Discover Benelux, Issue 37, January 2017

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Discover Benelux  |  Contents

Contents JANUARY 2017



door and discover some of the city’s best alternative cultural attractions.

34 Igone de Jongh 34

Igone de Jongh may be better known for pirouetting than body popping, but that has not stopped her stealing the show as one third of the judging panel on Dutch television’s hit series Dance, Dance, Dance. We spoke to the prima ballerina about life as the Dutch National Ballet’s principal dancer, as well as her burgeoning TV stardom and the possibility of an acting career.

BUSINESS 38 Company profiles, regulars and successful Belgian start-ups We showcase some of Belgium’s most exciting entrepreneurial ventures, as well as profiling the Benelux businesses you need to know about. Also, do not miss our interview with Camille Thommes, director general of the Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry (ALFI).

THEMES 11 Amsterdam: The Ultimate Winter Destination The Dutch capital is resplendent every season, but there is something particularly magical about the wintertime. We present our guide to the city’s top art and culture spots, as well as letting you in on the best places to stay.

26 Brabant Special


With its historic towns such as Breda and ’s-Hertogenbosch, as well as vibrant design hubs like Eindhoven and Tilburg, Brabant is home to some of the best museums and galleries in the Netherlands. Where better to spend your next winter break?

57 Belgian Events Calendar 2017 From international art to classical music, not to mention some delicious beer festivals, we give you the unmissable dates you need to add to your diary.

62 Amsterdam’s Most Upcoming Areas In the mood to discover somewhere new? We share some of our favourite places in the Dutch capital’s most cosmopolitan and upand-coming areas; Amsterdam Zuidoost and Amsterdam Oost.

66 Alternative Amsterdam’s Best Cultural Attractions 26

Amsterdam is renowned for its liberal attitude and tolerance. Leave any stereotypes at the


Amsterdam FashionWeek This month the fashion crowd will descend on Amsterdam to see the latest collections from a host of Dutch and Flemish creatives. Discover Benelux spoke to two Dutch designers who will be presenting their Fall/Winter 2017 collections.

70 Seafood in Scheveningen Attention all foodies! We delve into the Dutch seafood industry and discover Scheveningen’s proud fishing heritage.

74 Benelux Film Guide 2017 We look forward to a fantastic year for cinema in the Benelux and highlight some movies you will not want to miss.

76 Anna van der Breggen Interview Dutch Olympic gold medallist Anna van der Breggen looks back on a highly successful year and reveals her sporting goals for 2017.

78 Benelux Beats We caught up with Dutch singer/songwriter Eefje de Visser to discuss her hugely personal and critically acclaimed third album Nachtlicht.

DON’T MISS 6 Fashion Picks | 10 Desirable Designs 52 Out & About | 77 Columns Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  3

Discover Benelux  |  Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Discover Benelux Issue 37, January 2017 Published 01.2017 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

Matt Antoniak Michiel Stol Sofie Couwenbergh Steve Flinders Stuart Forster Thessa Lageman Xandra Boersma Cover Photo Alique Sales & Key Account Managers Mette Tonnessen Kirsten Schoon Katia Sfihi Micha Cornelisse Publisher: Scan Group 15B Bell Yard Mews Bermondsey Street London SE1 3YT United Kingdom Phone: +44 (0)870 933 0423 Fax: +44 (0)870 933 0421 Email:

Contributors Bettina Guirkinger Cathy van Klaveren Ella Put Juliën L’Ortye Lidija Liegis

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 37  |  January 2017

Welcome to the new year, one which looks set to bring about even more drama than its disquieting predecessor. There may be a sense of uncertainty in the air, but it is at times like these when optimism is key. And what better time of year to be hopeful than January? Okay, so it may be cold outside, your waistline may have expanded over the festive season (while your bank balance has probably done the opposite), and that resolution to go to the gym before work every morning might be making you miserable. But as you hit the treadmill this month, remember the words of Dutch Olympian Anna van der Breggen: “If you don’t have goals, you better quit.” I recently had the pleasure of interviewing the gold-winning cyclist, who told me about that emotional Olympic win, leaving Rabo-Liv to ride for the Boels-Dolmans team and the many ambitions she has yet to fulfil. On the subject of ambitions, I guarantee you will feel inspired by this month’s cover star, ballerina Igone de Jongh, who rose all the way through the ranks to fulfil her dream of becoming the Dutch National Ballet’s principal dancer in 2003. De Jongh continues to enchant audiences with her exquisite performances, as well as reaching out to a larger public as a judge on the hit television series Dance, Dance, Dance. Head to page 34 for a compelling read about De Jongh’s life as a prima ballerina. Afterwards, those excuses you made not to hit the gym could feel rather feeble. Or you may even be inspired to sign up for a dance class. Whatever your goals are for 2017, I wish you a healthy, happy and prosperous new year. Remember, January may be long and dark, but spring will be here before we know it…

Anna Villeleger, Editor

The Ultimate Spa

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks


Winter warmers Now that the holiday season is over, we must finally face the darker days and the colder weather. Luckily, the times when dressing warmly meant that you had to compensate on style are long over. Let us guide you through winter in the most fashionable way possible with these cosy items. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK | PRESS PHOTOS

Jumper January

When things cool down, it is time for on-trend knitwear like this cosy knit from Belle Rose. This grey patterned jumper will turn you into the most huggable gentleman in the room – be warned! Jumper €149 Trousers €109

The finishing touch

You probably will not survive winter in the Benelux without a scarf – so why not pick a super snuggly style? With this colourful knitted one from Amsterdam label Scotch & Soda, you will be all set. €69.95

Black winter

Looking for the perfect way to heal those winter blues? Spoil yourself with cashmere. This beauty is made from the softest and purest cashmere. You would almost want to wear it indoors. €499 6  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks

Cosy combi

Cold weather outside plus central heating inside can equal a fashion dilemma. The perfect solution is to layer up in winter: a jumper and shirt perfectly combines practical with fashionable. Jumper €189 Shirt €119 Trousers €139

Cloak it up

A cape coat is the perfect sassy alternative to a traditional coat. This contemporary wool cape from McGregor wraps you up in pure elegance. Wear with some fancy accessories to finish the look: some thighhigh boots, a statement hat, or a classic bag. €249.95

No cold feet

Cold feet in winter? No more! These brown buckle biker boots are lined with faux sheep wool and will keep your feet warm in style. €119.99

Pompom pride

From protective gear to the finishing touch for almost every outfit, beanies have certainly evolved. This cute pom-pom beanie spices up every look, allowing you to take on the chilly weather in style. €12.95 Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  7

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Amsterdam Fashion Week

Creations by SIS at Amsterdam Fashion Week.

Amsterdam is in fashion TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

It is the most fashionable time of the year! From 26-29 January, the Dutch capital will host the 26th edition of FashionWeek Amsterdam. Discover Benelux caught up with two Dutch designers who will be presenting their Fall/Winter 2017 collections to talk about style, their inspiration, and the city’s fashion landscape.

the Netherlands’ renowned fashion academies.

The Mercedes-Benz FashionWeek Amsterdam is organised twice a year. The spring/summer edition takes place in July, while the fall/winter edition is in January, held at the beautiful Westergasfabriek.

The stylish week offers a combination of fashion shows from upcoming talents, designers and commercial labels and brands – alongside a string of fabulous afterparties. During FashionWeek, both Dutch and Flemish designers will be showing their latest collections, such as Global Denim Awards winner Anbasja Blanken, Tess van Zalinge and Edwin Oudshoorn. The week will end with a catwalk show from Liselore Frowijn, one of the Netherlands’ most recent international successes.

Amsterdam FashionWeek was founded in 2004 as an initiative to put Amsterdam on the map as an international destination for fashion. It sets a stage for young and new creatives, many originating from

Want to know more? Check out www., a platform where fashionistas can find the latest news, background articles, and interviews relating to fashion in the Benelux.

8  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

The Koning show at Amsterdam Fashion Week.

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Amsterdam Fashion Week


Maras Rejaän & Sheila Lopes Afonso. Photo: Peter Stigter

Bound Amsterdam is an Amsterdam-based label that covers clean, ready-to-wear clothing with a minimalist look for the contemporary man. We spoke to co-founder Maras Rejaän. How would you describe your collection in one sentence? Our collection is inspired by the rude boys, a Jamaican street culture in the ‘60s, and the transition from ska (Jamaican music) to England, which happened at the end of the ‘70s. Where did you find the inspiration for your current collection?

Bound Amsterdam, AFWS17. Photo: Peter Stigter

We already got inspired when we were still working on our previous collection. During a conversation

What is the most special item from your

focus on established designers, but Iris really gave

with Safi Graauw, creative director of These Cave-


designers like us a great opportunity to show our

men (a creative film collective) we noticed that we

The jumpsuit.

label to a larger public.

Therefore, we decided to partner up in the form of

Which designers inspire you?

What do you dislike about the fashion world?

a documentary and a fashion collection.

Yohji Yamamoto, Raf Simons and Gosha Rubchin-

Fast fashion, exploitation, and child labour: we re-


fuse to be associated with any of those things. We

had similar ideas on the Jamaican subculture.

work together with factories that are carefully se-

If you had to sum up your collection in one piece, what would it be?

Is Amsterdam a good platform for a designer?

lected in Italy and handle everything ethically when

Our double-breasted pin-stripe suit, a piece that

The current FashionWeek platform, created by

it comes to employees and workplaces.

was frequently worn by the Rude Boys, which we

creative director Iris Ruisch, puts the focus much

gave our own modern spin.

more on young talent. Before there was a bigger


she looks strong and at her best. The pantsuit has

Dutch designer Saskia ter Welle designs women’s

just the right number of beads and sequins, mak-

clothing, specialising in haute couture embroidery.

ing the wearer the brightest person in the room, always within the boundaries of modesty.

How would you describe your collection in one sentence?

What is the most special piece from the

My collection is a diary for the strong woman: an


item for every time of the day, characterised by

The winter-white dress with beanie.

simple lines and exclusive embroidery – always looking for an edge and luxury without it becoming

Which designers inspire you?


Coco Chanel’s life was incredibly inspiring. She influenced women’s lives by designing clothes

Where did you find the inspiration for your

without the eternal corset, made of supple ‘men’s’

current collection?

fabrics, hereby choosing for comfort without losing

My collection developed around the riches of

any femininity. And Christian Dior is also an inspira-

haute couture embroidery. I was looking for ways

tion – he had a remarkable life.

to show its diversity via a Dutch interpretation of French luxury.

Is Amsterdam a good platform for a designer? Amsterdam FashionWeek is a great platform to

If you had to sum up your collection in one

present my collection: all of the Netherlands’ fash-

piece, what would it be?

ionistas will be there, under the eye of the press. A

The essence of the collection can best be summa-

great combination.

rised in the pantsuit. The simple yet special lines will give the wearer a confidence boost, knowing

Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  9

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Desirable Designs


Get fresh 2017 has arrived! And what better way to start the year than by giving your home a new, edgy makeover? Be inspired by these desirable designs. TEXT: ELLA PUT | PRESS PHOTOS

4. The smell of home…


The motto of Belgian-based brand Spaas is ‘to light up your life’. Their new collection ‘moments of life’, features delicious scents including spearmint, mandarin and exotic fruits. Prices from €6

2. On a journey with Journuit

1. 1. Home is where the light is

Belgian-based family business Delta Light has been known to create eye-catching light solutions with its elegant designs. This beautiful METRONOME lamp is a perfect example of that. Ideal for any kitchen or bathroom. Price on request


This beautiful sofa is the result of a challenging project, which succeeded in combining the elegant design of an industrial interior with the comfort of a cosy futon. The size, colour and shape of this lounge sofa can be adapted to your own wishes. €1,090

3. Iconic Ykoon

The Fokus table by young Belgian design brand Ykoon represents the brand at its best: elegant design with an honest story. Characterised by its sharp lines, the table is available in solid oak, walnut, teak or clear lacquer finish. Price on request

4. 5. A clean home is a happy home

January is certainly coat weather, so what better time to invest in a new coat rack? This iconic one was designed by the late Jules Wabbes, one of the main representatives of Belgian Design in the 1950s until the 1970s. Price on request


10  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

Photo: Marie Charlotte Pezã


A Dutch winter wonderland What is better than Amsterdam in the summer? Amsterdam in the winter! With its world-class museums, cosy cafés and beautiful boutiques, it is a treat to escape the cold and head indoors. But do not forget to take a long stroll along the canals and explore the city’s landmarks. Accompanied by an icy blue sky - and maybe even snow - Amsterdam has the perfect décor for a magical winter wonderland. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: AMSTERDAM MARKETING

Photo: Frank Karssing

Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  11

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  The Ultimate Winter Destination

Photo: Cris Toala Olivares

Winter beauty Amsterdam’s winter beauty kicks off near the city’s Central Station. The Beurspassage, which forms the passage between the Damrak avenue and the street of Nieuwendijk, is transformed into a beautiful piece of art in December. The stunning work features an Italian glass mosaic of 450 square metres, containing images of everything that makes the canal waters of Amsterdam so special. Look out for the luminous sculptures you can find everywhere in the city that are part of the annual Light Festival, which illuminates Amsterdam’s landmarks, canals, and public spaces. You do not have to go far to find some artistic magic in Amsterdam. After braving the cold, we understand you might want to warm up in a ‘gezellige’ (cosy) pub or snug restaurant. Visiting Amsterdam in winter means you must order at least one Dutch delight such as apple pie, pea soup, oliebollen (the Dutch version of doughnuts), or the Neth12  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

Photo: Janus van den Eijnden

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  The Ultimate Winter Destination

erlands’ famous ‘stamppot’ (potatoes mashed with vegetables or fruits). If you are looking to dance off all those delicious and filling winter meals, head off to one of the fantastic hotel bars on offer in the city. Being a relatively new concept in the Netherlands, Amsterdam shows that hotels are not just for sleeping, but also offer a dazzling nightlife option.

Let it freeze It is one of the most anticipated winter issues in the Netherlands: will temperatures drop enough to create those fabulous ice rinks on the canals? Luckily in Amsterdam, you can go ice skating even when temperatures stay above freezing point. ICE*Amsterdam presents a unique ice skating experience on Amsterdam’s Museumplein (Museum Square), with the Rijksmuseum as a phenomenal background, and runs until 5 February.

Photo: Koen Smilde

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 96-hour card.

The Museumplein is also the perfect starting point for your cultural tour through Amsterdam, with the city’s museums offering exciting exhibitions during winter. Curious to see Amsterdam’s wintery skyline? A beautiful view will be your reward when you take on the cold on the rooftop at the NEMO Science Museum. For cultural highlights in Amsterdam, go to page 14 For great places to stay in Amsterdam, go to page 22 Photo: Marie Charlotte Pezã

DO NOT MISS: Photo: Marie Charlotte Pezã

- Paradiso Choir Days – Originally a church, now a modern-day pop temple: Amsterdam’s Paradiso is one of the city’s most precious venues. Each year it transforms to a haven for every type of choir. Hallelujah! 14 – 15 January - Whisky Weekend Amsterdam – Love whisky? Then do not miss Amsterdam’s most delicious weekend, when the city’s Posthoornkerk is turned into a magic whisky-tasting room. 20 – 21 January - Chinese New Year – The Chinese New Year is celebrated in Amsterdam as well as all over the world. It marks the beginning of the new lunar year. The annual festival near the Nieuwmarkt has it all: great oriental food, fireworks, and of course the famous dragon dances. 28 January - Amsterdam FashionWeek – For such a small country, the Netherlands has an impressive fashion landscape. During this week in January, new and established fashion design talents take over the capital with their newest collections. 26 – 29 January

Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  13

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  The Ultimate Winter Destination

NEMO Science Museum. Photo: Philipp Benedikt


Top art and culture spots From the grand Royal Palace to the futuristic NEMO Science Museum, Amsterdam is bursting with cultural attractions to suit all tastes. From theatre to art via history and cinema, we present the cultural delights of the Dutch capital. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: AMSTERDAM MARKETING

The Royal Palace Amsterdam. Photo: Wim Ruigrok

DO NOT MISS: Music at Home at the Rijksmuseum Until 26 February A fascinating overview of musical instruments for performances in the home, including violins, harps, mandolins and much more. Jean Tinguely - Machine Spectacle at the Stedelijk Until 5 March A retrospective of the Swiss artist Jean Tinguely, who is famous for his playful and bold kinetic art. ‘Allo ‘Allo! at Mike’s Badhuistheater 16 February - 5 March Look out for the return of last year’s sell-out comedy ‘Allo ‘Allo! at Mike’s Badhuistheater, an independent community theatre housed in a former bathhouse in the centre of Boerhaaveplein Square. Béla Tarr, Till the End of the World at EYE Film Museum 21 January - 7 May Exploring the oeuvre of Hungarian filmmaker Béla Tarr, considered one of the most influential auteurs of the past 30 years. Drive | 100 years of collecting at Het Scheepvaartmuseum Until 2 July Bringing together 350 fascinating maritime objects, Drive explores the art of collecting.

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Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  The Ultimate Winter Destination

Rembrandt van Rijn, The Night Watch, 1642.

Photo: John Lewis Marshal


A journey through time The Rijksmuseum is the national museum of the Netherlands. Here, you will find the finest masterpieces and most exciting stories. A total of 8,000 treasures spread over 80 galleries tell the story of 800 years of Dutch art and history, from the Middle Ages to the present day. Crowd favourites from the Golden Age include works by Johannes Vermeer, Frans Hals, Jan Steen and the world-famous The Night Watch by Rembrandt van Rijn. After the Rijksmuseum’s ten-year renovation, both the building and the presentation of works were totally transformed. Expect surprising furnishings, beautiful exhibitions and numerous facilities for young and old. The story of the Netherlands is placed in an international context at the Rijksmuseum and is told in chronological order through many objects such as paintings, drawings, photographs, silver, delftware, furniture and costumes. More than 30 galleries are dedicated to the glory of the Golden Age, when the young mercantile republic led the world in trade, science, shipping and arts. The Gallery of Honour forms the heart of the museum, displaying world-famous masterpieces, and leads visitors to the lav-

ishly decorated space that the architect Cuypers designed for The Night Watch in the late 19th century. There, you can admire this magnificent masterpiece.

the original garden features, as well as fragments and ornaments from historical buildings and classical statues.

The home of Rembrandt and Vermeer One of the most celebrated 17th century artists is Rembrandt van Rijn. The Rijksmuseum boasts the largest collection of his paintings on public display, including The Jewish Bride and the magnificent Portraits of Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit. From the artist’s early works, such as a small, fine-lined selfportrait, to his large group portraits from the period when he was most in demand, you can admire a whole range of his paintings and etchings. Another Dutch master, Johannes Vermeer, took a simple everyday activity and made it the subject of this world-famous masterpiece: The Milkmaid. The woman stands like a statue in a brightly lit room. Apart from a stream of milk, everything else is still.

The outdoor gallery

Based on a 1901 plan by Pierre Cuypers, the Rijksmuseum Gardens were designed by Dutch garden and landscape architects Copijn. They are home to some of

Johannes Vermeer, The Milkmaid, c. 1660.

The Rijksmuseum is open daily from 9am to 5pm. The Rijksmuseum Gardens, Rijks Shop and Café are open to visitors without a ticket from 9am to 6pm. Rijksmuseum, Museumstraat 1, Amsterdam Adult tickets: €17.50. Under 18s: Free

Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  15

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  The Ultimate Winter Destination


Located in the heart of the Dutch capital, the magnificent Royal Palace Amsterdam is not only one of the Netherlands’ most famous historical buildings, it is the only palace in the country that is both in active use and available for the public to visit. So, when the Dutch Royal Family are not entertaining guests here, visitors can come and walk in the footsteps of royalty, discovering an enchanting collection of artworks and furnishings along the way. The Royal Palace was initially built in the Dutch Classicist style to serve as the Town Hall of the City of Amsterdam. It was completed in the mid-17th century, during the Dutch Golden Age, when Amsterdam was enjoying great prosperity. For a long peri16  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

od, it was the largest administrative building in Europe. Due to its sumptuousness, the building even went on to be a contender as the Eighth Wonder of the World, although it took over 150 years to have its first ‘royal’ inhabitants. This happened in 1808 when King Louis I, brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, decided to convert it into a royal palace. He instituted a few changes in the palace, such as the beautiful chandeliers that can be found through the whole building. Much of the interior today still dates from the time of his reign.

Art throughout the ages From the original collection of stunning 17th century paintings and sculptures, to the furniture, clocks and chandeliers collection amassed by King Louis I, entering

the palace is like walking into history, with a wealth of art and objects from across the ages to admire. Once you have climbed up the stairs on the inside, the enormous central hall awaits you. On the floor – all marble, of course – you can see maps of both the western and eastern hemisphere representing the Dutch trading business, while the arches above the gangways show beautifully detailed sculptures. This is the work of Artus Quellinus, a Belgian sculptor who was considered the best of his generation. While looking at a sculpture of Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt, you will understand why. Diana’s sculpture is brilliantly decorated with all kinds of things related to hunting, such

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  The Ultimate Winter Destination

as lobsters, fishing nets (typically Dutch) and other details that seem to have been thought out perfectly.

tures of, for example, Diana, or Venus and Mars, but also the pillars and other intricate details on the inside.

Art aficionados will adore the paintings in the many rooms the palace houses. A highlight is the Insurance Chamber, where the story of Theseus and Ariadne is portrayed. When Theseus had to enter a labyrinth to fight the feared Minotaur in order to free Ariadne, she handed him a ball of thread. This was meant as some kind of ‘insurance’ for him, so he would be able to get out of the labyrinth safely. Lesserknown Dutch artist Willem Strijcker’s painting depicting the scene fits perfectly in this room.

A living palace

While walking through the palace, the many parallels with Greek and Roman history become apparent. Not just the sculp-

As well as hosting state visits and royal weddings, there are award ceremonies held here like the Erasmus Prize and the

History continues to be written at the Royal Palace to this day. The beds on display are still regularly being slept in and the tables are dined at by important guests from around the world. These days, the Royal Family mainly use the palace to receive their guests, such as the Belgian King and Queen, who were invited by King Willem-Alexander last November. The palace was also used during King WillemAlexander’s inauguration as the Dutch head of state in 2013.

Prince Claus Award. During state visits, all floors of the palace are used, while more than 100 staff members make sure that everything goes smoothly. The palace normally reopens to the public the day after an event has taken place and, thanks to this, it is open the majority of the time, around 60 per cent of the year. VISIT THE ROYAL PALACE AMSTERDAM: Come and discover the Royal Palace’s rich history and magnificent interior. Entrance to the palace includes a free audio guide available in eight different languages. The Royal Palace is open for visitors most of the year. However, please check via the website to ensure that it will be open to the public on your desired day. Opening hours: 10am-5pm

Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  17

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  The Ultimate Winter Destination Mondriaan.

Stedelijk Museum building.

Work by Gerrit Rietveld and Ellsworth Kelly.



It was the year 1917 when Christian Emil Marie Küpper – better known as the Dutch painter, writer and poet Theo van Doesburg – decided to start a new artistic movement: De Stijl. Exactly 100 years later, its influence is still massive and can be recognised in many contemporary compositions. Enough reason for the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam to pay homage to this abstract style. While walking through the impressive collection with Bart Rutten, head of collections, he explains the importance and urgency of this exhibition. “There are many museums that will be referring to De Stijl this year and we wanted to present the world with a specific angle: the influence that the movement had and still has on other artists - all based on our own collection,” he smiles. No wonder that the Stedelijk is paying a great deal of attention to De Stijl’s anniversary, its collection is one of the largest in the world. 18  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

It is amazing to see how carefully this exhibition has been set up. The route does not only include a range of works that are very characteristic of De Stijl, but also displays unexpected connections such as Bas Jan Ader and the Icelandic artist Sigurdur Gudmundsson, who started experiencing with diagonals. This shows that De Stijl’s influence went way beyond the Dutch borders, something that the Stedelijk wants to show as well.

considered [Piet] Mondriaan as his inspiration.”

Walking into the gallery, we are immediately confronted with one of De Stijl’s most famous works: Gerrit Rietveld’s Red and Blue Chair. Rutten: “Instead of placing it just on the ground, we decided to put it on a mound. That way it can be viewed at eye level, as a sculpture.” Another piece that the Stedelijk is proud of is Roy Lichtenstein’s Pop Art work As I Opened Fire. “This is one of the icons of our collection,” Rutten says. “And given the primary colours, you can see that he

Want to see it for yourself? De Stijl at the Stedelijk can be visited until 21 May.

Although Lichtenstein is not the first artist to come to mind when thinking of De Stijl, his way of working certainly had some common ground. Rutten: “Actually, De Stijl’s claim on primary colours – red, blue and yellow - has made it inevitable that every piece of art made with these colours has something to do with this art movement.” Roy Lichtenstein.

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  The Ultimate Winter Destination


Have you ever wondered what kissing might do to you? How lightning arises? Or how clean drinking water is produced? You can find out the answers to these and more at the NEMO Science Museum in Amsterdam, one of the only museums in the world where you are allowed to touch all exhibited objects. It is a striking image: the enormous sea-coloured building that houses the NEMO Science Museum rises high above Amsterdam’s skyline. Situated just a stone’s throw away from the vibrant city centre, visitors of all ages and all over the world can immerse themselves in actual laboratories, scientific workshops and quirky experiments to learn more about science and technology. Rather than just providing its visitors with information, NEMO stimulates their curiosity by letting them participate in several workshops or experiments. “We are not a museum that just provides information, we want to stimulate our visitors to ask

themselves questions about science and technology, it can be fun and exciting for everyone,” says Jasper Ongkiehong from NEMO’s marketing and communication department. To make science and technology interesting for everyone, the museum offers a diverse and wide range of permanent and interactive collections on topics varying from water, to puberty, to lightning. At NEMO, you can cycle into the universe, be a professor for a few hours, or lock yourself in a bubble of soap.

At NEMO’s recently opened Innovation Gallery, a range of iconic devices from the museum’s historical technology collection is on display to give visitors a great impression of technological progress and developments throughout the years. Curious to see what the world’s first batteries or mobile phones looked like? You will find this answer (along with many, many others) at NEMO.

To unravel the world of technology, head off to the renewed Technium floor. Here you can explore the power of water, find out all about water treatment and flooding prevention in the Netherlands, and see with your own eyes how our water becomes drinkable. An extraordinary and unmissable stop is The Machine, an installation that explores the fascinating world behind web shops and the chain of events that is set in motion when you place an online order. Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  19

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  The Ultimate Winter Destination

Photo: Maarten Noordijk

Photo: Rene den Engelsman


Enter into the world of cinema TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA  |  PHOTOS: EYE FILMMUSEUM

When your train arrives at Amsterdam Central Station, be sure to look across the waters of the River IJ. What you will see is a true eye catcher. A spectacular architectural building that is just as special on the inside as it is on the outside. This is film museum EYE: comprising four different screening rooms and a 1,200-square-metre space showcasing changing exhibitions on the subject of film and contemporary arts. “In the most extensive meaning of the word, we specialise in film, photography and visual arts,” explains publicity manager Marnix van Wijk. At the EYE Filmmuseum you will have a truly unique experience. The permanent exhibition illustrates the history of film based on the technological developments. “This happened way faster than in any other form of art. In just 120 years we have gone from the camera obscura to shooting your own film and watching films on your iPhone. We show this devel20  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

opment by displaying all sorts of devices used over the years.” It is not just film’s technical aspects that are explored. Next door, you will find a room showing scenes from different genres of films. “Rebel Without a Cause, Shrek, Ben-Hur; this is the history of film in a nutshell. It is fun for young and old to browse through the history of film in this playful way. Also, on Sundays we have special screenings for parents and infants where little ones can walk around during the movie.”

animation. In 2017 we will host the exhibition with the collection of Martin Scorsese including storyboards, backstage photos and personal documents.” Even if you are not a hardcore cinephile, EYE is a fun place to check out for a cup of coffee or to enjoy lunch with a view. Do not miss the EYE shop, which earned a place in the top ten museum shops worldwide by The Guardian. Be sure to take the ferry across the river, it will be worth your while.

Expectations were high when EYE moved from an ancient building in the Vondelpark to this hypermodern building in the north of the city in 2012. Those expectations were undoubtedly met, as proved by all the positive reactions from the public. “Definitely! EYE is an enrichment for Amsterdam as a city, but also for the Netherlands in general. There’s no place elsewhere in the country where there’s a platform for the art of film, from editing to

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  The Ultimate Winter Destination

Exploring the art of collecting

Photo: Mike Bink


Where in Amsterdam will you find a life jacket from the notorious Costa Concordia cruise ship, a 17th-century letter signed by the famous admiral Michiel de Ruyter, an 1898 masterpiece by marine painter Hendrik Willem Mesdag and a globe from 1613? All these unique items can be found at the National Maritime Museum’s current exhibition, Drive | 100 years of collecting. Bringing together 350 fascinating maritime objects from Het Scheepvaartmuseum’s 100-year-old collection, Drive explores the art of collecting. Each gallery looks at collecting from a different perspective, helping us to understand why people become collectors. The exhibition adopts four different perspectives; gallery one has the theme ‘flaunting and tempting’, looking at what our possessions say about our identity. Gallery two is all about ‘the universe within reach’ and examines humans’ desire to collect souvenirs. Entitled ‘striving for

completeness’, gallery three looks at collectors with ‘hoarding’ tendencies, while the fourth gallery is centred around ‘immortality’ and explores the legacy left behind by collectors. A major exhibition highlight is Dutch maritime painter Reinier Nooms’ masterpiece Gezicht op het IJ met ’s Lands Zeemagazijn (View of the River IJ with The Arsenal). Going on display for the first time, the 1664 painting portrays warships on the water in front of the building that is now home to Het Scheepvaartmuseum. Founded in 1916, Het Scheepvaartmuseum began as a private initiative to preserve the Netherlands’ maritime history for future generations. “We are proud to now unveil this collection’s history and to give credit to those who have contributed to the collection,” enthuses museum director Michael Huijser. Drive | 100 years of collecting runs until 2 July.

Reinier Nooms’ View of the River IJ with The Arsenal. Photo: Mike Bink

M I K E ’ S B A D H U I S T H E AT E R :

Where culture is always multicultural At Mike’s Badhuistheater in Amsterdam East, performances with an international perspective take centre stage. Housed in a former bathhouse in the centre of Boerhaaveplein Square, this independent community theatre is helmed by English-born actor Michael Manicardi. An honorary Amsterdammer since 1978, Manicardi first fell in love with the Dutch capital while touring the Netherlands with a successful theatre company. “In the 1970s and ‘80s, Amsterdam was such a melting pot of European culture just like Paris after the Second World War. It was – and still is – a tremendously creative place,” he begins. Manicardi launched Mike’s Badhuistheater in 1985, creating what has become the most important English-speaking theatre in the Netherlands. Comprising 19 actors originating from across the globe, the theatre’s own company puts on six shows per year. The venue also

regularly welcomes external theatre groups, including Dutch companies and those from further afield such as Italy, Spain and the Czech Republic. Perennially popular at Mike’s Badhuistheater is the Shakespeare karaoke show in the English language, which takes place throughout the year on the last two Fridays of the month. Look out for Romeo and Juliet parts one and two this January. Another date for your diary is the return of last year’s sell-out show ‘Allo ‘Allo! between 16 ‘Allo ‘Allo! Photo: David Kopsky


February and 5 March. Following the misadventures of a hopeless French café owner caught between the Gestapo and the Resistance during World War Two, this production in the English language is typically French in its farcical elements. “The initial run was tremendously successful, so we decided to bring it back. On the opening night, we were only two minutes into the show and everyone was already laughing,” recalls Manicardi. Shakespeare Karaoke. Photo: Maarten Toner

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Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  The Ultimate Winter Destination

The business district. Photo: Jannes Linder

The canals. Photo: Emilio Brizzi


Top places to stay Whether you are looking for somewhere slick in the business neighbourhood, a touch of luxury in the charming canal district or an exclusive five-star location in the famous NDSM quarter, be sure to read our guide to the very best places to stay in Amsterdam. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: AMSTERDAM MARKETING

NDSM quarter. Photo: Philipp Benedikt

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Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  The Ultimate Winter Destination

Unique luxury in the heart of Amsterdam TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: LUXURY SUITES AMSTERDAM

Want to feel at home during a luxurious stay in the Dutch capital? Guests at Luxury Suites Amsterdam are given the royal treatment with a surprisingly personal ‘Dutch touch’. In the heart of Amsterdam, situated along one of the most peaceful and exceptional canals in the city, guests can enter the world of Luxury Suites Amsterdam. Dutch-owned, this classicstyle hotel has a contemporary touch and offers its guests a VIP treatment, allowing them to make the most of their stay in Amsterdam. Whether for a business trip or family holiday, you can enjoy the perfect mix of pleasure and luxury.

Just a stone’s throw away from Amsterdam’s famous Dam Square with the Royal Palace and Rembrandtplein square, guests at Luxury Suites Amsterdam will feel like royalty. In a city where hotel rooms are known to be quite small, Luxury Suites really stands out: the smallest suite is 50 square metres. Furthermore, the hotel offers its guests a unique glimpse into Dutch culture, with delicious Dutch appetisers and welcome drinks, not to mention beautiful view over the canals of Amsterdam. This hotel has a loyal following of guests, and regulars can choose their own suites and penthouses.

Bringing a ‘wow’ factor combined with a feeling of home, and the advantage of the welcoming staff’s expertise, the beautiful and uniquely decorated penthouses and suites include kitchens and other extra services. The hotel welcomes guests of all ages and you can count on them to make any necessary arrangements; a tour guide for business groups, nannies for the children, a tour of the nearby diamond factory or a thousand roses to celebrate an anniversary. Everything is possible and everything can be arranged.

Introducing a whole new way of working TEXT: JULIËN L’ORTYE  |  PHOTOS: NOVOTEL AMSTERDAM CITY

The RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre hosts many big, international events throughout the year, so it is no wonder that the hotels in the area are dealing with fierce competition. An unmissable hotel is Novotel Amsterdam City, which is the biggest fourstar hotel in the Benelux. According to their general manager Dirk Beljaarts, this competition is “not a burden, but an opportunity”. Beljaarts was appointed as the new general manager about two and a half years ago and he immediately started to introduce some changes. “What I have been working on is one of the main policies of AccorHotels, who own Novotel: getting closer to our guests. We try to connect with them and to stir them by interacting in a very personal way.” To accomplish this, Beljaarts decided to start from the inside. He wanted his personnel to feel warm and comfortable and introduced a whole new way of working. “Instead of following scripts and being

obliged to name the exact same things while checking in, we now approach each guest individually. And, given the size of this hotel, I am really proud that we are able to do so.” Apart from that, the hotel is being renovated completely as we speak, for example with the introduction of the brand new ‘N-room’. Beljaarts: “These are fully loaded and very spacious rooms, with a 55-inch flat screen, USB plugs, Bluetooth speakers and special artwork.” Considering the hotel houses over 600 rooms, you can imagine that it is quite an operation to renovate it, so they decided to spread

it over three years. “Every room is different,” continues Beljaarts. “There is no such thing as a ‘standard room’ anymore.”

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Photo: Nichon Glerum

Private events in a unique setting TEXT: SOFIE COUWENBERGH  |  PHOTOS: CRANE HOTEL FARALDA

Crane Hotel Faralda is not for just anyone. This five-star exclusive location in Amsterdam’s famous NDSM quarter welcomes CEOs, DJs, VIPs and royals for a night in its designer suites or an event with a view of the city, comfortably hidden away from the eyes of those on the ground below. After four years of construction works that started in 2011, owner Edwin Kornmann Rudi turned an old industrial crane into the most unique and talked-about hotel project in the Netherlands.

Luxury and location All this attention is not surprising when you realise Crane Hotel Faralda boasts three exquisite suites of no less than 36 - 40 square metres, equipped with rain showers and located at a height of 30 24  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

50 metres inside the crane. The wind vane allows the crane to very gently turn in the wind, offering guests a different view at any given moment. “Each suite is different and styled by a team of internationally renowned designers,” says Kornmann Rudi. “All interior elements come from our stakeholders, of which there are more than 30.” Add to that the fact that each suite consists of two stories, and the contrast between this luxurious hideaway and the surroundings of the old NDSM shipyard becomes clear. Nowadays, the old NDSM shipyard is a creative hub where free-spirited people attend music events and art gatherings, where innovative entrepreneurs meet to discuss business and where some of the biggest brands in the Netherlands have their headquarters.

“Crane Hotel Faralda has become an iconic landmark in the centre of this industrial yet mystical setting,” Kornmann Rudi says. Everybody knows it and can spot it from afar, but nobody ever knows what happens inside, and that is exactly the Crane Hotel’s strength.

Privacy and exclusivity Aside from three fabulous suites, Crane Hotel Faralda has a panoramic lounge and a spa pool located on the top deck, at no less than 50 metres high. It offers its guests a truly unique view over the River IJ, the water and the rest of Amsterdam. With only one entrance and no way to get in without a special key card and permission, the Crane Hotel offers optimal security and privacy which is something highly sought after by international VIPs and roy-

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  The Ultimate Winter Destination

als. They arrive in Amsterdam by private jet and are brought right to the entrance of the hotel by limousine without ever being seen. The lifts take them straight to their suites from where they can look out over Amsterdam and see all that is happening below without anybody seeing them. A private bodyguard and hostess are even available upon demand. That same privacy and security makes Crane Hotel Faralda a favourite place for movie stars and some of the world’s most famous DJs, such as dance music producer Skrillex. “In such a short amount of time, Crane Hotel Faralda has become an internationally known hotspot for after-parties,” Kornmann Rudi tells us. Only fitting up to 70 people at once, every event at Crane Hotel Faralda is exclusive, but the hotel does offer DJs and other guests the option to live stream their events, giving fans worldwide the chance to feel part of something special. While the panoramic lounge is great for music events, it is also a professionally equipped television studio and the perfect setting for corporate events such as product launches and brand announcements, as well as press conferences. Global brands such as Red Bull, Louis Vuitton and Möet Hennessy have chosen Photo: Nichon Glerum

Crane Hotel Faralda as an event location to share their message with the world, but the Crane Hotel is equally welcoming to companies who want to enjoy the privacy to focus on team-building and brainstorming sessions.

Awards After being open for only a few months, Crane Hotel Faralda was nominated for no less than three European Hospitality Awards in 2015 - Innovation in Service of the Year and Best use of Technology and Hotelier of the Year. A few months later, it won the Dutch Pieter van Vollenhoven Prize for the repurposing of the last standing monumental crane at the NDSM wharf. Needless to say, this place is not just for anyone. Crane Hotel Faralda caters to creative minds, whether they are entrepreneurs, artists, CEOs or royals. It does so at the highest level of the marketplace, yet an experience at Crane Hotel Faralda cannot simply be bought. This place is in high demand and only free spirits open to the excitement and mystique awaiting them at The Crane will be able to call themselves a guest.

Photo: Nichon Glerum

Photo: Tania Davison

Photo: Nichon Glerum

Do you have what it takes? Photo: Liu Kiki

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Discover Benelux  |  Brabant  |  The Perfect Winter Break

Skyline Eindhoven.


Culture, design and stunning landscapes As the birthplace of two of the art world’s most celebrated figures, it is unsurprising that Brabant is home to some of the best museums and galleries in the Netherlands, not to mention some seriously inspiring countryside. From historic towns such as Breda and ’s-Hertogenbosch, to vibrant design hubs including Eindhoven and Tilburg, Brabant is where medieval meets modern. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: VISITBRABANT AND NBTC

De Biesbosch National Park.

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Discover Benelux  |  Brabant  |  The Perfect Winter Break Tower of St. John’s Cathedral.

Kasteel Bouvigne Breda.

An artistic legacy He is one of the most famous artists in the world, but did you know that Brabant is where Vincent Van Gogh called home? The artist was born and grew up in the town of Zundert, and lived in Nuenen from 1883 to 1885. It was during this period that he produced his first masterpiece, The Potato Eaters. Art aficionados must not miss out on a visit to this small village, where you can visit more than 20 different locations all with a story linked to Van Gogh.The Noordbrabants Museum in ‘s-Hertogenbosch houses original works by Van Gogh in The Story of Brabant, which is devoted to the artist and his Brabant period. Recently acquired by the museum was Van Gogh’s exceptional 1885 watercolour, The garden of the vicarage at Nuenen, which will be on display until 19 March. Another great Brabant master is of course Hieronymus Bosch, who was born and

bred in ’s-Hertogenbosch. Be sure to visit the Jheronimus Bosch Art Centre, which explores the life, ideas and works of the 15th-century artist, who was famed for his curious depictions of medieval life. And be quick to catch the Under the Spell of Bosch exhibition at the Noordbrabants Museum in ’s-Hertogenbosch, which will run until 29 January. Bringing together the work of four generations of artists inspired by Hieronymus Bosch, the exhibition is the last in a series of special events organised by the Noordbrabants Museum in honour of last year’s Hieronymus Bosch 500 national event year marking 500 years since Bosch’s death.

Mondrian to Dutch Design This year honours 100 years since the Dutch art movement De Stijl was founded. To celebrate its centenary, an array of special events and exhibitions will be taking place throughout the country. Look out for various festivals and events

in the province of Brabant, with museums in cities including ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Breda, Tilburg and Helmond holding exhibitions inspired by Dutch design. There will also be design tours, giving you the chance to meet designers and see inside their studios. De Stijl (which translates as ‘The Style’) has its roots in the southern city of Leiden, with the foundation of De Stijl magazine by Theo van Doesburg. The publication advocated the theories of artists such as the painter Piet Mondrian, famed for his abstract art and grid-based paintings. De Stijl’s impact extends to realms including architecture and fashion, and the movement continues to influence Dutch designers today.

Natural beauty As well as being home to some of man’s most beautiful works of art, rural Brabant is also a place of astonishing natural Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  27

Discover Benelux  |  Brabant  |  The Perfect Winter Break

beauty. With its attractive river valleys and woods, it is easy to see why so many creatives have been inspired here. A stunning spot whatever the season is De Biesbosch National Park, one of the world’s few remaining freshwater tidal areas. It is an ideal location for boating and canoeing or, if you would prefer to stay on dry land, then why not try fishing, cycling, hiking, or even horse riding. There is also the Biesbosch MuseumEiland, which tells the fascinating story of the Biesbosch. Start planning your trip now at Dutch Design Week Eindhoven.

The Brabant Van Gogh bike route. Photo: Studio Roosegaarde

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY STRP Biennial 24 March - 2 April Held every two years, this pioneering festival combines art, technology and electronic music. Roadburn Festival 20 - 23 April Tilburg’s famous rock music festival, held at the 013 venue in Tilburg. Breda Jazz Festival 25 - 28 May The oldest and largest jazz festival in Europe brings around 175 performances to historical Breda. Graphic Design Festival Breda (GDFB) 22 September - 22 October With a host of exciting exhibitions, talks and tours, this month-long event brings the best of contemporary design to Breda. Dutch Design Week (DDW) 21 - 29 October More than 2,500 designers descend on Eindhoven for an array of exhibitions, lectures, award ceremonies, networking events and debates.

Kazerne Eindhoven. Photo: Ruud Balk

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GLOW Festival 11 - 18 November Artists from across the globe give the city of Eindhoven a colourful makeover, projecting their installations onto the city’s beautiful façades.

Discover Benelux  |  Brabant  |  The Perfect Winter Break

The garden of the vicarage at Nuenen, 1885, Watercolour on paper, 38 x 49 cm, Het Noordbrabants Museum, ’s-Hertogenbosch. Purchased with support from the BankGiro Lottery, the Mondriaan Fund, the VSB Foundation, the Friends of Het Noordbrabants Museum, the Renschdael Art Foundation and Coen Teulings


Born in Noord-Brabant, known by the world: Vincent van Gogh is one the most influential painters of all time. Het Noordbrabants Museum in ‘s-Hertogenbosch offers visitors an extraordinary peek into Van Gogh’s period in Brabant by showing his original works. It is the most important acquisition ever made by Het Noordbrabants Museum: The garden of the vicarage at Nuenen by Vincent van Gogh. This work, painted in 1885, is the last known watercolour Van Gogh produced in the Noord-Brabant town of Nuenen. “Van Gogh lived with his parents in the vicarage of Nuenen for nearly a year and a half,” begins Charles de Mooij, director of the museum. “The garden behind the vicarage was one of his favourite spots – it was an inspiration for many of his works.” The watercolour occupies a special place in Van Gogh’s work. “The work is the only drawing in Nuenen in which he used a lighter

colour palette, different than his normal darker use of colour, making the work an interesting piece in his oeuvre.”

cy of the Netherlands and several works on temporary loan from the Van Gogh Museum.

The purchase of The garden of the vicarage at Nuenen was made possible by the support of the BankGiro Lottery, the Mondriaan Fund, the VSB Foundation, the Friends of Het Noordbrabants Museum, the Renschdael Art Foundation and Coen Teulings. The BankGiro Lottery donated almost half of the total purchase price of over one million euros.

In 2017, Het Noordbrabants Museum will be examining five paintings of Van Gogh from the permanent display by means of radiography and photography. “Van Gogh was known to re-use his canvases with some regularity between 1884 and 1888, so we hope that our research will reveal never-before-seen work of Van Gogh,” De Mooij enthuses. The exhibition Van Gogh Examined (24 June 2017 – 21 January 2018) will present the results of this research.

Het Noordbrabants Museum is the only museum in the southern part of the Netherlands to exhibit original works by Van Gogh. The works are displayed in Het Verhaal van Brabant (The Story of Brabant), a pavilion entirely devoted to Van Gogh and his Brabant period. In addition to the one painting in its possession (Peasant woman digging), Het Noordbrabants museum has, among others, two works on permanent loan from the Cultural Heritage Agen-

The garden of the vicarage at Nuenen will be on display until 19 March 2017. Het Verhaal van Brabant also zooms in on Hieronymus Bosch, another master painter of Brabant origin.

Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  29

Discover Benelux  |  Brabant  |  The Perfect Winter Break Ketelhuisplein. Photo: Cleo Goossens

Cor Unum Ceramics.

TextielMuseum Switch expo. Photo: Josefina Eikenaar/TextielMuseum


For a different experience of the Netherlands, head to Brabant in the south. Cities and museums in Brabant have joined forces to give you a unique glimpse into the world of Dutch Design in 2017. Brabant, officially Noord-Brabant, is one of the 12 Dutch provinces and is located in the south of the country, close to the border with Belgium. Here you will find cute historical inner cities, picturesque villages and beautiful countryside. “Like other destinations, we have everything for visitors here. But what makes our region really outstanding is the fact that we have such a fascinating design culture,” says Frank van den Eijnden, manager at Visit Brabant and director of Van Gogh Brabant. Eindhoven, the largest city in the region, is known as the capital of Dutch design due to the Design Academy Eindhoven and the famous Dutch Design Week event, which takes place in October and attracts 30  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

more than 300,000 visitors. “Our designers are remarkably future oriented,” Van den Eijnden continues. 2017 marks the 100-year anniversary of the foundation of De Stijl, the Dutch art movement counting painter Piet Mondriaan as one of its most famous members. “De Stijl’s drive for innovation has been continued in the past 25 years under the name Dutch Design,” Van den Eijnden explains. “Therefore, cities and museums in Brabant have joined forces to give you a unique glimpse into the world of Dutch Design in 2017, under the national theme ‘From Mondrian to Dutch Design’.” For example, you can visit several extraordinary exhibitions at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the Museum De Pont and the Textile Museum in Tilburg, and the Noordbrabants Museum in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Typically in Brabant, one does not only visit the many quality art museums, but can also experience the

designs and art first hand, for example in the many ‘design labs’, where you can see artists at work and discover tomorrow’s creations. You can take a look behind the scenes in the designer’s studios and see how young talents are shaping the world. Interesting examples are Cor Unum Ceramics in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, TextielLab in Tilburg and Piet Hein Eek in Eindhoven, which is not only an art studio, but also a museum, shop and restaurant.

Discover Benelux  |  Brabant  |  The Perfect Winter Break


For two years of his life, Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) lived in the small village of Nuenen in the south of the Netherlands. Here, you can visit 23 locations with a story connected to the famous Dutch Post-Impressionist painter. Van Gogh lived and worked in Nuenen from 1883 until 1885. These turned out to be some of his most productive years. For example, he painted his first masterpiece, The Potato Eaters, during this time. At the Vincentre museum you can get to know everything about his time in Nuenen. It feels like you are going back and looking through Van Gogh’s eyes. “He lived in many places, such as France, but every time he came back to the province of Brabant to visit his family,” says Frank van den Eijnden, director of Van Gogh Brabant and manager at Visit Brabant. The village is like an open-air museum, where you can visit 23 locations connect-

ed to the painter. There are 14 places that Van Gogh painted or drew, while other locations include statues or buildings with a special meaning. Many of the streets and buildings in Nuenen can be recognised in his paintings, such as the little church that appears in one of the paintings that was stolen in 2002 from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and found back in Italy last September. “A visit to Nuenen is a very nice addition to a visit to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam,” says Van den Eijnden. “You can also buy a combined ticket that includes the bus trip from Amsterdam to Nuenen.” The Noordbrabants Museum in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, a city close to Nuenen, also houses original works by Van Gogh. In Zundert, you can also see Van Gogh House, where the painter was born and his younger brother’s grave.

Gogh bike route, which is 335 kilometres long, was named European bike route of the year in 2016. An extraordinary part of it is the Van Gogh-Roosegaarde bike path between the watermills of Nuenen and Eindhoven, which were painted by Van Gogh. Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde created it with stars that glow in the dark, inspired by Van Gogh’s painting The Starry Night. “Stay the night to admire it,” advises Van den Eijnden. “It is very romantic.” Photo: Studio Roosegaarde

Finally, you can also rent a bike and cycle in Van Gogh’s footsteps. The Brabant Van Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  31

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Exhibition Fringes of Beauty, work Armor by Heringa/Van Kalsbeek.

Designer Samira Boon working at the TextielLab.


‘Come as a visitor, leave as a creator’ TEXT: TEXTIELMUSEUM  |  PHOTOS: JOSEFINA EIKENAAR

The TextielMuseum in Tilburg is more than a museum. Thanks to a combination of inspiring exhibitions, educational programs and a specialist production facility, the TextielLab, this unique attraction is one of a kind. Housed in a former textile factory, the TextielMuseum recounts the history of the textile industry and invites visitors into the worlds of heritage, design, art and fashion. The museum’s ‘beating heart’ and its most special part is the world-famous TextielLab. “Artists, designers, architects and young talents discover, accompanied by experts, the endless possibilities in the fields of yarns, computerised techniques and crafts. The visitor looks over the shoulder of the artist and closely follows the creation process. After that, visitors have the opportunity to create for themselves in one of the workshops or masterclasses,” explains Hebe Verstappen, head of the TextielLab.


By using old and new computer-controlled machines and sharing the knowledge and 32  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

experience of product developers and technical experts, beautiful new products are made. “The craftsmanship of these people is essential – it is something we do not want to be lost. We are keeping the heritage alive, and at the same time are working on innovation,” adds Verstappen. “We want to show everyone that textile manufacturing still truly is a craft,” explains Geertje Jacobs, head of the museum. “That’s why we work together with renowned names in the industry, from architects to designers and studios. Actually, we want everyone to leave as a creator. Each visitor gets an idea of the time and energy it takes to make beautiful textile works. And, during this exploration, you might just run into famous designers such as Viktor&Rolf.”

A tapestry for Holland Boulevard

At Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, passengers can find special work made in the TextielLab, at the Holland Boulevard. NEXT architects designed various ‘living rooms’ for this Boulevard, from which passengers can experience the Dutch

landscape. “A well-known acquaintance of the Lab, designer Samira Boon, designed a 26-metre textile wall for one of the rooms. Technical specialists translated a photograph of a Dutch landscape to a file that could be read by our machines and woven,” explains Verstappen.

The work of Samira Boon made in the TextielLab for the Holland Boulevard at Schiphol.

EXHIBITIONS AT TEXTIELMUSEUM: Fringes of Beauty - Until 28 May Sparkling | Damask and glass from Classic to Art Deco - Until 29 October Switch | Dutch Design on the move - Until 12 March Co-Creation | In the TextielLab - Until 12 March Woollen Blanket Factory 1990-1940 Permanent

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To book a tee time or plan your holiday, visit

Discover Benelux  |  Interview  |  Igone de Jongh


Always on point Having joined the Dutch National Ballet as an aspirant in 1996, it was not long before Igone de Jongh had risen all the way up the ranks. She was promoted to the role of principal dancer in 2003, garnering international acclaim for her exquisite performances in ballets such as Hans van Manen’s Fantasia and John Neumeier’s La Dame aux Camélias. In recent years, De Jongh has also found time to make her mark as a judge on the hugely popular television series Dance, Dance, Dance. As she looks back over two decades at the Netherlands’ most prestigious dance company, Discover Benelux caught up with the darling of Dutch ballet. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER

Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Giselle; these are just a few of the famous ballets that De Jongh has taken lead role in over the years. This spring, she will star in John Cranko’s Onegin, a ballet based on Russian writer Alexander Pushkin’s eponymous 19th-century novel in verse, a dramatic tale exploring love and death. “I’m very excited about that. It’s such a beautiful story,” begins the 37-year-old. “Like a lot of ballerinas, I’ve realised that the older we get, the more interested we are in telling a story. The more dramatic it is, the better.”

An enchanting storyteller

Over the festive season, De Jongh wowed the crowds with her performance in Ted Brandsen’s modern retelling of Coppelia, a version created by the choreographer a decade ago with De Jongh in mind. “To come back to that role ten years later, I approached it in a very different way. It was nice, I found a different way of telling the story and making it a good role,” she explains. De Jongh’s ability to get under the skin of the characters she portrays is just one of the qualities that makes her such an enchanting performer. Her passion for dance is palpable. “I love my profession so much and I always find something to love in a role. Even if the character is very far away from me, 34  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

I find something that interests me or that I focus on,” she adds. We wonder whether De Jongh has a favourite role? For a dancer of such versatility, her response is unsurprising. “No! And thank goodness, because if I had one favourite, I would be so bored.” Musing on dream roles that she is yet to play (Manon would be her first choice), De Jongh concedes that classics such as Swan Lake, Carmen and Romeo and Juliet will always be “very dear” to her. “There are still things that I would like to do, but it’s also very nice to come back to old ones,” she smiles.

Destined for success

De Jongh began dancing at the age of six, having begged her mother for lessons. “I Jewels. Photo: Angela Sterling

really wanted to start earlier but my mum said it would be pointless,” she recalls. “I think in a way she was right. When you’re so young you don’t really do ballet, you’re just sort of running around. I was doing lots of other things so she was like ‘okay, let’s see if in a few years you’re still really excited about it, then you can do it’. So then I started aged six.” Back then, she could never have imagined she would go on to become the most celebrated ballerina of her generation in the Netherlands. De Jongh has a long list of awards to her name, and in October last year was awarded the 2016 Golden Swan for her contribution to Dutch dance at the opening of the Dutch Dance Festival in Maastricht. “I was very happy with the prize. It’s nice to get those kinds of rewards for all your

Discover Benelux | Interview  |  Igone de Jongh


Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  35

Discover Benelux  |  Interview  |  Igone de Jongh


36  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Interview  |  Igone de Jongh

hard work - but I’m not somebody who is very focused on that, to be honest. It means much more to me that I have people buying tickets to come and see me.”

No limits

Growing up, De Jongh was inspired by legendary Dutch ballerina Alexandra Radius, who she says helped her a great deal in terms of guidance and motivation. “I don’t think people realise now how hard you have to work, and how worthwhile it is to work so hard,” she explains. “Sometimes you need to not think too much about being tired. The work needs to be done and there is no limit to working hard, especially in ballet.” These days, it is De Jongh herself who is a role model for aspiring dancers. “I take that role very seriously,” she affirms. “I think it’s very important for kids to have somebody to look up to. I guess I started realising that more and more when I became a mother, because you see things more through the eyes of children.”

Proud mamma

It was 2010 when De Jongh and her partner Mathieu Gremillet, a former soloist Replay. Photo: Angela Sterling

with the Dutch National Ballet, welcomed their son Hugo into the world. Is he a little ballet star in the making, we wonder? De Jongh is not so sure. Her aforementioned performance in Coppelia, a ballet renowned for being popular with children and adults alike, did not initially pique Hugo’s interest. “I said, ‘do you want to come and see me dance in Coppelia?’ and he said ‘well… are there any animals in it?’ and I said ‘no’ and he said ‘no, then forget about it’. So, he’s not so interested!” she laughs. “I think he’s more proud of me being on television. It’s easier for him to relate to.”

Dirty Dancing

De Jongh’s television career really took off in the autumn of 2015, when she joined the hit reality show Dance, Dance, Dance as a member of the judging panel. The programme sees celebrities compete with one another as they recreate famous dance routines from the movies and iconic music videos. When asked if there is a particular routine that she would like to recreate herself, De Jongh chose Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze’s famous routine to the song (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life from 1987 film Dirty Dancing. “I love that Paquita. Photo: Angela Sterling

movie and I think that would be really cool to do,” she enthuses. De Jongh has a few famous music videos on her mind, too. “I would also want to do some Janet Jackson or Madonna.”

The world is a stage

It is safe to say De Jongh has the moves to take on the Queen of Pop, but does she have the vocals too? “I really cannot sing!” she laughs. When asked what she would have been if she had not been a dancer, De Jongh really cannot imagine her life not involving the theatre in some way. “An actress is the first thing that comes to mind,” she begins. “I would still have liked to do something involving performing and being in the theatre. Ballet involves a type of acting, just in a different way.” Given that De Jongh has already proven herself as a natural in front of the camera, as well as on stage, we wonder whether an acting career could still be on the cards? “It’s something that I’m not saying ‘no’ to. I’m thinking about it,” she admits. But you can breathe a sigh of relief, as this prima ballerina does not have any plans to hang up her ballet shoes just yet. “I’ll still be dancing for a while!” La Dame aux Camélias. Photo: Angela Sterling

Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  37

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Profiles


The companies you need to know in Belgium and Luxembourg In addition to our regular business features and company profiles, we out the spotlight on Belgium’s most successful start-ups. Plus, do not miss our interview with Camille Thommes, director general of the Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry (ALFI). TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTO: DREAMSTIME.COM

38  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Profiles

Happy Flights, page 40

Successful Belgian start-ups Belgium is brimming with talent when it comes to unique start-ups, so we decided it was time to showcase some of the country’s most exciting innovators.

Amicimi, page 42

Camille Thommes interview, page 44

Playing a fundamental role in entrepreneurship is the agency Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen (Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship). This government agency encourages and supports innovation, contributing to the booming business climate. Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen helps new firms get their feet off the ground in Belgium’s Dutch-speaking region, offering support when it comes to financing, as well as providing information on topics ranging from permits to locations and ecological technologies. For more information, visit: Meanwhile, read about these inspiring Belgian start-ups: Happy Flights, page 40 Nazka Mapps, page 42 Amicimi, page 42

BUSINESS PROFILES, LUXEMBOURG Engelwood, page 46 Boson energy, page 47 BUSINESS PROFILES, BELGIUM Ryhove, page 48 Van Hoorebeke Advocaten, page 49

The team at Nazka Mapps, page 42

Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  39

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Successful Belgian Start-Ups

Passengers made happy with compensation TEXT: THESSA LAGEMAN  |  PHOTOS: HAPPY FLIGHTS

Did you know that when your flight is cancelled, or you have a delay, you may be eligible for compensation? As the legislation is not easy to interpret, Happy Flights can assist you with your claim. “Our mission is to turn your disappointment following a flight problem into a smile, because travelling is... fun!” No more than ten per cent of Europeans know about the possibility of claiming compensation in cases of cancelled flights or major delays, according to a survey by the European Commission. Besides, there are few passengers who have tried to make a claim that have suc40  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

ceeded in getting it. With this in mind, Bram Van Nieuwerburgh, who worked in the aviation sector, and IT professional Steven Willems decided to create an online platform that can easily show whether you can get compensation and immediately claim it. Having founded Happy Flights in Belgium in 2014, it is now a steadily growing start-up consisting of a small team of travel experts, software engineers and claim handlers. The company handles all claims that meet the conditions of the European Union Regulation (EC) No 261/2004, explains pilot in command Peter Van Hende. “This

means flights by any passenger within or from the EU with any airline or to the EU with a European airline.” A claim for financial compensation can be made in four cases, he continues. It might be possible when a flight has been cancelled or if there was at least a three-hour delay at the final destination. When you have been denied boarding for reasons that are not related to the passenger, for example because of an overbooking or when a downgrade took place, you can also make a claim.

Travel insurance Quite often something goes wrong because there are so many flights, explains

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Successful Belgian Start-Ups

external legal counsellor Jeroen De Man. “Around one per cent of the flights in or from Europe or to Europe with a European carrier are either cancelled or have more than a three-hour delay.” Compensation of up to 600 euros can be received. Happy Flights works on a no cure, no pay basis. You pay 25 per cent commission and a 25-euro administrative fee per person, including VAT, if you receive compensation. If you have travel insurance with a company that works with Happy Flights, you will not have to pay any charges. In that case, Happy Flights informs passengers in real time by text message if they are eligible for a compensation and they can click a link to start the process. The message even states the height of the compensation they are likely to receive. Steven Willems, chief flight engineer, is proud of this feature: “Before you get a chance to get aggravated by the delay, you have already received the solution by text message.” At the moment, most customers make use of Happy Flight’s service via their

travel insurance or travel agency, but it is also possible to directly make use of the service via the website. “We have made filling in the form as easy as possible,” Van Hende says.

Complicated legislation Happy Flights cooperates with law firm De Groote - De Man in Ghent, Belgium, to structure and supervise claim handling. “We streamlined the process and made it very easy while always being sure to respect the law to the letter,” says De Man. “As a result, misunderstandings and mistakes are avoided.” Via associated law firms in other countries, the company delivers claim handling and legal operations throughout Europe. Compensation can be claimed up to two years after the flight. “The legislation is not easy to interpret, even for us it’s sometimes complicated,” De Man confesses. But in some cases, you know from the start there is no use in filing a claim. “For example, when you are stuck at the airport in Chicago because of heavy snow, you are not entitled to compensation because this is an example of

a circumstance the airline could not have foreseen.”

Happy customers In 2016 only, more than 5,000 passengers have been made happy with compensation. “That number makes us happy, but the stories behind those numbers make us even happier,” Van Hende smiles: “A few months ago, a couple was travelling to Barcelona to attend a wedding. They missed part of the ceremony because of a massive delay. Thanks to Happy Flights, they received a 500-euro compensation and used the money to buy a present for the newlyweds: a city trip to Brussels.” Right now, most of Happy Flights’ customers come from Belgium and in 2017 the company intends to spread their services to other European countries. Another plan is to eventually handle claims worldwide. In some countries, there is similar legislation as in the EU. “All the positive reactions we receive motivate us to continue,” concludes Van Hende. “We love to make people happy.”

Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  41

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Successful Belgian Start-Ups

Mapping the data Many organisations are looking for a way to showcase and give access to their geographical data streams. At Nazka Mapps they combine those data streams and create smart, interactive maps and locationbased applications. “All your data visible at one glance,” says Han Tambuyzer, co-founder at Nazka Mapps. “We create location-based solutions to showcase your data streams, whether it is about planning and zoning, climate or healthcare. We take all those (geographical) data streams and combine them in one, to present real-time data on interactive smart maps or location-based applications,” explains Tambuyzer. “One of our maps, for instance, combines data on job openings, the companies where the openings are and the accessibility of those companies by car, bike or public transportation.” Instead of someone researching that one step at the time, it is now shown on one interactive smart map. The maps and applications of Nazka Mapps are being used in all kinds of projects that add


value to society. During the Ebola crisis, their maps were integrated in official monitoring systems. Ebola infections on the ground were reported and visualised in real time in the areas of the initial outbreak. Analysts could therefore use this map to anticipate how the spread of the disease would progress. “Our solutions are easy to work with and can be customised to our client’s needs,” tells Tambuyzer. “Our fast-growing and dedicated team works with you to create, analyse and maintain your data streams. We want our maps to help you and communities all over the world.”

You always have a friend in Amicimi TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: AMICIMI

Have you ever felt uncomfortable when alone and felt the need to let somebody know your whereabouts? The Amicimi app does that for you. It can even contact the emergency services, if necessary. “It is your friend in need,” says co-founder Frederic van Quickenborne. “Amicimi is an app on your smartphone that, if needed, can let people know where you are,” explains Van Quickenborne. “You activate it with a remote control. With one push of the remote, it starts the app and, if necessary, alarms security company Securitas. So you don’t have to find your phone first and open it. That is what the remote is for.” It then automatically sends your details and location to an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) and starts a sound recording. When needed, the ARC contacts the emergency services. Another innovative feature of Amicimi is FollowMe. With this, you can let Amicimi con42  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

tact your friends after a certain period of time like, for example, when you should have arrived at your destination. If you are not there and do not answer the check-up call to you, it sends a text to your friends. A practical use for this is checking someone has got home after a night out, as well as being beneficial for travellers in unstable regions. The system can be used anywhere in the world. As long as you have a mobile internet connection, you can use the app. “With Amicimi we want people to feel safe again when they are alone. With it, you will always have a friend with you,” concludes Van Quickenborne.

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Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Camille Thommes


The business interview TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTO: ALFI

44  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Camille Thommes

Luxembourg is the largest investment fund centre in Europe, and a global leader in the cross-border distribution of funds. Founded in 1988, the Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry (ALFI) has the important job of representing the country’s vast investment fund community, and currently represents more than 1,500 Luxembourg domiciled investment funds, asset management companies and related service providers. Discover Benelux caught up with Camille Thommes, director general of ALFI since 2007.

with regards to products but with regards to the legal environment and the regulatory environment. We stay very well attuned to new developments and are quick to implement new market trends. We need to make sure that we are ahead of the curve and not be complacent. We also have to watch our competitors and try to adapt and react, and be proactive as much as possible.

very open economies is how the European landscape or international landscape might evolve. But, generally speaking, the economy is doing fine. Companies are setting up shop here, not only in the financial industry, but also in other sectors. That is reassuring.

What do you see as the main challenges currently facing the investment fund industry?

Firstly, what is it that makes Luxembourg such an attractive international centre for investment funds?

Since the aftermath of the financial crisis back in 2008, the sector at large, not only in Luxembourg, has been faced with a wave of regulatory changes. To put those regulations into practice and also be compliant has put a lot of burden on the industry and generated a lot of costs. Another challenge is that there is also a general competitive landscape. There are other regions around the world that would like to copy the success that Europe has achieved with regards to certain financial products. And a third challenge, which is also an opportunity, is to embrace the impact of technology and the impact that new technologies may have on the asset management industry, not only from a front-office perspective but also regarding the operational model and digitalisation of the sector. We are seeing this happening in other economic sectors. This is something we need to embrace and which needs to be monitored very closely.

It is definitely to increase our promotion levels, to reinforce our efforts in regions where there is a nascent interest. Another objective is obviously to help our members in successfully implementing legislation through providing guidance and recommendations. Thirdly, we would also like to further reinforce the message that we are very well diversified as an industry, and we would like to push responsible investing. We are seeing more and more investors who would like to entrust money to firms that follow some environmental and social governance criteria. And there are a number of initiatives that have been taken by the government or by different stakeholders to try to position Luxembourg as a place where you can invest in products whose objective is to help fight climate change.

There are a couple of elements that play in favour of Luxembourg. The first one is definitely the political, economic and social stability, the fact that the country has an AAA rating, that we have a legal and regulatory framework which is state of the art. We do have longstanding experience in supporting the cross-border distribution business of investment funds, and we also have a state-of-the-art ecosystem with a great variety and diversity of service providers - from legal consultants and depositary banks to administration service providers and asset managers. More generally, we are a multilingual country, we have a long track record of innovation, and also Luxembourg is a great place to live. It sounds a bit arrogant, but there are surveys that have been published in recent years that show that, for workers and for expats, Luxembourg is a safe, family-friendly environment. Another element is that we do have a responsive regulator and we have support from the government when it comes to the development and the promotion of our sector. How can you ensure Luxembourg remains the fund centre of choice for asset managers? We cannot rest on our laurels, that’s for sure. I think we have to continuously follow market trends and developments, not only

What are your hopes for the Luxembourg economy in the next 12 months? At the moment, Luxembourg is in a good place. The GDP (gross domestic product) growth rate has been projected to be about four per cent for 2017. The government has received confirmation from the main rating agencies that the AAA rating is still granted. But there is a willingness to further diversify the economy at large, so to try to be active in other economic sectors. I think the only worry we see here in Luxembourg and in other countries with

And more specifically, tell us about ALFI’s key goals for 2017.

Finally, what is the most important lesson you have learned in your career? There are no magic tools. When I talk to my son, who is 20 years old, or anyone starting their professional career, my advice is definitely to be open minded and curious and to never stop learning. You should always be open to opportunities and challenges. I have changed jobs three times during my life, which to many may seem usual. There are definitely a lot of people who have changed jobs more than me, but I don’t think that should be a qualification in itself. I think the world is such that you have to be open to being flexible and you shouldn’t be afraid of making errors; you can draw lessons from your errors. Personally, I try to be intrigued as much as possible - I have a job that I enjoy. To learn more about ALFI, visit: Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  45

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Luxembourg Business Profile


A truly independent firm for tax, corporate & AIF advisory services TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: ENGELWOOD

Headquartered in Luxembourg and client focused from the inside out, Engelwood is a global firm providing tailored solutions in the fields of tax structuring, corporate implementation, alternative investment funds and corporate finance services. Founded in 2013, this financial, corporate and tax advisory services provider is best described as a ‘one-stop shop’, which is able to leverage on existing expertise by providing a fully integrated solution to its clients. Engelwood’s partners each bring a wealth of expertise and a strong network of contacts from their decades of experience in the alternative investment fund and corporate industry. “Corporate implementation, corporate services, international tax structuring, financial engineering and alternative investment fund structuring - these are the main pillars around which the various services and solutions we offer to our clients are hinged upon,” begins managing partner 46  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

Jean-Pierre Verlaine, who has two decades of experience in the fund and corporate industry. The team at Engelwood is committed to excellence. They are multicultural, proactive and always works closely with clients. These can range from family offices and high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs), to big names from private equity and venture capital firms as well as from the real estate and infrastructure industry, not to mention various corporate and institutional clients. Clients have a wide range of complex requirements within an increasing regulated environment in areas such as financial engineering, tax structuring, investment vehicles implementation and governance. What makes Engelwood stand out is that it is a truly independent company, and the experienced team are accustomed to handling the most complex of cases and the many challenges of the corporate and alternative investment fund industry. Another big advantage is Engelwood’s international network, meaning the team

is able to liaise with multiple jurisdictions, combining a global capacity with local expertise. As financial expert Verlaine points out, Engelwood is a company with a global outlook. The company has a representative office in London’s elegant Mayfair district and will open new representative offices in Frankfurt and New York in 2017. “We move around a lot and our customers are very international,” he concludes. To find out more, visit:

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Luxembourg Business Profile

Boson Energy delivers resilient solutions to create impact and prosperity.


“Let’s look at ‘waste-to-cooling’ as an example. We can address a serious environmental and health problem that crosses generations and borders. We do it with no pollution or residues and we produce Freon-free cooling with the energy from waste. Cooling that critically improves food security, health, and productivity in large parts of the world. By doing this on commercial terms, you do not only have climate resilience, but also operational, financial, environmental and community resilience in one package. That is what we mean by ‘beyond green’.” These are the words of Heike Zatterstrom, chief communications officer at Boson Energy. He speaks from the heart. Boson Energy is the ‘In My Back Yard’ company: it develops distributed utility solutions within energy and waste treatment. Distributed means using multiple smaller local units to avoid transmission, distribution and limit fuel transportation – rather than a few central installations. It means being accepted in the ‘backyard’ of a community – improving local environments and contributing to businesses and communities with utility security, jobs, development and prosperity.

Founded in 2009, Boson Energy began developing cogeneration technology to produce commercial scale power, heat and cooling locally from solid biomass and waste – for local use in industrial processes, hospitals, airports and district heating or cooling networks. Responding to the transformation towards distributed solutions within energy and utilities, Boson Energy is developing a Modular Utility Solutions platform that integrates the best-available utility technology, from both its own development and partners – to deliver power, heat, cooling, water, storage and mobility. Boson aspires to create a positive impact in developing markets globally – be it remote islands, growing mega cities in Africa, or rural India.

makes business sense. “Our customers won’t necessarily have the background to finance utility hardware. This creates an opportunity to deliver ‘performance over lifecycle’, rather than ‘selling stuff’,” says Zatterstrom. That will allow Boson to engineer in completely different ways. “We’re not engineering for ‘guarantee time plus two months’, we’re engineering for life – and the difference is profound.” There is still availability for financers interested in growing portfolios that will deliver resilient impact and value to customers – and generate steady cash flows for 20-30 years at no cost to health, the environment and future generations.

“The waste to cooling example shows the opportunities for integration. Demand for cold is rising exponentially and in 30 years people globally will use more energy for cooling than heating. And weak infrastructure is challenged already today,” explains Zatterstrom. As part of ‘beyond green’ Boson Energy is also going ‘full circular’ because it

Heike Zatterstrom

Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  47

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Belgian Business Profile

A workplace of respect and integrity TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: RYHOVE

Creating an environment where employees feel safe, valued, and independent. For over 50 years, social work place Ryhove in Ghent has done just that. Ryhove employs people with physical or mental disabilities, offering them a safe, structured, and sociable working environment. Rather than producing its own products, the Belgian company employs people to conduct projects for thirdparty organisations. Its services can roughly be divided into the packaging of food, the packaging of non-food, and graphic work such as bookbinding. In addition, Ryhove has a specialised department for the assembling of lighting and fittings, and has employees working on location in cases where a business is dealing with an acute shortage of manpower. Currently, Ryhove counts approximately 330 employees and 70 supervisors. At Ryhove, it is the employee that is the centre of the business, not the employer. “It can be challenging for people with physical or mental disabilities to find a job 48  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

that suits them,” begins director Peter Leyman. “With us, they find the sociable contacts and the structure they need, while maintaining a valuable connection with society.” Ryhove is a non-profit organisation that is partly subsidised by the Belgian government. “Our main aim is, unlike companies in the regular economy, to offer people an environment where they are valued - not to make profit. That leaves room for an approach where we work starting for an employee’s point of view,” Leyman asserts. Initiatives in aid of people with disabilities are frequently supported, such as the current ‘Rode Neuzen Dag’ (Red Nose Day), a charity event aiming to break the taboo around young people who have mental health problems. “The idea to support that initiative was actually proposed by one of our own employees,” Leyman says proudly. Ryhove has a remarkably low turnover of employees. “People feel at home here and truly enjoy coming to work,” says Leyman.

“I always say this: at a regular company, there is work to do, and from that thought people are hired. At Ryhove it is the other way around: we first have our people, and find work that suits them. It is actually no wonder that people love to work here.” Peter Leyman

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Belgian Business Profile & Column

A partner in law When you do business on an international level, you have to deal with corporate and international laws. So you want an expert who can help you navigate them. Van Hoorebeke Lawyers in Ghent is your long-lasting partner and adviser for these kinds of matters. Van Hoorebeke specialises in corporate law and international law. With offices in Ghent, Belgium and Minsk, Belarus, they are active in all parts of Europe, Russia and other CIScountries. “A lot of our clients deal with international rules and regulations, for instance due to transport and export,” explains Karel Van Hoorebeke, founding partner at Van Hoorebeke Lawyers. “Together we make sure that everything is according to the law.” They also specialise in European Union law. “We help clients who are established outside the European Union to start a business activity in Belgium or another European Union member state.”


“We are a smaller law firm, but that gives us the opportunity to work very closely with our clients and help them wherever we can,” adds Jeroom Joos, a partner at Van Hoorebeke. “Because of our close relationship with our clients, they contact us in the early stages, so we can actively respond to any matter. This prevents lengthy procedures and complex battles.”

Karel Van Hoorebeke.

Sign up to truth Would you want a boss who was contradictory, divisive, erratic, fickle, inconsistent, misogynistic, opportunistic, and unpredictable and xenophobic? The above words are just some of those used to describe political figures this year. Some people have nightmares. A Japanese academic once told me he had daymares. So please forgive me if I dedicate this month’s business communication column to a plea for good ethical practice in the workplace, as well as in our wider society. No, you would not want a boss with qualities like those listed above, certainly not masters of post-truth. ‘Post-truth’ is Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year for 2016, defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’. Post-truth is about lying to get what you want. A leader or boss could tell people what they wanted to hear even if the message had no basis in fact. Is this good management prac-

tice? Donald Trump’s victory in the elections this year, for example, could be also derived from the high level of national recognition he achieved on The Apprentice. In the UK, the former Labour Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has taken this lesson to heart by raising his public profile on Strictly Come Dancing. French Presidential contender François Fillon has done well on the French version of Top Gear. No doubt we shall see more aspiring politicians trying not to look foolish alongside C-listers on daft reality TV shows in the future. Is this good training for future servant leaders? I share the concern about the rise of illiberalism, and yet the Brexit and Trump votes also derive from the left-behinds’ sense of unfairness at the growing inequalities in our society. Voters – like employees - want to be treated fairly. When they are not, it is hardly surprising if some turn nasty and submit to the appeal of demagoguery. We need to be clear about our own commitment. Let us applaud and encourage managers and parents who stand for the truth. Let us combat post-truth and support values like fair-

Because Van Hoorebeke Lawyers work so closely with their clients, they create open and enduring relationships with them. “We are just a phone call away. It is that approachability and proactive mindset that makes us a true partner for our clients,” concludes Joos.

Jeroom Joos.


ness in the workplace, and in any other place where we have influence too. Let us get journalists and bloggers to sign up to a truth pledge. Let us hear it for truth.

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:

Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  49

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Calendar


to build better software. You can expect top-quality talks, brainstorming sessions, and workshops.

Jaarbeurs Utrecht.

Fashion Business Conf. 2 February Jaarbeurs, Utrecht This fashion conference targets entrepreneurs from the realms of fashion, beauty, and lifestyle. Whether you own your own brand or are looking to establish one, or if you are a fashion agency or retailer, this event in unmissable.

KM Legal Europe 2017 18 – 19 January Amsterdam, the Netherlands This two-day knowledge management event for law firms allows them to discover how to tweak their current KM strategy to deliver a better service to existing and future clients. Webwinkel Vakdagen 18 – 19 January Utrecht, the Netherlands This will be the 11th edition of the most important e-commerce event in the Benelux. If you are looking for ways to get more out of your online activities and web shop, Webwinkel Vakdagen is the place to be. EEA Law Tutorial: The Interaction between EU Law and EEA Law 19 - 20 January Luxembourg City, Luxembourg This EEA law tutorial allows participants to gain a practical understanding of the interaction between EU and EEA law as 50  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

well as the main principles underpinning EU internal market acquis and its impact on EEA law. Domain Driven Design Europe 31 January – 3 February Amsterdam, the Netherlands Fuel your passion for tackling complexity in the heart of software: this conference sets the perfect scene to discover how others are using domain-driven design

DDD Europe. Photo: Stijn Volders

FOSDEM 4 – 5 February Brussels, Belgium FOSDEM is a free event for software developers to meet, share ideas and collaborate. Every year, thousands of developers of free and open-source software from all over the world gather at this event.

Webwinkel Vakdagen.

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Discover Benelux  |  Lifestyle  |  Calendar

BRAFA. Photo: Emmanuel Crooÿ

Out & About Think January is dark and dull? Think again! A new year means new exciting festivals, wonderful shows and interesting fairs that will make you forget those dreary winter days. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

IMPRO Amsterdam. Photo: Marco Meurs

52  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Lifestyle  |  Calendar

Ghent Winter Festivities Until 8 January Ghent, Belgium Are you still in the holiday spirit? Rush to the Winter Festivities in Ghent to catch some festive entertainment, bargain winter clothing, or delicious Belgian delicacies.

Eurosonic Noorderslag 11 – 14 January Groningen, the Netherlands Eurosonic Noorderslag is an annual fourday music showcase festival and one of the Netherlands’ most renowned music festivals. This year’s line-up lists Blaudzun, Indian Askin, and Jett Rebel, among many others.

National Tulip Day 21 January Amsterdam, the Netherlands A day completely dedicated to one of the Netherlands’ most famous icons, and the official start of tulip season. More info via

IMPRO Amsterdam 21 – 28 January Amsterdam, the Netherlands IMPRO Amsterdam brings the best improvisation players from around the world


to the stage in Amsterdam and inspires both those who are new to improvisation, and experts.

National Tulip Day.

International Film Festival Rotterdam 25 January – 5 February Rotterdam, the Netherlands The International Film Festival Rotterdam defines its unique character by focusing on new, innovative, independent films and filmmakers. The festival is a mixture of cinema, film-related visual art exhibitions and live performances. Eurosonic Noorderslag. Photo: Jorn Baars

Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  53

Discover Benelux  |  Lifestyle  |  Calendar Ghent Winter Festivities.

Atelier Month of January 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!

The Royal Palace Amsterdam Month of January Amsterdam, the Netherlands The past and present collide at the stunning Royal Palace Amsterdam. The imposing 17th century building is certainly a sight to behold, and it is an important witness in the story of the Netherlands as a nation. Today, it is still in use by the Dutch Royal Family. It is the only palace in the Netherlands that is both in active use and

Royal Delft Month of January 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 unique glimpse into this piece of famous Dutch heritage.

BRAFA (Brussels Art Fair) 21 January – 29 January Brussels, Belgium Art aficionados unite: BRAFA is one of the leading European art and antiques fairs. The fair shows an incredibly wide variety of specialties, from antiquity to the 21st century. 54  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

‘t Koffieboontje.

Royal Delft.

open to the public, which allows visitors to literally walk in their footsteps.

‘t Koffieboontje – espressobar Month of January Utrecht, the Netherlands A great cup of coffee is unmissable at any city trip or sightseeing tour. ‘t Koffieboontje is a beautiful coffee shop located at the

Discover Benelux  |  Lifestyle  |  Calendar

Het Scheepvaartmuseum.

Royal Palace Amsterdam.

Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  55

Discover Benelux  |  Lifestyle  |  Calendar

Crane Hotel Faralda. Photo: Liu Kiki

Bruges Beer Festival.

Oudegracht, serving organic coffee from Bocca and offering a broad range of food that is free from sugar, gluten, and lactose.

Bruges Beer Festival 4 – 5 February Bruges, Belgium Bruges Beer Festival is one of the oldest and most authentic beer festivals in Belgium, with an impressive list of specialty beers on offer.

NEMO Science Museum Month of January Amsterdam, the Netherlands Have you ever wondered what the world’s first mobile phones looked like? Find out at NEMO’s Innovation Gallery, where visitors are offered a great impression of the technological progress throughout the years.

Rafelranden van Schoonheid at TextielMuseum Until 28 May Tilburg, the Netherlands Rafelranden van Schoonheid (Frayed Edges of Beauty) shows textile installa56  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

Armor by Heringa/Van Kalsbeek. Photo: Tommy de Lange/TextielMuseum

tions, interactive images and films of Heringa/Van Kalsbeek, Bart Hess, Nan Groot Antink, Tanja Smeets, and Karin van Dam. The works were, as assigned by the TextielMuseum, made in the TextielLab, the museum’s unique atelier.

Drive | 100 years of collecting at Het Scheepvaartsmuseum Until 2 July Amsterdam, the Netherlands The history of the museum’s collection and its unique objects take centre stage in exhibition Drive I 100 years of collecting. An audio tour, guided tours, and special lectures are being organised to accompany the exhibition.

Crane Hotel Faralda Month of January Amsterdam, the Netherlands Set in the trendy NDSM area, this beautiful high-end hotel is located in a converted crane. With stunning views over Amsterdam’s skyline and the River IJ, this eclectic hotel is one of a kind.

NEMO Science Museum.

Discover Benelux  |  Lifestyle  |  Belgian Events Calendar 2017

BRAFA (Brussels Art Fair). Photo: Emmanuel Crooÿ


Unmissable events in Belgium From an art fair in January to classical music in March, not to mention some delicious beer festivals in the springtime, we present our pick of unmissable events to add to your diary.


Leuven Biermaand. Photo: Marco Mertens

BRAFA (Brussels Art Fair) Read more on page 58 Klarafestival Read more on page 59 Zythos Bierfestival Read more on page 60 Leuven Biermaand Read more on page 61

Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  57

Discover Benelux  |  Lifestyle  |  Belgian Events Calendar 2017

Photo: Emmanuel Crooÿ Samuel Vanhoegaerden Gallery, Untitled, 1973, Sam Francis, Acrylic on canvas 80 x 71cm.

The art of eclecticism TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

What started as a small art exhibition has grown into one of the world’s most renowned and prestigious art fairs. BRAFA (Brussels Art Fair) has been a haven for quality and authentic arts and antiques since 1956. As BRAFA celebrates its 62nd birthday, it remains a leading international art and antique fair, attracting 132 exhibitors from 16 countries, 58,000 visitors, and displaying between 10,000 - 15,000 objects. No fair can quite match BRAFA when it comes to eclecticism; the fair comprises 20 specialties, including classical archaeology, tribal art, pre-Colombian art, Asian art, jewellery, furniture, and art objects dating from the Middle Ages to today, old and modern paintings, contemporary art and design, sculpture, drawings, engravings, ceramics, photography, and much more. Although BRAFA covers a space of 15,400 square metres, the fair has not lost its compact and intimate atmosphere over 58  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

the decades, with large exhibition spaces creating an open and accessible allure. “Unlike many other art fairs, where the floor is divided according to specialties, BRAFA stands out through displaying different specialties alongside others,” says managing director Beatrix Bourdon. “That way, someone looking for archaeology might also pass a space displaying rare books. This results in new interests, new insights, and perhaps a newly discovered love for a specific specialty.” For the first year since its founding, BRAFA will pay homage to one specific artist; the Argentinian Julio Le Parc. Born in 1928, Le Parc is a major influence in contemporary art and a pioneer of op art and kinetic art. A great deal of exhibitors remain loyal to the fair once having participated. “For 2017, we have 13 exhibitors that are first-timers, the rest have all exhibited before,” Bourdon asserts. Quality and authenticity are two of the key requirements

exhibitors must meet. The selection process is rigorous, and there are 100 experts from around the world who are involved to verify the authenticity, quality and condition of the different objects on display. From major art collectors, to first-time buyers, to curious art lovers: BRAFA is the art season’s absolute go-to fair. “People that visit BRAFA for the first time tell us later that they cannot believe they did not visit before – the fair is absolutely unmissable if you have a heart for art.”

Axel Vervoordt @ Brafa 2016. Photo: Jan Liégeois

Discover Benelux  |  Lifestyle  |  Belgian Events Calendar 2017

Adventurous classical music for everybody TEXT: THESSA LAGEMAN  |  PHOTOS: SANDER BUYCK

The Klarafestival takes place every March in and around Brussels. More than 30 high-quality international classical concerts that offer a special experience can be attended. Migration will be this year’s theme. In the organisers’ words: “We like to reach a large audience and to start a debate.” The Klarafestival presents an intriguing mix of unknown talent with established names and traditional as well as innovative projects. The performances take place in ten different venues in Brussels and also in Antwerp and Bruges, this year from 9 until 24 March. Klarafestival has been organised since 2004 and began in 1968 under the name Flanders Festival Brussels. It offers an unforgettable experience with visual arts, film, theatre and other art forms added to the music. “Typical for the Klarafestival are the experimental performances,” explains managing director Sophie Detremmerie. Last year, for example, a choir sang while moving around the pitch black concert hall. The audience

could sit or stand wherever they liked or lay down on beds. In 2016, the festival’s theme was passion and religion and for this edition it will be migration. “We like to do more than only offer beautiful performances,” says Detremmerie. “We like to start debates about important current themes.” She adds that throughout the centuries many musicians had to move, for example European Jews who fled to the United States during the Second World War. Nowadays, you can also find many Afghan or Syrian musicians in Europe. “Migration can lead to new forms of culture,” says Detremmerie. Interesting performances this year include the Syrian Expat Philharmonic Orchestra together with the National Orchestra of Belgium, composer Michael Maierhof and the Nadar ensemble who take large hot-air balloons with them, a choir singing English polyphonic music from the 16th century and a concert by the impressive New York Philharmonic.

The festival likes to reach an audience as large and varied as possible. “Our goal is to make culture accessible for everybody,” stresses Detremmerie. Some of the concerts therefore take place in nightclubs to bring young people into contact with classical music. With the Klarafestival Pass you have access to all concerts for only 99 euros and underprivileged people, immigrants and the disabled can even buy tickets for one euro. Around 20,000 spectators attend the festival yearly and 150,000 people listen to the concerts through Radio Klara in Belgium and up to 12 million listen worldwide via the European Broadcasting Union.

Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  59

Discover Benelux  |  Lifestyle  |  Belgian Events Calendar 2017


If you still need proof that Belgium is home to the best breweries in the world, the Zythos Bierfestival in Leuven will definitely show you. With more than 500 Belgian beers on offer, this authentic festival is the absolute place to beer. Celebrating its 14th edition in 2017, the Zythos Bierfestival has been the meeting point for beer aficionados since 2003. There are more than 500 kinds of beers served at 88 stands – all from Belgian breweries. “Zythos upholds the interests of consumers and breweries, and promotes Belgium’s precious beer culture,” begins chairman Freddy Van Daele. This beer culture is known and treasured worldwide, and was recently added by UNESCO to its Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list. Zythos is the biggest and oldest beer festival in Belgium and its international status is represented by the large number of visitors from abroad. “Scandinavia, Australia, 60  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

the United States: I think that 60 per cent of our visitors are foreign,” Van Daele enthuses. Almost all stands serve specialty beers, ranging from exotic-flavoured ones, to vatted and aged beers, to authentic Belgian beers, famous for their balanced taste. Even chauffeurs can let themselves go, as there are plenty of alcohol-free drinks on offer. All stands are the same size, with new breweries and established names given the same presence. Rather than using a different tasting glass at every stand, visitors pay a small deposit for a ten-centilitre cup, of which one euro is kept to support an annually chosen charity. “Often people even share their ten centilitres, so visitors can truly taste as much as they want. Can people still taste the different flavours after trying so many beers? Certainly – every stand offers pieces of dry bread, which neutralises the taste.” Unlike with wine tastings, you are not meant to spit out the beers, as much of the flavours are released when the beer is swallowed.

Hungry? Fear not. The festival hosts a food corner where you can try different pasta dishes, sandwiches and, of course, Belgian fries – so you can keep up your strength for more beer tasting. Zythos Bierfestival is held on 22 and 23 April. There will be a shuttle bus from Leuven Central Station to the festival venue and the city centre. For more information, please visit:

Discover Benelux  |  Lifestyle  |  Belgian Events Calendar 2017

Photo: Bart Vander Perre

Photo: Brouwerij De Kroon

Photo: Marco Mertens


The happiest time of the year in Leuven is not Christmas, nor the summer holidays; it is Leuven Beer Month. During this festive period, beer enthusiasts from all over the world gather in the Belgian city to taste, drink, and learn about the country’s most delicious staple. Two festivals, fascinating tours, and delicious tastings: Leuven Beer Month is a high point for everyone with a love for beer. “We have visitors from all over the world,” begins Lucie Vangerven, marketing coordinator at Visit Leuven. “In Leuven, there is always a spotlight on beer, but during Beer Month there are many extra beer experiences. It is a great way to get to know the fantastic café culture that Belgium, and especially Leuven, is famous for.” Visitors can go on a guided walk to learn about the history of beer, take a tour to breweries in the region, or enjoy a tast-

ing during a guided pub tour. Stops not to miss are Leuven’s most famous brewery Stella Artois and Domus, the city’s home brewery. At Domus, the beer tap is directly connected with the brew kettle, providing you with the freshest beer possible. Highlights of Beer Month are Zythos Beer Festival and Leuven Innovation Beer Festival. While the Zythos festival exclusively serves Belgian beers (500 of them), the smaller Innovation Beer Festival mainly has foreign beers on offer, while highlighting innovation within the brewing process and the beer flavour. Luckily, Leuven Beer Month knows that beer makes you hungry. Numerous restaurants in the city are offering a beer experience in their own way: from serving delicacies made with beer, to offering a specialty beer with each dish. Do not worry about getting home afterwards: the

city is home to some wonderful hotels to spend the night. Leuven Beer Month will take place from 21 April to 5 June 2017

Photo: Geen Photo: Bart Van der Perre

Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  61

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  The Most Cosmopolitan and Upcoming Areas

Amsterdam ArenA. Photo: Jorrit Lousberg


Diversity at its best Majestic museums next to culturally diverse markets and spacious green parks: the eastern and southeastern parts of Amsterdam have their own strong identities and are the city’s most upcoming areas for a good reason. Bordering the Plantagebuurt, Amsterdam Oost hosts an interesting mix of monumental buildings and trendy eating and drinking spots, while Amsterdam Zuidoost showcases a unique - and almost tourist-free - part of the city. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: AMSTERDAM MARKETING & NBTC

Photo: Joey-Timmer

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Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  The Most Cosmopolitan and Upcoming Areas Dappermarkt. Photo: Marie Charlotte Pezã

Tropenmuseum. Photo: Jakob van Vliet & Rob-van-Esch

Photo: Edwin van Eis

Amsterdam Oost Amsterdam Oost (East) is just a stone’s throw away from the city centre, but has a totally different vibe. It is considered one of the most upcoming neighbourhoods in Amsterdam, with new and trendy hotspots opening almost every day. When it comes to shopping, eating and drinking, the Oost truly has something for everyone: from Middle Eastern lunchrooms to trendy cocktail bars, to pop-up concept stores. Two pearls of Amsterdam Oost are the beautiful Oosterpark and the Tropenmuseum.

Amsterdam Zuidoost Amsterdam Zuidoost (South East) counts residents from more than 150 ethnic backgrounds, and is a vibrant cultural melting

pot. It hosts the big residential area De Bijlmer, which was built in the 1960s and ‘70s. The South East is also home to famous entertainment venues such as the Amsterdam ArenA (the home of football

Photo: Merijn-Roubroeks

club Ajax), the Heineken Music Hall and the Ziggo Dome. If you have had enough of Amsterdam’s narrow and crowded streets and are dying to meet the real locals, Amsterdam Zuidoost is the place to be.

DO NOT MISS - Gaasperplas – This artificial lake serves as a recreational area and nature reserve, and is perfect for escaping the crowds of the city. With more than five kilometres of paths, you can explore the park by foot, bicycle or on horseback. - André Rieu at the Ziggo Dome – A brand new show from Dutch icon André Rieu. Together with his 60-piece Johann Strauss Orchestra and many soloists, André Rieu will give you what you have come to expect from his performances: a colourful concert full of surprises. 7 January

- Dappermarkt – This market is your place to be for inexpensive shopping, with most of its products available for just a few euros. With 250 stands and 160 merchants, the Dappermarkt is the favourite spot for many locals looking to buy clothes, shoes, and exotic food. - Tropenmuseum – Housed in a grand building overlooking Amsterdam’s Oosterpark, this museum tells stories about universal themes like celebration, ornamentation, prayer and conflict. It has interesting exhibitions all year round, so take your pick.

Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  63

Discover Benelux  |  Food & drink  |  Amsterdam Zuidoost Highlights


The Arena Boulevard in Amsterdam is a top-notch location, where literally thousands of people come by when they go to a concert, party or movie. There, you can find JinSo, a modern yet relaxing lounge bar and Asian-style restaurant. The restaurant understands that if you are in a hurry for an event you will not have time for sumptuous dining, so they serve your meal within 20 minutes. JinSo stands for innovation and a new beginning, and is a place where quality and service are highly valued. The business set foot in the area 15 years ago and has experienced all the changes that have been made in this continually evolving entertainment destination. JinSo’s neighbours are hardly small players: there is the Ziggo Dome, one of the biggest arenas in the Netherlands and a known address to international performers. Then there is AFAS Live, formerly known as the Heineken Music Hall, where smaller scale events 64  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

take place. Then, of course, there is the Amsterdam ArenA, famous for being the football team Ajax’s safe haven. For movie lovers, there is a big Pathé.

Service and quality

The events going on at these locations are of great importance. JinSo makes sure the staff is up to date about upcoming events. The restaurant offers a nice ambiance for their guests, right before they need to head to their event. One of the big advantages of JinSo is that the kitchen will make it their job to serve your meal within 15-20 minutes. However, staff do not make concessions on quality: everything is fresh and authentically prepared. On the menu, you will find a balanced selection of iconic dishes from the Far East, like a Thai Beef Paneng curry, Cantonese roasted pork Cha Siu and a Nasi Goreng Indonesia, based on a 50-year-old family recipe. JinSo is in good company with its big neighbours. By now it knows how to

serve people the best possible way, but it is also a place where business associates can come for a drink and have a quiet talk with each other. Because of its big success, there is also restaurant ichi-E. This is a Japanese sushi restaurant ‘pur sang’, opened just five years ago. It is always packed with people, even when there are not any events going on. Pay this great place a visit, and you will find out why.

Discover Benelux  |  Food & drink  |  Amsterdam Oost Highlights


Black walls, graffiti-inspired decor and all sorts of delicious dishes created in an open kitchen. It does not sound like your everyday Thai restaurant, does it? That is because Boi Boi aims to stand out. It all started at various food truck festivals, serving up food from a small Vespa car. “My partner Kay worked at the most famous Thai restaurant in the Netherlands for ten years, but we wanted to do something different. Something of our own,” explains owner Richard Derks. With that in mind, they began driving around in their Vespa car with a barbecue in the back. “We sold ‘real’

food, the food that we liked ourselves. Papaya salad, chicken satay and homemade sauces. It was like the flavours of Bangkok in a car.” Eventually they decided it was time for a proper location; a real restaurant. But it could not be just anywhere. “We work with local products, and get everything within a 500-metre radius. Where could we find that in Amsterdam, for a reasonable price?” It turned out to be at the Dappermarkt in the east of the city. Every morning fresh fish, meat and vegetables are delivered on site. The delicious results include tempura, spring rolls and “the best Pad Thai in Amsterdam”, as well as plenty of dishes the team have concocted themselves. Drinks wise, expect special beers from all over the world. “We’re a true mix of cultures,” explains Derks. “There’s a cosy feeling, as if you’re eating at your mum and dad’s home, but with a funky vibe.” No wonder people love it here so much.

The traditional taste of Africa in Amsterdam TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER  |  PHOTOS: SERENGETI

The Serengeti restaurant is ideally located close to the Oosterpark and distinguishes itself by bringing to your plate the best signature dishes from the four corners of Africa. Established in 2011 by Theodros Mebrahtu, the kitchen will surprise you from Monday to Sunday from 5pm onwards.

change of scenery. Everything from the paintings on the walls to the African artefacts and the background music invite you for a unique dinner experience in the most cosmopolitan area of the Dutch capital. The menu offers a tasty selection of meat, fish or vegetable-based options among which you will find a range of Ethiopian stews, different couscous dishes and a level of spiciness that is adjusted to your taste. All main dishes are served with injera, a typical East African flatbread, and a salad. From the West African yam called ‘foufou’ to the pumpkin sauce with tradi-

tional African spices, the mouthwatering selection will make taking your pick a challenge. This is why the restaurant offers their ‘seren mix’ option that will allow you to taste different dishes, which you can enjoy with a banana, mango or coco-based organic fair trade beer or an organic South African wine. Sitting up to 40 people and providing catering for events, Serengeti looks forward to having you experience their delicious cuisine every evening of the week.

Crossing the doors of the Serengeti restaurant makes you forget that you are in the heart of Amsterdam. With its cosy setting and colourful decoration, this is the go-to address for a Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  65

Discover Benelux  |  Alternative Amsterdam  |  Cultural attractions of the month


Rethinking the stereotypes Amsterdam is renowned for being a multifaceted city. Home to what is probably the world’s most talked-about Red Light District, not to mention its famous coffeeshops, it is easy to see why the Dutch capital is seen as such a beacon for freedom and tolerance. But any preconceptions you may have about the city’s more risqué reputation should be reconsidered. As the cultural attractions featured in the following pages demonstrate, there is far more to Amsterdam’s liberal attitude than the stereotypes suggest. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: NBTC

Erotic Museum.

66  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum, Amsterdam.

Discover Benelux  |  Alternative Amsterdam  |  Cultural attractions of the month

Discover the art of erotica TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: EROTIC MUSEUM

The Erotic Museum in Amsterdam is, as you might expect, located in the middle of the Red Light Strip. Looking at eroticism in all its forms throughout the ages, this quirky museum makes an interesting and dazzling way to complete your visit to the Dutch capital. With Amsterdam having an interesting cultural, colonial and social history, its erotic heritage is just as rich – and perhaps the most fun to learn about. The museum has an impressive collection of erotic art throughout the ages, from the old Dutch masters to contemporary artists. Visitors will find a variety of paintings, drawings, photographs, pottery, films and quirky objects, all within the themes of eroticism and seduction. Who said that history and eroticism do not go together? “Besides guiding visitors through the history of erotica, our museum also shows erotica in different cultures,” begins director Cor van Dijk. “The world of eroticism

and sexuality is a deeply interesting one.” The four-floored museum starts your tour in style: you will be welcomed by a model of a Dutch lady on a very special bicycle. From there, head off to the floor entirely dedicated to Sado Masochism and fetishism, get an insight into the most ancient profession, or admire the wonderful vintage erotic photographs. Absolute treasures are the original erotic sketches made by John Lennon (made while he was on his honeymoon in Amsterdam), the works of world-famous tattooist Henk Schiffmacher and drawings from Picasso.

Amsterdam’s history. This place is an absolute essential spot when you are visiting Amsterdam. On your way out, do not forget to get something from the quirky souvenir shop; the perfect proof to your friends at home that you have truly explored Amsterdam’s naughtiest hotspot. For more information, visit:

The Erotic Museum has narrow links with the eponymous museums in Barcelona and Las Vegas. “We frequently put the spotlight on exhibitions taking place over there. And we borrow artworks from each other: Barcelona loans us a Dalí, we loan them a Picasso,” Van Dijk laughs. As the Erotic Museum shows, erotica is an art form and an unmissable part of Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  67

Discover Benelux  |  Alternative Amsterdam  |  Cultural attractions of the month


It is well known that Amsterdam has an unmistakable link with marihuana and hemp. It is therefore no wonder that the world’s first Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum has opened its doors in the Dutch capital. This remarkable museum offers visitors an extensive tour through the cultural, historic, and scientific aspects of the world’s bestknown plant. “A lot of people have a lot of opinions on cannabis, while actually missing some basic knowledge about the plant,” explains Gerbrand Korevaar, curator at the museum. “We aim to improve understanding about this exceptional plant by delving into its past, present and future.” The museum displays the private collection of its founder Ben Dronkers, who also owns Sensi Seeds and HempFlax. Having always been fascinated by cannabis and hemp, he founded the museum in 1985 to show the plant’s rich history and versatile use in medicine, clothing, agriculture, and more.

Visitors can endlessly gawk at fascinating displays on the history of cannabis use, find out why the plant was prohibited, or be amazed by contemporary items made from industrial hemp. Magnificent are the Old Master paintings, displaying the smoking of cannabis in the Dutch Golden Age. Do not miss the 19thcentury medicinal cannabis bottles – and learn that cannabis was the second most-used ingredient for medication back then. The museum is also located in Barcelona. This site opened in 2012 in the presence of entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson. “Besides the fact that Barcelona is a hospitable city, its attitude towards cannabis is also very tolerant,” Korevaar enthuses. It is also from that point of view the museum awards the Cannabis Culture Awards. “With the awards, we are striving for the acceptance and better understanding of cannabis and hemp – exactly what the museum does as well.”


Before entering, leave all expectations of a store filled with cannabis gadgets behind. Hempstory tells a different story. The cosy store is filled with clothes, food, soft home furnishings, travel goods, skin care products, prints, and accessories – with hemp being the main, or sometimes only, ingredient. “The hemp plant is a member of the cannabis family, yet does not contain THC [Tetrahydrocannabinol], the recreative substance of its sister,” co-owner Linda Lindquist starts. “Hemp is an incredibly useful and powerful plant. Its 68  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

stem contains fibres that can be made into textiles and paper. Hemp seeds contain oil with a unique balance of omega three and six and are protein rich, making them perfect for food. Hemp oil is also a valuable ingredient for skin care products.” Hempstory opened in February 2015 in Amsterdam’s inner city. New customers and regulars are amazed at every visit with new and interesting products adorning the shelves. Think

Botanical print.

A Quiet Smoke.

The story of a forgotten plant The name says it all: Hempstory in Amsterdam is dedicated to this versatile and almost forgotten plant. Offering a broad selection of quality products, all connected in their own way to industrial hemp, this shop is one of a kind. They also serve great coffee, hemp leaf tea, healthy hemp protein shakes, and spiced hemp milk drinks.

Cannabis medicine bottles.

Fairtrade clothing from Studio JUX, high-quality sustainable outerwear from HoodLamb, beauty products, Hempstory’s own tea blends, and more. Magnificent (and the ideal gift) are the Original Botanical Prints: vintage botanical illustrations printed on authentic hemp paper. Thirsty from exploring? Relax and give your new perception of the cannabis plant time to sink in while enjoying a coffee or a hemp-based delicacy in Hempstory’s mini-café. One of the coolest places and a must-see on Amsterdam’s canals!

Dam 21, Amsterdam

Discover Benelux  |  Feature  |  Scheveningen’s Seafood Culture

Scheveningen Pier, rebuilt and reopened in 1961 after burning down, attracts thousands of visitors every year.


Scheveningen’s proud fishing heritage TEXT: ISA HEMPHREY  |  PHOTOS: NBTC

You many not consider the Netherlands as a culinary destination, unless you are an avid fan of cheese. However, tucked away on the North Sea coast within The Hague is a place where the well-oiled machine that is the Dutch fishing industry brings the bounty of the sea from ship to plate. In the early hours, weathered but sturdy fishing vessels moor up to Scheveningen harbour to unload their catch from the North Sea. These range from relatively small fishing trawlers, landing around 150 boxes of fresh fish every few days, to very large freezer-trawlers like the Afrika. Although the fish-rich parts of the North Sea account for only eight per cent of 70  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

the Earth’s sea surface, it is home to 11 to 15 million tonnes of fish and over 220 species. Fishing in these waters focuses on just 25, including cod, flatfish, herring, and mackerel, with up to 3.5 million tonnes caught per year. Yet as Aukje Coers, sustainability manager for Cornelis Vrolijk B.V./Jaczon B.V. (owners of a fishing fleet at Scheveningen), explains, these species come with their own environmental and international challenges. “Fish don’t see borders, they swim across borders of countries all the time,” says Coers. “That means you have many different countries fishing the same population and this means that fishermen, scientists and policy makers have to collaborate internationally to ensure sustainable fisheries.”

Sustainability has increasingly creeped into the mindset of food consumers and Cornelis Vrolijk B.V. have made their own innovations in response to this new awareness such as reducing their fuel consumption by up to 40 per cent and decreasing bycatch. “You have two groups of fish species in the North Sea, the group that are commercially interesting and are abundant and then there’s the bycatch,” says Coers. “Bycatch is not the targeted species of the commercial fishing and, in the past, there wasn’t usually much specific research done on them because there’s not a big commercial interest. I think more research is being done now that we’re taking a more eco-system approach. And the fishing sector is con-

Discover Benelux  |  Feature  |  Scheveningen’s Seafood Culture

tributing to this as well. At Cornelis Vrolijk we for instance continuously deliver data and fish samples to the science institute Wageningen Marine Research.”

An international cuisine Despite its intricacies, North Sea specialist Willem Ment den Heijer insists that fish caught in the sea is far better than farmed fish, which just cannot compare in terms of taste. An observer of Scheveningen’s regular fish auction, he highlights a difficulty in selling a variety of fish to the Dutch consumer. “Fish consumption in the Netherlands is really low,” he says. “Dutch buy-

An example of the seasonal menu at the Grand Hotel Amrâth Kurhaus Hotel restaurant Waves.

ers are buying with their pockets, not with their taste. The cheaper the fish, the more they will buy.” But despite this, fish landed in Scheveningen harbour is shipped across the world, particularly to Europe. “People from France, Italy and Spain, they love fish. Mediterranean people are used to eating a lot of fish. More than 90 per cent of the fish being caught in the North Sea goes to Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal,” says Den Heijer. At the auction, buyers can expect both frozen and fresh fish, the latter being no older than four days old. A treasure trove of fish species, the choice includes

the more expensive sea bass and turbot. Quality managers work tirelessly to pick the good from the bad fish by hand to minimalise machinery. Another regular at the auction is Arie Kuijt, director of Filleting Line who provide professional filleting equipment, a fish expert who does sashimi shows and gives lessons in fish filleting. He uses his own vast expertise to buy the very best fish, wanting to know in particular where in the North Sea they were caught. “Every fish has something special,” he says. Plaice, for example, is smaller in the south of

Jac. den Dulk & zonen B.V. processes herring for Dutch and German markets.

Cornelis Vrolijk B.V./Jaczon B.V. operates in Scheveningen harbour as well as other locations.

Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  71

Discover Benelux  |  Feature  |  Scheveningen’s Seafood Culture

Fish are sorted by hand before auction to minimise machinery.

aging and selling fish: W.G. den Heijer & Zn B.V. and Jac. den Dulk & zonen B.V.; the latter of which specialises in herring, the fish adorned with golden crowns on Scheveningen’s flag. Jac. den Dulk & zonen B.V. has existed since 1871 and processes maatjesharing, or soused herring, which is prepared in a specific way using salt and enzymes found in the fish. As far back as the 1400s, it was discovered that putting herring in a salt solution gives the fish a particular taste, one that Jac. den Dulk & zonen B.V. is particularly dedicated to. “We are proud of the fact that we only do hand filleting,” says managing director Gerbrand J.W. Voerman. “Filleting can be done by machines, but here we’re kind of artisan because if you do it by machines it washes away the best part of the taste, in our opinion.”

Jaczon B.V. has lowered the fuel consumption of its vessels from 40,000 litres, to just 17,000.

the sea, fatter in the middle and smaller in the north and varies in both colour and smell depending on the seawater and the sunlight. When it comes to buying Dutch herring, a popular fish in the Netherlands that is actually caught closer to Denmark, Kuijt has his own way of picking the best batch. “I take the fish in my hands and I make it warm to make the fats come out,” 72  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

he explains. “I take off the fin and a little skin on both sides of the fish. You will see on the belly that it is white, which is fat. The fermentation of the herring with the light makes the herring very tasty.”

Culinary and market challenges Across Scheveningen harbour are two companies specialising in filleting, pack-

When asked whether they can keep up with the machines, J.W. Voerman states: “We can combine a large quantity with quality. We can still manage and we get a little bigger piece of the pie every year.” This is proven by the six million herrings they produce per year and being able to fillet up to 450 per hour by hand. The treatment of herring is protected by Euro-

Discover Benelux  |  Feature  |  Scheveningen’s Seafood Culture

pean law and the only ingredients allowed in the processing is simply herring and salt; with no additives. One of the products of W.G. den Heijer & Zn B.V., historically specialising in prawns, is cod. This fish is known as the “pig of the sea” because, like a pig, you can use every part of its body for something else. In fact, according to Arie Kuijt, the cheek of a cod is a delicacy. However, this can be a hard sell for wholesalers. “It’s very difficult to find a customer that is willing to buy a kilo of cod cheeks, it’s too expensive.” says Ewout den Heijer, general manager of W.G. den Heijer & Zn. B.V. This, according to him, is typical of how the market for buying and selling fish has changed over the years. “It used to be a knowledge market, so a fishmonger would go to someone and tell them about the fish and sell it to them,” he says. “Right now, it’s more like a logistics market; everyone knows about prices, what they need to be paying, what’s expensive and what’s cheap. Everybody knows everything.”

Embracing a rich food culture However, as J.W. Voerman explains: “The consumer is getting greyer and greyer because now people who are raising children weren’t raised themselves with eating maatjesharing every week.” Yet as well as sending fishmongers to schools to introduce children to fish, there is another effort being made to improve Scheveningen fish as a brand. Restaurants such as Waves, located at the Grand Hotel Amrâth Kurhaus overlooking the beach, have adopted the Noordzeevis uit Scheveningen (meaning ‘North Sea fish from Scheveningen’) foundation, which aims to promote Scheveningen as a hub for authentic and local fish. Although their menu changes with the seasons, Discover Benelux was treated to their head chef’s flair for fish cuisine. For starters, marinated mackerel with cucumber and marinated soybeans, followed by plaice with mussels, curry broth, fennel, celery and parsnip. To end, sea bass fried on the skin with pearl barley, salted preserved lemon, crustacean sauce, scallop cream and rad-

ish. This is superbly matched with a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. More delightful dishes can be found locally at Lemongrass, a restaurant overlooking the marina that has also adopted Noordzeevis uit Scheveningen. Stunning seasonal meals such as cod with cream of celeriac and truffle dressing and grilled gurnard with samphire and herring caviar can be enjoyed. Despite its origins in the harsh wilderness of the North Sea and the rigorous and intricate process of filleting, packaging and selling within sustainable and carefully negotiated parameters, on your plate Scheveningen fish seem delicate with subtle flavours needing little in terms of complementary ingredients. This cuisine demands to be eaten slowly to savour its taste and truly appreciate the deep love Scheveningen has for its fishing heritage. A heritage that no doubt will shine brighter and brighter in the Netherlands and the rest of the world.

Fisherman from Scheveningen can be out in the North Sea for an average of three to four weeks.

Lemongrass, a restaurant in Scheveningen, embraces local fish and seafood.

Top: Fish and seafood from the North Sea vary in taste, colour and size depending on location, seawater and sunlight. Below: Noordzeevis uit Scheveningen (‘North Sea fish in Scheveningen’) is a foundation aiming to promote the rich heritage of Scheveningen fishing.

Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  73

Discover Benelux  |  Cinema  |  Film Guide 2017

Marie Vinck in Sprakeloos.


The upcoming films you need to know about TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

Although a relatively small area, the Benelux has produced some beautiful and important films with international allure. Need a break from Englishlanguage productions? Read on for some unmissable cinematographic greatness from the Benelux. Storm: Letters van Vuur (Storm: Letters of Fire) Set during the 16th century Protestant Reformation, this family film tells the story of Storm, the 12-year-old son of Klaas Voeten, a printer from Antwerp. When his father prints a prohibited letter from revisionist Martin Luther and is therefore 74  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

sentenced to death, Storm is the only one who can save his father, and himself. In cinemas from 19 January. Rusty Boys A comedic pearl from Luxembourg about four elderly men taking matters in their own hands. Fons, Lull, Nuckes and Jängi have spent their entire lives not letting themselves being bossed around, and they have no intention of putting up with it now. Release date to be announced. Sprakeloos (Speechless) Based on Tom Lanoye’s eponymous novel, Sprakeloos is already one of Bel-

gian cinema’s 2017 favourites. When his 85-year-old mother has a severe stroke, the protagonist’s successful life is thrown upside down and he is confronted with the decline of his mother. Release date 15 March. Voor Elkaar Gemaakt (Made for Each Other) In the mood for something light? Do not miss Voor Elkaar Gemaakt, a romantic comedy about falling in love when you least expect it. This Dutch film is a remake of the popular German production Vaterfreuden (2014). In cinemas February 2017.

Discover Benelux  |  Cinema  |  Film Guide 2017

Arthur & Claire A German production with Dutch actress Hannah Hoekstra in a major role. The film is about the dying Arthur, who is on his way to Amsterdam to end his life not knowing he will meet someone with the exact same plans. Based on the eponymous Austrian play. Release date to be announced. Dode Hoek (Blind Spot) This is the third feature film by Belgian director Nabil Ben Yadir. It tells the story of Jan Verbeeck, the uncompromising commissioner of Antwerp’s drug squad who will shortly will be leaving the police force to join an extreme right party. But before he leaves, his last project will be the challenge of his life. In cinemas late 2017.


Arthur & Claire.

Storm: Letters of Fire.

Voor Elkaar Gemaakt. Photo: Elmer van der Marel

Dode Hoek.

Rusty Boys.

Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  75

Discover Benelux  |  Interview  |  Anna van der Breggen

The unstoppable Anna van der Breggen TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER

After scoring a gold medal in what was undoubtedly one of the most dramatic competitions of last year’s Summer Olympics in Rio, Dutch racing cyclist Anna van der Breggen is ready for another eventful year. Discover Benelux caught up with the inspiring athlete, who this year will leave Rabo-Liv, her team for the past three seasons, to ride for Boels-Dolmans. Van der Breggen is an athlete at the top of her game. In 2016, she famously added an Olympic medal to her already impressive list of previous victories including the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the Grand Prix Elsy Jacobs and La Flèche Wallonne (in both 2015 and 2016). Mention Van der Breggen’s win and inevitably her teammate Annemiek van 76  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

Vleuten’s dramatic crash on the way down from Vista Chinesa will also come to mind. “It scared us all,” recalls Van der Breggen. “That’s the thing in cycling you don’t like. You never know when and how something like that is going to happen, so you just try to avoid it.” The risks of racing are something that all professionals have to weigh up, and Van der Breggen admits it is a tricky subject. “If you have a safe circuit the race is less attractive, that’s what makes cycling more exciting…so it’s always a bit like ‘where is the line? where is it too risky?’” Following her Olympic success, Van der Breggen was made a Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau. However, the sports star, who was born in Zwolle, admits that while mixing with royalty is very nice, her homecoming celebrations post

Olympics were among her proudest moments. “What was really special was the celebration in my own hometown, where I grew up. That was pretty impressive, to see all the people you know,” she smiles. Currently in the process of selecting a “nice spot” for her gold medal after recently moving house, Van der Breggen is already planning her next victories. “I really enjoyed the last season. For 2017, I have a new team so that’s my challenge. I like a change and after three years it’s nice to begin a new experience. I never won a World Championship, so for me that’s a big ambition,” she grins. “When you do sport you always have goals. If you don’t have goals, you better quit!”

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Column


Photo: Courtesy of Tim Van Laere Gallery, Antwerp


I sometimes think I would quite like to take a dip in the daydream world of Kati Heck’s paintings. I think it could be fun. It is a surreal world where miniature horses dance with frankfurters and people blend into fruit. There always seems to be someone in various states of inebriation, not that this has anything to do with my reasoning. The Antwerp-based German painter’s pictorial landscape is a beguiling one in both subject and surface. Elements of each painting are rendered with such unique technical prowess it leaves you lost for words. But then the picture deteriorates, the marks become looser, the picture plane is disrupted and the scene gets more absurd. Along the way in this process, there are little knowing nods to the movements of surrealism and social realism and to artists like George Grosz and Otto Dix. But Heck’s works are of

a bracket all of their peculiar own. The result is that it makes them almost impossible to explain coherently. If someone were to ask “yeah, but what do they actually mean?”, I would struggle to answer. There is a sort of dreamlike narrative going on, and a kind of sinister underbelly, but I could not really tell you much more than that. That is because these are works that need no further conceptual explaining. To even try would be to miss the point. These are paintings that should

be enjoyed for what they are – pictures of a joyous, wondrous and fantastical world. Kati Heck’s Meister Stuten Stellvertreter is on show at Tim Van Laere Gallery, Antwerp, until 21 January.

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.


Hertog Jan Natuurzuiver TEXT & PHOTO: STUART FORSTER

Hertog Jan Natuurzuiver is brewed in Arcen, a town in Limburg, which is the most southerly of the Netherlands’ 12 provinces. It is distributed nationally and internationally. The name emphasises the purity and naturalness of this pilsner-style beer, which is widely available in 25-centilitre bottles. Their size may disappoint some enthusiastic beer lovers. That said, they have the handy advantage of being quick to chill when guests arrive unexpectedly. Natuurzuiver’s aroma is reminiscent of ripe fruit blended with a light malt. It proves a refreshing, easily quaffable beer with hints of fruitiness and a clean, slightly sweet finish. The brewery premises, in which this golden-coloured brew originates, stands by the River Meuse, around three kilometres from the Dutch-German border. During World War Two,

the site was requisitioned by the German Army and, consequently, suffered damage as the Allied forces advanced. In addition to providing an opportunity to see copper brewing vessels, the guided tours of the brewery premises, which last around an hour, point out pockmarks left by wartime bullets. Between them, Hertog Jan’s team of six experienced brewers have racked up in excess of 150 years in the industry. Their range of beers, which enjoy popularity in Dutch bars, includes a handful of seasonal brews plus a powerful Grand Prestige dark beer. The brewery is named after a 13th century Duke of Brabant, a renowned warrior who fathered many illegitimate children. On the Natuurzuiver label, the bearded duke holds a frothing flagon of ale. Appreciative and thirsty

drinkers might wish bottles of this refreshing beer could fill a glass of similar size.

Brewer: Hertog Jan Brouwerij Strength: 5.1 per cent Stuart Forster was twice named Journalist of the Year at the 2015 and 2016 Holland Press Awards. Five generations of his family have been actively involved in the brewing industry.

Issue 37  |  January 2017  |  77

Discover Benelux  |  Music  |  Benelux Beats

EEFJE’S RECORD COLLECTION: Metronomy - The English Riviera Frank Ocean - Blond Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Multi-Love Robyn - Body Talk

For her Nachtlicht tour, Eefje and her band wore reflecting clothing designed by Annemarije van Harten’s label By vanharten.


Musically discovering… Eefje de Visser TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTO: LONNEKE VAN DER PALEN

2016 was a wonderful year for Eefje de Visser. Her highly anticipated third album Nachtlicht brought a new sound, rave reviews, and sold-out shows. Discover Benelux spoke to the Dutch frontwoman amid all the hustle and bustle. You just finished a club tour through the Netherlands and Belgium? Yes! We played on the biggest stages in the Netherlands, like Carré in Amsterdam, and our last show in Tivoli (in Utrecht) was incredibly special. We combined our live experience with the more electronic, dance sound of the new album and worked together with lighting designers and dance producers to create a truly kicking night. You are really popular in Belgium. Is there a difference between the Belgian and Dutch music scene? They are very different countries in just about every respect, also musically. In the Netherlands, everything is well arranged; Belgium seems to leave more room for imperfections. This makes the Belgian music 78  |  Issue 37  |  January 2017

scene perhaps a bit more authentic. But both countries produce amazing work. In what way does Nachtlicht differ from your previous material? Although there was always an electronic element to my music, Nachtlicht emphasises this more, resulting in a more energetic and intense sound. The songs go deeper, both lyrics-wise as music-wise. When a song was done, I would go back later to revise it. Also, the album is truly produced by the whole band; they were a major influence when creating the sound. Your songs are in Dutch. Ever thought about singing in English? I think I can express myself much better in Dutch. However, almost all music I listen to is in English. Dutch songs often put the emphasis on words instead of the musical experience. With my songs, I hope to reach the opposite and create music that allows people to lose themselves. If you had to choose: studio or stage? Tough one! The creative process within a

studio is amazing, but there is no feeling like finally being able to show your creations to the public. I like them equally. Which achievement are you most proud of? That I truly found my spin with Nachtlicht; I feel that album on such a personal level. And our show in Carré; it is a beautiful stage. The connection with the audience was indescribable. What other artists have you been listening to lately? Joanna Newsom – not representative of what I normally like, but her music is so incredibly beautifully composed. And Frank Ocean, it is my personal goal to learn all his lyrics by heart! What does the future hold? I already have a thousand ideas for new songs, and a beautiful studio in Ghent to make them into a reality. I am already looking forward to it!

Your Shortcut to Scandinavia Bergen


Oslo Stockholm Bromma

SWEDEN Aalborg






London City

GERMANY Brussels






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