Discover Benelux, Issue 31, July 2016

Page 1

I S S U E 3 1 | J U LY 2 0 1 6









21 07

s i r p r u s

Discover Benelux | Contents

Contents JULY 2016



COVER FEATURE 68 Claudy Jongstra From London’s Victoria & Albert Museum to New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the work of Dutch visual artist Claudy Jongstra can be found in galleries across the world. The multitalented creative has now turned her hands to horticulture - and with great success. Discover Benelux talks to her about her prize-winning garden at this year’s edition of the internationally renowned Chelsea Flower Show.

74 Top Activities in Luxembourg The small but perfectly formed Luxembourg awaits with a plethora of cultural and sporting activities. Offering everything from medieval castles to stunning hiking trails, culture vultures and sporty types alike will be satisfied by our guide.


10 Amsterdam: The Ultimate and Unforgettable Summer Destination



Antwerp City Special From the best boutiques in this fashion-forward Belgian city, to the finest restaurants, bars and hotels: our guide gives you all the addresses you will need for a perfect weekend break.

61 Top Galleries and Art Exhibitions in Belgium 2016

Whether you fancy sleeping under the stars or indulging in the lap of luxury at a grand hotel, we help you find the perfect place to make your next overnight stay an unforgettable experience.

THEMES Area by area, we present our pick of the Dutch capital’s diverse entertainment and cultural scene as well as showing you the very best places to eat, drink and rest your head.

Best Sleeping Experiences in Belgium and Luxembourg


Unmissable Festivals, Exhibitions and Events in the Netherlands Planning a trip to the Netherlands? Discover Benelux reveals important dates for your diary in 2016, with our guide to some of the country’s most exciting upcoming events.

DON’T MISS 6 Fashion Picks | 8 Desirable Designs 100 Out & About | 105 Columns

Belgium’s creative scene is blossoming. Whether you want to purchase, admire or even rent out a new piece of art, make sure you check out our guide.


Issue 31 | July 2016 | 3

Discover Benelux | Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Discover Benelux Issue 31, July 2016 Published 07.2016 ISSN 2054-7218 Published by Scan Group Print Liquid Graphic Ltd Executive Editor Thomas Winther Creative Director Mads E. Petersen Editor Anna Villeleger Assistant Editor Charlotte van Hek Copy-editor Isa Hemphrey Graphic Designer Mercedes Moulia Contributors Adam Jacot de Boinod Berthe van den Hurk Bettina Guirkinger Cathy van Klaveren

Ella Put Emmie Collinge Frank van Lieshout Koen Guiking Lidija Liegis Matt Antoniak Michiel Stol Myriam Gwynned Dijck Sonja Irani Steve Flinders Stuart Forster Xandra Boersma Cover Photo Photographer: © Marcel van der Vlugt Sales & Key Account Managers Mette Tonnessen Kirsten Schoon Katia Sfihi Micha Cornelisse 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:

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 31 | July 2016

Welcome to the summer! Hopefully you have been able to make the most of the recent sunshine and perhaps the greenfingered amongst you have been using the longer days as an opportunity to embark on a spot of gardening. I have horticulture on the brain as I recently had the chance to talk to Dutch visual artist Claudy Jongstra, who made the headlines with her Silver-Gilt winning entry at the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show in May. As a highlight of Queen Elizabeth II’s calendar, events do not get much more British, so Jongstra was amazed to scoop such an accolade for the Netherlands with the Honeysuckle Blue(s) garden. Pioneering as well as beautiful, it showcases plants which are capable of producing high-quality natural dyes, which fits in perfectly with this artist’s commitment to sustainability and the environment. For those who missed out, Jongstra’s winning garden is coming to the Benelux too: it will be shown in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, in 2018 - when the city will be the European Capital of Culture. Talking of culture, our July edition is bursting with it. From a look at Belgian’s blooming art scene to the various cultural attractions that feature in our district-by-district guide to Amsterdam - not to mention Luxembourg’s fairy tale-worthy chateaux - we show you where to go in the Benelux to satisfy your cultural cravings. Enjoy!

Anna Villeleger, Editor

Private Banking.

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.

ING Luxembourg, Société Anonyme – 52, route d’Esch, L-2965 Luxembourg – R.C.S. Luxembourg B.6041

Discover Benelux | Design | Fashion Picks


A cool summer Want to look and feel cool as the temperatures rise? These fashion picks from the Benelux will make you look like a million dollars when it feels like a million degrees outside. TEXT: ELLA PUT | PRESS PHOTOS

1. Bathing in blue Forget about the bikini, bathing suits are back. This lovely bright blue one is by Dutch lingerie brand Hunkemöller and will ensure you shine on the beach. €50

2. Bye-bye skinny jeans Forget about skinny jeans. With these loose yet elegant pants, a fashionable and comfortable summer awaits you. Combine it with a cool jacket and sneakers. Ready, set and shine! Trousers €140 Jacket €170

Discover Benelux | Design | Fashion Picks

3. Hello yellow Dutch brand Fab by Fabienne is making a name for itself in the world of colourful accessories. This yellow bag will make any outfit pop and is a perfect accompaniment to the sunshine.

5. Casual and cool 4. Best foot forward Dutch brand G-Star is known for providing comfort, plus style, and these heels are no exception. At last, no need to wear painful high heels. €140

G-Star’s summer collection combines casual coolness with modern, airy pieces, made using light and comfy fabrics. Trousers €120 Top €40 Issue 31 | July 2016 | 7

Discover Benelux | Design | Desirable Designs


A beautiful bedroom Some say the heart of every house is the kitchen, but the room where we go for a good night’s sleep is pretty important too. These desirable designs will make sure your bedroom looks its best! TEXT: ELLA PUT | PRESS PHOTOS


2. 2. Wave your flag Flags in your bedroom? It might sound funny at first, but this trend can make a quirky addition to your bedroom. After all, some believe that flags can be a good replacement for dream catchers. So dream on, little dreamer. €18

1. Breakfast in bed For those who like breakfast in bed (or on their bedding) this Dutch design is the perfect solution: a duvet set adorned with toast. Sweet dreams! €120

3. In the spotlight


For many years Dutch store Sissy Boy has been a highly regarded go-to shop for those who love modern, unique furniture designs at an affordable price. This fashionable spotlight lamp is a great example. €160


5. Pretty pompons 4. Wake o’clock Who does not dread the sound of the alarm on a Monday morning? You can make waking up a little bit easier with one of these stylish clocks, which combine traditional vintage with a modern touch. €299 8 | Issue 31 | July 2016

Inspired by the exotic and beautiful designs of the Middle East, Dutch store The Souks is giving Moroccan carpets, blankets and pillows a Dutch twist with their urban, cool designs. A perfect example is this blanket with its pretty pink pompons. €125


A n e w pla c e in Kirc h b erg!

A ba r l a e d i t a e r u t a r e temp

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.

Photo: Maarten van der Wal

A M S T E R D A M : T H E U LT I M A T E & U N F O R G E T T A B L E S U M M E R D E S T I N A T I O N

Be amazed in Amsterdam With its breathtaking scenery, cultural wonders and blooming diversity, Amsterdam is a city that does not require much of an introduction. Whether by bike or on foot: get lost in the maze of canals, feel like a local in the fine cafĂŠs and restaurants and be inspired by the worldly art and entertainment. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK | PHOTOS: AMSTERDAM MARKETING & NBTC HOLLAND MARKETING

Photo: Koen Smilde

Photo: Frank van Beek

Dam and Nieuwmarkt area (Read more from page 13) Home to the (in)famous Red Light District (De Wallen), the area around the Dam and Nieuwmarkt is the oldest part of the city. A stone’s throw away from Amsterdam’s central station lays the Dam, a square constructed between two dikes in the 13th century as a necessity to prevent the Zuiderzee from washing over the city. It has long been a central gathering place for everyone – from hippies in the 1960s to street performers, tourists, and pigeons today. The large cobblestone square hosts famous sights like the Royal Palace, De Nieuwe Kerk and the National Monument. Walk further to Nieuwmarkt, a square adjacent to the Dam and located in the heart of Chinatown. Once an open canal,

Nieuwmarkt’s location just inside the old city gate made it an attractive spot for shoppers and traders. Nowadays, the square is a vibrant marketplace hosting a daily market, coffee shops, restaurants and quirky shops. Unlike Dam Square, Nieuwmarkt still draws lots of locals.

Rembrandtplein & Amstel area (Read more from page 20) Originally a dairy market place, Rembrandtplein was known as the Botermarkt (Butter Market) until the establishment of Rembrandt’s statue in 1876. Not so much a butter market anymore, the square has transformed into the centre of Amsterdam’s nightlife, being home to vibrant cafes, clubs and the renowned Tuschinski theatre. Up for a night with a water view? Minutes away from Rembrandtplein flows the

city’s scenic Amstel river, presenting an exquisite boulevard with plentiful elegant cafes and restaurants that perfectly complete your Amsterdam night. Need a break from Amsterdam’s cobbled squares and narrow streets? The Plantage neighbourhood borders the east of the city centre and the Amstel. With its spacious parks, wonderful boulevards and waterside terraces it is the ideal spot to enjoy the city in green and laidback surroundings. Not to miss are city zoo Artis, the Portuguese Synagogue and Hortus Botanicus, one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world.

Canal District area (Read more from page 28) Do not leave Amsterdam without floating through its watery wonderland. Sailing through Amsterdam’s iconic canals is an Issue 31 | July 2016 | 11

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam | The Ultimate & Unforgettable Summer Destination

enchanting way to discover the city from a different point of view. Often dubbed the ‘Venice of the North’, Amsterdam has more than 100 kilometres of canals which are connected through approximately 1,500 bridges. Being a remnant of the Dutch Golden Age, the iconic canals have always been of great historical and cultural value, originally created for transport of residents, water management and defence. The three main canals are Prinsengracht, Herengracht, and Keizersgracht. Together they form a belt around the city, known as the Grachtengordel (canal ring).

year, from large concerts in summer to an ice rink in winter.

Leidseplein & Museum District area

(Read more from page 40) In Amsterdam you are never done discovering. Much of the authentic Amsterdam is to be found in neighbourhoods bordering the centre. Jump on a bike (or tram) and visit one of the extraordinary districts around the centre, each which its own character, cultural activities and fine restaurants and shops.

(Read more from page 34) Amsterdam’s Museum District is home to some of the most important artistic and historical riches ever created and an absolute treasure for those curious about culture. Most museums are proudly located at the Museumplein, a popular spot for major events held throughout the

Photo: Emilio Brizzi

12 | Issue 31 | July 2016

When you are done being quiet for the day, there is no better direction to head than to Leidseplein. Together with Rembrandtplein, this gathering place makes up for the most popular (and touristy) nightlife and entertainment spot in Amsterdam. A destination remarkably different than centuries ago when the square was used as a parking spot for the carriages and carts of farmers, traders and businessmen.

Close to the city centre

Photo: Koen Smilde

Haarlemmerplein The Haarlemmerplein borders the Singel canal in the centre of Amsterdam and dates back to the construction period of Amsterdam’s grachtengordel when it was used as a wagon square: a parking spot for horses and wagons. Nowadays the lively square is the perfect spot to do your organic shopping: the weekly market on Wednesdays offers high-quality food products, including the best cheese, wine, meat, bread, fruit and vegetables.


I Amsterdam City Card: enjoy free unlimited transport, free entry to Amsterdam’s best museums and attractions, and great discount. Also usable for trips to neighbouring towns around Amsterdam. Prices depend on the length of your stay – choose from a 24, 48, 72 or 96-hour card.

Photo: Henk Rougoor

Dam and Nieuwmarkt area Where it all started. The area around Dam Square and Nieuwmarkt has been going strong since the 13th century and is the perfect spot for you to start your Amsterdam adventure. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK | PHOTOS: AMSTERDAM MARKETING & NBTC HOLLAND MARKETING


Photo: Koen Smilde

Photo: Edwin van Eis

The Art of Banksy – an exhibition of the iconic work by England-based street artist Banksy, famous for his satirical street art and subversive epigrams. Beurs van Berlage, 18 June – 30 September Human Rights Concert – an event from EuroPride 2016. Dam square will be host to various (international) artists accompanied by the New Amsterdam Orchestra to show support for equal rights all over the world. 24 July

Photo: Erik & Petra Hesmerg

The Royal Palace – one of the three places still used by the Dutch Royal House, but most of the year the palace is open for visitors Dam tot Damloop – Over 5,000 runners and some top world athletes will take on the ten or five English miles and who will be encouraged by 250,000 spectators and a myriad of entertainment through the city. 1718 September De Nes – one of the oldest and narrowest streets of Amsterdam with a fascinating history and once home to approximately 20 monasteries

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 13

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Dam & Nieuwmarkt Wax figure of The Lizard Man

Wax figure of Padaung woman of Myanmar.

Wax figure of Robert Wadlow.

Expect the unexpected at Amsterdam’s latest museum TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER | PHOTOS: RIPLEY’S LONDON

This July the Amsterdam museum scene is about to take on a new dimension thanks to the launch of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Amsterdam. This intriguing new museum in the heart of the city centre will take you on a journey like no other. You better believe it. A hugely successful franchise, Ripley’s already has museums across the globe and the new Amsterdam location marks its third site in Europe (joining London and Copenhagen). The museum’s namesake, Robert Ripley, was a famous American 20th-century cartoonist and explorer, who travelled to 201 countries and regaled in the unexpected. As Alejandra Ramos from Ripley’s Amsterdam marketing department explains, Ripley’s idea was to celebrate the unusual and embrace difference rather than poke fun at it: “Robert Ripley was against the idea of mocking difference. He believed 14 | Issue 31 | July 2016

we should celebrate the unknown. That really fits into the vibe of Amsterdam and how people interact. It’s a free city.” Bringing Ripley’s to the Dutch capital had been an ambition for the franchise for decades, but the right venue had not arisen until now. “It has been a crazy rollercoaster, but we finally found the perfect location,” says Ramos of the new site right in the historical centre of Amsterdam. Covering four floors, Ripley’s is a showcase for the most amazing exhibits from across the globe, with everything from a seven-metre robot made of car parts to a real T-rex skull and even a genuine Faberge egg. You can also learn about eccentrics such as The Lizard Man, who transformed his entire body to resemble a lizard and Robert Wadlow, the tallest man in history, who measured 2.72 metres. The museum also incorporates Dutch culture in honour of its new home. The

third floor is dedicated to the Netherlands, complete with a replica of a Dutch windmill. Ramos admits her favourite room is the one dedicated to Amsterdam, where you can imagine if the dykes broke and the city was underwater. The museum welcomes all - from young to old and families too. The lounge area, situated on the fourth floor, is an ideal place to enjoy a post-visit coffee, and is being planned as a venue for children’s birthday parties. It is there that visitors can experience 5D cinema. Technology plays a key role at this innovative museum, which has been designed to create as much of an interactive experience as possible. “We are that rare combination of a museum and an attraction. Historical and cultural values are at the core, but we also provide great entertainment,” concludes Ramos. To book your ticket visit

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Dam & Nieuwmarkt


Thai cuisine is regarded as one of the finest in the world – and with its fresh flavours, vibrant colours and subtle spices, what is not to like? It is that combination which has made Bird restaurant in Amsterdam a beloved culinary destination for almost 20 years. Bird restaurant opened its doors in 1998 at the Zeedijk in central Amsterdam, at a time when Thai cuisine was not as well established as today. “When we opened people did not know Thai cuisine at all,” proprietor Patrick Mertens says. “A soup with coriander and lemon? People were amazed by that.” As soon as you enter the restaurant the smell of a heavenly made marriage of spices and flavours washes over you. “The Thai cuisine has a strong emphasis on light flavours and subtle spices. Our

Thai cooks work with exclusively fresh ingredients,” says Mertens. Sounds too spicy for you? “Thai dishes aren’t necessarily spicy. Our menu consists of sharp dishes alongside milder ones.” Specialities are the red and green curries, combined with fish, chicken, prawns, beef or pork – and a fresh Singha beer. “Dishes like a delicious Panang curry will always remain a classic, but I am always on the lookout for new things.” Currently an absolute treasure, the area round the Zeedijk had to deal with a bad reputation for years. Being right near the Red Light District, the area attracted some unsavoury characters. “Our location was not always a plus. 20 years ago buildings were severely neglected. I personally had to break down the wooden planks nailed to the restaurant’s windows. It could not be more different today.” Nowadays,

business is flourishing and the Zeedijk in the heart of Chinatown has turned into one of Amsterdam’s most vibrant streets. It is a beloved location for locals and national and international tourists. “People cannot believe this street used to have a bad reputation. From our restaurant you have a beautiful view on the Zeedijk and the Achterburgwal.” Discovering new treasures is one of the reasons Mertens visits Thailand approximately three times a year, completing every trip with a suitcase filled with Thai ornaments and a mind full of ideas. “Thailand truly is the land of smiles. Its cuisine combined with an incredible ambiance make this Southeast Asian country so precious.” A combination Thai Bird restaurant embodies like no other. Issue 31 | July 2016 | 15

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Dam & Nieuwmarkt

TOP LEFT: Abaca Corporate:Barbara Zonzin TOP RIGHT: Abaca Corporate: Barbara Zonzin RIGHT: Ewout Huibers BOTTOM RIGHT: Ewout Huibers

‘Where stories are yet to be written’ Hospitality 2.0 TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE

A boutique hotel that is part of one of the world’s largest chains might raise eyebrows, but the bracingly new INK Hotel Amsterdam from Mgallery by Sofitel in the Dutch capital has won over locals and tourists alike with its refreshingly hip take on hospitality. First opened in June 2015 after a fine renovation by Concrete Amsterdam, the repurposed former publishing house draws design cues from its heritage, with a sleek, bold aesthetic, tastefully positioned typewriters as well as aptly chosen materials such as brass and wood. “Hence the name INK Hotel,” interjects Moreno Forte, the hotel’s amiable director of sales and marketing. “Originally the HQ of the Dutch national newspaper De Tijd, newspapers were written and printed in this very building. Now it is a place where stories are yet to be written.” The 149 rooms to suit six different budgets are tidy and fresh, with standalone marble baths and a ton of heart-stealing features. But it is this hotel’s superb amicability that enraptures guests: staff are on first name terms and there is an open-plan lobby, 16 | Issue 31 | July 2016

deliberately chosen instead of a standard reception. Staff have an insatiable appetite to organise events like the weekly Tuesday Juiceday, where cold-pressed juices and inventive healthy salads are the order of the day and the monthly Thirstday (‘come thirsty, leave happy’). Forte explains their new approach to hospitality: “All of this is to listen to the stories of our guests to make their experience a lot more personal.” Given that Amsterdam is not short on boutiques, swish cafés and trendsetting designer wares, the Sofitel hotel chain had a task on their hands when it came to INK and its Pressroom restaurant and terrace. Clearly chosen the right path, with a host of awards heaped on them and an ever-growing clientele list with 300 international guests most nights of the week. “INK Hotel Amsterdam has a unique interpretation of time and hospitality. Most of us have seen half the world already so when we do travel, we look for something unique. We are not easily pleased and sometimes called picky,” he continues

with a wry smile, “but when I first walked into INK, my initial reaction was: WOW – this is hospitality 2016.” At the time of writing, the close-knit team were waiting for the result on 23 June of the Dutch Hotel Awards 2016, “the ‘Oscars’ of the hotel world”. Forte explains that the nomination alone confirms what a beautiful story they have written over the past year.

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Dam & Nieuwmarkt


Looking to enjoy a hearty breakfast, a healthy lunch or a perfect coffee with a big slice of delicious cake right in the historic centre of Amsterdam? Look no further than De Drie Graefjes. Loved by locals and tourists alike, lunchroom and American bakery De Drie Graefjes offers a wide selection of all-day breakfasts, lunch, teas, coffees and American-style cakes and pastries. “Visitors from abroad really enjoy our local atmosphere,” says energetic young owner Aylin Oguz. “Many even revisit us during their short stay in Amsterdam.” Some six years ago, Aylin joined her father in his lunchroom on Gravenstraat, just behind Dam Square. Since then, they have opened a second trendy lunchroom and bakery on fashionable Rokin with a gorgeous view over the Amstel river. “I think our customers enjoy the historic setting, the relaxed atmosphere and the

friendly service we offer,” Aylin smiles. “And of course our wide assortment of sandwiches, American-style pastries and traditional high teas.” The extensive breakfast, brunch and lunch menu includes a large range of hot and cold sandwiches, burgers and salads. “Much of our breakfast and lunch menu is organic. And everything is freshly prepared on our premises.” At their Rokin bakery, De Drie Graefjes bake a delicious selection of scones, brownies, cupcakes, muffins, pies and cakes, including carrot cake, velvet cake and several flavours of cheese cake, on a daily basis. “It is all freshly baked and we serve big slices - we believe in offering value for money. Have it with one of our special coffees or teas and I can guarantee you will be one happy customer.”

Elegance, style and sophisticated Dutch food TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA | PHOTOS: DE SILVEREN SPIEGEL

The beautiful and centrally located De Silveren Spiegel restaurant is one of the oldest in Amsterdam. The building it is housed in is even older, originating from 1614. It used to be the house of the mayor of Amsterdam – mister Spiegel – and still radiates this level of class. Purchased by Jim van der Hoff and his wife Francisca 16 years ago, their son Yves recently joined the business. “He is an amazing chef, who has worked in restaurants with Michelin stars for years,” Van der Hoff says, which is remarkable because he is only 22 years old. But, as guests have said multiple times, he is very capable. His speciality? “The eel always does great, as does the North Sea crab. But fish isn’t our only success. Our dish with stewed calf from Amsterdam is incredibly popular too,” Van der Hoff explains. “We want to promote Dutch products, all the ingredients we use originate here. As do the liqueurs and gin.” Plus, the

restaurant is one of three in Amsterdam that has an Award of Excellence from New York’s Wine Spectator. ‘Wine and Dine’ is another showpiece at De Silveren Spiegel. “You can choose from a three to six-course dinner and we have a specially selected wine for each dish. Fun fact: we recently added a dish to our regular menu that is served with a fine Dutch wine.” But it is not just the food that makes this restaurant worth visiting, it is the smile that greets you at the door. “Always,” Van der Hoff affirms. “Elegance, style and great hospitality.”

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 17

ABOVE: Willem-Alexander, King of the Netherlands and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands.


The past and present collide at the stunning Royal Palace Amsterdam. It is one of the most famous historical buildings in the Netherlands and still in use today by the Dutch Royal Family. When the King and Queen are not entertaining guests here, the palace is open to the public allowing visitors to literally walk in their footsteps.

The Royal Palace Amsterdam, located in the heart of the city, is the only palace in the Netherlands that is both in active use and available for the public to visit. The imposing 17th century building is certainly a sight to behold, and it is an important witness in the story of the Netherlands as a nation. To this day, history is still being written at the Royal Palace Amsterdam. Significant events take place throughout the year and people can see where this happens, which makes a visit extra special. The beds on display are still regularly being slept in and the tables are dined at by important guests from around the world. Apart from hosting state visits, awards ceremonies and royal weddings, the palace was also used during King WillemAlexander’s inauguration as the Dutch head of state in 2013. The palace normally reopens to the public the day after an event has taken place and, thanks to this,

18 | Issue 31 | July 2016

it is open the majority of the time, about 60 per cent of the year.

Steeped in history The palace, also known as the Palace on Dam Square, was originally the grand Town Hall built in the Dutch Classicist style. It was completed in the mid-17th century when Amsterdam enjoyed a time of great prosperity during the Dutch Golden Age. For a long time, it was the largest administrative building in Europe and, thanks to its splendour, it also became a contender as the Eighth Wonder of the World. While the outside of the palace has a relatively sober character, the inside is highly decorated. One of its most dramatic rooms is the Burgerzaal, or Citizens’ Hall. The impressive hall was initially used as a public square. The ceiling is almost 28 metres high and its large Atlas sculpture looms at the back, overlooking the intricate marble floors.

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Dam & Nieuwmarkt

Entering the palace is like walking into history with art and objects from three different ages. First there is the original collection of stunning 17th century paintings and sculptures, designed by the building’s architect Jacob van Campen. Secondly, there is the furniture, clocks and chandeliers collection amassed by Louis Bonaparte (brother of Napoleon) when he ruled as King of Holland. In 1808, he converted the building into a Royal Palace and much of the interior still dates from those years. In fact, the Empire Collection is one of the most complete and best preserved furniture collections of its kind. Lastly, there are the paintings of the Royal Collection dating from the 17th century onwards. It includes many portraits of the ancestors of the Royal Family.

Dynasty - Portraits of the House of Orange-Nassau Dozens of scions of the House of OrangeNassau look down from the walls of the Royal Palace Amsterdam. This year there is a special focus on these stately paintings during Dynasty, Portraits of the House of Orange-Nassau. The earliest is a portrait of Anna van Egmond, first wife of William of Orange (William the Silent) from the 1550s. The latest addition celebrates the investiture of King WillemAlexander and Queen Máxima in 2013. These portraits from the Royal Collections present members of the Orange dynasty down the centuries, from equestrian portraits and official state portraits to family and children’s portraits.

The House of Orange-Nassau commissioned the paintings to increase its visibility and boost its reputation. They are not spontaneous snapshots, but carefully considered depictions full of symbolism, belonging to the long tradition of royal portraiture. For example, the life-size, 2.5 by three-metre group portrait of the children of stadtholder William V by Johann Friedrich August Tischbein. At first glance, it appears to be a casual scene of three teenagers, but tucked in the corner hides a stone bust of William the Silent, the founding father of the House of Orange-Nassau. His presence highlights the children’s dynasty and their status as heirs. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue highlight the various portrait genres displayed at the Royal Palace and examine the function and the related representative and symbolic qualities of royal portraits. VISIT THE ROYAL PALACE AMSTERDAM: The exhibition, Dynasty, Portraits of the House of Orange-Nassau, runs from 2 July to 25 September. Entrance to the palace includes a free audio guide available in eight different languages. For children, there are two special discovery audio tours. Before your visit please go to the website to make sure the palace is open to the public that day.

TOP RIGHT: Portrait of Anna Paulowna, Princess of Orange Franciscus Josephus Kinsoen Oil on canvas, 242 x 160 cm Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam Koninklijke Verzamelingen, Den Haag. BELOW RIGHT: Equestrian portrait of Maurits, Prince of Orange Anselm van Hulle, vóór 1647 Oil on canvas, 250 x 234 cm Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam Koninklijke Verzamelingen, Den Haag

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 19

Photo: Emilio Brizzi

Rembrandtplein and Amstel area There is a thrilling nightlife scene alongside the green terraces and elegant boulevards. Whether you are up for lagers at Rembrandtplein or lions at the city zoo, the area around the river Amstel suits all tastes. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK | PHOTOS: AMSTERDAM MARKETING & NBTC HOLLAND MARKETING

PUT THIS ON YOUR TO-DO LIST: Hortus Festival – music concerts in the botanical gardens of Amsterdam (and the cities of Haren, Leiden, and Utrecht). Performances vary from classical music to jazz to passionate tango. Held on various Thursday evenings. 20 July – 28 August Artis ZOOmeravonden – every Saturday evening in June, July, and August, the Artis Zoo will be opened until sunset, allowing visitors to freely walk around the zoo (a perfect opportunity to see animals who usually sleep during the day) and enjoy the plentiful extra activities and music performances. All June, July and August

Photo: Edwin van Eis

Reguliersdwarsstraat – this colourful street is famous for its various LGBT venues, vibrant atmosphere and extraordinary restaurants Cirque Éloize - iD – a unique show with a balanced mix of top acrobatics, urban dance and high-tech video projections. Royal Theatre Carré, 27 July – 7 August Klassiek op het Amstelveld – the fourth edition of the free open-air classical music festival on the Amstelveld square. 17- 18 September

20 | Issue 31 | July 2016

Photo: Edwin Butter

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Rembrandtplein & Amstel

Cirque Eloize/iD Photo: © 2012. Theatre T&Cie/Patrick Lazic

Photo: Koninklijk Theatre Carre

Breathtaking acts in famous Amsterdam theatre TEXT: KOEN GUIKING

The 128-year-old Royal Theater Carré on the east bank of the Amstel River started off as a circus theatre. Nowadays, the majestic theatre hosts everything from concerts, plays and comedy shows to dance performances and even boxing matches. But it always stayed true to its circus roots. A spectacular act is scheduled for 27 July until 7 August. Cirque Éloize will be performing its breathtaking show iD in Royal Theatre Carré; a mix of incredible acrobatics, free running, breakdancing, skate and BMX stunts, as well as theatre. Over a million people have already seen this show, which has been performed in more than 20 countries in the past seven years. “Last summer, we also had Cirque Éloize in our theatre,” says Sabrina Onos of the Carré Theatre, “and because it received such amazing reviews, we decided to bring them to the Netherlands again.” The superbly stage-managed extravaganza

combines urban street styles with a hint of romance. The story is told through cleverly choreographed acrobatic stunts, video projections and music. “There is no language barrier, which makes it great for audiences from all over the world. And as this is a perfect family show, we have a special offer: buy four tickets for the price of three,” Onos says.

The world’s greatest illusion show From 14 August until 2 October, illusionist Hans Klok, winner of the International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo, will present his brand new family show. Klok is surrounded by his Divas of Magic dancers and internationally awarded circus acts as he takes his audience inside a haunted house with freakish and fantastic creatures like fakirs, witches and trolls. Horror fans of all ages will be entertained with revolutionary projections and special effects will transport the audience to a mystical world where

nothing is as it seems. Hans Klok’s House of Horror tests and exceeds the limits of illusionist art. A great opportunity to see the ‘master of magic’ perform. A theatre night out can effortlessly be combined with a dinner in Grand Café Carré or Bistro De Carrékelder. There are a number of business foyers too, making the theatre, located in Amsterdam’s upmarket Plantagebuurt, a popular venue for meetings. What better way to impress your clients or thank your staff than with a night out at Royal Theatre Carré? Visit to buy tickets. Photo: © 2009. Theatre T&Cie/Valerie Remise

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 21

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Rembrandtplein & Amstel

The curious world of NEMO TEXT: ELLA PUT | PHOTOS: NEMO

Did you ever wander what kissing might do to you? How lightning arises? Or how water can become drinkable? You can find out the answers to these and more at the NEMO Science Museum in Amsterdam, one of the only museums in the world where you are allowed to touch all the exhibited objects. As soon as you enter the central station of Amsterdam you will see the enormous sea-coloured building that houses the NEMO Science Museum in Amsterdam. Situated just a stone’s throw away from the dazzling city centre, visitors of every age and from all over the world can submerge themselves in actual laboratories and scientific workshops to learn more about science and technology. What makes the science museum so special is its approach to visitors. Rather than 22 | Issue 31 | July 2016

giving its visitors information, the NEMO stimulates their curiosity by letting them participate in several workshops: “We are not a museum that just provides information, we want to stimulate our visitors to ask themselves question about science and technology, it can be fun and exciting for everyone,” says Jasper Ongkiehong, from NEMO’s marketing and communication department. To make science and technology interesting for everyone, the museum offers a diverse and wide range of permanent and interactive collections on topics from puberty to lightning. In NEMO you can go on a bike into the universe, experiment in the laboratory or even ‘lock’ yourself in a soap bubble. You can become a professor in NEMO’s own laboratory or participate in one of the

workshops in the Family Workplace. There you can experiment with science yourself. During workshops with your family or with friends you can have a race with your own balloon wagon, make your own magnet or lamp and find out what a magnetic field is or how you can light up a lamp. Furthermore, visitors can enjoy magnificent views of the city from the recently renovated rooftop square with the exhibition Energetica, where several interactive installations teach NEMO’s visitors about wind, water and the sun. The rooftop, which also has its own restaurant, can be visited for free without a museum ticket. Emerge yourself and your family in the curious world of NEMO and conclude your fun and exciting experience on the rooftop with a beautiful view of the Amsterdam skyline.

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Rembrandtplein & Amstel

Sushi supremacy Proudly located on the banks of the Amstel river, Zushi has been synonymous with outstanding sushi and exceptional service since 1999. “Zushi means the finest quality products in a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere,” proprietor Chi Min Ho explains. Instead of the known three courses, customers can choose from over 40 kinds of sushi - partly presented on the conveyor belt - and a rich selection of à la carte grill dishes. “People decide how much of each dish they want to try. We want to encourage people to try various kinds of sushi and grill dishes - explore what works for them.” From the amazing Aburi Sake Nigiri with salmon, which is marinated for 24 hours, to the velvety, melt in your mouth Wagyu Beef from the grill, Zushi understands everyone’s individual taste. “The customer is the focus of our attention. Our chefs are extremely passionate about their craft and love to share their enthusiasm via culinary explanations of the dishes. Visitors are often surprised by special dishes created by our chefs that day.”


Set in a 19th century neo-renaissance building in the inner city, customers do not just have their taste buds satisfied. “The river view is gorgeous. We are located in the heart of the city but still enjoy that pure, easy-going Amsterdam atmosphere, serving an eclectic mix of families, business people, couples on dates and even some international celebrities.

“At Zushi we believe in uncomplicated excellence. Our rainbow Maki consists of a few powerful ingredients. It is precisely in those simple dishes that the quality of our products is unmistakable.”

‘Before you know it, it is six hours later’ TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK | PHOTOS: SNAPPERS AND CALLE OCHO

In the bustling and world-renowned city centre of Amsterdam there is never a dull moment. On a couple of the city’s most famous streets you will find two barrestaurants that are totally worth a visit.

owner Oscar Steginga: “The atmosphere is very relaxed, people can sit at a table or the bar to eat and drink something. Making reservations is not necessary, and Snappers is open until the early hours of the morning.”

A group of friends started working together and created two very unique and enjoyable establishments at the centre of the Dutch capital. Snappers and Calle Ocho provide relaxed evenings with a great ambiance, fine music and good food and drinks.

Calle Ocho Calle Ocho is located at the famous Albert Cuijp in Amsterdam. Named after the famous street in Miami, where many South American immigrants came together and combined their cultures, cuisines and drinks. Entering Calle

Ocho is like stepping into a South American world: submerse yourself and enjoy all the highquality food and drinks. Steginga: “It is all about the atmosphere we want to create. An evening at Calle Ocho is comfortable, relaxed and before you know it, it is six hours later.” BOTTOM LEFT: Snappers BOTTOM RIGHT: Calle Ocho

Snappers Snappers is on the Reguliersdwarsstraat, a very famous, authentic Amsterdam street. With a warm and relaxed ambience, it has a retro look. The large bar with an extensive collection of spirits jumps right at you and invites you to enjoy a cocktail, an ice-cold (local) beer and the menu with an emphasis on comfort food. CoIssue 31 | July 2016 | 23

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Rembrandtplein & Amstel

Photo: © Neel Verdoorn

Heritage of international dance and music styles reinterpreted TEXT: KOEN GUIKING | PHOTOS: SEBASTIAAN PEELEN

The choreographers and dancers of Amsterdam’s Internationaal Danstheater get their inspiration from traditional dance and music styles from around the world to create revitalised contemporary dance performances. They are currently touring the Netherlands with a theatre performance entitled Silent Songs. Choreographer Neel Verdoorn has compiled three beautiful duets on the melancholic piano and vocal music of the Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov and the more expressive music of the Dutch composer Simeon ten Holt.The soft piano play and subdued singing in Silvestrov’s Silent Songs and the piano play in Ten Holt’s Natalon shape an enchanting setting in which the two dancers tell a classic tale of attraction and enticement, intertwined with moments of hesitation and rejection. “This piece is a coproduction with the Doelen Ensemble from Rot24 | Issue 31 | July 2016

terdam,” tells Sophie Lambo, managing director of Internationaal Danstheater. “Composer Maarten van Veen plays the piano and Wiebe-Pier Cnossen sings, while our own William Lü and Francesca Peniguel perform a fairy-like and intense dance.” Choreographer Verdoorn studied the origins of various Ukrainian, Georgian and Russian folk dances to create this piece. “That is what makes Internationaal Danstheater unique. We dive into the history of an ethnic dance or music style and translate it into something people of today can relate to,” says Lambo.

View it at De Parade in Amsterdam Silent Songs is a theatre production of more than an hour, but a short version has also been composed for the travelling arts festival De Parade. From 25 to 28 August, De Parade will be in Amsterdam. In December, the full show will be staged in

theatres in Woerden, Heerlen, Eindhoven and Amstelveen. Previous productions of Internationaal Danstheater were dedicated to folk traditions like the Cuban Danzón, the Argentinian Tango, various Kenyan tribe dances and the Portuguese Fado. Internationaal Danstheater went back to the roots of these music and dance styles and compiled new, prize-winning choreographies. “The tango, for instance, is now associated with men in shiny shoes and half-open shirts and women in high heels and sexy dresses, but it was originally danced on bare feet, in the harbour of Buenos Aires. And people did not just dance in couples; the tango was also danced in trios and quartets,” Lambo explains. That is what Internationaal Danstheater does; with beautiful choreographies it makes people aware of the history of folk dance and music.

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Rembrandtplein & Amstel

Capital comfort Beers from the region, comfortable beds and a very modern, Amsterdam-inspired interior: IBIS Amsterdam Centre Stopera combines all the best parts of a trip to Amsterdam. It is situated in the centre of Amsterdam, close to the upcoming urban neighbourhood Amsterdam-Oost. The recently renovated hotel, situated along the picturesque canals of Amsterdam, is the perfect place for a holiday or weekend in the Dutch capital. With a modern and very digital interior, including a cocktail bar with locally brewed

beers and cocktails, the hotel combines the romantic feeling of the canals, the cosy yet urban vibe of Amsterdam-Oost and the spirit of technology. Via their online check-in desk, hotel guests no longer have to worry about waiting in line to check-in or have extra holiday stress. As soon as they arrive they can go immediately to their room with free Wi-Fi and comfortable beds. In the hotel’s premium rooms you can even enjoy great views over the canal. Their online check-in system may be one of the many great advantages of the Ibis Hotel in


Amsterdam, but that does not mean the hotel is not committed to personal services. On the contrary, operations manager of the hotel Jordy Burger explains: “Our motto is to make our guests feel as welcome as they can and to help them wherever and whatever possible during their stay in Amsterdam.” The hotel also offers numerous extra services, including bike rental. Burger: “After all, Amsterdam is best seen by bike.”

A true Thai experience in Amsterdam TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA | PHOTOS: KRUA THAI

It is a hidden treasure in Amsterdam’s city centre: Krua Thai, which literally means Thai kitchen. You will find it in the Staalstraat 22, near Waterlooplein, which makes it the perfect place to enjoy a nice dinner after a busy day discovering the city. Panya, his brother Prasan and wife Suwannee started their first restaurant back in 1991. With its great success, in 2003 they opened another in a better location. The second one, Krua Thai, is not just a restaurant: “We also have a takeaway store in the Utrechtsestraat 55,” Suwannee says. But what exactly is a Thai kitchen? “A healthy way of cooking,” Prasan explains. “Everything is made with fresh herbs and vegetables imported from Thailand, so we can give people that exact Thai experience. This means service is also a big deal for us.” And service they give, guests say. Warm and inviting

are key words Panya, Prasan and Suwannee have heard many times. To keep their restaurant up to date, they visit Thailand at least once a year. “We take the whole family and we always come back with inspiration for new dishes. Sometimes we even take home some new decor for the restaurant’s interior.” But are those Thai dishes too spicy for European taste? “We can adjust the spiciness for every customer, no problem.” No wonder tourists as well as locals love to visit this place regularly. One last suggestion?

“Taste the Miang Kham, a healthy Thai snack with wild pepper leaves and fresh herbs. It is our most popular dish.”

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 25

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Rembrandtplein & Amstel

A place for everyone Café de Jaren is a place where everyone is welcome, whether on the terrace with its breathtaking views over the Amstel, or in the interior of this friendly restaurant. Café de Jaren, situated in the city centre, has a long and memorable history, once being the place where Rembrandt used to paint. It is also known for being one of the cosiest cafes in Amsterdam. The spacious building, which used to be a bank, is now the perfect location for locals and tourists to meet: “Many guests just keep coming back,” explains co-owner of De Jaren, Janet Griffin. “Some of them have been brought up here. They came here as little children and now that they are older, they come back with their own families or work here. It is wonderful to see.” With its high ceilings, light dining rooms and beautiful views over the Amstel, the restaurant has the vibe of an airy living room open to all. At the long reading tables, guests can enjoy a wide range of various international newspapers and magazines, while devouring an early breakfast which is served at 8.30am


every day. Furthermore, the daily menu offers a large selection of salads, vegetarian lasagne and delicious banana cream cake. “All recipes are homemade,” Griffin proudly explains. You can moor your boat on their beautiful quay and enjoy the views over Amsterdam while enjoying a freshly prepared meal. Furthermore, you can visit Rembrandt’s former painting room. What better way to spend a day in the Dutch capital?


In 1986, Jason Delhaye’s grandparents were one of the first to open a Thai restaurant in Amsterdam. Now, 30 years later, he is the owner of a Thai restaurant called Bangkok, located in the Reguliersdwarsstraat, which is still as successful as it was back then.

you will find Miss Poosaithong Duangduan - or Poo as they call her - creating your just-ordered dish à la minute. “She has been working with us for over 18 years,” Delhaye explains. “And her family members work in our kitchen as well. They all came from Thailand to help.”

Delhaye nods. “Which is why the majority of our meat is halal. And people really come back for our garlic shrimp, chicken cashew and fried rice.” Be sure to sample those next time you are in the area, or visit their recently opened second restaurant in Laren, North Holland.

It is safe to say that owning a Thai restaurant is a family tradition for the Delhayes, as is their menu. “We still have the menu my grandparents created,” Delhaye says. They learned to master Thai cuisine from their parents. The result is hundreds of authentic dishes, all prepared with fresh herbs that get delivered from Thailand every week. “And fresh vegetables as well of course, we get those every day. We like to provide a diverse menu for our guests.”

No wonder locals as well as tourists eat at Bangkok. “We get lots of different nationalities,”

The weekly delivery from Thailand is not the only thing special about this place in the city centre. Take a look at the open kitchen and 26 | Issue 31 | July 2016

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Rembrandtplein & Amstel


Visiting a city so diverse and vibrant as Amsterdam, your dinner should be just as adventurous. In the heart of Amsterdam lies Garlic Queen, a restaurant with a royal touch where garlic is queen of the kitchen. With chef Geert de Natris at the helm, Garlic Queen uses the wonderfully smelly herb for all of its dishes: from the famous garlic soup to garlic ice cream. “We started off in 1997,” owner John van den Broek tells us. “It was a bit of a guess as it was different – Garlic Queen was the first restaurant of its kind in the Netherlands.” Twenty years later, Garlic Queen is still drawing regulars and new customers to the Reguliersdwarsstraat, one of the most vibrant streets in Amsterdam. “People come back for our consistent quality. We have a changing weekly menu, but our garlic baker and beef stew have become true classics.” The dishes are prepared with biological products. The queen ingredient comes in fresh every day from

Slootdorp, a small town close to Amsterdam. Even if garlic is not completely your thing, Garlic Queen is worth the visit. “The chef prepares the dishes with as much or as little garlic as you like.” And when done eating garlic, start drinking it. Garlic Queen offers an exclusively brewed garlic beer, a special garlic liqueur and a newly introduced garlic vodka. Every customer leaves smelly and satisfied. “We use about 60 toes of garlic for our beef stew.” And that smelly breath? “Not to worry: chew on a coffee bean and you’ll be fine!”


There is no better way to admire Amsterdam than from the water. The National Maritime Museum and the Blue Boat Company sail you back to the days of yore by touring through the rich history of the Plantage area. “Being a remnant of the Dutch Golden Age a time when the Netherlands was a leader in art, architecture and trade - sailing through the canals will literally surround you with history,” says business developer of the Maritime Museum Ditte Ooms. “You see things from a whole different viewpoint when you see them from the water.” The open boat leaves from the Arsenal, a former warehouse of the Admiralty of Amsterdam and the building of the Maritime Museum. The tour is accompanied by a guide, inspiring visitors with the rich history of Amsterdam. “The Plantage neighbourhood

was constructed after the Golden Age, when funds were not as plentiful as before, resulting in an area full of nature.” The tour sails along the Wertheim Park (a gift from none other than Napoleon) and Artis, the enchanting zoo. “Recently, the giraffes were so close to the water you could almost look them in the eye, a wonderful experience.” The trip continues to the former Jewish quarters, home to the wealthy Jewish bourgeoisie and an area surrounded by bridges. “It was not a coincidence that Jewish people were driven into this area during World War II – it was easy to close them in.” By the time you moor at the dock of the museum, you will understand the world a bit better. “Amsterdam laid the foundation for current society in terms of culture, economics and freedom. One cannot be understood without the other.”; Tour tickets include entrance to the museum. Issue 31 | July 2016 | 27

Photo: © Edwin van Eis

Canal District area Few things make Amsterdam as iconic as its famous canals. Since its development in the Dutch Golden Age, the canal ring has not only been a scenic picture, but also a great way to travel around the city. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK | PHOTOS: AMSTERDAM MARKETING & NBTC HOLLAND MARKETING

PUT THIS ON YOUR TO-DO LIST: Canal Parade – this world famous parade is one the best Pride celebrations around the world and part of the EuroPride 2016. Partygoers and supporters of equality on 80 vessels will fill the canals with music, parties, and smiles. 6 August Grachtenfestival – a classical and contemporary music marathon of ten days on and around the canals of Amsterdam. A highlight of the Amsterdam summer. 12 – 21 August Prinsengracht Concert – a wonderful, free classical concert on the pontoon by the Pulitzer Hotel and one of the highlights of the Grachtenfestival. 20 August Jordaanfestival – a three-day festival organised in the most colourful folk district in Amsterdam, the Jordaan. It showcases many artists with a love for the traditional Dutch ‘song of life’. 26 – 28 August Amsterdam City Swim – held to raise funding for motor neurone disease, 2,500 swimmers will take on 2,000-metre course through Amsterdam’s canals. In 2012, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands swam too. 11 September

28 | Issue 31 | July 2016

Photo: © Cris Toala Olivares

Photo: © Merijn Roubroeks

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Canal District

Secrets of the tulip Where does the tulip really come from? How did it become Holland’s most famous export? And who would pay the price of a grand canal house for just one tulip bulb? You can find out all about this fascinating flower at Amsterdam’s Tulip Museum, across the canal from the Anne Frank House. “If we tell our visitors that the tulip does not originate from Holland or Turkey, most of them are amazed,” says Sjoerd van Eeden. As founder-manager he has been working at the


Amsterdam Tulip Museum for many years, but he still delights in wowing his visitors with the intriguing story of the tulip. “It is just one of the most fascinating flowers around,” he explains, “with a history to match.” Through interactive, multimedia displays, the museum leads the visitor along from the tulip’s origins as a wild mountain flower via the Turkish and Viennese courts to 17th century Holland, where it caused a trading frenzy and ultimately the world’s first speculative bubble. “This is the most spectacular episode in the tulip’s history,” Sjoerd enthuses. “When prices

rocketed and in 1637 a rare bulb in Haarlem fetched as much as the price of a canal house, it was only a matter of time before the bubble would burst.” But it was by no means the end of the tulip’s story. “We also show how the tulip has become Holland’s most famous export product. If you think how this delicate flower, which is so difficult to grow, is produced year in year out in hundreds of different varieties - that is a wonder in itself.”


If you are looking for a friendly, cosmopolitan place away from the tourist crowds, look no further than Café De Huyschkaemer on trendy Utrechtsestraat. A short stroll from Rembrandtplein and only a stone’s throw from the Amstel river, Café De Huyschkaemer - with its cosy, contemporary interior and friendly staff - offers you an alternative and more authentic Amsterdam experience. This café immediately makes you feel a part of the city. “‘De Huyschkaemer’ is an old-fashioned Dutch spelling for ‘lounge’,” explains barman and co-owner Aad Beuqi. “It reflects the kind of relaxed, laid-back vibe we have created

here.” Together with his business partner Onno van Grondelle, he has been running the place for five years and has made it a real success. “I think the secret is in having a passion for what you do,” he explains. “You can see it in many of the shops and boutiques on Utrechtsestraat as well. They are all successful businesses run by passionate people.” During the daytime, Aad and his staff offer a choice of British, American and Continental breakfast and luxury sandwiches and rolls for lunch. At night and especially at weekends, the bar livens up with music and a young, fun crowd intent on having a good time. “It is all part of our inclusive philosophy,” Aad explains. “We get a real mix of different people. Young and old, students and professionals, local Amsterdammers and tourists. Whether you want to come for a snack, a meal, a drink, a chat or a boogie, we will always make you feel welcome.” Issue 31 | July 2016 | 29

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Canal District

Scary… in a fun way Why would you voluntarily get locked up in a creepy room? Is getting scared for fun a thing these days? It is, according to the guys from Zombie Escape Amsterdam. And guess what? It is a huge success! The name explains it all: Zombie Escape. Which is exactly what you are doing, although those escape rooms are pretty secretive. “The story is that we are researching genetic modification and something goes wrong. It is a very cinematic atmosphere,” explains Sergio Rahman, who started Zombie Escape


Amsterdam with Sebastiaan van Driessel and three other guys. They are the brains behind the story. So you will feel like you have suddenly ended up in a thrilling movie, right? “It goes like this,” Sebastiaan explains. “A group of people will be locked in a room and can only escape by solving puzzles together.” The together part being very important since you cannot solve any of them on your own, which makes it the perfect team building exercise. “The goal is to escape within the hour. The fastest teams get a place on our scoreboard.”

Nobody knows what will happen when they are inside the room, which only adds to the excitement. “We have a complete storyline and lots of special effects. We don’t want to tell too much of course,” Sergio laughs. “But neighbours have knocked on the door because of the screaming.” So if you want an exciting break during your time discovering Amsterdam, this is definitely where you need to be.

A springboard for comedy stardom TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER

US talk show host Seth Meyers and Hollywood actor Jason Sudeikis are just two of the comic heavyweights to have begun their careers at Boom Chicago, Amsterdam’s English language comedy club. “More than half of our alumni are doing something big,” declares American co-founder Andrew Moskos. Now an Amsterdam comedy institution, Boom Chicago was born in 1993 - the brainchild of Moskos and his childhood friend Pep Rosenfeld. Currently showing is Best of Boom 2016 - a selection of the best sketches, improvisations and music from the comedy club’s history. Also showing is Angry White Men: Trump up the Volume - a political comedy about the ongoing US presidential race. “Donald Trump’s candidacy is bad for the world, but good for comedians,” Moskos half-laughs. Boom Chicago is found in the heart of Amsterdam’s Jordaan district, with the large theatre area seating 350 people. There is 30 | Issue 31 | July 2016

also the popular Bar 117 for drinks, and it is possible to have a pre-show dinner in the stained glass lounge. Boom Chicago may be renowned for its comedy nights, but it also creates great content and offers communication and strategy coaching for businesses in the form of Boom Chicago Creative. Companies to have worked with Boom Chicago Creative include Accenture, Philips and Heineken. “People see comedy as a tool to communicate,” says Moskos, explaining how his work is helping firms with tasks such as speech writing or hosting events. “We assist companies in naming the ‘elephant in the room’ in a lighter way.” The service began around ten years ago, with Moskos remarking a real shift in the relationship between comedy and the workplace: “Even traditionally stuffy companies are now using comedy as a way to get their message across.”

Photo: Mallory Sohmer Owners Andrew Moskos (L) and Pep Rosenfeld conducting a workshop at Philips.

Photo: Dave Pelham

Photo: Mallory Sohmer

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Canal District

Taste Dutch heritage in an Amsterdam ‘family home’ TEXT: KOEN GUIKING | PHOTOS: RESTAURANT HAESJE CLAES

Visitors to the Netherlands who want to taste genuine Dutch food should pay a visit to Restaurant Haesje Claes in Amsterdam. It serves everything from stamppot and pea soup to mussels and sea bass. Entering Restaurant Haesje Claes on the capital’s lively Spuistraat is like walking into an old Amsterdam family home. This place oozes tradition. The venue consists of seven rooms, all decorated with oak wall panels and beamed ceilings, but each with their own unique features that pay homage to local heritage, like stained glass ceilings, antique chandeliers, old paintings and photographs of Amsterdam’s first orphanage. “Haesje Claes is named after the woman who opened that orphanage, which used to be in the building that now houses the Amsterdam Museum, across

the road from us,” says Hugo de Haan, who manages the restaurant with his sister Isabel. Haesje Claes first opened its doors in 1974. In those days, when it was run by Hugo and Isabel de Haan’s uncle, it was just a small eatery famous for its meatballs in pepper sauce and its bean soup. Over the years, the establishment kept expanding but always stayed true to its origins: serving authentic Dutch food in a cosy setting. Even when there are more than 200 guests inside, which happens quite often, it does not feel that busy because they are spread over seven rooms. “The smaller rooms, that seat up to 20 people, are often booked far in advance. These are great for business dinners as well as for birthday parties,” says Hugo de Haan.

“We cater for a really broad audience,” he continues, “from students, families and tourists to business people and politicians.” Most evenings get fully booked, he reveals, even on warm days, when the large terrace is open. “We advise booking in advance.” At lunchtime it is usually easier to get a table. For a years now, Haesje Claes has offered a great place to seat guests waiting for a table to become available or to have a few drinks after supper. Cafe De Koningshut - the bar next door - serves local beers, gins and wines and Dutch finger food, like bittergarnituur. But do not eat too much: Haesje Claes serves hearty Dutch portions. Issue 31 | July 2016 | 31

Indonesian oasis in the heart of Amsterdam TEXT: KOEN GUIKING | PHOTOS: RESTAURANT PURI MAS

Due to its large Indonesian population, food from this South East Asian country is widely available in the Netherlands. A wonderful restaurant to taste this flavoursome cuisine and experience true Indonesian hospitality is Restaurant Puri Mas in Amsterdam. Puri Mas is a hidden gem in the popular restaurant district around Amsterdam’s Leidseplein. It is located on the first floor, with only a small entrance on the busy Lange Leidsedwarsstraat, and is surrounded by dozens of other eateries. Yet, this place has been around for longer than most of its neighbours. That is owed to Puri Mas’ excellent reputation. Many locals frequent this restaurant and tourists who manage to find it are often very impressed too, judging by the high scores and comments they leave on review websites. 32 | Issue 31 | July 2016

“We want to introduce our guests to Indonesian culture. And what better way to get to know a culture than through its food? We serve authentic food from various regions and aim to create an appropriate ambiance with Indonesian music, artworks and Asian hospitality,” says Serena Tjhia, dressed in original Javanese batik. Since her parents, the founders of Puri Mas, have retired, she manages the restaurant with her brother. Inside Puri Mas one can picture being in Indonesia: all the staff are Indonesian and dressed in batik, it smells of rice, herbs and spices and is an oasis of tranquillity in the heart of Amsterdam’s bustling city centre. Indonesia is an enormous country with a large variety of flavoursome dishes, from sweet, tangy or mildly spiced, to medium

and even really hot platters. To give guests the opportunity to try lots of different tastes, Puri Mas serves various rijsttafels consisting of over a dozen small portions of richly flavoured dishes. “This is actually a Dutch invention,” Tjhia explains. “In the time of colonisation, the Dutch planters used to serve their important guests rijsttafel to show off the abundance of their colony, for the Indonesian archipelago offered lots of herbs and spices, like galangal, cloves, cardamom and coriander. These were highly in demand in Europe and everywhere else.” Tjhia and her colleagues are happy to now serve their guests various rijsttafels, available for every budget and for any number of people, “even if you travel alone”.

Delicious quality food for a fair price TEXT: KOEN GUIKING | PHOTOS: ROGH

When sightseeing in Amsterdam, it is important to start the day with a wholesome breakfast. A great place to begin is Rogh, on Vijzelgracht 35, near the Heineken Experience. All the food served at this restaurant is made from scratch, with high-quality ingredients. Rogh is open till 8pm and also serves delicious warm lunches and suppers. “Almost all the ingredients we use are organic or free range,” says Maria Rogh, who runs the restaurant with her husband Marcel. Why? “Because it tastes better,” she replies. “We haven’t eaten any supermarket meat for 20 years, so why serve it to our guests? I wouldn’t even know how to prepare it,” she says. Hence, Marcel and Maria Rogh’s freshly prepared, scrumptious chicken schnitzel does not contain “a tasteless, dry chicken

fillet”, but is made of free-range chicken thigh, “a much more succulent piece of meat, with a smoother and fuller taste”. This lovely little restaurant on the vivacious Vijzelgracht has a surprisingly varied menu and there are always some seasonal specials available. Everything tastes just as amazing. Choices range from a full English breakfast to soups and salads and from apple, bacon and maple syrup pancakes to sea bass with wild spinach, brown rice and crab sauce. Maria Rogh talks passionately about every dish on the menu. For instance, commenting on the pancakes, she says: “We make our batter with spelt flour and we bake the apple and bacon separately from the pancake, unlike other restaurants. That prevents it from becoming a really soggy, pizza-like substance.” And the pea soup? “That is

a traditional Dutch winter meal, but we serve it all year round. For our pea soup we only use organic ingredients and we don’t add any meat.” Be warned. Once you have discovered Rogh, it will be hard to stay away. Many people who work in the area have become regulars. Rogh is a great place for business lunches and visitors of the Dutch capital that have tasted its delicious food tend to return to this reasonably priced Vijzelgracht restaurant as well. “We are close to Mercure hotel. Lots of its guests become recurring Rogh customers throughout their stay,” Maria Rogh says. “I guess we must be doing something right.” For reservations call +31 20 623 4034 Issue 31 | July 2016 | 33

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Leidseplein & Museum Area

Photo: Cris Toala Olivares

Leidseplein and Museum District area Home to some of the most renowned masterpieces in the world - with the museums looking like masterpieces themselves. Make sure not to miss this piece of cultural treasure during your Amsterdam adventure. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK | PHOTOS: AMSTERDAM MARKETING & NBTC HOLLAND MARKETING

PUT THIS ON YOUR TO-DO LIST: Vondelpark Open Air Theatre – from May to September the Vondelpark offers a programme jammed with festivals, music, dance, jazz, theatre and stand-up comedy. Just a stone’s throw away from the Museumplein. Until 11 September Uitmarkt – the kick-off of the cultural season and the largest cultural festival in the Netherlands, drawing 500,00 visitors every year and spread over more than 30 venues in Amsterdam. 26 – 28 August Robeco Summernights – wonderful concerts, from classical to jazz and from chansons to film scores, presenting top musicians from the Netherlands and around the world. Het Concertgebouw, July - August

Photo: Hans Samsom

Comedytrain International Summer Festival – this world-famous comedy group performs at Amsterdam’s Toomler comedy club on various nights during the summer, spoiling its guests with world-class stand-up comedy. Until August National Dutch Theatre Festival – during its 11-day run, this festival will be presenting the best theatre shows of the season and handing out various awards in recognition of the best productions. 1 – 11 September

34 | Issue 31 | July 2016

Photo: Jan Kees Steenman

Photo: Philipp Benedikt

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Leidseplein & Museum Area

Moco brings Banksy’s street art to Amsterdam TEXT: KOEN GUIKING | PHOTOS: HUGO THOMASSEN

As it happens, this is the first time in history there is an official Banksy exhibition in a museum. Until Moco dedicated the entire ground floor to Banksy, this activist artist from England – who has never revealed his real identity – had always sneaked his own art into museums to get it exhibited.

decided it was time to open a museum. In April 2016 they started exhibiting works by Banksy and Andy Warhol in Villa Alsberg, an impressive building in between the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. “This monumental building in the middle of Amsterdam’s museum quarter had been empty for a while. Kim and Lionel saw it as a perfect opportunity to bring their ideas to fruition and turn the historic villa, designed by the cousin of the architect of the Rijksmuseum, into a museum for modern contemporary art,” says Roger Brunings, responsible for Moco’s PR.

Over the past years, gallery owners Lionel and Kim Logchies have been receiving many visitors in their LionelGallery on Amsterdam’s Nieuwe Spiegelstraat who were particularly interested in viewing work from the British street art legend Banksy. So many, in fact, that the couple

Banksy’s Laugh Now exhibition started off with around 50 original pieces by the mysterious street artist, but “almost every week a new art work has been coming in, lent to the museum by art collectors,” says Brunings. Famous Banksy works on display in the Moco Museum are Laugh

In April, a brand new museum opened its doors on Amsterdam’s famous Museum Square. It is called the Modern Contemporary (Moco) Museum Amsterdam and it exhibits art from the likes of Banksy, Andy Warhol and Salvador Dalí.

Now, Girl with Balloon, Pulp Fiction, Kate Moss, Mona Lisa and Beanfield. Also, one artwork that can be viewed free of charge is the piece of street art Heart Boy, painted on a brick wall that was recovered from a demolished London building. In June 2016 this 2,000-kilogramme artwork was installed in the garden in front of the museum. “Lionel and Kim believe that art should be accessible to everyone,” explains Brunings. “They are particularly keen to get young people excited about art.” The Andy Warhol exhibition ends in early July. It will be replaced by an exposition of sculptures and Salvador Dalí prints. The museum is determined to regularly change its exhibitions, “because there are lots of hugely inspirational artists Moco wants to display”. Issue 31 | July 2016 | 35

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Leidseplein & Museum Area

LEFT: Exhibition room Wonen in de Amsterdamse School. Photo GertJan van Rooij ABOVE: Designs by Michel de Klerk. Photo Erik & Petra Hesmerg BELOW: Exhibition room Wonen in de Amsterdamse School. Photo Gert-Jan van Rooij Lamp by Willem Bogtman

Experience the colourful and expressive Amsterdam School TEXT: MICHIEL STOL

In the early 20th century, a group of architects from Amsterdam created a whole new architectural style: vaulted brick buildings with expressive decorations sculptured in. Those same architects also created rich and colourful objects including furniture based on the style. It became known as the Amsterdam School. The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam has an elaborate exhibition of these objects. “Even collectors see new pieces at the exhibition,” says Ingeborg de Roode, Industrial Design curator. “The heyday of the Amsterdam School, the Dutch interpretation of the Art Deco style, was 1910 to 1930. Not only the buildings, but the furniture and accessories were everywhere. After World War II, the focus in the Netherlands was mainly on functionalist architecture and design. In the last couple of years however, you see the Amsterdam School returning in newly designed buildings, and the colourful and detailed objects are making their way back into our interiors as well, ” explains De Roode. The exhibition is a colourful experience of all kinds of curve-shaped objects including 36 | Issue 31 | July 2016

furniture, lamps, clocks, textiles, stained glass windows and more, displayed in warm-coloured rooms, placing them in the right context. All objects, whether a king-sized bed, a small lamp or even a broche, have meticulously sculptured, three-dimensional expressive details. This is what the Amsterdam School is known for. The objects are from key figures like Michel de Klerk and Piet Kramer, but also lesser known designers including Willem Bogtman and his nephew Louis. Visitors can create their own Amsterdam Schoolstyle clock in the workshop that forms part of the exhibition. The exhibition is an accumulation of ten years of research and a public appeal. De Roode: “We knew that apart from museum collections there had to be many more objects out there, but we did not know where so we asked the public. Now we have over 5,000 records in our database, which we can use to authenticate objects. Of the 500 objects on display, almost half come from private collections. The project has uncovered a lot of ‘lost’ work and unknown designers. And people are still bringing new items to our attention.

“Because a lot of the objects are from private owners, this is a special exhibition, with the objects being unique in their own respect. You really enter the style as if you were there: rich colours all around you, fully experiencing the colourful and expressive art that is the Amsterdam School.” Living in the Amsterdam School. Designs for the interior 1910-1930 runs until 28 August, 2016 at the Stedelijk Museum.

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Leidseplein & Museum Area

Behind the scenes of Holland’s most famous beer TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA | PHOTOS: HEINEKEN EXPERIENCE

Chances are you have heard of Heineken, the green beer bottle that is one of Holland’s most famous export products. Now you can take a look behind the scenes in the old brewery in the Heineken Experience. Your visit will be even more special if you take the VIP Tour at the Heineken Experience. “You get an exclusive behind the scene look of the brewery,” explains development manager Celine Vleer. A Heineken connoisseur will guide you through the old brewery and tell you all sorts of stories. “And afterwards, he or she will take you to an exclusive area within the brewery, where the beer tasting takes place.” What else do you get to see during the VIP Tour? “You can experience making beer yourself,” Vleer says. “We explain which four natural ingredients are used in making the beer and we explain the brewing process. You can even try ‘wort’, which is the first step in the process.”

Then it is time for the beer tasting, experiencing the exceptional taste that is the result of that lengthy process. “You will taste Heineken, Amstel, Brand, Affligem and H41,” explains Vleer. H41 has a special story: it is made using only one different ingredient from Heineken’s original recipe, a wild yeast found in Patagonia. “The brewers started experimenting and created a whole new beer,” adds Vleer. This limited edition beer is available at selected bars and, of course, at the Heineken Experience.


German food in the Netherlands? Do not be so surprised. Wurst & Schnitzelhaus (WuSH) is the only restaurant in the Netherlands that is specialised in German food and has two perfect locations in the centre of Amsterdam where you can have a delicious lunch, a good evening meal or a casual party. WuSH is the first traditional German restaurant in Amsterdam and the only restaurant in the Netherlands specialised in German food and beer. It was established a couple of years ago

by Bas Leenes and his German wife Wendy Jonker and is situated in the centre of the Dutch capital on the Prinsengracht. WuSH offers German cuisine with delicious recipes such as schnitzel and currywurst, made according to a traditional recipe from Wendy’s family. A WuSH speciality is grilled pork knuckle (schweinshaxe), but it does take a day to prepare so booking in advance is a must. “All the food that is served is fresh, good and most of all: German. Same goes for our beers and wines,” co-owner Bas Leenes explains. The interior perfectly combines typical German

pieces, such as the cuckoo clock with more modern German-style furniture: “We have used a lot of wood to create a cosy atmosphere. We also play German music, but not those aprèsski songs. Guest should feel like they can enjoy their food in a nice and relaxed atmosphere.” With guests coming from all over the world, the restaurant has a bright future ahead. WuSH recently opened their second restaurant at the Central Station in Amsterdam, for a schnitzel or currywurst on the go.

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 37

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Leidseplein & Museum Area

The museum exterior. Photo: John Lewis Marshall

Rijksmuseum: meet Marten and Oopjen TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER

To celebrate the arrival of the Dutch Master Rembrandt’s marriage portraits of Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit, admission for the internationally renowned Rijksmuseum will be free on Saturday 2 July from 9am to 9pm. Rembrandt painted the newlywed’s portraits in Amsterdam back in 1634 when he was only 28 years old. They were the artist’s first and only life-sized, full-length painted pendant portraits and are considered among his greatest masterpieces. Having been in private hands for almost four centuries, the two portraits were jointly purchased by the Netherlands and France for 160 million euros (around £122.7 million) earlier this year, allowing the works to be seen by the public at the Louvre and the Rijksmuseum respectively. Having been on display at the former from 10 March to 13 June 2016, the arrival of the portraits at the Rijksmuseum on 2 July is a real cause for celebration. They have only been seen once by the public in the Netherlands in the past century and a half, which was in 1956 at the Rijksmuseum. Marten and Oopjen will remain on display at the Rijksmuseum for three months, and on 2 October will head to the Rijksmuseum’s conservation work-shop for restoration. After that, they will split their time between the famous Amsterdam and Paris museums, although it has been agreed the newlyweds will not be separated and will always be shown alongside one another. 38 | Issue 31 | July 2016

“What no one thought possible is now reality: the most wanted and least exhibited Rembrandts in the world in the Louvre and the Rijksmuseum in turn, in the public domain and within everyone’s reach,” enthuses Wim Pijbes, general director of the Rijksmuseum. The portraits, feted for their detailed rendering of the couple’s luxurious attire and masterful use of lighting stand at more than two metres high. They will have pride of place alongside Rembrandt’s colossal military masterpiece The Night Watch. “I’m delighted because the paintings are now finally in public hands. They belong to us all, and everyone, young and old,

can enjoy them. I would say – go and see them!” urges Jet Bussemaker, the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science. The Rijksmuseum is home to 8,000 artistic and historical objects and can be found in Amsterdam’s famous museum quarter (Museumplein). The Rijksmuseum is open daily from 9am to 5pm. The Rijksmuseum Gardens, Rijks Shop and Café are also open to visitors without a ticket from 9am to 6pm. For more information, visit BELOW: Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), Portraits of Marten Soolmans (right) and Oopjen Coppit (left), 1634 Oil on canvas. Joint purchase by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Republic of France, Rijksmuseum Collection/ Musée du Louvre Collection, 2016

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Leidseplein & Museum Area


Fancy an endive stew with bacon pieces and a meatball, or a hotchpotch with butler steak? A great place to try these traditional Dutch dishes is Restaurant De Blauwe Hollander in Amsterdam. In this cosy eatery near Leidseplein, authentic Dutch meals are served with a smile. While the friendly host Tessa van Oosterom makes sure all customers get the attention they deserve, her partner Tieme Hogema cooks up some lovely meals in the kitchen, using mostly local ingredients and sticking to ageold recipes. “It really is a family business,” says Van Oosterom. “Tieme and I are the owners, but we get lots of help from other members of the family. All the meat in our restaurant comes from my parents’ butchers. My father cuts the meat and my mother does the more refined

work, like making ‘slavinken’,” she says while pointing at the dish she is about to serve to another lucky customer. The tasty, homemade roulade of beef and pork mince wrapped in bacon is served with a stew of red cabbage, potatoes and apple. For those who prefer fish, De Blauwe Hollander also has plenty to offer. Herring, eel, trout, cod and mussels are commonly used in Dutch cuisine and chef Hogema knows just how to prepare them. A Dutch meal is not complete without a ‘toetje’, a sweet dessert. On the menu are classics like hangop, vlaflip, poffertjes and ‘Grandma’s apple pie’. The latter is baked according to Van Oosterom’s grandmother’s recipe. Granny’s input is much appreciated.

Theatre history in Amsterdam’s city centre TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA | PHOTOS: DELAMAR THEATER

The DeLaMar Theater in the heart of Amsterdam is nearly 70 years old. It may have been partly torn down and built back up in between, but it is filled with history. The greatest Dutch actors have performed here and continue to do so today. The first play was shown here in 1947 when the theatre was much smaller. The bigger location it is housed in today was created between 2005 and 2010, when the building that housed the neighbouring cinema was added as part of a big renovation. At first it might look very fancy

and modern with all the glass but, on closer inspection, history reveals itself: “You can see the original facade that was build back in 1887,” explains marketing manager Sophie Braam. Since the renovation, the DeLaMar has combined classical theatre history and modern beauty. “The small hall, named after famous actress Mary Dresselhuys, is located exactly where the theatre used to be 70 years ago. The big hall, whose name pays homage to legendary comedian Wim Sonneveld, is completely new.” You can come here to watch concerts, plays and comedians - Dutch and international.

Since 2012, DeLaMar also has its own theatre productions. “We are kind of two companies now,” Braam nods. “Our tenth production, In de ban van Broadway, will play during the summer.” One of the greatest contemporary Dutch actresses, Tjitske Reidinga played in the first production and she has been doing it every summer, including the next one. So if you are in Amsterdam this summer, you should take your place in one of those red velvet chairs.

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 39

Photo: Bart Heemskerk

Close to the city centre With its compact nature, Amsterdam perfectly lends itself to visit the authentic neighbourhoods bordering the centre. Take the ferry up north or stroll down south and blend in with the locals. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK | PHOTOS: AMSTERDAM MARKETING & NBTC HOLLAND MARKETING

PUT THIS ON YOUR TO-DO LIST: Over het IJ Festival – a ten-day festival with extraordinary theatre and food at various locations on the northern shore of the River IJ (NDSM-wharf). 8-17 July Pluk de Nacht Festival – Amsterdam’s openair film festival, presenting films that have not been acquired or released by local distributors. Takes place on an old pier in Amsterdam West. 5 – 15 August Amsterdam Roest – a cultural sanctuary with a town beach, market, bars and an event hall. A unique establishment in a distinctive place in the north-east of the city. Open every day through summer

Photo: Jasper Faber

Parade Theatre Festival – travelling through Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht before heading to Amsterdam, this festival hosts more than 100 theatre, dance, mime and music shows in exclusively designed tents. Martin Luther Kingpark, 12 – 28 August Unseen Photo Fair – held in the historic Westergasfabriek, this fair brings together leading figures in the industry with artists, curators, collectors and photography enthusiasts. 23 – 25 September Photo: Matthias Valewink

40 | Issue 31 | July 2016

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Close to the City Centre

All the world is a stage TEXT; CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

Stepping into Theater de Roode Bioscoop feels a bit like visiting an intimate yet grandiose living room, immersing its visitors with expectations of an eventful evening. This gem in the heart of Amsterdam has been the stage of adventurous evenings filled with heart-warming music, pungent poetry, upbeat jazz improvisations, modern classical music, and everything in between. Small in size but with a grand repertoire, Theater de Roode Bioscoop has 75 seats. “You can smell the actors and musicians, see them sweating, hear them breathing,” says artistic director Felix Strategier. “Pure intimacy. As a visitor you cannot do anything other than surrender yourself to the performances.” Theater de Roode Bioscoop hosts several series, one of its best known being the Roode Zondagen which offers artists a platform to experiment and amaze. “Music is a continuous element. Every Saturday afternoon our foyer

transforms into Café Rosso, inviting old and new guests to be at the cultural disposal of our visitors with music and poetry.” The programming is broad – with more popular performances sitting alongside experimental works - and for both international and national visitors. Popular singer-songwriters, national cabaret icons and international musicians all find their way to the romantic venue at the Haarlemmerplein. Before transforming into a theatre, de Roode Bioscoop opened its doors as a cinema in 1913. Since then it has served as a lamp factory, a bicycle repair shop and a vegetable shop before in-house theatre group Flint established itself between the dark red walls of the theatre in the late 1970s. “Our history is just as rich as our repertoire. All we ask is that you arrive with a curious mind. We will do the rest.”

Felix Strategier. Photo: © Sinaya Wolfert

Photo: © Bert Bulder


You can explore Amsterdam by bus, by boat, or by monument. And even though that last part might sound funny at first, there is nothing as fun and exciting as a monument on wheels. On a hot summer day the last thing you want to do is walk through a crowded, tourist-filled city. So why not take the historical Tourist Tram from the Electrische Museumtramlijn in Amsterdam? The old Amsterdam trams are running every Sunday in the months of July, August and September. Furthermore, the tourist tram starts its route at the Central Station in the Dutch capital; the perfect stop for explorers of the city. The historical Tourist Tram is part of the beautiful collection of old trams from the Electrische Museumtramlijn. It partly drives along line two, which is considered to be the most beautiful tram route in the world. The route will take you past several museums, and from the Haarlemmermeerstation you can get

on the so-called Museum line, line 30, which is another historical tramline with trams from all over Europe: Groningen, Vienna and Rotterdam. From there on, line two will drive you to the amazing Amsterdam’s Artis Zoo and back to the Central Station. Along the route you will also see several other sights. It is a perfect way to enjoy the town and sightsee without getting sore feet. On board, the guard is more than happy to give you further information about the area and fun historical facts. Tickets can be purchased on board. Finally, the trams are also perfect for hosting a party - you can even get married on board the tram.

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 41

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Close to the City Centre

One superstar after another TEXT: KOEN GUIKING | PHOTOS: ZIGGO DOME

Concert hall Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam has existed merely four years, but it already has a world-class reputation. Pop divas like Madonna, Beyoncé and Rihanna have given multiple sold out performances at this fantastic venue; and Pearl Jam, Fleetwood Mac and U2 have rocked the stage too. The Ziggo Dome is often packed to its 17,000 audience capacity, but the vibe is always intimate. ‘Welcome Adele fans’, read the massive LED wall of Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome in the first week of June, when it hosted four shows by the British superstar. “We want our visitors to have an amazing experience when they come to the Ziggo Dome, so we do everything we can to 42 | Issue 31 | July 2016

create that special mood,” says marketing coordinator Susan Lukkien. She explains that weeks, or even months before a gig is about to take place at the Ziggo Dome, the team already starts warming up its visitors. “From the moment people buy their tickets, we keep them informed with news about the artist they are coming to see, or with other information regarding the upcoming concert.” Music lovers are drawn to the Ziggo Dome by the famous artists that perform here, but the committed staff do their best to make that fantastic night out an even better experience. “We want to retain and amplify people’s enthusiasm,” says Lukkien. “Besides the social media campaigns and the welcoming message

on the big LED wall, we also have screens at the entrance announcing that night’s concert, as well as other events that might be of interest to our guests.” The engagement continues after the concert. For instance, they just posted an update on Adele’s European tour, which brings back memories to those who saw her show in the Ziggo Dome.

Ziggo Dome Member Club At the Ziggo Dome they know how to please the fans, but they also have great VIP facilities for businesses. “We offer companies the opportunity to take their clients or other business connections to a world class concert,” says David Kasten, manager of the Ziggo Dome Member Club. Members have their own parking

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Close to the City Centre

spot in the basement, are welcomed with a drink at the VIP entrance, get a three or four-course meal in the members only restaurant and have the best seats in the house. Walking down the VIP boulevard, lit up in purple light, Kasten shows where the Ziggo Dome members are seated. To his left are bars that exclusively cater to Club Members; to his right are the member seats with a magnificent view of the concert hall. “We do not have skyboxes, like you find in football stadiums, because we believe a concert should not be experienced from inside a box,” says Kasten. Instead, the comfortable seats in the members’ area are paired in twos or in fours, providing the VIPs with the opportunity to have a private party, without losing out on the concert’s ambiance. And with the VIP boulevard right behind them, the members always have access to the bars. “They do not have to stay seated during a concert. You will often find many of our members enjoying the show from the boulevard; having a drink at standing tables.”

From Neil Young to Selena Gomez

songwriter Neil Young will play many of his classics as well as songs from his latest album on 9 July, as part of his Rebel Content tour. In October, the rock band Nickelback will make an appearance with a show that includes a monster truck, and two weeks thereafter multi-platinum singer and actress Selena Gomez takes her Revival tour to the Ziggo Dome, just days before DJ Tiësto takes the stage for an exclusive five-hour set, as part of the Amsterdam Music Festival. On the agenda for November are the immensely popular Dutch rock band Kensington (three back to back concerts, all sold out), The Cure, Volbeat and Elton John.

A wide variety of shows are scheduled for the coming months. The Canadian singer-

like to perform in the capital cities when they tour through Europe, and Amsterdam is often high on their list. That is why we have already had so many big names in the Ziggo Dome; many more than we had ever expected, to be honest.” From the day it opened its doors, world famous artists have lined up to play at Ziggo Dome. Within a few months Amsterdam’s youngest venue was inducted by stars like Madonna, Muse, Lady Gaga and One Direction, as well as by Dutch music sensations Marco Borsato and Armin van Buuren.

Great acoustics Although the Ziggo Dome sometimes hosts events like comedy shows or sports tournaments, it was purposely built for music concerts. “Amsterdam needed a music venue that was bigger than Paradiso and the Heineken Music Hall, but with better acoustics than a stadium,” says Lukkien. “Most international artists

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 43

Live like a local in a unique Amsterdam neighbourhood TEXT: KOEN GUIKING | PHOTOS: YAYS CONCIERGED BOUTIQUE APARTMENTS

For city trippers that are curious to discover the real Amsterdam, rather than just go from tourist attraction to tourist attraction, there is Yays. Yays offers luxurious concierged apartments in neighbourhoods that are very popular with the locals, but almost unknown to travellers, as they are not featured in travel guides.The friendly staff members at Yays – all locals – are eager to help their guests find the local treasures. Yays has stunning apartments in completely restored historical buildings in three fantastic locations. In the west of the city, near the famous Jordaan district, there are two blocks of apartments; and on the eastside, near the Scheepvaartmuseum (Maritime museum), is another YaysAparthotel. The apartments have all the amenities one may wish for 44 | Issue 31 | July 2016

and every single one provides an amazing view over the water. But what makes Yays concierged apartments really stand out is that they are rooted in the local communities. There are collaborations with lots of small businesses that give these vibrant areas their identity, such as local restaurants, bars, bistros, theatres, cinemas, boutiques and art galleries. “Our passion is to create the conditions for a city guest that enables him or her to unlock the city by exploring neighbourhoods. We want visitors to feel like a resident and live like a resident,” says Peter Heule, cofounder and CEO of Yays.

Stylish, modern apartments in historic buildings Yays Bickersgracht, for instance, is located in the ‘Western Islands’. These islands, linked by quintessential drawbridges, were artificially created in the early 17th

century to support the expansion of the West India Trading Company. The shipyards and warehouses have now been converted into a fabulous, incredibly popular residential area. Staying at Yays gives visitors a feel of what it is like to live in these tranquil surroundings, just a short walk from the vibrant Haarlemmerdijk in the Jordaan district. A few hundred metres North of Bickerseiland is Yays Zoutkeetsgracht; once a warehouse for storage and processing of salts, now converted – with respect for the building’s original features – into 31 stylish, modern apartments. A fully equipped, stylishly furnished houseboat, docked in front of this monumental building, can be booked too. From both Bickersgracht and Zoutkeetsgracht it is a short walk – and an even shorter ride on a rental bike from a local supplier – to

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Close to the City Centre

the Westerpark with its food markets, restaurants, cinema and TV studios, to the up-and-coming Spaarndammerbuurt, to the famous Noordermarkt and to central Amsterdam. Free boats across the IJ River to the trendy NDSM-werf and the EYE cinema and film museum also depart nearby.

Neighbourhoods full of hidden treasures One will have a totally different, but equally incredible, Amsterdam experience during a stay at Yays Oostenburgergracht, an area that is rapidly becoming one of the hippest in town. The Czaar Peterstraat, around the corner, is the main shopping street of this neighbourhood; full of independent shops, coffee bars, restaurants and wellness centres. The immensely popular Cafe Roest, with its manmade beach, is located a stone’s throw away, as is Amsterdam’s most famous microbrewery Brouwerij ‘t IJ. The Maritime Museum, Tropenmuseum, the

oldest Zoo in the Netherlands; Artis, and the well-known daily market Dappermarkt are all within walking distance too. “The focus of the tourism industry, everywhere in the world, is always on the city highlights, which are usually found in the heart of town. This is a shame,” says Heule. “Firstly, because visitors are denied the charm of the city’s neighbourhoods, and secondly because directing tourists to just these highlights puts unwanted pressure on the inner city. Yet, there is so much more to see.”

Friendly staff gets you exploring Heule has taken it upon himself to unlock the hidden treasures in Amsterdam’s neighbourhoods to leisure and business travellers. “We communicate the history of the neighbourhood in every apartment. Every flat screen has a channel with a film about the neighbourhood and we provide books too. For example, in the Oostenburgergracht apartments there are

books about the history of shipping and shipbuilding, about the Maritime Museum and Museum Wharf ‘t Kromhout. A nice one is: How to Avoid the Other Tourists, which is an independent tour guide dedicated to showing the real Amsterdam. We also work with locals that provide tours to historic highlights off the beaten tracks.” More interested in current affairs? No problem. The concierge team and other staff members are all locals that can tell visitors where to find an organic supermarket, a beauty boutique or a great place to try a local beer. If there is a local event, they will know it. The Yays neighbourhood guide, supplied in every room, will support travellers to find unique spots. “After staying at Yays for a couple of nights you might find yourself giving locals advice on where to go next,” says Heule. #unlocktheneighbourhood

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 45

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Close to the City Centre


A museum full of skulls, deformed skeletons, embryos and anatomical preparations can be found inside Amsterdam’s Academic Medical Centre (AMC). It is not a random collection of ‘freaks of nature’; the more than 2,000 objects in Museum Vrolik belonged to two renowned Dutch anatomists who studied both the normal and the abnormal development of humans and animals. The museum is named after Gerard Vrolik (1775-1859), professor of anatomy, botany and obstetrics in Amsterdam. Throughout his career he collected misshapen skeletons, bones and organs of animals and humans, as well as malformed plants. “He studied their physiology and the faults in their development. As a professor in obstetrics, Vrolik saw many still-born babies with birth defects, such as conjoined twins or cyclopes, who have one eye in the middle of their head,” explains the museum’s curator-director Laurens de Rooy. Vrolik’s son Willem (1801-1863), a professor in anatomy and physiology, inherited his father’s collection and expanded it, mainly 46 | Issue 31 | July 2016

with animal skeletons and preparations. Like his father, Willem was interested in abnormalities in physical development, but he also studied the differences in anatomy between species. “He ranked different species according to the complexity of their build,” says De Rooy. “This was in the 19th century, when Charles Darwin revealed his evolution theory. Willem Vrolik had difficulties with that idea. He had seen that every part of the animal and human body fitted perfectly into another, unless they were sick or malformed. If evolution changed the anatomy, the harmony would be gone, Vrolik thought.” After Willem Vrolik’s death, the collection was donated to what is now the University of Amsterdam. It has since been expanded with collections of other anatomists and can be seen in the University’s Academic Medical Centre. “Besides a historical value, these collections still have great medical value,” De Rooy points out. “Fortunately, severe congenital defects are now often discovered at a very early stage, so we hardly ever see the tragic, full-grown results of these anomalies.” Likewise, untreated diseases can be studied. “In our Hovius cabinet we have skulls and bones from the

18th century that were severely affected by syphilis, TB or rickets. Nowadays, there are a cures for these conditions, but it is still useful to see what the effects would be if these diseases were left untreated,” says De Rooy. Opening hours: Monday-Friday 10am-5pm Admission: free, a voluntary admission is appreciated TOP LEFT: The museum Hovius cabinet of bones (18th century). Photo: Paul Bomers. TOP RIGHT: Embryo of about two months old. Photo: Hans van den Bogaard BELOW: Fetuses of jaguar, aguti, otter and leopard. Photo Hans van den Bogaard

MAS Museum aan de Stroom. Foto Sarah Blee. Neutelings Riedijk Architecten


A city trip like no other Museums, shops, architecture: whatever is on your city-trip checklist, Antwerp can provide, including Antwerp Zoo, one of Europe’s oldest and most attractive city zoos. The beach of St. Anneke, on the Left Bank, is not only pretty unique for an inland city, Antwerp also boasts a deep sea port 80 kilometres inland. As you can see, Antwerp does everything that little bit differently. TEXT: VISIT ANTWERPEN

Enjoy the heights Along the Antwerp skyline, the Cathedral of Our Lady takes pride of place: it is the highest church spire in the Low Lands and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This is quite a feat for a building with just one finished spire. A little further up, the Museum aan de Stroom, known as ‘MAS’, stands out. Meaning ‘Museum at the River’ in Dutch, its most beautiful work of art may well be the view. From the 60-metre-high rooftop, you can admire the whole city.

Culture and gastronomy revisited Beside the MAS, Antwerp offers many other special museums. In addition to

Photo: Jonas Verhulst

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 47

Central Station. Photo: Š

their impressive collections, they all have that something extra: the Middelheim Museum is a park full of sculptures, at Rubenshuis you walk through the house of famous artist Ruben and the PlantinMoretus Museum, formally the most important printing and publishing house in Europe.

There is the neo-classical Stadsfeestzaal building which accommodates a shopping centre, a former chapel which houses a starred restaurant, and the Palace in Meir (once Napoleon’s) where you can have lunch or catapult cocoa up your nose when you order a chocolate shooter.

And then there are the museum-grade buildings, where you can either shop or eat.

Locals proudly refer to their city as cosmopolitan with a village atmosphere:

48 | Issue 31 | July 2016

XL range at an XS distance

you can find everything here always within walking, or at least cycling, distance (for which the Antwerp city bikes are available). The city itself is also easy to reach. If you want a piece of advice: come by train. The majestic Antwerp Central railway station has won many prizes for its beauty, something that may help ease the pain when the time comes to leave the city.

Skyline. Photo: © Dave Van Laere

Photo: © Visit Antwerpen

Photo: ©

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 49

Discover Benelux | Antwerp | Top food, drink & sleep spots

A healthy lunch in Antwerp’s trendiest district TEXT: KOEN GUIKING | PHOTOS: MINT

There is no need to resort to unhealthy options when looking for a quick lunch in Antwerp. The centrally located lunchroom Mint offers a wide range of nourishing sandwiches, burgers and salads. Good to grab on the go, but even better enjoyed when seated on this trendy restaurant’s terrace while being served by some of the friendliest staff in town.

player. Their sandwich with Parma ham and goat’s cheese, for instance, comes with lettuce, cabbage, carrot, cucumber, onion, sundried tomatoes, nuts, honey and a chive dressing. “We don’t serve simple sandwiches,” Schouwaerts points out. “Our metropolitan sandwiches are loaded with fresh, high-quality ingredients. We want to show people that a lunch can be healthy; even a quick lunch.”

Every meal served from Mint’s kitchen contains a colourful bonanza of vegetables, which makes for a spectacular presentation and mouth-watering flavours. “The base of all our meals are healthy greens, which can be topped up with fish, meat, chicken, cheese, eggs or more vegetables,” says Michaël Schouwaerts, who runs the lunchroom with his wife Nathaly Geysen and their friend Pieter Loridon, a former professional basketball

But there is no need to rush your lunch at Mint, just off Antwerp’s trendy Nationalestraat in Antwerp, near the Fashion Museum. There is ample seating inside the restaurant as well as on the terrace, overlooking a rare green square in the centre of Antwerp. This is an ideal place to try some delicious afternoon sweets with a glass of Mint’s own gin or a very special cup of coffee or tea. This popular eatery in Antwerp’s fashion

50 | Issue 31 | July 2016

district serves an exclusive coffee and tea brand, aptly called Couture. The tea menu alone consists of almost 50 flavours. “All the teas – black, green, white and herbal – are made with full leaves,” says Schouwaerts. “We also make our own ice tea.” Likewise, the selection of special coffees – with ingredients like crumbed biscuits or marshmallows and chocolate flakes – is made with roasted coffee beans from the Couture range. During the week Mint is open from 11am till 6pm, while on Saturdays it also serves continental breakfast –with a glass of sparkling wine if requested – or yoghurt with muesli or cruesli and fresh fruit, which can be topped with superfoods like goji berries, chia seeds, raw chocolate and honey.

Discover Benelux | Antwerp | Top food, drink & sleep spots

Exceptionally classy guesthouse TEXT: KOEN GUIKING | PHOTOS: JVR108

Everything is perfect about the sophisticated guesthouse JVR108 in Antwerp. Guests have called their stayed here “magical”, “a divine experience”, “charming and first class”. Their reviews are peppered with superlatives to describe the exceptional hospitality of the hosts, the impeccable, sumptuously decorated rooms and the delicious breakfast. Why stay anywhere else? “We have always wanted to be in the hospitality business,” explain hosts Philip Ver Hoeye and Frederik Aers. Three years ago they turned their dream into reality: a beautiful historic building on 108 Jan Van Rijswijcklaan (hence the name JVR108), which was completely renovated with nothing less than top-quality products. “We brought in the newest technology when it comes to air conditioning, heating and so on, but all the restorations were done with respect

of the architectural features of the inside of the house,” says Ver Hoeye. Their home on the leafy, upmarket avenue near Antwerp Expo now contains three magnificent guest apartments and is stylishly decorated throughout. All the rooms have marble bathrooms, equipped with a bathtub and rain shower and supplied with bath and body fragrances from Floris London. The luxurious, comfortable Italian beds are set every morning with clean, soft bed linen; and a warm, homely feel is created with a mix of selected antiques and modern furniture. “The decorative cushions are from our own collection. Home decoration is another one of our passions,” Ver Hoeye says. Before heading to town, guests can have a luscious breakfast in the lounge. “On a sunny day, we can also serve it in the garden,” says the ever-convivial host.

Ultimate relaxation in vibrant Antwerp TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA | PHOTOS: RAMADA PLAZA ANTWERP

If you do not know what you want from your weekend in Antwerp, the Ramada Plaza Antwerp hotel can help you make up your mind. Whether you want to enjoy city life, work out, or discover beautiful nature in the adjoining Hertogenpark. A little bit of peace and quiet; that is the Ramada Plaza Antwerp. Located on the edge of Antwerp’s city centre, practically inside the beautiful Hertogenpark, you will find the perfect activity for every-body. “We have newly renovated fitness and sauna facilities. There is free Wi-Fi if you want to do some work and a great bistro to enjoy an aperitif after work, one of our tasty dishes, or just a drink,” sales manager Nathalie Draaijer explains. The most important activity in a hotel is sleep, which you can do in one of the contemporary rooms. “Some of the largest in Antwerp,” says Draaijer. “You can choose a deluxe, executive or family room. And our

latest offerings are a studio and an apartment.” These opened last year and are ideal for longer stays. Hip and trendy, there is a Scandinavianstyle room with a kitchenette and lounge area. A personal approach is very important to the Ramada team. “We make sure we recognise our guests,” Draaijer says. “We know which floor they prefer their room to be on, what tonic they like with their gin. Personal service is what makes the difference in our eyes.” No wonder guests refer to them as the “closest thing to family”.

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 51

Discover Benelux | Antwerp | Best food, drink & sleep spots

Grandma’s nostalgia with a modern twist TEXT: MICHIEL STOL | PHOTOS: MAITÉ THYSSEN

Who does not get nostalgic about those Sunday dinners at their grandmother’s house, with the whole family and all those comforting dishes? In the heart of beautiful Antwerp, you can relive those dinners at Restaurant De Bomma (Grandma’s Restaurant). Owner Sharon Devis: “We recreate that nostalgic feeling, but with a modern twist.” Although the restaurant breathes the wistfulness of Sunday meals at Grandma’s, the interior is very light. “There are a lot of so called ‘brown cafes’ here in Antwerp. They have pretty dark interiors. We wanted something different. We wanted something light. With the help of an interior designer we styled the restaurant. Our logo was designed by an advertising agency and the light blue colour of the logo can be found in the 52 | Issue 31 | July 2016

interior. It can be seen in the wallpaper and on the menus,” says Devis. Devis and her husband Ronny De Backer started Restaurant De Bomma, which is located near the Grote Markt, three years ago across from the town hall. Devis: “We both had a restaurant back then: I ran a French restaurant called ‘Via Via’ and Ronny ran ‘De Kip’ (The Chicken), which was an all-chicken concept. Every Monday we had a dish of the day, which was something completely different; a meal that our grandma would prepare. It turned out to be very popular. From that Monday dish, and our years of experience with restaurants, Restaurant De Bomma was born.” Customers can create their own dish, by choosing either meat, chicken, fish or one of grandma’s stews. “Those are all made like Bomma would make them. Then people can

add whatever vegetables, potatoes and sauce they like.” Even the desserts have a nostalgic ring to them, like the rice pudding or the sorbet. The restaurant also serves Mussels all year round. “People really like them to be on the menu, we found.”

Bringing Grandma When you walk into the restaurant, you will immediately notice all the pictures of grandmothers on the walls. “These are all original photos of the grandmothers of guests. We encourage our customers to bring a photo along. Those who do will be given a complimentary aperitif. The picture has to be an original, though. We do not take copies. They have to be authentic photographs, really showing the patron’s grandmother, honouring her,” tells Devis. There are over 200 pictures of grandmothers on the walls. “Often customers bring a picture of their

Discover Benelux | Antwerp | Top food, drink & sleep spots

grandmother with them and then a couple of weeks later, they bring grandma herself to the restaurant. Most of the time the grandmother does not know that there is a picture of her on the wall. So it is really lovely to see her and the family’s reactions once they realise. The grandmothers really enjoy that. “That is what we want to create. That feeling of a family dinner in Grandmother’s kitchen, at her kitchen table. Back to the good old times, when we could enjoy her hospitality. We strive to provide that same hospitality. Our staff of 20 will do everything to give you that same feeling you had when you sat at your grandmother’s table. For instance, on every table there is a carafe of tap water. That was something that would be on grandma’s table. It is free of charge, because we feel it is part of your dining experience,” says Devis.

Diners from everywhere The diners at Restaurant De Bomma come from all around. Devis: “There are a lot of guests here from Antwerp who have become regulars. But we also have a lot of tourists coming in because of our location. The Grote Markt is a tourist hotspot, so a lot of them find their way from there to our restaurant. That is why our menu is translated into seven different languages.” The restaurant can seat up to 90 people at a time, plus some 50 more on the roofed terrace. “We recommend our guests make a reservation, especially at the weekend. That way we can make sure you will get a table.” There are many business people and groups amongst the clients of Restaurant De Bomma as well. “That is because we are very well suited to larger groups dining together. We offer groups of up to 20 people the chance to enjoy an à la carte dinner, whereas most restaurants will not. They want groups with more than six people to use a special menu, created for groups. We feel that everybody needs to have a choice as to what they want to eat. Whether they eat alone or with a large family or group. Grandma would have given you that option too!” Issue 31 | July 2016 | 53

Photo: © Kris Vlegels

Photo: © Heikki Verdurme

Photo: Divin by Sepi

Craftily selected wines, meals and finger foods TEXT: KOEN GUIKING

Any wine lover that visits Antwerp should make a stop at Divin by Sepi. This wine bar and restaurant is managed by wine connoisseur Sepideh Sedaghatnia, who was crowned ‘Benelux sommelier of the year 2013’ by the prestigious restaurant guide Gault & Millau. Sepideh Sedaghatnia, commonly known as Sepi, was just 30 years old when she received the highest prize a wine steward can win. At that moment she was the sommelier of a restaurant with two Michelin stars, which is already a remarkable achievement for someone that age. Less than two years later she 54 | Issue 31 | July 2016

opened her own ‘gastro-bar’, participated in the Flemish TV show My Pop-Up Restaurant and published a book called 69 things you have always wanted to know about wine. It shows Sedaghatnia’s ambition and work ethic, as well as her passion to share her love for good wines and flavoursome foods with others. Both the restaurant Divin by Sepi and her book are a big hit; and for obvious reasons.

Flemish cuisine with Iranian influences Besides great wines, Divin by Sepi serves excellent food, prepared with high-quality ingredients. Some products used in the kitchen are rather exotic, such as saffron,

lentils, pomegranate and pistachios. This is owed to Sedaghatnia’s roots. She grew up in Iran and came to Belgium when she was 17 years old. “My recipes are a based on Flemish cuisine, but with influences of the Iranian kitchen,” says the restaurant owner. Sedaghatnia carefully sources her products. She understands the importance of what she refers to as “terroir”; a term commonly used in the world of wines to describe the impact of environmental factors on the taste of a product. As a wine connoisseur, she has learnt that everything in the production process has an influence on the end quality – from the grape variety to the climate, soil and

Discover Benelux | Antwerp | Top food, drink & sleep spots

processing methods. The same applies to food, she says. Luxury products like sea bass and clams, as well as the peas, lentils or olive oil; everything used in the kitchen is carefully selected. The quality of the food is therefore undisputable.

Wining and dining in style The meals served at Divin by Sepi are not your everyday food. The menu lists options such as wolffish, sea bass, rack of lamb and even caviar. Nonetheless, Divin by Sepi is not pretentious. “Anyone can discover something to his or her liking on our wine and food menu,” says Sedaghatnia. But what about the four types of caviar - beluga, imperial, oscietra and royal baeri? Surely that shows that Divin by Sepi is targeting high-end customers? Sedaghatnia explains: “Via my connections in Iran I got into contact with one of the best sturgeon breeders in that country. He produces caviar of

outstanding quality, so it was a logical step for me to start selling caviar at Divin.” She admits that it is rather exclusive, but that Divin by Sepi caters for every budget. “In my bar one can have a glass of very good wine paired with delicious finger food for a very reasonable price.” Divin’s cellar contains hundreds of wine bottles, and the hostess always knows just the right one to pick. “I serve many well-known French and Italian wines, but I am also proud of my selection of Greek and Bulgarian pearls,” she says. She makes a point of supporting female wine makers. “My house wine, Cuvée Divin, is made in Bulgaria by a woman.”

“Together with interior specialists we have created an urban feel, while we have also incorporated lots of Persian details, such as the tiles and various ornaments. I wanted a vibe that suits casual passersby that decide on the spot that they want a glass of wine, as well as customers that have come for a fashionable dinner.” Typical for Sedaghatnia’s efforts to achieve perfection are the plates on which the food is served. She had them handmade by a local potter. More information on

Impeccable looks The attention to detail is not just found in the selection of delectable wines and presentation of flavoursome bites; the decor of this stylish gastro-bar in Antwerp’s trendy Het Zuid district is impeccable too.

Photo: Divin by Sepi

SUMMER DIVIN During the summer months, Sepideh Sedaghatnia also runs a pop-up ‘apero-bar’. It is called Summer Divin and is based in the popular beach club Bocadero, on a manmade beach overlooking the Scheldt Rover. From here she sells delicious wines and finger food. For a wider variety of wines and foods, head to Divin by Sepi. Address: 5-7 Verschansingstraat in Antwerp.

Photo: © Kris Vlegels

Sepideh Sedaghatnia. Photo: © Heikki Verdurme

Photo: © Heikki Verdurme

Photo: Divin by Sepi

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 55

Photo: ©


A cradle for fashion and diamonds The people of Antwerp set the trends. This becomes clear when you stroll around the city’s fashion and diamond districts, as well as the city’s numerous fashion pop-ups and start-ups. TEXT: VISIT ANTWERPEN

You will find more diamonds in the Diamond Square Mile – where international diamond hallmarks originate – than in the rest of the world. And peppered all over the city are dazzling shop windows full of attractive jewellery designs. Antwerp sets the tone where fashion is concerned. Couture is not just in the boutiques, but also on the streets, at the MoMu (Mode Museum) fashion museum and at the famous Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts. The latter’s fashion department is one of the world’s most influential. Even today, great talents graduate from here, invariably launching their labels in the city.

Photo: ©

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 57


After a prêt-à-porter collection and shows in Paris, Anna Heylen has anchored down in her atelier in Antwerp. “It is my ultimate goal to make a woman feel beautiful, feel celebrated. Where better to do that than in my own shop?” Located in a former warehouse of 1904 in Antwerp, Maison Anna Heylen designs couture pieces and wedding gowns next to her own collection, welcoming both walk-in visitors and customers with an 58 | Issue 31 | July 2016

appointment. Customers visit from every corner of the world. “Recently we had a Japanese customer, spreading her visit over two days. She told us they were the most special days she had spent in a long time. That touches me greatly.”

DOLLS It was in 1993 that Heylen created her DOLLS: an installation of 120 identical, faceless, hairless, and sexless dolls that she suspended from practically invisible threads. It was her breakthrough. The

DOLLS acquired an individual identity through the clothing that Heylen had designed for them. “I created DOLLS from the idea of sameness. No matter what age, colour or sex: we are all equals living together in this world. Expressing yourself is an art, and something you can do with fashion.” Latex, wool, paper, jute and even glass, everything was used to dress up the DOLLS. They quickly became legends and travelled the world, ending up at international museums and galleries. They are still going strong.

Discover Benelux | Antwerp | Top fashion & design boutiques

Heylen graduated from the prestigious Royal Academy of the Fine arts in Antwerp in 1990. “A valuable time. It taught me perseverance. That is something you need in life anyway, but the Academy enhanced that greatly.” In 1996, the first women’s collection appeared, following a request from Paris to make a small collection. In no time Heylen’s clothes were selling from nine different stores and a new collection was created every six months. “It all went very fast: an international clientele; flagship stores; and international fashion shows.”

No trends, season or sales Seven years ago, Heylen decided to turn the ship around and open her own fashion house. “After a few very successful years I decided to quit the system. The general meaning of fashion, technically a popular style or practice, does not work for me. Fashion to me means style and practice, but not necessary popular. It is this popularity that demands a new collection every six months and the participation in seasonal sales, resulting in the loss of exclusivity and high-quality fabrics and finishing. Clothing should not be designed to end up in a half-price bin a few months later – that is meaningless fashion. A beautiful item of clothing is for life.”

As a reaction, Anna Heylen designs ‘antipopular’ and trend transcending clothing. Not only are the designs exclusive, the execution is exclusive as well. It makes the women who wear her clothes distinguished, elegantly passing trendsetters. Being far away from the catwalks, Maison Anna Heylen could focus completely on its own philosophy. “For me, fashion is about enhancing someone’s uniqueness and beauty with pure pieces.” A central thread has been the use of high-quality fabrics, ingenious techniques, and handmade pieces. When ordering a garment nothing is impossible: hand-painted materials, sequinning – Heylen’s artistic craftsmanship results in a timeless piece that is distinctive in every possible way.

Back to basics The experimental creativity with materials that Heylen used to dress her DOLLS would later translate into her clothing designs. “My designs are characterised by a broad range of influences and inspiration. I experiment with volume, materials and techniques. Take a doublefaced cloak, a garment with no real inside or outside, you can wear it on both sides. That requires absolute craftsmanship to make. And a lot of time and love!”

Travelling lies in Heylen’s nature. “I am always on the road. I travelled to Mongolia, to see and feel the basis of cashmere, an absolute treasure of fabric and something I use in my collections. During my travels I had an interesting encounter with a local resident, resulting in a precious collaboration: all the cashmere we use in our collection is being knitted in Mongolia.” Recycling has been used in Heylen’s collections for years. Take the handmade scarves with recycled fur accents, or a timeless waistcoat finished with recycled fur. “If the basics are good, fashion can live a very long life.” Maison Anna Heylen embodies the fact that above all, fashion is exclusive and personal – and made for real people. “I design for every woman. Someone’s age or size does not matter; quality is for everyone. Any woman is entitled to feel beautiful and celebrated.” - make an appointment for unmatched personal service *Anna’s DOLLS will be shown during Documenta 14 in Athens – one of the largest and most prestigious art events in the world from April 2017

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 59

Discover Benelux | Antwerp | Top fashion & design boutiques


Amazed by the powerful fashion and exceptional handmade jewellery in Barcelona, Eva Franceus decided to take a piece of this Catalan city to Antwerp. It all started with a trip to Barcelona. “I discovered a little shop where they sold jewellery from French brands Nature Bijoux and Franck Herval and was amazed by the distinct character of the jewellery and its references to nature.” Franceus’ admiration grew further when her eye fell on a few little shops selling creations by young, local fashion designers. Not long afterwards, Naturelle was born in October 2015. Naturelle sells jewellery, handbags, accessories and fashion pieces. Items travel from Barcelona to Franceus’ shop in the historical centre of Antwerp – “although there are the occasional pieces from Portugal or France.” All pieces are handmade and have one aim: to accentuate and complement one’s personality, enhancing the uniqueness of an individual.

“Naturelle is the opposite of mainstream. We are an exclusive distributor of some exquisite French jewellery brands. Needless to say, their pieces are produced in very limited numbers!” When selecting the pieces, Naturelle opts for elegance, femininity, originality and the presence of natural elements. Shells, leather, gems: it all fits beautifully with Franceus’ oneof-a-kind philosophy on handmade quality. “Barcelona designers rarely follow trends or seasons, yet are always in style. Their designs are for women of any age who are not afraid to stand out, yet with a love for wearable fashion,” says Franceus. Her favourite look? “A simple, elegant outfit with one unique piece of jewellery as an eye catcher – perfect for strolling down Barcelona’s boulevard!” Summer sales from 1 July until 31 July Reyndersstraat 29-31, 2000 Antwerpen.


Discover Benelux | Belgium | Top galleries & art exhibitions 2016

Kunst in Huis, Leuven | Page 63


A country of creation and commerce As a country it may be small in size, but Belgium has a tremendous art scene. From Bruges, the centre of Flemish Primitive Painting, to Charleroi with its celebrated photography museum via cultural hubs including Antwerp, Liège and Ghent - creativity is booming. And that is without even mentioning Brussels, where the contemporary art scene easily rivals those of Paris or Berlin. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER | PHOTO: DIRK DE LOBEL

Art aficionados have long been attracted to Belgium with its vast selection of worldclass galleries: the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels, Antwerp’s Royal Museum for Fine Arts and the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent to name just a few. This country undoubtedly has a prime place in the history of art, with museums dedicated to the likes of homegrown surrealist René Magritte and Flemish baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens, whose studio was in Antwerp. But Belgium is not just a city to admire

art, it is a hugely popular destination for creative types looking to invest. This is a country of both creation and commerce.

Gallery, which is housed in the former textile factory in Otegem, a short drive from Kortrijk, Lille and Ghent.

Wander around any major Belgian city and you will not fail to notice the increasing number of galleries popping up, featuring works by both established names and the art world’s rising stars. In our special guide, we present a selection of exciting galleries from across the country, including the Tim Van Laere Gallery in Antwerp, S&H De Buck in Ghent and the Deweer

We also show you the Belgian companies which are supporting artists with their innovative rental schemes. Take Kunst in Huis as an example, it rents out over 5,000 pieces of contemporary art from more than 450 artists in Flanders. Also featured is Antwerp’s Art Forum, which rents out art for as little as 20 euros per month. Read on and be inspired. Issue 31 | July 2016 | 61

Discover Benelux | Belgium | Top galleries & art exhibitions 2016


The charcoal drawings of Belgian artist Rinus Van de Velde are a fictional autobiography. Van de Velde is one the many talented artists represented by the Tim Van Laere Gallery in Antwerp. His unique work method is laborious and impressive. Van de Velde always starts by building a complete “film set” in his studio, takes a picture of that set, often with himself in it, and then meticulously draws that scene in charcoal on paper or canvas. “My art is an autobiography... of a life I do not have,” says Van de Velde. “I make up a story with myself in the lead role.” In his imaginary universe, confined within the walls of his studio, Van de Velde has lived many lives. He has captured an adventurous road trip with his girlfriend, but also a life with some friends in a shed in the woods. “That jungle in the road trip is in fact a cardboard jungle,” he says. The life-size decor pieces Van de Velde creates are often exhibited 62 | Issue 31 | July 2016

together with his charcoal drawings. His latest exhibition was in SMAK in Ghent, and a new chapter of his “life” will be on show in Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in December. Gallery owner Tim Van Laere plays quite a prominent role in Van de Velde’s artistic life, the artist reveals. “He is very involved and passionate about the artists he works with. He really understands us artists and at the same time he is business-minded and good at strategising our careers and always puts the artists in first place. I find that an amazing combination for a gallerist.” The group of artists that are represented by Tim Van Laere Gallery in Antwerp are a close-knit bunch. “Every six weeks another one of us has an exhibition at the gallery. At the opening we often speak with each other. That is very stimulating.” Van de Velde has a great deal of respect for his peers. “Be on the watch for Kati Heck, Ben Sledsens, Adrian Ghenie,

Tomasz Kowalski and Ryan Mosley. Their work is really amazing.”

Discover Benelux | Belgium | Top galleries & art exhibitions 2016

Photo: © Dirk De Lobel

Photo: © Artur Eranosian

Photo: © Artur Eranosian

A library for artworks TEXT: KOEN GUIKING

For 38 years, Flemish households and companies have been hiring art via Kunst in Huis. In doing so, they support professional artists living and working in Flanders. “Our aim is to make contemporary art accessible to everyone,” says Claudine Hellweg, artistic director of the organisation that is funded by the Flemish government. “People can be quite intimidated by art. We invite everyone to just come into our branches in Antwerp, Ghent, Brussels and Leuven and have a look at the art we have on offer. We tell our visitors more about the works we are renting out. I believe that it is important to tell people that story, because if you know how to interpret a piece of art, you are much more likely to appreciate it.” Kunst in Huis rents out over 5,000 pieces of contemporary art from more than 450 artists in Flanders. “Generally, the subscription fee for Kunst in Huis is ten euros per month, which allows someone

to rent one artwork, for a maximum of one year. Several Flemish corporations have a number of subscriptions at Kunst in Huis. Recently, we have been putting more focus on selling art as well, which is becoming pretty popular.”

also ventures into parts of Flanders with pop-up stores and organises Artist in the picture exhibitions. This summer, photographer Veronika Pot is featured at Kunst in Huis Ghent.

Assisting a career in visual arts All the visual art that is rented out via Kunst in Huis is selected by Hellweg. She goes around Flanders to find talented artists, “with the help of an advisory committee”. Hellweg explains: “I look for new, interesting artists that have just started; we are here to help talented artists to pursue their desired career. But our collection also contains some works of reputable artists.” New paintings, graphic arts, photos and spatial art are added to collections all the time. “I make sure the collection contains work that is easy to understand as well as very conceptual pieces,” says Hellweg. Besides its branches in Antwerp, Ghent, Brussels and Leuven, Kunst in Huis

The Transformation by Veronika Pot.

The entire arts catalogue of Kunst in Huis is accessible via Also, consult their website for the addresses and opening hours of the various Kunst in Huis locations.

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 63

Discover Benelux | Belgium | Top galleries & art exhibitions 2016

Deweer Gallery entrance.

Esteemed gallery for contemporary art TEXT: KOEN GUIKING | PHOTOS: DEWEER GALLERY

Well-known Belgian artists like Jan Fabre and Panamarenko have been collaborating with the Deweer Gallery for over 30 years. Much of their work is first exhibited at this esteemed art gallery near Kortrijk, from where it is sold to collectors all over the world. Lots of young artists also showcase their work at Deweer Gallery, which can be visited free of charge. “When Jan Fabre had just started his career, my father would occasionally buy one of his blue ballpoint drawings, allowing Jan to continue his work and helping him to become the artist he is 64 | Issue 31 | July 2016

today,” says Gerald Deweer. The times Deweer describes are the 1980s; the early years of the gallery. His father was a textile industrialist and a contemporary art enthusiast. In 1979, he had decided to turn part of the factory into an exhibition centre for young artists. Painters, drawing artists and sculptors could get the exposure they needed and Mark Deweer would help them find buyers of their work. What started off as a passion, grew into a revered gallery.

Established artists and young talent The Deweer Gallery is still housed in the former textile factory in Otegem, a short

drive from Kortrijk, Lille and Ghent. It is now managed by Mark Deweer’s sons Gerald and Bart, who gave the building a complete makeover in 2012. The entrance hall and the three exceptionally large exhibition rooms were modernised with respect for the industrial characteristics of the building. Lots of permanent art pieces can be found around the gallery’s premises and in its basement, while the three exhibition rooms change every two months. The Collector’s Room shows group exhibitions of Deweer’s resident artists, such as Stephan Balkenhol, Marc Bauer, Jan Fabre, Melissa Gordon, Benjamin Moravec and Panamarenko.

Discover Benelux | Belgium | Top galleries & art exhibitions 2016

The other two rooms are used for solo exhibitions. “We work with a fixed group of artists. They propose plans for an exposition and we help them set it up. Our job is then to invite art collectors, galleries and museums that might be interested in buying their work,” Gerald Deweer explains. Sometimes the work is not sold, but lent to a museum. For instance, a series of Jan Fabre’s mosaics of green scarab wings, showcased at Deweer in May and June, is on its way to Russia to be exhibited at the prestigious Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

From video art to paintings and UFOs “Besides the established artists that we have been working with for many years, we are constantly searching for new, young people that we believe in,” says Deweer. The list of young artists is long and shows that Deweer Gallery has a broad scope. For instance, there was a recent exhibition by video artist Keren Cytter, who was born in Tel Aviv and works in New York; the German artist Anna Vogel showed her photo-based work in Deweer Gallery earlier this year; and the young British painter George Little had a solo exhibition at Deweer in 2014 and was part of a group exhibition in 2015. Some of his latest work will also be shown in the group exhibition coming up in September, where it will be

Stephan Balkenhol, Frau im Brautkleid, 2016.

featured alongside wooden figures of the well-known German sculptor Stephan Balkenhol and the flying objects built by the famous Belgian artist Panamarenko. “His art works are not designed to actually fly, but much of his work is inspired by his fascination for flying.” Panamarenko designed “turbo jet engines” and “UFOs” he made with a satellite-like object from Plexiglas, aluminium, wood and solar cells and he crafted a zeppelin out of metal, copper, plastic and wood. Deweer says: “Panamarenko has a wild imagination. Some people compare him with Leonardo da Vinci.”

Check website for opening hours Deweer Gallery is closed during the summer months. It will reopen on 4 September, showing new work in each of its rooms. The German-Turkish artist

George Little, P’tit Grand, 2015.

Nasan Tur will, for the first time in his career, showcase his work in Deweer Gallery. His work is always surprising. He uses a plethora of materials for his sculptures, makes video art, uses photography and often combines all of this with performance art. Another exhibition room will show much more tranquillity, as this will be the domain of Gabriele Beveridge for six weeks. This artist from Hong Kong, living in England, combines posters of beautiful women with handblown glass objects, feathers, leaves or bamboo sticks. “After every exhibition we are closed for about two weeks to set up the next exhibitions, so visitors should always check our website for our opening times,” says Deweer.

Melissa Gordon, Material Evidence (Table Zoom), 2016

Jan Fabre, The loyal ecstasy of death, 2016.

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 65

Discover Benelux | Belgium | Top galleries & art exhibitions 2016

Inspiring surroundings thanks to rental art TEXT: KOEN GUIKING | PHOTOS: ART FORUM

An intriguing sculpture in the entrance hall or a stylish painting in the meeting room can turn a dull office into an inspirational work place. Art Forum in Antwerp, founded in 1980, makes this feasible for almost every company. It rents out stunning art for as little as 20 euros per month. Art Forum works with dozens of international artists, which guarantees a steady supply of surprising new works. Fans of contemporary art can stroll around for hours in the gallery, looking for that special masterpiece, but Art Forum understands that not everyone has time to do so, especially if Antwerp is not around the corner. “We help our clients to select an art piece that suits the setting. We go to the venue and, with the help of computer simulations, we give clients an impression of what the space will look like once the art is installed,” says Anne-Mie De

Baene. The client does not have to worry about anything. Art Forum transports and installs the art, insures it and, after a year, helps to select a new painting, photograph, sculpture or whatever is desired by the client. “Some clients grow fond of the artwork and wish to buy it. A reduced tariff can then be arranged.” Renting art is popular with Belgian firms as it is tax deductible. But Art Forum does not

State of the art Raised by parents with a passion for the old masters, Hermine de Groeve’s love for art started on her mother’s knee. Today she runs art gallery S&H De Buck in Gent together with jewellery designer, silver smith and husband Siegfried De Buck. “Art has always been a part of my life,” De Groeve enthuses. “My mother collected ancient art, so I know where my fascination was born.” Along with meeting her husband, she was introduced to contemporary art. “My husband has always been a lover of contemporary art and architecture. He creates contemporary jewellery and unique pieces, permanently present at the gallery. I admire people who are creators. They have a certain passion, are engaged with the world.” Art gallery S&H De Buck opened in 1972. It is a pilot gallery, showing both established and new artists. “Abstract, conceptual, minimalistic; everything and everyone is welcome. Age is not important.” De Groeve and De Buck have worked together with great masters: “We were the first ones showing work from Wim Delvoye, 66 | Issue 31 | July 2016

solely dress up Belgian companies and private homes; it has several international clients too. To get an idea of the type of art offered by Art Forum, visit its gallery on 36 Napelsstraat in Antwerp, in the trendy neighbourhood of ‘t Eilandje, near the MAS (Museum aan de Stroom). Or, alternatively, visit the website.


Berlinde de Bruyckere, Dirk Braeckman, and more. I guess that means I have a nose for art, but I just follow my feeling.” “Beautiful art has pride, tells a story. It provides the admirer with a glimpse into a deeper understanding of our world.” The person behind the piece is essential. “I see it as my task to ensure art lives on after it leaves the hands of its master. That is why it is so important to know the artist – how else can I be a defendant of someone’s life work?” On Curartor Pieter Paul – Hermine de Groeve Currently showing: Johan Clarysse, Sven Verhaeghe, Philip Henderickx, Christina Mignolet, Maaike Leyn, Jean De Groote, Patrick Verlaak, Stefaan Van Biesen, Reniere&Depla, Frans Labath, Alex De Bruycker, Willy Vynck, Hervé Martijn, Frank Kenis, Hans Defer, Geert De Smet, Christine Marchand, Robine Clignett, Maureen Bachaus, Frans Westers, Andreas Lyberatos, Tomáš Lahoda, Meltem Elmas, i.a.

LEFT: Siegfried De Buck bracelet Le sommet du monde. Photo: Luc Gees. MIDDLE: Johan Clarysse Les charmes discrets du pouvoir. Photo: Jan Darthet. RIGHT: Philip Henderickx Philematology II. Photo: Galerie S&H De Buck

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

Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Claudy Jongstra


An artist in bloom From London’s Victoria & Albert Museum to New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the work of Dutch visual artist Claudy Jongstra can be found in galleries across the world. Celebrated for her art installations made using hand-felted material, Jongstra’s wall tapestries can even be found on the walls of Dutch presidential residence, the Catshuis. A committed artist, the creative has now turned her hands to horticulture - making the headlines with her prize-winning Honeysuckle Blue(s) garden at the internationally renowned Chelsea Flower Show in May this year. Is there anything this woman cannot do? TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER

There are not many events more quintessentially British than London’s Chelsea Flower Show, arguably the most famous flower show in the world. Queen Elizabeth II is a patron and the Royal family turn out in full force to attend its opening day every year. Broadcast daily by the BBC, it is a kind of fashion week for gardens, where an average of 150,000 green-fingered visitors flock to discover the latest horticultural trends and admire the impressive show gardens competing for a prize.

Pushing boundaries It may be a typically British affair, but at this year’s edition it was a garden designed by Claudy Jongstra’s work inside the Maastricht government

a Dutch team which got everybody talking. On 24 May, the AkzoNobel Honeysuckle Blue(s) Garden, co-designed by Jongstra and Stefan Jaspers, scooped the prestigious Silver-Gilt Award in the Fresh Gardens category. It is extremely rare for a foreign entry to receive such an accolade, so how did Jongstra feel about winning in such an iconic British competition? “It was incredible!” says Jongstra. “I came up with the concept with Stefan. We felt like when we came to the show we were in the Dutch tradition of being avant-garde - you could say radical, even. We had no idea how the jury would be formed but it really is in the tradition of Dutch designers to push boundaries. We were stretching them out of their comfort zone, but the garden is also about awareness. I’m so happy that the jury were incredible and open-minded and welcomed our idea. In effect, Honeysuckle Blue(s) is a garden talking about the world’s legacy - it is really wonderful.”

Beautiful and practical Jongstra’s winning garden is not only a thing of beauty. While synthetic paints use colour which comes exclusively from pigments, Honeysuckle Blue(s) showcases plants which are capable of producing high-quality natural 68 | Issue 31 | July 2016

dyes. Sponsored by the Amsterdamheadquartered decorative paint brand AkzoNobel, it highlights the rich colours plants including woad, pot marigolds and irises can produce when transformed into dyes. Jongstra frequently uses dye crops such as chamomile, nettle and calendula in her art works, and is fascinated by the usefulness of plants and their important place in art history. For example, it was the ruby-red pigment of Rubia tinctorum which was used for famous Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer’s celebrated painting Girl with a Red Hat. “Last summer when I came up with the design, I knew I wanted to celebrate the traditional vegetation which provided colour for Dutch painters. Then we developed the garden in more and more detail, which specific plants we would use, the form - it was a spiral,” she explains.

A love for nature One thing which really comes across when you talk to Jongstra is her passion for preserving our environment. “We can learn so much from nature,” she asserts. “Look at how a beehive works, the construction of the hive - that is technology.” Jongstra, who often creates art pieces using wool,

Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Claudy Jongstra

Photo: Š Marcel van der Vlugt

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 69

Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Claudy Jongstra

The AkzoNobel Honeysuckle Blue(s) Garden, co-designed by Claudy Jongstra and Stefan Jaspers

goes on to explain her awe for the natural engineering going on all around us. “Wool really is like a smart fibre. It has an incredible spectrum of qualities, like 20 of them, and it has never been reproduced synthetically or chemically. We have not yet succeeded as man to imitate that, so there is a lot to learn from nature.”

Respecting tradition With such a devotion to all things natural, you might expect the artist to have an aversion to some of the more formal gardens which can be on display at Chelsea, but that is not the case. “I think legacy and heritage are important too. I can love really traditional gardens,” she explains, although the creative admits her heart lies with something more rugged. “I am very devoted to a garden which has a reference to real working labour. For example, I am very much attracted to the paintings of Vincent van Gogh. His work 70 | Issue 31 | July 2016

showed an inner respect for the work of farmers and the beautiful colours of the land.”

An immersive experience Jongstra also believes a garden should do more than simply be admired. “I did not want people to visit Honeysuckle Blue(s) and just have a passive experience of ‘Oh isn’t this beautiful?’ I wanted to do something interactive. I love that the visitors feel like they are part of it.” It is this power to inspire which motivates Jongstra in all that she does. A career highlight has to be creating a collection of her celebrated wall hangings for the Dutch presidential residence Catshuis in The Hague. “These wall tapestries make a place really human,” says Jongstra. “They do something to the soul, which is what you need if you have really political issues being discussed in these places. In these places of negotiation, it is important to have

a setting of relaxation, of tactility. I think it was a really genius idea from the architect at the time Jo Coenen, who really made this happen. For me, on a political level, that was a very important commission.”

Talking pieces Jongstra’s résumé is so varied, we wondered what she will turn her hand to next; no doubt something very creative. “I express myself in tactility and in aesthetics,” she asserts. “Whichever way I am telling a story, whether through wall tapestries or gardens, you could say it is only the form which is different.” However, one clear distinction Jongstra does make in her career path is between the worlds of fashion and her recent foray into horticulture: the creative started out her career in the fashion industry and has collaborated with numerous designers such as John Galliano and Christian Lacroix. “Working on a garden is the complete opposite to working in fashion.

Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Claudy Jongstra

See Claudy Jongstra’s textile mural installation Aarde at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) until Spring 2017

When I work on the land, everything is given time to ripen. In the fashion industry things are very quick - that is one of the reasons I stopped working there.” Despite a dislike for the fast-paced nature of ready-to-wear, Jongstra still has a great deal of time for the fashion world as a whole. “I loved working on haute couture, where you have more time to develop. There, you are making something that is one of a kind, more like talking pieces than ‘fashionable’ pieces. That is what our garden is too - a talking piece.”

Plans for the future A multi-talented craftswomen, Jongstra is also busy with a new venture into highend ceramics which should be really taking off in the next couple of years. “The quality of the clay from the north of the Netherlands where my studio is based has a really unique quality,” she explains.

“My inspiration certainly and evidently comes from my direct environment. The chemistry happens when you are out in nature, when there are no distractions, when you are related to human scale, you know? That is really beautiful.” Jongstra is not ready to hang up her gardener’s gloves yet either. Those who missed out on a visit to Honeysuckle Blue(s) at the Chelsea Flower Show will be pleased to hear the garden was just a first version of the garden Jongstra is set to showcase as part of the Farm of the World project. Going on display in two years’ time at the Blokhuispoort cultural centre in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, Farm of the World is an initiative of the AkzoNobel Art Foundation and marks Leeuwarden becoming the European Capital of Culture 2018. It is a project Jongstra is thrilled to be a part of. “We are hoping to inspire people to a different

way of thinking,” she explains. Given the artist’s impressive track record, we have no doubt she will. DO NOT MISS An exhibition dedicated to Jongstra’s art is currently showing at the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. Entitled Claudy Jongstra: Ancient Light and running until January 2017, it offers an insight into her creative process and the new direction her work is taking, as well as presenting highlights of the creative’s career. And if you happen to be in the States, be sure to visit the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). Jongstra’s impressive textile mural installation Aarde can be seen there until Spring 2017.

More examples of work by Claudy Jongstra

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 71

MAIN IMAGE: A red-hot heart getting white (A fragment from Cheval the Mailman’s collections of Hearts), Jean Lancri Acrylic, pastel wax, ink, tarlatan on canvas pasted on cardboard 2012. 34,5 x 37 cm ABOVE: Daniel Fauville in front of one of his sculpturefountains. FROM BOTTOM RIGHT: The beautiful Ferme du Pont de Bois. A view over the fields from the gallery. Daniel Fauville exhibition.


A centre of arts, culture and nature TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS | PHOTOS: GALERIE EPHÉMÈRE

Galerie Ephémère is a contemporary art, culture and nature centre in the heart of the Belgian countryside. This exceptional arts centre is located on the beautiful Ferme du Pont de Bois (The Farm of the Wooden Bridge) in Thuin, southern Belgium. The stunning surroundings boast a renovated farmhouse set in six hectares of rolling fields and countryside, as well as a picturesque rental cottage which can be hired out for overnight stays. 72 | Issue 31 | July 2016

The Ferme du Pont de Bois was transformed into a unique centre of arts, culture and nature in 2007 when owner and director Claude Thoirain-Rafhay inherited the farm from her parents. She continues to use the farm land, and has renovated the farmhouse to convert it into a remarkable arts hub.

A little piece of heaven in Wallonia For those seeking a cultural oasis, look no further than the Ferme du Pont de

Bois. The centre frequently hosts live music events, as well as conferences and lively discussions. The space allows for a multitude of possibilities and can be rented out for selected occasions, such as company events or meetings. The farm can easily accommodate 60 people for seated events, and up to 100 for receptions. In good weather, the six hectares of space can be used for outdoor events such as concerts. Painting courses by artists are also on offer to visitors.

Discover Benelux | Belgium | Gallery of the Month

The farm’s charming on-site cottage, Le Fenil, can be rented out for stays. It accommodates up to five people, and offers superb views of nature all around. Inside, there is an artist’s studio and a comfortable open-plan living space decorated with works of art. Le Fenil is ideally suited to those wishing to find a peaceful place in a green setting.

An artist of multiple facets Currently on show is a must-see exhibit by esteemed artist and Université Paris 1 – Panthéon Sorbonne Professor Emeritus Jean Lancri. Lancri is a linguist, semiotician and visual artist and, since the 1970s, he has developed works focusing on the multiple meanings of verbal language, and their relationships to image. The exhibit, Ceux Qui M’aiment Prendront L’Velo, can be viewed until 25 July. Since 1992, Lancri has dedicated his time to a series of works entitled Le Cycle de Cheval Sur Son Vélo. These include paintings, drawings, performances and lectures inspired by Ferdinand Cheval. Cheval was a French postman who spent 33 years building Le Palais Idéal, an extraordinary example of naïve art architecture, in Hauterives. Through his work, Lancri examines the connections between art and love, and in particular Cheval’s fantasies. In this exhibition, Lancri has created an imaginary encyclopaedia, a series of paintings,

drawings, and lectures. For the past 20 years he has tried to illustrate the memory of Ferdinand Cheval. Lancri decided to use his works, including images of bicycles, animal masks and interposed horses, in a series when he realised that VELO (the French word for bicycle) is an anagram of the English word LOVE. Hence Lancri aims to raise questions through his work, relating to the play on words and the interconnections between words. Lancri has had over 50 exhibitions worldwide, as far as Latin America, North Africa, Turkey and the US.

Up-and-coming exhibits Wild, an exciting new exhibition produced and designed by rising Belgian talent Quévin Mellaerts, will be on from 6 August to 9 September 2016. Wild examines the organisation, representation and behaviour of living beings, including nature, animals, plants and humans. Géographies Humaines is another key exhibit in September and October. Internationally known photographer Baudoin Lotin will display eye-opening images from his extensive travels across Africa, central Asia and South America, amongst others. “His photos are at the forefront of images of human adventure,” enthuses Thoirain-Rafhay. Around the gallery’s public spaces, visitors can discover the permanent

art collections. These include works by Thoirain-Rafhay’s husband Daniel Fauville, an artist and sculptor. There are other sculptures by renowned Senegalese artist Serigne Mbaye Camara, who works in painting, wood, cloth and iron, and Seni Camara, also Senegalese, who creates fired-clay sculptures representing personal symbols. Additionally, there are works by French sculptor Jephan Villiers, and Belgian sculptor, draftsman and engraver Elise Delbrassinne.

Humble beginnings Thoirain-Rafhay has a long history of working in the arts, having opened her first gallery in 1986. “My first gallery was in my own house! We opened our doors and had works of art all around,” she explains. At the time she lived in nearby Montigny-le-Tilleul, where she organised the twinning of the town with the Dakar International Biennale of Arts in Senegal. She has since curated over 150 national and international exhibitions, attracting thousands of visitors.

Contact: +32 (0) 71 51 00 60 +32 477 55 8929 Ferme du Pont de Bois: 5 Rue Diale Colas – 6530, Thuin, Belgium.

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 73

Discover Benelux | Tourism | Top activities in Luxembourg

Photo: © LFT

An adventure playground At the very heart of Europe is a country with over 500 kilometres of trails awaiting mountain bikers regardless of their ambitions and skills. Where is this sumptuous land of adventure, you ask? In one of the most surprisingly abundant destinations of all; say hello to the Grand Duchy! TEXT: LUXEMBOURG FOR TOURISM

Looking for that next special bike ride, an abundance of new sensations or an unexpected discovery? Then head off to what could easily be described as one giant mountain bike playground: Luxembourg. One third of Luxembourg is covered by forests and the country’s 33 mountain bike tracks – the majority of them dirt roads – will take you through them, making sure that you do not miss some spectacular views of valleys, lakes, rocky formations and historical landmarks along the way. Because of the varied and lavish landscape, there are climbs, descents and challenges to suit every type of rider throughout the seasons. 74 | Issue 31 | July 2016

Photo: © nmbiking ONT

Discover Benelux | Tourism | Top activities in Luxembourg


In the same way, the local bed+bike (www. solutions offer hospitable lodgings to cater to every need and desire, from luxury hotels, family guesthouses and youth hostels to campsites and private rentals – all of which provide a specially designed service for riders, including secure bike storage, a well-balanced breakfast, tools for minor repairs and a dryer for wet clothes. If you need to rent a bike, no problem: bike rentals are readily available all over, and it is also possible to rent at one place and return it at another. You might also be tempted to try one of the thematic or guided bike tours on offer. There is much more to discover in Luxembourg than you could imagine. Whether you choose to roam the Ardennes and their nature parks, the Moselle area known for its vineyards, the Mullerthal region (also called Little Switzerland), the picturesque capital or the wonderfully stimulating land of the Red Rocks in the south, you are bound to be surprised and enthralled. Luxembourgers have a wellknown love for biking and nature. The trails are well kept and meticulously signalled, and the surroundings flawlessly preserved.

The country not only offers a myriad of biking possibilities and memorable rides, but also an array of humbling landscapes that will take your breath away.

Photo: © Carlo Rinnen ORTM LFT

In Luxembourg, that next great adventure awaits at your tyres. You just need to get riding.

Photo: © Ronald Jacobs LFT

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 75

Discover Benelux | Tourism | Top activities in Luxembourg

Photo: © ORT Sud

Photo: © Pulsa Pictures ORT Sud

Photo: © ORT Sud


Small and beautifully formed TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is one of Europe’s smallest countries, but this micro-gem has much to offer tourists. Its key attractions include its stunning southern red rock landscapes, hundreds of kilometres of beautiful hiking and mountain trails, and many fairy tale-like medieval castles. One of the best things is that nothing is more than an hour’s drive away.

Red Rock Region: experience diversity Located in southern Luxembourg, the Red Rock region takes its name from the bright red iron ore which was once the root of Luxembourg’s steel industry success. Now the former mining zone is a key tourist area, thanks to mountain bike and hiking trails, and a bustling arts scene. The cities in this region are resolutely modern and dynamic: cultural offerings include street theatre, rock festivals and regular concerts. RedRock Mountain Bike Trails opened earlier this year with four major routes 76 | Issue 31 | July 2016

(Haard-Black, Haard-Red, Ellergronn and Lalléngerbierg) of different difficulties, totalling 100 kilometres. Each route is between 25 and 30 kilometres long and can be combined with any of the others. These unusual trails pass through former open cast mining areas, which are now protected nature reserves.

challenge, cycling 39 kilometres on the first day and 75 kilometres on the second. For visitors who merely want a glimpse of nature, the mountain bike trails are all just five minutes away from the cafés and galleries of Esch-sur-Alzette, Dudelange, Tétange and Rumelange. Let us not forget the cultural offerings around the area’s industrial heritage. One of the highlights is the National Mining Museum, where you can visit the underground galleries and tunnels by taking a mining train. Or you can take a ride on a historical steam train, Train 1900, at the Industry and Railway Park in Fond-de-Gras.

“You can still see traces of the old mine pits, including remains of old carts, abandoned tunnels and railways once used to transport iron ore,” explains Lynn Reiter, head of the Office Régional du Tourisme Sud. “The landscapes are exceptional: in the past, people worked here to extract iron ore, but then the last mines were closed in 1981.”

Something for the whole family

On 8 and 9 October, the region hosts the Red Rock Challenge. It is an entire event dedicated to mountain biking and trail running, where participants choose different trails to bike or run across. This year, the Saturday is all about mountain biking. The brave or fit can undertake a two-day

For children and families, Bettembourg’s Parc Merveilleux is a must-see. There are plenty of things to be explored in Luxembourg’s only amusement park: a fairy tale forest, huge children’s playgrounds, and exotic animals from five different continents in the Amazonia-tropical enclosure or in the Madagascar greenhouse.

Discover Benelux | Tourism | Top activities in Luxembourg

Outdoor adventure and climbing enthusiasts can visit the tree top adventure park Parc Le’h Adventure. You get a squirrel’s eye view of the trees and find out what life is like for the birds flying above your head. There are rope bridges strung high above the ground, Tarzan swings and a Tyrolean traverse to be crossed using your arms. Check the website for opening times.

The Ardennes: a hiker’s dream The Ardennes region is located in the northern part of the Grand Duchy. It is renowned for its stunning landscapes, from picturesque highlands to deep valleys, encompassing nature reserves and preserved medieval remains. Countless hiking and cycling routes allow visitors to pass through lush forests and scenic villages. The Ardennes region is host to two large nature reserves: the Nature Park Our and the Nature Park of the Upper-Sûre. As well as protecting natural resources, these parks are renowned for their delicious local products. These include teas, oils, cereals and herbs, as well as beers from the microbreweries Ourdaller and Den Heischter. For those keen on active holidays and sports, the Ardennes is a key region to visit. You can hike along the rivers Sûre, Wark or Alzette, passing incredibly varied rock formations and carved landscapes. The Ardennes region offers multiple-marked hiking trails to wander along, such as those of the Naturwanderpark Delux and the Escapardenne. Laurie Buchet, tourism coordinator for the region, recommends visiting “because there is something for everyone. There are plenty of high-end hotels, but equally there are beautiful camping spots and hostels for backpackers”.

Step back into medieval times The castles of Vianden, Bourscheid and Esch-sur-Sûre are a testament to the country’s medieval past. Vianden castle is one of the largest, most beautiful residences of the European Romanesque

Photo: ©

and Gothic periods. In the second week of October, Vianden hosts a traditional nut market where regional producers sell local delicacies, including sausages, bread, and wines made from nuts.

Photo: © SI Vianden

The triangular-shaped Bourscheid Castle is another key landmark. This imposing medieval castle is surrounded by a circular wall with 11 watchtowers. It was built on a site with structures dating back to Roman times, and it grandly stands above the River Sûre. The nearby castle of Esch-sur-Sûre is believed to have been built around 927. Its deterioration began in the 16th century, and it was finally dismantled by Louis XV. Today its impressive Romanesque tower remains. For those who want to explore the region’s industrial heritage, Buchet recommends visiting the unique Slate Museum in Haut-Martelange. Visitors learn about the properties and qualities of this natural stone, and how to use it. It is also worth stopping by the National Museum of Military History in Diekirch for its military vehicles and weapons exhibit, photo archive, and reconstruction of the 1944-45 Battle of the Ardennes. Your stay in the Ardennes would not be complete without a visit to the photo exhibition The Family of Man at Clervaux Castle. The exhibition was curated by Edward Steichen, and in 2003 it was recognised by the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme.

Photo: © Caroline Graas

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 77

Discover Benelux | Tourism | Top activities in Luxembourg

Photo: © ORT Région Moselle

Hiking and wine tourism in the Moselle region The Moselle region south of Luxembourg City is revered for its vineyards and enchanting landscapes. It can be explored on foot, by bike or by boat. A dense network of fantastic first-rate certified trails, the Saar-Hunsrück Dream Loops, has been developed for hikes in the region between Moselle, Rhine, Saar and Nahe. Three certified top-level routes therefore await visitors in the Luxemburgish Moselle region. Hikers pass panoramic watch points with endless views across the valley. Each of the three loops passes through distinctive landscapes, with many scenic spots to stop at. Alternatively, you can take a break in any of the hiker-friendly restaurants available. The trails and paths are well signposted in all directions thanks to the strict guidelines of the German Hiking Institute. Visits can also be combined with trips to one of the many regional wine cellars to enjoy some excellent Luxembourgish wines and Crémants.

Photo: © ORT Région Moselle

Manternacher Fiels: 9.6 km / 3 hours Difficulty 2 Schengen without borders: 7.7 km / 3 hours Difficulty 2 Wine and Nature Path Palmberg, Ahn: 9 km / 3.5 hours | Difficulty 2

78 | Issue 31 | July 2016

Photo: © ORT Région Moselle

Discover Benelux | Tourism | Top activities in Luxembourg


Luxembourg’s ‘Little Switzerland’ TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS | PHOTOS: ORT MPSL – TH. BICHLER.DE

Spectacular rock formations, biking, hiking, culture and beautiful scenery – it is all available in the north-eastern Luxembourg region of Mullerthal. Revered as Luxembourg’s ‘Little Switzerland’, tourists have been coming to this region for 200 years. The Mullerthal Trail is a hiking route passing through 112 kilometres of panoramic views of valleys, brooks, caves and forests. It has three larger loops and four smaller routes called ExtraTours passing through scenic towns and villages. The Mullerthal Trail routes have different characteristics: route one has landscapes of rocks, woods and meadows, while route two passes through the heart of Luxembourg’s ‘Little Switzerland’ to spectacular rock formations. Route three passes by valleys and castles. The whole hiking net in the region was restructured ten years ago and thus the Mullerthal Trail was created. In 2014, it was awarded the label ‘Leading Quality Trails – Best

of Europe’ by the European Ramblers Association. Marianne Origer, press and communication officer of the Regional Tourist Office of the Mullerthal Region, Luxembourg’s ‘Little Switzerland’, explains: “The Mullerthal sandstone rock formations were created millions of years ago,” noting that the stunning landscapes merit a visit. Origer also highlights the travertine spring and the picturesque Schiessentumpel waterfall as must-see sites. Echternach, considered the region’s capital, is the oldest city in Luxembourg. It is located on the banks of the Sûre river and offers sports such as canoeing and angling. The Benedictine abbey of Echternach became one of northern Europe’s most influential abbeys during the 11th century, and the gospel book Codex Aureus of Echternach was written here in gold ink by Benedictine monks.

Visitors can wander along the city’s narrow streets, view the basilica crypt and take in the mark left by previous civilisations. Several notable museums include the Museum of Prehistory and the Abbey Museum. Annually on Whit Tuesday, tens of thousands of visitors and pilgrims descend on Echternach to witness its traditional Dancing Procession, the last remaining event of its kind. The procession honours Roman Catholic missionary Saint Willibrord. Nearby is the medieval Beaufort Castle, which includes key features like the water tower and machicolation, a floor opening through which stones or boiling water or oil could be dropped on attackers. The majestic Larochette Castle is another 11th century construction to see. A variety of tours are available to experience the castles, hiking paths and nearby towns. Issue 31 | July 2016 | 79

Discover Benelux | Tourism | Top activities in Luxembourg


Welcoming over 160,000 people per year, Vianden Castle is by far Luxembourg’s most-visited historical monument and is also host to a range of family-friendly events and temporary exhibitions that any leading museum would be proud of. Its annual Medieval Festival attracts around 30,000 visitors. Constructed between the 11th and 14th century, Vianden Castle beautifully illustrates the transition between Romanesque and Gothic architecture and is a must-visit for history buffs. “The castle also displays a Byzantine influence which is particularly unusual for the region and highlights the castle’s European standing,” explains Paul Hoffmann, one of two vice presidents of the not-for-profit Friends of Vianden Castle organisation. The castle was in ruins until 1977, when the State of Luxembourg bought it from the Grand Ducal family. Restoring the castle to its former glory began back then and is still in progress. 80 | Issue 31 | July 2016

“After World War II’s Battle of the Bulge, Charlotte the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg came to visit the town of Vianden and the castle,” explains Hoffmann. “At that time, the castle had been in ruins for decades and was still owned by the Grand Ducal family. The mayor was so proud to welcome the noble visitors and greeted them with the words ‘The town is in ruins, but the castle ruins are safe!’” Nowadays, the castle makes for a delightful day out, with most visitors spending a couple of hours looking around the castle and enjoying lunch in the new tavern. It is also possible to have a picnic on the terrace or in the wine cellar. Art lovers will be glad to know the castle regularly hosts big-name exhibitions, and from 1 October to 31 December 2016 will display etchings by the famous 17thcentury Dutch artist Rembrandt. “While considered one of the most important figures in Baroque painting, Rembrandt also made etchings and drawings, and

is one of art history’s most significant etchers,” says Hoffmann. Children have not been forgotten either: organised guides can be arranged via the Milites Viennenses association, while in October there is a Halloween party for kids. Without a doubt the biggest attraction for families is the Medieval Festival, which this year will be held between 30 July to 7 August. Now in its 15th edition, the event returns the castle to its medieval roots with fire eaters, jugglers, minstrels, music and acrobatics, not to mention the artisan food and crafts to be discovered in the market. An unmissable event! For further information visit

Restaurant Amelys at Hotel Le Royal, Luxembourg

A room at the Place d’Armes hotel, Luxembourg

Sporthôtel Leweck in Lipperscheid

Horesca in Luxembourg - a varied and growing sector The Horesca (hotel, restaurant and catering) sector in Luxembourg comprises more than 2,600 companies including 1,250 restaurants, 1,100 bars and over 250 hotels. TEXT AND PHOTOS: LA FÉDÉRATION HORESCA, TRANSLATION: ANNA VILLELEGER

These companies employ 20,000 people (as employees or with a self-employed status) and generate a turnover of almost two billion euros - accounting for 6.8 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (direct and indirect).

Tourist labels for accommodation The range of accommodation on offer in Luxembourg ranges from small family establishments to luxurious hotels housed in castles. For work trips, Luxembourg city is full of remarkable business hotels. In order to improve the quality of tourism services, the Ministry of Economy has created various tourist quality labels. EcoLabel-certified facilities are recognised for being particularly environmentally friendly. They take multiple measures to save energy, water and waste, resulting in a reduction of environmental pollution. EureWelcome is a label based on the Design pour Tous (Design for All) concept. This label is attributed to infrastructure, services and tourist events which make special efforts to meet the needs of all tourists, including those with disabilities. In 2011, the bed + bike label was introduced by the Luxembourg government. 82 | Issue 31 | July 2016

From luxury hotels to family guesthouses and campsites, youth hostels and private residences, bed + bike certifies 86 establishments where cyclists are welcome. These labels are listed on the National Tourism Office website (, as are the contact details for accommodations. Horesca recommends booking directly via a hotel when planning your stay in Luxembourg.

International cuisine In proportion to the number of inhabitants, Luxembourg is the country that offers the greatest number of starred restaurants. The capital in particular offers extremely diverse gastronomy, whether you are looking for haute cuisine, exotic specialties or a simple meal. In the surrounding countryside you can find guesthouses offering delicious rustic and traditional cuisine. Meanwhile, the Moselle Valley is a must-visit area for gourmets, with its regional specialties and delicious wines. Many traditional dishes, for years considered too heavy, have been enjoying a revival. Chefs at some of the country’s best restaurants are updating their grandmother’s recipes, making them lighter to suit today’s tastes. More and more, you can find traditional Luxembourg dishes such as Judd

mat Gaardebounen (pork and beans) and Träipen (blood sausage) with apple sauce. Thanks to its international population, the Grand Duchy also offers French gastronomy, Italian pasta and pizza, Portuguese cod and many Asian specialties.

Quality bistros On initiative of the Ministry of Economy, Horesca created WËLLKOMM, a quality label for drinking establishments. The aim is to upgrade this sector’s image and improve the quality of establishments. WËLLKOMM (meaning ‘welcome’ in Luxembourgish) is a charter which interested pubs can join. The signatories undertake to respect the quality criteria in the areas of service, food hygiene and sustainable development. 40 drinking establishments have already joined WËLLKOMM. The website ( presents those who have signed up. On the website you can search establishments based on geographical location or particular amenities ranging from whether there is a terrace to parking or disabled access. For more information on Luxembourg’s Horesca federation visit

Discover Benelux | Tourism | Best sleeping experiences in Belgium & Luxembourg

Luxury spheres: the latest in glamping TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS | PHOTOS: SQUISH COMPANY

It is hard to imagine hating the great outdoors. Except if it means camping in the rain in mud-soaked fields. Yet the innovative transparent spheres from Eyeshotels or Sphair offer a unique luxury outdoor experience in eye-popping destinations worldwide. Belgian Laurent Kefer conceived the concept nine years ago following a trip to Ethiopia. “When you stay in a tent, you don’t see anything,” he explains. He created Sphair so guests can enjoy full views, day and night. “Inside you don’t hear the rain and you have the comfort of a hotel – except with stunning panoramas. Guests in Canada often see bears!” Kefer personally goes to each location to scope out its suitability. Eyeshotels is the first world-wide network of inflatable rooms available to buy and rent. All Sphairs have toilets, bathrooms and heating. Thankfully, Kefer confirms, the entire sphere is

not transparent, with an opaque bathroom area. The Sphairs are all in unique areas guaranteeing full privacy until the morning; if you are disturbed at any point, a full refund is offered. There are 250 Sphairs across the world, in beautiful locations across North and South America, Europe, North Africa and the Caribbean. Sphair is coming soon to Jordan, Qatar and New Zealand. There are specially designed spheres with access ramps, widened

doors, and the option of having a nurse nearby for those with reduced mobility. Each Sphair is made in Europe from a flexible material, and can be installed and ready to use in an hour. The websites have full rental and purchase prices. Watch the stars or sunrise from the comfort of your bed.


Unique in its kind, the Trail-Inn Natur & Sporthotel offers its guests attractive packages that allow them to explore the ‘Little Switzerland’ of Luxembourg at a low cost and with all the comfort needed for a pleasant stay. Located in the heart of the Mullerthal region and surrounded by breathtaking scenery, the hotel was completely renovated in 2015 to provide its guests with the most up-to-date amenities possi-ble. Its 27 cosy, low-cost rooms are available all year round and welcome families,

friends, couples and larger groups. Starting at 35 euros with breakfast included, the price has consistently attracted nature lovers as well as sports enthusiasts, who enjoy the beautiful setting as well as the affordability of their stay. The Trail-Inn also has its own restaurant, offering fresh local produce and traditional regional dishes to be enjoyed under the sun on the superb terrace. The hotel offers storage facilities to guests who bring their own equipment (such as mountain bikes) and a nature guide specialised in the region is available if needed. Thanks

to the multitude of paths in the surrounding area, there are plenty of options for hikers of all proficiencies. On top of this, visitors will find a range of enticing daytime activities including climbing, cycling, water sports and cultural walks (such as a visit to the Aqua Tower of Berdorf). Ideally located and accessible to everyone, from nature lovers to sports enthusiasts and weekend explorers, the Trail Inn has something for all to ensure a truly memorable stay.

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 83


Located at the heart of the Belgian Ardennes right outside of Marcourt, Hampshire Hotel - La Grande Cure welcomes its guests all year round to enjoy and access beautiful nature, superb gastronomy and relaxing activities. Married since 1997, Hélène and Tim Christensen have been managing the hotel since 1999. Of Dutch and Danish origins, the couple has travelled to many different

places in the world and eventually settled for the Ardennes where they felt truly at home. Eager to provide their guests with the best possible experience, this power team pour their hearts into making sure your every need is satisfied during your time at La Grande Cure. While Tim is a remarkable chef who will delight you with local gastronomy and mouth-watering signature dishes, Hélène will make sure that your stay is pleasant at all times - a perfect match for a perfect holiday retreat!

An authentic setting The first thing guests will discover upon arrival is the impressive entrance made of birch trees, a beautiful garden and a main building made of natural stone and wood. The interior is warm and cosy, with modern touches here and there for maximum comfort. The general atmosphere at La Grande Cure is personal, friendly and with great attention to detail. Priding 84 | Issue 31 | July 2016

themselves in making their guests feel at home away from home, Hélène, Tim and their staff will surprise you with their dedication and service. During the summer, guests are encouraged to make the most out of the pleasant terrace, where they will be able to enjoy a unique view of the Saint-Thibaut chapel. The bar provides a pleasant atmosphere for those who want to enjoy a drink with their partner, friends or business associates and unwind after a long day of exploring the surroundings. During the winter, the cosy living room features an open fireplace to read and relax in the comfortable sofas. The 24 rooms are equipped for maximum comfort in a modern setting. The rooms from the hotel side have pleasant bathrooms, four rooms have their own balcony and four are equipped with their

Discover Benelux | Tourism | Best sleeping experiences in Belgium & Luxembourg

own bathtub. From the auberge side, the rooms were fully renovated in 2010 and therefore provide everything that guests might need. All rooms come with Wi-Fi, a flat-screen television and a phone.

A perfect place for business meetings Since 2012, La Grande Cure offers the possibility to hire a meeting room hosting up to 20 people for business meetings, team building and networking - all of which can be complemented with access to the surrounding golf courses to relax and take in some fresh air. In case of events for more than 20 people, the meeting room can be complemented with the lounge/ wine bar area, allowing space for more participants. Wireless internet is accessible from everywhere in the hotel, including the garden for those who like to work outdoors. All the equipment in the meeting room including flipcharts are provided free of charge and further arrangements can be made with Hélène if necessary, who will also inform you about lunch and dinner possibilities for your event.

Eating at La Grande Cure All menus are composed daily by head chef Tim Christensen who has an eye (and a palate) for cuisine at its finest. Let him surprise you with excellent dishes made with fresh local produce and selected carefully according to the season. With no set à la carte, every day is a new culinary experience to please both the new visitors and the guests coming back on a regular basis.

Wellness The small pavilion located at the end of the garden behind the hotel is equipped with a sauna, Jacuzzi and a magnificent terrace with comfortable sun loungers to be enjoyed all year round. From the sauna you can directly access the outdoor Jacuzzi, with a remarkable view on the valley. From 10am to 8pm, guests can enjoy a range of services: massages, manicures, pedicures and facial treatments. Be sure to book in advance at the reception as the hotel works with an external specialist.

Golf and outdoor sports With the incredible nature surrounding the hotel, guests have access to a wide

range of activities, from mountain biking to kayaking, fishing, hiking, beer tasting and, of course, playing golf. In the direct vicinity of La Grande Cure, golf lovers can choose from the Durbuy Golf to the Five Nations, Sart Tilman, the golf club from the Chateau de Royal d’Ardenne, Rougemont and Spa. Feel free to ask for

more information at reception to choose the one that suits your level best. For an unforgettable stay in a pleasant setting for leisure or business, wait no more and find out about bookings on the hotel’s website. Issue 31 | July 2016 | 85

Discover Benelux | Tourism | Best sleeping experiences in Belgium & Luxembourg


Located in the heart of Luxembourg’s capital, what differentiates Le Royal Luxembourg from other hotels is its tailor-made service. Philippe Scheffer, the hotel’s manager for the past 27 years, says: “If a guest asks for something, we will provide it. Our service differentiates us – we have almost one member of staff per room, and we’re able to accommodate the smallest or largest requests.” So whether that means finding a delicacy from the guest’s home country or providing other home comforts, Le Royal Luxembourg strives to make guests happy. This full-service hotel is conveniently located in the heart of the capital and hosts everyone from business and leisure travellers, to artists and politicians. Although its name conjures up images of an 18th century palace, Le Royal Luxembourg is in fact a modern, sleek hotel with elegant furnishings, high-quality dining options, business conference services and spa and fitness facilities. Its 209 refurbished rooms offer the highest level of comfort, with marble bathrooms stocked with luxurious Hermès toiletries, 86 | Issue 31 | July 2016

air conditioning and workspaces for business travellers. All rooms have highspeed wireless internet, a smart TV, mineral water and complimentary health club access. For health-conscious guests or for a moment of calm, the Club Santé boasts a heated indoor pool, sauna, hammam, solarium and a fitness room. Spa treatments and a beauty salon for men and women are available. It offers indulgent massages, hydrating facials and anti-aging and purifying treatments. The hotel has two top restaurants, La Pomme Cannelle and Amélys, as well as a magnificent live music bar. La Pomme Cannelle serves high-end innovative French cuisine and the décor “takes you out of Luxembourg and transports you around the world”, according to Mr. Scheffer. The new Amélys is open all day and night: the chef cooks with fresh, seasonal products and the menu has a wide choice of options. Piano Bar has live music every night, with different singers and pianists daily. Its barman is a mixology specialist, creating superb cocktails for guests. It also has a ventilated cigar lounge for smokers.

Le Royal Luxembourg has full conferencing facilities for up to 1,000 people, with ten conference rooms. It also hosts cocktail parties and other events and offers a catering service for events taking place outside of the hotel such as weddings. Underground parking is available at the hotel.

Robeco SummerNights | Page 90 Photo: © Ronald Knapp

Amsterdam Gay Pride | Page 93 Photo: Jeroen Ploeger


Unmissable dates for your diary Whatever you are passionate about, there is nothing better than being united with a group of people who share your passion. From live music to vegetarianism, find the perfect gathering for you with our guide to this year’s unmissable events in the Netherlands. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER

Summertime and live music go hand in hand, and the music festival scene is booming across the country. There is something to suit all musical preferences: from the Jellyfish festival, which will take place on the northern island of Schiermonnikoog this August, to the far south’s ParkCity Live musical extravaganza in July. And let us not forget Amsterdam’s prestigious two-month-long Robeco SummerNights festival. Meanwhile, visitors to the capital can expect music, dancing and plenty more during the two-week Amsterdam Gay Pride 2016, which kicks off 23 July. Design aficionados will be flocking to showUP, the leading Dutch Home & Gift trade show this August and later on this year the Veggie Fair and VegFestNL events offer the perfect opportunity to explore the vegetarian lifestyle in a fun and friendly environment.

Veggie Fair | Page 92

showUP | Page 94

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 87

Discover Benelux | Netherlands | Top festivals, exhibitions & events 2016


Top open-air performances in the sunny south TEXT: KOEN GUIKING | PHOTOS: JOHN KLIJNEN

Once again the organisers of summer festival ParkCity Live have managed to sign up the most popular musicians in the Netherlands, as well as a couple of big international names. This annual two-day event is the ultimate proof that the far south of the Netherlands is a top region for live music. “The city of Heerlen has a long history with live music and it has a beautiful park. Put together, this is a recipe for a fantastic annual festival,” says Hans Paul Nieskens, a local citizen who has been involved in organising ParkCity Live since the second edition in 2012. As a festival director, he does not just book any band 88 | Issue 31 | July 2016

for this mega event; Nieskens only gets the artists that are extremely popular. This year’s line up features Kensington, Typhoon, BLØF, UB40, Dotan, 77 Bombay Street, La Gran Pegatina; to mention a few names. “For Kensington, it is already the third year in a row that they are performing at ParkCity Live. They are simply one of the best and most popular bands around. People want to see them and Kensington likes to play here, so it is a no brainer: we had to get them.” It is only the sixth edition of ParkCity Live, but this festival has rapidly become renowned across the Netherlands: tickets for this year’s edition were sold

out within ten days. “Initially almost the entire audience came from the south of Limburg, but nowadays we get people from all over the country,” says Nieskens.

Only big names on the main stage ParkCity Live offers something for all ages. “We get lots of families at the festival. The parents come to see the artists on the main stage, while their children tend to be more interested in the two dance stages. The culture stage offers entertainment for a very wide range of ages. For instance, we have an act by a young lady who performs with snakes, there is a singing transvestite and we have a fantastic jazz collective.”

Discover Benelux | Netherlands | Top festivals, exhibitions & events 2016

The crowd will be able to sing along with almost every song performed on the main stage during these two days in July, as all the artists on stage have extensive repertoires of hit songs to their names. But they can also expect something completely new. “For the first time in history, the three popular rappers Ronnie Flex, Lil’ Kleine and Mr. Polska will be performing live together. That is going to be really exciting,” says the enthusiastic festival director. Their performance on Saturday will be followed by shows with rapper/singer Typhoon, rock band Racoon, the funky, multi-talented solo artist Jett Rebel and, to conclude, BLØF, a band that has been producing hit after hit since the 1990s.

Two dance stages for the younger audience Meanwhile, the energetic DJs in the Dance Area and the Complex Stage will keep the party people moving. They will need to give it all they have as each DJ has a set time of just one hour. ParkCity Live has booked various up-and-coming DJs as well as a number of very, very big names in the house scene, like The Partysquad, Jacob van Hage, DSquared and the legendary DJ Darkraver and DJ Outsiders. The latter two, performing together, will be the dance festival’s closing act.

Food trucks and specials beers, wines and cocktails To supply visitors with enough beverages, a beer bar, wine bar and cocktail bar will be installed on the festival terrain. “All very good quality,” says Nieskens. “You will be able to get a really nice bottle of wine at the festival, as well as excellent international craft beers and many different cocktails.” A wide choice of food is also guaranteed, as 12 food trucks have been booked. “Visitors can eat anything from chips to Mexican tortillas and from grilled meat to vegetarian dishes.” A Relax Zone will be created under the trees, where visitors can eat their freshly prepared meal and enjoy an invigorating drink, before heading back into the crowd to sing along with the greats on stage. ‘Make some noise, ParkCity!’ Issue 31 | July 2016 | 89

Discover Benelux | Netherlands | Top festivals, exhibitions & events 2016

Helene Grimaud at the Deutsche Grammophon. Photo: © Mat Hennek DG

Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw was first opened in 1888. Photo: © Leander Lammertink

San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. Photo: © Govert Driessen

Something for everyone at Robeco SummerNights TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE

Few venues in the world can compete with Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw in terms of popularity and reputation. First opened in 1888, it has both heritage and harmonics in abundance as well as a knack for introducing new audiences to classical and jazz music by fusing these less contemporary genres with pop culture, film music, and even yoga. This initiative runs throughout July and August and goes by the name of the Robeco SummerNights. For two months every summer, Amsterdam resonates on the global music scene as The Concertgebouw invites top-flight musicians from the Netherlands and beyond to perform at its annual Robeco SummerNights. A concept fine-tuned over the past 27 summers, its initial launch with ten classical music concerts was met with broad acclaim: “Back in the 1980s, the trend was for all the theatres 90 | Issue 31 | July 2016

and concerts halls to close during summer,” explains Saskia Roggeveen from the esteemed venue. “Since the very first edition in 1988, our approach with Robeco has always been to create an accessible programme of high-quality performances at a fair price for a wider public.” From purely classical roots, more diversity crept onto the schedule, with jazz cementing its position in 2006 with the launch of the Jazz Club. Kicking off on 1 July with Kyteman and his orchestra’s jam session – a fusion of jazz, hip-hop, opera and minimal sounds – the Robeco SummerNights has a packed and eclectic calendar of more than 80 concerts curated by Anita Crowe. Divided into four accessible subcategories (Adventure, Dreams, Déjà Vu, and Romance), the programme entices visitors with everything from classical quartets to pulsating pop, the

Beach Boys to Bach, and Tchaikovsky to the Beatles, with performances by renowned orchestras, soloists and choirs. This two-month long event sees tradition gives way to wonderfully off-beat offerings such as Roggeveen’s cherrypicked highlight on 12 and 13 August when the regular seating plan in the main hall is scrapped in favour of a spectacular central podium, comfy picnic rugs, jazz club-style casual chairs and the space is repurposed for yoga and a more laissezfaire approach to classical music. With accessibility and enjoyment as its main tenets, this year’s spell of eclecticism at the Robeco SummerNights goes hand in hand with electrifying DJ sets, refreshing aperitifs and indulgent meals at the SummerNights pop-up restaurant.

Island vibes: share a unique musical experience TEXT: FRANK VAN LIESHOUT | PHOTOS: JELLYFISH

Taking place on the island of Schiermonnikoog this August, Jellyfish is concert, concept and community in one. Amid the island’s stunning natural surroundings, Basja Chanowski and her loyal band of performers treat their audiences to an intimate, soulful and inspiring musical experience. From its launch in 2013, Jellyfish has been a runaway success. According to founder Basja Chanowski it is developing into everything she had in mind when she first started her initiative. “My idea was to organise concerts with musicians of different ages and from different backgrounds playing a range of different styles together on stage,” she explains. The concerts can be booked for any event from private parties to corporate conferences, and people can pick and mix a variety of genres, including soul, Latin, country, pop, rock and even opera. “But all our concerts share one important feature, and that is creating a real connection between the musicians and the audience.

It is all about coming together through music, creating a positive vibe.”

Sister Sledge As a music agent, Basja knows her way around the Dutch and international music scenes. For her Jellyfish concerts, she can rely on a core of seasoned musicians, including Caro Emerald’s bassist Peter Bergman, Stevie Wonder’s percussionist Dwight Muskita and Chet Baker’s pianist Berend van den Berg. Around this core she invites a number of guest performers, including Dutch talents that Basja discovered before they became famous, like Cheyenne Toney and Voice of Holland winners Maan and Julia Zahra, as well as global stars such as Latin celebrity Rolf Sanchez and disco legends Sister Sledge.

Community Every six months, Basja and her musicians showcase the Jellyfish concept on the idyllic Dutch island of Schiermonnikoog. “This is where the concept was born,” she explains. “The idea originates from my

Basja Chanowski, founder of Jellyfish in Concert.

childhood, when my parents would throw music parties in our back garden. It is the magical atmosphere of these parties that I wanted to recreate with Jellyfish,” she explains. “And Schiermonnikoog is the ideal setting. It is a beautiful island and we are all like family here. A lot of local people are involved with the concerts. Personally, I am really looking forward to the next one, because we have a great line-up – it is bound to be a cracker.” Jellyfish’s next Schiermonnikoog concert is on 26 and 27 August. Tickets are available through You can also book Jellyfish for your private party, corporate conference or any other event on Issue 31 | July 2016 | 91


At a time when more and more people are making the decision to eat less meat, the Veggie Fair and VegFestNL events provide the perfect opportunity to discover more about this healthy lifestyle choice in a warm and friendly environment. There is far more to vegetarianism and veganism than simply not eating meat. “I want as many people as possible to know about this lifestyle choice,” explains Christine Burgemeester, whose companies Vegatafel and Vegenement organise Veggie Fair and VegFestNL. On 22 and 23 October, all will be welcome at Veggie Fair; a free event ideal for anyone interested in the vegetarian lifestyle whether they are vegetarian already, lactose intolerant or new to the lifestyle. It is held at a biological orchard on the Olmenhorst estate in Lisserbroek, near Amsterdam, during the apple harvesting period. As well as learning about vegetarianism at the fair, for a small fee 92 | Issue 31 | July 2016

visitors can pick their own delicious apples to take home. The event is perfect for families, with special apple-themed activities lined up for children. Informative, accessible and fun: there are numerous reasons to enjoy Veggie Fair, including music, lectures, workshops, cooking demonstrations and stalls. Vegetariërsbond (the Dutch Vegetarian Union) will also be there to provide information about vegetarianism. Another date for your diary is VegFestNL, on the evening of 3 December and all day on 4 December. Held at the Jaarbeurs conference centre in Utrecht, you can learn about sustainability and the use of nonanimal-related products. There will also be workshops on creating nutritious and tasty vegan dishes, expert lectures and stalls with vegan products. Entrance costs ten euros. The winners of the Dutch Vegan Awards will also be announced. Introduced by one of VegFestNL’s partners, Nederlandse Vereniging voor Veganisme (the Dutch

Vegan Society), awards are given to shops, brands, blogs and cities who promote the vegan lifestyle. Veggie Fair and VegFestNL are for anyone wanting to bring about changes for themselves, as well as helping the planet. The focus is on making changes to prevent environmental problems, rather than just looking for cures. Event partners include Happy Cow, VegaLife, Plenty Food, Sea First Nederland and Vegan Events which all promote different lifestyles. Burgemeester organises the events with a strong team who all live this lifestyle “from the heart”. The companies and charities she works with promote a nicer, easier way of living. “At both events there is such a happy, easygoing atmosphere. People always feel welcome and for me that is the greatest compliment,” she concludes.

Discover Benelux | Netherlands | Top festivals, exhibitions & events 2016

Photo: Jeroen Ploeger

Photo: Daan Stringer

Photo: Jeroen Ploeger

Every love counts at Amsterdam Gay Pride TEXT: KOEN GUIKING

Amsterdam is the official Gay Capital of Europe in 2016. Therefore, this year’s Amsterdam Gay Pride, world famous for its flamboyant canal parade, will be even more exuberant than previous years. For two full weeks the Dutch capital will be hosting Euro Pride 2016. When walking around Amsterdam, it is obvious that Euro Pride 2016 is about to take place. The posters are everywhere and there are 50 city buses driving around town with massive photos of Conchita Wurst. The winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 is the ambassador of Pride. The extravagant two-week event kicks off with Pink Saturday on 23 July. There will music, arts, sports, dancing and a Rainbow Market in Amsterdam’s famous Vondelpark. It is also possible to get married for a day. “This year we are celebrating that 15 years ago the world’s first same sex marriages took

place in Amsterdam,” says Lucien Spee, managing director of Amsterdam Gay Pride. He himself will marry his partner on this day. “We will do the kick off. Thereafter everyone can get married for a day. To your best friend, your mother, it doesn’t matter. We want to show that every love counts. There will be an enormous wedding cake, a carriage with horses for the newlyweds, everything you need for a wonderful day.” From the Vondelpark, a protest march will go to the Dam Square. “This is obviously done in a glorious, magnificent manner and it marks the fight for equal rights and for social acceptance of everyone, whoever you are, wherever you are,” says Spee. “As this is Amsterdam, we will not just march through the streets, there will also be a boat parade going through the canals.” He refers to the famous Canal Parade, a grand spectacle with fabulously decked out ships and staggeringly dolled up gays that will take place in the last

weekend of Euro Pride, on 6 August. “That is the weekend we are really going to paint the town red. There will be half a million visitors in Amsterdam to party and celebrate the freedom to be who you are.” Other events that are not to be missed during Euro Pride 2016 are the human rights concert on Dam Square on 24 July and the Open Air Cinema on Nieuwmarkt on 4 August.

Photo: Daan Stringer

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 93

Discover Benelux | Netherlands | Top festivals, exhibitions & events 2016

showUP: Setting home trends showUP, the leading Dutch home and gift trade show, is pulling out all the stops for its eighth edition this August. With 250 participating design brands from the Netherlands and a host of other countries, the eighth showUP trade show will be the largest edition in its three-year history. Over these three years, founders Daan van Trigt and Maya Kol have established their event as the leading trade show in the Netherlands for home accessories and gifts. “More and more buyers are finding their way to the Expo Haarlemmermeer venue,” says Daan. “Buyers from the Netherlands as well as abroad. After all, it is only a short drive from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.” From the start, showUP has distinguished itself with a fresh and innovative concept, replacing the old-fashioned trade show set-up with an open and more inspiring layout. “We like to call it trade-show 2.0,” Daan explains. “The creative displays really do justice to the products and the openness promotes easier networking.”


As well as famous names such as Dutch designers &Klevering and Scandinavian favourites House Doctor and Ferm Living, the August expo will also welcome exciting new talents. “These up-and-coming brands will no doubt set new trends in contemporary design, aesthetics and sustainability,” says Daan. “We are very excited to have them. “Each day we’ll also have four keynote speeches on new developments within the home and gift market,” he continues. “So if you want to stay on top of all the new trends, you won’t miss a beat at showUP.” Registration for showUP on 21 and 22 August is free. Go to

Photo: © Timo Sorber

20th edition

DNA : in search of essence

The Delft Chamber Music Festival has grown into a world class chamber music festival since it start in 1997. Violinist and artistic director Liza Ferschtman invites top of the bill classical musicians from all over the world to make music against the historic decor of Delft and its surroundings. In a festive, summery and intimate setting, they perform the most beautiful and unique programmes.

The Delft Chamber Music Festival is internationally renowned for the outstanding quality of the musicians, the enthusiasm of their performances and the unique approach of music – whilst remaining true to the classical music tradition.

Th 28 July ------Su 07 Aug 2016

Info and tickets at

R E S TA U R A N T O F T H E M O N T H , B E L G I U M


Whether you go for the stunning architecture, the lively atmosphere or the fine Belgian cuisine, Brasserie La Quincaillerie in Brussels’ trendy Le Chatelain district is sure to deliver on all fronts. Entering through La Quincaillerie’s unassuming front, you cannot help but be wowed. With three floors of beautiful wood panelling, gleaming copperware, wrought iron staircases and a huge, iconic station-style clock at the centre, the place is a stunning piece of Art Nouveau architecture. The original design from 1903 was for a hardware store (‘quincaillerie’ means ‘ironmongery’ in French) courtesy of the architectural firm of Victor Horta, one of Belgium’s most famous sons. During Brussels’ golden age, before the outbreak of World War I, Horta designed several private and public buildings in this part of the capital, which has remained a hotbed for avant-garde artists ever since, buzzing with an adventurous spirit of innovation.

Free range “It is this pioneering spirit which we try to emulate in our cooking,” says general

manager Filip Tijssens. “For instance, most of the food we serve is sourced from our own farm Le Devant in the Bresse region of France. There, we rear our certified Bresse chickens and guinea fowl, Bayeux pigs and Hampshire Down sheep.” As well as high-quality, free range meats, the farm also produces most of the organic herbs and fruits for the restaurant. “And we work with seasonal vegetables as much as we can,” Filip adds.

The 250-seat capacity restaurant attracts a ‘bon chic, bon genre’ crowd of locals, businessmen and visitors from abroad. “It is always busy here,” Filip smiles. “And we regularly see tourists coming back as well. They really value our professional and friendly service, and they appreciate the lively atmosphere and the fine cuisine. They know it is exceptional value for their money.”

To accompany all this delicious, fresh food, La Quincaillerie offers an extensive list of wines and beers. “We have around 150 different wines, with a growing selection of organic wines, and we brew our own beer, La Principale, exclusive to our restaurant.”

Bon chic, bon genre But most of all, La Quincaillerie is famous for its excellent range of oysters. “Every year in October, we organise our own oyster market at the restaurant, where customers can taste a variety of fresh, new season oysters at market prices,” Filip explains. “We even grow our own oysters off the coast of the Île d’Oléron.” Issue 31 | July 2016 | 95

Discover Benelux | Attraction & Hotel of the Month | The Netherlands AT T R A C T I O N O F T H E M O N T H , T H E N E T H E R L A N D S

Rides and slides to keep the whole family entertained A top holiday park that is not to be missed during a stay in the Benelux is Duinrell in Wassenaar, near The Hague. It has an amusement park with over 40 rides and is home to the famous Tiki Pool with its spectacular waterslides. This year a new top attraction was opened: Wild Wings. Wild Wings is a ride for real daredevils. Visitors get buckled up in an airplane seat and have full control over their own ‘stunt plane’, allowing them to determine when and how often they wish to do flips and rolls while hovering through the air at an altitude of up to 22 metres. Does this sound like fun? Then you might also like the Toboggan Run, which speeds down the dunes; or the Falcon Rollercoaster, Mad Mill or Water Spin. For those who like it less rough, there is also plenty to do at Duinrell. This family park caters for all ages. A day in the amusement park is not complete without a visit to the Tiki Pool. This is a tropical

water slide paradise with over a kilometre of indoor slides. In some of them, a speed of 60 kilometres per hour can be reached; others feature a free fall. You will not find this anywhere else in the Benelux. The Tiki Pool is open every day of the week until 10pm, all year round. Are you thinking: this cannot possibly all be done in one day? No problem. The Holiday Park offers lovely dune bungalows (called Duingalows) and a wonderful, leafy campsite.



Leiden emanates history. Walking through the well-kept historical city centre with its beautiful canals and stately buildings is an attraction on its own. Would it not be wonderful to stay the night in one of the centuries-old canals mansions and be engulfed by history? You can, in City Hotel Nieuw Minerva. The building itself has a great story to tell. One of the most influential Dutch politicians of the 19th century once lived in one of the houses that now make up City Hotel Nieuw Minerva. “Johan Rudolph Thorbecke, chairman of the commission that wrote the Constitution of the Netherlands in 1848, boarded here for several years when he was a student at Leiden University,” tells the hotel owner, Jet Bos. And there is more; Bos reveals that the bed in 96 | Issue 31 | July 2016

Nieuw Minerva’s Stately Room actually once belonged to Louis Napoléon Bonaparte, the younger brother of Napoléon Bonaparte, who was the King of Holland from 1806 to 1810. All of the 34 rooms have their own unique style and theme. There is a Delft Blue Comfort Room, a Superior Room of the Angels and a very luxurious suite. But a truly unique room is the Rembrandt Room. “The box-bed in this room is an exact replica of the one Rembrandt used to sleep in. Well, not exactly; it is bigger. In those days people slept sitting up. Our boxbed is a comfortable two-sleeper.” Hotel Nieuw Minerva is located on 23 Boommarkt in Leiden, in the heart of the city; and on the quayside of the Rhine River, so also accessible by boat.



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 April, 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 co-owner Hanneke 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 international guests in their own language and with the customs they expect. Hanneke, the official ‘Gastvrouw of Schouwen’ 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,” Hanneke 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, Rob 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. Rob’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 the fantastic stay at Pension Even Buiten. Book now at Issue 31 | July 2016 | 97

Discover Benelux | Business | Column

How to make your first (quarter? half?) million TEXT & PHOTO: STEVE FLINDERS

Sex apart, I suspect that many daydreamers come up with the same fantasies at one time or another – about writing a book, learning to play a musical instrument and (for monolingual Brits) learning a foreign language. I’m also guessing that most salaried adults at some particularly awful time in their professional lives think about setting up their own business, especially after being made redundant. Here are my four commandments for aspiring business owners. They may seem blindingly obvious to you, but I can assure you that they are not always clear to many would-be freelancers. 1. Tell me what you do. I, and a million other potential customers, need to understand this in a sentence or less. You can then also have it on your business card, if you still use those. If what you do is really complicated and technical, then you might be allowed two sentences.

2. Sell me what you do. This is your elevator pitch and is a bit longer. You have 30 seconds to wow me with what you do as we go up in the metaphorical lift together. It contains your USP (Unique Sales Proposition) which tells me what makes you different from every other provider; and you know it so well you can do it effortlessly and by heart. Practise it many times before you take it on its first outing. 3. Check that your website tells me what you do too. I must know within five seconds or less of accessing it what you do and what makes you great. I want a wow factor again – something original and creative that I have never seen before and that catches my attention. Do not give me vague blather about quality solutions and the like. Make it clear straight away. The opacity of some corporate websites is amazing. 4. Vlog (video blog). The future is visual. Keep text to a minimum. You may not be a natural on screen but practice will make you

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:

better. I have absolutely no interest in sewing, but watching the young entrepreneur who runs Sew Over It ( providing ideas, enthusiasm, colour, and energy is for me just the way to build up a business and a loyal customer following. Good luck making your first million, and have fun doing it!

2_0_3C_Online_Advert_half_page_Layout 2 07/05/2015 09:34 Page 1

Want Sales? Our sales superstars are trained up and waiting in the wings to step up to your business challenge! We have 20 years of experience in the distance selling industry and we provide B2B sales and customer service in the following languages: – Swedish – Danish – Norwegian – Finnish – German – Dutch We supply combined outsourcing services in customer service and telemarketing which have been developed from a unique combination of service and sales rhetoric and technology.

Contact us today! 3C ONLINE LTD 147 Snowsfields, London SE1 3TF Email: Phone: +44 (0)870 933 0423

Discover Benelux | Business | Calendar

Business Calendar TEXT: ELLA PUT | PHOTOS: NBTC

UX Training Brussels 25 – 26 July Brussels, Belgium UX design is the process of designing products that are useful, easy to use and delightful to interact with. During this twoday course in the Belgian capital, designers can learn more about how to make an interactive design useful for their businesses.

BAPS Annual International Congress

EFPT Forum 2016 2 July – 6 July Antwerp, Belgium The European Federation of Psychiatric Trainees will host their 24th EP-Forum in the beautiful city of Antwerp, which has the second-largest port in Europe and one of the most beautiful train stations on the continent. A great place for those working in the industry to meet, network and connect with other colleagues in their working field.

BAPS Annual International Congress 20 – 22 July Amsterdam, the Netherlands The British Association of Paediatric Surgeons supports its members in their professional lives as paediatric surgeons. If you are a paediatric surgeon or a surgeon in training, you should definitely visit this congress and learn more during the highly informative lectures given by leaders in the field.

Barracuda Back-up 29 July Lummen, Belgium Regardless of what industry you are working in or the size of your business, having a solid backup and recovery plan is vital for any business. Here, Barracuda offers a day for learning about how to develop methods to protect and save data. Let your business flourish without worrying about losing any information.

Start-up days Tilburg 6 - 8 July Tilburg, the Netherlands Do you have a new, creative and innovative idea? Or do you already have a startup and you want to get to know more about running a business? Then this day is definitely something for you. Here, owners of young start-ups can present their companies to a broad audience and mingle with other entrepreneurs. Issue 31 | July 2016 | 99

Sensation Photo: Š NBTC

Out & About July is finally here, which means it is time for a holiday (at least, for the lucky ones). With these inspiring upcoming events in the Benelux, you can make the most of your free time in this beautiful part of Europe. TEXT: ELLA PUT

Amsterdam Fashion Week Photo: Š PeterStigter

Discover Benelux | Culture | Calendar

Chamber Music Festival 29 June – 3 July Utrecht, the Netherlands Famous Dutch violin player Janine Jansen will dazzle you with any note she plays. Along with fellow musicians, she will turn Utrecht into a magical hub of classical music. Settle down in the city to listen to wonderful performances all over town while enjoying the good weather and a romantic view over the canals.

Amsterdam Fashion Week 1 July – 11 July Amsterdam, the Netherlands Lights, camera, fashion! It is time for Amsterdam Fashion Week. It might not be New York or London, but Amsterdam has proven to be a good place to spot new talents in the modelling, design and photography world. So get that front row seat and enjoy the magic of this dazzling and adventurous fashion week!

Sensation 2 July Amsterdam, the Netherlands Sensation is a world-renowned dance phenomenon, taking place in the Dutch capital every year. In the last 15 years the festival has grown from a gathering in the Amsterdam Arena to being the biggest

Chamber Music Festival Photo: © NBTC

dance festival in the world, creating a new show every year that will dazzle your senses. The plan for this year is ‘angels and demons’, so you had better start planning an outfit!

Ghent Jazz Festival

Amsterdam Fashion Week Photo: © PeterStigter

7 July – 16 July Ghent, Belgium Welcoming more than 32,000 visitors each year, this festival has surely hit the right note. It is spread over two weekends to please longtime jazz lovers and those that are new to the genre. The first weekend is for the purebred jazz fans and during the second weekend fusion artists take over. Issue 31 | July 2016 | 101

Discover Benelux | Culture | Calendar

Dijlefeesten 8 July – 10 July Mechelen, Belgium DJs, rock bands, poetry. There is something for everyone and everything for everyone at the Dijlefeesten event in Mechelen, Flanders.

Duinrell Wassenaar, the Netherlands 9 July – 21 August After last year’s success, Dutch amusement park Duinrell is coming back with the spectacular and highly praised summer show Cirque Lumiere. Come and see the almighty acts of acrobats and circus artists at one of the best amusement parks in the Benelux!

Duinrell Photo: © Renske Endel

en their view on modern society and its extremes such as silence, chaos, inner beauty and outer beauty.

CLUPTOWN @ Barbarossa Beach Club

Spectrum van Spanning, Breda’s Museum


Breda, the Netherlands Until 10 July See the world through the eyes of a teenager. In this unique project, the Museum of Breda is collaborating with the Cultuurwinkel Breda and several high schools in the Breda region to promote upcoming talent. By creating several art pieces, high school graduates from Breda have giv-

Nijmegen, the Netherlands 19 – 22 July This world-renowned event in Nijmegen is one of the most-anticipated festivities in the Benelux during the summer. Each year, over 42,000 walkers embark on ‘the walk of the world’. If you are not a sporty type, you can dance and drink until dawn at one of the many parties in

Photo: © Barbarossa

town instead.

Scheveningen, the Netherlands 22 July Hotter, harder and better than ever. That is the motto of this party that will blow off the rooftop. The Cluptown DJ Team will be playing awesome tunes, varying from early noughties to hip-hop. Dance till dawn near the beach and make this an unforgettable evening.

Discover Benelux | Culture | Calendar

Photo: © CafeDeJaren

The Air Balloon – Teylers Museum Haarlem, the Netherlands Until 28 August A clear sky full of air balloons in the month of June is a magnificent sight. So why not find out more about these air objects at the Teylers Museum in Haarlem? For their exhibition De Luchtballon, the museum is showcasing rare and costly highlights from international balloon collections. Furthermore, the museum is also letting its visitors experience a balloon ride using a virtual reality game.

DeLaMar Theatre Amsterdam, the Netherlands Until 31 July Have you ever wondered what would happen if you could gain access to the world of a famous Broadway star? De-

Photo: © TeylersMuseum

LaMar Theatre’s new play In de ban van Broadway (Under the Spell of Broadway) sees Grace, a girl from a modest background, establish a close relationship with actress Margo Miller and her entourage. But is Grace the modest girl she claims to be? Who is the real diva? This play promises to be a musical ode to the world of glitter and glamour! Dutch spoken.

Café de Jaren Amsterdam, the Netherlands Until 31 July Enjoy a wonderful view over the Amstel and the canals from one of the most beautiful terraces in Amsterdam at Café de Jaren. If the terrace is full, there is also a beautiful balcony with the same breathtaking view.

Photo: © DeLaMar Theatre

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 103

Discover Benelux | Culture | Calendar

Museum Vrolik Permanent collection Amsterdam, the Netherlands What does a Siamese twin look like? How do our blood vessels, muscles and organs work together? And how does our skeleton change? The Vrolik Museum, a part of the Academic Medical Centre, offers a very special view into a collection with information about the human body gathered in the last two centuries.

Museum Vrolik Photo: © Paul Bomers

NEMO SCIENCE MUSEUM presents Energetica Permanent collection Amsterdam, the Netherlands At Nemo, the coolest science museum in the whole world, you can experiment with the way wind, water and sun all work together. The exhibition is held at a very special location: the rooftop of the museum. There you will find installations and sculptures that you can control yourself. Admission is free.

Photo: © NEMO

Japanmuseum SieboldHuis Until 28 August Leiden, the Netherlands Of course we throw away an old milk can that we do not need anymore. But what if this milk can was beautifully decorated in an exquisite Japanese style? Find out more about the history of Japanese packaging design at this extraordinary and colourful exhibition.

Museum of the Images, New Delights Until 31 December Breda, the Netherlands This year Breda is all about the Jheronimus Bosch 500-year anniversary event, so MOTI presents the exhibition Delights in Breda. This exhibition centres on Bosch’s famous three-piece painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights, and offers a unique view into the world of Bosch and those who have been inspired by him. Photo: © Japanmuseum SieboldHuis

104 | Issue 31 | July 2016

Photo: © Moti

Discover Benelux | Culture | Lifestyle Columns


Reporting from the front Architects can have a bad rep; labelled with accusations of megalomania in the heat of the ongoing ‘my skyscraper is bigger than yours’ battle. Thankfully at the 15th edition of the Venice Architecture Biennale, there is no such conceitedness. This year, the world’s biggest architecture exhibition has a rather more altru-istic feel, with the theme ‘Reporting from the Front’ resulting in responses that distinctly value social change. The offerings from the Benelux nations are no exception. In the Netherlands’ pavilion, entitled BLUE: Architecture of UN Peacekeeping Missions, you will find a proposal to improve missions by using architecture to strengthen the locality when the peacekeepers leave. The curators use Camp Castor, a Dutch base in Mali as an example – and flood the pavilion with blue

light, cannily referencing the blue clothing of the population, and the helmets of the UN. Tracing Transitions in Luxembourg’s pavilion similarly tackles social issues, if a little closer to home. Chosen from an open call, a multi-disciplinary team of architects and artists have created an exhibition focussed on the issue of the lack of affordable housing in one of the EU’s wealthiest nations. Belgium seems to have an affinity with the Biennale and has a long history of excellent pavilions. Although initially its Bravura project seems to skirt around the weightier issues the other Benelux nations gladly embrace, on closer inspection this is an exhibition that humbly embarks upon dissecting the role of architecture and craftsmanship in a period of worldwide economic scarcity. Whether the Biennale quashes fears for what the future holds is up for debate.


But it certainly shows that there are a plethora of creative architects across the globe responding to the current economic climate determined to try and change it for the better. The Venice Architecture Biennale runs until 27 November 2016 at venues across Venice.

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.


Trappistes Rochefort 10 Few beers match Rochefort 10 for strength and character. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security by the name of this Belgian quadruple-style ale, it actually holds a heady 11.3 per cent of alcohol by volume. Many strong beers taste unbalanced and are indelicately overpowering. Not Rochefort 10. This Trappist ale is beautifully balanced and has a flavour to savour. There is a hint of hoppiness and delicate floral and fruity tones. The taste is clean with a slightly sweet finish. If you enjoy pairing food and beer, try matching Rochefort 10 with game dishes and roast lamb. This is a beer that draws upon a long tradition of brewing within the Cistercian abbey of Notre Dame de Saint-Remy, on the outskirts of the small town in southeast Belgium from which the brewery takes its name. Records indicate that a

brewery was established at Rochefort Abbey back in 1595, but this particular recipe was not developed until the middle of the 20th century when powerful brews were becoming fashionable. The abbey’s Tridaine Spring is the source of the mineral-rich water used in the brewing process. A couple of years ago the brewery made headlines because of concerns that expansion to a nearby limestone quarry would result in the spring running dry. Fortunately the critically acclaimed Rochefort 10 continues to be produced. Bottle conditioning means the flavours of this beer change subtly over time. It is deep brown in colour and, according to tradition, should be served in a goblet-shaped glass. Be careful of the sediment as you pour. Brewer: Rochefort Brewery Strength: 11.3 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.

Issue 31 | July 2016 | 105

Discover Benelux | Culture | Lifestyle


Lost in translation Writer Adam Jacot de Boinod breaks down some language barriers to help you on your colloquial journey in the Benelux. This month, he continues the theme of idioms in the French language, looking at the variety of euphemisms for baldness in the French language, as well as examining some Dutch word peculiarities. TEXT AND PHOTOS: ADAM JACOT DE BOINOD

French euphemisms and Dutch tongue twisters Bald as a knee? Last month you may remember I mentioned ‘avoir un vélodrome à mouches’, meaning literally ‘to have a velodrome for flies’. This referred to baldness, a condition that the French language seems to be obsessive in finding different ways to express. They talk of ‘avoir le melon deplumé’ (to have a plucked melon); ‘avoir une bille de billard’ (to have a billiard ball for a head) and ‘ne plus avoir de cresson sur la cafetiere’ (to no longer have watercress on the coffeepot). Amusingly, they do not stop there: offering ‘ne plus avoir de gazon sur la platebande’ (to no longer have a lawn on the flowerbed); ‘ne plus avoir d’ alfa sur les hauts

106 | Issue 31 | July 2016

plateaux’ (not to have any more alfalfa on the high plateaux) and even ‘avoir la casquette en peau de fesses’ (to have a cap made out of buck skin). Perhaps in order not to cause undue offense it is safer to be more prosaic and simply say ‘être chauve comme un genou’ (to be as bald as a knee). Word games Meanwhile the Dutch language has some fascinating material for word games. The longest word is 49 letters long and means ‘preparation activities for a children’s carnival procession’. It is written thus: kindercarnavalsoptochtvoorbereidingswerkzaamheden

Also, Dutch is unusual in having a several words with a number of consecutive vowels or consonants. For instance, ‘Zaaiuien’, meaning ‘onions for seeding’, has six consecutive vowels; while ‘angstschreeuw’ (a cry of fear) has eight consecutive consonants. To keep one’s mind happily distracted on a flight, try saying this noble Dutch tongue twister: ‘Als vliegen achter vliegen vliegen, vliegen vliegen vliegensvlug’ (‘If flies fly behind flies, flies will fly like lightning’)! Adam Jacot de Boinod worked for Stephen Fry on the first series of BBC programme QI. He is the author of The Meaning of Tingo and Other Extraordinary Words from around the World, published by Penguin Books.

Your Shortcut to Scandinavia Bergen


Oslo Stockholm Bromma

SWEDEN Aalborg






London City

GERMANY Brussels







M ea l s

D r inks

Paper s