Discover Benelux | Issue 10 | October 2014

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I S S U E 1 0 | O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4







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Discover Benelux | Contents

Contents OCTOBER 2014




Lotte Verbeek The American blockbuster is Lotte’s turf, something she keeps proving by lending her talent to increasing numbers of well-written TV and film scripts. Telling all about her love for sci-fi, chocolate sprinkles and The Fault in Our Stars co-star Willem Dafoe, she makes it difficult not to fall in love with her. We caught up with her on a sunny morning in LA.


Already a genius at an early age and even more brilliant later on in his life and career, Rembrandt van Rijn is considered one of the most important Dutch masters of the 17th century. Read Berthe van der Hurk’s intriguing feature about the great artist’s life and work.


Our Top Luxury Picks Indulging yourself is a necessity, whether it’s expressed through contemporary home interiors, antiques or that special accessory that you just can’t stop wearing. Long-lasting and vital parts of an individual look, these items and designs make all the difference – and make you stand out for it.






Artisanal Chocolate

The Bitter Trade: An interview with Piers Alexander


Restaurant of the Month With some of the highest regarded – not to mention Michelin-starred – restaurants in the world, the Benelux region has proved itself a worthy contender at the top of the culinary prize podium. Let our Restaurant of the Month tickle those taste buds!

Made in Belgium Mini Theme

Brought up as a British expat in Luxembourg, praised author Piers Alexander always knew the feeling of being somewhat of an outsider. Opening up to Discover Benelux about the bitter and the sweet, he tells all about the trials of writing, life in Luxembourg and coming sequels.

Big Wedding Special Browsing through our collection of the top wedding destinations and dress designers in the Benelux, it’s impossible not to feel a bit loveydovey. Let our crisply white wedding theme inspire your special day, whether it is in terms of location, beauty treatments or finding that gown with a capital G.

spectacular views to cosy rooms and mouthwatering cuisine. What more could you want?


Regulars & Events Steve Flinders discusses the traits of good listeners, and Josiah Fisk explains why context is indeed everything. Also, soak up some business inspiration from our monthly calendar, guiding you through business events in the Benelux countries.

Delicious, rich, luscious chocolate. How could we ever live without it? Discover the sweetsmelling joys of this wonderful treat, and how you can learn to taste the nuances of the famed product.

Art in the Benelux From the old masters to street art – this packed art theme has got it all. We delve into the artistic expressions of a number of artists, photographers and galleries, pinpointing their fortes and outlining their creative mien. Have a read and enrich your cultural knowledge!


Make your autumn a sweet one, and follow the example of clever confectionery company BelgoSweet. Producing perfect, custom-made printed sweets, this company has discovered a novel way of showing your clients and business associates that you care.


The Discovery of Rembrandt


Business Features ING takes a stand on ethical, social and environmental issues, outlining their perspective on socially responsible investing. Also passionate about the environment is Aqualogia, going green since 2000 – and inspiring other businesses to do the same.

Hotel of the Month


Our handpicked Hotels of the Month have an array of quality features to offer – everything from

10 Fashion Picks | 12 Desirable Designs from Benelux 13 Hi There | 68 Lifestyle Columns | 70 Out & About

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Discover Benelux | Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Discover Benelux

Cover Photo

Issue 10, October 2014

Outlander TV News production

Published 10.2014


ISSN 2054-7218

Published by

Sales & Key Account Managers

Scan Group

Mette Tonnesen Corinne Camara

Design & Print Liquid Graphic Ltd. Executive Editor Thomas Winther Creative Director Mads E. Petersen Acting Editor

Yasmina Haddadi Henk Gieskens Raphaël Pousse Publisher: Scan Group 15B Bell Yard Mews Bermondsey Street London SE1 3TY United Kingdom

Julie Lindén Contributors Emmie Collinge Harun Osmanovic Berthe van den Hurk

I don’t know if you can hear the wedding bells ring, but here at Discover Benelux they’re chiming loud and clear. The October issue you’re holding in your hands has proved once and for all that there is no reason why summer should be the instinctive wedding season, as autumn boasts all the colours, castles and characteristics to make your special day a lasting memory. Have a look at our top five wedding destinations for some thoroughgoing inspiration – or why not read about our featured wedding dress designers, offering a tailored fit and pure perfection for that one day that should be, well, nothing but perfect.

Phone +44 (0)870 933 0423 Fax +44 (0)870 933 0421 Email:

Janine Sterenborg Phil Gale Anna Parkin Carole Edrich Milou van Roon

Continuing on a beautiful but also enlightening aesthetic theme, we’ve delved into the art world of the Benelux, starting with one of the world’s greatest painters and print makers: Rembrandt van Rijn. Following his suit are our featured artists and galleries, as well as an intriguing insight into the world of a street art photographer. We’re happy artistic expression comes in so many forms – it means that our art special is perhaps better than ever! Someone who knows a variety of artistic expressions by heart is Dutch actress Lotte Verbeek, whose exceptional talent in a multitude of disciplines can only be matched by her self-declared obsession with chocolate sprinkle sandwiches (for those of you who aren’t Dutch I suggest you Google it). Speaking candidly to Discover Benelux about her newfound love for Hollywood blockbusters (her latest one the astronomically – literally – successful The Fault in Our Stars), she puts any possible doubt to rest: Lotte is here to stay.

Heather Welsh Silvia de Vries Josiah Fisk Liz Wenger Matt Antoniak Steve Flinders

Adding to this is our all luxuries theme – putting the lux in Benelux – supported by fresh fashion reports, a candid moment with Belgian rock star Arno, chocolate features sweet enough to nibble, business profiles and an interview with British-Luxembourgish successful author Piers Alexander.

Simon Woolcot

It’s going to be a good October.

Julie Lindén, Acting Editor © All rights reserved. Material contained in this publication may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without prior permission of Scan Group – a trading name of Scan Magazine Ltd. This magazine contains advertorials/promotional articles.

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Private Banking.

Sometimes 3 letters make all the difference Because you shouldn’t have to compromise to achieve excellence, ING Luxembourg offers you a full experience in Private Banking. Our experts in asset management, lending solutions, wealth analysis and planning keep up-to-date to offer you the most relevant advice regarding your overall situation.

ING Luxembourg, Société Anonyme – 52, route d’Esch, L-2965 Luxembourg – R.C.S. Luxembourg B.6041

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Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Lotte Verbeek



Shooting for the stars She is the multi-talented Dutch redhead who has got the Americans swooning – most recently as the loving Lidewij who takes Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort’s smitten characters on a tour of Amsterdam in this summer’s box office hit The Fault in Our Stars. Speaking to Discover Benelux Lotte Verbeek opens up about her love for contrasting roles, her least graceful moments and why her future is definitely in Hollywood – mind the occasional trip home for some chocolate sprinkles. TEXT: JULIE LINDÉN | MAIN PHOTO: JAMES BRIDGES

”Yes, family, friends and some chocolate,” she laughs warmly, ”that’s definitely what I miss the most from the Netherlands.” Little do we know we’ll be finding ourselves googling images of Dutch chocolate sprinkle sandwiches (yes, sandwiches!) just moments after speaking with the multi-talent, who has been sincere enough to share that while her love for Europe will never fade, there are some things the Americans do better.

Lining up the blockbusters “There’s just a way of doing things over here that we haven’t quite grasped in Eu6 | Issue 10 | October 2014

rope yet,” she says pensively, remembering her first touch with method acting and the “over there” way of engaging with her everincreasing heap of promising scripts. “The acting style, and also the training, is naturally more ‘method’ in the US. There’s a will for the character to evolve and move forward in his or her story, while many European-style characters will remain stagnant in the status quo,” she says with unmistakable eloquence, expressing that her training with the honoured The Actor’s Studio in New York has formed much of who she is as an actress today. And, having

watched her US-produced mega blockbuster The Fault in Our Stars along with what seems like the rest of the world, we can only agree that there is something about Lotte and the US that chimes with an increasingly promising tune. “I was absolutely honoured to be a part of it,” Lotte says of the film based on John Green’s acclaimed novel, which sees two cancer-afflicted teenagers fall in love after meeting at a church support group. “I remember reading the script and being reduced to tears in a matter of pages. I’m so

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Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Lotte Verbeek

LEFT: “I’m so happy I got to be part of something that has meant so much for so many people,” Lotte says of her role as Lidewij in The Fault in Our Stars. ABOVE: In Nothing Personal, Lotte plays the reclusive Anne, who takes up work for an older man in exchange for food. “I went all the way with that role. I wore no makeup, I didn’t wash my hair, I didn’t tap into anything that could be likened to something beautiful or sexy or nice,” she says of her role in the award-winning film.

psychological struggles involved with cancer. Central to the story is the young couple’s visit to their favourite author (played by Willem Dafoe), residing in Amsterdam, a trip guided by the author’s caring and warm-spirited assistant Lidewij, played by Lotte.

happy that I got to be a part of something that has meant so much for so many people, I mean…” she says, pausing to finish a thought, “who on earth wouldn’t want to be part of that kind of story?” With box office results surmounting the $120 million bar in the US, leading the film to outperform supernova successes such as Twilight in UK cinemas, the movie has become one of the most profitable this year – largely due to its much-admired and subtly realist take on both physical and

“We ended up shooting a scene just across the channel from where I used to live when I was still in Amsterdam, which was quite the special experience,” Lotte recalls with a smile. “It was amazing being taken ‘home’ to shoot such a large production that I’d usually just do stateside,” she says, candidly describing her fellow cast as “great, every single one of them” while paying Willem Dafoe a special tribute: “He’s a wonderfully talented actor, I’m so glad I got to work with him.”

Going all the way Palpably down-to-earth and astonishingly positive, it quickly becomes clear that Lotte is as far from being a film set diva as possible. In fact, her love for contrasting and challenging roles has led her down a multitude of paths, exploring everything from Medieval Italian family drama in the Showtime series The Borgias to secluded vagabond life in prized film Nothing Personal. The latter earned her Best Actress

awards at both the Locarno International Film Festival and the International Film Festival of Marrakech in 2009, something Lotte remembers as a brand new revelation in her acting life. “That was the first time I won awards for my work, and it was something of another world entirely as I was basically fresh out of drama school,” she says, while explaining that the rewards did not come cheap. “I went all the way with that role, I really did everything I could to immerse myself fully in this woman’s universe and her story,” she says. Anne, voluntary vagabond and main character in Nothing Personal, strikes up a seemingly odd friendship with the wise Martin, an older man who proposes that she works for him in exchange for food – without exchanging anything personal with him. “I left everything called vanity behind for that film, “ Lotte says, “I mean, I wore no makeup, I didn’t wash my hair, I didn’t tap into anything that could be likened to something beautiful or sexy or nice. It just wasn’t that kind of character. She had more depth, far more layers.”

Artistic challenges Beauty is not a term the poised 32-year-old can normally escape. An educated dancer and soprano singer, a natural grace and

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Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Lotte Verbeek

“I love that mix of worlds, because it makes you engage more deeply with the character you’re playing,” says Lotte about the diversity of her played characters, emphasising her role as the vagabond Anne in Nothing Personal.

sci-fi genre is one that appeals to the Dutch creative, much because of the range it presents within artistic expressions.

impeccable composure is second nature to Lotte (although she is adamant that her singing “is not nearly good enough to charge people ticket fees for”), and her red mane has become a signature feature. Just as she is blatantly unafraid to challenge herself artistically, she is no stranger to accepting roles that compliment her appearance, although her grounded demeanour contests any claims that her choices would be based on vanity.

“I love that mix of worlds,” she says in an almost strict tone, “because it makes you engage more deeply with the character you’re playing. If the time and place is known; has happened; is there, well, then there’s not as much of a challenge left in the work you have to do when adapting the script.”

“When I did The Borgias, every day meant being fitted into these stunning 16th century dresses. I remember passing mirrors where we were shooting, and I had to stop and have a good look at myself – simply because of the fact that you basically never get to put items like that on,” she says with a light laugh.

“In a way that’s a very American thing; here they’re less afraid of messing up. You’re constantly encouraged to explore the unknown, and to find a way for the story and character to keep evolving. I’ll never forget my acting coach telling me that ‘self-pity is never a good choice for a character’, and that’s so true.”

She is only partly right, as her most recent project to hit the screens, the TV series Outlander, is principally set in 1743. The series, based on the Outlander novels by Diana Gabaldon, trails the life of Second World War nurse Claire, who is inexplicably transported back in time where she strikes up a friendship with Lotte’s mysterious character Geillis. Regardless of costume choices, the

Revealing that she has a full schedule of upcoming projects, including continued shooting of Outlander, Lotte seems more than comfortable following her own path in Hollywood.

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“It’s a really good time for me to be here. I’m filming some amazing projects, and I’m allowed to be creative on a whole new

level in my work. Nothing could be better than that.” It seems we’ll just have to ship those chocolate sprinkles over. Lotte is far from finished shooting for the stars.

The Outlander series trails the life of Second World War nurse Claire, who is inexplicably transported back in time where she strikes up a friendship with Lotte’s mysterious character Geillis (pictured).

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Play your own style...

by Aramith



Discover the Fusion table through our 18 stores in the Benelux

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Discover Benelux | Design | Fashion Picks



P I C K S :

Time to say “I do” Stringing together a jam-packed, wedding-themed October issue, we thought there would be few better occasions to check out the best of the best in Benelux high fashion wedding attire. We know you shouldn’t really outshine the happy bride and groom, but with looks this sharp – you just might…







1: Theysken’s Theory embellished sheer panel dress Ok, so we know you really shouldn’t wear black to a wedding, but honestly – haven’t times changed? We absolutely adore this fairytale dream of a dress from Belgium-born Theysken’s Theory, and we think its sheer layers make up for that somewhat dark tone. (€2,962) 2: Peter Pilotto crepe print gown Peter Pilotto is a favourite with the Discover Benelux team, and do we really have to explain why? Mixing modern prints with bold colour choices, Pilotto is the ideal choice for any wedding look – letting you work that dress code without ever giving in to anonymous designs. (€2,200) 3: Haider Ackerman black waistcoat


Haider Ackerman might have been born in Colombia, but his designs sure scream understated Belgian avant-garde. Educated in Antwerp, it’s perhaps not a surprise that dark, minimalist items are close to his heart – and we think they go hand-in-hand with crisp wedding attire. (€600) 4: Maison Martin Margiela clutch


We’re all for gold and silver, but bronze really shouldn’t be third on the list. This glimmering clutch proves why. (€1,910) 5: Hervé van der Straeten pearl earrings Polish off your wedding look with these gold-plated freshwater pearl earrings from Hervé van der Straeten, elongating your neck and adding impeccable elegance to any ensemble. (€169.40)

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MEN 1: Exposed seam wool blend blazer Maison Martin Margiela is noted for its reversed seams, a detail that adds an unexpected edge to your otherwise staid wedding look. Go bold and show your personality, even if it’s in the fine lines. (€1,035)



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Discover Benelux | Design | Fashion Picks


2: Striped waistcoat This waistcoat twists the norm and gives you that special detail to talk about over pre-wedding drinks. It doesn’t exactly hurt that it’s made by cool kid Haider Ackerman either. (€920) 3: Inez and Vinoodh double ring Übercool Dutch photographer duo Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin are not only superb, eye-opening photographers, but they also make wonderful jewellery pieces under the label Inez and Vinoodh. We adore these interlinked rings for their symbolism and simple beauty. (€1,028) 4: Black Derby shoes The perfect pair of leather Derby shoes? From queen of black, Ann Demeulemeester, of course. (€680) 5: Engraved ring This sterling silver ring is a perfect example of masculine statement jewellery that will never go out of style. The number 11? There are 11 lines of apparel within Maison Martin Margiela. (€265)


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Discover Benelux | Design | Desirable Designs

Desirable Designs from Benelux Autumn has got a bit darker, and we are more than happy to hang on to those few items of colour in our everyday lives. In fact, why not make this autumn a colour fest altogether? We’ve tracked down some of the coolest new design accessories for your home, starting with the multitude of cushions available at the Cushion Shop. Colour it up!



1: Cushions by The Cushion Shop At The Cushion Shop you can find a very extensive collection of designer cushions and other home accessories from renowned brands like Missoni Home, Marimekko, Jean Paul Gaultier, Orla Kiely and Designers Guild. Order from your own lazy chair in the webshop or visit the show-warehouse in Eindhoven.

2: Family vase by Studio Droog This family vase has all the qualities we’re looking for in a table centrepiece: a happy shade, cool form and an altogether interesting look. Oh, and it doesn’t exactly lessen the cool factor that it’s made using 3D colour printing methods worthy of a sci-fi flick. With flowers in or without – this is a stunner! (€950.00)

3. Purse There’s no reason why your home can’t lead the way for your purse. Slip this little orange treat into your bag and you’ll never have to look for your money again! (€59.00)

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4: Straps for Droog by NL Architects Who said practicality and chic decorating don’t go hand in hand? We think they do, hence our desire to dress our walls with rubber bands after having a look through the portfolio of übercool design collective Droog. (€14.95 each)

5: Based on Roots handbag


This unique handbag is made of Japanese cedar wood from sustainable forests, part of the reason why it’s on our wish list. Great for everyday use as special occasions – this piece is simply one-of-akind. (€440.00)


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Discover Benelux | Interview | Hi There... Arno Hintjens!

Hi there… Arno Hintjens! Every month we check in with the best and brightest of Benelux talent to get a briefing on the place they call home. Having toured the countries (and indeed the world) since the 1980s, few know the region like Belgian rock artist Arno, whose hometown of Ostend is the perfect place to get inspired. TEXT: JULIE LINDÉN | PHOTOS: DANNY WILLEMS

DB: That does sound like the recipe for success. Speaking of success, you have even been knighted a “Knight in the Arts and Literature” by the French government. How does it feel to have received such an honour?

DB: Hi there, Arno! We know you spend most of your time on tour, but what would you say that you miss the most from home?

AH: I was surprised, mainly because artists like Bob Dylan had received this honour before me. I found myself asking ‘why me?’, but then I realized I’d been given the greatest gift – a token of appre-

ciation. And then you can’t do much but say ‘thank you’. DB: Indeed. Tell us, what’s your next stop? AH: Well, right now I’m shooting a film. It’s an exciting project I can’t wait to share. Then I’ll be touring the US as part of my world tour, before I get back in the studio in December. No rest – just the way I like it!

AH: Apart from the obvious, my kids, I’d say that Ostend is a great coastal city where you can find plenty of inspiration – musical or otherwise. I remember a time when the rock clubs stayed open all night! I love the people in Ostend, and I’d say people and their realism inspire all of my songs. DB: How would you describe your music in a few words? AH: It’s European music that invites both a laugh and a cry. It’s definitely inspired by old-school English rock, like the Kinks, but I’ve incorporated more continentally European elements lately, like the accordion. DB: You’ve released 32 albums throughout your career, with your band TC Matic and as a solo artist. What’s your secret to being so productive? AH: I’ve partly been very lucky, but I’ve also always kept an open mind. It’s an absolute must to me – I have to make music, I have to create. I never go on holidays, simply because I find it boring. I need to be on the move, making albums and touring.

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Luxuries


Luxuries An anniversary celebration that will not be forgotten:

The 10th edition Excellent Fair The 10th edition of the Excellent Fair is going to be an extra special edition, namely one with a crystal edge. The anniversary is celebrated from 16 to 19 October 2014. Next to the number of beautiful inspiration stands and impressive designer homes, it has all the signs of being an extra festive edition.You do not want to miss the 10th edition! TEXT & PHOTOS: EXCELLENT FAIR

That the bar has been raised even higher during the anniversary edition, is given by the fact that once again no concessions are being made to the Excellent charisma. Take, for instance, the magnificent designer homes that are built and arranged by renowned interior architects and very wellthought-of home specialists. You can also admire beautiful inspiration stands, completely laid-out gardens, great cars and luxurious items. (Inter)national specialists from the interior world and lifestyle industry will be there to present the best of now.

Excellent Ville & Excellent Avenue Excellent Ville and Excellent Avenue are a heaven for those who seek luxury. Both

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beautifully decorated platforms are characterised by a contemporary quality. The central theme of Excellent Ville is the city of love, in other words the romantic city of Paris. The metropolis of New York is at the centre of Excellent Avenue. In both Excellent Ville and Excellent Avenue, a select group of luxury companies present exclusive products and services such as seasonal wines, the trips of your dreams, home accessories and beautiful jewellery. Here, you imagine yourself being in two different world cities and for the optimal experience you can also enjoy suitable signature courses. For instance, you can have a delicious lunch or fantastic dinner at star restaurant De Lindehof. For the fourth time

in a row, chef Soenil Bahadoer and his team stimulate all of your senses with absolutely delicious courses. Excellent Avenue offers you culinary tours de force and various sorts of luxury wines, champagnes and finger foods as well.

Spectacular air acrobatics When you have an anniversary, you celebrate. Therefore, the 10th edition of the Excellent Fair will have a festive quality. The anniversary edition will be opened on Thursday night, with a celebration that will not be forgotten quickly. During the opening, AERIAL ART – Magical Air Theatre presents a spectaculair air acrobatics act with tissue paper solo performer Simone

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Luxuries

Heitinga, also solo performer of the wellknown Cirque du Soleil act. At fearful heights, Heitinga surprises you with dance and air acrobatics, accompanied by the music of composer Reint van den Brink and the voice of classic soprano Janneke Daalderop. The rest of the night is still a surprise. The following days of the fair are also at the centre of the anniversary. Next to the number of beautiful stands and the talkedabout designer homes, there is a great deal of entertainment on the floor. Friday night is Ladies’ Night. Next to an amazing fashion show, the ladies are well taken care of by the participating exhibitors. Also, during all days of the fair, informative lectures are given by interior architects, real estate agents, garden experts and cosmetic doctors. Naturally, there is room for even more entertainment. This also applies for the other two fair days in the weekend. All the above makes the 10th edition of the Excellent Fair an unforgettable and more than festive top-of-the-bill event you do not want to miss!

Location and Opening hours

Dress code

Beursgebouw Eindhoven

Thursday: Excellent Chique

Thursday 16 October: – Opening Night

19.00 - 24.00

Friday 17 October: – Ladies’ Night:

13.00 - 22.00 18.00 - 22.00

Saturday 18 October:

13.00 - 19.00

Sunday 19 October:

11.00 - 19.00

Friday after 18.00: A Touch of Gold

Entrance fees Exclusive opening night: €50 Regular fair day: €15 Order your tickets via

Excellent Fair for the second time in Ahoy Rotterdam After the successful launch of the Excellent Fair in Ahoy Rotterdam, the top event will be proudly continued from 12 to 15 December 2014. Over 20,000 m² you will find everything related to luxurious home and living, and what is more, you will also find everything that has to do with interior & exterior, buying & renovating, health & beauty and second homes. You can also enjoy exclusive art, great cars, yachts and exclusive jewellery and watches. Next to all this splendour, you can also spoil yourself at various gastronomical establishments and enjoy live entertainment by top artists and talkedabout fashion shows of top couturiers. Save the date!

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Luxuries

Apart from being a one-of-a-kind design object, Robert Kolenik’s (pictured right) aquarium project Ocean Kitchen (pictured left) is surprisingly functional. The intelligent L-shape hides generous space for storage and equipment, and can be made to measure.

Care for design, sustainability and the future With a background in economics, marketing and renovation, Robert Kolenik is a man of many talents. Inspired by his father to pursue a career in renovation and design, 2008 saw him start his very own company – deeply dedicated to a green design profile, philanthropic values and a personal approach. TEXT: JULIE LINDÉN | PHOTOS: KOLENIK ECO CHIC DESIGN

Not only does it take a certain level of imaginative powers to implement an oversized aquarium in a kitchen; it also takes guts. This becomes increasingly apparent studying Kolenik’s latest limited edition design masterpiece, which in many ways can be said to illustrate his career pursuits perfectly. Speaking of the November release of his book, featuring the “Ocean Kitchen” aquarium, Kolenik’s enthusiasm is nothing short of palpable. “It’s a wonderful way for me to show my work in a new suit. Ever since I started working with my father, interesting solu-

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From family business to Eco Chic

“Earlier, my father and I had done a lot of renovations but also some complete projects,” Kolenik says, adding: “Turning the company into my own required quite a few

After testing his skills in the family company straight out of school, entrepreneurship and creative spirit flourished for Kolenik. The death of his father posed him with a choice; continuing his father’s company in its original suit, or transferring the heritage and knowledge base to a restructured firm. Kolenik chose to do the latter, an experience that opened his eyes to the world of interior architecture in a completely novel way.

November will see the release of Kolenik’s book, presenting many of his most distinctive designs.

tions to existing constructions have been a key fascination for me.”

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Luxuries

Junior has allowed him to combine the heed of future challenges with the education of young children.

changes, and the flexibility that gave me naturally brought me into the world of interior design.” Outsourcing his first project to an interior architect was not as much subcontracting as it was a learning experience. Kolenik quickly understood he had an inherent passion and knack for designing sleek and sophisticated solutions for both residential and commercial spaces, and enlisted a small, dedicated team to help him out. Today Kolenik Eco Chic Design is equated with a high level of quality – in looks, materials as well as customer relations.

Other examples take green living even further; for instance the eco-based pool filtering Kolenik Eco Chic Design uses, as well as environmentally friendly air conditioning systems.

Educating coming generations Admirable as these eco-friendly measures may be, caring for our planet’s future has become a greater matter of the heart for Kolenik. Known for his philanthropic outreach through charity work, he has expressed a heartfelt concern for the environment in general, and sea pollution in particular. Being the founding father of the charity Plastic Soup Foundation

“The idea behind Plastic Soup really touched me, and I quickly realised I wanted to be part of the quest to create awareness about what we are actually doing to our seas. The foundation has created a platform to educate children about the dangers of polluting marine life, and I found that they are so open to learning,” Kolenik says affectionately. The day of 6 October will also see the designer use his skill for the greater good. Teaming up with Chairs4Charity, Kolenik has designed chairs for four noted Dutch chefs, to be sold in their respective restaurants. The majority of the revenue will go to Kolenik’s charity of choice, Plastic Soup, which in due course can continue educating future generations about the value of pure seas.

“We’ve always put great value in having one-to-one contact with our clients. I don’t want someone to see my name on our products and not be able to have a real conversation with me about their wishes,” Kolenik says, confirming his company’s down-to-earth approach to customer relations. “That’s why I enjoy what I do,” he adds, “it’s all about keeping an informal and friendly tone with your clients – ensuring proximity while still nurturing a wide, international reach.”

A dually green outlook So what about the design itself? Well, as Kolenik explains, it is best described as dual. While the Eco Chic prefix does entail a green outlook on production processes, it’s also clearly visible in the final appearance of a project. “We use raw elements of nature, creating luxury design with an eye to being sustainable in every instance we possibly can,” Kolenik says, illustrating the philosophy by an example. “Our sofas are all created using ECOboard, a material made from agricultural waste that looks a lot like fibreboard, but contains none of its glues and toxins.”

Kolenik’s green outlook on design shows both in appearance and production process, as he is keen to use toxinfree waste material to create new interior design solutions.

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brand. This leads to a perfect mixture of lighting products. Trizo21 offers both practical lighting designs that fit in perfectly with your interiors, as well as more decorative lightings that stand out in a very good way. Sirens, Austere, Lipps and Duo are examples of designs brought to life by talented designers.



T R I Z O 21

Pure Belgian design Lighting is one of the key elements in creating the atmosphere you want in any room or within any concept. Whether you are lighting a hotel room, a living room or an office, it is the key to creating the feeling you want. TEXT: JANINE STERENBORG | PHOTOS: TRIZO21

So why not get proper lighting that will make your rooms look beautiful for years? Trizo21 offers solutions for all kinds of lighting. Big, small, hidden, visible: whichever you fancy. The key element in their lighting solutions is quality. Their lights are developed by Olivier Cock and are hand made in Belgium. The materials are sound and thanks to the use of massive aluminium, for example, the designs are seamless. Sounds good, right? And this is only one instance of the innovative functionality Trizo21 has to offer. The most important

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touch to the lighting, however, is that of the designer.

Belgian design Bruno van Meenen – who by then had 15 years of experience in architectural lighting – founded Trizo21 in 2001. He started out with a collection of his own and since 2013, more designers have been contributing to the collection. Where van Meenen’s designs are sober yet tasteful and with an optimistic twist, the new designers add a more decorative element to the

Sirens is a lighting solution designed by Olga Bielawska, a young designer from Germany. “We met her at a fair in Milan,” explains Danielle Tombeur, responsible for international sales. “We immediately noticed that her use of mirrors, copper and the colours black and white suited Trizo21 perfectly.” Because of the combination of outstanding mirrors and light objects, Sirens has a poetic feel. “This makes Sirens a perfect solution for hotels,” adds Tombeur. And yet, it is not difficult imagining the design in one’s home.

Austere Austere is pure, elegant and suits any interior. This luminaire is designed by the well-known Belgian architect Hans Verstuyft, and blends in with every application, no matter which model you pick. “This design is currently in the final stages of development,” says Tombeur. “We will show it at the upcoming architecture fairs – so come see it!”

Lipps This lighting solution blends in perfectly with any interior. The design of Lipps is plain, contains little colour and the way it gives indirect lighting makes it suitable for both homes and public places. Lipps is a design by Luc Ramael, who has worked for high-quality Italian brands.

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Seamless designs and innovative functionality meet in the effortless lighting products of Trizo21. ABOVE LEFT: Lipps indirect lighting solution by designer Luc Ramael. MIDDLE AND RIGHT: Sirens lighting solution with mirrors and copper by Olga Bielawska, a young designer from Germany.

“We are proud to be working with him,” says Tombeur.

ferent LEDs, no matter if you buy them in one lot or years apart. Besides that, objects lit up by these LEDs look almost as natural as when showered in halogen lighting.



Duo Duo is a new design, made by Cas Moor and Lieven Musschoot. It’s a lamp, consisting of two identical shapes, made from two different materials. They reflect the positive and the negative. Curious? Trizo21 will present this design during Biennale Interieur 2014 in Kortrijk.

High-quality LED lights Another eye-catching application of Trizo21 is the use of high quality LED lights. There is no visible colour difference between dif-

Besides already designed products, Trizo21 can also deliver lighting solutions for your specific needs. “It is easy for us to respond to the needs of our customers, because we work with local partners only,” explains Tombeur, continuing: “Everything we need to produce our designs comes from Belgium. We work with Belgian suppliers, buy from Belgian factories and we have our own workshop.” This means there is hardly any delay in the process, so the product you want can be made without any hassle. Trizo21 has already worked on high-class customised products, which they are unfortunately not allowed to showcase in their portfolio. Just to give you an idea, Tombeur adds: “We have worked on a very nice project for a yacht!” Let your imagination do the work from here on.


The products of Trizo21 are available in a wide range of shops, such as lighting specialists, retail, wholesale and quality furniture stores. In Brussels there are several stores selling Trizo21 products. You can request a list of retailers, or a small brochure, by sending an e-mail to Danielle Tombeur at Visit Trizo21 at Biennale Interieur in Kortrijk, Belgium from 17 until 26 October 2014. You can find them in Hall 4, booth 446.

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Reflecting Beauty A dedicated purveyor of traditional yet timeless elegance, Maastricht-based Pascal Mestrom’s atelier and showroom is a veritable haven for those seeking a certain kind of luxury. With Baroque music as his soundtrack, Mestrom carries out painstakingly intricate restorations – or, in his words, he “re-beautifies” authentic 17th-, 18th- and 19th-century chandeliers. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: ALX MARKS

Such champions of traditional beauty are few and far between these days, so given Mestrom’s wealth of experience with antiques, and chandeliers in particular, he is one of those rare pearls that we find amidst today’s modernity, longing for a bygone era.

Tracing the roots of antiques Brought up in a family of passionate antique collectors, it was perhaps inevitable for Mestrom to choose a creative path. While studying fine art, he grasped the opportunity to travel beyond his home in the south of the Netherlands, discovering

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Paris’s belle époque, the glorious past of Britain and tracing the roots of artisanal antiques across the globe. After starting his own collection, the affable Maastrichter explains that his passion for chandeliers arose serendipitously. “I had started collecting pieces, mainly furniture, but then I stumbled across a spectacular yet rather neglected chandelier. A client of mine expressed a great deal of interest in the piece and so I decided to perform the work myself. And so it began.” Taking anywhere from several days to several weeks, Mestrom is hesitant to call his

work restoration, as that would imply the erasure of a century or more’s worth of history. “That is far from the case. For me, the original character must remain visible, even if that does mean a few minor chinks here and there. It is all part of the charm,” he says.

Works of art It is difficult not to be swept up in the enthusiasm of this true connoisseur of chandeliers as he highlights certain features and speaks expansively of the vast array of reflections caused by the crystals. “These pieces really can be seen as jewellery for

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Luxuries

the living room,” he says. “Far more than just providing light, they’re sculptures, even works of art.” Historically this is also true; a room was first granted a chandelier before any further interior design was carried out. Mestrom’s ability to bring a shine to the history of chandeliers comes to the fore as he explains their development since the initial days of rather coarse Italian designs with highly coveted mountain crystals. “The French, under Louis XIV and Louis XV, then developed the concept, giving the chandeliers a more natural and sensual form, perhaps that of a female body. They refined the art in the 18th century, creating cage chandeliers. These early pieces are of great importance today, but of course, they are not in everyone’s price range. Back in those days,” continues Mestrom, “no one was allowed to have a chandelier with as many arms as the king. Quite simply, the more arms, the more important the owner.”

Exquisite mountain crystals Paying close attention to the fixings, screws, glass colouration, design and cutting of the crystal pendants, Mestrom is able to expertly predict the age. “In the 19th century, chandeliers flourished again with the Napoleon III epoch, harking back to the Renaissance era and the Louis XV style. These creations could be found in the finest apartments in Paris and Brussels,” he explains. Yet the crystals needed for an exquisite chandelier, anywhere in the region of 50- 300, made chandelier production an expensive and time-consuming process. Swiss Alpine mountain crystals were taken to Milan, where they were cut before being transported to Paris and attached to the many arms of the chandeliers. While the elusive mountain crystal was, by many, replaced in the late 17th century with lead crystal (also known as Verre de Boheme, which proved easier and cheaper to work with), Mestrom is a true traditionalist, preferring mountain crystals and genuine candlelight. “With the 19th century pieces today, the candles are still present, because I want to give my clients the possibility to light them on special occasions. Therefore I furnished these chandeliers with subtle indirect electrical light-

Paying close attention to the fixings, screws, glass colouration, design and cutting of the crystal pendants, Mestrom is able to expertly predict the age of the chandeliers.

ing, that you could call a slight concession,” he says with a rueful smile. “Scandinavia can be held up as a prime example of countries that have maintained genuine quality, whereas other countries, the Netherlands, the UK and Belgium for example, made rash decisions to conform with technology.” Mestrom’s vast collection (one of the world’s largest) does not only contain chandeliers, as more often than not chandeliers are hung in conjunction with appliques and girandoles. The unique placement of these three light-emitting works

of art created a heightened ambience, enhancing the reflections and the effects of the lights. For Mestrom, these work wonderfully in historic settings, and in fact, many of his finished pieces adorn the walls, ceilings and dining tables of many of Europe’s grandest homes. However, Mestrom expresses great satisfaction at having seen a resurgence of interest in chandeliers in recent years from younger people, who merge the contemporary with the historic by placing a genuine chandelier at the centre of their slick, urban homes.

Mestrom expresses great satisfaction at having seen a resurgence of interest in chandeliers in recent years from younger people, who merge the contemporary with the historic.

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ABOVE LEFT: Pure cashmere woven throws. The softest and warmest wool in the colours of the cashmere goat, thereby preserving the softness of the wool. TOP RIGHT: Yumeko’s organic cotton sateen. RIGHT: The softest merino wool blankets to curl up in. BELOW: Beautiful inside and out, the towels are 100% organic and fair trade.


tive chain by travelling to India and Peru, selecting the finest fabrics and sourcing the world’s most ethical farmers and breeders was the next step.

To curl up between Yumeko’s bed linen, duvet covers or one of their mesmerisingly soft woollen throws is to experience but a tiny fraction of the real value of these pieces. Made from ecological, biologically untreated, fair trade and GOTS certified materials, Yumeko’s bedroom and bathroom textiles resonate with luxury. Whether it’s their sumptuous woollen throws, smooth bedding in percale, jersey or sateen cotton, or their plump down duvets from homebred ducks, the appeal goes deeper as it is guilt-free luxury that you’re enjoying. Set up in 2009 by two marketing and communication experts turned environmentally friendly product designers, Yumeko has quickly made a name for itself as a purveyor of the finest textiles. That their vision became an organic textile brand for bathroom and bedroom essentials happened quite by chance. One of the founders of the Amsterdambased company, Stephan Zeijlemaker re-

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calls how their drive to go green led them down many a road, before they looked closer to home, realising that they had little knowledge of the origins of their bed sheets. Curiosity awoken, the duo dived into the issue. Researching the murky depths of the textile supply chain uncovered an overly generous use of pesticides, gallons of water wasted, child labour, poor conditions for the animals and a high percentage of farmers suffering from the insecticides. “From our business acumen, we saw that too much revolved around cost and everything else was neglected,” says Zeijlemaker. Bypassing the destruc-

Everyday essentials, thanks to Yumeko, can now be bought without fear of damaging the environment, the animals or the farmers. With the motto ‘Change the world sleeping’, Yumeko are simultaneously enhancing our lifestyles while voicing their concerns about our careless attitude to consumerism. “We’ve all thought about where our clothes come from,” explains Zeijlemaker, “so why not our bed linen or our bathrobes?” With eco-friendly products now de riguer, what sets Yumeko apart is that their luxuriously soft products possess beauty on the inside and the out.

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Launching backwards into the future BY EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: BASED ON ROOTS

Set up by avid globetrotters Conny Bouwman and Bernadette van Beek, Based on Roots was created as a reaction to the high standard of design that they saw emerging from Japan, which – in Bouwman’s words – “just needed to be available in the Benelux.” Working mainly across paper, ceramics and woodwork, the pair began a long-lasting and fruitful collaboration with the celebrated Japanese industrial designer Takumi Shimamura, whose aGarey project that links small-scale artisan producers in the Japanese province of Yamagata with his internationally appealing designs, has found a permanent home – and sales outlet – with Nijmegen’s Based on Roots. Reflecting the pair’s deep interest in traditional craftsmanship, Bouwman explains how their excitement for the contemporary lifestyle products emerging from Japan and Bosnia and Herzegovina (where close links between crafters and contemporaneous designers impressed the pair) prompted them to set up the company. Finely

crafted bowls, containers, wooden bags and placemats sit alongside stylish iPad cases, made using the Japanese paper-based washi-suki technique, which dates back centuries. Warm wood, bold patterns and unerring functionality and simplicity mean that the designs never stray far from the zeitgeist, but, as sticklers for traditional methods of craft, the pair are looking backwards to go forwards. With lifestyle objects inspired by ancient techniques at the core of their collection, textiles from Mauritanian designers are set to wrap the firm up warmly for winter. Now bringing the best of the globe to the Benelux – with Mauritania’s burgeoning textiles and artisanal Benelux designers on the horizon too – Based on Roots are honing the trend for global designs, celebrating multiculturalism and breaking down borders.

TOP: Delightfully simple espresso cups by Chanto, designed by Takumi Shimamura (€72). BELOW LEFT: Monacca bag, made from ecologically responsible Japanese cedar wood, fits a 17inch laptop and A4 documents (€445). RIGHT: Behind the simplicity of these Chanto containers hides complicated craftsmanship (€70).

Luxurious outdoor events where the only limit is your imagination BY CAROLE EDRICH | PHOTOS: TERRAPAVILION

You have to be very special to take an exceptional idea from scratch to its full business potential within a self-imposed twoyear deadline, and even more special maintain the level of focus and flexible project management required while bringing up two small children and even more to display it at the annual Millionaire’s Fair. It bodes well that Femke Terra, creator and intellectual property owner of Terrapavilion, is ready to reveal its full glory at the Masters of LXRY Expo this December.

the logical progression of research.” Built on a trailer for ease of use, its uniqueness lies not just in the flexibility of its location (forest, beach, home or abroad, the only limit being your imagination) but in the numbers it can cater to (from 60 seated to a 180-person reception using the optional tented extensions), the in-built climate control and genuine fireplace, optional hydraulic elevation and consequent stunning views from the huge glass frontage and roof terrace above. Service options range from delivery and set-up

(which takes just two hours) all the way to personalising the interior or planning and managing the entire event. Working to her strengths, Femke is justifiably proud of her product’s quality, confident of its top-tier exclusivity and excited to take her business to the next level.

Like all outstandingly good ideas, the basic premise of Femke’s is simple: to provide a large and luxurious, top-of-the-range 100m2 mobile location for events of all kinds. The idea grew from something smaller and has been thoroughly researched. She explains: “My head boils with ideas. This one proved the best, and was

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Luxuries

Omooves – satisfying in so many ways

It has been 15 years since the renowned Dutch interior designer Jan des Bouvrie chanced on a young protégée, the intimidatingly sophisticated but eternally friendly Olga Wintermans. She is now releasing her own collection of stylish furniture entitled OMooves – all of which are impeccably tailored to meet your wishes. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: OMOOVES

While the modest interior designer admits she stumbled into the world of interiors, she has always shown an aptitude for the creative arts. Growing up with a creatively inclined father, whose keen eye for artwork left a marked impression on the young Dutchwoman, Wintermans explains that she was always very visually orientated. “I spent my childhood forever changing the layout of my bedroom but I never really knew what I’d end up doing,” she recalls. Fortunately for the young mum, Jan des Bouvrie took her under his wing, employing her in his firm and making her his go-to interior advisor on several television shows. For a period of 18 months, Wintermans’s

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thirst for knowledge was stimulated and the creative impulses flowed. “Ultimately,” she explains, “this led me to create my own interior design company in 1998 but I quickly realised that while I was planning the interiors, I wasn’t quite able to find exactly what I was looking for in terms of furniture.”

Creating her own destiny Once again, proving that she’s something of a polymath, Wintermans was spurred on to sketch the exact pieces of furniture that she could envisage in each individual space and she was able to rely on a dedicated team to make her visions a reality. “The beauty of designing my own pieces means that I don’t have to make any con-

cessions – everything is my choice. Of course, I’m the first to admit that OMooves, my own collection that I launched recently, isn’t big enough to compete with the big names – but I prefer it that way.” Emphasising the non-commercial nature and individuality of each piece, Wintermans is understandably proud that she’s able to offer distinctive pieces, each one perfectly suited to its space. “You can tell immediately if a piece will suit a room, or if a room will suit one of my pieces,” she explains. “The client always has the option to personalise a piece – whether it’s leather, suede, copper, the form of the stone, the depth, the width or the sharpness of the corners, for example.”

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ways loved to travel and I have visited Ibiza regularly since I was 19. Now I’ve got property there so I love soaking up the creativity and working on projects there too.”

Elegant designs and simple shapes are formed from natural materials, and Wintermans strictly controls the process. A glance through her product book shows an array of stunning, high-quality materials, from which the pieces are each lovingly hand-constructed, whether it’s the O Side Table with intricate stone detailing, the O Coffee Table housing beautiful books, or the O Chair whose simplicity belies its overwhelming comfort.

Entwining her skills With the two strands of her business in perfect harmony, Wintermans has evolved into one of the nation’s foremost interior designers with the ability to call upon her own designs to enhance a space. Currently she’s working on a private residence in Blaricum, the Dutch answer to Notting Hill, a project she is naturally very excited about. “I’ve been involved in the whole process, including the architecture, and at 2,000 sqm it is pretty substantial. We’ve opted for a 1950s America style house with many different levels, and it features a home cinema, gym, bar, office and pool. As far as the interior is concerned, it’s so important that the owners feel like it really

belongs to them, so I’ve really focused on sussing out what really captures their essence.” Tackling commercial projects with the same gusto that she bestows on residential ones has earned Wintermans many exciting and glamorous commissions, including stylish hair salons and fashionable restaurants in the country’s capital. Having worked internationally for years, however, she’s certainly not restricted to the Netherlands.

Sun-drenched projects With her brand OMooves reflecting her passion for constant movement, Wintermans draws inspiration from such opulent locations as Miami, LA and Ibiza. “I’ve al-

One such sun-drenched project involved an interior with such a spectacular view that it had to be central to Wintermans’s design. “Here I focused on making the space accentuate the view. The influence of the blue sky and blue water is boosted by the simplicity of the interior, and the large windows create the effect of a painting coming towards you.” The freedom gained by both designing furniture and styling interiors has ensured that Wintermans has a significant advantage against others in the field. By deliberately choosing to create bespoke pieces, she’s not tied to a particular style or form, and instead has the liberty of flexibility, which complements her knack for embodying her clients in their interiors.

The modest interior designer Olga Wintermans, the brain behind OMooves, may have stumbled into the world of interiors, but she has always shown an aptitude for the creative arts: “I spent my childhood forever changing the layout of my bedroom but I never really knew what I’d end up doing,” she recalls.

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Discover Benelux | Feature | The Discovery of Rembrandt





He was the artist who was so exceptionally good with graphic and painting techniques that the fabrics he painted look as if they are soft to the touch. His light is so perfect you can almost feel the warmth. Already a genius at a young age and even more brilliant later in life, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn is considered one of the most important Dutch masters of the 17th century. But who was he? And what was his life like? TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK | MAIN PHOTOS: MAURITSHUIS

Rembrandt was born, the youngest son of seven children, on 15 July 1606 in Leiden. His father was a miller and belonged to the middle class, the main reason why Rembrandt is presumed to have had a reasonably carefree childhood. To prepare him for university his parents sent him to Latin school at the age of ten. During these years he learned a great deal about religion and mythology, knowledge that would serve him well in choosing subjects for his paintings later on. Rembrandt’s parents may have hoped he would study theology to become a minis-

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ter when they enrolled him at the University of Leiden in 1620. However, the 14-yearold Rembrandt wanted to become a painter and, after one year at university, he became a pupil of the prominent historical painter Jacob van Swanenburgh. Rembrandt made great progress, but not as much as in the six months when studying with the famous and leading painter Pieter Lastman, in Amsterdam. Lastman was well known for his carefully constructed compositions, bright use of colour and unusual choice of subjects. Rembrandt was deeply impressed by the works of his master, and learned to imitate Lastman’s use of

colour. He also tried to achieve even more drama and greater impact when treating the same subjects.

The birth of fame After this artistic adventure, Rembrandt went back to Leiden where he opened his own studio. During this period Rembrandt often collaborated with his friend and colleague Jan Lievens. The two ambitious and talented boys achieved recognition almost immediately, mainly because of their fondness for biblical and mythological scenes. Rembrandt and Lievens became famous enough to be noticed by Con-

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Discover Benelux | Feature | The Discovery of Rembrandt

OPPOSITE PAGE: The Mauritshuis in the Hague is home to the best Dutch paintings from the Golden Age, including Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp. ABOVE: A young Rembrandt, approximately 22 years old. Self-portraits were an important part of the great artist’s career, and he managed to create close to a hundred of them during his lifetime. RIGHT: The Night Watch (1642) is prominently displayed at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

stantijn Huygens, art expert and secretary to Prince Fredrik Hendrik. Rembrandt was the more talented, according to Huygens, because of his ability to portray emotion in historical paintings. At this period of art history, it was popular to create portraits as close to reality as possible, but Rembrandt wanted to do more than just reproducing reality. He wanted to create a mood – a world of feelings and thoughts. His use of light shapes the important objects in his paintings, and creates an enhanced composition. Huygens was so enthusiastic about the accuracy and vibrancy of Rembrandt’s work that he gave the young artist various assignments. One such assignment was from Nicolaes Tulp, for whom Rembrandt painted the well-known The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (now exhibited at the Mauritshuis in The Hague).

came with an, at the time, outrageous mortgage of 13,000 Guilders.

Rembrandt’s lovers Rembrandt’s life and career were in all respects prosperous; he married the love of his life and had more than a decent income (helped by the assignment for The Night Watch). Unfortunately, he would experience some severe personal setbacks; he and his wife lost three children within months of their births, though the fourth, a son named Titus, survived to adulthood. Tragically, Saskia died the year after Titus was born, probably from tuberculosis. After Saskia’s death, Rembrandt had an affair with Geertje Dircx, Titus’s caretaker and nurse. In 1649 Geertje claimed that he

promised her marriage, and therefore wanted to wed him. She charged him with “breach of promise”, and was awarded alimony of 160 Guilders a year. The “breach” was most likely the affair Rembrandt had with the new maid, the much younger Hendrickje Stoffels. Eventually, Rembrandt arranged for Geertje to be sent to a poorhouse for years of forced labour. Around this time, approximately 1649, Rembrandt’s production had reached an alltime low. Although Rembrandt never married Hendrickje, the two had a daughter named Cornelia in 1654. There was a reason Rembrandt didn’t marry any of the women after Saskia: had he remarried, he would have been obliged to give half of his possessions to his son Titus.

Bankruptcy In 1631 Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam, where he initially lived with art dealer Hendrik van Uylenburgh. With great help from Uylenburgh, Rembrandt was assigned lucrative projects to portray the wealthy of Amsterdam. After falling in love with Saskia van Uylenburgh (Hendrik van Uylenburgh’s cousin), the two were married in 1634. The house they bought in 1639, known today as “The Rembrandt House Museum”,

The Rembrandt House Museum, Amsterdam

Although Rembrandt was a very successful artist, he lived beyond his means. He bought exotic objects and rarities from all over the world despite the fact that he never travelled: the harbour of Amsterdam provided everything he could wish for. His collection was very important to him, mostly because he used his possessions as props for his work: busts and torsos, old combat equipment, stuffed animals or the

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Discover Benelux | Feature | The Discovery of Rembrandt

In Rembrandt’s time it was popular to create portraits as close to reality as possible, but Rembrandt wanted to do more than just reproducing reality. He wanted to create a mood – a world of feelings and thoughts. ABOVE LEFT: The Jewish Bride is part of the permanent collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The motif of the painting is believed to show a Jewish father gifting his daughter a necklace on her wedding day. RIGHT: A statue of Rembrandt van Rijn on Rembrandtplein square in Amsterdam.

skin of a lion. It is most likely that this urge to collect prevented him from paying his mortgage and eventually caused the court to sell most of his possessions – including his house – in 1656.

Rembrandt: the late works The late works of Rembrandt show that his style changed. The subjects became the things he was dealing with, human emotions and thoughts. In the last part of his life, between 1652 and 1669, he created 15 self-portraits. In this period of his life, he developed a new way of painting; he started using a palette knife to apply paint to the canvas. The technique had never been used before, and there were people who did not like his new work. There are a few paintings from the period after 1656 with a great amount of palette knife usage, for example The Jewish Bride (c. 1666). Still, when one looks at the painting more closely, the fabric Rembrandt painted and the works he created are almost beyond perfect. Rembrandt became very detailed-oriented when painting hair, nails, jewellery or the structure of fabrics, details that viewed from a distance are nearly invisible. Outliving Hendrickje and his son Titus, Rembrandt died in October of 1669. The

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great master Rembrandt van Rijn was buried in an anonymous, rented grave in the Westerkerk in Amsterdam.

Exhibitions The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam will present a major exhibition of Rembrandt’s later work (in collaboration with the National Gallery, London), from the 12 February until 17 May, 2015. Visit the Rembrandt House Museum and learn more about his life and works. The Rembrandt House Museum has a very ac-

curate knowledge of what Rembrandt’s collection and house was like. At the time of Rembrandt’s bankruptcy, a notary drew up a list of all of his possessions. The Rembrandt House Museum restored the historic interior of the master’s time, according to that same list. Another notable museum is the new and improved Mauritshuis in The Hague. Here you can view a couple of the best paintings of Rembrandt, including The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp.

- Rembrandt created about 300 paintings, 300 etchings and 2,000 drawings. - The actual title of The Night Watch is The Militia Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq and Lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburgh getting ready to march. - The oldest known painting by Rembrandt is The Spectacle Seller (16231624).

The Rembrandt House Museum – where Rembrandt lived and worked for nearly 20 years.

- In 1658 (after his bankruptcy) Rembrandt had drinking debts at the Bols Distillery. He paid off his debts by giving the distillery a painting made by one of his students. To this day Bols Distillery is in possession of that painting and showcases it in the House Of Bols Experience in Amsterdam.

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Art




Frieze London and Frieze Masters 2014 Taking place on 15–19 October, Frieze London and Frieze Masters bring a rich crossover of international audiences to London and are the centre of a season of significant exhibitions and exciting art-related activities across the city. TEXT & PHOTOS: FRIEZE LONDON AND FRIEZE MASTERS 2014 | MAIN PHOTO: MARCO SCOZZARO

Founded by Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp in 1991, Frieze is dedicated to the discovery of the most interesting art practices, giving an intelligent, forward-thinking approach to both emerging art practices and historical work. Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover founded frieze magazine in 2003, one of the world’s leading magazines of contemporary art and culture. Following the success of frieze, Matthew and Amanda launched Frieze London in 2003. Taking place in Regent’s Park at the heart of London, it was one of the first international contemporary art events in the city. Today, Frieze week in October has become the most culturally vibrant week in the city’s calendar. 2012 saw the launch of two more art fairs from Frieze: Frieze New York, dedicated to contemporary art and taking place on Randall’s Island in Manhattan

each May, and Frieze Masters, a fair for art from ancient to modern, coinciding with Frieze London in October. Unlike most other fairs, Frieze fairs are housed in bespoke temporary structures in green public spaces, benefitting from natural light and innovative design.

Frieze London Frieze London 2014 will feature over 160 international galleries (including six from the Benelux region) and two specialist sec-

tions: Live, a new section dedicated to performance-based art and Focus, featuring younger galleries. Frieze London also presents Frieze Talks, curated by frieze magazine; and Frieze Projects, an annual programme of new artist commissions, curated by Nicola Lees. The Main Sponsor of Frieze London is Deutsche Bank, with Alexander McQueen as Associate Sponsor. Frieze London will be open to the public on 15–18 October 2014. An invitationonly preview day will be held on 14 October 2014.

Frieze Masters

Photo: Joe Clark

The 2014 edition of Frieze Masters will present over 120 leading galleries showing art from ancient to modern, giving a unique contemporary perspective on art made before the year 2000. The fair features a specialist section, Spotlight, dedicated to solo artist presentations curated by Andriano

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Highlights include the UK premiere of Disabled Theatre by French artist Jérôme Bel; Welsh artist Cerith Wyn Evans’s installation inside the aviary at ZSL London Zoo; and American artist Nick Mauss’s collaboration with the Northern Ballet, which will feature live music by Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth and DJ Juliana Huxtable. New to Frieze London this year is the Frieze Artist Award, an initiative allowing an emerging artist to realise a major project at Frieze London, overseen by Frieze Projects. The winner of the inaugural Frieze Artist Award is young French artist Mélanie Matranga, who will create a series of online videos filmed during the construction of Frieze London in Regent’s Park, including a purpose-built café, which Matranga has designed for use by visitors.

Frieze London Talks LEFT: Torso of Aphrodite, Roman, First Century AD. Photo: Courtesy of Ariadne Galleries. TOP RIGHT: Lucas Cranach the Younger, The Nymph of the Spring, c. 1540–50, Oil on panel. Photo: Courtesy of The Weiss Gallery. RIGHT: The 2014 edition of Frieze Masters will present over 120 leading galleries showing art from ancient to modern, giving a unique contemporary perspective on art made before the year 2000.. Photo: Joe Clark

Pedrosa, as well as an acclaimed programme of Talks. Frieze Masters is supported by Main Sponsor Deutsche Bank, with Gucci joining this year as Associate Sponsor. Frieze Masters will be open to the public on 15–19 October 2014. An invitation-only preview day will be held on 14 October 2014.

Frieze Sculpture Park Frieze London and Frieze Masters present a sculpture park each year, located in the beautiful surroundings of the English Garden in Regent’s Park. Close to both fairs, the Sculpture Park exhibits works by both established and emerging artists represented by Frieze London and Frieze Masters exhibitors. Clare Lilley, Director of Programme at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (UK), has selected the Sculpture Park since 2012. Entry to the Sculpture Park is free to the public. Highlights this year include works by Martin Creed, Yayoi Kusama and Thomas Shütte.

Live at Frieze London 2014 Live is a new initiative at Frieze London 2014 that will provide a platform for am-

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bitious, active or performance-based installations. Demonstrating Frieze’s commitment to placing the most experimental art practice at the heart of the fair, Live 2014 will feature six selected galleries showing new works and significant historical pieces. Highlights include the restaging of Floats (1968) by pioneering American artist Robert Breer; Fukishimabased UNITED BROTHER’s homemade radioactive soup; and a Frieze concept store, presented by New York-based collective Shanzhai Biennial. Live is supported by Alexander McQueen, the Associate Sponsor of Frieze London, for the second consecutive year.

Frieze Projects at Frieze London Curated by Nicola Lees, Frieze Projects is the non-profit programme of artist commissions that takes place annually at Frieze London, and this year it has a focus on artists whose practices intersect with other disciplines, including dance, film and music. Frieze Projects at Frieze London 2014 will bring together seven new commissions, realised both at the fair and in a number of offsite locations around the city.

Frieze Talks is a programme of lectures, performances and conversations taking place at Frieze London featuring today’s most innovative artists and thinkers. This year’s Frieze Talks will include keynote presentations by artists Bruce McLean and Trevor Paglen and bestselling author Jon Ronson. Conversations will include Helen Molesworth, newly appointed Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and artist and musician Linder.

Frieze Masters Talks Frieze Masters Talks provides a platform for contemporary artists to discuss the history of art and its role in their work, with the curators of historical museums from around the world. The Frieze Masters Talks 2014 participating artists include: South African artist William Kentridge, British sculptor Phyllida Barlow and British ceramicist and writer Edmund de Waal. New to the Frieze Masters Talks programme is Collecting Beyond Contemporary. Chaired by Wim Pijbes, Director of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, this panel will bring together international collectors whose approach to acquiring and displaying their holdings looks beyond conventional limitations of chronology, geography and medium.

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Portraying a new dynamism Attending a show at Rize’s cavernous 1,000 sqm headquarters in Naarden transports you to another world – far removed from its Northern European industrial setting. The show takes you to NewYork’s hip Chelsea district, and straight back to the here and now and beyond with Rize’s pioneering collection of photography, sculpture, mixed media artwork and paintings. Its four metre high ceilings, stark white walls and minimalist interior, combined with the impressive art collection housed within its warehouse-esque form, ensure an unequivocally cool global image. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: RIZE GALLERY

A full-time artistic home in the capital

perous venture, bringing art within an arm’s reach of its devotees, Susanna explains their decision to have a full-time home in the capital: “After the successful pop-up on P.C. Hooftstraat, we began to look for a permanent space and we’ve just picked up the key today.” An Amsterdammer bornand-bred, Susanna knows the intricacies of the city and her trend-setting nature has ensured that Rize has already become a fixture on the art scene. Yet the pair is not content just taking Amsterdam by storm – they’ve set their sights on the world.

September sees the much-anticipated opening of their trendy Amsterdam gallery, an almost unbeatable location on the corner of P.C. Hooftstraat and Van Baerlestraat. Suitably excited about this pros-

In April this year, their gallery in Belgium’s illustrious Knokke-Heist opened, proudly joining Laren and Naarden. Situated directly on the Kustlaan, alongside Philipp

Founded in 2008 by the ambitious Amsterdammers Susanna van der Sluis and Imogen Bonnet, their galleries – five and counting – never fail to impress, featuring cutting-edge work by prominent artists such as Joseph Klibansky (who, despite only being in his twenties, has shaken off the ‘coming’ from up-and-coming), painter Kris Knight, the celebrated photographer David Drebin and the internationally renowned Jaume Plensa.

Plein, Gucci and Louis Vuitton, their haven of creativity and talent is at home with its contemporaries. Focusing on bold, uplifting pieces of art, the pair’s attuned eye and knack for keeping up with the pulsating global art world has garnered them a remarkable following, with the art elite of Benelux bestowing a sound reputation upon them. “We’ve had many collectors coming to Knokke from Brussels, and they’ve all expressed delight at the freshness and talent that we’re bringing there.” “The next logical step,” says Susanna, “was to look further afield. Venice has undeniable appeal.” With the space set to open shortly, the Venice premises are sure to attract a great deal of international at-

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ABOVE: Joseph Klibansky has quickly become the gallery’s most prevalent artist. BOTTOM RIGHT: Susanna, Joseph and Imogen.

tention – and not just because of its prime location in Campo San Stefano, directly en route to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum. Imogen chimes in: “The whole world unites in Venice for its art and its biennale is the world’s oldest, making it an exceptional city. What we’re really hoping for is to open galleries in London, Paris and New York too – the real capitals of art.”

preciate the beauty of such pieces, that’s not what we’re into. Our philosophy is that art has to pep you up, giving you energy and hope.” Defining art as visual emotion, Imogen strongly advocates listening to your heart’s immediate reaction when buying a piece of art. “You have to be able to live with it,” she says empathically, stressing the importance of buying what you like, “it has to be something that makes you go ‘wow’.”

Art as visual emotion “In its essence,” continues Imogen, “art is enormously social. Like fashion, it’s glamorous, exuding an atmosphere of positivity – with the type of work that we have at the core of our gallery, it’s always a celebration. That’s why we’re open seven days a week, encouraging our patrons to wander the galleries at ease.” As the driving force behind Rize’s collection, Imogen’s passion for modern art is unmistakable. “There are as many types of art as there are people in the world,” she says with a chuckle. “We’re continuously hunting to find the right artists with the dynamism that we’re seeking. Our collection revolves around colourful, bright pieces, all incorporating the latest techniques.” “Of course,” she continues matter-of-factly, “art can also be sombre, and while we ap-

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“Art with stopping power” For her, this immediate response rang true when she stumbled across work by the young Joseph Klibansky, who quickly became the gallery’s most prevalent artist. Now touted as one of the world’s biggest stars in new media, the South Africa-born Klibansky’s complex works are coveted across the globe and are often described as “art with stopping power”. “He is, without a doubt, our best find,” declares Imogen. “With the techniques he employs, he couldn’t be any more forwardthinking. He’s taken the centuries-old tradition of landscape painting right to the future by using digital photography in all its forms and taking to the computer to create visually stunning collages. With hundreds

of loose images blended in a technologically masterful way, he then prints onto cotton paper. Technically, this wouldn’t even have been possible a decade ago. It’s really quite mind-blowing – as are the daily requests we get for his pieces from across the world!” Most recently, the London auctioneers Phillips witnessed a bidding war for his stunning sculpture, Elements of Life, driving the price up to 57,000 Euros. Similarly, Sotheby's has been the stage for similar demand; with Klibansky’s mixed media piece High Flyers going for almost double the estimate at 34,350 Euros. Testament to the art's changing nature, Klibansky’s youthfulness and vibrancy is creating a stir amongst the art world, enticing established collectors to reassess their wares and inspiring new collectors to launch themselves headfirst into his digital paintings. Recognisable after having designed three consecutive album covers for acclaimed DJ Armin van Buuren, Klibansky’s appeal narrows the boundary between art and the observer. According to Imogen, the lengths the young Amsterdammer goes to in order to develop his work can only be described as visionary. “He’s even created a new kind of liquid

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acrylic resin in his own laboratory, giving his work the impression of being in motion.”

Velvet Revolution by Joseph Klibansky (2014), Polymer resin, misted with pure paint pigment, also available in bronze.

Constantly in flux Alongside Klibansky’s pieces, Rize’s collection includes other ground-breaking artists, including the ever popular Keith Haring, the magnificent sculptor Jaume Plensa and the Canadian rising talent Kris Knight, who inspired Gucci’s AW14 colour palette with his “wonderfully sincere paintings”. From sculptures to photography via painting and mixed-media works, Rize has virtually all mediums covered and Imogen is a strong advocator of getting in there early with regards to trends, styles and techniques. “I’ve got a Belgian artist visiting next week,” she reveals, "someone we’re all very excited about – they really fit our philosophy and direction with their forward-thinking nature. We’re constantly in flux, as are our artists. We’d never be content if we were stationary.” On crowded opening nights and vernissages, young creatives interact with distinguished collectors, admirers, and art fanatics from the Benelux and beyond. The result of Imogen and Susanna’s lifelong search for positivity and energy, the everexpanding Rize galleries really fulfil their intention of being a haven of optimism. Dedicated to the search for talent, the duo approach artists regularly and, in placing art in Rize, they’re genuinely hoping to create that coveted connection with a client.

Turquoise Universe wall sculpture.

Surrounding yourself with art adds an extra dimension to your life, it charges your battery with positive energy every time you look at it.

Joseph Klibansky

Imogen and Susanna would love to welcome you to their new gallery in Amsterdam. You can find the gallery at the corner of P.C. Hooftstraat/Van Baerlestraat (across from The Seafood Bar). Open 7 days a week 11:00 -18:00. Address: Van Baerlestraat 6, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Or come and visit by appointment in the 1000m2 HQ gallery in Naarden. Address: Energiestraat 35B, Naarden, The Netherlands Phone: +31 6 4817 2220 Email:

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Rahi Rezvani – a language of comparison and allegory

The expertise of Rahi Rezvani in the genres of the art is a motive for his visual strength: portraits, still lives, realistic scenes – all wonderful to interpret. TEXT & PHOTOS: RAHI REZVANI

He speaks a language of comparison and allegory. The scene is fantasy. Space is fantasy. Colour is fantasy. The composition is fantasy. Everything is fantasy. But there is no place for lies and forgeries. It is false, but not a lie. He has nothing to do with “reproduction” based on the ideas of Aristotle on the imitation of nature, nor with “speculation”. He has his own interpreta-

tion of portraying his fantasy. A picture that is not present in time – as in a story – but in space.

In 2008 Rezvani established his own studio in the Netherlands to bring his vision to life.

Rahi Rezvani, a Dutch artist, born in Iran in (1978), moved to the Netherlands where he completed his Masters’ degree in photography at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague.

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Discover Benelux | Feature | Street Art

The street life and its game I am a hunter. Not in the traditional sense, as I have never killed an animal in my life, but the fact remains: I hunt. The city is my playground and it isn’t without a certain pride that I claim to have trained my eyes to detect the gems hidden in its intricate labyrinthine streets. Below the curb I bend, up on the roof I look, I roam the macadam camera in hand ready to shoot, and when I see game, I aim and… click. Boom! It’s captured. TEXT & PHOTOS: HARUN OSMANOVIC

People often mistake art in the street with the art movement that is labelled street-art. For instance a statue by Dalì is art in the street, but it might be surrealism – not street-art. On my last visit to Amsterdam, the hunt was not fruitful quantitatively, but the quality was exquisite. First, in Duifjessteeg, a narrow alley right off the Rokin, just next to the street sign, there on the wall – a face coming out. A Passerthrough-walls is taking a peek, but not like Marcel Aymé’s Passe-muraille, the statue in Montmartre by Jean Marais. No, I’d say the piece could be by Gregos, the Frenchman casting his face and placing it on walls around the world. Or, maybe, it’s an

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affiliate of Urbansolid, the Italian street-art collective. One of the beauties of the hunt resides in this. Sometimes it can take ages before you find a clue about the artist’s identity. But not my next piece. In fact, they came in pairs near one of the Bulldog Cafés in Amsterdam. First this candid little drawing of three captivated kids They are sitting in mid-air, their shadows cast on the wall as they look at us in the street just like we look at them, except for the fact that when we look, a smile enlightens our faces, but not theirs, what they see seems to preoccupy them, which in return preoccupies me be-

cause what they see is us. The piece is signed: Alice for Alice Pasquini, with a dynamic tittle on the “i” written à la va-vite, as if Alice got caught right as she was finishing her work and ran away stretching the dot into a horizontal line. And finally, the masterpiece of the show in this improvised gallery, a portrait of an old man looking at me, his eyes straight on me, his face a three quarter profile. The work could have been left unsigned, Christian Guémy’s little logo, a cube carrying his spray-can name C215, could have been forgotten without harming our capacity to recognise the artist’s DNA. The portrait is

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Discover Benelux | Feature | Street Art

“The wrinkles on the man’s face, I presume a homeless man, are palpable; his beard almost sticks out of the blue wall,” writes Harun Osmanovic about his street-art discovery, a Christian Guémy portrait.

entirely done with stencils, and though the technique almost always results in flat design without shadow or relief, Guémy’s work has incredible depth. The wrinkles on the man’s face, I presume a homeless man, are palpable, his beard almost sticks out of the blue wall, and the woolly texture of the pullover makes me envy the fellow on this autumn day in Amsterdam. I touch the wall just there, as a kid touches a hot stove, and it’s cold. The painting was done over paste-ups and posters that are now being torn off. The wall bears scratches, the marks of time, just like the gentleman bears wrinkles, the marks of a lifetime. I took a snap, looked at my camera, then back at the wall, and left. Today all those pieces are probably gone, replaced by others but I have my jpeg, forever, like a trophy waiting to be mounted. Recently, Dutch designer Lilian Van Dongen Torman contacted me regarding a project she was working on. Lilian, together with Janne Ettwig, who is doing her PhD thesis on cognitive psychology, created a board game around street art. It’s a memory game like the all-time classic, except the pictures are of urban artwork. Lilian

had seen a photograph I took of Boxi’s piece – a man staring afar, alone, looking lonely – and wanted to use it for the cover, which I accepted, honoured. As it turns out, the game is very much like my hunt in the streets of Amsterdam and of elsewhere. You pick a card, return it. Now the trick is to find the other piece by the same artist. The game will help you develop the hunter instincts you will need to

face the streets and open your mind to a world of wonderment. Because after all, it’s all but (a) game!

More street-art on Harun’s Instagram @LOVEUrbanart Find out more about the game on Lilian’s website:

A street art-themed memory game created by Janne Ettwig and Lilian van Dongen Torman.

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Discover Benelux | Feature | Irene O’Callaghan

LEFT: An arrangement of O’Callaghan’s works entitled Game of Fitting is being displayed in six shop windows in Zeeheldenbuurt, Amsterdam this autumn. RIGHT: “My work is, in the end, always autobiographical or a portrait of myself, but this should never be directly visible; it's more of a side note,” says O’Callaghan about her oeuvre.



Working from a different angle TEXT: HEATHER WELSH | PHOTOS: IRENE O’CALLAGHAN

When describing her current practice, young Spanish artist Irene O’Callaghan often considers something her father used to say: “No matter what you do, work hard and do it well.” Primarily a visual artist and photographer, O’Callaghan has made it clear that she doesn’t intend to limit herself – her aim, ultimately, to produce imagery that grabs your attention. O’Callaghan doesn’t limit her practice to specific media. She works with photography, drawing and text and often produces works incorporating a combination of them all – often to seek attention. “My work is, in the end, always autobiographical or a portrait of myself but this should never be directly visible; it's more of a side note,” she says. Currently living and working in Amsterdam, O’Callaghan is a wandering soul. She loves to split her time between sunny Spain and

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the cultural hub of the Netherlands, and in an ideal world, the perfect combination would be alternating six months in each location. Having studied photography at the renowned Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, O’Callaghan went on to complete a Master of Fine Arts at the Sandberg Instituut – which is a part of the same Academy – last year. It comes as no surprise then, that O’Callaghan cites the oftquoted Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke as a main influence during her art academy years, with one of his most famous quotes characterising a fundamental fascination with art: “Then do not forget, the art is not a goal, but a way.” Indeed, she says his publication Letters to a Young Poet was like her “little Bible”. An arrangement of her works entitled Game of Fitting, which is part of an ongo-

ing research project into all of the places she’s lived throughout her life, is being displayed in six shop windows in Zeeheldenbuurt, Amsterdam this autumn. The works comprise details of shapes, forms and architecture realised as cyanotypes – a photographic print which is cyan-blue and made with a special layering technique. Following this, what’s next for the young artist? O’Callaghan has decided to focus on something fresh: “I would really like to finish another series of drawings. I spent six years focusing on photography, now it’s time to work from a different angle.” zeeheldenbuurt

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Weddings in the Benelux


Weddings IN THE


Love & Marriage Fair Long gone are the days of traditional weddings. Today, anything is possible and this liberty is reflected in the emerging wedding trends, all of which are represented at the Love & Marriage Beurs, the Love & Marriage Fair. TEXT & PHOTOS: LOVE & MARRIAGE FAIR | TRANSLATION: EMMIE COLLINGE

First and foremost, wedding signs are a definite trend – with one third of all sampled weddings turning to them. These cute wooden boards, emblazoned with such phrases as “Mr & Mrs”, can also double as signs to direct guests around the wedding venue.

Two more trends that have appeared involve selecting a house style (22 per cent) and opting for a DIY-style wedding (20 per cent). More and more couples, especially brides, enjoy making their own handcrafted items for their wedding, and hand-made decorations are a key part of these.

What’s more, photo booths are a huge hit at weddings. Thirty-two per cent of all newly-weds have opted for photo booths in which guests can take fun photos with various props and cool backgrounds. At the end of the evening the guests can either take the photos home as a great souvenir, or the newly-weds could opt for a book in which the guests can stick the photos along with some kind words.

All of these trends will be shown at the Love & Marriage Fair, making it the perfect day out before your wedding. Collect inspiration for the big day, check out the latest trends and meet wedding specialists such as jewellers, photographers, invitation designers, cake bakers, transport providers, make-up artists, decorators and, of course, the all important wedding dress and suit designers. Visiting six cities

in the Netherlands, the Love & Marriage Fair takes place over eight separate weekends this winter.

The National WeddingShow Europe’s largest fashion show dedicated to weddings, the National WeddingShow, will also be held during the Love & Marriage Fair. Over the course of one hour, the latest trends of the bridal industry will grace the catwalk. Alongside wedding dresses from all of the well-known designers, dashing suits will also be on show, ensuring that the National WeddingShow really is an event not to be missed. Opening times and admission The trade fair is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am until 5pm. Admission on the day is €15.50, including access to the National Wedding Show and an issue of Trouwplannen Magazine (Wedding Planning Magazine, RRP €6.95). Dates of the Love & Marriage Fair 2014 20 - 21 September: Jaarbeurs Utrectht 4 - 5 October: Ahoy Rotterdam 1 - 2 November: B’hallen Den Bosch 8 - 9 November: Rai Amsterdam 2015 17 - 18 January: Beursgebouw E’hoven 24 - 25 January: M’plaza Groningen 31 Jan - 1 Feb: Ahoy Rotterdam 7 - 8 March: Jaarbeurs Utrecht love-and-marriage-beurs

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Say “I do”in the world’s smallest city Housed within a stunning estate, the Castle of Staverden is located in the centre of the Veluwe National Park. After receiving city status in 1298, Staverden was officially declared not only the smallest city in the Benelux with its 52 residents, but also the world’s smallest! TRANSLATION: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: CASTLE OF STAVERDEN

It was the Roman King Rudolph of Habsburg who bestowed city status upon the court of Staverden in 1298. The then Duke of Gelder (Reinald I) hoped to build a large, wealthy city on the site, but after building a castle and a series of canals and outbuildings, the idea lost momentum and the city of Staverden became a mere estate, while still retaining its city status. The Dukes of Gelder subsequently loaned out the estate of Staverden, and over the following seven centuries, the rich history of the small city and its residents took shape. The estate, which covers an area of 743 hectares, lies in one of the Netherlands’s most scenic areas and has treasured its

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original stately character. With vast forests and farmland encircling the picturesque 14th-century castle, coach house and gardens, which represent the centre of the city, a more beautiful stage for a wedding would be hard to imagine.

The ideal wedding location The estate of Staverden is in a position to take care of your entire wedding; taking the reins from the church ceremony and the nuptials right up to the celebratory reception, dinner and spectacular feast. What makes Staverden such a unique venue is that the entire estate doubles as the city hall – meaning that you may ex-

change vows anywhere on the estate. Not limited to the castle or the coach house, you’re also invited to say “I do” amongst the peacocks in the castle gardens. What’s more, Staverden’s chapel, located in close proximity to the castle, is a fairytale-esque church built in 1875, making it more than appropriate for a church ceremony. As far as wedding guests are concerned, the castle has various rooms available, each one more suitable than the last. Choose where you’d like to exchange vows and celebrate with a delightful toast. Evening celebrations for up to 200 guests can easily be held here, and the cellar vaults being home to an elegant bar,

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Top 5 Wedding Locations

The estate of Staverden is in a position to take care of your entire wedding; taking the reins from the church ceremony and the nuptials right up to the celebratory reception, dinner and spectacular feast.

hand to discuss any queries with soon-tobe-newlyweds, and they’re more than happy to inform and inspire those looking to tie the knot.

Wedding Box

lounge and dance floor, the space just calls out for an evening do with a DJ and up to 120 guests.

See for yourself at an open day As there are so many options available, it’s certainly advisable to come along for yourself and check out the ambiance. Pay a visit to each of Staverden’s lovely corners and envisage yourself walking down the aisle at one of the monthly Open Trouwlocatie days [Wedding Venue Open days], held on the first Sunday of each month. Between midday and 3pm, Staverden throws open its doors for you to visit the castle, its rooms and the gardens. The estate’s wedding hosts and planners are on

Attending an open day is also your chance to learn about the advantages of turning to a wedding planner for your big day. Once you’ve decided to say “I do” in the world’s smallest city, you’ll be the happy recipient of a Staverden Wedding Box – the definitive guide to your wedding. Given the variety of options available, the wedding planners have compiled the Wedding Box as an answer to the many questions that couples may have, including information about all of the castle’s cooperating partners for any wedding. Quality, service, flexibility and suitability are at the core of all Staverden’s weddings. That’s why they employ the services of an experienced and affordable local florist, fully attuned to the castle and its gardens. If you’re unable to attend an open day, don’t despair – feel free to get in touch with the wedding planners via email.

Brasserie Alongside the castle and the coach house, the estate of Staverden is also home to a delightful brasserie with two (covered) ter-

races, ideal for receptions, corporate events and/or dinner. The award-winning brasserie consistently amazes its diners with its variety of dishes, each one made lovingly with local produce and homegrown vegetables. The estate’s rich history, characterful venues, well-manicured gardens and the distinctive presence of white peacocks render this location rather special. The dedicated staff is delighted to welcome you to this unique location and assist you in organising your big day.

Location and contact details Just five minutes from the A1 motorway, and ten minutes from the A28, the Castle of Staverden is very easy to reach and has plenty of parking spaces. Landgoed Staverden Staverdenseweg 283 3852 NV Ermelo The Netherlands Telephone: +31 (0)85-4864000 Wedding planners’ email:

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Top 5 Wedding Locations

A vision of love Speaking with wedding designer Christian Kuzatko of Huis de Voorst Estate & Ashford Wedding Designers, it quickly becomes apparent that the historical mansion he runs is little of an event venue, and all the more a place where dreams come true. Offering truly matchless personal involvement into your big day, Christian leaves no detail to circumstances and no dream unfulfilled. His is not a job – it’s a way of life. TEXT: JULIE LINDÉN | PHOTOS: HUIS DE VOORST

Getting on a plane to NYC is no problem for the Dutch wedding creative, as long as he is crafting the best day in his clients’ lives – meeting by meeting, cake tasting by cake tasting. He is the kind of man who puts remarkable emphasis on getting to know his clients before deciding on something as basic as a draft colour scheme. Because why shouldn’t you, really? “Exactly! It’s all about the bridal couple’s identity; what makes them tick; what makes them feel at home, and also what gives them that butterfly feeling,” says Christian, whose down-to-earth appeal is only heightened by the fact that he refuses to be called by anything else than his first name. “I want to understand their human side,” he adds,

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“in order to know what their tastes are like. The Palace speaks for itself, it’s the decoration, but the personal touch needs to originate with the bride and groom.”

the landed gentry of somewhat constrained means. Huis de Voorst Estate, drawn by the very architects who constructed the Apeldoorn Palace, was Keppel’s gift to his companion.

Historical values With a history stretching back more than 300 years, the Huis de Voorst Estate not only carries an emblem of epoch-specific originality; it has provided the scenery for many a real-life historical event. Knowledgeably, Christian tells of a time when Stadhouder Willem III (a hereditary head of state), was in need of a pocket palace away from his everyday Palace in Apeldoorn. The Stadhouder, husband and later widower of Mary Stuart, had fallen in love with Arnold Joost van Keppel, a member of

“It’s a love story that ties in very nicely with the loving occasions the Palace is chiefly used for today,” Christian says. Later phases of history would see German, English and American soldiers dwell at the Palace during various spells of the Second World War, occurrences that were later reenacted at Huis de Voorst Estate while recording the film A Bridge too Far, starring Sean Connery and Laurence Olivier. Eight times Oscar-awarded My Fair

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Top 5 Wedding Locations

The scene of many an historical event, the Huis de Voorst estate has an air of ceremonial splendour.

matchable expertise of a wedding designer known for his attention to (and affection for) immaculate details, part of the reason why the mansion cannot be likened to any kind of event venue. Christian’s services have also been provided abroad, in Australia as well as the United States.

Lady was partly filmed at the Palace as well, with Audrey Hepburn’s acclaimed staircase and ballroom scenes prime examples of the mansion’s splendour. “Many of the scenes in these films show off the building in its finest historical and decorative state,” Christian says pensively, continuing: “They are quite unknown stories of Huis de Voorst, but underline the perfection of expression the Palace stands for.”

A perfect day Perfection itself is key for Christian, who is heartily invested in doing his absolute best to ensure that nothing but sheer bliss permeates your big day. Your booking with Huis de Voorst Estate enlists the un-

“Huis de Voorst Estate is not a venue – it’s an absolute and unique experience, as well as a way of life,” Christian says with justified assertion. He is also more than aware of the extravagant impression of his service, which he assures me is unrelated to the financial resources of the bride and groom. “I’ve created some centerpieces for a Moulin Rouge-themed wedding,” he says eagerly, “they are stunning, made of red roses placed in red and black glossy high heels. I got those shoes on sale for three Euros per shoe! Show me your wallet and I will make anything happen with the funds you have, saving what I can on creative solutions,” he says.

unwilling to go the extra mile with the extra Euro. Still, personal investment goes handin-hand with financial investments at Huis de Voorst & Ashford Wedding Designers. “If I didn’t get to know my clients, didn’t have a casual drink with them to really get under their skin, I’d be just another wedding designer offering a standard package. That’s not what I do,” Christian says. “We had a company book an evening at Huis de Voorst, and the first thing we did was to go through the company’s history to figure out who they were,” he says, continuing: “The company originated in a small village in the English countryside, so our chef created ten dishes, each dish inspired by a decade spanning the company’s 100year-old history. That made the guests think, instead of just attending another dinner.”

Personal investment That money and status mean little to Christian is evident, but that doesn’t mean he’s

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Top 5 Wedding Locations

The Kasteelhoeve has a certain rustic charm, ideal for relaxed and trendy weddings.

Indulgent romanticism at


The bride skips down from the ancient tree in a picture of grace. Beaming, she declares that today couldn’t have gone any better. Channelling the stately home finesse of Eindhoven’s Kasteel Geldrop in her glamorous white gown, the bride, along with the groom and happy guests, make the most of the well-kept landscaped gardens, providing a stunning backdrop for the wedding snaps. Within moments of stepping onto the grounds of Kasteel Geldrop, it becomes clear that this charming Kasteel, with its classic gardens and rustic farmhouse would make anyone’s dream wedding venue. Its sense of heritage lends it an air of heartfelt romanticism, and the team at the Kasteel, led by the meticulous wedding specialist Véronique van Raamsdonk, steer this atmosphere towards the desired result: the best day of your life.

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Choosing a wedding venue, according to van Raamsdonk, should be a snap decision. “The number of seats isn’t important, the catering isn’t important – what matters is whether you can see yourself walking down that aisle. The details can come later.” For the Kasteel, seating shouldn’t cause anyone undue stress as it regularly hosts weddings of anything from 15 to 450 guests. Indulgently nostalgic, the elegant Kasteel and the rustic farmhouse (the Kasteelhoeve) are both available for indoor ceremonies and festivities. With more than 10 historical rooms available, and numerous stunning outdoor areas, including the centuries old oak tree, van Raamsdonk is justifiably proud of the venue’s flexibility. “The combination of tradition and modernity that we can provide here is what sets us apart. We want our couples to feel at home, put their trust in the castle and we can create precisely the wedding you’re dreaming of.”

Her smile widens as she lists the vital prewedding tasks: catering, flowers, table decorations, the cake, the DJ and evening entertainment – and the list goes on. “But,” she says empathetically, “these details are our responsibility as we offer a full wedding service.” Going to great lengths, van Raamsdonk’s expertise guides the couple in the run-up to the big day. From hibiscus flower-infused champagne in the orangery or apple tree orchard to toast your vows, fireworks or a brilliant lightshow and DJ combo in the Pronckzaal to end the big day in style, right through to the following day’s post-wedding brunch, the Kasteel certainly knows how to give a personal touch to each wedding. Accommodation can be booked at an intimate 25-room hotel, located just a 10 minute stroll away.

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Top 5 Wedding Locations

Housed in Huize Frankendael since 2008, Restaurant Merkelbach’s reputation is thriving as one of the capital’s best slow food restaurants.

The culinary highpoint of any ceremony TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: HUIZE FRANKENDAEL

Tucked away in Amsterdam’s Watergraafsmeer district is a veritable oasis of green within a city that hasn’t stopped growing for centuries. Sitting inside the popular Park Frankendael, Huize Frankendael and Restaurant Merkelbach embody an ethical and dedicated approach to weddings and private dinners, while allowing you to combine the glorious rural ambiance with the ease of its city centre location. “You can split the Huize into four parts,” explains manager Bodo Groen. “We’ve got the restaurant, which provides the catering for any event; the salons inside the main house; the former coach house, which we’ve restored to its authentic state – just like two hundred years ago when they stabled the horse and carts there; and the gardens, that are immaculately looked after.” After holding a ceremony in one of the exquisitely decorated salons inside the main

building, guests may retire to the gardens for a joyous champagne-fuelled reception. Later, guests are treated to their food of choice from the restaurant’s highly regarded gourmet menu, which includes heritage salads, slow-roasted freshly caught fish, and steak with pearl barley and beetroot. The character-packed restaurant, headed by long-term “slow food” aficionado Geert Burema – whose unwavering emphasis on organic, seasonal and locally sourced produce has earned him wide acclaim – has become a firm favourite with the capital’s foodies. “Alongside seasonal and local produce,” explains Groen, “is our focus on Presidia foods. This involves doing as much as we can to protect the world’s agricultural biodiversity and gastronomic traditions.” A major pull, he explains, comes from its location too, although he’s quick to explain that it wasn’t always the case: “This was a

country retreat once upon a time but it’s been swallowed up the city now,” he says with a laugh. “It’s still the last of its kind within Amsterdam though.” Several of the rooms (if not all) of this priceless national treasure can be brought into play for a reception, dinner, private gathering or evening event. Having recently hosted 300 guests with exclusive use of the grounds for their big day, Groen relishes the chance to feed many mouths within such a romantic setting. With greenery in abundance, it’s wonderful to see it reflected in the restaurant too. If you want to make your stay an overnight occasion, Huize Frankendael’s practical location just outside of the city centre ensures that there are multiple options available.

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Top 5 Wedding Locations

A combination of an intriguing history and beautiful surroundings makes Het Huys ten Donck one of the most exquisite locations in the Netherlands.

Celebrating in a storybook of Dutch history TEXT: MILOU VAN ROON | PHOTOS: HUYS TEN DONCK

“It’s a rare thing for couples to enter Het Huys ten Donck and not fall head over heels in love,” says owner Catharina Groeninx van Zoelen. The combination of the unique Rococo interior, the intriguing history, surroundings made up of an old English landscape garden and a view line of one kilometre, makes Het Huys ten Donck one of the most remarkable locations in the Netherlands. “It was originally built to liven up one’s imagination,’” says Catharina. Located only 15 minutes from the centre of Rotterdam, very close to the river Maas, it’s an oasis of peace and nature in the midst of urban surroundings – as opposed to the 18th century, when it was an oasis of civilization, amidst the countryside. The estate Het Huys ten Donck has been connected to the Groeninx van Zoelen family since the year of 1676. The current main house was built in 1746 to service as a country and reception house, and doesn’t

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just house nine generations of family history – it also reflects the history of the Netherlands. Grand paintings and gifts such as an 18th century sledge represent the bond with the Dutch royal family and the family’s different positions in society, while objects such as the salute cannons and beautiful passenger chests show the family’s role in the Dutch East India Company. Het Huys ten Donck has through the major changes the country has undergone managed to preserve its homely essence inside its walls. The house is a popular wedding location and an internationally renowned location for corporate entertainment, photoshoots and film productions. The location naturally sparks creativity for bridal couples, underlined by Catharina’s words: “The interior hardly needs any extra decoration, but if you like you can create nice contrasts between old and new, or choose to stay in line with its authenticity.”’ The serene location makes business meetings a pleasure, and the romantic lighting once applied by

Frenchman René Klotz – who also did the lighting at Versailles – adds an extra touch to a celebratory dinner. “Het Huys ten Donck takes centre stage in many stories, but weddings are special because they create their own stories,” says Catharina. “On a couple’s wedding day they become part of our history and we become part of theirs.” And so, inspiration is never lacking in Catharina’s job. “When I stare up at the immense, century-old trees that weren’t even meant to grow on our clay ground, or lie in bed at night, listening to the owls calling to each other and mother owl appears just outside our window, I can’t help but think ‘this place is just like a fairy tale’.’’

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Weddings in the Benelux

Your personal desires spark the design process, taking you on a journey from fabric and detail selection through six fittings, to the dream moment of putting on your wedding dress.


With the most delicate fabrics from the best fabric houses in Europe, Dutch atelier Hillenius Couture creates the perfect wedding and evening dresses. For fifty years they have “built” the dress around the person, pinned on co-owner Nicoline van Marlen’s motivation: “In this way we can design a dress with a level of perfection that is not reachable drawing on paper.” At Hillenius Couture the design starts with the desire of the individual. The shape of the body will be analysed and with that information a “sculpture” of fabric is created, which provides the first drawing of the dress. When the perfect shape is found, the second step is choosing the right kind of fabric, a process initiating a journey to find the lace, pearls, stones or sequins to create the distinctive desired design, unique and personal, all with the expert guidance of Hillenius Couture designers. The Hillenius Couture shop is an experience on its own. The whole dressmaking

process is visible to you, from choosing the perfect fabric that fits your body to seeing “the girls” – van Marlen’s seamstresses – sew your dress. “Each dress is hand-carved, modelled and built,” van Marlen explains. “I would be nothing without my girls. It’s like the relationship an architect has with his builders; they need each other to create something beautiful. Without them I will not be able to build the dream for our customer.”

model and will see the dress grow step by step. Thus, every dress is a unique creation. Step into the world of Hillenius Couture by visiting their website, and learn more about the journey of your one-of-akind dress.

Because of her love for special and luxurious fabrics, van Marlen has specialised in bridal and evening dresses. “Besides our spectacular collection of fabrics, like silk and lace, we also design our own fabrics, accessories and jewellery,” she says. Because of this, Hillenius Couture offers the possibility to create new forms with classical and modern techniques and materials. In about six fittings the perfect dress will be created. The customer is the natural fitting

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An impeccably tailored Cinderella story While planning one’s wedding should always have an element of fairy-tale wonder to it, few stories chime more in tune with Cinderella-like wonder than that of Kelly Jorritsma. After surviving a disease that could have seen her life end at an early stage, she found hope and strength in dreams of a new location and the chance to make impeccably tailored dresses for that one special day in women’s lives. Little did she know her own special day was right around the corner. TEXT: JULIE LINDÉN | PHOTOS: UNIELLE COUTURE

“Everything changed over-night,” Jorritsma says, remembering her sudden encounter with dengue fever. “All of a sudden I was in bed fighting for my life, and I didn’t know whether or not I was going to make it. Little changes your perception of life like a death threat,” she says pensively.

“It was an exciting time in my life, to say the least,” Jorritsma says, smiling. She pauses, laughing ever so slightly: “Actually, I ended up meeting my husband the first day of university when I started my MA, and I also ended up making my own wedding dress.”

The first wedding dress

Now based in the Netherlands, Jorritsma reveals her desire to craft her own dress was not only based on a fondness for sewing, but also a dissatisfaction with ready-to-wear shop offers.

Despite her fears, the Singapore-raised creative survived the disease, and swiftly understood she had been given a second lease of life – which she was not going to waste. Packing her bags for a one-year study break in Belgium, she was determined to fulfil her lifelong dream of exploring Europe.

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“I simply couldn’t find exactly what I wanted, and adding to that was my lessthan-tall frame. Call me a bridezilla, but

every bride deserves her perfect dress come true,” she says.

Modern technology and a quality craft Unielle Couture was a fact, and a wellmade one too. The couturier offers a unique 3D scanning method to correctly establish the measures by which experienced seamstresses craft each dress. The process takes only one minute, and measures each body frame in millimeters as to best adapt the dress to each curve and proportion. “You can have 10 tailors measuring a bride, and they will never be able to craft that ex-

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Weddings in the Benelux

act fit that modern technology can offer. This is the one dress in your life that really should be perfect, and you should feel comfortable in it as well as accentuated by it,” Jorritsma says.

Visualising a dream Each creation process is initiated by a consultation at Unielle Couture’s quarters, where each client is encouraged to visualise her dream dress. Ready-to-wear designs are still an important part of the fitting progression, as they can give the wearer a good idea of their own preferences. These designs are of course also available for purchase, should you find the dress with a capital D in-shop. The visualisation session is concretised on the drawing board, as a sketch of your design is created for the seamstresses to follow. The number of fitting sessions will depend both on your choice of silhouette and detail, but as Jorritsma explains, these meetings will only heighten the experience of putting on a couture wedding dress on one of your life’s most important days. “Everything is considered; from the fabric you want to the right colour shade, from the right design composition for your frame to beading, lacing and other details,” she says. “It’s our desire to make you feel unique and special, as the occasion is nothing short of just that.”

A unique attitude Arriving in Belgium and moving to the Netherlands as a young woman, Jorritsma says she was startled by the discovery that many people wanted to look the same. “I’d always wanted to stand out from the crowd somewhat, and here that was less common. I see the Unielle Couture philosophy as complementing the individual’s wish, while never compromising on that feeling of being one of a kind. When you think about it, your wedding day should be all about you and the man in your life, so why would you want to blend in?” Allowing time for your dream couture wedding or special occasion dress to come to

Left: Kelly Jorritsma first sewed her own wedding dress (pictured above), before deciding to make her hobby a profession. Photo: Carina Plus David Photography

life is important, and Jorritsma recommends a minimum of three months to allow this process.

Coming from a woman who knows that both dreams and fairytales do come true, we can only be swayed by her vision.

“Ideally we would need about six months to allow a good number of fitting sessions and conversations about the dress. We’ll then have your dream dress in a perfect state for the big day, and we can assure you that you’ll feel like the most special woman in the world.”

For inspiration on how to make your Benelux expat wedding as fairytale-like as possible, visit Kelly Jorritsma's English-language wedding blog – the only of its kind in the Netherlands:

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Weddings in the Benelux

Visit the magnificent Rozenhof estate in Dutch Veeningen to find your perfect wedding ring.


If there is anything Rozenhof Wedding Rings is proud of, it’s their vast collection of the most beautiful wedding rings. Boasting more than 2,500 types of rings made by the best European brands, Rozenhof Wedding Rings offers future spouses the finest of jewellery, as a reminder of one of the best days in their lives. After making an appointment, the customer is invited to the magnificent Rozenhof estate in Dutch Veeningen. There is no shop, as Rozenhof Wedding Rings wants to give the customer a unique and special feeling. Here, it is all about them. This jeweller takes time to accommodate the customer, and together they can find the perfect set of wedding rings for each couple. Of course you also have the possibility to pick out the rings entirely via the website, but most customers prefer an appointment to see, feel and experience the rings.

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possible combinations of special materials, like the use of wood, ceramics or carbon.

There is a wide range of ring types, and the soon-to-be newlyweds will make a selection of rings that they find appealing. Where a regular jeweller provides a choice of around three to five types per wedding ring, Rozenhof Wedding Rings offers 100 to 150 types per ring. From classic to modern, from white gold to yellow gold or bicolour: each ring can be adapted to your individual requirements. Some rather special elements can be added, such as engraved fingerprints, facial profiles or a secret language. There are also many

You may also completely design the wedding rings yourselves, so the rings suit you perfectly. That does not mean, however, that these rings are more expensive than rings made by a reputable brand. It is Rozenhof’s passion to create weddings rings to match personal wishes and needs. Each ring will be beautiful, special and personal, while retaining its functionality. Rozenhof Wedding Rings visits different fairs all over Europe. As such, Rozenhof boasts a beautiful collection consisting of many designs, while also possessing vast, up-to-date knowledge about the latest innovations, models and trends. Passion, love for the profession and craftsmanship are highly valued standards.

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Weddings in the Benelux

Picture perfect on your wedding day TEXT: JANINE STERENBORG | PHOTOS: KAZEM AESTHETICA

Looking picture perfect in a stunning white dress on the most beautiful wedding day is the dream of many girls. How will you look your best in your wedding photographs and in front of your friends and family?

fat-reducing treatment which does not require any surgery. A perfect solution to make sure your wedding dress will fit on the big day, as excess fat on your belly, legs, arms and waist is the last thing you want to worry about.

Retouching the photographs afterwards is a commonly used technique, but this doesn’t make you look your best on the day itself. If you are a modern bride, you will probably rather retouch yourself – preferably with a subtle rejuvenation procedure. “The average age of brides is a little over thirty nowadays,” says Dr. Kazem. “This results in a wish for aesthetic treatments that will make you look younger and more sparkling.”

Looking picture perfect on the right day does require some planning skills, however. You will get that perfect bridal glow using a treatment like the skin tightening Thermage®. The newest bridal trend is to remove wrinkles and pigmentation from the hands and the chest by laser. Dr. Kazem explains: “The first few weeks after this treatment the skin will be very sensitive, and direct sunlight is not recommended. So if you want the perfect bridal glow as well as a sunny honeymoon, be smart and schedule on time.”

These aesthetic treatments can be a filler for a few wrinkles, or a little bit of Botox® to relax those tight frown lines. The most requested treatment is CoolSculpting®, a

Dr. Kazem has an important piece of advice for future brides: “If you are thinking

about a surgical or cosmetic treatment, be sure to look for a board certified plastic surgeon. There are enough things to worry about in the weeks before your wedding, and your appearance does not have to be one of them!”

About Dr. Farid Kazem Plastic surgeon Farid Kazem is well known for his extensive experience and highquality results in skin rejuvenation with surgical and nonsurgical procedures. Do you want to prevent your skin from aging and keep that youthful look and feel for as long as possible? Visit & or get in touch at

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WELCOME TO BRUSSELS Finally, comfortable apartment hotels with a full hotel service! B-Aparthotels offers you the accommodation of an apartment with the services of a hotel. For short and long stays. With 5 B-Aparthotels in Brussels or more than 200 luxury apartments, studios, apartment suites, duplex apartments and penthouses. That’s what makes us unique on the Brussels market! Be A-part of us and Enjoy the sparkling capital of Europe!

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Discover Benelux | Mini Theme | Made in Belgium






Belgium has got talent – and for the first time it exports it As the saying goes, no one is a prophet in his own country – a saying that has tended to be disproved in recent months, as the brand Belgium has experienced a renewed interest among our fellow citizens. The many reasons for this craze today confirm the importance of creating an event allowing artisans, traders and Belgian entrepreneurs to meet consumers directly. This event now has a name: the fair Made in Belgium. TEXT: MADE IN BELGIUM | PRESS PHOTO

Whether it’s because of economic considerations, environmental reasons or a need for proximity, more and more consumers consider it important to be able to buy local products produced in their own region without long transportation resulting in financial and environmental impact.

in Belgium will link them to each other and should encourage a new purchasing philosophy. Buying goods produced thousands of miles away becomes a non-sense once you know that you can find such goods, often of higher quality, inside our borders.

It also seems that as far as services are concerned, the ability to call on local providers reinforces the feeling of trust and entails loyalty. Knowing that, the possibility to gather companies offering services or local products seemed like a good opportunity to revitalise an industry that above all requires sincerity and cohesion.

In addition to economic benefits, buying products at Made in Belgium offers advantages for both environment and health. By reducing the transportations necessary for product delivery, bringing producers and consumers together, as well as providing efficient services and true availability, economic actors greatly reduce their carbon footprint.

Another observation is that consumers hardly know the producers or suppliers of services close to their home. The fair Made

The advantages of local commerce, as a broad concept, are numerous. People or-

ganising the fair Made in Belgium not only want to highlight these advantages, but also wish to encourage an awareness of sustainability. The recent Russian ban underlines the need of local producers to sell in Belgium before exporting. The fair Made In Belgium will take place on 24 to 26 October 2014 in Tour & Taxis, Brussels. The already numerous exhibitors – the list gets longer every day – will welcome visitors and prove their expertise and ability to be a credible alternative.

For press accreditation and to meet the organisers, please send an email to:

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Discover Benelux | Mini Theme | Made in Belgium

A bite of Belgium to show your clients you care For many people around the world Belgium rhymes with chocolate, if not to the ear then at least to the taste buds. BelgoSweet is a company that will allow you to offer your clients and stakeholders a sweet bite Belgian style. TEXT: HARUN OSMANOVIC | PHOTOS: BELGOSWEET

For any occasion, BelgoSweet will supply you with custom-made printed sweets or wrappings with the logo of your company. Guy Desseaux, the managing director of the Belgian firm, has worked in the chocolate and confectionery market for over 25 years and takes pride in offering the best quality service for a quality giveaway campaign. “Companies use our services for many reasons,” says Desseaux, “a nice Christmas gift for the most important clients, a giveaway at a tradeshow or even to mark an important anniversary of the company. Every occasion is a good one to offer something that will bring smiles to your stakeholders’ faces.” But BelgoSweet does not stop at the simple logo on a chocolate wrapping – the services go a lot further. You could, for in-

stance, choose to offer your clients a thank you note in the form of a chocolate monopoly game. Or how about an end-ofthe-year gala party with Parisian macaroons stamped with your logo? Well, with the technology in its possession, BelgoSweet can deliver that to you. “We are very flexible,” continues Desseaux. “Recently, during the Promotional Product Awards, one of our campaigns was presented. It was a campaign for Adito, a company that specialises in the food industry. In collaboration with their marketing department we have created a memory game using chocolates. Based on the classic card game, the giveaway was used to celebrate Adito’s 40th birthday.” Likewise, BelgoSweet’s team can help you bring a powerful marketing campaign to life

and delight your clients with its choice of products and prestigious partners like Leonidas, Jules Destrooper, or even Mentos and Haribo. It’s September already and the last quarter of the year is approaching rapidly. With an amazing choice of products and a team with over 20 years of experience, BelgoSweet will bring the “mmm” back into your marketing strategy. It’d be silly not to take advantage of it, wouldn’t it? So don’t leave Christmas shopping for the last minute – pick up something for your clients. It’ll be worth your while. +32 (0) 2 351 55 55

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Discover Benelux | Hotel of the Month | Belgium

Situated close to the Luxembourg border, La Grange d’Edgard strikes a perfect balance between modern comfort and the traditions of the Belgian Ardennes.


La Grange d’Edgard Realise true comfort in the heart of the Belgium Ardennes TEXT: PHIL GALE | PHOTOS: LA GRANGE D’EDGARD

Making sure that you can relax completely during your holidays is key to recharging your batteries. At La Grange d’Edgard you can relax in true comfort, and also have the opportunity to explore this remarkable area of Belgium. Constructed using stones from the region, the traditional exterior of this Belgium gîte conceals a modern and contemporary interior that sleeps nine people in perfect comfort. Owners Laurent and Valérie Lambert explain: “Our aim is to provide luxury and total wellbeing. The interior is inspired by many things but we have worked hard to make sure that it is warm, refined, cosy and above all comfortable.” Striking a balance between traditional architecture and modern interior design, this

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gîte has been designed with comfort in mind. Opened in March 2014, it is already experiencing a high demand. With four bedrooms, each designed with a different theme, three bathrooms, a state-of-theart kitchen, a living room with an open fireplace, a billiards table and a games room, this converted barn contains everything you need for a relaxing holiday. The comfort does not stop inside, however. Once you step outside, La Grange d’Edgard also boasts a Jacuzzi, garden, boules area and the countless delights of the unspoilt Belgian Ardennes for you to explore. Hidden not far from the Luxembourg border and four kilometres from the picturesque, historic town of La Roche-enArdenne, there is more than enough to do – that is if you can drag yourself away from

the gîte. “Hiking, mountain biking and kayaking are all available on your doorstep,” continues Laurent, describing the rich area that makes up the Belgian Ardennes. “There is also a lot of history here, from the castle in La Roche to the events that took place in Bastogne during the Second World War.” The historical ambiance spread across the area, while your wellbeing is at the core of any stay at La Grange d’Edgard. Striking a balance between modern comfort and the traditions of the Belgian Ardennes, this gîte is a must-stay place for anyone wanting to recharge their batteries away from the stresses of modern life.

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Discover Benelux | Feature | A History of Chocolate






Never before has chocolate been so in vogue − considered by many a connoisseur to be as finely nuanced in tastes as the finest of wines. The 15th edition of London’s Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2014 proved the sweet treat has never been more in demand, as a record-breaking 12,410 attendees gathered to see and taste the latest products – but the beginning of chocolate was more bitter than sweet. The history of chocolate can be traced back to 1900 BC, when the roasted cacao seeds were used to make beverages. Many people combine early chocolate history with that of the Aztecs, who attributed the seeds with divine powers as they believed they were gifts from the God of wisdom. Stirred to a bitter and frothy liquid together with spices, wine or even corn

A record-breaking 12,410 attendees at London’s Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2014 proved that chocolate has never been more in demand than today.

puree, the mixture was believed to be one of the most effective energy boosters of the time. Despite Christopher Columbus bringing the cocoa bean back to Spain, the bean was not initially appreciated. It was when Hernando Cortes, the Spanish conquistador, first brought it back to his homeland that the custom of drinking chocolate spread throughout the continent. The divine liquid, also referred to as “the food for the gods”, had become a trend drink, but not before it had been sweetened with cane sugar. A century later, the Dutch broke Spain's monopoly of cocoa when they captured Curacao. They brought cocoa beans to Holland, where cocoa was greatly acclaimed and recommended by doctors as a cure for almost every ailment, some-

thing which also enabled the cocoa trade to spread. As more people could afford to drink chocolate, there was increased interest in its manufacture. Some of the earliest cocoa makers were apothecaries (early chemists) who became interested because of the beans’ presumed healing powers. Gradually it became more freely available, and today chocolate is considered more of an indulgence than a medicinal remedy. The Speciality & Fine Food Fair proved that chocolate has also reached new heights within decorative confectionery, as Jean-Marie Dessard and Philippe Wall brought a 10ft tall chocolate saxophone to the launch of the exhibition. From divine seed to modern day sculptures, chocolate has surely proved to be a stayer in the culinary world.

Philippe Wall & Jean-Marie Dessard at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2014.

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Discover Benelux | Feature | Chocolate

A passion for good chocolate: learn how to taste nuanced differences between different sorts of chocolate.

There’s more to chocolate than meets the eye TEXT & PHOTOS: SILVIA DE VRIES

Chocolate: that dark or white, creamy or grainy substance that has held us under her spell for centuries. There’s more to it than meets the eye, and the way to discover all she has in store, is to taste it – not just eat it. Erik Spande, owner of Chocolatl, an artisanal chocolate shop in Amsterdam, explains to us why a chocolate tasting is such a treat: “We usually just think of chocolate as a candy to satisfy our sweet tooth. It is that of course, but it’s also so much more! Chocolate can be appreciated just like good wine or coffee.”

Enriching the experience Spande has a passion for good chocolate and aims to share this passion not only through the products he selects for his store, but also by organising chocolate tastings. “We do tastings primarily to enrich people’s overall experience of chocolate.

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says: “We hope that people can come away from a tasting with a new perspective on chocolate and experience a connection with other tasting participants. It’s the kind of environment we strive to create every day at the shop – a passion for good chocolate and the desire to share that with others. “ Chocolate in general, but the kind of chocolate we offer (artisanal chocolate) in particular, has more to it than we generally think. Tastings allow us to explore topics like how it is made, the differences between industrial and small-batch chocolate, and the stories behind the people of the trade.”

Want to experience a chocolate tasting yourself? Chocolatl organizes a variety of chocolate tastings and chocolate pairings (think chocolate & beer, wine or whiskey). More information about the tastings can be found on the website, or visit the Chocolatl store, a haven for all chocolate lovers!

Chocolate and community building Chocolate tastings are also about coming together and broadening horizons. Spande

Chocolatl, Hazenstraat 25-A, Amsterdam

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Discover Benelux | Restaurant of the Month | The Netherlands

With increased space, Restaurant Truffels are able to give their guests the space to enjoy both the culinary treats and pleasant atmosphere.

R E S TA U R A N T O F T H E M O N T H , T H E N E T H E R L A N D S

Restaurant Truffels – a triumph and a treat TEXT: CAROLE EDRICH | PHOTOS: RESTAURANT TRUFFELS

Popular for its French fusion cuisine with a traditional twist, Restaurant Truffels in Haarlem, Amsterdam is run by Edith Seders and chief chef Mark Dijk. The restaurant is also known for the originality of its ever-changing menu, excellent wine pairing and its bustling friendly service. The couple started wowing clients quietly and consistently a little more than four years ago, but with consistently good reviews their reputation has risen. With great appraisals, awards such as “best restaurant” and “best innovative restaurant” have been won, much because of the outstanding menus that are changed every five weeks. Dining at Truffels is a triumph and a treat. Intriguing combinations of ingredients alternately explode and melt in the mouth, and a visit treats your taste buds to a terrific combination of food and wine, all whilst

being easy on the pocket. Goodies such as swordfish with cucumber, daikon and radish, creamed liver with macadamia nuts and Chinese leaves, as well as shellfish and octopus in a saffron bouillabaisse grace the well-considered menu. It’s not surprising that the restaurant has won several awards, and a quick glance at their online reviews confirms that they are highly regarded. After wanting to expand for a while, a move finally became possible in the middle of August this year when the owners found a larger property in the same road as their locale at the time. While it has three times the space of the last, the number of covers has not significantly increased, which is part of the idea. The move, which wasn’t so that Edith and Mark could cram more people into their restaurant but rather to give their guests more room while there, is a success. The quality, booming popularity and pleasant atmosphere make people come

back again and again, a feeling that has been retained and will be celebrated on the restaurant’s fifth birthday on 12 October this year. Wouter Proper, property owner at Restaurant Truffels, says: “Mark is, in my eyes, a culinary artist, and like all artists he needs help. In Edith he has the best support imaginable.” To really understand what he means, a visit is recommended. There is little doubt that Edith and Mark will take Restaurant Truffels from strength to strength.

Edith Seders and chief chef Mark Dijk

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Discover Benelux | Business | Columns


“The Melon Shuffle” (or, why context is everything). One of the many delights for the English speaker who encounters Georges Bizet’s Carmen is stumbling upon the Act III trio, which is known by its opening words: “Mêlons! Coupons!” Involuntarily, the boggled Anglophone mind tries to conjure up an operatic scene involving a discount at a greengrocers – rather than, for instance, one about three women using cards to divine their fates, which is what the scene is actually about. The confusion is easily explained: the words are French, not English. A rough translation would be: “Shuffle the cards! Cut the deck!” No melons or coupons involved. (But produce lovers, don’t despair: you’ve got the orange vendors in Act IV.) In this instance, the confusion of most Anglophones would be momentary: since all the other words are in French, these must be French too. But what if the context were different? For instance, what if the scene were on a concert programme where the other titles were in English? It might only be by noticing more subtle cues, like the

circumflex in “mêlons" or the “s” in “Georges”, that we would figure things out. Often, key elements of context are completely absent. It’s assumed we’ll supply them ourselves. Take this listing from the page on Belgium: “Sovereign: King Philippe (2013).” What does the “2013” mean? It is only our “mental context” that tells us it’s probably the year he took the throne, and not, say, his year of birth or the last time anyone checked who was king. But then a few lines later, we see “Antwerp

961,000 (2009)”. The presentation is identical, but the meaning is different. Clearly, this year is an “as at” date for the population figure. This next one had me scratching my head: Josiah Fisk “Birth rate: 10.03/ 1000; infant mortality rate: 4.28/1000.” It seemed crazy, more than four in ten Belgian babies did not survive infancy? Of course, it was crazy. The first “/1000” means “out of a thousand members of the population”. The second means “out of a thousand births”. But it took me a moment. The moral? When you’re sure context is clear, you can leave it unstated. But if it’s not clear, or if you would like to help readers avoid those “melon shuffle” moments, add a contextual cue or two. Josiah Fisk is the head of More Carrot LLC, a clear communications company with offices in Boston and Luxembourg.


When I ask people what makes a good manager, many start by saying that a good manager is a good listener. This always arouses my curiosity since, as my wife will testify, I used to be a terrible listener. Over the years I have worked hard to get better at this vital skill. Why is listening so important? I think there are two main reasons. The first is that listening shows respect, and mutual respect provides a strong basis for any relationship, at work or outside it. The second – maybe self-evident but worth repeating – is that we listen for information. Unfortunately, many of us listen very selectively; we don’t hear everything that other people tell us, and we don’t listen to some people at all. At the heart of current UK news stories about industrial-scale child abuse lies the simple fact that abused children were ignored by the police, just as some (male) managers don’t listen properly to their (female) reports (let’s not call them “subordinates”). If you feel invisible in certain situations, it may well be because you are not being listened to. When I ask people how good they think they are at listening, I often hear “I’m a good listener

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when what I’m listening to is interesting”, but by this definition we’re all good listeners. The challenge is to listen carefully to the things that are interesting to the other person. Therefore, I don’t think good listening can be selective.

book Time to Think: Listening to Ignite the Human Mind.

Indeed I have learnt that good listeners do two important things: 1. Total focus: they give their undivided attention to the other person. They stop thinking about the shopping or the next meeting and give themselves 100 per cent to listening. They show their involvement through eye contact and positive physical signals. 2. Conscious communication management: good listeners are not passive. They actively manage the communication to ensure the right balance between the people in the conversation. The good listener thinks about when to politely intervene to reduce the length of the speaker’s turns and becoming more active in the dialogue if necessary. Talk to good listeners you know and ask them what they do so you can better understand the listening process. And read Nancy Kline’s

Steve Flinders Steve Flinders is a freelance trainer, consultant, writer and coach who helps people develop their communication skills for working internationally. He’s also a member of the steering group of Coaching York which aspires to make York the coaching capital of the UK (

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Discover Benelux | Business | ING

Socially Responsible Invest(ING) TEXT: ING | PRESS PHOTO

Some of you may have come across the term SRI already and wondered what it meant. SRI was originally associated with “Socially Responsible Investing” but the term has since evolved to cover the notion of sustainable development and so now we would more likely speak of “Sustainable and Responsible Investment”. When discussing SRI in a forum it would not be surprising to hear one, or more, of the following terms being employed: “ethical”, “green”, “impact” and “clean”. Despite what might appear to be a certain lack of clarity surrounding the definition of what SRI is, one thing is becoming more certain. A recent study by Eurosif (the European Sustainable Investment Forum) has detailed a significant growth of responsible investment strategies over the past five years. Somewhat surprisingly perhaps, this has been achieved in an era of ever increasing austerity and a struggle to stimulate economic growth. In such an uncertain economic environment, investors might be turning more towards growth

strategies that are green, sustainable and responsible. At ING, we take a stand on ethical, social and environmental issues as well as promoting sustainable finance and aiming to mitigate the harm that may result from our activities. ING has implemented a clear Environmental and Social Risk (ESR) framework throughout its operations to avoid or minimise involvement in illegal, harmful or unethical practices. ING believes that sustainability is more a journey than a destination – a continuous process in which changing circumstances are a given fact. Several years ago already, ING launched “ING for Something Better”, an initiative that brings together our social and environmental initiatives into one format. The online platform can be found at: It is also important that ING integrates environmental and social responsibility into its daily business practice, and this is reflected in the fact that we offer sustainable products and services to our clients. At ING Luxembourg, one example of this ap-

proach is evident in the range of investment funds that is available to the client base. In coordination with a local CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) project, a category of funds has been created, under the title “Responsible, Lifestyle and Ecological”. Away from the area of investments, but still in connection with ING’s active policy regarding corporate and social responsibility, 2014 will see the third edition of the ING Solidarity Awards. The aim of these awards is to reward and support the Luxembourg voluntary work sector through a competition. All non-profit associations or foundations registered and established in Luxembourg, and which match certain eligibility criteria, can participate. The awards ceremony is scheduled for 19 November. You want to find out more about money, banking and finances in general? Read this article and many more on!

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Discover Benelux | Business | Aqualogia

Using solely biodegradable products, Paris-based Aqualogia’s green cleaning methods make cleaning easier than ever.

eas where we’d like to develop,” explains Ugo. “We’re the leaders in France, so we would definitely want to grow into the Benelux markets.” While the ecological benefits of Aqualogia are fundamental, Ugo is also keen to point out that there are further benefits. “What’s great about our method is that it’s better for the planet and it’s more efficient than standard methods. We have all the advantages!” he enthuses. For those interested in embarking on an Aqualogia franchise, Ugo has the following advice: “Above all you need business acumen, and you need to be motivated, with a strong desire to succeed. The concept has already proved its credentials.” For the specific elements of the job, 15 days of full training will be provided for anyone opening a new franchise.


Both environmentally friendly and ultraefficient, the methodology behind Aqualogia has led it to become France’s leading ecological cleaning brand. It’s also one of the country’s most exciting franchises, expanding at an impressive rate both at home and overseas. Could Benelux be next? An aversion to the harsh odours typically produced by dry cleaning solvents led French entrepreneur François Fuzfa to conceive the revolutionary Aqualogia brand back in 2000. Using solely biodegradable products, the Paris-based brand’s green cleaning methods make cleaning easier than ever. As passionate about the environment as his father, Fuzfa's son Ugo continues to expand the franchise both in France and abroad in his role as director of development. From Eastern Europe via Canada

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and Africa, new stores are cropping up across the globe at an impressive rate – just this month Ugo will be travelling to Casablanca to oversee the launch of a new store. South America is also an area of interest, with growth into Brazil also on the cards. But despite this large overseas expansion, Aqualogia has yet to expand in certain areas closer to home. “Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands…these are all ar-

When it comes to the company’s projects for the next ten years, Ugo’s sights are set high. “We’ll be everywhere in the world by then!” he asserts. This may seem ambitious, but when you look at the statistics, it’s justifiably so. “We open around fifteen shops a year just in France,” explains the businessman. “The figures speak for themselves!” Aqualogia is currently looking for business partners in the Benelux. Find more information on the website, or send an email to the address below.

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Discover Benelux | Business | Real Estate

A real estate agency for the house of your dreams TEXT: HARUN OSMANOVIC | PHOTO: IMMOBILIÈRE LE LION

Finding peaceful, charming and modern properties in large cities is often hard. The real estate agency Immobilière Le Lion, based in Brussels, Belgium, is dedicated to helping you find the most suitable place for you and your dearest. A member of two prestigious international networks “Le Lion” makes it a question of pride to offer each customer the best service possible. Immobilière Le Lion shares the same values and the same standards with the leading real estates of the world and has developed a partnership with the Knight Frank International Property sales group. Founded forty years ago by Suzanne Belgeonne it is now managed in collaboration with Jean de Kerchove, two of the most experienced realtors in the city. “Since the day we created the agency back in 1970,” explains Belgeonne, “we have met countless

customers and helped them find high-end rentals or properties to invest in.” Whether you are visiting Belgium regularly, you are planning a move there or if you are already living in Brussels and want to buy a property, Immobilière Le Lion can help. Recently, the agency has created a mobile application that allows you to look for and filter houses by geographical location, receive the newest offers and view the houses directly on your iPhone. The app is free and very convenient, so make sure to download it from the App Store – it will make your life easier.

3D Visualisation by Miysis

On your next visit to Brussels, take some time to meet Le Lion’s team – they are experts and will help you find your ideal nest.

Benelux Business Calendar TEXT: JULIE LINDÉN

Delve into our business calendar for 2014, offering plenty of opportunities to sharpen your mind and make valuable connections. RSM Leadership Summit 2014 3 October 2014 Van Nelle Ontwerpfabriek, Rotterdam, the Netherlands Profiling its core question as “Big data: what’s in it for me?” the RSM Leadership Summit aims to address the way big data influences and creates value for individuals, society, business and governance. When used correctly, information from this data leads to improvements in decision-making, innovation and relationshipbuilding – so should there be boundaries to what information can be obtained and registered? IEEE International Conference on cloud networking 8-10 October 2014 Abbey of Neumunster Conference Centre, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg Covering areas like data centre network management, reliability, optimisation, distributed data centre architectures and services and energy-efficient data networks, this conference is a must for anyone looking to improve their networking management.

Rotterdam. Photo: Visit Holland

World publishing expo 2014 13-15 October 2014 Amsterdam RAI, Amsterdam, the Netherlands Join leading editors and digital minds in discussing shifts in the news industry, and how optimal digital engagement can help you build a loyal audience. Gain insight into new revenue streams and brand awareness, as well as skills in content management and news products.

Megavino Expo 24-27 October 2014 Brussels Expo, Brussels, Belgium Join in on this 16th edition of Megavino Expo, the largest wine fair in the Benelux. Explore the wines made by hundreds of exhibitors, coming from more than 30 countries. Direct contact with the wine producer allows you to get acquainted not only with their products, but also their passions and stories. A perfect opportunity to learn more about the growing Benelux wine industry!

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The Bitter Trade – a Luxembourg link

Hailed by critics as “a fantastic debut novel” and a “dazzling, playful historical adventure”, Luxembourg-raised Piers Alexander’s historical drama The Bitter Trade has found a legion of fans across Europe. Opening up about his work over an appropriate cup of macchiato (spoiler alert: The Bitter Trade is set during the dark times of London’s 17th century coffee trade), Piers talks about the three-year-long making of a story much influenced by his Luxembourgish upbringing, and why the next steps of his authorship will involve more sugar than coffee beans. TEXT: JULIE LINDÉN | PRESS PHOTOS | MAIN PHOTO: FABRIZIO MALTESE / ONT

Piers is impeccably exact in his word choice, carefully considering every sentence before enlightening me on the journey that took him to the coffee trading communities of 17th century London. Having lived as a British expat in Luxembourg from the age of one to his late teens, it might seem odd that the UK was the first location that came to mind when setting the scene for a period piece, something Piers himself pins on inspiration from his own life.

The making of Calumny Spinks “You might be able to explain it thus: the people of Luxembourg are already a mi-

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nority in Europe, and what is more – they’re very mixed in terms of nationality, heritage and culture,” Piers says, adding: “Arriving, then, as a British expat in this tiny country, makes one a minority within a minority. It’s that sense of an ‘outsider’ identity that influenced the theme of the novel, and in that way I guess you could say that my own life is very much present in the story.” The storyline trails the life of Calumny Spinks, a half-Huguenot fugitive who has tricked and mimicked his way into the coffee trade. Born into debt during a time of political and religious turmoil, the red-

headed trickster struggles with powerful forces in society as his affection for a number of different women and cheeky tactics takes him down a spiral of trouble. In order to meet his destiny he will have to defy the powerful societal institutions that keep him a prisoner. “What’s interesting is that Calumny started out as a minor character in the story, before my wife (singer-songwriter and author Rebecca Promitzer) convinced me that he had more to give. He was an interesting one; and a character I felt it was natural to develop. In the end there was a resem-

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Discover Benelux | Feature | The Bitter Trade

had to endure. “They assimilated into the societies they entered until they were fully integrated, something that’s historically very rare.”

A new love for Luxembourg So what, then, are the biggest differences between Luxembourg life and life in the UK today? “Languages. There’s such a mix of languages in Luxembourg that you become much more aware of what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. I feel much more at home with a room full of loud people speaking in different languages than I do in quiet, rural England,” Piers says, noting that once he had completed The Bitter Trade, he acquired a new love for his Luxembourgish heritage. As for his love for writing, he attributes it to “an overactive imagination”, nurtured by a fondness for the classics and never leaving the page blank. “Writing is probably the only thing nobody had to tell me to do,” he says, laughing. “I tell stories and then I convince people they actually happened – the only issue being that I then have to

make them happen! I’m never afraid of the blank page, however.”

Coffee, sugar and tobacco Considering the fact that The Bitter Trade took an impressive three years and two considerable editing phases to make happen (the first original copy was 80,000 words, the second draft 250,000; before the final edit wound up at 150,000 words), one might think that Piers would want to rest his pen for a second. One would, thinking that, be very wrong. “A sequel,” he answers me swiftly when I ask about future projects. “It’s called Scatterwood, set in Jamaica in 1692. Scatterwood was the name the runaway slaves gave each other when escaping their masters,” he says, pausing for a moment. “You see, I tried writing something set in another era, but this had already become a trilogy in my mind. First is the coffee trade, then sugar; and the last will be about tobacco. It’s begging to be told,” he concludes with a smile. Read more about Piers Alexander and The Bitter Trade at

Piers Alexander

blance appearing between some of the things he was doing and situations in my own life,” Piers says, explaining that he did a lot of reading to understand the Huguenots as a people – something that became second nature as he developed a strong suspicion his father’s family was originally members of the population. “There’s the family link, but also a strong thematic tie to Luxembourg. Imagine – it was the 17th century and 500,000 Frenchmen fled the country over 200 years, many of them to England,” Piers says, referring to the religious persecutions the Huguenots

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Discover Benelux | Column | Learn Luxembourgish

5 steps to overcome your fear of speaking a foreign language TEXT: LIZ WENGER | PRESS PHOTO

Have you ever said, “I’m not good at learning languages”? Everyone can find an excuse not to learn and speak a foreign language. And it’s only natural to do so. After all, communicating in a different language takes us out of our comfort zone completely and puts us at the mercy of our native conversation partners. Nonetheless, there are five easy things you can do to start feeling comfortable. 1. Know that everyone is nervous about speaking a foreign language You’re not alone. It feels awful to go from that feeling of mastery in your native language to stuttering, backtracking and gesturing in a foreign language, but everybody feels the same way about this. Remember that most native speakers are extremely

grateful that you’re even trying to speak their language, and might help you more because of it. 2. Have fun learning and speaking In other words, be more like a child learning the language and less like an adult. Children learn by doing and intuitively know that making language mistakes does not make them bad people. They make mistakes, are corrected and just move on. 3. Cherish mistakes Mistakes are nothing to be ashamed of. The purpose of learning to speak a foreign language is to communicate better with the natives and not to speak in grammatically perfect sentences. Making mistakes actually serves an important function in language learning and that function is the possibility of improvement.

4. Do something small and achievable every day Remember that the saying goes “practice makes perfect” and not “study makes perfect”. So each day, have a small and achievable goal, for example “today I will make a restaurant reservation in a foreign language”. 5. Stop thinking that you’re shy Everyone says they’re shy and everyone really thinks they are shy. Stop saying it – it’s not helping you. Everyone is nervous before talking to a stranger even more so when it’s not in your native language. Do it anyway. Prove yourself wrong. The feeling of pride you’ll get from the experience will give you a boost in confidence for days to come.

Liz Wenger is a certified Luxembourgish teacher, writer and founder of, a website focusing on teaching Luxembourgish to English speakers of the world. Join her on twitter @LearnLuxembourg to start learning Luxembourgish today.

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Discover Benelux | Thoughts on / Amsterdam’s Shallow man

Thoughts on… Change in the city TEXT & PHOTO: SILVIA DE VRIES

The change of season always brings back memories. The other day, while sitting in my favourite neighbourhood café, rain poured down and with it, it brought a flood of memories. Memories of the changes that occurred in my life, these past few years, memories of seasons gone by. Some changes are harder than others, but I always try to welcome them. The city tends to change with every season. Autumn brings quietness: tourists go home, everyday life moves back indoors, the streets become empty and the city close to silent. This time of year always reminds me of when I first moved to Amsterdam. I spent hours wandering the streets, taking in all the – to me – new sights. Usually I ended up with a cup of hot cocoa in the same café as where I write

this column. Staring out of the window, taking in city life. Lots of things have changed since then, but the unfamiliar faces on the street have stayed the same. The elderly lady walking by slowly, umbrella in hand, looking at her feet, afraid to trip over something. The teenagers, running past her, eager to get to

the convenient store for a snack before school starts again. The odd tourist with a drenched map of the city, looking for that one sight they’ve dreamed of seeing for so many years. The mother with her toddler in a stroller, trying to run her errands as fast as she can so they can go back indoors again, where it’s dry and warm. The businessman, walking quickly with a determined look in his eyes, returning to the office after his lunch break. No matter the season, change is always upon us. And no matter how big or small this change is, there are always familiar things in sight. Dutch writer Silvia de Vries blogs about her everyday life and food at as well as regularly contributing her thoughts on everything Dutch to Discover Benelux.

The war on mice in Amsterdam TEXT: SIMON WOOLCOT | PRESS PHOTO Amsterdam is the singles’ capital of the Netherlands. A recent survey published by the city council showed that Amsterdam had the highest percentage of both single women and apartments with single occupants in the Netherlands. Now this might lead one to conclude that loneliness could be a common problem, but fear not: it's impossible to be lonely in Amsterdam. Why? Every apartment is shared with families of super intelligent mice. With Amsterdam being below the water level, and the majority of properties predating the Second World War, this city makes for a perfect breeding ground for armies of mice. On my first day in Amsterdam over 10 years ago, I met a colleague for lunch at a pizza restaurant. It was winter, and I had hung my coat over a chair when out of the corner of my eye I caught a sudden movement. There, running up my coat, was a mouse. The confused waiter just said: "Hey, this is Amsterdam – mice are everywhere". This turned out to be true. I myself fought a long, losing battle with mice in my apartment. Initially, I made the beginner’s mistake of buying mousetraps from a local hardware store. This was a complete waste of money, as Dutch mice are taught by their parents to recognise and ignore local traps. When I then tried poison it was ignored by the choosey mice that inhabited my apartment in Amsterdam Zuid, as they were

used to eating only the finest of cheeses and gourmet food. The poison, thus, was of no interest to them at all. I then decided to take the Special Forces approach, using specialist equipment and imported traps from the UK. The rationale behind this was that Dutch mice wouldn't be familiar with traps from the UK. This actually worked out to be the right move, until I went away for a week and returned to my apartment only to find four new dead mice. I decided that enough was enough and hired a firm that specialised in blocking all possible holes where mice can enter apartments, teaching me that the only way to effectively get rid of mice in Amsterdam is to ensure that all their access points are firmly clogged. Don't try using steel wool, though, as mice are more than likely to take this back to their nests to provide a bit of bling at home. Until next time, don't allow your apartment to become a casualty of the war on mice. Even if you think that you don't have mice, you probably do. Here are some tell tale signs: - Programmes about cheese making are recorded on your DVR - In spite of stocking up on cheese, you find that you appear to be getting through it a lot quicker than you thought - The central heating is mysteriously turned up higher than you left it (mice like a warm and cosy apartment)

- You receive a loyalty card in the post from your local cheese shop, even though you didn't order it

For more of the Shallow’s Man Guide to Amsterdam see @Expatshallowman

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Photo: Trouwplannen Love & Marriage Fair

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OUT & ABOUT Looking for something to do the coming month? Look no further: our Out & About calendar is bursting with all the details granting you a less gloomy and more inspiring autumn. From crisply white wedding fairs to thought-provoking art installations – enjoy your autumn to the fullest! TEXT: JULIE LINDÉN | PRESS PHOTOS

California Ras Shamra exhibition 18 September – 25 October 2014 Evan Holloway at Xavier Hufkens gallery, Brussels, Belgium In his third exhibition with the Xavier Hufkens gallery since his debut in 2002, acclaimed artist Evan Holloway introduces a series of large-scale works inspired by the history, culture and geography of California (the artist’s birthplace, where he still lives and works) and the ancient Phoenician city of Ugarit, or Ras Shamra, in present-day northern Syria. Thought-provoking and beautiful, this exhibition is a must.

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Rubens and his legacy September 25, 2014 – 1 January 2015 BOZAR, Brussels, Belgium Peter Paul Rubens was a Dutch 16th and 17th century court painter famed throughout Europe, whose works remained a source of inspiration for many artists right into the 20th century. With this exhibition BOZAR immerses itself in his oeuvre, letting you rediscover Rubens’s paintings and those of his heirs, for instance Van Dyck, Watteu, Delacroix and Manet. You will also be able to view engravings by Rembrandt and Picasso. Let this issue’s art theme inspire you and feast your eyes

on some of the finest European artworks throughout time. Trouwplannen Love & Marriage Fair 4-5 October 2014 Ahoy Rotterdam, the Netherlands 1-2 November 2014 B’hallen Den Bosch, the Netherlands What better than to celebrate our wedding issue to the fullest and enjoy some nuptial-themed magic at the Love & Marriage Fair? Immerse yourself in the hottest of wedding trends, learning all about the different details that could make your wed-

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Discover Benelux | Culture | Out & About In his third exhibition with the Xavier Hufkens gallery, acclaimed artist Evan Holloway introduces a series of works inspired by California.

Learn all about the advantages of local commerce, sustainable produce and locally grown foods at the Made in Belgium fair, held at Tour & Taxis in Brussels.

ding a true once-in-a-lifetime experience. This fair also incorporates The National WeddingShow, Europe’s largest fashion show dedicated to weddings. Which brideto-be could possibly miss that? Mark the dates, and make this autumn a truly inspirational one. Night of the museums 11 October 2014 Luxembourg City, Luxembourg On the “Nuit des Musées” (Night of the

Museums), the museums of Luxembourg City will stay open to the public from 6 pm until 1 am, letting everyone who wants to take part view the current exhibitions and collections. Visitors will also be entertained by a rich and multidisciplinary programme of dance and music perform-

Your Partner in Anglo Dutch Business The Netherlands British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) is the only bilateral non-profit membership organisation solely dedicated to promoting Anglo-Dutch trade and investment. From our start in 1891, we helped thousands of companies and entrepreneurs expanding their business abroad. The Netherlands-British Chamber of Commerce, 125 years experience in Anglo-Dutch trade and investment promotion. Contact us now for: • Access to interesting network events • Participation in NBCC events and working groups • Exclusive access to our intranet membership area • Up to date economic information and market sector intelligence • Market research • Partner searches • Company formation • Virtual office services • Sales support NL Tel.: 070-205 5656

UK Tel.: 03333-440 779

Email: Or visit:

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Discover Benelux | Culture | Out & About

Dinant. Photo: © WBT, JP REmy

Made in Belgium fair 24-26 October 2014 Tour & Taxis Brussels, Belgium Learn all about the advantages of local commerce, sustainable produce and locally grown foods at this enlightening fair. The Made in Belgium fair will link consumers to the producers and suppliers of goods, and aims to revitalize an industry that, according to the exhibitors, requires sincerity. Want to feel healthier and help the environment too? Don’t miss this chance! Adolphe Sax International Competition 25 October – 8 November 2014 Dinant, Belgium In this 200th year since Adolphe Sax’s birth, his home town of Dinant is doing everything to honour their homegrown musical genius. This 6th Adolphe Sax International Competition is open to saxo-

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phonists of a high standard and every nationality, and is sure to be a hit with all aficionados of classical music. Origin Chocolate Event 25 October 2014 Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, the Netherlands Let your chocolate love become an art,

and educate yourself in the fine world of cocoa products. Meet the world’s most renowned chocolate makers and experts, taste chocolates by top patissiers and chocolatiers and experiment with surprising combinations, such as wine, tea, whisky and even cheese. Who would ever say no?

Photo: Marina de Jonge Fotografie

ances, including live acts.

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Discover Benelux | Column | States of Art




Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden TEXT: MATT ANTONIAK | PHOTO:

“This is the age of images, not paintings,” declares Marlene Dumas, “people prefer looking at images than paintings.” She has a strong case; in our fast-paced visual culture, full of throwaway imagery, it is hard to make a person take the time to consider something that shows its hand as slowly as a painting. What is so special about Marlene Dumas is her continued ability to do this, and to tackle such a broad range of issues in a manner that still remains fresh and relevant.

There are a lot of subjects in which Dumas has torn association apart. The romantic and emotive notions of love, longing, grief and death have all been examined, as well as more contemporary issues such as terrorism and popular culture. However, included within this retrospective there will be a selection of works never before seen in the Netherlands, as well as a selection of lesser-known works hanging alongside her more recognisable pieces in this blockbuster of an exhibition.

The title of this four-month long retrospective at the Stedelijk comes from a small painting from 1993. Entitled The Image as Burden, this small phrase seems to account for a great deal of Dumas’s principal interests. Collecting vast amounts of second-hand source material from newspapers and magazines, she is able to manipulate this stream of imagery and imply other connotations that might not usually

Marlene Dumas The Image as Burden 6 September 2014 – 4 January 2015 Stedelijk Museum, Museumplein 10, 1071 DJ Amsterdam Het kwaad is Banaal (1984) © Marlene Dumas. Photo: Peter Cox

be associated with it. The burden of association within imagery is torn apart with her painterly gesture.

Featured Contributors JOSIAH FISK Josiah grew up near Boston; he received an AB with honours from Harvard University. A chance comment led to a job as an advertising copywriter, which led to projects simplifying documents financial services send to clients. In 1997, he created one of the first companies combining marketing, plain language, and information design. Now, More Carrot has offices in Boston and Luxembourg; it is known for making “documents no one loves” userfriendly. He has served on the board of the Center for Plain Language, Washington, DC. He is editor of Composers on Music, the leading anthology of writings by classical composers.

MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK While coming from a fully Dutch family, a love for English culture runs in Myriam’s blood. With several bilingual cousins (two of them living in London), an uncle in York and at least four close relatives who teach English, it was hardly surprising when she decided to move to London five years ago. After completing a Master’s degree in journalism in 2013, Myriam briefly dipped into factual television, public relations and event management before returning to writing as a regular contributor for Discover Benelux. In her spare time she likes to watch documentaries, enjoy London’s best novelty restaurants and bars and cook for friends.

JANINE STERENBORG Janine Sterenborg is a freelance journalist and copywriter who was born in the north of the Netherlands. After nine years of study she earned bachelor degrees in both journalism and music management, and now she is managing herself as a writer. Sometimes it’s the hardest “job” in the world, but it’s definitely her favourite. Besides her freelance assignments she runs her own blog called Nordic Vibes, which is all about Scandinavian arts and lifestyle. Obviously she has lost her heart to the Nordic countries (why else start a blog about it?), but coming back to the Netherlands is always a pleasure.

EMMIE COLLINGE Having been with DB since the start, Emmie is now based in Ticino, southern Switzerland, where she can most often be found on her balcony translating and writing. With mountains on her doorstep, she couldn't be in a better location for competitive mountain running – although she does occasionally long for the flatness of Benelux.

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van baerlestraat 6

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Artwork “Heavenly Kingdom� by Joseph Klibansky

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