Discover Benelux, Issue 48, December 2017

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I S S U E 4 8 | D E C E M B E R 2 017














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Discover Benelux  |  Contents

Contents DECEMBER 2017




COVER FEATURE 44 Monic Hendrickx

48 Flemish Limburg Highlights

We caught up with Monic Hendrickx, star of

Priding itself on an extensive cycle network and

internationally renowned Dutch crime TV se-

an abundance of tourism activities, Flemish

ries Penoza (Black Widow to English-speaking

Limburg is a beloved holiday destination for a

audiences). Following nearly a decade of dra-

good reason. Check out our favourite hotspots!

ma, the fifth and final season of what has been dubbed ‘The Dutch Sopranos’ recently finished airing in the Netherlands. We caught up with Hendrickx to find out how she is feeling about

BUSINESS 64 Company profiles, regulars and more

leaving behind her feisty alter-ego Carmen van

We look at the month ahead in Benelux busi-

Walraven-de Rue after all these years.

ness, as well as profiling some of the region’s must-know companies.

THEMES 14 The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide In need of some Christmas shopping inspira-

FEATURES 74 New Music Special

tion? From beautiful jewellery to elegant watch-

Leave all the end-of-year lists behind you and

es, our guide showcases some of the most

turn your gaze to the future, starting with this

desirable gift ideas from the Flanders region.

list of new and established Benelux artists expected to make big waves in 2018.

24 Made in the Netherlands Holland has a longstanding history of invention,

90 Benelux Beats

and our guide to the most exciting products and

Discover Benelux speaks to Dutch sing-

services coming out of the Netherlands proves

er-songwriter Charl Delemarre about all things

that tradition is still very much alive today.

music and his very special connection to India.


78 8

Fashion Picks  |  12 Desirable Designs  |  85 Out & About  |  89 Columns

Issue 48  |  December 2017  |  5

Discover Benelux  |  Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Discover Benelux Issue 48, December 2017 Published 12.2017 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 Karl Batterbee Graphic Designer Mercedes Moulia Contributors Bas van Duren Bettina Guirkinger Charlotte van Hek Frank van Lieshout Lidija Liegis Martin Pilkington Matt Antoniak

Michiel Stol Myriam Gwynned Dijck Ndéla Faye Sally Tipper Steve Flinders Stuart Forster Xandra Boersma Cover Photo Ralph Vermeesch 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.

6  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

Welcome to the final month of the year and a very festive edition of Discover Benelux. If you are not yet feeling the Christmas spirit, our December issue has plenty to help get you there. From the magical Amsterdam Light Festival to Ghent’s famous winter festivities and much more, this month’s cultural calendar is brimming with Christmas cheer. Head to page 85 and take your pick from a host of unmissable events. We also have a bumper Christmas gift guide (see page 14) for those of you looking to spoil a loved one with an extra special piece of jewellery under the tree. And if you spot something you fancy for yourself, just subtly leave our guide open for your partner to find. We hope they take the hint! On the other hand, if you are already starting to feel festive fatigue, then fear not. There is plenty of Christmas-free content to enjoy in the following pages, starting with an interview with Monic Hendrickx, star of internationally renowned Dutch crime TV series Penoza. We also have a ‘Made in the Netherlands’ special and a guide to the picturesque Belgian region of Flemish Limburg. Last-minute winter getaway, anyone? Are the familiar sounds of the classic Christmas hits already following you everywhere you go? Why not look to the New Year instead, with our guide to the upcoming artists to look out for in 2018. Whether you are into indie-pop, hip hop or punk, we guarantee our selected musicians will elevate your playlist to a higher level. There are no jingle bells to be heard, we promise. I hope you enjoy this month’s magazine and that you have a peaceful and joy-filled festive season. See you in 2018!

Anna Villeleger, Editor


Photo credits: Alain Doire / Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Tourisme - Shutterkstock - Design: Agence Signe des Temps


ICONIC MOMENT No8: RELIVE HISTORY IN 3D HERITAGE.BOURGOGNEFRANCHECOMTE.COM With financial support from the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region.

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks


Oh, fashion nights! The holiday season is upon us! With that, comes the looming dilemma of what to wear. While December is definitely the month to overdress, you also want to be comfortably merry when eating that huge Christmas dinner. These looks prove that festive and comfortable are not mutually exclusive. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: PRESS PHOTOS

Perfect pink Be the boldest member of the family in this stunning velvet top. While the fuchsia colour will turn heads at every club, the classic design of the blouse will also gain the approval of grandparents. €185

Glitter fest Glittery fabric? Check! A turtleneck that will keep you warm? Check? A comfy and loose fit? Check! This turtleneck-turned-dress from H&M has it all, and will do equally fabulously at both a New Year’s party and a cosy family dinner. €39.99 8  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

Head over heels Who said that comfy shoes have to be flat? As long as you opt for a broad heel, there is no reason not to wear a pair of heeled stunners to that Christmas bash. These beauties are as festive as it gets. Fun fact: they were designed by pop star Katy Perry. €148.95 Katy Perry shoes via

© Pauline NICOLAS -

© Bal du Moulin Rouge 2017 - Moulin Rouge® - 1-1028499



82, BLD DE CLICHY - 75018 PARIS TEL : 33(0)1 53 09 82 82




Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks

Blazing comfort Whoever invented the idea of wearing a tight suit during Christmas dinner probably never had a proper Christmas dinner. A slightly casual blazer is a perfect compromise: fancy, yet still comfortable. This navy blue one from Samsøe & Samsøe allows you to expand as much as you want during dinner. €319

Black magic Wearing an all-black outfit will make you look slick, stylish, and slim: what more do you want? This smart casual look from H&M will make you the coolest guest under the Christmas tree. Bomber jacket €49.99, Turtleneck jumper €19.99 Skinny jeans €29.99, Sneakers €49.99 10  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

Sweater weather What would Christmas be without a festive jumper? Belgian brand Essential Antwerp effortlessly combines cosy and trendy in this colourful knit. Wear with a blazer for a fancy look, or combine with jeans when watching a holiday film on the sofa. €285

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Desirable Designs


A holiday home The most wonderful time of the year is all about being together with your loved ones, preferably around a nicely set table in a festive atmosphere. Do not want to break the bank to get your home in the holiday spirit? We help you on your way with these fun yet economic designs. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: PRESS PHOTOS



3. Music maker Not many things are more nostalgic than a classic music box. This beautiful one from Villeroy & Boch is made from 100 per cent porcelain and will do perfectly on any window ledge or fireplace. Because everybody needs the sound of music in their home during the holidays. €32.90 Villeroy & Boch via

3. 1. Dazzling deer Step outside your Christmas tree comfort zone and opt for something a bit more wild. These tree decorations are cute, cheap and comical all in one. Christmas tree decoration 12 deer for €35.88

4. 4. Breakfast booster Although Christmas dinner steals most of the spotlight, breakfast the next day is perhaps the most relaxing time of the holidays – wearing your pyjamas is often allowed. Your festive meal will be complete with this cotton breadbasket. €8.95 12  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

2. Oh so fluffy You say cosy, you think fluffy cushions. Buddying up your sofa or fauteuil with some dark red or star-printed pillows is an easy way to bring the jingle bells into your home. You can nap in style on these ones from H&M. From €4.99


5. 5. Hung up When the days get darker, a nicely-lit home becomes increasingly important. Booming Danish brand HAY has cleverly combined modern design with nostalgia in this candle holder. A musthave for every design-loving Christmas aficionado. €45

“La cuisine d’un peuple est le seul témoin exact de sa cicilisation”



Ouvert tous les jours sauf le dimanche soir et le lundi soir

Discover Benelux  |  The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide  |  Top Jewels, Watches and More in Flanders


The ultimate guide to luxury gifts Are you looking to treat someone you love to an extra special gift this year? Look no further! From elegant watches to stunning jewellery and much more, our ultimate Christmas gift guide has all your shopping dilemmas solved and features some of the most prestigious brands in Flanders. PHOTO: DREAMSTIME.COM

14  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

Discover Benelux  |  The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide  |  Top Jewels, Watches and More in Flanders

Photo: Peter Quijo

The best of luxury gift shopping in Flanders… Peter Quijo Jewellers International award-winning goldsmith and jeweller Peter Quijo combines clean original designs with cutting-edge craftsmanship, taking the age-old art of jewellery to the next level. Read more from page 16 Gilson Jewellers For a superb choice of jewellery and watch brands, not to mention excellent service, head to one of Gilson Jewellers’ boutiques in Brussels, Bruges, Knokke and Antwerp. Read more from page 18

Gilson Jewellers. Photo: Breitling

Photo: Adin Antique Jewellery

Adin Antique Jewellery At Adin Antique Jewellery in Antwerp, world-renowned expert Elkan Wijnberg buys, fixes and sells beautiful antique jewellery. Read more from page 19 I.Ma.Gi.N. Jewels I.Ma.Gi.N. Jewels are timeless and elegant, always combining traditional craftsmanship with innovative design. Read more from page 22 Jeweller Karla Mertens Using precious materials and age-old techniques, jeweller Karla Mertens creates unique pieces that are as beautiful as they are personal. Read more from page 23

Photo: I.Ma.Gi.N.

Photo: Karla Mertens

Issue 48  |  December 2017  |  15

Discover Benelux  |  The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide  |  Top Jewels, Watches and More in Flanders


Based in historical Bruges, international award-winning goldsmith and jeweller Peter Quijo combines clean original designs with cutting-edge craftsmanship, taking the age-old art of jewellery to the next level. Passing Peter Quijo’s quaint little shop in the historical city centre of Bruges you might not expect to find a jewellers of international repute behind the unassuming facade. But the people from Bruges know differently. Peter’s father Fernand started the business some 72 years ago, and Peter was involved from a very young age. Now, at 60 and with 42 years of experience as a goldsmith and jeweller under his belt, he runs the business together with the third generation, his daughter Jade. 16  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

Born and raised in Bruges, Peter has always felt a deep, spiritual connection with his native city. “Every day I’m inspired by the beautiful buildings, the unique atmosphere, the proud people and the city’s rich history,” he says. “Bruges was Europe’s first centre of diamonds in the 15th century, trading with Italian cities such as Venice and Genoa, before the trade moved to nearby Antwerp.” No wonder then that many of Peter’s jewellery and diamond designs are inspired by Bruges. One of these creations is a polished cut called the Qui Vive, a new interpretation of the classic square diamond with 64 facets to enhance the diamond’s natural colour. Looking deep into the centre of the stone, one can discern the Mal-

tese Cross. “This refers back to the story of the Knights Templar,” Peter explains. “In medieval times, they took the relic of the Holy Blood from Jerusalem to Bruges, where it is still kept in the 12th century Basilica of the Holy Blood.”

Jewellery Oscars Peter’s most famous design is a diamond cut which reflects the cobblestones of Bruges’ streets and which hankers back to the city’s past as Flanders’ main trading port in medieval times: the Qui Shape Compass. “This is a square diamond with convex sides and square edges,” he points out. “It has 89 facets which catch and reflect the light and give it a fire you only very seldom see in a diamond. The Qui Shape method preserves around 60

Discover Benelux  |  The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide  |  Top Jewels, Watches and More in Flanders

Lace Pendant.

per cent of the raw diamond material, compared to only 49 per cent for the traditional brilliant cut.” The Qui Shape Compass was an instant success. It has been patented worldwide and officially recognised by the Diamond High Council in Antwerp. And, most famously, Peter used 128 Qui Shape Compass diamonds to create a bracelet that won him the most prestigious award in the industry, the International Diamond Award organised by De Beers. “This is like the Oscars of jewellery. Normally, only big firms such as Chopard, Tiffany & Co. or Harry Winston win at this event,” he smiles. “But in 2000, Peter Quijo won it.” Since then, Peter has not only used this stone in many of his jewellery designs, but he has also used its compass shape to inspire an exclusive range of gold Swiss made watches for men and women called Qui Moments, available in certified limited editions.

Bobbin Gold Peter and his team also work with pearls and other precious stones, including aquamarine, emerald, morganite and golden beryl. For his Lace collection, he collaborates with a professional lacemaker at the famous Bruges School of Lacemaking to set these stones and pearls in intricate laced patterns of fine but strong 24-carat gold thread. “We apply the same bobbin techniques as in traditional lace-making,” he explains. “The difference is, we use it to create jewellery - rings, bracelets, chains and pendants which give off a light and delicate feel.”

Timeless design As well as designing jewellery, Peter and his team also repair, refurbish and modernise jewellery. “We can bring back the fire and brilliance in these old stones by re-polishing them. And we can set them in a newly created piece of gold or platinum jewellery if customers want a different look. To me, in essence, it does not

matter whether we do this with a 500 euro stone or a 50,000 euro stone, it’s about having the privilege of turning 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.”

Open house This December, customers are invited to visit the Quijo workshop and see what goes into the crafting of jewellery. “I think customers will really appreciate this open house policy,” Peter says. “Even to me, after more than 40 years in the business, it’s a fascinating experience that I’m still in love with. Because in the end it is about creating something which is timeless, which will be treasured for a lifetime and beyond.” Peter Quijo Jewellers also sell Corum watches. Pomellato and Dodo jewellery are available in their Adornes partner store on Bruges’ Market Square. Web:

Bracelet Qui Shape Compass, winner of the De Beers International Award 2000.

Golden Qui Moments for men, black and SLN green.

Peter and Jade Quijo.

Issue 48  |  December 2017  |  17

Discover Benelux  |  The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide  |  Top Jewels, Watches and More in Flanders

‘Superocean’ watch. Photo: Breitling

Enhance your style with the perfect piece TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  PHOTOS: GILSON

Jewellery and watches are an extension of your personality and style. Therefore it is important to choose something that suits you perfectly and gives you years of joy. At Gilson, they have in-depth knowledge on numerous jewellery and watch brands, and an extensive, contemporary collection from which to find the ideal piece. With stores in Brussels, Bruges, Knokke and Antwerp, Gilson carefully selects its brands on quality, durability and having a stylish design for the modern man and woman. Owner Michel Gilson says: “We have a focus on Italian jewellery brands such as Marco Bicego, Mattioli and Pomellato, but we also sell Bigli, Hulchi Belluni and Antonellis from Belgium and the Danish brand Ole Lynggaard. In terms of watches, we sell major labels including Cartier, Panerai, IWC, Breitling, BVLGARI, Hublot, Longines and Omega.” Thanks to their four stores, Gilson has a vast selection in stock. This is ideal if you are looking to try on a specific piece. “We 18  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

are likely to already have it in store,” Gilson says. “Or, in less than an hour, we can drive something from one shop to the other.”

are only satisfied if our clients come back two years later and still love the item like on the day they bought it.”

The family business was founded by Gilson’s parents in Bruges in 1949. In the mid-1980s Michel Gilson and his wife took over and later opened the three other locations. In their welcoming, spacious stores customers are made to feel at home. Each brand has its own section or ‘corner’, making it easy to browse through the collection.

Gilson also has accredited specialist watchmakers and goldsmiths to repair items without voiding the warranty. For those who live outside of the EU, Gilson can deduct 21 per cent VAT in store.

Setting itself apart from other jewellers is Gilson’s excellent knowledge of materials and technologies. “Our staff continue to learn and update their knowledge so they can provide excellent information. We don’t use big words, but explain things in clear terms in a friendly and personable manner.” This also applies to the service they provide. Gilson continues: “If someone doesn’t quite know what they are looking for, we sit down with them and find out their style, interests and expectations. We

Photo: Jan Darthet


Discover Benelux  |  The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide  |  Top Jewels, Watches and More in Flanders

Meticulously pierced Antique Edwardian brooch in platinum and diamonds.

A peek inside the jeweller’s treasure chest TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  PHOTOS: ADIN ANTIQUE JEWELLERY

Having dedicated his life to antique jewellery, Elkan Wijnberg possesses a treasure trove of knowledge that is rivalled by few. His journey began when he was just eight years old and it has cumulated in his store in Antwerp, Belgium. At Adin Antique Jewellery, he buys, fixes and sells antique jewellery, and tracks down the compelling stories these unique pieces have to tell. “Jewellery is the materialisation of emotion,” says Wijnberg, founder and owner of Adin. He specialises in fine antique, vintage and estate jewellery, dating from the late 20th century, all the way back to the 17th century. “Every piece from my collection has already stood the test of time, so it will keep its beauty for years to come. This is what makes antique jewellery so valuable. And the pieces that we sell, you won’t be able to find anywhere else.”

French Victorian stone cameo of a lady’s portrait with an elaborate gold frame.

Issue 48  |  December 2017  |  19

Discover Benelux  |  The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide  |  Top Jewels, Watches and More in Flanders

17th Century Peruzzi cut diamond, one of the first models of brilliant cut diamonds.

Victorian antique love bangle with two diamond hearts tied together by a ribbon.

Upon entering Adin, located in the centre of Antwerp, it is clear this is not a run-of-themill jewellery store. As you are met with a friendly interior, reminiscent of a warm living room, the jewellery on display is somewhat overshadowed by several bookcases that are filled to the top with reference works. These books reflect Wijnberg’s passion for fine antique jewellery and his extensive knowledge on the subject. “I enjoy explaining the history and clarifying the symbology or design of a piece of jewellery. I want to give people information that is useful and show them that there is more to it than just metal and gemstones,” he says.

Capturing a moment in time Wijnberg opened the shop in 1983, and by now it is a household name in Antwerp’s jewellery industry. “Quite often jeweller colleagues will direct customers through to me if they encounter an antique piece of jewellery, because many don’t specialise in old jewellery like I do.” Having built a strong reputation over the years, Wijnberg has a strict policy regarding the pieces in his collection. “I specialise in exclusive, second-hand antique jewellery that represents the style of the period 20  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

in which they were made,” he says. “The piece has to be true to the style of the day, and doesn’t replicate a foregone fashion.” One of his oldest pieces at the moment is a sizeable, 1.83 carat ‘peruzzi’ cut diamond dating from before 1700. This is a predecessor of the modern brilliant-cut, and was developed by a Venetian polisher. At the time, a simpler rose-cut was far more popular, and due to its age and size Wijnberg believes this might be one of the very few still around today. This and many other jewellery stories are proudly listed on his website.

Delving into the Garden of Adin Keen to share his knowledge, Wijnberg has been using his website - antiquejewel. com - as a platform to reveal snippets of information on various subjects. By now, he has built a glossary database with over a thousand entries, and a series of ‘jewellery lectures’ in which he explains the hallmarks of different style periods, how to date a piece, different birthstones and much more. Aside from that, he also sends out weekly newsletters in which he focusses on special pieces from the collection. Dubbed

Superb Baroque style French cameo with frilled mounting from ca. 1820 featuring a miniature after a fresco by Guido Reni

‘The Garden of Adin’, he photographs a piece in an unusual setting to highlight its design features and tell its history. “The name came about in 2012 when we photographed a beetle pin in our garden, and we have used this ever since to showcase special pieces in a tongue-in-cheek way,” he says.

A glance into the goldsmith’s workshop One unusual piece that he recently described is an 18-carat gold baroque cameo from France. It features a miniature inspired by a ceiling fresco by Guido Reni in a palace in Rome. “The cameo has incredible detailing featuring the Roman goddess of dawn,” he adds. Like every piece in his collection, it is listed on the website with numerous high-quality photos from all angles. Wijnberg explains that for professionals like him the back of a piece is as important as the front. He compares it to peeking under the bonnet of a classic car, to see how the engine works. “The back is never on display, so seeing how much care a goldsmith put into finishing this, is usually a sign of the overall quality,” he continues. “The best pieces are not just down to a top gold-

Discover Benelux  |  The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide  |  Top Jewels, Watches and More in Flanders

smith, but the collaboration of an excellent stone setter, designer, polisher, and having access to high quality materials. Everything has to come together.”

A lifelong passion Originally from the Netherlands, Wijnberg was interested in jewellery making from a very young age. At eight years old, he was already making enamelled jewellery, and by the time he was 15 he knew he wanted to become a goldsmith. He says: “I loved repairing jewellery, so I started at local jumble sales with my mum’s table cloth. Quite quickly I worked my way up to craft markets and then the big antique fairs.” After moving to Antwerp he opened his shop, Adin, in the heart of the diamond district. “I’ve found that Antwerp is not just a diamond city, but a centre for jewellery in general where everything is close together. So this was the perfect place for me.” Snow flakes by Van Cleef & Arpels came drizzling down in the Garden of Adin.

When coming up with a name, he decided to take a calculated approach, and pick something that starts with ‘A’. “This put me at the start of indexes and catalogues, which was important in a world pre-Internet,” Wijnberg explains. “And ‘Adin’ is closely related to the Dutch word for ‘noble’.”

The wall of fame Not going unnoticed internationally, Wijnberg has clients from all over the world, including a few celebrities. Several signed photographs displayed in a cabinet in the shop are testimony of his famous clientele. But this is not the only way Adin has a connection to Hollywood. Several years ago, Wijnberg was approached by an American film producer who asked for help in sourcing a few specific movie props. For the 2006 blockbuster The Da Vinci Code, he needed some pieces of jewellery, in particular for

the character of Bishop Manuel Aringarosa. “The jewellery he wears, such as the Victorian bishop’s ring, are genuine pieces of antique jewellery that we sourced for the production.” But it is the finding of unique pieces of jewellery that is the most satisfying for Wijnberg. “And being able to share my enthusiasm with clients who really appreciate the design as well as the history of a piece.” he says. “We want people to really wear the pieces, and make it a new family heirloom that can be passed down the generations.” If it is up to Wijnberg, he will continue his treasure trove of a collection for many years to come. “I am very happy doing what I do. If I could do it for another 100 years, I would!” he says. Web:

Waiting for Miss Right.

Elkan Wijnberg.

Issue 48  |  December 2017  |  21

Discover Benelux  |  The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide  |  Top Jewels, Watches and More in Flanders

Inspired by elegance TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: I.MA.GI.N.

Jewels are so much more than a fashion accessory; they capture the essence of your personality in the most unique, elegant way. It is this philosophy that hallmarks the designs of jewellery brand I.Ma.Gi.N. Helmed by diamond duo Margaux and Gilles, the Antwerp-based label has a penchant for timeless and fine elegance, always combining traditional craftsmanship with innovative design. Stunning yet subtle; timeless yet on trend: the jewels of I.Ma.Gi.N. have many chapters. Offering collections with materials ranging from 925 sterling silver to 18-carat gold and diamonds, the young label prides itself on offering true luxury for everyone and every moment, with prices that are surprisingly accessible. I.Ma.Gi.N. is the baby of Margaux Spruyt and Gilles Van Gestel: he is a certified expert in diamond gemstones; she started 22  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

designing jewels at the age of 16. “Actually, way before that,” Margaux smiles. “Already at the age of ten I started making jewellery: it may sound crazy, but it was like my therapy. I never wanted to be anything other than a jewellery designer.” Still, things went in a different direction. Letting go of her jewel dream after high school, Margaux tried out several studies – none of which were her cup of tea. “I was a young girl, struggling and finding out what I wanted,” she continues. “Eventually, I started doing a goldsmith course and moved to Firenze in Italy to continue my studies. Only then, I gave in to my lifelong passion.” I.Ma.Gi.N. was eventually founded four years ago, carrying the initials M. from Margaux and G. from Gilles. With their home base in the city of diamonds, I.Ma.Gi.N.’s stores have in four years spread far beyond their native Antwerp, to seven shops across major

cities in Flanders and Wallonia. Their jewels can also be found in luxury boutiques and high segment stores all over Europe, and can be ordered via the web-shop. Margaux designs and creates all jewellery herself in the Antwerp workshop. I.Ma.Gi.N.’s collections are of unmatched quality and value, and renew rather frequently to meet today’s standards in terms of trends.


Discover Benelux  |  The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide  |  Top Jewels, Watches and More in Flanders

All that glitters Using precious materials and age-old techniques, jeweller Karla Mertens creates unique pieces that are as beautiful as they are personal. Clients come to her workshop in Leuven in search of gifts, to rework existing pieces, and to commission bespoke jewellery – including remembrance pieces containing the ashes of loved ones. “I make pieces to order for clients, and each one tells its own story,” Mertens says. “Lots of people come to me to make a creation to hold the ashes of a loved one – a partner, a parent, a child. I take the time to listen to their story then go away to reflect and come up with my design. My designs always come from a place of meditation and silence.” Her creations are all handmade, using a variety of stones and metals including white, yellow and rose gold. She uses a technique known as lost-wax casting, a moulding method thought to date back more than 5,000 years. She also uses the chasing and repoussé method, in which steel rods known as punches and


a chisel forge a three-dimensional form from a sheet of metal. For a customised piece of jewellery, a client will visit the shop three times. “The first time they explain what they’re looking for – a remembrance piece or a wedding ring, for instance. I show them my various styles and explain my techniques. They come back after I’ve had time and peace to seek the right symbol, the right stone, that perfectly fits the person. The third time, I hand over the finished piece. When I give it to the client, it’s really important that they see the love in it.” Mertens’ parents were also jewellers, and after graduating from Sint Lucas design school Karla Mertens.

in Antwerp she spent nine years working in their shop. Twenty-one years ago she opened her own atelier in her home city of Leuven. “I love to work with all metals and stones,” she says of her work. “Everything depends on the client. A piece of jewellery must compliment the wearer – it’s not necessarily about luxury but about the concept. I think it’s wonderful if someone gets pleasure from something I’ve created for them. It inspires me to keep going. What I want is that when someone comes into my shop, they are someone different when they leave.” Web:

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands


Celebrating Dutch industry and innovation The Netherlands has a longstanding history of invention and is renowned across the world for its strong creative industry, not to mention innovation in technology and high-quality manufacturing. This month we continue our guide to some of the most exciting products and designs currently coming out of the Netherlands. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: NBTC

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Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

Leaders of cutting-edge creativity The high tech and manufacturing industries in the Netherlands are among the most innovative in the world, thanks to superb facilities and leading research. Dutch technological know-how and products are highly sought-after across Europe and beyond. The Dutch creative industry is particularly renowned in fields

such as interior design, gaming, fashion, and architecture. The Netherlands has countless internationally successful fashion designers such as Iris van Herpen, not to mention stylish brands including Scotch & Soda and G-Star RAW. In the design world, the Netherlands is a must-visit for architecture addicts with many of the globe’s most celebrated ar-

chitects hailing from the Netherlands: from Gerrit Rietveld to Rem Koolhaas, the list is endless. Both nationally and internationally, Dutch architects continue to make their mark with their innovative approach to building, while creatives such as Marcel Wanders epitomise Dutch conceptualism.

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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 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!

Omar Munie is celebrated for his handbags.


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

Atelier NL 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 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.

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

THE BEST OF ‘MADE IN THE NETHERLANDS’ From beauty and interiors via manufacturing and high-tech, we showcase the Dutch brands you need to know about across a variety of different sectors.

Blèzi Cosmetics Read more from page 28 Blèzi Cosmetics are truly long lasting and use only the finest natural ingredients, ensuring makeup stays perfect all day.

Schuerman Sea Fastening Read more from page 34 Schuerman Sea Fastening creates beautiful and practical bespoke crockery fittings for luxury yachts.

NPI – Nederlandse Plastic Industrie Read more from page 40 Founded in 1957, the company NPI has earned a reputation as a major water storage expert in Europe.

MARC INBANE® Read more from page 29 MARC INBANE is a Dutch luxury goods company specialising in the design and retail of cosmetic products.

Balk Shipyard Read more from page 35 In addition to specialising in refits and rebuilds of luxury yachts, Balk Shipyard also builds new superyachts.

Koltec BV Read more from page 41 The team at the KOLTEC company in the Dutch city of Breda are experts in all things related to electric fencing.

Capi Europe Read more from page 30 Capi Europe produces lightweight plant and flower pots of the highest possible quality, for both indoor and outdoor use.

Jachtwerf de Jong Joure Read more from page 36 De Jong Joure specialises in the design and building of wooden boats including sloops and ‘vletten’.

Livecom Read more from page 42 Improve customer satisfaction, boost sales and enhance trust in your brand with the Livecom Multichannel solution.

Mulder Shipyard Read more from page 32 A traditional family company, Mulder Shipyard has gained a worldwide reputation in motor yacht building.

International Audio Holding Read more from page 38 High-end audio manufacturer International Audio Holding are renowned for their brands Siltech and Crystal Cable.

Stout Verlichting Read more from page 42 Mixing classic and modern design, Stout Verlichting produces stunning lighting which is both functional and atmospheric.

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Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

‘I couldn’t find makeup that was truly long lasting, so I made it myself’ TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA  |  PHOTOS: BLÈZI COSMETICS

Creased eyeshadow, smudged mascara, faded lipstick…does that sound familiar? Miranda Hazenberg decided it was time for a change and created a collection of truly long lasting cosmetics: Blèzi. Blèzi products not only assure your makeup stays perfect all day. “We predominantly use natural ingredients,” Hazenberg explains. “I’m personally involved in making sure we use the highest quality actives and best pigments. All products are developed with care for people and the environment. I’m closely following innovations in ingredients in order to use these in my products. I’m no chemist so I work with top cosmetic formulators to create the best cosmetic products.” Hazenberg has been working in the world of cosmetics for more than 30 years, so she knows what women prefer when it comes to makeup and skincare. “It needs to be easy to use,” she says. “Lots of women love makeup, but don’t find the 28  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

time to properly apply it. Plus, generally, makeup only stays on for a couple of hours. Such a shame! I couldn’t find the products that addressed that problem, so I decided to create my own.” Developing the makeup products took Hazenberg five years, in the meantime she also started the development of a special skincare line. “It’s cosmeceutical, which means it doesn’t just affect the first, but also the second skin layer. It balances the skin.” The results are amazing. “Customers keep telling me that it really works! They are surprised that it does more than they expect, that’s why you just have to give it a try.” There is more to Blèzi Cosmetics - the way the products are sold is different. “When we were living in North America we found that direct selling is popular there. Women can sell products themselves, even build a career in it if they would like to. It inspires some women to build a business. Allowing women to become more independent

was the main reason for me to adopt this way of selling cosmetics.” Over the years Blèzi Cosmetics has developed into a serious business. A considerable number of women are selling Blèzi products in the Netherlands and Belgium. Hazenberg is aiming for additional growth however. “We’re looking to expand to other countries. Women have shown that they believe in the product, that they love it and want to sell it. We are sure that goes for women outside of the Benelux too.”


Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

'The award-winning natural tanning spray for him and her'

Tanning on a haute couture level PHOTOS: MARC INBANE

MARC INBANE has become a prominent player in the field of (tanning) cosmetics. From providing celebrities with a natural glow to offering backstage support at large fashion houses, the brand has won some impressive awards. The products are now sold in 35 countries, while the Dutch company is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. We speak with Bart Engel, founder of MARC INBANE.

KLM co-founder of success MARC INBANE After missing their flight at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Ingo, Bart and Nele were waiting for their next flight. To make time more pleasant, they watched all the passers-by while enjoying a drink. They noticed the appearance and posture of the departing and returning passengers. The returning passengers looked radiant, tanned and healthy, unlike the passengers who still had to depart. Due to the busy, hectic lives and the limited hours of sun in the Netherlands it is difficult to achieve and maintain the holiday glow in a healthy way. And if the sun is shining, you have to deal with harmful UV rays. With on the one hand the limited harmful hours of sun and on the other hand the healthy appearance of the returning

passengers in mind, the idea of a Natural Tanning Spray arose. A healthy and safe way to enjoy a natural holiday tan throughout the year. INgo, BArt and NEle combined their names and soon MARC INBANE was born!

What is your biggest challenge? “Our biggest challenge is the consumers’ tanning experience of the past. To take away this ‘(orange) trauma’, you must really try our products to experience how special the results of luxury tanning products can be.”

What is the success of MARC INBANE? “I think that, in addition to hard work, one of the most important ingredients is talent. Both the product and the people you work with must have talent. This is no different in sports. Without talent you can train and work so hard, but you will never reach the highest stage. Talent in combination with discipline, positivity and enthusiasm can create something very beautiful.”

ble for all skin types and can be used on the entire body. The tanning spray dries quickly and doesn’t give streaks or stains. It provides a healthy, natural and evenly tanned skin (for up to seven days) without harmful UV rays from the sun or a sunbed. Because the tanning spray adapts with your own skin type, it is indistinguishable from a real vacation tan.”

Who would you like to work with or what are you the most proud of? “I cannot describe that in one sentence. The entire team, the partners we work with, the awards that we have received and the reactions we get. Like the mail from a man who has vitiligo and feels more confident now he uses our tanning spray. If I had the chance to personally offer our natural tanning spray to someone, it would definitely be President + FR Donald Trump.” PO EE


What makes your natural tanning spray so unique? “The luxury product is enriched with natural, nourishing and pure ingredients including erythrulose, aloe vera and ginkgo. It’s for home use, easy to apply, is suita-


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Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

Perk up your life with Capi Europe’s design pots TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: CAPI EUROPE

Made with love, produced in the Netherlands, and always honouring humans and the environment, the plant and flower pots from Capi Europe are many things. By focusing on Dutch design and production and continuously meeting today’s standards in terms of trends and quality, the Tilburg company has vastly expanded since its launch in 1997. Discover Benelux spoke to founder and director Toine van de Ven. Not many things can add as much atmosphere to a home as the duo of plant and pot – something Capi Europe understands like no other. The Dutch company produces lightweight plant and flower pots of the highest possible quality, for both indoor and outdoor use. There are six collections that each define a different style. Capi Europe’s pots are sold in over 70 countries all over the world. Capi’s collections are contemporary and classic alike: while the collection Capi Urban could be described as stylish with 30  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

an urban twist, Capi Classic is for those people looking for timelessness. “Our most popular line? That has to be Capi Nature,” Van de Ven begins. “Inspired by nature, it boasts shapes and structures that make the plants become one with the pots.” Capi’s Made in Holland collection is unique. Looking like rough natural stone yet being super lightweight, the pots are made in the Netherlands and can be recognised by their orange interior. The Made in Holland pots boast a revolutionary system specially developed for Capi Europe that make the pots recyclable, fracture-resistant and frost and UVresistant, while the double-layered interior results in a perfect isolation. “That way your plant remains cool in summer and frost-free in winter,” Van de Ven adds. Due to its strong growth, Capi Europe opened a brand new factory and office in Tilburg last November that will allow triple production for the Made in Holland series. The move is in line with Capi’s philosophy of reshoring. “Keeping production in our

own hands has many advantages,” Van de Ven emphasises. “In the future, we are aiming to host all production under one, Dutch roof.” Ingenious yet simple, ever innovating and improving, always priding itself on quality: Capi is one of Europe’s most successful and promising flower pot companies for a reason.


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Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

M U L D E R S H I P YA R D :

Exceeding expectations since 1938 TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: MULDER SHIPYARD

Quality, craftsmanship and luxury: it has been the hallmark of Mulder Shipyard for nearly 80 years. A traditional family company, the Zoeterwoude-based business has gained a worldwide reputation in motor yacht building through their unmistakable classic lines and constant undisputed quality based on Dutch craftsmanship. The timeless, ever-growing Mulder fleet has been a welcome feature of Dutch and international waters for decades. Always honouring their pillars of quality and exclusivity, Mulder Shipyard builds custom-build yachts between 15 and 45 metres known for their timelessness and stunning shapes. Worldwide recognition, 32  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

award-winning yachts and pioneering firsts all adorn Mulder’s portfolio.

75 years of excellence For Mulder’s launch we have to go back to 1938, when Dirk Mulder senior established his business at the yard’s location in Voorschoten. A nine-metre round-bilged sail yacht, dubbed DIMU – designed by Mulder himself – was the first Mulder ever built. There are still several of these types of yachts sailing today. They are considered classics. Fast forward 75 years, and Mulder Shipyard has grown in reputation and size alike. Now helmed by Dirk Robert Mulder, the Dutch company is still a true fami-

ly company. Joining the legacy in 2009, youngest Mulder scion Nick brought the company into its third generation. “How do you notice the fact that we are a family company? We settle for nothing less than superiority,” Nick begins. “After all, it is our family name that will sail the waters later.”

Classics A lot has changed, since that first yacht almost 80 years ago. Mulder’s yachts sail seas all over the world, with many designs now transformed into classics. The yards global reputation for quality has been built upon three main pillars: the classic Super Favorite Cruisers, the later Favorite Superior and a range of Mulder custom-built motor yachts. These motor

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

yachts, which are known for their classic lines, high quality and excellent sailing characteristics, still afloat the Dutch and foreign waters today. In August 2015 Mulder Shipyard delivered the 34-metre M/Y SOLIS, the largest Mulder to that date. Driven by a contemporary family who have a unique philosophy of living, this custom-made yacht had to be translated into a human and operational project of excellence. The yacht gained recognition internationally in May 2016, when SOLIS was awarded with a Neptune at the prestigious World Superyacht Awards. “Compared to the other massive companies at the awards, we were considered a relatively small player,” Nick smiles. “It was amazing to have our work rewarded.” Exceeding every previously set expectation, the Mulder ThirtySix is the company’s newest success story. With five spacious cabins on board accommodating up to ten guests, the motor yacht effortlessly combines exceptional craftsmanship with

the most sophisticated innovations and is an absolute show piece among its yacht colleagues.

Made in Holland All of Mulder’s production takes place at its own locations at Zoeterwoude and Voorschoten, where all possible yacht building disciplines are brought together. “That is unique in the business,” Nick continues. “We have all yacht-building expertise and disciplines under one roof: from engineers to painters, and from carpenters to electricians.” Mulder Shipyard also boasts its own brokerage, which sells Mulder yachts from one owner to the other, and offers refit possibilities to Mulder owners. Every refit, from painting to updating technical systems or even complete remodelling of interiors, is performed by a team of the best designers, engineers and practitioners. The honouring of time and budget is constantly put in the high seat, with an experienced team of people who are aware of their duties and work in a flexible and

efficient manner. “It is a challenge to constantly find the perfect balance between traditional craftsmanship and efficiency,” Nick says. “The nature of the job requires the highest level of precision and craftsmanship, yet every customer has a strict time scale and budget we have to meet.” To live up to these demands, Mulder Shipyard works with pre-built aluminum hulls. “That way we can drastically decrease the building time, but we leave all the scope for the demands and wishes from the client: from material use and interior design, to technical specifications.” With another Mulder ThirtySix on the itinerary, Mulder Shipyard is ever sailing forward. “We are shipbuilders, heart and soul,” Nick emphasises. “The fact that our work – based on such unique craftsmanship and decades of experience - can make a person so immensely happy, never gets old. Even more: it is the core of our business.” Web:

Nick & Dick.

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Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

Crockery holders for which no sea is too rough TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  PHOTOS: SCHUERMAN SEA FASTENING

While sailing the high seas it is important that everything on board is safely secured. This is especially true for breakable items, such as glassware and crockery. Schuerman Sea Fastening specialises in securing these inside luxury yachts, allowing them to be put safely on display in acrylate holders. Schuerman Sea Fastening creates bespoke crockery fittings that are both safe, beautiful and practical. “Crockery is valuable, especially the sets used on board high-end yachts. It is a shame if they get damaged,” says Mandy Schuerman. As a management assistant she works together with her husband Rob, who founded the firm 15 years ago as a daughter company of Schuerman Plastics Processing. The custom-made fittings are constructed from clear acrylate lasercut plates and rods to fit a variety of pieces. “We 3D scan 34  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

every different piece of crockery, glassware and cutlery. This can be up to 1,000 items, and each gets its own designated spot,” Mandy continues. Acrylate is a type of strong, high-quality plexiglass that is lightweight and less breakable than normal glass. Rob Schuerman says: “It is a beautiful material. Being a thermoplastic, it becomes malleable when heated and solidifies when it cools down. This way, we can bend and mould it in many ways.” Working closely with the yacht’s interior designer, the team produces the fittings in their state-of-the-art factory in Wouw, in the south of the Netherlands, before they personally install them on board. “We have several high-tech machines, including a laser cutter and a five-axis milling machine,” says Mandy. “We do the whole process ourselves to ensure quality.”

With a small team of eight core members, Schuerman Sea Fastening has a personal approach to each project and a track record of successfully completing them to strict deadlines. “We don’t like to say no to a job,” Mandy smiles. Schuerman Sea Fastening is part of Schuerman Plastics Processing which specialises in bending plastic sheeting into custom shapes for a wide range of industries. The family company was founded in 1965, and has top-of-the-range machinery to mould, cut, glue, polish and engrave plastics. Their applications range from display cabinets and outdoor light signs to construction components and safety encasings for machinery. They cater to both small, private clients as well as multinational corporations.


Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

The yacht doctors in Urk TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: BALK SHIPYARD

Expensive things need care, just ask anyone owning a good car, a big house or a Stradivari. Yachts are no exemption to this rule and it is at Balk Shipyard in Urk, the Netherlands, where ship-owners from all over the world come for care, as well as radical changes to their form of transportation. This special shipyard has been run by the Balk family for seven generations with Daan Balk at the helm since 1998. With a core business of refitting and rebuilding yachts, the Balk Shipyard at Urk has seen its fair share of vessels. With refitting, Balk works on repairs and maintenance for there are many ships that have been a bit neglected right before a sale and thus need something more than just a lick of paint. Rebuilding is far more radical, working on the interior and exterior, making the yacht look completely different. One might ask ‘why not buy a new one?’,

but Daan Balk knows the motivations of his clientele: “A yacht can last a lifetime and several have emotional value as part of the family, but can still be in need of modernisation. That’s what we provide.” Rebuilding a yacht takes expertise and as an example, Balk mentions a yacht he’s working on that used to be owned by Arabs but just got sold. He explains: “It’s more than just changing the floors and curtains. Together with a styling expert, we look at the ceilings, furniture, walls, deck, everything really. We have a staff of 60 people with each their own speciality and if we don’t have the required specialist in-house, we have a large network that can support where needed, from electronics to Italian marble.” Having to work this intensively on a ship, makes you wonder if Balk and his team consider the vessels as their babies. He

starts to laugh and affirms. “Our customers see the passion and pride in us and the connection we make with the ships. They return sometimes and even bring brothers and sisters along, because if our customers buy a yacht somewhere, we usually are their go-to place to remove all the minor nuisances. It’s a testament to the good work we do and we’re still growing; soon we’re moving to a new spot between Urk and highway A6 and will triple our size, making it possible to cater more to the Dutch market.”


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Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

‘The birthplace of wooden boats’ TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: DE JONG JOURE

At shipyard De Jong Joure they know there is no bond like the one between an owner and his boat - especially when it is a wooden boat. “The boat becomes part of the family. So people want it to be taken care of like it is one of their own. That is what we do here: we nurture them with love,” explains Aaldert de Jonge, ‘hellingbaas’ at De Jong Joure. The shipyard has a long history in the northern town of Joure. Ships have been built here since 1653. From day one it has been wooden boats: sailboats, sloops and barges. Nowadays they still build wooden ones, almost the same way as back then - by hand. “Clients normally have an idea of how their perfect boat would look. But they haven’t found it yet. That is where we come in.” Together with the client, De Jong Joure designs the boat from front to back. “We make sketches and together with an architect we create the blueprints. From that point on, our craftsmen – who all have a passion for working with wood and boat making – do what they do best; building beautiful and unique boats.” Clients can see their boat grow in what De Jonge 36  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

calls “our birthplace of wooden boats”. “From the first planks to the launching of the boat, in these six to nine months clients see every detail of their dream come alive. When the boat launches, it is really a celebration.” Most boats De Jong Joure builds are sloops and ‘vletten’. “But we recently started a project called the J-34. A unique wooden yacht with an aluminium underwater boat,” smiles De Jonge. “Designed for cruising on the big European lakes or the Mediterranean. A smaller version of it, the J-28, is also being developed. It is almost the same, but more suitable for the Frisian rivers and lakes.”

Besides building and restoring wooden boats, shipyard De Jong Joure is also a storage place for boats. “In the winter we have about 100 boats in storage. We watch over them and carry out any necessary maintenance. Most of the boats were built on our shipyard, but any wooden ship is welcome to stay here.” “Wooden ships are all about the details,” says De Jonge. “Working on them with the same love for wood as their new owners feel, lets us built the perfect wooden boats.” Web:

The Signing Company



Using advanced technologies to bring music alive TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON  |  PHOTOS: INTERNATIONAL AUDIO HOLDING

“When I entered this high-end audio field in the early 2000s, few people spoke about music and how it sounds, only about the size, placing and capacity of the equipment,” says Gabi Rijnveld, co-owner with husband Edwin of Dutch high-end audio manufacturer International Audio Holding and its brands Siltech and Crystal Cable. “Edwin’s an electronic engineer; I was a classical concert pianist - that makes a great match in the company and in life,” she continues. “We have a great balance between the technical side and the musical and artistic – Edwin’s a passionate engineer always seeking perfection, and I provide the musicality and design input.”

Pianist and pupil Edwin took over IAH in 1992, when Hungarian-born Gabi was still touring the world, fortunate enough to play with great artists 38  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

like Claudio Abbado. When she stepped back from performing for a time and taught piano instead, one of her pupils was Edwin. The rest is rather romantic history.

Gabi & Edwin.

The parallel lines of engineering accuracy and musical brilliance meet in Siltech and Crystal Cable. “Our aim is to bring a live or near-live sound quality to people using our products,” she adds, “You’ll never get there totally, but Edwin as an engineer and I as a musician strive every day to get closer.”

Technology leads to the perfect cable The core products of Siltech and Crystal Cable are analog and digital audio cables used in high-end hifi systems. Gabi likens the significance of audio cables to tyres on a car: “Bad tyres mean poorer performance; it’s exactly the same with audio cables.” Most audio cables use copper, or for slightly better quality oxygen-free copper. Siltech has been at the forefront of using silver, a superior conductor that actually improves its performance as it ages, whereas copper deteriorates. They’ve developed a patented process that fills the gaps in silver’s crystalline structure with a tightly controlled amount of gold to improve performance further: “Regular silver could lead to a somewhat colder sound,” says Gabi, “but filling those gaps makes the signal passing smoother, the sound warmer, while keeping superb conductivity characteristics,”

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

Crystal Cable, has proved a huge hit: “It’s very high-tech, but also too beautiful to hide - the life-style factor is big, looking at these products. Crystal Cable serves a different market place, customers looking for a combination of modern design and high-tech materials for their audio cables,” she says.

she says. For top-of-the-range products they even use a rare and expensive grade of silver – mono-crystal – with no structural gaps in the conductor.

Like husband and wife the two brands are complementary. “The Siltech range gives a more traditional high-end audio sound, rather masculine; Crystal’s cables are equally high-end, but with a more modern lifestyle look and feel and slightly different sound”, says Gabi.

Insulation is an equally significant element in how the cables convey the musical signal. “The electrical signal is very sensitive to magnetic fields and other external factors, so needs to be shielded and insulated very carefully.” Siltech and Crystal Cable use highly advanced materials like DuPont Kapton, a very thin foil that gives the cable the shielding and mechanical strength that previously required much bulkier materials.

All their products are hand-made by a skilled production team in their own plant in the Netherlands. They’re currently investing in expanding their facilities, and have always adopted the best production equipment. “It’s a special recipe – craftsmanship, hand-work, high technology and brilliant engineering and product design,” says Gabi.

Complementary brands

Innovative technologies and products

When Edwin and Gabi looked at combining their thinner silver conducting materials and thin foil insulators it opened up amazing possibilities for elegantly thin cables with no loss of performance or strength. The brand Gabi spearheaded,

Expertise gained on designing cables with the engineering simulation software Comsol has helped them develop speakers and other hi-fi elements. “The speakers started as special projects to show what technologically advanced products

we’re capable of making, and in turn draw attention to our cables,” says Gabi, “now they’re well-known and award-winning products in themselves. Innovation again was key in this process. “To ensure the best sound and prevent vibrations inside the cabinet, we moved into our Arabesque teardrop shape, using rigid materials like glass (still unique in the world), aluminium and metal-filled compound material,” she relates. Thanks to that engineering/art balance the end product is not just a technical masterpiece: “All these achievements serve one goal - the perfect musical experience. Our high-end audio products combine the highest technical standards with exceptional design, making them unique in the high-end audio market. Music is as essential as breathing, and music is for everybody,’ she concludes.


Issue 48  |  December 2017  |  39

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands


Specialists in water storage TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: NPI

Since the start in 1957 and with more than 60 years of experience, NPI has grown into a worldwide leading producer of water and liquid storage systems with a wide variety of uses. Serving a broad scale of markets and branches, NPI’s decades-long experience, constant focus on quality, and unmatched service makes them a beloved name with business all over the world. NPI is a Dutch producer of high-quality metal silos with internal liners, and excavated reservoirs. Although a great deal of NPI’s products end up at businesses in horticulture and agriculture, the list of applications is endless: storing temporary water for civil engineering, reservoirs for fish farming, fire tanks for emergency facilities, manure storage for agriculture, or molasses in harbours - NPI has a solution for all. Founded in 1957, NPI has in six decades steadily gained a name as Europe’s major water storage expert. “Because of our network of longstanding, successful 40  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

distributors, we transport to locations all over the world,” explains Arjen van Dijk, water storage director at NPI. “We add partners to our network every year – we share our success with them.” Dealers and distributors are located in countries such as Canada, Russia, Europe and all over Asia, which means a lot of travelling for Van Dijk and his team. “We just finished a project in Russia, where we placed four molasses storage tanks with a capacity of 4,000 cubic metres per piece. That is indeed interesting, but it is mostly hard work.” Due to the modular system, ease of transport and the guaranteed long lifespan, the tanks are also getting more and more popular on remote locations. NPI can pride itself on exclusively providing the highest quality materials and solutions, and an unmatched service. “Because we are still a relatively small company, our lines of communication are short and decisions can be made quickly,” Van Dijk says. “It gives customers the swift service they are looking for.” Social

and environmental responsibility are core values at NPI: production is done with as little as possible pressure on natural resources. With various elaborate certificates such as KIWA, AEO and ISO 9001 on the way, NPI is committed to continuous quality and improvement. The company continuously invests in research and development, ensuring resellers and users are constantly provided with the best water storage solutions for now, and the years to come.

Nederlandse Plastic Industrie B.V. Sinaedawei 10-A 8851 GG Tzummarum The Netherlands Tel: +31(0) 518 481846 e-mail:


Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

Guarded by electric fences TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: KOLTEC

Gone are the days when electric fencing was just for keeping farm animals in place. These days an electric fence is a modernised product that can be found in the garden or even at industrial areas to keep those nasty burglars at bay. Dutchman Hilko Dammer knows everything related to electric fencing and together with his wife runs the KOLTEC company in the Dutch city of Breda. Though Dammer and his wife have been owners of the KOLTEC company since 2004, the firm itself is much older than that. Dating back 75 years ago, KOLTEC started out in Breda as a factory that produced appliances in the field of electrics such as electric hot-water bottles and lampshades. The flashlights of a truck inspired founder Lout Henkes to create electric fences. And the rest, as they say, is history. After a successful venture into LPG systems, the Dutch company is now fully focused on electric fencing again and does so with quite the accomplishments. “Here at KOLTEC we create the products inhouse with our machinery that includes

injection moulding. We are in the top five largest manufacturers of these appliances in Europe and the only one in the Benelux. We sell through a network of more than 200 dealers and importers. All that with just 15 people working here,” says Dammer.

approach for us, to software and hardware-driven fencing.”

The Dutchman mentions his fences are not just used in the agricultural world, where cattle need to be contained. There is good reason for individuals and entrepreneurs to invest in electric fencing too. “It’s perfect for shielding your garden pond against herons in case you have expensive koi carp, or if you have pets that aren’t allowed to leave the garden. An electrical defence is also an option for industrial areas that need to be secured. We can help with that as well.” You would think a product with such a long history is fully realised, but even electric fences can be upgraded in these modern times. “We have a research and development department that is currently working on smart-fences that will supply information through an app or by text. That way you know what’s happening around it. It requires a completely new


Issue 48  |  December 2017  |  41

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

Livecom: cherishing your customers TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: LIVECOM.COM

Improving customer satisfaction, boosting sales, and enhancing trust in your brand: the Livecom Multichannel solution serves all of your goals. The Dutch-based business helps companies to communicate effectively and consistently with their customers. Livecom offers one solution that allows companies to communicate in a better way with their customers - whether that is via mail, telephony, web chat, proactive chat, web self-service, or social media. Founded in 2003, the Dutchbased company was one of the first providers of commercial chats in Europe, and has since grown into a customer contact channel gaining a reputation among companies in every sector, all over the world.

The solution offered by Livecom is used to work more efficiently, create a higher conversion, and increase customer satisfaction and insight for managers. Yet each business uses Livecom’s solution in a different way. “One hundred companies have one hundred different ways of communicating with their customers, and aim to reach one hundred different goals,” explains Patrick van Eijl, sales manager at Livecom. “While some companies would like to decrease the amount of emails sent, others opt for proactive chat based on business rules on their website to increase the online conversions rates. Instead of focusing exclusively on Customer Relationship Management, we have shifted to being a Multichannel, whereby customer interaction sits in the high seat.”

Livecom’s portfolio is adorned by major names from every sector: Philips, Hero, CZ health insurance, Douwe Egberts, BMW and municipalities like Den Haag and RotP van Eijl terdam. “Like no other we understand the importance of a good relationship with your customers,” Van Eijl concludes. “We know our customers well and continuously help them with any new challenges they might face.” Web:

Stout Verlichting: lighting that looks like art TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA  |  PHOTOS: STOUT VERLICHTING

There is hardly anything more important in a home than lighting. It gives you the right atmosphere, but it needs to be functional as well. A hard task to complete, yet Stout Lighting knows how to do it. “We make sure everything is perfect.” After being in the business for 25 years, the Stout family know how to handle lighting. “We started by designing and producing small items,” begins Sander Stout. “Later, we started working with an atelier in Italy and we have been working with them ever since.” Stout Lighting produces lighting in all sorts of materials and colours. Each item is different, but they have one thing in common. “It’s our own design and our feeling. We mix classic and modern design, with function and atmosphere in mind. It needs to look beautiful, but you still need to be able to read a book.” 42  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

A good example is the Candle Fusion collection, specially made in their atelier in the Netherlands. Stout explains: “On top you see a candle that gives you soft atmospheric lighting. Below, there’s a spotlight that gives you extra light when you need it. Both are separate so you can make them as bright as you want.” Another special item in the collection is the Bijou lamp, which looks more like a piece of art than a lamp. “We make prints of branches in sand and pour bronze into it. Then we add the clearest glass there is to give a special light effect. This is a tailor-made design, perfectly in tune with the space and the customer’s wishes.” That is exactly what Stout Lighting is all about: beautiful form and function.


Your Shortcut to Benelux

S nacks

Me al s


Pap ers



44  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Monic Hendrickx


Running the show Thanks to elongated storytelling opportunities, the opportunity for intimacy and creating a strong bond with characters, not to mention the increasing tendency to binge-watch series, we are living in a decade where cinema no longer reigns over the small screen. A prime example of the TV drama revolution is hit Dutch crime series Penoza (Black Widow to Englishspeaking audiences), which has been exported to multiple countries including the UK since its launch in 2010. Dubbed ‘The Dutch Sopranos’, it tells the gripping story of Carmen van Walraven-de Rue, the titular Black Widow, as she is forced to take over her family’s drug-smuggling business. After nearly a decade of drama, the fifth and final season recently finished airing in the Netherlands, so we caught up with the programme’s leading lady Monic Hendrickx to discuss life after Penoza. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTO: RALPH VERMEESCH

Having portrayed the matriarch Carmen for five seasons, 50-year-old Hendrickx admits to having mixed emotions about the show’s finale. “It’s a double feeling,” she muses. “It’s good that the story is told, but I could go on forever with the character - and also with the colleagues. The children I’ve seen grow up. Stijn Taverne, who played Boris, the youngest son, was ten or 11 when we started. Now he has a driving licence. He’s 18!” Fortunately it was a case of ‘au revoir’, rather than ‘goodbye’, as a Penoza film is in the pipeline for next year and Hendrickx is already looking forward to reuniting with everyone. “It’s been a lot of fun, I can tell you that,” she smiles. “You get attached to the people you work with and also the crew. It’s a good team; the light guys, the sound guys, the camera men, you get to know them all over the years.”

The role of a lifetime For Hendrickx, Carmen was the role of a lifetime, and one that saw her receive numerous accolades including a Golden Calf for Best Actress in a TV-Drama in

2013. From the moment she read the first script, the actor knew she had discovered something special. “I was fascinated from the start - it’s a really good idea to put a woman in charge of a gang. It’s the combination of the criminal world with daily life: getting the kids ready for school – all the things that we are struggling with. That captivated me from the start but we never knew that it would become so big. You know, everyone is fascinated by it. It’s really amazing how it conquered the Netherlands.” Hendrickx has played countless characters throughout her lengthy career, from an Afghani woman who has escaped from a brothel in 2007’s Unfinished Sky to the writer Sonja in Paula van der Oest’s 2001 Oscar-nominated romantic comedy Zus & Zo. She admits that Carmen has been one of the best roles she have ever sunk her teeth into, allowing her to experience life in the underworld vicariously.

A captivating character “Carmen is kind of bluffing all the time. It’s so much fun to play; to be one of the

guys and to be cooler than you are. To be in control, or as if you’re in control. That combined with the vulnerability within the family…that’s really a good combination,” she enthuses. “It’s interesting because she stands for dilemmas I don’t know. It’s fascinating, the criminal world, but it’s also dark. I’m glad that I’m not in it for real, but it is captivating. You can go to the limit in a way - it’s life or death and it’s really vivid. In a way you are living it when you play the character.” For many years the film and television industry had been lacking in strong, interesting and complex female characters, but thanks to programmes such as Homeland, The Wire, and of course Penoza, female roles no longer seem to be confined to cliches. “It’s really fun to be the main character because then you can play the whole history; you can put so much in it,” says Hendrickx. “I understand the fight for good female characters. For me there have been enough roles, but I’m in a luxury position in my country. Often you are the wife or Issue 48  |  December 2017  |  45

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Monic Hendrickx

Photo: ©Pief Weyman/NL Film & TV

the sister of the leading character and often it’s like a caricature. For example, with Shakespeare, I’ve played Desdemona [in Othello] and she’s really difficult to play. Do you play the virgin or do you play the whore?”

an Ahead of Her Time) about the turbulent marriage between a writer and a socialist politician. “That was really fun to do,” she recalls. “I did a Frisian language course for, like, three months. You really get into the musicality of it.”

Future projects

A double life

Now that Penoza has concluded, Hendrickx would be interested in pursuing more roles in European cinema. The actor would relish the chance to perform in a foreign language again, revealing she believes it can often heighten the acting experience.

For her next project, Hendrickx would like to do something slow burning, allowing her to really delve into a new character. “What I miss in acting right now is that it

has to be so fast all the time. I’m looking to really get into a story. “I would love to do a long project, like filming over nine months. That was fun in Carmen too, because I was really in the depths of a character,” she concludes. “It was almost like a second life. Although I’m really happy that my second life wasn’t my real life. Carmen has to look over her shoulder all the time and trust no one!”

“When you play in another language you’re not too focused on the things you have to act. You don’t think ‘I have to be crying’ at that moment or ‘I have to burst out laughing’ at that moment. You have a layer of focus to the language and for me that’s kind of a liberation. It seems that the acting is better, almost.” One of Hendrickx’s early roles was in the 2001 Frisian-spoken costume drama Nynke (The Moving True Story of a Wom46  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

Photo: © Elmer van der Marel/NL Film & TV

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Monic Hendrickx

Photo: © Elmer van der Marel/NL Film & TV

Photo: ©Pief Weyman/NL Film & TV

Issue 48  |  December 2017  |  47

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Limburg  |  The Ultimate and Unforgettable Winter Destination

Cycling through water at Bokrijk.


Lovely Flemish Limburg Home of beautiful nature, land of the river Maas, province of hospitality and culinary goodness: Flemish Limburg is many things. Priding itself on an extensive cycle network and an abundance of tourism activities, this Northern Flemish province is a beloved holiday destination for a good reason. From the stunning National Park Hoge Kempen to a glass of ‘Hasseltse Jenever’: there is a lot waiting to be discovered in Flemish Limburg. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: VISIT FLANDERS & TOERISME LIMBURG

48  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Limburg  |  The Ultimate and Unforgettable Winter Destination

Shopping at Hasselt. Photo: © Kobe Vanderzande & Hasselt Toerisme

A cyclist’s dream You say Flemish Limburg, you think cycling paradise. With its forest-filled, water-rich and quiet landscapes, the province boasts an extensive network of cycling routes and is an immensely popular destination for everyone looking to get active. The international Maasfietsroute (Maas cycling route) also runs through Flemish Limburg and forms the perfect link between a string of scenic villages. Many routes even have special cycling cafés alongside them, to fully serve any thirsty cyclists passing by. Not a fan of cycling? Fear not, as Flemish Limburg will amaze nature lovers. Internationally renowned for its beauty is National Park Hoge Kempen. Being

the only national park in Flanders, it stretches out over 5,700 hectares across the locations of Genk, As, Zutendaal, Maasmechelen, Lanaken and DilsenStokkem. Its water parks, heathlands and vast panoramas are a dream décor for every hiker or rider.

Royal villages and cities Flemish Limburg boasts an incredible amount of cultural heritages that show the rich history and bustling present of the region. From archeological sites such as Rieten in Wijshagen to historic castles like Château de la Motte in Sint-Truiden; the many small and picturesque villages in the province are centres of history and heritage. The relatively small Voerstreek is also well worth a tour, with many cute towns

such as Moelingen, ’s-Gravenvoeren, Sint-Martens-Voeren and Sint-PietersVoeren. Looking for a bit more hustle and bustle? Flemish Limburg is the home of vibrant cities Hasselt and Tongeren. Hasselt and its environs is the perfect location for a city trip, with trendy boutiques, fascinating museums, sunny terraces, and delicious restaurants around every corner. Tongeren prides itself on being the oldest town in Belgium, and rightfully so: visit any place in the city, and the history is right in front of you. City walls from the first century, a Roman archaeological site, the excellent Gallo-Roman Museum: Tongeren is the perfect combination of history and present. Issue 48  |  December 2017  |  49

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Limburg  |  The Ultimate and Unforgettable Winter Destination

PUT THIS ON YOUR TO-DO LIST: Cycling through water at Bokrijk: Always wanted to cycle through water? You can at Bokrijk; a region in the municipality of Genk boasting a playground and a fabulous open-air museum. Here you can enjoy the greenery and the silence of nature. C-Mine at Genk: The town of Genk has a very rich mining history; many important places in the town are located at previous mining sites. C-Mine is one of them: a creative hub regularly hosting interesting exhibitions and other cultural events. Wijnkasteel Genoels-Elderen: In the municipality of Riemst, along an old Roman arbor, lies the only wine castle in Belgium. Not coincidental, as the Romans already had vineyards in this area. With 22 hec-

50  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

tares of vineyards, the Genoels-Elderen vineyard is the largest wine-growing region in the country and welcomes 15,000 visitors annually. Achelse Kluis: The Trappist Abbey of Achel or Achelse Kluis is famous for its spiritual life and brewery, which is one of few Trappist beer breweries in the world. Life in the abbey is characterised by prayer, reading and manual work, the three basic elements of Trappist life. Beguinage Sint-Agnes: Founded in 1258, this haven of peace in the outskirts of Sint-Truiden was in 1998 added to the UNESCO World Heritage list, together with 12 other Flemish beguinages. It hosts an impressive church with beautiful murals.

Museum de Mindere.

There is almost too much to do in Flemish Limburg. Toerisme Limburg helps you on your way.

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Limburg  |  The Ultimate and Unforgettable Winter Destination

Photo: © Jean Geelen

Marl caves and a wonderful wine castle TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: ANDREAS GIJBELS – WWW.RECLAMOS.BE

With just over 16,000 inhabitants, the Flemish town of Riemst might seem small at first glance. But get to know it just a little bit better and you will be surprised by how much the place has to offer, some of it even underground. A treat for anyone with a love of the outdoors, wine and history, Riemst is most certainly worth a visit. “A town with three major highlights,” is how Sonja Vos, who works at the municipality of Riemst, describes the place in the province of Limburg. Those three would be the bridge of Vroenhoven, Wine Castle Genoels-Elderen and the underground marl caves which cover more than 300 kilometres and stretch to both the Netherlands and the Wallonia region of Belgium. The bridge at Vroenhoven holds a special place in the Belgian cultural and historical landscape, with the Germans making several unsuccessful attempts to blow it up during World War II. “Nowadays it’s a

completely new steel bridge complemented by a fully interactive museum that’s both a monument and a testament to the history of World War II in Belgium. It has a section devoted to all the waterways in our country.” If you are the type to prefer wine over water, a trip to Wine Castle GenoelsElderen is advisable. With a vineyard covering more than 50 acres, the castle hosts more than 40,000 visitors each year who indulge in the many red and white wines Genoels-Elderen has to offer. Whether you do a tour with just a tasting glass or a full arrangement, there is something for everyone at the castle. Vos is excited to share something brand new too: “The famous marl caves in the vicinity will become part of the regional cycling network route. The caves are already worth a guided visit, but starting in September 2018, it will have some extras to it, since we’ll make it a lit route and share

many of our stories about the history of the caves and the so-called ‘blockbreakers’ who used to work in the quarries.” Admittedly, Riemst does not have much of a shopping centre, but with its neat location between Tongeren, Maastricht and Liège, the bigger cities are never far away. Meanwhile the town itself provides more than enough hotels, B&Bs and other means to spend the night in a more quiet area.


Issue 48  |  December 2017  |  51

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Limburg  |  The Ultimate and Unforgettable Winter Destination

Reading between the lines by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh.



Its inhabitants lovingly call it ‘The Pearl of Haspengouw’ – and for good reason: the city of Borgloon is unique in many aspects. Located in the nature-rich region of Haspengouw, the scenic Flemish town lets history and present collide in the best way possible. All the best things of Flanders – and Limburg in particular – are to be found in Borgloon: regional culinary delicacies, scenic nature and art, historic heritage, and the unmatched hospitality the region is so beloved for.

Italy in Flanders ‘The Tuscany of Flanders’, alongside ‘The Pearl of Haspengouw’, are just two of Borgloon’s many nicknames. They 52  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

highlight the beauty of the Flemish city, which can be considered small (it houses approximately 10,000 inhabitants), but far transcends its size in terms of art and hospitality. Borgloon is located in ‘fruit region’ Haspengouw, an area known for its hundreds of thousands of fruit trees that in spring bloom as far as the eye can see. In autumn, the branches of the trees bend under the weight of millions of ripe fruits, which fill the whole region with the aromas of fresh, juicy fruit. “You say Borgloon, you think blossom and fruit,” smiles Annemie Pallen, head of tourism at Borgloon. “In spring and autumn, our landscape creates magical moments.” A statement many agree with: throughout the year,

Borgloon welcomes tens of thousands of tourists from all over the world who visit the region to cycle, walk, and admire. The prominence of fruit is also palpable in the culinary profile of Borgloon: the area boasts many regional delicacies such as confiture, wine, and its famous syrup. The traditional ‘Syrup Feast’ on Easter Monday is considered the annual highpoint by many locals and visitors.

Historic prominence Borgloon was historically the capital of the county Loon (which boasted the size of the current province of Flemish Limburg) and has held an important position throughout its entire existence. The county Loon was founded almost 1,000 years ago.

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Limburg  |  The Ultimate and Unforgettable Winter Destination

Borgloon’s history can be found everywhere. The Town Hall dates back to the 11th century and is considered one of the most beautiful civilian buildings in South-Limburg. It was restored in Maasland style in 1680. “Originally, the town hall was the residence of the counts of Loon,” Pallen explains. “Upon his departure, he gifted his home to the people of the city. That’s why we still call it Count House.” Another reminiscence of Borgloon’s history is the Burchtheuvel – a 118-metre high hill which used to house the fortress of the Loon counties. The strongly dilapidated castle was demolished in 1870, yet the top of the hill still provides a beautiful panoramic view of the region.

Art in Borgloon Attracting visitors from all over the world, the project ‘Pit’ kicked off in Borgloon in 2011: an artistic trajectory initiated by the province of Limburg and Z33 – the contemporary art and architecture museum in Hasselt – showing eight open-air artworks by artists in the region of Borgloon-Heers. Displaying artworks that enter into dialogue with the landscape and local heritage, the works are placed along existing cycle and hiking routes. Reading between the lines by artists Gijs Van Vaerenbergh (consisting of duo Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh) – is an absolute highlight of the Z33 project. Looking like a see-through church, the work is ten metres high and

made of 100 layers. Depending on the perspective of the viewer, the church is either perceived as a massive building or seems to dissolve in the landscape. Reading between the lines was named ‘Best Spot in Belgium’ by renowned British newspaper The Guardian in 2017. Web:

‘Z33 - art in public space’ is a unique art project in the landscapes of Borgloon. These magnificent works of art are well worth a visit: Gijs Van Vaerenbergh – Reading between the lines. An absolute show-stopper of the Z33 project: looking like an enormous church, the work uses horizontal plates to transform the concept of a traditional church into a transparent object of art. Aeneas Wilder – Untitled#158 Built nearby the Abbey Mariënlof in Kerniel, this doughnut-shaped pavilion by Scottish artist Aeneas Wilder offers visitors a view across the landscape of Limburg. Entering the artwork is a special experience that refers to religious themes and reminds us of walking around a monastery. When you are inside the artwork, you will hear that the sounds of the environment are muted and changed, which makes the experience extra special.

Tranendreef by Dré Wapenaar.

Memento by Wesley Meuris.

Wesley Meuris – Memento Memento is a sculpture at the central burial ground of Borgloon. The artwork of Wesley Meuris is an anchor point in the sloping landscape and invites visitors to step inside. The architectural structure of the work provides a special experience of looking and dwelling, and the steel-built space can be interpreted in many ways by the visitor, challenging the imagination.

Untitled#158 by Aeneas Wilder.

Issue 48  |  December 2017  |  53

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Limburg  |  Top Food, Drink & Sleep Spots


All the best dishes in one night TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  PHOTOS: DE GOEI GOESTING

It is a scenario that is familiar to many of us: while looking at a menu we cannot decide between all of the scrumptious dishes. Restaurant De Goei Goesting in Hasselt, Belgium has a simple solution: all of its mains are also available as smaller dishes that are half the size and half the price. This means guests can taste twice as many delicious dishes in one night. Owner Dirk Hendrickx, who has 30 years of experience in the catering industry, noticed that many people today prefer to try multiple dishes instead of ordering a single main course. He says: “Guests enjoy experiencing different flavour combinations, so we offer numerous smaller dishes that are also perfect to share.” The restaurant serves French and Belgian classics with Mediterranean influences. This includes king crab, smoked salmon, cheese croquettes, oysters, beef carpaccio, steak tartar and much more. “And our 54  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

sole meunière is served with the smooth, buttery potato mash according to chef Joël Robuchon’s recipe. He owns the world’s most Michelin stars for his restaurants,” continues Hendrickx.

Christmas, the restaurant will offer a festive set menu on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Located in central Hasselt, De Goei Goesting has a warm and inviting interior, where you instantly feel at home. The restaurant is also connected to Italian wine bar L’Aperi Vino next door (see opposite page) where you can enjoy a fine glass of wine in a lively atmosphere. Hendrickx adds: “We want to offer guests a sense of belonging, of coming home. We want to give them a fantastic night without rushing them on. The best part of my work is when I see that guests are happy and go home satisfied.” De Goei Goesting on the Zuivelmarkt is open for lunch and dinner on weekdays and also serves breakfast at weekends (it is closed on Mondays). For a special


Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Limburg  |  Top Food, Drink & Sleep Spots

L’ A P E R I V I N O

Long, animated evenings at an Italian wine bar TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  PHOTOS: L’APERI VINO

Inspired by the bustling wine bars of Italy, L’Aperi Vino welcomes guests for a splendid glass of wine in a lively environment. Opened four years ago, the bar is an inviting and energetic meeting place where locals and visitors mingle. Whether you have just one glass of montepulciano, or you stay all night for dinner and drinks, everything is possible. Open all week, it is on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening when the bar really comes to life. On these days guests can try free Italian bites, or ‘stuzzichini’, from the bar. “It can get quite chaotic and noisy, but in an enticing way,” says owner Dirk Hendrickx. “The bites include charcuterie, bruschetta, small meatballs, grilled vegetables, it’s always something different.” Aside from an extensive drinks menu, it serves numerous antipasti and big and small plates, so guests can spend their whole evening at L’Aperi Vino. The bar

prides itself on their specialities from the grill, such as the grilled lamb Arrosticini and the one-kilo Bistecca alla Fiorentina to share. He says: “We always have 34 different wines available by the glass, mainly from Italy but also a few from Spain and France. The name is a play on the word ‘aperitivo’, to represent the core of the concept, but we also offer plenty to eat.”

other restaurants by Hendrickx. Open daily from morning through to evening, they also serve a simple breakfast and strong, invigorating cups of Italian coffee. For Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the bar will have something special in store to celebrate the festive period.

As a veteran of the catering industry and having run various pubs, bars and restaurants, Hendrickx decided to open L’Aperi Vino in 2013. He took the concept of the Italian wine bar and refined it to fit the local environment. “I guess you could describe me as an ‘Italofreak’,” laughs Hendrickx as he talks about his love for Italy. “These types of bars are all over Italy, but they hardly exist in Belgium. I thought this was such a shame.” L’Aperi Vino is located in the heart of Hasselt in-between De Goei Goesting (see opposite page) and Buon’ Eatalia, two


Issue 48  |  December 2017  |  55

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Limburg  |  Top Food, Drink & Sleep Spots


The luxury of a hotel, with an allure that only a small B&B can exude: B&B De Keyartmolen offers the best of both worlds. Located in a century-old farm in the town of Tongerlo – near the beautiful Maasland and Limburgse Kempen – the four-star accommodation prides itself on the perfect combination of nature and luxury. You leave the rest of the world behind when entering the property of De Keyartmolen. Set in a monumental farm, the B&B is an oasis of peace, with Flanders’ most beautiful nature on your doorstep. The B&B hosts a unique ‘horse-hotel’, with six stables, a paddock and a large grass meadow – perfect for the many riders settling down for a relaxing yet active holiday. Shopaholics will certainly enjoy the nearby chic outlet shoppings centres of Maasmechelen and Roermond. B&B De Keyartmolen counts eight spacious and luxurious rooms: four duplex rooms hosting

the bedroom on the first floor, and four ground floor rooms. All have their own entrance and boast luxurious facilities - think crisp white linen, rain-shower, and a hot tub. “We wanted to maintain the atmosphere of a cosy B&B, yet with the services of a hotel,” smiles Sonja Winthaegen, who owns the B&B together with her husband. Set in the midst of nature, De Keyartmolen is located right at 12 of Limburg’s renowned cycling routes. “Alongside many cyclists, a great deal of our clientele are riders - we are situated at the horseback riding and coach driving network that has more than 600 kilometres of rider paths.” B&B De Keyartmolen: a dream destination for hikers, cyclists and riders who long for a few days of relaxation, want the most stunning nature on their doorstep, and are looking for unmatched comfort. Web:

An oasis of rest, nature, and inspiration TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: TWINSTONE LODGE

On the borders of the beautiful national park De Hoge Kempen lies Twinstone Lodge. Characterised by its innovative architecture, luxurious facilities and stunning environment, the four-star lodge is perfect for those looking for rest, inspiration, or quality time with friends, family, or colleagues. Twinstone Lodge can provide space for 28 people, yet can also be divided into two separate lodges for 16 and 12 people. The lodge boasts every possible comfort: a fully-equipped kitchen, a spacious living area, and luxurious bedrooms. Both living spaces can be connected in a simple way, and the central entrance gives access to the relaxation area, where a sauna and steam bath are await for you to relax and reboot. “We have to two types of guests,” explains Ben Gielen, owner of the lodge. “On the one 56  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

hand we get many families and groups of friends looking to spend time with each other in a beautiful, forest-rich environment. The other group consists of business guests – the lodge and its quiet environment have the ability to inspire, to let you achieve results. It is a world apart from the regular business environment.” Outside the lodge, the beautiful Hoge Kempen waits to be discovered. The national

park is every hiker and rider’s dream, and the lodge is located on one of the many beautiful cycle routes the area is so loved for. Are you in for some entertainment? Twinstone Lodge lies nearby the Kattevennen: one of the five entrance gates to the Hoge Kempen, and a centre full of activities for the whole family. Web:

Our new wellness suite is soon finished!!!

Read all about our newest luxury Wellness accomodation in the January issue of Discover Benelux.

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Limburg  |  Top Food, Drink & Sleep Spots

Bed, breakfast…and a delicious dinner TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: BLOONWINNING/PETERSOETEWEY

In the middle of beautiful rustic surroundings, on the edge of the fashionable city of Hasselt, Raf Ballet and his partner Thierry Didden welcome you to Bloonwinning, a luxurious Bed & Breakfast, situated in a 19th-century farm building. “If you are looking for extra comfort and opulence, you will find it here.” The farm has been in the family for four generations. “It used to be a functioning farm with animals. I am the first that didn’t continue that tradition. In 2009 we converted parts of the building into six rooms for guests to stay,” explains Ballet. “But there are still some cows around.” There are four standard and two deluxe rooms. “We decorated them to our own liking. The rooms have all the comfort you need, including a private bathroom. The deluxe rooms have a sitting area,” adds Ballet. A rich breakfast is included.

And should you desire, you can also dine at Bloonwinning. “I am a chef, so I cook the meals myself. It is a three-course ‘surprise dinner’ because we cook using seasonal and local products that are available at that moment.” Dinner is part of the various packages Bloonwinning offers. “But if you want to go to dinner in Hasselt one night, that is also possible.” Because Bloonwinning is near the city, it is very easy to get there. “At the same

time, we are located along a big bicycle road network.” That is just one of the reasons why Bloonwinning makes the perfect luxurious location for guests wanting to discover Hasselt and Flemish Limburg’s stunning countryside on two wheels.


Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Limburg  |  Top Art & Culture Spots

Walk through history at Huis Nagels TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: HUIS NAGELS

Set in the scenic Flemish-Limburg town of Sint-Truiden, the 19th-century Huis Nagels is considered by many as one of the most stunning witnesses of the Belle Époque in Flanders. In 2012, owners Ingrid Grobben and Herman Collignon opened the home’s doors to the public. It is hard to miss Huis Nagels when passing through the Stationsstraat: adorned by stunning eclectic ornaments, the house stands out in many ways. Inside, things get even better. With every corner you turn, a whole different style reveals itself: a rare Egyptian salon in pure Egyptomania style, a gothic billiard room, an extravagant Louis XV salon, and multiple renaissance rooms. Built in 1892, Huis Nagels was commissioned by notary Louis Nagels. “He was the son of a prominent Hasselt mayor, and a prominent figure,” Collignon explains. “After Nagels went bankrupt before the First World War, the house

was bought by another family. We bought and started renovation of the property in 2002, after it had been vacant for nine years.” After two years of restoration, last October saw the opening of four downstairs ‘basement rooms’ which were previously used as staff work and living quarters. The ‘Octopus Furnace Cellar’ in the basement is a stunning and rare example of 19th-century state-of-theart air heating. Lovers of heritage can admire Huis Nagels through a guided tour, in which they quite literally take a trip through history. Certainly do not miss Sarah Bernhardt’s stained glass window inspired by French artist Georges Clairin’s Cleopatra painting – the only known copy in the world. The downstairs rooms are rented out for meetings and events, and Collignon and his wife regularly host cultural events in the historic rooms. “The first inhabitants already hosted them. We are merely resuming the tradition,” Collignon smiles.



exhibitions - guided tours


workshops - commission works - demos


souvenirs - original gifts - jewelry


THE COLLECTION 07 10 2017 – 15 04 2018 Lommel - Belgium /hetglazenhuis

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Limburg  |  Top Art & Culture Spots


From prehistoric mammoth hunters to Gallo-Roman aristocracy, venture to Belgium’s oldest city to discover the fascinating history of Flemish Limburg. More than 2,000 years after Tongeren was built by the Romans, the award winning Gallo-Roman museum takes pride of place in its ancient centre. Built in the noughties of our own 21st century, the modern, spacious building merges beautifully with its Medieval surroundings. Inside, spread across three floors, the imaginative exhibition takes you back even further, as far as 500,000 years BC. The story that is told takes the visitors from the earliest human settlers to the fall of 60  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

the Roman empire, with more than two thousand original artefacts on display, which are combined with text, film, spectacular life-size models and figures to guide the visitors on an exciting journey through time.

Time travel The exhibition covers the history of four major periods in the Tongeren area, marked by four tipping points. The first of these is the arrival of the first human species in the area, some 500,000 years ago. They were hunter-gatherers such as Neanderthals, who eventually died out during the last Ice Age. Our direct ancestors, homo sapiens sapiens, moved into the area around

15,000 BC, and they are the only human species left at the end of this period. The second tipping point occurs around 5,300 BC, when farming people move into the Tongeren region and introduce a completely new way of living. These farmers actively change their physical surroundings, cutting woods, creating arable land and constructing farmhouses. They craft earthenware pots, grinding stones and polished axes. With the arrival of metal artefacts and salt from the North Sea around 825 BC, a third tipping point arises. The native population steps up their trade with oth-

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Limburg  |  Top Art & Culture Spots

er regions, and a wealthy and powerful trading elite emerges, ruling these previously egalitarian farming communities. Then, around 15 BC, the Tongeren area is ruled by the Romans. The indigenous elite collaborates with their Roman conquerors. Together, they build a peaceful and prosperous city which serves as the administrative centre of a large area, almost reaching as far as the borders of ‘s-Hertogenbosch in the North, Brussels in the West, Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen) in the East and even a part of Northern France. Finally, we see how the Roman empire collapses, and Tongeren is invaded by Germanic tribes. However, the southern part of the region manages to resist the German invaders and preserves their Roman tongue, which accounts for the language boundary which up to this very day still divides modern day Belgium along the same geographical lines.

Attractive displays Along this journey through time, visitors will find a finely balanced range of original artefacts, sculptures, models, explana-

tory texts and interactive displays which bring the story to life. There are flint axes, grinding stones, copper, gold and bronze ornaments, and life-size models illustrating the daily life of prehistoric man and the farming communities of the Linear Pottery culture. One floor up, the Roman area of the exhibition boasts an impressive range of artefacts, including an original heating system, a mosaic floor, and fragments of walls and buildings. There is also a virtual tour of the inside of a Roman house, and taking centre stage is an impressive model of Roman Tongeren, showing its monumental buildings and the famous 4.5 kilometres long wall.

European Museum Prize Different routes through the exhibition represent different layers of detail for the visitors to follow. They can choose whether they want to delve into the finer detail of the narrative or just follow the story’s broad outline. It is a perfect set-up for families, because it allows them to experience their journey of discovery together at different levels. The museum’s layered presentation, encouraging visitors to actively explore the museum, was one of the main

reasons they were voted European Museum of the Year in 2011, an award they are rightfully very proud of. Taking their motto – ‘What follows is always organically related to what went before’ – from the Roman philosopher-emperor Marcus Aurelius, this European prize was just a fantastic recognition of their unique approach to encourage people to understand the causal relationships in history.

Scent of the times At the same time, the museum never shies away from showing the lighter side of things either. This December, they have planned a scent trail for children to experience the different smells you would encounter when hunting boar, farming crops, quarrying flint, crafting bronze axes or taking a Roman bath. It is yet another example of how the museum manages to make ancient history accessible, and encourages people to relate to it in a very direct way. It only goes to show that our history is always with us. Web: en/homepage

Terracotta figurines, Tongeren,100 to 150 AD.

Celtic noble graves, Meeuwen-Gruitrode (Wijshagen) bronze, iron, 450 until 375 BC.

Issue 48  |  December 2017  |  61

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Limburg  |  Top Party & Lounge Spots

‘Everybody likes Café Café!’ TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA  |  PHOTOS: CAFÉ CAFÉ

It is a daring quote: “everybody likes Café Café”. But owner Maxim Willems is confident enough to use it. And we get that, because it truly is a place where everybody is welcome and everybody enjoys themselves. “Underground, with a high amount of partying, that’s what it is.” Café Café has been a well-known venue in the city centre of Hasselt for more than 20 years now. Though it used to be just a bar, when Willems took charge about four years ago he decided to do things differently. Not entirely differently, but just a little - so that not only the regular bar visitors would enjoy themselves, but the younger ones could come and have a little dance. “I added a club in the back,” he explains. “Every Thursday we have a band coming down here to play and every weekend there’s a DJ. Great names as well, not just your regular neighbourhood band. We try to appeal to both a younger and older audience with this change. I noticed the bar attracted more of the older generation, so 62  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

the club is a great way to create a mixed audience.” A welcome change, so it seems. “It’s one of the few clubs in Hasselt now, so we see the younger crowd coming to visit indeed. And even though it’s an underground atmosphere, there’s always a huge party mood.” The friendly atmosphere is something that really appeals to visitors and is what made Café Café a well-known place to hang out. Not only at weekends, but during the week as well.

Being a drummer himself, Willems knows his music. He wants to give bands a place to play. “I know how hard it is to find places like this, that’s why the club has a collaboration with the rock school in town. Practically every Tuesday music students come to play here. It’s an evening the business students organise themselves. That way Café Café contributes to their education.” Web:

3,0 0 0




Het Roode Koper with its monumental guesthouses, English landscape garden, Michelin-starred restaurant, tennis court, heated outdoor swimming pool and private villa, is one of the most outstanding getaways in The Netherlands. New at the estate is The Poolhouse, a culinary pavilion next to the swimming pool with luxury sunbeds and a lounge terrace, where seasonal summer dishes are served. This gorgeous estate is in the woods in the Veluwe region, the largest uninterrupted area of nature in the Netherlands. Not far from cultural highlights such as Het Loo Palace and De Hoge Veluwe National Park with the world famous Kröller-Müller Museum, and just an hour ’s drive from Amsterdam.


Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Column






First of all, two true stories (though I have changed the names). Mike is a talented young architect who worked for a commercial firm while preparing for his professional qualification. He gained valuable experience guiding projects through the planning process but this was not what he wanted to spend his life doing. So when he was offered a job by a small firm with a great reputation for innovative design, he took it. His boss reacted with incredulity, anger and childish petulance. He could not understand why Mike wanted to leave. The parting was an unhappy one. Sarah was a waitress in a busy café-restaurant for four years. She was efficient, hard-working and popular with customers. She dreamt that one day she would have her own place, and, as a step towards this goal, she got the job of managing another café. Her boss’s reaction was the same as Mike’s. To add insult to injury, he offered her a 40 per cent pay rise to stay. Her new café is doing really well. 64  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

Both these managers took the resignations personally. Neither were interested in or even knew about their employees’ ambitions. Developing your people is a critical management skill but both failed to do this in key respects. Management can be like parenting. Most parents are pleased and proud to see their offspring spreading their wings. Some possessive parents find it hard to let go. Good managers nurture their people, knowing that one day they may well want to move on. They give them encouragement and support. They help them learn from their mistakes. They give them feedback to help them improve. They coach them so they can face new challenges. They encourage them to find a mentor, or failing that, they mentor them themselves. They help their people to fix targets for themselves and to articulate longer-term career goals. Cynics will say that all this is counter-productive because when your young stars leave, it is hard to fill the gap. Managers

committed to developing their people not only delight in seeing their protégés flying up and away; they know that all their people work better when treated like this. The reputation of a good manager spreads as well. One team member may be leaving, but new candidates will be queuing at the door, ready to give their best in exchange for this kind of leadership. Steve Flinders is a freelance trainer, writer and coach, based in Malta, who helps people develop their communication and leadership skills for working internationally:

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Legal

At the frontline of Luxembourg’s law TEXT: NDÉLA FAYE  |  PHOTOS: JEAN-JACQUES SCHONCKERT

Lawyer at the Luxembourg bar since 1986, Jean-Jacques Schonckert has established himself as one of the most notable lawyers in Luxembourg. His experience, combined with a multidisciplinary and personable approach, allows him to have all bases covered for his clients. Catering to individuals, as well as small and medium-sized companies, Schonckert’s firm provides a wide range of legal services and advice in French, German, English and Luxembourgish. In addition to real estate, social, family, criminal and commercial law, Schonckert is no stranger to media attention and high-profile cases. “Throughout the years, I’ve been involved in many of the Grand Duchy’s biggest court cases such as the much-publicised Franklin Jurado money laundering case in the early 1990s, and more recently Max Schrems’ data protection case against Skype and Microsoft, as well as work for French football player Franck Ribéry.”

Schonckert believes that what sets him apart from others is the fact that his law firm is independent. “The social circles in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg are very small. I operate completely independently, meaning I am not part of any syndicate, political party – or even a golf club,” he states. Schonckert also works as a legal consultant on various news programmes – and in his spare time, he volunteers as vice-president for Luxembourg’s football federation and is president of the country’s Right to Die with Dignity organisation, among other charity ventures. “Doing charity work is close to my heart and my wish to help others extends beyond my work hours,” he says.

lawyers are solely driven by money, but for me looking after my clients and offering a personal touch is paramount,” Schonckert adds. “My experience spans over three decades, but even after all these years, my work never feels like a chore: I still have the same enthusiasm, level of engagement and sense of duty to my clients as I did when I first started,” he concludes.

“With each client, I try to assess what emotions might lie behind their legal case. I believe emotions can be very strong and very raw, and I try to de-block some blockages, a bit like an alchemist,” he laughs. With each client, Schonckert aims to look for alternative approaches and angles to their specific case. “Often, Issue 48  |  December 2017  |  65

Photo: Raoul Somers


A friendly, family business TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: IMMO&CONSEIL

director Claudine Schwartz - Bemtgen. “Many new clients come to us after we have been recommended to them by a friend. People like our friendly, personalised service. They know that they will always get a swift response from us and that we are quick to resolve any issues.”

Buying, selling or renovating one’s home can be a stressful experience, but the small team at family business Immo&Conseil do everything they can to make things as straightforward as possible. This is just one of the many reasons the Luxembourg-based real estate experts have such a loyal and happy roster of long-term clients.

15 years of superb service

“Our relationships with clients last for years,” smiles Immo&Conseil’s managing

Founded in 2002 by Claudine’s father, Marc Bemtgen, the company recently celebrated its 15th anniversary.

66  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

Claudine herself has been with the company for seven years, while her husband, Christian Schwartz, joined the firm four years ago. “Initially I studied fine art and was working as a teacher. However, I soon realised that that was not the job I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. When my father decided to take a step down, it was suggested that I join the family business,” recalls Claudine. These days

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Real Estate

Claudine has a developed know-how of the industry, although she still appreciates the benefit of her father’s expert advice. “At the beginning, my father was a massive support. And he is still there to offer his expertise.”

and advice, real estate promotions, landscaping and renovation and the purchase, sale or renting of various kinds of properties. The company’s philosophy is all about confidentiality, reliability and a dedication to keeping clients satisfied.

Claudine tends to look after the clientele and admin side of the business, while her father Marc provides invaluable expert knowledge. Her technician husband Christian is there for all things tech related. “We work well together as the three pillars of the company.”

It is their goal to simplify life for their clients. After all, when people have jobs and a family they have other things to worry about whilst buying or selling a house. Instead, they can let Immo&Conseil manage their project.

Real estate experts Immo&Conseil can help with all kind of real estate project, including estimations

On top of the game Claudine’s passion for the real estate industry is palpable, and both she and her husband always make sure they keep on

top of all the latest trends, innovations and building regulations. “We are always in constant contact with experts in the industry and regularly attend trade fairs and conferences. Things change quickly and you need to stay informed. That’s what keeps the job so interesting.” Also, client’s wishes constantly change so they need to adapt to recent trends such as open-plan living and the desire for a walk-in dressing room and private master bathroom.

Continually innovating This adaptability is just another of Immo&Conseil’s assets. Rather than resting on its laurels, the company is always thinking of ways to innovate and build on its wealth of experience.

Immo&Conseil SA 19, Steewee, L-3317 Bergem, Luxembourg To find out how Immo & Conseil can help you with your next real estate project visit;

Future project: Family Home in Eppeldorf. Architect: Tom Simon Architectes

Issue 48  |  December 2017  |  67

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Calendar


ICAMC 11 – 13 December Amsterdam, the Netherlands What is the future for architecture, materials and construction? The International Conference on Architecture, Materials and Construction aims to answer this question. The conference will focus on hot topics such as green architecture, nano-materials, artistic building materials, and much more.

Amsterdam Science Park. Photo: Hanne-Nijhuis

Field Service 6 – 8 December Amsterdam, the Netherlands Field Service is an event where inspiration meets service, support and customer care. With innovative content focused on transforming service priorities, Field Service is designed to help take your programme from a traditional customer care centre to a revenue generating resource.

Emerce Engage 7 December Amsterdam, the Netherlands Emerce Engage is the go-to event for professionals in multi-channel marketing and perfect for those organisations looking to improve their marketing strategy, brand conversion, and customer experience.

The Marketing Congress 7 – 8 December Brussels, Belgium Described by many as ‘the flagship Marketing Conference in Belgium’, The Marketing Congress is your annual chance to meet-up with professionals who are passionate about marketing. You can engage 68  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

with your peers and enlarge your network, learn best practices, and open your mind through inspirational talks.

IP Summit 7 – 8 December Brussels, Belgium This two-day conference is the forum to speak with worldwide experts on IP trends, attend innovative panels and discover the impact of new technologies on IP. Expect more than 100 speakers, over 400 delegates and about 30 IP hot topics to be discussed. Photo: © Mirande Phernambucq

Amsterdam Colloquia 20 – 22 December Amsterdam, the Netherlands Held at Amsterdam Science Park, the Amsterdam Colloquia aim to bring together linguists, philosophers, logicians, cognitive scientists and computer scientists who share an interest in the formal study of the semantics and pragmatics of natural and formal languages.

Photo: © Edwin van Eis


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  |  Cultural Highlights  |  Luxembourg

The Bitter Years. Photo: © CNA Romain Girtgen, 2013

Dorothea Lange, Home of rural rehabilitation client, Tulare Country, California. November 1938. Photo: © Library of Congress

The Family of Man. Photo: © CNA Romain Girtgen, 2013

The Steichen legacy lives on in Luxembourg TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER

Renowned as a painter, photographer and museum curator, LuxembourgishAmerican cultural polymath Edward J. Steichen was a key figure of 20thcentury photography. You can discover more about his artistic legacy via two fascinating permanent exhibitions displayed and preserved by the Centre national de l’audiovisuel (CNA) in Luxembourg. “Steichen was someone who needed to be creative,” begins Anke Reitz, curator at the Steichen Collections CNA. “He is a very important figure in the world of photography, and the art world in general.” As well as being a distinguished photographer, Steichen served as director of the photography department at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York from 1947 - 1961. He even tried his hand at directing, with his war documentary The Fighting Lady winning an Academy Award in 1945. It was during Steichen’s time working at MoMA in the 1950s and 1960s that he curated two monumental exhibitions; The Family of Man and The Bitter Years. Having been displayed all over the world – The Family of Man has attracted more than 10 70  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

million visitors since its creation and features on UNESCO’s Memory of the World list - both exhibitions are now permanently housed in the Grand Duchy. Permanently installed at Clervaux Castle since 1994, The Family of Man was created by Steichen in 1955. It is seen as a manifesto for peace and the essential equality of mankind, expressed through the humanist photography of the post-war years. It features masterpieces from 273 international photographers ranging from Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson to Dorothea Lange. A tribute to documentary photography, The Bitter Years can be seen at the restored water tower Waassertuerm + Pomhouse in Dudelange. Offering a snapshot of life in rural America during the Great Depression, it showcases more than 200 images from iconic photographers such as Walker Evans, Arthur Rothstein and Russell Lee. “It’s a depiction of America’s collective memory,” explains Reitz, pointing out that the world is still suffering from many of the injustices represented in the exhibitions. “Both speak of subjects which remain rel-

evant today. That is just one of the reasons they still resonate so much.”

Edward Steichen at Château de Clervaux, 1966. Photo: © Photothèque de la ville de Luxembourg Collection Marcel Schroeder

Practical information Both exhibitions are open from Wednesdays to Sundays, noon to 6pm; and free speciallydeveloped apps are available for both sites in French, English and German. Free guided tours of The Family of Man take place every Sunday at 3pm. Please note the annual closure of both exhibitions will take place from 2 January - 28 February 2018.


Al meer dan 50 jaar bron van inspiratie!

Landhuishotel & Restaurant De Bloemenbeek, gesitueerd op een eigen landgoed van ruim vijf hectare beschikt naast riante en comfortabele suites en kamers over meerdere ruime en zeer goed geoutilleerde zalen met een directe uitloop naar de prachtig aangelegde landschapstuinen. Haar fameuze restaurant met haar witte en zwarte brigade staat tot ver in het buitenland bekend en is ook al jaren bekroond met een zeer eervolle Michelin ster. Het boetiekachtige hotel en haar prachtige Spa ademt een lange (familie)historie met een warme ambiance en veel stijl en allure. Ook onder de platanen op de bijzondere binnenplaats, ook wel Cour genaamd, is het heerlijk vertoeven. Deze binnentuin is vrijwel geheel ommuurd en zomers transparant overdekt waardoor onder het groene bladerdek een bijna on-Nederlandse en mediterrane beleving is ontstaan, uiterst geschikt voor een memorabele tuinparty of sfeervol diner! En bij Landhuishotel & Restaurant De Bloemenbeek is meer mogelijk. Brainstormen met een heus ‘buitengevoel’ is de ideale manier om creativiteit en grenzeloos denken te bevorderen. Of het nu gaat om een meerdaagse meeting of training, een car launch of snelle bijeenkomst tussendoor. Onze ‘hei- (of wei-)sessies’ met één van de talrijke outdoor activiteiten in het omringende en unieke Twentse coulissen landschap: alles draagt bij aan een waar teamgevoel en prestatie!. Noblesse Oblige!

Beuningerstraat 6, 7587 LD De Lutte +31(0)541-551224

Discover Benelux  |  Cultural Highlights  |  Luxembourg & Belgium

Luxembourg’s top French language and culture centre TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS  |  PHOTOS: INSTITUT FRANÇAIS DU LUXEMBOURG

The Institut français du Luxembourg offers a wealth of French classes, French cultural events and frequent social gatherings. Christelle Creff, head of the Institut français, says its aims are to promote French language and culture. “We offer a diverse range of activities: classes, including intensive and extended courses, as well as individual, tailored and business-focused courses. There are also many social and cultural events throughout the year.” Conversation classes and summer programmes are also on offer. Another important part of the Institut is ‘le Club France Luxembourg’, a group of former students who live in Luxembourg and meet up to socialise and network. To stay up to date with all current events, please sign up to the Institut’s newsletter online. The Institut is always open to opportunities to develop cultural and artistic relations between Luxembourg and France.

Upcoming events 24 November 2017 – 14 January 2018: Institut français is a partner in the Lucien Clergue exhibition at Cercle Cité. 8 December 2017: Lecture by François Sarano on the ocean depths and the white shark (Neumünster Abbey). 9 January 2018: Lecture by Professor Steve Masson, specialist of Neuroeducation at the University of Quebec, on understanding the brain for improved learning (partnership with ALPF). 23 January 2018: Lecture by Françoise BriquelChatonnet, director of research at the CNRS (Paris) on the Syriac culture and world. 25 January 2018: La Nuit des idées (Night of Ideas) at MUDAM. An exceptional event comprising stimulating lectures and discussions about imagination and power. 30 January 2018: Study and careers fair at the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce. 6 February 2018: Stage adaptation of Ivan Calbérac’s Molière prize-nominated Venise n’est pas en Italie at Neumünster Abbey.


A Jazz festival across Belgium in tribute to swing music TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER

Jazz fans will rejoice in 32 jazz concerts spread over 31 locations across Belgium from 13 - 31 January. For the 24th consecutive time, the association ‘Amis de Brosella’ initiates an exceptional ‘birthday celebration’ that pays tribute to the genius of jazz musician Django Reinhardt. In the words of Waso de Cauter: “Django created something that few of us could have created. His influence has been so great that a whole new musical style was born – Hot Club Jazz, or Gypsy Swing. He was a virtuoso guitarist with a sharp sensitivity to melody, balance and structure. He is considered one of the greatest musical reformers of the 20th century for his original and timeless fusion of elements of jazz, musette and gypsy music.” Expecting around 6,000 visitors this year, the organising committee of the festival has thoroughly selected a palette of artists and bands that meet their very selective criteria 72  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

to provide the highest quality of jazz music to their audiences. The collaboration between the different cultural centres and partners, coordinated by Brosella, guarantee a successful event on a national level – featuring bands such as the Jazzy Strings, Dorado & Sonny Amati Schmitt, Jokke Schreurs quartet, Lollo Meier & Rares Morarescu quintet and many more! Honouring the life and work of such a unique artist is what brings together this plethora of artists who celebrate him by sharing their artistic skills and love for music with their public. Have a look at the full programme on the festival website for an exceptional experience.

Minor Sing. Photo: © Jean-Luc Goffinet


Samson Schmitt Trio. Photo: © Djangofolllies

Jokke Schreurs. Photo: © Maurice Van Bavel Quadri



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Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  New Music

Soul’Art. Photo: © Heleen Declercq


Artists to look out for in 2018 New year, new music. Leave all the end-of-year lists behind you and turn your gaze to the future, starting with this list of new and established Benelux artists expected to make high waves in 2018. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

1. Pip Blom Based in Amsterdam, Pip Blom writes, records and releases her own indie-pop tunes with a twist. Although she only started releasing her raw guitar power with catchy melodies in early 2016, she has already received acclaim from the likes of BBC Radio and American tastemaker radio station KCRW. Her singles School, Babies Are A Lie, and I Think I’m In Love all made 2017 a better year.

2. Soul’Art The name kind of gives it away: Belgian band Soul’Art is all about hip hop, soul, and authenticity. The Belgian group has its roots in Mechelen and Vilvoorde, and magically combines singing and rap in Dutch, French and English - breaking 74  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

both language and international borders. Their short existence has not prevented them from doing major shows in the Netherlands and Belgium.

3. Dakota With EP Leda and debut single Icon, which saw critical acclaim from many prominent music websites, four-piece band Dakota managed to take the first steps towards their own dreams and goals: playing the world their music. The Amsterdam-based band’s new single Silver Tongue was released in 2017, and they recently played various major festivals including The Great Escape, Down The Rabbit Hole and Valkhof Festival. Dakota seamlessly blends California feels with garage rock and dream pop.


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  New Music

4. Equal Idiots Already since 2012, these two Belgian boys from Hoogstraten City have been teasing many eardrums with their hard garage punk. Winning various major music contests such as De Nieuwe Lichting from Studio Brussel, Equal Idiots released their debut single Salmon Pink in 2016, and have since only been going forward. Their album Eagle Castle BBW came out in 2017 and was met with great acclaim. Trust us when we say you need to watch this Flemish duo.

5. Tamino Born to a Belgian mother and English father, Tamino-Amir Moharam Fouad won the prestigious musical contest De Nieuwe Lichting in 2017, after which he completely sold out the famous AB Club in Brussels. Tamino’s voice - which seemingly effortlessly soars from the low notes to the high – has already resulted in his first EP, of which the singles Habibi and Cigar soared right to the top of the Belgian charts.

Pip Blom. Photo: © Joni Spaan

Equal Idiots. Photo: © Agathe Danon

6. EUT EUT is a five-piece post-pop band from Amsterdam. The quirky, 90s-inspired group combine catchy pop songs with massive beats and blazing sounds. Recently, the band released their newest single Supplies, and their debut album is set to be released early 2018: expect thick beats and beautiful melodies, and catchy pop songs about youthfulness and maturity. Dakota. Photo: © Sanja Marusic

Tamino. Photo: © Ramy Fouad

Issue 48  |  December 2017  |  75

Discover Benelux  |  Cultural Highlights  |  Belgium

Bringing engraving to the 21st century TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER  |  PHOTOS: VINCENZO CHIAVETTA

The Musée de la Gravure is the only one in Belgium specialised in contemporary engraving and imprinting practices. With more than 13,000 works and 1,600 local and international artists on display, the museum has gained international renown and continues to grow its portfolio of artists and activities.

works all over the world. We recently had exhibits in Poland, Brazil, Chile, France… which shows that engraving is far from being a dead art. Our mission is to prove that instead of being an old form of imprinting stuck in the 18th century, engraving is instead a very contemporary art form,” explains the press officer.

Born in 1988 out of the dream of a collective of artists with the help of the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, the Musée de la Gravure was given a home when the municipality allocated an old swimming pool building to the arts. In 2010, they were offered an extension to the building, allowing them to gain 1,000 square meters spread over three floors for exhibitions, workshops and a conference room.

The month of December is bringing a very exciting range of activities, including a special selection of the works of rebel French artist Damien Deroubaix and the annual Prize for Engraving.

The collection brings together pieces made mostly from the 1960s to the present day and is intended to be representative of the diversity of approaches and practices of printmaking and printed art. “We have the chance to present both local and international artists and send our 76  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

An exciting world to discover with your significant other, with children or as a family outing. Make sure to have a look at the museum’s agenda for an overview of current exhibitions and activities.

For the 26th edition of this prestigious prize, a call-out is made for artists across Belgium between 25 and 45 (all techniques allowed), to bring their best works from 2 December to 1 April 2018, with the winners being announced on 1 December. In parallel with the ongoing pieces on display and the special exhibitions, the museum organises guided tours and workshops as part of its educational programme, for the delight of the younger and less young artists among its visitors.


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Top Culture in Flanders

Left: Oscar Jespers, 1887 – 1970, The Juggler, 1923, Polychromed stone, MSK Ghent. Bottom right: Luc Tuymans, The Arena, Fresco, MSK Ghent, 2017.

Creating a dialogue between old and new at the Museum of Fine Arts (MSK), Ghent TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: MSK

With its historic city centre, the Belgian city of Ghent is worth visiting and if you happen to be there, a trip to the Museum of Fine Arts (MSK) is definitely worth your while. Situated right next to the Citadel Park, the museum has a large collection of art from the Middle Ages to today and prides itself for being an ‘Open Museum’ where art and knowledge are readily available to anyone interested. An ever-changing museum, MSK had a metamorphosis in September and October, with most of its collection rearranged and new art pieces installed. “It was necessary,” says director Catherine de Zegher, at the helm of the museum since 2013. “The building itself was restored in 2007 and after ten years, it was time to rethink the presentation of the art works and to create a vivid narrative, chronological indeed yet with unexpected forms and colours, with rhythm and even surprises. We wanted the museum to be-

come even more accessible while each gallery has a unique character and provides all the time and space needed for our visitors to fully understand and enjoy our rich collection.” An impressive collection at that: MSK has a collection of more than 9,000 works, of which more than 450 are on display and have a time span of several centuries. Mostly works are from Dutch and Flemish painters: expect classical pieces, expressionism and realism from painters ranging from Bosch to Ensor. De Zegher: “One of our goals with the whole rearrangement is to stimulate a dialogue between the past and the present, between the old and the new. There are several works from contemporary artists hung across those from the days of yore and it is quite amazing to see how interaction and inspiration work. An extra is the fact we put a spotlight on lesser known artists and we relish being a stepping stone for these creators.”

Naturally the museum has several exhibitions, with one about Romanian visual artist Geta Brătescu doing very well at the moment. De Zegher: “A grande dame of the arts with her 91 years of age who took part in the Biennale in Venice in 2013 and 2017 and has an incredibly diverse collection. I’m all for also bringing more women artists to MSK and to have Brătescu is an honour.”

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Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Top Culture in Flanders

L’oiseau de feu.

Crossing the divide of contemporary and classical dance TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: FILIP VAN ROE

Founded in 1969, the Royal Ballet Flanders merged with Opera Vlaanderen in 2014 to become Belgium’s only ballet-opera company. Famous for shunning the divide between classical and contemporary, the troupe of about 45 trained dancers has a formidable record of shows on all ends of the choreography spectrum. That would make sense given the course Belgian-Moroccan artistic director Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui set out for the ballet with numerous performances already realised and more than a few interesting ones to come.

New York To say ballet dancers are cosmopolitans in their own way is not such a strange thing to say, drawing inspiration from cultures all around the world. It comes as no surprise either that we do not sit down with Cherkaoui somewhere in Ghent or 78  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

Antwerp where the Royal Ballet mostly performs, but instead we talk to him over Skype with him being in New York. Cherkaoui is working with director Diane Paulus on a brand new musical based on Alanis Morissette’s debut album Jagged Little Pill. His claim to fame does not end there: what got that ball rolling was the fact that he made headlines with the choreography of Beyoncé’s dance act during the 2017 Grammy Awards. Consider us very, very impressed.

Young director The softly-spoken Belgian-Moroccan is rather unique: at 41, he is the youngest artistic director the Royal Ballet has ever had and as a choreographer, he produces shows and directs from time to time. “It is uncommon to be working as an artistic director and with our dancers as an artist myself, and it’s a generation that’s much closer to me than what I worked with

when I started about 17 years ago. I’d say it has its advantages, but it does make the relationship with them more complex even though I aim for a horizontal approach: I’m not above them, but among them.”

Masterpieces Like a football team choosing a new coach, the appointment of Cherkaoui as artistic director two and a half years ago had many people flocking to the stages and the ballet had many sold-out performances over the last few years. The director himself credits the curiosity of the crowd and the expanded repertoire of the troupe: “I see a crowd that’s bigger and more diverse than ever before and couldn’t be happier with that. I’ve also set out the goal to work with more masters in choreography and our Ballet had the pleasure to work with several greats such as William Forsythe, Crystal Pite and Édouard Lock. We’ve done sever-

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Top Culture in Flanders

al masterpieces such as Béjart’s Bolero, Bausch’s Café Müller and even though there’s always been a sense of respect for the Royal Ballet throughout the years, we feel that respect growing.”

Firebird Never one to stand still for a long time, Cherkaoui and the whole cast of the Royal Ballet are preparing a host of performances for the upcoming months in Venice, Madrid, Ghent, Antwerp and Amsterdam. The latter three are specifically worth mentioning, given how the performance in Amsterdam will be “not what people in the Netherlands expect” of the director: “I’m known to be the experimental type, but this will be one of the most classical shows I’ve ever done. We’re breathing

A poster for Pelléas et Mélisande.

new life into Fokine’s The Firebird on the second and third of May. It’ll be a performance filled with elementary energies, animating said firebird with costumes by Tim van Steenbergen. An intense experience with great technical difficulty, seeing how there’s movement on just about every note of Stravinsky’s music.”

Debussy True to their Belgian roots, the performance of Pelléas et Mélisande is another high point happening next February in Ghent, Antwerp and later on in Luxembourg, Strasbourg, Gothenburg and Geneva. What started out as a play by Belgian writer Maurice Maeterlinck, turned into an opera by famous composer Debussy. As such, the performance will be one more

akin to a Gesamtkunstwerk, involving dance, opera, but also input from one of the world’s most famous performance artists, Marina Abramović. “Together with her and choreographer Damien Jalet we’ve done a show before and loved it so much, we’re doing it again. Marina is largely responsible for the stage and a treat to work with. She’s done so much, but strives to keep doing things she’s never done before. Noteworthy is the fact that the costumes are made by Dutch designer Iris van Herpen who created dresses worn by singers such as Björk and Lady Gaga. There’s a poetic and organic quality to what Van Herpen makes.” Web:

RAVEL, Exhibition.

L’oiseau de feu.

Damien Jalet, Marina Abramovic and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui rehearsing Boléro in Paris 2013. Photo: © Rahi Rezvani.

Issue 48  |  December 2017  |  79

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Top Culture in the Netherlands

De Haar Castle.

Fortresses of historic beauty TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: KASTELEN UTRECHT

Fairytale-like steeples towering high above the trees, prestigious mansions revealing immense wealth, avant-garde rooms inviting you to hear their stories: the stunning historic castles and manors in the outskirts of Utrecht harbour a wealth of history and heritage. Five prominent museum castles in the region have now reunited their beauty and invite you to discover their bygone yet wonderfully preserved wonders. Close to the hustle and bustle of Utrecht, yet a world apart: the pristine green countryside around the city quickly gives away why the region was once so beloved by kings and queens, dukes and duchesses, and other people of nobility. “It was very common for prominent people in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries to own a residence in the countryside, 80  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

alongside their houses in the city,” begins Anetta de Jong, chairwoman of the Foundation Collaborating Castles Utrecht (SSKU) and director of De Haar Castle. “Especially during summer, people of nobility would leave the city’s dirt behind for more comfortable places.” Under the helm of the SSKU and together with NBTC, the launched project promotes the beauty of five prestigious castles in the region which have opened their doors as museums. “Every one of the five castles has a very distinct character and serves a different target group and function – together they form a magnificent combination of heritage, history and art.”

Slot Zuylen Slot Zuylen is everything you would expect of a cosy family castle. Situated on

the river Vecht, it has retained many of its medieval castle-like features even though it was converted into a country mansion in the 18th century. The castle has been inhabited by knights and noble families for centuries, but its most famous resident was Isabella van Tuyll van Serooskerken (Isabelle de Charrière), famous writer and feminist avant la lettre. The castle’s interior, which belonged to the Tuyll van Serooskerken family (who lived in the castle from 1665) can be admired through guided tours and consists mainly of original pieces of furniture, paintings and utensils – as if the residents only just left the room.

MOA | Museum Oud Amelisweerd Lovers of history, nature and art alike cannot skip MOA | Museum Oud Amelisweerd. A ‘house of art’ set in a country park, it exhibits and links three dif-

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Top Culture in the Netherlands

ferent collections: the biggest collection of work by famous Dutch painter Armando, Oud Amelisweerd – one of the country’s Top 100 listed historic buildings – and a collection of unique Chinese and other historic wall coverings. The monumental values of country house Oud Amelisweerd required a special approach to the design of the museum, whereby the historic legacy of the house was a constant starting point. The green environment and static allure of the house, in combination with world-famous art and stunning wall decorations, make MOA an absolute gem.

Kasteel de Haar De Haar Castle is without a doubt one of Europe’s most fairytale-like settlements. Although it might look medieval, it was built in the early 20th century by famous Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers on commission from Baron Etienne van Zuylen van Nijevelt. In the 60s, the castle became a place where the Van Zuylen van Nijevelt family received the international jet set,

from Brigitte Bardot, to Coco Chanel to Maria Callas. Legendary James Bond actor Roger Moore even learned how to ride a bike at the gardens of De Haar. A visit to De Haar Castle feels like a trip back in time to the glory days of the 20th century.

Museum Huis Doorn This historic manor house and museum brings history back to life: Museum Huis Doorn was the residence of the last German ‘Kaiser’, Wilhelm II, who after the German defeat in the First World War fled to the Netherlands. Wilhelm renovated the house and made some changes to the estate, which covers 35 hectares and is in the style of an English landscaped garden. From 1920, 59 train wagons transported around 30,000 objects to the Netherlands from Wilhelm’s palaces in Berlin and Potsdam to furnish the house. The former German emperor lived in exile in Huis Doorn and surrounded himself with splendid furniture, paintings, silver and porcelain until his death in 1941.

MOA, Made in China. Photo: © Ernst Moritz

Slot Zuylen.

Kasteel Amerongen Widely considered as one of the most beautiful residences the Netherlands has ever known, Amerongen Castle dates back to the 17th century, on the site of a medieval castle that had been burned down by the French in 1673. Its interior gives you a fantastic glimpse into the lives of former residents and contains beautiful historic collections of porcelain, musical instruments, and family portraits from the 18th and 19th centuries. Just as stunning are Amerongen’s gardens, which have been formed through centuries and contain historic elements such as a conservatory dating from the 1890s. Amerongen Castle is also known as the place where Kaiser Wilhelm II lived for one and a half years – he even signed his abdication at the castle.

Museum Huis Doorn.

Amerongen Castle.

Issue 48  |  December 2017  |  81

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Top Culture in the Netherlands

See the Stedelijk Museum’s world-famous icons in a new context TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: COLLECTION STEDELIJK MUSEUM AMSTERDAM

This December sees the launch of STEDELIJK BASE, an innovative new collection presentation at Amsterdam’s famous Stedelijk Museum. The new display features more than 750 inspiring works and traces developments in art and design from the late 19th century to the present day. The exhibition design is by AMO / Rem Koolhaas with Federico Martelli.

From Van Gogh to Warhol STEDELIJK BASE is one of the largest installations in the Stedelijk Museum’s history and will remain on display for at least five years. Admire works from all manner of creative geniuses, ranging from Vincent van Gogh and Piet Mondrian to Gerrit Rietveld, Andy Warhol and Ettore Sottsass. There are works from leading female artists too, such as Charley Toorop and Nola Hatterman, as well as the photographer Emmy Andriesse. The new display represents the perfect way for people who are new to art to discover the evolution of modern art and 82  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

design. Meanwhile, seasoned art lovers will appreciate the opportunity to see the works of these iconic creatives in a new context.

ical and thematic presentations on the ground floor, and STEDELIJK NOW, which is home to temporary exhibitions on the first floor.

Every corner offers a new discovery The presentation begins on the lower-level floor with a survey of art and design before 1980. The escalator transports visitors from -1 to +1, where they can see a display highlighting works produced post 1980. For the lower-level, the architects conceived an open circuit showing designs created specifically for the Stedelijk. Visitors can move freely throughout the space –which sees various types of visual art being paired with design – and are free to make their own connections. By placing different disciplines side by side, viewers can make cross-connections and learn more about a period in art and design history. With the launch of STEDELIJK BASE, the Stedelijk Museum is now divided into three distinct zones. There is also STEDELIJK TURNS, a collection of top-

STEDELIJK BASE will open on Saturday 16 December at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. For more information and to buy e-tickets visit;

Abstract Browsing – REDDIT, joined purchase of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and MOTI. The purchase on the part of the Stedelijk Museum is generously supported by the Tijl Aankoop Fonds and a private donor. Augustine Roulin (La berceuse), gift of ir. V.W. van Gogh, Laren (NL). Rosy-Fingered Dawn at Louse Point, © The Willem de Kooning Foundation, c/o Pictoright Amsterdam.

LEFT: Nola Hatterman, Op het terras (On the Terrace), 1930. MIDDLE: Rafaël Rozendaal, Abstract Browsing – REDDIT, 2016. RIGHT: Vincent van Gogh, Augustine Roulin (La berceuse) (Augustine Roulin (Rocking a Cradle)), 1889. BOTTOM: Willem de Kooning, Rosy-Fingered Dawn at Louse Point, 1963.

Champ de bataille du Linge 1915 ne, g ta n o m n e s é rn a h c a Trois mois de combats parus is d u o s é s s le b , s rt o m 17000

Ici, l’Histoire s’est figée en 1915. Le musée vous plongera dans le quotidien des soldats. Le champ de bataille vous fera découvrir une position de combat exceptionnellement conservée et imaginer l’enfer vécu par les belligérants.

68370 Orbey, Massif des Vosges, France Ouvert tous les jours de Pâques au 11 novembre Accessible aux personnes à mobilité réduite Renseignements sur

Discover Benelux  |  Lifestyle  |  Culinary Profile

The perfect ‘pain d’épices’…made with love TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: © CHRISTOPHE URBAIN

In need of some gourmet inspiration for this month’s festivities? Culinary expert Mireille Oster - famous around the world for her pain d’épices (gingerbread) - has an array of ideas that will leave your mouth watering. From the moment you walk into Mireille Oster’s small boutique in the charming French city of Strasbourg you will be transported by the aromas of all the various spices. Next, comes the chance to sample some of the shop’s famous gingerbread. “The first thing we offer customers when they walk in the door is a tasting,” smiles Mireille, who acquired her passion and talent for making pain d’épices from her grandfather. The Strasbourg boutique has been in her family for three generations – Mireille took over the boutique from her mother in 1997. Mireille’s handmade varieties of the traditional winter treat include gingerbread made with figs, amaretto, cinnamon and chocolate.

84  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

Whether you are seeking a classic or more unusual pain d’épices, you will find all manner of gourmet delights at Mireille Oster. Mireille has taken her gingerbread outside her native France to destinations across Asia and the Middle East. Her farflung travels have had a notable influence on her recipes. “I always come back with new flavour ideas,” she explains. While Mireille admits a good pain d’épices is sometimes best enjoyed with just a slath-

ering of butter, she has many more mouthwatering and versatile ideas. “It works as a great aperitif when served with salmon and creme fraiche. Or for a quick desert add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and hot chocolate,” she suggests. For Christmas time, Mireille’s pain d’épices goes perfectly with foie gras, fresh figs and grapes. Web:

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar

Dutch Ice Sculpture Festival.

Out & About It is the most wonderful time of the year! Luckily, the darkest season of all is also the one with the most beautiful lights, the most fairytale-like parties, and all those Christmas markets. Not a fan of festive fun? Do not worry: the Benelux also serves up an interesting mix of exhibitions and festivals this month. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

Ghent Winter Festivities.

Issue 48  |  December 2017  |  85

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar Kort Film Festival 2- 9 December Leuven, Belgium This international festival focusses on short films and is widely considered one of the frontrunners in the area of short film. The festival shines a bright light on young talent.

Ghent Winter Festivities 8 December – 7 January 2018 Ghent, Belgium Almost as famous as the Ghent Summer Fest, is the city’s wonderful Winter Festivities. Boasting a big ice-skating rink, a giant Ferris wheel and a large Christmas market, the Belgian city screams cosy winter fun during the month of December.

Amsterdam Light Festival. Photo: Ralf Westerhof

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Het Keringhuis.

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar

Dickens Festijn 2016. Photo: Ronald Hissink

Medieval Christmas Market 8 – 17 December Dudelange, Luxembourg If you are looking for a real traditional Christmas market, look no further. The market in Dudelange evokes a medieval village and boasts traditional chalets, stands with great Christmas gifts, concerts, and animation for the kids.

Het Keringhuis Month of December 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.

Winter in Antwerp 9 December – 7 January 2018 Antwerp, Belgium Of course Antwerp is always beautiful, but it will be extra wonderful during December, when parts of the city look like a magical winter wonderland. Expect Christmas markets, various attractions, an ice-rink, and lots of wintery surprises.

Still from Loving Vincent at Noordbrabants Museum. Photo: Loving Vincent

Islam, it’s also our history! Until 21 January 2018 Brussels, Belgium The exhibition Islam, It’s also our history! at Brussels’ Bâtiment Vanderborght tells the story of the long relationship between Europe and Muslim civilisation on European soil. The exhibition has one clear goal: helping European Muslims and non-Muslims to better understand their many common cultural roots.

Candlelight Gouda 15 December Gouda, the Netherlands Gouda by Candlelight, known as Gouda by Kaarslicht or more colloquially as Kaarsjesa-

vond (Candlelight), is a famous annual Christmas event in the city of Gouda. This wonderful tradition is marked by countless lit candles, singing, and festivities.

Dickens Festival 16 – 17 December Deventer, the Netherlands For two days, the 19th-century of Charles Dickens comes back to life in the picturesque Bergkwartier in Deventer. More than 950 characters from the famous books of Dickens are revived: Oliver Twist, Scrooge, Marley and Mr. Pickwick - they are all there. The festival is very popular, so expect a queue! Issue 48  |  December 2017  |  87

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar Ice* Village Amsterdam 20 – 30 December Amsterdam, the Netherlands From mid-December, the famous Museumplein in Amsterdam is transformed into a magical winter wonderland as the Christmas Village anchors down. Expect Christmas games, markets, entertainment and an all-round festive atmosphere.

Loving Vincent at Noordbrabants Museum Until 28 January 2018 Den Bosch, the Netherlands Loving Vincent is the first fully painted animated movie and based on 120 paintings by Van Gogh. For this movie, 125 artists brought the famous painter to life with innumerable strokes of their paint brushes. The 70 most beautiful

images used for the film will be on display at this exhibition.

Dutch Ice Sculpture Festival 23 December – 4 March 2018 Amsterdam, the Netherlands The Dutch Ice Sculpture Festival is bigger than ever before, with more than 100 ice sculptures made by the world’s best ice artists. Do not forget your gloves!

Amsterdam Light Festival Until 21 January 2018 Amsterdam, the Netherlands Amsterdam lights up for the sixth edition of the renowned Amsterdam Light Festival,

where spectacular artworks from international artists, designers and architects transform the Dutch capital into an open-air museum of light.

Aleppo @ Tropenmuseum Until 2018 Amsterdam, the Netherlands The Syrian city of Aleppo has been in the news almost continuously for many months now because of the war raging there. This focus inevitably leads to a skewed and incomplete picture: the city is reduced to a hotbed of violence and its inhabitants ‘reduced’ to refugees. In spite of such limitations, the Tropenmuseum wants to show its visitors a different view of this remarkable city.

Winter in Antwerp. Photo: © Antwerpen Toerisme en Congres

88  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Columns


Take that, Da Vinci! Unless you have been living under a rock recently, it will not have escaped your attention that a painting by a fellow called Leonardo da Vinci sold for rather a lot of money at auction recently. The diminutive painting smashed its estimate and left records in its wake, as it became the most expensive painting ever sold; the hammer finally coming down at $450 million. This is a staggering amount of money, the sale raises a plethora of questions; both moral and practical. But at the heart of the issue remains the question why do people spend so much on art? Why collect art? It is a particularly pertinent question to frame in the context of the Benelux region, where it is thought there are more art collectors per cap-


ita than in any other region across the globe. Indeed, look at any list of influential collectors, and there will always be a smattering representing the region. But why is this the case? Love? Passion? Money? Listening to some of them, the reasons seem simple. Ingrained within the national psyche there is a deep respect for art, stemming form the long history and lineage of the region. After all, these are the countries that gave us Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Rubens amongst many more. There is also a realisation that art is to be seen and to be shared, and many collectors have opened the doors to their collections, making them accessible to the public. To see the best in the region head to Museum Voorlinden in Wassenaar, Vanhaerents in Brussels and Villa Vauban in Luxembourg to see a range of clas-

Photo: Pietro Savorelli, courtesy of Museum Voorlinden

sic and contemporary artworks, bought and collected over the centuries. 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.


St Feuillien Tripel This strong ale is a creation of the familyowned St Feuillien Brewery in the Belgian municipality of Le Roeulx, 50 kilometres south-west of Brussels. It is a beer with markedly more power than is initially apparent. It is by no means a boozy tasting beer. This is a well-crafted ale whose taste is smooth and deliciously fruity with hints of spice. If it was a boxer it would be a deceptive, fleet-footed middleweight with the punch of a heavyweight. Do not even think about trying to go 12 rounds with this ale! The brewery was founded by Stéphanie Friart in 1873. It is still independent and family run, five generations on. The St Feuillien Brewery is one of the 22 members of the Belgian Family Brewers association. That body’s red, yellow and black logo appears on bottles of St Feuillien Tripel. Over the past decade the family has invested to modernise their brewery, which brews


Abbey-style ales, of which this is one. Saison, IPA and fruit beers are also produced. The fruitiness of St Feuillien Tripel bursts onto the palette. It presents a touch of sweetness then rolls into a pleasant bitterness. That twists away to leave a smooth, lingering fruitiness. The colour of this beer is amber. Bottle fermentation means a residue of yeast, which you can choose to add to the glass, or not, during the pour. The aroma has elements of spiciness but, ultimately, it is the fruitiness that wins through. This is a beer that pairs well with mature, deep yellow cheeses. Alternatively, enjoy it with fireside conversation on a cold winter night. It is the season for such pleasures.

Brewer: Brasserie St-Feuillien Strength: 8.5 per cent

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

Issue 48  |  December 2017  |  89

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Musically discovering… Charl Delemarre TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTO: KAREN ROSETZSKY

Born a true troubadour, Charl Delemarre learned to play the guitar during a motorcycle ride from southern India to the Himalayas. Once back home, he luckily did not stop: the Dutch singersongwriter has since released two EPs, quickly became a beloved guest at major festival stages in the Netherlands and won the prestigious De Grote Prijs van Nederland. Hi Charl! What keeps you busy these days? Many things! At the moment I am opening 26 shows for [Dutch singer] Guus Meeuwis. And when I am done touring myself, I am travelling to India again to write. It seems like you have a special connection to India – does it serve as an inspiration? Not necessarily – my inspiration comes from everywhere. But it was in India where I learned how to play guitar. I was a 20-year old boy who had never been out of Europe, 90  |  Issue 48  |  December 2017

and all of a sudden I was motorcycling across the whole country. So obviously it has shaped me in a way. Your new EP CHARL was released this year. What has changed, sound-wise, since De Bekentenis? I was literally on my own when writing and recording De Bekentenis. I had no budget, no producers, and had just one day in a studio to record it. Finishing it was an emotional moment and when I listen to it now I am nothing but proud. For CHARL I worked with some fantastic producers, such as Antonie Broek from De Dijk. The whole process took longer, went deeper, and got me to learn so many new things. CHARL feels like a cornerstone I can continue to build on. You first sang in English, but now in Dutch. Why? No reason – it just happened. I remember listening to Mooi, a song by Maarten van Roozendaal, and thought it was beautiful.

An hour later I had written my first Dutch song. Writing in Dutch feels a bit more personal than in English: both the Dutch and their language are honest, open and direct – I can express myself well in it. Best recent musical discovery? Coloring Book by Chance the Rapper. I have many albums that serve as an inspiration. I can really admire artists who let go of all the rules and let their feelings determine their music. You said you will be writing when going to India. Any idea when a new record will be released? Not at all: for now I will see what happens. So much is happening at the moment and my inspiration and taste is constantly changing, so it is about catching that one moment that will set things off again. Then I will go for it. Web:

be winter be .brussels

unmissable winter events

Making the most of winter in Brussels is all about: letting yourself be enticed by the scent of chocolate - and mulled wines at the Plaisirs d’Hiver. Feeling small in front of the Christmas tree and the sound and light shows on the world’s most beautiful square. Staring in amazement at the city’s festive lighting. Dashing off to see the exhibition everyone is talking about. Travelling to Indonesia without ever leaving the city. Celebrating New Year’s Eve … and putting away the elves and tossing out the Christmas trees in January!

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