Discover Benelux, Issue 45, September 2017

Page 1

I S S U E 4 5 | S E P T E M B E R 2 017












Your Shortcut to Benelux

S nacks

Me al s


Pap ers



Discover Benelux  |  Contents

Contents SEPTEMBER 2017





52 The Best of Bruges With its dreamy canals, pretty cobbled lanes

Our cover star this month is Dutch super-

and charming market squares, the medieval

model Lara Stone, who grew up in Mierlo, in

town of Bruges is like a fairy tale come true.

the Southern Netherlands. Having enjoyed

We present our top picks in the so-called

more than a decade at the top of her game,

‘Venice of the North’.

the 33-year-old remains one of the most in-demand faces in fashion. In this relaxed and

64 South of the Netherlands Highlights

refreshingly honest interview, she discusses

From cosy historic towns to stunning scenery,

everything from selfies to her trademark pout.

not to mention vibrant cities such as Eindhoven and Tilburg, the South of the Nether-


lands has its own unique flavour. We hone in on some of our favourite Southern spots.

10 Benelux Business Special We showcase the Benelux firms you need to know about in fields ranging from law and recruitment to ICT. Meanwhile, do not miss our

FEATURES 74 Michaelina Wautier

exclusive interview with Carlo Thelen, director

We explore the fascinating story of the forgot-

general and chief economist of the Luxem-

ten Flemish artist Michaelina Wautier, whose

bourg Chamber of Commerce.

work will be the subject of an upcoming exhibition at the Rubenshuis in Antwerp.

22 The must-do guide to the Netherlands From art and culture highlights to historical

94 Benelux Beats

hotspots, our huge guide to tourism in the

Discover Benelux catches up with Belgian

Netherlands proves there is no better desti-

singer Billie, who is fast becoming the darling

nation for a jam-packed autumn break. Start

of the Benelux pop scene.

planning your trip here!



Fashion Picks  |  8 Desirable Designs  |  89 Out & About  |  93 Columns

Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  3

Discover Benelux  |  Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Discover Benelux Issue 45, September 2017 Published 09.2017 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 Bettina Guirkinger Charlotte van Hek Ella Put

Heidi Kokborg Juliën L’Ortye Lidija Liegis Matt Antoniak Michiel Stol Myriam Gwynned Dijck Peter Stewart Steve Flinders Stuart Forster Cover Photo Andrea Raffin / Sales & Key Account Managers Mette Tonnessen 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:

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 45  |  September 2017

It is that time of year again. I hope you had a restful summer and that this month’s back-to-school vibe is inspiring you to make a fresh start rather than invoking the holiday blues. Be it in your wardrobe, your home or at work, our September issue has plenty to offer those looking to shake things up a little. We are kicking things off with a bumper business special, which includes an interview with Carlo Thelen, director general and chief economist at Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce. Meanwhile, for those of you who are still in holiday mode, do not miss our guide to the beautiful Belgian town of Bruges. Where better than the ‘Venice of the North’ for a spontaneous weekend getaway? Our cover star this month is the inimitable Dutch supermodel Lara Stone. A perennial star of the global fashion scene, Stone grew up in Dutch town of Mierlo and was discovered on a family holiday in Paris at the age of 12. She has walked the catwalk for the world’s most prestigious fashion houses, while her rare beauty and undeniable charisma have made her a muse to countless designers. Now more than a decade into her career, Stone discusses everything from selfies to her trademark pout on page 48. From muse to artist, this issue we also have a fascinating in-depth feature on Michaelina Wautier, a 17th-century Flemish painter who until recently had been unfairly omitted from art history. Fortunately, the Rubenshuis in Antwerp will be holding an exhibition next year dedicated to the long-forgotten creative as part of the Antwerp Baroque 2018: Rubens as an Inspiration programme. Head to page 74 to find out more. This issue also features a jampacked guide to the Netherlands’ top art and culture spots, with the exhibition season ahead looking particularly stimulating. We hope it inspires you as much as it does us. Happy reading!

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


Back to work With summer winding down and people heading back to work, it is time to exchange your flip-flops and bikini for more appropriate office wear. Dreading leaving the sun and sand behind? The road back to work will be a whole lot more fun with these on-point back-to-work outfits. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: PRESS PHOTOS

Tasteful turtleneck Turtlenecks have officially become the go-to staple for autumn. A basic bestie, the turtleneck serves as perfect office wear. For a fashionable look, tuck it slightly into your trousers. Jumper €159 Trousers €149

Bag it up Some items are worth the investment, and a proper bag is definitely one of them. This shoulder bag combines fashion and function into one, with the beautiful timeless design and high-quality material making it a showpiece in your wardrobe. Carrying heavy documents has never been more chic. €1,040

Staying classy Adding a striking blazer to your outfit is an easy way to take your look to the next level, whether it is for a presentation, a job interview, or date night. This brown blazer from WE Fashion helps you score some serious style points. € 79.99 6  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks

Suiting up Every woman needs at least one good suit hanging in her closet. Borrowed from the boys but geared for the girls, a well-tailored suit exudes professionalism and class. Both the blazer and trousers can be worn separately and are perfect to make any casual outfit fancier. Blazer €199 Trousers €159

Pretty in print Designer Claes Iversen designs for the modern, versatile and contemporary woman. This printed blouse proves that a work wardrobe does not have to be drab. Wear with high-waisted trousers for a feminine and chic look. €229.00

Head over heels A fine pair of heels is the perfect way to add some spice to an office outfit. Light enough to wear during the warmer autumn days, yet sufficiently high to keep your ankles warm, these black boots are made for walking. €159.99 Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  7

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Desirable Designs


Fun, bright and colourful Summer is coming to an end, and a magical landscape comprising autumnal tones is emerging. No matter how you feel about September, we are sure that these cheerful items will brighten up your day and bring a splash of happiness to your home. TEXT: HEIDI KOKBORG  |  PHOTOS: PRESS PHOTOS

Indie feeling Why not bring a little exotic feeling and some vibrant colours into your home this autumn? With this Indian Block Pillow, we are sure those summer blues will fade away almost instantly. Dutch Bone, price on request

Colourful sugar bowl This colourful sugar bowl is the perfect addition to your afternoon tea or coffee. It is delicately crafted from porcelain and features a stunning pattern of multi-coloured floral motifs and has a chic gold handle. Pip Studio, approx. €17

Happy tea drinking The season for sipping rosé on the patio has come to an end, and it is time to snuggle up with your favourite hot drink and a blanket at night. But why not make the evening even more enjoyable with this colourful mug from Pip Studio? We guarantee that it will make you smile! Pip Studio, approx. €12

Be bold This hand-woven rug from Danskina’s Bold collection will brighten up any room. The company aims to make the finest rugs in the world so you can be sure you only get the highest quality. Danskina, approx. €439

Happy reading Autumn calls for evenings snuggled up on the couch with a good book. Why not make the reading experience even more enjoyable with a colourful bookmark like this one? It even reminds you to laugh every time you look at it. Clayre & Eef bookmark, € 3,50

8  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

Claude Monet, Impression, soleil levant, 1872, huile sur toile, 50 × 65 cm, Paris, Musée Marmottan Monet, don Victorine et Eugène Donop de Monchy, 1940 © Bridgeman Images



Avec la participation exceptionnelle du musée Marmottan Monet


An influential and dynamic market A strategic location in the heart of Europe, social and political stability, an open and international environment: these are just some of the qualities that make Belgium and Luxembourg so enticing to businesses. Of course there are also high living standards and a multilingual, highly skilled workforce, not to mention impressive infrastructures. For this month’s business special we spoke to Carlo Thelen, director general and chief economist of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce about the importance of digitalisation. You will also find profiles of some of the region’s most exciting companies in sectors ranging from ICT to recruitment. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: DREAMSTIME.COM


10  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Business Special  |  Luxembourg and Belgium

DO NOT MISS: Carlo Thelen Q&A, page 12

Tech-IT, page 18

Check out our exclusive interview with Carlo Thelen, director general and chief economist of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce.

Established in 2007, Luxembourg-based firm Tech-IT is an IT solutions provider and integrator with high added value., page 14 Luxembourg-based cloud service CMD. solutions is best described as a ‘onestop shop’ for everything ICT related. European Data Hub, page 16 Operational since 2007, the European Data Hub uses the most up-to-date tools to supervise and monitor any type of equipment 24/7 for 365 days per year.

van Cutsem Wittamer Marnef & Partners, page 19 Brussels-based law firm van Cutsem Wittamer Marnef & Partners provides high-quality advice and assistance in all aspects of business law. Cabinet WALTER, page 20 Cabinet WALTER is reputed in the recruitment of C-suite across numerous countries and different sectors.

Carlo Thelen. Photo: Chambre de Commerce

Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  11

Discover Benelux  |  Business Special  |  Carlo Thelen


Luxembourg’s digital revolution This month, Discover Benelux speaks to Carlo Thelen, director general and chief economist of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTO: CHAMBRE DE COMMERCE

You have been director general since 2014. Tell us a bit more about your job and why you love it. At the Chamber of Commerce we are at the forefront of all the rising economic trends and evolutions within the Luxembourg business environment. It’s a challenging but also a very exciting task to keep track of the dynamics generated by the new economic paradigm shifts, not only in Luxembourg but also worldwide. From the emergence of the steel industry over the rapid development of the financial centre to the disruptive nature of digitalisation, each time Luxembourg had to develop appropriate policy responses. At the Chamber of Commerce our mission is to look after the interests of our members. I enjoy meeting companies and helping them to translate their needs into major policy recommendations or papers for the government. You have enjoyed a long career as an economist. Tell us about some of the biggest developments you have witnessed. I think one major trend nowadays, not only in Luxembourg, is the process of digitalisation and its impact on the economy. This process has disrupting effects, not only on people in general, but how it transforms the companies and the ways to conduct a business. We believe that the good and optimal use of digitalisation can lead to more productivity and to more efficient use of resources. That’s something very important in Luxembourg because we are a small country: almost 40 per cent of all 12  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

our workforce are cross-border workers. Together with the ministry of economy we launched The Third Industrial Revolution strategy initiative which is a major national project with the objective to lay out a strategic plan for the future economic and social development of the country. This new strategy was defined with the help of American economist Jeremy Rifkin which tries to combine the new communication internet technologies, the progressive advancement of renewable energy sources and the upsurge of a new era of automated and emission-free transport modes. Even if we call it a ‘third industrial revolution’, it is more appropriate to perceive those developments as an evolution instead of a revolution. In the end, the strategy should guide the government and all the concerned stakeholders through the transformation into a highly connected and fully sustainable nation state and help to make a better use of our resources and to leverage the process of digitalisation to attain new productivity gains. What are your predictions for Luxembourg’s economy in the next 12 months? For the moment we are quite optimistic because the economy is doing well and is in line with the evolution in our neighbouring countries. As a small country we are dependent on the evolution of the financial markets and the international stock exchange: when they are doing well, they have a positive effect on our economy. The contrary is also true. Since we are dependent on the evolution of the international

markets, we monitor them closely. But for the time being, the outlook is rather good. We have a stable socio-economic environment, strong infrastructures and our government is investing a lot into future projects. But we have to remain careful, prepare for the future and build reserves for the days when there will be less economic performance. At the moment our economy is doing well, our companies have well-filled order books, but the international political environment around us is not very stable and could quickly destabilise our open economy. To sum it up, we are optimistic but we remain cautious and prepare for the future. What do you think will be the biggest challenges facing businesses in the coming years? I think the big challenge is for everyone to make the most of digitalisation and to perceive it not only as a threat but as well as an opportunity to create new value. The challenge is whether all the smaller companies will be fit for the new digital world and whether they manage to put digitalisation to their advantage and to produce and to offer services in a more efficient way allowing them to increase their productivity. I think traditional companies, not only in Luxembourg, absolutely have to delve into the subject of preparing themselves for the modernisation of their production process via digitalisation. We know that it is a huge challenge for small and mid-sized companies and we are doing all we can to prepare them and to inform them, that there will be no way around digitalisation in the future.

Discover Benelux  |  Business Special  |  Carlo Thelen

Preparing for the digital transformation also implies thinking over your communication and data management strategy. We live in a communication society where information is moving very quickly. Without a proper knowledge and data management strategy, it will be very difficult to remain competitive in this fast-paced environment. Old-school marketing and communication strategies aren’t effective anymore. Companies have to invest in a sound data management and communication strategy which implements the latest technologies and social media channels if they want to maximise their productivity and stay connected to their customers. The role of the Chamber of Commerce is to help the companies to step forward and make the best use of available technology. Finally, what is the most important lesson you have learned in your career so far? Good question! You have to always remain flexible and pragmatic, and adapt to the new trends and situations. Maybe I say that because I come from a very small country. When you are small you have to react more swiftly than all the others and the same goes for an institution or company. Luxembourg companies which have succeeded on an international level are those which are the most competitive, adaptable and innovative. International competition can be fierce and as a small country you have to learn very quickly to adapt to the new megatrends. That is certainly a lesson I have learnt and it is true for everyone, not just in business. For example students have to adapt too. They have to learn to use the new digital tools in order to stay connected to their community and to do research. They have to learn all new skill sets and tools and use them wisely. I think that’s the main challenge for young people today: to adapt and to find their way in this new communication and information environment. That’s also something you can learn for your life: remain open for new evolutions and developments. Do not be scared of new trends, see where the opportunity lies and take the necessary steps to seize them. Of course you also have to be aware of risks, but mainly you should focus on the opportunities. Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  13

Discover Benelux  |  Business Special  |  Luxembourg and Belgium

Access your work environment anytime, anywhere.


A one-stop shop for ICT services TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: CMD.SOLUTIONS

Luxembourg-based cloud service CMD. solutions is best described as a ‘onestop shop’ for everything ICT related: the subscription-based company’s expert consultants deliver a turnkey solution and service portfolio that can meet the needs of any business. The team have years of experience managing IT, telecom and cloud services for all types of enterprises and are experts in the following fields: managed hosting, messaging and collaboration, online (hosted) workspaces, backup, security, disaster recovery, connectivity and telecom. “We basically guarantee all

the IT needs of a company,” begins managing partner Jerry Wagner.

24/7 support Offering 24/7 service and support to companies across the Benelux, CMD. solutions designs, builds and manages business-critical solutions for its clients. From start-ups to small or medium-sized enterprises, will ensure your IT and telecom services are in line with your company’s business strategy, operational and security needs.


The focus of is primarily on micro enterprises. “We’ve organised

ourselves to be able to really accompany the needs of smaller enterprises. This represents the majority of the companies here in Luxembourg,” explains Wagner, adding that many of their customers are independent professions and have ‘zero employees’. “Why zero? Because people like lawyers or doctors often stand alone. They have to manage their own infrastructure and most try to manage that the best they can. There are other online services available but these tend to be from large groups offering solutions to fit many needs. They don’t have a really local presence.

Access your work environment anytime, anywhere 14  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Business Special  |

“Where we think we make a real difference is that we truly guide the customers from A to Z. We go to the customer site, we talk to them, we try to understand what their exact needs are and what they want to do with various IT tools - now and in the future.”

Customised solutions So how does cater to new customers? “We make a full audit of all the different applications or all the different devices a company may have and need. We then make them a proposal based on that for what we conceive as being the best steps for the future. This means a proposal with a good mix between what we feel makes sense putting into our cloud what we potentially consider better hosting locally if that were to be the case.” offers a secure environment with the label ‘safe in Luxembourg’, meaning clients know exactly where their data is hosted. The company has activated contracts with the Grand Duchy’s major data centres, with data being securely

stored in the country’s state-of-the-art tier four data centres.

Exciting plans The company is currently working on a whole set of new products and services, which will be coming out over the next six to12 months. At the moment everything is top secret, although Wagner does divulge that these upcoming arrivals will be particularly good news for smaller enterprises. “They are going to be very attractive to the market in general, but especially for the small and medium enterprises,” he smiles. “The idea is we start rolling them out at the end of 2017 to mid-2018. I cannot share too much at the moment, other than that the objective of all these services will really be to allow micro and small enterprises to truly concentrate on their core business and the needs of their customers.”

Empowering SMEs After all, the more efficient tools a business has, the more it can concentrate on

Simple and effective email solutions.

its customers and overall company success. “For us, it’s all about empowering small and medium companies. Us being with them at all times means they can really count on us. We’ll help them really focus on their own clients and on their own business,” concludes Wagner. To guide you at any time.

Find out more about how CMD. solutions can help bring your ICT infrastructure in line with your business targets by visiting

Secured virtual operations.

To guide you at any time

Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  15



When it comes to IT infrastructure, data centres have a critical role in the daily functioning of a business. Boasting a tier four certification - the highest level that can be attributed to a data centre - the European Data Hub in Luxembourg is in a class of its own. We spoke to managing director Jerry Wagner to find out more. Operational since 2007, the European Data Hub is a wholly privately owned 16  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

data centre. It uses the most up-to-date tools to supervise and monitor any type of equipment being supervised by an onsite team of experts 24/7 for 365 days per year. In addition to its impressive tier four certification, the 5,000-square-metre hub is also ISO 27001 certified and EN50600 accredited. “These are all very strict certifications which are only obtained to the respect of the highest security norms

and the highest availability norms of the data centre,” begins Wagner.

100 per cent operational “The data centre has been 100 per cent operational for a decade. There has not yet been one interruption to the data centre, not even ten minutes of downtime. That’s really very, very rare. It’s not easily achieved and we’ve worked really hard to achieve that.” Part of the European Data Hub’s success can be attributed

Discover Benelux  |  Business Special  |  European Data Hub

to its unique design, positioned at nearly 30 metres below ground level. “It’s a data centre which was constructed to offer the highest levels of security in terms of access and risks such as bombings or anything which could somehow put the data centre out of production.” The design allows for granularity and scalability to be offered to clients at any time during their life cycle within the data centre. All floors are fully framed and can support a load of 2,000 kilogrammes per square metre. The raised floor provides a minimum height of 80 centimetres.

world leader in the operation and maintenance of Data Centres facilities. Thanks to the CBRE connection, the European Data Hub can boast competences and different resources that put them in a league of their own. “CBRE are a very important partner for us. They don’t own their own data centres but they manage data centres around the world, including those from the world’s major players including Google, Amazon, HP. Basically, they are our partner, assisting us in the operational daily management of our data centre.”

The European Data Hub supports 30 plus kilowatts of power per cabinet at scale and features a high efficiency cooling system as well as a 24/7 network operations centre, fire safety and security team. There is fire detection in all technical and IT rooms including raised floor, argonite gas suppression in all IT Rooms (Dual Shot) and water detection in all raised floors in technical rooms and IT rooms. These are just some of the reasons you can be safe in the knowledge of 100 per cent security.

Personalisation is important at the European Data Hub, which is situated just 20 minutes from Luxembourg Airport and within easy access of the country’s major business areas. The data centre offers rooms of all sizes depending on customers’ needs as well as very accessible prices. There are large rooms of up to 200 square metres. Meanwhile, if a company only requires one rack or half a rack, it is no problem. “We really cater to all needs,” concludes Wagner.

There are also on-site resources including office space and meeting rooms. An array of smart onsite support services are available if you require technical assistance. From visual verifications to help installing equipment, the expert team are always on hand.

CBRE Data Centre Solutions The data centre is managed in collaboration with CBRE Data Centre Solutions, a 19, rue de Bitbourg L-1273 Luxembourg Email: Telephone: +352 27 67 67 67 Web: European Data Hub Email: Telephone: +352 27 12 55 55 1 Web:

About the Wagner Group and European Data Hub are both part of the Wagner Group and together form the WAGNER ICT subsidiary. Throughout its more than 80 years of existence, the Wagner Group has constantly striven to achieve excellence. Over the past decades they have broadened and diversified their skill set to ensure that they achieve the best overall results in furnishing technical equipment to the building industry. Their core expertise is in building management and technical equipment. Their full-service offering is tailored to individual requirements down to the last detail in undertaking planning, project planning, construction, commissioning of equipment and operations. Their experience and innovative spirit has made them a first-class partner in intelligent building projects that use the latest data and communications technologies in a day-to-day environment.

Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  17

Discover Benelux  |  Business Special  |  Tech-IT

A trailblazer in digital management TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS | PHOTOS: TECH IT

Tech-IT PSF S.A. is a Luxembourgbased IT solutions provider and integrator. Established in 2007, Tech-IT PSF S.A. has quickly built up its position as a market leader in digital transformation, Cloud, Datacenter and IT Managed Services. The 60-person team consists predominantly of engineers with first-rate technical expertise, as well as individuals with skills in management and commercial experience in consulting, design and implementation of Information Systems. Tech-IT PSF S.A. core business consists of supplying, installing, and developing collaborative IT solutions (CRM and ERP). The team impresses with its profound knowledge of data-processing technologies and its strong command of computer infrastructure projects, covering virtualisation, Hyper-convergence, archiving, Backup and Platform Management. Furthermore, there are experts 18  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

available to advise on software development and document management. The group also has strength in digital signage, Mutlimedia. Its help desk is available 24/7 to assist users with local support, security awareness training and to provide help during regulatory audits. Tech-IT PSF S.A. can additionally provide highly qualified IT consultants specialising in data warehousing, application development and infrastructure integration. The consultants can help reduce and contain costs, assist with 24/7 recruitment, hiring management support, and overflow hiring processes. Core clients include small and midsize businesses, with clients coming from the financial, industry and public sector. The most important thing says Hamid Kaddour, managing partner, is to stand at the side of our customers and continuously focus on their satisfaction.

Since the beginning of Tech-IT PSF S.A. we focus on delivering added value based on quality and professionalism. ‘Thanks to our customers for their trust in Tech-IT’ Web:

Discover Benelux  |  Business Special  |  van Cutsem Wittamer Marnef & Partners

A law firm with a proud history and a bright future TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: LAETIZIA BAZZONI

Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the independent law firm van Cutsem Wittamer Marnef & Partners provides high-quality advice and assistance in all aspects of business law.

data protection and privacy regulations. “Challenges like this will be here for years to come. We hold internal and customer conferences on such subjects,” explains Bertrand Wittamer.

Since its founding in 1977, the Brusselsbased bureau has evolved a great deal, and now comprises a diverse team of 35 lawyers with experience in a wide range of practice areas. “Our 40-year history is important, but so is our future,” begins managing partner Bertrand Wittamer. “In addition to our highly experienced lawyers, we welcome new blood - people at the start of their careers, as well as experienced partners coming from outside who can bring a fresh vision. This ensures a flexible and forward-looking transition.”

van Cutsem Wittamer Marnef & Partners can provide comprehensive legal support for business activities both in Belgium and abroad. “We are a member of several independent law firm networks to whom we can appeal or recommend clients. The advantage of being independent is that you do not have to call on a particular firm. We have a freedom of choice.”

The cabinet’s clients range from SMEs and independent retailers to Belgian subsidiaries of international groups, all of which they can assist with issues related to subjects including company law, labour law, corporate tax and much more. The firm now also has a focus on personal

The firm prides itself on having close and long-lasting partnerships with its clients: “With our customers we do not try to make a ‘one shot’, we are looking for a long-term relationship.” Ensuring their rates remain affordable is another example of why van Cutsem Wittamer Marnef & Partners are so trusted. Legal fees have a reputation for being expensive, but the company’s fair rates allow them to continue working with loyal clients from busi-

nesses of all sizes. “Some of our customers have been with us for 20 or 30 years,” smiles Bertrand Wittamer. With the reputed firm’s long-standing philosophy centred around trust, availability and flexibility - it is easy to see why.

Corporate INTL Global Awards named van Cutsem Wittamer Marnef & Partners Insurance Law Firm of the Year 2017. To find out more, visit

Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  19

Discover Benelux  |  Business Special  |  cabinet WALTER



Competencies and performance taken to the next level TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER  |  PHOTOS: CABINET WALTER

Since the creation of the first WALTER cabinet 30 years ago in Metz, the firm has built a solid reputation and brand around the recruitment of C-suite that has gained the trust of its clients across countries and sectors.

Cabinet WALTER Luxembourg: “Our work is a noble but particularly demanding and complex craft as we operate from an strong ethical ground based on trust and respect towards both our clients and our candidates.”

The dream team of expert multilingual recruiters at cabinet WALTER is built around a philosophy of bringing the best-quality service both to the candidates they recruit and the companies that hire their services. “With our founder Roger Walter being a reference in the domain of hiring C-suite candidates, it is at the core of our commitment to bring to our clients a real performance from their future collaborators.”

Currently present in the cities of Metz, Nancy, Paris, Strasbourg, Colmar, Luxembourg and Sarrebruck, the firm is in constant expansion to meet the needs and expectations of their international clientele - with new expansions planned in Lille, Lyon, and Reims.

Operating across sectors, from industry to IT, construction, health and many more, the team relies on a thorough understanding of the company’s culture, values, needs and projects in order to tailor their approach to potential candidates. Being the hiring company’s spokesperson, the firm acts in line with their values of objectivity, transparency, respect and care. In the words of Anne Lambolez, head of 20  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

alities’ and aligned set of values and vision that ensure that the match is a success.” Hence the importance of the more human approach of the Cabinet WALTER, which lies at the very heart of their success.

Working with companies’ leaders in their fields, the team constantly adapts to the changing environment in which these operate and provide a tailored service available in French, English and German. “From a purely market-oriented standpoint, online platforms and networks facilitate and accelerate the recruitment process which explains why some companies believe that they can do without an external recruitment firm. However, beyond the competencies, it is the ‘match of person-

Cabinet WALTER Luxembourg Anne Lambolez-Cahu 20, rue Eugene Ruppert L-2453 Luxembourg


Diagnostic • Strategy Advices • Transmissions • Coaching for Managers Interim Management • Due Diligence • BREXIT solution - set up your company in Luxembourg


Human Talents • Self Discipline • Commitment • Independence • Strength of Conviction STRATEGY AND CHANGE MANAGEMENT EXPERTS SINCE 2003

Henri Prevost

“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, C.E.O & Partner.

Phone: +352.66.1616.666 | Email: Web:


Where to go and what to see The Netherlands is a true country of seasons, and with autumn on the way it is time to start planning how you will make the most of those crisp blue skies and the golden-tinged landscape. With our guide to the country’s top places to visit, you will find everything you need to plan an unforgettable day-trip or decadent weekend break. In the mood for a museum? Then do not miss the Netherlands’ must-see art and culture spots for autumn/winter 2017. From portraiture to fashion, there is something to suit all tastes. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: NBTC

Museum Boijmans van Beuningen Rotterdam.

22  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  The Ultimate Autumn & Winter Destination

Top places to visit (read more from page 26) Whether cycling through a golden forest or enjoying a bracing stroll along the coast, the Netherlands is arguably at its most beautiful in the autumn. Think wide, impressive skies and trees ready to drop their golden leaves. Then, when it comes to wintertime, expect magical snowy landscapes and ice skating on the canals; a true winter wonderland. With that in mind, we have compiled a guide to some of our favourite autumn and winter destinations in the Netherlands. From central highlights such as the modern city of Almere to the charming towns of Doesburg and Winterswijk in the eastern Netherlands or Halderberge down in the South, not to mention the beautiful beach resort of Zandvoort and much more, our guide has got autumn and winter in the Netherlands covered. Get ready to step off the beaten track.


Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  23

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  The Ultimate Autumn & Winter Destination

Top art and culture spots (read more from page 39) Whether you want breathtaking World Heritage sites, quirky museums or internationally renowned art galleries, the Netherlands is brimming with first-class art and culture spots. Thanks to our bursting guide, you can delve into history, admire modern and classical masterpieces or even journey into space.

Louwman Museum, Mercedes-Benz SSK 1929.

DO NOT MISS: Kröller-Müller Museum, page 39 With almost 90 paintings and more than 180 drawings, the Kröller-Müller Museum boasts the second-largest Van Gogh collection in the world.

Museum MORE & Kasteel Ruurlo, page 43 The recently opened Museum MORE | Ruurlo Castle is the second location for Museum MORE, the largest museum for Dutch Modern Realism.

Space Expo, page 46 Hosting Europe’s first permanent space exhibition, Noordwijk-based Space Expo is the official visitor centre for the European Space Agency (ESA) in the Netherlands.

Museum De Lakenhal, page 40 A must-see city museum devoted to history and fine art in Leiden.

Royal Delft, page 44 Royal Delft offers an extraordinary insight into the iconic Delft Blue earthenware.

Het Keringhuis, page 46 This important information centre teaches visitors about flood risk management in the province of Zuid-Holland.

Louwman Museum, page 42 Located in The Hague, the Louwman Museum is a haven for lovers of historic cars, coaches, and motorcycles.

Zuiderzeemuseum, page 45 A museum dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage and maritime past of the old Zuiderzee region.

Noord-Veluws Museum, page 47 In Nunspeet village, the Noord-Veluws Museum is currently hosting the exhibition Vrouwen, Uit de kunst! (Women, State of the art!).

24  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  The Ultimate Autumn & Winter Destination

NBTC’s five must-see exhibitions for autumn/winter 2017 Neighbours, Portraits from Flanders 1400-1700 Mauritshuis, The Hague 7 September 2017 – 14 January 2018 This autumn, Mauritshuis will tell the story of Flemish portraiture from the period 1400-1700 using a selection of the best Flemish portraits from the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Antwerp (KMSKA), including major works by Rogier van der Weyden, Hans Memling, Pieter Pourbus, Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck. These portraits will be presented together for the first time with complements from the Mauritshuis collection and a portrait of Jacob Jordaens from the Rijksmuseum.

Virtuosity and Imagination: Rembrandt Etchings from the Collection Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam 9 September 2017 – 14 January 2018 Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen will present more than 60 of Rembrandt’s finest prints. After a recent restoration and conservation project, this special selection of landscape prints, genre scenes, portraits, self-portraits and religious scenes will be exhibited for the first time. Highlights will include Landscape with Three Gabled Cottages Beside a Road, St Jerome beside a Pollard Willow and The Three Crosses, one of his most experimental works.

Bruce Davidson | The American Photographer Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam 16 September 2017 - 7 January 2018 This autumn, the Nederlands Fotomuseum will be presenting the very first retrospective exhibition of the works of legendary Magnum photographer Bruce Davidson (1933). The exhibition will include more than 200 of his photographs, including work from the famous series Brooklyn Gang, East 100th Street and Time of Change: Civil Rights Movement.

Cabin Crew: Fashion in the Air Kunsthal, Rotterdam 23 September 2017 - 4 February 2018 The extraordinary selection of uniforms in this exhibition is part of the Dutch purser Cliff

Groninger Museum.

Muskiet’s collection. From 1993 onwards he managed to acquire over 1,400 uniforms from 523 different airline companies. The exhibition Cabin Crew is part of the Kunsthal’s mission to disclose hidden private collections.

DROOG: Discover the origin of Dutch Design Centraal Museum, Utrecht 23 September – 3 December 2017 Droog Design is a Dutch design collective established in 1994. Droog have become an internationally renowned collective and have driven a huge awareness in Dutch Design. The Centraal Museum boasts Holland’s largest collection of Droog Design and has collected objects by Droog on an annual basis. The exhibition will present selected works from the collection. Romanticism in the North - from Friedrich to Turner Groninger Museum, Groningen 09 December 2017 to 06 May 2018 Romanticism in the North is the first international survey exhibition of northern European landscape painting. The show will feature works from Holland, Germany, Scandinavia and the United Kingdom, by artists ranging from J.M.W. Turner to Caspar David Friedrich. The paintings address subjects as diverse as travel, the power of nature, and spirituality.

Van Gogh Museum.

The Dutch in Paris 1789-1914 Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam 13 October 2017 - 7 January 2018 The exhibition The Dutch in Paris 1789-1914 will present Paris with the work of Dutch artists like George Hendrik Breitner, Kees van Dongen, Piet Mondriaan and, of course, Vincent van Gogh. Not only did artists like PabloPicasso and Claude Monet influence their work, the Dutch made their mark on French art too. For the first time, these works are shown in conjunction with each other. The Dutch in Paris will show how the interaction between artists in Paris came about and sheds light on the impact it had on both Dutch and French art. To find out more, visit:

Centraal Museum Utrecht.

Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  25

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Places to Visit

Photo: Antoon van der Graaf


A seaside paradise waiting to be discovered TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  PHOTOS: VVV ZANDVOORT

A tranquil, nature-rich seaside town awaits at just a short train ride from Amsterdam. For centuries, the coastal town of Zandvoort has been a popular beach destination, featuring flowing dunes, a quaint former fishermen’s town and wide stretches of sandy beach. “You wouldn’t expect such a beautiful area so close to Amsterdam, but Zandvoort is the perfect place to get some fresh air and enjoy the beach,” says Pim Huijsmans, who works for the local tourism board, VVV Zandvoort. While the Dutch summer is slowly drawing to a close, he assures us that there are a wealth of activities on offer in and around Zandvoort aside from soaking up the last days of sun.

Belling bucks and bike rides Zandvoort is surrounded by gorgeous nature, with the water-rich Amsterdam26  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

se Waterleidingduinen to the South, and National Park Zuid-Kennemerland to the north. The national park is home to a large variety of wildlife, including highland cattle, numerous species of birds, Konik horses and even wisents, also known as European bison.

the entire area is designated for pedestrians only. It is also home to the Netherlands’ largest population of fallow deer, and now is one of the best times to see them. “October is the start of the rutting season. This means you can hear the bucks belling, which is almost like a burping sound. They run after each other sometimes you’ll even see them battling, which is a very spectacular,” says Huijsmans. To witness the deer’s entire mating ritual, visitors can book a guided Burl Walk in October.

It offers hundreds of kilometres of paths both for hikers, cyclists and horse riders, through a stunning and varied natural landscape. Huijsmans says: “The national park is perfect for a day of cycling, or you can book a guided walk with a ranger who can help you spot wildlife and then take you to the wisents.”

Always something new

On the other side of Zandvoort are the unique Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen, a natural area for water-purification made of 3,400 hectares of dunes, woodlands and waterways. The splendid landscape is perfect for a relaxing walk in nature, as

Thanks to its proximity to Amsterdam, Zandvoort attracts many cosmopolitan visitors. For businesses, this is an ideal place to trial products, set up temporary concept stores or open a pop-up shop. This creates an always-evolving commercial environment, so even for regular

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Places to Visit

visitors there is always something new to see, experience or taste. “There is a strong interchange between the visitors and the businesses who want to introduce new products,” Huijsmans explains. “This is on top of Zandvoort’s varied restaurant scene, where you can find all kinds of cuisines. But of course, delicious fresh fish continues to be typical Zandvoort fare.” The town is also host to various events, and this September there is a giant ferris wheel on the Badhuisplein. At 55 metres high, it is said to be the highest mobile ferris wheel in Europe and offers spectacular views over the town, the surroundings and the coast.

for more than racing alone. For example, next month we are organising an outdoor drive-in cinema. On 20 October we will screen two films at the track, which visitors can watch from their cars,” he says.

History in action With Zandvoort’s strategical position along the coast, the area was part of a defensive line in the Second World War. The dunes of the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen still hide numerous concrete bunkers that were part of the 5,000-kilometre-long ‘Atlantic Wall’ to fend off sea attacks. Many of these can be entered and discovered while walking through the area. “We also offer special Bunker Walks that take you

to all the bunkers. The guide will tell you all about the history of the area, as well as taking you to the best places to spot wildlife,” says Huijsmans. Due to its proximity to Amsterdam, Zandvoort is also known as ‘Amsterdam beach’. The town is easy to reach by train from the capital (the station is called Zandvoort aan Zee), which only takes 30 minutes. For more information about the guided walks, booking excursions and the drive-in cinema go to the VVV Zandvoort website. Web:

Photo: NPZK

From a fisher’s town to seaside retreat The area has been inhabited for almost a millennium, as by 1100 the first fishermen had settled in what later became Zandvoort. For hundreds of years the fisheries were the main sources of income, but in the 19th century this slowly started to change. To attract more visitors, Zandvoort slowly transitioned into a seaside resort. Capitalising on the beneficial sea air, the first public bath was opened in 1828. By the mid-19th century the train line was built connecting Zandvoort directly to Amsterdam, and a few years later the town was famously visited by Empress Sisi. To match the growing tourism industry, a racing circuit was opened shortly after the Second World War. For many years, Circuit Zandvoort was host to the Dutch Grand Prix and today it continues to host many high-calibre races, as well as other events. “The racing season is now drawing to a close, but the track can be used

Photo: Circuit Zandvoort

Photo: Essay Productions

Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  27

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Places to Visit

Palace Soestdijk.


Though relatively modest in size, the municipality of Baarn in the Netherlands, with just under 25,000 inhabitants, is very well-known across the land for having a royal touch. It is where the famous Soestdijk is located; a palace that used to be the home of Queen Emma, Juliana and then princess Beatrix before moving to The Hague. Sporting many villas, Baarn was by the end of the 19th century the place to be for upper-class people from Amsterdam, growing increasingly weary of the capital city’s poverty, sickness and crime. Nowadays Baarn is a bustling place largely thanks to its central location and beautiful setting.

Baarnaars and Barinezen “We’re a city, but one with the spirit of a town,” smiles Mark Röell, the mayor of Baarn. “Baarn is just shy of 40 minutes away from Amsterdam, close to the city of Amersfoort and a welcoming and diverse town where the only way we discern people is by calling them ‘Barinezen’ or ‘Baarnaars’, the former being born and raised 28  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

here, the latter if you moved to Baarn. I myself wasn’t born here, but my father did live here, so I do hear stories about him from people who used to be in the same class as him.”

Paleis Soestdijk It is impossible to describe Baarn without mentioning the place that defines much of the town itself: Paleis Soestdijk. Röell: “A bona fide landmark, rich with history and credit has to be given to Anna Pavlovna of Russia who decided to extend Soestdijk with more wings. The palace is open for the public and has a spacious garden that’s being used as a location for different types of events such as concerts and movie screenings. There’s much to see inside the palace and one of my favourites is a wall where the three then young princes were measuring their heights and drew that on the wall. The relationship between the royal family and the people of Baarn was a warm one; our former queens weren’t confined to the palace itself and loved to stroll around without being gawked at.”

Utrechtse Heuvelrug Anyone with a knack for the outdoors will enjoy Baarn as well, given it is practically on the front porch of the ‘Utrechtse Heuvelrug’ which translates to the ‘Utrecht Hill Ridge’: a national park and a stretch of low sandhills, surrounded by forest with a total length of about 50 kilometres. A spot of green with many great vistas, several castles, museums, Climbing Park Lage Vuursche for the sporty types and a zoo. Röell: “It’s astonishing how much there’s to be seen and done in and around the Heuvelrug even though the area itself is quite small. Especially with all the museums, history buffs will have a field day there. It’s also the first bit of forest you’ll encounter once you travel from Amsterdam more land inwards. The Heuvelrug is the perfect setting for people that like to cycle or hike.”

Stores and events The mayor of Baarn prides the city for its royal offering of shops, cafés and events that are being held in and around Baarn. “I do recommend ice cream parlour

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Places to Visit

Hamelink, which has the best flavours, coffee-roasters Boot Koffie and Herma Dejong Hat Design. The female members of the royal family are famous for their lavish headdresses and Herma is responsible for some of them. We have a myriad of small-scale enterprises, coffee bars and two businesses that have a royal warrant of appointment; one is restaurant ‘De Lage Vuursche’ that’s been run by the family of Van Oosterom since 1867. Then there are events of which we’ve given as many as 60 permits in the last couple of months. You can go ice skating during the winter, see all the art galleries or even go to a lumberjack festival.”

Web: Web: Facebook:

Castle Amerongen.

Climbers Lage Vuursche.

HOTSPOTS Nationaal Militair Museum – Verlengde Paltzerweg 1, Soest Located on a former air base area, The National Military Museum exhibits the greatest collection of vehicles and stories of the Dutch Royal army. Truly a great experience for young and old. Soester Duinen - Soesterbergsestraat 188, Soest Near the heart of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug are the Soester Dunes; a beautiful piece of nature, characterised by sand drifts, heathlands and forests. Ouwehands Dierenpark - Grebbeweg 111, Rhenen An authentic zoo with a plethora of animals. Unique are giant pandas Xing Ya and Wu Wen who came to Ouwehands earlier this year.

Slot Zeist - Zinzendorflaan 1, Zeist This 17th-century castle was built by Willem Adriaan of Nassau and has many historic wall paintings, unique art and fine antique furniture. Pauluskerk - Brink, Baarn Built in 1385, the roman Paulus church is a real gem, housing the ‘Wilhelmina bench’ where members of the royal family attended mass. Paleis Soestdijk Amsterdamsestraatweg 1, Baarn The 17th-century building is the main highlight of Baarn, built around 1650 under auspice of the mayor of Amsterdam. The palace became the residence for the nobility such as William III, Louis Napoleon, William II and his wife Anna Pavlovna, Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard.

Baarn Brink. Photo: PLAKfotografie

Royal waiting room station Baarn.

Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  29

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Places to Visit

Basilica Oudenbosch.

A municipality bursting at the seams TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: MUNICIPALITY OF HALDERBERGE

Down in the South of the Netherlands, approximately 45 minutes from Rotterdam, lies the municipality of Halderberge. Composed of five towns, the municipality houses just under 30,000 inhabitants which is quite small, even for Dutch standards, but do not let that number fool you. There is so much to see, enjoy and do whether you want to visit monumental buildings, go skydiving, enjoy a concert or get totally lost in a botanical garden. Though the towns of Oudenbosch, Oud Gastel, Hoeven, Bosschenhoofd and Stampersgat have been around for centuries, the municipality that they form together is fairly new. Established in 1997, Halderberge was part of a larger plan to 30  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

reorganise several municipalities. Each town has its own uniqueness to it, but it is the Roman Catholic heritage – which is quite typical for the South of the Netherlands – that binds all of them together.

Oudenbosch Basilica One only needs to travel to Oudenbosch to see that heritage in action. The Oudenbosch Basilica is quite overwhelming, not just because of the sheer size of it, but mainly because it is a replica of the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. “Our basilica came to be thanks to father Willem Hellemons who used to study in Rome and absolutely adored that city and in particular St. Peter’s. He studied so many details of it, so he could create a replica in Oudenbosch that could capture the same feeling as the

one in Rome. A gigantic task that started in 1865 and finished in 1880, it’s now one of the Netherlands’ most famous churches, designed almost entirely by famous architect P.J. Cuypers who was also responsible for the Rijksmuseum and Central Station in Amsterdam,” reveals a spokesperson from the municipality of Halderberge.

Bovendonk That same Cuypers did not stop there in Oudenbosch and went on to build the conference centre Bovendonk in Hoeven. He was given an assignment by the bishop of Breda in 1895 to build a new seminar. This marvellous building, characterised by its neo-gothic style, looks sober from afar, but up close, you will notice the stained glass windows (Cuypers himself drawn in

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Places to Visit

one of them), ornaments, high ceilings and it houses a beautiful chapel. “It’s a work of art built between 1905 and 1923 and is in use at the moment as a conference centre with hotel rooms and is the perfect spot for weddings and other parties. The stately library is still in use and just walking through the spacious halls and rooms is a real joy.”

Breda International Airport Do not think Halderberge is only about monumental buildings; thrill seekers can get their shot of adrenaline thanks to Skydive ENPC, situated at Breda International Airport; a private airport not far from the city of Breda, but located in Bosschenhoofd. “Skydive ENPC is founded by a very active parachutists club who will take you to nine to 10,000 feet. in the air and from there you tandem jump out of a plane. It’s quite a popular attraction and not the only one at Breda International Airport. The museum has a unique collection of historical aircraft and static exhibits related to aviation. All aircraft are airworthy

Haven in Oudenbosch met historische sloepen. Photo: Frans Bosch

Basiliek interieur Oudenbosch.

and are used on a regular basis, hence the name Flying Museum.

Mastboomhuis Oud Gastel Mastboomhuis Oud Gastel is the location of the Mastboomhuis complex. These buildings were owned for more than 150 years by family Mastboom-Brosens. The preservation of the complex started in 2005 and nowadays you can visit the museum in a form of suspended decay. All is left as it was when the last family member was still alive and it feels like you are visiting the family more than visiting a museum.

Outdoors For those who enjoy the outdoors, Halderberge is most certainly a good option. Not only are there a plethora of cycling and hiking routes, but there is a sizeable botanical garden in Oudenbosch as well. Housing many unique plants and just at the edge of the town’s centre, Hortus Oudenbosch is run by more than 70 volunteers who dedicate their time to the upkeep of what used

to be two monastery gardens. With over 60 types of aesculus (buckeye), viburnum and calycanthaceae (sweetshrubs), those with green fingers will have a field day. Just like kids will with water park Splesj in Hoeven, one of the Benelux’s biggest water parks and fitted with a large camping site next to it that has more than enough space for tents, RVs and such. But one does not have to do the outdoors stay to enjoy Halderberge: there are plenty of campsites, chalets, bed and breakfast spots as well as hotels. All that and still Halderberge has more to offer: an observatory, several museums, chapels and more. “We’re proud it’s all there and welcome anyone who wants to visit Halderberge. Short or long stay, you’ll find plenty to do in our city and in West-Brabant.” For more on Halderberge, check out the website


Breda International Airport - Oscar Felipe Perez Paredes.

Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  31

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Places to Visit

Between Bocages and Piet Mondrian TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: 100 % WINTERSWIJK

Tucked away in a corner on the eastern border of the Netherlands, you will find Winterswijk: a charming town that is mostly surrounded by Germany and as such sees many day-trippers that speak with ‘der’, ‘dem’ and ‘das’. That comes hardly as a surprise with a cute centre that accommodates way more than the 29,000 inhabitants of Winterswijk itself and the beautiful surroundings which are characteristic of most of the eastern border. Though known as a low country, anyone heading more to the East in the Netherlands will see a landscape that is defined by modest hills, valleys, woodlands and 32  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

pastures. Winterswijk is smack dab in the middle of one of the few Bocages the country has and it is one of the beautiful things that Winterswijk has to offer, according to Imke te Selle and Gienne te Gronde who both work for the tourist department of Winterswijk. Te Selle: “There are all these hedgerows, streams, European ashes and lots more. It’s nature’s way of making a patchwork, meaning you can bike across it, turn a corner and end up with a sight completely different from the one you just had.” Te Gronde: “The area is big enough to host many people with bikes without getting overcrowded. There are many routes to travel, but if you like to improvise, there’s room for that as

well. If the need arises for a break, there are plenty rest stops, picnic tables and small cafés.”

Winterswijk With Winterswijk being the biggest town in the region, there was a need to have their centre developed organically into a size that is much larger than the town itself needs; especially with all the German day-trippers that love to visit the market on a Wednesday or Saturday. Te Gronde: “At first I wouldn’t believe that would happen, but it’s true: the parking places are filled with cars with white licence plates. Some of them even travel weekly for two hours just to enjoy a good cup of coffee and

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Places to Visit

some fresh fish.” Te Selle: “I would credit the cosiness for a large part for that. The streets aren’t too wide and not too small. We welcome street musicians and organise many events in and around the centre. It’s a neat centre where every shopping street converges on the local church square with the lovely terraces and a keen mix is made between familiar shops and locals who run their own store. We’re very hospitable which is highly appreciated by every visitor. Then there’s the fact that parking is free, because why spend money on that when you can spend it on that extra cup of coffee? That’s valued a lot and part of the reason why the Dutch Association of Itinerant Retailers named our market as the best in the Netherlands.”

Piet Mondrian It is impossible to talk about Winterswijk without mentioning famous painter Piet Mondrian. The Dutchman is known for

his abstract paintings, but started out as an expressionist, raised in Winterswijk between the age of eight and 20. Te Selle: “The house where Mondrian used to live is now a museum with original paintings on display. Many are depictions of buildings in the area and most of them are still there, so it’s possible to see the art and then go for a walk to the real deal. There’s even an Mondrian escape room, a Mondrian city walk and a Mondrian cycling route.” Te Gronde: “There’s ‘Mondrian By Night’ on the 23 September which is so much fun. His works are projected on buildings in the centre such as the church and bands will perform his most loved genre of music: jazz.”

Autumn Because of all the nature around Winterswijk, it figures that the area is beautiful around autumn when the leaves change their coat. Te Gronde: “There’s a certain

Indian summer vibe to it when the temperature suddenly rises. I definitely recommend hiking through the forests with a guide and enjoy the vineyards where lots of people help them out with picking the grapes. It’s a common sight to see a large table near such a vineyard where you can join for a wine and dine arrangement. There’s a beautiful restaurant called the Strandlodge next to a natural swimming pool where you should take the surprise menu for the most delicious food and go subsequently to one of our many festivals. There’s an antique car festival, a food truck festival, a fire festival and a flower parade. And yes, of course we have our own Mondrian beer. I am not a beer drinker, my partner is and he definitely liked it.” To find out more about Winterswijk, go to

Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  33

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Places to Visit

Photo: Jody Ferron

City of the future A unique shopping experience in a cutting-edge setting TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: ALMERE CITY MARKETING

The city that once rose from the water is now a true paradise for shopaholics and one of the beating hearts of international contemporary architecture in the Benelux. Just a stone’s throw away from Amsterdam you can find a more peaceful, modern equivalent of the Dutch capital in the city of Almere. A classic example of Dutch innovation, the land on which Almere stands today was reclaimed from the Zuiderzee (Southern Sea) where the first houses were built in the 1970s. Its young history and inhabitants (56 per cent of the cities’ population is under 40) earned Almere the title ‘newest city in the Netherlands’. Its impressive skyline, which 34  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

includes striking buildings designed by well-known international architects, such as Rem Koolhaas and William Alsop, will leave visitors in awe. Almere is not only the newest, but also one of the most modern cities in the entire Benelux.

A shopper’s paradise Along the city’s wide and modern, carfree boulevards are more than 400 shops, open seven days a week. Stroll along the beautiful green avenues and you will find a wide range of boutiques varying from high-street favourites such as Zara, Mango, Primark and Rituals to more exclusive brands including Hugo Boss, Aveda and Superdry. The city’s restaurant squares Het Belfort and Grote Markt are

the perfect places to have a nice break whilst exploring the centre. To complete the shopping experience, guests can enjoy a massage, makeover or some ‘metime’ in the city’s spas such as Rituals and Aveda. On 20 September, the city will have a nationwide scoop, as it is one of the 12 Dutch cities where Canadian department store Hudson’s Bay is to open. Its rooftop restaurant promises to provide a breathtaking view over the city’s skyline and surrounding nature.

Masterplan: combing polder land with a modern architectural vision At the parking lots underneath the shops, visitors can find endless parking places. This is part of the city’s three-floor strategy

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Places to Visit

also known as Almere’s Masterplan, designed by well-known Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. Koolhaas, also known for his impressive work in Rotterdam, created an urban atmosphere with contemporary architecture, producing a unique vibe in the heart of the city. The first two floors of the Masterplan consist of parking lots and shops. However, on the top floor, houses and gardens have been built perfectly combining nature with architecture.

The whole world in one square kilometre A breathtaking view over Almere, Amsterdam and the picturesque fishing town of Volendam can be seen on the top floor of Flevoland’s highest building, the World Trade Centre Tower. Reservations for this can be made through the tourist information centre (VVV) in Almere. In the city centre, you will find other architectural landmarks such as the Urban Entertainment Centre, designed by British architect William Alsop and the building which is described as the pearl of Almere’s

Photo: Annemarie Hoogwoud Photography

Photo: Maarten Feenstra

inner-city, KAF, a theatre and exposition space designed by Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa. Almere’s tourist information provides several architectural tours and walking tours giving visitors a special insight into one of the most international square kilometres in the whole of the Benelux, where so many architects have embodied their vision.

The best of all worlds Almere has the best of not just both, but all worlds with international architecture combined with amazing nature, such as the Oostvaardersplassen. With more than 440 kilometres of cycling lanes, it is also worth taking a cycling tour along the coastline with several beaches connecting the city to the IJsselmeer. With just a 20-minute direct connection from Amsterdam or Schiphol Airport, it is very easy to visit the city for a day-trip or weekend. The city of Almere promises not only to be a city of the future, but also the city for your future to-do list! Web:

Photo: Eljee Bergwerff

Autumn highlights in Almere 1. Midland Classic Show – 24 September For once, the car-free centre allows classic cars from all over the world to enter Almere. A perfect day for the family! 2. Theater Gajes – 7 October A breathtaking performance combining poetry, music and exciting stories all performed outdoors on Almere’s big square by the lake. 3. Holiday shopping – mid November - 31 December Christmas lights will fill the streets during the festive season. You can also enjoy the city’s ice rink or drink a hot chocolate in one of the many cosy cafés.

The first and biggest LEGO town on earth Almere has a worldwide exclusive! It is the first city in the world that has been redesigned with LEGO. The city model was built by Dirk Denoyelle, one of the few LEGO Certified Professionals in the world, and can be visited for free in the KAF EXPO.

Photo: Geert van der Wijk

Photo: Geert van der Wijk

Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  35

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Places to Visit


In the city of Doesburg, history and culture collide in the best possible way. The picturesque Hansa town on the River IJssel exudes the atmosphere of a medieval town, yet boasts a true sense of liveliness; making it a place to be admired and discovered. It does not really matter where you find yourself in Doesburg: every narrow alley or cosy square of this historic fortified town is more beautiful than the previous one. “The whole of the town feels like an attraction,” says city promoter Niels Weijers. “The medieval buildings and more than 150 monuments take you back centuries.” For the first mentioning of Doesburg we have to go back to 1053, when the city’s name first appears in a legal document. It was granted city rights in 1237 – a full 60 years before the same honour was conferred on Amsterdam. Doesburg is a prominent Hansa town, meaning it was part of the Hanseatic League: an alliance of various Dutch cities formed to expand commerce in the 14th and 15th century. Hansa towns are mostly found by impor36  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

tant waters and are hallmarked by a rich history of wealth and prosperity.

bition about the life of one of the Netherlands’ most famous visual artists.

Yet history does everything but overshadow the present. With museums and galleries, unique boutiques, lively terraces and top-class restaurants, Doesburg has something to suit all tastes. Its town centre plays host to many cultural events and festivals throughout the year, such as the Hanzefeesten, Doesburgse Kadedagen and Doesburg Binnenste Buiten. Every first Sunday of the month, Doesburg transforms into the cultural capital of the region, when shops and galleries open their doors to admiring visitors. The countless cultural events happening this year even gained the title ‘Culture Year’.

The Mustard Factory underlines Doesburg’s quirky relation with mustard. This factory-turned-museum attracts over 10,000 visitors a year and allows them to see how the town’s famous mustard was made. “Mustard and Doesburg are interchangeably linked,” Weijers laughs. “Many restaurants in town have their own mustard dish.”

Do not miss the stunning Lalique Museum. Dedicated to artists René Lalique (1860 – 1945) – also called the Da Vinci of jewellery and glass art – this museum shows works from the Art Nouveau and Art Deco period. Until June 2018, the Lalique museum will host Jan Toorop & the animisme, an exhi-

Doesburg: where you walk through history, yet are immersed in the here and now.


Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Places to Visit


If you want to get lost in a Victorian vibe in the Netherlands, look no further than the Huygenskwartier in Voorburg. As one of the suburbs of The Hague, Voorburg is a city with a rich history and has named its old city centre after the famous astronomer Christiaan Huygens and his father, poet and politician Constantijn Huygens who both lived in the area. Nowadays it is a bustling part of Voorburg with many monumental buildings, filled to the brim with modern shops, cafés, restaurants and much more. With Voorburg just shy of five minutes away by train from The Hague, one visiting the latter should definitely see what the Huygenskwartier entails. With the historical Herenstraat at the heart of it, the Huygenskwartier really feels like stepping inside a time machine taking you back a couple of centuries. Behind the façades of all the monumental buildings reside mostly small and medium-sized enterprises with a passion for their products, ranging from specialist beers to kids clothing and from

interior shops to beauty shops. There are cafés, bars and restaurants aplenty, several parks in the vicinity and two museums to boot. It is a perfect way to escape from all kinds of hustle and bustle, just like Constantijn Huygens did when he built his small, 17th-century country house ‘Hofwijck’ in Voorburg. This lovely building is now a museum and was cleverly named as such because Huygens used to work at the ‘hof’ which means ‘the council’ and wanted to ‘ontwijk’, meaning ‘flee’, from time to time. Constantijn also designed the garden that is uniquely shaped to resemble the human body. The area itself is rich with greenness: the Herenstraat connects two age-old parks and a canal called ‘De Vliet’ runs parallel with it. Many events are being held around De Vliet, but maybe none as ubiquitous as the welcoming of Saint Sinterklaas who arrives by boat this year on 11 November. December is a month especially worth visiting the Huygenskwartier because of

‘Lichtjesavond’ on the 23rd. That is when the electric lights are turned off and candles are used instead, children’s choirs sing in the street and chestnuts roast over open fires. It is as ‘Dickens-esque’ as you can get.

For more on Huygenskwartier check And on Facebook @huygenskwartiervoorburg

Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  37

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Places to Visit

Visit the home of Vincent van Gogh The landscape of Emmen served as an important inspiration for Vincent van Gogh. In 1883, the painter spent two months in the region, which left a permanent impression on him. At the Van Gogh House and its surroundings in Nieuw-Amsterdam, you can follow in the footsteps of the legendary painter. A paint palette ready for use, an open drawing box, an unmade bed: if you did not know better, you would expect Van Gogh to arrive back from a stroll anytime. His bedroom in the Van Gogh House has been restored exactly to its original state. “Some say that Van Gogh was looking for the landscape of his youth when he came to Emmen,” explains coordinator Tineke de Roo of the Van Gogh House. While living in Emmen, Van Gogh created nearly 40 works and wrote 23 letters, in which he raved about the beauty of the landscape. The moor landscape of the 19th century comes to life at the Veenpark, the nearby openair museum. Here visitors can view Southeast Drenthe through Van Gogh’s eyes. You can ad-

mire the natural canals of Drenthe during the Van Gogh CanalTour. Nearly 140 years later, the region of Emmen is still an inspiration to many. In the municipality’s ‘Big Five’, nature and adventure go hand in hand. Explore one of the five main attractions: go on a shopping spree in the largest indoor shopping mall of the North, experience the new WILDLANDS Adventure Zoo Emmen, discover the moor landscapes that inspired Van Gogh, take a boat tour over the Veenvaart Canal, or explore the UNESCO Global Geopark de Hondsrug. Even today, you can see why Vincent van Gogh was inspired by Emmen.

Photo: Veenpark/Lieske Plaghut


Emmen: get inspired!

Van Gogh House.

Peat Boat with Two Figures, Vincent van Gogh, 1883, collection Drents Museum, Assen

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Art & Culture Spots

Spin out, for Robert Smithson, by Richard Serra (1939).

Bridge at Arles (Pont de Langlois) by Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890).

Mobile home for Kröller-Müller by Joep van Lieshout (1963).


In the heart of the Netherlands is where you will find the Veluwe, the country’s largest forest that houses something of its own in the heart of it: the museum and sculpture garden that goes by the name of the Kröller-Müller Museum which attracts well over 350,000 visitors each year. Named after its founder and art collector Helene Kröller-Müller, the museum opened in 1938 and has gained a considerable international reputation since, primarily due to having the second-largest Van Gogh collection in the Netherlands and the impressive sculpture garden that blends culture and nature beautifully. ‘Serenity’ is hardly an understatement. “A novelty that inspired other museums to do the same,” says Kröller-Müller museum curator Jannet de Goede about the sculpture garden. Sporting works by Auguste Rodin, Richard Serra, Joep van Lieshout and many others, it is one of the defining traits of Kröller-Müller.

“As the project of then director Bram Hammacher, the garden was designed with a landscape architect and artists were given every bit of space they needed to have their creations come to life. It’s one of the main reasons why we see so many visitors come to our museum, just like the Van Gogh collection with Overblown Sunflowers, The Potato Eaters, Bridge At Arles and Terrace Of A Café At Night as the biggest crowd pullers. Helene KröllerMüller was quick to recognise Van Gogh’s brilliance and it’s her passion for collecting that made our museum what it is today.” Naturally the Kröller-Müller Museum offers much more than just the garden and the works of Van Gogh. Their seasonal exhibitions touch on many different subjects and eras with the upcoming winter exhibition a surprisingly introspective one. De Goede: “We all celebrate this year’s 100th anniversary of ‘De Stijl’ and its co-founder Bart van der Leck had somewhat of a complex relationship with Helene KröllerMüller. Van der Leck was employed by the

Kröller-Müllers and became their advisor. That created a tense dynamic between Helene’s vision and Bart as the artist who suddenly had no worries about money anymore. There’ll be many works of Van der Leck on display, showing how he developed his style in the space of two years that eventually defined what we now know as De Stijl being the first who opted to narrow his pallet to red, yellow and blue.”

The tempest, by Bart van der Leck (1876 - 1958).


Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  39

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Art & Culture Spots

Erwin Olaf: Plague and Hunger during the Siege of Leiden, 2011. Collection Museum De Lakenhal and Leiden University

Rembrandt van Rijn: Historiestuk met zelfportret van de schilder, 1626. Collection Museum De Lakenhal, on loan of RCE

Elevating Leiden’s history to an art form TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: MUSEUM DE LAKENHAL

With a museum called Museum De Lakenhal much of its history is given away in its name. ‘Lakenhal’ is the Dutch word for ‘cloth hall’; a guild hall for clothing merchants that were built between the 15th and 17th century, usually built in the centre of a city. Museum De Lakenhal in Leiden is no exception. Built in 1640, it is not only a museum, but a work of art itself, having undergone transitions from a clothing hall to a hospital and a museum since 1869. Ever growing, the museum, with its large collection of Leidse painters like Lucas van Leyden and Rembrandt, is now closed for a large-scale renovation and expansion of the building itself. It will reopen in late 2019 with an exhibition centred around Rembrandt’s younger years.

1939 and lately we became increasingly aware that the clothing doesn’t fit anymore. We have over 20,000 works of art and could only show two to three per cent of it. Our main collection had to move a lot for temporary exhibitions.

Renovating and expanding The renovation and expansion of Museum De Lakenhal started last October, meaning it is a venture that will take three years. “A decision long past due,” says Minke Schat, a board member and the museum’s head of public business. “There were talks of expanding since 40  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

A visual of the new museum.

This will be a thing of the past once the renovation and expansion is complete as there will be a whole new wing, increasing our floor size by a third. The new wing will primarily be used for short exhibitions whereas the old part of the building will

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Art & Culture Spots

have more room to show what we have. I couldn’t be more excited for the opening, because it pains us not being able to tell a story. A problem we’ll have tackled by late 2019 and we’ll tell tales beyond our city and country’s borders.”

Young Rembrandt The stories Schat mentions centre for a good part around the city of Leiden itself. Playing an integral part in the Dutch Golden Age, many grand masters have a history with Leiden; Rembrandt was born and raised there, just like Jan Steen, Jan Lievens and many more. The fact that Museum De Lakenhal reopens with an exhibition on the young Rembrandt is no coincidence: it will be the same year as the 350th anniversary of his death and will explore his many early works. Schat: “We’ll link the exhibition to our current collection and show four pieces from The Five Senses. One of these is in the Museum De Lakenhal collection, one was discovered as recently as 18 months ago, three others are in the possession of the Leiden Collection in New York and one piece is still missing. It’s an international effort and we expect more than 100,000 visitors for the works of Rembrandt. In the meantime, a lot of our items are on display at befriended museums such as works from 16th-century painter Lucas van Leyden. He isn’t as internationally known as Rembrandt, but made paintings that art historians describe as The Nachtwacht of his time.”

way we asked Erwin is in keeping with with what we do at Museum De Lakenhal: we invite artists to create art that relates to our city’s past. There used to be a vibrant textile industry in Leiden and we still have the patterns of the cloths that were marketed here. Those specific patterns have been used by contemporary designers for New Leiden Cloth.”

Respecting heritage As mentioned, Museum De Lakenhal is a work of art in itself, as is the renovation and expansion process. “It’s a delicate art form that involved restoration archi-

tects and all those who are involved to look at how Museum De Lakenhal started out. The colours, the map, all those layers of time that were added throughout the centuries; they all matter. There are so many choices to make when it comes to functionality and fashion, but in the end, we treat Museum De Lakenhal with respect to its heritage, while still being able to offer all the functionalities a 21st-century museum has to have.” Re-opening expected: Spring 2019 Web:

Rembrandt van Rijn: Brillenverkoper, ca. 1624. Collection Museum De Lakenhal

Story of Leiden To describe what the Museum De Lakenhal has is to transform Leiden’s collective memory into art form. That does not mean it is all Golden Dutch Era though, modern painters like the late Jan Wolkers have had their works on display as well and Schat singles out a photoshoot from famed photographer Erwin Olaf. “He’s not from around here, but we asked him to do a modern take on the Siege of Leiden which was one of our city’s most defining moments in history. Instead of painting it, he immortalised the siege as photos, meaning there had to be a casting call and everything related to it. The end result is amazing, combining professional models with ‘regular’ citizens of Leiden. The Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  41

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Art & Culture Spots

The art of the automobile TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: LOUWMAN MUSEUM

Those who say that a car is simply a mode of transport need to visit the Louwman Museum in The Hague. Here, you will learn that the automobile is far more than that: it is ‘the inspiration of art’. The collection of cars exhibited at the Louwman Museum tell the history of one of the most important innovations in the last two centuries, how it inspired creatives from all over the world and how artists designed iconic body works. “These days, cars are produced, back then they were created and built,” tells managing director Ronald Kooyman. Each of the 260 pieces are original and authentic. “And with a little preparation, they all still run, from the oldest ‘horseless carriages’ from the 1880s to the Toyota Formula One racing car built in 2009.”

Specially designed In 2010, Queen Beatrix opened the current location of the museum in The Hague. “Our neighbour, so to speak; the Royal Palace is next to the museum,” smiles Kooyman. The building is designed by renowned American architect Michael Graves, and it is the only building designed by him that is asymmetrical. “It in42  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

corporates modern details with distinctive Dutch elements.” Parts of the museum are available to rent, to host an exclusive dinner or a corporate event.

Private collection The Louwman Museum houses the biggest private car collection in the world. The Louwman family were importers and distributors of Dodge and in 1934 Pieter Louwman obtained his first car, a 1914 Dodge. “The goal was to preserve it for history.” From there on, Louwman obtained only unique and original cars. Among the collection are truly exclusive objects, such as a 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood owned by Elvis Presley, the 1954 Humber Pullman privately owned by Sir Winston Churchill, the iconic Aston Martin DB5 used by James Bond (played by Sean Connery) in Goldfinger and the Ferrari 500 Superfast of HRH Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. The collection also shows the different trends in engineering, from steam cars, to early electric cars and even jet engine-powered ones.

the early days on, the motorcar was an inspiration for artists,” Kooyman explains. “They were the basis for historical posters, paintings, drawings, sculptures and toys. They tell the story of how important the car was for society.” There is a complete wing dedicated to these artworks.

One of its kind While there are several car museums around the globe, you will not find one this elaborate anywhere else in the world. “The collection is not just cars, it is the preservation of the history of the automobile and the place it holds in our culture. At the Louwman Museum, you will find authentic cars that were iconic and trendsetting in their time, both technologically and design-wise. It is simply the most beautiful collection of cars in the world!” Mercedes-Benz SSK 1929.

Art inspired by cars If you think that the Louwman Museum is just for petrolheads, you are wrong. “From


Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Art & Culture Spots

Kasteel Ruurlo - trap. Photo: Michael van Oosten

Carel Willink, Portret van Mathilde, 1975. © Mrs. Sylvia Willink, c/o Pictoright Amsterdam 2017

Kasteel Ruurlo - Fong Leng. Photo: Michael van Oosten

Kasteel Ruurlo. Photo: Michael van Oosten

A monumental home for the world’s largest Carel Willink collection TEXT: ELLEN VAN SLAGMAAT  |  PHOTOS: MUSEUM MORE | RUURLO CASTLE

Works by a monumental artist deserve a monumental home – which is why Hans and Monique Melchers, the founders of Museum MORE, have housed the world’s largest collection of works by Carel Willink at Ruurlo Castle. Museum MORE | Ruurlo Castle was opened to the public in the summer of 2017 and the castle welcomed 25,000 visitors in the first month alone.

It became a very personal project – not least because he wanted to give something back to the Achterhoek, the region where he had lived happily for decades. Together with his wife, Monique Melchers, he brought in specialists, including the fashion designer Ronald Kolk and the architect Hans van Heeswijk, to combine five centuries of architectural history with the very best modern architecture.

Castles always fire the imagination; the traces of history are still visible in the present, offering tangible evidence of the resilience of time. The art collector Hans Melchers (b. 1938) fell under the spell of Ruurlo Castle as a young boy, when he would fish for carp in the pond. In 2012, he was able to fulfill a childhood dream by purchasing the castle and restoring it to its former glory. His objective was to create a monumental home for the world’s largest collection of works by Carel Willink (19001983). Not only would Ruurlo Castle be restored, but it would also be transformed into Museum MORE’s second location.

The exhibition charts Willink’s development from an artist searching for his way, experimenting with cubism, into the unrivalled painter of a technically perfect, elegant and enigmatic oeuvre. The exhibition also includes the fashion designer Fong Leng’s extravagant creations, including the gown that Mathilde Willink wore for her ‘farewell portrait’; the painter wanted to divorce his former muse. Museum MORE is the largest museum for Dutch Modern Realism. The first location of the museum, which was founded by Hans and Monique Melchers, was

opened in Gorssel in 2015. It welcomes more than 100,000 visitors per year. With the opening of the second location, Museum MORE | Ruurlo Castle, the museum is anticipating a further rise in visitor numbers. Carel Willink, Zebra’s in rood rotslandschap, 1958. © Mrs. Sylvia Willink, c/o Pictoright Amsterdam 2017

Kasteel Ruurlo Vordenseweg 2 7261 LZ Ruurlo Open Tuesday-Sunday 11am - 5pm

Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  43

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Art & Culture Spots


Small in size, grand in history: it could only be the typical Delft Blue earthenware. Royal Delft offers an extraordinary insight into this great piece of Dutch heritage. The Royal Dutch Delftware Manufactory Royal Delft, established in 1653, is the only remaining Delftware factory from the 17th century. Here, the world-renowned Royal Delftware is still entirely hand painted according to centuries-old tradition. “The fascination of the Dutch with earthenware started in the 17th century, when tradesmen with the Dutch East India Company brought back large quantities of Chinese porcelain,” explains Helen Taylor, PR and communications officer at Royal Delft. “This type of porcelain, which was decorated in blue on a white background, became massively popular among the Dutch.” After imports from China declined, the Dutch decided to take matters into their own hands by imitating the porcelain. Soon, many factories opened in the Netherlands. Though in the 19th century 44  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

the industry seemed past its highpoint, at around 1840 Royal Delft was the last factory standing. It was in 1876 that Joost Thooft bought the factory and revived the Delft Blue industry. You can still find his initials on every piece that is hand-painted. A visit to the Royal Delft Experience offers you a journey through the complete history and production process of Royal Delftware. During the Experience, feel the painters’ passion during a painting demonstration, wander through the factory where craftsmen are producing the products, or learn more about Delft icons such as Johannes Vermeer. Do not miss a glimpse into the chamber of the Royal Dutch Family, for whom a special collection of Delft Blue is created whenever a special occasion takes place. Always wanted to give a mockup of your very own office to your business relations? Or a plate with a personalised text? Royal Delft offers an extensive collection of (business) gifts, from traditional plates, dishes to modern design objects. You can give

almost every gift a personal touch through the addition of your own logo in the design. The method of creating the famous porcelain at Royal Delft has not changed since the 17th century. “Making Delft Blue is a process that requires an enormous amount of technique and craftsmanship,” Taylor enthuses. Are your hands itching after seeing so much glorious craftsmanship? Fear not, popular at Royal Delft are the workshops where visitors can create their very own Blue Delft tile, plate, or vase - because everyone needs a bit of Delft Blue in their home.


Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Art & Culture Spots

Photo: Madelon Dielen

Photo: Erik en Petra Hesmerg

Telling the story of a rich culture TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: ZUIDERZEE MUSEUM

What was life like around the Zuiderzee – now IJsselmeer and Markermeer – between 1880 and 1930? How did the people on the shores of the former inland sea work, eat, and live? The Zuiderzee Museum in Enkhuizen answers these questions by bringing the fascinating story of this region’s former inhabitants alive. “When the Afsluitdijk (IJsselmeer Barrier Dam) was built in 1932 and residents of the area had to move elsewhere, their culture seemed likely to disappear,” begins Bianca van Putten, marketing and communication advisor at the museum. “The Zuiderzee Museum has preserved and revived this rich culture, passing on the history of its people.” The Zuiderzee Museum comprises an Outdoor and Indoor Museum. The openair section covers 15 acres and accommodates authentic buildings from the former Zuiderzee region, allowing you to literally take a walk through history. There is a church, a fish-curing shed, a mill, a

cheese warehouse, and dwelling houses from the surrounding fishing villages. “The buildings were transported – some as a whole, some in fragments – from the little villages at the Ijsselmeer. They are the real buildings in which people worked, prayed, and slept.” At the Outdoor Museum, visitors can help craftspeople in the harbour making nets, give the housemaid a hand, or have a conversation with the ‘inhabitants’ from the former island of Urk. Emphasising its focus on traditional trades and crafts, the Zuiderzee Museum allows visitors to develop their creativity and artisanal skills at its ‘Handmade’ workshops dedicated to skills such as sailmaking, forging, making baskets, or smoking fish. There is also space for modern design among the historic settings: a number of presentations offer a modern interpretation of the traditional crafts, materials and themes. The Indoor Museum is the treasure chamber of the Zuiderzee. Temporary exhibitions present the rich collection of the museum, while the exhibition Journey around

the Zuiderzee displays highlights of the personal stories of life in villages around the former Zuiderzee. With history, photography, traditional costume, design and a fun and educational family exhibition, the Indoor Museum speaks to all. As part of the Handmade theme, the museum organises special craft weekends, with a weekend each month being devoted to a specific craft. The steam weekend (16 and 17 September) will bring the oldest, and still-functioning, steam locomotive to the Zuiderzee Museum. As if you needed yet another reason to discover this great piece of history and heritage.

Photo: Frank Bedijs


Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  45

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Art & Culture Spots


You do not have to become an astronaut to go to space. Hosting Europe’s first permanent space exhibition, Noordwijk-based Space Expo is the official visitor centre for the European Space Agency (ESA) in the Netherlands and takes you on a journey of satellites, moon landings and rockets. What is daily life like for an astronaut in space? How does a comet smell? You can find out this – and much more - at Space Expo. Their captivating permanent exhibition walks you through the highlights in spaceflight history, lets you experience the first moon landing, and allows you to see and touch objects that made it back to Earth from space. The temporary exhibition Back From Space displays over 100 objects that have landed back on earth after spending time in space: think astronaut clothing, toiletries, moon dust, and much more. “Some items can even be touched,” enthuses director Rob van den Berg.

“You can even take in the scent of the comet 67P. How does it smell? Not very nice,” he laughs. One of the many highlights in the collection is Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise’s suit. Absolutely unique in the exhibition is the Soyuz spacecraft that brought Dutch astronaut André Kuipers and his crew members to the International Space Station in 2011. This Soyuz TMA-03M capsule also brought them back to Earth in 2012, and since September 2016 visitors can see this special spacecraft from less than one metre away. The Space Train takes visitors to ESTEC, ESA’s technical centre. During the tour, guides will tell you more about the activities and scientific experiments that are being conducted. “ESTEC is the only place in the Netherlands where visitors can see for themselves how the future is made,” Van den Berg concludes. Web:

Battling the North Sea The Dutch have a long history of battling the North Sea and the Delta Works are a prime example of how the Netherlands has armed itself against high tides and unruly northwestern storms. One of those works is the impressive Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier; the world’s largest moveable barriers (210 metres each) and the youngest of the works, celebrating this year its 20th year. Next to the barrier lies the Keringhuis; an information centre where you can go as an individual, group or even on a business trip to learn

46  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

more about the Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier and the other Delta Works. There, you will see what a difference it would make if the works were not there and a flood occurred. “We only needed to use the barrier once back in 2007 and it’s a good thing we did: behind us reside two million people who would be at risk, living in the lowest part of our country at an average of two metres below sea level,” says Jeroen Kramer, who works at the Keringhuis. “Every year we do a test drive with the barrier that attracts thousands of people. We will do it this year on 9 September given that the storm season is from 1 October until mid April.”


Aside from that, there are bookable tours seven days a week and should you want to go on a business trip, the meeting room with a great view over the barrier is available. “We also see many school children who, just like all the other groups, can see the barrier up close and touch it. We relish the opportunity to educate on a construction that makes us Dutch people quite proud,” concludes Kramer. Web: Facebook: hetkeringhuis.publiekscentrumwater

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Art & Culture Spots

State-of-the-art women Tucked away in the idyllic artists’ village of Nunspeet is the Noord-Veluws Museum. This museum is currently hosting the captivating exhibition Vrouwen, Uit de kunst! (Women, State of the art!), shining a bright light on the area’s rich female artistic community in the period between 1880 and 1950. Set in the midst of the Dutch countryside, in 1880 the scenic village of Nunspeet was known to host an artist colony where painters and sculptors gathered to leave the city behind and re-connect with nature. “Artworks from that period show a heavy romanticisation of the simple life in the country,” explains curator Margot Jongedijk. Though at first it was mainly male artists who seemed to put their stamp on arts dating back to that time, soon a thriving and rich female artistic community was revealed. “For probable societal causes, the works of female artists were vastly overshadowed by those of their male colleagues – completely unjustifiable.” Vrouwen, Uit de kunst! honours the lives and works of these women. The exhibition dis-


plays paintings and textile works of a wide variety of female artists, many of whom truly lived their lives as artists and enjoyed education at academies of visual arts. Unique is the career of Kitty van der Mijl Dekker: after studying at the Bauhaus in Dessau, she launched her own hand weaving company in Nunspeet. Many women also painted alongside their husbands - Sientje Mesdag-van Houten is still one of the most influential Dutch female artists of her time. The Noord-Veluws Museum also hosts a semi-permanent collection featuring 20 different artists and runs activities all year round.

Vrouwen, Uit de kunst! is on display until 4 March 2018

Jo Koster, Weggetje in de voorjaarszon. Oil paint on canvas, 38,2 x27,3 cm (Private collection)

Hedwig Kleintjes-van Osselen, Zinnia’s, 1934. Oil paint on canvas, ca. 50 x 60 cm (Collection Gemeente Heerde)

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

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

voor scholen ook buiten openingstijden Opening hours

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

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Lara Kensington Stone

48  |  Issue 45  43  |  September July 2017 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Lara Stone


Still at the top Now 33, Lara Stone is one of the most successful models of all time. So what is her secret? The ambassador for L’Oréal Paris shares her beauty tips and tricks — including, never take a selfie. TEXT: CASSIE STEER / THE SUNDAY TIMES / THE INTERVIEW PEOPLE  |  PHOTOS: ANDREA RAFFIN / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

“We’re doing it in bed? Oh I loooove the idea of bed right now,” says Lara Stone, back-diving into a Doris Day-esque heap of pillows in our Cannes hotel room before the glam team descends, adjusting her as necessary. She was up until the wee hours at a L’Oréal Paris soirée at the film festival, but you would never guess it from her skin. There is not an ‘up all night’ shadowy smudge in sight, and her telltale red eyes only serve to make her look like she would be seriously good fun on a night out. To be honest, bed seems like her natural habitat, not least because of the famous supermodel’s curves. Fashion folklore has it that when she made her catwalk debut for Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy couture, in 2006, the whole of the hardfaced fashion frow leapt out of their seats to declare a bona fide fashion moment. Since then, she has become as successful as it is possible for a model to be. More than 100 magazine covers, catwalk dominance from Versace to Victoria’s Secret, a celebrity marriage and the hugest contracts going. Stone is now 33 and more than a decade into her career, and all the ‘sex kitten’ adjectives still apply. Yet she remains genu-

inely, charmingly indifferent to her pin-up status.“I find it really weird when people are like, ‘Oh, you’re so sexy,’ and I’m just there at home in my tracksuit thinking, ‘Er, OK’,” she says in her signature (and not unamusing) Dutch drawl. “It’s probably just down to the fact that I’ve got bigger boobs than the average model.” True enough. Though unlike traditional bombshells, Stone does not sashay. In fact, her odd, slightly aggressive runway walk — ‘the Lara lurch’ — is infamous, and she is never straightforwardly coquettish. She always retains a streak of fashion-friendly androgyny (Tisci calls her the ‘gothic Bardot’), though she prefers not to dwell on what made her a star. “Resting bitch face?” she offers, laughing. “I just don’t have a naturally smiley face.” Stone is unusually relatable. The everyday pressures of getting older and dealing with social media might be more fraught for supermodels, but as a mother of Alfred (her four-year-old son with ex-husband David Walliams), she is also a straightforward working professional with a somewhat normal life. She works, she parties with friends, she goes on dates (such as a recent expedition to a

North London pub with a mystery man, documented by the tabloids). She also still fangirls over her idols: “Christy Turlington sent me an email the other day and I blushed. Those supermodels of the 1990s were my heroes when I was growing up — they were so glamorous and amazing, but I totally didn’t relate to them. I never even thought modelling was an actual job you could do, which is probably why I didn’t get into it until I was older.” Stone did not make it big until she was 23, retirement age for many models. So does she worry about ageing? “You know, I feel like the age thing is being embraced a bit more than when I started out,” she says. “Many of the other L’Oréal girls [who run the age gamut from Elle Fanning to Helen Mirren] are older, and yesterday I was with Doutzen [Kroes] and Irina [Shayk], which was so nice as we’re all grown-ups and mums.” Does that mean she would not succumb to a bit of Botox, then? “I was thinking about this the other day, as it’s just so normal now. It’s crazy how all these young kids are getting fillers and stuff, and I’m wondering whether my generation is going to be the last one to look properly old, which really freaks me out. Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  49

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Lara Stone

is a constant siege, though. Earlier, during our shoot, she was standing on the balcony having a sneaky Marlboro Red, wondering whether the paps below were allowed to photograph her on a private terrace. Judging from the “Lara flashes her knickers” headlines in the papers the following day, the answer, alas, is yes.

Lara Stone and French fashion designer Olivier Rousteing at a screening of The Beguiled during the 70th Cannes Film Festival in May 2017.

Is it tough, the pressure of constant cameras? She shrugs. “I’m usually barefaced as I can’t be rushing around doing the school run in a face full of make-up. And, of course, you can’t beat a nap for making your skin look great,” she says, sinking happily back into the pillows. “My son is four, but still naps every now and again, which I love as it’s one of my favourite hobbies,” she says, beaming at the photographer still clicking away. “So how about we try a sleeping shot now?”

Lara’s speed beauty Date-night look ‘I’ll do a bit of a contour, put a bit of eyeliner on, a bit of extra mascara, fill my brows so they don’t disappear. Done.’ Fitness regime ‘I’ve only started getting serious about exercise over the past few months. I go to Bodyism, as the guys there are so nice and don’t make you feel bad for doing a terrible squat. I mix it up with a bit of Pilates and boxing.’

“On the other hand, I feel like if you’re really not happy with something, it’s so easy to get it fixed these days, so why not? I definitely get tempted on occasion and think, ‘Maybe just a bit of Botox here and bit of thingy there.’ But at the end of the day, I just don’t think it’s for me.” She has always been resistant to change herself to please others, having kept the now trademark gap in her teeth despite early advice to have corrective orthodontics. “I never really got the fuss over my teeth,” she says, looking perplexed. “Personally, I’ve never had a problem with them. I got teased about them when I was much younger, but I see them every day, so I’d feel really strange if I suddenly started looking different.” 50  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

Amen to that. So is there any other beauty advice she would care to pass on? “Don’t attempt to pluck your eyebrows using nail scissors for starters,” she laughs. “I did that when I was about nine. I didn’t have any tweezers, so I thought that scissors might work. Smart move, huh? Other than that, it’s the usual — drink lots of water, moisturise, use sunblock and take your make-up off before you go to bed.” She does not always feel like she is nailing it. “The iPhone camera just doesn’t agree with my face,” she says (insert eyerolling emoji here). “No, really. Everyone else takes a selfie and looks great, and I’m just like, ‘Urgh, this isn’t working’. Black and white is definitely my default filter.” It

Skincare regime ‘I’ve got my regime down to a couple of minutes as I’m a mum and I travel so much. Right now, L’Oréal’s new Fine Flowers Cleansing Cream [£8] is saving my skin. It comes in a big jar and is really thick and nourishing, so I’ll do that morning and night.’ Hair — amateur or pro? ‘I can do a ponytail and a bun and that’s about it, so I just let it hang otherwise. Nicola Clarke does my colour — she’s a genius — and to keep it fresh, I use L’Oréal Elvive Colour Protect Masque Serum [£5].’ Can’t-live-without product ‘Sudocrem. I put it on my entire face before the plane takes off and it somehow fixes everything.’

Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  51

Discover Benelux  |  The Best of Bruges  |  The Fairytale City

Begijnhof © Jan D’Hondt


A fairy tale come true A century-old metropolis, a medieval settlement with a worldly touch, a haven of heritage: Bruges is a city that will capture your heart. The historic city centre is a prominent World Heritage Site of UNESCO and one of the best preserved medieval fairy tales in the world. Yet Bruges is so much more than a pretty face. While a small city, there is an abundance of culture and gastronomy around every corner. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: VISIT BRUGES

Concertgebouw © Jan D’Hondt

52  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

Discover Benelux  |  The Best of Bruges  |  The Fairytale City

Rozenhoedkaai © Jan D’Hondt

Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders. Its history goes back to the ninth century, when it was founded by Vikings – the name Bruges allegedly derives from the old Scandinavian word ‘Brygga’, which can roughly be translated to harbour. Soon after its founding, Bruges became one of the most important trade cities in the world. Its history is witnessed by a great deal of economic wealth, astounding art and religious life. Thanks to the extensive waterway of canals, Bruges has become known as the ‘Venice of the North’. The canals run

across the town like a string of pearls, resulting in countless picturesque corners and photo-worthy scenes. It is no wonder that Bruges’ most photographed spot, the Rozenhoedkaai, also lies at the water. The Belfry is one of the city’s highlights: a medieval bell tower built in the 13th and 15th century, tilting to the East for a full metre. Visitors can walk all the 366 steps to the top, but be warned: the stairs get smaller the higher you get. The Begijnhof (béguinages) was the first site in Bruges that earned a spot on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list. In the year 2000, the entire historic centre gained this honour.

The Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk (Church of Our Lady) is one of the many sites in Bruges emphasising the city’s significant religious past. The most famous is Michelangelo’s statue of Madonna and Child. More medieval magic can be found at the Adornes Domain: a fantastic 600-year-old estate that is still owned by the original family, who have opened up their home and heritage to the people of Bruges.

State of the art Art and the city of Bruges are interchangeably linked. Because of its status as one of the world’s most important economic Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  53

Discover Benelux  |  The Best of Bruges  |  The Fairytale City

Jan Van Eyck - Groeninge Museum © Jan D’Hondt

settlements, the city traditionally worked as a magnet for artists. During Bruges’ Golden Age (the 15th century) the great Flemish Primitives made a name for themselves. The world-famous works of Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling and those of other prominent Flemish Masters can be admired at St John’s Hospital and the Church of Our Lady.

DO NOT MISS: City Hall: Bruges’ stunning City Hall is one of the oldest in the Low Countries, built between 1376 and 1420. An absolute masterpiece is the Gothic Hall with its late 19th-century murals and polychrome vault. Triennial: the Triennial brings to Bruges a selection of inspirational and celebrated artists and architects from home and abroad who form a trail through the city with installations, videos, images and other media. Until 16 September

54  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

The Groeninge Museum also hosts an astonishingly rich collection with many superb Flemish Primitive and Renaissance works. The Saint Saviour’s Cathedral, Bruges’ oldest parish church, counts amongst its treasures a rood loft with an organ, Brussels tapestries, medieval tombs and a rich collection of Flemish paintings dating back to the 14th to 18th century.

Pieter Pourbus and the Claeissens family: this exhibition focuses on arts in Bruges right after the glorious days of the 15th century, when Bruges’ inhabitants struggled to scrape a living. Little-known masterpieces will be displayed in an exhibition that offers a powerful image of creativeness in times of struggle. 13 October 2017 - early 2018 Brugse Vrije: the ‘Liberty of Bruges’ is a stunning historic mansion that functioned as a court of justice between 1795 and 1984. Today, the city archives are stored here.

Enchantingly convivial Bruges rightly deserves its status as an enchanting tourist mecca, with not only its past, but also its present being a true gem. The cobbled alleys are home to countless culinary and cultural secrets, and exciting events are held on a daily basis. Sites such as the brand-new Lace Centre (Bruges has been a major player in lace production since the 18th century) go hand in hand with modern places such as the Concertgebouw, an international centre for dance and music. Of course, shops full of beer and chocolate are plentiful, yet there is so much more to discover in the culinary area. Bruges boasts an abundance of cafés and restaurants serving authentic Belgian cuisine. They are all waiting to be discovered! For more tips on what’s on in Bruges, check

Discover Benelux  |  Bruges  |  Art & Culture

Christian Rizzo. Photo: Mario Sinistaj

Samme Raeymaekers. Photo: Ellen De Meulemeester

‘Bruges has more than just a lot of cultural heritage – thanks to the Concertgebouw, contemporary dance is booming in this Belgian city.’ Photo: Jaime Roque De La Cruz


A melting pot of cultural affairs TEXT: JULIËN L’ORTYE  |  PHOTOS: CONCERTGEBOUW BRUGGE

Every year, over seven million tourists visit Bruges. We are guessing that the majority is very aware of the huge cultural heritage and historic buildings the Belgian city has to offer, but what they might not know is that it is one of the main places in Europe when it comes to contemporary dance. This is a great reason for us to chat with Samme Raeymaekers, who is artistic coordinator at the Concertgebouw Brugge and – amongst other things - responsible for the dance festival December Dance. “Quite some time ago, Bruges was seen as a city where only ‘old’ art could be found. Thanks to the Concertgebouw, the city has profiled itself as a place full of contemporary art.” December Dance has a very important share in this, as it focuses on large, well-known ballet and contemporary ballet companies (such as Ballet de Lyon) and renowned choreographers, such as Frenchman Christian Rizzo, the curator of December Dance 17, who will open and close this year’s

festival with two different dance performances. Raeymaekers is very proud of the festival, describing it as “something that has a huge touristic attraction, especially in a time when everything is being overshadowed by the holiday stress”. Concertgebouw Brugge was opened in 2002, when Bruges was named Europe’s cultural capital and was built because of the urge to (be able to) organise classical and contemporary music events. Raeymaekers: “Bruges is an important hotspot for contemporary dance: together with the Cultuurcentrum, we present over 45 performances each year, with a very international orientation. We are bringing Bruges to the world – and the world to Bruges.” The Concertgebouw is considered to have one of the best acoustics in Europe, especially as it rests on more than 4,500 ‘poles’. For that reason, there are many orchestras and music ensembles that enjoy coming (and returning) here, accord-

ing to Raeymaekers. This year, you do not need a ticket for a performance anymore to be able to look inside the building. Raeymaekers: “As of September, we have created a new route throughout the Concertgebouw, so both tourists and locals are able to have a peek inside to see how we work and what the interior looks like.” The route is filled with art works, particularly created for this affair and a new café will be opened as well. So even if you are not into contemporary art or dance, there are no excuses anymore not to visit the Concertgebouw when in Bruges.

Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  55

Discover Benelux  |  Bruges  |  Art & Culture

Sharing to bring alive – bringing alive to preserve TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: ADORNES DOMAIN

Step into the world of one of the most prominent families of 15th century Bruges. Set in the historic heart of the city, the Adornes Domain is an authentic medieval estate and a powerful testimony to the lives of the aristocratic Adornes family. Today, the descendants of the Adornes family have opened the doors of their home and family heritage to the public, continuing the estate’s 600-year bond with the people of Bruges. It would be a fallacy to say you have really discovered Bruges without having ventured to the Sint Anna quarter to wander around the Adornes Domain. Consisting of a mansion, several almshouses and the magnificent private Jerusalem Chapel, the family estate still stands as proudly as when it was built in 1429. The estate is one of very few historic estates in the world still owned by the original family. The moving force behind the 56  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

estate is Véronique de Limburg Stirum, whose husband Maximilien is a direct descendant (17th generation) of the Adornes family who moved to Bruges in the Middle Ages. When he inherited the family domain, his wife decided it was time to share its legendary beauty and atmosphere with the public. “All the buildings were part of a foundation which my husband really did not have time to look after,” explains Véronique. “Very quickly I realised that I wanted to develop a double use: to create a family home where we would spend quality time and also create a historic and cultural venue to share with the public.” Three years ago, the family opened a museum on the estate to share their family story and the history of the Adornes family, which was influential in the trade, politics and diplomacy of the 15th century when Bruges was at the pinnacle of world trade and culture. Furthermore, to share their love for the contemporary arts, the couple

decided to open up an art space within the domain to host exhibitions and sociocultural projects from renowned Flemish and foreign contemporary artists.

From Italy, with love For the roots of the Adornes family, we have to travel to the Italian city of Genoa where Opicius Adornes was born in 1240. After joining the retinue of the Count of Flanders in the 13th century, he moved to Flanders and the descendants soon became part of the Bruges aristocracy. The most famous member of the family, Anselm Adornes, was a successful merchant and a diplomat, but also a patron of the arts. He was the one who gave the Jerusalem Chapel and the domain its peculiar and unique architectural and devotional aspect. Indeed, the Jerusalem Chapel is the jewel of the Adornes Domain and has been lovingly dubbed as ‘our chapel’ by the people of Bruges. It boasts an idiosyncratic square chapel

Discover Benelux  |  Bruges  |  Art & Culture

with a high wooden ceiling, a macabre altar decorated with the Instruments of the Passion, and a crypt with a replica of Christ’s tomb. Modelled after the Holy Sepulchre Church in Jerusalem, which family members had visited in a series of pilgrimages, its architecture, interior and unique relics provide an exceptional illustration of the Adornes family’s great reverence for Jerusalem. “The Adornes family built this chapel as an act of faith,” enthuses Véronique. “It is full of extraordinary details and above all Catholic faith symbolism which laud specific saints and are testaments to the piousness of the Adornes family.” Even today, the family celebrates religious events such as christenings and family blessings in the consecrated Roman Catholic chapel. The almshouses adjacent to the chapel are home to the Domain’s museum. Taking visitors deep into the history of the Adornes family, visitors can follow the footsteps of Anselm Adornes and learn all about the world in which he lived. You

will go on a pilgrimage, take part in a joust and meet many notable persons of the time, such the Lords of Gruuthuse and the Dukes of Burgundy. A special focus lies on Anselm’s relationship with Scotland: he was known to cherish a friendship with James III, King of the Scots, which eventually proved to be fatal. Anselm was assassinated in 1483. The home of the Adornes family has now been lovingly restored. Part of the house is open to regular visitors. In the Scottish Lounge, which once more underlines Anselm’s friendship with James III, you can take refreshments and reflect on your visit. The two large reception rooms of the main house have also been restored for the use of the family and are not open to the general public, yet they can be hired for group hospitality events such as receptions and dinners.

Adornes and the arts Following the tradition of the Adornes’ passion for the arts, the new exhibition space

is located in the newer buildings formerly used as living quarters by nuns. Throughout the year, the space serves as the backdrop for various cultural events and exhibitions by established artists. In mid-October, the Adornes Domain will host the exhibition Contemplation from local artist duo Jacqy duVal. Focusing on abstract art, it will be a beautiful and thought-provoking contrast to the medieval site. The motto ‘Sharing to bring alive - bringing alive to preserve’ is just as relevant when it applies to the family’s support for the arts and the numerous concerts and arts exhibitions held at the estate - proof that the Adornes Domain has revived a tradition established centuries ago. A long family tradition based on faith, tradition, support for the arts and engaging with the local community and tourists all shared with passion and enthusiasm from the de Limburg Stirum family. Web:

Opening hours: Mondays to Saturdays, 10am to 5pm. Closed on Sundays and on public holidays. Entrance fee for adults: seven euros

Maximilien & Véronique de Limburg Stirum.

Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  57

Discover Benelux  |  Bruges  |  Eat, Drink & Sleep Spots

Photo: Jurgen de Witte



Bourgogne des Flandres occupies a very special place in the Belgian beer landscape. Honouring the typical Flemish beer blending tradition, the Bruges-based brewery takes pride in producing perfectly balanced beer with a taste as rich as the brewery’s history itself. After nearly 60 years, Bourgogne des Flandres has returned to the inner city of Bruges with its own brewery. Having lived a long and interesting history, the microbrewery is renowned for its unique beer, something it invites everyone to explore and taste through (interactive) tours for the whole family, meetups with the brewers, and naturally by trying a Bourgogne des Flandres.

The brewing process of Lambic differs from that of other beers in that at least 30 per cent wheat is used, only aged hops are used and no yeast is added, so there is spontaneous fermentation. All Lambic beers are aged in 100 per cent wooden barrels. “The entire fermentation and maturation process may take up to three years,” says Monnissen.

blending tradition, where brown beer and young Lambic are mixed judiciously to achieve a perfect balance,” explains brewery manager Patrick Monnissen. “Through the mixed fermentation, a unique sweet-sour flavour arises.” The result? A tasty red-brown beer and a rich, creamy finish. Although the beer blending method is centuries old, it is nowadays only practised by a handful of breweries in the world.

A history of brewing

While ‘Bruinen Os’ is brewed in the attic of the brewery, the Lambic beer is produced at sister brewery Timmermans, the oldest Lambic brewery in the world.

As rich as its finish, is Bourgogne des Flandres’ history. For the very first mentioning of the famous Bruges brewery we have to rewind to 1765 in the town of Loppem, where a farm-brewery was

Brewing tradition Bourgogne des Flandres is a blended beer, made of ‘Bruinen Os’ mixed with Lambic beer. “Bourgogne des Flandres is a typical example of the Flemish beer 58  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

Photo: Jurgen de Witte

Discover Benelux  |  Bruges  |  Eat, Drink & Sleep Spots

owned by Pierre-Jacques Van Houtryve. It was his son who obtained permission to start a brewery within the city walls of Bruges in 1825: Den Os Brewery.

Timmermans Brewery in 1980. The recipe was taken over by the famous John Martin Brewery (which also distribute Guinness) in 1990.

The flagship beer of Den Os came into being just before World War One, when the number of active breweries in Bruges was peaking and the Van Houtryve family also owned the breweries La Marine and Ten Ezele. “Bourgogne des Flandres is one of the very few West Flemish redbrown beers that survived the long-term competition and the destruction caused by World War Two,” Monnissen states. However, like many, Den Os brewery finally had to close its doors in 1957 due to the emergence of British Ales and the damage of the two world wars.

With Anthony Martin at the helm of the company, Bourgogne des Flandres became part of the Finest Beer Selection and its reputation was reaffirmed with the creation of a new brewery just a stone’s throw from the original Den Os Brewery. It was in 2016 that Bourgogne des Flandres finally returned home. Located a mere 50 metres away from the former La Marine Brewery, the microbrewery is located on the Kartuizerinnenstraat, in the scenic heart of Bruges.


Yet the closing down of Den Os meant everything but the end of Bourgogne des Flandres. Since 1957, Michel Van Houtryve supervised various other breweries in continuing the beer according to the authentic family recipe throughout the years, until it came into the hands of the world’s oldest lambic brewery,

Breathing in the fragrances of the brewing process, exploring every corner of the brewing-attic, blending your own unique creation: a visit to Bourgogne des Flandres is an unmissable stop when visiting Bruges. During the various tours visitors will find out more about hops and the brewing process, learn how to tap beer digitally or take a bottle with their picture home.

The working brewers are surprisingly approachable and visibly affect visitors with their enthusiasm. “They’d love to tell you more about the process,” Monnissen enthuses. Naturally, a free Bourgogne des Flandres is provided – make sure to have it on the beautiful terrace of the brewery. Groups of at least 20 can opt for a blending session in which the participants can blend their own Bourgogne des Flandres.

Visits can be done with or without a guide. All texts are available in Dutch, French, English and German. Audio guides are also available in Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Chinese and Russian. Bourgogne des Flandres is easily accessible for wheelchair users and people with reduced mobility.


Photo: Jurgen de Witte

Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  59

Discover Benelux  |  Bruges  |  Eat, Drink & Sleep Spots


A historic night A very warm welcome awaits you at the Hotel Jacobs Brugge, a charming three-star hotel ideally situated for exploring the wonders of Bruges. Hotel Jacobs undoubtedly embodies the fairytale atmosphere you can find everywhere in Bruges, with its building being one of the typical stepped-gable structures. The hotel is located near the Langerei, one of the picturesque canals that once transported cargo for the medieval textile industry. The Lace Centre, the Folklore Museum and the St. Gillis and St. Anna churches are also a mere stone’s throw away, as well as the Belfry Tower and the famous Great Market. “Wherever you are in Bruges, every corner and street is even more beautiful than the last,” says Valeria Glazov, who owns the hotel together with her husband Andre. It is not a surprise the city was dubbed ‘the Venice of the North’ a long time ago.


Hotel Jacobs opened its doors in 2011. With only 22 rooms, it exudes the charm of a boutique hotel. The extensive breakfast buffet deliciously completes your stay, with fresh waffles, pastries, juices and even charcuterie on offer. Looking to have a drink before (or after) your stroll through beautiful Bruges? The bar

and lounge provides liquors and – naturally – a large selection of Belgian beers. Located not far away from the scenic Belgian coast, Hotel Jacobs serves as the perfect backdrop for those planning a long weekend to explore West Belgium. Yet even if it is for one night, Hotel Jacobs is the place to stay. For more information, please visit

Bruges’ late-night culinary staple TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: BISTRO CHRISTOPHE

Serving classic, season-bound dishes that are topped off with a rare sense of passion: that is Bistro Christophe. This evening and nighttime restaurant has been a wellknown and beloved face in the city of Bruges since 1998. The warm wooden interior, the open kitchen, but above all the fine scents, make Bistro Christophe a delight from the moment you step in. Set right in the midst of the historic centre of Bruges, chef Christophe Verheyen serves his guests from 6pm until late at night, making the

60  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

bistro the ideal spot for long nights of dining and good conversation. The menu boasts fine Belgian classics accompanied with French elements. The chefs work exclusively with daily fresh ingredients, of which most are sourced at local (meat or fish) farms. “Our menu changes four times a year, depending on what the season has to offer,” says Verheyen. “Our classics? The Dover sole with salad, fresh chips or mashed potatoes. And the Chateaubriand is also very popular.” Bistro Christophe’s late opening hours make the restaurant the ideal address for an

intimate bite after a trip to the theatre or cinema, when the stunning town of Bruges is perhaps at its prettiest. Currently, the bistro shuts at 1am, and from 2018 the kitchen will close at 11am. Although the opening hours may be shortened - Bistro Christophe’s passion for food will remain ever the same.

Booking is desirable For more information, please visit

Discover Benelux  |  Bruges  |  Eat, Drink & Sleep Spots / Event Location

Where enchantment meets hospitality TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: FLANDERS HOTEL

Flanders Hotel is for those who enjoy the good things in life. Set in a stunning monumental building in the historic heart of scenic Bruges, this four-star hotel perfectly combines authentic historic features with an allure of modern luxury. It is not hard to see why Flanders Hotel secured 14th place on TripAdvisor’s 2016 list of best hotels in Belgium. First of all, there is its rich past: the hotel was built in 1905 as ‘Grand Hotel Verriest’ on the foundations of a former monastery, which dates back to the year 1304. It has welcomed many generations of visitors from all around the world. Flanders Hotel lies within short walking distance of all of Bruges’ main points of interests. “In well-preserved, medieval cities like Bruges, it is often a task in itself to get around or park your car,” begins general manager Jan Teughels. “We

have our own parking facility on site and are set right in the midst of the historic centre.” The hotel’s 50 rooms come in different flavours, yet they all boast nearly every modern comfort, including air-conditioning. Though the historic charm has been maintained throughout the hotel, many modern features have been incorporated, providing guests with a beautiful feeling of luxury. The indoor pool is perfect for (literally) cooling down after a day of sightseeing, with outside seating provided so you can sip a drink by the pond and fountain. The breakfast is far from your regular hotel buffet: fresh fruit juice, freshly baked bread or crispy bacon and scrambled eggs, anyone? Yet above all it is the service that has earned the hotel its excellent reputation. “Our personal touch is what makes Flanders Hotel a home away from home,” Teughels concludes. “We always go the extra mile.”


Your own bar and restaurant for the night TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: OTTENTIC AND TOOPE.BE

Looking for a special night out with friends when you are in Bruges? At Ottentic you are not only a guest, you become part of the bar and restaurant. “We want our guests to move freely around the whole room and together make the perfect party,” explains owner Koen Jonckheere.

dinner and our barman serves the drinks. Your guests become part of it, by serving out the drinks and food. They can also help the chef or the barman if they want to.” This way everybody is involved and your event ‘will keep on moving’. On the top floor, there is a meeting room where you can host meetings or classes.

Ottentic is about tasting and enjoying together. It is situated in an authentic post World War Two-style building. You can rent just the bar or the dining room and kitchen for the night, or rent them both. “Our chef will prepare the

Superlative food and drinks The bar is independent from any brewery and serves only the finest beers around, carefully selected by Ottentic’s beer sommeliers. The high-quality kitchen includes an authentic grill,

with many more types of cuisine on offer. “We serve authentic Belgian dishes, such as Flemish stew in Trappist, a traditional Belgian meal,” elaborates Jonckheere. All ingredients are local and sustainable. At Ottentic you will experience a unique evening in a relaxing and immersive atmosphere, enjoying great drinks and superb food. All the ingredients for an unforgettable night out.


Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  61

Discover Benelux  |  Bruges  |  Party & Lounge Spots


Pubbing and clubbing in Bruges TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: CLUB 13

A club in the heart of Bruges that caters to quite a substantial English clientele. The reason for it? By day it is a popular pub-come-sports bar and in the small hours it is a night club. Named after its address at Eiermarkt (‘Egg Market’) number 13, Club 13 is both and celebrates its tenth year anniversary between October and November. A perfect opportunity to talk with club owner James Thomas about what makes his club tick. A spacious dance hall in the back and an impressive dome that sports neon colours and bright lights; Club 13 is one of Bruges’ most popular highlights when it comes to clubbing and pubbing. By day, the six big screens show mostly football matches from the Premier League and Rugby on Sky Sports. Club 13 is the number one sports bar in Bruges. By night you can show off your moves on the dance floor, guided by DJs on Fridays and Saturdays. There is good reason for Club 13 to show English matches, since their patrons are 62  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

40 per cent Englishmen and women. Club owner James Thomas has a simple explanation for that: “With a ferry between Zeebrugge nearby and the UK mainland, apparently it’s cheaper for them to cross over and spend a weekend here instead of pubbing over there, but they also mention they just love to get out. We have our own restaurant five steps away from the club where they can eat lots of grilled dishes over an open fire, stay the night at a hostel and come back on Sunday for the other matches.” As it is almost customary in Belgium, Club 13 has all sorts of beers, specialising in tripels, abbey beers but also English brands such as Guinness and Strongbow. James: “The men tend to prefer the heavier stuff, while women order fruitier beers. Of course, everything is served in the most optimal way.” He continues: “Around 6pm the pub gradually changes into a nightclub. We offer an apéritif and see most of the English patrons go and see people from Bruges and tourists from

other countries take their place. The age varies a lot; between 20 and 50-year-olds dancing mostly to what’s in the charts right now. If you want to just sit on the terrace outside, that’s also possible. We serve till midnight and have heaters that will keep your temperature just right.”

Club 13: We make you feel at home away from home! To find out more about Club 13, visit their Facebook: Club13Brugge


New urban hotspot !

Bar Bites eats Booz Signature seafood bites @ our seafood counter. To kick-start your appe�te or to sa�sfy your craving. ‘5 Bites’ menu complemented with a glass of cava.

Stay tuned, like and follow us on WE ARE ALSO GREAT ON INSTAGRAM @brasseriefloantwerp @hiltonantwerpoldtown5691 Brasserie Flo Antwerp I Groenplaats 32 I 2000 Antwerpen T:+32 3 204 12 29 I F: +32 3 204 12 13 I

Special offer

Savour our ‘5 bites’ menu for 2 @ € 35 pp (instead of € 40 pp) Post your culinary experience on your facebook/instagram page, tag us and we’ll offer you 1 bo�le of cava for 2 (instead of 1 glass of cava pp) Reserva�ons : T +32 3 204 1229 I and men�on “promo�on Discover Belgium” (Not to be combined with other promo�ons)

Discover Benelux  |  South of the Netherlands Highlights  |  Limburg & Brabant Special

Skyline Eindhoven.


From verdant hills to vibrant cities It is impossible not to be seduced by the South of the Netherlands. Take a trip down to the provinces of Brabant and Limburg and you will be struck by a sense of hospitality that is often associated with Europe’s Southern countries. Add to that some of the country’s most stunning scenery, delicious food and the cultural gems of Eindhoven and Tilburg, and you have yourself the perfect spot for a magical autumn getaway. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: NBTC

De Pont Tilburg Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst.

64  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

Discover Benelux  |  South of the Netherlands Highlights  |  Limburg & Brabant Special

Hills Limburg.

Fall in love with Limburg

Beautiful Brabant

While the Netherlands may be renowned for being flat, this region boasts a beautiful hilly landscape and is home to some of the prettiest countryside in the Netherlands. The Dutch like to call the merry Southern lifestyle ‘bourgondisch’, reflective of the Southern inhabitants’ epicurean ways. This region feels like an embodiment of the best of Europe: there are both Belgian and German influences thanks to their geographical proximity, as well as a love of good food that is so closely associated with the French lifestyle. This picturesque region is blessed with an idyllic landscape, an abundance of stunning castles and impressive historical ruins. Make sure you explore the numerous picturesque villages filled with charming half-timbered houses and be sure to pay a trip to popular tourist cities including Valkenburg, Geleen, Kerkrade, Sittard and Heerlen.

The province of Brabant is where Vincent van Gogh was born, and the famous artist’s work and life can be explored in many stunning locations. With such verdant forests and idyllic scenery, you may well find yourself motivated to take up painting. In the mood for something more

physical? This region is perfect for hiking and cycling. Or, why not combine sport and culture with a 335-kilometre bike ride through the Brabant landscape adored by Van Gogh, discovering the places that inspired his life and work. Discover more at

Gain inspiration for your Limburg trip at Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  65

Discover Benelux  |  South of the Netherlands Highlights  |  Limburg & Brabant Special

Textielmuseum Tilburg.

Eindhoven, the City of Light With its modern architectural masterpieces, hip boutiques and inspiring museums, Eindhoven is a must for culture vultures. Despite its futuristic appearance, this bustling city is steeped in history and has been one of the Netherlands’ key industrial centres for centuries. The city earned its moniker ‘Lichtstad’ (City of Light) in the 19th century thanks to its numerous matchstick factories, while the strong presence of Dutch electronics brand Philips consolidated the nickname - the firm began as a lightbulb manufacturing company in Eindhoven back in 1891. The city continues to be a hub for all things technological and design, and is home to the internationally revered Design Academy. Every October, creatives flock to the city for the unmissable events of Dutch Design Week. For more information, head to 66  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

Textiles in Tilburg, an undiscovered gem This relatively undiscovered gem of a city is home to a large cultural scene, hosting a range of festivals and boasts a diverse selection of museums and galleries. Not to be missed are the Natuurmuseum Brabant, a natural history museum ideal for all the family, and the De Pont Museum of Modern Art. Located in a former wool mill, art lovers will devour the De Pont’s

vast collection of works by national and international creatives. Tilburg became famous for its wool and textiles during the early 20th century, so you will also want to pay a visit to the Textielmuseum, which is housed in a restored factory and provides a fascinating exploration of the Dutch textile industry. Plan your trip now at

North Brabant Museum.

Discover Benelux  |  South of the Netherlands Highlights  |  Limburg & Brabant Special

Van Abbe Museum Eindhoven.


The art of collecting, 25 years of the Limburgs Museum Limburgs Museum, Venlo, Until 24 September Dedicated to the natural and cultural history of the province of Limburg, this year the Limburgs Museum in Venlo is celebrating its 25th birthday. This celebratory exhibition on the art of collecting has been brought together the citizens of Limburg.

Story of Brabant.

Dutch Design Week Eindhoven, 21 - 29 October The biggest design event in Northern Europe, this annual event is now in its 16th year and for 2017 will present the work and ideas of more than 2,500 designers. Ambassadors include architect Winy Maas, designers Lonny van Ryswyck and Nadine Sterk and journalist Marcus Fairs.

Earth Matters, curated by Lidewij Edelkoort & Philip Fimmano Textielmuseum, Tilburg, Until 26 November Featuring the oeuvre of more than 40 international designers, artists and manufacturers, EARTH MATTERS is an expan-

sive survey of innovative design objects, garments, textiles, yarns and materials. The exhibition shows experiments on both a large and small scale that contribute to a sustainable creation process.

VAN ABBE AND DE STIJL Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Until 31 December Part of the ‘Mondrian to Dutch Design’ year, this exhibition from Eindhoven’s famous modern art museum looks back at the importance of the iconic De Stijl movement as well as showcasing contemporary design objects selected by students of Master Design Curating & Writing at the Design Academy Eindhoven. ReView De Pont at 25: anniversary exhibition De Pont Museum of Modern Art, Tilburg 16 September 2017 - 18 February 2018 This month marks exactly 25 years since the opening of the De Pont Museum in Tilburg. In honour of this anniversary, the ReView exhibition will see the return of much-loved artworks that have been previously shown at the museum.

Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  67

Discover Benelux  |  South of the Netherlands  |  Eindhoven Highlights

Warm, welcoming and heart-touching TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: PULLMAN EINDHOVEN COCAGNE

As part of the Accor Hotels Group, the Pullman Hotels of Accor have gained a terrific reputation over the years for providing luxury for predominantly business-minded guests, but catering to the leisure guest as well. The only Pullman Hotel in the Netherlands can be found in Eindhoven, where the motto ‘Our world is your playground’ is one they adhere to and where guests often stay for business during the week and return at the weekend for leisure. Situated in the centre of Eindhoven since early 2012, the only Pullman Hotel in the Netherlands quickly evolved into one of the city’s most popular places to stay. With 320 rooms divided into multiple categories, you can always find something that suits 68  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

your needs, starting at the standard rooms all the way up to the presidential suite. It comes as no surprise that the hotel has seen its fair share of CEOs, celebrities and many employees of the multinationals that work in the area such as Philips and ASML.

treats in your room ready. To achieve all that, it’s of the utmost importance that you listen to your guests. We want to be as warm, welcoming and heart-touching as possible and get to the bottom of that unspoken need, if there is one.”


Staff training

Assistant general manager Jurriaan van der Valk of Pullman Eindhoven Cocagne knows exactly what makes his hotel tick: “Every guest wants the highest possible service and quality, what we want is to go lengths for that extra mile. If it’s someone’s birthday, we’ll have a surprise waiting in your room such as a birthday cake, if a married couple stays over, they’ll get Champagne on the house. Even if someone travels with a dog, we’ll have some

That particular employee-guest relationship is something Pullman values above all, according to Van der Valk. “We call that the Accor values and we train every employee for that on multiple occasions. Most of it revolves around the question of ‘why is our guest here’ and ‘how to connect with the heart of our guest’ and how the employee can be an addition to someone’s stay. We even have a closed off Yammer communication group where

Discover Benelux  |  South of the Netherlands  |  Eindhoven Highlights

our staff gathers to exchange experiences and those who excel the most at providing service can win prizes. This whole way of encouraging our staff to do their best is quite the undertaking, but anyone can build a hotel room. It’s the quality of service that makes the difference.”

Multifunctional rooms With Eindhoven as one of the Netherlands’ fastest growing economies, Pullman taps into the city’s potential by providing 18 multifunctional meeting rooms that can be arranged just the way the business guest wants it to, like the motto says. Van der Valk: “They are outfitted with beamers and plugging in with your devices in both video, audio and internet is a cinch. The hotel rooms themselves are built with the thought in mind of having to work in them, so dimming lights became a central issue and providing the best wireless internet imaginable. For relaxation, the big screen

televisions are outfitted with Ambilight, so they won’t wear heavy on your eyes.”

ers, especially our cheeses,” says the assistant general manager.



Naturally, Pullman has thought of the inner human as well. Bar & Restaurant Vestdijk47 (named after the address) is a stand-alone venue inside the same building. Its cuisine: modern French, taking many classic dishes and giving them a different twist. “Everything served is fresh and of the highest quality. We change the complete menu twice every year and have a threecourse meal going for 35 euros, 43,50 if you go for the four courses and 49,50 for five. The restaurant itself is designed to be informal but trendy. One of the eye catchers is the chef’s table where up to 12 guests can sit and see how everything is prepared in the open kitchen. There’s a lunch menu with guest favourites such as the Caesar salad and the Club sandwich. A lot of what’s served comes from local suppli-

With Eindhoven hosting several famous weeks such as the Dutch Design Week and Glow Eindhoven, Van der Valk and his team see themselves more and more as ambassadors of the city itself. He explains: “What we do when guests arrive is greet them at our ‘welcome desk’ instead of a reception desk. From there, you can get all sorts of tips of things happening in the city, like the Van Abbe Museum which is nearby. Even though we have our own restaurant, we love to tell our guests the best spots to eat. Our guests are more than people staying over at our hotel; they’re guests of Eindhoven itself.” For more information, please visit:

Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  69

Discover Benelux  |  South of the Netherlands  |  Tilburg Highlights

Superb facilities in the heart of Tilburg TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: MERCURE HOTEL TILBURG CENTRUM

Want to discover the vibrant city of Tilburg? Then the Mercure Hotel, right in the centre of town, is your best starting point. It is located near all the major hotspots, for instance the Efteling Theme Park. Mercure Hotel Tilburg Centrum is situated in the heart of Tilburg, a lively city with major events throughout the year, such as international music festivals, markets and cultural events. When you walk out of the hotel, you immediately find yourself close to restaurants, bars and a range

of internationally known shops. Within minutes of walking, you are at the 013 music venue. The rooms and service at the hotel are of the highest quality. There are also various meeting rooms which are ideal for training sessions. Since the hotel is close to the station and a parking structure, it is very accessible.

ously in restaurant ‘Taste!’, which was awarded 12 points by the Gault & Millau restaurant guide. The hotel’s CitySauna is a great way to leave all your stresses behind. Here, you can relax in the different saunas, Turkish steam baths or a whirlpool. The perfect way to unwind after a day of exploring Tilburg. Whether you are discovering the delights of Tilburg or are looking for a sumptuous hotel experience, you can do both at Mercure Hotel Tilburg Centrum.

Top-notch facilities For those staying at the hotel, you can benefit from access to its superb facilities. Enjoy the good life at Grand Café ‘Puur’, or dine luxuri-


3 0 0 0




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.
















TELEFOON: 0577-40 73 93, ERMELO

Discover Benelux  |  South of the Netherlands  |  Brabant Highlights

Kapellerput owners Rik Hüsken & Jeu Bressers.

Inspiring design and serenity are the perfect combination TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: KAPELLERPUT

Just outside the lovely town of Heeze is the Kapellerput Hotel for meetings and events, a stylish, modern establishment in a beautiful location. Surrounded by the majestic Strabrechtse moorlands, it is ideal for business retreats or special occasions such as anniversaries. “The combination of the vibrant city of Eindhoven and the peaceful setting here is truly amazing,” begins Rik Hüsken, co-owner of Kapellerput Hotel. The peaceful estate is a truly inspirational spot. The atmospheric hotel’s creative interiors are exciting and contemporary. “There is a lot of modern and colourful art and design in the hotel. Art stimulates and challenges you. Since Eindhoven, which is close by, is the design capital of the Netherlands, the connection is evident.” The Kapellerput was built in the 1950s and was originally used as a retreat by the Fathers Jesuit. It was a place where guests stayed and learned. The building was full of bedrooms and classrooms. Later it became a state training centre, but the function remained the same. In the 1990s, Hüsken and his partner stepped in. “We want to continue to develop Kapellerput

and create new and unique concepts, so our guests keep getting the very best and continue to be amazed,” says Hüsken.

KABAN One such concept is the KABAN; a oneof-a-kind treehouse overlooking the stunning nature of the Strabrechtse moorlands. Designed by a French architect, it is truly unique both in size and shape. The interior is completely white and the only sounds one can hear are those of nature. “A treehouse does something to you; it amazes. Being above the ground and able to look out over the estate is incredible. Personally, I have never seen anything like it,” smiles Hüsken. This is just one of the reasons why it is a popular wedding venue.

ish our surroundings and make sure we can pass them on to the next generation,” Hüsken elaborates. “That is why we make sure that we don’t waste too much. In our restaurant we use only honest, organic products. They are all from local artisanal producers. This is one of the reasons we serve a local, honest beer, specially brewed for us which was voted ‘Best Home Beer’ in the Netherlands.” The combination of the different influences of the hotel and the magnificent setting, not to mention the staff’s hospitality, means you will find whatever you are looking for here, whether for leisure or business reasons. “All we want is for you to experience happiness in beautiful surroundings,” concludes Hüsken.

Another concept of Kapellerput is ‘Het Huis Van (Home)’; a cosy retro living room with a kitchen and a private terrace. Here, groups can work informally, dine in private, enjoy a drink or just have a relaxed evening.

Cherishing nature Since Kapellerput is in the middle of the Strabrechtse moorlands, respecting nature and ensuring sustainability has become part of the hotel’s DNA. “We have to cher-


Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  71

Discover Benelux  |  South of the Netherlands  |  Limburg Highlights

A majestic getaway in fairytale Limburg TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: TERWORM CASTLE

On the Southern border of the Netherlands, in the fairy tale like province of Limburg, is the vibrant city of Heerlen. Here in the Euregion, with close ties to Belgium and Germany, you will find one of the most beautiful meeting locations. Welcome to TerWorm Castle. The fully restored castle on the TerWorm estate is home to a secluded and exclusive hotel, operated by the worldrenowned Van Der Valk Hotels group and is ideal for business meetings, conferences or a corporate retreat. “During the day you can hold meetings and in the evening you can regenerate in the chateau or enjoy a marvellous evening in Heerlen. There is also another Van der Valk Hotel there, with more options to hold congresses and events,” explains Tatjana Kicken, sales manager at the hotel. With their partners, Kasteel TerWorm can cater to your every need. Heerlen borders Belgium and Germany. Both countries are a stone’s throw away and the hotel is located close to one of the main highways in the Netherlands. Heerlen is easily accessible from surrounding airports in Eindhoven, Maastricht-Aachen, Dusseldorf and Brussels, both by car or 72  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

by train. “It is the ideal place for international meetings. The surroundings will make for an unbelievable time.”

modern design, but still give you the feeling of the chateau.

Long history

“We want to take really good care of all of our guests; those that stay in the hotel and the people that come here for lunch or dinner,” Kicken adds. “Our chef, former Michelin-star holder Andy Brauers, uses only the finest organic and local ingredients to create culinary masterpieces. You can enjoy them on our awardwinning terrace, or in a more secluded spot in the restaurant.”

The castle dates back to the 14th century and has been owned and occupied by several noble families. After numerous renovations, the chateau was bought by the Oranje-Nassau Mines in the early 20th century. The owners resided there, until the collapse of the mines in the 1980s. In 1987 Van Der Valk Group bought the hotel. The derelict castle underwent a major renovation that finished in 1999. Floors were raised, staircases moved and rebuilt, the roof and the façade renewed and the fosse was restored. Also the estate was restored to its original, beautiful state. “The unique aspect of TerWorm Castle is that it has suites in the castle itself, unlike other castles, which usually have annexes where guests can stay.” The rooms have a classical interior that evokes the noble stature the chateau had in the past, ensuring a majestic stay. “The Tower suites are in the ridge of the tower, and the Baron suites have their own two-person tower overlooking the estate.” In the adjacent farm building, the suites have a more

Quality and care

A stay at TerWorm Castle Van der Valk is sure to make your meetings or retreat unforgettable.


Meet the brewer and discover the process of beer blending ! Alc 5 % Vol.

Visit the brewery Every day 10h to 18h (except Monday) Kartuizerinnenstraat 6 • 8000 Brugge only 150 m from the markt Beer brewed carefully, to be consumed with care.

Sweet Globe XVII


Anthony R. Martin • rue du Cerf 191 • 1332 Genval • BELGIUM

B R O U W E R I J - BR U G G E

Discover Benelux  |  Art  |  Michaelina Wautier

Michaelina Wautier, Saint Joseph. Photo: Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

74  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Art  |  Michaelina Wautier


The overlooked enigma Michaelina Wautier’s second death is looming. Her first death was in 1689, in the city of Brussels. Her second has been happening slowly and quietly ever since; her personality and brilliance now barely clinging to life in snippets of old documents and just over two dozen paintings. The Rubenshuis seek to rescue Michaelina from a death of obscurity by showcasing the oeuvre of this mysterious painter within the former atelier of the renowned Peter Paul Rubens. TEXT: ISA HEMPHREY

Scientific discoveries, such as Galileo’s previously heretical illuminations and Newton’s laws of gravity, as well as immense achievements in art history decorated Michaelina Wautier’s life from 1614 to 1689. The impact of Ruben’s The Miracles of St Francis Xavier (1617-18), Rembrandt’s The Night Watch (1642) and Veláquez’s Las Meninas (1656) on Michaelina can only be guessed at, but her surviving works also display true talent. “It’s evident that she was versatile, well-educated and that she must have had intellectual ambition,” says Katlijne Van der Stighelen, professor of art history at KU Leuven and curator of the Rubenshuis exhibition. “You could say she was the daughter Rubens never had.”

Archduke saw in the painter. The 2.7 by 3.54-metre painting depicts Bacchus lounging next to a bare-breasted selfportrait of Michaelina that looks at the viewer, possibly showing that she thought of herself as someone who could follow the Roman god of wine. “She tries to attract the attention of the viewer, standing as a mythological figure, which is something you can’t see by other women artists,” explains Van der Stighelen. “The connection between the personality of Michaelina Wautier and the surrounding company of Bacchus is of another kind.” This piece de-

manded a highly intellectual approach and a defiant attitude against the norm. “It was unseen that a woman artist would paint a canvas of this scale with this kind of iconography,” says the curator. The diversity of the figures and the composition is why The Triumph of Bacchus is considered Michaelina’s masterpiece. As Van der Stighelen explains: “The larger the canvas, the harder it is to realise a balanced composition.” Even her male contemporaries found large-scale history paintings intimidating. As art education

While the richness and drama of the Baroque style spread from Rome, Michaelina moved to the thriving city of Brussels around 1640. An inventory from 1659 reveals that her work was owned by Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria, governor of the Spanish Netherlands and devoted patron of the arts. Although the nature of their relationship is unknown, Michaelina could not have asked for better publicity. “This is an indication of his interest in this woman, who must have been working in the [Brussels] court,” says Van der Stighelen. The Triumph of Bacchus (dating before 1659) could indicate what potential the

Michaelina Wautier, The Triumph of Bacchus. Photo: Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  75

Discover Benelux  |  Art  |  Michaelina Wautier

Michaelina Wautier, Two girls as Saint Agnes and Saint Dorothy. Photo: Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen © - Art in Flanders vzw

was limited for women in the 17th century, her depiction of the male anatomy is both skilful and surprising. “You cannot paint a beautiful male nude when you have never seen one,” says the curator. Without information on Wautier’s technical education, it is unclear how she achieved such a feat. Yet Soraya French of the Society of Women Artists (SWA), states that art education has always been difficult for both genders as most parents encouraged jobs that provided regular income. “Of course, this became a double hurdle in the case of female artists,” she says. “In previous centuries, they were encouraged to marry well and bring up their children.” But Michaelina’s noble heritage could have also been an obstacle: “In the past, noble people were not encouraged to practise art, they were not expected to become real artists. I suppose there must have been a tension between her personal ambition and the expecta76  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

tions of her family,” says Van der Stighelen. While Artemisia Gentileschi’s (1593-1656) Judith Slaying Holofernes (1614-20) with its violent heroine may have caused unease, Michaelina’s male nudes and scantily clad self-portrait could, Van der Stighelen agrees, have done the same. “This gap is definitely closing,” says French, on whether female artists are still discouraged from certain subjects. “Judging by our own SWA exhibitions, every year it is becoming harder and harder to identify whether the paintings are done by male or female artists. Female artists have tackled a diverse range of subjects and mediums throughout the ages, they just didn’t get a chance to be quite as visible as their male counterparts.” Female artists both old and contemporary face an art world seemingly suffering from gender imbalance (see Fact Box), which does not help an already under-appreciated artist like Wautier.

Yet historical female artists have enjoyed prominence in iconic galleries within the past 12 months, such as the exhibition of Clara Peeters at the Prado in Madrid last October and the showcase of Plautilla Nelli at the Uffizi in Florence in March 2017. “I personally think that this type of revival is happening partly to correct the wrong doings of the past,” says French. “Throughout the ages, female artists have been either overshadowed or totally obliterated from the history of art, despite producing outstanding works of art. I think any step towards addressing the gender imbalance is a positive one. It is in some cases, better late than never.” In fact, at an auction in Zurich in March 2016, Wautier’s 1654 portrait of the Jesuit missionary Martino Martini was sold for nearly 40 times over its estimate. Perhaps this newfound interest can aid the search for Michaelina’s six missing paintings: The Five Senses series from

Discover Benelux  |  Art  |  Michaelina Wautier

1650 and the still life Garland with Butterfly (its companion piece, Garland with Dragonfly, are her only known still life paintings). “Every missing painting by Michaelina is really important because her oeuvre is rather limited,” says Van der Stighelen. “We are very pleased to be able to exhibit about 25 paintings, but we presume that there must have been more… these [missing] works could reveal something we do not already know.” In fact, the collected paintings for the exhibition are only dated from 1643 to 1659. “It’s very uncommon to see that you have an artist of an excellent level who only produced paintings during not even 20 years of her life, as far as we know today.”

Peter Paul Rubens-portiek - Beeldarchief collectie Antwerpen. Photo: Rubenshuis.

The Archduke’s inventory from 1659 states that Michaelina Wautier, or Woutiers, was born in Mons in the Southern Netherlands. “That is all,” says a frustrated Van der Stighelen, who began her research 20 years ago. “I was hoping so much that I would find at least one letter or an indication of her [Michaelina’s] personality and I was not able to do so.” This is a fate shared by many historical female artists, but Michaelina’s is a strangely severe case. It is only known that she never married and she lived with her brother Charles Wautier (1609-1703) near the church of Notre-Dame de la Chapelle.

Rubenshuis © Ans Brys. Photo: Rubenshuis.

Fact box: In a 2017 report on gender equality in the art world, the online art marketplace Artfinder compiled statistics on major art galleries:

Despite the ongoing treasure hunt and frustration at the wounds left by 17th century patriarchy, the Rubenshuis persists to show the first retrospective of Michaelina Wautier. “She will introduce a new type of woman artist,” says Van der Stighelen. “She will also prove that it was indeed possible when you had the opportunity to work in a more or less ideal context to develop your own talents, to make things that also could have been made by the most famous contemporary masters.” Part of the Antwerp Baroque 2018: Rubens as an Inspiration programme, the Michaelina Wautier exhibition will take place from 1 June to 2 September 2018 at the Rubenshuis in Antwerp, Belgium. Reservations can be made from autumn 2017.

- Between 2007 and 2014, the MoMA gallery in New York City granted female artist solo exhibitions only 20 per cent of the time and the Tate Modern in London only 25 per cent of the time. - The Tate Modern’s permanent collection consisted of 335 female artists compared with 959 male artists. - At the auctions in 2015, there was only one work by a female artist in the top 100 lots sold. Michaelina Wautier, Saint John the Evangelist. Photo: Private Collection, Italy.


- In 2015, there was an almost 104-million-pound price difference between the highest value items by a female and male artist sold.

Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  77

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Calendar


Business Travel Summit 26 – 27 September Amsterdam, the Netherlands Gain an in-depth understanding of how business travellers, travel processes and products are changing at the Amsterdam Business Travel Summit. This event brings together travel managers and buyers from across the Nordic and Benelux regions to explore best practice, the latest trends and innovative solutions.

Photo: Amsterdam RAI

CrossBorder e-commerce 6 September 2017 Utrecht, the Netherlands This conference is the annual meeting point for the brightest minds in e-commerce. The 2017 edition will carry the theme ‘The Next Level’ and answers the question of how to accomplish exponential business growth after you have completed the pioneer phase.

International Broadcast Conference 14 – 18 September Amsterdam, the Netherlands Running since 1967, the IBC Show is “by the industry, for the industry” and is a crucial event in the calendar of broadcast and media professionals worldwide, providing an invaluable annual meeting point for the industry.

CIO Benelux Summit 19 September Amsterdam, the Netherlands The CIO Benelux Summit is a chance for CIOs and IT executives to meet with their 78  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

technology peers from various industries, including healthcare, finance, insurance, government, telecom, utilities, education and more.

AutoSens 19 – 21 September Brussels, Belgium A combination of insightful technical presentations, an audience of senior engineers and top-level organisations, makes AutoSens an unmissable event in the automotive sector.

European Refining Summit 21- 22 September Brussels, Belgium The annual European Refining Summit has earned its place as the must attend event for downstream professionals. Now in its 11th year, the conference is worldrenowned and attracts more than 150 senior industry professionals, who will gather to network, learn and obtain key insights.

Photo: NBTC

Liege. Photo: ©provincedeliege

Photo: AutoSens

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Column

Flexible judgement “It only took me a few seconds to decide that I could trust you,” a client told me recently. I guess this was intended as a compliment, but it left me feeling a little uneasy on a couple of counts. First, there was the logical conclusion that it might have taken her only a few seconds to decide not to trust me, although in that case I guess she would not have told me, at least not so directly. Secondly, her reaction goes against what I have been trained to do when working internationally, which is to be slow - not quick - to form judgements. The reflex to form instant intuitive judgements about people can be strong. The online job agency, Monster, found that, on average, interviewers take 385 seconds to make up their minds about a candidate’s suitability for a post; and half make judgements based on a handshake. I hope they are all thoroughly attuned to how hugely varied attitudes to shak-

ing hands can be from one person to the next, and across genders and cultures. I use a tool called The International Profiler (TIP) to help people think about the special competences and behaviours they need for working internationally. Worldwork, the agency that devised TIP, calls one of these competences flexible judgement, and provides this explanation: “(People working internationally should) avoid coming to quick and definitive conclusions about the new people and situations that they encounter. (They) can also use each experience of people from a different culture to question assumptions and modify stereotypes about how such people operate.” In other words, if I find myself working with people from a different culture – national, corporate, professional, or whatever – it is a good idea for me not to make hasty judgements about them based on my own world view. The internal logic determining how they work may be quite different from mine and it would be


presumptuous of me to decide, with little observation or reflection, that my way must be better than theirs. There is a political dimension to this that is pertinent to the way countries deal with others, but I will leave that for another time. By the way, I am getting on fine with my client. She still trusts me, and it never occurred to me not to trust her in the first place. Steve Flinders is a freelance trainer, writer and coach, based in Malta, who helps people develop their communication and leadership skills for working internationally:

Discover Benelux  |  Hotel of the Month  |  Belgium


A haven of splendour and serenity in Brussels TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS  |  PHOTOS: TANGLA HOTEL BRUSSELS

Tangla Hotel Brussels is an oasis of calm and luxury in the busy European capital. It is the first new five-star hotel to open in Brussels for the last 15 years. General manager Ruprecht Schmitz explains: “The concept behind Tangla Hotel is to bring a high-end Asian and European designed hotel to the market.” Designed by Belgian native David T’Kint of HBA, a worldwide leader in hospitality interior design, the 187-room hotel retains a distinct Asian style with aspects of Chinese design. Fengshui principles have been applied throughout, giving the hotel a very soothing appearance and a tran80  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

quil atmosphere. The idea of the design is to bring the beauty of Chinese and Asian culture to Belgium. “We do our utmost to ensure guests have a very pleasing and relaxing stay. It’s not busy visually, so it provides just the right environment to recuperate and relax in our large spaces,” explains Mr. Schmitz. The name Tangla comes from the legend of Tanggula, a paradise found in the Qingzhang highlands. It is believed that as the Tanggula rises towards the skies, that three rivers below offer abundance and tranquility. The hotel’s décor encapsulates the legend, with bright, high ceilings, backlit feature walls, custom-designed chandeliers

inspired by the movement of clouds, and hand-selected original artworks.

Fang and Taofang: a retreat for all senses Tangla Hotel has 37 suites, which includes two masterpieces: Duplex Tàofáng and Presidential Tàofáng. Duplex Tàofáng is a single suite spread over two levels, in a tower. It has a spacious bedroom, and a living and dining room on the lower level. Mr. Schmitz describes it as “your very own pied-à-terre in Brussels”. The pièce de résistance is the vast Presidential Suite. It has two bedrooms and is fully secured throughout, making it ideal for governmental figures and high-net-worth indi-

Discover Benelux  |  Hotel of the Month  |  Belgium

viduals. Both the presidential and duplex suites feature extensive panelled walls in the lounge and dining areas, reminiscent of China’s famous Summer Palace. Junior suites are located exclusively on the fourth floor with balconies overlooking the interior courtyard or the greenery at the front of the hotel. Room service is available 24/7. The other rooms, called Fang25 or Fang27 (the numbers refer to their size in metres), are decorated in soft pastels with delicate wooden panels. All feature a splendid marble desk incorporating a media hub with a 40-inch LED SmartTv. Refreshments include a mini bar, a Nespresso machine and a wide tea selection. All rooms have a laptop safe. The bathrooms are made of elegant marble and have spacious walk-in showers, with some suites featuring standalone bathtubs. For pure escapism, Tangla Hotel offers a superb 1,200-square-metre spa with reflexology massage rooms where guests can switch off entirely from the outside world. It also has a vast indoor heated pool, a large sauna, and a gym and fitness area.

Gourmet culinary options The hotel’s F&B concept is derived around the TLounge, explains Mr. Schmitz. “We pride ourselves on having a very wide selection of teas and whiskeys in our lounge bar,” he says. The lounge is in the middle of the hotel under a beautiful skylight: to one side, guests can see the Tang Dynasty, a fine-dining Cantonese restaurant, and on the other side is Le Cinq restaurant, serving international food. TLounge’s décor takes inspiration from Chinese tea plantations. It serves over 40 types of tea, including the best of black, green, Oolong and white teas from China, Sri Lanka, India and Japan. The atmospheric Tang Dynasty pays homage to Chinese traditions of privacy and prestige by offering five private dining rooms. The restaurant prides itself on being Belgium’s first Cantonese gastronomic restaurant. Ingredients are sourced locally and directly from China. The lively Le Cinq restaurant serves a Eurasian buffet, including breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as à la carte options and a choice of dishes cooked on the Teppanyaki grill.

An ideal setting for leisure and business Thanks to its range of entertainment spaces, Tangla Hotel is well suited to organising business meetings as well as leisure events. The Imperial Ballroom, which has a ceiling height of over six metres, can seat up to 400 people. The Royal Ballroom is another adaptable space which can be split into three, seats up to 300, and features in-built translation booths. There is also the Discreet room available for board meetings, and the Confidential room which can seat 14 people. The hotel organises monthly after-work events of varying themes, catering to different crowds. Events are usually held in the TLounge, but if weather permits these are held outdoors. Tangla Hotel is the only five-star hotel that has a private karaoke room. Up to 20 guests can sing their favourite songs and enjoy some drinks. Tangla Hotel is situated in the Eastern part of Brussels and has excellent transport links. Web:

Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  81

Discover Benelux  |  Museum of the Month  |  Belgium

Photo: © La prod est dans le pré


Explore the past from a new perspective at the Bastogne War Museum TEXT: PETER STEWART  |  PHOTOS: BASTOGNE WAR MUSEUM

Relive some of the most important moments of modern history at this innovative museum in the heart of the Ardennes. Nestled in the densely forested Ardennes region of Belgium is the small town of Bastogne, the setting for a modern museum chronicling the cataclysmic events of World War Two. The Bastogne War Museum is just a stone’s throw from the Mardasson Memorial, one of the most important sites relating to World War Two in Belgium. It explores the origins of the major world conflict, focussing in particular on one of the most important battles in modern world history: the Battle of the Bulge. Unlike other museums where displays might consist of dusty objects accompanied by short, uninspiring descrip82  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

tions, the state-of-the-art Bastogne War Museum transports visitors into the heart of the action and offers a fully immersive experience. It presents the events of the Battle of the Bulge - the last major German offensive of the Second World War - from a number of different perspectives. “We wanted to create something original which would make this important part of modern history accessible to everyone,” says Mathieu Billa, director of the museum. The result is impressive. Consisting of three exhibition spaces over two floors, the ultramodern museum is completely audio-guided by voices of civilian and military participants. Each one shares their experiences of the important battle and how they lived through it. These vivid recounts are supported by displays of memorabilia and a series of moving videos from sur-

vivors of some of the worst atrocities to have taken place in World War Two. The modern memorial centre stands out from the crowd thanks to its specific focus on the fate of this small Belgian town. It has a bright future in store: “We’ve welcomed over 150,000 visitors each year since we opened in 2014 and we hope to see a lot more people in the future. Soon we’ll be unveiling a brand-new second building where we can hold further exhibitions,” says the museum director. The new space, set to be unveiled in 2019, will also feature plenty of room for school groups, ensuring that generations to come can understand and appreciate the history behind one of World War Two’s most significant battles. Tel: (0032) 61 21 02 20 Web:

Discover Benelux  |  Historical Venue of the Month  |  Belgium


Kasteel De Rozerie: Celebrate in history TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: KASTEEL DE ROZERIE

The feeling of historical grandness overcomes you when driving up the stately driveway surrounded by centennial beeches. At the end of it lies Kasteel De Rozerie: a century-old castle that combines the mystery of historical heritage with the peace and quiet of the countryside. Kasteel De Rozerie is one of the last surviving castles and manors in the region of the Dender and the so-called Land van Aalst. Built in 1852, the castle serves as the beautiful backdrop for all sorts of society events. Whether it is a wedding, a reception, a baptism, a dinner party, an incentive or a business event, Kasteel De Rozerie elevates any day or night to something to remember. Formerly known as Château La Roseraies, Kasteel De Rozerie was commis-

sioned by industrial magnate Cornelis Eliaert (1801-1854). The castle was constructed on the ruins of an old farm. “That is something you still can see today,” begins Bart Vanfleteren, chef at De Rozerie. “The lower and upper floors have a completely different layout, as they were built centuries apart.” To know the story behind the castle’s name, we also have to look back into history: one of the last barons of the castle was a perfervid breeder of roses. The historic features of Kasteel De Rozerie shine through in everything, exuding a beautiful romantic atmosphere. Each of the five rooms within the castle take you back to 1851. The spaces all have their own character and can host either smaller parties or bigger ones for up to 180 guests. The castle’s very own private chapel, built in 1870, is an exquisite venue for any

wedding ceremony or communion party, boasting fine stained-glass windows, a decorated altarpiece and neo-gothic wall decorations. The leafy park and terrace (comprising 1,100 square metres) are the perfect addition to any celebration. Free parking is available. For the culinary story, Kasteel de Rozerie works together with their preferred partners. Guests can completely create their own party, from classic menus and buffets to walking dinners and live cooking, to barbecues in the beautiful park. Serving a beautiful piece of history in combination with today’s standards: Kasteel De Rozerie is a fairy tale come true.


Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  83

Discover Benelux  |  B&B of the Month  |  Belgium


True luxury and an unforgettable stay at La Suite TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: LA SUITE SANS CRAVATE

If you are looking to stay at one of the most beautiful places in Bruges, whilst enjoying the superb cuisine of a Michelin-star restaurant, then there is just one place you need to stay: La Suite Sans Cravate. “It makes us happy when our guests are happy,” beams Veronique Bogaert, who owns and runs the establishment together with her husband Henk van Oudenhove. La Suite Dinner and Table opened its doors four years ago. “We started the restaurant Sans Cravate (Without a Tie) in 2004. Back then it was me in the dining hall and Henk in the kitchen,” recalls Veronique. One year on, the restaurant was awarded with a prestigious Michelin star.

the Pinot Noir Suite (40 square metres) and the Deluxe Riesling Suite (70 square metres) and Sauvignon Blanc Suite (65 square metres) under the two roofs on the top floor,” Veronique explains. They decorated everything themselves. “From every salt pot right up to the decorations on the walls and the light fixtures.” The ceramic art in La Suite is created by Veronique herself. “It is a way of relaxing on my day off.”

Royal treatment

“We lived above the restaurant with our two children, but it became too small. After a long search, we made an offer on this old house across the street and after an enormous renovation project, we moved in.”

Guests at La Suite enjoy a personalised, royal treatment. “We like to pamper them. Upon arrival, we serve Champagne with the character of the room’s grape (every room has its own). Our rooms are unique and come with all the comforts you need, like a rain shower and a two-person bathtub in the deluxe suites,” tells Veronique. The rooms each have their own style, but in all of them you will find the rustic ceilings expected of an old building.

The three rooms on the top floor are for guests. “We named the rooms after Henk’s three favourite grapes. We have

After a good night’s rest on one of the most luxurious beds in all of Bruges, breakfast is served downstairs. “Breakfast

84  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

is à la carte and specially created for our guests.” At night, you can enjoy Henk’s exquisite cooking in the restaurant, or at the recently opened Gastro Bar Hubert. “This is based on British gastropubs, where you have the feel of a pub but can savour Michelin-star cuisine from the restaurant,” explains Veronique. The exclusive rooms as well as the ties with the restaurant make La Suite Sans Cravate a truly remarkable and unforgettable place to stay. “We want to make our guests really feel at home and remember their stay a very long time afterwards. When we achieve that, we have reached our goal.”


Discover Benelux  |  Restaurant of the Month  |  Belgium

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


The sound of bustling conversation warmly greets you when stepping into Las Mañas, while the notes of live music and scents of delicious food overcome you. Set in the city of Antwerp, this family restaurant has been honouring true Spanish cuisine for three generations.

Still located in the same Schipperskwartier (Seaman’s quarter) where it first opened its doors, Las Mañas was founded at a time when Mediterranean cuisine was not nearly as established as it is now. Back then, it gained reputation as being one of the very few restaurants offering healthy Spanish food such as tapas.

Tapeo mixto; Corona de Cordero; Gambas a la mama; Las Mañas’ menu is an (affordable) book of authentic Spanish dishes. Helmed by Rayco Espantoso and his father and brother, the restaurant uses recipes dating back to 40 years ago made by Rayco’s grandmother. “She was the one who started Las Mañas over 40 years ago,” Rayco enthuses. “Although we constantly improve our dishes, we still make our food according to bomma’s recipes.” The family’s roots lie in Galicia, in the North-West of Spain - a region known to boast one of the best gastronomic cultures in the world.

The menu serves something to suit all tastes: from decadent tapas sharing plates to vegetarian delicacies, to the freshest fish. The Ibérico dishes – high-quality meat that is known to be rare and expensive in Spain - are among the bestsellers (and also a favourite of Rayco). The food menu is accompanied by a beautiful wine list that exclusively lists Spanish wines, and an extensive cocktail menu. In for something less sweet? Las Mañas hosts a gin menu with over 100 types of gin. “Not every guest comes to Las Mañas to have dinner,” Rayco continues. “Some just pop in for a drink at the bar.”

Yet it is more than the food and cocktails that take you to the lands of Spain. At Las Mañas everything goes: there is music and dancing, there is laughter and there is an atmosphere as warm as the freshly served paella. Guitarists play live music every night, the bartenders are shaking the mojitos (or one of the other many cocktails) with ‘amor’, while arriving guests are greeted personally before being led to their table. “It’s a Spanish thing. Maybe it’s because we are such a family restaurant, but we treat our guests like family too.”


Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  85

Discover Benelux  |  Golf Destinations of the Month  |  Belgium

G O L F D E S T I N AT I O N S O F T H E M O N T H , B E L G I U M

Get into the swing of things at Koksijde TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  PHOTOS: KOKSIJDE GOLF TER HILLE

The rough and flowing dunes of Koksijde Golf ter Hille make for a unique golfing experience. The challenging links course stands out for its natural, coastal character and welcomes all players, from veterans to complete beginners, with open arms. Golf ter Hille in Koksijde boasts a full, 18hole course, the Langeleed, as well as a nine-hole course, the Hazebeek, which is perfect for aspirants and families. “Part of our vision for the course is to introduce new people to golfing, especially young people,” says course secretary Jan Deramoudt. Opened in May 2014, Golf ter Hille is a publicly funded project overseen by the local council. “Because of this, it is our mission to make golf more accessible, to visitors as well as the local community. We work with attractive day rates, and everyone is welcome in the club house.” 86  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

Working together with local schools, Golf ter Hille offers students free introduction sessions and there are themed events such as Halloween and Back2School competitions. For adults, there are also regular introduction sessions. “While we have a public character, we don’t compromise on quality. That’s why our introduction groups are never bigger than eight people and are taught by professional golf coaches,” Deramoudt adds. The pride of Golf ter Hille is their par 72 Langeleed course, which offers plenty of challenges to even the most seasoned players. Deramoudt continues: “This course is the cream of the crop and in October we will once again host Belgium’s PGA Masters here. This will be our third time in a row, which is quite special for such a new course.” The smaller par 31 Hazebeek course lends itself perfectly for players who want

to hone their skills. He says: “It features some tricky and surprising holes, and is popular with families.” The course is set in a beautiful and tranquil landscape, that also lends itself perfectly for a relaxing walk, a picnic or bird watching. “In fact, we offer guided bird watching walks and we maintain an ‘insect hotel’ to help the pollination of the flowering plants on the grounds.”

Golf ter Hille hosts competitions for various skill levels throughout the year. See the website for more information, fees and how to sign up.

Discover Benelux  |  Golf Destinations / Theatre of the Month  |  Belgium

G O L F D E S T I N AT I O N S O F T H E M O N T H , B E L G I U M

A golfer’s paradise Vero Golf is the specialist store for everything you need for golf in Belgium. Providing professional service, second-hand and new golf equipment and a repair service, this 300-square-metre shop has been the go-to golf centre for players and admirers of the sport for over 20 years. It was in 1996 that Veronique Van Moer opened her shop in Reet, near Antwerp. First focusing on second-hand golf equipment, Vero Golf quickly transformed into a haven for all things golf and nowadays sells everything from clubs,


to accessories, to various types of clothing (including from the beloved brand PING). Fitting for custom-made clubs, repair or adjustment of your existing clubs, rebooting your golf equipment… all is possible with professional advice. “When I started in 1996, everyone called me crazy for opening up a store with secondhand materials,” Veronique starts. “Back then, buying something second-hand was still taboo. I guess I proved them wrong,” she laughs. Being a top golfer herself - she once was among the top ten female golfers in Belgium - Vero is widely seen as an expert on

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

the sport and offers her customers the best personal and professional service. Nowadays, Vero Golf counts two stores: alongside the large store in Reet, Van Moer helms the Proshop at the golf club of De Wijnvelden. “My clientele? Everyone! From professional golf players, to amateurs, to first-time golfers. From two to 100 years old, golfing is for everyone,” Veronique concludes. For more information, please visit


deSingel: uniting the arts Protector of quality, home of international greatness, breeding ground for artistic creation: deSingel has many faces. This internationally renowned centre for the arts in Antwerp continuously underlines its renowned reputation as a haven for quality by presenting well-known international productions alongside inventive emerging acts. deSingel is an international arts centre that focuses on contemporary works of theatre, dance, music and architecture. Led by artistic director Jerry Aerts, the theatre has earned its name as one of the most important artistic platforms in Flanders since its opening in 1980, offering (multilingual) shows hallmarked by a constant relevance and ability to surprise and move. With a new cultural season opening in September, autumn 2017 will see a long list of engaging acts. In October, theatre director Robert Wilson and British singer-songwriter Anna Calvi

will together turn the stage into a dark fairy tale accompanied by a musical rock ballad carrying poetic lyrics. “An internationally renowned director alongside a contemporary singersongwriter: it is a performance perfectly hallmarking deSingel’s philosophy,” Aerts explains. “deSingel provides accessibility to all sorts of audiences and a programming that cultivates and engages everyone.” Other listings for the new season include an architectural exhibition from monk and architect Dom Hans van der Laan, a dance produc-

Photo: © Robbie Depuydt

tion featuring choreographer Jan Martens, and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. The latter will be hosted in the Queen Elizabeth Hall in central Antwerp rather than in deSingel’s iconic Blue Hall, as part of the theatre’s expansion of its symphonic offering. “Our symphony concerts comprise a top selection that you only encounter in the world’s largest and most prestigious concert halls,” Aerts concludes. Web:

Photo: © Lucie Jansch

Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  87

Discover Benelux  |  Restaurant of the Month  |  Amsterdam East

R E S TA U R A N T O F T H E M O N T H , A M S T E R D A M E A S T

Join the family for an evening of Italian delight TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  PHOTO: RISTO ENOTECA PEPENERO

It all started 15 years ago, when chef Daniele Lauritano and restaurant host Marco Spina met. The two Italians have kept in touch ever since, through to last year when they joined forces and started Enoteca PepeNero. The unassuming restaurant in Amsterdam East serves some of the capital’s most delicious Italian dishes, combined with an unrivalled service from Spina. Risto Enoteca PepeNero opened its doors in October 2016 and it was instantly clear that the passionate chef and the welcoming host formed the perfect duo to add a gastronomic highlight to Amsterdam. “Almost every evening we are fully booked,” says Spina proudly. By now, local guests as well as national and international celebrities make their way to PepeNero on a daily basis. Spina reveals that part of their success lies in the Italian

approach to the service: “At PepeNero, we take the passion from the kitchen to the tables, explain dishes and chat to people. We treat every guest like a VIP, like family, so everyone feels at home.” Their most best-loved dishes include the Antipasto Misto, a large platter of meat, fish and vegetable dishes to share, and the Spaghetti al Parmigiano which is cooked flambé in a wheel of parmesan cheese at the table. “And, of course, the Sgroppino al limone, a lemon sorbet with vodka and prosecco, which is also one of the favourites,” adds Spina.

The PepeNero team with owners Marco Spina (holding the case of tomatoes) and Daniele Lauritano (with the lobsters).

Risto Enoteca PepeNero is open Monday to Saturday and can be found on the Eerste Oosterparkstraat.

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

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Calendar

Ghent Festival of Flanders. Photo: © Thijs de Langhe

Out & About New season, new events! Although festival season is slowly but surely coming to an end, Benelux cities are more alive than ever. September is the best month to enjoy a brand-new season of cultural nights, fascinating festivals, and culinary events. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

Appelpop. Photo: © Bart van Heemskerk

Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  89

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Calendar

Portrait of Joan Blaeu, cartographer and publisher. Made by Jan van Rossum, 1660. Collection Het Scheepvaartmuseum

Royal Palace Amsterdam.

eat! BRUSSELS, drink! BORDEAUX 7 – 10 September Brussels, Belgium Get your taste buds ready: this culinary festival in the Belgian capital is a feast for the senses. For its sixth edition, the festival will have a new concept, whereby several dozen Brussels chefs will take turns to offer you a signature dish from their restaurant each day.

Pulitzer Amsterdam Month of September 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.

Appelpop 8 - 9 September Tiel, the Netherlands The fact that this festival is completely free of charge is just one of the great things about it. Appelpop is hallmarked by its diverse programming and great atmosphere. This year’s line-up lists Kensington and Racoon, among many other great bands. 90  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

Open Monuments Day 10 September Various locations across Flanders Over 200 towns and municipalities in Flanders will proudly open their historic sites to the public during Open Monuments Day. This year will see the 29th edition of this day full of culture and heritage.

The Harbour Club Month of September Amsterdam, the Netherlands The Harbour Club is a restaurant like no other. Based in one of the best spots of the Dutch capi-tal, away from the city’s bustle, with a ter-

Hotel Pulitzer.

race that abuts the water and thus brings the possibil-ity of arriving by boat, it is no surprise that this place is loved by the upper echelons of Amster-dam society.

Gent Festival van Vlaanderen 10 September – 9 October Ghent, Belgium Ghent’s Festival of Flanders celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. Known for its focus on di-versity and sustainability, the festival is praised for its enormous musical offerings and its ability to compose a line-up bulging with illustrious names and little gems.

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Calendar Royal Delft Month of September Delft, the Netherlands What would a visit to Delft be without visiting the home of the famous Delft Blue earthenware? Royal Delft gives you a unique glimpse into this piece of Dutch heritage.

Pind Punjabi.

Unseen Amsterdam 22 – 24 September Amsterdam, the Netherlands Every year, Unseen organises one of Europe’s largest and most renowned photography events, where talent is developed, stimulated and celebrated. With initiatives like the Fair, CO-OP, the Living Room, the Exhibition, and the Book Market, Unseen is a platform for the newest developments within the field of photography.

Pind Punjabi Month of September 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.

Nuit des Lampions 23 September Wiltz, Luxembourg The town of Wiltz is turned into a magical and fairytale-like wonderland for the Nuit des Lampions (Night of the Lanterns), enchanting the public with an original cultural programme full of music and entertainment.

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. It is the only palace in the Netherlands that is both in active use and

Unseen Amsterdam: Miles Aldridge (after Cattelan) #4, from the series (after Cattelan), 2016 © Miles Aldridge Galerie Alex Daniëls- Reflex Amsterdam

Issue 45  |  September 2017  |  91

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Calendar open to the public, allowing visitors to literally walk in their footsteps.

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, the exhibition providing a unique display of Joan Blaeu’s map of the world dating back to 1648.

Royal Delft.

The Harbour Club Amsterdam Oost.

92  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

Scheveningen Kite Festival 23 – 24 September Scheveningen, the Netherlands During this weekend, the sky above Scheveningen beach will be full of kites of all different colours, shapes and sizes – a fantastic sight. The international teams will be competing for the European Sport Kite Championship.

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Columns


Mad weekender There is one obvious choice to feature in this month’s column: the Brussels Gallery Weekend. The annual late-night gallery weekend returns for its tenth anniversary, and it is a big one. There are 51 galleries, project spaces and institutions taking part, stretching across the capital from the Northern Quarter to Watermael. I can practically hear your intake of breath. You are a busy traveller; you have got lots to fit in, where do you even start with something like this? Well, fortunately for you, Discover Benelux (and the Gallery Weekend’s shuttle bus service) is here to help you, with this whistle-stop itinerary of exhibitions. To start with, hop off the bus at dépendance to see the minimal works of Michael Krebber and, if you have time, nip into Greta Meert to see Anne Neukamp’s fantastic paintings. Jumping back on the shuttle, and heading south, either stop off at Vedovi if Brancusi’s modernist sculpture is your bag, or stay on to Eendrachtstraat


if colourful, gestural painting is what floats your boat (Artemisia group show at Albert Baronian).

the art world. The Brussels Gallery Weekend is from 7 – 10 September.

Hopefully this will have whet your artistic appetite, which is good as you are heading downtown next – into the beating heart of the Brussels gallery scene. Here you will be spoilt for choice, but for the anglophile’s head to Maruani Mercier to see Humbrol-loving George Shaw’s new paintings. Round the corner, the ever-divisive Tracey Emin has a new show at Xavier Hufkens, and the lost-in-time paintings of Tinus Vermeersch are on display at Hopstreet Gallery. Of course, there is much more to see than just that, and there are many stand-out shows. If you do not get around to everything this weekend, then the shows are open for the rest of the month. Yet it is the event as a whole that is most impressive. In tricky contemporary times, it is important that organisations work together on things like this; not only for themselves, but to cement Brussels place as a mainstay of


George Shaw, Dawn's Crack.

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.


Bax Bier IPA This India Pale Ale is brewed in Groningen, in the North of the Netherlands, by Bax Bier, a young company that acquired its own brewing premises as recently as September 2016.

and hoppiness, with just a hint of yeastiness and spice. The taste is initially bitter but quickly opens up to reveal sweeter tones and balances out to reveal a smooth fruitiness.

The company was founded in 2014 by two men, Jeroen Bax and Sepp Jansen, who were supplying bars and cafés in and around Groningen long before acquiring their own brewing base.

The complexity of the beer’s flavour is, in part, due to the use of four different types of hops. This results in light citrussy notes and a chewy spiciness. For anyone who likes to judge a beer by its IBU, (International Bitterness Units), this IPA rates 48, meaning it is not overly bitter.

Their tap room, in the North-West of the city, recently celebrated its first anniversary. The simply furnished but convivial bar has white walls plus long wooden tables and benches. It is a good location to sample the full Bax Bier range of beers, which includes Koud Vuur, meaning ‘cold fire’, a delicious smoked porter. This particular beer is amber in colour and slightly opaque. Its aroma is a mild blend of maltiness

That makes it a good choice to drink on late summer evenings. It also slips down well when accompanied with bitterballen, the deep-fried Dutch delicacy traditionally served with mustard, and mid-strength cheeses. Brewer: Baxbier Strength: 5.7 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 45  |  September 2017  |  93

Discover Benelux | Music | Benelux Beats

BILLIE’S RECORD COLLECTION: Nao – For All We Know Janet Jackson – The Velvet Rope Midas Hutch – The High MNEK – Small Talk Sinead Harnett – Chapter One



Billie’s star is quickly rising. After learning music on the streets and sailing through the Conservatory in Ghent, the musical alter ego of Billie Bentein saw her breakthrough in 2012 by lending her recognisable vocals to Netsky’s track We Can Only Live Today (Puppy). Nowadays she teams up with Goose’s Bert Libeert for her solo work and singles. Discover Benelux met up with the Belgian singer, who is fast becoming the darling of the Benelux pop scene. Love Kills Slowly was released this year. Can we expect an album anytime soon? For now, I would rather work on EPs than on complete albums. My emotional and musical vibe changes constantly. Making an album takes about two years, so I know that by the time I finish, I already feel different. The shorter nature of EPs are therefore perfect. 94  |  Issue 45  |  September 2017

Can you explain what Love Kills Slowly is about? Nowadays love seems to be full of games. People behave in a certain way and are not honest about what they feel for each other. If that happens, there are no winners – and love kills slowly. Your producer is Bert Libeert from Belgian rock band Goose. How were you introduced? When I was touring with Netsky, I told our front mixer (Frank Voet) that I was looking for a producer. He knew Bert. In the end, we didn’t use my original song I wanted produced, but dived into the studio together and created something completely new. What has changed since your first single, Give Me The Knife, was released in 2015? I have a strong background in jazz music, something that I almost completely let go

with Give Me The Knife. With Love Kills Slowly, I’m slightly going back to my jazz and funk roots. In 2012, you got to work with Netksy… Yes! Although I had been playing music for years, collaborating with him certainly meant I was introduced to a larger audience. Best recent musical discovery? Nao, a London-based singer. It is not often I love every single song of one artist, but her music is amazing. What does the future hold? Currently I am working like crazy on a new single, which hopefully will be released this autumn. And early next year I am planning on releasing a new EP. These are busy times!