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I S S U E 2 9 | M AY 2 0 1 6
ISSUE 29 MAY 2016 PROMOTING BELGIUM, THE NETHERLANDS & LUXEMBOURG
REIJN NO MORE GOING SOLO
P ROMOTI NG B ELGI U M,
S P E C I A L : I N N O VAT I O N A N D KNOWLEDGE IN THE NETHERLANDS
BEST MUSEUMS IN BELGIUM & LUXEMBOURG
EX P LO R I N G TH E D UTC H A N D F L E M I S H C O A S T PLUS: DESIGN, CULTURE AND TOURISM
A n e w pla c e in Kirc h b erg!
A ba r a t id ea l u re t a r e p m e t
Spend an intense and particular time in a chic, contemporary and elegant setting. The SixtyFour° bar offers a sweet and subdued atmosphere whose decor combines noble materials combined with grey and golden colors which offer a natural effect when daylight filters through. The bar offers a fabulous selection of 130 whiskeys from the four corners of the world and a wonderful selection of signature cocktails, wines and champagne. The SixtyFour° is ideal for a lunch break, an afternoon tea or taste the original range of “finger food”. Open daily from 10:00 to 01:00.
Discover Benelux | Contents
Contents MAY 2016
COVER FEATURE 42
Halina Reijn utch actress Halina Reijn has carved a D name for herself as a successful writer and this month releases her new book Loos in the Netherlands. Strong, smart and witty, our interview with this woman of many talents makes for a compelling read.
76 Scheveningen: Top Food, Drinks & Sleep Spots he seaside resort of Scheveningen in the T Netherlands is home to glamorous beachclubs and luxurious hotels. We tell you where to see and be seen.
MINI SPECIALS 30 Discover Flanders:
e present three of the most intriguing muW seums waiting to be explored in Belgium’s culturally rich Flanders region.
The Best of Zeeland ith its overwhelming selection of picturW esque beaches and delicious seafood, the province of Zeeland in the southwest of the Netherlands is a must visit. We indulge in a spot of island hopping and present our highlights.
Cultural heart of Benelux
Sampling seafood from Zeeland he south-western Dutch province T land boasts an exceptional array of specialties. From meaty mussels to prawns, this feature is guaranteed your appetite.
Flemish coast highlights ith 42 miles of wide sandy beaches, unW spoilt nature and chic seaside resorts, the Flemish Coast offers something for everyone. You will find the right spot for you with our in-depth guide.
33 Best Museums in Belgium & Luxembourg
rt historians have long been trying to pinA point the exact location of Vermeer’s famous painting The Little Street. Finally, it appears the mystery has been solved. Read about the Prinsenhof Museum’s latest exhibition Vermeer is Coming Home: The Little Street back in Delft.
ur favourite addresses for wining, dining O and unwinding in the popular Netherlands beach resort of Noordwijk.
15 Innovation and knowledge in the Netherlands
elgium and Luxembourg are home to an B array of fascinating museums. Whatever you are into - from photography to farming - you will find the exhibition for you in our comprehensive guide.
26 The Little Street that has helped a city shine
88 Noordwijk: Top Food, Drinks & Sleep Spots
Innovation has long been one of the cornerstones of culture in the Netherlands. We present an array of the country’s most exciting and ingenious companies today.
of Zeeseafood delicate to whet
DON’T MISS 6
108 Out & About 110 Lifestyle Columns
CITY SPECIAL 46
Luxembourg City ind out where to go and what to do in LuxF embourg’s picturesque capital.
Issue 29 | May 2016 | 3
Discover Benelux | Editor’s Note
Discover Benelux Issue 29, May 2016 Published 05.2016 ISSN 2397-8872 Published by Scan Group Print Liquid Graphic Ltd Executive Editor Thomas Winther Creative Director Mads E. Peterson Editor Anna Villeleger Copy-editor Isa Hemphrey Graphic Designer Tine Rode Contributors Berthe van den Hurk Bettina Guirkinger Caroline D’hont Cathy van Klaveren Charlotte van Hek Ella Put Emmie Collinge Frank van Lieshout Isa Hemphrey Kim Bleeker Koen Guiking Lidija Liegis
Marije Geurtsen Martin Pilkington Matt Antoniak Mette Hindkjær Madsen Michiel Stol Myriam Gwynned Dijck Paola Westbeek Rachel Heller Rosanne Roobeek Sofie Couwenbergh Sonja Irani Stephanie Lovell Steve Flinders Stuart Forster Toyah Marondel Xandra Boersma
Cover Photo Janey van Ierland Sales & Key Account Managers Mette Tonnessen Micha Cornelisse Kirsten Schoon Katia Sfihi Veerle Barten Publisher: Scan Group 15B Bell Yard Mews Bermondsey Street London SE1 3YT United Kingdom Phone: +44 (0)870 933 0423 Fax: +44 (0)870 933 0421 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to May’s bursting edition of Discover Benelux. It’s my first month at the helm and I’m thrilled to present such a jam-packed magazine. From our bumper guide to the Dutch holiday destination of Zeeland to an extensive roundup of the best museums in Belgium and Luxembourg, and our selection of the most innovative companies coming out of the Netherlands, there’s plenty to inspire. As an art lover and aficionado of the Dutch Masters, I was fascinated to learn about the current Vermeer exhibition at Delft’s Prinsenhof Museum. The city will ring a bell to fellow fans of the painter - as it’s where he lived and worked his entire life. The oil painting View of Delft is one of the artist’s best-loved works, often cited as one of the most remarkable cityscapes of 17th-century Dutch art. But for the Prinsenhof’s latest exhibition, it’s another of his oeuvres - The Little Street - which takes centre stage. Art lovers have long been trying to pinpoint the exact location that this world-famous painting depicts and, after years of analysis, Dutch art historian Frans Grijzenhout believes he’s finally found the right address - on Vlamingstraat in Delft. Once you’ve read our feature you’ll surely be as eager as me to check out Vermeer is Coming Home: The Little Street back in Delft and to discover this beautiful medieval city’s impressive architecture and canal-lined streets. Meanwhile, don’t forget to read our interview with multi-talented Dutch actress Halina Reijn, whose honesty and wit mean she’s also carved a name for herself as a successful writer. As Reijn tells us about her endless new ventures, including new book Loos, that aforementioned honesty is certainly apparent and it makes for a refreshingly frank read.
Anna Villeleger Editor
We are a media you can trust. The print circulation of Discover Benelux is audited by the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC), which is the UK body for media measurement.
© 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 29 | May 2016
Sometimes 3 letters make all the difference Because you shouldn’t have to compromise to achieve excellence, ING Luxembourg offers you a full experience in Private Banking. Our experts in asset management, lending solutions, wealth analysis and planning keep up-to-date to offer you the most relevant advice regarding your overall situation.
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Discover Benelux | Design | Fashion Picks
MAY FASHION PICKS
April showers bring May flowers Unfortunately, we cannot predict the weather for you. But what we can predict are the latest fashion trends. With bright colours and elegant designs, these trends will ensure you blossom whatever the weather. AUTHOR: ELLA PUT | COPYRIGHT: PRESS IMAGES
1. Amazing Aymara With its light woollen fabric and elegant texture made from Wola cotton, this chic top by Belgian brand Aymara is perfect for a breezy spring day. Even better, it is in this seasonâ€™s most fashionable colour - old-rose pink. Top â‚Ź115 www.aymara.be
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Discover Benelux | Design | Fashion Picks
3. Bag it up! Famous for her feminine and colourful designs, Belgian-born Diane von Furstenberg knows how to make us fashion lovers happy. With this elegant and timeless clutch, numerous cocktail parties and spring brunches will be attended to in style. €113 www.dvf.com
4. Easy breezy This exquisite tunic is a must-have for this season. Creating international fashion with a down-to-earth mentality, Dutch brand Summum Woman creates designs for a cool and comfortable look. With its soft fabric and timeless shape, this piece is sophisticated yet carefree. €150 www.summumwoman.com
2. The brighter the better As soon as the days get brighter, our fashion trends become lighter. Throw everything black out of your closet and go for one of Aymara’s beautiful designs. A highlight is this top, which is timeless and will go with anything. Top €95 www.aymara.be
5. Fashion o’clock The days might be getting longer now, but that does not mean we should lose track of time. You will have no excuses for being late thanks to this on-trend watch by Dutch brand Cluse, crafted with precision for a sophisticated and elegant result. €90 www.clusewatches.com Issue 29 | May 2016 | 7
Discover Benelux | Design | Desirable Designs
Outdoor comfort Any day spent enjoying the spring weather in your own garden is a day well spent. These desirable designs, hand made and crafted in the Benelux, will help you make the most of the sunny afternoons ahead. TEXT: ELLA PUT | PHOTOS: PRESS PHOTOS
2. Nature’s desk Recent scientific research concluded that plants have a positive effect on our work environment. Available in four different colours, this desk designed by Dutch company Cowerk integrates plants in the workplace and is bound to lift your mood. Price on request www.cowerk.nl
3. Woven from wanderlust
1. Beautiful from the outside With her beautiful designs and experienced craftsmanship, Luxembourg designer Tine Krumhorn has been making exquisite mirrors for indoor and outdoor use. With its edgy framework, this mirror is the perfect accessory for an outdoor terrace. Price on request www.made-by-tine.com
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Inspired by a strong love for travelling and nature, Amsterdam-based brand HAMMAM34 creates handmade home and travel accessories for the modern-day traveller. This beautiful blue plaid is perfect for spring. www.hammam34.com
4. Bull’s eye
5. Botanic Green With the playful and fun designs of Belgium-based Roomblush you can create your own modern, botanic garden in no time. Use these adorable baskets to store toys or plants - they can be used in multiple ways - while their cool cushions are perfect for updating outdoor furnishings. Cushion: €42 Set of two small baskets: €36 Big basket: €42 www.roomblush.com
Belgium-based design studio Wonderwall can sure do wonders for our walls. Highlights of their new collection include this fun magnetic board. €115 www.wonderwall.be
Discover Benelux | Design
Fashion Label of the Month
No more lost socks Socks disappear. 'The dryer ate them?' is the usual explanation. Solving that problem is only one of the goals behind the sock label, Qnoop. When Dirk Vis founded Qnoop a year ago, he set out 'to do everything differently' and produce socks that would 'change the sock game'. TEXT: RACHEL HELLER | PHOTOS: QNOOP
Vis could not find a good alternative on the market that brings together design, quality and sustainability. “I wanted a combination of the three elements,” says Vis, “because bringing them together makes it an attractive concept. It makes it unique.” Now on their third collection, Qnoop socks are a design item: meant to be seen, using bright, bold patterns and colours. This comes in handy when the latest styles show a shorter trouser leg, often rolled up to expose the ankle. Until now, Qnoop offered a unisex selection in a range of sizes. The new summer series, however, is Qnoop’s first collection with separate women’s and men’s styles. While the design of Dutch-Qnoop is based in Amsterdam—Qnoop’s socks
are manufactured in Portugal. According to Vis, Portugal has a rich history in textile production. The quality is high and because of its location it is easy to oversee the process. Qnoop, by the way, is pronounced k-nope, which in Dutch means ‘button’. One sock of each pair has a button, while the other has a button loop: custommade in a specialised studio and comfortable while the socks are being worn. This was inspired by Vis’s threeyear-old daughter, whose dress had a button and loop closing. The button and button loop, besides solving the problem of disappearing socks, contribute to the product’s sustainability. After all, losing one sock means having to throw out the other. The
company’s tag line is: “The only pair that stays a couple”. But Qnoop’s socks are sustainable in other ways as well. Production in Portugal means no sweatshops are used, and the footprint for transport is significantly lower than if they were manufactured in Asia. Both the button and the packaging are made from recycled and biodegradable materials and the cotton is 100 per cent organic. While design, quality and sustainability add up to an attractive product, the real draw of Qnoop socks may be the button. Vis: “Save time matching your socks and spend it doing things you love.” www.qnoop.com Issue 29 | May 2016 | 9
Discover Benelux | Design of the month
Fall in love and get hooked for life TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK | PHOTOS: IITTALA
The small Finnish town of Iittala may not be that well known, but it has provided design lovers all over the world with a brand that is solid, functional and will last for generations. Its foremost quality? It is simply stunning. Founded in 1881 in Iittala, Finland, Iittala represents long-lasting design. Quality, beauty and functionality are its core values. The Iittala collection consists of beautiful, functional and durable objects, decorations and furniture that make everyday life better and more enjoyable. “Our designs are enjoyable for everyday use,” says Maaike Brink, marketing manager at Fiskars Benelux. “Not only for special and festive occasions – each product is meant to be used every day as well as on festive days. And they last for generations.” Flagship store Amsterdam Iittala is being sold all over the world but also has several stores of its own 10 | Issue 29 | May 2016
throughout Europe. The Benelux region has three Iittala stores: one in Antwerp, Belgium; one in The Hague, the Netherlands; and, since the end of 2015, a brand new flagship store in Amsterdam at the Van Baerlestraat. With this store, the brand demonstrates that it represents true Scandinavian design, which is beautiful in its simplicity and inspired by nature. With unique products and an exclusive concept, Iittala stores are revolutionary in the field of homeware boutiques. As soon as you walk into an Iittala store, you enter the world of beautiful and functional Scandinavian design. With its innovative retail concepts, Iittala creates a strong brand experience for customers in all stores. Submerse in the world of Iittala “Iittala products are beautiful on a shelf, but they look even better the way we show them, just the way you would
present them at home,” says Emile van Oorschot, general manager of Fiskars Benelux. “With our stores we want to show people what the possibilities are, and therefore the stores are designed to resemble home environments. Iittala objects are designed to be combined with an existing interior or with other Iittala products.” Entering an Iittala store may result in an hour-long treasure hunt. The professional staff are always willing to advise and help people with their interior questions and challenges. “Iittala is for anyone who is interested in and committed to their interior and has their own unique creativity. Many people know exactly what they want and need, but some people, like me, have a keen interest but are not so good with seeing all the possibilities,” says Van Oorschot. “People like me need the help the staff at the stores can offer, whether it is for an entire interior, a special table setting or finding the ideal
Discover Benelux | Design Label of the Month
gift for someone. Creating and designing together with someone else always broadens your horizon. Of course it is not mandatory, but there is always the possibility to get help or advice.” Long-lasting design The task of figuring out what is beautiful and still practical can seem as difficult as a giant jigsaw puzzle. It is almost impossible to do it all at once, and the requirements often change over time. But being on an interior design journey that is never completely finished is also part of the fun. A growing number of loyal Iittala fans have fallen under a long-lasting Iittala spell. They fell in love with the
brand’s simplicity and beauty, and they remained fans for its timelessness and durability. The form, function and quality of Iittala objects must be durable and inspiring. For example, Iittala glass is dyed through and through, making it dishwasher safe and, over the years, the colours will remain vibrant. Iittala is a great addition to an existing interior as well as the start of something new. The striking design is never dominant but has a typical simplicity that is timeless and beautiful. “One of the most popular products is a dishware range that has been popular since 1952, proving to be a truly dura-
ble and beautiful Iittala design,” says Van Oorschot. More and more people are familiar with Iittala’s designs and are instantly and completely hooked for life. “Iittala products are not only fun for yourself but also make a wonderful and appreciated gift – both privately and for business occasions,” Brink adds. Few things are more enjoyable than gradually creating the perfect interior or a stunning special setting, or inducting someone else to a newfound Iittala addiction. www.iittala.com
Discover Benelux | Dutch Design
Kazuri - the Fair Trade sparkle TEXT: TOYAH MARONDEL | PHOTOS: KAZURI
Kazuri, meaning ‘small and beautiful’ in Swahili, was born in Kenya in 1975. It is the brainchild of Lady Susan Wood, who established jewellery production with two local women at a small pottery in her backyard. She taught them how to create jewellery from clay, how to shape and glaze every bead and develop them into unique pieces of jewellery so they can sell them and earn their own income. In 2000, Mark and Regina Newman assumed the business that today has 350 employees. Many more women are waiting in the hope of getting the opportunity to join the ranks of those talented people who create these small, beautiful objects. The couple’s mission was to provide and sustain employment opportunities for disadvantaged members of the Kenyan society. Kazuri believes in the importance of producing locally as a means of empowering people. The women who work at Kazuri receive a good average wage for this sector in Kenya. All women at 12 | Issue 29 | May 2016
Kazuri, mostly single mothers, are entitled to go to a medical clinic twice a week for free medical advice for them and their families. If a long-term stay at a hospital is needed, Kazuri absorbs 80 per cent of the medical costs from the hospitalisation. The free on-site clinic is staffed by a professional nurse. “Wearing ethical jewellery and ecofriendly accessories is a great way to reduce your impact on the environment – and look fantastic at the same time,” says distributor Sietske Wijnja. Sietske and Julia Wijnja distribute Kazuri jewellery, certified by the WFTO as Fair Trade, in the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg. “My sister and I had completely different careers before we started to distribute Kazuri jewellery. The business idea came from my sister Julia, who lived in Kenya for seven years,” Sietske explains. The successful businesswomen collaborate with distribution agents in Belgium and Switzerland, who made it their mission to make the Fair Trade products available in their countries.
“Once a year, we travel to Kenya to visit the factory, but we are in close contact with the women throughout the year,” says the Wijnja sisters. They own a showroom at the ‘Trademart’ in Utrecht and will be launching a new collection in August this year. The Kazuri workshop in Kenya is located on the grounds of the estate of the late Karen von Blixen, named after Karen Blixen of Out of Africa fame. The beautiful area of Karen is just outside Nairobi and lies under the Ngong Hills between Kenya’s bustling capital and the spectacular Rift Valley. The workshop is a place where the women work, socialise and sing together. The handmade pieces are made of beads, originating from the area near Mount Kenya. Fashion-led craftsmanship “Traditional craftsmanship is infused into all Kazuri products and every item in our collection echoes the love and skill of the hands that made it. Made with techniques handed down through generations, Kazuri jewellery not only looks great but also tells a story of lives
Discover Benelux | Mini Special | Dutch Design
changed through safe, sustainable employment, training and education,â€? says Sietske. Kazuri Benelux launches new collections twice a year. The distributors visit fashion fairs for inspiration and combine the latest Dutch fashion trends with the characteristic African patterns to create some excellent new designs. All new designs are a combination of the latest fashion trends in the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland. â€œWe send our design proposals to Kazuri in Kenya. The women then produce the beautiful products using traditional, time-honoured skills and fashion-led design,â€? Sietske continues. The Kazuri collection consists of necklaces, bracelets, earrings and finger rings, made from ceramics in several
beautiful colour combinations. The latest designs reflect the bright summer season and come in bright colours such as funky lemon, Monaco blue and jazzy black/white. Each pattern shows the culture and wildlife of Kenya. In 2016, Kazuri will produce more than five million beads and distribute successfully in more than 20 countries. When you buy a piece of Kazuri jewellery, you can be sure that it is helping to give women the freedom of choice that is easy to take for granted in the developed world. A Kazuri piece is more than just a design item: it is a piece of Kenya, and truly unique as every piece is handmade. Every product takes on the quirks and trademarks of the individual people who shape the beads, string or paint them and give them beauty as well as soul. The different styles are named af-
ter tribes, areas and other features of the Kenyan landscape, evocative names that resonate with the organic nature of the clay. Fair Trade jewellery like Kazuri continues to be a growing movement to help lowincome artisans in developing countries move towards economic self-sufficiency. It promotes sustainability on all levels and creates opportunities to alleviate poverty. What more could you ask for when buying Fair Trade jewellery? You can get yourself one of their unique pieces at the retail outlet Miss Jones, Reestraat 26 (The Nine Streets) in Amsterdam. www.kazuri.nl
Issue 29 | May 2016 | 13
Discover Benelux | Mini Special | Dutch Design
Uniquely personal designs Choosing a wedding band is one of the most intimate and meaningful ways for a couple to commemorate their love. More than a piece of jewellery, it is a wearable symbol of unity meant to be cherished forever. With their unique interactive design technology and a passion for quality, Insignety helps clients create beautifully personalised rings. For lovebirds, best friends or as an ode to yourself. TEXT: PAOLA WESTBEEK | PHOTOS: INSIGNETY
When goldsmith Mark Bos decided to enter the world of wedding jewellery – a theme he was especially drawn to – his vision was to go above and beyond traditional production methods. Insignety offers clients all over the world the chance to create a uniquely exclusive item with the aid of the newest interactive 3D technology. Insignety makes it possible for clients to fully partake in an intuitive and organic design process for their rings, adding sentimental value in a multitude of ways. One of them is by immortalising their own heartbeat. “The heart is the ultimate declaration of love,” says Bos, who has a background in graphic design. After selecting shape, thickness, materials and finish, the heartbeat is recorded and implemented into the design, which takes place together with the jeweller using innovative software. 14 | Issue 29 | May 2016
The heartbeat motif is just one of the many options. Other personal elements such as fingerprints, signatures and even the sound of your voice can be added to the bands live on screen. At any moment, clients can opt to make changes to the model as it takes shape. Not only does this facilitate the selection of a one-of-a-kind wedding ring, but it also ensures that the experience is truly unforgettable.
The fact that the price remains visible throughout the entire process, and that adding extra features has little effect on the total, means that Insignety is well within everyone’s budget. “I wanted to make unique rings available for everyone,” explains Bos. This also translates to the type of rings. Besides wedding bands, Insignety helps customers create original pieces for just about every occasion, whether that be as a gift for yourself or as a Mother’s Day present, for example. Add to this the use of a wide variety of exceptional materials and the highest level of craftsmanship, and it is easy to see why Insignety prides itself on being a brand that aims to satisfy its clients, and design – quite literally – at its heart. www.insignety.com
INNOVATION AND KNOWLEDGE IN THE NETHERLANDS
A history of innovation, a future of growth Innovation has long been one of the cornerstones of culture in the Netherlands. Dutch explorers, tradespeople and artists played pioneering roles in the shaping of western civilisation. Today you will find many tech giants setting up base in the major Dutch cities, making the most of the various tax advantages and funding offered by the government to encourage further development and creativity. TEXT: STEPHANIE LOVELL | PHOTOS: NBTC HOLLAND MARKETING
Thanks in no small part to its long history of innovation and business savvy, the Netherlands has become one of the world’s most advanced economies. Ranked among the top countries for entrepreneurship, it is fast becoming the go-to place for the young and bright, hoping to establish their own hightech start-up and develop the next lifechanging product. Although relatively small in both size and population, the Netherlands boasts an extensive list of innovations and discoveries in a wide variety of areas. The Dutch were behind the development of modern cartography, becoming renowned map makers and discovering many of the world’s most remote corners. With their innovative painting styles, Rembrandt
and Van Gogh are widely considered to be among the greatest and most influential artists of all time. Back in the 17th century, Dutch merchants paved the way for business as we know it today, founding the world’s first multinational corporation, the Dutch East India Company. Nowadays, many entrepreneurs are drawn to the growing start-up scene in the Netherlands, hoping to emulate the success of the likes of Booking.com and TomTom – two Dutch companies that were founded in the 1990s and are still booming today. By basing their business here, they can enjoy a whole range of tax benefits, credits and grants provided by the Dutch government to foster innovation. Such favourable conditions have at-
tracted global brands Netflix and Uber, who recently established their European headquarters in Amsterdam. Whether a budding start-up or a wellrespected multinational, all companies can benefit from the wealth of homegrown talent, nurtured by the excellent Dutch education system. In a bid to place the country among the top five knowledge economies globally, policy makers are now focusing their efforts on building closer cooperation between businesses and educational institutes, as well as enhancing research and development. Given its first-rate universities and highly skilled workforce, the Netherlands could well surpass this ambitious goal.
Issue 29 | May 2016 | 15
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Innovation and Knowledge in the Netherlands
A smooth ride for the fashion industry TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTO: SOOPL, FRANK FOTOGRAFIE
For Arjan Kaan, being made redundant in 2005 was a blessing in disguise. He had worked for seven years as a representative in the fashion industry, and during that time there was one thing that had frustrated him to no measure: the cumbersome, unwieldy fashion trolleys. He knew exactly what would have made his job easier: stable, foldable trolleys with big wheels. He figured scores of people would have experienced the same frustrations, and now that he was without a job, he had the perfect opportunity to turn his vision into reality. “I thought, either I can try to look for other work, or I can turn my idea into a real
16 | Issue 29 | May 2016
product. So the latter is what I did. I’ve always had a passion for product design and although I didn’t know if it would work out, now I had the opportunity to try,” Kaan says.
contacted the biggest fashion fair in the Netherlands, but they denied him entry as only clothing brands were allowed to take part. So he took a different approach.
Together with a design agency he made the first sketches, and these quickly developed into the Soopl fashion trolley. It was strong, easy to fold and did what it was meant to do: roll smoothly. “The design is sturdy and beautiful and it has double bearings on all four wheels, so it rolls really well.”
“We set up a free Soopl delivery service,” Kaan recounts. “Together with a few students, we offered to take the clothes from the vans into the exposition hall. Of course, while doing that, we handed out loads of flyers about the trolley. Then on the last day, when we took the clothes back out again, we received an overwhelming amount of orders. We were out of stock in no time.”
Reaching the customers Once the product was ready, Kaan had to overcome the next hurdle: how to market it to his prospective customers. He
After this early success, Kaan and his team replicated the stunt at seven oth-
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Innovation and Knowledge in the Netherlands
er expos. It gave the company an enormous boost and instantly raised the visibility of Soopl. “And on top of that, many of our customers are representatives who go everywhere. So every time they show their brand’s collection to someone else, the trolley goes with them,” says Kaan. An unexpected turn Kaan had found a gap in the market, and sales were taking off fast. But things took an unexpected turn for the worst, as in 2012 their Chinese manufacturer went bankrupt. “It was a very tense time. We thought we had lost the production moulds. It was only after going to China to search for them ourselves that we managed to get them back. In the meantime though, orders kept coming in, but we had no products. Eventually we found a new manufacturer and everything turned out well, but it was touch and go for a while,” he says. Kaan now sees it as a valuable lesson. He and his team keep a closer eye on the current manufacturer in or-
der to identify and resolve issues ahead of time. “We work more closely with the manufacturers now, and we regularly go to China to visit them,” Kaan adds. Rolling out their future plans The Soopl trolley has been sold in 35 different countries, and the company has sales representatives in 15 of those. Kaan is keen to continue to grow, especially in major markets such as America, Germany and France, but is also looking into expanding the brand’s online presence. Kaan: “It is an easy product to sell online because it is instantly clear what the trolley is about and what sets it apart. Moreover, many people already know of the Soopl fashion trolley through word of mouth and we want to capitalise more on those qualities.” Another avenue Kaan is currently exploring is customisation of the trolleys to match a brand or clothing collection. They already offer customers the possibility to get their brand name on the trolley, and soon the trolleys will be available in different colours. Kaan continues: “We also sell various types and sizes of fashion bags and are looking into customisation options for those as well. In general, we want to continue to innovate and really make the trolley a product that connects with the needs of our clients.”
The Soopl fashion trolley, as well as fashion bags, suitcases and trolley accessories, can be bought through the website. www.soopl.com
Issue 29 | May 2016 | 17
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Innovation and Knowledge in the Netherlands
Wireless sensing, logging and control – anywhere TEXT : BERTHE VAN DEN HURK | PHOTO: SENSE ANYWHERE
The rapid growth in technologies can make the possibilities seem endless. But with those possibilities come great responsibilities. For example, with the transportation and storage of medicines or food, temperature, humidity and motion have to be measured and recorded. SenseAnywhere combines experience and the latest technology in the AiroSensor, a wireless ultra-low-power data logger that collects accurate temperature, humidity and motion data at predefined intervals and sends it to a central database in the cloud. Kim Heijnen, SenseAnywhere’s manager of marketing and operations, explains: “The AiroSensor is a robust instrument that helps
ensure the quality and safety of products that need to be stored under certain conditions. All monitored data is sent to an AccessPoint, which communicates automatically with the cloud. As a result, there is no paperwork to be filled out, which saves a lot of time and decreases the risks of human error.” During transport, when there is no access to the internet, the AiroSensor works as a logger, still measuring all designated elements. The device can store up to 15,000 events and has seamless roaming. “The data logger is able to connect with the internet fully on its own,” says Heijnen. “As soon as it detects an AccessPoint it initiates contact autonomously, so you don’t have to do anything. It immediately starts to transmit all stored in-
formation and is able to communicate with AccessPoints from up to 600 metres away.” It is also possible to get an alarm via email or text message when something is out of the ordinary. The AiroSensor is a great solution for both static and distribution purposes. Its built-in battery lasts up to ten years. Monitoring your valuable goods has never been easier or more sustainable. www.senseanywhere.com
Constructions made stable, strong and future proof TEXT: ELLA PUT | PHOTO: WYLI
A thick and large eccentric washer called the Wyli is the adjusting ring of the future. Why? The innovate technical product will make sure all slack wind bracings at building constructions become tightened up and more stable. Also, the Wyli is much cheaper and more effective than other adjusting solutions. “It’s a really easy solution for a very difficult problem,” says creator of the Wyli and owner of Wyli Tension Disc, Erik Gerssen. Having worked with the construction of industrial buildings for many years, Gerssen noticed that it was not always easy to find a simple and fast solution to tightening up wind bracings in, for example, factory halls. “There were well-known products such as turnbuckles and 18 | Issue 29 | May 2016
tension rods that would do the job of tightening up wind bracings. But turnbuckles are not very strong and tension rods are known to be very expensive.” Therefore, Gerssen created the solution himself: the Wyli, named as a tribute to his wife, Willie. “It’s a thick and large adjusting ring that can easily tighten up wind bracings up until eight millimetres and that isn’t expensive at all,” Gerssen explains. The Wyli is the construction product of the future, and that fact has not gone unnoticed by the public. In 2014 the Wyli came in third in the steel product of the year rankings. “According to the jury, the Wyli had proved to be a product that made assembling at construction sites child’s play.” The simple yet inventive and patented idea will make sure that any construction is stable, strong and ready for the future.
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Innovation and Knowledge in the Netherlands
Scientists on a mission INCAS³, a non-profit top technology institute located in Assen, the capital of the province of Drenthe, has been selected as one of the 100 most innovative Dutch companies by the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. It was founded in 2008 by physicist Heinrich Wörtche and John van Pol. TEXT: TOYAH MARONDEL | PHOTOS: INCAS3
INCAS³’s research team consists of 23 engineers, PhD students and scientists, among them linguists who are dedicated to solving challenging industrial and social technological problems by combining academic and engineering excellence. Heinrich Wörtche, CEO of INCAS³, has been involved for more than 20 years in the development of tools for physical research, training scientists and organising large-scale, international scientific research corporations. “Depending on the intensity of the project, we work on an application applying state-of-the-art technology from one to three months for a simple project and up to two to four years in conjunction with, for example, a university,” he says. Services provided by INCAS³’s range from applicationdriven basic research to field prototyp-
ing. The unique institute intends to generate technological breakthroughs and spin-offs by translating sensor-related requests from business and society into scientific projects. Wörtche adds that the institute offers its services to large-scale clients such as municipalities, engineering offices and enterprises in the mining and oil industry. INCAS³ has successfully worked with Shell Canada and is heading up the development of high-tech micro sensor systems capable of in situ mapping of the structure, condition and dynamics of industrial reactors, pipelines and ultimately subterranean reservoirs. Another of INCAS³’s assignments is a multilingual melodies project, creating a typological description of prosodic
features of multilingual speech. As part of the voice-based disease recognition project, the skilled scientists are developing a speech-based index to assess when an individual may require medical intervention. “This means that in the future patients will be able to monitor the status of their illness from home in collaboration with specialists,” Wörtche explains. INCAS³ is independently managed and combines research and development to bring new applications to the market, likely to be useful to the world. The international team is looking forward to introducing you to the world of sensor technology and discussing what they can do for your business and your research. www.incas3.eu Issue 29 | May 2016 | 19
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Innovation and Knowledge in the Netherlands
Home-brewed beauty TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK | PHOTOS: ERICA LINGER
Ever wondered what is really in your beauty products? Making them yourself might be the only way to know for sure. Fed up with over-packaged cosmetics full of chemicals, Erica Linger decided to make the process of creating pure and natural beauty fixes easy and fun. Necessity and passion were the main ingredients Linger used to set up DIY Soap in 2015. “For years I have had trouble finding products that suit my daughter’s sensitive skin. Most companies use unnecessary packaging and are unclear about their products’ ingredients – bad for our skin and bad for our environment.” Finding the right amount of ingredients seemed more difficult than actually cooking up cosmetics. DIY Soap collects and measures out the right amounts, avoiding the fuss and leaving just the actual cooking. Every
product has a clear description of the ingredients attached to it, such as almond oil, coconut or orange extract.
Sustainable packaging and social responsibility are essential. Linger collaborates with a day activity centre for those with intellectual disabilities to help with the production process, and works exclusively with recyclable materials. “I hope that with DIY Soap I can support people in their independence, both by promoting homemade natural products and creating employment opportunities.” Linger’s favourite product? “The product that started off DIY Soap: the Rich Body Cream. Super for people with dry skin and fun to make.” More ideas are constantly in the making. “I would like to offer a homemade alternative for make-up. That’s where my inventive side kicks in,” she adds. “If you think and try hard enough, you can do anything yourself!”
Travelling on a whole other level TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK | PHOTO: THEO MOLENAAR
For those who want a great holiday without the large hotels and hordes of tourists, Better Places offers the chance to see a country and meet its inhabitants in an authentic style. Better Places is an online platform that connects adventurous voyagers with travel professionals living in a particular holiday destination. These can be Dutch, Belgians or other ‘real’ locals. What they have in common is a passion for travel and an expanse of knowledge about a destination. Together with the travel specialist you design your trip exactly as you want it, making it completely customised and tailor made. The local experts can offer advice and make recommendations about all kinds of special places, from small-scale accommodations to nice restaurants. Saskia Griep, founder 20 | Issue 29 | May 2016
of Better Places explains the company ethos: “We strongly believe in utilising local knowledge and experience. An expert, who knows all about the area, is someone who understands what you want, and arranges your customised trip.” These specialists are constantly looking for new places and locations and are always up to date. Real contact with real people While sightseeing is certainly enjoyable, it is not what makes a trip special. A holiday becomes extraordinary when we make unforgettable memories and meet wonderful people, some that may even become friends for life. This company’s special ‘Better Places’ are the spots where you stay longer and gain a completely different perspective on a country and its people - maybe even on your
own life. By cooperating with local travel professionals, you will have the chance to create a unique travel experience and memories that will last a lifetime. www.betterplaces.nl www.fairaway.de
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Innovation and Knowledge in the Netherlands
Measuring mobility of people through data TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA | PHOTOS: MEZURO
Collective sensing is what it is called. It sounds complicated, but Mezuro’s director, Paul Kremer, explains: “We research mobility patterns of people by analysing data of mobile phone networks.” Questionable from a privacy perspective, you might think. “Privacy is very important to us. We get nothing but anonymised and aggregated information from the operator and can’t single out individuals. It’s all about statistics.”
That Mezuro operates from the Netherlands does not mean that their software is only applicable to the Netherlands. On the contrary, says Kremer. “We can do
City Centre Analysis The Hague Origins of infrequent visitors
Visitors by type 40K Frequent 0K 40K Regular 0K 20K Infrequent 0K Nov 7
Nov 27 Dec 7 Day of Date 
Hourly visitors by day type Hour Day Type Saturday
Sunday Workdays 50K
Infrequent visitors 0
Event Analysis - Kingsday Amsterdam Visitors per country
Visitor type per travel distance 1500K
Mezuro collects information about groups of people. “We do this 24/7 with a big technical staff that knows to use the customer’s question as the starting point,” Kremer continues. “What do we want to know? This can be anything. Mezuro’s clients include provinces, for example, that want to know the origins and numbers of tourists that visit them, or shopping centres that want to know the pattern of visits. Event organisers might want to know for safety reasons how many people visited a non-ticketed event. Of course public transport systems and the national government also benefit from this information.”
this all over the world, and we’re planning on doing just that. Wherever there are mobile phones, we can measure the mobility of people.”
vides statistically reliable information,” Kremer says.
How many people cycle to Groningen every day? How many visit the new Primark in Eindhoven? And which tourists come to Holland’s yearly Kingsday festival? Mezuro knows. This company uses big data from mobile phone users to measure mobility.
Visitor Count 44
20K 0K 0
30 Distance (km)
Visitors per hour per day April 2015 1
It works like this: Mezuro collaborates with a telecom operator to get information about the people using their mobile phone services. This is how they know when, and how many, people are at a certain place or moving to a certain place. “Even if we use only one operator in a certain geographic area, this pro-
Issue 29 | May 2016 | 21
Smart distribution solutions TEXT: MARIJE GEURTSEN | PHOTOS: COXX
After three generations of special vehicle inventors and 100 years of experience, Coxx Mobile Systems have put full focus making their two product lines of smart distribution solutions available for a broader audience. “Why settle for less, when you can enjoy higher efficiency, volume, load capacity, comfort and ergonomics,” says Robert Cox, the highly ambitious fourth generation entrepreneur in the company. “Distribution is often the motor behind a company. Let it run”. It starts with a smart business model. The X-Low product line of lowered floor chassis is completely modular like Meccano. All chassis components have been pre-produced, ready for assembly. This makes customisation possible, within serial production. With low costs and shorter lead times, it is a win-win for all. By keeping all components in stock, the company can build any type and dimen22 | Issue 29 | May 2016
sion of chassis within a week. In their assembly facility they are flexible enough for single unit orders. Various partnerships and a lean production method make the business scalable for orders of up to several hundred chassis. By working with a large array of bodybuilders, Coxx Mobile Systems are able to deliver complete solutions, or just chassis-cabs as a framework for whatever application. Endless applications Lowered floor, lightweight construction, high-strength Domex® material, flexible dimensions and standard air suspension make the X-Low chassis a perfect base for many applications. Think for instance about market trucks, mobile offices or campers. Such a broad target audience can benefit from the many innovative features of the Coxx Mobile Systems chassis. “Even with our still passive market approach, already 75 per cent of our turnover comes from abroad. We’re now
looking for distributors to channel and control the growing demand. The market potential is enormous!” explains Cox. Speaking of the company’s LiftBoxx system, Cox explains: “It isn’t a vehicle, but a complete distribution solution”. With a loading floor at ground level, transporting goods cannot be done any quicker or with such ease. With the interchangeable distribution units, the Coxx LiftBoxx can replace multiple vehicles at once and comes at the top of the innovation pyramid. People often compare the LiftBoxx with a regular distribution truck, but it is so much more. When looked at as a sustainable investment in making city distribution more efficient, the LiftBoxx is an eye opener that can potentially change the game of logistics. Looking to smarten up your distribution fleet? Check out www.coxx.nl
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Innovation and Knowledge in the Netherlands
Revolutionising shrimp fishing The fishing industry stands under pressure as an increasing amount of grounds are being closed due to overfishing. The only way it can survive is if it starts operating in a more sustainable, environmentally friendly way. Mechanical engineering and steel processing company De Boer RVS is taking that step with the development of an innovative shrimp catching and processing system. TEXT: SOFIE COUWENBERGH | PHOTOS: DE BOER RVS AND ISTOCK
De Boer RVS has over 20 years of experience in the production of lowmaintenance energy-efficient and easyto-use machinery for shrimp processing. In those 20 years, the company, led by Melle De Boer, has seen how both the shrimp industry and marine biodiversity have suffered from current fishing techniques. “Of the thousands of kilos shrimp fishers haul out of the water and onto their ships, a large portion is bycatch. This bycatch often dies in the nets, even before it is brought on board,” says De Boer. As fishermen are obliged to bring their entire catch to the shore, this do not only entail a loss of biodiversity, but also of income for the fishermen as they can only sell the market-worthy shrimp and not the bycatch.
About four years ago, having talked with several shrimp fishers, the company started to develop a new fishing system. This system brings the catch on board in a continuous stream of water, onto a detection belt where a camera analyses everything that passes. It uses a set of criteria to determine whether what it sees is a market-worthy shrimp or bycatch. At the same time, data is gathered about both the catch and the bycatch. The shrimp is then kept on board, while the bycatch is guided back into the water alive. This system, which is currently still being tested and developed, both protects the biodiversity and makes shrimp fishing more efficient and effective, allowing fishermen to return to shore with a catch they can fully sell.
And there is a third party that benefits from this revolutionary shrimp fishing system. “In recent years, consumers have changed,” explains Wim Quinet, CEO of food retailer Revi Food. Revi Food, which only uses products that are sourced in an ecologically responsible way to produce their meals, has witnessed the high demand for sustainable products. “This is the direction we need to follow,” Quinet goes on. “If the industry continues its old ways, shrimp fishing will soon become impossible as empty fishing grounds are being closed. It will take time and energy to develop these new opportunities, but we have faith in them. Things need to change now.” www.deboerrvs.nl Issue 29 | May 2016 | 23
Sustainable smoothie spreads TEXT: PAOLA WESTBEEK | PHOTOS: YESPERS
Some start their day with a smoothie, some prefer a sandwich. So why not put a smoothie in a sandwich? Enter Yespers with their 100 per cent natural, chilled fruit and vegetable spreads that are very low in sugars and calories, and contain no preservatives. A healthy, clean and sustainable product that is delectable on bread. And that is only the beginning... When CEO Stefan Baecke, who grew up on a Dutch farm, began missing his morning slice, he and Patrick Ooms (long-time friend and now the company’s head of business development), came up with a deliciously innovative solution. Why not make a ‘spreadable’ smoothie? Driven by the desire to contribute to a more sustainable food chain, they launched a line of all-natural fruit and vegetable spreads. These products are exemplary of Yespers’ mission: promot24 | Issue 29 | May 2016
ing a sound relationship between consumers and producers. Ooms explains: “The food chain is mostly focused on output and is a ‘push’ market. It’s far more sustainable to create a pull market in which products are produced because consumers demand them. It doesn’t only make sense environmentally, it is also more sustainable financially. Nowadays, people want to know what they eat. That prompts food manufacturers to open the black box all the way down to the farmer. The next step is to include the farmers in the chain. That’s what we at Yespers are doing.” A philosophy that translates to a product that is a joy to eat, not only because it is made fairly, but also because it is incredibly tasty. The spreads, sold in recyclable glass jars, come in three zesty flavours brimming with the natural goodness of fresh fruits and with absolutely
no additives. There is a mango/pineapple variety with warm, tropical notes and an apple/raspberry combination with a touch of vanilla. Both also contain carrots. The third flavour is bursting with berries and ripe, red strawberries. More than a topping for bread, they can jazz up everything from your morning cereals, yogurt and pancakes and are even wonderful spooned right out of the jar. Ooms: “Our spreads are extremely versatile, and that’s why we decided to put together a recipe book published on our website.” They can be used in cheesecakes, chutneys and so much more, but they also complement food exceptionally well. Yespers spreads are available in Dutch supermarkets and through their web shop. Yespers is currently investigating opportunities abroad. www.yespers.com
A new dimension to bespoke transportation services.
executive-lane.com Issue 29 | May 2016 | 25
2016_04_Ann EL_Discover Benelux_215 x 270.indd 1
LEFT: The city of Delft was home to Johannes Vermeer, who enjoyed local fame in his lifetime for his now widely praised masterpieces. MIDDLE & RIGHT: Delft is located north of Rotterdam and south of The Hague.
The Little Street that has helped a city shine TEXT: ISA HEMPHREY | PHOTOS: NBTC
In the Dutch city of Delft, a museum has orchestrated an ingenious exhibition that welcomes home the city’s prodigal son, Johannes Vermeer. In light of painstaking research that has potentially solved one of Vermeer’s many mysteries, the Prinsenhof Museum’s presentation of The Little Street has shed light on a city that has forever viewed the Master of Light as a source of great pride. Around the year 1660, Vermeer composed a painting that captured a moment of tranquility in his hometown. Like his equally famed View of Delft, it is a depiction of a city that one can only assume was dear to his heart. Despite a major fire in 1536, a gunpowder explosion in 1654 known as the Delft Thunderclap, and ongoing conflicts from the Spanish, 26 | Issue 29 | May 2016
Vermeer captured the robustness of his city, rather than its devastation. “The house had to have survived the great city fire in 1536, so this painting is actually the oldest cityscape of Delft,” says David de Haan, curator of art collections at the Prinsenhof Museum. Now with the supposed true location of The Little Street recently discovered by Professor Dr Frans Grijzenhout, Professor of Art History at the University of Amsterdam, the story of this elusive artist has a new page. The breakthrough came after searching the extensive archives of the city where Vermeer lived out his life from 1632 to 1675. “It’s a ledger on the deepening of the waters in Delft and on the maintenance of the Delft canals,” says Professor Grijzenhout. “The simple thing that I did was to look for a particu-
lar mentioning of the rhythm of houses and alleyways like we see in the painting from Vermeer. There is only one location in Delft that corresponds fully to what we see in the painting.” The interplay between the volumes and depths of houses and alleyways in The Little Street is masterful and typical of the artist’s preference for domestic scenes of Dutch middle-class life. Yet its placement in the Prinsenhof Museum’s exhibition, amongst Delft cityscapes from contemporaries such as Pieter de Hooch and Daniël Vosmaer, makes the 54.3 by 44-centimetre painting seem a minor triumph in comparison. Yet from initial theories in 1921, The Little Street has sparked an arduous debate in the art world about its location, which ri-
Discover Benelux | Art Feature | Vermeer
vals the mysteries of Diego Velázquez’s Las Meninas painted only a few years earlier. When one considers the proximity of the latest location to the museum itself, as well as other landmarks connected to Vermeer, it is clear that this exhibition could only have taken place in Delft, a fact that the Prinsenhof Museum has taken full advantage of.
um’s tour app, which takes visitors to 20 locations, shows that Vermeer lived and breathed Delft. “Vermeer was a Delft painter who came from Delft, who lived in Delft, he worked in Delft, he died in Delft,” says Van Mil. “But alas, the museum has no paintings from Vermeer. Now we can welcome The Little Street, that has been away from here for 320 years.”
“It is time that Delft had a Vermeer within its municipal boundaries,” says Patrick van Mil, director of the Museum Prinsenhof Delft. “That has not happened for more than 60 years. Professor Grijzenhout’s study was the perfect reason. It is a unique opportunity to view The Little Street and walk straight into the beautiful city centre of Delft, where you can still almost see his footsteps.”
The app tour ends at Vlamingstraat 4042 where the painting was originally composed. “The whole house was torn down at some point in the 19th century and rebuilt entirely, so sadly you will not find any trace of the house in the painting,” says De Haan. Yet after a tour of Vermeer’s Delft, from the city hall where he was betrothed, to the Oude Kerk where he is buried, to stand in the spot where he visualised his next masterpiece forms a personal bond with the artist that one would not experience by merely viewing the piece in a gallery. As Professor Grijzenhout explains: “We couldn’t do this without Delft.”
The Oude Kerk in Delft.
the Delft Prinsenhof Museum and the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum has given us the opportunity to boost our local economy by attracting more tourists who will come to admire the painting.”
The exhibition is one that does not start and stop at the museum. With the help of the free ‘Where is Vermeer?’ phone app, you can take a tour of Delft with Vermeer’s aunt Ariaentgen Claes van der Minne, the newly revealed owner of the house in The Little Street. This inventive use of the city has also helped local businesses. “This is a great example of investing in each other,” says Marco Hofland, chairman of the board of Rabobank Zuid-Holland Midden, who are sponsors of the exhibition. “The special collaboration between
Despite the immense fame of Vermeer’s surviving 34 paintings, his own fame stayed very much within the borders of Delft during his lifetime. Before he was rediscovered three centuries later, Vermeer’s work was largely owned by his patron Pieter van Ruijven and his motherin-law Maria Thins. Indeed, the muse-
Woman and Child in a Bleaching Ground by Pieter de Hooch (approx. 1658) Private collection.
Vlamingstraat 40-42, Delft, with its current residents. Photo: Olivier Middendorp
Vermeer is Coming Home: The Little Street back in Delft will be showing at the Prinsenhof Museum until 25 March to 17 July 2016. www.prinsenhof-delft.nl www.vermeeriscominghome.com
The Little Street by Johannes Vermeer (approx. 1660) Collection Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
Issue 29 | May 2016 | 27
Photo: Hans Westbeek
Sampling seafood from Zeeland TEXT: PAOLA WESTBEEK | PHOTOS: HOLLAND MEDIABANK
If you think herring is the only seafood the Netherlands has to offer, think again! The south-western Dutch province of Zeeland boasts exceptionally plump, meaty mussels; briny oysters; delicate prawns and probably the world’s best lobster. Read on for tips and ideas that will have your palate swooning. Mussels The people of Zeeland are proud of their mussels. Often referred to as ‘poor man’s shellfish’, here they are honoured with the title ‘het zwarte goud’ or ‘the black gold’. The province hosts yearly mussel festivals during the months of July and August. One to add to your agenda is the ‘Mosseldag’ in Yerseke, a town that boasts a long fishing tradition going back to the 15th century. The event takes place on the third Saturday in August and features all sorts of entertainment – from markets to boat rides on 28 | Issue 29 | May 2016
the Oosterschelde and, of course, plenty of mussel feasting. But even without the festival, Yerseke’s quaint streets, historic buildings and beautiful harbour is still worth a visit. Anyone eager to learn more about mussels (or oysters, another major specialty) can visit the Oosterschelde Museum located in the former town hall. Through tools, photos and documentaries, the museum brings the history and production of mussels to life. To sample great mussels, you can also head on over to Philippine – widely known in the Netherlands as the country’s ‘mussel city’ – and pamper your taste buds at one of the various mussel restaurants. At the end of August, the city hosts mussel parties with markets, theatre, music and, of course, mussels! Mussels are usually at their best from July until approximately the first half of April, though the start of the season
largely depends on the condition of the mussels. Their mild, creamy taste makes them perfect for all sorts of flavour combinations and preparations. Classics include mussels cooked with finely chopped vegetables and white wine or baked on the half shell with garlic, parsley and breadcrumbs. They are also wonderful tossed with linguini, a sprinkling of red chilli and chopped flat leaf parsley. Serve your mussels with a light, citrusy Muscadet from the Loire or a Pinot Blanc d’Alsace. Oysters Oysters have been loved by the Dutch for centuries. You will see them depicted in many masterpieces from the Golden Age, sometimes with a glass of white wine or a wedge of lemon, and always utterly tempting. In Zeeland there two varieties of oysters: the creuse oyster, which has a clean, briny taste, and the flat ‘Zeeuwse platte’ oyster with its more
Discover Benelux | Gastronomy Feature | Seafood
delicate flavour. Both are best consumed raw with a squeeze of lemon juice or a mignonette sauce made with red wine vinegar and shallots. When grilling your oysters, use the creuse variety as it would be a shame to do this with the milder, flat oysters. And keep it simple: grill them with a knob of butter, just until the edges begin to curl. Oyster season runs from September to April, and they are at their absolute tastiest during the months of October, November and December – a perfect choice for the holidays! A classic wine pairing is a Chablis or a dry Riesling. Champagne, a more luxurious option, is also delicious. Stellendam Prawns With their fleshy bite and mild flavour, prawns from Stellendam are known to be the best of their kind. The prawns thrive off the coast of Stellendam where
the sea bottom is composed of fine, white sand. This influences the colour of the prawns. They are rosy brown and lighter than the ones caught in the Wadden Sea. Some even claim they have a cleaner, less sandy flavour. Enjoy them in a cocktail with a dollop of garlic mayonnaise and few drops of lemon juice, or as a garnish crowning a bowl of asparagus soup. You will need a fresh, fruity white wine that is not heavily oaked and does not compete with the prawn’s delicate flavour. A refreshing Italian Soave would complement them beautifully. Oosterschelde Lobster Often referred to as the ‘Rolls-Royce’ amongst its kind, the Oosterschelde Lobster has a different DNA structure than other lobster. Its meat is sweeter and its taste more refined than the American or Canadian variety. The lobster is
a Slow Food product, a movement protecting edible biodiversity, caught under strict rules and regulations and only between the 1 April and 15 July. It is protected and promoted by the ‘Kring van de Oosterscheldekreeft’ or the ‘Circle of the Oosterschelde Lobster’, formed by 12 restaurants in Zeeland offering special menus during the season, and the promotional foundation ‘Promotie Oosterschelde Kreeft’. If cooking lobster yourself, make sure you purchase it fresh (live) from a reputable fishmonger. Sublime wine choices include elegant Chardonnays from Burgundy such as a Chablis Grand Cru or a Puligny-Montrachet.
Issue 29 | May 2016 | 29
Discover Benelux | Discover Flanders | Cultural Heart of Benelux
Jewish immigrants leave with the Red Star Line (1899) Owned by a private collector and member of the Eugeen Van Mieghem trust
Port rascal (1923) Owned by a private collector and member of the Eugeen Van Mieghem trust
One painting that changed the lives of many In 1982, economist Erwin Joos was unexpectedly struck by a painting. The work, depicting three figures walking closely together in front of a distant harbour, was created by the mysterious Eugeen Van Mieghem. Having never heard of him before, Joos embarked on a journey, delving deeper into the story of this talented and, at the time, entirely overlooked Antwerp artist. TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: VAN MIEGHEM MUSEUM
“The work was so beautiful yet Van Mieghem himself had been totally forgotten. I was so impressed that I decided to find out more,” Joos says. His admiration and enthusiasm for Van Mieghem’s raw, impressionist art resulted in the foundation of the Eugeen Van Mieghem Trust that same year. “This painting truly changed my life; it was the beginning of a passion for me.” Eugeen Van Mieghem grew up in Antwerp’s busy harbour in the late 19th century. His parents owned a tavern which looked out over the docks of the Red Star Line. It was a time of mass immigration and bustling trade, which rapidly transformed Antwerp into Europe’s biggest port. “This greatly influenced Van Mieghem. Much of his early works depict 30 | Issue 29 | May 2016
the hardships of the harbour workers and the scores of immigrants passing through,” Joos says. His numerous drawings, pastels and occasional paintings of the people around him were filled with compassion and authenticity. These realistic and socially engaging works lead Pall Mall to name Van Mieghem ‘artists of the people’ in 1904. However, while this did help his commercial success, personal tragedy also struck him. “His wife and muse Augustine died of tuberculosis in 1905. After this, he didn’t partake in any expositions for five years. It’s known as the ‘silent period’,” Joos explains. The First World War marked a period of renewed activity, as Van Mieghem con-
tinued to depict reality in his characteristic social, journalistic manner. He later became an art teacher at the Antwerp Academy, where he stayed until his death in 1930. “Van Mieghem’s life and work can be divided into several cycles, which is reflected in the Van Mieghem Museum,” says Joos. Joos opened the Van Mieghem Museum in Antwerp in 1993. Currently located in the stunning building of Het Redershuis, it shows a superb collection of the artist’s intriguing works. It is open on Sundays and Mondays and groups can also book a tour out of hours. www.vanmieghemmuseum.com
Discover Benelux | Discover Flanders | Cultural Heart of Benelux
A place where the past meets the present TEXT: ELLA PUT
| PHOTO: ERIK ODIJK & EMILE VAN DORENMUSEUM GENK
In a landscape where the green sights of nature beautifully collide with large industrial sites, an extraordinary art story is being told at the local Emile Van Dorenmuseum, the former house of one of the region’s most impressive painters. A picturesque 19th century villa overlooking the green avenue near the city centre serves as the backdrop for an extraordinary period in art history that is remarkably unknown to the public. The cottage-style mansion was once home to its name giver, Emile van Doren. “He was a painter and member of the School of Genk, an art movement characterised by paintings visualising the striking landscape of the surroundings of Genk,” says curator and Van Doren expert Kristof Reulens. “In the 19th century, Genk was a luxurious getaway for the
international upper classes and its contemporary painters. But this changed when three coal mines were erected in the city – something nature lovers like van Doren didn’t like,” says Reulens. “Although nowadays, with a site like C-mine this industrial heritage is also part of the cultural identity of the city.” In 1956 Van Doren became an eternal local ambassador for the preservation of art and nature when the municipality of Genk inherited the mansion from the painter’s late daughter, Fanny. On behalf of her wishes the manor was turned into a museum with an impressive permanent collection, several exhibitions and a guest house for contemporary artists. “The mansion-turned-museum is the perfect place for visitors to find out more about the unknown history of the region and to connect the historical art with the work of modern-day artists,” says Reulens. Still with its original in-
teriors intact, and full to the brim with art, it feels like a perfect place for past and present to meet. www.emilevandorenmuseum.be
The museum has free admission. Open on Sundays 2pm to 6pm or by appointment.
The world behind a deck of cards TEXT: KOEN GUIKING | PHOTO: NATIONAAL MUSEUM VAN DE SPEELKAART
The smell of ink and lubricant oil immediately gives it away. The historical machines in the National Museum of the Playing Card in Turnhout are still being used regularly. “Twice a month our volunteers demonstrate the process of the printing, coating and cutting of playing cards. During the summer months the machines are operated every Thursday,” says museum director Filip Cremers. “There are only five playing card museums in the world and we are the only one that shows and explains the fabrication process,” he adds. This museum, partly based in a former printing factory, is an ode to Turnhout’s rich graphic design and printing history. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, playing cards have been printed in this Belgian city and exported all over the world. Still, more than half a million sets of playing cards are produced in Turnhout every day.
A beautiful collection of playing cards, in all colours, shapes and sizes, is exhibited permanently and the museum also consistently organises themed expositions. For instance, in April there was an exhibition on advertising on the back of playing cards, which started around 1900. Companies used the popularity of card games to literally become a household name. In May, a set of cards from 1725 with satirical drawings of the Pope will be exhibited. And for 2017 a big exhibition on card tricks has been planned. “Playing cards are very versatile,” says Cremers. “There are countless different card games and take out a deck of cards anywhere and there will likely be someone in the room who knows a trick with them.” www.speelkaartenmuseum.be
Issue 29 | May 2016 | 31
Planographic printing machine
Rotterdam will celebrate 75 years of post-war reconstruction with many festive events and a new land mark. Photos: Press images
Rotterdam celebrates with a new landmark Rotterdam is one of the most vibrant cities in Europe. This year, the city celebrates 75 years of post-war reconstruction with a series of festive and cultural events. TEXT: ROSANNE ROOBEEK | MAIN PHOTO: MVRDV
“Cultural events range from performances to sights and projects and, on 16 May, Mayor Aboutaleb will officially open a new landmark,” reveals project manager Cynthia Soeters. A giant staircase designed by architect Winy Maas will lead visitors from the metro to the roof of the iconic Groot Handelsgebouw. Scheduled until 12 June, the temporary scaffolding installation of 180 steps will be the city’s eye catcher. It serves as a red carpet to the top, where visitors can enjoy a spectacular view across the rebuilt city. “Rotterdam has been under continuous construction since 1940. The scaffolding symbolises the reconstruction stage. It is open and light,” says architect Maas. 32 | Issue 29 | May 2016
The staircase reacts to the diagonal of Rotterdam Central station and thus connects a brand new icon with a historic monument. “Climbing the stairs and taking in the phenomenal view should be given a place in the collective memory of everyone in Rotterdam,” says Anouk Estourgie, programme manager in the city. Equally interesting, the 50th anniversary of concert and congress hall de Doelen will be celebrated with a series of concerts and outdoor programmes. After the bombing of Rotterdam, de Doelen was the first building for leisure to be opened on 18 May 1966. Five decades later, thousands of events have taken place and even more stories are there to be told.
Last but not least, Rotterdam has become the beating heart of contemporary opera and musical theatre. As part of the Operadagen Rotterdam, taking place between 20 and 29 May, Parsifal will be performed. Parsifal is a unique take on Wagner’s opera, incorporating real-life gaming, tap dancing knights, kids’ musicals, pop music and philosophy. This all-round performance engages you to listen, watch, and partake with compassion. These and many more events will celebrate the Rotterdam of today while looking to the city of the future. www.rotterdamcelebratesthecity.com
SPECIAL THEME: BEST MUSEUMS IN BELGIUM & LUXEMBOURG
The Associations of Friends of Museums: an important cultural link Belgium is a country of museums, so it is not surprising that you will find a great deal of Friends of Museum associations. The oldest one was founded in Ghent in 1897 and has given some 500 paintings, sculptures and drawings to the museum in question. TEXT & PHOTOS: FÉDÉRATION DES AMIS DES MUSÉES DE BELGIQUE
All Friends of Museums entities share the same objectives to support museums and contribute to their development, awareness and influence among the general public. This link between a museum and its public makes sense. Friends of museums act on a voluntary basis. Their support may be moral, financial or provided through voluntary work, and they often run the shop of the museum. The Belgian Federation of Friends of Museums gathers some 30 associations: Friends of the Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Mariemont
and Tournai, and also Friends of the Museum of Musical Instruments, the University Museum in Louvain-la-Neuve, the Archaeological Museum in Arlon, the Horta Museum, the Belgian Museum of Freemasonry, the Bibliotheca Wittockiana. The federation’s main purpose is to promote the exchange of experiences and information among the members, among other things through an annual study day. The themes covered include voluntary work, donations and, as of last year, the question: What is the role of the Associations of Friends during financially difficult times?
In the Belgian cultural world, a specificity of the Federation of Friends of Museums is to be national and bilingual in a country where cultural matters very much depend on the communities. It makes the exchanges more interesting. The Belgian federation is a founding member of the World Federation of Friends of Museums, which has the same purpose on an international level: to promote the exchange of experiences, but thanks to networking through associations from all over the world. www.famb-fvmb.be Issue 29 | May 2016 | 33
A passion turned into a museum TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER | PHOTOS: MUSEE ROYAL DE MARIEMONT
For decades Raoul WarocquĂŠ, the last heir of a lineage of coal industrials, collected items relentlessly around topics that interested him. The result is an incredible range of collections, all gathered under the spectacular roof of the Museum of Mariemont, a one of a kind in Wallonia. Founded in the 16th century by Mary of Hungary, the domain of Mariemont used to be the residence of governors from the ancient Belgian provinces and hosted remarkable historical figures such as Charles Quint and Louis XIV. Today, the 45 hectares of the Domaine proudly shelter the most beautiful arboretum of Wallonia and are a great area to relax and connect with nature. In the main building, visitors will discover the legacy of a man passionate about art and civilisations through four floors, divided in thematic areas. The base34 | Issue 29 | May 2016
ment is dedicated to the regional history, mostly dating back to the Merovingian and Gallo-Roman times, with many items found at a nearby archeological site. As for the ground floor, it hosts a room open to the public on very special occasions, where visitors will find the Treasures of Mariemont, a collection of thousands of unique and precious books and texts. The first level is divided into four key areas, each dedicated to a different civilisation: Egyptian, oriental, Greco-Roman and Chinese and Japanese. The new set up allows visitors to appreciate the finest treasures of each of these civilisations and discover the many acquisitions that have completed the collection in recent years. The last floor on the second level hosts the temporary exhibitions of the museum all year round. These last usually
between three and six months and are meant to complement the artefacts on the other levels. This season the major exhibition is titled Gods, Genies & Demons in Ancient Egypt. With more than 200 pieces, it takes the visitor on a journey to learn more beyond popular knowledge of Egyptian gods. This temporary exhibition is completed by two more, titled From Stargate to Comic in Geek Culture which explores how much popular culture still relies on ancient gods. As for Heroes of Clay & Paper, it brings together a world that is biblical and mythological, brought together by Charles van Erck. Wait no more to visit this truly unique museum with your family and enjoy some of the many activities organised all year round, suitable for individuals and groups. www.musee-mariemont.be
Discover Benelux |
Special Theme | Best Museums in Belgium & Luxembourg
From dinosaurs to man: a story of our Earth TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER | PHOTO: RBINS
The Belgian Museum of Natural Sciences offers an extraordinary insight into biodiversity, dinosaurs and a fascinating permanent exhibition called Man and his Predecessors. Enter a world of wonder, where all visitors from young to old will learn something new about our planet and its inhabitants. From humble beginnings as a Cabinet of Natural History back in the 1750s, the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences and its museum stand today as a reference in biodiversity and natural science. Its palaeontology section in particular is famous on an international scale, showcasing a wide selection of skeletons and reconstitutions of dinosaurs in a 3,000-square-metre gallery, the largest one in Europe. Meet the famous Iguanodons of Bernissart, a group
of fossilised skeletons found at 322 metres deep, shiver in front of the majestic t-rex and hear the roar of a virtual parasaurolophus!
In the new permanent Gallery of Humankind – Our Evolution, our body, visitors embark on a journey through seven million years of evolution and 3D reconstitutions, learn about what differentiates us from our predecessors and discover the ins and outs of the human body: its development, its needs and its fight for survival. On top of this, the museum has several rooms and galleries dedicated to evolution, biodiversity in the city, mosasaurs, and much more (in French, Dutch, English and German). The museum is recognised and appreciated for its innovative and modern approach and its educational activities. It is more than a museum, it is a true experience for its visitors. www.naturalsciences.be
Storytelling through powerful images TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER | PHOTOS: MUSEE DE LA PHOTOGRAPHIE & VANDENBERG
The Museum of Photography in Charleroi, centre of contemporary arts of the WalloniaBrussels federation, opened its doors to the public in 1987 in the old convent of Mont-sur-Marchienne. Today, it is one of the most important photography museums in Europe, with a collection of 80,000 photographs - 800 of which are exhibited across 6,000 square me-ters. Discovery. Wonder. Awe. These are what one experiences when seeing the stories portrayed by the skilful photography on display at the museum. A place of memory and life, gathering both Belgian and international works in a coherent timeline where the visitor learns about the history and evolution of photography through time in its many shapes and forms.
The thematic arrangement of the museum’s collection varies between a specific artist’s work or around a certain topic. The temporary exhibitions bring to life contemporary creations, with a great deal of support being given to young talents. Eager to bring the wonder of photography to a younger audience and beyond, the museum culti-vates partnerships with different educational institutions and groups, with the possibility to arrange group visits when requested. Wait no more and let yourself be surprised from Tuesday to Sunday 10-6pm by a photographic variety and complexity rarely found anywhere else. www.museephoto.be
Issue 29 | May 2016 | 35
Photo: Christian Aschman.
Photo: Mudam Publics
Photo: Mudam Publics
Modern art in stunning surroundings TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS
The MUDAM is Luxembourg’s only museum of modern art. “The artwork helps us understand today’s world,” says general director Enrico Lunghi. “It gives us a vision of human capacity and how we currently live.” The stunning building, designed by SinoAmerican architect Ieoh Ming Pei, is set in the remains of Fort Thüngen. Its beautiful grounds are in the midst of Dräi Eechelen park, offering superb views of Luxembourg’s old town. MUDAM’s collection reflects current trends by displaying works from emerging artists. Key expos this year include Vox Populi by Fiona Tan. This is a series of works consisting of hundreds of photographs from family albums of people living in different countries. Tan examines the relationship between personal and joint history, the presence of the past, as well as issues of memory and 36 | Issue 29 | May 2016
identity. Tan’s work can be viewed until 28 August 2016. Lunghi also highlights an installation by American artist Sarah Oppenheimer. “Oppenheimer created this installation especially for MUDAM,” he says. Her work changes the viewer’s perception of the museum, allowing visitors to see the building from new perspectives. This year, MUDAM will celebrate its ten-year anniversary on 2 and 3 July. The museum will stay open from 11am on Saturday to 6pm on Sunday, and there will be a special programme to celebrate the occasion. MUDAM offers something for everyone. With Mudamini, a free membership scheme catering for three to 12-yearolds, it offers storytelling illustrated by art works on show for younger children and guided tours for children aged six and up. Art Freak is a scheme for 13 to
21-year-olds, providing workshops and the chance to discover exhibitions and meet artists. For the museum to remain accessible to everyone is key, insists Lunghi. The most challenging aspect of his work, says the director, is “making decisions for expos which will take place in three years’ time: we are always working well ahead of schedule and have to make a decision today”. The downside, he says, is that he subsequently only sees the results of his work three years later. In terms of art, he has no preferences for particular styles or eras. “I find art beautiful, whether it’s old paintings or contemporary works; I have as much pleasure and interest in both.” Please consult the website for opening times, group visits and tour schedules. www.mudam.lu
Discover Benelux |
Special Theme | Best Museums in Belgium & Luxembourg
A museum of artisanal treasures TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS | PHOTOS: MUSEE RURAL ET ARTISANAL
The Rural and Artisanal Museum of Luxembourg showcases the abundant and varied country life of centuries gone by. This fascinating museum is set on a large farm from 1849, showcasing a range of restored and functional agricultural machines as well as providing information on plows, sowing and harvesting techniques. The house has been set up to demonstrate the art of old techniques, with numerous workshops providing an overview of the work of ancient craftsmen. A farmer’s garden showcases previously used vegetables, plants, spices and medicinal herbs. Percy Lallemang, the museum’s director, likens visiting to “entering a time machine”. “Older people relive their childhood, and younger generations explore aspects of daily life in the 19th and early 20th centuries,” he
says. Adjacent is the Carriage Museum with 30 horse-drawn carriages including six from the Grand Ducal court, and accessories including head gear, lanterns and travel utensils. Visitors explore carriage building and the evolution of horse-drawn vehicles. Another key attraction is the Museum of Ancient Metallurgy, with a replica blacksmith’s workshop and replications of findings from one of Europe’s largest medieval forges, discovered in Luxembourg. The museum has a wealth of objects dating from the Middle Ages, including axes and pans. If you have an occasion to celebrate, why not spend it in a historic milieu? A room for hire is located on the first floor of the Rural and Artisanal Museum. For 75 euros you get an atmospheric room that accommodates 60 people. On 21 and 22 May, all the museums offer free entry. Guided tours are available.
Please consult the website for other opening dates, times and admission fees. www.musee-rural.lu
Fine arts in a contemporary setting TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS | PHOTOS: MC DELDICQUE
The Mons Museum of Fine Arts, known as BAM, is in a prime location in central Mons, adjacent to the main square. “BAM was built as a window onto the city,” says head of Mons’ museum hub, Xavier Roland. The contemporary building has a beautifully lit entrance hall and offers magnificent city panoramas. Now over 100 years old, BAM was renovated in 2007. It hosts exhibitions of an international scale, with 2,000 square metres of exhibition space. BAM is currently showing Premiers Videastes, an exhibition of American videographers Terry Fox and Bill Viola, which can be viewed until 12 June. Roland explains: “It focuses on the history of the first videos, made in the 1970s.” Fox used video as a medium to archive and record, while Viola’s films are entirely immersive, and viewers experience strong emotions when watching them. From
24 September 2016 to 29 January 2017, BAM will host an exhibition of the works of renowned contemporary French artist Gérard Garouste. Garouste draws on religious texts as well as works by Dante and Cervantes, portraying idealism in Christianity among other themes. For Roland, a key aspect of his work is “putting on exhibitions that are truly relevant to people today”, so that perhaps visitors leave the museum with a slightly different world view. He also ensures that there are activities such as workshops and discussions for all ages and groups, including families and children. For opening times and guided tours, please consult the website. www.bam.mons.be
Issue 29 | May 2016 | 37
Belgium’s most visited museum, and in the world’s top 100 most visited. 760,000 visitors in 2015. 50,000 m2 of which 15,000 m2 is exhibition space 20,000 works of art on display including 230 by Magritte.
The Six Museums 1. Fin-de-Siècle – the artistic and artisan 1868 – 1914 2. Old Masters 3. Modern 4. Magritte 5. Meunier – dedicated to Belgian artist Constantin Meunier 6. Wiertz – the multi-disciplinary artist Antoine Wiertz
Art and innovation TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTOS: DANIEL PIAGGIO STRANDLUND & ILAN WEISS
Externally, the main building of Brussels’ Royal Museums of Fine Arts is as imposing as you would expect. But do not expect old-fashioned silent rooms and endless rows of artworks inside, or at its other locations. “Our mission is to serve and respect all sections of society, bringing together research, economic development, and creativity – and definitely not forgetting pleasure!” says Isabelle Vanhoonacker, one of the museums’ directors. “We’ve evolved responses that cater to children, adults, the disadvantaged or disabled, Belgian and foreign alike... but also encompass social and technological change. We’re striving to make the museums a fascinating environment where knowledge is passed on, participation and creativity are nurtured, and
38 | Issue 29 | May 2016
culture is a common right.” Their Musée sur Mesure initiative exemplifies that philosophy. One of its programmes has experts assisting the visually impaired with audio guides, igniting their imaginations; there is even a tactile tour to actually feel how sculptural styles evolved. “The museum needs to be more of a place to explore the future than some melancholy repository of bygone days. Every project we undertake must reflect this creation of our contemporary identities, whilst preserving our ability to dream,” she adds. Under the Beaux Arts umbrella are six component museums in four locations, including since 2009 a building housing the world’s finest collection of Magritte’s works – and more: “It’s a multidisciplinary
mindset, so alongside the paintings we have archives, letters, films even that open up his world,” says Vanhoonacker. Even displaying Old Masters is being approached from new angles. With the 500th anniversary of Bruegel the Elder’s death upcoming in 2019, along with the museum’s own pieces a collaboration with the Google Cultural Institute has brought in 12 superb examples from around the world – virtually: “They’re fragile, and incredibly expensive to insure for transport, so our director approached Google and this is the digitised result – you can get close enough to see the brushwork - without security issues!” www.fine-arts-museum.be
Discover Benelux |
Special Theme | Best Museums in Belgium & Luxembourg
A tasty tour TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTOS: BOFFERDING BREWERY
Luxembourg’s Bofferding Brewery wants visitors to understand the traditions and values that make their beers special, before enjoying a glass or two. It is not just the high-quality malt, hops, yeast and the brewery’s own water source that make Bofferding’s beers. There is also 250 years of experience: “This is a family business, on its eleventh generation,” explains marketing manager Christian Theis. “A modern facility but backed by core values developed over centuries, with a belief in quality; maintaining traditional brewing and maturation processes; and proximity to our clients. We use materials sourced regionally and predominantly supply our customers directly.” Visitors are guided through the brewing process from the arrival of the ingredients to the traditional six-week maturation and bottling:
“It’s vital to us to communicate that our beers are 100 per cent natural without preservatives or additives to speed things up,” says Theis. Multi-media presentations convey the message to eyes and ears; but visitors can also touch the malt, smell the hops, and taste the water and even the beer in its early stages. They save the best for last. “The tour price includes a full tasting of our Bofferding and Battin brand beers in the restaurant attached to the brewery,” he adds: “Most visitors build in a meal there after their tour. The dishes tend to be traditional Luxembourg specialities that
use or complement our beers. And the restaurant is decorated with old brewing equipment, so even that’s informative!” Hands-on learning, great beer and a meal that complements it. If only all education was like this. www.bofferding.lu
Escape to the good old days TEXT: SONJA IRANI
| PHOTOS: MUSEUM BINSFELD
Immerse yourself in the past, present and future of country living at this unique museum located in the beautifully versatile mountain region of Ardennes. In May 2015, the Museum Binsfeld, whose oldest farmhouse dates back to the 16th century, was re-opened after a major makeover. It now showcases the history of the region across 21 rooms covering 50 themes and many different languages through information boards and guided group tours. “The themes not only include the life of the peasants, but also crafts, education, health and many other issues related to rural life here,” explains Fred Huet, president of the Binsfeld – Holler – Breidfeld Association. “In many of our themes, we also incorporate a link to the modern day, which is why our museum is an interesting place to visit for young and old alike. “This year, we’re going
one step further. In addition to past and present, there is a special emphasis on the future too. In co-operation with youth groups, we’re currently working on a project looking at how the future of countryside living might look,” adds Huet. If you would like to completely immerse yourself in good old country living, the Museum also offers 24 beds in a youth hostel located in one of the farmhouses. “This facility is very popular with our visitors,” says Huet. “In 2015, we received the first prize from booking.com for our outstanding achievements in terms of friendliness and cleanliness.” www.museebinsfeld.lu www.ardennes.lu
Issue 29 | May 2016 | 39
Discover Benelux |
Special Theme | Best Museums in Belgium & Luxembourg
A museum with many strings to its bow TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTO: MIM
The Musical Instruments Museum (MIM) in Brussels offers astounding collections in a beautiful setting. “People often enter the museum just because they’re attracted by the building,” says Jo Santy, MIM’s head of public services: “We’re surrounded by uniformly severe neo-classical facades, then there’s this art nouveau outburst.” The museum originally provided educational resources to students at the Brussels conservatory, which explains its approach to collecting. “We have families of instruments, we try for richness, completeness and diversity across cultures rather than spending funds on so-called masterpieces often revealed later as fakes!” says Santy: “That means any visitor - tourist, child, music lover or even musicologist – will discover new things here.” MIM’s recently opened keyboard gallery holds many such surprises, but then so does every other collection, not least the folk in-
struments from around the world. In total there are some 9,000 instruments in its care, with 1,200 currently displayed. Tourists account for 80 per cent of MIM’s 150,000 visitors a year, so there’s plenty to grab their attention, including a real luthier’s workshop, a shop, a restaurant with magnificent views over the city, recordings of the instruments, and concerts several times per week. But MIM is also a place of scholarship: “These instruments have had a life of expression in the hands of artists,” concludes Santy. “Now they’re objects of study in the hands of scientists.” www.mim.be
A villa of artistic delights TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS | PHOTO: C. ASCHMAN
Villa Vauban is a 19th century urban villa set in the heart of Luxembourg. It was designed to reflect its impressive set of paintings, acquired by wealthy individuals in the 18th and 19th centuries. The striking building combines a contemporary extension with a classical structure, and it is located within the grounds of a beautiful municipal park. The main current exhibition is Five Senses in Painting. It encompasses paintings and printed graphics of the 17th through to the 19th century. Many of the works are on loan from around 20 European museums, such as Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza. They include masterpieces by Van Aldewereld, Jan Brueghel the Younger, Jan Davidsz. de Heem and Jan Jacobsz. Molenaer, among others. From 14 May until 5 March 2017, Villa Vauban will exhibit Depictions of a Serene World, a collection of paintings from the European 40 | Issue 29 | May 2016
Romantic period. Boris Fuge, head of press and public relations, explains: “This exhibition will showcase painters from France, Germany, Belgium and Netherlands, demonstrating their different approaches. It reflects the post-revolutionary period and the idealised rapport amongst humans. It is a very agreeable subject, and viewers will be able to rediscover the spirit of 19th century bourgeoisie.” As part of the Five Senses in Painting exhibit, Villa Vauban also offers nine ‘experience stations’ to help visitors learn about optical effects. “They allow people to afterwards experience the paintings from a new perspective,” says Fuge. Please check the website for opening dates, group visits and guided tours. www.villavauban.lu Right: Guillaume Bodinier Young Neapolitans (Girls from Procida), 1835. Part of the Depictions of a Serene World exhibition.
19 8 6 - 2016
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
RENAULT ALPINE STORY 16/07/2016 > 04/09/2016
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Issue 29 | May 2016 | 41
Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Halina Reijn
No more going solo She is one of the Netherlands’ most talented actresses. She has graced the stage all over the world, has an incredible list of Dutch film and television productions to her name, and even appeared alongside Tom Cruise in Valkyrie in 2008. Having turned 40 last year, the moment has come for Halina Reijn to reflect on her life as she tries to overcome personal challenges and start a new business venture. TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTO: JANEY VAN IERLAND
Reijn is not one to sit still. She recently finished touring Asia for a solo theatre production, while simultaneously shooting a film, publishing a book and starting a company. “My days are very full and very varied,” she says, adding that there is no such as thing as an ‘average day’ for her. “I called off a movie that I was 42 | Issue 29 | May 2016
meant to do so now I have a little more space, because I was really was at my wits end.” Standing strong on stage Reijn has a flourishing career on the silver screen, but her favourite place is without a doubt the theatre. Original-
ly from Groningen, she studied at the Maastricht Academy of Dramatic Arts where her talent was quickly recognised. She joined a theatre company before she even finished her course and moved to Amsterdam. In 1998 she won a Columbina award, naming her the best stage actress in a supporting role. Four
Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Halina Reijn
years later, at 27, she joined classical theatre company Toneelgroep Amsterdam, where she has worked ever since. Reijn explains how she views the difference between stage and film acting. “Al Pacino once said: ‘Doing stage is like walking on a tight rope high in the air without a safety net, while doing movies is like walking on a line drawn on the floor’.” It is very much this intensity of stage acting that she finds satisfying, whereas in film you tend to play a much smaller part. “A lot is decided in the edit,” she says. “Theatre is much more straight forward and it’s really about the live experience, you have more influence on what happens.” With Toneelgroep she has played in numerous well-known productions including works by Shakespeare, Chekhov and Ibsen. In 2013 her starring role in Nora gained her the Theo D’Or award for best Dutch stage actress. “These are pieces that have proved themselves for
hundreds of years, so the scripts are really good. And with film, that is less obvious. You’ll rarely find a part as complex as for example Hedda Gabler; you only find that on stage in the Netherlands.” She admits that occasionally this affects her work on a set, although she will always find a way to push through and give the film her best. “Very often, when I am on a film set, I wonder: what I am doing here. I find it much less intense than theatre,” she says, “Sometimes, I really think; guys, seriously, what are we doing? Like when you have a really bad script. I just find that film in the Netherlands in general is a little clunky and unimaginative. While the level of theatre, globally, the Netherlands is right at the top.” Experience through repetition It is clear that Reijn has a strong passion for her work, but she also recognises there are downsides to it. “It’s just as
two-sided as for a professional athlete, you have to give up a lot; you completely hand yourself over to the director, so it’s not all just fun and games.” One of the things she struggles with is theatre’s repetitive nature. Reijn has been playing her most recent production, the monologue La Voix Humaine, for over seven years now. But she also finds that this experience helps her. “As I am getting older, I also notice that I play the part better. And that is really cool to see, that you’re more relaxed.” La Voix Humaine is a solo play written by Jean Cocteau in 1930. It shows the final phone conversation between a husband and a wife who recently split up. “The monologue is about heartache and, because of that, it is really interesting to see that you can take your personal development along in a part like this. As if every time you have a different man on the other side of the phone.” Issue 29 | May 2016 | 43
Nijgh & Van Ditmar
LO OS Halina Reijn E E N T R A G E D I E I N D R I E B E D R IJ V E N 44 | Issue 29 | May 2016
Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Halina Reijn
A childhood dream come true Reijn is currently wrapping up the Dutch musical film De Zevende Hemel, directed by Job Gosschalk. Back when Reijn was still at acting school it was Gosschalk who discovered her while he was working as a casting director. So she finds it really special to be working with him again. “He has really been my mentor. He made me big and has more or less decided all my early career choices.” The film, released in the Netherlands in November, follows a Dutch-Italian family who run a restaurant. As the parents want to hand over the business to their children, a whole array of problems get in the way. “It is a type of family drama, and all kinds of things happen whereby everyone is pitted against each other. And the original thing about it is that people sing in it.” It was in fact her attraction to musicals that made Reijn want to become an actress in the first place. She says: “I wanted to be Annie, from the film Annie. I thought that would be my ultimate occupation. So I think it’s quite funny that now, at 40, that’s what I’ve ended up doing.” While Reijn has singing experience thanks her acting course, she has hardly ever put her talent to use since. She confesses being terrified of singing on set, but also was rather sceptical about the concept to begin with. “When I heard about it, I thought, that is ridiculous,” she says. “I just came back from Italy where we had our final filming days, but they had already finished a whole part. And strangely enough, it really works. It’s a kind of melodrama, with that Italian flair as they suddenly erupt. And they are all Dutch songs that will be familiar to most people.” Women in the spotlight Being an active writer of both books and for various print media, Reijn is not unfamiliar with branching out into different fields. Recently she even set up her own film production company, or “ideas fac-
tory” as she likes to call it, together with her best friend and fellow actress Carice van Houten. While starting the company, called Man Up, Reijn and Van Houten were very much inspired by actresses such as Meryl Streep, Drew Barrymore, Lena Dunham and Reese Witherspoon. Reijn explains: “These are all women who co-produce or finance all kinds of films in America or buy the rights of books. And for us, because we gained so much experience so early on, we also quickly hit a sort of glass ceiling of what we can achieve. We just really felt like using that experience to start creating something. And I think anyone who approaches 40 will recognise this, even if you are a plumber. You just want to be standing at the cradle of things more, make your own plan and not just work on the behalf of others.” One of the themes Reijn feels really strongly about is telling stories from a female perspective. As the film industry is still very much the domain of men, the name ‘Man Up’ is also bit of a jest to themselves: either you can complain about a situation or try and do something about it. Reijn: “It’s not like we will make movies about angry women in overalls stabbing down men, not at all. I think we are just really searching for what drives women, how are we put together and why are we such weird, complicated beings. And there are all kinds of stories that flow from these questions.” Opening up about vulnerabilities This month, Reijn is also releasing her latest book Loos. It is the result of a column she wrote a year ago about women being involuntarily childless. Reijn: “There are so many expectations of women, and that is what the book is about for me, but with a lot of humour. I just write about everything that I do and encounter, with – people will hopefully see – a lot of self-deprecation.” Reijn was inspired to write the initial column when De Morgen, a Belgian newspaper, dedicated that day’s issue to the theme of women being involuntarily without children. “That really
struck me, and I wrote a kind of reaction on that.” While Reijn had always been very honest and open in her writing, it was rarely picked up by the media abroad. This time it did, and it unleashed a real media storm in the following months. “I was quite shocked by it. Had I known this in advance, I don’t know if I would have done it like this. Because I instantly became the designated ambassador of childless women, and that was never my intention. I am just an actress.” While she laughs about the fact, she understands it is a little dubious to complain about the attention. She is also glad that she could be someone people could connect with. “Of course, it is really great that apparently you struck a chord because the reactions were so strong. Apparently it is a massive, growing group who are stuck with this problem,” she comments. “But yes, it was quite intense to walk along the streets knowing that everyone knows this about you.” But Reijn has definitely not given up hope of finding love and having children. “Not at all. It is just that, really early on, I began considering the option that it might not happen,” she says. “It goes against the standard image of being an independent woman who is super successful and doesn’t need anything. I try to be vulnerable by saying; it just really sucks.” One of the reasons she would like to start a family is connected to her drive to start the production company: it is about wanting to create and convey something. “I feel like I’ve received so much, so it is a drive to let go of your ego and start giving to others,” she says, “I think it would be really great, really hard as well, but really fulfilling.”
Loos is available from 18 May in the Netherlands. Issue 29 | May 2016 | 45
Photo: David Laurent
CITY SPECIAL: LUXEMBOURG CITY
Multiculturalism and high quality of life in a small capital city With a surface of 51.73 square metres, the city of Luxembourg is a small capital located in the heart of Europe. People of more than 160 different nationalities live and work together, making Luxembourg City one of the most multicultural capitals in the world. Due to its high quality of life, the population has grown continuously over the last few decades and has now exceeded 110,000. TEXT: LA VILLE DE LUXEMBOURG
Luxembourg City has a great deal to offer: an open-minded and relaxed atmosphere, over 1,000 hectares of forests, a rich cultural programme, sports activities for children, adults and senior citizens. It is a place where history and modernity meet. On the one hand, the fortifications, the casemates and the old town are part of the UNESCO World Heritage and create, along with ample local traditions, the unique charm of the city. On the other hand, the city of Luxembourg is a leading 46 | Issue 29 | May 2016
financial centre and home to several EU institutions as well as many technologybased industries. It has excellent connections to other European cities and the neighbouring countries Germany, Belgium and France, and attracts thousands of commuters every day. In order to increase its attractiveness, the capital is investing in urban and sustainable development: living and commerce, services and leisure facilities are
created with the Royal-Hamilius and Ban de Gasperich projects. The introduction of the tramway, combined with a public bicycle rental system and an expanding car sharing offer, prepares Luxembourg City for the future. The best way to discover the multiplicity of this extraordinary place is to visit it. Let yourself be surprised!
Discover Benelux | City Special |
Photo: Christian Aschman
Photo: David Laurent
Photo: David Laurent
Photo: Ville De Luxembourg
Issue 29 | May 2016 | 47
Charming UNESCO World Heritage fortress and cultural hotspot TEXT: LUXEMBOURG CITY TOURIST OFFICE | PHOTOS: CATHY GIORGETTI
Luxembourg invites you to take an exciting journey into the past. The unique legacy hewn in stone on fortified towers, bastions and ramparts still defines the view of the city today. Plunge into the ancient history of the former fortress city, which was once vaunted as the Gibraltar of the North. Here fortress architects from Burgundy, Spain, France, Austria and Prussia built and made Luxembourg into a real European stronghold. Since then, Ancien Régime Luxembourg has thus been a hub for different nationalities which laid the foundations for the multicultural nature of the future capital city of the Grand Duchy. Since 1994 the massive bulwarks, as well as the equally steeped in history old town, have belonged to the UNESCO World Heritage for mankind. 48 | Issue 29 | May 2016
The walk through the mythical and seemingly subterranean fortifications of the casemates or the view from the ‘most beautiful balcony in Europe’ will fascinate you too. The subterranean fortifications of the casemates on the massive supporting rock, the birth place of the city of Luxembourg, are all included in the highlights of any visit. Besides old stones, Luxembourg is also known for being an icon of contemporary art, boasting seven museums. Together with Brussels and Strasbourg, Luxembourg is one of the three official main cities of the European Union and the seat of many European institutions whose futuristic architecture points Europe’s way to the future. Nature lovers will be happy to stroll around the generous parks, as a third of the city consists of green areas. And in
summer, the Luxembourg City Tourist Office is, alongside its tourist focus, the event organiser for the much-visited animations and concerts. The summer campaign, Summer in the City, presents visitors to the city of Luxembourg with the agony of choice.
FOR INFORMATION, GUIDED TOURS AND ASSISTANCE, PLEASE CONTACT: Luxembourg City Tourist Office 30, place Guillaume II L – 1648 Luxembourg Open 7/7 Tel+ +352 222809 www.lcto
la qualité avant tout
L’ O S T E R I A
12-14 Place Guillaume II L-1648 Luxembourg
8 Place Guillaume II L-1648 Luxembourg
www.brasserieguillaume.lu Tél. : 26 20 20 20
www.losteria.lu Tél. : 27 47 81 25 Issue 29 | May 2016 | 49
The art world turns its eyes towards Luxembourg TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTOS: DAVID LAURENT
Only a year after it opened its doors, the Zidoun-Bossuyt Gallery in Luxembourg City is about to present a groundbreaking exhibition of international significance. When Audrey Bossuyt is asked about her partnership with Nordine Zidoun, she struggles to define who does what in their jointly owned gallery: “We don’t have set roles,” she explains. “We have our particular strengths and different areas of expertise, but we make decisions together, it’s fluid and collaborative.” A brief glance at their beautiful gallery shows that it is clearly working. The business partners, he French and she Belgian, met seven years ago via his Luxembourg gallery. After working on some projects together they joined forc50 | Issue 29 | May 2016
es in 2013, and a year ago opened their superb new gallery in the rue Saint-Ulric in Luxembourg City’s Bohemian Grund district. “It was amazing to find such a space available in Luxembourg City – 400 square metres – and in the Grund, which is a very creative, artistic area. And it’s a building with soul,” says Bossuyt. The right building in the right area They spent a considerable time searching the city for the right place to establish the gallery, but when they saw the rue Saint-Ulric property they knew it was the one. It then took two years to gut and refurbish the space, choosing the noted Luxembourg-based architect Stefano Moreno to handle the project. The results are spectacular: Moreno maximised natural light from the front and rear of the old structure, light that bounces off pre-
dominantly white walls and near-white marble flooring to help illuminate the art within; but he retained some of the old wooden ceilings supported by iron beams to maintain the links with its history and locale. It is at once rooted and solid, and stylishly contemporary. “The dimensions of these rooms allow us to showcase large-scale artworks without crowding them or the viewer,” says Bossuyt, a quality that was seen to superb effect in the opening exhibition of pieces by American artist Luca Dellaverson in April 2015. Their dream exhibition Just a year on and Zidoun and Bossuyt are about to hold a major exhibition, one of great significance in the European Art Scene. “Nordine’s original gallery fo-
Discover Benelux | City Special | Luxembourg City
cussed on Afro-American Art, and that is still the major area that we are involved in now, so it’s fantastic for us to be able to show 20 works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, probably the most important Afro-American visual artist ever.” The pieces have been assembled from private collections in Luxembourg, Belgium and France, with considerable support from three Luxembourg sponsors, ATOZ, SGG, and AXA ART. The pair had long contemplated the idea, so after deciding to go ahead it took them less than a year to arrange: “It’s a dream for us – Basquiat is Nordine Zidoun’s favourite artist – and it has worked like a dream,
it came together really quickly, people have been hugely helpful,” says Bossuyt.
country - takes its role as a centre of contemporary art very seriously indeed.
Another supporter of the exhibition is no less than Luxembourg’s prime minister and minister of culture, Xavier Bettel, who is one of its patrons: “That’s one of the beauties of Luxembourg,” says Bossuyt, “there’s relatively easy access to even the prime minister here who, when contacted, was very enthusiastic about the idea of such an exhibition – he likes Basquiat’s work.” The fact that the other patron is the mayor of Luxembourg City, Lydie Polfer, underlines not just that it is a groundbreaking event, but that Luxembourg – the city and the
As to the exhibition itself, the pieces selected provide a perspective on Basquiat’s prolific but all-too short career from his beginnings as a serious artist in the early 1980s, via his collaboration with Andy Warhol, through to his tragically early death from a heroin overdose aged just 27. “We think it will be an event that leaves its mark on the gallery, but also on art in the Grand-Duchy as a whole,” she concludes. www.zidoun-bossuyt.com
Jean-Michel Basquiat Untitled, 1984 Oilstick on paper Private collection © The estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat / ADAGP, Paris 2016
JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT/EXHIBITION: Born 22 December 1960, died 12 August 1988. Arguably the most significant Afro-American visual artist of the 20th century. Gallery spaces - Photo @ David Laurent
Began as a graffiti artist. Collaborations with Warhol and Bowie. In 2013 Christie’s New York sold Basquiat’s 1982 Dustheads for $48.8 million (€ 43.1 million). Another 1982 piece Philistines sold privately in Qatar in 2014 reportedly for over $90 million. Exhibition at the Zidoun-Bossuyt Gallery of 20 original Basquiat works.
Jean-Michel Basquiat & Andy Warhol Collaboration No.19, 1984-1985 Acrylic, oilstick and synthetic polymer on canvas Private collection © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / ADAGP, Paris 2016 © The estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat / ADAGP, Paris 2016.
4 May to 4 June, Tuesday to Saturday 11:00 to 17:00. Issue 29 | May 2016 | 51
Getting away at an affordable price TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER | PHOTOS: NOVOTEL SUITES
The Novotel Suites opened its doors in July 2010 and has since then stood out thanks to the quality of its service, its facilities and the friendliness of the staff. Discover a hotel that attends to all your needs, whether on a business or family trip. As part of the network of Novotel Suites and the bigger umbrella of the Novotel family, the quality standards and pleasant experience are put at the heart of this hotel, located in the Grand DuchĂŠ. A home away from home Ideal for both short and long-term stays, guests can rent one of the luminous 30-square-metre suites with their own small kitchen equipped with a refrigerator and microwave, allowing for the free52 | Issue 29 | May 2016
dom to cook basic meals if they so wish. The living room is furnished with modern design, separated from the bed by a thick curtain. As for the bathroom, it comes equipped with a shower and bath with certified organic toiletry products.
close to the European institutions in the business quarter of Kirchberg, the Novotel Suites has the advantage of easy access for both business clients and leisure visitors.
This innovative setting with comfort and space combined makes the perfect pick for a comfortable mid-term stay. In addition to these facilities, guests can access a range of services such as unlimited phone calls within Luxembourg, internet, Wi-Fi and television.
When not using the city cars, guests can take a bus leaving a stop a mere five-minute walk away. Highlights in the nearby area include the city centre with all its boutiques, bars and restaurants, as well as the Museum Mudam, the Philharmonics concert hall and of course the Grund quarters by the Alzette river.
A great way to explore the city Moreover, guests staying for four nights or more get access to a city car free of charge to roam around the city for up to four hours a day on request. Located
A range of high-quality services Not only does the Novotel Suites provide all the comforts related to a pleasant stay with access to the key landmarks of Luxembourg City, it also makes sure
Discover Benelux | City Special | Luxembourg City
that guests can make the most out of the facilities available within its doors. These include for instance a large breakfast buffet for a good start to the day, featuring hot and cold high-quality dishes catering to everyone’s tastes and needs; vegetarian, gluten-free and lactose-free options are available. In addition, the Boutique Gourmande provides a range of delicious cooked meals, dairy products and snacks around the clock. These can be enjoyed on the large outdoor terrace, where guests can relax and enjoy the spring sun. The hotel also offers a range of services in wellness and fitness, with ‘amma-assis’ massages every Thursday evening from 7.30pm until 9.30pm for a well-deserved relaxation break. The well-equipped fitness room will please the more active guests looking to break a sweat between meetings in town or as an end-of-day detoxifying routine.
Emphasising sustainability and responsibility Aware of the environmental impact of a hotel of such dimensions, the Novotel Suites follows strict guidelines to position itself as an eco-friendly option. This entails relying solely on organic, sustainable toiletries, serving fresh and local produce, and applying strict recycling rules to its waste.
friendly staff make sure to accommodate every guest’s needs and desires, so do not hesitate to ask at reception for whatever you might need.
Partnering with Planet 21, the hotel puts special emphasis on remaining accountable for the seven key pillars of sustainability: health, nature, carbon footprint, innovation, local products, employment and dialogue.
All in all, the Novotel Suites is a perfect home away from home with bookings available online and through the hotel’s website.
As for upcoming events in the diary, the Novotel Suites is proud to be on the circuit of the ING marathon taking place on 28 May, with departure and arrival in front of Luxexpo in Kirchberg.
A perfect stay for all Welcoming guests on business trips as well as families, the Novotel Suites make sure that children under 16 who travel with their parents are not charged any extras for breakfast or the room. The
Issue 29 | May 2016 | 53
Discover Benelux | City Special | Luxembourg City
The burger specialist in town TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER | PHOTOS: SNOOZE
A meeting spot unique in Luxembourg, the restaurant and bar Snooze stands out with its offering of tasty burgers, a conveniently central location and the authentic atmosphere of a sports bar with a touch of class. Located on the Philippe II street at the heart of the Grand Duché, Snooze enjoys a prime location next to the big names of fashion and offers a cosy warm atmosphere to its loyal customers. With a menu of 25 different burgers with six different side dish combinations, the breadth of choice is what makes locals come back time and time again. “Plus, our breads are fresh from the morning, specially made by a local baker, which means that our burgers are limited editions - when we run out, we run out!” says co-founder Paul Mreches.
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Through a collaboration with an international designer, the team at Snooze created an atmosphere spread over two floors that is welcoming, laid back and ideal to enjoy an after-work drink and a burger or watch different sports events on the wide screen. With a large selection of gourmet burgers made with fresh produce, customers can take their pick between beef, chicken, crab, salmon but also vegetarian options. Complete that with one of the 40 local and international beer brands on offer in the menu and you are set for a great meal! Bookings and reservations can be completed through the bar’s website. www.snooze.pub
Discover Benelux | Zeeland Special | Introduction
Glorious island hopping filled with culture and relaxation In the southwest of the Netherlands, in the westernmost province, you will find adventurous Zeeland. It consists of a number of islands and peninsulas and houses around 380,000 inhabitants. TEXT: METTE HINDKJÆR MADSEN | PHOTOS: NBTC NETHERLANDS BOARD OF TOURISM & CONVENTIONS
As well as its profound historical roots, the overwhelming selection of incredible and pictur-esque beaches makes the islands of Zeeland quite the attraction. In the summertime the population of some areas may even be up to four times higher, because who can say no to a paradise like this? Historic findings Aardenburg is the oldest city in the province, having been inhabited since the Stone Age. It was a popular place to settle down because of its advantageous location, good fishing waters and fertile soil – which also, unfortunately, made it an enviable place and popular amongst invaders. Over centuries it has been occupied and ravaged by foreign intruders, such as the Romans and the Vikings. Even today, remains can be found from defence systems against the many attacks over time. The battle against the sea in particular is one that has shaped Zeeland, quite literally. Coves, potholes and ancient dikes are proof of how much of the province once belonged to the sea. It also shaped the
industry of Zeeland in the form of maritime trade that made for a flourish-ing economy and culture, especially in the 17th and 18th centuries. You will find well-preserved historical buildings from Zeeland’s Golden Age on your discoveries. Booming nature scene Polders, dikes, beaches, dunes, seas, lakes, forests, creeks, rivers, mud flats, islands, salt marshes and much, much more: the amount of breathtaking nature in this corner of the Netherlands is simply unbelievable. Enjoy wide, clean, easily accessible sandy beaches, an isolated cove where you can let the sound of the surf wash right over you, or a busy beach with an excellent choice of sporting activities. Soak up the sun with a good book, splash through the salty waves until your fingers take on a prune-like appearance and take in the sunset while lounging at a beach club. Zee-land has it all.
Whether you are feeding your lust for the outdoors in an active or thoroughly relaxing way, or itching to dig into some historic exploring, you will find exactly what you are looking for and then some. The islands of Zeeland host some of Europe’s best spots for taking in the sun, surfing the waves and nature outings by bike. Look for example to Zeeuws-vlaanderen and Walcheren for a special piece of history or to Zuid-Beveland for eye-catching nature, and swim the day away around the islands of Sint Philipsland and Tholen, Noord-Beveland and Goeree-Overflakkee. This special theme will guide through the go-to spots for the ultimate island experience. Be prepared for your swimsuit to crawl out of your closet and into your suitcase; you will be itching to commence your island hopping in no time.
Sunbathing, biking and swimming With multiple amazing islands at your disposal you can hop your way through Zeeland one have-it-all holiday at a time. Issue 29 | May 2016 | 55
History, cycling and Michelin-star treats The perfect mix of beautiful coastline and beautiful beaches, quiet agricultural countryside and a variety of towns and bustling villages, for those keen on eating out and a vibrant nightlife, make Walcheren everything you need for a wonderful holiday to suit any mood. Museums, attractions and historic buildings will keep you busy, but of course there is no better time and place than a holiday by the sea and countryside to kick back and relax. TEXT: METTE HINDKJÆR MADSEN
The island of contrasts, Zeeuws-vlaanderen, boasts historic towns filled with culture and tradition, complemented by the exuberant sea and beach activities. The busy harbours provide you with an experience of 56 | Issue 29 | May 2016
the region’s maritime history, merging with today’s modern way of living. For the true Dutch experience, you can grab a bike to explore the region through dikes, country lanes and cycling lanes to discover pol-
ders, impressive trees, old pollard-willows and hidden streams. If you are a food lover, this place is your haven. Several Michelin-star restaurants and the local specialty, mussels, are found on the island.
Discover Benelux | The Best of Zeeland | Zeeuws-Vlaanderen
A fun break for the family TEXT: ELLA PUT | PHOTOS: DE 5 WEEGHEN
Restaurant De 5 Weeghen in the charming Dutch province of Zeeland combines the best of two worlds. Located in a calm environment near the sea, parents and the elderly can enjoy a nice and relaxed meal while the kids play in one of the many play sets surrounding the restaurant. Just a stone’s throw away from the shore, guests can enjoy delicious seasonal dishes from a diverse menu in the recently renovated restaurant. Whether you choose the regional delicacy of Zeeland mussels or a tradition-
ally made Dutch pancake in one of several different portion sizes, one thing is certain: everything is made and served with love. It is not just the food that makes this place special; it is the friendly and warm service that more than anything marks De 5 Weeghen as a lovely place to visit and, most of all, return
to. “Good food can be found in almost any restaurant,” says Barbara Suurmond, owner of De 5 Weeghen. “But a warm-hearted team that offers splendid service can really make a big difference. Restaurant de 5 Weeghen wishes to emphasise great hospitality for young and old.” Furthermore, the whole menu is available throughout the day – an exceptional treat for those with an unpredictable appetite. “Guests can have a hot meal during lunch, but also choose one of our smaller meals such as a salad or a small pancake during dinner,” Suurmond explains. “It’s all part of the relaxed and friendly atmosphere at restaurant De 5 Weeghen.” www.de5weeghen.nl
Four generations of foodies TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK
| PHOTOS: DE FIJNPROEVER
Restaurant De Fijnproever started out as a simple village pub and a place to meet fishermen and merchants. Now it is a thriving mussel restaurant in Philippine, in the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands. The restaurant is a true family business, with four generations making De Fijnproever what it is today. It was founded in 1907, back then named Au Port because it was located next to a harbour, but when the port gradually disappeared the name of the restaurant changed to De Fijnproever. In 1922, it became a simple mussel eatery. The interior was straightforward: rows consisting of long wooden tables without table cloths. The menu was just as simple: raw or cooked mussels, steak and fried eel. Fourth-generation owner Gerben Wiskerke and his wife Jurgita Wiskerke have developed the restaurant to what it is today: a warm and welcoming place where one can
enjoy the best local products. “During the season from July to mid-April, mussels are still one of the most important components in the restaurant,” says Wiskerke. “We are one of very few restaurants to have our own mussel-cleaning machine. This allows us to preserve the flavour of the sea for as long as possible.” Restaurant De Fijnproever is one of the places that made mussels known to the public. Of course that is not all that is on the menu; they serve other delicious meals. For example, during the asparagus season in the months of April and May, they specialise in asparagus. Visiting the Dutch Flanders? Do not forget to try out the various asparagus menus and buffets served up at De Fijnproever. www.defijnproever.com
Issue 29 | May 2016 | 57
Like being in another world TEXT: CATHY VAN KLAVEREN | PHOTOS: VILLAGE SCALDIA
How about a nice drink in the evening, accompanied by a good meal, and retreating afterwards to your own tranquil and serene space? Village Scaldia in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen in the Netherlands is renowned for giving guests peace of mind. It is like going back to the good old days when, in the morning, you would simply walk over to the only bakery in town. Coupled with a grocery store and maybe a bar, it is all you need. This type of nostalgia is common in Hoofdplaat, a little town near the bungalow park Village Scaldia. Holger Kooman, the owner of the park, pays great attention to an individual’s relaxation. “We do not want to be a place that puts on music every night so that every guest can hear it, nor do we want an animated team to keep 58 | Issue 29 | May 2016
the kids occupied. Village Scaldia offers people on holidays time to relax, to do whatever they want, in an environment that encourages its guests to do so. Our location is near the sea, and from here you can see the Westerschelde, which is a direct connection between the Netherlands and Belgium. The beaches are prized as the cleanest in the country,” Kooman says. Although there is no such thing as a star rating for bungalow parks, Kooman tries his best to offer people a five-star service. “When people went on holidays in the past, they brought with them their own pan and a little gas cooker,” he says. “Even having a washing machine was a luxury – now these things are common.” That is why the six different holiday homes offered at Village Scaldia are
all equipped with modern kitchens and boast their own Wi-Fi networks. Kooman says that many people are simply looking for comfort and relaxation. “Holidaying in your own country is still very popular. Because of our location, it’s also easy to go to Belgium. Big cities like Ghent and Bruges in Belgium, as well as Vlissingen and Sluis in the Netherlands, are less than an hour away.” What will it be then? Visiting a museum in Belgium or the Netherlands? Trying out the mussels the region is so well known for? A wine tasting session, or simply admiring the view across the sea? www.village-scaldia.nl
Discover Benelux | The Best of Zeeland | Zeeuws-Vlaanderen
Glamping on the beach TEXT: CAROLINE D’HONT | PHOTOS: CAMPING ZONNEWEELDE
What is important for you when you go on a holiday? Being in the midst of nature, or having all the modern comforts right at hand? Now there is a place where you can indulge in the best of both worlds: Camping Zonneweelde. As of June 2016, you can book a stay in a brand new design luxury loft right on the beach in Nieuwvliet, one of the Netherlands’ most beautiful spots by the coast in Zeeland. These cabins are a first of their kind in the Benelux region. They stand out with their hyper-modern, luxurious design and two sunning decks, one offering you the quiet and privacy of the beautiful dunes and a gorgeous sunrise, ideal for having breakfast in the sun, and the other facing the beach, perfect for sun bathing in the afternoon and enjoying dinner at sunset. This is the real beach life!
The cabin sleeps up to six people, with all the comforts you could possibly need right at hand: a comfortable living room with beautifully designed furniture and a television, a hyper-modern kitchen with an oven and dishwasher, a bathroom with a shower, and an upstairs bedroom offering you stunning views of the sea and dunes. All the materials used blend in beautifully with the beach surroundings. You can have a quiet day on the sunning decks or visit one of the many nature reserves close by, stroll around in beautiful, historic Bruges and indulge in the many culinary delights this region has to offer. Alternatively, rent a bike right on the spot and go discover the surroundings by yourself.
even enjoy an educational beach lab and discover how the tides work, collect sea shells and put them under a microscope or go on a shark tooth hunt. After that, they can take a dip in the pool on the camping site and play in the water garden. You can shop for local food in the supermarket at the adjoining campsite or have bread and other necessities delivered to your door. Camping Zonneweelde takes ‘glamping’ (glamorous camping) to the next level – of that there is no doubt. www.campingzonneweelde.nl
Your little ones do not have to miss out on the fun either, as there is a professional team at your disposal. The children can Issue 29 | May 2016 | 59
Zeeland Flanders’ craft beer scene aims high TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: BUSINESSCLASS HOLDING BV AND MARRE MENUE
Food and drink are ubiquitous bed partners, although it is a pairing that has often swung in favour of a certain grape-based beverage. However, this notion is being turned on its head thanks to a set of skilful artisanal brewers at Het Brouwerslokaal, whose charming restaurant, De Drie Koningen in Zeeland Flanders, proves that beer and food can be just as sleek a combination. Set on the serenely understated coastline in the southern part of the Netherlands, the village of Groede has been quietly flourishing at a pace set by an innovative trio comprised of an ambitious craft brewer, an entrepreneur and a restaurateur. As a duo, business partners Marc Menue and Stijn Jordans first opened De Drie Koningen in 2012 and cemented their place in the gastronomic world by serving their own in-house craft 60 | Issue 29 | May 2016
beer alongside their culinary delights, while simultaneously setting up Het Brouwerslokaal brewery along the way. Now about to celebrate its fourth birthday, their popular café-restaurant enjoys widespread acclaim for its gastronomic approach of teaming their resonant beer brands (MARCKENSTEIJN® and DUTCH BARGAIN®) with delectable dishes. The concept is simple, Menue explains with a smile: “Food and drink – except this time it’s beer that’s crafted to the demands of the cuisine.” With a menu that assiduously follows the seasons, the pair further cultivate their ties to the region by embracing locally sourced produce. Characterised by its stylish design, inventive cuisine and proximity to the beach, the centuries-old De Drie Koningen could be considered a more than satisfying business venture for many
– but Menue reveals they have much bigger plans on the horizon. He is currently in the throes of a crowdfunding campaign alongside business partner Jordans and the Antwerp-born gifted beer brewer Thibo Baccarne to renovate a former schoolhouse in Groede into a multi-use events space with a new restaurant and much larger 20-hectolitre brewery installation (100 x the current capacity totalling 15,000 hectolitres per year). But much more than just a gastro pub, they are adding an exclusive bed and breakfast and an upscale store for local farmed goods as well as facilities for budding caterers and brewers. Admittedly ambitious, Menue reels off a list of benefits for the community, citing advantages to tourism, local agriculture, culture (by hosting events and exhibitions), the economy (they plan to hire disadvantaged members of society) and the environment thanks to the building’s
Discover Benelux | The Best of Zeeland | Zeeuws-Vlaanderen
energy-neutral design. “Our plans go much further than just expanding; we’re more interested in welfare than wealth, you could say,” admits Menue with a smile. The crowdfunding project starts in May 2016 and runs until the end of the year. Where the brewing first began Part of the original premises for De Drie Koningen was the site’s small brewing facilities. “We’ve always loved craft beers, but didn’t know much about brewing,” explains Menue, pinpointing a gulf in their knowledge that led the pair to collaborate with a brewing apprentice scheme based in Ghent and the inclusion of the talented Baccarne into their partnership. “This opened up a whole new world to us,” interjects Stijn, “and the opportunities to create specialty beers are endless – there’s so much more freedom than you have with wine.” At just 26 years old, their chief brewer Thibo Baccarne is something of a revelation within the world of craft beer. “With Thibo on board, the MARCKENSTEIJN® brand has grown into an exclu-
sive high-quality restaurant beer. Now alongside crafting our own beers-of which there are two: the more exclusive MARCKENSTEIJN® restaurant beer in 75-centilitre bottles served in wine glass-style glasses and the more widely distributed DUTCH BARGAIN®, our ‘craft beer with an edge’. We also work alongside top chefs to create exclusive custom beers for many Michelin-starred restaurants, including one created with head chef Maurice De Jaeger at Knokke’s Brasa Grill to complement his outstanding grilled dishes.” Enthralled with brewing’s prospects, the trio focus on creating beers that are essentially designed to complement the dining experience. “This needs a different approach,” they elucidate. “Regular beers might leave you with a bitter taste that overpowers the food. With our MARCKENSTEIJN® beers we use fewer (or no) bitter hops, rendering it gentler on the palate and the ideal accompaniment to food. We’ve got five sorts of MARCKENSTEIJN so far, with N.05 as the ultimate summer beer.”
In 20-litre barrels or 33-centilitre bottles, DUTCH BARGAIN® is an enticing copper-coloured Imperial Pale Ale, described as a sweet caramel beer with a hoppy aroma, whose spicy flavour hails from the royal composition of five different malts. “It’s pretty distinctive, and not like your usual IPA. We’re always thinking outside the box, but never lose the balance in our beers,” explains Baccarne. Just like their modern approach to beer and gastronomy, the trio have adopted the old colonial saying DUTCH BARGAIN, but with a contemporary tweak: “Much like the old concept of a convivial but unequal settlement over a drink, you come off better each time you drink a DUTCH BARGAIN® and we just lose a bottle, but that’s pretty fair,” concludes Menue. www.dedriekoningen.com www.brouwerslokaal.nl www.marckensteijn.com www.dutchbargain.com
Issue 29 | May 2016 | 61
Photo: Strandpaviljoen de Oase
Photo: Angela Verdam, sherp
Photos: Hotel Auberge
Photos: Den Bass en Zijn madam
WALCHEREN, NOORD-BEVELAND AND ZUID-BEVELAND:
A seaside holiday to suit any mood The perfect mix of beautiful coastline and beautiful beaches, quiet agricultural countryside and a variety of towns and bustling villages, for those keen on eating out and a vibrant nightlife, make Walcheren everything you need for a wonderful holiday to suit any mood. Museums, attractions and historic buildings will keep you busy, but of course there is no better time and place than a holiday by the sea and countryside to kick back and relax. TEXT: METTE HINDKJĂ†R MADSEN | PHOTOS: PRESS IMAGES
As an old polder region, the land of Zuid-Beveland would back in the day, when it was reclaimed so quickly, often be swallowed up again by the sea. The Zak van Zuid-Beveland is one such area â€“ home to the most beautiful polder landscapes in the Netherlands with waterways, small meadows, an abundance of fruit trees, and dikes covered in wild flowers. Charming villages such as Ellewoutsdijk and Nisse are nestled in this wonderful countryside, and there is also 62 | Issue 29 | May 2016
the town of Goes for shopping and the village of Yerseke, famous for its mussels. If you are looking for a place to live out your water sport fantasies, great areas for exactly that purpose surround the island of Noord-Beveland with the North Sea, the Oosterschelde National Park and Veerse Meer Lake. The quaint villages, rural character and seemingly endless vistas over the polders and the water will make sure to keep reminding
you that you are on an island, far away from mainland and everyday life. It is the ultimate relaxation trip. Whether you want to paddle with the children in the shallow waters of Veerse Meer Lake or put on your walking shoes and explore the island via the Walking Network, Noord-Beveland as a holiday destination most definitely will not disappoint you.
Discover Benelux | The Best of Zeeland | Walcheren, Noord-Beveland and Zuid-Beveland
An oasis near the sea TEXT: ELLA PUT | PHOTOS: STRANDPAVILJOEN DE OASE
The literal meaning of an oasis, ‘oase’ in Dutch, is a green spot in the desert. But it has another meaning: an oasis can be described as a place of rest, a peaceful area or location in our everyday lives. Beach pavilion de Oase in Domburg could not have chosen a more suitable name. The exquisite restaurant is situated on the most beautiful beach in Domburg and with its light interior and beautiful view over the sea shore, the pavilion emanates a relaxing and warm atmosphere.
“Last year we decided to renovate de Oase,” says Jaco Duvekot, owner of Strandpaviljoen de Oase. “We created a warm and welcoming atmosphere by using aquarelle and turquoise colours, so that the pavilion blends in with its sea location.” The modern interior attracts visitors from everywhere, who love to
enjoy the wonderful service the restaurant offers. “The customer’s wish is our command. If guests want to sit outside in the winter, we will serve them the food on the terrace. If they want an extra windscreen, we will make sure they have it. We always try to go that little extra step; everything can be arranged,” says Duvekot. Furthermore, de Oase is the perfect place for young families to enjoy a nice family meal. The beach restaurant offers a big playground for the youngsters, where they can play until their dinner will be served. De Oase’s number one dish must be the Fruit de Mer, a mouth-watering plateau filled with oysters, lobsters and other shellfish straight from the North Sea. “Everything we serve is fresh from the sea,” explains Duvekot. “It’s a great way to create the full getaway beach experience.”
Sweet scoops of summer TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK | PHOTOS: DE IJSVOGEL
It is warm but not too hot. A gentle breeze and the smell of the sea wash over you, while you are reading the morning newspaper and having a fresh cup of coffee. What could possibly make this day any better? An ice cream, naturally. Proudly located in the main street of Domburg, an idyllic town near the sea, lies De Ijsvogel ice cream salon. For over 25 years this gem has been serving local regulars and tourists its memorable ice cream, waffles and hospitality. “It all started as a hotel summer job,” says owner Hans Raaijmakers. “After selling ice cream for two years, I decided to take over the property next door and start my own salon in 1989.” An excellent idea, according to the 2,000 customers De Ijsvogel serves on a busy summer day. All ice cream is handcrafted in Belgium and prepared with milk from Northern France. “We work exclusively with pure
ingredients, no powders or artificial flavours. A chocolate ice cream should consist of real chocolate!” For those preferring something more experimental, De Ijsvogel offers specialties such as gin and tonic or glühwein-flavoured ice cream, and tomato-flavoured sorbets. “My passion for the job means I am always on the lookout for new things. But classics will remain classics.” Raaijmakers’ loyal crew and the wonderful location are both cherries on the top. “Many employees have been with us for years and know the guests. Also Domburg is a beautiful place, surrounded by dunes. People come here to escape and enjoy that holiday feeling.” A feeling De IJsvogel seems to know how to complete as no other. www.ijsvogel-domburg.nl Issue 29 | May 2016 | 63
‘Our food radiates freshness and hospitality ’ TEXT: MICHIEL STOL | PHOTOS: ANGELA VERDAM, SHERP
When coming down off the boulevard and walking onto the beautiful Bellamypark in Vlissingen, you feel a sense of hospitality and enjoyment. And on the right side of the square, Italian restaurant Lungo Mare – Street to the Sea – embodies this feeling like no other. “It is the little things that make people feel at home,” says owner Fred Harinck.
Lungo Mare is situated in a 17th century building. “We think it used to be a warehouse, because there are these mezzanines between the different floors, but we are not sure. All we know is that it is a beautiful building.” Harinck and his wife, who is also involved in the running of the restaurant “and has the most beautiful smile”, live on the upper floors of the warehouse.
Things like taking the coats off the guests when they arrive, guiding them to their table in the restaurant, and making sure that they do not have to wait too long for one of the waiters to help them. And when they leave, getting their coats again and helping the guests to put them on. “Our guests come here to have a night out,” says Harinck. “These gestures make sure that they have that feeling.”
Wood-fired oven Fred Harinck bought Lungo Mare from the previous owner in 2013. “We wanted it to be a more authentic Italian restaurant. We installed a wood-fired oven, which we imported from Italy. They told us that the oven weighed 1,200 kilogrammes, so you can imagine the work it took to install,” says Harinck with a smile. The oven can be seen from the restaurant, which has a partially open kitchen.
64 | Issue 29 | May 2016
But the wood-fired oven, the only one in the whole of the province of Zeeland, is not the only thing that makes Lungo Mare a great Italian restaurant. Its two Italian chefs know exactly how to prepare the pizzas and other dishes. “One is from Puglia and the other is from Sicily. He, Giuseppe, is a master in pizza making. He knows that a second more or less in the wood oven makes all the difference in the world,” says Harinck. “How he came to work for us? One day he just walked in and asked if we had a job for him. So I said, ‘let’s see what you can do’. It all took off from there.” Local and Italian ingredients The two chefs are part of a staff of 20 that makes your dining a wonderful experience. “Our staff know exactly how to make your night great, from the hospitality our waiting staff provide, to the ex-
Discover Benelux | The Best of Zeeland | Walcheren, Noord-Beveland and Zuid-Beveland
traordinary pizzas and dishes our kitchen staff prepare,” the owner asserts. They do so with only fresh and Italian ingredients. Everything is prepared freshly on the spot. “Apart from the local ingredients we use, we import our ingredients from Italy, for instance our Pesce all’Acqua Pazza, which literally means ‘fish in funny water’,” says Harinck. “We use local ingredients like mussels, the best in the whole world, but also Italian Venus clams and scampi. When we prepare it, it just radiates freshness. That is what we love.” There are weeks when more than 150 kilogrammes of mussels are processed at Lungo Mare. Terrace During winter time the restaurants only serves dinner. “We can seat up to 48
people, so in the winter time we are packed almost every evening. Guests really need to have a reservation, or we cannot seat you.” But from March through to October, Lungo Mare also serves lunch and has a great terrace at the Bellamypark. “We then can seat up to 150 people, and people really like the terrace. Just a couple of weeks ago, when it was raining cats and dogs, German tourists wanted to eat on the terrace all cosied up underneath the canopy. ‘Es is nur wasser’, they said; it is just water,” Harinck recalls. There is also a lunch menu with sandwiches and salads, all freshly prepared. “We bake the bread only when it is ordered. Is there anything better than freshly baked bread?”
the concrete park that is Bellamypark. “Along with our neighbours we organise a lot of events. The yearly fairground is being held here, along with the festivities of King’s Day and Liberation Day,” says Harinck. “But we also have small music events and local bands playing. People enjoy it very much and we as organisers all benefit from it.” Bellamypark breathes hospitality and restaurant Lungo Mare is the pinnacle of that. As the owner puts it: “We want to make our guests feel at home and feel that they are having a night out – all to enjoy a freshly prepared, Italian meal.” www.lungo-mare.nl
Besides a great lunch, there is often live entertainment at the terrace and
Issue 29 | May 2016 | 65
A beautiful and romantic inn with an idyllic setting TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK | PHOTOS: AUBERGE DE CAMPVEERSE TOREN
Veere is an idyllic Dutch town in the province of Zeeland. With a gorgeous environment and many buildings and homes built before the 15th century, it is essential for a quick getaway or a full vacation. The city of Veere offers many locations that will take your breath away. For example, the great church, which dates back to the 13th century, the City hall with a carillon that dates back to the late 16th century, and Scottish Houses on the quay, built by wealthy Scottish merchants. There are many smaller monuments and around 300 houses that show Veere was an important port at the end of the 17th century. Veere also provides one of the oldest inns in the Netherlands, and it has not changed its business for 66 | Issue 29 | May 2016
over 500 years. The Campveerse Toren was once built as a part of the city’s defense and as a coastal light, but has been an inn since the 15th century.
es, all created by a Belgium chef. The wonderful wine menu offers the finest wines from all over the world for everyone’s taste and budget.
Something for everyone For the last 70 years the Campveerse Toren has been a family business. Hendrina van Cranenburgh is now the owner and runs it with all the love and passion someone could possibly have for their business. “We do not only have great rooms to stay during a holiday or a quick getaway, there is also a great restaurant that offers many wonderful dishes with true Zeeland ingredients, like glasswort, oysters or the famous Zeeland mussels. Most products are from Lake Veere or elsewhere in Zeeland.” The sea view restaurant offers high-quality dish-
The hotel is, just like the restaurant, located in an incredibly old building. During a wonderful and relaxing stay everyone can see the many years of history the building has lived through. During the richer and poorer periods in time, war and peace, history proves itself in the building. Campveerse Toren has an old and authentic look, but with the modern luxury one needs. “Whether it is for a croquette or lobster, everyone can come here,” ends Cranenburgh. www.campveersetoren.nl
Discover Benelux | The Best of Zeeland | Walcheren, Noord-Beveland and Zuid-Beveland
Great food and drinks and one extraordinary professional busybody TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK | PHOTOS: DEN BASS EN ZIJN MADAM
At the harbour of the Dutch Wolphaartsdijk, with a gorgeous view of het Veerse Meer (a lake in the province of Zeeland), is the eatery Den baas en zijn madam, a Flemish gastronomic spot where first-time guests will be in for a surprise. Den baas en zijn madam offers good food and more than 150 beers, but it is definitely not your typical Flemish gastronomic eatery. The boss is always at the bar to offer the customers some of his own generous meddling. Because of him, no two evenings are the same. For example, if you order wine and tastes a tad corked, the boss will come over to taste it. Indeed, he will take a sip from your glass of wine to check your story. He will offer
his opinion, likely something along the lines of ‘stop whining, there is nothing wrong with the wine’. Likewise, when you order a beer at the counter, there is a great chance that the response he gives is ‘shut up, I’m busy’. Needless to say, you will get a fresh glass of wine or be served the beer you initially ordered, but almost everything comes with a funny, twisted remark. Would you dare to sit at a table at Den baas en zijn madam and play with your smartphone while in the company of others? The boss may be a prominent presence, but he means well and knows when to hold back and let people enjoy their food and drink. But for those who appreciate his comments and encourage him to interact, the evening will be unforgettable. That is a promise.
High-end location for high-end meetings TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK | PHOTOS: WATERTOREN VLISSINGEN
The Dutch city of Vlissingen offers a unique experience for holiday and business travellers alike. Now visitors can experience De Watertoren, an old water tower that has been restored, renovated and transformed into a luxurious accommodation offering. De Watertoren has been part of Vlissingen’s iconic city scape since 1894. The tower is no longer in service but boasts fabulous accommodation, combining history with modern luxury and housing up to 16 people. Last year’s renovations transformed the water tower into an exceptional location for a holiday, but De Watertoren also offers excellent business arrangements. “Why should you have meetings in often dull meeting rooms with limited facilities?” asks Frank Damen, co-owner of De Watertoren. “De Watertoren offers a complete service package including privacy, high-quality lunches and dinners, accommodation, a
sauna and an entertainment room. The conference room has everything you could need for a high-end meeting.” He means high-end literally as well as figuratively: not only is the meeting room located 36 metres up in the tower with a helicopter view of the city and its surroundings, but it also has everything a meeting room needs, from internet access to a comfortable conferencing set-up with a meeting table, lounge area and bar. The tower even boasts the opportunities for all the relaxation you need after a long day of meetings. There is a sauna and an entertainment room including pinball machines and a pool table. De Watertoren offers complete private use of the tower and its facilities. For those who still want to go out at night, the boulevard, the sea and the city centre are all within walking distance. “Meetings in the tower room of this national monument is an experience in itself and a source of inspiration,” Damen ends. www.watertorenvlissingen.com Issue 29 | May 2016 | 67
Photo: Pension Even Buiten
Photo: Watersnood Museum
Photo: BHVK Leisure
THOLEN & SINT PHILIPSLAND AND SCHOUWEN-DUIVELAND:
Stress-free haven for water lovers and culture fans Whether you enjoy exploring the great outdoors, are looking for tranquillity or cannot wait for the adrenalin rush induced by water sports, the islands of Sint Philipsland and Tholen make perfect destinations. The overwhelmingly relaxed atmosphere in the villages on the island and the wonderful countryside will soon make the stresses and strains of your everyday life fade away. TEXT: METTE HINDKJÆR MADSEN | PHOTOS: PRES IMAGES
The best way to explore Tholen is by foot or two wheels, uncovering mud flats, salt marshes – home to spectacular flora and fauna – and plenty of small historical polders. The waters surrounding Sint Philipsland and Tholen also make the perfect place for water adventures, 68 | Issue 29 | May 2016
including sailing, surfing and motorboating. Another unforgettable experience can be found on the island of SchouwenDuiveland. Incredible woodland and dune areas gather holidaymakers on the west coast as the historic city of Zierikzee satisfies their culture cravings. The water
surrounding the island makes it a go-to destination for the water-loving crowd, particularly sailors and surfers, with or without kites. For the less water enthusiastic the beaches make for a great tanning partner, or you will do well to discover the countryside by bike or foot.
Discover Benelux | The Best of Zeeland | Schouwen-Duiveland and Tholen & Sint Philipsland
Holiday homes you will truly love TEXT: TOYAH MARONDEL | PHOTOS: BHVK LEISURE
If you are planning on renting a cottage this summer in one of the most popular parts of the Netherlands, you should book as soon as possible. Many of the nicest holiday homes will already be booked up in the prime holiday weeks – but if you act quickly, you may still find plenty of availability. BHVK is a leading independent holiday letting agency with a lovely selection of properties in Schouwen-Duiveland, Zeeland. Zeeland is the westernmost province of the Netherlands and consists of a number of islands and peninsulas and a strip bordering Belgium. It is the perfect holiday destination where you can explore seascapes, beautiful forests and the fields of Zeeland, and enjoy fresh seafood. Jorien Buijs van Rees, CEO at BHVK, says: “We specialise in high-standard, fully furnished properties for holiday lets
for periods ranging from three days to four weeks,” continuing: “Wherever you stay with us, you will find a home away from home, fully equipped to a very high standard. Many customers return to us year after year, from all over the world.” The cottages come with a lived-in family feel, stunning sea views and stylish interiors. Depending on the clients’ needs, BHVK offers holiday houses with saunas or whirlpools as well as pet-friendly cottages. “We have a very representative office where guests check in and out or visit us for information. Our clients can tell us their requirements for their holiday in Zeeland and we’ll find the best accommodation for them,” Buijs van Rees explains. The tourism office offers a 24hour booking service as well as a security system where guests receive a code to their mobile phones and can pick up keys, road maps and further information
if they want to check in or out after closing time. This way the letting agency provides its customers with more flexibility so that they can rent the property and enjoy their holiday in a private atmosphere. BHVK offers holiday homes for two to ten guests. This is particularly ideal for larger families that want to spend some time off together. The agency also offers a loyalty programme for returning clients who then get a discount. The staff at BHVK is fluent in French, Dutch, English, German and Spanish. Find the perfect holiday accommodation in Zeeland to suit your needs, be it for a city trip, a weekend break or a long relaxing holiday. BHVK will find the perfect holiday rental for you in one of the picturesque places in Zeeland. www.bhvkleisure.com Issue 29 | May 2016 | 69
Watersnood Museum: a piece of living history TEXT: TOYAH MARONDEL | PHOTOS: WATERSNOOD MUSEUM
Imagine the water rising and rising and finding yourself surrounded by panic and destruction. When you visit the Watersnood Museum, you will get a picture of what happened here in the period during and after the floods of 1953. The museum is located in Ouwerkerk, a town in the south-west of the Netherlands in the municipality of Schouwen-Duiveland, Zeeland, about 60 kilometres south of Rotterdam. It was officially opened by Monique de Vries, secretary of state for the Ministry for Transport and Public Works, on 2 April 2001. Today the flood museum employs more than 120 volunteers and a paid staff of eight people. “In 2015, the museum welcomed 85,000 visitors, and with the help of donations and volunteers who run the museum we 70 | Issue 29 | May 2016
are eager to make it an even bigger success,” says operations manager Lianne Kooiman. After the floods that killed thousands of people, Phoenix caissons were used in the Ouwerkerk Dijk. These are enormous concrete structures that sealed the largest breaches in the dike. Four of these gigantic structures were placed to seal the last breach, serving as a memorial to the region’s and the country’s historic struggle against the sea. When the museum opened in 2001, it was built around only one caisson. Since 2009, all four caissons have been part of the museum. Linked by underground passages, these four caissons house the Watersnood Museum. The living history museum has
an audio tour and visitors can listen to thousands of impressive stories and testimonies and also be inspired by the fact that the Netherlands realised the reconstruction. Each caisson has its own theme, focusing on remembering, learning and looking ahead. Caisson one is about the facts, teaching you all about how the disaster occurred. Caisson two is about emotions. There is a wall with names of all the adults and children who lost their lives during the floods of 1953. Entire families, from newborn babies to grandparents, died during the floods and some villages lost large parts of their population. Caisson three exhibits the reconstruction after the flood, starting immediately after the disaster. Work was in progress
Discover Benelux | The Best of Zeeland | Schouwen-Duiveland and Tholen & Sint Philipsland
everywhere – dikes, houses, agricultural land, infrastructure – so that the flooded region could quickly be made habitable. Wooden pre-fab houses were donated by several countries; one of these, a gift from Denmark, stood in this region and has now been rebuilt in caisson three. Enter this house to take part of the story of the floods through historic film footage, interviews and television programmes. Next to the house are the machines and equipment used to reconstruct the dikes, and the last part of the exhibition in caisson three links the 1950s with the present: the changing society, the modernisation of daily life and the construction of the Delta project. Finally, Caisson four focuses on the innovations in the south-western Delta, the area that was hit in 1953. Since then, a great deal has been done in regards
to safety and quality of life, and there are ways sought and found to live and work together with the water, among others the development of aquaculture in which fish and shellfish are farmed in tanks on land. Three separate ‘theme islands’ present the innovations and solutions in order to help face the challenge of water management now and in the future. The museum shop, which is free and open to the public, is located at the end of caisson four, where everyone will find useful information about the area around the museum. The area surrounding the museum is also a part of the National Monument. The creeks, washed out by the sea water, the marshes, the remaining part of the old sea dike, the new sea dike, and
the nature reserve – all these are the result of the floods. There is also a small watch tower overlooking the Eastern Scheldt River in front of the caissons, close to the monument of the municipality of Schouwen-Duiveland, commemorating the victims of the floods. One footpath of two kilometres takes you along the creeks and the Eastern Scheldt River to the entrance of the museum. There are other paths, ranging from five to eight kilometres in length, through the nature reserve created by Staatsbosbeheer (the Forestry Commission) along the creeks and through the village of Ouwerkerk, with its cemetery and the donated pre-fab houses. www.watersnoodmuseum.nl
Admission to the spectacular museum ranges from €4 for children up to 12 years old to €9 per adult. Opening hours are from 1 April to 31 October, seven days a week from 10am to 5pm, and from 1 November to 31 March, six days a week, 10am to 5pm, closed every Monday. Issue 29 | May 2016 | 71
Wonderful team makes you feel at home TEXT: CATHY VAN KLAVEREN | PHOTOS: PENSION EVEN BUITEN
They could never have imagined that their company would get such a flying start. Hanneke Vijfvinkel and Rob de Leeuw have run Pension Even Buiten close to Burgh-Haamstede since June of last year. Pension Even Buiten has eight rooms, all remodelled to a high standard. “Since last month, we have a very luxurious family apartment, decorated to make you feel comfortable. The shower boasts our special water system, which gives you a powerful, sensational bathroom experience,” says Vijfvinkel. Vijfvinkel has lifelong experience from the hospitality and recreational industry in Schouwen-Duiveland and her partner, Rob de Leeuw, travelled around the world for many years, hunting for the best foodie products for his company. As such, they are able to greet any in72 | Issue 29 | May 2016
ternational guests in their own language and with the customs they expect. Vijfvinkel, officially ‘Gastvrouw of Schouwen’ (meaning ‘hostess of the fireplace’), can help her guests experience the ultimate island feeling by taking them diving, walking, hiking, biking, and even on boat rides. “People from all over the place come here – sporty people, but also people who just want to relax. We offer our guests the Zeelandpas a card that gives them free unlimited access to the public transport system as well as discounts for certain activities,” Vijfvankel explains. “They appreciate it if you have something extra to offer. Most of them aren’t used to owners who go out of their way to help them. One of my guests told me she felt like she wasn’t just another hotel booker, like she usually does when she’s on holidays. That was a big compliment.”
After a busy day on the island, De Leeuw takes care of you with refreshing drinks and grilled meat and fish dishes, made using local ingredients. His kitchen also serves very special vegetarian dishes, such as pilaf-style rice dishes and the famous McRob veggie burger in addition to a large selection of desserts. De Leeuw’s own garden barbecue and wood-fired oven are scheduled to open this summer, allowing you to enjoy the richness of the centre garden and enjoy a wide range of wines. These are selected by the owners with the motto that life is too short to not enjoy it. Under their own brand name, Schouws Schorem, the couple offers a wide range of presents and gifts to take home to remember their fantastic stay at Pension Even Buiten. www.even-buiten.nl
Discover Benelux | The Best of Zeeland | Goeree Overflakkee
From churches to sand dunes Broad and sandy beaches cover the island of Goeree-Overflakkee, making it a hotspot for sunbathers, swimmers and water sport enthusiasts. Wide expanses of vast polders and dunes go perfectly with a good walk or cycle as there are plenty of routes to choose from, all showcasing sights and settings worth exploring. TEXT: METTE HINDKJĂ†R MADSEN
If you are in search of some charming town life, Ouddorp and Herkingen make for popular holiday destinations, as does the nearby town of Goedereede. Visit the new, spectacular Eben-HaĂŤzerchurch in
Ouddorp, the second-largest town in the region, or learn all about the history of the island at the Streekmuseum in Sommelsdijk. The beautiful Lake Grevelingen and the Haringvliet inlet are well worth an
adventurous excursion too during your stay in Goeree-Overflakkee. Snorkelling, anyone?
Issue 29 | May 2016 | 73
Punt-West: Holland’s very own Ibiza TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA | PHOTOS: PUNT-WEST
In the middle of the beautiful surroundings of Ouddorp, close to Lake Grevelingemeer, you will find Beach Resort Punt-West. This is the latest project by Oasis Parcs – known for their premium holiday homes – featuring luxurious holiday villas and studios. Beach Resort Punt-West boasts 72 villas and 20 studios to be precise. All offer a combination of home and hotel. “It’s got the privacy of a spacious home and the service and luxury of a hotel,” explains commercial manager Malou Versloot. At the centre of the park is the international beach club Werelds Aan Het Strand. Comparisons to places such as Saint Tropez, Ibiza and Dubai seem only logical. “That was actually the goal when it was built: to create accommodation like we’ve never seen it before in the Netherlands – yet to keep the personal aspect,” 74 | Issue 29 | May 2016
says Versloot. “Guests are never a number here; we always know their names and there are no standard procedures involved.” The result is a unique and luxurious holiday park, designed by well-known Dutch architect Matthijs Zeelenberg. The architect had not just luxury, but also the environment in mind, making everything eco-friendly. “We have green roofs and eco-friendly heating systems, and the park has its own water source. This is how we wanted to stay connected to the nature surrounding the park,” says Versloot. So nature is all around, but this is not Saint Tropez, Ibiza or Dubai; it is Holland, so it sometimes rains during the summer. And then what? “All accommodation facilities are spacious, but for the
most part it’s about quality time with each other, and you don’t need good weather to enjoy that. Think about it,” Versloot invites. “Sitting in front of the pellet stove with a glass of wine, seeing the inclement weather and crashing waves outside. How cosy is that?” Moreover, there is plenty to do in the surroundings of the park. But let us stay positive and assume that it will be sunny. You can enjoy the beach right beneath the villas and studios, but you can also visit the authentic villages of Zeeland and the different kinds of museums that are very close by. Or check out the beach lounge, restaurant and wine bar Werelds Aan Het Strand to complete that luxurious holiday. www.oasisparcs.nl/puntwest
Discover Benelux | The Best of Zeeland | Goeree Overflakkee
This is unique in the Netherlands TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA
Nearly 15,000 Facebook fans within ten months of opening, 25,000 visitors in the first 12 weeks and 35 club sandwiches served five minutes after opening in high season – there is no doubt that beach club and restaurant Werelds Aan Het Strand is a huge success. Werelds Aan het Strand is part of Beach Resort Punt-West but open to nonresort guests as well. The resort and the island it is located on often spark comparisons to places such as Ibiza and Dubai. “That’s actually what I said when a friend showed me the brochure before it was built,” says owner Michel Schreuders. “Of course I needed to do it. This is unique in the Netherlands.” That is probably why he received some sceptical reactions when he told people about his new venture. One would expect
| PHOTOS: WERELDS
that Werelds Aan Het Strand is only nice to visit during summer. However, even when it rains Werelds Aan Het Strand is the perfect place to relax. “Have a drink in front of the fire place, read a magazine on the lounge sofas or just chill in the lounge and have some finger food. It’s all there,” says the founder. Even if you are more of an active type, there is enough for you to do. How about water scooters or a wild ride on a RIB boat? “The RIB boat is really well suited for events,” Schreuders nods. “We organise these here a lot as well. People come here for wedding parties, family gatherings and business events. You can spend all day here without getting bored.” And what about the food? After all, the beach club also features a big restaurant. “We’re not called Werelds, which
means worldly, for nothing,” Schreuders laughs. “Our kitchen prepares dishes from around the world, like a good steak, saté ajam and truffle pasta. We also do the small version of those: our Werelds tapas platters.” When he started, Schreuders said that “if I’m going to do it, I’m going to make sure to do it right”. And he did. Werelds Aan Het Strand can seat 230 people inside and 250 outside and 100 more guests can spend the day on the luxurious lounge beds. The place is practically always packed. If you still need convincing to visit this little piece of Ibiza in Zeeland, check out the drone videos on their Facebook page. You will want to go right away. www.werelds.nl/strand Issue 29 | May 2016 | 75
Scheveningen brings you seaside city life If you have not treated yourself to a visit to Scheveningen, you have quite an experience to look forward to. Whether you are a family in need of many options to satisfy everyone’s holiday wishes or someone who wants the best of both itinerary worlds, going to Scheveningen will no doubt deliver the goods. TEXT: METTE HINDKJÆR MADSEN | PHOTOS: NBTC NETHERLANDS BOARD OF TOURISM & CONVENTIONS.
The two districts of Scheveningen consist of the more touristy northern beach, Noorderstrand, and the more urban southern beach, Zuiderstrand, giving you a district to soothe your activity craving temper or offer a getaway from the crowds. Though an extension of the southern Holland capital, The Hague, Scheveningen can provide you with a city experience of its own. The shopping opportunities alone will have you clenching your wallet 76 | Issue 29 | May 2016
as you stroll the enchanting boulevard or explore the indoor mall, in which you will also find a mega cinema to keep you up to date on the latest releases. There is no such thing as boredom in Scheveningen. The entertainment options are overwhelming. If you do not feel like a beach day, try your luck at the casino and bowling alley, stroll down the shopping boulevard and visit the museums or enjoy a great night at the theatre.
Kurhaus makes one of the city’s striking landmarks. Practically located on the water, the Grand Hôtel Amrâth Kurhaus is a favourite with the visitors because of its world-class service, promising you the treatment worthy of a celebrity. The go-to beach of the Netherlands Seaside and beautiful beaches abound in the Netherlands, but the most popular place to take a dip is found in Scheveningen – and for good reason! The three-
Discover Benelux | Scheveningen | Introduction
kilometre-long sandy beach welcomes sun lovers, water sports fans, nature enthusiasts and anyone who enjoys good company in a picturesque setting. Whatever you are looking for as part of your beach adventure, you will find it here in Scheveningen. You can tread the sand with your own two feet or explore the seaside on horseback, surf your way through the waves or let your kite flutter in the wind. If you are serious about getting up on the board, surfing schools are available to help both beginners and pros, and if you time it well you will be able to watch or even attend one of Scheveningenâ€™s adrenalin-inducing sport events.
Sights for sore eyes The pier is a must-visit: a 60-metre-tall tower in the Scheveningen waters, offering perfect views of the exceptional structure of the pier itself as well as the great dunes of Scheveningen. This is the ultimate picture snapping opportunity, and all it takes is a mere 300 steps up, a small price to pay for your new, well-liked Facebook cover photo. If you have a cultural mouth to feed it can happen right in the dunes, where you can find the most amazing sculpture garden you may ever come across, Sculptures by the Sea. Indoor water experiences can be found at Sea Life, where you can explore the life of the North Sea in a big
aquarium, as well as a museum ship, Hr. Ms. Mercuur, if you are curious to discover what it is like to live aboard a marine vessel. The museum findings do not end here though; visit the Atlantic Wall Museum if you are interested in WWII history, or Museum Beelden aan Zee housing a large collection of contemporary sculpture and rotating exhibitions. Churches in Scheveningen are well worth a visit as well, including the Sint Antonius Abt Catholic Church, adding to your historical journey. Scheveningen has everything you could possibly look for in a holiday destination: nature, city, culture and relaxation. Let the exploration commence!
Issue 29 | May 2016 | 77
Ibiza-style parties on Scheveningen’s beach TEXT: KOEN GUIKING | PHOTOS: STRANDCLUB WIJ
Dutch club DJs are known to travel all over the world to play their sets, but this does not mean they do not perform in the Netherlands anymore. Strandclub WIJ in Scheveningen, close to The Hague, is known for its dance parties. This summer it aims to have more of these than ever before. “Top club DJs want to perform here at Beach Club WIJ. We have hosted some of the biggest names from the dance scene and many more would like to have this venue on their list,” says Nicolette Krul, the new owner of this beach club right next to Scheveningen’s harbour. “It is like the clubs in Ibiza.” Famous Dutch DJs Erick E and Roog featured in the line-up of the club’s opening -of-the-season party held in March. “For them it’s kind of a tradition to play here at least once every season,” says Krul. 78 | Issue 29 | May 2016
The owner and her partner know how important it is to put in the extra effort to create a special atmosphere. They do not just hire top DJs and expect the rest to happen magically. They make sure the lighting is spectacular, the decor in tip-top shape, the champagne flows in abundance and professional female dancers are on stage entertaining the party-goers. A short video clip of the opening party can be found at facebook. com/strandclubWIJ. Spontaneous club nights These kinds of Ibiza-style parties, attracting over 1,200 guests, only used to be organised three times a year: at the start of the season, mid-season and at the end of season. “We didn’t want to restrict ourselves to three big events a year anymore,” says Krul. Together with her partner, who previously owned a beach club on the nearby beach of Kijkduin,
she bought the pavilion in Scheveningen this winter. “Besides the three famous WIJ parties, like the Summer Edition that is coming up on 3 July, we are also ready to organise a couple of WIJ spontaneous parties this year. If we feel that the weather is good and the mood is right, we will add more dance events,” says Krul. The owners are not at all nervous about organising events of this scale at very short notice. They are an energetic and ambitious couple with much experience in organising big dance events at short notice. “We know a lot of people in the scene and to many DJs and dancers it will be an honour to perform at a WIJ spontaneous party.” Strandclub WIJ does not just come alive at night. The vibe in the beach pavilion is positive all day, every day. Even after the weekly Sunday breakfast buffet a cocktail bar is put up outside and a
Discover Benelux | Scheveningen | Top Food, Drinks & Sleep Spots
DJ plays dance music. This does not mean WIJ is full of hyped-up guests that dance all day. “It is very chilled. People come to us to lounge and enjoy the setting, the good service, nice drinks and excellent food. The music complements the mood,” says Krul. One look at the interior and you will agree that this is a stylish place. “We call it beach chic,” she says. This special attention to detail and quality also shows in the attractive manner WIJ serves its dishes, which are prepared with fresh, wholesome and mostly organic ingredients. Cocktails and shared dining During weekdays many people go to Strandclub WIJ after work. They come to enjoy a cocktail or take part in a shared dining experience. WIJ has a wide range of small bites on its menu to accommo-
date groups of people eating together, Krul explains. “This makes it very easy for someone to just join in with friends that have already started eating.” Ideal in summer, when some people spend the whole day on the beach, while others only accompany them after office hours. A specialty dish this year is the flammkuchen or flame-baked pizza with an extra-thin crust, straight from WIJ’s very own pizza oven. Experience the Olympic Games at WIJ WIJ is the beach club nearest to Scheveningen’s harbour, located on the socalled ‘sports beach’ where all the surf schools are based. Plenty of activities happen here, especially this summer when the sports beach in Scheveningen will be turned into an ‘Olympic Experience’. This means that all Olympic
Games events, from 5 till 21 August in Brazil, will be broadcast live on big screens, with many activities organised around them. For instance, the Dutch band The Golden Earring and singer Marco Borsato will perform on 8 and 9 September. In previous years the likes of Jon Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams and Direct have performed on the doorstep of Beach Club WIJ. www.strandclubwij.nl www.olympicexperience.com facebook.com/strandclubWIJ instagram.com/strandclubwij
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Tuna tataki is this beach club’s tasty top dish TEXT: KOEN GUIKING | PHOTOS: BEACH CLUB BARBAROSSA
On a hot summer day, the beach pavilions on the boulevard of Scheveningen get awfully busy. If you prefer less crowded beaches and a more refined cuisine, then head where the locals go: Beach Club Barbarossa on Zwarte Pad beach. Here you can experience a slice of hospitality heaven. “A large part of our clientele consists of returning customers, many of whom live in the leafy areas of The Hague and in affluent suburbs like Wassenaar,” says Tjerk van Kampen, one of the three owners of the luxury club on the northern beach of Scheveningen. They come to enjoy the finer things in life. “Don’t get me wrong. We are still a beach club. If people want to come and dine at Barbarossa in their shorts after a swim in the sea, that is perfectly okay. The at80 | Issue 29 | May 2016
mosphere is very relaxed. Some people spend the whole day chilling on our terrace and on the beach, enjoying lunch and supper here. Other customers dress up for a fancy dinner on the seaside. It’s a fantastic mix of casual and stylish,” he says. Everything at this seaside pavilion exudes peace and tranquility. The exterior of glass and wood ensures plenty of sunlight coming in, further brightening the modern, mostly white interior. The easy-listening lounge, with jazz and soul music in the background, makes for an all-round relaxed environment. Outside on the deck, there is ample space to soak up the sun and enjoy the sea breeze on the comfortably cushioned sun beds, while being waited on by the pleasant staff.
During high season, Beach Club Barbarossa is open daily from 9am until after midnight. The Sunday morning breakfast buffets are particularly popular. Parents can take their time to enjoy the food while their children entertain themselves, under supervision, in the kids’ club. On all other days it is also possible to have breakfast, lunch and supper at Barbarossa, where the kitchen is open until 10pm. For the discerning customer “People come to Barbarossa for the holiday feel,” says Van Kampen. “We don’t get hordes of tourists flocking to our pavilion like the beach clubs on the boulevard do. People come to us to enjoy the specially prepared food, creative cocktails and Mediterranean-type atmosphere. We aim to create a sophisticated
Discover Benelux | Scheveningen | Top Food, Drinks & Sleep Spots
and elegant ambiance for the discerning customer.” Barbarossa’s chef takes pride in creating exquisite bites and meals, working with high-quality, fresh ingredients. The restaurant’s most popular meals are tuna tataki served with cassava chips and miso guacamole and king crab accompanied by a rich salad and homemade mayonnaise. Van Kampen: “We don’t serve spare ribs and sautés, but that doesn’t mean everything on our menu is exclusive. We have burgers, pasta dishes and flammkuchen (ultra-thin pizzas) too.” A place to party The beach club has been designed by architect Hubert Crijns to cater for private functions such as weddings and corporate events, hosting from 20 to 1,500 people. Three times a year Barbarossa organises its own big party. These are popular events that the rich and famous come to enjoy. The next
Barbarossa party, featuring DJ Sasha, will be on Saturday 2 July. Check Barbarossa’s website or Facebook page for ticket details. Beach Club Barbarossa is located on Zwarte Pad, in the north of Scheveningen, adjacent to the beautiful dune area called Oostduinpark, which is only partly accessible by foot and bicycle; the lion’s share of the park is protected. According to Van Kampen, Zwarte Pad is “the most independent and creative beach in the Netherlands”. He might be right. There are a couple of other beach clubs on this stretch of the coast and they all have something unique. Not far from Barbarossa there is a club that attracts mainly creative, young, artistic people, another club in the area is world famous for its dance parties with renowned DJs. “It is wonderful to sit on the porch and enjoy the diversity of all the people passing by our club,” he adds.
Locals usually go to Zwarte Pad beach by bike. There is plenty of parking in the area, but on warm summer days it can be challenging to find a space. Fortunately, Beach Club Barbarossa is also easy to reach by public transport (tram 1 and 9 from The Hague). Hence, wining, dining and watching the sunset from the beach can be perfectly combined with a visit to the Panorama Mesdag, Peace Palace, Mauritshuis, Louwman Museum, Binnenhof or any of the other highlights of The Hague. www.barbarossabeach.nl
WANT TO BOOK A PRIVATE EVENT? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: +31(0)703220389 Zwarte Pad 61, 2586 JL, The Hague
Issue 29 | May 2016 | 81
Discover Benelux | Scheveningen | Top Food, Drinks & Sleep Spots
A beach hostel for the modern age TEXT: STEPHANIE LOVELL | PHOTOS: JORDY KONINGH, JORPLACE BEACH HOSTEL
A tropical paradise in the heart of Scheveningen, Jorplace Beach Hostel offers high-quality yet affordable accommodation to suit everyone from individual travellers to large groups. Soon guests will be able to control all aspects of their stay from their smartphones, including unlocking the door to their clean and spacious room. The only hostel in Scheveningen, Jorplace Beach Hostel is ideally located to enjoy all the vibrant coastal district of The Hague has to offer. A mere five-minute walk from the beach, it has partnered with many local companies to ensure that guests always get the best deals on surfing, stand-up paddling and other beach activities. Exploring the surrounding area is easy thanks to excellent public transport links on its doorstep and free parking around the corner. “When you step inside, you immediately feel like you’re on a tropical island,” says Jordy
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Koningh, owner of Jorplace Beach Hostel. “For a more unusual experience, you can even sleep in the Volkswagen minivan or wooden shed in the garden.” With its well-stocked bar, cosy lounge, buzzing open terrace and delicious barbecue, Jorplace has all your eating, drinking and hang-out requirements covered. If you can resist the temptation of all the restaurants and bars in the hostel’s vicinity, keep costs low by shopping at the supermarket next door and cooking in the communal kitchen. “We’re really excited about becoming the first hostel or hotel in Holland to have mobile access to locks, meaning our guests will be able to securely access their rooms using their smartphones,” explains Koningh. This is the next stage in the hostel’s upgrades, which have already meant that guests now have better-quality beds to sleep on. While
everything is improving, the prices fortunately remain unbeatably low. www.jorplace.nl
Discover Benelux | Scheveningen | Top Food, Drinks & Sleep Spots
A beach hotel surrounded by nature TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK | PHOTOS: CARLTON BEACH HOTEL
Imagine a luxurious four-star hotel with an indoor swimming pool, sauna, restaurant and bar, and several conference rooms in a fantastic, vibrant area right next to the beach. Sounds like the perfect location, right? The wonderful Carlton Beach Hotel is located by the beach in the Dutch town of Scheveningen. The hotel offers everything you could possibly need and more. Nathalie Rosbergen, sales manager of Carlton Beach Hotel: â€œThe Carlton Beach Hotel offers the rare combination of a great hotel with a Beachclub (April till September) and several conference rooms with an ocean view.â€? Rooms with a view This hotel has over 183 hotel rooms and many of them have a gorgeous view of
the North Sea. A parking location that can accommodate up to 90 cars and seven conference rooms make this the perfect location for a meeting. All seven conference rooms have an inspiring view of the sea, and are also connected to each other. With just a few simple adjustments these rooms can become bigger, up to 411 square metres, which is ideal for a large dinner or a party. Carlton Beach Hotel can also provide lunch, dinner or drinks afterwards. Beachclub Carlton Beach Hotel has a fabulous Beachclub, which is accessible to both guests and beachgoers. The club provides a drink or something to eat for everyone. The sharing plates of appetisers on offer mean it is a great place for dining in groups.
The Beachclub is always fun to go to for a drink or a bite, but there are often various activities organised too. Events can include a great party or a workshop, but also reunions, corporate events or meetings. The Beachclub can host up to 700 people and let us not forget the many possibilities for activities and festivities. Carlton Beach has an experienced team of event managers and can organise everything from team building to barbecues and beach events in cooperation with professional suppliers. www.carlton.nl/beach-hotel-scheveningen
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African vibes on one of the Netherlands’ best beaches TEXT: KOEN GUIKING | PHOTOS: ZANZIBAR BEACHCLUB
Sitting on the deck of Zanzibar Beachclub, soaking up the sun, grilling pieces of succulent meat on your private charcoal barbecue and sipping on a freshly made cocktail, it is hard to imagine this place can only be visited seven months in the year. Every autumn, this cosy pavilion is disassembled and the beach is returned to nature. “By building up our beach club, every year in March, we announce the arrival of summer,” says a cheerful Lieke Priester, co-owner of Zanzibar Beachclub. “Being here for just seven months 84 | Issue 29 | May 2016
of the year gives it its charm. The first days after opening are always special. Not just to us; to our customers as well. It gets busy from day one, whilst we are still busy doing some of the construction work. It is clear that people have been waiting for this moment all winter.” Combine a relaxed lunch with fun activities on the beach All summer long the beach where Zanzibar is based – a prime location, smack in front of the majestic Kurhaus – is bustling with activity. Lieke Priester and her partner Lex Geraerdts add to this liveliness. They organise many workshops on the
beach in front of their establishment to cater for corporate events, bachelor parties and birthday bashes. Very popular are the obstacle course and power kiting lessons, as well as the less strenuous cocktail shaking workshops. Djembe and salsa workshops at this African-style beach bar are also well liked. “We can accommodate almost any request for a group activity, because we work together with an events agency,” Priester explains. “What better way to spend a nice summer day than to have some drinks and lunch on our deck before you get out of your comfortable chair to get active on the beach?”
Discover Benelux | Scheveningen | Top Food, Drinks & Sleep Spots
Positive summer vibes With a spot on one the most popular beaches in the Netherlands and named after a tropical island off the coast of Tanzania, expect nothing less than a positive summer vibe at Zanzibar Beachclub. The mood flows on the rhythms of reggae and salsa, gets nourished with generous meat, fish and vegetable dishes, and is topped with excellent cocktails. “All our cocktails are freshly prepared. We don’t use any premixed drinks and the fruit we use is all fresh.” Having a barman preparing every drink manually doesn’t just enhance the flavour; it is guaranteed to get the crowd into a holiday mood too. Adding to this African/Caribbean setting is the creative decor. Djembes have been converted into lamps; the bar is decorated with the characteristic, long seeds of iconic, African trees; some statues carved out of wood can
be found throughout the property; and typically African garments were used to cover the comfy pillows on the chairs outside. Enjoy a ‘wildlife dish’ and support a good cause in Africa The food served at Zanzibar is not strictly African. The à la carte menu contains mostly well-known dishes such as sandwiches, burgers, spare ribs, risotto and salads, but there are quite a few African options too. There are even three ‘wildlife dishes’. Every time one of these dishes is sold, Zanzibar donates one euro to a wildlife conservation organisation in Zambia. Priester explains: “Lex’s brother, with whom he previously ran a beach club, has emigrated to Zambia. He owns a lodge there and is involved in this anti-poaching foundation. That foundation, SLCS, does amazing work and this is our way to support it. By ordering a wildlife meal, our customers can also contribute
to the protection of African wildlife.” The wildlife dishes used to all contain game meat, but because of strict import regulations there is only one meal on the menu left with buck meat. The other two wildlife dishes are prepared with chicken and beef. But do not worry, they are just as delicious. ‘Braai specials’ – flame-grilled skewers from the barbecue – are served on Thursdays. But having a ‘braai’ at Zanzibar Beachclub is possible every day of the week. Groups of two or more can order their own fire stand and meat, fish and vegetables of their choice. Can you already picture yourself grilling while enjoying an ice-cold Dutch beer, a chilled South African cider or a delicious glass of Spanish wine? www.zanzibarbeachclub.nl
Issue 29 | May 2016 | 85
Discover Benelux | Scheveningen | Top Food, Drinks & Sleep Spots
Culinary passion at the quay TEXT: KIM BLEEKER | PHOTOS: DAVE SHARMAN
At Restaurant Waterproef, expect your spirit to be lifted by one of the 800 wines carefully chosen from all over the world, enthralling dishes and the amazing view over the water, where countless ships and boats are resting on a sea of tranquility. Restaurant Waterproef received the Best of Award of Excellence from the Wine Spectator magazine in New York, thanks to its high-quality wines and dishes, served at a very accessible price and inspired by many cuisines around the world. The Michelin guide said: “A very large restaurant beside the quay, where up to 100 guests can be served in a beautiful combination of old and new. The cuisine is modern and the service informal. The wine list is a real eye-catcher, offering a spectacular choice for diners.” 86 | Issue 29 | May 2016
The harmonious three-way collaboration between owner Yves van Westreenen, nominated head sommelier Lendl Mijnhijmer and young head chef and food magician Bob Staal, who later enriched the team, has made the restaurant the culinary haven it is today. “It is very important that everybody feels at ease and welcome, whether it is your grandmother’s birthday, a private business meeting, a quick lunch or a day out with the family,” says Van Westreenen. The whole team is composed of young men and women, whose love and passion for food and wine translate into the excellent service the visitors receive.
to refuel with a delightful lunch on the terrace or inside the restaurant. In the late afternoon, dinner can be combined with an evening at the Zuiderstrandtheater. Every year in May, the North Sea Regatta returns to the quay, and every three years in June the Volvo Ocean Race returns. A growing number of Dutch people and tourists from all across the world are gravitating to the quay for its many culinary options. As Van Westreenen puts it: “When you love fine wines and delicious food, you can combine that with a great day out in Scheveningen, finishing the day with the most important thing: a magnificent dinner!”
The location is vibrant and alive. After a morning spent at the nearby beach, where diverse festivities take place, Restaurant Waterproef welcomes everybody
GENEVER FESTIVAL 15-16 OCTOBER 2016
The best shot at a great party
JENEVERFEESTEN.BE Issue 29 | May 2016 | 87
Photo: Els Bax
Photo: Els Bax
Photo: Els Bax
Photo: Els Bax
Noordwijk – where the wild things are TEXT: METTE HINDKJÆR MADSEN
Beaches, flower fields and a long history of religion. In the western part of the Netherlands you will find the historic town of Noordwijk, where around 25,000 Dutch people lead their daily lives. This part of the southern Holland province is also known as ‘the Dune and Bulb Region’ due to its beautiful flora and fauna. Two communities make up the historic municipality of Noordwijk: inland NoordwijkBinnen, of which the primary occupation was bulb cultivation, and coastal Noordwijk aan Zee, originated by fishermen. More than the geographical and occupational difference between the two communities, religion separated the two, with Noordwijk aan Zee being of Protestant origin and Noordwijk-Binnen being predominantly Roman Catholic. Even to88 | Issue 29 | May 2016
day, especially amongst the older generation in Noordwijk, the notion of being either a Zeeër or Binner is still rooted in the inhabitants’ awareness. A great bite of history 2000 BC. That is how far back the history of Noordwijk goes, where you could find the first traces of inhabitants. In year 847 the monk Jeroen came to Noordwijk to carry out his mission and build a chapel. Though his life was taken by Normans a decade later, a Roman chapel was built in his honour a hundred years later, allowing his name to live on. That very chapel has since become a popular destination for pilgrims, and both Protestant and Catholic churches are named after Jeroen. Among the first inhabitants of Noordwijk were the fishermen. Noordwijk aan Zee
was founded around 1200 as a fishing village. The first fire site to help fishermen find their way back to the beach, a ‘vierboet’, was built in 1444, and 30 years later an extensive fleet of 38 large and small ships roamed the beach, due to the lack of a harbour, catching herring, cod, haddock, plaice and whiting. Fishing was the primary business of the town until the 19th century when the growing tourism industry started taking over. The perfect beach is right here To this day, Noordwijk is an immensely popular resort destination. There is no need to spend long hours on a plane in search for the perfect beach somewhere far east: Noordwijk has got exactly what you are looking for – and 13 kilometres of it! Noordwijk aan Zee boasts beaches from north to south, free to visit by you and all your friends and family, includ-
Discover Benelux | Noordwijk | Introduction
ing the furry, four-legged members.Two particularly interesting beaches are Duindamseslag and Langevelderslag, because of their secluded atmosphere off the central boulevards. Surrounded by serene nature and dunes, Duindamseslag can only be reached by foot or bike. Noordwijk’s high standards for coastal and beach management in both the tourism and environmental areas, as well as their conservation of nature, landscape and cultural heritage, are evidenced by the achievement of both the European Quality Coast mark and the Blue Flag for outstanding, first-rate beaches that provide clean, environmentally friendly, safe swimming areas.
Photo: Marcel Verheggen
Flower fields forever People flock to Noordwijk not only for the amazing beaches but certainly also to find a breath of fresh air and discover the gorgeous plant life. Noordwijk is known as the ‘floral seaside resort of Europe’ because of its unique combination of seaside and colourful flower fields. Tulips, daffodils and gladioli are among the flowers in the hands of bulb growers here since 1880. Most of the bulb fields particularly suited for cultivation are behind the dunes and sandy soil. The bulb areas of Noordwijk today cover 311 hectares of land. Flowers from Noordwijk have been both nationally and internationally recognised with a great reputation for its entries in
bulb and flower exhibitions. Within the Offem country estate a Flora park was opened in 1932. For a rainy day Noordwijk is not just for playing outside. If you find yourself looking for indoor activities, you need not search for long. There are plenty of things to keep you busy, such as historic and antique museums, The Muze cinema, an indoor KidsZoo, fun casinos, shopping and delicious culinary experiences. Noordwijk is also home to the Space Expo, Europe’s first permanent space exhibition. So let yourself be drawn in by the countless experiences Noordwijk has to offer. It is known to tempt its visitors to stay for good.
Photo: Els Bax
Issue 29 | May 2016 | 89
Luxury stay at sea, in the heart of the Randstad TEXT: KOEN GUIKING | PHOTOS: HUIS TER DUIN
It is easy to see what makes Huis ter Duin an attractive place to stay for the well heeled. A five-star hotel and spa located right on the beach with a restaurant that serves Michelin-star food, this gem along the Netherlands’ west coast has been the choice for celebrities, presidents and royalty since it first opened its doors in 1885. The old hotel effortlessly blends history with modernity to provide the most comfortable stay imaginable. It features 230 luxury rooms, 20 suites and four penthouses. The rooms in the historic part of the hotel – the Grand Hotel – have maintained their historic style, whereas most of the rooms in the adjoining 11-story Nouvelle Hotel, built in 1991, have recently been given a facelift. Later this year all the DeLuxe rooms in the Nouvelle Hotel will have been transformed into modern Charming rooms. 90 | Issue 29 | May 2016
Walk out of the hotel, cross the sandy dune and you are on the beach, where you will find the Breakers Beach House. This is one of the three restaurants that are part of the Huis ter Duin. The other two are the famous Michelin-star restaurant Latour on the first floor and Brasserie La Terrasse on the ground floor. Apart from decadent cuisine, the restaurants offer uninterrupted sea views to complete the dining experience. “There are four aspects that make Huis ter Duin unique. Its location directly on the beach, its close proximity to the cities of Amsterdam, The Hague and Leiden with their great museums, the excellent variety of restaurants, and the MC Wellness Centre,” says the hotel’s managing director Stephan Stokkermans. Wonder what MC stands for? Those are the initials of Marie-Claire, his sister-inlaw, who owns the spa. The fact that the
hotel, restaurants and spa are family owned makes Huis ter Duin truly unique. “The personal attention we give each of our guests, and the manner in which we fulfil their special requests makes us really stand out from the big hotel chains.” Stokkermans concludes: “There is no other hotel in the North West of Europe that can offer this package. You will have to go as far as Biarritz, in the South of France, to find something that resembles this.” www.huisterduin.com www.breakersbeachhouse.nl www.restaurantlatour.nl www.restaurantlaterrasse.nl
Discover Benelux | Noordwijk | Top Food, Drinks & Sleep Spots
Beers flowing on the coast TEXT: KIM-W. BLEEKER | PHOTOS: MARCEL VERHEGGEN
Set on the coast in Noordwijk, the Harbourlights is the perfect place to enjoy a variety of beers, have a nice dinner and a great night out after a day at the beach. The pub is located in a beautiful spot by the sandy beach and offers stunning views across the dunes and the sea, an area you can stroll through or discover by bicycle. This is ideal for nature lovers and there are beach activities abound, including power kiting and surfboarding. For the less sporty, options include the theatre De Muze, the Space Expo, various museums, a shopping centre and more. End the day with dinner on the terrace, enjoying the sunset and exploring the nightlife. You will feel at home at the Harbourlights. The Harbourlights team is vivacious, bubbly and approachable. Together they bring the pub to life. All guests are greeted with a big
smile. Owners Frank and Natasja Schipper have been running the pub for over ten years. Natasja is a chef, but since the couple became parents of two she is more frequently found at home. Frank is the beer expert and can give you specialist advice on what to try. Dinner is prepared by head chef Ruud and served by Fred, who have both have been with the Harbourlights for a good while - benefit from their expertise and passion. When the kitchen closes at 10pm, the bistro turns into a lively pub. There is often live music and room to dance as Annemiek, the bar lady, serves up your favourite drinks. Every month boasts its own events programme, including recurring favourites such as such as poker tournaments, Hearthstone Fireside gatherings and big screens to please sport fanatics. When the WK and EK start, the whole pub turns orange. Go join in with the cheering!
www.harbourlights.nl or like the Harbourlights on Facebook.
Place2BEach: the place to be at sea TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA | PHOTOS: PLACE2BECH
When an interior stylist and her boyfriend found this apartment at the beach, that is when a place to be arose – or, rather: Place2BEach. Next to the lighthouse and the beautiful dunes of Noordwijk, with breathtaking sea views, they created a home away from home. They were walking along the beach when they spotted it and Marit de Lange and boyfriend Marco did not hesitate for a moment. “Wouldn’t it be special to renovate this place, make it a holiday home and later maybe even live there ourselves?” De Lange thought. They renovated the place completely and made it into a stylish, luxurious two-bedroom apartment where you can feel at home – a neutral base, but also just as cosy, special, trendy and luxurious as Noordwijk is. This is probably why guests feel so at home at Place2BEach. That, and the personal ap-
proach the couple finds important. “From the first contact and until arrival, I am the one to welcome guests and try my best to make them have a perfect stay,” De Lange laughs. “I’m a freelancer so I can combine my styling job with welcoming guests.” Another benefit? The view. From the balcony you can see the sea and the lighthouse just across the street. The boulevard starts here, with plenty of trendy bars, restaurants and also pavilions on the beach. Moreover, Amsterdam is only a 20-minute drive away. The place to be, indeed. Last but not least, the pair recently opened two additional holiday accommodation options: the Place2BEach House and Place2BEach Bungalow, two more entirely different ways to spend your holiday. www.place2beach.com Issue 29 | May 2016 | 91
Photo: Toerisme Oostende
Photo: Visit Flanders
Photo: Visit Flanders
DISCOVER THE BELGIAN COAST
Europe’s best-kept seaside secret Scrumptious waffles, great beer and fine chocolates are what immediately spring to mind when thinking of Belgium. But did you know that you can enjoy all of these on the Flemish Coast with its 42 miles of wide sandy beaches, undisturbed nature and luxury seaside resorts? Belgians have long known that this is the place to come to enjoy the warm summer months. TEXT: STEPHANIE LOVELL
Stretching between France and the Netherlands, the Flemish Coast boasts all the sun, sea and sand you could desire, as well as tranquil nature, fun-packed activities, exquisite cuisine and fascinating culture. Cool down with a dip in the North Sea before lying back and soaking up some sun. Because of the iodine and salt in the air, sunbathers find that they acquire a healthier tan here. Learn a new water sport with one of the many 92 | Issue 29 | May 2016
beach clubs, offering the likes of sailing, surfing and kayaking. Try your hand at horseback shrimp fishing, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: fishing for shrimp on horseback – a traditional practice of Oostduinkerke that has been recognised on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. With its 13 nature reserves comprising 701 hectares of protected landscapes,
the Flemish Coast has earned a place in Europe’s top ten most sustainable coastal areas. You can walk for miles along the many footpaths and discover beautiful natural parks along the coast. Rent a bike and ride parallel to the coastline, admiring the dunes and polders as you go. When you have worked up an appetite, you can eat your fill of mouthwatering shrimp, Belgian-style mussels and succulent oysters, all washed down
Discover Benelux | Flemish Coast Highlights | Eat, Drink, Sleep & Entertainment
with some renowned Belgian beer. The bustling fishing ports and harbours that dot the coastline mean there is never any shortage of delicious fresh seafood to devour. For dessert, head to the tearoom at Marie Siska for their famous waffles, a real treat beloved by the locals. The many cultural festivals that take place over the summer guarantee fun for all the family. Art aficionados can admire the best in Dutch art at the region’s various museums, galleries and cultural centres. Music lovers might be surprised
to hear that it was in Ostend that Marvin Gaye was inspired to write his huge hit, Sexual Healing. History buffs will wonder at the typical Belle Époque villas in De Haan, which was home to Albert Einstein. Shopaholics need look no further than Knokke, Belgium’s most affluent destination, with its rows of luxury boutiques. Undoubtedly the most charming way to get to know the region is by hopping on and off the Kusttram, which is the longest tramway in the world, running between De Panne and Knokke, making stops in
all the different seaside resorts along the way. In each town, enthusiastic local volunteers known as Belgian Coast Greeters are ready to show you around and take you off the beaten track. Thanks to frequent train services from Brussels and the high-speed ferry and Channel Tunnel connections to England, you could be here in no time. So why not skip the usual overcrowded beach resorts and instead discover the wonders of the Flemish Coast this summer?
Photo: Toerisme Knokke Heist
Photo: Toerisme Vlaanderen
Photo: Toerisme Blankenberge
Issue 29 | May 2016 | 93
Sensational Flemish showbiz celebrations TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: HET WITTE PAARD
It is a spectacle like no other. Het Witte Paard in Blankenberge, Belgium, combines the most sensational dance, circus acts, music and international artists into one packed show of top-class entertainment. The variety shows by Het Witte Paard are dynamic, breath-taking and authentic. They are aimed at all ages and attract a wide-ranging crowd including families, couples and corporate gatherings. The shows are held at Het Witte Paard revue hall, which has a capacity of 700 people and features a unique Tirol-inspired interior. During the evening, the music is provided by a professional live orchestra 94 | Issue 29 | May 2016
and an extra layer of entertainment is supplied by Het Witte Paard’s own show ballet. They are already fully geared up for the summer, when holiday makers from all over Europe will flock to Blankenberge, a charismatic seaside town. Celebrating their 80th anniversary, Het Witte Paard has something extra special lined up for this season as, for the first time, they will host two different shows. The formula for success The first, the main Summer Show, suitably themed ‘80th Celebration’, runs from July to September. Several international
acts will take the stage, including Dutch singer and entertainment veteran Rob de Nijs. Along with his festive music, the show will feature the characteristic mix of astonishing acrobatics, spectacular dances and humorous sketches. The second show, La Merveilleuse Revue, has been extended due to an overwhelming demand. Initially produced as an Easter spectacle, the show proved so popular that it will return for three more dates in July. With four international top acts, La Merveilleuse Revue is specially aimed at a global audience. Ann Fransen talks about the highlights of La Merveilleuse Revue: “Firstly, there are the six bur-
Discover Benelux | Flemish Coast Highlights | Eat, Drink, Sleep & Entertainment
lesque dancers who perform a sensational and stirring topless act. Secondly there’s the fantastic acrobatics duo who perform their impressive trapeze routine right above the audience. And the show also includes the hand-balancing act of the Pellegrini Brothers who have won a Golden Clown at the International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo.” A family affair Fransen runs Het Witte Paard together with her husband, Ben Van den Keybus. He is the fourth generation of the family business, which was founded in 1936. Aside from running the productions, they also own several restaurants and four-star hotels, including the Pantheon Palace, Aazaert and Saint Sauveur. All restaurants and hotels are located near each other along the coast, at just a short walk from the beach. Thanks to this, Het Witte Paard can offer attractive packages for people who also want to dine out or spend the night in Blankenberge.
“We have a special show menu at the restaurant of Hotel Aazaert and we also offer à la carte dining at restaurant Starckx,” Fransen says. But also during the show the audience will not be neglected, as a personable table service is provided that feeds directly into the night’s exuberant atmosphere. Looking into the future Het Witte Paard is keen to continue to host multiple shows, and are looking into expanding their current programme with another show during the winter months. “This year is the second time we have produced an Easter special, but it is the first time we are hosting two shows in the summer. The reactions have been overwhelming so we are looking into expanding this into a winter special as well,” Fransen says. Aside from their set programme, Het Witte Paard also produces shows on location for business clients. In consultation, a customised performance can be put to-
gether for a unique and personalised experience. “All the elements from our usual shows can be mixed and combined into one show, such as dance, music, sketches, circus acts and much more. Anything is possible,” she concludes. www.witte-paard.be Join the spectacles yourself The Summer Show runs from 15 July to 5 September. La Merveilleuse Revue runs from 20 to 22 July. Please see the website for more dates, ticketing information and restaurant and hotel packages. There are also VIP and special corporate offers available. Tickets start from €34 zomershow.witte-paard.be
ROB DE NIJS 2 INTERNATIONALE ACTS
SANDRINE - PETER THYSSEN - NELE GOOSSENS DIMITRI VERHOEVEN - DAISY THYS - PATRICK ONZIA - LAURA SEYS
VAN 15 JULI T/M 5 SEPTEMBER 2016
TICKETS: ( 050 41 11 00
INFO & TICKETS: www.witte-paard.be • Vissersstraat 53 • Blankenberge
CAT 1: €39 • CAT 2: €37 • CAT 3: €34 Deuren 19u30 - Aanvang show: 20u30 - Zondag: Deuren 15u - Aanvang show 15u30 Het Witte Paard - Vissersstraat 53 - 8370 Blankenberge
Issue 29 | May 2016 | 95
Homemade food right on the sea bank TEXT: SOFIE COUWENBERGH | PHOTOS: RESTAURANT PICARDIE
Restaurant Picardie in Belgium’s coastal town of Blankenberge was the first restaurant there to offer its customers a completely covered and heated terrace right on the sea bank. It is known for serving quality homemade meals right by the beach. At Restaurant Picardie, both tourists, locals and people with a holiday home alike enjoy lunch or dinner inside the cosy restaurant or on its terrace, where they are sheltered from wind and rain by glass and a rooftop that can be removed when the weather is nice. “That’s really our top feature,” owner Lieven Ketels says, “that people can comfortably sit right by the beach any time of the year.” Blankenberge local Lieven, who took over Restaurant Picardie more than 25 years ago, has developed it from a basic bistro that was only open during school 96 | Issue 29 | May 2016
breaks and the summer months, to a place where people can enjoy a homecooked meal 11 months of the year at a reasonable price. There is ample choice as well, with two fixed menus and the option to order à la carte. “The customer has changed and knows a lot more about cooking and food now than when we started, so we always do our best to evolve with them and adapt to their needs,” Lieven says, and it is one of the reasons why the restaurant offers a selection of two “healthy biological meals”, prepared with ingredients that are all locally sourced and produced in an ecologically responsible way. Every two months the selection changes according to what is in season at that moment, so customers can frequently try out a new bio-dish. Aside from the changing bio-meals, Restaurant Picardie’s menu
also boasts three seasonal suggestions that are changed every two months. But it is not just the food this restaurant is known for. Lieven had the idea to decorate the toilets of Restaurant Picardie with pictures of fashion models from Blankenberge who are posing with toilet gear. The decoration made it into the local paper and always amuses visitors. What should you get when visiting Restaurant Picardie? According to Lieven, the mussels, the fresh fish dishes, and meat grilled on a special lava rock are his customers’ favourites. If that is not your thing, the extensive menu guarantees you will find something to your liking. www.restopicardie.be
Discover Benelux | Flemish Coast Highlights | Eat, Drink, Sleep & Entertainment
Connoisseur of Fruits de Mer TEXT: KIM-W. BLEEKER | PHOTOS: PIETER DEVRIENDT
On the coast of Blankenberge you’ll find the place for seafood loving gourmets Restaurant Oesterput. For five generations Family Devriendt has been serving a wide variety of seafood in delicious and delightful ways. It started in 1885 when great-great-grandfather Pieter Devriendt opened a wholesale trade in fish. In 1888 he became the first owner of an ‘Oesterput’ (basins with oyster beds) - hence the restaurant name. Now Restaurant Oesterput is famed among locals and tourists worldwide. The atmosphere is special: expect excellent service with a smile. In summer enjoy the unique setting on a spacious terrace next to the beach and dunes. A treat well worth it after a 15-minute walk from the centre. Restaurant Oesterput specialises in champagnes as well as fish and shellfish, featur-
ing in the top 25 mussel restaurants in Belgium. The restaurant boasts several television appearances - including on Belgium show Dagelijkse Kost in 2016. Aside from its location, what makes Restaurant Oesterput special is the huge basins where live lobsters - from Canada, Netherlands and Scotland - are grown and held. “That’s the most important thing to me, everything has to be fresh, or else I won’t take it, I want to offer the best!” explains Pieter. The oysters come from their own oyster beds. France’s famous Gillardeaux and Fine de Claire oysters and the renowned Zeeuwse mussels and oysters from Zeeland in the Netherlands are other highlights. The family also offers takeaways, serving their lobsters and oysters at festivals, including Belgium’s Tomorrowland. Proud owners Pieter and Caroline Devriendt took over from Pieter’s
parents in the early ‘80s, opening Restaurant Oesterput in 1986. Sons Pieter and Robbe work there too and have a vision to modernise the restaurant - increasing social media activity - while keeping its classical charm and making sure the legacy lives on. Ensuring the next generation of diners keep returning, hungry for more. www.oesterput.com
It is not chic, but it is luxurious TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA | PHOTOS: LOXLEY
Coming home. That is how guests of Loxley usually describe their stay. Coming home to a fairy tale that is, because this bed and breakfast looks almost magical. It is the ideal place for a romantic getaway. Owners and couple Koen and Anne De Wilde set up Loxley nearly two years ago because they wanted to create a place filled with peace and quiet. “I’m a nurse originally,” Anne explains. “I love taking care of people, giving them the best.” Which is why, at Loxley, they will always do that little bit extra for you – be it fresh flowers, showing genuine interest in people or choosing the best-quality products. That goes for the toiletries and box spring beds in the rooms as well as the locally produced food in the bistro. “It’s not chic, but it is luxurious,” says Anne. Simplicity and cosiness are two other terms that describe this small place near Belgium’s
coast. The hotel is housed in an English cottage, built as a holiday home back in 1903. “We renovated it completely but kept the authentic details,” Koen says. “On our terrace you can enjoy drinks and during July and August even fresh dishes like filet mignon or homemade croquettes.” You will not want to leave, but what if you wanted to check out the surroundings? There are beautiful dunes, you can take a bike ride or visit the cemeteries from World War I. Moreover, there are a good few starred restaurants close by. What else could you possibly need to be tempted to visit the De Wilde couple? www.loxley.be
Issue 29 | May 2016 | 97
A fishy, friendly family affair TEXT: ELLA PUT | PHOTOS: DE HUIFKAR
Situated in the small yet picturesque Belgian seaside town of Koksijde, restaurant De Huifkar is the perfect way to end or start the day in a beautiful costal area. With breathtaking views across the Flemish shore, guests can enjoy delicious fresh lobster in a restaurant that feels like a family home. “We have a wonderful mix of guests: elderly couples from Koksijde who come in for a quick bite and young families on their weekend getaway. Everyone is more than welcome here,” says co-owner and hostess Ann Hoflack. Her husband, Ronny, who is De Huifkar’s chef, started the restaurant almost 43 years ago. His passion for cooking and her helping hand as the hostess made De Huifkar into a success. “The funny thing is that most children ask their parents to come back to our 98 | Issue 29 | May 2016
restaurant time after time. To hear that children get such a good vibe from the atmosphere and the food is the biggest compliment we can get,” says Ann, citing a Dutch proverb: “You know what they say, the truth comes from a child’s mouth.”
meal a nine out of ten rating in its annual challenge, The Biggest Test. Furthermore, De Huifkar holds the title of Bib Gourmand Restaurant, awarded by the prestigious Michelin guide, meaning that the restaurant offers excellent value for money too.
The family atmosphere in the restaurant can also be found in the kitchen, where chef Ronny and his son Bas prepare delicious meals for their guests. Recommended by the chefs is the lobster with citrus butter, known as the Bouillabaisse, which is freshly made every day and is often referred to as a real culinary highlight. “The secret is the citrus butter – it’s a recipe that has been in the family for many years now,” Ronny explains.
“We hope that the restaurant will stay in the family,” says Ann. “Our son, Bas, is a great help in the kitchen. Me and my husband are slowly taking some steps back so that he can take over and run the restaurant one day.”
The family recipe has been a success and the meal is widely known. Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad gave the
De Huifkar is a wonderful family affair with the most delicious fresh seafood recipes in town and, perhaps most importantly, served in a friendly atmosphere.
Luxury and cosiness in one hotel TEXT: ELLA PUT | PHOTOS: DE COQISSERIE
There is a hotel right on the Belgian coast that perfectly combines the cosiness of a bed and breakfast with the luxurious feeling of a hotel. With its modern, recently renovated interiors and friendly service, De Coqisserie is the perfect place for a work visit or a getaway in the Belgian bathing resort De Haan. Situated in the centre of the charming village of De Haan, Hotel De Coqisserie makes the perfect base for a holiday on the Belgian coast. “Other Flemish picturesque cities such as Brugge and Oostende are also within easy reach,”
says Benoit Vanhie, owner of the enchanting hotel. However, De Haan is quite the sight on its own. “Its historical reputation as a Villa Park, where high building wasn’t allowed, has made for some enchanting architecture,” Vanhie says. Along with his wife Kim and their two children Perle and Matteo, he runs the seaside destination described by the owners as “a perfect mix between a bed and breakfast and a hotel”. Furthermore, that perfect mix is reflected by the architecture, which combines the natural surroundings of De Haan with the interior of De Coqisserie. “We have
combined the colours of the dunes, the forest and the sea in the hotel interiors. Our lodges, apartments and the luxurious manor have been decorated with light colours and all offer a beautiful view across the coast and the village.” De Coqisserie is also the perfect place for locals and tourists to mix as the breakfast lounge is accessible for locals, but also for those who come from out of town. The hotel also offers free parking spots and Wi-Fi. www.decoqisserie.be Issue 29 | May 2016 | 99
Discover Benelux | Flemish Coast Highlights | Eat, Drink, Sleep & Entertainment
Thai delights TEXT: FRANK VAN LIESHOUT | PHOTOS: KANE DEMEULEMEESTER
Whether it is the Big Buddha, the atmospheric surroundings or the delicious smell of exotic spices coming from the kitchen, the moment you walk into Mama Thai, you walk into a different world. “The first thing we like our guests to feel is the friendly, welcoming atmosphere,” says owner Laurenzo Moerman. “Friendliness matched by authentic Thai cuisine,” adds his wife Kanteeya. She is the ‘Mama’ running the kitchen, although the name Mama Thai is in honour of her mother, who taught her the finesses of Thai cooking. Laurenzo and Kanteeya have been running Mama Thai for four years now, serving authentic Thai cooking from central Thailand, where culinary traditions are strongest. They offer a genuine Thai eating experience, encouraging customers to order a selection of dishes to share and combine. “It’s how the Thai eat them-
selves,” says Laurenzo. “It’s the ideal way to savour the typical Thai combinations of sweet, sour, salty and spicy.” Working with renowned suppliers, Toque Blanche award-winning chef Kanteeya uses only the freshest ingredients. “And to get the flavours right, everything has to be the ‘real thing’,” she says. “From Thai basil to Thai aubergines.” To accompany their meat, fish and vegetarian dishes, Mama Thai offer Thai beers as well as a selection of wines from Chateau Castigno in the French Languedoc. “Although it’s not Thai tradition, these wines beautifully match our dishes,” says Laurenzo. “Sat outside in summer on our cosy veranda, it’s the perfect accompaniment to a tasty Thai meal full of sunny flavours.” www.mama-thai.com
A dream chateau TEXT: FRANK VAN LIESHOUT | PHOTOS: CHATEAU CASTIGNO
From Michelin-starred The Jane in Antwerp, to exotic sensation Mama Thai in De Panne, more and more top restaurants are serving the wines of Chateau Castigno to accompany their prized culinary creations. Behind this extraordinary success is the equally remarkable story of a Flemish couple who followed their dream to turn a ‘lost paradise’ into ‘heaven on earth’. “It was love at first sight,” says Belgian entrepreneur Marc Verstraete. “When we saw the old chateau tucked away in the hills, we knew immediately this was going to be our new home,” adds his wife Tine. That was eight years ago. Since then they have turned the dilapidated estate in the French Languedoc into the ultimate sustainable wine chateau it is today. Fostering biodiversity and applying lowimpact eco-farming methods, the couple now 100 | Issue 29 | May 2016
grow nine organic grape varieties. Working closely with world-class winemakers Michel Tardieu and Philippe Cambie, they have developed an exciting range of organic wines, which have picked up a cabinet full of prestigious prizes. “Heaven is smiling on us here in the South of France,” says Marc. “That’s why we would like to share our experience,” explains Tine. “We have set up luxury accommodation for guests at the Chateau and we’ve opened a small restaurant in the nearby village of Assignan. It’s the perfect environment to enjoy the gentle pace of rural life – and a glass of fine wine.” From 5 to 12 June actor Gene Bervoets will host a week of cooking workshops, wine tasting, ceramic labs, local market getaways and other shared experiences. Booking is available through email@example.com
Original Broadway musical Dirty Dancing brought to Ostend TEXT: KOEN GUIKING
A trip to the Belgian coastal city of Ostend is not complete without a night out at the Kursaal. Whether you like classical music, pop concerts or musicals, Kursaal Oostende offers it all. A visit to this mythical theatre overlooking the North Sea can be perfectly combined with a meal at the lovely on-site restaurant and an evening out in Belgium’s biggest casino, also housed in this monumental building. The venue prides itself on hosting a big Broadway musical every summer. This year, Dirty Dancing will be showing from 26 July until 7 August. “It is the original version, with the same actors, the same dialogues and the same quality of the shows in London and New York,” says Kursaal Oostende’s marketing manager Jonas Schoonbaert. “It has become
| PHOTOS: KURSAAL OOSTENDE
a tradition for us to book a famous musical in the summer,” Schoonbaert explains. It started in 2011 with Mamma Mia! “For four weeks that show was performed here on the Belgian coast. It was an enormous hit. The year after, we booked the original version of River Dance; technically not a musical, but it was very spectacular and hugely successful again. In the years that followed we have had Cats, Evita and Mamma Mia! again. In general, Belgians don’t tend to go to theatre that often, but these summer musicals attract audiences from around the country, as well as many international tourists.” A night of singing along with Hungry Eyes, Do You Love Me and Time Of My Life can be combined with a threecourse theatre menu at the Queen Os-
tend restaurant on the Kursaal’s rooftop. Another option is to take the Las Vegas Experience, which consists of a threecourse meal at restaurant Fortuna in the casino next door before heading to the theatre, and a cocktail and five-euro playing credit after the show. Other notable performances in the magnificent concert hall this summer are the Dutch duo Nick & Simon, Elvis the Musical and The National Orchestra of Belgium. The latter will give a classical concert on 26 June with the winner of this year’s Queen Elisabeth Prize. Pianists from all over the world will be competing for this laureate in Brussels on various dates in May. www.kursaaloostende.be Issue 29 | May 2016 | 101
World class art in Ostend TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA | PHOTOS: HENRIK HAVEN
If you believe that all graffiti is vandalism, a visit to The Crystal Ship will surely change your mind. There, you will be amazed by what artists from all over the world are able to do with public space. The Crystal Ship is the biggest festival surrounding art and public space in Europe. No wonder Johan Vande Lanotte, Ostend’s mayor, is so proud to host it. “It’s amazing,” he says. “We’ve wanted to do something with art on the streets of Ostend for a while now. We’ve been talking to an expert on this kind of art, Bjørn Van Poucke. He helped us realise this beautiful artistic trail through the city.” Twenty different artists from all over the world created beautiful paintings on walls all over the city. “Argentina, Australia, Italy, South-Africa; but there’s also 102 | Issue 29 | May 2016
national artists from Brussels and Ostend itself,” Vande Lanotte explains. And that is not all, every resident of Ostend could provide his or her wall to have it decorated with a small painting by Pol Cosmo or Jaune. “That way, this festival is even more part of the city and its residents.”
painting is made with so much detail you can simply keep looking at it for hours. “It’s phenomenal,” Vande Lanotte says. “I can’t even begin to describe what the effect of those paintings is on our city. Which is why I think everybody needs to come and watch.” Because, as Vande Lanotte says: “Art is for everybody”.
In the first weekend after the paintings were completed in April, 2,000 people already came to watch. It is safe to say that it is a success, and there are still two more years to go. “In 2018 we’ll organise the second edition of The Crystal Ship and 20 more wall paintings will be made. Two years after that, we start over. Imagine how colourful the city will be!” says Vande Lanotte.
The city of Ostend has made a special route that showcases every piece of art. You can walk or go by bike. Either way, there’s a road map available at the tourist shop on Monacoplein in Ostend and you can check it out on the app as well. Just one thing: what if it rains? Vande Lanotte laughs: “The Crystal Ship is beautiful from under an umbrella as well.”
There is no need to wait though, because there is plenty to see already. Every
Discover Benelux | Flemish Coast Highlights | Eat, Drink, Sleep & Entertainment
This award-winning spirit is Ginius TEXT: KOEN GUIKING | PHOTOS: GINIUS
Everyone knows that some of the best beers in the world are brewed in Belgium. But did you know that a number of prize-winning gins are also produced there? Various Belgian gins were awarded a prize at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in March 2016. Among those even a gold medal winner: Ginius, designed by Frederik van Duüren from Oostduinkerke. Frederik may not a professional distiller, but he is a true gin cognoscente. And very entrepreneurial. “I like to do lots of different things,” says the entrepreneur and co-owner of clothing store Storms Fashion in Nieuwpoort. In the first gin he crafted, less than a year ago, Frederik incorporated a berry that is very typical of the area he lives in, the Sea
Buckthorn Berry that grows in the dunes of his hometown Oostduinkerke. He aptly named his creation Duingin, Dutch for ‘Dune Gin’. “These berries grow right behind my house, but because it is a protected plant, I can’t pick them. Instead, I import these berries from Latvia, where they cultivate this dune plant.” Soon after the first bottles of Duingin were sold, Frederik gave his distiller, the nearby company Spirit by design, another gin recipe. It included ingredients like laurel, lavender, black pepper, angelica, cardamom and grapefruit. “I go with my gut feeling. My aim is to create a flavour that I like. I don’t think of what others might like,” he says, describing how he received a sample of the gin four months later and said: “This is it. This is the flavour I want.”
For a brief moment Frederik had some doubts about the higher than anticipated alcohol content, pushing up the duties consumers will have to pay for a bottle. But altering the recipe to lower the alcohol percentage was not an option for him, nor was diluting it with water. “Ginius contains quite a lot of ethereal oils from the lavender. Adding water would make the drink cloudy.” So he left it just the way it was. It was a good call. The world’s best spirit experts awarded Ginius a gold medal. The gin is now sold in dozens of specialised bars, restaurants and liquor stores in Belgium. Distribution to England, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Baltic States has recently started. www.duingin.be
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Healthy liquor in a historical atmosphere TEXT: ELLA PUT | PHOTOS: IMPROVISIO
If you are looking for undiscovered treasures in the city of Leuven, Improvisio is the place to go. Just a stone’s throw away from the dazzling city centre, you will find a beautifully renovated 18th century guesthouse where you can enjoy delicious yet affordable mouth-watering dishes in a peaceful and historical atmosphere. “Me and my wife renovated this monumental building in 2002,” says Improvisio’s owner, Fabian Deckers. “We tried to combine the atmosphere of the monumental estate with the cosiness of a bistro.” To say that their mission was a success is an understatement. Improvisio’s interiors perfectly marry a modern vibe with subtle details dating back to 1735. The bistro has become the perfect place for a delicious meal in a relaxed ambiance. 104 | Issue 29 | May 2016
In one of the three romantic courtyards overlooking the old Roman Chapel and its monastery, guests can enjoy a glass of organic wine or locally brewed beer on a long summer’s night. The bistro also offers its historical venue as a place to organise parties. Furthermore, the restaurant hosts live music and improvisation theatre from time to time in an aim to exceed the guests’ expectations. Whether you come in for a quick bite to eat or a three-course dinner, Improvisio’s friendly team will be more than willing to help you choose one of the healthy, delicious delights on their menu, including the Mechelse Koekoek, which can be described as top-quality chicken served with brown shrimp and a puff-pastry patty. “We live in a society where we don’t seem to know what kind of food makes
our bodies truly happy,” says Deckers. “Quality and health are key values for Improvisio. Therefore, we have chosen to select organic vegetables, fruit, fish and meat from local suppliers. It comes in fresh every day and contributes to a very healthy yet affordable menu.” But to save the best for last, Improvisio’s pride and Leuven’s showpiece is the liquor named Musa Lova. This local drink is made from bananas, which might come as a surprise at first but it is a delicious delicacy. Part of the proceeds from this local specialty go to a development project in Congo, where bananas have a strong position as a staple food. Try this tasty local delicacy and do some good, while eating healthy food and enjoying your stay at Improvisio in Leuven. www.improvisio.net
Discover Benelux | Destination Profile: Belgium | Unmissable Leuven
‘Our food does not contain rarities’ TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK | PHOTOS: IVES VAN DEN EECKHOUDT
The young and very talented chef Bram Verbeken is the culinary force behind restaurant Zarza in the Belgian city of Leuven. All the critics agree: Zarza is gastronomically sophisticated and serves fine food. Even the outside terrace has been chosen as one of the best in town. “It is a challenge to create something new every season, based on the products that particular season provides,” says Verbeken. “We work with the best and freshest products from local farmers and butcheries. Our food is creative but not extremely fantastical. We keep the basic understanding of any product in mind; our food does not contain any rarities.” All staff at Zarza are competent and friendly yet very easy going, making sure that everybody gets served quickly and professionally, something very much appreciated by
lunchtime business clientele. Zarza provides a menu including drinks for a reduced price for people under 30, hoping to make sure that they get the opportunity to eat great food. This initiative was already present at Zarza before the inception of the Flanders Kitchen Rebels, an initiative by the Flemish government for which only around 50 young master chefs have been selected, including Verbeken. Aged 32, Verbeken is a young chef with his own signature, but he has years of experience from prestigious restaurants and a lifelong love of food. Whiskey, wine and beer area also among his keenest interests. “Together with Guido van Imschoot, chairman of the Flemish Sommeliers Association, we create great wine and beer arrangements,” Verbeken says. “Sometimes a special type of beer goes better with a dish than a wine. Finding the right combinations is almost a scientific process.”
How to say thank you TEXT & PHOTO: STEVE FLINDERS
I use psychometric profiles a lot in my work and find them very useful in helping people to get to know and understand themselves and their colleagues better. The one I use most, the Team Management Profile ®, provides information about subjects’ communication and leadership styles, which can also be helpful for colleagues looking to work with them in the most effective way. It’s certainly good for team members to find out about the different ways that people like to work so that they can define a common approach everyone can accept. Reading through one such report recently, it occurred to me that it would also be handy to have a footnote on how subjects like to be thanked. There are issues of both quantity and quality here. First, people tend to have a distorted view of the quantity of thanking they do, since the majority of managers I’ve met say they thank
others far more than they are thanked themselves. There must be a mismatch between the perception and the reality somewhere. However, I’m more concerned about how we say thanks since what works for one person doesn’t work for another at all. Most notably, it’s important to decide whether to thank someone in front of others or one-to-one. Some people hate being thanked or praised in public. Indeed, some find it very embarrassing to be thanked at all. While being thanked or praised in front of a group may be fine for an extrovert, an introvert may prefer something more private. Culture has a bearing too: in collectivist (“we”) cultures where people derive more of their sense of identity from the groups they belong to and, as in many parts of Asia, being singled out for praise in front of the team can be very uncomfortable. In highly individualistic (“I”) cultures like the USA, such singling out for public praise is usually less of a threat. Geert Hofstede’s web-
site, which provides quick measures of individualism per country culture, is helpful here: www. geert-hofstede.com Finally, a word about thank you presents. Choosing a present is best done by the person who knows the recipient best, or by the team carer (I hope you have one), or both. This at least cuts down on the number of bottles of booze given to non-drinkers in recognition of something they’ve done well. www.coachingyork.co.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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HOTEL OF THE MONTH
Luxury in Luxembourg: the best of high-end hoteliers TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS | PHOTOS: SOFITEL LUXEMBOURG EUROPE
The five-star Hotel Sofitel Luxembourg Europe is conveniently located on the Kirchberg Plateau, north of Luxembourg city centre. Its prime location means it is close to the Kirchberg Conference Centre, and the Mudam Art Museum and Luxembourg Philharmonic are also within walking distance. The hotel is organised around a stunning central glass atrium which gives an abundance of natural light. Sofitel Luxembourg Europe counts 109 spacious and elegant rooms, including nine suites. The suites offer pillow menus, luxurious rain showers, Hermès toiletries and superb panoramic views across the city. The complex has two high-end restaurants, encompassing Italian and Black Forest cuisine. Award-winning Oro e Argento serves the best of Italian food set in a Venetian-style room. In Le Stübli guests sample Luxembourgish cuisine in a cosy chalet setting. There are also two vibrant areas for drinking and so106 | Issue 29 | May 2016
cialising: the stylish whiskey and cocktail bar SixtyFour°, and cosy cigar room Havana Lounge So what sets the Sofitel Luxembourg Europe apart from other five-star hotels? “Our staff are exceptionally dedicated and passionate about our guests. Despite being a large hotel, people feel at home here as we have developed the ‘Cousu Main’ culture: understanding our guests, fulfilling their emotional needs, making them happy,” says general manager Marie Hélène Onursal. A key benefit is the hotel’s location within the business quarter, close to the city centre. For nature lovers, there are attractions such as caves and canals to visit nearby. Another factor contributing to the hotel’s success is its international atmosphere. “SixtyFour° provides some anglophone culture, while our restaurants offer very diverse foods,” says Onursal. Adding to its multinational character, every three
months the hotel hosts an art exhibition with local and international artists. It also regularly organises special themed evenings, such as the current Japanese whisky tasting session or the cigars dinner that takes place every last Thursday. Other events are organised around particular products, with highlights including the asparagus festival and a fondue party. Sofitel Luxembourg Europe boasts stylish conferencing facilities and a business centre and frequently hosts events such as weddings, staff parties, formal and informal corporate meetings and St. Nicholas celebrations. Plus there is a fully equipped fitness centre available 24 hours a day for hotel guests. Even if you are not spending the night at the hotel, it is worth a visit for its top-notch restaurants, facilities, bars and beautiful views. www.sofitel.com
Discover Benelux | Business Calendar
Business Calendar TEXT: ELLA PUT | PHOTOS: PRESS IMAGES
Photos: Beursvan Berlage
Start-Up Fest Europe 24 May Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam, the Netherlands Start-Up Fest Europe is bringing together starters, founders and business leaders to help young start-ups and their entrepreneurs create a successful and long-lasting business. The festival will be held at various locations within the Netherlands and will help start-ups raise money, attract talent and connect with their peers. www.beursvanberlage.com BCF Career Event 10 May Amsterdam, the Netherlands If there is one event for those who want to expand their careers or want to search for work in the bio, chemistry or food industry, the BCF Career Event is it. With 2,000 visitors and more than 100 organisations taking part, it is the perfect place to take your career to the next level. www.bcfcareerevent.nl
Photos: Beursvan Berlage
Interpret Europe Conference 21-24 May Mechelen, Belgium Are you currently working at a cultural or natural heritage location such as a museum or a zoo? Or are you a regular visitor to one of those places? If so, this conference might be just the perfect place for you to go. During this day in Mechelen, topics such as the interpretation of cultural heritage and how it can play a part in European topics such as sustainability, active citizenship and human rights will be discussed. www.interpreteuropeconference.net Venture Capital World Summit 3 May Brussels, Belgium The Venture Capital World Summit, held in Brussels, will be the perfect opportunity for you and your business to increase your profile and international audience while networking with other academics, business owners and a selection of embassies. www.venturecapitalworldsummit.com
ICT Spring 2016 10 â€“ 11 May European Convention Centre, Luxembourg ICT Spring is one of the European leaders in information and communications technology. This event will be demonstrating and exhibiting the latest trends and innovations in that area. With attendees from 72 countries and the opportunity to build strong relationships with fellow entrepreneurs, this annual event has the reputation of attracting the fastest-growing start-ups on the planet. www.ictspring.com
Photos: ICT SpringBeursvan Berlage
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Photos: Renee Frinking
Photos: Renee Frinking
Photos: Renee Frinking
Out & About The month ahead in the Benelux is full of cultural, gastronomical and sporting events to keep us entertained. TEXT: ELLA PUT | PHOTOS: PRESS IMAGES
Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta 3 – 16 May The Hague, The Netherlands Attracting thousands of sailing fanatics from all over the world, this event held in the famous harbour of Scheveningen is the water sports event of the year in the Netherlands. Yachts of all sizes will set sail to The Hague and you can do it too. Rent a boat to visit this wonderful annual event. www.nsr.nl Gent Smaakt 4 – 8 May Ghent, Belgium Lovers of food and visitors to the Belgian city of Ghent can enjoy the culinary festival of Gent Smaakt, which translates to ‘Ghent is tasting’, for four whole days. Whilst enjoying mouth-watering dishes and appetising drinks visitors can enjoy their meal on the recently renovated 108 | Issue 29 | May 2016
Emile Braunplein, which will be the backdrop for this amazing event. www.gentsmaakt.be Liberation Pop 5 May Haarlem, The Netherlands Liberation Pop is not just a random festival; it’s a festival that celebrates the freedom and liberation of the Netherlands, also known as Bevrijdingspop. The programme contains a blend of music and fun activities. Everyone is welcome at this free festival, which will also be held on several other locations in the Netherlands under the name of ‘Bevrijdingsfestival’. www.bevrijdingspop.nl Start of the Giro d’Italia 6 May Apeldoorn, The Netherlands
This year the Netherlands has the honour to host the start of the Giro d’Italia in the Dutch province of Gelderland. The cycling route, which goes through beautiful Dutch cities such as Apeldoorn and Nijmegen, will be combined with several fun activities and a wonderful ambiance all over the province. www.girogelderland.nl Het Rollende Keukens Festival 12 - 16 May Amsterdam, The Netherlands Het Rollende Keukens Festival, which basically means ‘The Travelling Kitchens Festival’, is one of the most fun festivals of the season. On the ground of the historical Westergasfabriek a village of kitchens and food trucks will be created, where everyone is more than welcome to enjoy hand-made food from all over the world in a relaxed atmosphere. www.rollendekeukens.amsterdam
Discover Benelux | Culture | Out & About
National Mills Days 14 – 15 May Various locations, The Netherlands If you want to visit a mill in the Netherlands then now is the time. In the second weekend of May over 950 mills all over the Netherlands will open their doors to the public. The national Dutch landmark has played an important role in the country’s history and on this day you can find out more. www.molens.nl
Beachbar Barbarossa Scheveningen 20 May Scheveningen, The Netherlands What way better than to spend an early summer night in May than at the beach? It might be too cold to take a fresh plunge in the sea but at the wonderful Barbarossa Beach Club you can show your dance moves, throw your hands in the air and enjoy the fantastic beats of the CLUPTOWN DJ team. www.barbarossabeach.nl
Parade@Pride 14 May Brussels, Belgium The Gay Pride festivities in Brussels are not just one festival, the event covers more festivals under one name, such as the MiniPride and the Parade@Pride. The most important message of the festival is to celebrate the freedom of people from all over the world to express their love for each other. Celebrate the love and join the festival in the beautiful city of Manneken Pis. www.pride.be/en
Brussels Jazz Marathon 22-24 May Brussels, Belgium The city of Brussels will be the backdrop of the Brussels Jazz Marathon, a festival that will honour and promote the music genre by organising performances and previews in restaurant and cafés all over town. www.brusselsjazzmarathon.be
Brussels Masterpieces 18 May – 27 August Brussels, Belgium Explore the unknown in Brussels. During 100 days 100 masterpieces will be in the spotlight in the permanent collections of museums in Brussels. There will be family trails, guided tours and many more activities to promote the cultural heritage of masterpieces that have been forgotten. www.100masters.brussels
Photos: Archie Backx
Het Flinke Festival 29 May De Flinkefarm, The Netherlands This mini-festival held in Friesland, one of the most northern provinces of the Netherlands, might just be the most cosiest and organic festival of the year. Set in a traditional Dutch landscape with food trucks and several live bands, this festival is an attraction for old, young, lovers of music, lovers of theatre and of course - foodies. What better way to spend a sunny day in May? www.itflinkeboskje.nl
Photos: Ewoud Koster
Photos: Gay Pride Brussels
Photos: Gay Pride Brussels
Photos: Gay Pride Brussels
Photos: Gay Pride Brussels
Issue 29 | May 2016 | 109
Discover Benelux | Culture | Lifestyle Columns
Singing her praises TEXT: MATT ANTONIAK | PHOTO: COURTESY OF KRAUPA TUSKANY ZEIDLER
Throughout 2016, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam will present Stedelijk Contemporaries, a showing of seven young artists whose works the museum have recently acquired. The youngest of these seven is the prodigiously talented American artist Avery Singer, who creates sensational monochromatic paintings and installations.
Singer’s work is instantly recognisable. Zig-zaggy, geometric characters roam her canvases, and swathes of light and shadow create a cinematic aesthetic. In that regard they are reminiscent of young Belgian artist Rinus Van de Velde’s charcoal drawings – but Singer’s works are not autobiographical like Van de Velde’s, and nor are they charcoal. In fact, they are the result of a labour-in-
tensive method, which begins with a preliminary drawing on the 3D modelling software Google SketchUp (how very 2016). From here, the drawing is mapped onto canvas, and then the painstaking process of masking and spraying paint begins. At a glance, her canvases share a visual identity with that of the Vorticist or Cubist movement from the early part of the 20th century. But the trompe l’oeil effect of her spray paint and the subtle but pervading sarcasm that runs through her pieces, root her work very much within the present day. Indeed, a great deal of her work references and pokes fun and the art world in which she inhabits. Exhibitions, studio visits and preview parties all come under Singer’s gentle attack. She is a force to be reckoned with, and not one to be missed. Avery Singer: Scenes is on show
at the Stedelijk Museum as part of Stedelijk Contemporaries from 23 April until 2 October 2016.
Matt Antoniak is a visual artist and writer living and working in Newcastle, UK. He works mainly in painting and drawing and is a founding member of the art collective M I L K.
Beer of the Month: Carrie IPA TEXT: STUART FORSTER | PHOTO: STUART FORSTER
Carrie is a strong IPA brewed in Rotterdam at premises across the Rijnhaven dock from the Hotel New York, the former headquarters of the Holland America Line, whose ships were used by thousands to emigrate from Europe. Some might see the location of the Kaapse Brouwers vats as ironic, others as fitting. After all, the brewery is essentially playing a leading role in importing the craft beer revolution - a movement that started in the USA - to the Netherlands’ second city. This particular ale is dark amber in colour but, depending on the pour, yeast within the bottle can give it a cloudy appearance. It has a malty aroma with fruity undertones. As you would expect from an India Pale Ale, the flavour is laced with hoppy bitterness and reveals a citrusy back note. The ingredients list water and, surprisingly, pils. 110 | Issue 29 | May 2016
Caramel malts provide a hint of sweetness to balance out Carrie’s bitterness. The brewers make use of Chinook, Amarillo, Cascade and Simcoe hops in this complex brew. The result is a beer that some people interpret as having red fruit undertones while others taste elements of kiwi and exotic fruits. The Kaapse Brouwers micro-brewery is based within the hip Fenix Food Factory in the up-and-coming Katendrecht district of the city. Carrie is sold in 330-millilitre bottles in stores across Rotterdam and beyond. It is also available at the brewpub, where tastings are held. They feature at least six beers plus snacks, and include an overview of how the brewery goes about producing its ales. Brewer: Kaapse Brouwers Strength: 6.5 per cent
Stuart Forster was twice named Journalist of the Year at the 2015 and 2016 Holland Press Awards. Five generations of his family have been actively involved in the brewing industry.
Flanders is a top-class golfing destination where there are 54 golf clubs who are happy to welcome you for a lovely round of golf or a challenging workout of your swing!
To book a tee time or plan your holiday, visit www.golfinflanders.com
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112 | Issue 29 | May 2016
Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.