interested in culture who were open to new ideas and concepts. It was a time of optimism, when everything seemed possible. Indeed, one of the institutions that emerged from the Capital of Culture year, the Casino Luxembourg-Forum d’art contemporain has just celebrated its 15th anniversary. Last year concert hall den Atelier also marked its 15th anniversary with a seemingly bright future ahead of it at a new, larger venue--the former slaughterhouse in Hollerich. That future has now been gazumped by political profiteering ahead of this year’s local elections. Local residents, fearful that the area would turn into another Rives de Clausen, were opposed to the concert hall being moved to their neighbourhood. But were they really aware of the
difference between a concert crowd of music-lovers and the drunken revellers at the bars in Rives de Clausen? Or were they just assuming the worst case scenario? If so, opposition parties in the city were not shy in jumping on the populist bandwagon and decrying the den Atelier plans. Faced with a wave of polemic, the den Atelier management has gracefully withdrawn from the farce. Which is a crying shame, because den Atelier has done more than most public or private institutions to put Luxembourg on the cultural map. An expanded venue could have attracted an even wider range of acts and helped further debunk the myth that Luxembourg is a boring place where nothing happens. Because if that is still the perception abroad, then attracting new business to the Grand Duchy is an uphill battle. We need politicians of all colours, administrators and the public to think back to those pre-’95 days, when Luxembourg was a cultural desert, and to think ahead to a future in which, once again, anything is possible.
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photo: François Zuidberg
Discover a world of music
Season 2011/12 Chicago Symphony Orchestra – Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra – The Cleveland Orchestra – Wiener Philharmoniker – Gewandhausorchester Leipzig – London Symphony Orchestra – New York Philharmonic – Orchestre de Paris – St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra – Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg – Israel Philharmonic Orchestra – Il Giardino Armonico – Riccardo Muti – Valery Gergiev – Christian Thielemann – Yuri Temirkanov – Esa-Pekka Salonen – Alan Gilbert – Franz WelserMöst – Riccardo Chailly – Zubin Mehta – Emmanuel Krivine – Vladimir Jurowski – Philip Pickett – Christoph Prégardien – András Schiff – Truls Mørk – Ian Bostridge – Lang Lang – Emmanuel Pahud – Maria João Pires – Hélène Grimaud – Julia Fischer – Leila Josefowicz Grigory Sokolov – Sergey Khachatryan – Christian Gerhaher – Mitsuko Uchida – Artemis Quartett – Anne Sofie von Otter – Rafał Blechacz – Xavier de Maistre – Takács Quartet – Magdalena Kožená – Quatuor Modigliani – Daniel Hope – Diana Damrau – Radu Lupu – Dame Gillian Weir – Quatuor Capuçon – Martha Argerich – Isabelle Faust – David Guerrier Mariza – McCoy Tyner – Souad Massi – Joshua Redman – Zaz – Brad Mehldau – Anoushka Shankar – Joe Lovano – Maria Schneider Orchestra – Cristina Branco – Kodo – Carl Davis – Dobet Gnahoré – Jason Moran – Berlin Comedian Harmonists – Blechschaden – Gast Waltzing Klangforum Wien – Heinz Holliger – Reinhold Friedl – L’Instant Donné – Ensemble Resonanz – Steve Karier – Pascal Meyer – United Instruments of Lucilin – Hauschka – Xenia Pestova Over 120 concerts for children and young audiences… Ticketing (+352) 26 32 26 32 – www.philharmonie.lu
46 cover story
Dr. Dame Claire Bertschinger Enthusing the next generation Iconic images of her helped launch Live Aid, but she would rather talk about the Global Issues Network in Luxembourg, her experiences in war zones, and her new role at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
6 Current affairs
Ticking clock A crisis looms in nuclear medicine
Islamic finance redux A major conference gives Luxembourg the chance to retake the initiative
Networking The Fédération des femmes cheffes d’entreprise du Luxembourg
34 Home makeover
54 Going Native
12 Research hub How Luxembourg is going biotech 16 Fukushima disaster Japan’s ambassador defends his country 18 Heading to America
University students get US scholarships
22 Baku bound
Changes at the British Embassy
24 William Hurt
Why the actor prefers Europe
How to cut energy use by more than half
36 A tale of two cities
Is Luxembourg office space overpriced?
38 From coal to science Saarland prepares for the end of mining 42 Sovereign debt
Olli Rehn on revamping Luxembourg’s EFSF
Activities, people in the news and The Knowledge guide
56 Culture Choices
Discovery Zone film festival, Angus & Julia Stone, Patrick Marber’s Closer
62 Epicureans/Night Owls Getting funky in the Soul Kitchen, wine tasting and business lunches 65 Children & Families
Duck Race, art and DJ workshops
40 think local Zeynep Aslan, director of the Türkisfund SICAV, on how approaching life with a positive attitude has helped her find hidden treasures in Luxembourg
20 ST. PATRICK’S DAY
66 my other life
Ambassadors join TransFair Minka breakfast initiative
Chris Vigar talks about his passion for choral music, which began at an early age and has provided travel opportunities and fulfilment on many levels
Luxembourg celebrates with a bit of the black stuff
25 FAIR TRADE
35 FINANCE AMCHAM hosts a full house for FATCA
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TICKING CLOCK Time is running out to prevent a major healthcare shortage from forming. Will a new medical conference next month in Luxembourg help Europe avoid a cancer treatment crisis? Text: Aaron Grunwald â€” Photos: David Laurent/Wide
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CLAUDINE ALS: lobbying for a new medical nuclear reactor in Europe
NUCLEAR MEDICINE: faces critical supply shortages in the coming years
More than 1,000 physicians and scientists are expected to converge in Kirchberg May 7-9 for the first ever France-Benelux Joint Congress of Nuclear Medicine. The conference aims to build bridges within the region’s healthcare community, but also will serve as rallying point for a pressing political objective. According to organisers, the world might face a severe shortage of the radioisotopes used in nuclear medicine in the not too distant future. With an aging population, millions of cancer, cardiovascular and neurological disorder patients in Europe might not receive the diagnosis and treatment that is available today. Nuclear medicine, first developed in the 1950s, involves the introduction of radioactive material into the human body. According to the World Nuclear Association (WNA), about 90 percent of the time it is used to image organs to help physicians reach a diagnosis. In about ten percent of cases it is used to treat diseases, typically cancer or thyroid dysfunction. Dr. Claudine Als, president of the congress and coordinating physician at the Zitha Clinic’s nuclear medicine depart-
ment points to the “technetium crisis” as the most pressing concern to be addressed at the conference. That is the radioisotope most commonly utilised in nuclear medicine, used in more than 30 million procedures worldwide per year, including about 10 million times annually in Europe, says the WNA. COMING CRISIS Medical technetium is only produced in five reactors in the world, with the vast majority produced by three European reactors--40 percent alone by the one in the Netherlands. All of the three reactors--the other two are located in Belgium and France--are more than 40 years old. Als says all “have a maximum of five years to run” before having to shut down. In the 1990’s the Canadian government proposed building the “MAPLE” reactor which would have had the capacity to replace the three aging European facilities. “Everyone said, ‘OK, we’ll rely on them,’” and no new reactors were planned in Europe. “But the MAPLE project failed. It never worked. It was never finished. It was a research project that did not come to an end. So we are left with three
old reactors” nearing the end of their working lives. In fact, Europe has already had a preview of life in a technetium-deprived world. From 2008 to 2010, there were “repeated periods of shortages” when the three European reactors each had major maintenance shutdowns. “During that time, sometimes we got only 70 percent of what we were used to, sometimes we only got 30 percent,” Als states. “There were some exams that had to be postponed, that could not be done in emergency.” While France is building a new reactor that will start operating in 2015 or 2016, “it will take a year or two to get it to full power.” That is why the congress is hosting a pre-opening roundtable--free and open to the public--which will call for the construction of a new European medical reactor. “The one in France will never be sufficient to cover all the needs. The one in France will also have to have maintenance. So we want to” flag the issue “that we are not safe. New shortages of radioisotopes for medicine might emerge within the next ten years. Patients and professionals worldwide will be affected.”
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PHILHARMONIE: scene of a public roundtable on the nuclear medicine crisis
The doctor stresses technetium is produced in nuclear reactors, not in nuclear power plants like the one located in Cattenom. Yet Als and her colleagues have a significant PR challenge on their hands: “There are irrational fears in the public as soon as you speak of nuclear. Because people don’t know--and I don’t blame them--the difference between a nuclear power plant and a nuclear reactor. It’s logical, it’s very technical knowledge.” She continues: “We think politicians will take the decision to invest in nuclear reactors more easily if they know they have the public behind them.” Many “are afraid they will not be re-elected because” they are seen as being pronuclear. “That’s why I think it’s important to inform.” STALLED INITIATIVE Als is in favour of a Dutch proposal that has been on hold due to the financial crisis. “I think the best solution would be to have a new nuclear reactor in the Netherlands because they have had the main reactor in the world. They have the technical know-how, they have the expe-
rience, and I think it would be most logical. Ideally it should be a European reactor, financed by all the European countries. But, for such a decision you need unanimity, you need 27 countries saying ‘yes’,” which she admits is an uphill battle. So the reactor will likely have to be financed by national sources. While lobbying continues in Brussels, Als’ organisation has gained some traction in the Grand Duchy. Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker “will give the welcome lecture” during the official congress opening, with Als noting it is extremely rare for any senior politician to address a medical conference. “That gives the subject, of course, more visibility. It’s a concern of public health.” Does Als wish Juncker would broker a European funding plan? “That’s what we hope. Of course, he is Mister Euro, not the minister of health. But I think he is influential. He is listened-to. I hope he will give this topic more weight.” The free public roundtable takes place Friday, May 6 at 16:00. For information, visit www.medecine-nucleaire.lu
COMMON GROUND While the German-speaking and Scandinavian nations have long had their own regional confabs, Luxembourg will host the premier nuclear medicine congress that crosses French and Benelux borders. The Grand Duchy was selected as host country because it is a neutral location and to address the issue of language. With many Dutch and Flemish participants, “we will work with simultaneous translation,” explains Dr. Claudine Als. “Each scientist is free to speak either in French or in English,” she says. “That was a compromise in order to satisfy everybody and make sure there would be an optimal understanding.”
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SPRING DISCOCKTAIL Photos: David Laurent/Wide
Spring fever hit the Grand Duchy on March 22. A crowd of nearly 500 pulled out their disco shoes and attended the official launch of Maison Moderne’s Index 2011 Business Guide Luxembourg at the Cat Club. AG More “Spring Discocktail” photos are available at http://gallery.paperjam.lu/paperjam/Spring Gilles Zeimet (Editus) and Jerome Bloch (BGS Crossmedia)
Lucien Thiel (CSV)
Fabien Rodrigues (Indiact), on right
Magali Larese and Sarah Macri (Maison Moderne Publishing) with Emilie Haam
Christian Thiry (Christian Thiry Communication), on right
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31.03.2011 15:56:38 Uhr
SEEKING START-UPS The much touted BioBank launched last year. How else does the government plan to make Luxembourg a centre for health science? Text: Aaron Grunwald
The beginning of 2011 saw health minister Mars Di Bartolomeo touring the US West Coast, but this was no holiday trip. His visit to California and Washington State was part of a concerted effort to secure the Grand Duchy’s place as a world-class health science and biotechnology centre. For the past several years, the government has been fostering greater public-private cooperation and recently even began to help fund biohealth start-ups directly. Luxembourg’s government began focusing on innovation more than a decade ago, in an effort to diversify the economy beyond the financial sector, explains Dr. Françoise Liners, manager of Luxinnovation’s Luxembourg BioHealth Cluster. “The biotech sector was identified as one with potential for the country,” as it is expected to grow significantly in the
DATE LINE March 2011
coming years. In order to develop a competitive specialty, Liners says Luxembourg planted its flag in the field of molecular medicine, also known as personalised medicine. “The focus on providing drugs to patents has changed a lot in recent years.” Research today is no longer geared to one-size-fits-all medications, she says. “We are moving to discovering the best drug for each patient, and being able to provide each patient with the right drugs, at the right time, and at the right dose.” To jump-start the biotech effort, Luxembourg authorities forged “strategic partnerships with American institutions.” AMERICAN LINKS In fact, the Grand Duchy has long had a connection with healthcare in the US. The Mayo Clinic, one of America’s
GIRL’S SCIENCE Science course topMAR ics only interest one gender at a time, said University of Luxembourg researchers. “How a laser is used in cosmetic surgery” engages girls, while “ how to calculate the probability of a car accident” interests boys, but not vice-versa.
best known hospital and medical research groups, was founded in the 1880s by Franciscan nuns from Luxembourg. Today the Grand Duchy is linked with the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre at Arizona State University, and, also based in Arizona, the Translational Genomics Research Institute. The latter partnership “resulted in the creation of what is now the Integrated BioBank of Luxembourg (IBBL),” which Liners says is the effort’s “first success. It’s very important for positioning the country.” Launched last year, the IBBL collects and analyses biological specimens, such as tumour tissue and blood. While donors’ identities remain confidential, according to the IBBL “an increased understanding of how a disease
NOT OCEAN’S 5 No one was harmed MAR when 5 armed men robbed the Casino 2000 in Mondorf-les-Bains around 2am. The Police Grand-Ducale are investigating with French authorities, as the gang’s modus operandi matches recent spate of casino robberies across France.
CANCER PLAN The health services MAR are currently developing a national plan to ﬁght cancer, health minister Mars Di Bartolomeo told the Chamber of Deputies. Due to ongoing rises in cancer cases, “we will expand prevention programmes” and “establish new initiatives.”
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ALL THE ELEMENTS NEEDED”
Damien Lenoble: public-private cooperation is at the heart of the government’s strategy
process works at a molecular level allows an in-depth understanding of what causes disease and contributes to its progression.” In turn, it is hoped that scientists will then be able to chose the best treatments for specific individuals. Looking ahead, Liners is eagerly awaiting the opening later this year of the bioincubator which will be part of the City of Sciences under development in Belvaux. The incubator will provide start-ups with financial, legal and operational support, but also help link-up researchers within the Grand Duchy. JOINT PROJECTS Just next to the City of Sciences construction site, the Centre de Recherche Public Gabriel Lippmann already has more than 200 researchers working on more than 100 projects. Since its found-
The foreign minister supported Romania joining Schengen.
IRRADIATED YOUTH Luxembourg children MAR may be getting x-rayed too frequently. The number of radiological scans on patients under 17--who are more sensitive to radiation--has grown from 58,572 in 2002 to 90,327 in 2008, radioprotection chief Carlo Back told L’Essentiel.
MAE / Robert Steinmetz
ing in 1987, the centre has built a reputation in materials science, environmental science and agro-biotechnology. Today Lippmann is expanding its efforts into areas such as biopolymers and nanotechnology, which it hopes will have environmental, industrial and medical applications. The centre has long been a model of public-private partnerships, chartered with the twin objectives of scientific excellence and the transfer of technology and knowledge to the private sector. For example, Lippmann recently inked a deal with Aachen-based Aixtron-one of the world’s largest suppliers of LED manufacturing equipment--to investigate new methods of making flexible surface treatments. This could potentially lead to the creation of synthetic muscles, and medicines that do
not dissolve in the stomach but in other areas of the body, says Dr. Damien Lenoble, head of Lippmann’s nanomaterials research unit. These types of accords are “very central to the long-term government strategy of putting into place all the elements needed to make Luxembourg a significant place in Europe for the development of the biohealth industry,” says Lenoble. In recent years, the government’s initiatives have also netted several start-ups. The University of Luxembourg gave birth to AxoGlia Therapeutics, which is developing drugs for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s dementia and multiple sclerosis. Originally from Belgium, Complix Luxembourg is working with the CRP Santé on a technology it hopes will block HIV. Monitor-it, a
19-20 ECONOMic AGENDA • Luxembourg’s largest MAR political party held its annual congress. Prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker told CSV delegates the economy “remains too exposed to international crises,” and he would address rising inflation in his April 5 state-of-the-nation speech.
NUCLEAR CHECKS Foreign minister Jean MAR Asselborn proposed an international review of the Cattenom nuclear power plant, in light of the March 11 Fukushima accident. He told his French counterpart that France, Germany and Luxembourg should jointly review safety and security.
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Françoise LINERS: personalised medicine will put Luxembourg on the biotech map
START-UP SUPPORT Despite these early successes, the state continues to support entrepreneurship. Liners points to the Young Innovative Companies programme: “When you want to create a start-up in Luxembourg, the government can support you by providing up to one million euro, but you
NO GM BAN Luxembourg and six MAR other EU nations illegally banned genetically modified crops, an advisor at the European Court of Justice said in a non-binding opinion. Only the European Commission has the authority to block GM products, wrote Paolo Mengozzi.
have to match that with private money,” explains Liners. Granted the business plan is carefully scrutinised, but “if you can secure one million euro” from investors before approaching the government, then “you can have two million euro available to develop your company.” Luxinnovation provides initial suggestions and support on developing the business plan that needs to be presented to the funding authorities. It also will host an informational and
Luxembourg lost 0-2 to France in a Euro 2012 qualifier.
Fédération Luxembourgeoise de Football
CRP Henri Tudor spin-off, began selling its cardiovascular disease monitoring systems last year.
networking workshop--as part of the 4th annual “Business meets Research” day at the Chamber of Commerce-that will bring together companies, investors and medical professionals. Liners admits much work remains to be done, in order to truly “put Luxembourg on the map.” She says, “this personalised medicine approach, we developed it from scratch.” To register for the Luxinnovation workshop, visit www.business-meets-research.lu
POSTAL PROTEST The postal workers mar union delivered an ultimatum to P&T. The union wants management to reverse its proposed reform of hiring rules and carrier routes. If not, union members will demonstrate, force an arbitration hearing, and possibly take industrial action.
HOLLERICH FIRE Firefighters respondMAR ed to a report of smoke on rue de Hollerich, and found the Loft Bistro ablaze. The fire gutted the venue, located near popular nightspot den Atelier in the Downtown complex. The fire was contained and no other spaces were damaged.
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Japan’s ambassador to the Grand Duchy admits his government’s communications failures, but says foreign media have been sensationalising. Interview: Aaron Grunwald — Photo: David Laurent/Wide
Earthquakes, a tsunami and nuclear accidents have roiled Japan since March 11. Takashi Suetsuna, Japan’s ambassador to Luxembourg, talks to Delano about the the catastrophes and international criticism of his government. AG: What has been the impact on Japan? TS: As of today, unfortunately the Japanese government has identified more than 26,000 people that have passed away or are missing, and nearly 300,000 are taking refuge in provisional evacuation centres. Yes, there is a severe impact on the economy, since many factories in the northern part of Japan, were directly damaged by the earthquake and tsunami. In addition, Tokyo Electric Power Co. [ Japan’s largest electric utility] is implementing rolling blackouts because there was quite a lot of damage to its power stations. It was not only nuclear plants; also quite a few thermal power plants were damaged. AG: What has been the response from Luxembourg? TS: From the very outset of this tragedy, we have received a lot of sympathy and compassion from the Luxembourgish people. I am especially and profoundly grateful for the sense of solidarity and unity shown by our friends in Luxembourg. On behalf of the government and the people of Japan, I would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest appreciation to the government and the people of Luxembourg for the heart-warming messages of support and sympathy, as well as their willingness to assist the victims and people who suffered this unprecedented catastrophe.
Takashi SUETSUNA: Japan is being transparent, despite initial communications mis-steps
AG: Is the Japanese government sharing enough information? TS: At the beginning, the ministries and agencies couldn’t... get together. They couldn’t--during the first stage --share enough information. That’s mal-communication. Two or three days later, all the information started to be gathered and published. During the first stage, there were still earthquakes and the tsunami was quite devastating. We had to rescue first. It is easy to criticise. Maybe to the foreign press, it was not so efficient, because of the language problem. Now we are publishing in English, but at first it was “Japanese language for Japanese people.” AG: Do you think the international media has been fair? TS: I would like to ask the press to report accurately, on the basis of facts
and in a rational manner. Sometimes it’s exaggerated or sensationalised. AG: What is the reality? TS: The Japanese government is closely monitoring the radioactive contamination. You can find detailed information on the prime minister’s website (www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/index-e.html), all available in English. We don’t have any intention to hide or conceal. Everybody knows what is going on. AG: What else would you like people to know? TS: I would like to ask the Luxembourgish people to continue to be objective and reasonable when reacting to the situation in Japan. For information on making a donation to the relief efforts, download www.lu.emb-japan.go.jp/french/doc/dons.pdf
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Outlook – Brightening, with opportunities for growth
Deloitte Luxembourg’s app is
3/28/11 9:21 AM
IT’S BEEN A GOOD OR BAD MONTH FOR:
DAVIS CUP TEAM
The Kurt Salmon Luxembourg Davis Cup Team with Gilles Muller (photo) beat Ireland 3-2 in Dublin to retain its Europe/Africa Group II status. The next round is against Great Britain in Glasgow over the weekend of July 8. Full preview and interviews in the June edition of Delano. THE COALITION Both the CSV and the LSAP spent much of their national congress meetings this month criticising the other. The discontent seems to be more than political grandstanding ahead of this October’s local elections, there is a genuine divergence of opinion in several crucial policy areas. CINÉPHILES Having completed their course in the History of Cinema in ten lessons, students and ﬁlm buffs learned from Cinémathèque director Claude Bertemes that another course, this time focusing on different themes rather than decades, will be launched in October. www.cinematheque.lu
CAR-E APPLICANTS Some 9,000 car owners who have applied for the government’s generous CAR-e subsidy after buying a vehicle that conforms with low emission criteria have been waiting almost a year for their money. The service handling the applications is understaffed, though new recruits are imminent.
YVES WEBER (left) AND MAURICE HERKRATH: looking forward to their American experience
AMERICA BOUND A pair of University of Luxembourg students won full scholarships to study in the US.
Two second year University of Luxembourg students recently received scholarships to study in the US this coming fall. Economics student Maurice Herkrath will attend the State University of New York at Buffalo, and law student Yves Weber will attend Miami University in Ohio. Since 2008 the US embassy in Luxembourg, the University of Luxembourg and the Luxembourg branches of 13 American firms have granted scholarships to “exceptional bachelor students,” according to a university spokeswoman. She explains the two scholars were selected by the university’s faculty: “Only the best students can get this.” The bursary covers travel, living expenses and tuition fees--which at US universities are not subsidized for foreign students. Weber plans to take US business and constitutional courses, as he says “American law is very, very different than European law.” Herkrath will study environmental, international and labour economics. While all University of Luxembourg students are required to do at least one
semester abroad, both Herkrath and Weber were particularly keen to study in the US. “It’s very different from the European system, much more intensive,” says Weber. He is looking forward to the more intimate academic climate, in contrast to the mass lectures he experienced during a previous semester abroad in Paris. Herkreth agrees: “It’s more personal. You speak with your teacher. You debate things with your classmates.” He also reckons the experience will help him develop skills that will be attractive to future employers. “In the US there is quite a lot of group work. Later on, when you have a job, it’s important to [know how to] work together with other people.” Weber praises the University of Luxembourg’s supportive approach to international studies. “In Paris, to do one single semester abroad, it was a catastrophe for the students,” to organise the exchange with their professors. For his part, Herkreth is eager to discover America first hand. “You see things on TV, but it’s different to experience it yourAG self.”
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PERJAM S th ÉDITION · A PA 12 | EMBOURG
SED E LOCAL ECONOMY A E L E R T S JU O TH IAL GUIDE T THE ESSENT each business sector 0 pages is of Expert analys / 10.000 references / 34 hies 600 biograp
31.03.2011 10:37:40 Uhr
St. Patrick’s 2011
JOYOUS IN GREEN, SINKING THE BLACK Photos: David Laurent/Wide
As is now tradition, Luxembourg’s Irish bars were packed on March 17 as ex-pats from Ireland were joined by locals and the international community to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. As our photos testify, plenty of revellers joined in the spirit and wore green while gleefully sinking pints of the black stuff. DR
Gareth O’Neill and Maxine Donnellan of Decibel
Steve Moynihan performs live at Decibel
Cathy and Phil Mac Kenna at The Black Stuff
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01.04.2011 12:24:23 Uhr
Wearing colours with pride at The Black Stuff
Hats were the order of the day at The Pyg
Colin Hodgett and Conor Magee of The Pyg
April 2011 - DELANO - 21
01.04.2011 12:25:17 Uhr
Goodbye to all that
Peter Bateman left Luxembourg at the end of March after three and a half years’ service as British ambassador.
The Honourable Alice Walpole has been appointed Peter Bateman’s successor as British ambassador to Luxembourg. While Mr. Bateman goes to Azerbaijan, Ms. Walpole, a single mother of 47 with six children, will arrive in Luxembourg following a tour of duty in Basra, Iraq, where she served as consulgeneral and head of post. She is due to arrive in Luxembourg in August. Deputy head of mission, Amanda Ross McDowell, will act as chargé d’affaires ad interim. Walpole joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1985. Her overseas missions have included two spells in Brussels and two in New York, as well as a posting in Dar es Salaam. She says she is delighted and honoured to be taking up the posting, her first as ambassador. “I very much look forward to working closely with the government of Luxembourg on a wide range of issues of mutual interest--both in a bilateral context and also in the multilateral fora, such as the EU, UN and NATO, which both our countries value so highly. My family and I are much looking forward to getting to know at first hand this delightful country and its people, with whom the UK has such a warm and enduring relationship.”
Alice Walpole appointed
Peter Bateman: bound for Baku
DR: Compared to previous posting Bolivia, and your next port of call, Azerbaijan, Luxembourg must seem rather safe and homely? PB: Luxembourg is certainly a safe and comfortable place to live, something my wife, Andrea, and I have much appreciated. It has a huge range of attractions for an expatriate including world-class culture, shopping and food, all on a human scale. But variety is the spice of life. Although we shall miss Luxembourg and our many friends, we also look forward to the new challenges ahead. DR: You worked closely with the British Chamber of Commerce during your tenure. Were you impressed by its range of activities? PB: Indeed, any British ambassador has promotion of trade and investment links with his or her host country at the top of the agenda. So, I am delighted to be able to pay tribute to the wide range of work the British Chamber takes on and the help they have given me in my responsibilities.
It has been a privilege and a pleasure to work so closely with it. Its activity is broad in the extreme, ranging from formal conferences with expert speakers through business oriented workshops to more social, but no less useful, events such as golf days, dances and Christmas lunches (at which I have often been the after-meal cabaret). I regret that I shall not be here to celebrate with them a successful 20th anniversary year in 2012. DR: What have you learned from your time in Luxembourg? What will be your lasting impressions of the country? PB: I have learned a lot during my time here. Not least Luxembourgish which, sadly, will not be much use in Azerbaijan, to the best of my knowledge. But also what makes a small prosperous country at the heart of Europe tick and how it sees the outside world. We have been struck by just how cosmopolitan society is here. An example to us all. Please continue to cherish these elements that make LuxemDR bourg so special.
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31.03.2011 12:19:36 Uhr
Big decisions follow you around.
At Grant Thornton, we understand that the big decisions you have to make are sometimes difficult, often finely balanced, always with you. To explore this and other big decisions, visit
After winning the new security services contract for the European Commission in Kirchberg, Cobelguard was unable to recruit from incumbent G4S, which said it would retain its staff. Cobelguard launched a campaign to find 250 guards, all of whom had to be approved by the justice ministry by April 1. www.g4s.com and www.cobelguard.lu
FUEL DEPOT PLAN
The government presented its plan to build new fuel depots near Bascharage and Merl. Leaders of nearby towns expressed concerns about safety and traffic. Luxembourg almost ran short on fuel this past winter, as its current storage capacity is less than international norms. www.developpement-durableinfrastructures.public.lu
FAT NOT KILLING
Despite growing obesity rates, life expectancy in wealthy countries continues to rise, according to British researcher David Leon. Luxembourg and Germany have a life expectancy of 80.2 years, ahead of the UK (80) and US (78) but behind Japan (82.8) and Switzerland (82.1). www.ije.oxfordjournals.org
Going up in Smoke
Luxembourg was placed 29 th out of 31 countries participating in a survey on tobacco control activity by the European Cancer Leagues, down one place from the 2009 ranking. The Tobacco Control Scale is based on six policies, including tobacco prices and smoking bans. www.europeancancerleagues.eu
Ricardo Vaz Palma/Iris Productions
Star and director: former life partners William Hurt and Sandrine Bonnaire on the Luxembourg set
comfortable in Europe
In Luxembourg to film ex-partner Sandrine Bonnaire’s J’enrage de son absence, William Hurt is clearly enjoying the challenge of a French-speaking role.
William Hurt has lived in Europe on and off throughout his life. Even with his parents he had spells in France and England. “I feel more comfortable here,” he says at a press conference at the Alvisse Parc Hôtel when asked about the difference between working in the United States and Europe. “It’s hard to put it simply. Take for example the subject of death. In the US, it’s hard to have a conversation about death and other subjects. Death just doesn’t exist. Here, I am standing on streets of cobblestone. Stones placed by hand some 500 years ago, and I can feel it. American can be a country with an isolated culture.” And he throws in some of his trademark obscurities. “They dreamed of me and I dream of them. I am privileged to have the inspiration, because I can touch walls made by Romans. I have a personal connection with Caesar.” Hurt’s role in the film, co-produced by local company Iris Productions, is that of Jacques, a man returning to France after a ten-year absence for his father’s
funeral. He meets Mado, played by costar Alexandra Lamy, his former lover and the mother of the child whose death caused their separation. Mado is now remarried and with a son, with whom Jacques establishes a relationship… J’enrage de son absence is Bonnaire’s first feature film as a director. Ex-partner Hurt, with whom she has a daughter, was not her first choice for the lead-she told the Tageblatt that she originally thought of French actor Jacques Dutronc. But he was too old, and she now says Hurt is perfect. Indeed Hurt says it was the time he spent with Bonnaire that prepared him for the role of Jacques. But he was attracted by the script as much as by the idea of working with Bonnaire as a director. “In this case I knew both were good.” He is fluent in French and fascinated by the language. “I’m interested in the things going on beneath the language,” he says. “The bulk of actors are imprisoned by their DR and WW language.”
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31.03.2011 12:43:02 Uhr
Fair trade Alice Zehner (TransFair Minka) and Marja Lehto (Finnish ambassador)
WELL-BALANCED BREAKFAST Photos: Olivier Minaire
Jean-Louis Zeien (TransFair Minka)
Ashley Bagwell (US embassy) and Diarmuid O’Leary (Irish ambassador)
Irish ambassador Diarmuid O’Leary played host to fellow members of the diplomatic corps at a Fair Breakfast event held at the embassy residence on March 25. O’Leary, who had been contacted by TransFair Minka president Jean-Louis Zeien, welcomed what he called a “great initiative.” The event, organised in conjunction with TransFair Minka’s fi rst weekend of Fair Breakfasts, was also the occasion for the launch of discussions to establish a network of fair trade embassies in the Grand Duchy. The breakfast weekend follows similar awareness campaigns focusing on bananas and coffee in recent years. The groups says that speculation in the raw produce markets have created significant retail price increases for coffee and other breakfast foods over the past year or so. TransFair Minka received a wealth of project proposals from schools, communes, private enterprises and public service institutions eager to participate. At the Irish embassy the ambassadors enjoyed a variety of fair trade breakfast produce ranging from orange juice, coffee and tea to preserves, honey and chocDR olate spreads, cereals and fruits.
Miguel Benzo (Spanish ambassador) and Louise Bang Jespersen (Danish ambassador)
Philippe Guex (Swiss ambassador) and Peter Bateman (outgoing British ambassador)
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31.03.2011 11:57:57 Uhr
ISLAMIC FINANCE REDUX The world’s most prestigious Islamic finance conference is coming to Luxembourg. Will it help jump start the segment’s growth in the Grand Duchy? Text: Aaron Grunwald — Photos: Olivier Minaire
Luxembourg’s government has a stated goal of cementing the Grand Duchy as Europe’s Islamic finance hub, and a conference next month will give the country a chance to showcase its savvy in the specialty. It is also a chance to re-establish itself as the region’s market leader, at a time Britain is gaining ground in the field. Leaders of the World Bank, Dubai’s financial regulator, Istanbul’s stock exchange, Japanese and US credit rating agencies--not to mention six central bankers--will all present at the 8th Islamic Financial Services Board Summit. The Grand Duchy’s Yves Mersch (see interview on page 30) tells Delano that during his address “I will highlight those key features of Islamic finance that contribute to financial stability such as embedded connection with the real economy and the absence of leverage activity and specula-
DATE LINE March 2011
tion. I will also address, however, its shortcomings in liquidity management.” Indeed, the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corp (IILM) will be a top topic at the summit, believes Sufian Bataineh, managing director of Dananeer, Luxembourg’s first Islamic finance consulting and training firm. Based in Kuala Lumpur, the IILM is owned by 14 central banks, including Luxembourg’s. “They will discuss the need for increased liquidity between Islamic financial institutions and so how they can better manage the IILM.” CORPORATE GOVERNANCE “I think corporate governance will be fairly well discussed,” states Fouad Rathle, president of the Luxembourg bankers’ training institution (IFBL), and director at Garanti Bank Luxembourg. “Islamic finance is in a way rather ethical, because of
UNISEX POLICIES Insurance companies MAR can no longer use gender when determining premiums or payments, the European Court of Justice ruled. Today women typically receive 10% less in retirement benefits due to longer life expectancy, but pay less for accident coverage.
all the restrictions. This comes in handy today. We have seen a renewed and intensified interest in the west in ethical and green investment, so the two purposes converge.” For Philippe Neefs, Islamic finance leader at KPMG Luxembourg, the most interesting discussions will surround “capital adequacy requirements for Islamic banks or fund providers. The evolution of Basel III will certainly have a big inﬂuence.” He says it remains to be seen “ how Islamic finance players will decide to establish themselves, as a bank or as another type of financial service provider” in order to avoid Basel’s global bank capitalisation requirements. At the same time, playing host to the conference is good marketing opportunity as the Grand Duchy needs to revitalise its Islamic finance segment, says Bataineh. “We have in Europe, two main centres for Islamic finance. London plays a
WHITE LISTED Luxembourg was reMAR moved from the international money laundering and terrorist financing grey list, said the justice ministry. The Financial Action Task Force took the Grand Duchy off the watch list following last October’s major legislative overhaul.
SKYPE ADVERTS Skype introduced adMAR vertising. Initially customers in Germany, the UK and US will see ads on the home tab of the communications application. The move is seen as a way for the Luxembourg-based firm to boost revenue ahead of its planned US$100 million IPO.
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Business FOUAD RATHLE: corporate governance and Islamic finance share objectives
LOSING TO LONDON “From the investment funds side, Luxembourg competes very well,” says Bataineh. “However, from the sukuk [Islamic bonds] point of view, London is ahead of us a little bit.” Neefs points out that last year Luxembourg ranked 5th in terms of assets managed in sharia-compliant investments funds, although the Grand
FRIEDEN FREEZES Luxembourg joined MAR several other OECD nations in freezing the bank accounts of the Libyan Central Bank and Libya’s US$70 billion sovereign wealth fund, finance minister Luc Frieden told the Chamber of Deputies. The two accounts held less than €1 billion.
Duchy was 4th the year before, having been displaced by the Caymen Islands. He agrees with Bataineh that the UK is gaining ground: “We see sukuk listings moving to London.” He believes hosting the IFSB conference is important “to put Luxembourg back into the centre of the Islamic finance world.” Bataineh is adamant that in Luxembourg, “we have the infrastructure, we have the knowledge, we have what they are looking for,” but the marketing message still needs to get out to Middle East investors. He supports the recent economic missions to the region, along with the opening of an embassy in Abu Dhabi. “But I think more should be done. We should also be present in Saudi Arabia, the main country in the region, and establish an embassy in Riyadh” as well as have an increased presence in the Gulf as “each country has its own philosophy”. Rathle
LOGISTICS JUMP Grevenmacher-based MAR logistics group Logwin posted 2010 revenue of more than €1.3 billion, up 21.9% from the year before. The company said its air and ocean freight business was up 57.3%. Operating income, at €24.1 million, was 248% higher than 2009.
reckons worldwide interest in Islamic finance will keep on climbing, simply because the number of potential clients is increasing as Middle Eastern and Asian economies--particularly Indonesia and Malaysia--continue to grow. “So for obvious reasons, we are going farther afield. We want to go where the business is.” PREPARED FOR GROWTH Luxembourg remains a strong competitor in the eyes of the emerging markets. “The foremost consideration and concern of people today is financial stability, and instability,” he says. “Having gone through the two successive crises, where you’ve seen banks going belly up, and governments in various countries propping up these banks, I think the primary concern of potential clients will be stability and the assurance that their money is going to be well taken care of.” He adds: “Luxembourg is not
INDIA TV DEAL RTL Group signed a MAR joint venture agreement to launch a pair of TV channels in India. The first channel created by the deal with Reliance Broadcast is set to launch this autumn. The Mumbai-based firm already has joint ventures with US broadcaster CBS.
main part because they have five Islamic banks, one of them retail.” Neefs points out that Luxembourg “ doesn’t have any Islamic bank yet established.” This, despite a market he estimates at 51 million Muslims living in Europe. Although some of Neef ’s connections are exploring the possibility of founding an Islamic bank in the Grand Duchy, he describes the status as “preinitial phase” with no action on the immediate horizon.
Simon Wuestenberg: new chief of Brasserie de Luxembourg.
April 2011 - delano - 27
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SUFIAN BATAINEH: Luxembourg should prepare for growth in Islamic finance
only a very regulated place, with a very attentive regulator, the CSSF, but it’s also a place known for its political stability and its financial conservativeness.” In addition, the Grand Duchy continues to expand its technical skills in the area. Last month the IFBL issued certificates in Islamic finance to 97 graduates, with 100 more continuing their coursework. Rathle eagerly awaits the next intake of students this autumn. Bataineh says that “although Islamic finance is not” growing significantly in Luxembourg “the past couple of years because of the financial crisis, I think we should prepare ourselves. We should prepare teams specialised in Islamic finance so they can attract more investors. They can offer more services to potential clients.” The IFSB Summit takes place May 10-13 at the Kirchberg Conference Centre. For more information, go to www.ifsbluxembourg2011.com
OCT. SALARY RISE The Chamber of DepMAR uties approved a national wage increase for October 1 and its economic committee approved an automatic indexation bill which should face a full vote by May. STATEC estimates 3% inflation this year, partially fuelled by rising oil costs.
RECORD INFLATION February consumer MAR prices in the OECD area rose 2.4% compared to the year before--the biggest jump since October 2008--driven by food and energy costs. In Luxembourg consumer prices were up 3.6% over February 2010, but 2.3% excluding food and energy.
AIR CARTEL New Zealand’s ComMAR merce Commission reached an anti-cartel settlement with Cargolux, along with BA and Qantas. The air cargo companies admitted liability and paid “significant” penalties, but no longer face a price-fixing trial in New Zealand’s High Court.
Apple’s iPad 2 went on sale in the Grand Duchy.
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Islamic finance is a growing segment of the Grand Duchy’s financial centre. What enhancements does Luxembourg’s central banker see are needed?
Interview: Aaron Grunwald — Photo: Julien Becker/archives
“momentum is building” Yves Mersch has been governor of Luxembourg’s central bank since 1998, and a member of the European Central Bank’s governing board since 1999. A featured speaker at next month’s Islamic Financial Services Board Summit (see article on page 26), Mersch spoke with Delano about the development of Islamic finance in the Grand Duchy. AG: How important is Islamic finance in Luxembourg? YM: Islamic investment funds, Takaful [insurance] as well as Sukuk [bonds] are now part of the array of Luxembourg financial products. Based on the statistics of regulated products, Islamic finance currently still is a niche--however market momentum is building. AG: Why is Luxembourg attractive in the Islamic finance market? YM: There is notably its neutrality, which helps to mitigate the various national and cultural obstacles that has hindered in particular the international development of Islamic f inance so far. Certainly, proven political stability nowadays further enhances our attractiveness. AG: What work still needs to be done? YM: While disadvantages in terms of tax treatment have been removed for common Islamic finance transactions, further challenges remain such as the recognition of Islamic securities for refinancing purposes or the fulfillment of regulatory liquidity requirements. Best practice regulation and supervision necessitates careful differentiation among the various types of Islamic finance transactions.
YVES MERSCH: Islamic finance can be a funding source for Luxembourg organisations
AG: What about internationally? YM: The lack of standardised and internationally accepted Sharia-compliant money market instruments with good ratings, which could help foster cross border liquidity flows and would be likely to create a needed benchmark yield curve. This could enhance pricing transparency and clarity for customers. AG: What are the biggest misconceptions in Europe about Islamic finance? YM: Misconceptions about Islamic finance are fueled by prejudices regarding its underlying religious concepts, including the understanding of being available for Muslims only. Instead, Islamic finance is meant to be a profit generating business, accessible for everybody. Sharia-based
principles make it fundamentally different from conventional finance. Islamic finance is therefore neither replicating nor replacing conventional finance but should rather be seen as a complement. AG: Where would you like to see Islamic finance in Luxembourg in the coming years? YM: I would like to see Luxembourg capitalising on its core competences, such as the provision of infrastructure for Sharia-compliant securities transactions and servicing Sharia-compliant investment funds. Islamic finance could also serve as an attractive and diversifying funding source for public and private entities in Luxembourg.
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ATOZ_sieges_2011_DELANO_210x265.Page 1 25/03/2011 14:18:36
DRIVING YOU TO SUCCESS
Planning the future
At a recent paperJam Business Club event Harry Van Dorenmalen, chairman of IBM Europe and general country manager of IBM Netherlands, spoke about his vision of smarter leadership. Text: Cordula Schnuer — Photo: Luc Deflorenne
As part of the “Management, Leadership and Entrepreneurship” cycle BGL BNP Paribas hosted keynote speaker Harry Van Dorenmalen. Speaking from his 28 years of experience with IBM, Van Dorenmalen outlined what he called “ learning points” from his own career and the vision of leadership developed from these. His aim was to “develop your leadership further.” Sharing anecdotes from his time as a recent graduate to meeting with senior executives for the first time, Van Dorenmalen started off with a few key ideas on leadership. He said that leaders need to “share their vision” and highlighted that judgement based on experience and a “gut feeling” can be just as important as collected data. Most of all, he said it is fundamental that “you have to care about people, because the strength of you as a leader is determined by your followers.” Drawing on IBM as an example Van Dorenmalen spoke about the necessity of companies today to anticipate change and adapt to it. Saying that “single leadership can make a difference,” Van Dorenmalen talked about IBM’s near bankruptcy in 1993 and how CEO Louis V. Gerstner Jr. managed to turn the company around. Van Dorenmalen also addressed changes faced by leaders in Luxembourg, more particularly in the financial sector. He emphasised that trends change and things that were innovative only a few years ago are “not so special anymore.” Pressure on the financial markets, changes in banking and the faltering reputation of banks make it
HARRY VAN DORENMALEN: today’s leaders need to be proactive and work together
necessary for leaders to work together and to “plan the future of change.” In the final section of his talk he spoke about the IBM Global CEO Study, for which over 1,500 CEOs worldwide are interviewed on their experiences and ideas on leadership. One of the key results from this survey is that 60 percent of CEOs list creativity as their number one leadership quality, followed by integrity and global thinking. A list of nine core competencies was developed over time from this study. These include the embracing of challenges, the building of mutual trust, continuous transformation and the will to win. For Van Dorenmalen this “con-
tinuous attitude and will of leaders to win” is what makes the difference between goodness and greatness. Together with the audience he explored other ideas such as the importance of recognition and feedback for employees, the fostering of talent, and the need to address the varying demands of a diverse group of employees. He also stressed the importance of clarity in leadership and the sharing of visions. In his closing statement Van Dorenmalen emphasised that leaders need to look for opportunities and think about how companies can “maintain their value” in a changing world. “Then you can make a difference.”
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A new fair aims to help residential building owners reduce energy consumption, and qualify for government subsidies in the process. Text: Aaron Grunwald — Photo: Julien Becker
With growing concerns about carbon footprints and rising energy prices, the time is ripe for Luxembourg’s first home energy renovation fair, say “Myenergy days” organisers. It launches at the end of this month, with a focus on helping residential buildings reduce energy consumption by up to 70 percent. The event will also help attendees access the thousands of euro in government subsidies available to individual owners who undertake approved projects. More than 50 firms will display everything from roofing materials to ecofriendly heating systems and energy efficient lighting--“everything that has to do with renovations,” according to Jeannot Behm, energy advisor at the trade group myenergy. The exhibits will focus on renovation best practices and just as importantly, “what could happen if it is not done right.” Banks such as BCEE and Banque Raiffeisen will also be on hand to answer questions about financing. Behm believes the dozen or so energy consultants on hand should prove to be a popular part of the show. That is because building owners who complete an energy consultation by an approved firm are eligible for government subsidies. For example, installation of modern exterior wall insulation typically costs about 100 euro per square metre, explains Behm. However, the subsidies can cover 20 euro per square metre. To properly insulate a roof “you will need a budget of approximately 50 euro a square metre,” for which a subsidy of 15 euro per square metre is available. Behm says a typical energy review costs 1,000 euro. The govern-
SNHBM: bringing 1950s buildings up to modern energy efficiency standards
ment scheme covers 870 euro, but only if an owner acts on at least recommendation given during the official audit. “So the energy consulting will be nearly completely paid ” by the programme, enthuses Behm. The consultants play an essential role in securing government grants, says Behm. To qualify, homeowners must use the correct quantity and quality of materials, for example a certain thickness of insulation for each different type of wall. They also provide advice on how to avoid pitfalls that might run the owner afoul of their town hall, such as maintaining minimum sidewalk widths. Behm says he often meets sceptics who say they do not need an upgrade, because for example they have heavy stone walls.
In fact, “old houses with thick concrete walls have very, very bad insulation.” He says one to one and a half centimetres of modern material can be the equivalent of 60 centimetres of concrete. Social housing developer SNHBM is currently renovating nine of its buildings in Bonnevoie. At a total cost of 12.8 million euro, the group will “completely renovate” the structures to bring them up to today’s energy efficiency standards, says the group’s chief, Guy Entringer. Since 1950s era structures had “practically nothing” in terms of efficiency, he expects the project will yield up to 90 percent energy savings. Myenergydays takes place April 29-May 1 at Luxexpo, Luxembourg-Kirchberg. For more information, go to www.myenergydays.lu
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01.04.2011 12:44:01 Uhr
FULL HOUSE FOR FATCA Presenter Gerard Laures (KPMG)
Photos: Olivier Minaire
Louis Thomas (AMCHAM tax comittee chair) hosted the group of more than 120 at KPMGâ€™s Strassen offices
Presenters Martin F. Dobbins (State Street), on left, and Glen Lovelock (Brown Brothers Harriman)
AMCHAM evening seminars are not often vastly oversubscribed, but then again the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is a source of great confusion, frustration and debate in Luxembourg. The US legislation requires financial institutions to file reports with the Internal Revenue Service on American taxpayers, regardless of where they are located in the world, or face very punitive penalties. Thus the waitlisted AMCHAM event was a welcome source of practical information for banking, funds and insurance managers, and a chance to hear about current lobbying efforts. AMCHAM Luxembourg has sent a letter to American officials requesting clarifications and exemptions. Yet the European Commission has made perhaps the most interesting proposal: the extension of the well-established-but-less-cumbersome EU Savings Directive to US tax persons. At press time, the US had not responded to the idea. It is unclear if such a plan would benefit Luxembourg, since the Grand Duchy has partially opted-out of the AG system.
Presenter Christian Bednarczyk (Deloitte)
Mira Ilieva Leonard (Atoz and Fideos) John Li (KPMG) and Paul Schonenberg (AMCHAM)
April 2011 - DELANO - 35
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a tale of two cities
KBL SALE BLOCKED
Commercial real estate is heating up in major European cities. Will Luxembourg office space become overpriced in 2011?
Three percent of the workforce-10,500 employees--in the Grand Duchy were victims of workplace bullying in 2010, according to the support group Mobbing. Women made up 75% and foreigners 62% of cases. Mobbing estimates bullying cost the health system €26 million in sick leave last year. www.mobbing.lu
Luxembourg Police executed search warrants on behalf of British and Icelandic prosecutors surrounding the collapse of Kaupthing Bank. UK authorities said “3 business and 2 residential premises” were searched. The Wall Street Journal said this included the offices of Banque Havilland. www.sfo.gov.uk
The University of Luxembourg and the Institut Universitaire International Luxembourg are researching the employability of graduates. The study will measure the benefits of particular degrees and how they affect career entry, with the aim to assess employability for all programmes. www.iuil.lu
Without specifying why, financial regulator CSSF blocked the sale of Luxembourg-based KBL European Private Bankers to India’s Hinduja. KBL’s Belgian parent must sell the unit to comply with a European Commission ruling. Several Dutch competitors have expressed interest in KBL, which manages €47 billion in assets. www.kbl.lu AMAURY EVRARD and KEES HAGE: some European real estate assets are already overpriced
Office space is becoming overpriced in some prime locations, but slow economic recovery is preventing a real estate bubble from forming in Europe, according to a recent PwC report. The consulting firm also predicts Luxembourg’s commercial real estate market will see limited improvement in the coming months. PwC surveyed more than 600 real estate professionals across Europe and found a growing divide between major metropolitan areas such as Munich, Istanbul and London and smaller cities such as Luxembourg. The large markets are seeing a mass influx of investments, as they are seen as more liquid, says Amaury Evrard, real estate partner at PwC Luxembourg. At the same time, there is increasing disparity between prime locales--central city offices, key high street spaces, established shopping centres--and more peripheral spots which are seen as riskier investments, explains Kees Hage, global real estate leader at PwC, who is based in Luxembourg. Since many investors still have funds allocated to
real estate, Hage says many are chasing the same conservative-profile properties. “The fact is, it’s a big risk that everybody is going after core assets,” he says. “There’s such a big divide between primary and secondary property, that’s why there’s a ticking time bomb for that type of property.” Therefore he reckons “some of those core assets--even more so, some of the trophy assets--might be overpriced ” today. As the Grand Duchy is economically dependent on the slowly rebounding financial sector and the economies of neighbouring countries, Evrard says Luxembourg “is not overpriced ” with vacancy rates hovering around five percent in the city centre and about 20 percent out of Luxembourg city. “I think it’s going to pick up slowly,” this year, he predicts. “Vacancy is probably going to decrease because there are [fewer] projects and developments,” being completed. Yet “effectively there is a delay between stabilisation of the economy and economies AG around Luxembourg.” Download the report at: www.pwc.com/lu/en/real-estate/
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a new look to the real estate market
The spirit of entrepreneurship is thriving just across the border, Jean-Pierre Masseret, president of the Lorraine regional counsel, said during a recent paperJam Business Club event. His speech was followed by presentations from Lorrainianes sharing their start-up experiences. www.paperjam.lu
The railway between Luxembourg and Trier will be renovated over the next two years. The single track connection has long been a sore point for commuters and logistics firms. The €19 million project will add a second track and allow tilting trains, with train speeds increasing from 120 to 160 km/h. www.deutschebahn.com
The chambers of commerce in Luxembourg and Belgium released the second edition of a guide to the network of 28 Belgian-Luxembourg Chambers of Commerce worldwide. The objective is to promote the interests of businesses from Luxembourg and Belgium and encourage international development. www.cc.lu
Saarland exports risE
Exports from Saarland have risen by 16% to reach €13 billion, with France as the most important trading partner. Saarland’s industrial base was the main factor for the strong exports. Growth prospects of 2.5-3% per year are predicted for the German state until the end of the decade. www.saarland.ihk.de
FROM COAL TO SCIENCE
Saarland will shutter the last of its coal mines next summer. How prepared is the German state for the loss of 3,300 jobs?
Coal mining has a 250 year history in Saarland, but under an EU agreement its last operating mine will close down July 1, 2012. The German state is working with mining company RAG on a redevelopment plan that government leaders hope will bolster employment, the environment and Saarland’s image. For years the industry--which still employs about 3,300 miners--has only survived off subsidies from Germany’s federal government, explains Joachim Kiefaber, Saarland’s state secretary for economy. But Brussels says that must end by 2018. Legally speaking RAG and the state government only are required to mitigate environmental damage from the mine closures, he says. “But we thought this would not be enough.” All of the land under redevelopment consideration is still owned by RAG. Today the firm is inventorying the sites, which in total cover 2,500 hectares and 800 buildings, some of which will likely be covered by preservation orders. RAG is expected to tell the Saarland government before the end of this June which parcels of land it aims to redevelop itself, and how, and specify which properties it would like to transfer to the state. Saarland’s government will then present its final blueprint mid2012. “We plan to end the planning by the time we have the last shift at the last remaining mine.” In the mean time, Kiefaber chairs the four pilot projects in progress to demonstrate the viability of the redevelop-
Joachim Kiefaber: green energy and IT parks are Saarland’s future
ing scheme. These include converting the waste heaps at Louisenthal into a renewable energy park that will house solar, wind and pumped-storage hydroelectric farms, and a commercial centre near Schwalbach, which the state secretary hopes will be finished in a years’ time. Kiefaber also hopes the redevelopment project will burnish Saarland’s brand. He says in recent years the state has had success attracting manufacturing, IT and research activities, because Saarland’s relatively small size means people have “quick access to decision makers” and simplified bureaucracy. Yet “the image of Saarland is still far away. People think of smoke, dirt and pollution. And this is gone.” Kiefaber cites the transformation of Liverpool: the once grubby city is now “completely different. But it takes some years to get away from this image.” AG
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WE NEED YOU! Demi_page_myclimate.indd 1
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/
20.01.2011 12:08:01 Uhr
30.03.2011 10:51:57 Uhr
THINK LOCAL: ZEYNEP ASLAN
Fund manager and former resident of Istanbul and London, Zeynep Aslan gives her insight into working and living in the Grand Duchy.
ZEYNEP ASLAN: look for Luxembourg’s hidden treasures
Interview: Aaron Grunwald — Photo: David Laurent/Wide
The director of the Türkisfund SICAV--a euro-denominated fund that primarily invests in Turkey--has lived in the Grand Duchy since transferring from Istanbul in 2007. The native of Ankara studied in London and worked briefly in New York City, before returning to Turkey to become a bond trader and then a fund manager.
The system here [is set up] in a way to make foreign people especially happy. It doesn’t matter where you’re coming from. As long as you are beneficial to the economy and you’re doing something for them, they do their best to help you. Yes, this is a kind of attitude you should return back, but this doesn’t happen everywhere in the world. AG: Are you a good language learner? ZA: When I moved to Luxembourg, it was just English that I knew. Well, my Turkish is perfect, that’s something! Actually there are a lot of people who cannot even speak their native language. Really speaking your native language correctly is really very important for being able to integrate other languages as well. [But] it doesn’t matter if people are speaking the same language... I think language is not the most important thing to be able to integrate in a culture, or to be able to understand other people. To some extent, yes, you have to learn that language, to show the people that you respect that country and the people. AG: What are some of the biggest differences you have seen in business culture between Luxembourg and Turkey? ZA: Turkish people have a great history and great confidence. But then they have this tendency to get offended very easily when there’s something going on. The most important thing is that nobody is personalising anything here. I am hav-
AG: What was the biggest surprise when you arrived? ZA: I never had any problems here, because I came here with really positive thoughts. I said [to myself], I will do the things that are expected. I was really taking everything positively. I didn’t personalise anything. If you really put in your best effort and work really hard, any place in the world will be OK. But Luxembourg is even easier if you have this kind of attitude. It’s all related to how you are taking things. AG: Have you had any integration challenges? ZA: The thing is, I really like [Luxembourgers]. My landlord really helped me, in a very positive way. When I had some problems about something, instead of complaining about those things, I did my best to find a better solution. And I did not just scream, “this is not working.” I asked for help in a very polite way, and they gave it. I don’t remember even once that my requests were declined.
ing a very, very fruitful run, because I just focus on results. AG: How is the funds industry different? ZA: Turkey in a way works like the American system. Everything is very, very quick in Turkey. People work nearly 24 hours, like really. If there is something that has to be finished on that day, it’s finished. AG: What amusing misconceptions have you heard about Luxembourg in Turkey? ZA: Turkish people have this tendency to say “Brussels” for “Luxembourg.” In Turkish, you write “Lükemburg” and “Brŭksel.” It involves a lot of the same letters. Every time I say “Lükemburg”, they say “Br ŭksel.” Everybody, really, does it, even my sister who is a medical doctor. AG: Would you prefer to live in a bigger town? ZA: I know what it means living in a big city. Even if you are really making huge amounts of money, it curbs your time. You will not have enough time to spend your money or you will not have enough money to spend. AG: What advice would you give to newcomers? ZA: Have a positive attitude, that’s the most important thing. Wherever you are, there are always some good things you can learn or take from that environment. I say, benefit from this environment the best you can. There are a lot of hidden treasures in Luxembourg.
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Photography taken at the Centre national de l’audiovisuel (CNA)
Conception & layout : apart © Photo : Andrés Lejona
myenergy days the fair for energy-efficient renovation Luxexpo / Kirchberg
climate neutral event
SOVEReIGN DEBT STILL LOOMS
During a speech in Luxembourg, Finland’s European commissioner said the Grand Duchy-based EFSF needs a revamp. Text: Aaron Grunwald — Photo: Olivier Minaire
The Grand Duchy-based European institution created to combat the financial crisis needs to be expanded, according to the European commissioner for economic and monetary affairs. Olli Rehn made the comments at a luncheon hosted by the British Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg and Nobelux, the NordicBelgium-Luxembourg chamber of commerce. “Following the turbulence in the sovereign debt markets” last year, Rehn explained the EU created three schemes to support member states. This includes the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), located in Luxembourg-Kirchberg. Theoretically it is authorized to issue up to 440 billion euro in bonds to support euro area member states. However, only 250 billion euro has been explicitly guaranteed by euro zone countries. Finance ministers have been discussing an increase in guarantees since the beginning of the year, and at press time continued to work out the fine print. During his speech, the Finnish commissioner pointed out that in January the EFSF--together with an emergency scheme for all EU countries called the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism--successfully raised “around five billion euro, with what I would say are very competitive interest rates. I think that’s a vote of confidence in the financial backstops the European Union has created.” However, Rehn said he had just come from a meeting with EFSF chief Klaus Regling and “together we are reflecting
OLLI REHN: would like Luxembourg-based EFSF to expand its activities
how to reform and reinforce the EFSF and its function.” Rehn continued, “We need to reinforce the effective lending capacity of the EFSF,” and “we have to extend its scope of activities to make it more flexible and agile as an instrument to contain financial fires in Europe.” Following his speech, Rehn told Delano it would be “premature” to comment specifically on what new activities he would like the EFSF to undertake, such as the ability to buy member states’ bonds directly from national governments or on the open market. “But I want to make it clear that the Commission continues to be in favour of a reinforcement of the effective lending capacity of the facility. So that 440 billion indeed is 440
and not only a certain part of it.” Just days later--after fiscal conservatives led by German chancellor Angela Merkel dropped their opposition--euro leaders agreed to increase the explicit guarantees to the amount Rehn advocates. They also agreed to allow the EFSF to purchase bonds, but only when governments issue new debt and not from bond traders. In fact, the EFSF will cease to exist in two years time. In 2013 it will be replaced by what Rehn calls a “permanent arrangement”, the European Stability Mechanism, although its exact structure is also the subject of current euro government negotiations.
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29.03.2011 12:38:36 Uhr
Business events planner
ON THE HORIZON APRIL 14 •
Françoise Folmer, former president of the Fédération des femmes cheffes d’entreprise du Luxembourg, speaks about the “ambassadors” programme that supports women entrepreneurs.
Chinese ambassador Zeng Xianqi speaks about China’s role in the world today and tomorrow during the May ABAL luncheon. In French with English text available.
Time: 19:30 Venue: Sofitel, Luxembourg-Kirchberg Organiser: The Network www.the-network.lu
John Frank’s Tower Training presents on assessing client needs and meeting their expectations.
Informational workshop for potential mentors and mentorees, followed by speed mentoring. Time: 12:00 Venue: Chamber of Commerce, Luxembourg-Kirchberg Organiser: Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce www.businessmentoring.lu
Time: 12:00 Venue: Légère Hotel, Munsbach Organiser: American Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg www.amcham.lu
Time: 12:00 Venue: NH Hotel, Luxembourg-Findel Organiser: Tower Training & Consulting www.ttc.lu
CROSSBORDER LATE PAYMENTS
Attorney Jean-Luc Schaus speaks about the pitfalls of international transactions. Of particular interest for SMEs with late invoice payment problems. Time: 12:00 Venue: Meliá Hotel, Luxembourg-Kirchberg Organiser: British Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg www.bcc.lu
CHINESE FOREIGN POLICY
British Chamber evening business forum on sustainable technology in buildings. Speakers from Cargolux, CHAMP Cargosystems, IFSB, Luxembourg Telecom and PROgroup.
Time: 18:00 Venue: Cargolux, Luxembourg-Findel Organiser: British Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg www.bcc.lu
ALFI hosts an event to analyse the implications of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive. Speakers include Luc de Vet of Citgo Fund Services. Time: 8:30-18:00 Venue: RBC Dexia, Esch-Alzette Organiser: ALFI www.alfi.lu
AMCHAM HOSTS LUC FRIEDEN
Finance minister Luc Frieden will speak on “Luxembourg’s Future in the European Monetary Union.” Networking event only open to AMCHAM members. Time: 18:30 Venue: Autopolis Cadillac showroom, Bertrange Organiser: American Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg www.amcham.lu
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Luxembourg firefightMAY ers will give a presentation to the Grand Duchy’s Rotary Club chapter. Time: 19:30 Venue: To be announced Organiser: Rotaract Club Luxembourg www.rotaract.lu
LIGHTING UP LIFE
The Junior Chamber of Commerce Luxembourg meets on the second Wednesday of the month. The group promotes citizenship and entrepreneurship for 18-40 year olds. Time: 19:30 Venue: Brasserie de l’Abbaye de Neumünster, Luxembourg-Grund Organiser: JCI Luxembourg www.jcluxembourg.com
DIGITAL MEDIA TRENDS
Consultant David Schrieberg tackles “the gazillion most urgent and important trends in digital media that you must know about or you’ll fail in business and life.” German lighting engineer Andreas Schulz presents “From engineering to poetry – How to bring a good idea to life.” Time: 19:00 Venue: Cercle Cité, LuxembourgCentre-ville Organiser: Luxembourg Association of Engineers, Architects and Industrialists www.revue-technique.lu
Time: 18:30 Venue: To be announced Organiser: paperJam Business Club www.club.paperjam.lu
6th EUROPEAN JURIST’S 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. Time: Thursday 14:00-18:30, Friday 9:30-12:30 and 15:00-17:30, Saturday 10:00-12:00 Venue: Conference Centre, Luxembourg-Kirchberg Organisers: Luxembourg’s ministries of justice and finance, the European Court of Justice, Luxembourg Bar Council and the University of Luxembourg www.eurojurist2011.lu
The British Chamber hosts an informative, guided tour of the City of Metz. Space is limited, registration by May 16 required. MAY
Time: 10:00 Venue: Meet at Gare de Metz Ville Organiser: British Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg www.bcc.lu
Half-day technical conference, with case study presentations, that analyse the impact of Circular 164/2 LITL. Time: To be announced Venue: To be announced Organiser: IFE Benelux www.ifebenelux.com
Networking with Minister Biltgen
AMCHAM’s IT networking event features François Biltgen, minister of communications and media, as keynote speaker. Time: 18:30 Venue: RTL Studios, LuxembourgKirchberg Organiser: American Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg www.amcham.lu
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Dr. Dame Claire Bertschinger
“ Make humanity the highest priority” The director of nursing at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine talks about the Global Issues Network, her experiences in war zones around the world and her unwitting part in launching Live Aid. Text: Duncan Roberts — Photos: David Laurent/Wide — Cover and opener shot with analogic Mju camera
Claire Bertschinger: enthusing people to make a difference
It is hard not to feel humbled in the presence of Dr. Dame Claire Bertschinger. Not particularly because you realise that this unassuming woman was the nurse whose interview with Michael Buerk for his now iconic 1984 BBC report on the Ethiopian famine so stirred Bob Geldof that he launched Band Aid and Live Aid. But because she is still using her experiences to inspire others. That was certainly the case at the recent Global Issues Network (GIN) meeting at the Chambre de Commerce, a three-day event that attracted some 300 high-school students from all over the world to discuss issues ranging from equal opportunities to poverty, from the environment to education. It was not the first time Dr. Bertschinger had addressed the GIN, having been in Luxembourg twice, and in Milan and even Doha. She is wildly enthusiastic about the students who attend the conference. “The majority of presentations are done by kids. I am
giving a talk, but I want to go to half of the presentations here.” But she is more modest about her own influence on the students. “I just tell them my life experience, and they seem to be inspired by it.” That life has been quite amazing. Detailed, in part, in her book Moving Mountains, it is a journey that has taken Bertschinger from being bottom of the class at school--only later discovering that she was, in fact, dyslexic--to being made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in last year’s New Year’s Honours list. From an early age, she had wanted to be a nurse, although she does not remember why. In an interview with The Times in 2005 she says she was inspired by seeing Ingrid Bergman in The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, though at the GIN she recalls as a child playing at being a nurse in Africa and telling her parents that was what she wanted to do later in life. After training as a nurse, she went on an expedition with the Scientific
Exploration Society to Panama, Papua New Guinea and Sulawesi. She admits to having been a bit of a tomboy, so maybe her sense of adventure arose from that. But she also thinks that children who don’t do so well at school may be more adventurous because they want to escape. Upon returning to England she asked to join the British Red Cross but was rejected. Unemployed, Bertschinger eventually ended up staying with an aunt in Geneva-her father is Swiss--and was encouraged to apply to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), learning a few stock phrases of French that she employed skillfully at the interview. Futility of war This was the key moment that changed her life. Her first mission was in Lebanon, where she soon learned how to negotiate cease-fires, often several in one day, with the multitude of fighting
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Spanning generations: Claire Bertschinger and Kate Otto in conversation
Unique: jewellery made with beads fashioned from recycled posters were a huge hit
Logistics: Global Issues Network coordinator Valérie Isbecque
factions so that she could cross the front lines to treat the wounded. But it was there, talking to the fighters, that she truly realised the importance of humanity and the utter futility of war. “They all said they were fighting for peace, which struck me as absurd,” says Bertschinger. “But I also learned that even though they had blood on their hands, they had the same concerns as everyone about their family and so on.” Her tales of survival in the most stressful circumstances are fascinating, horrifying, moving and even, against all the odds, amusing. There is the story of Afghan warriors placing the petals from hundreds of wild red tulips on the bonnet of her car as a way of expressing thanks, and she paints a surreal picture of the petals flying away like drops of blood as she drives off. Or there is the tale of prisoners in Kenya taking her down a labyrinth of corridors, she quite concerned that something awful might happen, to present her with a cup of tea and a piece of Mars bar--“like the best
champagne and caviar at the Savoy hotel.” Bertschinger was once told by a colleague that she had probably spent more time on the front line than any combat soldier. That she escaped physically unscathed she puts down to “wisdom, not necessarily intelligence. You listen to your inner voice.” Her experiences led her to writing an alternative security book as a complement to the official ICRC guide. Called What They Don’t Tell You In Geneva, it offers advice on what signals to look out for if danger presents itself. “It is about using common sense,” says Bertschinger. “But fear is important. I certainly wouldn’t go on mission with anyone who was gung-ho about going out into the field.” Going out into the field poses several problems, but so, surprisingly, does returning to the west and “civilisation.” Bertschinger suffered from reverse culture shock and would refuse to flush the toilet after urinating because it was a waste of water and
Education is the key to the future” would eat food after its sell-by-date. Bertschinger famously said she was overwhelmed by the situation she was confronted with during the famine in Ethiopia. But there have been other occasions where similar emotions threatened to swamp her. “But you cope as long as you don’t stop, just carry on and do what you can. You have to realise you are not an angel of mercy.” However, the Ethiopian famine did test her. The sight of rows of children, 100 deep, lining up at the camp when she only had enough food for 300 was heartbreaking. She was forced to choose
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Attentive: students listen intently to Claire Bertschinger during her keynote speech. Over 300 students from 40 schools attended this year’s GIN conference
Inspirational: Kate Otto, public health consultant to the World Bank, just 24, had students enraptured with her talk
between those with a chance of survival and those for whom she could do nothing. It was this that inspired Bob Geldof to start Band Aid. The musician later said: “In her was vested the power of life and death. She had become God-like, and that is unbearable for anyone.” Geldof started the fund-raising and awareness campaign that made such an impact on the lives of those in danger in Ethiopia, and changed forever the way people approached fundraising for humanitarian disasters. Autobiography Nevertheless, the first time Bertschinger heard the Band Aid song, ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’, she was incensed. She was listening to the radio in her hotel in Ethiopia, and had no idea what the charity single was all about. And even though she was receiving praise and plaudits for her heroism from all over the world, Bertschinger thought of herself as a failure because so many
had died. It was only after she returned to Ethiopia, rather reluctantly at first, for a follow up documentary by Buerk in 2004, that she realised she had actually helped. But before she moved forward, she had to step back and eventually succumbed to requests to write a book about her experiences. Moving Mountains was based on the diaries she had kept and the letters she had sent her father from her missions abroad. “He could have burned them, for all I cared, but he kept them in a shoe box and the editor took those and together we based the book around them.” Nevertheless, the memoirs are self-censored as Bertschinger is a strong believer in the controversial ICRC philosophy of being a silent witness so as not to compromise its reputation for impartiality. “Other organisations, such as Médecins Sans Frontières, can stand up and say what’s wrong, and that is very good. But we need one agency that can remain neutral and thus gain access where others can’t.”
Profits from the sale of Moving Mountains go towards the Africa Children’s Educational Trust (A-CET), one of only two charity projects that Bertschinger is actively involved (the other is Promise Nepal). She is a strong believer in the power of education, especially in reducing infant mortality which remains one of her main priorities. She is convinced that with the right action under-five child mortality can be reduced by two thirds by 2015, in line with the aims of the Millennium Development Goals. “Education is the key to the future, especially for women. It has been shown that if women are empowered to make decisions and look after the household, then the majority of the family will survive. It reduces child mortality significantly.” And she has witnessed first-hand the power of education through A-CET projects in Ethiopia and how precious it is to those children who manage to attend school, even in the most difficult cir-
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Exchanging ideas: the aim of GIN is to empower students to work with their peers to develop solutions for global issues
Accessories: GIN 2011 wristbands were provided as a souvenir of the conference
cumstances. It is through education that Bertschinger also began to realise that the work she did back in 1984 during the famine did have a positive effect. “I go back to Ethiopia now, 25 years later and see some of the children we saved have now graduated from university. They are doctors and engineers and teachers and IT technicians--it is wonderful, very encouraging.” She has been a Buddhist for 17 years, having become despairing of other religions which were always being cited as a reason for going to war. “I came back and thought there must be an alternative. I became a humanist, but that was too much against religion and not for me.” Someone suggested Buddhism, and after dismissing it as weird she read about Nichiren Buddhism which applies the faith to everyday life. “It is very much about being active in your local community and I find it very empowering. It helps me transcend our differences and find a common element.”
She was initially shocked to have been made a Dame, but realised that she should use her title for the bigger picture. “I must create value with it and get the word across that we can all make a difference simply by acting locally and thinking globally. And make humanity, not economics, the highest priority. That doesn’t mean you can’t be a millionaire, but when you take action on something, do it with humanity.” As for her professional life, after gaining a masters in medical anthropology Dr. Bertschinger is now the course director for the diploma in tropical nursing at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, from which 130 nurses graduate each year. “I feel what I am doing now is more important than what I was doing before. Many of the nurses I train go abroad, or return to their own countries. It is all about helping people to help themselves, and support the people on the ground. I don’t need to be at the forefront, but I can enthuse people that they can make a difference.”
Global Issues Network
Empowering students Founded in 2003 by educators at the International School of Luxembourg, Global Issues Network hosts an annual conference that attracts students and teachers from around the world. GIN conferences in Africa, Asia, America and the Middle East are now in development. Its aim is to empower students to work with their peers to develop solutions for global issues. Attending schools all make a presentation at the conference and students get to hear inspiring talks from the likes of Dr. Bertschinger and Kate Otto, a remarkable 24-year old from the World Bank who has been working in the field of HIV/Aids since the age of 14. www.global-issues-network.org
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Fédération des femmes cheffes d’entreprise du Luxembourg
PROMOTING BUSINESS, NOT FEMINISM With a new administrative board in place, the FFCEL is seeking to increase its visibility and target new goals to help and encourage women entrepreneurs.
“We are not feminists,” says Miriam Mascherin, the newly elected president of the Fédération des femmes cheffes d’entreprise du Luxembourg. “We are simply working for harmony and equal opportunities in the economic, political and social sectors.” Mascherin was elected president in February, replacing Françoise Folmer who had served her two years in the post. A new board was also elected during the federation’s AGM. “The new board reflects the economic fabric and demographic of Luxembourg,” says Mascherin. Indeed, with an Irish president and Luxembourgish, French and Belgian board members working in sectors ranging from finance and real estate management to communication
Fédération des femmes cheffes d’entreprise du Luxembourg 7, rue Alcide de Gasperi Luxembourg-Kirchberg B.P. 2045, L-1020 Luxembourg firstname.lastname@example.org www.ffcel.lu
and child-care via the brewing industry, the make-up of the nine-member board can justifiably be described as diverse. The FFCEL has come a long way since its inception in 2004. It now counts more than 150 members and welcomes any woman who is, or has ambition to be, an entrepreneur. That distinguishes it from other associations that promote women in the workplace. “We are more specifi c,” explains Mascherin. “We are entrepreneurs, decision takers in liberal professions.” Not that the FFCEL is in any way elitist. Indeed, the federation has already undertaken several projects with partners such as the Chambre de Commerce and the Chambre des Métiers for the
President: Miriam Mascherin Vice-president and in charge of FEALU project: Tizama Telou General secretary: Béatrice Martin
Female Entrepreneurship Ambassadors Luxembourg programme. It is also a partner of Business Monitoring, part of the national action plan for integration and combating discrimination, and supports the Woman Business Manager of the Year awards, which this year was bestowed upon FFCEL member Amal Choury. Co-operation on different fronts with the likes of the Conseil national des femmes, the comité national de la promotion de l’esprit d’entreprise, the Union des entreprises (UEL) and the Jeunes entrepreneurs du Luxembourg will also bear fruit for both sides, says Mascherin. A business mentoring programme is also starting to show results. Perhaps more surprisingly, the new presi-
Secretary and IT: Betty Fontaine Treasurer: Marie Thérèse Discret Communication: Ludivine Plessy Membres observateurs: Lut Laget
New membership: Véronique Coulon Sponsoring: Sharon March Honorary president: Claudine Speltz
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MIRIAM MASCHERIN: encouraging female entrepreneurship as a vital contributor to the economy
Female Entrepreneurship Ambassadors Luxembourg
THE STARTING ELEVEN dent also wants to open up the FFCEL to men--not as fully fledged members, but certainly in an honorary position. Indeed, Mascherin indicated the board will actively seek at least one man to join the federation as part of its mission to create more synergies with male colleagues, especially in the finance sector. “He would have to be someone who understands our philosophy and wants to help promote women, and who can explain that to other enterprises. Someone who can communicate in the same language.” As for the thorny issue of quotas, the FFCEL has a clear position that it has already transmitted to the government. “We propose a probationary period of three or five years to allow the women to prove
Regular lunchtime talk meetings are held on the ﬁnal Wednesday of each month. Other events, round-table discussions and conferences are organised ad hoc. Details are updated on the FFCEL website.
their skills within boards of directors. A mix of age, culture and sex has indisputable advantages.” In addition, the Female Board Pool is creating a database listing all the potential women who are ready of bring added value to company boardrooms. Mascherin’s other goal for the federation is to increase the number of events and promote networking as a vital opportunity for women to meet and exchange ideas. “Men master networking much better. We want to be a meeting place for women so that they can make contacts outside of their own sector.” To this end a regular lunch meeting, addressed by a speaker, takes place on the last Wednesday of every month. The president also wants more women to become active members within the federation--she estimates the board puts in a total of 1,200 hours of volunteer work each year--and to increase the budget, with an appeal for sponsorship. It is an ambitious programme, but one that Mascherin is convinced will bear fruit. Being Irish she likes to quote Oscar Wilde. “Wisdom means to have sufficiently big dreams so as not to lose sight of DR them while pursuing them.”
As part of its goal to encourage entrepreneurship among women, the FFCEL created the Female Entrepreneurship Ambassadors Luxembourg (FEALU) programme, along with the Chambre de Commerce and the Chambre des Métiers. Part of a European network, the idea is to share knowledge and experience with potential entrepreneurs. An appeal was launched to the experienced female heads of companies with at least ﬁve employees to join the FEALU network. Last August a jury selected eleven women bosses for the FEALU programme. They are, or will be, taking part in Business Mentoring programmes which sees them take young entrepreneurs under their wing for a period of 12 to 18 months. The eleven ambassadors are:
Véronique Coulon, Ldp SA Sonia Da Costa, Push The Brand Tatiana Fabeck, Tatianafabeck Architecte (photo) Lut Laget, Cabinet Vgd Luxembourg Joëlle Letsch, Adt-Center Béatrice Martin, Kidscare Domenica Oroﬁno-Fortunato, Entreprise Fortunato Jean Sarl Maria Pietrangeli, Femmes Magazine Samia Rabia, Wildgen - Partners in Law Constance Simon, Agence de Voyages Simon SA Netty Thines, Mediation SA
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LIFESTYLE GOING NATIVE
British Ladies Club
Olivier Minaire / archives
3 OUTDOOR SPRING EVENTS
CAR BOOT SALE
The British Ladies Club of Luxembourg’s annual Car Boot Sale will attract over 130 participants selling bargains including second-hand books, toys, clothes and home wares. Refreshments, including ice cream, will be available and kids will be entertained by a bouncy castle. The event is a major fundraiser, with more than €18,000 being raised for charity and profits going to the Office Social de la Ville de Luxembourg. The event is also open to non-members and details and information on how to reserve a “spot” can be obtained from June on tel: 2695 9777 (18:00-21:00 only) or email email@example.com.
KONSCHT AM GRONN
The arrival of spring heralds a new season of the popular Konscht am Gronn (art in the Grund) events. This year the open air gallery, featuring some 20 artists from Luxembourg and the greater region, takes place on the first Sunday of every month between May and October. Visitors can stroll at leisure between stands and enjoy one of the oldest neighbourhoods of the city, take in the spectacular views to the Corniche and Bock rock and savour local food and drink. May 1, 10:00-18:00, Grund, Luxembourg City, www.konschtamgronn.lu
April 30, 9:00-16:00, Glacis Car Park, www.blc.lu
“ LIKE A MULTICULTURAL SPRING GARDEN IN THE HEART OF EUROPE WITH DIFFERENT FLOWERS, SEEDS AND TREES AND WHERE I FEEL AT HOME” LAURENT MOSAR: president, Chambre des députés
A regular list of local associations. Submit a text for inclusion by sending a mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Traditional Easter Monday markets take place in the old fish market of the capital city and in the village of Nospelt, which has a tradition of pottery making going back to the 15th century. Both events attract huge crowds, many eager to browse and buy from stands selling decorative and functional pottery and ceramics as well as an amazing array of other items--some, like t-shirts bearing the logos of heavy metal bands, do not seem quite appropriate given the occasion. The main attraction is the Peckvillchen, the clay birds that double as whistles. These come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, depending on the artist. Collectors will seek out the latest models, while tourists are delighted to find something unusual and typically Luxembourgish. Tradition also dictates that the markets are host to the ubiquitous “grill” serving sausages and pork chops, as well as drinks stands plying eager customers with local crémant and beer. Legend has it that the church bells fly to Rome to be blessed before Easter, and children wander the streets with wooden rattles (klibberen) to replace their sound. April 25, all day, Marché aux Poissons, Luxembourg City and Nospelt, www.comitealtstad.lu
The OUSL is open to graduates of Oxford University living in and around Luxembourg, promoting Oxford and hosting charitable events. www.oxford.lu
Club for owners and enthusiasts of British sports cars that organises tours, provides technical help and hosts other social activities. www.bscoc.org
OXFORD UNIVERSITY SOCIETY OF LUXEMBOURG
BRITISH SPORTS CAR OWNERS CLUB
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GOING NATIVE LIFESTYLE
People in the news
THE CRUCIAL THREE THE KNOWLEDGE HOW TO... GET MARRIED
The wife of Grand Duke Henri celebrated her 55th birthday on March 22. Born in Havana, Maria Teresa Mestre y Batista-Falla fled the communist revolution as a young child with her parents. They ended up in Geneva via New York and Spain, and Maria Teresa studied political science at the local university, where she met her future husband. The couple were married on February 14, 1981 and have five children and two grandchildren. The Grand Duchess has always been interested in good causes and since 1997 has been a UNESCO goodwill ambassador, working in support of micro-credits and child protection. Arpingstone
GRAND DUCHESS MARIA TERESA
The photographer celebrates his 70th birthday with a double exhibition at Galerie Clairefontaine 2. On show are some 20 of his filling station series--photographs of petrol pumps taken all over the Grand Duchy--as well as new black and white still life photographs of old sports equipment, including footballs, boxing gloves and running spikes. The latter is appropriate as Medinger ran the 800 metres for Luxembourg at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. His father, too, was an Olympic athlete (he competed at the 1936 Berlin games) and artist. Medinger began his photography career shooting athletic events for local newspapers, but he now prefers finding art and beauty in inanimate objects.
FRANK SCHLECK Olivier Minaire / archives
The elder of the Schleck brothers won his first race as a Leopard Trek rider on March 27 when he took victory in the Critérium International. Schleck dug deep for the second of two stages to ride one of his best time trials and finished ahead of Vasil Kiryienka over a flat, seven-kilometre course in Porto Vecchio. “We had a great weekend riding the way we did. When you ride together as a team, we have fun even though we suffer,” said Schleck.
1 Start preparations at least three months before you want to get married. You must request the ofﬁcial documents from the registrar at your local town hall. Bring ID from both partners. 2 A doctor must certify a medical exam of both partners, including a blood test at the Red Cross and a tuberculin test at the Centre Médico Social. You must give the doctor’s details to the registrar beforehand. 3 You also need valid ID, recently issued birth certiﬁcates, certiﬁcats de résidence and a certiﬁcate of single-status. 4 Return all paperwork to the registrar for the publication of the marriage banns. 5 The marriage must take place within a year. Time and date will be ﬁxed with the registrar. More information is available at your local town hall.
FOOD & DRINK
Founded in 2007, this club is for whisky enthusiasts with regular whisky tastings, special offers and trips to events. www.whiskyclublux.com
The Anglican Church welcomes Christians from all denominations and nationalities at English speaking services and events. www.anglican.lu
Classes for beginners and advanced dancers in Scottish Country Dance and some Highland Dance. www.scottishdancing.lu
WHISKY CLUB LUXEMBOURG
ANGLICAN CHURCH OF LUXEMBOURG
LUXEMBOURG SCOTTISH COUNTRY DANCE CLUB
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Seven live performances to watch
THE BARE ESSENTIALS
Carmen remains one of the most recognizable and popular works in the opera canon, thanks in particular to Bizet’s memorable March of the Toreadors. In this Opéra Comique production, Adrian Noble strips the opera to its bare essentials to allow his star, Anna Caterina Antonacci, to portray the central character with what Hugh Canning in the Sunday Times called “devastating truthfulness.” May 9, 11 & 13, 20:00, Grand Théâtre, Luxembourg, www.theatres.lu
ZARZUELA FOR A GOOD CAUSE
BACK IN THE GROOVE Lloyd Cole has enjoyed mixed fortunes since the 1980s success of early records Rattlesnakes and Easy Pieces. His later solo work garnered critical acclaim, but not commercial reward. Now he is back touring with a band, or rather a “small ensemble”, consisting of Mark Schwaber and Matt Cullen. Cole’s latest album,
released on Hamburg’s Tapete Records, is called Broken Record. Songs like ‘Oh Genevieve!’ have him back at his ironic best, delivering the sort of smart pop we should all be listening to on a sunny spring day. April 20, 20:00, opderschmelz, Dudelange, www.opderschmelz.lu
With singers and cast from the local and international community, Las Calles promises to be an all-encompassing celebration of the Zarzuela --the lively and colourful Spanish operetta form that originated in the 17th century. It is a patchwork of classical arias and popular songs, dance and spoken passages. Las Calles is based on La Gran Via, the story of a protest against plans to build a thoroughfare in the centre of Madrid. The one-off performance is sponsored by the Association Luxembourg-Peru, a non-proﬁt organisation founded by parents of adopted Peruvian children. All proceeds go towards CIMA: Centro de Intregacion de Minores con Amor (www.cimahope. org) based in Lima, Peru. May 18, 20:00, Grand Théâtre, Luxembourg, www.luxembourgticket.lu
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Angus & Julia Stone’s exquisite album Down Your Way showcases the Australian siblings’ penchant for beautiful, dreamy arrangements for their songs of love and devotion. It is an album that smartly contrasts the pair’s songwriting and delivery styles, which perfectly complement each other to create a harmonious sound throughout its 13 tracks. They make their Luxembourg debut at the Rockhal Club. May 3, 20:00, Rockhal, Esch-Belval, www.rockhal.lu
Julien Becker /archives
DREAMERS FROM DOWN UNDER THEATRE
SEXUAL POLITICS Patrick Marber’s Closer was highly acclaimed upon its debut, with The Observer even claiming that it has “wired itself into the cultural vocabulary in a way that few plays have ever done.” Douglas Rintoul directs local actors Myriam Muller and Jules Werner (photo) in this intense, bitter, sexy and bitingly funny play about sexual politics. May 13, 17-20 & 25-27, 20:00, Théâtre des Capucins, Luxembourg, www.theatres.lu
Now in its 36th edition, the Festival International Echternach continues to attract top talent to the Grand Duchy. The programme up until July focuses on classical music, with a quality jazz programme to follow in September. May highlights include Grammy award winner Thomas Fey conducting the Heidelberger Sinfoniker and local pianist Jean Muller (photo) in Beethoven’s 5th piano concerto, with Mendelssohn and Haydn also on the programme. The Orchestre de Chambre du Luxembourg also performs with baritone Thomas Bauer in a programme featuring works by Liszt (whose bicentenary is celebrated this year) and Mahler (who died 100 years ago). Until July 2, www.echternachfestival.lu
ECHTERNACH ATTRACTS TOP TALENT
LOCAL FESTIVAL WITH NEW IDENTITY Discovery Zone is the title of the new Luxembourg City Film Festival, which succeeds the heavily criticized Diractor’s festival. As the name suggests, Discovery Zone is all about introducing festival audiences to the new. The programmers have so far managed to put together some intriguing titles for the festival’s Discover: Selected section. These include bizarre Flemish feature Bullhead, the ever prolific Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins and acclaimed drama Blue Valentine starring Michelle Williams. Emphasis is also being placed on documentaries, with a Discover:Hot Docs section already set to attract audiences with the acclaimed fi lm about US soldiers embedded in Afghanistan, Restrepo (photo) among the selection. A retrospective, a section aimed at younger audiences and a night of short fi lms by Luxembourg directors are also among the highlights. April 28 to May 5, Utopolis, Utopia and Cinémathèque, www.discoveryzone.lu
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BICYCLE BUILT FOR NONE
What does custom car culture tell us about contemporary family life? That is one question explored by American artist Dzine in “Zeniths and Daytons”, an exhibition of bicycle sculptures, paintings and wall reliefs. The title refers to “an underground term commonly used in Chicano lowrider culture.” Born in Puerto Rico, Dzine splits his time between Chicago and San Juan. His work mixes urban subjects with the baroque. Dzine’s pieces surprise at first glance, but rich details reveal his appreciation of craftsmanship.
Until May 21, Galerie Zidoun, www.galeriezidoun.com
Photographer Andrés Lejona’s images of Findel’s old airport terminal just prior to its demolition are a mesmerising insight into the building. Despite the lack of the buzz of passengers leaving or being greeted on arrival, Lejona manages to capture the essence of a building made for people.
Four exhibitions to see
April 16 to May 17, Abbaye de Neumünster, Luxembourg, www.ccrn.lu (part of the Mois européen de la photographie – www.emoplux.lu)
IMAGES OF WARTIME LUXEMBOURG PHOTOGRAPHY
DOUBLE EXPOSURE Lee Miller Archives, England 2010
The photographs taken by Lee Miller during her time in Luxembourg after the liberation in September 1944 are all the more fascinating not only because the period is rarely depicted in Luxembourg historiography, but also because of the personality of Miller herself. Miller was a model and surrealist artist before the war, but in 1942, while working for Vogue as a photographer, she applied to become an American war correspondent. She joined the forces in Europe one month after the D-Day landings in 1944 and eventually arrived in Luxembourg. Miller produced photo-essays for both the British and American editions of Vogue, allowing
readers of the publication to truly identify with the suffering, fortitude and bravery of the Luxembourg people. Until October 2, Centre National de l’Audiovisuel, Dudelange, www.cna.lu (part of the Mois européen de la photographie – www.emoplux.lu)
The national art and history museum is hosting two exhibitions in the context of European photography month. Braco Dimitrijevic’ ’s past and more recent conceptual work contrasts with a show of photos from the pioneering days of the art form taken in Egypt as interest in that country and its ancient history reached fever pitch. Until August 28, Musée National d’Histoire et d’Art, Luxembourg, www.mnha.lu (part of the Mois européen de la photographie – www.emoplux.lu)
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Four films to watch
Caramba cinemas’ celebration of all that is weird and wonderful about films from Great Britain and Ireland this year offers something for everyone. It kicks off with Luxembourg co-production The Runway, which tells the story of a South American pilot who crash-lands his plane in Co. Cork and befriends a young boy who, believing his absent father to be Spanish, has learned the language and is the only one who can communicate with the pilot. Other fi lms on the programme range from biographical documentaries such as American: The Bill Hicks Story and Clio Bernard’s fascinating docu-drama The Arbor about Yorkshire poet Andrea Dunbar, to genre fi lms such as horror thrillers Cherry Tree Lane and One Hundred Mornings. Ian Dury biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock’n’Roll (photo) plays alongside older music films Tommy and The Wall.
FILMS FROM THE ISLES
THE QUIRKINESS OF THE BRITISH AND IRISH
April 8-17, www.caramba.lu
POST-MODERN HORROR The fourth in the Scream series-call it a franchise, if you will--is set to perform well at the box ofﬁce as a new generation of horror fans discover Wes Craven’s penchant for post-modern, self-referencing, ironic slasher fare. Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette all reprise the roles that made the ﬁrst three movies such a success. Can Craven avoid repeating the same formula of horror-ﬁlm in jokes and bring something fresh to the series some 15 years after the ﬁrst Scream launched a wave of imitators? Released April 15
IT’S GRIM UP NORTH
Following brilliant documentary Touching The Void with award-winning drama with The Last King of Scotland, director Kevin MacDonald now takes on a sword and sandals epic. Set in 140 AD, The Eagle follows the fortunes of a young Roman centurion who ventures north of Hadrian’s Wall to recover the standard of his legion. He is accompanied only by his British slave. Released April 22
THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU
The writing of Philip K. Dick makes for intriguing, satisfying, and occasionally great, science-fiction cinema. Blade Runner is now one of the crown jewels of the genre and Minority Report gains in reputation upon repeated viewing. Now comes The Adjustment Bureau starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt as a couple who accidentally meet and fall in love. The trouble is, according to the adjusters, the dark forces who plan everything that happens in the world, the couple should not be together. The bureau will do everything to keep them apart. Can they escape their fate? Released April 15
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TASTING AT THE SPRING FAIR The annual Foire de Printemps at Luxexpo has long been used by local wine makers to provide the public with their ﬁrst opportunity to taste last year’s vintage. Indeed, the fair has created a Vinigast section just for that purpose. This houses stands from a range of Moselle producers who provide tastings and allow the public to order cases of the 2010 vintage, often at reduced prices. The fair takes place from May 14 to 22. More on the 2010 Luxembourg vintage in May’s edition of Delano.
Tim Probyn and Henrik Jensen have taken back the reins at the venue briefly known as The Point and before that The Elevator. The result is Soul Kitchen, a two bartwo room venue with new décor. The pair has always been into giving bars a facelift “to keep things fresh and rejuvenate the energy,” says Tim. “So we set about creating a new, if somewhat retro, interior.” Soul Kitchen is now open Wednesday to Saturday, with DJs and live bands on most evenings. The back bar will always be more dance/electronic orientated, but the front room ranges from funk to punk to disco to drum’n’bass to rock’n’roll, with everything in between. www.soulkitchen.lu
News and recommendations for
EPICUREANS AND NIGHT OWLS OUR FAVOURITE SHOP
IN VINO GILDAS
Gildas Royer and his small team continue to set the standard by introducing new wines aimed at connoisseurs and collectors. Most recent offerings include a 2009 Chablis 1er Cru Montmain, Dom. Pattes Loup. The stylish store, which won a Commerce Design award last year, also hosts wine courses and tasting evenings focused on different themes. www.invinogildas.lu
ALEX CHALMERS AT FUBAR Formerly found behind the bar of The Pyg, Alex Chalmers is now head honcho at Fubar, just a few doors down the road in Clausen. The bar, run with father John, who works in the kitchen preparing kebabs and burgers, is becoming a mecca for sports fans who like to relax over a pint, or a glass of local wine or Viez, and discuss the match being shown on the 60” HD
Olivier Minaire /archives
screen. An Arsenal fan, Alex takes a keen interest in the English premier league, but Fubar is also home to a bunch of enthusiastic Celtic fans and screens other sports such as Formula One and ice hockey. “There is always something happening, including poker nights, eating contests or simply relaxing with friends.” www.fubar.lu
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Good table guide
HOTEL BUSINESS LUNCHES LA POMME CANNELLE
Texts: Duncan Roberts
Chef Anthony Péan is something of an expert at creating lunch menus that stand out from the crowd yet suit budget and time restraints in the current business environment. The Pomme Cannelle at Hotel Le Royal, in the centre of town, was one of the first restaurants to guarantee a 60-minute lunch (for a twocourse formula). Péan delights in marrying one main ingredient with a second to bring out the flavour of the star of the dish, like with his Arctic char and green asparagus. Fabrizio Maltese
Located just opposite the train station, the Alfa Brasserie (at the Grand Hôtel Mercure Alfa) is a nostalgic throwback to the days of grand Parisian eateries abuzz with chit-chat and waiters choreographing their way across the dining room. With a very reasonably priced choice of menus du jour and efﬁcient service, the Alfa is a great place for a less formal business lunch. Grand Hôtel Mercure Alfa, 16, place de la Gare, Luxembourg, tel. 49 00 11 30 00, www.alfabrasserie.lu
Hotel Le Royal, 12, boulevard Royal, Luxembourg, tel. 24 16 16 736 , www.hotelroyal.lu
TOP FLOOR You can’t get a better view at lunchtime than that afforded by a window table at Top Floor in the Sofitel Luxembourg Le Grand Ducal. The 8th floor restaurant offers diners an excellent seasonal lunchtime menu devised by Sébastien Perrot in consultation with Michelinstar chef Antoine Westermann, and even an enclosed banquet area for those more discreet business meetings. Julien Becker
Soﬁtel Luxembourg Le Grand Ducal, 40, boulevard d‘Avranches, Luxembourg, tel. 24 87 73 10, www.soﬁtel.com
The stylish Cube restaurant at the Légère Premium Hotel Luxembourg provides a choice of international and Luxembourg cuisine. The kitchen takes pride in sourcing its meat and ﬁsh from quality controlled producers, and uses a range of exotic vegetables, such as manioc and algae, to provide diners with something different. Légère Premium Hotel Luxembourg, 11, Parc d’Activité Syrdall,Munsbach, tel. 49 00 06-1, www.legerehotels.com
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Three tips for body and mind
WELL-BEING BALANCED NUTRITION (1)
The team behind Happ has ﬁnally opened its restaurant in Limpertsberg. Needless to say the restaurant offers diners a range of healthy choices. But that doesn’t mean the food is plain or uninspiring. The menu has included mouthwatering treats such as roasted red capsicum soup with freshly baked bread and coconut chicken. Oh, and it has a great terrace area that can be covered in winter. www.happ.lu
FEAR OF FLYING
Figures show that around one-third of airline passengers suffer from some sort of fear of flying. This may manifest itself in different forms, and to varying degrees, both physically and psychologically. And that doesn’t take into account those people whose fear is so great that they don’t even try to board an aircraft. But statistics show that flying is 29 times safer than driving a car. For many, the fear derives, in part at least, from a lack of knowledge about how an airplane actually functions and the procedures involved in preparing and flying the machine. To help passengers overcome this fear, Luxair organises regular “fear of flying” seminars. Taken over a weekend, the seminars are run by a Luxair pilot and a psychologist. Participants get to take a look inside an airplane cockpit and learn all about the technical aspects of flying--especially take off and landing--and the influence of weather conditions. The seminars have recorded a 94 percent success rate over the last 20 years. Indeed, they are so successful that Luxair has added a fourth weekend to this year’s schedule on June 18 and 19. Participation costs 610 euro, which includes two lunches and a fl ight to and from a Luxair destination to round off the weekend. www.luxair.lu
LUXAIR SEMINARS HELP PASSENGERS RELAX BALANCED NUTRITION (2)
APPLE A DAY Located in the centre of town, Apple a Day offers diners a quick and healthy lunch. Salads and sandwiches feature, but so does a choice of soups (served with organic bread) that changes regularly and a selection of home-made hamburgers. These include the traditional meat, but also sesame chicken, cod and vegetarian varieties. Rice and pasta dishes and organic drinks are also available. www.appleaday.lu
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LIFESTYLE CHARITY EVENT
DUCK RACE Table Ronde Luxembourgeoise
Watching thousands of yellow plastic ducks race down a stretch of the Petrusse has somehow become an annual highlight of the spring season. The Duck Race is given extra excitement by the fact that each ducks is owned by a “god parent”, who has paid five euro for the honour. The owners of the first ducks across the line win prizes, including a new car. Ducks can be purchased from Luxembourg City Tourist Office and a list of selected retail outlets, and also from the Duck Race website. Now in its tenth year, the event is a fun afternoon out for the whole family. It is organised by the Table ronde luxembourgeoise and takes place near the mini-golf in the Petrusse valley in town. The fun starts at 12 noon, with food, drink and entertainment and the race itself at 3 p.m. Charity proceeds this year go to help children in Romania and Mauritius.
DJ WORKSHOP & DISCO
Kids living in the north of the country can learn all about DJing, how mixing desks work, what sort of tracks can be played in sequence, how turntables, CD players and laptops can be used to create new sounds out of old tunes. The new DJs will then play at a special disco for 6-12 year olds on the Saturday night. The workshops are in German and French.
April 30, from 12:00, Petrusse valley (mini-golf), Luxembourg City, www.duckrace.lu
April 14 & 15, 16:00-18:00, Prabelli centre, Wiltz, www.cooperations.lu
Four events for
FAMILIES AND KIDS WEEKEND EVENT
Twentieth Century Fox Animation
An animated feature from the makers of Ice Age, Rio is the story of a domesticated parrot from Minnesota who has a fear of ﬂying and ends up in Rio de Janeiro, where a life of adventure begins. Jesse Eiseberg, Anne Hathaway, Jamie Foxx and even Will.I.Am provide the voices. April 15, Caramba and Utopia group cinemas, www.utopolis.lu, www.caramba.lu
DAY OR NIGHT, DARK OR BRIGHT In conjunction with the current exhibition by Pascal Grandmaison, Casino Luxembourg is hosting a two-hour English language workshop for children aged six to 12. The workshop will ask whether participants prefer darkness or brightness, day or night. Starting from Pascal Grandmaison’s works, they will then create an incredible black and white universe. “No need to make any choice:
white moonlight or black volcano stones, you will get both! ” Admission costs five euro, but is free for holders of a KannerKonschtPass. Space is limited, so advance booking is highly recommended. Call Anne Reding on tel. 22 50 45 or email firstname.lastname@example.org April 30, 15:00-17:00, Casino Luxembourg-Forum d’art contemporain, Luxembourg City, www.casino-luxembourg.lu
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MY OTHER LIFE: CHRIS VIGAR
The managing director of KV Media, and former chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg, has been passionate about singing in choirs since an early age. Text: Duncan Roberts — Photo: Olivier Minaire
Founded in 1994, Intermedii performed regular concerts in Luxembourg and abroad at events such as the mediaeval festival in Rodemack (photo). Former ambassador Nick Elam always claimed he was the group’s midwife, since he presented them in a series of intimate dinner-soirées. Since the sad death of founder member Nancy Coons, Intermedii exists more in name. However, an annual Christmas concert still takes place and the group is booked to perform in Burgundy in May, although only three of the original members will be in that particular choir. www.intermedii.lu
It was out of economic necessity, if that is not too harsh, that Chris Vigar first took up singing. At the age of seven he became the youngest ever chorister at Lincoln Cathedral--his parents had put him in for the choir because it reduced the fees at the choir school. Later he was awarded a choral exhibition at Oxford’s Exeter College. “That’s when it started getting serious,” says Chris. “There was so much music going on and my voice had settled.” There was also the social aspect of singing in choirs and going on tour, which Chris enjoyed immensely. “Why people fall in love with this is that you end up with a bunch of people you already have something in common with. And everything is heightened, because the music can be so intense.” Chris took great delight in visiting places as a guest rather than just a tourist and, on occasion, getting to sing in amazing venues such as the Basilica in Assisi and the Rossini Opera House in Pesaro. When he and his wife La moved to Luxembourg, after singing in various choirs while working in London, they sought out Pierre Cao, a common acquaintance of Laszlo Heltay, the chorus master of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields for whom they had both previously sung. Through Cao they joined the Ensemble Vocal du Luxembourg and also sang as guests with the Psallette de Lorraine. They met
a lot of good singers, some from the Ensemble Vocal and some others, and formed Intermedii, an octet that fi xed its own gigs--as they called them-chose its own music and refused to have a conductor. “A group that is not being conducted listens very, very intently to what is going on around it and can create fantastic music that comes from the group and is not instructed or laid upon it.” But Chris admits that certain performances would have benefitted from a conductor, if only to gain extra precision. “Nevertheless, we got to a standard that was more than acceptable.” What most people don’t realise about singing, says Chris, is that it is intensely physical. “It is a great combination of the intellectual, emotional and physical happening at the same time.” That also means that to maintain standards singers continue to have lessons on a regular basis. Chris says he knows very few people who can just simply turn on the goods. For the last five years Chris has been attending a week-long choral course in Sintra, Portugal. Although he adores opera, it is choirs and chorales that are really Chris’s forte. “My voice is suited to smaller choral groups. Intermedii was going for around 17 years and it became a huge delight, singing to a certain standard with like-minded people and learning from people of different nationalities and coming from different traditions.”
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01.04.2011 12:39:20 Uhr
Smart, sexy and sublimely funny. New York Post One of the best plays of sexual politics in the language. Sunday Times
THÉÂTRE DES CAPUCINS
CLOSER PATRICK MARBER
13 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 25 / 26 & 27 MAY 2011 AT 8 PM Directed by: Douglas Rintoul, Assistant to the director: Natalie Ortner Set and costume design: Jeanny Kratochwil, Lighting design: Katharine Williams Production: Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg With: Elisabet Johannesdottir, Myriam Muller, Richard Shackley, Jules Werner In English / Adults 20 €, Students 8 € / www.theatres.lu Booking: www.luxembourgticket.lu or call +352 47 08 95 - 1
Théâtre des Capucins 9, Place du Théâtre L-2613 Luxembourg
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Published on Apr 6, 2011