Discover Benelux, Issue 34, October2016

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Discover Benelux | Contents

Contents OCTOBER 2016




Luc Tuymans His work is displayed in museums across the globe; from the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris to New York’s Guggenheim, but for Belgian artist Luc Tuymans there is no place like Flanders. We spoke to the Antwerp-based creative, who revealed all about his latest exhibition at London’s National Portrait Gallery.

THEMES 12 Rotterdam Special



With futuristic architecture, world-class art and vibrant nightlife, it is no surprise that Lonely Planet named Rotterdam as one of the world’s top cities for travellers in 2016. We present our top picks in the city known as ‘Manhattan on the Maas’.

30 Top Real Estate in Luxembourg

Luxembourg has a thriving property market and diverse architectural scene. If you are looking for a property in the Grand Duchy, make sure you read our guide to the country’s best real estate.

38 Top Meeting & Event Planning in Flanders Planning an important event? Whatever the occasion, look no further than our selection of companies that can help you plan something truly unforgettable.

50 Highlights of Utrecht

From its charming medieval centre to the modern architecture, fascinating museums and hip boutiques, Utrecht offers something for everyone. Check out our presentation of this vibrant city’s must-see addresses.

BUSINESS 60 Company profiles, regulars and more We spoke to Belgium firms including leading marketing agency true. video marketing experts StoryMe and Alaska, a one-stop shop accounting firm offering financial, legal and fiscal consulting services.

FEATURES 10 Dutch Design Week For nine days, people from all over the world head to Eindhoven to share their love for design. Read our guide to this unmissable event, the biggest of its kind in Northern Europe.

78 Benelux Beats We caught up with Utrecht-based musician Thijs Kuijken, the creative mind behind indie folk band I Am Oak.

DON’T MISS 6 Fashion Picks | 8 Desirable Designs 70 Out & About | 77 Columns

Issue 34 | October 2016 | 3

Discover Benelux | Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Print Liquid Graphic Ltd

Juliën L’Ortye Lidija Liegis Martin Pilkington Matt Antoniak Michiel Stol Myriam Gwynned Dijck Ndéla Faye Steve Flinders Stian Sangvig Stuart Forster Xandra Boersma

Executive Editor Thomas Winther

Cover Photo Luc Tuymans

Creative Director Mads E. Petersen

Sales & Key Account Managers Mette Tonnessen Kirsten Schoon Katia Sfihi Micha Cornelisse

Discover Benelux Issue 34, October 2016 Published 10.2016 ISSN 2054-7218 Published by Scan Group

Editor Anna Villeleger Assistant Editor Charlotte van Hek Copy-editor Isa Hemphrey Graphic Designer Mercedes Moulia Contributors Bettina Guirkinger Cathy van Klaveren Demelza Stadhouders Ella Put Frank Van Lieshout

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 34 | October 2016

Welcome to the October edition of Discover Benelux and the third season of the year. Autumn has to be my favourite phase in the Benelux. Whether you are cycling through golden forests, taking a bracing stroll along the beach or revelling in a city break, you will undoubtedly be struck by the region’s warm colours and strikingly blue skies. Yes, you might occasionally need your umbrella, but there are so many cultural events to ensure any unexpected downpours will not dampen your spirits. Head to our Out & About calendar for highlights such as the Late Openings at Brussels Museums, a lovely autumn tradition which sees certain institutions in the Belgian capital put on special workshops and guided tours every Thursday evening. Over in the Grand Duchy, the prestigious Luxembourg Festival kicks off on 7 October, offering performances ranging from drama to world music via jazz and contemporary dance. Meanwhile, design aficionados will be descending onto Eindhoven in the Netherlands at the end of the month for the 15th edition of Dutch Design Week - read our feature on page ten. Creatives from home and abroad will be showcasing their latest works, while this year’s special theme is ‘the making of’ looking at how everyday products and services are made. Talking of everyday items, Belgian painter - and our October cover star - Luc Tuymans has dedicated his latest London portrait exhibition, Luc Tuymans: Glasses, to spectacle wearers. The artist made a name for himself as quite a provocateur, so if you happen to be in the English capital expect some far more daring subject matter than the exhibition’s title might suggest. Head to page 46 to read our interview with the talented creative, who despite being cited as one of the world’s most significant contemporary artists, continues to live and work in his hometown of Antwerp. Like us, he knows the Benelux is the place to be!

Anna Villeleger, Editor

Sixty Four0 Bar

s tau ra n to Re e g r A Or o e

ifiqu e n g a M s i L if e ou rg! in Luxem b


t ra n tau s e li R tü b S Le

Ha van a Lou nge

Vivez 4 expériences différentes dans l’atrium.

Enjoy 4 differents experiences in the atrium.

ORO E ARGENTO au coeur de la gastronomie italienne

ORO E ARGENTO at the heart of italian gastronomy

STÜBLI convivialité et authenticité dans un décor typique

STÜBLI conviviality and authenticity in a traditional atmosphere

HAVANA LOUNGE l’endroit idéal pour un moment de détente SIXTYFOUR° un bar à bonne température

HAVANA LOUNGE a unique environment SIXTYFOUR° a bar at ideal temperature

Discover Benelux | Design | Fashion Picks


Autumn luxury Beat the darker days by glowing in vibrant fabrics, soft velvet and colour palettes that reflect the beauty of Mother Nature at this time of year. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK | PRESS PHOTOS


1. Fabulous florals Rich in both pattern and material, this striking blouse with floral print combines a loose cut with a beautiful drape. Wear this with a yellow pencil skirt to create a perfect silhouette and a bold statement. Blouse: €145 Skirt: €170

2. Shine bright like a diamond Complete any festive outfit with this pretty sparkly clutch. The bow-shaped button closure and the interior satin lining give this beauty both a playful and royal touch. €34.95

3. Go for glamour Wherever you go wearing this dress, you will be remembered! Wear with heels or add black biker boots to inject instant coolness. €309

Discover Benelux | Design | Fashion Picks


4. Red velvet These trousers are a modern take on a tailored classic. With a subtle all-over print and comfortable stretch, this soft beauty is an absolute must-have for autumn. Not for wallflowers! €129.95

6. Warm luxury 5. A royal touch An absolute show-stopper for him and for her. This bold yet tasteful watch will add some royal allure to your outfit. Perfect to wear with items of a more modest nature. €310 Larsson & Jennings via

Jacquard gives every item a touch of luxury. This striking black and green bomber will not only keep you warm, but will also make you the best-dressed person in the room. Bomber jacket: €295 Sweatshirt: €125 Jogging trousers: €195 Issue 34 | October 2016 | 7

Discover Benelux | Design | Desirable Designs


Drink up From chandeliers made with glass bottles to mobile drinks stations, these creations from the Benelux will quench your thirst for innovative design. TEXT: ELLA PUT | PRESS PHOTOS

2. Wine and dine These might look like actual wine glasses, but you are being deceived. Jansen+co has come up with this functional and stylish salad set. The upside down wine glasses are ideal for storing oil and vinegar. €35 Jansen+co via


1. 1. Milk lamp Funky, yet stylish, is the best way to describe this unique design made by Dutch studio Droog. Recycled from an original milk bottle, this is the perfect item for an environmentally friendly household. €135

3. 3. Shine a light This extraordinary light by Bonne Plat has been constructed with empty glass bottles and will turn any room into a design studio. €215 Bonne Plat via

5. Sustainable style All over the world people are choosing a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle, drinking more water and saying goodbye to disposable plastic water bottles. Meanwhile, say hello to RAAK Design’s simple yet futuristic water bottle. Price on request

5. 4. 4. Coffee to go What could be better than a hot drink on wheels? Studio Pieck created this sustainable and useful mobile station that allows you to drink tea or coffee on your bike. Price on request 8 | Issue 34 | October 2016

Discover Benelux | Belgian Design Profile | Top Furniture & Design

Functional beauty Fusing functionality and aesthetics to provide unique solutions, IN DETAIL creates interior design that makes sense. “I always work from the idea that there is something missing. Something that my designs complete,” explains Ilse Bruggemans, the creative mind behind IN DETAIL. Looking at FOLD, one of Bruggemans’ projects, it is clear what IN DETAIL stands for. The white benches embody minimalistic and functional design, yet are a treat for the eye. “I got the idea for FOLD when I saw people outside having lunch on a bench: clumsy, because they did not have a table,” says Bruggemans. “FOLD enables people to use it as a ‘standard’ bench where they lean against the back, or to use the back as a table by turning around.” Having worked in management and marketing all her life, Bruggemans decided five years ago to completely change course by freelancing and starting studies in interior design. Doing a work-study combination, she was active in the field right away. She went to

Milan, where she visited the design studio of the famous Italian designer Achille Castiglioni. “Castiglioni got his inspiration from daily life,” says Bruggemans. “For example, he designed a seat for his wife enabling her to sit and read despite her back problems. That is what I want to achieve with my designs too: offer solutions, help people.” After showing in Milan and Belgium, Bruggemans recently exhibited at ‘Occasionele Ontmoetingen’, an event


bringing together designers and people from the art world. So what does the future hold? “Currently I am focussing on object design. I have just started a project of designing jewellery. I like jewellery to be minimalistic and have a certain cleanness, but could not find that anywhere. So, naturally I decided to make it myself.”

Discover Benelux | Design Events | Dutch Design Week

Photo: © Sjoerd Eickmans

A week of Dutch design inspiration TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven is the biggest design event in Northern Europe. For nine days people from all over the world come together in this southern city to share their love for design and fashion. With works from more than 2,500 designers, over 275,000 visitors and events in approximately 100 locations, Dutch Design Week is a must-visit for anyone with a passion for industrial design, interior design, graphic design, food design, design management, textiles and fashion. The whole city will be under the spell of the countless lectures, workshops, exhibitions, parties, and award ceremonies. Whether you are a designer, a student, a business, or just a 10 | Issue 34 | October 2016

curious visitor, Eindhoven is well worth a visit in October.

Eindhoven: The Netherlands’ creative and technological heart Only few cities in the world combine creativity with knowledge and technology as well as Eindhoven. Being home to the renowned Eindhoven University of Technology, the Fontys University of Applied Sciences, and the Design Academy Eindhoven, this southern city lies in the heart of ‘Brainport’, a region for technology of world standing. Brainport is home to many internationally acclaimed companies such as ASML, DAF Trucks, and Philips. It was the same Philips that put Eindhoven on the map and laid the groundwork for

the city’s allure of design and technology. Philips Electronics and Lightning was one of the first companies to mass producing light bulbs, and later enhanced its success with the compact disc and cassette tape. Due to Eindhoven’s development into a centre for innovation, research, and design, it is no wonder that the first design academy of the Netherlands was also founded in Eindhoven.

All roads lead to design There are many routes to take during the Dutch Design Week – all will lead you to interesting events focused on design or fashion. Always wanted to know more about Dutch digital design? Visit the Klokgebouw on Friday for an insightful lecture. Ready to unwind with

Discover Benelux | Design Events | Dutch Design Week

some music? Head off the Effenaar for a concert of singer songwriter Jeremy Loops, or go dancing until the early hours at the opening party on ‘Stratumseind’, Eindhoven’s main nightlife area. One of the many highlights of Dutch Design Week is the Dutch Design Awards, where designers show their masterpieces to the public. The most talented creative mind wins the prestigious Dutch Design Award. With categories such as fashion, communication, design research and habitat, this event creates a platform for design in its broadest sense. The award ceremony is on 29 October in the Effenaar.

Photo: © Boudewijn Bollmann

Did the above Philips story interest you? The Philips Museum will be showing an exhibition of product designs during the Space Age and its influence on later designs. Several iconic products and graphic designs from the period 1957 to 1975 will be on display. Another event not to miss is the graduation show from the Design Academy Eindhoven. The Design Academy has produced many world-famous designers, so its graduation show offers a glimpse of the design stars of the future. The show is on all week in de Witte Dame (the White Lady), in the heart of the city.

One of Eindhoven’s latest hotspots is De Strijp. This former factory site now hosts various contemporary design companies in buildings that were previously used by Philips. During Dutch Design Week, Strijp transforms in a nine-day-long outdoor festival with great food trucks, music, and exhibitions. Food, music, and design – what could possibly be better? Dutch Design Week takes place from 22 - 30 October 2016 For more information and the full programme visit

Photo: © Max Kneefel

Photo: © Boudewijn Bollmann

Photo: © Iris Rijskamp

Issue 34 | October 2016 | 11

Discover Benelux | Rotterdam | City Centre Highlights

Photo: NBTC


City of the future Lonely Planet has named Rotterdam as one of the world’s top cities for travellers in 2016. These are true words; with its futuristic architecture, inspired initiatives, worldly art and exciting nightlife, Rotterdam is the Netherlands’ own Manhattan on the Maas. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK | PHOTOS: NBTC & ROTTERDAM PARTNERS

Photo: Marc Heeman

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Discover Benelux | Rotterdam | The Manhattan on the Maas

Photo: Jan van der Ploeg

Photo: Iris van den Broek

Nederlands Fotomuseum. Photo: Daarzijn

A turbulent past Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands. The city has a turbulent history, which goes back to 1270 when a dam was constructed in the Rotte river, which people settled around for safety. In 1340, Rotterdam gained city rights and the building of the Nieuwe Waterweg canal in 1872 connected Rotterdam to the sea and resulted in the city truly growing into a world-class metropolis with flourishing trade. Nowadays, Rotterdam’s port is the largest one in Europe. On 14 May 1940, fate struck Rotterdam when the Luftwaffe destroyed almost the entire city centre. During the ‘Rotterdam Blitz’, many people lost their lives and several important landmarks were destroyed, including half of the port. Rebuilding work started almost immediately after the blitz, supported by the no-nonsense mentality

and futuristic vision that Rotterdam’s locals are praised for.

Innovator in architecture and culture From Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, the humanist and theologian after whom the city’s renowned Erasmus University is named, to contemporary innovators like architect Rem Koolhaas: Rotterdam locals have always thrived under innovation. Rotterdam boasts internationally renowned museums such as Het Nieuwe Instituut, Kunsthal Rotterdam, and the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art. Events such as the North Sea Jazz festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), and World Port Days have put the city on the cultural map. Rotterdam is world famous for its impressive skyline and modern architecture, which is visible throughout the entire city.

The Witte Huis, inspired by American office buildings and built in 1898, was Europe’s first official skyscraper. The 1996 built Erasmus bridge links the north and south of Rotterdam, and earned its nickname ‘The Swan’ because of its iconic bend. The innovation is ongoing as Rotterdam is constantly working on new architectural projects to keep its number one position in the field of modern architecture.

City centre (Read more from page 15) The heart of Rotterdam forms a striking contrast between old and new. Around the iconic Central Station, you will find high-rise buildings and international companies and hotels next to historic sites such as the Laurenskerk, the only remnant from the medieval village that Rotterdam once was. Definitely worth a visit is the Markthal, the most prominent Issue 34 | October 2016 | 13

Discover Benelux | Rotterdam | The Manhattan on the Maas

architectural masterpiece in the area which hosts countless market stands, shops, restaurants, and flats. All within a stone’s throw away are the shopping zone Lijnbaankwartier, the Museum Quarter and the Maritime quarter, a romantic area with beautiful town houses and stately streets.

Kop van Zuid & Katendrecht (Read more from page 20) The area around the Kop van Zuid is an architect’s playground, with buildings from architects such as Álvaro Siza, Renzo Piano, and Rotterdam local Rem Koolhaas. Most striking is De Rotterdam, a mixed-use, 160,000-square-metre tower, conceived as a ‘vertical city’ on the river Maas. But Kop van Zuid is not just skyscraper central; the Cruise Terminal and Hotel New York are reminders of bygone days and should definitely be on your must-see list. Photo: Ossip van Duivenbode

Next to Kop van Zuid lies Katendrecht. This part of town has been transformed

from a rough sailor area and red light district into one of the most happening places in Rotterdam. Once serving as the city’s Chinatown, Katendrecht now counts several great restaurants, cute eateries and characteristic bars, and is an absolute dream for foodies.

Close to the city centre (Read more from page 24) Because of the city’s compact nature and excellent transport links, it takes only a hop and a skip to visit one of Rotterdam’s charming districts surrounding the centre. An oasis of design and food is Rotterdam Noord, an area that has seen a massive reconstruction over the past decade. Are you feeling trendy today? Stroll to Rotterdam-West, where you will find de Nieuwe Binnenweg, currently one of Rotterdam’s most popular streets. For something more fancy, head of to Kralingen. Due to its romantic villa neighbourhoods and wide streets, it is known as the somewhat more chic part of town. Oude Haven. Photo: Ossip van Duivenbode

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Discover Benelux | Rotterdam | City Centre Highlights

Markthal. Photo: Ossip van Duivenbode

Rotterdam city centre highlights Rotterdam’s city centre is as culturally diverse, vivacious and inspiring as it gets. World-famous modern architecture alongside beautiful old landmarks make the heart of the city a hub where you can keep discovering as a foodie, shopper, or culture and design lover. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK | PHOTOS: NBTC & ROTTERDAM PARTNERS

PUT THIS ON YOUR TO-DO-LIST: Art Evening – Every Friday it is Art Evening at the contemporary culture institutions on and around Witte de Withstraat, Rotterdam’s most creative street. Free admission. Wildlife Film Festival Rotterdam – A multiday film festival focused on the screening of wildlife films and documentaries. This year will show many ‘underwater’ films. 2730 October Rotterdam Popweek – Over 160 great acts play at over six locations during this

week filled with music. Highlights are the Rotterdam Pop Quiz, the Popronde and the finals of the Sena Grand Prize of Rotterdam. 28 October – 6 November Rotterdam Zombie Walk – Halloween alert! At this walk the living dead will take over the city, with approximately 1,000 zombies taking over the streets of Rotterdam. 29 October World Food Day – Rotterdam welcomes World Food Day, a day when international food is celebrated and at the same time attention is drawn to the challenges of the current food system. 16 October

Street art in the Witte de Withstraat. Photo: Iris van den Broek

Issue 34 | October 2016 | 15

Discover Benelux | Rotterdam | City Centre Highlights

A home away from home in Rotterdam TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS | PHOTOS: GUROL CELIKKOL

Looking for high-end, luxury apartments to rent in central Rotterdam? Look no further than NTH Apartments (Natural Tech Holland).

own place,” says Mr. Celikkol. Guests also cite the excellent service, as well as the 24-hour helpline, as key reasons for staying at NTH Apartments.

The stunning properties are located in the heart of Rotterdam, within walking distance of the best bars, theatres, cafés, key historical landmarks and museums the city has to offer. The central station is ten minute’s away on foot. The flats have impressive city views, and are designed and furnished in a modern, sleek style, with beautiful parquet floors, light interiors and plush furniture.

Mr. Celikkol’s passion for the tourism and hotel industry began whilst he was studying and working in hotels. The aspect he loves most, he says, is “meeting people from all over the world” and ensuring his guests feel at ease. The inspiration to found his own rental apartment business came to him when he was on a three-month business trip staying in a hotel. “I realised it would be much more comfortable to stay in an apartment, and to be able to have my family come visit if they wanted, and a kitchen to cook in, as well as other home comforts,” he explains.

The apartments accommodate mostly business travellers, but are equally suited to families with children. Each apartment sleeps four adults, and studios are suitable for two adults and two children. They can be rented out from five days. So why choose to stay in NTH Apartments? As described by founder Gurol Celikkol, the apartments provide true luxury and home comfort away from home. “People feel fully at home here, with all the amenities and privacy of their 16 | Issue 34 | October 2016

One of the luxury apartments is located in the landmark Timmerhuis, a historical building behind the city hall. The apartments are in a new building made up of open ‘pixels’ (square blocks). The construction is only connected to the ground at two points, thus giving the effect of a swaying cloud of pixels. Another impressive modern complex, Calypso,

offers more apartments and studios. It is a colourful block with shops, apartments, offices and 24-hour fitness facilities. It also has conference rooms and indoor parking available, as well as a service desk for any queries. Check in is from 1pm, and check out is at 11am.

Discover Benelux | Rotterdam | City Centre Highlights


For the best ingredients and most innovative culinary inspiration you do not have to go far. That is exactly the ethos of Roots, the restaurant in the heart of Rotterdam taking the best of regional and local products and serving a menu that reflects every season’s treasures. “Regional and seasonal, always with an innovative twist,” says chef Stephan Nijst to describe Roots’ cuisine. The restaurant in the Hilton Hotel opened last summer, after the old concept had a complete transformation. “Previously, the restaurant was an all-in-dining concept. Before reopening, we asked ourselves what the Netherlands had to offer us. That turned out to be a lot.” Nijst earned his cooking stripes in France, where he learned to cook with pretty much any part of an animal and personally handpicked the rocket and asparagus out of the kitchen garden. “Something we also do at Roots –

using exclusively fresh ingredients from local producers,” Nijst says. Plaice with farm butter, crispy bacon, sea vegetables and hollandaise sauce; marinated mushrooms with jelly, almond, and cauliflower – these are a few examples of the seasonal dishes adorning Roots’ menu. A classic is Nijst’s signature dish: dry-aged rib-eye, cooked in clay and hay and served with seasonal vegetables. The dish is served at your table, where the service team breaks the clay to release the aromas.

“At Roots we believe that dining is an experience that should appeal to all senses: your palate, but also your hearing, sense of smell, and sight.” Alongside the quarterly changing menu, Roots adjusts its ambiance according to the season: think warmer colours in winter, and different tunes reflecting each season. And what about wines? “Naturally, we serve the classics such Barolo alongside local wines with their roots in the Netherlands.”

One thousand and one nights in Rotterdam TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK | PHOTOS: MAARTEN LAUPMAN

An exotic, crowded marketplace, bustling with life, overflowing with delicious flavours and mysterious sounds. In Hotel Bazar you will meet the world. From your meal to your bedroom, Hotel Bazar offers a complete colourful cultural experience. Located in the heart of Rotterdam, this hotel and restaurant has the exceptional atmosphere of a faraway land. The 27 rooms, spread over three storeys, each have their own unique theme. Do you wish to stay in South America, Africa, or the Middle East tonight? “Hotel Bazar is the city café of the future – we reflect Rotterdam’s worldly and multi-cultural allure,” PR manager Richard Stormezand says. “Just like Rotterdam, Hotel Bazar mixes internationality, dynamics, and hospitality. Every age, sex, and nationality, feels at home here.” Equal to a real bazaar, Hotel Bazar is a place where guests can have an inexpensive meeting. “Our prices

are continuously budget-friendly; Hotel Bazar should be accessible to anyone.” Hotel Bazar’s international allure is reflected by the staff. “Our staff is a reflection of society - we work with people from 20 different nationalities.” As colourful as the rooms and staff is the restaurant. With its mysterious lighting, colourful tables and exotic scents, Hotel Bazar’s restaurant perfectly embodies a holiday atmosphere. Dishes on the menu are mainly from the Middle East and North Africa and are served with halal meat. Whether you

order a mint tea or go all out with specials such as the Irfan’s starter (with Zaalouk, humuz, haydari, sarma, peynir ezme, and sigara böregi) and Dàndè (marinated veal spare ribs): Hotel Bazar will take you on an exotic voyage. Witte de Withstraat 16, 3012 BP Rotterdam For reservations: 0031 10 206 5151

No plans to visit Rotterdam? In Amsterdam you can also find a Bazar restaurant.

Issue 34 | October 2016 | 17

Discover Benelux | Rotterdam | City Centre Highlights

Experience Rotterdam while floating TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA | PHOTOS: H2OTEL

Can you imagine sleeping on a small boat? Of course you can. But what about sleeping in a great bed surrounded by a little bit of luxury and a great restaurant? You can, if you stay at H2OTEL: Rotterdam’s floating hotel. There were once ships here that were used by the American army. After the army was done with them, Rotterdam bought them and created a museum. Now, it is a hotel with rooms decorated by local artists. A H2OTEL to be precise, and yes, the pun is intended in the name. It is an interesting concept on the edge of Rotterdam’s city centre. “You’re only a five-

minute walk away from all sorts of shops and restaurants,” sales manager Maxime Haak says. Though you do not really need those restaurants, because H2OTEL has a very good one on board. Hotel and catering manager Jan Willem Jansen tells us: “We don’t have a very extensive menu, but that’s because we want every dish to be homemade and every product fresh. All organic and seasonal.” Summer times of course are good for a floating experience like this one. You can enjoy the large terrace, go for a swim or take one of their small boats out for a picnic. “You actually get someone from the hotel to sail it for you, while you enjoy Rotterdam’s hotspots while having a drink and a bite to eat,” Maxime explains. But what about in the upcoming winter? “No problem! Everything inside is heated, of course. And it makes it all the more cosy to sit beside the water and watch winter take place.”


Does freshly prepared fast food with healthy ingredients sound too good to be true? It is very much a reality at XOCO, a modern grill in Rotterdam serving authentic Mexican street food. “When people say fast-food, they think about greasy food, made from products with an unknown source,” says XOCO’s owner Sietse Hellinga. “XOCO combines a fast-food restaurant with high-quality Mexican dining, serving pure dishes that are freshly prepared every day.” Mexican food aficionados can personally put together their dish from a menu serving a broad range of Latin-American treats. There is everything from burritos to salad bowls and tacos, and from vegetarian to beef and chicken. All products are sourced from local producers, such as the town market for vegetables and a nearby farm for meat. “I like to know exactly where my products come from,” 18 | Issue 34 | October 2016

explains Hellinga. Specialties like Mexican oregano or specific spices are imported from Mexico. So is there no need for a freezer at XOCO? “We own a freezer for ice cubes and for our fresh juices, but that is it. Everything that we have not sold by the end of the day has to be thrown away. But that never happens,” Hellinga laughs. Besides grabbing a bite, XOCO is just as suitable for those wanting a long evening dinner, with an extensive wine list and perfect Mexican ambiance inviting you to stay for as long as you want. Hellinga’s connection with Mexico goes back to the time when he was living in Chicago, when he would frequently escape the cold and travel to nearby Mexico. “It was then that I got in touch with the eating culture over there. People eat outside on the street. It is quick, but above all high quality and healthy. That is exactly what XOCO embodies.”

Discover Benelux | Rotterdam | City Centre Highlights

Dutch dishes with a twist TEXT: JULIËN L’ORTYE | PHOTOS: MART CAFÉ

Japanese, Chinese, Turkish, Greek, Spanish and even Suriname cuisine; it is safe to say that when it comes to food, the Markthal has something for everyone. With all those flavours from across the globe, you could almost forget that Dutch cuisine is exquisite too.

menu that you can share with your party, such as herring on toast, kale chips and mussels. Do not feel like sharing? No worries, as you can order a nice breakfast, lunch or dinner all for yourself as well. What about a nice croissant with jam from Rotterdam, or a club sandwich full of Dutch ingredients, for example?

Apparently the people behind Mart Café were thinking the same, which was reason enough for them to open an eatery in one of Rotterdam’s main touristic attractions. “We are always looking for Dutch dishes with a twist,” manager Mona Soliman explains. “We believe that Dutch cuisine is a bit underexposed, actually.” In order to do something about this, they came up with ‘Dutch Tappies’.

Looking at the many eateries in the Markthal, you would expect there to be fierce competition between all the stands and restaurants. But being located in one of the city’s hotspots is quite a blessing, according to Soliman. “We receive many foreign people that visit Mart Café as part of a tour – the tour operators are mushrooming here.” It helps that the café is easy to be found and has a lot of sun on both sides of the terrace – opposite the huge market, every Tuesday and Saturday.

It does not only sound a bit like ‘tapas’, the idea is pretty much the same as well. In fact, the original plan was to open a tapas bar. “But when it became clear that the Markthal would be filled up with food stands from all over the world, the owner decided that it had to be something Dutch,” Soliman says. Therefore, they decided to put many small bites on the

be a pleasant surprise for their guests. A café with good, typical Dutch food, a sunlit terrace and some fine jazzy tunes; when going to Rotterdam, this place cannot be missed.

On Thursdays, Mart Café invites a jazz band to spice things up a bit during the evening. It consists of students from the Codarts University, who teach music, dance and theatre. According to Soliman, these evenings often turn out to Issue 34 | October 2016 | 19

Discover Benelux | Rotterdam | Kop van Zuid & Katendrecht Highlights

Nederlands Fotomuseum, Daarzijn

Iris van den Broek.

Kop van Zuid & Katendrecht highlights Your city trip is not complete without visiting these adjacent parts of Rotterdam. While Kop van Zuid is renowned for its innovative architecture and modern allure, Katendrecht has been transformed from a rough sailor district into a massively lively area with interesting culture, quality restaurants, and busy markets. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK | PHOTOS: NBTC & ROTTERDAM PARTNERS


PUT THIS ON YOUR TO-DO-LIST: Camera Japan Festival – You will find the best parts of Japan here. This Japanese cultural festival mainly focuses on film, but lovers of Japanese music, art, dance, fashion, and food will also feel at home here. 6 – 9 October International Comedy Festival Rotterdam – This year the ICFR will celebrate its third edition. Expect stand-up comedy in all its forms in over 50 locations throughout the whole city. 7 – 9 October Festival Jazz International Rotterdam – All that jazz! Besides the North Sea Jazz Festival, this three-day festival will immerse

20 | Issue 34 | October 2016

Rotterdam in the great world of jazz. 28 – 30 October Steenbergen Stipendium – Every year the Nederlands Fotomuseum presents work by the five nominees for the Steenbergen Stipendium, the leading prize for young photographers in the Netherlands. The photographs of the nominees are now exhibited in the museum. Until 30 October De Tijdtrap – De Tijdtrap is a continuous exhibition of archaeological finds in the stairwell and parking garages of Rotterdam’s famous Market Hall. All objects have been found at the excavation prior to the construction of the market hall. Permanent exhibition.

Discover Benelux | Rotterdam | Kop van Zuid & Katendrecht Highlights

ABOVE LEFT AND RIGHT: © Hans Zijffers, Craftwerk Photographics. BOTTOM RIGHT: © Sophia van den Hoek, Unfolded

Bon appétit in Rotterdam TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

The French do it all just a bit better. Bistrot du Bac has brought the best parts of France’s joie du vivre to Rotterdam, providing guests with an enchanting culinary night immersed with classics from perhaps the best cuisine in the world. “Bistrot du Bac makes me feel like I am in the fourth arrondissement of Paris”, reads one of the online reviews of this charming bistro, which is located in the popular Rotterdam district of Katendrecht. Everything about this traditional restaurant enriches the chic yet informal French allure: from the crisp white linen table cloths, to the impeccable service and the nostalgic decorations on the wall. Even with your eyes closed it is Paris o’ clock at Bistrot du Bac. The perfect French simplicity that always amazes is honoured with traditional homemade dishes made from high-quality ingredients. The menu serves pure French classics and changes frequently to reflect the best seasonal products. “The beauty of French cuisine lies in its simple and pure dishes,” chef at Bistrot du Bac Remco van de Lagemaat

enthuses. “Our menu changes according to the seasons and the offerings of our suppliers in France. We work purely with fresh products, and all-time favourites such as escargots or oysters are just better in some seasons than others.” Classics such as foie gras, black pudding and crème brûlée are standards on the menu, always prepared according to the golden rules of French cuisine. The food is accompanied by an extensive wine list of French and Italian wines – “because a Parisian meal is nothing without great wine!”

effortlessly enhancing the feeling of an authentic Parisian bistro in Rotterdam.

Remco helms the restaurant together with his wife, the hostess Magdalena Szajko, who is originally from Poland. Together they travel to France frequently, to liaise with suppliers and gain culinary inspiration. Does she ever try to inject some Polish influences in Remco’s cooking? “Not really,” she laughs. “But French classics such as confit du canard, or pork with sauerkraut, are classics in Poland too.” Ever since it opened its doors in 2013, Bistrot du Bac has not seen a quiet night. The bistro is always bustling, with the only 32 seats and the convivial atmosphere

Bistrot du Bac is open Wednesday to Sunday. Lunch is served on Saturday and Sunday.

Issue 34 | October 2016 | 21

Discover Benelux | Rotterdam | Kop van Zuid & Katendrecht Highlights

One building, two very different restaurants TEXT: JULIËN L’ORTYE | PHOTOS: HOTEL NEW YORK

Does the name ‘Netherlands-America Steamship Company’ ring a bell? We thought so. But what about the ‘Holland America Line’? What once were the headquarters of one of the world’s most important shipping lines is now where you will find one of the most well-known hotels in the Netherlands: Hotel New York. “There are many people who know the hotel,” says general manager Roel Dusseldorp. “But few people are aware of the fact that we have two restaurants as well.” The ground floor, which used to be the Holland America Line administration office now houses the main restaurant. The à la carte menu changes twice a year and ranges from classic Dutch food such as herring and mussels to various seasonal salads and sandwiches. Something for everyone, or as Dusseldorp puts it: “Croquettes to fruits de mer, and tracksuit to tailor-made suit.” As this restaurant did not meet all the wishes of both guests and the hotel, it 22 | Issue 34 | October 2016

was decided to start another one. What once was a combination of storages and offices has been transformed into the elegant bar and restaurant, NY Basement. “We made a very conscious choice to do something completely different in order to attract a different audience,” Dusseldorp says. “And it worked.” Looking at the interior, you can see why: take the beautiful, 11-metre-long cocktail bar, where experienced cocktail shakers are at your service. “There are 15 cocktails on the menu,” Dusseldorp explains. “Five of them we created ourselves and the other ten are variations on existing cocktails. However, you have to make everything your guests want, of course.” The inside of the restaurant is based on the ‘roaring ‘20s’ and the ‘turbulent ‘30s’, and evokes Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. The kitchen is led by chef Edward de Ridder, who was responsible for the menu at another household name in Dutch hospitality: Huis ter Duin. “I am

personally very proud of the fact that we have been able to find a really good chef,” says Dusseldorp. “His menus are really catching on with the audience we have in mind.” The dishes are so good that guests are encouraged to leave the menus unopened and let themselves be surprised. It makes an evening at NY Basement both delicious and exciting. Hotel New York NY Basement Koninginnenhoofd 1 3072 AD Rotterdam +31-(0)10-4390500 Hotel New York - 400 seats inside the restaurant - 250 seats on the terrace - 72 rooms, some former boardrooms - Seven congress rooms, of which two are former boardrooms NY Basement - 170 seats, of which 100 are for dining Social media - Facebook: /hotelnewyorkrotterdam - Pinterest: /hnyrotterdam - Instagram: /hotelnewyork - Twitter: #hotelnewyork

Discover Benelux | Rotterdam | Kop van Zuid & Katendrecht Highlights


Perch yourself at the bar for some mouthwatering ceviche and a refreshing pisco sour or sit down for the full culinary experience at Rotterdam’s first and only Peruvian restaurant: Ceviche y Maas. Located at Deliplein, in the heart of Rotterdam’s trendy Katendrecht district, Ceviche y Maas was set up by Patricia Lavado and her daughter Sophia. A native from Lima, Peru, who made her way to Rotterdam via New York, Patricia used to work as a financial controller for most of her career. “But cooking has always been my passion,” she says. “And running my own restaurant together with my daughter is like a dream come true.” Ceviche y Maas is a clever pun on Rotterdam’s famous Maas river and the Spanish word for ‘more’, suggesting that there is more to Peruvian cooking than its famous dish of fresh fish cured in citrus fruits, peppers

and spices. “Absolutely,” Patricia asserts. “Peru is blessed with an enormous bio-diversity and an incredibly rich coastline providing an abundance of wholesome ingredients. Peruvian cuisine is pure, the most diverse in the world and the most flavoursome of South America, with Spanish, Italian, Asian, West African and native Indian influences.” In the restaurant’s open, modern and stylish interior, guests can perch themselves at the full bar offering an array of Peruvian pisco, or sit down at a table and choose from a variety of authentic and contemporary Peruvian dishes. “We started some nine months ago, but every night I still feel grateful that I pursued my dream,” says Patricia. “Because every night I can share my passion for Peruvian cuisine with guests who are truly wowed by the experience. To me, that’s priceless!”

Drinking, dining and sleeping with a view TEXT: JULIËN L’ORTYE | PHOTOS: NHOW HOTEL

The nhow Rotterdam is not your average everyday hotel. Housed in the city’s most iconic building, it combines its urban character with an amazing level of service and comfort, making it attractive for both tourists and locals. Let us start with that iconic building, named after the city (and therefore called ‘De Rotterdam’) and designed by Rem Koolhaas, a wellknown Dutch architect. Spanning 44 floors and 160,000 square metres, De Rotterdam is quite an imposing construction that cannot be missed when visiting the city.

nhow is quite a unique place, for more than one reason. Thanks to the immense height of De Rotterdam (160 metres), every one of its 278 rooms has a great view, which makes it possible for the guests to look upon the famous Erasmus Bridge or the city’s impressive skyline before going to bed. Apart from that, the hotel is very appealing to the people of Rotterdam as well. “When we started with nhow, we really wanted to become a place for locals as well,” hotel director Hermann Spatt says. With the beautiful cocktail bar and roof terrace, the winner of the Best Bar Awards has pretty much achieved that goal. Sleeping with a great view, drinking wonderful cocktails, talking to some cool locals: nhow seems to have it all. And it does, actually. Do you not feel like spending some time in the city, but still want to do something fun? Take a look in the lobby, where various art forms are being displayed. In the words of Spatt: “Staying at nhow isn’t just about spending the night. It

is about the entire experience.” We could not agree more; it is an experience that is very much worth the visit.

Issue 34 | October 2016 | 23

Discover Benelux | Rotterdam | Close to the City Centre Highlights

Kralingse Plas. Photo: Claire Droppert

Close to the city centre highlights Rotterdam is a city with many faces - every district has its own unique character. From a foodie paradise in Rotterdam-West to a haven of fashion and food in the northern parts of the city, Rotterdam is your utterly diverse oyster. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK | PHOTOS: NBTC & ROTTERDAM PARTNERS

PUT THIS ON YOUR TO-DO-LIST: Rrrollend Rotterdam – Food, drinks and fun in the Kralingse Bos. Full of diverse performances, specialty beers and great food. Need we say more? 14 – 16 October Rotterdam Harvest Market – Foodies unite! Harvest Market is a biweekly farmers market, filled with local products from regional farmers and urban neighbours. Both in Rotterdam West and North. Until 17 December Street-Art Expo – Rotterdam has many great art initiatives. Street-Art Expo is a free exhibition with street art works from Dutch

24 | Issue 34 | October 2016

artists, ranging from established names to local talents. Until 28 October Day tour to Maasvlakte 2 - Maasvlakte 2 is a major civil engineering project in the Netherlands, constructing a new port. Several organisations offer boat tours to experience this new and interesting piece of Rotterdam. Hollandse Kost – This indoor autumn festival focuses on Dutch alternative music. Hollandse Kost literally means ‘Dutch Grub’, so expect great food alongside great music. The festival is held at various locations, one of them being Rotown, on the happening Nieuwe Binnenweg. 16 October

Nieuwe Binnenweg. Photo: Peter Schmidt

Discover Benelux | Rotterdam | Close to the City Centre Highlights

A culinary love story

With an inexhaustible passion for Italian cuisine and quality products, and not to forget for each other, Peppe and Linda Cappellano of Italian deli La Vita é Bella have been making life in Rotterdam more beautiful for years. The most divine Italian delicacies smile upon you when entering the deli on the Oostzeedijk Beneden, creating a feast for both the eyes and ears. The smell of fresh coffee, a broad range of antipasti, cheeses, Italian sausages, olive oil, dried ham, fresh paninis: this lunchroom is an oasis for those who desire a touch of Italy. La Vita é Bella was born in 2006 as the brainchild of Peppe and Linda. They were both


from Sicily, both knew exquisite food, and both were determined to bring the best piece of Italy to the Netherlands. They fell in love on the south Italian island, after which Linda followed Peppe to Rotterdam. “All products in La Vita é Bella come from local Italian companies,” Peppe says. “All ingredients carry the ‘Qualitalia’ mark, a label indicating the product’s quality and authenticity.” Besides being the perfect Italian setting for specialty shopping, lunch or simply a cup of coffee on the sunlit terrace, La Vita é Bella organises tastings and offers ‘Servizio di Gastronomia’, or custom catering. Many companies in Rotterdam have used their catering service for years. “And if desired, we come to your home to cook in your own kitchen,” according to Peppe. La Vita é Bella’s secret ingredient? “Passion,” Peppe enthuses. “Italians do everything with passion. And that is our motto too: do it with passion, or do not do it at all!”


At Osteria Sala Federico, surrounded by vivacious Italian banter and authentic products that steep the space with heavenly smells, you will find that the real taste of Italy is never far away. Being the younger brother of deli La Vita é Bella, Osteria Sala Federico follows its sibling in purely serving Italian traditional and local products. Whereas Vita é Bella is a lunchroom, Osteria Sala Federico opens in the evening, being the ideal spot for a long night of Italian wining and dining. An Osteria originated in Italy as a place for serving simple yet exquisite dishes, accompanied by a good glass of wine. “An Osteria is a cosy Italian living room where people come together to enjoy good food and wine,” owner Peppe explains. The name Federico refers to the six-year-old son of Peppe and his wife Linda. “And – coincidentally – the name of our chef is also

Federico,” Peppe laughs. There is no solid menu at the Rotterdam Osteria; what is being served is dependent on the season - and what Italy is eating that day. “We get deliveries from Italy three times a week. Friday, for example, we often have fish on the menu because traditionally Italians eat fish on that day.” Classics such as pasta with truffles or pasta with lobster however, rarely disappear from the menu. “We only serve products from Italy. Nowhere else. Our gambas come from the Mediterranean Sea and our wines are all bought from local Italian families.” As Italian as the products are Osteria’s staff and customs. “I run quite a tight ship,” Peppe laughs. “No cappuccino for example, as Italians only drink that before 9am. And there is no way customers get a knife next to their plate of spaghetti or tagliatelle!”

Owner Guiseppe Cappellano and Chef Bruni. Issue 34 | October 2016 | 25

Discover Benelux | Rotterdam | Close to the City Centre Highlights

Reinstating Spanish cuisine in all its glory Of course there are many restaurants in Rotterdam to visit when you feel like eating Spanish food. However, you will find very few places where the dishes are being prepared as brilliantly as Destino, a lovely hotspot on the north side of the city. Inspired and driven by their various trips to Spain, Nelleke Elbert and her husband Niels Koomans decided to open their own restaurant. In the words of Elbert, they both disliked the way Spanish cuisine was (and still is) treated in the Netherlands, where they often serve “heavy, dispassionate and fried dishes”. For Elbert, who has over 20 years of experience in the food service industry, having her own restaurant was a long-cherished wish. So when the couple wanted to transform their shared love for Spain into something tangible, the idea of a restaurant came to their minds pretty quickly. “We began with travelling a lot, just to learn about the kitchen, which has a very rich history and that has no problems letting in other global influences as well.”

No wonder Destino’s menu reminds us a bit of fusion cooking, with all kinds of influences from Middle Eastern, South American and Moorish cuisine. The menu changes every month and varies from the well-known and quite classic jamón ibérico to ‘pincho de pollo’ (marinated chicken spears with pumpkin purée) and has many daily specials to offer. For example, the ‘tortilla del dia’, which is filled with meat, fish or vegetables. If you do not feel like picking something from the menu, that is no problem. There is a variety of frequently changing off-menu tapas dishes that can be ordered as well. “Changing


things up constantly keeps it exciting. Not only for the guests, but for us as well,” Elbert says. Apart from all the mouth-watering dishes, Destino also offers a wide range of wines and Cavas, while there are also around 15 different gin and tonics for those who want to make their evening even more interesting. As they do not take any reservations and you will probably have to spend some time at the bar before getting to your table, it is good to know that you will not have to go thirsty while doing so.

Discover Benelux | Rotterdam | Close to the City Centre Highlights


What are you supposed to do when you have been detained and are expected by society to take care of yourself when you are out of jail? Klaasjan Krook and his partner Karin Nijman help women aged between 25 and 35 who cannot get a job. They set up a restaurant called Rebelz aan de Rotte because it is by the Rotte (“one of the most beautiful places in Rotterdam”) to give these ladies a second chance at rebuilding their life. “The first thing these girls want when they get back to society is to get their life on track again,” says Krook. “We developed a programme with the Horeca Academie, a school for hotel and catering businesses, to train these ladies.” In the restaurant, these ladies can put their knowledge directly to use. It is a win-win situation; the women get an education and a job while the restaurant has new staff every now and then.

It took about a year from start to finish, but Krook and his partner had a lot of luck. “We came in contact with a Syrian chef, who has his own restaurant. He wanted to help us with supplies. His ideas about food inspired us. We found out he’s a star chef, and he wanted to help us out because he believes in second chances like no other.” Although the social element of the restaurant is very important, the quality of the food and the dining experience is the main attraction at Rebelz aan de Rotte.

Dominican warmth in Rotterdam TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK | PHOTOS: LA BANDERA

The scent of worldly herbs waft towards you when stepping into La Bandera, while the warmth of the atmosphere overflows you. You could almost forget that you are not on an idyllic island in the Caribbean: you are in Rotterdam. La Bandera offers authentic Dominican cuisine, combined with a tangible love for food and a portion of unmatched gastronomy. “Because of the country’s history of slavery and colonisation, the Dominican kitchen is a vibrant mix of cultures: a blend of African, Spanish, Portuguese and indigenous (Taínos)

influences,” owner Irving Eleonora explains. “It is a unique yet somehow recognisable cuisine.” La Bandera literally translates to ‘the flag’ and is the country’s national dish. The ingredients – meat, bean stew and rice – represent the colours of the national flag. It is an absolute classic on the menu, together with ‘moro’, a mixture of rice, beans and vegetables, usually served with stewed meat and a fresh salad. Eleonora’s dish of choice? “Moro con chivo [stewed goat’s meat] – delicious!” Eleonora’s love for cooking started at a young age, with a grandmother and mother

who were always busy in the kitchen. In 2013 he opened La Bandera, which in a short time conquered the hearts of many. “The Dutch are open to Dominican cuisine – they feel at home with the warmth and vivacious spirit that lives here. It is like entering a big Dominican living room, with music and atmosphere,” Eleonora enthuses. “Dominicans are very proud of their culture and cuisine. They want to share it. That is exactly what La Bandera does. We put Dominican cuisine on the culinary map.”

Issue 34 | October 2016 | 27

Discover Benelux | Rotterdam | Close to the City Centre Highlights


What better way to explore Rotterdam than from a ship sailing in the world’s biggest harbour, where one minute you can see the largest ships in the world and the next see seals on the Second Maasvlakte? With a tour on the ships of Partyservice Netherlands you can fully enjoy this side of town. “We have two ships: The Brandaris, which carries 135 passengers and sails in the Rotterdam harbour, and the Ameland, which carries 300 passengers and tours the Maasvlakte,” tells Esther Kruisinga, sales manager at Partyservice. “The tour starts at the Maeslantkering, the spectacular storm surge barrier that completes the Deltaworks. You will then pass the Breeddiep and sail into the impressive Europoort area, where you will be able to get a view of ships as high as buildings and the seals that rest on the artificial beaches. You will dock at the coastal town of Hoek van Holland.”

The tours on the ship are 1.5 hours, 2.5 hours or 3.5 hours, complete with food and drinks. “Our ships set sail when we have at least 45 people on them. We offer tours throughout the year,” explains Kruisinga. On the website you can see which dates exactly. “Our tours will take you from one highlight to another, from one top sight to the next. We will get you as close as possible to the giants of the sea, as well as showing you a truly remarkable piece of the Netherlands. All from the waters around beautiful Rotterdam.”

Welcoming the world

From coffee and cake to concerts and conferences, Rotterdam University’s hi-tech Erasmus Pavilion is buzzing with culture and energy. An international crowd of students, teachers, professors, business people and Rotterdammers all find their way to the spectacular Erasmus Pavilion. “This place is alive with music, culture, ideas and seriously good food,” says marketing manager Amanda Wijgerse. “It’s the beating heart of the University campus, where people from all over the world meet up, study, go for a meal, see a concert or take part in a conference.” 28 | Issue 34 | October 2016


The modern wood and glass building has received many plaudits for its attractive appearance, open aspect and sustainable design with solar panels, geothermal heating and dry toilets. The building houses a restaurant, study facilities, two meeting rooms and a 200-plus-seat theatre, all under one roof. “Any company or organisation is welcome to book their event at the Pavilion,” Wijgerse explains. “With smart partitioning we can cater for anything from a small seminar to a full-on business conference, and with its retractable seating system our theatre can accommodate lectures and conferences, but also parties, concerts and performances.”

The catering is also top-notch. “Our Italianinspired restaurant serves Fair Trade coffee and handmade cakes, wholesome sandwiches, homemade pizzas and delicious pastas, burgers and salads - all at under ten euros a meal!” adds Wijgerse. The Pavilion is situated in the middle of beautiful Kralingen with its leafy streets, city forest and lake, yet is easy to reach by public transport and only a short drive from the arterial A16 motorway, for swift connections to Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, Utrecht, The Hague and Antwerp.


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Discover Benelux | Property | Top Real Estate in Luxembourg



Living in the heart of Europe With its enviable location at the heart of Western Europe and excellent living standards, it is unsurprising that Luxembourg has such a thriving real estate market. If you are looking for a property in the Grand Duchy, make sure you pay a trip to National Housing Week, which is taking place this October as part of 2016’s Home & Living Expo at the Luxexpo exhibition centre. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER | PHOTOS: HOME & LIVING EXPO AND NATIONAL HOUSING WEEK

30 | Issue 34 | October 2016

Discover Benelux | Property | Top Real Estate in Luxembourg

Home & Living Expo

National Housing Week

Widely regarded as the most important exhibition in Luxembourg for all things related to trends and lifestyle, the Home & Living Expo takes place every autumn. It was launched in 2014, replacing the Autumn Fair, which had been held at Luxexpo ever since 1976.

Organised by Luxembourg’s Housing Department, National Housing Week has been an integral part of the Home & Living Expo since 2014, and takes place in hall nine. The public can visit both National Housing Week and Home & Living Expo simultaneously, making them the ideal opportunity to find out everything one needs to know about the country’s housing industry.

Welcoming over 300 specialists in the field, it is a must for anyone interested in interior design and architecture. This year’s edition runs from 15 - 23 October. “What makes Home & Living Expo so successful is its ability to unite the largest community of housing experts from sectors as varied as construction, renovation and furnishings to present market developments and consumer trends,” explains director of Luxexpo Jean-Michel Collignon.

Bringing together representatives from banks, insurance companies, real estate agencies, housing developers and more, National Housing Week offers the general public a fully comprehensive overview of Luxembourg’s flourishing property scene. Topics covered range from buying and renting to obtaining a mortgage, as well as important themes such as sustainable housing.

For more details visit:

Home & Living Expo and National Housing Week take place from 15 - 23 October at the Luxexpo exhibition centre, 10 Circuit de La Foire Internationale, 1347 Luxembourg Opening hours are Monday - Friday: 12pm - 7pm Weekends: 10am - 7pm Home & Living Expo takes place in halls two, three, seven, eight and nine and is accessible through the north and south entrance National Housing Week is located in hall nine Situated in Kirchberg, the heart of Luxembourg City’s business district, Luxexpo is only seven kilometres from the airport

Issue 34 | October 2016 | 31

Discover Benelux | Property | Top Real Estate in Luxembourg

Creating a space in your own image TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER | PHOTOS: CASAVITAE

Founded in 2007, CASAvitae came to life out of love for architecture and the desire to help customers find a property that resonates with who they are. Based on trust, professionalism and a high-quality service, the team strives to provide the best advice and service to its national and international clientele. Focused on establishing trust with their clients, be it owner or occupant, CASAvitae prioritises above all to meet their clients’ objectives. Founded by Margret Schröder, the young and dynamic team of competent experts in the field of real estate in Luxembourg specialises in selecting the most prestigious and varied properties around the Grand Duchy. One of their unique features is to serve their clients in seven languages: French, English, German, Luxembourgish, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish. CASAvitae works mainly through recommendations and has established long32 | Issue 34 | October 2016

term client relationships by providing excellent services. From practical advice to administrative help, the team stays available during the entire rental period when necessary. Clients can expect to get a personalised array of options to choose from, offering a range of properties that cover all the key segments of residential, office, industrial, retail, hospitality property and mixed-use projects either from their own portfolio or through their tight network. “In the residential field we see the core of our work not simply in providing a space to live in, but a space in which people can come to in order to relax after a long or stressful day, can spend quality time with friends and family and re-energise in a sound living environment,” says founder Margret Schröder. “We work with a wide-ranging clientele, from families to single professionals, expats, companies, investors… we currently have around 90 properties available on our website plus unpublished properties, which always

vary with market conditions and times of the year.” Their offers are tailored to the needs of the clients, who will get advice on the best investment, neighbourhoods, proximity to work or to schools for the children, public transport or convenience facilities. Always acting with professionalism and integrity and great attention to detail, the team at CASAvitae is eager to provide the best results to their new and returning customers.

Discover Benelux | Property | Top Real Estate in Luxembourg

The Cloister of St. Francis offers luxury living with unparalleled views across Luxembourg City, from the heart of the old town.

Luxurious living in Luxembourg’s most coveted district TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS | PHOTOS: LE CLOITRE DE SAINT-FRANCOIS

Located in the heart of Luxembourg city, just moments away from the Grand-Ducal Palace and key commercial areas, is the Cloister of St. Francis, an ancient Dominican convent that has been entirely renovated. Now converted into 19 luxury apartments, it offers exceptional views onto the whole old town thanks to its superb location on the corniche. The apartments are between 100 and 800 square metres in size. In addition to its prime location and panoramas overlooking Luxembourg’s beautiful parks, the remains of the city’s fortress and the fabulous old town, the Cloister of St. Francis is in itself an architectural gem. The old convent, which since the middle of the 19th century belonged to the Congregation of Franciscan Sisters of the Misericorde, is built around an ornamental cloister decorated with vaults. The extraordinary building contains a

wall dating from 700 AD – the oldest discovered in Luxembourg.

complex includes lifts, staircases and emergency exits.

The complex, which was once an eye hospital, later became a home for the elderly. Eloi Thill, managing director of the project’s developer LE CLOITRE SA, explains: “The Cloister of St. Francis is a high-end development. The building is classed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and thus we have kept many of its original fittings, such as the stunning ceiling beams.” The apartments feature 3.8-metre-high ceilings, underfloor heating, air conditioning and parquet flooring throughout.

“The Cloister of St. Francis is truly in the centre of Luxembourg – in the immediate neighbourhood of the Palais Grand-Ducal (a 16th century Renaissance building and the residence of the Grand Dukes of Luxembourg, the heads of state since 1890). A development like this in the city is no longer possible,” says Mr. Thill.

The spacious, loft-style apartments can be wholly customised by clients, down to the floors and bathroom fittings. In keeping with the original style of the building, the key communal area will be the interior courtyard. Concierge and valet services will be available on site for residents. The

The unique development is due to be finished between the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 and sales on over half of the apartments have now been completed. The remaining apartments are sized between 100 and 320 square metres. Each plot can be designed and personalised according to the owner’s taste and specifications. Access to the different plots will be via rue Sigefroi or rue Large. Issue 34 | October 2016 | 33

Discover Benelux | Property | Top Real Estate in Luxembourg

Itzig project.

Résidence Stella

CEO Francesco Giampaolo Photo: © Laurent BEI

Itzig project.

A passion for the perfect home TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER | PHOTOS: LIVINGFORM

Born out of a family’s passion and dedication to their work in real estate, LivingForm attracts its clients through its simplicity, know-how and great communication with customers. For a personalised approach and special attention to detail in the field of real estate in Luxembourg, look no further. The LivingForm family business entered the real estate market in 2015 to meet the housing desires of their national and international clients. The company combines the parents’ knowledge and expertise built over more than 20 years - with their son’s passion and energy. “We specialise mostly in the sale and rental of property in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and as a result deal with a large array of customers - working not only with families but often in collaboration with other companies, 34 | Issue 34 | October 2016

real estate relocation companies, groups of investors and individuals,” says CEO Francesco Giampaolo. What sets LivingForm apart from their competitors is combining their real estate expertise with interior and exterior design, given their close collaboration with leading architects in the field. “Interior decoration for instance became an attractive offer in our field of work since many of our clients do not often have a lot of time to think about all the details of their new living space. This is why we collaborate with interior design architects to provide a solution to their needs,” Giampaolo tells us. For an all-round service and attention with care, LivingForm is always eager to provide its service to new and returning customers.

Project Bivange.

Discover Benelux | Property | Top Real Estate in Luxembourg


Spread over nine established agencies and with the development of a further five in the Benelux and France area, Tempocasa is a trusted companion when it comes to picking the right space that meets the criteria of their clients. As a brand, Tempocasa was founded in 1988 by MM Ferrari, Canino and Ferra, becoming a real estate leader in Europe with offices in Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, the United Kingdom and Spain. With 27 years of experience, Tempocasa has developed the best training and sales tools for their staff, resulting in a growth of 30 per cent in 2015 alone. Establishing the Benelux & France franchise in 2013, Stefano Somma and Pascal Marchese are proud to see where the growth and quality of their services has taken them: “We have worked hard on our strategic positioning and brand perception. This, combined with strong personal commitment,

has made our approach very attractive to our customers - with successful results,” says Marchese. Offering hundreds of different housing solutions on their website, Tempocasa works primarily with the private and commercial sector but is also active in the field of corporate housing. As an international agency, the team prides itself in being very close to their clients,

making Tempocasa the right partner to satisfy the most ambitious housing dreams. Working with both an international and local clientele, new customers can visit the agency of their choice or browse the company’s extensive portfolio on their website. For more information telephone: +352621414427 or visit

The founders of Tempocasa

‘A family home, office or plot of land – we do it all’ TEXT: NDÉLA FAYE | PHOTOS: MKA

From studio apartments to larger flats and houses in Luxembourg, MKA Malou Knaff Sàrl is set on finding customers whatever it is they need. Founded in 2001 by Malou Knaff, MKA is determined to find the best accommodation for every client. The company’s listings include houses, apartments, studios, offices for rent and sale, as well as land for sale. With a wide range of properties, combined with their extensive experience, MKA can find properties to suit various customer needs. In addition to accommodation, the company also provides an insurance service, MKA COURTIER. Whether it is insurance for private individuals living in Luxembourg or insurance for companies, MKA COURTIER is committed to finding the best offer to suit every customer’s needs and wishes. For more information, please visit:

LEFT: The nearly completed residence in Belair, composed of 11 apartments and two penthouses. RIGHT: Property for sale in Echternach. BOTTOM: Property for sale in Pontpierre.

Issue 34 | October 2016 | 35

Discover Benelux | Property | Top Real Estate in Luxembourg

LEFT: Farmhouse in Steinsel. RIGHT: Contemporary townhouse, Luxembourg Pétrusse. BOTTOM MIDDLE: Luxury duplex, Residence du Château, Luxembourg. BOTTOM RIGHT: Belle Epoque villa, Luxembourg-Pétrusse


Ideally located at the heart of Europe, Luxembourg is reputed for its cultural diversity, strong economy and high living standards. From farmhouses to townhouses, Sotheby’s International Realty offers a range of luxurious properties to ensure you find exactly what you are looking for. Luxembourg’s location cannot be beaten. It is just an hour’s flight from many European capitals, with several daily connections. But there are many more reasons why people from across the globe decide to make the Grand Duchy their home. “Many people initially settle here for professional and/or financial reasons,” begins Philippe Vermast, one of the founding members of Sotheby’s International Realty’s Luxembourg branch. “The political and economic stability, tax benefits and numerous languages spoken are just a few advantages of living here. The European School and international schools also attract young families who want their children to be educated in their mother tongue.” This small but perfectly formed country also boasts an architectural scene as varied 36 | Issue 34 | October 2016

as its cultural landscape. “Luxembourg’s many churches, abbeys and bridges are as much a part of the national architectural heritage as the houses themselves, which are always blended tastefully into their surroundings,” explains Vermast. “The key word is coexistence; subtly mixing the remnants of the past with surprising modern creations. Here, the architecture reflects an eventful history, a rich industrial past and rapid economic development.” According to Sotheby’s International Realty, investors would do well to buy in Luxembourg City or its near suburbs. Those looking for a private residence should widen their search, depending on the style of property and way of life they desire. Many of the country’s most soughtafter properties are located in the capital, with elegant neighbourhoods such as Belair, Merl and Limpertsberg particularly

in demand. Peaceful and verdant villages close to the city are also popular. “Customers focus their search on those areas because they want to be close to their workplace, as well as schools, restaurants and shops. Also, when they come from abroad, they do not necessarily know about the quality of life that can be enjoyed in towns located even further outside of the city, which benefit from a beautiful environment, great infrastructure and ease of access into the centre,” explains Vermast. “We have a wide selection of prestigious properties across the country, enabling us to offer our customers a home to meet their personal needs and lifestyle, whether that is a farmhouse on the edge of the Moselle river or a penthouse in the heart of the city.”

LOCAL CONNECTIONS GLOBAL EXPERTISE As experts of the high-end real estate market, we provide the highest standard of service for qualitative transactions. Offering a wide range of exclusive properties, we commit ourselves entirely to our customers’ satisfaction. Our global marketing strategy combines the know-how of our team with the powerful worldwide network of Sotheby’s International Realty.

70, avenue Guillaume | L-1650 Luxembourg | T. +352 20 19 19 |

Discover Benelux | Events | Top Meeting & Event Planning in Flanders

Fast Forward


Make your next event exceptional Are you lacking inspiration for your next business event or party? Whatever it is you are planning, there are companies who can help. Whether you are looking for a new and original way to present your company’s products, are looking for the perfect venue for a conference or simply want to throw a party to remember, look no further than our guide. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER

De Montil. Photo: Š Studio Schrever

38 | Issue 34 | October 2016

Discover Benelux| | Top Rotterdam | KopPlanning van ZuidinHighlights Discover Benelux | Events Meeting & Event Flanders

New Balls Please

Planning is everything Unforgettable events do not just happen, they require a whole lot of planning - sometimes weeks, months or even years in advance. Whatever it is you are organising, your event needs to communicate who you are as a brand, and once you have decided on the message you would like to get across, any questions you have on location, themes, decorations et cetera should be easier to answer. It is also important to ask yourself what the main purpose of your event is. Is it to launch a new product, or perhaps to increase brand awareness or develop customer loyalty? The answer to this question will affect many of the decisions you make. As well as obvious initial considerations such as budget, remember to make timings a priority too. Ensure there are no other important events being organised by your competitors at a similar time, and think about who will be attending your event. Is there a particular time of

year when people will be less likely to attend?

Spread the word Once you have your event in the diary, it is fundamental to develop your marketing plan. Think about why people will be attracted to your event and do not forget the importance of social media. Twitter and Instagram hashtags are a great way to generate buzz, so try to set up a unique hashtag in advance. Depending on the event’s size, you may want to have a dedicated social media team.

Lead by example When it comes to the big day, one of the key things to remember is to relax and to always have a contingency plan. Organising an event can be highly stressful, which is why knowing your event is in the capable hands of a highly experienced event planner is a lifesaver. As well as benefitting from their experience and creativity, it means you will be able to enjoy the big moment without stress. If you are having fun, there is a high chance your guests will too.

Look out for these Flanders-based companies to ensure your event is unforgettable: Fast Forward Located in the Ghent, Fast Forward has built a reputation as one of Belgium's top event marketing and brand activation companies since its launch some 13 years ago. Whether organising a corporate, public or private event, the Fast Forward team are famed for their creativity and original thinking. Read more from page 40 New Balls Please Ghent-based live storytelling agency New Balls Please is a full-service MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events) agency with a hugely diverse portfolio. From product launches and exhibition stands to international events, the team bring a wealth of experience and originality. Read more from page 42 De Montil With a rural yet easily accessible location not far from Brussels and its international airport, De Montil has been hosting events for almost four decades. From award ceremonies to product presentations and conferences, De Montil has expertise in events of all shapes and sizes. Read more from page 44

Issue 34 | October 2016 | 39

Discover Benelux | Events | Top Meeting & Event Planning in Flanders

Ghent Floralies

Belgium’s branding wizards TEXT: FRANK VAN LIESHOUT

With a client list to be envied and a cabinet full of prizes, Fast Forward have established themselves as one of Belgium’s top event marketing and brand activation companies. Combining creative flair with marketing nous and production expertise, they can turn a great idea into an even greater event. Based in the historic city of Ghent, Fast Forward was founded some 13 years ago by Mathias Kerckhof and Pascal Cauwelier. Hailing from the music industry and extreme sports respectively, their first collaborations were with brands such as Red Bull, Maes Pils and Studio Brussels radio. “Those were the rock and roll years,” Pascal smiles. “As we grew and became more successful, we started to diversify. Since, we have moved into corporate events and brand activation, as well as public events, private events 40 | Issue 34 | October 2016


and staff parties. All in all, it has been a great ride so far, and it’s won us a cabinet full of prizes, including first prize this year in Experience Magazine’s prestigious customer satisfaction competition.”

where the magic represents flair, passion, risk, impulse and imagination, while the logic is the planning part of events, being realistic, rational and organised. The trick is to make sure the two are in balance.”

Logic meets magic

Fast Forward’s optimal blend of creative and organisational skills have earned them long-standing partnerships with an impressive roster of A-list clients, including Philips, Samsung, Carglass, Volvo, Velux, ArcelorMittal, Samsonite, Coca-Cola and many others. “We’ve been working with some of these companies on a regular basis for more than ten years,” Pascal points out. “I think these relationships are especially strong and solid, because we truly engage with our clients. Rather than just doing what they ask us to do, we respond to their thoughts and ideas, and that makes it more fun as well. Together with the client,

Explaining the secret of their success, Pascal emphasises Fast Forward’s organisational and production skills. “Don’t get me wrong,” he says. “We’re a very creative company and we like a challenge. We have set up a restaurant in a corn field, put a football pitch on a high-rise building, dressed a city in flowers and launched a nationwide clean-up of Belgium’s beaches. So we’re well known for our creative skills and fresh ideas. But without realistic targets, proper planning and excellent execution, these great ideas don’t mean anything. It’s all part of what we call our logic meets magic model,

Discover Benelux | Events | Top Meeting & Event Planning in Flanders

we clearly define goals and targets and devise a plan that will deliver on those targets in the best possible way.”

It was truly intense and inspiring, and it shows the virtues of bold thinking and careful planning.”

City in flowers

New challenges

An excellent example of Fast Forward’s overall strength in strategy, creative and production is the Ghent Floralies. Earlier this year, Fast Forward broke new ground by moving this 200-year-old event from the Flanders Expo Convention Centre outside Ghent’s city centre to the many historic architectural sites inside the city’s medieval walls. “It was a tremendous success. Rather than showing all those beautiful flowers in the somewhat sterile environment of a convention centre, we put them in the context of the city, with artists from all over the world creating the most stunning floral works in dialogue with Ghent’s wonderful historic architecture.

Looking to the future, Pascal can see bright prospects for his company. “Provided we keep looking forward,” he adds. “If you look at the rapid change the industry has undergone over the last decade, it tells you that you continuously need to make an effort to respond to new developments. The internet has especially made a big impact. It has changed the way we approach the build-up towards an event, the way we can boost its reach and the way we can capitalise on its success, with people posting pictures, likes and comments and adding to the conversation surrounding a brand.” On top of this, technology such as video,

Ghent Floralies

projections, sound, lights has become much more sophisticated. These days, similar budgets will buy production values Pascal could never have dreamt of ten years ago. Looking back at the past, Pascal expects new developments to come along and disrupt the industry in the future as well, but he is confident Fast Forward is ready to respond. “We’ve become one of the leading event marketing and brand activation agencies in Belgium, with a flexible core of around 20 people working at our offices. Within this structure we are able to take on new opportunities without comprising on the work we do for our existing clients. It’s a chance we relish. As I said before: we like a challenge!”

Come a Casa

Maes Music Box


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Discover Benelux | Events | Top Meeting & Event Planning in Flanders

Berlin agency, Cacao Barry World Chocolate Masters

Professionally creating happy memories TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK | PHOTOS: NEW BALLS PLEASE

An event is not just a party – it is an essential way to tell a story, to present yourself and your products or services to the world. New Balls Please makes sure every event is your best event. New Balls Please is a Belgian-based full-service MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events) agency, organising everything from client events to exhibition stands and from products launches to large, international events. As a live storytelling agency with clients all over the Benelux and a team together having around 65 years of experience in event management, New Balls Please puts the “brand” in “brand new” and the “waaaw” in “waaaawesome”.

Fresh ideas, please “New Balls Please literally refers to the game of tennis,” founder and co-owner of New Balls Please Michel Van Camp 42 | Issue 34 | October 2016

explains. “After a few games of tennis, new balls are necessary because they provide players with the elasticity and power to win an important game. Those new balls provide possibilities and fresh input, which results in a better quality game. That is exactly what our agency does; provide events expertise through fresh ideas, with an extra spice and an eye for detail.”

Live storytelling for every branch New Balls Please is the proud child of Van Camp, Valérie De Coster and Stein Hoogstoel, all sharing their extensive experience and passion for event planning and management. Van Camp has 20 years of event experience and several national and international event trophies under his belt. Coming from a tourism and recreation background himself, New Balls Please organises events within every possible branch: from

medical to automotive, and from telecom to public transport. “Our portfolio is massively diverse. Cases range from a shopping day for Sanoma Media, to a Unilever product launch, to a dealer congress for Opel.” The focus mainly lies on B2C and B2B events. Events are organised in both Belgium and abroad, ranging from a Huawei staff excursion in the Netherlands, to a TomTom press event in Tignes, France, to an impressive ship launch for DEME in Bilbao, Spain. “We distinguish ourselves as a provider of both national and international event solutions. We have experts in our team who specifically focus on international events,” Van Camp enthuses. “Going somewhere international always gives that extra element to planning an event. It is something you feel every time you get on that airplane.”

Discover Benelux | Events | Top Meeting & Event Planning in Flanders

New Balls Please’s events are made through the winning combination of service, creativity, and aesthetics – all immersed with a keen sense of detail and a perfect combination of the latest trends and timeless elegance. “A congress, meeting, party, or seminar is something your staff members or important clients will remember. Naturally you work from a specific budget or script, but it is utterly important to keep in mind that the personality of a business must be reflected through an event. You want to stand out as a business. You want to create happy memories.”

Guaranteed experience The team at New Balls Please consists of eight people, each with their own specialty and background. Together

they form an elegant mix of experience and expertise. “I believe that people make your business. All members of our team receive continuous and extensive support. It is the people that have to realise an event - they have to make it into a success. What constitutes a good event planner? Being able to deal with stress is quite an important factor,” Van Camp laughs. “And of course someone has to be service-aimed, creative, handson, and have a lot of common sense.” Every client can count on the fact that they will deal with someone with a minimum of 15 years’ experience. “All our clients deal with one of the managers directly. We are all still active in the field, are actually still planning and managing events.”

So what characterises a good event? “A satisfied customer. New Balls Please promises an event of exquisite quality where everything will be perfectly taken care of, with an atmosphere and character reflecting that of the client’s business. We truly are a live storytelling agency. I know we promise a lot – and yet we always deliver that bit extra.” CONTACT DETAILS: New Balls Please Stapelplein 70/102 9000 Gent BELGIUM +32 92659800

TomTom, Press event Tignes

Private event

Volvo Sterckx XC90 launch

Callebaut Opening Chocolate Academy

Opel Belgium, Corsa launch

Issue 34 | October 2016 | 43

Discover Benelux | Events | Top Meeting & Event Planning in Flanders

37 years of unforgettable moments from De Montil TEXT: STIAN SANGVIG | PHOTOS: STUDIO SCHREVER

Idyllically situated in rural surroundings close to Brussels and its international airport, De Montil has arranged events for nearly four decades. “Being a dedicated family business allows us to offer our clients the most flexible solutions in the market including lastminute changes,” director Marleen De Bolle explains. Indeed, De Montil has grown significantly since being founded by Jan De Bolle in 1979 starting with four indoor tennis courts and a large room for gym and dance. “In 1991 we built our first conference centre with a 1,000-square-metre conference hall, a 100-person auditorium room and a 1,300-square-metre multifunctional hall,” De Bolle continues. Today De Montil has more than 20 employees and offers events in one auditorium and 15 rooms ranging from 40 to 1,300 square metres. “We cater for any type of business-to-business 44 | Issue 34 | October 2016

event, for example seminars, product launches, corporate events, conferences and trade fairs,” De Bolle says. Whilst close to the Brussels Ring Road, Zaventem Airport and several hotels (with a couple of whom De Montil collaborates), the company’s surroundings appear idyllic and almost rural. “In our garden decorated with contemporary art our visitors can enjoy drinks and snacks from our own kitchen after a busy day,” De Bolle describes. As the company grows in one of Europe’s busiest and most politically powerful cities they are planning to build more parking spaces, thus making it more accessible to even more visitors. With flexible solutions in rural settings, De Montil shows that business can indeed mean pleasure. For more information, visit:


Fja-Oeyen creates the most attractive and beautifully duvet covers for you in its own workshop. In the fabric and with the design of your choice. In our showrooms you will be able to choose from a vast range of textiles. And yet the biggest secret for blissful and healthy sleeping comfort are Fja-Oeyen down duvets. For over 4 generations, they have been produced in an authentic, traditional manner. In our stores and webshop you can buy pure Belgian quality products with a lifelong warranty on stuffing in 100% down. Always alterable and washable in the Fja-Oeyen down laundry. At you can read all about it.

WEB SHOP WWW.FJA-OEYEN.BE Asstraat 2 • 2400 Mol / Orgelstraat 5 • 2000 Antwerpen T. 014-31 13 92 • • DOWN DUVETS






Discover Benelux | Interview | Luc Tuymans


Through the lens Belgian artist Luc Tuymans is often cited as one of the most significant and influential contemporary artists working today. His work is displayed in museums across the globe; from the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris to New York’s Guggenheim, while his portrait of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands can be found at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum. Tuymans’ work often attracts attention due to its daring and political subject matter, yet his latest exhibition in London has a seemingly far more banal theme: glasses. We caught up with the Antwerp-based creative and part-time spectacle wearer to learn more about his fascination with frames. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER | PHOTOS: LUC TUYMANS

“I was looking through all the portraits I’ve painted up to now and I realised that three quarters of my subjects have glasses, which was quite intriguing,” begins the artist. “So I thought it would be interesting to make a show dedicated to them.” Tuymans mostly uses his own glasses for reading, but why does he think he has been so attracted to painting spectacle wearers? “It wasn’t a conscious choice, but I have always enjoyed painting glasses,” he explains. “The idea of glasses has a lot to do with identity. When somebody takes their glasses off it’s very strange. They bring a kind of distortion to the face, but are not perceived as a radical change.” Tuymans narrowed down his expansive portrait collection to a small selection that will go on display at London’s National Portrait Gallery from 4 October until 26 March 2017.

Pushing boundaries One of the most unsettling pieces to feature in the exhibition is Tuymans’ 2012 portrait of Issei Sagawa, the Japanese man notorious for murdering and cannibalising a Dutch woman in Paris in 1981. Sagawa, 46 | Issue 34 | October 2016

who was deemed unfit to stand trial by the French judiciary due to his mental health, was allowed to return to Japan where the now 67-year-old continues to appear in the public eye thanks to many people’s macabre interest in his crime. “That’s the most recent of my portraits that will be on display,” says Tuymans. “A cannibal who studied at the Sorbonne [university in Paris]. This is a portrait of him now, actually, where you see him wearing glasses but nearly invisible.” Even though the exhibition’s theme may initially appear to be rather ordinary, this disturbing portrait highlights Tuymans’ tradition of engaging with eerie subject matter and dark historical events.

An eye for curation In addition to his Glasses exhibition, Tuymans has been busy working on curating works to feature as part of Intrigue: James Ensor by Luc Tuymans at London’s Royal Academy of Arts. The exhibition, running from 29 October 2016 - 29 January 2017, represents the first major selection of the Belgian expressionist painter’s work to be held in the UK in 20 years. It will bring together around 70 of Ensor’s paintings, drawings and prints selected by Tuymans.

“Ensor was one of the major precursors of expressionism,” enthuses Tuymans, who has been an admirer of Ensor since his teenage years and hopes to raise more awareness in the UK of the Brussels-born innovator, whose work influenced the likes of Paul Klee and Emil Nolde. “A lot of British people don’t know the work that well, which is quite ironic because his grandparents were British. I tried to select his most surprising and less-known work. They also asked me to put a work of mine in the show, so there will be my first etching from 1975, which is very Ensorian in a way.” The Ensor project is not Tuymans’ first foray into curating - far from it. “I never actually instigate it! They always ask me,” says the artist, surprised by his curatorial success. He has previously organised exhibitions including 2013’s Constable, Delacroix, Friedrich, Goya. A Shock to the Senses at the Albertinum, Dresden and A Vision of Central Europe at Brugge Centraal, Bruges. While he may now be an experienced curator, the Glasses exhibition actually represents the first time Tuymans has made a thematic selection from his own body of work. It was a moving experience for him. “When I see a work back, even

DiscoverDiscover BeneluxBenelux | Cover| Feature Interview| Claudy | Luc Tuymans Jongstra

Discover Benelux | Interview | Luc Tuymans

Issei Sagawa by Luc Tuymans Oil on canvas, 2012 116.2 x 81.4 cm Private collection

35 years later, I can still remember how it started,” he recalls.

Room for other artists Tuymans and his wife, the Venezuelan artist Carla Arocha, are both passionate art collectors, although you will not find any of Tuymans’ own work on display in their Antwerp home. “Once a painting is done, the thought of having it in my living quarters: just ‘no’,” he affirms. “I couldn’t stand it. I would just see mistakes. I’d rather look at somebody else’s mistakes. When a work is finished, it’s finished. “When I started out I used to live in a very small apartment in the ghetto here in Antwerp. I used to work in the living room and that’s how I destroyed a lot of work. Now, I have the privilege of going to the studio, closing the door and going home. I think the separation between the studio and the home is a good thing.” 48 | Issue 34 | October 2016

Glasses by Luc Tuymans Oil on canvas, 2007 50 x 40 cm Penny Pritzker and Bryan Traubert Collection

True to his roots We wondered whether Tuymans, who was born in 1958 in Mortsel, near Antwerp, would ever consider leaving the Flanders region? “I am very attached to Antwerp. There’s a big history here and there has always been a big history here. It still is one of the biggest ports in Europe,” he begins. “Of course, I’m a bit chauvinistic about it and that’s why I actually still live here.” Tuymans is undoubtedly proud of his Antwerp roots, yet leads an international lifestyle thanks to his global success. Just last year, a major survey of his work, entitled Intolerance, was presented at the Qatar Museums Gallery Al Riwaq in Doha. Other significant surveys show the artist’s work including one at London’s Tate Modern in 2004. What does Tuymans think of the British capital? “London has changed enormously. It’s a very expensive place to be and like a lot of cities, due to globalisation, they

lose their character and that is a pity of course. It is then all rules and regulations,” he laments. “If I was considering having a second home in another city then I would consider somewhere like Madrid, Mexico City or Warsaw. It certainly wouldn’t be New York or London.” That said, Tuymans massively appreciates London’s choice of galleries. “Institution wise, there’s a lot to see…” he enthuses.

Tools of the trade Tuymans is a great admirer of 79-yearold English artist David Hockney, who this summer presented a new body of work for the Royal Academy of Arts exhibition 82 Portraits and 1 Still-life. “If you look at his portraits, they are so fresh. Especially when you take into consideration that he is nearly 80 years old.” Hockney is known for embracing all things digital and having experimented with iPhone and iPad art. Tuymans is

Discover Benelux | Interview | Luc Tuymans

similarly open minded. “I have no fear of new media. It is important to have these things in your tool box,” says the artist, who was widely credited with having contributed to the revival of painting in the 1990s. “You cannot be blind to the world. You shouldn’t fight new media because that’s a fight you’re not going to win.”

A changing palette Tuymans’ method involves painting from pre-existing imagery, exploring how history and memory can be translated into paint. He previously based works on magazine pictures, drawings, television footage or Polaroids, but has more recently begun sourcing material from his own iPhone photos. “I was never a gadget person but once the iPhone came on the market it was

something that I really wanted to have,” he explains. He may be happy to seize technological advancements, but Tuymans has no fears about painting becoming a dying art form. “There’s a massive amount of painting going on,” he enthuses. “There’s been a lot of discourse on the subject which has been quite hollowed out. It is not an interesting debate. Every medium has its specificities. Painting is very specific.” With that in mind, can Tuymans envisage working in another medium in the future? After all, he has previously experimented in film. “I could not combine it with painting. I would have to stop painting and then go intensively into film,” he muses. “But it is still in my underbelly…”

EXHIBITIONS: Luc Tuymans: Glasses 4 October 2016- 26 March 2017 National Portrait Gallery, London, UK Intrigue: James Ensor by Luc Tuymans 29 October 2016 — 29 January 2017 Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK Luc Tuymans. Prémonitions Until 8 January 2017 LaM, Villeneuve-d’Ascq, France

Portrait by Luc Tuymans Oil on canvas, 2000 67 x 39 cm Private Collection. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London

Issue 34 | October 2016 | 49

Discover Benelux | Highlights of Utrecht | The Beating Heart of the Netherlands

Centraal Museum. Photo: © Bert Muller


The beating heart of the Netherlands This vibrant university town is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands and is the perfect size for your next weekend break. A picturesque medieval centre, café-lined canals and gabled merchants’ houses all add to Utrecht’s charm. Not to mention its world-class museums, vibrant nightlife and architecture recognised by UNESCO. This city has it all. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER | PHOTOS: NBTC AND UTRECHT MARKETING

Canal Utrecht

50 | Issue 34 | October 2016

Botanic Gardens. Photo: © Anne Hamers, Toerisme Utrecht

Discover Benelux | Highlights of Utrecht | The Beating Heart of the Netherlands

2014 DOMunder. Photo: Mike Bink

The city centre of Utrecht is car-free, making it ideal for sightseers. One of the main sites is the impressive Dom tower, which can be seen from any point in the city. Over 600 years old, it boasts the highest church tower in the Netherlands. Climb the 465 steps to the top and you will be rewarded with breathtaking views over the city. Another way to enjoy the Dom tower is via a relaxing canal cruise, which will show you all the city sites and give you a chance to admire the numerous historical wharf side houses.

Photo: © Kanoverhuur Utrecht

history via Caravaggisti paintings, modern art, costumes and much more. From philosophy to art, you will find it here. Another renowned Utrecht institution is Museum Catharijneconvent. With impressive art works by the likes of Rembrandt, Pieter Saenredam and Jan van Scorel, it takes you on a journey through Christianity in the Netherlands. Also famous is the Het Spoorwegmuseum, the Railway Museum in Utrecht, which preserves historical equipment from the Dutch national railway. Not just for train spotters, the museum has plenty of attractions for all ages.

Museum hop If you like museums, then you will love Utrecht. There really is a museum for all tastes in this city, which has been a cultural hub for over 2,000 years. A good place to start is Centraal Museum, which explores Utrecht’s fascinating cultural

Did you know that Dick Bruna, creator of the iconic cartoon rabbit Miffy, hails from Utrecht? Perfect for toddlers and children, the adorable Miffy museum allows little ones to enter the world of Miffy and her friends.

UNMISSABLE CULTURAL ATTRACTIONS DOMunder - Perfect for all ages, DOMunder lets you explore 2,000 years of history. Armed with a smart flashlight, you can discover exciting stories and archaeological remains. Rietveld Schröder House - This landmark house recognised by UNESCO is an architectural highlight of the De Stijl art movement. It was designed and decorated in 1924 by Utrecht architect Gerrit Rietveld for Dutch socialite Truus Schröder-Schräder, and exemplifies the architectural principle of ‘form follows function’. Reservation is required. Trajectum Lumen - Take a guided night walk touring beautifully illuminated locations loved by artists that can be found in the city’s historic centre.

Issue 34 | October 2016 | 51

Discover Benelux | Highlights of Utrecht | The Beating Heart of the Netherlands

Mondrian to Dutch design Next year will mark 100 years since the groundbreaking De Stijl art movement was founded. In honour of this, 2017 in the Netherlands will have the theme ‘Mondrian to Dutch design’. Theo van Doesburg, Bart van der Leck, Gerrit Rietveld and Piet Mondrian were four of the most important artists of the group, and they were all born in Utrecht or Amersfoort. Both Mondrian and Rietveld had a huge influence on the region, with Utrecht being home to the largest Rietveld collection in the world. His famous Red and Blue Chair, one of the first explorations by the De Stijl art movement in three dimensions is on permanent display at the Centraal Museum. Look out for a host of special events, exhibitions and new collections showcasing the heritage of De Stijl, famed for its use of geometric shapes and primary colours. To plan your trip visit:

OCTOBER EVENTS: Singelloop Utrecht - This is the oldest city run in the Netherlands, with this October’s event marking its 66th edition. 2 October Bockbierfestival - A must for beer aficionados. Here you can sample a range of 20 bock beers from the Netherlands and abroad - all accompanied by great food and fantastic live music. 14 - 16 October Eurospoor - See over 50 model railways as well as model train collections, model making demonstrations and more at this charming family event. Children will love controlling the tracks and taking a ride on a large model train. 28 - 30 October Cultural Sundays - On six Sundays per year, Utrecht’s city centre has a lovely tradition of playing host to an array of cultural events including musical performances, workshops and theatre. 30 October

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Rietveld-Schroderhuis. Photo: © WM Afgekocht

Dick Bruna House. Photo: © Jurjen Drenth

Discover Benelux | Highlights of Utrecht | The Beating Heart of the Netherlands

Eating burgers with the family TEXT: MICHIEL STOL | PHOTOS: MENEER SMAKERS

After a day’s shopping, there is nothing more relaxing than stepping into a living room, greeting the family and enjoying a good burger. At Meneer Smakers, you basically walk into the dining room and are served the best burger in town. “It is like being at home with your family,” says Huub van de Vecht, co-founder of Meneer Smakers. “We want you to feel at home when you eat at our restaurant’s three locations. They are all in the centre of Utrecht; the branch at the Oudegracht is the most central,” explains Huub. He and his brother Paul, along with partner Erik, opened the first restaurant four years ago. “People were queueing outside. We felt that we needed to open a bigger, second restaurant. But they are all offer the same: locally grown, fresh products and the best grilled burgers and fries.” The staff at Meneer Smakers will make you feel right at home. “When you order, you become part of our family,” says Huub.

The meat for the burgers is prepared in the restaurant and comes from the best butcher in Utrecht. “All the products are from here and around town. We have created a sub with a local baker, just for Meneer Smakers. The burgers are grilled instead of cooked, which gives them a richer flavour,” tells Huub. The burgers are all named after family members, such as aunts and uncles. “Some of them are inspired by our own family. For instance, the Aunt Connie is a vegetarian burger because our aunt Connie is a vegetarian.” It is not only the burgers and condiments that are homemade, the fries that go alongside are too. “The potatoes are from a farm just outside of town. At the restaurant we make fresh fries from them.” To top it off, you can enjoy different beers from breweries in Utrecht. “We have a selection of beers from De Lekkere and Maximus. And some more special beers, from outside of town.”

These days you can also find Meneer Smakers at different food festivals. Huub: “We really like those festivals, so we bought an old UPS van and converted it to a mobile Meneer Smakers. Now you can taste our burgers at the festivals.” Dining at Meneer Smakers is like coming home to a great burger meal. “So you can truly enjoy a homemade, grilled burger with the family, yours and ours!” Meneer Smakers locations: Oudegracht 116, Twijnstraat 62 and Nobelstraat 143, Utrecht

Issue 34 | October 2016 | 53

Historic hospitality in Utrecht TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK | PHOTOS: UBICA

Nestled between the iconic narrow streets of Utrecht, with a stunning view of the city’s most important landmark, lies Ubica. This café and restaurant carries a unique history, a vibrant present, and promising future. Embodying a historic and atmospheric ambiance, Ubica has already earned many hospitality stripes in Utrecht, despite only opening its doors in August 2014. The five-storey building is home to a hotel, café and restaurant, destined to be the destination for romantic dinners, sunny Friday afternoon drinks, and cosy nights in candlelit corners.

tower in the Netherlands, the building perfectly captures the traditional Dutch allure that one finds here. The building has an interesting history, originally being a ‘city castle’ with foundations originating from 1302. “They may not look like typical castles, but they definitely are,” Stefan Elvers, owner of Ubica, explains. “The buildings were the first big houses in the city of Utrecht.” Ubica is spread over two adjacent premises (no. 24 and no. 26), widely known as the ‘Ubica Houses’. Both are recognised for their greatness, with no. 24 being a national monument and no. 26 a municipal monument.

hardly any repairs were carried out and the houses were left empty and uninhabitable. In early 1992, the buildings were overtaken by squatters who fixed the place up relatively and lived there until 2012. In 2013, the renovations started and Ubica’s story was given a new life. “Naturally we wanted to maintain the beautiful, traditional and historic characteristics, and combine that with modern elements.” Also an important keeper was Ubica’s iconic name. “Say Ubica, and every man or woman in Utrecht will be filled with recognition,” Elvers enthuses.

An interesting history Ubica’s historic building proudly lies on the Ganzenmarkt (Geese Market), a vivacious area within the centre of Utrecht. Being a stone’s throw away from the iconic Oudegracht (Old Canal) and located opposite the Dom, the tallest church 54 | Issue 34 | October 2016

Having served as a residential premise for centuries, in 1931 the building was bought by Ubica, an Utrecht mattress manufacturer. Fate struck however in 1989, when a major fire caused severe damage to the building. After the fire,

A ‘je ne sais quoi’ cuisine As promising and interesting as the outside is Ubica’s interior. The front of the restaurant has the feeling of a pub where you can enjoy sundowners, while the back has the allure of a stylish restaurant. The

Discover Benelux | Highlights of Utrecht | The Beating Heart of the Netherlands

terrace is the lovely cherry on the cake, perfect for when the sun is out. Ubica serves authentic French cuisine, with mouthwatering mains such as swordfish with zucchini, or lamb rack with purple carrot. Favourite desserts are naturally the crème brûlée and the cheeses. “Ubica stands for high-quality food prepared by experienced chefs,” according to Elvers. When asked about the classic, Elvers laughs: “I guess that is still our hamburger: perfect in its simplicity. Ubica is, besides high dining, also made for people needing a pit stop after shopping or sightseeing.” The menu changes every two months to reflect the season’s delicacies. Wash away the food with one of Ubica’s ten premium gins, or one of the 50 beers adorning the menu, ranging from a trusted

Heineken to specialty beers such as a Brugse Zot. Not a fan of beer? “One of the cornerstones of French cuisine is of course wine,” Elvers says. Ubica serves 31 kinds of wines, most of them available per glass, so there is something to suit every dish.

Celebrate good times Serving approximately 120 people for dinner on a busy night, Ubica knows how to throw a party. You do not even have to go home after your meal. Because the café is separated from the restaurant, it is the perfect spot for people to have drinks until the late (or early) hours. The pub quiz, which is held every last Tuesday of the month, is already a beloved evening in the city as well as other events such as a beer walk or a wine evening. These provide the people of Utrecht with the perfect mix of gastronomy and

entertainment. Prefer to throw a party yourself? The scenic conservatory offers room for up to 90 people, perfect for weddings, birthdays, or office drinks and parties. A wonderful space for intimate events is Ubica’s wine cellar, which can host up to 20 people and is perfect for cosy and private dining - being served by the chef himself. The best is yet to come for Ubica. “We are astounded by the number of people we welcome every night. People feel at home at Ubica, they know they will meet friendly faces, eat exquisite food, drink good wines, and leave happy.” Opening hours: Sunday - Wednesday 11:00 to 01:00 Thursday - Saturday 11:00 to 03:00

The infamous fire of 1989

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Discover Benelux | Highlights of Utrecht | The Beating Heart of the Netherlands


There is a new cool kid in town: PK Bar & Kitchen. By mixing a grand-café atmosphere with an industrial touch, it is the perfect spot for every occasion in one of the most charming streets of Utrecht. From the large stairs creating a vintage allure, to the beautiful brick wall adding a New York loft feeling, every aspect of the venue on the corner of the Oudegracht embodies a unique atmosphere. “When stripping down the interior of the previous site, we decided to bring back some of the old beautiful characteristics of the building: plenty of light, original brick walls, and high ceilings,” concept creator Corine Rasker explains. When you are done admiring the interior and atmosphere, start on the culinary treats. PK Bar & Kitchen’s menu consists of pure dishes, created by chefs who work exclusively with fresh ingredients. The two Big Green Eggs are the pride

of the kitchen. This ceramic charcoal barbecue cooker creates flavours as they should be: smokey and pure. Alongside the menu proudly stands an extensive cocktail menu (with six kinds of gin and tonic), fully completing a night out in the heart of Utrecht’s bustling nightlife. Perhaps the best of it all: PK Bar & Kitchen welcomes everyone for everything – from shoppers popping in for a cappuccino pit stop, to birthday parties and first dates. Even the needs of companies and large groups are met by the meeting room and upstairs bar. “PK Bar & Kitchen speaks to the real ‘Utrechtenaar’, yet is approachable for all: families with kids, groups of friends, business partners… PK Bar & Kitchen is for everyone.” PK Bar & Kitchen is open seven days a week.

Gourmet hotdogs in historical surroundings TEXT: STIAN SANGVIG | PHOTOS: DOGMA HOTDOGS

Dogma Hotdogs is Utrecht’s only premier hotdog bar, and is located in a historical building in the heart of the city centre. Formed only six months ago by Hugo and Jeroen, the concept’s success is demonstrated by the growing number of guests, and word is spreading rapidly on social media. “We felt that the city needed a new concept that stood out from the crowd,” Hugo explains. Dogma offers hotdogs made using locally produced beef, chicken, pork and lamb sausages accompanied by homemade bread, sauces, cheese; toppings of seasonal vegetables and hand-cut fresh fries made from organic potatoes. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options are available too. Guests can also see the chef and cooks in action, as there is an open view directly into the kitchen. Fittingly, Dogma is located in the former building of butchers Van Hilten, which 56 | Issue 34 | October 2016

in turn was located next to Utrecht’s historic largest meat distribution centre. “Our motto is making the ordinary extraordinary,” Hugo continues as he explains what inspired the idea behind the hotdog bar. The name was carefully chosen too as it comes from Greek, meaning ‘that which seems to one; opinion or belief’ and is often used in a religious context. In the restaurant, customers will experience cool references to that theme. Dogma is going from strength to strength. While it may be early to talk of expansion, Jeroen and Hugo appear to have found a place in the people of Utrecht’s hearts. Oh, and do not think of a hotdog as a snack. These hotdogs are meals suitable for lunch or dinner – together with freshly cut fries and a cold beer, a perfect start for visiting Utrecht. For more information, please visit:

Discover Benelux | Highlights of Utrecht | The Beating Heart of the Netherlands

Brewing togetherness What is better than exceptional beer? Exceptional beer served alongside delicious food and a welcoming atmosphere, naturally. Brewery Oproer combines all these wonderful luxuries. Formed by the two breweries Rooie Dop and RUIG bier, Oproer opened its doors in early 2016. The brewpub is helmed by Mark Strooker, Bart-Jan Hoeijmakers, Carlos Kok and Eelco Bosman – all sharing a passion for beer. “The brewery business is a friendly one. We know we can learn from each other and inspire each other,” Strooker enthuses. Oproer continuously serves three of its own beers alongside beers from other breweries and various of their ‘one-off beers’, of which some make it into the permanent collection. “We constantly experiment with flavours. Our Cascadian Dark Ale Black Flag started out as a one-off, but is now a permanent member of the family.” In the short term, Oproer will expand its brewery to fulfil the growing demand.


So how does a new beer come to life? “We always start with an idea of how a beer should taste. The style and name automatically follow after experiencing the taste, smell, and heaviness.” Collaborations with other (international) breweries are frequent, to gain fresh inspiration or brainstorm interesting approaches together. Oproer loves good food. From the pub food to their three-course menu, all dishes are vegan and reflect the chefs’ varied background. “People often think that vegan food is plain vegetables - that is definitely not true! Our menu changes monthly: Mexican, French, Asian...” Oproer’s cuisine perfectly complements its welcoming and non-exclusive atmosphere. The tables in the brewpub invite strangers to sit together, resulting in sharing beer, food, and conversation. Strooker: “Oproer is a spot where people come together. We brew and cook with respect for humans and the environment. We know our priorities: society, environment, beer, and beer!”

Photo: Vuk Begovic Photo: Carlijn Bakker

Photo: Vuk Begovic

A delicious and sustainable experience in the heart of Utrecht


There may be many fish restaurants in the Netherlands, but with its own oyster and lobster bar, extensive fish and meat menu and delicious, sustainable products from the region, one of the oldest fish restaurants in Utrecht promises to be the best. No other restaurant in the Netherlands chooses fish and meat more carefully than Restaurant Het Zuiden in Utrecht: “Everything that is served here, meat or fish, is sustainable,” owner of the restaurant, Fikret Geldi explains. Having worked in exclusive and luxurious hotels for more than 20 years, Geldi developed a passion for the hospitality branch and an eye for quality. It became an important part of his work ethic, and therefore of Restaurant Het Zuiden. The restaurant offers an exclusive menu of Italian and French wine, furthermore guests can choose between 15 different beer types. All the delicious dishes on the menu are prepared with products from the region.

Geldi: “Our restaurant is well known for our exquisite fish dishes but recently also for our côte de boeuf dry-aged beef and tomahawk steak. This special meat has been dried on the bone for a minimum of 21 days. Dry-aging helps to tenderise and increase the flavour of the meat.” Situated in the beautiful and booming heart of the lively city of Utrecht, Restaurant Het Zuiden promises to be the perfect place for a lovely night out.

Issue 34 | October 2016 | 57

Discover Benelux | Highlights of Utrecht | The Beating Heart of the Netherlands

An offbeat Indonesian dinner TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA | PHOTOS: SPEKUK & RUBEN MAY

In the city centre of Utrecht, between Vredenburg and the Oudegracht, you will find a cosy street with nine different restaurants. One of them is a small Indonesian treasure called Spekuk. Owner Jitske Jongedijk and her best friend run the kitchen at Spekuk, and both have Indonesian roots. Even though she was born in the Netherlands, Jitske was raised with Asian cooking. Spekuk serves Indonesian dishes the way most of us are probably not used to. “We make it modern,” says Jitske. Of course Indonesia has lots of different kinds of cuisine spread across the islands. Those recipes combined result in Spekuk’s menu. They do not serve a set menu, but you compose your own ‘rames’ with three, five or seven dishes. Pick the ones you like and add your favourite rice. On the menu, enjoy fresh fish from the Wadden Sea, supplied by

De Goede Visser, and halal meat. It is a little different to what you might expect; for example there is no Rendang, but Krengsengan Daging (spicy beef stew) and langoustines with string beans. Straight from the grill there are six different kinds of satays, including kambing (satay of goat). There are also options for vegetarians and vegans, with fresh vegetables from the local market in Utrecht. “We have a cold Bintang or Bali Hai ready for you to complete your meal!” The restaurant is very small compared to the other restaurants in the street, but it has an intimate atmosphere just like home. The style is modern with a subtle Indonesian touch. The fact that Indonesians are very enthusiastic about Spekuk is always a good sign. Once you sample their cuisine for yourself, you will understand why!

Magic coffee beans

Coffee can perform miracles, especially in the morning. When served by ‘t Koffieboontje, coffee becomes magic. This specialty coffee shop in Utrecht is king of the magic coffee beans, serving exquisite-quality coffee, tea, and pastries – all with love for humans and the environment. ‘t Koffieboontje’s mission is to bring high-quality, sustainable (and thus delicious) coffee to the people of Utrecht and beyond. Besides the beloved black brew, the shop also serves tea, smoothies, juices, and light breakfast and lunch. The black magic water is made from the light-roasted coffee beans from Bocca, a coffee roaster working with sustainable businesses 58 | Issue 34 | October 2016


from Ethiopia, Kenya, and Colombia. “Bocca’s story immediately spoke to us,” co-owner of ‘t Koffieboontje, Aziz Boutaga, explains. “They did not start from a commercial perspective, but their passion eventually led them to a successful business. Like our own story. “We stand for quality, service, and a complete experience,” Aziz enthuses. “All the choices we make, from the machines we buy to the flavours we offer, should contribute to a perfect picture.” Only the kings of coffee machines have found their way to ‘t Koffieboontje, with five different appliances (including a custom-made La Marzocco) adorning the counter. Just like the coffee, the tea served is season appropriate; think lemon in summer, cinnamon in winter. For

the true coffee lovers, ‘t Koffieboontje offers workshops where you learn all about your beloved cuppa and drink it, naturally. ‘t Koffieboontje has a broad range of sugarfree, lactose-free and gluten-free products, offered in collaboration with local suppliers. Pastries without sugar, is that not boring? “Not at all! Sometimes we don’t even tell customers upfront they are eating a sugar-free cookie. They never taste the difference,” Aziz laughs.

Discover Benelux | Business | Column

Fed up with your job? Move somewhere flatter TEXT & PHOTO: STEVE FLINDERS

This year’s UN-sponsored World Happiness Report lists all the usual suspects in its top ten countries – the five Nordics plus Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland and the Netherlands. For the first time the editors took inequality into consideration since there is now a wellargued case (in The Spirit Level et al) for linking happiness with greater equality. And it is striking that the World Governance Index lists almost exactly the same countries in its own top ten: Austria comes in ninth this time and Switzerland 11th. Good governance and happiness go together. This made me wonder whether there is a correlation between general happiness and happiness at work. There is plenty of research evidence to tell us what makes people happy in their jobs. Employees thrive when they have frequent opportunities to satisfy three basic human needs posited by self-determination theory: competence, relatedness and autonomy.

Happy workers perform tasks that have significance for them. They perform a variety of tasks. They exercise their skills. They receive feedback and recognition. They enjoy autonomy in what they do, and in how and when they do it. Their employers provide a good physical environment in which they work and the resources they need to do the job properly. They enjoy the company of the colleagues they work with. I could not find an International Happiness at Work index so I turned to Dutch interculturalist Geert Hofstede who claims to be able to measure hierarchy and perceptions of inequality – what he calls power distance – transnationally. If hierarchy is broadly the opposite of autonomy, then he provides an indicator of at least one important aspect of happiness in the workplace. All of our ten happiest countries have low scores on this scale. My experience is that people working in flatter organisations, departments and teams enjoy more of a voice and feel more empowered

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:

than those who do not. My prejudice is that they are happier and more productive too. And the happiest country this year? Denmark: a flat country both geographically and organisationally. Our roles as cultural change agents in organisations may be limited, but we will be doing ourselves, our colleagues and our countries a favour if we all do our bit to make things a bit flatter and a bit more equal.

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 | Business | Business Profile

International alliances TEXT: MICHIEL STOL | PHOTO: ALASKA

We live in a world where international business has become an upcoming trend, therefore alliances are a necessity. Making a deal or opening a branch in another country is complex. It is good to know there are accounting firms that can help you achieve your ambition. In Belgium, Alaska is the solution. “We have a great network of knowledge, both national and international,” tells Niek Verstraete, manager at the Alaska branch in Ghent. Alaska was founded in 2007 and is organised as a Belgian economic interest group meaning that the offices in Bruges, Ghent, Hasselt, Kortrijk and Ypres are – from a legal point of view – independent entities. They work intensively together on many areas including HR, marketing, business consulting and legal advice. “We are a Belgian professional network of knowledge,” says Verstraete. Alaska is a one-stop shop accounting firm offering financial, legal and fiscal consulting services.

Being a member of PrimeGlobal, Alaska is also internationally orientated. The PrimeGlobal Association is one of the five largest associations of independent accounting firms in the world. It can offer a powerful range of service expertise to meet the client’s needs. “We at Alaska use this network regularly. For example, at our office in Ghent, we have a Belgian company that has to deal with Dutch tax laws and VAT. Through the PrimeGlobal network, we gain the expertise of a Dutch firm that is knowledgeable about tax laws, which is necessary to help our client.”

Independent advice Alaska is a one-stop shop accounting firm with financial, legal and fiscal experts and a network of specialists in other fields. Verstraete: “This means that we give the best advice to our clients because we are independent. We are not selling anything.” Alaska is a truly multidisciplinary organisation. “We have a lot of knowledge inhouse, so we can help a company with

their needs, no matter if it is a big company or small. We do not want to say ‘no’, not to anybody that comes to us for his/ her company or for his/her own financial planning,” explains Verstraete.

Pro-active The traditional international accounting firms are EY, PWC, Deloitte and KPMG. “They work in traditional patterns within their organisation. They are more focused on controlling. We are pro-active in giving advice and checking which rules apply. We work with the independency and services of the individual firms, through the network in different countries all over the world,” says Verstraete. Alaska uses its years of experience to guide its clients through the challenging expedition of entrepreneurship. In Belgium, Alaska is your partner and confidential counsellor.

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Discover Benelux | Creating Brand Experiences | Video Marketing

Photo: © Kris Snoeck

An appetite for food branding TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: TRUE.

What happens when you put together a team of passionate foodies with a talent for branding? The answer is: true. This marketing and communication agency is Belgium’s specialist in the food and drinks industry, and it has a real hunger for branding excellence. Covering all aspects of marketing and communication, true. taps into Belgium’s rich food culture. Its clients range from independent bakeries and restaurant popups, to the food service industry as well as major brands such as Haribo, Heinz, Galbani, Farm Frites and Waldkorn©. true. helps its clients develop strong brand cultures. Senior account manager Joana Rodrigues: “A brand is something you buy. A brand culture, however, is something you truly experience. To build such a brand culture, we first define its DNA and brand story. Then we develop the visual 62 | Issue 34 | October 2016

concept, which we consistently apply on every touchpoint, to get the full brand experience across to customers, but also to suppliers and staff.” At true., a full brand experience is so much more than visuals and slogans. Mike Beyers, strategic and creative copywriter says: “Food impacts all of your senses, so food branding should do so too. We get that full sensorial experience across to various target groups, with photography, copywriting, video, packaging materials… that do not only appeal to your sight or hearing, but also to your sense of smell, taste, or even feeling.”

Agile expertise With a team of ten creative and strategic experts, true. has the agility of a small agency but – assisted by an extensive network of professional contacts – they can provide expertise in every food branding project. “At true. everyone has a pas-

sion for food,” Rodrigues continues. “We all have our own interests, from food styling to healthy eating.” The company was set up by David Claeys and Robin Manso in 2002, initially called thepubagency. This was soon changed to true., a short but meaningful name that reflects their values, says Claeys. “Because we are dealing with products that people eat and drink, sincerity and truthfulness about the product are essential. We help brands to be truthful to their own values and identity.” Rodrigues adds that this also reflects back to themselves. “It’s about knowing your own identity and being consistent, honest and true to yourself.”

The taste of success In order to achieve the best results, true. works with its clients on a partnership basis and fosters these relationships even

Discover Benelux | Creating Brand Experiences | Top Belgian Marketing Agency

after a project is completed. “This is not a one-sided client-supplier relationship,” explains Rodrigues. “Instead, we will work together with the client, jointly come up with ideas and work out strategies together.” As a food brand, making choices is imperative. With an abundance of products, brands have to set themselves apart and appeal to their target audience. She continues: “You need to decide: who is your customer? The next step is making sure they will recognise you.” Claeys says: “When it comes to food, people make very conscious decisions. Thanks to recent food crises, people are

more cautious. Thus, it is key for brands to be honest in their communication.”

identity together with a five-year strategic plan.”

From auction to retail

A new brew from the abbey

Amongst other inspiring projects, true. is proud of its work for BelOrta, the largest cooperative auction in Europe for fruit and vegetables. BelOrta wanted to diversify into setting up an A-brand. Under their tagline, which translates as ‘surprisingly pleasant’, true. crafted a refreshing layout with stunning photography, focusing on the fun of fruit and vegetables.

A completely different project involved the beer, cheese and bread of Averbode Abbey. To create a meaningful and resonating brand for the abbey’s product range, true. delved into its history.

Rodrigues: “Most fresh fruit and vegetable brands focus on one product only. BelOrta, selling dozens of products, is an atypical brand. So we created a new visual

“After an intensive process, we build a truthful brand story and appealing style guide for Averbode abbey,” says Claeys. “And we did it successfully: sales figures for the brand new range were far higher than anyone predicted.”

THE FUTURE FOR FOODIES Aside from their core brand marketing work, true. also develops its own concepts. Six years ago, true.’s founders launched a burger concept called Ellis Gourmet Burger – the first of its kind in the Benelux. A more recent launch was Otomat, a new pizza restaurant chain. “To be successful you need to start with the basics. So we began with good-quality dough. The rest followed after that,” Claeys explains. In the future, true. is planning to launch its own blog called Torpille. The aim is to create a platform that will attract players from all over the industry and become an online network where true., and others, can share their experiences, help guide new food start-ups and pitch concept ideas.

Photo: © Kris Snoeck

The Otomat pizza concept. Photo: © Kris Snoeck

Abbey Averbode's newly launched food range.

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Discover Benelux | Creating Brand Experiences | Video Marketing


Complex made simple. StoryMe helps brands to communicate their complicated messages in an easy way through Video Marketing. People watch more videos than ever. Research shows that by 2017, online video traffic will make up 82 per cent of all consumer internet traffic. “It has never been more important for businesses to integrate video in their marketing strategy,” says CEO of StoryMe Jonathan Moerkens. “People have internet access anywhere, anytime. Mobile devices are designed in a way to suit our demand for video.” Located at a creative hub in Belgium’s Ghent, StoryMe are masters in turning any message into a clear and attractive story. Starting out as an expert on creating one-minute video animations to explain complicated business models or complex technologies, StoryMe now assists companies in every aspect of Video Marketing. Alongside StoryMe’s growth, their clients have grown too. When they started out three years ago, their clients were mainly small companies. Now, StoryMe currently counts over 800 customers and has worldfamous names from every industry on their 64 | Issue 34 | October 2016

portfolio. “Video Marketing has advantages for every possible business. In this age of information overload and the human attention span getting shorter, one-minute videos are the ideal tool for catching, and keeping, people’s attention. Also, video lends itself perfectly for analysis. How long did someone watch? Did they finish it? That’s very valuable information.” The production of a video animation counts seven steps, from the initial brainstorming to extras such as infographics. The customer and video architect are in conversation from beginning to end. “Our method of communicating is like our videos: clear and direct. Customers are involved every step of the way: no middle man, just a hands-on attitude.” Coca-Cola is one of the names adorning StoryMe’s portfolio. “Coca-Cola asked us to translate their complete heritage into one clear story. Their history, their concept, the products: we made their long story short, in less than 90 seconds.” For some businesses, such as BPost or BNP Paribas Fortis, StoryMe has created a solid format: a specific house style, returning characters. “That way we don’t have to start from scratch, and we can act fast every time there is a new story to tell.”

What about StoryMe’s own story? “Our founder Lorenzo Bown is focusing on the international launch. The team is expanding rapidly, with a brand new office in Ghent and one in London and Singapore. There are plans to open in Stockholm, Sweden.” One piece of advice? “Online video has become the perfect medium to promote and share your ideas and we can create the perfect Video Marketing mix for your business. E-mail us for your personalised video advice at or contact us via our website!”

Jonathan Moerkens (left) and Lorenzo Bown.

Discover Benelux | Business | Calendar


companies, expand their knowledge, and share experiences.

Photo: © Emerce eFulfillment

Luxembourg Asset Management Summit 9 – 11 October Luxembourg city, Luxembourg This academic conference, which is held in connection with a high-level executive event, is devoted to issues central to the asset management industry. The two-day conference is accompanied by a high-quality social programme starting with a welcome reception on the evening of 9 October. The summit is organised by the Luxembourg School of Finance.

for the e-commerce sector. A day with lectures from experts in the field of logistics, innovative cases and disruptive ideas for start-ups.

Childcare & Education Fair 14 – 15 October Antwerp, Belgium The meeting place for professionals in the childcare sector. This two-day exhibition offers engaging seminars by renowned speakers and displays specific products and services for any kind of childcare. Visitors can get in touch with professional

ACM Multimedia Conference 15 – 19 October Amsterdam, the Netherlands The ACM Multimedia Conference is the premier conference for multimedia experts and practitioners across academia and industry. The conference will be held at the beautiful Tuschinski Theatre in Amsterdam.

Research Leadership Programme (EFMD) Module one runs from 18 - 21 October Brussels, Belgium A professional development programme aiming to strengthen business members’ capabilities to develop high-quality research. Participants will get direct advice from experienced directors, access to the gatekeepers of research funding institutions and back up from a network of programme alumni across the continent.

The European Infrastructure Finance Summit (EIFS) 12 – 13 October Amsterdam, the Netherlands This two-day conference will feature panel discussions, presentations and interviews on business-critical issues, challenges and opportunities facing the European infrastructure industry. EIFS 2016 will bring together Europe’s top infrastructure developers, infrastructure fund managers and institutional investors.

Emerce eFulfilment & Logistics 13 October Utrecht, the Netherlands Emerce eFulfilment & Logistics is an annual conference on fulfilment and logistics

Pathe Tuschinski. Photo: © Martin Kuijper

Issue 34 | October 2016 | 65

Discover Benelux | Profile | Beauty & Wellness


Four years ago, Wouter Van Deun was in training at Isabelle Nolens’ private clinic for aesthetic plastic surgery. “I immediately noticed that she works differently than many other plastic surgeons,” he says. Today they are associates in the successful clinic. “You can compare us with a five-star hotel. Everything is taken care of, the patient does not need to worry. The results of our cosmetic surgeries are always very natural.” Five-star treatment is the private clinic’s specialty. “We want the patient to feel like everything is taken care of. That they are taken care of.” Every aspect is important: the first visit, the cosmetic treatment or 66 | Issue 34 | October 2016

surgery, follow up appointments and the final result. Everything is looked after. The patient only needs to focus on the procedure. “We want them to feel comfortable, in good hands.” It is not just Dr. Nolens and Dr. Van Deun who assure this feeling, the entire team do. Dr. Van Deun describes his team as very skilled and punctual. “All team members are carefully selected and are educated at our clinic. They care a great deal about our patients and work hard to give every patient the attention they need to feel their best.” “Most clinics share the values we have. However, what sets us apart from others is

the way we work and the effort we put into every single detail to ensure these values.”

Scientific approach Dr. Van Deun explains this statement: “We have a very scientific approach to our work.” The two doctors believe it is very important to be up to date with scientific developments in the field of aesthetic plastic surgery. They attend and speak at congresses and apply their knowledge in their work. “There are many ways to perform an aesthetic procedure, yet some are better than others. Many clinics will give the patient what they want, even if it is not what is best for them.” Dr. Van Deun illustrates: “For example, look at a patient wanting a breast augmentation.

Discover Benelux | Profile | Beauty & Wellness

Some clinics will let the patient choose their preferred size, however we take their measurements and analyse in what way we can enhance the patient’s own characteristics with her personal desires and wishes in the back of our mind. That way we strive for the best, most natural result that suits the patient. For every patient that is a different story.”

are very much alike. “We are not only associates, but also buddies. We feel exactly the same about the way we treat our patients. We are also both very energetic and have positive attitudes. We work very pleasantly together.” Dr. Nolens says they even perform some surgeries together to ensure the best result. “We trust each other completely.”

Dr. Van Deun and Dr. Nolens care a great deal about being honest to their patients about what is possible and what is not. During consultations they take time answering these questions and manage their patients’ expectations. “It is important to tell patients what they can expect after a treatment. That way patients are not disappointed and do not feel deceived.” Dr. Nolens has been complimented more than once by patients for refusing treatment or surgery. Patients care for an honest answer.

They own three different clinics across Belgium. The main clinic is in Kortrijk, but patients can also visit their clinics in Antwerp and Vosselaar for consultations and small procedures such as Botox and filler injections.

Associates and buddies Although the plastic surgeons are some years apart, Nolens and Van Deun

known for, it is no wonder people come from afar. “The clients that come to our clinic are very different. They are aged from 18 up to their late seventies. What they have in common is that in some way they are insecure about the way they look and want to feel confident.” Dr. Van Deun and Dr. Nolens make that happen. “Our enhancements are done in a very natural way, which can also be attributed to our scientific approach. You will not be able to tell that our patients have had surgery.”

Visiting the private clinic Feel confident The majority of Dr. Nolens’ and Dr. Van Deun’s patients visit from all over Belgium, though there are some international clients as well. “They find out about us via word of mouth. We have had patients from London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Spain, the Netherlands and France for example.” With the five-star treatment that Dr. Van Deun and Dr. Nolens are

Isabelle Nolens and Wouter Van Deun perform aesthetic surgical enhancements on the face and chest. You can visit their private clinic for different kinds of procedures, from Botox and filler injections to all kinds of aesthetic plastic surgeries. For more information, visit

Issue 34 | October 2016 | 67

Discover Benelux | Hotel of the Month | Luxembourg

TOP: Winter Garden Breakfast Room. BELOW: Light and colour in the lobby.



Centrally placed in Luxembourg City, the recently opened Victor Hugo Hotel is modern and proud of it, blending convenience with conviviality. The Grand Hotel Victor Hugo’s interior design makes a statement to guests the moment they enter the building. Unlike too many traditional city centre hotels, the reception desk is right there to greet you in a business-like fashion – this is certainly a place for the business traveller. But the lobby has character too, its clean lines flooded with light, colourful and quirky furniture underscoring the stylish modernity of the space adjacent to voluminous sofas to welcome the weary.

“Because this is a new hotel we could incorporate the features and comforts that contemporary businessmen and women would expect,” says the Victor Hugo’s manager, Giuseppe Daddato, a precise and energetic figure who complements similar qualities in his establishment: “There’s easy internet access for work, and excellent fitness facilities – including a sauna – so guests can escape their work and de-stress too,” he says. The design team made a fine job of the rooms too. Colourful textiles and feature walls add zesty touches to the predominantly white interiors, and intelligent use of natural and artificial light means they are a world away from the semi-darkness of certain old-fashioned rivals. Situated on its eponymous avenue the Victor Hugo, part of the Best Western network’s select ‘Plus’ brand, the hotel is within ten minutes’ walk of many of Luxembourg City’s leading financial, cultural and administrative centres, like

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the Courts of Justice, Grand Theatre and Notre-Dame Cathedral, yet it is just a 15-minute taxi ride from the airport. For guests arriving by car there is the huge Glacis car park 50 metres from the hotel’s door, free between 6pm and 6am. “We realise that getting a good start to the day is extremely important for our guests,” continues Daddato: “And we ensure they get that with a great breakfast menu in a fabulous breakfast space.” His description of the breakfast room is not hyperbole – its seating area designed like an orangery to maximise the light through glazed walls and ceiling. “If they’re energised when they leave here it makes a difference to their working day – and we hope this makes them want to return when they make their next trip!”

Discover Benelux | Hotel and Restaurant of the Month | The Netherlands and Belgium HOTEL OF THE MONTH, THE NETHERLANDS


The best of both worlds: centrally located luxurious apartments with hotel services B-aparthotel Kennedy has found the missing link between the luxurious touch of a hotel visit and the homely feeling of an Airbnb: modern rental apartments in the city centre of The Hague with the extra services of a four or five-star hotel. There is no place like home. Even if your home is only temporary, it is always a good idea to invest in your personal safe haven. In this case, that haven is called B-aparthotel Kennedy and it combines the best of both worlds in the Dutch ‘city of courts’, The Hague.

This unique and innovative concept allows expats and long-term guests to rent spacious, centrally located apartments, each with their own kitchen including dishwasher and other luxurious comforts such as super-fast internet and a bathtub. Guests can even choose to combine two apartments, creating a wonderful family home. On the other hand, B-aparthotel Kennedy also offers the services of a luxurious hotel such as a laundry service, a gym and an extensive breakfast buffet. Bike rental is also available, as well as a grocery service. Last but

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

not least, guests can even rent a PlayStation. Furthermore, the friendly staff are more than happy to help you with your first steps into the Netherlands, such as connecting you to real estate agents. With its top service and unique location in The Hague, the B-aparthotels group is expanding. Opening up a new location in Amsterdam next year, the future is looking bright. There may be no place like home, but there is definitely no place like a B-aparthotel.


A market for haute cuisine Rob the Gourmets’ Market is wholly dedicated to gastronomic delights: it is a deluxe food and drinks market, upscale restaurant and catering service in Brussels. Why visit Rob, we asked head chef Alain Bergen. “Firstly, for the excellent quality of our produce. We make many things ourselves and have seasonal events. We serve baby lobster in spring, and there are the mushroom and asparagus seasons, to name a few.” Now in its 70th year, Rob has everything from the best pastry and chocolate shops, to exceptional fish counters, butchers and fine wines. The impressive dairy counter stocks over 400 cheeses and the knowledgeable team can help you find the perfect cheese platter, or explain how to tell when a cheese has reached maturity. Butcher Jérôme Rayet personally knows the farmers he chooses his meat from, and can advise on the best cut for a dish. The fish counter is stocked daily with fresh fish directly from the sea.

Rob also offers gourmet hampers, workshops and cooking classes. When asked about Rob’s strengths, Mr. Bergen highlights its passionate, skilled staff and its range of exceptional products made by small local producers. This even includes honey made locally on Rob’s roof. The 100-seater restaurant changes its menu monthly according to what is in season. Mr. Bergen recommends trying the shrimp croquettes. So come visit this unique Brussels institution, which encompasses the atmosphere of great local food markets with the cuisine of highly skilled chefs. Head chef Alain Bergen

Issue 34 | October 2016 | 69

Discover Benelux | Culture | Calendar

Festyland. Photo: ©

Out & About The days may be getting shorter, but fear not! Shorter days mean longer nights and October is the perfect month to enjoy evenings full of entertainment, a new repertoire of great theatre, and lively (indoor) festivals. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

Typhoon at De Roode Bioscoop. Photo: © Krijn van Noordwijk

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Discover Benelux | Culture | Calendar

ABOVE: Kadra Ahmed Omar, Kiara Kabukuru, Alek Wek, Debra Shaw Margareth Lahoussaye & Adia Coulibaly, Atelier Astre, Paris, 1997, Vogue Italia Photo: © Peter Lindbergh (Courtesy of Peter Lindbergh, Paris / Gagosian Gallery) Jean Paul Gaultier, Gaultier Paris, S/S 1997

Peter Lindbergh. A Different Vision on Fashion Photography. Until 12 February 2017 at Kunsthal Rotterdam Rotterdam, the Netherlands An exhibition devoted to legendary German photographer Peter Lindbergh, featuring more than 220 photographs of his pure black-and-white collection, which have determined the course of fashion photography since the 1980s.

purely vegan food alongside great beer, both from their own brand and from other breweries.

perfectly capturing the true atmosphere and flavours of Thailand. This gem is located in the heart of The Hague.

Restaurant Orchids


Month of October The Hague, the Netherlands At Orchids restaurant they serve modern Thai food with a high-end worldly touch,

7 – 8 October Volkel, the Netherlands The perfect closure for festival season! Serving all tastes, from pop, to rock & roll, Orchids Restaurant, Chef Keng. Photo: © Gabirel

Oproer Month of October Utrecht, the Netherlands A brewery, pub and restaurant in one: what could be better? Oproer serves

Oproer. Photo: © Vuk Begovic

Issue 34 | October 2016 | 71

Discover Benelux | Culture | Calendar

Photo: © Pavlov

Ziggo Dome

to electronic music. With De Staat, BLØF, Douwe Bob, and many more.

Film Fest Gent 11- 21 October Ghent, Belgium Belgium’s biggest film festival. Famous for its focus on music from the realm of cinema, with the World Soundtrack Awards as its highlight.

Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) 19 – 23 October Amsterdam, the Netherlands Electronica fans unite: with over 2,200 artists from around the globe performing in 120 of the best clubs in Amsterdam, ADE’s festival has grown into the world’s biggest club festival for electronica music lovers. 72 | Issue 34 | October 2016

Discover Benelux | Culture | Calendar

Hatseklats goes Blijburg, Blijburg aan zee 21 October Amsterdam, the Netherlands This event is part of Amsterdam Dance Event. At Hatseklats, creativity, freedom and the love for house music, particularly with the deeper sounds, will come together and take you on an Arabic flight. Good music, food, video and ballet is also guaranteed.

freshest ingredients and serving you with the utmost attention. With their versatile menu and terraces with unique view, Pavlov is a spot not to miss!

workshops, exhibitions, lectures and parties at many venues all over the city.

Hotel & Restaurant Kasteel TerWorm Dutch Design Week 22 – 30 October Eindhoven, the Netherlands Eindhoven has earned its name as a leading city in cutting-edge design. This world-famous nine-day event is filled with

Month of October Heerlen, the Netherlands Spend lovely and cosy nights at the Hotel & Restaurant Kasteel TerWorm, situated in the most southern region of the Netherlands. With one of the finest wine selections and breathtaking views,

AMF: Tiësto presents Clublife 500 21 October Amsterdam, the Netherlands Grammy award-winning electronic dance music icon Tiësto will be hosting this onenight-only event during Amsterdam Dance Event, treating fans to an incredibly rare six-hour set in which he is accompanied by a range of surprise guests.

Bar & Restaurant Pavlov Month of October The Hague, the Netherlands At Pavlov they believe in good food and hospitality, using only the best and

Blijburg aan Zee

Photo: © Hotel Kasteel TerWorm.

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Discover Benelux | Culture | Calendar

Mart Café Month of October Rotterdam, the Netherlands Your must-visit spot in Rotterdam! Mart Café serves pub food with a contemporary twist, inspired by Dutch cuisine. Located in the beautiful and internationally acclaimed Markthal.

Dogma Hotdogs Month of October Utrecht, the Netherlands Dogma offers culinary hotdogs, great craftsmanship, fresh fries, all in the heart of Utrecht. Make sure to make this is one of your pit stops on your city visit!

XOCO Mexican Grill

Dogma hotdogs. Photo: © Melanie van Leeuwe

this place is one of the most exquisite pearls of the province of Limburg.

Affordable Art Fair 27 – 30 October Amsterdam, the Netherlands Love art, but think art fairs are normally not very accessible? The Affordable Art Fair in Amsterdam has a welcoming atmosphere and has a low threshold for people to buy art.

Trauliicht Luxembourg 22 October - 4 November Munshausen, Luxembourg Halloween, Luxembourg style. Different activities will be held around the theme of Halloween: children will carve lanterns, there will be a lantern procession, and several songs and stories will be performed.

Typhoon at Theater de Roode Bioscoop 29 & 31 October Amsterdam, the Netherlands After playing at all major venues for two years, rapper Typhoon will return to De Roode Bioscoop to go back to basics with stories, acoustic songs and the spoken word. Together with guitarist Dries Bijlsma he draws inspiration from his bag full of memories, notes and sketches. 74 | Issue 34 | October 2016

Mart Café.

Month of October Rotterdam, the Netherlands Guilt-free fast-food: definitely not too good to be true at XOCO Mexican Grill in Rotterdam. XOCO takes the best part of Latin America to the Netherlands with delicious and healthy Mexican dishes.

Brussels Museums Late Night Openings Until 8 December Brussels, Belgium A classic in the cultural autumn of Belgium’s capital. Each Thursday between

Discover Benelux | Culture | Calendar

Dutch Design Week. Photo: © Iris Rijskamp


5pm and 10pm at least five museums in Brussel will offer workshops, guided tours, and entertainment in a relaxed yet lively atmosphere.

‘t Koffieboontje – espressobar Month of October Utrecht, the Netherlands A great cup of coffee is unmissable on any city trip or sightseeing tour. ‘t Koffieboontje is a beautiful coffee shop located at the Oudegracht, serving organic coffee from Bocca and offering a broad range of coffee that is free from sugar, gluten, and lactose.

‘t Koffieboontje

Issue 34 | October 2016 | 75

Discover Benelux | Culture | Luxembourg Festival

LEFT: Suite Branca. Photo: © Jose Luiz Pederneiras. RIGHT: L’Autre Hiver © Kurt Van der Elst

Luxembourg takes centre stage TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER

From drama to world music via jazz and contemporary dance, there are cultural delights to suit all tastes and budgets at the annual Luxembourg Festival. A shared initiative of the Philharmonie Luxembourg concert hall and Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, Luxembourg Festival has welcomed world-class performers to the Grand Duchy since its launch in 2007. The 2016 edition will run from 7 October - 24 November, and boasts a diverse line-up including the opera L’Autre Hiver, contemporary dance from Brazilian troupe Grupo Corpo and concerts by the likes of German jazz pianist Michael Wollny and French accordionist Vincent Peirani. As press and PR officer François Kremer explains, there are just too many highlights to mention. “What sets us apart from other festivals is the richness of our line-up. It’s very diverse, there’s theatre, dance, jazz, orchestral performances, ciné-concerts…,” he enthuses. “I am personally very excited about the concert conducted by Valery Gergiev from the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg. In terms of musical theatre, Lee Blakeley’s new production of 76 | Issue 34 | October 2016

Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate looks set to be very interesting.” Performances take place either at the Philharmonie Luxembourg concert hall or Luxembourg City’s Théâtre des Capucins and Grand Théâtre venues. As well as the diversity of the acts, what really stands out is the festival’s global flavour. The line-up is compiled by the Philharmonie Luxembourg and Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg together.

a loyal fan base that includes locals and those from further afield. Some festivalgoers even come from abroad. “People are curious to discover Luxembourg’s cultural scene,” concludes Kremer. “And we really highlight how culturally rich this country is.” Kiss Me, Kate!, Théâtre du Châtelet. Photo: © Vincent Pontet

“We ensure we invite the best artists to represent all the different artistic genres, and the programme is very international,” confirms Kremer. While you can always expect a starry line-up, the festival considers it equally significant to champion rising talent. “It is important for us not to only attract big names, but to also introduce the ones to watch, people that we can recommend.” In terms of ticket prices, the festival has an egalitarian approach. Of course, top tickets for orchestral shows come at a price, but there are a range of options available. “We aim to make sure there’s a ticket price to suit every budget,” explains Kremer. Now an unmissable event in the Luxembourg cultural diary, the festival has

Conductor Valery Gergiev. Photo: © Alberto Venzago

Photo: © Wade Zimmerman

Discover Benelux | Culture | Lifestyle Columns



#SafePassage The refugee crisis has been one of the worst humanitarian disasters in living memory. The displacement of millions of people from their homes and lives thanks to civil war almost seems too big, too loaded, too close to the bone a topic for an art exhibition to confront. Yet the latest exhibition from Amsterdam photography museum FOAM looks directly at the crisis. #SafePassage by artist Ai Weiwei refuses to shirk away from the politically charged subject to present an exhibition that rigorously questions society’s role in the struggle. Perhaps Ai Weiwei is the only artist who would be able to do this in any credible manner. From a personal front, he was infamously banned from leaving his homeland of China, and so similarities to the situation in the Mediterranean are present. But it is his ability to make powerful artistic and political statements in a way that is not self-glorifying and without hidden agenda that makes him so influential.

© Ai Weiwei Studio

In this show, the walls of the gallery are plastered with thousands of mobile phone photos taken around the Mediterranean since his first visit to the islands of Lesbos in 2015. These include candid shots from in and around refugee camps in Syria, Turkey and Israel. Ultimately the show aims to highlight the struggles the asylum seekers confront in their continued desire to reach safety – and

the greater xenophobic and procedural hurdles they encounter at almost every turn. #SafePassage runs until 7 December 2016 at FOAM, Amsterdam. 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.


Hop X Like all creations by De Naeckte Brouwers meaning ‘the naked brewers’ - Hop X is an unfiltered, top-fermented beer made with only natural ingredients. Do not let images inspired by the brewery’s name discourage you from arranging a visit to the compact premises in the Dutch city of Amstelveen, south of Amsterdam. Rest assured, the two men behind this microbrewery undertake tasks clothed. The name of their business reflects their ethos of letting their ingredients speak to the consumer unmasked by additives. The label suggests Hop X is a hoppy blond beer. It could be more accurately described as an easily drinkable session ale with a floral nose and a mild, citrusy kick from hops. If you like a rounded yet mild, hoppy flavour but are not keen on the bitter finishes of IPAs then it would be worthwhile trying this pleasant brew.


De Naeckte Brouwers’ current premises were established in November 2013, after the brewery’s owners worked in cooperation with a handful of microbreweries over the preceding couple of years. One of the founders, Jan Albert van der Veen, known as Ab, was inspired to start brewing back in 1988 after hearing how his grandmother used to brew small batches of beer for employees on the family’s estate. Shortly after the turn of the century he was joined by Michel Lagrand. In Hop X they have crafted a balanced, mature ale with an easygoing character. Packing a considerable amount of alcohol, it is testimony to the brewers’ skills that the power is masked by its palatability. Watch out for the yeast in the bottle. Like all of this brewery’s beers, Hop X undergoes secondary fermentation that leaves a residue that can be unsettled during pouring.

Brewer: De Naeckte Brouwers Strength: 6.8 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 34 | October 2016 | 77

Discover Benelux | Music | Benelux Beats



His fifth studio album, Our Blood, was released in February, the best festivals in the Netherlands are proud to have him, and his itinerary is full with shows on every big stage in the country. We thought it was about time we spoke to Thijs Kuijken, the creative mind behind Utrecht-based formation I Am Oak. Your new album was released in February. How is Our Blood different to your previous recordings? The former albums were quite heavily influenced by folk, piano music, or the somewhat fuller sounds of playing with a band. The new album has become kind of a mix of everything I have tried before, resulting in a broader musical palette and a sound that is less folky. Our Blood will also be released in Japan. What is the story on that? Looking at Japanese filmography, music and culture, I think my music will speak to the people there. And I just love Japan. It is such a fascinating country. I have been there once, and I would love to go back. 78 | Issue 34 | October 2016

Your music is often compared with Sufjan Stevens and José González. Do you like to be compared to others? I understand the appeal of comparisons. It gives people an immediate reference to my music. Also I see it as a big compliment to be compared to musicians of that calibre. However, my music also stands on its own. Sometimes I wish they would just say that I Am Oak sounds like I Am Oak, haha! I Am Oak started off as a solo-act, but now you are often accompanied by a band. Do you prefer one over the other? It is hard to compare. Playing with a band has more volume, it creates such a full sound. On the other hand, playing solo is so powerful in its own way. It is back to basics. I love both. Musical discovery of 2016? To be honest, I am not as up to date as you might think! If I hear new material, it is often from musicians I already know. Currently I am re-discovering Daniel Johnston.

Your lyrics often refer to nature. Is nature a big inspiration? I live in a city, but I love being in nature and think that nature appeals and relates to us all. I therefore often use it as a metaphor in my music, to create a certain feeling or atmosphere. What does the future hold? Hopefully you will continue releasing new albums and doing shows? That is definitely on the cards, yes! I am far from done. I have been making music for a living for a while now – I consider myself very lucky.

THIJS’ RECORD COLLECTION: Little Wings – Explains Daniel Johnston – Songs of Pain Erik Enocksson – Apan Jessica Pratt – On Your Own Love Again Astral Swans – All My Favorite Singers Are Willie Nelson

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