Discover Benelux, Issue 39, March 2017

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I S S U E 3 9 | M A R C H 2 017










A tr iu m

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ra n t Res tau

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iqu e f i n g a M L if e is u rg! o b m e x u L in

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Sixty Four0 Bar

Ha va na L ou nge

Vivez 4 expériences différentes dans l’Atrium.

Enjoy 4 differents experiences in the Atrium.

ORO E ARGENTO au coeur de la gastronomie italienne

ORO E ARGENTO at the heart of italian gastronomy

STÜBLI convivialité et authenticité dans un décor typique

STÜBLI conviviality and authenticity in a traditional atmosphere

HAVANA LOUNGE l’endroit idéal pour un moment de détente

HAVANA LOUNGE a unique environment

SIXTYFOUR° un bar à bonne température

SIXTYFOUR° a bar at ideal temperature

Discover Benelux  |  Contents

Contents MARCH 2017



COVER FEATURE 42 Chef’Special After a mammoth arena tour of the US last summer, Dutch five-piece Chef’Special are back home in the Netherlands for the release of their eagerly anticipated third album Amigo. We caught up with lead singer Joshua Nolet about life as the frontman of Haarlem’s hottest musical export.

58 Friesland Highlights From top hotels and restaurants, to fascinating museums and cultural attractions, we share our favourite addresses in the beautiful province of Friesland.

BUSINESS 67 Company profiles, regulars and more


Brussels City Special Belgium’s multi-cultural capital is the beating heart of Europe and an ideal destination for a city break. We share our tips for an unforgettable visit.


22 Discover Zeeland In the mood for some island hopping? We present our top picks in the province of Zeeland, famed for its picturesque beaches and delicious seafood.

38 History and Culture in Flanders For such a small area, the Flanders region is brimming with historical and cultural attractions. From captivating castles to enthralling archeological sites, get ready to step back in time.

We showcase the Benelux businesses that you really need to know about.

FEATURES 53 Cycle racing in Luxembourg Following on from the 2017 UCI World Cyclocross Championships in Luxembourg, we explore the Benelux region’s rich history and passion for cycle racing.

56 Paul Verhoeven Discover Benelux puts the spotlight on Hollywood icon Paul Verhoeven, the Dutch director of one of this year’s most talked-about movies.

86 Benelux Beats We spoke to rising Dutch singer-songwriter Lucas Hamming about his latest album Luck is for Suckers.

46 The Heart of the Netherlands


The centre of the Netherlands is a perfect blend of bustling cities and beautiful nature, not to mention a must-see UNESCO World Heritage Site. Read our guide to the highlights of Utrecht and Flevoland.

DON’T MISS 6 Fashion Picks | 8 Desirable Designs 81 Out & About | 85 Columns

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Discover Benelux  |  Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Discover Benelux Issue 39, March 2017 Published 03.2017 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 Contributors Bas van Duren Bettina Guirkinger Cathy van Klaveren Daan Appels

Ella Put Emmie Collinge Frank Van Lieshout Juliën L’Ortye Lidija Liegis Martin Pilkington Matt Antoniak Michiel Stol Myriam Gwynned Dijck Steve Flinders Stuart Forster Xandra Boersma Cover Photo Rona Lane 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:

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.

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Spring is in the air and we are brimming with ideas to help you make the most of the longer and hopefully slightly warmer days. From a stylish city break in Brussels, to island hopping in the most westerly province of the Netherlands, there is plenty to inspire throughout this month’s issue. Fresh from their stateside success, Dutch five-piece Chef’Special are gracing our cover this month. After touring US arenas with Grammy winners Twenty One Pilots, the band are happy to be back in their native Haarlem for the release of their third album, Amigo. They have not returned with tales of debauchery or trashed hotel rooms though, as frontman Joshua Nolet is more likely to be meditating than partying these days. He told me all about the ‘new rock and roll’ on page 42. Nolet and his bandmates will be busy performing across the Netherlands this spring, and are on the line-up at next month’s 3FM Awards Festival in Utrecht. Talking of Dutchmen making it big in the US, it is safe to say that legendary Dutch director Paul Verhoeven has had a successful awards season. His latest work Elle was met with global acclaim, scooping the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film back in January. I was rooting for the film’s leading lady Isabelle Huppert to win best actress at last month’s Oscar’s. Although, having already won a Golden Globe and a César Award, I doubt the Frenchwoman was too disappointed about missing out to Emma Stone for La La Land. Huppert’s performance as businesswoman Michèle Leblanc in the darkly comic thriller was astounding, while Belgian-born actress Virginie Efira’s character Rebecca delivered a line at the end which left me thinking for days. If you have yet to see Elle, get a film night penned in now. Just be prepared for some dark themes; La La Land this is not. In the meantime, read our feature on page 56. Enjoy the March issue!

Anna Villeleger, Editor

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks


Lovely layers March can be a confusing month on the weather front. While you are still opting for your gloves some days, on others you just need a light jacket to stay warm. Layering is the solution to this indecisive weather; it means you are prepared for every hail storm, high wind, or heatwave. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PRESS PHOTOS

1. Layer it up Made from thick denim with warm yet lightweight padding, this quilted overshirt can be worn all year long. Use it as an extra layer under your coat on those cold March days, or wear as a jacket on days where you can almost feel spring shining through. €159.95

2. Leave your hat on Out with the beanies, in with the Raffia hat! Made from natural palm fibres, the Raffia hat is both lightweight and breathable. Perfect on warmer days to shield your eyes from the sun, or to protect your hair in case of any light spring rain. €39.95

3. Classic protection There are not many items as classic as the beige trench coat. Practical, lightweight, and often water-resistant, the classic trench is your perfect outer layer for spring. Throw on over both smart and casual looks for instant class. €300.00 GANT via 6  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks

4. Back to the ‘90s A good denim jacket never loses its appeal and goes with everything. From a floral maxi dress to a city-chic outfit, this blue denim beauty is your perfect mate for every occasion. €129.99

5. Glamour alert Do you love faux fur, but think an entire coat is a bit too much? Opt for this fun faux fur scarf in burgundy and pink. It certainly dials up the glamour while keeping you warm. €15

6. Parka pride Gone are the days when parkas 5. xxxxx were just for fishermen and the xxxxxx military. This hooded green coat xxxx has an iconic silhouette and stylxxxx ishly combines its protective material with an on-trend design. €199.95 Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  7

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Desirable Designs


Spring is coming No matter how long winter seems to last, spring is sure to follow. To make spring come a little earlier this year, we have selected this season’s best outdoor furniture for you. However, we also prepared for some rainy days inside. TEXT: ELLA PUT | PRESS PHOTOS

3. Beautiful Butaque


This chair is the perfect meeting of an indoor dinner area and an outdoor lounge area. With its comfortable fabric and timeless design, this may be the musthave piece of the season - but it will last a lifetime. Price on request

2. A sustainable spring

1. 1. Playing with nature Create your own play area wherever you want. This award-winning mobile swing design allows you to embrace freedom and flexibility, whether it is in your own garden, a park or at a tropical destination. €349

Ecology is the key to any design created by Ethnicraft. Renewable and environmentally friendly wood is a key material in their designs. This beautiful oak table is no exception; with its simple yet classic design, it can be placed anywhere and everywhere. €1,189

3. 4. Trays of Paradise


With their creative, beautiful and timeless trays, Belgian design company Notre Dame bring a little extra chic to a dinner or cocktail party. This tray, called the Birds of Paradise, is one of many designs. Each tray can be combined with a matching table set. Price on request

5. Outdoor oasis

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Get ready for wonderful moments outdoors with the refined and brand new collection from Belgian brand Manutti. With its minimal design, this sofa overthrows the current codes of outdoor furnishing and perfectly combines elegance and comfort. Prince on request

Discover Benelux  |  Brussels city  |  The Capital of Europe

Mont des Arts. Photo: Eric Danhier Media


The captivating capital of Europe As the European Union’s administrative hub, Belgium’s multi-cultural capital is the beating heart of Europe. From stunning art nouveau façades to modern glass skyscrapers, this city’s impressive architectural landscape is as diverse as its fascinating cultural attractions and renowned foodie scene. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: VISIT.BRUSSELS

Palais Royal. Photo: Mediasky Media

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Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

La Maison Cauchie. Photo: Brussels International Tourism and Congress Media

From medieval to modern Originally a market place, the magnificent Grand Place must be your first port of call when visiting Brussels. With buildings ranging from Baroque to Gothic eras, the focal point of this beautiful cobblestone square is the spired 15th century city hall. This place is buzzing with classic cafés, so choose your spot and admire away. Other must-see sites in the city centre include the 10th century Royal Palace, which is only open to visitors in the summer. Meanwhile, in the east you will find the modern EU quarter and the striking European Parliament building.

worth a visit are quirkier establishments such as the Museum of Erotics and Mythology (to find out more head to page 17) and the Clockarium, which showcases art deco ceramic clocks. Meanwhile, at the MOOF museum entire rooms explore all things comic related, from Japanese manga to Flemish comic book culture. Start planning your trip to Brussels now at

Unmissable museums Brussels is a major centre for the arts and culture, and is of course home to some of Europe’s most prestigious establishments such as the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts and the BELvue history museum. Also 10  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

Palais Royal. Photo: Olivier Van de Kerchove Media

European Parliament. Photo: Marcel van Hulst Media

Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe Grand Place. Photo: Brussels International Tourism and Congress Media

Photo: Marcel van Hulst Media

Botanique. Photo: Marcel van Hulst Media

DO NOT MISS: Brussels Art Nouveau and Art Deco Festival (BANAD) Various dates in March – Across the city Enjoy guided tours of some of the city’s most beautiful examples of art nouveau and art deco design. See the website for further details and timetables. Foire du Livre de Bruxelles (Brussels Book Fair) 9-13 March – Tour et Taxis This annual book fair brings together publishers and authors from Belgium, France, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Quebec. A must for those with a passion for all genres of Francophone literature. Brussels Design Market 2017 18-19 March – Tour et Taxis Welcoming creatives and design aficionados from across the globe, Brussels De-

sign Market is renowned as one of the best events in Europe dedicated to vintage 20th century designs. Listen! A Brussels Future Music Festival 30 March - 1 April – Various Brussels venues Following a hugely successful 2016 debut, Listen! A Brussels Future Music Festival is back with numerous live performances and DJ sets in some of the city’s most iconic establishments. Brussels Dance! Until 31 March – Various Brussels venues From the most famous stages in Brussels to more alternative venues, the second edition of Brussels Dance! celebrates the art of movement with an array of innovative performances across the city. brussels-dance.html

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Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

A hotel with heart at the heart of Europe TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON  |  PHOTOS: HILTON BRUSSELS GRAND PLACE

So many of Europe’s big decisions are taken in Brussels, the EU’s dynamic political and business centre. Significant investment in Hilton Brussels Grand Place should mean more of those decisions will be thought through, slept on, and made in its impressive suite of meeting spaces. Behind its elegantly curving frontage, things are changing in Hilton Brussels Grand Place. In September last year, Swedish conglomerate Pandox AB completed the purchase of the hotel for 55 million euros, attracted – like its clientele – by the establishment’s outstanding location. It will continue to be operated as a Hilton with all the cachet that brand brings, but over the next two years general manager Vieri Biticchi and his team will be instituting a planned three-million-euro 12  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

investment programme that will deliver major improvements to its meeting and conference facilities in particular. “The hotel is great for tourist visitors to the city,” says Jennifer De Vos, cluster marketing coordinator for Hilton Belgium. “Just a brief stroll from the Manneken Pis and even closer to the beautiful Grand Place and all its attractions, and that side of our business will remain significant. But Brussels has an ever-increasing demand for high-level business-oriented hotels because it’s at the heart of Europe’s business and administrative activity. We aim to provide the best facilities and service for the men and women driving that.” The hotel already has excellent amenities to serve that market including 224 spacious rooms and suites, a comfortable

Executive Lounge, a business centre, well-appointed fitness room open 24/7, and no fewer than 17 meeting and conference rooms. Part of the money Pandox is investing in the business will go into upgrading the audiovisual and communications hardware for those spaces: “We aim to provide the very best meetings technology as part of our offer,” says De Vos.

Keeping pace with business But hardware is not the only thing that makes for good meetings – great service has got to be part of the mix too. “The world of work moves at an incredible pace now,” says Jennifer. “And some of the most significant gatherings may be ones that have to be arranged at short notice, so our Meetings Simplified package makes life as easy as possible for organisations who need to bring, say, 25

Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

key people together in an easily accessed location without months of planning.” The package combines lunch, refreshments, Wi-Fi and the core equipment without which no contemporary business meeting can function.

A hotel with heart Attitudes in the business world are changing as fast as technology, and another programme offered by the hotel reflects that dynamic: “People are of course increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of their work, and our Meet with Purpose programme is designed to help businesses meet their sustainability goals, making meetings less resource intensive and thus reducing waste. Focussing on delegate wellbeing as part of this can also improve performance, so it is win-win,” explains Jennifer.

Work hard, eat well Whether guests have worked up an appetite by tramping round the tourist sites, or planning and presenting projects that

will spur their organisation on to greater success, they are bound to appreciate the work of executive chef Vincent Masson and his colleagues. Brussels is arguably the fine-dining capital of Europe, and Brasserie La Place in the hotel is helping to keep up that reputation. M. Masson’s chosen style blends gourmet cuisine with plenty of hearty Belgian brasserie touches: the chicken is the celebrated Malines breed; there is Ardennes ham, Chimay cheese, and even Belgian waffle flavour popsicles on the menu. The country’s wonderful beer is on the drinks list and used in the cooking. Naturally there are Belgian (not French!) fries. All this is enhanced by a view of the bustling world beyond the restaurant’s windows. “As a business hotel, we of course work very hard to make sure that everything runs efficiently,” says Jennifer. “But as the restaurant, bar and superbly comfortable rooms here demonstrate, or so we hope, we also know that there is more to life than work.”

Hilton Brussels Grand Place in numbers 224 guest rooms and suites 17 meeting rooms, including two ballrooms holding up to 200 delegates for cocktail receptions Executive Lounge

Within Walking Distance Next to Brussels Central Train Station (direct connection to the airport in 20 minutes and to Brussels South Station, for Thalys, TGV and Eurostar, in five minutes). Three minutes to the Square Convention Centre. Ten minutes from the EU district. Three minutes to UNESCO World Heritage site, the Grand Place. Eight minutes to the Magritte Museum. Six minutes to the world famous Manneken Pis.

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Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The capital of Europe


Since its first restaurant opened in 1985, the Michiels’ family business Restauration Nouvelle has changed the way Brussels eats out. In the mid-1980s, Albert and Marianne Michiels were looking for a nice relaxed place to eat in Belgium’s capital. They wanted somewhere comfortable and welcoming, with reliably classic brasserie food at prices the young couple could afford. When they could not find such a spot, they did not complain – they sensed a wonderful business opportunity. “My husband was running some clothes shops, so we had commercial expertise, but neither of us knew anything about the restaurant business,” says Marianne. “So I quickly arranged to spend a few weeks working at a restaurant owned by a friend, 14  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

and straight away found that I loved it. We were young and energetic and took it from there.” Today the couple have 15 brasseries in and around the Belgian capital, with another about to open in Genappe. Not to mention a handful of chateaux and country properties that host events like weddings and conferences. If you are in Brussels, you will rarely be more than a few minutes away from one of their inviting establishments.

Classic dishes So what is the secret of their success? “There is no secret to it,” says Marianne. “We just worked extremely hard, and we still do! But also, we have done well right since the very start because we offered something that was missing at the time -

there just weren’t brasserie-style restaurants around at that period in Brussels. We were really the first to launch brasserie dining here, with dishes like escargots de Bourgogne, steak tartare, sole meunière, classics that are great to eat and that everybody loves, but these are dishes that to be right have to be cooked expertly – and be at affordable prices.” For the experience to remain authentic and to function like that first venture into the world of the restaurateur, they have created what might be called an antichain: “The decor has to have individual character with little touches like the right fresh flowers, and each restaurant must have a cosy atmosphere or it will feel wrong,” says Marianne. “We don’t bring food in from outside or impose a menu on our chefs, each of whom is free to

Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

express their personality in the food they serve. There are certain common threads, however, that you’d expect to see in a brasserie – like ragouts, and seafood platters, plus a really good dessert trolley to choose from, and a great array of delicious cheeses.”

Timeless but evolving The soul of the business has clearly remained the same since the couple began, not least because every day they and four of their daughters who now work in the company are to be found visiting their establishments. But that is not to say that it has not evolved. Elsewhere the laws on smoking often see smokers banished to tiny glass dungeons if they are lucky, or at the mercy of the elements if they are not, but Restauration Nouvelle has created comfortable fumoirs with music,

air-conditioning and good seating so they do not feel like unloved exiles. As eating out becomes more of a family thing, the company has ensured its restaurants have games rooms indoors, and play areas outside where children can play alongside heated terraces so parents and grandparents can keep an eye on their charges while they let off steam in the gardens. Likewise, those children are catered for with their own menu. Acknowledging another increasingly significant social change, Restauration Nouvelle offers plenty of choices for vegetarian diners, something that brasseries across the border in France would do well to note.

ing for a more restful and peaceful dining experience: “We have been very careful to design in spaces to provide nice tranquil corners for diners who want a quiet bite with friends and family, somewhere they can chat and eat in peace,” says Marianne. “So you’ll find secluded booths, and round tables set so they become a little world in themselves.

Designed for a broad clientele

“It’s a rather simple philosophy at the heart of the business,” concludes Marianne. “We create characterful places where everyone feels at ease, and where they can eat in comfort – and eat really well.” It may be simple in theory, but to make it work in the family’s diverse restaurants across the Belgian capital is an extraordinary achievement.

Families with children are important to this business, but so too are those look-

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Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

True Italian cuisine in the heart of Europe TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS  |  PHOTOS: L’ANCIENNE POISSONNERIE

Located in Brussels’ European quarter, L’Ancienne Poissonnerie offers classic Italian cuisine with a modern twist. “We are an Italian team and we are passionate about Italian cuisine. We serve high-quality Italian food in a classy environment. Our chef comes from the heart of Italy and has spent quite a bit of time in prestigious Italian restaurants,” explains Leila Verdiani, the owner. The beautiful 40-seater restaurant is located in a former fishmongers. The shop had been abandoned, and was eventually fully restructured, respecting the listed art deco exterior and interior. The architect retained the true Brussels art deco features, with the original tiles adorning the interior walls, including a magnificent mosaic depicting fishermen navigating a small boat on a stormy sea. The restaurant itself is designed in a sleek contemporary style, focusing on comfort and aesthetics. Every dish starts with traditional Italian ingredients, including the finest olive oil, the 16  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

freshest fish, high-quality meat cuts and home-made pasta. “Every dish we serve begins with fresh ingredients and is created bottom-up,” says Verdiani. The menu changes annually, and a number of specialty dishes also vary from week to week.

home-made desserts like the best tiramisù in town, the panna cotta and gelati della casa. Meals can be accompanied with wine from the restaurant’s interesting pan-Italian selection, including white Falanghina and red Morellino.

For starters, L’Ancienne Poissonnerie recommends the crispy octopus with pears (polpo croccante con pere), or the ‘fritto misto’ that includes freshly fried calamari and scampi dressed with citrus and aromatic herbs. For mains, diners can choose from an array of delicious pasta and risotto dishes, as well as several seafood and meat plates. Highlights include the rich ‘fettuccine al ragù di anatra’, a superb fettuccine with duck ragout, and ‘linguine alle vongole’, the classic pasta dish served with clams.

L’Ancienne Poissonnerie is located between the Royal Palace, the US embassy and the European Parliament, with many expats frequenting at lunchtime. Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 12pm3pm and 7pm-11pm. On Saturdays, it opens only in the evening from 7pm11pm. Reservations are advisable.

The tuna with smoked tomato (tonno, pomodoro fumé) comes highly recommended, as does the crispy pork belly accompanied with burnt orange and mustard sauce (pancia di maiale). To end a meal, diners can choose from a selection of

Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

Original Salvador Dalí bronze recently acquired by MEM.

Japanese print.

A unique museum of myth and eroticism TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS  |  PHOTOS: MEM

Brussels’ Museum of Erotics and Mythology (MEM) is an exceptional museum well worth a visit. The museum, situated in a beautiful 18th century townhouse near the Sablon square, contains over 600 rare pieces illustrating erotic art from antiquity to the present day. This inimitable private collection of works encompasses exclusive sculptures, paintings, figurines, ivory, books and prints from across the world. The museum aims to showcase the existence of eroticism throughout the eras. Dr. Guy Martens, the museum’s founder, opened the museum in 2012. “I was drawn to mythology and always collected antiques, particularly ivory pieces, from the age of 17,” explains Dr. Martens. In his youth, Dr. Martens frequented museums and studied art history and antiquity extensively. He continues to look for objects among Brussels’ many antique markets.

A masterpiece to look out for in MEM includes an original bronze sculpture by Salvador Dalí. Another key object is a bust designed by Igor Mitoraj, a monumental Polish sculptor whose work of fractured anatomies combined technical ability with a postmodern malaise. More unusual items in the museum’s eclectic range include a collection of scrimshaw, sperm whale teeth that has been engraved with erotic imagery, as well as an original condom from the second half of the 19th century. MEM also has a standout archeologic collection. In addition to the permanent collection, there is currently a fascinating exhibition of Japanese erotic prints, Shunga, showing until 30 April 2017. Later this year, French photographer Dani Olivier will present an exhibition of nude photography from 5 May until 27 August. Olivier is renowned for creating special effects on his models during shoots by projecting complex im-

ages and intricate light patterns onto his figures. MEM is located at 32 Rue Sainte Anne, 1000 Brussels. It opens on Monday, Thursday and Friday from 2pm-8pm, and on weekends from 11am-5pm. The museum is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Guided tours for up to 20 people can be booked in advance.

Cynthia, by Tom Wesselmann.

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Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe


Opening its doors in 2009, the Maison du Luxembourg is located at the heart of the European quarter in Brussels. The restaurant offers a beautiful relaxing environment and fine cuisine to its appreciative guests. Starting from zero, owner Philippe Lecomte put all the chances on his side to build what is today known as the Maison du Luxembourg. Formerly a tavern, the house had to undergo several transformations to achieve the look and soul it has today. With a kitchen offering fresh produce of the highest quality, the menu is built around the offerings of the season: “This allows us to ensure that there is no loss of taste and texture in the dishes we offer,” says manager Vincent van Bockstaele. “The highlights of our menu include pork ribs with carrot purée and ginger, veal sweetbread accompanied with red onions ‘à la cardamome’ and sweet potatoes, or scallops with bacon and lentils,” says Van Bockstaele. With

a wine list to match, the menu is affordable as well as pleasurable. With the possibility to hire their private salon for a 25-guest dinner or their banquet room with seats for 60, the team at Maison du Luxembourg will happily host your most special occasions - from weddings and birthdays to business dinners over a hearty meal. In order to escape the buzz of the city and feel invigorated this spring, this is the place to keep an eye on - both for its cuisine and the warm welcome from the staff.

A green setting for refreshing cuisine TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER  |  PHOTOS: AU GRAND FORESTIER

Run by Albert Jean Niels and his son Frédéric, the restaurant Au Grand Forestier seduces both locals and tourists with its charming location at the edge of the Forest of Soignes. With a beautiful view on the Ten Reuken ponds and a menu full of mouthwatering signature dishes, this is an unmissable address. Open since 2015, the restaurant welcomes its guests every day of the week with its non-stop kitchen from 12pm to 11pm (from April onwards, it is open on Sundays for lunch). Under the expert taste of talented chef Pascal Goblet, you can expect some of the classics they also offer at their Sablon location ‘Au Vieux St Martin’, such as the Filet Américain (the original recipe invented by first generation Joseph Niels in 1924), the tomatoes filled with Oostende grey shrimps or the soles from Zeebruges. Everything here is fresh and homemade, from the seasonings to the sauces and the delicious desserts. 18  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

If the food itself was not reason enough to book a table on the heated terrace, the setting is remarkable. Surrounded by beautiful nature and decorated with the works of renowned Belgian painters, the restaurant offers the perfect setting for business lunches, family dinners and romantic dates. With remarkable service and a friendly team, Au Grand Forestier has everything to please the eye and the taste-buds! For those looking for an alternative to the city feeling and buzz of the Belgian capital, this might just be it.

Find out more and organise private events by visiting the website below.

Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

An affordable design destination in Brussels TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: MOTEL ONE

Offering stylish and affordable accommodation in the heart of the city, Motel One Brussels is the ultimate destination for design aficionados visiting the Belgian capital. This hip establishment opened its doors in May 2014, as the first big international hotel of multiaward-winning German chain Motel One, who are celebrated for their budget design hotels encapsulated by the slogan ‘Like the price. Love the design’. “Guests staying with us for the first time are always surprised,” begins Maurits Kautz, general manager at Motel One Brussels. “They do not expect such smart design from a budget hotel.” At the heart of any Motel One hotel is the One Lounge - a living room, café and bar in one. Each One Lounge has its own unique design, although an element of recognition will always be apparent - such as the brand’s trademark turquoise colour. “When people arrive it’s important that they feel at home,” smiles Kautz.

There are nods to Belgium’s famous exports including chocolate and lace in the decor at One Lounge Brussels, while a depiction of Leopold I, first King of the Belgians, and his wife Louise adds a royal touch to the elegant bar. Motel One Brussels is ideally placed in the centre of Rue Royale, right behind the magnificent Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula and only a ten-minute walk from the famous Grand Place. The hotel is just 200 metres from the Parc metro station, within easy reach of the EU institutions. This enviable location means the hotel attracts clients visiting the city for business or pleasure. After a busy day of meetings or soaking up the sights, relax back at the hotel with a Belgian beer from the bar’s large selection. “We’re currently working on an even better menu with some great new beers and local specialties,” enthuses Kautz.

a movable desk in their room. Once it is time to switch off, all 490 rooms exude the fresh and functional design synonymous with Motel One. Expect exclusive Artemide Tolomeo lighting, a LOEWE flat-screen TV, plenty of storage space, and an elegant bathroom with a monsoon rain shower. When it comes to checking out in the morning, there is no queuing up to settle your bill. “You pay when you check-in so there’s no waiting time. We get great feedback on that. After all, people always get up too late!” laughs Kautz. That is hardly surprising: with king-size mattresses and Egyptian cotton bed linen in all rooms, sweet dreams are guaranteed!

Business travellers will appreciate the free WLAN access throughout the hotel and Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  19

Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

Top Belgian fare in Brussels’ heartland TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS  |  PHOTOS: LE QUARTIER LÉOPOLD

Belgian brasserie and restaurant Le Quartier Léopold sits in prime position on Brussels’ Place du Luxembourg. Opened 13 years ago, this chic establishment serves a vast array of FrancoBelgian specialties. Le Quartier Léopold is a modern restaurant with a high-end feel, combining a bar and restaurant designed in a contemporary style. High ceilings, impressive volumes, minimalist décor and tasteful furnishings are key. The brasserie has a superb terrace at the front, and a spacious garden at the back which provides an oasis within the city. In the kitchen, Chef Sebastien Desmet offers high-quality brasserie cuisine made from scratch with fresh produce and first-rate ingredients delivered daily. The classic Belgian dish of grey shrimp croquettes, as well as the freshly prepared ‘filet Américain’ (steak tartare), cheese croquettes and vol au vent all come highly 20  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

recommended. The restaurant also has plenty of international-style dishes such as stir fry, teriyaki tuna and pasta options. The menu changes annually, and there are specialty dishes that change daily depending on seasonal availability of produce. Le Quartier Léopold has a fantastic range of French wines, a vast selection of abbey and Trappist beers, as well as a choice of spirits including an impressive whisky selection. “We’re the only place in Brussels that serves pilsner beers on tap,” notes the restaurant’s owner.

stylish décor sets us apart,” says the owner. “Our south-facing terrace is fantastic on warmer days, and not forgetting our magnificent garden, which is a real haven of peace.” Another bonus is its central location on the Place du Luxembourg, adjacent to the European Parliament and close to the city centre and major hotels. Le Quartier Léopold is open Monday to Saturday from 10am - 11pm. On Sundays, the restaurant can be hired out for private events.

Le Quartier Léopold seats 260 people across the restaurant, terrace and garden. It also has a room available to hire for receptions and special events. On Thursday nights, the brasserie hosts a networking evening complete with a DJ. The daily happy hour is from 6pm - 7pm. What distinguishes Le Quartier Léopold from other brasseries? “Our cuisine and

Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

An escape in the city Situated in the heart of Louvain-la-Neuve, a university town located 30 kilometres southeast of Brussels, L’esplanade is a shopping and commercial centre offering diverse entertainment options for people of all ages. This luminous indoor arcade has a total of 128 assorted boutiques, restaurants and brasseries within it. It also includes amenities such as banks and pharmacies. L’esplande frequently hosts entertainment and themed events. “In the first two weeks of April, L’esplanade will host a vegetable garden festival partnering with local regional produc-

ers. We hope to inspire people to create and maintain a vegetable garden both indoors and outdoors. We will show people how to grow their own vegetables and aromatic herbs, in addition to creating a decorative garden,” says Mariela Van Hoey, head of marketing for L’esplanade. The idea is primarily to inspire people to produce their own vegetable plot. In February, the centre hosted a week for circus aficionados, which included a circus school. Students demonstrated classes for learning various circus skills, such as juggling and tightrope walking.


L’esplande offers a pleasant ambiance in this student town: the light-filled centre has vast eight-metre-high windows and a gleaming marble interior. The centre has many dining options, including fast food chain Quick, health food chain EXKi, as well as bakery Paul, and Chinese, Italian and Spanish restaurants. The centre is conveniently located next to the Louvain-la-Neuve railway station, and it is also easily accessible by bus. Parking is widely available. L’esplanade opens from 10am - 8pm Monday to Saturday, and until 9pm on Fridays.


For the past 40 years, the Coimbra restaurant has been the go-to address for a taste of Portuguese cuisine in the heart of Brussels. Bringing together a homely feeling and a delicious selection of mouth-watering dishes, Coimbra will make you feel like you have just walked into a family home in the Portuguese capital. A warm, welcoming atmosphere awaits at Coimbra. Combining wood and Portuguese earthenware, this cosy restaurant offers a diverse menu, where the favourites include fishbased dishes in typical Lisbon fashion. From tasty cod to shellfish, every dish is made with special care by owner Jorge Taveira’s wife: “She is a very gifted cook, which is why everything here is homemade. Our sauces, desserts, seasonings… we guarantee high-quality cuisine in a family atmosphere.”

Coimbra is open every day except Tuesday evening and Wednesday. The kitchen is open from noon to 2.30pm and in the evenings from 7pm to 10.30pm, meaning the stream of customers is constant. Proof that his formula works after 40 years of existence, Jorge Taveira is proud to tell us that “all the ingredients used in our kitchen are fresh from the market and all our wines come from the best wineries in Portugal”. For a memorable meal with a business partner, the family or as a couple, restaurant Coimbra will charm you with its tasty dishes and ‘fado’ music in the background for a true feeling of Portugal. There is no better time to visit either, as this year the restaurant is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  21

Discover Benelux  |  Zeeland  |  The Ultimate Spring & Summer Destination

Beach at Cadzand-Bad. Photo: Xander Koppelmans


The ultimate island experience Beautiful beaches, stunning scenery, and an arts and culture scene that is bursting at the seams. It is easy to see why the province of Zeeland is such a popular holiday destination. Get ready to enjoy sun, sea and spectacular seafood. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: PROVINCIE ZEELAND

Sunset at Neeltje Jans. Photo: Ben Biondina

22  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Zeeland  |  The Ultimate Spring & Summer Destination

Apple blossom flowers. Photo: Gemeente Kapelle

Zeeland, the best of the sea The province of Zeeland is easily accessible by public transport, with railway links from Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam to popular towns such as Goes, Yerseke, Middelburg, and Vlissingen. There are bus lines connecting the province’s postcard-perfect villages, as well as ferries transporting passengers to the islands.

Foodie heaven Whatever you are into, from beachside lounging to fine dining, a trip to Zeeland will allow you to enjoy the best the sea can offer. Whether you choose to spend your days relaxing at a stylish beach club

or indulging in some adrenaline-boosting water sports, you will soon get into the swing of island life. Once mussel season kicks off in the summer, there really is no better place to devour seafood specialties and spectacular views.

Photo: Ria Kosten Nostalgrietje

Museums and culture For culture vultures, museums including the Zeeuws Museum in Middelburg and MuZEEum Vlissingen detail Zeeland’s fascinating history. Meanwhile, do not miss the Watersnoodmuseum, which offers a poignant depiction of the events during and after the notorious flood of 1 February 1953. Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  23

Discover Benelux  |  Zeeland  |  The Ultimate Spring & Summer Destination

A cyclist heads towards Domburg. Photo: Ben Biondina

Exploring the islands… Goeree-Overflakkee Read more from page 26 The broad sandy beaches of this island make it hugely popular with water sports enthusiasts, while the wide stretches of polders and dunes are the perfect backdrop to a leisurely stroll or an invigorating cycle. Be sure not to miss the beautiful Lake Grevelingen.

visit this island as it is home to some unmissable Michelin-star restaurants, not to mention stunning scenery and vibrant harbours.

Noord-Beveland This island is a water sports paradise thanks to the North Sea, the Oosterschelde National Park and Veerse Meer Lake which is also perfect for a paddle with little ones. Admire amazing views over the polders and explore charming rural villages.

Schouwen-Duiveland Read more from page 28 Sailors and surfers flock to the beaches of Schouwen-Duiveland, while the surrounding woodland areas await for walkers and bike riders. Culture vultures should also check out the historic city of Zierikzee, with its beautiful port and numerous historical monuments.

are plenty of lively towns and villages offering great options for wining and dining. In the mood for utter relaxation? Enjoy the peacefulness of Walcheren’s agricultural countryside.

Tholen & Sint Philipsland The best way to explore Tholen’s magnificent flora and fauna is on two wheels. Discover mud flats, salt marshes and historical polders. The waters surrounding Sint Philipsland and Tholen are also perfect for sailing, surfing and motorboating.

Zuid-Beveland Read more from page 34 Zuid-Beveland is home to the Zak van Zuid-Beveland, one of the country’s most beautiful polder landscapes, not to mention picturesque villages such as Ellewoutsdijk and Nisse. For a gourmet experience, head to the village of Yerseke where the mussels are particularly tasty.

To start planning your trip to Zeeland, visit:

Zeeuws-Vlaanderen Read more from page 33 From mussels and oysters to arguably Europe’s best lobster, Zeeland is renowned for its delicious seafood. Foodies should 24  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

Walcheren Read more from page 36 History buffs will adore Walcheren’s museums and historic buildings, while there

Photo: Arendo Schipper Arendo

Discover Benelux  |  Zeeland  |  The Ultimate Spring & Summer Destination

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY: Kreeftenseizoen opening 30 March – Zierikzee, Schouwen-Duiveland Foodies will not want to miss the official opening of Zeeland’s lobster season. Oosterschelde lobster has a unique, softer flavour than its European counterparts. Bon appétit! Filmfestival Zeeuws-Vlaanderen 4-9 April – CineCity Terneuzen With its inspiring and varied programme, film fans of all ages will find a movie to suit their taste at the fifth edition of the Zeeland film festival. Eindeloos Eiland Festival 19-21 May – Wissenkerke, Noord-Beveland Eindeloos Eiland Festival is back for its third edition with a packed line-up comprising music, culture and nature. Vestrock 2-4 June – Hulst, Zeeuws-Vlaanderen An intimate boutique festival on a beautiful island in the fortified medieval city of Hulst

comprising live music, good food and great drinks. Cuisine Machine 2-5 June – Vlissingen, Walcheren The third edition of Cuisine Machine, the largest free culinary carnival in the Netherlands. Zeeland Jazz 9-11 June and 16-18 June Terneuzen and Middelburg A celebration of jazz in all its forms. The first stage of the festival takes place in Terneuzen (9-11 June), while the second is in Middelburg (16-18 June). Kunstschouw 17-25 June – Schouwen The biggest visual art event in Zeeland. Every year around 200 artists from across the world showcase their creations against a beautiful backdrop of sand dunes and picturesque villages.

Photo: Ben Seelt

Baderseiland. Photo: Ben Seelt

Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  25

Discover Benelux  |  Zeeland  |  Goeree-Overflakkee Highlights

Holland’s very own Ibiza TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA  |  PHOTOS: PUNT-WEST

In the middle of the beautiful surroundings of Ouddorp, close to Lake Grevelingemeer, you will find Beach Resort Punt-West. This is the latest project by Oasis Parcs – known for their premium holiday homes – featuring luxurious holiday villas and studios. Beach Resort Punt-West boasts 72 villas and 20 studios to be precise. All offer a combination of home and hotel. “It’s got the privacy of a spacious home and the service and luxury of a hotel,” explains commercial manager Malou Versloot. At the centre of the park is the international beach club Werelds Aan Het Strand. Comparisons to places such as Saint Tropez, Ibiza and Dubai seem only logical. “That was actually the goal when it was built: to create accommodation like we’ve never seen it before in the Netherlands – yet to keep the personal aspect,” says Versloot. “Guests are never a number here; we always know their names and there are no standard procedures involved.” 26  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

The result is a unique and luxurious holiday park, designed by well-known Dutch architect Matthijs Zeelenberg. The architect had not just luxury, but also the environment in mind, making everything eco-friendly. “We have green roofs and eco-friendly heating systems, and the park has its own water source. This is how we wanted to stay connected to the nature surrounding the park,” says Versloot. So nature is all around, but this is not Saint Tropez, Ibiza or Dubai; it is Holland, so it sometimes rains during the summer. And then what? “All accommodation facilities are spacious, but for the most part it’s about quality time with each other, and you don’t need good weather to enjoy that. Think about it,” Versloot invites. “Sitting in front of the pellet stove with a glass of wine, seeing the inclement weather and crashing waves outside. How cosy is that?” Moreover, there is plenty to do in the surroundings of the park.

But let us stay positive and assume that it will be sunny. You can enjoy the beach right beneath the villas and studios, but you can also visit the authentic villages of Zeeland and the different kinds of museums that are very close by. Or check out the beach lounge, restaurant and wine bar Werelds Aan Het Strand to complete that luxurious holiday.

Discover Benelux  |  Zeeland  |  Goeree-Overflakkee Highlights

This is unique in the Netherlands TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA  |  PHOTOS: WERELDS

Nearly 15,000 Facebook fans within ten months of opening, 25,000 visitors in the first 12 weeks and 35 club sandwiches served five minutes after opening in high season – there is no doubt that beach club and restaurant Werelds Aan Het Strand is a huge success. Werelds Aan het Strand is part of Beach Resort Punt-West but open to non-resort guests as well. The resort and the island it is located on often spark comparisons to places such as Ibiza and Dubai. “That’s actually what I said when a friend showed me the brochure before it was built,” says owner Michel Schreuders. “Of course I needed to do it. This is unique in the Netherlands.” That is probably why he received some sceptical reactions when he told people about his new venture. One would expect that Werelds Aan Het Strand is only nice to visit during summer. However, even when it rains Werelds Aan Het Strand is

the perfect place to relax. “Have a drink in front of the fire place, read a magazine on the lounge sofas or just chill in the lounge and have some finger food. It’s all there,” says the founder. Even if you are more of an active type, there is enough for you to do. How about water scooters or a wild ride on a RIB boat? “The RIB boat is really well suited for events,” Schreuders nods. “We organise these here a lot as well. People come here for wedding parties, family gatherings and business events. You can spend all day here without getting bored.”

When he started, Schreuders said that “if I’m going to do it, I’m going to make sure to do it right”. And he did. Werelds Aan Het Strand can seat 230 people inside and 250 outside and 100 more guests can spend the day on the luxurious lounge beds. The place is practically always packed. If you still need convincing to visit this little piece of Ibiza in Zeeland, check out the drone videos on their Facebook page. You will want to go right away.

And what about the food? After all, the beach club also features a big restaurant. “We’re not called Werelds, which means worldly, for nothing,” Schreuders laughs. “Our kitchen prepares dishes from around the world, like a good steak, saté ajam and truffle pasta. We also do the small version of those: our Werelds tapas platters.” Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  27

Discover Benelux  |  Zeeland  |  Schouwen-Duiveland Highlights

Experience the Watersnoodmuseum in Zeeland TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: WATERSNOODMUSEUM

There are many iconic images of the Netherlands, but none so ubiquitous as the flood controls and especially the Delta Works in the southern province of Zeeland. The humongous project was sped up after the area was particularly devastated by the North Sea flood of 1953 that took the lives of 1,836 people in the Netherlands and destroyed tens of thousands of buildings. To remember the disaster, its victims, and the effect it had on the Netherlands, Zeeland installed its very own Watersnoodmuseum in four defunct caissons that were instrumental in the battle between the Dutch and the unruly North Sea. On the morning of 1 February 1953 the Netherlands woke up to a natural disaster 28  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

like it had never seen before. A combination of high tides, a strong Northwestern storm and weakened dykes hit parts of Belgium, England and the Netherlands. The province of Zeeland suffered extremely hard. In a county less populated back then and with strong family ties, it is safe to assume the disaster had a drastic impact on almost every life in Zeeland. Jump forward to 2001 when the Watersnoodmuseum was erected near the small town of Ouwerkerk. It is named after the ‘Watersnoodramp’ (‘water emergency disaster’, as the Dutch call the flood of 1953). The museum is housed in four now defunct caissons; sealed underwater structures that were used for the construction of a few of the many water works the area holds. In there, you can

learn all about the destructiveness of the flood, listen to the personal stories of the survivors, see the amazing work the Dutch have done after that fateful night and discover how Zeeland guards itself for the future. All themes are neatly divided among the four caissons: one is for facts, one is for emotions, another one is on reconstruction and the fourth one is about the future.

Sharing memories “The Watersnoodmuseum was born out of necessity,” explains director Siemco Louwerse. “Back when we commemorated the disaster 50 years later, the queen at the time, Queen Beatrix, spoke with survivors who noticed how there are works of art remembering the flood, but there wasn’t a place to gather and share

Discover Benelux  |  Zeeland  |  Schouwen-Duiveland Highlights

memories.” This fact got a whole group of volunteers spearheaded by Ria Geluk together and, with the help of sponsors and everyone’s amazing work, they opened the museum in 2001 in just one caisson, which expanded to four in 2009. “Right now, in 3,600 square metres we host an impressive collection of items that hark back to the days of reconstruction including tools and even emergency homes that were supplied by Scandinavian countries,” says Louwerse. “All this is run by our great team of 135 volunteers.” Louwerse continues: “What really stands out for me is the amount of solidarity among the 135 volunteers that work for the museum. About 80 per cent of them experienced the flood in 1953 and they feel a certain kind of responsibility to tell

the stories about how they were on the roofs, watching the water creep closer. Hearing those tales is what fascinates a lot of our 90,000 visitors per year.”

Raising awareness But the museum is more than just a place for remembrance. Awareness is a theme that rings through the halls of the Watersnoodmuseum’s caissons. “A year ago, minister Schultz of Infrastructure and Environment acknowledged us as a museum for knowledge about water works,” says Louwerse. “Starting next year, on the 65th anniversary of the North Sea flood, we will emphasise even more on how we live with water not just here, but also in the rest of the world where floods are unfortunately still happening.” They also offer a virtual reality (VR) experience where you get a

headset and immerse yourself completely in a flooded house where there’s only one solution: to get on the roof as quickly as possible. “It’s fun to see how our younger visitors are more adept with the VR setting and the controller. As a bonus, it creates some awareness for them as well: the only way in a flood is up.” The Watersnoodmuseum can be found in Ouwerkerk at the Weg van de Buitenlandse Pers 5. The museum itself is multilingual, a portable podcast player is available at the entrance. For opening hours and more information about the museum itself, visit:

Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  29

Discover Benelux  |  Zeeland  |  Schouwen-Duiveland Highlights

How leisure became our brand equity TEXT AND PHOTOS: BHVK LEISURE

We all love to share an experience, a good story, or anything intriguing. Whether in an online or offline environment, we seem to have an insatiable need to share - and if we do not share an experience it is as though it never happened. Leisure has been defined as a quality of experience and usually emphasises dimensions of perceived freedom and choice. In other words, it seems that in this decennium of big data and social networks, we are all trying to highlight our leisure moments. More than 50 per cent of the world population uses the internet. Through our mobile phones, the internet, e-mail, television, radio and so on, we process an average volume of 34 gigabytes of information each day. An overload of information has unconsciously led many people on trails set out by large global companies. 30  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

How are these companies able to meet the demands of all their different clients?

Creating a carefree holiday experience As more people choose not to follow the managed path of mass tourism, the search for tranquility, space and quality have allowed the term ‘leisure’ to quickly establish itself in the holiday market. Ensuring to meet modern standards in quality, service, personal attention and creating a carefree holiday experience are the unique selling points that give value to the BHVK Leisure brand.

Enjoy your leisure time With a growing amount of choice, it is the customers’ desire for reliability that has led to BHVK Leisure’s success. As an independent holiday letting agency, we are a reliable partner that guarantees

customer demands are met and allows for 24/7 personal contact throughout your stay. Our mission “Enjoy your leisure time, don’t waste it”, was introduced in 2011 and continues to encompass our corporate identity. Regardless of the advertising budget and efforts made by big global businesses to lure customers, the approach of making one-time sales is being replaced by the development of long-term relationships. You might be making use of a product or service right now that is being provided by the company that satisfies you the most consistently.

Unique locations Providing customers with a ‘leisure experience’ is about creating a feeling of pleasure, enjoyment and happiness. Because we all lead different lives, we are looking

Discover Benelux  |  Zeeland  |  Schouwen-Duiveland Highlights

for something unique to make us feel these emotions. BHVK Leisure offers individually located holiday accommodations to complement your style of holiday experience. Thanks to the diversity of our region, we can provide many different types of vacation homes. Think about what suits your idea of the perfect vacation. Perhaps spending time on the roof terrace of your harbour penthouse? Or have you always dreamt of a house in the middle of nature, where it takes an hour to walk through the garden?

A quality experience We offer everything from state-of-theart country houses bordering natural reserves to family homes near the beach

with a ground level bedroom and en suite bathroom to provide comfort for the less agile. If you would rather spend your holiday cycling, we have the perfect home that offers a secure shed for bike storage and e-bike charging facilities. Whether you enjoy exploring the great outdoors, finding a place of tranquility, spending quality time in a romantic setting or cannot wait to feel the adrenaline rush induced by water sports, we offer the right accommodation to complete your vacation. Allow yourself a quality experience and start ‘leisuring’!

we have recently opened a new office. As it is locally, the foreign market is in need of a trustworthy agency that ensures high-quality, carefree holidays. Years of hard work and dedication have strengthened the BHVK Leisure brand, forming a solid foundation for this expansion.

Expanding a successful formula

A final word from Hernando Kleijn, key account manager at BHVK Leisure: “Looking forward, we will increase focus on brand awareness and social exposure to further embody our corporate identity. Given this perfect opportunity, we would like to thank all our partner clients for being the cornerstone of our thriving business!”

Opportunities to expand our success formula have led us abroad to Spain, where

Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  31

Discover Benelux  |  Zeeland  |  Schouwen-Duiveland Highlights


In the heart of the province of Zeeland, at the edge of Oosterschelde National Park, Restaurant De Heerenkeet offers the most Dutch experience possible. Oosterschelde is a park with a surface area covered 90 per cent by water and is known as ‘birds’ boulevard’ because of the thousands of birds that live there. On top of that, De Heerenkeet, which was built in 1763, is possibly the only restaurant in the Netherlands that is built outside of a dyke. The view is stunning, especially in windy weather when you see the roughness of nature right before your eyes. Within the family, ‘mom’ Marion Snijder is passionately and certifiably governing the wine business. She visits the wine fields in Portugal, France and New Zealand to select the wines herself. “It is the only product that we get from further away. The rest we find literally in our own backyard. We use vegetables straight from the garden. For decades, our specialty

has been seafood, which we find in our other garden: the Oosterschelde.” The family’s own fish shop delivers the lobsters, oysters and other typical and local specialties. After a nice walk or bike ride through a beautiful natural area, De Heerenkeet treats its tired clients’ taste buds with the respect they deserve.

De Heerenkeet opens weekdays 11am - 9pm and weekends 10am - 9pm. It is located on the south coast of Schouwen-Duiveland, an island between Hoek van Holland and Brussels. It is also easily reachable by car from Amsterdam. Address: Boogerdweg 1 in Kerkwerve. Tel: +31 111 671 279

Discover Benelux  |  Zeeland  |  Zeeuws-Vlaanderen Highlights

H U L S T:

Your new favourite weekend destination TEXT: JULIËN L’ORTYE  |  PHOTOS: HOTEL HULST / VESTINGSTAD HULST

Let us be honest, the city of Hulst would not be the first place to come to our minds while planning a weekend trip, right? But after an extensive conversation with two of the city’s ‘ambassadors’, Jochem Beaart and Monique de Bruijn, our opinion did a complete U-turn. Why? Well, first of all, Hulst has one of the few fully preserved star forts of Europe, which results in quite an impressive view when you drive your way up to the walls that surround the city. But according to De Bruijn, that is not the only reason Hulst is such a terrific place: “Mostly, fortified towns and cities are small places where people just live. They might have a little supermarket, perhaps a local bakery, but that’s it. Here in Hulst, there is a lot of activity, with nice, little shops and many terraces. You could say that we have quite a regional function, actually.” We have to say, it is indeed quite lively over here; it seems that there is never a weekend when nothing happens. Beaart

laughs: “But some of those events are just outside the fortification, you know. Why is it such a bustling place? Well, traditionally, Hulst was a trading city. And where there’s trade, there’s vivacity.” As the city is located next to the Belgian border, it is no surprise that it holds quite a Burgundian atmosphere. Beaart: “Flemish people don’t like to stay at home, they want to go out. The people of Hulst are pretty much the same, with the same joie de vivre.”

area of Western Europe!” De Bruijn joyfully tells us. Beaart adds: “It is a very popular breeding area for birds as well, perfect for nature lovers. Or the Sint-Willibrordus Basilica! Did you know that it was named the most beautiful church in the Netherlands a couple of years ago?” You had better start planning your trip…

Apart from his role as ambassador for the city, Beaart is also the owner of Hotel Hulst, where you have a magnificent view over the city. “From our hotel, you can see pretty much everything that plays an important role in our city. You could say that the fortress lies exactly at your feet.” After Hotel Hulst fused with the hotel next to them, about two years ago, Beaart has renovated all 40 rooms. Both Beaart and De Bruijn appear to have a never-ending list of points of interest: “What to think of the Drowned Land of Saeftinghe, the biggest brackish water Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  33

Discover Benelux  |  Zeeland  |  Zuid-Beveland Highlights


Imagine sitting on a small yet grand marina, having the most stunning views over the waters of National Park De Oosterschelde, all while eating the freshest seafood. This is Zee-eeterij De Viskêête in Yerseke. Zee-eeterij De Viskêête is the restaurant from Piet van Oost B.V., a supplier of shellfish, mussels, oysters, lobster, and many more delicacies the sea has to offer. Piet van Oost B.V. delivers both fresh and deep-frozen seafood to individuals, fishmongers, restaurants, wholesalers and retail, while also selling produce in their specialty store the Viscounter. “The counter displays our whole assortment of seafood, which is constantly being complemented with fresh products,” begins Rinus van Stee, PR advisor at Piet van Oost. “Also, there is a basin for mussels, lobsters, and oysters which customers can directly choose from. This is as fresh as it gets.” The story of family business Piet van Oost B.V. started in 1916, when the great 34  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

grandfather of current director Jaap van Stee bought his first fishing boat. Decades of change, growth, and takeovers followed, but the business never deviated from its passion and expertise in seafood. Zee-eeterij De Viskêête and the Viscounter opened in 2007, and the story continues. In February 2017, Zee-eeterij De Viskêête started its expansion to provide more seating, a bigger conservatory and a new kitchen. As one of the few such companies in the Netherlands, Piet van Oost oysters come from their own plantation and have the ‘Zeker Zeeuws’ certification, which stands for high-quality products with a guaranteed origin. Mussels are sourced at the only mussel auction in the world: the Dutch Mussel Auction in Yerseke. The charming restaurant is an absolute dream for seafood lovers, serving everything from eel to fresh salads, and from beautiful oysters to dorado or lobsters. Guests can choose from a set menu

or go à la carte; and for those wanting to enjoy Zee-eeterij De Viskêête’s delicacies at home, there are seafood platters to take away. “We are an inclusive restaurant,” Van Stee asserts. “We have something for everyone and for every budget.” For those of you who do not like seafood, do not worry about being a spoilsport as there are plenty of meat and vegetarian options on the menu. “Whether they love fish or not, people come here for the atmosphere, the stunning views, and our hospitality – all accompanied by a beautiful fresh sea breeze.” For more information, please visit:

Discover Benelux  |  Zeeland  |  Zuid-Beveland Highlights

Dine in a former ferry house TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: KATSEVEER

The province of Zeeland holds many renowned restaurants, but it is Katseveer that takes the prize for most surprising location. Set in an old ferry house, the restaurant has been catering to bon vivants with current owners Rutger van der Weel and Jessica van der Weel at the helm since 2003. In a short amount of time, the couple upped the reputation of the restaurant and saw their hard work crowned with a Michelin star, a favourable rating from Gault Millau and a place in the highly reputable Alliance Gastronomique with 35 other top restaurants. When visiting Restaurant Katseveer, the first thing you will notice is the location itself. Set near the Eastern Scheldt, the building was used for several ferry lines. Now, Katseveer has a fresh, modern interior and had the kitchen moved in 2011 to the other side of the building,

because it was blocking the view on the Scheldt. “And we do love that view,” grins Jessica van der Weel.

For more information and reservations, go to:

It is her and partner and chef Rutger van der Weel who put Katseveer on the culinary map with a menu that draws inspiration from the surroundings. Van der Weel: “We’re known for our samphire, sea bass and especially the lobster. That’s a crowd pleaser for which a lot of Belgians travel to Katseveer.” The couple is also known for their shoal lunches: a 50-metre table on a nearby shoal with a feast of ‘fruits de mer’. “Shells and any leftovers can be tossed away, the sea neatly cleans up,” tells Van der Weel. The lunch is subject to the tide, as soon as it gets high, everybody must move to dry land. “We know when high tide is coming,” points out Van der Weel, who hails from the province of Zeeland. Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  35

Discover Benelux  |  Zeeland  |  Walcheren Highlights

Sealicious food for ‘king customer’ TEXT: DAAN APPELS  |  PHOTOS: JACO DUVEKOT

Domburg is home to one of the most beautiful beaches in Zeeland. Beach Pavilion Oase is the heart of this clean and stunning family beach. Just a two-minute walk from the centre of Domburg, Oase offers that little extra bit of service for both parents and children. Most importantly, their seafood is amazing. The lobsters, oysters and North Sea soles are caught only a couple of hours before their final journey to your plate. Adult customers can enjoy their ‘fruits de mer’ while the children play in the big playground. In the meantime, the main duty of the staff is to make you feel at home as much as possible, explains owner Jaco Duvekot. “In our service, we go just a bit further than our competitors. For example, outside we have seats with pillows that heat 36  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

up electrically on a cold day. And our staff are willing to fulfil almost all our clients’ requests. Oase uses a very Dutch slogan: the customer is king.” Inside the Oase is a freshly renovated architectural delight, with turquoise and sandy colours that make you feel like you are immersed in the surrounding nature.

What doubles that feeling are the windows around you. If you have a table in the middle of the restaurant, you have a 270degree view of the beach. Duvekot: “The lengthy view on a sunny day is stunning from the pavilion, but on a windy or stormy day the experience is even more unique.”




EXPERIENCE Deltapark Neeltje Jans is located in the Southwest of the Netherlands, in the province Zeeland at the foot of the largest storm surge barrier in the world. What is the story behind this immense structure? The Delta Experience explains the history of the Dutch struggle against water in a way that is innovative, accessible and lively. The impressive panoramic 3D animation allows visitors to experience the devastating power of water. It is the story of the largest post-war natural disaster in the Netherlands. Get a sense of what happened in Zeeland on the night of 31 January 1953, a historic event that was not captured on film. See and experience how the North Sea waves wiped out part of the Netherlands.



Once the storm subsides, a waterfall of archive images will appear. You will see the damage caused by the disaster as well as the reconstruction of Zeeland and the construction of the Delta works.

€ 5,- DISCOUNT € 1,- DISCOUNT from 12 years

Max. 4 persons per voucher. Valid until 29-10-2017. DISCOVER BENELUX


on children’s fare (4-11 years)

Discover Benelux  |  Discover Flanders  |  Historical & Cultural Experiences

Alden Biesen. Photo: P van Gelooven

Meetjesland. Photo: Toerisme Oost-Vlaanderen


A region bursting with historical and cultural experiences This small region of Belgium has a deep and incredibly varied cultural heritage dating back hundreds of years. From world-class museums and archeological sites to magnificent castles, Flanders is a culture vulture’s dream.

DO NOT MISS: Alden Biesen Located in the province of Limburg, this 16th-century castle is an international culture and conference centre as well as being an important heritage site. Meetjesland Located between Ghent and Bruges in the province of East Flanders lies the region of Meetjesland, an area that oozes cultural attractions and beautiful nature. Ename This famous Belgian heritage village has preserved and reconstructed the history of its community and the natural environment for more than 1,000 years. Ename. Photo: pan Ename

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Discover Benelux  |  Discover Flanders  |  Historical & Cultural Experiences

Sheep and Herder. Photo: Kim Lonneville

Photo: Toerisme Oost-Vlaanderen

The Provinciaal Streekcentrum Huysmanhoeve. Photo: Evelien De Craene

The gateway to Meetjesland TEXT: MICHIEL STOL

Located between Ghent and Bruges in the province of East Flanders lies the beautiful region of Meetjesland. The area offers a wealth of cultural heritage, pristine nature and numerous events throughout the year. Provinciaal Streekcentrum Huysmanhoeve (a regional centre) in Eeklo is the gateway to this amazing part of East Flanders. “What makes the Huysmanhoeve building so special is the arch at the entrance. It has been there since the 13th century and reflects its role as the true gateway to Meetjesland,” explains Stephanie Paridaen from the rural hub Plattelandscentrum Meetjesland, in charge of the regional centre for the province of East Flanders. The Huysmanhoeve is an old farmstead that dates back to the 13th century, when the grounds were owned by Johanna van Constantinopel, the countess of Flanders. It was sold to the monastery and later leased to the townspeople. From 1736 until 1996, it was leased by the Huysman family. From then on it was owned by the province of East Flanders to serve as the regional centre.

“The tourist information centre is located here at Huysmanhoeve. We have a heritage depot here, which will tell you the history of the Huysmanhoeve as well as Meetjesland,” elaborates Paridaen. “This was, and still is, an agricultural region, so you will learn a lot about that here at the centre.” The buildings are being restored to their old glory. For instance, the old bakery is now working again, baking bread on assigned days. “Visitors can smell the bakery from afar and enjoy handcrafted bread.” Some of the old buildings have been given a new purpose. For example, the former piggery is now home to an artisanal cafeteria. “Visitors can taste all kinds of regional products. We work together with local famers and producers to show all the delicious delicacies that come from around here.” The Huysmanhoeve offers more than just regional products. “Every year we have a different exhibition. This year it will be about the 70th birthday of Roger De Vlaeminck, the famous cyclist who won the Paris-Roubaix race four times. De Vlaem-

inck was born in Eeklo and is a regional hero,” says Paridaen with pride. “Together with the city of Eeklo, we organise activities throughout the season, including bike rides inspired by De Vlaeminck.” If you want to discover the beauty of Meetjesland, with its rich cultural heritage open scenery and unique creeks in the north, Provinciaal Streekcentrum Huysmanhoeve is the place to start your journey of discovery.

Photo: Toerisme Meetjesland

For further information, visit the following websites:

Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  39

Discover Benelux  |  Discover Flanders  |  Historical & Cultural Experiences

Photo: H Timmerman

Photo: J van der Vaart


A melting pot of experiences TEXT: JULIËN L’ORTYE

This castle belongs to the Flemish government and is a combination of a congress centre, a hotel and an international cultural centre. It is surrounded by a wonderful, rich nature with many walking and cycling routes. Sounds pretty interesting, right? Located in the Belgian city of Bilzen, the castle of Alden Biesen seems to have it all. Once built by the German Order of the Teutonic Knights to serve as the headquarters of a so-called bailiwick, the medieval name for a province, Alden Biesen now hosts many festivals, congresses and other cultural events. According to general manager Guy Tilkin, one of the highlights is the International Storytelling Festival: “The festival is the largest in Europe; there is no festival in the world where so many different languages are spoken.” It is indeed quite an impressive list: the stories are told in English, Dutch, German and French, as well as “more exotic languages”, such as Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and even Swedish. 40  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

Tilkin continues: “In nine days, there are more than 200 shows. There are very few countries where an event like this is possible, you know. The Flemish people are a unique audience, as Belgium is a trilingual country.” Apart from this impressive festival, Alden Biesen is also surrounded by amazing nature. “The castle is located in Haspengouw, a very rich area when it comes to fruit production. Many different apple, pear and cherry trees can be found here,” says Tilkin. And this is where all the cycling and walking ways can be found, with many old, varying and flourishing fruit trees along the roads. As the city of Bilzen also recognised the value of Alden Biesen, they decided to invest in a new event called ‘Bilzen Mysteries’. Following this partially digitally managed route, you can follow the castle’s entire history. For example medieval knights can be seen, as can the fire that led Alden Biesen to be restored in the 1970s. According to Tilkin, the castle’s main goal is “opening up heritage”, which

it is safe to say has been achieved. Take the Scottish weekend for example, which is hosted every year and highlights Scottish culture. “Yes, we do have quite a cultural mission and we are pretty fond of it,” smiles Tilkin. Go and see for yourself, at castle Alden Biesen.

Photo: P van Gelooven

Discover Benelux  |  Discover Flanders  |  Historical & Cultural Experiences

A local history with universal ambitions TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: PAM ENAME

Visiting Ename is like visiting history. This famous Belgian heritage village has preserved and reconstructed the history of its community and the natural environment for more than 1,000 years. Fascinating stories come at you from every direction; from the archeological site with the remainders of a Benedictine abbey, to the protected forest Bos t’Ename, and the beautifully restored Saint-Laurentius Church, a unique monument from the year 1000. The provincial archeological museum pam Ename is where all stories come together. “Ename first emerges in history in a context of political tensions and military defense,” begins Marie-Claire Van der Donckt, conservator at the museum. “When the political map was rearranged in 843 due to the splitting up of Charlemagne’s empire and the French and German empires came to face each other, German Emperor Otto I founded Ename as one of

his main frontier sites.” From the 960s, when Ename’s castle was founded, the centre developed into a blooming settlement with an important harbour, a market, and two churches, perfectly representing life in medieval times. These two stories form the central narrative of the museum. Via a selective collection of historical objects and interactive stories through films and virtual reality, it lets visitors experience Ename as a village community on

the one hand, while at the same time shows the Ottonian centre as an outstanding military, ecclesiastical and economic site. By combining these local and international elements, pam Ename shows archaeological remainders in a way that transcends the material side. It shows the human story behind this mysterious village - and makes its people come to life.

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Chef’Special

Photo: Michael-Rex Carbonell

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Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Chef’Special


Serving up a new sound After a mammoth arena tour of the US with hip-hop duo Twenty One Pilots last summer, 2017 is all about coming home for Chef’Special. The talented five-piece are excited to be back in their native Netherlands for the release of their eagerly anticipated third album, Amigo. Recorded in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and Haarlem, Amigo is a cocktail of musical influences from reggae to rock, and highlights the band’s elevation to world-class status. They may be conquering the US charts, but Chef’Special will never forget their roots, as we found out when we spoke to lead singer Joshua Nolet about life as the frontman of Haarlem’s hottest musical export. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER

Chef’Special’s sophomore album Passing Through debuted at the top of the Dutch charts in 2014, while hit single In Your Arms reached triple platinum status, so it is fair to say expectations are high for the upcoming Amigo. Recording was a lengthy process, with work on the album being tailored around the band’s hectic tour schedule over the past couple of years. “The writing and recording process kept stopping and starting,” begins singersongwriter Nolet, who makes up one fifth of the band alongside Guido Joseph (guitar), Wouter Heeren (keyboard), Jan Derks (bass) and drummer Wouter Prudon. Tracks featured on Amigo were written in various locations, from New York and LA, to Seattle, as well as the band’s home town of Haarlem. “I think that was a good thing. It made the album what it is. You zoom out, you stop and do something else. You do a tour and then you look at the songs with some distance and fresh ears.”

Upping their game Working with new American producers and songwriters on their third album had

an important impact on Chef’Special. The band are already known for combining a wealth of diverse musical influences, and opened their minds further still in the making of Amigo. “It made us grow, especially me. You become less over-protective about your music. Over the years, you feel safe and comfortable in your studio, but then when you are in a different studio with a different producer in a different place, you just have to bring your own creativity and your own identity to wherever that place is and write and make it happen,” he explains. “I learned how much richer you get when you just open up in a new spot instead of being closed off. It also made me be more critical of myself and ask more questions, like, ‘Okay, what do I actually really want to say?’” It appears that the band has a lot to say, with the album being finished a couple of times before new songs would come to them. “When all the pressure has gone, it’s like ‘Ah we’re done!’ Then all of a sudden we would write something new and be like;

‘This is cool. This deserves a home on the album’,” recalls Nolet.

Opening up “The best example of that is the opening track, Because I love you. The album was finished, it was literally mixed and mastered. We were ready to go. Suddenly I was by myself at night writing the lyrics to this song and it felt like I didn’t have to think about it at all. It was very true. “It’s about how you can try hard to be a good person, try to share and spread as much love as you can - but you can make it so hard for yourself, or we as society make it hard for ourselves to truly open up to love.” On the track, Nolet references the band’s huge hit In Your Arms, which was written about the loss of his own father in 2012. The musician’s talent for penning his emotions has played a large role in Chef’ Special’s success, a factor that he sometimes struggles with. “I feel guilty every now and then - like we make money out of that song and my father died for it. But that doesn’t make any sense. In the end, it comes from the heart Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  43

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Chef’Special

and that’s what matters. He’s up there and proud,” he smiles. In fact, it is when performing his own songs that Nolet feels the most comfortable on stage. “That way I know it’s real, there’s no doubt about it. I’m behind it and I can back it up. When a song comes from a very true place, it always feels like home.”

A lifelong passion Nolet began singing at a young age, although his early performances were in packed-out cathedrals rather than arenas. “My parents put me in choir school at around the age of six or seven,” he recalls. “I was an alto. I really discovered my love for singing and music there. Then when I got to like 11 or 12, I had to be cool and go into a different direction - but that’s where it all started.” The community element of the choir particularly appealed to Nolet, and he has been surrounding himself with musicians ever since. “I always loved singing together, I think it’s a very powerful human connection. I surround myself with people who inspire me to be better.” Would he ever consider a solo career? It seems unlikely. “It’s Chef’Special dominating my world,” he grins. It should not be long before Chef’Special are dominating the world too. The band have already cracked the US charts, a notoriously competitive market. For Nolet and his bandmates, supporting the ubiquitous Grammy award winners Twenty One Pilots was a career-defining moment. “The first show we did on that tour was Cincinnati. The fans would come early, they were in front of the door for literally three days. When the doors opened, they would all storm in. When we played at eight o’clock it would be full house 20,000 people. We’d be like: ‘Okay, we’re gonna do this now, and they just went with it. They started partying and we were looking at each other like: ‘Are we dreaming? This is real. Let’s enjoy this!’ And we did! It was insane every night.”

The new rock and roll The shows themselves may have been wild, but the debauchery typically associat44  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

ed with rock and roll is all a bit passé in the eyes of Chef’Special. In fact, you would be much more likely to catch Nolet meditating than stumbling out of a nightclub. “This last year I’ve been discovering meditation. It keeps you sane. It’s awesome for eliminating all the noise and being with yourself in silence. You discover why you’re doing what you’re doing,” he explains. “I work out, meditate, eat healthily. It really helps in keeping you alert and focused. It’s the new rock and roll!” That is not to say the boys, who began their career by touring Europe in a van, have not enjoyed their fair share of partying. “We learned the hard way,” laughs Nolet. “On the first tour, you act like different rules apply because you’re away from home and away from your loved ones and your routine. Then you can lead this whole different life. But very quickly you realise that this is not something out of the ordinary, this is your life and you shouldn’t forget what was important before. You need to uphold those values.” With such a wise approach to stardom, it is clear Chef’Special are in this for the long haul, something that their fans on both sides of the pond will be thrilled to hear. “I think we had the privilege to learn from all these rock stars who went before us. We’ve seen all the documentaries and it’s real: it can mess you up very quickly,” concludes Nolet. “That’s not the idea. We all want this for a long time.”

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Chef’Special

Photo: Rona Lane

Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  45

Discover Benelux  |  Utrecht & Flevoland  |  The heart of the Netherlands

Bollenroute, Flevoland.


Getting to the heart of the Netherlands From medieval to modern, the centre of the Netherlands is brimming with architectural delights, world-class museums and a buzzing cultural scene. Whether you seek raw natural beauty, man-made wonders or avant-garde art, you will find it here in the beating heart of the Netherlands. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: TOERISME FLEVOLAND AND UTRECHT MARKETING

Ganzenmarkt, Utrecht.

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Discover Benelux  |  Utrecht & Flevoland  |  The heart of the Netherlands

The Exposure (2010) by Antony Gormley.

Fabulous Flevoland Flevoland was established on 1 January 1986 and is the youngest province in the Netherlands. In this vibrant, modern area people live on what used to be the sea floor of the former Zuiderzee. These days, you will find stunning nature, islands on dry land and architecturally astounding cities such as Almere. There is much beauty to discover in the impressive polder area of Flevoland. Fans of the great outdoors will adore nature reserves such as Oostvaardersplassen and Horsterwold. With over 2,500 hectares of tulip fields, Flevoland is the largest tulip area in the Netherlands. For art aficionados, Flevoland is a must. There are an impressive number of landscape artworks in open spaces across the province, usually in the places you might least expect. Permanently sited one kilometre from the shore of Lelystad on the dyke connecting Friesland and Flevoland is The Exposure (2010) by Antony Gormley. Standing 25 metres high and weighing 60 tonnes, this huge iron man watches over the Markermeer. Other breathtaking landscape artworks to look out for include The Earthsea (1982) by Piet Sleger and Sea Level (1989-1996) by Richard Serra.

DO NOT MISS: Tulip Festival 22 April - 7 May – Noordoostpolder Tour the blooming tulip fields by car, bicycle, or on foot. The impressive ‘Flowerbulb route’ covers nearly 1,000 acres of flowering fields and is renowned as the longest and most colourful route in the Netherlands. Vis à Vis 7 June - 30 July and 30 August - 1 October Almeerderstrand, Almere Experience open-air theatre like never before with special effects, visual comedy and live music at Almeerder beach.

La Defense, Almere. Photo: Geert van der Wijk

Lowlands Festival 18-20 August – Biddinghuizen An annual three-day music and performing arts festival with a focus on rock, pop, dance, hip-hop and alternative music. You can also expect cinema, theatre, cabaret, stand-up and much more. Start planning your trip at

Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  47

Discover Benelux  |  Utrecht & Flevoland  |  The heart of the Netherlands

De Haar Castle.

Ultimate Utrecht It may be the smallest province in the Netherlands, but Utrecht’s virtues stretch way beyond its eponymous 2,000-yearold capital city. With a picturesque medieval centre, café-lined canals and gabled merchants’ houses, the provincial capital is an ideal size for a city break. There are museum’s galore, including Centraal Museum, which explores Utrecht’s fascinating cultural history via paintings, modern art, costumes and more. Meanwhile, do not miss the impressive Dom tower, which can be seen from any point in the city and boasts the highest church tower in the Netherlands. Another gem in the province of Utrecht is the city of Amersfoort, a charming medieval town and shopper’s paradise. From big names to art galleries and hip boutiques to independent retailers, check out characterful shopping streets such as the Krommestraat or the Grote Sint Jansstraat and Kleine Sint Jansstraat. Utrecht province also offers beautiful landscapes, farmhouses, manors and magnificent castles. Do not miss the De Haar Castle, the biggest and most luxurious in the Netherlands. The verdant park and gardens surrounding it are also worth a visit. 48  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

DO NOT MISS: Mondriaanhuis: The world of Piet Mondrian 8 March - 31 December Mondriaanhuis, Amersfoort As the birthplace of artist Piet Mondrian (1872), the Mondriaanhuis has been transformed into an international experience to take visitors on a journey through the creative’s ideas and oeuvre. Spring Festival 18-27 May – Various locations Held every spring at various Utrecht locations, this international performing arts festival is known for avant-garde performances in the realms of dance, theatre, performance and visual art. Utrecht International Chamber Music Festival 28 June - 2 July – Various locations An annual music festival focusing exclusively on chamber music. This year marks cellist Harriet Krijgh’s first year as artistic director.

The Pandhof, Utrecht. Photo: Jurjen Drenth

Discover Benelux  |  The heart of the Netherlands  |  Utrecht Highlights

Meeting high expectations Nestled in the scenic green landscape of Utrecht, Landgoed ISVW has been a welcoming meeting and conference centre for over 100 years. Originally a school of philosophy, the estate serves up a menu of inspiring talks, locally sourced food, and beautiful surroundings. From golf weekends to conferences, and from romantic outings to philosophy courses, Landgoed ISVW suits every occasion. The estate counts 12 course and meeting rooms, a comfortable lounge, a restaurant and bar, and 88 hotel rooms (due to increase to 107 rooms in mid-September). The accommodation is surrounded by six hectares of forest and the even bigger nature reserve Den Treek, made for hiking or cycling. Celebrating its 101st birthday this year, ISVW was founded as a school of philosophy and still offers courses, workshops and masterclasses in the field. Course material comes from its very own publisher. “Our guests form a lively mix of businesses, adult students, and


holidaymakers,” begins Eveline Dinkelman-de Jonge, sales professional at ISVW. “ISVW thrives on that diversity.” Landgoed ISVW is a non-profit organisation, with a constant focus on innovation. “ISVW has a societal function. All revenues are directly being reinvested in the estate.” ISVW is the proud owner of a golden Green Key, reflecting its many sustainable initiatives: think LED-lit meeting rooms and charging points for electrical cars. “And organic, seasonal food,” enthuses Dinkelman-de Jonge. “Cheese is delivered by the dairy farm, bread by the local bakery.” Between 2012 and 2016, Landgoed ISVW won several prizes, including those for best training location and best meeting location in the Netherlands. “Guests tell me that from the moment they enter our estate, they feel at home. That is partly due to our stylish interior and inspiring environment, but mainly due to our great team!”

The endless possibilities of the Soestduinen TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  PHOTOS: HILTON ROYAL PARC SOESTDUINEN

Surrounded by the serene forests and dunes of the Soestduinen, Hilton Royal Parc Soestduinen is a luxury hotel where both families and professionals can relax in a unique natural environment. Located at the heart of the Netherlands, the hotel is only a short drive away from Amersfoort and Utrecht. “We are at the foot of the Utrecht Hill Ridge, which creates a unique natural dune landscape in the middle of the country, with many wooded areas,” says general manager Frederieke Boomsma. The hotel receives every guest in a personal manner, continues Boomsma. “Our personal and friendly service is the strength of the hotel, and it’s what makes our guests return time and time again.” One of the facilities Boomsma takes special pride in is the extensive Health Club, comprising of an indoor pool, a fitness centre and a spa with a solarium, sauna, steam bath and beauty

centre. She says: “Our pool is particularly popular with families. The hotel is the ideal location for them; we have family rooms and special culinary experiences.” When it comes to organising meetings, events and team-building days, the hotel offers endless possibilities. Always exploring custom solutions that fit the client’s needs, this can include taking a swing at the nine-hole golf course, finding your way out of an escape room, hosting talks around a campfire, culinary workshops, team sports, boot camps or outdoor games, barbecues and more. Boomsma explains: “We’re letting our guests discover the inspiring surroundings. Not only to promote a healthy and active lifestyle, but also to meet with purpose; being outdoors has shown to make meetings far more productive and delegates more creative.”

Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  49

Discover Benelux  |  The heart of the Netherlands  |  Utrecht Highlights

A unique insight into Genghis Khan and his empire TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: ANNE REITSMA FOTOGRAFIE

Genghis Khan was a truly remarkable man and leader. He was a vicious warrior, as well as great strategist who defeated the mighty Chinese army with just 100,000 fighters on horses. He was also the leader of an immense empire that was inclusive and safe for its inhabitants. Now, at the National Military Museum in Soesterberg you can learn everything about him. “This exhibition shows not only what kind of warrior Genghis Khan was, but also tells you about the Mongolian empire, which stood at

the cradle of modern society,” explains exhibition curator Dirk Staat. “It tells you about Khan’s military inventions, the Hussars, and about life in the empire.” The artefacts that are displayed are more than 800 years old. “It is the first time these objects can be seen outside Inner Mongolia, a region in China. Among them you will find a golden saddle and a stamp used by the daughter of Genghis,” enthuses Staat. “You cannot get closer to him than that.” There are also objects which reveal the inclusiveness of the society, such as a Christian headstone.

The exhibition is great for both families as well as scholars. Children can dress up and shoot with a virtual ‘Mongol bow’ and researchers will learn about Mongolian society, how the empire was governed and about its place in world history. “For the first time, people will have the unique opportunity to see the power of the warrior and statesman Genghis Khan up close,” concludes Staat. The Genghis Khan exhibition runs until 27 August 2017.


Discover Benelux  |  The heart of the Netherlands  |  Flevoland Highlights


Eternal is the struggle between the Netherlands and water. With a third of the country below sea level, the Dutch have a long history of living on the borders between land and water. Museum Schokland, located on the eponymous former island, immerses you in the fascinating story of this everlasting struggle. Schokland has been inhabited for thousands of years, yet it has never been easy on its residents. This former island in the Zuiderzee has burdened its people with swampy lands and floods since the first nomads began to call the area their home in 4500BC. “Schokland is symbolic for the struggle between the Dutch and water,” begins Henk Kloosterman, conservator at the museum. “People in the Netherlands have always been adapting to the water – before they started to take matters into their own hands.” Schokland was eventually evacuated in 1859 due to the danger of flooding, and only

became inhabitable again in 1942 when the Noordoostpolder was formed (ironically, after 1859, Schokland never flooded again). The island was the first Dutch site to be included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List, mainly due to the fantastic archeological treasures that were discovered during the reclamation. Museum Schokland reveals this unique piece of history. Located on a former medieval mound, the museum lets you walk in the footsteps of the island’s mysterious previous inhabitants. An absolute show-piece is a set of human, prehistoric footprints dating from more than 4,000 years ago. Just as worthwhile is a visit to Schokland’s church originating from 1834, and the permanent exhibition of fossils, historical objects, photos, and a fascinating film telling the full story in four languages. And perhaps the best bit? You can enjoy it all with a fresh sea breeze in your hair.

Exhumation of 4,000-year-old prehistorical footsteps.

Middelbuurt in the 19th century.


Doing things a little differently Almere might not be the first place that comes to mind when planning a city trip in the Netherlands - but it should be. With a central location, the modern and stylish Apollo Hotel offers the perfect place to stay when visiting this vibrant city of architectural delights. It is not hard to find the Apollo Hotel. Thanks to the remarkable and futuristic architecture, you will spot it right away. This newly renovated design hotel offers you far more than just a bed. “What differentiates us from standard ho-

tels is the connection that hotel guests experience with our staff,” enthuses general manager Wouter Dekker. “Personalised service is considered a key aspect.” Located on the waterside, near to the theatre and bustling shopping streets; the Apollo Hotel boasts an unrivalled location. Aside from providing slick accommodation, the hotel offers a new and unique concept; and has a collaboration with a restaurant and brewery called Bierfabriek. “It’s a very nice complement to the hotel. Enjoy some home-brewed beer and


great food in an industrial environment before a good night’s sleep upstairs.” If you are a fan of an all-day breakfast, you are in luck! “We serve breakfast 24 hours a day. Why? That’s part of the personalised service as well,” smiles Dekker. “We challenge employees to break the rules for our guests. Nowadays that seems to be scarce at most hotels. But it’s what the Apollo is all about!” apollo-hotel-almere-city-centre

Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  51

Discover Benelux  |  The heart of the Netherlands  |  Flevoland Highlights

The centre of attraction Do you want to explore 80 per cent of the Netherlands, while staying in just one place? It is possible at Hotel Het Galjoen. Located in Dronten, in the very centre of the Netherlands, it a great base to discover the country.


a two, three or four-person room. Each room more than meets today’s standards, with some featuring extra luxurious facilities such as a sauna or whirlpool. After a day of exploring, the adjacent hotel-restaurant Aan de Fonteyn is perfect for relaxing and serves Dutch-French cuisine. “The menu changes every three months,” Troisfontaine enthuses. “A lot of produce is sourced in Flevoland itself.” Hotel Het Galjoen welcomes guests from across the world: from Chinese tourists coming to admire the waterway village of Giethoorn and the typical flat Dutch landscape, to business travellers interested in Flevoland’s agricul-

“If you draw a circle around Dronten, a lot of the Netherlands’ most wonderful attractions are within 100 kilometres of that circle,” begins hotel owner Victor Troisfontaine. “Within no time you are in Amsterdam, you can see the Ijsselmeer, or you can visit attractions such as Bataviastad, Walibiworld, Lowlands Festival, or Dolfinarium Harderwijk.” This does not mean that Dronten itself is not worth visiting. Hotel Het Galjoen is a short stroll away from the town’s scenic square, a shopping centre with more than 100 shops, and cultural centre De Meerpaal. The beautiful national park De Oostvaardersplassen, a paradise for nature and hiking lovers, is also nearby. The hotel counts 19 rooms, each hosting between two and four people. Perfect for larger groups are the family rooms, which connect 2_0_Biz_Het_Noordeinde_ad_halfpage_Layout 1 28/08/2015 18:09 Page 1

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

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

tural reputation and festival-goers in summer. If you are looking to explore the Netherlands, Hotel Het Galjoen is your ideal base.

Discover Benelux  |  Sport  |  UCI World Cyclo-cross Championships

The course got muddier and muddier over the course of the weekend, but the Belgian fans were unphased.


Luxembourg’s Cyclo-cross World Championships TEXT & PHOTOS: EMMIE COLLINGE

Anyone who knows their sport and the Benelux region will be more than familiar with this area’s rich history and passion for cycle racing. When we heard that the 2017 UCI World Cyclo-cross Championships were to be held in the former industrial town of Bieles in south-west Luxembourg, we had to find out more about this hugely popular winter sport. Cyclo-cross is a winter cycling sport that takes place on short-lapped courses of mixed terrain. It reputedly started out as a form of winter training for road riders, who were urged to race between towns on the fastest route possible. It has now grown into the Benelux region’s winter sport of choice, with generous prize money, live TV broadcasting and plenty of advertis-

ing revenue. From early autumn through to late winter, fans flock to races to shout on local, national and international heroes, raucously fuelled by beer and ‘frites’.

Bieles was very spectator-friendly, allowing the crowds to follow every second of these short, high-paced and drama-filled races.

Drama-filled races

The weekend’s racing started with the world’s best U19 men, U23 women and Elite women doing battle. Given the technical nature of the course and the need to learn lines and tune the setup of their equipment, the riders had spent the previous two days practising, supported by a wave of hardcore fans and bemused locals.

The appeal with cyclo-cross is clear to us as we arrive at the venue. Set to a backdrop of now defunct heavy industry that is slowly being edged out by state-of-theart high rises, the course was mapped out in the grounds of the local secondary school. It presented riders with numerous steep climbs, even steeper downhills and lashings of mud lying under a carpet of snow. Every cyclo-cross course has numerous sections where the bikes need to be carried, which sees the riders deftly float on and off their bikes in search of the fastest way around the track. The circuit in

All-terrain riding One of the finer and more unique points of this sport are the bikes that the riders use. For the ‘off-road road bikes’ to cope with the all-terrain riding, they have much Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  53

Discover Benelux  |  Sport  |  UCI World Cyclo-cross Championships

Over 30,000 spectators at Bieles for the World Cyclo-cross Championships.

The Elite Men’s furious start.

more grippy tyres and slightly more clearance between the wheels and the frames than their tarmac-based counterparts. To add further drama to the competitions, riders can change bikes. Each lap in Bieles had two ‘pit’ areas where bikes could be swapped in the event of a mechanical problem, or if the bike became too clogged with dreaded winter mud. Competitors swing off the main track into the F1-style pit lane and deftly switch their machines for a fresh one.

Benelux dominates As the weekend rolled on, it soon became clear that the Netherlands and Belgium 54  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

Winner Sanne Cant now ‘can’.

are the two superpowers within the world of cyclo-cross, with their riders dominating almost all of the races. Surrounded by huge crowds of passionate fans from these two countries - all of whom knew the first names of each and every one of their own riders - it all fell into place. In these countries, the current top riders are followed in a manner that is not dissimilar to the most prominent football stars.

Sanne Cant shows she ‘can’ A sprint finish in the Elite women’s field saw renowned cyclist Marianne Vos of the Netherlands pipped to the line by Belgium’s Sanne Cant. Vos, the pre-race

favourite, suffered a mechanical issue on the final lap and spectators watched in awe as Cant rode to an emotion-filled victory. With the Netherlands taking first place in the U23 women’s event a couple of hours earlier, and the UK taking a clean sweep of the U19 men’s race, Sunday morning started with a 1-1 score card between the two countries. But the hundreds of Dutch and Belgianplated camper vans had predominantly come for Sunday’s races: the U23 and Elite men. The snow had melted and left a

Discover Benelux  |  Sport  |  UCI World Cyclo-cross Championships

thick treacle of churned-up mud on which the riders would do battle. With 25,000 tickets pre-sold for the event and another 15,000 on the day, the beer tents were full.

The main event The battle was on and saw Dutch rider Joris Nieuwenhuis dominate the U23 men’s race. In the main event Belgium’s Wout van Aert battled the whole race with Mathieu van der Poel of the Netherlands, who was defending his title. Numerous punctures, crashes and mechanical issues led the crowds to the very edges of their seats, but it was a mature ride by Belgium’s Van Aert that won amidst the hoarse cries of his countrymen, leaving Van Der Poel to roll across the line, head down, eyes full of tears in second place. If you have never experienced the thrill of watching cyclo-cross in the Benelux region then we highly recommend making a trip to any of their iconic races: bikes, beer, disco and mud are more than a must for anyone who wants to extend their enjoyment of cycling past the Tour de France.

Belgium's Wout van Aert takes on the course's trickier obstacle section

Hotly contested race for the Elite Women.

Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  55

Discover Benelux  |  Cinema  |  Paul Verhoeven

Paul Verhoeven and Isabelle Huppert.



Paul Verhoeven is undoubtedly Hollywood’s most successful Dutch film director. With films like RoboCop, Basic Instinct, Total Recall and Black Book, he has been challenging traditional filmmaking since the 1970s. Elle is the director’s latest work, which perfectly illustrates his hallmark staple of suspense, eroticism and psychological power play. Starring Isabelle Huppert, Elle was met with global acclaim, with two Golden Globes for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actress in a Motion Picture, and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Elle opens with an elegant and wealthy, middle-aged Parisian woman being raped 56  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

on the floor of her own home by an intruder in a ski mask. After witnessing the harrowing scene, we see the woman, Michèle Leblanc (Huppert), sweeping up the broken glass and throwing away her clothes. After spending the night with a hammer under her pillow, she arrives at work the next day like nothing happened. Initially, Michèle seems to be numb, but nothing is less true. After finding out who her attacker is, she plots a spectacular revenge. Elle is based on the novel ‘Oh...’ by French writer Philippe Djian, which provided Verhoeven with the challenge to make the story his own. “It was very important to me to reappropriate the story,” he ex-

plains. “A lot of things were trashed out in conversations with David Birke, who wrote the American screenplay. At that stage, everything was still open: things gradually took shape. My personality as a director gradually insinuated itself into the story.” Although set in Paris, Verhoeven and Birke at one point wanted to set the story in the US. “But it was tricky, artistically as well as financially,” the director explains. “We realised that no American actress would ever take on such an amoral movie. Even for actresses I know really well, it was impossible to say yes to this part, whereas Isabelle, whom I had met at the outset, was very keen to do the movie. Around six months in, Saïd [the producer] said to me, ‘Why are we fighting to make

Discover Benelux  |  Cinema  |  Paul Verhoeven

the movie in the US? It’s a French novel, Isabelle is keen to do it—we’re stupid!’ And he was right. I realise now that I could never have made this movie in the US with this level of authenticity.”

A woman who does not fall One of the reasons for Elle’s excellent reception is Huppert’s perfect portrayal as businesswoman Michèle. What did she like about the novel and about the main character? “Michèle is a woman who doesn’t fall. Never,” says the French actress. “She is many and varied: cynical, generous, endearing, cold, commendable, independent, dependent, perspicacious. She is anything but sentimental; she is pummelled by events, but she doesn’t crack. Verhoeven held firm on that, without trying to whittle away at our fundamental position. You could rely on him for that. That’s the point of the character - her strength, originality and modernity. She never behaves like a victim, even when she has every reason to do so.” LEFT: Scenes from the film Elle.

The pride of the Netherlands in Hollywood Here are just a few high points of Verhoeven’s impressive oeuvre: Robocop (1987): This 1980s sci-fi flick is considered to be one of Verhoeven’s masterpieces. While certainly action packed, Robocop is also surprisingly clever in using ultra violence to mask its satire of American culture. Basic Instinct (1992): Perhaps one of the most famous scenes in film history is set in this erotic thriller, which tells the story of a detective getting into an intense relationship with a prime suspect. Showgirls (1995): Despite initial criticism in the 1990s (and having multiple Razzies to its name), this erotic drama about a girl trying to make it as a dancer has gained a cult status over the last decade. Black Book (2006): Set in Nazioccupied Netherlands during World War II, Black Book tells the story of a Jewish singer infiltrating the regional Gestapo headquarters for the Dutch resistance.

Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  57

Discover Benelux  |  Tourism  |  Friesland Special

Photo: Merk Fryslan


Friesland: surprisingly different No other province in the Netherlands has such a strong individual character as Friesland. The most northern part of the country is often lauded for its wonderful water landscape, historical cities, and the down-to-earth attitude of its people. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: MERK FRYSLÂN

Photo: Theo de Witte

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Discover Benelux  |  Tourism  |  Friesland Special

Leeuwarden. Photo: Theo de Witte

Friesland, or Fryslân, is in many aspects different from the rest of Netherlands. Its own language, culture and unique scenery, which includes the biggest network of connected inland lakes in Europe, make the province an outsider of the best sort.

Worldly wanders With four national parks, a massive lake district and the beautiful Wadden islands – the last real wilderness in the Netherlands – Friesland is an absolute wonder of nature. The province is seen as a mecca for watersports. Nowhere else in Europe is there such an extensive network of lakes, canals, ditches, rivers and ponds, attracting thousands of boaters and vacationers every year. One of the most famous lakes in Friesland is the Sneekermeer. Originating in the Middle Ages due to peat extraction, today it is a haven for water sports lovers - Sneekweek is the biggest sailing event on the European inland waterways. From water skiing to swimming and from sailing to a leisurely afternoon of boating, Fryslân is king of the water.

Friesland is the one and only ice-skating province of the Netherlands. The impressive Thialf stadium in Heerenveen is the Netherland’s most important ice rink, while the tough Eleven Cities Tour (Elfstedentocht) is the biggest ice-skating event in the world, with over 15,000 ice skaters defying the ice. The last Elfstedentocht was in 1997, as winter has to

be extremely severe for the ice to be thick enough. Fingers crossed we will see one again soon. Friesland’s picture-perfect forests, beaches and meadows are every hiker and cyclist’s dream. The Wadden Sea has earned its spot on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, and the five Wadden Islands

Photo: Marcel van Kammen

Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  59

Discover Benelux  |  Tourism  |  Friesland Special

Photo: Marcel van Kammen

(Texel, Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland, Schiermonnikoog) are a unique piece of the Netherlands. Each of the islands have their own character, yet share their peace, quietness, and welcoming attitude with tourists. Over a quarter of the companies on the island are active in tourism, with Texel being the largest of the Wadden islands and the most popular with tourists. Both Vlieland and Schiermonnikoog are completely car-free and only accessible via water taxi or ferry; you will only be disturbed by the soft murmuring of the sea.

A culture of authenticity Frisian, which is spoken by 74 per cent of the Frisian population, is one of the official spoken languages of the Netherlands. Known as ‘West Frisian’ outside the Netherlands (to distinguish this language from the closely related Frisian languages of Saterland Frisian and North Frisian spoken in Germany), West Frisian is used in many domains of Frisian society, and is 60  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

PUT THIS ON YOUR TO-DO LIST: Mondriaan tot Dutch Design: It is 100 years since the famous Dutch art movement De Stijl was founded. To honour this anniversary, Museum Dr8888 in Drachten kicks off ‘The Year of De Stijl’ with a big exhibition. Until 2 April Photo: Theo de Witte

still very much upheld by the Frisian people. There even is a Frisian anthem! The Frisians have a proud culture that combines history and progress. Beautiful historic cities such as Leeuwarden, Sneek and Franeker are home to many museums and attractions, and will literally place you in the midst of cultural heritage - Leeuwarden has officially been chosen as Cultural Capital of Europe in 2018. The Frisian character even shines through in the province’s gastronomy, with restaurants serving many regional dishes.

Here Comes the Summer: The little sister of the renowned Into The Great Wide Open Festival. This musical fest is also held on Vlieland – without a doubt the best festival location you could wish for. 28 – 30 April Fietselfstedentocht: The only Eleven Cities Tour that is held every year: the Cycle Eleven Cities Tour. Founded over 100 years ago, it attracts approximately 15,000 participants every year. 5 June Oranjewoud Festival: Immerse yourself for five days in the enchanting sounds of classical music in one of the most picture-perfect outdoor sites of Heerenveen. 1 - 5 June

Discover Benelux  |  Tourism  |  Friesland Special

A hotel that makes memories TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: BADHOTEL BRUIN

The charm of a seaside resort, with the luxury of a boutique hotel, topped off with pure hospitality: that is Badhotel Bruin. Known as ‘The Hotel’ by the village’s residents, this centre of comfort is the perfect place for making memories. Located on East-Vlieland’s cosiest street, Badhotel Bruin is a short stroll away from the sea, the island’s scenic dunes, and the town centre. The hotel counts 34 rooms, which are furnished with all things modern and luxurious. “Badhotel Bruin partly owes its authentic character to the many quiet and cosy corners,” begins owner Annelies van der Vorm. “Our hotel is made of unique, separate houses all glued together, and counts many places where guests can just relax or read a book.” The hotel’s personality shines through in everything; from the historic building originating from 1896, to the beautiful art on

the wall, to the staff who know everything about Vlieland and can give you the best inside tips. Vlieland is the ideal setting for the hotel. Well-known for its beauty and nature, the island is perfect for long beach walks and exploring natural treasures. For those wanting to soak up some local culture, performing arts theatre ‘Podium Vlieland’ is just down the street, and the island’s oldest building (Museum Tromp’s huys) is also nearby. Badhotel Bruin has often served as the backdrop for weddings or other festivities, and perfectly lends itself for corporate events. The well-equipped meeting room can host up to 90 people. “Whatever you want your event to look like, we can customise it,” says Van der Vorm. “There are possibilities to hire the entire hotel.” When done with work, step outside for some play: go horse-riding on the beach, or take the team-building a step further by going skydiving. Ultimate relaxation is

provided in the hotel’s sauna and wellness area, located in the garden. Stylish and rustic with a tranquil veranda, guests can freely use the swimming spa, Jacuzzi, solarium, and sauna, or can enjoy one of the many beauty treatments. Hungry from all that island exploring? Settle in at Bruin’s restaurant Bravoure. Decorated in brasserie style, it serves up a menu of fresh and healthy food, with countless mouth-watering fish courses to fully complement that unmatched island feeling.

Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  61

Discover Benelux  |  Tourism  |  Friesland Special


It is the most thinly populated municipality in the Netherlands: Schiermonnikoog. With its beautiful scenery, peaceful dunes and cosy allure, this island is nothing like the rest of the country. The same can be said about Hotel & Brasserie Om de Noord. With only eight rooms, Hotel & Brasserie Om de Noord is unique in its personal touch. The building originates from 1913 and is located a mere 15 minutes away from beach. All rooms enjoy the same rustic atmosphere and are equipped with all the necessary comforts such as crisp white bed linen and a rain shower. Schiermonnikoog rightfully earned the title of National Park in 1989 and has a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage list together with the other Wadden Sea Islands. The island is completely free of cars. “You do not really have the feeling you are in the Netherlands at Schiermonnikoog,” begins owner Etty van der Veer. “But, actually, you are just two hours from Amsterdam.” Alongside nature, Om de Noord shines a 62  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

bright light on culture. Every third Sunday of the month, an ensemble fills the hotel with beautiful music, and in summer there are barbecues, concerts and other festivities in the garden and on the terrace. “Culture, besides our stunning nature and hospitality, is one of Schiermonnikoog’s charms,” Van der Veer enthuses. “There is always something to do.” The hotel can arrange special extras allowing you to make the most of the island’s possibilities. Opt for a picnic with the best possible dune view during lunch, or rent one of the hotel’s bikes and enjoy the island’s nature with a sea breeze in your hair. Companies can choose to rent out the entire hotel for a business event, with the unique ‘hunting-suite’ complete with cosy fireplace being perfect for small and inspirational meetings. Schiermonnikoog would not be the perfect holiday destination without its fishfocused delicacies. Every day, Om de Noord’s atmospheric brasserie serves the ‘catch of the day’, sourced at the nearby

fish auction. For meat-eaters, the tournedos served at the restaurant are as tender as can be. For the sweet-toothed among us, there is a ‘poffertjes’ stall in the garden. Feeling full and content? You are not far from your comfortable room and a deep sleep, thanks to the utter tranquility surrounding you. The only sound is the soft whispering of the sea. An extra welcoming stay Hotel Om de Noord offers special benefits for returning guests who book directly via

Discover Benelux  |  Tourism  |  Friesland Special

Where culture meets technology TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: WOUDAGEMAAL

It is the largest functioning steam pumping station in the world: the Woudagemaal in Lemmer. This historical monument, which has featured on UNESCO’s World Heritage list since 1998, immerses you in the longstanding relation between the people of the Netherlands and water in the most fascinating way. The Woudagemaal represents the renowned reputation the Dutch have in water management. Opened in 1920 by Queen Wilhelmina, the steam pumping station was once a crucial tool in Friesland’s water-rich lands, offering a solution when the draining of water became increasingly problematical by the lowering of the peat ground. Since the construction of electric pumping stations in 1969, it is pumping less frequently, but still plays an important role when waters in Friesland reach dangerously high levels. The Woudagemaal is located at the Ijsselmeer. It is named after Ir. Dirk Frederik Wouda (1880-1961), then chief engineer

of the Provincial Public Works. He was responsible for the design and construction of the pumping station in the style of the Amsterdam School. Nowadays, Woudagemaal is owned by Wetterskip Fryslân. The Woudagemaal combines the unique story of culture, technology and water management. “The Woudagemaal explains one of the most crucial issues in the Netherlands, in a way that is interesting to everyone,” begins Hilda Boesjes, director of the Ir. D.F. Woudagemaal Foundation. “Water management is more important than ever. We aim to create awareness in that area by putting visitors in the midst of the action.” It is action that you can expect. Via a ten-minute 3D film, visitors can experience daily how the Woudagemaal is put into operation. “In reality, that happens approximately ten times a year. Of course, we welcome visitors on those days too,” Boesjes adds.

exhibition on Steam and Water, guests can learn about the monument and its story through a stimulation of all senses. An audio tour app in 11 languages and a virtual reality experience submerges you in history. “Thanks to the interactive nature of displaying information, Woudagemaal is loved by the whole family,” Boesjes concludes. Something that is only enhanced by the heritage’s beautiful, typical Frisian surroundings - perfect for hiking and cycling - and its renowned hospitality. Woudagemaal is located at Gemaalweg 1a.

Alongside the protected heritage site a visitor’s centre was built in 2011, where people can let off steam and learn more about the station. Through a permanent Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  63

Discover Benelux  |  Tourism  |  Friesland Special


The most romantic and original openair museum in Friesland tells its visitors the adventurous tale of the old fisherman’s village of Allingawier. “Allingawier is the biography of a Frisian village,” director of the museum Hilda van der Meulen explains. “Here visitors can experience the everyday life of a Frisian village and its inhabitants during the late 19th and early 20th century.” The picturesque village with its authentic buildings has an original 17th century farm, two charming churches, a bakery, a quaint old pub, a traditional blacksmith and many other historical sights. The surrounding nature includes a canal with old local ships along with the stunning view of the Frisian high skies. During the summer, craftsmen show off their skills to the visitors in the local artisan shops whilst teaching more about a time when the small village was still self-sufficient. 64  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

The adventurous tales of the drainage of the Makkummer Lake and the constant danger of high water will leave visitors on the edge of their seats. It reflects how people in this part of the world are willing to live below sea level, and highlights daily life amid a landscape which is surrounded by mounds and dykes. The Frisian Open Air Museum is run by the Aldfaers Erf Foundation. “Aldfaers Erf means the heritage of your forefather and that is exactly what we are showing our visitors. We are telling the stories of the actual people that lived here, our forefathers,” Van der Meulen explains.

guests will be able to combine the romantic setting of the scenic village with the taste of a delightful meal in the allying restaurant. Guests can also decide to rent the picturesque outbuildings, a one-of-akind location for business meetings, parties and weddings. Various activities are organised for groups including workshops at the blacksmith, sailing on traditional boats or private tours of the museum. Together, the unique location and the rich history are a golden combination for any occasion, event or trip in the heart of Frisian history.

With Leeuwarden in Friesland becoming the new European Capital of Culture in 2018, the future will be a time to remember for the open-air museum. The Frisian Museum Village also keeps an eye to the future, which is described by Van der Meulen as an “an exciting turn in quality”. In a few months, the beautiful renovated barns will be open for the public. Here,

Discover Benelux  |  Tourism  |  Friesland Special

Unwind and indulge in natural Terschelling TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  PHOTOS: CARACOL

Venture off the beaten track and embark on a trip to tranquil Terschelling. The island, located just north of the Dutch mainland, has a rich culinary tradition and produces a wealth of mouthwatering local ingredients. Making the most of these resources is Wellness Hotel and Restaurant Caracol, who offer a taste experience of the highest level. While it is located at only a three-minute walk from the ferry terminal, Caracol is surrounded by stunning nature. “People are always surprised by the beauty of the island,” says owner and head chef Werner Zuurman. “We help our guests unwind; you can see the colour returning to people’s faces after a stay here.” Zuurman puts all his passion and time into spoiling his guests and serving the highest quality food. He prepares all his dishes from scratch, down to the peanut butter and jams served at breakfast. For a few years, he has even been growing several ingredients himself.

“We try not to buy ingredients from wholesalers. We get most of our meat from local farmers, the fish is caught fresh often in the Wadden Sea or North Sea, the shellfish we get ourselves from ‘het Wad’ and the majority of our vegetables and herbs are grown in our organic garden.” Also available for lunch meetings or events, Caracol’s organic garden gives the business an extra dimension. “It’s rather fun watching things grow. It really fits in with our philosophy of using local, fresh and only organic products,” he says, adding: “I manage Caracol together with an amazing team!” Caracol offers a special package for ultimate relaxation and indulgence, comprising of two nights and a fivecourse 'Smaken van het Wad' menu on both nights (from 540 euros).

A home far from your own Housed in a beautiful renovated 17thcentury warehouse and ancient worker’s cottages in the charming old city centre of Harlingen, Hotel Almenum will make you feel at home. Did you know that Harlingen is one of the famous 11 cities in the province of Friesland? Or that this small city has over 500 monuments that people can visit, sleep in or enjoy a nice meal? Most of these monumental buildings have been repurposed, so that visitors can enjoy their beauty. Hotel Almenum consists of three of these monumental buildings, one of which has been converted into luxurious, family-sized apartments. “We used to have a lot of guests who only stayed the night, so that they could take an early ferry to the nearest islands,” begins Marije Bloembergen of Hotel Almenum. “Nowadays, people are beginning to see the peace and calm of our own little city. Famous artists lived here, and the rich fishing history of Harlingen

Zuurman collecting shellfish from 'het Wad'.


also makes it a nice culinary destination. So, there is plenty to explore!” Marije opened the hotel 15 years ago as a project together with her mother, so it has always been a family business. As she has always been involved, she knows all the ins and outs of the property. Now that collaboration will gradually reach its grand finale, with Marije taking over the family project. “We offer the best,” she smiles. “Even our budget rooms are celebrated for their comfortable and cosy ambiance. By now we have a lot of regular guests, who think of our hotel as their second home.” Photo: © Anna Zuidema

Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  65

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Profiles


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

Find out more about these businesses:


1. The House To Be, page 68 The House To Be offers a host of different spaces where you can organise staff training, meetings, events and coaching.

2. De Bie Printing, page 70 De Bie Printing is a high-end printing company with decades of tradition of a customer-centric approach, high-quality printing, and unique productions.

The House To Be.


3. Fruitsnacks, page 71 Would you like something more unusual than a pen with your company logo to hand out at trade shows? Logofruit makes your brand memorable through customised fruit with a text message or logo.


4. AKD Luxembourg, page 72 De Bie Printing.




A successful addition to the AKD family, AKD Luxembourg offers a highly experienced team of lawyers and tax specialists, top-level service, and a strong emphasis on customer care.

5. BNP Paribas Real Estate, page 74

AKD Luxembourg.

BNP Paribas Real Estate.

BNP Paribas Real Estate provides expertise covering the whole property cycle: property development, transaction, consulting, valuation, property management and investment management. Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  67

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Conference Centre of the Month



Enter The House To Be, a place where business coaches and trainers will help you to balance your rational mind with body and soul, and unleash your creative powers. It will not only make you a happier person, but also a much more effective professional. In the northeastern part of Brussels, just inside the city’s ring road, a quiet revolution is underway. Here, in The House To Be, some 20 business coaches and trainers led by CEO Marleen Boen are championing a new way of working, and a new way of being. Their call for change is being heard ever more loudly in the Belgian capital and beyond, as more and more businesses are finding their way here to set up business meetings, networking events, seminars and training events, workshops, coaching sessions or relaxation and si68  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

lence sessions in what they feel is the perfect environment.

for their particular purpose. They can also choose from a range of activities to engage in.

“What it comes down to in essence is that we offer businesses a working environment that feels like being at home. Rather than just balancing life and work, as was preached in the previous century, today’s modern business environment calls for the integration, not the separation, of life and work,” begins Marleen.

“Our philosophy is that you will have much more effective and creative input in your meetings if you let in some emotional creativity,” explains Marleen. “This is why it’s important to combine these meetings with a very different activity, such as fitness, yoga or music making.”

Emotional creativity

Laughter yoga

The House To Be offers 14 different rooms of different sizes. Rooms accommodate between two and 90 people, and all have their arrangement, lighting, available sunlight, temperature and sound optimised to create a pleasant and optimal environment. Businesses that want to hold their meetings here can choose the ideal room

Clients can choose from a range of activities and facilities. They can use a fully equipped fitness facility with personal coaching options, go outside and free their minds on a walk through the surrounding countryside, take part in a variety of yoga sessions, including laughter yoga, go for a massage, undergo infrared

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Conference Centre of the Month

therapy to flex their bodies, engage in a musical session with sound bowls, create art or even retreat into the kitchen with the whole group to cook a meal. “All these activities are set up for people to free their mind from their rational preoccupations and achieve an emotional balance,” says Marleen. “Rationality kills creativity, so it’s important to create a mindset in which you will use your intuition to be more creative, more flexible and better equipped to find solutions and negotiate conflict. Changing your mindset from unhappy and stressed to happy and relaxed is a choice. You can engage in activities that will help you to make this transformation.”

Business coaching With meeting rooms, a kitchen, a bar and even a restaurant for fine dining, two thirds of The House To Be is equipped for clients; the remaining one third is taken up by the coaching and training staff of Marleen’s company Training & Coaching Square, which she set up in 2005 with Leen Lambrechts. Marleen has a solid

background in business, having worked for years as a sales marketing executive before entering the business coaching profession some 20 years ago. From day one, the Coaching Square set out to create professional business coaching in Belgium and in 2008 they became the first coaching firm in Belgium to receive the renowned International Coach Federation certification.

VUCA World The Training & Coaching Square’s philosophy is based on the concept of VUCA World, an acronym for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. “Basically, this concept states that modern professionals are under constant pressure to perform,” Boen explains. “People need to learn to cope with these pressures in a different way than before. Our aim as business coaches is to teach them how they can do this, so they can function as happy individuals in a pleasant business environment. The answer is to focus on becoming more flexible and more emotionally balanced; to approach issues and situations not just from a rational point of

view but also with your heart, your soul and your emotional intelligence.”

Courage “It’s a holistic approach which, in the words of the famous author Brené Brown, comes down to having the courage to come out of your comfort zone and show your vulnerability. If you’re ready, as an individual or a company, to engage with this philosophy, we guarantee you will not only be able to create happier people in a happier working environment, but also a better balance between personal and business goals and more effective business professionals to boot.” Upcoming events at The House To Be 28 March: Emotional Fitness and Conscious Breathing 16 May: Congruence of Outer and Inner Image 28 September: Empathy in Work/Life Relationships

Marleen Boen, managing director of The House To Be.

Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  69

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Belgian Business Profile Very delicate laser cutting brochure cover, commissioned by

Printing with care, that is De Bie TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: DE BIE PRINTING

A family company at heart, yet continuously innovative; De Bie Printing is a market leader in high-end printing in Belgium for a reason. “Where others stop, we take it a few steps further,” says owner Bart De Bie. De Bie Printing is a high-end printing company with decades of tradition of a customer-centric approach, high-quality printing, and unique productions. In addition to traditional printed material, De Bie specialises in complex productions for high-end customers. Almost everything is produced in their own workshop in Duffel. Projects range from art books, to laser cuts, to booklet die cutting. If you can imagine it, De Bie can print it. De Bie Printing’s story starts in 1922, when great-grandfather Joseph De Bie founded Printing House De Bie. Bart De Bie and his brother Johan are fourth-generation owners of the business, which currently counts 49 dedicated craftsmen. “How have we reached 95 years? A constant added value, in everything we do. We 70  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

constantly use new and environmentally friendly techniques in order to meet our customers’ increasingly high demands.” It is an added value that is illustrated in the many innovative applications De Bie utilises, such as the Low Energy UV-printing press from Heidelberg. This press uses ultraviolet technology and results in a unique output, with colours that are extremely powerful. “And thus, perfect for the trickier realisations, such as art projects, automotive and fashion,” adds De Bie. Another example of De Bie’s tangible added value is presented in its laser-cutting service, which allows for fine punching of cardboard and paper in all possible forms. “In 2010, Stockmans Kalenders joined our group in Duffel as a market leader in business to business calendars. Stockmans also publishes a wide range of art books, finding its origin in the fascinating world of contemporary art.” From the bee hotel in the front garden, to the 1,775 solar panels on the roof; De

Bie Printing has earned its environmental stripes. “Previously, the printing sector had an image of being environmentally harmful. That is no longer true.” In 2016, De Bie Printing’s innovative and social philosophy earned recognition through the VOKA Ambassador Award; an annual award by the Belgian Chamber of Commerce. “While others in the printing industry have to deal with the difficulties arising from increasing digitalisation, we are ever expanding. We believe in the power of print, and therefore the future. A digital promotion, like an email or newsletter, gets lost in digital space – it is perishable. Print stays.”

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Belgian Business Profile


Would you like something more unusual than a pen with your company logo to hand out at trade shows? Do you want to stand out more and put the ecological aspect of your company in the picture? Logofruit makes your brand memorable and delicious through customised fruit with a text message or logo. Did you know that 80 per cent of the brochures handed out at fairs do not make it through the exit door? It is exactly this fact that explains Logofruit’s success. Logofruit is a company from Fruitsnacks, which provides 3,000 businesses in Belgium and Luxembourg with delicious fruit baskets weekly. “Almost all the fruit is grown on our own 70 hectares of apple and pear trees,” explains Walter Conings, sales and marketing manager at Fruitsnacks. Fruitsnacks is also the proud producer of Fruittap: practical boxes with a tap, filled with 100 per cent

natural fruit juice. Just like Fruitsnacks, Logofruit is a company founded by Karel Paesmans and Heidi Vanreppelen. “Logofruit offers an endless amount of possibilities,” Conings asserts. “If your logo or message fits the maximum space of 3.5 centimetres, it can be printed on our fruit.” Previous clients include large hotel chains such as the Holiday Inn, major pharmaceutical companies, and recently the country of Qatar, which ordered 10,000 logo-apples honouring their Independence Day. “You can imagine that our lead-time cannot be very long,” Conings laughs. “Apples are a living thing and should be fresh. Therefore, we produce within 48 hours before delivery.” For every logo apple sold, Logofruit donates 1.5 eurocents to the cancer charity Kom op tegen Kanker, with a donation of approximately 10,000 euros in 2017. In 2016, director Karel Paesmans participated in a 1,000-kilometre biking trip, raising money for the fight against cancer.

“I often hear that people take their logo fruit home, but do not eat it right away,” says Conings. “Instead, they show it to their family or colleagues, or leave to sit it on their desk for a while.” Juicy, original, and healthy; Logofruit transforms any regular apple into an impressive gadget that will be talked about.

Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  71

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Luxembourg Business Profile

Ayzo van Eysinga

Bernard Beerens

Cécile Jager

Rutger Zaal



As one of the world’s leading financial centres, Luxembourg was a natural choice for Benelux law firm AKD’s latest bureau. Having opened its doors less than a year ago, the company’s Luxembourg office is proving a successful addition to the AKD family with its highly experienced team of lawyers and tax specialists, top-level service, and its strong emphasis on customer care. At the helm of AKD Luxembourg is partner lawyer Bernard Beerens, a special72  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

ist in company law, corporate finance, private equity, mergers and acquisitions and transactional business law. Having previously worked at Allen & Overy and Loyens & Loeff in Luxembourg and New York, Beerens was running his own successful law firm, Beerens & Avocats, until he joined AKD in 2016. “The prospect of joining AKD was very appealing to us; it’s a very dynamic firm,” begins Beerens, speaking of his decision to head up AKD Luxembourg. With roots

dating back to early 20th century, the AKD group counts 230 lawyers, civil law notaries and tax advisors and is rapidly building its reputation as the leading independent and internationally focused legal and tax advisor for business dealings in the Benelux.

Rapid growth AKD Luxembourg’s story began last June in its current office on Rue du Fort Rheinsheim. At the moment, the team comprises of over 20 lawyers, including four part-

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Luxembourg Business Profile

ners: Bernard Beerens, Cécile Jager, Ayzo van Eysinga and Rutger Zaal. The firm offers a full range of integrated services in various areas, including banking and financial services, capital markets, corporate law, mergers and acquisitions and tax law. The company acts regularly as legal counsel to international clients and professionals who do not have a presence in Luxembourg. Substantial growth is expected in the next couple of years, so much so that this year the team will be moving to a new office. “Just before this summer we will be moving into new premises, where we will have about 1,000 square metres and be able to accommodate about 45 lawyers,” explains Beerens. Currently, there is an emphasis on cross-border mergers and acquisitions, finance transactions, tax services and funds-related advice. One area for expansion currently being discussed is investment fund practices, with the expected arrival of an additional partner and a team of around four or five lawyers.

standing out from the large international firms that have presence throughout the entire world.”

Multi-lingual and multi-national AKD Luxembourg works with a lot of US and UK international firms who do not have a footprint in Luxembourg, and the company has a very international outlook. Luxembourg’s famously diverse population is reflected in AKD Luxembourg’s multilingual and multinational staff. “We have several different nationalities working here including Chinese, Mexican, French and Dutch,” says Beerens, a native Belgian who was born in Luxembourg and has recently adopted the Luxembourg nationality. “It makes a nice work environment and means we can provide our clientele with services in their native language.”

Undivided attention to all clients Customer satisfaction is at the heart of the AKD Luxembourg philosophy and

AKD in general, with all clients being given the same high level of dedication. From mid-size businesses to large private equity firms, all are given the same undivided attention from the team. Clients value the team’s responsiveness, in-depth knowledge of the financial markets and constant dedication to achieving their commercial objectives. “One of our clients mentioned in an interview that we gave them the impression of being our only client. That clearly shows the attention we give to our clients; they are our prime focus when we are providing services to them,” smiles Beerens. “Every client matters.” AKD was named Law Firm of the Year: Benelux 2016 by leading UK publication The Lawyer. The company has offices in Amsterdam, Breda, Brussels, Eindhoven, Rotterdam and Luxembourg City. For further information, visit:

Truly independent Benelux firm Despite the unpredictability in the wake of Brexit and last year’s US election result, Beerens is confident that the industry in Luxembourg will continue to thrive. “I think if we look at Luxembourg generally, the expectation is that it will become an even more important financial centre,” he asserts. “It’s a great country in terms of its legal framework and business environment - the government has always been very pragmatic in adapting its legislation to account for international developments.” With more and more international firms heading to Luxembourg, this means an increasingly competitive environment. As Beerens explains, AKD Luxembourg need not be worried: “15 years ago you had four or five top international law firms in Luxembourg; now you have a significantly larger number. The biggest challenge is to differentiate ourselves from our competitors and I think by being a truly independent Benelux firm we are already

The offices of AKD Luxembourg.

Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  73

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Real Estate

A multi-expert offering all real estate services under one roof TEXT: PASCAL MIKSE  |  PHOTO: BNP PARIBAS REAL ESTATE

BNP Paribas Real Estate is home to all our experts in six business lines covering the whole property cycle: property development, transaction, consulting, valuation, property management and investment management.

A vision of real estate’s future reinventing ourselves…

Our comprehensive range covers all property products such as offices, warehouses, logistics platforms, business parks, retail, shopping centres, hotels and land.

It is our goal to go beyond the life-cycle of buildings to address all the economic, social and environmental challenges associated with the cities of tomorrow. More than ever, our ability to innovate enables us to support this urban transformation.

Whatever your property requirements, we can assist you with our expertise: from planning to construction, from construction to occupation, from occupation to management and from management to value enhancement. BNP Paribas Real Estate supports owners, leaseholders, investors and communities in their projects thanks to its local expertise through 37 countries (16 direct facilities and 21 network alliances) in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. In Belgium and Luxembourg, more than 90 professionals are fully dedicated to serve you in your real estate projects. 74  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

As a key player in European real estate, we undertake to contribute our knowledge to the rapidly changing real estate sector as a whole.

Designing the city of the future There will be multiple aspects to the cities of the future. We design buildings taking into account their life cycle, their usage and their relationship to the surroundings. From the outset, our projects consider notions of reversibility and mixed-use. We work

BNP Paribas Real Estate Belgium Avenue Louise 235 1050 Brussels +32 2 290 59 59

on the matters of pooled services and the planting of green roofs and facades. In order to plan and create the city of tomorrow, we have the ambition to make it greener, more mixed-use, more human, more functional, more connected and more adapted to changes in society.

A 360° vision Choosing to work with BNP Paribas Real Estate means gaining the benefit of across-the-board property expertise under one roof. From initial thoughts on your real estate project to its daily management, each of our employees can mobilise all or some of our business lines according to your needs. This multi-expert offering enables us to provide you with a real competitive advantage in terms of efficiency, quality of service and creation of value.

BNP Paribas Real Estate Luxembourg Avenue JF Kennedy, 44 L-1855 - Luxembourg +352 34 94 84

Your Shortcut to Benelux

S na cks

Me al s


Pap ers



Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Calendar


UX Training Brussels 29 – 30 March Brussels, Belgium UX is a broad field, covering psychology, research, design, analysis, and prototyping. On this course, you will be introduced to UX theories, its principles, and the psychology underpinning user experience, as well as learning powerful techniques to give you a deep understanding of your users.

Photo: Amsterdam RAI

Passenger Terminal Expo 14 – 16 March Amsterdam, the Netherlands The Passenger Terminal Exhibition is the biggest conference of its kind in the world. It provides a unique opportunity for visitors to see and experience the very latest products, services and technologies, with more than 225 exhibitors showcasing the latest solutions to enhance efficiency, safety and passenger experience at airports.

Zorg & ICT 14 – 16 March Utrecht, the Netherlands Zorg & ICT (Care & ICT) is the annual go-to event for ICT and innovation within healthcare, providing organisations with the inspiration and networking opportunities to enhance health applications and processes.

Appdevcon 16 – 17 March Amsterdam, the Netherlands Appdevcon is a conference organised by app developers, for app developers. This event is designed in such a way that wheth76  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

er you are an Android, iOS, Windows, web, TV or other app developer, there should be at least one session of interest.

Do you speak co-working? 23 March Charleroi, Belgium Co-working: a term we seem to hear more and more – but do you actually know what it is? What are the advantages and pitfalls? At this event, you will learn everything you wanted to know on the subject.

Med-e-Tel 5 – 7 April Luxembourg City, Luxembourg Med-e-Tel is an event organised by the International Society for Telemedicine & eHealth (ISFTeH). It aims to facilitate the international dissemination of knowledge and experience in Telemedicine and eHealth, and to provide access to recognised experts in the field worldwide. Photo: Jaarbeurs Utrecht

Photo: NBTC

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Column

It is all about winning TEXT & PHOTO: STEVE FLINDERS

Donald Trump understands one of the keys to successful communication – constant repetition of the same simple message. But every time I hear “put America first”, I wish I could get him to sign up for one of my negotiating skills courses. Nearly everyone I talk to about negotiating agrees that win-win is best. Some may do so reluctantly but this usually relates to concerns about the behaviour of the other side. My belief is that Trump is in a minority in wanting to treat the other party as an opponent rather than a partner, to create winners and losers, and to have America coming first so that the rest of us scrabble to pick up one of the other 200 places in the new global free-for-all. If win-win is under threat, let me reassert some of my own articles of faith: - Good results in business, especially in international business, come through building good relationships.

- These engender the trust that helps us through the frustrations, confusions and misunderstandings, which inevitably arise in international agreements. - The four Ps model – Preparation, Purpose, Process and People - which I used last month to talk about virtual communication, provides a good framework for getting mutually beneficial agreements when we negotiate. - Win-win involves compromise. If we are all going to benefit, then we all have to give as well as take. - We become better negotiators by improving our skills as communicators, listeners, strategists, tacticians, and influencers. In an international context, good intercultural and interpersonal skills also help us achieve our targets. These skills are all learnable. A win-win approach need not involve a lack of assertiveness. Using what Timothy Garton Ash in his work on free speech calls ‘robust civility’ will help us achieve our goals. There is

certainly nothing wishy-washy about the classic books on negotiating - Getting to Yes by Bruce Patton, Roger Fisher and William Ury; and Getting Past No also by William Ury. People dealing with Trump and other challenging people would do well to read these. The choice is clear - in business, politics and life in general. Do we make the world a better place by going for win-win or win-lose? For me the answer is clear too. 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:

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

Discover Benelux  |  Hotel Landgoed & Cultural Attraction of the Month  |  Netherlands


Unwind completely at Hotel Het Roode Koper TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: HOTEL HET ROODE KOPER

Does the prospect of waking up in one of Holland’s most beautiful hotels to the sound of birdsong and the scent of fresh woodland entice you? Then spending your holiday at Hotel Het Roode Koper (The Red Copper) is definitely the way to go. Right in the middle of the De Veluwe national park, near a town called Leuvenum, lies Hotel Het Roode Koper; a monumental estate and mansion turned family-run hotel for several decades. With its beautiful surroundings, great hospitality and easy access to cities like Amsterdam and Utrecht, it does not come as much of a surprise that so many guests choose to stay several times at Het Roode Koper. The possibilities for relaxation at Het Roode Koper are endless. Indulge in games of tennis, dip your toes in the pool or go horseback riding - there are nine stables available to let

your own horse stay there. You can also take field trips through the woods of Leuvenum for a Champagne picnic or let a guide show you the beautiful nature the forest holds. The immense garden surrounding Het Roode Koper is more than suitable for the young ones who want to play football or hide and seek. Meanwhile, parents can lounge or have lunch on a terrace with an impressive view over the landscape garden and the forest surroundings. Het Roode Koper prides itself on being a part of the international, highly reputable hotel chains Relais & Châteaux and QL Hotels. Its restaurant boasts a famous Michelin star and if you choose to stay at the private villa next to the hotel, the chef can make your dinner on location. Everything at Hotel Het Roode Koper is always done with one goal in mind: to make your stay truly unforgettable.


The rhythm of the paintbrush Tucked away in the idyllic artists’ village of Nunspeet is the newly built NoordVeluws Museum. Opened in 2014, the museum promotes talent from the local area and is currently hosting the captivating exhibition Jos Lussenburg, markant palet (Jos Lussenburg, striking palette). With over 100 paintings, the exhibition shows the full breadth of Lussenburg’s portfolio, ranging from rough seascapes to striking portraits and peaceful nature scenes. “Lussenburg’s impressionist style has a passionate, expressionist quality to it. The exhibition shows a great variety of works, including tranquil rural scenes as well as themed paintings inspired by Beethoven,” explains curator Margot Jongedijk. Lussenburg was born in the coastal city of Enkhuizen in 1889. After moving to Nunspeet in 1920, a finger infection forced him to aban78  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

don his career as a violinist and become a fulltime painter. Growing up near the Zuiderzee became an important source of inspiration and the subject of his most famous works. His musical background clearly filtered through to his works. “You can see a distinct rhythm in his large, raw brush strokes,” Jongedijk explains. “His works also stand out thanks to his beautiful use of colours, which makes Lussenburg’s art very accessible.” Since 1885, Nunspeet has been an artist colony where painters, sculptors and the like settle to enjoy the quiet, nature-rich environment. The museum, located one hour’s drive from Amsterdam, also has a permanent collection featuring 20 different artists and runs activities all year round. The exhibition Jos Lussenburg, markant palet is now on display until 11 June 2017.


Zeilende bons uit Vollenhove, Jos Lussenburg (private collection)

Bruggetje in Hulshorst, Jos Lussenburg. Photo: © Noord-Veluws Museum

Discover Benelux  |  Hotel of the Month  |  Netherlands


Luxury rooms, beautiful surroundings and fine food TEXT: FRANK VAN LIESHOUT  |  PHOTOS: HAVIXHORST

Get away from the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam and enjoy the effortless luxury of one of the Netherlands’ most beautiful country estates.

the Van den Clooster family, it transferred to the famous De Vos van Steenwijks in the 17th century and has been run as an exclusive hotel since 1982.

business purposes, the Havixhorst offers six rooms of varying size to accommodate business meetings, training sessions or company away days.

Looking out over the peaceful Reest valley in the eastern province of Drenthe, you will find yourself a world away from the crowded streets of Amsterdam. “Yet it’s only an hour and a half drive,” says Jos Wijland, owner of the Havixhorst hotel. Everything he and his staff do at this historic castle hotel is geared towards making their guests feel comfortable and at home. “The large, light and airy rooms and beautiful surroundings definitely add to this,” he smiles. “And, in some kind of magical way, the history of the place conveys a sense of confident tranquility that you feel the moment you step across the threshold.”

With many of the original details preserved, the luxury rooms look out over a tranquil natural landscape of heathland, woodland and flower meadows, intersected by the quietly meandering Reest river. It is the ideal setting for a country walk or a pleasant cycle ride. Nearer the house, you can take a stroll through the estate’s extensive baroque gardens and admire the estate’s collection of 20th century Dutch sculptures. If you are lucky enough to be visiting in season, you can marvel at a family of storks feeding their young on the roof of the house.

“The luxury rooms, beautiful surroundings and fine food all add to the inspirational experience we want to give our guests,” explains the owner. “All we add is some personal attention, to make our guests feel at home. If we see them ease into relax-mode after a healthy breakfast, a spontaneous afternoon walk or a delightful dinner, we know we have done our job.”

The Havixhorst is a so-called Havezathe, a medieval manor farm. Originally home to

The hotel’s Michelin-listed restaurant combines herbs, vegetables and fruit from its own gardens with regional produce to serve high-quality seasonal dishes. For Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  79

Discover Benelux  |  Restaurant of the Month  |  Belgium

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

An Italian journey in Hasselt TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: BUON’ EATALIA

The big wood oven, the wine caskets, and all the mouth-watering scents of Italian food give it away: at Buon’ Eatalia you will make a culinary journey through Italy. In Buon’ Eatalia you arrive as a guest, but will leave as a friend. The restaurant provides that typical Italian atmosphere alongside classical Italian cuisine, perfect in its simplicity. “That is the beauty of the Italian kitchen,” says restaurant owner Dirk Hendrickx. “With merely a few pure ingredients, you can create something stunning.” The Hasselt-based restaurant is the younger, yet bigger, brother of the adjacent wine bar L’Aperi Vino, also owned by Hendrickx. Buon’ Eatalia opened in May 2016, after a complete revamp of the building, which was once used as a gin distillery. Although some of the atmospheric elements of L’Aperi Vino can 80  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

be found in Buon’ Eatalia, the restaurant very much has its own impressive character: think high ceilings, a starry sky of little lights and a beautiful fireplace. 440 black and white pictures on the walls depict scenes of Italian food and culture, and fully complement the restaurant’s Southern-European allure. Do not forget to walk all the way to the back to be amazed by the large wood oven (located on the restaurant’s very own piazza), which can hold up to 14 pizzas. One reason for Buon’ Eatalia’s tangible Italian hospitality is its food-sharing concept. Smaller dishes are meant to be shared with friends or family, whether you are with two people or with 12. “Sharing food is definitely an Italian thing: having dinner is one big social occasion there,” Hendrickx enthuses. Just like the food, Buon’ Eatalia’s wines are made to be passed around. The restaurant exclusively serves Italian wines to perfectly complete

each dish. Are you in search of a glass of wine from another country? Head to L’Aperi Vino for more wines of the world. The overwhelmingly praising reviews of Buon’ Eatalia are no surprise; this enormous, charming restaurant effortlessly seems to combine classic Italian values with today’s standards. “Guests who walk in always seem to be amazed once they explore our restaurant: there is a lot to see and even more to taste.” For more information, please visit:

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Calendar

Museum Schokland.

Out & About Modest flower buds and a watery sunshine - we have waited long enough for these welcome first signs of spring. When March is finally here, the Benelux is full of cultural and gastronomical goodness to keep us busy. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

Royal Palace Amsterdam.

Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  81

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Calendar

Hotel & Brasserie Om de Noord Month of March Schiermonnikoog, the Netherlands Located on the beautiful car-free island of Schiermonnikoog, this hotel combines simplicity with honesty: beautiful rooms, fresh food, and a hospitable ambiance.

Het Scheepvaartmuseum – The National Maritime Museum

Photo: © NEMO

NEMO Science Museum Month of March Amsterdam, the Netherlands In the NEMO chemistry laboratory, visitors can become scientists in their own right – for a little while at least. Lab coat? Check! Safety glasses? Check! It is time to get to work on your own experiments.

Crane Hotel Faralda. Photo: Liu Kiki

TEFAF 10 – 19 March Maastricht, the Netherlands Now held three times a year on two continents, TEFAF is widely regarded as the world’s leading fair for art, antiques and design. TEFAF gives international dealers the platform to present museum-quality works.

Crane Hotel Faralda Month of March 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 a one of a kind. 82  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

Hotel & Brasserie Om de Noord.

Month of March Amsterdam, the Netherlands The Arsenal, built in 1656, is home to Het Scheepvaartmuseum. Take the Voyage at Sea tour, climb aboard 18th century sailing ship, hear the stories of captains and sailors and experience the Golden Age up close and personal. Join in and feel the Netherlands’ seafaring heritage come alive.

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Calendar


Het Friese museum dorp Month of March Allingawier, the Netherlands The most romantic and original open-air museum in Friesland tells its visitors the adventurous tale of the old fisherman’s village of Allingawier.

Keukenhof. Photo: Cris Toala Olivares

Hotel Almenum Month of March Harlingen, the Netherlands In the delightful old town centre of Harlingen you will find Hotel Almenum, offering cosy rooms in a beautifully renovated 17th-century warehouse. Along with the tranquil courtyard, Almenum provides the perfect backdrop for your holiday in Friesland.

Keukenhof 23 March – 21 May Lisse, the Netherlands An unmissable stop if you are in the Netherlands during spring. Keukenhof is the most famous and largest flower park in

Het Friese museum dorp. Photo: © Aldfaerserf

Hotel Almenum.

Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  83

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Calendar

Audrey and her mother Ella van Heemstra, 1930-1935. Photo: Audrey Hepburn Family Photo Collection © 2016

the world and offers gorgeous views of blooming Dutch tulips.

Museum Schokland Month of March Schokland, the Netherlands Schokland is a unique natural and cultural monument that is symbolic of the traditional Dutch struggle against water. The museum provides indoor and outdoor exhibitions about the geology, archaeology and history of the Noordoostpolder, Schokland and its inhabitants.

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

Tour de Flanders 2 April Antwerp, Belgium The Tour of Flanders (Ronde van Vlaanderen), also known as De Ronde (The Tour), is a road cycling race held in Belgium every spring, and the most important cycling race in Flanders.

The Royal Palace Amsterdam Month of March 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 to the story of the Netherlands 84  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

the Netherlands, is a great base to discover the country.

Motherly love. Ella & Audrey at the Airborne Museum Until 20 August 2017 Oosterbeek, The Netherlands This small yet much talked about exhibition provides a unique sneak peek into the life of a young Audrey Hepburn, who lived in Arnhem during the Battle of Arnhem. Motherly love. Ella & Audrey was developed in close cooperation with the sons of Hepburn and shows unseen material, including young photos, children’s drawings and personal items of Hepburn and her mother. Hotel Het Galjoen Month of March Dronten, the Netherlands Whether you are planning on visiting Amsterdam, Batavistad, Walibi Holland, or any of the other nearby attractions: Hotel Het Galjoen, located in the very centre of

Hotel Het Galjoen.

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Columns


Like your parents’ bedroom


The term ‘art fair’ can bring shudders down one’s spine. Artist John Baldessari famously said that an artist entering an art fair is like a teenager walking into his parents’ bedroom while they are having sex. Indeed, fairs can be an unwanted glimpse into the realities of the art world. However, to taint them all with the same brush would be unfair, and in fact those in the Benelux region happen to be some of the best around. Art fair season kicked off in February with Art Rotterdam, a small affair showing a great selection of young and smaller galleries. April is when art fair season really gets well under way, with Poppositions, Art Brussels and Independent (the best of the lot) all happening within days of one another. These three fairs all reject the sterile, unconsidered approach synonymous with other fairs, and all offer something unique. Poppositions, conceived as an alternative to the traditional art fair is the place to be if you want to see exciting artist-led activities;

Art Brussels if you want a mix of old and new; and head to Independent if you want to see the most exciting international galleries in a fair that is actually curated. Of course, the monetary aspect of any art fair is impossible to avoid. Yet if you cast aside your aspersions, and go in with an open mind, you can and will find a treasure trove of brilliant artists and galleries doing fantastic things.

Independent, Brussels is open 19-23 April, Poppositions from 20-23 April and Art Brussels from 21-23 April.

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



This is an easy-to-drink strong beer originating from Apeldoorn in the Netherlands’ western Gelderland province. Its name refers to the Veluwe region, which is best known as the home of the Hoge Veluwe National Park. The label bears a depiction of one of the many red deer that inhabit the woods and heathland of the park. Fawn-amber in colour, the beer is light in aroma with just a hint of yeastiness. This is not one of those tripels that is bursting with fruitiness or overly hoppy in character. The beer has hints of fruit and spiciness, thanks to the presence of coriander in its recipe. Overall, it is lighter in flavour than most tripels, making it a good option for drinkers who do not want an overpowering taste but do want to unwind with a powerful drink.

The recipe features wheat malt and barley malt, and the addition of sugar during the brewing process helps account for this beer’s slightly sweet finish. Bottle fermentation leaves a residue of yeast, which can give a glass of this beer a cloudy appearance if care is not taken during the pour — ideally into a goblet-style glass. Brewed in batches of 1,000 litres, this is a product of the young De Vlijt brewery, which was founded in 2010 and opens on weekend afternoons for guided tours. This is a tripel that pairs well with ‘young’, un-ripened cheeses. If you are in the Gelderland province, look out for local varieties to sample with this beer. Alternatively, try it with Edam or Gouda.

Brewer: Bierbrouwerij De Vlijt Strength: 7.5 per cent Stuart Forster was twice named Journalist of the Year at the 2015 and 2016 Holland Press Awards. Five generations of his family have been actively involved in the brewing industry.

Issue 39  |  March 2017  |  85

Discover Benelux | Music | Benelux Beats

LUCAS’ RECORD COLLECTION: Paul Weller – Modern Classics: The Greatest Hits The Beatles – Revolver Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory Tame Impala – Currents


Musically discovering… Lucas Hamming TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTO: HANS-PETER VAN VELDHOVEN

I think I have gone through a significant musical development, both in sound and my writing. Beforehand, I thought that lyrics had to be really complicated to be good. On Luck is for Suckers, I let that go and made songs just for (and about) me.

That is a tough question, but I think my shows at Pinkpop Festival, Paradiso Amsterdam, and Olympia in Paris.

Congrats on the new album! Can you tell us a bit more about Luck is for Suckers? Thanks! It is my second album, and has been written and recorded amidst all the hustle and bustle. I have had such a busy year, so I cut myself off from the rest of world by going to the Ardennes, in Belgium, to record the album together with my band.

You have been playing music from a young age. Do you come from a musical family? From my mother’s side, yes. But both my parents have always supported me and my father is a great music aficionado. My fathers’ Britpop albums have inspired me a lot. When I was 11 years old, I already knew that I wanted to go to a conservatory of music. I guess you could say that I am now what I wanted to become when I was little, haha!

Do you have a certain ritual before performing? About ten minutes before a show starts, I have a quiet moment in my dressing room. I am very easily distracted, so during that moment I put on some Arctic Monkeys and just focus on getting ready – that calms my mind.

How is this album different from your other ones?

What has been the peak of your career so far?

A young singer-songwriter, a rock ‘n roll poet and a rising star; Lucas Hamming is many things. Being in love with everything music related from a young age, the Dutch musician’s second album Luck is for Suckers is the latest addition to his admirable musical career, which also lists performances on the biggest stages in the Netherlands. We met up with the youngster of rock ‘n roll.

86  |  Issue 39  |  March 2017

What is your best musical discovery of 2017? Dua Lipa, an English singer-songwriter.

A new album, shows on renowned stages – what else do you aspire to? A golden record! And to play at Lowlands Festival.