Discover Benelux, Issue 44, August 2017

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Your Shortcut to Benelux

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Discover Benelux  |  Contents

Contents AUGUST 2017




COVER FEATURE 32 Sallie Harmsen You may have spotted Sallie Harmsen appear-

36 Special Guide: Amsterdam Noord, Amsterdam Oost & Amsterdam Zuidoost

ing alongside Jared Leto in the trailer for this

From edgy industrial monuments to hip water-

autumn’s eagerly anticipated Blade Runner

side hangouts, we showcase the hidden gems

sequel, which also stars Ryan Gosling and

of some of the Dutch capital’s lesser known

Harrison Ford. The Amsterdam native may be

areas. With superb nightlife and some of the

making a name for herself internationally yet, as

city’s best restaurants, these are neighbour-

she explains in our exclusive interview, Harm-

hoods not to be missed.

sen is equally happy performing in European arthouse films. We caught up with the 28-yearold during some of her rare downtime to discuss the art of acting.

THEMES 10 Spotlight on Amsterdam-West & The Jordaan The Jordaan is arguably the most quintessentially Dutch neighbourhood in the Netherlands,

BUSINESS 52 Company profiles, regulars and more We look at the month ahead in Benelux business, as well as showcasing some of the region’s leading consultancy firms and technology experts.

FEATURES 68 Amber Arcades

while Amsterdam-West is a vibrant melting

Dutch singer-songwriter Annelotte de Graaf,

pot brimming with culture. Discover the di-

better known by her stage name Amber

verse delights these districts have to offer in

Arcades, is renowned for her unique brand

our special guide.

of ethereal indie pop. We caught up with the 28-year-old artist and discovered a pop star

20 Antwerp: The Perfect Summer City

with multiple layers.

Antwerp is undoubtedly Belgium’s capital of cool. From music festivals to world-class ex-

78 Benelux Beats

hibitions, there is always something going on

Discover Benelux spoke to Marien Dorleijn,

in this stylish summer destination. From foodie

frontman of Dutch five-piece Moss, about the

hotspots to must-see museums, we present

band’s decision to follow a new direction on

our favourite addresses in the city of diamonds.

their latest album Strike.


36 6

Fashion Picks  |  8 Desirable Designs  |  72 Out & About  |  77 Columns

Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  3

Discover Benelux  |  Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Discover Benelux Issue 44, August 2017 Published 08.2017 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 Cathy van Klaveren Charlotte van Hek Eddi Fiegel Ella Put Heidi Kokborg Juliën L’Ortye

Lidija Liegis Martin Pilkington Matt Antoniak Michiel Stol Myriam Gwynned Dijck Ndéla Faye Sally Tipper Simon Willmore Steve Flinders Stuart Forster Cover Photo Photography: Janey van Ierland Styling: Pascalle Koldenhof Hair & Make-up: Ellen van Exter for Faas Cosmetics Sales & Key Account Managers Mette Tonnessen Kirsten Schoon Katia Sfihi Micha Cornelisse Petra Foster 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 our August issue! Whether at home or further afield, I hope you have been enjoying the summer so far and making the most of the longer days and balmy evenings. From open-air theatre to rooftop bars and a seemingly neverending list of festivals, there are certainly plenty of opportunities across the Benelux to celebrate into the small hours. This month, we hope to offer some inspiration with our jampacked guides to cities including Antwerp and Amsterdam. We ventured into some of the latter’s lesser known neighbourhoods to present just some of the many hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Someone who knows the Dutch capital pretty well is this month’s cover star, actress Sallie Harmsen. The Amsterdam native is currently one of the Netherlands’ most in-demand stars of stage and screen, and is also making a name for herself across the pond. We had the pleasure of chatting to the down-to-earth actress, who told us all about her passion for painting: whenever she is not performing, you will find multi-talented Harmsen creating in her artist’s studio. Talking of gifted Dutch females, we also caught up with Utrecht native Annelotte de Graaf, better known by her stage name Amber Arcades. There is so much more to this singer-songwriter than meets the eye: as well as being a talented musician, De Graaf holds a master’s degree in law, and previously worked as an assistant for war crimes tribunals at the United Nations. De Graaf has a big following in the UK, and this month will perform at the VISIONS festival in London and Sea Change Festival in Devon, England. If you have not yet discovered the celestial sounds of Amber Arcades, why not add her new EP Cannonball to your summer holiday playlist? I guarantee it will put you into chill-out mode. Wherever you are travelling, I wish you a wonderful summer!

We are a media you can trust. The print circulation of Discover Benelux is audited by the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC), which is the UK body for media measurement.

© All rights reserved. Material contained in this publication may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without prior permission of Scan Group – a trading name of Scan Magazine Ltd. This magazine contains advertorials/promotional articles.

4  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

Anna Villeleger, Editor

Discover real Private Banking At SEB Private Banking, we acknowledge that everyone has a unique set of challenges. It’s why we do not offer ready-made solutions, concentrating instead on developing meaningful, long-lasting financial relationships and making the effort to really understand you and your requirements. Our international network of private banking offices will look after all aspects of your family business finances, from daily transactions to long term investments. Its services cover everything from tailored financial management, through to helping you to optimise the legal and tax structures within which your assets are held. services cover everything As one of the world’s strongest banks and with more than 150 years ofItsexperience f private banking, we have just what it takes to ensure your future prosperity. in To find out what SEB can do for your personal wealth, contact us in London: Our SEB Private Banking Team +44 (0) 20 7246 4225



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

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks


A tropical summer August is the busiest month for holidays, with many people taking their last chance to sneak in one final getaway to more tropical destinations. But once you have picked where to go, there is the important issue of which outfits to take. We will help you on your way with these tropical-terrific items. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PRESS PHOTOS

Keep your hat on The straw hat is a man’s best friend in summer: not only does it give off that casual beach vibe, it is also a loyal companion when fending off the searing rays and the stifling heat of summer. €19.99

Summer shorts Bring some extra style to your next dip with these classic blue swim shorts from Dutch brand Suit Supply. The subtle pattern ensures you hit the beach, pool or deck in style. €59

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Aloha! Do not let anyone tell you otherwise: Hawaiian shirts are always a good idea. They are light, colourful, and an easy way to incorporate fun prints into your wardrobe. €50.00

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks

Bathing beauty Prepare to turn some heads on the beach! If there is one item of clothing that has made a massive comeback over the past years, it is the bathing suit. Having evolved from old fashioned to trendy, this piece of swimwear is beautiful in its simplicity. €59.99

Beach buddy Heading straight to a beach party after a long day of sand and swimming? We have got you covered with this turquoise jumpsuit: casual enough to wear at the pool, yet sufficiently chic to show off at dinner. €49.95 Usha via

Summer on your feet Why limit the tropical colours to your clothing? Let your feet join in the summer fun with these bright sandals. Combine with a maxi dress for that boho-chic Ibiza look, or throw on under a mini skirt when heading for a beach party. €44.99 Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  7

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Desirable Designs


Transition of colours Summer may still be in full swing, but the trends for the new season keep coming in. Here are some trendsetting colours with just a touch of summer. TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PRESS PHOTOS



1. A disco couch With such colourful prints it is hard not to be happy when looking at this fun couch, which would be a highlight in any calm corner of your house. €1,975


2. Designed for living Dutch design brand Brabantia has always been known for creating modest designs with international allure for a good price, making even trash cans part of a sophisticated interior. €22,95

4. Model turned icon Since the creation of the Linea in 1997, the experienced craftsman at the Jori workshops has processed more than 30,000 copies of the iconic sofa. A milestone that this timeless classic will celebrate with a renewed design. €3,400



3. The lighting bible This Splitline lamp is the latest edition in a successful lighting series by Belgian design brand Delta Light and is perfect for bathrooms, kitchens or hallways. Price on request 8  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

5. The gift of Gispen Designed by Willem H. Gispen, one of the most famous Dutch industrial designers, this timeless chair is part of a reinvented post-war collection. From €260 Gispen via


next to the Royal Palace in Brussels

Belgium explained in 7 themes and 200 objects

r it Discove mily! fa with the rs Play-tou for le availab from childrenyears 3 to 12

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam West & The Jordaan  |  The Ultimate Summer Destination

Skyline Rotterdam.

Podium Mozaïek. Photo: Marie-Charlotte Pezé


The capital’s most delightfully diverse districts Picturesque Jordaan is arguably the most famous neighbourhood in the Netherlands, while Amsterdam-West is a vibrant melting pot brimming with cultural delights. Read on for our guide to the Dutch capital’s most desirable and diverse districts. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: AMSTERDAM MARKETING

Sloterpark. Photo: Edwin van Eis

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam-West & The Jordaan  |  The Ultimate Summer Destination

Westergasterrein. Photo: Matthias Valewink

Go West: Crammed with culture Read more from page 14 Comprising Oud-West, Nieuw-West, Westerpark, Bos en Lommer and De Baarsjes, the western districts of the Dutch capital are bursting with diversity and cultural gems. Bordered by verdant Vondelpark and the picturesque Singelgracht canal, the Oud-West neighbourhood is home to an array of hip hotspots, with the trendy De Hallen Amsterdam cultural centre being one of the most popular. Housed in a former tram depot, De Hallen is now home to a boutique hotel, an array of independent retailers, a food hall and an arthouse cinema complex. Further west you will find the creative districts of Bos en Lommer and De Baarsjes, which are becoming hipper by the day.

With plenty of green space, a vibrant arts scene and a young multi-cultural crowd, these areas are well worth exploring. Another area on the up is Nieuw-West, which comprises the former districts Geuzenveld-Slotermeer, Osdorp and Slotervaart. This large and verdant neighbourhood is home to parks such as Sloterpark. Why not escape the heat in the city centre and relax by Lake Sloterplas? Also on your Amsterdam-West to-do list needs to be the Westergasfabriek, a former gasworks that has been completely renovated in recent years and now hosts a cinema and theatre as well as various creative businesses, cafés and restaurants. The Westergasfabriek can be found in the magnificent Westerpark, a haven of greenery within the eponymous Westerpark

neighbourhood. Just east of Westerpark are the Westelijke Eilanden (Western Islands), a pretty group of man-made islands that were built in the 17th century and have a village-like atmosphere. 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. Start planning your trip at:

Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  11

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam West & The Jordaan  |  The Ultimate Summer Destination

Jordaan. Photo: Merijn Roubroeks

Jordaan: nowhere feels more ‘Dutch’ Read more from page 18 With its canal-lined streets and pretty inner courtyards, nowhere in Amsterdam feels more quintessentially Dutch than the Jordaan neighbourhood. Bordered by Brouwersgracht, Prinsengracht, Leidsegracht and Lijnbaansgracht, the Jordaan district was traditionally defined as the area in which you could hear the bells of the impressive Westerkerk. This renaissance-style church boasts the highest church tower in Amsterdam and was mentioned many times in the diary of Anne Frank, who described the chiming of the 12  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

bells as a source of solace. A memorial statue of the diarist can be found outside at Westermarkt. Originally a working-class neighbourhood, Jordaan was created to cater to the vast expansion of Amsterdam in the early 17th century. Many creatives were attracted to the area thanks to the low rent. Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn had a studio on the Bloemgracht and, unbelievably, ended up being buried in a poor man’s grave in the Westerkerk. A memorial shield was subsequently installed inside the church. Other former residents inspired by Jordaan include Dutch writer Joost van den Vondel

and George Hendrik Breitner, a key figure in Amsterdam Impressionism. The area is still a hub for creativity today and home to countless artists’ studios. Do not miss the chance to shop like a local at one of this neighbourhood’s many markets. The Monday morning flea market at Noordermarkt square is perfect for treasure hunting, while on Saturdays you can find excellent organic produce at the farmer’s market. Also on a Saturday is the Lindengracht market, perhaps the best food market in the capital, with fresh fish, superb cheeses and high-quality vegetable stalls lining the streets well into the afternoon.

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam-West & The Jordaan  |  The Ultimate Summer Destination

Westertoren seen from Bloemstraat. Photo: Merijn Roubroeks

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY Free Lunchtime Concerts Westerkerk, Fridays in July, August and September Famous Dutch artists including Rembrandt are buried at this impressive 17th century Protestant church, which has a huge organ dating from 1686. Every Friday lunchtime, during the months July, August and September, a free organ recital takes place. Goran Turnšek, Second Stage Podium Mozaïek, 7 September - 29 October Taking place at the Podium Mozaïek cultural hub, this photography exhibition from the former dancer Goran Turnšek depicts the life of a dancer once they have stopped performing and have moved on to a different career.

Justice Palace at IJDOCK Photo: Niels Blekemolen

Unseen Amsterdam Westergasfabriek, 22 - 24 September The Unseen Photo Fair is an international photography fair with an emphasis on undis-

covered photography talent and previously unseen work by established names. It takes place at Westergasfabriek every September. Joachim Eijlander Concert Noorderkerk, 30 September This attractive 16th century church boasts excellent acoustics and is one of the city’s best-loved event venues. Visit the website for details of upcoming concerts, including a performance from esteemed cellist Joachim Eijlander, co-founder of the international Rubens Quartet.

Lost Horizon by Indra Terburg Museum Het Schip, Until 15 October Museum Het Schip is running a series of quarterly exhibitions under the theme Inspired by the Amsterdam School. The expos showcase works from artists living in Amsterdam who are inspired by the famous architectural movement.

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Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam-West  |  The Ultimate Summer Destination

The art of architecture It is an iconic sight in Amsterdam: the red-orange public housing complex along the Spaarndammerplantsoen. Designed by famous architect Michel de Klerk, the expressionist building hosts Museum Het Schip (The Ship), which takes visitors on a journey through the art of architecture. The characteristic brick construction reveals that The Ship is a showpiece of the Amsterdam School architectural movement. Arising in 1910 till about 1930 in the Netherlands, the famous movement shaped towns throughout the country, its fantastical way of building being an unmissable staple of Amsterdam. “The Amsterdam School was a way of building that went much further than housing,” explains Alice Roegholt, director of the museum. “It was about creating a total architectural experience– something that came back in the interiors and exteriors of villas, churches, schools, and so on.” The Ship – of which parts are still inhabited – hosts a unique museum that is located in different parts of the building. The first floor hous-


es the large permanent exhibition Amsterdam School Constructed Ideals, where visitors will vividly experience what it is like to be surrounded with the skills, inspiration and imaginative splendour of the Amsterdam School. The second floor boasts special temporary exhibitions. A guided tour takes you to beautifully interesting spots in the museum; a former postoffice designed by Klerk himself, a replica of a 19th century slum dwelling and an original museum apartment with a 1920s interior. Do not forget to head outside: the architects of the Amsterdam School also designed street furniture, which you can admire in the courtyard and garden.

Fries and mimosas in the morning The motive to start your own restaurant can be quite simple, apparently. That is what we have learned after talking to Michiel Huisman, who owns and runs Teds All Day Brunch together with his wife. “If you wake up at eight in the morning and you feel like eating fries, that should be possible, right? The same goes for waking up at four in the afternoon and fancying poached eggs. We really wanted to start a place where there is no discrimination when it comes to the menu; people should be able to eat what they want, when they want it.” Looking at Teds’ menu, it

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can surely be said that this place lives up to expectations. There are all kinds of cocktails and coffees, classy brunch food such as eggs Benedict or French toast, but it is also possible to order just a beer and a plate of fries. Huisman is right: Amsterdam did not really have a place like this until Teds opened its doors about two years ago. “We aim for an atmosphere where everyone is able to enjoy their meal to the fullest, whether they are locals drinking a cup of coffee in the morning before going to work, or tourists that order a glass of champagne while enjoying eggs Norwegian.”

The Ship frequently serves as a backdrop for cultural events: on Saturday 12 August, you can listen to Sax & the City: Ebonit Saxophone Quartet (part of the Canal Festival). Address: Oostzaanstraat 45 Amsterdam Opening hours: Thursday – Sunday, 11am – 5pm Web:


Teds is located on quite a convenient position in Oud-West – easily accessible for all the tourists who come from the city centre or, for example, the Vondelpark. But, at the same time, its location ensures that the guests can escape the city’s hustle and bustle. “We believe that we are located on one of the city’s most aesthetically pleasing streets, mainly because of its width and the greenery.” We could not agree more. Teds is a truly great addition to the Amsterdam foodie scene. Web:

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam-West  |  The Ultimate Summer Destination


The phrase ‘from grandmother’s kitchen’ takes quite a literal meaning at Rosetta’s Kitchen: this restaurant – named after owner Vincent Calonaci’s grandmother - has taken the best part of Italy to Amsterdam-West by serving up delicacies and an ambiance reflecting the true Italy. ‘Cuichine povero’: this is how owner Calonaci describes his restaurant’s cuisine. “The Italian kitchen takes pride in excelling in simplicity, using a few staple ingredients,” he says. “Instead of creating fuss on a plate, we honour the traditional Italian kitchen with timeless dishes that let the pure ingredients speak for themselves.” A philosophy translated to the menu, with dishes like Tagliate di Manzo (slices of short-grilled beef, served on lettuce and finished with slices of Parmesan cheese) and Pasta Vongole (pasta with fresh shell clams) being house classics. With the sounds of vivacious banter and clinking glasses, not to mention the warm inte-

rior, the atmosphere at Rosetta’s Kitchen is just as Italian as the menu. “That is an Italian thing,” Calonaci continues. “As soon as you step in, you feel the warmth. You feel part of the family.” Of course, a good glass of wine is essential for an Italian night out. The menu is beautifully complemented with wines that are exclusively sourced in Italy, which can also be enjoyed during the traditional ‘aperitivo’: the moment in the afternoon when Italians meet up for cocktails, small bites and good conversation. Rosetta’s Kitchen opened its doors in 2015, and has made high waves since. With enormous praise (both online and offline), the cosy Amsterdam-West restaurant draws locals and tourists alike, as long as they visit for the right thing: true Italian food in an authentic ambiance. Web: rosettaskitchenamsterdam

Amsterdam’s best-kept secret TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: DE GOUDEN REAEL

In the heart of Amsterdam, yet seemingly miles away from the city’s chaos, lies De Gouden Reael. Located on perhaps the most beautiful part of the Western Islands, this international restaurant has translated its characteristic surroundings to its cuisine and ambiance. The typically Dutch canal house provides us with high expectations of what is inside. Built in 1648 as a residence by the Family Reael (mayors of Amsterdam), the Gouden Reael has served as an inspiration for novels, and as a restaurant since 1978. “De Gouden Reael has

such a rich history,” says head chef and owner Robert Peppelenbos. “Several famous chefs have started their career here and Jan Mens – a successful mid-20th century writer – even wrote a bestseller titled De Gouden Reael.” The cuisine can be best defined as classic French, with a great focus on local produce: think vegetables from local farms and fish from the North Sea. Guests can opt for a sixcourse menu, which includes classics such as lamb shoulder or rotisserie ‘haantje’ (rooster). “We prepare most of our meat rotisserie style,” Peppelenbos continues. “If you make it that way, you’ll retain that pure taste.” The

extensive wine list is a beautiful addition to the menu: exclusive yet accessible wines from all over Europe. Many wines are listed per glass for a friendly price, so a mini-tasting is certainly in order. Although De Gouden Reael is relatively small, guests are anything but crammed. The ambiance reminds us of a cosy, Dutch living room from bygone times - the term ‘old soul’ as used by Peppelenbos is maybe the best way to describe it. Web:

Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  15

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam-West  |  The Ultimate Summer Destination

A haven of culture and hospitality TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: CAFÉ BELCAMPO AND GARY’S DELI

Culture and coffee, books and ballet, music and muffins – all of these can be found at one of Amsterdam’s most unique places. Located in De Hallen Amsterdam – a former tram depot refurbished and reborn as centre for culture, fashion and food - this ‘literary-café’ is physically connected to the city’s public library. Its hallmark is combining cultural events with good food, fresh coffee, and hospitality. The spacious, daylight-immersed interior of Café Belcampo welcomes everyone: from students looking for a place to study, friends having Sunday brunch, to families with kids (there is a kids’ corner). Belcampo comprises a café on the ground floor and an open mezzanine. The menu boasts luxurious sandwiches, pastries, salads and soups. Café Belcampo is helmed by Gary Feingold, who also owns nearby Gary’s Deli: a lunchroom any Amsterdam local will recognise as one of

the first spots in the country to serve homemade baked goods such as muffins, brownies, and bagels - something that has everything to do with Feingold’s American heritage. The menu also includes American pancakes and egg dishes. “When I moved to the Netherlands in 1991 I quickly started to miss parts of my California life, one of them being the fresh type of baked goods,” he enthuses. “Gary’s Deli incorporates that Californian spirit into Amsterdam.” In line with his other endeavours - Feingold owns a dance studio and was a professional dancer himself – Belcampo frequently hosts

cultural events such as dance performances, author’s book presentations, and concerts. “De Hallen is such a unique place. I’m proud to be part of a place that so beautifully combines culture, food and responsible entrepreneurship.” Want to see for yourself? Visit the Canal Festival masterclass at Café Belcampo on 19 August or the dance performance on 26 August.

Photo: Fedde de Weert

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

Moored in the former Wood Harbour of Amsterdam, restaurants Pont 13 and REM Eiland should be on the top of your Amsterdam to-do list. Each with their own charm and history, yet alike in their stunning food and unique location, they prove that all good things in life can be best enjoyed from the water. The striking red-white structure of REM Eiland, towering 22 metres above the IJ river, is the first thing you notice when approaching. Guests must climb the steep metal stairs or take the lift to reach the platform which hosts the restaurant, providing them with a beautiful 360-degree panoramic view over Amsterdam. Equally stunning as the view, is REM’s history. “REM Eiland was built in the 1960s as a pirate television tower, set up by entrepreneurs to avoid the Netherlands’ restrictions on the broadcasting of commercial shows,” explains owner Onno Zwart. The island was transformed into a restaurant years later. 16  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

REM serves French-European dishes for lunch and dinner: fresh seafood, high-quality meat, all topped off with excellent wines. Back on the ground floor, restaurant Pont 13 is located in a former ferry (pont) anno 1927, that once transported passengers over the IJ river. Everything about the restaurant still breathes the romantic post-industrial vibe of this unique piece of heritage. However, Pont 13’s food is definitely not upstaged by its interior. The large charcoal grill enhances the feeling of sturdy excellence, perfectly preparing this season’s delicacies such

as fresh fish or mouthwatering grilled meat. Besides an extensive wine menu, a great focus lies on specialty beers. REM Eiland and Pont 13: rich in history, ambiance and food – do not wait to explore these best-kept secrets of Amsterdam. Looking to sail the Amsterdam canals? Pont 13 also rents out boats.

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam-West  |  The Ultimate Summer Destination


Homemade, fresh and affordable TEXT: JULIËN L’ORTYE  |  PHOTOS: CASA SABATELLI

Imagine that you have been producing pasta as an Apulian family for more than 40 years, including producing for large companies. You are probably doing a great job of making delicious pasta, but perhaps you never get the appreciation you deserve. So, what do you do? Open up a pasta restaurant in beautiful Amsterdam, of course. At least, that is what Claudio Laporta thought when he founded Casa Sabatelli, a new Italian hotspot in the Dutch capital’s Kinkerbuurt: “We wanted to show our product directly to the customer. This side of Amsterdam, with the Foodhallen nearby, is perfect for us to start off.” We hear you thinking: homemade pasta, what is all the fuss about? Well, thanks to the Sabatelli’s extensive experience with pasta, they know exactly which variety of pasta goes with which sauce.

There is more, because of their own pasta production they are able to offer their superb dishes for even more superb prices. Besides that, eating pasta at Casa Sabatelli is ‘both a treat and healthy’, because of their special whole wheat pasta, made from an ancient grain that is grounded in Puglia. Laporta: “This place is like a part of Puglia, right here in Amsterdam. We offer a product of very high quality, paired with traditional knowledge and real passion about what pasta really is.”

At Casa, they have a very clear idea about marketing. Here you will not see any signs outside or high discounts to lure you inside, as Laporta does not think that is necessary. “We believe that all those things will devalue our food; the seats will fill themselves, as everyone that comes in always returns.” With such a highquality, affordable menu, it is not hard to see why. Web:

SIT, VouzDouz, 70x70cm


Quite unorthodox, but true to the arts it represents: the Kallenbach Gallery in Amsterdam shunned the overcrowded city centre and opted for the Schinkel: a raw and upcoming industrial area in the south. A pleasant surprise for Kallenbach’s visitors, an inspiration for the artists who work with the gallery. “I always wanted my own gallery, but to start one, you need a network of like-minded artists and collectors. I’m thrilled we made it happen and love curating the works of art on display,” begins Nanna Kassenaar. “Most of it is new contemporary art and there’s a common denominator for a lot of the artists we work with: they come from the graffiti and street art scene and evolved over time. What attracts me to that particular scene is the sense of rebellion and freedom. They can be schooled or autodidacts, I don’t care as long as their craft shines through their work.”

Kallenbach Gallery is a solid fixture at the international art fairs at Art Basel, Miami, New York. But Kassenaar is also proud of the many exhibitions held at Kallenbach, and singles out Berlin-based artist Jaybo Monk who’s on display at the gallery for the third time. The artist is currently on show with Van Gogh Ate My Dog; an ode to the Dutch master, a duo show with renowned American artist Dave Kinsey. As for upcoming shows: Dutch artist SIT has a solo show coming up in November.

Works by Dave Kinsey. Installation view, Van Gogh Ate My Dog.


Jaybo Monk, Something Without An Inside, Like A Stone, 100x120cm

Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  17

Discover Benelux  |  The Jordaan  |  The Ultimate Summer Destination

A glass to unwind As animated conversations rise from the tables outside, it is easy to spot diVino along the cosy streets of De Jordaan. The wine bar and restaurant is tucked away on a quiet junction, a stone’s throw from Amsterdam’s bustling centre. Here, guests can unwind and enjoy some of Italy’s best food and wine. diVino combines beautiful, top-quality wines with authentic Italian food of the highest level, but at an affordable price. “Guests are welcome to stay the whole night and enjoy our wines, all produced by small, family-run farms in Italy,” says owner Charlotte Bon. Aside from traditional antipasti, diVino also serves main courses, freshly made every day by their Italian chef. “Our best dishes include the hand-rolled ravioli, as well as our meat and cheese platter with some fantastic salamis and cheeses,” explains head of business and daughter Britt. Guests will immediately feel at ease in diVino, as the bright, inviting interior is decorated with beautiful paintings and fresh flowers.


“We combine Dutch cosiness with Italian hospitality to create a personal and warm atmosphere. Our priority is making sure every guest is fully satisfied when they leave.” A special wine that diVino just introduced is the ‘Message in a Bottle’ range of three eco-friendly wines – a chianti, rosé and a red – all made from grapes grown on the singer Sting’s Italian estate. Charlotte explains: “Before inheriting the building from my parents half a year ago, I was a musician and having these wines shows that link.” The bar also offers wine tastings, hosted by diVino’s own qualified vinologist. Located on the Boomstraat, diVino is open daily from 4pm to 11pm.

Owner Charlotte and daughter Britt Bon, head of business.

Stellar steak and salads BLACK and BLUE knows what it does best: serving up superlative steaks and the most delicious salads in Amsterdam. Add a fine wine and laid-back ambiance to that list, and you now understand the continuous praise this charming Jordaan restaurant receives. A tender piece of organic Black Angus steak is grilled above charcoal in BLACK and BLUE’s special Josper grill barbecue oven before it is brought to the table on a rustic looking wooden plank, accompanied by homemade sauce and freshly cut fries. The satisfied look of the guest who ordered it and is sipping his matching wine says enough: BLACK and BLUE equals enjoyment. “BLACK and BLUE means a relaxed evening accompanied by excellent food and beautiful wines,” says restaurant manager Sadie Alferink. “Our personnel play an important role in setting the mood: they make you feel right at home.” All meat served at BLACK and BLUE is organic and of absolute top quality. Alongside classics such as the Black Angus tenderloin 18  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017



and the flat iron stake, the restaurant serves fish courses and delicious desserts (do not leave without trying the Death by Chocolate: chocolate fondant and vanilla ice cream). Also popular is Let’s Surf It, where you can combine your dish with half a lobster. Its friendly ambiance and stunning steaks have gained BLACK and BLUE a beloved reputation in Amsterdam, allowing the restaurant to serve a highly diverse audience. “Do vegetarians visit us? Definitely. We have some delicious vegetarian dishes on the menu!” Web:

Discover Benelux  |  The Jordaan  |  The Ultimate Summer Destination

‘You have to have syrup on your pancake!’ TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: THE PANCAKE BAKERY

“We are doing what we do best,” smiles Bastiaan Schaafsma of the Pancake Bakery. “And that is serving the best pancakes in town, prepared with their own batter and fresh ingredients, in a superb location right here near the Royal Streets in the Jordaan.” This foodie hotspot is situated in a narrow 17th century Dutch East India Company (VOC) warehouse on the Prinsengracht. A lot of the elements from that time, such as the low ceiling with heavy support beams and brick walls, are still there. “When the sun is out, we have a terrace right next to the canal, where you have an amazing view.” In 1980, Bastiaan’s parents bought the restaurant and later he became co-owner. In all its lifetime, the Pancake Bakery has not changed much. And why should it have? The recipe they use is simple: quality, fresh products and excellent service. On the menu you will find more than 75 different pancakes, ranging from a plain one to a pancake with chicken

satay, prawn crackers and lettuce or one with salmon, cream cheese and crème fraîche. All are prepared with fresh daily ingredients and made with the Pancake Bakery’s trademark batter. “My father wanted one which always had the same quality, regardless of which chef was making the pancakes,” Bastiaan explains. “So he created one himself and we still use it today.” “We want families that come in to enjoy themselves and experience our love for pancakes, they are such a typical Dutch treat,” enthuses Bastiaan. “And there is nothing more Dutch than having a pancake with bacon, apple and syrup. You have to have syrup!”


Discover Benelux  |  Antwerp  |  The Perfect Summer Trip

Skyline. Photo: Dave Van Laere


A sparkling summer in the city of diamonds Whether you are into culture, shopping or nightlife, there is plenty to keep you entertained in Antwerp this summer – and beyond. With its world-class museums, designer boutiques and hip foodie scene, not to mention a seemingly endless supply of festivals, Belgium’s second city shines bright. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: VISIT ANTWERPEN

Botanic garden. Photo:

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Discover Benelux  |  Antwerp  |  The Perfect Summer Trip

Antwerp Zoo. Photo: Jonathan Ramael

The capital of cool Antwerp is home to Belgium’s biggest port, and is undoubtedly the country’s capital of cool. From open-air cinema to unmissable exhibitions, there is always something going on in this vibrant city. Attracting everyone from diamond dealers to culture vultures and fashionistas, this stylish destination charms with its quaint cobbled streets and postcardperfect architecture.

Masterpieces galore Antwerp is where world-famous Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens called home, and there are numerous places where you can admire his masterpieces across

the city. Your first port of call should be the Rubenshuis (Rubens House), the artist’s former home and studio which is now a museum.

nounced within minutes of the sale that he would be loaning it to the Rubenshuis, a museum which Bowie himself was said to have adored.

The Bowie connection

Do not miss

Back in June, the Rubenshuis welcomed the iconic altarpiece St Catherine by Jacopo Tintoretto, which had been owned by the late British rock star David Bowie for over 30 years. Bowie, like Rubens, was an immense admirer of the Venetian artist. The work came into the hands of the Rubenshuis following an auction of the musician’s exceptional art collection last November. St Catherine was purchased by a private collector who an-

Other cultural hotspots include the Museum aan de Stroom, known as ‘MAS’, which means ‘Museum at the River’ in Dutch. From the museum’s 60-metrehigh rooftop, you can admire Antwerp in all its glory. Meanwhile, there is the Middelheim Open Air Sculpture Museum, ideal for sunny days in the city, and the Plantin-Moretus Museum, which specialises in the works of 16th century printers Christophe Plantin and Jan Moretus. Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  21

Discover Benelux  |  Antwerp  |  The Perfect Summer Trip

Cycling tour. Photo: Frederik Beyens

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY: Sunday Shopping First Sunday of every month Many shops in Antwerp’s historical city centre open on the first Sunday of every month, with musical performances and pop-up events adding to the festive experience. Shop till you drop in areas such as De Keyserlei, Meir and Wilde Zee, and do not forget the Diamond District! Antwerp Pride 9 - 13 August Antwerp Pride celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, with sporting events, cultural activities and, of course, some major parties. Attractions to look out for include Saturday’s colourful parade and a spectacular closing event in Grote Markt on the Sunday. Centraal Station. Photo:

Start planning your trip to Antwerp at

22  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

Cirque@taque 12 August This hugely popular festival offers a range of top entertainment for children and parents

alike in the stunning setting of Hof de Bist in Ekeren. From bouncy castles to circus acts, clowns and fun concerts, it is the perfect excuse to let your hair down. Bollekesfeest 18 - 20 August Bollekesfeest (Bollekes Festival) began 11 years ago as a culinary festival and has evolved into a contemporary folk festival showcasing local music, produce and traditions. This free event includes performances, tours and walks, not to forget delicious food and drinks. At the centre of the action is the Market Square, Groenplaats and Steenplein. Antwerp City Drops 23 - 24 September For the second time in Antwerp, this exciting festival puts the international urban scene in the spotlight. Dedicated to urban sports, lifestyle and culture, Antwerp City Drops will include workshops, markets, food and music.

Discover Benelux  |  Antwerp  |  Top Food, Drink & Sleep Spots


The name already suggests it: Hotel Diamonds & Pearls is a true treasure. Located on a unique location embodying the century-long cultural and artistic riches of the city, this boutique hotel is the ideal spot for tourists and business visitors who can truly appreciate the good things in life. The beautiful, 1865 townhouse that hosts Hotel Diamonds & Pearls literally lies in the shade of the Cathedral of Our Lady. As equally beautiful as the outside is the interior: the whole hotel radiates luxury and warmth, with a baroque style that can be found anywhere in the hotel. Directly to the right as you enter, the lounge – including fireplace – invites for moments of peace and tranquility. Hotel Diamonds & Pearls is a true boutique hotel, hosting a mere five rooms. “The fact that we are so small-scale allows us to provide a whole different service than people are normally used from hotels,” says Maarten Van Dijck, who together with his partner Abby Akabbal

owns the hotel. “The unmatched luxury and personal approach makes that our guests can truly focus on themselves for once.” Each room has its own identity, yet all boast a beautiful classic style. The Junior Suite is the only room in the whole of Antwerp with a private roof terrace. Visiting with a few friends or two couples? The cottage, which is located at the back of the hotel, serves as an apartment and has a sitting area suited for four. The large sliding doors take you to the green courtyard, where you can sit back and relax outside.

not be too hard here, but do not forget to ask the owners for their recommendations. “We can perfectly estimate what our guests expect of a weekend in Antwerp: what they want to do and what their budget is. That is the beauty of our boutique hotel: we welcome each and every one personally, and make them feel truly at home.”

The ground floor hosts a Moroccan-style outside patio and the breakfast room, which serves breakfast as royal as the hotel itself. There is choice of various hot rolls and croissants, a wide range of charcuterie and cheese, smoked salmon, eggs, fresh fruits and juices. The hotel is located on Pelgrimstraat, the most well-known restaurant street in Antwerp, in the midst of the historic centre. Finding a world-class restaurant will

For more information, visit Diamonds & Pearls has private underground parking.

Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  23

Discover Benelux  |  Antwerp  |  Top Food, Drink & Sleep Spots


Putting the guest at the centre of attention takes quite a literal meaning at U Eat & Sleep Antwerp. This brand new gem on Het Eilandje in Antwerp has brought the experience of sleeping, eating and enjoyment all under one roof, combining design hotel rooms, three different food experiences and the most beautiful sun terrace of the city into one place, where everything is possible. Luxurious yet accessible, cosy yet trendy, international yet Antwerp-worthy: U feels very much unlike anything else in Flanders. Rather than focusing on one element, the hotel turned restaurant (or restaurant turned hotel) provides a full experience of sleeping, eating, relaxing, and even working - depending on one’s expectations. If you were not obliged to go out and explore beautiful Antwerp, you would not want to leave. 24  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

U meet “U-Antwerp puts the focus on ‘you’,” begins co-owner Hans Otten. “U is a place to meet and experience, whether you are on a business trip or honeymoon.” This philosophy is translated into U’s ambiance. Instead of finding yourself in a hotel that happens to host a restaurant (or vice-versa), U excels in all: accessibility, openness and luxury. U is helmed by chef Viki Geunes and media personality Hans Otten. Meeting eight years ago during the recordings of the TV programme Het Hotel Westende their friendship has evolved from exclusively private to professional as well, with U as the result of their mutual dream and vision. “Both Viki and me – Viki as a culinary expert and myself as a TV presenter – frequently travel to other countries. We both have had a sufficient taste of other countries and therefore noticed what Flanders

was missing in terms of hospitality. In international cities such as London, New York and Barcelona there is a strong focus on hotels and restaurants that provide one full experience, rather than focusing on one strength.”

Discover Benelux  |  Antwerp  |  Top Food, Drink & Sleep Spots

U eat All three food experiences are in the hands of Viki Geunes, two-star Michelin chef and owner of renowned two-star restaurant ‘t Zilte in Antwerp. Restaurant ‘t Zilte, located on the ninth floor of the MAS (Museum aan de Stroom) and a mere 100 metres from U Eat, is the haute couture kitchen of Geunes. At U Eat, you can enjoy the ‘pret à porter’ version via two different experiences from the same chef. Taking the culinary philosophy of ‘flavours of the world’ at heart, Geunes presents trendy cuisine full of contemporary flavours at U Eat. “I wanted to offer a completely different style of cooking than at restaurant ‘t Zilte,” he says. “Throughout the years, I’ve had the opportunity to cook all over the world. That’s a great way to discover the best and most surprising dishes and ingredients in every country. I want to use that expertise in the restaurant of U.”

Facilities such as the large walk-in shower and extensive digital TV are present in all rooms, while the Luxury option hosts a complete private wellness experience. Like the rest of U, the hotel rooms all boast the same natural colours that exude tranquility and urbanity, making you feel right at home from the moment you step in. The beautiful historic aspects of the historic building seem to come back in U’s interior, with the shapes of the large round windows being translated to the hotel rooms. “The original character of the 1820 building is maintained as much as possible,” Otten continues. “We have translated the characteristic forms of the building to every aspect of U, from the lounge to the hotel rooms. Also, due to the old mapping of the building, every room has its unique character and layout. The rooms

roughly follow the same style, yet none of them are exactly similar.” Are you dining in ‘t Zilte, yet still want to experience U’s hotel? Good news: there are hotel rooms available for those dining in the two-star Michelin restaurant.

U enjoy Although it seems tempting to stay in, one of U’s treasures is its location. Located in the newest area of the city, U looks over the MAS and is close to the city’s beautiful historic centre. “Antwerp is a warm city,” Otten concludes. “The city is alive from early morning to late in the night. It has a relatively small surface, yet has all the ingredients for a world city.” Web:

Food and drinks are provided all day: from an evening-filling dinner in the Resto, dynamic bites in the Foodbar, or an aperitif in the Lounge. The breakfast is to be enjoyed on the sun terrace, with the stunning view of the Island, the marine and the MAS providing you with the best possible start to the day.

U sleep The 15 hotel rooms are what dreams are made of. U-Antwerp has three types of luxurious rooms: Cosy, Charming, and Luxury.

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Discover Benelux  |  Antwerp  |  Top Food, Drink & Sleep Spots

Nearly 30 years of culinary tradition TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: AF-FOTOGRAFIE, HUIS DE COLVENIER

In the very heart of Antwerp, Restaurant Huis De Colvenier has long served much more than its classic French menu: head chef Patrick Vanherck takes his guests on a journey of culinary goodness, wine, and hospitality. It is something you notice straight upon entering: Huis De Colvenier is not your regular restaurant. Every guest is personally received by owner and head chef Vanherck, after which they are invited into the kitchen to take a sneak peek inside the pots and pans. With heavenly scents still in mind, guests are then taken downstairs into the majestic wine cellar and bar. You can literally get lost in the underground labyrinth of paths and alcoves, allowing you to truly discover more than 20,000 bottles of wine. You enjoy your aperitif in their midst, surrounded by wines from every corner of the world. On to your table, which may be set in a fresco-immersed dining room or the green garden. Prefer a more classical setting? The re-

naissance rooms boasting ornate chandeliers and a stately fireplace transport you to bygone times. The menu displays classic and traditional French-Belgian dishes, with delicacies such as langoustines, foie gras, and lamb as the house staples. Huis De Colvenier often serves as a backdrop for events of all sorts. The menu can be fully tailored to individual preferences, and the festivities take place in the most beautiful setting possible: the candlelit, cosy cellar. The best part is, after your delicious dinner or glass of wine in the cellar, you do not have to head home: you can complete a perfect evening of wining and dining by spending the night in a beautiful hotel room in Huis De Colvenier.

Your home away from home Bed Star Line B&B proves that there is actually a place like home. Located in the beautiful historic part of Antwerp, this monumental bed and breakfast is the ideal starting point to explore the city – and a cosy spot to come home to after a long day of sightseeing. The goodness begins upon arrival: hostess Lisa welcomes all guests with a cold glass of Cava and is ready to reveal the best inside tips for your weekend in Antwerp. Bed Star Line B&B boasts one suite (De Suite) and one Deluxe Apartment, both facilitated with every possible comfort including king-size beds and Wi-Fi. Want to fix yourself a quick dinner? You can in the communal space, which also hosts a charming living room. The historical elements throughout the whole building reflect the B&B’s interesting and rich past. “The building is nearly 500 years old,” owner Jacques Geense explains. “The house is protected by the government, and on the same street you will find the only remaining wooden house in Antwerp.” The B&B is located in the former Red Light District of Antwerp – there are 26  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

RESTAURANT AND HOTEL HUIS DE COLVENIER Facebook: huisdecolvenier For reservations: or 0032 (0)477232650 Address: Sint-Antoniusstraat,6/8, 2000 Antwerpen


rumours it even served as a brothel in the 17th century. Bed Star Line serves as a perfect base to discover all the touristic highlights, with the MAS, the main shopping area and the City Hall just a stone’s throw away. Jacques and Lisa know Antwerp like the back of their hands and can tell you all about the ins and outs of the city. “Small boutiques, Jazz on Monday night, worldclass restaurants; there is always something to do in Antwerp,” Geense concludes. Bed Star Line can provide guests with free rental bikes during their stay.

Discover Benelux  |  Antwerp  |  Top Food, Drink & Sleep Spots

Fish and chips in a new and sustainable way TEXT: HEIDI KOKBORG  |  PHOTOS: BIA MARA

What started as a market store in 2011 that sold fish and chips in Dublin, is today a well-established café with locations in London, Brussels and Antwerp. Bia Mara serves fish and chips like you have never had before – and always in a sustainable way. Bia Mara is a fish and chips concept that was born on the streets of Dublin six years ago. “We thought to start using fish with a milder taste so we really started experimenting a lot with our fish and chips,” says Marco Ferracuti, general manager at Bia Mara. Bia Mara quickly became very popular, and in 2012 they opened in Brussels. Today, they have locations in Antwerp and London as well, and they are opening their second store in Brussels in September.

fish and chips. “We really like to play around. We use a homemade seaweed salt for our fries and we double cook them. These are not normal French fries,” tells Marco. At Bia Mara, they also care a great deal about the environment. “Sustainability is very important to us. We only use seasonal and local fish, which also means you cannot always order the same fish at our place in London as you can in Brussels. It all depends on what is in season, and what we can get locally.”

Web: Facebook: BiaMaraAntwerp Instagram: biamarabelgium Twitter: @BiaMaraBrussels

Seaweed salted fries Today, Bia Mara has created 60 recipes for fish and chips – and they are not your regular

French-Japanese cuisine at its finest TEXT: CATHY VAN KLAVEREN  |  PHOTOS: ROJI

Looking for a great place to eat in Antwerp? There are many good restaurants, but finding one combining delicious FrenchJapanese cuisine with great aesthetics and superb service could be quite a challenge. That is, until you discover Roji. Situated at the Oude Koornmarkt, near the Cathedral of Our Lady, Roji combines French cuisine with the umami-centred flavours of the Japanese kitchen. Owner Gunter Landuyt had the idea a few years ago when Axel Vervoordt contacted him about the premises, which were built back in the 13th century. “I decided

pretty quickly I wanted to open a restaurant in the building. However, I only wanted to start this adventure if we did something revolutionary. Something new.” Gunter and the team took a trip abroad and quickly settled on a fusion concept. They decided to marry the outspoken and flavourful ingredients used in Japanese cuisine and the delicate tastes of French cooking. Think black cod, dressed up with pickled lemons and matcha, a Japanese green tea powder. Or a variety of artisanal sushi: rolls, nigiri and maki, made with only the freshest and best ingredients.

The kitchen is spearheaded by chef Bodi de Munck and also serves the highly coveted Kobe beef: Roji’s beef comes from the land of the rising sun itself. But it is not just about the ingredients. “People come for great food, good service and the finest wine, saké or Japanese-French cocktails, as well as that Zen experience. Here at Roji, we put the emphasis on both food and service,” smiles Gunter. “It’s the little details that make big things happen.” Web:

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Discover Benelux  |  Antwerp  |  Top Art & Culture Spots



The M HKA - the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp embodies Antwerp’s rich cultural past and present. Showcasing contemporary art, film and visual culture in its widest sense, the museum has been playing a leading role in the art scene in Flanders and beyond by building on Antwerp’s avant-garde tradition for over three decades. Since April, the M HKA has opened a permanent, freeto-visit collection exhibition presenting iconic masterpieces from Flemish and international artists. The M HKA bridges the relationship between artistic questions and wider societal issues, between the international and the regional, artists and public, tradition and innovation, reflection and presentation. 28  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

More than a mere museum, the M HKA is rather an institution for and by the Flemish community, having at heart the mission of collecting, showing and protecting the contemporary arts. Boasting a diverse collection of over 5,000 works from artists from every corner of the world, the museum takes pride in an increasingly international profile and experimental vision.

An institution of art Before the M HKA opened its doors in 1987, the Internationaal Cultureel Centrum (ICC) lay the groundwork for the institution’s leading position within the Flemish community. Established by the Ministry of Dutch Culture in 1970, the ICC quickly evolved into a dynamic meeting place for art and audiences. “At that time, there

was no museum for contemporary art,” says Bert De Vlegelaer, press executive at the M HKA. “The ICC in its initial period can be seen as the immediate precursor of M HKA. Many artists donated their works to the ICC, as it was the ideal place to keep, protect and display their work.” It was in 1977 when ICC’s director Flor Bex invited American artist Gordon MattaClark for an exhibition at the centre. In honour of the 400th anniversary of the Antwerp Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens, the artist called this work Office Baroque. Shortly after Matta-Clark’s death in 1978, Bex suggested to preserve Office Baroque as an homage to the artist and to integrate it as a core of the new museum for contemporary art. This idea was

Discover Benelux  |  Antwerp  |  Top Art & Culture Spots

well received and, in 1982, the Flemish community decided to found M HKA. Although the inheritance of the ICC formed an essential starting point for the museum’s vision and policy, the appointment of current director Bart De Baere came with a gradual shift from mainly western-orientated art to a broader international perspective and a reduced emphasis on Belgian artists. Currently, the museum shines a bright light on artists from Asia, Russia and Eurasia, yet Belgian art continues to occupy an important place that is more pronounced and part of a larger whole.

Leading the way By presenting a permanent collection that is free to visit for the public, M HKA once more proves its position as a pioneer of the Flemish artistic landscape. “Our previous nature of exclusively hosting temporary exhibitions sometimes raised questions about where visitors could find specific art-

ists,” De Vlegelaer continues. “We decided to open up a collection that is always available to everyone – for free. The collection comprises of iconic works from 25 different Flemish and international artists, that well reflect the DNA of our entire collection.” M HKA’s collection starts with the postwar avant-garde in Antwerp and Flanders, and uses this epoch as a starting point to gain understanding of the multi-polar world of today and the future. The collection includes more than 5,000 works, with big names like Kutlu Ataman, Francis Alÿs, Marlene Dumas and Jan Fabre; and objects, including a series of Polaroids by Luc Tuymans. Over the last few years, several ensembles have been purchased, including works by Sergey Bratkov, Jimmie Durham and Wilhelm Sasnal. Artworks from places where contemporary art is much less known are purchased as well, for example works by the Egyptian Amal Kenawy or by Indian artist NS Harsha. M HKA also possesses the Vri-

elynck Collection, a collection of precinema objects and film hardware of international importance.

Back to the future Making waves this summer is A Temporary Futures Institutes, the temporary exhibition combining visual displays by professional futurists with works by contemporary artists, to see what these two contexts might have in common – and how they might question each other. “This exhibition is where science and art meet,” De Vlegelaer concludes. “It wants us to think critically about things to come rather than looking back at how previous periods imagined our future. Naturally that can be different to everyone – no one imagines the future in the exact same way.” Curious to know more? A Temporary Futures Institute runs until 17 September at M HKA. For more information, please visit

Jan Fabre collection.

Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  29

Discover Benelux  |  Antwerp  |  Top Art & Culture Spots

Our steps were measured and calm (2017).

This is how we remember you Robert (2017).


Artist’s film-like work contains a universe in a single frame TEXT: SALLY TIPPER  |  PHOTOS: COURTESY TIM VAN LAERE GALLERY, ANTWERP

Antwerp has a proud tradition of art. Peter Paul Rubens called it home in the 17th century, and the city continues to exert a pull on artists today. One of them is Rinus Van de Velde, whose large-scale charcoal drawings can be seen at the Tim Van Laere Gallery this autumn. Van de Velde describes his drawings as one-shot movies, single pictures that tell a whole episode of a fictional life. “Everything plays out in sets that I make in my atelier, creating a fictional environment in which real things happen,” he explains. “This tension between fiction and reality is an important theme in my work.” The artist, who studied sculpture before turning to drawing, draws on his training to create sets in his workshop using a variety of media. He lights and photographs them, and the resulting images are the starting point for his works. “I consider making 30  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

these environments to be sculpture,” he says. “In my exhibition I show these objects, people and artefacts as component parts of a whole installation. Along with the drawings, they make up my universe.” Antwerp has always had a great attraction for artists, Van de Velde points out, thanks to its role in art history throughout the centuries. Important places in the city are graced with statues of artists instead of notable politicians, and numerous contemporary artists live and work there. He will be exhibiting in September and October at the city’s Tim Van Laere Gallery, a place with which he has a very close relationship. “Tim Van Laere is an artist’s gallerist, and the gallery is a special place in Antwerp. It’s where artists come together and explore what’s going on in contemporary art,” he says. “The artist always comes first, and he’s created a community whose diversity and energy are always tangible.”

People should not be shy visiting a gallery, he believes, regardless of what they know about contemporary art. “You can go in any time and look at an exhibition in peace, stay as long as you want and ask for explanations or not, as you like,” he says. “At the Tim Van Laere Gallery, there’s a real openness and generosity towards the public. If you’re curious, just go in – there’s a whole world to discover.” Web: Rinus Van de Velde (left) and Tim Van Laere.

Discover Benelux  |  Antwerp  |  Top Art & Culture Spots

An adventure of art Get swept away at De Reede: one of the few museums in the world exclusively dedicated to graphic art and works on paper. Shining a bright light on the works of masters Francisco Goya, Félicien Rops and Edvard Munch, this intimate Antwerp museum takes you on an adventure through this unique and undiscovered form of art. “People often don’t know much about graphic art,” begins Harry Rutten, initiator of the project. “It is often thought that graphic works are mass-produced, yet they are anything but. Graphic artists are extremely precise and skilled. Each work is unique.” After a complete renovation, Museum De Reede celebrated its opening in June 2017. Museum De Reede joins a very limited group of (inter)national organisations that have made graphic art their specialism. Its collection comprises works on paper: lithographs, engravings, etchings, wood prints and drawings from more than a dozen artists from seven countries. Works date back to the 17th - 21st


century. The museum mainly concentrates on the work of three masters: Francisco Goya, Félicien Rops and Edvard Munch. Being recognised as main critical observers of their times, De Reede places their work in dialogue with contemporary social and cultural expressions. De Reede is unique in presenting its entire collection to the public without any restrictions. “Literally everything hangs on the wall,” Rutten enthuses. The Antwerp location for the museum is no coincidence: not only is the city an intersection of the north-south axis, it is also a contemporary centre of culture and has been honouring the art of printmaking for centuries.


On the Waves of Love, Edvard Munch.

Pornocrates, Félicien Rops.

W inc kel weg 17a, N uns peet 0341 - 25 05 60 www.noord-v el uws -mus

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Sallie Harmsen Kensington

32  |  Issue 44  43  |  August July 2017 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Sallie Harmsen


The actress talks art and life Since her breakthrough role in the 2008 drama Het echte leven (In Real Life), Sallie Harmsen has established herself as one of the most in-demand stars of stage and screen in her native Netherlands. An international career is also beckoning: eagle-eyed fans may have spotted Harmsen alongside Ryan Gosling and fellow Dutch actress Sylvia Hoeks in the trailer for the upcoming Blade Runner sequel. From art house cinema to Hollywood blockbusters via television dramas and classical theatre, it seems versatility is the Amsterdam-born star’s middle name. But that is not all: Harmsen is also a talented artist, who can be usually be found painting or drawing in her own studio whenever she is off stage. We caught up with the 28-year-old during some of her rare downtime to discuss art, life and movies. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: JANEY VAN IERLAND, STYLING: PASCALLE KOLDENHOF, HAIR & MAKE-UP: ELLEN VAN EXTER FOR FAAS COSMETICS

As an alumna of the prestigious Maastricht Theatre Academy, Harmsen divides her time between cinema, television and, of course, treading the boards. But art plays a huge role in the actress’s life too. “I always work,” she admits. “When I’m not working on a movie or in a theatre I’ll be in my workshop painting and drawing. “I think I’m always busy with the arts because I don’t know anything else to do. I can’t relax like sitting drinking a cocktail; things are in my mind all the time. Sometimes it’s very frustrating, but when you can let it out it’s nice.”

Passion for painting Harmsen describes her paintings and illustrations, which blend realism with surrealism, as “reflecting the absurdity of the everyday and the ambiguous feelings caused by being alive”. She is not a trained artist, but has been creating all her life. “I’ve been drawing and painting since I was a tiny little kid. I just never stopped doing it. It’s always been my second passion,” she enthuses. Eventually, Harmsen opted for drama school rather than art college. Now, she combines her two greatest passions in life: “It’s really nice to play between the two [acting and art] because it gives me a lot of peace of mind.”

Could she ever see herself quitting performing and focussing on her art full time? “I love acting, I don’t want to live without it!” is her immediate response. “I think I’m just gonna do both. I have no choice, it just comes naturally.”

Powerful performances Appearing on stage comprises a large chunk of Harmsen’s roles, and she is a regular at The National Theatre in The Hague, one of the Netherlands’ leading performing arts companies. Earlier this year, she portrayed French national heroine Joan of Arc in Theu Boermans’ reworking of the famous story of a peasant girl leading the French army against the English during the Hundred Years’ War. ‘Sallie Harmsen plays perfectly and with unprecedented strength,’ wrote the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. How did Harmsen feel taking on such an iconic character? “It was very intense,” she recalls. “She’s a very intriguing character. “It’s a very old play and the funny thing is, if you look at it very closely, she is a timeless character. It was very relevant, especially with young kids becoming fundamentalists. In my view, she is definitely a fundamentalist. To dig into a character like that and understand where it comes

from; that’s what I want to show the public as well.” Harmsen has taken on a wide range of complex female roles in the past, ranging from the dangerously ambitious law school graduate Judith Jansen in Paula van der Oest’s 2014 drama Lucia de B. (Accused) to lead female character Kim in television series Catch, which was inspired by two real-life lovers dubbed the Dutch Bonnie and Clyde. “Sometimes you have a little period where you think ‘ah there’s nothing, I feel bored. There’s nothing I can really chew on’. Then this new person comes up and drops a screenplay and the whole world is upside down and everybody is trying different things again,” she says on the subject of selecting parts.

Escapism on stage One thing is for sure, Harmsen loves to get her teeth into a gritty role. Although she accepts that there is a celebrity element to her career, she does not court fame. “Actually, it sounds weird maybe, but naturally I’m not as outgoing as you would imagine an actress to be. It’s just something I have to do. I feel very comfortable when I’m on stage or on set - but all the Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  33

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Sallie Harmsen Starring as the lead in Joan of Arc at The National Theatre in The Hague.

Artworks by Sallie Harmsen.

things around it, I don’t know, I prefer to dive into a character rather than be myself in public actually. I think it’s way more interesting. I don’t really think me alone is the interesting part. The interesting part is the characters.” Some more compelling parts coming up later this year for Harmsen include lead roles in theatrical productions including Shakespeare’s Othello and an adaptation of the Greek tragedy Iphigenia. Also on the horizon is more work outside the Netherlands. “I would love to work abroad more. I would love to work in different languages; with English directors, and French, American….,” she muses. “That’s actually what I want to do: travel more and work abroad.”

Hollywood star Harmsen has already made a name for herself in the States, and this October will hit cinema screens across the globe in French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve’s eagerly anticipated Blade Runner sequel, Blade Runner 2049. The movie is set 30 years after the events of the first film, 34  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

and sees a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearth a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge the remnants of society into chaos. “That was very special,” beams the actress. “Denis Villeneuve is one of my favourite directors and he has been for a long time. I’ve seen everything he has made: from his student movies to his latest ones. It was a dream come true to work with him. In my eyes, he’s a maestro. And the same for [cinematographer] Roger Deakins. “I’m a huge fan of these guys so working with them was paradise. They have such high standards and are very relaxed and humble people actually – but they are great minds. I was extremely inspired. I felt really, really happy.” How did Harmsen’s Hollywood experience compare to making movies in Europe? “Obviously the budget is the biggest difference. If you work on, like, an arthouse European movie, the budget is different

than when you do a blockbuster like Blade Runner,” she replies. “Of course, people have more time, they have more money for the decor, for everything. You have a lot of time and that just gives everybody a lot of peace of mind and you work very carefully each scene.”

Broadening her horizons Despite speaking passionately about her Blade Runner experience, Harmsen is eager to point out that she has never been particularly ambitious about ‘making it in Hollywood’. For her, the future should be about collaborating with motivating individuals, who could be on the continent or further afield. “I just want to make beautiful projects with people that I admire and with people that inspire me. It doesn’t matter where they live or where they come from or where they work. I mean, it’s not even about how big the budget is,” she explains. “I just want to work with great minds and I want to make my horizon as broad as possible: to find people that inspire me and who I can inspire.”

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Sallie Harmsen

Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  35


Discover your Amsterdam Just outside of the city centre, the northern, eastern and south-eastern parts of Amsterdam are the perfect spots for anyone wishing to escape the swarming city crowds. Blend in with the locals in the industrial and creative hub that is Amsterdam Noord and its surrounding waterfront, go vintage shopping in Amsterdam Oost, or get lost in the cultural melting pot of Amsterdam Zuidoost. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: AMSTERDAM MARKETING & NBTC

Tropenmuseum. Photo: Jakob van Vliet & Rob van Esch

36  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam Noord, Amsterdam Oost & Amsterdam Zuidoost Highlights

Pllek. Photo: Marie-Charlotte Pezé

Amsterdam Noord Read more from page 40 Laid back waterside hangouts, interesting industrial street art, creative start-ups: Amsterdam Noord is booming for a reason. Although just a short and free ferry trip away, the northern part of the city has a very different vibe than the nearby city centre, boasting vast green expanses alongside charming little villages, all combined with industrial-looking areas with beautiful terraces and fine restaurants and cafés. The adjacent NDSM Wharf – a former shipyard – is an extension of Amsterdam Noord and located on the banks of the River IJ. It has grown into an enormously popular cultural hotspot in recent years by being the backdrop for cool festivals and cultural initiatives such as openair cinemas and food truck festivals. If you are looking to get away from the tourist crowds and have a cold drink among the locals while overlooking the scenic IJ River, head north.

Café De Ceuvel. Photo: Studio Valkenier

Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  37

Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam Noord, Amsterdam Oost & Amsterdam Zuidoost Highlights

Amsterdam ArenA. Photo: Jorrit Lousberg

Photo: Merijn Roubroeks

Amsterdam Oost Read more from page 45 Middle Eastern lunchrooms next to cocktail bars, pop-up concept stores next to world-class restaurants: Amsterdam’s East End is a dynamic mix of diverse places and faces. With its wide streets boasting beautiful 19th century buildings, Amsterdam Oost is remarkably green and boasts a disproportional amount of cultural sights and activities. The area is home to the majestic Tropenmuseum, which in 1871 was the first colonial museum in the world. Do not skip the Dapperbuurt with 38  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

Photo: Darryl Adelaar

its famous Dappermarkt, where bargain shoppers will feel right at home. Looking for some peace and tranquility? Venture somewhat more east for the beautiful green Oosterpark – the first major park built by the city of Amsterdam in 1891.

Amsterdam Zuidoost Read more on page 51 Amsterdam Zuidoost is a vibrant cultural melting pot, with residents from more than 150 ethnic backgrounds. The area is often unrightfully overlooked by tourists,

something that definitely contributes to the authentic feeling of the neighbourhood. Alongside hosting the big residential area De Bijlmer, which was built in the 1960s and ‘70s, Amsterdam Zuidoost also offers a world of entertainment. Famous sports and entertainment venues such as the Amsterdam ArenA (the home of football club Ajax), the Heineken Music Hall and the Ziggo Dome are based in Zuidoost, just like the largest cinema of Amsterdam. If you had enough of the city’s narrow and crowded streets and prefer to meet the real locals, Amsterdam Zuidoost is where to go.

Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam Noord, Amsterdam Oost & Amsterdam Zuidoost Highlights

Over het IJ festival. Photo: Saris & den Engelsman

DO NOT MISS: IJ-Hallen – Bargain hunters and shopping lovers unite: IJ-Hallen is Europe’s largest flea market, set on the NDSM Wharf near the IJ River. The market is held one weekend per month and sells almost everything: from second-hand clothes, shoes, antiquities, jewellery, books, and even furniture. 12 – 13 August Gaasperplas – The best part about escaping the city centre? The green spaces. This artificial lake in Amsterdam Zuidoost serves as a recreational area and nature reserve that is made for summer picnics. With more than five kilometres of paths, you can explore the park by foot, bicycle or horseback. Dappermarkt – This market is the place to do some very inexpensive shopping, with most products selling for just a few euros. With 250 stands and 160 merchants, Dappermarkt sells everything from clothes,

shoes, jewellery, to (exotic) foods and flowers. Although the market is one of the busiest in the city, the relaxed atmosphere has not changed over the past years, and you will find mainly locals here. Tropenmuseum – Hosted in a beautiful majestic building overlooking Amsterdam’s Oosterpark, this museum tells stories about universal human themes like celebration, prayer and conflict. It has interesting exhibitions all year round: the musical exhibition The Rhythm & Roots will be on until 7 January 2018. PLLEK – One of the many trendy hangouts on Amsterdam Noord. PLLEK is a restaurant and bar built of used shipping containers and exudes the feeling of a beach holiday. On warm summer days, PLLEK feels like a mini summer party, thanks to its beautiful ambiance and cool vibe. To get there, take the ferry from Centraal Station.

Photo: Merijn Roubroeks

For more tips on what is on in Amsterdam, check

Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  39

Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam Noord Highlights

An oasis of peace in a vibrant city TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: AMSTERZONIAN

Could there be anything better than enjoying all the energy of Amsterdam from a green, rural location, just a stone’s throw away from the beautiful Dutch countryside? If you are searching for such a place, then you have to stay at Amsterzonian Bed & Breakfast in North Amsterdam. Fred Dwarshuis, who runs Amsterzonian, welcomes you into his eco-friendly B&B by literally raising your country’s flag. “It is an extra way of saying: ‘Welcome!’ and is really appreciated by our guests,” he smiles. Upon arrival, Dwarshuis, accompanied by multiple maps and brochures, takes the time to introduce you to the city centre and 40  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

its surrounding countryside, both of which are really close by.

Top-notch accommodation Amsterzonian has two charming accommodations available to rent and both are suitable for two people. One is on the second floor of the house: a twin room with a balcony and garden view. Meanwhile, in the back water garden, which is home to more than 250 plant species and water fauna, you will find the luxurious garden house. This boasts its own private access to the street and a waterfront terrace. Both rooms are top notch and have their own kitchenette and private bathroom. The refrigerator is fully stocked with organic and vegetarian products, so you can

make your own breakfast every morning. “Guests come here to unwind, they do not want to be bound by having breakfast at a set time. That is why we ensure they have everything they need, so they can make it themselves,” adds Dwarshuis.

City and countryside Amsterzonian’s location is one of its greatest assets. Guests get the best of both worlds: they are close to the city as well as to the beautiful countryside of Noord-Holland province. Quality bicycles are available for free and in just ten minutes you can be at the vibrant NDSM Wharf. From there you can take a free ferry to the city centre. Or you can take the bus, which runs all day and

Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam Noord Highlights

night, and stops at the bus terminal, which is a two-minute walk away. From that same bus terminal, you can get to Schiphol Airport in less than 40 minutes.

Het Twiske At the end of the street you run into the river Twiske and five minutes later a polder mill welcomes you to the 630hectare recreational area Het Twiske. With lakes and beaches, it is an El dorado for water sports. There, you can also enjoy swimming, hiking, biking, running, canoeing and horse riding. Then comes the Ilperveld Bird Reserve, where you can observe birds from whispering boats. “You can set off with the kayak – also complimentary – on the creek behind Amsterzonian, or ride a bicycle along one of the many routes that run through Het Twiske and into Waterland.”

Waterland Immediately north of Amsterdam you will find Waterland, a magnificent area where open peat meadows alternate with historical villages and towns. Admire colourful wooden houses and traditional Dutch farm houses. There are many bicycle paths and routes, as well as countless walking routes.

De Zaanse Schans Only a 14-kilometre bicycle ride away is De Zaanse Schans, one of the greatest treasures of the Netherlands. For centuries, the historic Dutch mills here have used wind power to make authentic products. Up until the Age of Steam (the English industrial revolution), the Zaan region was home to approximately 600 windmills, which harnessed the wind power to produce massive amounts of flour, cocoa, spices and paint, as well as

to saw wood and press oil. This helped the region become a major economic player within Europe.

Excellent facilities In addition to its prime location and charming accommodation, Amsterzonian offers all necessary amenities to ensure a smooth stay. “Since our accommodations have five-star facilities and a super fast internet connection, Amsterzonian is also a very good location for business travellers. They can work if needed and relax after a hard day’s work, or a busy day in the city,” concludes Dwarshuis. After all, this is what Amsterzonian is all about: taking in both the bustling city and the peaceful nature that surrounds it. AMSTERZONIAN B&B Jacob Honigstraat 7 1035 XV Amsterdam, The Netherlands Tel: + 31 20 7791262 Mobile: + 31 648372552 (Fred Dwarshuis) Email: Web:

Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  41

Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam Noord Highlights


Standing proudly against the industrial backdrop of the NDSM Wharf, the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Amsterdam is the embodiment of the urban-chic, creative surroundings it finds itself in. Boasting rooms with a boutique-style interior and an all-round stunning view over River IJ, the striking hotel lets you escape the tourist crowds and sleep like a true local.

feel. The hotel counts 88 rooms that combine historical features with every modern comfort: think rain showers, plush beds and LED TV. Boasting a large versatile meeting room, a complimentary 24-hour business centre and the latest A/V technology, DoubleTree is the ideal venue for a variety of business and leisure events for up to 100 people.

It is a very different sight than the rest of Amsterdam: the NDSM Wharf. Located on the banks of River IJ in Amsterdam Noord just a free ferry ride away from Central Station – this former shipyard has blossomed into an inspiring haven for locals, people on business and tourists wishing to escape the city bustle to more authentic grounds. From food festivals to open-air cinemas to conferences, the NDSM Warf draws an interesting crowd.

To allow guests to enjoy the unique surroundings as much as possible, many rooms are built with waterfront views, while others host an interior that is designed by local street artists. “Next summer the biggest street art museum in the world will open its doors on the NDSM Wharf,” says hotel manager Rob Veeger. “We therefore asked some of the exhibitors to design the hotel rooms and 24-hour fitness centre completely in street art style, translating our surroundings to our interior.”

The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel is an extension of the aforementioned. Having secured its unique location in March 2014, the city hotel takes pride in combining hospitable luxury with a contemporary, urban

Your day of sightseeing or business can be concluded in the best way possible at the adjacent Restaurant Brooklyn. The classic French-Mediterranean menu mixes beautifully with the dynamic atmosphere,

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while the completely open kitchen invites for sneak peeks in the kitchen’s hustle and bustle. “Where you would normally just communicate with the waiters, Brooklyn invites guests to interact with the chefs – which creates an ambiance of openness and accessibility,” Veeger concludes. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Amsterdam and Restaurant Brooklyn: perfectly blending in with their environment, yet standing out in a very unique way.

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Amsterdam NDSM Wharf offers on-site parking. nederland/doubletree-by-hilton-hotelamsterdam-ndsm-wharf

Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam Noord Highlights


A true neighbourhood café TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: CAFÉ ‘T SLUISJE

On the top of the Nieuwendammer Harbour in North Amsterdam, at the lock, you will find Café ‘t Sluisje. It has been there for over a century, and has been a vital part of the community. So much so, that the neighbours have recently bought it. “It is the most beautiful location, not just in the north, but in all of Amsterdam,” says Maaike van Zomeren, who runs this authentic brown café. A while ago, the building came up for sale and more than 80 residents raised the money to secure a loan and purchase ‘t Sluisje - they were afraid of it being converted to a house. “I worked here in the past, so they asked me to run it,” explains Van Zomeren. “Every day when I come here, I think: ‘Wow, what an awesome location!’”

The decor includes plenty of fascinating memorabilia from the past. Guests at this cosy brown café can enjoy a drink and good food. “Whether it is lunch or dinner, there is always something for everyone,” adds Van Zomeren. “Most people come here to relax, have a drink and savour the view of the harbour. We have a big terrace, divided in two sections. The lower section is right by the water, where people can tie up their boats. The upper section is at the old lock, which is operated by hand.” Out on the terrace you will find all kinds of people, from regular guests to tourists and cyclists, since ‘t Sluisje is next to four different bicycle routes. “They all enjoy the view and the drinks, as well as the best apple pie in town!” smiles Van Zomeren.


Perfect seafood on the IJ riverbanks TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: RESTAURANT STORK

On the north bank of the IJ-river, you will find not only superlative views over the water and the city centre, you will also find the best fish and seafood restaurant in Amsterdam. “Our whole served fish dishes are true masterpieces in their simplicity,” tells Hanne Blom, who owns restaurant Stork with her husband Erik Buunk. At restaurant Stork, you can enjoy a variety of gourmet seafood dishes, such as the classic ‘fruits de mer’ and whole served fish of the season, which are caught daily and displayed in the fish tanks. In the open kitchen, all dishes are freshly prepared and filleted when desired. “One of our favourites is the Stork Plateau, which comprises a selection of fish, crustaceans and shellfish,” elaborates Blom. In the lobster tank, you will find the best lobsters that are prepared on the spot. Restaurant Stork is situated in an old industrial loft, part of the former Stork factory, where

they produced machines for the food industry. “We kept a lot of the details from the old factory,” continues Blom. “We only added in enormous windows to let the light in.” The restaurant’s amazing terrace also reflects parts of the former factory. “We have kept the metal framework of an old annex, which gives the terrace that little bit extra. With the new pavement paintings on the terrace by Favela Paintings, we have added even more colour.” In the summer, when all the boats and ships pass right alongside, the terrace gives you a true holiday feeling, in the heart of the busy city

centre. “Along with our superb plates, it is one of the greatest places in Amsterdam North to enjoy good food and brilliant views.” Web:

Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  43

Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam Noord Highlights


A place that feels like home Whatever their walk of life, everyone is welcome at Café ONS. Whether you are a local ‘from the North’ or a tourist visiting Amsterdam, you will feel at home at Café ONS on the Buiksloterweg, just a five-minute walk from the city centre. This small and cosy café has the vibe of an Ibiza-style lounge bar. The founders are Cher, her husband and daughter. Their mission is to provide a home-like feeling for everyone. This local spot, Café ONS, can be found just a small walk from the ferry. You can recognise it by its covered garden, where you can enjoy one of the local beers or a top-notch gin and tonic. “At night we fire up the old wood stove. With the heated garden, people just want to stay and relax,” says Cher. “That’s what it’s all about.” At Café ONS, making the most of your day and feeling chilled is the aim. You can lounge as long as you feel: start your day with breakfast, get some work done and enjoy a drink.

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“We have a no-nonsense menu, made with fresh produce - and love.” All dishes offer something different. The ‘wannabe pizza’ is a richly prepared falafel that looks like a pizza with a twist. In the mood for sharing? Try the ONS platter, with hot and cold nibbles. When it comes to sweets, guests love the strawberry cheesecake. “They always come back for more!” If you are exploring Amsterdam North, be sure to stop by at Café ONS, where you can unwind in comfort. “As one customer put it recently: ‘I feel as if I am coming home’,” recalls Cher. “Need we say more?”





Landgoed Het Roode Koper is a stylish hotel that is ideal for nature lovers, romanticists, culinary connoisseurs and families with children. Surrounded by

3000 hectares of woodlands and with a classic landscape garden, tennis court, heated outdoor swimming pool and ambient lounges with open fireplaces, this is an exceptional hotel for a relaxed stay with superior gastronomy provided by the Michelin star-rated restaurant. The estate’s crowning glory is a sunny private villa with an open fireplace in the living room, a kitchen with private chef, and a private sauna and private garden with woodland views.
















I N F O @ R O O D E K O P E R . N L W W W. R O O D E K O P E R . N L

TELEFOON: 0577-40 73 93, ERMELO

Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam Oost Highlights


Spirit’s philosophy is deliciously simple: making good food that tastes better in your mouth, in your head and in your heart. This Amsterdam-based restaurant serves up dishes that are 100 per cent organic and 100 per cent vegetarian, honouring humans, animals and the environment. Cauliflower Hawaii salad; courgette antipasti; marinated tempeh: if you still think of vegetarian cuisine as plain, Spirit will debunk that myth. Located in AmsterdamOost, the restaurant boasts a buffet setting that allows guests to choose from the 50 different dishes for either breakfast, lunch and dinner. Everything is freshly prepared daily and includes exclusively organic and vegetarian ingredients that follow the season: think sturdy vegetable stews in winter and summer fruit with Dutch bio strawberries in the warmer months. All products carry a bio-label, ensuring they are grown without any chemicals or pesticides. Owner and chef Daniel Saat learned the art of good cooking at his mother’s knee. “When I was younger I practised a macrobiotic lifestyle,” he explains. “Your body

needs the right nutrients to function well - a good balance is everything.” Opening the doors of its first location in Rotterdam in 2006, Spirit quickly became the popular alternative to restaurants serving meat. Spirit Amsterdam came ten years after its Rotterdam brother was born.

that has many advantages,” Saat smiles. “Our guests are much more conscious about what they put on their plate. That results in smaller portions and leaves us with fewer leftovers and thus less food spillage. Good for you – and good for the environment!”

Like the buffet, Spirit’s patisserie and drinks follow the same 100 per cent organic philosophy. There are cakes without wheat, dairy or eggs, and many delicacies are prepared with maple, agave, or rice syrup instead of sugar. The long list of drinks makes it hard to choose. Homemade smoothie, local beer, or vegan wine, anyone? Alongside putting a smile on the face of the restaurant customers, Spirit spreads the word (and good food) with its event catering. Just like the restaurant, the catering service allows for customers to completely compose their own meal. “Not long ago, we served 500 bite-sized dishes to Amsterdam,” Saat enthuses. Rather than charging guests per dish, food is weighed at the checkout. You pay a fixed price per 100 grams. “A system

For more information, please visit

Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  45

Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam Oost Highlights

With its magnificent products and menu, as well as being located at one of Amsterdam’s best spots, it is no surprise that The Harbour Club is one of the city’s top-notch venues.

Class, glamour and exquisite food TEXT: JULIËN L’ORTYE  |  PHOTOS: THE HARBOUR CLUB

The Harbour Club, located next to the water in Amsterdam East, is a restaurant like no other. Based in one of the best spots of the Dutch capital, away from the city’s bustle, with a terrace that abuts the water and thus brings the possibility of arriving by boat, it is no surprise this place is loved by the upper echelons of Amsterdam society. While talking to general manager Joost Verhoeven, there is one description that says it all: ‘where true food meets glamour’. If you take a look inside (or at the pictures), you can definitely see what he means. Once you set foot in the hip restaurant, the enormous 16-metre-long mural by Italian neo-pop artist Selwyn Senatori catches your eye immediate46  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

ly. In front of this impressive painting there are several booths: leather, round four-person seats that have a very classy look and feel. To be fair, The Harbour Club breathes classiness all the way, with, for example, the immense fish display case and the meat lockers that are both visible for the guests. Verhoeven: “Freshness is really important to us, so we really want our guests to notice that as well. Everything and everyone that is active, does their work in sight of our customers.” However, you would not expect all this when you drive up The Harbour Club’s huge parking terrain. Given the huge dimensions – of both the parking space and the restaurant itself, with its

2,200 square metres of glamorous dining pleasure – the issue of feeling like some kind of factory is always luring. Verhoeven is very aware of that and immediately soothes these worries, saying: “We do not just want to hand over the menus and serve our guests their food – quite the contrary. We try to add some extra entertainment to their nights. For example, by booking a DJ or a saxophonist, but also by filleting the fish at the table, or preparing steak tartare in front of the guests at their tables.” Apart from that, it is the restaurant’s exquisite (and rather extraordinary) service that makes sure it stands out in the crowd. In the words of the general manager, it is ‘a bit un-Dutch, quite American’.

Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam Oost Highlights

So, what can you expect? Well, let’s just say that the boys and girls of service can be the first to enter the dance floor, just to make sure that you will join them after you have finished your dinner. That does not mean that they are dancing all night, of course. According to Verhoeven, they are “extremely compliant and willing to boil the ocean when it comes to serving the guests”. Who are those guests then, you might ask? Although everyone is welcome, obviously, the restaurant focuses on firststring men and women, mainly past their thirties, who really want to turn a restaurant visit into a night out. “They mostly arrive around 8pm, order something off the menu, enjoy their food and have some drinks afterwards. We do not really do background music as we are not afraid to turn up the volume a bit.” In that way, The Harbour Club tries to add something

extra to the evening – it is no coincidence that the personnel are the first to show off their dance moves. Now that the restaurant has been included in Amsterdam East’s brand-new development plan, they are planning on expanding, so their guests can even stay after hours, if they desire. One of the main reasons the restaurant manages to distinguish itself from other places in the area, is its variety of wellknown (and lesser known) concepts, such as ‘Lobster Monday’, where whole lobsters are served for no more than 25 euros and ‘The Harbour Club Goes Cabaret’: a monthly recurring evening, inspired by the club and cabaret restaurant Lío in Ibiza. We must also mention the restaurant’s sushi. It is considered as one of the best in town, if not the best, mainly thanks to

its own sushi chef and the impeccable quality of the fish he works with. When Verhoeven talks about coquilles that are hand-caught on the ocean floor, a fruits de mer platter that consists of lobster, gamba and (razor) clams, we are most certainly led to believe that this must be delicious. During weekends, they usually have an immense swordfish, tuna or halibut – weighing up to 80 kilos – that is filleted live for everyone to see. If they wish, of course. With all those extras, you could definitely believe that visiting The Harbour Club is about more than just having great food; it is the whole experience and the extra mile of its personnel that makes it one of the top notch places in Amsterdam. Web: amsterdam-oost

Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  47

Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam Oost Highlights

Amsterdam’s finest Georgian fare served with a side of jazz TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS  |  PHOTOS: BATONI KHINKALI

Batoni Khinkali translates as Mr. Dumpling, explains Levan Tskhadadze. The professional clarinetist opened the restaurant in downtown Amsterdam in February 2017, and it has thrived thanks to its unique offering of delicious Georgian food combined with live jazz events. Diners choose from three starters and three mains, with vegan and vegetarian options available. “The recipes were handed down to me from my grandmother,” explains Tskhadadze, who began cooking Georgian food after moving to Holland. The restaurant seats around 30 people inside, and in the summer there is a lovely outdoor terrace also seating 30 people. Mouthwatering starters include aubergine, spinach or beans mixed with walnuts, pomegranate, fenugreek and saffron. These are followed by khinkali, a boiled dumpling filled with meat, red onions and caraway seeds, cheese and mint, or mushrooms and coriander. The

next dish is khachapuri, a tasty flatbread baked with melted cheese and a runny egg on top. On weekends, there are special mains available, such as chicken in milk and garlic sauce, tarragon lamb stew, beef stewed with fruits, and trout stuffed with walnuts. Dessert is a vegan dark chocolate ice cream. Batoni Khinkali serves an array of Georgian wines, including UNESCO-recognised clay pot wine. The wine is made using an 8,000-yearold method where the grapes are buried in a cavernous clay vessel which is buried underground for almost a year. With regard to future

Sun, ribs and local beers Want to escape all the hastiness of Amsterdam’s city centre, but not too far away? Then one only needs a short tram ride to MOJO Amsterdam, situated near waterway the Ringvaart. The sun-drenched café is one of Amsterdam-Oost’s best available getaways and a perfect spot to chill, dine and/or enjoy the many local special beers MOJO has to offer. Even with the tender age of just over three years, MOJO Amsterdam has established itself as one of Oost’s most popular go-to places. One only needs to step inside to understand why: its charm lies in the timelessness of its interior, coupled with a sense of relaxation that is hard to find in the ever so busy city centre. Owner Peter van den Boom: “We’re doing great and attract a group of young customers who do their school or work stuff during the midday here rather than back home. In the evenings, the laptops are all gone and we serve food of high quality and fast service, such as our hamburgers and the crowd favourite: our sticky spare ribs. The meat prac48  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

tically falls off the bone and its marinade does really well with our regulars.” What makes MOJO extra special is the seasonal events the café undertakes. Van den Boom: “We just organised a water bicycle race, which was a real blast. 27 teams bike over 30 metres while we have our bar and barbecue outside. Come the end of September, we’ll be having a ‘blind wine disco’ party with a DJ who’ll be spinning tunes that will have some connection with the wine being tasted at that moment.”

plans, Tskhadadze has big ambitions. “I’d like to open another restaurant soon,” he says. Watch this space. Web:



Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam Oost Highlights



For true Suriname flavours, you do not have to travel far: Roopram Roti has been serving up this rich cuisine’s authentic tastes since 2002. “For all these years, we have never changed our recipe – and thereby found the recipe for our success,” says head of staff and organisation Sanjay Shiamrai. The story of restaurant Roopram Roti starts in Suriname. Wanting to meet the growing demand for roti in the Netherlands, which had fallen increasingly in love with the dish, Mr J. Roopram came up with the idea to export frozen roti. Unfortunately, regulations prevented any chicken parts to be exported from Suriname. In 2002, Roopram came with the ultimate solution: he opened his very own Roopram Roti restaurant in Rotterdam, which quickly became a massive success and a haven for those with a heart

for true Surinamese food. Fast forward 15 years, and Roopram Roti owns four branches in the Netherlands and no less than six branches in Suriname. “Roopram Roti offers the authentic flavours of Suriname,” says Shiamrai. “We import all our spices and herbs from Suriname and are one of the few places in the Netherlands that makes roti according to the traditional recipe.” Roopram’s menu boasts many beloved Surinamese dishes such as fried rice with chicken and various typical snacks such as bara and spring rolls. Yet it is still the country’s most beloved dish - curry chicken, lamb, or duck with potatoes and vegetables – that counts as the restaurant’s staple. “That recipe is purely confidential,” Shiamrai laughs. “It has not changed a bit over the years – maybe except some improvements here and there. Once

people have tasted it, they will definitely be coming back to try more.” Like the food, Roopram Roti’s ambiance takes you deep into the country of Suriname. Every guest is welcomed by the smiles of the friendly team, and the open kitchen gives the whole restaurant a feeling of cosiness and hospitality. Your food is cooked right in front of you. “Nothing is happening behind the scenes at Roopram,” Shiamrai concludes. “Everything is freshly prepared while you watch!” Rotterdam: Mathenesserplein 89, 3022 LD The Hague: Paletplein 89, 2526 GZ Amsterdam: Eerste van Swindenstraat 4, 1093 GC Amsterdam: Van Woustraat 37, 1074 AB

For more information, please visit

Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  49

Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam Oost Highlights

Authenticity as leitmotif What started as a platform for artists in the Netherlands, evolved over time into a fullblown art gallery. Located at the Nieuwevaart in Amsterdam, Galerie Franzis Engels (named after its owner) welcomes all those who are interested in an international display of works of art in multiple disciplines. “Authenticity is key,” says Franzis Engels right off the bat. “It’s an interpretable word, but for me it means a uniqueness in visual language and choice of materials. I love to display creations that surprise you and we’ve had quite some of that. Take, for example, Kees de Vries who grows salt and makes all sorts of objects with that, including chairs and tables. Or look at Leon van Opstal who transformed dead bumblebees into kinetic art as a statement, because they died as a result of man’s intrusion of nature.” The gallery started back in 2014, but its origins began in around 2008. Engels: “Back then a recession was responsible for a huge dip in the acquisition of works of art by businesses


and individuals. A group of artists and I started a platform to help fellow artists keeping their head above water. With the gallery, we want to actually promote talented artists, paving the way for an international audience.” A feat achieved with the recent Aurélien Maillard exposé, whose work has been sold to a party in New York. But, as always, Engels is looking to the future: “We have new expositions coming up with artists we haven’t seen before in the Netherlands, such as the German Ulrich Haug, who works with wax and concrete, and the Austrian Knopp Ferro, known for his 3D

Leon van Opstal, Monarch, 2017.

drawings that were on display before at ARCO Madrid and Art Miami.” Web:

Knopp Ferro, Fuge, 114x31x34cm

Risto Enoteca PepeNero Gastheer Marco Spina, Chef kok Daniele Lauritano Eerste Oosterparkstraat 3-5 1091 GT Amsterdam tel: 020 - 663 32 76 50  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam Zuidoost Highlights

Affordable accommodation for families and groups TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: A&O AMSTERDAM ZUIDOOST

Finding a hotel in Amsterdam that is affordable, well-connected with the city centre with plenty of parking spaces sounds like a herculean task, but it does not have to be. All thanks to the German hotel chain A&O, which set up shop in 2015 in the southeastern part of Amsterdam, providing both a hotel and hostel that can accommodate a whole variety of groups and tourists in need of a good place to stay. When it comes to sheer number of beds, A&O Amsterdam Zuidoost has to be the biggest accommodation in the city. Phillip Winter of A&O: “We have 1,400 beds in total, a conscious choice because we specialise in group travel. That made our search for a huge location in Amsterdam quite difficult, but we’re very happy with the one in ‘Zuid-Oost’. It has a train station across the street that’ll take you to Central Station in 15 minutes, there’s ample parking spaces and the Ajax Are-

nA, concert hall AFS Live and a shopping centre are right around the corner.” According to Winter, A&O caters for families and groups, having something as unique as the A&O Family Room that includes twin beds and bunk beds. You only have to book a twin bed for yourself/ yourselves and children under the age of 18 stay for free. Winter: “Those rooms are quite popular and attract families from all over the world, but mostly Germans, Dutch, Italians and people from the UK.” It is group travel where A&O really shines, being Europe’s biggest private supplier. Winter: “We’re fully equipped to handle sizeable groups such as sports teams and schools. There are lots of dormitories and double and single rooms for the leaders like the teachers. We can do dinners for large groups, have separate areas for meeting up and playing billiards or table football and the seminar rooms are free of charge.

There’s a high-powered Wi-Fi that’s also free of use and laundry, which is especially a favourite of the many backpackers we attract in the summer months.” Lastly, Winter points out A&O uses a dynamic price model. “We check the occupancy every 20 minutes and determine the price based on that. It’s quite usual for a bed in the dormitory to be booked at 12 euros. You really can’t get that anywhere else in Amsterdam.”

Find out more about A&O Amsterdam at

Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  51

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Company Profiles

Benelux business T H E B E N E L U X C O M PA N I E S Y O U N E E D T O K N O W




This month we put the spotlight on consultancy and wealth management, as well as profiling technology experts and much more. In the business calendar you can find out about upcoming events ranging from the World Humanities Conference in Liege, Belgium to the International Conference Social Media Marketing in Enschede, the Netherlands. And do not miss columnist Steve Flinders’ piece on the importance of good communication.

Heli - Luxembourg, page 53 Heli - Luxembourg is the only company in the Grand Duchy offering both helicopter training and transport.





Bespoke Management CPV, page 54 This business consultancy has made a name for itself across Europe, operating in fields ranging from automotive manufacture and distribution to pharma and medical, and much more.

MGSI, page 56 Luxembourg-based consulting firm MGSI S.àr.l. is specialised in data protection and information security.

Life Cycle Management 2017, page 58 The Life Cycle Management (LCM) conference series is a world-leading forum in the domain of life cycle sustainability and circular economy. 52  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Heli - Luxembourg


Have you ever fancied flying a helicopter? Or perhaps you would like to experience the thrill of travelling on one? Created by Marc Chevènement in 2014, Heli - Luxembourg is the only company in the Grand Duchy offering both helicopter training and transport.

covering its famous sights. “We go over the town of Schengen, where we signed the agreement. We do many castles such as Château de Vianden, Château de Clervaux and Château Bourscheid. The one we sell the most is our tour of the Moselle region, it’s very pretty.”

When he launched his business, helicopter pilot and instructor Marc Chevènement focussed on training aspiring pilots, but the firm has expanded to offer much more. Recently, the company joined forces with a Belgian partner. This allows it to offer public transport with an aircraft operator certificate AOC B/3049 called Heli and Co (HAC), transporting passengers across Europe from Luxembourg.

There is currently a rule meaning that all flights must leave and return to Luxembourg airport. However, Marc Chevènement is collaborating with several establishments from the luxury Relais & Châteaux hospitality group around Luxembourg, France, Germany and Belgium to allow to his clients to be transported directly to their destination.

“We organise flights to Knokke-Le-Zoute in Belgium, a famous seaside resort which is very popular with Luxembourgers,” explains Chevènement, adding that cities such as Liège, Brussels and Spa, home of the Belgian Grand Prix, are popular with private tourists and companies. For commercial flights, the company offers three types of helicopters; a three-seater Robinson 44, a five-seater single-turbine Ecureuil 350 and a five-seater twin-engine Ecureuil 355. Within the Grand Duchy, the firm offers an array of flights, which are perfect for dis-

so pupils can revise on their computer at home. The firm has a partnership with a helicopter school in Québec, Canada. “I send some of my students there, where the training is less expensive. Then they come back and get their European licence in Luxembourg as well as having the Canadian one and, as an equivalent, the American licence. It’s a lot of work but they will have three licences for the price of one.”

Heli Luxembourg, in partnership with the approved SPO/720, also conducts aerial work such as transport of cargo, aerial photos, films and providing helicopters for live television. When it comes to training, Heli - Luxembourg approved ATO.LU.0004 has two types of clients; those who are learning for pleasure and those learning for their career. Those learning as a hobby need to clock up a minimum of 45 hours flying. There is no fixed period for how long training can take, although one year is considered good practice. The theory element can be done via distance learning,

Web: Email:

Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  53

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Consultancy

Henri Prevost.


Bespoke Management business consultants have an almost medical approach to treating corporate entities. Founded in 2003, the business consultancy Bespoke Management has since built up a client base at home in Luxembourg, and across the rest of Europe. “We’re celebrating our 15th anniversary next year,” says CEO Henri Prevost. “In those years, the world has undergone major financial crises. For a problemsolving business like ours, that has brought both challenges and opportunities.” The team at Bespoke, as the name implies, approaches every client organisation as a unique individual, rather than trying to deliver a one-size-fits-all approach. We explored the philosophy at the heart of Bespoke’s thinking, and how the part54  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

nership works to support its clientele, with Henri Prevost.

Q: For you what is the most important function of a business leader? A: Consider the usual French title of a business leader – directeur général. He or she must give the organisation a clear general direction, and not just do things correctly, but do what works for their company and team – what’s actually good for them in their particular context. We believe not in doing more, but in doing better. Someone who achieves that will be truly inspirational, and will find joy in their work.

Q: And if the leader fails to do that? A: Without time to step back and draw breath, a leader’s capacity for decision making is suffocated. They flounder from crisis to crisis, drowning in minutiae, and

all too often suffer stress and eventual burnout. And burnout is a transmittable disease within an organisation!

Q: But is stress not inevitable – desirable even? A: Applied in judicious doses stress can be productive, motivating and stimulating. It can often break through complacent managers hiding behind hackneyed excuses for poor performance. An or-

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Consultancy

ganisation must comprehend both the environment where managers function – factors like performance-related pay, and the demands placed on them - and the personality profile of each manager, if that organisation is to motivate its people intelligently, with the right level and type of pressure for the individual and their context.

Q: Bespoke looks for ‘alchemy’ within a company’s personnel – can you explain that idea? A: Any business is its people. It makes a huge difference having the right manager for a specific role, capable of setting goals for growth, development, and business longevity, but also able to communicate effectively within the business and to the outside world. Such people working together almost magically make twoplus-two much more than four! That’s alchemy.

Q: So how does a business get to that desired situation? A: Our approach working with client companies is firstly to identify the very DNA of a business via detailed diagnostic work, before considering staffing and recruitment issues. Too many CEOs focus

on filling a post, rather than understanding exactly what the specific business needs of the person chosen – what sort of ambitions, capacities and skills fit, instead of which CV looks most outstanding – pick the wrong person and it’s an ulcer waiting to burst.

Q: Why is it you often use such medical metaphors when discussing businesses? A: A business is a legal person, an entity – it’s in effect a living thing, not an amorphous mass of numbers. It’s an organism composed of people. Medical metaphors capture a vital aspect of our approach - when we work with clients we begin as would any competent doctor with a detailed diagnosis, then continue to treatment, or therapy, and occasionally, if someone in a company is acting like a cancer, an operation to remove that malignancy. Healthy business communication “Collective emotional intelligence is key to the future wellbeing of SMEs – there’s great truth in the dictum ‘Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people with nothing to say’.” Henri Prevost.

There is always an excuse Henri’s team find that with nearly every client, where there’s a performance problem, they have to address the phenomenon of the cover-all excuse. Typically, managers under pressure resort to one (or more) of four classic excuses to externalise the reason for their underachievement, and to shift focus from what they are (or are not) doing: 1. Competition: it is more established, more aggressive with marketing, more visible than the client company. 2. The Economy: it is in poor shape; fears about it are delaying investment decisions. 3. The Company: we are not investing; the support structure is inadequate. 4. Time: reporting and administrative tasks do not leave time to manage or sell. Managers must ensure team members are using their skills and talents to attain the desired goals despite perceived (or even real) ‘environmental’ difficulties. Instead of parroting such a general excuse, managers are paid to find the true cause of problems and how to overcome them.

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 44  |  August 2017  |  55

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Digital Profile

At the forefront of data protection TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS  |  PHOTOS: MGSI

Luxembourg-based consulting firm MGSI S.àr.l. is specialised in data protection and information security. It offers profound expertise and advice on all aspects of data protection, covering technological and organisational measures to assist clients in complying with the different related legislation and avoid any non-compliance penalties. MGSI’s founder and CEO is Québécoise Mélanie Gagnon. She has over 15 years’ experience in information security and data protection. She moved to Luxembourg in 2015 to start the company. “The timing was perfect and the business opportunity was huge with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) soon to be approved,” she explains. Her thinking was correct because a year later the GDPR was approved. Currently the demand for work in this field is very high. “The risks that organisations face are primarily a lack of skilled resources on GDPR’s requirement, and generally, the time and budget to become compliant,” she explains. MGSI’s services help clients to ensure their businesses comply with the GDPR, which comes into force in May 56  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

2018. The GDPR strengthens individuals’ rights and increases the obligations of organisations that process data of a personal nature. With seven experienced consultants, each specialised in a different domain of data protection and security, the company is currently recruiting to expand the team. MGSI advises on GDPR-related matters with several services: initial gap analysis to determine the appropriate actions that need to be implemented to ensure compliance with the GDPR; the services of an external Data Protection Officer (DPO); and information security risk analysis. Furthermore, MGSI offers Data Protection Impact Assessments for data processing operations that may pose a high risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals; assistance with governance, including the implementation of a data protection programme within an organisation; and Privacy by Design support. Another area of support is advanced training in personal data protection and information security awareness. MGSI is highly regarded in the field of data protection in Luxembourg. MGSI currently works with some of Luxembourg’s largest

employers, international companies and ministries. In May 2017, MGSI cofounded the first data protection salon in Luxembourg, which drew over 200 participants. The second edition of the Luxembourg Data Protection Days will be held on 29 and 30 May 2018. MGSI is an Official Training Partner of the IAPP and this autumn, will host trainings for CIPP/E and CIPM certifications and other data protection seminars. Please consult the website for further details:

Mélanie Gagnon, CEO & founder, MGSI S.àr.l.

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 is organised by LIST in collaboration with the University of Luxembourg and ArcelorMittal. It will take place at Luxembourg’s European Convention Center from 3 – 6 September. Special guests will include Bertrand Piccard, founder and co-pilot of the Solar Impulse project, which saw Piccard and André Borschberg flying 40,000 kilometres around the world using solely solar radiation as fuel for their plane. 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 conference 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. LCM also offers professional exhibitions in the conference main hall, where industry ex-

Please tell me what is going on: an unremarkable story When I met someone from a management consultancy at an HR conference recently, I asked her if they needed someone to do a few hours of coaching a week. She told me to send in my CV. Almost immediately I had an email from the secretary of the CEO and founder of the business inviting me over. A friendly meeting followed three days later. He told me that I should now expect to hear from the managing director and the client manager since they handle recruitment. Soon after, they sent me an invitation to dinner. Over our pizzas, my fellow diners became enthusiastic about the opportunities ahead. I suggested that they first try me out with one or two of their coaching clients before we did a joint debrief and then decided on future steps. The morning after, I sent a thank you email with a summary of what I thought had been 58  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

the main points coming out of our discussion. Then nothing. I resent the email a week later and got a short reply from the client manager saying she would get back to me after she had assessed the needs of a particular client. Since then, nothing. What happened to all that enthusiasm? Maybe they are busy. Maybe some notes I sent them on the importance of contracting in coaching made them think I am a know-it-all. Maybe they have decided they do not want a very part-time employee after all. Maybe they just did not like me. I do not know because I have not had any feedback. I realise that this is a most unremarkable story, but it does demonstrate how even organisations proclaiming best practice can leave job applicants completely in the dark, failing to inform them of the status of their applications or even acknowledging their communications. It was the same consultancy that organised the HR conference I attended. One of their peo-

perts can showcase their services, products and technology. Also, this year the conference has organised a special focus on funding, with the European Investment Bank co-chairing a ‘how-tofund’ programme. Please consult the website for full details of registration costs and deadlines.


ple gave a terrific presentation on recruitment. Treating job applicants courteously is a key way for companies to build their brands, he said. “Communicate with your candidates as you would wish to be communicated with,” said one of his slides. “Every candidate is an ambassador for your organisation,” said another. So, this is yet another plea to recruiters. Please do tell your candidates what is happening. It is good for you as well as for them. Steve Flinders is a freelance trainer, writer and coach, based in Malta, who helps people develop their communication and leadership skills for working internationally:




Four starHAMPSHIRE hotel with 120 luxury rooms. HOTEL Four star hotel with 120 luxury rooms. star hotel with 120centre luxury rooms. The hotelFour is located in the of Leiden, The hotel is located in the centre of Leiden, The hotel is located in the centre of Leiden, next to the Central Station and has a sufficient next to next the to Central Station and the Central Station andhas has aa sufficient sufficient parking below the hotel. Ideal for a parkingdirectly directly below thethe hotel. parking directly below hotel.Ideal Ideal for for aa weekend getaway or corporate stay. weekend getaway or corporate stay. weekend getaway or corporate stay.

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CONFERENCE & EVENT CENTRE CEC Leiden offers plenty of opportunities as a venue for medium-sized conferences CONFERENCE and events. A location with many possibilities & EVENTS in decoration, preparation and catering. CONFERENCE & EVENT CENTRE Excellent service and good communication:



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offers you a view of the dune heads of the North Sea beach. It is possible to reserve the restaurant exclusively for groups.

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Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Calendar


Creative Women Collective first anniversary 1 September Amsterdam, the Netherlands CWC is a platform for entrepreneurial women in the creative industry. CWC is here to help these women grow their network and know-how through their online community and offline events. Since their first event in fall 2016, CWC has connected over 250 women.

Photo: Laracon EU

World Humanities Conference 6 – 12 August Liege, Belgium Co-organised by UNESCO, this congress will gather about 1,800 participants from all over the world working in the fields of science, politics, art and communication, as well as representatives of international, governmental and non-governmental organisations.

ICSMM 2017 21 – 22 August Enschede, the Netherlands The International Conference Social Media Marketing aims to provide an international platform that allows practitioner and academic researchers respectively to share and discuss their latest research, ideas, and survey reports in the theoretical and practical areas regarding all aspects of social media marketing.

Laracon EU 28 – 30 August Amsterdam, the Netherlands Laracon EU is a unique international Laravel event with over 750 attendees. The 60  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

conference has multiple tracks and focuses on in-depth technical talks. Come learn about the state of the industry while networking with like-minded and diversely experienced developers.

1 OCEAN Masterclass 4 – 5 September Rotterdam, the Netherlands Would you like to start a business, but are not sure how and where to start? With this two-day course, you can discover how fun it is to run a business and you will be given concrete support to get started in the best way possible. Ghent. Photo: © Visit Flanders

PEVOC 30 August – 1 September Ghent, Belgium The Pan-European Voice Conference aims to establish a European forum where voice professionals can come together to present their findings and exchange experiences with colleagues in the pedagogical, artistic, medical and scientific areas. Liege. Photo: ©provincedeliege

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

To book a tee time or plan your holiday, visit

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  Hospitality Profiles of the Month


Guest engagement and brand promises TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: ANDAZ HOTEL & HYATT REGENCY HOTEL

Arrive a visitor, depart a local. That is hotel Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht in a nutshell. As part of the famous Hyatt Hotels Corporation the hotel now has a younger sister after the opening of Hyatt Regency Amsterdam back in April. Where Andaz aims for leisure guests, Hyatt Regency has business in mind. Yet both run on the same principles where ‘guest engagement’ is highly valued. We visit the two hotels with director of sales and marketing Onno Muller.

Andaz Hotel It is a perfect tagline to describe the Andaz Hotel: arrive a visitor, depart a local. It has a homely feeling compelling you to invite your friends over for a beer 62  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

and preferably one that is from around here. “It is the neighbourhood that’s been brought into the hotel,” says Muller. “Andaz is a luxury lifestyle brand, attracting people that aren’t looking for just a bed, but are additionally looking for inspired experiences infused with local culture. We achieve that by offering many local products such as beers from the local micro-breweries nearby or the food we serve up in a Dutch design environment conceived by Marcel Wanders.” Muller continues: “We see Andaz as a five-star hotel, but not the kind where all you have to do is comply with some sort of checklist. We value service, now more than ever, working with our most important brand values such as ‘guest engage-

ment’ that you’ll notice the minute you set foot in the Andaz. You will be immediately welcomed by one of our staff who’ll make direct eye contact with you and will try to establish a personal connection. A must as far as we’re concerned. You’ll see we run a boutique-style hotel. In a barrier-free environment, we check-in our guests on iPads wherever their needs require. This allows us to check-in business guests on the way to their room and take all the time we need with a family to tell them all about Amsterdam and the things to do. “Our guests here consist primarily of tourists, but I wouldn’t label them as the standard type of tourists. Those would be the type of people whose main focus is the city itself and the hotel room comes

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  Hospitality Profiles of the Month

second. Anyone booking a room at Andaz does so very deliberately, knowing the service we provide. Many of them are the more the creative minds, artistic spirits, freelancers and such. They don’t necessarily have to see the Van Gogh Museum but would rather go out and explore the types of architecture the city has to offer. If there were nine famous streets in Amsterdam, they’d go for the 11th.”

Bluespoon Restaurant No hotel is complete without a restaurant and Muller defines Andaz’s Bluespoon Restaurant as an entity in itself. “It’s not the hotel restaurant. We see it as a restaurant that just happens to be inside the hotel. All the used ingredients are grown locally within a radius of 25 kilometres tops and we only make a few exceptions”. As for the dishes, expect an ever changing palette where creativity and flavour are leading.

“Food doesn’t have to be all that expensive. If you want to have a good lunch or a quick bite, a 600-euro bottle of wine doesn’t have to be the company, even though we do have them.

tive minds to come work here and receive their guests. The thing with Amsterdam is that offices are scarce and the few there are available are asking a huge amount of rent most can’t afford.”

“That’s what we want to give forth; that it’s a restaurant where for all we care you arrive in your jogging pants and sneakers, as long as you have a good time, get something to eat or maybe even work on a project with your laptop open.”

There are even meeting rooms inside Andaz that can be rented for a very moderate price, should the need arise. It is all so much more professional than meeting potential customers in a bar or somewhere more high-class but much too pricey. “We started with 21 members and within a week grew to over 40 active members. Anyone joining will become a member of a closed Facebook group where they can exchange experiences and invite others.”

These examples might not necessarily add up to a five-star hotel, but that is a deliberate move according to Muller. “This hotel depends completely on the enjoyment of our guests.” The possibility of working at Andaz is something the hotel is pro-actively working on. “We’ve launched a programme called #WorkIt, inviting all sorts of crea-

Web: amsterdamprinsengracht.andaz.

Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  63

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  Hospitality Profiles of the Month

Hyatt Regency Next up from Hyatt Hotels Corporation there is the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Open since April and situated in Amsterdam’s Plantagebuurt, the premium hotel is open, spacious, lush and business-orientated. According to Muller, its keyword is ‘limitless’. “There’s the privacy of your hotel room. It’s spacious with over 30 square metres, which is quite big for Amsterdam’s standards. And it’s limitless with the social aspects; people should feel like they utilise the hotel completely to their own wishes and making the most of being away. “We have several brand promises with Hyatt Regency: connectivity because you have to feel a certain connection with the product, but also with your home and wherever you are at the hotel. There shouldn’t be any boundaries, we have wireless internet and if you want to work at the bar, go right ahead. That same feeling has been worked into its interior design. When entering the hotel, you arrive in a large lobby with lots of different means of 64  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

seating. We do that intentionally, to avoid the feeling of losing yourself completely in the lobby.” This is part of the aforementioned ‘guest engagement’, where the guest should feel welcome from the very first moment of stepping inside.

Muller describes Regency as a more traditional hotel as opposed to Andaz. “Hyatt Regency has a classic reception. We love touches such as our staff stepping from behind the counter and engaging with our guests directly. Even though we primarily

Discover Benelux  |  Amsterdam  |  Hospitality Profiles of the Month

attract business guests, we also have our share of leisure guests. I’d say that being situated in the Plantagebuurt, the hotel is close to the ant heap of the city centre, but far enough to be in a more secluded area while still having all the hotspots within reach.” But make no mistake: for business guests there is every reason to book a stay at the Regency. Muller: “It offers over 500 square metres of convention and meeting space. There’s one large room that’s over 200 square metres, three smaller ones that can be combined. We can cater to the needs of 160 people or those wanting a board room for just a select few. What I love about the Regency is that the space for events is built behind

the front of the former Emma Children’s Hospital that used to be in the building where Regency is now. We managed to completely renovate the façade and got a BREEAM Excellence status in the meantime; a highly regarded certificate for matters of eco-friendly building. We’re striving for the same certificate for maintaining the hotel.”

Mama Makan And just like Andaz has its own restaurant, so does Hyatt Regency. Muller stresses that just like Bluespoon, Mama Makan is a force of its own. “It’s an Indonesian restaurant. If you want authentic Indonesian food, you must check out Mama Makan. The formula harks back to the day of the Dutch East India Company, a nod to the

Plantagebuurt, given there were many plantations in the Dutch Indies. There’s a considerable culinary inheritance from that era that plays a central role at Mama Makan. We don’t do fusion cooking, it’s as pure as you can get. Of course we offer some standard Western food to cater to all of our guests. Most of them don’t know of our history and are surprised to find Indonesian food in the Netherlands, but we tell them how that came to be.” To get the true taste of Indonesia, Mama Makan employs an Indonesian chef. Muller: “She learned all the dishes from her grandmother, so you can imagine it doesn’t get much truer to the source than that.” Web:

Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  65

Discover Benelux  |  Luxembourg  |  Museum of the Month



With train rides through the original mines, interactive tours for children and a superb collection of tools, machinery and documents, Luxembourg’s National Mining Museum has something in store for the whole family. “Iron ore mining was behind Luxembourg’s prosperity in the 20th century, as well as its cultural diversity,” says museum attendant Aleksandra Viola. “The Museum was created when the last mine closed in Rumelange in 1963, and the idea was not only to explore the development of the industry in Luxembourg from the 1850s to the 1970s, but also to pay homage to the miners themselves by commemorating their work and experiences.” Today, visitors can take a fascinating guided tour on an electric train through the mine, seeing the original underground tunnels where the miners worked as well as the beautiful countryside beyond. There is also a permanent exhibition focusing on the mining industry, the workings 66  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

of the mine itself, mining techniques and the mine’s relationship to the landscape. Exhibits include lamps, tools, surveying equipment, minerals and fossils as well as miners’ clothes and family photographs. For children aged six to 14, there are Interactive Children’s Tours in which they can visit the mine on foot and act out the role of miners, either as foremen, miners or surveyors. They take part in a mock explosion, expend some energy smashing ore and pushing carts, as well as receiving a goody bag at the end. The Museum also organises a whole range of events. These include family fun days with face painting and archery, film screenings and concert performances, not to mention special market days. On 11 September, specialist collectors can sell their mining tools and there is also the Santa Barbara celebration on 4 December as well as Christmas markets in December. If you want to explore Luxembourg’s mining industry further, the Museum is now

part of a new network – Minett Tours, linking it with four other Museums: the City of Sciences and Blast Furnace Belval, the Museum of the Cockerill Mine, Fond de Gras and the Documentation Centre for Human Migrations. All the sites are located in what is known as ‘the land of the red rocks’, named after the glowing red iron ore in the southern Luxembourg landscape. You can happily spend the day going from one venue to the other. Take a trip back in time and discover a real insight into this hugely important part of Luxembourg’s history.


Discover Benelux  |  France  |  Art Gallery of the Month



Located in the picturesque coastal city of Le Havre, the Musée d’art moderne André Malraux – MuMa Le Havre has one of France’s largest collections of Impressionist works, featuring the likes of Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley and Degas, among others. This autumn, one of Claude Monet’s most iconic paintings will return back to its roots in a landmark exhibition. Impression, soleil levant, picturing a dawn at sea, is one of Claude Monet’s most notable paintings – and it is returning back to Le Havre, Monet’s hometown, and the city where it was painted in 1872. The exhibition, titled Impression(s), Soleil, will run from 10 September until 8 October 2017. “This exhibition is an exceptional loan by the Marmottan-Monet Museum in Paris,” explains Catherine Bertrand, MuMa Le Havre’s external relations delegate. “The exhibition will be open

every day except Mondays, from 7.30am until 8.30pm – or from sunrise until sunset,” she continues. To coincide with the 500th anniversary of Le Havre’s founding, the exhibition honours the city and its famous light, which has been the source of inspiration for many artists. Joining Monet will be 30 paintings by other great masters of Impressionism, such as William Turner, Gustave Le Gray, Eugène Boudin, Félix Dufy, Effet de soleil sur l’eau à Sainte-Adresse.

Vallotton and Raoul Dufy. “Due to its location and status as an important port, Le Havre has been a popular destination for artists throughout the years. We are proud to host a landmark exhibition that honours and celebrates our city that has left its mark in the hearts of so many great artists,” Bertrand concludes. Web:

Monet, Impression soleil levant.

Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  67

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Amber Arcades

68  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Amber Arcades


A dream come true Ethereal is a word often associated with Dutch singer-songwriter Annelotte de Graaf, better known by her stage name Amber Arcades. Vogue magazine described the Utrecht native’s 2016 album Fading Lines as ‘dreamy, shimmering indie pop with ethereal vocals’, while MOJO have praised her ‘penetrating, strong-willed dream-pop’. With a performance at the famous Glastonbury music festival already under her belt, this month De Graaf will bring her celestial sound to the VISIONS festival in London and Sea Change Festival in Devon, England. We caught up with the 28-year-old musician, who recently unveiled her new EP Cannonball, and discovered a pop star with many layers. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: NICK HELDERMAN

Multi-talented It is not just De Graaf’s sound that is unique: her résumé is rather different to what one might expect from a singersongwriter. The musician holds a master’s degree in law, and previously worked as an assistant for war crimes tribunals at the United Nations. As recently as last year, at the same time her debut album Fading Lines was receiving rave reviews, De Graaf had a role assessing the claims of refugees granted asylum in the Netherlands and seeking to have their families brought over. “It was crazy. I was working Monday to Thursday in the office and then going abroad to perform on Friday, playing a show on the Saturday and coming back on Sunday to be back in the office on Monday again. I survived it for a couple of months but I would never have been able to keep that up long term,” she explains, when asked about her to decision to focus on music for now. “I decided for this time in my life to choose the music and to do that as much as possible.”

Doing things differently As she reflects on her childhood, De Graaf’s upbringing sounds like the perfect setting for creativity to flourish. “For the first years of my life I lived in a commune. Not like a hardcore commune - it was like a student house. We lived with a couple of families together in one big house. We all had our own apartment but then we shared the kitchen. We’d have one com-

munal area where we’d have game night, it was really nice,” she recalls. “It was really fun; we all went out a lot and built in the garden and climbed tress. Good times.”

Success story The artist’s musical career began when she recorded 2016’s Fading Lines in New York City, funded by savings she had made since her teenage years. She emailed demos of her songs to producer Ben Greenberg, and the rest is history. “I was quite old when I wrote my first song. Well, not old, but I started writing songs when I was 21 - about to turn to turn 22. That is not old at all of course, but I had a lot of friends at the time who were the same age who had already released one or two records and I was starting out,” she remembers. “But, you know, everything in its time.”

Inspiration Does she have a particular method when it comes to songwriting? “I like the initial idea and then I make demos on my phone from that. The process of turning it into an actual song is a very laborious process - trying out different things and approaches,” she explains. But where do these initial ideas come from? The secret appears to be in ‘switching off’. “The first ideas for songs mostly come in moments where I’m drifting away, like riding in the car or my bike, or doing the dishes,” she admits. “It’s that place or moment when you kind of let your mind wander: that’s when I get most ideas…”

Eclectic sounds Back in June, De Graaf followed up Fading Lines with her new EP Cannonball which opens with an otherworldly reworking of Nick Drake’s Which Will and also includes more poppy tracks such as It Changes and a collaboration with English musician Bill Ryder-Jones on Wouldn’t Even Know. A wide range of influences are apparent in De Graaf’s oeuvre. “One day I wake up and I’m like, I’m gonna make this really grungy ‘90s record. Then the next day I wake up and I’m like, I’m gonna make a really weird record… no, I’m gonna make a pop anthem record!” smiles the artist. Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  69

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Nei Stëmmen

Barbara Frittoli © Arianna De Carolis

Luisa Mauro © David Crosby

Jennifer Larmore © Nicola Dal Maso

Luxembourg opera sparkles on the world stage TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: NEI STËMMEN

Since mezzo-soprano Luisa Mauro founded Nei Stëmmen almost ten years ago, the association has established Luxembourg as a major player on the international classical music scene. Luxembourg residents have the chance to attend the Grand Gala Concert at the Conservatoire de Luxembourg, which takes place on 4 November at 8pm. Almost 300 young artists of around 30 nationalities have come to perfect their art and seek high-level training at Nei Stëmmen’s international Summer Academies, not to mention its prestigious Master Classes and opera productions including a Mozartian trilogy. Luisa has managed to bring together a host of divas including Teresa Berganza, Barbara Frittoli and Jennifer Larmore, as well as exceptional maestri such as Enza Ferrari of La Scala de Milan, Mireille Alcantara of CNSMD Paris and Ionel Pantea of the Luxembourg Conservatory. “These artists have worked with the biggest names in the world of classical music,” says Luisa. “My pupils tell me: in each les70  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

son we do not get an hour of class but 40 years of theatre!” As the artistic director of Nei Stëmmen, talented mezzo-soprano Luisa is striving to promote a high-quality vocal and musical culture in Luxembourg, the country she grew up in and the nationality she has adopted. “I came here from Italy as a child with my family to stay for only two or three years. We ended up making it home,” she recalls. “I am happy today to contribute to the cultural influence of my adopted country.” This year will be particularly busy at Nei Stëmmen. From 4 - 10 September the International Summer Academy for singers and accompanying pianists will be held. From 28 October - 4 November, at the same venue, there will be Master Classes from the divas Jennifer Larmore and Barbara Frittoli. Furthermore, Nei Stëmmen will host the preselections for the prestigious ‘s-Hertogenbosch International Vocal Competition. “Being chosen by this organisation

highlights an international recognition that is really important in this business. Luxembourg knows it can be recognised for excellence in more than one field,” smiles Luisa. Nei Stëmmen enjoys the generous support of the Ministry of Culture and the National Cultural Fund as well as private sponsors, all in collaboration with the Centre ArcA concert hall in Bertrange. Performances are traditionally framed by works of art made by generous artists residing in Luxembourg, such as MarieJosée Kerschen, Raffaela Zenoni and Michèle Frank. Photo: © Wolfgang Gauch


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Summer in Luxembourg City

TOP LEFT: Bock Casemates - Castle Bridge. Photo: © Robert Boberian LCTO. LEFT: Grand Ducal Palace, Luxembourg UNESCO World Heritage Zone. Photo: © Cathy Giorgetti. RIGHT: Corniche. Photo: © Christof Weber. BOTTOM RIGHT: Luxembourg, summer festivals. Photo: © Claude Piscitelli


With a summer-long arts festival, visits to the residence of the grand ducal family, and tours of the UNESCO site that earned the city the nickname ‘the Gibraltar of the North’, Luxembourg has a host of events to attract tourists this season. Recently, many outdoor festivals have been hosted in the city of Luxembourg. Their aim is to “bring music closer to the people” as part of the city’s entertainment programme, Summer in the City 2017. Organised by the Luxembourg City Tourist Office (LCTO), the 19th edition of the celebration opened on 16 June with the Fête de la Musique, a city-wide event of open-air concerts. Theatre performers and artists will also descend on the city for the next few months, and shopping destinations and markets will offer the chance to pick up a bargain or purchase an artisan trinket. Some of the highlights of the calendar include Plëss in Concert, a concert series that will host live music throughout the

summer at the historic Place d’Armes, the city’s former parade ground. On 11 - 12 August, the Streeta(rt)nimation event will celebrate local and international street theatre and on 9 - 10 September the Skatepark Pétrusse will host the famous Skateboarding Cup. Visitors can also see many exhibitions at Villa Vauban, the city’s art museum, plus an exhibit by Mikhail Karikis called Love is the Institution of Revolution is open at Casino Luxembourg. However, music is not the only draw to Luxembourg this summer. Tourists can explore the renowned casemates (from the Greek ‘chasma(ta)’, meaning ‘chasm’), listed by UNESCO World Heritage as the longest underground passages of their kind in the world. Built initially in 1644, the 14-mile-long bombproof defence galleries reach as far as 40 metres deep and their ingenuity earned Luxembourg the nickname ‘the Gibraltar of the North’. Since 1933, the Bock and Pétrusse casemates have been

open to the public; the daily tours include the dungeon of the old Luxembourg castle, which has a spectacular vista of the town below. For a glimpse into the lives of Luxembourg’s grand ducal family, visitors can take a guided tour of the Palais Grand-Ducal, the royal city residence, on weekdays until 3 September. The palace lies on the site of Luxembourg’s first town hall, built in 1554. The current building, including the Hall of Honour, Map Room and the spectacular Parlour of Kings, was restored between 1992 and 1995 and is now open to the public.

To find out more about Luxembourg’s attractions and event calendar, visit:

Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  71

Photo: Pukkelpop

Out & About We have entered into the last full month of summer, so let’s make it count! Luckily festival season is still going strong, so make this August your best one yet with everything from live music to food festivals and fine arts. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

Lowlands 2016. Photo: Bart Heemskerk

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Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Calendar

Royal Palace Amsterdam.

Brussels Summer Festival 6 – 15 August Brussels, Belgium Held in the heart of the Belgian capital, BSF is a popular festival serving up a wide range of artists. From rock to hip hop, jazz, pop or even world music, any dynamic music lover should head to Brussels this summer.

e-Lake festival 11 – 13 August Echternach, Luxembourg Since 1996, the e-Lake Festival has taken place around the lake of Echternach, in the north-east of Luxembourg. This free annual gathering of rock, house and techno music is one of the biggest festivals in the country.

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

Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  73

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Calendar Pluk de Nacht 16 – 26 August Amsterdam, the Netherlands Pluk de Nacht (Seize the Night) is Amsterdam’s annual free outdoor film festival guaranteeing luscious summer evenings with the most beautiful movies on the big screen, beach chairs, hot blankets, and cocktails.

Hotel Pulitzer.

International Fireworks Festival 11 – 19 August Scheveningen, the Netherlands In case you really needed another reason to go to Scheveningen, every year the International Fireworks Festival draws tens of thousands of visitors, with countries from all over the world trying to put on the best fireworks display.

Pulitzer Amsterdam Month of August Amsterdam, the Netherlands The labyrinth of 25 connected, historical canal houses of Pulitzer Amsterdam uncover the history of the Dutch capital combined with modern-day luxury. This stylishly designed hotel turns each guest into an urban explorer who goes on an adventure into the city’s intriguing past and present.

Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival 17 – 27 August Groningen, the Netherlands Noorderzon is an international art manifestation, offering 11 days of international avant-garde crossover theatre. There will be over 80 performances and shows by international groups.

Lowlands Festival 18 – 20 August Biddinghuizen, the Netherlands It is the festivals of all festivals: A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise. This year celebrating its 25th edition, the festival has gained a loyal visitor base over the past decades. Looking at the line-up, it is safe to say why as this year will welcome world-class artists such as Mumford and Sons, the XX, Flume, and Elbow.

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.

Pukkelpop 16 – 19 August Kiewit, Belgium Pukkelpop traditionally selects a musical lineup with an alternative fringe. Almost 200 current musical sensations, living legends and visionary alternative artists all come to perform on one of the many stages. The 2017 line-up is adorned by top acts such as The Editors, Nicolas Jaar, and Bastille. 74  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

Preuvenemint Maastricht. Photo: NBTC

Avec le soutien du Commissariat Général au Tourisme


Ville de Bastogne

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Calendar ‘t Preuvenemint 24 – 27 August Maastricht, the Netherlands When it comes to gastronomy and hospitality, Limburg is way ahead of the rest of the Netherlands. ‘t Preuvenemint is a four-day party on Vrijthof square filled with great food, fine wines, and music.

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

Fireworks Scheveningen. Photo: NBTC

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, or enjoy the music, theatre, and good food. Pind Punjabi.

Uitmarkt 25 – 27 August Amsterdam, the Netherlands This is the kick-off of the cultural season and the largest cultural festival in the Netherlands, drawing 500,00 visitors every year and spread over more than 30 venues in Amsterdam.

Pind Punjabi Month of August 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. 76  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

3 Oever Festival, Ensemble BRASS-IT!

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Columns



Rather sadly, it seems that it is the widely held belief that to be ‘an artist’, you have to spend three years at art school, be seen at all the right parties, and wear expensive cumbersome glasses. This should not be the case. Given a pen and paper, anyone can become an artist. That is one of the greatest things about it; the fact that it is open to all, and French artist Jean Dubuffet was the flag bearer of this idea. Dubuffet was an unexceptional painter and part-time wine merchant until the late 1940s when, after trips to Algeria, he renounced the artistic tropes of the time in favour of what he considered a more authentic, more human approach to art. The Art Brut movement was formed, promoting the art of children, prisoners and patients, and marking a change in Dubuffet’s work towards the use of everyday materials, pattern and simplistic forms.

On show in the regal gardens of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam are 12 of Dubuffet’s exemplary and iconic sculptures. Instantly recognisable through their chalk-white bulk, the pieces are broken down through graphic lines in black, red and blue into blob-like cells. The work considers man’s relationship to nature, and the sculptures stand tall in amongst the trees and plants of the Rijksmuseum. Dubuffet’s bold and brave style has rightly, if ironically, placed him amongst art history’s hall of fame, and this is a superb collection of some of his best works.

Jean Dubuffet, Monument à la bête debout (1969-1983) Coll. Fondation Dubuffet, Paris ©2017 Fondation Dubuffet, Paris / Pictoright, Netherlands.

Jean Dubuffet in the Rijksmuseum Gardens is on until 1 October 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.


Broeder Jacob


Broeder Jacob is a tripel-style Belgian ale named after the legend of a novice monk whose beer brewing experiments, conducted well into the night, caused him to sleep through a morning mass.

The yeast sediment, which is a legacy of Broeder Jacob’s bottle refermentation, gives this gold-amber beer a slightly cloudy appearance. It has a mild aroma with fruity notes and just a hint of spice.

Children in the Benelux sing about that event in a popular song. Depending on their home, it is known as Broeder Jacob, Vader Jacob or Frère Jacques. The beer’s label depicts musical notes and a singing monk. Its strength, 7.5 per cent, may be sufficient to quickly get those who consume it into the mood for a song.

It is an easy-to-drink beer, made with Saaz hops, with a light flavour that has a touch of orange. Wheat and barley malt contribute to Broeder Jacob’s rounded finish.

The beer has been on the market since 2010 and is the creation of Johan Claes and Bruno Verbiest. Their headquarters are in Wezemaal, a little over ten kilometres north-east of the Leuven Institute for Beer Research.

This is a beer that pairs well with glazed ham, creamy cheeses and good bread. The brewers even recommend using Broeder Jacob in the sauce for preparing mussels but, if you are a true beer aficionado, you may well prefer to keep the beer to accompany the food. Brewer: Broeder Jacob Strength: 7.5 per cent

Stuart Forster was twice named Journalist of the Year at the 2015 and 2016 Holland Press Awards. Five generations of his family have been actively involved in the brewing industry.

Issue 44  |  August 2017  |  77

Discover Benelux | Music | Benelux Beats



You say Dutch rock, you think Moss. For 13 years, this five-piece band has been shaping the musical landscape in the Netherlands with their infectious sound and presence at every big stage in the country. Strike is the band’s newest album, released earlier this year and presenting us with a very different kind of Moss. Discover Benelux spoke to frontman Marien Dorleijn.

this time. I locked myself up in a room to start writing, yet the songs didn’t come. None of the work I wrote in that time made it to Strike. It was only at the start of a new year the inspiration suddenly began to flow. The actual album has been recorded with producer Arne van Petegem, in the dEUS studio in Antwerp. We decided to live-record the whole album and totally threw our previous routines overboard.

Strike was released in March. Did it represent a new beginning? I guess you could say Strike means a whole fresh start for Moss. After 13 years of making music, certain rules and ways slip in. We were kind of set in our ways. With Strike, we took a totally different turn and tried things we have never tried before, sound and song-wise.

If you had to choose: recording or performing? Writing songs and recording. I love the creativity of the writing process.

Can you tell us a bit about how Strike was made? Before I found that, writing songs just kind of happened to me; but that was different 78  |  Issue 44  |  August 2017

If you look back over the past 13 years, is there a memory that stands out? The release of Never Be Scared/Don’t Be A Hero. That album opened so many doors for us. I Apologise [a song from the album] was even used on the soundtrack to the film Boys (2014), which was released in countless countries and gained us listeners all over the world.

Do you have a ritual when performing? I think it is really important to get clarity in my head before a performance. So I never drink before a show! What has been your best recent musical discovery? As If Apart, a beautiful album from Chris Cohen. After all these years, are there still dreams for the future? Certainly! There are so many things still to be tried out. On a next album, I would like to work with wind instruments: trumpets, clarinets, and so on.

MARIEN’S RECORD COLLECTION: The Beatles – Rubber Soul Radiohead – OK Computer Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther Fleetwood Mac - Rumours

Enjoy the good life....

The history of De Havixhorst dates back to the Medieval Ages when peasants began settling on the high grounds along the banks of the Reest River on the border between Drenthe and Overijssel. At De Havixhorst you can spend the night in authentic style. The château has thirteen exclusive hotel rooms, and every one of them has its own unique character. Staying at De Havixhorst means spending a few days as a guest of the family. De Havixhorst also welcomes you for a regional dinner, cooked by the chef and his staff. Almost immediately you will understand how De Havixhorst quickly earned its reputation as one of the top Dutch restaurants. Groups ranging from two to 500 people can be accommodated at De Havixhorst. De Havixhorst offers stylish venues for both small and large groups. Expect a charming and authentic ambience with modern facilities. De Havixhorst has years of experience organising celebrations, presentations, events and meetings of all sizes.

★★★★ Schiphorsterweg 34-36 7966 AC De Schiphorst The Netherlands T: +31 (0)522 44 14 87