Discover Benelux, Issue 43, July 2017

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Discover Benelux  |  Contents

Contents JULY 2017




COVER FEATURE 46 Kensington

Amsterdam South has long been one of the Dutch capital’s most desirable neighbourhoods.

It is hard to avoid Dutch four-piece Kensington at the moment, and why would one want to? With a string of festival appearances and their fourth album Control firing up holiday playlists across Europe, the band have proven themselves to be

We look at the month ahead in Benelux busi-

the sound of summer 2017. We caught up with

ness as well as showcasing some of the re-

frontman Eloi Youssef, who revealed why he and

gion’s leading consultancy firms and techno-

his bandmates are now closer than ever.

logy experts.

THEMES 10 Architecture Guide From the canal houses of the Dutch Golden Age, to Belgium’s decadent art nouveau constructions, so many buildings in the Benelux are astounding. We zoom in on some of the best architectural agencies in Belgium and the Netherlands.

26 Amsterdam City Centre Special From the iconic Canal District to bohemian Waterlooplein and bustling Rembrandtplein, we present our favourite addresses in the very heart of the Dutch capital.

50 Spotlight on Amsterdam South 80

BUSINESS 58 Company profiles, regulars and more

FEATURES 80 Rifka Lodeizen Discover Benelux spends time with Dutch actress Rifka Lodeizen, one of the stars of Paula van der Oest’s critically acclaimed drama Tonio.

90 Benelux Beats We had the pleasure of speaking to Dutch pianist Iris Hond about her groundbreaking album Dear World, which skilfully plays with the boundaries between pop music and classical.

DON’T MISS 6 Fashion Picks | 8 Desirable Designs 82 Out & About | 89 Columns

With its grand manor houses, fine restaurants and designer boutiques, it is easy to see why

Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  3

Discover Benelux  |  Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Discover Benelux Issue 43, July 2017 Published 07.2017 ISSN 2054-7218 Published by Scan Group Print Liquid Graphic Ltd Executive Editor Thomas Winther Creative Director Mads E. Petersen Editor Anna Villeleger Copy-editor Isa Hemphrey Graphic Designer Mercedes Moulia Contributors Bas van Duren Charlotte van Hek Ella Put Frank van Lieshout Heidi Kokborg

Julien L’Ortye Lidija Liegis Martin Pilkington Matt Antoniak Michiel Stol Myriam Gwynned Dijck Sally Tipper Steve Flinders Stuart Forster Thessa Lageman Cover Photo Rahi Rezvani Sales & Key Account Managers Mette Tonnessen Kirsten Schoon Katia Sfihi Micha Cornelisse Publisher: Scan Group 15B Bell Yard Mews Bermondsey Street London SE1 3YT United Kingdom Phone: +44 (0)870 933 0423 Fax: +44 (0)870 933 0421 Email:

Welcome to the summer and a jampacked issue sure to satisfy your cultural cravings. From world music in Luxembourg to carnivals in the Netherlands and street theatre in Belgium, summertime in the Benelux is serving up a feast for the eyes and ears. Make sure you do not miss out on any of the action by checking out our Out & About calendar on page 82. Getting ready to headline some of Europe’s biggest upcoming festivals are Dutch rockers Kensington, whose fourth album Control has been the soundtrack to my summer so far. Hailed as the Utrecht four-piece’s most powerful and personal record to date, its intimate nature reflects the group’s increasingly strong bond. I had the pleasure of talking to lead singer and guitarist Eloi Youssef, who explained why he and bandmates Casper Starreveld, Jan Haker and Niles Vandenberg are now closer than ever. This month I also caught up with Dutch actress Rifka Lodeizen, who is known for embracing complicated roles, and recently garnered international acclaim for her portrayal of a mother mourning the loss of her only child in Paula van der Oest’s powerful drama Tonio. As well as talking movies, the actress revealed her renewed passion for writing, proving herself to be a woman of many talents. Read the interview on page 80. As if that was not enough, this month we also bring you the best of Benelux architecture, not to mention a mammoth Amsterdam city special. From urban beaches to outdoor cinema and countless festivals, where better to spend these long sunny days than the Dutch capital? Happy reading!

Anna Villeleger, Editor

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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Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks


Not just for weddings Although we appreciate an all-white outfit, we know some prefer to save such a look until the sun has properly come out. Whether you are headed for the beach or the city streets, white will keep you cool this summer. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PRESS PHOTOS

In the bag Is an all-white ensemble a bit too much for you? A white bag is a good place to start. Amsterdam-based O My Bag is an eco-friendly brand that produces fairly made handbags and accessories. €35

Biker boy You thought that white denim was reserved for a far-away summer destination? Think again. This G-STAR RAW jacket screams charming biker meets innocent cowboy. €169.96

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Sporty chic Long gone are the days when white sneakers were only meant to be seen on the tennis court. All-white kicks have been upgraded to the perfect casual footwear, and can be worn with jeans or even formalwear. €89.99

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks

Pearly whites Are you loving the denim jacket comeback, but getting tired of wearing blue all the time? The solution is this lovely summer jacket from G-STAR RAW, which cleverly combines a cropped denim model with a pearly white colour. €119.95

Ahoy, sailor! The sailor cap made an unexpected comeback last spring, and for a good reason: it is playful, fun, and will stylishly cover up bad hair days. €55

Made for walking Not for wallflowers! You will not need much else when wearing these white cutout boots. Combine them with a floral skirt for an interesting sturdy/sweet combo, or throw on under jeans for casual coolness. €129.99 Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  7

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Desirable Designs


Mix and match This month we have selected a wide range of designs, each special in their own way and phenomenal together. Whatever the weather, you will certainly be inspired both indoors and outdoors. TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PRESS PHOTOS


1. A table for life For a meeting in a working space, a children’s party in the garden or for a long meal with friends; this all-round functional design by Pieter van Lieshout is made to serve whenever and wherever. €1,285 Pieter van Lieshout via


3. 2. Elephant-astic This small elephant can be used in several ways: as a stool, a decoration or a toy. The latter was the inspiration for the object after designer Richard Hutten used a toy in his son’s bedroom as the centrepiece of his new furniture sketch. €89


3. Rietveld original This asymmetrical Steltman Chair is a reedition, made exactly according to the sketch of the iconic Dutch designer Gerrit Rietveld. The model is available in several colours, suitable for any setting and available in left and right-handed design. €1,650

4. Playing with nature A bench made to move. With its eyecatching wheel, designer Rogier Martens stimulates the user of the product to actively find a perfect spot for this wheel bench. Perfect for outdoor use. €495 8  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

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Sweden • Norway • Denmark • Finland • Luxembourg • Switzerland • United Kingdom • Singapore • Estonia • Latvia • Lithuania

Skyline Rotterdam.


Creating quality of life One of the reasons quality of life is so high in the Benelux has to be the long tradition of innovative and inspiring architecture. Both nationally and internationally, architects from the Netherlands and Belgium are making their mark with an inventive approach to building. In the following pages, we hone in on some of the Benelux’s top architectural agencies. PHOTOS: NBTC HOLLAND MARKETING AND THE FLANDERS ARCHITECTURE INSTITUTE

Figurentheater De Maan, Mechelen (Malin) by Import Export architecture.

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Figurentheater De Maan, Mechelen (Malin) by Import Export architecture.

Discover Benelux  |  Architecture Special  |  Benelux

View of Erasmusbrug.

Rietveld Schröder House.

The Netherlands: a country of architectural gems From Gerrit Rietveld to Rem Koolhaas, some of the world’s most celebrated architects hail from the Netherlands. Pay a visit to any Dutch city and the country’s strong architectural legacy will immediately become apparent. From the capital city, whose canal houses are famous the world over to avant-garde destinations such as Rotterdam, the architectural highlights are endless. In the latter, you will find architectural gems including OMA Timmerhuis and the Erasmus bridge. Meanwhile, in Utrecht, do not miss Rietveld Schröder House, a 20th century


architectural treasure and a UNESCO world heritage site. Designed by Rietveld, it is globally recognised as the most influential domestic building of the early modern period due to its radical approach to design and the use of space.

The Royal Institute of Dutch Architects The Royal Institute of Dutch Architects (BNA) celebrates its 175th birthday this year. Uniting almost 1,200 architectural firms, it is the sole professional association for Dutch architects and stimulates modern, creative entrepreneurship. We spoke to Fred Schoorl, director of the BNA, who told us why Dutch architecture enjoys a world-renowned reputa-

tion. “Our architecture has always aimed to enhance the happiness of its users. Dutch people belong to the happiest in the world. Aesthetic, meaningful cities and environments contribute a great deal to that,” he explains. “Dutch architecture has always created a better quality of life, and I think that is something we can be proud of.” Discover the Netherlands’ top architectural agencies from page 13. For more information, please visit:

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Discover Benelux  |  Architecture Special  |  Benelux

Vierwinden Garden in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek, BAUKUNST Photo: Maxime Delvaux

Belgium: the land of cutting-edge design From the decadent art nouveau creations of Victor Horta and Henry van de Velde to the stunning skyscrapers and avant-garde urban developments that we see today, Belgian architecture is the epitome of cutting-edge design. Take a walk around any city in Belgium and you will be struck by the diversity of the buildings and monuments. From medieval towns like Bruges, home to both modern and medieval masterpieces, to major cities like Ghent and Antwerp where modern triumphs stand alongside historical gems. The latter’s latest architectural gem is the Port House, designed by Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher. Having been inaugurated in September last year, the new headquarters for the port involved the renovation and extension of a derelict fire station along with a striking contemporary diamond-shaped superstructure. This modern masterpiece, which reflects both the port’s rich history and its optimism for the future, has confirmed the city’s high-ranking status on the architectural world map. 12  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

Droogloods. Photo: Olmo Peeters

Flanders Architecture Institute (VAi) Thanks to organisations such as the Flanders Architecture Institute (VAi), which coordinates the Belgian entry to the Venice Architecture Biennale every four years on a rotating basis with the country’s French-speaking community, architecture in Flanders is reputed for its innovation. The Flanders Architecture Institute’s aim is to raise awareness of the significance of good design and encourage public

debate related to buildings and cities. By organising exhibitions, lectures and debates, they help spread knowledge about architecture. Read more about Belgian architecture from page 24. For more information, please visit:

Basisschool De Springplank, Brugge - Tom Thys Architecten. Photo: Olmo Peeters

Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands   |  Creating Quality of Life

Feel ‘at ease’ right away


Inspired by world-renowned architects such as John Lautner and taught by Glenn Murcutt (awarded with The Pritzker Prize in 2002), the buildings Lam designs stem from the same philosophy. “I want to create living environments where building and nature come together and make the users feel at ease,

whether it is a house or an office building,” elaborates Lam. The same approach was applied for the giraffe house at the Royal Rotterdam Zoo. “Working from natural behaviour and needs of the users is no different for people than it is for animals. “I believe the essence of architecture is not about style or techniques, it is about what suits my clients best, what serves their wellbeing most. Therefore, the design process is first of all about getting to know the client. Finding out why they want something, instead of just documenting what they want. If you know their motivation, you can really design the perfect place

for them, even if it is different from what they originally had in mind,” says Lam. This design approach makes it possible to create buildings that are sustainable by nature. “It just becomes logical to create a design that is biophilic and environmentally friendly,” explains the architect. “The best compliment I can get is when the users come to me afterwards and say: ‘I felt at ease right away’.”

Verandah house. Photo: Martijn Heil

Giraffe house. Photo: Martijn Dijkstra

Design Studio.

“Designing buildings is all about listening to the client; to hear what they want but, more importantly, why they want something. Only then can you create a place where they truly feel at ease,” explains Menno Lam, owner of LAM architects.

For more information, please visit:


Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands   |  Creating Quality of Life

Villa Vals [CH]


SeARCH is a leading architecture and urban design firm based in Amsterdam. It creates architecture that strengthens the surrounding landscape, rather than dominating or ignoring it. Through the exploration into the relationship between architecture and site, SeARCH promotes a high degree of sustainability and environmental awareness within their projects. “So much is possible these days.” SeARCH was founded in 2002 by Bjarne Mastenbroek. Together with an interna-

tional staff of around 20 architects and professionals, he works on projects around the world. “Our buildings look rather diverse because we always try to create comfortable buildings that are a good supplement to the surrounding,” says Mastenbroek. “Every project enhances quality of life.” As Dutch architects, they are aware of the scarcity of land and believe strongly in using this resource intelligently. SeARCH believes in collaboration; with clients, users, and specialists. This sets the stage to

Hotel Jakarta, Amsterdam

Hotel Jakarta, Amsterdam

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create innovative, original and unexpected design solutions.

30-metre-high wooden hotel “The building industry is often polluting,” the firm’s founder continues. “With our architecture, we try to do it differently. We create cleaner and more efficient buildings.” As an example, he mentions Hotel Jakarta, which is being built mostly using wood on an island in Amsterdam and is scheduled to open early 2018. “It creates a very special atmosphere. The acoustics, smells... everything feels different.”

Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands   |  Creating Quality of Life

The energy neutral building with luxury wooden prefab units symbolises Amsterdam’s historic maritime connection with Asia. Characteristic is the dynamic public space with various bars, restaurants and coffee corners, a wellness centre and cultural activities, built around the central subtropical garden, which is publicly accessible through the transparent façade. Unique for the Netherlands is its 30-metre-high load-bearing structure in wood. The design and maintenance of the subtropical garden is a result of a collaboration with the Hortus Botanicus garden and the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam.

Fully serviced expat units

series The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes. Typical in SeARCH’s designs, the surrounding nature has been left undisturbed and unobstructed by any sort of architectural development. The villa uses local building traditions and materials including its façade made from Valser quartzite. The house, which is a critique on the Swiss need for perfection, is experienced as a welcoming light at the end of a 22-metre concrete tunnel. Furthermore, the viewing angle from the building is slightly inclined, giving an even more dramatic view of the strikingly beautiful mountains on the opposite side of the narrow valley.

Just like Hotel Jakarta, SeARCH’s newest housing project in Amsterdam, North Orleans, is made of prefab units, which allows to build much faster and efficiently. The characteristic steel façade reveals its unique colour after rainy days and gives the building its industrial character. This completely furnished housing complex for expats, students and young professionals right next door to the SeARCH office, has been an enormous success right from the start. “You can rent everything you need, including the furniture, linen service, bikes and even the cutlery.”

Old manor transformation

The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes

Just like Villa Vals, the building was awarded with the Green GOOD Design Award, given to the world’s most important examples of sustainable design. Another award the SeARCH has already won several times is the yearly Gouden Piramide (Gold Pyramid) government award for inspiring architects.

Another project the owner is especially proud of is Villa Vals, a holiday retreat dug into the alpine slopes of Vals in Switzerland. Mastenbroek stays here around six weeks each year and the rest of the time it can be rented. The villa was featured in the ‘Underground’ episode of the BBC

North Orleans, Amsterdam

North Orleans, Amsterdam

Extraordinary is also the building SeARCH designed for insulin producer Novo Nordisk in Copenhagen, Denmark. It is an extension to a 14th century farm and protected monument. While respecting the old farmhouse’s scale, geometry and organisation, the extension’s modern lines and material treatment emphasise a friendly tension between new and old. In tune with SeARCH’s philosophy of strengthening rather than dominating the landscape, the 18,000-square-foot steel and concrete addition has been nestled in the hillside.

Villa Vals [CH]

Web: Email: Tel: +31207889900 Web: Email:

Novo Nordisk [DK]

Novo Nordisk [DK]

Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  15

Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands   |  Creating Quality of Life

ING Bank headquarters Photo: Sybolt Voeten

Organic architecture with wellbeing in mind TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: ALBERTS & VAN HUUT

There are many buildings in Amsterdam that speak to one’s imagination and the head office of ING Bank justly so. Situated in the southeastern part of the city, the building is a prime example of organic architecture with its evocative design that shuns straight lines and use of sand colours. It is there where we meet its maker: architect Max van Huut from Architectenbureau Alberts & Van Huut, involved with transforming the construction from an office to an apartment building. Completed in 1986 and opened in 1987, the head office of ING is a good example of what was to come from the Alberts & 16  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

Van Huut bureau, whose namesake Ton Alberts passed away in 1999. The buildings they have designed since all share that same organic feeling by creating a sense of harmony and beauty not only for aesthetic reasons, but for the wellbeing of its users as well. “If you create a house that’s as basic as a square, you’ll not only have sounds bounce back and forth on the walls, but it’ll determine your perspective on life as well,” says Van Huut. That particular way of thinking is clearly visible inside the office of the ING Bank, where no room is exactly the same and the curved façades bounce the sounds from outside up into the air. Built in a time

when cradle to cradle was not commonplace, Van Huut and Alberts designed the office to be as sustainable as possible, having little reason to demolish anything should the need arise to give the building a new meaning. “The key to sustainability is attention,” says Van Huut. “I see a building like a strong relationship: treasure it, and it’ll bare its soul - that is more than just aesthetics. It’ll make you conscious of its shapes and what it does to us humans. That is something I miss much with the more modern, uniform designs.” “When it comes to designing, I can’t stress enough how important the surrounding area is for where a building

Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands   |  Creating Quality of Life

should arise,” says the architect. “I always visit the location and try to determine what the quality of the space is, to listen to what the site asks for, study the specific characteristics of the location, so that a unity can be created. It’s a gift to work with that. The transformation takes it to a higher level. We conscientiously analyse the programme of requirements, wishes, culture and identity of the client and users. Back when we designed the Gasunie in Groningen, we even camped out there, talked to the people living in the vicinity and designing a building with them in mind. It’s the kind of attention that pays back in double and is a great source for anecdotes. For instance: we usually let several people create their own tile in a building and when a little girl opted to have hers in the toilet instead of

in the room close to the mayor’s tile, she said she wanted it there because ‘that’s where more people have to be’.” Wellbeing is a recurring theme in Van Huut’s work, maybe nowhere more so than some of his recent projects in Switzerland. Van Huut: “I’ve designed pavilions for people struggling with dementia. I’ve seen how friends are withering away in buildings with large corridors with straight lines, handrails and tubular lightings, but it’s tough for them to traverse paths like that and they usually end up feeling like they need to break out. Therefore, I’ve designed two pavilions that are circular, make use of pleasant colours and give them the space to ‘dance’. My wife and I visit the pavilions regularly and we’ve made new friends, some of them even in

their nineties. It’s incredible to see how much energy they have.” We can create places that move our hearts, help us to develop our science and transform our knowledge into wisdom. At this point, Van Huut is overcome with emotions, quite understandably. After a brief moment, he resumes: “Working on buildings is working with both halves of your brain. The difference a colour can make is special and a true art form. Reading a book can make you happy or any other emotion, but it won’t leave you without any emotion. The same goes for something like motor races where I can just appreciate how insane it is to see those racers get that close to the ground without falling off. It’s poetry and so is architecture.” For more on Alberts & Van Huut, go to:

International School of Amsterdam (Amstelveen, The Netherlands).

One of the five patios of the Isala hospital (Zwolle, The Netherlands).

Gasunie (Groningen).

Villa in Taiyuan (China).

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Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands   |  Creating Quality of Life

A C T U A L LY D E S I G N :

Combining luxury with sustainability TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: MULTIVISION 3D

For a building to be both deluxe and environmentally friendly is not always straightforward, but this is exactly the type of challenge that Sholeh Mohtasham, owner of South Hollandbased bureau Actually Design, relishes. Her latest project, the new De Veste hotel in the city of Schiedam, is a perfect example of combining luxury with sustainability.

De Veste The construction of the brand new hotel, along with its luxury long and short stay penthouses, is Actually Design’s largest project to date. “It’s going to be very 18  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

unique and probably the biggest project that we have ever done… or ever will do,” begins Mohtasham, who founded Actually Design in 2004.

over the surrounding polder landscape and harbour, not to mention Rotterdam’s famous skyline.

The 16,000-square-metre hotel will be situated in Schieveste, an area that is currently being redeveloped between the A20 motorway and Central Station, within walking distance of Schiedam’s historic centre. “It’s a great location, only about ten minutes from Rotterdam Airport,” adds Mohtasham.

The four-star establishment will include luxury penthouses on the top floors, which will benefit from the same services provided by the hotel and have been designed for long or short stays. There will also be a restaurant and sky bar, which will both be open to the public as well as residents and hotel guests.

Standing 65 metres tall, the upper floors of the hotel will offer spectacular views

Unlike neighbouring Rotterdam, there are currently no high rises in Schiedam,

A new landmark

Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands   |  Creating Quality of Life

so Actually Design thought very carefully about such a daring venture. “We thought; ‘okay, if we are doing this we want it to be some sort of a landmark’,” explains Mohtasham. The stylish design is completely glass and has been conceived with both opulence and the environment in mind. “One of my signatures is luxury buildings, but we want to make the hotel as green as possible. We want to ensure the building has a zeroenergy label,” asserts the architect. “It is very challenging but we will not compromise on anything.”

Quality of life At the Schieveste site there will also be a new 11-screen cinema, a few restaurants, diners, and parking facilities, proving this is about much more than just a new hotel. This project is as much about developing interaction in the city and improving quality of life as it is about architectural innovation. “I always think about not only creating a beautiful building, but how that building

will interact with everything around it and how it will improve the surrounding area for a long time,” reveals Mohtasham. “Actually, this part of the city seemed a bit abandoned. The council is putting in a great deal of effort and investing a lot on the landscape of the area to facilitate the hotel. One simple building can change the face of a whole city; that’s so beautiful to see.”

An egalitarian approach While Mohtasham is extremely passionate about the De Veste project, the architect is eager to point out she values all her company’s ventures equally. “I’m proud of all my projects - definitely,” she smiles. “In my career, I don’t make any separation between the small projects and the big projects. They all have the same attention and devotion. From monuments to private housing, every project is important.” The firm’s other recent enterprises range from student accommodation to private housing include Den Hoven, a collection of luxury villas based on a farm ensemble in Amstelveen, North Holland. While

Mohtasham initially specialised in private housing - notably villas - the recession of 2008/9 saw her focus more on renovations. “It made me look at why a building gets demolished, or what allows it be reused. It actually changed a lot of my ideas about architecture in a positive way. I always pay a lot of attention to detail and make sure a building is transformable,” she explains.

Quality not quantity Quality not quantity is a phrase that springs to mind when listening to Mohtasham speak about Actually Design. “A lot of people say ‘why don’t you want a big company with 20 or 30 employees?’ But I want to stay focused on the quality of each project. It’s not about the quantity of projects. Maybe that’s one of the things that make Actually Design different from a lot of other firms.” For more information, please visit:

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Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands   |  Creating Quality of Life

Dutch architecture enriched with Spanish values TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: CRUZ Y ORTIZ

Founded in 1974 by the renowned Antonio Cruz and Antonio Ortiz in Sevilla, Cruz y Ortiz is a famed architecture office in Spain that has expanded over the years to Amsterdam and Madrid. With Muriel Huisman in charge of Amsterdam, the name is now wellknown in the Netherlands and its neighbouring countries, largely due to a profound renovation of the famous Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. “A small team capable of great projects,” is how Muriel Huisman describes the Amsterdam branch of the tree that is Cruz y Ortiz. “Our office is currently staffed by six people and since we’re very all-rounded, we’re able to be involved in the complete 20  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

process of a project, starting with the designs and recommendations to the completion and beyond. We call ourselves generalists who don’t think in partial solutions for a multifaceted problem, but rather have one solid answer that’s based on the shared core values of Cruz y Ortiz: elegance, timelessness, intelligence and intuition.” One needs to look at one of the Antonios’ first projects to see those values in action: a residential block in Sevilla, comprised of three units, was built in 1975 and still has a timeless feel to it with its subtle, curvaceous design. Huisman: “All done with just one stroke and the shape of a kidney bean was made. It turned out

to be the solution to the block, both in design, but also for practical reasons; daylight is used optimally this way in a district where roads are meandering rather than straight lines.” Those same values were applied to a project closer to home for the Dutch branch of the architect bureau: the Rijksmuseum, the biggest national museum in the Netherlands, attracting over two million visitors annually and displaying over 8,000 objects of art and history. “Back then our government appointed an architect of the state who was impressed by our design and way of thinking,” Huisman explains. “When it comes down to renovation, we don’t like the easy way out of putting a

Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands   |  Creating Quality of Life

glass wall between the old and the new. We want them to merge with each other to create a contemporary interpretation instead of searching a vulgar contrast with awkward shapes or unnatural materials. We constantly look for synergy in our designs. If it’s an existing building made of bricks, why not work with similar tectonics for its renovation?” Consequently, Cruz y Ortiz set out to give the Rijksmuseum a makeover, starting with the layout of the ground floor itself. Huisman shows an old museum map that looks a great deal like a maze puzzle. “We set out to remove all of the later additions, giving the floor a much more spacious feel, the way Pierre Cuypers, the original architect, intended it to be. The two courtyards have been opened up and connected, making way for a new entrance. We’ve recovered all galleries, dismantled the suspended ceilings and restored monumental ornaments, all while working closely with the exhibition and restoration architects. An immense project that started back in 2001 and concluded in 2014 with the completion of the Philips Wing. Huisman looks back on the Rijksmuseum with a sense of amazement that has not subsided since. “It’s fantastic to cycle by and see

it in that condition. It feels strange to say goodbye to a project we have been taken care of for so long, and leave it up to the users and the visiting public, but it was a joy to work on it, making many friends through the years and opening doors to new projects.”

Find out more about Cruz y Ortiz Architects at

One of those is a beauty in its own right: the Ambassade Hotel is a renowned hotel in Amsterdam, known as the ‘writer’s hotel’ with many (inter)national writers staying there. It has an impressive collection of not only signed books, but also quite a number of Cobra paintings. Huisman: “It’s the Antonios’ favourite hotel and the Ambassade asked us to refurbish the hotel while at the same time integrating the works of art and books in a proper way. Given that the building consists of nine adjacent Canal Houses, we’ve opted for a subtle passerelle, which as a sequence of spaces emphasises each individual house, along which we encounter the Cobra lounge, with its paintings on full display.” From here, Cruz y Ortiz works on other renovations both in the Amsterdam UNESCO Area as in Oostende, Utrecht or Antwerp, at the same time successfully keeping track of the bureau’s residential portfolio with whom the success of Cruz y Ortiz started back in 1975. Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  21

Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands   |  Creating Quality of Life


Ten years on from their world famous Dementia Village, Dutch architects Frank van Dillen and Michael Bol discuss the growing pressure to transform care for people suffering from dementia. “We need to design more than just buildings; we need to design homes where people can live their lives as fully as possible.” With huge improvements in people’s health resulting in a rapidly ageing population, architect Frank van Dillen is adamant that the need to transform elderly care facilities is more pressing than ever before. “In Europe and the rest of the Western world, our elderly population is booming,” says the Dementia Village Architects and Advisors (DVA) managing director, explaining his vision. “Gov22  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

ernments are retreating from direct involvement in the social care system and people want to maintain their autonomy for as long as they can. Within this new reality, patients suffering from dementiarelated diseases such as Alzheimer’s, who cannot remain living independently in their own homes, should have the opportunity to move into small-scale, supported housing. A residential community where they can enjoy as much as possible the latter phases of their lives in the manner that they have always done, surrounded by likeminded peers and connected with family, caregivers and healthcare professionals.”

Worldwide response DVA’s concept is a far cry from the traditional large-scale nursing homes we are

all so familiar with; and caused a sensation when it was first carried out in their seminal project at The Hogeweyk in Weesp, a small town just outside of Amsterdam, some ten years ago. “We designed and built a small-scale village community for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease,” says DVA co-director Michael Bol. “A safe place where they live together in small groups, and retain their independence as much as possible.” At the time, it was a revolutionary care concept and the village was featured in countless news reports, including a documentary for CNN that spawned a massive worldwide response. “I think it resonated so much with audiences all around the world, because the concept was radical, new and fresh,” Van Dillen recalls. “And at

Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands   |  Creating Quality of Life

the same time, people immediately recognised it was the right approach.” The idea behind the design was to look at the possibilities for people suffering from dementia, not the impossibilities. “This is why we included social hubs in our design,” Van Dillen explains, “such as a café and a supermarket, where residents can go for a drink or do their daily shopping; and, even more importantly, where they mix with other people from outside their own community - with the only difference that a carer will be with them. All these facilities are designed to help residents stay in contact with the outside world, to remain socially active and continue their daily routines as much as possible.”

Lifestyle communities

DVA’s design comprised 26 small-scale communities, each consisting of a maximum of seven people. The communities have their own distinct lifestyles, ranging from rural to urban and from cultural to classic. “For residents to be happy, you

Michael Bol.

want them to live in a group with other residents who share their interests and outlook on life,” Bol explains. “This will help them to feel at home, be happier and less aggressive than in a traditional nursing home setting.” The variety of these different lifestyles has been designed into the different sizes and lay-outs of the kitchens and living rooms, and in the surrounding areas such as gardens, streets and squares. “The different designs support different lifestyles. The aim is to approach the kind of environment the residents have been used to all their lives.”

Future-proof healthcare Since those early days, The Hogeweyk itself has been successfully expanded and replicated in several comparable initiatives; and DVA themselves have further developed and improved their initial concept, creating and consulting in over 70 housing projects for senior citizens in the Netherlands and abroad, including

projects in the US, Germany, France, Italy and Denmark. “More and more parties in the healthcare industry recognise that our expertise and holistic approach can make a real difference, especially if we are involved from the very start of a project,” says Van Dillen. “What’s more, with a rapidly ageing population leading to spiralling healthcare costs and more and more pressure on the postwar welfare state, it is good to know that our small-scale approach is not only desirable from the patient’s point of view, but will also save a lot of money. Countless studies have proven that healthcare costs decline significantly the more socially active people are, also if they are suffering from dementia. Think about it: we give people more control and a happier environment, and in return we get affordable and future-proof healthcare. To us, that’s a no-brainer!” For more information, please visit:

Frank van Dillen.

Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  23

Discover Benelux  |  Belgium  |  Top Architecture & Design

Queen Mathilde Mother & Child Centre Edegem, hospital.


Based in Antwerp, SVR-ARCHITECTS is one of Belgium’s leading international architectural firms, with 35 professionals working across a range of projects requiring highly specialised technical expertise and creative power. Ever since founder Jef Van Ranst won a competition to build the Antwerp University Medical Hospital in 1970, healthcare has been one of the four sectors comprising the backbone of the company’s portfolio, together with their innovative work in laboratories, offices and housing. Van Ranst hired technical specialists from the United States to help him build the hospital, which at the time was a revolutionary approach. “It reflects a mentality that has been an essential part of the 24  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

company from the very start,” says SVR’s CEO Philippe Van Goethem. “We will always have our eye on the end goal: to meet the needs of the end users. And we’ll do whatever it takes to realise this goal.” It is this very same vision on the role of architectural design that informed one of SVR’s newest flagship projects, the Queen Mathilde Mother and Child Centre in Edegem near Antwerp, which was completed earlier in February this year. “We did away with some deepseated dogmas in our design,” Philippe explains. “We wanted to bring as much natural light as we could into the hospital’s wards and rooms – not only for the patients, but also for the staff. Usually, hospital staff rest rooms are stuck away somewhere in the centre of the structure

where no natural light can possibly get in. We took a radically different approach, from a belief that optimal healthcare for patients requires optimal conditions for nursing staff, to care for their patients and create a healthy, happy and positive environment.”

Function before form According to Philippe, it is this focus on the use of a building that sets SVR apart from many other firms. “We don’t design iconic buildings just for the sake of it,” Philippe explains. “Scale and volume should derive from the functional concept, not the other way around. Firstly, we look at the different groups of users a building needs to facilitate, the inside of the building, before we think about what it should look like from the outside.”

Discover Benelux  |  Belgium  |  Top Architecture & Design

SVR always follows this same philosophy and way of working. First they identify the goals the project needs to meet and make sure they have a clear and concrete understanding of these. Secondly, they set out how to achieve these goals, drafting a detailed plan of the process. “This includes budget planning, proactively gauging the risks and working out a clearly phased roadmap to avoid surprises and minimise costs,” Philippe explains. “On the part of the architect this requires solid technical expertise as well as the ability to think creatively.” The third and final requirement is to focus on the end result. “We’re not in this business just to publish our designs,” says Jean-Pierre Van Liefferinge, the firm’s other partner. “We’re in this business to produce added value for our customers, to contribute to the success of their enterprise.”

Scalable architecture Part of the success of a project is the requirement to deliver buildings that are

social, environmentally friendly and set up for new ways of working in the digital age. But first and foremost, the architect has a duty to deliver buildings that are scalable and adaptable to future needs, according to Jean-Pierre. This applies to office buildings such as the building at 9 Rue Guimard in Brussels, which SVR redesigned and optimised, increasing its floor space by almost ten per cent; but it is even more important for the laboratory buildings SVR specialises in.

Hotel labs One of their latest laboratory projects has been the design of a 16,000-square-metre so-called laboratory hotel building concept for a newly developed bio-tech campus. “The buildings are designed to accommodate a range of different laboratories, all with scalable sizes and adaptable functionalities.” It is the kind of project that requires highly specialised expertise in front-end engineering design, where a comprehensive, complicated programming and long-term

Aquatic ecology Ghent, laboratory.

9 Rue Guimard,Brussels, office.

design process needs to be planned in detail. In recent years, SVR’s Laboratory Division has not only worked as architects on prestigious projects such as the Rega and Chem&Tech laboratories at the University of Leuven, the academic research lab for aquatic ecology and toxicology at the University of Ghent and a range of highly sophisticated R&D facilities for Procter and Gamble in Europe and Asia, they have also been asked by other architectural firms to contribute their expertise in various projects around the world. “Just like Van Ranst more than 45 years ago, we are always open to new collaborations,” Philippe concludes. “If we can add value to a project and deliver a design that can stand the test of time, we are in,” he says. “In the end, we see it as our mission to build for the future.” For more information, please visit:

Leuven Chem & Tech, laboratory.

Neonatology Queen Mathilde Mother & Child Centre Edegem, hospital. Healthcare is one of the four sectors comprising the backbone of the company’s portfolio.

Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  25

Photo: Emilio Brizzi


Summer in the city Never is Amsterdam more alive than in the summer. With its cobbled streets and scenic canals bathing in sunshine, the centre of the Dutch capital is the perfect setting to lose yourself in a maze of cafés and restaurants, world-class museums and peaceful parks. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: AMSTERDAM MARKETING & NBTC

Photo: Edwin-van-Eis

26  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  The Ultimate Summer Destination

Photo: Peter Elenbaas

Dam, Nieuwmarkt and Waterlooplein area

Royal Palace, De Nieuwe Kerk and the National Monument.

(Read more from page 29) The areas around the Dam Square and Nieuwmarkt are the oldest parts of the city, dating back to the 13th century. Nowadays known as the Damrak, the proximity to the port made this spot popular with seamen, merchants, scholars and regents in the in the Golden Age as they got together and discuss their adventures overseas. Fast forward 400 years, and the area has lost none of its liveliness. While this part of Amsterdam used to be mainly known for its (in)famous Red Light District (De Wallen), many streets have undergone major transformations and are now home to some of country’s most prestigious hotels and restaurants. Although Dam Square is often overshadowed by some of the more scenic places, it hosts famous and unmissable sites such as the

A mere stone’s throw away and located in the heart of Chinatown lies Nieuwmarkt. Once an open canal, Nieuwmarkt’s location just inside the old city gate made it a desirable spot for merchants and tradesmen. Nowadays the square is a vibrant marketplace with coffee shops, a daily market, restaurants, and loads of quirky shops. Keen to do some bargain shopping? Leave behind the chains and crowds at the Kalverstraat near Dam Square and head to Waterlooplein. You are guaranteed to find some hidden treasures at this square, which holds the largest daily flea market in the city. Unlike Dam Square, Waterlooplein still draws lots of locals, and stepping into any café in the area will immerse you in a true Amsterdam vibe.

Photo: Emilio Brizzi

Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  27

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  The Ultimate Summer Destination

Amstel, Rembrandtplein and Canal District area (Read more from page 41) Rembrandtplein is a majorly popular square and considered to be one of the centres of Amsterdam’s extensive nightlife, with busy cafés, clubs and the renowned Tuschinski theatre nearby. Although the locals often skip the Rembrandtplein for the less crowded spots, the square is an unmissable stop when visiting Amsterdam. Fun fact: originally being a dairy market place, Rembrandtplein was known as the Botermarkt (Butter Market) until the establishment of Rembrandt’s statue in 1876. For those who cannot get enough of Amsterdam’s scenic waterways, the river Amstel flows just minutes away from Rembrandtplein. With its stunning boulevard full of elegant cafés, restaurants and Photo: Merijn Roubroeks

28  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

exquisite theatres such as Carré, walking along the Amstel on a warm summer evening is the epitome of enjoyment. Need a breather from the busy city streets? Somewhat east of the Rembrandtplein lies the Plantage neighbourhood. Often dubbed as Amsterdam’s most green central area due to the spacious parks, wonderful boulevards and waterside terraces, it is the ideal spot to seek more peaceful grounds. Do not miss city zoo Artis, the Portuguese Synagogue and Hortus Botanicus, one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. The Canal District is everything people expect of Amsterdam: a watery wonderland of iconic canals. Being a remnant of the Dutch Golden Age, the pictureperfect canals have always been of great historical and cultural value, originally created for transport of residents, water

management and defence. The city has over 100 kilometres of canals, the main three being Prinsengracht, Herengracht, and Keizersgracht. Besides guided canal tours, there are many companies that rent out private boats. So take your picnic basket, cold drinks and sunscreen, and enjoy Amsterdam in the best way possible – from the water.

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

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  Dam, Nieuwmarkt & Waterlooplein Highlights

Photo: Henk Rougoor

D A M , N I E U W M A R K T & WAT E R L O O P L E I N A R E A

Historically happening Being the very inner-centre of the city, the areas round the Dam, Nieuwmarkt and Waterlooplein are deeply intertwined with Amsterdam’s history and a perfect start for your city trip. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: AMSTERDAM MARKETING & NBTC

DO NOT MISS Amsterdam Gay Pride Celebrate Dutch tolerance and diversity at Gay Pride Amsterdam: a huge celebration of devotion towards equality for the gay, lesbian, transgender and intersex communities. The Human Rights concert takes place every year at Dam Square. 29 July - 6 August Rembrandt House Museum At the height of his career, renowned Dutch Golden Age artist Rembrandt van Rijn lived in this house located just off Waterlooplein. Currently it holds a museum dedicated to both Rembrandt’s life and his work. Dam tot Damloop This major event gathers more than 50,00 runners and some top world athletes tak-

ing on the ten or five English miles. They will be encouraged by some 250,000 spectators. 16 – 17 September Mozes & Aäronkerk Located on Amsterdam’s Waterlooplein, the Mozes en Aäronkerk (Moses and Aaron Church) has an incredibly rich history. The current church was consecrated in 1841, built next door to the site of a long-standing secret Catholic church. Definitely worth a visit!

Nieuwmarkt. Photo: Koen Smilde

Photo: Marie Charlotte Pezã

Beurs van Berlage This impressive building houses Amsterdam’s stock exchange and is widely considered the Netherlands’ most important example of 20th century architecture. Opened in 1903, it gets its name from renowned Dutch architect Hendrik Berlage who was responsible for the design.

Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  29

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  Dam, Nieuwmarkt & Waterlooplein Highlights



IZAKAYA Amsterdam

High-end hospitality, the ‘Entourage’ way TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: THE ENTOURAGE GROUP

Widely regarded as one of the best restaurants in Amsterdam, it is safe to say MOMO needs little of an introduction. With its unique design experience and sophisticated Asian-fusion menu, the high-end restaurant, bar and lounge amazed the Dutch capital’s hospitality scene when it opened in 2008, establishing itself as a perennially popular hangout with locals and international clientele alike. The brainchild of creative entrepreneur Yossi Eliyahoo, MOMO was just the beginning of a journey that has seen Eliyahoo and his company The Entourage Group change the face of hospitality in the Netherlands and beyond. From gourmet burgers at THE BUTCHER to Japanese dining at A-list favourite IZAKAYA, what came after MOMO has 30  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

proved that Eliyahoo is far from a one-trick pony. His ever-growing group now has numerous venues across Europe, with more exciting launches coming this summer across the continent. Meanwhile, back in Amsterdam, The Entourage Group’s recently launched high-end club MAD FOX is shaking up the capital’s clubbing scene with an international nightlife experience never seen before in the Netherlands.

A unique new nightclub experience “Whenever I’m creating, I’m always really precise to ensure every place completely has its own identity: nothing is repeated,” asserts creative concept developer and owner Eliyahoo, who co-founded The Entourage Group along with renowned hotelier Liran Wizman. For his latest creation, MAD FOX, the group spotted a gap in the market for an exclusive nightclub

with high-end design and table service. The venue opened in the heart of the city at the end of March, offering a unique clubbing experience; with awesome DJs providing an eclectic soundtrack. “Amsterdam was missing this type of cosmopolitan club,” explains Eliyahoo, revealing the drinks menu includes Champagnes worth 25,000 euros per bottle. Tables can be booked in advance, while those arriving on the night need to make sure they dress to impress.

The whole package With all of his projects, from restaurants to nightspots, Eliyahoo focuses on creating an overall experience for his clientele: this is what makes The Entourage Group’s various venues stand out from the crowd. “For me, a venue needs to be the full package. There needs to be a concept

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  Dam, Nieuwmarkt & Waterlooplein Highlights

and the whole experience needs to be perfect. Guests must have an experience that they would not find anywhere else,” explains Eliyahoo, who was named Hospitality Entrepreneur of the Year at the prestigious Entrée Hospitality Awards in 2015. “It’s all about the little details, right down to the cutlery and the tableware used at a restaurant,” adds the perfectionist.

State-of-the-art hospitality concepts Eliyahoo was born in Tel Aviv and now splits his time between New York and Amsterdam. His passion for the Dutch capital is palpable. “It’s such a cosmopolitan city. Everyone is open minded and nobody feels like an outsider,” he enthuses. “As well as being one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, it’s now one of the leaders in hospitality.” There is no doubt that The Entourage Group has played a major role in cementing that reputation: it is renowned for creating cutting-edge food and drinks concepts across the world.

European expansion There are too many success stories from The Entourage Group to mention. For

example, take IZAKAYA Asian Kitchen & Bar, which opened in Amsterdam’s hip De Pijp district in 2012. With famous faces including Rihanna and Drake amid the loyal clientele, IZAKAYA is coveted for its sophisticated Japanese cuisine with a South American twist, not to mention some seriously slick cocktails. The brand is growing, with a new location in the heart of the German city of Hamburg, while IZAKAYA Munich and IZAKAYA Ibiza are also new for this summer. In Milan, look out new branches of both IZAKAYA and THE DUCHESS, The Entourage Group’s elegant Belle Époque inspired eatery. We have only touched the surface of The Entourage Group’s portfolio - other highlights include modern steakhouse/chic lounge bar MR PORTER complete with its 360-degree rooftop terrace and THE BUTCHER, a high-end burger joint with a hidden cocktail bar out back. The story began in the Dutch capital, but the brand has already expanded into Berlin and Ibiza. In Amsterdam, THE BUTCHER can be found on The Albert Cuypstraat, as well as



in the 9 Streets shopping district and in the De Hallen food market in the Oud-West neighbourhood, not to mention via THE BUTCHER On Wheels food truck. There is also THE BUTCHER Social Club at the A’DAM tower, which is open 24 hours. Aside from offering THE BUTCHER’s famous burgers, the Social Club provides everything from an easygoing coffee spot to a casual afterparty hangout with live music. With so much to choose from, we wonder whether Eliyahoo has a favourite among his many creations? “There’s absolutely no favourite,” he smiles. “I’m always asked this question and I always reply that when you have five kids you love them all the same. From a chic burger bar to a Japanese experience, it depends what you want. All our locations have different characters as well as different dishes. That is the beauty of it.”

For more information, please visit:



Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  31

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  Dam, Nieuwmarkt & Waterlooplein Highlights

Taking inspiration from everything TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: &SAMHOUD PLACES

Gourmands all over Amsterdam know that if you want a haute-cuisine restaurant just a short walk away from the city’s Central Station, &samhoud places is the place to be. Just a five-minute walk will take you to the venture of chef Moshik Roth and entrepreneur Salem Samhoud. Israeliborn Roth learned the ropes at famous restaurants De Librije and De Zwethheul before starting on his own with ‘t Brouwerskolkje. The latter was awarded two Michelin stars, the same amount he and Samhoud have been given since the foundation of &samhoud places five years ago.

First-time father With &samhoud places residing on the second floor, one must walk up the stairs to get to the dining room. On both sides, the staircase is adorned with photos and 32  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

stories about Roth’s inspiration, a great way to introduce the man himself and get in the mood for all the lovely dishes the chef has come up with. There is one thing the exposition (understandably) fails to mention about Roth’s inspiration since it happened very recently: the chef became a father for the first time three months ago. Just talking about his baby girl makes his eyes light up: “I’ve travelled all around the world, seen and tasted lots of things, but just to wake up at five in the morning to that smiling face, makes my day incredibly bright, despite the lack of sleep. She inspires me to continue creating new things and I want to reflect that to the rest of my team.”

Fulfilling dreams It is not just his daughter Roth sees growing up, the same can be said about &samhoud places, which started five years

ago with a huge dinner while the building was still in the scaffolds. “After the hecticness of ‘t Brouwerskolkje, we were looking for more stability and tranquillity. We found that with Salem and started this restaurant with dishes that were less avant-garde and retaining personnel for much longer than usual compared to other restaurants in Amsterdam. It’s an investment, but one that pays out more than double, with staff that start out as beginners and end up as chef de partie. Anyone joining &samhoud places works here with a certain dream in mind and I’m at my happiest if I can help them fulfil that dream.”

Inspiration With Roth being the sole innovator of everything that is on the menu, he knows his products: “I love to work with vegetables. Whether it’s beets, asparagus or tomatoes: we go for nothing but the

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  Dam, Nieuwmarkt & Waterlooplein Highlights

best seasonal flavours. I can get excited about things like shellfish or a good cut of meat and try just about anything for new dishes.” According to Roth, there is no clock for when he comes up with new recipes. “They come and go like eureka moments, sometimes triggered by the most diverse things in life. For example: I saw Salvador Dalí’s Bocca Sofa once and somehow that inspired me to come up with a starter consisting of foie gras, almonds and lychee. I might come up with a dish that doesn’t play out the way I thought it would, but there’s no harm in that. I love that creative side this trade allows, much more than when I worked as a chef in molecular gastronomy.”

restaurant has 40 seats, all of them reserved through the week, mostly by an international clientele familiar with the restaurant’s reputation and Dutch celebrities that includes the Dutch royal family. They enjoyed a meal at &samhoud places, though Roth is not at liberty to say how that went down. What he can disclose is how he takes care of his guests: “We treat everyone in here as equals and provide them with the best service. Even with people from Gault&Millau or Michelin. I want them to experience our restaurant exactly the way everybody does in here, so I don’t say to my team to treat them carefully.”


As for future plans, Roth and Samhoud want to expand their own food brand called &samhoud Food, which is already

Hard work pays off and that saying can be applied to &samhoud places. The

Future plans

being distributed among the biggest supermarkets in the Netherlands. Roth: “With &samhoud Food we’re focussing on inspiring people to eat more vegetables with products such as tomato-based hamburgers and other snacks that are made from nothing but vegetables. We would love to diversify what we offer and see the brand in other countries as well.” As for the five-year anniversary of &samhoud itself, those plans are still being developed. Says the chef: “We do want to create a big surprise for everybody who joins the party and it is possible we’re going to make a greatest-hits show of five years at &samhoud places.” To find out more about &samhoud places and to make a reservation, go to

Chef Moshik.

Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  33

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  Dam, Nieuwmarkt & Waterlooplein Highlights


Located in the heart of the Dutch capital, the magnificent Royal Palace Amsterdam is not only one of the Netherlands’ most famous historical buildings, it is the only palace in the country that is both in active use and available for the public to visit. So, when the Dutch Royal Family are not entertaining guests here, visitors can come and walk in the footsteps of royalty, discovering an enchanting collection of artworks and furnishings along the way. The Royal Palace was initially built in the Dutch Classicist style to serve as the Town Hall of the City of Amsterdam. It was completed in the mid-17th century, during the Dutch Golden Age, when Amsterdam 34  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

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

Art throughout the ages From the original collection of stunning 17th century paintings and sculptures, to

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

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  Dam, Nieuwmarkt & Waterlooplein Highlights

ed with all kinds of things related to hunting, such as lobsters, fishing nets (typically Dutch) and other details that seem to have been thought out perfectly. Art aficionados will adore the paintings in the many rooms the palace houses. A highlight is the Insurance Chamber, where the story of Theseus and Ariadne is portrayed. When Theseus had to enter a labyrinth to fight the feared Minotaur in order to free Ariadne, she handed him a ball of thread. This was meant as some kind of ‘insurance’ for him, so he would be able to get out of the labyrinth safely. Lesserknown Dutch artist Willem Strijcker’s painting depicting the scene fits perfectly in this room. While walking through the palace, the many parallels with Greek and Roman history become apparent. Not just the sculptures of, for example, Diana, or Venus and

Mars, but also the pillars and other intricate details on the inside.

A living palace History continues to be written at the Royal Palace to this day. The beds on display are still regularly being slept in and the tables are dined at by important guests from around the world. These days, the Royal Family mainly use the palace to receive their guests, such as the Belgian King and Queen, who were invited by King Willem-Alexander last November. The palace was also used during King Willem-Alexander’s inauguration as the Dutch head of state in 2013. As well as hosting state visits and royal weddings, there are award ceremonies held here like the Erasmus Prize and the Prince Claus Award. During state visits, all seven floors of the building are used, while more than 100 staff members make sure

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

For more information, please visit:

Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  35

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  Dam, Nieuwmarkt & Waterlooplein Highlights


The past and present collide at Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam. Offering five-star luxury in one of Amsterdam’s most historical venues, the hotel has long enchanted its guests with priceless experiences of hospitality and indulgence. Stepping into the iconic Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam means going back in time. Its exterior long treasured by the people of Amsterdam, the Oudezijds Voorburgwal complex has stood witness to major historical events and periods in the Netherlands, welcoming notables and royalty. Serving as a convent in the 16th century, The Grand is known by many as the former City Hall and Dutch Admiralty headquarters - before it opened its beauty to the public and became a hotel in 1992. “The people of Amsterdam have always been truly committed to The Grand,” says director of sales and marketing Kees Hogetoorn. “The location in the very heart 36  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

of the city, its status as City Hall: the legend of The Grand is deeply intertwined with the city’s history.” Yet the present is as treasured as the past. Combining French elegance with sleek design, the hotel counts 177 rooms (including 52 luxury suites with Butler Service) and various culinary experiences and five-star facilities. The award-winning urban spa is one of the jewels of the hotel. Set over two floors, SoSPA offers a range of services including an indoor heated swimming pool, a Jacuzzi, a sauna, and a Turkish steam bath. The culinary facilities are the epitome of excellence. The famous Michelin-star Restaurant Bridges was dubbed as one of the best restaurants in the Netherlands soon after opening and serves as a stunning backdrop for enjoying spectacular pairings of seafood and wine. French bistro classics can be found at Le Petit Bistro: Bridges’ little brother that embodies an authentic Pa-

risian charm. The Cigar Lounge, Foodbar, Vinothèque and Library ‘Or’ complete the gastronomic offerings. The Grand’s wedding facilities will literally walk you along the footsteps of royalty: one of the most memorable moments in the building’s history was the civil wedding of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Claus von Amsberg in 1966, in the stunning Council Chamber. From its beautiful inner garden (one of Amsterdam’s best kept secrets), to the inhouse library, to the complimentary oysters on every first Friday evening of the month during ‘Het Oesteruurtje’: a stay at the Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam means you will be captivated time after time. Web: www.sofitel-legend-thegrand. com/amsterdam Facebook: SofitelLegendTheGrandAmsterdam Instagram: @sofitellegendthegrandamsterdam

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  Dam, Nieuwmarkt & Waterlooplein Highlights

Grill power: Brooklyn chef offers all-American favourites with a Dutch twist


Simple food, done well. That is the not-sosecret recipe behind the success of Wyers Bar & Restaurant, a stylish, relaxed spot in central Amsterdam. Chef Sam ‘SammyD’ DeMarco comes from Brooklyn. After a career that has taken him around the world, he has settled in the Dutch capital, where he combines his roots with fresh products local to his new home. On the menu is American comfort food with a Dutch twist, like a smoked goose pastrami Reuben sandwich, roadside burger or a kimchi Texasstyle hot dog. His food is fun and approachable, like his lollipop chicken wings. “They’re part of my history,” he says, “and I got a lot of attention from other chefs when I started making them at my restaurant First in NYC.” How does one stand out in Amsterdam, a city where both the fine dining scene and the

casual café culture are so strong? “We aim to bridge the gap between those styles with a wide beer selection, cocktails and affordable upscale comfort food in a lively environment. A meal at Wyers is what you make of it. You can come in for a beer and ‘bitterballen’ or a steak from the woodfire grill and a bottle of wine.” After working at and owning restaurants in the United States and internationally, he is

now thrilled to be part of the community that he serves. “My goal has always been to be a ‘cook for the people’,” he says. “My family and I have settled in Amsterdam and I’m proud to be a part of the culinary scene here.” For more information, please visit:

At Wyers Bar & Restaurant, Chef ‘SammyD’ aims to bridge the gap between casual café culture and fine dining.

Bravi Ragazzi: the refreshing restaurant at the Damrak TEXT: JULIËN L’ORTYE  |  PHOTOS: BRAVI RAGAZZI

Although the Damrak will not be the first street or place to come to your mind while thinking of Amsterdam, it remains the busiest street in the Netherlands – mostly thanks to all the tourists. The street offers some cool shops, a few well known fast food restaurants and some places to grab an ice cream. But when you are looking for a proper place to have lunch or dinner, you might be disappointed. That is until you get to Bravi Ragazzi, an Italian restaurant that opened around a year and a half ago, and continuously distinguishes itself from the other restaurants in its fully packed area. According to Johnny Jesterhoudt, Bravi Ragazzi’s manager, it is partially about putting thought and energy into your people, but – and perhaps even more importantly – making your guests feel at home. Jesterhoudt: “We only work with the best suppliers, which results directly in a better quality of our products. Of course, it may happen that you will pay slightly more at

our place, but it is just not possible to offer the quality we want to serve for a lower price.” He has extensive knowledge of wines and spirits as well, which is why he sees the importance of a nicely arranged wine menu; each guest gets his or her own recommendation, if they desire it. With over 80 seats inside, Bravi Ragazzi is one of the largest restaurants on the Damrak; it even offers the possibility to book the upper floor for business events or bachelor(ette) parties. When you include the wonderful heated terrace, the restaurant accommodates up to 150 guests. An unexpected pearl in crowded Amsterdam, to say the least.

Tel: +31 617250863 For more information, please visit:

Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  37

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  Dam, Nieuwmarkt & Waterlooplein Highlights

Revealing Amsterdam’s secrets Ever wondered why many buildings in Amsterdam are askew? How the city’s canals were shaped? Get in the know at the Crash Course & Guided Tour from The Architecture Centre of Amsterdam (ARCAM) and architour. They will take you along the capital’s architectural gems, making you look at the city in a whole new way. The grand Central Station, the Eye Film Museum, the IJ river: Amsterdam reflects its rich architectural history – a history ARCAM allows you to truly dive in through a lecture and a guided tour. The course and tour combine academic insights with pleasure and are given by architectural professionals. “I always say that the tour provides infotainment,” says Paul Vlok, architect and partner at architour. “You will learn things that you need to know to appreciate Amsterdam even more.” The Crash Course & Guided Tour is a collaboration between ARCAM and architour. architour is a member of Guiding Architects, an

international network that offers professional architecture tours. The two-hour walk starts at ARCAM and runs via the newly opened Marineterrein to Oosterdokseiland and a ferry ride to the northern shores of Het IJ. Yet before putting on your walking shoes, become an expert with ARCAM’s 45-minute lecture. Through exploring various periods in history, you will learn about the architectural highlights and developments of the city. But there is more; take a Virtual Reality tour over a historic bridge within Dreaming along the IJ River, an exhibition about visionary design proposals for the IJ-banks that have never been realised.

Its size alone is impressive: Joan Blaeu’s map of the world measures over two metres by three metres. When approaching, the meticulous details become clearer - an almost artwork-like maze of continents, mythical creatures, and tales of adventure. The world according to Blaeu is part of the museum’s popular Atlases exhibition. Created in 1648 by Joan Blaeu, the map offered the most up-to-date knowledge of the world in its day. It was one of the first ones to display the coastline of Australia (then known as Nova Hollandia) and New Zealand and was the first map according to the Copernican world view, putting the sun at the centre of our universe. 38  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

It takes only half a day to understand why Amsterdam looks like it does – yet when you understand, your trip will take on a whole different meaning.

Guided Tour.

The Crash Crouse & Guided Tour takes place on Friday afternoons. Web: Facebook: architectuurcentrumamsterdam,

Viewing the world through 1648 Have you always wondered what the world looked like to people from the 17th century? You can find out at The world according to Blaeu | Master Cartographer of the Golden Age, the exhibition at The National Maritime Museum providing a unique display of Joan Blaeu’s map of the world dating back to 1648.


Joan Blaeu was the son of Willem Blaeu, also a cartographer. The Blaeu family owned a large printing house and was the largest producer of maps in the 17th century, basing its work on earlier maps, traditions, and the then latest discoveries. The firm was located on what is now the Damrak in Amsterdam, with its proximity to the harbour allowing an ongoing collection of information from home-coming world travellers. Blaeu’s map reveals a great deal about how Westerners viewed the rest of the world: cannibals in South America, llamas in South America, elephants in Africa, sea monsters and naval battles. Want to see for yourself? Joan Blaeu’s unique map of the world is open to the public until 31 December.

Web: Facebook: hetscheepvaartmuseum Instagram: @hetscheepvaartmuseum

Architecture Centre Amsterdam.


Photo: Collectie Het Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam

Portrait of Joan Blaeu by S. van Hoogstraten. Photo: Collectie Het Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  Dam, Nieuwmarkt & Waterlooplein Highlights


Have you ever built your very own drawing machine? Locked yourself up in a giant soap bubble? Or seen how clean drinking water is produced? You can answer ‘yes’ to all of these questions after visiting the NEMO Science Museum in Amsterdam, one of the only museums in the world where you are allowed to touch all exhibited objects. It is a striking image: the enormous sea-coloured building that houses the NEMO Science Museum rises high above Amsterdam’s skyline. Situated just a stone’s throw away from the vibrant city centre, visitors of all ages and all over the world can immerse themselves in actual laboratories, scientific workshops and fun experiments to learn more about science and technology. The museum’s visitor numbers are ever growing and last year NEMO welcomed over 600,000 visitors. Rather than just providing its visitors with information, NEMO stimulates their curiosity by letting them participate in several workshops or quirky experiments. “We

are not a museum that just provides information, we want to stimulate our visitors to ask themselves questions about science and technology, it can be fun and exciting for everyone,” says Jasper Ongkiehong from NEMO’s marketing and communication department. To make science and technology interesting for everyone, the museum offers a diverse and wide range of permanent and interactive collections on topics varying from water, to puberty, and lightning. At NEMO, you can cycle into the universe or be a professor for just a few hours. From 8 July until 3 September, visitors of all ages can experience NEMO Science Museum’s brand new workshops in the Family Maker Space, where you can actually make objects come to life. Make a copper figure spin, build your own drawing machine by using LEGO, or turn a vibrobot into an insect with a will of its own; NEMO brings technology to life this summer.

NEMO’s rooftop. Here you can find the open-air exhibition Energetica, a large terrace and a restaurant. Designer of the square, Renzo Piano, thought that interaction should be an important element of the piazza, with full scope for the interplay between man and the elements. He succeeded, as the interactive sculptures of the Energetica exhibition will tell you everything about the sun, wind, and sustainable energy. Certainly do not forget to take a look around and enjoy the stunning views over Amsterdam’s historic harbour front and the rest of the city. For more information, please visit:

Always wanted to visit the highest city square in the Netherlands? Head to Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  39

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  Dam, Nieuwmarkt & Waterlooplein Highlights


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

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

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

Located in Labourpalace Het Schip. Imaginatively built by Michel or in 1919. v e it deoKlerk s b e Kijk op de w Theparchitectural style grew into an o s orkshexpressionist flow of architecture de z merw and design. The exhibition shows objects from this unique period, which is related to Jugendstil and Bauhaus. You will see slum dwellings from the previous century and an Amsterdam School model house. Every hour there is a guided tour in and around the expressionist building. The tour is included in your ticket!

Oostzaanstraat 45 1013WG Amsterdam 020 6868 595 Geopend dinsdag t/ zondag 11.00-17.00 uur

voor scholen ook buiten openingstijden Opening hours

Oostzaanstraat 45, to Amsterdam Thursday Sunday, 11 AM to 5 PM | | 020 6868595

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  Amstel, Rembrandtplein & Canal District Highlights

Photo: Edwin-van-Eis


The heart of Amsterdam This is the heart of the city for a good reason. Boasting the world-famous scenic canals alongside vibrant nightlife and historic bridges, this beautiful area will make you fall head over heels for Amsterdam this summer. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: AMSTERDAM MARKETING & NBTC

DO NOT MISS Artis Zoomeravonden Every Saturday evening in June, July and August, the Artis zoo will be open until sunset, allowing visitors to roam around and enjoy musical performances. Cirque Éloize, SALOON A spectacular acrobatic and live folk music performance, shown for the first time in the Netherlands. Held at the beautiful Royal Theatre Carré. 5 – 13 July Julidans There are more than 300 festivals held in Amsterdam every year, so there truly is something to suit all tastes. Julidans is

Statue Rembrandt

a festival for international contemporary dance which takes places annually at various venues in Amsterdam. 4 - 15 July Klassiek op het Amstelveld Emerging classical talents, established ensembles, choirs and orchestras all find their way to this free, classical music festival at Amstelveld. 15 – 17 September Jazz at the Plantage Summertime and jazz is always a superb combination. During the whole summer the Hermitage Amsterdam and the Jewish Cultural Quarter organise weekly jazz concerts in the Hermitage courtyard and in the Orangerie of the Hortus gardens.

Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  41

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  Amstel, Rembrandtplein & Canal District Highlights

Shanghai Ballet, The Biggest Swan Lake in the World. Photo: Stardust

Scott Reid (Christopher Boone) and ensemble, NT Curious Incident Tour 2017. Photo: BrinkhoffMögenburg

‘Curious nights’ in the Netherlands’ most beautiful theatre TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: KONINKLIJK THEATER CARRÉ

On the east bank of Amsterdam’s Amstel River you will find one of the most beautiful and iconic theatres in the world, Royal Theatre Carré. This summer it welcomes two internationally renowned productions: The Biggest Swan Lake in the World and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the NightTime. Unique shows in a unique theatre, what more could you want?

Shanghai Ballet. “In Carré the company is accompanied by soloists from The English National Ballet, the Russian Ballet and the Dutch National Ballet. This represents the first time such an international cast has been assembled. Seeing Swan Lake in the setting of Carré will add so much beauty to the show. It is as if they were made for each other.”

The Biggest Swan Lake in the World

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

From 22 August until 10 September you can feast your eyes and ears on the biggest rendition of one of the most beloved ballets ever made. Directed by Derek Deane, the Shanghai Ballet will bring you Swan Lake with no less than 48 swans. “It is the most beautiful ballet you will ever see,” smiles the PR manager of Stardust Theatre BV. “During the swan scenes, there will be eight rows of six swans each. So you can really feast your eyes on the beauty of the swans and the choreography.”

Just ten days after Swan Lake’s departure, Royal Theatre Carré hosts another internationally acclaimed play, as part of the Broadway on the Amstel series, which brings renowned productions from London and New York to Amsterdam. From 20 September until 1 October, you can see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, performed by its original British cast. “I have seen it twice myself and it is a truly amazing play,” says Sabrina Onos of Royal Theatre Carré.

Deane, known for his work with the English National Ballet, spent several weeks in Shanghai to perfectly craft the choreography with 100 dancers from the

Directed by Tony Award-winning British theatre director Marianne Elliott, the play is an adaptation of Mark Haddon’s bestselling book. It tells the story of Christo-

42  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

pher Boone – played by Joshua Jenkins – a boy who struggles with his social skills but overcomes many boundaries while trying to solve the murder of his neighbour’s pet dog. “With the interactive set, Elliott takes you into the mind of Christopher and you truly experience the barriers and impulses that he faces. On Carré’s iconic stage, everything really comes together,” enthuses Onos. “It is definitely a must-see.” Be sure not to miss out on these two great shows, performed in one of the world’s most spectacular theatres. “Expect one of the most magical nights of your life.”

Shanghai Ballet, The Biggest Swan Lake in the World.

Visit to buy tickets.

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  Amstel, Rembrandtplein & Canal District Highlights


What if we told you there is a place in Amsterdam where you can experience two completely different worlds within the same location? Sounds interesting, huh? Welcome to Caffe Esprit and Jackson Dubois, where (almost) everything is possible. Located right at the Spui, the first square you will pass while walking through the Dutch capital’s shopping area, Caffe Esprit has been there for a long time and is a favourite among shoppers and tourists. However, in October 2015, its owners decided that it was time to spice things up a bit. Therefore, they came up with a new restaurant and bar concept inspired by Jackson Dubois, a world traveller and connoisseur of international street food, wines, beers and champagne. By transforming Caffe Esprit during Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights into Jackson Dubois, with for example a different light plan, hosts changing their outfits

and a two-minute talk to explain to their guests what is exactly going on, its look and feel changes immediately. However, what remains unchanged is the glorious terrace where you can enjoy, for example, the great variety of raw and vegan foods that are on the menu. According to Michel Pais, one of the owners, the idea was born while being eager for a change: “We really wanted to do something else, to serve a different audience. However, instead of looking for another location, we decided to switch it up with what we had.”

The heart of Amsterdam You say Rembrandtplein, you think Three Sisters Pub. This centrally located café has long carried the reputation of being a typical Amsterdam living room – including great service, 27 television screens showing sports, and possibly the best burgers in town. It is not what you would expect of a sports bar: the lazy Chesterfield armchairs, a large terrace, and above all the homely, accessible ambiance reveal the Three Sisters Pub to be so much more. “We have 27 televisions where we show all sports that our visitors want to

This may sound like a remarkable move but, when you dive into the owner’s history, it is not that strange. They are well known for running some of the capital’s best establishments that both function as large event venues such as Vondelpark3 and Strandzuid – a city beach in the middle of Amsterdam. So, let us just say they know what they are doing.


see, yet we don’t feel like a sports bar,” owner Fran starts. As a true living room, the Three Sisters Pub welcomes everyone: visitors aged nought to 100, families with children and bachelor parties. “We also get a lot of couples on double dates,” Fran continues. “While the men watch a live football game, the women love a tipple,” she laughs. The kitchen is open until midnight every day, with a surprising menu of something to suit all tastes: from paninis, to bar snacks, to the spareribs that are loved by visitors. The burger is immensely popular and mandatory to try. Every Friday and Saturday, the pub welcomes

a DJ, allowing visitors to dance until the early hours and truly enjoy Amsterdam’s nightlife. Is your favourite sport not on the timetable? Fear not, as the Three Sisters Pub can show up to 12 games at one time and thus is happy to go on a sports quest for you. “If you tell us which channel, we will show it,” Fran continues. “Even if it’s figure skating!”

Web: Facebook: Threesisterspubamsterdam

Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  43

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  Amstel, Rembrandtplein & Canal District Highlights

Where Amsterdam’s eclectic history comes to life TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  PHOTOS: PULITZER AMSTERDAM

The labyrinth of connected, historic canal houses of Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam uncovers the history of the Dutch capital. The stylish and luxurious hotel turns each guest into an urban explorer who goes on an adventure into the city’s intriguing past. The eclectic and elegant design combines antiques with modern pieces for an authentic atmosphere. After a major refurbishment, every room was carefully redesigned to reveal elements of workshops, storerooms and gentleman’s quarters of foregone days, a reference to those who lived and worked in the 17th and 18th century canal houses. “We have framed a story for each of our 225 rooms, telling guests about its past,” explains general manager Alex van Gastel. “We have exposed features such as 400-year-old wall tiling or wooden roof structures, to show the character and beauty of the original rooms. We aim to be the most authentic Amsterdam hotel, 44  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

and invite people to roam the hotel and discover more.” Opened by American businessman Peter Pulitzer in 1970 (great-grandchild of famous journalist Joseph Pulitzer), it is located between the Prinsengracht and the Keizersgracht. The hotel grew from just ten, to the currently 25 intricately linked canal houses with a large courtyard garden in the middle. “The garden is a tranquil oasis at the heart of the hotel and surprisingly spacious for our central location,” says Van Gastel. “Here you’ll find café Pause, which is the ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. We serve homemade patisseries or can arrange an afternoon tea whilst guests enjoy the views of the nearby Westerkerk.” For an even more extraordinary visit, Pulitzer Amsterdam has several suites, including four ‘Collector’s suites’. Van Gastel: “The decor of these suites is in-

spired by four fictional characters who could have lived here, a collector of art, books, antiques and music. Aside from their striking design, they each have their own front door, so you have a private entrance during your stay.” The hotel also invites guests to Pulitzer’s Bar, featuring the same rich, eclectic style as the hotel, and restaurant Jansz, which offers a menu of classic dishes with a modern twist. It is named after the first owner of the building, craftsman Volkert Jansz. “The restaurant opened in February last year, and it is a place of discerning taste and style, just like its original owner.” Van Gastel concludes: “And of course we offer exceptional personal hotel service. Our staff are highly experienced, at least a third of the team have worked with us for a decade or even more.” For more information, please visit:

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  Amstel, Rembrandtplein & Canal District Highlights

Temple of flavours Just moments away from the bustling Utrechtsestraat, Golden Temple feels a world apart from the noisy Amsterdam streets. Being one of the oldest vegetarian and vegan spots in the city, this well-known restaurant links its conscious cuisine to an ambiance of spirituality and yoga in the most unique way The name Golden Temple gives it away. The restaurant is named after the eponymous temple in Amritsar in North India, symbolising openness and honest cuisine. Since its launch 30 years ago, the restaurant has emphasised natural vegetarian food, encouraging unity of body and mind. The menu boasts world cuisine dishes: pizza with roasted pumpkin, cauliflower soup, or spelt risotto. All dishes are prepared only with fruit, vegetables, grains and beans, and sometimes dairy products. “We never use meat, fish, or eggs, and about 60 per cent of our dishes are vegan too,” reveal owners Bilal and Ezra.


“Fresh, raw food without animal products is closely linked to the spiritual and honest mindset we hold at heart, and we try to adapt our cuisine as much as possible to the real needs of the body.” Do not leave without ordering the traditional Northern Indian Thali – an all-time favourite for a reason. Like its mindset, Golden Temple’s ambiance is nothing like other restaurants. There are tables that require guests to sit on fluffy pillows on the floor, and the interior boasts splendid colours and artworks. The emphasis on spirituality, which has always been an important part

of the owners’ lives, is reflected in the yoga and meditation lessons given on the first floor. One thing is for sure: you will leave Golden Temple restaurant feeling full, energised, and determined that you will be back soon.

Golden Temple offers dining evenings including yoga lessons. It is also open for lunch: opening hours Wednesday – Sunday from 11am Web: Phone: (0031) 20 62 68 560

Find your inner German in the Dutch capital TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  IMAGES: WURST & SCHNITZELHAUS

Amsterdam is known for its wealth of international cuisines and diverse restaurant scene. But for a long time, one country was remarkably absent: Germany. Bas Leenes saw this as an opportunity and, together with his German wife, he opened Amsterdam’s first German restaurant in 2014: Wurst & Schnitzelhaus. ‘WuSH’ on the Prinsengracht proved to be an instant success, so a year ago Leenes opened a second restaurant inside Amsterdam Central Station, overlooking the beautiful waters of the IJ. Since June last year, it offers the same mouth-watering traditional German fare such as schnitzels, sauerkraut, flammkuchen and bratwurst.

Guests are welcome to pop in for just a drink and enjoy the view, as there are plenty of German beers and wines on the menu to choose from. “Everything is German, from the music, the design and, naturally, the food and drinks,” says Leenes. “It is like the experience of a typical biergarten but with modern accents.” WuSH prides itself on their simple, hearty dishes with generous German portion sizes at a good price. “I have never seen anyone go home hungry,” he says. “We’re all about offering a good time, with good food in an inviting, relaxed environment. All we want to do is make people happy.”

One of their best-loved dishes is the Holzfällerschnitzel, served with mushrooms, onions and a creamy sauce. Leenes also points out their tasty currywurst, with homemade curry sauce according to his wife’s family recipe. “And of course the fries cannot be missed, with the typical German spices or pommes gewürz,” he adds. Wurst & Schnitzelhaus can be found on the Ruijterkade, just outside Amsterdam Central Station (north side), or on the Prinsengracht. For more information, please visit:

Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  45

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Kensington

46  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Kensington


The sound of your summer From selling out arenas to gracing the main stage at last month’s Pinkpop, it is fair to say that Utrecht four-piece Kensington are having a pretty good year so far. Fired up and ready to hit some of Europe’s biggest festivals this summer, singer and guitarist Eloi Youssef speaks to Discover Benelux about getting deep and personal on the band’s latest album Control. He also explains why he and his bandmates are now closer than ever. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: RAHI REZVANI

As the frontman of the biggest band in the Netherlands, one might expect Eloi Youssef to be rather blasé about stardom. He and fellow musicians Casper Starreveld (guitar), Jan Haker (bass) and Niles Vandenberg (drums) found fame in 2010 with debut album Borders, quickly building a strong fanbase across Europe thanks to their unique indie sound and compelling live shows. Four albums later, and Kensington are a huge arena band, although Youssef’s reaction to fame goes against the egotistical rock star cliché. “It’s quite humbling to me…I actually get more humbled than I get arrogant,” he begins. “For a lot of people it goes to their head but with me it’s actually the other way around: I just find it really special that the music that you make is reaching so many people.”

Controlling their destiny Since releasing their latest album Control in October last year, the band have been on the road performing to fans across Europe: many dates including their five upcoming performances at Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome arena have already sold out. How does it feel to play the biggest entertainment venue in the Netherlands?

“In the end, you cannot see how big the crowds are. It’s so ridiculous that we created this; the four of us. It’s really, really special!” enthuses Youssef. Does he ever suffer from stage fright? “It’s more like a numbness for me personally. It’s not, like, really frightened,” muses the artist. “There’s an inevitability to it. Like with TV shows - it’s inevitable; you have to go on stage. You don’t have a choice anymore; otherwise everything will just fall apart. That sometimes gives you butterflies in your stomach, but normally after two songs that feeling goes away and you just really enjoy it.”

Hometown love Youssef met his Kensington bandmates in the Dutch city of Utrecht; and the musician is immensely proud of his hometown. “Utrecht is really open and beautiful, it’s a really great place to grow up and a great place to be a musician as well,” he smiles. Youssef felt an affiliation with the guitar from a young age, and is grateful to his father for encouraging him to play. “I remember that my dad bought my mother a classical guitar. I was always looking at it in the corner of the room. I

played violin at that time but somehow the guitar was way more interesting. It just looked like; ‘this is my friend’,” he recalls. “After a week or so I started to play on my mother’s guitar. That’s the way I really started to love an instrument.” Youssef was about 12 when his father bought him his first electric guitar. Despite saving up for a games console at the time, the youngster was far from disappointed to receive a new guitar instead. “I was like ‘yeah, that’s a little bit better for my wellbeing’,” he laughs. “That was the beginning!”

Music with soul Growing up, Youssef was inspired by the likes of Leonard Cohen, as well as bands ranging from Nirvana and Soundgarden to Ben Folds Five. On the latter, he says: “They sort of grew big with not-thatpoppy music. It’s poppy in its own way, but not like what you hear on the radio nowadays. To us, that’s really inspiring: just do what you want and put your soul in it and try to get big with it.” Kensington’s eclectic and catchy records may be radio friendly but, as Youssef explains, the latest album provided an opportunity to dig a little deeper. “What hapIssue 43  |  July 2017  |  47

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Kensington

pened this time was that we didn’t have any rules anymore,” he explains. “We said ‘if there’s emotion in it, then it’s okay’. There are big songs with more depth than before. That’s the biggest development that we’ve made.”

Up close and personal The move towards more personal songwriting happened quite organically and reflects the band’s increasingly strong bond. “We really got to know each other this time,” he says. “We were in a sort of rollercoaster for a year. We didn’t really have time to talk to talk to each other, it was more just like ‘work, work, work’ and for the first time we had time to actually re48  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

flect a little bit and to really have conversations with each other and really get to know each other. When you do that you have more room for real emotions.”

Connecting with fans Does Youssef have a favourite track on the album? “I think every day I have a new one!” he admits. “I really love Storms because it’s completely different and the vocals are completely different. I really loved Regret and now having released the single, I really love Sorry because it gets a lot of response and people really seem to connect with that song. “To me that’s the most important thing; to show people music that is therapeutic for them. In this case that’s the perfect song.

That’s the reason why it’s one of my favourites at the moment.” Despite Control being a hit with the critics, Youssef prefers not to fixate on whether Kensington’s records get good reviews. “I don’t read reviews anymore,” he asserts. “I used to…but for now the only reviews that matter are the personal stories that I get from the fans.”

Feeding the fire Having cemented his future with Kensington, what are Youssef’s remaining goals for the band? “I love what we’re doing in Europe right now, really slowly, steadily reaching more people. If I had any dream it would be for us to be as big in the rest of Europe as we are in Holland right now,”

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Kensington

he reveals. “It’s all about reaching people with your music.” With shows lined up across the continent this year, including upcoming appearances at summer festivals such as Main Square Festival in France, Sziget in Hungary and Austria’s Out Of The Woods, the band look set to achieve that mission. But it is not all about performing; making new music is a priority too. “We are really busy touring so we don’t really have that much time. But in between shows when I’m home, I grab the guitar and I always write. I think you should always keep that flame going, otherwise it’ll burn out,” he asserts. “You have to feed the fire!” Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  49

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam South  |  The Ultimate Summer Destination

Vondelpark. Photo: Niels Blekemolen


Summer in the beautiful, exclusive and cosmopolitan south Amsterdam South is easily one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods in the Dutch capital. The district is located next to the idyllic Vondelpark and just below Museumplein. Impressive manors line the evergreen streets, and the neighbourhood is bursting with exclusive boutiques. Walk further down south, and things get a bit less extravagant, but with pretty waterside cafés and restaurants the streets are no less picturesque. To the west, you will find the cosmopolitan and vibrant De Pijp area which is brimming with hip restaurants and bars. TEXT: HEIDI KOKBORG  |  PHOTOS: AMSTERDAM MARKETING

Amsterdamse Bos. Photo: Edwin van Eis

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Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam South  |  The Ultimate Summer Destination

Zuidas. Photo: Marc Dorleijn

Chic and exclusive The Old South district of Amsterdam has some of the city’s most desirable addresses and has a reputation for being one of the most expensive neighbourhoods in Amsterdam. The district boasts a plethora of chic fashion shops and fine restaurants. The Old South developed in the 19th century to expand the stuffy and overpopulated city centre. It emerged from a clear vision to create green areas, striking avenues and villa-style residences, which soon made the area very desirable. When in the Old South district, you might want to check out Willemspark. The small neighbourhood may just boast the loveliest streets in all of Amsterdam. The elms and birches grow tall and full, giving a

charm to the old town houses with their bijou balconies and peaked gables. This idyllic little quarter is light on tourists, making it a peaceful oasis where you can stroll around and relax.

Escape the busy streets Due to the exclusivity of the area, Vondelpark was originally reserved for local residents and members of the park association. However, the vast green space – today Amsterdam’s most famous park – is now open for everyone to enjoy. The peaceful cafés, combined with the highend boutiques around the park, still make it attractive to the city’s elite - but do not let that scare you. Vondelpark is the perfect escape from the busy streets of Amsterdam on hot summer days.

Hip, trendy and cosmopolitan To the west of the Old South district and just a short tram ride from Centraal Station, you find De Pijp, one of the most cosmopolitan and vibrant districts of Amsterdam. A wave of cool places have opened their doors in this area in the last couple of years, making it the place where hipsters shop and lovers of healthy, organic and wholesome food dine. On the weekends, this is the district where you want to go out for drinks with friends at one of the many cool bars. If you fancy a bit of shopping, many of the shops are located around the trendy Gerard Doustraat, Van Woustraat and the Ferdinand Bolstraat. Also, do yourself a favour and experience the typical Dutch Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  51

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam South  |  The Ultimate Summer Destination

folk culture at the Albert Cuyp Market where you will find delicacies like traditional ‘stroopwafels’.

Zuidas. Photo: Emilio Brizzi

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

Top summer attractions and events Vondelpark Open Air theatre Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday all summer, you can enjoy the Vondelpark Open Air theatre. Experience surprising performances and concerts; youth theatre, cabaret, classical, rock and pop music and much more. Both big names and young talents will be performing, and everything is free. ARTZUID 2017 The fifth edition of the International Sculpture Biennial Amsterdam, ARTZUID 2017, will take place until 17 September. 65 abstract sculptures of post-war artists are presented. ARTZUID 2017 follows the theme year Mondrian to Dutch Design – 100 Years of De Stijl. Pure Market At Pure Market, you will find more than 80 stalls with food, drinks and crafts. You will find products sold by the producers themselves, making the experience more authentic. The market is free and is open every Sunday. Museum Market The Museum Market started in order to celebrate the re-opening of the main museums in Amsterdam. Both locals and tourists can meet up in a pleasant way in the museum square. The market is an open and free place with stylish stands, lovely people, art and design, food, music, greens fields, a pond, a playground and much more.

Start planning your trip at:

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Photo: Merijn Roubroeks

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam South  |  The Ultimate Summer Destination Maryati Aantjes.

Serving a palette of traditions TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: RESTAURANT BLAUW

Dishes true to the richness of the authentic Indonesian cuisine: at Restaurant Blauw you discover the unknown and rich history between Indonesia and the Netherlands in a feast for your senses. Sate Maranggi, spekkoek, Rendang: Restaurant Blauw serves Indonesian food as it was intended. Honouring traditional recipes, the centrally located restaurant reflects the enormous diversity of the Indonesian islands via a rich palette of flavours and ingredients. The gastronomic characteristics of the Indonesian islands vary enormously – even on the island of Java alone there are many variations between the eastern and western part through the different use of spices and levels of spiciness or sweetness.

nesian cuisine with a pleasant and professional appearance that perfectly blends in with the streets of Amsterdam.” The members of Blauw’s team call themselves ‘Family Blauw’ – and for a good reason. While not everyone is of Indonesian origin, the team treats each other like family. All share a great passion for Indonesian food; sous-chef Cindy Klomp even took her traditional family recipes to Blauw. “We always ask new employees why they would like to work here; their answer often is that Blauw reminds them of their grandmother’s cooking,” Aantjes laughs. While tourists often opt for a traditional ‘rijsttafel’, locals that are more familiar with Indonesian food often choose an à la carte

dish. Aantje’s recommendation? “Udang Kelapa Pandan: fried gambas with a mild coconut sauce with lemongrass, lemon leaves and pandan leaves – delicious!” To top off your Indonesian experience, Blauw serves up an extensive list of cocktails and beers. An Indonesian Pale Ale will soon be added to the menu. Opting for a glass of wine? It might take some time to pick the right one to accompany your meal, with Blauw’s rijsttafel being a true feast of various Indonesian flavours. Web: Facebook: RestaurantBlauw Instagram: @restaurantblauw

Blauw’s interior is as fresh as it is warm, boasting minimalistic yet cosy elements. The fact that it is an Asian restaurant is – besides the menu – only revealed by the wall-filling photo portraying an Indonesian/ Dutch family. “While Asian restaurants naturally excel in their cuisine, they sometimes lack the right ambiance and service,” says manager Maryati Aantjes. “Restaurant Blauw has always merged traditional IndoIssue 43  |  July 2017  |  53

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam South  |  The Ultimate Summer Destination



Several new beers on tap every day might sound too good to be true, but that is what you can expect at The Wateringhole. With a constantly rotating selection, this craft beer café is the best spot in town to make an unexpected discovery, indulge with a hearty dish, or join a conversation with the friendly locals. The Wateringhole is the kind of bar that you wish was your local. Located in the scenic district of De Pijp, it is where a passion for craft beer and quality food meet. With timeless classics and rising stars on the menu, this café is unique in Amsterdam and serves beers that you cannot get elsewhere. The Wateringhole has 30 beers on tap. Once one is finished another beer will be added, resulting in an ever-changing offer and customers that may expect a sur54  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

prise with every visit. At least five beers on tap are sourced in Amsterdam or the Netherlands, yet there are no borders when it comes to the selection. A Porter from New Zealand, Oatmeal Stout from Austria, or dry apple cider from Latvia: the menu lists beers from all corners of the world.

With great beer, comes great food. The Wateringhole serves very un-café-like dishes that are always freshly prepared, season-bound and made from local ingredients and products. Think stewed lentils with forest mushrooms, parsley and truffle oil, or rib-eye with mushy peas, buttered carrots and Chioggia beet.

All beers are hand-picked and curated by the owners, who frequently travel across the globe to find new gems. “Last week we were in San Francisco, before that Kiev, London, Germany, you name it,” says manager Thomas Nooij. “A tough job, but someone has to do it.” The team knows its stuff and naturally shares an enormous passion for beer. Frequent training is given to the team to keep their know-how on specialty beers up to date, so they can continue to help customers in the difficult quest for the perfect beverage.

Alongside the beers on tap, The Wateringhole serves up an expansive bottle list of about 40 beers and, for those driving home or not drinking alcohol, there are alcohol-free beers. In for something stronger? There are some excellent local gins on the menu as well as three surprising cocktails. Even as a non-beer aficionado, it will be hard to leave The Wateringhole. Web: Facebook: wateringholeamsterdam

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam South  |  The Ultimate Summer Destination


What does Amsterdam taste like? You can find out at Het Amsterdamse Proeflokaal (Amsterdam Food Experience). Living up to its name, it offers a total experience exploring the many flavours of the Dutch capital. Amsterdam is a city of diversity. From architecture to languages spoken, from neighbourhoods to people: the Dutch capital is a city of many faces. “I believe Amsterdam hosts around 180 nationalities,” says owner Jan Semeins. “Amsterdam Food Experience translates this fantastic diversity to your plate.” It takes a moment to take it all in when you enter. The 1,800-square-metre restaurant, spread across two floors, boasts several seating areas that serve everything from traditional Amsterdam delicacies to international dishes that have found their way to the city over the centuries. Food is served all day: start your day at the breakfast bar, discover something com-

pletely new at the tasting tables, or have fresh fish at the Dutch Seafood Corner. The various terraces - located on the completely renovated Stadionplein - allow you to enjoy your meal or drink amid Amsterdam’s hustle and bustle. Head upstairs for a journey through Amsterdam’s rich history. With enough space to accommodate large groups, the second floor is dedicated to the city’s culinary history with a Food Experience film about Amsterdam’s gastronomic heritage projected on your table from above. Thirsty for a Dutch (or international) beer or wine? You can discover at the World of Beers or World of Wines. “And don’t forget to order a complementary appetiser,” Semeins adds. Proeflokaal also organises cooking workshops, chef’s tables and lectures, and even created a live radio show covering a range of topics about the Dutch capital - because you cannot ever get tired of the riches that Amsterdam has to offer.

Dining in its purest form Fish and meat from the bone, vegetables from the ground: Restaurant As honours food free from fuss. Boasting a flowerimmersed garden inviting long summer nights, this Amsterdam spot serves up a menu of pure food that is largely determined by nature and the seasons. The location of Restaurant As – an old chapel in Amsterdam-Zuid – already reflects its authenticity. The restaurant boasts a round room full of wooden elements, exuding a minimalistic but warm feeling. Instead of having a table to yourself, guests are jointly seated at robust, long tables. “That sometimes results in interesting meetings,” begins the owner Sander Overeinder. Got an intimate evening planned? Fear not, as each party has plenty of space that allows for private (or romantic) talks. The season-bound menu is ever-changing and focuses slightly on greens, with dishes that let the flavours of the ingredients speak for themselves. “We demonstrate – in a respectful manner – that organisms die to keep others

Web: Facebook: hetamsterdamseproeflokaal Instagram: @hetamsterdamseproeflokaal


alive. We use every part of the animal and don’t throw anything away.” Like most of its produce, Restaurant As sources its meat locally - their back garden is even home to two pigs. The ambiance exudes the same kind of transparency as the food on your plate: the integrated kitchen and open-floor plan provide a complete overview of everything going on in the restaurant. The subtle scent of bread comes from the in-house bakery, which over the years has grown into a company of its own. It currently produces 1,600 loaves a week for other companies.

One of the best parts of Restaurant As? The garden. Hardly anything tops eating your dinner (accompanied with wine) in a green summer garden surrounded by ivy-overgrown walls, a beehive and a kitchen garden full of fresh veggies.

Web: Facebook: restaurantasamsterdam Instagram: @restaurant_as

Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  55

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam South  |  The Ultimate Summer Destination

Takeaway heaven for chicken lovers TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: CHEFS POULET & FRITES

Dutch cuisine is no stranger to comfort food and it is the combination of chicken, fries and apple sauce that can be described as its pinnacle. Over at CHEFS Poulet & Frites, sisters Helen and Martine Hissink created their own take on the dish, serving it with freshly cut fries, an array of finger foods, homemade sauces such as ketchup and mayonnaise and the most succulent free-range chicken. With their door at the Scheldeplein (near RAI Convention Centre) wide open, anyone approaching CHEFS Poulet & Frites is greeted with smells that will drag you inside like a scene from a cartoon. The culprit is a big rotisserie, slow-roasting chickens for that tender, flavourful taste. The secret? “Putting some lemon, garlic and herbs and rubbing it in with our homemade mixture,” tells Helen Hissink, holding a bottle of homemade CHEFS piri piri.

The ingredients are all on the label, but not the ratio. “That’s the chef’s secret,” she grins. “We deliver through Foodora, Deliveroo and UberEATS to locals, nearby hotels and B&Bs, but don’t let that stop you from ordering in here. We created a homely atmosphere: you can sit outside or inside at the chef’s table. Order your food and sip on a wine to complement our dishes such as chicken stew or chicken meatballs in Soprano-style tomato sauce. There’s also ‘rocking’ chicken thighs – treated with my own mix of harissa, ras el hanout, almonds, raisins and more,” adds Hissink.

“I try to come up with new recipes inspired by existing ones, but also by travelling and tasting everything, ensuring CHEFS Poulet & Frites is a true takeaway heaven for chicken lovers.”

CHEFS Poulet & Frites Scheldeplein 20, 1078 GR Amsterdam Tel: +31 (0)20-2339100 Email: Web:

Restaurant Stedelijk: exciting your senses TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: RESTAURANT STEDELIJK

Located at the very heart of Amsterdam’s bustling museum district, Restaurant Stedelijk is as exceptional as the artworks hanging in the eponymous museum. It does not get much more ‘Amsterdam’ than Restaurant Stedelijk. Located at the worldfamous eponymous museum, the restaurant’s fashionable red and white interior has become a recognisable staple in the museum quarter, while its dishes are known far beyond. Not planning a trip to the museum? Panic not, as no ticket is required to eat at Restaurant Stedelijk. Food is served all day long: from breakfast to

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lunch, to dinner, to bar bites. The Fish Market allows you to enjoy everything the sea has to offer. Visiting as a couple? Try the delicious fish plateau, which is perfect for two to share. Executive chef Richard Aloserij and chef Arnoud van Ommen honour an international spirit with their cooking, translating to a wide variety of surprising world cuisine dishes that are ever-changing, dependent on the season. Thanks to local connections, the (mainly organic) products are sourced from Amsterdam and the surroundings. The balance between the interior and the exterior ensure a finishing touch to your visit. Living up to its name as a ‘museum res-

taurant’, Stedelijk has created a contemporary atmosphere with ingredients such as the eye-catching bar, idiosyncratic art, and matching furniture. In summer, the restaurant terrace is a lovely place to view all the ins and outs of one of Amsterdam’s most beautiful neighbourhoods and enjoy the sun any time of the day. Web: Facebook: RestaurantStedelijk Instagram: @stedelijkrestaurant

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam South  |  The Ultimate Summer Destination

The best Indian food in town If you are in Amsterdam and you want to taste proper Indian cuisine, there is really only one place to go: Pind Punjabi on the Van Woustraat 240 in Amsterdam South. Here you will find the best Indian dishes, freshly prepared by experienced chefs. “You will feel as if you are in India,” smiles Armaan Sandhu. His father started Pind Punjabi three years ago. “He had owned a restaurant before and after a while the fire to have one of his own rekindled,” Armaan explains. “The name Pind

Punjabi means ‘village in Punjab’, the Indian province where he comes from. You will find him in the restaurant every day. We serve traditional Punjabi meals, but also other traditional Indian recipes like chicken tikka masala. We have two experienced chefs who prepare the best meals daily, all using fresh ingredients.” It may be known for its spicy dishes, but Indian food is for everybody to enjoy. “The grilled meals are traditionally spicy, but if you do not prefer that, we also serve meals prepared with coconut milk, like the chicken korma or the biryani meals,” elaborates Armaan. “If you


want to try the different styles of Indian cuisine, we have a special menu, with chicken, lamb, and seafood.” Dining at Pind Punjabi takes you on a journey to India. The restaurant has a warm interior, decorated in a traditional Indian style. “We want you to experience India, by serving you the best Indian food you will find in Amsterdam!” For more information, please visit:

Sal Meyer: world famous in Amsterdam TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: SAL MEYER

‘Someone who visits Amsterdam and does not try a Meyer corned beef sandwich is like someone who visits Amsterdam and does not go to see The Night Watch’: these historic wise words from a local journalist still capture the phenomenon that is Sal Meyer. Far transcending its name of sandwich shop, this (kosher) deli has gained its name serving quality alongside nostalgia, giving the term ‘sandwich Meyer’ worldwide recognition. They have been inseparable for over 60 years: Amsterdam and Sandwich shop Sal Meyer. Opening its doors in 1957 by the eponymous rabbi, Sal Meyer has not changed its recipes nor its typical Amsterdam atmosphere since then - a fact witnessed by the many loyal local customers and international recognition the deli has received over the decades. Many of Sal Meyer’s sandwiches have become concepts themselves. The pastrami, corned beef and beef sausage (‘ossenworst’)

sandwiches, as well as the croquettes and fish cakes, are famous in Amsterdam and far beyond. Everything on the menu is homemade. “All our dishes are made at the shop,” smiles co-owner Claudia Koppert. The deli produces for countless hotels and companies, some of them located as far away as Dusseldorf. “They specifically send a taxi to pick them up,” Koppert laughs. Despite moving location multiple times, Sal Meyer has lost nothing of its authenticity over the decades. The walls are hung with old photos displaying nostalgic scenes and the typical

Amsterdam ambiance has never left. This is a thought shared by many: at the opening of its location at the Buitenveldertselaan in late 2016, the queue of customers waiting for their ‘Broodje Meyer’ reached far beyond the door. Sal Meyer Buitenveldertselaan 114, Amsterdam Web: Facebook: Sandwichshop-Sal-Meijer-Broodje-Meijer

Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  57

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Company profiles

Business profiles, Belgium Graphine, page 59 Graphine provides technology to the video game and 3D visualisation industries, taking real-time graphics quality to the next level.

Graphine, page 59

Bagaar, page 60 At the forefront of technological innovation, Antwerp-based company Bagaar turns modern technologies into value for us all.

Bagaar, page 60


The companies you need to know in Belgium and Luxembourg This month we put the spotlight on consultancy in Luxembourg and Belgium’s top technology experts. Meanwhile, in the business calendar you can find out more about upcoming events ranging from fashion trade event Modefabriek to the European Congress on Psychology. And do not miss columnist Steve Flinders’ piece on what Western society can learn from indigenous peoples.

Business profiles, Luxembourg Avanteam, page 62 Established by leadership consultant Yvonne O’ Reilly, Avanteam enables leaders and teams to plot a smarter route to success.

Bespoke Management CPV, page 64 This business consultancy has made a name for itself across Europe, operating in fields ranging from automotive manufacture and distribution to pharma and medical, plus much more.

Life Cycle Management 2017, page 66 The Life Cycle Management (LCM) conference series is a world-leading forum in the domain of life cycle sustainability and circular economy.

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Avanteam, page 62

Bespoke Management CPV, page 64

Life Cycle Management 2017, page 66

Discover Benelux  |  Belgium  |  Top Technology Experts

Enabling the creative Removing the technical boundaries to creativity: Flanders-based start-up Graphine supplies technology to the video game and 3D visualisation industries – bringing realtime graphics quality to the next level. Graphine is a university spinoff that develops graphics software technology by combining far-reaching knowhow with a continuous strive for innovation. The company applies these strengths to realise its mission: delivering state-of-the-art technology and services that enable game developers and others to focus on their creative core challenges. “Often companies are limited in their mission to create top notch interactive 3D or VR applications,” says Aljosha Demeulemeester, CEO at Graphine. “Their application is limited by the available hardware on PCs, consoles or mobile devices. Graphine solves these problems and helps companies achieve applications with an extremely high graphic quality.” Offering Granite (SDK, For Unity and for Unreal) and Glaz solutions, Graphine masters


in real-time 3D graphics, 3D render engines, game engines, texture streaming and compression, video streaming and compression and GPU programming – raising the bar with rock solid technology that allows for minimal loading times, minimal memory usage and minimal storage size. Ways of applying Graphine’s technologies are endless: from digital showrooms to product visualisation and from VR storytelling to training simulators. Game developers make up a large part of Graphine’s clients, yet their services are used in a wide variety of sectors. Despite its relatively short existence, the start-up has already

linked internationally renowned companies in Europe, North America and Asia to its name (Microsoft, NASA, Saatchi & Saatchi, The Mill, among others). “Graphine has only ever been going forward. Our product provides the tools for many companies to offer their customers a better experience and thus to launch a successful title.”

Graphine’s solutions allow for realising photorealistic-like VR applications.

Web: Facebook: graphinesoftware Twitter: @GraphineSoft

Aljosha Demeulemeester.

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:


A digital revolution for a better society TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  PHOTOS: BAGAAR

Big data, the Internet of Things, a ‘smart’ city, are all new concepts that represent enormous opportunities for today’s world. They can make our lives cheaper, less wasteful and more comfortable and efficient. At the forefront of this revolution is Bagaar, an Antwerpbased company that turns modern technologies into value for us all.

of a new project to creating prototypes very quickly. This way we can rapidly solve problems of our clients, for example by helping with data visualisation, improving software interfaces or by making their products talk.

Digital creativity for new solutions

By combining various skills, Bagaar bridges the gap between the theoretic possibilities and real-world applications of technology. They describe themselves as a toolbox of digital expertise, comprising product developers, software programmers and graphic designers who invent new, digital solutions to existing problems.

It was eight years ago that Lieben, an industrial designer, set up Bagaar together with a graphic designer and a software developer. They had noticed that the digital revolution called for these three skills to be united under one roof, but very few companies offered this. The name ‘Bagaar’, a Flemish word for conflict, represents the company’s boldness, openness and sense of adventure.

CEO and co-founder Georges Lieben says: “We can move from the conception

Filling a growing and increasingly inventive niche in the market, Bagaar quickly grew

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into the company it is today, with 35 staff and a portfolio of successful projects completed for global brands such as Siemens, Greenpeace, Maxi-Cosi and Atlas Copco. Working both business-to-business and business-to-consumer, Bagaar has a strong sense of social responsibility which is set out in their corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy. “We are very critical when it comes to choosing our projects. We design for sustainability and select quality projects that solve existing problems, rather than create new needs. We help companies, and thereby society as a whole, become more efficient and future-proof.”

The Belgian energy upheaval A good example of this is June, an energy supply intermediary. In Belgium, the

Discover Benelux  |  Belgium  |  Top Technology Experts

government recently allowed consumers to freely swap between energy providers, but in practice this rarely happened due to the paperwork involved. Together with Bagaar, June drastically changed this. They developed a household energy reader that monitors usage in real time. Thanks to an algorithm built by Bagaar, the reader identifies the cheapest provider and automatically swaps accordingly. With no further action required, the consumer just gets one itemised bill through June and saves money without having any hassle. “It has been a true revolution in Belgium. It has made energy cheaper for the consumer, democratises the industry and makes it more competitive. In the future, it could even help suppliers buy in energy more efficiently, as they often over or under-buy, leading to wasting expensive energy and making the consumer to foot the bill,” says Lieben.

From manual work to a smart city In the future, Bagaar expects to do more of these ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) projects, where objects become ‘smart’ by collecting data and being connected to the inter-

net. Consumer products are one aspect, but Bagaar also likes to look at the bigger picture.

them and instantly show what a particular fabric would look like as bedding.

“Water management is a good example, where much is still done manually,” Lieben explains “For one of our projects, we invented sensors that automatically measure water levels and monitor wear out which can be used for preventive maintenance.”

“Many of BekaertDeslee’s deals used to involve a lot of guess work. This is now completely changed: the app can produce online, interactive 3D presentations or take snapshots to attach to proposals. Now their clients know exactly what they are buying, and it helps BekaertDeslee stay competitive in a digital age,” he says.

Digitising bedding designs

The smart world of tomorrow

Another project that brought Bagaar’s diverse skillset seamlessly together was for BekaertDeslee, an international giant in the bedding fabric industry. In meetings, their representatives would carry physical samples of printed fabric, limiting their options for showing clients their designs. With fabrics being stored on huge rolls, it was almost impossible to visualise what they would look like as a finished mattress cover.

Being at the forefront of technological innovation, Bagaar is enthusiastic and optimistic about the future of modern technologies. In turn, Bagaar hopes to help people understand the endless possibilities and empower both society and businesses to use them in a positive way. Lieben concludes: “We aim to democratise the dialogue on how technology can and should be used. With the risk of sounding like a cliché, we want to improve the world we live in. This is why we seek out projects that create value, and make us more efficient and future-proof.”

Bagaar resolved this by digitising BekaertDeslee’s entire stock of over a thousand fabrics and creating a highly powered, easy-to-use visualisation tool. Thanks to this 3D configuration app, representatives can now take the entire catalogue with

For more information, please visit:

Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  61

Changing mindsets in a changing world TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON  |  PHOTOS: AVANTEAM

In recent times, our communications and interactions have evolved both socially and technologically, impacting how we collaborate. Too many organisations, however, retain rigid hierarchical structures and repressed cultures that hold back the people, networks and teams that are key to their success. Leadership consultant Yvonne O’ Reilly seeks to change that. Fittingly it was at a corporate leadership programme that Yvonne had the lightbulb moment that led her to establish her consultancy Avanteam in 2009. “Senior executives were asking the kind of questions I hadn’t given much thought to before – What difference did they want to make? What did they truly want 62  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

to achieve? What were they passionate about? This set me thinking about my own choices and the impact I wanted to make,” she says.

the third, which flows from the first two, is about shaping cultures to create happier and healthier work environments – with a positive ripple effect for business.

Untapped potential

Mobilising people

“In setting up Avanteam, I chose to make a difference in the corporate world by revealing the largely untapped creative potential that lies within teams and organisations. A vital part of this work is recognising and leveraging the complementary talents of men and women,” she says. Avanteam has three streams of activity. The first is about evolving leaders’ mindsets and behaviours, especially leaders at the top of organisations; the second is about transforming team dynamics to release collective genius; and

20 years of high-level strategic experience in HR roles has shown Yvonne that every team and organisation has its own personality and relationship dynamics. “As relationship systems coaches, we engage leaders and teams in open dialogue where everyone’s voice is heard and people are given space to create new solutions together. When collaboration across corporate silos gathers momentum, a wave of positive energy emerges that mobilises people for change. This is “collective genius in motion”, she adds.

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Consulting

She offers an example of how Avanteam helps to harness such cross-boundary thinking. “I recently worked with a talented executive sales director of an industrial company during a time when there was a severe market shortage of a certain raw material that was vital to maintain production levels. We explored the implications of this crisis situation from a ‘systemic leadership’ perspective. Using simple but powerful systemic techniques, he succeeded in mobilising people across functional silos to pool their ideas and resources and meet the challenge head on. He and his organisation managed the crisis so well that competitors struggling with the same situation called to ask for his secret!”

networks, see and believe in connections. They want more open, collaborative and inclusive work environments. Avanteam helps these next generation leaders to challenge the status quo and pave the way for change,” she explains.

Bold new steps

Change is a process

She feels the time is ripe for a more collaborative, networked form of leadership. “A growing number of people who’ve lived and worked under the pressure of old managerial mindsets – top-down control, silo-thinking and a narrow focus on shortterm financial results – are creating a new urge for change. Smart, up-and-coming leaders, accustomed to social media

Avanteam has a step-by-step approach to enabling teams and organisations to move from divisive silo-thinking to more collaborative ways of working. “We have a toolkit of methods to help clients embrace alternative ways of thinking and acting. These tools include team, cultural and leadership diagnostics. Using a mirror effect to show leaders and teams

“An effective strategy to challenge old mindsets is to mix ‘generations’ – putting holders of old management mindsets and more ‘connected leaders’ in the same room to listen and learn from each other and build on each other’s ideas for growth. Once the dialogue moves forward and mindsets free up, leaders across generations are more willing to take the necessary bold steps to cocreate the change they want.”

how they are perceived is often a spur towards relinquishing old habits,” she says. Avanteam accompanies leaders and teams on a development journey of at least six to 12 months to provide the level of support needed for transformational change. Yvonne stresses that such change is a process, not an event!

International scope Avanteam is based in Luxembourg and partners with a network of colleagues across the globe, as client assignments require. Although Luxembourg, Paris and London are Yvonne’s major markets, her work has also taken her further afield to Mexico, Eastern Europe, and South Africa. “At Avanteam, we believe in the power of connecting people. We enable people to see, value and leverage their collective potential. This is good for people and good for business!” she concludes. Web: Email: Tel: +352 621 136 065

Yvonne O’Reilly, managing partner, Avanteam.

Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  63

Keeping the managerial horse before the business cart TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON  |  PHOTOS: BESPOKE MANAGEMENT CPV

Luxembourg-based business consultancy Bespoke Management is that rare thing, a company whose name says something significant about how it operates. Bespoke Management CPV has made a name for itself across Europe by living up to its name. “What we definitely don’t do is arrive with ready-made answers or stereotypical management tools, or the latest managerial fashion, believing these somehow offer magical panaceas to a client’s individual needs,” says Henri Prevost, CEO of the change and interim management consultancy. “Every solution we bring to an organisation’s leader is truly made-to-measure, and to be so it must touch on the maximum number of people in the company.”

Human capital It follows from that philosophy that the starting point for their work is a thorough diagnosis of the client company, in particular its human resources. “For us the 64  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

greatest capital in any organisation is the human beings who make it work - or otherwise,” says Henri. The diagnostic metaphor matches the initial phase of their work with an organisation: “We build a picture of the whole company, to determine its DNA, and out of that we uncover the problems, the brakes on progress, and the fears impacting on it,” he adds.

Finding a company’s DNA Bespoke now operates daily across Europe in many industrial fields, including automotive manufacture and distribution, pharma and medical, IT, construction and real-estate, finance, events and exhibitions, and has built the experience and developed the techniques that help reveal that all-important company DNA. These include in-depth interviews across the organisation, and profile tests to reveal people’s talents and motivations. Henri continues the medical metaphor with his analysis of three major reasons

for Bespoke being called in by a company: “We think in terms of physical diagnoses where there are three main types. The first is you’re feeling ill, so go to a specialist to determine what’s wrong – and find a remedy. The second is like an athlete considering a new challenge, wanting to assess existing capabilities and the improvements needed to be competitive – for a company that may be new products, starting to export, or - a frequent scenario for us - companies looking to set up in Luxembourg. The third is a person - say for a life assurance application - testing their current health – applicable to companies before a management buyout or sale to the market.” The partnership finds the standard view of analysing a business illogical: “We start with the values of the enterprise, the people who make up the organisation, and their projects, and only then do we focus on the numbers – whereas our competitors generally start with the numbers before considering the people,

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Consultancy

a ridiculous approach as all the numbers are produced by people, not the other way round!”

Alternative slants Bespoke has another alternative slant on the route to bringing about success for a client: “Everyone tends to focus on the what, ‘I’ve got to improve margin, I need more customers...’ for us it’s best to start with the why: why am I doing this business, why are we starting this project, then afterwards comes the how to do it, from which follows the what, the milestones,” he explains. Once the diagnostic and analytical phase has been undertaken, Bespoke has the experts within its team to support managers and leaders in resolving any issues

unearthed: “We provide experts in specific fields – like logistics, or finance, or communications, wherever a weakness is observed. And they’ll have experience in particular sectors of relevance to the client. We’ll dig further too before starting to put forward solutions, which can be specific support to this or that manager, working alongside them until the agreed goal is reached.” After experience in Germany, France, UK and Monaco, Henri joined the company in 2013, attracted by what was at the heart of the business when it was founded in 2003 that remains today. “We are all passionate about companies, the different ways they work, and how to help them improve,” he says: “Our field of operation tends to be SMEs [small and medium-sized enter-

prises], which may involve just ten or even fewer people, up to say 500 – a range that again demonstrates the inappropriateness of a one-size-fits-all attitude. We create for each individual client a follow-through plan to fit the precise nature of the company, its values, what drives it, and - this above all - where they actually want to go with it,” concludes Henri. BESPOKE MANAGEMENT CPV sarl 15, Rue de l' Industrie L - 8049 BERTRANGE Grand-Duché de Luxembourg Change & Strategy Management Experts since 2003 Phone: +352.66.1616.666 or 667 Email: Web:

Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  65

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Life Cycle Management 2017 / Column

A frontline forum of technology and policy for the circular economy TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS  |  PHOTOS: LIFE CYCLE MANAGEMENT

The Life Cycle Management (LCM) conference series is a world-leading forum in the domain of life cycle sustainability and circular economy. It takes place every other year and hosts over 600 scholars, academics and industry partners from over 40 countries globally. This year, the eighth edition will take place at Luxembourg’s European Convention Center from 3 – 6 September. The life cycle framework looks at improvements to the technological, economic, environmental and social aspects of an organisation and the goods and services it provides. Organisations use LCM frameworks to identify, document and communicate their business strategy and in doing this, improve their sustainability. LCM is one of the largest conferences in its field, drawing a strong international crowd and proffering superb networking opportunities.

This year, LCM offers the chance for a B2B match: visitors can check the list of attendees prior to arrival, and ask to be introduced to them directly. “LCM offers great opportunities to meet large industries, NGOs, consultants, SMEs, academics and municipality representatives all in one place,” explains Enrico Benetto, head of the ‘Life Cycle Sustainability and Risk Assessment’ RDI unit at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology, which is chairing the conference with ArcelorMittal and the University of Luxembourg.

How WEIRD are you? In his book, The World Until Yesterday, about what we in the West can learn from indigenous peoples, Jared Diamond identifies WEIRD people as those who are from Western, educated, industrialised, rich and democratic societies. He writes: “Most of our understanding of human psychology is based on subjects who may be described as ... WEIRD ... Most subjects also appear to be literally weird by the standards of world cultural variation, because they prove to be outliers in many studies of cultural phenomena that have sampled world variation more broadly.” In other words, our world view is hugely distorted if we obtain it mainly through the prism of our own minority Western experience. Beverly Alimo-Metcalfe, professor of leadership at Bradford University school of management, has a similar take on leadership. She argues that most ideas about leadership until recently came from American male leaders talking about themselves. Alimo-Metcalfe’s research focuses on asking not leaders but fol66  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

lowers – many of whom are women, of course – for their views. A very different picture of what makes a good leader emerges as do the inadequacies of many existing leaders. In the field of intercultural communication, the most frequently cited gurus are white Western males like Fons Trompenaar and Geert Hofstede (Dutch) and Edward T. Hall (American). But I have heard non-Westerners at intercultural conferences lamenting the fact that their concepts and constructs, ironically, do not work for the non-Western world. What can we do to counter our own ethnocentric biases? How can we move away from the centres of the comfortable universes we define for ourselves? How can we stop being so WEIRD? Travel could be one answer if it provides us with the opportunity to experience other cultures from the inside rather than the outside. Speaking a foreign language is another way to experience the world differently. I wonder how far British Euro-scepticism is linked to the fact that the UK is near the bottom of Europe’s language-speaking league.

LCM also has technology showrooms, where industry experts can showcase their products and technology. This year there is a special focus on funding, with the European Investment Bank co-chairing a ‘how-to-fund’ programme.

Please consult the website for full details of registration costs and deadlines.


With Brexit, the British have also voted to quit the EU Erasmus programmes that enable young people to study in other European countries. Or maybe I am doing the Brexiteers an injustice. Perhaps they want the UK to leave the narrow Western orb of the EU so that their children may develop wider cultural horizons through exchanges with its future trading partners in ... the USA, Canada and Australia?

Steve Flinders is a freelance trainer, writer and coach, based in Malta, who helps people develop their communication and leadership skills for working internationally:

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Calendar


24 – 26 July Leuven, Belgium Future Networks and Communications technologies are the key to many groundbreaking inventions. This conference is a must for everyone in this field. Big plus: FNC 2017 is held in the beautiful city of Leuven. INFORMS Healthcare

Modefabriek. Photo: Reinier RVDA

Modefabriek 9 – 10 July Amsterdam, the Netherlands Recognised as the leading fashion trade event in the Netherlands, Modefabriek has evolved into much more since its founding in 1996. Today, Modefabriek is a mash-up of fashion shows, exhibitions, brand presentations, talks, design, and much more fashion inspiration and networking. Amsterdam Affiliate Conference 11-14 July Amsterdam, the Netherlands The ACC 2017 will take place during the iGaming Super Show and will see four conference rooms, 100 speakers and 40 sessions, all joined by the elite in the iGaming business. The sessions will focus on SEO, marketing, acquisition, regulation and compliance, sports betting, finance and much more. Taste Summit 12 July Maastricht, the Netherlands Do you want to know everything about the latest international developments on flavour and tasting and broaden your net68  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

work at the same time? At Taste Summit, specialists and industry leaders from all over the world come together to share their vision on the importance of flavour and tasting in their organisations. European Congress on Psychology 12 – 14 July Amsterdam, the Netherlands This congress integrates the practice of psychology with research and allows practising psychologists the opportunity to present new techniques.

Photo: NBTC

26 – 28 July Rotterdam, the Netherlands The goal of INFORMS Healthcare 2017 is to bring together academic researchers in healthcare analytics and industry stakeholders who are applying this research to share information and improve the delivery of effective healthcare. healthcare2017

Leuven. Photo: Toerisme Leuven

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Discover Benelux  |  Luxembourg  |  Museum of the Month


Luxembourg’s Tudors: a lasting invention and a fascinating museum TEXT & PHOTOS: MUSÉE TUDOR

In the heart of the Luxembourg’s Sauer Valley, acclaimed for its picturesque landscapes, you can find the village of Rosport. You might have come across that name when ordering mineral water in one of Luxembourg’s restaurants, but Rosport is well known beyond its springs. Indeed, the Musée Tudor in Rosport is dedicated to the town’s most famous son, Henri Owen Tudor (1859 - 1928), an engineer of British descent who invented the first practical leadacid accumulator. It all began with John Thomas Tudor, the Welsh-born father of Henri Owen Tudor. He moved to Belgium, France and Luxembourg and ended up being hired at the Loser family’s estate, the Irminenhof in Rosport, as an agricultural engineer in 1839. Over the years, John Tudor not only proposed to Marie Loser, the daughter of the entrepreneur, but he later worked his way up to the mayor’s office of Rosport. The couple had three children, the youngest being Henri. Rather than following his father’s advice to study at law school, Henri decided to 70  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

plunge into electrical engineering instead. Henri Tudor was deeply passionate about the radiating industrial revolution and the plethora of inventions and possibilities it unlocked. At the tender age of 23, after finishing his studies in Brussels, he connected the water wheel of the Irminenhof to a dynamo and a system of accumulators in order to power light bulbs and stabilise the system, making his parental house one of the first electrically emblazoned private homes in Luxembourg in 1882. In 1886, he illuminated Echternach city with its first 34 electrical lanterns, which makes it the earliest street lighting system in Europe. Henri Tudor had his lead-acid accumulator patented in the same year. The production of accumulators soon begun in Rosport under Henri Tudor’s lead. The exorbitant demand for accumulators required an expansion across Europe, producing several offshoot companies, including the brand VARTA, which still produces batteries. During the rise of Henri Tudor’s accumulator empire, he decided it was time for a new, classy home for his wealthy wife

and the children to come. Rosport castle, also called ‘d’neit Schlass’, was built between 1891 and 1892 and included halls and parlours and a marvellous park, which still can be visited. Rosport castle was not only the home of Henri Tudor and his family, it also served as the epicentre for meetings with the local political and economic community. The utterly superb neo-gothic style of the building still amazes and the recreation area surrounding it bares fascinating details like the Wendy House named ‘Poppenheischen’, a very old arboretum and much more. Nowadays, Rosport castle is a classified national monument site and houses the Musée Tudor, inaugurated in 2009 to celebrate Henri Tudor’s 150th birthday. It beautifully presents his invention in its historical and scientific context. The Museum in Rosport and the castle with its numerous interactive displays welcomes you all year round. Visit for opening hours and further details.

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Vivez 4 expériences différentes dans l’Atrium.

Enjoy 4 differents experiences in the Atrium.

ORO E ARGENTO au coeur de la gastronomie italienne

ORO E ARGENTO at the heart of italian gastronomy

STÜBLI convivialité et authenticité dans un décor typique

STÜBLI conviviality and authenticity in a traditional atmosphere

HAVANA LOUNGE l’endroit idéal pour un moment de détente

HAVANA LOUNGE a unique environment

SIXTYFOUR° un bar à bonne température

SIXTYFOUR° a bar at ideal temperature

Discover Benelux  |  Belgium  |  Museums of the Month

Collections Invisibles, Lace baptism robe, second half of the 19th century.

Collections Invisibles, 3000-6000 BC Iraq. Cuneiform script.



Set in a beautiful 45-acre park in Morlanwelz in Hainaut, Belgium, the Royal Museum of Mariemont was founded by a wealthy member of the 19th century bourgeoisie, Raoul Warocqué. Warocqué gathered works coveted by the most important museums in the world. He devoted much of his fortune to acquiring masterpieces of classical antiquity. At Mariemont, you can admire anything from world-renowned Tournai porcelain, to an impressive collection of Egyptian antiquities, including a five-tonne Cleopatra statue. The museum currently hosts three notable exhibitions, all celebrating the centenary of its founder’s death. Collections Invisibles, the so-called invisible collection, takes its name from the many items on show which are usually kept in the museum’s reserves. Many of them have never been seen by the public. They include lace, medals, erotica, clothes, furniture and objects saved from a fire. The second major exhibition is Collection Particulières, which includes items such as books, photos, and a grandfather clock that belonged to the museum. Many of the ob72  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

jects are museum memorabilia collected by visitors. “The museum isn’t just one individual’s collection,” notes head of communications, Mélanie Thiry. “It’s a place of each person’s memory, of everyone’s individual experience of the museum.” Both exhibits are on until 26 November 2017. The other major exhibit is documentation céline duval: clusters of sands and pearls. It forms part of the 2017 ARTour Biennial, which promotes dialogue between contemporary art and regional heritage sites. The idea behind the exhibit is to change our view of the concept of collection. The works encompass items collected and re-worked by duval herself, examining the idea that an artist can both collect and produce works of art. The exhibit is on from 24 June to 10 September. There is truly something for everyone at the Royal Museum of Mariemont. The surrounding grounds are free to visit, and have several 19th and 20th century sculptures that are well worth visiting. A highlight is one of Rodin’s four original bronzes, and a sculpture especially designed for Warocqué by Belgian artist Constantin

Meunier. The museum is free to visit every first Sunday of the month, and it opens every day except Monday from 10am 6pm. Entry is five euros for adults, 2.5 euros for over 65s and two euros for those aged 12-17. Children under 12 go for free.

Warocque family embroidered handkerchief from 1860.

Collection Particulières. Photo by the Demelenne-Louesse family

For more information, please visit:

Discover Benelux  |  Belgium  |  Museums of the Month

Photo: © BELvue/Frank Toussaint

Photo: © BELvue/Philippe de Formanoir

Photo: © BELvue/Frank Toussaint


Discover Belgium at the BELvue TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: BELVUE

Located in the heart of Brussels and housed in a former 18th century luxury hotel, the BELvue museum is a must for those who want to know more about Belgium and its history. “It’s the perfect starting point if you want to understand the country via a fun and interactive multimedia experience,” begins museum communication manager Mathilde Oechsner. Last year the family-friendly museum unveiled its brand new permanent exhibition, which tells Belgium’s story through seven different themes with one theme per room. These themes include democracy, prosperity, solidarity, pluralism, migration, language and Europe. The aim of this very modern permanent exhibition is to delve into the country and its history using contemporary issues as a starting point. “How does Belgium work? How is it organised? These are big questions and at first it seems so complicated. After a visit to the museum, people really find they have found the answers, as well as dis74  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

covering a great deal about Belgian culture,” says Oechsner. In the corridors, visitors explore over 200 ‘Belgian’ objects including everyday items, great inventions and pieces from the art and design world. Expect everything from a lithograph by Magritte to a football signed by the national football team. Naturally, the BELvue attracts many tourists and expats seeking to gain a fuller understanding of modern-day Belgium. It is also popular with families and young people, with entrance being free for under 18s and self-guided tours available dependent on age. Children as young as three will enjoy helping the characters Mimi and Momo find hidden objects around the museum. Those aged six to eight can partake in ‘I’m the minister!’, where they are given a fancy dress costume and a list of ministerial duties to complete during their visit, while nine to 12-year-olds can accompany Zeno the explorer on his trip through Belgium. “It is

the ideal opportunity for all ages to learn and have fun,” enthuses Oechsner. The BELvue is also renowned for its temporary exhibitions. Look out for an expo devoted to editorial cartoonists in Belgium coming this December. Photo: © BELvue/Frank Toussaint

The magnificent BELvue museum can be hired for private events in the evening. Meanwhile, its three meeting rooms with views of the Place Royale, Rue Royale or Brussels Park are ideal for seminars and meetings during the daytime.

For more information, please visit:

Discover Benelux  |  Luxembourg  |  Attraction of the Month

AT T R A C T I O N O F T H E M O N T H , L U X E M B O U R G

The hottest yoga studio in town Located in north-west Luxembourg City, BYLU Yoga studio offers 90-minute Bikram yoga classes, open to people of all ages and abilities. Yoga instructor Polly Edwards founded the studio in 2012 after discovering the benefits of Bikram whilst at university. “It really changed things for me: I was having problems studying, and it helped me maintain a strong focus,” she says. Each class covers 26 yoga poses, with a focus on breathing. Bikram’s postures are derived from classic Hatha yoga, which has been practised for thousands of years in India. The key to Bikram is that sessions are held in a room heated to 35 degrees Celsius with 45 per cent humidity. Polly emphasises that anyone at any level of fitness can attend the classes and reap the benefits. “We truly see all ages coming here – pensioners come for a good quality of life and to feel well, while others come due to health problems, to lose weight, or to become more flexible,” says

Polly. Bikram yoga teaches lessons for life: students learn to control their breathing and centre their thoughts. Classes are taught in English and attract a friendly, international crowd. Polly also offers a special class focusing on abdominal strengthening, ideal post-pregnancy or for those who have had hernias. The class is complementary to Bikram and lasts for 45 minutes. Drop-in classes cost 25 euros and there is a special rate of 35 euros for ten classes offered


for beginners. Please consult the website for full schedules and membership details. For more information, please visit:

Try the benefits of Bikram at Luxembourg’s prime hot yoga studio.

Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  75

Challenge park

AT T R A C T I O N O F T H E M O N T H , B E L G I U M

La Petite Merveille La Petite Merveille offers nature, a place to enjoy a variety of sports in a safe environment and unforgettable adventures in a warm, family-friendly atmosphere - close to the small and picturesque town of Durbuy. This unique venue presents the very best of adventure sports; whether in terms of activities offered, accommodation, catering and much more.

What is La Petite Merveille? La Petite Merveille was born in 2016 as a result of the merger of two competing companies (LPM and Durbuy Adventure), who were joint leaders in the adventure sports sector. 76  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

At La Petite Merveille you will find Adventure Valley and its many activities, outdoor classes, summer camps and places to stay.

tacular net park, exciting escape rooms, a ‘nature walking challenge’ and a rollercoaster zipline! There is plenty to ensure a unique and very busy day!

What is there to do at La Petite Merveille? Adventure Valley is La Petite Merveille’s activity department. From kayaking to laser games, via treetop adventures, via ferrata, caving, extreme jumps, mountain biking, a playground, a little train and mini golf… Adventure Valley offers numerous activities for all ages. There are many new activities for 2017. These include a Tubbing Slide, a spec-

Click & climb

Discover Benelux  |  Belgium  |  Attraction of the Month

Le Sanglier des Ardennes ****

Restaurant in the adventure park.

Where to stay? We offer chalets and houses, as well as a Gallic camp and a brand new ‘glamping’ site comprising luxury tents that can accommodate two to eight people depending on the tent.

‘Glamping’ tent.

You can also stay at the four-star hotel Le Sanglier des Ardennes or at the LPM Sporthotel & Grill. Whether you are in a couple or a group of 60, we have what you need!

Where to eat ? We have several catering facilities: - A brand new restaurant at the Adventure Valley park (all-you-can-eat buffet every night in the summer). - LPM Sporthotel & Grill for delicious grilled meats. The unique and characterful hotelrestaurant Le Sanglier des Ardennes is situated in the heart of Durbuy, the smallest town in the world. La Petite Merveille 1, rue de Rome, 6940 Durbuy - Belgium Tel: +32 (0)86 / 21 28 15 Web: Web:

Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  77

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  Cultural Attraction of the Month


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

The Erotic Museum in Amsterdam is, as you might expect, located in the middle of the Red Light Strip. Looking at eroticism in all its forms throughout the ages, this quirky museum makes an interesting and dazzling way to complete your visit to the Dutch capital. With Amsterdam having an interesting cultural, colonial and social history, its erotic heritage is just as rich – and perhaps the most fun to learn about. The museum has an impressive collection of erotic art throughout the ages, from the old Dutch masters to contemporary artists. Visitors will find a variety of paintings, drawings, photographs, pottery, films and quirky objects, all within the themes of eroticism and seduction. Who said that history and eroticism do not go together? “Besides guiding visitors through the history of erotica, our museum also shows erotica in different cultures,” begins direc78  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

tor Cor van Dijk. “The world of eroticism and sexuality is a deeply interesting one.” The four-floored museum starts your tour in style: you will be welcomed by a model of a Dutch lady on a very special bicycle. From there, head off to the floor entirely dedicated to Sado Masochism and fetishism, get an insight into the most ancient profession, or admire the wonderful vintage erotic photographs. Absolute treasures are the original erotic sketches made by John Lennon (made while he was on his honeymoon in Amsterdam), the works of world-famous tattooist Henk Schiffmacher and drawings from Picasso. The Erotic Museum has narrow links with the eponymous museums in Barcelona and Las Vegas. “We frequently put the spotlight on exhibitions taking place over there. And we borrow artworks from each other: Barcelona loans us a Dalí, we loan them a Picasso,” Van Dijk laughs.

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

Dam 21, Amsterdam

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Rifka Lodeizen

80  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Rifka Lodeizen

Telling the stories of inspiring women Dutch actress Rifka Lodeizen is renowned for her depictions of complex and inspiring women on screen. A prominent name on the European arthouse scene, Lodeizen recently garnered international acclaim for her portrayal of Mirjam in Paula van der Oest’s powerful drama Tonio, while leading roles in films such as Boudewijn Koole’s Verdwijnen and upcoming road movie La Holandesa highlight her continued talent for rooting out strong scripts. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTO: NFF/JANEY VAN IERLAND

“I am so proud of Tonio,” smiles Lodeizen, recalling her role in the Netherlands’ foreign language 2017 Oscar entry, based on Dutch writer A. F. Th. van der Heijden’s book of the same name. “I could see the screenplay was good, but you never know what the response is going to be until the film comes out. It’s not an easy film, but when I saw it at a premiere I thought; ‘oh yeah…’.” In the film, Lodeizen plays a mother who has lost her only child in a road accident. “It was hard. I have children myself and I was more scared during that period and a bit after,” admits the 44-year-old. “If you go in for a role like that you have to really feel it - well - I tried to. So it’s not like you’re just telling a story anymore.”

Complex roles The actress is known for not shying away from complicated movies. In fact, she has always been attracted to complex parts, where characters embark on a journey.

oeuvre. Verdwijnen tells the story of reconciliation between a mother and daughter. “It’s a beautiful story,” enthuses the actress. Meanwhile, in upcoming drama La Holandesa Lodeizen plays one half of a couple who are unable to have children.

Putting pen to paper In real life, Lodeizen has been blessed with two daughters and has successfully balanced a long-lasting career with parenthood. More recently, a rekindled love for the written word has added an extra string to her bow. “Other than being a mother, I didn’t have any idea of what I would do,” says the star of her early ambitions. “I hadn’t written for years but have started again. I find it really special to make something out of noth-

ing; to have a fantasy, to write it down and make it into a play or film. That’s a new career for me, actually.”

Looking forward As well as feeling positive about her renewed passion for writing, Lodeizen is also optimistic about the recent shift in cinema which has seen more interesting roles for female performers, notably the older generation. “I have a feeling there is more coming. I think it’s very interesting to see yourself reflected in roles that are above your age - for example, in the American film 20th Century Women starring Annette Bening. I found it so fascinating to see female characters aged 50 or 60,” she enthuses. “That’s my future, and I’m really curious about it.” A scene from the film La Holandesa starring Rifka Lodeizen.

“I like playing people who lose everything and try to build a new life somehow. I think those are interesting parts. I like people who go to zero and then back up.” Motherhood has also been a common thread throughout much of Lodeizen’s Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  81

Gentse Feesten. Photo: VisitFlanders

Out & About July can only mean one thing: summer is finally here! With temperatures soaring and the festival season at its highpoint, events in the Benelux showcase an exciting blend of music, arts and culinary experiences. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

Royal Palace Amsterdam.

82  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Calendar

Photo: © Tim Laman, Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Grand title winner

North Sea Jazz Festival 7 – 9 July Rotterdam, the Netherlands North Sea Jazz is the largest indoor music festival in the world, known globally as the event where the past, present and future of jazz are celebrated.

Photo: Zee-eterij De Viskêête

Chef Thomas Month of July Zandvoort, the Netherlands If you are visiting Zandvoort you cannot miss a visit to Chef Thomas. The restaurant serves homemade and mostly organic Caribbean and international food, in a warm Caribbean atmosphere.

Gentse Feesten 14 – 23 July Ghent, Belgium In July, the whole city of Ghent will be under the spell of this ten-day festival. Together with Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  83

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Calendar the Oktoberfest in Munich and Las Fallas in Valencia, the Ghent celebrations are among the largest public festivals in Europe.

World MeYouZik 15 July Luxembourg City, Luxembourg MeYouZik is an extravaganza of colourful sounds. This open-air festival, dedicated exclusively to world music, is supported by a variety of artists. It takes place over three public places in the city centre.

The world according to Blaeu at The National Maritime Museum Until 31 December Amsterdam, the Netherlands Always wondered what the world looked like to people from the 17th century? You can find out at The world according to Blaeu | Master Cartographer of the Golden Age, an exhibition providing a unique display of Joan Blaeu’s map of the world dating back to 1648.

The Four Days Marches 18 – 21 July Nijmegen, the Netherlands Want to participate in the largest walking event in the world? Head off to the ‘Nijmeegse Vierdaagse’ for four days of walking alongside 40,000 others. The event is part of the ‘Vierdaagsefeesten’ (Four Days Festival), which will last the whole week.

Pind Punjabi.

Carlton Beach Hotel Month of July Scheveningen, the Netherlands This luxury four-star hotel is a fun and friendly place to relax and enjoy the beauty of its natural surroundings. The rooms offer breathtaking views of the North Sea.

century building is certainly a sight to behold, and it is an important witness in the story of the Netherlands as a nation. Today it is still in use by the Dutch Royal Family and 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.

Boomtown Festival 19 – 23 July Ghent, Belgium This five-day alternative music festival is part of the Gentse Feesten. 2017 will see the sixth edition with headline artists such as Gabriel Rios, Spinvis, and Blaudzun.

Over het IJ Festival 14 – 23 July Amsterdam, the Netherlands The northern shore of the River Ij in Amsterdam has a unique industrial setting and is the perfect backdrop for any event. This theatre festival means ten days of adventurous theatre.

The Royal Palace Amsterdam Month of July Amsterdam, the Netherlands The past and present collide at the stunning Royal Palace Amsterdam. The imposing 17th

Naturalis Until 10 September Leiden, the Netherlands Unique in the Netherlands: enjoy the world’s best nature photography at Leiden’s Naturalis

Carlton Beach Hotel.

Exhibition The world according to Blaeu - Master Cartographer of the Golden Age. Collectie Het Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam

84  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Calendar

3 Oever Festival, Ensemble BRASS-IT!

Chef Thomas.

Museum of Natural History. The exhibition Wildlife Photography of the Year features a collection of 100 exceptional images.

Apollo Hotel.

Suikerrock 28 – 30 July Tienen, Belgium This music festival derives its name from the city in which it is held: Tienen hosts Belgium’s most important sugar refinery. This year’s headliner is no one less than the ‘Godfather of Punk’ Iggy Pop.

Apollo Hotel Almere City Centre Month of July Almere, the Netherlands The central location and its modern, stylish allure make Apollo Hotel the perfect place to stay when visiting the vibrant city of Almere.

Pind Punjabi Month of July Amsterdam, the Netherlands A unique tropical ambiance, traditional spirit, friendly staff and original dishes: that is Pind Punjabi. This restaurant serves innovative Indian cuisine in an elegant and stylish environment, located in the heart of Amsterdam.

Zee-eterij De Viskêête Month of July Yerseke, the Netherlands This charming restaurant and fish counter is an absolute dream for seafood lovers, serving

everything from eel to fresh salads, and from beautiful oysters to dorado or lobsters alongside the most stunning views over the waters of Nationaal Park De Oosterschelde.

North Sea Jazz Festival. Photo: Rotterdam Marketing

3 Oever Festival Third weekend of September Gelderse Poort, the Netherlands Set at the ‘The Gate of Gelderland’, the 3 Oever Festival celebrates the region for both its natural and cultural value. Enjoy a bike tour or walk along the shore, and enjoy the music, theatre, and good food. Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  85

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Top Belgian Galleries & Art Exhibitions

Pierre Alechinsky, Chassez le naturel (1968).

Guy Pieters Gallery: one of a kind TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: GUY PIETERS GALLERY

A protagonist of the art scene, promoting and collecting artists with an inventive point of view: this is what makes Guy Pieters Gallery. Shaped by his small hometown of Sint-MartensLatem, Pieters is a gallery owner and art dealer known for his uncommon sense for greatness and entrepreneurial strategies, binding internationally renowned artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Marcel Broodthaers, Arman, César, Yves Klein and Jan Fabre to his eponymous gallery.

ering love for art at a young age, Pieters’ life has shaped itself through unexpected meetings, lifelong friendships with artists, and above all his wife Linda. His success has led him to establish several art galleries over the past 30 years: from SintMartens-Latem to Knokke, Saint Paul de Vence and Paris, to the anticipated opening of a St Tropez location in July 2018. Showcasing the masters of new realism and pop art alongside the talents of tomorrow, Guy Pieters Gallery has gained a reputation far beyond its native Belgium.

‘Looking for the unexpected is what gives life meaning’: that is the motto Guy Pieters has treasured throughout his life. Discov-

Moments of art

86  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

Jan Fabre, Marcel Broodthaers, Wim Delvoye, Robert Indiana, Marcel Duchamp,

Niki de Saint Phalle, Jean Tinguely, Keith Haring, among many others; the lengthy list of artists presented by Pieters hardly ever changes form. “I am very loyal to the artists that I represent,” Pieters starts. “I would like to view myself as a friend before anything else. My collaborations have evolved in lifelong friendships based on a common passion for art, in which we shared many moments of life.” Guy Pieters Gallery is dedicated to new realism and pop art, with famous works sitting next to solo exhibitions. Artists presented are mainly those who shaped or heavily influenced their movements. “I always look for the over-the-edge factor,

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Top Belgian Galleries & Art Exhibitions

something that makes people wonder about the boundaries of art,” Pieters continues. “Take Duchamp’s urinal. People were cynical about how this could be considered art, yet it is now regarded as one of the most important artistic landmarks in the 20th century.”

Revolution Pieters was born and bred in Sint-MartensLatem, a small Flemish village traditionally known for its extensive artistic community and breeding ground for talent. Introduced to the world of art at the age of 16 by the Latem impressionist Leon De Smet, it was in his grandmother’s café that Pieters started a small kiosk selling newspapers and tobacco. Soon the local artists asked him to display their works in his kiosk, slowly but surely awaking a true passion. A 1979 meeting with French-American artist Arman meant an artistic revolution for Pieters, who shifted his focus from Flemish expressionism to the current dedication to the contemporary. “I went from landscapes and farmer setting paintings to found-object sculptures,” he says. Arman soon introduced Pieters to his Linda & Guy Pieters.

well-known collective of friends and artists, opening large doors into the scene. The first Guy Pieters Gallery became a reality in 1981. Pieters’ international success and decadelong collaborations have allowed him to shift focus from pure commerciality to exploring a different side of the arts and supporting its makers. “While you first invest – which can take years – later there is room for something that transcends the commercial. You create scope for more noble things: creating art, purely to create art.” It is a philosophy reflected in the galleries’ presence at the renowned La Biennale di Venezia, where friend Jan Fabre is exhibited alongside conceptual Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen. Internationally famed for his groundbreaking work on issues such as biocultural diversity, identity and community, Vanmechelen exhibits his Protected Paradise at La Biennale: an installation made of a huge cage where he has put in four interesting protagonists. “I don’t actively participate in fairs anymore, mainly because they are almost exclusively commercial. La Biennale is different, goes much further. It is about taking the

artists beyond the doors of the gallery, serving his or her interests.”

An ode to life Linda has been Pieters’ muse for 35 years. “We come from different artistic backgrounds, taught each other many things - she has always been by my side,” Pieters smiles. In July 2018, the couple will see the opening of Foundation Linda & Guy Pieters: an ode to their career and longstanding bond with artists through a non-commercial gallery. Based in the couple’s beloved St Tropez, the foundation will strongly focus on the scientific aspect of the arts. “The foundation is the crowning achievement of a long career,” Pieters concludes. “It will be a reflection of our adventure – of myself and Linda. Together we have shared so many moments of art and beauty. If I am a romanticist? I guess you could say so,” he laughs.

Web: Facebook: GuyPietersGallery

Tony Oursler, Reudshadow 625 - 740 nm, (2008).

Jean-Michel Folon, L’Envol (2005).

Koen Vanmechelen, Protected Paradise, La Biennale di Venezia 2017

Jan Fabre, Skull with rat, La Biennale di Venezia 2017.

Issue 43  |  July 2017  |  87

Discover Benelux  |  Cultural Events  |  Rotterdam Unlimited

International vibes with Rotterdam Unlimited TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN   |  PHOTOS: ROTTERDAM UNLIMITED

The Netherlands is known for being a multicultural country and maybe no city as much as Rotterdam. Holland’s second-largest city hosts a variety of people with different backgrounds, having over 180 nationalities. All those different cultures have had quite the impact on its city. The festival Rotterdam Unlimited displays, celebrates and embraces the diversity of those cultures, attracting a total of 900,000 visitors. Brass bands, calypso dances, a summer carnival complete with a parade, music per-

formances, poetry: you name it and it will be there from 25 - 29 July. Taking place throughout the streets of Rotterdam, there are three central hotspots: the Coolsingel, Hofplein and Stationsplein. Festival director Guus Dutrieux is excited about the upcoming edition of the annual event. “Rotterdam Unlimited is a festival for the senses, whether music for the ears, the smells of all the diverse food or poetry for the brain. Rotterdam is a city constantly in motion where all these different cultures determine the face of the city. When it comes to programming Rotterdam Unlimited, the

leading factor is always how a certain culture influences our city.” For pop music lovers, there is every reason to visit Rotterdam Unlimited: the Panamanian superstar Joey Montana is going to perform, famous for his sultry reggaeton music. Dutch artist Ronnie Flex will appear too. He is arguably Holland’s biggest star at the moment, scoring hit after hit with his blend of Dutch hip hop, dancehall, reggaeton and house music. Visit for more info.

castlefest 3-6 Augustus 2017 Kasteel Keukenhof, Lisse


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Columns


São Paulo comes to Brussels Through a grand wooden door on Rue des Sablons, nestled behind the Église Notre-Dame du Sablon, lies one of Brussels’ newest galleries. Having begun as a small São Paulo-based project, in the past six years Mendes Wood DM has expanded to become an art world mega gallery with bases in Brazil, New York and, as of April this year, Brussels. Forging a reputation for an inclusive, nurturing ethos, Mendes Wood DM take pride in showing the freshest, under-appreciated talent in South American art. Their latest exhibition can be seen as a prime example of their strategy. Paulo Nimer Pjota is a prodigiously talented (and enviously young) painter who, under the watchful eye of Mendes Wood DM, has in the past few years had shows across the globe. Now he comes to Brussels, presenting a series of paintings, video and photographs. It is for his paintings that Pjota is best known; highly worked, highly detailed, paint-

ed on loose canvas and found material. Sat within the largely abstract panels of colour are some bizarre details. In one work, you see Greco-Roman vases next to Thrasher skateboard logos and Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Of course, this is due to Pjota’s age. He is part of the last generation that will remember a childhood before the internet age, and the rapid growth of it. What Pjota uses is the great level playing field the web creates. This means that a Totemic mask, Goofy and emoticons can all have the same credence. The results are a beautiful, off-kilter look at the world; the remnants of the soup of influence and image culture we all live within.



Paulo Nimer Pjota’s The history in repeat mode – image is on show at Mendes Wood DM until 5 August 2017. 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.


Corsendonk Pater This brown ale is the product of a family-run brewery whose name is derived from the Corsendonk Priory at Oud-Turnhout, roughly 40 kilometres east of Antwerp. Italicised script, written in English, states on the bottle that this beer is ‘brewed and bottled in Belgium’. The text sits above the outline of a medieval-style seal depicting the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus surrounded by a Latin inscription. The beer’s branding plays on the history of the priory, which is now the site of a hotel. The effervescent beer is dark brown and its head a deep fawn. It has a relatively light aroma — perhaps surprising given the deep, rich colour of the beer. It bears mild notes of maltiness and fruits of the forest, along with a vinegary hint of sourness.

Sipping the ale reveals a balanced brew. It is hard to pick out distinctive flavours while drinking Corsendonk Pater. There is a light touch of chocolate and an element of fruitiness. That is offset by faint sourness. Ultimately, the flavour and body is far lighter than many of the dubbelstyle beers brewed elsewhere in Belgium. As this beer is best enjoyed when served chilled, it proves a good summer alternative to lager. On a cautionary note, it is probably worth pointing out that this brew is markedly stronger than lagers typically served in the United Kingdom. It pairs well with grilled red meats, making this a good beer to pair with food served at traditional barbecues, should the rain hold off. Brewer: Brouwerij Corsendonk Strength: 6.5 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 43  |  July 2017  |  89

Discover Benelux | Music | Benelux Beats


Musically discovering… Iris Hond TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTO: CAROLIEN SIKKENK

She was only three years old when she played her first notes on the piano. Fast forward 27 years and Iris Hond will shortly start her Dear World tour, named after her successful second album. Produced by the legendary Patrick Leonard, Dear World comprises solely of Hond’s own work, where she plays with the boundaries between pop and classic and involves the listener into her moving life story. Dear World came out last year. How is this album different to your previous work? After signing a record deal with DECCA a few years ago, I was doing concerts and released my debut album IRIS – a dream come true. Yet I wasn’t feeling completely happy. I was mainly playing other people’s work. I wanted to tell my own story. Dear World is my own work, with the songs being my letters to the world. What was it like to work with Patrick Leonard? Contacting him was a bold step, but also one that changed my life. A few days after getting in contact, he flew me to LA, 90  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

where I was totally thrown in at the deep end. Overwhelming, but above all a fantastic experience. We have been collaborating ever since. You play in world-class music venues, yet also perform in hospitals and even prisons… When on tour in Holland, I also did a concert at a prison for detainees with life-long sentences. After my performance, one man told me that my music allowed his heart to escape for the first time since he had been there. He had been there for 12 years. That moved me a great deal: the fact that my music can offer an escape to people in hard situations. Since then, whenever I do a concert in a large venue I insist on also playing for those who are less fortunate. What do you consider as the highpoint in your career? One of the most memorable is my graduation from the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. I was always a bit of an outsider, doing things that my fellow students did not. The praise and summa cum laude that I gained with my graduation was very valuable to me.

What has been your best recent musical discovery? I am only now starting to discover the classics. When in LA, I was introduced to Roger Waters [a member of Pink Floyd], and have been listening to Pink Floyd a lot since then. What does the future hold? This summer, I will dive into the studio for a new album. It will be inspired by modern progressive rock, so something totally different! Classical music often requires musicians to paint between the lines - I want to go way outside. IRIS’ RECORD COLLECTION: Pink Floyd - Dark Side of The Moon Leonard Cohen - Popular Problems Emerson Lake & Palmer - Tarkus Peter Gabriel - Scratch my Back

Dear World tour: 28 September – 22 December Bewogen solo tour: 30 September – 9 December For data and locations visit




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