Discover Benelux, Issue 36, December 2016

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I S S U E 36 | D EC E M B E R 2016













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Sixty Four0 Bar

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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 DECEMBER 2016




time of the year in the Dutch capital. We zoom in on Amsterdam Zuid, with a guide to its best food and drink spots.

40 Ellen Hoog Along with her teammates, triple Olympic medalist Ellen Hoog has inspired young women across the Netherlands (and beyond) to take up field hockey. Now she is inspiring us all to eat well and keep fit with her latest cookbook Grenzeloos gezond (Fit, Anywhere and Everywhere). We talked to the Bloemendaal-born athlete about life after retiring from international hockey.


From first-class legal firms to innovators in virtual reality content, we put the spotlight on the businesses in Belgium and Luxembourg that you really need to know about.


48 23

South Holland Special South Holland is home to two of the country’s most charming and convivial cities; Delft and Dordrecht. Read our recommendations and start planning a perfect winter city break.

46 16


Spotlight on Amsterdam South

Manu Riche Interview Discover Benelux caught up with Manu Riche, whose revered adaption of the book Problemski Hotel is a Christmas film with a difference.


Music Guide 2017 We predict good things to happen next year for our pick of the best artists in the Benelux.

North of the Netherlands Highlights From fascinating museums to fantastic restaurants and a whole host of festive events, head up north and discover the best of Groningen and Friesland.



Made in Belgium From Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta to fashion pioneers the Antwerp Six, Belgium is undoubtedly a place where creativity flourishes. From fashion to interiors, we present our guide to the most beautiful designs ‘made in Belgium’.

Company profiles, regulars and more


Benelux Beats We spoke to psychedelic rock formation PAUW, widely regarded as one of the most exciting bands in the Netherlands right now.

DON’T MISS 6 Fashion Picks | 8 Desirable Designs 74 Out & About | 78 Columns

From ice skating on the Museumplein to walking through the winter wonderland that is Amsterdamse Bos, it really is the most wonderful

Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  3

Discover Benelux  |  Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Discover Benelux Issue 36, December 2016 Published 12.2016 ISSN 2054-7218 Published by Scan Group Print Liquid Graphic Ltd Executive Editor Thomas Winther Creative Director Mads E. Petersen Editor Anna Villeleger Assistant Editor Charlotte van Hek Copy-editor Isa Hemphrey Graphic Designer Mercedes Moulia Contributors Bettina Guirkinger Cathy van Klaveren Ella Put Juliën L’Ortye Lidija Liegis

Martin Pilkington Matt Antoniak Michiel Stol Ndéla Faye Sofie Couwenbergh Steve Flinders Stian Sangvig Stuart Forster Thessa Lageman Xandra Boersma Cover Photo Ellen Hoog 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:

Welcome to this festive edition of Discover Benelux and the final month of year. How is it December already? The past 12 months will sadly be remembered for some horrendous moments for humanity, not to mention two particularly controversial political developments in June and November (I will not mention any names as I am sure you have all heard enough already). In brief, it seems safe to say most of us will be glad to see the back of 2016. But, of course, it has not all been doom and gloom. One of the year’s most uplifting events had to be the Summer Games in Rio, where a plethora of World and Olympic records were broken. Making the Netherlands proud once again was our December cover star Ellen Hoog, who scooped a Silver medal following the Dutch field hockey team’s dramatic penalty shootout against Great Britain. The athlete, who had been hoping for a Gold hat trick alongside her teammates after their Olympic victories in Beijing and London, surprised fans just one month later when she announced her retirement from international field hockey. I caught up with Hoog, who you may be surprised to know is also a major foodie, and was treated to a delicious recipe from her new recipe book. Chocolate cake with mascarpone and raspberry cream, anyone? The diet can wait until after Christmas. On the subject of the upcoming New Year, why not plan ahead and make one resolution that will be a pleasure to keep: discovering new music. If you feel stuck in a musical rut, be sure to check out our guide to the Benelux artists destined for big things in 2017. Whether you are into hip-hop, pop or even grunge, we guarantee these musicians will add some spice to your playlist. Talking of spice, I wish you a wonderful holiday season filled with happy memories, special people, and copious amounts of mulled wine. See you next year!

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 36  |  December 2016

Anna Villeleger, Editor

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks


Glam it up It is the most wonderful time of the year! The holiday season is your perfect excuse to shine, shimmer and sparkle. Whether you want to go all out with a statement-making dress or glam things up with sparkly accessories: these festive items will make you the belle of the ball. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK | PRESS PHOTOS

Blazer blues

Who says a formal outfit has to be traditional? Stand out from the black and white crowd with this stunning blue suit. Blazer, Burton Menswear €119.96 Trousers, Burton Menswear €59.95 Gilet, Burton Menswear €49.95 Shirt, Jack & Jones €29.95 Tie, Olymp Level 5 €29.95 All via

A man’s best friend

A gentleman’s best friend! Being the necktie’s edgier brother, the bow tie is a fundamental pillar of men’s style. Both classy and trendy, a striking bow tie is the must-have item for the holiday season. €26.95

Shine the night away

The shoes make the man. That is definitely true for these tuxedo shoes from Dutch suit magician Suit Supply. Wear with a suit to complete your formal festive outfit, or swap the suit trousers for jeans to create a more casual look. €199 6  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

Discover Discover Benelux  Benelux  | |  Design  Design  | |  Fashion FashionPicks Picks

Stop! Glamour time

Immerse yourself in some instant glam with this maxi dress from Dutch designer Josh V. You will not need much else when wearing this stunning piece: some kicking heels, a classic clutch, and voila! Creating the perfect party outfit has never been so simple. €169.99

All that glitters…

This mini skirt from Essentiel Antwerp will make you party ready instantly. The metallic fabric shines like a candy wrapper, while the pleats create generous volume. Pair with your favourite top and flirty heels for a night out. €195

Head over heels

December might be the perfect excuse to finally purchase those sought-after glitter heels. These beauties will give an extra dose of glam to any evening or special occasion outfit. Ooh la la! €119.95 Michael Kors via Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  7

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Desirable Designs


A cool yule Seeking Christmas gift inspiration? These designs from the Benelux will see you through the festive season in style. TEXT: ELLA PUT | PRESS PHOTOS


2. 2. Candelabra

Dutch design company &klevering has been known for its wonderful interior accessories for years. This year’s special Christmas collection, including this beautiful table light, will ensure an unforgettable Christmas. €130

3. Ride into the New Year

No matter how cold the weather gets, the Dutch always love to ride their bikes. Why not offer one of the most beautiful pieces of fitness equipment around to a loved one? €849


1. In your dreams

Ever dreamt of being a princess? This duvet cover will make your wish come true. Live happily ever after… €60

4. 4. Happy lights

A Christmas gift that will bring happiness the whole year around. These beautiful lights designed by Floris Schoonderbeek are perfect for both indoor and outdoor use. €675 8  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Desirable Designs

5. Plan ahead

7. Serve in style

Soon we will be making our New Year’s resolutions. Designer Bram Boo has created the perfect desk accessory, the Overdose Organizer, for those who want to enter 2017 in a more organised fashion. Price on request

Pip Studio’s charming homeware items are perfect Christmas gifts. This serving dish will bring a wow factor to family get-togethers over the festive season. €55

7. 6. 6. LED it be

5. 8. Oh Christmas tree!

This is a stylish take on the traditional Christmas tree, and offers a practical solution for those who are allergic to the Christmas tree needles. €45

9. Nifty nativity

The late designer of this wonderful lamp, Raimond Puts, brought the stars into many people’s homes. This extraordinary piece featuring LED lights will light up your living room and your Christmas. Prices start at €1,649


10. Out with the old

Why not start the New Year afresh and give your house a makeover? ROOMblush’s adorable wallpapers are full of personality and are sure to make you happy. Price per roll €66


Building a crib has never been so easy. Thanks to Dutch Design Brand you can create your own cardboard nativity in less than ten seconds. Perfect for Christmas lovers, or those who just enjoy a do-ityourself package. €17


Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  9

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Architecture

Building interior. Photo: Mireille Roobaert

Eco-friendly architecture at its finest TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS

K2A is an innovative, Brussels-based architecture firm founded by Stéphane Kervyn and Federico Alegria. Both partners bring diverse international backgrounds to the practice, strengthened by six other highly skilled practitioners. The practice handles architecture, interior design and strategic programming. Its impressive repertoire of work includes single and collective housing units, nurseries, historical buildings, as well as cultural, commercial and office spaces in Belgium and neighbouring countries. Founded a decade ago, the practice’s main characteristic is its international out10  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

look and dynamism. “Thinking globally, building locally,” is K2A’s motto, according to co-partner Stéphane Kervyn. Kervyn, who studied in the USA, brings an international dimension to his work while also possessing extensive knowledge of local regulations and construction techniques. All these factors ensure that projects are delivered in a timely fashion and within a given budget.

Recent achievements A recent highlight is Fondation Mons 2015. The Belgian city of Mons, designated European cultural capital of 2015, requested a renovation, extension and transformation of the old Académie des Beaux Arts into a cultural and administra-

tive centre. K2A won an international competition to design the 2,500-square-metre headquarters next to the main city square. Besides being very large, the project was challenging as it is a symbolic building in the historic medieval centre. In 2015, this impressive building hosted many events and served as a showroom for Europe’s cultural heritage. The design was based on three main concepts: first, the private courtyard became an open and public square linked with surrounding spaces. Secondly, a new pedestrian passageway was designed to go through the building so that the courtyard would become accessible. Thirdly, the U-shaped structure of the existing buildings was

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Architecture

maintained and one of the derelict annexes was rebuilt to give the space a unique identity. “It’s an emblematic building because it typifies the kind of work we do,” says Kervyn. “It’s a historical building mixed with a new contemporary addition.”

An eco-friendly and client-focused design approach K2A’s design approach begins with a clear understanding of the client’s needs; this is then translated into a conceptual foundation. The projects focus on the cultural and physical characteristics of a site, and the practice handles many renovations, including heritage buildings. “We aim to convert buildings into contemporary spaces which are as open and as expansive as possible, while preserving or even enhancing the existing patrimony. We create new views, embracing the outside from within by creating large windows and bringing nature inside. We want to make homes that emanate comfort and cosiness, that people want to inhabit,” says Kervyn. K2A’s renovations are carried out whilst respecting the original features and the history of a building, yet giving it a mod-

ern feel. The architects and designers at K2A work continuously with consultants to provide creative solutions to specific issues. The practice is wholly dedicated to design excellence and it strives to contribute positively to the human environment. The multi-talented team at K2A includes members with different specialisations. This includes practitioners with experience in designing environment-friendly, intelligent and cost-effective buildings. The group ensures projects are sustainable. This is based on three complementary ideas. The first is creating energy-efficient buildings to minimise ecological impact. It does this practically (layout, organisation, orientation) as well as technically (solar panels, recycled rain water, etc). Secondly, the building is intertwined with its natural surroundings: daylight, passive ventilation and shaded glazing, among other aspects, are all considered. Thirdly, well-being and environmental awareness play a key role. All buildings designed by K2A enrich and stimulate the human experience, while encouraging environmental responsibility against excessive consumption.

Stéphane Kervyn and Federico Alegria. Photo: Marie-Hélène Tercafs

Photo: François Lichte

Challenges and future directions One of the most challenging aspects of the job is living in a society where hyperspecialisation has become the norm. “Technology and building methods have evolved tremendously in recent years, it’s difficult to be specialised in every field. To have precise answers to particular issues, the office surrounds itself with a series of innovative consultants who bring added value in terms of know-how, while assuring that K2A maintains a global vision and directive,” he explains. Kervyn himself has been a faculty member at the University of Liège since 2004, where he teaches studio design and instructs students on developing their own projects. Being active in the academic world ensures he stays up to date with developments in the field, as well as challenging him intellectually. On future directions, Kervyn will not give much away. But with credentials including a highly skilled work force, an innovative, client-focused approach and a roster of impressive projects, it is clear the future looks bright for K2A.

Photo: François Lichte

Family house renvation. Photo: Nicolas Schimp

Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  11

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Made in Belgium

Hands on Design at Design Museum Gent. The Magic Bean by Kevin Oyen & Aycko


(Hand)made in Belgium Design in Belgium takes many forms. Whether it is from top-end, cutting-edge fashion designers from bigger cities such as Antwerp or Brussels, to small artisanal furniture design, Belgium - and the Flanders region in particular - is a hot-bed for innovative creations. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK, VISIT FLANDERS, DESIGN FLANDERS

12  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Made in Belgium The Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp. Photo: Modeafdeling Antwerpen

You cannot explore Flanders without noticing that there is a distinct eye for design detail. Beautiful lighting, quirky furniture solutions and sleek fashion surrounds you from every angle. The skill of creating practical but funky buildings is also very much in existence all over Flanders: whether it is simple housing or beautiful conversions, melding old and new structures to create state-of-the-art, architectural wonders. A visit to Ghent’s STAM museum is a great example of this: once a beautiful Abbey it currently houses a new contemporary city museum filled with historical and modern art. A trip to the Art & Design Atomium Museum in Brussels is a treat for the eyes alone. It includes 2,000 pieces of art, ranging from everyday objects to artworks from the years 19602000. For fashionistas keen on design, a trip to Antwerp’s MODE fashion museum (MoMu) provides an insight into the world of the Antwerp Six fashion designers and the city’s high-end fashion reputation.

Design Flanders Design Flanders is responsible for promoting contemporary Flemish design to

the public, governments, and companies. Flanders boasts an abundance of design talent, and Design Flanders believes that this formidable talent deserves to be promoted, so that Flemish design secures the necessary impact and appeal in both Belgium and abroad. Whether in industrial design, ceramics, graphic design or jewellery design: Flanders has global players in every discipline. Design Flanders is part of Flanders DC (Flanders District of Creativity).

Cappellini. Photo: Antwerpen Toerisme & Congres

HANDS ON DESIGN Are you curious about the chemistry between the maker, the designer, and businesses? Make sure to visit the Design Museum Gent this winter. A highlight will be Hands on Design, an exhibition showcasing designs inspired and produced thanks to the innovative power of traditional methods and craftsmanship. Hands on Design is on until 5 March 2017 at the Design Museum Gent.

Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  13

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Made in Belgium

Sophisticated designs with a clever twist TEXT: THESSA LAGEMAN  |  PHOTOS: BYANOUK

Anouk Taeymans, 29, a versatile architect and designer from Antwerp, expresses her sense of aesthetics with her design label byANOUK and her witty lifestyle brand #BITCHPLEASE. She also gives advice as a design expert to individuals and on Belgian national television. She is proudest of MYSHELF, her innovative design shelf that was launched earlier this year.

The idea came when she was living in a small apartment in Norway, and was looking for a way to create a few nice-looking shelves in her living room that would fit perfectly. “It turned out many people are looking for something similar,” she says. Immediately, she received many enthusiastic reactions and orders through her web shop. Soon she will offer the shelf in furniture shops as well.

The shelf, an inventive combination of creativity and technology, is made from oak wood. “A beautiful, timeless material,” says Taeymans. “People love the fact the shelf is completely adjustable in length and that it can be personalised with all kinds of add-ons: boxes, hooks and rails.”

Scandinavian designs

14  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

After Taeymans graduated as a civil engineer architect in Belgium, she lived in Norway for four years working as an architect. She also acquired a masters in project management and entrepreneurship and taught sustainable architecture at the Uni-

versity of Trondheim. When she returned to Belgium to establish her own brand byANOUK, she was very much inspired by typical Scandinavian designs and the sophisticated interiors of the North. “In Scandinavia, home interiors are considered very important, because with the long winters people spend a lot of time indoors,” Taeymans noticed. Therefore, people are often prepared to spend quite a lot of money on it. “They love to have robust, quality furniture and appreciate bright, airy rooms with natural materials, like wood, stone and marble.” She noticed that in Belgium more and more people are starting to care about

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Made in Belgium

their interiors. “They realise your home is a place where you can unwind and relax and that its interior reflects your personality.” She adds that Scandinavian designs have become very popular in her country too over the past few years. “It’s definitely not just a temporary trend. I think it is a style that will stay.”

Interior advice Sometimes, Taeymans’ clients first buy a MYSHELF from her and then find out that she can also advise them about their entire interior. “This is one of the favourite parts of my work,” she smiles. “It creates a bond when you visit people in their own houses. I have met so many sympathetic and funny people through this work. It is great that they are often open to new ideas.” Some of her clients have their homes furnished already, but like her to help bringing some cohesion and the right look and feel to their interior. “The interiors often lack a common theme and are sometimes a bit chaotic.” Others, such as expats who move to a new place, give her carte

blanche for their housing setup, furniture and decoration. In the past year, Taeymans has been taking part in a programme on national Belgian television as a design expert. She visits special and beautiful homes in Flanders belonging to, for example, designers and architects and analyses the strengths and weaknesses of their interiors. “I have learned a lot from this and gained much inspiration for my own designs too,” she says. In another television programme that has just started, she advises people who have just bought their first house about their furniture, style and decoration.

Humour Other projects Taeymans is involved in include the design of jewellery and clothes, with her brand #BITCHPLEASE. “This is more like a side project that got out of hand,” she remarks. As a kind of joke, she started designing sweaters and t-shirts with funny prints like ‘SMALL BOOBS BIG AMBITIONS’ and ‘DRAMA IS NOT A CRIME’ together with a friend. Howev-

er, the first 150 pieces were sold out in no time. Now she has already designed the fourth collection and shops throughout Belgium and soon in the rest of the Benelux are selling it. “It turned out many women recognise themselves in the texts.” She adds: “I sometimes like to use humour in my work. The design world can be so serious.” A combination of all of Taeymans’ different work, together with a selection of design accessories from her favourite Scandinavian and Belgian design labels, can be found throughout the month of December at A Better Blend, a temporary concept store in the Grand Bazar in Antwerp. “We started doing this last year and it proved to be a big success, because many people are looking for nice and special gifts during the Christmas period.” A Better Blend: 1st floor, Grand Bazar, Beddenstraat 2, 2000 Antwerp Instagram: @byanouk, @bitchplease_antwerp

Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  15

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Made in Belgium

Left: SB55 table by architect Stéphane Beel. Right: The famous SL58 chair, designed by architect Léon Stynen in 1958, has not lost any of its must-have allure.

An icon of Belgian design TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: VERNE

What started with a small filing cabinet quickly grew into the success story of a Belgian design icon. Since 1963, Bulo has been synonymous with elegant and innovative furniture design. Bulo specialises in ready-made chairs, tables, desks, storage and loose furniture. Originating as office furniture designers, the Belgian-based company has taken its designs beyond the working environment, with pieces also suited for the home and the hospitality sector, among others. Bulo’s designs pride themselves on being 100 per cent timeless, with many of its staples being even more popular now than when they were first designed. “Rather than designing from a market perspective or following trends, Bulo has always created furniture honouring the idea of beautiful design,” says communication manager Stijn De Rooster. Bulo produces and sells items from both in-house designers and external designers. “Those are not necessarily furniture designers, but they own a sense of creativity that exude our design so well. We’ve worked with 16  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

icons like designer Maarten Van Severen, fashion designer Ann Demeulemeester, architect Jean Nouvel, and many others.” Alongside a few stores in Belgium, Bulo’s designs can be found at dealers in Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the UK, the USA and Germany. The headquarters are located in Mechelen, an area historically known for its strong reputation for craftsmanship in furniture. It was mainly for that reason Walter Busschop choose this town to expand Bulo. “His first design was a filing trolley on wheels,” De Rooster enthuses. “He invested the revenues of the launch in his own office furniture company. The rest is history.” Recently, grandson Carlo Busschop took over leadership and brought a pack of young wolves with him to continue the company’s innovation process. Bulo’s latest success story takes form in the renewed DAN collection, a range of designs bridging the increasingly thin line between work and living spaces. “The office as we know it is transforming. The DAN collection offers furniture that is affordable, multi-functional and durable (it

is 100 per cent wood) to enhance any environment where work is done - whether that is an office or a living room.” DAN has already found its way to offices from renowned companies all over the world, such as leading communication agency Saatchi & Saatchi London. Alongside an ever-growing portfolio (Brussels Airlines VIP Lounge, Mercedes Benz., Lotus Bakeries etc.), Bulo will attend Fuorisalone in Milan, the world’s most important design event, in 2017. Bulo proves that timeless design goes perfectly well with anticipating the needs of today’s society – something that has been distinguishing them for almost 60 years.

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Made in Belgium

Interpoint, a personal design for everyone TEXT: THESSA LAGEMAN  |  PHOTOS: LEEN PAS & JASMINE VAN HEVEL

Whenever interior designers Martine Verzwijvelen and Philippe Bonte design a new kitchen or interior, they make sure the result will be exactly like the client wants it to be - or even better than they imagined. “Our designs are progressive, functional and comparable to custom-made suits.” The two designers create kitchens and interiors that are not only beautiful, but also very practical to use and pleasant to spend time in. “We always carefully listen to who our clients are,” says Bonte. “We take a look at where and how they live and then we make a design for them that they will love. We make sure the kitchen or other piece of furniture fits perfectly in their daily life, for example if they have children. We also like to add an extra touch in our designs that makes you think ‘wow, I hadn’t thought about that’.” Interpoint only uses natural materials for the designs, such as solid wood, veneer, laminate, lacquer, tin, zinc, brass and aluminium. Verzwijvelen: “We don’t use ma-

terials that are fake, for example ones that only look like wood or metal, but are not. We like our work to be fair.” Last summer, Interpoint opened their own showroom in Antwerp. The shop has an urban chic type of style. Verzwijvelen knows that most clients look for something extra in their furniture. “They are often culturally oriented, enterprising, trendy city people. Many of them love to cook and eat, just like us, and are looking for a kitchen that blends perfectly in their environment.” “We are really a one-stop shop,” Bonte explains. “We do everything ourselves. The design, the production, the assembly, the after care. We keep everything in our hands.” All designs are produced in their own atelier, not far away from the shop, with the use of hyper-modern, computercontrolled machinery. Together with the designers’ 25 years of experience and the know-how of their colleagues, this results in a perfect product.

Interpoint Amerikalei 10, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium Martine Verzwijvelen +32 495 185152 Philippe Bonte +32 494 32 07 86

Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  17

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Made in Belgium

Quality, timelessness and functionality are the three core principles that Gunther Thienpont, global art director of Hedgren, strives for with every new collection.

Functional bags for quality seekers TEXT: SOFIE COUWENBERGH  |  PHOTOS: GUNTHER THIENPONT

Whether you are a businessman, a traveller or a woman always on the move, Hedgren has just the bag for you. Over the last 23 years this Belgian brand has launched a wide range of timeless bag collections and, for more than half of that time, Gunther Thienpont has been the driving force behind the bags’ timeless and functional designs. It is easy to forget Hedgren is a Belgian brand, with stores selling its bags across the globe and fans from North America to China. Hedgren thanks its broad appeal to a combination of quality, functionality and styles that survive every seasonal trend. “We don’t call ourselves a fashion brand,” art director Thienpont says. In18  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

stead, Hedgren creates bags that are hard to replace. “Compare it to a lady who wears painfully high heels to look nice on a night out, but will always choose her comfortable flats to go to work, do groceries or visit her family. She might like the heels, but she’d hate to lose those comfortable shoes. Our bags are like those comfortable shoes,” Thienpont continues. “Once you have one, you don’t want to go without it anymore.”

Minimalistic quality without the extra weight Overseeing Hedgren’s design processes, he makes sure all bags are top performers when it comes to usability and sturdiness. Every bag is made to last a lifetime using

high-quality materials and the usage of the light material nylon ensures that your backpack or tote does not put any extra weight on your shoulders. The multiple compartments on every bag emphasise the brand’s focus on functionality without ever making them bulky. On the contrary, Hedgren bags usually boast a minimalistic look that make them a good fit for any day-to-day occasion. Inspiration for that look has come from Japan, where overcrowded cities force designers to make optimal use of spaces while keeping them appealing to the eye. This result is achieved not by implementing tons of frills and decorations, but by paying close attention to finishing touches

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Made in Belgium

and details. “Our designs are minimalistic, but they’re polished and perfected to the tiniest detail,” says Thienpont. “It’s the details that make the difference.”

Bags for the digital era Hedgren has also proven that reliability and functionality do not need to stand in the way of innovation. The brand was one of the first bag creators to launch two complete collections equipped with USB battery chargers. By doing so, it responded to our ever-growing need to be connected at all times, whether waiting for the bus or hiking through the mountains. The Connect collection allows people to charge their devices without having to

open their bags. Simply pull out the retractable USB cable from a side pocket and you are good to go. No more risk of forgetting your charger or having the contents of your bag seen by unwanted lurkers.

One thing says it all Like every Hedgren collection, it is made for people with an active lifestyle who know where they are going and what they need to bring. Hedgren users do not simply throw stuff together, they like structure in both their bags and in their lives. There is an ample selection of bags to choose from, whether you need a functional handbag, a backpack, a workbag

or a travel bag. Shoulder bags, tote bags, handbags, clutches, crossovers, backpacks, hard case trolleys, duffle bags and more - Hedgren has them for both men and women. Each collection has its own colour palette, from subtle and soft to bright and vibrant. Whatever style you prefer, there is one design element that always comes back: the keychain shaped like a six-sided cube. It adorns every bag and is a subtle reminder of the brand’s core values: strength, lightness, versatility, quality, design-led style and functionality.

Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  19

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Made in Belgium


You are an active woman; feminine and assertive; classic yet contemporary. Belgian-based fashion label Furore caters to dress just these women – those who are not afraid to create their own unique furore through style, elegance and personality. Discover Benelux met with Veerle and Elke Baert, the driving mother-daughter force behind the young brand, and discovered quite a bit of furore among them. In the south of Italy, just under Naples, one can find Furore: a tiny little village. It is no coincidence that the eponymous Belgian

fashion label chose just that name. “Furore is a minimalistic village, however in our language the word means exactly the opposite,” Veerle starts. “That is the beauty of it: we hope that everyone can make her own unique furore in our clothes.”

A style superb Furore is all about discreet luxury, for women who prefer an elegant, natural style with refined details that make the difference. The brand creates exclusive and elegant women’s apparel, shying away from uniformity and striking the perfect balance between on-trend and functional

styles. Items are classic, yet carry a contemporary twist. “We aim to make clothing for active women, often those who work,” Veerle says. “Clothing designed to wear to work, a networking event, or to dinner.” Designer Elke adds: “Our designs have a classic fit, yet contain details that make the difference. We do not design for women of a specific age: our designs allow everyone to create their own style.” Can they describe the label’s style in three words? “That is a hard one,” Veerle laughs. “But I would say urban, sporty-chic, on-trend, feminine, and comfortable. But it is the wearer who adds the final twist.”

A mutual passion Conceived through a mutual passion for art, design, architecture, travel and photography, Furore is the proud child of daughter Elke and mother Veerle, members of the family behind the Duvel Moortgat brewery. The creative women are inspired by the world around us, and 20  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Made in Belgium

through Furore they share their passion for beauty and lifestyle. Designer Elke has loved drawing and design since childhood. “I was always drawing, I took my drawing book everywhere,” Elke says. “And I’ve always had a thing for fabrics. When my mother took me shopping, I always needed to touch the fabrics.” After one year at the Antwerp Fashion Academy, Elke moved to London where she trained at the renowned Italian fashion and design school, Istituto Marangoni. After releasing an award-winning collection during London Fashion Week, she worked as a trainee for French fashion house Chloé and menswear brand Pierre Talamon. After shortly working for two Belgian labels, she finally decided to create her own fashion brand together with her mother. Veerle, originally a journalist, is the mentor and driving force behind the project. She has worked as editor-in-chief for Libelle magazine and has established successful lifestyle magazine Knack Weekend. “Furore has provided me with the perfect opportunity to rediscover my own creativity.

I might be a brewer’s daughter, but I have always been enchanted by fashion and worked in the industry.”

Motorised Flirt Motorised Flirt is the name of Furore’s Autumn/Winter 2016 collection. Inspired by dynamic and stylish design elements from the automotive world, the vibrant collection breathes the sense of luxury and statement-making elements that old-timers, convertibles and scooters exude. “Our inspiration arises from everyday aspects in architecture, nature, and design,” Elke says. “We have the tendency to translate every colour, material or structure into a tangible fashion design. When visiting a rally for exclusive old-timers, I automatically construed their designs into clothing: the flirty headlights became buttons, the elegant curves of the dashboard became cuts, and the shiny body work became the fabric.” Just like all of Furore’s collections, pieces in the Motorised Flirt collection are made from high-quality fabrics, mainly from Italy and Portugal. “A good design starts with

choosing the right fabrics,” Veerle asserts. “Because of the excellent quality of our fabrics, alongside the timeless character, our items can be worn for life.”

Responsibly stylish Veerle and Elke are guided by passion and respect for traditional craftsmanship and the environment. The brand is committed to reducing its environmental impact as much as possible through the high-quality fabrics, the implementation of continuous innovation, and recycling where possible. Collections are developed in Belgium, while production takes place in the Netherlands. Furore recently launched its online web shop, alongside a flagship store in SintMartens-Latem. “Although our designs allow women to make the clothing their own, we always tell customers one thing when they leave the store: be sure to make a furore when wearing your item,” Elke enthuses. “And, after first looking a bit surprised, every woman leaves our store determined. Determined to make a furore.”

Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  21

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Made in Belgium

Charming shawls with a message TEXT: THESSA LAGEMAN  |  PHOTOS: IBES SCARVES

Like many women, artist Ingrid Budts always loved wearing shawls and has a large collection of different pieces. Last year she decided to start designing them herself. “I love how beautiful certain combinations of colours can be,” she says. The name IBES scarves is a combination of the initials of Ingrid Budts’ name and ‘es’, a tree with the Latin name ‘Fraxinus excelsior’, often translated as ‘ever upward’ or ‘still higher’. She found inspiration in her gallery ES, close to Antwerp, which she opened ten years ago. Budts uses the highest quality, natural fabrics and only works with companies that deliver animal-friendly materials. Her shawls are available from her web shop and in several shops in Belgium from next year. Others sources of inspiration for her designs are ancient history, religions and traditions, like the aboriginals, the Greeks, the Old Testament

and Buddhist texts. “Behind every design lies a story,” Budts says. “I find it important to deliver a message with my shawls.” She also looks at the Zeitgeist for her creations. “With my message I intend to give the warmth and security that many people need these days to feel stronger against the outside world.” One of her creations she is especially proud of is a red shawl named ‘Fire of the Phoenix’, made of silk georgette. “Just like the mytho-

logical bird, everyone passes through a rebirth one day,” she explains. Completely different is ‘Solid as a rock’, a grey and green piece of modal and cashmere. So far it is her only creation for both women and men. The idea came during a holiday in the Black Forest in Germany. “Wearing this shawl will make you more confident and earthly.”

The WinterWelVaart event in Groningen. Photo: Knelis


Northern stars At this time of the year, the north of the Netherlands transforms into a magical winter wonderland. Enter into the festive spirit and read on to discover the best of Groningen and Friesland. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: MARKETING GRONINGEN AND MERK FRYSLÂN

Festivities in Leeuwarden. Photo: Theo de Witte

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Discover Benelux  |  North of the Netherlands  |  Best of Groningen & Friesland

Photo: Hiddema Fotografie

Photo: NBTC

Go, Groningen! The lively university city of Groningen is the capital of the eponymous province. It may boast the youngest average population in the Netherlands, but its history is far from young - by the late Middle Ages Groningen was already an independent city state and major centre for trade. With innovative architecture, vibrant nightlife and one of the Netherland’s most beloved art galleries, the Groninger Museum, it is no surprise that culture vultures flock here. Discover the highlights of Groningen province from page 26 and start planning your trip at 24  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

DO NOT MISS: WinterWelVaart 16 - 18 December Keeping the tradition of shipping in Groningen alive is the atmospheric WinterWelVaart event, which sees the quaysides of the Hoge and Lage der A lined with lit-up charter ships. Look out for intimate concerts, performances and exhibitions, as well as food tastings, a Christmas market and plenty to keep little ones entertained. For more information see Wintervuur 19 December - 2 January In honour of the Christmas holidays, Groningen’s Stadsschouwburg and the Grand Theatre are putting on a selection of magical family-orientated performances.

For a list of performances visit Ice skating on the Grote Markt Until 6 January Get your skates on and head to Groningen’s beautifully illuminated main market square, where a winter wonderland has been set up under the landmark Martinitoren tower, the city’s highest church steeple.

Rodin - Genius at Work at Groninger Museum Until 30 April The biggest exhibition ever displayed in the Netherlands dedicated to French sculptor Auguste Rodin. For tickets visit

Discover Benelux  |  North of the Netherlands  |  Best of Groningen & Friesland

Photo: Theo de Witte

Leeuwarden, the heart of Friesland The delightful city of Leeuwarden is not only the capital of Friesland, a few years ago it was selected to become 2018’s European Capital of Culture as part of the well-known European Capital of Culture programme. But with its café-lined canals, hip shopping streets, vibrant arts scene and excellent museums, why wait until then to visit? Discover a Leeuwarden gem on page 29 and start planning your trip at

Photo: Theo de Witte

Photo: Theo de Witte

DO NOT MISS: Christmas market 17 - 18 December The city’s iconic Blokhuispoort venue, a former prison turned hip cultural centre, will be transformed into a magical Christmas wonderland. This year, due to renovation taking place at the venue, the organisers came up with an innovative idea to have the stalls installed in the scaffolding. A must-see. Entrance is free. For more information visit Sizzling Sunday 18 December On the last Sunday of every month, Leeuwarden’s city centre hosts Zinderende zondag (Sizzling Sunday). With markets, music and

more, this event is the perfect excuse to do that last-minute Christmas shopping and get in the festive spirit. LUNA lichtfestival 21 - 24 December This magical event will see artists and designers from the Netherlands and further afield descend on Leeuwarden to light up the city with their luminous art installations. Prepare to be enchanted by the beautiful projections in some rather unexpected locations. This highly anticipated event marks the first light festival of its kind in Leeuwarden. For details head to

Photo: Theo de Witte

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Discover Benelux  |  North of the Netherlands  |  Best of Groningen & Friesland


The Huis voor de Kunst looks like a normal, rather beautiful house - until you enter. Inside, a magnificent collection of fine art is being displayed in an extraordinary way. “But, the Huis voor de Kunst is not a museum,” explains director Jan Starke. “The Huis voor de Kunst is a place that displays art and culture in a setting where they are meant to be shown,” begins Starke. “Art is not meant to collect dust in an attic, or be displayed in a big, empty room, under the watchful eye of security. Art belongs in a home. Art is meant to be shared.”

A house full of masters The Huis voor de Kunst opened its doors three years ago in a 1930s-style villa in Veendam. The house hosts a wide variety of art from different time periods, 26  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

starting from the 17th century right up to contemporary art. The walls and rooms are adorned with work from a long list of artists including: Jan Davidsz. de Heem, Jan Brueghel II and Frans Francken II, Peter Paul Rubens, Alexander Keirincx, Jan Boeckhorst, Joost Cornelisz Droochsloot, Nicolaes Berchem, François Boucher, Jacques Majorelle, Louis Apol, George Hendrik Breitner, William Dodge Stevens, César Domela Nieuwenhuis, Johan Rudolf Bonnet, Juan Gris, Gerard Pieter Adolfs, W.G. Hofker, Bonnet, and Lucebert. Also prominently present are paintings by De Ploeg, an artist collective from Groningen where Starke was born and bred. Sculptures are shown from Salvador Dali, Ossip Zadkine, James Pradier, Pierre-Jules Mêne, Auguste Clésinger, and Raffaelle Monti among others. Contemporary art has an important place as well: the

Huis voor de Kunst has a collaboration with the Klassieke Academy in Groningen, regularly showing work from its students and alumni.

Art connects All works in the Huis come from Starke’s personal collection, which he started to compile when was only 20 years old. “I actually was a collector, without knowing that I was a collector,” Starke laughs. Before the Huis voor de Kunst was built, works were displayed in Starke’s own home where he discovered that art is an eminent means to connect people. “Art truly bonds people. Whenever I had visitors from all different countries, I noticed that sometimes it can be hard to connect them. However, when I took my visitors on a tour through the house, alongside my art, people suddenly started to engage with one another.”

Discover Benelux  |  North of the Netherlands  |  Best of Groningen & Friesland

Stepping into the Huis voor de Kunst does not feel much different to entering someone’s house, with a warm, welcoming, and cosy atmosphere shining through. “Often in a normal museum setting, every form of intimacy is lacking, never really resulting in a bond between the artwork and its viewer. The Huis voor de Kunst really brings art closer to the people.” Starke’s collection is too big to be shown in the Huis voor de Kunst, resulting in a permanent collection that is always changing. All works in the house are for sale, and new works are frequently bought. In other words: no two visits to the Huis voor de Kunst are the same.

House of culture and sharing Alongside being a home for art, the Huis voor de Kunst enjoys a reputation as a cultural haven, with concerts, cabaret,

and theatre shows held frequently. “The Huis voor de Kunst is always bustling with life: we recently became a wedding location, and we count several collaborations with other cultural institutions,” Starke affirms. Furthermore, the house serves as the perfect setting for corporate meetings and business outings, always delivering an inspirational environment. Starke founded the Huis voor de Kunst by himself, but presently works with a team of professionals from the art world. “I never studied art, so was always following my gut when deciding if I would give an artwork a home. However, times are changing, and anticipating on the market is essential,” he says. “Having such a great team ensures the House voor de Kunst stands for quality, professionalism, and transparency.” For his important role in

local society and putting Veendam on the map as cultural hub, Starke was awarded the title ‘Veendammer of the Year’ in 2015: “A great honour,” he enthuses. It is no coincidence that the Huis voor de Kunst’s slogan reads ‘Experience Art and Culture’, as that is truly what a visit will offer you. “Art can be much closer than you think. Perhaps we are taught that art is something a bit elitist, something that you can only enjoy from a distance, or when you have great knowledge about it. The Huis voor de Kunst bridges that distance. Art is meant to be experienced and shared.” For more information, please visit:

A still life by Jan Davidsz. de Heem.

Jan Starke.

Rudolf Bonnet, Twee Balinese vrouwen.

Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  27

Discover Benelux  |  North of the Netherlands  |  Best of Groningen & Friesland


Sushi, fruits de mer, teppanyaki, barbecue and wok dishes all under one roof? It is a reality at Taste & Flavor. This world restaurant in Groningen serves dishes from across the globe at its all-you-can-eat buffet, making sure there truly is something for everyone. Unlimited enjoyment in a terrific ambiance; Taste & Flavor provides a dining experience unlike any other, where guests can enjoy dinner in their very own way. Instead of a solid menu, people can choose from an extensive buffet for one price that also includes beer and wine. Are you up for Italian, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, American, Dutch (or any other) cuisine tonight? Although the line of choices seems infinite, quantity does everything but upstage quality. “Healthy, good food has always been of great importance in our family,” co-owner Kun Zhu starts. “Taste & Flavor is a real family restaurant, with the whole team being connected to each other, whether through family or our

love for quality food!” Alongside a great dinner comes a great view. Through the large windows you can enjoy a beautiful view over Groningen’s Reitdiephaven, providing a very welcome holiday feeling. Taste & Flavor is the ideal setting for business outings and large groups, as the flat price will never cause any surprises. But Taste & Flavor is for everyone: from couples, to groups of friends, to families with children (with a special children’s corner ensuring the parents among us will also have a quiet dinner). “From

meat eaters, to vegetarians, to fish lovers: Taste & Flavor will suit everyone,” Zhu enthuses. “The only hard part is choosing from such a huge variety of delicacies!”

Telling stories through tin boxes TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: HET BEHOUDEN BLIK

Decorative tin boxes are as much a part of Dutch society as ‘hagelslag’ (chocolate sprinkles) and ice skating. Made by big Dutch brands, the cans are representative of typical Dutch eras. “They give a glimpse into the kitchens of Dutch society,” tells Carin van de Wal, conservator at museum Het Behouden Blik in Uithuizermeeden. The tins were made to get consumers to buy products; they were advertisements. “They became part of family life and provide fond memories these days,” explains Van de Wal. The decorations and graphic designs on the tin boxes captured the socio-economic state of Dutch society at that time. The designs even inspired their own artistic term: the Droste effect. Dutch cocoa producer Droste became famous for this effect, which involves a picture appearing within itself, thanks to its boxes featuring a nurse carrying a serving tray with a cup of cocoa and a box with the same image. 28  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

When people enter Het Behouden Blik, they are overwhelmed with recognition. Van de Wal: “We are a really small museum, so people think that it can be done quickly. But once we take our visitors on a very interactive tour through the collection, they often stay longer than intended.” Because of the size of the collection, not everything is displayed all the time. “We change the exhibition four times a year. So there are always new stories.” It is not just a collection of tin boxes that is on display in the museum. “It is the story of the

Dutch and how society has changed over the years, or maybe how it hasn’t.” Left: Brinta, Dutch breakfast oatmeal. Middle: Droste cocoa brand. Right: The interior of the museum.

Discover Benelux  |  North of the Netherlands  |  Best of Groningen & Friesland


If you think a museum dedicated to science might be inaccessible, think again. Science is about so much more than just complicated research. If you have ever visited the Universiteitsmuseum in Groningen, then you will already know this. “Science is part of daily life,” explains curator Rolf ter Sluis. “It’s about curiosity and wanting to know things.” You need to be rather curious to find the museum too, as it is a hidden gem in city centre of Groningen. This gives it a true ‘wow’ factor. “People often tell us that they wish they had known about us sooner.” As you probably guessed, the Universiteitsmuseum Groningen is part of the University. “Groningen’s University is old, but very open to innovation. Therefore, we have all sorts of exhibitions, focused on subjects ranging from education to anatomy, ethnology, zoology and Aletta Jacobs, the first woman in the Netherlands to get a PhD in medicine and a fighter

for women’s suffrage. 2017 will mark 100 years since male universal suffrage was introduced in the Netherlands.” A wide range of subjects are explored here, which makes this museum so accessible for a diverse crowd. “We want to show everybody that although the science world might seem inaccessible, it is definitely not. That doesn’t mean it’s easy though, we have exhibitions that need you to think thoroughly. You need to use that brain. But that’s what makes it fun,” enthuses the curator. Feeling inspired to visit this

fascinating museum? Here is some more good news: entrance is free.

Come taste bitters in the Beerenburger Museum TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: BOOMSMA

The bitters of Boomsma Beerenburger is inseparably connected to Leeuwarden, the Frisian capital in the north of the Netherlands. So, if you are in Leeuwarden, the Beerenburger Museum of Boomsma in the centre of town is a must-see. Here, you will travel back in time to the distillery of the 1930s, where you can see every step of how this traditional bitters is made. Of course, you can taste it in the tasting room together with all the other Boomsma liqueurs. Unlike most distilleries, Boomsma is still an independent family company. Saskia and Chantoine Boomsma are the fifth generation of Boomsma that run the company and they have big plans for the distillery. Saskia Boomsma: “With the modesty that comes with a traditional family company, we want to expand and develop the distillery. For instance, with our recently introduced Boomsma Dry Gin.” The square bottle of the gin, with its quirky logo, is a nod

to the 1920s and symbolises the rich history of the company, and yet still fits in with the interior of the hippest bars around town. Even though design is important these days, what is most important for Saskia and Chantoine Boomsma is still the taste, especially in an era where some bars have more gins on the menu than wines. In the Dry Gin, there are 12 herbs that are also used in the bitters. Among these herbs are angelica, gentian, liquorice, centaury and laurel. Saskia Boomsma:

“You are more than welcome to taste the gin when you are in the museum.”

Saskia and Chantoine Boomsma.

Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  29

Oostpoort, Delft.


The south will seduce you Experience that famous southern hospitality with a trip to two of South Holland’s most charming and convivial cities; Delft and Dordrecht. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: DELFT MARKETING AND DORDRECHT MARKETING

Christmas market, Dordrecht. Photo: Tim Leguijt Fotografie

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Discover Benelux  |  Delft & Dordrecht  |  Perfect Winter Destinations

Photo: Ton Koene

Kerstmarkt. Photo: Maartje Brockbernd



Having been granted a city charter in 1220, Dordrecht boasts the title of the oldest Dutch city. Up until the late 16th century, it was one of the most powerful Dutch regions thanks to its important trading position at the meeting of the Oude Maas River and many tributaries and channels. Centred around its port, this attractive city boats a charming canal-dotted historical heart, medieval architectural delights and some excellent museums.

The Dordrecht Christmas market is renowned throughout the Netherlands, and with some 200 stalls it is the largest in the country. Sample various gourmet treats and indulge in a spot of Christmas shopping as you enjoy live entertainment and meander through the attractive city centre and along the harbour.

event is scheduled for Friday and Saturday evening. Still in the mood for even more Christmas magic? Head to the ice-skating rink at the Statenplein.

With singing choirs and live bands performing at various locations along the 2.5-kilometre market route, this event is guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit. There are two main stages at the Vismarkt and at the Stadhuisplein, where a magical Christmas sing-a-long

Opening times are as follows: Friday 16 December: 10am - 9pm Saturday 17 December: 10am - 9pm Sunday 18 December: 11am - 6pm For more information visit

The 2016 Dordrecht Christmas market will take place 16 - 18 December

Discover more Dordrecht on page 39. Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  31

Discover Benelux  |  Delft & Dordrecht  |  Perfect Winter Destinations


Lichtjesavond Delft.

Delft Delft is a city that needs little of an introduction. It is famed throughout the world for its distinctive blue-and-white Delftware – the celebrated pottery produced here since 1602. The city is also well known as the birthplace of Golden Age painter Johannes Vermeer, whose famous oil painting View of Delft (1660–1661) is testament to the beauty of the city. Visitors continue to flock to this medieval city, with its picturesque, canal-lined streets, fascinating museums, bustling markets and lively bars and restaurants.

Discover Delft highlights from page 33. Start planning your trip to Delft at: 32  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

Kerstboom Markt.

FESTIVE EVENTS IN DELFT Lichtjesavond 13 December 4pm - 11pm Kicking off on 13 December and running until 15 January, 2017 there will be plenty of special festive events taking place as part of the famous ‘Dark Days of Delft’. The lighting of the Christmas tree is always a highlight. Christmas concert 16 December, performances at 6pm and 8.30pm Get ready for a huge edition of Delft’s celebrated Christmas concert at the beautiful Oude Kerk. For tickets visit: winkel Christmas market 16 - 18 December What better way to get the festive spirit than with a meander around the many stalls sell-

ing gifts and winter treats in Delft’s charming old town. Delft Winter Podium 16, 17, 18 December & 22, 23, 24 December The city is transformed into a cosy winter wonderland filled with art, music, and theatrical performances. Visit: Blue Christmas 18 December Sundays in Delft are the place to be thanks to the Blue Sunday initiative, combining music, fashion, lifestyle and food-related activities. This special festive edition of the city-wide tradition will make the perfect backdrop to your last-minute Christmas shopping.

Discover Benelux  |  Delft & Dordrecht  |  Perfect Winter Destinations


Delft does not have many museums and Paul Tetar van Elven thought this was a shame. A painter himself, he wanted Delft to enjoy art. So, after his death, he left his house and collection to the city with the sole intention of making a museum out of it. Painter, teacher, drawer and a true art lover who wanted to share his love for it: this is the reason Paul Tetar van Elven (18231896) made sure his house became a museum. “Not just to show off his wealth and his own paintings, but to give the inhabitants of Delft a place where they could appreciate art,” tells Alexandra Oostdijk, director of the museum. “In the museum you can experience how a 19th-century artist lived and worked.”

Artist and teacher Born into an artistic family, Paul Tetar became an academic painter who also copied the works of Rembrandt, Raphaël and many other Old Masters. Oostdijk: “Back then there were a lot of painters that worked that way. He made a really good copy of The Night Watch, which is in the museum, together with lots of other cop-

ies.” Tetar travelled with his wife Louise to Paris and Dresden to seek inspiration. “He was one of the last of his kind; the trade died with him.” Besides copies, he painted portraits and history pieces and he was a very gifted drawer. He taught at the Polytechnic School of Delft, now the Technical University Delft. “He made his students copy art works and antique statues. He was a traditional, but much-liked teacher.”

“Paul Tetar van Elven truly loved art and wanted to share that. He felt that his collection was good for the people of Delft, that it would elevate them. That is why he left it to the city and we can still admire it today.”

The house The museum is situated in his old canal house. Apart from his own work, you can admire Tetar’s collection of antiques and curiosa. “For instance, he owned a lot of Chinese and Japanese porcelain and of course Delft Blue. We think he spent a lot of time at auction houses.” When he bought the house, he completely changed the interior. “And he asked Abraham Gips, his successor as teacher, to paint the ceiling in the drawing room with the names of famous painters like Rembrandt and Michelangelo,” explains Oostdijk. Most of the rooms remain as they were. Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  33

Discover Benelux  |  Delft & Dordrecht  |  Perfect Winter Destinations


Why stay in an ordinary hotel when you can experience Luxury Apartments Delft? Choose your apartment or suite from their incredible selection, situated in the old town’s most beautiful streets, and feel part of Delft’s community. Be pleasantly surprised by the luxury, comfort and stylish furniture and enjoy a delicious dinner in a quality restaurant nearby. Two years ago, bed and breakfasts became very popular in the Netherlands, so father and son Ronald and Ray Vis decided to start something similar in Delft. They bought a few old buildings in the centre of the city, where guests can stay for short or long periods as they wish. Right now, Luxury Apartments Delft consists of 30 34  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

apartments and three suites, all within 50100 metres from reception and right in the heart of central Delft. “We are very proud of what we have reached so far in such a short time,” smiles Ronald. “It was a pleasant surprise to receive the news recently from the website Hotels Combined that guests from different hotel rating sites rated us with a score of 8.9 out of ten. It means we are now representing the top three per cent of accommodation worldwide for customer satisfaction.”

Ronald: “It’s like the country’s living room here. A place where you feel at home. It’s great to walk over the beautiful market square, the largest in the country, which still looks like it did 400 years ago.” All of the apartments have a long history, he stresses. “In one of our houses, a horse’s blacksmith used to live with his 12 children. We created two apartments there. Our oldest building, from around 1750, used to be part of a farm.

Long history

“We also just bought the old municipality archives building on the Oude Delft, the most beautiful canal in the city.”

The father and son were born and raised in Delft, which is, according to them, “the most beautiful city in the Netherlands”.

Instead of offering guests breakfast, the owners thought it was a better idea to in-

Discover Benelux  |  Delft & Dordrecht  |  Perfect Winter Destinations

clude dinner in the price. Guests receive a voucher and can choose to have dinner in one of six different restaurants in the centre. “These are all good restaurants where you can have a delicious meal,” says Ronald.

Heart of the centre Many of the guests are foreign tourists who use Delft as their base to discover the country, explains Ronald Vis. Or they start their European tour from Delft. Others come to visit their family in the Netherlands or are staying there for work. “Dutch people have also started to find us. University professors, for example, or people attending weddings or family reunions. In our largest apartment, there is space for up to ten people.” He continues: “Our guests also really appreciate the central position of our apartments.” Delft is located between Rotterdam, The Hague and Amsterdam, and is only 45 minutes from Schiphol Airport. From Delft Central Station it is only a five-minute walk to one of the apartments.

Surrounding the accommodation are a wide choice of restaurants, different types of shops, cinemas and supermarkets. For people who want to explore Delft, there is plenty to do. Ronald mentions the bikes you can rent close by and the Delft City Shuttle, a 60-minute tour with a large tuktuk to enjoy the highlights of Delft for only two euros. “You can also take a boat trip through the canals, which is a great way to learn more about the history of the city.”

Wow feeling All apartments are well equipped with a modern kitchen, including a Nespresso machine, with beautiful bathing facilities – in some cases a sauna – a washing machine, a comfortable bed, classy furniture, a wide-screen television and of course free, fast Wi-Fi. The suites are bit larger and even more luxurious than the apartments and are, for example, located right at the large market square with splendid views over the City Hall and the Oude Jan church. “We want our guests

to have everything they need,” says Ronald. “We hope they feel very welcome here and like it so much that they want to return.” Designing the apartments’ interior is one of his passions. “I don’t like dark and sombre hotel rooms, but prefer to use white and some colours. I like it to be calm, colourful and chic.” He is always looking for the latest trends in products. “A beautiful new chandelier, an eye-catching orange juicer… I like our guests to get a ‘wow’ feeling when they enter.” Indeed, the owners say many of the guests react enthusiastically. Ronald: “They say our apartments are so different from most hotels. We really offer a beautiful experience. “People love that, from our apartments, you can enjoy the city like the people who live here. You really are part of the community.”

Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  35

Discover Benelux  |  Delft & Dordrecht  |  Perfect Winter Destinations


It is like entering the Southern States of North America in the 1960s: Steakhouse Betty Boop has brought the best of the United States’ food, beers, and vintage vibes to Delft. Located in the heart of the city centre, American Steakhouse Betty Boop has conquered countless hearts with their mouthwatering food, American beers, and authentic atmosphere. The retro American vibe is embodied by the red and white leather benches and the 1960s music coming out of the authentic jukebox. The conquered hearts are proven by Betty Boop’s rave ratings on every review website. “We set the bar incredibly high,” co-owner Sandra Shenouda starts. “Our guests always come first.” When served, it becomes clear that a burger at Betty Boop is not just a burger, but one made using the absolute best-quality meat. Sandra’s husband George helms the kitchen

and cooks with an enormous love for food, something you taste without a doubt. Dishes have quirky names such as Texas Striploin Steak, or California Tuna Steak, and refer to the places Sandra and George have travelled to. “We have a soft spot for America, having travelled all around the country several times, mainly to less touristy states such as Mississippi and Texas.” Bestsellers on the menu are the Betty Boop Burger as well as the Blue Cheese Burger, both yielding great success at recent food festival Delft Serveert, with more than 750 Betty Boop burgers sold over one weekend. Betty Boop also has an impressive menu of authentic beers imported from America, such as the Brooklyn Lager or a special Chocolate Stout. Even the beers prove it; at Betty Boop, it is always America o’clock.

Betty Boop, Mylene.

Betty Boop, Chef George.

A memoir of Indonesia TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: PLAN B

For outstanding Indonesian food, you no longer have to head to the Far East; only as far as Delft. Plan B serves authentic Indonesian cuisine with a modern twist, leaving you full but longing for more. Proudly based in one of the oldest buildings in Delft (built in 1585), Plan B combines tradition with innovation, serving authentic Indonesian food with a surprising twist. Rather than choosing from a set menu, guests can try either the daily platter, an Indonesian rice table (Nasi B), or a menu comprising five courses (Pelan Pelan). What is served partly depends on the season, and what the local market has to offer on that day. “We perfectly maintain the authentic flavours of Indonesian cuisine, yet ensure we always add a modern twist,” starts Erik Westra, owner of Plan B. “If you have such a strong base, you can afford to add a surprise element to your dishes.” A perfect example of their mar36  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

riage between old and new is the deer shank, complemented with coconut and herbs, which creates a taste that is as familiar as it is surprising. The proof that this marriage works is reflected by Plan B being awarded a spot as one of the 50 best Indonesian restaurants in the Netherlands by Indoweb. Westra and his partner Hilde Dianne Marchal helm Plan B together. Just like chef Hendri

Yuswah, they are both active in the kitchen and as hosts, a fact that very much enhances the restaurant’s informal and vibrant allure. “Plan B stands for spontaneity, for creativity and for a lively evening,” Westra enthuses. “And that is something we all experience from up close every day!”

Discover Benelux  |  Delft & Dordrecht  |  Perfect Winter Destinations

World famous in Delft

Since its opening in 1988, Kobus Kuch in Delft has been the cosiest café in Delft, achieving world fame for its legendary homemade apple pie. A visit to Delft is not complete without a visit to Kobus Kuch. Located on the picture-perfect Beestenmarkt, one of Holland’s most beautiful squares, this café is famous both in Delft and on an international scale. As welcoming as its heated front terrace are the smiles greeting us from the bar and the authentic interior, creating the feeling of stepping into an old Dutch living room. Kobus Kuch refers to the fictional eponymous character who become a national hero during World War Two for his music and cab-


aret. “Joost, the café’s first owner, was nicknamed Kobus Kuch by his mother,” co-owner Coriene Meeder explains. Original postcards of Kuch still hang on the café’s walls, filling older guests with nostalgia. Kobus Kuch has steadily made it into the Netherlands’ Café Top 100 in recent years, as well as featuring in TripAdvisor’s Café Top 10. It is not hard to see why. “We always say that Kobus Kuch is a family business, without the actual blood lines,” Meeder laughs. “Everyone loves working here, it’s something that shines through.” When you say Kobus Kuch, you think apple pie. The café serves 60,000 of them

every year, freshly baked at Kobus & Saartje, the picturesque pie shop next door. Other pies are served at the weekend. Kobus Kuch has the greatest setting one could ask for: Delft. “We take great pride in our city,” Meeder enthuses. “Together with other entrepreneurs, every week we organise ‘Blue Sunday’, a day full of activities in cafés and shops to show our guests just how much of a treasure Delft is.” You can also find Kobus Kuch and Blue Sunday Delft on Facebook

Where everybody knows your name TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: CAFÉ DE OUDE JAN

Loved by locals, praised by tourists, cherished by everybody: the traditional Dutch Café de Oude Jan has been Delft’s delight for decades, making the oldest square of the city an even brighter place to visit. Having the city’s Old Church as its neighbour, it is hard to miss Café de Oude Jan. With its cosy corners, mixed crowd and inviting atmosphere, we are basically drawn in. “De Oude Jan is a place for everyone,” starts co-owner Jon Cornelese. “Over here, the builder talks to the banker, and the butcher to the barman.” The café has a solid base of local guests, popping in after work or, of course, on a Saturday afternoon. “Besides drafting beer, our barmen- and women - spend a lot of time chatting to our guests,” Cornelese laughs. Not turning off its lights until late at night, days at Café de Oude Jan are long and filled with good beer, cosy banter, great music and remarkably excellent food. Although De Oude

Jan is a true beer-café (it even brews its own beer ‘Onwijs Blond’), lunch comprises of delicious and freshly prepared delicacies. Just another reason to stay firmly put. De Oude Jan’s history is as bustling as its present. In the early 1980s, archaeologists conducted excavations on the café’s square, only to find the leftovers of a medieval brewery originating from approximately 1210, making it

the oldest brewery in the Netherlands. In 1906, the building started to serve as a coffee house, until 1938 when an alcohol licence was granted. “Café de Oude Jan has been around forever, and still feels the same as 70 years ago – in the best way possible.”

Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  37

Discover Benelux  |  Delft & Dordrecht  |  Perfect Winter Destinations


Small in size, grand in history: it could only be the typical Delft Blue earthenware. Royal Delft offers an extraordinary insight into this great piece of Dutch heritage. The Royal Dutch Delftware Manufactory Royal Delft, established in 1653, is the only remaining Delftware factory from the 17th century. Here, the world-renowned Royal Delftware is still entirely hand painted according to centuries-old tradition. “The fascination of the Dutch with earthenware started in the 17th century, when tradesmen with the Dutch East India Company brought back large quantities of Chinese porcelain,” explains Helen Taylor, tourism coordinator at Royal Delft. “This type of porcelain, which was decorated in blue on a white background, became massively popular among the Dutch.” After imports from China declined due to several civil wars, the Dutch decided to take matters into their own hands by imi38  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

tating the porcelain. Soon, many factories opened in the Netherlands, especially in Rotterdam (12) and Delft (32). The method of creating the famous porcelain at Royal Delft has not changed since the 17th century. “Making Delft Blue is a process that requires an enormous amount of technique and craftsmanship,” Taylor enthuses. “This technique makes it possible to create an infinite amount of blue shades from just one colour. It is therefore even possible to imitate great artworks.” A replica of Rembrandt’s greatest work The Night Watch hangs proudly at Royal Delft, a masterpiece which took two Delft Blue magicians one year to create. A visit to Royal Delft offers you a journey through the history of Delft Blue and its production process, the possibility to see a master painter at work, detailed information on other icons of the city of Delft such as Johannes Vermeer and much, much more. Do not miss a glimpse into the chamber of

the Royal Dutch Family, for whom a special collection of Delft Blue is created whenever a special occasion takes place. Besides blue, the porcelain for the Royal Family also contains hints of orange. Are your hands itching after seeing so much glorious craftsmanship? Fear not, popular at Royal Delft are the workshops where visitors can create their very own Blue Delft tile, plate, or vase - because everyone needs a bit of Delft Blue in their home. For more information, please visit

Discover Benelux  |  Delft & Dordrecht  |  Perfect Winter Destinations


At the Vermeer Centrum Delft you can discover the life, works and hometown of 17th-century painter Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), the pride of Delft. “We advise you to visit our centre before you see the original paintings,” says marketing manager Ellen Hoogendam. “If you know more about the background, you can really appreciate his work.” The famous painter was head of the painters at the Guild of Saint Luke. It is at this exact historical spot in the town centre that the Vermeer Centrum Delft can be found. It is the only location in the world where you can see all 37 of Vermeer’s paintings together, in the form of digital reproductions. The copies lead you through 17th-century Delft: the thriving scientific and artistic climate, his clients, family and his rich mother-in-law. Only seven of his paintings are in the Netherlands (Amsterdam and The Hague). Many oth-

ers can be found in the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States. Another floor is dedicated to Vermeer’s working methods. “Here you can learn how the painter, who was called ‘the master of light’, managed to make use of light,” explains Hoogendam. “You can learn what kind of paint he used and how he made the paint.” You can even experiment with the camera obscura, play with colour and perspective, and literally step into one of Vermeer’s paintings and photograph yourself. Both adults and children will enjoy visiting the exhibition. An audio tour is included in the price. “And at the end of your discovery; pass by our shop for a nice gift or drink something at our café, Café Mechelen,” says Hoogendam. “We hope to see you soon.” Vermeer Centrum Delft is located at Voldersgracht 21 Adult entry costs nine euros


With spectacular views over the river, there is never a dull moment when you are at one of the cosiest apartments in Dordrecht. After enjoying the many activities on offer in the country’s oldest city, guests at Appartement Veen can get lost in the view or relax amid the fine art on display - which is also available to buy. Owner Koos van Veen originally had an art gallery and decided to make a virtue of a necessity when the gallery was not drawing as many sales as it used to. He turned the space above the ground floor into an independent apartment, fully equipped with a big bed, a small kitchen, a large shower and more, to make

people feel as comfortable as possible. It is a ‘BnoB’ (meaning ‘Bed, no Breakfast’), but Van Veen makes sure his guests lack nothing. “Independence is of great importance. Travellers who only visit a city for a short time are more in search of a cosy space, not a hotel room,” Van Veen says. In January, works will begin to turn the gallery into an extra, very large, apartment. But the gallery will not be forgotten. Van Veen will use his art to decorate the new apartment, as he has done with the current one. “Most artists will lend me their works, so I can still have them on display. I already have ideas about how I want it to decorate it. If someone is interested, they can still buy a piece of art, just like they used to.” You can book Appartement Veen and soon BnoB-de-galerie via and Airbnb. Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  39

Discover Benelux  |  Interview  |  Ellen Hoog


A recipe for success After announcing her retirement from international field hockey in September, you might have thought triple Olympic medalist Ellen Hoog would have put her feet up for a while. You would have been wrong. Hoog has been busy with the release of her second cookbook, Grenzeloos gezond (Fit, Anywhere and Everywhere), a gorgeous collection of recipes inspired by her many travels, both on holiday and with the Dutch national team. We caught up with the athlete and wellness expert to look back on a formidable career, and find out what the future holds. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: DANA VAN LEEUWEN

“I was wandering around hockey clubs as soon as I was able to walk,” laughs Hoog, who first started playing the sport aged seven. “All my family played hockey so I was inducted early.” At the age of 12 she was selected to join the Netherlands under-16 field hockey team. “That was the moment when I thought ‘okay, maybe in the future I could be part of the national team’. That was when the dream started,” she recalls. But Hoog, who turned 30 this year, could never have dreamt of success on such a huge scale: Olympic Gold medals in Beijing (2008) and London (2012), and two World Championship wins in 2006 and 2014. It is the latter that stands out among several career highlights. “Winning the World Cup in The Hague in front of 16,000 screaming Dutch people – that was really special!”

Time for a change But it was not long after scooping Silver alongside her Dutch teammates at this year’s Olympic Games in Rio that Hoog announced her retirement from international hockey. The decision was not one she took lightly. “I had been thinking about it last year, and I wanted to make the decision after the Olympics,” she begins. “I tried not to think about it too much before Rio and then afterwards, I just had a feeling like: 40  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

‘it’s a good time to stop now and do other things’.” Many had expected Team Netherlands to make the 2016 Olympics their Gold hat trick, but after a dramatic penalty shootout it was Great Britain who ended up the surprise winners. “Rio was a great experience, I have so many special memories…I mean, it could have been better if we had won Gold,” she smiles. “But the Olympics are a perfect tournament to make your last tournament. I really enjoyed every moment. I’m very happy that I was part of that special team and that we got a medal. I’m very proud.”

A team player It is clear that Hoog and her teammates have an exceptional bond, and those shared experiences are undoubtedly some of the elements of international hockey she will miss the most. “We have to train so hard, sometimes it’s really not nice, but that’s also why it’s very special. To share that with your team, that’s something I can’t describe. I’ll definitely miss all that.” Hoog, who also excelled in tennis when she was young but made the decision to focus on field hockey, has always been attracted to the element of camaraderie

in the latter and is undoubtedly a team player. Even when it comes to keeping fit, she prefers to workout with friends or her fiancé, the sports agent Kelvin de Lang. “It’s always more fun to do sports with someone else - they can motivate you,” she says. “When I started playing hockey, I had a lot of fun. I think that’s the most important thing: make it fun, enjoy the game, enjoy training… “Of course, when it gets competitive you have to be very disciplined and train harder than your teammates. You need a bit of talent and discipline, but enjoying it is the most important thing.” With a pre-match ritual that involved watching the 2004 Hollywood romance The Notebook, Hoog and her teammates understood the importance of team bonding. Their obvious friendship, in addition to their success, has clearly inspired young women to take up the sport.

Inspiring others “I’m aware that I’m a role model, especially for younger girls who want to play hockey or are already playing hockey. You have to be aware of it with things you do or post on social media, I enjoy it. It’s very nice to inspire girls to maybe start playing hockey and make the sport bigger.

Discover Discover Benelux Benelux  | Cover Feature |  Interview  | Claudy |  Ellen Jongstra Hoog

Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  41

Discover Benelux  |  Interview  |  Ellen Hoog

“I always think there are a lot of girls who want to compare themselves to us and want to be international field hockey players, or wear the same clothes we do, or eat what we do: that’s really nice. That’s something I want to share with everyone,” she explains.

Latest book

In perfect condition

Inspired by her travels to countries such as Argentina, South Africa, England, Australia and China, the book is intended as a guide to keeping fit and eating well both at home and away. Full of healthy and easy to follow recipes, as well as workout guides, gourmets will be glad to know the new book even includes some delicious ‘guilty pleasures’ such as Victoria sponge, chocolate cake and pavlova.

It was the desire to share her experiences that inspired Hoog to release her first book last year. Entitled In perfecte conditie (In Perfect Condition), it combined healthy eating tips with fitness plans. “I was always very interested in food and nutrition, especially in combination with sports: what to eat after training, what to eat before training, how to get the most energy during a match,” she begins. “Then I found that a lot of people around me and on social media were asking me ‘oh what do you eat?’ Everyone was interested in how I became so fit. That’s why I decided to make a book, to tell everyone about what I eat and show them some workouts I do.”

42  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

As well as launching her own range of food and health food supplements in collaboration with the brand HIDDIT, this autumn Hoog released a follow-up to In perfecte conditie entitled Grenzeloos gezond (Fit, Anywhere and Everywhere).

So, is it important for Hoog to allow herself a treat once in a while? “Oh yeah, sure!” she enthuses. “I love apple pie, French cheeses and sometimes pizza. I have a lot of guilty pleasures!” Despite being extremely disciplined, Hoog certainly understands the importance of balance in life, and is looking forward to

exploring new avenues now that she has retired from international hockey. “I’m looking forward to spending some time off the pitch. It will be very strange, not having to play hockey, but I’m looking forward to it. All the training, the real conditioning training, is very tough. I really want to try something different, like yoga,” she muses. What else will Hoog do with her newfound extra time? “I have to find out. That’s an experience I’m looking forward to, you know, finding out what I’m going to do.” One thing is for sure, retirement for Hoog will not be about staying at home and gazing at all her many medals. In fact, the athlete does not even have them on display. “They are somewhere in the closet,” she laughs. Any plans to hang them on the walls? Not for now. “It is the story behind the medal that counts.” Hoog certainly has some good stories to tell, and no doubt there are many more just waiting to be written.

Discover Benelux  |  Interview  |  Ellen Hoog

Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  43

Discover Benelux  |  Recipe  |  Ellen Hoog

Cooking with Ellen Hoog Our December cover star Ellen Hoog shares one of the ‘guilty pleasure’ recipes from her latest book Grenzeloos gezond (Fit, Anywhere and Everywhere). This delicious chocolate cake with mascarpone and raspberry cream is inspired by the hockey player’s travels to South Africa. It serves 12. TEXT: RECIPE TRANSLATED BY ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: GRENZELOOS GEZOND


For the cake: 190 grams of butter cut into small pieces 50 grams of cocoa powder 450 grams of flour Two teaspoons of baking powder 660 grams of brown sugar Three eggs 180 millilitres of milk Two teaspoons of vanilla essence

For the cream: 320 grams of icing sugar 100 grams of butter at room temperature 500 grams of mascarpone One teaspoon of vanilla extract 100 grams of raspberries, plus extra to garnish Icing sugar, for dusting

Essentials: Two baking tins (20 centimetres in diameter) Baking parchment Blender Cake rack Spatula 1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Line the baking tins with baking parchment. 2. Heat 375 millilitres of water and butter in a saucepan, sift the cocoa powder over it and stir until smooth. Put in a bowl and add the flour, baking powder and sugar. Blend. Mix in the eggs, milk and vanilla extract. Divide the batter between the two baking tins. 3. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 65-70 minutes. Leave to cool for ten minutes and then place on cake rack to completely cool down. 4. Whilst the cakes are in the oven, start making the cream. Sift the icing sugar into 44  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

a bowl and mix in a blender with the butter, mascarpone and vanilla extract. Carefully spoon the raspberries through. Leave in the fridge for about two hours. 5. Cut each cake in half horizontally. Using a spatula spread a thick layer of cream onto each cake and stack them on top of one other. Decorate the cake with raspberries and dust with icing sugar.

CULINARY TIP Start well in advance when making this cake as it needs to cool down before you can add the cream. It takes some preparation, but the result is worth it! Grease the baking tins with butter so that the baking parchment sticks to the edge and bottom.

Discover Benelux  |  Recipe  |  Ellen Hoog

Photo: P&I Studio

Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  45

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam Zuid  |  The Ultimate Winter Destination

Museumplein. Photo: Marie-Charlotte Pezé


The stylish south Located next to Vondelpark, the Netherlands’ most famous park, and just below the cultural haven of Museumplein, Amsterdam Zuid has long been the Dutch capital’s most desirable address. With Oud-Zuid’s grand manor houses, tree-lined boulevards and designer boutiques, it is easy to see why. The city’s south is also home to charming neighbourhoods such as Schinkelbuurt with its pretty waterside cafés and restaurants, not to mention the super stylish De Pijp district. Read on to discover the charms of the stylish south, a perfect winter destination. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: NBTC AND AMSTERDAM MARKETING

46  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

Vondelpark. Photo: Edwin van Eis

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam Zuid  |  The Ultimate Winter Destination

Zuidas. Photo: Roel Baeckaert

Sophisticated and serene Attracting culture vultures and fashionistas alike, chic Oud-Zuid has earned a reputation as the capital’s poshest neighbourhood. Situated between De Pijp and Amsterdam West, Oud-Zuid is home to sophisticated shopping streets such as P.C. Hooftstraat, Jacob Obrechtstraat, Cornelis Schuytstraat and Beethovenstraat.

Oud-Zuid. Photo: Koen Smilde

Worth checking out is Willemspark, one of Amsterdam’s most expensive neighbourhoods and arguably one of the loveliest. As you meander down the peaceful, birchlined streets, admire the quintessentially Dutch century-old town houses with their peaked gables and elegant balconies.

ICE*AMSTERDAM The Dutch famously love their ice skating, so why not join in the wintertime fun at ICE*Amsterdam? Take to the rink with the world-famous Rijksmuseum as your backdrop. Feeling even more adventurous? Ice hockey and curling sessions are also available. ICE*Amsterdam runs until 5 February 2017.

Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  47

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam Zuid  |  The Ultimate Winter Destination

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


Amsterdamse Bos.

Albert Cuyp Market.

Walking in a winter wonderland


Originally reserved for local residents and members of the park association, the grand Vondelpark can now be enjoyed by all and at this time of year it is particularly magical - especially when there is a white Christmas. Another winter wonderland in Amsterdam Zuid is the Amsterdamse Bos forest, which is one of Europe’s largest city parks. Explore over 130 kilometres of footpaths and more than 50 kilometres of cycle paths as you admire around 150 indigenous species of trees and over 200 different types of birds.

For fans of urban cityscapes, Amsterdam’s flourishing business centre, Zuidas, is worth a look. To the south of the city centre and close to Schiphol Airport, it is home to some of the world’s best-known companies from the financial, legal and business services sector. Meanwhile, more and more retail outlets and leisure activities are popping up.

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Hip De Pijp Popular with students as well as young creatives and families, the De Pijp neighbourhood is famed for its diversity with more than 150 different nationalities residing here. The area was built up towards the end of the 19th

century and, as its name suggests, the picturesque narrow streets can be described as rather pipe-like. The neighbourhood is centred around Albert Cuypmarkt, the country’s iconic outdoor market which dates back to the early 20th century and is home to around 300 stalls. From flowers to clothes and from international delicacies to traditional Dutch raw herring, you will find just about everything here. After a spot of shopping, head to the intersecting streets for some people watching and lunch at one of the many lively restaurants and cafés. Start planning your trip at

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam Zuid  |  The Ultimate Winter Destination

Delicious dining on a deserted movie set TEXT: JULIËN L’ORTYE  |  PHOTOS: STELLA GOMMANS

Have you ever had the desire to dine in a movie set? If the answer is yes, then we have got some good news for you. In the Dutch capital of Amsterdam, the deserted movie set of the television series All-In Kitchen has been turned into a real restaurant. Marketing manager Gilbert den Hertog is the first to admit that it was quite a cheeky move, especially since it is more than just a publicity stunt for the television programme. “We had a show about a restaurant, a movie set that was once a restaurant, so why not just start a real restaurant as well?” With such courageous ambitions, it was pretty helpful that Den Hertog was able to find a great partner in Otto Genz, a young chef with experience in Dutch starred restaurants and who wanted to start something on his own. Den Hertog: “Otto is a young chef, but he most certainly has the potential to turn every restaurant that

he works in into a true gourmet temple.” When he tells us about Genz’s specialty, a dessert combining gin and tonic sweets, panna cotta and cucumber, we understand where he is coming from. Located in the southern part of the city, close to both the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre and the Zuidas area, this “hidden pearl”, as Den Hertog likes to name it, is hard to ignore. To make it even more interesting, you are given the opportunity to play a game of poker after you have finished your dinner. If you end up with more chips than your opponent (the waiter or waitress), then the four-course meal is on the house. For the gamblers among you: this is only possible in the month of December, so you had better make those reservations quickly. On top of the great location and the chance to eat for free, the restaurant also offers groups the chance for private dining, where they can host up to 30 people.

Not an unnecessary luxury when you have a convention centre within a five-minute walk, we would say. Being a pop-up restaurant, All in Kitchen will only be open until the beginning of 2018, so make your move!

All in Kitchen is located at walking distance from the RAI, just behind Motel One All in Kitchen Gaasterlandstraat 3 1079 RH Amsterdam T.: +31-20-737 0470 Website:

Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  49

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam Zuid  |  The Ultimate Winter Destination

The living room with the best steaks TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: BAR & KITCHEN THE HOUSE

No wonder people like to stay hours at Bar & Kitchen The House, or come back for more. Thanks to the unique Josper grill and wood-fired oven, the meat is tender and, with its wonderful living room atmosphere, offers a Turkish breakfast every weekend. The place feels like a second home. When walking into Bar & Kitchen The House, or The House as it is mostly called, one can already sense a happy, friendly atmosphere. Hospitality is at the restaurant’s heart and the delicious food on the wide-ranging menu is described as “a mix between a French bistro and an Italian pizzeria, with Turkish recipes” by owners Özer Dönmez and Jacob van Benthem. For most people in the neighbourhood, this lovely restaurant in the south of Amsterdam feels like a second home. With its affordable prices and welcoming atmosphere, it is the perfect place for locals to dine a couple of days a week. With its wood-coloured details, marble walls and 50  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

natural daylight, the interior creates a fine mix between a modern restaurant and the classic interior style of a grand-café. Most importantly, the fine fusion of people makes this place worth visiting. In the early morning, mothers pop in for a cappuccino made with a La Marzocco coffee machine after dropping the children to school. During the day, tourists and locals gather around to enjoy the varied menu with delicious recipes including healthy salads or tasty pizzas. The pizzas are prepared by the restaurant’s Italian pizza baker in the restaurant’s luxurious woodfired oven. Finally, in the evening guests can come for a quick bite to eat with the whole family or a long romantic dinner. With its wide-ranging menu, including appealing recipes such as coq au vin, there is something for everyone. The House, which opened in May this year, has already earned its name in the neighbourhood. However, its sudden popularity does not mean that the quanti-

ty of guests overrules the quality of food. “On the contrary,” explains Van Benthem. “The food has to be made with love, not as a result of mass production. Our meat is coming from a high-quality butcher; furthermore, our Josper grill creates delicious tender steaks. We want this place to feel like a second home to our guests, by creating a cosy atmosphere and food made with love. We want everyone to feel welcome here.”

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam Zuid  |  The Ultimate Winter Destination

The new sushi address in Amsterdam TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER  |  PHOTOS: SUSHILEE

When it comes to fresh food with a great taste at an affordable price, Sushilee has it all spot on. Located in the southern part of the Dutch capital, this modern Japanese kitchen caters from all-day dining through to early dinner. Be prepared for an all-round sensory experience. Built with a tremendous amount of care by its founders, Sushilee opened its doors in May this year and already has a clientele of loyal customers who keep coming back for more. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 11.30am to

7pm (when the kitchen closes), the restaurant came to life to provide its customers with a delicious experience centred around food: “For us the quality of the food is of paramount importance, which is why we only use the freshest and highest quality ingredients available. Every item we use to create our menus comes from specialised providers, including our tea which is imported directly from Japan,” explains founder and general manager Lauren Jade Lee. From the sushi sets, which are a beautiful combination of taste and texture, all the way to the ramen, salads and teppan dishes,

Sushilee’s team of Japanese chefs loves surprising their clients with something they might have not tried before. “As a foodie, it’s important to me that we have food that is not just good, but absolutely great,” says Lee. “This is also why the wines we offer are selected for their palate-cleansing attributes, just so you can appreciate every single bite.” Available for table service, take-away and catering, Sushilee will become your new favourite sushi address.

The first real French bakery in Amsterdam TEXT: CATHY VAN KLAVEREN  |  PHOTOS: LE FOURNIL DE SÉBASTIEN

An artisan French baker and his Dutch wife did not plan to make such an impression on the Netherlands’ bread-eating culture, but they definitely did. Their shop Le Fournil de Sébastien, named after one of the owners, is a bakery in Amsterdam that nowadays is too small to fit in all its customers. All the French specialties displayed in the window are freshly baked every day with few ingredients, which are all pure. “Our sourdough bread is made with the best flour and with real

sourdough. It’s baked in a way that the crust is crunchy but the inside stays soft,” explains Susan Roturier, who is also Sébastien’s wife. Together the pair owned a family bakery in France for over ten years, but decided to open one in the Netherlands. “We actually wanted to open a bakery in a big city in France. Back then I didn’t think Dutch people would like French bread that much, but the culture changed in the ‘90s. People opened themselves up to other flavours.” The couple opened their first bakery at the Olympiaplein in Amsterdam. They also have bakeries in Hilversum and Amstelveen. It is a place where bakers have no trouble letting customers peek at how they make their everyday products. “In France the brioche was very popular, a sweet bread. But here people love our baguettes and croissants.” But specialties go on and on, from macarons to canelé and préfou. Made with love, all with an authentic French recipe.

The bakery opens at seven in the morning, just like the ones in France.

Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  51

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam Zuid  |  The Ultimate Winter Destination

Fantastic steak in a warm environment TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: CAFÉ CARBÒN

Looking for a great steakhouse with a cosy bar setting? Head to Café Carbòn in Amsterdam Zuid. This bar-restaurant is an authentic Amsterdam café, with top-quality food. There are two locations, one at the Amstelveenseweg 312, which opened just four months ago, and another at the Van Woustraat 174. Here you can enjoy the best steaks and ribs in the city. Both locations have the same goal: being accessible for everyone and making sure guests feel at home at the café. The vintage design gives you that warm and cosy feeling. All meat at Carbòn steakhouse is prepared on a coir briquettes and charcoal burning grill. The starters, sides, sauces and of course the desserts are all homemade. Their spare ribs are known as the best in Amsterdam and the excellent wine and beer selection fits perfectly with a Burgundian night out. Café Carbòn welcomes everybody and its main purpose is to make you feel at home. It is

a simple place: from tram drivers and doctors to tourists, everybody is equal and talks with each other. At Café Carbòn quality meets top service, set in a cosy, friendly environment. If you want to enjoy a good glass of beer, wine or one of the many spirits and delight in some of Grandma Bob’s snacks, Café Carbòn is the place to be. Café Carbòn is a modern steakhouse where quality meets top service. Whether you just want to have a drink or a good steak, Café Carbòn is the place to be.


The restaurant Scottadito is ideally located next to the Vondelpark on the Amstelveenseweg. Established in 2010 by an Italian family, the restaurant distinguishes itself with its tasty homemade cuisine and welcomes lovers of simple yet tasty food from Monday to Saturday from 3pm onwards. What sets Scottadito apart is the freshness and healthy products used in its traditional Italian cuisine. Specially selecting the ingredients that go into their dishes is an art in itself: “We give a lot of importance to creating the best taste in 52  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

our food. For this reason, we always import our truffles, flour, rice, sausages, mozzarella and wine from Italy. Everything else comes from the select group of certified local distributors we work with,” says restaurant manager Rozeta Karaj. With the pasta, pizza, lasagna and desserts being homemade by their chef, it is no wonder that their customers keep coming back for more. “We have quite a lot of regular clients mostly for the food of course, but also for the effort we put into creating a welcoming and warm atmosphere,” explains Karaj. Seating up to 35 people, guests can expect an explosion of flavours in the traditional Italian recipes on their plate. The truffle risotto is a house specialty and a popular choice for dinner occasions amongst friends or family. What could be a better finish than the homemade tiramisu or the panna cotta? Uncompromising on the quality of the food and the service they provide, the team at

Scottadito look forward to welcoming you at their cosy location. All to be enjoyed with a backdrop of classic Italian tunes.

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam Zuid  |  The Ultimate Winter Destination


On the corner of the famous Museum Square, right across from the Royal Concert Hall in Amsterdam South, family-owned restaurant Solo has been serving locals and tourists alike for more than 15 years now. The menu consists of mainly French and Italian dishes, all prepared with specially selected and, where possible, organically sourced ingredients. A key element in Solo’s kitchen is the Josper charcoal grill oven which allows fish and meat to keep their natural juices, thus retaining all their natural flavours. The idea of no-frills quality returns in everything Solo does. When it comes to steak, the restaurant only works with high-quality Scottish Angus Beef. “We also prepare everything in-house, from the soups to the sauces - and the desserts,” says owner Willeke Bouricius. The pasta dishes are prepared by chefs from Naples and the pasta ‘alle vongole’ is said to be worth a detour.

At the impressive wine bar, guests can sample a great variety of European wines, many of them organic as well. But gin and tonic fans are spoiled too. They can choose from a variety of perfectly served and combined gins. The heated terrace offers an all-year-round spectacular view on the Museum Square, overlooking the museums and the Royal Concert Hall. Whether guests drop in for lunch, an afternoon treat, a quick bite before catching a concert or an elaborate dinner, they are always welcomed with a cosy and casual ambiance.

Eating at Solo is like eating at a friend’s house, only better.

An experiment with delicious results TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: VALENTINE GALLONE

When British-born research scientist Saima Awan became tired of London, she set off to the Dutch capital in search of adventure. There, her longtime passion for baking developed into an exciting business enterprise: Dragons Delight. “I had been on holidays to Amsterdam and it always felt like home. It was a natural choice when I decided to leave London,” she recalls. As well as running the English bakery and brunch café in De Pijp, Awan has built a fantastic reputation catering for events such as the Turkish Airlines King’s Day celebrations at Schiphol Airport.

With her flair for science, Awan comes up with innovative recipes such as erupting volcano cupcakes. Not for the faint hearted is the Bloody Mary cupcake, with tomato, chilli and vodka. If you need a kick, try the coffee cake with whisky icing. “We don’t have an alcohol licence, but we are allowed to serve alcohol in food,” grins Awan. You can find all your British favourites at Dragons Delight: think muffins, apple crumble and Victoria sponge. Perennially popular are the scones, served with jam and Devonshire cream. “We are introducing the Dutch to clotted cream!” smiles Awan. Dragons Delight is as popular with locals as it is with expats longing for a taste of home. “One customer recently told me: ‘this is better than anywhere in London!’” More good news for homesick Brits: the café recently started serving Sunday Roasts. Never ones to rest on their laurels, Awan and her team are also in the process of launching a

new project: a food truck serving Asian street food, with bookings already lined up at festivals in the UK, the Benelux and potentially Germany. Want to know more? Visit Photo: Adam Szuly

Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  53

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Keyser advocaten.


The companies you need to know in Belgium and Luxembourg In addition to our regular business features, we profile a selection of some of Belgium and Luxembourg’s most successful companies. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER

Kleyr Grasso.


Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Profile


With its location at the heart of Europe and a long tradition of innovation and entrepreneurship, it is no surprise that business in the Benelux region is booming. The festive season may be in full swing, but there are still an array of important conferences and workshops taking place - check out our business calendar to make sure you do not miss out. Meanwhile, read what our regular columnist Steve Flinders has to say on the importance of mentoring, and learn more about some of Belgium and Luxembourg’s biggest business players.

Hogan Lovells.


LUXEMBOURG BUSINESS PROFILES NautaDutilh Avocats, page 56 Kleyr Grasso, page 57 Hogan Lovells Luxembourg, page 58 Cabinet d’avocats Penning-Schiltz-Wurth, page 60 Étude Jean-Jacques Schonckert, page 64 Aztec Group, page 66 SECURITYMADEIN.LU, page 69

BELGIUM BUSINESS PROFILES Keyser Advocaten, page 62 Sansen International Tax Lawyers, page 68 Yondr, page 70

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Josée Weydert - managing partner and banking & finance partner

Jean-Marc Groelly - tax partner

Margaretha Wilkenhuysen - corporate partner

Christophe Joosen - tax partner

Ezechiel Havrenne - investment funds partner

Yoanna Stefanova - corporate partner

Romain Sabatier - corporate partner

Vincent Wellens - IP/ICT partner

Committed partners in business with an innovative edge TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER  |  PHOTOS: NAUTADUTILH

In 2017, the Luxembourg office of NautaDutilh will celebrate its 15th anniversary. Over the years, the firm has become a key player on the Luxembourg legal market providing high-quality advice and services. Enter a world of experts and innovators, constantly at the top of their game. NautaDutilh is a Benelux law firm practicing Luxembourg, Belgian, Dutch, and Dutch-Caribbean law. With its offices spread over Luxembourg, Brussels, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, London and New York, the presence of the firm speaks for its experience and longstanding tradition of unconventional thinking and innovation. Founded in 1724 in the Netherlands, it has been praised for showing “some of the most creative thinking across Europe over the past year” by the 2016 Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Report. Currently serving a range of national and international clients from key local players to global market leaders, the Luxembourg 56  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

office works with financial institutions, assets managers, large and mid-sized corporates and many more. “Many of our major clients have been working with us for most of the last decade, which shows the high level of trust they place in our advice, assistance and dedication to them,” says managing partner Josée Weydert. “We are very grateful for being entrusted with serving them.” Recommended by world leading legal directories such as Chambers and The Legal 500, NautaDutilh Avocats Luxembourg provides legal advice and services in banking and finance, corporate, capital markets, insolvency, tax, investment funds and commercial litigation. It also has very strong and outstanding IP and ICT practices. “Our lawyers are encouraged to combine their legal expertise with a true understanding of underlying industries and their strategic and economic drivers,” explains Weydert. On top of this, the firm’s main concern is to find the best and most efficient solution for its clients.

Aware of the complexity of national and international legislation, retaining an overview of the countless innovations and change processes has become a challenge, one that NautaDutilh is happy to tackle alongside their clients. As Weydert concludes: “We respond innovatively and proactively to market changes. We know what is happening in the world and we work together with our clients and their business partners to help them achieve their ambitions. That approach enables us to gain and foster long-term business partnerships.” ND Luxembourg office.

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Marc Kleyr.

Rosario Grasso.


An independent law firm with a portfolio of results TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER  |  PHOTOS: KLEYR GRASSO

Since 1994, KLEYR GRASSO has built a strong reputation in litigation and advisory services with its national and international clientele, before moving to a broader “full service” offer that characterises this Luxembourg-based law firm.

of the highest quality. “What attracts our clients to work with us is the fact that we are an entirely independent law firm with very competitive prices, that provides tailor-made services and has the capacity to handle cases of very high complexity,” says partner Marc Kleyr.

Advising local and major multinational companies from all industry sectors, as well as many of the world’s largest corporations, leading institutional investors and numerous other businesses, KLEYR GRASSO has made a name for itself through the quality of its services and the seniority of its lawyers.

Another aspect that makes KLEYR GRASSO unique is the high portion of senior partners working on cases as opposed to junior ones, as is often the case in large law firms. “We do not delegate our work to younger associates, but we focus on partner involvement, thus putting our many years of expertise to the service of our clients,” says Kleyr. Privileging quality over quantity, the firm has built a name for itself in Luxembourg for its attention to detail and its ‘boutique’ approach. Big enough in size to provide diversified assistance in most areas of law and small

With over 45 registered law practitioners from different nationalities, this multilingual, flexible and accessible team stands out for its pro-activeness, responsiveness and personalised legal services

enough to ensure personalised services, KLEYR GRASSO’s lawyers can refer matters internally. The most important practice areas of the firm include administrative law, banking law, civil and commercial law, corporate law, competition law, criminal law, social and employment law, finance law and real estate and construction law. As Kleyr explains: “We have been part of Luxembourg’s legal landscape for the past 22 years and our commitment to provide high-quality service and the extensive experience of our lawyers continues drawing clients to us. Unlike other firms, we do not intend to increase our firm’s size to 100 or 200 lawyers but rather want to remain on a human scale to uphold the highest standards in the provision of legal services.” Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  57

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Future premises of Hogan Lovells Luxembourg.

From L-R Luxembourg Partners Pierre Reuter and Gérard Neiens.


Following the successful combination of global law firms Hogan & Hartson and Lovells in 2010, renowned Luxembourg lawyers Pierre Reuter, Gérard Neiens and Jean-Michel Schmit spotted the gap for a branch of Hogan Lovells in Luxembourg. “They didn’t do it before because they hadn’t found the right team,” explains Pierre, office managing partner at Hogan Lovells Luxembourg. Pierre, Gérard and Jean-Michel, who sadly passed away earlier this year, opened the Luxembourg branch in August 2013. The office, which now comprises 19 lawyers, one paralegal and eight staff members, started out with a team of just five. “We started slowly and built the firm up organically, making sure we found the 58  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

right people. One of the reasons the office is successful is because we took it one step at a time,” says Pierre.

the right direction, we simply talk about it,” asserts Pierre. “I’m a strong believer that straight talking helps everyone progress.”

Straight-talking, personalised advice

Of course, providing top level, quality legal advice is at the heart of this firm, but there is much more to the firm’s success.

The team at Hogan Lovells Luxembourg works in four main areas: corporate, banking and finance, regulatory, investment funds, and tax. “We cover what all the big business law firms in Luxembourg cover, but we are not yet full service,” Pierre points out. What makes the firm stand out is the tailor-made, personalised service that it offers clients. Dedicated teams meet with clients regularly, and the firm prides itself on the excellent rapport lawyers have with their clients. Clients particularly appreciate the firm’s straight-talking approach to legal issues. “If something is not going in

Worldwide network Arguably, Hogan Lovells’ main strength is the network of more than 50 offices that it has all over the world, with professionals in every area that one might need, and a collaborative spirit running throughout the entire firm. Employees are always happy to help one another, creating a work culture of generosity.

A happy team “On a personal level, what makes Hogan Lovells great for me is the people. We

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have a reputation as being nice people to work with,” smiles Pierre.

portance of philanthropy in the workplace culture.

“When hiring, we aim to find people that embrace our culture. Having a strategy is very nice, but common culture is the most important thing. If everyone is on the same page, you have a successful law firm,” he mentioned.

Hogan Lovells’ tradition for generosity is also reflected in the firm’s numerous partnerships with various charities in Luxembourg and internationally. For example, annual fundraising events are organised with the firm’s current global partner Care International, an organisation helping underprivileged and vulnerable people in some of the world’s poorest countries. Other recent charity events of note include the 2015 Hogan Lovells Around the World challenge which raised around 45,000 euros for Lendwithcare, an initiative providing loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries.

Because of the firm’s growing success, next April will see a move to new premises in a completely different area of Luxembourg City. “We thought about how we could make our employees’ lives easier. We want to make work life as efficient and nice as possible for them,” explains Pierre. “One of the main benefits of our new location is that it will significantly reduce commute times.” The firm’s recent “agile working” initiative goes in the same direction: an improved balance between professional and private lives. “Our lawyers work hard and earn good money, but from time to time it’s important to share with others who are less fortunate,” says Pierre, emphasising the im-

Diversity: Empowering women A great deal of the firm’s charity work is focused on diversity and particularly on its Empowering Girls and Women Initiative, which promotes girls’ education and supports women in business. In October this year, members of the Luxembourg office attended courses in sports ranging from Thai boxing to Zumba as part of the

Touch Olympics. “This was a great teambuilding event, which raised money for CARE Afghanistan, whose programmes centre around education and women’s empowerment,” adds Pierre. Hogan Lovells also aims to improve the lives of women closer to home. The firm has a local partnership with Mumpreneurs Luxembourg, a non-profit organisation that supports mothers with their own businesses. Hogan Lovells offers help in many ways, from assisting with the organisation of workshops to offering pro-bono advice where feasible. Also worth mentioning is a partnership with Dress for Success Luxembourg, a non-profit organisation providing support and the development tools to help women prosper in the work place. A clothing donation initiative at Hogan Lovells has already been very successful, and there are plans to organise mock job interviews for members of the charity seeking help to find work. For more information visit luxembourg

Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  59

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Pierre-Olivier Wurth

Céline Mertes and Tom Berend

Pierrot Schiltz


A Luxembourg law firm that, despite having made a considerable name for itself, refuses to stand on ceremony. For a legal practice involved in many of the most celebrated cases in Luxembourg – including arguably the most newsworthy case – the firm of Penning Schiltz Wurth (PSW) has retained a determinedly unstuffy atmosphere. Given that its client list ranges from private individuals all the way up to the state itself, via companies and organisations small and mighty, it is something that clearly works. “We’d like to think that we’re very accessible, and that we can interact better with our clients and they with us without the rigid formality so often associated with the law,” says Pierrot Schiltz, one of three 60  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

founding partners: “As part of that approach, we tend to dress in a more comfortable and relaxed fashion than the dark suit and tie that everyone imagines - in the office we’re more jeans, open-necked shirt and pullover - we don’t want a psychological barrier between us and the client, but to communicate effectively with them.”

new just five years ago, we’ve been able to create our own ‘shop’ as it were, and there’s a dynamism about the team.”

Joining forces

That team now comprises 15 lawyers with secretarial and administrative support behind them, working across various specialisms, though predominantly in contentious litigation. “The merger came about because we wanted to widen the range of services offered,” he continues: “The firm of Penning & Wurth worked mainly in criminal law, company law and tax law; whilst my own focused on traditional contentious litigation work in civil, labour, commercial,

The firm was created in 2011 through the merger of two existing practices, one formed in 1990 by Maître Schiltz, the other established in 1966 by Maître Jim Penning, whose son Philippe is another of the founding partners, the third being Pierre-Olivier Wurth. “That history gives us the best of both worlds,” explains Schiltz: “We’ve the heritage of the previous practices, but because we set up something

In a continuation of that approach, Tom Berend and Céline Mertes were made partners in 2015 alongside the three founding members of the firm.

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Profile PSW Founding Partners

construction and medical law, and so on. Thus, our combined expertise now ranges across pretty much every major legal field.”

Philippe Penning

A considerable presence Fellow lawyers in the Grand Duchy will be well aware of the firm, and the population as a whole will almost certainly recognise one of the senior partners. Through their presentations at conferences and their activity in training initiatives, the practice’s 15 members have made PSW’s presence felt on Luxembourg’s legal scene. With several of his publications on legal topics having become bestsellers, Maître Schiltz has added weight to that. The public may not know the practice by name, but they will be accustomed to seeing Philippe Penning on their television news programmes. “Philippe Penning I’d say is probably one of the top three lawyers in the country working in the field of criminal law,” says Schiltz. “You only have to watch TV here to be aware of him and his work. Philippe tends to be briefed when it comes to the most newsworthy tri-

als in this country. In fact, in the majority of the most celebrated criminal trials in Luxembourg, our practice tends to be present through Philippe and his team.”

A matter of contention Unlike many Luxembourg practices business law is not their primary activity. “We’re not a solely business practice,” he continues: “In general we would be regarded as working in contentious litigation rather than business matters, though PierreOlivier Wurth’s work with companies brings that field into our ambit. The practice could best be characterised as one predominantly involved in contentious litigation.”

Business law and contentious litigation are not mutually exclusive, and Philippe Penning and his team frequently appear as defence lawyers in ‘white collar crime’ cases, which in an economy like that of Luxembourg where finance plays such a significant role is something that is becoming increasingly important. Ever more complex legal and fiscal rules and the international nature of that field mean such cases are coming to court with greater and greater regularity. It is not just the headline cases that matter to the firm, as Schiltz concludes. “We deal with a very diverse clientele that takes in those involved in criminal trials across the social spectrum; plus, Pierre-Olivier Wurth works with companies and organisations on matters like fiscal structuring; and banks and even the state are frequently my own clients. It’s a wide cross section of society and its components, and we like the variety and challenges such a mix brings.” Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  61

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without sacrificing principles of integrity, keeping the case’s tremendous influence on the personal lives of clients in mind at all times.

Private matters in experienced, professional hands: Antwerp-based boutique firm Keyser advocaten specialises in family and divorce law, taking on both national as well as international cases.

Personal practice

From adoption to heritages, and from fatherhood to domestic violence, Keyser advocaten offers legal services in every aspect of family law with most cases involving divorce law. Their clientele comprises a mix of entrepreneurs, expats, managers and stay-at-home mums, all from different nationalities and cultural backgrounds. Services are always provided at an absolute level of excellence

Tempers run high in family matters, with clients going through important and often difficult times in their lives. “In family matters, every client is unique – from his needs and concerns to his preferences,” begins Stefanie Keyser, the firm’s senior associate and founder. “Our clients, especially in divorce matters, often go through an emotional rollercoaster. We stand by them at all times, taking strong responsibility in defending them and their reputa-

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tion. Things can get tough in a court room or during negotiations, so it is important we provide a security blanket.” Keyser advocaten is a boutique firm emphasising a close personal bond between lawyer and client, breaking with the traditional approach in Belgium where there is quite a distance between the legal professional and their client. This results in a customer-oriented approach where the lawyer listens to the client, and not the other way around. “Naturally, we guide a client through the complete process and we know which step to take next,” Keyser asserts. “However, clients know what is best for them. We are there to guide them

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in the right direction and prevent any miscalculated decisions.” Because of the personal nature of cases, discussions at Keyser reach far beyond the legal field. “As a family lawyer, you must be a people’s person. We are there to hold a client’s hand, sometimes literally. One look in the courtroom can sometimes be enough for me to know what my client thinks and wants.”

International expertise Due to ever-growing globalisation, Keyser advocaten handles a noticeably increasing amount of international divorces. “There are additional issues to consider with expat couples,” Keyser says. “The strain and stress of moving to another country can be overwhelming. Other problems are social isolation, long working hours combined with extensive travel, and the adjustment to a different country and culture.” And when international couples do decide to part, the results are often far more extensive. “International battles over child custody, confusion over which country has jurisdiction over the divorce, relocations support – those are very complicated matters. In such a case,

the support of a qualified lawyer specialised in international family law can make all the difference.” Because of the firm’s strong international focus, services are offered in three languages (English, Dutch, French) and outside office hours. Meetings with clients via Skype are held on a daily basis. “A possible time difference can mean Skyping with an international client at night. It is that kind of flexibility that is essential when adapting to a client’s needs and wishes.”

Progressive makes perfect As the field of law is ever changing, Keyser advocaten’s team is highly involved in keeping up to date with today’s practices and is a member of several renowned law institutions (European Law Association, International Bar Associations, De Orde van Advocaten Antwerpen). Keyser herself is a frequent speaker at law conferences, an author of professional literature, and she advises several media on law-related issues. Where the legal field in Belgium is generally known for its conservative approach, Keyser advocaten stands out as one of

the country’s most progressive firms. From the accommodation, to the team, to the methods: the firm breaks down the sometimes high and intimidating barrier existing in the field of law, clearly translating legal language into a plain one. The firm holds a contemporary mindset, constantly innovating and investing in modern methods and technologies to accommodate the client in the best possible way. Always thinking a step head, the firm provides solutions and services that make all the key difference in client’s lives. Uniquely progressive in Belgium is Keyser’s divorce planning service. Within divorce planning, an exit plan is designed beforehand to keep the client one step ahead if the decision to divorce is made. “Divorce planning is a perfect example of preparation makes perfect,” Keyser states. “If you are prepared, the outcome is much more positive.” KEYSER ADVOCATEN Uitbreidingstraat 84, 2600 Antwerpen T 03 218 20 37 F 03 303 52 47

Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  63

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At the frontline of Luxembourg’s law TEXT: NDÉLA FAYE  |  PHOTOS: JEAN-JACQUES SCHONCKERT

Lawyer at the Luxembourg bar since 1986, Jean-Jacques Schonckert has established himself as one of the most notable lawyers in Luxembourg. His experience, combined with a multidisciplinary and personable approach, allows him to have all bases covered for his clients. Catering to individuals, as well as small and medium-sized companies, Schonckert’s firm provides a wide range of legal services and advice in French, German, English and Luxembourgish. In addition to real estate, social, family, criminal and commercial law, Schonckert is no stranger to media attention and highprofile cases. “Throughout the years, I’ve been involved in many of the Grand Duchy’s biggest court cases such as the much-publicised Franklin Jurado money laundering case in the early 1990s, and more recently Max Schrems’ data protection case against Skype and Microsoft, as well as work for French football player Franck Ribéry.” 64  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

Schonckert believes that what sets him apart from others is the fact that his law firm is independent. “The social circles in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg are very small. I operate completely independently, meaning I am not part of any syndicate, political party – or even a golf club,” he states. Schonckert also works as a legal consultant on various news programmes – and in his spare time, he volunteers as vice-president for Luxembourg’s football federation and is president of the country’s Right to Die with Dignity organisation, among other charity ventures. “Doing charity work is close to my heart and my wish to help others extends beyond my work hours,” he says. “With each client, I try to assess what emotions might lie behind their legal case. I believe emotions can be very strong and very raw, and I try to de-block some blockages, a bit like an alchemist,” he laughs. With each client, Schonckert aims to look for alternative approaches and angles to their specific case. “Often,

lawyers are solely driven by money, but for me looking after my clients and offering a personal touch is paramount,” Schonckert adds. “My experience spans over three decades, but even after all these years, my work never feels like a chore: I still have the same enthusiasm, level of engagement and sense of duty to my clients as I did when I first started,” he concludes.

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Award-winning fund and corporate services with a difference TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS  |  PHOTOS: AZTEC GROUP

Aztec Group first established a presence in Luxembourg in 2007, in response to the country’s growing reputation as a leading jurisdiction for financial services. Nearly a decade later, Aztec Group now employs over 130 people in Luxembourg – a number that is increasing by the week. Founded in Jersey, the Channel Islands, in 2001 as a privately owned, independent service provider focusing on delivering service excellence to alternative investment fund managers and corporate clients, the Aztec Group is recognised as 66  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

one of the leading companies in its field in Europe. Employing over 580 people across seven offices in Guernsey, Jersey, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK, the Group manages over 270 funds and administers more than 140 billion euros in assets.

An impressive range of services Aztec Group has been pushing the boundaries in alternative asset fund and corporate services for over 15 years in prime onshore and offshore locations. It began with fund administration and has since developed additional services to

offer a range of outsourcing solutions to fund managers, institutional investors and corporate clients. Aztec Group’s exceptional service delivery and industry expertise has enabled it to become the partner of choice for over 120 private equity, real assets and debt clients. The Group offers accurate and timely reporting, professionally managed investor communications, comprehensive risk management and pro-active transaction support. From straightforward to complex structures, start-ups to institutions, Aztec Group provides a comprehensive practice.

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Its cornerstone offering is the fund services proposition. It has been developed to deliver optimum administration and accounting support, allowing clients to focus on managing their funds. Within corporate services, Aztec Group provides multijurisdictional support and local expertise to corporate entities and employee benefit trusts. Its exceptional service and profound industry knowledge means it has partnered with over 2,200 entities.

the team around the client. From financial reporting specialists and fund administrators to compliance professionals, they all form part of a client’s relationship team rather than being sat in central departments.” This means that knowledge of client affairs rests with several individuals rather than just one person.

Aztec Group also provides a pragmatic depositary service to meet the demands of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD). Additionally, the Group offers portfolio monitoring and reporting services to institutional investors, providing investment teams with reliable financial data, and helping them benchmark, manage cash flows, monitor risks and model regulatory capital requirements.

Aztec Group’s ethos emphasises close working relationships, which it believes are essential to successful partnerships. Teams gain a deep knowledge of their clients through regular communications and face-to-face meetings. With an employee retention rate of around 90 per cent, clients can also be assured of continuity and stability. Mr. Lokanathen adds: “Clients want familiar voices and faces and, above all, to work with people who know and understand their circumstances and needs. You can’t achieve that if your workforce is continually changing.”

Client focus and reliability

Highly skilled employees

As well as offering a wide range of solutions, what sets Aztec Group apart from the rest is a genuine client-centric approach. Ganash Lokanathen, a director at Aztec Group’s Luxembourg office, explains: “Every service provider will talk about tailored services, but with us it’s more than just words. We actually build

Over 80 per cent of Aztec Group’s employees are professionally qualified. Mr. Lokanathen notes: “Most of our staff on the accounting side hold financial degrees, with many now pursuing accounting qualifications. On the administrative side, our staff have a mix of law and business administration backgrounds. We

also have specialised teams in IT, reporting, compliance and risk management.” Aztec Group’s dedication to its clients and determination to be among the best at what it does has certainly not gone unnoticed. Recent awards include winning Fund Advisory Firm of the Year for the fifth time at the prestigious British Private Equity Awards in the Administration category in October 2016. The award recognises both innovation and constant excellence in the private equity and venture capital industries. With credentials such as an award-winning pedigree, skilled workforce and a relationship-based approach, the future looks bright for Aztec Group in Luxembourg and across all other offices.

Ganash Lokanathen, a director at Aztec Group’s Luxembourg office.

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Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Profile

Global knowledge in personal hands TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: MICHEL DEVEEN

In an increasingly global and transparent world, safeguarding your international tax matters is essential to any business looking to expand across borders or anyone contemplating investing or migrating abroad. Sansen International Tax Lawyers is a boutique firm taking care of all your foreign tax planning through a professional, yet unmatched, personal approach. Established in September 2014, Antwerpbased firm Sansen International Tax Lawyers (SITL) focuses on international tax law in all its aspects, for a variety of target groups. The firm is founded and helmed by Erik Sansen who, after many years working for other firms, decided to invest his experience and knowledge in his own law firm. SITL provides a unique personal service, alongside a hands-on, accessible approach, partly because of the firm’s small size. “Before everything else, I see myself as a client’s trust-

ed advisor,” Sansen starts. “Our small team creates a climate of mutual trust, whereby my clients know that everything will be taken care of. Building strong personal connections to our clients and their business is vital: I have been working with the same clients for years.” SITL has an extensive international network of highly skilled foreign tax advisers, ensuring every client is provided with the right contacts and connections. “Not only is our

A professional mentor is a more senior manager who agrees to meet with you regularly to discuss with you and to support your professional and career development. While coaching has a shorter-term focus aiming at performance improvement and is driven by the questions the coach asks, mentoring has a longer-term focus, a perhaps less formal agenda and a relationship in which the mentor can give advice and communicate the benefits of their own experience. 68  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

For more information, please visit

L - R: Erik Sansen, Daan Van Nieuwenhove, Gertjan Verachtert.

Be a mentee Yes, it is a horrible word, but almost everyone I have asked about being mentored has told me that it has been immensely beneficial to them. Indeed, I have only met one person who did not benefit from having a mentor and that was because his company forced someone on him whom he did not like. This is one reason for being wary of corporate mentoring programmes. Find yourself a mentor before HR turns the process into another box ticking exercise.

society globalising more and more; our world is getting more transparent as well,” Sansen affirms. “This means that being accurate and clear about your taxes is more important than ever. The maze of tax law is a complicated one: having a trusted advisor who guides you all the way through it is essential. We do just that.”


How do you get a mentor? It is simple. Think of someone higher up in your organisation who you really admire, someone you could really learn from. Now think again – think of someone higher up. Do not be shy, be ambitious. If your company pays lip service to the need to break down hierarchy, now is your chance to put this into practice. The worst thing that could happen is that the person you approach says no. But most senior managers feel flattered to be asked. If you can think of two potential mentors, ask them both. What might give you more courage is thinking about early mentors – like that inspiring teacher at school who understood how you tick, who believed in you and who encouraged you to excel. We need these people in our working lives too. One day you will be able to return the compliment by mentoring others yourself – maybe in a professional context, maybe in an educational or community one. The original mentor was the friend of Odysseus entrusted with the education of his son,

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:

Telemachus, while he went off on his 20-year trip to Troy and back. Sometimes the goddess Athena appeared to the boy in the guise of the old man. I do not guarantee divine intervention in your case, but I do think there is every chance that getting a mentor will be one of the best professional decisions you ever take.

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Digital Profile

Pascal Steichen, CEO of SECURITYMADEIN.LU.

The forefront of cyber defence TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS  |  PHOTOS: SECURITYMADEIN.LU

SECURITYMADEIN.LU is Luxembourg’s foremost online resource for cyber security. The site is both a news provider and a toolbox with cyber security solutions for individuals, organisations and the ICT community. A multidisciplinary team of 22 experts offer a wide range of skills and competencies. It includes information security specialists with profound knowledge in communications, marketing, legal and project management. “We provide a global, integrated service: we want everyone in a company to be protected, from the director to the IT man,” explains Pascal Steichen, CEO of SECURITYMADEIN.LU. Users can find technical and strategic information, as well as business intelligence via the website. SECURITYMADEIN.LU is launching a Cybersecurity Competency Centre, which will be fully up and running by summer 2017. Mr. Steichen says: “The opportu-

nities, as well as the risks and threats of the digital world are constantly changing. Cybersecurity is an essential element for digital society to flourish. It enables citizens and businesses to increase their resilience to risks.” Faced with the professionalism of cybercriminals and the rapid evolution of technology and its associated threats, collaboration between all economic actors has become essential. Among the Centre’s objectives is to develop a vast range of resources dedicated to cybersecurity. SECURITYMADEIN.LU has a large pool of experience and knowledge in threats, vulnerabilities and the effectiveness of security systems. The centre offers three core services, intelligence, training and testing. Intelligence covers key information such as situational and trend reports, and how to maintain good security and identify threats. The centre has a simulator of attack scenarios, allowing realistic operational skills training. The testing aspect of the centre will try out new

security technologies and services, and is particularly aimed at start-ups. SECURITYMADEIN.LU is the structure behind the main information security initiatives of the Luxembourg government. In 2015, Luxembourg faced more than 62,000 cyberattacks. “The market is highly influenced by the black market of cyber criminality,” says Mr. Steichen. “For the past ten years there has been a real increase in criminal organisations. Criminals have adapted to the different types of defences we’ve put in place.” He explains that today prevention is not enough – by the time someone realises an attack has taken place, months or years may have passed from the time of the actual attack. SECURITYMADEIN.LU advises to invest in detection and reaction systems. The new Cybersecurity Competency Centre can be used as a starting point to assess a security system. Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  69

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Top Belgian Film & Video Production

‘By setting up their own ‘colonies’ all over the world, Yondr is able to create virtual reality content of every noteworthy city.’

Setting the new standard in creating virtual reality content TEXT: JULIËN L’ORTYE  |  PHOTOS: YONDR

In March 2014 Facebook acquired Oculus VR, the leader in virtual reality (VR) technology, for over two billion dollars. At the same time, Pieter van Leugenhagen started noticing that the digital agency where he was working was not doing much with video productions. The combination of these two things was enough for him to start his own company: Yondr. It needs to be said: there are not many startups with such a clear and comprehensive business plan as this Belgium-based company. “We strongly believe in the combination of VR and the travel industry,” begins business strategist Van Leugenhagen. “Being able to ‘pre-experience’ your trip before going on holiday, or just visiting places that you will not be able to visit for the rest of your life, because your partner does not want to go there.” Although they would love to start with their plans today rather than tomorrow, 70  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

they are unable to do so. Van Leugenhagen: “At this moment there is not enough VR content that fits in our format. We do not just want to put a 360-degree camera somewhere and start filming; we want to tell a story. A story that needs to be told by locals.” As they quickly concluded that it is quite unrealistic to travel all over the world to make VR productions of every noteworthy city, they came up with a solution: the Yondr Colonies Project, a franchise model incubator programme for VR agencies. “Creating up-to-date content is very important to us,” Van Leugenhagen explains. “By telling our story on conventions and going through online communities, we are able to find people and companies that are willing to contribute.” It is a strategy that appears to be working quite well, especially given the fact that Yondr has been operating without any financial injections for the last two years.

As a matter of fact, Colonies in Dubai and Medellin are being formed as we speak. To be able to provide them with the latest information, they have also set up the Yondr Academy: a research and development centre, where every question about creating content can be answered. With such a professional approach, it seems just a matter of time before you can transform your living room to your desired destination.

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Calendar


Smart Cities 15 December Utrecht, the Netherlands Smart technology and smart people make a city sustainable, accessible, safe and liveable. This event offers inspiration on how to create social value via Smart Cities. Seven keynote speakers will motivate this year’s visitors.

Luxembourg city.

Amsterdam Business Inspiration 7 December Amsterdam, the Netherlands This event is organised by MeerBusiness Amsterdam. In the Beurs van Berlage, inspirational speakers from industry and government gather to offer partners and sponsors an opportunity to present themselves via stands and other cross-media methods. Disruptive Innovation Bootcamp 8 December Amsterdam, the Netherlands Want the right mindset for innovation and business creation in a rapidly changing world? Seeking to develop the skills and tools to develop the value propositions of tomorrow? This bootcamp is a one-day programme for front-running managers and entrepreneurs, providing them with essential insights into the underlying drivers and implications of emerging technologies and new business models. CloudCom 12 – 15 December Luxembourg City, Luxembourg CloudCom is the premier conference on cloud computing worldwide, attracting

researchers, developers, users, students and practitioners from the fields of big data, systems architecture, services research, virtualisation, security and privacy. MicroNanoConference 13 – 14 December Amsterdam, the Netherlands This conference has a track record in bringing together micro and nanoscience and industry in an international context. You will learn about state-of-the-art research and development and meet leading experts.

Inspiration Storytelling Workshop 15 December Amsterdam, the Netherlands Storytelling is of vital importance for every business, whether during a short pitch, during a presentation, or via your media communications. But how do you tell a story that is relevant to your audience and captures a place in their hearts? This workshop will explain.

Beurs van Berlage.

Beurs van Berlage. Photo: Cris Toala Olivares

Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  71

Discover Benelux  |  Museum of the Month  |  Belgium

Acting director Alexandra De Poorter. Discover the world through the wealth of collections housed at Brussels’ Royal Museums of Art and History.

B R U S S E L S ’ R O YA L M U S E U M S :

A testament to the city’s rich heritage TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS  |  PHOTOS: MUSÉES ROYAUX D’ART ET D’HISTOIRE

Belgium’s exceptional Royal Museums of Art and History were created in 1835 shortly after Belgium became independent. The impressive complex encompasses the Cinquantenaire Museum, the Musical Instruments Museum, Porte de Hal and the Museums of the Far East. “A visit is unmissable: they house collections depicting every civilisation on every continent,” says acting museum director Alexandra De Poorter. The collections are divided into four large ensembles: antiquity, non-European civilisations, national archaeology and European decorative arts. Currently showing at the Cinquantenaire Museum until 12 February 2017 is the superb Ukiyo-e – The Finest Japanese Prints exhibition. Ukiyo-e means ‘pictures of the floating world’ and the term refers to transitoriness and fleeting pleasures. The Cinquantenaire Museum has one of 72  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

the finest collections of Japanese prints in the world. The works are being exhibited in Belgium for the first time in almost three decades and retrace the history of Japanese prints since their black and white origins from 1720 until the end of the 20th century. The works depict Japanese courtesans, samurai, Mount Fuji and other iconic elements of Japanese culture. The biggest Japanese artists are represented, including Hiroshige and Hokusai (including an example of the world-famous Wave). The renowned Musical Instruments Museum (MIM) is another must-see. Dating from 1899, it is one of the most beautiful examples of Art Nouveau architecture in Brussels. It holds over 7,000 musical instruments. MIM hosts 130 musical events annually, and offers the possibility of organising a multitude of events including receptions, conferences, dinners and film showings. On the eighth floor, there is a 200-seater concert hall.

Porte de Hal (Halle Gate) is a remainder of Brussels’ second surrounding wall. Over 600 years old, the fairy tale neo-Gothicstyle monument is a witness to the city’s medieval past. It houses a permanent exhibition dedicated to medieval Brussels. Visitors can discover elements of life in the Middle Ages and admire key items from the past. The Museums of the Far East count among them a Japanese tower, a Chinese pavilion and a museum of Japanese art. The Museums of the Far East are currently closed for renovations. De Poorter says: “One of my favourite aspects of the Royal Museums is the grandeur of the different sites and buildings, where our rich collections are displayed. They never fail to inspire me, even after 30 years of working here.”

Discover Benelux  |  Culinary Experience of the Month  |  Amsterdam

Mamma’s home-cooked Italian food TEXT: STIAN SANGVIG  |  PHOTOS: CIAO BELLA

“I want our customers to feel the taste of our food as if prepared by an Italian mamma,” Ciao Bella’s general manager, the Venetian Luigi Barban begins. Beautifully situated next to Amsterdam’s canals, Italian delicatessen Ciao Bella opened its doors to hungry locals and tourists two years ago. As a family business, Luigi put his mamma in the kitchen. “I missed a place where I could buy and eat Italian delicatessen fare,” he explains. Hence, the idea of starting a business emerged. Ciao Bella has a varied menu consisting of classic and delicious Italian dishes. “What they have in common is the focus on quality ingredients and a homemade feel,” Luigi continues. Tasty examples include focaccias with the finest Parma ham, sausages and fresh vegetables for lunch as well as appetising salads and rich pasta dishes. The latter include traditional lasa-

gna, rigatoni Bolognese and, for vegetarians, pasta al pesto or cannelloni ricotta e spinaci. A seasonal special of the week is available too. This autumn, tortellini porcini stuffed with mushrooms and a creamy truffle sauce is particularly popular. All ingredients, with the exception of fresh local meat and vegetables, are imported from Italy. Customers can take their meal home or enjoy it at Ciao Bella. Ciao Bella has had a flying start and the shop is busy with customers following the tempting smell of fresh home-cooked Italian food. “In our short history much of our business has been repeat business, and the message is spreading beyond Amsterdam,” Luigi concludes, next to a noticeboard with cards from near and afar including Australia. For more information, please visit:


72,9 € m ro


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


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

Discover Benelux  |  Culture & Lifestyle  |  Calendar

Amsterdam Light Festival. Photo: Frank Karssing

Out & About The darkest season of the year is also the one that shines the most, with fairy tale-like parties and the sparkliest of events. Let us guide you through the last month of 2016 and into the Christmas spirit. Festive fun guaranteed! TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

Dutch Ice Sculpture Festival.

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Discover Benelux  |  Culture & Lifestyle  |  Calendar

Medieval Christmas Market 9 – 18 December Dudelange, Luxembourg If you are looking for a traditional Christmas market, look no further. The market in Dudelange has typical chalets, stands with great Christmas gifts, daily concerts, and animation for the kids.

Dutch Ice Sculpture Festival 10 December – 5 February Amsterdam, the Netherlands The Dutch Ice Sculpture Festival is bigger than ever before, with over 100 ice sculptures made by the 42 best ice artists in the world. If you do not forget your gloves and scarf, you are guaranteed some icy family fun!

Incubate Festival 10 – 11 December Tilburg, the Netherlands This annual festival exhibits a diverse view on indie culture as a whole, including music, visual arts, film and contemporary theatre, and a conference. Does black metal next to free jazz sound good to you?


Dogma Hotdogs Month of December Utrecht, the Netherlands Dogma means 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!

Winter in Antwerp 10 December – 8 January 2017 Antwerp, Belgium As if you needed another reason to visit Antwerp. Winter in Antwerp equals a cosy atmosphere on squares and shopping streets, a Christmas market, an outdoor ice rink, a winter bar, original and fun shops, and lots of surprises.

Atelier Month of December 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!

Dogma hotdogs. Photo: Melanie van Leeuwen

Mart Cafe.

Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  75

Discover Benelux  |  Culture & Lifestyle  |  Calendar

Candle Light Gouda 16 December Gouda, the Netherlands Gouda by Candlelight, known as Gouda by Kaarslicht or more colloquially as Kaarsjesavond (Candle Night), is a famous annual Christmas event in the city of Gouda. This wonderful tradition is marked by countless lit candles, singing, and festivities.

Christmas Beer Festival 17 – 18 December Essen, Belgium Forget mulled wine, in 2015 over 2,000 thirsty beer lovers travelled to the Essen Christmas Beer Festival. In 2016, you can taste about 150 different bottled beers, including 22 on draught. Cheers!

Christmas Jazz at Mart Cafe 22 December Rotterdam, the Netherlands Every Thursday, Mart Cafe in Rotterdam serves the best jazz alongside pub food with a contemporary twist that is inspired by Dutch cuisine. On 22 December, you can expect a special Christmas edition of Rotterdam’s best jazz night.

Royal Delft Month of December Delft, the Netherlands What would a visit to Delft be without visiting the home of the famous Delft Blue earthenware? Royal Delft gives you a

‘t Koffieboontje

unique glimpse into this piece of famous Dutch heritage.

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

Hands on Design Until 5 March 2017 Ghent, Belgium Design lovers unite! This exhibition showcases designs inspired and produced thanks to the innovative power of traditional methods and craftsmanship.

Amsterdam Light Festival Until 22 January Amsterdam, the Netherlands Amsterdam lights up for the fifth edition of the annual Amsterdam Light Festival.

XOCO Mexican Grill Month of December Rotterdam, the Netherlands Guilt-free fast-food is definitely not too good to be true at XOCO Mexican Grill in


Oproer. Photo: Vuk Begovic.

76  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

Over 35 artworks from international, artists, designers and architects find their way to the Dutch capital.

Discover Benelux  |  Culture & Lifestyle  |  Calendar

Rotterdam. XOCO brings the best of Latin America to the Netherlands with delicious and healthy Mexican dishes.

Royal Delft.

Sabena – Travel in Style Until September 2017 Brussels, Belgium The exhibition Sabena – Travel in Style in the Atomium immerses you in the enchanting world of SABENA, the Belgian World Airlines. Visitors will discover original objects, several scale airplane models, uniforms, posters, photos, movies and some gadgets and other souvenirs from private and public collections.

‘t Koffieboontje – espressobar Month of December Utrecht, the Netherlands A great cup of coffee is an unmissable part of 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. Incubate Eagulls. Photo: Hans van Wijk

Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  77

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Column



I concede, Kenyan designer Cyrus Kabiru’s eyewear is perhaps not the most practical, but it certainly makes a statement. The pieces – known as C-stunners - are made from detritus Kabiru finds on the streets of his native Nairobi, and present us (literally) with a blinkered world view. They are beautiful, intricate and endlessly innovative creations, but more importantly they serve as a healthy reminder that, in these difficult times, we need to refute simplistic global narratives. When talking about these ‘boom’ years for Africa, people often mention the rapid economic growth and the rising numbers of middle classes. But another, arguably more pivotal, matter that the Making Africa exhibition at Kunsthal Rotterdam focuses upon is the impact of the 650 million mobile phones on the continent. The access to share thoughts, exchange ideas

and consume information that comes with access to the internet has resulted in a generation of experimental young artists and designers assured and confident enough to fuse new media with tradition. The Kunsthal have also placed this exhibition within a historical context – splitting it into four parts. Images in the Prologue section provide a Western perception of the continent, examining how it is spoken about. Littered throughout the show, and providing a counter to the Prologue, are images from Africa in 1960. Dubbed the ‘Year of Africa’ after 17 nations declared independence, the pictures portray an image of optimism and potential. The comparison between then and now is clear for all to see, and these designers seem to exult in the potential they have at their fingertips. Making Africa is on at Kunsthal Rotterdam, and runs until 15 January 2017.

Caribbean Sun, 2012, Cyrus Kabiru. 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.



This powerful, red-brown brew is a doppelbock, a double strength example of the already feisty bock beers that are traditionally brewed during the autumn and for Lent. A couple of these on a cold winter evening will provide you with a warm glow. If you enjoy beers packed with flavour, then it is likely you will enjoy chewing your way through a glass of Bokkepruik—a beer that first came onto the market in 2014. It is a product of the Hommeles Brewery, a collective based in Houten, a municipality just south-east of Utrecht. The name of the young brewery is inspired by the Latin term for hops (humulus). The company, founded in 2013, utilises local produce in its brews and this beer features honey drawn from bee hives of Houten. 78  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

At the end of a mouthful you can taste the honey, which offsets the hoppy bitterness of Bokkepruik, a silver medal winner at the 2015 Brussels Beer Challenge. The aroma of the beer is, at first, yeasty and somewhat sour. Then you might pick up on a fruitiness, with a hint of apple and red fruits. Bokkepruik is big on flavour and, initially, has an astringent mouthfeel but subsequently mellows. It is a beer that opens up as you drink it. If Bokkepruik were a person it would be one of those folk who sit in the corner of the pub and are initially withdrawn, warming to become the life and soul of the party when you get to know them. There is an underlying smokiness that becomes increasingly apparent. You may well find yourself ordering another. If you enjoy cooking, try pairing this with dishes featuring game.

Brewer: Brouwerij Hommeles Strength: Eight 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.

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Film

Stills from the film Problemski Hotel.

Director Manu Riche.



An asylum centre in Brussels may not spring to mind as the most obvious setting for a Christmas story, but then Belgian movie Problemski Hotel is far from your typical festive film. Discover Benelux caught up with its director, Manu Riche.

Problemski Hotel offers a bleak tableau of migrant life, and seems so poignant in the light of the ongoing refugee crisis. When you first began making the film, could you have envisaged how devastating the situation would get? Well, the obvious answer is that the eponymous book [by Flemish writer Dimitri Verhulst] that the movie is based on, came out in 2003. So he is the real visionary. The media took the story on because it became so big but, on the other hand, the crisis was already going on. What was it that appealed to you about the novel?

I think it is a remarkable novel. When Verhulst wrote it he was talking about refugees arriving in Belgium in little villages, not in Brussels. It was very visceral and a very harsh view of the refugee arriving and what he was enduring. The film stars newcomers Tarek Halaby and Evgenia Brendes in the lead roles. Tell us about the casting process. It was a very long casting. The leading actress, she actually comes from the village in Kazakhstan she’s talking about in the film. She was 11 when she came to Belgium and had all this history that we put into the script. You are typically known for your documentaries and the film does seem to reflect that. How was the shooting process? We made a community on our own and lived on set - it was a building that was

about to be demolished. The way the actors behaved, well they were not behaving as actors, they were just behaving as human beings. Despite the film’s serious subject matter, there are some comedy moments. How did you approach those? Well, it’s not about jokes. It’s just sort of tragic comical. It’s about the human fate and that can be very comical and very tragic. Samuel Beckett was a big inspiration. Finally, Problemski Hotel opened this year’s Raindance film festival in London. How was that? I think it was a brave choice for an opening because it’s not an easy film. It’s very courageous to show this at an opening of a festival. Problemski Hotel is travelling all over the world. Now it’s time to start something new! Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  79

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Music

Maydien. Photo: Erik Breuer


Artists to look out for in 2017 TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

Forget about all those end-of-year compilations and turn your gaze to the future, starting with this list of new and established Benelux artists expected to make big waves in 2017.

Maydien Although the star Maydien has been rising for years, we bet on 2017 as being his breakthrough moment. A new EP, Lay Of The Land, was released back in March, bringing a gorgeous mix of future, soul and hip-hop. A new album is on the itinerary for 2017. Thank us later!

GOSTO Faces On TV.

80  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

Inspired by musicians such as Flying Lotus, James Blake, and Jeff Buckley, Roel Vermeer and his band, also known as

GOSTO, succeed in combining a variety of styles into a whole new authentic sound. Take it from us: their debut album Memory Ivy is one not to be missed.

Pink Oculus Esperanza Denswil, better known under her alter-ego Pink Oculus, is a Dutch recording artist, singer songwriter, MC, producer and actress. Her third EP Delicious came out in October this year and is another one for the repeat button. Think jazz, funk, soul, and some hip-hop.

Birth of Joy Having been on the Netherlands’ musical radar for a while now, we challenge everyone to give the psychedelic rock of Birth of Joy a big fat listen. Expect ‘60s and

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Music

‘70s-inspired rock and roll with a modern punk and grunge twist.

Eleonor Coco Being crowned Radio 3FM’s Serious Talent in April 2015, the sweet yet punky sound of Eleonor Coco has fortunately not gone unnoticed. Her latest EP is as addictively funky as her previous works, proving that her star has only just started to rise.

Faces On TV Ghent-based foursome Faces On TV is the band around producer/mixer Jasper Maekelberg who makes exciting noisepop. Having collaborated with several big names before, the EP Traveling Blind has proven the band’s solo talents. A debut album is set for release in 2017, so watch this space.

Eleonor Coco. Photo: Muzink

Birth of Joy. Photo: Timo Reisiger

GOSTO. Photo: Rein Kooyman

Pink Oculus. Photo: Jesaja Hizkia

Issue 36  |  December 2016  |  81

Discover Benelux  |  Music  |  Benelux Beats



Psychedelic rock formation PAUW seem unstoppable right now. With an unanimously praised debut album, recorded while they were still in college, and back-to-back shows in the Netherlands and beyond, the mystical and ‘70s-inspired sound of this foursome has touched many. Discover Benelux spoke to guitarist and singer Brian Pots about touring, PAUW’s sudden success, and The Beatles. You just finished a mini-tour in the UK? Yes, it was great! We played in cities such as London, Manchester and Glasgow. Unlike the Netherlands, where people know our songs well, our music is still a bit of a surprise in the UK. A nice change. Do you prefer touring or recording? Both are great; however, I truly love to be in the studio. Experimenting with sounds, artistically going nuts; I feel at home in the studio. But being on stage gives a fantastic kick like no other. Why did you name your debut album Macrocosm Microcosm? 82  |  Issue 36  |  December 2016

Macrocosm Microcosm is a theory that, briefly described, refers to the large (macro) and the small (micro) things in life. This reflects our recording process: we took small pieces of incomplete songs to the studio, and made them into full-blown creations. Have you always wanted a professional musical career? Not at all – I was always the guy without a band who was playing by himself. It was not until I met Rens Ottink [PAUW’s drummer] and we discovered our mutual love for ‘60s and ‘70s music, that we began jamming and started PAUW. PAUW’s music is influenced by bands such as Pink Floyd, the Byrds, and of course The Beatles. Who is your favourite Beatle? George Harrison and John Lennon. Harrison was one of my main inspirations to get a sitar and Lennon made beautiful songs with magnificent power.

What do you consider PAUW’s high point until now? The great reception of Macrocosm Microcosm. Our first EP and shows created big expectations, and I think we have very much lived up to them. I am proud of that. After the debut album, PAUW has not seen a quiet moment due to tours, concerts, and festivals. Is there even time for a new album? Our plan is to release a new album next year, yes! We are keeping our diaries empty for the coming months, to clear our minds and dive into the studio with fresh ideas and no distractions.

BRIAN’S RECORD COLLECTION: David Bowie – Hunky Dory Daft Punk – Discovery Lana Del Rey – Born to Die

Musical discovery of 2016? The new album by Empire of the Sun, Two Vines.

Empire of the Sun – Walking on a Dream Todd Rundgren – A Wizard, A True Star

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