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I S S U E 23 | N OV E M B E R 2015

ANDRÉ RIEU

TH E

KI NG

OF

P ROMOTI NG B ELGI U M,

WALT Z THE

ANTWERP: CITY OF DIAMON DS DISCOVER AMSTERDAM’S TOP DISTRICTS

THE INFINITE WORLD OF M. C. ESCHER PLUS: DESIGN, CULTURE AND TOURISM

NETHERLANDS

AND

LUXEMBOURG


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Adelin bvba, Steenhouwersvest 4-8, B-2000 Antwerpen, Tel +32-(0)3 234 95 52, www.adelin.be


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Discover Benelux | Contents

Contents NOVEMBER 2015

30

15

COVER FEATURE 30

70

André Rieu The violin virtuoso and natural show master from the Netherlands draws in millions to his light classical music performances. Famous for playing compelling waltzes, he is the new king of waltz.

BUSINESS 64

THEMES 15

Discover Belgium: Antwerp

The best districts of Amsterdam From the culture-rich Museum Quarter, to the trendy hub De Pijp and the art epicentre the Spiegelkwartier, in this issue we go through some of Amsterdam’s top areas away from the tourist-packed centre.

39

Company profiles, regulars and more In the business section we feature a top independent law firm and our columnists talk about the importance of learning effective communication and how to manipulate that. PLUS: Business calendar, page 66

City of Rubens, centre of fashion, capital of diamonds – Antwerp has a wealth of culture, shopping, art and attractions to offer. Find out more about Flander’s biggest city and delve into the sparkling world of diamonds (from page 22).

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Mutiny on the Bounty Celebrating the release of Digital Tropics, Luxembourgish math-rock band Mutiny on the Bounty will hit the road this autumn. We talked about their musical journey to Tokyo and back.

DON’T MISS 6 72

Fashion Picks | 8 Desirable Designs Out & About | 74 Lifestyle Columns

FEATURES 12

The Infinite World of Escher In The Hague, we entered Escher’s incongruous world. Known for his mathematic geometry and manipulation of reality, the graphic artist’s eye for the beautifully surreal is beyond reproach.

61

Nautic: the Paris Boat Show Embark on an oceanic adventure at one of the world’s biggest indoor boat shows. If sailing is your passion then Nautic, at the start of December, is not to be missed.

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Issue 23 | November 2015 | 3


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Discover Benelux | Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Discover Benelux

Cover Photo

Issue 23, November 2015

André Rieu Productions

Published 11.2015

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ISSN 2054-7218

info@discoverbenelux.com

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Sophie Plenert Publisher:

Aside from the trickery of perspectives, what I find most compelling are the quirks hidden in Escher’s worlds. In Ascending and Descending, Escher has placed little characters on the infinite staircase, endlessly following the steps, but there are two who do not join in. One stands on the balcony, bemusedly observing the scene, while another sits on the steps below, seemingly bored by the pointless exercise.

Scan Group 15B Bell Yard Mews Bermondsey Street London SE1 3TY United Kingdom

Editor

This month, while reading up on graphic artist M. C. Escher (see page 12 for more), I found myself staring at his prints, absolutely fascinated by what I saw. From the beautifully crafted rows of horsemen, that fit so perfectly that no gap is left on the page, to the impossible, never ending waterfall – his images captivate me.

Myriam Gwynned Dijck Phone +44 (0)870 933 0423 Copy Editor

Fax +44 (0)870 933 0421

Isa Hemphrey

Email: info@discoverbenelux.com

Contributors

www.discoverbenelux.com

Ariane Glover Berthe van den Hurk Cathy van Klaveren Ella Put

Another great example is Belvedere, where the top of a building rests skewed on the bottom, but in the image they connect perfectly. By adding a ladder that starts inside the structure but ends along the outer wall above, Escher subtly gives away that something is not right. He also includes several curious observers, who appear fascinated by the impossible structure, as if they cannot quite believe what they see (rightly so). Similar details can be found in many other works by Escher. They give the already compelling scenes an extra dimension. As a viewer I often feel slightly unnerved by Escher’s deceptive realities, but these quirks lighten the mood. Instead of a simple experiment of perspectives, they also help turn Escher’s prints into true masterpieces.

Emmie Collinge Haminda Zéd Janine Sterenborg Josiah Fisk Martin Pilkington Matt Antoniak Michiel Stol Paola Westbeek Paula Hammond Steve Flinders Stuart Forster Toyah Marondel

© 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 23 | November 2015

Myriam Gwynned Dijck, Editor


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———— OUR FLAGSHIP STORES & LOUNGES IN THE BENELUX

VAN BAERLESTRAAT 80 AMSTERDAM | THE NETHERLANDS ————

CHAUSSÉE DE CHARLEROI 15 BRUSSELS | BELGIUM ————

PLACE DU GRAND SABLON 1 BRUSSELS | BELGIUM ————

AVENUE LOUISE 71 BRUSSELS | BELGIUM ————

OUR OTHER SHOPS IN THE BENELUX

———— Passage du Nord 1 | Brussels | Belgium Amerikalei 153 | Antwerp | Belgium Rechtstraat 25 | Maastricht | The Netherlands Merestraat 80 | Groningen | The Netherlands


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Discover Benelux | Design | Fashion Picks

NOVEMBER FASHION PICKS

Cosy fall Autumn is all about cosiness and comfort. Putting away those summer garments might not have been easy, but this season presents some gorgeous pieces. Pastel colours and burgundy are very popular, and don’t forget to get your hands on the big knits. TEXT: ARIANE GLOVER | PRESS PHOTOS

1. Pastels all the way Claudia Sträter, a Dutch brand, produces wonderful prêt-à-porter clothes. This pastel-coloured, laid-back outfit is perfect for the cold days ahead. Since travelling can be quite discomforting, this jogging look will keep you stylishly at ease through your journey. Sweater: €150 Top: €70 Jogging: €140 Bag: €70 www.claudiastrater.com

2. Susanna Chloé is one of the designer brands of the moment. Many of their pieces are a great success, such as these Susanna boots. They are the classic, casual boot that can be worn all year long. This gorgeous leather version in burgundy will be this season’s must-have pair. €950 www.net-a-porter.com

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Discover Benelux | Design | Fashion Picks

5. Burgundy and grey Don’t miss out on this fall’s trend of faux-leather leggings combined with a long cardigan. This combination by Vanilia gives a very modern twist to some of their classic-looking items. In coordination with the colour trends and style, this outfit is suitable to every woman’s taste. Cardigan: €130 Leather leggings: €120 Shoes: €169 www.vanilia.com

3. In the bag This smooth and luxurious leather make-up bag will be your ideal companion for storing lipstick, eye shadow, mascara, powder and much more. This soft and highquality leather pouch will be a pleasure to carry around. €60 www.scotch-soda.com

4. Poncho time What better way to keep yourself warm and all snuggled up than wrapping yourself in this poncho? The navy blue, white-striped poncho will be your best friend, keeping you warm all through the winter season. €170 www.nikkie.com

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Discover Benelux | Design | Desirable Designs

DESIRABLE DESIGNS

Creative with kitsch You no longer have to be called Jeff Koons to turn kitsch into a desirable object. Five designers from the Benelux make the most out of antiques, creating a new sort of kitsch with a modern look. TEXT: ELLA PUT | PRESS PHOTOS

3. Royal teatime

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Pip Studio is known for its colourful and joy-inducing products. How can it not be when the company has ‘happy products for happy people’ as their motto? With their new Pip Royal Collection, you will definitely start your day feeling like a very happy royal! €35 www.pipstudio.com

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4. Ceramic light

1. Smokin’ hot This black upholstery and baroque seat rim chair was burned before it was preserved in a clear epoxy coating. The burning process gives the Smoke chair an asymmetrical look and makes it not just an eye-catching centrepiece, but also a great conversation starter. From €4,007 www.maartenbaas.com

Dutch designer Esther van Groeningen combines her love for pottery and porcelain with unusual objects, like this lamp for example. Creating the lampshade from ceramics, Van Groeningen has created a one-of-kind light cover. €93 www.arnhemskeramiekatelier.nl

5. Vive le rock!

5 2 2. Fly catcher curtain The Virgin of Guadalupe, who is portrayed on this curtain, is not only the patroness of Mexico; from now on she will also protect you against flies. With this flycatching curtain made by Dutch brand Kitsch Kitchen, you will never have to suffer from mosquito bites ever again. €70 www.kitschkitchen.nl

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Belgian Studio Job used ideas from their earlier collections to reinterpret ‘hyperkitschy’ outdoor furniture for the Industry Garden Collection. They kept the curvaceous forms of the aluminium chairs and table, but replaced the perforated swirling pattern-filled flowers and butterflies for a more modern interpretation. Per Chair €199. Table €340 www.studiojob.be


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Discover Benelux | Design | Home Interiors

Gerta Psachou

A passion for planning TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTOS: GERTA PSACHOU INTERIORS

Everything’s going to plan at Gerta Psachou’s interior design consultancy – but then she’s been preparing for it from childhood.

beautiful interior doesn’t depend on a huge budget; balance is the key, and that means always bringing the owner’s personality to the fore in the plans.”

“I’ve been designing since I was nine or ten: I’d change my room, move the furniture around; my mother would sometimes return from work and find her room totally revamped,” Psachou explains. “My first pocket money was spent on interior decorating magazines, like House and Garden.”

Every project begins with a relaxed consultation to exchange and generate ideas, but thereafter there’s no fixed template: “It’s a tailor-made approach that depends on project size, the space, the budget, and how much the client wants to be involved and wants us to do – we can provide a full service option, managing all the work if they prefer.”

Unlike so many childhood passions, Psachou's never waned. After studying marketing and an international studies masters, she took some interior design courses, gained a certificate in house staging and property styling, and has now launched her Luxembourg-based business – though in the meantime she’d already worked on friends’ apartments and been asked to decorate weddings and other events. “This new venture puts all that together: my studies, my experience, my passion,” she says.

She has a similar view of style: “You shouldn’t just follow what’s trendy, you have to create something personal, but it’s

good to see what’s new and interesting at exhibitions like Maison et Objet, and Salone del Mobile.” The use of clean iron lines in lighting has caught her eye recently, and copper in handles and taps for its warm tones, elements added to her personal palette. Psachou’s influences include the relaxed Belgian style for its restraint and use of natural colours and textures; classical American design blending heritage with the contemporary; and timeless Art Deco. “The results each time are individual,” she concludes: “Though always comfortable, and always elegantly relaxed.” www.gertapsachou.com

Experience from those earlier projects has led to a philosophy more egotistical rivals might not comprehend: “A successful and

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Discover Benelux | Design | Belgian Art & Design

No-nonsense graphic communications TEXT: JANINE STERENBORG | PHOTOS: DE BARBAREN

Graphic communication with a dedicated and personal touch that fully suits your business: multidisciplinary design studio De Barbaren creates custom visual stories. “Well thought out and no-nonsense visuals emphasise your brand’s identity,” says De Barbaren founder Balder Martens. The Ghentbased graphic communication agency helps businesses tell their personal story and strengthen their brand's DNA. “Through the long-term relationships we build with our clients, we acquire knowledge of their company’s values. Our critical outlook on their brand identity helps them focus on those values, which allows us to create their core desired visuals.” For the new Bruges-based restaurant Jilles Beer & Burgers for instance, De Barbaren took care of all visual aspects, from façade signage to beer labels. “Our designs evolved together with the restaurant,” explains Martens, who has been

working with Jilles since its foundation. “A second take-away restaurant was recently established in Ghent, ‘Jack’; a different concept, needing a different approach. We took care of all visual communication of the new restaurant.” Two aspects De Barbaren highly value, as part of their complete approach, are photography and high-quality print work. Martens: “A bad photograph can bring down your brand, while a good one lifts up your well-designed website and allows you to appear the way you desire in other publications.” He continues: “Although we love online design, we believe there still is a place for good print work: for Jack's invitations for instance, we used high-quality paper and old printing techniques, because offline you can greatly distinguish yourself with gorgeous and well-cared tactile prints!” www.debarbaren.be


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Discover Benelux | Design | Belgian Art & Design

LEFT: Material during a design workshop. TOP MIDDLE: Central’s Manifesto ‘How we do things’. MIDDLE: Workshop with a client. Photo: J. Kalifat. RIGHT: Loucas and Geoffroy reviewing a project. Photo: @pvermaer. BELOW: Project research on wall, personas, sketches.

A boost to creativity TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTOS: CENTRAL

Digital projects that drag on may be outdated before they are ready. So Belgium’s Central agency aims to deliver finished elements week-by-(four-day)-week.

combined Central-Proxyclick team establish a plan and goals on day one; workshop ideas day two; and build and test a demo product on the third and fourth days.

Geoffroy Delobel founded Central in Brussels eight years ago to help both established companies and start-ups develop digital products. Some of its work involves re-energising existing products outmoded by technological or market evolution. Late last year the six-person team realised similar pressures overlaid its operations: they needed to accelerate the process. ‘Boost’ was born.

The results delighted the client, adding extra features – and thus value – to the product through ideas generated during the Boost. And it was rapid, as Proxyclick commented afterwards: “What would have taken us four weeks to execute internally took us one week.”

“Design has changed,” explains Geoffroy: “An isolated design team working on lengthy projects, then pitching them to clients isn’t appropriate now. We work collaboratively with clients in an intensively focused way to provide a solution to specific components within a week.” The idea has resonated with clients like StepStone, some already engaging Central for a series of Boosts. “It’s worked on se-

veral levels, the shortened timescale bringing a focus that delivers better results,” Geoffroy says. His colleague, Loucas Papantoniou, says involving stakeholders in the process is vital to success: “Decisionmakers from our client’s team working alongside us means we move forward faster in creating a product that’s right for them.” They offer, as a concrete example, a recent collaboration with Proxyclick, who provide visitor-management software to major clients worldwide. Central previously revamped Proxyclick’s tablet app, and the client then wanted them to upgrade the email interface between customers and their visitors. The Boost process saw a

Clients are invited to join Central on Monday to witness the work process begin, and Thursday when that week’s outcomes and next week’s goals are discussed – they decided some time ago that working intensively for four extended days was more productive than five with an inefficient Friday. Central’s collaborative approach sees them manage these gatherings differently too: “We often cook for them in our offices,” says Loucas: “That’s again organised creativity. And Geoffroy bakes great bread!” centraldesign.be

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The infinite world of M.C. Escher You might not know his name, but you will recognise his work. The prints by Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher are known throughout the world and are admired for their mathematic geometry and manipulation of reality. From infinite staircases, impossible waterfalls and birds in the sky seamlessly transforming into fish in the water, Escher’s eye for the beautifully surreal is beyond reproach. It is in The Hague where we delve into the infinite universe of Maurits Cornelis Escher. TEXT & PHOTOS: HAMIDA ZÉD

On my first visit to The Hague, I discover a new world. Or, more accurately, I experience our world in a new way – through the eyes of Escher. The Hague is a very picturesque town and presents an interesting mix of modernity and tradition, revealing itself to me, offering more secrets and wonders to discover than the number of bicycles on the roads.

and the ancient Binnenhof complex, it is all up for grabs for the tourist. For me, it is also the chance visit the Dutch Masters at the Mauritshuis including Vermeer’s masterpiece Girl with a Pearl Earring. And, of course, I am here to see Escher’s intricate prints and drawings at Escher in het Paleis, a museum dedicated to his work.

Perfecting the surreal From the cobblestones leading you around the old houses, to the modern skyscrapers

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Born in 1898, Escher was highly influential as a graphic artist during his lifetime

and beyond, particularly from the mid20th century. While growing up, he was hampered by illnesses and did not perform well at school, but was still able to follow a degree at the Haarlem College of Architecture and Decorative Arts. His parents wanted him to become an architect but, fuelled by his passion for drawing, Escher switched to graphics a week into his course. Here, he was guided by his mentor and professor Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita.


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Discover Benelux | Art | The Infinite World of Escher

MAIN IMAGE: In the museum, this wall is pasted with the picture of the school of Escher and the iconic stairs which inspired him. TOP MIDDLE: Pictures of tiles from the Alhambra mosque in Grenada which were a big inspiration in Escher’s tessellation work. BOTTOM MIDDLE: Chandeliers inspired by Stars by Escher. ABOVE RIGHT: Visitors to the The Hague can discover more of the Dutch masters at the Mauritshuis.

room displaying a different theme, showing how he developed and perfected his style.

To infinity After his student years, Escher went on several long journeys mainly through Italy and Spain gaining a wealth of inspiration. As I find at Escher in het Paleis, themes from his travels often found their way to his work. For example, the town of Atrani, on the southern Italian coast, features in several prints. Also his visit to the Alhambra mosque in Granada, with its Moorish geometric tessellations, gave him a different perspective.

In the 1920s and 1930s Escher was already experimenting with fantastic worlds, interlocking figures and impossible perspectives. When he settles down in Baarn, the Netherlands, during the Second World War, he makes a great number of regular divisions of the plane, creating uneven shapes and figures that interlock to completely cover a surface. Many of these intricate, mathematical figurines are on display at the museum, from horsemen to fish and birds.

Working mainly with woodcuts and lithography, Escher printed his works in series ranging between 30 and 650 copies. At Escher in het Paleis these, as well as many rare pre-studies and one-off coloured prints, are on display. The museum takes me through the life of Escher with every

Around this time, his prints became increasingly surreal. Through his work, he invites us to his bizarre and incongruous world of the convoluted spaces with unnatural, yet familiar, scenes. At Escher in het Paleis many famous examples are shown including Drawing Hands, where

two hands draw each other and come away from the paper in three dimensions. Another well-known piece is Relativity, a lithography from 1953 that depicts an impossible world of rooms and stairs. No laws of gravity apply as the architectural structure goes in different directions; the scene appears to be out of space and time. Between the stairs, a typical family life environment unfolds, but as the beholder of the picture you instantly lose yourself between the different perspectives.

Continuous transformations The never-ending Penrose staircase in Ascending and Descending is another captivating image. It even became an inspiration to film directors, most notably in the film Inception. Infinite cycles repeatedly occur in Escher’s work and they also find their paroxysm in the series of wood cuts called Metamorphosis. The first dates from 1937 and features only shapes shifting from one another in black and white.

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Discover Benelux | Art | The Infinite World of Escher

portrait, using a reflecting object similar to the one on the drawing. In the House of Escher, a room dedicated to optical illusions, I had some fun taking pictures with colleagues: stand on the right and you will look like a giant, then move on the left and you look very tiny. It’s all about playing with perspectives. Aside from the fun elements that can be explored at the museum, one does not leave feeling indifferent. Escher succeeds in drawing us into his world, making us contemplate time, movement and space, like we very rarely do.

ABOVE LEFT: In the back Escher’s autoportrait in spherical mirror, in the front a light piece by Hans Van Bentem in tribute of Escher. RIGHT: Try and create an optical illusion like Escher.

On the left is Atrani, which morphs into a cartoon-like figure in Asian attire on the right by going through cubical objects, geometrical shapes and tessellated patterns. In his second rendition, Metamorphosis II gains colour and grandeur by becoming longer and infinite: it starts and ends at the same point. This concept culminates in the final version, Metamorphosis III, in 1968 – an expanded six-metre long cycle. It includes Atrani once again, but new imagery as well: bees morphing into butterflies, fish into triangles and into doves. At Escher in het Paleis these tantalising tessellations are mounted on a large cylinder, allowing you to walk around it and fully experience the surreal artwork. Also famous is Escher’s self-portrait, Hand with Reflecting Sphere. I see an old man in a room, books on a shelves behind him and furniture at the back, all malformed by the spherical reflection. The man’s hand is reaching out towards the viewer until it meets the edge of the sphere where it touches another hand, which holds it up. It is a masterpiece of delicacy and precision, depth and reflection and would have cer-

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tainly blown the minds of Dutch masters such as Vermeer whose portraits also adorn The Hague.

A new outlook Escher was a very prolific artist. He strived to make his art accessible by democratising it. Instead of making a single artwork like painters do, Escher produced copies of his prints, allowing more people to enjoy his work. The museum is paying him homage by letting the visitors experiment with the concepts he worked on. On the first floor, people can reproduce Escher’s self-

As I was writing this, I read a news piece about the discovery of the 15th type of convex monohedral pentagonal tiling – a mathematical finding of a new type of convex pentagon (a shape with five outward corners) where a single tile of which can fill the plane without gaps or overlaps. There are only 15 of them. One can bet this would have inspired Escher and it certainly proves the new proclivity that he has triggered in me. BELOW: Escher’s drawing animated in 3D. BOTTOM: Escher’s Metamorphosis III displayed on a cylinder for the viewer.


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DISCOVER BELGIUM: ANTWERP

City of Rubens, centre of fashion, capital of diamonds Antwerp is a true feast for both the eyes and the stomach, with breath-taking architecture, an abundance of neighbourhoods lined with fashion boutiques, and a charming delicacy: the Antwerps handje, a cookie made in the shape of a hand. Yet an exploration of the largest municipality of Belgium proves that there is so much more to this intriguing town. TEXT: ELLA PUT | PHOTOS: ANTWERP TOURISM AND CONVENTION

Once upon a time there was a Roman soldier called Silvius Brabo. According to the legend, Brabo wanted to cross the Scheldt at the current location of Antwerp, but upon his arrival the evil giant Druon Antigoon stopped him. Antigoon had been terrorising the area for years, demanding toll from travellers who wanted to cross the river. The toll was higher than any traveller could pay, so as a punishment the giant would cut off their hands and throw them in the water. The brave Brado, however, dared the giant for a duel. During the fight Brabo managed to cut off Antigoon’s hands and threw them in the Scheldt and defeated the giant. The

statue Den Antigoon on the Grote Markt depicts Brado’s triumph. This myth explains how Antwerp got its name. In Dutch ‘hand throwing’ is ‘hand

werpen’, which sound almost identical to the Flemish name of ‘Antwerpen’. This has also inspired one of the city’s delicacies, Antwerps handje. The ‘little hand of Antwerp’ is a delicious sugar-filled biscuit

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Admire some of the best works by the Flemish Master painter Peter Paul Rubens in the Rubens House.

topped with almonds. Another legendary Antwerpian delight are the chocolates by Nello, named after the hero in the famous children’s story The Dog of Flanders that is set in Antwerp. A statue of Nello and his dog Patrasche can also be found on the Klaverstraat, near the plaque in front of the cathedral that commemorates the story. There are other names that Antwerpen and its 500,000 inhabitants are known by. One nickname for the city is Koekenstad or ‘Biscuit City’. This comes from Antwerp’s many biscuit factories that were in operation especially in the 20th century. The locals also go by the name of ‘sinjoren’, which derives from the Spanish word for sir, ‘señor’. During the Eighty Years’ War, Antwerp was captured by the Spanish, who wanted to be addressed with señor. Initially, sinjoor was used as a derogative term for locals who cooperated with the Spanish, but after the end of the war it be-

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came a name for all true Antwerpians (when both your parents are born in Antwerp) who now use it with pride. For those who only have one parent coming from the city, ‘pagadder’ is used, which also has its roots in the time of the Spanish Inquisition referring to the ‘pagadores’ or paymasters for the soldiers. The best way to start your visit to Antwerp is by taking the train to its central station. In 2014 British-American magazine Mashable voted it the most beautiful railway station in the world. One of Antwerp’s many

highlights is the 123-metre-high gothic Cathedral of Our Lady, the highest church building in the Benelux. Inside hang many works by painters Otto van Veen and his student, the Flemish Peter Paul Rubens, classed as one of the greatest painters of all time. For even more works by the Flemish Master, head to the Rubens House Museum situated in the heart of the city. You can walk through the house, designed in old-Flemish style by the master himself and admire his impressive works in the lavish Southern Baroque Studio. Antwerp is also known for its fashion industry. To learn more, a visit to the Mode Museum, Antwerps fashion museum is a must. Situated in the beating heart of the fashion district, it shows the close bond between fashion and Antwerp. Founded in 1663, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts has one of the oldest fashion courses in the world. Notable alumni include world


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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Antwerp

Architecture, shopping, culture and fashion, you can find this and more in Antwerp, the largest city in Flanders.

famous designers Ann Demeulemeester and Dries van Noten. With over 130 graduates a year, it’s by far the largest programme in the visual arts and design departments in the world. Apart from that, Antwerp is the diamond capital of the world. Read more about this on page 22. A little walk further up the road will lead you to the Plantin-Moretus Museum. The famous publishing house that is associated with the invention and popularisation of typography. After Edward Moretus sold it to the city of Antwerp in 1876, it became a museum. Because of its exceptional collection of typographical material, it was the first museum ever to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Another spectacular museum, is MAS, or Museum aan de Stroom. It has an impressive collection of 470,000 objects telling the story of the city and the harbour of Antwerp (the second largest in Europe) as well as other

Shopping and leisure in Antwerp Antwerp has a great deal to offer when it comes to shopping. Combine your day of sightseeing with a shopping trip in the trendy Het Zuid district. Here you will find stylish boutiques, designer shops and unusual concept stores as well as many art galleries, interior design studios and several major museums. At night, Het Zuid is a bustling area, with great restaurants and trendy bars. For Antwerp’s best delicatessen, head to De Wilde Zee or ‘the wild sea’. It is named after a bridge, where a turn in the river caused the water to splash up like the sea. This part of town combines food, fun and fashion in an extraordinary way: the whole neighbourhood is car free and therefore perfect to stroll along the historical buildings in the narrow streets.

universal expositions on symbolism, men and their gods and heaven and hell. The top of the eight-storey high building also gives a panoramic view other the city.

To end your day go to the Quartier Latin, the theatre neighbourhood of town. Why not see a play in the Antwerp City Theatre or the famous Bourla Theatre? It will help you to get an unforgettable experience in Antwerp.

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Discover Benelux | Antwerp | Food & Shopping at De Wilde Zee

Belgian desires in the centre of Antwerp TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: DÉSIRÉ DE LILLE

The tearoom Désiré de Lille is an unmissable household name among locals, but also for visitors to Antwerp. A true meeting location in the centre of the city, there is no other place where the sweet smell of fresh waffles is quite so enticing.

including pastas and salads. Tamara Tomic, of the fourth generation, who coruns Désiré de Lille, has been working at the tearoom for 20 years now. She says: “Our waffles and pancakes are the best in Antwerp, they are made from top-quality ingredients”

One of the secrets to its success is the lacquemant, a thin, crispy waffle filled with syrup. It was developed by the founder of the business, Désiré Smidts, who followed his bakery apprenticeship in Lille. Désiré de Lille is now in the hands of his grandson and the recipe for the delicious lacquemant is still a family secret.

Désiré de Lille prides itself on its fast service, making it the ideal destination for a quick and tasty meal or snack while discovering the city of Antwerp. It has a welcoming entrance, a large heated outdoor seating area and space for up to 300 people to sit inside. Tomic adds: “It is a place

Before Désiré de Lille settled down at its current location, it was a travelling confectionary stall at various funfairs. But thanks to an overwhelming customer demand, they decided to start a tearoom to offer their treats all year round. Aside from the popular lacquemants, hot Belgian waffles and pancakes, the tearoom serves homemade ice creams. And for those without a sweet tooth, there is also a savoury menu

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where locals and tourists mingle and we are very accommodating to both individuals and large groups. We can host birthday parties and, because we’re accessible, it’s not a problem to bring along children in a pram or pushchair.” Visit Désiré de Lille in the Schrijnwerkersstraat, in the centre of Antwerp. It offers a wealth of both sweet and savoury options and almost every dish is pictured on the menu so, after ordering, you’ll know exactly what treat awaits you. desiredelille.be


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Discover Benelux | Antwerp | Food & Shopping at De Wilde Zee

Genes for jeans TEXT: ELLA PUT | PHOTOS: BROOKLYN

Finding a good pair of jeans can be quite a challenge. Every brand has different measurements, special fabrics and an interpretation of the latest fashion trends such as skinny, boot-cut or flared. The solution to finding the perfect jeans is clothing shop Brooklyn. Their expertise and honest advice make shopping for jeans a fun and rewarding experience. The family business of Brooklyn was founded in 1972. At the time, the shop specialised in selling just jeans: “Jeans were an answer to the social revolution of 1968,” tells Brooklyn manager Ubbe Descamps. 1968 was the year when social and political conflicts lead to several student protests around the world, including in Belgium. As most of the students wore jeans, they became symbol of a rebellious revolution. “Because of this background we are selling brands that are a little rebellious too. Brands that had a rough start, that dare to break away from establish-

ment and make a statement with their jeans like the climate-friendly Modström or the individualistic and trend-avoiding Nudie Jeans,” tells Descamps. Over the years, Brooklyn grew from one small store into a chain of eight locations all over Belgium. With large shops in Antwerp, Bruges and Ghent, Brooklyn is the address for fashionable and quality jeans including from brands such as Diesel, Levi’s, Hilfiger Denim and Minimum. The store simply cannot be missed during your shopping trip. “Next to jeans we also sell other clothes and accessorises. Whether people are looking for Scandinavian style, with basic colours and elegant design, or Urban Couture with a more extravagant outlook, you can find it all at Brooklyn,” Descamps says.

with a good sense for fashion trends. Their love for jeans is part of their genes, as Descamps jokingly explains: “We have the blue blood of denim running through our veins.” Brooklyn continues to expand and recently opened a web shop, which can be accessed through their homepage. It is available in Dutch, French and English and ships worldwide, so you are just one click away from finding the perfect outfit. www.brooklyn.be

For Brooklyn, personal and authentic contact is the key to maintaining good relationships with their customers. Since the beginning, it has stayed true to being a warm and welcoming family business,

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Discover Benelux | Antwerp | Food & Shopping at De Wilde Zee / Het Zuid: The Trendiest District

Quality and comfort TEXT: ELLA PUT | PHOTOS: KOUSENCENTER

With many years of experience selling sleepwear, hosiery and underwear in all different sizes, colours and materials, the Kousencenter is definitely worth visiting during a shopping trip to the Flemish capital of fashion: Antwerp. In De Wilde Zee, the shopping heart of Antwerp, lies the Kousencenter. With over 40 years of experience, the Kousencenter’s skilled sales team is more than happy to help you find the perfect pyjamas, underwear or stockings. It has a wide variety of international brands such as Doré Doré, Falke, Wolford and Calida. Combining quality with comfort has been key for the shop since the very start. The Kousencenter was first established almost 50 years ago in the small town of Sint-Niklaas, just west of Antwerp. Its new owners Henriëtte Horoba and Eric Spliet are honouring the thought to maintain its high standards.

But there is also room to renew: part of this is the updated webshop, redesigned store and a monthly opening for Sunday shoppers. Moreover, the store is expanding and offering customers sports clothes next to underwear and stockings ranges. “We are bringing a new dynamic into the store.” Years of experience have led Kousencenter to compile a big collection of socks, stockings and underwear as well as knowledge when it comes to modern trends. This season’s fashionable socks are made out of fine wool and silk. Furthermore, the so-called ‘home wear’ section has been greatly expanded: “People want to have quality time at home in quality clothes. We offer our customers that, alongside personal advice and a wide range of comfortable products.” www.kousencenter.be

The taste of Italy in Antwerp TEXT: MICHIEL STOL & MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: AVINI

Based in the lively area of Het Zuid in Antwerp, Avini specialises in serving guests their ideal Italian wine. The wine bar offers a spectacular range of 100 wines from all over Italy, from the slopes of Tuscany to the sunny fields of Sicily. The wines are imported directly from Italy, in particular from small wineries that produce with respect for nature. This means customers get the best price and there are appealing options for every budget and taste.

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With 100 different wines, of which 40 are served by the glass, you can enjoy the full range of flavours of Italian wines at Avini. Its knowledgeable staff are experts at finding your best match: they will select a bottle based on your preferences, with the perfect balance of body, fruitiness, tannins and spice. Avini also has a Digital Sommelier, which can be accessed in store and on the website. Eline Aloy, who runs the bar, says: “For regular customers we can make a wine profile, listing the wines you’ve had before and giving suggestions for what to try next.” The sophisticated interior welcomes you to sit down for a glass, but you can also

take a bottle home. “We sell all our wines by the bottle. Guests can either drink them in our bar for a corkage fee, or take them home,” she says. Avini is the new flagship wine bar and shop partially owned by the Tuscan winery Avignonesi, which also has two bars in London called Negozio Classica. Aloy manages the three bars together with her husband Thomas de Decker, and her mother Virginie Saverys owns Avignonesi. “We’re very much a family business with a huge passion for Italian wines,” Aloy adds. www.aviniwines.com www.avignonesi.com


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Discover Benelux | Antwerp | Quartier Latin: The Sparkling Theatre District

Restaurant for the old and the new TEXT: CATHY VAN KLAVEREN | PHOTOS: BRASSERIE DEN ANTIGOON

Marked by a bustling atmosphere and delicious smells, Brasserie den Antigoon isn’t just a restaurant for locals who come by regularly. It is also an ideal place for tourists to get to know Antwerp better. Vincent Bruyninckx together with his father are the men in charge.

holidays. We have a lot of regular customers, so we want to give them something new every time.” Only fresh products come into Den Antigoon, and almost everything is homemade. As Vincent explains: “So that we can be sure everything’s excellent.”

Suggestions – where to start? That goes for the menu, as for the city. The menu includes appetisers like carpaccio or handmade croquets made with shrimps. Or maybe for lunch or dinner have a typical Belgian meal such as vol-au-vent, ‘Gentse Waterzooi’ or carbonade flamande (‘stoofvlees’) made with a locally brewed Antwerp beer, De Koninck. All meals are accompanied by Belgian beers or good wines.

Vincent bought Den Antigoon a few years ago and people have never stopped coming. It’s also the job Vincent has wanted to do since he was younger. He can do it all: the managing part of the restaurant, but he also cooks. “I have always worked in the hospitality sector and like to work with people. It’s amazing how many different kinds of people come in here.”

The kitchen of Den Antigoon makes it worth your while. Owner Vincent says: “We have new suggestions every six weeks, so that our kitchen can be creative. Every now and then we do a little extra, like during the

back to our restaurant when they visit Antwerp again and to make sure all our customers have a nice dining experience with us,” Vincent adds. Located in the heart of Antwerp, near the theatre and the shopping area around the corner, Vincent welcomes many people every day. Den Antigoon is open seven days a week, from 10am to 10pm. www.brasserieantigoon.be/en

Vincent and his team have followed courses to not only educate themselves, but also their customers about events in the city. “We not only want to offer people a nice meal, but also want to tell them where to go in Antwerp, if they don’t know what to visit. We strive for people to come

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A NTWE R P

City of diamonds Since the 15th century, magnificent, glittering diamonds have been processed, polished, bought and sold in Antwerp. As much as eight out of every ten rough diamonds in the world pass through the Belgian city, making Antwerp the world capital of the diamond trade. TEXT: ELLA PUT | PHOTOS: ANTWERP TOURISM AND CONVENTION

Throughout history, diamonds have been considered the most beautiful and desirable luxury product in the world. In the first century A.D. Roman historian Pliny wrote: “The diamond is the most valuable, not only of precious stones, but of all things in this world.” The first diamonds were discovered in India, 3,000 years ago. From there they travelled to Venice, which was the European entry point for many

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riches from the Far East. However, it was not until the 15th century that diamonds came to Belgium. “With trade routes connecting Venice and the North Sea area, it was not Antwerp but Bruges that became the first Flemish city of diamonds,” says Belgian diamond expert Eddy Vleeschdrager. “The opening of the Zwin inlet, connecting Bruges to the North

Sea, gave it its prosperity. But in the late 15th century, the Zwin had silted, shutting Bruges off. Instead, Antwerp, located by the river Scheldt, started to grow and eventually surpassed Bruges. It became the biggest city connected to the North Sea and the most important trade centre for the north of Europe. Therefore, it also became the new centre for the diamond trade. The city has maintained this position ever since.”


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Discover Benelux | Antwerp | City of Diamonds

Antwerp’s history in the diamond trade and continued expertise of the precious stone still captivates both locals and tourists.

and Piacenza, the leader of the Spanish Empire, captured Antwerp which was then the largest city of the United Provinces as well as its cultural and financial heart. “His mission to maintain the Catholic religion in all his kingdoms, also known as the Spanish Inquisition, resulted in a lot of Calvinists and Jewish diamond cutters and traders fleeing north to Amsterdam because that part was not under the control of the Spanish Empire,” adds Vleeschdrager. By the start of the Dutch Golden Age in the 16th century, 40 per cent of all diamond export in the world passed through the harbours of Antwerp. Vleeschdrager: “Diamond traders and cutters from all over the globe were settling down in Antwerp. The most astonishing and expensive diamonds arrived in the city via the trade routes from other European harbour cities such as Lisbon and Venice.”

Eventually the Peace of Münster treaty ended the war between the Spanish Empire and the United Provinces, which became the Republic of the Netherlands in 1648. A concession of the agreement was the closing of the Scheldt River with blockades and the introduction of toll roads. This caused Antwerp to lose its position as an important trading city and Amsterdam became the new city of diamonds.

In 1568 the Eighty Years’ War broke out between the Spanish Empire and the United Provinces, a predecessor for the Netherlands. In 1585 the Duke of Parma

In the 19th century, the Scheldt River was re-opened. Slowly, Antwerp rose up again. Around the same time massive amounts of rough diamonds were found in South

Africa. At the height of the production in the 1890s, 100,000 carats worth of diamonds were recovered each year. It was the biggest discovery of diamonds aside from the one in India centuries ago, and the following diamond rush changed the global diamond market rapidly. Skilled and experienced cutters were needed and Antwerp’s became better equipped to compete with Amsterdam. With better labouring terms for diamond cutters and a steady supply of rough stones, Antwerp regained the title as diamond trading leader. In the 20th century, Antwerp’s luck once again turned. In the Second World War, the German occupiers devastated Belgium. Numerous diamond traders were killed or fled overseas to England and America. After the war, the diamond business took on a new dynamic. With competition from the Americans and later on the Asian diamond market, the business became more global. This forced Antwerp to position itself squarely on the world market to compete with other diamond businesses. To help

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Discover Benelux | Antwerp | City of Diamonds

stimulate the flow of diamonds in and out of Antwerp, the Belgian government set up a Diamond Office in the city’s newfound Diamond District, facilitating the trade in diamonds with a minimum of intervention and red tape, the opposite of a diamond city such as Amsterdam. It resulted in Antwerp’s ‘golden sixties’, a decade when the diamond business was booming.

diamond city. It has shown time and time again that the city is a safe and trustworthy haven in a stable region for diamond trade. After five centuries, Antwerp remains the capital of world diamond trade.”

Visit the Diamond Pavilion – This is a joint venture between the (currently closed) Diamond Museum and the Antwerp World Diamond Centre. The Diamond Pavilion explains why Antwerp is a global diamond centre and gives an insight in the current world of diamonds. Unlock diamond secrets – The app ‘Antwerp Loves Diamonds’ will give you the virtual keys to open the normally very closed doors of the Antwerp diamond district. Available in four languages, the application can be downloaded for free from the App or Google Play store.

Today, times have changed. Developing countries offer to cut diamonds for a low price, there are strict European guidelines for trading and several oil states in the Far East charge no taxes for the diamond industry. Because of this, Antwerp now focuses on trade, rather than diamond cutting. Looking at the future, Vleeschdrager says: “Antwerp will never lose its name as Antwerp’s most brilliant The city of Antwerp and the Antwerp World Diamond Centre developed their own jeweller quality label ‘Antwerp’s Most Brilliant’. The label is for the most reliable jewellers in town and will guarantee consumers and visitors the quality of diamonds. Labelled jewellers are recognised by the ‘Antwerp’s Most Brilliant’ sticker in the shop window and from the free Visit Antwerp flyer available online or in the Visit Antwerp store.

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A sparkling city

Diamond discovery tour – Looking for a diamond tour in Antwerp? Download the free diamond map and get an overview of historic and contemporary monuments and shops all over town as well as unique tips and useful information about Antwerp as a city for jewellery. Alternatively, you can take a two-hour guided tour around the diamond district and find out what Antwerp means as a world centre for diamond trade. Download the map or get more information about the tour on www.visitantwerpen.be Behind the scenes – This group tour will give you the opportunity to get a glimpse behind the scenes of a diamond polishing workshop and a diamond exchange. A unique experience, because you will visit places an outsider will never see. You can book the tour via info@ diamant.provant.be


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Discover Benelux | Antwerp | Top Jewellery Boutiques

De Gouden Ram Inspired by nature since 1962 - De Gouden Ram is a renowned and reputable jeweller, located in the historical heart of the diamond city of Antwerp. It is a family business now lead by the third generation of the In het Panhuis family. “Our quality is our brand.” TEXT & PHOTOS: DE GOUDEN RAM

they are also thought to have healing powers through skin contact. Zoë in het Panhuis loves to share her experience and find your ideal stone. “All the colours of our stones are natural. It is our mission to offer you the most beautiful gift of nature.”

Passion for natural materials “Our store houses a broad collection, from rough stones to finished pieces of jewellery. We specialise in necklaces, silver and gold jewellery made with precious and semi-precious stones. This is how we distinguish ourselves from other jewellers,” says Mattias in het Panhuis. Buying a natural gemstone is a matter of trust, that is why every stone is handpicked with love and passion to offer customers the best possible quality. This process demands many years of experience and knowhow. “We offer personal advice and give a colour type analysis to show what colour suits someone best. Your personal necklace, bracelet or earrings are handmade according to your desire,” explains Mattias. Natural stones do not just look beautiful;

Changeable collection De Gouden Ram designs their own collection of rings, pendants, earrings and bracelets, available in silver and gold and with a huge choice of ‘changeable beads’ of ten millimetres. “This collection allows you to change the stones as often as you like according to your mood, style or clothes.”

While visiting Antwerp's historical heart, come and discover the ‘Hands of Antwerp’. These hand-shaped, semi-precious stones symbolise the city and are exclusively handmade for De Gouden Ram. Shop the online collection 24/7. De Gouden Ram ships worldwide. www.degoudenram.be

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Discover Benelux | Antwerp | Top Jewellery Boutiques

A vibrant shop with a soul The lively centre of Antwerp offers a one-of-a-kind antique jewellery and Art Deco boutique; Adelin. The store window lures everyone in with a love for antique jewellery, vintage watches, Art Deco furniture and decorative objects. “We are not the typical shop one would expect,” says Salomon Wijnberg, owner of Adelin. TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK | PHOTOS: ADELIN | MAIN IMAGE: FORTUNATI.BIZ

Adelin gives everybody a very warm welcome at its intimate boutique. For Wijnberg it is highly important that customers feel right at home when they enter Adelin. As soon as people arrive it is very obvious how much passion and love Wijnberg has for all the products. Each item is placed very carefully and with the most possible respect. According to Wijnberg, it is the jewellery or the object that should sell itself, not the vendor: “My job goes beyond selling and buying jewels or watches. It is my responsibility to advice customers in the best possible way. And I’m not afraid to tell people

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tainly not afraid to tell the truth. “I am a pleaser, but not in the negative way,” says Wijnberg. “All I want is a customer to find that piece of jewellery that is absolutely perfect for him or her. If the match is missing, we have the audacity to advise against the purchase. We do not want victims, we want customers.” what I think.” Adelin, and Wijnberg, are known for their expertise, knowledge, sense of taste, and no-nonsense approach. Wijnberg is not only an antiquarian and diamond specialist, but also an expert to the court of justice; therefore he truly knows what he is talking about. Wijnberg is cer-

Design deco Adelin offers antique jewellery, vintage watches, art deco furniture and decorative objects. “We do not buy our products via fairs or auctions. Our customers come to us with their goods.” The collection is carefully selected, and most products date


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Discover Benelux | Antwerp | Top Jewellery Boutiques

store: a dining table with chairs created by Jacques Adnet, who was an icon of French Modernism.

Retronome Since 2012, Adelin has broadened its niche again with vintage watches. At first Adelin only sold jewellery, but after some years Wijnberg decided to add Art Deco furniture and decorative objects. According to Wijnberg, watches are like jewellery for men and make the perfect gift, even though there are many women who buy men's watches. This collection has a wide range of vintage watches for various prices by brands such as Omega, Rolex, Patek Philippe and Jaeger-LeCoultre. All watches were made after 1915, but most of them date back to the ‘50s and ‘60s. Each timepiece is in excellent condition, and shows the fine art that is watchmaking.

back to the early decades of the 20th century; the period of Art Deco. However, there are exceptions; momentarily Wijnberg offers some religious crosses, which date from the 16th century, but also watches from the 1980s.

“These objects are somehow very special or unique,” says Wijnberg. “Therefore we have them. But our core business are products from the first half of the 20th century.” Wijnberg loves Art Deco because of its nononsense attitude; clean but still dynamic and unique by the combination of materials and forms. The products Adelin offers are ‘design deco’, the greatest pieces of the Art Deco time period. “We have the pieces that are published in the art books.” As an example he shows a grand showpiece in the

Wijnberg takes great care of his boutique and makes sure that the store is absolutely perfect each day. This way Adelin truly lives and gets its soul. Some people say that jewellery and watches are a good investment, but Wijnberg dares to be different. “Some pieces might be like an investment, but that is not what I want to sell. All I want is for the customer to be ecstatic with their purchase and provide the best possible service and advice I can give. I want people to find that piece of jewellery or object that gives them the ‘wow effect’, giving them an emotional response.” www.adelin.be www.retronome.be

Together with his watchmaker, Wijnberg started Retronome: an online vintage watch reservation website. It is not a web shop, but a dynamic platform to find and reserve the perfect watch online. Wijnberg: “We offer around 200 watches, each of them has its own passport. With a few clicks regarding the type, year, brand, or material, the site helps the customer to find the best type of watch.” Every visit is different, the site is very dynamic and responds to the customers’ wishes and taste. The atelier checks all watches carefully, so they can provide the guarantee that each clock is running perfectly.

The wow effect The store always looks a bit different. Sometimes it is a new arrangement of the stock, but mostly because of new items.

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Discover Benelux | Antwerp | Top Jewellery Boutiques

Shine bright like a diamond TEXT: TOYAH MARONDEL | PHOTOS: DIAMOND BLUE JEWELLERY

The Reuveni family established Diamond Blue more than 30 years ago in Israel. The first shop opened its doors in Antwerp in 1994 and a second was established in 2009. Over the past three decades, the family-run company has created a luxurious brand, which continuously focuses on high-quality, innovative design. Diamond Blue is one of Antwerp’s most visited jewellery meccas.

If you see a piece of jewellery displayed in a shop, surrounded by hundreds of other designs all dazzling you at the same time, it can be hard to pick out the right one. “Firstly we offer every client a nice cup of coffee and give them a full introduction on diamonds,” says manager Tomer Reuveni, continuing: “You may have time to ask for something truly unique made, and you won’t spend more than your budget since you will have time to look around and price things out.” Reuveni points out that the jewellery boutique runs its own atelier, designs and creates individual pieces within 24 hours so even weekend visitors can get the unique piece within a day. “The styles range from classic to modern and you're presented with a curated selection of pieces tailored to your budget and style preferences,” he comments.

The beauty of bespoke TEXT: ELLA PUT | PHOTOS: SALIMA THAKKER

Jewellery designer Salima Thakker strikes the perfect balance between individuality and wearability. Her designs, ranging from earrings, necklaces, cufflinks, rings and more, showcase her love for the craft and are the prized positions of her customers from around the world. A few years after graduating from the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts and the London Royal College of Art, Thakker started her own jewellery atelier in 2001. Fuelled by passion and creativity, Thakker’s business became a success: “I did many collaborations with international galleries

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and received enthusiastic responses from customers directly at fairs. This helped me to slowly but surely expand my atelier.” Currently, Thakker is located in the Kloosterstraat, in the heart of the diamond city of Antwerp. Apart from producing her own collections, she also designs for the exclusive Italian jewellery brands Damiani and Salvani as well as creating bespoke jewellery.

Every diamond comes with a certificate either from the GIA laboratory or the Antwerp Diamond High Council, the top diamond certification organisations. “That way, you know exactly what you're getting,” says Reuveni. Diamond Blue is part of Antwerp’s Most Brilliant, one of the 12 most qualitative and reliable jewellers located in the diamond world capital. So no matter what you are looking for, you can find something you will love at Diamond Blue Jewellery.

Vestingstraat 77, 2018 Antwerp +32 3 213 15 22 info@tomjewelry.be www.tomjewelry.be

She says: “In this age of mass production, people seem to want something special and unique. My work is handmade and connects with clients’ personal wishes. I work with traditional materials such as gemstones and diamonds but as I have a short production cycle, I can keep the prices realistic.” Nature, colours and life itself are important inspirations for Thakker. Her eye for detail and technical accuracy help her to craft original yet highly wearable jewellery that highlight Thakker’s expert skills. “Making jewellery is a fantastic craft. I love to express myself creatively. Aside from that, it is wonderful to see happy customers with a personal piece of jewellery. It can sometimes even draw a tear to their eyes.” www.salimathakker.com


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Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | André Rieu

A NDR É

R I E U

The king of waltz Andre Rieu has a knack for breaking down barriers when it comes to classical music, winning over his audiences from all walks of life and captivating them with beautiful music. His belief in the participation of his audience and making his music accessible to all has led the violin virtuoso to a wealth of success and an orchestra that has brought joy to millions. TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: ANDRÉ RIEU PRODUCTIONS

He has certainly created a winning concept by performing popular classical music with world class musicians combined into a highly entertaining show. In between the music, Rieu will recount anecdotes, introduce his soloist and even tell jokes, all to get a smile from the audience. Rieu, 66, tells us that this format developed more or less naturally. “I am from the classical world, I graduated from the Brussels Conservatorium and I ended up with the Limburg Symphony Orchestra as a violinist. Aside that, rather by accident, I immediately started playing in a salon orchestra. That was a very different type of music that I had never heard before,” he begins. Very popular at the start of the 20th century, a salon orchestra is typically a smaller company that plays light classical music. In particular waltzes, tangos and foxtrots are part of the usual repertoire. Rieu continues: “We played pieces such as the Vilja Song, the Serenade of Toselli, operetta music, the beautiful waltz Gold und Silber by Franz Lehár etc. I immediately fell in love with the music, and on top of that, I noticed that when we played it, the audience became really happy. Ourselves included.” This experience was something new to Rieu, and he quickly realised it was something he very much enjoyed. “This was very different from the Symphony Orchestra.

Eventually, it even started to bother me that there was so little interaction with the audience during concerts with the symphony orchestra. People would listen obediently and applauded when it was over. But I started to miss those happy faces in front of me. Also the orchestra itself played with little joy, really, despite playing the most beautiful music.”

Conductor and show master In the end Rieu made the move to step out of the symphony orchestra and started performing with his own. By then the salon orchestra had grown into the Johann Strauss Orchestra, led by Rieu, at the time with around 20 people. This developed over the years, and currently Rieu often has up to 60 musicians playing with him. The music is not the only thing that has propelled Rieu into an international phenomenon. Rieu has a knack for showmanship and knows how to play the audience. It is this combination of music and entertainment that continues to pull in sell-out crowds, not unusually of tens of thousands on one evening. Rieu recounts how the idea for his shows developed: “With that salon orchestra we started playing at homes for the elderly. I thought it was rather odd to just enter and start playing without greeting the people first. So that is what I did, because I was raised well, haha!”

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He continues: “And so one thing lead to another. The people returned our greetings and a connection with the audience was formed, something I thought was rather pleasant. I developed those talks more and more. By the way, I don’t see myself as a ‘show master’, but mainly as a musician: conductor and violinist. Aside from those, I present the concerts, but the first place always goes to the music.”

His proudest moment Every year Rieu brings out a new album and also his shows are often shown on live television or recorded on DVD. Upon release, these invariably shoot to the top of the classical best sellers lists and often stay there for weeks. This year will see the release of Arrivederci Roma, out later this month. Rieu comments on his new record: “It’s an album full of gorgeous Italian music, from well-loved classical melodies such as

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Intermezzo Sinfonico by Mascagni and the Ouverture La Traviata, to Italian hits such as L’Italiano, La Solitudine, A far l’amore comincia tu, and beautiful film music by Ennio Morricone, Gabriel’s Oboe and Dinner.” He has multiple platinum and gold records in many countries and was even knighted in the Order of the Dutch Lion in 2002. But, as Rieu says himself, it isn’t the sales that he is most proud of. “Those sales figures of CDs and DVDs are obviously magnificent, but it very much remains a matter of business, which is viewed by the record companies as commercial success and a reward. What I personally think is a highlight, was the fact that my orchestra and I were asked to play for the coronation of Prince Willem Alexander to King in Amsterdam. I found that very special indeed, and it still fills me will a great deal of pride.” He adds: “I will never forget the

sights of the delirious ‘orange’ audience on the Museumplein.”

Creating a successful show During Rieu’s live performances, the entire orchestra is dressed in beautiful ball gowns or three-piece suits, including Rieu himself. The stage often has an exuberant décor and it is not unusual for a show, such as the annual outdoor summer concerts in Rieu’s hometown of Maastricht, to end with fireworks. Rieu explains how his shows are created: “It always starts at home, on the sofa. There I will sit with my wife, Marjorie, and then we ask each other: right, what shall we play? Because that’s what it always starts with, the choice of music, that has always been and will remain the most important part. The two of us come up with the musical repertoire, by now for 37 years and running.”


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Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | André Rieu

While publicly she is much more in the background, Rieu’s wife Marjorie has always been very much involved. “Because from her upbringing she knew much more light music. To be honest, I didn’t know any of it. Even the Beatles or Rolling Stones, I had never heard of them. My father was conductor at the Limburg Symphony Orchestra, all six of us children played multiple classical instruments, we were always practising, and we never got to hear any other music aside classical at home.” Once the pair has worked out what music to play, they will select the soloist. Rieu: “That actually goes hand in hand. Sometimes I want to play something, and I’ll find a singer to accompany me. At other times, chance will come into it, when a new soprano suggests pieces herself that she likes to sing, and then I make a selection from those.”

Rieu on the road Rieu’s wife is not the only family member involved. His youngest son, Pierre is now also part of the team, but Rieu isn’t worried that work might affect their personal lives. “That is very simple: all three of us don’t view it as work pressure. We have a huge amount of fun in doing the things we do, and for Marjorie and me, this ís our life. There really is no division between work and private life. For Pierre this is different because he has a family with young children. He has to draw a line somewhere. But he is also very involved, enjoys it and is almost always preoccupied by it.”

concert. A concert is a success if I see that the audience enjoyed it. So always, haha!”

cause it never happens ‘spontaneously’. To play it perfectly, you have to be absolutely focused, and it gives a wonderful feeling of fulfilment if we have achieved this again.”

Waltzing the night away His shows also divide opinions, especially from within the classical world. Some critics dismiss Rieu as being overly kitsch and commercial. However, Rieu has drawn in audiences who would normally never listen to classical music and there is nothing Rieu would rather do than be on stage in front of a captivated audience. He tells us why: “The joy it gives me. I think there is nothing better than an evening on stage, playing beautiful music and seeing how happy it makes people. That is a wonderful experience, every night again.” One song that Rieu has helped to make famous is the Second Waltz by Dmitri Shostakovich. At almost every single performance Rieu will play this captivating piece with his orchestra. We wondered how he keeps it interesting for himself to play the same music over and over again. “It does not matter how often you play a piece,” he explains. “Every time you try to play it to perfection, for myself and together with the others. Every night is it a new challenge, be-

This month, Rieu has two shows in Belgium on his agenda, one in Brussels and one in Hasselt. Talking about the upcoming shows, he says what the audience can expect: “A fantastic programme with, of course, Viennese waltzes, but also famous opera-arias, for example from The Pearl Fishers and Madame Butterfly. Well-known songs from operetta and musicals. Aside that, there will be plenty of moments to laugh. I look forward to it!” See André Rieu live in Belgium Brussels: Friday, 13 November at Paleis 12 Hasselt: Saturday, 21 November at Ethias Arena For tickets and more information, go to www.andrerieu.com

André Rieu’s new album Out on 13 November is Rieu’s new record Arrivederci Roma. It is overflowing with beautiful Italian music, from classical pieces to movie themes and some well-known hits.

For a large part of the year, Rieu is on tour with his Johann Strauss Orchestra. Over the last decade he has played all over the world, sometimes as many as a hundred performances a year. We asked him what a day on the road looks like. “On a concert day, I rest as much as possible, and three times a week I do strength training, one or two hours. Including when I am on tour.” He continues: “Around 3pm we arrive at the venue, drink something and at 4pm is a sound check. Then we all eat together, I will sleep which is followed by my instrumental warm up and I will change for the

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THE

MUS E UM

QUA R TE R

The fashion and museum district of Amsterdam Originally built in the 19th century, the recently renovated Museum Quarter in Amsterdam houses some of the world’s most important art treasures and one of the best-sounding orchestral concert venues on the planet. TEXT: ELLA PUT | PHOTOS: NBTC


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Discover Benelux | Amsterdam’s Museum Quarter | Introduction

The Rijksmuseum (main image) was the first museum completed in the Museum District, giving the area its name. The Stedelijk Museum was completed shortly afterwards and was recently expanded with a complete new contemporary wing (right, middle image).

About 130 years ago a smelly wax factory surrounded by marshland made way for what is now known as one of the fanciest neighbourhoods in Amsterdam, the Museum Quarter. The area lends its name from housing three of the most important museums in the Netherlands situated on the Museumplein. First to be completed was the new building for the Rijksmuseum in 1885, shortly followed by the new Stedelijk Museum. In the 1970s, the Van Gogh Museum also found its home here. It is true delight for art lovers. The Van Gogh Museum offers an incredible range of works by the post-impressionist painter, including The Potato Eaters and Bedroom in Arles as well as artworks once owned by Van Gogh. An absolute masterpiece in the collection of the Rijksmuseum is the world famous Night Watch by Rembrandt, but there are many other works by Dutch Masters to be admired, including by Vermeer. The Stedelijk Museum has an extensive collection of international modern and contemporary art and design, from Henri Matisse to Andy Warhol and Willem de Kooning. If you feel inspired by the art, why not make your own masterpiece? Outside in between the museums, you can have your picture taken in front of the I AMsterdam letters, the most photographed spot in the city. In the midst of these cultural delights lies the Concertgebouw, located on the Van Baerlestraat. It is the home to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. With its highly regarded acoustics the Concertgebouw is considered one of the finest concert venues in the world. If you want to witness a performance, make sure to book tickets in advance, or you can enjoy the music hall during their weekly free lunch concerts on Wednesdays (from September to June). The Museum Quarter is also home to the most famous shopping street in the Netherlands, the P.C. Hooftstraat. It offers

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Discover Benelux | Amsterdam’s Museum Quarter | Introduction

Amsterdam’s fashion and museum district is a thriving part of the city where culture can be experienced by visitors from all walks of life.

expensive and luxurious items, from designer handbags to one-of-a-kind earrings from renowned brands such as Armani and Louis Vuitton. You can shop until you drop, just don’t forget to bring your credit card. If you are looking for local chic instead of high-end luxury, the Van Baerlestraat is highly recommended. You can continue your shopping trip to the nearby Jacob Obrechtstraat and Cornelis Schuytstraat, where you will find numerous stylish independent shops and other local brands. Next to shopping and sightseeing, this part of town also includes the Vondelpark, Amsterdam’s beautiful urban public park. It is a great place to rent a bike and go for a tour and it offers a wide variety of sights and activities. There is a beautiful rose garden, an open-air theatre and a skating rental shop. Furthermore, the park houses different cafés and teahouses that give you beautiful views over Amsterdam’s most popular green space. One of the latest additions to the Museum Quarter is the Conservatorium Hotel. Orig-

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inally built as the Rijkspostspaarbank at the end of the 19th century, the building was later occupied by the Amsterdam Sweelinck Music Conservatorium before it became a luxurious hotel in 2011 (see more on page 37, opposite).

How to get there Getting to Museum Quarter is easy; it is a 15minute bike ride from Amsterdam Central Station. There are also various trams going in that direction. And which better way is there than to travel like to locals do?

WHAT’S ON AT THE MUSEUMS Rijksmuseum – Asia > Amsterdam. Luxury in the Golden Age As Dutch merchants started to conquer the world in the 17th century, exotic treasures poured into the Netherlands. The VOC, the Dutch Each India Company, brought back stunning items of silver, ivory and ebony, superior chinaware, jewellery and silk, enriching the interiors of the increasingly prosperous Dutch bourgeoisie. This exhibition shows how these Asian luxuries were the sensation of their time in Holland. Until 17 January 2016.

Van Gogh Museum – Munch : Van Gogh Exploring the parallels between Edvard Munch and Vincent van Gogh, this exhibition shows how the work of these two artists is closely related even though they never met. Both created paintings that were radical, colourful and expressive and also their lives were remarkably similar. Iconic paintings such as The Scream and Madonna by the Norwegian artists are shown alongside some of Van Gogh’s masterpieces. Until 17 January 2016.

Stedelijk Museum – A Year at the Stedelijk: Tino Sehgal Classed as one of the most radical artists of this era, Tino Sehgal specialises in conceptual art pro jects. This year, the Stedelijk has given Sehgal a platform to consecutively present 12 different works. Sehgal does not make objects, but he creates ‘situations’ in which interpreters enact choreographed actions. He believes artworks consist of a live encounter between the work and the viewer, offering visitors a wholly unique experience of live art. Until the end of December.


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Discover Benelux | Amsterdam’s Museum Quarter | Top Spots

Amsterdam’s luxury urban resort, the Conservatorium Hotel, is a perfect place to mingle with locals in a relaxed setting, enjoy the great taste of Dutch food and drinks and, of course, have a good night’s sleep.

Amsterdam’s luxury urban resort TEXT: JANINE STERENBORG | PHOTOS: CONSERVATORIUM HOTEL

Mouthwatering local and seasonal foods, exquisite suites and a fine range of gins and tonics for sophisticated palates: the accessible Conservatorium Hotel in the centre of Amsterdam offers all the luxury you need when on a day trip to the Dutch capital. Housed in the former music academy, Sweelinck Conservatory Amsterdam, the Conservatorium Hotel still reminisces of its rich musical history. “There’s live music in the brasserie, hallway walls are covered in pictures of famed musicians and our praised gin and tonic bar is called Tunes,” explains renowned chef Schilo van Coevorden, responsible for all food and drinks in the Conservatorium Hotel. It opened four years ago and has become an established urban resort, where locals and tourists mingle. According to Van Coevorden’s philosophy, the Dutch should be more proud of their foods. “Dutch mussels, herring and asparagus for instance are delicious.” In the

winter time the chef focusses on jugged hare, pheasant and other wild game meats, combined with vegetables like sauerkraut and red cabbage. In his restaurant, Taiko, he combines local veg with ingredients from Asia, like Wagyu meat from Japanese beef. “But we specialise in outstanding vegetable dishes, such as sashimi from watermelon and the Japanese nettle Shiso.” At the Tunes bar you can get delicious gin and tonics. “We serve eight kinds of tonic and countless kinds of gin,” says Van Coevorden. A special one is Hermit: “This Dutch gin is distilled with sea water!”

building’s original features. Van Coevorden: “The I-Love-Amsterdam suite for instance is equipped with a rooftop terrace, providing a 360-degree view over Amsterdam: an exclusive experience that’s found nowhere else.” Furthermore the hotel houses a luxury holistic spa, exclusive shops and a monthly changing art exhibition. And the best thing is: all services are accessible for day guests. www.conservatoriumhotel.com

Let’s not forget the hotel rooms themselves. The rooftop suites have a loft-like feeling, with breathtaking views and include a sitting area, a work space area and state-of-the-art in-room entertainment. And while every room in the hotel has its own appeal, the signature suites are simply extraordinary thanks to their unique aesthetic and character derived from the

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Discover Benelux | Amsterdam’s Museum Quarter | Top Spots

The real notion of business travel in Amsterdam’s Museum Quarter TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: MARC BERGVELT / AMSTERDAM BEAUTIFUL

Waking up to birdsong in the Museum District of Amsterdam is an idyllic way to start any day; a tree-lined neighbourhood just outside of the canallaced city centre, this area boasts an inimitable ambience. Going down its wider streets, you will soon be lost in its charm, admiring the season’s colour palette as the world turns towards the rich orange and yellow hues of autumn. You could be fooled into believing this is a description of a vacation, but with Amsterdam Beautiful this is the real notion of business travel. We all know that it is during these extended periods of work in different locations when we most long for the comforts of home, with the reality of life on the road often failing to live up to the hype. But there is an alternative, and it comes in the form of Amsterdam Beautiful Corporate Short Stay. Facilitating high-end rentals in the Dutch

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capital, they offer exclusive short-stay homes that are fit to grace the pages of any upstanding design magazine. With 26 unique properties currently in their portfolio, the capital’s most desirable areas – including the Museum District – are littered with Amsterdam Beautiful’s short and long-term rentals. From the boutique-lined P.C. Hooftstraat to the calm and collected nature of the Vondelpark, the Museum District is an ideal solution for business trips, where you can enjoy a casual lunch beside world-class art in the Rijksmuseum gardens and spend evenings dining at an Amsterdam marina, discussing business by the shimmering lights of the Amstel canal. Similarly, what commute could rival the satisfaction of cruising to work on a Dutch bike, with your gaze scanning the Museum District’s rich architectural tapestry? Strictly vetting the prospective client as well as the homes offered for rent, founder

Marc Bergvelt explains how their concept of business travel starts with procuring a base in one of the most sought-after urban locations, and leads to what they have dubbed the ‘Amsterdam Beautiful experience’. Bergvelt: “What’s better than a real home in a chic neighbourhood with hotelstyle luxuries? We want to reward people staying with us; not with points or benefits, but with a desirable location, ambiance and a special experience.” Cycling your way back to your temporary home and weaving through those treelined streets under the warm canopy of streetlights, the notion of business travel finally becomes as glamorous (and comfortable) as it sounds. www.corporateshortstay.nl www.amsterdambeautiful.nl


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Discover Benelux | Amsterdam’s Museum Quarter | Top Spots

Parisian flair in Amsterdam TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: BRASSERIE DE JOFFERS

Named after a late 19th century female painters collective from Amsterdam, brasserie De Joffers breathes the same sophisticated, bohemian atmosphere as its name sake artists. The brasserie is located in a stylish building, reminiscent of Paris, with mirrored walls and beautifully decorated high ceilings, making your dining experience even more extraordinary. The brasserie is open throughout the day, from breakfast in the morning through to lunch and dinner in the evening. “We are called a brasserie, but we are also very proud of our dinner menu that offers guests a mix of authentic Dutch cuisine with a modern twist and worldly dishes,” says Marja Koppen, one of the owners of De Joffers. “We are a family business where passion is paramount, and this is what our guests love about us.” De brasserie has a seasonal menu, which changes four times a year. Where possible, the ingredients are organic and always of

the highest quality. “Now, in autumn we have many game dishes on the menu such as wild boar and guinea fowl. But we also serve Dutch classics such as beef stews and more cosmopolitan meals like cataplana fish stew,” she says. De Joffers opened 25 years ago. Since then, the area of Amsterdam Oud Zuid has slowly transformed, with the brasserie squarely at its heart. To this day, it is both popular with locals, business people as well as tourists. Koppen adds: “Oud Zuid has become a great area for shopping with many wonderful luxury boutiques on leafy streets. It’s the perfect place to experience the real Amsterdam while escaping the masses in the centre.”

The brasserie De Joffers has a heated terrace area that is perfect for a drink or a meal outside, even in autumn time. Every week, it also organises a special ‘Dutch Night’ either on Mondays or Tuesdays when authentic dishes from the Netherlands are served. De Joffers is open every day, on Monday to Saturday from 8am to 11pm and on Sundays from 9am to 8pm. For reservations call +31 20 6730 360. www.brasseriedejoffers.nl

This winter, two Joffers are making a return visit to the brasserie in the form of artworks. The works, one by Lizzy Ansingh and the other by Marie van Regteren Altena will be on display to guests. “The Joffers are still a very well-known group of impressionist painters and it’s really exciting to show these two works.”

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Discover Benelux | Amsterdam’s Museum Quarter | Top Spots

Urban adventures at a home away from home TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: PARK HOTEL

Where clean lines, cold interiors and minimalistic design are becoming the norm for urban hotels around the world, Park Hotel does things differently. The boutique hotel, located in central Amsterdam, will feel like a second home with warm interiors, personal touches and a welcoming atmosphere. The award-winning Park Hotel is located at the very centre of Amsterdam, nearby the bustling Leidseplein and the beautiful Vondelpark. Built in 1840, it was first used as a tea house, but transformed into a luxury boutique hotel over the years. Apart from 189 contemporary lifestyle rooms, it has nine different meeting rooms. All rooms combined, Park Hotel offers 700 square metres of meeting space, capable of hosting anything from small sit-down

gatherings to stand up events for up to 130 people. The lobby is styled as a living room with a fire place and relaxing couches, allowing guests to unwind and recharge during their stay. Adding to the intimate and sophisticated atmosphere of the hotel is the hotel library. It doubles as an art exhibition space called The Gallery Zone with regularly changing collections of paintings and photographs. Here guests can also enjoy the hospitality of the hotel with exclusive drinks and delicious bites from the Living Room menu. For a spectacular dinner, MOMO, at the ground floor, is keen to welcome guests. The vibrant restaurant serves Pan-Asian food and has an exquisite cocktail list. MOMO is open to Park Hotel guests and the public for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

www.parkhotel.nl

Your Partner in Anglo Dutch Business The Netherlands British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) is the only bilateral non-profit membership organisation solely dedicated to promoting Anglo-Dutch trade and investment. From our start in 1891, we helped thousands of companies and entrepreneurs expanding their business abroad. The Netherlands-British Chamber of Commerce, 125 years experience in Anglo-Dutch trade and investment promotion. Contact us now for: • Access to interesting network events • Participation in NBCC events and working groups • Exclusive access to our intranet membership area • Up to date economic information and market sector intelligence • Market research • Partner searches • Company formation • Virtual office services • Sales support NL Tel.: 070-205 5656 UK Tel.: 03333-440 779 Email: info@nbcc.co.uk Or visit:

www.nbcc.co.uk


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Discover Benelux | Amsterdam’s Museum Quarter | Culture & Attractions

The sparkling world of diamonds TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: COSTER DIAMONDS

Amsterdam is one of the diamond capitals in the world. Together with Antwerp, it has a long history of diamond cutting, craftsmanship and trade. To learn more about this sparkling past and maybe even get your hands on your own diamond jewellery, visit Coster Diamonds. Ronald Koster, PR manager at Coster Diamonds says: “Many visitors and tourists who come to Amsterdam are interested to learn about our diamond industry. At Coster Diamonds we cater especially to these groups and welcome almost 400,000 tourists a year to the factory and the museum. They really come from all over the world,” he says. Set up in 1840, Coster Diamonds started as place where independent diamond cutters could work from. For about a century this remained the same, but after the Second World War, when trade mostly moved

back to Antwerp, Coster Diamonds decided to focus on a different aspect of the business and showcase the diamond industry to visitors.

chosen ring of white, rose of normal gold in about 20 minutes. So you get a great experience and a beautiful ring with a story made before your eyes.”

Coster Diamonds offers a free tour where people can see the diamond cutters and goldsmiths at work. The guides, who speak 27 different languages, also explain what qualities to look for in a diamond. “We call this ‘the four Cs’: the cut, colour, clarity and carat. These elements decide the value of a diamond,” Koster says. “We also like to add a fifth; confidence. At Coster Diamonds we offer a quality guarantee so customers can be confident about their purchase.”

www.costerdiamonds.com

Of course, at Coster Diamonds people can also buy their own diamond. It has a large stock of diamonds in various gradations, ring settings and finished diamond jewellery for any budget. Koster: “For example, our goldsmiths can set a diamond in a

Diamond Museum Amsterdam Next to the Coster Diamonds is the Diamond Museum. Discover how raw diamonds are created, found and processed, browse the collection of royal crown replicas and embark on a 400year journey through the history of diamond trade. The interactive museum is the perfect place to learn all there is about diamonds, from the raw stone to brilliant-cut gems. Coster Diamonds and the Diamond Museum are located between the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum in the centre of Amsterdam. www.diamantmuseumamsterdam.nl

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A stylish jacket for your home Marvelous designs for your bathroom, spa or kitchen and more: studio PIASTRELLE offers exciting and timeless combinations of exclusive mosaics, natural stones, hand-painted terracotta and designer tiles. TEXT: JANINE STERENBORG | PHOTOS: HUGO THOMASSES

PIASTRELLE is located at the heart of Amsterdam’s fashion and museum district. Owner Alexander Nickel says he feels right at home amidst the other top haute couture boutiques and design studios. “We share the same mindset: not only do we work with exquisite, high-quality materials, we also focus on innovative and tailor-made solutions. Plus, our collection includes top brands such as Sicis, Bisazza and Bardelli. What those designers create is art itself.”

wishes. And Nickel is not afraid to stock special products or unusual materials. “Even though our three-storey showroom is quite small, we have a wide range of products,” he explains. “We like to present a diverse collection that includes unexpected designs. Earlier this year, for instance, we got ourselves a hand-cut mosaic made from 50 per cent shells and 50 per cent gemstones. We loved it and admirers of these kinds of special designs know how to find us.”

Unexpected designs

Another eye catcher in one of PIASTRELLE's latest projects is a beautifully lit, onyx wall: by day, it is a stunningly coloured wall, and by night, it spreads a captivating

Besides these leading brands, PIASTRELLE works with smaller suppliers, with whom they directly collaborate to meet its clients’

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ambient glow. “Onyx is a translucent gemstone, so when the light is turned on, the room is illuminated with the striking, warm glow of the onyx rock.”

Comfortable jacket Creating a new style in your home is also a chance to learn more about your living environment. Nickel: “For example, when redesigning your bathroom, choosing the atmosphere you desire is the most important. Do you prefer a cool or a warm vibe? Bold or fresh? When you know this, the choice of material and colour follows naturally. It should feel like a comfortable jacket for your home.”


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Discover Benelux | Amsterdam’s Museum Quarter | Top Boutiques

A stylish and timeless jacket for your home: PIASTRELLE designs perfectly fitting couture with tiles and mosaics, reflecting the way you want your living environment to look and feel. BELOW: A translucent onyx wall will give your bathroom a striking look.

This is PIASTRELLE’s way of handling all of their projects, large and small. “Our goal is to always improve our clients’ happiness within their own living environment,” says Nickel.

New historical tiles

Dutch straightforwardness. “We want to build a relationship with our clients. That’s the only way that enables us to deliver added value,” he says. It works: national and international customers visit and return to the studio when they move house, after

enjoying PIASTRELLE’s last design for decades. “This is also one of our focal points: we ignore trends and focus on sustainable design that can last a lifetime.” www.piastrelle.nl

While the majority of PIASTRELLE’s clients are private customers, its craftsmanship is valuable to businesses as well. Two blocks away across the street, you can spot a project implemented by PIASTRELLE. For the Conservatorium Hotel, which opened four years ago after restauration works, the studio was asked to use their extensive knowledge to restore the 19th century historic tiling. Nickel: “This was a beautiful project to work on. The challenge was to re-create the historic tiles and find the right colours by using a combination of modern graphic techniques and the old craft of glazing. It had to be an exact match with the historic ones.” It was a challenge, but the result is magnificent.

German courtesy Originally from Germany, Nickel receives his guests with German courtesy and

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Discover Benelux | Amsterdam’s Museum Quarter | Culture & Attractions

Experience the capital by bike TEXT: ELLA PUT | PHOTOS: A-BIKE

What better way to explore Amsterdam, the Netherlands’ cycling capital, than by bike? Offering you a bicycle tour including coffee and free Wi-Fi, A-Bike is determined to give you the full Amsterdam experience. In 2014 Bert Hoving, A-Bike’s director, started the bicycle hire shop offering highservice and high-quality bikes. Hoving: “I just wanted to do that little bit extra. We offer participants free coffee, we sell t-shirts and our bikes are not too touristy looking.” From all over the world, people visit Abike. It is not just the tours that are a favourite, the bikes themselves are as well. One customer liked the A-Bike cycles so much, he had one made for him in his home country Canada. Situated next to the Vondelpark in Amsterdam, A-Bike is right at the heart of the

capital. It is the perfect start of your bike tour. Highlights such as the picturesque canals, the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum are just a stone’s throw away. If you want to discover the city on your own, A-Bike will make a map based on your itinerary requests. You can also choose to join one of the many three-hour tours with an experienced A-Bike guide. The guides speak multiple languages and know the city like the back of their hand. They can answer any question you have. Are you wondering how the Dutch social system works? They will tell you. Would you like to know where a famous Dutch football player lives? They will show you. Experience Amsterdam to the full thanks to Hoving and his team, and discover the best the Dutch capital has to offer. www.a-bike.eu

Amsterdam on ice TEXT: ELLA PUT | PHOTOS: ICE*AMSTERDAM

Grab your chance to skate on the same spot where Jaap Eden won the very first official World Allround Speed Skating Championships in 1893. With the special history, the winter atmosphere and the beautiful Rijksmuseum in the background, it is no wonder that the ice rink of Ice*Amsterdam is called the most amazing ice experience in Holland. After watching the impressive artworks by Dutch painters such as Van Gogh and Rembrandt, your next adventure in the Dutch

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capital will be right next door. From 21 November until 28 February the 1,500-squaremetre ice rink will adorn the Museumplein. It is the ultimate winter experience. Skate while being surrounded by festively lit trees, a restaurant with a traditional Dutch cuisine and a Christmas market, filled with stalls where you can make your own Christmas cards and buy gifts. Next to that, there is an open stage where anyone is welcome to read out a passage from a book, sing a song, recite poetry or perform a comedy sketch.

Ice-skating on the Museumplein has been a tradition for many years. According to one of the organisers of Ice*Amsterdam, Pim Pronk, the relaxed ambience contributes to the event’s yearly success: “People can come and skate whenever they want and pay afterwards. Everything is possible; you can arrange to play a game of curling or ice hockey and you can bring your own (speed) skates along. We are open every day of the week on weekdays until 10pm and during the weekend until 11pm. Everyone is welcome, it’s a treat for the whole family.” www.iceamsterdam.nl


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Discover Benelux | Amsterdam’s Museum Quarter | Top Companies

Delta Amsterdam can arrange events at some of the Netherlands’ top locations, including the National Maritime Museum and the Van Gogh Museum.

One-stop-shop for excellent corporate experiences in the Netherlands TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: DELTA EVENTS

Prestige planning and coming up with creative, original ideas, this is what custom corporate events agency Delta Amsterdam specialises in. It focusses squarely on the client, and delivers excellence by ensuring short reaction times and a precise execution of plans. Delta operates throughout the Netherlands and Belgium, but it is especially well-versed in organising events in the Dutch capital. Delta’s director Andreas Teyema explains: “There are several reasons why Amsterdam is such a wonderful location, it is compact, safe, easily accessible thanks to Schiphol. Amsterdam has an excellent infrastructure and a wealth of top hotels and restaurants. You can get to know the city in a day but at the same time, it has superb cultural institutions, a great night life and plenty of interesting attractions. It is one of the best cities in Europe for corporate events.” Since the early 1990s, Delta has been based at its current location on the Museumplein,

in the heart of Amsterdam. Set up by Teyema’s parents, Delta now exists 50 years and is celebrating its golden jubilee. Thanks to this extensive experience, Delta has excellent relationships with the most desirable venues in the Netherlands, including the Van Gogh Museum, the National Maritime Museum, exclusive restaurants and top segment hotels. Having a very broad portfolio, Delta can provide experiences for 10 to 3,000 people. All events that Delta organises are tailor-made and encompass the entire visit from airport to airport. This ranges from single day meetings, incentive travel and special interest tours to week-long conventions. Delta not only comes up with the plan and the itinerary, it also makes sure the execution is optimal. Teyema adds: “What makes us strong, is that we are excellent at bringing together all the different services from our providers. This ensures a successful and smoothly organised event.”

Delta specialises in working with corporations based abroad, from small organisations to big multinationals. Encompassing Europe, America, Asia, Latin America and Russia, Delta has expert staff who can cater to these markets. “We work with an international team so we know the language of our clients and can adjust our events according to the culture. We believe in a pro-active, hands-on approach. We ensure there is always a contact person present, if not a whole team from Delta, to see to any last-minute needs.” www.delta-amsterdam.nl

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DE

P I J P

Amsterdam’s cosmopolitan heart Host to the Albert Cuyp Market, a multitude of international restaurants and fine examples of Amsterdam School architecture, De Pijp is the most cosmopolitan and vibrant district of Amsterdam, and home to students, artists and families of all ages. The district offers a multitude of restaurants, bars and cafes, as well as tranquility and impressive architecture. TEXT: JANINE STERENBORG


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Discover Benelux | De Pijp Amsterdam | Introduction

OPPOSITE TOP: Cafe de Pijp. Photo: MarieCharlotte Peze. BOTTOM LEFT: Albert Cuyp Market. Photo: Amsterdam Marketing. BOTTOM RIGHT: Students on a bike at Ferdinand Bolstraat. Photo: Edwin van Eis. RIGHT: De Dageraad School. Photo: Amsterdam Marketing

Originally built in the 1800s to house labourers and to ease the overpopulated neighbouring quarter De Jordaan, De Pijp is now a popular area where house prices are skyrocketing. Bordering the city centre, the quarter is easy to reach. Yet in De Pijp, Amsterdam’s hustle dissolves and makes place for authentic, lively streets, where famed Dutch writers such as Herman Heijermans and Jacob Israël de Haan as well as painter Piet Mondrian resided in the late 19th and early 20th century. To this day, their influence is tangible: the area still breathes a lively bohemian spirit akin to Paris’ Quartier Latin. Replete with restaurants, coffee shops, cafes and bars, De Pijp is a refreshing area, perfect for discovering the real Amsterdam both by day and by night.

De Nieuwe Pijp The South is a brisk part of De Pijp that is also known as ‘Oude Pijp’ (old pipe), while a few blocks south, the ’Nieuwe Pijp’ (new pipe) takes over with peace and quiet and an abundance of greenery. The Nieuwe Pijp was built in the 1920s, when the expressionist Amsterdam School movement took hold. The architectural style is characterised by intricate brickwork buildings, with a fluid, organic appearance often combining decorative masonry, artistic glasswork and wrought ironwork. Unsurprisingly, the Nieuwe Pijp is a heaven for architecture enthusiasts. It hosts some of the finest examples of the Amsterdam School, like working-class housing estates, also known as ‘workers’ palaces’, built to uplift the working class heroes who toiled in the nearby diamond cutting factories and brewery. These houses are recognised by their vertical lines and yellow-green window sills.

Sarphatipark In the heart of De Pijp, on the border between the old and the new, lies the Sarphatipark, named after physician, urban planner and philanthropist Samuel Sarphati. In

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Discover Benelux | De Pijp Amsterdam | Introduction

ABOVE: Cafe Flamingo. Photo: Marie-Charlotte Peze. BELOW RIGHT: Flower stall at the Albert Cuyp Market. Photo: Albert Cuyp Market

summer, this green city park is a picknicker’s paradise, and in winter it’s perfect for taking a stroll along the water with a coffee to go, or with delicious local food bought at the Albert Cuyp Market.

Albert Cuyp market The famous and over 100-year-old street market Albert Cuyp is one of the oldest and biggest in Europe. Immerse yourself in the crowd, take in colourful sights and fragrances and satisfy your appetite with a typical Dutch herring or a freshly baked stroopwafel, while browsing through the extensive collections of fresh vegetables, sweet smelling flowers, colourful fabrics and more. Both residents and local restaurants and cafes go here to buy produce such as cheeses, fresh fish and meats and other groceries.

Going out The liveliness of the most cosmopolitan district of Amsterdam continues at night.

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The Gerard Douplein hosts a multitude of coffee places on cosy lively street corners. Only a short walk away is the Frans Halsstraat, which is sprinkled with restaurants, bars and cafes. So is the Marie Heinekenplein but, despite the name, a great deal more drinks than just Heineken beers are served here. The Marie Heinekenplein adjoins the Heineken Experience, where you can take an interactive self-guided tour through the former brewery and learn about the world famous beer brand.

How to get there De Pijp is just a short tram ride away from central station, or a three-kilometre walk through the centre, but if you enjoy strolling the beautiful canal streets, a detour might be more to your taste. Take a left from central station and take the Oudezijds Voorburgwal south. You will have a beautiful view over the city houses on both sides of the canal and at the same time, you will

get a sneak peak into the red light district. After crossing Muntplein, Vijzelgracht can take you straight to De Pijp, but the paralleling Reguliersgracht offers a more tranquil route with gorgeous sights. But what is a more fun way to get to De Pijp than by boat? The red line of the hopon-hop-off canal ‘buses’ takes you to the foot of the Heineken Experience, a great place to start your exploration of De Pijp.


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Discover Benelux | Amsterdam | Eat, Drink & Sleep in De Pijp

Enter a world of royal luxury TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: SIR ALBERT HOTEL

With the atmosphere of a deluxe private mansion, Sir Albert Hotel offers guests a sophisticated boutique experience. The service is both personal and faultlessly professional, and staff always go above and beyond guests’ expectations Sir Albert is styled as a desirable home belonging to a unique host, a ‘modern aristocrat’. He is part of a new kind of elite with all the trappings of aristocracy but none of the pretensions. They are worldly, well-travelled and uber-stylish. At Sir Albert Hotel, guests become part of this world. Housed in a former diamond factory, the design aesthetic pays homage to the building’s heritage with high ceilings and large, original front windows. Facing north, these windows fill the rooms with the luminous northern light, formerly used by the diamond polishers. Located in De Pijp, Amsterdam’s famed epicentre of urban chic, Sir Albert is also just steps away from a myriad of restaurants, cafes, boutiques and sights.

For small gatherings, product launches, photo shoots, receptions and meetings, Sir Albert offers his ‘Creative Space’. Bathed in natural daylight, this stylish and homely events venue is ‘the newest think tank in the city’. Doers, makers and thinkers can generate ideas, have brainstorm sessions and can manifest all other kinds of concepts. Imagine yourself as a modern aristocrat in one of Sir Albert’s 90 luxury rooms and suites and do not miss a chance to discover the exquisite dishes served at IZAKAYA Asian Kitchen & Bar, the hotel’s Japanese pub-style restaurant. Sir Albert is part of SIR Hotels, a European lifestyle boutique brand, rooted in Amsterdam in 2011. Each SIR Hotel curates its own cosmos and has entrepreneurial spirits, a fine taste of aesthetics and features a distinctive destination for the design-savvy traveller of 21st century. www.siralberthotel.com www.sirhotels.com

A piece of Japan in the heart of Amsterdam TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: EN JAPANESE KITCHEN AND SAKE BAR

Authentic, Japanese cuisine – this is what EN stands for. EN Japanese Kitchen and Sake Bar is located in Amsterdam’s bustling De Pijp district and offers stunning dishes, subtle flavour combinations and a memorable dining experience. EN specialises in authentic Kappo-style cooking, which combines hot and cold dishes. It is derived from Kaiseki, a formal way of dining with multiple light courses, common in royal circles. EN’s signature dish is their first course. It comprises of five different Kappo appetisers, presented in a spectacular way that is inspired by the season.

The food is both a feast for the eyes and the taste buds. Plates are often decorated with flowers and the dishes are served in a traditional way. Traditional Japanese pottery is used for serving the food, like the hida konro, a small stove on which the wagyu steak is served, just like in Japan. Head chef Ken, who has previously worked at renowned Japanese restaurants, comes up with a completely new set menu every month. Working with the seasons, he combines the best ingredients from Japan with locally grown produce. EN also has an extensive menu of sakes and sho¯chu¯. Sake, a rice wine, has a smooth

taste that perfectly complements Japanese food. Sho¯chu¯, on the other hand, can be compared to a light gin with a slightly earthy aroma. It is ideal as an aperitif on the rocks or straight with a meal, in particular with sashimi and sushi. Aside the set Kappo menu with three or five courses, EN also serves sushi, sashimi and hot Japanese dishes à la carte. One of their specials is grilled wagyu beef, a beautifully marbled cut that produces succulent and tender steaks. en-amsterdam.nl

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Discover Benelux | Amsterdam | Eat, Drink & Sleep in De Pijp

Restaurant Neighbours is the go-to place in De Pijp for dinner, drinks or a ‘high wine’. In a warm and cosy atmosphere you can enjoy local and organic foods, combined with a taste bud tingling glass of wine.

Your favourite new neighbour TEXT: JANINE STERENBORG | PHOTOS: NEIGHBOURS

Restaurant Neighbours in Amsterdam’s quarter De Pijp is a new favourite hotspot of both locals and returning international guests. The recently opened restaurant, with cosy corners and alcoves in a warm and relaxed atmosphere, is founded on excellent service, high-quality food and corporate social responsibility. Neighbours is a compilation of owner Roy Mooiman’s experiences from the ten years he worked in hospitality and during his travels. “For me it’s crucial to create real connections with our guests. To listen to their stories, introduce them to Dutch culture and recommend food and beverages based on their preferences.” Open from the late afternoon until early night, Neighbours is an excellent place for afternoon snacks, drinks and dinner. Their weekly changing ‘next door menu’ is based on world cuisine, while the à la carte menu

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offers a surprising mixture of national and international specialties. “Of course you can combine courses from both menus if you like. Nothing is impossible, but if you have very specific wishes, we should know about them at least three days ahead.” An especially luxurious experience is the exclusive ‘high wine’, bookable from Friday to Sunday. “You can taste white, rosé and red wine, combined with exclusive flavour-enhancing foods like oysters, cheese plates and fish and meat dishes.”

the stories behind your products and to ‘pay it forward’.”

Due to Mooiman’s choice to work with mostly organic and local ingredients, the quality of the food is exquisite. “Our coffee for instance is from Amsterdam-based coffee brand Moyee. They teach the Ethiopian coffee farmers how to roast their beans and they’re given a fair price. We also serve organic Gulpener beer from the south of the Netherlands and we get local cheese from the Albert Cuyp market, which is only a few blocks away. It’s important to know

www.neighbours-amsterdam.nl

The Frans Halsstraat, the street in which the restaurant is located, offers many characteristic buildings where you can find galleries, pubs and lunchrooms. The perfect way to get to know local Amsterdam. Mooiman: “We collaborate extensively with our neighbours, to keep the street lively and to maintain the typical Amsterdam vibe that characterises De Pijp.”


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Discover Benelux | Amsterdam | Eat, Drink & Sleep in De Pijp

Delicious pizzas that bring out your inner Italian TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: CLEON VAN DEN ANKER

For authentic, Roman-style pizzas, there is only one place to go: Da Portare Via. When walking by one of their locations, you are instantly lured in by irresistible smells of freshly baked pizzas and the glowing warmth from their wood-fired oven. The thin, crispy crusted pizzas topped with the best quality, Italian ingredients are a real pizza lover’s delight. It is no secret what makes Da Portare Via’s pizzas taste so sublime: everything is made from scratch with the most delicious and fresh ingredients. The dough is made of the best flour imported directly from Italy and the pizzas are topped with a classic tomato sauce and mouthwatering seasonal products. It is homemade pizza the way pizza should taste. Quality pizzas made with love is the focal point for Da Portare Via. This approach together

with an innovative mind-set is at the heart of the chain’s success. Da Portare Via already counts seven locations in the Netherlands, including in De Pijp in Amsterdam. This month, the eighth will open on the Willemsparkweg in Amsterdam. Guests are invited to either eat in the cosy restaurants or enjoy the pizzas as a takeaway. At all times, Da Portare Via does everything it can to create an unforgettable experience. The wood-fired oven gets the best out of the ingredients and guests can watch their pizzas being made in the open kitchen before indulging in their meal. But don’t forget to leave room for dessert, as Da Portare Via’s homemade chocolate mousse and delicious tiramisu are also not to be missed. www.daportarevia.nl

Come dine with the chef TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: DE CHEF’S TABLE

Top chef Marc Rewinkel would like to welcome you at his table. With years of gastronomic experience, cooking at Michelin-starred restaurants and working as a sommelier on board luxury cruise ship the Queen Mary II, Rewinkel is keen to share his love for food through De Chef’s Table. Only open upon reservation, De Chef’s Table is a unique dining experience for parties of up to 18 guests. Rewinkel will deliver a night of interaction and culinary entertainment while teaching his audience about flavours, techniques and ingredients. “You can literally look over my shoulder and see what’s going on in the pots and ask me questions about everything I do,” he says.

the day. The night often starts with a short course in sabrage, and ends in a masterclass pulling and blowing sugar figures. Adding to the culinary adventure are Rewinkel’s exciting food and wine combinations. “We cook with seasonable and, where possible, organic produce,” he says. “This doesn’t just keep the price down, at a fantastic ten euros per course, it is also a philosophy I want to relay to my guests. De Chef’s Table, my platform for sharing my passion for high-quality dining, while

giving guests an intimate and unforgettable experience.” De Chef’s Table is part of Anice Culinair, a business specialising in ‘culitainment’, offering catering for groups, cookery workshops, wine tastings and private dining for up to 500 guests. De Chef’s Table is located at Rewinkel’s kitchen in De Pijp, Amsterdam. www.dechefstable.nl www.anice.nl

Guests are served a surprise meal comprising of a minimum of five courses, each made from fresh products bought by Rewinkel on

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Discover Benelux | Amsterdam | Eat, Drink & Sleep in De Pijp

Authentic pizzas in a convivial atmosphere TEXT: PAOLA WESTBEEK | PHOTOS: JAAP BAARENDS FOTOGRAFIE

A proper pizza – one with a perfect crust and just the right combination of carefully selected toppings – is one of the most craved and delicious culinary indulgences. Creating that ultimate pizza is a mission that Renato’s Pizzeria, located in Amsterdam’s buzzing De Pijp district, has embraced with a most appetising degree of warmth and expertise. But what is it precisely that makes for a great pizza? An answer to that question can be found once you sink your teeth into one of Renato’s authentically made pizzas. They satisfy without being stodgy and shine with a good balance of flavours and textures. It all begins with the exclusive use of topnotch ingredients imported directly from Italy and delivered fresh to Renato’s kitchen twice per week. Unlike other restaurants that use normal mozzarella,

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Renato’s prides itself in their buffalo mozzarella, a creamy, soft and incredibly flavourful cheese.

rejoice, the list features everything from lighter to fuller wines from a wide variety of Italian regions.

The crust, of course, is another key to Renato’s success. “We find a thin, airy and crisp crust very important,” says owner Freek Schraa. “In order to achieve this result,” he continues, “our dough is made at least a day in advance. This way we can use less yeast, which in turn makes the crust lighter.”

It does not end with those delectable pizzas and wines, however. Antipasti, such as the lusciously arranged Tagliere board, are also extremely popular; and should the urge strike for something sweet, meals can be rounded off with one of their desserts (including a homemade tiramisu or scroppino).

Customer favourites are the Pizza della Casa (with thinly sliced Parma ham that melts into the pizza once it comes out of the oven, rocket, Parmesan and truffle oil) and the Cicciolina, a spicy pizza named after an equally spicy lady. It includes spicy salami, pancetta, chili pepper and grilled pepper. Co-owner, Kim Lakho, advises to pair it with a Primitivo, a fruity red wine from the Puglia region. And, wine drinkers

Besides eating in their ‘living room’, Renato’s also offers catering services, takeaway, and deliver in cooperation with Deliveroo. Served in a homely, convivial atmosphere by a friendly and welcoming staff, Renato’s is bound to become a firm favourite for any pizza lover who visits the city. www.renatospizzeria.nl


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Discover Benelux | Amsterdam | Eat, Drink & Sleep in De Pijp

Health heaven on earth TEXT: JANINE STERENBORG | PHOTOS: UNLIMITED HEALTH

Enjoying life to the fullest by being healthy physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually: that is what Unlimited Health stands for. Owner Helen Beliën is the perfect figurehead for her business. “I’m close to 70 years old, run at least ten kilometres a day and am an active grandmother for my grandchildren,” the vibrant lady says. “If you want to keep living healthy and ail-

ment free, you should start taking care of your body while you’re still young.” The unconventional health centre in Amsterdam is a unique concept within the Netherlands and abroad, and appeals to many health-conscious visitors. “Some even call our store ‘heaven on earth’!” says Beliën happily, “we provide for instance yoga classes, colon cleanses, nutritional coaching, as well as freshly made organic and plant-based lunch and dinner. These

are all related to the four interlocked aspects of a healthy lifestyle: clean foods, exercise, mindfulness and detox.” The Unlimited Health shop stocks an extensive amount of foods, supplements, nifty kitchen appliances, books, incense and much more. All food is free from harmful additives such as chemicals, synthetic additions and binding agents, ideal for a clean body. Beliën: “This leads not only to better physical health, but also to more joy and resilience.” This unique assortment can also be found in the web shop, which ships worldwide. “But of course you can also drop by in Amsterdam for a quick smoothie!” www.unlimitedhealth.nl

Tapas por la noche! TEXT: TOYAH MARONDEL | PHOTOS: BARRA

Ivo van den Berg’s achingly trendy tavern not only outclasses its Amsterdam competition, but would stand out proud among the top eateries in Madrid. Barra, in the hip district of De Pijp, aims to capture the real essence of Spain. Tapas are more than just starters, they are a way of life. “Since I was a child I have been travelling to Spain and been fascinated with the lifestyle of the Basque region,” says owner Van den Berg. Barra has been in business since 1996, but the Spain lover introduced a menu with a modish slant to Spanish regional specialties in 2012. “At some stage it seemed like all the restaurants in Amsterdam were following the same concept, so I decided to change that,” he comments. The Spanish chefs from Madrid really do work their magic to create genuine Spanish tapas. The clattering ambience

and a rapid-fire service make it a perfect post-work pit-stop. The dining room offers 50 seats and accommodates all occasions with its anything-goes atmosphere combining curved booths, communal tables and casual perches at the bar. Need a hit of liquid courage before trying the Pulpo a la Gallega, octopus coated in peperonata sauce? That’s what the choice of 27 delicious Spanish wines are for. Every tapas flavour combination is a winner, Ibérico pork ribs grilled to melting tenderness or a juicy prawn and tomato pie. “We always serve our dishes with a twist, for instance albondigas (Spanish meatballs) with fried onions and carrot,” Van den Berg notes. The atmosphere at Barra is always high and the prices refreshingly low, so sit back with a fine glass of sangria, and buen provecho. barra.nu

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Discover Benelux | Amsterdam | Eat, Drink & Sleep in De Pijp

The combination of a boutique hotel and a food store ensures a convenient and enjoyable stay at Ollies Bed and Breakfast and Annies Foodstore.

Feeling at home at Ollies and Annies TEXT: MICHIEL STOL | PHOTOS: OLLIES BOUTIQUE BED AND BREAKFAST AND ANNIES FOODSTORE

What is better than feeling at home when you are away and having great food to go with it? At Ollies Boutique Bed and Breakfast and Annies Foodstore, right around the corner from the famous Albert Cuyp market in the vibrant district of De Pijp in Amsterdam, guests and customers will experience that feeling right away. Ollies Boutique Bed and Breakfast was named after the owners’ Wieger Wiese and Anne-Marie Heinsbroek big, white cat. It has three luxurious double rooms, situated on the third and fourth floor of the typical Amsterdam house (Wieger and AnneMarie live on the first and second floor). Where they used to deliver the breakfast in baskets to the rooms, they now serve it in Annies Foodstore, right next door. Named after Anne-Marie, the food store opened this October. Guests can enjoy their breakfast in a homely setting. But

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Annies Foodstore is open for everyone who wants to enjoy a great sandwich or meal in a relaxed setting or to take away and eat at home. Anne-Marie prepares all the meals herself in the open kitchen. “We use local products from small businesses. We have a really special mustard that is made locally, we use different kinds of meat rubs and get our meat from a butcher who only works with local farmers and knows that the animals were treated well, and we serve great coffee from Moyee, a little coffee factory in Ethiopia that was started by two guys from Amsterdam. They do not just grow and harvest the coffee there, but process it too which gives it its authentic flavour.” Anne-Marie also makes up the menus, which are different every day. “On the day, I will think about what I would like to make, buy the ingredients fresh and start cooking. I love doing that, making real comfort

food. And when we are out of something, we are out.” All the products at Annies Foodstore can be taken home, including some fine, locally imported wines, sandwiches and hot dishes as a take away. Anne-Marie: “People order the food to go and if they want, they can also get the recipe. But if you want to eat it here, you are more than welcome. We just want you to enjoy great, real comfort food, here or at home.” www.olliesbedandbreakfast.com www.facebook.com/anniesfoodstore


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SPIEGELKWARTIER

Amsterdam’s epicentre of art Originally, the Amsterdam Spiegelkwartier was a melting pot for various arts and craftsmen. Now over 70 specialised art dealers and gallerists have set up shop in this area’s gorgeous city houses. Divided by amiable canals, the quarter is a heaven for both art connoisseurs and admirers of the delightful canal views. TEXT: JANINE STERENBORG | MAIN IMAGE: AMSTERDAM MARKETING

The friendly and relaxed Spiegelkwartier, or ‘mirror quarter’, has been the centre for national and international art trade since the 1930s. You will find an astonishing amount of impressive antiques and modern designs in a diversity of shops and galleries, all at just a five-minute walk from the Rijksmuseum. From rare 17th century antiques and grand art from Dutch painters to luxury Delft Blue tableware and eye-catching contemporary jewellery: whatever your personal taste, you will be enchanted by all eclectic gems exhibited in the windows along the streets. Drool over innovative modern jewellery with technical quirks, Dutch folk art or discover European Renaissance artefacts with a story. So forget about generic windmill keychains and ‘I Love Amsterdam’ T-shirts:

the search for an original and lasting gift or souvenir becomes an exciting treasure hunt in the Spiegelkwartier.

The quarter also takes good care of your growling belly, a necessity after a few hours of (window) shopping. At almost every

Photo: Geert Snoeijer

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Discover Benelux | Amsterdam’s Spiegelkwartier | Introduction

Being the art trade centre for national and international arts, Spiegelkwartier has attracted a wide range of art dealers and gallerists, who offer and exhibit the most extraordinary artefacts and contemporary design. Photo: Emilio Brizzi.

street corner you can grab a drink and bite to eat in a cafe and watch locals and tourists walk past. Those with a sweet tooth will find fruit juices to-go or can get their hands on a selection of homemade chocolates – neither will be hard to find in the Spiegelkwartier. The true gastronomers can indulge in champagne, lobster and tournedos at one of the Parisian restaurants: the food and the people passing by are just as varied as the arts and antiques. For a taste of a less touristic Amsterdam, take a stroll through the nearby cobbled streets. Some will be all but deserted around midday, which gives you a chance to get an impression of local life. Striking are the one-square-metre gardens inhabited by benches chained to the residents’ drainpipe, cheerfully decorated bikes with crates on the front racks, and you’ll see the most varying interiors while you unobtrusively peek through the homes’ windows. The Spiegelkwartier is easy to reach by

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tram from the central station, but it is also on the route of the canal buses. These water buses leave from 16 hot spots throughout the centre and you can hop on and off where you like. The green and the red lines will take you straight to the Rijksmuseum; the closest stop to the Photo: Amsterdam Marketing.

Spiegelkwartier. For a casual canal cruise, hop on the green line at this same spot and you’ll be taken straight through the heart of the art and antique quarter of Amsterdam, allowing you to see the Spiegelkwartier from a new perspective.


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Discover Benelux | Amsterdam’s Spiegelkwartier | Top Art, Antiques & Boutiques

A dream of antiques TEXT: ELLA PUT | PHOTOS: ALEXANDER DE GROOT

Amsterdam houses the dream of every vintage jewellery lover: the Droomfabriek, or ‘factory of dreams’. Selling a large range of costume jewellery made by designers such as Miriam Haskell, Kenneth Jay Lane and Chanel, as well as offering antique objects and photographs, the shop is a true treasure trove. It started 25 years ago when actor couple Theo de Groot and Trudy de Jong took over the antique store that belonged to De Jong’s mother. With their background in theatre production, they decided to expand their collection by adding fashion objects and vintage costume jewellery. Costume jewellery or ‘fake jewellery’, made from inexpensive materials and synthetic gemstones, evolved at the start of the 20th century. New industrial processes, stone substitutes and cheaper alloys allowed designers to create beautiful pieces seemingly from real silver and gold. Coinciding a rising middle class, affordable and often extravagant costume jewellery became an important

fashion trend in the 1920s through to the mid-20th century. High-end fashion designers including Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel were often spotted wearing costume jewellery. Chanel reasoned that “to ask a woman to wear real jewellery only is like asking her to cover herself with real flowers instead of floral silk prints. She'd look faded in a few hours.” Aside from costume jewellery, the Droomfabriek has an eclectic mix of antiques and vintage handbags. De Groot: “A beautiful Chanel ‘pearl’ necklace, the classic 2.55 Chanel handbag and a huge stunning Larry Vrba brooch are some of our many masterpieces.” The pair are evidently passionate about Chanel, so much so that De Groot even wrote a play based on her life. Starring De Jong as the French fashion designer, the production, Coco Chanel, will tour around Dutch theatres this month. And of course, De Jong will be wearing items from the Droomfabriek’s dazzling collection. www.droomfabriekantiek.nl

PA N A M S T E R D A M

The fair of today for art, antiques and design TEXT & PHOTOS: PAN AMSTERDAM

PAN Amsterdam runs from 22 to 29 November 2015 in RAI Amsterdam. With many thousands of pieces of art there is plenty to see and discover at this annual mecca for art lovers. Antiques, modern and contemporary art, old masters, Art Nouveau and Art Deco, you can find it all at PAN. There are also sculptures, photography, jewellery, vintage design, furniture, ceramics, glass and objects from old and distant cultures. The

fair offers beauty, inspiration, enrichment and depth. The gathering of 120 of the best Dutch art and antique dealers and gallery owners surprise and tempt visitors. The objects span 5,000 years of art history and are a reflection of the Dutch art market. In just a few hours you can look at and compare works that are offered for sale at PAN Amsterdam. The exhibitors are all experts in their field and are they delighted to talk to you.

Prior to the opening, all objects at PAN Amsterdam are vetted for quality, authenticity and condition by independent experts. That is why you can buy the objects at PAN Amsterdam with confidence. At PAN Amsterdam you can relax in the ambience of the brasserie, the oyster bar or the terrace and enjoy live piano music. PAN Amsterdam offers a variety of tours. Take for example a PAN guided tour. Or would you rather look over the shoulder of a vetting expert? You can also opt for a guided tour with friends or family. See all options at www.pan.nl/activiteiten. PAN Amsterdam 22-29 November Venue: RAI Amsterdam Day admission: €15 | Pass €40 www.pan.nl

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Discover Benelux | Amsterdam’s Spiegelkwartier | Top Art, Antiques & Boutiques

The Lionel Gallery holds 20 original pieces by the allusive street artist Banksy, making it the largest collection.

Iconic art in the centre of Amsterdam TEXT: MICHIEL STOL | PHOTOS: LIONEL GALLERY

“Everybody deserves to have a quality piece of art in their home.” That is what Kim Logchies of Lionel Gallery wishes and strives to accomplish for everybody. She buys and sells contemporary art from iconic artists including Damien Hirst and Banksy. Lionel Gallery is based in the heart of the art centre and Museum District of Amsterdam, on the Nieuwe Spiegelstraat. The three-storey building shows around 300 works by renowned artists. Logchies: “Because we sell and buy about three pieces a week, the collection is never the same. Everybody is welcome here; not just art collectors but also younger people and tourists. A lot of them find us when they visit the art district.” Logchies is passionate about art and quality. She is especially passionate about the work of street artist Banksy. “His art is raw and direct. Sometimes rawness can have a darkness, but his work is not. It is honest

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and makes you think about the world. He creates the right feeling. That is what I like about his work.” Lionel Gallery is seen as the expert on the art by Banksy with 20 works, which is the largest collection of originals by the street artist. Lionel Gallery has a large network of collectors and sellers. That is the result of nearly 20 years of passionately working with art. Logchies: “We work with many art collectors and art sellers that have been in the business for more than 50 years, some who have even worked with the artists. When you talk to people about your work day and night, that makes people recognise how good you are and they then come to you. It is kind of a mysterious business.” Logchies feels that art should be accessible for everyone. “It would be so great if people would look more seriously at art and what fits with them; that people allow themselves to have quality pieces in their homes. Art is a piece of your personality. In

our collection, the prices range from 1,500 to 500,000 euros. So yes, everybody can afford a quality piece.” From all over the world, customers come to Lionel Gallery to buy art. “Sometimes people walk in the gallery and fall in love with a piece and tear up. That is why we do it.” lionelgallery.com


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Discover Benelux | Amsterdam’s Spiegelkwartier | Top Art, Antiques & Boutiques

Inventive and quirky TEXT: JANINE STERENBORG | PHOTOS: VAN DER LAAG GALLERY & ATELIER

Playful technical quirks characterise the modern and wearable jewellery by MOYA, a Dutch jewellery label by Eline van der Laag. Some of her innovative designs include a ring with a rolling pearl inside it, which reacts to hand movements, and a necklace containing a hidden message written in pearls. “People are surprised to see new designs like this, but designers never stop innovating. New laser techniques and 3Dprinting provide us with whole new opportunities. I solely work with handicrafts though, an area in which there is so much to discover still.” In her gallery in Amsterdam’s design quarter Het Spiegelkwartier, Van der Laag exhibits and sells not only MOYA designs, but she also designs custom jewellery and sells work by six international craftsmen

and women. For instance, Brigitte Adolph’s lace-like silver and gold jewels, Claudia Milic’s traditional gourmet links assimilated in modern design and Etienne Perret’s jewels made from baked zirconia powder, a material solid as sapphire and thus scratch free. “I select designers based on their style and work. All their designs, not just one, should be top notch.” MOYA designs themselves are very well received by local and international guests and galleries, but Van der Laag is level headed about her success. This perfectly suits the origin of het label’s name: “it is a contraction of the words ’mooi ja’, which is what my family and friends say when I show them a new design. It’s the typical Dutch down-to-earth way of saying: ‘that’s beautiful!’” www.vanderlaag.com

TOP: Carrousel ring: The technical quirk in the carrousel ring: the diamond ring orbits around the 18karat gold. MIDDLE: Oyster ring: When moving your hand, the pearls roll inside their oyster. BOTTOM: Eighteen carat cuff links with rolling pearls.

Dreaming among the Dutch Masters TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: DUTCH MASTERS AMSTERDAM

The Netherlands is famous for its talented painters: from Vincent van Gogh to Rembrandt van Rijn and Piet Mondrian, the country hosts impressive collections of many great Dutch artists. To make an art-inspired trip to Amsterdam complete, why not stay in an apartment inspired by these master painters? Dutch Masters Amsterdam offers nine luxury apartments in Amsterdam’s historic centre. Built in the 17th century, each apartment is named after a famous Dutch painter and has a unique interior which includes prints or original paintings by the artists themselves.

The stunning interiors are only the beginning of the Dutch Masters Amsterdam experience. Working together with several Dutch cultural institutions, it also offers special packages and gladly informs guests about the best museums in the capital and further afield. “For this year’s Van Gogh 2015, we have a special deal that includes a painting workshop and entrance to the Van Gogh Museum. Next year, with the celebration of 500 years of Hieronymus Bosch, we will create another exciting package,” says Constant Broeren, PR manager for Dutch Masters Amsterdam. He continues: “We also try to stimulate our guests to venture outside of Am-

sterdam. We always make recommendations and are keen to tell visitors about wonderful museums such as the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo or the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem.” The nine apartments are located along the picturesque Keizersgracht canal. Frans Hals, Herman Brood, Jeroen Bosch, Vincent van Gogh, Willem de Kooning and Piet Mondrian are available for up to two people, Johannes Vermeer and Rembrandt van Rijn for four and Karel Appel, the top floor penthouse, for up to six people. The minimum booking is seven nights. www.dutch-masters.com

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17:28


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NA UTI C

PA R I S

B OAT

S HOW

Embark on a nautical adventure If you feel at ease on the high seas and prefer oceanic transport to driving on land, then Nautic, the Paris Boat Show, is not to be missed. Held in early December, the event is an exceptional showcase for all things nautical and a true boating bonanza. TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: NAUTIC / RAOUL DOBREMEL

The Paris Boat Show is one of the world’s biggest indoor boat shows boasting 230,000 visitors. With nearly 800 exhibitors, there are representatives from every sector including sailboats, motorboats, water sports, equipment, gadgets, rentals, tourism, fishing and fashion.

end of the year, it is also a platform to debrief the past year and discover the new trends for 2016.”

A spectacular highlight of the Paris Boat Show is their annual Stand Up Paddling (SUP) race, held on Sunday morning, 6

The Paris Boat Show is also a place where professionals from the industry come together and present new products. Show manager Alain Pichavant says: “The business-to-business aspect is very important. It promotes the nautical industry by offering brands huge sales potential and the opportunity to gain visibility. As it is at the

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Discover Benelux | Nautic | Paris Boat Show

ABOVE: The Paris Boat Show is one of the largest indoor nautical events in the world, showcasing the best products and services for ocean enthusiasts. Photo: Jerome Domine

December. A total of 500 competitors, both professionals from around the world and leisure participants, paddle across an 11-kilometre stretch of the Seine River through the heart of Paris. “It is a very impressive race to watch. They pass under 25 bridges, so there are plenty of places see to the spectacle from,” he says. Now in its 55th edition, Nautic has three main themes this year: power boats, the international scene and the environment. Pichavant explains: “The majority of boats

Photo: Jerome Domine

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at the show will be power boats, as these currently account for 90 per cent of sales worldwide. As a major event for the global nautical industry, many international companies and brands will be represented. And finally, the environment has a special focus this edition, as it coincides the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference also held in Paris.” Nautic will also welcome special guests such as the French America’s Cup team together with their winged competition sail-

boat. Apart from that, visitors can explore what France has to offer in the field of nautical tourism, including holidays and trips to the coastal areas, the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands. Nautic – Paris Boat Show 5 to 13 December 2015 Porte de Versailles Advance tickets: €13 On the day: €16 www.salonnautiqueparis.com


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Discover Benelux | Business | Lawyer Services

ABOVE LEFT: Roland Assa: Founding partner of AS Avocats, Honorary Vice-Consul of Danemark and arbitrator registered with the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce. RIGHT: Luc Schaack: Partner at AS Avocats, member of various philanthropic organisations and former honorary correspondent of UNHCR for Luxembourg. BELOW: Nathalie Weber-Frisch: Partner at AS Avocats, arbitrator registered with the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce and the International Chamber of Commerce, Paris, member of various philanthropic organisations and president of the Foundation Kiwanis Luxembourg.

The law on your side TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: AS AVOCATS

Based in Luxembourg, AS Avocats is an independent law firm with a personal touch. Instead of simply specialising in one particular industry, it has experience across a diverse range of fields which helps it to tackle complex and multifaceted cases with ease. AS Avocats, founded in the 1970s, caters for small to medium-sized companies, high personal net worth individuals and nonprofit organisations particularly from the Luxembourg social sector. By being a medium-sized firm, it can maintain close relationships with its clients for targeted, tailor-made solutions. Nathalie Weber-Frisch, partner at AS Avocats, says: “We take the time to get to know the client and their general, personal and professional context. If it is a company or non-profit organisation, we will, if requested, visit their premises. We eventually assist in the daily business for a few days to understand their needs and how they operate. To explain what we do and how we work, personal contact with the client is always preferred. We think this is the best way to await their feedback.”

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To showcase AS Avocats’ personal approach, Weber-Frisch states a medical case as an example. Instead of only fighting the conviction on points of law, it researched the case together with doctors and medical professionals. They discovered that the side effects of a drug implied in a death were not well understood. Weber-Frisch explains: “We studied the medical implications in order to assure a fact-based defence. The result was a complete discharge of the client in front of the judge of appeal in a criminal case, even with the support of the public prosecutor.”

from legal support during a case, AS Avocats offers workshops and continuous assistance to avert potential future problems. Weber-Frisch says: “We help clients make the right decisions, prepare documents that are as complete as possible and make sure they have all the written proof needed in case litigation cannot be avoided. We are satisfied if the client is happy with our work and if we manage to establish a long-term relationship with clients, who then do not hesitate to contact us about all their queries.” www.as-avocats.com

Working across a range of industries, AS Avocats has extensive experience in the areas of medical responsibility, civil law, inheritance planning, corporate and tax law, labour law, administrative law, investor protection and construction law. The firm strives to help its clients on a long-term basis, assisting them in all their aspects of life and help prevent litigation. Apart


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Discover Benelux | Business | Columns

WHAT

COMMUNI CATE S ?

Is emotional manipulation a crime? TEXT & ILLUSTRATION: JOSIAH FISK

I had to smile the other day at a news story from Luxembourg. Apparently some cybercriminals, who were trying to scam ordinary citizens, accidentally tried to scam the police instead. And the best part: the scammers were so inept they let their phone number show up on caller ID. These particular scammers pretended to be representatives of Microsoft. They first told unsuspecting computer owners they had been hacked, then offered to undo the damage. This technique, called phishing, is interesting from a communications perspective. As humans, we have a ‘radar’ that looks for possible signs of untruth. So for phishing to work, the scammer needs to deal with that radar. Phishing scammers do not so much fly under the radar as short-circuit it. They start by playing to one of our most powerful emotions: fear. Having plunged us into a state of panic, they then offer to ‘rescue’ us. When phishing works, it’s because the victim never gets as far as examining the message for things that do not seem right. Ask yourself: when was the last time you got a customer service call from Microsoft? The victim’s emotional response overwhelms and outmaneu-

vers their judgment. It’s both more powerful and faster. Phishing is a crime, and it is emotional manipulation that makes it possible. But is emotional manipulation a crime in itself? It’s tempting to say yes – that it is at least a moral or social crime, whether any actual law is broken or not. But it’s not as easy as that. Communications of every type have an emotional component, and much of it is frankly manipulative. Advertising and politics are easy examples, but who among us has never chosen our words with the specific intention of playing to someone’s emotions (either to trigger certain ones or avoid triggering others)? Even texts that seem to be entirely unemotional can be emotionally manipulative. Their very ordinariness can be designed to induce feelings of comfort or complacency.

Scams like phishing work not because they violate the rules of effective communication, but because they follow them. Something fun to think about the next time ‘Microsoft’ rings you up. Josiah Fisk is the head of More Carrot LLC, a clear communications company with offices in Boston and Luxembourg.

How not to learn a language for international business I was coaching a German manager faced with a difficult career choice recently. “I don’t think my English is good enough for an international role. I don’t know enough grammar,” she told me, in English. Eventually she conceded that if she could do coaching sessions in English, she could have a go at managing people in English as well. This led me to reflect on how much of the money spent on adult language education is probably wasted.

boning up on the present perfect tense is not the way to higher sales or any other business objective. Ask what they actually need to do in the language, and you hear: “I need to present confidently... to be effective in meetings... to influence successfully... to give feedback that has impact... to manage conflict sensitively...” These are a few of the soft skills which international managers need today and good grammar only gets you so far along this road.

First on books: Raymond Murphy must be rich from the millions of copies of the English Grammar in Use exercise book that he’s sold, but I bet only a tiny proportion of them have been worked through: most of those sales are testimony to short-lived good intentions. Then on to courses. My client felt held back by a lack of knowledge of English grammar, one of countless numbers of business professionals I’ve met who continue to be haunted by the ghosts of their old language teachers at school. But spending a week

We all tend to be trapped by the reactionary pedagogies of our own schooling, but I suggest that kids in school today – business schools and secondary schools too – should spend more time learning about communication and less about language. I’m not advocating the abolition of language teaching in schools – quite the contrary, I think the UK government’s 2004 decision to make languages at secondary level voluntary was a form of cultural as well as economic suicide. But a lot of the basics can be

learnt online and for free nowadays, using sites like Duolingo for example, so that more classroom time could be spent looking at different kinds of communication, and the processes that underpin various key interpersonal skills like relationship building and influencing.

TEXT & PHOTO: 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 | Calendar

Business Calendar TEXT: ELLA PUT | PRESS PHOTOS

SUSECon 2015 2 – 6 November Amsterdam, Beurs van Berlage Resellers and CIOs are seeing the increasing value of open source software within their businesses. During the first European SUSECon, they will therefore provide developers and entrepreneurs with the latest tips and tricks from the software industry and inspire them to make the most out of their businesses. www.susecon.com

SUSECon. Photo: Beurs Van Berlage

PinkWeb Portal Event 3 November Maarssen, Inn Style Join experienced speakers such as Dirk Zeelenberg, Patrick van der Pijl and Patrick van Hees during the PinkWeb Portal Event. This event will focus on the future of accountancy as well as zoom in on commercial opportunities within the accountancy branch. www.pinkweb.nl Photos: Pink Web

Start-up weekend 20 – 22 November Luxembourg, Technoport This start-up weekender will bring together the best of Luxembourg designers, developers, entrepreneurs and experts from different domains. And the best thing is that you can join them. During this event everyone is welcome to present their start-up idea and receive feedback from peers. www.up.co www.startupweekend.org

Plastic Recycling Show 25 - 26 November Brussels, Tour & Taxis Venue Key players from the plastics and recycling sectors will gather at this event to teach you more about the business opportunities the plastic recycling industry has to offer. Apart from that, the event is also a good opportunity to network with people from the recycling branch. www.plasticsrecyclers.eu

De Netwerkvloer 24 November Almere, Topsportcentrum Whether you are an entrepreneur presenting your business or a customer that just wants to look around, this event offers something for both parties. Focussing on the ‘real life’ aspect, De Netwerkvloer is all about bringing customers and entrepreneurs together in person. www.denetwerkvloer.nl

SWIFT Operations Forum Europe 2015 25 – 27 November Brussels, Crowne Plaza, Le Palace With customer behaviours changing and cyber threats looming, will the established financial services, such as banks, be on the receiving end of these disruptive forces? Or will they take control and exploit them for competitive advantage? That is one of the main questions for this year’s Operation Forum Europe, organised by SWIFT, the

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global provider of secure financial messaging services. www.swift.com Inspiring Wo-Men End of the Year Dinner 26 November Luxembourg, Cercle Munster Join leading ladies and men during the annual Wo-Men Business Club End of the Year Dinner. While enjoying a wonderful dinner, you have the chance to network with and get encouraged by new ideas to improve your business. www.inspiringwo-men.eu

Photo: SWIFT


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ALFI LEADING EDGE CONFERENCE Product and Investors Taxation RBC Investor & Treasury Services, Luxembourg 24 November 2015


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Finding a sense of self and team at the Thermae resorts Once in a while you will head somewhere that is less of a visit and more of a homecoming, a rarity of a location whose beauty and luxury offer a sense of escape from the daily grind. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: THERMAE

In compact Belgium, it will not take much travelling to get to such a place – and, fortunately, there are now three locations, each going by the name of Thermae, offering a generous dose of bathing, beauty treatments, fitness, wellness, saunas and scrubs – all of which can be enjoyed with friends, family or coworkers. From a toe-tingling and relaxing bath in a vaulted cellar, a restorative sauna in the former icehouse of the castle grounds, or the 85 degrees Celsius pine-infused Black Forest sauna, Thermae Boetfort and Thermae Grimbergen welcome guests for an indulgent visit that can last hours or days. There is no cold minimalism at Thermae, it is all sensory lights, delicate fragrances,

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opulent gowns, warm wood and – in the case of the 400-year-old Boetfort Castle – ancient stone walls and vaulted ceilings. With two wellness resorts and hotels as well as the Thermae Sports Merchtem health club to their name, there is a vast menu of treatments on offer to exfoliate, hydrate, smooth and refine, spoiling guests with a legion of massages to knead away any knots of tension. The Thermae formula is simple; each of their wellness resorts have been designed with a well-considered trajectory through the facilities, including a regenerative refreshment break in their much-admired restaurants and bars. Whatever the combination – and whatever the location – explains Ellen Van De Wijgaert, Thermae’s

marketing manager, you will leave reinvigorated. As their resorts offer comfortable and well-equipped meeting rooms and seminar spaces, the holistic opportunities for bolstering team spirit (alongside your own) are plentiful.

The age-old wellbeing at Thermae Boetfort Set within Boetfort Castle, close to Brussels, this Thermae resort and hotel has earned a reputation as a purveyor of indulgence and equilibrium. With its acclaimed restaurant forming a staple part of any visit, guests mill around the castle, the annexed buildings and its grounds, basking in all sorts of mud wraps and body scrubs, as well as facials with essential oils, glacier water, Dead Sea salts, bamboo and mud.


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Discover Benelux | Wellness | Belgian Autumn Retreats

Like Thermae Grimbergen, Boetfort is split into two areas; one area requiring a swimsuit to enter. Both areas, however, still present a variety of beguiling saunas and baths, but one thing to remember – “aside from keeping hydrated” – interjects Van De Wijgaert, is to build up to the warmest saunas, starting gently before entering the sweltering 90-degree Finnish eucalyptus sauna. Energised at Thermae Sports Merchtem Just a hop outside of Brussels, Thermae Sports Merchtem slots seamlessly into its role as one of Belgium’s most prestigious health clubs. Kitted out with the latest equipment from Technogym and offering a packed schedule of energy-bursting classes, this Thermae features six indoor and seven outdoor tennis courts and a popular outdoor Jacuzzi, making it a veritable hotbed of exercise-induced endorphins. Tag on an uplifting smoothie in the bar to round off a training session, letting the adrenaline course through your veins. With the fitness boom hitting Europe and studies proving how productivity, concentration and creativity increases with regular exercise, Thermae are successfully tapping into the corporate market, offering team building tennis sessions, group workouts followed by lunch, and a corporate membership rate on a satisfying sliding scale.

Regal and relaxed at Thermae Grimbergen Sunset on the custom-built Jacuzzi on the Sabai swimsuit area terrace is a standout highlight, according to Van De Wijgaert, who claims it is the perfect spot to relax while life goes on at a rapid pace outside of the confines of Thermae Grimbergen.

OPPOSITE PAGE: In Thermae Boetfort you can frequent either the nude or the swimsuit areas of the resort. TOP LEFT: Relax at the Thermae Grimbergen Hotel. LEFT: The salt-stone sauna at Thermae Boetfort is a unique experience. RIGHT: Completely zen after a day at Thermae Grimberge.

Set north of Brussels, this particular resort and hotel is housed in a picturesque manor house with idyllic gardens, filled with diverse saunas and areas of relaxation. Throughout winter the newly-refurbished outdoor pool is kept at an inviting 37 degrees, and its sensual tiled lighting renders it a real spot of tranquility, ideal for sunset chats and daytime dips. If endorphins takes priority over essential oils, opt for a corporate encounter on the tennis courts and a leg-burning spin session or Grit workout at Thermae Sports Merchtem, where any visit can be completed with a well-earned relax in the Jacuzzi and a scrumptious meal in the restaurant. But if a touch of TLC is on the

cards, then Thermae Boetfort and Thermae Grimbergen are serious contenders on the spa scene. As the pace of life quickens outside, a day at Thermae can be dictated by your senses instead of your schedule. So whether you are looking to generate a sense of wellbeing amongst your employees, or to escape winter’s chill by sharing a cocktail over lunch, and indulging in a sauna session to discuss life, love and work woes, each of the three Thermae establishments can serve up a serious dose of serenity with great catering a given. www.thermae.com

LEFT: Have a meeting at one of Thermae Boetfort's designated meeting rooms. MIDDLE: A spot of tennis at Thermae Sports Merchtem. RIGHT: Great beats, an encouraging coach and every participant in the group training at their own tempo and ability level.

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Good vibrations This Autumn, Luxembourgish band Mutiny on the Bounty hit the road to celebrate the release of their latest album, Digital Tropics. We chatted to the guys about a musical journey that’s taken them from their hometown of Esch-sur-Alzette to Tokyo, and back. TEXT: PAULA HAMMOND | PHOTOS: MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY

It’s been a wild, wild, decade for the mathrock quartet, Mutiny on the Bounty. Formed in 2004, the band went through several incarnations before settling on their current lineup of Falcon (Sacha Schmitz), Pzey (Nicolas Przeor), Clem (Clement Delporte) and Tchiggy (Cedric Czaika). However, four critically acclaimed albums and an international following have not come easy. “We had all been in several bands before founding MotB,” says Pzey. “We actually

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met through mutual friends back in the early 2000s, which was a very interesting time in Luxembourg. If you wanted to see a band you liked, you just would organise it yourself as there were simply no venues doing underground stuff. Eventually Sacha and I decided to form MotB.”

Math rock Initially the guys didn’t expect to do much more than jam with like-minded friends, but that early lineup gave birth to their first

album, which was a co-release with Treasure Chest at the End of the Rainbow - another Luxembourg-based band. That was followed by Danger Mouth and Trials which cemented the band’s burgeoning reputation. “There used to be a big math-rock, post-punk hardcore scene in Luxembourg back when we first formed,” explains Pzey. “We had a lot of friends who were doing something similar and people used to call it the Luxemburgish Sound.”


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Discover Benelux | Music | Mutiny on the Bounty

For MotB that ‘sound’ has matured over the years, from the rhythmically complex, asymmetric time signatures of the classic math-rock, a style of experimental rock, into something altogether more exciting and experimental. With pumping rhythms and trance guitar work, the guys have not completely abandoned their math-rock roots. On Digital Tropics they showcase a mellower, orchestral vibe which is both breathtakingly accomplished and insanely catchy. You can relax to it. You can dance to it. But you can't ignore it. Pzey: “People say math-rock is all about tricky guitars and drums and weird compositions, but I like to think that it is more about moving music beyond its usual boundaries. I guess that math-rock is the music that inspired us the most, especially when we were starting out. Today I would not say that we're playing math-rock per se – like the scene – we've evolved through the years.” Mutiny on the Bounty is taking their original math-rock sound on tour with their latest album Digital Tropics.

Sonic visions Since that initial hook-up, the band have performed almost non-stop. They’re now busy preparing for a 40-day tour through France, Germany, Japan, Hungary, Spain and Slovakia, before heading back to Eschsur-Alzette for the Sonic Visions Festival. “Touring on this level,” laughs Pzey, “kind of generates mixed feelings. On one hand, we never thought we'd do so many shows and travel so much. We’ve played in Norway, the USA, Japan… sometimes in the biggest festivals, like Primavera or Roskilde, in front of really huge audiences. On the other hand, sometimes we’re still sleeping on the floor, with nothing to eat or drink and that can be hard to swallow!”

A packed schedule Luxembourg is a tiny country with an even smaller music industry.

Yet the problem has never been a lack of talent, but keeping it, when Paris, Brussels and Munich are all just across the border. The Sonic Visions Festival has already started to change all that. The Festival has put Luxembourg firmly on music map. It also gives home-grown talent a place to meet, greet and perform with other world-

class musicians. And for Mutiny on the Bounty and other Luxembourgish bands, that can only be a good thing. “Things have changed so much over the last two decades. Musically, the world is getting more and more interesting. None of us had travelled much before we formed the band and it's been a pleasure to play in front of so many people, in so many countries. With this new tour, as always, what we’re looking forward to most is meeting new people and travelling to places we've never been to,” Pzey enthuses. “But, still, what we miss the most are friends and family. So it's pretty refreshing to come back home.” Especially, we suspect, when heading home also means having the chance to perform at Luxembourg’s premier festival, in your own backyard.

Mutiny on the Bounty are on tour now and will be performing at Sonic Visions in Esch-sur-Alzette on 14 November. For more dates and information, visit www.motb.net.

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Out & About This November will get hairy, but in a very positive sense. It sees the arrival of the bearded Saint Nicholas to the Low Countries as well as the start of Movember, when men grow moustaches to raise awareness for men’s health issues. TEXT: ELLA PUT | MAIN PHOTO: SIERAAD ART FAIR | PRESS IMAGES

A humorous history Coudenberg, Brussels, Belgium, until 8 November When was Manneken Pis made? Who bombarded Brussel in 1695? And what does the Atomium stands for? You will find out during the exhibition: Brussels 1,000 years of history. Held in the historical Coudenberg venue, the history of the Belgian capital will be shown with a good sense of humour and visual effects through a timeline. A joy for the whole family, especially the little ones. www.coudenberg.com

Art on Ameland Ameland, the Netherlands, Until 9 November November will see the Dutch island of Ameland filled with art. This year’s special theme is Sea of Light, with a special focus on sculptures. The event mirrors both UNESCO’s International Year of Light as well as the island’s history. In the old days, Ameland was an important stop on trade routes between the Netherlands and the Baltic Sea. Therefore, under the header Nordic Art Connec-

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tion, this year’s artist will be coming from countries including Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. www.kunstmaandameland.com

From still lives to selfies Fotomuseum, Antwerp, Belgium, from 21 November The world of photography has changed for good. Today, everyone with a smartphone is a photographer. But what was it like 175 years ago, when photography was in its infancy and people had to sit still for several minutes to have their picture taken? The exhibition Photography Inc. From Luxury Product to Mass Medium describes the extraordinary tale of the development of photography by showing some of the earliest photographs, to the selfies of today. www.fotomuseum.be

pany Ro Theater recounts the tragic history of a rich Dutch family that built a global tulip bulb empire. When the business is divided between four sons, betrayal, madness and inability take over. The production will travel to various locations all over the Netherlands. www.rotheater.nl

The power of poison Rotterdam, the Netherlands, until 7 February 2016 From live poisonous animals to modern medicine, forensics and fairytales, the interactive exhibition The Power of Poison covers all themes related to poison. Stand face-to-face with spiders, poison dart frogs and even a king cobra. The exhibition was put together by the American Museum of Natural History is held at LP2. www.thepowerofpoison.nl

A story of wealth, deceit and tulips Various locations, the Netherlands, until 29 November With their production Van Waveren, theatre com-

Movember Various locations, the Nethelands, 1 November – 30 November


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Discover Benelux | Culture | Out & About

Photo: National Sustainability Conference

The time is here to let your moustache grow and raise awareness for men’s health issues. During this month, several events will be organised throughout the Netherlands, such as the Shave Down and Launch Party on 30 October in Cut Throat in Amsterdam, or the official Made in Movember Gala Parté in various locations in Amsterdam and Rotterdam on the last Saturday of November. nl.movember.com

and guided tours that will be all about presenting both acclaimed and emerging contemporary artists and their work. www.luxembourgartweek.lu

Illustrating intercultural differences Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, 4 November The theme of the On the Go exhibition, organised by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), is ‘motion and pace of life in Asia and Europe’. The photographs illustrate the moments when we are different, and yet so alike. Photographers from over 50 countries submitted around 1,500 captivating scenes of life on-the-go in Asia and Europe. www.asef.org

The arrival of Sinterklaas Various locations, the Netherlands and Belgium, 14 November Officially, the annual Sinterklaas feast is celebrated on 5 or 6 December. But with all the presents that need to be given to children, Saint Nicholas always arrives a bit earlier to make sure everything goes according to plan. His arrival by steamboat from Spain is a big festivity and will be re-enacted all over the Netherlands and Belgium. So make sure to catch some of the delicious gingerbread nuts and celebrate this wonderful feast with the family. www.intochtsinterklaas2015.com

International Jewellery Art Fair

Bussum, the Netherlands, 3 November Last year Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general of the United Nations, predicted that 2015 would be the year of sustainability. The annual UN meeting will be held in Paris in December and will discuss the urgency for finding a global climate solution. But before that, you can join Princess Laurentien and the Dutch secretary of state Wilma Mansveld during the 16th edition of the Netherlands’ biggest sustainability congress to discuss what can be done to make this planet a better place. www.sustainability-congres.nl

Luxembourg Art Week Halle Victor Hugo, Luxembourg, 3– 8 November Join artist and art lovers during the first edition of the Luxembourg Art Week. The event will include visits to several art galleries, conferences

Photo: Siera Ada / Art Fair

The future of sustainability

Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 5 – 8 November In the last decade, the creation of modern jewellery art has developed rapidly thanks to increasingly superior autonomous artistic skills, better design and craftsmanship and more innovation. The International Jewellery Art Fair is the ideal platform for professionally trained artists as well as collectors, observers and especially enterprising artists to meet and do businesses. www.sieraadartfair.com

City of lights Eindhoven, the Netherlands, 7 – 14 November Every year in November Eindhoven, the Dutch city of lights, becomes the global hub of lights. With UNESCO’s International Year of Light, this edition will be all the more special. With dozens of national and international light artists presenting their light installations, the city will become one giant exhibition for light. Join friends and family during the free light tour and see how nightfall changes the colours and shapes on the city’s streets. www.gloweindhoven.nl

Glow. Photo: Glow Eindhoven

Today’s art, antiques and design fair RAI Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 22-29 November PAN is a mecca for art lovers. Here you can find antiques, modern and contemporary art, old masters, Art Nouveau and Art Deco. There are also sculptures, photography, jewellery, vintage design furniture, ceramics, glass and objects from old and distant cultures. The fair offers beauty, inspiration, enrichment and depth to all visitors. www.pan.nl

The arrival of Sinterklaas. Photo: NBTC

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Discover Benelux | Culture | Columns

S TAT E S O F A R T

Golden selfies

TEXT: MATT ANTONIAK

tray yourself in whatever light you wanted, put whatever filter you desired over your painting and present yourself to the fastexpanding art market in a way that would benefit you financially. For example, an artist could show off his skill in painting fabric by wearing a flamboyant ruff, in fact it could be tailored to suit any particularly painterly skill.

Ah, selfies. They may seem like one of the more recent blights on the state of humanity, but of course the ‘selfie’, in one form or another, has been around for centuries. And in fact, the selfie still functions in much the same way. This winter, the Mauritshuis presents a survey of 27 paintings in Dutch Self-Portraits – Selfies of the Golden Age. Of course, now the selfie is a tool for endlessly cataloguing how truly wonderful our life is; spending hours creating the perfect setting – complete with obligatory coffee cups and pastries – before we exhibit it to the world through social media. But perhaps there is nothing scandalous about this though. It would seem painters have been using the selfie for centuries. The self-portraits displayed in the Mauritshuis from the Golden Age of Dutch painting are essentially the business cards of the artist. You could por-

But casting the self-promotion to one side, it is best to simply revel in some of these fine paintings by the likes of Rembrandt, Jan Steen, Carel Fabritius and Gerrit Dou. The Mauritshuis will even take your own selfie with these famous faces to add to your collection. No selfie sticks allowed though, thankfully… A 17th century selfie by Huygh Pietersz Voskuyl

Dutch Self-Portraits – Selfies of the Golden Age is on at the Mauritshuis until 3 January 2016.

BEER OF THE MONTH

Seef – winning gold medals Seef beer was launched in 2012 and has been well received by critics, winning gold medals at the World Beer Awards, World Beer Cup and this year’s Global Craft Beer Awards. The brand is the brainchild of Johan van Dyck. It is based on a style of beer that was very popular in Antwerp at the beginning of the 20th century. Known as ‘the Champagne of the poor people’, it was produced in numerous breweries across the city. At that time Antwerp was the only place in Belgium where brewers were permitted to use buckwheat. It had been banned elsewhere at the end of the 18th century, when taxes were introduced on brewers’ ingredients. Antwerp successfully applied

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for an exception, due to the local popularity of seef beer. But seef slowly disappeared. First of all, Antwerp’s brewers kept their recipes a secret, as a Belgian professor noted in 1916. Then, during the First World War, the German army stripped the city’s small brew-

TEXT & PHOTO: STUART FORSTER

eries of their equipment. Advances in microbiology and the industrialisation of brewing also contributed to the style dying out. Van Dyck spent two years trying to find the recipe. He tracked it down in a retirement home, where a former brewer presented him with a manuscript, handwritten in 1887. Van Dyck went to the University of Leuven to acquire the kind of yeast that would have been used in Antwerp a century ago in order to authentically recreate seef-style beer. Seef is a strong, pleasantly drinkable pale session ale with a cloudy appearance. It has spicy notes and a dry finish. Brewer: Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie Strength: 6.5 per cent


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wishes you a pleasant flight

Delen Private Bank Luxembourg is a family-run wealth management firm, established in Luxembourg since 1987. As a family business, we take a conservative, long-term approach to managing clients’ assets so as to preserve their wealth and generate sound growth. Our methods are based on the Delen core values of respect, responsibility, integrity, reliability, and a long-term vision, coupled with a business culture that emphasizes harmony and cooperation. We seek clear, simple solutions that stand the test of time. Learn more on our website, www.delen.lu, or contact us to schedule a meeting with one of our advisors.

www.delen.lu info@delen.lu Centre Descartes – Route d’Arlon 287 L-1150 Luxembourg - +352 44.50.60

Profile for Scan Client Publishing

Discover benelux, Issue 23, November 2015  

Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Discover benelux, Issue 23, November 2015  

Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.