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Discover the country’s top destination for watersports


summer 2012



Editor Sarah Crew Deputy editor Sally Tipper Reporters Leo Cendrowicz, Stephanie Duval, Andy Furniere, Tania Rabesandratana, Saffina Rana Art director Mario Beernaert Managing director Hans De Loore


summer 2012

AWEX/WBI and Ackroyd Publications Philippe Suinen – AWEX/WBI Marie-Catherine Duchêne AWEX, Place Sainctelette 2 1080 Brussels, Belgium Tel: 00.32(0)2.421.85.76 Fax: 00.32(0)2.421.83.93 email:

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Discover the country’s top destination for watersports

Editorial As the world’s eyes turn to London this summer, Belgium is hoping for its best Olympics ever. For a small country, its medal haul since first competing in 1900 is more than respectable, but the 105 athletes from 16 sport disciplines competing in the 2012 games are aiming high. The Belgian Olympic Inter-Federal Committee has set a target of two to six medals. Spearheading aspirations are sporting hopefuls from Brussels and Wallonia including the twin track athletes Kevin and Jonathan Borlée, pictured above after their triumph in the 4x400m men’s relay at the European Championships in Helsinki on July 1. If you’re lucky enough to be in London this summer, don’t miss the chance to meet the country’s athletes at Belgium House in Inner Temple on the banks of River Thames. 

Cover David Goffin plays Roger Federer at the French Open in June Image AP/Michel Spingler


wallonia and brussels magazine SUMMER 2012


Liège launches the Tour de France


Headlines from across the region


Gilfi’s recipe for ice-cream success


Hainaut company working with venom



University healthcare spin-offs



Local athletes head for London 2012


Expat singers BJ Scott and David Linx


Sail away to Hainaut’s lake hotspot


Beers, wines and spirits in Wallonia



Artist Ann Veronica Janssens in Sydney


Textile designer Geneviève Levivier


Summer festivals and other events

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The Tour de France sets off from Liège


wallonia and brussels magazine SUMMER 2012


he city of Liège welcomed the greatest bike race on earth with fluttering Walloon and Belgian flags, enthusiastic crowds and glorious sunshine. The prologue to the Tour de France on June 30 was the perfect opportunity for the city to show the world how to stage an international event. Attracting the loudest applause was Belgium’s 2011 champion, Verviers-born Philippe Gilbert, pictured here. It was a perfect day for locals to display their pride in being Liégeois as the Ardent City lived up to its reputation.

wallonia and brussels magazine SUMMER 2012





Visit Waterloo The first tourist office smartphone application has been launched by the Waterloo office in Walloon Brabant. The office covers the communes of Braine-l’Alleud, Lasne, La Hulpe, Genappe and Waterloo. Called Visit Waterloo, it is available for free via Apple Store and Android Market. For the moment the new tool is available in French but an English version will be ready by August and a Dutch version will follow. The application gives access to tourism, culture and leisure information in all five communes.

Wheatgrass on the rocks Two women from Walloon Brabant are behind the first Belgian company to produce wheatgrass juice, a popular health drink. Julie Minet and Caroline De Sauvage from Genappe are selling the juice in the form of ice cubes that are then added to water or fresh juice. A juice-bar staple in many countries, wheatgrass contains vitamins and minerals and is claimed to have curative and rejuvenation properties. The pair set up the company Blé-Vert in the town’s former police station. The wheatgerm is grown in a large room bathed with natural light and is available in Charleroi, Namur, Liège, Brussels and Walloon Brabant


Once upon a time in Brussels


A new tour company is exploring the capital’s secret corners on electric bikes. Historian Virginie Muller, 28, launched Once Upon a Time in Brussels to offer an extensive tour of the city without resorting to the effort required by two wheels. In a four-hour tour she leads a group of helmeted tourists around the Grand’Place, Place Royale, Sablon, Marolles, La Cambre, Brussels Free University (ULB) and the garden cities of Brussels’ suburbs.



Green light for new mosque in Liège The largest mosque in Wallonia is to be built in Liège, with work due to start next spring in the commune of Glain. Planning permission was approved after an initial application for two 30-metre minarets was altered to a single one of 18 metres in response to residents’ concerns. The tower would automatically light up rather than broadcast the call to prayer, said a Liège councillor, and the mosque will accommodate up to 1,000 people. A library and cafeteria is also planned for the 11,000-square-metre site. There are currently 87 officially recognised mosques in Wallonia and 54 in Brussels.


wallonia and brussels magazine SUMMER 2012

Unesco heritage label for Wallonia mines Four major mining sites in Wallonia have been added to the prestigious Unesco world heritage list. The recognition promises to boost tourism in the former industrial areas. All four were awarded for being the best-preserved 19th- and 20th-century sites in the country. Three are in Hainaut province: Grand-Hornu in the Borinage, Bois-du-Luc (below) near La Louvière and Bois du Cazier at Marcinelle. The fourth, Blegny, is near Liège, and is a first Unesco site for the province. Each features examples of utopian and patrician architecture from the beginning of the industrial revolution.

Award for Parliament visitor centre The European Parliament’s visitor’s centre, the Parliamentarium, has won Brussels’ top tourism prize. The centre, in the parliament’s Espace Léopold complex, was awarded at the VisitBrussels Awards and Networking Night. The Brussels region tourist office also gave prizes to the animation film festival Anima, the multicultural project Antitapas Night, graffiti exhibition Explosition at Ixelles Museum, new theatre venue the Egg and the Vintage Hotel. Brussels francophone tourism minister Christos Doulkeridis and Isabelle Durant, vice-president of the European Parliament, said the prize rewarded projects that made Brussels “an exceptional place for escapism, surprise and relaxation unique in the world, a city that shines, brings together and delights”. The €23 million visitor centre opened in October 2011 and presents a permanent exhibition on the history and role of the European Parliament. Admission is free.

The award was a “true recognition of the history, the diversity and the richness of mining sites in Wallonia and Walloon mining heritage in general”, said the Walloon minister responsible for heritage, Carlo Di Antonio. He added that “the sites condense into a small space all the aspects of mining heritage, showing the influx of immigrants, and they testify in an exemplary manner the experience of the industrial revolution in continental Europe.” The Walloon mines exploited the rich coal seam that ran from the Calais region in the north of France to Aachen on the Belgian-German border. The world heritage label recognised the integrity of each site, being both preserved and transformed into cultural and tourist sites. Blegny and Bois du Cazier are examples of working mines, while Bois-du-Luc and GrandHornu show the social side through workers’ villages. Grand-Hornu is now a major cultural venue with two contemporary art museums, while Bois-du-Luc is an eco-museum. The mines join existing heritage sites in Wallonia including belfries, the Central canal lifts, the neolithic flint mines of Spiennes and Tournai cathedral.

Student finalists in Microsoft competition Three Liège students have been named Belgian finalists in Imagine Cup, a worldwide competition organised by IT giant Microsoft. The final is being staged in Sydney, Australia in July. Antoine Trippaers, Julien Roussell and Nicolas Bertrand have developed the project Make a Sign as a language-learning platform based on the latest technology, in the section Software Design. It uses virtual recognition via the Kinect application of Windows Phone. The competition was launched in 2003 to encourage students to develop their creativity and imagination. 

wallonia and brussels magazine SUMMER 2012




Cool thrills Ice-cream company Gilfi creates daring flavours for gourmands in Wallonia and abroad BY Andy Furniere


wallonia and brussels magazine SUMMER 2012


oneyed curry and vodka, turmeric and black pepper, gorgonzola ice-cream to accompany a cheese platter – these are just three of the original icy treats made by Gilfi ice-cream and patisserie company. Over the past 35 years the artisan enterprise in the heart of the Ardennes has developed a tantalising range of 200 classic and unusual flavours. When visiting an ice-cream company, tasting is a pleasant task, and Benoît Gilson serves a generous scoop. He runs the family business with brother Eric, which explains the name of the company: Gilfi is an abbreviation of Gilson et fils or Gilson and sons. Benoît, 47, is responsible for the commercial activities, while his brother, a year older, looks after the administration. The pair have been managing the company since the early 1980s. The speculoos ice-cream I taste is a Belgian favourite, along with classic flavours like vanilla, mocha and chocolate. But Gilfi is especially known for the gastronomic desserts it makes to order for restaurateurs who want to surprise customers with original ideas. They also demand high quality. “We have the expertise and technology here to translate concepts into innovative desserts,” explains Gilson. The team of 12 at Gilfi includes four chefs, three of them pastry specialists. They love to experiment with flavours. “Brainstorming is a spontaneous process,” says Gilson. “If one of us has a reasonable idea, we create the flavour and taste. You can never be a hundred percent certain that a dessert will be a success but over the years we have developed a sense for it.” Their experience has resulted in haute cuisine treats such as Roquefort cheese sorbet with pear, ricotta ice-cream with pink peppercorn and, recently, an exotic yuzu sorbet – based on the Asian citrus fruit. Gilson’s personal favourite is a caramel sorbet with salted butter, a

flavour that is undeniably trendy in the dessert world. In addition to ice-creams and sorbets, Gilfi makes bavarois, icecream cakes and fruit coulis. These can be ordered for special occasions such as weddings, communions and end-ofyear celebrations. Although competition with more industrial competitors can be tough, it is Gilfi’s creativity that has earned it a stable place in the market. The team is also very flexible, which is practical for customers with last-minute orders, although Gilson hopes to expand in the future, to cater even more quickly to clients’ needs.

Gilfi is especially reputed for the gastronomic desserts it makes to order for restaurateurs Furthermore, its products are always natural. For the past 20 years, the company has sourced its milk from the same local farm, and, as it has a dairy licence, it homogenises and pasteurises the milk itself. Making ice-cream is a twoday process. The combined ingredients are first cooked to 83 degrees, then cooled for four hours, before spending another four hours in a turbine. Once this process is completed, the ice-cream has a temperature of minus 7 degrees and is packaged in one-, 2.5- and fivelitre containers. Some flavours are also packaged in 125ml quantities. “We don’t make mass-production desserts. Because of our authentic way of work-

ing, our products have that special natural taste,” says Gilson. Gilfi recently underlined its commitment to natural ingredients by joining Faircoop, an organisation of 500 milk producers who strive for sustainable agriculture through solidarity and fair pricing. With organic milk from the cooperative Biolait, Gilfi has created the new ice-cream label Fairebel, with vanilla, dame blanche and pure milk flavours. The range is available in Carrefour, Intermarché and Champion supermarkets. The European commissioner for agriculture and rural development, Dacian Ciolos, and the Walloon minister of agriculture and infrastructure, Carlo Di Antonio, were at the launch in April. For the past four years Gilfi has operated from a business park near Francorchamps in the Ardennes. It moved to the larger, better-equipped building after previous facilities in the area became too small. From here, Gilfi principally produces desserts for the Walloon and Brussels market. “But recently, we are exporting more and more abroad, to Germany, France, Luxembourg, Cyprus and the Netherlands, among other countries,” says Gilson. The company’s origins, however, lie in Namur, where the brothers’ father took over a small ice-cream business 35 years ago. A year later, they moved to an atelier in Francorchamps, the family’s home base. Benoît Gilson, then 12 years old, remembers how ice-cream became more than a summer refreshment: “It was fantastic to always have these treats around,” he smiles. “I didn’t even mind helping out after school or working here in the summer.” Even after all this time, Gilson continues to enjoy the different flavours every day. “It’s not a professional obligation to check the quality of our products, but it’s still a thrill to try out all these new exciting flavours,” he says.

 wallonia and brussels magazine summer 2012




Snake bite Alphabiotoxine extracts powerful and pain-killing venom from hundreds of poisonous snakes in a small Hainaut village BY Tania Rabesandratana


udy Fourmy has always had a soft spot for small bugs and other curious creatures. “Since I was a kid I’ve loved everything that bites and scratches,” he smiles. Fourmy indulged in his passion for reptiles long after his childhood years, travelled the world to get closer to his favourite vipers, and earned a degree in biology. Later, he ended up building a career in the automotive sector, far from his beloved animals. But Fourmy was itching to turn his passion into more than a hobby. With a handful of other aficionados, he set up Alphabiotoxine – a company specialising in the extraction of venoms. Fourmy and his small team of volunteers now provide a range of sought-after products for researchers.

Alphabiotoxine specialises in extracting venom from snakes, spiders and other unpopular creatures


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While plants have long supplied our pharmacopeia, the potential of animals as sources of medicines remains largely untapped. “About 200,000 species of venomous animals have been identified,” Fourmy says. He adds that each kind of venom contains a mixture of hundreds of molecules that have a specific effect on body functions, such as blood coagulation or the perception of pain. All are, in turn, potential sources of medicines for human use. Ziconotid, for instance, is a painkiller that can be found in the toxin of a type of sea snail. Since 2009, Alphabiotoxine has been happily settled in Montroeul-au-Bois, in Hainaut province. But getting the green light to host hundreds of venomous snakes in a Walloon village has been a lengthy affair. Of course, Alphabiotoxine uses a strict security system, and there have been no incidents to report. “The fear of venomous animals stems mostly from ignorance,” Fourmy says, adding that “it’s not more dangerous

than having a chemical factory nearby.” The company’s expertise is unique in the country, and much sought after worldwide. Although most of its clients are based in Europe, Alphabiotoxine’s reputation has extended far beyond the old continent. Pushed by a growing demand, it has even widened its range of products to include substances extracted from spiders, scorpions and even ants.

Since I was a kid I’ve loved things that bite and scratch Rudy Fourmy

“The labs have believed in us. They have been convinced by the quality of the products and also by our flexibility,” Fourmy states. “We want to differentiate ourselves from other companies by handling any kind of species, or developing methods to process venoms that have never been done before.” Some venoms can sell at about €100,000 per gram, but a lab typically buys only one or two milligrams, which can then be sufficient to carry out research work for half a year or more. “But if one of these labs hits the jackpot with a molecule, we could multiply our activity,” Fourmy hopes. He could then turn this side career into a full-time dream. 



Health kick BioWin is innovating in the medical sector and rejuvenating the region’s economy By Saffina Rana

I Nobody else anywhere in the world is doing this work Michel Detheux

n the imagination, Wallonia may still be synonymous with the coal and steel industries of its past, but in reality new industries are thriving. Clusters of health and biotechnology companies, among others, are exploiting new knowledge uncovered in the region’s universities, and the universities themselves are producing two to three spin-off companies every year. Wallonia has been listed among the 10 most innovative biopharmaceutical regions in the world by scientific journal Nature Reviews Drug Discovery. Last year, companies in this sector created 12,250 jobs in the region and generated a turnover of €3.4 billion. They are involved in developing and producing products ranging from vaccines and medicines to food supplements and other dietary products, from radio-isotopes for use in diagnosing and treating disease, to biochips and other medical devices that help diagnose and treat a multitude of diseases. Biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies mainly appeared in Wal-

lonia after World War Two, attracted by expertise in the region’s universities. American group Baxter was an early arrival, in 1954, and now conducts much of its biopharmaceutical and medical device development in Wallonia. World-leading companies such as GSK Biologicals, the vaccine division of GlaxoSmithKline, biopharmaceuticals group UCB and cancer diagnostics and devices group IBA all maintain a large presence in the region. Yet to replace the might of the coal and steel industry, the speed and scale with which these sorts of collaborations and new companies come into being had to increase. For this reason the Walloon government’s 2005 Marshall Plan, which set out to rejuvenate the region’s economy, singled out healthcare as a sector for new initiatives. “Looking at the large number of excellent research groups in the region’s universities and the industrial expertise already available, the Walloon government saw the potential of the region to become an international leader in wallonia and brussels magazine SUMMER 2012





developing new products, and the economic impact this could have,” says Frédéric Druck of BioWin, one of the initiatives put in place by the Marshall Plan.


BioWin helps companies in Belgium and beyond team up with research groups in Wallonia’s nine universities and 300 research centres. This could be to find new knowledge to exploit, or key enabling technologies. They may be looking for a group to carry out research, or one capable of benchmarking the company’s own technologies.


Since it was created in 2006, BioWin has also launched and funded 25 national collaborative projects to develop and commercialise new research findings, with public funding of €68.1 million. To date, these have generated 16 patents and seven new international projects. They have resulted in the creation of three spin-off companies and two technology ‘platforms’, one specialising in manufacturing cell therapy products, the other a centre for collaborative cancer research. Two of the successes nurtured by BioWin are Promethera Biosciences and iTeos Therapeutics, both spin-off companies of UCL, the Catholic University of Louvain, and both at the forefront of efforts to develop new life-saving therapies. iTeos is also a spin-off of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.

Promethera Biosciences

Light therapy for Crigler-Najjar syndrome (top); liver transplants may one day be a thing of the past thanks to research by Promethera Biosciences

The goal at Promethera Biosciences is to offer children with genetic liver diseases a non-invasive alternative to liver transplants, currently their only hope for survival and a near-normal life. The company focuses on diseases where


wallonia and brussels magazine SUMMER 2012

just one of the liver enzymes is defective. For example, in urea cycle disorders, the enzyme responsible for removing ammonia from the bloodstream does not function, causing lethal amounts to build up in the blood. Similarly, when the enzyme responsible for breaking down the substance bilirubin is defective (a condition known as Crigler-Najjar syndrome) the result can be brain damage, muscle and nerve damage and eventually death. “Without a liver transplant, most children suffering from these diseases die at an early age as they have limited treatment options,” explains CEO Eric Halioua. “There is a shortage of livers and when you wait too long, the disease has too much impact on the brain and it can be too late.” The treatment developed by Promethera involves injecting a compound of a certain type of cell found in healthy livers into a vein leading to the patient’s liver. The cells – heterologous human adult liver progenitor cells (HHALPC) – were discovered in 2005 by Professor Etienne Sokal, director of UCL’s cell therapy research lab and a paediatric hepatologist at Cliniques Universitaires St-Luc, a European centre of excellence in liver transplantation for children. Prof Sokal teamed up with Halioua to commercialise the discovery in 2009, after his team had been successful in growing the cells outside the body and demonstrating the concept worked in three animal models. A first round of financing began with €4 million in grants and subsidies from the Walloon government, in addition to €5.3 million capital raised by Promethera. This set the technology transfer process in motion and helped create the company. It pro-

Specific liver diseases are the focus of Promethera Biosciences’ work

ceeded to patent the cells and their applications, develop the treatment and scale up production of the cells. Between 2009 and 2011, injections of HHALPC were safely administered to the three adult patients – a world first – by Prof Sokal and his team. This success led to approval this year for phase I/II clinical trials to treat children suffering with Crigler-Najjar syndrome or urea cycle disorders in Belgium and the UK. Promethera is also waiting for trial authorisation in France.

This is one of the biggest investments in biotech in Europe this year Eric Halioua

“It’s a very exciting time,” says Halioua. “Being ready to enter clinical trials a year ahead of schedule has attracted €6 million in funding for clinical development from the Walloon government. This meant that by the end of March 2012 we had raised a total of €23.6 million, with €17 million from existing and new investors. This is one of the biggest investments in biotech in Europe this year. We have grown the company from two to forty-six people and being involved in developing a treatment that saves the lives of kids is very motivating.”

New investors include the venture capital fund of pharmaceutical giant Boehringer Ingelheim; biopharmaceutical company Shire; Mitsui Global Investment, the venture capital fund of the Japanese industrial Mitsui and Co conglomerate; ATMI, a leader in semiconductors and innovative culture systems; and Sambrinvest, the investment fund of the Charleroi region. These five join several Belgian investors including UCL and Vesalius Biocapital (Alain Parthoens), which has been Promethera’s principal backer since the launch of the company. “The help we get from the Walloon region government is really exceptional: the soft money right from the beginning, the support and training, the competences,” Halioua says. “And being labelled by BioWin has worked extremely well for us, given us visibility and attracted investors. You need to be labelled to get the money and we did it. That’s how it works.”

iTeos Therapeutics Cancer therapies have been developed over the past few years which stimulate the body’s natural immune system to attack cancerous cells with very limited side effects. However, the success of these immunotherapies has also been limited, because tumours can develop mechanisms to block the immune response (known as immunosuppression). iTeos was created in 2011 to bring forward the discovery of molecules (known as immunomodulators) which when used with other cancer immunotherapies can effectively retrigger the body’s immune response to attack the cancer. Two immunosuppressive mechanisms

were identified by Professor Benoît Van den Eynde and his team at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and the Duve Institute of UCL, and so far has been shown to be effective in mice. iTeos has won €6 million from the Walloon government and attracted €3 million from investors in Belgium this year to take three targets for drug discovery forward for treating humans. “The €9 million will allow us to develop and validate the discovery platform, start clinical trials within two years and reach a proof of concept within four years,” says iTeos CEO Michel Detheux. “We will also work on very specific animal models to evaluate a number of other immunomodulators for different cancers and develop tools to clinically validate them.” The current thinking is focused on pancreatic, liver, lung and colorectal cancers. This work will take them up to 2015. “After that we will have two choices: to license out the projects or find more funding to continue the development ourselves,” he says. The immunomodulators being developed are the first of their kind and Detheux doesn’t think the company would have got off to such a speedy start without the public funding. “The Walloon government has been extraordinarily supportive, not only with the unique €6 million grant but also with funding for starting the company, and sensitivity to the challenges of developing such a company,” he says. “What we are doing is really at the cutting edge, nobody else anywhere in the world is doing this work. Being at the forefront is very exciting.”    wallonia and brussels magazine SUMMER 2012




Olympic dreams Sporting hopefuls from Wallonia and Brussels will be testing their speed, strength, stamina and smarts against the greatest in the world in London at the Olympic Games this summer BY Leo Cendrowicz


he Belgian Olympic team of runners, swimmers, cyclists, kayakers, horse riders, hockey players, judokas and other elite sporting talents are all dreaming of that moment of glory on the podium. Competing in the London games from July 27 to August 16, the odds suggest almost all will return home empty-handed, yet Belgium has taken medals at every modernera Olympics it has competed in. And with talent like sprint twins Kevin and Jonathan Borlée, judoka Joachim Bottieau and rising tennis star David Goffin among the contingent, there is a good chance that the Belgian national anthem could be heard in London.


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The final line-up of Belgium’s Olympic squad was still changing in the run-up to the opening of the London games. However, as WAB went to press, there were already 98 men and women confirmed, making it the biggest delegation since Montreal 1976.

Athletics The most promising prospects from Wallonia and Brussels are undoubtedly the Borlée family: twins Kevin and Jonathan, and their sister Olivia. Kevin was the European 400m champion in 2010

in a time of 45.08 seconds, although he did not defend his title at the Helsinki European Athletics Championships in June. His bronze in the 400m was Belgium’s only medal at last summer’s IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea (although the country has only ever won four medals, all bronze, at the World Championships). Meanwhile, Jonathan, who was fifth in Daegu and third in the European Championships in 2010, may well drop down to the 200m after scoring a personal best of 20.31 this year. At Helsinki he missed a podium place in the 200m final by 0.04 seconds.

Jonathan and Kevin Borlée after their success in the men’s 4x400m in Helsinki in July

The family, based near Brussels’ Stade Fallon, has spent time at Florida State University in Tallahassee, a prestigious athletics college where Kevin studied physiotherapy and Jonathan economics. The Borlées’ coach and father, Jacques, himself a former Belgian champion sprinter, says the 24-year-old twins are very different physically and mentally: Kevin, who weighs 2kg more, prepares meticulously, while Jonathan’s performance depends more on his mood. They are looking better than ever now: at the Belgian championships in June, Kevin’s 44.56 seconds for the 400m beat

the national record and was the fastest time by a European runner for almost five years. Jointly, of course, Kevin and Jonathan can combine to help the Belgian 4x400m relay team: with the gold medal at Helsinki, the team has proved it is one of the best in the world. Olivia, 26, already has a silver medal from Beijing in 2008 as part of the 4x100m sprint relay team. She was hoping to repeat that in London with co-sprinters Hanna Mariën, Elodie Ouédraogo and Anne Zagré, as well as the 100m and 200m individual events. But the Belgian team missed Olympic selection at Helsinki with their time of

43.81, despite it being their best performance in 2012. Ouedraogo, 31, born in the Brussels commune of Saint-Josseten-Noode, is also an outside chance in the 200m and 400m hurdles. And Zagré, 22, who has Burundian roots like Ouedraogo, secured a place in the Belgian team for the 100m hurdles after breaking the national record with 12.92 seconds at the June national championships, which she immediately broke by running 12.89 seconds at an international meeting in Nivelles on June 23.,

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Philippe Gilbert (top); Jean-Michel Saive (below); the men’s hockey team the Red Lions (right)

Tennis It’s eight years since Justine Henin won gold at the Athens Olympics. David Goffin, 21, was born in Rocourt, the same Liège suburb as Henin, and is hoping to match her feat. A wild card for the Wimbledon, Goffin was one of the revelations of the French Open, reaching the last 16 before losing to his hero Roger Federer. He followed this up with a third-round exit from Wimbledon that elevated him to the top 60 in the world at the beginning of July, up from 109th last year. Goffin is now Belgium’s top male player, ahead of Olivier Rochus, 31. Namur16

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born Rochus participated in the Athens and Beijing games and following a lastminute appeal to the selection committee is joining Goffin in London.

Table Tennis

Belgium has, of course, a storied history with cycling

Goffin’s youth contrasts with the experience of Jean-Michel Saive, the 42-year-old Liège veteran who has been Belgium’s top table tennis player without interruption since 1985. A former world number one, and European champion, he has participated in consecutive Olympics since 1988, when table tennis became an official discipline; this will be his seventh.


Show Jumping But Saive is not the most senior member of the team. That would be Philippe Le Jeune, the 52-year-old show jumper from Uccle, who first qualified for the Olympics in 1980, in Moscow, but could not compete because of a national boycott. The respected horse trainer will be competing on his beloved 600kg Vigo d’Arsouilles, which will be retired following the games.

Cycling Belgium has, of course, a storied history with cycling and the best hope here is

Philippe Gilbert in the road race. Gilbert, 29, was the third-placed sprinter in last year’s Tour De France, his annus mirabilis when he also won the Amstel Gold Classic in southern Holland, the Flèche Wallonne and Liège-BastogneLiège, while topping the UCI WorldTour Ranking and being crowned the IG Markets Pro Cycling Index Rider of 2011.

Olympic medallists from Brussels and Wallonia 2008 Beijing Women’s 4x100m relay (Olivia Borlée, Hanna Mariën, Elodie Ouédraogo, Kim Gevaert): silver

2004 Athens Justine Henin, women’s tennis singles: gold

1996 Atlanta Sébastien Godefroid, sailing Finn class: silver Marie-Isabelle Lomba, judo: bronze

On the cycle track, Jonathan Dufrasne, 24, from Boussu, is also competing in the individual pursuit. Belgian BMX champion Arnaud Dubois is celebrating a last-minute selection for London after a serious fall at an indoor competition in France in February. The

1976 Montreal Ivo Van Damme, 1,500m and 800m: silver medals

1968 Mexico Serge Reding, weightlifting: silver

1948 London Etienne Gailly, marathon: bronze

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Paralympic Games (August 28 to September 9) The hopefuls from Brussels and Wallonia

26-year-old from Theux in Liège province is the first Belgian to participate in the discipline, which is being staged for only the second time following the Beijing Olympics in 2008, for which Dubois narrowly missed selection.

Table tennis Ben Despineux, Marc Ledoux, Mathieu Loicq

Wheelchair tennis


Mike Denayer, Joachim Gérard

Wheelchair rugby David Duquenne

Goalball Youssef Bihi, Klison Mapreni

Para-equestrian Michèle George


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In swimming, Fanny Lecluyse, who lives in Mouscron – where she swims with the Dauphins Mouscronnois – will compete in the 200m breaststroke and the 200m medley. Lecluyse, 20, was a bronze medallist in the 200m breast stroke at last year’s European Championships.

François Heersbrandt, 22, who was born in Uccle and lives in Wavre, will compete in the 100m butterfly. In last year’s European Championships, in Szczecin, Poland, he won bronze. He is also adding muscle: in Beijing, in 2008, he weighed 66kg, but is now 73kg.

Judo In judo, Joachim Bottieau, 23, who came third in this year’s European Championships in Chelyabinsk, Russia, will be competing in the 73kg category. He will be joined by Jasper Lefevre, 24, in the 66kg, and a bronze medallist from the 2011 World Cup in Liverpool.


Joachim Bottieau (left in white); Maxime Richard (right)

With the gold medal at Helsinki, the team has proved it is one of the best in the world

Charline Van Snick, 21, will compete in the women’s 48kg. Van Snick, who is part of the Judo Club Bushido in Saive, in the province of Liège, was a silver medallist in this year’s European Championships.

Kayak There are two hopefuls in the kayak. Dinant-born Maxime Richard, 24, will compete in the K1,200m. And Mathieu Doby, 30, will be paddling in the kayak slalom: he was born in Grenoble but now has a Belgian passport and is based in the Liège suburb of Angleur.

Shooting In shooting, where there are 15 categories, Lionel Cox, 31, from Ougrée, Liège province, will be aiming for a medal in the 50m rifle prone. Cox’s selection is a Belgian first in the Olympic shooting discipline since 1984.

Hockey And finally, in an unexpected double, both Belgium’s men and women hockey sides will be competing at the games. The men, who have adopted the English nickname of the Red Lions, qualified when they reached the

semi-finals of the European Hockey Championships in Germany last summer, while the women, the Red Panthers, booked their place earlier this year after a fifth-place European league finish and a qualifier play-off. Neither side has reached the final of any major championship (the women have never even been to the Olympics), meaning that Belgium, once non-contenders for hockey, can now look forward to cheering their red cats in London.

  wallonia and brussels magazine SUMMER 2012




BJ Scott The Alabama singer with a powerhouse voice lives in Brussels. Following the media explosion surrounding the TV show The Voice, she released her eighth album, Collection, is busy performing in festivals around the country (including Brosella with David Linx) and can be heard every Sunday presenting on the RTBF radio programme Classic21.

How long have you been in Belgium and do you often return to the States? I’m a true expat. I’ve been here 30 years and I bounce back and forth between the two, always homesick and nostalgic for the other country. My daughter and grandchildren are in Alabama and I see them every six to seven months. They also occasionally visit Belgium, but it’s still hard. What changes have you noticed in Brussels over the years? It’s definitely got, dare I say it, much posher and the nightlife is now very different. I’ve been lucky to perform at the Couleur Café festival and Ancienne Belgique, but I really miss the smaller rock venues and I think there should be more places for intimate concerts. But there is much greater access to culture here, compared to the States. When friends and family visit I take them to the Grand’Place, of course, and I adore the Cirio cafe. Which Belgian musicians inspire you? Well, Maurane has been a friend for many years and our friendship goes beyond music to the heart. Then there’s my bass player Michel Gudansky, who’s from Brussels, and of course Arno, if you can ever catch up with him in Brussels or wherever. There will be a second season of The Voice. Any chance of being a coach again? I have no news, but I would be very interested if they asked. I think the programme proved there is real singing talent here and it showed a need for such entertainment. But whatever happens, I hope they find a way to extend the spiciness and tension that was in the early rounds.


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Brussels has definitely got, dare I say it, much posher over the years BJ SCOTT

David Linx The jazz voice of his generation is Brussels-born, but has lived in Paris since 1999. His award-winning career includes some 15 albums and numerous projects with jazz greats from around the world. Linx regularly performs in concerts and festivals in Brussels and Wallonia.

What was your expat experience in the States? I spent a lot of time in Manhattan when I lived with the writer James Baldwin. It was sometimes surreal because of all the famous people who were around (Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan, Toni Morrison, Billy Eckstine, Lena Horne). I did a lot of recording there (including A Lover’s Question, with Baldwin reciting his poetry and some musicians). I also spent time there in the ’90s with my great friend Michel Frère, the late Belgian painter. So New York has always been a very intense kaleidoscopic experience for me culturally and artistically. Lately, I’ve been going back and I eventually plan to spend half my time there.

There is an incredible jazz scene and amazing young talent here DAVID LINX

What is your favourite concert hall and who are the artists from Brussels or Wallonia who inspire you? I love Ancienne Belgique, Flagey, Bozar, but also smaller places like the Music Village, Jazz Station and Sounds. For the singers, that would be Jacques Brel, but also Toots Thielemans. But I have many friends there who I think are great such as the actor Josse de Pauw, who is world-class; my buddy Maurane, who has a tremendous voice; painter Damien Delepeleire; sculptor and all-round artist Lionel Estève; and the jazz band Aka Moon. There is an incredible jazz scene and amazing young talent. Are there any challenges to singing in English and French? There are a lot of misconceptions. I’ve recorded in seven languages and in spite of superficial obstacles, such as consonants and vowels and syllables, it is the person who swings and who tells the story and not the language. What are your current projects? The city of Paris asked four people to each produce five songs for five actresses who each sing an arrondissement of Paris. I worked with Charlotte Rampling, Agnès Jaoui, Irène Jacob, Hanna Schygulla and Maria de Medeiros. We have just released Erick de Armas’ new CD Vida Moderna. With Diederik Wissels I have been doing the music for the film O Grande Kilapy by Zeze Gamboa; Diederik and I are also working on our 20th anniversary project and I am doing a new solo project. I have recording projects as a singer and producer in Brazil, and in Argentina with an all-star cast. There’s also a wonderful project in Switzerland with a choir of 50, a chamber orchestra and sextet for which I co-wrote the repertoire. wallonia and brussels magazine SUMMER 2012




The lakes escape The Lacs de l’Eau d’Heure is a unique site combining a hydro-electric dam with adventurous and green tourism BY SARAH CREW


he Lacs de l’Eau d’Heure retain an air of mystery. They may be Wallonia’s top tourist destination and the largest watersports centre in Belgium, but there is an enchanting calm and beauty about the five stretches of water surrounded by green and wooded hills. In a quiet corner of Hainaut, south of Charleroi and just north of the French border, the lakes lie in the little-known Sambre and Meuse region, a picturesque area full of castles, abbeys, farms and rolling countryside. It was 30 years ago that a dam and hydro-electric station was built to maintain the level of the River Sambre. The subsequent creation of five lakes first attracted locals keen to sail, fish and enjoy the secluded waterside spot. Since the 1980s it has slowly been expanding with investment from the Wallonia region and the European Union. Now a major economic and tourist site, it is a model for sustainable tourism that is


wallonia and brussels magazine Summer 2012

picking up prestigious environmental awards. Day-trippers, holidaymakers, schools and businesses are all catered for in addition to locals. Holidays are centred on watersports, nature and gastronomy. The lakes also provide employment, with 300 people working directly for the complex. They are run by a nonprofit organisation that collaborates with private partners. This has led to the construction of three holiday villages, Dutch-, French- and Belgianowned. Accommodation is available for all budgets and last-minute booking is possible outside school holidays.

Open all year round – although some activities are restricted to the spring and summer – the challenge is to attract as wide a public as possible, says Anne Copin, who is responsible for the marketing of the site. “We now target daytrippers and holidaymakers, plus businesses through seminars and activities such as team-building.” She points out that it is unusual in being both a technical (electricity production) and leisure site. “But it has succeeded in reconciling tourism with the environment and we have received some international recognition for this.” On a more personal note “it is a beautiful place to work, a little bubble, an oasis,” she adds. One reason for the lakes’ success is that there is space for everyone, professional and amateur. Watersports remain naturally the main draw, principally sailing, jet-skiing, kayaking, paddle-boarding, diving (to 40m), wakeboarding, waterskiing and windsurfing. Other sports include cycling, nature walks, fishing, Nordic walking and tree-top trails in

the Natura Parc, which has the added attraction of ‘tree dating’ evenings two Fridays a month during the summer.

There are about 25 activities in total with more on the horizon as the location continues to diversify its interests. Major projects planned for 2013 are a nine-hole golf course and the renovation and expansion of the tropical swimming complex that attracts 120,000 holidaymakers and local families every year. ULM micro-light initiation will be available from the end of August at the Adeps centre. Next year also sees the completion of bike and equestrian parks.

Facts and figures

Agenda of activities

• Eden Label 2010 for sustainable environment

JULY 28 & 29 Belgian Waterski Championships

• European Blue Flag for water quality

AUGUST 8 & 9 Belgian Wake board Championships

• 1 million visitors per year • 1,800 beds available

SEPT 14-16 Belgian Championships 505 at SNEH sailing club

• 200,000 nights in total by visitors in 2011

OCT 6-7 Belgian Championships Flying Fifteen Open

• 30km from Brussels South (Charleroi) Airport

UNTIL SEPT 8 Saturday, 17.00-23.00 Aperitif at lakes and entertainment at Crocodile Café

Unique in Belgium is the popular Spin Cablepark, a 660m tow-can that pulls water-skiers, wakeboarders and the like. The boatless system is ideal for beginners. For families and children, the amphibious Red Crocodile complete with film and treasure hunt adventure is a fun ride from road to water

The lakes’ symbol and a popular visitor spot is the panoramic tower that stands at 107m, and which is also undergoing renovation. Naturally, there is no shortage of wining and dining choices. There are 11 restaurants and snack bars, catering to all tastes and budgets, in addition to local establishments.

Swimming in the freshwater lakes, with the only sandy beaches in Wallonia, draws visitors of all ages. They mainly head to the largest lake, Eau de la Plate Taille, where the reception centre and holiday villages are. There are defined zones for bathing as the water can be dangerous due to currents and variation in depth, and the latter has led to the construction of a raised beach and recreation area. Since last summer a beach pavilion on stilts gives a 360-degree view of the surrounding area. There is a second swimming area on the west bank of the lake, with a pool, terrace and beach for day tourists. The family relaxation area offers pétanque, beach volley, mini-golf and pedaloes.

Information is readily available on tourist attractions within a 25km radius of the lakes. The nearby village of Walcourt rises above the surrounding countryside, topped by a basilica. Further south, the abbey of Chimay is famous for its trappist beer and cheese. And if you drive towards Beaumont, don’t miss the Biercée Distillery in a 16th-century farm. In Hainaut province, folklore activities are forever present and the beat of drums and flash of traditional costumes can be spotted in markets throughout summer months.

 wallonia and brussels magazine SUMMER 2012




The flavours of Wallonia In the second part of our series on the region’s culinary heritage we visit the breweries, distilleries and vineyards that are flourishing at home and abroad BY Sarah Crew


here is a fine tradition of brewing beer, distilling alcohol and growing grapes in every corner of Wallonia dating from medieval times. While the custom has occasionally lapsed, it is now thriving thanks to a new appreciation for distinctive and artisan beverages. Belgium is perfectly placed to benefit from the current vogue, thanks to a centuries-old tradition for brewing and distilling. Showcasing the very best of the region’s bites, drinks and spirits during 2012 and 2013 is the Brussels Wallonia tourist office with a packed programme of events.

It would be virtually impossible to sample every local beer




ted breweries to survive despite difficult times.

From surviving trappist beers to traditional recipe abbey brews and local microbreweries, the region’s beer has a worldwide reputation and Wallonia is justifiably proud of its brewing prowess. Breweries of all sizes are growing as consumers seek out diversity and an individual taste, while exports have permit-

The three remaining Trappist beers in Wallonia – Orval (Luxembourg), Chimay (Hainaut) and Rochefort (Namur) – are brewed according to custom within monastery walls by or under the control of monks who do not profit from their sale. Dating from the Middle Ages and first

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produced for self-sufficiency, they are usually dark amber or brown, sometimes slightly sweet and strong in alcohol (6 to 13 percent). Flavours include deep, dark, bitter, fruit, hop, spice and caramel. The natural brews are revered for their artisan quality, fairtrade nature and distinctive character. Also arising from monasteries’ need for self-sufficiency are abbey beers. Although brewed to less rigid standards than their trappist counterparts, they usually also offer double, triple and brown beers in addition to ambers and blondes. From microbreweries to international breweries, they follow traditional recipes under commercial arrangement with the abbey or former abbey. The variety of strength arises from the custom of monks to brew the strongest beer for their own consumption, the second for their local customers and the weakest for domestic servants. Popular names are Maredsous, Floreffe, Bonne Espérance, St-Feuillien, Villers-laVille and Du Bocq.

It seems as though every village and town in Wallonia has a local brew. Beer-tasting experiences abound, and it would be virtually impossible to sample every one. From fruity krieks and hoppy whites to sour lambic gueuzes, there is a tipple for every taste. Among the best-known are Cantillon (Brussels), Gueuzerie (Walloon Brabant), award-winning Dubuisson (Hainaut) and Brasserie Du Bocq (Namur).

Aperitifs and liqueurs Maitrank is an artisan aperitif from Arlon (Luxembourg) based on white wine from the neighbouring Meuse/Rhine region, sugar, orange, a drop of cognac and the key ingredient, aspérule odorante, which adds the distinctive flavour. The latter has to be picked before the flower is in full bloom from the end of April to mid-May and the annual Maitrank festival takes place in Arlon during the last weekend of May. Péket is the ultimate Walloon alcohol, frequently associated with Liège. The

name means piquant or spicy in old wallon language and also refers to the juniper berry, the ingredient that provides its distinctive taste. Distilled from wheat in the Mosane area, the liqueur is downed in traditional cafes in Liège and at every folklore festival, such as the Fêtes de Wallonie in September. It’s sold in one-litre pottery bottles but commonly presented in rows of jewelcoloured measures; popular flavours are cuberdon, cherry, grenadine, lemon and speculoos. The Biercée Distillery (Hainaut) has specialised in eau-de-vie and liqueurs since 1946 and is the only distillery producing alcohol from fresh fruit in Belgium. Its flagship product is Eau de Villée, but the distillery also makes péket and other liqueurs from its beautiful rural domain. The site offers guided tours and tastings. Belgian Owl Whisky is a single malt that is garnering awards and flying out of shops. Set up in 2004 by Etienne Bouil-

Valérie Peuckert

Clockwise: Chimay Blue Cap; Maitrank; Dubuisson Brewery’s Bush 42; Ruffus sparkling wine from Domaine des Agaises; péket; Belgian Owl Whisky

lon in Hesbaye (Liège) it capitalises on two ingredients abundant in the region, barley and water. With a minimum three-year ageing period, this is one Walloon tipple that can only get better.

Wine Wine has been cultivated in the Meuse Valley since the 10th century, but the current revival is due to a group of passionate and committed growers. They have planted popular French vines or hybrid varieties suited to the cool climate, largely in Hainaut, Liège and Namur provinces. The chalky soil of southern Hainaut is home to the successful Domaine des Agaises, producing quality sparkling wine under the name of Ruffus. In Namur province there is Ry d’Argent in Bovesse, Philippe Grafé in Domaine de Chenoy and Château Bonbaron in Lustin. Vins de fruits de Roisin are fruit-based wines produced near Mons. Look out for the appellations Côtes de Sambre et Meuse and Vins de Pays des jardins de Wallonie. wallonia and brussels magazine SUMMER 2012




Journey down under


wallonia and brussels magazine Summer 2012


he work of Brussels-based contemporary artist Ann Veronica Janssens can be defined as exploratory travel into the sensory experience of reality. At the 18th Biennale of Sydney, she presents two pieces on Cockatoo Island and installations (pic-

tured here) in the foyer of the city’s Carriageworks arts centre. Light and mist create an ephemeral sculpture that transcends time.

Ann Veronica Janssens Section 2, wind and fog, 2010 artificial light and haze, mirror foil, fan dimensions variable Courtesy the artist; Air de Paris, Paris; 1301PE Gallery, Los Angeles; and Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Antwerp Photograph: Isabelle Arthuis

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Shining a light on lace A+Z Design revisits the delicate fabric in futuristic and fashionable works By Stephanie Duval


t’s no secret that fashion and design are always about the next big thing. But when every trend of the past century has been recycled at least once, and every possible colour scheme has made it from hot to not, what could possibly be new for next season? The answer is in the materials. Never has there been more research into fibres and fabrics, from nanotechnology to reinventing how fabrics are made. Designer Geneviève Levivier is at the nexus of technology and creativity. She develops the materials that shape the fashions of tomorrow, and in doing so has attracted quite some attention. Not only has she won contests and been awarded grants, she is also working with one of the most influential fashion houses in Parisian haute couture. Levivier launched her own textile design company studio, A+Z Design, from her home in Waterloo last October. She transformed an old wood workshop into a big and bright space where she first researches and then develops innovative textiles. “Everyone tries to have great ideas, but I also focus on the process, on a new way to do things,” explains Levivier. “I am not just the designer, I am also the producer.” This way, she can cleverly keep all her know-how in-house, ensuring that every product is handmade with the artisan’s careful attention to detail.

I’m first an artist Geneviève Levivier 28

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Although she feels most at ease around her research and designs, Levivier hasn’t always been a designer: “I’ve constantly had an artistic urge: I painted and drew whenever I had a chance. But

In September A+Z Design is participating in the Brussels Design September festival with an exhibition at the Dominican Hotel, where Levivier will show her latest development: “I’ve experimented with wood, treating it almost like a textile, creating what I call ‘wood lace’.”

my parents wanted me to go to university and have a more classical education, so I studied philosophy. But at the same time I enrolled in a painting course at an academy – Belgium has many great evening programmes for that.”

almost futuristic-looking kind of lace. “I love working with the idea of lace, because it lets the light shine through. My work usually incorporates the idea of layers or a play of transparency and opacity,” explains Levivier.

After finishing her studies, Levivier worked as a journalist in fashion and design: “I loved learning about interesting subjects, interviewing artists and creative people,” she explains. Gradually she became more and more intrigued by these worlds and decided that she couldn’t continue reporting from the sidelines. “I took up a class in silkscreen printing at La Cambre while I worked as a journalist, and after a while I just didn’t want to remain an amateur. I wanted to combine everything that I had learnt and seen, and do something myself,” she says.

Having finally discovered what she wanted to do, the designer applied for a grant from a Wallonia region enterprise programme, which assisted her in developing a website, building an image and thinking about her position in the market. “A lot of people have good ideas, but the real difficulty is in optimising a product and finding the right clients,” Levivier says. “The programme really helped me fine-tune my strategy.

When she discovered textile design almost by chance, something clicked for Levivier. “It was like a revelation,” she smiles. “I enrolled in a technical programme to learn silkscreen printing specifically for textiles, and I started developing different ideas.” Very quickly, the designer invented a new material which she calls ‘polymer lace’: a silk tulle fabric onto which a polymer pattern is printed on to form a modern and

“I’m not a technician. I try to be that, too, but I’m first an artist. What’s important to me is the aesthetics, and from there I start researching creative techniques. I could never just be a technical developer for someone else’s creative ideas. I also realised that my market should be fairly exclusive. I develop innovative products and this obviously requires a lot of time and effort. The higher-end market was the only one that could afford that.” Knowing from her experience as a fashion journalist that couture labels

are always looking for new things, she started presenting her work to all the big names in Paris. Her hard work paid off when one of the important houses in Paris (Levivier can’t divulge the name as she still collaborates with them) decided to use her polymer lace in its collection, and consequently placed a big order. “For me this was a confirmation that it was the right way to work. It does mean I need to come up with new things all the time, because in couture you can never just do the same thing twice. But that works for me, that is my passion: it challenges me,” she says. Recently, Levivier has started to branch out beyond the world of couture: “I’ve been very focused on fashion, but in the meantime I have discovered some techniques and materials that are maybe too heavy to wear.” Her advance into the world of design has initially not been a major one. “Everything I make is unique. I can make a smaller series, but it will still be handmade and there will still be little differences in one piece of textile compared to another. But that’s the beauty of it, and I think there are many people who appreciate this oneof-a-kind quality in their interior too,” she says.  wallonia and brussels magazine SUMMER 2012




Enjoy a stylish summer with outdoor opera, some of our favourite festivals and designer events

with Idée Fixe to tap into their organisational expertise. Three stages host a line-up that includes Zebda, le Peuple de l’Herbe, Suarez, Jali, BaliMurphy, the Peas Project, Noa Moon, the Moon Invaders, Gaëtan Streel, Les Fils de Teuhpu (pictured bottom left) and Dalton Télégramme. WHAT? UN SOIR AUTOUR DU MONDE FESTIVAL WHEN? SEPTEMBER 7 & 8 WHERE? ABBAYE DE VILLERS-LA-VILLE


MUSIC LES CONTES DE HOFFMANN For 18 years, non-profit organisation Idée Fixe has been staging open-air opera extravaganzas in a series of historic and magnificent settings. This season’s choice is a reprisal of the three-act fantasy comedy by Jacques Offenbach created in France in 2008 by French actors Julie Depardieu and Stéphan Druet. The author died before completing the work, resulting in numerous adaptations. This, his final and most ambitious work, is more about melody than narrative. Set in the early 19th century in Nuremburg, Paris, Munich and Venice, a poet dreams of three women and tells the stories of his three great loves.

The classical music event has been around for 20 years as Rencontres Musicales Internationales d’Enghien. In its anniversary year it changes its name but retains a successful mix of master-classes and concerts. WHAT? IMUSE WHEN? AUGUST 17-29 WHERE? ENGHIEN CASTLE

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FESTIVAL THÉÂTRES NOMADES This edition transforms Brussels Park into a vagabond village of tents, caravans and outdoor stages. Visitors can enjoy more than 50 free performances for all ages. A new attraction is Foundouk, a Berber-style camp which will host, in addition to fun and games, a conference on culture and nomadism. WHAT? THÉÂTRES NOMADES WHEN? AUGUST 23-26 WHERE? BRUSSELS PARK

Since its creation by the Théâtre National, this annual summer festival in the beautiful Ardennes town reflects the theatre scene in the francophone community, with national writers honoured. Staging some of the highlights of the season, it is also destined to attract a wide audience. The 2012 edition is showing 26 works, six of them new, including three world premieres. Among the highlights are La Robe de Gulnara by Isabelle Hubert, the Claude Semal musical Ceci n’est pas un chanteur belge, Le Carnaval des ombres by Serge Demoulin and Entre deux verres, an evening of literature and wine.

Pierre Wetzel



The majestic ruins of the 16th-century Cistercian abbey of Villers-la-Ville are the backdrop for this festival of world music with a dash of French chanson. After seven years as a voluntary set-up it is now joining forces




venue – Karreveld Castle in MolenbeekSaint-Jean – is one of the capital’s magical green pockets and is well worth a visit.



At the 14th edition of the annual Brussels festival, discover 17 largely theatrical productions including a modern take on Victor Hugo’s drama Marie Tudor and a musical tribute to Jacques Brel. There’s something for everyone and, even if there wasn’t, the

EVENTS DESIGN SEPTEMBER The 2012 edition stages more than 100 events in Brussels as the city is transformed into a platform for Belgian and international designers including Tom Dixon, Ron Arad, Karim Rashid and Patrick Jouin. This year the festival focuses on textile and graphic design with exhibitions, lectures, a design market, Pecha Kucha presentations and visits to designers’ studios. During the month, design shops, pop-ups and flagship stores will be promoting designers (especially upcoming ones) and products. WHAT? DESIGN SEPTEMBER WHEN? SEPTEMBER 6-30 WHERE? MULTIPLE VENUES, BRUSSELS

THE MAGIC TOUCH Jack Cooper Brussels Summer Festival Held for 10 days over three stages in the capital’s museum district, the Brussels Summer Festival is cheap and cheerful with more than 150 acts, taking in music of all stripes, street theatre and other entertainment. On the bill on four stages in Place des Palais, Mont des Arts, Place du Musée and Brussels Info Place are a healthy mix of local and international artists: Iggy and the Stooges, Vive La Fête, the Stranglers, Moon Invaders, Sarah Carlier, Charlie Winston, Bénabar, BaliMurphy and the Experimental Tropic Blues Band.

It’s a rare artist in Belgium who can turn a card trick, create an illusion, perform Chinese shadows and draw an audience into all types of mind-reading and telepathic predictions. But Jack Cooper (pictured above and left), the Brussels-born magician who performs every year at the Bruxellons theatre festival, loves such a challenge. “Participation is really important for me. For this latest show I prefer to perform to an audience of thirty to thirty-five people and really get them involved,” he says. “In previous shows, I’ve invited someone up on to the stage, but with Entre Quatre Yeux I get among the audience and ask them questions, get them involved, and it is a much more relaxed and intimate experience.” From a young age, Cooper, now 32, studied book after book and never stopped practising. A multi-talented artist and entertainer, his success is now spreading beyond Brussels and Wallonia to the rest of the country and abroad. WHAT? ENTRE QUATRE YEUX WHEN? UNTIL AUGUST 19 WHERE? BRUXELLONS


wallonia and brussels magazine SUMMER 2012




> Exchange/ >B eGrow lgium

Wallonia > The assets for growth

Financial incentives for exports and investment, lower business taxes, easy access to capital – all boosting growth in Wallonia.

> A culture of partnership Wallonia’s excellence draws on an extensive network of highly skilled workforce and R&D units dedicated to innovation

> A competitive region

Transport and logistics, aeronautics and aerospace, agribusiness, mechanical engineering, life sciences, environmental technologies: 6 competitiveness clusters and several other high-tech clusters put Wallonia at the forefront of progress.

Excellence at the heart of Europe

WAB summer 2012  

Wallonia and Brussels summer issue 2012