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A little corner of paradise TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTOS: CHÂTEAU SAINTE-ANNE
At the Château Sainte-Anne, members can partake in cultural and business activities, network and exchange ideas, test one another’s tennis skills, swim, or just enjoy fine food and wine in a marvellous environment.
International Club Château Sainte-Anne’. Valérie Stroobants, its director, says: “Our mission is to improve the cultural and personal relationships between Belgians and the international community leaders living in Belgium.”
On the south-eastern edge of Brussels, cosseted in its own leafy parkland, sits the lovely Château Sainte-Anne. The château was constructed as an aristocratic country residence, and inside and out it retains an air of effortless elegance. But for more than half a century it has filled a more dynamic role: this is now the home of the Royal International Club Château Sainte-Anne.
She is keen to stress, however, that it is very much a family affair, with the children of members particularly enjoying the excellent tennis facilities and, during the warmer months, the wonderful outdoor swimming pool. But central to the philosophy of the nowadays autonomous club is something more cerebral: “We arrange a full schedule of lunchtime and evening events – lectures, presentations, and conferences – for our members; plus many other cultural activities like music, theatre, fashion...”
In the early ‘60s, a group of Belgian and European leaders agreed that Brussels needed a first-rate place for socialising and positive integration of the Belgian community. In 1961, an association was formed, which was later renamed ‘Royal
As the name implies, the club’s membership includes men and women from a wide list of countries, and it is always looking
to welcome new ones. The mix of Belgian and international members facilitates professional and personal contacts, but also enriches their intellectual lives through the exchange of ideas and experiences. As ever, some of that exchange will be over fine food: “We have a superb team who look after all our catering, year round in the château itself, and during the summer months at the pool house,” says Stroobants: “They provide options from one course for diners in a hurry up to a full menu for those with time to enjoy a gourmet experience.” Naturally, such a clientele expects luxurious (and private) surroundings, and from the pampered lawns and manicured hedges of the grounds via the stylish terrace into the discreetly comfortable salons within, their expectations are met, as Stroobants concludes: “It’s a little corner of paradise.” www.chateau-sainte-anne.be Issue 27 | March 2016 | 53
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