Discover Benelux, Issue 46, October 2017

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Discover Benelux  |  Contents

Contents OCTOBER 2017





Tourism Special

Jan Fabre

Still suffering from the post-holiday blues? Our

Belgium’s Jan Fabre has been one of the most

tourism special has plenty to cheer you up: from

talked-about names on the international con-

some of the most beautiful spots on the Flemish

temporary art scene for more than four decades.

Coast, to the lively and historically rich city of

Still living and working in his native Antwerp, the

Nijmegen in the Southeast of the Netherlands.

cultural polymath is renowned not just for his visual art: a playwright, stage director, choreo-


grapher and designer, he also helms his own theatre company. We caught up with Fabre to


Company profiles, regulars and more

find out more about his latest production Belgian

We look at the month ahead in Benelux busi-

Rules/Belgium Rules.

ness, as well as profiling some of the region’s must-know companies and speaking to Carlo Thelen, director general of the Luxembourg



Chamber of Commerce.

Discover Bourgogne-Franche-Comté


We take a trip to ‘la belle France’ and explore the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region in East-




Matthijs van de Sande Bakhuyzen

ern France. With beautiful unspoiled scenery, a

We spoke to rising Dutch actor Matthijs van de

host of historical wonders and postcard-perfect

Sande Bakhuyzen, who wowed audiences over

villages, it has all the ingredients for an idyllic

the summer in a highly acclaimed production of

winter break.

William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

Made in the Netherlands


Benelux Beats

Autumn in the Netherlands means only one thing

Discover Benelux caught up with Stefanie

to design aficionados: Dutch Design Week in

Callebaut, frontwoman of Belgian electropop

Eindhoven. In honour of the country’s reputation

group SX to discuss music, touring, and fashion.

as a design haven, we profile some of the most exciting products ‘Made in the Netherlands’.


Flemish Interior Design Guide In need of some interior inspiration? Keen to

DON’T MISS 6 Fashion Picks  |  8 Desirable Designs 76 Out & About  |  81 Columns

achieve that much sought-after Flemish style? We showcase the Flanders-based interior design brands you need to know about.

Issue 46  |  October 2017  |  3

Discover Benelux  |  Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Discover Benelux Issue 46, October 2017 Published 10.2017 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

Matt Antoniak Myriam Gwynned Dijck Sally Tipper Steve Flinders Stuart Forster Cover Photo © Angelos bvba Photo: Frank Bahnmuller 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:

Contributors Bas van Duren Charlotte van Hek Ella Put Frank van Lieshout Juliën L’Ortye Lidija Liegis Martin Pilkington

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.

Welcome to another jam-packed edition of Discover Benelux. I hope that autumn has been treating you well so far and you are enjoying this season’s golden colours and stunning blue skies. And just as the trees turn terracotta and flocks of birds begin flying south in search of warmer climates, another perennial October signifier is the start of the annual Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. The 2017 edition will kick off on 21 October and this year features the special theme ‘Stretch’, which aims to inspire participants and attendees to dare to break out of their comfort zone. With around 2,500 participants expected to attend this year, showcasing work and concepts in more than 100 different locations, Dutch Design Week’s 16th edition looks set to be better than ever. We have been getting into the spirit with our own design special focusing on some of the most exciting products ‘made in the Netherlands’. Head to page 18 to find out more. In keeping with the creative theme, this month’s cover star is one of Belgium’s best-loved contemporary artists: Jan Fabre. Born in Antwerp in 1958, Fabre was a pupil at the city’s famous Royal Academy of Fine Arts, and went on to become one of the most talked-about names on the international contemporary art scene. Also a playwright, stage director, choreographer and designer, Fabre helms his own theatre company, Troubleyn. Currently touring throughout Europe and heading to the Benelux in November is the company’s latest production Belgian Rules/Belgium Rules, a show which sees Fabre celebrate - as well as criticise - the place he calls home. I caught up with the artist to find out more about his search for the Belgian identity. Read our conversation on page 48. Those of you planning an autumn getaway will be pleased to know the magazine is also bursting with the usual holiday inspiration. We have even ventured into France this month, with an extensive guide to the country’s lesser-known BourgogneFranche-Comté region. After reading about this beautiful corner of Eastern France’s unspoiled scenery, historical hotspots and postcard-perfect villages, I guarantee you will be itching to hop over the border. Enjoy the October issue!

© 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 46  |  October 2017

Anna Villeleger, Editor

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



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

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks


Sporty chic Long gone are the days when a sporty look was exclusively to be shown off inside the gym. Athletic-inspired outfits are the perfect combination of trendy and casual. It is all about mixing and matching the right items to achieve a laid-back, stylish vibe. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: PRESS PHOTOS

Neighbour hood Boss the basics with this overhead hoodie from G-Star and prove to everyone that dressing for comfort does not mean you have to compensate on style. €79.95

On the right track There are many reasons why you should be wearing a tracksuit right now. Not only has it evolved from being the preserve of rebellious teenagers to a witness of a fashion-forward style, it is also the most comfortable thing you will ever wear. Adidas windjack €89.99 Adidas hoodie €64.99 Adidas trackpant €69.99

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Haute couture sport If there is one master in sporty chic, it is Antwerp designer Dirk Bikkembergs. Graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in the ‘80s, he managed to brilliantly combine haute couture with sport. This backpack is the perfect mix between a designer item and a casual bag. €68

Very vintage If you want to prove your vintage fashion credentials, any old-school item by Adidas will make that happen. With its iconic stripes, trefoil logo and comfortable fabric, any long sleeve by this famous brand will make you the MVP of sporty chic. Adidas top €49.99 Airdate trousers €69.99

Back on track The revival of tracksuit trousers has always been a curious move, yet when worn correctly you will turn heads for all the right reasons. The key to wearing this daring piece is elevating it, so that it does not look you are just returning from a workout. €195 Alexa Chung via

Crispy white If there is one shoe silhouette that had a major comeback last year, it is the simple, all-white sneaker. These work with literally everything in your closet: jeans, skirts, shorts —they even look great with a suit! €216 Issue 46  |  October 2017  |  7

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Desirable Designs


Back to nature Few seasons are as pretty as autumn. With its fabulous colours and pink skies, the months before winter are perfect for long forest walks and cosy couch nights. By combining in-house flora with earth colours and natural materials, you can even bring the beauty of nature inside your home. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PRESS PHOTOS



1. 1. Sweet dreams One way to make a room seem bigger is to opt for a compact four-poster bed. Besides creating a feeling of grandeur, it makes your bedroom seem like a palace. The wooden frames give the bed a natural look. Wolf Möbel, €749.99


2. Secret botanical garden They were once mainly present in biology classrooms, but botanical prints have slowly but surely made their way to interiors. Decorating your walls with a botanical print is an ideal way to bring some green vintage into your home. HKliving, €24.95

3. Cactus chic Few plants are as fashionable as the cactus. From hallways in traditional homes to offices in boho pads, a handsome cactus accessory will fashion up any room. This candle will lighten up the darkest of October nights. Maisons du Monde, €32.99

5. 4. Ride the tiger This quirky rug has taken the meaning of tiger rug quite literally. Inspired by the old traditional Tibetan tiger rugs, it is the ideal accessory. Perfect for either the living room or a child’s bedroom. House of Rym, €484.50 8  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

5. Love for leather A couple of real leather items can give your home that desired robustness that is so on-trend at the moment. This cognac-coloured magazine holder from Dutch brand Philomijn will keep your living room neat and in style. Philomijn, €139 CMD.desktop

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Discover Benelux  |  France  |  Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

Ville de Besanáon. Photo: Maxime Coquard & Elisa Detrez @Bestjobers


France’s best-kept secret With beautiful unspoiled scenery, a host of historical wonders and postcard-perfect villages at every corner, the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region in Eastern France has all the ingredients for an unforgettable holiday. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: BOURGOGNE-FRANCHE-COMTÉ TOURISME

Comprising the eight ‘départements’ (territorial areas), of Côte-d’Or, Doubs, Haute-Saône, Jura, Nièvre, Saône-etLoire, Territoire de Belfort and Yonne, the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region was established in 2016 with the fusion of the Bourgogne (Burgundy) and FrancheComté regions. There is history everywhere you turn in this enchanting corner of ‘la belle France’, with its endless supply of fairytale castles, medieval abbeys and fortified villages. Architecture aficionados will adore the chance to witness some of Europe’s most impressive Romanesque structures, while history buffs will be wowed by must-see sites such as Cluny Abbey and the archeological wonders of Bibracte. In the following pages, join us on a journey through France’s most captivat10  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

ing region. From fine food to world-class museums and breathtakingly beautiful nature to health-boosting thermal spas, we guarantee there is something for everyone.

Alésia: where history comes alive The magnificent Côte-d’Or area is brimming with historical hotspots. History buffs will not want to miss Alésia, the site of the famous 52 BC battle between Julius Caesar’s Roman army and the Gauls, led by Vercingetorix, King of the Arverni tribe. Nowadays, this verdant corner of France may be the epitome of peace and tranquility, but at the MuséoParc Alésia you can travel back in time and immerse yourself in one of the most dramatic moments in Gallo-Roman history. Do not miss the fascinating interpretation centre, where

artefacts and facsimiles, diorama, films, models, multimedia terminals and reproductions of war machines immerse you Alésia. MuséoParc. Photo: BFC Tourisme

Discover Benelux  |  France  |  Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

into the heat of the battle. Throughout the visit, you will learn about daily life in a Roman camp, witness battle re-enactments and have the chance to see reproductions of the war machines used during the Siege of Alésia. After an informative and action-packed few hours, you can relax on the terrace with its impressive panoramic view over the Mont-Auxois and the hillsides where the Roman army camps could once be found. After your visit to the interpretation centre, explore the fascinating remains of a Gallo-Roman town including a theatre, temple, civilian basilica and living quarters. Do not miss the famous statue of Vercingetorix, which was commissioned by Napoleon III to commemorate the successful completion of the archaeological digs at Alésia and made by the noted French sculptor Aimé Millet.

Autun: a trip back to antiquity History is always surrounding you in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and entering the town of Autun is rather like stepping into a huge time machine. Surrounded by verdant hills and overlooking the Arroux Valley, this charming destination boasts 2,000 years of history and was the brainchild of Emperor Augustus back in around 15 BC. Here, you can admire GalloRoman remains galore, beginning with the Porte d’Arroux, a vestige from the Roman era allowing access into the town to be controlled. Next, head west to the magnificent Temple of Janus before making your way to Saint Lazare Cathedral, which dates back to 1146 and is one of Europe’s finest examples of medieval sculpture. Make sure you also visit the ruins of Autun’s Roman theatre, which at one point was the largest of its kind in Roman Europe (with a capacity for 20,000 people). In the mood for a museum? Do not miss the Musée Rolin, which is home to a remarkable selection of religious artefacts dating from ancient Roman times to the Renaissance.

Autun, Porte d’Arroux.

Vézelay: a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site There are picturesque villages galore throughout Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and Vézelay has been awarded as one of the ‘Most Beautiful Villages of France’. It is also a starting point for the pilgrimage

Vézelay. Photo: Alain Doire, BFC Tourisme

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Donation Maurice Jardot, Belfort. Photo: Laurent Cheviet

to Santiago de Compostela. In 1979, this postcard-perfect village and its breathtaking basilica were classified as a World Heritage by UNESCO. Located at the top of the hill of Vézelay (also classified as a ‘historic site’), the Basilica of Santa Maria Magdalena is open to the public free of charge all-year round and is an outstanding masterpiece of Burgundian Romanesque art and architecture. The site has long been an important place of pilgrimage, dating back to when the Benedictine abbey of Vézelay acquired the relics of St Mary Magdalene shortly after its foundation in the ninth century. Interesting facts: Saint Bernard of Clairvaux preached the Second Crusade there in 1146 and Richard the Lionheart and Philip II met there to leave for the Third Crusade in 1190. As equally breathtaking as the basilica itself is the view across the magnificent Morvan countryside. Prepare to be wowed.

Territoire de Belfort: vibrant culture and magnificent scenery Are you a nature lover? Then the Territoire de Belfort needs to be on your todo list when visiting Bourgogne-FrancheComté. There is the Ballon d’Alsace, the famous peak of the Vosges Massif, not to 12  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

Lion de Belfort. Photo: Laurent Cheviet

mention idyllic lakes such as the Lac du Malsaucy and L’Etang des Forges. Those looking for adventure can enjoy exploring more than 700 kilometres of footpaths criss-crossing the entire ‘département’.

Belfort: a happening city Ready for a slice of city life? Head to bustling Belfort with its brightly coloured façades, relaxing riverfront and vibrant cultural scene; the city hosts its own international film festival, Entrevues Belfort, with the next edition scheduled to take place from 25 November - 3 December 2017. Belfort also has a strong military past, and is renowned for its Citadelle built by Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, a Marshal of France and renowned military engineer. Enjoy incredible views over the city rooftops from this fortified stronghold, as well as enjoying two museums: one dedicated to history and the other devoted to Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the French sculptor who is best known for designing the Statue of Liberty in New York City.

The Lion of Belfort It is in Belfort that you can see another of Bartholdi’s finest works: the monumental

Lion of Belfort, which clings to the side of the cliff and symbolises the courageous resistance of Belfort during the Siege of Belfort, a 103-day Prussian assault which took place between November 1870 and February 1871. Completed in 1880 and made entirely made of red sandstone, this immense work dominates the surrounding landscape and measures in at 22 metres long and 11 metres high. After exploring Belfort’s fortifications, head to the Grand Souterrain, an ancient medieval ditch where you can discover the city’s history in a spectacular setting filled with sounds and lights. Belfort is also a haven for museum lovers and has plenty to offer all tastes. A major highlight is the Museum of Modern Art - Donation Jardot, home to works by the likes of Braque, Laurens, Le Corbusier, Léger and Picasso. Meanwhile, stargazers will adore the Planetarium of Belfort.

Besançon: the ultimate hidden gem Another city that needs to be on your Bourgogne-Franche-Comté to-do list is Besançon. The definition of a hidden gem: this elegant yet un-touristy city is filled with pretty squares, impressive architecture and fine art galleries. It was also the birth-

Discover Benelux  |  France  |  Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

place of Victor Hugo, widely considered to be one of the greatest French writers of all time. Why not pay the home where he was born a visit? Another must is the Musée des Beaux-Arts et d’archéologie, which was set up in 1694 and is in fact the oldest public museum in France. Many call it the ‘little Louvre’ as it has such a superb permanent collection. Another city, another Vauban masterpiece: the Citadel of Besançon is without a doubt one of the most beautiful fortresses in France and in 2008 officially became a UNESCO World Heritage site. More than 100 metres above the old town and surrounded by a meander of the River Doubs, it offers beautiful views. Various guided tours are available throughout the year, and there are three very different museums to be discovered too. There is the deeply poignant Museum of Resistance and Deportation, which was founded in 1971 and provides an in-depth, emotional exploration of such a dark period in history. There is also the Musée Comtois,

which tells the story of the people and landscapes that shaped Franche-Comté over the centuries. Meanwhile, all the family will love Besançon Natural History Museum with its Zoo (Jardin zoologique), Farm (P’tite ferme), Insectarium, Aquarium, Noctarium and Evolution Trail (Parcours de l’évolution). Contemporary art aficionados will not want to miss Franche-Comté Frac in Besançon, whose collection includes everything from painting and photography to sculpture, installation art, graphic art, textile art and audiovisual pieces. As well as its impressive line-up of exhibitions from leading international artists at the Besançon gallery, Frac has its own ‘Satellite’, a mobile exhibition space which takes art from the Frac collection to various territories across the region. Meanwhile, 15 kilometres from Besançon you will find the must-visit Musée des Maisons Comtoises. Step back in time at this magnificent open-air museum which ex-

tends over a magnificent 15-hectare site at Nancray and gives visitors an insight into the lives of Franche-Comté’s inhabitants during the 17th to 19th century. Think beautiful nature, animals roaming freely and charmingly authentic farmhouses.

Bibracte: an archeologist’s paradise Archaeology fans rejoice! The fortified Gaulish town of Bibracte lay abandoned for two millennia, yet is currently being brought back to life. Bibracte was founded on the summit of Mont Beuvray by the Aedui tribe in the late second century BC and was occupied for a century. It is one of the best-preserved towns of its kind and boasts ramparts and districts spanning 200 hectares. Those eager to know more should definitely join one of the guided tours of the archeological sites, as well as paying a visit to the permanent exhibition complete with finds from excavations at Bibracte, various models, audiovisual displays and reconstructions. What better way to learn about how everyday life was for the Gauls?

Bibracte. Photo: Antoine Maillier

FRAC. Photo: Maxime Coquard & Elisa Detrez @Bestjobers

Bibracte. Photo: Antoine Maillier

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Discover Benelux  |  France  |  Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

including exhibitions and educational programmes, as well as guided tours.

Dole: the birthplace of Pasteur Calling all foodies! Dole is the perfect spot for a gastronomic weekend, with two Michelin-star restaurants and a lively restaurant scene inspired by delicious regional produce including the famous Comté cheese and Jura wines. Located just over two hours from Paris by fast train (TGV), Dole is an elegant town lined with smart mansions and parliament buildings reflecting its status as the former Comtoise capital. Two of the town’s most iconic buildings are the Hôtel-Dieu hospital and the collegiate church of Notre Dame with its 75-metre bell tower offering astounding views. Cluny. Photo: Alain Doire, BFC Tourisme

Le Clunisois: stunning scenery and must-see sites With its pink and red-coloured hilltops, Le Clunisois is a land of strikingly beautiful contrasts: from the mellow valleys of the Charolais region, to the granite massif of the Beaujolais and the picturesque plains of the Saône. The area is filled with stunning sites just waiting to be discovered such as the Chapelle des Moines in Berzéla-Ville with its Byzantine-inspired Romanesque frescoes. Interested in castles? Then you will delight in the many chateaux of Le Clunisois, such as Château de Brancion in Martailly-lès-Brancion. Built by the Lords of Brancion between the tenth and the 13th centuries and adorned by the Dukes of Burgundy, Château de Brancion boasts an impressive medieval hall and Romanesque church, not to mention incredible views. Another essential visit is the Château de Cormatin, less than 20 kilometres north of Cluny. If it is history you seek, then do not miss the prehistoric grotto at Azé, home to the greatest concentration of bear skeletons visible in an open cave. Archeology enthusiasts will love the site’s archaeological museum with more than 3,000 listed artefacts.

to the imposing Cluny Abbey, which was founded in 910 by Guillaume d’Aquitaine and held the title of the largest religious building in Europe until the conception of St Peter’s Cathedral in Rome. At one point, the monastery of Cluny had control over 10,000 monks across Europe! This charming little town boasts another claim to fame: its National Stud Farm with thoroughbred stallions for breeding racing stock. Look out for various events

Dole also boasts a canal with a charming port, so why not relax with a romantic cruise? Along the banks of the tanners’ canal you will find the birthplace of none other than the world-famous scientist Louis Pasteur. There is also a museum dedicated to his life and work which is well worth a visit.

Saint Claude Haut-Jura: brimming with beauty Enjoy having a good view to admire as you travel? Then you will love taking the train from Dole to the town of SaintClaude via La Ligne des Hirondelles (The

Cluny Abbey Surrounded by pretty countryside and quaint villages, the town of Cluny is home 14  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

Musée et atelier Louis Pasteur, Dole. BFC Tourisme

Discover Benelux  |  France  |  Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

Swallows’ Railway). This extraordinary railway line crosses the Jura from one side to the other, taking passengers on a journey of more than 120 kilometres through the Chaux forest, the Arbois vineyards, Le Grandvaux’s broad plateaux, the Bienne valley, and more. With beautiful nature, bustling markets and a host of fascinating museums, Saint-Claude is well worth the trip. Your first port of call needs to be Saint-Claude Cathedral, which was started in the 14th century and completed in the 18th century. The fortified church has a rather austere look from the outside and an impressive Gothic interior. Look out for the 16th-century Renaissance retable, which was a gift from the Bishop of Geneva. Located in the abbey’s restored historical palace is the Abbey Museum, with its basement brimming with significant architectural remains from the Saint-Claude

abbey. Art lovers will also adore a collection of 20th-century artworks donated by the celebrated artists Guy Bardone (a Saint-Claude native) and René Genis. Also worth a little visit is the nearby village of La Pesse, which is home to the Musée Rural Vie Et Métiers D’autrefois (Rural Museum of Olden Days’ Life and Occupations). Housed in an old cheesemaking chalet, this quaint museum offers the perfect opportunity to learn about how life was for the previous generations of inhabitants in Haut-Jura.

Luxeuil-les-Bains and Vosges du Sud: the quintessential spa resort The Southern Vosges Massif boasts remarkably beautiful countryside, making it the ideal place for recreation and relaxation. The Vosges du Sud region was carved out by ancient glaciers more than 10,000 years ago and as you gaze over its

Luxeuil-les-Bains. Photo: Michel Joly

Saint Claude, Grand Pont. Photo: Elisa & Max

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Musée de l’Aventure Peugeot. Photo: Samuel Carnovali

glistening waters and thick forests you will feel instantly transported. Situated at the entrance to the idyllic Ballons des Vosges Regional Nature Park, Luxeuil-les-Bains is the quintessential spa resort, renowned for its stunning architecture and healthboosting thermal waters. Take a wander through the old town centre and you will instantly be impressed: think grand Vosges sandstone buildings, imposing statues and gargoyles keeping a watchful eye. Many archaeological remains have been found here, with the excavation at Saint Martin’s church revealing it to be one of the main European sites of the early Christian and Merovingian periods.

viously been a town hall, civil prison and library, this Gothic-style building is now home to a gem of a museum, brimming with highlights including canvases by 19th-century artists such as the French painter Jules Adler.

Musée de l’Aventure Peugeot: a must-see museum Did you know that the founders of the French car manufacturer Peugeot were originally from Sochaux in BourgogneFranche-Comté? The firm retains a large

Treat yourself After indulging in the numerous historical and cultural attractions on offer, why not treat yourself to some spa time? After all, it was good enough for the Empress Eugenie and Napoleon. Rich in oligo elements, Luxeuil’s hot water springs help improve circulation and offer the ultimate relaxation experience. With 34 degrees Celsius thermal waters, beautiful views and an array of whirlpool baths, massage jets, hammam and Jacuzzi…you are sure to leave feeling invigorated. Once you are ready to do some more exploring, why not get some exercise and take the 146 steps up to the Tour de Echevins. Having pre16  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

Parc du Près la Rose, Montbeliard. Photo: Michel Joly

manufacturing plant and Peugeot museum there called the Musée de l’Aventure Peugeot. Founded by members of the Peugeot family, it opened in 1988 over the road from the company’s large industrial site in Sochaux. The first Peugeot car was made in 1891, so the museum presents an indepth guide to the evolution of the automotive industry. Peruse the many cars, bikes and motorcycles on display from racing cars to convertibles, iconic vehicles and retro designs. In addition to a museum visit, guided tours of the PSA Peugeot-Citroen industrial site - which is one of the most modern in Europe - can also be arranged on reservation. The visit can be made in English, French, or German from Monday to Friday. Also worth remembering is the annual Nocturne au Musée de l’Aventure event which is hosted by the museum’s teams and volunteers and this year will take place on Friday 8 December. A true car fanatic? The museum makes a unique venue for everything from family parties to weddings and work seminars.

Pays de Montbéliard: a taste of Germany At the crossroads of Switzerland and Germany, the picturesque city of Montbéliard and its surrounding region has a distinct German flavour. Montbéliard was a German principality for four centuries and the Teutonic influence can be seen in everything from the architecture to the fabulous Christmas markets during the

Discover Benelux  |  France  |  Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

festive season. The city is also home to a fairytale castle with a history closely linked with the families that reigned over the county for more than eight centuries. Admire the magnificent Henriette Tower, which was reconstructed by Countess Henriette in approximately 1424, the Frédéric Tower (1572 and 1595) and the main building which dates back to the 18th century. The castle has become the Museum of the Castle of the Dukes of Württemberg, including a historical tour, an impressive archaeological department and the Cuvier natural history gallery, not to mention contemporary art exhibitions. Meanwhile, there is plenty to keep the whole family entertained at Montbéliard’s Pavillon des Sciences, a magnificent space with fun and interactive science exhibitions throughout the year. In the mood for a bike ride with a difference? Why not head to the huge Parc du Près la Rose, which is home to a living maze, water games, giant insects, rare plants, scientific curiosities and much more. It is possible to explore the park on a seven-seat conference bike which provides explanations throughout the trail.

Château de Wurtemberg, Montbeliard. Photo: Michel Joly

Salins-les-Bains. Photo: Maxime Coquard & Elisa Detrez @Bestjobers

Salins-les-Bains: spa paradise Dominated by the silhouette of the Belin fort, this charming spa town owes its name to its saline waters. Here, the spring waters are richer in salt than those of the Dead Sea. Begin with a visit to the Grande Saline salt works, which has been UNESCO classified since 1982. The works are home to underground galleries dating back to the 13th century and a hydraulic pumping system which is still used today. There is also an excellent museum where you can learn all about salt harvesting and production techniques. What better way to end your trip than with a visit to thermal centre Therma Salina? There you can enjoy everything from medical water cures to massages, salt scrubs and of course the health-boosting salt water swimming pool. Warning: you many never want to leave…

Salins-les-Bains. Photo: Maxime Coquard & Elisa Detrez @Bestjobers

To begin planning your trip to Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, visit:

Issue 46  |  October 2017  |  17

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands


The best of Dutch design Cutting-edge, innovative and experimental, Dutch design is renowned across the world. From fashion designers such as Viktor & Rolf to icons of interior design including Marcel Wanders, not to mention the likes of architecture superstars Rem Koolhaas and Francine Houben, the Dutch design scene continues to shine on a global stage. Ahead of the upcoming Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, we decided to take a look at some of the most exciting products currently coming out of the Netherlands. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: NBTC

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Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

‘Dutch design is yoga for the brain’ Autumn in the Netherlands means only one thing to design aficionados: Dutch Design Week (DDW). As the biggest design event in Northern Europe, the event sees creatives flock to various locations in the city of Eindhoven every year to present their latest work and concepts. For the 16th edition set to take place between Saturday 21 and Sunday 29 October - the organisation expects a whopping 2,500 participants.

‘Stretch’ your mind For the past six years DDW has selected a specific theme for the week, providing designers, brands and other participants with a starting point on which to base their exhibitions, presentations and other special events. This year the organisation behind DDW (Dutch Design Foundation), came up with the theme ‘Stretch’, in order to encourage both exhibitors and attendees to get involved and break out of their comfort zone. “Today’s world is complex and poses enormous challenges. Designers have revolutionary ideas and innovative solutions for the future. Sometimes inspiring, sometimes confrontational. In this sense, Dutch design is yoga for the brain. Stretching exercises for people who don’t want to get stuck in their ways,” explains Martijn Paulen, director of the Dutch Design Foundation.

Jessica den Hartog Recolored, A new way of recycling.

An unparalleled lineup Highlights at this year’s event will include the Graduation Show of Design Academy Eindhoven, the award of the annual Dutch Design Awards and Dutch Invertuals, as well as exhibitions from the likes of the Van Abbemuseum, Kazerne, MU, Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie, Piet Hein Eek, Sectie-C, TAC and Yksi.

The future of music DDW also boasts an impressive multipleday music programme with more than 70 national and international artists putting on shows at various locations across the city throughout the week. Expect rising stars and established names in genres ranging from dance and folk to hip-hop and indie. Look out for exhibitions, workshops and innovative stage design during the performances: there are five designers including Joost van Bleiswijk who will be enhancing

Yksi Connect Dutch Bike.

the experience with decor and stage design. Also, on the Ketelhuisplein festival square the DDW Music Lab will experiment with sound, while workshops about the latest developments and technologies in music will be taking place.

For the complete Dutch Design Week programme visit; For more information about the music programme see

Issue 46  |  October 2017  |  19

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

T H E O N E S - T O - WAT C H We asked NBTC Holland Marketing for some of their top Dutch design tips… Michael Barnaart van Bergen

Atelier NL

Michael Barnaart Bergen focuses on knitwear and is celebrated for his comfortable dresses and influences ranging from industrial design, graphic design and art. The collections are produced in limited editions in the Netherlands using traditional methods and can be seen both on the streets and in various international museums. We particularly love his Mondrian-inspired dresses!

This design duo have a studio in the Bergmannkerk church in Eindhoven and are renowned for their homewares. Atelier NL often source clays from around the Netherlands and catalogue their properties and colours, as well as doing the same with sand for glass items. This produces specialist finishes and colours, and celebrates regional diversity.



Founded in 2009 by the sisters Dorrith de Roode and Marlous de Roode, LES SOEURS ROUGES is a fashion and accessories brand, with creations designs and handmade by the ladies themselves. Having grown up surrounded by family members active in the fashion industry, their collections are often inspired by history and the lost treasures of their home city: The Hague. Mondrian dress by Michael Barnaart van Bergen.

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The young and talented Dutch designer Omar Munie is celebrated for his handbags, which are considered to be the perfect blend of functionality and design. The creative has many awards to his name including ‘Best Entrepreneur Under the Age of 25’, ‘Most Innovative Entrepreneur 2011’ and a lifetime achievement award in 2013 for a sustainable design bag made from recycled KLM uniforms. Omar Munie is celebrated for his handbags.

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

The best of ‘Made in the Netherlands’

De Klerk Binnenbouw Read more from page 35 De Klerk Binnenbouw is one of the most renowned luxury yacht interior companies in the word.

From homeware to fashion, we showcase the Dutch brands you need to know about. Puckababy Read more from page 22 Puckababy offers an innovative range of baby sleeping products to ensure a comfortable, peaceful night’s sleep for your little one.

Ramakers Interieurbouw Read more from page 24 Ramakers interior design realises unique interior elements and complete interior design.

no man's land Read more from page 26 Emerging from Dutch and Italian roots, women’s clothing brand no man’s land lies at a crossroad where Dutch comfort and Mediterranean elegance meet.

Ruiter Quality Interiors Read more from page 28 Turning dreams into reality: this is how Ruiter Quality Interiors has become one of the major household names in the yacht interior industry.

Pillowise Read more from page 30 Pillowise offers an entirely new way to approach your pillow, ensuring you get the best and healthiest comfort for your sleep.

Royal Antique Collection Read more from page 31 Royal Antique Collection (RAC) creates an atmosphere of wellbeing and luxury through handmade and timeless furniture.

Mebu Read more from page 32 Founded in 2000, Mebu offers an extensive range of professional, foldable and stackable furniture.

Auping Read more from page 33 This well-known Dutch company helps people all over the world wake up happier, healthier, and feeling more energised.

Ideko Interieurbouw Read more from page 36 Whether it is a whole school that needs to be redesigned, a complete (recreational) floor of a hotel or the interior of an office from one of the biggest gas and oil companies in the world, Ideko does it all.

EE Labels Read more from page 36 By producing labels on a global scale for top companies in a wide range of industries this family-owned business has made many brands come to life.

Lady Service Read more from page 37 Ladies from all over the world can find the perfect set of lingerie or swimwear at Lady Service.

Meubelfabriek De Valk Read more from page 34 Sneek-based Meubelfabriek De Valk specialises in producing large series of chairs (with or without coupling) for every possible purpose.

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Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands


Every parent knows how important sleep is for the development of their child. Puckababy is the modern, happy way to help restless babies to go to sleep comfortably and safely. Complementing their famous swaddle bags, the brand has also launched a revolutionary four seasons sleeping bag and most recently a versatile sleeper for babies on the go.

er Sandra Bottram. “Puck was the baby daughter of a friend of mine and she had difficulties sleeping. Puck would regularly wake up hitting herself with little jerks we call the startle reflex. Soon both mother and baby found themselves in a negative spiral of sleep deprivation, endless crying by Puck and utter desperation on the part of the mother. The mother told me she had been given the advice to start swaddling her baby.

Puckababy was the first brand to offer young parents an alternative for babies with sleeping problems. Rather than the traditional swaddling methods, which rigorously restrict the baby’s movements, Puckababy offers swaddle bags that cocoon the baby to provide more freedom and air circulation while at the same time easing them into a comfortable and peaceful sleep.

Original Piep

“It all started ten years ago with a baby called Puck,” says Puckababy found-

The conversation with Puck’s mother kept playing on Sandra’s mind and, with her background in marketing, she soon

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“My immediate reaction was one of sadness, that a baby should be constrained so severely. At the same time, I did see that limiting the baby’s movements would be part of the solution, only in a milder, safer and more child-friendly way, a method which would appeal to modern parents.”

found herself doing research into developing alternative methods of swaddling. In 2007, she launched her first range of swaddle bags: the Puckababy Original Piep for zero to three-month-old babies and the Mini for three to six-month-old babies. Fitting perfectly at the shoulders and leaving enough space for hips and legs, the bags were expertly designed to be comfortable and snug like a cocoon, yet at the same time offering enough restraint for babies to calm down and safely go to sleep. Through word of mouth, the Puckababy became an instant success. “Parents immediately recognised that Puckababy was substantially different from traditional swaddling,” Sandra smiles. “It was less restrictive and most importantly, it worked wonders for them. We received stacks of letters and emails from parents thanking us for getting their babies into a regular sleeping cycle and getting much-needed sleep for themselves as well.”

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

Dutch Design

Four seasons bag

For five years following the launch, Sandra and her team worked hard to establish and perfect the brand and product in the Netherlands before venturing abroad. “We are now the premium brand and expert in safe baby and toddler sleeping products across Europe. And we will soon be ready to enter the Chinese market as well, which will be an exciting new chapter in our short history. We know the Chinese cannot wait for Puckababy to come onto the market, because we offer the safety, ease of use, beauty and comfort they have come to expect of Dutch Design. The products are all developed in the Netherlands and manufactured in Europe, where we know that they are made to the highest safety and environmental standards, and contain no substances which could adversely affect babies’ health.”

Because parents were so happy with the swaddle bags, they wanted to continue using the Puckababy brand now their babies were getting older as well. “So, we patented and designed a new four seasons sleeping bag, which is proving a huge success. “I remember when my children were little it used to be such a hassle with all these different blankets and duvets. The four seasons bag is safe, very easy to use and instantly adaptable to any season and temperature, so you only need one bag which will last you from six months to two and a half years.” The most recent addition to the Puckababy collection is the Sleeper. “It’s a versatile combination of a baby nest, bassinet and rocker and suitable for babies

up to four months,” Sandra explains. “And it’s yet another example of the highquality design we strive for in our collection. In the end our aim is to offer new parents and their precious babies a healthy sleep rhythm and quality of life. Our solutions will always provide the highest quality and safety standards, as well as good looks, functionality and ease of use. They are all manufactured using premium-quality materials, offering a familiar feel of luxury. Because only the best is good enough for our babies.” Puckababy offers a range of shop-inshops at major nursery retailers in the Netherlands and webshop facilities for customers across the world. Please visit for more details.

Sandra Bottram.

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Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

The team in India with designer Patrick Russ (far left), Kees Schilder Nor, director of Ramakers Interieurbouw (front, couched down) and Sam Veerman, director of Wooncentrum Veerman (striped T-shirt).


There is nothing that breathes character and style quite like a bespoke interior. For a seamless process from concept to delivery, it is key to find contractors who can realise your ideas in an efficient way, going above and beyond your dreams. This is exactly what the collaboration between Ramakers Interieurbouw, Patrick Russ & Interiors, and Wooncentrum Veerman accomplishes. The three companies have joined hands on various national and international turn-key projects, as they perfectly complement each other. Patrick Russ draws the designs, Ramakers builds the interiors and Veerman finishes it with quality furniture and upholstery.

Collaborating for success Ramakers Interieurbouw is a furniture builder, founded in 1948, which special24  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

ises in the creation of unique and individual interiors. Together with Wooncentrum Veerman, who specialise in high-quality furniture, they have the tools and knowledge to

complete an entire interior from start to finish. Since 1918, Wooncentrum Veerman offers a large collection of international furniture brands, as well as an impressive textile collection of numerous fabrics, colours and styles.

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

For several years now, Patrick Russ has worked with Ramakers and Veerman as his partners of choice for his luxurious and unique designs. “Ramakers has tonnes of experience when it comes to the technical aspects, and Veerman supplies fabrics for mood boards and atmosphere impressions.”

Bringing out character and style A recently completed project in Amsterdam shows how the three companies fuse design, atmosphere and technology for a stunning interior. They were commissioned to design an eccentric penthouse in a former industrial building from 1912. The deep, single-storey home presented unique challenges, as it only had windows on opposite walls of the apartment. Russ says: “We placed the kitchen and living room at opposite ends, and the bedroom and bathroom in the middle. Making the most of the natural light, the rooms were separated by a glass partition wall that can be sealed off by drawing the curtains behind it.” From the bath, you can look out over the streets of Amsterdam. The style of the partition was inspired by

the industrial design of the front door, which has similar, circular design. Russ adds: “The combination of glass and curtains creates an open structure and interesting sight lines that can be revealed as well as concealed.”

A challenging Indian interior Another project, completed this year, that showcases the expertise and seamless collaboration of Russ, Ramakers and Veerman, was a villa in India. The Indian owners wanted a modern, European feel to their home. Key aspects such as the humid climate and a different culture had to be taken into account. Russ explains: “In India, it is custom to have separate quarters for men and women. We wanted to do something original instead of building a standard tinted glass wall. We came up with a semi-open wall made from wooden columns, detailed with onyx back lighting, which creates openness while keeping the rooms separate.” Another challenge was designing for warm, humid weather. Together with Ramakers

and Veerman, Russ was able to select the best natural stones, wood and furnishings for these conditions. Then there was of course the distance; the whole team went to India to take the measurements, and then built the interiors in a studio in the Netherlands. Next, everything was shipped in containers to India, where everything was put together again. With a dedication to detail, it all fitted perfectly.

Future-proof interior design It is not by chance that the completion of the Indian project, as well as other projects, went so smoothly. Russ says: “Both Veerman and Ramakers originally started in Volendam. Having a shared heritage, they never hesitate to put questions to one another. This makes the communication clear and creates a strong sense of trust. Moreover, we can criticise each other because we know it will make the result even better.”


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Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands



Emerging from Dutch and Italian roots, women’s clothing brand no man’s land lies at a crossroad where Dutch comfort and Mediterranean elegance meet. With a penchant for timeless and high-quality fashion that puts pure materials in the high seat, the label designs for women wanting to stand out through the most subtle and sophisticated details. Walk into the kitchen of any Italian family and be surprised by the warmth and dedication to a fine quality of life found there. Alongside wine from self-grown grapes 26  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

and the scent of freshly baked bread, it is mainly the tangible passion to want the best for the family that hallmarks the Italian spirit. The same passion and commitment defines high-end fashion label no man’s land, who want nothing less than excellence for its retailers and customers. After all, they are considered family.

‘It all started with a turtleneck’ It was 1983 when Anet Ooijman (the Netherlands) and her partner Salvatore Cascone (Italy) opened the doors of Cascone & Co: a multi-brand agency for several

Italian clothing brands targeting the Dutch and Belgian market. “I often found that Italian fashion lacked the right adaptation to Dutch standards and sizes,” says Ooijman, when asked about the start of no man’s land. “Trousers that were too short, jumpers that were too small, and so on. When discovering the manufacturing know-how of North Italian producers – mainly family companies - we decided to set up our own agency and to work with various producers.” While Ooijman oversees the fashion and production side, Cascone takes care of the business side of things.

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

The idea to start a fashion label came ten years later - after repetitive requests from their clientele - upon which the duo started the production of a selective high-quality items. Among them was a wool turtleneck made from merino wool: an exceptionally soft, naturally breathable yet warm fabric relatively unknown in the Netherlands. The turtleneck quickly earned the spot of best-selling item – and has not left that spot since.

Material girl A central thread in all designs is the use of high-quality, pure textiles made from the finest yarns. They are made into timeless classics greatly honouring fit and comfort that suit both young and old and withstand the test of time. “I design for the woman who values the possession of a few timeless classics that will accompany her throughout her life,” Ooijman continues. “She loves to stand out. Not by extravagant details or shimmery fabrics, but by her own classic and personal style.” When asked about what inspires her, Ooijman emphasises her love for beautiful fabrics. “When I first see and feel a fabric, it seems like it tells me what sort of clothing item it is meant to be,” she smiles. Both its Dutch and Italian roots are found in no man’s land’s signature, with womenswear that is equally subtle and comfortable as elegant and classy. “Compared to the Dutch, Italians are willing to sacrifice more comfort in the name of fashion,” Ooijman laughs. “Dutch women

get up in the morning, jump on their bike, and go to work – so their clothing has to be very wearable. Italian women are more exuberant. Both elements leave their hallmark on our designs.”

Made in Italy, worn beyond no man’s land has its headquarters on the former island of Marken, in the Netherlands. Their design studio lies close to the stunning city of Venice, which designs for representatives in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Finland. The majority of production still takes place in Italy, with a big preference for family-owned companies that value tradition and personal contact. “It is an Italian thing: the front of the house is for living, the back for producing,” says Ooijman. “The level of traditional craftsmanship in Italy is unmatched, while the use of mod-

ern production techniques keeps innovating.” Specific fabrics such as real Chinese silk are imported from – not surprisingly – China. Ooijman’s focus has always been on the production of exquisite items, which are sustainable in the purest sense of the word. She learned fashion at her (grand) mother’s knee, who made clothing for herself and her (grand)children. “We used to get up early to finish our knitting or sew on a new button,” Ooijman laughs. “I don’t know anything else than making sustainable clothing in a responsible way. Clothing is not to be disposed quickly: it is personal, reflects who you are, and must be made with love.” For more information, visit

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Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands


True beauty lies within, knows Ruiter Quality Interiors (RQI) like no other. Starting their tradition in 1979, the multiple award-winning company translates decades of experience and vision to stunning luxury yacht interiors with a majestic touch that are no less than superior.

ly 40 years ago as a one-man show, only to open up his own interior workshop two years later. “At the time, I was fresh out of school and working at the shipyard,” De Ruiter starts off enthusiastically. “It did not take long for the yacht interior industry to ogle at me.”

Turning dreams into reality: this is how RQI has become one of the major household names in the yacht interior industry. Having always had craftsmanship, expertise and reliability at heart, the Dutch company can look back on numerous interior refits worldwide plus the creation of over 70 interiors for a wide range of yachts - many of which have become famous household names themselves.

Fast forward 30 years and RQI is a world-renowned company with clients from all corners of the world. Located in De Ruiter’s native Holland, the company is home to a team of 38 craftsmen and women, together owning every conceivable skill for interior creation. Alongside their success grew RQI’s size: now located in Purmerend, their 4,600-square-metre facility hosts two large workshops, a drawing office and a wood recycling plant.

From one man’s band to world player

From craft to treasure

Like many other stories of success, RQI’s journey starts with the vision of one man. Joop de Ruiter started his company near-

RQI’s portfolio is adorned by motor yachts and sailing yachts up to 80 metres, with interiors greatly varying in style and mate-

28  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

rials. Subtle with majestic details, vibrant and extravagant, or timelessly classic: the possibilities are endless. Installations can take place anywhere in the world, even when the yacht is under sail, which has – according to De Ruiter – led to beautiful destinations in far-away seas. “One of the perks of the jobs,” he laughs. A major reason for Ruiter’s success has been the innate ability to think outside the box. In 1979, the company was the first in the world to investigate prefabrication for superyacht interiors, enabling each element of the design to be built in-house and reducing the total building time. Another first was the concept of building interiors completely in template form, giving owners the chance to see their design in life-size format before installation. Projects are always executed via fruitful collaborations with naval partners, creating an environment in which other special-

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

ists can decorate and fit out to the owner’s specifications. “Having a narrow-minded outlook can only lead to compromises in quality,” De Ruiter emphasises. “We have a solid network of respected partners such as naval architects, ensuring superior quality and a deadline that is met.”

Regained beauty

beauty through exceptional craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail and quality, providing the owner with an interior of the highest standard reflective of the incredibly glamorous era of yachting. The refit eventually was awarded the prestigious title of ‘Best Rebuild’ at the 2016 World Superyacht Awards in Florence. Another project of excellence is the motor yacht Jamaica Bay III. Delivered in 2010 for American clients, the owners opted for RQI as of their pioneering technological innovations, making the workmanship of the interior superior to anything else worldwide.

The pioneering spirit of RQI has helped their portfolio of impressive refit projects blossom. A mere one year ago, RQI completed the refit (in a project led by Edmiston) of the near-to-legendary 50-metre Malahne yacht. The 1937-built motor yacht once carried royalty and Hollywood stars, until a 1980s refit stripped her of both her style and her dignity.

Doing what you do best

Together with other specialist partners, RQI recaptured Malahne’s youth and

When asked what has been the biggest change over the last 38 years, De Ruiter takes a moment to answer. “Interior wise,

designs are becoming ever more complex, with ultra-sophisticated layouts on the rise,” he says. “Yet if I look at our company I would say that our values haven’t changed for decades. Myself – and every single person in our team – approaches their work with passion and precision. The majority of the staff has many years of service behind them, and everyone is an expert in their field.” Has De Ruiter ever considered branching out into areas beyond his expertise? “Everyone should stay true to what they do best,” he concludes. “And what I love to do, is also what I do best.” Sticking to what you do best: it has turned out pretty well for Ruiter Quality Interiors. Web:

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Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

Shaping pillows the way you want it TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: PILLOWISE

We buy our shoes knowing what size our feet are and have our dresses custom-made, but when it comes to pillows, the options are suddenly much more limited than they need be. Such was the thinking of United Comfort Industries (UCI). The Dutch company has specialised in sleep products since 1990 and developed ‘Pillowise’: an entirely new way to approach the pillow to make it all about you and ensure you get the best and healthiest comfort for your sleep. “Pillowise was founded thanks to a cooperation between us at United Comfort Industries and a physiotherapist with whom we’ve worked together for 15 years,” explains Albert Jan Kist, president at UCI. “When it came to patients with neck complaints, he felt like emptying the sea with a thimble, assuaging some discomforts, but couldn’t quite get to the core. He found out that a lot of the patients were sleeping on faulty pillows. That really made him wonder; apparently it’s not standard practice to ask for the right measurements in stores where they sell pillows. That is absurd. You won’t walk in shoes that are too small, so why sleep on a pillow that’s not tailored to you?” Thus the two created Pillowise: a brand of pillows that is in tune with your measure30  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

ments and takes your sleeping position and type of mattress into account. Three simple body measurements are taken and an algorithm calculates which of the six Pillowise models suits you best. All made of the same special Dutch memory foam, but with differing heights and neck supports. Pillowise is developed and produced in the Netherlands. Kist: “Pillowise started off as a cooperation between the physiotherapist and us. With our retail background, we were certain this could take the sleep product branch by storm. We rolled out the brand four years ago and now sell Pillowise all over the world: China, Korea, Mexico, all through Europe and also in just under a thousand of practices in the US, a number that is rapidly increasing. There are many chiropractors who swear by our pillows and use them as part of their care plan.” Feedback so far has been ‘amazing’ according to Kist. “I’ve spoken to a lot of people who’ve been through 30 plus pillows and finally found one that gives them the comfort they really want.” It should come as no surprise then that UCI is developing a personal Pillowise mattress that they hope to unveil by the end of this year. Kist: “A pear-shaped woman of 1.65 metres doesn’t sleep the same way as a two-metre-tall athlete. We developed a Pillowise mattress for each of the eight

significantly different human body types. So that one is sure to get a healthy sleep position. We are excited to radically challenge the one-size-fits-all approach.”


Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

Timeless exclusivity that will last a lifetime TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: ROYAL ANTIQUE COLLECTION

Royal Antique Collection (RAC) creates an atmosphere of wellbeing and luxury through handmade and timeless furniture. “We truly believe in the idea that a piece of furniture is for life,” says Wilfried Heijmans, sales manager at RAC. “An item of furniture should only get better throughout the years.” Charm Classics; Farrington; Library; or Retro: although RAC counts multiple lines of furniture, they all share the same core values of craftsmanship, quality, and an exuding of warmth. The Netherlands-based company operates purely on request and is available at very selective dealers in the Netherlands, Belgium, and various other countries in Europe. In addition to the RAC furniture range, customers can opt for tailor-made furniture, which is completely adjusted to their wishes. All produce is designed, manufactured and finished at RAC’s workshop, which

consists of a woodworking factory and upholstery. Every piece of furniture is made of first-class French oak and slowly formed by the hands of true craftsmen and women, who greatly value traditional production means. In the coating department, the furniture is given the finish(es) of the customer’s choice while the upholstery is responsible for furniture fabrics and leather for RAC’s products. “Our level of finish is unparalleled,” Heijmans enthuses. “We have had other companies and consumers aiming to reach our level of craftsmanship and detail, but our production process is incredibly specific. We own quite a few tricks of the trade.” Alongside a solid collection of pieces customers can choose from, RAC prides itself on a flexibility whereby customers themselves can add changes or specific details to their item of furniture. Both the workshop as the upholstery see many customers looking to give their beloved piece of furniture a second chance.

“What you often see is that people get incredibly attached to their tailored-made chair, table, or wardrobe,” Heijmans smiles. “Others may wonder why they would not just buy a new chair but, at Royal Antique Collection, we know how personal a piece of furniture can be.”

Royal Antique Collection is part of Van Lier Maatwerk BV. For more information, please visit

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Taking over the world of foldable and stackable furniture TEXT: JULIËN L’ORTYE  |  PHOTOS: MEBU

Foldable and stackable furniture: It does not necessarily sound glamorous, right? That is what Imre Huijgen and her husband Dennis van Iersel were thinking at first when Huijgen’s father came up with the idea of taking over Mebu, this industry’s European market leader. However, the three had been thinking about taking over some kind of business for a while then and were already looking at a broad range of products, from casino lighting to top-notch fireplaces, but foldable furniture had not come to their minds yet. Nonetheless they were quite intrigued by it, so they decided to go ahead. Imre: “We really wanted to take over a company that was making something tangible, a ‘tough’ product, with a potential for international growth.” What is so impressive about Mebu, is the fact 32  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

that they are able to keep every part of the production process in-house. Thanks to an efficient way of working, plus moving to a new building, the three (plus their team, of course) can easily compete with for example massive factories in the Far East. Imre: “A lot of our competitors’ products are often produced over there, but those products do not live up to the expectations of European buyers. As we can deliver everything from our own stock, we can offer the same prices as in the Far East, with European quality and service.” Van Iersel adds: “When someone has a problem with for example the cap of a table leg, we will just send them a whole bag of caps. He will probably not even need them, but that is part of our service as well.” Coming from three completely different lines of work – Imre was doing sales at an

employment bureau, Van Iersel was dealing with the operational part of a company, while father Alex had a management function at one of world’s biggest LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) companies – every one of them had decided that they wanted to do something completely different. When they ended up at Mebu, they were aware of the company’s stable market position – market leader in the Benelux – but in the meantime, they have expanded their business to Germany, other parts of Europe and even the USA. And as for the company’s future goals? “What is very important to us, is international growth. Currently, our growth is organic, but we are looking to grow by acquisition as well,” reveals Van Iersel. Web:

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Auping nights, better days TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: AUPING

Did you know that, on average, we spend 25 years of our lifetime in bed? Royal Auping makes those years count: with almost 130 years of experience in sleeping comfort, the well-known Dutch family company has helped people all over the world wake up happier, healthier, and feeling more energised.

signed to make a ventilating bed base for the local hospital. Soon his craftsmanship earned a reputation for quality, and Johannes found himself producing for various hospitals in the country. Fast forward nearly 130 years, and Auping is still an independent company, aiming for the highest sleeping comfort.

So many different people, so many different body types, sleeping habits and mattress preferences - it is something Auping realises like no other. “Auping honours the idea that every sleeper is unique,” explains manager of communication and trade marketing Marjan Reitsma. “Our mattresses are fully adapted to the owner’s body type and preferences. Do you like to be cool or warm during the night? Would you like an extra shoulder or hip zone? They are all essential factors for a good night’s sleep.”

Everything that Auping offers is – from A to Z – produced at their headquarters in Deventer. Sustainable, fully according to the Cradle to Cradle philosophy (C2C®); no stock and produced by order, with a short time delivery. Products are exported to all corners of the world. The collection boasts everything that is needed for a night in heaven: alongside their famous mattresses, Auping’s assortment includes beds, box springs, design beds, bed linen, pillows and duvets.

Auping’s story starts in 1888, when Dutch blacksmith Johannes Auping was as-

While Auping is home to its own team of in-house designers, its innovative spirit has led to many collaborations with

established and upcoming designers - one such collaboration was with Mae Engelgeer, who designed a limited textile collection. Customers can try out a real Auping in various Auping Plazas or multi-brands stores in the Netherlands and Belgium. “Or, if you are planning a weekend trip, you might run into one of our beds at your hotel,” Reitsma adds. Finally, you can order your new mattress online, where your very own online mattress expert can help you choose. An evenly qualified expert is Auping’s Better Days app, which analyses your (sleep) data and provides personalised recommendations for a mattress. It is clear that Auping takes sleeping comfort very seriously. Because few things are as important to a productive day than a good night’s sleep. Web:

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Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands



Meubelfabriek De Valk is unique in many respects. Not only does it have over 60 years’ experience in developing furniture, it is also one of the very few companies in the Netherlands housing every possible production discipline under one roof. Sneek-based Meubelfabriek De Valk specialises in producing large series of chairs (with or without coupling) for every possible purpose: from cantinas to offices, and from football stadiums to churches. Alongside many different chair models, De Valk’s collection includes a variety of tables, armchairs, waiting benches, bar stools and coat racks. On average, 160,000 chairs and 30,000 other products are manufactured per year. Instead of following many companies in taking production abroad, De Valk houses craftsmen and women for every possible discipline, ensuring an end product of the highest quality and with good value for money. “From making metal frames, to powder coating, to upholstering, to 34  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

injection molding: we do everything ourselves,” emphasises general manager Maurice van Dijke. “It makes us incredibly flexible in terms of production and delivery, as we do not have to rely on many external parties.” This flexibility is extended to order amounts: whether ordering six or 6,000 chairs – anything is possible. Customers can choose from an extensive catalogue of products with various styles, yet produce can also be adapted to one’s wishes. “We can deliver metal frames in any desirable colour and fabrics that meets the customer’s demand,” Van Dijke continues. “Especially over the last years, we have noticed the increased importance of flexibility in terms of design. So, whether a client wants the frame to be a bit broader or a stool somewhat lower, we take care of it.” Meubelfabriek de Valk is located in the province of Friesland, near the village where it was founded almost 70 years ago by two brothers. “The company originally started producing ice skates,” Van

Dijke laughs. “But in order to ensure continuity, the brothers began developing terrace furniture over time. This expansion of the assortment proved to be an excellent choice and it helped the company to grow into a successful furniture business as it is now. In the near future, the company will try to strengthen its position in the industry by introducing new models and concepts for specific markets.” While we are currently over 60 years further, Meubelfabriek De Valk still carries the same values as it always has: developing and producing high-quality furniture with good value, fit for every thinkable purpose.

Maurice van Dijke.


Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands



Historic but ever going forward, grand yet with an eye for detail, honouring craftsmanship and the most sophisticated innovations: the story of De Klerk Binnenbouw (DKB) has many chapters. What sailed off as a modest furniture shop has in 150 years transformed into one of the most-renowned luxury yacht interior companies in the world. Discover Benelux spoke to managing director Lucas van Elsen about essential details, the Titanic, and things that never change. The list of yachts carrying DKB’s interior hallmark is long but exclusive. Based in Moordrecht, the company has gained a royal reputation creating inner splendour, always honouring an interior’s own specific character and distinguishing features. For DKB’s launch we must go back to 1873, when Hendrik Hubertus de Klerk started a small shop where he manufactured and sold braided rugs. Soon transforming into the Netherlands’ largest

department store for furniture, De Klerk’s descendants designed and manufactured for many renowned organisations, who entrusted the company to create interiors for their most precious properties. In 1971, De Klerk Binnenbouw joined forces with Royal Furniture Manufacturer H.P. Mutters & Zoon, which gained a name for itself as the interior designer for several royal residencies, including yachts. “It is a combination of those two strengths – furniture design and yacht interior – that has made DKB into the market leader it is now,” starts Van Elsen. One interior adorning Mutters’ portfolio is that of RMS Titanic, of which DKB still owns the drawings. DKB has worldwide acclaimed partnerships with naval architects and designers, offering every specialty enough scope for input. The creation of parts takes place at DKB’s 7,000-square-metre production hall, which is home to 110 employees – each and every single one of them being an artist in his or her own right.

Operating in an environment where only the most exclusive selection of materials and the most advanced comfort class are considered acceptable, DKB never compromises on sheer quality. Only the most sophisticated innovations make the cut to DKB’s work. Cutting-edge technologies such as 3D design, virtual reality and interactive drawing are implemented according to demand. Yet no matter the level of innovation, DKB prides itself on its craftsmanship of excellence. “We strive daily to accomplish the perfect balance between traditional techniques and the right level of time management and cost efficiency,” Van Elsen concludes. “But our love for craftsmanship? That will never change.” DKB is part of Koninklijke De Vries Scheepsbouw Group.


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Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

Craftsmanship with a modern touch TEXT: JULIËN L’ORTYE  |  PHOTOS: IDEKO INTERIEURBOUW

There are few stories that deserve their place in this special more than the story of Ideko Interieurbouw. The special is dedicated to companies that make their products in the Netherlands, and in this case even all the materials are homegrown, so you can definitely say: ‘Made In Holland’. Director Martin Schipper, a former project manager, got a chance to take over the company and reacted immediately: “Why not?” Now, eight years later, Ideko Interieurbouw has moved to a whole new building that corresponds with the sustainable approach his company has. “When you thrive to be a company that only makes conscious choices, you cannot have your clients enter a factory full of fluorescent lights, right?” What is interesting about Ideko is that the company works completely from scratch. They take some chip boards or multiplex boards and start building from there, until an entire interior has been realised. Whether it is a whole school

that needs to be redesigned, a complete (recreational) floor of a hotel or the interior of an office from one of the biggest gas and oil companies in the world, Ideko does it all. When you keep in mind that Ideko’s team only consists of 11 people, this is quite an achievement. How does he do it? According to Schipper, it is mainly about relationships: “To be able to create wonderful products, you need relationships. Relationships with your suppliers, relationships with your clients and even more importantly: relationships with your personnel.

I am happy when they are happy.” Apart from that, Ideko likes a personal approach. According to Schipper, there is nothing that makes him more content than clients who want to make use of his knowledge and perspective when it comes to designing an interior. With a director so committed to making the best possible products for his clients, it is no wonder the company is so successful. Web:


Small, but oh so significant: a good label. Located in Heeze/Brainport region, EE labels has recognised the importance of this branding product for over 117 years. By producing labels on a global scale for top brands in a wide range of industries and continuously implementing the most sophisticated innovations into their products, the family-owned business has made many brands come to life. EE Labels refers to it as the ‘magical connection’: the link between the consumer and the brand. “A label holds the unique authority to appeal to the emotions of your target public,” says marketing manager Caroline Evers. “If you think about it, a brand really has no value without a label.” Born in 1900 as ribbon weaving company, EE Labels is still owned by the founding family. All development and production takes places in the Netherlands, with – according to a de36  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

mand – the possibility of producing in EE Label’s own factory in Turkey and partners overseas. The family business produces woven, printed, leather, PVC and metal labels and hangtags, jacquard ribbons, variable data tickets and tags. Corporate social responsibility and innovation are two factors held dearly. EE Labels is the only partner in the world for woven RFID brand labels: a new technology using radio frequency antenna and chips that allows brands to protect themselves against counterfeiting and improve logistics processes, something that is especially relevant for high-end (fashion) companies. EE Labels’ emphasis on craftsmanship and sustainability is underlined at Farm of the World: an exhibition during the Dutch Design Week 2017 in collaboration with artist Claudy Jongstra, at which traditional crafts are honoured with workshops and lectures. “EE Labels is always looking for ways to combine efficient and environmental friendly ways of production and arti-

sanal development,” Evers concludes. “After all, label weaving requires craftsmanship!” Web:

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands


In the beaming heart of Leiden, ladies from all over the world can find the perfect set of lingerie or swimwear at Lady Service. With a large assortment of bras in sizes ranging from cups AA to K and expertise in underwear for breast prostheses, the experienced team of professionals will welcome you in a personal atmosphere. A good set of lingerie is the starting point for a great outfit and can immensely boost your confidence and the way you feel about yourself. Lady Service has been a household name in the city of Leiden since 1975, providing its customers with the perfect set of undergarments, fitted to their needs and wishes. With brands such as the French Aubade, PrimaDonna and Felina, the store’s vast collection of undergarments comprises a perfect combination of beautiful, seductive lingerie and attractive-yet-comfortable swimwear and sports bras.

With over 20 years of experience, the team of seven well-trained specialist consultants are more than happy to welcome you in the store on the Doezastraat to give you superlative styling and fitting advice. The combination of experience, expertise and personal contact with customers makes this lingerie shop absolutely unique in Leiden and the surrounding area. With an exclusive specialisation in mastectomy products, such as silicon breast prostheses and specially designed lingerie and bathing suits, Lady Service aims to meet the wishes of

every customer. The store caters to all sizes, with a wide selection of bras in cups varying from AA to K, as well as bras for chest widths varying from 60 - 110 centimetres. The doors of this all-round lingerie store are open to you anytime.

Doezastraat 19, 2311 GZ Leiden Tel: 071-5140728 Web:

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Interior Design  |  Creating Quality of Life

Quozy Keukens, page 46


Creating quality of life Do not get fooled by its modest size: Belgium far transcends its surface when it comes to design. Especially Flanders is considered worldwide to be a haven of creativity, with its inspiring interior design industry long contributing to the area’s excellent overall reputation in the field of arts and design. From well-known contemporary furniture labels to small interior design boutiques - the Flemish are masters in making life more beautiful and comfortable through creativity. In this month’s special, you will find inspiring profiles of some of Flanders’ most exciting interior design companies.

Swiss Sense, page 42

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Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Interior Design  |  Creating Quality of Life

Excellent Gietvloeren, page 40

Recor Home, page 44

DO NOT MISS: Excellent Gietvloeren, page 40 Making interiors come to life through the beauty of simplicity, that is Excellent Gietvloeren. This Belgium-based company offers top-notch epoxy and polyurethane resin floors suitable for a wide range of purposes and tastes. Swiss Sense, page 42 An eye for design, detail and support: Belgian producer Swiss Sense manufactures the perfect box spring beds and mattresses. With their products available in more than 90 European stores, they rightfully pride themselves on being masters of sleep. Recor Home, page 44 Renowned furniture producer Recor has been a trusted face in the homes of Belgians for generations. Combining design with comfort is their motto. Check out our interview with the Belgium-based family company, who will soon launch their newest collection. Quozy Keukens, page 46 Quozy Keukens makes high-quality kitchens available to everyone. This Belgian family company offers both selfinstallation and fully fitted budget-friendly kitchens in a wide variety of colours and designs that will uplift any home.

Issue 46  |  October 2017  |  39

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Interior Design  |  Creating Quality of Life


Excellent Gietvloeren makes interiors come to life. The Belgium-based company offers top-notch epoxy and polyurethane resin floors suitable for a wide range of purposes and tastes. “People are always amazed how something that is in essence so simple, can elevate an entire home,” says owner Bjorn Saro. The name kind of gives it away: Excellent Gietvloeren settles for nothing less than excellence in terms of quality, service, and design. The Genk-based business masters in exclusive design floors and stone carpet. Originally intended for industrial applications, the synthetic floors offered by Excellent have slowly but surely found their way to the world of interiors

40  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

and have gained popularity for their ability to give each home a sense of unity, warmth and space.

A sustainable business Excellent Gietvloeren offers a wide range of choices in terms of floors: think PU (polyurethane) mono floors, marble carpet, or industrial epoxy floors (among others). Each floor can be delivered on every possible surface size and is available in a wide set of colours. Particularly popular is the BIO PU 100 Floor, an unmatched choice in terms of aestheticism and quality and made from 100 per cent organic, bio industry raw materials. “Although it is rare for a rath-

er small-scale business like ours to have a large influence on a new product, we developed the BIO PU 100 floor together with our German supplier,” Saro starts off. “The floor is 100 per cent biological and UV-resistant. So above absolute top of the line, it is also a sustainable choice.” Sustainability is a word held high by Saro, who constantly invests in innovative and environmentally friendly business possibilities. From production, to placement, to maintenance: there is a significant care for the environment with every step of the way.

The more difficult the better Saro started his business after many years working in his father’s gravel floor

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Interior Design  |  Creating Quality of Life

company, where he was shown the ropes in the industry. Yet after nearly a decade, a hunger for more complex projects arose. “I love the fact that each and every one of our projects is very different,” Saro enthuses. “Most people would walk away when an assignment gets too hard – for me it is a challenge. A resin floor has to be absolutely spotless, so our team is constantly brushing up on new techniques, products and methods to retain our perfectionism.” It is a perfectionism required on the job, which increasingly meets with clients demanding nothing less than perfection. A project can fail with the most detailed mistake.

follows. The process is completely done by hand and leaves the floor seamlessly perfect. Finally, the floor is finished with a top layer.

Instead of regular laid floors, resin floors are poured into layers, with construction taking place in at least four steps. The first steps prepare the casting floor so that unevenness does not get a chance, after which the actual casting of the floor

Making interiors come to life

So how long does a floor lasts? “A lifetime, in principle,” Saro ensures. “A top layer can get signs of life on it depending on how it is used, in which case the top layer can be redone. But often, a little life only gives the floor more charisma. I even had clients asking me to scratch the floor before delivered.” So, what if you spill red wine? Saro laughs: “Not a problem – just make sure to wipe it up as quickly as possible.”

Excellent Gietvloeren counts several ‘demolocations’ in Belgium, where customers can go to see the end product in real life. Every customer is involved in every step of the production process

and granted a thorough after-service. An order is set up in the most detailed and transparent way so customers are spared any surprises afterwards. Equally transparent is the communication at Excellent Gietvloeren: customers can contact Saro and his team at any possible moment. After many years in the business, Saro has not seen his love and passion for the job diminish one little bit. “If you think about it, a resin floor is actually a really simple and pure concept,” he concludes. “But the results are everything but minimal: a well-poured floor lets the rest of the house breathe and creates a feeling of homeliness. With every project, I am still baffled at how the simplicity of an even, seamless floor can make a house a home.” For more information, please visit

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Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Interior Design  |  Creating Quality of Life

Swiss Sense enhances lives through ultimate sleep relaxation TEXT & PHOTOS: SWISS SENSE

It all began back in 1918, when Piet Diks made his very first straw mattress. Four generations on, the Diks family’s bed makers have almost 100 years of experience in ensuring people get a great night’s sleep. With an eye for design, detail and support, they manufacture perfect box spring beds and mattresses. Expert advisers compile personal and unique sleep systems based on customers’ specific wishes and requirements. Products are available in more than 90 European retail stores, packed with inspiration, and online. It goes almost without saying that Swiss Sense does not focus exclusively on a great night’s sleep, but also on the appearance of the bed. These famous bed 42  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

makers incorporate the latest trends and various interior styles effortlessly in the countless designs from their different collections.

Swiss Sense improves your days and nights Swiss Sense knows the importance of good sleep better than anyone. So Swiss Sense does not just sell beds, but contributes to improving the quality of your day. Many people underestimate what a good night’s sleep does for you. But forget it at your peril; we sleep for around one third of our lives! Good sleep makes you happier, more energetic and alert. With sufficient sleep, your concentration is better and it is easier to remember things. While you sleep, your brain can recharge and pro-

cess (newly acquired) information. This benefits your productivity throughout the day. Good sleep and a good night’s rest contribute to avoiding health problems. It is not for nothing that it is Swiss Sense’s mission to enhance lives through ultimate sleep relaxation.

Years of expertise deliver valuable, innovative insights It is clear that making beds is second nature for the Diks family. Thanks to their years of expertise, Swiss Sense caters to the needs of our time better than anyone else. Swiss Sense combines this perfectly with the latest developments in materials and applications. A trend that has become increasingly popular during the last few years is the bedroom as a place that

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Interior Design  |  Creating Quality of Life

is not just about sleeping. Flopping onto your bed after a long day at work to read a book or watch a favourite television series is becoming increasingly normal. Relaxing, doing homework, playing, sports, we do everything closer to where we sleep. Swiss Sense caters to this perfectly with the box spring bed model Home 350 with built-in TV lift. Web:

TEN TIPS FOR CHOOSING YOUR DREAM BOX SPRING BED Swiss Sense knows better than most what you need to consider when purchasing a new box spring bed. On average, a new bed will last for ten years, so make sure you make an informed choice. These ten tips will prepare you for this:

moment? Write it down. This will help you to focus in reaching a decision.

Tip 2: Ask around Listen to other people’s experiences as much as possible. Lots of people have already purchased a box spring bed, their experience can help you.

Tip 3: Compile your top three Select your top three preferences. What is your first, second and third choice at the

Compile the box spring bed so that it suits your wishes and taste perfectly.

Tip 4: Check what is available online

and visit our store

Tip 8: Need accessories?

Seek inspiration, see, touch and experience. Ensure you get plenty of information.

Have a good think about whether or not it is time for a new pillow too. A matching flannel, a reading lamp or bedside table can provide your bedroom with the finishing touches.

Tip 1: Personal demands first! Determine your demands for yourself: things like budget, dimensions, fixed or electric and if you often watch TV or read in bed and all the other points that are important for you.

Tip 7: Choose the right look

Tip 5: Advice, advice and yet more advice! Good and appropriate advice helps you to reach a carefully considered decision regarding the purchase of a box spring bed that is perfect for you. So make sure you always ask for advice.

Tip 9: Time to buy! Reached a decision? Buy or order the box spring bed of your dreams. Ask about the conditions of the guarantee and delivery date.

Tip 10: Style and arrange Tip 6: Come and test out the beds for yourself! Try the box spring beds in the store and always compare the comfort. Come and try them for yourself, lie down, touch, see and experience the different possibilities.

The moment has arrived! Your box spring bed is standing in your bedroom. The perfect moment for you to restyle your bedroom. Style your bedroom with decorative cushions, an attractive rug, a new duvet cover and a cool plaid. Dreams start here! Sleep well.

Issue 46  |  October 2017  |  43

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Interior Design  |  Creating Quality of Life



Feeling at home in your life TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: RECOR GROUP

Furniture reflecting the way you are, how you live - and what you love: allround B2B furniture producer Recor has been a trusted face in the lives of many Belgians for generations. The well-renowned Belgian producer is now bringing us Recor Home: an exclusive b2b2c-collection of labels for every type of consumer, available at an exclusive group of dealers. Discover Benelux met up with Charles and Adrien, part of the third generation of Corthouts, Recor’s founding family, and spoke about their new brand strategy, innovative solutions, and furniture that will grow old with you. From living room to bedroom and from detailed decorations to exceptional show44  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

pieces: Recor allows you to design your own life from A to Z. Known for exceptional design combined with solid comfort, the Belgium-based business has built a fascinating story based on the foundations of quality, reliability, and affordable design. Recor Home is its newest story of success: complementing Recor’s other collections, it is a combination of five different lines based on various types of customers, available from an exclusive list of Belgian retailers.

From house to home “Recor Home is our new all-round concept, boasting everything for your home under one logo,” Corthouts begins, when asked about the new label. “It stands out through quality, durability, and the ability

to inspire – it encourages people to design a living space reflecting their personality and the way they live.” Recor Home will consist of five different lines: Expo, Dansaert, Ardenne, Zoute, and Hermitage. They were developed following extensive market research among 1,500 people on interior taste, budget, and consumer behaviour. Expo will be Recor Home’s most prestigious line, meant for those looking to distinguish themselves with avant-garde showpieces. Dansaert is the line with the youngest DNA, ideal for those leading an active city life due to its innovative solutions for spacious challenges. An oasis of rest is to be found in Ardenne: a line

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Interior Design  |  Creating Quality of Life

bringing a pure combination of colours, materials and shapes inspired by nature. Zoute boasts items centred on comfort and solidness that can fit into any space. The final line is Hermitage: hallmarked by luxury and richness, its exceptional items will make you fall head over heels in love. Those with a sharp eye might have noticed the link between the names of the collections and locations in Belgium, its place of founding. “We have always remained masters of our own production,” Corthouts emphasises. “We have invested in our own production units: through our two Belgian, two Slovakian and two Hungarian factories we keep control of every single part of the process. This gives us the power to produce top-notch home furniture which meets our high-quality standards and the latest home trends and market demands.” The design for the Recor Home collection was realised by the able hands of Recor’s diverse design team: a mix of young and old, established and upcoming, and inhouse and external designers. “It was this combination that led to the innovative yet solid design that defines Recor Home,” enthuses Frederik Delbart, creative direc-

tor. “We host designers who have worked with us for over 40 years, but were also supported by fresh out school graduates. It was the perfect mix of highly technical knowledge and creative out-of-the-box thinking.”

Inspiring life To provide its consumers with a home reflecting their personality, Recor aims to serve as an inspiration to them – both offline and online. “Consumers conduct extensive research before buying at one of our retailers, so our focus is on optimally combining the offline and online experience.” Recor’s renewed website, which will be online in November, hosts a special configurator and 3D room planner, on which consumers can plan their ideal living space, while receiving a price indication regarding their selections. A central role, however, is left for the retailer with whom the consumer can make a direct appointment online.

smiles. “We don’t have shareholders to please with fast results and are only true to our own mission and values. The only people we want to please are our customers – they have the final say.” Like Recor itself, its furniture can count on a long and high-quality life valued by generations. “Our products have a lifecycle adapted to our customers,” Corthouts ensures. “It is the beauty of our profession: you design something very personal, something that people literally live their lives with. Take a sofa, for example. You buy it for your first house, welcome your friends on it, feed your baby on it, and so on. Our furniture grows old with you.” For more information, visit

So, what is the biggest plus of working in a family company? “Besides the obvious pleasure of working with family, it is a major advantage that we can operate through a long-term vision,” Corthouts


Genua (Expo) Expo Montreal

Sam Goyvaerts

Ruben Deriemaeker

Frederik Delbart

Issue 46  |  October 2017  |  45

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Interior Design  |  Creating Quality of Life

Cosy, trendy, budget friendly TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: QUOZY KEUKENS

Quozy Keukens makes quality kitchens accessible to everyone. This family company is the first one in the Benelux to offer both self-installation and fully fitted budget-friendly kitchens and prides itself on personal and professional service.

sembled and ready to be installed, so you will not spend hours or even days assembling the kitchen yourself,” he laughs.

Getting more out of less budget: that is Quozy’s philosophy. The Ghent-based company offers a broad kitchen assortment of qualitatively high yet economic kitchens. Customers can choose from 12 door models in over 40 colours and various styles: think modern, timeless, or rustic. Many years of experience in the kitchen renovation business has led Quozy to implement this unique concept.

Julio got the passion for the business at his mother’s knee: his parents have over 30 years’ experience in the industry and are still active at Quozy. As often unique for a true family company, customers can expect the highest level of service and dedication, which starts with the taking of measurements at the customer’s home before making the offer. “Many other companies require customers to take measurements themselves and come to the showroom for an estimate, which leaves scope for error. Our team always visits people at home.”

Whether you are one of the DIY lovers among us, or rather opt for a completely carefree professional installation service, Quozy has the kitchen for all. “If we say self-installation, we really mean just self-installation,” owner Julio Gysels starts. “Every delivered item is already as-

Quozy’s customer base is as diverse as its assortment. From first-time buyers, to companies, to professional letters: they all adorn Quozy’s portfolio. Every customer is taken on a virtual 360-degree tour through their new kitchen before any decision has been made, providing them

46  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

with a real picture of the chosen design. Costs are kept low by using mainly standardised materials and keeping production costs low, all the while never compensating on quality. Transparency is always the key - every order states the exact details and prices for every service or piece of equipment. While its main office is located in Ghent, Quozy Keukens is planning on an extensive network of small and local ‘Kitchen Studios’: franchise companies with a local character where customers can see, feel, and select the materials. The Kitchen Studios will be located at strategic points in Belgium and the Netherlands, where a further expansion of franchises is on the itinerary. “Yet we never link our name to a Studio that does not represent our philosophy: superior quality and personal, professional service,” Julio smiles. Web:


Fja-Oeyen creates the most attractive and beautifully duvet covers for you in its own workshop. In the fabric and with the design of your choice. In our showrooms you will be able to choose from a vast range of textiles. And yet the biggest secret for blissful and healthy sleeping comfort are Fja-Oeyen down duvets. For over 4 generations, they have been produced in an authentic, traditional manner. In our stores and webshop you can buy pure Belgian quality products with a lifelong warranty on stuffing in 100% down. Always alterable and washable in the Fja-Oeyen down laundry. At you can read all about it.

WEB SHOP WWW.FJA-OEYEN.BE Asstraat 2 • 2400 Mol / Orgelstraat 5 • 2000 Antwerpen T. 014-31 13 92 • • DOWN DUVETS






48  |  Issue 46  43  |  October July 20172017

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Jan Fabre


An artist’s ode to Belgium Born in Belgium in 1958, Jan Fabre has been one of the most talked-about names on the international contemporary art scene for more than four decades. The acclaimed multidisciplinary artist still lives and works in his native Antwerp, where he also helms his own theatre company, Troubleyn. We caught up with Fabre to hear more about the group’s latest production: Belgian Rules/Belgium Rules. Comprising music, dance and text, the spectacle is an in-depth exploration of the creative’s beloved homeland, with an international cast of performers searching for the Belgian identity. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: © ANGELOS BVBA PHOTO/ FRANK BAHNMULLER

Currently touring throughout Europe, Belgian Rules/Belgium Rules will arrive in the Benelux next month with performances lined up at prestigious venues including the Concertgebouw Bruges and Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam. With music by Raymond van het Groenewoud and text by Johan de Boose, the performances sees Fabre celebrate - as well as criticise - the place he calls home. “Belgium is the country I was born in. It’s an absurd, surrealistic Monty Python country. For instance, we are the land with the most ministers in Europe. This tiny territory is divided in three parts: Flanders, Wallonia and the German part. We have three official languages! We are bursting with bureaucracy. Belgium is an artificial state,” begins Fabre. “But it is also a beautiful country! At the same time, Belgium is everything but a failed state. We are multicultural and multinational. We are united in our differences. Since the Middle Ages, we have been a relatively rich and developed country. Belgium has always been a fruitful platform for the arts, from the Flemish classical painters and polyphonists to the 20th century surrealism and Belgian cartoons.

“This piece will be an homage to Belgium. As Fellini did with Rome, I wanted to do something similar with my home country, Belgium. An ode that is at the same time a magnifying glass: all the beautiful ugliness and the ugly beauty of Belgium is shown. It is a colourful celebration and at the same time a critical examination. For example, we talk about what the Belgians have done in the Congo, which has been a taboo for a long time. It will be a festive meeting, a collision between word and image, in my own visual and theatrical language. As Fellini did with his film Roma: a critical declaration of love.”

The prince of Antwerp In November, Belgian Rules/Belgium Rules will show at the Toneelhuis in Antwerp, the city where Fabre was born and developed his passion for art. As a child he was fascinated by the Rubenshuis; the former Antwerp home of Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens. “My father passed on to me his talent for drawing. He took me as a very young guy, aged ten, to the Rubenshuis, to make sketches and drawings. He also took me to the zoo to make drawings of both animals and humans. He introduced me to

the teaching of Lavater’s physiognomy,” recalls Fabre. Fabre’s mother also had an important influence on his oeuvre. “My mother gave me the love and the passion for language. She translated for me when I was still very young the classical poets: Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine. Also, the ‘chansonniers’, such as Édith Piaf, Lucienne Delyle, Georges Brassens, and Jacques Brel.” Fabre was a pupil at Antwerp’s esteemed Royal Academy of Fine Arts, which was founded in 1663 and counts the likes of Emile Claus, Ford Madox Brown and Panamarenko among its alumni. Dutch master Vincent van Gogh even spent a few months there prior to his departure to France. Belgium’s second city, long famed for its thriving art and fashion scene, has had a profound impact on Fabre. “I am the prince of Antwerp. I love the United States of Antwerp. Every corner and gutter of that city is in my blood,” he asserts. “I am a very provincial artist. For that reason, maybe, my work is universal. I do not have the disease that is called ‘Internationalitis’. I love the Antwerp diaIssue 46  |  October 2017  |  49

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Jan Fabre

Belgian rules. Photo: © Wonge Bergmann

lect. I love to take walks in the cemetery of Antwerp. As a young artist, I hated my country. But in the beginning of the 1980s I was living for year and a half in New York. By being in America, I started falling in love with Belgium and getting a deep respect for the cultural history and traditions of both Belgium and Europe.”

Anarchists and artists Along with artists such as Luc Tuymans and Michaël Borremans; Fabre remains one of Belgium’s biggest names on the international art scene. Despite his global success, Fabre still resides in his native Antwerp like Tuymans, while Borremans continues to live and work in Ghent. What is it that makes Belgium so attractive to artists? “Belgium never had real economic or military power. Belgium rules nobody - on the contrary. Within our history of more than 2,000 years, we have almost always been occupied by foreign powers: Romans, Spanish, Austrians, French, Dutch, Germans… Many wars by others have been fought on our grounds. That is also the reason why Belgium is inhabited by anarchists and artists. We are naturally critical of authority and skeptical of regulations. This individualistic relationship with rules is also an important theme in the performance. Irony for instance is an important 50  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

Belgian rules. Bic Art by Jan Fabre (1979)

weapon here, and subversion is genetic in Belgium,” explains Fabre. “Art has always been a subversive act in Belgium. Take Hieronymus Bosch: he was a well-educated man, and he was catholic. But he was attacking the power and the church in his paintings. We rule in the arts. The oil painting was invented in Belgium! Here we do not trust the law, the rule, the word. Here, the image guides us.” Fabre is a great admirer of his contemporaries such as Borremans and Tuymans, whom he praises for having “their own universe and their own style”. He is also a fan of Belgian conceptual visual artist Kris Martin and Dutch creatives including Henk Visch, Hans Van Houwelingen, and Rob Scholte. “All these artists created beautiful, permanent works in the Troubleyn/Laboratorium in Antwerp, the studio for my theatre work.”

Making history Fabre has exhibited all over the world, and earlier this year had a solo exhibition at the iconic Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia. “I was the first living contemporary artist that got a major solo exhibition in that museum,” he reveals. Called Knight of Despair / Warrior of Beauty, it featured more than 200 exhibits. “I worked for

three years on that exhibition and created a whole new series of works for it. It was an incredible experience to work there, between all the Flemish masterpieces in the Winter Palace and also in the new spaces, designed by Rem Koolhaas.” Meanwhile, as part of the 57th Venice Biennale, the exhibition Glass and Bone Sculptures 1977-2017 is running until 26 November at the L’Abbazia di San Gregorio, showing a series of Fabre’s works in glass and bone. The exhibition is a philosophical, spiritual and political meditation on life and death centred around the notion of transformation. “The reason for bringing glass, and human and animal bones together stems from the memory of my sister as a child playing with a small glass object. This made me think of the flexibility inherent in human bone and glass. Some animals, and all human beings come out of the womb like molten glass out of a melting oven. “Everyone can be moulded, bent and shaped with an amazing degree of freedom,” concludes the artist. To find out about upcoming exhibitions and Troubleyn performances, visit

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Jan Fabre

Issue 46  |  October 2017  |  51

Discover Benelux  |  Tourism  |  Top Places to Visit in the Benelux

Photo: Westtoer


Where will this winter take you? Still suffering from the post-holiday blues? From some of the most beautiful spots on the Flemish Coast, to the lively city of Nijmegen in the Southeast of the Netherlands, our tourism special has plenty to cheer you up.

Photo: NBTC

52  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Tourism  |  Top Places to Visit in the Benelux

Photo: Westtoer

Start planning your break The Benelux is a region of seasons, and the autumn/winter period is undoubtedly one of the most magical. The temperatures may be dropping, but as long as you wrap up warm there is no reason not to enjoy a bracing walk along the beach or a long bike ride amid the golden forests. Afterwards you can get cosy with a warming hot chocolate or something stronger - Glühwein anyone? After all, the region’s famous Christmas markets will be here again before we know it. Whether in Belgium or the Netherlands, plenty of festivities await… The Waal Bridge, Nijmegen. Photo: NBTC

The Netherlands Gemeente Nijmegen Tucked away in the east of the Netherlands, at a stone’s throw from the German border lies the 2,000-year-old city of Nijmegen. With an innovative university and active cultural scene, Nijmegen is a an old city with a young vibe. Read more from page 54 Stichting Achterhoek Toerisme The Achterhoek region is home to some of the best museums in the Netherlands, not

to mention glorious landscapes, magnificent castles and a mouthwatering foodie scene. Read more from page 58 Belgium The Flemish Coast Long stretches of sandy coastline and charming seaside towns: the Flemish Coast offers a host of sport and recreation activities and is the ideal destination for a family holiday or romantic break. Read more from page 59

Photo: NBTC

Issue 46  |  October 2017  |  53

Discover Benelux  |  Tourism  |  Nijmegen Top Spots

Waal Bridge. Photo: © Norbert Voskens Fotografie


Where old and new collide Tucked away in the east of the Netherlands, at a stone’s throw from the German border lies the city of Nijmegen. Situated on a slope, it proudly overlooks the majestic river Waal that curls around the 2,000-year-old city. Become part of its long history and discover how the former Roman stronghold turned into the vibrant, cultural hotspot of today. TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  PHOTOS: GEMEENTE NIJMEGEN

Mariënburg Chapel. Photo: © G. Monnens 2004

54  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Tourism  |  Nijmegen Top Spots

Nijmegen has an active cultural scene, with various events held at De Kaaij. Photo: © Hans Cras

With its strategic location along the Waal, Nijmegen has a lengthy and intriguing history that continues to develop. In fact, it is the oldest city in the Netherlands, and if you look closely you can still find hints of its moving story. Experience its past at the Valkhof Park, go shopping at the Victorian Hezelstraat or enjoy views of the skyline and picturesque Saint Stephen’s Church from a newly created island in the middle of the Waal. With an innovative university, active cultural scene and vibrant new creative hub, the Honig Complex, Nijmegen is an old city with a young vibe.

A hidden early heritage The founding of Nijmegen goes back to 19 BC when the Romans first settled on the natural moraine next to the river. The military outpost and adjacent village turned into a centre of trade, and by 98 AD ‘Noviomagus’ had received city rights, the first settlement in the modern-day Netherlands to do so. By the eighth century, when much of Western Europe was under Charlemagne’s rule, the emperor had his palace

built here. It was then known as ‘Numaga’, a precursor for its modern-day name. The palace was eventually burnt to the ground, and sadly there are few obvious reminders of Nijmegen’s early history apart from at the Valkhof Park at the heart of the city’s captivating past.

Go back in time at the Valkhof Park In 1155, a new castle was built by German emperor Frederick Barbarossa. The Barbarossa Ruins still reminds of the splendour of the building. To see this historic site, visit the Valkhof Park in the lower city, wedged between the centre and the Waal Bridge. Here, you can also find the St. Nicholas Chapel dating from 1030 and the fascinating Valkhof Museum. The museum delves into the city’s 2,000-year history and displays many major archaeological finds and artefacts from the city and its surroundings. Throughout the late Middle Ages, the strategic position on the Waal fuelled the city’s economy, and the river beds provided fertile farmlands. This is also the period when the majestic Saint Stephen’s Church was

built, at the highest point of the upper city. The church’s foundations still stem from the 1270s and, to this day, the church is Nijmegen’s main architectural feature looming large over the city. By the 15th century, Nijmegen had become a city of prominence; it entered the prestigious Hanseatic trade league and was fortified with a stone wall.

Stroll along a Victorian shopping street The wars of the Renaissance hampered Nijmegen’s growth, and the 1630s plague epidemic halved its population. By the 19th century, political stability returned to the region and the now protestant city of Nijmegen began to flourish once more. It quickly became overpopulated, and the confining defensive walls were all taken down in 1875. Around this time, the first vendors also moved into the Hezelstraat, near the central market or Grote Markt. To this day, this remains part of the best shopping area of Nijmegen, with many independent shops as well as cosy restaurants and bars. Existing for over 135 years, the Hezelstraat proudly proclaims to be the Netherlands’ oldest shopping street. Issue 46  |  October 2017  |  55

Discover Benelux  |  Tourism  |  Nijmegen Top Spots

Shopping in the Hezelstraat.

The Skyline of Nijmegen with the St. Stephen’s Church. Photo: © Rutger Hollander

In the Second World War, Nijmegen took a turn for the worst. Being so close to the border, it was one of the first Dutch cities to be captured by the Nazis. Towards the end of the war, it was bombed several times from both the German and Allied forces. Many of the historic buildings were lost, and while many were rebuilt in their original style, they now stand side by side with more modern buildings. This mix of old and new perfectly reflects Nijmegen’s versatile character of today.

Nijmegen’s new cultural hub the Honig Complex At around 175,000 inhabitants, Nijmegen is the largest city in the East of the Netherlands. The Radboud University, founded in the 1920s, ensures an influx of young and innovative minds as well as an active and diverse cultural scene and events calendar. Coming up this November, Nijmegen will host the third edition of the Dutch international science Film Festival InScience featuring numerous screenings of sciencethemed documentaries. To experience the best of Nijmegen’s cultural scene outside of special events, the Honig Complex is a must-visit. The 1914 56  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

Catwalk event at De Kube, Honig Complex.

factory originally produced wheat starch, but after the takeover of Honig production was reduced and completely halted five years ago. Now the Honig Complex is Nijmegen’s new cultural hub and meeting space, and it is home to stylish restaurants, unique event spaces and sports centres, quirky concept stores and even a microbrewery. Situated on the Waal just west of the city centre, the Honig Complex is also a place where entrepreneurs, creatives and innovators connect, making it an inspiring place to visit.

Giving the river space Just upstream from the Honig Complex is another recent addition to Nijmegen, in the form of an island and a brand-new side channel. As part of Room for the River, a national project to protect cities along major rivers against flooding, the riverbeds along the Waal were greatly expanded. The sharp curve in the river around Nijmegen creates a bottle-neck with fast-flowing water. This means water can rise quickly, putting large parts of the lower city at risk. During the project Ruimte voor de Waal or ‘Room for the Waal’, the river embank-

ments were moved 350 metres inland. Completed last year, this radical construction project created a secondary river channel running parallel to the main river, with an island separating the two. This also means Nijmegen now has an area of slow-flowing water which is ideal for water sports and leisure. This example of engineering ingenuity shows how, even after two millennia, Nijmegen continues to develop and evolve.

See the city like a local The best way to discover a city is by getting a local to show you around. Unfortunately, many visitors will not have this opportunity, but now there is a way to get all the insider tips without having to know a host locally. Through the international USE-IT network, many inhabitants, or ‘Nijmegenaren’, got together to make the free city map aimed at young people that reveals the best spots to visit. Created by volunteers, it also lists yearly events, gives a quick history overview and offers advice on where to buy the best sandwiches, vintage clothes, cocktails, and much more. Download it for free on the website.

Discover Benelux  |  Tourism  |  Nijmegen Top Spots

Natural Nijmegen: A hiker’s paradise There is also plenty to discover when you step outside of the city. Set in a beautiful nature-rich area, Nijmegen is located next to the spectacular grasslands of the Ooij to the East, the hilly forests of the Groesbeekse Bos to the South, and the rich wetlands of the Overasseltse en Hatertse Vennen to the South-West. The diversity of the surroundings attracts hikers from far and wide. Every July, Nijmegen is in fact host to the immensely popular Four Day Marches. With over 40,000 participants, it is the largest multiple-day hiking event in the world. Outside of the yearly event, avid hikers, and well as cyclists, can peacefully discover the stunning surroundings in all their glory. Marked by fields, waterways and quaint little villages, the Ooij lies just upstream from Nijmegen. At mere minutes from the city centre, the fields take visitors through

seemingly endless pastures with curious cows and no cars in sight. Just south of Nijmegen, the landscape turns into the sloped forest of the Groesbeekse Bos. As autumn transforms the leaves from green to red, amber and gold, now is the perfect time to explore this area and see the countless colours. The pinnacle of the forest is the 75-metre-high Duivelsberg, or Devil’s Hill, which offers splendid views of the area. The Overasseltse en Hatertse Vennen feature a completely different landscape with heaths, river dunes and meres. At a 20-minute drive from Nijmegen’s centre, the nature reserve is surprisingly rich in wildlife. It is home to badgers, beavers, foxes, rabbits as well as a flock of sheep who keep the grass trimmed. The local ranger organises various activities throughout the year, including safari excursions, badger explorations or even the occasional snorkel session.

Green Capital 2018 Looking forward to next year, Nijmegen will celebrate being crowned ‘European Green Capital 2018’. It is the first Dutch city to be awarded this title, thanks to its commitment to sustainability. Throughout next year, Nijmegen will host various events and conferences showcasing the creative and innovative solutions of businesses, entrepreneurs, scientists and local institutions to build a ‘greener’ society. Amid the festivities, Nijmegen will celebrate the opening of De Bastei, a new centre for nature and cultural history. The purpose-built centre will act as an innovative meeting place and its interactive displays will reveal the natural history of Nijmegen and the river Waal, and present how sustainability projects such as Ruimte voor de Waal will aim to preserve the areas for generations to come.

Photo: © Rutger Hollander

Photo: © Rutger Hollander

Cycling through Het Rijk van Nijmegen, the city's nature-rich surroundings.

Issue 46  |  October 2017  |  57

Discover Benelux  |  Tourism  |  Achterhoek Top Spots

Photo: Stan Bouman

Photo: Stan Bouman

Discover a region of culinary delights TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: STICHTING ACHTERHOEK TOERISME

Though made up of 12 provinces, the Netherlands has certain areas within these provinces that have an identity of their own. The ‘Achterhoek’ is one such area, nestled in the east of the province of Gelderland and known throughout the rest of the country as a region filled with farmers, castles and an accent that is quite unique. Though all of that may be true, there is much more to the Achterhoek than meets the eye. It is possibly one of the best destinations for gourmands, bikers and those with a soft spot for the arts. “Our region can be defined as ‘smallscale’ in the most positive sense of the word. Home to glorious landscapes, nature estates and national parks, the only big buildings you’ll find are the many castles that adorn the Achterhoek, not 58  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

all open for visiting, but with their surroundings still well worth a visit. There are many small entrepreneurs in the area and a plethora of modest bed and breakfasts, holiday homes and hotels. You’ll find the ‘Achterhoeker’, as we call people who live here, to be honest and proud. They all have a shared sense of duty we call ‘naoberschap’ where we all look out for each other,” explains Marcella de Vos from the Achterhoek board of tourism. The culinary delights of this unique area are particularly worth emphasising. With its forest rich surroundings, the Achterhoek is known for its game that’s hunted in particular seasons like pheasant and hare in October. Thanks to such a varied vegetation, the flavour is quite special and can be enjoyed at over 20 restaurants in the region specialising in game. “Our

chefs in the region know all too well how to serve the dishes the best way possible. It’s possible to book arrangements for restaurants and hotels. Expect a good pairing of our home-grown wine with game for an authentic experience.” There are many hotspots in the Achterhoek that should not be left unvisited. “Our region is home to some of the best museums in the Netherlands. There’s Museum MORE that houses an impressive collection of Dutch realists and castle Huis Bergh that’s been transformed to a museum with works of Duccio and Bosch.” The towns themselves are worth a trip and if you want to go shopping, there are many historical towns to choose from such as Winterswijk. Web:

Discover Benelux  |  Tourism  |  Flemish Coast Top Spots


Holiday Village Knokke offers a restful vacation at the coast, with easy access to world-class food, high-end shopping and fun for the whole family.

“Knokke is a Belgian resort that really fires the imagination,” says Coeman. “It has a proud history of creativity, art and architecture. People come here to enjoy life!”

Holiday Village Knokke provides modern bungalows that combine the luxury and services of a hotel with the feeling of freedom that comes from having your own space. And all this just 500 metres from Lippenslaan, the place to be seen in the fashionable seaside resort of Knokke – also known as the Belgian Saint Tropez.

The town has more than 200 restaurants, holding a total of ten Michelin stars between them and offering something for every palate. “Knokke is a great place to shop and there are no end of sporting possibilities on the beach,” says Coeman. “And the beach bars and the Grand Casino are great places to spend time.”

“A peaceful atmosphere prevails here,” says manager Parcifal Coeman. “Most of the bungalows look out over the beautiful polder landscape that typifies this region, but within walking distance you have all the life you could wish for.”

Holiday Village Knokke’s guests come primarily from Belgium and neighbouring

Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. But international clients from Saudi Arabia, the US and Australia all find their way here too, drawn by the winning combination of luxury, freedom and service. “Service is everything to us. It is not just a word,” says Coeman. “We listen to our guests and do everything we can to make their stay with us as enjoyable as possible. And every day, we do this with a smile. When you stay with us, it’s like coming home.” Web:

Chalets are available with one, two and three bedrooms, welcoming couples and families as well as families and friends in groups of up to six. The facilities include flat-screen TV, dishwasher, safe and Nespresso machine, and all bungalows have their own private deck. On arrival, guests are treated to a welcome pack including coffee, and beds are made up ready for a good night’s sleep by the sea. Issue 46  |  October 2017  |  59

Discover Benelux  |  Tourism  |  Flemish Coast Top Spots

The senses of the sea Located along the picturesque Belgian shore is an inviting restaurant where you can see, feel, taste, hear and smell the sea. Whether you come for business or pleasure, the doors of restaurant Si Versailles are always open and its caring team are more than willing to help you with all your dining wishes on a night out. “When choosing a restaurant there is always an expectation. At Si Versailles, it is our mission to feel the need, but also fulfil the expectation,” explains Trui Ponjaert, owner and hostess at Si Versailles. After her mother took over the restaurant 30 years ago, the business has stayed in the


family. With a large database of regular guests as well as a close-knit team, the restaurant has certainly come up with a success formula. Their secret? “Running the restaurant and ensuring excellent service is a matter of the heart, not of the mind. The fact that we’ve run the restaurant for many years with a creative, personal vision, rather than a business attitude, creates a unique vibe,” reveals Ponjaert. “As a hostess, I always try to keep in mind how we can entertain our guests, yet also keep their privacy in mind.” The creative vibe can be seen in every detail of the restaurant, which is decorated with beautiful warm tints and has a mesmerising view over the sea. Guests can choose from

a menu with mouthwatering dishes including sea mussels from the region and codfish with green curry. “We try to use our knowledge and experience as much as we can and blend that in with the more traditional recipes on the menu,” adds Ponjaert. “If the guests are happy, we are happy. That is the good balance.” Web: Sample mouthwatering dishes by chef Laurent Willemarck.

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Column





Why not to read (too many) books about leadership TEXT & PHOTO: STEVE FLINDERS

Amazon UK lists over 36,000 books on leadership, but none of them are on my bedside table. Indeed, it is unlikely that I will be rushing to buy a book with a title like The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company anytime soon. Of course, some of them are brilliant. Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (2004) and my old favourite Up the Organization (1970) by the then Avis boss, Robert Townsend, are both clear, simple and straightforward and, in Townsend’s case, iconoclastic. But I usually find life too short to read good books, and books about leadership too. In fact, there are many sources for reading about leadership. Any good novel, for example, will tell us about ourselves and about the behaviour of others: self-understanding should underpin good leadership. And not just books. That great film, Seven Samurai, teaches us about teamwork and servant leadership. Shakespeare’s play, King Lear, shows the terrible consequences of toxic leadership. Bellini’s opera, Norma,

deals with the challenges of role conflict for women leaders. At the risk of sounding trite, my belief is that the basics of leadership are fairly simple to state, but hard to do. My main guiding principles are: 1. Overcome your own fears and, since this is difficult, find someone you can talk things through with to help you do this. People join companies but quit their bosses: so many managers seem to be afraid of leading, with negative and expensive consequences. 2. Fix clear, ambitious targets, communicate them clearly and stick to them as far as possible. 3. Listen to people – really listen. 4. Always be positive or pretend to be. 5. Be nice to people and they will be nice to you and each other, enjoy their jobs more and be more productive. 6. Give and receive lots of feedback and higher productivity is sure to follow.

8. Do not let work take over your life. 9. Talk about and reflect on what you do. 10. Lose no opportunity to learn from other leaders, and from leadership books if that helps. I think these are good pointers on the road to becoming a good and eventually a great leader. So, having encapsulated the essential thinking of over 36,000 books on leadership, excuse me while I go back to my novel. Steve Flinders is a freelance trainer, writer and coach, based in Malta, who helps people develop their communication and leadership skills for working internationally:

7. Be fair. Issue 46  |  October 2017  |  61

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Carlo Thelen

62  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Carlo Thelen


‘A diversified & dynamic economy with many global players’ Read part two of Discover Benelux’s exclusive interview with Carlo Thelen, director general and chief economist of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTO: CHAMBRE DE COMMERCE

Why does Luxembourg have such an important place in the global economy? We are one of the four capitals of the European Union and we host various European institutions on our territory. We are also one of the six founding members of the European community, resolutely committing ourselves to the European construction and supporting all initiatives promoting stronger ties between the member states. We are a small country between two European powers - France and Germany - and we know their cultures and their languages very well. In the past, Luxembourg often played an important mediating role between the two countries when they were trying to find a common ground on which to pursue the European construction. Companies which come to Luxembourg often tell us that they particularly enjoy the businessfriendly environment and the international mindset. Luxembourg offers all the advantages of a big cosmopolitan city, but without the downsides that usually come with bigger cities.

Aside from the financial, in which other sectors does Luxembourg excel? Luxembourg is one of the leading financial centres in the world. It ranks number one in the European investment fund and private equity industry. But the country

also remains a key player in the industrial sector. Throughout its history, Luxembourg excelled in steel production and owes its wealth since the 19th century largely to the presence of a powerful steel industry. Presently, Luxembourg is home to the ArcelorMittal headquarters. Many other world leaders such as Goodyear and DuPont also chose Luxembourg for their European headquarters or research centres. Luxembourg is also home of SES, the world-leading private satellite operator. People outside of Luxembourg often don’t know much about our country and are surprised when they discover how many companies are operating from Luxembourg. Our top-notch ICT infrastructure is a key element in our ability to attract big companies, because they all rely on ultra-high-speed internet connections and state-of-the-art data centres to run their business. Luxembourg has so much more to offer than being a worldclass financial centre. The country has an extremely diversified economy with many global players, promising startups and innovative companies.

Why is Luxembourg so attractive to entrepreneurs? For the moment, Luxembourg is a wellrenowned place for attracting talent and enabling international mobility. It is especially attractive for people who are looking for a high quality of life, a dynamic economy and an entrepreneurial environment.

We presently see a lot of new ideas and new startups, especially in fast-growing sectors such as ICT. We also observe similar dynamics in more traditional sectors like tourism or hospitality. The automotive industry is also a sector which has a long history in Luxembourg. It’s a little-known fact that many of the world’s leading car producers are using equipment which is designed and developed by the automotive industry in Luxembourg.

Post-Brexit, Luxembourg is luring even more companies. How do you explain this trend and do you think it will continue? Luxembourg can indeed be an attractive destination for some of the companies looking to leave the UK, but certainly not to all of them. It all depends on their type and size. We have to be realistic. For companies who are planning to move 3,000 people, Luxembourg is not a viable option given the limited capacity of its real estate market to accommodate them. Instead, some major companies are moving smaller entities to Luxembourg, for example those in charge of managing European passport activities. Smaller teams can easily be moved to Luxembourg where they will find an international setting and an easy access to the European single market. Luxembourg is seen as an attractive workplace because of its open, dynamic and business-friendly environment. Issue 46  |  October 2017  |  63

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Dany Unger Immobilière

Making you at home in Luxembourg TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON  |  PHOTOS: DANY UNGER

The property market in Luxembourg today is not for the faint-hearted, on either side of the deal – a good reason to work with real estate professional Dany Unger and her team. Buying, selling or renting a property is not something to be undertaken lightly in any circumstances, whether you are the one moving in, moving out, or providing it as part of your business. Add to the mix the particular current market conditions in Luxembourg, the need to have a smooth and close working relationship with a good and genuinely professional real estate agent handling the matter is all the more essential.

A demanding market It must be understood that there are many demanding administrative problems involved in property transactions in the 64  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

Grand Duchy that are of a highly complex legal nature in what is quite a tricky market. Without a dedicated professional to aid the client, especially international clients, it could rapidly turn into a nightmare of obstacles, delays and snags.

Extensive experience Dany Unger, an experienced real estate agent with a wide range of clients, has worked in the real estate business for 17 years. She believes that previous experiences working in the tourism sector, the pharmaceutical industry, banking, human resources and for an architect, have helped her to design and develop her own company, incorporating the high level of customer service, good communications and attention to detail that are vital to business operations in those sectors: “I also worked for two other real estate companies before setting up my own in Bertrange, a few

kilometres west of Luxembourg City,” she says. “And looking at the way the market functions, I decided that the best way to serve clients and to build a loyal clientele and repeat business was to create a small and stable team, not to aim for an ever bigger growing organisation.” Thus, she has kept to a team of two fulltime members, added to which she works frequently with one particular interior architect. “Larger firms can tend to focus inwards, on their internal processes and business practices, whereas our aim is to build great – and lasting - external relationships,” she adds. “When, as can happen occasionally, the demand is such that our resources are stretched, I can call on the wellestablished working arrangements my company has developed over the years

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Dany Unger Immobilière

with a few trusted partners. But in every case, I still personally monitor these actions to ensure they fully match the standards we ourselves have set.”

what she does. “That side of what we do has helped us to build up a loyal clientele, which in turn means we get a lot of repeat business,” she says.

The close ties built up with the interior architect also allow Dany to facilitate projects like refurbishment, remodelling, and extensions for clients adding value to their existing properties, or considering the ramifications of such work on potential purchases.

An expert mediator

Working for the client Dany emphasises that her role is to ensure that all the complex procedures involved in property transactions are carried out in the best interest of the client to avoid any complications of a legal nature, or indeed of any sort, that could cause her clients grief. Moreover, the human aspect of the work is, and has been throughout her career in real estate, a very important feature of

As a ‘people person’ Dany is adept at playing the role of mediator, which is often vital in the successful completion of real estate transactions. But she also – again in part because of previous career experience – has a keen understanding of technical aspects of the business-like banking.

Dany Unger

“My watchwords are confidence, professionalism and close contact with the client,” she says. “And we are able to provide our clients with a focussed service to bring both buyer and seller the results they’re looking for, with flexibility and inter-personal communications,” she concludes. Web:

Issue 46  |  October 2017  |  65

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Lux Capital Management

Wealth management with a personal touch TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: LUX CAPITAL MANAGEMENT

Personalised service is a priority at Lux Capital Management (LCM), an independent wealth management company based in Luxembourg. Founded by Horst Koster, André Klein and Norbert Deloos in 2009, LCM offers portfolio management and investment advice to clients across the Benelux, Germany, Switzerland and other European destinations. More recently, the firm has started approaching the Middle East too. “We established LCM during the financial crisis, when many customers had lost their confidence in the banks,” recalls cofounder and managing partner Norbert Deloos, who started his career working in European banks in Luxembourg. With high levels of expertise, a personalised approach and an international outlook, growth was inevitable: there are now 11 members of the LCM team. The entire organisation is comprised of former private bankers hailing from all over Europe; nationalities include Luxembourgish, Belgian, German, Swiss and English. “Because experience is so 66  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

fundamental in wealth management, the average age of our team is around 45,” explains Deloos. LCM is based in the Grand Duchy due to the country’s global reputation as a leader in private banking, however all advisors are multilingual and can offer global financial guidance in line with clients’ personal objectives and goals. LCM’s advice is completely independent and not prejudiced by any conflict of interest, while there is absolute transparency in the form of a contract and clear fee structure. One of the elements of LCM’s service, which really makes it stand out, is the personalised contact clients have with their own private advisor. “All advisors really get to know their clients. We know their problems and their needs. Unlike with banks, you won’t find that your advisor changes, so customers really feel at home,” adds Deloos. “A personal relationship takes precedence.” LCM’s many services range from advisory expertise in investment and asset management to global strategic tax

optimisation. The firm can also provide assistance with inheritance planning. Thanks to the company’s international outlook and established alliance with trusted banks, LCM offers its clients direct access to leading stock exchanges in Europe and abroad, allowing them to benefit from worldwide investment opportunities. To find out more, visit

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Calendar


al Housing Week gathers all the players involved in housing in one place: estate agents, architects, developers, builders, brokers, professional organisations, banks, insurance companies, and public administrations.

Brussels. Photo: Visit Flanders

Screen Markets 10 October Amsterdam, the Netherlands This event will bring together the financial services user firms and vendor communities of various European countries. Consisting of an exhibition and a conference, Screen Markets offers all participants the opportunity to meet and mingle with all players on both the supply and demand side.

and network with professionals in office design trends, together aiming to reach higher levels of performance, flexibility, and collaboration by embracing the future of design and technology in their workplaces.

The National Housing Week 14 – 22 October Kirchberg, Luxembourg Organised by the Ministry of Housing in collaboration with Luxexpo, the Nation-

IFAH Europe 12 October Brussels, Belgium IFAH represents the European Animal Health industry. Their 2017 event will focus on One Health and what that really means. Participants will discuss moving from vision to action in order to accomplish improvements in health for all.

Smart Workspace Design Summit 12 – 13 October Amsterdam, the Netherlands The SWDS is an experience-based event bringing together those who strive for better workspaces. Visitors can meet 68  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

Photo: NBTC

G-STIC 23 – 25 October Brussels, Belgium The Global Science, Technology & Innovation Conference (G-STIC) aims to accelerate the development, dissemination and deployment of technological innovations that enable the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

World Pension Summit 25 – 26 October The Hague, the Netherlands The World Pension Summit brings together pension professionals to provide a truly global learning and networking experience. The 2017 programme covers all aspects of pensions and discusses the long-term components of vital ‘pensions crossroads’.


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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. “The concept behind Tangla Hotel is to bring a high-end Asian and European designed hotel to the market,” explains general manager Ruprecht Schmitz. Fengshui principles have been applied throughout, giving the hotel a soothing and tranquil 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 relaxing stay. It’s not busy visually, so it provides just the right environment to recuperate,” explains Mr. Schmitz. The hotel’s design features bright, high ceilings, backlit feature walls, customdesigned chandeliers and original artworks. Tangla Hotel has 150 rooms and 37 suites, including a duplex suite located in a tower, and a vast Presidential Suite. The lat70  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

ter has two bedrooms and is fully secured throughout. All bedrooms have 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 elegant marble bathrooms feature spacious walk-in showers, with some suites offering 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. 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. Eating options include a fine-dining Cantonese restaurant, Tang Dynasty, and LeCinq, which serves international food. Tang Dynasty prides

itself on being Belgium’s first Cantonese gastronomic restaurant. The lively LeCinq 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. Thanks to its range of entertainment spaces, Tangla Hotel is well-suited to organising business meetings as well as leisure events. The Imperial Ballroom seats 400 people and the Royal Ballroom is another adaptable space which can be split into three, seats 300, and features inbuilt translation booths. There is also the Discreet room for board meetings, and the Confidential room for 14 people. 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. The hotel is situated in the Eastern part of Brussels and has excellent transport links. Web:




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

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



CEC Leiden plenty of opportunities makingoffers each event successful! CEC Leiden offers plenty of opportunities as a venue for medium-sized conferences as a venue for medium-sized conferences and events. A location with many possibilities and events. A location with many possibilities in decoration, preparation and catering. in decoration, preparation and catering. Excellent service and good communication: Excellent service and good communication: making each event successful! RESTAURANT TWELVE making each event successful! Twelve Restaurant is the restaurant with the most beautiful panorama view of Leiden. The modern bar, facing the west,


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

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Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Matthijs van de Sande Bakhuyzen

Matthijs van de Sande Bakhuyzen played Felix Simons in this year’s hit comedy Voor Elkaar Gemaakt (Made for Each Other).



A rising star of stage and screen, Dutch actor Matthijs van de Sande Bakhuyzen has had a pretty good 2017 so far. He appeared as lead character Felix Simons in the romantic comedy Voor Elkaar Gemaakt (Made for Each Other) as well as starring in a highly acclaimed production of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, directed by Michiel de Regt. We caught up with the 28-yearold Amsterdam native to find out what is next on the horizon. Van de Sande Bakhuyzen first made a name for himself as a child actor in the Dutch television series De Daltons. As the son of late Dutch film director Willem van de Sande Bakhuyzen and director and actress Adriënne Wurpel, he certainly has the acting gene. “It just went like this,” smiles Van de Sande Bakhuyzen. “I think when your parents are both directors, it’s really close the scene…maybe you create a tendency to go that way. I think it was at 22 when I was already acting that I asked myself ‘do I really want 72  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

this?’ The question came later, but I think organically I grew this way.” Van de Sande Bakhuyzen is an alumnus of the Theatre Academy Maastricht, and is equally at home on the stage as on the big screen. This year he also starred in Dutch television series Brussel, a behindthe-scenes depiction of the European political arena. “I have the opportunity to do a lot of things,” he enthuses. As well as being a rom-com favourite, the actor’s portfolio includes 2008 thriller Bloedbroeders (Blood Brothers) and the 2015 sci-fi thriller Boy 7. “I actually love the fact that I have the opportunity to do a lot of things. I love all the genres. I really liked making Boy 7, I was thinking about that movie this morning. I had to do a lot of stunts and that was very cool.” Is there a dream role Van de Sande Bakhuyzen has in mind for the future? “I

would love to play a cop, that’s high on my list. Like a really troubled cop, a film noir type, solving crimes but being a disaster himself! “I’m big fan of the British crime drama Luther. I think Idris Elba is amazing.” So, can we expect to see Van de Sande Bakhuyzen on British screens? Or perhaps even Hollywood? Well, the actor is much more focussed on a project’s artistic integrity rather than factors such as location, although he is of course open to the possibility of working abroad. “It’s not that I would give up all my life here and go to Hollywood. That’s not my dream. My dream is to be an actor!” he enthuses. “I’m very busy in Holland so it’s always looking for windows of opportunity. I would like to see what’s going on in other countries, not per se Hollywood, but I’m curious. I like to try different things!”

Dam 21, Amsterdam

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Museon

Museon National Geographic Joel Sartore. Photo Ark

Museon Jonkvrouw

Where culture meets science TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: MUSEON

less true. Many innovations that we use today were invented in the Middle Ages.”

Inspiring visitors to explore their world through education, culture, and (family) fun: this is the motto that hallmarks Museon. Starting this autumn, the museum is hosting two captivating exhibitions: National Geographic: Photo Ark takes you to the wonderful world of the animal kingdom through beautiful and moving portraits, while Knights and Castles – a new perspective on the Middle Ages immerses you in a bygone time of knights and maidens.

On the basis of seven different characters, visitors can explore the Middle Ages through various interactive exhibits and historic objects. You can create a song with medieval musical instruments, build a castle, or get swept away during a medieval dance. The daredevils among us might want to try the (virtual) horse-riding knight fight.

Always wanted to try on real armour? Or dress up like a beautiful maiden? It is possible at Knights and Castles – a new perspective on the Middle Ages. In this exhibition, Museon paints a unique picture of the ‘dark’ ages, which had a great influence on the science, culture, organisation and geography of today’s Europe. “We show that the Middle Ages was a real time, with real people,” begins Willemien Meinders, educational coordinator at Museon. “People often view medieval times as backwards, yet nothing is

National Geographic: Photo Ark will launch on 12 October. This groundbreaking exhibition highlights the work of renowned conservation photographer Joel Sartore, who has visited 40 countries on a quest to create a photo archive of global biodiversity, the National Geographic: Photo Ark. To date, he has photographed more than 6,000 species. “The goal of the exhibition is to document our planet’s biodiversity and find innovative solutions to help save threatened species and protect their habitats,” says

74  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

Diederik Veerman, curator of the exhibition. “Thousands of species are at risk - Sartore tries to create awareness with the National Geographic: Photo Ark.” Photo Ark displays 60 stunningly beautiful and surprisingly moving animal portraits, all photographed against a black or white background. “No matter its size, Sartore treats each animal he gets before his photo lens with the same amount of affection and respect,” Veerman concludes.

Alongside temporary exhibitions, Museon also hosts a permanent collection. Knights and Castles – a new perspective on the Middle Ages is on display from 28 September 2017 until 2 September 2018. Photo Ark is on display from 12 October 2017 until March 2018


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Museum Jan Cunen

Queens of the Netherlands

Andy Warhol, Beatrix, 1985, oil painting, Triton Foundation


Andy Warhol’s original 1985 portrait of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands takes pride of place in an exciting new exhibition around women and power at the Jan Cunen Museum in Oss. Just around the corner from Oss Central Station, the Jan Cunen Museum is housed in the monumental 19th-century Villa Constance, former residence of two of the town’s most famous families who went on to become the founders of world famous consumer goods manufacturer Unilever. The historical town house boasts a magnificent central hall and three floors of light and airy exhibition rooms, which until 14 January 2018 will exhibit four mutually complementary shows around the power of women. The central exhibition, Women of Orange – Portraits of Five Queens, features 50 portraits spanning five generations of Dutch Queens, from Emma in 1890 to Máxima in 2011. “But our centrepiece is Andy Warhol’s iconic 1985

painting of Queen Beatrix,” says Jan Cunen’s artistic director Karin van Lieverloo. “Mind you, it’s the original, not one of the silkscreen prints. Together the works will convey not only a history of the Dutch Royal Family, but also a history of painting, from Jan Toorop and Thérèse Schwartze to Marte Röling and Erwin Olaf. And, it will show us how we have changed our attitudes towards these women in power.” The Dutch Queens exhibition is accompanied by the powerful and almost mythical female busts by Margot Homan and the intriguing, layered and challenging photographic works by another Dutch artist, Micky Hoogendijk. These three art shows are complemented by a documentative display on one of the most liberating advancements in the history of women: the contraceptive pill, which was first developed and produced by a company called Organon, in Oss. Web:

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:

Photo: © Festyland

Out & About Are you dreading the increasingly shorter days? Look at the bright side: shorter days mean longer nights! With the event calendar as lively as ever in October, the Benelux serves up loads of fun activities that will definitely knock out that approaching winter depression. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

Theater op de Markt . Photo: © Jan Castermans

76  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Calendar Festyland 6 - 7 October Volkel, the Netherlands Nobody likes to see the end of the festival season coming, but there is one silver lining: Festyland. This multiday festival serves all tastes: from rock and roll lovers, to foodies, to dancing queens. This year’s line-up lists well-known names such as De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig, Waylon, and the Memphis Maniacs.

The Harbour Club Amsterdam Oost.

The Harbour Club Month of October Amsterdam, the Netherlands The Harbour Club is a restaurant like no other. Based in one of the best spots of the Dutch capital, away from the city’s bustle, with a terrace that abuts the water and thus brings the possibility of arriving by boat, it is no surprise this place is loved by the upper echelons of Amsterdam society. ICFR. Photo: © Marc Nolte

International Comedy Festival Rotterdam 7 October Rotterdam, the Netherlands ICFR honours comedy in all its appearances, with an evening of great comedy, good food and street theatre. Perhaps the best part: the festival ends with a late-night afterparty!

Cinekid Festival 14 – 27 October Various locations in the Netherlands Who said that an interest in film is only for adults? Every year, the Cinekid festival gives children the opportunity to dive into the world of film and television through interactive installations, workshops and the showing of various productions.

Het Keringhuis Month of October Hoek van Holland, the Netherlands The Dutch have a long history of battling the North Sea and have become masters in arming themselves against high tides and unruly northwestern storms. The Keringhuis shows how the Netherlands still manages to keep its Issue 46  |  October 2017  |  77

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Calendar feet dry through an interactive exhibition and an impressive visit to the Maeslantkering.

Amsterdam Dance Event 18 – 22 October Amsterdam, the Netherlands Amsterdam is a total party paradise – something that is once more emphasised during ADE, the world’s biggest club festival for electronic music lovers. There are over 2,200 artists performing in 120 clubs all over the city.

Revealed at HMH, ADE. Photo: © Darry I Adelaar

SPRING Performance Arts Festival 19 – 21 October Utrecht, the Netherlands Performance arts lovers unite: SPRING is filled with international dance and theatre acts, featuring both national and international artists. You can expect stunning performances, inspiring workshops and magic music shows.

Distillery day 22 October Grevenmacher, Luxembourg The valley of the Moselle in Luxembourg is famous for its delicious wines such as Riesling and Auxerrois. On this last Sunday in October, the distilleries of the region will open their doors

Photo: Royal Delft

78  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

Photo: Cinekid

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Calendar

Dutch Design Week, VEEM expo. Photo: © Nick Bookelaar

for the public and surprise them with tasting and culinary specialties.

esque characters and the senses of great food, the Funfair is the event of the year.

Dutch Design Week 21 – 29 October Eindhoven, the Netherlands The previously industrial city of Eindhoven has certainly earned its stripes as the leading name in cutting-edge design. Featuring inspiring workshops, exhibitions and the famous graduation show from the Dutch Design Academy, Dutch Design Week has become a staple in the world of design.

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

Funfair Until 11 November Liège, Belgium The October Funfair and the city of Liège are inseparably linked to each other. With the Walloon spot being filled with attractions, pictur-

PINT Bokbier Festival 27 – 29 October Amsterdam, the Netherlands Like their Southern neighbours, the Dutch can certainly appreciate a well-drafted beer. The PINT Bokbier Festival is the largest beer festival in the Netherlands and serves up three days full of delights.

Photo: © Visit Flanders

Issue 46  |  October 2017  |  79

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Calendar

Brussels Museums Nocturnes. Photo: © Dieter Telemans

Theater op de Markt 27 – 30 October Dommelhof, Belgium Do you enjoy theatre in a cosy and natural setting? The domain of Dommelhof will be transformed into a convivial circus village for the ninth edition of Theater op de Markt, an international theatre festival.

Brussels Museums Nocturnes Until 7 December Brussels, Belgium Brussel is a capital full of culture. Until 7 December, every Thursday evening you will be able to (re)discover at least five museums in Brussels, when the city’s cultural wealth is put on display through guided tours and activities for young and old. 80  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

Het Keringhuis.

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Columns


Keep dancing Whenever there is a Michaël Borremans exhibition in town, go and see it, you will not be disappointed. I cannot say a lot with much certainty, but that is a rare assertion I know can be confident in. It is also rather ironic considering the themes behind the virtuosic artist’s latest exhibition at Zeno X, Antwerp. Sixteen Dances is a beguiling prospect, drawing on modern day society’s disorientation and disenfranchisement with the world. It is a place where nothing is certain and ambiguity is rife. Borremans is famed for making paintings that appear timeless – at once both dated and contemporary, making the resulting images bizarre and uncanny. That is the case again in Sixteen Dances, but this time Borremans has been more overt with the dark undertone that


permeates the work; red-coloured toddlers walk around smeared scenarios holding severed limbs, and athletic black men wear white balaclavas. Often with Borremans’ paintings, it is hard to clearly pin down associations, there are hints of influence here and there, but you can say little definitively (a habit that makes for brilliant shows, but writing about them frustratingly difficult). Thankfully for all art writers and critics out there, Sixteen Dances seems different – it is easy to see the works as a mirror to the zeitgeist of the moment. Unsettling and a bit bleak yes, but we are all in it together, so go and have a look at these brilliant paintings for yourselves. Sixteen Dances is on show at Zeno X, Antwerp until 14 October.

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.




Cambier is a smooth but strong blonde beer brewed in Leeuwarden, the capital of Friesland and one of the cities designated as next year’s European Capital of Culture (along with Valetta in Malta).

Amber in colour, Cambier has a relatively light aroma with hints of freshly cut grass. There is just the faintest touch of coriander in there too. That is one of the handful of herbs and spices that feature in the brew, along with cumin.

A sizeable proportion of the province’s inhabitants speak West Frisian, the language that linguists say is closest to English of all spoken in the world today. The word ‘Liwwadden’ appears on the Cambier label, reflecting how the city residents pronounce the name of their city.

Cambier’s label mentions a dark episode in Leeuwarden’s city history, the ‘Bieroproer’ of 1487. That violent event saw a troop of around 8,000 armed men plunder the city, apparently because of the municipality’s attempts to ensure that only beer brewed within the city walls was consumed. If all the beer was then as good as Cambier, perhaps that would not have happened?

Do not be seduced by the easy-to-drink nature of this attractive blonde. This beer packs the hefty kick of nine per cent of alcohol by volume. This is the kind of brew that both seasoned craft ale aficionados and irregular lager drinkers are able to share. Candy sugar is one of the ingredients that helps sweeten this beer, ensuring it has broad appeal.

This is a beer that pairs well with lightly spiced cuisine and mature cheeses. Brewer: De Kroon op Leeuwarden Strength: 9.0 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 46  |  October 2017  |  81

Discover Benelux | Music | Benelux Beats

STEFANIE’S RECORD LIST: Bjork - Vulnicura Miles Davis - Kind of Blue Benjamin Clementine - I Tell a Fly David Bowie - Lazarus Blood Orange - Freetown Sound Sneak peek into SX’s fashion collection ‘Community X’.



They have been reaching far beyond their native West Belgium for quite a while: the mysterious SX. The artistic pseudonym of Stefanie Callebaut and Benjamin Desmet landed on earth in 2012 with their album Arche, introducing us to their dark and memorable electropop songs. Late last year the duo released Alphabet, followed by an ongoing tour through the lands of Europe. Discover Benelux spoke to frontwoman Callebaut about music, touring, and fashion.

rounding our musically beating heart with all kinds of different artistic projects.

Alphabet, your second album, was released late last year. What have you been doing since then?

Benjamin and I are both very visual. We love to make our own exotic reality and want to create a certain atmosphere. SX does not have one meaning, but rather translates that atmosphere to a logo.

First and foremost, touring! We have been all over Europe, including France and Switzerland, and shows in Italy and Turkey are planned in autumn. Also, next to writing new songs, we have designed a collection of 3D-printed eyewear frames in collaboration with Hoet Eyewear and Materialise called ‘Cabrio SX by Hoet’. We just love to enrich our biotope by sur82  |  Issue 46  |  October 2017

How is Alphabet different from your first album? With every new work, we try to discover unknown territory. Compared to our first album, we have used a more pure sound on Alphabet: doing more with less. I believe that as a musician you constantly grow, and that is something you also hear on Alphabet. What does SX mean?

What do you prefer: recording or performing? While Benjamin is our studio guru, I feel more at home on stage. It feels more intense. In that respect, Benjamin and I perfectly complement each other.

Best recent musical discovery? Last year we played at Soundrive Festival in Poland. We kept running into a very nice gang of girls backstage, at the hotel and airport. They turned out to be Waxahatchee, an American indie rock band. I’ve been listening to their last album, Out in the Storm, since then. What are the plans for the future? Although we don’t have a release date yet, the song writing for our next album is nearly finished. Also, we are working together with artist and fashion designer Harvey Bouterse on some new exiting projects for Community X, an artist collaboration platform we’ve developed while making Alphabet. It includes our very own clothing line, which you can see in all our videos and live performances.


touristinfo U R K

Tel: +31 (0)527 68 4040







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