Discover Benelux, Issue 47, November 2017

Page 1

I S S U E 4 7 | N O V E M B E R 2 017













Your Shortcut to Benelux

S nacks

Me al s


Pap ers



Discover Benelux  |  Contents

Contents NOVEMBER 2017





Ghent Special

Emma Bale

This Flemish jewel of a city is home to historic

At just 18 years old, Flemish singer Emma Bale

hotspots, marvellous museums and a superb

has already racked up some seriously impres-

foodie scene. Read our guide and start planning

sive accolades, including being named Best

your next city break today!

Solo Female at Belgium’s prestigious Music Industry Awards (MIAs) and Best Belgian Act at


Whether you are seeking nature, adventure, or

tered the dreamlike universe of the Benelux’s

history, the East of the Netherlands has it all.

most promising rising star and discovered a

Check out our favourite addresses in the charm-

captivating talent who is wise beyond her years.

ing provinces of Overijssel and Gelderland.



Exploring the East of the Netherlands

the 2016 MTV Europe Music Awards. We en-


Discover Bourgogne-Franche-Comté We




Company profiles, regulars and more


We look at the month ahead in Benelux busi-

Comté region. With unspoiled scenery, historical

ness, as well as profiling some of the region’s

wonders and postcard-perfect villages, it has all

must-know companies.

the ingredients for a magical winter break.


Hot on the heels of last month’s Dutch Design



Benelux Beats

Week in Eindhoven, we profile some of the

Discover Benelux speaks to saxophonist Pieter

most exciting products ‘Made in the Nether-

van Exter of Dutch musical collective Jungle by

lands’, showcasing the brands you need to

Night about why the group’s sound cannot be

know about.


Top Wellness and Beauty Retreats in Flanders Looking to beat the winter blues? Why not treat yourself to a relaxing spa break in Flanders,



Made in the Netherlands


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

home to some of Belgium’s finest wellness and beauty retreats.

Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  3

Discover Benelux  |  Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Discover Benelux Issue 47, November 2017 Published 11.2017 ISSN 2054-7218 Published by Scan Group Print Liquid Graphic Ltd Executive Editor Thomas Winther Creative Director Mads E. Petersen Editor Anna Villeleger Copy-editor Isa Hemphrey Graphic Designer Mercedes Moulia Contributors Bas van Duren Bettina Guirkinger Charlotte van Hek Eddi Fiegel Ella Put Frank van Lieshout Juliën L’Ortye

Lidija Liegis Matt Antoniak Michiel Stol Myriam Gwynned Dijck Sally Tipper Steve Flinders Stuart Forster Cover Photo Marie Wynants Sales & Key Account Managers Mette Tonnessen Katia Sfihi Micha Cornelisse Petra Foster Publisher: Scan Group 15B Bell Yard Mews Bermondsey Street London SE1 3YT United Kingdom Phone: +44 (0)870 933 0423 Fax: +44 (0)870 933 0421 Email:

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

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

4  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

The nights are drawing in and summertime is now only a distant memory, but luckily our November issue is here to brighten up your month with plenty of our usual design inspiration, holiday ideas and A-list interviews. This month our cover star is Flemish singer Emma Bale, who was named Best Solo Female at Belgium’s prestigious Music Industry Awards (MIAs) earlier this year and also scooped the award for best Belgian act at last year’s MTV Europe Music Awards. During our conversation, I was struck by Bale’s maturity: it is hard to believe the singer was only born in 1999. Although as she points out, her first single came out when she was just 14, so she had to grow up pretty fast. Head to page 56 to read the interview in full. This time of year can sometimes leave us feeling a little rundown and in need of some pampering, so this month we decided to profile some of the best spa treatments in Belgium. After all, even the word spa is derived from the Walloon word ‘espa’, which means ‘fountain’. In turn, this comes from the Belgian town of Spa, where a therapeutic thermal spring was discovered in the 14th century. Unsurprisingly for a country responsible for the name of every spa in the world, the choices of treatments in Belgium are second to none, and the Flanders region is home to some of the country’s finest wellness and beauty retreats. Take your pick from page 42 onwards! Meanwhile, if museums are more your thing then do not miss this month’s bursting cultural calendar where we highlight some of this season’s must-see exhibitions. If you can stand to hear the word ‘Christmas’ in November, why not get into the festive spirit nice and early as festivities start to kick off across the Benelux later this month. See you in December!

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


Embrace the dark days Increasingly shorter and darker days might have a downside, but fashion wise there is a great deal to look forward to during autumn and winter. After all, few colours are as versatile or flattering as black: embrace the dark, do not fight it! TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PRESS PHOTOS

Moody magic Whether you like it or not: it is getting colder out there. The days that the sun comes out are to be cherished, but you make it a lot easier for yourself if you just accept the moody clouds of winter. This bomber jacket will help you blend in perfectly with November weather. €99.99

Subtle colours A good scarf might just be winter’s most versatile piece. If an all-dark outfit is a bit too much for you, opt for bright colours in the details. This mohair blend scarf will subtly style up your moody look. €79.95

Biker boy A pair of biker jeans are perfect to accomplish an urban-inspired look. The patches on the knees give these jeans just that bit of extra chic. Combine with an oversized black leather jacket and you are ready to face the cold in style. €119.95 Chasin’ via 6  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks

Long black dress Just because temperatures are dropping, that does not mean you have to forget about your dresses until spring arrives again. A somewhat longer, black dress is the ideal staple to keep you warm and stylish all winter. Wear with black boots for a rock look, or throw on high-heeled sandals for a night out. €99.99

Tiger Lily How can you add a splash of funkiness to an overall dark outfit? Blend it with a spicy leopard print, naturally. This woollen coat from Dutch label Scotch & Soda will make you roar with pride. €219.95

Do you dare? These over-the-knee boots are not for wallflowers. The lace-up details and floating heel make these extravagant shoes a big fashion statement. Also important: your legs will be kept warm by these black beauties. €655 Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  7

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Desirable Designs


Keep it cool Do not be fooled by its dull reputation: the colour grey can give a surprisingly warm and sophisticated feel to your home. From slick sofas to subtle accessories – it is time to embrace grey hues in all their greatness. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PRESS PHOTOS


2. Happy feet Cold feet will be a thing of the past with this beautiful rug, made from a mix of pure Merino and New Zealand wool. Mind our words: walking bare feet will be your new favourite thing in November. €165.50

2. 1. Sofa nights A cold November night is the ideal excuse to pour yourself a hot cup of tea, turn off your phone, and get comfy on the sofa. Of course, your lazy night will be extra lovely when held on a vintage-looking, stylish grey sofa. €799

3. Light up! Good lighting is one of the most important factors for a cosy atmosphere in your home. This Pure Highland lamp has a rustic look, but at the same time embodies the Scandinavian design spirit that is so on-trend at the moment. €179


5. Fine dining Setting your table with grey crockery and accessories will add that bit of extra allure to an otherwise casual meal. This matching grey set will lift up any breakfast or lunch. Coffee pot, €19.99 Sugar pot and cream can, €7.99 a piece

4. 4. Happiness is a candle There are many reasons why you should fill your house with candles. A candle is an easy and economical way to add an explosion of atmosphere to any home. Add a grey candle holder to the picture, and you are all set. €15.99

8  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017



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


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

Henri Prevost

“Collective emotional intelligence is key to the future wellbeing of SMEs – there’s great truth in the dictum ‘Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people with nothing to say’.” Henri Prevost, C.E.O & Partner.

Phone: +352.66.1616.666 | Email: Web:

Discover Benelux  |  France  |  Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

Belfort. Photo: M.coquard & E.detrez Bestjobers, BFC Tourisme


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 47  |  November 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.

artefacts and facsimiles, diorama, films, models, multimedia terminals and reproductions of war machines immerse you

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

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.

Alésia. MuséoParc. Photo: BFC Tourisme

Temple de Janus. Photo: Office de tourisme, Marc Gauthey

Vézelay. Photo: BFC Touirsme, Alain Doire

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

Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  11

Discover Benelux  |  France  |  Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

Belfort Cathedral. Photo: Maxime Coquard & Elisa Detrez @Bestjobers

Lion de 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 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’. 12  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

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 birthplace 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

Discover Benelux  |  France  |  Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

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).

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?

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 extends over a magnificent 15-hectare site at Nancray and gives visitors an insight into FRAC. Photo: BFC Tourisme

Bibracte. Photo: Antoine Maillier

Citadelle de Vauban de Besanáon. Photo: David Lefranc, BFC Tourisme

Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  13

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. Paysage Saìne et Loire. 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 47  |  November 2017

Le musée de l’Abbaye. Photo: Maxime Coquard & Elisa Detrez @Bestjobers

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

Ville de Dole. Photo: CRT FRANCHECOMTE, Sandrine BAVEREL

Luxeuil-les-Bains. Photo: Michel Joly

Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  15

Discover Benelux  |  France  |  Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

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 47  |  November 2017

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

manufacturing plant and a 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 in-depth 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.

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…

Colourful façades at Montbéliard. Photo: Michel Joly

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

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

Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  17

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

Design & shopping, Amsterdam.


The best of Dutch design Avant-garde, inventive and high quality, Dutch design is celebrated across the world. From fashion creatives such as Iris van Herpen and Viktor & Rolf, to icons of design including Marcel Wanders and Maarten Baas, not to mention the likes of architecture superstars Rem Koolhaas and Francine Houben, the Dutch design scene shines on a global stage. Hot on the heels of the recent Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, we continue our guide to some of the most exciting products and designs currently coming out of the Netherlands. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: NBTC

Viktor & Rolf clogs.

18  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

Design exhibition.

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

‘Revolutionary ideas and innovative solutions for the future’ Last month saw design aficionados from across the globe flock to the city of Eindhoven for the annual Dutch Design Week (DDW). Taking place between Saturday 21 - Sunday 29 October the coveted event’s 16th edition had the theme ‘Stretch’, in order to encourage both exhibitors and attendees to ‘stretch themselves’ and break out of their comfort zone.

Dutch Design Foundation “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,” says Martijn Paulen, director of the Dutch Design Foundation.

Improving the world DDW’s 2017 lineup was as diverse as always, boasting more than 600 exhibitions, presentations, lectures and network meetings. Aside from the regular features, a significant part of the programme was reserved for ideas and innovations to improve the world.

Dora Kloppenburg - Backpack.

New trends The programme highlighted multiple trends including the influence of digitalisation and robotisation of our society, social issues and the circular economy, not to mention the resurgence of crafts and the rediscovery of old manufacturing methods or the development of innovative new applications for them.

DDW Music Lab.

To find out more about Dutch Design Week visit;

Adriaan G. de Groot Micromodularity.

Issue 47  |  November 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

MicAtelier NL

Michael Barnaart van 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. Omar Munie


Omar Munie is celebrated for his handbags.

Founded in 2009 by the sisters Dorrith de Roode and Marlous de Roode, LES SOEURS ROUGES is a fashion and accessories brand, with creations and designs 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.

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.


Mondrian-inspired designs by Michael Barnaart van Bergen.

20  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

THE BEST OF ‘MADE IN THE NETHERLANDS’ From magnificent jewellery to industrial innovations via interiors and design, we showcase the Dutch brands you need to know about. Juwelier Cober Read more from page 22

Lanka Marine Read more from page 28

Europe Racking Read more from page 36

The jewellery designed by Vincent Cober is forged out of beautiful fair trade gold and inlaid with stunning diamonds and precious stones.

Lanka Marine has earned a name as one the world’s best and most trusted manufacturers of custom-build luxury marble interiors.

With more than 30 years of experience and inhouse production, Europe Racking offers unique storage systems for every space and application.

Royal Leerdam Crystal Read more from page 24

Mertens Frames Read more from page 29

Jobo Borstelfabriek Read more from page 37

Royal Leerdam offers the utmost in elegant, functional and crystal-clear glass tableware.

Mertens Frames are specialists in providing frames for professional artists, photographers and collectors.

Jobo Borstelfabriek in Hoogeveen specialises in the fabrication of all sorts of cleaning brushes and brooms across various industries.

Goudsmederij & Juwelier Arnold van Dodewaard Read more from page 26

Royal Begeer & W. van Veluw Read more from page 30

Thermatras® Read more from page 38

Goldsmith and jeweller Arnold van Dodewaard is celebrated for his unique craftsmanship.

Van Veluw produces military distinctions, badges, wings and emblems, while Royal Begeer are experts in awards, sculptures and honorary medals.

Thermatras are experts in the field of insulation and specialise in insulation blankets for various industries.

by-Lin Read more from page 27

THIS IS HOLLAND Read more from page 32

Gebr. Van Vulpen Read more from page 39

by-Lin is famed for unique, nature-inspired handbags made using high-quality and natural materials.

Amsterdam’s newest attraction lets you experience the Netherlands from an unseen perspective.

Renowned company Van Vulpen Organs have been building and restoring organs for more than 75 years.

We Design Read more from page 28

Bata Industrials Read more from page 34

H. Oude Hengel Read more from page 40

WE Design is specialised in the manufacturing of silver braces for the fingers, thumbs, hands and wrists of people with chronic conditions.

Bata Industrials has a reputation for designing safety shoes that fit well, look good and offer the best performance for the job.

Run by Dutch brothers Valentijn and Douwe Oude Hengel, H. Oude Hengel GmbH is one of the region’s largest wood specialists.

Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  21

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

Beauty through simplicity TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: COBER

Like many craft-type professions, it is family where Vincent Cober at age 14 learnt the tools of his trade. In his case, it is his mother and the trade is jewellery. Now at the age of 47, Cober is one prolific jeweller, based in the South of the Netherlands in the city of Oss. One never to shy away from new developments, the ‘Ossenaar’ (as inhabitants of Oss are called) never sits still and talks about his profession with a level of passion that hints it never faded away for even a moment. A hummingbird is part of Cober’s logo and there is a good reason for Vincent Cober to choose that as somewhat of a mascot: “It’s a tiny but brave bird. And just like the hummingbird, we might not 22  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

be the biggest player in the world of jewellery, but we’re quite capable and resourceful.” He sells himself a little short: born as a son of a jeweller, Vincent helped in his mother’s store from the age of 14, and became a master goldsmith before reaching adulthood. Starting with necklaces and other ornaments, Cober remembers his tutor the most from that time: “A strict guy who would scold me if I didn’t do an assignment well. Tough, but that’s the fastest route to becoming a hard-working jeweller. In a few years’ time, I mastered all the basics and got quite bored actually.”

Revolution Thus Cober set out to challenge himself, majored in economics and started his

own store by the age of 21. “I started out designing my own creations and went to jewellery conventions like the one in Basel. That’s where I saw how our whole industry was about to be revolutionised by the advent of 3D printing machines. This was way before the mainstream was able to buy one of their own, these would cost up to 200,000 euros alone. But it was how famous jewellery brands like Cartier were able to design in an unconventional way and that got me intrigued. Being able to overview the whole process was truly groundbreaking. A lot could suddenly be done in store, except for getting diamonds out of Canada, gemstones from over the whole world and having them polished in either Thailand or in Antwerp. We’ve been 3D printing at Co-

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

ber for about 12 years now and have one of the most precise printers in the world.”

Clientele Cober and his personnel are invested heavily with the design of their pieces, working with high-end gems and giving a great deal of time and attention to their clientele. “We love to pamper our customers and build a strong relationship with them.” According to the Ossenaar, those who enter his store are there mostly for two reasons: “If they’re from around, they know what we do and ask us to create something unique. If they’re from further away, they usually want something seen in an advertisement and there’s still a good chance we suggest to do a modification to that particular piece of jewellery, making it even more special.” Those who know Cober often have a piece of jewellery from a passed away family member and ask him to create something new out of it. “To work with something that has so much emotion attached, that really is

extraordinary. We film part of the process and share the video to get them even more involved.”

Style Cober defines his style as one that is based around beautifying women. His jewellery is mostly aimed at women, though there are watches for both women and men as well. “Women’s jewellery is a matter of beauty through simplicity. Each body part is a different stage to adorn and what we offer should be durable. I wouldn’t use the word ‘timeless’, because what we create can be classic or contemporary. Especially in the business of wedding rings, we see how young people go for the stark designs, while those over the age of 50 might get married for their second or third time and just want to invest in a beautiful ring instead of a big wedding party.” As for his own personal style, Cober says he loves to work with diamonds. “I’m a gemologist and I’m making sure our stones

come from non-conflict countries. I’ve taken several trips to Asia and been to several mines to see the working conditions. I’m happy to say everything we sell, whether it’s gold, silver or gems, has the certifications of fair trade.”

Future plans Being a jeweller for over 30 years, you would think Cober has done everything he wanted to do, but there are still a few boxes soon to be checked: “I’m presenting a silver collection at the start of December. Finally, there’s silver jewellery that you can wear to the beach without getting ruined. Then there’s the fact there never was a quartz watch in our collection and I’m receiving the glass soon and will start to design a watch around that.” Web:

Tel: +31 412 651 450 Address: Houtstraat 15, 5341 GG, Oss, Netherlands

Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  23


Having stood at the cradle of the Dutch glass industry, Royal Leerdam Crystal continues to produce crystal according to traditional glassblowing techniques. With a 140-year history, the factory’s master glassblowers have perfected their craft, resulting in stunning pieces that are prized for their sparkle in the Netherlands and abroad. By combining the ancient craft of glassblowing with understated Dutch design, Royal Leerdam Crystal offers a collection of elegant and modern items. It comprises of one-of-a-kind vases and bowls, stunning decanters and bottles, impressive table centrepieces and beautiful art objects. Hand crafted, each piece is unique and made from high-quality Cristal Supérieur, giving it a brilliant shine. 24  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

Ancient craft and innovation The factory opened in 1878 as the first crystal manufacturer in the Netherlands. Today, it is one of only a handful left in Europe who manufacture crystal by hand. “When you enter the factory, it’s like stepping back in time. We still use original techniques and tools,” says Fleur Schaaij, tourism manager at Royal Leerdam Crystal. “During our guided tour, visitors can see the entire glassblowing process for themselves.” ‘Cristal Supérieur’ is produced by adding metal oxide to the glass mixture, which increases the refraction index. “This makes it much clearer and it has far more sparkle than normal glass,” says Marco Lopulalan, one of the factory’s master glassblowers with 30 years’ experience. “Glassblowing

takes a lot of coordination and perseverance. You need to repeat every movement a thousand times before you’ve mastered it,” he says.

Shape and shine The ingredients are mixed and melted in a 1,400-degree furnace before it passes to a stone vessel, where the mixture is kept at a working temperature of 1,100 degrees. The glassblower then gathers a bit of crystal with a long blowing pipe. “This is a bit like getting honey out of a jar,” says Lopulalan. Then he can start shaping the crystal, either by free-form blowing, or by using moulds. During this process, the crystal is reheated many times to keep it soft and shapeable. To stop it from drooping

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

off the pipe, the glassblower has to continuously roll the pipe. “Every new object is always a challenge, as various colours and shapes can react differently than expected,” he says. Once in the right shape, the piece is slowly annealed and then moved to the factory’s ‘cool side’. Here, cutters cut and polish the crystal and engrave quality signatures into the base. This is also where personalised text or designs can be added. Schaaij: “We can engrave names or company logos, or even make a whole personalised object in the design or colours of your choice.”

A royal affair One of Royal Leerdam Crystal’s most prized collections are the ‘Oranjevaasjes’ or Orange Vases. This series began in 1927 when Dutch monarch Juliana turned

18. The factory made a limited edition of vases inspired by the then crown princess, and offered the first of the series to the royal family. “And have been doing this ever since; whenever something special happens in the Royal Family we make a new ‘Oranjevaasje’,” says Schaaij “There are about 15 in total now and they are very loved by art collectors.” The factory has long had a special relationship with the Dutch Royal Family. Aside from proudly bearing ‘Royal’ in its name, Royal Leerdam Crystal has also supplied the monarchs with several crystal tableware and gifts. In return, three generations of Dutch Queens have visited the factory over the years.

From concept to table centre piece For many of its projects, Royal Leerdam Crystal works together with renowned art-

ists and designers such as Marcel Wanders, Menno Jonker, Peter Bremers and Ans Markus. By pairing artists with a master glassblowers, the factory continues to produce new and innovative works that push the boundaries of the craft. Lopulalan, or one of the three other master glassblowers, can also create pieces upon request, including corporate gifts, art pieces or custom glass awards. “We can either work with an existing design or create something new in collaboration with a designer or artist,” concludes Schaaij. In the large Royal Leerdam Crystal shop, adjacent to the factory, and in the webshop all their stunning creations can be viewed and bought. Web: Tel: 0031 0345 636545

Visit Royal Leerdam Crystal Guided tour - To witness the glassblowing process, you can join one of their daily guided tours: see the glassblowers at work and learn about both the ‘hot side’ and ‘cold side’ of crystal manufacturing. Glass tasting - Instead of a wine tasting, Royal Leerdam Crystal hosts ‘glass tasting’ sessions which can be combined with a factory tour. During the tasting, you will experience how glass shape, size and thickness influence the flavour of the wine. Engraving workshop - Learn how to engrave crystal glasses with one of the factory’s craftsmen. Once the technique is mastered, you can engrave your own glasses and take them home at the end of the workshop.

Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  25

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands


From his charming shop in the leafy surroundings of Bloemendaal village, 30 minutes from Amsterdam, goldsmith and jeweller Arnold van Dodewaard has been serving clients with his unique craftsmanship for more than 20 years. Walk down the stairs from the jeweller’s showroom on the ground floor, and you enter a different world, a goldsmith’s workshop as it could have existed tens, even hundreds of years ago. In the room, three goldsmiths are working at their benches. “The art of goldsmithing has not changed much over the centuries,” says owner Arnold van Dodewaard. “This is where we melt down our gold ingots, roll them into the desired thicknesses and craft them into unique pieces of gold jewellery, with precious stones such as pearls, sapphires, rubies and diamonds. It takes about ten years to master all the skills and become a confident, proficient goldsmith who can make a piece like this,” he smiles, showing off a wonderful ring with golden leaves balancing a glittering diamond in the middle. 26  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

With more than 40 years of experience under his belt, Arnold decided a few years ago to leave the actual goldsmithing to his colleagues downstairs and, together with visual artist Lieneke van der Velde, concentrate on their designs. “We create an exciting range of new work, but more and more we also have clients who come in with old jewellery that they have inherited. They want to turn these valuables into something new and inspiring that they will actually wear, rather than just keeping them in a safe,” he explains. “We sit down with them, sketch out a range of ideas, and together decide on a final design. It really is the best feeling to turn an old heirloom into a new piece of jewellery. It gives our customers something which they love to wear and which retains its emotional value at the same time. To me, this is what being a goldsmith is all about – creating something unique that will be treasured for a lifetime, and beyond.” Goldsmith & Jeweller’s Arnold van Dodewaard also buys and repairs old jewellery, watches and silver objects.

Customers who have their old gold and jewellery transformed into new jewellery, get twice the spot price for the gold they bring in.


Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

Handmade timelessness TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: BY-LIN

There are various elements that hallmark the handmade bags and accessories from label By-Lin: alongside the unique, nature-inspired designs, it is the exclusive use of high-quality and natural materials that defines the Dutch brand. Timeless, for life, and classic: the bags and accessories by the hand of By-Lin are many things. Operating from Bali but selling in all corners of the world, By-Lin was founded and is helmed by Linde van der Poel, who has made the unique tulip design her signature. “All of my designs are based on mother nature,” Linde begins. “I don’t follow trends or make bags that are just for one season: A By-Lin bag is for life.” By-Lin exclusively produces from its own factory on Bali. All bags and accessories are made from the best-quality fabrics and leather (originating from Java and vegetable tanned) and are handmade by craftsmen from A to Z. “It takes about a year of training before someone can fully make a By-Lin bag,” Linde smiles.

All bags made in Bali are sent to the distribution centre in the Netherlands, which then sends them to dealers all over the world. Among the sellers are highfashion boutiques, well-known warehouses, and important Dutch institutions such as Schiphol Airport and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. By-Lin’s designs have been exhibited all over the world: recently the label made its name at the Bagism exhibition in Shanghai, where the most iconic and exclusive bags in the world are on display – By-Lin was the only Dutch label present.

Tulip keychain, she and her team have constantly been developing their production process and capacity. A worldwide expansion of the dealer network is on the itinerary. “It was – and remains – quite a challenge to meet the growing demand for our designs,” Linde concludes. “Yet the pleasure I get from seeing happy customers with my handmade and madewith-love designs, is fantastic.”

Coming from a truly entrepreneurial family, the move to start her own company came naturally to Linde. She graduated from the ArtEZ Art Academy, after which she began travelling the world and eventually settled in Bali. “I have been living in Bali for 15 years now, in my opinion it is one of the most beautiful islands in the world,” she enthuses. “The stunning nature gives me great inspiration every single day.” Since Linde designed the immense popular Tulip-by-Lin® bag and the My Little


Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  27

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

Designing better lives WE Design is specialised in the manufacturing of silver braces for the fingers, thumbs, hands and wrists of people with chronic conditions. Always carrying the signature of fine craftsmanship combined with sophisticated medical technology, the Dutch company has been a well-cherished aid for many people for almost two decades. While they might look like beautiful pieces of jewellery, WE Design’s braces and splints are not just fashionable: the silver splints provide stability, correct deformations and support daily functioning for people with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis (MS). WE Design was founded by Wouter Engelshoven in 1999. Originally a goldsmith, Engelshoven’s craftsmanship shines through in every design. “Naturally it is important to continuously stay on top of new medical technologies, but our splints and braces are first of all designed from an angle of

craftsmanship,” explains Naazma Ifte, who owns WE Design together with Engelshoven. All WE Design splints and braces (except when requested otherwise) are made of nickel-free silver that supports fine motor skills and is the ideal material in terms of durability, hygiene and wearing comfort. The rounded shapes ensure optimum wearing comfort and, as a result of the slim and open construction, the joints remain as free as possible. All splints and braces are custom-made after a request from an orthopaedic engineer, to whom clients have been referred to by a medical specialist. “In complex cases, the orthopaedic engineer refers the client to WE Design.” WE Design hosts a relatively small team that has a great passion for the job. “I think we all love the fact that we help people gain back their independence and help them live their daily lives again,” Ifte smiles. Web:

Marble on waves of beauty Realising an environment of dreams, embedded with marble designed by top international architects: Lanka Marine has earned a name as one the world’s best and most trusted manufacturers of custom-build luxury interiors. Lanka Marine is a marble manufacturer of interiors for superyachts, private jets, top-notch hotels and exclusive villas. Based in Italy near the white marble quarries of Carrara, specialising in the use of marble, onyx, semi-precious stones and granite, the company’s portfolio is adorned by a long, yet exclusive, list of clients from all over the world.

28  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017



Alongside creating marble interiors from A to Z, Lanka Marine has seen an increasing focus on refitting in recent years. This year, the company completed its 100th superyacht. The company has been helmed by Dutch management since its founding. “We are a true family company,” begins co-owner Maaike van der Wal. “We have built our reputation on close personal contact, word of mouth and offering nothing less than the absolute best. The world of yacht interiors is a small one, and we have a trusted circle of people we work with.” Interiors installed by the hand of Lanka Marble Interiors, with its office in the Netherlands, carry the signature of an artist’s work

combined with the use of the most sophisticated equipment. The natural beauty of the colours of materials used are matched to make products of striking beauty and are characterised by the unique hand-finishing touch, an art passed down from generation to generation. Only the best-quality marble is used. “We mainly use Statuario – the most classic form of marble,” Van der Wal smiles. Lanka Marine: inventing, designing and manufacturing unique products, synonymous of luxury and famous for their extraordinary beauty. Web:

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

TOP LEFT: Amie Dicke @ Gallery Stichter van Doesburg. BELOW LEFT: Jockum Nordström, Djuren är vårt hopp, courtesy Zeno X Gallery. Photo by Peter Cox. RIGHT: Michaël Borremans, courtesy Zeno X Gallery. Photo by Peter Cox

Fine artwork deserves even finer framework TEXT: JULIËN L’ORTYE  |  PHOTOS: MERTENS FRAMES

In June 2004, a man walked into Loods 6, a magnificent former maritime warehouse in Amsterdam East, full of trend-setting outlets, contemporary artists and creative hot-shops. Once inside, his eye met a painting he found so intriguing, enquiries needed to be made. However, it was not the artwork itself that triggered his curiosity, but its framing. A week later, this man, Willem Asselbergs, bought Mertens Frames, the company responsible for the framework. Artist Peter Mertens once founded the framing business after a dissatisfying expedition to find a suitable frame for one of his own works. What made the few pieces of wood so compelling? Why is a decent framework so important? Asselbergs explains: “The framework’s function is ambiguous, actually. On one hand, it must conserve the art piece against for example UV, humidity and acids. On the other end, it has a profound aesthetic function – it needs to

operate completely in service of the art piece, especially when it comes to highend contemporary art.” That is one of the main reasons why Mertens Frames only works with slender and refined profiles. According to their way of working, the frame should never distract from the artwork itself. Nearly everything in the framing shop, with 1,260 square metres of atelier space in Amsterdam and Brussels, is done by hand. The frames are a prime craftwork, constructed in its own woodwork shop, where every piece of rough wood is singlehandedly inspected and selected. But attention to detail and conservation is also key in the final assembly. As such, Mertens Frames pioneers with the development of a smart frame technology which monitors and mitigates harmful influences the artwork is exposed to. Asselbergs: “A poor frame ruins the artwork. If the framing is done badly, even a

layperson will notice the unsettling impact on the art. When everything is properly balanced, the framed artwork will give you a great feeling.” One of Mertens Frames’ well-known clients is the Swedish artist Jockum Nordström. Originally, the artist wanted them to copy his frameworks that were already in use. However, after Mertens Frames demonstrated what could be aesthetically achieved, Nordström quickly opted for the new design, since he understood his old frames did not do justice to his work. The results were so satisfying that Nordström and Mertens Frames have continued their collaboration ever since. A true compliment and well deserved, given their commitment to craftsmanship, technology and meticulous attention to detail that is being delivered by Mertens Frames. Web:

Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  29

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

Enamel production

Amsterdam Marathon 2017. Photo Vincent van den Boogaard

KLM insignia Uiver-medal

Royal Begeer makes it official TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: ROYAL BEGEER & W. VAN VELUW

Whether for a 25th anniversary, a retirement or to honour an achievement in sport or business, the presentation of an award always makes things official. “Much like a wedding cake is part of the wedding itself, so is awarding someone with a distinction at a special moment in his life or career,” explains Wido van der Hoorn, deputy director of Koninklijke Begeer (Royal Begeer) in Zeist. The organisation is built on centuries-old craftsmanship linked to the tradition of honouring individuals, explains Van der Hoorn. “When celebrating an anniversary of a co-worker, it is nice to give him flowers and a gift card. But the extra attention of a specially designed distinction makes it an official recognition of that person’s service and dedication. The emotion of that moment is stored in the product, so people can look back at that moment in pride.” Royal Begeer was founded over 200 years ago and is partner of W. van Veluw B.V. in Zeist. Where Van Veluw is the number one 30  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

in producing military distinctions, badges, wings and emblems for the fire department, the police and security services, Royal Begeer produces a large range of luxurious items: pins, cufflinks, hangers and brooches as well as sculptures, miniatures and honorary medals. “External artists help us design the sculptures to the wishes of our clients,” elaborates Van der Hoorn. “Then we cast the sculptures in bronze or silver. Enamel is used for the decorations of the sculptures.”

Pride Beside sculptures, Royal Begeer also creates exclusive awards and sports medals. For instance, they created and produced the medals for the Amsterdam Marathon 2017. “When you see the winner do something truly impressive and then be awarded with ‘your’ medal, it really makes you proud,” smiles Van der Hoorn. Royal Begeer have also produced gifts for business relations of the M.C. Escher Company and the ministry of Foreign Affairs. They also made the honorary medal for the late mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan.

“Even though our work is based on the old craft of silversmiths, we also work with the latest techniques in galvanising (i.e. gilding and silver plating), engraving and pressing. And we look at the developments surrounding 3D-scanning and printing techniques, as well as the use of acrylate and aluminium, besides using gold, silver and bronze,” continues Van der Hoorn. “We also look at ways to minimise the impact producing has on the environment. We do that by investing in water purification, reducing the use of energy and by looking at the way our suppliers work.” That is why Royal Begeer enforces the ISO 26000 regulations. “Every award, sculpture or medal that leaves Royal Begeer is a gift. And we produce them as if they were a gift for ourselves or our loved ones.”



Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands


Experience the Netherlands from the sky at THIS IS HOLLAND TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: THIS IS HOLLAND

Take in the scents of tulips as you fly over colourful flower fields; gaze at historic heritages that reveal magnificent stories; feel the wind in your hair as you glide over water-wonderful landscapes that show the eternal Dutch struggle with water: you will feel as free as a bird at THIS IS HOLLAND. This brand-new experience in the Northern heart of Amsterdam utilises state-of the-art technology to take you on a unique journey across history, the present, but above all the beauty of the Netherlands. It would be far from fair to label THIS IS HOLLAND as a mere flying theatre. Set in the iconic circular building between the A’DAM Lookout and the EYE Film Museum, Amsterdam’s newest attraction lets you experience the small yet wonderful Netherlands from an unseen perspec32  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

tive. Through two extensive pre-shows in which you are immersed in the history and present of this special country and its most beautiful spots, it is time to fasten your seatbelt and fly over the country’s must-see locations during the journey of a lifetime. Opened in October this year, THIS IS HOLLAND was created in collaboration with two Dutch companies specialising in rollercoaster manufacturing and theme park experiences. The I-Ride – the hardware of the flying theatre – is produced by Vekoma Rides, a Dutch company leading in the manufacturing of rollercoasters and its partner Brogent Technologies from Taiwan. The concept and content design is in the hands of Leisure Expert Group: while first primarily responsible for the attraction setting, the Dutch company now

directs the experience as a whole, ensuring a smooth balance between film, music, décor, and effects.

A water-wonderful history “The beauty of the Netherlands and the persistence of the Dutch inspired us to present a picture of the country and the extraordinary story of its creation,” begins Joost van Berkel, commercial director at THIS IS HOLLAND. “The Netherlands is particularly interesting to experience from the air because you get a good picture of its unique flat patchwork quilt landscape and of the hard work invested in it.” Designed by Leisure Expert Group, the two pre-shows before the main attraction set the mood to everything Dutch and prepare visitors for what they are about to experience. A brief history of the country

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

is provided – in which the Dutch struggle with water is a continuous element. “Due to its water-rich landscape, the Netherlands was previously considered inhabitable,” Van Berkel explains. “The Romans even called it the worst place on earth,” he smiles. How wrong the Romans were. The Dutch challenged this perception, and used dykes, windmills and polders to create an extraordinary country of which the main parts remain below sea level, and especially the ingenuity of Deltaworks made the Dutch famous.

From a bird’s eye view Your breath will be taken away during the main attraction of THIS IS HOLLAND, where a huge domed screen and breathtakingly beautiful filming will make you see the Netherlands from a bird’s eye view. The various technologies and effects will make you forget you are in Amsterdam: your hands and feet dangle freely, while atmospheric effects really make you feel like you are flying. Van Berkel: “That is where

Vekoma showed their mastership. Effects such as wind, mist and scents really make you feel like you are flying through the air, crossing dykes and braving storms. You can even smell the tulips when flying over the famous Dutch Tulip fields.” The nine-minute flight will make you marvel at the diverse yet typically Dutch landscapes and scenes: ice skaters on Frisian frozen waters, stunning wind-mills, and the beautiful nature of the Veluwe. A prominent spot is reserved for the Netherlands’ UNESCO sites – they are beloved witnesses of the country’s significant cultural and historic position. Much footage for THIS IS HOLLAND was shot by the makers of De Nieuwe Wildernis, a documentary about the Netherlands and its natural wonders. For two years, the makers filmed the most beautiful places in the country from a helicopter, after obtaining special permission from nature conservation organisations, municipali-

ties and other organisations enthusiastic about the project.

A rollercoaster of learning Although Amsterdam’s many tourists make up a great deal of THIS IS HOLLAND’s target group, the attraction has shown to be loved by the Dutch too. “Even locals get to know the country from literally a whole different perspective,” Van Berkel enthuses. The attraction is available in multiple languages, and limits concerning age are pretty much non-existent. “Our youngest visitor was three years old, our oldest 91,” Van Berkel laughs. “It is what makes THIS IS HOLLAND unique: the visual and rollercoaster-like elements make it simply an incredible fun experience, while the information truly teaches you something new. THIS IS HOLLAND is the thrill of a rollercoaster, yet offers the insights of a museum.” Web:

Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  33

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands



Designing safety shoes that fit well, look good and offer the best performance for the job: Bata Industrials has gained a reputation as a global household name doing just that. Constantly reaffirming its position as a frontrunner through innovation of features, materials and technologies, the Best-based company prides itself on a reputation spanning decades of ensuring safety and support for workers all over the world.

highest quality standards and unique designs, the Dutch company is known worldwide to go the extra mile to protect the feet of their customers and has factories and partners all over the world. Bata Industrials’ offices and factories can be found in the Netherlands, Chile, Mexico, South Africa, Kenya, India, China, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. They sell over nine million pairs of professional footwear annually.

Bata Industrials offers a wide variety of safety shoes and work socks for every possible industry. Always offering the

Shoes, safety and science

34  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

Bata Industrials houses its very own laboratory in which tests are conducted

together with scientists and designers, to ensure continuous innovation and top-notch quality. All shoes and socks are made of exclusively first-class natural materials. “Many people think that safety shoes are footwear with merely some kind of protection material in them,” begins Bata Industrials managing director Martijn Mathot. “Nothing is less true. Workers stand on their feet for eight hours – or longer – a day, often carrying heavy loads and performing strenuous activities. The best-quality footwear is essential to yourself keep healthy and productive.”

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

Constant improvement in fit and support are two factors held dearly at the laboratory. Bata Industrials developed the revolutionary Walkline® Evo in close collaboration with a Norwegian scientist. Safety shoes carrying the Walkline® Evo technology give feet the freedom to move and absorb shocks in a natural way due to the seven design features that stimulate the natural ergonomic functions of the foot. Another innovation implemented in Bata’s shoes is the BOA lacing system, used in specific Bata Industrials collections. Boa allows users to fasten and unlock safety shoes in a quick and easy way, and ensures an even distribution of pressure throughout the entire foot. Equally important as safety shoes are work socks. Bata Industrials is an innovator in the development of work socks with special protection areas throughout the sock, to support the feet and prevent injuries. “Perhaps you wouldn’t expect it, but socks play a major role in protecting and supporting your feet,” Mathot continues. “Our work socks are made of exclusive materials such as merino wool, and boast a firmness that helps to keep the leg in the right position.” Bata Industrials’ socks are produced by 22 knitting machines in

the Best factory. “That is quite a sight – all these machines knitting socks all day long,” Mathot laughs.

Quality for centuries For the start of Bata’s journey, we have to time travel to 1894 when Thomas Bata established a shoe factory in Zlín, Czech Republic. He succeeded in becoming one of Europe’s leading shoe manufacturers in just a few decades. As of the 1930s, Bata became active far beyond its native Czechoslovakia and began producing for Switzerland, Germany, England, France, Yugoslavia, Poland, India and the Netherlands. In 1942, the company housed 42,000 employees and owned thousands of stores and many factories. Bata’s Dutch head office and factory opened in the 1930s in Best, which meant an enormous change for the NorthBrabant town and its inhabitants. “The arrival of Bata in Best changed the lives of the people in surrounding areas in a very positive way,” Mathot explains. “Not only did the employment rate explode with the opening of the factory, Bata also provided its workers with homes and education. A whole community emerged because Bata decided to set foot in Best.”

Bata Industrials was founded in the ‘70s in response to the specific demand from the market for footwear for workers, and by the mid-‘70s the factory in Best was exclusively producing safety shoes and socks. This fascinating history is still witnessed by the name of the neighbourhood where the factory is located: Batadorp.

Historic household name Like its produce, Bata Industrials’ story is longstanding and exceptional. “We have quite the history,” Mathot enthuses. “Bata Industrials is such a staple in the industry and carries an enormous legacy.” Mathot recalls a mining incident in Chile (2010), when several miners were trapped under the ground due to a mine collapsing. One of them managed to take off his safety shoe, after which it was lifted above ground through a small hole. “It was a shoe from Bata Industrials,” Mathot smiles. “The miner wrote his name on the shoe, so that rescue workers knew his name. Everyone survived, and the shoe became legendary – it is still on proud display in our office.” Web:

Martijn Mathot.

Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  35

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

Making space for your plans TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: EUROPE RACKING

Europe Racking offers unique storage systems for every space and application. With more than 30 years of experience and complete in-house production in the Netherlands, the Culemborg-based company prides itself on creating flexible, safe and high-quality solutions to maximise storage capability. Europe Racking specialises in the storage of products that are manually handled. The projects range from small-scaled archive rooms of a few square metres to 10,000-square-metre warehouses with up to four levels of racks. Europe Racking makes tailor-made solutions for every storage problem. The extensive product portfolio ranges from multi-system shelving, to tyre racking, to bicycle racking systems, to counters and desks, to free-standing mezzanine floors. Europe Racking’s clients are located all over Europe, with a main focus on the Benelux, Germany and Denmark. All production takes place in Europe Racking’s own factory in the Netherlands. “Every company – no matter how big or small – will experience the benefits of a 36  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

good storage system,” begins managing director Dirk Dessers. “It is remarkable how much difference our solutions can make to the efficiency and overall look of a business.” Dessers founded Europe Racking after a takeover of the storage system division from Bosal, one of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers. Although Europe Racking still produces for many automotive companies, its clients come from every possible industry. Europe Racking storage solutions are characterised by their high-end appearance, the possibility to tailor the colour scheme to the customer, and the good value for money. “Of course, we work with an extensive range of standard products, but sometimes a specific corner of hallway requires a tailor-made solution,” Dessers continues. “We are able to provide this.” Another element Europe Racking greatly honours is speed: it is no exception for a client to request a quotation and receive it on the same day. This flexibility also shines through in the layouts Europe Racking can provide.

“Other suppliers of racking systems often require multi-floor solutions to carry the same racking configuration and layout on every floor. We offer the possibility to build a different racking layout on every floor because many customers want their heaviest, biggest or most picked products to be downstairs, and less heavy and smaller products upstairs.” Seemingly simple solutions, yet the answer to so many essential and complex problems. Europe Racking has in a mere four years positioned itself as an economic and flexible provider of storage solutions of the highest quality.


Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

Brooms, brushes and specials TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: JOBO BORSTELFABRIEK

Cleaning: it is the kind of thing you either love or hate to do, but a necessity either way. Not only at home, but especially in industries such as machine builders, food factories and agricultural sectors, keeping dirt and grime out of the workplace is essential. Jobo Borstelfabriek in Hoogeveen knows this and specialises in the fabrication of all sorts of brushes and brooms for several industries. What started in a shed, evolved into one of the Netherlands’ leading companies for custommade brushes, producing over a million items annually. Twisted-in-wire brushes, brush laths, foot sweepers, brooms with a print designed as promotional gifts; if it has fibres, there is more than a good chance you can get it at Jobo Borstelfabriek. A family company run by the Bols family, Jobo started in 1983 in a shed with a self-built machine for the production of twisted-in-wire brushes and now resides in a 2,500-square-metre

factory with a recently finished expansion. “For more storage, because we had a shortage of that,” says Elizabeth Bols. The variations of twisted-in-wire brushes, rollers, laths and brooms Jobo can provide are endless for a reason; the company is able to produce both large quantities and custom-made brushes for almost every situation and size thinkable. Popular items are the gutter brush that makes sure your pipe does not clog up with leaves while still letting the rain water flow through. Bols also singles out the twisted in-wire-brushes used for cleaning, roughing up, deburring and closing up pipes and tubes. Bols: “We can adjust the diameter exactly to how you want it, which is easy for cases like the total cleaning of ventilation ducts. That’s something you can’t do with an ordinary brush.” You may think a company with over 30 years’ experience can no longer be surprised with requests: but the opposite is

true. However, there is always a solution. Bols: “Just this week we were asked to create a brush for a paint gun that’s attached to a robot arm. That’s a very specific request, but one we can handle nonetheless. That’s part of what made Jobo a success, but also the short lines of communication and personal contact. Either we invite our clients over or we come over to take a look. If that’s off the table, photos are also an easy way to get to the problem at hand.”

Web: Email:

Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  37

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

A new perspective on insulation TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: THERMATRAS

Whether it is the shipping industry, utility buildings, hospitals or even breweries, they all share the fact that they work with HVAC, steam or thermal oil installations. It is fundamental for these industries that no burn-related accidents happen, and it is Thermatras that specialises in insulation blankets. What started as a part of then-called Ajax De Boer Isolatie is now, through a management buy-out, known as Thermatras. At its core are Geert Norder senior and Alexander Norder along with a tight-knit group of 35 experts with over 50 years’ experience in the field of insulation. It is Alexander Norder who picks up a book dated all the way back to 1962 when talking about the history of insulation blankets. “They have been a thing since 1895, but you should know they were made of asbestos in those days. That changed in the ‘70s when everybody found out how harmful asbestos can be, and thus the 38  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

blankets were made of fibreglass from that moment on. Nowadays, the blankets come in different sizes and coatings and its application has helped many different types of industries and buildings.” Seeing how the insulation blankets can be customised, the material is used in the aforementioned shipping industries, utility buildings and hospitals. Something as simple as a boiler house profits from the blankets, not just because of the safety, but energy consumption as well. Norder: “Most of our work is visiting the buildings and doing an insulation check. We measure the temperature and calculate what you can save on not only energy costs, but reducing the carbon dioxide emissions as well. Given how the European Union enacted the Energy Efficiency Directive in 2012, many companies across Europe are required to cut down their emissions.” Norder’s Thermatras helps many companies reach their emissions goal, not only

by advising them when it comes to insulation issues, but delivering them as well. “Thermatras has its own factory where we create the blankets exactly how they need to be. Our drafter draws a design and once the blanket is produced, our mechanics can install them.”


Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

‘The organ pipes tell us how they should sound’ TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: VAN VULPEN

“Most people think that pipe organs are only for churches, but that is changing. We have designed, built and installed an organ in the new TivoliVredenburg concert hall right here in Utrecht,” tells Adjan Smitsman of Van Vulpen Organs. “More than 1,600 people came to watch it play for the first time. That says a lot.” It is not the only concert hall that has had a pipe organ installed recently. Both the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and the Paris Philharmonic are home to an organ, built to match the architecture. “Our organ in Tivoli has no traditional front with pipes. This organ has a front that consists only of holes, with the pipes behind them,” explains Smitsman. Still, people often think of organs as old fashioned and religious. “That is false. A pipe organ is a characteristic instrument, with the range of a full orchestra. More and more, it is being used in modern-day music and minimalistic dance music. It is not just to support the choir and church services anymore.” It is

an instrument that has the potential to develop itself and to be experimented with.

75 years Van Vulpen has been building and restoring pipe organs for more than 75 years. Jos and Rijk van Vulpen started the company in 1940, just at the beginning of World War Two. “You wouldn’t think that was a good time to start, but the company grew rapidly after the war. The Netherlands was, and still is, the organ garden of Europe.” In all those years, the company has built and restored hundreds of organs, both the bigger ones in churches and concert halls, as well as the home organs that came about in the 1970s. To this day, organ restoration is a big part of the work. “We will soon start the restoration of an organ that was built in 1560. To think that you can work on that more than 450 years after the first men did is amazing and fascinating,” smiles Smitsman.

Passion The pride of Van Vulpen is that they design and build an organ fully in-house, from creating the right alloy and casting the metal for the pipes, implementing the leather and all the inner workings of the organ, to installing it. “Building an organ is a true craft, which you will not learn at school. You have to have passion for the instrument and then learn it on the job.” It is this passion for the instrument that ensures the organs of Van Vulpen have a unique, raw and pure sound. “We let the pipes tell us how they should sound.” For some, that characteristic sound takes some getting used to. “Our organs are not a friend to all. But when you listen to it for a while and hear the pure sounds our organs create, I guarantee you will grow to love it.” Web:

Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  39

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

Dutch timber in a German town TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: H. OUDE HENGEL GMBH

Having been in their family for four generations, the story of sawmill and wood trader H. Oude Hengel GmbH in Gildehaus, Germany, is a remarkable one. Run by Dutch brothers Valentijn and Douwe Oude Hengel, the company is one of the largest wood specialists in the area, fitted with top-notch machinery, drying rooms and the wood that passes through Oude Hengel is of the legal kind. What started in the previous century as a sawmill, café, grocery and bakery all at once in the Dutch town of Ootmarsum, is that what H. Oude Hengel is today in Gildehaus, just across the German border. The brothers wanted to expand the mill, but did not have the room for that, whereas Gildehaus in Germany could provide the space. Douwe Oude Hengel: “A move we never regretted. The only worry we had was how our clients would react to us moving away, but we kept all of them.” Nowadays the sawmill and wood trader has 23,000 square metres to work with 40  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

and processes more than 7,000 cubic metres of timber each year, mostly oak and Douglas fir. Douwe Oude Hengel: “There’s not much we can’t do here, from sawing wood to exactly what you want to mortises and tenons. Our in-house drafter can help you with the realisation of your project.” The projects Oude Hengel mentions are rural properties and hay barracks, but also modern houses that require façade cladding. Ask Douwe if he has any favourite projects and he is quick with an answer: “I loved creating the entrance booth of a rollercoaster in a nearby theme park.” All the timber that H. Oude Hengel processes is PEFC and FSC certified, meaning none of what comes in the sawmill is illegal wood. Douwe Oude Hengel: “Unfortunately, illegally acquired wood from tropical regions is still a thing, but we only use the best wood from forests in Germany, Belgium and France.” With their timber being used for the furniture and floor industry, Douwe Oude Hengel starts to grin when asked if all of the furniture at his

home comes from his own company. “I think it does, yes. Definitely my children’s beds.” Will one of them or Valentijn’s become H. Oude Hengel’s fifth generation? Douwe smiles: “That is very likely.”


You are unique

so is your Auping mattress

Every person, each body is dierent. This calls for a tailor-made solution. For freedom of choice. The renewed mattresses by Auping are available in a variety of lengths, types of supports, and levels of comfort. As a result, there is always an Auping mattress that, no matter the bed base you choose, ďŹ ts you perfectly. Get inspired at the Auping store or visit

Discover Benelux  |  Flanders  |  Top Wellness and Beauty


Time to relax… Looking to beat the winter blues? Then why not indulge in some me time with a relaxing spa break in Flanders. PHOTOS: DREAMSTIME.COM

There is no better place to treat yourself to a spa treatment than Belgium. After all, even the word spa is derived from the Walloon word ‘espa’, which means ‘fountain’. In turn, this comes from this Belgian town of Spa, where a therapeutic thermal spring was discovered in the 14th century. Unsurprisingly for a country responsible for the name of every spa in the world, the choices of treatments in Belgium are second to none, and the Flanders region is home to some of the country’s finest wellness and beauty retreats. So read our guide and choose where to go first – we guarantee your body will thank us later! 42  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Flanders  |  Top Wellness and Beauty

The saunas were built with quality materials to help create a gentle, non aggressive heat.

Around the world in seven saunas TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  PHOTOS: THERMENR

Taking a hot bath is a tradition enjoyed by many cultures. ThermenR in Roeselare offers a full day of indulgence in their saunas from around the world. Opened only six years ago, the huge 9,000-square-metre complex is already among Belgium’s most beautiful and top-rated wellness centres.

scrub session,” Viaene adds. Apart from the modern facilities, ThermenR is known for its aufguss sessions, held in various saunas throughout the day (see box below). Constantly looking to improve the complex, Viaene recently added four new

ThermenR is the brainchild of Rik Viaene, whose passion for saunas started 25 years ago. After a career switch in 2011, he now owns and runs the public sauna together with his family. “Most of our visitors stay from morning to evening,” he says. “We have a very young and international crowd.”

Himalaya salt-crystal sauna: Perfect to start your visit, this basement sauna has a pleasant, mineral-enriched warmth of 62 degrees. The heated Himalayan wall crystals fill the air with salt ions that continuously cleanse lung blisters.

The wellness resort offers a complete day out for up to 350 visitors. Aside from the saunas (see below), the complex has a large heated outdoor and indoor pool, a cold-water swimming pond, two sunbathing areas, and a restaurant and café. “And for something extra you can book various beauty treatments, massages or a hamam

The saunas of ThermenR

Turkish steam bath: This steam bath with heated stone walls and benches has a gentle warmth of 45 degrees. The steam soaks into your pores and helps to rejuvenate the skin. Meditation sauna: In this 65-degree sauna, up to 20 people can enjoy a meditation session while getting sprinkled with water and gently slapped with the vihta (a bundle of birch branches) to improve circulation.

massage rooms and a rest area. “And we now offer larger, more spacious changing rooms upstairs.” Web:

Infrared sauna: With penetrating heat, infrared light helps against joint pains and muscle aches. Finnish sauna: This wet sauna warms up to 85 degrees and is ideal for visitors who like intensive heat. Japanese sauna: Offering a moment of Zen, this sauna is constructed with all the senses in mind, combining nature visuals, the sound of running water and a relaxing scent. Kelso sauna: With space for 85 people, this is the biggest and most popular sauna. There are up to seven aufguss sessions a day held by sauna masters, who each create an individual spectacle of music and lights as they pour water and essential oils over the sauna stones.

Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  43

Discover Benelux  |  Flanders  |  Top Wellness and Beauty

One resort, infinite sensations TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: WAER WATERS

Waer Waters stands for a complete state of wellness in body and mind through exercise and relaxation alike. Set in the outskirts of Brussels, the 6,000-square-metre resort offers an oasis of relaxation and pure luxury in an intimate and almost mystical atmosphere. “Everyone knows that exercise and fitness are important elements of a healthy life,” says general manager Sarah Coppens. “However, many forget that taking time for yourself is also unmissable for good health. We ensure that all elements of wellbeing are indulged and provide our guests with inspiration for a balance between physical and mental wellbeing.” Waer Waters boasts an infinite array of facilities: saunas and hammams, steam baths, relaxation rooms, and a wide range of pools. There is both an undressed and dressed zone, so every guest can feel comfortable in his or her own way. The spa boasts a wide variety of treatments. Massages, facials, or beauty treatments, every one of them will make feel you rejuvenated and relaxed. In the coming year, another 6,000 square metres of wellness 44  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

will be added to Waer Waters, including a 55-room hotel. From scrub sessions to singing bowl therapies: guests at Waer Waters are immersed in experiences. The Aufguss pourings – a Finnish tradition whereby water is mixed with essential oils and poured onto the hot stones – are held daily and are open to all wellness guests.

Waer Waters equals wellness in the broadest sense of the word and serves everyone in search of relaxation and a more conscious way of life. “Our guests visit for very different reasons,” Coppens concludes. “Groups of girlfriends visit to catch-up, busy professionals come for a mindfulness session, and others will find the peace and quiet they miss in their daily lives.”

The focus on fitness becomes clear at Waer Waters’ well-equipped gym, where approximately 1,000 square metres of appliances await for intensive (group) sessions and the emphasis lies on guided training. “We complemented our group lessons with expert advice programmes. Many people have a busy agenda, so during these sessions we integrate practical tips for wellbeing in their daily lives.” Your day of wellness can be completed at one of the many restaurants. Wellness guests can sit down in their robes to enjoy a meal in the new tapas bar or à la carte restaurant and salad bar. The doors of Brasserie Rodenberg are open to nonsauna guests as well.

The weekend of 18 and 19 November will carry the theme of Japan and China, with Japanese pourings, Japanese music, and Asian meditation learning.


Discover Benelux  |  Flanders  |  Top Wellness and Beauty

A sauna for total relaxation Today, with our busy lives, it is easy to get stuck into a daily routine while forgetting ourselves or each other. For an ideal escape, why not sit back and relax in a sauna? One outstanding complex in Belgium has everything needed to completely unwind; the LeegHof in Boekhoute. The LeegHof, in the north west of Belgium, is situated in the middle of the green fields of its surrounding polders. The private sauna and B&B especially caters for couples who want to spend some quality time together. Katrien Van Waes, who owns and runs it, says: “I can see guests looking visibly refreshed at the end of their visit.” Inside, the LeegHof has a steam room, infrared sauna, foot bath and relaxation corner with loungers, as well as a covered whirlpool, heated swimming pool, bucket shower and Kelo sauna outside. “The Kelo, a traditional woodfired Finnish sauna, is the pride of the complex. And because we are a private sauna, you have everything to yourself,” she says. By fusing a contemporary style with rustic elements, the complex has an inviting, spa-


cious interior. Neutral tones and natural materials create a warm environment where guests feel instantly at home. It was designed and built by Van Waes herself, with help from her husband. “We wanted to create a sense of space, to help guests forget about the confinement of the daily grind. And, of course, we are surrounded by beautiful and tranquil fields.” A private, three-hour session includes the use of bath robes and towels, soaps, a footbath tablet and a cup of coffee or tea afterwards in the tea room. For complete relaxation, a sauna visit can be combined with a night’s stay in one of the LeegHof’s two spacious guest suites with views of the green surroundings.


Ultimate relaxation in a historical atmosphere TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: SODAMASSAGE

At Sodamassage in Ghent, guests from all over the world are welcome to enjoy a blissful 90-minute full body massage in a charming historical atmosphere. Her customers call her the girl with the golden touch. But Sophie Darras sees herself more as a woman who turned her expertise in massage into a successful business. Having spent part of her youth in Bali, her childhood memories have become her life’s work. Launched in 2014, Sodamassage is situated in a beautiful historical house in the heart of

delightful Ghent, and promises to be the perfect pitstop for relaxation. A moment of pure indulgence for the senses and adaptable to the personal wishes of each client, the standard full body massages take about 90 minutes. “With a special eye for the customer and most of all a keep-it-simple mentality, I start each massage with a short chat with my client,” Sophie explains. “Paying attention to a customer’s wishes and needs forms the essence of reaching the vital goal of ultimate relaxation.” A standard massage combines both western and oriental massaging techniques, which can be adapted to the client’s needs. Couples massages are offered too. An appointment at the massage centre, which is open seven days a week, can be easily booked via the website. Sodamassage offers unique gift vouchers in the form of a pebble. “The story behind the stone is that once it is given to you, you will return to the place the stone comes from.”

Do you have what it takes to become a masseuse? Sodamassage welcomes open applications.

Situated in the same building as Sodamassage, guests can find the unique concept of the BoekBar: a bar where books can be discussed whilst enjoying a good Belgian beer.


Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  45

Discover Benelux  |  Flanders  |  Top Wellness and Beauty


In need of a spot of rest and relaxation? On the outskirts of Brussels, you will find two wellness centres with decades of expertise in putting visitors at ease. Thermae Grimbergen has been going for 20 years, and has recently expanded with beautiful gardens. Its sister site, Thermae Boetfort, opened almost eight years ago. “Boetfort is located on 400-year-old castle grounds, so it’s a really unique location,” explains spokesperson Ellen Van De Wijgaert. “Our sites are a real trump card: a unique castle estate and a beautiful green wellness centre. And both are easy to reach from around the country.” Grimbergen and Boetfort both have everything visitors might want for a switched-off day out or a relaxing short break. “The thermal baths are made up of one swimsuit section and one naked section, and they are completely separate. It means everyone can bathe with us in comfort,” says Van De Wijgaert. “In each 46  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

section there are saunas, steam baths, Jacuzzis, swimming pools…” The sites also have private saunas for those who prefer to relax in complete privacy; a hotel with various room options for the budget-conscious to the luxury holidaymaker; a beauty institute open until 10pm every day offering massages, body treatments, facial care and more. There are even meeting rooms for business events at Boetfort. What can people expect from a visit to Thermae Grimbergen or Boetfort? Van De Wijgaert: “A whole day of relaxation and pampering. Delicious food, a blissful massage, a wonderful ‘aufguss’ session. We’ve provided everything to create a fantastic experience.” An aufguss is a real experience, she explains. At set times during the day, the sauna master pours a mix of water and essential oils on to the hot stones, increas-

ing the temperature and humidity of the sauna. They then beat the air with a towel to spread the warmth around the sauna. “They have various techniques for doing this and it’s quite a spectacle,” she says. “For sauna users, the experience is a real kick. Every day there are lots of free aufguss sessions, and they are open to everyone. We host regular events and aufguss weekends where we offer special sessions, and we also try to organise surprise sessions to give our visitors a little extra treat.”


Discover Benelux  |  Flanders  |  Top Wellness and Beauty

A five-star spa in beautiful nature Visitors from all over the world are in awe as soon as they enter Adelante. Just a stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, one can find ultimate relaxation in a rustic atmosphere at the charming wellness spa Adelante. At this modern spa, beautifully decorated with warm colours, guests can forget about everything for a moment and find themselves surrounded by verdant nature enjoying one of the many lavish treatments on offer. From a simple manicure or pedicure, to a luxurious package of several massages or even a wellness bundle especially designed for children, Adelante has something for everyone. Especially created to give guests the ultimate feeling of relaxation, each spa treatment can be adapted to the wishes of clients. In 2001, Ann Kieckens, who runs the luxurious spa with her partner Jan, decided to make a career switch. Having studied to become a Spanish translator, she started her own spa. But as a promise to her mother to use her

studies in her profession, she decided to give the spa a Spanish name. “A personal touch,” Ann smiles. That specific personal touch cannot only be seen in the name of the spa, but in every detail of the charming wellness centre. From the pillows to the massage techniques and even the delicious food for lunch, everything has been chosen with care and a special eye for the client’s wishes. With the warm team’s personal approach, exceptional services and a selection of the finest products, it is no wonder that Adelante has been awarded a maximum of five stars from luxury house brand Babor – known for offering the ultimate in wellness products.



River Lieve and view of the Castle of the Counts


Where joie de vivre meets history There are many reasons why National Geographic Traveller magazine has listed Ghent as one of the most authentic historic cities in the world: not only does it host one of the world’s most treasured artworks, the city is also one large playground for beautiful buildings carrying fascinating stories, scenic squares full of life, and bustling cultural events. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: ©STAD GENTW DIENST TOERISME

Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  49

Discover Benelux  |  Ghent  |  The Ultimate and Unforgettable Destination

STAM - Ghent City Museum.

The Belgian city of Ghent adorns many ‘top places to visit’ lists from travellers and travel magazines alike. In 2011, the historic city was dubbed ‘Europe’s best kept secret’ by Lonely Planet. Not a surprise if you look at Ghent’s profile: the city is the perfect mix of historic and contemporary, with a thriving art scene and culinary delicacies around every corner. The renowned university in the city ensures thousands of students provide the city with a young vibe every year. Ask ten locals what the most beautiful place in ‘their’ Ghent is, and most will probably answer the Graslei and the adjacent Korenlei. This medieval port-turnedmeeting place is the thriving heart of the inner city and boasts an abundance of cafés and restaurants on each side of its scenic river. The Graslei and Korenlei also serve as a backdrop to the summer Ghent Festivities, the largest open-air cultural celebration in Europe. In winter, Ghent loves 50  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

to throw great parties: during the Winter Festivities, the city centre will transform into a winter wonderland with an iceskating rink, a Christmas market and an overall wonderful winter atmosphere. With great parties, comes great food. Ghent puts culinary greatness in the high seat, with world-class restaurants swarmed over the city. Vegetarians have another good reason to visit the Flemish city: Ghent proudly calls itself the vegetarian capital of Europe.

Art smart Whether you are into contemporary art or a fan of the old masters, a visit to Ghent is not complete without seeing its wonderful museums and its all-year-long exhibitions, such as The Museum of Fine Arts, the STAM – Ghent City Museum, and S.M.A.K. An absolute highlight is The Ghent Altarpiece (or the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb)

at the Saint Bavo's Cathedral: a stunning 15th-century Early Flemish polyptych altarpiece attributed to the brothers Hubert and Jan van Eyck. It is considered a masterpiece of European art and one of the world's treasures that will even impress the biggest non-art aficionados. But Ghent does not just keep its historic wonders inside. A fortress built a thousand years ago, medieval towers, old houses: wherever you are in the city, there are beautiful buildings and monuments wanting to tell you their story. Do not miss a trip to one of the city’s three beguinages (Great Beguinage St–Elizabeth, Small Beguinage Our Lady of Ter Hoyen, and the Old St Elizabeth Beguinage) – they are beautiful witnesses of the city’s religious past. For more tips on what is on in Ghent, check

Discover Benelux  |  Ghent  |  The Ultimate and Unforgettable Destination Town Hall.


Gerhard Richter - About Painting: This is an exhibition about one of today’s most influential artists. About Painting traces a specific choice of motifs from Richter’s early work, in which the analysis of the potential of visual reproduction and perception, that became a constant in his oeuvre, can already be discerned. Until 18 February 2018 at museum S.M.A.K. The six-day bicycle race: Not many countries have such a deep love for cycling as Belgium. This race in Ghent returns annually to the legendary 'Kuipke' cycling stadium. Every day you can watch the race for points, the team race, the elimination race, the time trial, and the final super sprint. 14 – 19 November

Hello, Robot: Where does our fascination with robots and technology come from? This exhibition at the Design Museum tries to answer these questions by investigating our relationship with technology through a wide variety of objects ranging from commercial wearables, to interactive installations, to video reports and industrial robots. Until 15 April 2018 at Design Museum Ghent Winter Festivities: If you have ever been to Ghent’s Summer Festivities, you know you cannot miss this event. The whole city will be filled with shiny lights and become a winter wonderland. There is an ice-skating rink, a giant Ferris wheel and of course a Christmas market full of delicious treats and glühwein. 8 December – 7 January 2018

De Krook library, one of Ghent’s new cultural hotspots.

Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  51

Discover Benelux  |  Ghent  |  The Ultimate and Unforgettable Destination

Gastronomical grilling at Argenvino No need to wait for summer to enjoy the taste of perfectly smoky steak again: Argenvino has captured the true Argentinian barbecue taste in their cosy restaurant in the centre of Ghent. A stone’s throw away from the Korenmarkt, in the very heart of Ghent, Argenvino has perfectly merged Belgian gastronomic culture with the more southern tradition of barbecuing. Marbled steaks are grilled on the Josper charcoal grill using pure Argentine coal, giving every dish the aroma and taste of a true Argentine Asado.

The menu lists various grilled meat and fish dishes. “Our classic? Our Argentine rib-eye steak,” enthuse owners Tom and Lorena. “Although we have evolved from a purely Argentinian steak restaurant into a more gastronomical setting, this dish is still a beloved favourite.” While the staple meat dishes are solid factors in the restaurant, Tom and his team renew the menu very frequently, depending on the season and what the market has to offer. All produce is fresh and handmade. “Every time you come, there is always something new to try,” they smile. Argenvino puts fine wines in the high seat with a list that counts over 50 wines, which are


all available for sale. Customers regularly take a bottle of their favourite wine home after enjoying it during dinner. Argenvino opened its doors in mid-2012, after which it quickly had to move to meet the increasing demand for expansion. “Our team has such a passion for the job,” Tom concludes. “Like no other, we know how beautiful a good piece of steak accompanied by a fine wine can be. We want to give our guests that experience as well.” Web:

Discover Benelux  |  Ghent  |  The Ultimate and Unforgettable Destination


Great connections, inspiring nature, a warm family atmosphere and all the mod cons the seasoned traveller could wish for – the Hotel Nazareth near the city of Ghent has it all. “We’re a real family hotel,” says Hotel Nazareth’s manager Maartje Dias – Heinrichs. “And at the same time, we’re also part of the international Van der Valk group, which means we combine our personal, flexible service and warm atmosphere with the best facilities, furnishings and design you could wish for.” Maartje runs the hotel together with her husband Junior Dias. In the great Van der Valk tradition, every single one of their 98 hotels are run by a descendant of the family – Maartje is the granddaughter of the famous former group CEO Gerrit van der Valk. The Hotel Nazareth is conveniently situated off the E17 motorway, 15 minutes from the city of Ghent and the Flanders Expo and 30 minutes from the Xpo Conference Cen-

tre in Kortrijk. The large rooms and suites are all appointed to the highest standards, measuring upwards from 450 square feet of stylishly designed living space. Guests can choose between standard and superior rooms, or opt for a luxury suite. The hotel also boasts full meeting, catering and party facilities, ranging from small syndicate rooms to large conference suites seating up to 100 people.

and outdoor play areas,” Maartje smiles. “And business travellers who want to go for a stroll or a run, only have to cross a little bridge at the rear of our hotel to enjoy the historic Hospice Forest. See, we really have the best of both worlds!”

Belgium is known for its delightful cuisine, and the Hotel Nazareth is no different. They serve a full breakfast buffet and an extensive lunchtime menu. In the intimate surroundings of the restaurant, guests can also enjoy a romantic evening dinner with daily fresh seasonal dishes and a wide selection of quality wines. A favourite place to stay for business travellers, the Hotel Nazareth is also very popular with young families, especially on weekends and holidays. “Families can enjoy our extensive Sunday brunch menu, while children can join in with the entertainment or have a great time in the indoor


Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  53

Discover Benelux  |  Ghent  |  The Ultimate and Unforgettable Destination

Carlos Quinto, full of possibilities TEXT: JULIËN L’ORTYE  |  PHOTOS: SALONS CARLOS QUINTO

When looking for an amazing place to host an event such as a wedding, you will often end up at castles or other (large) estates. These places are often located far away from city centres, sometimes even in the middle of nowhere. However, Carlos Quinto, both a ballroom and a restaurant, can be found in the historic centre of the wonderful city of Ghent. According to owner Pieter van Mullem, the art of running a place like this is listening to what people want. “We do not follow any strict formulas or stuff like that. What we do is talk to our soon-to-be guests and discuss their demands in order to host tailor-made parties that make them happy.” When you look at Carlos Quinto, it seems that being happy in here cannot be hard at all. The wonderful building, located within 50 metres of a parking garage, consists of multiple mansions connected to each other with a gorgeous courtyard that seats up to 80 people. For standing receptions, the courtyard can accommodate up to 150 guests. Luckily it 54  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

is not only used during summertime when, for example, barbecues are being hosted – Van Mullem also thought of organising parties here in the winter, complete with firepits. Furthermore, the Belgian ballroom’s capacity is up to 250 people, but thanks to the in-house decorator, Carlos Quinto will never look (too) full and – especially – always feel classy and comfortable. Once inside, there is even more grandeur to be seen, such as the authentic interior, which has the quality of being very chic without coming across as pretentious. As said before, Carlos Quinto serves both as a ballroom and as a restaurant, but it can also be used as a congress centre. That is where the convenience of the parking garage just across the corner comes in. However, the establishment is mostly used for family parties, with – as Van Mullem likes to point out – the opportunity to dance as well. It is even possible to rent just a small room within the multifunctional building, when you do not feel like giving a huge party. On top of all these possibilities, you can even have a delicious lunch or dinner here. Long story short, not only

is Carlos Quinto full of opportunities, it is a delightful place to spend some time as well – whether it is just for food, a baby shower or even a wedding.

Web: (to book a honeymoon suite for after your wedding)



Watch the restorers of the ‘Ghent Altarpiece’ by the brothers Van Eyck live at work.

Museum of Fine Arts Ghent

Fernand Scribedreef 1 9000 Ghent Belgium

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Emma Bale

56  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Emma Bale


Wise beyond her years At just 18 years old, Flemish singer Emma Bale has already racked up some seriously impressive accolades: earlier this year she was named Best Solo Female at Belgium’s prestigious Music Industry Awards (MIAs), while in 2016 she won the award for Best Belgian Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards. This month will see the release of a new EP showcasing an edgier sound, not to mention eagerly anticipated performances at the iconic AB Club in Brussels and De Vooruit in Ghent. We entered into the dreamy universe of the Benelux’s most promising rising star and discovered an enchanting talent, wise beyond her years. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: MARIE WYNANTS

It is hard to believe that Bale was only born in 1999 as her resume could be that of someone twice her age. “My first single came out when I was 14, so that’s quite young,” muses Bale. This may sound like an understatement, but Bale had been striving for a career in music since childhood. “From the moment I had my first email address I was already sending emails asking for auditions,” she laughs. “I can’t explain why because I was very realistic that being a female singer – or just a singer in Belgium, or elsewhere – it’s just very, very hard. You have to be lucky and I realise I was very lucky. Everything just happened out of the blue.”

Child prodigy Of course, luck was not everything. There is also Bale’s heavenly voice, which first came to prominence in 2014 when she was a contestant on the Flanders’ version of The Voice Kids. Where did that unique talent come from? “It’s just always been there, it’s something natural,” admits Bale. “Neither my mum nor my sister, nor my father sings or plays an instrument. It really comes from myself.” An early childhood memory involving the piano at her grandparents’ house highlights Bale’s determi-

nation to make music: “They had a piano, but they couldn’t even play it, it was just standing there. I have pictures of me being a baby – I think I was two years old – already playing the piano or at least trying and making noises.”

stars. “I definitely think about my behaviour and about how I behave in public. I think that’s normal,” asserts the singer, admitting that there is time for a spot of partying in her busy schedule. “I prefer to do that in smaller circles or at private events.”

Bale’s musical aspirations meant she grew up quickly: while her friends were out playing she was already participating in important industry meetings. “I’ve always been quite mature. I just had to be serious when necessary and think about way bigger things than the kids my age,” she concedes. But Bale argues missing out on the occasional party was a small price to pay for following her passion. “I was quite upset when my friends could go to parties and I couldn’t go because I had to save my voice. Sometimes it’s nice to just be immature with your friends. But it’s not like I really missed anything because I get to do what I love,” she smiles. “If that involves making sacrifices, I have no problem in making sacrifices.”

A new sound

She may have been in the limelight since her mid-teens, but there is no chance of Bale going through the rebellious phase that can often be associated with child

Back to the subject of work, and Bale is busy working on her latest EP at the time of our interview. “I can tell you that it’s going to be way more dreamy,” she teases. “I’m excited and I’m very curious about what the audience will think.” She has already topped the Belgian charts and clocked up well over 50 million streams thanks to hits such as Run, All I Want and Worth It, but is Bale nervous about showcasing a new and unexpected sound? “It’s always nerve-wracking for me,” she admits. “All my songs are like different sides of me – different centres in my universe. I don’t think it’s super strange that I’m doing something a little bit different. I’m happy with what I’m doing at the moment and I think the most important thing is that I’m happy with what I release.” Growing up, Bale mostly listened to US pop heavyweights like Rihanna, Beyoncé Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  57

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Emma Bale

and Michael Jackson. Today she cites British stars Florence Welch and Dua Lipa as two of her biggest idols. “They’re very strong individuals and I just think that they make awesome music.” Would she be interested in a collaboration? “That would be a wonderful experience. I think that I would learn so much from them.” That is not to say Bale is not equally inspired by her home country. “I think you should be proud of where you come from. The music industry here has a lot of potential and cool people. I’m actually quite happy with my roots,” she grins.

Record breaking The proudest moment of Bale’s career so far had to be when she was named Best Solo Female at the Flemish MIAs, making her the youngest MIA winner in history. “I always watched the MIAs on TV and it was just crazy that I could sing there, that I could meet all my idols and stuff. It was even crazier when I won the award,” she 58  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

recalls. “It marked that I’m doing well. It’s been good for me and my self-esteem. It really was something that I will never forget – incredible!” Having performed across Europe as well as selling out shows at some of Belgium’s most iconic music venues, Bale admits she still gets very superstitious before a show. “I have certain rings and bracelets that I need to wear. Otherwise I think that it will bring bad luck,” she laughs. “In the beginning I always had a scented candle but that was quite dangerous. I used to perform for like a quarter of an hour or just half an hour, but now that I need to perform a full hour it’s dangerous for the candle to be burning in my dressing room. I don’t do that anymore – everything would be burnt!” Superstitions aside, Bale always allows time to warm up her voice before a show and gives herself some alone time in order

to mentally prepare. “I always need half an hour for myself so that I can relax and stretch. I check my make up, I check my songs. I really need it otherwise I’m too stressed. Everything needs to be very scheduled because I don’t want to get panic attacks!”

The road to international success A big fan of life on the road, Bale envisages a future involving plenty of tours and international festival appearances. “If I could live my dream life then I see myself performing in different countries doing festivals like Lollapalooza, spending time with my band. I would love to do that all the time,” she smiles. International success seems inevitable for the prodigious Bale, who has already achieved so much so young. “It’s a dream,” she grins. “At the beginning I was very realistic and I thought it was already hard to become a singer in Belgium. But once you achieve one thing, you always want more…”

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Emma Bale

Photo: Athos Burez

Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  59

Discover Benelux  |  East of the Netherlands  |  The Perfect Autumn and Winter Destination


Your perfect autumn and winter break From Overijssel and Gelderland in the central eastern part of the country, up to Drenthe province in the northeast, this magnificent part of the Netherlands boasts stunning scenery and cultural delights galore in cities such as Zwolle, Nijmegen and Deventer. Whether you are seeking nature, adventure, or history, the exquisite east has it all. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: NBTC

60  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

Discover Benelux  |  East of the Netherlands  |  The Perfect Autumn and Winter Destination

Rosendael Castle.

Go, Gelderland!

The Hoge Veluwe.

Read more from page 63 The jewel in Gelderland’s crown has to be Nationaal Park De Hoge Veluwe, a breathtakingly beautiful national park filled with heathlands, sand dunes and woodlands. But Gelderland is not just for nature lovers: there is plenty to offer culture vultures too, notably in cities such as Nijmegen, Arnhem and Apeldoorn. Arnhem, Gelderland’s capital city, has a rich history and is famous as the site of the Allies’ daring yet unsuccessful ‘Operation Market Garden’ in 1944. Meanwhile, the vibrant city of Nijmegen is brimming with history: it was granted Roman city rights all the way back in 98 BC. This charming city may ooze history, but it is far from being stuck in the past. In fact, it is a trendy university town with a vibrant atmosphere and lively music scene. Arguably the province’s most unmissable cultural destination is the Kröller-Müller museum, which boasts a world-famous 19th and 20th-century art collection; not to mention an impressive range of works by Vincent van Gogh.


EGO. Remember me Airborne Museum Hartenstein This moving exhibition from the museum dedicated to the Battle of Arnhem focuses on the individual, the ‘I’ (ego) rather than the military operation. The period leading up to the Battle of Arnhem and its aftermath are dramatically brought to life via an array of personal stories. Until 31 December 2017 Hermanus Berserik | De wereld onder een stolp Museum MORE This large exhibition is dedicated to the oeuvre of Dutch painter and printmak-

er Hermanus Berserik (1921-2002). The varied works are full of humour, poetry and sometimes a touch of surrealism. Until 21 January 2018

The Patron and the ‘House Painter’: Helene Kröller-Müller and Bart van der Leck Kröller-Müller Museum The Kröller-Müller Museum’s founder and namesake Helene Kröller-Müller was De Stijl icon Bart van der Leck’s patron between 1912 and 1918. This fascinating exhibition explores the relationship between patron and protégé, highlighting the significance of Kröller-Müller’s support for the famous artist. Until 2 April 2018

Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  61

Discover Benelux  |  East of the Netherlands  |  The Perfect Autumn and Winter Destination


The beauty of Overijssel Read more from page 64 The Overijssel province is famous for its verdant nature and beautiful lakes, polders and streams. There are so many postcard-perfect villages, such as Giethoorn, nicknamed the ‘Venice of the North’, where all the houses are on water. Overijssel is also home to historic cities including Zwolle, Kampen and Deventer, which were part of the Hanseatic League that dominated commercial activity in Northern Europe from the 13th to 15th century. Do not miss Deventer with its elegant squares, fascinating museums and magnificent monuments, including the beautiful Gothic St. Lebuinus Church. Arguably the most charming of the Hanseatic towns is Zwolle, which also happens to be the capital of Overijssel province. Small but perfectly formed, this medieval hub boasts attractions such as the 600-year-old Sassenpoort gate and starshaped city moat, the Gothic gem that is Sint-Michaëlkerk Church and the 75metre-high tower of the Basilica of Our Lady, which dominates the city’s skyline. 62  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017


Wolfgang Mattheuer | Retrospective Museum de Fundatie This is the first retrospective of the German artist Wolfgang Mattheuer’s work to be staged outside his native country. Along with Werner Tübke and Bernhard Heisig, Mattheuer (1927-2004) was one of the founders of the pioneering Leipziger Schule movement. Until 7 January 2018 Expected: Deventer Cake Museum De Waag Foodies will not want to miss this tasty exhibition that tells the history of the fa-

mous Deventer Cake: a delicious honey cake which has been baked in the eponymous city for 600 years. 21 January to 3 June 2018

Expected: The Nature of Things. Nine contemporary artists Rijksmuseum Twenthe Do not miss this beautiful group exhibition featuring works by nine contemporary artists: Emmy Bergsma, Aline Eras, Hanneke Francken, Anouk Griffioen, Roos Holleman, Kinke Kooi, Arno Kramer, Hans de Wit and Sigrid van Woudenberg. All artists are celebrated for the influence of nature in their work. 5 November 2017 - 25 March 2018

Discover Benelux  |  East of the Netherlands  |  Gelderland Highlights

The private villa.

The four seasons of a fairytale estate TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: HET ROODE KOPER

With various monumental buildings, a private villa, a Michelin-star restaurant and a beautiful new Poolhouse, the historic estate of Het Roode Koper promises to be one of the best getaways in the Benelux. Whether the estate is adorned in golden autumn colours or covered in crispy white snow, guests always feel like they are walking straight into a romantic fairy tale as soon as they enter the gates of the monumental estate Het Roode Koper. Just an hour away from Amsterdam, situated on The Veluwe, the largest nature reserve in the Netherlands, one can find the ultimate relaxation in the beautiful hotel or in the luxurious private villa on the estate. This sun-drenched villa, with its own suites, living room, garden and several terraces, overlooks the mesmerising forest. On top of that, a private chef will serve you the most delicious meals at the villa as well. Feeling at home whilst enjoying all the luxuries of a hotel: that is exactly what Het Roode Koper offers its guests. Built in 1912 by aristocrat and former command-

er of the Dutch East Indies, Count Van Limburg-Stirum, the estate became a hotel in 1947 and has been in the family for three generations. Each time of the year promises to be a true joy at the historic estate, which is close to hotspots such as the royal Het Loo Palace and De Hoge Veluwe National Park with the Kröller-Müller Museum. From the hotel you can walk or cycle straight into the beautiful nature surrounding the estate. Specially guided tours through the forest, by bike or by foot, will lead you to beautiful hidden places where the staff are more than happy to provide you with a picnic. On colder days, unwind with a good book by the fireplace in the hotel’s cosy lounge. Guests will love a day of relaxing at The Poolhouse, the newly renovated heated outdoor swimming pool complete with a restaurant and bar serving delicious cocktails and fine summer dishes. Meanwhile, sporty types will appreciate the tennis court or the possibility to go horse riding in the forest. Excellent food is served at the estate’s Michelin-star restaurant, where diners can enjoy mouthwatering dishes from the re-

gion. During the autumn, the chef prepares a broad selection of game meat from The Veluwe. As one of the 500 members of the worldwide and highly qualified hotel network Relais & Chateaux, Het Roode Koper is well known for its excellence in hospitality and service.


Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  63

Discover Benelux  |  East of the Netherlands  |  Overijssel Highlights

Experience the magnificent country life at De Bloemenbeek TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: LANDHUISHOTEL & RESTAURANT DE BLOEMENBEEK

Nestled in the picturesque natural wonders of Twente within the Dinkelday river valley, four-star Landhuishotel De Bloemenbeek has immersed their (international) guests into an oasis of nonchalant chicness and culinary excellence for over five decades. Entering the five-acre estate of Bloemenbeek feels like leaving the rest of the Netherlands behind. Set against the beautiful backdrop of Twente’s sloping green hills, the boutique hotel is an embodiment of chic country life in all its senses whereby gastronomic excellence sits in the high seat. Bloemenbeek’s restaurant is the equivalent of fine dining and has carried a Michelin star for seven years now. Landhuishotel De Bloemenbeek is truly a family company. It has been owned and managed by the Strikker family for over five decades – in 2016 the hotel celebrated its 50th anniversary. “We celebrated big,” owner Raymond Strikker smiles. “Not only was it a milestone for the hotel, 64  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

we also celebrated the fact that our executive chef Michel van Riswijk has been with us for 30 years.” Van Riswijk helms the kitchen that has gained Bloemenbeek fame far beyond its native Twente. Serving classic French-Mediterranean cuisine, the restaurant is known to offer mainly local produce: herbs from the garden and locally hunted game. Every course is accompanied by a wine from the hotel’s private cellar. De Bloemenbeek counts 57 suites and rooms, boasting every possible comfort one could ask for. Most suites have a private terrace. The World of Wellness & Beauty, which boasts a pool, various saunas and treatment salons, is available to all guests. The various meeting facilities are there to accommodate everyone visiting for business. While the hotel seems almost hidden in Twente’s nature, accessibility is one of its hallmarks. The hotel lies a mere stone’s throw away from the German border and

cities such as Hamburg and Munster. “These factors play a major role with our clientele, of which many are international guests,” Strikker adds. The hotel regularly welcomes major sports teams (Ajax has been a loyal guest for 43 years) or international business guests – in which case the ten-minute away airport in Enschede provides a solution. From the unmatched personal service to the country allure that shines through in every detail: Landhuishotel De Bloemenbeek is famous for a reason. “We always warn people on their first visit,” Strikker laughs. “One stay at Bloemenbeek is enough to fall in love – so you will definitely be back.”

Web: Beuningerstraat 6, 7587 LD De Lutte, the Netherlands +31(0)541-551224

Enjoy the good life....

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

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

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Column





PESTLE your organisation and yourself TEXT & PHOTO: STEVE FLINDERS

The leaders of the two main UK political parties recently presented diametrically opposed views of modern Britain: Jeremy Corbyn claimed that socialism is now mainstream, while Theresa May insisted that the country embraces free market capitalism. This reminded me of my recent pair of daydreams about PESTLE. Having decided that my first account of my own reality was too miserable, I felt obliged to come up with an alternative which turned out to be quite different. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the professional association for HR managers in the UK, a PESTLE analysis is an audit of six external influences on an organisation: Political, Economic, Social, Technology, Legal and Environmental. PESTLE analysis can help organisations formulate business, marketing and HR strategy, manage change, et al. But since I am a freelancer, I thought I would PESTLE myself. My first attempt looked like this: - Political. As a British national living in another EU country, the future looks shaky for me. 66  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

- Economic. Political uncertainty breeds economic uncertainty. - Social. As baby boomers like me get older, ageism at work becomes an increasing threat. - Technology. Social media is hurting journalism. Even coaching is under threat from chatbots. - Legal. More legislation is making managing businesses and freelance work more expensive and tedious. - Environmental. Air and noise pollution, excessive traffic and uncontrolled development are all doing untold damage where I live. Environmental degradation threatens to derail economic growth. Since I am by nature a foolish optimist, I was rather surprised by this gloomy prognosis. So, I pulled myself together and came up with a second version: - Political. Europe is a much more buoyant place than a year ago. - Economic. The European economy is on the move again. - Sociological. The baby boomer market in itself has enormous potential in so many areas including the ones where I work. - Technological. I can live wherever I want and still work globally.

- Legal. The steady strengthening of the international rule of law is enhancing stability and growth. - Environmental. The transport revolution is just around the corner (well, two corners in Malta). As with May and Corbyn, the truth lies somewhere between the two. But serious PESTLE-ing can be a useful exercise for individuals as well as organisations. Why not give it a try?

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

Meetings | Incentives | Congresses | Events


Perfect location in close proximity to Luxembourg City and airport.

42 different rooms spread over 7000 m2, which can host conferences for up to 800 people and cocktail events for up to 2000 people.

Plan your next event. Contact us via email or via phone +352 43 02 57 751

All in one package to ensure ideal work conditions.

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  New Balls Please

Making every event your best event TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: NEW BALLS PLEASE

An event is not just a party – it is an essential way to tell a story, to present yourself and your product and services to the world. For Ghent-based event agency New Balls Please, the making of happy memories has become their hallmark. New Balls Please is a full-service meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) agency, organising everything from client events to exhibition stands and from product launches to international events. Among its clients are companies in all industries and from all corners of the Benelux. “New Balls Please literally refers to the game of tennis,” founder and co-owner Michel Van Camp enthuses. “After a few games of tennis, new balls are necessary to provide players with the elasticity to win the game. That is exactly what our agency does: to provide event expertise through fresh ideas, with an extra spice and an eye for detail.” 68  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

Every event managed by New Balls Please can pride itself on four values: service and flexibility, creativity, aesthetics, and problem-solving abilities. “Of course, you work within a certain budget or script, but an event should always over-deliver,” Van Camp continues. “It is an investment in a long-term vision – a way to stand out and tell a story.” It is this philosophy that has gained New Balls Please many loyal clients that they have collaborated with for years, such as Volvo Car Belux, Opel Belgium, Sanoma Media Belgium, AZ Klina, De Lijn, A.S.Adventure. A recent success story was the cooperation with gingerbread producer Vondelmolen in Lebbeke, for whom New Balls Please has organised four spectacular events this year, such as the royal visit to the factory and the spectacular village feast for over 3,000 locals. The latter is a perfect example of going the extra mile: all inhabitants were invited for a special brunch and a tour of the gingerbread factory. Naturally, there were gingerbread

workshops and traditional games for the little ones. Another event of excellence was the Vlaamse Havendag (Flemish Port Day), for which New Balls Please won the pitch for the Port of Antwerp and for which the agency had coordinated various animations and a mobile network of six buslines with 50 buses. That day drew over 45,000 visitors. So how does Van Camp know an event has been such a success? “People going home smiling, enchanted with the story you wanted to tell them, that is proof of a successful event.”







Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  IFSB

Building for a more sustainable future TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: IFSB

Luxembourg’s Council for the Economic Development of Construction (CDEC Group) plays a fundamental role in helping the construction industry confront important issues including energy efficiency, building sustainability and digitalisation. Having recently celebrated its 15th anniversary, the group’s story began back in September 2002, with the launch of the Institut de Formation Sectoriel du Bâtiment (IFSB), an organisation dedicated to staff training and qualifications in the construction sector. We caught up with Bruno Renders, managing director of CDEC, to find out how the group are laying the foundations for a more sustainable future. “The construction industry in Luxembourg is very dynamic,” begins Renders. “In fact, 70  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

it is the second major sector of activity in the private sector after the finance industry.” Knowing the challenges and opportunities available to this fast-changing and constantly evolving sector, CDEC offers a host of complementary services and projects perfectly suited to the construction industry’s many different players: an impressive 45 initiatives have launched both in Europe and internationally since the company was founded.

Exceptional teaching tools The IFSB is a private organisation offering objective training for companies’ employees, with thousands of trainees heading to the IFSB training centre every year. “We put in place training strategies which allow competition and innovation in Luxembourg’s construction industry,” explains Renders.

The IFSB building is a true technological showcase for the sector; sustainable and fully oriented towards High Environmental Performance. Home to more than 5,000 square metres entirely dedicated to learning and experimenting, pupils can put the theory they have learned into practice with the support of mentors. Everything from construction machinery, cranes, technical installations, materials, products and new technologies can be found at the site. One of the training ground’s most exceptional teaching tools is the 300-square-metre didactic building, which has been designed for practising specific techniques in real conditions. Trainees have the opportunity to hone their skills in a building that combines several construction systems, not to mention different façades, exterior joinery systems

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  IFSB

and heating and ventilation systems. From structural work to insulation or exterior joinery, many types of activities can be practised. “We have trained more than 35,000 people since our launch and are cited by the government as a real success story in Luxembourg,” smiles Renders. New for early 2018 will be a bachelors degree in construction site management. “One of the things we are well known for is our innovative pedagogical projects and development of digital learning, whether that is via mobile apps or e-learning,” adds the managing director. The project ImSim was created in 2014 to ensure new technologies are implemented in a relevant way to provide effective solutions in fields such as communication, information and education. ImSim’s philosophy is not to place technologies everywhere, but rather to use them in a targeted way to make judicious use of all the advantages they offer. Equality is a fundamental part of the ImSim pedagogical ethos, which is why they make intuitive and easy-to-use technology solutions available to everyone.

Innovation in sustainable construction While training, employment and innovation are at the heart of the IFSB’s DNA, it provides many resources adapted to the technical and technological evolutions of the construction sector. “Our innova-

tion has an impact on our digital teaching strategies, but also in fields such as sustainable development in construction and corporate social responsibility,” adds Renders. “We have developed methodologies that allow the construction sector to adapt and put in place necessary precautions.” An important strand of the CDEC Group is NEOBUILD, which promotes innovation in sustainable construction. As the first and unique technological innovation pole for the sustainable construction sector in Luxembourg, NEOBUILD covers a wide range of the value chain, both upstream and downstream, from creating the network and seeking financing to promoting innovation in the sector. “We always try to anticipate European regulations and in the field of sustainable development and adhere to the international GRI Sustainability standards.” Another fundamental strand of CDEC is the energy agency Cocert, which was launched in 2009 and is devoted to the energy efficiency of buildings, offering a variety of services in the field of energy for entrepreneurs, individuals and local authorities. Building regulations in the Grand Duchy are justly strict so the agency is on hand to offer its customers guidance and information related to various energy regulations coming from Luxembourg or the European Union. For example, did you know that in 2020 it will be mandatory to construct positive energy

buildings? That is to say buildings, which on average over the year produce more energy from renewable energy sources than they import from external sources.

The importance of health and safety Due to the nature of the work, the prevention of accidents in the workplace is particularly important in the construction sector. In order to help companies reduce such incidents, the IFSB has put in place various actions and tools. “It is important for companies to realise that preventing risks in the workplace is not an expense, but an important long-term investment,” asserts Renders. With the support of the Ministry of Work, Employment and Social and Solidarity Economy and by the AAA project SCIPRISC (Innovative Coaching System for the Prevention of Occupational Risks in the Construction Sector), the IFSB aims to help companies identify the practices that must be implemented in order to improve safety. Since 2009, 125 firms have participated.

Building Generation Another important project is the Building Generation project, which aims not only to promote construction trades among future generations, but also to make them discover the many opportunities available to them. This ensures the sector stays revitalised and leads to a young, skilled workforce: already more than 6,000 young people have participated.

Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  71

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  IFSB

“For ten years now, we have been working with the state education system in Luxembourg to put the Building Generation campaign in place and give a truthful image of how smart and modern our construction industry really is,” enthuses Renders. The project integrates various schemes such as Discovery Days, where different construction trades are presented via workshops, educational video games and simulations. Another important initiative of the IFSB in collaboration with the Agency for the Development of Employment (ADEM) is FIT4 Green Jobs, which offers various training courses related to the construction sector in order to acquire new competences leading to trades and techniques of the future.

Looking to the future Another way the IFSB and NEOBUILD are looking to the future is via dedication to environmentally friendly enterprises such as urban farming via State of the Art (SOTA), the largest urban greenhouse in Luxembourg. With an area of 600 square metres, it can produce nearly ten tonnes of fresh leafy vegetables, as well as tomatoes, strawberries or aromatic plants. This ‘roof-top’ greenhouse will consume between 25 per cent and 50 per cent less energy than a greenhouse ‘on the ground’, since it will take advantage of the residual energy (especially heat) IFSB on which it will be built. On the contrary, the energy equipment that will be installed will allow the greenhouse to produce some of the energy it will consume, 72  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

but without being totally autonomous. The good news is that in Luxembourg more than 60 hectares of roofs have been identified as being able to accommodate urban greenhouses. “There is a real potential in Luxembourg for houses that can produce food.” The IFSB site is not only used for demonstration and training purposes, it can also be used for testing and is therefore equipped with urban Wi-Fi and Sigfox, which is a data transmission protocol that allows connected objects to communicate. The IFSB and NEOBUILD are constantly coming up with ways to assist those in the construction industry to perfect their skills. In an industry that is always evolving so quickly, this is essential. One such example is the CONSTRUCEC project, whose aim is to change the skills of employees in the construction and public works sector through practical technical training in real-life situations in order to adapt them to the needs of companies and the requirements of regulation. Topics covered range from smart and connected buildings (Smart Building, Smart home) to intelligent and connected networks (Smart Grid) and health and safety at work. Next to the organisation’s aforementioned didactic building and complementing the IFSB’s infrastructure is a solar chalet. From solar thermal installations to photovoltaic equipment, to heat pumps and ventilation systems, there is numerous special equipment installed on

site. “We promote the noble functions of buildings. For example, take a house that can produce energy and also stock it, and one that collects water and purifies it, not to mention interconnected buildings,” concludes Renders. “Nowadays you don’t need to see a house as an isolated place with a micro vision, you need to have a macro vision. Our future vision for the building sector is to identify buildings as multifunctional and technological platforms.” Discover CDEC Group’s six major pillars: - Staff training and qualifications via the IFSB (Institut de Formation Sectoriel du Bâtiment). - The Building Generation project to promote the construction sector to younger generations. - The Cocert agency which ensures engineering and energy efficiency of buildings. - The technological innovation pole Neobuild. - Transferring new information based on new technologies via ImSim. - Managing the financing of the Sectoral Building Training System through CDEC (Council for the Economic Development of Construction).

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Calendar


Clean Tech Summit 2017 22 – 23 November Rotterdam, the Netherlands This event focusses on showcasing the best investment opportunities within the clean tech industry in Europe. The agenda will include 40 company presentations by CEOs, discussion panels, keynotes and top-level networking.

Rotterdam.Photo: NBTC

European Women in Technology 8 – 9 November Amsterdam, the Netherlands The Women in Technology series enables the sector to connect, learn and act on gender diversity by sharing the experiences of industry leaders and developing women’s skills. Through inspirational keynote speakers, technical classes and networking opportunities, this conference provides everything needed to flourish in the tech sector.

International Luxury Conference 12 – 14 November Brussels, Belgium This event will bring together leaders from a myriad of industries, together exploring how luxury companies can win in a world where the only constant is change. Expect interesting interviews with CEOs, policy makers, entrepreneurs and celebrities.

mance focuses on the use of advertising to reach the best possible conversion. Leading media managers, marketing professionals and strategists will give you a sneak peek into their experience and success.

The HR Congress 28 – 29 November Brussels, Belgium This event is a must for every HR professional. The HR Congress provides visitors with the unique opportunity to visit 12 different modules under one roof: think culture and change, performance management, employee experience, employer branding, and much more.

Photo: © Women in Technology

Music Conference 16 – 18 November Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg If you are an artist or musician, a (future) music professional or just working in the creative industries, this conference will inspire you through visionary keynotes, hands-on workshops and panels on the pulse of the music industry. Emerce. Photo: © Peter Boer

Emerce Performance 16 November Amsterdam, the Netherlands Being one of the most important events of its kind in the Netherlands, Emerce PerforIssue 47  |  November 2017  |  73

Discover Benelux  |  Hotel of the Month  |  Luxembourg



In the heart of Luxembourg City’s European Quarter, you will find a four-star hotel with a difference. Perfect for business trips and weekend getaways, the Novotel Suites Luxembourg is a suite-only hotel where guests feel truly at home. As part of the famous AccorHotels organisation, Novotel Suites is a group of 34 unique hotels across the world offering travellers spacious, comfortable and modern suites which are ideally equipped for either short or long stays. All suites cover at least 30 square metres and include a living room space separated from the bed by a thick curtain, bathroom with large bath and shower, kitchenette, and 74  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

amenities such as free Wi-Fi. A Deezer tablet is available in the lobby and bar area for clients to choose music from.

Going the extra mile Popular are the executive suites which are considerably larger and provide luxury extras including Smart TV, docking station, Nespresso machine and a free minibar containing a host of sweet and savoury delicacies. “We always go that extra mile to ensure clients have everything they possibly need,” assures general manager Sonia Zaied. Just one of the many ways that Novotel Suites stands out is with extra services such as Smart car loan. Available upon

request for guests staying four nights or more, it allows them to roam around the city on four wheels at no extra cost. Another unique advantage is the free ‘amma-assis’ massage service which is provided every Thursday evening in the lobby from 7.30pm onwards. What better way to unwind after a busy day? Once you are revived and ready to go, the hotel’s well-equipped fitness room awaits and is open 24 hours per day.

Ideally located

Due to the hotel’s location in the business quarter of Kirchberg, close to the European institutions, Novotel Suites is favoured by business travellers from Monday to Thursday. However, during week-

Discover Benelux  |  Hotel of the Month  |  Luxembourg

ends and bank holidays, leisure travellers make the most of the hotel’s close proximity to the airport and city centre. Guests can enjoy a leisurely 20-minute stroll into the centre, or just hop on a bus or tram and be there in a matter of minutes. Luxembourg City is brimming with cultural highlights including the modern art gallery MUDAM, the prestigious Philharmonie Luxembourg concert hall and the picturesque Grund quarters by the Alzette river. Those in the mood for some exercise will appreciate the National Sports and Culture Centre d’Coque with its Olympic swimming pool.

Family friendly

Novotel Suites Luxembourg is especially popular with families too: children receive a gift upon arrival and will adore the kids’ play area located in the hotel lobby. Those under the age of 16 can share a room with

their parents at no extra supplement and benefit from free breakfast. Speaking of breakfast, guests at Novotel Suites can enjoy a delicious cold and hot buffet and continental breakfast. Ingredients vary according to the seasons, with high-quality, local produce ensuring guests start their day in the best possible way. Foodies will also love the hotel’s snack menu which serves tasty light dishes such as soups and pizzas at lunchtime and in the evening. Enjoy your food in the dining area, on the sunny outdoor terrace or from the comfort of your own room. There is also the ‘Boutique Gourmande’, which provides a range of refreshments, desserts and dairy products around the clock. Fancy a drink or snack? A wide selection of more than 65 beverages await at the cosy ‘Encas Bar’.

A hotel with a heart It is the hotel bar and reception area that is at the heart of this friendly and modern hotel. A warm welcome is always guaranteed, and the small team of around 20 staff at the Novotel Suites do their utmost to ensure guests feel at home. “We like to go beyond classic hotel customer service,” smiles the general manager. “Hospitality is part of our DNA and we pride ourselves on having a close relationship with our guests. That is one of the main reasons we stand out - and it is why so many guests keep coming back to stay again and again.” Novotel Suites Luxembourg 13 Avenue J F Kennedy Quartier Europeen 1855 LUXEMBOURG

Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  75

Discover Benelux  |  Spa of the Month  |  Luxembourg Odette Tonnaer.

S PA O F T H E M O N T H , L U X E M B O U R G

A holistic, soulful spa to get through the winter TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER  |  PHOTOS: YOAKÉ, THE ULTIMATE SPA

Located on the Boulevard de la Pétrusse in the heart of Luxembourg, Yoaké offers a unique combination of treatments that promote health and longevity. A complete Feng Shui designed luxury spa, inspired by and tailored for your five senses.

spa with the expertise of trained therapists, customers are invited to explore an array of services to treat the senses. Experience massages from around the world, dive into the healing powers of aromatherapy or treat yourself to a delightful body scrub or a facial rejuvenating treatment.

Yoaké means ‘dawn’ in Japanese and as such embodies perfectly the essence of the spa. The carefully chosen selection of treatments ensure that you leave completely re-energised and rejuvenated just like after a restorative night of sleep.

Yoaké have also added a range of spa treatments tailored to men to their menu, with the idea to provide connection to mind, body and soul for the modern-day gentlemen. Enjoy a massage, facial and deep cleansing treatment that will leave you relaxed and energised.

In the words of founder and manager Odette Tonnaer: “We promote a holistic and healthy lifestyle which not only enhances the way you look but enhances the way you feel. Based on ancient healing traditions, the treatments at the spa are geared towards providing you with a spa experience focused on the wellness of body, mind and soul.”

Also available is a carefully designed treatment for mothers-to-be, which takes into account all the contraindications during and after pregnancy, and provides an improvement of circulation, reduces swelling and inhibits stretch marks - all thanks to the elasticising and nourishing actions of the natural active ingredients.

Combining award-winning skincare brands that share the philosophy of the

A seasonal favourite is aromatherapy, which improves physical, mental and emo-

76  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

tional wellbeing by using the finest ingredients and purest extracts that make the core of essential oils. Through the sense of smell and absorption through the skin, the oils induce a sense of deep relaxation and letting go. For a unique holistic, soulful and healthy experience facilitated by therapist’s expertise in their field, wait no more to treat yourself to a rejuvenating, relaxing and purifying experience at Yoaké, the ultimate spa!


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, custom-designed 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 lat-

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 minibar, 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. 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. Why not join the hotel for a sumptuous New Year’s Eve dinner in its magnificent Imperial Ballroom to celebrate the arrival of 2018 in style? 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. The Royal Ballroom is another adaptable space which can be split into three, seats 300, and features in-built 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:

Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  77

Discover Benelux  |  Tourism  |  Gemeente Urk



are drying and small monumental houses look out over the scenic view is a typical scene in Urk. The characteristic and lively village is a unique piece of heritage, boasting the perfect combination of a historic atmosphere and a bustling present. Because its centre was built without any set city planning, the Dutch town resembles a treasure map, with small squares, top-notch restaurants, and plentiful sights to be discovered.

Its nickname creates high expectations, and Urk makes them all true. Located in the very heart of the Netherlands, this fisherman town is the oldest village in Flevoland – and that is something you feel. Narrow cobbled streets, warm greetings around every corner, cosy restaurants serving the freshest fish: Urk is one of the country’s true gems. Discover Benelux spoke to alderman Geert Post about his beloved village, sightseeing tips, and how to recognise a real ‘Urker’.

A maritime centre

A harbour filled with strolling fishermen talking ‘Urker dialect’, where fishing nets

Urk is the oldest village in the province of Flevoland, so for its birth we have to go back a thousand years ago. The town

78  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

was an island in the Zuiderzee until the 1930s, when it became part of one of the biggest reclamation projects in the world. Yet Urk will always be a fishing village with an island atmosphere: its central and water-rich location has gained Urk the status of being an important maritime centre. Its fishing fleet is the biggest one in the Netherlands and the town harbours the largest flatfish centre in Europe. “When the Zuiderzee was reclaimed and the Ijsselmeer was formed, many thought that the fishing industry in Urk was doomed,” Post starts. “Nothing is less true: our fishing fleet quickly found new

Discover Benelux  |  Tourism  |  Gemeente Urk

ways to be profitable, and took the boats to the North Sea. Currently, the majority of our fishermen fish on the North Sea, the rest on the Ijsselmeer.” Like many other fishing villages, Urk has seen various difficulties over the past few years due to a declining fishing industry. “Like many others, we have known some difficult times,” Post continues. “Luckily, our people kept positive: many shifted their focus to other maritime-related industries. That is typical of a real Urker - he will always look for opportunities and will never throw in the towel. If he is facing problems on one way, he will go via the other.”

Historically happening As proud as its history, is Urk’s present. The whole village boasts an abundance of sights and activities, many of which are related to its reputation as an island and fisherman’s village. Beautiful churches such as the Bethel Church or the Church at the Sea (Het Kerkje aan de Zee) stand proudly alongside monuments such as The Future of Urk and the Fishersmonument. A mythical status has the ‘Ommelebommelestien’, a large rock in the Ijsselmeer and located some metres away from the coast. “The leg-

end goes that the children of Urk are not brought by the stork, but come from that stone,” Post laughs. Visiting the Ommelebommelestien provides the perfect opportunity to also have a good look at the scenic lighthouse – it makes the coast of Urk an even more picture-perfect spot. A unique way to explore the secrets of Urk is the Ginkiestocht (Alley Tour), in which a born and bred Urker will take you along all the famous and secret highlights of the town. Keen to really dive into history? Do not miss a visit to the Oude Raadhuis: mainly run by volunteers, this museum shines a bright light on Urk’s authentic dialect, customs and clothing. Stunning is the adjacent house which has been completely furnished as an old Urker house, showing what daily life was like at the beginning of the century.

al clothing, transforming the streets in a colourful journey through time. Yet even without any special garb, it is not hard to recognise a real Urker. Post smiles: “A person from Urk is honest and selfwilled. Urk is a small village, so most people know each other. In the case of a fishing boat perishing – which in former times happened sometimes - the whole island of Urk would show up at the family’s home for support. An Urker will do everything to help his fellow human being.”

Priding tradition Urk has always prided itself on merging tradition with progress, and tradition with tolerance. The Urk dialect is still spoken by everyone in the village, and on Sunday any visitor will notice some Urkers wearing their traditional garb. On ‘Urkerday’ (the Saturday before Pentecost) the whole of the town slips into tradition-

Geert Post.



Fish Auction.




Alley Tour.

Ferry & Cruise.

Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  79

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Top Museums

A tour through the universe TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: NEMO

Have you ever touched a meteorite? Protected the earth against supernatural life? Or made a bicycle trip through the galaxy? You can experience all of these things at the NEMO Science Museum in Amsterdam: the only museum in the world where you are allowed to touch everything! Experiencing science at its fullest: that is what NEMO is about. The massive seablue building, which is just a stone’s throw from the bustling city centre of Amsterdam and its striking train station, houses some of the world’s most fascinating exhibitions on modern-day science. This year guests from all over the world can experience for themselves what it is like to be in space, whilst learning more about the universe with all its stars and planets. The museum’s new exhibition about the universe houses some remarkable objects, such as a touchable 4.6billion-year-old meteorite from China. Truly showing NEMO at its best, it stimulates 80  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

visitors to learn more about a science topic through experimenting. Challenge yourself by making a bicycle trip through the galaxy and explore the possibility of life in outer space or discover new stars and planets. But also find out what you yourself are made of and find out why it is even possible to live on our planet earth. This exhibition will also bring you to the smallest outskirts of the universe to find out the biggest things about yourself and the world we live in. With the interactive space game you can save the planet and protect the earth against danger from out of space. Do not forget to visit the NEMO rooftop which provides a mesmerising view over the Dutch capital. The museum also offers a variety of other permanent and striking interactive collections where visitors can learn more about topics such as puberty, water and lightning. Lock yourself up in a soap bubble, become a professor and work in a lab the whole day. Or make,

test and improve gears in the maker space. Everything is possible at NEMO!


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Top Museums

Dreaming of America at Drents Museum Just a stone’s throw away from the German border lies the Drents Museum. Known for its internationally oriented exhibitions, its latest success story is the captivating The American Dream. Held in collaboration with Kunsthalle Emden (Germany), the exhibition shows American realism dating from 1945 until now by displaying work by top artists such as Edward Hopper, Andrew Wyeth, Andy Warhol, and Alice Neel. “Martin Luther King, the Cold War, Elvis: the period in the US starting from 1945 had an enormous historic and societal importance,” begins museum curator Annemiek Rens. “The American Dream shows the new form of realism developed in America back then and a realistic view on daily life.” The exhibition is the first one showing such a major overview of American realism and is a collaboration between the Drents Museum and Kunsthalle Emden. This German museum has created striking exhibitions about present-day art, and about realism in par-

ticular, such as Realismus: Das Abenteuer der Wirklichkeit (2010). “For both museums it was a longstanding dream to organise an exhibition as big as The American Dream,” Rens explains. The Drents Museum focuses on American art from 1945 and 1965, while Kunsthalle Emden shines a bright light on art created between 1965 and today. To secure more than 200 works for The American Dream, the Drents Museum and Kunsthalle Emden collaborated with sever-


al American museums and private collectors. Among the many showpieces is the worldfamous Morning Sun from Edward Hopper, specifically lent by The Columbus Museum in Ohio – to see it in Europe is very likely a oncein-a-lifetime opportunity. The American Dream will show from 19 November 2017 until 27 May 2018. Web:

LEFT: Ralph Goings (1928), Amsterdam Diner, 1980, oil on canvas, 111,8 x 149,9 cm, Courtesy of Louis K. & Susan P. Meisel, New York Courtesy: The estate of Ralph Goings. RIGHT: Edward Hopper (1882-1967), Morning Sun, 1952, olieverf op doek, 71,44 x 101,93 cm, Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio: Museum Purchase, Howald Fund.


For its latest exhibition, the Cinquantenaire Museum in Brussels is taking visitors on a vast voyage of discovery. Oceania: Travels through the immensity opened in October and is the brainchild of curator Nicolas Cauwe, who fell in love with the region during an excavation to Easter Island in 1999. “I want the exhibition to create a discourse about Oceania,” begins Cauwe, who has been conducting annual excavations there for 18 years. “I wanted to look at the intensity and grandeur of the Pacific, this idea of infinite space which has a huge impact on Oceanian culture.” The exhibition showcases the rich collections of the Cinquantenaire Museum, the Musical Instruments Museum (MIM) and the Royal Museum of Central Africa. Each display symbolises a particular island, transporting visitors across the Pacific from Papua, New-Caledonia, Micronesia, Fiji and the Cook Islands to Tonga, Samoa, Tahiti, the Marquesas Islands, New Zea-

land, Hawaii, and Easter Island. “We couldn’t put all the islands, so we chose 12.” More than 250 objects, ranging from masks to monumental sculptures, reveal the richness and originality of the creations of the inhabitants of Oceania. Unmissable is the collection of ‘tapa’; an authentic type of decorated textile made using bark. “We have one which measures 23 metres - it’s spectacular!” enthuses Cauwe. The exhibition’s final room showcases artwork by contemporary artist Jean Paul Forest, who has lived in Tahiti for more than 30 years.

Oceania: Travels through the immensity runs until 29 April 2018. There is plenty of space for children to learn, as well as a path for the blind and wheelchair access. cinquantenaire-museum

LEFT: Statue | moai of the god of tuna fishermen | Pou Hakanononga. Basalt. Ahu o Rongo, Hanga Roa, Easter Island | Rapa Nui, Chili. 14th century RIGHT: Mask. Wood. Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea. 19th century. Royal Museum for Central Africa

Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  81

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Top Cultural Spots

A dialogue of cultures and a culture of dialogue TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER  |  PHOTOS: CENTRE DE RENCONTRE ABBAYE DE NEUMÜNSTER

Located in the spectacular setting of a UNESCO world heritage site, the Neumünster Abbey Cultural Exchange Centre dedicates itself to hosting and organising cultural projects, art exhibitions and events, all through a very exciting agenda. Inaugurated in May 2004, the cultural centre spreads itself across 12,000 square metres and hosts an average of 700 events a year on site. Open to all, from visitors to associations and creators, it is a place of creation and reception that seeks to promote exchanges, meetings, collaborations and co-productions in a unifying programme. Next to their own activities, the centre is the ideal location to host symposia, seminars, conferences, meetings and large business gatherings. “What makes Neumünster stand out is first of all its geographical location. Originally a monastery for Benedictine monks in the 17th century, the abbey has been 82  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

destroyed and rebuilt many times until taking the shape it has today as the cultural centre,” explains the communications officer. Constantly seeking to provide an exciting programme, the centre currently encourages the creation of a space for cultural and artistic initiatives around cultural identity. Providing a constant stream of artistic, cultural and intellectual activities, these come to life with the aim of being accessible to the largest number of visitors possible.


Agenda highlights:

Inertie (Until 15 January): Exhibition of the Luxembourg street artist Eric Mangen. After working for two weeks in the open air on the Neimënster square, Mangen exhibits his work within the cloister of the abbey. Jazz Festival RESET (7 -14 January): Ignoring the musical conventions, the best musicians from Luxembourg and Europe at large will take part in a week-long residency to play a series of blind-date encounters for the delight of their audience. Focus on Stefan Zweig (12 January - 8 April): Austrian writer Stefan Zweig (18811942) left Europe in June 1940 and lived in England, Brazil and the United States. At the heart of the exhibition are the two books he wrote while in exile: Le Monde d’hier and Le Joueur d’échecs. Festival Humour for Peace (5 March -18 March): This festival brings a multitude of talented artists around the theme of ‘making love, not war’ - from cartoonist Wozniak to Canadian comedian DeAnne Smith, theatre plays by Thommes Clod and singer-comedian GiedRé. This happy tuttifrutti will be a delight to the senses.

é.R. : Catherine de Braekeleer, 10 rue des Amours 7100 La Louvière – Damien Deroubaix, Wunder der Natur (détail), 2017, huile et collage sur toile, 200 x 150 cm. Courtesy galerie Nosbaum Reding Luxembourg. © photo Guy Rebmeister – Graphisme :


Hier HIER VLOEKT vloekt * MEN NIET* men niet *(ICI ON NE JURE PAS) 02.12.2017

DAMIEN DEROUBAIX > 01.04.2018 damien deroubaix 02.12.2017 > 01.04.2018

* (ici on ne jure pas)

10 rue des amours B-7100 La Louvière . www.centredeLagravure.Be

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Top Cultural Spots

OCL: Making tremendous music These are exciting times for the Luxembourg Chamber Orchestra (OCL). Originally founded in 1974, the Chamber Orchestra has recently appointed internationally renowned pianist and musical director Florian Krumpöck as chief conductor and the new maestro brings not only a wealth of international experience but a new musical vision to Luxembourg. In one of his first initiatives, the Chamber Orchestra will begin a ‘Schubert Cycle’ performing the Austrian composer’s major symphonies; starting in November 2017. “These works are less often performed in public,” says the Orchestra’s artistic director Jean Muller. “But they are hugely interesting musically and we also plan to record a CD of the Schubert Cycle.” 2017 also saw the Orchestra launch a major new prize for young musicians - the Grand Prix Anne et Françoise Groben, in memory of two sisters who were among the founding members of the OCL.

“They brought a lot to the Orchestra at the very beginning and they died too young,” says Muller. “We wanted to do something in their memory.” The competition is open to performers on any instrument as well as singers, and at the hugely successful final this year, contestants included a cellist, an accordionist, a percussionist and a recorder player. Each one performed with the orchestra. Exciting times indeed for the Orchestra, which flies the flag for Luxembourg and the

Florian Krumpöck.

Benjamin Kruithof.


country’s multi-faceted culture. As Muller says: “There’s a wonderful atmosphere at the Chamber Orchestra and it really reflects our society here in Luxembourg. We have at least 15 different nationalities, with musicians from all over the world and together we make tremendous music.”


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Calendar

Winterwonders. Photo: © Eric Danhier

Out & About With the holiday season nearly in sight, the Benelux is slowly preparing for the most wonderful time of the year. Several winter markets and Christmas-inspired events already kick off this month, so take your pick. Not a fan of the cold? Head inside for one of the many wonderful indoor events. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

EYE Filmmuseum. Photo: © Amsterdam Marketing, Philipp-Benedikt

Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  85

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Calendar Le Guess Who? 9-12 November Utrecht, the Netherlands Le Guess Who? is the Netherlands’ event for experimental, collaborative and otherwise outof-the-box thinking music with genres such as noise rock, IDM, and indie rock. The festival is held at various locations throughout Utrecht.

International Documentary Film Festival 15 – 26 November Amsterdam, the Netherlands The IDFA has become a staple in the Netherlands’ documentary landscape. Every November, this internationally renowned festival transforms Amsterdam’s city centre into a paradise for documentary film fans.

What the Fork 18 November Scheveningen, the Netherlands Great food on the beach: what is not to like? This food festival is set on the Scheveningen pier and will spoil your taste buds in various

Photo: Royal Delft

86  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

Or Bareket Quartet @ River Jazz Festival. Photo: © Or Bareket

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Calendar

Winterlights. Photo: © City of Luxembourg

ways. Alongside the range of delicious dishes served, there will also be a food market, allowing you to take your favourite dish home.

Wintertuin Festival 23 - 26 November Nijmegen, the Netherlands The ‘free reader’ as opponent of our informationcrazy society: this is the theme of the 2017 Wintertuin festival in Nijmegen. Held at various locations across the city, this literary event offers a lively mix of interviews, performances, readings, workshops and parties.

Dazzling Desire at Museum aan de Stroom Until 14 January Antwerp, Belgium The exhibition Dazzling Desire reveals the variety of meanings that people have attributed to diamonds and the stories they have made up about them – and still do. Contemporary works by Berlinde De Bruyckere, Jan Fabre, Phillip Aguirre, Sobudh Gupta and Thierry De Cordier will be on display, among others.

Amsterdam Art Weekend 23 – 26 November Amsterdam, the Netherlands Amsterdam Art Weekend focuses on placing emerging artists into the limelight and allowing art aficionados to admire and buy works from up-and-coming artists. More than 30 galleries and museums in the city organise special exhibitions, performances and lectures, including the Oude Kerk, the Stedelijk Museum, and the EYE Filmmuseum.

Le Guess Who, Julia Holter. Photo: © Jelmer de Haas

Winterlights 23 November – 2 January 2018 Luxembourg City, Luxembourg Immerse yourself into the magical and romantic décor of this Christmas market. Spread over several sites across the Luxembourg capital, this winter-wonderful event has fairy-lit carousels, an Advent circus, street animations, processions and parades, exhibitions, and concerts.

Winterwonders 24 November – 31 December Brussels, Belgium Fairground attractions including an ice-skating rink, a Christmas market with more than 200 chalets, and of course the immense Christmas tree: Winterwonders is a must for everyone loving the holiday season.

Welcome to the Future Festival 25 November Amsterdam, the Netherlands Electronic music fans unite: an impressive lineup of homegrown and international names is set to blast you away throughout the Welcome to the Future Festival. This year’s masterful lineup includes icons such as Benny Rodrigues, Henrik Schwarz and ANOTR.

Museum Night Ghent 1 December Ghent, Belgium Experience what Ghent has to offer in terms of fine and modern art, heritage and culture during Museum Night 2017. Ten museums in the city will be accentuating their collections and exhibitions with special activities and creative excesses. Issue 47  |  November 2017  |  87

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Calendar Royal Delft Month of November 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.

River Jazz Festival 12 January – 27 January 2018 Brussels, Belgium Something to look forward to: the River Jazz Festival. During this bustling event, blue note vibes will be flooding the streets of the Belgian capital, springing from Place Flagey, swirling around Saint Josse, and bursting out of Place Jourdan.

Het Keringhuis.

Dazzling Desire, Diamanten diadeem Cartier Paris, 1910 Diamant, Platina, Nils Herrmann, Collection Cartier © Cartier

Het Keringhuis Month of November 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 feet dry through an interactive exhibition and an impressive visit to the Maeslantkering. Dazzling Desire. Photo: © Frederik Beyens

88  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Columns



In lieu of a biennial, the ‘gallery weekend’ is becoming somewhat of a staple of any self-respecting, cultural city. In May Antwerp did it, a few months ago Brussels did it, and now it is Amsterdam’s turn. On the weekend of 23 – 26 November, the Amsterdam Art Weekend (AAW) again opens to the public.

What is particularly commendable about AAW is the sheer range of the programming. Within a series of exhibitions, conferences, performances, screenings and book launches you have art-world big hitters like Daniel Richter at Grimm, as well as project launches like the experimental Isola 3000 in Sloterdijk.

With seemingly a new city hosting a similar event each year, it is easy to adopt a cynical approach. However, it is worth remembering that AAW is in its sixth year. You would also do well to note that there will be over 50 venues taking part this year, with more than 100 events. And I should probably also mention that top side of 46,000 visitors saw last year’s iteration… oh, and the whole thing is run as a not-for-profit!

So rather than being a grand gesture used to cover over the cracks in an art scene – as with some other gallery weekends – AAW is a celebration of all that is good about the city’s art scene; not least the diversity, the ambition and the thirst for art! Amsterdam Art Weekend runs from 23-26 November at locations across the city.

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.


Saense IPA


This American-style Indian Pale Ale is brewed in Zaandijk, little more than ten kilometres north-west of central Amsterdam.

malt, contribute to the aroma and taste of this IPA. Unsurprisingly, it has a hoppy finish that is refreshing and short.

The brewery where it is produced is named after Patrick Breugem, an experienced brew master who established his own business in 2014. Set in an archetypal Dutch landscape, the brewery has a tap room, beer tastings, and tours can be arranged throughout the week. Zaandijk’s windmills are depicted, in silhouette, on the green label of the 33-centilitre bottle in which Saense IPA is sold.

Saense IPA measures 45 European Bitterness Units (EBU), a scale developed to rate the tanginess of beers. That, for an American IPA, is relatively light (by comparison, several lagers have an EBU around ten). Defined by the European Brewery Convention, EBUs are directly comparable International Bitterness Units, a rating developed on the far side of the North Atlantic.

Fawn in colour, this ale has a mildly sour, malty aroma and a lively head. On first tasting, it is bitter on the tongue and has a sparkling, lively mouthfeel. That soon gives way to a caramel, fruity flavour.

This is a beer that pairs well with the spicy Indonesian dishes served as part of a ‘rijsttafel’ — a popular method of enjoying that cuisine in the Netherlands. Saense IPA’s caramel notes means it also combines well with a cheesetopped burger or steak.

A combination of Centennial, Citra, Cascade and Pacifica hops, plus four different types of

Brewer: Brouwerij Breugem Strength: 6.2 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 47  |  November 2017  |  89

Discover Benelux | Music | Benelux Beats



Ethio-jazz, afrobeats, Turkish psych: the music from Jungle by Night does not fit labels. Inspired by an infinite variety of music, the nine-piece instrumental collective from Amsterdam continuously breaks new grounds. Their fourth album The Traveller was released in 2016, and is currently being heard at festivals and stages all over the world. Discover Benelux spoke to saxophonist Pieter van Exter about performing in Japan, a muddy Glastonbury and Tai psych music. Are these busy times for Jungle by Night? Definitely! We are constantly touring, both in Europe and beyond – we are very lucky to perform in so many countries. Why do so many different people like our music? I guess it is the fact that our music is instrumental and touches upon so many different genres. We have played at jazz, rock and electronic festivals. 90  |  Issue 47  |  November 2017

Do you have a specific show that stands out? Hard question. I really believe they all stand out. Although it was really cool to perform at the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan. Performing at Glastonbury was also extraordinary - and muddy!

The Traveller was released in 2016. How is this album different from previous works? On The Traveller we really found our musical direction, even more so than on previous albums. Before we had a slight focus on afrobeat, but on The Traveller you can also hear rock influences, for example. It is now even harder to label our music. Is it hard to make an album with nine different people? It is a challenge, but it is mainly fantastically interesting. Our size is our strength: nine different people also have nine different ideas, inspirations and tastes.

Best recent musical discovery? Khruangbin, an American band. They make Thai psych music: what more do you want? You have set foot on many stages worldwide. Do you have any unfulfilled dreams? Playing in Africa. We have played in Algeria before, but I would love to play in other African countries: I think that the mix between world music and western influences will be very well received there. What does the future hold for Jungle by Night? Currently we are just focusing on touring. Making albums is great, but sometimes you need a breather and the chance to perform without the pressure of making a new album. Web:

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.