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2_5_DiscoverBenelux_Issue15_March2015_Q9_Scan Magazine 1 20/02/2015 16:49 Page 1

I S S U E 15 | M A R C H 2015

BARRY ATSMA

PAT R O N O F T H E PA ST

D I N I N G A M O N G T H E STA R S TH E MAR KET OF CON STR UCTION

C U LT U R E C A P I T A L M O N S PLUS: DESIGN, CULTURE AND TOURISM

P R O M OT I N G B E LG I U M , T H E N ET H E R L A N D S , L U X E M B O U R G & F R A N C E


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Discover Benelux | Contents

Contents MARCH 2015

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40

COVER FEATURE

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Barry Atsma

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An artist on the up: Sophie Jung Jet setting between London, Basel, her home of Luxembourg and soon New York, it is no wonder more and more are discovering her talent.

Having appeared as some of the Netherlands’ most famous historic characters, actor Barry Atsma brings his nation’s past alive while looking forward to an international future.

BUSINESS THEMES 16

60

Grandes écoles, GreenWin & Regulars Alongside our regular columnists, we are highlighting some outstanding French educational institutions and innovative industrial Belgian ventures. PLUS: Benelux Business Calendar, page 63.

Dining among the Stars The number of Michelin star restaurants is quickly growing in the Netherlands. Here is a selection of some of the top tables for fine dining.

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Culture Capital Mons Crowned this year’s Culture Capital of Europe, we discovered what the small Walloon town of Mons has in store.

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DON’T MISS 6 Fashion Picks | 8 Desirable Designs 68 Out & About | 70 Benelux Lifestyle Columns

The Market of Construction Airports, skyscrapers, zoos and wooden constructions – this special encompasses a wide range of architecture themes and topics PLUS: Second homes, from page 52.

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FEATURES 26

All in good time: Racoon With the release of the band’s new album, it was time to look behind the scenes and find out what inspired their new songs.

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Experience of the Month, The Netherlands Uncover the architectural identities of major cities in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France with Guiding Architects.

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Discover Benelux | Editor’s Note

Dear reader,

Discover Benelux

Cover Photo

Issue 15, March 2015

Jerome de Lint

Published 02.2015

Graphic Designers

ISSN 2054-7218

Joseph J. Ewin Jack W. Gooch

Published by Scan Group

Advertising info@discoverbenelux.com

Design & Print Liquid Graphic Ltd.

Sales & Key Account Managers Mette Tonnesen

Executive Editor Thomas Winther Creative Director Mads E. Petersen Editor Myriam Gwynned Dijck Copy Editor Mark rogers Contributors Anouk Kalmes Berthe van den Hurk Bettina Guirkinger Cathy van Klaveren

Yasmina Haddadi Steven Ebbers Laura Mirand Sarah Soussi Publisher: Scan Group 15B Bell Yard Mews Bermondsey Street London SE1 3TY United Kingdom Phone +44 (0)870 933 0423 Fax +44 (0)870 933 0421 Email: info@discoverbenelux.com www.discoverbenelux.com

Emmie Collinge Heather Welsh Helen Cullen Janine Sterenborg Josiah Fisk Martin Pilkington Matt Antoniak Simon Woolcot Steve Flinders Stine Wannebo

According to research, the Dutch work the least in the world. For several years now, the Netherlands sat at the very bottom of the list when comparing countries by the number of hours they work a year (for the Dutch this was 1,381 hours on average). Does this make it a country of lazy workers? The Netherlands is certainly unique in the world in the way it does business. Compared to other cultures, the Dutch are unusually direct (don’t be surprised to get harsh, albeit heartfelt criticism), abnormally egalitarian (the boss is merely the first among equals) and quickly distrustful of polite conversation (our low-context communication doesn’t compute with business chit chat). When making decisions, our egalitarianism requires that first, every single opinion is heard and taken into account. This of course makes it a slow and lengthy process, which is only barely speeded up by our directness. Mind you, failure to do this will likely cause a riot among Dutch employees. We like to believe this leads to better and fairer outcomes – and it arguably does – but it occasionally also leads to awkward compromises that don’t really please anyone. We like to call this the ‘Polder model’. Although the Dutch are known for their language skills, their understanding of foreign communication customs is not quite at the same level. The use of subtlety, diplomacy and coded speech can quickly cause problems. The typically British, understated way of expressing your thoughts will without exception lead to confusion and probably produce some unexpected replies. Then there is this curious tradition whereby lunch is hardly seen as a meal. Taking a full hour break for a hot meal is seen as extravagant and a waste of time. Instead a packed lunch of cold sandwiches, eaten at the desk, is the norm. I guess we might as well be productive during those few hours we actually do work.

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

4 | Issue 15 | March 2015


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Discover real Private Banking At SEB Private Banking, we acknowledge that everyone has a unique set of challenges. It’s why we do not offer ready-made solutions, concentrating instead on developing meaningful, long-lasting financial relationships and making the effort to really understand you and your requirements. Our international network of private banking offices will look after all aspects of your family business finances, from daily transactions to long term investments. Its services cover everything from tailored financial management, through to helping you to optimise the legal and tax structures within which your assets are held. As one of the world’s strongest banks and with more than 150 years of experience in private banking, we have just what it takes to ensure your future prosperity. To find out what SEB can do for your personal wealth, contact us in London: Christian A. Hvamstad +44 (0) 20 7246 4307 privatebanking@seb.co.uk

Sweden • Norway • Denmark • Finland • Luxembourg • Switzerland • United Kingdom • Singapore • Estonia • Latvia • Lithuania


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Discover Benelux | Design | Fashion Picks

MArCH FASHION PICKS

Bold is beautiful Break the mould and go bold this March. With spring slowly drawing closer, this is a great month to spice up your wardrobe by adding some flashes of colour, statement items and vibrant prints. TEXT: MYrIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PrESS PHOTOS

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1: City chic Hidden in the urban landscape of this stunning multicolour printed dress is the name of its designer: Dirk Bikkembergs. The Belgian fashion designer is part of the revered Antwerp Six and created this neoprene zip dress for his latest winter collection. Dress: €580 Ankle boots: €550 bikkembergs.com

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2: Layers of style This beautiful eye catcher is part of the Marc Lange collection Ozephius that is elegant and chic, mixed with bold and unconventional styles. Find his boutique in Alkmaar, the Netherlands. €3,450 www.marclange.nl

3: The lion’s share The combination of deep colours and bold print of this red Lion Skater Dress by Luxembourg brand Leopard by Belle Sauvage certainly gets a roar of approval from us. €75 www.belle-sauvage.co.uk


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Discover Benelux | Design | Fashion Picks

4 4: A world of contrasts The contrast stitching of this turtle neck dress creates an intricate and sporty silhouette. Thanks to the stunning cobalt blue colour, this zip dress from Dirk Bikkembergs’s winter collection is sure to please us far into spring this year. Dress: €470 Buckle boots: €500 bikkembergs.com

5 5: Skirting the lines The diagonal panels of this organic cotton mini skirt create sophisticated lines. Together with the vibrant yellow colour, they makes this Honest by Bruno Pietes skirt irresistible. €221 www.honestby.com

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Discover Benelux | Design | Desirable Designs

DESIrABLE DESIGNS

A little flair on display Every lounge needs its centre piece. This month, we’ve selected some striking designs that will instantly make their mark in a room. From refined coffee tables to sophisticated cabinets, they will become the focal point of finesse for your house. TEXT: MYrIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PrESS PHOTOS

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3: Elegant steel This gorgeous display cabinet by Dutch designer Sylvie Meuffels will make your treasured belongings look even more mesmerising. This design ‘Steel Cabinet #6” is part of a series of cabinets in various sizes and shapes made out of sturdy powder-coated steel frames fitted with glass. €2844 www.jspr.eu

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4: Shifting desires The smart sliding mechanism of the front panelling allows any section of this ‘Objekten’ cupboard by Brussels-based Alain Berteau to be revealed or hidden away. Open them up in irregular positions to create the perfect balance between storage space and a playful display cabinet. (Available in light and dark) €1339 www.objekten.com

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5: Bold and beautiful Crafted by Dutch designer Marcel Wanders, the laser-cut steel base of this ‘Ken Table’ is practically a work of art. The bold, rounded shapes are highlighted even further thanks to the clear, reinforced glass top that is glued invisibly to the base using UV technology. (Price upon request) www.quodes.com

1 1: Aerial display It is clear why designer Sébastien Boucquey named this display unit ‘Suspension’ – the lightweight shelves are held up by stainless steel wires attached to the ceiling. The captivating unit appears delicate and attracts a lot of light, ideal for showing off beautiful objects, special souvenirs or even flowering plants. (Custom made, price upon request) www.jo-a.eu

2: Concrete ideas The sleek shape of the asymmetrical ‘Memento’ coffee table is as remarkable as the material. Made out of concrete, it is strong, functional and certainly durable. Created by the Luxembourg design agency Stay Concrete, the table is available in various colours or as raw concrete. €930 www.stayconcrete.com


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Discover Benelux | Design feature | Marc Lange Jewellery

Surprising combinations TEXT: JANINE STERENBORG | PHOTOS: MARC LANGE, ERNA FAUST

Unexpected combinations of materials, colours and ways of assembling. These are the features of the beautiful jewellery made by Marc Lange, a respected and award winning jewellery designer from the Netherlands. “I combine precious metals such as gold and silver with industrial metals such as titanium and black zirconium,” explains Lange, “you can see this very well in ‘Ozephius’.” This is a beautiful layered ring gently studded with diamonds. “I finish one metal shiny, another one matt.” This results in a beautiful contrast within the jewel. “The twinkling diamonds add to this contrast even more!” This way of playing with material is what distinguishes Lange’s designs. It is the result of twenty years of experience in and a talent for

both the technical and creative side of creating a jewel. Composing a ring like Ozephius requires a whole different way of working than using only gold and metal: “Titanium and black zirconium can’t be soldered, so I need to work with them differently. I use small pins to gently screw the different metals together and vice the diamonds in the ring at the same time.” It is no wonder Lange won the Dutch Design Competition for the second time last year! Almost all jewels by Lange are custom made. And they are worth traveling to Lange’s shop in Alkmaar for, when, for instance, you are looking for a wedding ring. Lange: “What’s better than spending a romantic weekend in a beautiful city when you’re on the hunt for a jewel you’ll wear the rest of your life?” www.marclange.nl

The way Marc Lange combines materials and colours is what distinguishes his designs from regular gold and silver jewellery.


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Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Barry Atsma

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Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Barry Atsma

B A r rY

AT S M A

Patron of the past Having appeared as some of the Netherlands’ most famous people from history, actor Barry Atsma brings his nation’s past alive while looking forward to an international future. TEXT: MYrIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTO: JErOME DE LINT

One of the country’s biggest stars on the silver screen, Barry Atsma is a man of many talents. Fluent in Dutch, German and English and speaking fair amount of French, he writes, presents, acts – impersonating some of the nation’s most iconic characters – and made his Hollywood debut last year. Not someone for sitting still, we asked Atsma, if there is anything left on his professional bucket list. “A gritty action film a la Bruce Willis,” he quips. “That would be fantastic. A real intense American action film with fast cuts.” Having starred in a great variety of projects including dramas, comedies, historical films and art house, action is probably one of the few genres he hasn’t touched on before.

Writing history Atsma, 42, recently played a lead character in the Dutch historical epic Admiral (Michiel de Ruyter) alongside Charles Dance and rutger Hauer. With him in the role of politician Johan de Witt, the film is set in the 17th century ‘Golden Age’ when the Netherlands became the world’s foremost economic and maritime power.

perately trying to preach unity and tolerance. Atsma: “I really enjoy playing historical characters, it gives me a huge boost. I’m very interested in history and I like being able to let it inspire me and make it part of my own story.”

In the skin of a master painter In 2013 Atsma impersonated another important Dutchmen: Vincent van Gogh. “This was one of my favourite projects. It was very inspiring,” he says. Van Gogh was known for sending countless letters to his brother – sometimes several a day. This meant many of his personal feelings and emotions have been documented in great detail. “I could read exactly how he felt before and after a scene,” Atsma says. “The summer when we shot it, I entered into a sort of Van Gogh tunnel. I’ve actually taken on some of him with me, the passion and ruthlessness with which he painted. I think this made me become a little stricter for myself – I have to make something of my life. No half measures.” The television mini-series, Van Gogh, een huis voor Vincent was party set in France,

where the painter lived for several years until his death in 1890. To stay true to the facts, Atsma had to do several scenes in French. “I can speak English and I’m fairly good at German but French is not my best language,” he remembers. “It was fun, but it was also hard work to suddenly express myself in a different language.”

Father of the nation It certainly wasn’t in vain, as the director Pim van Hoeve has recently asked Astma to be part of his upcoming project on William of Orange, the ancestor of the Dutch monarchy and founding father of the Dutch nation. “They are currently trying to get the film funded, but this would be another major milestone in my career. In that sense I’m counting myself lucky.” Of course, with playing these important characters comes the pressure of having to live up to expectations. But Atsma does not see this as a negative, “I read this quote from Billie Jean King, a famous tennis player: she said ‘pressure is a privilege’. If you are under pressure that means you do something special where people watch you

Speaking to him just after the premier in late January, Atsma recalled the night in Amsterdam: “We were all radiating with pride, telling each other that we’ve been part of a truly historic film. That was really special,” and adds, “it contains such amazing shots, it is a film of Hollywood stature.” The film by roel reiné follows admiral Michiel de ruyter on his quest to defeat the English fleet while a political rift is threatening to tear the young Dutch republic apart. Here, Johan de Witt is des-

In 2013 Atsma impersonated master painter Vincent van Gogh. Photo: Piotr Kukla

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Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Barry Atsma

Atsma just started filming sequel Mannenharten 2, a Dutch romantic comedy. Photo: Dutch Filmworks

and value what you do. Then it’s up to you how you deal with it and keep it interesting for yourself. And I have to say, I’m getting better at it. I get more and more joy from my job. So in that sense: bring it on!”

A true thriller Atsma’s level-headedness was, however, briefly put to the test this January. Accused (Lucia de B.) was shortlisted with just nine other titles to be nominated for the Oscar for best foreign language film. “I was quite nervous, it was really exciting,” he says about the announcement of the nominees. Unfortunately the courtroom drama wasn’t among the final five. “It’s a shame, but that’s the way of things. It would’ve been fantastic to be in an Oscar nominated film.”

teresting and shows a different side,” he comments. “This is of course an awful story – in the Netherlands we like to think we have the correct morals in the courtroom. These things only happen in America, but they happened here too. It was good to be able to show this to the Dutch audiences.”

ance in Episodes, an American comedy series with Matt LeBlanc.

Going global

“I enjoy broadening my horizons, I’ve always had that, I want to challenge myself. If I feel I get stuck or do the same things then I naturally search for something new,” he says. “At some point I thought, I’m just going to do auditions abroad. It gives me work and I’m really proud of that.”

Atsma’s ambitions are certainly not confined to national audiences. He’s already completed several television movies in Germany and last year his first English spoken production Hector and the Search for Happiness came out, where he acted next to rosamund Pike and Simon Pegg. Earlier this year, Atsma also had a guest appear-

Having spent his childhood growing up in England, Greece, Brazil and the Netherlands, Atsma believes this might have contributed to his sense of restlessness. “I grew up with unrest, and I tried to find this again as an actor. Now, I’m once again searching for this unrest abroad,” he

Accused, released last year, is based on one of the worst miscarriages of justice in the Netherlands where nurse Lucia de Berk was sentenced to life imprisonment for multiple murders, despite being innocent. After spending almost seven years in prison, she was finally released after a retrial in 2010. Atsma played hospital manager Jaap van Hoensbroeck, who is first convinced De Berk’s arrest made the ward safer. “Sometimes people make terrible mistakes even if they mean well. This is in-

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Atsma as music producer Dennis in Mannenharten. Photo: Dutch Filmworks


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Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Barry Atsma

continues. Currently living in Utrecht, he says he is not planning to move anytime soon. “I have two daughters here, I’m very fond of the Netherlands and I’m attached to my friends. I absolutely would not want to change that.” He adds: “The more I travel the world, the more I realise how incredibly liberal and free the Netherlands is. That is unique in the world.”

Telling his story Last year he also made his presenting debut in the real-life series Down for Dummies. In the television programme, Atsma, who grew up with a brother with Down syndrome, followed the lives of three girls with the genetic disorder. “This made it very personal, it was very much my own story, and in a way I am trying to find more of these things,” he explains. “As an actor I’m increasingly trying to pull things my way and have more influence on the script. I try to tell my own story, which I really enjoy and currently I’m also writing scripts.”

In the historic epic Admiral that was released in January, Atsma played politician Johan de Witt. Photos: A-Film

This spring, Atsma already has a busy schedule. He is currently shooting Mannenharten 2, sequel to the popular Dutch comedy Mannenharten from two years ago. In Germany, he will play a lead character in Die letzte Spur (The Last Track) after the detective bestseller by writer Charlotte Link. Next, he will film Knielen op een bed violen after the famous literary novel by Jan Siebelink. “I’ve got a nice mix here: I do a romcom, a thriller and a historic 1950s project after one of the most famous books in Dutch literature,” he chuckles just before we wrap up our phone conversation. At the end he says “I’ve got to be at my German class anyway, so I’ve got to hang now!”

From acting to art Did you know: Atsma is also the voice of the audio tour for the exhibition Late Rembrandt. Showing over 100 works of rembrandt in his final years, the exhibition at the rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is the first of its kind (until 17 May).

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Discover Benelux | Special Feature | Carlson Wagonlit Travel

Beating business travel stress The most stressful aspect of business travel might just be dealing with delays, rescheduling appointments and other changes in your travel plan. The service of Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) unburdens you during your trip, so you can focus on what is important: your business. TEXT: JANINE STErENBOrG | PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES / HESTEr DOOVE

“CWT research shows that you lose approximately seven hours of productive time per business trip, due to travel stress,” explains Jan Latenstein van Voorst, director of sales, marketing and communications Benelux. “We serve small and big companies as well as government institutions, and organisations in the offshore and marine sector. They all have different needs, but we are specialists in providing custom-made travel arrangements for all of them. “Good examples are offshore companies with oil and gas drilling operations in the ocean. They may need transport for one hundred people at the same time. We arrange flights for all these people, includ-

14 | Issue 15 | March 2015

ing a 24/7 service for our offshore clients worldwide. In case of an emergency, like a big storm for example, we are able to start evacuating people quickly,” Latenstein van Voorst says. “We also serve other parties, like the Dutch police, where confidentiality is vital. All confidential information is treated by us with the utmost care. If needed, we develop and implement extra procedures and regulations to deal with it.”

More than a trip from A to B A custom-made travel arrangement for one traveller can consist of a single flight or complete door-to-door advice. And clients of CWT can easily book their own trip via

an online booking tool or the special travel app CWT To GoTM. Latenstein van Voorst: “When booking, you’ll see all possible trips that are in accordance with your corporate travel policy. For instance when it’s allowed to fly business class on long flights, those flights will pop up as a possibility. When it’s not allowed, it will be marked in red, and before finalising the booking, we need approval from the manager in charge.” That is just one of the many features of the handy booking system. The services of CWT do not stop once the booking has been made though. “Our app monitors your scheduled flights and when there is a delay, a strike on your route, a change of terminal, or anything else that affects your


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Discover Benelux | Special Feature | Carlson Wagonlit Travel

trip, you will get a push notification on your mobile device,” he says. All of this adds to CWT’s ultimate goal to offer business travellers the perfect business trip. Even after travelling the app comes in handy. “You can manage all costs related to your trip (flights, hotel stays and similar) directly in the app, since they are automatically added. So you have a complete overview of your travel expenses,” explains Latenstein van Voorst.

A productive business trip The interpretation of ‘the perfect business trip’ is of course different for everyone, but thanks to research CWT conducted themselves, they are aware of a general consensus on this subject. Latenstein van Voorst: “We researched the relationship between the travel policy of companies and the stress level of travelling employees. It turns out: the stricter the travel policy, the more stress the travellers experience.” And as we learned earlier: this costs an average of seven productive hours per

trip. “To compose ‘the perfect trip’, we combine the financial and comfort-related demands of all parties involved, and find the best possible balance.” Every year CWT conducts a study on company’s travel priorities. He adds: “We use these results to advise businesses on travel management priorities.” It is a good example of the proactive approach of CWT: they embrace technical developments and put them to use. Latenstein van Voorst: “The future of travel booking will be mobile only. In China people hardly use a laptop or pc anymore, it’s all tablets and smartphones. We will be heading in that same direction.”

Travel for fun In Belgium and Luxembourg Carlson Wagonlit Travel also offers travel plans for leisure trips. “Employees of our clients can book interesting holiday packages of all sorts via a dedicated website. If you are not affiliated with us, you can drop by in one of our travel agencies in the bigger cities in Belgium and Luxemburg.”

About Carlson Wagonlit Travel Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) is the world’s largest business-focused travel agency, represented in almost 150 countries worldwide with one or multiple offices. All 19,000 employees are dedicated to arranging the best possible trip for business travellers. In the Benelux CWT has ten offices. carlsonwagonlit.nl carlsonwagonlit.be

Stay informed on business travel CWT also has its own online business travel magazine in Dutch: Connect. It contains lots of interesting info on business travel trends and developments, destinations, interviews and more. You can read this online magazine on your smartphone, tablet or PC/laptop. cwtconnect.nl

cwtvakanties.be cwtvacances.be

Right: Jan Latenstein van Voorst Photo: Hester Doove

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Dining among the Stars

SPECIAL THEME

Dining among the stars In the last few years, the fine dining scene in the Netherlands has shot up the culinary ladder. Over one hundred restaurants now boast one or more Michelin stars – the ultimate endorsement of quality and hospitality. Privileged to produce many fresh ingredients locally, the country can count itself among the top in the world in terms of gastronomy. Get your appetite ready for this Special Theme: Dining among the stars, presenting some of the most ambitious and creative chefs of the Netherlands’ haute cuisine.

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Dining among the Stars

The fine dining scene in the Netherlands is characterised by the combination of international flavours, influences from the traditional French haute cuisine and fresh, pure ingredients. A long history of growing and producing has given the country a wealth of quality home-grown produce. Our featured Michelin star restaurants know where the find the best and most flavoursome ingredients and turn them into wondrous taste explosions. This Special Theme highlights several top restaurants located throughout the country, including in rotterdam, nearby Amsterdam, roermond, Eindhoven and the Dutch island of Texel. Each has something special to offer alongside their stand out dishes, from beautiful decors to special locations and gorgeous wine selections. Discover here your next favourite restaurant, we guarantee it will be a night to remember.

Pitch perfect dining TEXT: MYrIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTO: rESTAUrANT AVANT-GArDE VAN GrOENINGE

Hidden inside the grand Philips Stadium in Eindhoven, overlooking the famous grounds, is Michelin star restaurant Avant-Garde. Located on the third floor, guests are treated to a superb dining experience with a stunning view over the pitch – home to one of the Netherlands’ top football clubs, PSV. Open for lunch and dinner, Avant-Garde prides itself on its classic French cuisine with modern

Dutch influences. The menu is created by Chef Johan van Groeninge from nearby Tilburg, giving the dishes a slight, local twist and a characteristic Brabants, down-to-earth approach. With almost 40 years of experience, Van Groeninge combines the elegance of classical techniques with modern simplicity using pure ingredients. Avant-Garde also offers attractive dining packages, including a business lunch and dinner served on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thurs-

day. With its unique location, the restaurant is the perfect place for a memorable meal away from the office for a set price. The menus cover all you require; a two course meal, a glass of wine, ice water and coffee for lunch (€40 per person) and dinner includes an extra course and two glasses of wine (€65 per person). Apart from the regular football games (for which restaurant reservations are arranged through PSV), the stadium also hosts special events and concerts. This summer, Dutch singer Guus Meeuwis is set to fill the entire stadium during five days in June. For an unforgettable night of music and fine dining, restaurant AvantGarde accepts bookings for these concerts; go to the website to find out more. restaurantavantgarde.nl

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Dining among the Stars

Fine dining in absolute comfort The moment you enter restaurant One in Roermond it is like walking into a new world. The industrial building with raw concrete walls has a surprisingly warm and welcoming feel to it. Combined with a locally sourced menu with exquisite dishes, the restaurant has proved to be a formula for success. TEXT: MYrIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: : rESTAUrANT ONE

Bethany adds: “Many people says it’s like being in a restaurant in London or New York – it has an international flair to it.”

run by Chef Edwin Soumang and front-ofhouse Bethany DeLong, restaurant One offers a fine dining experience at reasonable prices and in a relaxing setting. “We want people to have a good time and feel at home,” Bethany says. “We offer excellent fine dining, but you won’t feel bad for laughing out loud here.” The couple met when they were working together in the Sydney Opera House in Australia where Bethany recounts that Edwin tried to woo her with his chocolate cake. A few years later, in 2007, they opened their own restaurant together. Bethany wasn’t the only one who fell for Soumang’s cooking. Within three years, restaurant One was awarded its first Michelin star. She adds: “They hadn’t even notified us, so we were really surprised. When a friend congratulated us, we thought it was a joke!”

side of roermond in a former factory hall, the ECI Cultuurfabriek. The raw industrial structure with stainless steel roof and graffiti on the concrete walls stands in stark contrast with the soft and comfortable furnishings. “We wanted a place that people wouldn’t instantly think of as a restaurant. The atmosphere and the location add another dimension to the experience,” she says.

They soon outgrew their initial location and in 2012 the restaurant reopened on the other

The restaurant has a very refined feeling to it, while keeping a welcoming atmosphere.

Bethany describes their food as “new Dutch cuisine”, using many local products with influences from their own experiences and travels abroad. “We work with recognisable and everyday products and Edwin turns them into spectacular dishes. We use what is in season so our menu changes all the time,” she continues. “We also aim to be responsible so we don’t serve endangered species such as certain fish: let’s save the tuna!” restaurant One also has a loft area for private parties. The more adventurous diner can book a table for up to five people inside the kitchen and see the chefs at work. www.restaurantone.nl

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Dining among the Stars

Where culture and cuisine collide A visit to the Wereldmuseum in Rotterdam (World Museum) can be much more than a cultural trip. Located in the same Victorian building is its restaurant, crowned with a Michelin star, that is of equal appeal as the museum’s global collection. TEXT: MYrIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: WErELDMUSEUM rESTAUrANT

restaurant manager Ingrid Buikema is keen to point out that the restaurant is open to all: “We keep the threshold low. The aim is the experience – to let guests enjoy a great meal accompanied by beautiful wines. A Michelin star is wonderful but people don’t have to know this. It is all about being comfortable. We try to present our dishes in plain language without using expensive words.” Chef Wim Severein takes an original approach to his menu, instead of beginning with the meat, he creates his meals with seasonal vegetables and fruit from around the world as a starting point. “Wim is always talking to growers and suppliers to find the best possible ingredients that are produced with care and have the most flavour,” she says. Museum visitors who only want a quick bite can go to the recently opened sandwich bar. Buikema: “We cater for every type

of visitor. We also have a museum gift shop where people can buy certain products we use in the restaurant, such as our olive oil.” Upstairs from the restaurant are three beautiful rooms that can be rented out. The smaller room is perfect for business meetings and private parties, and the grand ballroom and salon – complete with magnificent chandeliers – can hold up to 450 people. Events manager Fenna van Beurden, says: “Both halls have a wonderful classical look, they have the same historical atmosphere as the rest of the museum building.”

The permanent collection of the museum comprises of fascinating objects from the Asia-Pacific region including a full sized Tibetan temple that was blessed by the Dalai Lama last May. Currently the Wereldmuseum has a special exhibition on called Gold of the Gods (until 28 June), showcasing the world’s most extensive collection of exquisite Javanese gold from the seventh to the eleventh centuries. www.wereldmuseum.nl/en/restaurant

With the museum, shop and restaurant all in one place, these can be combined into exciting packages. “During a business convention, the museum can be visited as a break; we can organise private guided tours outside of opening hours; and through the shop we can arrange for original gifts,” Van Beurden says.

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Dining among the Stars

Food and festivities Located in a historic farmhouse, Michelin star restaurant ‘t Amsterdammertje is a place where dining and entertainment collide. Owners André Gerrits and Geneviève Paulina give guests an unforgettable and enjoyable experience every day. TEXT: MYrIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: ‘T AMSTErDAMMErTJE

“Humour is very important, we regularly do fun things like taking guests on a global journey of flavours with various appetisers, or the ‘message in a bottle’ where we serve food in a bottle, and we do crazy things with digital tablets and the like,” says Chef Gerrits. Gerrits and Paulina certainly set the bar high – they want their restaurant to be their own favourite dining place. “What we do is very difficult. We don’t want to be expensive but still give our farmers and producers a fair price. We use as many regional products as possible as flavour diminishes during transport. We cherry-pick the finest ingredients and greatest wines available and serve only the best,” Gerrits says. The old farmhouse was built in 1836 and turned into a catering establishment in the 1980s. Before Gerrits and his wife Paulina took over, it had been a bistro for several

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years. He says: “The name, ‘the little Amsterdammer’, refers to the first owner: he came from Amsterdam and was apparently quite small. We thought the name carried history with it, so we kept it and just added ‘André Gerrits’ at the end.” recently renovated, it now boasts a warm and stylish interior and a large, open kitchen at the heart of the restaurant. For guests who are curious to get the real inside view, ‘t Amsterdammertje offers a seat at the ‘Chef’s table’. Gerrits explains: “The table is attached to the kitchen and at the same height as the counter tops so you can see and hear everything. Especially for businesses, this is a great way to experience the restaurant from a different side.” ‘t Amsterdammertje also has an upstairs area for private parties and special occasions and the restaurant is registered as

an official wedding location. “We are first and foremost a restaurant, but it is also a wonderful place for weddings and events. We try to be flexible: everything can be discussed,” he says. ‘t Amsterdammertje André Gerrits is located in Loenen aan de Vecht, just a twenty-minute drive south of Amsterdam. It is open for lunch and dinner on Tuesdays to Fridays and dinner alone on Saturdays. restaurantamsterdammertje.nl


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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Dining among the Stars

Culinary treasures of Texel The rolling Wadden Sea, the salty ocean breeze and the endless dunes and fields – this is the backdrop of hotel and restaurant Bij Jef. Located on Texel, a Dutch island just a twenty-minute boat trip from Den Helder, the restaurant is the perfect escape for relaxation, and one that comes with extraordinary food. TEXT: MYrIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: BIJ JEF

“We wanted to be the best restaurant on the island. I guess it’s gotten a little bit out of hand,” Chef Jef Schuur laughs, referring to the Michelin star the restaurant was awarded in 2009. “We didn’t want the place to be stern and rigid. We make our guests feel at home and personally welcome them like they are good friends.” Originally from Texel, Schuur started the restaurant 19 years ago together with sommelier and fellow islander Nadine Mögling. Bij Jef (At Jef’s) combines the restaurant’s relaxing setting with dishes created from the island’s finest ingredients. “Texel has a wealth of beautiful local products, all kinds of North Sea fish, oysters, mussels and

cockles but also asparagus and of course the lamb. You’ll never have tasted anything like it, our lamb is so delicate and delicious, it is absolutely incredible,” Schuur says enthusiastically. Adding even more to the experience is Mögling’s selection of wines. The revered culinary critics of Gault Millau recently awarded her the title of the Netherlands’ best food/wine specialist and thereby the first woman to gain this title. Schuur comments: “Nadine puts a lot of time and passion into finding the best wines. It is all about ultimate enjoyment: combining excellent food with the perfect wine makes the whole meal three times better.”

To make your trip complete, Bij Jef’s regularly arranges walking tours around the island with a local dune farmer. “He does a little round of the animals every day and is often able to do a tour while he’s doing it. He knows an immense amount about the island, so this is a great thing to do!” Schuur says. Hotel restaurant Bij Jef is open Wednesday to Sunday for dinner, and will be open daily in July and August. The hotel offers luxury suites that are available throughout the week. www.bijjef.nl

Texel produces a wealth of ingredients locally, including North Sea fish, shellfish, asparagus and lamb.

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Discover Benelux | Food Feature | Henri Willig

The pinnacle of cheese making For centuries, the Dutch have been famous across the world for their flavoursome and creamy cheeses. In 1974, Henri Willig, took on this knowledge and started his own cheese brand. Now, over 40 years later, the company has reached near perfection with their rich and tasty cheeses. TEXT: MYrIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: HENrI WILLIG

At Henri Willig, tradition and innovation go hand in hand. The family-owned business, now in the hands of the second generation, goes against all the current trends of modern companies becoming increasingly bigger and more anonymous. And with success.

outdoors. “The better quality the milk, the better the cheese will be. It all begins in the field, we don’t work with farmers who keep their cows indoors. Our cows graze outdoors in the Dutch Polders, below sea level. You can really taste this in the cheese,” he says.

“Our motto is ‘straight from countryside to client’. This means we keep our production cycle short and our brand personal and honest,” managing director Wiebe Willig explains. “We keep an eye on the entire cheese making process so we have a lot of knowledge and we use this to constantly improve ourselves. This is something that really appeals to people.”

Wiebe believes consumers are more and more looking for brands that care about the wellbeing of their cattle. Although the company doesn’t own any cows at the moment, by the end of the year this is all going to change. He adds: “We are planning to get a herd of 120 cows so we can start making our own organic cheese.”

A world of flavours Excellent milk, excellent cheese For a Henri Willig cheese, only the best milk is acceptable so all their cows live

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But cow’s milk is not the only kind they use. Henri Willig sells around 30 different flavours and types of cheese, including

ones made out of goat’s milk, sheep’s milk and recently also buffalo milk. Each year, six new (sometimes rather adventurous) flavours are introduced so they constantly update their selection of cheeses available in the dozens of Henri Willig shops. Wiebe says: “Not long ago we started selling coconut cheese, goat’s cheese with lavender and even asparagus cheese.” The all-time favourite is still their redcoated Gouda. Thanks to their decades of experience, even this cheese is all but standard. “For hundreds of years the Dutch have improved their cheeses. We combine this knowledge with our own experience to add further finesse to the cheese making process, perfecting dosages and timings to get maximum flavour,” Wiebe says and adds: “A good cheese melts in your mouth!”


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Discover Benelux | Food Feature | Henri Willig

Cheese perfection – how it’s made First, the milk is heated up to 30 degrees Celsius. Next, a bacterial culture and rennet are added to thicken the milk, turning it into a pudding-like substance. With big knives the mixture is broken up so it separates into liquid whey and solid curds. The whey is drained and the curds (about 10 per cent of the total) are pressed into cheese moulds for 30 to 45 minutes where they get their typical round shape. The cheeses are then transported from the dairy to the Henri Willig warehouse via a salt bath. Their miniature, 400 gram cheeses stay in there for around 12 hours. To seal-in the delicate flavour and prepare them for transport, the cheeses are coated with paraffin – each type of cheese has its own colour. After maturing for 3.5 weeks, the cheeses are ready to taste.

Another new type Henri Willig introduced is a mix of cow’s and sheep’s milk. “This one is less outspoken as a typical sheep’s cheese but still has that characteristic flavour. It takes a lot of technique to produce mixed cheeses, so they are quite rare,” Wiebe says.

A dairy in action To learn more about cheese and the delicate cheese making process, people can visit the Henri Willig dairies the Jacobs Hoeve, the Alida Hoeve and the Catharina Hoeve, all three at less than half an hour’s drive north of Amsterdam. Open daily, entry to the cheese dairies is free of charge and a member of staff will explain in detail how cheese is made.

out some of our cheese at the end of it, you can of course visit the shop next to the dairy.” The Jacobs Hoeve in Katwoude, the Alida Hoeve in Volendam and Catharina Hoeve located at the windmill village ‘Zaanse Schans’ are open daily from 9am to 6pm; for more information visit the website. www.cheesefarms.com/en/ www.henriwillig.com/en/

“We will give you a personal tour around the dairy where you can see how cheese is actually made,” Wiebe comments. “We offer a professional demonstration and we can explain the cheese making process in 12 different languages. If you want to try

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Discover Benelux | Food Feature | Huize van Wely

H U I Z E V A N W E LY S I N C E 1 9 2 2

Innovation and a love for the craft TEXT & PHOTOS: HUIZE VAN WELY SINCE 1922

Huize van Wely, since 1922, is a nationally and internationally renowned patisserie house. Famous for its pastry and pralines, it is equally known for its ‘glacerie’ or artisan ice cream. Unsurprisingly, Huize van Wely has been a supplier to the Dutch Royal Family for decades. ‘The taste of pure perfection’ is its motto. With an assortment of 600 products, all entirely handmade in-house, it is a truly artisan business that has represented authentic and pure products for many years, without the use of artificial flavourings or preservatives. All products can be divided into three production lines: patisserie, chocolaterie and

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glacerie. Huize van Wely creates dozens of different tarts, cakes, biscuits and savoury pastries. With a choice of 30 different types of bouchées (large chocolates that fill the mouth – ‘bouche’ in French) and 20 types of chocolate truffles, thus the choice in chocolate products is phenomenal. Also the different kinds of ice cream and ice cream cakes are much loved and are frequently purchased as a dessert.

Craft The artisan specialists at Huize van Wely are all immensely passionate about the business. They put their heart into the products, the shops and the warm, personal service. Chef de patisserie, Joost Rotteveel, is head of the chocolaterie and

patisserie departments. He is a true craftsman and has won many prizes. Five times in a row he became the Dutch patisserie champion, a European patisserie champion and he came third at the patisserie world championships in Baden-Baden, Germany. With all his knowledge of the craft and his determination to innovate, the drive to convey this to his enthusiastic team and pupils is second to none. He encourages and gives his team the opportunity to compete in national and international competitions. Rotteveel: “Within my field of expertise, the one and only thing I do is to get the best out of my team. If you do what you’re truly passionate about, then you can reach


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Discover Benelux | Food Feature | Huize van Wely

The team at Huize van Wely. From left to right: patissier robin Hoedjes (former patissier at The Victorian in Kuwait), Chef de patisserie and chocolaterie Joost rotteveel and sous-chef Peter remmelzwaal (member of the Dutch patisserie team).

great heights. You’ll continue to grow and stay motivated.”

The School of Van Wely Over the years, Huize van Wely, has also become a training centre for the craft of the patissier, chocolatier and glacier, also called the ‘School of Van Wely’. Huize van Wely thrives on craftsmanship, love for the profession and perfectionism. All patissiers, chocolatiers and glaciers work inventively and have a great eye for even the smallest detail. For decades, Huize van Wely has been notable for innovation and gaining and sharing knowledge. Getting countless internship applications every year, it is the top knowledge centre and trainee kitchen for students. In the past few years, the ‘School of Van Wely’ has produced many renowned patissiers and chocolatiers, of which it is very proud.

Sharing knowledge Following the fame of renowned chefs, including those in the Netherlands, it is now time for the patissiers and chocolatiers to take the limelight and share their knowl-

edge and expertise. Patisserie is true craft in its own right. Because of this great interest, Huize van Wely offers clients and those curious to look behind the scenes entry into a suitable collaboration. Together with one of the largest cookery schools of the Netherlands ‘The Kookerij Culinary College’, a unique series of individual workshops has been developed, open to all to participate: pralines, savoury pastries, macaroons, ice cream and haute patisserie. For more information about these workshops visit www.kookerij.com

improve your mood thanks to the theobromine and phenylethylamine content. These same chemicals are also produced by the brain when we fall in love. www.huizevanwely.nl Noordwijk aan Zee – Amsterdam – Heemstede – Jakarta

The power of chocolate The quality chocolate of Huize van Wely is, apart from delicious, a powerful natural product. Did you know that the cocoa in the chocolate, particularly in the dark varieties, holds many active ingredients that are beneficial to us? Good quality chocolate contains antioxidants that help protect us against cardiovascular diseases and can even reduce inflammation. It increases the serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain and can

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Discover Benelux | Music Feature | racoon

R A C O O N

All in good time The Netherland’s most huggable band Racoon released their promising new album All in Good Time last month. It contains the well-arranged pop songs for which the band became famous over the last couple of years. The ‘song’ will always be the core of Racoon’s music, but after six albums it was time to let go of the typical song structure and make more room for music. TEXT: JANINE STErENBOrG | PrESS PHOTOS

racoon was founded in Utrecht in 1997 by singer Bart van der Weide and guitarist Dennis Huige, later accompanied by bass player Stefan de Kroon and drummer Paul Bukkens. Three years later, their debut album Till Monkeys Fly was released, which led them to play the Netherlands’ main festivals and music clubs. After being ditched by their record company in 2002, racoon took matters into their own hands. Over the last decade or so, this resulted in critically acclaimed albums and the band has just been named ’the Netherlands’ greatest indie band’.

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Through the years, racoon’s music grew up, simultaneously with its members.

The song What has not changed in almost twenty years, is the core of racoon’s music. “We always strive for the perfect pop song, even though we know it doesn’t exist,” explains guitarist Dennis Huige. It is a good goal to aspire to though. The first time racoon sat down for All in Good Time was in the fall of 2013. “The four of us rented a cabin in national park The Veluwe for a week. That’s where we emptied our ideafilled buckets, so to speak.”

On The Veluwe, the ideas for the songs on All in Good Time came to fruition. Closing track Fun We Had is actually the result of an idea that was on the shelves for over ten years. Huige: “Stefan started playing it again and soon the song was born.” It doesn’t always go that smoothly though: merging all these ideas and reaching consensus about whether an idea is good or bad was quite a struggle.

Working with Wouter van Belle That’s where producer Wouter van Belle came in. “With his fresh perspective he helped us condense our material to the


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Discover Benelux | Music Feature | racoon

Racoon is currently touring the Netherlands. Many shows are sold out, but at the time of print, there are still tickets available for the concerts in Apeldoorn (9 May) and Zoetermeer (16 May). www.racoon.nl

racoon just released their sixth studio album All in Good Time. From left to right: bass player Stefan de Kroon, singer Bart van der Weide, guitarist Dennis Huige and drummer Paul Bukkens.

eleven songs that made it to the final cut.” Van Belle is someone the band trusts completely. Huige: “We worked with him on our previous record Liverpool Rain as well. We trust his judgement, he has a lot of musical baggage, a taste in music that matches ours and he is good at arranging songs.”

about six years ago. To the city of Goes, to be exact. “When we lived in Utrecht, the four of us shared a house. Our singer Bart was the first of us to move back. After six months he visited us again and said: ‘What is everybody making such a fuss about? Take it easy people!’ We laughed and called him a peasant.”

On the album you will hear instruments such as keyboards, strings and brass instruments and flutes. Huige: “But the instruments always serve the song, instead of the other way around. It has always been important to us to make a pop song with a verse, chorus and a bridge, but in our current songs we made more room for music. The songs are still songs when played on only a guitar though!”

Six months later, Huige followed Van der Weide and not long after De Kroon joined too. “I always thought that when I moved back to Zeeland, it would be the first step towards the end. But actually I love it here. A home with a garden is affordable, family is around and it is nice to have the ocean so close by. Life in Zeeland is much slower. Besides, it’s busy enough to be in a band and it’s nice to go home to the peace and quiet.”

Back to the roots All members originally hail from Zeeland, a province in the south-west of the Netherlands that consists of a number of islands, largely surrounded by the North Sea. Having kids is one of the reasons for three of the four members to go back to Zeeland

Their move back to Zeeland and the changing music are definitely related. “The last couple of records are more tranquil, now that life is more peaceful. We are not led by trends anymore, which has led to timeless music,” Huige concludes.

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Discover Benelux | Mini Theme | Culture Capital Mons

Photo: Icarus Projects

Photo: David Bormans

Photo: Gregory Mathelot

Photo: Georges De Kinder

MINI THEME

Culture capital Mons The Belgian town of Mons is the first Walloon city to be crowned European Capital of Culture. And it certainly is making the most of it. Hosting over 300 different events throughout the year, with the help of 400 organisations, 1,200 ambassadors and 5,000 artists, 2015 will be a year to remember. TEXT: MYrIAM GWYNNED DIJCK

Capital of the southern province of Hainaut, with just under 95,000 inhabitants, Mons has an active cultural scene and a remarkable past. In modern history, the city is best known as the location for the first battle of the British Army in the Great War in August 1914. But its early history dates back to the 7th century, when Mons (or Bergen in Dutch, named after the hill it was built on) developed into a respectable town. The rich historical heritage is also highlighted by the architecture of the old centre which includes the imposing St Waudru’s Collegiate Church, the gothic-style Town Hall and the unique 87-metre high Belfry. The latter, locally known as ‘El Catiau’ was built in the 17th century, contains a 49-bell carillon and is the only baroque belfry in the country.

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Mons’s history is also encapsulated in the to the coalmining that took place there since the Middle Ages. The mining complex of popular 650 year old folklore event Doudou Grand Hornu (now an arts cen(or Ducasse), this year held tre) is a remarkable example of on 31 May. Starting with a an early 19th century industrial procession of the Car d’Or, a gilded carriage, carrying St complex – when the mining in Waltrude’s remains, the festhe region experienced its tivities come to a spectacular peak. The Borinage is also climax with the ‘Lumeçon’ where Vincent van Gogh made battle, where St George on the transition from being a horseback slays the dragon preacher to an artist, while living Van Gogh, The sower Photo: Kroller-Muller Museum in the city square. among a local mining community. The exhibition Vincent van The region is also worth a visit. Nearby are the Gogh in the Borinage (until 17 May) at Bam ancient flint mines of Spiennes, covering in Mons pays tribute to the master painter of some exceptional works of art. some 100 hectares. They are Europe's largest and earliest Neolithic mines where flint It is clear the small town of Mons is an exstone was quarried from 4300 to 2200 BC. cellent touristic destination, and as this Moreover, Mon’s surrounding Borinage disyear’s Cultural Capital of Europe, a visit is not to be missed. trict has a stirring industrial heritage thanks


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Discover Benelux | Introducing | Jean-Paul Lespagnard

INTrODUCING

Jean-Paul Lespagnard TEXT: MYrIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: JEAN-PAUL LESPAGNArD / DENIS rOUVrE / DAVID BOMANS

He is the face of Mons 2015 – this year’s Cultural Capital of Europe – he is a Belgian artist and a talented fashion designer: Jean-Paul Lespagnard. Currently based in Brussels, he started his own fashion label just five years ago and it already has outlets all over the world. We caught up with him to find out more.

dren where they can design their own fashion items, but also for adults. Then in August my art exhibition Till We Drop will open. We try to organise things to get all kinds of different people involved. DB: Tell me more about you as an artist.

DB: You first studied social economics in Liège before switching to art and then fashion. What attracted you to do fashion?

JPL: In my art I combine elements of fashion, art and dance. Fashion is about selling products, but with art, this isn’t the case. You don’t have to be commercial so you can be freer and more creative.

JPL: It is my way of talking about what is happening in the world and it’s about being creative, these are things that connect all three subjects. I use fashion as a medium to bring people together.

DB: Your current collection ‘Le SavoirFaire’ has quite an eccentric theme to it: the production of meat, and it includes a fashion video in a sausage factory. Where did this come from?

DB: For those who don’t know your brand, how would you describe it?

JPL: I wanted to draw a parallel between the production of meat and the production of fashion. People don’t really know how things are made or where they come from. I wanted to confront people with this thought but allow them to have their own opinion about it.

JPL: It consists of a classical wardrobe with a twist, usually by adding fun elements. I get my inspiration from popular culture and I mix it with ethnic influences. DB: As an up-and-coming fashion designer from Wallonia, the organisers of Mons 2015 asked you to be part of their celebrations. What did you do? JPL: Firstly, for the opening night in January I produced 20,000 unique capes for the spectators to wear. The topic for the night was ‘dazzle’ so I made them out of thermal material with a reflecting, silver-like coating. They were lightweight, so they were both aesthetically pleasing and practical. DB: What else do you have in store for Mons 2015? JPL: From now till June I will be doing a series of workshops, including for young chil-

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Discover Benelux | Mini Theme | Culture Capital Mons

A new generation of chocolate While it is one thing to make good chocolate, it is quite another to master the art of bringing together an explosion of taste and texture. Meet the Chocolaterie Druart. TEXT: BETTINA GUIrKINGEr | PHOTOS: CHOCOLATErIE DrUArT

A firm believer in the motto "there is no good meal without a great desert", founder Camille Druart decided to re-invent the craft of chocolate-making following an already successful career in luxury gastronomy, in which he has been thriving since 1982. An entrepreneurial self-learner, Druart soon stood out among his peers in the world of chocolate with his ground-breaking recipes inspired by his knowledge and passion for the confection of sauces ... hence the Druart brand was born. Today, the chocolatier can be found in the beautiful valley of Honnelles nearby Mons in Belgium, which is regularly visited by cocoa aficionados and has gained such renown that for 20 years the Maison Druart has been a supplier for the first-class Maison Fauchon in Paris. For visitors passing through Mons, Druart invites them to stop-over at the majestic bakery, tea-room and restaurant of Saint

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Germain. Ideally located in a grand house on the main square, this partner-establishment offers a large selection of the chocolate-maker's creations. With an innate curiosity for new flavours, Druart has been able to bring together ingredients from exciting and exotic places around the world to produce a new kind of chocolate that is unique in taste and texture. In the chocolatier's wide repertoire, chocolate lovers will find a ‘coconut milk and curry’ mixture from Thailand, a ‘Bahia’ coconut mousse mixed with rum from Brazil or an explosive spicy mix from Japan affectionately named ‘Wasabi’. A recent addition to the collection is the ‘Coffret Whisky’ – a rare combination of millennial Scottish and Japanese whiskies, allying their strong taste with the subtle notes of chocolate. Devoted to create high-quality products, the cocoa beans are guaranteed to come

from the best suppliers and are carefully controlled before each use to guarantee quality and freshness. This leads each and every creation to be a culmination of harmony between good taste, freshness and know-how. For a taste of perfection, wait no more and order your happiness box on the Druart website. www.chocolat.be Official Partner and reseller of Druart Chocolate: Le Saint-Germain Grand-Place 12 7000 Mons, Belgium +32 65 33 66 37

Druart Chocolaterie SA rue de Boughors 13 7387 Angreau, Belgium +32 65 75 95 21


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Discover Benelux | Mini Theme | Culture Capital Mons

The year of living designedly The gaze directed at Mons by the arts world throughout 2015 brings increased focus on the activities of one of the city’s great creative institutions. Its exhibitions and competitions during this European Capital of Culture year merit attention. TEXT: MArTIN PILKINGTON

The WCC-BF – the World Craft Council’s branch for francophone Belgium – has been around for 30 years, but 2015 looks set to be its most exciting ever. “It’s clearly a significant period for the organisation,” says director, Anne Leclercq: “And we believe our flagship exhibition this spring, Madame est Servie, makes a great statement about who we are and what we do.” That statement derives from the nature of the exhibition, concerned with art and design as, in this case, it relates to the dining table, and the way it reaches out into the city. “Within our own building we’ll exhibit functional items like crockery, cutlery and textiles, along with the nonfunctional such as photos and sculptures on the same theme,” she says. “But simultaneously at restaurants including

L'Impératif, La Table des Matières, Les Gribaumonts, and D'Eugénie à Emilie, a table which people can reserve and eat at will be set with pieces by artists and designers from Belgium.” Belgian companies Eternum (cutlery) and Serax (crockery) sponsor the event. It could be said the organisation’s home for the last six years – part of the former municipal abattoir – demonstrates similar unconventional thinking, though Leclercq disagrees: “re-purposing old industrial structures makes sense. We’ve ended up with great spaces for displaying art and design – the superbly restored main gallery area has a uniquely serene atmosphere – as well as for practical tasks like training workshops, and legal consultations on matters like copyright and contracts.”

This year WCC-BF’s outreach will extend well beyond Mons. From October until the following January it is arranging exhibitions of works competing for the European Prize for Applied Arts it’s hosting. And this May an impressive contingent of its artists – among them Nevin Arig, Nathalie Doyen, Claire Lavendhomme, Antonino Spoto, Nelly Van Oost and Fabienne Withofs – will show work at the international salon Collect 2015, held at the prestigious Saatchi Gallery in London. As Leclercq says: “Things here are always busy, we host four exhibitions every year, but 2015 is going to be very special – and hectic – indeed.” www.wcc-bf.org

LEFT: Linde Hermans, Tilting, 2011. Photo: Kristof Vrancken. MIDDLE: roos Van De Velde, Pur Sang, for Serax. Photo: Studio Marc Wouters. RIGHT: Antonino Spoto, Brown and blue vessel, 2014. Photo: D. Bastin.

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | The Market of Construction

SPECIAL THEME:

The market of construction

An innovative approach to the sustainable city The internationally renowned urbanists and architects Güller Güller founded their visionary establishment in 1999 and now operate out of offices in Rotterdam and Zurich. The philosophy of the company is simple; they focus on developing solutions for local projects that serve to answer wider questions of urban planning and global changes in society. TEXT: HELEN CULLEN | MAIN IMAGE: GüLLEr GüLLEr – rHDHV - rr&A – PVB / EPA PLAINE DE FrANCE / A2 STUDIO

“Urban development is never disconnected,” Mathis Güller (partner and founder) explains, “It is always at the service of the larger, surrounding territory. We aim for any development to be inserted in the most virtuous and sustainable way possible through our planning process.”

the Triangle de Gonesse, Paris in 2008. In the heart of the airport corridor of Paris Charles de Gaulle, the 1000-hectare site is the largest remaining land reserve inside Paris. Güller’s team proposed a very daring compact strategy that will preserve 70 per cent of the site for agricultural activity.

True experts in their field, they are currently working on several strategic masterplans and large-scale developments for urban areas, including high profile railway station districts and airport areas throughout Europe.

Güller explains, “We have a thorough understanding of what impact airports have on metropolitan areas and we ensure transportation infrastructure is introduced in a more durable and sustainable way.” The project aims to capitalise on the potential economic dynamism of the area and achieve a greater quality of life by establishing a variety of new public transporta-

Airport aficionados Güller Güller were appointed as long-term project architects for the development of

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tion models while maintaining the beauty of the existing landscape: a milestone in sustainable urbanism. “It is a unique opportunity to address and overcome the complex challenges that these peri-urban areas can present,” he suggests, “these regions are often very fragmented with social inequalities and poor mobility performance and now we have the rare opportunity to impact upon the development model of this city and tackle very current global issues.” With over fifteen years devoted to developing airport areas, Güller Güller is also working on masterplans for Lyon and its airport


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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | The Market of Construction

The park area for Triangle de Gonesse masterplan at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.

city, the new Dutch Lelystad airport, the expansion of London Heathrow and a strategic vision for the Zurich Airport region.

better and create a more competitive and livable whole.

not just a bridge over a river or a place to park while you catch an airplane.”

“A sustainable urban environment requires the capacity to experiment and create urban laboratories for innovative project approaches,” he explains. “We need test locations such as the Groues that allow for prototype projects to be built on new ways of collaborating. This is where our ‘learning city’ idea is fostered; each step inspires the next project such that the overall design of a new district is built up gradually over time.”

Güller believes that these designs should be seen as a tool to share a joint-vision for how to create sustainable urban environments of integrity and value.

The firm manages the many different, complex factors of the project and monitors the time-line. “We cannot continue to build cities as concrete models because blueprint development is impossible in today’s European context,” Güller explains. “The key is to install a strategy that allows us to transform these existing complexes over time. This has to be built around a simple idea allowing all stakeholders to converge and manage the transformation strategy.”

A unique vision At the core of the team’s success is their uniquely integrated approach. “We appreciate that to propose the most successful masterplan, we need to understand all the processes around us and each discipline must have an equal share in the design process,” Güller says. “We use our design capacity not so much to produce a fixed image but to create a desirable yet pragmatic vision in a very co-productive process with all the parties involved so that we can build a city together. It’s more like conducting an orchestra, we’re not the ones to dictate,” he concludes. www.ggau.net

The learning city: transforming spaces The second distinctive expertise of the Güller team is dealing exceptionally well with the challenge of transforming existing city spaces. Their approach has fostered an intriguing notion of ‘the learning city’, an idea perfectly encapsulated through their development project for the Groues, a 70-hectare urban area adjacent to La Défense in Paris. The public development agency asked Güller how to make the city that surrounds this business hub perform

The importance of place-making Güller considers projects such as the Göteborg Bridge, Fribourg’s Cardinal Brewery and the Groues to be deep reflections on the challenge of making traffic flow and urban life co-exist in harmony. “We aim to create places of quality inside the city out of areas which are often considered as ‘nonplaces’ such as airports, bridges or railway stations,” he explains. “We consider what place they have in society so that they are

The new station square at EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse. Photo: Güller Güller / A2 Studio

Awards: Named as BEM - Le Bulletin Européen du Moniteur's specialist for airport urban planning in Europe: 2014 French Palmarès des jeunes Urbanistes 2010 Award Airport regions Conference Honorary Award 2009

Mixed-use development on the Groues site near La Défense, Paris. Photo: Güller Güller

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LEFT: Architecture tours by Guiding Architects. MIDDLE: Central Station, rotterdam. RIGHT: Contemporary canal houses on Java Eiland in Amsterdam.

EXPErIENCE OF THE MONTH

Discovering a city’s culture through its architecture From waterways to museums, and from warehouses to the world’s first 3D-printed canal house, cities and their architectural identities are arousing more and more interest. Rather than walking blindly through foreign streets, the international network of Guiding Architects aims to reveal the urban landscape through their professional tours, using various themes to explore how the world’s major cities take form. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE

Counting 45 global destinations, Guiding Architects is a network of independent companies, carrying out professional guided architectural tours for groups of any size and occupation: think overseas architects and political delegations, art associations and rotary clubs. Internationally acclaimed projects carried out by prolific architects like rem Koolhaas, renzo Piano and Santiago Calatrava are developing a renewed vigour for city breaks, with tourists taking to boulevards and buildings to uncover foreign cultures. And who better to explain these urban landscapes than resident architectural experts?

Covering Amsterdam, Rotterdam and more: architour running tours for over a decade, the Amsterdam-based architecture journalist Anneke Bokern has seen changes in the

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Dutch capital that have bolstered the city’s once disused harbour districts. With a notable shift riverwards, she enthuses over Noord-Amsterdam’s newly-found creative impulses. “The EYE Film Institute is definitely one of the most beautiful new buildings. But projects on an urban scale, like the artificial archipelago IJburg and the IJdock peninsula, are equally exciting.” Alongside Amsterdam’s historical quar-

ters, Bokern appreciates the city’s union of past and present: “Presenting this modern side of Amsterdam is part of our mission too.” Just thirty minutes from Amsterdam lies the more “modern and functional” rotterdam, a city Bokern declares a tour favourite despite its less romantic nature. She explains: “The architectural cacophony

BELOW LEFT: Tours with ArchiPedes give a very close look to architectural details: the filtered walls in Zumthor’s Kolumba museum. RIGHT: From Cologne’s old town it is a very short distance to the new harbour district with Teherani’s crane houses. Photos: Barbara Schlei


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Discover Benelux | Experience of the Month | Guiding Architects

of rotterdam and the spectacular, experimental new buildings are awe-inspiring.”

The authority on Belgium: ar[chi]pentage Brussels, begins Andrea Mantello from Belgium’s specialist architectural tour company ar[chi]pentage, might seem to have slightly jumbled architecture, but, he says assuredly, “this variety is also the clearest expression of the multitude of cultural groups, subcultures and economic forces that have shaped and are still forging the city. As the capital of both Europe and Belgium – two very dynamic entities – it could hardly be any different.”

LEFT: Theatre square – Antwerp, Belgium. Architect: Studio Associato Secchi & Viganò. Photo: ar[chi]pentage. RIGHT: Place Flagey – Brussels, Belgium. Architects: D+A international, Latz + Partner. Photo: Camilla Borghese.

gap between the banks of the rhine is an enormous task. The citizens, however, are rediscovering the waterfronts,” she says.

GA Paris bids you bienvenue Based in Brussels, ar[chi]pentage have the luxury of offering tours throughout the tightly-packed country. By location or theme (for example, Modern Brussels, Garden Cities and Architecture & Beer), Mantello’s company imparts their expertise and anecdotes during their tailor-made tours. As Mantello so succinctly puts it: “It is only by means of unconventional thematic entry points that visitors can truly understand why, for example, Brussels no longer has a river running through it.”

The city’s specialists: koelnarchitektur.de Described by Ira Scheibe from ArchiPedes as an “inspiringly inconsistent city”, the tours in Cologne, a cosmopolitan metropolis, expound on the juxtaposition of the city’s 2,000 year existence and its remarkably young architecture. Scheibe talks enthusiastically about the city’s current crop of urbanistic interventions: “The quest for craftsmanship has always been characteristic of the city, and maybe Zumthor’s distinctive architecture gave the final impulse for its reactivation. They are much more than just buildings, and he captures the very essence of them. This has raised the bar for future projects, such as the Jewish Museum by Wandel Hoefer Lorch, the art museum’s extension by Christ & Gantenbein, and the competition for the renewal of the Cathedral’s square.” “Old and new are not the only opposites to be brought together: trying to ‘bridge’ the

Led by architect Catherine Haas, GA Paris opts for an exciting blend of architectural and art and design tours, merging the city’s latest ventures with its rich heritage. Having spent six years as curator at the Pavillon de l’Arsenal, few can match Haas’s expertise when it comes to this densely populated urban sprawl. “More than just a beautiful city full of museums and Hausmannian architecture,” she says, “it’s a living and dynamic city with a creative contemporary architecture scene.” GA Paris offers tours of the city centre’s contemporary architecture, the east’s urban planning, the high rises of La Défense, and Le Corbusier’s impact as the historical modernist architect.

The French capital, she continues, is a fascinating case study for the collision of tradition and modernity. “It’s much more than just seeing buildings,” she interjects, before offering her perspective on the current political debate about the renovations of the Samaritaine building into a luxury hotel.

Culture-filled constructions Sharing a deeper understanding of their cities by lifting the veil on their buildings, Guiding Architects clearly have an aptitude for tour guiding, balancing expertise with stories, and fascinating features with insider knowledge. As Mantello concludes: “The stories about design become central for comprehending the city.” Despite their grime and grumbles, cities provide in-depth access to the culture exuded by their inhabitants, and what is more interesting than that? www.guiding-architects.net

BELOW LEFT: The Pavillon de l’Arsenal, the architecture and urban planning centre of Paris. Photo: Vincent Fillon. RIGHT: redevelopment of former train track and warehouse area Paris rive Gauche in the East. Photo: GA-PArIS

Alongside architectural tours, Guiding Architects can organise your entire trip, accommodation, dining and transport. www.architour.nl www.archipentage.be www.archipedes-koeln.de www.ga-paris.fr

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Gebr. de Nobel – The new pop music venue in Leiden was built inside and around several 18th and 19th century monumental structures, giving it a fresh yet historic look.

Architecture is happiness Architects easily get carried away with aesthetics. Spectacular structures and gravity-defying designs rapidly spring up everywhere. With new materials and better techniques, the possibilities seem endless. However, the real virtue of architecture lies not in form, but in function and atmosphere, placing people at the heart of the design process, as Joost Ector argues. TEXT: MYrIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: PETrA APPELHOF

Designing cities and buildings with the end user as starting point will help to create friendly and well-functioning living environments. An intuitive design that encompasses every need and anticipates future needs will be of lasting benefit and thereby become a part of a sustainable landscape – the true added value architecture can give to society. “In essence: architecture is happiness. This is also our motto,” explains architect Joost Ector. He is adamant that good architecture can greatly increase people’s quality of life – whether consciously or not. “The right atmosphere of an environment can truly bring out the best in people.”

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Once, on a business trip to Florida, the United States, Ector witnessed the design approach used to create one of the ‘New Towns’. “Urban designers and architects met with the future residents and tried to actively engage in a dialogue to design the perfect village together. They held workshops, built models and drew schemes simultaneously. It was quite intense, but also lots of fun,” he remembers. “Then I realised, this is how it should always be! Why don’t we do this in our projects?” Ector, partner at Ector Hoogstad Architecten, has implemented this method ever since. “We begin with mapping needs and

expectations, so the first stage of the design process requires active participation from all stakeholders. In return we add our creativity, expertise and experience. We try to be as approachable as possible, avoid jargon and think in opportunities and possibilities rather than problems and solutions. This allows us to really understand what the client wants,” he explains. “Sometimes we’ll even move in with them or set up camp at the future building site for several weeks, to immerse ourselves in a culture or a context.” The key in this process, as Ector states, is to be inquisitive and not jump to conclusions.


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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | The Market of Construction

“Through drafting multiple scenarios we uncover the best basic solution,” he adds. “This way of working is very effective: in little time we gather a massive amount of information and get to the core of the project. It also creates a friendly, collaborative atmosphere and enormous goodwill.” One of the projects he points out is the redevelopment of the station concourse in Utrecht – the country’s busiest public transport hub. It includes the creation of world’s largest underground bicycle parking, with space for 12,500 bikes. “This project perfectly showcases our qualities. We had to design an environment that is socially safe, highly usable and of course enjoyable. Optimal logistics, providing a direct connection between every single parking space and the train platforms, were vital, as was creating a high quality public plaza,” Ector says. As it affected many different stakeholders – from local government to business owners – Ector and his team invited each party and carefully listened to their interests. “For us this is standard practice, so we were able to process and implement many more individual requirements than anyone had expected at the outset. Also, we never compromise: we don’t stop designing until we have an option that works well for everyone. And that’s what we achieved here too.”

LEFT: Faculty of Applied Sciences TU Delft – This world-class physics research centre required extreme levels of soundproofing, vibration reduction, temperature stability and exclusion of dust and magnetic field. RIGHT: The unique working philosophy of Ector Hoogstad Architecten led almost 40 stakeholders to support the station concourse annex bicycle park in Utrecht that will optimally serve thousands of travellers each day.

Another project Ector remembers fondly was the redevelopment of the MetaForum, a university building in Eindhoven. The original monumental 1950s workshop had to be enlarged and transformed into a 21st century building, with learning environments, restaurants and a library. Ector, who graduated here himself, says: “Thanks to modern communication, you hardly have to leave your house, the need to meet people face-to-face is diminishing. This project was designed to counter that and seduce

students to come here to actively participate, connect and exchange ideas.” Located centrally, the 7-metre high glass structure is at a crossroads for the campus. “I like to think of it as the university’s living room, bringing people together and inspiring them to collaborate.” He concludes: “To develop big new ideas you’ve simply got to work together.” www.ectorhoogstad.com/en

Dealing with complexity was also the main challenge for the renovation of an 18th century city block in Leiden. The quarter was to be turned into a pop music hall while keeping much of the original structure intact. “It was a spatial puzzle. Technically it was very challenging because of acoustic requirements. We aimed to create a striking interaction between old and new,” Ector says. The project emphasises how sustainability can express itself in many ways, and not just by adding solar panels to a roof. “Meaningful reuse presents its own kind of sustainability, saving what is there. We always keep this in mind: while we design our buildings to last an eternity, they should allow adaptations with minimal wastage,” he adds.

ABOVE RIGHT: IMd offices, rotterdam – Consisting of several pavilions inside a former steel factory, this was a simple, inexpensive yet effective way of reusing old buildings. It is a “playground for engineers” as Joost Ector describes it.

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Architecture is emotion “Not every building is architecture,” Pero Puljiz starts passionately: “Through architecture a building can get meaning and a cultural value. Only when a structure becomes part of the collective memory, that’s when it becomes architecture. Architecture is the emotion.” TEXT: MYrIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: CIE.


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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | The Market of Construction

Cie. focused on creating an attractive public space in between the three buildings of the Dadong Arts Center offering a place for people to gather.

Puljiz is one of the partners at the Dutch architecture firm Cie. He enthusiastically recounts some of their most successful and characteristic projects. “We have many very experienced architects and we can work very efficiently. Each will add their own touches to a project, guaranteeing individual creativity. These qualities combined lead to unique results,” he says. Cie. has a very wide ranging portfolio that covers all types of structures both in the Netherlands and abroad, particularly in Croatia and China. Thanks to the company’s expertise, they have also won various international competitions.

One with the landscape One of these was the Hotel Sungarden in Dubrovnik on the Mediterranean coast in Croatia. Located at a UNESCO world heritage site, there were many limitations to the construction: it could not be too high to keep the view of the coastline intact, but each of the rooms in the high-end hotel had to have a sea view.

bition hall and a library – Cie. took the design to the next level by creating a unique space in between the structures. “We always look for added value and finding hidden opportunities. Here we transformed the area around the buildings into a comfortable public space,” Puljiz comments. Before finishing the design, Puljiz and a team of Cie. architects went to the location in Kaoshiung. They didn’t just experience the high temperatures and humidity, but also found there was very little public space in the city. “The half-open arcade features a membrane roof with funnel-shaped openings. It creates shade in the often scorching sun and provides shelter during the monsoon rains. The round openings also work as climatic devises, circulating fresh air,” he describes. “It’s actually the most visited space in the region. A lot of people gather here, even without visiting the arts centre itself, which is a great feature.”

Brickwork symphonies Puljiz says: “The building is split into two parts with the entrance in the middle. There is a top part of three floors with a wonderful roof terrace and there is the lower part which leans towards the sea. The latter is almost invisible when you enter – this makes the hotel look much smaller than it is and will give guests a more individual experience.”

Closer to home, in Amsterdam, Cie. designed two tower blocks collectively called the Amsterdam Symphony – one for office use and one for residential occupation. Located at the edge of the metropolitan business district the Zuidas, the two structures form an architectural bridge between the adjacent modern office blocks and nearby 19th century brickwork buildings in the characteristic Amsterdam School.

brickwork in a modern way. Apart from the bottom two floors which were hand-built, the structures are entirely constructed from pre-fabricated compartments but our design beautifully covers up the joints.”

Industrial heritage on display Showcasing the breadth of Cie’s portfolio – which covers interior design projects all the way to city masterplans – is the Café Open project in Amsterdam. The cafe was built on the foundations of a former swinging bridge, elevating it several metres above the water. “We wanted to retain the industrial character of the site and expose the old structure underneath. We kept the restaurant as simple as possible – it is basically just a glass box with windows as walls that can open on all sides,” he says. A special element of the design is the way these window panels open – they pivot up in a cascading motion. Puljiz adds: “It mimics the industrial movement of the bridge. In the summer they can be opened up completely, turning the restaurant into a beautiful terrace.” en.cie.nl

An arcade for the public Another international project was the Dadong Arts Center in Taiwan. Comprising three different elements – a theatre, exhi-

Puljiz explains: “It is the only building in the Zuidas that is built with bricks. The façade has intricate details, interpreting the use of

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Redefining Paris’s skyline It is not the tallest, nor the most visible building in Paris, but the newly erected ‘D2 Tower’ in La Défense is certainly one of the most stunning. Its diamond structure exoskeleton, the heavenly rooftop garden and its enchanting light effects at night give it a unique and captivating appearance. TEXT: MYrIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: MATHIEU DUCrOS / OPICTUrES, COUrTESY OF TOM SHEEHAN AND MAJOrELLE (INTErIOrS)

Architect Tom Sheehan is clearly proud of the tower, which was officially inaugurated earlier this year. Still awaiting a colloquial name to arise among Parisians, he muses: “I hope people will call it firefly or ‘luciole’. Now that the lights have come on, glowing at the top, it really brightens up the sky.”

vative lift system, where two pods move freely in one shaft, reducing lift space significantly. An automated system indicates which lift to take to get you to your destination the fastest.”

Back in 2007, SOGECAP, together with property developers Bouygues Immobilier and SOGEPrOM had a small plot available, code-named ‘D2’. They tasked Anthony Béchu and Tom Sheehan to create a magnificent business complex to accommodate over 4,000 people.

The 171-metre high tower, owned by SOGECAP, also features a luxuriant sky garden on the roof, reserved for the future occupier. He comments: “I couldn’t imagine designing a tower without destination. We were able to move the components elsewhere that are normally at the top of a tower, and created this beautiful roof garden. This makes it truly iconic.”

“Because the base was so small, we had to be creative to get the required capacity. We came up with an exoskeleton: through the diamond structure of the beams, the weight of the tower is distributed evenly, making it very strong and wind resistant,” Sheehan explains. “We also used an inno-

Another unique feature is its ground floor arcade, which is open to the public. “The tower stands on a transition point so we made the ground floor very transparent inviting people to walk through it, giving it further use and value for people,” he adds Sheehan, who is originally from San Fran-

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cisco, has been living and working in Paris as an architect since 1989. He puts a strong emphasis on the ‘human approach’ when designing buildings. He concludes: “Even if a building is beautiful to look at, it loses its value if it isn’t used. With the D2 Tower, we always had the user in mind to create the most comfortable workspace possible.” www.atsp.eu www.tomsheehan-blog.com


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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | The Market of Construction

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Design and harmony Ever since its creation in 2009, R+D Architectes Associés (RDAA) has been broadening its range of work through different projects and typologies, building on the more than two decades of experience of its founders, Axel Delouvrier and Cyril Roschewski. Enter a world of orchestrated complexity, practicality and harmony. TEXT: BETTINA GUIrKINGEr | PHOTOS: rDAA

For Delouvrier, the architect is at the heart of a complex process of design and conception from the very first sketches to the end result. "People tend to overlook the fact that the architect is just one of the many actors and decision-makers involved in the building process, no matter the scale of the project. Nevertheless, he plays a central and decisive role, quite like a composer and conductor in an orchestra. He is the end responsible for the harmony of the whole." He emphasises that only when this harmony is achieved can a structure be called architecture. Hence the mission and ambition of rDAA is to reach this on all the projects it undertakes.

From one success to another The first element of success for the partners and their team is to put the client at

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the heart of the creation process. The idea is to translate the initial sketches into reality: "We work extensively with models, perspectives and the search for the most adapted materials. Additionally, we give special attention to details, such as the sightlines and the acoustic comfort within the space." All these elements come together through the process of co-creation that is established between the architect and the client, with the idea in mind that they too own the project and participate in its unfolding. regardless of the type of project, roschewski insists on the fact that the quality of the relationship with the client is a crucial factor in making or breaking the development of a concept. "There needs to be an affinity and common vision be-

tween us for the best possible outcome – and this is something we have learned from years of experience."

From the inside out Another key element of success is to get rid of superfluous elements and focus on the core: "For us, a structure is built inside out and not outside in. The way we see it is that the external façade is the result of a dialogue between the interior space and the exterior context." It has therefore become a specialty of the agency to create a setting that is coherent, practical and harmonious. Last but not least, the architect's role is to stand for the client's best interest, which often requires an important amount of flexibility but also firmness towards the other


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Cyril roschewski

Axel Delouvrier

parties involved in the building process. This is to make sure that that the end result is as close as possible to what was envisioned in the first place. These three key elements have proved to work over and over again, leading rDAA to be awarded the Batiactu Prize in the field of renovation in 2013 and being among the finalists of the prestigious Paris Shop Design Award of 2014. As for now, 2015 promises to be a year full of new projects and developments, to match the ambitions of the architectural firm.

Inspiration

Tishman Speyer, in collaboration with SCO, 2009

time that Delouvrier and roschewski met, as two young and ambitions university students. "It soon became obvious that we would end up working together, and the opportunity presented itself about five years ago. Our agency is quite recent but we've been close collaborators for more than twenty years." Personally inspired by architecture giants such as his childhood hero Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as Louis Kahn, Alvar Aalto or Mies van der rohe, Delouvrier also believes that inspiration can come from contemporary entrepreneurs and visionaries: "I think of Steve Jobs, a legend in himself,

Elon Musk with Tesla and Space X or Luca Bassani who made the Wally boats come to life. They were able to create a new world with their imagination, a new outlook. Their creativity and energy are very motivating to us.� Eager to expand their portfolio in the sector of privately owned houses and hotels, rDAA is always looking for new clients to challenge them and co-create innovative structures. And why not, maybe one day, work directly with the ones that inspire them so much. www.rdaa.fr

For as long as he can remember, Delouvrier's life ambition was to become an architect. "As a child I didn't have posters of famous actors or singers in my bedroom ... but blueprints of Frank Lloyd Wright's structures and large pictures of his creations! Years later during my studies in architecture I would rise to the challenge of reproducing Fallingwater's model down to the smallest details." It is also around that

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Modernising the Netherlands’ rich history Redesigning beautiful old buildings with a nod to the past and a modern twist at the same time. That is one of the specialities of design studio Merk X. Completely new designs are also in good hands with owner Evelyne Merkx, though.

TEXT: JANINE STErENBOrG | PHOTOS: WIJNANDA DErOO & rOOS ALDErSHOFF

Merk X is a small and compact design studio, working within (interior) architecture, textiles and furniture. The owner is Evelyne Merkx, who started her first design studio in 1985: studio Merkx. From 1996 she worked with her partner Patrice Girod under the name of Merkx+Girod architecten. When Girod retired in 2012, Merkx’s studio was back, this time with a dash. During the last thirty years, Merkx has worked in big companies as well, but is now happy to be working for herself again. This does not stand in her way of being involved in major projects. She says: “When working on a big project, I collaborate with

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other architects. For every project I form a team. Sometimes I need to work with just one extra person, sometimes more.”

spaces for the newly founded law firm rutgers & Posch in a monumental building on the Herengracht in Amsterdam.

Throughout the years, Merkx gained quite some experience in rebuilding and refurnishing existing structures and interiors including for small offices, private homes, museums and public spaces. recent projects are the renovation of the passages and hallways at Amsterdam Central Station. As partner of Benthem & Crouwel Architects, Merkx is also responsible for the expansion and renovation of the Groote Museum in Artis Zoo in Amsterdam. Furthermore, she redeveloped the office

Groote Museum in Artis The Groote Museum is located on the upper two floors of the oldest building on Artis Zoo’s territory. Built around 1850, the building has experienced many reconstructions and reallocations. The Groote Museum closed in 1947, but its collection as well as the museum spaces stayed surprisingly intact. “The building consists of a ground floor that will be refurbished completely,” explains Merkx. On the first floor and in the open gallery are


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the new Cuypershal. The passages (a collaboration with Powerhouse Company), connect the town side of the Central Station to the IJ-side, where ferries to the Amsterdam North area depart.” The Cuypershal is the main hall of Amsterdam Central Station and will be partially renovated and restored to its original state, as designed by the station’s original architect Cuypers around 1880. This includes large new chandeliers and an air bridge to unlock the first floor from the hall. The former staff rooms of the Dutch railways will be added to the travellers’ domain to improve the distribution of the heavily increased pedestrian flow inside the building.

redesigning monuments is Merk X‘s field of expertise.

beautiful old wooden showcase cabinets with original wafer-thin glass. All this time, the spaces stayed unchanged since 1947. Merk X designed the expansion and renovation of the museum (a collaboration with architects Patrice Girod and Jan Willem Wijker). “We added technical modern facilities like electricity and climate control, without harming the monumental values. We will restore the beautiful original staircase into its former glory as well,” says Merkx. “And

underneath the building, the reception, wardrobes, toilets and cash desks will be clustered into a new basement floor.”

Amsterdam Central Station In 1997, Amsterdam started renovating its Central Station. This mega project is due in 2022. Benthem & Crouwel Architects have responsibility for the whole project and studio Merk X is, in cooperation with J. W. Wijker, part of the team. “We contribute to the improvements by designing two passages for pedestrians as well as restoring

Rutgers & Posch Another monumental building is the one in which law firm rutgers & Posch now hold office. The building was left behind in a deplorable state by its previous owners. With the available means, Merk X redesigned five meeting and reception spaces. “With a nod to the past, we renovated five spaces each in their own way. With separate colour schemes and vintage furniture we modernised the rooms.” rutgers & Posch decided they wanted to work with Merk X after seeing the work Merkx did for the Dutch Council of State in The Hague, a huge Merkx+Girod renovation project which took eleven years to complete. “We transformed many different buildings, from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century, in one coherent cluster, where all lawyers and visitors now feel welcome and comfortable,” she says. Merkx’s work is more diverse than just redesigning monumental buildings. She also designs private homes, interiors for public buildings and special commissions: for example, the chandelier in the entrance hall of the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Be swift though if you want to work with Merk X: “When I have a full schedule, I will turn down a project. This guarantees that the project team stays alert and dynamic!” www.merk-x.nl

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It’s not just luck, it’s working hard It has been 18 years and counting for architect Hans Kodde. He is still out and about designing and building for individuals who decide to make a home their home. His office in the centre of Amsterdam, the Prinsengracht, is doing well thanks to loyal clients and a bit of luck. Kodde, who is currently with six other people, is not about to quit now. TEXT: CATHY VAN KLAVErEN | PHOTOS: KODDE ArCHITECTEN

He is one of those people who gets others all excited about a project when they hear him talk about it. With great passion he talks about the time when he decided not to work for companies but decided to start a business for himself. At the time he used drawing boards instead of computers to design his projects. It was also then when he moved into the monumental building at the Prinsengracht. “At that time the Prinsengracht wasn't as popular as it is now, but it always has been a place where designers or artists would want to set up,” explains Kodde. He moved in and it's been his second home ever since. He started alone and worked on some small jobs before he teamed up with

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his business associate Jorrit Mulder. After that his team gradually grew into the team it is now. The jobs became bigger as well.

Difference But Amsterdam, being the capital of the Netherlands, is the hometown of many creatives and thus Kodde and his office had to stand out in some way. But if we ask him if he ever worries about a future for his office, he says: “No. What makes us different is that we take every assignment seriously, not just the big companies but also private home owners.” Kodde knows Amsterdam like the back of his hand and says that there has been a shift in people’s expectations. “Some

years ago the people who had the money to afford it, didn't want to live in old buildings and they certainly didn't want to remodel that. Those people left the city. In that time a lot new buildings were built. Amsterdam was very much in motion. Look at photos of the city, a lot of it was a mess. But that's really come around.”

Magnet The last few years the Dutch capital has been a magnet for people from all over the world to come work, and even live there. But also young people who come to study and decide they don't want to leave. Kodde works a lot with these people. “More people want to live in a big city, it's the opposite of what it used to be. But


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increasingly, they want to make a historic, existing building, their own home.”

Emotionally involved And it's this job that Kodde and his team find most exciting. “Most clients who bought a house or a plot hope to have a design ready in a matter of weeks. In reality most of our assignments take a year before people can start moving. But that's a rough estimate. Some projects take longer or even shorter, but it goes to show how much work it takes.” He continues: “Especially with private home owners. Every doorknob, every light switch is important. It makes working together with clients, especially the home owners, very close. It's our job to educate

them about decisions that have to be made. Professional clients mostly already have a global idea about what their office must look like and let us do the rest. Then we can have a free hand in much of it. With private home owners it's different. They often are very much emotionally involved, which is obvious.” Kodde adds: “That's why I think it's good for an architectural office if every step in that process is carefully considered. If working together is pleasant, acknowledge it. If clients are a bit worried about the result, try to make them at ease.”

only once in their life. Good service is therefore a key for his success. “We try to make ideas come to life. It's not always a smooth road but every time we complete an assignment, it's always amazing to see the look on the face of my clients.” He continues to work with a down-to-earth attitude, maybe another one of his successful traits. “Sometimes I tell my colleagues that we are very lucky. But it's not just luck. We all like what we do. And to be honest: we work very hard.”

Lucky

Take a look at the easily accessible website of the team of architects from Kodde Architecten.

Kodde is aware that most clients make the decision to remodel or build their house

www.koddearchitecten.nl

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Contextual villas A building in which context, experience and architecture are combined into a place that can be enjoyed to the fullest. That is the vision of the Netherlands based architect firm Maas Architecten. TEXT: JANINE STErENBOrG | PHOTOS: MAAS ArCHITECTEN

“Its context is the most important aspect of a building,” says Maas Architecten founder Wim Maas. “This goes for any building, whether it is a villa, an office or a school building. The context is a combination of surroundings and usage, like the view, the location of the sun, the habits of the users, their privacy and the transition between interior and exterior.” Also, all Maas Architenten’s designs are developed with a focus on durability and respect for human beings and nature.

Usage The starting point before making a design, is how clients experience a day at their building. At a villa, for example. Maas: “When the weather is good, our client might enjoy breakfast outside. When it’s too cold, it’s nice to have a spot inside with a beautiful view.” The whole floor plan and spacing of the building is based on seemingly small details like this. “We speak

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to our clients about their days at home, to combine usage and surroundings into the ultimate living solution.”

vacy, while on another location they’ll block a beautiful view.”

The result? Surroundings The buildings Maas Architecten designs are always in harmony with their environments. “This can mean that the building is totally in contrast with the surroundings, or that it fits in completely,” explains Maas, “it’s the location of the building that determines most of its shape. Designing a building situated in a suburban area is very different from designing one in the woods. For instance, walls can be perfect for pri-

Maas Architecten strives to create the most ideal solution for their clients. Besides taking into account what the building will be used for and what the surroundings look like, the most important aspect Maas takes into account before beginning to design is the wish of his client. Maas: “If our client wants a modern and sleek building, that is what we will design, but our way of working stays the same: we always work in consideration of the context. We also support our clients in the selection of the contractor and during project management, to ensure that the desired product is delivered.” www.maasarchitecten.nl


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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | The Market of Construction

The thriving world of wood Over the last 20 years, wood construction in Belgium has developed significantly. Its roots are to be found in a dynamic and modern production chain which adapted itself to the world of wood construction. TEXT & PHOTOS: HOUT INFO BOIS

Hout Info Bois, a technical centre for information on wood, has led a biennial survey amongst builders of individual timber frame houses and presents some of the major trends in the past two years. In Belgium, the individual timber frame construction represents some 8 per cent of the total amount of constructions. Until 2012, the wood construction could pride itself on being in constant growth, while the last survey indicated a slight decline. On the other hand, renovations, extensions and wooden heightening are still on the increase, albeit with a slight weakening. The most recent findings show that timber frames are by far the most frequently used wood construction systems, covering 80

per cent of the total. It is followed by column-beam structures and large wood structures each representing just under 8 per cent. The glued Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) represents 2.5 per cent and the nailed CLT less than 1 per cent.

Nevertheless, a growing awareness by the general public of environmental protection, the increased cost of energy and the need to better insulate buildings could make wood more attractive as a building material. It is highly unlikely that a late consequence of the 2008 crisis would lead to a decrease in wood construction.

The survey clearly indicates that wood construction remains the activity of small companies where construction is not their major activity. However, the trend also leans towards element prefabrication in workshops, which, over time, is expected to be accompanied by a sizeable increase in their business.

But wood construction is constantly developing and recently gained new sectors. Many companies have expanded their activities by realising larger buildings such as public buildings, farms and industrial buildings. Furthermore, the prefabrication of external walls to coat buildings which have a concrete main structure is another trend on the up.

The slight decrease in the number of residential constructions could be explained by the consequences of the 2008 crisis.

In short, the Belgian wood construction has a bright future. www.houtinfobois.be

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When a man-made stone becomes natural For over 15 years, Ideal Pierre Concept has specialised in the creation of special prints developed and made from natural local stones – a new way to bring together design and sustainability. TEXT: BETTINA GUIrKINGEr | PHOTOS: IDEAL PIErrE CONCEPT

The company is currently the only manufacturer of reconstituted stones made entirely of mineral-based pumice or volcanic rock, to design, develop, produce and package its products in the Benelux area, France and Switzerland.

A new approach With exceptional durability and authenticity, the reconstituted stones have a warranty of thirty years, which testifies to their longevity and quality. The outstanding feature of this stone is its thickness, lying between three and seven centimetres, which allows it to fit perfectly into any architectural style of house, be it wood or metal, as well as more contemporary or traditional houses.

Light and resistant The extreme lightness of the Ideal Pierre Concept stone allows its less than 40 ki-

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los per square metre to be applied on any surface, something which until now has been nearly impossible to achieve with more traditional stones. On top of this, its components make it resistant to freezing and thawing, as well as being water and fire resistant – an ideal asset to resist all types of weather conditions. These unique features make the reconstituted stones an attractive yet affordable solution for those looking for a more earthy look for their houses or offices.

Adaptability The strength of Ideal Pierre Concept lies in its ability to be flexible and meet its clients’ needs and wishes. What sets the company apart is that it does not rely on standardised prints but instead offers a selection of more than 420 prints of different stones to remain faithful to the real and natural aspect of their product. On top of

this, the stone manufacturer gives particular importance to blending into their surrounding environment by adopting the looks, colours and textures of the local stones – aimed at staying true to regional aesthetics and designs.

Ideal for façades Although also suited for indoor decoration, over the last few years the Ideal Pierre Concept product has gained increasing popularity in the embellishment of façades in the countries in which they operate. Indeed, the possibility to apply their stones to exterior thermal insulation has unlocked a world of possibilities and opened the way for a more sustainable yet pleasing approach to exterior design. www.idealpierreconcept.eu

   


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Realising your dreams of a second home Second Home International organises public exhibitions for recreational and international real estate investments in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Each year, over 25,000 potential buyers visit Second Home International and are welcomed by 150 exhibitors presenting properties from 25 different countries. TEXT & PHOTOS: SECOND HOME INTErNATIONAL

Investing in (inter)national real estate is on the rise due to low interest rates, reduced house prices and a recovering economy. While searching online for potential properties is common, the market demands a place for face-to-face meetings between buyer and estate agent. Affordable flights to second home destinations combined with personalised interaction at the Second Home Exhibition make finding the right property easier than ever.

The fourth, the emigration group, plans on living abroad permanently. The main focus of this group is in residential areas and less in locations with a high ‘holiday’ value.

Our visitors, ranging from entrepreneurs, managers, retirees and others interested in property investments, can be divided into four groups. The first group buys a second home for personal use only, as a luxury and leisure product.

www.secondhome-expo.com

The second group buys their property 100 per cent for investment purposes. Their return on investment is based on a rental fee, a potential profit when the property is sold, or a combination of the two. Buyers who rent their property can expect a return of four to six per cent. The third group is a mix: they use the property themselves and rent it out when the opportunity arises. This group is expanding rapidly and often rent to friends, family and other acquaintances.

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Whether it’s an apartment in Austria, a villa in the Cote D’Azur in France, a finca in Spain, a villa in Turkey, or a holiday home in the Benelux, the second home market offers a large variety of products to buyers with various goals and budgets.

Popular countries Here are the top five popular countries for second home investments. Spain – especially new-build projects. Turkey – very popular because of the low cost of living and high quality of life in a rather stable market. France & Italy – both stable markets with unique cultural aspects Austria – offers both summer and winter holiday destinations, has a stable economy and is easily accessible by car.

Facts for second home owners - You don’t have to be wealthy to invest in property. - Property investing has proved to be one of the most trusted and safe ways to create wealth – when it is done correctly. - Most wealthy people accumulate their fortunes through property. - Property is a great investment because it gives you control. - You could eventually create an income from the rental return on your investment properties. - In the third quarter of last year, 875 Spanish properties were sold to Belgian and Dutch buyers.


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Discover Benelux | Mini Theme | Second Homes

Austria dreaming The mountains, the tranquillity, the world’s biggest and most famous ski resorts, the glorious views and long winter and summer seasons – it is no wonder Austria attracts so many holidaymakers from the Benelux. For some, a mere visit is not enough, preferring something a little more permanent. Alpendreams can help them make their dream to live in the Alps come true. TEXT: MYrIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: ALPENDrEAMS

Buying a house can be a daunting experience at home, let alone when you are abroad, with foreign rules, complicated jargon and different processes. This was also the experience of robert Hubers: “When I was buying a house myself here in Austria in 2000 I didn’t really know what I was signing.” Originally from the Netherlands, Hubers used this experience to set up Alpendreams. Now he is helping others on a daily basis to purchase property in the Alps successfully without stress. “We offer independent support and mediation to Dutch and Belgian buyers who want to move to Austria or buy a second home,” he says. “Buying property in Austria is not just fantastic to use as a holiday home, it is also a smart way of investing. You get a high return on your assets with a great deal of certainty and security.”

For Hubers there is no better place to live than in his new home country. “It was my dream to live in the mountains: surrounded by the beautiful Alps, I feel more myself. I am a nature person and I love outdoor sports and I find the quality of life here in Austria much higher than at home.” Working together with housing agents, developers, bankers, caretakers, rental organisations, lawyers and tax specialists throughout the country, Alpendreams can advise buyers on the pros and cons of properties and make them aware of complex local legislation. “In Austria each region has different rules and not every house can be bought or rented out,” Hubers says.

“As soon as an offer is accepted, we can help to complete a purchase in as quickly as three weeks. We also offer help with financing, insurance, tax and accounting, furnishings and rental arrangements if needed.” Hubers finally has a word of caution for future buyers: “remember you’re a guest in a foreign country. Be patient and cooperative with the Austrians and you will make the most out of your (second) home!” www.alpendreams.eu

During the process Hubers will take buyers around a dozen properties and help with negotiations and administration. He adds:

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Discover Benelux | Mini Theme | Second Homes

A luxury recreation park at the foot of the Zeeland dunes in Dishoek.

Your own villa with butler, private chef or childcare TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK | PHOTOS: ARCUS RESORTS

At the foot of the Zeeland dunes at the seaside resort of Dishoek, 67 luxury villas and 12 hotel apartments are being realised. The A-location, combined with small, intimate, thirties-style design and a village-like character, displays the exclusivity of the Noordzee Résidence Dishoek, a project of Arcus Project and BPD. The rare location and good rental potential of the homes make it a desirable venture. Noordzee Résidence Dishoek is the first park that is being developed according to the new rental concept of Largo Villas. Largo is a subsidiary of Roompot Holidays and distinguishes itself by the exceptional quality and location of the holiday houses and it has an excellent rental service. Guests can make use of a babysitting service, butler service or a private chef.

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Zeeland Valhalla As soon as the sale started there was much interest in the villas and hotel apartments. A large part has been sold already, but there are still some luxury villas available in the beautiful surroundings of the city of Veere. Zeeland is very popular among Dutch, Belgian and German real estate investors and also with tourists. The parks are an ideal starting point for a day trip to cities like Antwerp, Knokke, Bruges, Ghent and Sluis. The Zeeland coast also offers plenty of opportunities to relax. For the Burgundian vacationer this province is a true mecca: there are many Michelin starred restaurants.

know it. The interest in recreational property is overwhelming. Due to the low savings rate, this form of investment proves an alternative fixed value to traditional forms of investment and financial products. Previously buyers needed 70 per cent financing for the purchase. Nowadays it is only 40 per cent.” Arcus Project is currently working on seven projects along the Dutch coast. Besides Dishoek, there will be holiday residences built in Breskens, Domburg, Ouddorp, Renesse and Nieuwvliet-Bad. The park in Cadzand-Bad has already been completed; and there are still a few villas for sale.

Overwhelming interest According Arcus director Enrico Sexton this is the moment to invest. "And people

www.arcusresorts.nl


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Discover Benelux | Business | Grandes écoles

G r A N D E S

é C O L E S

The great education insitutions of France French higher education covers – as in other countries – universities and independent schools. This diversity is a great strength; both forms of higher education start from the same educational foundation and they establish unity between the students selected, and offer a highly demanding training closely bound to the people concerned and adapted to their professional future. TEXT: YVES POILANE | PHOTOS: FOTOLIA / YVES POILANE

The Conférence des Grandes écoles (CGE) comprises 218 higher education and research institutions, including 14 universities abroad. Overall, they represent nearly 40 per cent of the total graduate level courses in France. In partnership with businesses, economic players and civil society, its main goal is to promote the development and influence of all forms of higher education and research institutions, both in France and abroad, with a view towards excellence.

economy, as well as the international business world, with newly qualified, highly skilled graduates. In the course of their studies, students are trained for entrepreneurship, gaining knowledge from internships and partnership research activities – they are the creators of tomorrow’s startups. Nearly 80 per cent of the French startup founders who participated in the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas in January had studied at a French grande école.

Over the past few years, the French grandes écoles have shown that they are a true shield against the crisis. recent graduates have an employability rate of above 80 per cent in the weeks following graduation and are able to find jobs in a wide range of sectors.

International recognition of the grandes écoles and their graduates has always been a huge stake for the Conférence des Grandes écoles. Figures demonstrate that an international experience is increasingly the rule for its students. According to the 2013 CGE mobility survey, 80 per cent of the graduates went abroad for studies or internships.

The grandes écoles’ ability to adapt and evolve in a complex environment enables them to stand at the cutting edge of French higher education and to provide the French

more than 48,000 international students of 164 different nationalities, which represent a 20 per cent increase over two years. Two thirds of international students studying in France succeed in getting their first job there. It shows that the grandes écoles create favourable conditions which attract and retain young minds from all over the world. French management schools sit at the top of the international rankings in their fields, and many of the grandes écoles’ alumni are now working at leading multinational firms. We can be proud of this excellence reached by higher education in France which contributes to French influence all over the world. Yves Poilane is president of the international relations commission of the Conférence des Grandes Écoles and director of Télécom ParisTech.

French grandes écoles cultivate their appeal abroad too. In 2013, they counted

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Discover Benelux | Business | Grandes écoles

Teaching excellence in civil engineering With over 60 years of history, the Institut Supérieur du Bâtiment et des Travaux Publics (ISBA-TP), located in the beautiful port-city of Marseille in southern France, has a long established reputation of offering the highest quality post-graduate studies in civil engineering. TEXT: BETTINA GUIrKINGEr | PHOTOS: ISBA-TP

Founded in 1952, following the need for trained civil engineers during the region’s post-war reconstruction, the ISBA-TP is the only state-recognised institute to offer post-graduate civil engineering specialisations in the whole of France today, with a diploma recognised by the CTI (Commission des Titres d'Ingénieurs). Over the course of fifteen months, its students from inside and outside the EU specialise in either infrastructure or bridgebuilding, split into seven months of modules, two months of group projects and six months of internships – all in French. On top of this, the institute also offers ‘tune-ups’ or ‘continued education’ of varying durations for professionals needing to update their theoretical knowledge in a specific area related to civil engineering. These include for example the Eurocodes,

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recently introduced European norms for structural design across the EU. All students will be taught and guided by professionals from the industry, who are guaranteed to provide real-life test cases and practices for a feel of the professional world. The ISBA-TP strives to train its students to be employed into their field of specialisation straight after graduation. It puts everything into place to achieve this by staying on top of technological developments and societal needs. Up to 60 per cent of students are employed following their internship. To qualify for admission, candidates must have a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in a field relevant to civil engineering (or Bac +5 for those in the French educational system) and applications are open to both nationals and students from abroad. A very international institution, the ISBA-TP wel-

comes up to 50 per cent of foreign students every year. Their perfect location in the lively and historic city of Marseille attracts applications from a wide range of countries and ensures a classroom filled with diversity. With an average class size of 20 to 40 students, the courses are tailored to meet the personal needs of each participant, ensuring a strong follow-up and feedback system when it comes to individual work, as well as group projects. The ISBA-TP application process for this year is now open and the institute looks forward to welcoming ambitious postgraduate students in civil engineering for the next academic cycle. www.isba.fr


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Discover Benelux | Business | Grandes écoles

From the classroom to Hollywood Staff, students and alumni of France’s École Supérieur des Métiers Artistiques (ESMA) will be paying special attention to the 2015 Oscar Ceremony, as a short-film made by five of last year’s class actually features in the programme. Not that cinematic success is anything new here... TEXT: MArTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTOS: ESMA / MATHIEU DUCrOS

When the first of ESMA’s three locations, Montpellier, opened in 1993 it met a need for training in contemporary artistic crafts, a philosophy that’s seen courses like animation and computer generated cinematography added since then. Its employability figures, and a host of awards and accolades, show the founders got it right. “When we started there was very little provision for education in the applied arts field in France,” says pedagogical director Isabelle Teissedre: “There was a clear demand in areas like graphic and interior design, and photography. That coincided with a lot of young people looking to gain expertise in this type of work, and finding

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it extremely hard to obtain a place. There really was a gap waiting to be filled.” Following the success of the Montpellier site a second was opened in Toulouse in 2008, and a third in Nantes in September 2013. “Some teachers give classes at more than one site, and we have a healthy exchange of ideas between the three – we have the same curricula and the same academic calendars, which makes cooperation relatively easy,” she says.

Contemporary design for contemporary designers All the schools are housed in decidedly contemporary buildings, with state-of-theart facilities that make the transition from

education to real-world application easy, and on-campus accommodation is possible at all three. With some 500 students at Montpellier, the same number at Toulouse, and around 300 in Nantes (where only the first two years’ intakes are in place) they are relatively intimate, exclusive even, institutions. Most students are French, but every intake contains a sprinkling of international arrivals, from Belgium, Luxembourg, the USA, China, North Africa... And the international aspect works both ways, “We have former students, French and otherwise, currently employed in Britain, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, the USA and even New Zealand,” says Isabelle.


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Discover Benelux | Business | Grandes écoles

Constant evolution Working in frontier fields brings special demands: “The teaching and learning experience is constantly under review as the areas in which we work evolve technologically and culturally. “Technology is progressing so rapidly that it can sometimes happen that our students are more aware of changes than those established in the industries where they go to work. In that way they can bring real added value to the workplace when they start,” states Isabelle. recent figures show that such knowledge is appreciated by the market – for example, an extraordinary 95 per cent plus of graduates from the cinema animation course were employed within a year of graduation.

Special effects, special success The low-tech days of special-effects genius ray Harryhausen are long gone, with those working in that sector needing cuttingedge IT skills – along with genuine creativity – to succeed. ESMA graduates are doing just that, never more clearly demonstrated than with wins for alumni of the school at the VES (Visual Effects Soci-

ety) Awards in Los Angeles, the SFX equivalent of the Oscars. “Alexandre Allain, from the class of 2008, working with colleagues won one category in 2014; and we just learned that Philippe Moine, who only graduated in 2013, won another on 4 February this year,” says Isabelle proudly. Amazing though those achievements are, an appearance at the Oscars themselves takes some beating, especially when the invitation comes thanks to a student film. Five of the 2014 graduation class, Matéo Bernard, Matthias Bruget, Jonathan Duret, Manon Marco and Quentin Puiraveau, made a charming and funny animated short film – Sweet Cocoon – as their final year project. They were delighted to win ‘Best of School’ prize with it, then went way beyond delight when they learned subsequently it would be part of the Oscars Ceremony programme – and that they’ll be in LA to enjoy the occasion. “They have been on the national news, they are going to the Oscars,” says Isabelle: “Everyone at the school could not be happier, it is wonderful for them – and not bad publicity for us!”

ESMA Graduates have worked on: (among many others) – Arthur Christmas – Kung Fu Panda – Avatar – Gravity ESMA Rankings Number 7 animation school in the world (Animation Career review). Since 2006 one of only three European schools granted Sony’s IPAX accreditation.

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Join the cluster: Alain Lesage, director general Alain.lesage@greenwin.be rue Auguste Piccard 20 B-6041 Gosselies, Belgium

GrEENWIN

A cluster of innovation Centrally located near Brussels and other main cities of Western Europe, such as London, Paris, Berlin and Rotterdam, Wallonia evolved at the heart of Europe and its industrial economies. With a dense network of highways and an efficient network of air, rail and waterways, Wallonia is in direct connection with all the decision-making centres in Europe, all assets for the region’s economic development and competitiveness. TEXT & PHOTOS: GrEENWIN

In this context, GreenWin is a cluster supporting innovation and promoting the development of collaborative r&D projects, with an objective of growth for Walloon industries and for job creation into leading markets. Devoted to more efficient environmental technologies, GreenWin focuses on improving the life cycle of products by saving input and energy, recycling waste and using renewable resources. The priority is to reduce Wallonia’s carbon footprint of industrial activities and of production. GreenWin aims to tackle major technological challenges such as storage of energy, reduction of CO2 emissions, building with sustainable materials and processing waste and effluents to recycle them as new raw materials. In a single network, it brings together 185 members through nearly 140 companies, large and small, including several world leaders, all local universities and research centres, training providers and organisations that promote the green economy. All

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members are driven by the opportunities offered by pooling skills and resources. GreenWin’s scope and strategy cover three main topics: - Chemistry (biobased chemistry, use of CO2, biotechnologies) - Sustainable materials in the building sector (energy storage, energy efficiency, production of materials and building systems) - Environment (waste and recycling management, water and air treatment, soil remediation, sludge recovery) In 2015, the coverage of the GreenWin cluster has become impressive: its different sectors employ a total of 47,000 jobs in Wallonia and Brussels, with exports nearly 30 per cent of the total economy. In terms of results, GreenWin has supported 25 industrial projects (r&D and training) certified and funded by the Wallonia region for a total budget of 70 million euros. On a daily basis, GreenWin provides its members with strategic intelligence and the development of a shared vision of the future; an organisation of contacts and

meetings; the identification of strategic skills to be developed; the deployment of collective training activities; support consultancy, methods and tools for the construction and management of innovative, collaborative projects; help seeking funding from public and private bodies; the development of shared technological platforms to respond to common needs and an international visibility of skills and projects.


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Discover Benelux | Business | Siterem

Grounds for action TEXT: MArTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTO: COUrTESY OF SITErEM

Polluted soil can be a negative legacy of our industrial past – and present. Siterem SA of Louvain-la-Neuve has been at the forefront of solving such problems in Belgium for more than 20 years. “When we started in 1993 the legislative framework wasn’t really there in our area, so we were pioneers,” says company head Vincent Vanderheyden: “Now things are much more established, as our various accreditations show – we’re ISO2001-1998 certified, and recognised as a category-2 soil management expert for Wallonia, and as ‘soil pollution expert’ for the Brussels-Capital region.” The most famous elements of Belgium’s industrial heritage – coal and steel – are naturally significant to the company, with

major names like Duferco, and NLMK on their client list. But their work takes in less obvious areas like former petrol stations and accidental pollution sites.

developing clean-up techniques, and regularly host doctoral students doing fieldresearch – they learn from us, and hopefully we from them,” he says.

Vincent and his associate Stéphane Schadeck run the company: “The team comprises 12 engineers – one of our trump cards is that customers have an engineer dedicated to their case, as contact and project manager, avoiding delays and misunderstandings.” Their expertise ranges across site studies, liaison with clients about any legal ramifications, preparation of remediation plans, and even supervision of remediation activities. He’s proud of the difference the company has made in its sector, and the expertise it has built up and is happy to share with fellow professionals: “We work with various research bodies and universities in

www.siterem.be

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Discover Benelux | Business | Columns

What communicates? TEXT & ILLUSTrATION: JOSIAH FISK

How do you teach a cereal bar to speak? That’s a trick question. Cereal bars already know how to speak. In fact, inanimate objects often speak (in a sense) with great clarity and eloquence. Nor do I mean only those objects that have writing on them, though that can certainly be part of it. For instance, just by itself, a cereal bar can signal ‘healthiness’, ‘energy’ and ‘tasty reward’. So I was intrigued when my friend Karel van der Waarde mentioned a project where the challenge was to get a cereal bar NOT to say what it usually says. Karel is an information designer based near Brussels. His work involves trying to make labels, packaging and literature about pharmaceuticals more understandable. The project was based on a brilliant idea: putting drugs that must be taken with food into a cereal bar. The bar could be formulated to

contain the right mix of nutrients to balance the drug. Patients could take their medicine at the right time no matter where they were. And the unpleasant taste of the medicine would be hidden by the tasty flavor of the bar. Ironically, from a communications standpoint, ‘tastiness’ was exactly the problem. If the bar looked like just another brand of cereal bar, people might be tempted to take a bite, thus unwittingly getting a dose of medicine (and depriving the patient of theirs). Yet if the bar looked too unusual, or too medicinal, users would essentially be broadcasting their condition and prompting unwanted conversations. Karel’s solution: to look for something in between. He’s basically creating packaging that

says “Yes, I’m tasty, but I’m not a regular cereal bar. I clearly have a special function, though I’m not going to tell you what it is. So run along now!” It’s a communiJosiah Fisk cations solution worthy of the original concept. Alas, it won’t be available anytime soon. The reason? Food is regulated by one branch of the government and medicine by another. So for the product to win approval, those two branches will have to communicate. Maybe we should send some cereal bars to show them how it’s done. Josiah Fisk is the head of More Carrot LLC, a clear communications company with offices in Boston and Luxembourg.

Getting a cultural snapshot (of the Benelux) TEXT: STEVE FLINDErS | PrESS PHOTO How can you get an instant picture of the culture of a country you don’t know? One way is to visit the website of veteran Dutch interculturalist, Geert Hofstede, who has identified six dimensions of cultural difference and who claims to be able to measure these for different countries. Recommending Hofstede comes with a health warning, because his work is much disputed in academic circles. Nevertheless, if I want to get a quick snapshot of a place I don’t know, then I look at his tables. His six dimensions are 1 Power distance – how hierarchical a culture is; 2 Individualism versus collectivism – ‘I’ or ‘we’; 3 Masculinity versus femininity (contentious terms!) – how far the culture exhibits ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ characteristics; 4 Uncertainty avoidance – how far people feel comfortable with uncertainty; 5 Long versus short term orientation – strength of adherence to tradition, attitudes to change; and 6, the latest addition: Indulgence versus restraint – the extent of ‘gratification of basic and natural human drives related to enjoying life and having fun’. How do the Benelux countries look? Here is what stood out for me.

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1. The Belgians are significantly more hierarchical than their neighbours. Inequalities are accepted, information is power. 2. The Dutch are extremely individualistic, but the Belgians and the Luxembourgers are not so far behind. 3. The Dutch show far more feminine characteristics than their more masculine neighbours: their preferences are for ‘cooperation, modesty ... and quality of life’ over ‘achievement, heroism, assertiveness and material rewards for success’. 4. The Belgians are almost off the scale in their discomfort about uncertainty and their need to manage risk. ‘Planning is favoured.’ The Luxembourgers and then the Dutch trail behind. 5. The Belgians are the least wedded to tradition. This surprised me. 6. The Dutch are ahead of the others in the fun stakes. Hofstede is a kind of parlour game. I’m not even sure how valid the notion of national culture is at all. It’s certainly highly dynamic, and the cultural characteristics of 20 year-olds must look very different from older generations. However, as I said, it’s a snapshot, one I may use at the outset to help me find my way from ignorance to understanding in a new and unfamiliar place.

Steve Flinders Steve Flinders is a freelance trainer, writer and coach, now based in Malta, who helps people develop their communication and leadership skills for working internationally: steveflind@aol.com; www.coachingyork.co.uk/item/steve-flinders/


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Discover Benelux | Business | Business Calendar

Business Calendar TEXT: STINE WANNEBO | PHOTOS: NBTC

Critical Infrastructure The Hague, the Netherlands, 4-5 March This conference focuses on convergence when examining the future threats to infrastructure. Critical Infrastructure Protection and resilience Europe have secured world leading experts to discuss whether Europe’s infrastructure is secured from physical as well as cyber dangers. Focusing on transport, telecoms and energy, the programme combines different disciplines to find possible solutions. Among the speakers are Ivo Opstelten, the Dutch Minister for Security and Justice, and Fernando Sánchez, director general of the National Centre for Critical Infrastructure Protection in Spain. www.cipre-expo.com International Real Estate Investment Fair Cannes, France, 10-13 March The Chamber of Commerce of Luxembourg will have a pavilion at this year’s 26th edition of MIPIM. The world’s leading property expo draws influential participants from different sectors, from residential to industrial. The event is perfect for networking or discovering new opportunities and it

awards the most successful companies and individuals in the past year. A total of 93 countries are represented and the exhibition space covers nearly 20,000 square metres, so definitely an event of great importance. www.mipim.com Social Media Training Brussels, Belgium, 23 March Understanding social media has never been more important, especially when it comes to networking between businesses. That is why The British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium will teach participants how to do B2B social networking, how to do research, sector analysis and social advertising. Ben romberg and Brett Kobie from Fleishman Hillard, a worldwide public relations and marketing agency, will explain all the ins and outs of social media campaigns, how to plan them and how to measure their effect. www.britcham.be Storage Expo Brussels, Belgium, 25-26 March The theme for this year’s Storage Expo is ‘The Internet of Things’, centred on the

challenges of the exponentially growing mass of data. IT management, security, storage capacity and data management all need to adjust to the information era and set up tools to tackle related problems. Combining a trade show, seminars and networking events, the expo will educate IT professionals and the like to use their storage capacity more efficiently. www.storage-expo.be Smart Workplace Design Summit Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 19-20 March This event, due to take place at the Park Plaza Airport Hotel, already has global brands such as Disney, Electrolux and Nike signed up for it. The two-day event will use discussions and mini-projects to promote dialogue between participants, maximising the value of their experience. The summit will explain how a well-designed working environment and company structure increases productivity and how to achieve this. It includes a discussion on how smart and open office space impacts cultural aspects, norms, attitudes and performance levels. www.humanresources.flemingeurope.com

Photo: Koen Broos

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Discover Benelux | Art Feature | Sophie Jung

SOPHIE JUNG

An artist on the up Luxembourg-born artist Sophie Jung is gaining a lot of attention from the international art world of late. We caught up with her to find out what inspires her and how she deals with her jet-setting lifestyle between London, Basel and Luxembourg and soon New York.

TEXT: HEATHEr WELSH | PHOTOS: SOPHIE JUNG

with representations. She covers themes that affect us all – the way we (digitally) record moments in life, our relationship with objects, people and memories.

strongest sense of a community. “London makes me feel positively un-judged, which, in my case, is vital to me not freaking out,” she says.

A place to call home

Education for art

Her courses in Amsterdam and London have provided Jung with fruitful but very different experiences. The rietveld Academy exposed her for the first time to people’s more blunt opinions whilst London, and in particular Goldsmiths University, fascinated her.

Currently studying for an MFA at Goldsmiths University in London, Jung is no stranger to education – she has previously studied at the rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, at the Folkwand in Essen and before that at the Zürich University of the Arts. What makes her work so interesting is her playful nature and the way she deals

Jung says: “All the talking, all the reading into and out of, without ever having to attach value really impressed me.” But it’s not all easy, London isn’t the most efficient or cost effective as distances are too great and time too precious. On the other hand, it is the place where she’s felt the

Jung makes a variety of work, from videos and performances to sculptures, texts and photography, often combining them. Language is at the heart of it all; she plays with assumed meanings and engages people with her facial expressions, performing with a mature awareness of her audience. She has a clear emotional involvement in whatever she does, which makes her work all the more appealing.

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Originally from Luxembourg, Jung now lives between London and Basel. She calls both Basel and Luxembourg her home by default. “I love them the way one loves the familiar – deeply and involuntarily.” With her family dispersed across Europe she says she misses them intensely and is often homesick, but these feelings in fact push her work forward. She says: “I seem to need that urgency, that sense of longing and the constant reevaluation of identity for my work… in all my chaos I now have created a haven of


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Discover Benelux | Art Feature | Sophie Jung

ABOVE: Part of Jung’s exhibition Between the lines: a cleverer woman or a more sincere one with Germaine Hoffmann for Belle Air, Essen, Germany. TOP RIGHT: Picture of Jung in 2014 during Trow Up / On Line for Haus für Elektronische Künste, Basel, Switzerland.

calm in the form of a 99p plastic zip bag that holds all I need to feel comfy. That is – a crystal object, a phone charger, a good pen, a sleep mask, my kindle, some tea bags, ear plugs…sometimes I imagine myself as a low-tech J-Lo.”

ing with found material – Hoffman with newspaper rips or old household fabrics and Jung with bulkier trouvailles or phrases and idioms. Jung says they also have a similar sense of composition, of when something is “just right”.

Family influences

Inspiration from modern life

One of Jung’s influences is her relationship with the stage. Many family members worked in the theatre industry so she grew up surrounded by the excitement of dimmed lights and red velvet. Other inspiration comes from the use of props and the relationship between actors’ public and private characteristics. She also loves language: “The spoken word, the sound of language and its embedding is something I love playing with, something that inspires me on a daily basis”.

A lot of Jung’s inspiration flows from the state of society today – more specifically, the rise of short-term loneliness and the synthetic antidote of social media. “The urge to shout out, yet carefully grooming that shout,” as she describes it. Her work plays with these tensions, and the shortterm fixes we all crave every day. “Sometimes it feels like all of Western life is a tragic comedy, a farce of the lost ones. We are the orchestra in the (fictitious) Titanic, playing till we sink.”

Jung recently did an exhibition with her grandmother, visual artist Germaine Hoffman, called Between the lines: a cleverer woman or a more sincere one for the Belle Air gallery in Essen, Germany. Despite growing up decades apart, their work has similarities and both artists approach new ideas in a similar way: work-

In 2013 Jung was awarded the prestigious Edward Steichen award but the real experience is yet to come. This summer she will be part of a 6-month residency at the ISCP in New York. She is also working on a solo show for Temnikova & Kasela in Talinn, Estonia called New Waiting that will open in March.

“You could say it’s a material spin-off off a text I wrote called Moonlight Sonata / Exempli Gratia which deals with the concept of ‘new waiting’,” she says. For Jung, new waiting means “me sitting at the computer staring into virtual space, knowing ‘he’ is out there somewhere, a green Facebookdot, a recent tweet regularly confirming ‘his’ presence. I sit and stare and feel ‘him’ brush against my various digital profiles.” sophiejung.allyou.net

Current and upcoming exhibitions Dear Luxembourg (Yours, Bucktoothed Grl) at Nosbaum reding Projects, Luxembourg with: Sophie Jung, Germaine Hoffmann, Emma Hart, Jenny Moore, Athena Papadopoulos, Abri de Swardt and Alice Theobald (until 7 March). New Waiting at Temnikova & Kasela, Tallinn, Estonia, curated by Juste Kostikovaite (from 3 March).

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Discover Benelux | Food | recipe

CHI L I

CON

R A NA

Fine dining at home With spring around the corner, why not try to get creative in the kitchen? One of Discover Benelux’s favourite chefs, Hilaire Spreuwers has given us a lovely recipe to turn your home into a fine dining establishment. TEXT: HILAIrE SPrEUWErS | PHOTOS: rOOS MESTDAGH

Chili con Rana (serves 2)

Preparation:

“I created this dish about a year ago when someone asked me to do a ‘lovelier version of a chili con carne’. So I give you my Chili con rana (‘rana’ meaning ‘frog’ in Spanish), a great recipe for Easter lunch,” says Spreuwers.

Mix the peeled tomatoes with the paprika coulis. Blend in the garlic and season it with pepper and salt. Put the mass through a sieve and boil. Soak the gelatine in cold water and blend it through the hot mass.

Ingredients: Chili peppers 150gr Pealed tomato (1 can) 150gr red paprika coulis 2 Cloves of garlic 7gr Gelatine 300gr Mixed beans Sesame seeds Beef stock Paprika powder rock chives 10 Frog legs

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Clean up the mixed beans and make sure you have at least 300 grams. Blanch them for a short time in salted water and cool directly in ice water. Warm the beans in clarified butter. Clean up the frog legs and coat them in a little flower. Cook them till crispy in warm butter with olive oil. Plate the dish as shown in the picture. Create a small pond with the tomato-paprika sauce. Use the different beans as stones,

they are the border around the pound. The rock chives are the plants growing between the stones. Flemish top chef Hilaire Spreuwers is the head of Horeca Limburg, Belgium. He also works as an expert consultant for the catering industry through KitchenMotors.


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Out & About ‘Festivities’ seems to be the word that best encompasses the range of events going on in the region. Whether it is a celebration of film, museums or cycling, it all seems to come together this month. The early signs of spring are here and people are preparing for a brilliant season. Why don’t you join them? TEXT: STINE WANNEBO | PrESS PHOTOS


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Photo: Matthew Valentin

The start of the festival season Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 4-8 March Two of Amsterdam’s finest pop venues will spread hip tunes and new grooves throughout the capital when 5 Days Off returns for the fifteenth time. Techno, house, electronica and beats music will be streaming from Paradiso and the Melkweg at the heart of Amsterdam. Acts include FKA Twigs, Surgeon, Bicep and Funkineven, all newcomers but on a steep way up. Get a taste of the fresh new sounds and kick off the festival season a little earlier this year. www.5daysoff.nl Night at the museum Brussels, Belgium, 7-8 March The Museum Night Fever celebrates the museums in Brussels for the eighth time. The event is an annual rebellion against the classic museum visit and over 500 young people and 23 museums took part in the planning. From 7pm to 1am on 7 March, musicians, dancers, performers,

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Photo: Lolo Trooskens

visual artists, designers and actors will create a whole new museum scene that will surprise, daze and captivate. Among the many events planned is a medieval ball in the vaulted underground rooms of the Coudenberg, combining baroque music and modern dance. www.museumnightfever.be Putin a rainbow Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, 10 March Artists Sven Ehmann and Dennis Elbers will host a lecture at Casino Luxembourg to talk about their current in-house exhibition Resolute – Design Changes featuring a range of design artists from across the globe. This lecture, ‘The Interface Interface’ is aimed at creating an interface for discussing the way designers and audiences deal with social responsibilities in graphic matter. The two artists will point out how graphic designers work as interpreters between complex information and society and how the role of designers has changed over time. Not many people think

Photo: Courtesy of the Jeannette Ordman Estate

about how these artists influence opinion, behaviour and feelings, but Ehmann and Elbers certainly have. www.casino-luxembourg.lu A celebration in dance Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 11-15 March The EYE in Amsterdam is the host of this year’s Cinedans, a film festival dedicated to the art of dancing. For the twelfth year in a row there will be screenings of last year’s very best international dance films, exhibitions, talks and interactive installations. There are several extravagant and beautiful films premiering, each followed by a Q&A with the talented filmmakers. Workshops and lectures will be scattered throughout the five-day event held by dance film professionals such as Derrick Brown and Maite and Bertha Bermudez. www.cinedans.nl A festive colour explosion Luxembourg, Luxembourg City, 15 March Carnival Parade Pétange is one of the most


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Discover Benelux | Culture | Out & About

spectacular and oldest carnivals in the country. The first one appeared in 1937 and although there have been some interruptions along the way, the tradition lives on. Children and adults can take to the streets on this lovely Sunday to enjoy the festive music, the joyous spirit and the colourful crowds passing on the cobblestones. Whether as a clown or a member of the marching band, people come from afar to take part in this spectacular parade. www.kagepe.lu Movies that matter The Hague, the Netherlands, 20-28 March Over 70 films and documentaries will roll across the screens of Filmhuis Den Haag and Theater aan het Spui. The ‘Movies that Matter Festival’ follows in the footsteps of the Amnesty International Film Festival, with the organisation promoting and screening films about human rights and social injustice across the world, all year round. This year’s edition is two days longer than previous years and features the world premiere of the documentary

The Burden of Peace by Dutch filmmakers Joey Boink and Sander Wirken. Apart from movie screenings there will be talk shows, debates, musical performances and an array of international guests so that every visitor is sure to find something they love. www.moviesthatmatter.nl Thin wheels on cobblestone Flanders, Belgium, March 25 Dwars door Vlaanderen, a cycle race across Flanders, is always held on a Wednesday and always one and a half weeks before the pride of Belgian cycling: the Tour of Flanders. Criss-crossing Flanders, which is the English translation of Dwars door Vlaanderen, is the start of the spring’s classic races and uses partially the same route as its big brother a week and a half later. The brightest stars of cycling use this race to prepare for the larger and more challenging races to come, as it crosses many of the same steep hills and cobblestones as the famed Tour of Flanders. www.ddvl.eu

Faces Then / Faces Now TEXT: MATT ANTONIAK | PHOTOS: BOZAR

Cleverly marked to coincide and complement one another, FACES THEN and FACES NOW at BOZAR present a comprehensive review of the place portraiture has within art. FACES THEN considers the revival of portraiture in the Low Countries during the Renaissance. This period marked the discovery of oil paint, a pivotal moment in the history of portraiture, and this al-

Joos van Cleve Selfportrait c. 1519 oil on panel Museo Thyssen - Bornemisza, Madrid

lowed the masters of the time to realise works that were much more photorealistic than their predecessors’ attempts with tempera. However, what is truly astonishing about the 50 works on show, is that nearly 500 years later they have retained a sumptuousness and delicacy that still manage to make the spine tingle. FACES NOW deals with contemporary portraiture in the medium of photography. If the discovery of oil paint was important for portraiture, then the invention of photography was gamechanging. This exhibition examines how photographers since 1990 have used photography to question how the identity of the individual might have changed in the digitalised and globalised world. Portraits are no longer reserved for the wealthy: nowadays anyone can have their photo taken, and a whole new light has been shone on the subject. But although anyone can take a photo that is not to say it will be a particularly good photo. Fortunately FACES NOW showcases photos from some exceptional European talents, such as Anton Corbijn,

Jeurgen Teller and Denis Darzacq, who are consistently challenging and re-evaluating the genre of photography. Both exhibitions FACES NOW – European Portrait Photography since 1990 and FACES THEN – Renaissance Portraits from the Low Countries are on display until 17 May 2015 at BOZAR.

Riet Breukel ('Mother'), Amsterdam, 1997. Photo: Koos Breukel

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Discover Benelux | Lifestyle | Columns

Food for thought TEXT & PHOTOS: ANOUK KALMES

One thing that is close to the Luxembourger’s heart, or rather stomach, is food. Many of us love, and live, to eat. Eating at least three meals a day is part of the common lifestyle. People enjoy home-cooked meals; supermarket ready-made meals are far less popular. When eating out, the most popular restaurants serve French and Italian dishes, adapted-to-please-Luxembourgers, that come in German-sized portions. Despite our proverb: Wat de Bauer net kennt, dat ësst en net (“the peasant doesn’t eat what he doesn’t know”), Luxembourgers are open to exotic cuisines. In the ’80s and ’90s, Chinese was very popular. Mind you, their meals were also adapted to please the locals. In recent years, competition has increased from Indian, Japanese, and Thai

restaurants. It’s not unusual to have Indian in a place with Chinese decorations, leftovers from the previous tenants. The world-famous coffee chain with the green logo has yet to set foot in Luxembourg, even though I believe the demand is there. For a few years, Luxembourgers have discovered their liking for cupcakes and food trucks. The future will tell whether these are fads or not. A very welcome development is that people are more aware of what they put in their bodies. They realise that they can live with eating less or no meat, and that vegetarian or vegan food can be equally (ful)filling. Food will continue to play a big part in our lives but I hope that we will make healthier choices in the future and not continue to

be ranked as one of Europe’s most obese countries (OECD Obesity Update, 2014). read more about Anouk’s life and travels on her lifestyle blog: www.luxessed.com

Splendid isolation in Amsterdam IJburg TEXT: SIMON WOOLCOT | PHOTO: NBTC

If you’re considering moving to Amsterdam, it’s a good idea to get an insiders’ view on its various neighbourhoods. This month we take a look at Amsterdam IJburg. IJburg spans six artificial islands in Amsterdam East. I’ve previously described the East part of the city as being depressing and difficult to get to; well, all of this and more applies to the “mistakes on the lake” that make up IJburg. Being artificial and relatively new, the area consists of many beautiful, newly built apartment complexes, developed to a high standard rarely seen in Amsterdam. The Shallow Man knows people who live in IJburg, and they have beautiful apartments, but unfortunately, nothing else. The geniuses that developed the area only created a single main road/bridge that connects it with Amsterdam, so it is not uncommon to see traffic jams in the morning made up of people attempting to leave the neighbourhood.

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Unlike many other parts of Amsterdam, IJburg lacks the vibrant bar, eetcafé and restaurant scene, which is commonplace in most parts of the city. When in IJburg, one can’t help but feel as if you are wondering around a giant film set, so bereft is it of people or atmosphere. Prior to the recession, much property development took place here, which has led to many now standing empty and available at competitive prices. It’s so quiet here that dur-

ing a cold winter a man slipped in his brown shoes on ice and lay frozen and undiscovered for several days. There is a single solitary tram that goes to IJburg, or as it’s better known, the ‘Island of the Isolated’. Visit this island and you’ll find people in their lovely apartments, frozen for all eternity, trapped, knowing that it’s simply too much trouble to go anywhere else in Amsterdam and too tedious to step outside of their houses. If you are looking to live in a luxurious newly built property, then this is definitely the place for you. However, be prepared to spend up to thirty to forty minutes to get to civilization and be prepared for the excuses of friends who'll suddenly have last minute emergencies or other plans when they are scheduled to visit you. Other than that, it’s a nice place to live. amsterdamshallowman.com


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2_5_DiscoverBenelux_Issue15_March2015_Q9_Scan Magazine 1 20/02/2015 15:11 Page 72

The most beautiful spring garden in the world! Keukenhof is the place to enjoy millions of flowering tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and other bulbflowers this spring. Keukenhof is a day full of experiences you are not likely to forget easily. The most beautiful spring garden in the world will offer you a unique sensation of scents and colours, more than 20 spectacular flower shows, surprising inspirational gardens and many more buzzing events. 2015 will be the year of Van Gogh at Keukenhof. Van Gogh is the inspiration for the flower shows, the new Selfie garden and a spectacular Van Gogh selfportrait containing ten thousands of tulips. Public transport Bus line 858: From railway station Schiphol Airport – Keukenhof v.v. (departure from busplatform at Arrivals 4).

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Discover Benelux & France | Issue 15 | March 2015  

Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and France.

Discover Benelux & France | Issue 15 | March 2015  

Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and France.