Discover Benelux, Issue 35, November 2016

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I S S U E 35 | N OV E M B E R 2016












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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

HAVANA LOUNGE a unique environment

SIXTYFOUR° un bar à bonne température

SIXTYFOUR° a bar at ideal temperature

Discover Benelux | Contents

Contents NOVEMBER 2016



COVER INTERVIEW 52 De Staat De Staat frontman Torre Florim has that rare combination of on-stage charisma and creative brilliance. With his flair for producing, the musician is equally at home performing and in the studio. We caught up with the Nijmegen native to talk about life in one of the biggest bands in the Netherlands.

THEMES 14 World War One in Belgium The Westhoek region of Flanders tragically became one of World War One’s biggest battlefields. In the month where countries across the world remember Armistice Day, we present a guide to the area’s numerous commemorative destinations and activities.


18 Amsterdam Special Planning an autumn or winter city break? Our Amsterdam guide showcases the best the Dutch capital has to offer. From the city centre to up-and-coming Amsterdam West, we explore the neighbourhoods you need to know about.

56 ‘s-Hertogenbosch Highlights This stunning city in the south of the Netherlands is full of culture, history and superb hospitality. Read our highlights and start planning an unforgettable winter weekend away.

62 Weddings & Celebrations in Belgium


66 Children’s Universe in Luxembourg With its excellent childcare system, it is no surprise that the Grand Duchy is such a popular place for raising a family. If you are considering daycare for your child, do not miss this guide.


Top Education in Belgium & Luxembourg Selecting a good school is undoubtedly an important decision. We profile a range of the best educational establishments in Belgium and Luxembourg.

FEATURES 60 The curious world of Hieronymus Bosch Discover Benelux spoke to David Bickerstaff, director of the documentary The Curious World Of Hieronymus Bosch, which delves into the Noordbrabants Museum in ’s-Hertogenbosch’s critically acclaimed exhibition dedicated to the artist.

90 Benelux Beats Read our Q&A with Holland’s most adventurous harpist, Remy van Kesteren.

DON’T MISS 6 Fashion Picks | 8 Desirable Designs 84 Out & About | 89 Columns

Recently engaged? Congratulations! Our guide to weddings and celebrations in Belgium is guaranteed to inspire as you prepare for your big day.

Issue 35 | November 2016 | 3

Discover Benelux | Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Discover Benelux Issue 35, November 2016 Published 11.2016 ISSN 2054-7218 Published by Scan Group Print Liquid Graphic Ltd Executive Editor Thomas Winther Creative Director Mads E. Petersen Editor Anna Villeleger Assistant Editor Charlotte van Hek Copy-editor Isa Hemphrey Graphic Designer Mercedes Moulia

Juliën L’Ortye Lidija Liegis Matt Antoniak Michiel Stol Steve Flinders Stian Sangvig Stuart Forster Cover Photo Isabelle Renate la Poutré Sales & Key Account Managers Mette Tonnessen Kirsten Schoon Katia Sfihi Micha Cornelisse 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:

Contributors Berthe van den Hurk Bettina Guirkinger Cathy van Klaveren Ella Put Frank van Lieshout

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 35 | November 2016

As temperatures drop and the nights draw in, this month’s edition of Discover Benelux is here to help ease you into November. Summer may now be a distant memory, but with the holiday season just around the corner – think ice skating, Glühwein and Christmas markets – the atmosphere in the Benelux could not be warmer. Of course November is not just a month of festivities, it is also a time for reflection and remembrance. On 11 November 1918 the signing of the armistice between the Allies and Germany brought an end to the First World War. This moment continues to be commemorated every year in countries across the world, and Armistice Day is always particularly poignant in Belgium. Between 1914 and 1918 the Westhoek region of Flanders became one of the war’s biggest battlefields. The region’s landscape of poppies famously inspired Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae to compose the famous 1915 war poem In Flanders Fields while at the battlefront during the second battle of Ypres. I first visited this beautiful town and its surrounding area’s cemeteries and war monuments on a school trip almost 20 years ago. It was an extremely moving experience that I will never forget, and one that I strongly believe should be a priority for anyone – regardless of when or where they were born. If you are yet to visit this poignant little corner of Flanders, I urge you to. Read more from page 14.

Anna Villeleger, Editor

Discover Benelux | Design | Fashion Picks


Pretty in prints A fine print never goes out of style. These designs will brighten up even the dullest of November days. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK | PRESS PHOTOS

1. Staying warm Comfortable and in-style? Yes please. This printed sweater from Dutch label G-sus will ensure you are ready for the weekend. Jumper: € 99.99

2. Find true North Scotch & Soda is Dutch design at its best. With its patterned wool blend in North Sea hues, this short boxy jacket is inspired by Nordic artwork. It references fjordic mountaineering with its piped edges and carabiner hook fastening. Coat: €249.95

3. Fabulous flats Be the sharpest individual at the office (or party, or dinner, or anywhere) with these shiny beauties. Make sure to roll up your trousers, as these flats are meant to be seen. Shoes: €149.99 6 | Issue 35 | November 2016

Discover Benelux | Design | Fashion Picks

6. Colour block This striking bomber jacket will certainly get you noticed. Every edition of this item is one of a kind, so the exact print of your jacket will be a surprise! Bomber jacket: €119.90

4. Iconic prints You say Bas Kosters, you think prints. This Dutch icon is one of the most popular designers in the Netherlands and is known for his innovative use of the most colourful patterns and prints. This bag features his iconic ‘Weet ik Veel’ print. Canvas bag: € 10

5. The anytime dress The perfect transitional piece in a trendy print. Wear this fabulous frock with chic black boots for the ultimate party outfit, or top off with a stylish blazer for Sunday brunch. Dress: €145 Issue 35 | November 2016 | 7

Discover Benelux | Design | Desirable Designs


A very cosy autumn As the weather begins to turn colder, here are some beautiful designs from the Benelux to make your autumn that little bit cosier. TEXT: ELLA PUT | PRESS PHOTOS


2. 2. A sustainable pillow Dutch design with an exotic twist. Van Eijk and Van der Lubbe’s creative design combined with the products and craftsmanship of Guatemalan locals resulted in this unique and cosy pillow. €135

1. Light my fire


The nights are getting longer, meaning you have the perfect excuse to buy some new candles. Especially designed for rest and relaxation, these beauties by Belgium-based brand Spaas will light up any dark day. €22

3. Feet up Flamant’s elegant and affordable furniture gives any room a fancy twist. This furry design is the perfect accessory for your living room and ideal for resting your feet on. Who said you cannot have comfort and elegance? €120

4. 5.

5. Easy rider 4. Hit the floor A beautiful collection of rugs created by Dutch designers Roderick Vos and Marieke Staps. A reading session on the floor has never seemed so inviting. €2,650 8 | Issue 35 | November 2016

Inspired by his own personal experiences of uncomfortable seats at airports, Danny Venlet decided to create the chair he was missing – a mobile desk seat called Easy Rider. No name could be more applicable for this comfortable and innovate desk chair. Available in several colours. Price on request

Discover Benelux | Design | Exquisite Tableware

The finest and most elegant tableware for all occasions TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS | PHOTOS: HOOLIE

Organising a wedding, or simply hosting a dinner party for friends? Go all out and hire one of the incredible fine porcelain sets available from Belgian company Hoolie. There is something for everyone, with delicate dishes and the most beautiful crystal ware in a multitude of styles of colours. So whether your preferences are for something romantic, bucolic or classic, you are bound to find something amongst the 3,000 stunning pieces. The hand-picked dishes come from across Europe, ranging mostly from the 1900s through to the 1960s. Hoolie’s special brand name comes from the Irish word for a lively party amongst friends. Anne Sophie Prevot is the enthusiastic talent behind Hoolie. “We hire out tableware for everyone: the largest event we held had 1,000 people, but equally we cater to the everyday consumer, starting from two people.” Ms. Prevot founded the company after working in film and

TV production. “I realised there was a huge demand for vintage dining sets,” she explains. Hoolie also offers a full service for those looking for exquisite table dressing: this includes flowers, as well as help with choosing napkins, tablecloths, chairs and table décor. Pieces are delivered to your door and can be ordered online or in person at the stunning 1930s house in Uccle where they are displayed. The tableware is then collected after the event with no need for washing up.












1. Arch. Simon | 2. Maarten De Ceulaer | 3. HoutInfoBois | 4. B-architecten – photo/foto © Jeroen Verrecht | 5. Arch. Dutilleux – bureau artau | 6. Arch. Norrenberg | 7. Steven Peeters Architecten | 8. Arch. Verplanken – Bureau Buda | 9. Goossens & Partners architecten en ingenieurs | 10. Arch. Dethier et associés – photo/foto © Serge Brison

Toutes vos questions sur le bois ont une réponse ! contactez gratuitement Hout Info Bois +32 (0)2 219 27 43 –

Een antwoord op alle vragen over HOUT ! Contacteer Hout Info Bois gratis op: +32 (0)2 219 27 43 –

Discover Benelux | Design | Design Label of the Month

Iittala and the art of gift giving TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK  |  PHOTOS: IITTALA

The thrill of gift giving is when you know the other person appreciates it more than they can express. There is an exquisite risk to it that excites almost everyone. A great present is more than one simply needs or desires, it is a gift for a lifetime and says everything about the relationship you have. With many occasions to give a present to someone, such as birthdays, weddings or ‘just because’, it is always difficult to find the right object. The best gifts are not only functional, long-lasting, and aesthetically pleasing, they also tell a story about the bond you have with the other person. Ever since 1881, the Finnish design brand Iittala has created such objects. Iittala represents long-lasting design, where quality, beauty and functionality are its greatest values. Each element from the collection is designed to be used daily, although 10 | Issue 35 | November 2016

many products are also perfect for festive occasions. It is a brand that is obtainable and you do not have to buy a collection all at once; it can be expanded at your own pace. There are many products that will be in production for many years. The best part is that each product tells its own story.

Aalto vase

skinnbyxa’; which means the leather trousers of an Eskimo woman. Whether that was the inspiration behind Aalto remains a mystery. Some assume that it was a pun, others see Finland’s thousands of lakes in the design. In 1937, the Aalto collection was given a place at the World Exhibition in Paris. The production of this vase took extraordinary craftsmanship from Iittala, and it still does to this day. Each vase is made separately in the Iittala factory in Finland and is therefore unique. In total, the manufacturing of one vase takes up to 30 hours to complete, and passes through the hands of the seven practitioners.

When seeing one of the most famous glass objects in the world, you would not think its design is from 1936. Needless to say, the design was revolutionary at the time and still is. Even though the design has not changed in 80 years, people still fall in love with it and want it for their homes or as a gift for a loved one.

Ultima Thule series

The Aalto series, a series of glass vases, came to life after Iittala organised a design competition. Alvar Aalto submitted sketches and named it ‘Eskimoerindens

One of the great designers attached to Iittala was Tapio Wirkkala. To celebrate the 100th birthday of this legendary designer, Iittala put many of his designs in the spotlight. In the 40 years this man worked

Discover Benelux | Design | Design Label of the Month

for Iittala, he created over 400 objects. His most famous design is the Ultima Thule, for which he was inspired by the melting ice in Lapland. Ultima Thule is an exclusive design reflecting the thousands of hours he spent perfecting the glass-blowing technique required to produce this effect.

Kastehelmi series Kastehelmi is the Finnish word for ‘dewdrop’. The name is inspired by dewdrops glistening in the morning sun like a pearl necklace. Kastehelmi refers to the circles of fine bubbles in the pressed glass. Each piece in the collection is different. The Kastehelmi series, which was originally designed in 1964 by Oiva Toikka, was re-released in 2010. Toikka got the idea for the glass drops when he tried to remove the remaining imperfections in the glass after manufacturing. The result was a unique design with circles of tiny glass bubbles. The drop enhances the optical quality of the glass and makes it highly unique. Kastehelmi has been a beloved Iittala collection for over 50 years.

The Iittala love story Each product has its own story, history and fans. Endless combinations, practical and user-friendly, and a lifelong quality ensure a wonderful gift for someone else or even yourself. Iittala’s loyal fanbase keeps growing every day. The striking designs have an element of timelessness to them, and because of this they are also ideal to pass on to next generations. All over the world people continue to get to know the brand and its wonderful designs. Each product can be a great element to any interior, as well as the start of something new and durable.

Issue 35 | November 2016 | 11

Discover Benelux | Design | World Architecture Festival

Porto Cruise Terminal by Luís Pedro Silva, Arquitecto, Lda.

World Architecture Festival 2016 reveals seminar programme for first Berlin event TEXT AND PHOTOS: WORLD ARCHITECTURE FESTIVAL

This year's World Architecture Festival (WAF) will address a range of housing issues, including displaced communities, modern lifestyles and global urbanisation. Under the theme ‘Housing for Everyone’, the event will include an opening keynote called Superliving by Ben van Berkel of UNStudio, which will examine how architects can support new egalitarian ideals for living. Van Berkel gave his thoughts on the programme theme and hinted at the message he will give in his lecture. “It is essential to understand that ‘housing for everyone’ is not simply a matter of providing homes for all, it is also a question of what the home of the future should be; how we can meet the demands of all fu12 | Issue 35 | November 2016

ture residents and provide housing that fulfils their varied and changing needs.” Patrik Schumacher will lead a discussion called ‘Housing as Architecture’, which will focus on the influences of the work of Zaha Hadid Architects. This will be followed by keynote talks from Berlin filmmaker Hubertus Siegert and Alan Balfour who will discuss whether the rebuilding of Berlin can provide a model for new world cities. In addition to the conferences, WAF also features an awards programme. This year’s shortlist includes entries from 58 countries, with buildings by well-known firms including Zaha Hadid Architects, BIG, Studio Gang and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.

WAF is a unique international forum for exchange, learning and networking between architects, while celebrating the world’s building of the year. Last year the prize went to The Interlace by Ole Scheeren. International architects, including David Chipperfield, Ole Scheeren, Louisa Hutton, and BIG's Kai-Uwe Bergmann, will also give a live critique on shortlisted schemes before one project is selected as World Building of the Year. Another will be named Future Project of the Year. “We’ve assembled an enviable roster of some of the world’s most eminent architectural thinkers and thought leaders, who will bring their wide-ranging experience for three days of discussions and discourse

Discover Benelux | Design | World Architecture Festival

in Berlin. The provision of housing and residential development is one of the most pertinent and pressing issues faced by societies across the world and we’re excited to be convening such a strong list of speakers,” says Paul Finch, programme director of the WAF. WAF and its co-located sister event, INSIDE World Festival of Interiors, will welcome more than 2,000 of the world’s leading architects and designers to the city for three days of conference programmes, awards, exhibitions and fringe events. Returning for its ninth edition, and following four successful years in Singapore, the festival returns to its European roots and will be housed in Franz Ahrens’ historic 1920s former bus depot, now known as Arena Berlin.

XV Pacific Games Village, Papua New Guinea by Warren and Mahoney Architects.

The World Architecture Festival will be held at the Arena Berlin, Germany from 16-18 November. Discover Benelux readers can receive a ten per cent discount on passes by visiting the website and using the WAF discount code: SCAN10

Hubertus Siegert

Ole Scheeren

Patrik Schumacher

Y Cube Mitcham by Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners.

Issue 35 | November 2016 | 13

Flanders Fields. Photo: Westtoer apb

The Last Post ceremony. Photo: Milo-profi


Commemorative destinations and activities in Westhoek Between 1914 and 1918, the Westhoek region of Flanders was the scene of some of World War One’s biggest and most devastating battles. Read on for a selection of this beautiful area’s most poignant sites. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: VISIT FLANDERS

In Flanders Fields Museum. Photo:

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Discover Benelux | World War One in Belgium | Commemorative Destinations and Activities in Westhoek

Photo: Milo-profi

Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing & The Last Post The walls of this famous memorial in Ypres are engraved with the names of 54,896 British and Commonwealth soldiers whose bodies were never found. It is where the daily Last Post ceremony takes place. Every day since 1928 (apart from during World War Two), a British Army bugle call has been played at exactly 8pm.

In Flanders Fields Museum Housed on the site of Ypres’ old Cloth Hall, once the hub of the booming textile industry, this must-visit museum uses interactive technology to tell the story of the war from a personal and international perspective.

Tyne Cot Commonwealth Cemetery This cemetery in Passchendaele is the largest military cemetery of the Commonwealth in continental Europe. The Memorial Wall lists the names of 34,957 soldiers whose remains were never identified.

The Trench of Death Located in Diksmuide, these preserved trenches offer an insight into the horrors of the Belgian First World War trench system. Aside from the quiet and peaceful nature the site now exudes, visitors feel like they are stepping back in time.

Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing. Photo: Westtoer

German military cemetery In the village of Langemark you will find one of only four First World War German military cemeteries in Flanders. Over 44,000 soldiers lie here, half of them in a mass grave. A bronze statue of four grieving soldiers was created by German sculptor Emil Krieger.

Yser Tower The Yser Tower, or IJzertoren, is a memorial commemorating the Belgian, and particularly Flemish, soldiers killed on the Yser Front during World War One. Located along the Belgian Yser river in Diksmuide, this impressive monument for peace is also home to a museum.

Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 Situated in an area that was a major World War One battlefield, the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 focuses on the Battle of Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres. The museum is also home to a series of outdoor trenches.

Essex Farm The Essex Farm cemetery in Boezinge contains over 1,100 graves and is the burial place of Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. McCrae famously wrote

Tyne Cot cemetery. Photo: milo-profi photography

the poem In Flanders Fields, forever enshrining the poppy as a symbol of the war.

Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery From 1915 to 1920 the hamlet of Lijssenthoek, near Poperinge, was the site of the largest evacuation hospital along the Ypres Salient. The adjacent visitor centre offers an insight into daily life in the hospital and the cemetery’s creation.

Talbot House Also known as Every-Man’s Club, Talbot House in Poperinge (part of unoccupied Belgium) was a safe haven for soldiers of all ranks during the war and is now home to a fascinating museum. Issue 35 | November 2016 | 15

Discover Benelux | World War One in Belgium | Commemorative Destinations and Activities in Westhoek

Flight over Flanders Fields Take a Battlefield Tour to get a new perspective on The Great War – from the air. TEXT: FRANK VAN LIESHOUT  |  PHOTOS: TORAN HELI SERVICES

With hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world visiting Belgium to commemorate the centenary of the First World War (1914-1918), Wevelgembased Toran Heli Services offers a unique perspective on the battlefields where hell broke loose 100 years ago. “If you go up with us in a helicopter, you will get a very different view,” says Toran Heli Services director Marc Lambert. “The landscape still bears the scars from that terrible time. From the air you can make out the trenches and mine craters, the vast cemeteries and imposing memorials – it will bring home the sheer scale and horror of this war that took eight million lives.” Founded in 1996, Toran fly from three Flanders helicopter fields – Antwerp, Knokke and their home base at Wevelgem near Lille – with a fleet of ten helicopters 16 | Issue 35 | November 2016

ranging from two to five-seaters. “You can book 30, 45 or 60-minute flights,” Lambert explains. “We can take you over the wideopen Flanders countryside, cities such as Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges and along the coast, from Knokke to De Panne. And, if you fancy it, you can also try to fly a helicopter yourself in one of our helicopters with dual controls. It's a great experience, and a great gift for someone near and dear who loves a bit of adventure!”

cemetery at Kemmelberg and the Island of Ireland Peace Park at Messines. If you opt for the full-hour flight, the pilot will also take you further towards the coast, flying over the Belgian Military Cemetery at Houthulst, the famous IJzertoren memorial, Our Lady Corner Memorial Chapel, the Trench of Death and the King Albert I Memorial in historic Nieuwpoort. “For anyone with an interest in the Great War, it will be an experience without equal.”

For the Great War Battlefield tour, patrons can also choose between a 30, 45 and 60-minute flight. The 30-minute flight will cover the famous sites in and around Ypres, including the Cloth Hall, Hill 62, the Brooding Soldier and the Essex Farm, Polygon Wood and Tyne Cot cemetery. The 45-minute flight will take in the Ypres sites and add the Heuvelland area, including the Pool of Peace mine crater, the French

Discover Benelux | World War One in Belgium | Commemorative Destinations and Activities in Westhoek

A hotel steeped in history TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: ARIANE HOTEL

Nestled between the historic streets of Ypres, just moments away from Flanders Fields, the Ariane Hotel holds a long tradition of serving as a ‘home away from home’ for guests from all over the world. The friendly building rises modestly above the spacious gardens, creating a feeling of tranquility and comfort. “We opened nearly two decades ago, but Ariane still gives me the feeling of being on holiday,” owner Natasja Feliers starts. “Our peaceful, leafy garden with its beautiful pond, the sunbathed terrace, and of course the guests, make every day a treat.” The family-run, four-star hotel counts 62 rooms, all boasting every comfort to make you feel at home. Amenities considered as complimentary by some, such as free parking and a team that always runs the extra mile (or two), are natural to Ariane. “I take great pride in our service and team. Together, we run Ariane as a close household.” In 2016, Ariane was awarded first place in the Top 25 four-star hotels in Bel-

gium, by TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice Award, for the third year in a row. “A great acknowledgement,” Natasja enthuses. “We always say that you receive back what you give.” Ypres’ most scenic landmarks such as the market square, the Menin Gate, and the Ypres Cloth Hall are all just a stone’s throw away, easily accessible by foot or bike (rented out by Ariane). Hungry from exploring? Ariane is home to an excellent restaurant, serving mainly Belgian delicacies, with daily fresh products of the season. The signature dish, a skewer of meat or fish, comes in a truly special setting: hanging above your plate, ready to drop down onto it. “We call that our ‘cosy’ dish,” Natasja laughs.

coming people from all over the world, either with an interest in history, or visiting the grave of a loved one. “We find ourselves in the heart of the First World War; that creates a unique atmosphere of remembrance and reflection. It makes you as a guest – and hotel – very humble.” Ariane celebrates its 20th birthday next year and will treat every guest who makes a direct booking to a 20-euro discount on every second consecutive night spent at the hotel.

The region’s history is all around you: in the small museum inside the hotellounge, in the nearby In Flanders Fields Museum, and in the pilgrims whom Ariane welcomes every year. Over the next two years, countless commemorations honouring the Great War will be held, welIssue 35 | November 2016 | 17

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam City Centre | The Ultimate Autumn & Winter Destination

Photo: Andrew Stripp Photography


The ultimate autumn and winter destination With lively squares, vibrant markets and charming side streets, the centre of Amsterdam is undoubtedly the city’s beating heart. The Dutch capital may be famous for its world-class museums, but step onto the streets and you will see the whole town is a fascinating exhibition waiting to be discovered. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: NBTC & AMSTERDAM MARKETING

Leidseplein Amsterdam.

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Discover Benelux | Amsterdam City Centre | The Ultimate Autumn & Winter Destination

Amsterdam, Royal Palace.

Photo: Cris Toala Olivares

Square up Where better to start when exploring Amsterdam than Dam Square. With its stunning classical facade, the Royal Palace (Koninklijk Paleis) dominates. Originally built as the town hall, it is used for various royal events but remains open to the public most of the year. You can learn all about the square’s dramatic history at Amsterdam Museum (Kalverstraat 92). The New Church (Nieuwe Kerk) is also located on Dam Square, next to the Royal Palace. Despite its name, the church was

The New Church. Photo: Cerik & Petra Hesmerg

actually built in the 15th century, and is no longer used as a church but rather as an exhibition space. Currently running until 5 February 2017 is an exhibition dedicated to the life and legacy of Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe.

Party like a local Another not-to-be-missed square is Rembrandtplein, particularly if you want to witness, or partake in, some serious partying. This vibrant square with its numerous outdoor cafés and street performers is

renowned for its nightlife, as is Leidseplein with its famous nightclubs and the iconic city theatre (Stadsschouwburg). When the Dutch football club AFC Ajax have a big win they can often be seen on the theatre’s steps to celebrate and enjoy the applause of their supporters.

Shop till you drop Amsterdam is home to a great variety of individual boutiques, and charming streets such as Utrechtsestraat are home to hip concept stores and gift shops. Issue 35 | November 2016 | 19

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam City Centre | The Ultimate Autumn & Winter Destination

Also worth checking out are the city’s famous markets. The lively market square of Nieuwmarkt has been a commercial hub since the 17th century and is home to a very popular organic food market on Saturdays. Look out for the attractive de Waag building, which used to be a main entry point into the city but now houses a popular restaurant. Art buffs may also be interested to know that it was the place where Rembrandt painted his celebrated oil painting The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp. Another must-see market is the Waterlooplein flea market in Amsterdam. This huge bazaar has everything from bric-abrac to vintage garb, and oozes personality. What treasures will you find? Photo: Koen Smilde

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Nieuwmarkt Amsterdam.

Photo: Constant Broeren

Dam, Nieuwmarkt & Waterlooplein highlights From the majestic Royal Palace on Dam Square to the lively markets of Nieuwmarkt and Waterlooplein, central Amsterdam is full of diversity and charm. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: NBTC & AMSTERDAM MARKETING

DO NOT MISS: Foodies will love the organic market held at Nieuwmarkt every Saturday. Go and soak up the atmosphere before relaxing with a drink and a spot of people-watching from one of the many bars and restaurants surrounding the square. Situated on the west side of Dam Square is the magnificent Royal Palace, one of the city’s top tourist attractions. Running until 16 November is the Royal Award for Modern Painting 2016 exhibition, showcasing the winning works of the annual competition to encourage young artists in the Netherlands. Having been established more than 100 years ago, Waterlooplein is the city’s oldest flea market and a must-visit for bargain hunters. Once you have bagged yourself a good deal, head to one of the various food trucks for some delicious world foods.

Issue 35 | November 2016 | 21

Discover Benelux | Highlights | Dam, Nieuwmarkt & Waterlooplein

Famous Chinese family business TEXT: JULIËN L’ORTYE  |  PHOTOS: EAT MODE

You would expect that taking over a company like the well-known Amsterdam-based Nam Kee restaurants would be more than enough to start with, right? Well, for brothers Cliff and Polo Chan, the opposite appeared to be the case as they decided to open Eat Mode in the same year. “Of course we didn’t just take over the restaurants at once. It went quite gradually,” Cliff explains. “And our father is still giving us very useful advice.” The reason they started with Eat Mode is quite simple: while Nam Kee is focused solely on the Cantonese cuisine, Cliff and Polo

strongly felt the desire to create a place where different influences could meet. That is exactly what Eat Mode is, a restaurant where Thai, Chinese, Japanese and even the relatively unknown Macanese cuisine come together. Not only does the menu vary a great deal from the one at Nam Kee, the audience is quite different too. Cliff tells us: “Our guests are younger and more international. A bit more open minded actually.” Being open minded is something that can come in handy, with a ramen burger on the menu for example. Although ramen is something that is typically Japanese, the burger moved over from the

United States and was noticed by Cliff while surfing the web. According to him, Eat Mode is the only place in the Dutch capital that serves this burger. Apparently, it was quite a struggle to figure out how to make it work. “Ramen is not something that can be easily kept together. It is like string, you know,” he laughs. With such an interesting dish on the menu and being located within a 15-minute walk from the central station, there are no excuses to avoid this interesting little place in the Dutch capital.

Effortless excellence in Amsterdam TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: KAAGMAN & KORTEKAAS

Hidden like a true gem, in a small alley in the heart of Amsterdam, Kaagman & Kortekaas has a wonderful atmosphere and serves great food reflecting an intimate and informal, yet exquisite, Parisian bistro. “Nouveau rough” is the term that comes to mind when entering this restaurant near the Dam: unfinished bare walls, wooden floors, a marble workbench in the open kitchen. Fresh fruit and vegetables shine on the wooden shelves, waiting to be used. As informally excellent as the interior is the menu. Besides the à la carte menu, Kaagman & Kortekaas serves a small menu with seasonal dishes full of surprises. With a FrenchEuropean focus, poultry, game, charcuterie and cheeses set the tone. Everything is handmade, from the chocolate desserts to the bread baked in-house. The restaurant is named after its owners Giel Kaagman and Bram Kortekaas, who met in the 22 | Issue 35 | November 2016

midst of their extensive culinary careers: Giel as a chef, Bram as a maître d and sommelier. Having had an education in classic French dining, Giel excels in preparing traditional dishes with a modern and exciting twist, while Bram makes sure only the best wines find their way to Amsterdam. “The best wines are those which reflect their region,” Bram enthuses. “Each region has its unique taste due to the climate, grapes and ground – you should taste that.”

Since opening in September 2015, Kaagman & Kortekaas has quickly grown to be one of the hottest tables in Amsterdam, with every night seeming more bustling than the last. “Are we full every night? Reserving for early in the week has the greatest chance of success,” Giel laughs. “And of course you can always pop in for some oysters or charcuterie at the bar!”

Discover Benelux | Highlights | Dam, Nieuwmarkt & Waterlooplein

An oasis of calm in the Red Light District TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: KOFFIESCHENKERIJ

From the Golden Age when the area was the city’s economic hub, through to the Red Light District’s incarnation as a tourist hotspot, the Oude Kerk church has always been a bastion of calm in this exuberant area of Amsterdam. At De Koffieschenkerij in the Oude Kerk, you can experience the serenity that this landmark brings. “This place is truly remarkable,” says Job Oosting, who started De Koffieschenkerij more than three years ago with his wife. The part of the Oude Kerk, where De Koffieschenkerij is situated, was built in the 16th century and served as the sacristy of the church. Later it became a house and was then used for storage. “This is the oldest building in the city and a truly serene place in the most daring part in town. We serve you excellent coffee in an oasis of calm.” De Koffieschenkerij serves coffee and pie. You can enjoy the best coffee and homemade apple pie in the garden or inside. “People order

at the bar, so that they can really get a feel of the building and what is happening when our baristas make their coffees and pie, all made with the freshest ingredients.” Customers can also order a small lunch, with sandwiches or soup on offer. “Whether you enter through the garden or come from the museum in the Oude Kerk, De Koffieschenkerij lets you enjoy exceptionally good coffee and pie in true serenity, right in the middle of the most vivid part of Amsterdam.”

Everybody loves Louis With the sounds of jovial banter, the scent of fresh coffee and a picture postcard view over Amsterdam’s canals, Louis reminds you of the good old Dutch days. In this beloved local spot in the heart of the city, time has stood still – in the best way possible. Entering café Louis is like stepping into a piece of heritage, topped off with a cosy laid-back interior and the feeling of a local pub. This hidden favourite at the Singel effortlessly combines casualness with a feeling of exquisiteness. With a beautiful view of Amsterdam’s scenic water-

ways, the terrace is inviting on both warm sunny afternoons and colder autumn nights. Great company at all times is the picturesque sunset and the never-ending line of people walking by. So, what is on the menu? “Specialty beers,” laughs Joes Janse, owner of Louis. “We serve over 50 types of specialty beers, many from small local breweries.” Do not leave without trying the ‘Broodje Sukade’ (sandwich with Blade steak), a Louis classic. Besides Joes, there is another boss running the place: cat Louis. This cute black and white creature casually strolls along tables, stylishly


conquering chairs and making every customer fall in love with him. “Does he steal food? He is pretty well behaved,” Joes smiles. As the night continues, Louis gets fuller, and the music goes down. “The sounds of voices is the best music out there,” enthuses Joes. Because that is Louis: your planned 20-minute trip to this gem might just magically turn into five hours of good conversation alongside specialty beer and a unique Dutch ambiance. You are warned.

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Discover Benelux | Highlights | Dam, Nieuwmarkt & Waterlooplein


Espressobar Puccini is a well-known name in Amsterdam. This cosy espresso bar serves fine Italian coffee. The lunch menu is freshly prepared and served in a modest setting that can seat 26 inside and 24 outside. Owner Wendela Wallenburg is feeling energised since becoming the owner of Puccini. “I worked here for six years before becoming the owner this year. I didn’t want to change the name because that is what people know.” Wallenburg always believed in the venue’s concept, so the decision to keep the name and atmosphere the same was not a hard one. “The bar has been in this spot for decades. We are right in the middle of the Joodskwartier in Amsterdam, which is known for its cultural status. We are right across the Stopera, home of Amsterdam’s city hall and the opera. We’re also located near the Waterlooplein.” Meals are prepared with fresh ingredients and the cookies and pastries are homemade,

as are delights such as the pesto, salad dressing and tapenade. You can also enjoy lemonade and all kinds of fresh juices. At Puccini, there are a wide variety of choices. Puccini is open seven days a week: weekdays from 8.30am to 6pm and at weekends from 9am to 6pm. “When there’s a ballet or opera performance, Puccini stays open until 8pm to serve pastas and salads.” For now, Wallenburg is happy with the bar’s legacy and making people happy. But she has many ideas for the future. Have a cup of Puccini’s coffee and take a look at

Adventurous chocolate flavours from Puccini Bomboni TEXT: STIAN SANGVIG  |  PHOTOS: PUCCINI BOMBONI

Beautifully situated on the Staalstraat in Amsterdam’s historical city centre, the first of Puccini Bomboni’s two chocolate boutiques can be found. “The name comes from the composer Puccini, whose works were frequently performed at the nearby opera house,” the company’s operations director Ivor Brinkman explains. The first dessert shop was opened in 1988 before they gradually moved into fine chocolates. A second shop can be found on Amsterdam’s Singel. “We are the world’s only Netherlands-based top ten chocolatier,” Brinkman continues. Puccini’s vision for chocolate seems clear: “Each Puccini chocolate should be a unique experience. Pure of taste. When you eat chocolate, you should taste chocolate.” Only the best ingredients are good enough for Puccini Bomboni’s experienced chocolatiers to put their vision into practice. In addition to chocolate from the finest cocoa, cream forms the foundation. Whilst their 24 | Issue 35 | November 2016

attitude to chocolate may be justifiably conservative to ensure quality, they are not shy of experimenting with adventurous flavours like pepper, lemongrass and nutmeg. “We are keen to create products nobody has thought of, and entirely according to in-house developed recipes,” adds chief chocolatier Sabine van Weldam. Whilst their retail outlets are in Amsterdam only, Puccini Bomboni’s reputation is expanding well beyond both the city’s and the country’s limits. “Our next step is to make our chocolate accessible to everyone by selling it online,” Brinkman explains.

A range of luxury gift boxes was recently launched, too. International expansion may also find its way onto the agenda. “However, we will only expand if we can preserve the highest level of quality,” Brinkman concludes. For more information visit www. puccinibomboni. com. Access the recently launched online store directly via

Discover Benelux | Highlights | Dam, Nieuwmarkt & Waterlooplein

Contemporary traditional Dutch cuisine at Restaurant Greetje


Dutch cuisine is rich with diverse ingredients. Every season has its own specialty and at Restaurant Greetje, in the heart of Amsterdam, they use those ingredients to create new dishes from traditional Dutch recipes. “All in an old-fashioned friendly, welcoming style,” says owner René van Loven. Restaurant Greetje opened in 2005. “It is named after my mother. We use some of her and her mother’s recipes and prepare them with a modern twist. Take the veal for instance: the

recipe is traditional, but we use modern, slow cooking techniques to prepare it to perfection.” Menus at restaurant Greetje are composed of specialties, cooked with fresh daily and organic ingredients from Dutch soil. “We prepare our dishes with love and respect for their ingredients and the environment. We make no concessions concerning the quality. I would rather say ‘no’, then sell poor quality,” stresses René. Restaurant Greetje’s interior, established in a monumental building from 1889 on the Peperstraat in old Amsterdam, pays homage

to traditional Dutch cuisine. Wooden floors, wainscoting and wallpaper with a Dutch scene in Delft blue give the restaurant its traditional ambience. “We want you to feel at home.” To truly appreciate Dutch cuisine, you have to dine at Restaurant Greetje. René: “Our mission is to retrieve the most arcane regional dishes and pay homage to Dutch food.” As said by The New York Times: “Greetje serves the most honest and thoroughly Dutch food…”

Rembrandt Statue.

Stadsschouwburg, Amsterdam.

Rembrandtplein, Utrechtsestraat & Leidseplein highlights Are you ready to let your hair down, or perhaps you fancy a show? From nightclubs and theatres to cinemas and live music venues, head to this part of town when in search of amusement. Enjoy a warming tipple from an outdoor café on Rembrandtplein before meandering along nearby streets such as Utrechtsestraat for beautiful views over the canals. When the sun goes down, Leidseplein’s party hotspots await. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: NBTC & AMSTERDAM MARKETING

DO NOT MISS: An impressive statue of Rembrandtplein’s namesake, the revered Dutch master painter Rembrandt van Rijn was made in 1852 by Flemish sculptor Louis Royer. The cast iron Rembrandt stands tall in the middle of the square, pensively gazing down on the area’s late-night partygoers. Indulge in some retail therapy on Utrechtsestraat, a bustling street home to an array of unique boutiques. From fashion to lifestyle, food and gifts, this is a shopper’s delight. Once you have shopped and are ready to drop, a great selection of friendly bars and restaurants await. In the mood for some culture? The majestic Stadsschouwburg (city theatre) is a Leidseplein Square institution. Check the website for details of performances with subtitles.

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Discover Benelux | Highlights | Rembrandtplein, Utrechtsestraat & Leidseplein Photo: Wij Zijn Kees

Photo: Teska Overbeeke

Heaven of greens TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

A foodie heaven, a revolutionary health movement, a salad bar; SLA is quickly conquering Amsterdam and far beyond by turning heavenly greens into salads, soups, and juices. The selection is so delicious you would almost forget they are healthy. ‘Eat, Share, Live’: SLA’s philosophy is raised from the belief that knowledge about food must be shared, leading to a world that is healthier and more conscious towards food. “Besides organic, local and healthy food, we are dedicated to accessibility,” says Jop van de Graaf, co-owner of SLA. “With SLA, we want to make healthy food easily accessible to everyone.” SLA’s menu serves a broad range of ready-to-eat salads, DIY salads, juices, soups, and snacks. Dishes are hallmarked by the proof that healthy eating is anything but boring. Think sweet potato falafel salad, pumpkin bread with walnuts, or broccoli soup with mung beans. You can either take away or eat in, but make sure you properly take in the impressive yet calming interior, with the salad bar

(made from the frame of a greenhouse) as SLA’s staple. The great value of the dishes enhances SLA’s accessibility even more.

laughs. “But SLA certainly proved its success. In that way, we might have inspired others.”

The menu changes often, with each seasonal and organic product coming from local suppliers (of which a list is available online). “In line with our ethos, we support local farmers and businesses. It is only things that do not grow in the Netherlands, like avocados, that are sourced abroad.”

After winning over the Netherlands, SLA is now carefully looking at international expansion, and healthy initiatives are created every day. “At SLA LAB, monthly talks and workshops are organised and we will shortly be launching a three-day detox package, delivered at home, with every meal already prepared. Easy, healthy, and really delicious. Because in the end, that is the most important thing.”

So how did it all start? “SLA is born out of necessity,” asserts Van de Graaf. “Like many others, I sometimes had trouble finding the time to cook healthily. Alternatives were fast food, or take outs. From that idea, SLA was born.” SLA’s first branch opened in 2013 in Amsterdam, but quickly the concept reached far past the city borders. Today, SLA counts eight branches all over the Netherlands, and five more are opening in the coming year. “You definitely notice that people have opened up to a healthier lifestyle. Is it a coincidence this movement started after SLA opened its doors? I don’t think we founded the movement,” Van de Graaf Photo: Teska Overbeeke

Issue 35 | November 2016 | 27


Contemporary Japanese cuisine served in laid-back yet modern surroundings, all combined with the greatest cocktails in town. Ku Kitchen & Bar is the best of Japan merged with that unique Amsterdam vibe. “Sustainability, service and quality are our cornerstones,” explains Hiro Miura, manager of Ku Kitchen & Bar. “Everything is fresh and prepared daily, our Japanese and Dutch chefs work with sustainable white tuna instead of yellow tuna, and we work with the highest quality salmon, never containing any antibiotics.” Ku Kitchen & Bar’s menu embodies authentic Japanese cuisine, but always with a modern twist. Classics are the King Ku Burger (rice flour bun with wagyu and beef burger) and the made-to-share chicken yakitori. The menu serves both full blown exquisite mains and finger food snacks, for those craving some snacks alongside cocktails. “Ku Kitchen & Bar is made for both the shopper wanting some high-quality Japanese snacks, as well as the couple wishing to have a romantic, 28 | Issue 35 | November 2016

full-evening dinner.” And, of course, there is sushi. “It is what Japan is famous for,” Miura laughs. No Japanese meal is complete without sake. Ku Kitchen & Bar serves six kinds of Japan’s beloved rice wine, from the Kizan (unpasteurised and fruity) to Yuzu Sake (lemon wine from Wakayama). “Sake is one of Japan’s most precious culinary exports – it has been produced in such an interesting way and has a fascinating history.” Other beverages not to miss are the Japanese whiskeys. “Move over Scotland,” Miura laughs. “The Japanese have such a precise way off producing their whiskeys. The craftsmanship is amazing.” Not in the mood for either sake of whiskey? Fear not, as Ku Kitchen & Bar is a beloved cocktail spot in Amsterdam. Just like the food, cocktails are made with fresh ingredients and can be enjoyed without any guilt: think fresh fruit and not too much sugar. Ku Kitchen & Bar is easygoing, yet pays great attention to detail, knowing like no other that there is one thing in which the

Japanese excel: service. Besides the welcoming atmosphere and the heavenly scents, it is the people that make you feel at home. “We know that fusions work – both with food and with people. Our diverse public and our worldly dishes prove that.”

Discover Benelux | Highlights | Rembrandtplein, Utrechtsestraat & Leidseplein

Tap your own beer while you eat TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: TAP & DINE

Honest, quality food with the best ingredients. Plus, you get to be your own bartender with a personal tap installation on the table. You can fill your own glass with a perfect draft beer. Situated on the first floor above The Waterhole live music bar, this is Tap & Dine.

& Dine has 16 tables with a tap, you do not have to come in with a large group. The venue welcomes all sizes, from a party of two to a party of 70. Keeping in line with the live music bar downstairs, the handsomely decorated restaurant pays homage to the greatest artists in music. Grand depictions of legends like Jimi

Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain are displayed stylishly on the wall. If you want to enjoy great quality food and your own private tap, make sure you try the true Tap & Dine experience. You will not find a better alternative on the Leidseplein.

The menu consists of honest and tasty dishes, made using ingredients of the highest quality. This is what has been missing from many of the establishments on the Leidseplein. Tap & Dine offers the best there is for a fair price. Not only is the food fantastic, but you can be your own barman. Most tables have a personal tap installed, so you can pour your own beer while you are eating. The tap registers its use per centilitre, so you only pay for what you drink. With a price of nine euros per litre, it is the best price of the entire square. Since Tap

Enjoying beer and live music TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: THE WATERHOLE

If you love a good night out and you love live music, make sure you visit The Waterhole live music bar on the Leidseplein. Here you can enjoy cheap beer and live music for free. In the words of owner Artur Zurek: “It is the best place on the square.” The Waterhole has been the place to be on the Leidseplein for 27 years now. It offers the cheapest beers of the square and is the only one that has live music every night, all night long. On Mondays, up to four acts from all over the world play their self-written originals, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays there are open jam sessions inviting you to join the stage! Thursday is a funk/soul/disco-night to get you dancing, while Fridays and Saturdays are all about contemporary rock and Sunday offers the most surprising acts from all genres. The Waterhole is a place where everybody is welcome. From dockworkers to doctors, locals and tourists, everybody is equal and talks to each other. They dance in front of the stage, play pool at one of the three tables or chess

at the tables outside. Enjoy the famous Frosty Pint, a pint of beer in a frozen glass, during the longest happy hour in Amsterdam. From noon till 9pm, this frosty pint only costs 3.50 euros. So if you want to enjoy live music, great people and cheap beers, there is no better place than The Waterhole. Once you hear the music and take in the ambience, you will want to stay forever.

Issue 35 | November 2016 | 29

Discover Benelux | Highlights | Rembrandtplein, Utrechtsestraat & Leidseplein

As the Romans do If you are looking for authentic and adventurous Italian cuisine in Amsterdam, look no further than Campo de’ Fiori on the hip and colourful Reguliersdwarsstraat. Between Amsterdam’s busy flower market and Herengracht’s famous Golden Bend, you will find yourself in a village-like oasis of pretty gabled houses, cobbled streets and miniature green gardens. “In the old days, this is where the coach houses of the Herengracht mansions used to be,” explains owner Giorgio Biart. “These days, it’s one of Amsterdam’s secret hotspots.” Three years ago, Giorgio opened his family restaurant Campo de’ Fiori here on Reguliersdwarsstraat together with his parents, who also own the nearby Casa di David. Hailing from Rome themselves, the family aptly named it Campo de’ Fiori after one of Rome’s most picturesque squares. Giorgio and his staff offer authentic and adventurous Italian cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere. “And that means no pizzas,” he stress-

es. “We use only fresh, high-quality artisan ingredients and concentrate on a menu of classic and modern pastas, meat and fish dishes.” With the help of his mama, Giorgio and chefs Mimo and Alvaro change the menu every three months to fall in with the seasons and to keep it fresh and adventurous. Campo de’ Fiori serves lunch and dinner seven days a week. In summer or on mild spring or autumn days, you can enjoy your meal on their cosy courtyard that backs onto the grand gardens of the Golden Bend. As one of only four Italian restaurants in Amsterdam that made it into the Michelin Guide 2016, the

Masters of the burger If you want to experience what a true gourmet burger tastes like, do as Amsterdammers do and make your way to Burgermeester. For almost a decade, Burgermeester has been Amsterdam’s go-to address for tasty gourmet hamburgers inspired by European cuisine. Starting out in the hip and happening Pijp district in 2007, founders Justus de Nijs and Dion Eggen challenged themselves to create the best burgers possible. “We wanted to turn a fast-food product into a quality product, something we could be proud of. So from the start we have worked exclusively with quality meats and the best herbs, spices, toppings and sides,” says Justus. “And we wanted to add some very European flavours to our burgers,” Eggen chips in. “Like our Royal Beef with a topping of truffle, egg and pancetta and our Classic Lamb with a compote of red onion.” Now boasting four eclectic Amsterdam locations at Albert Cuypstraat, Elandsgracht, Plantage Kerklaan and Utrechtsestraat, all 30 | Issue 35 | November 2016


reviewer’s verdict says it all: “Close your eyes, taste your food and imagine yourself in the eternal city.”


burgers at Burgermeester are freshly prepared every day, seven days a week. They source their premium Blonde d’Aquitaine beef from a sustainable Dutch ‘Betuwe’ farm, lamb from the Dutch isle of Texel, wild mackerel from the North Sea and game such as deer and wild boar appear on the menu in winter. Justus and Dion even serve their burgers on special Italian-style buns with their own homemade mustard and ketchup. Their chocolate brownies are made using fair trade, sustainable chocolate from Amsterdam’s Chocolate Makers. “You could say we really put out hearts in it,” Justus smiles. “And that’s exactly why we love doing what we’re doing. We produce our food

with integrity. We’re convinced that’s something our customers can taste.”

Discover Benelux | Highlights | Rembrandtplein, Utrechtsestraat & Leidseplein

The art of sushi Sushi is the hallmark of Japanese cuisine. Tomo Sushi has been mastering the art of this iconic dish for nearly two decades. It was one of the first sushi spots in Amsterdam and is without doubt the city’s best. Proudly located on the Reguliersdwarsstraat, one of the liveliest streets in the Dutch capital, Tomo Sushi has brought the best of Japan to Amsterdam, from its well-known culinary treasures to the welcoming and cosy atmosphere. “Tomo means ‘friend’ in Japanese, an obvious translation,” explains Chuck Lee, longtime owner of Tomo Sushi. “Our restaurant is made for those memorable nights, with good friends and great food.” While also serving dishes other than sushi (“there are always people who do not like raw fish!”), it is its traditional sushi Tomo is known and praised for. “Naturally we exclusively work with fresh ingredients and the best-quality fish. Our products are sourced from the best Japanese importer in the Netherlands. Even our soya sauce is picked with the greatest care.”


However, it is the rice that makes or breaks the perfect sushi. “The rice has to have the right level of stickiness, should be the right temperature, and should be marinated in a specific way,” Lee says. After 16 years, Lee is still serving in the restaurant. “We are a small place, with many regular customers – I know them all. Our personal service is very important and something you will not quickly find anywhere else in Amsterdam.” Does Lee have any last tips regarding sushi etiquette? “If you do not mind sticky fingers, it is perfectly fine to eat sushi with your hands!”


Photo: NBTC

IJdock. Photo: Koen Smilde


Head to the wild, wild west A bustling melting pot, a green oasis of peace, a cultural mecca: it is hard to put a label on Amsterdam-West. Comprising the districts of Oud-West, Nieuw-West, Westerpark, Bos en Lommer and De Baarsjes, the western part of Amsterdam combines diverse neighbourhoods – at the last count Amsterdam-West was home to 178 nationalities! There are quiet residential areas, creative centres, and idyllic corners. Take it from us: it is time to go West. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: AMSTERDAM MARKETING & NBTC

Pitch. Photo: Bart Heemskerk

32 | Issue 35 | November 2016

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam West | The City’s Most Cosmopolitan & Upcoming Area

De Hallen Amsterdam. Photo: Merijn Roubroeks

Oud-West & Bos en Lommer (read more from page 35) Just out of Amsterdam’s central neighbourhood the Jordaan lies Oud-West, bordered by the always busy Vondelpark and the scenic Singelgracht canal. This neighbourhood has seen rapid expansion due to its central location and relatively affordable housing, resulting in a densely populated and vibrant area that has maintained a peaceful atmosphere thanks to its green surroundings. The somewhat posh streets near the Vondelpark form a lively mix with the ethnic grocers on De Clerqstraat and the Kinkerstraat, long streets that connect the centre to the outer neighbourhoods. Perfectly reflecting its neighbourhood’s trendy and creative allure, De Hallen Amsterdam is one of the many indoor markets and creative hotspots in Oud-West, located in a converted industrial building and hosting an indoor cinema, a food-hall, a hotel, and several unique retailers.

Silodam. Photo: NBTC

Head off somewhat further West to find the districts of Bos en Lommer (‘BoLo’ for locals) and De Baarsjes, two of the most upcoming regions in Amsterdam. Bos en Lommer is named after a farm translated as ‘Forest and Shade’, that was formerly located where the central Bos en Lommerplein square is now. Thanks to the lower rent prices and an unmissable creative vibe, Bos en Lommer attracts many artists and students, however also acts as a family-friendly neighbourhood. The area has shaken off its previous image as a deprived neighbourhood, due to gov-

ernment redevelopment programmes and the ongoing gentrification.

Nieuw-West (read more from page 47) Do you really want to blend in with the locals? Venture to Nieuw-West. This area consists of the former districts GeuzenveldSlotermeer, Osdorp and Slotervaart, and is Amsterdam’s largest neighbourhood. Nieuw-West is often labelled as the city’s greenest district because of its massive park, the Sloterpark, and the adjacent lake the Sloterplas. Because other parks Issue 35 | November 2016 | 33

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam West | The City’s Most Cosmopolitan & Upcoming Area

in Amsterdam can get very busy, especially during summer, more and more runners, swimmers, and city dwellers who are looking for some peace come to the Sloterplas. Nieuw-West unites post Second World War residential districts with hidden trendy eateries and an industrial atmosphere. Former business park Sloterdijk is undergoing rapid changes, with many pioneering concepts popping up, making this neighbourhood a very likely candidate for the next gentrification wave. You are warned.

Westerpark and Westelijke Eilanden (read more from page 41) Relatively close to the centre, yet a world apart from Amsterdam’s crowded cobbled streets, lies the Westerpark neighbourKetelhuis at Westergasfabriek. Photo: Felix Kalkman

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hood. Not to be confused with the actual ‘Westerpark’, a park within the neighbourhood, Westerpark is a peaceful yet vivacious area with a strong cultural edge. It boasts several trendy street markets, high-quality restaurants and independent shops. The neighbourhood’s coolest area is the Spaarndammerbuurt, an upcoming place with new culinary hotspots arriving regularly. However, the neighbourhood’s real showpiece is the Westerpark. This large urban park has a name that does not do it justice, as it is much more than just a park. The Westergasfabriek is a former gasworks that has been completely renovated in recent years, and the park’s most prominent feature. Nowadays the old industrial plant acts as a renowned cultural institution with a cinema, a theatre, various creative businesses, cafés

and restaurants. The Westergasfabriek is also synonymous with major dance festivals such as Pitch and internationally known exhibitions such as the Unseen Photo Fair. The Westelijke Eilanden (Western Islands) is a group of three little man-made islands just east of Westerpark. They were built in the 17th century, as a part of the third expansion of the city. Together, the three islands form a picturesque neighbourhood, creating the atmosphere of a charming village. Venture a bit west of the Westelijke Eilanden to explore the Houthavens, an upcoming area with an interesting industrial history. The Houthavens is located on the banks of the IJ river and has seen its reputation as a cultural and creative neighbourhood grow strongly.

Erasmuspark. Photo: Niels Blekemolen

Oud-West and Bos en Lommer highlights The adjacent neighbourhoods of Oud-West and Bos en Lommer are a perfect marriage of everything that Amsterdam has to offer. Diverse neighbourhoods with great world-food markets, creative and cultural establishments, and green leafy spaces. These areas of Amsterdam prove that the city centre is not the only cool kid in town. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: AMSTERDAM MARKETING & NBTC

DO NOT MISS: Bos en Lommer markt – This market prides itself on being the cheapest market in the Netherlands. If that is true remains to be seen, but with approximately 120 stands filled with clothing, kitchen wares, and exotic herbs, fruits, and vegetables, Bos en Lommer market definitely is a celebration of cultural diversity and guarantees an interesting visit. Podium Mozaïek – The cultural heart of Amsterdam-West. Podium Mozaïek is an international cultural stage, established in the former Pniëlkerk (Pniëlchurch) on the Bos en Lommerweg. The intercultural platform presents metropolitan theatre, cabaret, dance, and music. Zevenlandenhuizen – The Zevenlandenhuizen (Seven Countries Houses) on the Roemer Visscherstraat were built in 1894,

each of the seven houses representing an architectural style from a different European country. Tjeerd Kuipers designed the houses, and they were commissioned by Amsterdam philanthropist Sam van Eeghen. Ten Katemarkt – Forget the busy Albert Cuypmarkt: this is the to-go-to outdoor market where the locals get their food, fruits, and flowers. This cosy and somewhat hidden market is kept relatively small with around 100 stalls, yet gives you a perfect idea of what a real Amsterdam market looks like. Bosboom Toussaintstraat – The Bosboom Toussaintstraat, A.K.A. the “birth corner”, offers, besides a nursery and midwifery practice, many shops specifically aimed at pregnant women and children. Think baby clothing, toys, and children’s books. Westermoskee. Photo: Niels Blekemolen

Issue 35 | November 2016 | 35

Discover Benelux |

Highlights | Oud-West & Bos en Lommer

The perfect place for short stays in Amsterdam TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: HOTEL2STAY

Staying in Amsterdam a while and finding good accommodation can sometimes be a challenge. At Hotel2Stay, just outside the city centre, you have all the luxuries of a hotel, and you can stay for a longer period of time. Hotel2Stay is brand new. “We opened our doors this September,” says manager Lisette Landman. “You can still feel the newness of it.” It started out as a housing project for students and starters on the housing market. “During the development of the project, the owner of Holland2Stay, 36 | Issue 35 | November 2016

Zjef Bogers, and the developers of City Pads – saw an opportunity for a hotel and made it happen.” Now it is a modern, new hotel with 157 rooms. “Each room is a studio. They are all decorated in a modern style, with lots of light. For instance, the Terrarium Deluxe suites have floor-to-ceiling windows,” tells Landman. There are six types of room, varying from 20 square metres to 40 square metres and configurations for up to four people. “Each room has a kitchen, so our guests can cook their own meals

if they want. The Sequoia Suite and Terrarium Deluxe are almost like a flat, with a living room, bathroom, bedroom and a full kitchen. The lighting is beautiful due to the big windows.”

Facilities The facilities at Hotel2Stay are what you would expect from a quality hotel. “We have a 24-hour front desk with fantastic, customer-friendly staff, working to make your stay as great as possible,” explains Landman. “We also have a gym, an infrared sauna and we have a meeting room

Discover Benelux | Highlights | Oud-West & Bos en Lommer

where you can work, study, or hold a business meeting. Of course, there is complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and in the lobby we have two computers for our guests to use.” Unlike most other hotels, Hotel2Stay has a laundrette for its guests. “A laundry service can be expensive in hotels. That is why we like to give our guests the option of doing their own laundry. Especially for the guests who are staying longer.” The hotel does not have its own restaurant. “There are a lot of good restaurants in the area and we like our guests to experience all the new places Amsterdam has to offer. However, we do offer a buffet breakfast, which is prepared daily with fresh ingredients at the ‘Aristo’ location next-door. They provide an amazing buffet and the chef can prepare you fresh eggs.” If you do not feel like leaving the hotel, all rooms have a kitchen for preparing your own nice breakfast.

Short stay A unique feature of Hotel2Stay is that it offers guests the possibility to stay from

one night up to six months. “A lot of international corporations have situated their headquarters in Amsterdam. Since the housing market in Amsterdam is really tough, there are not a lot of places where their employees can find a nice place to stay for a reasonable price.” That is why Hotel2Stay offers this service. “The short stay is not just for employees of big companies. We also see a lot of people who are moving and need a place to bridge the period of time between leaving and moving in to the new house or want a ‘home base’ on their travels.” In some cases, when people are in need for a temporary living space due to personal issues, they use this option also. “This service is for everyone who wants to stay longer at our hotel. We have 54 rooms to accommodate these guests.”

Amsterdam Sloterdijk Hotel2Stay is located just outside the city centre of Amsterdam, in the Sloterdijk neighbourhood. “This is an up-and-coming area,” says Landman. “There are a lot of big companies here. But the municipality is converting this neighbourhood.

There are a lot of new housing projects, and you see restaurants and bars coming here.” Even though the hotel is not in the middle of Amsterdam, it is easy to get there. Hotel2Stay is next to the train station. From there it is only a few minutes to Amsterdam Central Station or Schiphol Airport. The subway is also within walking distance, which in minutes brings you to the Amsterdam RAI or the World Trade Centre. “Or you can experience Amsterdam like a real local and rent a bike with us. You will see a lot of Amsterdam and it will only take you 15 minutes to get to the city centre.” Hotel2Stay is a young and new hotel and the perfect place to enjoy Amsterdam. Landman: “Our studios are that warm place you can come home to after a long day sightseeing or working. Our staff make it their job to make you feel at home, whether you stay for a day or for six months.”

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Wining and dining in a casual atmosphere TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: PASTIS

Situated in the lively urban neighbourhood of Old-West lies the cosiest café-restaurant in Amsterdam, Pastis. Praised by many for their price to quality ratio, this caférestaurant is the perfect pit stop during a visit to the Dutch capital.

the restaurant… it is a lively mix of everything: a café-restaurant where locals and visitors to the city can meet and where we offer a delicious seasonal menu with a French twist and a touch of the Mediterranean.” Pastis promises to be the perfect place to take your family, partner or a work colleague after a visit to one of the nearby museums, such as the Rijksmuseum or the Van Gogh Museum. Enjoy one of their delicious wines and tasty Dutch delicacy ‘bitterballen’ on the terrace overlooking the lively neighbourhood

square. Or sample the living room atmosphere inside and taste one of chef’s specialties, such as guinea fowl or delicious cod from the local market, served with fries. The place that Van den Akker and Mol once wished for has become their own creation. Their affordable prices, friendly staff and delicious cuisine with a renewed menu make this place one of a kind. Mol: “There is something for everyone, and everyone is more than welcome.”

Somewhere with the casual atmosphere of a living room and the tasty food of a good restaurant: this was what Pastis owners Anna Mol and Ingrid van den Akker found to be missing in their lively Amsterdam Old-West neighbourhood. “So, we started the restaurant that we wanted to have,” Mol explains. Pastis became a pride and passion: “The guests, the food and


Of all the Dutch things one can do in Amsterdam, eating pancakes is definitely the most delicious one. De Vier Pilaren serves the best of these flat magical treasures, following an authentic recipe consisting of decades of pancake culinary experience and a service that is always smiling. TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence proudly adorns De Vier Pilaren’s name, with both tourists and locals praising the restaurant’s warm service and authentic and high-quality pancakes. “We are one of the few restaurants left that prepare and bake ‘poffertjes’ the traditional way, with a big copper pan on a fire,” owner of De Vier Pilaren, Riccardo Gurrieri says. All pancakes are prepared with the best ingredients from local producers. “That goes from only the best strawberries to fresh vegetables from Osdorp, a region in Amsterdam. And we have been using organic flour for years, long before organic cooking became fashionable.” 38 | Issue 35 | November 2016

As authentic as De Vier Pilaren’s ‘poffertjes’ is its history. Gurrieri runs the restaurant together with his wife Vanessa, whose parents started off with one single ‘poffertjes’ stall, originally to provide visitors at fairs with some Dutch goodness. After the stall turned into De Vier Pilaren in 1993, the pancake restaurant was born. Located in the heart of Amsterdam, De Vier Pilaren is a spot hardly missed by tourists. “Someone’s nationality is a strong determinant

of what people will order. Dutch people often go for the pancake with bacon and cheese, while Italians always crave for a crepe with Nutella.” Must it be a lively setting, serving so many tourists? “Definitely, but that is what we love. Tourists are energetic, curious, and always have a story to tell. We absolutely love to hear them!”

Discover Benelux | Highlights | Oud-West & Bos en Lommer

The hotel of the future

CityHub Amsterdam is a hotel like no other. Offering a revolutionary travel experience for a new generation of explorers, it combines the comfort of a high-end hotel with the affordable prices and community feeling of a hostel. There is a new kind of traveller these days. This new traveller does not care for luxury hotels and is not interested in the typical and mostly crowded tourist spots. On the contrary, the new traveller wants to explore undiscovered hotspots and mingle with locals. But the


question is: where to find a hotel that is fully equipped yet affordable? And how does one explore a city that they do not know? CityHub is the answer. With its top location in the up-and-coming Bellamy neighbourhood in Amsterdam, 50 private sleeping units (so called Hubs) with comfortable king-size beds, its own app and self-service bar, this place promises to be the hotel of the future. To ensure a local experience, you are welcomed to CityHub by one of the CityHosts. They are available 24/7 to provide you with the best local tips. Even better, if a spontaneous question comes up as you stroll around the city, just hit CityHub’s mobile app for advice. All of this comes without unwanted data roaming costs because CityHub offers its guest a MiFi Hotspot (mobile router) providing free internet across the whole country! CityHub is a concept that is taking the Netherlands by storm. The innovative and creative hotel is opening a new location in Rotterdam next year. With plans to open locations in London, Paris and Barcelona, CityHub promises to

be a universal key to a successful visit in the world’s best cities.

Sleeping in a colourful antique shop TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: COLOURFUL BED & BREAKFAST

There might be many bed and breakfasts in the capital of the Netherlands, but none are as vibrant or comfortable as the Colourful Bed & Breakfast. Situated in the centre of Amsterdam, this is the perfect place to stay and explore the city. As an interior stylist, the owner of the Colourful Bed & Breakfast Tanja de Vries has styled a great deal of the city’s bed and breakfasts. “I had so much fun styling accommodations, that I decided to start a bed and breakfast myself,” she says. Her own colourful style and personal twist became a unique selling point for the very popular accommodation, which is situated in a beautiful old mansion on a quiet street in the centre of Amsterdam. “I didn’t want to have IKEA furniture and make it look like any other place. I combined my own taste and experience as an interior designer. My aim was to amaze the guest in every

corner of the room, whether they went to the bathroom or opened the kitchen cabinets. It needed to give them a ‘wow’ feeling.” The very charming bed and breakfast consists of two different rooms, each with a private bathroom, kitchen and a balcony overlooking the picturesque street. The Leidseplein and other sites, such as the Rijksmuseum, are just a stone’s throw away.

De Vries personally welcomes her visitors, who travel from all over the world and often describe their stay as a ‘sleepover in an antique shop’. “I consider that as a compliment,” smiles De Vries. “It’s something different to other accommodations and that is exactly what makes this place special”

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Sweet and savoury delights at Maison DeMani’s TEXT: CATHY VAN KLAVEREN  |  PHOTOS: MAISON DEMANI’S

The warm welcome, great breakfast, lunch and patisseries at Maison DeMani’s makes you feel right at home.

Photo: Wietse Visser

The sister owners of Maison DeMani’s came up with the idea of opening their own business because they missed variety in breakfast and lunch menus. “We used to go out with our friends for breakfast regularly. Most of the time we would feel disappointed or not satisfied.” So they decided to do it differently. “At Maison DeMani’s we search for special flavour combinations and pay attention to detail in our food and presentation, or add a touch of decadence. By using less than 30 per cent sugar than standard recipes, the sisters serve sweets that are appealing to all customers. “We want our guests to actually taste the cake flavours and not be blown away by the sugar,” coowner Nacira says.

“People should feel welcome here; as our guests, not as customers. All our food and cakes are homemade with fresh ingredients, because we believe going out for breakfast or lunch should be just as special as going out for dinner, right?” says one of the owners Khadija Temssamani. When you walk into Maison DeMani’s, the beautiful plastered high ceiling and hard wooden floor immediately catches your eye. The elegant and stylish interior combines elements of a typical French ‘salon du thé’ with an English ‘cake parlour’. Meanwhile, some of their (pan) cakes emulate a rich American style. The items you will find on the menu are a balanced mix of healthy, savoury and sweet. Eggs Benedict, pancakes with Moroccan amlou and bacon, or rich dark chocolate cake; there is plenty of 2_0_Biz_Het_Noordeinde_ad_halfpage_Layout 1 28/08/2015 18:09 Page 1 choice for everyone.

Luxury shopping in the royal shopping district in the historic city center of The Hague.

Fashion / restaurants / galleries / lifestyle & design / and more...

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Discover Benelux | Highlights | Westerpark & Westelijke Eilanden

Westergasterrein. Photo: Matthias Valewink

Westerpark and Westelijke Eilanden highlights The Westerpark area is a stone’s throw away from the centre, yet has a more village-like allure than any other area in Amsterdam. The presence of the Westergasfabriek in the eponymous Westerpark makes this area a cultural playground hosting world-class events, all against a green backdrop. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: AMSTERDAM MARKETING & NBTC

REM eiland. Photo: Edwin van Eis

DO NOT MISS: Museum Het Schip – A museum based in one of the most expressionist apartment blocks in Amsterdam, located at the Spaarndammerplantsoen. Het Schip explores the Amsterdam School style of architecture in its social, political and artistic context. The apartment blocks are designed by Michel de Klerk. NeighbourFood Market – Every third Sunday of the month, this market in the Westergasfabriek gathers the most delicious food from all over the world. Some stalls also sell vintage clothing, but make sure you get there early for the best finds! Billie’s Wednesday Sessions – Finding yourself in Amsterdam on a Wednesday, and up for some jamming during dinner? Definitely

step by the Westergasfabriek, which every week hosts free live music with WestergasfabriekLive. Silodam – A definite highlight for architecture aficionados, the Silodam is a modern residential building located on the banks between the Houthavens and the IJ river. The interesting design by MVRDV architects counts 17 different colours and styles of cladding. Ketelhuis Cinema – Celebrity alert! This comfortable cinema shows the best art house films, including Dutch youth cinema and documentaries. Its café is a popular hangout for Dutch actresses and actors. Also an excellent choice if you just want to have a drink.

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You do not need more than five minutes with Arend Nieboer, owner of Bistro Zuidlande, to learn that he is not your average chef. While talking to him, you hear him discuss “respecting the seasons” and “using products from the region” constantly – and you will learn that he thoroughly abides these rules. “There is nothing special about what I am doing, you know,” he begins. What comes next is a long, interesting and sometimes critical monologue about how the craft of cooking has changed over the years. “Nowadays, most dishes do not even look like they are edible. Chefs give all their attention to the appearance of their food and forget to think about the taste.” That is exactly what Nieboer is rebelling against 42 | Issue 35 | November 2016

with his own restaurant, which he started little more than two years ago. Nieboer decided to switch from “wasteful” à la carte menus to three, four or fivecourse menus, which he describes as a blessing. Not in the least because he is doing everything on his own, which can be quite a task when the place is packed – especially during the weekends. “Imagine when you have a table with four guests and they all order a different starter, main course and dessert. That does not only mean that you have a lot of work, but at the end of the day, it results in having to throw away a lot of unused products.” According to Nieboer, who has over 40 years of experience and has spent many years as a chef in starred restaurants in

France, the main approach to cooking is using healthy, fair products that people are familiar with. “A healthy balance with seasonal products has never been very trendy, but that is exactly how it is supposed to be.” Together with his right-hand Bobby Dest, who does an amazing job of making sure their guests have a carefree and enjoyable evening, he serves weekly changing dishes. For example, a risotto of crustaceans as a starter, followed by grilled tuna with ratatouille and a vinaigrette of Kalamata olives, finished off with French cheese and fig compote. If an evening of no-nonsense cooking and being spoiled to the brim sounds delightful to you, visiting Bistro Zuidlande is a must.

Discover Benelux | Highlights | Westerpark & Westelijke Eilanden

Sustainably delicious When in Amsterdam, do as the Amsterdammers do. Green House Kitchen prides itself on combining healthy cuisine with the art of vaping, seriously delicious comfort food, and artwork. Curious to know more? We thought so. Green House Kitchen in the heart of Amsterdam is a haven for both health foodies and delicacy aficionados, serving a seasonal menu that makes everybody happy: vegetarian, vegan, raw, paleo, gluten free, and treats for those with a sweet tooth. “All our products are locally and responsibly sourced,” enthuses Celester Roskam, owner of Green House Kitchen. “Our biological wines come from the shop across the street, we only serve sustainable fish, and I have visited the farms where we source our meat. A dietary preference is everyone’s personal choice – knowledge about where your food comes from should be universal.” Not just innovative on the food front, Green House Kitchen is the only restaurant in the Netherlands offering a vaping experience.


“Vaping is breathing in the aromas of herbs and spices via a vaporiser,” Celester explains. “It is fully natural, without any tobacco or other substances.” You can choose any herb that complements the food – think lavender, hops, or even cannabis. So smoking inside is allowed? “Vaping does not produce any combustion hence no smoke,” Celester laughs. “So vaping is done inside, preferably during dinner!” Besides the art of vaping, actual artwork adorns the walls of Green House Kitchen, with an in-house exhibition space where artists show their work. “That is a win-win situation. We have beautiful art to show, while artists get a chance to display their work.”

At Green House Kitchen, there is healthy, good food, laughter, vaping, sharing, banter, and sugary cheesecake next to organic falafel salad. Green House Kitchen is for everyone.

Beyoncé’s choice of burrito TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: THE BURRITO MAKER

Scott. Soon after, a second Burrito Maker was opened on Zeeburgerstraat 4 with his business partner Roy Speetjens in the east side of town as well as expanding delivery service and catering. “All of our burritos are made with fresh products; salsas and guacamole are made fresh daily; we also have a selection of bottled hot sauces, chilli chocolates and spicy candies not found elsewhere in the city.” When you are in Amsterdam and you are looking for the best burrito in town, all you have to do is go down to The Burrito Maker at Haarlemmerplein 29 in the centre. “We make burritos to order and customised to taste,” says owner Eric Scott. Eric, born in the American Mid-West, started The Burrito Maker over three years ago in the corner shop on the Haarlemmerplein. “I was missing the burrito makers like the ones I knew in the US. So I started my own shop,” says

World famous While catering burritos for Beyoncé and her crew when she performed in the Amsterdam Arena this year may have put The Burrito Maker on the map, they have been an insider’s hit with the local Dutch and American expat community since they opened. So if you are looking for a fresh burrito made the way you like, you must go to The Burrito Maker. Issue 35 | November 2016 | 43

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Waterside dining with a twist TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: PONT 13

Moored in the former Wood Harbour of Amsterdam, Pont 13 combines an unbeatable location with a robust yet laidback charm and stunning food, proving that all good things in life can be best enjoyed from the water. When entering Pont 13, one cannot do much more than simply take it all in: the huge windows, the industrial metal, the scent of delicious food. The restaurant is located in a former ferry (pont) anno 1927, that once transported passengers over the IJ river, and everything about Pont 13 still breathes the romantic post-industrial vibe of this unique piece of heritage. An absolute showpiece of the room is the old diesel tank. “When we welcome our guests, the tank is often the first thing they want to see up close,” enthuses Menno Djie, manager of Pont 13. However, Pont 13’s food is definitely not upstaged by its view or interior. The large authentic charcoal grill enhances the feeling of sturdy

excellence, perfectly preparing this season’s delicacies such as fresh fish or mouthwatering grilled meat. Besides an extensive wine menu, a great focus lies on specialty beers. “We call them our superb specialty beers, each with their own ingredients, taste, and heritage,” says Djie. Whether you just want to have coffee, enjoy lunch or dinner, or hold a private event such as a wedding or business outing: anything is possible at Pont 13. But no matter why you are visiting, the ever-relaxed atmosphere will always welcome you – accompanied by the most unique setting possible. DID YOU KNOW? Pont 13 consists of more than 200,000 kilogrammes of steel. Pont 13 still has its original wooden floor. Pont 13 has crossed the IJ for 50 years.

Historic dinner with a view TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: REM EILAND

You see it from afar: the striking red and white structure towers 22 metres above the IJ river, building your expectations for an adventure. REM eiland is an extraordinary restaurant in every way, from the breathtaking views to its fascinating history. Our adventure starts when we climb the steep metal stairs and reach the platform. Our reward is a beautiful 360-degree panoramic view over Amsterdam and a restaurant unlike anything we have seen before. The dining rooms are located on wraparound platforms, with an ex-helipad all around. When stepping into the restaurant, the black and white photos on the walls already provide a glimpse into history. “REM eiland was built in the 1960s as a pirate television tower, set up by clever entrepreneurs to avoid the Netherlands’ restrictions on the broadcasting of commercial shows,” explains Onno Zwart, owner of REM eiland. “However, the tower was shut down by 44 | Issue 35 | November 2016

the government after just a couple of months, and then served as a monitoring post.” Luckily for everyone, the island was transformed into a restaurant, helmed by Zwart since June this year. In an industrial setting, REM serves French-European dishes for lunch and dinner. A brand new menu created by chef Willem-Jan Siebring awaits: fresh seafood, high-quality meat, all topped off with excellent wines. Due to its fantastic location, REM eiland is a favourite hotspot for events, from birthdays to presentations. Opening next month is ‘Studio REM’, a multifunctional space for business meetings and presentations. The combination of great food and a unique location make REM eiland an memorable adventure, made even more special by the turbulent history. “REM’s history is the cherry on the cake. We make sure no one leaves without knowing our fantastic story!”

Haparandadam 50, 1013 AK Amsterdam +31(0)20 770 27 22

Discover Benelux | Highlights | Westerpark & Westelijke Eilanden

A little Barcelona in Amsterdam TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: I-DOCK

Just a couple of minutes from the Central Station of Amsterdam, overlooking the IJ river, you will find the restaurant I-Dock. This modern, Mediterranean restaurant is perfect for private dining or hosting your event. “All with the best view of the harbour,” tells Birgit van der Woning, event coordinator at I-Dock. I-Dock opened its doors two and a half years ago and is located in the Room Mate Aitana hotel, at the IJdok City Marina. “Our partnership with Aitana, a Spanish chain of boutique hotels, along with our Mediterranean cuisine, gives you the feeling of walking right into Barcelona,” says Van der Woning. The menu consists of Mediterranean specialties, all made with the best ingredients and daily fresh products. “Our menu has the highest quality. To make sure it stays that way, we change the menu with every season to ensure we only use the best ingredients available.”

Private dining I-Dock restaurant is perfect to enjoy a private dinner with friends, family or colleagues. “The private dining room is on

the same level as the rest of the restaurant. It makes you feel a part of the restaurant and its ambience, but with privacy.” The private dining room has a great view of the harbour and I-Dock’s Marina terrace. “That is the pride of our restaurant. There is not a terrace in Amsterdam like this. It is right next to the water, overlooking the harbour. During the summer, you can enjoy cold drinks in the sun almost all day,” tells Van der Woning.

have a great deal of experience organising these events and will make your party the best you have ever experienced.” If you make a reservation and mention Discover Benelux you will receive a complimentary glass of Prosecco for each member of your party.

Events They also host many events at I-Dock, like the oyster festival on the Marina terrace. Here you can try the best oysters available while enjoying great music. Each Friday there is the Friday Special, with a DJ set, and once a month it is Fashion Friday, with a fashion show and stalls. Two months a year, from the end of November until January, Amsterdam hosts the Light Festival. “It is a great event, where the city is drenched in light and art. I-Dock is one of the official boarding points for the tour ships.” I-Dock is also a great venue if you want to host your own event like a business dinner, an exclusive brunch or a wedding. “We Issue 35 | November 2016 | 45

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Highlights | Westerpark & Westelijke Eilanden

A true Caribbean experience at the heart of Amsterdam TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK  |  PHOTOS: PLATO LOCO

In between the two lovely Amsterdam neighbourhoods of Westerpark and the Jordaan, the cosy restaurant Plato Loco makes sure customers get a real Caribbean treat; great food, a comfortable atmosphere and wonderful personal service.

our perfect terrace is drenched in sunlight right until the sun sets.” For Tsiavdartzi, great service is just as important as high-quality and fresh food. “We are a relatively small restaurant,” she says. “With a limit of 12 tables we are able to offer the service we think is so important. Everything is about a personal, friendly and accessible approach.” A daily goal for Tsiavdartzi is to ensure customers leave having had a great evening and wonderful food. “That is success,” she concludes.

“We get our inspiration from the entire Caribbean area, like Cuba, Puerto Rico or Jamaica,” says Magdalena Tsiavdartzi, owner of Plato Loco. Every three weeks there is a new menu composed by Tsiavdartzi and the chef. “There is one dish that is always on the menu because it is so popular, the Jamaican jerk chicken,” she says. “Ideally we love to trigger people to try out new flavours and combinations.” The interior has been inspired by the entire Caribbean area and therefore has a warm atmosphere. Tsiavdartzi: “We want people to come here for a break from their everyday life. Even though we are located in two very vibrant neighbourhoods of Amsterdam, it is a very qui2_0_3C_Online_Advert_half_page_Layout 2 07/05/2015 09:34 Page 1 et and peaceful environment. On summer days,

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Amsterdam Sloterdijk. Photo: Edwin van Eis

Nieuw-West highlights As Amsterdam’s largest and greenest neighbourhood, Nieuw-West is the perfect place for a happy escape to (almost) tourist-free streets. Do not get fooled by the seemingly quiet corners and squares: spacious parks, trendy cafés and restaurants, and creative concepts await you at Nieuw-West. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: AMSTERDAM MARKETING & NBTC

DO NOT MISS: Rembrandtpark – Often and wrongly overshadowed by the Vondelpark and the Sloterpark, the Rembrandtpark spreads over 45 leafy hectares and is (unlike other parks) not flooded with tourists. Named after the Netherlands’ most famous painter, the Rembrandtpark is also home to a water-play area, an adventure playground and a petting zoo. Molen van Sloten Windmill – This picturesque windmill is a reconstructed and working mill from 1847, and the only mill in Amsterdam that is open to the public. The Molen van Sloten is located under one roof with the Coopery Museum, both well worth a visit. There are daily tours through the mill.

Theater de Meervaart – The days when you had to go central Amsterdam for a night of culture, are long gone. Theater de Meervaart is Nieuw-West’s own cultural hotspot, hosting dance performances, family shows, and comedy acts. Sloterplas – A park unlike any other in Amsterdam. The Sloterplas is the green and natural showpiece of Nieuw-West. This huge lake, surrounded by the spacious Sloterpark, is a haven for (water) sports enthusiasts, dog walkers, picnic lovers, or for those who just need a moment away from Amsterdam’s busy urban life. Sloterpark. Photo: Edwin van Eis

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Location, service, facilities, view: Mercure Amsterdam Sloterdijk has it all TEXT: PARVEZ SULTAN & JULIËN L’ORTYE  |  PHOTOS: MERCURE HOTEL AMSTERDAM SLOTERDIJK

The area around the Sloterdijk station is quite an interesting part of Amsterdam. The location has an industrial vibe but it is appealing to tourists because of its proximity to both the city centre and Schiphol Airport. Although there are many hotels in the area, it is safe to say that there are not many better places to spend your nights than the Mercure Hotel Amsterdam Sloterdijk Station. “I believe that we distinguish ourselves from the surrounding hotels by being a full-service hotel,” says hotel manager Ronald Reichert. In addition to its 172 rooms, the hotel not only offers a unique top floor bar and restaurant, but is also home to a boardroom, a conference room, as well as an on-site parking garage. It even has a gym for guests who want to stay in shape. “One of the reasons people pick our hotel is that it is relatively quieter here than staying in a hotel in the city centre. In addition 48 | Issue 35 | November 2016

to that, it is also relatively cheaper,” says Reichert on the charm of the Mercure Hotel. He is completely right; even the parking charge is cheaper compared to 50 euros a day in the city centre. On top of that, during weekdays after 7pm and during the weekends, public parking is free here.

us, pointing to the floor-to-ceiling windows and the comfortable sofas. A hotel with a great location, great service, great facilities and a great view – need we say more?

The accessibility of the hotel is the biggest force of attraction, according to Reichert. “From Schiphol Airport to the hotel lobby will not take you more than 15 minutes,” he tells us proudly. “On the other hand, Amsterdam city centre is less than a ten-minute journey by train. We have our own bicycles, Mercure Hotel bikes, so you may even like to ride a bicycle to the city centre. Hire one at the reception and enjoy the ride.” But there is more. At the Sky Lounge, located on the eighth floor, you can overlook the city. “Imagine yourself sitting over there watching the sunset, sipping on a cocktail or a glass of wine,” Reichert tells

Discover Benelux | Highlights | Nieuw-West

Moroccan roots, great food TEXT: JULIËN L’ORTYE  |  PHOTOS: ZOHOUR’S DAILY

Although Slotervaart was not always known as the most attractive borough in the Dutch capital, you can certainly say that things have gotten way better. More and more entrepreneurs are finding their way to this side of Amsterdam, like the owner of Zohour’s Daily, Ghizlane Bentohami, who decided to start her own business here. “My parents have always had their own catering company,” Bentohami explains. “And as much as I enjoyed helping them, I always felt the strong desire to start something for myself.” Last January, that dream finally came true when she started her own lunchroom: Zohour’s Daily. The place has a great menu, for exam-

ple there is an omelette with turkey bacon and spinach on it, an English or Moroccan breakfast and many sandwiches. “No, it is not like every single dish has a Moroccan twist,” she laughs. “But there are indeed some meals that are influenced by the Arab kitchen.” Aside from the fact that Bentohami wanted to give this neighbourhood an extra boost, there was another reason for her to start her first own place here: “When going through the list of my parents’ company’s customers, it appeared that many of them were living around here, so they were already familiar with the name ‘Zohour’.” According to her, these locals are very happy to have her around, while the place is much appreciated by office clerks as well. But that is not all: “I have been told by the City of Amsterdam that they are very happy to have me here.” After paying her wonderful place a swift visit, we can certainly see why that is the case.

Around the world in Amsterdam TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: CITIEZ HOTEL

A gateway to iconic cities all over the world, located in the very heart of the Dutch capital: Citiez Hotel captures the unique marriage of sights, sounds, tastes and people one finds in a bustling city.

ly combine stylish design with high-standard Dutch quality, and breathe the atmosphere of a familiar or unfamiliar city. Do you wish to travel to Helsinki, Tokyo, or Montreal tonight? Citiez Hotel hosts an allDayCafé, serving food and drinks from the food store full of local flavours and fresh products. The EARTH Water, Coffee or Tea available at the café accomplishes more than just being delicious; 100 per cent of the net profit generated by these products are used to finance water projects. “In EARTH we found a partner with morals equal to our

own: quality products with care for humans and the environment,” Jean-Paul asserts. Due to its central location, informal, excellent service and unmatched prices, people from all over the world find their way to Citiez Hotel. “We welcome people of all nationalities, ages and interests; from older couples enjoying a cultural weekend in Amsterdam, to young backpackers,” concludes Jean-Paul. “Just like a true city, Citiez Hotel is for everyone.”

“At Citiez Hotel we believe it is the people that make the city,” says Jean-Paul de Mol, owner of Citiez Hotel. “Together with a city’s colourful lights, parks, architecture, and traffic, they create a diverse skyline.” It is a skyline represented in each of the hotel’s 71 rooms, all offering the best standard of comfort for a warm, welcoming stay. The rooms at Citiez Hotel effortlessIssue 35 | November 2016 | 49

Discover Benelux |

Highlights | Nieuw-West

Burgers and shakes with freshness and personality TEXT: STIAN SANGVIG  |  PHOTOS: THE HAPPY BULL

The Happy Bull is a shakes and burgers restaurant for eat-in and take away. Opened recently, it is based near hotels between Amsterdam South and Amsterdam West. After 18 years in the hospitality industry and desiring to start her own business, owner Karen Farfan opened the restaurant together with her sister-in-law Nikoletta Bàbel. “Realising that few places in the Netherlands offer quality shakes, we decided to do something about it,” Farfan explains. “Nor were we able to find a burger place where we thought: this burger is amazing,” she adds. Thus, they decided to offer quality hamburgers, homemade French fries and salads. Born in Colombia and raised in the Netherlands, Farfan headhunted a childhood friend and Colombian chef with experience from Colombia, the US and Madrid. His international experience is reflected in the menu consisting

of innovative and adventurous burgers and shakes. “We prepare our food daily from fresh and carefully selected ingredients,” Farfan continues. Vegetables are local, and the burgers come from Irish Steak (Hereford cows) and the ice cream from Venice. “Our fries are popular for takeaway, as clients buy them for their homemade meals,” Farfan says. Attention to detail is also reflected in the presentation of the food as well as freshness and flavours. The Happy Bull has had a flying start with growing numbers of local and foreign customers. “Some regulars eat here three times a week,” Farfan says. A future restaurant may be considered, but franchising is not an option. “Expansion is a possibility, but not at the cost of quality or the family feel,” Farfan concludes. More information can be found on

The Atelier that never sleeps TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: ATELIER

From an old carwash to a colourful hub made for great dining, drinking, and dancing; Atelier is Amsterdam’s newest culinary favourite for those not wanting a quiet night. With a bar, a restaurant and a party location, Atelier has been home to foodies and partygoers from Amsterdam and beyond since its opening in January this year. Located on the border of Amsterdam West and South, in the creative centre the Schinkel, Atelier reminds us of an old garage, in the best way possible. “Atelier proves that great food and great music go 50 | Issue 35 | November 2016

perfectly well together,” says co-owner Chris Bauduin. “A DJ during dinner, dinner during a DJ set, dancing while drinking, talking while eating: everything goes.” Atelier’s seasonal menu is as diverse as its public: from pumpkin ravioli to smoked salmon, and from tuna tataki to rib-eye. The hallmarks of French-European dining slightly shine through, with enough variation coming from Asian delicacies and authentic Dutch snacks. The dining (and dancing) takes place in an industrial yet colourful setting with an unmissable creative vibe. “Atelier is always on. It never stops changing,” Bauduin enthuses. “We are

planning on changing our interior and art, and thus our look, every so often.” Due to its open surroundings and unique creative location, Atelier is a popular spot for events, from large corporate meetings, to Friday afternoon drinks and music festivals. “Our large, free parking area and the fact that playing loud music is less of a problem because of the lack of direct neighbours, makes Atelier a very wanted venue for events of all sorts,” Bauduin asserts. “But whatever your occasion – Atelier is always happening!”

Flanders is a top-class golfing destination where there are 54 golf clubs who are happy to welcome you for a lovely round of golf or a challenging workout of your swing!

To book a tee time or plan your holiday, visit

Discover Benelux | Interview | De Staat


Conquering the world For many years, Dutch music seemed to be all about club records and superstar DJs. But thanks to the recent rise in alternative Dutch acts, international audiences are realising the country has far more to offer. At the forefront of the musical revolution is Nijmegen five-piece De Staat, who were selected by English rock group Muse to support them on their Drones tour earlier this year and can already tick off iconic events such as the Glastonbury festival from their to-do list. Their name may translate to ‘The State’, but this band are conquering the world. Here, we delve into the mind of frontman Torre Florim, who famously began De Staat as an experimental one-man project back in the early 2000s. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER

“It’s so kind of unbelievable to me,” begins Florim, who still cannot quite fathom the idea that he is fronting one of the biggest bands in the Netherlands. The musician began writing songs for De Staat’s debut album when he was a teenager, but he never could have envisaged performing them to packed-out stadiums. “If I had a dream, if I thought of something, it would have probably been playing smaller clubs. That was the thing I was aiming for. I thought we could do smaller clubs and maybe cross the border, but I never expected for us to fill the Heineken Music Hall. “It’s very strange, but it’s been a slow process. We got time to get used to larger crowds and make bigger shows.”

A nomadic life Currently performing sell-out gigs across the Benelux, UK and Germany, Florim and his bandmates Jop van Summeren, Rocco Hueting, Vedran Mircetic and Tim van Delft are not yet bored of tour life. “To be honest, I love being away. I love the nomadic way of living, I guess,” smiles Florim. “I love being on the road and meeting new people, getting to see plac52 | Issue 35 | November 2016

es. I love the Netherlands, but we’re not away that often to be super homesick all the time. “Sometimes on tour you get very tired and you don’t get to sleep a lot so that’s normally the moment you think ‘ah, it would be great to be home for sleep’. But that’s just the tired you talking.” Are there many all-night parties and rock and roll antics tiring Florim and his bandmates out? Not so much it seems. “Normally we sit in the van a lot, look at our laptops, read a book… “Most tours we do are just in vans. You drive to the venue, sound check, play, pack your stuff, sleep, get up the next morning and drive somewhere else. You just see the world through the window of a van, I guess. It’s okay, but it cannot compare to travelling or being on a holiday or something; it’s different.”

Going live After impressing fans and critics alike with the release of their latest album O earlier this year, November also sees the release of the band’s first official live album, recorded at The TivoliVredenburg music venue in Utrecht back in February.

“A lot of fans asked us ‘can you release a live album?’ and we were like ‘Nah’. Then we just thought ‘let’s do it!’” Florim says of the decision. “When you play songs you start to change, you start to get better. At a certain point you think ‘this is really cool, wouldn’t it be nice if we had it on tape?’” Originally, the album had been planned to include recordings from various live shows, but the TivoliVredenburg performance really stood out. “We noticed that most of the good versions of the songs came from that one show, so we thought we should just release the show as a whole. It kept the vibe of what it would be like if you were there,” explains Florim. “It was the last show of the tour so we were pretty familiar with the stuff we were doing. It always takes a couple of shows when you’re releasing a new album to get used to the new material and actually know what you’re doing. Even if you’ve rehearsed so many times and recorded the songs, it’s still weird to start playing it live in front of an audience.” The beauty of a live album is that it recreates an authentic concert experience,

Discover Benelux | Interview | De Staat

Photo: Isabelle Renate la PoutrĂŠ

Issue 35 | November 2016 | 53

Discover Benelux | Interview | De Staat

Photo: Isabelle Renate la Poutré

mistakes and all. Florim is the first to admit that there were indeed some mistakes. Far from disguising them, he believes they add to the listener’s experience. “It was the last show of the tour so we were very relaxed. We were having fun and you could hear it, I think. For most of the songs there are mistakes in there, but I think that’s cool as a listener. I think it’s funny to hear if something goes wrong or some notes aren’t exactly…on the note, you know?”

In the studio Florim’s on-stage charisma has undoubtedly played a role in De Staat’s success, but he has an equally important role behind the scenes as a producer. So, does he feel more at home in the studio or in front of a crowd? “They are different animals but I love both,” he smiles. “I should produce and perform, otherwise neither my producing nor my performing will be the best work I’ve ever done. You must be in the studio to know what you’re doing live and the other way around. “The cool thing about being in a band is that it’s diverse. You can be in the cave of 54 | Issue 35 | November 2016

the studio for weeks and weeks and then you start getting out there again – meeting people and getting in front of a live audience, making music videos. That’s so different. but it’s so good at the same time.” As much as he adores performing and the creative opportunities that come from fronting De Staat, Florim admits the studio will always be his special place. “When I started making music, I was in my room behind a computer making stuff, so I still love that the most – creating and forgetting all about time, forgetting to eat and drink because you’re just so focused on the thing that you’re doing. That’s kind of what I always loved doing.”

puter. They weren’t like ‘you have to go outside, you have to get a job’ or that kind of stuff, so they gave me plenty of room and time to get better making music. I had a lot of luck in my high school. There was a music teacher who let us use the music room after school. All these kinds of people were helping me out.” Clearly Florim is not the kind of guy to become a success and abandon his roots. This is further highlighted by the fact that De Staat continue to be based in their native Nijmegen and have not abandoned the popular student town for the bright lights of the capital.

Florim developed an interest in music at an early age, and his evident talent was nurtured by his family and school teachers growing up. Their support has not been taken for granted.

“A lot of bands go to Amsterdam,” he muses. “It’s the bigger city which make sense but it doesn’t make sense for me because it’s just way more expensive, it’s harder to go live there. It’s a fun city but there’s more room to do stuff here and if you have a good idea it’s welcomed with open arms.”

“I’m just a very lucky guy,” he admits. “I’m from the Netherlands, which is like being one point ahead already, being a guy makes it easier… and I have really nice parents who supported me and gave me space just to mess around on the com-

Good ideas are something that Florim seems to have in large supply. Apart from his success with De Staat, his surprising solo cover of The Prodigy’s famous dance track Firestarter back in 2012 highlighted his skill for defying genres.

A lucky man

Discover Benelux | Interview | De Staat

Feeling inspired We wonder what inspires Florim musically? “I have a list on Spotify of favourites, but I also have a list that is not public. It’s songs that inspire me. You know, in that list there’s so many different styles. Remember Brandy? Her song called What About Us? I just like that beat that is in there. “I don’t have any genre I stick to. I love a lot of different stuff and even if there’s something I really hate it inspires me more than something I kind of like because then I know: this is definitely not what I want to make. Bad music inspires me more than average music, I guess.” Could a solo album be on the cards for Florim? The answer is no, well, at least not for now. “De Staat feels very much the thing I can do everything I want in,” he explains. “Maybe in the future… if we get bored with each other at some point I might do something but it’s not for the near future. I’m still a young guy, you know!”

Issue 35 | November 2016 | 55

Canal, ´s-Hertogenbosch.

Statue Jeroen Bosch.


Enjoy the perfect city break ’s-Hertogenbosch, known colloquially as Den Bosch, is a beautiful historic city in the south of the Netherlands. This cultural hub was the birthplace of the 15th-century painter Hieronymus Bosch, who even took his surname from the city. With its medieval charm, great shopping, and vibrant bar and restaurant scene, Den Bosch offers the best of past and present. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER | PHOTOS: NBTC

Market ´s-Hertogenbosch.

56 | Issue 35 | November 2016

Discover Benelux | ’s-Hertogenbosch

| The Perfect Autumn & Winter Destination

St. John’s Cathedral.

A triumphant past The city walls and fortifications of ’s-Hertogenbosch were constructed in the 16th and 17th centuries, and their condition today remains impressive. Sint Janskathedraal (Saint John’s Cathedral) is undoubtedly a highlight of this magnificent fortified city. Erected between 1370 and 1529, it is a prime example of Gothic architecture, with hundreds of beautiful sculptures. Look out for artist Ton Mooy’s recent and rather unusual addition of a modern angel, who can be seen to be holding a mobile phone ‘dialling directly to God’.

Cultural hotspots No trip to ’s-Hertogenbosch would be complete without a visit to the Jheronimus Bosch Art Center in the city’s medie-

val centre. This former church and its annexes are home to a variety of exhibitions on the life, ideas and works of the famous 15th-century artist. This year marks 500 years since Bosch’s death, with a host of specially dedicated activities taking place.

Jheronimus Bosch Art Center.

Also well worth an explore is the Stedelijk Museum ’s-Hertogenbosch, which combines a special collection of ceramics and jewellery with contemporary art and design exhibitions.

A gourmet’s paradise You will be spoiled for choice with the city’s numerous bars, cafés and restaurants. Before you leave, make sure you try the famous Bossche Bol – a large spherical pastry filled with whipped cream and coated in chocolate. Delicious! Issue 35 | November 2016 | 57

Discover Benelux | ’s-Hertogenbosch

| The Perfect Autumn & Winter Destination


From lunch to dinner, and from drinks to light bites, enjoy dining the Mangerie ‘t Vervolg way.

I only offer foods and service that I also enjoy. And that service and quality is what we do,” tells owner Nathalie Salameh.

Why should we eat food that is not freshly prepared? Or drink coffee that does not even deserve to be called coffee? At Mangerie ‘t Vervolg in ’s-Hertogenbosch, we do not have to. This place differs from other restaurants, serving dishes with the best-quality ingredients, mostly from neighbourhood suppliers. Mangerie ‘t Vervolg has its own ideas about a special dining experience.

Salameh has owned ‘t Vervolg since 2000. She knows every square inch of the place, as well as her guests. “There’s a mixed crowd, a lot of locals and visitors from out of town. Most of them come for the cultural, historical and culinary spirit of the city. And of course all the authentic shops here,” she says. “We do not serve scrambled eggs or sateh, no, I want people to enjoy special salads, good organic meat, fresh fish, and homemade patisseries. My chef, sous chef (a pastry chef) and their team have the skills to prepare those.”

For starters, ingredients must be fresh. “We fillet and portion our fish and meat when the customer makes their order. It means we get our supplies in whole. I do not believe in making meals with ingredients that come from a container, made in advance. You can taste that. And my objective as the owner of ‘t Vervolg is that 58 | Issue 35 | November 2016

Recently ‘t Vervolg became the first restaurant in ’s-Hertogenbosch that added heated chairs to its terrace. “My guests like to sit outside and the heaters provided comfort but the new warm chairs make a

huge difference.” The menu has surprising choices, egg foie gras, steaks, pasta and Thai curry. The chef is influenced by French and Southern-European cuisine, and the sous-chef by Asian flavours. “They make the meals together and that creates a culinary twist. If you can’t decide, there’s always a surprise menu with three or four courses,” explains Salameh. All the roads in the city centre lead up to the Fonteinplein in ’s-Hertogenbosch, where ‘t Vervolg is located. Why wait?

Discover Benelux | ’s-Hertogenbosch

| The Perfect Autumn & Winter Destination

Savoury and sweet meet over good coffee TEXT: STIAN SANGVIG  |  PHOTOS: BITTERZOET

Bitterzoet (the Dutch word for ‘bittersweet’) is a cosy spot for breakfast and lunch, beautifully situated in a picturesque square at the heart of Den Bosch in the south of the Netherlands. “Driven by our passion for quality food, we aim to serve our customers the finest cup of coffee and the most delicious food,” explains general manager Bram van der Pas.

es can be accompanied or followed by a cup of top-quality coffee. Their strategy appears to pay off. “We attract all sorts of clients ranging from young to old,” Van der Pas continues. Approaching its tenth year in operation, Bitterzoet has grown into a place for people to see and be seen in Den Bosch. Currently, however, there are no plans to open new lunchrooms or offer franchising options. “Whilst we may experiment in food varieties we are

not interested in a business strategy which may compromise our quality,” Van der Pas concludes. As Bitterzoet’s popularity continues to grow, their customers clearly appreciate such dedication to quality.

More information can be found at

Bitterzoet opened its doors in 2007 as a lunchroom but now also serves breakfast and Englishinspired afternoon tea. It is a place where locals meet, read the newspaper or pick up their favourite coffee to go. The menu offers a broad range of choices based on traditional Dutch dishes and international favourites from Britain, Italy and the Middle East. These dishes include various varieties of eggs and cereals for breakfast and light dishes, platters and yoghurts for lunch. Thus, the range of savoury and sweet options is also reflected in the name. All dish-

Family hospitality on historical grounds TEXT: STIAN SANGVIG  |  PHOTOS: HOTEL CENTRAL

“Our mission is for visitors to feel as if they are in their second home with us, the Rademaker family, and not strangers,” owner and director Karin Rademaker of the Golden Tulip Hotel Central in ‘s-Hertogenbosch explains. Situated in the ancient heart of the city, the hotel has provided a warm welcome to visitors from near and far since 1905. Practically the “living room” of the city, Hotel Central accommodates both holidaymakers and business travellers. In addition to 125 tastefully decorated rooms and 12 well-equipped meeting and event rooms, a luxury penthouse flat with a spacious terrace overlooking the city’s medieval cathedral recently opened – ideal for anyone seeking somewhere for that special occasion. Speaking of medieval, guests can enjoy breakfast in the hotel’s unique cellar, which in the 14th-century provided the premises of the local police. Meals can also be enjoyed in the hotel’s

Brasserie Central and at the more luxurious Restaurant De Leeuwenborgh. Both offer appetising dishes made with seasonal ingredients. A location in the city centre also means being close to safe parking in an enclosed parking cellar, public transport and tourist attractions. Everyone at the hotel is keen for guests to enjoy the city. “We feel privileged to have employees who are passionate and knowledgeable about our city and supporting our guests,” Mrs. Rademaker says. Guests can leave to explore the city knowing they have all the information they will need. The future is looking bright, as more visitors are discovering the Hotel Central and Den Bosch. Whilst retaining the hotel’s family feel and historical flair, the Rademakers also ensure it has the latest in technology to accommodate the modern traveller. “We aim to provide today’s standards whilst maintaining yesterday’s values,” Mrs. Rademaker concludes. Experience this contemporary charm yourself.

More information can be found at

Issue 35 | November 2016 | 59

Photo: Marc Bolsius


The Curious World of Hieronymus Bosch TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

Tormented and tortured bodies, bird monsters devouring sinners, a mermaid holding her horned tail; with his labyrinths of atrocities, infernal details and images so absurd that they are darkly comic, Netherlandish painter Hieronymus Bosch is still one of history’s most fascinating artists. Discover Benelux caught up with David Bickerstaff, director of the documentary The Curious World of Hieronymus Bosch, which delves into this year’s critically acclaimed Hieronymus Bosch – Visions of Genius exhibition at the Netherlands’ Noordbrabants Museum.

line between good and evil, tales filled with macabre scenes and moral tales – Bosch’s paintings have a global recognition,” Bickerstaff begins. Together with a team of filmmakers and scholars, he explored deep into the painter’s world, covering exclusive material of an exhibition that took the Netherlands (and beyond) by storm. “Bosch is a man of mystery. His work raises fascinating questions. Why the hellish creatures? How on earth did he come up with some of his surreal scenes? Did he live up to his reputation as a visionary artist? The Curious World of Hieronymus Bosch aims to answer these questions.”

“Even if the name Bosch does not ring a bell, you will surely recognise his work. His curious works of medieval life, exploring the

Visions of a genius

60 | Issue 35 | November 2016

Hieronymus Bosch – Visions of Genius is one of the most successful exhibitions

the Netherlands has ever seen. None of Bosch’s works reside in his native town, but the Noordbrabants Museum managed to bring 17 of the 24 surviving paintings to ‘s Hertogenbosch by borrowing them from galleries including the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Additionally, 19 out of Bosch’s remaining 20 drawings were on display. “The exhibition was unique,” asserts Bickerstaff. “Besides the once-ina-lifetime chance to have so many works of Bosch in one room, the museum had something unique on offer in exchange for the loans: knowledge about Bosch.” Over three months, half a million visitors from 80 countries marvelled at Bosch’s quirky creations, and opening hours were extended to 1am to accommodate so many visitors.

Discover Benelux | Culture | The curious world of Hieronymus Bosch

Bosch’s most epic painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights (c. 1490-1500), did not make it to ‘s Hertogenbosch. “I think The Garden falls into the category of paintings that will never leave their home, like The Night Watch by Rembrandt, which resides in Amsterdam.” Bickerstaff’s film nevertheless shines a bright light on Bosch’s most confounding work, a three-part triptych picturing the garden of Eden and Hell that is so full of symbolism it still generates curiosity 500 years since it was made.

Man of mystery Who was Hieronymus Bosch? “Bosch will always remain somewhat of a mystery. Unlike painters such as Van Gogh or Goya, Bosch did not leave any personal heritage behind apart from his paintings and drawings.” What is known is that Bosch was a well-read man, with references to popular and religious literature adorning his paintings. Since he worked in the period around 1500, a transition era from the middle ages to the Renaissance, Bosch’s work reflects

the relationship between man, his creator, and his environment. “I imagine Bosch to be highly intelligent, obviously creative, and a rather quiet man. The sophisticated narratives on his paintings show that he was a keen observer of nature and people. You cannot do that without being somewhat in the background.” Known for his depiction of scenes filled with immorality, religious themes are always present in Bosch’s work. “It is clear that Bosch was a deeply religious man. He was a leading member of the Brotherhood of our Lady, ‘s Hertogenbosch’s most prestigious church fraternity, and many of his works were commissioned by the church. The more controversial works were private commissions of course!” Bickerstaff laughs.

Paintings come to life Bickerstaff and his team used unique cinematic techniques that vividly translate Bosch’s paintings to the big screen. “A

Photo: Marc Bolsius

painting is so much more than a canvas with paint. When using the right techniques, a film can actually bring out the paint strokes, the artist’s mark.” Because of the exhibition’s extended visiting hours, filming mainly took place at night. “That was sometimes rather scary. Being in the dark, with all these hellish creatures surrounding you.” Can Bickerstaff explain the massive success of the exhibition? “I think the main reason Bosch still holds a great fascination is because his works are so timeless. His depictions of people struggling with life: doing good; trying not to succumb to temptation. If you put the medieval and religious aspects aside, his questions about what defines humanity are still very relevant.” The Curious World of Hieronymus Bosch will be playing in cinemas from 3 November.

Still from The Curious World of Hieronymus Bosch Photo: © Exhibition on screen

Still from The Curious World of Hieronymus Bosch Photo: © Exhibition on screen

Photo: Marc Bolsius

Issue 35 | November 2016 | 61


The best day of your life Planning your dream wedding day is an exciting experience, but it can be daunting too. There are so many elements to consider that it can be hard to know where to begin. Luckily, there are an array of experts and specialist brands on hand to ensure you have the best day of your life. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: SALON DU MARIAGE DE LIÈGE

62 | Issue 35 | November 2016

Discover Benelux | Belgium | Weddings & Celebrations

Just got engaged? Congratulations! Once you and your partner have decided on a provisional date, your guest list and budget (often harder to agree on than you might expect), the next logical step is to attend a wedding fair. This is the ideal place to meet experts in the field and gain inspiration ahead of your big day. This November sees the return of the Belgian city of Liège’s annual wedding extravaganza. With over 60 exhibitors as well as inspiring catwalk shows, the twoday Salon du mariage de Liège is a perfect opportunity to start planning all aspects of your celebration, from the flowers to the cake and that all important dress. SALON DU MARIAGE DE LIÈGE Dates and times: Saturday 12 November 11am - 7pm Sunday 13 November 10.30am - 6.30pm Venue: Palais des congrès, Liège For more information visit www.votremariage. net/salon-du-mariage-de-liege

A river cruise for your special day TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER  |  PHOTOS: DINANT EVASION

Specialised in fluvial tourism and excursions in the Lesse valley, Dinant Evasion is a partner of choice when it comes to organising your wedding day while cruising on the Meuse. An unforgettable experience for an unforgettable day. What better way to celebrate the union of two people in love than being on a boat cruising down a river surrounded by friends and family? Proud to be part of a unique celebration, the team at Dinant Evasion assists newlyweds in planning their special day – from menu creation to organising fun activities, but also dec-

orations, music, itineraries and pick-up points. “Our ambition is to personalise the day to the needs of our clients according to their budget and, in that sense, we give them the options to take care of as much or as little as they wish or leave it to the care of our professional and attentive staff,” says event manager Caroline Lennaertz. Building on three generations of knowledge and experience, the Dinant Evasion family enterprise added event-based cruising to their range of activities with the acquisition of the splendidly refurbished luxury boat Le SAX. Fitting up to 180 people for dinner or 250 people for a standing cocktail, weddings can be organised all year round and adapted to fit the customer’s wishes and ensure a truly memorable day. On top of weddings, Dinant Evasion also offers the possibility to organise corporate events including seminar cruises, birthdays, barbecues and much more. Issue 35 | November 2016 | 63

Discover Benelux | Belgium | Weddings & Celebrations

A family-owned, fairy tale castle TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: CHÂTEAU DE WALEFFE

If you are looking for a wedding venue with a wow factor, look no further than Château de Waleffe. Surrounded by 60 acres of beautiful woodland, this magnificent castle in the Belgian province of Liège offers a fairy tale setting fit for royalty. This elegant castle, conveniently situated just 50 minutes from Brussels, was built in the 18th century by Blaise-Henri de Cortes, the great grandson of famous Liégeois manufacturer Jean Curtius. The Barons de Potesta de Waleffe, direct descendants of the great Curtius, have been caring for the property for 13 generations and still live there today. When it comes to weddings, Château de Waleffe offers a range of options to ensure a unique, personalised experience. Whether you choose the main castle, the 64 | Issue 35 | November 2016

former kitchens or the 400-square-metre tower, you can be sure of an elegant and refined setting. There is also the opportunity to regale in the stunning and expansive gardens where you can opt for marquees or an open-air reception. The castle hosts all kinds of other celebrations, from corporate events to fine – food tasting. With a small selection of bedrooms available, the castle is also a popular choice for people looking for an extra special getaway. Each of the rooms tell their own story, from the regal Cortes Room, with its original wall paper from the times of Louis XIV, to the Flaveau Room with its charming balcony and beautiful view over the gardens. The castle interiors and French-style gardens with their elegant fountains were directly inspired by the designs of

celebrated late baroque designer Daniel Marot, combining regal finesse with chic simplicity. More than just a place of beauty, Château de Waleffe has been listed by the Wallonian authorities of as a place of exceptional interest. Highly recommended are Baron and Baroness de Potesta de Waleffe’s intimate tours. By appointment only, these tours give visitors the chance to explore the castle’s impressive collection of original paintings and period furniture. There is also the chance to indulge in a late morning brunch or afternoon tea in the grand living room afterwards. For more information, visit

Discover Benelux | Luxembourg | Children’s Universe


Little ones love Luxembourg With its multicultural atmosphere, superb childcare system and high living standards, it is unsurprising that Luxembourg is so popular with those starting a family. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTO: DREAMSTIME.COM

This month’s TOP KIDS event is the ideal place to find out all about life for little ones in the Grand Duchy. The fourth edition of the popular fair is coming to Luxembourg City’s Luxexpo exhibition centre on the weekend of 5 November. With 80 exhibitors from industries ranging from education, toys, fashion and music, as well as a designer corner, there is plenty to keep both parents and children entertained. Kids will love the 2,000-square-metre indoor play area with its bouncy castles, trampo66 | Issue 35 | November 2016

lines, ball pool, car circuit and much more. A major highlight will be the chance to bike ride with Luxembourgish road bicycle racer and 2010 Tour de France winner Andy Schleck. Other attractions include a mini disco, fashion shows, photo shoots and cupcake making workshops. If you are expecting a baby or recently welcomed a little one into the world, look out for the first ever TOP BABY and future parents event. It is an unmissable new addition to this year’s event.

TOP KIDS 2016 Dates: 5 - 6 November 2016 Hours: 10am - 6pm Themes: Education, holidays, hobbies and trends Entrance fee: Eight euros for adults and five euros for children (aged two - 16) Venue: Luxexpo exhibition centre, Luxembourg City For further information, visit

Discover Benelux | Luxembourg | Children’s Universe

‘Loving care and early education’ TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER  |  PHOTOS: SUNFLOWER

Since 2001, Sunflower Montessori Crèche has been providing top-quality care and pre-school education for children aged between three months and four years old. Enter the colourful world of Luxembourg’s leading English-speaking crèche. Putting a strong emphasis on making the transition from mother care to the crèche as joyful as possible for both the child and the parent, Sunflower offers the services of trained carers, experts in their field and a range of pedagogical activities. Founders Helen Clarke and Sam O’Dea, working mothers themselves, understand the challenges of balancing work and family and consider it a privilege to be given the trust of the parents to look after their babies in this “second home”. As O’Dea explains: “We care for the children and educate them so that parents know that their child is in a stimulating environment. What sets us apart is the fact that we do a lot of outside activities, growing plants in the garden, taking care of our pet rabbits and going for walks in the forest.”

in the different locations to make sure the childcare quality remains extremely high. “This is done in collaboration with a Montessori trainer who spends time in all the locations training the staff,” says O’Dea. Besides the crèche, Sunflower also offers after-school programmes and Saturday school for children from four years old.

The Sunflower Montessori Crèche has six locations in Luxembourg and one in Brussels and both founders spend time Issue 35 | November 2016 | 67

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Free your child’s potential at Bidibul TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: BIDIBUL

“Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world.” These are the famous words of Maria Montessori, namesake of the pioneering Montessori educational approach. This beautiful quotation could be described as the motto of Crèche Montessori Bidibul in Foetz, south-west Luxembourg.

Bidibul creates a warm, stimulating environment for children. The friendly and professional team of childcare workers, educators, teaching assistants and nurses help create a happy, family-like atmosphere. Staff have a close relationship with parents too, as their peace of mind is considered fundamental for their child’s development.

With parents nowadays leading such busy work lives, there is a huge demand for crèches to stay open till late, but those with long opening hours can be very hard to find. Fortunately Bidibul is open from as early as 5am until 10.30pm Monday to Friday. Adding to the convenience, the crèche is even open on Saturdays from 7.30am - 8pm.

Days at Bidibul are full of variety, with children participating in a range of activities including music, cookery and art. Everything is conceived to aid personal development, although children are always left to develop at their own rhythm. They are also free to choose the activity they would like to participate in.

Children at Bidibul are looked after in four different age groups: 0-12 months, 12-24 months, two to three years and three to four years. A great importance is placed on multilingualism, with staff speaking Luxembourgish, French and Portuguese.

Days are spent both indoors and in the lovely garden, while great importance is placed on excursions. Visits to the swimming pool and walks in the woods are a regular occurrence. Also popular are the trips to the local market, where a small

68 | Issue 35 | November 2016

group are taken to choose their favourite flowers before heading back to nursery for a spot of flower arranging. One of the best known phrases in Montessori education is ‘Help me do it myself’, and this is exactly the case at Bidibul. Because there is such an emphasis on choice and autonomy, children settle in with ease, making their own decisions and learning to stand on their own two feet. For more information, visit

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T O P E D U C AT I O N I N B E L G I U M & L U X E M B O U R G

Building a bright future A good education goes way further than just supplying knowledge, it provides a strong basis for our future happiness and success. Our guide showcases an array of establishments that can provide those necessary foundations. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER & CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

A world without borders One of the most obvious advantages of growing up in Luxembourg is the fact that it is a multilingual country. The excellent education system is also multilingual, with the use of German, French and Luxembourgish in schools. Languages such as Portuguese and English are also becoming increasingly important. To read more about education in Luxembourg, visit 70 | Issue 35 | November 2016

As another multilingual country, Belgium’s distinct federal regions have their own education systems. The Flemish Ministry of Education (Vlaams Ministerie van Onderwijs en Vorming) is responsible for the management, evaluation and monitoring of progress of the Flemish educational system. The Ministry, which was granted its current position in 1981, holds responsibility for both primary education, secondary education, and higher and adult education.

The Ministry of Education website is a valuable information point for everyone who is moving to Belgium and has school-going children, or wishes to be educated or undergo training in Belgium themselves. The website offers a helpful overview of practical questions and issues, including a complete list of all schools in Flanders.

For more information, please visit

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Sint-Lodewijkscollege The Sint-Lodewijkscollege, founded in 1834 in Bruges, provides superlative teaching for its students, aged between 12 and 18, and prepares them for higher education in a dynamic environment. Read more on page 72

Thomas More Hogeschool Thomas More University College in Mechelen provides a number of prestigious, internationally oriented degree courses and has started teaching five of its international bachelor degree programmes in English. Read more on page 77

KASK & Conservatory The Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) and the Royal Conservatory form the School of Arts of University College Ghent. This establishment has a reputation for excellence within the international art world and offers an array of artistic disciplines, ranging from visual art to drama. Read more on page 74

Leerwijzer Located near Oostduinkerke on the coast of Flanders, Leerwijzer is a boarding school offering both primary and secondary education. This private school is renowned for inspiring pupils who have suffered motivational loss in the regular education system. Read more on page 76

The European School of Mol The European School of Mol in Belgium welcomes students aged from three to 18 years old, and is renowned for offering a dynamic and language-driven education. The school currently has 760 students enrolled over four different sections: French, English, German and Dutch. Read more on page 77

From pre-schools to primary and secondary, all the way up to higher education, read our guide to some of the best educational establishments in Belgium and Luxembourg.

International school of Luxembourg Founded in 1962, the International School of Luxembourg (ISL) now accommodates over 40 different nationalities in its student body, offering them the best of English language education. Pupils can attend from pre-school through to age 18. Read more on page 78

St George’s International School Luxembourg St. George’s International School in Luxembourg City is a dynamic, inclusive and friendly establishment for students aged three to 18 coming from over 52 different countries. Read more on page 80 Issue 35 | November 2016 | 71


The right secondary education is one’s very first real stepping stone for the future. The Sint-Lodewijkscollege is for those students that are ready to take on the world, supported by their own critical thinking and reflection, safe surroundings, and an educational environment that lets individual ambitions and talents shine. The Sint-Lodewijkscollege is based in the scenic city of Brugge, teaching 1,320 pupils who are all preparing for higher education. The students, aged between 12 and 18, are spread over 58 classes and are taught by 140 teachers.

A tradition of excellence The Sint-Lodewijkscollege, founded in 1834, has a 182-year-long tradition of combining the best quality education with setting high standards in a dynamic 72 | Issue 35 | November 2016

environment – witnessed by the many academics the school has yielded. Students choose from numerous study areas, with options that can be roughly divided between the Latin-Greek (or classic humanities) and modern humanities. “While the classic and the modern humanities share a lot of communal courses such as Dutch, theology, and mathematics, the modern humanities leave larger space for STEM courses,” explains Koen Seynaeve, director of the SintLodewijkscollege. In the third grade (the fifth and sixth school year), students are provided with even more options to tailor their studies to their interests and qualities.

Forming independent thinkers Whichever educational path a student follows, everyone is equally supported to discover his or her personal strengths.

“We strongly believe that every student is unique; no one learns in the same way or follows the same path. We aim to guide our students alongside this path, supporting and guiding them along the way. The bond with the teacher is hereby of crucial importance. A student cannot spread his or her wings without the right feedback and assurance, but also needs to take matters in their own hands. That way of teaching results in students widening their minds and seeking knowledge themselves.” The importance of autonomy is clearly reflected by the ‘problem-based learning’ project held at the end of each course, allowing pupils to conduct a research project about a self-chosen topic. After writing a paper, the project is presented to an independent jury. “In those projects the teacher is no more than a coach: he is

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there when necessary, but mainly allows students to shine in their own unique way.”

Total development Although teaching from Christian values, the Sint-Lodewijkscollege is a secularised school that embraces diversity and teaches students from all paths of life. “We start every school day with time for reflection on the basis of a spiritual story, a quirky text, or something else that inspires,” says Seynaeve. “Reflection is an important part of one’s development. Who am I? What can I do? What can I contribute? Those are important questions.” The Sint-Lodewijkscollege focusses a great deal on extracurricular activities, such as sports, cultural forming and music, raised from the belief that after-school activities are as important as one’s educational environment. “It is in those daily life activities that students learn to take responsibility, fight for good results and learn how to express themselves.”

The school also recognises the importance of internationality, with exchanges abroad available for every student and the offering of Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL). “Since 2007 we have been working with CLIL, which means that nearly all classes are also offered in English,” Seynaeve enthuses. “A lot of scientific literature is written in English, so CLIL ensures that students are as prepared as possible for higher education.”

An inspiring environment The stimulating educational spirit is thoroughly reflected in the school’s building, which is home to an extensive library with over 120,000 titles. The Open Learning Centre is the school’s centre of dynamic learning and allows teaching or research in all its forms, and a renewal of the science wing is under way. “We will bring all our science labs, which are currently separated, under one roof. Students can come in with a research question or problem, whether related to biology, ge-

ography, or any other subject, and use the right instruments to find an intelligible solution.” Many details enhance the college’s unique character. Besides the colour red (Brugge’s colour) appearing in the interior decor and beautiful art adorning the walls, it is the letter L that seems to be a recurring theme. “Besides the fact that it is the first letter of the word ‘learning’, a study into the history of writing shows that the letter L refers to the stick of the cowherd, used to guide all in the right direction,” Seynaeve explains. “We see this as the perfect symbol for learning: using proper means to give the right guidance, so everyone can walk their path in a unique and meaningful way. In the end, that is what we do: providing incentives to encourage young people to learn.” For more information, please visit

Issue 35 | November 2016 | 73

Photo: Frederik Sadones

The art of practice TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

An art does not stand on its own – arts are intertwined with our surroundings, our daily life, and with each other. As an art school with an international leading reputation, KASK & Conservatory / School of Arts in Ghent is as dynamic and interconnected as society itself. KASK & Conservatory is based in the heart of Ghent, a city priding itself on a reputation of excellence within the international art world. The school offers a multitude of artistic disciplines, ranging from visual art to audio-visual arts and from music to drama, each hosting a Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctoral programme. In addition, the academy offers a professional Bachelor’s programme on interior design and landscape and garden architecture, as well as a range of postgraduate programmes. Originally consisting of the Royal Acade74 | Issue 35 | November 2016

my of Fine Arts and the Royal Conservatory, the two educators joined forces in 1995, combining centuries of educational excellence. Today they are part of the University College Ghent.

The dialogue between arts KASK & Conservatory focuses on both specialised training of students in technical and artistic aspects of a chosen field, as well as on a strong openness between the different artistic disciplines. “Our academy acknowledges the interdisciplinary nature of the arts,” says Wim De Temmerman, dean of KASK & Conservatory. “In practice, interactions between artistic specialties are evident and current. For example, an animated film needs illustrators and designers, but also people who can edit the material or perfectionate the sounds.”

Alongside a learning environment, KASK & Conservatory is also a living environment, placing a strong focus on community spirit and informal learning. “Our academy acts as a meeting point for students, artists, and docents. Students can inspire each other greatly,” De Temmerman asserts.

Critical makes perfect Students at KASK & Conservatory are offered the right theoretical and social handles to undergo personal development, creating curious, investigative, and capable individuals. Via practical projects students are expected to acquire a curious attitude, reflecting on their role within arts and society. “Guiding students towards their personal practice is essential,” De Temmerman states. “Students have to find their own language, form, sound, or image.” To accomplish that aim, KASK &

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Linking the arts

Alongside the academy’s strong local anchoring, KASK & Conservatory puts great focus on working from an international aspect, offering countless exchange programmes and international collaborations. Most Masters’ degrees are offered in English as well as Dutch, constantly taking a student’s global citizenship as a starting point. “Our international students, not counting the European Erasmus programme students, cover about 20 per cent of all students.”

ing exhibitions, festivals, weekly lectures, film screenings, concerts, drama performances, and many other artistic activities. The MIRY Concert hall, a venue in the heart of historic Ghent, shows classical and contemporary music and can host up to 500 people. Enjoying an internationally renowned reputation is KIOSK, a college-run gallery for contemporary arts, and the opening of the new Arts Library will follow in 2017. “Our Arts Library holds a large collection of specialist literature,” De Temmerman adds. “Our collections will be merged with those of the Design Museum Gent, the Higher Institute for the Arts HISK, and SMAK, the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art, resulting in a treasure of literature on arts and design. Through cultural initiatives such as these, KASK & Conservatory embodies what an art school should be: an authentic learning environment.”

The belief that academic standards must reflect what is happening in the (art) world is held strongly at KASK & Conservatory.

Unique is KASK & Conservatory’s role as an independent cultural actor, organis-

Conservatory applies an approach that bridges both autonomy and support, creating a sense of responsibility with its students that leads to a critical, creative, and open society. “Students have a lot to learn: technical knowledge is required to express oneself and to utilise this in an innovative way. However, students should also get to know themselves. It is only then that they can express themselves as makers, designers, artists, inventors.” KASK & Conservatory offers the possibility to obtain a PhD in the arts, a practice relatively new in Flanders. PhDs are offered in collaboration with the University of Ghent and enable artists to conduct a research project within their artistic oeuvre, via a reflective discursive process leading to new artistic work and a publication.

This belief is embodied by the academy’s ongoing focus on practice-based artistic research and its strong links with the outside world. KASK & Conservatory counts many collaborations within the art scene of Ghent and beyond, fiercely committing to providing students the possibility to engage with people from the field and strengthening initiatives from the cultural sector.

Die andere, Louisa Vanderhaeghe. Photo: Tom Callemin

Photo: Marjan Coppieters

Wezend leven. Bosse Provoost en Kobe Chielens. Photo Stine Sampers

Photo: Thomas Nolf

Photo: Marjan Coppieters

Photo: Frederik Sadones

Issue 35 | November 2016 | 75

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Individually tailored education at Belgium’s only private boarding school TEXT: STIAN SANGVIG  |  PHOTOS: LUC DE CONINCK

“Our objective is for every student to set his or her own goals from an early age,” says director Koen Ringoot. Leerwijzer Private School was formed by teaching staff in 1983 and is beautifully situated near Oostduinkerke on the coast of Flanders. Whilst Belgium has private schools offering an alternative to state education, Leerwijzer has a unique competitive advantage. It is the only boarding school in the country. “In order to educate our children academic skills going beyond the required state curriculum, we believe our Monday to Friday boarding school facilities provide our pupils with essential social skills,” Ringoot explains. During its first ten years, Leerwijzer offered mainly primary education; but for the last 20 years it has also been teaching students up to the age of 18. The school highly focuses on providing a solution for boys and girls who are suffering from loss 76 | Issue 35 | November 2016

of motivation in the regular educational system. In addition to graduating students in preparation for higher or professional education according to high Belgian state standards, its staff is specialised in concentration and learning disorders. Pupils with high potential are welcome; they can go faster through the curriculum, which is in Dutch. “As globalisation continues to gather pace in a world that appears smaller and smaller, we are also keen on preparing our students accordingly,” adds Ringoot.

to understand them and teach them how to set their own personal goals at an early age,” Ringoot continues.

Today Leerwijzer Private School is home to approximately 120 pupils across 20 classes and 40 teachers. This means there are six or seven pupils per class and one teacher for every three students. Close emphasis is placed on recognising the individual strengths and needs of each pupil, in order to get the best out of everyone. “In order to secure the highest motivation of each child, we believe we need

For more information, please see

As interest in Leerwijzer is spreading and elsewhere in the country they are already preparing for future growth. A new school is currently under construction near Brussels and, if all goes to plan, it is due to open in 2017. “We aim to add value to our country’s future by offering the best possible education to as many of our children as possible,” Ringoot concludes.

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High-quality education in a green environment TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER  |  PHOTOS: EUROPEAN SCHOOL OF MOL

The European School of Mol in Belgium welcomes students, aged from three to 18 years old, wanting to complete their education following the European curriculum in a beautiful environment outside of the capital’s hustle and bustle. Known for its dynamic and language-driven education, the European School model has a distinctive approach that makes it a top choice for parents, especially those working for European institutions. What makes the Mol location stand apart is the fact that it also welcomes the children of national and international independent workers as well as expats. Spread over a green area of 20 hectares, the school currently has 760 students enrolled over four different sections: French, English, German and Dutch. “Our programmes are made in such a way that students are able to go back to their home country and follow their national curriculum without any difficulty,” explains Erica Di-Maccio,

the school’s communications manager. Emphasis is put on developing the language skills of the students, allowing them to study subjects such as history and geography in the second language they have learned since age six. This combined with mixing with students from different nationalities during breaks allows for a new dimension to be given to the acquisition of knowledge and exposition to different cultures.

Students currently enrolled travel from Antwerp, Brussels, Eindhoven, Leuven and even from the coast to attend the European School of Mol, with some international students staying with host families during the academic year. A perfect environment for a great educational journey.

English please, we are students! TEXT: FRANK VAN LIESHOUT  |  PHOTOS: THOMAS MORE

Thomas More University College in Mechelen have started teaching five of their international bachelor degree programmes in English. “English is dominating our globalised world like no language has ever done before,” says Annik Schellens, coordinator of the Thomas More English Programme. “At our Mechelen campus we provide a number of prestigious, internationally oriented degree courses, so it only seemed natural that we offer these in English.” Two bachelor programmes, international tourism and leisure management and international business and trade, are now taught in English for the full three years of the curriculum. For interior and service design, international journalism and international media and communication, the first two years are mainly taught in Dutch and the final year exclusively in English. To guarantee quality teaching, Thomas More expects all teachers to have C1

Advanced Proficiency in English according to the European Framework of References for Languages. All teachers are supported by a Fulbright language coach. The university hopes to attract foreign students as well as students from the Brussels area, including the large group of expats living in the Belgian capital. Mechelen is a lively and friendly city, only 30 kilometres from Brussels and a mere 25-minute train journey away. “Our students will be immersed in a rich international climate of cultural exchange with their fellow students, their teachers and many of our partner universities worldwide. When they graduate, they will enter the jobs market not only with full confidence and fluency in the English language, but also with a can-do mentality, ready to take on the challenges of the modern world,” concludes Annik. Issue 35 | November 2016 | 77

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Outstanding education in a caring international environment TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS  |  PHOTOS: ISL

The International School of Luxembourg (ISL) has earned its outstanding reputation through its students’ successes, its rigorous educational programme and its dedicated staff. Founded in 1962, the school now accommodates over 40 different nationalities in its student body, offering them the best of English language education. Students can attend from pre-school (age three) through to Grade 12 (age 18), finishing with the International Baccalaureate diploma in the final two years. 1,371 students currently attend ISL. “Our international curriculum develops student learning and understanding, a culture of thinking, inquiry and reflection, resilience and independence, always focused on developing tomorrow’s inter78 | Issue 35 | November 2016

national citizens,” says ISL’s director Mrs. Nicki Crush. The school strives for academic excellence, and the curricula of several national systems have been researched to form the strong basis for the development of ISL’s independent standards and benchmarks. Students develop an understanding and appreciation of different nationalities and cultures. Learning is supported through a caring environment with students having access to an approachable teaching body, personal and academic counsellors, as well as first-rate art, theatre and music facilities.

The Lower and Upper Schools The Lower School, through pre-school to grade five, aims to promote an excitement for learning in students and an

understanding of their world through an inquiry-based approach to active problem solving, discovery and reflection. Students are encouraged to take initiative, be innovative and collaborate with others. In the Upper School, over 90 per cent of high school students pursue the International Baccalaureate diploma, and all students also receive the High School Diploma, provided they meet the school’s graduation requirements. This year at ISL, the International Baccalaureate had a 98 per cent pass rate with an average score of 34 out of 45 points (the global average is 30 out of 45 points). ISL students go on to study at many of the world’s best universities, with over 60 per cent going on to the best British and European universities, and a further 19 per cent going on to study in the USA or Canada.

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A healthy work-life balance is strongly encouraged, with a multitude of activities on offer. These include sports, music, art, theatre, debate, Global Issues Network, Model United Nations, student council and community service, amongst others.

Statement of philosophy “We believe it is vital to teach children the knowledge and skills they need to function successfully within both the community of our school and the multilingual, multicultural societies in which we live,” says director Mrs. Crush. The school considers the following attributes, which it strives to instill in students, to be of great importance: inquiry, critical thinking, communication, open-mindedness, risk-taking, creativity, and reflection. Outside of the classroom, ISL offers students many opportunities to reach the

highest levels of attainment and performance. Students regularly participate in international festivals for music, theatre and debate, and in a wide range of competitive and recreational sporting events, service learning and outdoor activities. Technology plays a key role in supporting learning; students learn to use it in a balanced and discerning way.

Beyond academia: charity and extracurricular activities What sets ISL apart from other international schools? Besides its excellent academic record, ISL is located on a 20,000-square-metre campus in the City of Luxembourg, with state-of-the-art sports and recreational facilities, music and arts facilities, libraries and science labs. ISL places a strong emphasis on extracurricular activities in both the Lower and

Upper schools. The huge variety on offer includes arts and craft classes, private music lessons, choir, band, sports clubs (swimming, karate, basketball, running, rugby, field hockey, capoeira and others), cooking, math club, debate club, history club, theatrical productions, and yoga. The school also organises many charitable events, including raising emergency funds released to Médecins Sans Frontières and the Red Cross for responding to humanitarian crises.


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38 homerooms from Preschool to Grade five arranged in eight clusters throughout the building 21 EAL or modern language rooms A sizeable sports hall which can be divided into two sections A state-of-the-art auditorium An extensive library Media room A multipurpose gym Large cafeteria Science room Cooking room Three music rooms Three art rooms Offices/administration spaces External outdoor spaces for sports and recess Fitness trail

UPPER SCHOOL BUILDING: - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

88 fully networked classrooms An extensive library Seven science labs Three art studios Two drama studios Two music rooms One band room One choir room One composition lab Two music practise rooms One darkroom Two gymnasiums One fitness centre Two cafeterias One auditorium One design technology centre One full-sized football field A spacious playground 25-metre and 50-metre Olympic swimming pools, shared with neighbouring schools on campus

Issue 35 | November 2016 | 79

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More than an educational establishment, St. George’s International School, Luxembourg ASBL, is a vibrant, inclusive and welcoming community comprising 720 students from over 52 countries. Within the school’s supportive framework, students aged three to 18 are given the necessary tools to reach their goals. “Learning should be personalised according to individual needs, with students receiving the challenges and the support necessary to achieve their highest potential,” affirms the principal, Dr. Christian Barkei. As well as offering challenging academic opportunities, St. George’s prides itself on its caring approach, helping students grow into bright, self-assured and aspirational individuals. St. George’s dedicated teachers create engaging learning opportunities, and maintain strong partnerships with parents. The school was recently rated “excellent” by the Independ-

ent Schools Inspectorate and has innovative, purpose-built facilities. Another benefit? “With our international A-level exams, the vast majority of our students can study at universities all over the world,” explains Dr. Barkei. Extracurricular interests are important too: “We offer a wide range of activities to allow our students to develop specialised skills and participate in international conferences and competitions.” The school recently announced the opening of its new Zinnen building, with facilities including a 320-seater auditorium and state-of-the-art music recording suites. Situated between the Hamilius (primary) and Barthel

(secondary) buildings, this new five-floor building makes a perfect centrepiece.

From 6pm - 7.30pm on 17 November St George’s is hosting a Secondary Information Evening for prospective parents and students. There will be presentations from the headteacher and heads of key stages three, four and five, as well as the opportunity to ask any questions you may have. Please RSVP to


2,9 7 € rom


SnowWorld Landgraaf T: +31 (0)45 54 70 700


SnowWorld Zoetermeer T: +31 (0)79 3 202 202


Luxury in Luxembourg: the best of high-end hoteliers TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS  |  PHOTOS: SOFITEL LUXEMBOURG EUROPE

The five-star Hotel Sofitel Luxembourg Europe is conveniently located on the Kirchberg Plateau, north of Luxembourg City’s centre. Its prime location means it is close to the Kirchberg Conference Centre, and the MUDAM Art Museum and Luxembourg Philharmonic are also within walking distance. The hotel is organised around a stunning central glass atrium that gives an abundance of natural light. Sofitel Luxembourg Europe counts 109 spacious and elegant rooms, including nine suites. The suites offer pillow menus, luxurious rain showers, Hermès toiletries and superb panoramic views across the city. The complex has two high-end restaurants, encompassing Italian and Black Forest cuisine. Award-winning Oro e Argento serves the best of Italian food in a Venetian-style room. In Le Stübli, guests sample Luxembourgish cuisine in a cosy chalet setting. There are also two vibrant areas for drinking and socialising: stylish whisky and cocktail bar SixtyFour°, and cosy cigar room Havana Lounge.

But what sets the Sofitel Luxembourg Europe apart from other five-star hotels? “Our staff are exceptionally dedicated and passionate about our guests. Despite being a large hotel, people feel at home here. We have developed the ‘Cousu Main’ culture: understanding guests, fulfilling their emotional needs, making them happy,” says the general manager MarieHélène Onursal. A key benefit is the hotel’s location within the business quarter, close to the city centre. For nature lovers, there are attractions such as caves and canals nearby. Another factor to the hotel’s success is its international atmosphere. “SixtyFour° bar provides some Anglophone culture, while our restaurants offer diverse foods,” says Marie-Hélène Onursal. Adding to its multinational character, every three months the hotel hosts an art exhibition with local and international artists. It also regularly organises themed evenings, such as Japanese whisky tasting sessions, or the cigars dinner taking place every last Thursday. Other events are organised around particular

products, with highlights including the asparagus festival and fondue party. Like the hotel’s Facebook page to stay informed about events. Sofitel Luxembourg Europe boasts stylish conferencing facilities and a business centre and frequently hosts events such as weddings, staff parties, formal and informal corporate meetings and Saint Nicholas celebrations. There is a fitness centre available 24 hours a day for hotel guests. Even if you are not spending the night at the hotel, it is worth a visit for its top-notch restaurants, facilities, bars and beautiful views.

Issue 35 | November 2016 | 81

Discover Benelux | Business | Column

Manage your manager TEXT & PHOTO: STEVE FLINDERS

Like you I guess, I have had some terrible bosses –vain, capricious, bullying, unfair, dishonest... I won’t go on. Now that my children are moving into the world of work and telling me of managers who stop them doing the great work they are keen to do, I have been thinking again about how we need to deal with the difficult bosses in our lives. Once I was a wimp. I kept my head down and got through the flak as best I could without creating even more waves – a classic nonconfrontationalist. With age, experience and seniority came greater assertiveness and greater understanding too. Managing upwards is just as important a skill as managing downwards – there should be courses on this in every corporate training programme. Managing upwards requires a good grasp of influencing skills and careful thinking about how to accommodate this difficult character who is making your life a misery.

The first thing is to find out what makes your boss happy: how do they like to be communicated with? How do they like work delivered? Working in the way your manager likes, even if it is not your style, should make them more well disposed towards you. And if it is not clear, ask. They may not have such a clear idea about the answers to these questions themselves in which case it will be helpful to both parties to have them articulated. This highlights another problem with difficult managers – lack of self-awareness. They often have little idea about how negatively they are perceived by their staff. If you have an HR function worth its salt, ask them to do a 360. Well-facilitated 360s can significantly improve a manager’s understanding of the negative impact of their words and actions. Even a simple Johari window exercise – in which team members can reduce the size of their blind spots by telling each other things that others know about them but which they do not know about

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:

themselves – can be a means for a team leader to get some direct feedback. J. B. Priestley wrote: “‘Be yourself’ is about the worst advice you can give some people.” Managing your bad manager is about helping them to be a bit less awful – good for them as well as you.

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:

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society, mindsets and possibilities across industries.

European Women in Technology 23 – 24 November Amsterdam, the Netherlands With Europe being a world leader in technology, this conference has been created to inspire and connect European women working in this sector. Through thought-leadership, interactive panels and deep-dive workshops, delivered by industry pioneers, this conference enables personal, professional and corporate development. T-Dose 12- 13 November Eindhoven, the Netherlands T-DOSE is an annual free event held to promote use and development of Open Source Software. During this event, Open Source projects developers and visitors can exchange ideas and knowledge. This year’s event will be held at the Fontys University of Applied Science in Eindhoven.

Luxembourg Finance Summit 15 November Luxembourg city, Luxembourg Since 2009, the Luxembourg Finance Management Summit (formerly CFO World Gala) has each year gathered more than 300 financial professionals including finance directors, private bankers, treasurers and fund managers to exchange knowledge and ideas via meetings and panel discussions.

Programming Language but have not mastered the paradigms. The workshop shows you how to take advantage of Swift features to write more robust code.

Crowdsourcing Week Europe 21- 25 November Brussels, Belgium Europe’s major crowd economy conference explores the best practices in crowdsourcing and the collaborative economy that is fundamentally changing

IP Summit 1-2 December Brussels, Belgium Since 2004, The IP Summit has been an unrivalled platform dealing with all IPrelated issues in Europe. Over 450 delegates from corporate, private, institutional and academic worlds will speak at this event, discussing trademarks, patents, trade secrets, and ongoing European Union reforms.

DO iOS 15- 16 November Amsterdam, the Netherlands Programmers unite! This event is for those who know the fundamentals of the Swift Issue 35 | November 2016 | 83

Discover Benelux | Culture | Calendar

StadstriĂŤnnale Hasselt-Genk, Identity as a TM. Photo: Emilio Lopez-Menchero. Trying to be Frida, 2005, Courtesy Galerie Nadia Vilenne, Luik

Le Guess Who, Keiji Haino. Photo: Tim van Veen

Out & About With December quickly approaching, the Benelux is slowly preparing for the most wonderful time of the year. Several wonderful winter markets kick off in November. Are outdoor markets not your thing? Not to worry, many festivals, great theatre and warm restaurants await you. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

Ziggo Dome.

84 | Issue 35 | November 2016

Discover Benelux | Culture | Calendar


Mart Cafe.

Oproer. Photo: Vuk Begovic

Le Guess Who?


Bar & Restaurant Pavlov

10-13 November Utrecht, the Netherlands Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, Le Guess Who? is the Netherlands’ go-to event for out-of-the-box music with styles such as noise rock, intelligent dance music (IDM), and indie rock. Held in various locations throughout Utrecht.

12 November Amsterdam, the Netherlands Jazz fans unite! Since 2011, Jazz Fest Amsterdam has been welcoming fledgling and established jazz musicians for a night of great music. This year’s event is hosted in the unique venues Studio/K and the adjacent StayOkay Hostel.

Month of November The Hague, the Netherlands At Pavlov, they believe in good food and hospitality, using only the best and freshest ingredients and serving you with the utmost attention. With their versatile menu and terraces with a unique view, Pavlov is a spot not to miss! Issue 35 | November 2016 | 85

Discover Benelux | Culture | Calendar

‘t Koffieboontje espressobar.

Made in Belgium

Dogma Hotdogs

Studio 100 at Ziggo Dome

19 November Bergen op Zoom, the Netherlands A night of the best Belgian rock and alternative music, held in the Netherlands. This year’s line-up features Admiral Freebee, The Sore Losers, and Warhaus.

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

26 November Amsterdam, the Netherlands In November, the Studio100 Winterfestival is coming to the Ziggo Dome for a party for the whole family. The 20th anniversary of Studio100 will be celebrated with Mega Mindy, Bumba, Piet Pirate and K3.

Restaurant Orchids

Wintertuin Festival

Month of November The Hague, the Netherlands For the best culinary Thai experience, head off to restaurant Orchids in the heart of The Hague. Their modern Thai food will leave you full, but still wanting more. Put this one on your to-do list!

23-26 November Nijmegen, the Netherlands What is the value of literary fiction? Why do we write and tell each other stories that have not happened? Literary festival Wintertuin answers these questions during its 2016 edition, focussing on the question of authenticity inside and outside literature.

‘t Koffieboontje – espresso bar Month of November 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 food that is free from sugar, gluten and lactose.

Winterlights 20 November – 24 December Luxembourg City, Luxembourg Immerse yourself in a magical, wonderful, and romantic world with this Christmas market spread over several sites across the city. Think fairy-lit carousels, an Advent circus, street animations, processions and parades, exhibitions, and concerts. 86 | Issue 35 | November 2016

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

‘N Pikketanissie at Theater de Roode Bioscoop 30 November Amsterdam, the Netherlands Every last Wednesday of the month, inhouse theatre group Flint brings a selection of tasteful songs and ballads from Amsterdam’s most famous neighbour-

Discover Benelux | Culture | Calendar

hood the Jordaan. Expect songs on joy and sorrow, rebellion and solidarity.

XOCO Mexican Grill Month of November Rotterdam, the Netherlands Guilt-free fast-food: it is 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.

StadstriĂŤnnale Hasselt-Genk Until January 2017 Hasselt and Genk, Belgium Through contemporary art, fashion, design, music and photography, the City Triennial in Hasselt and Genk discloses the stories behind originality, innovation and personal branding in artistic ways. Expect


Theater de Roode Bioscoop. Photo: Huub Zeeman

Issue 35 | November 2016 | 87

Discover Benelux | Culture | Calendar Dogma Hotdogs. Photo: Melanie van Leeuwen

Orchids restaurant, Chef Keng. Photo: Gabriel


countless exhibitions, socio-artistic projects and a myriad of activities.

Atelier Month of November Amsterdam, the Netherlands Atelier never sleeps. This creative bar and restaurant located in West Amsterdam combines great food with a unique party and event location. A DJ during dinner? Yes, please!

Winter Wonders 25 November – 1 January Brussels, Belgium Perhaps the most-visited event in Brussels. Winter Wonders proves that the perfect opportunity to discover the Belgian capital in a convivial and magic atmosphere.

Oproer Brouwerij Month of November Utrecht, the Netherlands A brewery, pub and restaurant in one: what could be better? Oproer purely serves organic plant-based food alongside great beer, both from their own brand and from other breweries. 88 | Issue 35 | November 2016

StadstriĂŤnnale Hasselt-Genk. Animalcoholics. Photo: Frieke Janssens, 2016

Discover Benelux | Culture | Lifestyle Columns



In her latest exhibition Tesla Girls at Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels, she uses the 1995 novel The Prestige as her conceptual framework for the work. In the novel, the scientist Nikola Tesla creates a madcap contraption that effectively creates a parallel universe. In these works, Smith creates dystopian scenes that place the female form in a new context.

The American painter Emily Mae Smith is somewhat of a magpie of an artist; taking references from here, there and everywhere. In her paintings reside nods to the Pop aesthetic, Art Nouveau, Warhol, Lichtenstein, science fiction and much more.

Of course, Smith is all too aware that the female figure is a heavily loaded subject in visual culture, and does not shy away from that. The male gaze is often targeted, and the female subjects of her paintings positioned and objectified within interior frames. In fact, all the works bristle with an underlying hyper-sexualisation that starts to get uncomfortable.

This combination of prodigious technical talent, wry humour and just a touch of perversion ultimately results in a viewing experience that makes you smile and wince at the same time. It is a subtle, sophisticated and effective method of tackling what Smith sees as a complete absence of the “interiority, subjectivity and psychology of women as a visual language in western culture”. Emily Mae Smith’s Tesla Girls is a must-see, and is on show at Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels until 12 November 2016.

Matt Antoniak is a visual artist and writer living and working in Newcastle, UK. He works mainly in painting and drawing and is a founding member of the art collective M I L K.



In September, Grutte Pier was named the Netherlands’ Best Belgian-Style Tripel at the 2016 World Beer Awards. Unsurprisingly, in light of that prestigious accolade, this delicious brew proves eminently drinkable.

Culture in 2018. However, Grutte Pier is brewed on the premises of the Admiraals BierBrouwerij in Aldtsjerk, a ten-minute drive north-east of the capital of Friesland, where people are proud of the region’s language and heritage.

Amber in colour and pleasantly aromatic, in part due to the presence of coriander plus Saaz and Cascade hops, Grutte Pier is unpasteurised and unfiltered. Bottle fermentation leaves a residue of yeast that can turn the beer cloudy if poured too enthusiastically.

This beer is named in memory of Pier Gerlofs Donia, who lived from around 1480 to 1520. He was a Frisian freedom fighter and a pirate who attacked shipping on the Zuiderzee. Regarded as a folk hero in his native province, the man whose nickname means ‘Big Pier’ died peacefully in the small city of Sneek.

Well-crafted – using malted wheat and barley, plus oat flakes – the craft brewery behind this ale is based in Leeuwarden, a city gearing up to be European Capital of

Labels on bottles of Grutte Pier carry a bearded depiction of the man who was described as having a dark complexion

and being “as strong as an ox”. The liquid within is indeed powerful yet impressively subtle and a drink to savour. It pairs well with roasted meat and mature cheeses. Brewer: Grutte Pier Brouwerij Strength: 7.5 per cent Stuart Forster was twice named Journalist of the Year at the 2015 and 2016 Holland Press Awards. Five generations of his family have been actively involved in the brewing industry.

Issue 35 | November 2016 | 89

Discover Benelux | Music | Benelux Beats


Musically discovering… Remy van Kesteren TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTO: PETER VAN DER HEYDEN

He started playing the harp when he was just five years old and by the age of ten was accepted at the Conservatory of Utrecht. Now, Remy van Kesteren is considered to be one of the world’s best harpists. Together with his beloved instrument, he takes his music beyond the classical world, with a striking recent album and performances at major pop festivals. Discover Benelux spoke to Holland’s most adventurous harpist. Let’s start at the beginning. Why did you start playing the harp? When I was five years old my mother took me to see one of her friends, who is a harpist. While I was on the swings in her garden, I heard the beautiful sounds of the harp coming from the windows, and I was sold. Your album Tomorrow Eyes was released earlier this year and represented a change in direction. Tell us more. I was somewhat done with the formalities surrounding classical music. Some people still think classical music is better than 90 | Issue 35 | November 2016

other music. Having played just about everything that has ever been written for the harp, I decided to compose my own work, not letting myself be limited to the typical constraints of classical music. Tomorrow Eyes is an album consisting purely of music that I want to make. That doesn’t mean I will never play classical music again! You performed at popular festivals this year, such as Best Kept Secret and Into the Great Wide Open. That is quite an unusual setting for a harpist! It is quite different, yes! Besides playing for people of my own age, where normally my audience is older, the atmosphere was louder and more energetic. Instead of polite clapping and a completely silent room, the festival tent was filled with lively festival-goers. It was great. Do you have a certain ritual before or after you go on stage? I feel that my body enters a very calm state the day I have a performance. I get a bit more subdued and feel very focused.

Best musical discovery of 2016? Anderson .Paak. I first heard him play at Lowlands Festival this year. He drums, he raps, he behaves crazily on stage. Very inspirational. You have explored outside the classical world and performed at pop festivals. What are your dreams for the future? There is definitely a new album on the itinerary. Besides that, I have a long list of musicians I would love to work with and several musical styles I would like to experiment with, such as electronic music. The freedom I am experiencing since putting classical music aside is enormous. It opens up a very exciting future. Remy will be playing at TivoliVredenburg in Utrecht on 10 December. REMY’S RECORD COLLECTION: Peter Gabriel – Scratch My Back Oi Va Voi – Laughter Through Tears Elbow – Build a Rocket Boys! Moby – Play Anderson .Paak – Malibu

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