I S S U E 12 | D EC E M B E R 2014
ERIK VAN LOOY LIVI NG TH E AM ER IC AN DR EAM
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Discover Benelux | Contents
Contents DECEMBER 2014
COVER FEATURE 6
Erik Van Looy He directed Belgium’s most successful film ever and is about to release the Hollywood remake, The Loft, across thousands of screens in America. Read about Van Looy’s boyhood dreams coming true and Sunset Boulevard selfies.
Christmas in the Benelux Turkey for Christmas? Not in the Benelux. There are many interesting and surprising festive traditions in this region. Find out how, and where, to celebrate your Christmas in style. PLUS: Hotels and Restaurant of the Month, from page 12.
Specialist Translators Dutch, French, German, Luxembourgish and more – this mini theme focusses on some top translation companies.
Regulars & Events In this extended business section, we delve further into the corporate world with inspiring company profiles, and our regular columnists musing on the efficiency of communication and leadership. PLUS: The Benelux Business Calendar, page 82.
Event: Art in Redlight Amsterdam’s best independent art event brings budding talent and renowned artists together. We’ve picked three of our favourite artists attending the event.
DON’T MISS 90
Interview: Tom Barman Belgian frontman of dEUS talks us through twenty years of the band’s history and the selection of songs on their new album.
Daring Benelux Designers Fusing form, creativity and function seamlessly in innovative designs – here some first class Benelux designers presenting to you their best and most exciting work in over sixteen pages. PLUS: Benelux architects, from page 49.
Luxuries From fine art, waterproof fashion to living in the Swiss Alps, this luxury section covers the subject in the broadest sense, including our events feature on the Excellent Fair which is not to be missed.
Wellness & Beauty Thanks to constant development in the field of cosmetic techniques, it is becoming increasingly possible to roll back the years and improve your physique with minor and painless procedures.
Theatre That Luxembourg is a breeding ground for cultural talent is hardly a secret, so here are three compelling features highlighting one of its most vibrant industries: theatre.
10 Fashion Picks | 12 Desirable Designs from Benelux 92 Out & About | 94 Benelux Lifestyle Columns
Legal Excellence The Benelux is a global player when it comes to international business affairs. In this special we highlight some of the top law firms that have helped the region’s businesses excel.
Issue 12 | December 2014 | 3
Discover Benelux | Editor’s Note
Issue 12, December 2014
Published 12.2014 ISSN 2054-7218
Stine Wannebo Cover Photo Woestijnvis
Published by Scan Group
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There is a celebration going on this month at Discover Benelux. This might not sound surprising, with people across the globe hosting Christmas parties, but for us, there is another reason to be festive. This December marks the 12th edition of the magazine and indeed our oneyear anniversary. It has been a year of highlights, from our humble beginnings – a mere 40 pages put together by a handful of determined people – to a magazine that is topping 100 pages made by a whole legion of regular, passionate contributors. Having reflected upon this milestone, I would quickly like to move on to more pressing matters: Christmas. Despite what the popular movies have us believe, there is quite a lot of difference in how countries celebrate this holiday – even within the small premises of the Benelux. In most households in the Benelux, gifts are not really a big thing – these are usually dealt with during St Nicolas on 5 or 6 December – and you'll find very few turkeys adorning the Christmas tables. In Luxembourg not Christmas Day, but Christmas Eve (the night before) is the time when families get together for the main dinner. Traditional dessert is the bûche de noël, a layered sponge-cake yule log also popular in France, that comes in all kinds of flavours including chestnut cream and coffee. In Belgium game is popular as the main dish, like roast pheasant or rabbit ragout (a creamy stew). Then in the Netherlands Christmas is celebrated on two days – ‘First’ and 'Second Christmas Day'. Regardless of the dull names, both dates are equally important and in family settings this can actually be quite handy. Say your partner is dragging you to their family for Christmas Day, then you have the day after as a back-up to see your own family. So it’s possible to spend the 'most wonderful time of the year' with twice as many people, eat twice as much amazing food and accept twice as many invitations. But however you are going to spend the holidays, whether you will make a Christmas trifle (see page 17), have a night of ‘gourmetting’ (see page 15) or celebrate it with eggnog (see page 16), from everyone at the Discover Benelux office, we wish you a wonderful Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2015. Until next year!
© 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.
4 | Issue 12 | December 2014
Myriam Gwynned Dijck, Editor
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Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Erik Van Looy
6 | Issue 12 | December 2014
Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Erik Van Looy
E R I K
V A N
L O O Y
Living the American dream He directed Belgium’s most successful film, is about to release the American remake, The Loft, worldwide and presents one of Flanders’ best viewed television shows. Regardless of this impressive résumé, Erik Van Looy tells us that he still sees himself as an average lad from Antwerp and admitted he does not actually enjoy directing. From his humble Flemish background to Sunset Boulevard selfies and a cast of Hollywood heavyweights, Van Looy is certainly living the American dream. TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | MAIN PHOTO: WOESTIJNVIS
In 2008 Van Looy directed the Flemish film Loft. Despite Belgium’s language barrier with the French-speaking south, the film became the country’s most successful production ever. Over 1.2 million people watched it in a nation of just 11 million. Now, six years later, the American remake – also directed by Van Looy – is set to make waves across the global cinema scene. “I’d rather make a successful film twice than an average movie once,” Van Looy remarks. “But I’m not the first director to do this. Also Cecil B. DeMille did that with The Ten Commandments, Alfred Hitchcock with The Man Who Knew Too Much and Michael Haneke with Funny Games. That’s a pretty decent list and I’m honoured to add my name to it, even if I’m nowhere near their level!”
Going to Hollywood The film – a ‘sexy thriller’ as Van Looy likes to classify it – follows five married men who each own a key to a shared apartment, the loft, where they entertain their mistresses. When a dead body is discovered, a compelling story unfolds full of captivating twists and surprising revelations showing the secrets that lay hidden behind their friendship. “I think after watching the movie you can talk
about it for a long time,” he says. “It is about infidelity, how appealing and at the same time dangerous this can be.” While The Loft is very much a Hollywood production with a star-studded cast aimed at a global audience, behind the scenes, there is still a strong Belgian connection. The outdoor scenes were shot in New Orleans but the other half, the indoor shots, were filmed in Belgium on a set in Nieuwpoort. “I originally thought the cast would prefer to stay in America, but that wasn’t the case at all. They were very happy to work in ‘exotic’ Belgium for a month,” he remembers. “They even checked out the royal scenes and had a good time in Brussels, Ghent and Antwerp.” The lead characters are Karl Urban (Star Trek), James Marsden (X-Men) Wentworth Miller (Prison Break) and Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family), as well as Van Looy’s fellow countryman Matthias Schoenaerts, who also featured in the original film. “I was glad Matthias was up for it, because then I wouldn’t the only Belgian out there,” he explains. “As we already had four major names, the fifth role was free and I knew Matthias’ American accent was fantastic. At the time it was actually a little reckless as the producers hadn’t even heard of him.”
It certainly was a risk that paid off, and not only for Van Looy. The Loft was Schoenaerts’ first American production, and since then he has gone on to star in films next to Oscar winner Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone) and Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace (The Drop). “He now practically lives in Hollywood. It’s nice to know I have contributed a little to that,” Van Looy says.
Counting down the days The Loft has been years in production, marred by delays and release date revisions, but Van Looy never questioned the film’s potential. “Thousands of films are made in America each year, 500 of those end up in the cinema and just 100 are released on two thousand screens or more.” Van Looy continues, “You have to be lucky to be part of that, and have the patience to wait for a good release date. I and the producers have had that patience.” To say Van Looy is looking forward to the big American release on 24 January next year – when the film will be shown on two thousand screens across the country – is an understatement. “I’ve kept the whole month free to tour Los Angeles. I want to drive on Sunset Boulevard and take a selfie with the film posters in the back – this really is a dream coming true!” he admits.
Issue 12 | December 2014 | 7
Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Erik Van Looy
who can shoot a film in a snap and have a pint with the cast in the evenings. I can’t work like that. When I direct a movie that is all I can think about,” he confesses. “I don’t really enjoy the journey, I only like the destination. I think the premiere is the best thing about directing movies,” he says, laughing. On his home turf, Van Looy is best known for presenting the popular Flemish quiz show De Slimste Mens Ter Wereld (the smartest person on earth) which is currently broadcasting its 12th season. “I lead a bit of a schizophrenic lifestyle,” he says tentatively. “It is nice being able to do something else in between directing but trying to combine it with filmmaking is not always easy.”
Van Looy on set with Karl Urban (far right), Eric Stonestreet (second from right) and James Marsden (far left). Photo: Loft International
Despite being scooped up by Hollywood, Van Looy is very measured about his success. “I am a lad from a humble Antwerp background, who thought I would never be able to direct my own movie,” he explains. It is as if he still can’t believe himself that he managed to pull off directing a film for international release.
Suddenly becoming part of the big filmmaking machine of Hollywood was at first quite a daunting task for Van Looy. “I was worried people would be half motivated, skipping from production to production. But it wasn’t like that at all, they liked the script so everyone was very enthusiastic and the actors all listened to me,” he says.
Leaving his habits behind
With a crew four times larger than Van Looy was used to, he had to leave some of his Belgian habits at home. “We work with a crew of 30-40 people but in America you get a whole army of 120-130 people,” he says. “When a director arrives on set in Belgium, you tend to say hello or even shake hands with everyone. You can’t do that in America, it would cost you two hours.”
When the original Loft was released, offers immediately flooded in from all over the world, France, the Netherlands (where a Dutch remake was released in 2010), Italy, Spain, India, and of course Hollywood. “We thought we might as well do a global, American remake,” Van Looy says. “We decided to make the film in co-production so we would still be somewhat in charge. Sometimes you get remakes where too many liberties are taken and often the remake isn’t as good anymore.” With his Belgian charm, Van Looy was quick to convince the American producers that he was the man for the job. “They liked the original, so by using the same director they would be almost certain the remake would become the film they wanted. Plus they thought I was a decent guy, which also isn’t unimportant!” he recounts.
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Secret to success Van Looy’s secret to success largely lies in his absolute dedication to his work. Many of his films took years before they reached the cinema. “It’s important to have a good storyline that will surprise people. Together with the scriptwriters I work really hard on a story, often for a long time, sometimes even years,” he says. Once Van Looy is content with the script, he still does not allow himself to sit back and enjoy the ride of directing. “There must be brilliant directors
He is already working on his next project, a Flemish production called De Premier starring Koen De Bouw who has been a lead character in the majority of Van Looy’s films. “He’s my favourite actor,” he admits. “The film is about the Belgian prime minister being abducted by terrorists. It will be a compelling thriller in the style of the Born movies.” When finally we ask if he has any New Year’s resolutions, he laughs and says: “It’s the same every year: try to work less!” The Loft will be released in the United States on 24 January 2015 and in Germany on 11 December.
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Discover Benelux | Design | Fashion Picks
D E C E M B E R
F A S H I O N
P I C K S
Winter elegance December is a busy month with its festive events, Christmas parties and family gatherings. But even if it is hard to dress feminine for these occasions in the cold, wet season, an outfit can easily become elegant and ladylike by adding some eye-catching accessories to sober coloured clothing. BY ELENA KRUMLOWSKY | PRESS PHOTOS
1: Luxembourg sophistication The Autumn/Winter 2014 collection of the Luxembourg-based creative fashion studio Yileste, consists of elegant materials and classy cuts. Their high end women’s wear is especially suited for smart and festive occasions.
Indeed Blazer : €610 Mellow T-Shirt : €59 Sneaky Skirt : €238 Available at www.yileste.com
2 2: A golden December
3: Start the winter waterproof
This Zara necklace gives every outfit an elegant touch because of the thin chains. Furthermore the golden colour reminds you of the festive period.
Why shouldn’t your rainwear be as sophisticated as you are? In its latest collection, WATERDICHT Amsterdam mixes fashion with function. No more ordinary raincoats but stylish raincoats: Straincoats. Truly waterproof (WATERDICHT) and also of the highest quality.
€23 Available at www.zara.com
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Collection 14/15 €249 - €369 Available at www.waterdicht.nl
4 4: Timeless and ladylike Another outfit from Yileste is this black and grey dress. Not only the colour combination but the tweed as well is perfectly à la mode. Day Day Dress : €452 Available at www.yileste.com
5: Classic elegance If you are searching for a classic bag which fits everywhere you can’t go wrong with this little satchel bag. €40 Available at www.riverisland.com
6: Your festive essential Another classic is the Beverly heel from the Italian brand ASH. This black pointed shoe is a synonym for elegance and matches perfectly with your festive outfit. €210 Available at www.ashitalia.it
Issue 12 | December 2014 | 11
Discover Benelux | Design | Desirable Designs
Desirable Designs In the spirit of the December festivities, we have picked some beautiful, innovative and stylish designs from the Benelux that would not look amiss under the Christmas tree. From gifts for limited budgets, to unique centre pieces to treat your loved ones, there is something for everyone. BY MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PRESS PHOTOS
1: Patio pizzeria
Whether it is winter or summer, the BLOK outdoor fireplace is indispensable to any patio. The high tensile steel stove is expandable with a genuine pizza oven, a separate element which you can put easily on top of the stove. Perfect to bake you own delicious pizza in. The pizza oven is small enough to fit in any garden or patio. From €1190
2: Jive away the cold
4: Geometrical decorations
Flemish designer Roel Vandebeek puts the fire back into the dark December days. The swinging, asymmetrical design of the ‘Jive’ garden torch creates a playful scene, especially when you put several torches together. Made of black aluminium and walnut wooden stick, the torch has a smart ‘push & fill’ system that allows you to easily refill the oil without getting your hands dirty. €33
This captivating, aluminium pendant light called ‘ TieTangles 1.0’ is created to mesmerise the observer. Casting intricate shadows on the walls, the design doubles as a sleek and modern Christmas decoration. Each one is handcrafted meticulously by designer Bartek who takes his inspiration for his work from nature and its harmonious, mathematical algorithmic precision. €150
3: As strong as wood
5: Nixie o’clock
This super strong ‘Dutch Design Chair’ has many hidden sides to it. The stool with various vibrant designs doubles as a side table, can easily handle 200 kilos of pressure but is made from light-weight FSC certified cardboard. For businesses, the chair is also available as a gift box containing luxurious Christmas presents – ideal as a gift for employees and there is no waste on wrapping paper. €20 for the chair, gift box prices on request
This little clock made from vintage Nixie tubes – used in East Germany as numeric displays in the mid-20th century – may still be in concept status, but this fullyfunctioning prototype was too good to leave out. Luxembourg designer Daniel Kurth enclosed the shiny orange tubes in rough, reinforced concrete, creating this ‘retro-technology’ clock. Proudly marketed as the world’s most difficult clock in a bid to stop the distractions of clocks all around us, the time on this ‘Nixie Concrete’ reads 10:23:54.
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6: Bright as a butterfly Made from solid ash wood, the ‘Aleta’ floor lamp by Sasha Lakic has an elegant, organic look – you can see that the Luxembourg-based designer took his inspiration from the wings of a butterfly. With LED lights hidden in the structure, transparent methacrylate diffuser panels create a compelling light source to brighten up the winter gloom. Price upon request. www.lakic.com
6 7: Can you handle this? Until we saw this design by Naomi Thellier De Poncheville, we never realised how uninviting standard door handles actually are. With the aluminium ‘Hand-le’, the designer, who is French/English by nationality and resides in Amsterdam, aimed to make something innovative and original from an everyday object. This doorknob will certainly put a smile on your guests’ faces, even before they step into the house. €69
8: Wine from the vine Shaped like a bunch of grapes, this wine rack for up to 12 bottles is made from strong, yet super light material, allowing you to pile up several to create a beautiful and functional wall ornament. Created by Dutch industrial designer Robert Bronwasser, the playful ‘Grape’ rack proves that storing bottles can become a piece of art in itself. A stylish way to keep your drinks nearby during this month’s festivities. €67
8 9: Porcelain transformation Design duo Marijke and Sander Lucas have created a striking fruit bowl by strategically joining a dozen standard porcelain plates together. The result of the diagonal, upside down and oddly stacked plates is the large and quirky ‘Plate-bowl’ that would transform your traditional Christmas brunch into a rather trendy occasion. €285
10 10: Sturdy and stylish With an original twist on standard wineglasses, Dutch designer Maarten Baptist from JOINE created these eye-catching tripod chalices. Made from scratchproof and dishwasher-resistant laboratory-engineered glass, the ‘Louise tripod glasses’ are also ideal for swirling wine and stand sturdy on any table surface. They are sold in sets of four; also available as single Martini glass and set of two champagne flutes or liquor glasses. €55-€100 www.joine.nl
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Christmas
SP ECIA L THE ME
Counting down to a Belgian Christmas Nothing says Christmas like devouring Belgium’s best artisan chocolates, drifting around world-class festive markets and Yuletide greetings by text message. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | MAIN PHOTO: JAN D’HONDT
Well versed in Christmas traditions and growing up in the period before smart phones, Belgium’s thirty-somethings are the biggest advocates of this typically candle-lit celebration. Valuing the opportunity to return to the family nest, it is a rare chance to relinquish the kitchen duties to their own parents. For the younger generations, however, Christmas remains quite a modest affair – at least when compared to the feverish present opening that takes place in the United States and the UK. Their excitement will already have peaked on 6 December with the extravagant arrival of Sinterklaas laden down with gifts, primarily of the edible variety. Kerstavond (24 December) is most commonly spent with families, moving from sofa to table and then back to the sofa. With an average of 11 hungry mouths to
14 | Issue 12 | December 2014
feed at each dining table, Christmas can certainly get expensive, with hosts dishing out Yuletide sustenance worth an average of €32 per person – and it’s the local butchers who benefit from these hunger pangs the most. Nutritionally, the Belgians prefer to keep it traditional, opting for turkey and goose, but that’s not to say that they neglect wild meat, smoked salmon, shellfish and other seafood delicacies. As dusk falls, either The Sound of Music or the classic Sissi will be playing on screen, but the nation are most likely to have their heads buried in their mobile phones: online shopping or shooting out text messages at a speedy rate, totalling 35 million text messages over the course of Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. Once a staple of this holiday, Midnight Mass still remains a
fixture on the calendar, but only for one in five Belgians – placing it just above France and Sweden in terms of visits. Presents for family and friends lie patiently in the shadow of the lovingly decorated Christmas tree, the focal point of any welllit Belgian living room. Compared to the UK’s gift expenditure of €317 per person, the Belgian population devotes a mere €205 on average to gifts, opting for quality rather quantity. Christmas isn’t complicated in Belgium and that’s the beauty of it. With family-centric activities at its core, some Belgium chocolate thrown in for good measure, generous servings of turkey and a few evenings in front of the television, Christmas in Belgium is virtually a guarantee for a heartwarming experience.
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Christmas
Photo: Meindert van Duijvenbode
Christmas dinner in the Netherlands:
Miniature-sized dishes rule TEXT & PHOTO: SILVIA DE VRIES
Back when the candles in the Christmas trees were still real, the Dutch cooked elaborate festive dinners from scratch. These days Christmas cooking is mainly done at the table using miniature-sized pans. Still, there are some traditional Christmas dishes that the Dutch never grow tired of. Christmas in the Netherlands is all about food and in many ways it has always been like that. Rice porridge and sweet bread filled with almond paste, was an after-mass staple back in the day. Traditional dishes like beef roulade, roast chicken or venison would be cooked from scratch, accompanied by pears stewed in red wine and cinnamon, one of the Dutch Yuletide signature scents.
Experimenting with food trends Back in the seventies and eighties new dishes appeared on the menu, like shrimp cocktail appetisers and ice cream cake deserts. These days the Dutch tend to experiment more and look across the culinary
borders for inspiration – be it Americanstyle roast turkey, Italian cuisine or British Christmas pudding. Yet when it comes to trends, the last few years have seen an increase in the use of locally produced ingredients and with it a newfound love for long-forgotten vegetables like parsnip and turnip. Christmas dinners will follow this trend as well. Even
Traditional Dutch Christmas menu Shrimp cocktail. ~ Creamy tomato soup. ~ Beef or chicken roulade or steak with pepper sauce. Mashed potatoes dusted with nutmeg. Blanched green beans & carrots. Pears stewed in red wine & cinnamon. ~ Dutch Christmas cake (tulband), dusted with icing sugar or Dutch apple pie with vanilla ice cream.
in bigger cities like Amsterdam, local produce is finding its way to many a kitchen this year.
Gourmetting But there is one item that will appear in most homes come 25 December: a ‘gourmetset’. This party grill with hotplate comes with tiny frying pans. Everyone at the table gets assigned their own pan and (miniature-sized) cutlery to flip and stir the bite-size portions of meat, vegetables and potatoes. The stewed pears have been reassigned as a dessert item with ice cream on the side. Yes, miniature size rules on the Dutch Christmas menu nowadays, yet the amount of food consumed is all but small.
Christmas baked goods Banketstaaf – a puff pastry filled with almond paste. Kerststol – a sweet bread filled with fruit with almond paste centre. Tulband – a turban-cake filled with dried fruit. Speculaas – biscuits with flavours of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, anise and white pepper. Oliebollen – donut-like dumplings with raisins served with icing sugar.
Issue 12 | December 2014 | 15
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Christmas
Recreating a Luxembourgish Christmas in Canada There is something so comforting about remembering the cosiness of your childhood home during the Christmas season: the bright lights on a dark night, the warmth emanating not only from the chimney but also from the candles of the advent wreath, and the pervasive smells of pine and home baking.
The Luxembourgish dairy company Luxlait has made eggnog since the early 1960s. According to my grandmother, it was delivered directly to the milk farmers. In turn, they sold the eggnog to their fellow villagers. To many disappointed Luxembourgers, the real rum it contained back then has since been replaced with a nonalcoholic rum and vanilla flavouring and the fat content has been reduced from 10% to 6%. To me, Luxlait eggnog forms an integral part of the Christmas season. It is to be sipped slowly on cold winter nights, sitting in front of the fire in the living room.
If you cannot go to that home during the holiday season, you bring it to wherever you are now. Or at least you try. Living in Canada, a country with a rich immigration history and a famous reputation for international cuisine, it is not particularly hard to recreate the Luxembourgish Christmas menu of my childhood: smoked salmon or Coquilles St. Jacques for starters; Magret de Canard, venison, Raclette or Fondue for the main and Bûche (yule log cake) for dessert. No need to go far, the grocery store has everything, ex-
cept for the Bûche, but I can preorder that from one of the many French patisseries in Toronto. The eggnog however, is a different story. Even the one I made myself did not come close. It looks like I will be spending Christmas in Luxembourg next year. TEXT: LIZ WENGER | PHOTO: PHILIP WENGER
It is bitter, watery and leaves me with an artificial aftertaste I can’t quite place. This is not at all how I remember eggnog! I’m standing in the milk aisle of my local Toronto grocery store and hand my sample back to the lady. I try not to look too disgruntled, after all, it’s not her fault, she has never had Luxembourgish eggnog before.
Liz Wenger is a Luxembourger living in Canada. She is currently publishing a book for English speakers to learn Luxembourgish. You can sign up to be notified of the book’s release on her website learnluxembourgish.com.
Thoughts on Christmas in the city TEXT: SILVIA DE VRIES
One of my all-time favourite Christmas movies is White Christmas with Bing Crosby. As a kid I dreamed of celebrating Christmas in an Inn located in the countryside just like the one featured in the movie. Christmas trees would reach the ceiling, decorated perfectly and lit up by hundreds of candles. We would all cosy up to the fireplace, one just like in the movie: round, centred in the middle of the room, when unexpectedly, snowflakes would start to fall outside. A white Christmas after all. Yet to this day, almost every Christmas I ever celebrated took place, not in a remotely located Inn, but in a city – from Berlin to Helsinki, Copenhagen to, of course, my beloved Amsterdam. Here we all gather on the Dam Square, with Christmas trees reaching somewhat close to the top of the palace, ice skating on a makeshift rink, while sipping hot cocoa and en-
16 | Issue 12 | December 2014
joying the light spectacle of the Bijenkorf department store in December. Christmas these days doesn't look like the Christmases I dreamt about as a child, yet Christmas in the city feels a lot like I imaged this holiday would be. Some say city life is fast paced and you live disconnected from one another. That may be true from time to time, but come Christmas, this city comes together and slows down, if only for a while. Just like the Christmas I always dreamt about. May your Christmas be merry and ever so unexpectedly, white. P.S. You can find a fireplace similar to the one in White Christmas at Café Zurich (Mercatorplein 2B) in Amsterdam West! Dutch writer Silvia de Vries blogs about her everyday life and food at www.silviadevries.com as well as regularly contributing her thoughts on everything Dutch to Discover Benelux.
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Christmas
Festive feast of flavours There is no month like December to get creative in the kitchen and try out some more flavours. One of Discover Benelux’s favourite chefs, Anne Faber has given us one of her favourite festive foods. TEXT & PHOTOS: ANNE FABER
Xmas Pudding Trifle (makes 6) “The traditional British Christmas desert – a brandy-laced, steamed pudding stuffed with dried fruit – is really lovely, but quite a pain to make. I’ve deconstructed mine as a festive trifle with the flavours of the Xmas pudding,” says Faber.
beat again. In a third bowl, whisk the whipping cream and vanilla sugar until stiff. Fold the three mixes together. Break the sponge fingers, divide between six glasses and drizzle with two tablespoons of the syrup. Top with each with mincemeat and then with cream. Cover in cling film and put in the fridge for at least three hours.
Preparation One day in advance: roughly chop the raisins, prunes and orange peel. Transfer to a bowl and add the rest of the mincemeat ingredients. Mix, cover and set aside overnight. The next day: put the syrup ingredients into a small saucepan and simmer for three minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool. Prepare the cream: Separate the egg between two bowls. Beat the egg white until stiff. In the other bowl, beat the egg yolk with the sugar, add the mascarpone and
Serve with crushed speculoos or ginger snaps. Journalist and television chef Anne Faber from Luxembourg just published her second book, ‘Anne’s Kitchen – Barcelona, Istanbul and Berlin’ (£25, Amazon). It has 100 easy and original recipes with inspiring photos and is sprinkled with anecdotes from Faber’s travels. www.anneskitchen.co.uk
INGREDIENTS For the mincemeat: 100g raisins 50g dried prunes 40g candied orange peel peel from ¼ lemon ¼ apple, grated 50g brown sugar ½ tsp cinnamon ¼ tsp nutmeg ¼ tsp ground ginger 50ml whisky For the syrup: 25g sugar 50ml whisky 50ml water For the cream: 1 egg, separated 80g sugar 1 packet vanilla sugar 200g mascarpone 200ml whipping cream Other: 100g sponge finger biscuits 3 speculoos biscuits or gingersnaps for decoration
Issue 12 | December 2014 | 17
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Christmas
From Holland with love TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: HOLLAND WINKEL
From small windmill key chains to handsome vases, the Holland Winkel webshop is your one-stop shop for the best souvenirs, presents and consumer products from the Netherlands. With their wide ranging catalogue, the best of Holland is only a few clicks away – wherever you are. Their product range includes top of the range Delfts Blauw, the characteristic blue and white pottery made in the city of Delft from the 16th century. Founder and director of the Holland Winkel, Ellie Dijksterhuis says: “We sell beautiful Delfts Blauw, from mugs to tiles to salt and pepper shakers and even baubles. They are all top quality articles.” Apart from souvenirs and gifts, the website also offers an extensive collection of food items, including Gouda cheese, Holland’s favourite syrup waffles (or stroopwafels) and candy. Dijksterhuis: “This is
actually how we began. My son was living abroad so we started sending him Dutch food. Then in 2002 I decided to make a business out of it.” Since then the website’s assortment has grown to 1,300 different items including t-shirts, scarfs, fridge magnets and small wooden clogs. She adds: “Especially our smaller products are really popular with Dutch businesses, they use them in welcome bags or as relationship gifts at corporate events, conventions and international meetings alike.” Within days orders are dispatched to anywhere in the world and you can select your shipment option. “I love the contact we have with clients, many call us to check on their order and we are always happy to help. We try to update people as much as possible when a delivery has been made,” says Dijksterhuis.
The Holland Winkel has an impressive range of Delfts Blauw pottery, including this tulip vase (left) inspired by a 17th century design.
Go to the website to see the full range, available in Dutch and English. www.hollandwinkel.com
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Christmas
The magical world of Belgian Christmas markets TEXT: HELEN CULLEN | PRESS PHOTOS
Winter could be the most special time of year to visit Belgium; Christmas market season transforms its cities into festive wonderlands. Brussels is not to be missed but Antwerp, Bruges and Liège all become spectacular destinations. Even Durbuy, famous for being the smallest town on the planet, offers a sensational market all of its own. Winter Wonders, Brussels Grand Place to Place Ste Catherine Until 6 January Brussels enchants thousands of merry visitors every year. Over 240 traditional wooden stalls offer hand-made arts and crafts alongside the most indulgent gastronomical delights. It is a food lovers’ Christmas dream come true with a host of Belgian specialties: chocolates, artisan sausages, waffles, gingerbread, escargots, beers, mulled wine and so much more. Tradition and modernity blend beautifully with the 35 metres toboggan slope, 200 feet long skating rink and spectacular bigwheel that illuminates the sky with 18,000 twinkling lights. An authentic Swiss chalet offering traditional Helvetian fare will also embellish the market this year. Lastly, don’t miss the breathtaking sound and light
show presented in the Grand Place; an unforgettable experience. The city of Liège's Christmas Village St Lambert square/ Marché de Liège square Until 30 December Since 1986, Liège has established its Christmas village as the ultimate festive destination. Over 1.5 million visitors flock annually to experience the unique atmosphere created by the spirited exhibitors: The largest and oldest of all theBelgian markets, this village has a personality all of its own. An extravaganza of products and culinary treats will be presented in over 200 chalets. Antwerp Christmas market Market Square 6 December - 4 January Set against the backdrop of Antwerp’s historic buildings, this atmospheric market will extend this year to form a trail through the city from Steenplein to the Market Square. Steenplein also offers a unique opportunity to go ice skating while overlooking the Scheldt River. In addition to 90 stalls offering a myriad of Christmas wares, over 100 nativity scenes will be dotted throughout the market for visitors to enjoy.
TOP RIGHT: Durbury Christmas market. Photo: RSI Durbuy. MIDDLE RIGHT: Bruge Christmas market. Photo: Jan D'Hondt. BOTTOM RIGHT: Brussels Christmas market. Photo: Eric Danhier. BELOW LEFT: Ice skating at the Brussels Christmas market. Photo: WBT
Bruges Christmas market Market Square Until 2 January Medieval Bruges hosts one of the most famous Christmas markets in Belgium; the magnificent architecture becomes adorned with garlands of lights that infuse the canals with a magical glow. Transformed cobbled streets lead to the fairytale splendour of the Market Square: the heart of the spectacular Bruges Christmas experience.
Issue 12 | December 2014 | 19
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Christmas
All I want for Christmas is... Amsterdam TEXT: HELEN CULLEN | MAIN PHOTO: JANUS VAN DEN EIJNDEN
Amsterdam offers an eclectic events calendar this December with something special for every visitor. The village atmosphere of the city fully embraces the magical spirit of the sparkling season with winter festivals, classical concerts, Christmas markets and ice skating – even the Christmas circus comes to town! Amsterdam Light Festival Until 18 January The theme for the third edition of the winter light festival is ‘A Bright City’. For more than fifty days, stunning light sculptures, projections and installations created by international artists will illuminate the historical city. The boat route, Water Colours, will take visitors past artworks along Amsterdam’s waterways whilst the walking route, Illuminade, winds through the city centre. www.amsterdamlightfestival.com World Christmas Circus Royal Theatre Carré 18 December - 3 January Embrace a time-honoured Amsterdam tradition and run away with the circus this Christmas. Carré’s annual extravaganza
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celebrates being the most successful Christmas Circus for almost thirty years; nearly half a million visitors have attended more than a thousand spectacular performances. www.carre.nl Paradiso’s Christmas matinee 26 December The internationally renowned Paradiso Orchestra will perform classical Christmas compositions within the remarkable architecture of the Paradiso. Offering a celebratory programme that includes Christmas stories and poems narrated by literary legends, the matinee is an inspirational way to gently close the festive season. www.paradiso.nl Winterparade The Zuiderkerk 19, 20 and 22 - 28 December The Winterparade is an adaptation of Parade, the touring theatre festival that travels through the Netherlands each summer. The audience of 500 people will be seated at a giant 120 metres long table to indulge in a Christmas feast and enjoy a wild mix of Dutch
performances that incorporate theatre, dance, poetry, art, music and interactive fun. www.tafelvandeidee.nl Christmas markets and ice skating Situated on the picturesque Beursplein and in the neighbouring Damrak, the traditional Winter Market Amsterdam is the perfect spot for Christmas shopping. Amsterdam’s famous Sunday markets also enjoy seasonal makeovers to become the Funky Sinterklaas Market (30 November) and the Funky Xmas Market (14 December). For extra special stocking fillers, Pure Winter Market on 14 December (Amstelpark) and 21 December (Park Frankendael) will offer a multitude of organic produce and sustainable goods. For the perfect finish to your shopping day, the Jaap Edenbaan ice skating rink or the smaller, but very picturesque, rinks at Museumplein offer more festive fun for the whole family. For more festivities and events across the Benelux, please turn to page 92 for our Out & About calendar.
Discover Benelux | Hotel of the Month | The Netherlands
HOTEL OF THE MONTH, THE NETHERLANDS
Unwinding & team building in the middle of nature TEXT: JANINE STERENBORG | PHOTOS: PETER BAAS
The ‘Oeffelt effect’. That is the result of a stay in Guesthouse De Heide in the south of the Netherlands. Escaping the hectic city life with its busy workdays and ringing phones, Guesthouse De Heide is the place to unwind in the calmness of the countryside, the stillness of nature and in fresh and clean air. De Heide is a small guesthouse situated in a former farm, dating back to 1805, in a small town called Oeffelt. The cosy and warm atmosphere immediately gives you the sense of being at home, but in the middle of nowhere.
Bokhoven: “Several rooms have private wellness facilities such as a sauna and jacuzzi, or even a private billiard room with fireplace.” It gets better: you can request a masseur on demand and every morning breakfast is brought to your room. GordonVan Bokhoven: “We can serve it with champagne, or any other personal wishes you have!” It is clear: your hosts, Judith and her husband Piet-Hein will make sure that you are very well taken care of.
cows surround the guesthouse and woods and lakes are nearby. Outdoor activities such as horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking can all be done close by. www.guesthousedeheide.nl
Owner Judith Gordon-Van Bokhoven explains: “We own 14,000 square metres of land. It harbours ponds and farm animals such as horses, chickens and little pigs.” It is perfect to go for a relaxing stroll. After a day outside in nature you are probably up for a good night’s sleep: 22 people can stay the night in the guesthouse or in beautiful wooden lodges, situated in the wide meadows on the farm land.
Guesthouse De Heide is the ideal place to take a step back. It is the right place to be if you need to write a strategic business plan, or for a team building session. You can choose from several customizable arrangements. “We work with music, dance, animal assisted coaching with animals such as dogs, horses and sheep. Plus the entire location is privately available for the team, so you will not be disturbed by other guests. And the dinners and lunches that will be catered are ecological, made with local products,” she says.
During your stay, all the luxury you can wish for is provided. Gordon-Van
The beautiful surroundings make De Heide a popular place to visit. Meadows with
You can always expect a personal approach at Guesthouse De Heide.
Issue 12 | December 2014 | 21
Discover Benelux | Restaurant of the Month | Luxembourg
RESTAURANT OF THE MONTH, LUXEMBOURG
Indulge in Luxembourg’s top traditional food The story of the Juegdschlass goes back to 1873 when the steel and iron barons of Luxembourg built the hunting lodge where they would invite their friends and partners to relax after a hunt. In 1935 the lodge was bought by a private investor and the Café Juegdschlass was created. TEXT: HARUN OSMANOVIC | PHOTOS: JUEGDSCHLASS
In 1977 Marc Barthelemy’s father took over the Juegdschlass and Marc, current manager, has been running the café-restaurant for close to 30 years, making sure the tradition is carried on. Ever since he took over, Marc has run his restaurant as a family business, working for the first few years with his mother and siblings, always putting a strong emphasis on traditional, homemade food.
and hikers, would come to enjoy the traditional kachkéis, the local speciality of cooked cheese served on a long piece of farmers’ bread, accompanied by a cool glass of local beer or white Mosel wine.”
Located in the heart of the Bambësch forest, a ten-minute drive from the city centre, the café-restaurant Juegdschlass is one of the “must-go places” for locals looking to enjoy an invigorating walk through the forest, followed by a relaxing drink on the terrace overlooking the Alzette Valley, or a warm tea next to the Canadian Bullerjan stove.
The menu is adapted to the seasons twice a year. The summer menu offers a good selection of organic salads, which are supplied by his partner Nicola Senior, owner and manager of GaardenKarisma gardening, accompanied with a choice of grilled scampi, roast chicken, smoked trout or salmon. The winter menu includes succulent slices of venison served with red cabbage, spaetzle (noodles) and pommes dauphines, a hearty choucroute (sauerkraut) or black pudding served with apple compote and mashed potatoes, to mention but a few.
“Our café-restaurant is a bit of an institution in Luxembourg,” explains Marc, “as early as the 1970s, workers, ministers, artists
From now until 15 January 2015, local hunters ensure the game on the menu is nothing but the freshest. Marc takes pride
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in using only the freshest of products to guarantee the best quality for his visitors. Marc and his team look forward to welcoming you amongst their guests to enable you to discover the rest of their specialities and to relax and immerse yourself in the warm atmosphere of the old hunting lodge, where time slows down. Tel. +352 33 71 37 www.juegdschlass.lu
As they approach the restaurant, clients from all over the world are met by the resident peacocks, a family of donkeys, and they may even catch a glimpse of their quieter neighbours… the bison.
Discover Benelux | Special Feature | GaardenKarisma
Expert gardening to root for TEXT: HARUN OSMANOVIC | PHOTOS: GAARDENKARISMA
It is that time of the year again... Winter is approaching and nature is slowly entering into its dormant period – a crucial phase for the survival and regrowth of all plants and trees next season. As much as gardening is a pleasure on warm sunny days when plants are in bloom, the garden is often forgotten about when the days get colder and it is time to “put the garden to bed”. There is a lot to be taking care of – trimming back, weeding, fertilising, mulching, planting hedges – and this is why many Luxembourg residents decide to call in GaardenKarisma, the experts’ choice. Nicola Senior, owner and manager of Gaarden Karisma, has been designing, creating, transforming and maintaining gardens in Luxembourg for over 15 years and will know how to find solutions suited to your individual requirements. Whether you need help creating your garden from scratch, transforming part or all of an existing garden, installing a wildlife pond, transforming a piece of neglected grass into a perennial bed to prolong the flowering season, creating a secluded seating area or just simply looking after your garden on a regular basis, Gaarden Karisma’s team will put their expertise at your service.
ABOVE: Nicola Senior and her team at GaardenKarisma will help you get the most out of your garden at any time of the year.
What clients appreciate about working with Nicola and her team is their holistic approach and attention to detail, they work from concept to implementation, with an emphasis on listening and understanding the clients’ needs. “Planning the garden together with Nicola was already a pleasure,” says Mrs Frisch, a regular client of GaardenKarisma, “she didn’t force her ideas onto me but gave good advice and guided me in my decisions. I just keep on relying on Nicola and her team to maintain the garden in order to keep it at its best.”
Although the orientation of the garden and quality of the soil will determine the plant choice, Nicola spends a lot of time talking to and consulting with the client to determine how the garden will be used and how much time the client is able to devote to the garden once it is in place. “A garden mustn’t just look good, but also needs to be practical,” concludes Nicola, “we take pride in maintaining individual, long-lasting relationships with our clients and delivering the highest quality service to ensure our clients can enjoy their gardens for as long as possible”. Tel. +352 2633 2657 www.gaardenkarisma.lu
BELOW: Before (left) and after (right
Issue 12 | December 2014 | 23
Discover Benelux | Hotel of the Month | Belgium
HOTEL OF THE MONTH, BELGIUM
Beating the bustle in Brussels Belgium’s capital is buzzing, the EU’s racing heart packed with dynamic corporate HQs and multiple must-see tourist attractions too. So finding city centre accommodation that creates a relaxing home-from-home haven will delight business and leisure travellers alike. TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTOS: JADCAROLLSTUDIO.COM
Thirty years ago the Ascott Group opened its first international-class serviced residence. The concept was simple – making guests feel at home instead of constantly reminding them they’re not. Easier said than done, but with 45 of their Citadines apart’hotels in Europe alone now, it has clearly worked. The Citadines SainteCatherine in Brussels, recently named best serviced residence in Belgium, demonstrates how. “We provide a guest-friendly combination of spacious, comfortable and – vitally – private apartment living, with a wide range of convenient hotel services available,” explains Frédéric Carré, the group’s area manager for Brussels and France North. “So here they can cook for themselves in their own well-equipped kitchen – with supermarkets close by for supplies – or stroll to one of the city’s celebrated restaurants. They can relax in bright contemporary surroundings – that’s the way Citadines wants to welcome its clients – with free WiFi and cable TV. And we look after the bedding
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and the cleaning on a weekly basis, and can help with things like babysitting and dry-cleaning.”
Place Ste Catherine: “Along with the chalets there’s a skating ring, and even a luge track!” says Carré.
There are 169 apartments in the Ste Catherine residence, mostly for two but 44 accommodate four guests. While it’s in a business district, and as you’d expect business travellers love the mixture of home comforts and privacy, the building’s proximity to draws like the Royal Palace, the Grand Place (and that naughtiest of icons the Manneken Pis) and the Opera means plenty of tourists book too.
Though the Ste Catherine metro station is nearby some guests arrive by car; even the hotel’s garage displays thoughtful innovation, working towards a cleaner, quieter world: “Ascott is uniquely positioned to play an active role in transforming business practices and employee mindsets to make them more eco-friendly,” says Carré: “So Citadines Sainte-Catherine Brussels now has two recharging stations for electric cars in our underground car park. We like to lead the way.”
Another huge attraction will be on the doorstep from the end of November to early January – the Christmas market in the
HuysTenDonck_Advert_1p.qxp_Layout 1 26/11/2014 16:02 Page 1
Some say that there is no equivalent in the Netherlands to the 400 year old estate, Het Huys ten Donck.
An oasis of nature, craftsmanship and Dutch cultural heritage, this estate is a hidden pearl only a quarter of an hour from the center of the large city of Rotterdam, in Ridderkerk.
Originally built as a reception house in 1746 on the foundations of the old castle from 1616, Het Huys ten Donck to this day still serves its function perfectly. Nationally and internationally renowned for its unique Rococo plasterand woodwork in its charming homey interior, combined with its roots in the East India Company and centuries-lasting bond with the family Groeninx van Zoelen, Het Huys ten Donck is often referred to as the most beautiful country house in the Netherlands. This last authentic estate in the Rotterdam region offers a broad pallet of possibilities for corporate entertainment and special celebrations with lunches, dinners or a high tea; strategic workshops or inspiring sessions; and commercial and editorial photo shoots or film productions. On a yearly basis a select number of weddings also take place at the estate.
Thanks to the limited amount of events per year, we can guarantee your guests a surprising and memorable experience. We look forward to welcoming you at Het Huys ten Donck!
Art is a journey of discoveries TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK | PHOTOS: DOUWES FINE ART
discoveries. “Especially when the restoration process gives important insights, and has amazing results. The advantage of having our own restoration department for museums, clients and ourselves is paramount to our success.”
“Art is important in human existence; it is inspiring not only to have beautiful things around you, it also stimulates professionalism in one’s own discipline,” says Evert Douwes, owner of Douwes Fine Art. “I believe that art gives energy, and it is for everyone.”
Living the art Douwes has the right to speak: he is the sixth generation leading Douwes Fine Art. His ancestors founded the company in 1770, which makes it the oldest gallery of its kind in Europe. They began with the restoration of paintings, furniture and boats. While the Douwes gained reputation, artists asked for their own paintings to be offered for sale; artists such as Leickert and Springer. Douwes: “To this day we believe that timeless, quality art should be affordable.”
The experience of history Douwes Fine Art does not only see history – they have lived it. They have transferred their knowledge to future generations. “At the time the artists were
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Evert Sr. (middle), Evert Jr. (left) and Evert Anthony (right) – 5th, 6th, and 7th generation Douwes Fine Art. (Born: 1928, 1953, 1992)
categorized as modern. Nowadays we offer a collection which consists of five centuries of paintings, works on paper and sculptures.” The art comes from all over the world; they deal in old Dutch masters (including original Rembrandt prints), early Flemish, French and Russian works, modern art and non-European art (including Africanists and contemporary Chinese). According to Douwes finding good quality art is an exciting journey of
During its 244 years of existence, Douwes Fine Art has gained a huge amount of knowledge and expertise in art. Douwes: “We have a library with a half a million photos of paintings. It is the foundation of our knowledge, which is constantly challenged and asked for.” According to Douwes they are very active at international art fairs and organise public exhibitions as well. The company has spread from Amsterdam to London, and recently also Hong Kong. “The passion, sharing expertise, traveling, but foremost our personal contact with people make this a unique profession worthwhile. It is a treasure hunt every day.” www.douwesfineart.com
Discover Benelux | Luxuries | Bojoli Living
From the exclusive Saas-Fee to the accessible Blatten/Belalp, Riederalp and Fieschertal, Bojoli Living offers prime chalets in authentic Swiss mountain villages.
Switzerland dreaming TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: BOJO LIVING
Who doesn’t dream of the Swiss Alps – the magnificent landscape, the stunning mountains and characteristic villages? Liliane Britsch certainly did, and apart from her own, she has made many other dreams come true through her Swiss real-estate company Bojoli Living. After coming to the Alps for over 30 years, Britsch decided to leave her home country of the Netherlands behind and moved to Switzerland five years ago. Since then she has helped Dutch, Belgian, English and Swiss clients to purchase a (second) home in the Swiss mountains. She says: “We offer individual and professional advice buying, selling or letting chalets and apartments. Swiss real-estate is a very attractive investment with excellent possibilities for high returns.” Bojoli Living offers to buy, renovate, expand and completely refurbish characteristic chalets at four unique mountain locations in Valais, southern Switzerland:
Saas-Fee, Blatten/Belalp, Riederalp and Fieschertal. Britsch explains, “There’s nowhere like Switzerland. The mountains are breathtakingly beautiful, the Swiss are very welcoming, winter sport is superb and I love the atmosphere of the little mountain villages.” The stable political climate and long summer and winter seasons are attractive for home owners – they can enjoy their chalet during the holidays and let their property for up to 20 weeks a year. “Moreover,” says Britsch, “there are financial incentives. At Saas-Fee, banks offer a 70 per cent mortgage, ten percent higher than the standard rate.” She emphasises that while the winter is the most popular with excellent skiing facilities, the summer also has lots to offer. “Especially for young families, owning a chalet in Switzerland is a great choice. The summer is fantastic and once you’re here, you can enjoy all the magnificent nature for free!” she says.
Britsch, who speaks English, German and Dutch, has good relations with the local authorities and organisations, and offers to take care of the full home-buying process. In the case of a home expansion, she can oversee the construction process so the chalet is ready upon arrival. “Because I am based locally, I can make sure everything is taken care of,” she continues. “Clients don’t have to worry about cultural misconceptions, I make sure the prices are right and they receive the best quality service possible.” Bojoli Living Interior Design can also advise you on refurbishments and full interior design, to give the chalet that characteristic Swiss Alps look. Britsch concludes, “We help you find the right materials, furniture and accessories so you can enjoy the chalet in style.” bojoliliving.com
Issue 12 | December 2014 | 27
Discover Benelux | Luxuries | Excellent Fair
THE EXCELLENT FAIR
Home and lifestyle inspiration After last year’s enormous success, the Excellent Fair returns to the port that is Rotterdam. From 12 to 15 December, Rotterdam becomes the home and lifestyle capital of the Netherlands. During the fair days and following last year’s debut, Ahoy Rotterdam will once again be transformed into the country’s largest high-end home and lifestyle fair. Here, the top of the interior world, the best interior architects and luxury companies are present. TEXT & PHOTOS: EXCELLENT FAIR
At over 20,000 square metres you will find everything about luxurious home and living, and only the best will be presented by skilled specialists from various branches. This makes the Excellent Fair a great place to be inspired by. You will find everything to do with interiors and exteriors, buy and renovate, health and 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 talked-
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about fashion shows of top couturiers. Experience the atmosphere, experience the perfection, experience the finest home and lifestyle event.
Finest home and lifestyle event The core of the Excellent Fair can be described in one word: home. The Excellent Fair is the finest home and lifestyle fair of the Netherlands and offers home inspiration above all things, next to a variety of entertainment on the floor. On the other hand, you can go beyond admiration as well. It so happens you can also buy di-
rectly at the fair. Next to that, on Business Monday – 15 December – the award for ‘Best Home and Living Store of the Netherlands’ will be presented. Look at the nominees on the website. In short: the Excellent Fair is truly an experience!
Exclusive categories The categories that are at the centre during the fair days are interior & exterior, buy & renovate, health & beauty, jewellery, second home, yachts, cars and art. The categories health & beauty, second home and art are each represented at their own
Discover Benelux | Luxuries | Excellent Fair
FASHION, FASHION, FASHION! Friday night 12 December 21.30 – 22.00 Fashion show Ronald Kolk Saturday night 13 December 19.00 – 19.30 Fashion show Gotta-haves 20.00 – 20.30 Fashion show Monique Collignon Sunday 14 December 15.00 – 15.30 Fashion show JOSH V
DRESS TO IMPRESS – DRESS CODES Friday night 12 December (VIP-night) – Black Tie Saturday night 13 December (Ladies’ Night) – Touch of Gold Monday 15 December (Business Monday) – Business Suit
Rotterdam becomes the home and lifestyle capital of the Netherlands
‘square’. These squares give a better overall picture. The other categories are spread over the rest of the floor.
best gallery owners in the Netherlands. The Excellent Fair offers you the unique chance to be infinitely inspired.
Observe special art
Naturally, a house that has been beautifully decorated is not complete without art to create a certain unique feeling within every living room. At the Excellent Fair, you can enjoy countless pieces of art by renowned artists. For instance, you will find, among others, Art by Nature at the fair. Art by Nature serves design lovers who are looking for new concepts of interior decoration and art that is from nature. Next to that, the internationally well-known artist Marianne Y. Naerebout is present to inspire you in the field of art. Various galleries, among which Galerie Muskee, Galerie Sous-Terre, Galerie Terbeek, Van Loon Galleries, Galleries Creutzberg | Van Dun, Très Art and Van Bellen Art are represented at the Excellent Fair. We are talking about a selection of the
A second home is, obviously, quite an investment. It is, however, an investment which eventually can be worth money. But how does such a large purchase bring you money? The return on purchasing a second home is many times higher than the return at your bank. This makes a second home even more worth your while. Find out everything there is to know about this topic at the Excellent Fair. For instance, at the Excellent Fair you will find specialists from, among others, Romex Investments, Van Venrooy Motorhomes, Pierre et Vacances and Royal Residence Lifestyle. Zandspruit Bush & Aero Estate is also present and has all the information about a second home in the African wilderness available for you.
The fair should also not be without Alpendreams, Immo Makelaar Oostenrijk, PiedA-Terre, Bojoli Living, Griwaplan, Alpenparks and Landberg Bauträger GmbH. They complete the list of second home inspiration. Come to the Excellent Fair, discover beautiful locations and unspoilt nature areas and have your dreams come true. www.excellentbeurs.nl
Issue 12 | December 2014 | 29
High quality waterproof rainwear TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: MIRELLA SAHETAPY
Now that the fair skies have officially left our shores, marked by the dreaded autumnal changing of the clocks, we’ve been thrown once more to the wolves of the wintery season. But this year is different: WATERDICHT Amsterdam’s 14/15 collection of stylish raincoats is our sartorial saviour.
and Judith Nelis decided they could do something about this sorry state of affairs. “It all began as we chatted one evening. We had the thought that ‘you are always fashionably dressed – except when it rains’, so we asked ourselves, why shouldn’t your rainwear be as sophisticated as you are?” they explain.
Straincoats, the word couldn’t be more apt: stylish raincoats. Designed in fashionconscious Amsterdam and manufactured by a family-run company in Portugal, WATERDICHT Amsterdam have transformed the standard waterproof, a much needed wardrobe essential, into a stylish raincoat.
Setting themselves the challenge of revamping the tried-and-tested raincoat, the pair knew instinctively where improvements could be made. “We started designing and discussing ideas to see how we could reach the ultimate balance between fashion and function. Our aim has always been to transform a raincoat from a necessary evil of daily life into a fashion statement.”
Four years ago, as they despaired at the paltry offerings of rain-repellent garments – “too sporty or just not even waterproof!” – creative entrepreneurs Mascha van Horik
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Self-confessed jacket fanatics, the pair have big plans for their elegant raincoats.
“At the moment we’ve got several models for females but we don’t want the men to miss out on their chance to have a straincoat so the male version is on its way,” say the women assuredly. “Each straincoat can be recognised by its specific WATERDICHT details that we’ve added, such as the detachable hood, adjustable flap and distressed clasp buttons.” Channeling the past century’s most fashionable decades, the 1930s to the 1970s, the pair took inspiration from Parisian couture. With the stylish print WATERDICHT Amsterdam have chosen, their raincoats have taken on an entirely new dimension. “Understated chic is our signature style,” explains Van Horik from their office in Amsterdam, “and we represent the ultimate in comfort too. The unique fit that we’ve perfected over the past few years enables you
Discover Benelux | Luxuries | Waterdicht
to move comfortably while you and your fashion ensemble are fully protected against the elements.” Typically Dutch, the pair never lost sight of the functionality necessary for the coats to perform, and this includes when you’re riding your bicycle. Versatile and durable, the raincoats have been created from a high quality waterproof fabric. The seams, taped and sealed, ensure complete protection against the elements, making them not only truly waterproof (hence the name WATERDICHT) but breathable and wind resistant too. “We did do a lot of research to find the finest qualities, designs and suppliers to work with. This was, and still is, an exciting journey as we are constantly looking for the best balance between our creativity and the technical aspects.” Since they settled on keeping production within Europe, the pair have greatly benefitted: creating a strong relationship with the manufacturer; ensuring faster and more reliable delivery; and relying on the expertise of the Portuguese nation, known for its high quality tailoring. “Developing a collection and carefully expanding our brand is still a rollercoaster,” the pair reveal with a smile. “Each day we’re confronted with something unexpected and we have to keep a close eye on every-
WATERDICHT Amsterdam’s straincoats definitely live up to their name, providing complete protection against the elements and looking good in the process.
thing while still being creative.” Given the recent predictions relating to Western Europe’s wetter winters to come, WATERDICHT Amsterdam’s high fashion take on rainwear couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. Nelis agrees: “Climate change is resulting in more frequent, heavier and harder rain. So raincoats are definitely called for. Slowly but surely, raincoats are shaking off their bad reputation for being unstylish and sweaty.” Living as we do, in countries characterised by grey skies and threatening rain clouds, their creations have proved that they serve their purpose well and while it is unlikely that we will ever be pining for a rain shower, at least we will look good if the skies do open. And when the jacket looks that good, no one will even be looking at the weather. www.waterdicht.nl
The new 14/15 collection is now available in their webshop and at the Masters of LXRY Fair, RAI Amsterdam 11-14 December. (See page 82)
WATERDICHT Amsterdam have developed a stunning collection for women and the men’s collection is on its way.
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Monte Carlo, 2014
G A B Y F L I N G
Seeing is believing, a mesmerising perspective TEXT: PHIL GALE | PHOTOS: GABY’S FLING
Few industries are as competitive as fashion photography; documenting beauty, styling fashionably and capturing moments. We can all be harsh critics, but when faced with stunningly well-shot images, we stop in awe. A fleeting glimpse of skin, a small piece of lace, a longing look, these are intimate moments, moments of beauty, that need to be captured and few do it as well as photographer Gaby Fling, as she waits for the perfect moment in each shoot. Capturing a moment in time with a simple click of the shutter is something that we are starting to take for granted, but within the swamp of snaps, there are some great images that really pique our interest, brimming with originality and a certain unique essence. Amsterdam-based Fling is one of these treasured few, shooting with the insight of how to capture true feeling, catching intimate moments in a
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split second without tricks. Her images are not only causing a stir, but bringing across a new perspective, allowing you to look through her eyes, seeing what she sees. Fling takes you with her into her world of seeing and believing. “It is all about the right moment, a gut feeling! I frame the image, sometimes cropping in on something really small and intimate, a rustle in the fabric or the model’s body,” explains Fling. “I think that it is down to my roots as a stylist and how I started shooting with feeling, that makes my style what it is.” Fling started out as a stylist for ELLE magazine before heading out on her own as a freelancer. Tough times in 2004 prompted the dive into photography, she explains. “I was working on a new collection and decided to use myself as the model.” Duly holding the camera at arm’s length and shooting close-up, soon to be
dubbed ‘selfies’, Fling found that by taking these images of herself, she was “creating something very intimate”, rediscovering herself and “creating a Fling moment” capturing her gut feeling. Ten years on and Fling has carved a name for herself in swimwear and lingerie photography, working with everyone from top fashion brands, private clients and also on personal projects providing limited edition prints and a stunning limited edition book entitled Truly. Her style has been the key to her success. Fling explains: “My clients come to me because they love my style, they are taken in by the images that I produce because my work has space for the person looking at it to have their own thoughts. It is also humbling when a client tells me just to shoot as I normally do, they trust my eye and are thrilled when I produce images of them that are strong and beautiful, Fling moments.”
Discover Benelux | Luxuries | Gaby’s Fling
Los Angeles, 2014
Very much a champion of the phrase ‘less is more’; to look at Fling’s work is to dive into an evergreen world of decadence and beauty. Close-ups of fabric, covered faces, bare shoulders and tender skin all allow the onlooker to create their own story to accompany the image. Capturing a glimpse of beauty on a hot summer’s day, with the sun’s glare obscuring your full view, these images let your mind wander, meaning that even after the briefest glance the image stays with you. These mesmerising images have captured something of the people and products shot. To look at Fling’s work is to feel like you have been let into the most intimate moments of the people she shoots.
Left: Mona Lisa, 2013. Right: Mistress, 2013
Rich, opulent, sexy and a real celebration of strong, beautiful women, Fling’s work will be included at the upcoming Masters of LXRY Fair in Amsterdam this December. Fling elaborates: “I will be including two photos in the fair, Monte Carlo and Los Angeles, both of which I am very proud of.” One, an iconic portrait in black and white with palm trees reflected in the model’s shades and the other, in colour, with an American flag and two girls – both of these images have the iconic style of Fling written across them. We dare any of our readers not to be entranced by their simple, yet powerful compositions that just beg for your mind to wonder about the story behind each.
Mesmerising, intimate, balanced and evergreen, producing photos full of true feeling is what Fling has mastered. With standards that far exceed typical photography, her unique and non-traditional route to shooting has given her a different eye for images and also a different way of working with her clients. Fling humbly concludes: “The relationship that I build with all my clients is something special. Shooting in the way I do they have to let me in. I create an image that allows the people looking at it room for their own imagination to work, because each photo has a fresh perspective. That, for me, is such a thrill and why I love what I do.” www.gabysfling.com
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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Design
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Daring Benelux Designers Innovative, practical, original, creative and daring – these are some of the key terms that spring to mind when mentioning design from the Benelux. Characteristic for the designers is their wish to inspire through their creations, while improving functionality and surprising the beholder with their original use of form and materials. TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PRESS PHOTOS
While the quality of Benelux design is top class many creations are often surprisingly accessible. This does not only express itself in attractive prices, objects are also often still fully functional, if not even better equipped at performing their tasks than their standard counterparts. With a lot of talent emerging from the Netherlands and Flanders, the Benelux is a hot-bed for new and upcoming designers and certainly a space to follow closely. Kicking off this theme is Dutch designer Jan Gunneweg who has raked up some fame for designing a (surprisingly comfortable) bike made out of wood. Next, we feature several
innovative companies and designers who each have something special to add to the world of form and function. Bringing up the rear is an inspiring story on how design and art collide to create a wonderful work of infrastructure ingenuity: a road that lights up at night in the style of a Van Gogh painting.
are made to not just meet expectations of functionality and form, but completely surpass them and absolutely overwhelm the beholder.
Following this Special Theme: Daring Benelux designers are a number of impressive architects, each of which has contributed to improving a skyline in the Benelux and abroad in one way or another. From inventive buildings to energy-neutral structures – the same design mentality is clearly visible in the breath-taking constructions, all
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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Design
and start talking about it. At the moment about 400 people ride my bikes in the Netherlands and until four years ago that was nothing. DB: Apart from making the wooden bike, what else do you do? JG: I’m known for my bike, but that isn’t even the main part of my business. I design interiors, shops, and restaurants, all with wood, from design to delivery. I always try to bring man and nature back together in my designs. For one restaurant I made a table with a little slot to put your smart phone in, so people won’t be distracted by any beeps or noises, and instead have a proper conversation and listen to each other again. It really helps people to leave the restaurant refreshed.
Jan Gunneweg TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: COURTESY OF JAN GUNNEWEG
Famous for designing a wooden bike, Jan Gunneweg has a love for nature and runs his own design company. With his all-wooden designs he tries to bring people together while creating elegant, simple and accessible designs. Discover Benelux asked the Dutchman: what makes wood so special? DB: You’ve made many designs out of wood, like sunglasses, a bike. Why wood? JG: Constructionally, I believe wood is the best material in the world. It is strong, beautiful and warm and I love the way in which it grows. Take steel, it comes from mines with mine workers, which is quite an ugly profession, or at least I wouldn’t want to do it. Then it is taken to big factories that spew up massive plumes of smoke, with all the health problems associated with it. Then if you look at the production of wood, that is just the forest.
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DB: When did you decide to make this your profession? JG: I did a course in ship building and in the final period of my degree I had already made a wooden bike, ten years ago. Then when I was at an exposition, I sold a wooden wheelchair to someone and decided to start my own business. That was not easy, especially as I didn’t have any money. So the first few years I lived on a budget and invested every penny back into the business. Now my business is going really well, and I have the freedom to design what I like, which is great! DB: It’s as if you’re suddenly everywhere, especially in the last year or so, what happened? JG: In terms of getting my name out, it has taken a huge leap. It’s something that grows virally, people see you in the media
DB: Organic, sustainable, green – those are very much current buzz words, is this another reason you like to work with wood? JG: You can call it luck. If steel was sustainable, then I never would have chosen that to work with. I think wood is incredibly beautiful, it feels warm, absorbs vibrations, so the bike is really quiet, and it’s comfortable for interior design. DB: Then finally, are there any highlights of 2014 you’d like to recount? JG: At a presentation for a number of surgeons, one stepped on our electrical wooden bike and said ‘all I can do is smile when I ride this’ and came back laughing. Things like this are each memorable highlights, when people get onto our bikes for the first time and realise how agilely and silently it rides. I absolutely love that.
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Design
Surrounded by design TEXT & PHOTOS: DESIGN ACADEMY EINDHOVEN
Design Academy Eindhoven. This school was established in 1947 and focuses totally on design and offers a Bachelor and Master course to its students. Dutch design is well known for its functionality, its originality and its typical approach on how to deal with questions and problems. Design Academy Eindhoven challenges its students to come up with original solutions for everyday questions and problems.
Design surrounds us and is everywhere although very often unnoticed by the user. Everything around the human being has been designed. If you are in your living room, the dining table, the wallpaper, chairs, sofa and carpet; they are all the outcome of a creative process. And look at your desk: every piece of paper, your mobile phone, your laptop, every colour, every shape and every application has been designed and/or engineered. Go outside and look at your car, your bicycle, the train or even the streetlamps. A designer thought about it before production could even start. Either purchased in a design furniture store or at Ikea, always a designer or group of designers made decisions about shape, colour, material et cetera. Naturally this says nothing about the value of the product. Neither does it determine if the product is beautiful or dis-
tasteful. That is up to the user to decide. In the world of design, Dutch designers play a prominent role. The products developed by the Dutch are appreciated throughout the world and ‘Dutch Design’ became synonymous for products that combine self-evident shapes and userfriendliness with beauty and originality.
About 40 per cent of our student population has an international background. All teachers only teach at Eindhoven for one day a week and have an established practice as designer or artist. Through this, Design Academy Eindhoven students are constantly challenged to go beyond borders, since there lies the unexpected solutions that lead to good design.
A vast majority of the internationally wellknown Dutch designers were educated at
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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Design
Colourful innovation on wood From small, cube tables to complete walls, at Wood-u-Print they can customise and personalise your home or company building in an instant. Popular with businesses and private homeowners alike, their innovative and high quality printing and varnishing machines for wooden panels can bring any interior space to life. TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: WOOD-U-PRINT
Wood-u-Print’s printer use special UV ink that latches onto the wood, and thanks to a unique lacquer layer the image won’t fade or damage either. With their stateof-the-art digital printing equipment for various wooden surfaces and for any number of print runs, Wood-u-Print can produce both on an industrial scale as well as single example prints. Peter Buggenhout from Wood-u-Print says, “Our production line offers flexibility and unequalled print quality. The only restriction to the possibilities for printing on
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wood is really just customers' own creativity and imagination. When designing a project let your imagination run wild. We will make sure the results are perfect.”
From panel to personalised wall The UV ink and varnish line fixes the image to the wooden panels, resulting in scratch resistant, colourfast, washable and durable print with vibrant colours. From photographs to text to visualisations, any kind of image is possible. Buggenhout continues: “We use panels with a white paper surface. Having a plain background
is vital for achieving the correct colour display. There is also the possibility of printing directly on to wood, like panels with veneer top layer, plywood… so that the structure and colour of the wood remain visible and tangible. This gives the image a very warm look and feel.” Adding to their innovative concept, Woodu-Print can print on impressively large surfaces. Their line can process panels of up to 3 metres high and 1.25 metres wide. At the company they have a selection of standard size fibreboard MDF panels,
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Design
With Wood-u-Print’s high-quality printer and special UV ink, any wooden surface can be transformed into colourful panels with vibrant images.
plywood, oak veneered MDF panels, click panels and interior doors. The panels can be sawn to size after coming out of the printer and turned into personalised furniture components, table tops and more. “Because we print digitally, there are no extra costs to make each panel different. Our customised wall panels are very popular with hotels because they can have a different style or theme in each room for the same price as doing them all the same,” says Buggenhout.
Limitless options “The applications and possibilities are endless. Photos, images or text, whatever you like can be printed on any wooden surface for tables, cupboard doors for your home or office, walls or even exhibition stands. We are also developing printed ceiling panels and we are currently working on customisable steps for staircases,” Buggenhout says enthusiastically. For their range of ‘print & click’ panels, Wood-u-Print offers a fast and easy solution for anyone who wants a customised wall. The panels can renovate existing
walls, be used as a partition wall in any width and the design can be personalised. “The panels are much stronger and more scratchproof than for example wallpaper and the installation of a wall is much faster than plasterboards. Furthermore, there are almost no visible seams or screws, and of course there is no need to paint them!” Buggenhout says. “The entire process is fully automated and delivers the printed and lacquered panels in just four minutes.”
A unique concept The concept for the business came from his father, Walter Buggenhout who worked in the wood varnishing industry. In early 2010 he came up with the idea of printing images on the wooden panels before varnishing them. After a lot of research and development, they achieved the optimal combination of ink and lacquer, integrated the printing process in the production line and Wood-u-Print was born.
hotels and restaurants in the Netherlands, Austria and even Dubai. Wood-u-Print is also about to launch a line of small cube tables that will be available on the German interior design webshop Home24. The cubes or ‘MyCube’ printed on every side and are currently also available from the Wood-u-Print website. On the Wood-u-Print website there is a wide range of ready-to-order (click) panels, photo frames and furniture pieces available with various premade designs. If you want to personalise an item, you can do this through their practicable online layout application or visit the showroom in Merchtem. www.wood-u-print.be
The Belgian company, based just north of Brussels, was set up three years ago and quickly realised it had found a gap in the market. By now it gets orders from all over the Benelux and beyond, including
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Princess-like jewellery and dynamic arts Being creative by nature and having a background in educating school children, she knows how to surface your own creativity as well. José Loeviera is an all-rounder. Her paintings and sculptures are sold all over the world, she developed a stuffed animal to benefit women and children in need and she supports talented and upcoming jewellery artists from Ukraine by representing her art in all of Europe. TEXT: JANINE STERENBORG | PHOTOS: LOEVIERA
The most important ingredients for every piece of art Loeviera makes are experience, layeredness and dynamics. “When I am painting a person, I do not just make a static portrait. For me it is important to look into his or her soul. To find the one thing that characterises the person in that moment, by taking the conversations to a deeper level.” Loeviera does this the same way when she paints animals. “Just like with humans, the eyes are the reflection of the soul. But since they do not talk, I look at their movements and feel the heat of their skin and their musculature.” Both ways of interacting result into a characteristic portrait of the portrayed person or animal. You will see the big picture: the posture and the character, whether it is happy or powerful. And Loeviera’s approach to industrial arts? It is the same. In the recent
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portrait of the shipyard IHC Merwede you see all layers of the yard: the inside of the factory and the harbour, including all characterising facets for which the shipyard is famous.
Jewellery like oriental fairy tales If you want to experience what it is like to feel like an oriental princess, jewellery from Nina Vitiuk might just be what you are looking for. Loeviera immediatel y loved the designs as soon as she laid eyes on them and is now Vitiuk’s agent in Europe: “She is a talented rising star from Ukraine. In her jewellery she uses real gold and silver, gems and real Swarovski crystals, which she combines and transforms into a breathtaking piece of jewellery.” And what makes the jewellery even more outstanding: Vitiuk makes each piece by hand,
which means that every piece is unique. This combination of high quality in material and handcrafts has given way to internationally acclaimed fairs in cities like Kiev, London and Tokyo and they even caught the attention of various royals who were seen wearing Vitiuk’s art.
Conceptual citydressing While Vitiuk dresses you up, Loeviera dresses up the city with conceptual art. “A rising number of companies asked me to design a piece of art as part of their advertising campaigns.” Instead of a light box on a lamppost with an advertisement, the companies prefer to have their name on a piece of art in the public space. “Recently I developed ‘art seats’ in Rotterdam. They are shaped like a bollard and will be painted by a talented artist. This way of
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Design
These pieces are by Nina Vitiuk, a rising star from Ukraine, who makes beautiful, princess-like jewellery as from an oriental fairy tale.
dvertising can mean a revolution for the a relationship between public space and advertising!” Who would not prefer a beautiful piece of art over a flickering neon sign in their streets? The material Loeviera will use for the bench is also revolutionary: “I will use polymer concrete with artificial resin. This is an upcoming material: It has all the features of regular concrete, but because it does not have a steel skeleton inside, it will not rust.”
ploys women from a rural area in Kenya and the profit raised with Streep and Kareltje goes straight to the knitters. “They get half of the profit as a wage, the other half is used to develop health care and the living environment in their area.” To Loeviera corporate social responsibility is important. “With the money the women make, they can take on a micro credit. With that, they can buy a sheep. That
means they have more wool and can keep knitting. ”This is only the tip of the iceberg though. You can also visit Loeviera for creative leadership workshops, teambuilding workshops, tailor made art, or simply to learn how to paint a cow. www.loeviera.nl
Sustainable knitting Being a former teacher, Loeviera will always love kids. She published an illustrated children's book about ‘Streep de Beer’ (Stripe the bear). In the story the bear gets socially isolated because of his secret: his length doubles when he goes swimming! Streep was created by the foundation Kenana Knitters in Kenya, where local women make funny animals from sustainable wool, cotton and natural colourings like carrot juice. “Streep is a real character,” explains Loeviera, “just like the horse Kareltje, who is now the mascot of Parapaard.” Parapaard (para-horse) is a sports foundation that helps disabled people to practice sports with horses or take on horse therapy. “Kareltje has a way too big head for its body, so it keeps falling over. It is adorable.” Kenana Knitters em-
Experience, layerdness and dynamics are key in all of Loeviera’s arts
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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Design
Geluk creates objects with a balance between form and function; he uses unconventional materials and strikingly bold and often surprising designs.
Piquing our curiosity While being creative is certainly a skill in itself, Rotterdam’s Michiel Geluk takes it far further. A proficient design consultant and self-proclaimed creative, he deftly transforms his knack for sketching imaginative designs into beloved and coveted interior products, innovative creations that each home is secretly calling for. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: GELUK DESIGN
Eschewing the more traditional designs, Geluk constantly poses himself the question of how best to pique our curiosity as a consumer. Whether it’s a wine rack, lamp or stool, he isn’t content until he reaches his objective of making us, the consumer, stare in amazement at the product – and believe us, this happens. Often pleasantly surprised by his rather unconventional material choices and strikingly bold designs, he succeeds like very few others in expressing his creative thoughts as physical entities. Take, for example, the 1,000 faces lamp, a striking circular lamp with no fewer than 160 planes, which double as both the design and the light source. Inspired by the sunset’s reflection in the ripples of Rotterdam’s Kralingse Park lake, Geluk settled on copper as the material for this cutting-
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edge product. Using copper as a flat sheet gave the young designer the flexibility to create these angles that spread the light like the ripples of the water. “It’s these kind of occurrences that inspire me,” he explains from his studio. “Far removed from the design process, the everyday happenings can spark concepts in my mind and then I’ll head back to the studio and create simple paper or cardboard models to try out my ideas.” Similarly, Geluk’s crane-inspired balance lamp causes raised eyebrows with its far from innocuously unbalanced 60cm length and 3mm width setting it apart from any regular light source. With his inventive designs, Geluk bestows an extra dimension onto household items, such as his solidly delicate hand-casted bowls and candles created with concrete.
“As a product,” explains Geluk, “these will age over time, telling a story as unique as their owners.” When it comes to the choice of material, “they choose themselves,” he says matter-of-factly. “The material has to strengthen the product’s story as well as suiting the function of the product.” Working on commission or for his own collection, Geluk’s sense of creativity is certainly reflected in the products as his aesthetically pleasing products strike the balance between form and function time and time again. Far more than just visually attractive, they’re tactile talking points of a room, winning your admiration – and as the name Geluk suggests, they’re happy products for happy people. www.gelukdesign.nl
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Design
Design dedication TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: JOINE
Autonomous industrial product designer Maarten Baptist from JOINE takes his work very seriously. Design should be optimal for its function, the production process should be done locally and responsibly and it still has to be reasonably priced. Mastering this delicate balance, many of his products have taken years to complete. One example is the Lucky Love Chair. Made from a single sheet of wood, sculpted and moulded into an elegant seat, the chair has a simple yet striking design. “Working together with a plywood manufacturer in Germany, it proved quite tricky to get the design just right. The production process is quite intensive, but the result is a beautiful and really comfortable seat.” Another furniture project, the Dutch Landscape Sofa, is a compact couch that is ideal for both sitting and lying on. Thanks
to the precise angling of the corners, optimal comfort is created for any position, but doesn’t take up much space. Baptist: “We made countless test models to get the best seating area possible. I noticed that many people immediately put their feet up to relax, so I made sure that this sofa is ideal for that.” Another design by Baptist came from a personal frustration. “I hate it when you pour water from a jug and ice cubes and lemon slices slosh into your glass,” he says. To solve this, he made decanters with two openings – a large one that can be sealed off and a small one, opposite, for pouring. “This allows you to put ice cubes, fruit and other flavour makers into the decanters without it ending up in your glass. They pour beautifully and don’t drip at all!” Baptist says. www.joine.nl
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Using material as it is – pure and straightforward TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK | PHOTOS: BLOK
It is their passion to create unique interiors, furniture and objects. The designs are different, authentic and original. BLOK consists of the two enthusiastic designers Maurice Blok and Anke van Gestel, who are eager to create beautiful things on a daily basis. “We create unadorned design,” says Van Gestel. Where do you find a workshop where a handcrafted poplar cabinet sits next to a 21st century computer-controlled milling machine? “Technology is a tool just like a handsaw,” says Anke van Gestel, cofounder of BLOK. “Sure, we can design and produce a complete custom-built interior but so can others. What sets us apart is the attention that is given to the
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material and finish. Meaning: we use materials as they are; pure and raw. We do not hide the materials with a layer of lacquer or paint. We show the beauty of the materials as they are.”
A specific style BLOK’s clientele is so diverse that there is no one explicit type; there is no ‘average’ customer. It varies from private individuals to businesses and from hospitality to government. Nevertheless they have one thing in common: they have a specific demand in style. “We work closely together with our clients in developing concepts and interiors. Currently we are working on an in-
terior for a wine bar. Material, form and experience are all entered around a strong and personal design concept,” says Van Gestel. “We have a range of different skills from metalwork, to woodworking as well a trusted network of partners that help bring projects to life.” During the creative process, BLOK keeps in touch with their customers, especially when handling complex products and large projects. They find it necessary to adapt constantly to one another; this ensures that the end result fully satisfies the customer’s wishes. Van Gestel: “Because we can make everything in our workshop, we are flexible and we can usually still make adjustments without adverse effects
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Design
on delivery date and cost.” All woodwork, and a large part of the steelwork, is made under BLOK’s own management. “We can do it all: the design, planning and implementation up to installation,” she adds.
History “I trained in Amsterdam as a traditional furniture maker with all the traditional skills before moving to Eindhoven for my first job,” says Maurice Blok. After running the product development department for Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek, it was time for him and Van Gestel to start a place of their own, with their own signature. Ever since, they have built up a company that offers solutions from design to installation. Where Blok is trained as a carpenter, Van Gestel is a completely different story; she graduated at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute. How does someone go from fashion to furniture? “I started working at BLOK immediately after my graduation. I did not know what I wanted to do, and Maurice offered me a job.” She laughs, “I started at the bottom; sanding the wood.” Ten years later she’s the one that programmes the milling machine and handles project management. “That is what sets us apart; and on a personal level it makes each day different.”
porches and from classic armchairs to robust steel outdoor pizza ovens. BLOK also makes a ‘trip to the art world’ once or twice a year. Often collaborating with an artist, they have also designed multiple pieces of art themselves. Like a 2.5 metre tall clock. BLOK launched their own line of interior products a few years ago, and the collection is steadily growing.
“We bring out the essential quality of materials by starting with their true form,” says Blok. The designs range from custom built interiors, to solid oak
Current CAD technology goes hand in hand with skilled craftsmanship. At the Dutch Design Week last year BLOK pre-
sented a series of ‘beer tables’: sturdy outdoor benches and tables crafted out of thick oak planks. The wood is beautifully carved by the computer-controlled milling machine, revealing intricate flower patterns. “Working with solid wood is not easy. It is a living, breathing material with character and imperfections, just like people,” says Blok. “It requires planning and craftsmanship to shape a piece, which comes straight out of a tree. Anyone who’s taken a good look at a plywood table covered with veneer agrees that something is lost in translation.” Van Gestel: “We actually developed our own method of treating plywood, to bring out what we felt was lost in mass production and standardization in a recent set of cabinets like the Peacock and Dragon cabinets. The best part of the profession is creating beautiful things. Seeing a thought or idea made into reality is incredible. It all starts in our minds and at the end there is a tangible and useable product.” www.blokmeubel.nl
Pizza oven from high tensile steel
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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Design
Smart and high quality LEDs A home lit by high quality LED lights, which are energy efficient and easy to control via a smartphone app, no matter where you are – DALEN makes it easy to create a perfect residential lighting plan. And not just that: their LEDS allow you to adjust brightness and contrast, they include eye protection technology, have a 270-degree beam angle, are insect resistant and have a lifespan of over ten years. TEXT: JANINE STERENBORG | PHOTOS: DALEN
A dark house is not the nicest place to come home to. It does not feel very welcoming and you might even trip over shoes, toys, or other stuff that is lying around. Would it not be nice if all the lights you wish were turned on, in the brightness you desire?
EcoCloud The app ecoCloud, developed by DALEN, allows you to make your home as comfortable as you wish, the moment right before you get home. “With the ecoCloud you can control which of our ceiling lights you want turned on, you can control their brightness and even set the colour temperature. Cool white for
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example is perfect for reading, while you should switch to warm white for when you are having dinner or are watching TV. EcoCloud can offer these scene modes for you easily,” explains DALEN Benelux’s marketer Stephan Mol. Besides that, you can control other electric devices, such as your TV, DVD player and air purifier with the app. “With ecoCloud you can also set up lists and control different appliances at the same time and the telecontrol is even supported via 3G/4G,” he says. What might even be the best thing: you do not have to touch your phone to turn on the lights when you get home. “You can programme the lights so
that they will automatically turn on when your phone is nearby. It’s just like a puppy welcoming you home!” Mol says.
Ceiling lights DALEN focuses on one light in particular: their high quality ceiling lamp. “This lamp is suitable for many residential areas like living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, reading rooms and more. It is especially suitable for lighting projects such as villas, apartments and hotel rooms,” explains Mol. LED lights used to be famous for their cold colours, which did not make them very popular for for lighting a place with a cosy atmosphere. Thanks to all the developments in the
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Design
last couple of years, this has changed. He says: “The market for LEDs is growing very fast. At first, LEDs were mainly used for public lighting, but with the increasing quality and decreasing costs, more and more families choose to light their homes with LEDs.”
Safe for the eye Not just any LED is the best choice though. “Some LEDS have serious ripple wave, which is harmful to people’s eyes. You can check if your LED has ripple wave by using a phone with camera view finder: if you see the light flickering when you are at 15 centimetres distance, it is low quality. At DALEN we have developed our own LED driver and software to achieve a no flickering and no ripple wave performance. For those who are acquainted with the technicalities: it has a power factor bigger than 0.95, it’s the real eye-protection technology,” Mol explains.
Research and development For their products, DALEN owns over 90 patents. He continues, “We have spent two and a half years on research and development and tested and optimised our products over thousands of
times before we released them to the market. All our products meet our very strict quality standards.” And not to forget: their designs are fabulous. These qualities, combined with the smart functions of the ecoCloud and the low energy consumption, this might just be the ideal way to manage your lights as efficient and convenient as possible. Another option is to use the remote control if you prefer that over their app.
About DALEN The start of DALEN Benelux was a rapid one: “DALEN is a China-based company, which DALEN Benelux founder Paul van den Hoogen found online,” explains Mol. “He thought the products were very interesting and full of potential. He immediately flew to China and after three days of efficient and pleasant discussions and meetings, he decided to set up DALEN Benelux.” Other branch companies of DALEN are in Japan, Singapore, Italy and the Czech Republic. Their common goal? Mol concludes: “We want to improve the lives of consumers around the globe with practical, stylish and smart home products.” www.dalen-tech.nl
Issue 12 | December 2014 | 47
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Design
Ride through a Van Gogh painting The Dutch have done it again – they have created something unique and extraordinary for the world: an illuminated bicycle path. The path combines innovation and design with cultural heritage and tourism; it links the past with the present and the future. TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK | PHOTOS: NBTC
As soon as the sun goes down, the path lights up. Special ‘light stones’ charged by solar power during day light up throughout the night. After dark, visitors are amazed by a design of light and colour. The pattern in which the light stones are applied is inspired by the work of Vincent van Gogh, the world-famous painting The Starry Night. The spiral curls in the painting are reflected in the pattern of the bricks.
When technology and art collide According to the Dutch designer Daan Roosengaarde, this will create a “play on light and poetry”. Roosegaarde:
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“I wanted to create a place that people will experience in a special way, the technical combined with an experience, that’s what techno-poetry means to me.” Together with Heijmans, a Dutch construction company, Roosegaarde created a special innovative technology. Thousands of little twinkling stones were ‘sprinkled’ on the existing road. During the day, the technology allows the stones to charge, and at night they illuminate the path. By ‘sprinkling’ the stones, Roosegaarde emulated the brushstrokes of Van Gogh and used the road like his own canvas. Heijmans reasphalted the road, so the stones could
be integrated in the asphalt. “Our partnership seems unconventional, but it brings the best of both worlds together, creating new solutions for the mobility of tomorrow,” Roosegaarde says. The bike trail is surrounded by meadows; therefore it is very dark at night. The stones illuminate the path for 600 metres. Those 600 metres may not seem like a typically long Dutch cycling path, but it is much more than that. It is an experience of art that can be understood by everyone, and it also offers a little help to find your way in the dark Dutch fields. In fact, it is a piece of art which visitors are allowed to touch and
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Design
The illuminating bicycle path is now accessible for everyone. According to Roosengaarde it is like riding through a fairy tale: “It is a perfect place for a first date”.
use for their benefit; at night the path shows the way, while it feels like a ride through a Van Gogh painting.
Glow-in-the-dark for grownups Roosengaarde is well known for his exceptional and smart designs. But the bicycle path is not the first solar road; previously Roosengaarde and Heijmans developed the ‘Smart Highway’, an interactive and sustainable road of tomorrow near Oss. Photo-luminescent paint marks the edges of the road, designed to make the highway safer, while saving money and energy. The Van Gogh bicycle path is created as a cultural and recreational excursion, based on the Smart Highway techniques Roosengaarde and Heijmans have developed. Roosengaarde: “It is inspired by the glow-in-the-dark stickers we had when we were children. This version is more modern and up-to-date. I think this could be the best and most economy-friendly solution for roads in about five to ten years. We do not need to build an entire new road to create a design like this. The stones and paint are added to existing roads.”
they have created a paint which can be activated by only a whiff of light. A tiny amount of electricity has a large effect; the roads are illuminated for up to eight hours, without disturbing the ecological environment. There is already a worldwide interest in these techniques; Qatar, England and multiple African countries show great interest in the use of solar roads.
Follow in Van Gogh’s footsteps The opening of the bicycle path last month marked the start of the Van Gogh 2015 international year. Next year is the 125th an-
niversary of the death of Vincent van Gogh. The entire year will be commemorated in the Netherlands with a comprehensive cultural programme on the theme ‘125 years of inspiration’. The Van Gogh-Roosengaarde bicycle path is part of the Van Gogh cycle routes, in the province of Noord-Brabant. The routes show places where Van Gogh lived, got inspired, and worked. The Van Gogh-Roosengaarde path is a part the routes in Nuenen, a village near Eindhoven where Van Gogh lived for two years and created one of his masterpieces The Potato Eaters.
Those who are familiar with the Dutch weather know that there are periods in the year with little sunlight. Therefore
Issue 12 | December 2014 | 49
ARCHITECT OF THE MONTH
Architecture for life The rise of the Bureau Architecture Engineering Verhaegen is the story of one of the Belgian greats. The firm saw birth some 55 years ago, created by Emile Verhaegen, with a philosophy of excellence that will resonate for decades and leave a mark on the Belgian architectural landscape across the board – from academia to policy and architectural style. TEXT: HARUN OSMANOVIC | PHOTOS: BUREAU ARCHITECTURE ENGINEERING VERHAEGEN
Since the beginning of the year, when Verhaegen, now Professor Emeritus of the Université Catholique de Louvain, stepped down from the direction of the Bureau Architecture Engineering Verhaegen (BAEV), it is Jean Paul Muyle and Nicolas Van Oost who took over with an equal motivation to put architecture to the service of daily life. “When working on an architectural pro ject, or any project that impacts the lives of men and women as much as a building does, the stakes are rather high,” explains Van Oost, “and this is why we at
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the Bureau Architecture Engineering Verhaegen strive to reconcile beauty and practicality in e verything that we do. People who inhabit our work must enjoy it, this is a core value of our firm.”
What might have started opportunistically, winning a series of calls for projects in healthcare and the pharmaceuticals industry, has become a conscious strategy.
You can recognize the work of the firm throughout Belgium but also overseas, especially because of its modernity and in the way that light sinks inside and inundates the living areas. The tendency of BAEV's team to go for challenges and embrace projects with a high level of technicality is probably one of the reasons behind the firm's success.
As of late, the BAEV is working on a hospital with an integrated oncology centre in Liège, with the objective of having two laboratory levels within the same building. The approach will allow for impressive multidisciplinary patient care and provide a state-of-the-art tool to researchers... but as one can imagine, this doesn't come without its set of challenges.
Discover Benelux | Architect of the Month | BAEV
Bureau Architecture Engineering Verhaegen takes pride in its quality of service and architectural expertise and often successfully embraces projects with a high level of technicality.
“We have worked on many demanding projects,” explains member of the board Roland Roquiny, “in our thirty-year-long collaboration with the aerospace company SABCA for instance, we have had the opportunity to develop the test hall for the Ariane rocket. This kind of pro ject, on top of being professionally gratifying, forces us to create new processes both in the execution of our work and in quality control, a constant discipline which helps us maintain our level of competency.”
arise from them and the site management and coordination that ensue.”
This obsession with quality of service and architectural expertise was rewarded in 2000 when BAEV obtained the ISO 9001 certification from the Belgian Construction Certification Association, for “the design of architecture and engineering projects, the preparation of all projects that
Clients from around the world are recognising the quality of the Belgian firm's work. “One of our added values lies in our emphasis on listening to understand the client's concept and, very often, predict the evolution of the client's needs for the next half decade.”
A certification that was very natural, as Van Oost points out. “This was simply a formalization of the type of quality and control that we were already applying to our work,” he says. “We do not see the quest for improvement as a constraint but indeed as research and development.” As an example, the BAEV is currently investigating processes, techniques and policies that could cut construction times.
Thus, when the Chinese firm JuXing I nternational decided to build a 120,000 square metres technology centre in Louvain-La-Neuve, it chose to work with the BAEV. The China-Belgium tech centre will host five clusters of activities and include offices, a 160-bed hotel, a conference centre, parking facilities and much more. Over half a century after its creation, the BAEV has seen many changes and stayed as modern and ground-breaking as anyone could hope for. After the repurchasing of all shares in the firm, these were redistributed to the employees who now own their company because it all boils down to integrity, freedom of choice and, further, down to what's essential: quality of life. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the company asked photographer Sébastien Reuzé to visit the structures the BAEV has built over the decades – a maternity ward, a school, a factory, a petrol station and a rest and care home. The pictures where then given to five Belgian writers who imagined life stories in these works of architecture. The result was made into a book by publisher La Lettre Volée and sums up what the team at BAEV believes is the intention of architecture: to be inhabited! www.baev.be
Issue 12 | December 2014 | 51
The former tram depot in Amsterdam called De Hallen, was built in 1910. Van Veldhuizen’s hotel design was shortlisted for the ‘Best Hotel Design’ award.
Van Veldhuizen was recommended to create four villas in Veenendaal on the same street, complete from interior design, architecture and garden.
A specialist of diversity TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: MARCO VAN VELDUIZEN
A master off all trades, architect Marco van Veldhuizen thrives on the diversity of his projects. His architecture firm, Studio Marco van Veldhuizen, specialises in full concept design, encompassing interiors, exteriors and gardens. From roof to light switch, Van Veldhuizen can take care of the full package. “When we do all aspects of a project, we can make sure the building – inside and outside – and the surroundings are in one style and that the use of space is optimised,” says Van Velduizen. “We emphasise honesty and really listen to the clients. This way we can create truly personal and attractive buildings and exteriors.” At Studio Marco van Veldhuizen each architectural design aspect is treated with the same importance. When he started the company eight years ago, Van Veld-
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huizen asked himself what he enjoyed more. “I couldn’t choose between exterior and interior, both are beautiful to work on. I love variety and the work we do is as wide-ranging as it gets, both in the Netherlands and abroad,” Van Veldhuizen explains. Recently the company was nominated for the ‘Best Hotel Design’ award. De Hallen in Amsterdam, a large former industrial hall with protected status, is now a public centre with a cinema, a library, shops, offices and a hotel. The latter, consisting of 45 bedrooms, meeting rooms and a bar, was designed by Van Veldhuizen. “We had to keep the original construction intact but the only light came in through the building’s atrium roof. We used wooden lamellae along the inside glass walls to create private yet bright rooms. The hotel itself has an eclectic but elegant combination of vintage and modern styles,” he says.
Van Veldhuizen also fondly recounts four current projects in Veenendaal. On one single street he has been asked to design four complete villas. “The owners knew each other and recommended me for the job. Each villa has something eye-catching, one has a beautiful façade, the other a striking entrance hall. They are all equally beautiful, yet also have something unique,” says Van Veldhuizen. From start to finish, a complete new build can easily take a year to complete. “It is important to have a good relationship with the client. This is why we are very approachable, open and we want to enjoy the work. Many times, clients say they find it a shame when we come to the end. Needless to say, many return to us for new projects!” Van Veldhuizen says. www.marcovanveldhuizen.nl
Discover Benelux | Architecture | PBV Architects
Efficient and convenient hotel architecture TEXT: JANINE STERENBORG | PHOTOS: PBV ARCHITECTS
If you are going to build or rebuild a hotel, you are probably wondering how to take the utmost out of the square metres you have and how to save some money in the long run. PBV architects knows how hotels work and designs efficient and convenient buildings that fit their surroundings perfectly. PBV architects is run by three partners and has twenty years of experience in architecture. Throughout the years, developing hotels has grown to be their specialism. “We work with hotels like Hilton, Van der Valk and Hyatt”, explains architect Wolbrand van der Vis. The key element is to focus on the needs of the user. “This can be either spending a sizzling weekend in The Hague, for which the five star Hilton hotel in the embassy quarter is perfect, or meeting and a good night’s sleep in the Hilton Garden Inn in Leiden.” Another key aspect of designing a hotel, is the way a building fits the surroundings. Wolbrand: “Hilton Garden Inn for example is situated next to Corpus, which we designed as well. It is a gigantic structure shaped like a person, in which you can
go on a journey through the human body to discover all aspects of our insides. The Garden Inn on the other hand is very sleek, so the focus is kept on Corpus b ecause a combination with a more complicated building would make the environment look too overwhelming.” De Echoput in the forest near Apeldoorn is totally different: the natural colours and the more complicated design fit perfectly in the arboreal area. Hyatt Place near Schiphol too, is totally different: it is sleek, but at the same time complicated, which fits perfectly in its industrial backdrop. When designing a hotel, PBV architects will help you maximise the results. The partners make sure your hotel fits in its surroundings perfectly, plus they know exactly how to optimise the use of all your square metres. Wolbrand concluded, “With our knowledge and experience, we know how to get the most efficient and convenient results. You don’t have to invent the wheel yourself!” www.pbv.nl
All buildings fit perfectly into their surroundings.
Issue 12 | December 2014 | 53
Discover Benelux | Architecture | Atelier to the Bone
A perfect collaboration between the innovators Baars & Bloemhoff and Atelier to the Bone TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: ATELIER TO THE BONE
While many of their contemporaries in the world of architecture struggled to keep afloat, the young studio of Atelier to the Bone (AttB) got off to a flying start, winning a host of awards and international acclaim. How so? It’s thanks to their innovative take on architecture, which is certainly evident in Eindhoven’s Broeinest. Officially opening on 22 January 2015, Broeinest is an exciting new concept by Baars & Bloemhoff in Eindhoven’s creative heart, Strijp-S.
tects, they claim, can essentially build the bridge between changes in society and our built environment. Yet, they insist on the need for a societal catalyst rather than the pure desire to build. As the Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa said: “Architecture is about the understanding of the world, and turning it into a more humane place,” and in line with this, the latest generation of architects look further than aesthetics, taking a multi-disciplinary approach and daring to be innovative.
With growing unrest in our society – economic, environmental and social – Atelier to the Bone’s three founders, Jeroen van Aerle, Philippe Rol and Beerd Gieteling, firmly believe that the role of the architect is vital in dealing with these issues. Archi-
Sharing AttB’s urge to innovate is the well-known Baars & Bloemhoff, a fixture in the world of material supplies. Reacting to the decline in construction since 2008, Baars & Bloemhoff have welcomed the challenge to create new concepts.
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“What remains is change, and what changes remains,” explains Bart Dekkers, Baars & Bloemhoff’s director and the creator of the Broeinest concept. With their ‘Broeinest voor creativiteit’ (hotbed of creativity) at Eindhoven’s StrijpS, they’ve taken the initiative to create a space that directly connects their materials with the new generation of creative professionals. This responds impeccably to the needs of the growing population of self-employed creatives, who often do not have a close network of contemporaries or materials to work with. Dekkers explains this is exactly how Broeinest is facilitating change: “We’ve taken the lead together with brands such as Forbo, Interface, DRT, Sphinx and Modular to
Discover Benelux | Architecture | Atelier to the Bone
offer a place where the (interior) architect and the creative designer can work more successfully, with like-minded souls and all the necessary facilities.” For Broeinest’s own interior, Baars & Bloemhoff settled on a design contest, in which AttB’s fully flexible and dynamic design was victorious. As well as a flexiworkspace for (interior) architects and designers, Broeinest contains Baars & Bloemhoff’s materials, available for immediate use in models, presentations and collages. (Interior) designers therefore have free use of a space in Eindhoven’s creative core that houses everything needed. With Broeinest defining the space, users are invited to engage in its design and use. AttB’s winning design brings multi-purpose space to the fore with each square metre used to its full potential; with one handmovement the entire space can be transformed from an open office into a presentation room, exhibition space or workshop area. To maximise flexibility, they designed the Broeiplek, a moveable piece of furniture with two worktops that can be used
as the user wishes: desk, drawing table, painting easel or presentation display – a fitting response to current demands from young professionals in this field for freedom. Far more than just a static showroom, Broeinest is a dynamic space that repeatedly reacts to its users’ wishes. The flexibility that characterises Broeinest was prompted by the global societal changes – AttB have these matters at the core of their designs. With Schuttingtaal (slang), their innovative take on a traditional garden shed, they convincingly won the 2013 Young Architects Prize. Incorporating the regular functions of a summerhouse, it shares the role of the dividing fence, allowing access to both sides. Once a dividing feature, this object becomes a shared summerhouse that unites, allowing optimum use for both users – and costs can be shared with neighbours. According to AttB, architects shouldn’t limit themselves to a particular scale. For them, creating a connection is vital, and this is unmistakable in their deserved victory in Europan, the international archi-
tecture competition. Since 2010, sewing machine manufacturer Pfaff’s former 21hectare industrial site in Kaiserslautern has fallen into disrepair, prompting the need for a complete overhaul. In a task like this, the role of the architect as a facilitator is called for. During the development phase, AttB considered how people approach certain spaces and sought to link these concepts. Giving people the opportunity to shape their own environmental results in a relationship developing between user and space. Such a system has no static end result and this form of dynamic urban planning is characterised in projects such as Eindhoven’s Strijp-S, where Broeinest will shortly open its doors. The collaboration between AttB and Baars & Bloemhoff is one that brims with possibilities, seeing both parties searching for the optimal way to connect; connecting people not just with each other, but with their surroundings as well. www.broeinest.nl www.attb.nl
Issue 12 | December 2014 | 55
Discover Benelux | Architecture | Inbo
“We think it to build it” Creating precious places for everyday life – that is what Inbo strives for. It does that by connecting existing values and new impulses across all levels of scale and from the perspective of the full life cycle – from development strategies and urbanism to architecture, interior design and engineering. TEXT: JANINE STERENBORG | PHOTOS: INBO
“Collaboration is the key in realising truly successful designs for a sustainable living environment,” Tako Postma, architect and partner at Inbo. He elaborates on the practice's commitment to meaningful design solutions: “We do it together. Our clients and the end users are a valuable partner in finding clever and efficient ways of creating exiting and highly usable space. Space that users really appreciate. The design process is a joint venture, to assure mutual understanding of where we all come from and the point we want to arrive at together. From common ground we can realise an
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undisputed and self-evident level of quality in our buildings and environment.” For almost 50 years now Inbo has been successfully developing the built environment through multidisciplinary collaboration. “We operate within a network of professionals, committed to realising joint targets,” says Postma. “Our social standing in the field is characterised by innovative thinking based on a solid foundation in practice. Our architects realise their designs. Our engineers think BIM (Building Information Modelling). Our urban planners
clarify complex issues through clear analysis. Organising complex processes from the content within inspires our consultants in their work.” “We see the fact that so many of our clients have become long-term business relations as a great compliment,” Postma continues. This sustainable business approach is evident in the ongoing design activities for the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven already spanning a decade and a half. The ‘smartest square kilometre on the planet’ is where Philips has concentrated its key
Discover Benelux | Architecture | Inbo
Collaborative designs for sustainable living environments from the end user’s point of view
research facilities, and now offers synergy effects for countless knowledge-based businesses located on the site. Postma: “There are two particularly important design aspects that we apply without exception. One: the buildings are open and transparent, providing the researchers with a workspace in the middle of natural surroundings. Two: common facilities are centralised, promoting interaction, synergy and serendipity in a very natural way.” The facts speak for themselves. The High Tech Campus has the highest patent count per square kilometre worldwide. Inbo is currently working on the renovation of the visitor centre of De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB). Postma: “We are transforming the closed building into an open one, fitting with the core values of the DNB: stability and transparency. The combination of clear glass and the bronze framework results in a business-like but warm atmosphere, exuding a hospitable professionalism.” As part of the intelligent renovation scheme, the building support systems have been relocated into the underground basement level of the building. Freed of visible technical clutter, the near energy-neutral building will better fit into the protected surroundings of listed buildings.
The multifunctional character of the inner city of Amsterdam is pushing its way into the surrounding – formerly mono-functional – neighbourhoods. Inbo welcomes this contemporary urban trend. “Currently we have two high-rise housing projects under development on the Zuidas. Unusually for this business district, our buildings are characterised by an unmistakeably ‘liveable’ architecture. Both buildings share the urban typology of a high mixed-use plinth and a high level of detail at the top of the towering volume, but are very different in character,” says Postma. While the striking difference in architectural expression reflects the wishes of the different clients, the underlying professional approach is the same. “The apartments are extremely liveable, and enjoy breath-taking views and ample daylight. A generously dimensioned private outdoor space is a base quality of our designs here. The penthouse is really more like a townhouse with a 300 square metres terrace, towering over the city at an elevation of 80 metres above ground.” Designs like this are an exemplary result of teamwork. “At Inbo we work with twelve partners and forty architects, each with their own architectural signature. While respecting their individual qualities, the de-
sign professionals all share the wish and ability to collaborate. We work together within the team, but also with our clients and end users,” Postma explains. One of the means used for multidisciplinary collaboration is BIM: Building Information Modelling. “Together we work on one complete digital 3D model of our building. All facets of the building are in there. It has some great advantages, and provides us with a fantastic communication tool for collaboration. It is easier to present our ideas to our client, and for our client to get a clear image of the expected end result. Above all that, it allows the designers to work in more detail and more comprehensively,” he says. “It’s not just about the walls and the windows, but goes all the way down to the fittings of power utilities. Working with BIM helps us to intercept problems that, in a traditional design process, might not surface until the construction phase. We are now equipped to optimise right from the initial design stages.” www.inbo.com
Issue 12 | December 2014 | 57
Discover Benelux | Theatre | Luxembourg
Luxembourg takes the stage TEXT: KAROLINA MARKIEWICZ (FOR THE THEATER FEDERATIOUN) | PHOTOS: LUXEMBOURG NATIONAL THEATRE
Luxembourg could be thought of as something of a laboratory in matters cultural, especially in the world of theatre. Rather than a revolution, it has experienced somewhat of an explosion of talent and in quality since 1995.
bourg (National Theatre of Luxembourg, see next page) or the TROIS C-L (Luxembourg Centre for Choreographic Creation). These two places don’t hesitate to break down barriers between disciplines or to venture beyond their own confines.
In the city centre we can point to seven stages where the programme wouldn’t be out of place in the world’s great capitals. Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg (Luxembourg City Theatres) specialise in international co-productions with great European theatres, in French and German.
Then there’s the tiny cellar that is the Théâtre du Centaure (Centaur Theatre) a gem that attracts regulars, but also students from the Grande Region. Its constantly renewing audience and welcoming warmth is more usually associated with events like the Avignon Festival.
Equally they stage classic operas along with avant-garde productions and contemporary dance for which Luxembourg has become a much sought-after destination for internationally renowned choreo graphers such as Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker or Akram Khan. In all, it is diverse, unusual, of great quality, set in exceptional surroundings and aimed at national and international audiences.
The Théâtre Ouvert Luxembourg (Luxembourg Open Theatre) puts on French-language theatrical adventures in a back-yard building, mixing classical authors with more contemporary ones. As for The Neimënster Cultural Centre situated in the Grund District – a majestic setting surrounded by ancient fortifications – it produces work created within the Grande Region. The repertoire leans as much towards Luxembourg as to international pieces.
gramme staged at CarréRotondes, known for its incredibly beautiful and relevant shows. Beyond the capital lie other unmissable places where the public is intelligently entertained and perhaps given pause for thought or drawn into some unforgettable adventure. Among these are the Opderschmelz Cultural Centre in Dudelange, a must-see for research, cross-cultural and experimental projects, the CAPe Ettelbruck (Ettelbrück Multi-Arts Centre) that piques one’s curiosity with its mix of theatre and music, the Esch/Alzette Municipal Theatre with the accent on popular theatre but also French- and German-language productions along with dance, and finally the Kultur fabrik, oriented towards different theatrical disciplines. All of these places put on programmes which demonstrate superb diversity and exceptional quality year round – though now, with the rapidly approaching Christmas and New Year celebrations, the theatres are especially active.
Beside these, there are some little jewels of theatres, where younger directors, choreographers, actors and dancers can step in, such as the Théâtre National du Luxem-
An audience that comprises the very young, children and adolescents, is catered for by TRAFFO, the arts pro-
Der Messias at Théâtre des Capucins
Frrrups at CarréRotondes
Wilhelm B. at CarréRotondes
Zur schönen Aussicht at Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg
Volo at CarréRotondes
Duo con piano at Théâtre d’Esch/Alzette
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Discover Benelux | Theatre | Luxembourg National Theatre
L U X E M B O U R G N A T I O N A L T H E A T R E
Spreading and sharing talent TEXT: PHIL GALE | PHOTOS: LUXEMBOURG NATIONAL THEATRE
Theatres are normally considered solely as locations where performances are held, but the Luxembourg National Theatre (TNL) is this, and so much more combined. How does a small country such as Luxembourg, that has a wealth of talent in performing arts, spread and share it with the world? An interesting question that many of you might not have posed to yourselves, but one that was at the centre of the creation of the Luxembourg National Theatre in 1996, a year after the city of Luxembourg was the European Capital of Culture. Set up to become the ‘shop window’ to share, show off and promote the abundance of talent in performing arts found within Luxembourg, it has been a huge success ever since, having created a prestigious name for itself worldwide. But how do you promote your country’s talent in the world of
performing arts? Frank Hoffman, the Theatre’s director explains: “Our aim has always been to promote Luxembourg’s theatrical talent. We are a small country so we believe that for people to reach their potential they need to gain experience internationally. By creating a known and revered name for the TNL we draw the best in performing arts from around the world to our productions, so our own country’s talent can get the opportunity to work with them, thereby opening doors in their future careers too.” By putting on their own productions and performances, while utilising the world’s best and also their own country’s reserves, the TNL really has raised the level of performing arts in Luxembourg. Hoffman continues: “As a nation we take influence from those around us. A normal day for a Luxembourger sees them talking more in other
languages, French, German or English, than their own language Luxembourgish. This flexibility has been reflected in the talent that we have been nurturing in our performing arts, creating such stunning productions.” Not only a location where you can get entertained to the highest and most cultured standards, the Luxembourg National Theatre is also cultivating their own country’s talent and sharing a unique style. Hoffman concludes: “It is great to see Luxembourg’s best in performing arts get opportunities and recognition worldwide. I think that as a small country with so many external influences we are flexible yet deep down hold a resilient Luxembourg core, reflected in the productions we put on.” www.tnl.lu
Issue 12 | December 2014 | 59
TOP RIGHT: Stonedreams, until 18 January, will show the relationship between the work of sculptors Heather Carroll, Eck Lunkes and Gé Pellini and the world of the Feidt quarry.
The dimensions of culture Located in Mersch, the Mierscher Kulturhaus is right at the centre of Luxembourg, almost exactly at the crossing of the four cardinal axes. Similarly, its approach to culture aims at promoting the arts in all the directions where they are present and thus stay at the heart of artistic creation. TEXT: HARUN OSMANOVIC | PHOTOS: MIERSCHER KULTURHAUS
From theatre to dance, from acting and music to poetry readings, from accomplished artists to up and coming talents who need a push out the nest to take their first flight, the Mierscher Kulturhaus strives to be one of the most active actors in the Grand Duchy and beyond. “The Mierscher Kulturhaus is a variable geometry entity in many ways,” explains Karin Kremer, director of the institute. “Our mission indeed goes beyond the walls of the Kulturhaus, because culture is alive, it makes you reason and dream and gain consciousness, one must have a thinkoutside-the-box attitude towards it, one must have the courage to take risks and get outside of one’s comfort zone.” This is the reason why Kremer and her team never refrain from showcasing first œuvres of talented artists or offering them space to de60 | Issue 12 | December 2014
velop their work, from promoting iconoclastic pieces or presenting original vantage points.
hibitions, we always try to conjugate art with craftsmanship,” says Kremer.
Saturday 31 January 2015, for instance, the Mierscher Kulturhaus is organizing an evening dedicated to Vaslav Nijinsky, the gravity-defying Russian dancer. Because of Nijinsky’s troubled personality, the programme will start with a reading, by actors Christian Berkel and Christiane Rausch, of Nijinsky’s biography and letters from psychiatric patients accompanied by piano.
Thus, between December and April, you will have the opportunity to discover Stonedreams and Automobil und Omnibus, two remarkable exhibitions that respectively correlate the work of a sculpture with the world of the quarry and photography with the mechanical genius of Mercedes-Benz.
The second part of the evening will see Sylvia Camarda and Jérôme Varanfrain offer a dance piece inspired by the life and words of Nijinsky, especially by his writings which were for him the logical extension, or part of the same articulation as his dance. The Merscher Kulturhaus is also host to original exhibitions. “When we organize ex-
With such a display of music and levitating dance, stones and mechanics, matter and waves it is easy to see how the moto of the Merscher Kulturhaus – Kultur am carré, or Culture² – is such an understatement. www.kulturhaus.lu
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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Legal Excellence
Legal Excellence TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK
With its wealth of international institutions and major presence in the world of global business affairs, the Benelux definitely punches above its weight in the financial, legal and political industries. With the UN’s International Court of Justice in The Hague, Brussels as the capital of the European Union and Luxembourg a global stronghold for investment funds, the region is all but a small player when it comes to business. In this Special Theme: Legal Excellence, we dive into the world of the law and highlight some of the Benelux’s top law firms that help international businesses excel both at home and abroad. Starting off the theme is a double introduction from the Dutch and Luxembourg Bar, pointing out what makes this region so attractive for business.
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Following on from that, we have a special announcement from a major law firm setting up an office in a new jurisdiction. Read all about their new venture on page 66 and find out what attracted them to enter a new market. Next we feature some other top class law firms run by passionate partners who know their field of business inside out. Before this Special Theme draws to a close, there are many more pages of business features to follow. In particular, our section on expert translators – many of whom specialise in legal translations and work together with the Benelux’s many international institutions and companies. But don’t miss the final pages, our regular business columnists have witty opinions on communication and leadership and our business calendar is filled with promising events for a successful end of 2014.
TOP: The Hague skyline. Photo NBTC BOTTOM: Luxembourg Kirchberg business district. Photo: ONT Luxembourg
Maître d’Ath is proud to announce the arrival of Argan Avenue de la Toison d’Or, 74 1060 Brussels - www.dath.be
The sky is the limit TEXT: WALTER HENDRIKSEN, PRESIDENT OF THE DUTCH BAR ASSOCIATION | PHOTOS: NBTC
I remember vividly when Apollo 11 landed on the moon and Neil Armstrong sent his famous words through space. My parents were very impressed by the whole thing, which in turn impressed me. This memory popped up while I visited the conference ‘The sky is the limit’ organized by the Dutch Young Lawyers Association in November. The theme of the convention was law and developments – in society as well as technology. The technological progress I witnessed as a little boy in the sixties taught me that not the sky, but the moon is the limit. Nowadays the possibilities of technology seem endless – the limit is far beyond the sky and the moon. During my career as an attorney at law the new technological developments that would facilitate my work never ceased to impress me. When I first started out as a lawyer our offices still employed a telex machine. The introduction of the fax machine is still engraved in my memory. A messenger would come running down the hallway
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if a facsimile was addressed to you. At that time it was quite special if a fax came in, and being allowed to send faxes to the courts directly was a big deal. Some of my colleagues were very special: they occasionally received court documents by fax.
for the sake of our clients, I have some reservations on the endless possibilities of technology. Maybe in some instances, the sky should be the limit? I hope you enjoy your journey and wish you a safe flight.
The Dutch Bar is eagerly waiting for the courts to finally start using email in legal proceedings. 2015 will mark the year that the filing of legal documents in the Netherlands is finally digitized. But the Dutch government also plans to let individuals, rather than their lawyer, submit documents to the courts. This would supposedly accelerate the proceedings. As president of the Dutch Bar Association this worries me. Not only do I fear that judges will be flooded by irrelevant paperwork, but I also believe dispute resolution always entails a tailor-made solution. Speeding up discussions merely for the sake of quick resolution means the potential loss of subtlety. That would not be in our clients’ best interests. So while I look forward to finally being able to communicate digitally with the courts,
Walter Hendriksen, President of the Dutch Bar Association. Press photo
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Legal Excellence
Photo: Christian Kieffer / ONT
Legal excellence in Luxembourg TEXT & PHOTO: BARREAU OF LUXEMBOURG
The Luxembourg Bar is one of two orders of legal professionals independent of the state and the magistrature, endowed with the status of legal person. Each order enjoys territorial competence in one of two geographic areas, Luxembourg or Diekirch, where the barristers for each must be registered. As regards the numbers of barristers, the Luxembourg Bar is the more significant, with more than 2,230 lawyers, as compared to 34 in Diekirch. Within that total, some 1,000 are women. There is enormous diversity, with more than 35 different nationalities represented. Over the last ten years and more, the number of lawyers and of major international firms has risen, as well as European lawyers practising under their original status, who have established themselves in Luxembourg. Just as those in the economic and financial worlds have done, the Luxembourg Bar is responding positively to these changes and to that dynamic, working with them in a constructive manner. Socially and culturally
diverse, it is the open, modern, young and international qualities that in turn bring it originality and strength. The Bar’s importance and its renown, nationally as well as the internationally, are linked not just to the financial sphere but equally, to name a few, to the telecommunications sector and its ‘data centres’, to the insurance and re-insurance markets, to ships sailing under Luxembourg’s colours, or to the investment industry. The lawyers belonging to the Luxembourg Bar meet the expectations and needs of the actors and decision makers in these activities, whether that be with advice or in dispute resolution in the courts or otherwise. This, along with Luxembourg’s central position within the EU, explains why there is such a significant ratio of lawyers per head of population in the Grand Duchy. In addition to such spheres of activity almost half of our barristers litigate in other fields such as civil, family, criminal law and commercial law.
In spite of the many specialisms required within the diverse activities in which the Bar is involved, it is totally dedicated to the preservation of the profession as a single unique entity. Alive to the evolution of laws and of jurisprudence, the Bar offers several – free of charge – continuous professional development events every year. Supplementary conferences and seminars in particular topics and subjects enrich the training of young barristers. Thanks to its relations with other Bar Associations within the EU, the Luxembourg Bar enjoys fraternal and preferential contacts with the Bars of other countries and continents, in particular that of Mali which sadly is currently having to live through difficult times. The Luxembourg Bar willingly and fully embraces the role of the Bar for the capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and is its ambassador wherever in the world it operates.
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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Legal Excellence
Legal heavyweight enters the Luxembourg market Global law firm Simmons & Simmons is expanding by entering into a new jurisdiction. Joining forces with seasoned lawyer Stéphane Ober, the firm will (subject to regulatory approvals) open a brand new office in Luxembourg. As the country head, Ober will lead a team of 15 partners and associates – one of Simmons & Simmons’s biggest new offices in the last few years. TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: SIMMONS & SIMMONS
As the founder and managing partner of Ober & Partners, based in Luxembourg, Ober is well versed in the area of investment management. With experience leading his own firm, as well as working for major law firms in Luxembourg and abroad, Ober knows Europe’s corporate climate like few others.
tory law practices in Europe. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, being a highperformance firm they still hold solid traditional values of providing excellent quality services. It was the perfect match for me.” Ober, who is fluent in French and English, is a member of both the Luxembourg and Paris bar.
An ambitious move Stéphane Ober says, “Simmons & Simmons is one of the largest financial regula-
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The ambitious move allows Simmons & Simmons to directly enter the Luxem-
bourg market, which is Europe’s second largest in terms of investment funds. Due to recent changes in European legislation, Luxembourg as a jurisdiction has become more of an attraction in this sector, with a particular interest from companies in Asia. Ober says, “There is an increasing appetite from Asia to work through Luxembourg. Already three major banks in China are registered here and in turn we expect to see more
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Legal Excellence
Luxembourg products enter the Asian markets.”
Team spirit While this is a significant step for both Ober and Simmons & Simmons, Ober is familiar with working for a global organisation. He says, “I understand the expectations. I will join them with humility and the whole team is keen to match the success of other Simmons & Simmons offices.” For Ober, the key to joining the firm relates to what the firm represents and the way it works. He says, “The firm supports a friendly working environment where partners support each other and people want to work as a team. Collegiality doesn’t only benefit the staff working at the company, but also greatly benefits our clients through better results.” This focus on team work is reflected in the number of times Simmons & Simmons has been named as the top law firm in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index for several consecutive years.
Financial experts Colin Leaver, Simmons & Simmons’s global head of asset management, oversaw the set-up of the new team. “We are very excited indeed. Starting up this new office is a big investment but we see many opportunities in Luxembourg and expect these to increase in the future,” he says. Renowned for their expertise in the financial sector, Simmons & Simmons prides itself on covering five major sectors being asset management & investment funds, financial institutions, technology, life sciences and energy & infrastructure.
LEFT: Jeremy Hoyland, managing partner. TOP RIGHT: Colin Leaver, global head of asset management. BOTTOM RIGHT: Stéphane Ober, new country head, Luxembourg.
The new Luxembourg office will have five partners, to cover each of the sectors with an emphasis on finance and asset management. Leaver says: “We decided to start with a large team so we immediately have expertise in all areas and can offer clients a one-stop service. Luxembourg is a growing market that will become increasingly important in the future.” Ober adds, “With this team of 15, we will have all the right people in place to deliver the work, from our junior staff all the way up to our partners.”
Expertise across the sectors Instrumental to working at Simmons & Simmons is that staff participates in indus-
try-specific events. Setting them apart from the competition, the firm’s lawyers make it their job to know exactly what is going on in their sectors, whether it is financial services, asset management & investment funds, technology, life sciences or energy & infrastructure. Leaver says, “Focussing on these five sectors really helps us to excel. We encourage our lawyers to participate in sector meetings, give internal training and also offer sector-specific secondment positions and give them access to industry associations. Thanks to this, our lawyers understand the businesses they work for, which allows us to provide a more tailored service.” Ober’s team, consisting of Louis-Mael Cogis, Vivianne de Moreau, José Ignacio Pascual Gutiérrez and Pierre Regis Dukmedjian will have a special focus on corporate law, finance, private funds, UCITS funds, regulatory work and tax work. The new office will be located in Luxembourg City and plans to open in January 2015. www.simmons-simmons.com
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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Legal Excellence
In less than ten years after being called to the bar, Sabrina Martin was already heading her own chambers, as the freedom of working withing an independent law firm appealed to her.
Luxembourg, logistics – and legal links to the world TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTOS: MARTIN AVOCATS
It’s a pleasing paradox of Luxembourg that the tiny country enjoys international links even world powers may envy. That comes from evolving in sympathy with the business and political environment, which in its own way the firm of Martin Avocats is doing too. Some lawyers never set up their own practice; some wait decades to do so. Sabrina Martin was called to the bar in 1996, and yet by 2005 she was already heading her own chambers. “Enjoying the freedom offered by working within an independent practice was something I had in mind from the very start of my career,” she explains. The practice was initially very much a generalist one, and it continues to offer a breadth of services, but as Luxembourg has continued to grow as a trade centre Martin and her colleagues have developed special competences in the law relating to
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logistics and international transport, which includes civil aviation and maritime law. “The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is providing the infrastructure and high-tech equipment needed to build that trade, and offers a very favourable geographic location,” says Maître Martin: “The new Freeport located next to Luxembourg Findel-Airport offers great opportunities too.”
ternational network of lawyers whose members tend to be small or mediumsized practices like ours,” says Maître Martin: “When you practice law in Luxembourg it’s very likely you’ll have dealings with lawyers outside the country, given the size of the Grand Duchy, so it’s extremely useful to have such links in obtaining, for example, rapid responses to questions of law in other jurisdictions.”
Maître Martin says: “We’ve built up very good relations with the customs authorities here in Luxembourg, and our aim is to continue to build expertise in the law of logistics and to provide a dedicated and personal service, and thus differentiate the way we work from far bigger – and perhaps less reactive – competitors.”
That outlook is not just seen in the practice’s external links: Sabrina and her colleagues can consult with clients in French, English, Luxembourgish, German, Italian and Arabic. Luxembourg writ large in a small firm, in fact: dynamic, evolving, international – and clearly very effective. www.martin-avocats.lu
Something hugely helpful in the firm’s development has been its membership of the LNA or Legal Netlink Alliance. “It’s an in-
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Legal Excellence
Managing partner Gérald Stephens
Going global TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: DE WOLF & PARTNERS
Internationally there are few jurisdictions in Europe more important to business than Brussels and Luxembourg. With its headquarters in Brussels, De Wolf & Partners is in the unique position of being the only true BelgianLuxembourgish law firm whose reach stretches as far as Asia and Africa. De Wolf's managing partner, Gérald Stevens says, “Being based in Belgium – Brussels and Kortrijk – as well as Luxembourg City distinguishes us from our domestic Belgian, or big Anglo-Saxon, competitors. Many businesses that operate in these geographical areas don’t just work across borders, they also tend to have foreign shareholders and the countries’ economies are very dependent on foreign corporations. Our national and international practices work seamlessly with each other, which gives us great exposure to international companies."
De Wolf & Partners advises major companies all over the world particularly in the sectors of private equity, corporate law and litigation. Stevens – who was one of De Wolf's founding partners in 1998 and runs their Luxembourg and Brussels offices – has 20 years’ worth of experience as a corporate and banking lawyer. Stevens adds, “Currently we have a team of 100 people, including around 60 lawyers, so each of our offices offers a full service.”
and Burundi, but we plan to also open a new office there next year,” he says. The fact that the DRC has recently adopted a system of regulation known as 'OHADA' – the organisation for the harmonisation of business law in Africa – is more than promising. Stevens explains, “Synchronising business, corporate and security law with several other French-speaking African countries will make the DRC much more attractive to foreign companies and investors.”
Adding to De Wolf & Partners’ strategic advantage is their office in Shanghai which opened in 2006. The firm is also looking into opening a fifth office in Africa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “We have always had good connections with the Frenchspeaking parts of Africa and see a significant increase in business potential in the DRC – especially because of its wealth of natural resources. De Wolf already has an EIG set up with our affiliates in the DRC, Rwanda
With lawyers fluent in French, Dutch, German, English, Spanish, Italian and Chinese, De Wolf & Partners can provide tailored, market-oriented, legal services for its clients who range from start-ups to multinationals. Many of its lawyers – including Stevens – are university lecturers or researchers and regularly contribute to national and international legal publications. www.dewolf-law.be
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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Legal Excellence
International – but not remote When one Luxembourg lawyer questioned why major business clients had to forgo personal service when accessing top flight legal support the answer was obvious: they shouldn’t have to. TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTOS: BEERENS & AVOCATS
will be actively involved in case-files. In the bigger firms, clients tend to lose touch with the particular lawyer in charge of their project.” Beerens’s approach has proved successful. His organisation works with clients who might usually be expected to take their business to legal leviathans.
Bernard Beerens, like his colleagues in Luxembourg-based Beerens & Avocats, cut his legal teeth in major international law firms. In his case that experience involved roles in leading Dutch and British practices, and a stint in New York. The experience was high-powered and glamorous, but there was something missing.
From Luxembourg to the world “What can be difficult in larger structures is that you lose personal contact with clients and the full picture of what they are about, because of constant changes within the law firm,” he says. “My colleagues and I have all come from major firms, and wish to offer another style of service to the same sophisticated clientele.”
clients as shorthand for how we operate. I often hear people who seek a legal advisor in Luxembourg complain about the way things tend to be with the biggest firms. We can be more flexible, match what we do to the actual needs of the client.”
The personal touch What was missing then was continuity and the personal, the basis for creating a “boutique law firm”. As Beerens describes it: “Boutique is a term I use with potential
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“Here the client will, for example, meet with me. I’ll follow their dossier in its entirety, and develop a personal relationship. The client knows I’m easily accessible. Partners here
Because of the special nature of Luxembourg, a small country where numerous multi-national companies and other corporate bodies have their headquarters, Beerens’s practice has been built to advise such major clients in their cross-border transactions. “Our practice focuses on company and financial law, taxes and investments and so on,” says Beerens. “Finding highly competent people in Luxembourg who are happy to join a smaller structure is not easy. But it is fruitful.”
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Legal Excellence
The Beerens & Avocats team. TOP LEFT: Audrey Jarreton, head of the banking and finance practice. MIDDLE: David Cordova, tax advisor and senior associate. RIGHT: Eugenio Travaglini, associate within the corporate and M&A practice. BOTTOM LEFT: Bernard Beerens, founder and head of the practice. MIDDLE: Marion Lalève, oversees client relations. RIGHT: Cedric Bless, co-head of the corporate and M&A practice.
The senior team is strikingly international: Audrey Jarreton who heads the banking and finance practice studied in France and Luxembourg, and previously worked for a leading Dutch firm; Cédric Bless, co-head of the corporate and M&A practice studied in France and the Republic of Ireland, and gained experience working within a Japanese bank and in a magic circle law firm; Eugenio Travaglini has degrees from German and Italian institutions; and David Cordova, originally from Mexico, has worked in New York as well as across the Benelux region. Within that small team there’s fluency in English, French, Luxembourgish, German, Spanish and Italian.
quently with some of the big US and UK legal firms, which is very helpful for us and brings us significant business.”
different. Our clients have the near certainty that their dossier and history is known personally by the lawyer in charge of it.”
Stability and the future
Continuing success could create another potential contradiction for the independent firm: “Perhaps our reputation for excellence and service may one day mean we become a target for acquisition by one of the major firms here in Luxembourg. However, this is not our aim,” says Beerens. “For now, we continue to diversify our contacts abroad, as the international nature of our business is our greatest trump card.”
Beerens & Avocats have what can seem like a contradiction driving their success. Stability is a key aspect of their philosophy, but that very quality attracts and retains clients and thus brings change in the form of growth: “Luxembourg, like many international business centres, perhaps more so as it is a small country, has people who work in it for short periods of time then move on, which can make for a lack of stability in firms,” says Beerens. “We aim to be
Another key person in the firm’s development is Marion Lalève, whose own background symbolises its outlook: Frenchborn she’s qualified to practise as a solicitor in Luxembourg and in the UK, where she currently resides. Marion’s focus is on expanding Beerens & Avocats’ strategic relationships. These international ties are vital: “We’re independent but with many links to practices in other countries who don’t have a presence here,” says Beerens. “We work fre-
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Discover Benelux | Mini Theme | Specialist Translators
The mot juste – legally With a host of multinational corporations based in the country, and a workforce constantly in flux, there’s a high level of demand for certified translation services in the Grand Duchy. TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTO: TRANSLATORES SARL
Luxembourg has two official languages, but the business world operates in dozens, so when linguist Marie-Claude Torlet established her translation bureau, Translatores SARL, there in 2010 she was confident work would not be lacking. She was right. “We now work with many multinational corporations – for contracts and a huge range of other documents and publicity material, including websites as every company tends to need at least three languages for them – with quite a few legal practices, and for people who come to live and work in Luxembourg and need their documentation translating – education certificates, birth certificates, divorce papers and so on,” she says, “And often it’s not just the final documents, but papers throughout the process.”
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She was joined by fellow polyglot Cecile Detienne in 2012, but the bulk of the work is carried out by a network of skilled freelance translators. For some tasks very special qualifications are required: “Certified translations are an extremely important part of our work,” Torlet explains. “To do such work on legal documentation a translator has sworn an oath before a court or tribunal attesting to their abilities to translate between a specific combination of languages, and they can only attach their signature and stamp to work done in a combination for which they’re certified. If there’s an error in the translation the translator bears legal responsibility!” Given the sensitivity of the work Translatores SARL carry out additional QA checks: “When the translated document returns we ensure everything’s in order with
nothing missed out, and only then transmit the final certified document to the client,” she says. The company has experience in scores of languages, taking in the major European tongues plus more exotic ones like Japanese, and their network is such that others can be handled on demand. Some clients tell Torlet they’re capable of “having a go” at translations that require a certified practitioner: “We explain politely that legally such documents require an officially recognised signature and stamp for the authorities to accept them as correct and conforming to the original. It’s not a question of giving it a go.” www.translatores.lu
Discover Benelux | Mini Theme | Specialist Translators
Translating precision TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER | PHOTOS: SFX TRANSLATED
SFX Translated is a small but very ambitious company born in 2009 in Liège, Belgium after its founder FrançoisXavier Pâque jumped into the opening market opportunities at the time. Today, with a young and dynamic team, the company offers a wide range of services, from translations in over a hundred languages to proofreading, subtitling and sworn translations for legal texts. The strength of the business lies in its core value at the heart of every translation: precision. “We value precision from the words we translate to where we put our commas. A significant number of our clients come from law firms where an inaccurate translation can have enormous consequences,” says Pâque. In order to achieve a delivery of high quality, the company relies on the services of freelancers hired from all over the world. “We are extremely strict about the people we select to work with us. The language they translate must be their mother tongue or they must have the highest level of expertise in it.” It is only after a rigorous
process that a selected few can rise to the standard of SFX. “Not only do they have to be experts in their language, they also need to possess a diploma in the area where they are translating. For example, if we need a text in microbiology to be translated, we will look for someone qualified in biology, medicine or another closely related area where they would be able to understand the technical wording. This allows us to massively reduce the margin for error.”
Available on a 24/7 basis, the company aims to expand and open new offices in Brussels and Luxembourg to increase its client pool and keep offering their best services, with the highest precision. www.sfx.be
More than anything, what sets the Belgian company apart is the focus on the people they work with so that every translation is customised. Pâque emphasizes that “we take the time to sit down with the client and establish a relationship, which will allow us to best meet their needs. We start from the principle that what they ask can be done.” And it is only after a meticulous recruitment process that they decide which translator is most apt for the job. “We receive a wide range of requests, and although the most recurrent ones have been in the legal industry, we also get asked for subtitling or interpretation which we are always happy to take care of.”
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Discover Benelux | Mini Theme | Specialist Translators
The beauty of language TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: BELITA LINGUA
Despite what websites can lead you to believe, translating text doesn’t happen by pushing a button. Precision and expert knowledge are essential. Frank Meeus knows this like none other, as a sworn-in translator he ensures quality above all in his work. Meeus set up his company, Belita Lingua, in 1993. Translating into his mother tongue Dutch, he speaks French, English, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Polish, Italian, Danish and Swedish. “I primarily do legal translations – anything from court documents to warrants and certificates,” says Meeus. “I always ensure top quality translations and prioritise proofreading so I know the result is accurate and precise with the correct terminology.” Meeus has built up good relationship with the courts in Belgium. As he visits them regularly, he offers customers an extra service. “If a translated document requires a signature for verification, I
can obtain this for the customer at a small fee. I know the procedures well, so this can save a lot of time,” he says.
ence and skills needed to deliver the work,” he says. “As you can see, I don’t compromise on quality.”
Any language Meeus doesn’t cover personally, he can find others to do it. With a long list of trusted native speakers with their own expert fields, he makes sure the best person gets the job. “For example medical translations need to be very precise. For a recent assignment I needed a translator with a medical background. Out of 20 applicants only one had the experi-
Meeus prides himself on the attractive prices he can offer while being flexible and available 24 hours a day. “Honesty, respect for the language and customer care are paramount and delivering excellent translations is my passion,” he concludes www.belita-lingua.be
Frank Meeus and his Polish wife Magdalena who helped to expand his network of translator contacts in Eastern Europe. Meeus’s succession seems assured by their bilingual son Maurice who is already showing a passion for language, art and culture.
The linguistic key to Europe TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: VISIT BRUSSELS
Situated in the centre of decision-making Brussels, ETC’s managing director Angelina Janssen is undeniably proud of the company’s steady rise to prominence. Since 1989, ETC has won successive contracts with the European Commission and it continues to charm clients from governmental institutions, commercial businesses and private clients.
about. However, a brief glance at ETC’s portfolio and references from previous clients is all it takes to surmise that they are distinctive in their dependability and dedication to ensuring high quality translations, localisations, desktop publishing and copy writing. While European Union-related pro jects are ETC’s main pillar, their extensive collection of specialised translators, interpreters, proof-readers and copywriters enable them to confidently complete a plethora of subject-specific projects, including legal and judicial documents, life sciences, medical fields and the environment.
Within the global translation industry, competition is rife and choosing a service provider can be baffling with terms like reliability and quality control often bandied
Producing thousands of pages per month, ETC boldly offer translations to and from every single language for all situations. “Of course,” says Janssen with a laugh,
Having spent the past two decades establishing themselves as Europe’s go-to translation agency, ETC Europe steadfastly hold onto their position as the “translation gateway to Europe”.
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“African or Asian language projects are rare but when they arise we are committed to undertaking them.” Janssen is the first to admit that translation agencies have to keep up with technological developments in machine translation but stresses that nothing will ever match the human capa city for language and style. Contentedly encircled by Europe with their Brussels base and all-encompassing EU know-how, it can only be said that ETC linguistically possesses the key to this continent. www.etc-europe.eu
Discover Benelux | Mini Theme | Specialist Translators
The booming business of Babel TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTOS: ADT INTERNATIONAL
As the world turns ever faster into a global village the demands on professional language services continue to grow, a situation that clearly suits Liègebased ADT International. When Bernard Borsu of ADT International talks about specialist language support, specialisation really means something. “We work continually in the legal and legislative spheres,” he says. “And in other technical areas like pharmaceuticals, IT and electronics. My belief in setting up the structure of the business was ‘who better to speak to an engineer than another engineer?’ and the same logic applies with lawyers – nothing can replace the experience gained by a lawyer who has absorbed legal jargon studying and at work.” To this end the company recruits many who’ve followed a route different from that translators usually follow, though it also
uses court-certified staff across the Benelux and in other markets. “This October we carried out a sworn translation from Bosnian to Dutch!” he affirms. ADT’s unique approach and its quality control – ISO 9001 certified since 1998 – has gained it some very notable work in recent times. In 2012 it won the tender to translate legislative documents for Wallonia, the French-speaking part of Belgium, and since 2013 it has provided language services to Daewoo’s parent company, including a dedicated team working to Korean time for six months to translate 20,000 pages of industrial materials. Coping with the Babel of international trade is ADT’s trade. Borsu cites two examples to illustrate the complexity the company has mastered this year. “A Belgian company exporting to the Chinese subsidiary of an American group, via a contract drawn
up under Dutch law; and a few weeks ago we helped a German car maker organise training given by a French speaker in Belgium for a Japanese sub-contractor, juggling French, German, English and the time difference – but it was a great success!” Along with the core translation work ADT also has a wider portfolio. They provide interpreters – and the booths they require to work if needs be – virtual secretarial work (translating email correspondence for example), and video subtitle work. No wonder the company loves languages – they work in more than 100 every year. That love has recently found an intriguing outlet. “We’ve just launched an app ‘Travel to Translate’, a fun game that makes people sensitive to language matters – and it’s free!” concludes Borsu. www.adt-international.com
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FORMULA FOR SUCCESS
Virtuosity, value added and velocity 3V-Translations is the result of a successful collaboration between two business partners, Joël Beaumet and Pascale Pay, both having a Masters in translation studies and over 20 years of experience as professional translators. TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER | PHOTOS: 3V-TRANSLATIONS
Founded in 2006, the company is located in Troisvierges, Luxembourg and bases its working ethic on three main values: Virtuosity, Velocity and Value added (3V). With a loyal client base, 3V-Translations has been a consistent model for efficiency, personal servicing and attention to a highquality work delivery. Both sworn translators (in Belgium and Luxembourg) specialising in Dutch, English, German and French, Beaumet and Pay will always work on assignments for which they are qualified: with an extensive experience within the legal industry, they are familiar with the technical wording and jargon of the field. Their core competencies do not end there, nonetheless. As a former in-house translator of a major employer’s federation, Beaumet developed over the years a special expertise in translations for the business community in a variety of economic, technical and
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legal areas. As for Pay, she is a member of the ALTI (Association Luxembourgeoise des Traducteurs et Interprètes) and has an extensive knowledge within the whole spectrum of judicial translation. She is also familiar with economic, financial and tax issues. The key to their success is a close collaboration with their customers: building a relationship of trust and delivering 100% accurate translations. This is why they are still working with their very first client: 20 years later, the satisfaction is still present. “What distinguishes us is the coherence of our work and continuity – which you wouldn't get if you hired different freelancers for one assignment,” says Pay. “We work in a very traditional way, which allows us to customise our service to our client's needs and learn the specific terminology they use.” “Indeed, for us it is extremely important to provide a precise and accurate translation
– so if something is slightly unclear we will not hesitate to ask for clarifications or further information about a certain termino logy,” says Beaumet. Although this is rarely the case with regular clients. With the capacity and flexibility to always adapt to their client's needs, 3V-Translations is a safe and reliable partner for your translations. For more information contact Beaumet at firstname.lastname@example.org or Pay at email@example.com www.3v-translations.lu
Business partners Joël Beaumet and Pascale Pay
Discover Benelux | Mini Theme | Specialist Translators
GLOBAL LINGUA SER VICES
Translation with excellence TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER | PHOTO: MILO-PROFI.BE
With 12 years of experience, Global Lingua Services is an expert at providing top-notch services in every area related to translation – from textual translation to simultaneous interpretation, subtitling, languages courses and rental of audio-visual equipment (headsets, cabins, sound equipment, light, speakers and amplifiers).
on his or her knowledge on the topic. Indeed, not only does the translator need to have at least 10 years of experience translating to their mother tongue, they also need to have a diploma in the field in which the translation takes place. There are currently 1,000 linguists throughout Europe working in most written and spoken European languages
Started in 2002 with headquarters in Brussels, Global Lingua Services is at the heart of the capital of Europe, with clients such as the European Commission, the European Parliament, various international organisations, banks and law firms.
Global Lingua Services puts at the disposal of its clients a project manager for better coordination, as well as professional experts in their field and a fast service of high quality.
With the ambition to provide the best quality service, the company relies on the following motto: “For us, translation is not about improving the writings of the author, too often distorted, but rather to respect
the initial author and the readers – that is our commitment.” With a worldwide network of independent translators, the company selects the most apt professional for translation depending
With more than 300,000 pages translated per year in 80 different language combinations, Global Lingua Services is always there to help. www.lingua-service.eu
Honouring quality and the wonder of languages TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER | PHOTO: TRANS@
Created in early 2003, Trans@ is the brainchild of two professional translators and colleagues, Frederic Leroy and Sabine Mason, who joined forces to provide translations of optimal quality. The care they bestow on their services is based on two inter-related principles: knowing their customers and knowing their translators. After years of experience, they take pride in providing a personalised service to their customers, translating, supervising and following up the texts entrusted to them from draft to polished translations delivered on time. Furthermore, Frederic and Sabine are very exacting about the translators with whom they work. These professionals invariably
translate into their mother tongue and have extensive knowledge in the fields in which they work to guarantee optimal results. “Jargon, technical terminology and even style are extremely precise in certain industries, and are consequently part and parcel of the high quality work we are keen on delivering,” Frederic points out. Their customers include law firms, banks, trust funds, publishing houses, governmental agencies, institutions of higher education, and many other industries. “We don’t necessarily specialise in all of these fields ourselves, but we make sure that the people we work with do,” Sabine explains. In addition to translations, Trans@ provides a variety of cutting edge services that are
constantly being adapted to customer needs. Such services include sworn translations, copywriting, copy editing, interpreting, transcription of recordings, and making high-quality equipment available for conferences, events, and the like. Flexible and always reliable, Trans@ is available for any requests and further information at their website. www.transat.lu
Issue 12 | December 2014 | 77
Discover Benelux | Business | Luxembourg for Finance
An international financial centre in the heart of Europe The Luxembourg financial centre is known as a centre of excellence far beyond the borders of the Benelux countries. Due to its specialisation in the distribution of cross-border financial services, Luxembourg managed to create a sustainable and diversified international financial centre. TEXT: LUXEMBOURG FOR FINANCE | MAIN PHOTO: LFF
From its origins as a Eurobond centre in the 1960s, the country subsequently developed as a private banking centre and then, since the 1980s, as a leading domicile for investment funds. Moreover, the Luxembourg Stock Exchange is globally recognised for its capacity to innovate and its efficiency, and is the listing place of choice in Europe for international bonds.
the financial centre with a comprehensive toolbox of compliant investment vehicles to meet their clients’ needs. This legal framework, combined with Luxembourg’s openness to the world and strategic location, has attracted international banks, insurance companies, investment fund promoters and specialist service providers.
Over the past decades, many new activities were developed to further diversify the financial sector. Due to its innovative spirit, Luxembourg has always been open to new trends and today counts amongst the top financial centres worldwide when it comes to activities such as the international Renminbi (Chinese yuan) business, Islamic finance or e-payment services, amongst others.
Luxembourg reduces cross-border complexity and is the ideal platform to access the different national markets in Europe. The financial centre has specialised in serving international clients with businesses and investments in several jurisdictions. Professionals in Luxembourg have the advantage of being multi-lingual, multicultural and familiar with international business, tax and regulatory environments.
The success of the financial centre is founded on the social and political stability of the Grand Duchy and on a modern legal and regulatory framework that is continuously updated, providing professionals in
Luxembourg’s commitment to a sustainable financial economy, not only on a national, but also on a European and international level, is reflected in the government’s strong commitment to transparency in fis-
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cal matters. Luxembourg is an active and positive player in the discussions at OCDE and EU level, which aim at achieving greater fairness in international tax matters. Photo: Luxembourg ONT
Today the Luxembourg financial centre is: Number 1 financial centre in the Eurozone, ahead of Frankfurt, and number 15 in the world (GFCI index – September 2014). The second largest investment fund centre in the world. The premier wealth management centre for international clients in the Eurozone. The premier centre for cross-border distribution of life assurance in the EU. The largest domicile for Islamic funds in Europe. The third largest global centre for international Renminbi activities.
BEST PRIVATE BANK, LUXEMBOURG 201 4
ING elected again TEXT: ING LUXEMBOURG | PRESS PHOTO
On Tuesday 29 October, the Global Private Banking Awards 2014 Ceremony was held in Geneva, organized by the Financial Times, PWM and The Banker*. The jury made up of professionals and experts from the international banking and financial sector has, this year again, recognised the expertise of ING Luxembourg by awarding the Bank ‘Best Private Luxembourg 2014’. This prestigious prize rewards the private banks’ progress in their business/growth strategy and their achievements in boosting inflows and profit on the one hand and meeting investors’ changing needs and attitude to risk on the other hand. This year again, ING Luxembourg has succeeded in convincing the jury that its private banking teams had met the current challenges in a changing regulatory environment. In 2014 indeed, ING adapted its business model to enhance customer centricity and has refined its commercial organisational structure.
The bank’s strategy focuses on three main objectives: – Adapt its offer to UHNWI with an international aspect to their wealth. Therefore ING has improved the following serv-
ices: creation and management of dedicated funds, specialist lending solutions (i.e. yacht financing), international wealth analysis and planning, tax certificates, tailor-made portfolio management in a fully open architecture (i.e. personalised investment funds...). – Become a hub for ING's private banking entities. ING Luxembourg will leverage on the presence of ING units all over the world to ensure a sustainable growth in these markets and to offer complementary services for their local clients. – Continue developing the local market through ING Luxembourg's retail banking and corporate banking.
terms of private banking and wealth analysis and planning allows us to propose tailor-made and diverse solutions, meeting the increasingly complex requirements of our local and our international clients. Being part of the international ING Group is a real asset as well for our clients as for ourselves, which allows us to always bring the best service to them,” comments Sandrine De Vuyst, head of Private Banking at ING Luxembourg. (*The Banker is the world's premier banking and finance resource. Read in over 180 countries around the world, it is the key source of data and analysis for the industry.)
As a universal bank, ING differentiates itself from other players as it is also able to offer traditional banking products, thus covering the entire financial needs of a client. And this goes beyond personal needs or country borders, as together with other business lines or other ING units, ING Luxembourg is able to provide solutions for business clients, or service locally international clients. “ING Luxembourg is a universal bank that benefits not only from an excellent image of a retail bank but also as a specialist in wealth management. Our expertise in
Issue 12 | December 2014 | 79
Discover Benelux | Business | Columns
What communicates? TEXT & ILLUSTRATION: JOSIAH FISK
Do you walk to work or do you carry your lunch? In filling out forms, answering surveys or taking tests, we’ve all come across poorly constructed questions like this. They are examples of the most merciless principle in communications: the curse of knowledge. By a cruel trick of fate, the human brain is far better at making sentences that correspond to an intended meaning than at detecting the presence of unintended meanings. The result is that everybody else sees the other meanings before the writer does. Knowing what you wanted to say keeps you from recognising what you said. In tests and surveys, this can be a big problem. A few poorly written questions can undermine the validity of test scores or research results, creating mayhem and wasting money. This is where Ashra Sugito comes in. Ashra is a language specialist at Teelen Kennismanagement, a training and testing company in
Wilp, the Netherlands. Finding and fixing muddled questions is her speciality. Here’s an example she provides from an actual test: Why does the national meteorological institute record the temperature at a large number of measuring stations every hour? Clearly the writer had a particular answer in mind, but what? Is the “why” about the recording, the temperature, the large number, or the hourly frequency? We have no way of knowing. How to fix this? Ashra suggests rewording the question as a statement, then adding a spe-
cific follow on question, such as “Give one reason why they do this every hour”. If the question was meant to get at multiple issues, you would simply add another question for each Josiah Fisk issue. As solutions go, this is pretty basic and humdrum. That’s the point. The work is in finding the problem — meaning, not just finding failures of clarity but figuring out exactly what’s wrong. The curse of knowledge isn’t irremediable. With practice, it can be overcome quite effectively. But it’s hard. In the meantime, there are people like Ashra to keep you out of trouble. Josiah Fisk is the head of More Carrot LLC, a clear communications company with offices in Boston and Luxembourg.
Some simple ways to lead TEXT: STEVE FLINDERS | PRESS PHOTO
Most great leaders don’t get there overnight but if you give it time and focus, I believe many of us can learn how to lead well. Here are some ideas. Ask three questions. A young South American manager working for Nestlé in France once told me: “I ask my people three questions every week: 1 “What do you think I’m doing right?” 2 “What do you think I’m doing wrong?” and 3 “What do you want me to do more of?” Listening to and acting on their answers helped him a lot. It takes courage, but can help us all lead better. Say what you do. Developing people is a critical management function: it helps you, your people and your organisation. But sometimes even good leaders have problems telling other people how they lead. So: 1. Think about what you do as a leader so that 2. You know what you do (and asking those three questions will help) so that 3. You can say what you do, and then 4. You can tell other people what you do. Achieving skills transfer in this way raises individual
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and team performance and makes you more articulate. Define your next challenge/s. No doubt you have been given targets by your organisation. But what about your own professional and personal targets? What challenge are you putting off as too difficult, complicated or terrifying? Presenting to 5,000 people? Negotiating in a foreign language? Taking over the big project? And personal challenges? Jumping out of a plane? (with a parachute); white water rafting? Don’t wait until your bucket list is as long as your arm. Write down one professional and one personal target every six months and, as you stretch yourself each time, your ability to overcome your fears and dare further will develop too. Keep a diary. To write down your challenges and other achievements of which you’re proud. As you look back through your diary over the years, you will see and feel positive about your progress. By asking those three questions, being able to tell others how you do what you do, setting yourself regular challenges, and recording your progress, it won’t be so long before you start to amaze yourself and others too. Best wishes for your future leadership career.
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 (www.coachingyork.co.uk): firstname.lastname@example.org
Discover Benelux | Business | Fundsquare
Modernizing the global distribution of funds TEXT: HARUN OSMANOVIC | PHOTOS: FUNDSQUARE
Fundsquare is a market utility that aims at making the cross-border distribution of funds simpler, faster and safer by centralising the information and automatising the fund-management process all in one place. Dominique Valschaerts, CEO of Fundsquare, explained that the Luxembourg Stock Exchange created Fundsquare after realising that, unlike the stock market, the European fund market has a very complex infrastructure. From faxes to emails, its operations follow very diverse channels of communication and processes which ultimately make the market inefficient and costly. “The platform has been piloted since 2010 by a Super User Group composed of transfer agents, distributors and asset managers, representing 70 per cent of the cross-border distributed funds in Luxembourg, and has been a success thus far,” explains Valschaerts.
Although it is a new platform, Fundsquare is the result of decades of experience. It absorbed the activities of Finesti, a highly successful fund information platform and partnered with SWIFT – who provides the backbone of the tool – and Altus, who developed the front end.
our goal is to open the capital to the users and become user-owned and user-governed,” explains Valschaerts. “Ultimately,” he continues, “our vision is to become the unique and worldwide infrastructure facilitating cross-border fund distribution between all actors on the market.”
The platform consists of three main services:
The early successes of Fundsquare are very promising and the firm is expecting a lot more companies to join the platform. “The adoption rates have been fantastic because the need is great and it just makes sense,” Valschaerts concludes.
- An information aggregator with constant updates of static and dynamic data and fund documents. - An order management service to counteract the increased operational complexity linked to cross-border distribution of funds. This includes real-time order routing and confirmation between the distributors and transfer agents. - A regulatory service to help all fund industry actors fulfil their regulatory obligations and reporting duties.
And thus, the fund industry is finally entering the 21st century. www.fundsquare.net
Because Fundsquare is a market utility built by and for the fund industry in order to fulfil a need that is very much present in the market, the ultimate mission is to further increase market efficiency by relying on the collaborative aspect of the tool. Dominique Valschaerts CEO of Fundsquare
“Although we are a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange,
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Discover Benelux | Business | UK Meets NL
Your one-stop shop for successful cross-border business TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER | PHOTOS: UK MEETS NL
Doing business internationally is paved with unique challenges. Ilse van den Meijdenberg, founder of English Services and UK meets NL and Chairman of IoD Netherlands talks about some of these challenges. “At UK meets NL we offer entrepreneurs wishing to branch out into the Netherlands and/or the UK a powerful combination of practical advice and consultancy services. We work with local experts: hand-picked to suit our clients’ specific business needs.” Over the years it has become clear to Ilse that language can be a real barrier to success. “People often underestimate the power of language and the importance of clear communications in international
business. The choice of language is an obvious issue to deal with, but cultural differences, etiquette, norms and traditions can also have a direct influence on how well your message is received. When you forget to consult a language expert, like English Services, you’re selling yourself short.” UK meets NL/English Services works for a wide variety of companies ranging from start-ups to multinationals. “We aim to provide a comprehensive package of services for companies of any size.” UK meets NL has its own LinkedIn group. www.ukmeetsnl.com
Ilse van den Meijdenberg
Benelux business calendar TEXT: STINE WANNEBO | PHOTO: GOED
Delve into our business calendar, offering plenty of opportunities to sharpen your mind and make valuable connections.
Namur, Belgium, 7 December This is the event for all things fabric and fine textiles. For one day the Namur Expo will be filled with materials such as fashion fabrics, interior fabrics, kids’ fabrics and quilting fabrics patchwork. Exhibitors showcase their products and services, from toys to equipment and machinery. A highlight of the gift and handiworks industry’s calendar and a great networking opportunity. www.namurexpo.be
Wallonia Export-Invest Fair Liège, Belgium, 2-3 December The 2nd annual Wallonia Export Invest Fair concentrated on international business development and hosts a wide spectrum of seminars and workshops on worldwide export and investments. From business-tailored language lessons to an overview Africa’s economics, there is something for everyone. Export providers are invited to present their services to Walloon companies who wish to develop internationally. www.wallonia-export-invest-fair.be
Masters of LXRY Fair Masters of LXRY
Avoid costly surprises The Golden Rules of Success Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, 3 December As part of a larger event on business development and entrepreneurship, the Chambre de Commerce Luxembourg has invited two entrepreneurs from the commerce and catering sectors to discuss their experiences and challenges. They will also share their tips on how to successfully run, or take over a business. Listeners will learn about the complex mechanisms of business funding, how to target audiences and company culture. The event is free and in French. www.cc.lu
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Brussels, Belgium, 4 December The British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium will host a seminar for current and aspiring business owners on being organised and efficient in times of change. During the event, specialists from BDO and Field Fischer will take you through the financial and legal challenges of managing a business. They will give advice on topics including how to prepare for unannounced inspections, how keep your business up to date and where to start your next trading adventure. www.britishchamber.be
Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 11-15 December Since its start in 2002 the Masters of LXRY Fair has become the leading luxury event in Europe and continues to grow every year. Big names of art, interior, fashion, design and gastronomy gather at the Amsterdam RAI to welcome thousands of collectors and enthusiasts visiting this sparkling affair. The whole of Amsterdam joins in as its hotels, restaurants, museums and entertainers contribute to the festive atmosphere. The event finishes with Business Monday on 15 December, where visitors and businesses alike are invited to network and inspire each other. www.lxry.nl/masters-lxry
Discover Benelux | Wellness & Beauty | Kazem
Looking your best during the holiday season TEXT: JANINE STERENBORG | PHOTOS: KAZEM
The biggest dilemma in December: how to enjoy all Christmas gatherings, banquets and fun parties and stay tight and slim in your favourite party dress at the same time. During this time of the year, there is no time for some extra exercise and a diet is hard to maintain. It is no surprise that plastic surgeon Dr. Farid Kazem is very busy in the last months of the year: the number one thing on Christmas wish lists is a slim figure without stubborn bulges. Luckily, Dr. Kazem has good news for everyone who would like to be freed from their bulges forever. “Losing weight through a diet or working out, hardly changes a thing about the bulges on spe-
cific places like the arms, legs and belly. And once you stop the diet, the bulges are back immediately, because the fat cells will shrink, but not disappear. CoolSculpting® however destroys the fat cells, so they won’t be back. And the best thing is: CoolSculpting® can make fat disappear from exactly the places where it is needed: from the waist, the belly, the inside of the legs or the hips. The difference can be a whole size, but more important is that clothing fits much better. No more muffin tops above your jeans, or a bulging belly in your favourite dress.
appear forever thanks to selective cooling. After cooling, the fat cells fall apart and leave the body gradually. This process lasts a few weeks, but the main advantage is that the skin adjusts itself to the more slender contour of the body and stays tight. CoolSculpting® does not involve surgery or injections and no diet or special workout is required. This supports a perfect start for 2015, because with CoolSculpting®, it is easy to stick to your New Year’s resolution to have a slender body, which is of course ideal for when it is time for bikinis again in six months!
CoolSculpting® uses the unique Cryolipolyse® technique that makes fat cells dis-
Dr. Kazem does warn you about fake fat cell treatments though: “Only CoolSculpting® can and may use the Cryolipolyse® technique. After years of independent and scientific studies, the FDA [the American Food and Drug Administration] gave only CoolSculpting® an approval for the safe and effective removal of fat cells.”
Plastic surgeon Farid Kazem is well known for his extensive experience and high-quality results in skin rejuvenation with surgical and non-surgical procedures. www.coolscultpingdrkazem.com www.nefera.com www.kazem.nl
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Feeling and looking younger and better The Clinique Pasteur started as a project to gather in one medical practice the best and highest qualified medical professionals along with the most advanced medical techniques in the field of aesthetic care and vascular procedures. In order to do this, founder Dr Jean-Marc Charles traveled all over France to meet the principal actors of this very specific field. TEXT: BCLINIQE PASTEUR | PHOTOS: CLINIQE PASTEUR
The Clinique Pasteur is one of the leading centres in Luxembourg that offers a wide range of services to its patients – skin rejuvenation, facial rejuvenation, hair implants, body contouring, vascular treatments and much more. Dr Charles says that he takes pride in having gathered around him colleagues that value excellence above all – both in the services they provide but also in the equipment they use. “In our industry you quickly get acquainted with the people who are at the top of their field through medical trainings, congresses and conferences we attend on a regular basis to be at the heart of innovation. It was
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through building a strong and close-knit network of contacts that I gathered a team of specialists to join me to achieve my goal,” says Dr Charles. His doctors have between 15 and 30 years of experience and some are Presidents of scientific socie ties in France, heads of medical organisations and at the frontline of new technical innovations. Spread across 400 square metres, all their devices are brand new and ensure the best results. “We truly believe that nowadays aesthetics procedures do not necessarily need to be bloody to be effective. This is why everything we do is with the softest
technique available. For example, to remove excess skin on the lids we will carry out the procedure over three sessions using a new plasma laser – without surgery.”
Breaking the myth This is also why staying hospitalised within the Clinique after an intervention is not necessary for patients. “We want to offer a service that is so good and so gentle that our clients can walk out the same afternoon.” Dr Charles says that it is important to break the myths surrounding aesthetic care: “Too often we hear horror stories about plastic surgeries gone wrong or people losing their facial expressions. So we
Discover Benelux | Wellness & Beauty | Clinique Pasteur
Clinique Pasteur is one of Luxembourg’s leading centres for excellent aesthetic care and vascular techniques. It uses state-of-the-art technology so many procedures can be done without resorting to surgery.
really take the time to walk our clients through the Clinique and show them what equipment we use, how it works and why they shouldn’t need to worry – because we resort to far gentler techniques and will do exactly what is the best for them.” Indeed more and more people come to the Clinique for aesthetic care and it is important to make them feel safe and in good hands. He has observed a strong and growing tendency over the past 15 years to look increasingly fit and healthy. “It seems to be more and more important for many people – so our job is to assist them in achieving this. And we absolutely believe that we can achieve great results without needing to rely on plastic surgery in many cases.” Hence the focus at Clinique Pasteur to delay the need for surgery by relying instead on far softer techniques such as endovenous laser to treat varicose veins, the area of specialisation of Dr Charles. “The laser is so gentle that it does not require anesthesia and as I said earlier, no hospitalisation.”
Here at the Clinique we have the full range of lasers available on the market to treat many different kinds of needs. Everything you see at Clinique Pasteur is new and the latest of the latest in technological developments. Same goes for procedures such as hair implants – we use a machine for the extractions. With our machine, it takes half the time and is twice as safe.” This has led to a high satisfaction rate and clients stay faithful to the Clinique, often coming back.
lieve that it is important to have an end result that looks as natural as possible. The idea is that our work is so subtle and delicate that it is not obvious.” As for the future, the Clinique Pasteur aims to remain a leading actor in the domain of excellence and stay at the top of aesthetic care and vascular techniques. www.clinique-pasteur.lu
A relationship of trust When asked how he handles the demands of his clients, Dr Charles explains that he is the first contact person, and as such engages on a lengthy dialogue with his customers to identify exactly what result they are looking for. “It is important to establish a trust relationship with the patient you are working with to clearly identify what they are looking for. Also, you will see there is a big difference between the ‘American way’ and the ‘French touch’. The reason we privilege the latter is because we truly be-
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Discover Benelux | Wellness & Beauty | Dr Gabenisch
Tame the marks of time Mondorf-les-Bains is a very touristic commune from the south of Luxembourg known for its spa resort with 34 degrees Celsius water and a high concentration in minerals used especially for the treatment of rheumatisms, obesity and venous disorders. TEXT: HARUN OSMANOVIC | PHOTOS: DR GABENISCH
This is where Dr Agnès Gabenisch has held her clinic since 1993, treating venous disorders, helping patients in many ways; her micro-nutrition aimed at optimising the patient’s balance in vitamins, minerals and fatty acids, her expertise in aesthetic medicine includes injections, anti-age treatments and laser treatments to name a few. Dr Gabenisch is a polyvalent general practitioner, thermal doctor, nutritionist and phlebologist and she is the originator of a cure for venous ailments. On top of treating varicose veins, Dr Gabenisch is one of the first practitioners to have developed a competency in anti-aging treatments, being at the heart of its conception and pioneering in the field with much success. Today, she is at the forefront of facelift technology offering the patients her skill in thread lifts.
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“My approach to health has always been multidisciplinary,” explains the doctor, “which has led me on various paths from anti-aging therapy to nutrition or even ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy for varicose veins.” The latter is a technique which Dr Gabenisch was among the first practitioners to implement and which has now become one of the most effective ways of treating mildly varicose veins. In most cases it allows the patients to avoid surgery. However, even though phlebology is one of the main focuses of the practice, Dr Gabenisch is able to intervene in other areas and it is her holistic approach to health that allows her to give each patient the ideal treatment. “A lot of our patients are looking for safe ways of taming the marks
of time, it maybe with thread-lift or through other aesthetic interventions that allow the patients to look younger without the unnatural rendering of other techniques. I also use lipolasers and cryolipolysis to reduce fat and ‘orange peel’ skin with great results,” concludes Dr Gabenisch; “the most gratifying for us is seeing a patient's smile after successful treatment.” With top-notch equipment and an expert team, the clinic of Dr Gabenisch is visited by people from all over Europe. If you are in Luxembourg, looking to get back into shape, with her thermal cures and insightful micro-nutrition advice, Dr Gabenisch can put you on the right track and bring your smile back... naturally. www.agnes-gabenisch.lu
Discover Benelux | Wellness & Beauty | Lipofine
Figure sculpting at Lipofine TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER | PHOTOS: LIPOFINE
Specialising in enhancing the body silhouettes of its patients, Lipofine is a plastic surgery centre which offers vibrosculpture (liposuction assisted by vibrations) and breast enhancement surgery (mammary implants). With a selection of specialist experts in their fields, the Lipofine centre has everything to establish itself as one of the best centres within the industry of plastic surgery. First of all, each speciality is taken care of by a surgeon with many years of experience and extensive knowledge in his or her subject area. Secondly, all products used are of the highest quality and certifications available today: for example, all breast implants come with CE-certified labels. Furthermore, interventions are not governed by a full anaesthesia but are carried through ambulatory analgesia, which means the patients are able to walk out the same day to return to their homes, something that is widely appreciated by their patients. As for vibrosculpture, the main advantage is the greater accuracy offered by the technique to take away superfluous fat, while considerably reducing skin trauma. It also leaves none or barely visible bruises, along with a shorter recovery time compared with more traditional liposuction procedures. As for breast implants, the intervention takes place under local anaesthesia and with a light sedative, equally allowing a return home within the same day. Located at the heart of Brussels, Lipofine offers a wide range of surgical services such as capillary implants, facial surgery as well as aesthetic medical treatments, such as wrinkle filling procedures through hyaluronic acid (fillers) and Botox.
All services are provided at affordable prices, under the care of a professional and friendly team. Please contact Lipofine for more information: Email: email@example.com Brussels, Belgium: www.lipofine.be Telephone: +32 (0)2 640 4204 London, United Kingdom: www.lipofine.co.uk Telephone: +44 (0)808 189 0364
Art in Redlight Art in Redlight celebrates its tenth anniversary this year: a special exhibition following a decade of promoting contemporary artwork. This year, over 150 artists will exhibit within the iconic environs of the Beurs van Berlage. TEXT: HELLEN CULLEN | PHOTOS: GERT JAN VAN ROOIJ
The ambition of the annual art fair is simple: to support and promote artists and connect them to the widest audience possible. As a non-profit organization, the fair enjoys a unique position where they can put the artist at the heart of everything they do. Rob Thiejson, head of the selection committee, explains why this is so important, “Our foundation has survived for ten years in a field with huge competition. This must mean we have a special quality that I believe comes from us doing it 100% for individual artists and the public. We’re very selective with what we show, we are curators.” Thiejson recounts how difficult it is to decide who will claim one of the coveted spots. “Creativity is difficult to judge but we
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go with quality, audacity, expressiveness and whimsy.” Joining him on this massive undertaking were some of the most prestigious figures from the artistic community. He says, “Sometimes our opinions differed greatly, which sparked intense discussion, but that’s alright. We banged our heads together for the sake of art!” One of the unique selling points of the art fair is the combination of established artists exhibiting alongside emerging stars of the art world. Internationally renowned names such as Barbara Broekman, V&B, Daan den Houter, Meinbert Gozewijn van Soest, Julia Winter and Albert Geertjes will be interspersed with younger artists such as Lisette Frimannslund, Anan Striker and Philip Schuette.
Discover Benelux | Culture | Art in Redlight
LOCATION Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam DATES 27 - 30 December 2014 OPENING HOURS 11am – 7pm daily TICKETS €10, (Free for children) - 150 artists - 20 up-and-coming galleries - 3 stages for music, dance, theatre and performance
This piece by artist Albert Geertjes is entitled ‘A wheel as expected and to be foreseen... after Jan Fabre’.
The festival offers a special opportunity to meet the exhibiting artists in person and attracts a diverse audience: experienced and novice art collectors and enthusiastic art lovers of every age. Thiejson enecourages families to visit and discover new art together: “It’s for everybody, even children, because we also have installations and performances of literature, poems and music. One of our aims is to make it profitable for artists so all the art is for sale: prices vary from a few hundred euro to thousands so there is something for everyone.” BARBARA BROEKMAN (above left) has been developing her distinctive, monumental works since 1982. After specialising in textiles at the Amsterdam Gerrit Rietveld Academy, she completed a Mas-
ter of Arts programme at the California College of the Arts in Berkeley, USA. In her work, Broekman pursues a direct confrontation with the human senses through large-scale pieces; she explores the full spectrum of human experience addressing topics such as love, death, birth, loss, relationships and cultural diversity. As one of the most renowned artists to exhibit at Art in Redlight, Broekman recognises its importance for artists at different stages in their careers: “It is a really sympathetic initiative from within the Amsterdam art scene. As an independent exhibition, it offers both the more experienced artist, and those less so, the opportunity to represent their art without the need of a gallery and to broaden their network.” LISETTE FRIMANNSLUND (above middle) graduated from the Fine Arts department at the KABK in The Hague with a degree in painting in 2014. Frimmanslund was thrilled to be invited to exhibit following the success of her graduate show: “It’s a great opportunity for me as a starting artist to exhibit alongside much more experienced artists whom I admire.” Art in
Redlight will feature selected works from In Transition, a collection inspired by a solitary bicycle journey during the summer of 2013 that lasted 26 days. They are reflections on how solitude changes the way you think, remember and focus. The title of each work is taken from the exact moment each photograph was captured. DAAN DEN HOUTER is a distinguished multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in Rotterdam. Studying artificial intelligence in advance of attending art school awarded him the foundation for his artistic work: our subjectivity, consciousness and role of the subconscious. Using humour and cynicism he aims to create another perspective on art and challenge people’s assumptions about daily life. The exhibition will show his new Splat works. These pieces show us just the back of the canvas with the original painting splattered against the wall. Den Houter is excited about the art fair, “I’m going to make a great show; it’s a perfect opportunity to buy some of my works for a good price!”
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dEUS: Belgium’s best loved band re-release their top songs Indie-rock heroes dEUS were the first Belgian band to sign a record deal with a major international record company. Two decades and six albums later, Tom Barman has curated a special compilation album of their greatest work entitled Selected Songs – 1994-2014. TEXT: HELLEN CULLEN | MAIN PHOTO: STEPHAN VANFLETEREN
“We hesitated between calling it a Best Of or Greatest Hits,” singer and front man Barman explains. “The songs are probably the ones I would choose for people to listen to who have never heard of dEUS as they are probably the most interesting. If a ‘Best Of’ can find help us find an audience that hasn’t heard of us, that’s fantastic.” Although this special compilation may serve as a launch pad for new fans to discover the dEUS back catalogue, Barman worked very hard to create a collection that would have meaning for the legions of
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fans that already adore them. The band’s first three albums sold in excess of 750,000 copies worldwide and they have enjoyed an international cult following ever since. After twenty years of performing their unique blend of folk, punk, jazz and progressive rock, they continue to amass incredible critical acclaim for every new recording and attract fans in their thousands at shows worldwide.
Selecting songs With such an immense collection of material to draw from, a double album seemed
the best format to fairly represent the breadth of the band’s work. Barman shared the rationale behind their creative thinking, “We always knew that we were going to do a double album because we wanted to bring out the softer songs, the ballads, separately. There were two reasons for that; one is that they almost never become a single and the second reason is that actually I think the softer songs are some of our best. If you play them all together it shows a whole other side of us that was always there, and which the diehard fans know about, but was never
Discover Benelux | Culture | dEUS
compiled in that way before.” In essence, this new album allowed the band to cultivate a new life for old songs and present them to the world with a fresh perspective. Barman continues, “The other CD was based more on personal choice; there are some obvious tracks that we couldn’t omit like Suds and Soda, Instant Street, Hotellounger or Little Arithmetics – those are probably the ones that are most wellknown – and then we picked the other songs out by instinct.”
Perfect timing It is the ideal moment for Barman to stop and reflect upon the band’s musical legacy. “In the last couple of years we brought out two albums in a really short space of time, in 2011 and 2012, and toured on three continents. We needed a break, so it was the perfect time for us to release this as a bridge to the next album and to accompany it with a tour. It’s been twenty years since the first album so that gives it a good timely feel.”
The secret to survival Since dEUS released their acclaimed debut album Worst Case Scenario in 1994, the band have evolved both musically and in terms of personnel; to sustain a career over such an extended period of time required a number of line-up changes but the current members have collaborated together for ten years. Founding members and long-term friends vocalist Barman and multi-instrumentalist Klaas Janzoon enjoy a close working relationship with their musi-
Photo: Stefan de Batselier
cal comrades drummer Stéphane Misseghers, bassist Alan Gevaert and guitarist/backing vocalist Mauro Pawlowski. While so many bands struggle to survive the ups and downs of their musical careers, Barman and Janzoon’s relationship has endured. “I think we approach things in different ways. We’re complete opposites. That’s one of the reasons we’ve survived and also that he is very instrumental for the sound of the band.” Barman laughs as he reflects, “I always say that every good band should be like the cast of The Godfather. You should have Marlon Brando, the godfather, pulling the strings, Sonny who’s the volatile character, Robert Duvall as the
insider/outsider and then Michael the responsible one. I think Klaas would be the godfather and I’m Michael. I started off as the well-meaning young idealistic person but I’ve turned into Michael.”
Upcoming tour Releasing this album also allows the band to re-introduce some classic songs into their live show that have been absent in recent years. Barman is excited to perform these for their fans. “We’re very much looking forward to the European tour because we’ll dig up some older songs like Hotellounge that we haven’t played for a long time to make a good eclectic set that reflects the album,” he concludes. This is a tour not to be missed.
dEUS EUROPEAN TOUR DATES 9 December Postbahnhof, Berlin 10 December Scala, London 14 December Doornroosje, Nijmegen 16 December Bataclan, Paris 17-18 December Paradiso, Amsterdam 19-21 December Cirque Royale, Brussels Tom Barman (left), front man of dEUS. Photo: Bernaded Dexters. Selected Songs – 1994-2014 by dEUS is available now on double CD and digital download.
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Discover Benelux | Culture | Out & About
OUT & ABOUT There is so much more to December than just the race to get everything ready in time for Christmas. We have gathered a wide spectrum of cultural events all over the Benelux region and believe it or not – they all have nothing or very little to do with the holidays. From extravagant fairs to stunning performances there is something for everyone, before venturing back into the sparkling, snowy and mistletoe-covered streets of December. TEXT: STINE WANNEBO | PRESS PHOTOS | MAIN PHOTO: JANUS VAN DEN EIJNDEN
Belgian artist Milow in Luxembourg City Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, 1 December One of Europe’s most exciting talents is welcoming advent to Luxembourg this year. With a complex mixture of old-school soul, techno and acoustic pop he is best known for his single Ayo Technology from 2008, which topped the charts all over Europe when it first came out. Doing it all himself, he has released four albums and the latest, Silver Linings, came out this April. He will bring all his songs to Den Atelier. www.atelier.lu Russel Maliphant Company in Luxembourg Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, 2-3 December Acclaimed choreographer Russel Maliphant returns to the Grant Théâtre with
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his latest work titled Still Current. Prepare for an evening filled with energetic elegance and dedication as the dancers take you through the diverse styles of contemporary dance, ballet and martial arts. Joining Russel Maliphant on stage are Carys Staton, Dickson Mbi and Thomasin Gülgeç in a performance mainly constructed of duets and trios. A beautiful display of physical language to get you talking during these cold winter days. www.theatres.lu Art Antwerp Antwerp, Belgium, 5-12 December Antwerp is hosting an international art and design fair this month. Creators, collectors, art lovers, dealers and art & design experts will attend this eight-day exhibition that is much more than a regular art fair. Antwerp is already renowned for its mix of traditional art, modern art and culture
and the art fair will reflect this captivating merge of old and new. Dance performances, live art and classical music will also greet those who visit the Antwerp Expo during the event, as well as an opportunity to support the Belgian Cancer Foundation at the magnificent art auction at the end of the week. www.artantwerp.com The Illuminade Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 11 December – 4 January
Discover Benelux | Culture | Out & About
The Amstel river and the city canals drifting towards the Amsterdam city centre will be lit up with the incredible works of light artists from home and abroad. The long winter nights from late November to January become a lot more enjoyable with magical lights in all colours, shapes and sizes filling the capital and its canal houses. The Illuminade is a historic walking tour through the glowing city, taking you through and past the beautiful winter illuminated art works and invites you to interact and participate in the light. This guided walking tour of Amsterdam is available from 11 December. www.amsterdamlightfestival.com Arab Camera Festival Rotterdam, the Netherlands, 12-14 December A unique chance to learn more about cinema in the Arab world is coming to Rotterdam. The Arab Camera Festival explores the art of film-making in another part of the world and gives a surprising insight into social and political developments in the countries they dive into. Over the years, the festival has become a stage for debuting filmmakers and those who want to address more controversial themes in a visual
medium. Definitely worth a watch! www.arabcamera.nl Salon du Vin et de la Gastronomie Namur, Belgium, 12-14 December There is no doubt this is the season to indulge and there is no better place for such gastronomic luxury than the Salon of Wine and Gastronomy. This is when the major names of the food and beverage industry come together to showcase all their mouth-watering specialties, from the sweetest honey to scrumptious sausages. Along the way you will be able to sneak a taste of cheese, fresh truffles, tapenade and olive oil – what is not to like? www.namurexpo.be Excellent Wonen & Leven Fair Rotterdam, the Netherlands, 12-15 December From all over Europe, high-end brands will participate in this year’s excellent and exquisite lifestyle fair in Rotterdam. For five days Ahoy will be hosting all kinds of desirable objects, ranging from sparkling watches and jewellery to fast cars and yachts. The setting will be nothing short of spectacular and dazzling fashion
shows, stunning performances and a thrilling final auction are expected to make this event impossible to miss. See page 28 for more information. www.excellentbeurs.nl
International Record Fair Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, 21 December All lovers of pop and rock should take the time to visit the lobby of the Rockhal in central Luxembourg this month. Almost a million records from the last 50 years will be put on sale, ranging from CDs and rare 45 rpm singles to music DVDs and VHS cassettes. Over 40 exhibitors from all over the world are bringing their stock to the fair, including posters, t-shirts and other fan articles that are often impossible to find anywhere else. Always wanted a book about your favourite artist from back in the day, which was long sold out by the time you got to the record store? The chances are this might be your lucky day. www.rockhal.lu Art in Redlight Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 27-30 December For a decade now the historic Beurs van Berlage fills with art treasures and treasure hunters on the final days of the year. An independent art fair of spectacular proportions featuring dance, design, art, light installation and music. Up-and-coming as well as established artists will take the stage, creating an atmosphere that can only be experienced. See page 88 for more information. www.artinredlight.com
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Discover Benelux | Culture | Columns
STATES OF ART
Sensation and Sensuality: Rubens and his Legacy TEXT: MATT ANTONIAK | PHOTO: BOZAR
Peter Paul Rubens needs no introduction. His extravagant Baroque paintings have been exhibited and collected globally, and his place in the great canon of artistic demigods is unquestionable. What then, makes this exhibition any different from any previous paean to the great Flemish master? Collaborating with the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp and the Royal Academy of Arts, London, BOZAR have laid out a star-studded spread that curator Nico van Hout has designed to cover the artistic impact that Rubens has had on art in the past four centuries. Hence, although 160 works are on show, only 44 are by Rubens. The other works are made up from artists that Rubens has influenced, and it quickly becomes clear
this influence is both comprehensive and wide-ranging. There are Constables in the
exhibition, Gainsboroughs, Picassos, Rembrandts and Turners amongst a plethora of other household names. Ruben’s vast body of work can be daunting, but BOZAR have sourced order by fo-
cusing on six recurring themes within his work; violence, lust, power, compassion, elegance and poetry. Within these brackets one can see how the French painters were pulled towards his poetic works, the English by his landscapes, and the Spanish inspired by his religious works. Indeed, few painters have been capable of inspiring other artists for so long. Without Rubens, claims Van Hout, there would be no rococo, romanticism, orientalism, or even impressionism. His influence and legacy is remarkable, and this well-considered exhibition dissects how far his legacy reaches and why Rubens is regarded as the original painters’ painter. Until 4 January 2015. BOZAR, Brussels
The glitziest season TEXT & PHOTOS: ANOUK KALMES
Autumn and winter used to be the gloomiest part of the year for me, but no more. I have come to the conclusion that if I want to live a fulfilled life, then I cannot make my mood depend on the season or the weather. It just is what it is. A season. Weather. Of course life does slow down during the current months because there are less hours of light during the day, it rains more frequently and with the possibility of snow, traffic becomes even more hazardous. For some getting out of their warm beds in the morning becomes a daily struggle. We need to wear heavier clothes and we are likely to lose scarves, gloves, hats and umbrellas. But when I think about it, this beautiful season is also the time of the year when
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we get ready for Christmas celebrations with our family and we have the end of year gatherings and festivities with our colleagues and friends. We look back on what we have achieved during the year and we are ready to make new resolutions for the next one. So this time I am going to fully embrace the winter season and enjoy every day as if it was the brightest and warmest day of summer. I will not let it stop me from living my life and make excuses for staying in. And life doesn’t come to a halt in Luxembourg City: there are countless cultural events, festivals, Sunday shopping days and there is, of course, the annual Christmas market that is running for almost two months.
2014 has so far been a very good year for me and I am looking forward to ending it with success. I want to carry over the positive energy and the lessons I have learned to 2015. Read more about Anouk’s life and travels on her lifestyle blog www.luxessed.com
Discover Benelux | Culture | Columns
Sinterklaas and his return to the Netherlands TEXT: SIMON WOOLCOT | PHOTO: NBTC
ever given to a Dutch Facebook page. A heated debate started that has been fought in the courts, on social media and in the mainstream press. On one side are traditionalists who see no harm in the figure of Zwarte Piet and would like him to remain exactly as he is. On the other side of the increasingly polarised and passionate debate have been people who regard the appearance of Zwarte Piet, with his brown face, red lips and curly hair as a symbol of racism.
In the Netherlands there is a celebration that is far more important than Christmas, Sinterklaas. People all over the country, young and old, colleagues and families, give each other presents on and around December 5. For those of you who are not aware of the Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas, every November Sinterklaas – a Santa-like figure who gives presents to good children on 5 December – arrives in the Netherlands by steamboat from Spain. He is accompanied by his helpers, the Zwarte Piets. These are played by white men in blackface, usually with their faces painted chocolate brown or black, with bright red lips and curly afroCaribbean style hair. There is a lot of debate about where this tradition originates from, but it is largely believed to have started with a book by Jan Schenkman in 1850 called Sint Nikolaas en zijn knecht, or Sinterklaas and his servant in English. The Piets are the servants of Sinterklaas and hand out sweets, pepernoten (small speculoos-like biscuits) and presents to good children. On 15 November, in every major city in the Netherlands an event is held to welcome Sinterklaas and his Zwarte Piets. In Amsterdam, the boat carrying Sinterklaas and his Zwarte Piets
will sail along the canals while thousands of excited children and their parents line the banks and also gather at the Museum and Dam Squares. Similar events take place throughout the country. This tradition has been celebrated in the Netherlands this way for many years. The 2014 Sinterklaas was watched very closely by the media as throughout the previous year the figure of Zwarte Piet has become extremely controversial. Last year Verene Shepherd from the UN Human Rights committee called Zwarte Piet a throwback to slavery, symbolised racism and should be banned. This resulted in a shocked Dutch public leaping to the defence of their Sinterklaas tradition. A Facebook petition calling for Zwarte Piet to be saved quickly amassed over a million likes, the largest number
Some Dutch cities have already announced their intention to compromise by introducing rainbow and cheese coloured Piets along with the traditional black ones. A number of Dutch organisations have also begun to introduce multicoloured Piets in the seasonal advertising as well, or decided not to feature the Piets at all. So it looks as if there will at least be some change, however minor, to the appearance of the Piets, which some say is long overdue. Whether this will end the passionate debate that has been taking place remains to be seen. Whichever side you are on, we at Discover Benelux wish you a happy Sinterklaas season. For more of the Shallow’s Man Guide to Amsterdam see @Expatshallowman
MESTROM CHANDELIERS PRESENTS:
Light A collection of Mestrom Chandeliers and more from the period 1500-1850.
Masters of LXRY fair 2014 18th. Century chandeliers and contemporary design in the sector ‘House of Limiteds’ 11-15 December 2014 RAI, Amsterdam www.mestromchandeliers.com
Photo: Nele Siebel Fotografie. www.nelesiebel.com
23 November 2014 - 22 February 2015 Museum aan het Vrijthof , Maastricht