Discover Benelux, Issue 49, January 2018

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Your Shortcut to Benelux

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Discover Benelux  |  Contents

Contents JANUARY 2018





COVER FEATURE 46 Gaite Jansen

64 Company profiles, regulars and more

We caught up with Dutch actor Gaite Jansen,

We look at the month ahead in Benelux busi-

who has been making a name for herself in the

ness, as well as profiling the companies you

UK with roles in Peaky Blinders and Line of Duty,

need to know about.

not to mention taking to the stage at London’s Barbican Theatre to star in Ivo van Hove’s production of After the Rehearsal/Persona. In a re-


freshingly honest and down-to-earth interview,

74 Antwerp Baroque 2018

the 26-year-old Rotterdam-native spoke to us

Are you an art aficionado? Find out what un-

about fame, feminism and future roles.

missable artistic events await visitors to Antwerp in 2018.


78 2018 Film Guide

10 Flemish Brabant Special

Need a break from mainstream Hollywood

With its rich cultural history and stunning scen-

movies? We showcase some cinematographic

ery, a trip to Flemish Brabant has plenty to offer

greatness from the Benelux region.

whatever the season. We present our favourite addresses in this charming Flemish province.

90 Benelux Beats Discover Benelux spoke to the Dutch sing-

20 Made in the Netherlands

er-songwriter LUWTEN about her debut, stage

Holland has a longstanding history of invention,

nerves, and going solo.

and our guide to the most exciting products and services coming out of the Netherlands proves


that tradition is still very much alive today.

50 Flemish Brewery & Distillery Guide

6 86

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

Raise a glass to some of the finest and most renowned breweries in Belgium with our mouthwatering Flemish beer guide.


Issue 49  |  January 2018  |  3

Discover Benelux  |  Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Discover Benelux Issue 49, January 2018 Published 01.2018 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 Cathy van Klaveren Charlotte van Hek Eddi Fiegel Frank van Lieshout Isa Hemphrey

Matt Antoniak Michiel Stol Myriam Gwynned Dijck Nils Elmark Simon Willmore Steve Flinders Stuart Forster Xandra Boersma Cover Photo Janey Van Ierland Hair & Make-Up: Ellen Van Exter for Ellis Faas Cosmetics Sales & Key Account Managers Mette Tonnessen Katia Sfihi Micha Cornelisse Petra Foster Publisher: Scan Group 15B Bell Yard Mews Bermondsey Street London SE1 3YT United Kingdom Phone: +44 (0)870 933 0423 Fax: +44 (0)870 933 0421 Email:

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

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

4  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

Welcome to 2018. January is always a time of year that brings about big expectations and strict resolutions, but here at Discover Benelux we want to banish those winter blues and remind you to enjoy the good things in life, too! That is why we have a cultural calendar brimming with indoor and outdoor events that will tempt you away from your cosy living room on even the dullest of January days. And who said all the feasting and festivities had to end in January, anyway? After all, there are too many delicacies on offer in the Benelux to worry about dieting. Our jam-packed guide to the top Flemish breweries (page 50) provides just one example of the many treats the region has to offer. Meanwhile, we also have an idea for a resolution that will actually be fun to keep: watching more movies. To help you along the way, we present the films coming out of the Benelux that you need to look out for in 2018 (page 78). Happy viewing! One person who you will probably be seeing even more of this year is rising Dutch actor Gaite Jansen, who has been a pretty big deal in her native Netherlands for almost a decade now, and thanks to roles in British television series Peaky Blinders and Line of Duty is starting to make a name for herself on the global stage. I caught up with Jansen last autumn following her performance in Ivo van Hove’s production of After the Rehearsal/ Persona in London and was struck by how refreshingly downto-earth and straight-talking she was. Head to page 46 to hear the actor talk fame, feminism and future roles. Whatever your goals are for the coming months, I wish you a healthy, happy and prosperous new year. Enjoy the January issue!

Anna Villeleger, Editor




| 42,195 KM | 21,0975 KM |

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks


Snuggle up The chances are great that looking out of your window during January will not make you very happy. When all the festivities and holidays are over, the reality of winter and its cold kicks in. The best way to beat the winter blues is to snuggle up in warm knits, comfy shoes and cosy accessories. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: PRESS PHOTOS

Sweater weather Not a lot of men’s clothing items are as versatile as the plain, warm jumper. Let the collar of your shirt peep above your jumper for a somewhat preppy look, or wear with skinny jeans to be the coolest person in the room. €44.99 Looking fly The classic aviator hat combines that magnificent pilot style with modern-day durability and warmth. This checkered hat from Kangol scores direct points thanks to its colourful print and cool comfort. €59.95 Kangol via

Cardigan cosiness Do not want to stop wearing your favourite T-shirt during winter? A warm cardigan is the solution: it can be worn both closed and open, providing the perfect opportunity to show off your summer garb even in January. This cosy cardigan from Petrol Industries has a vintage feel. €79.95 Petrol Industries via 6  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks

Knitty On some cold winter days, you just want to curl up on the sofa, close the curtains, and read a good book. A day like that asks for a warm knit you can lose yourself in, but that will still make you look fashionable. This colourful piece from SELECTED will do the trick. €99.99

Little warm dress What is even better than a warm knitted jumper? A warm knitted dress! Alongside keeping your whole body warm when the temperatures drop, this item of clothing does not require much else to make you look stylish. Combine with some warm tights and you are good to go. €209.95 Designers Remix via

Let it snow Are cold feet not the worst thing about winter? No more, with these snuggly shoes from Sacha. The strong sole will defy even the thickest of snow and ice, while the furry inside will keep your ankles warm and comfy. €99.99 Issue 49  |  January 2018  |  7

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Desirable Designs


New design beginnings January - the month of New Years’ resolutions, moderation, and new beginnings. Whilst detoxing your body, it might also be a good idea to extend the diet to your home by decluttering and implementing minimalistic designs. These neat and functional creations will ensure an organised start in 2018. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: PRESS PHOTOS


1. Stretch your space Dining tables do not get much sleeker than this. Crafted for those with a soft spot for Scandi design, it has a sophisticated, minimal look and a sizeable table top. And it does not stop there: the extendable top allows you to increase seating when needed - as functional as it gets! €799 Aveiro via

4. 2. Hang on Whether in the kitchen to hold your recipe books, in the office to hang up brochures, or on your kids’ bedroom doors as a reminder to do their homework: this foldable and portable magazine rack will keep your books and magazines organised in the most stylish way. €67.90 Oitenta via

3. Basic baskets Storage solutions have had an upgrade in recent years, becoming a whole unique category of design. These baskets from HAY allow you to store books, toys and chargers in style. Basket (medium) €45 HAY via



5. Bookish Decadence comes in many forms, one of them being this magnificent bookcase from KOKET. The two ornate metal semi-circles are joined in a glamorous union by sleek glass shelves, while the backless design allows for the perfect canvas to store your simple pleasures. Price on request 8  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

4. Three-ring circus Life is definitely better with an organised jewellery box. These cones from Dutch budget brand HEMA will make sure you never lose your most precious diamonds again. €2.25


You are unique

so is your Auping mattress

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

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Brabant  |  The Ultimate & Unforgettable Destination

Photo: © Lander Loeckx


A province for all seasons With its rich cultural history, stunning scenery and delicious local produce - including some of the world’s most famous beers - a trip to Flemish Brabant has plenty to offer whatever the season. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: TOERISME VLAAMS-BRABANT

Provinciedomein Huizingen. Photo: ©Lander Loeckx

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Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Brabant  |  The Ultimate & Unforgettable Destination

Photo: © Jokko

Flemish Brabant was created on 1 January 1995 by the division of Brabant into Brussels, Walloon Brabant and Flemish Brabant, making it the youngest province in Belgium and Flanders. But do not let that fool you: Flemish Brabant is inherited from the Duchy of Brabant, and is bursting with history.

Get ready to explore Flemish Brabant is the heart of Belgian beer country, with more than 30 breweries producing around 250 beers. Foodies will not be disappointed either as the province is famed for its culinary specialties. Want to build up an appetite? Flemish Brabant’s beautiful countryside is waiting to be explored, either on foot or two wheels: you can explore 1,800 kilometres of interconnected cycling paths. The Cycle Node Network ensures you can find your way to the next beauty hotspot or bicycle café with ease. Do not miss

the magnificent Hageland with its charming provincial towns and rolling farmland. Other highlights include the Huizingen Domain, a former chateau and grounds with rowing pond, outdoor swimming pool, large forest and much more.

Lively Leuven Flemish Brabant also has plenty to offer those seeking the adventures of city life. As Flanders’ oldest university town, Leuven is brimming with history, culture and superb nightlife. Not to be missed is the iconic town hall, which was built in a Brabantine Late Gothic style between 1448 and 1469, and is famed for its ornate lace-like architecture. Look out for the impressive sculptures by Constantin Meunier inside. Meanwhile, culture vultures will not want to miss Leuven’s state-of-the-art gallery, the M, which hosts an array of world-class expos and is home to a coveted collection of contemporary and historic works.

The delightful city of Leuven. Photo: © Lander Loeck

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Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Brabant  |  The Ultimate & Unforgettable Destination

Kasteel van Horst.

Impressive architecture in Leuven.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY: Dirk Braeckman exhibition 2 February - 29 April, M - Museum, Leuven Photographer Dirk Braeckman (1958) represented Belgium at the 2017 Venice Biennial. That exhibition has now formed the basis for a fantastic double exhibition at the art galleries M in Leuven and BOZAR, Brussels. Artefact 13 February - 1 March, STUK, Leuven An annual art festival where the most impressive installations from both Belgium and abroad are unified in a comprehensive exhibition. Leuven Jazz 17 - 25 March, Various venues in Leuven Featuring both rising talents and well-established names, music lovers will adore this hugely popular celebration of all things jazz. DOCVILLE 21 - 29 March, Leuven DOCVILLE is a film festival dedicated to documentaries, with a strong focus on

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national and international author-driven cinema. Horse procession of Hakendover 2 April, Hakendover Large crowds always gather for the ageold tradition that is the international horse procession of Hakendover. Floralia Brussels 6 April - 6 May, Groot-Bijgaarden The spring flower exhibition in the park and the greenhouses of the castle of Grand Bigard (Groot-Bijgaarden) is a must-see. Think magnificent tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and much more! Flemish Brabant Beer Weekends 13 - 29 April, Various locations Brewing has been a key part of life in Flemish Brabant life for centuries. Discover the region’s rich beer tradition! To start planning your trip now visit;

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Brabant  |  Top Art & Culture Spots

Experience the great war in Flemish Brabant TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: LANDER LOECKX

Have you always wondered what Flemish life was like during the Great War of 1914 – 1918? You can now experience this yourself at the Belevingscentrum ’14 – ’18 in Tildonk. Set in an old monastery that was occupied by the Germans during the war, the centre lets you relive history through unique photo and video material, fascinating anecdotes, and even by hearing from actors who have stepped into the shoes of everyday people during the war. They will tell you all about the infamous war years. During your visit to the Belevingscentrum ’14 – ’18, you will truly feel what life was like during the war years. “We explicitly do not call ourselves a museum,” begins Ragna Van Den Bergh, representative at the province of Flemish Brabant. “Instead of exclusively displaying works to visitors, the centre puts them in the shoes of everyday people during the war.” The Belevingscentrum is located at the Ursulinen Monastery, which carries more

of a significance than just being a historic building: it was in this monastery that the surrender of Antwerp was signed in 1914. Soon after the start of the war, German soldiers occupied the monastery and stayed there for several months. Some of the nuns – who remained to live at the monastery – kept diaries during this period, describing everyday life, and some of their fascinating quotes are displayed on the wall of the centre. Each of the spaces in the centre tell their own story. In the first space, visitors can meet twelve different people who share their own personal stories about the war: a farmer, a Belgian General, a German soldier, and of course a Tildonk nun. There is also a fascinating ten-minute film which explains how the war started in Flemish Brabant. The darkened room that follows after that features a depiction of a day and a night during the war. The largest room shines a light on the food scarcity, the poverty, and the limitation of freedom that burdened the region during the war.

The message told by the photos, video, and stories in the Belevingscentrum is crystal clear: war – never again. To emphasise this message, the Belevingscentrum will add an important element to its collection in 2018. “We are planning on drawing the link between the Great War, and the current situation,” Van Den Bergh explains. “Many photos in the centre show refugees during the war years: similar to images we still see today. It is only logical to draw a link between then and now - and hopefully learn from that.”

Web: producten/bezoeken/bezienswaardigheden/ belevingscentrum-1418/

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Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Brabant  |  Top Art & Culture Spots

Red island

Donna at night

Tierra guajira. Photo: Raúl Cañibano

Blue eye



An Icelandic glacier; black rain clouds in Botswana; an undiscovered mountain landscape in Ladakh: Johan Van Cutsem’s photos witness an awe for the raw essence of nature. Set in the heart of Leuven, Van Cutsem’s photo gallery ‘t Oogenblik has gained a name as a haven of photography in Belgium, showcasing his own work alongside that of emerging and established photographers. Located a mere stone’s throw away from Leuven’s city hall, ‘t Oogenblik opened its doors three years ago. The gallery boasts two spaces: one displaying a permanent collection of Van Cutsem’s own work, the other plays host to ever-changing exhibitions from fascinating photographers from every corner of the world. Cuban photographer Raúl Cañibano, the Icelandic Ragnar Axelsson and Belgian native Jasper Léonard have all recently exhibited at ‘t Oogenblik. UKIUMI is the gallery’s latest exhibition: a display of photos that 14  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

Van Cutsem shot in the deep northeast of Greenland. Van Cutsem has been a professional photographer for nearly 30 years, first for the press, later with an increased focus on travel photography. “During my career, I gradually found out that in my photographs I wanted to show more and more of a certain pure, natural essence and leave out the unnecessary,” he says. “That meant less people, fewer signs of civilisation and finally pure nature.” Being a fervent traveller, Van Cutsem’s photos often depict the most unique and far away corners of the globe, in which untouched nature plays a major role and the high north especially serves as an inspiration. Van Cutsem is one of the initiators of Unexposed: an association that organises an exhibition held every September across the city of Leuven highlighting the city as a platform for photography – in a sense it is an extension of ‘t Oogenblik.

PhotoTWENS is the initiative’s platform for the new generation of photographers and consists of a range of images from young photographers, which are selected by a jury. So how does Van Cutsem select works for his gallery? “Originality, technical skills and a certain depth are important, but a work mainly has to exude an emotion,” he explains. “I seek out a photographer whose work I would like to show myself, and will visit him or her on one of my travels. I admire photographers that focus on one specific location for a longer time, truly get to know the place, and find new inspiration from it every time.” ‘t Oogenblik offers photography courses and organises exclusive photography trips to far-away locations.


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

D E R O D E H A A S :

Where hospitality is everything PHOTOS: DE RODE HAAS

In one of the greenest municipalities in Flanders, just a stone’s throw from the E40 highway and only six kilometres from Leuven, you will find guesthouse De Rode Haas. The name De Rode Haas has not been chosen at random: the guesthouse is located in the quiet village centre of Haasrode. Cathy and Johan, who live next-door, have been running De Rode Haas for two years now. The couple’s aim is to offer an alternative to large and impersonal hotel chains. For them, service and hospitality is of the utmost importance. Located five minutes from Haasrode Research-Park, De Rode Haas is a perfect base for business travellers. Cathy truly understands the needs of business travellers, due to her previous career organising work trips. Yet De Rode Haas also has plenty to entice holidaymakers. Less than one kilometre away lies the Meerdaal wood - a true paradise for hikers and cyclists. Culture vultures will not want to

miss Leuven, with its architectural gems such as Leuven City Hall, one of the most famous Gothic town halls in the world. The guesthouse offers three double rooms and two single rooms, equipped with the latest modern comforts: De Rode Haas is one of only three hotels in Belgium to offer luxurious Swedish Hästens beds. All rooms have an ensuite bathroom, individually controlled air conditioning, minibar and smart TV with international channels. Guests can enjoy free Netflix and free WiFi throughout the property. On the ground floor there is the breakfast room and a cosy lounge with fireplace and honesty bar comprising tasty local beers and exquisite wines. Cathy and Johan prepare a luxurious buffet breakfast: freshly squeezed orange juice, eggs with or without bacon prepared to order, tasty regional products and a good cup of coffee. Guests who do not want to go out for dinner can make use of the fully equipped

kitchen. Nearby you will find a variety of dining options, including a star-worthy restaurant and a popular brasserie. Space for free parking is available to all guests, while a shuttle service to and from the Research Park is provided. A grocery service has also recently launched, providing guests with requested items in their refrigerator upon arrival. There is a fully-equipped meeting room that can be rented separately, for which tailor-made arrangements can be elaborated - ideal for an off-location meeting or brainstorming session. If you are looking for a relaxing stay in green surroundings near Haasrode Research-Park and the city of Leuven, Guesthouse De Rode Haas is the choice par excellence.


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

Landing twice at Brussels TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: LANDING POINT

It is very much possible to land twice near Brussels: once at Brussels Airport and then again at Landing Point in the neighbouring town of Melsbroek. What once was a chicory farm is now a fully-fledged bed and breakfast that is popular among the types who love to combine a business trip with a cosy and affordable stay, and tourists who want to sleep as close to the airport as possible. Some photos of the old farm remind people who arrive at Landing Point what it used to be, but other than that, it is a revamped and expanded building that has several rooms available, named after all the different landing strips of Brussels Airport. The owner is Elke Beyls, who wanted something different than a career in marketing. With a husband who works in the airport industry plus all the international contacts Elke gathered throughout the 16  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

years, she came to one conclusion: “Start a B&B,” she grins. Elke continues: “I started out with Landing Point three years ago after hearing from different sides there’s a shortage of cosy and affordable places to stay in and around Brussels. Most hotels are just grey boxes and with my background in marketing, I set out to do some research and found out the stories were true. Now with Landing Point there’s a spot that is geographically perfect for so many people, especially with the office parks nearby and the shuttle that travels on appointment between the airport and our place.” She adds with a smile: “And there’s the personal upside of getting to see my six year old son even more.” With Landing Point, Elke has done her best to make the former farm a place guests love to return to. Her personal touch is everywhere, from the interior to all the small

details such as serving something different every breakfast time. As for any nuisances with all the airplanes nearby, there are audible sounds of departures and take-offs, but they are not even close to the volume of a car passing by. Elke confirms: “We offer nothing but the best stay and ensure that you get as relaxed as possible.”

Web: Email: Tel: +32 (0)486/303135

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

The other face of Italian cuisine TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: SPIGA D’ORO

In most places around the world you can find an Italian restaurant, but none quite like the exquisite Italian slow food kitchen at Spiga d’Oro in the town of Boortmeerbeek, just outside Mechelen. Here, chef Francesco Di Taranto knows the origin of every ingredient he uses and every wine he serves. Spiga d’Oro was founded in 1990 by Di Taranto. “The restaurant business was always in our family’s blood. My parents opened the very first Italian restaurant in Mechelen in 1967, where I used to work as a maître d’ and I trained as sommelier. In 1990 we opened Spiga d’Oro,” he reminisces. “In the beginning I was just managing the restaurant. But I wasn’t happy with the chefs we had. So I let them go and started cooking myself. I learnt on the job, and from the Italian chefs I interned with. I ‘stumbled’ my way into the kitchen, so to speak.”

Italian slow food Di Taranto wanted to do things differently. “Almost all Italian restaurants serve pizza or lasagne. But I felt there were a lot more beautiful dishes we should offer: traditionally cooked but with a twist, made with products from the region the dish originates,” he explains. “I went to Italy to study the dishes, and went to the farmers to see where the products came from. We import the ingredients directly from them.” Di Taranto checks all the incoming products himself, from the spices to the meat. “That way I know our meals are of the highest quality.” That quality was awarded by Gault & Millau in 2016, who named Spiga d’Oro as one of the top 100 restaurants in Belgium.

With good food comes good wine Since Spiga d’Oro is all about slow food and enjoying the rich Italian life, wine is a big part of the dining experience. “My son is a sommelier and used to take care of wines here at the restaurant. He was vot-

ed Best Sommelier of Belgium in 2017 and now works at the restaurant of Michelinstar chef Sergio Herman in Antwerp. My wife is now in charge of the wine, with the help of my daughter, who is also studying to become a sommelier,” says Di Taranto with pride. “We know all of the winemakers who provide our wine personally. We organise wine tasting courses throughout the year and at the end of the course, we visit the vineyards in Italy. All of the wines are available via our webshop.”

An Italian night out Dining at Spiga d’Oro is not just about going for a meal. It is an Italian night out, with seasonal and regional authentic dishes, the best wines that go along with them and an inspiring chef that prepares it all for you. “We want you to experience the other face of Italian cuisine.” Web:

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

The amazing tastes of Hageland at Restaurant L’Oh TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: RESTAURANT L’OH

When you are in Flemish Brabant, a visit to Hageland, with its beautiful landscape of rolling hills, is an absolute must. “We have so many great local products here,” smiles Leen Weckhuyzen of Restaurant L’Oh in Tielt-Winge. “That is why we use them in our kitchen.” Restaurant L’Oh opened its doors in September 2017. “Within a year we redesigned the building into this magnificent place, where people can enjoy our gastronomy.” Leen and her husband Simon, who is the chef, offer their

guests a menu of classically prepared dishes with a twist. “L’Oh belongs to the Disciples Escoffier society, which honours traditional cooking,” explains Leen. “That is what we do. But we give the food our own special twist, with local and organic ingredients playing a key role. The wines we serve are also classic wines, from small, eco-friendly wine makers.” The restaurant is an open and light place, and the furniture was made by carpenters here in Hageland. “The tables are old wooden floors from freight wagons,” Leen reveals. The restaurant also has a separate glass room, with a

view of the kitchen. “We rent this to parties of eight and upwards. Being closed off from the rest of the restaurant, it is perfect for business meetings or family parties where privacy is desired. And the view of the kitchen is amazing.” So if you want to meander in this beautiful region and enjoy the incredible local food, be sure to stop by at Restaurant L’Oh. “We guarantee you will be amazed by the culinary delights Hageland has to offer.” Web:

Nestor takes pride in local Belgian products and arts TEXT: CATHY VAN KLAVEREN  |  PHOTOS: BRASSERIE-RESTAURANT NESTOR

Is fine dining something you only do when there is something to celebrate? BrasserieRestaurant Nestor in Flemish Brabant does not think this should be the case. Its modern venue invites anyone to enjoy not only classic dishes, but also its own distinctive style for any occasion. The interior is light and open, with references to Belgian artist Hergé’s comic figure Tintin. “Something to be very proud of,” says chef Bart Lardinois. This same idea is valid for other aspects of his business: products he uses for his menu like meats, fish, even the mustard, come from local suppliers. This means Lardinois can surprise his customers with seasonal meals, which they can find on his suggestion menu, in addition to his original classics. “I have worked in the hotel and catering business for years, but always said to myself 18  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

I wanted my own restaurant before I turned 50. I opened Nestor when I was 49.” He runs it together with his wife Mia. While he is in the kitchen with his staff, she is on the restaurant floor making sure every guest is attended to. It is a combination that has worked for six years now. Lardinois: “After all these years I still see my job as a hobby. I like pleasing people, it’s what I do best.” It seems the customers would agree: Brasserie-Restaurant Nestor is well-loved and well-known in Lubbeek. Inside Nestor there is seating for 85 people, but there is also a terrace that has another 85 spots. Everything is at ground level, wheelchair accessible, and there is parking space for 28 cars. Web:

The oce a n i s a l re a dy f u l l o f p l a s t i c, we p re fe r t o b u i l d i n wo o d .

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Industry and Innovation  |  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

20  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Industry and Innovation  |  Made in the Netherlands

Architecture Eindhoven.

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 Netherlands is a must-visit for architecture addicts with many of the globe’s most celebrated architects 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.

Making Gouda pipes.

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,

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Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Industry and Innovation  |  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 designs and handmade by the ladies themselves. Having grown up surrounded by family members active in the fashion industry, their collections are often inspired by history and the lost treasures of their home city; The Hague.

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.

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THE BEST OF ‘MADE IN THE NETHERLANDS’ We showcase the Dutch brands you need to know about across a variety of different sectors.

Royal Grass Read more from page 24 Looking to achieve an effortlessly beautiful and natural-looking lawn all year long? Royal Grass specialises in realistic turf for private lawns and public spaces.

Pharmaspray Read more from page 34 A trusted partner for the medical, pharmaceutical and veterinary industries, Pharmaspray develops, produces and fills aerosol products.

M.M.C. International Read more from page 40 Founded in 1990, M.M.C. International is one of the only two companies in the world producing narcotics and precursors identification tests.

Sizo Read more from page 26 If you are looking for the perfect partner to light up your business, Sizo is the Netherlands’ number one company for retail and office signage and branding.

Codi Group Read more from page 36 A leading European producer of wipes, Codi group develop and produce high-quality wipes for personal care, hygiene and surface cleaning.

SOLIDUS SOLUTIONS Read more from page 41 SOLIDUS SOLUTIONS has many production and selling locations in Europe and produces more than 350 million kilograms of solid and graphic board per year.

Verhoeven Tools & Safety Read more from page 28 Dutch family company Verhoeven Tools & Safety is a renowned name in the developing, importing, producing and selling of high quality professional hand and construction tools.

Koninklijke CSK food enrichment Read more from page 37 Whether you are looking for high quality cultures, cheese coating, coagulants or other dairy ingredients, CSK can offer a distinctive impact for your product.

MMB Verpakkingen Read more from page 42 MMB Verpakkingen knows the secret to creating sophisticated and attractive packaging to help brands succeed.

Kisuma Chemicals Read more from page 30 Kisuma Chemicals in Veendam, the Netherlands, have been specialising in magnesium-based products since 1997.

Royal Hoitsema Labels Read more from page 38 By producing labels for the world’s biggest and most renowned companies in a wide range of industries, Royal Hoitsema Labels has made many brands come to life.

Maxxton Read more from page 43 Maxxton have developed a unique ERP solution helping accommodation rental businesses to improve their operations, reduce their costs and identify new opportunities.

Lightweight Containers Read more from page 32 From the Dutch town of Den Helder, Lightweight Containers are storming the beer, wine and beverages industry with their revolutionary KeyKeg system.

TLP International Read more from page 39 TLP International is a leading manufacturer of a large variety of jeans-processing products and textile auxiliaries.

Reklaspits Read more from page 44 With its own design, technical, graphic and production department, Reklaspits are experts in formula styling, signage and light advertising.

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Get ready for the most natural artificial grass TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  PHOTOS: ROYAL GRASS

Having a perfect lawn is many a homemaker’s pride and joy. All the more frustrating if you do not have the time or access to water to maintain your patch to your ideal standard. This is where artificial turf comes in, and with today’s technologies it is almost indistinguishable from real grass. At the forefront of development is the highly realistic turf by Royal Grass. Setting themselves apart in the industry, Royal Grass specialises in realistic turf for private lawns and public spaces. In their 24  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

quest for creating the most natural-looking grass as possible, the company has made several breakthroughs in its 15 years of existence. After an extensive research and development period, Royal Grass has perfected a new technology, called ‘ReaDY’, that allows the fibres to fall in a natural, random manner. Introduced in 2016, the ReaDY technology has already been used for thousands of metres of turf. Founder Freek Verhoeven says proudly: “It looks incredibly realistic. We get so many positive reactions

from clients, who say that nobody notices that they have artificial turf, not even the neighbours. People often have to feel the turf to believe it’s artificial.”

Green all year round Royal Grass gives home owners the option to have a beautiful, natural-looking green lawn all year long, without the effort. Thanks to its durability it can be used in a variety of settings such as gardens, balconies, roof terraces or indoors. Made from high-quality polyethylene, the fibres are colour-fast, UV-proof, soft to

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touch and not damaging to human health or nature. Pursuing the best quality, all of Royal Grass’s products are certified to the EN71-3 standard, a strict European norm that is typically used to guarantee the safety of children’s toys. Aside from the Netherlands and Belgium, Royal Grass has caught international attention, including from Spain, the United States, England and even the Middle East, Asia and Australia. “Requiring little to no maintenance is great for inner city gardens or elderly homeowners,” Verhoeven continues. “Our turf typically lasts 10 years, but this can go up to 15 years in the right conditions.”

Following nature While artificial turf has been around for decades, especially in the world of sports, many types of grass fibres have a shiny, plastic quality that does not look natural. The fibres usually fall in the same direction, which means the grass will only look good from one angle. Verhoeven was keen to create a product without these downsides. By studying real grass, Royal Grass has been able to replicate it to a level that had not been seen before. He says: “In the past, flat fibres were used, but these quickly fall over, get tram-

pled and lose their look. We wanted to create something more natural and beautiful.” One of their key developments was the V-shape, which allows for a resilient fibre without being too rigid. Combining this with their latest ReaDY technology, which allows the fibres to fall in all directions, Royal Grass has created their most realistic synthetic grass to date.

Making waves Launched in 2016, ‘Sense’ was the first turf to implement their advanced ReaDY technology, and it turned out to be a great success. With the start of this year, Royal Grass will follow up with a new type called ‘Wave’. At 36 millimetres tall, Wave has the appearance of a patch of grass that was recently mowed. Its older brother, Sense, is much longer at 52 millimetres tall. “Sense has a slightly wild look, as it beautifully mimics unmowed grass. During its introduction last year, we sold twice as much as expected,” Verhoeven explains. “With Wave being shorter, it has less of an unkempt appearance and will suit clients who prefer the look of a nicely trimmed turf.”

business in Europe and elsewhere. For installation of their artificial turf, Royal Grass works together with renowned gardeners. Go to the website below to find out more. Web:

Artificial turf technologies Being at the cutting-edge of innovation, Royal Grass has developed several technologies to make their Sense and Wave turf look and act like real grass. V-Shape: Inspired by the shape of real grass, this patented ‘backbone’ innovation gives the fibres more resilience and allows them to bounce back into a natural upright position. MiNT: Imitating nature once again, Micro Nerve Technology adds vertical micro-veins to the fibres that run down the length of the blade. This reduces glare and results in a beautiful, silky shine. ReaDY: Instead of artificial-looking turf that falls in the same direction, Realistic Directional Yarn insures that every fibre is lightly crimped so it falls in any direction.

With high expectations for their new product, Verhoeven will continue to expand the

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If you are looking for the perfect partner to light up your business, Sizo is the Netherlands’ number one company for retail and office signage and branding. Sizo’s portfolio contains some of the biggest retail brands in the Netherlands, including Plus supermarkets, sporting goods retailer Decathlon, Europe’s number one consumer electronics retailer Mediamarkt and the world’s first airline company KLM. “With the scale and range of our production capability, we can deliver almost any signage scheme, no matter how big,” says Sizo’s owner Hans Zevenbergen.

Signage and branding From projecting signs and entire store facades outdoors to super-graphics, store navigation, entrance features, lobby cladding and concession signage indoors, 26  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

Sizo can prototype, pilot, manufacture and install large retail and office signage programmes over short timescales. The company manage and carry out the entire production process in-house, from design to printing, cutting and construction, using their own people and facilities. They also provide regular maintenance of their signs and arrange any licensing that is needed. “It’s a great asset that we have all these resources under our own roof,” says Hans. “It means we can work quickly and efficiently, and maintain total control over the process. It’s the best safeguard for our high standards in customer service.”

Cars and narrowcasting As well as their signage services, Sizo also offer car wrapping, digital branding and narrow-cast solutions. “Vinyl wrapping

techniques have come a long way since they first came to the fore in the 1980s,” Hans explains. “Modern wrappings are affordable and look fantastic. And they are easy to peel off after use, so compared to spray-painting cars, they can save you thousands of euros.” With their digital narrow-cast solutions, Sizo offer their customers a way to strategically brand their company on different locations tailored to the target customer group. “And through our partner networks we control the operation and maintenance of the equipment 24/7.”

New technologies Having been in the signage and branding business for more than 21 years, Sizo has built up extensive expertise in all areas of the business. “And we are always at the

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ble and safe.” This includes all-important issues and considerations such as fire safety and pleasant acoustics. “Using the right materials and the proper expertise we can ensure that all these things are taken care of.”

forefront of new developments, whether it’s wrapping, full colour printing or LED lighting,” Hans smiles. “I guess that at 21 we have truly come of age. We have all the ambition, all the energy and all the experience to attract new customers and build our business as the Netherlands’ leading sign makers and installers.”

Retail 3.0

One of the biggest changes in indoor signage over these last couple of decades has been the rise of the shopping experience, according to Hans. “If stores want to survive, this is one of the key requirements they will need to offer,” he explains. “To us, it’s a challenge we really relish. It means we have to make sure that these increasingly extensive and complicated designs can be built according to spec and then match them with a flawless execution. It all needs to look fantastic, but it also needs to be fitted perfectly, at the right price, on time, with materials which are not too expensive and must be dura-

The rise of the shopping experience is part of a bigger shift in retailing, which has been driven by the unstoppable surge of the internet and online shopping in the last ten years. “When the crisis hit in 2007, lots of stores went under, including established, large retail businesses such as the V&D chain of department stores over here in the Netherlands,” Hans explains. “During that same period, online shopping went from strength to strength.” But, with the crisis gone and the dust settled, Hans can now see the first signs of a new development in retail, where online shops and physical stores are converging. “Online businesses such


as Cool Blue, a hugely successful Dutch consumer electronics e-commerce retailer, are now diversifying into physical stores to give their customers the opportunity to physically try and experience their products. At the same time, physical retailers are integrating the internet in-store, offering their customers added services through their online channels.” These new developments are providing exciting new opportunities for signage and branding companies like Sizo. “New types of stores and new ways of shopping are emerging as we speak,” Hans enthuses. “More than ever, the onus is on devising eye-catching, high-quality, user-friendly retail environments. This is exactly where our expertise comes in, where we have an opportunity to shine. All I can say is: bring it on!” Web:

Sizo’s owner Hans Zevenbergen.

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For more than 40 years, Dutch family company Verhoeven Tools & Safety has been a renowned name in the developing, importing, producing and selling of high quality professional hand and construction tools. Founded in 1976, the Velddriel-based business is known for its high-quality products, innovational spirit and ergonomic designs. Verhoeven Tools & Safety is the go-toname for many building and construction professionals. With an extensive assortment of various types of hand and construction tools, the B2B business serves (among many others) plasterers, bricklayers, joiners, and tilers. Its products are delivered to the professional building ma28  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

terials trade, hardware trade, producers of building materials and educational organisations in the Netherlands and abroad.

Enabling professionalism For the founding of Verhoeven we have to go back four decades: “In 1976, my father Kees Verhoeven established Verhoeven Trading in the town of Vught, which quickly became the specialist in plasterer tools,” says Perry Verhoeven, Kees’ son and the managing director since 1998. “There was a real need for good, professional hand and construction tools. We have always listened closely to the needs and requirements of plasterers, and when existing suppliers could not meet their demands we considered in-house produc-

tion and started our own product range.” In 1993, Verhoeven Trading launched its own brand Super Prof: a complete line of top-notch hand and construction tools for plasterers and other building professionals. After a period of continuous growth, Verhoeven Trading changed its name to Verhoeven Tools, and in 1995 the leap was made to a completely new building in Velddriel. Under Perry’s leadership, the company has further developed and its product offer has ever increased and improved. Fast Forward to 2013, when Verhoeven Tools created a complete new production and export company: Super Prof Products. Under this name, the business has travelled to international hardware fairs

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in Las Vegas and Cologne, and more fairs are on the itinerary. Verhoeven Tools’ name was changed once more in 2013, when the company expanded its range with safety work clothing, safety shoes and personal protective equipment.

Some things do not change Although many things have changed over the last 40 years, Verhoeven Tools & Safety is still a family company at heart, with many ‘Verhoevens’ working on location in Velddriel. And there are some other stable factors: since its founding, Verhoeven has honoured and worked with professionals from the field. “Although our products are distributed through wholesalers, we support and inform our end-users in a proactive and professional way,” enthuses marketing and communication manager, Aart Jan Verweij. “Many new products are developed in close collaboration with professionals from the field, and our assortment changes constantly to meet any new techniques or requirements in the industry.” Other important collaborators of Verhoeven Tools & Safety are educational institutions

and producers of building materials, who have for many years trusted Verhoeven to develop and produce the tools of tomorrow. “It is all a matter of adapting to the endusers’ needs,” Verweij emphasises.

Super Prof With the Super Prof brand, Verhoeven has proved to be an absolute frontrunner in the industry. The label offers a complete, innovative and ergonomic range of high quality professional hand tools, which contribute to true craftsmanship, working comfort and productivity. The Super Prof products, such as the aluminium plastering knives, trowels, sponges, comfort profiles, Twisters and jointing rules are made for a wide range of professionals like plasterers, bricklayers and tilers. Verhoeven elaborates on two Super Prof designs: “One of our in-house designed and produced products is the Twister,” he says. “We have mounted a rotating grip on a stainless steel blade profile of the plastering knife. This makes it possible to adjust the grip in each position you desire, which creates an optimal, comfortable and natural working posture. Of

course we are proud that this innovative product is made in the Netherlands.” Another innovative design is the leather grip as applied on many of Verhoeven’s products. “We started with a wooden grip on our hand tools, and a hard grip and a soft grip followed through the years. For a wide product range, we now work with our latest ergonomic Pure leather grip that absorbs moisture better. This provides a better grip, improving work comfort and productivity.” Super Prof supports working professionals with a 360 degree marketing concept: from instore points of sales information and packaging to demonstrations in shops and during events. “And to communicate with the various professions online, we have launched a branded Facebook channel and website,” adds Verweij. “Supporting the professional in the best way we can – we will always focus on that.” Web: Facebook: superproftools

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Improving the world with magnesium TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: KISUMA CHEMICALS

It is all around and inside of us. Chemical experts know it as ‘Mg’, but we will stick with ‘magnesium’. The chemical element is one of the most abundant and versatile elements in the world with uses in many different fields. Over at Kisuma Chemicals in Veendam, the Netherlands, magnesium based products are what they have been specialising in since 1997. The company produces hydrotalcites and magnesium hydroxides that are used in industries such as plastics, rubber, coatings, adhesives, food and pharmaceuticals. With a never-ending goal of co-creation and improving the world one step at a time, Kisuma is a business to look out for.

Japan As the name ‘Kisuma’ implies, the company is of Japanese origin, with moth30  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

er company Kyowa Chemical Industry (Sakaide, Kagawa prefecture) founded soon after World War II. With their wholly owned subsidiary in Veendam, the Japanese ventured for the first time outside of Asia for two good reasons: there is enough magnesium beneath the surface of the small city in the North of the Netherlands for decades to come and it is of exceptionally good quality. Now, Kisuma produces around 25,000 tons of magnesium based products a year and is the largest single production facility for synthetic hydrotalcites in the world.

Uses Mathijs Preenen and Vincent Slagt are with Kisuma in Veendam and talk with unbridled passion about their products. Preenen: “The possibilities with magnesium are endless and we are always looking at new ways to apply our materials.” Slagt:

“Right now, products from our plant in Veendam are predominantly used as stabilisers and flame retardants in polymers. Our products are safe for the environment and therefore often used to replace harmful substances like heavy metals or halogenated flame retardants. For example, our product Alcamizer rose to prominence in the 90s after the European PVC industry voluntarily committed to replace heavy metals such as cadmium and lead. Alcamizer is one of the key ingredients in Calcium Zinc stabiliser systems”.

STEPWISE That particular example of making the world a better place is not an exception; Kisuma has a stake in a European project that demands a lot of respect: STEPWISE. The project received a grant of 13 million euros from Horizon2020, the EU Research and Innovation programme.

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This enables the project consortium to demonstrate a promising technology to lower CO2 footprint of the iron and steel industry. Preenen: “At the core of this project is a material produced by Kisuma, that is incredibly effective in removing CO2 from gas streams. This means that gas emitted in the normal iron and steel making process can be re-used as carbon-free fuel. In an associated example, we are working with Stena Line to implement this clean-burning fuel in ferries, replacing the fossil fuels currently in use. It would be wonderful if this technology could be rolled out more, a lot depends on national legislation, but we definitely feel a change is needed.”

Coating Another application of Kisuma’s products to mention specifically is that of a new and more eco-friendly anti-corrosion pigment. Slagt: “The coating industry is

looking for new anti-corrosion pigments that possibly could replace less environmentally benign pigments currently used. With our strategy of co-creation, we are working with large paint manufacturers to develop a material that suits their needs.”

Pharmacy and dietary supplement A different application for the company’s magnesium based products can be found on the shelves of pharmacies and supermarkets: as a dietary supplement and as a drug. Preenen: “As a matter of fact, 50 per cent of our parent company’s turnover comes from sales to the pharmaceutical industry. Our pharmaceutical ingredients are used to treat gastric acid and as laxatives. Magnesium is also a popular ingredient in food supplements, because it’s an essential mineral nutrient for every cell type in living organisms and it’s hard to get your daily quota from food alone. That’s

why we also work with food supplement manufacturers, who use our magnesium products as intermediate goods.”

Future As for the future of Kisuma, Preenen and Slagt are excited. Slagt: “As a Japanese company, we are all about long and enduring relationships, working together and being able to supply our products ‘Any Place, Any Time, Any Quantity’. We are and hope to remain the market leader in hydrotalcites for plastics and elastomers for decades to come. However, the ambitions of Kisuma and our parent company go beyond our current markets. With a constant focus on finding new applications for our current and to-be-developed products, we are always open for new initiatives and collaboration.” Web:

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From the Dutch town of Den Helder, Lightweight Containers are storming the beer, wine and beverages industry with their revolutionary KeyKeg system. “It improves quality, reduces costs, increases sales and has a hugely positive impact on the environment.” Across all continents, breweries, winemakers and producers of soft drinks and other beverages are making the switch to a revolutionary new type of packaging: the KeyKeg. Since its start in 2006, the KeyKeg’s manufacturer, Lightweight Containers from Den Helder in the Netherlands, have grown into an impressive global market leader, serving thousands of happy customers from eight 32  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

warehouses and two sales offices spread over 80 countries and production facilities in the United States, Germany and the company’s native Netherlands. In 2018 a fourth production facility will be opened in the UK.

Brilliant design The reason for this impressive growth is clear and simple according to the company’s CEO Anita Veenendaal. “The idea and the design of our KeyKeg is just brilliant,” she explains. “The man behind this revolutionary invention, Bert Hansen, had his idea around 20 years ago. Since then, Bert has worked tirelessly on his design, perfecting it into the keg that we have

now and which has made us into a market leader.”

Savings The KeyKeg is a lightweight alternative to heavy and bulky traditional steel kegs. Especially for producers who want to export their beer, wine or beverages, the KeyKeg delivers tremendous efficiency savings and cost reductions. Shipping a KeyKeg saves 25 to 30 per cent in transport weight and because they are 100 per cent recyclable and do not have to be returned, they can save up to a whopping 65 per cent in transport costs as well as dramatically reducing the producer’s carbon footprint. “These savings make it

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a lot easier for producers to venture into new markets and boost their sales,” Anita explains. “And our clients can order the kegs to be custom printed with their own branding to raise brand awareness in new export markets.”

End users The KeyKeg concept also delivers great benefits to end users, such as bars, restaurants and festivals. Firstly, KeyKegs are much lighter and easier to store and handle than steel kegs or glass bottles. “Just think about it,” says Anita. “Imagine having to move 40 bottles of wine, which is almost seven wine boxes, or instead just having to do one trip with one 30-litre KeyKeg!” Another great benefit is the two-compartment design of the KeyKeg. “It means you can dispense your beer with air rather than having to use CO2. Air pressure between the keg’s inner wall and the filled bag will pump the beer up to the tap. So the beer will not be tainted by additional gases and using air will positively impact on the end users’ carbon footprint.” The two-compartment system, with a laminated inner bag inside a hightech PET pressure vessel, also ensures optimum quality and shelf life, and guar-

antees beverages the best possible protection over the entire supply chain.

Environment Although the KeyKeg’s carbon footprint easily complies with the sustainability targets of most companies, Lightweight Containers’ research and development department are constantly working to increase the system’s sustainability even further. “At the moment, around 81 per cent of any KeyKeg is fully circular,” Anita explains, “which means that 81 per cent of any KeyKegs which are returned can be used to produce new KeyKegs. Our ultimate goal is to make this 100 per cent, so we will have a closed cradle-to-cradle process in which the empty KeyKegs are the raw material for our new disposable kegs.” In order to further support this ambition, the company is also setting up a plan for large-scale collection of used KeyKegs.

Social responsibility It is Lighweight Containers’ mission to benefit the whole supply chain, from producers and distributors to bars, restaurants and their customers – and this includes the company and its employees. “We do not

only have a responsibility towards our customers but also towards the people who work for us,” Anita explains. “Although we have grown tremendously, we are still a family business and everyone is part of the team. We work in small teams using agile and scrum methods, we provide alternative ways of working, sports facilities and unlimited fruit, and everyone in the company has the same title, ‘senior business creator’, to underline our philosophy that we all work towards the same goal, with different competencies and responsibilities, but with equal weight.”

Future As the company is rapidly expanding into markets all around the globe, Anita is convinced that for Lightweight Containers to include their own employees in their mission statement is the only way to keep growing in a sustainable way. “It’s vital that we keep these values – family, social responsibility, the environment - in our DNA to remain the company we are, doing our bit to make this world a better place!” Web:

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Combining innovation, service, and technology TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: PHARMASPRAY

Pharmaspray is a contract manufacturer that develops, produces and fills aerosol products. Being active in the sector since 2003, the Veendam-based company has been a trusted partner for the medical, pharmaceutical and veterinary industry for more than 15 years, always honouring its pillars of quality, safety, and service. Sprays to ease your sports injury, get rid of your warts, or help your partner stop snoring: you might never have wondered where they come from, but they are essential for a better quality of life. Dutch company Pharmaspray produces these products in collaboration with their clients: the world’s top companies in the (semi) 34  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

medical, pharmaceutical and veterinary industry, among others. Pharmaspray stands for an ever-excellent end product, whereby top-notch technology and strict safety standards are put in the high seat.

Partner in unburdening Every year Pharmaspray produces millions of aerosols for their clients, which are then distributed under the clients’ own brand. The end product is partially or fully developed by Pharmaspray: either a client already delivers the product to fill the aerosol products with, or develops it in collaboration with Pharmaspray. “We do more than filling spray cans,” smiles Jan Erik Strootman, operations manager at Pharmaspray. “Whatever kind of product

a client has in mind, we can take care of it from A to Z. It starts with an idea, after which we select the raw materials for the product, create it in our lab, and finally apply our aerosol technology. We even take care of the packaging and distribution. We take the work out of the hands of our clients – we fully unburden them.” Pharmaspray is an independent part of the Mobacc Group. For more than 35 years now, the Mobacc Group has been one of the top companies in the European aerosol industry in the field of developing and filling aerosol products in the technical industries which are marketed in the B2B business under private label. Pharmaspray focuses on medical de-

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vices, veterinary medicines, food, and cosmetics. Today, Pharmaspray employs 27 people working in very different fields: high care production, supported by laboratory technicians, biomedical scientists, and pharmacists. While Mobacc was founded in 1982 and is privately owned, founded and still managed by the Schott family, Pharmaspray was launched as a separate entity in 2003, when business was expanding and new high-tech plants were opened for the various applications of the aerosol technology. “Before – and some companies still do it that way – our production for a wart remover spray took place next to the production for bicycle-chain spray. Not the best mix,” Strootman explains. Sustainability is an essential part of Pharmaspray’s philosophy, and stands at the core of all development, production and transport of its products. Measurements such as developing an Eco product line (which contain less or no harmful substances or solvents), expanding the selection of waterborne products and reducing energy consumption in the plants all contribute to Mobacc’s overall sustainable policy.

State of the art facilities All products are developed and produced in Pharmaspray’s hi-tech plant in the Netherlands’ Veendam, where production lines are equipped with the newest technology for aerosol filling, which ensures a stable and consistent production process. Pharmaspray’s facilities meet with the most stringent demands regarding product quality and production safety. “When you work with such sensitive products, safety is essential,” Strootman continues. “Quality and safety within our factory is our main priority. This is clearly defined by our management. The drive to be the best is translated into the layout of our production facility, our quality manual and quality policy. Our aim is to be in compliance with the applicable quality standards and legislation on the highest level possible.” Pharmaspray is in possession of several certification levels which are complementary to each other. The daily operation is performed according to the right standards which ensure a full traceability, high safety and quality of the products. Quality manuals ensure a high standard of operation and the production areas are subject to a planned maintenance and cleaning

program. Raw material inspection, line clearance and product separation ensure a minimum risk in defects and an absence of mix-ups. Every production step taken is registered in a Batch Manufacturing Record, which ensures full traceability for the used packaging materials and raw materials. Every production batch is reviewed before leaving the door, and documentation and reference samples are kept as long as needed and related documentation are stored for a minimum of five years. And the support does not stop at the door. “We work with a lot of big trading companies, who often prefer to outsource a lot of their activities,” Strootman concludes. “Excellent logistics are a vital ingredient for guaranteeing the freshness and traceability of orders. That consists of more than just transporting a product from A to B: it concerns the entire supply chain.” Web: 9640 AH Veendam The Netherlands +31 - (0)598 - 626 666

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For almost 40 years, CODI Group has been a leading manufacturer of wet wipes for all conceivable purposes. With A-brands and leading European retailers adorning its portfolio, CODI can pride itself on continuously staying up-to-the-minute with current market demands, understanding the customer like no other, and putting sustainability in the high seat. Whether for the purpose of cleaning, caring, or removing make-up: CODI produces wet wipes for every demand. Founded in 1978, the Dutch company counts businesses from all over the world as its partners, among which the largest personal care brand in Europe. CODI has gained its name by inspiring, informing and intensively guiding brand owners in developing their own wet wipes – a unique concept called CO CREATION. “Co creation ranges from a label approaching us and together starting the process from scratch, to a trusted partner wanting an 36  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

addition to an existing line,” explains CEO Erik van Deursen. “For example, some companies want to develop a wet wipe that carries the same ingredients as their face cream. For others we develop even the liquid that goes in the wet wipe.” Sweeps is CODI’s own brand, and a perfect example of the company’s constant focus on market trends and consumer demands. Customers can choose from no fewer than 15 sorts of wet wipes, each serving a different purpose: from refreshing your fingers after a greasy snack, to cleaning your glasses, to getting the dirt off your laptop. “In today’s society, people are always going places,” Van Deursen continues. “Sweeps are conveniently packaged, so it is easy to use them on the go – they are perfect for quick but effective refreshment and are available at a growing number of airports.” Product development, innovation and consumer insights are key drivers. The company boasts its own R&D development that is

constantly focusing on new opportunities, whereby market and consumer insights are shared with partners. All production takes place in CODI’s state-of-the-art facilities in Veenendaal and Venray, where safety and sustainability are core values. “If you produce a disposable product such as wet wipes, it is essential to recognise the responsibility towards our environment,” Van Deursen concludes. “By applying energy-saving technologies and working with natural products, we ensure we treat our environment just as dearly as we treat our customers.”


Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Industry and Innovation  |  Made in the Netherlands

Photo: Stijn Poelstra


Royal Dutch CSK provides the secret ingredient to Holland’s world-famous cheeses. Walk into any Amsterdam cheese shop and you will find tourists raving about the exquisite tastes. What they probably do not know, is that all these famous Dutch cheeses get their specific taste and texture from one place only: Royal CSK, the tastemaker behind virtually all known dairy products in the Netherlands – as well as a growing number on the international market.

Global success story CSK collects, stores and develops lactic acid bacteria cultures for nearly all cheesemakers in the Netherlands. “You could say that without CSK there would be no Dutch cheese,” says managing director Sanne Melles with a broad smile. “The beauty of dairy cultures is that they do

not only ensure natural preservation of dairy products, but also define their taste and texture. Cherishing and developing our heritage as taste innovators, we have contributed to a great export product and a global success story.”

Tradition and technology Started by a handful of farmers in 1905, CSK was built on a traditional craft passed down from generation to generation. Over time, this ancient knowledge evolved into a system of advanced microbiological technologies for managing taste and texture as well as many other natural functionalities. In the 1990s CSK became a corporation and in its centenary year, in 2005, the company was awarded the ‘royal’ designation, along with the right to place a crown over the company logo – an honour given by the Dutch government to reputable, influential businesses which are at least a century old.

Ambition While remaining loyal to the Dutch dairy industry and culture, CSK is ambitious and growing strongly. The firm recently moved their research operations to the University of Wageningen campus, the world’s top research institute for food technology. CSK have also opened a new production facility in Leeuwarden, in the North of the country, more than doubling their capacity. “As strong believers in enjoying great taste together, we now do for dairy products worldwide what we have been doing for Dutch cheeses for over a century. Taste can build a bridge between people and cultures. We are proud to play a leading role in this endeavour.”


Issue 49  |  January 2018  |  37

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Industry and Innovation  |  Made in the Netherlands


You can only make a first impression once, so make it count. That goes for people, yet even more so for brands: the bond with your customers – from first meeting to long-lasting friendship – all begins with the strength of a powerful label. By producing labels for the world’s biggest and most renowned companies in a wide range of industries, Royal Hoitsema Labels has made many brands come to life. Royal Hoitsema Labels is an international producer of labels for the food, beverage and tobacco industries. Based in Groningen, the company counts the biggest names in the world among its clients, yet also increasingly works with emerging and small businesses. “That means we work with world-known multinationals, but also with the craft brewer or the bakery around the corner,” explains Luuk Brands, sales manager at Royal Hoitsema. Royal Hoitsema opened its doors in the golden days of the 17th century as a book38  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

seller and book publisher, and the company is the oldest still-active printer in the Netherlands. It was not until the 1960s that the business started focusing exclusively on labels. The rest is history: soon Royal Hoitsema gained its name as a leading player in the industry and its craftsmanship was discovered by a growing pool of companies worldwide. Being set in the university city of Groningen, Royal Hoitsema Labels makes use of its location in the best way – the company frequently welcomes students and researchers for projects or assignments, benefitting both parties in terms of knowledge and innovation. Effectively supporting producers and brand owners, together optimising processes and outcomes, Royal Hoitsema is more than a label maker for its partners. “Rather than just delivering an order, we put a lot of effort into gaining insight into a company’s goals and philosophy. We offer an allround and pro-active service in which we together develop a label that will fully utilise the prominent role of a label in our econo-

my, and thus will improve the position of a business.” Innovation is put in the high seat every step of the way: Royal Hoitsema is continuously implementing new ways to make their clients be seen and stand out from the crowd. Through top of the line technologies such as relief or using special lacquers, labels and their brands - are elevated. “Our flexibility goes further than order volumes or delivery speeds,” Brands concludes. “Also in terms of design, Royal Hoitsema Labels is known to go the extra mile.”


Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Industry and Innovation  |  Made in the Netherlands


TLP International is a leading manufacturer of a large variety of jeans-processing products and textile auxiliaries. By providing tailor-made solutions for its global customer base and shining a bright light on social responsibility, sustainability and flexibility, the Dutch family company has been a trusted face in the industry for almost 30 years. Who does not have at least one pair of jeans in their closet? Beloved in every corner of the world, this piece of denim might be the most classic clothing item of all time. Yet a lot has to be done to get your jeans in the perfect state – that is where TLP International comes in. This company located in the south of the Netherlands produces the specialty chemicals that give jeans, garments and other textiles their fashionable look. TLP International works with a distributor network that operates in more than 20 countries all over the world and also delivers directly to its clients. “Our customers are mainly washing companies who work for the biggest labels in the world,” explains owner and founder Walter

Westendorp. “It is our job to be completely updated on what their customers and the market demands in terms of style and look. To constantly be on top of this, we naturally receive feedback from our clients, and combine that with our own insights and knowhow. Which products and designs are considered commercially feasible heavily depends on the type of company or label.”

ing water-saving measures, using green energy and producing CO2 neutral, we are now one of the frontrunners on sustainable production. We are more than aware of the environmental and social responsibility we carry as a company.”

TLP International’s development and production is done at its site in Tilburg, a city historically known as the country’s centre for textiles. The site boasts a laboratory and development centre, in which a team uses state-of-the-art technology and the most sophisticated innovations to reach an end-product of the highest quality. Many of TLP’s partners have been loyal customers for decades, whereby the tailor-made and flexible service is a decisive factor. Social responsibility and sustainability are essential values at the family company. “Before, the jeans-processing industry was considered to be very polluting,” says Mark Westendorp, Walter’s son who works as manager at TLP. “But through implement-


Issue 49  |  January 2018  |  39

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Industry and Innovation  |  Made in the Netherlands


Narco-Sens Device (Patent pending).


Strong Mobile Narcotics lab.

Narcotics Test Kits.

Global leader and innovator TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: M.M.C. INTERNATIONAL

M.M.C. International specialises in the production of presumptive narcotics and precursors identification tests. Boasting its own laboratory that puts continuous innovation in the highseat, the Breda-based family company counts a global network of 70 distributors and has clients all over the world. M.M.C. International’s narcotics and precursors tests are used in the field or laboratory for the presumptive identification of unknown substances such as (illegal) drugs, steroids, and other substances. Among its clients are police forces, customs and excises, prisons, and other law enforcement authorities from every corner of the world. The company has the capacity to produce as many as 15,000 tests every hour. Founded in 1990 by Marinus Jungbeker, M.M.C. International is one of the only two 40  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

companies in the world producing narcotics and precursors identification tests. The company offers approximately 50 different tests: 30 for drugs and 20 for precursors. Products are known for their safety and simplicity, their lack of environmental risks, quality and accuracy. Many of M.M.C. International’s tests are so-called ‘one-step tests’, as opposed to the multi-step tests from competitors. “We collaborate with law enforcement agencies and universities to develop our products,” Jungbeker starts. “Often we are asked by the police to create a test for a new drug that has come onto the market. Universities such as TU Delft and Oxford are loyal collaborators for the exchange of know-how.” Jungbeker founded M.M.C. International when working in the development of alcohol-testing equipment, after frequent requests by law enforcement to create similar products for drug testing.

The newest technology to be launched (in early 2018) is the revolutionary Narco-Sens: a small and mobile device allowing for the detection of unknown substances in every possible way. “Until now, tests only have one test purpose: they can detect narcotics and precursors in either blood, urine, liquids, or saliva,” Jungbeker explains. “Narco-Sens is one device that can be used for all: a revolutionary development, as one small device will replace multiple other tests.” Although not even launched yet, the Narco-Sens has already received global interest from various players. It is just one example of how M.C.C. International remains a continuously innovating leader in the industry. NEW! M.M.C. HFO-3 TEST: A test to differentiate Heroin, Oxycodone, Fentanyl (No Cross Reactions). Web:

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Industry and Innovation  |  Made in the Netherlands

Sustainable packaging for the future TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: SOLIDUS SOLUTIONS

Transportation of delicate and sturdy materials will always require packaging. One popular method of packing is cardboard, making sure that even in the harshest of conditions whatever it is you are transporting is safe. At Solidus Solutions, they know their solid board and packaging solutions. As market leader in Europe, Solidus houses over a century of knowledge, has several production and selling locations throughout Europe and produces more than 350 million kilograms of solid board and graphic board per year. What started out as a small strawboard company up north in the Netherlands is now Solidus Solutions: the largest manufacturer of solid board and solid board packaging in Europe, previously owned by giants Smurfit Kappa and since 2015 independent together with investment company Aurelius. Solidus specialises

in solid board, graphic board and core board, being able to wrap everything up, from vegetables and fish to perfumes and whiskeys, and supplying the board that is at the core of hygiene products such as toilet and kitchen roll. CEO Richard Houben could not be prouder of his ever-growing business. In fact, the moment we get in contact, Solidus had just acquired the Abelan Group in Spain which is one of the country’s largest solid board and core board manufacturers. That fits perfectly inside Solidus’ strategy which Houben defines as a three pillar one: “Profitable growth, a world class operation and people who make a difference,” he explains: “We want to grow autonomously and with acquisitions.” To do so, Solidus sets out to produce nothing but the best solid board there is, but also by being sustainable. Houben:

“We work 100 per cent with recycled paper, from different sources. The solid board industry has a long heritage that to this day uses methods that have been the same. But for us, it is important to do more by using less; a continuous improvement. That works on several levels: we invest in machinery that consumes less and less energy. Then there’s the fact that the amount of plastic packaging is needlessly high. If milk can be sold in a carton, why not something like motor oil?”


Issue 49  |  January 2018  |  41

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Industry and Innovation  |  Made in the Netherlands

PA C K A G I N G D E S I G N :

It is what is on the outside that counts TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  PHOTOS: MMB PACKAGING

With shopping aisles containing hundreds of items, it is a challenge to make your brand stand out. Welldesigned packaging is the key to doing that. It can boost brand recognition, create a quality feel and improve ease of use. MMB Verpakkingen knows the secret to creating sophisticated and attractive packaging to help brands succeed. “Packaging determines the final decision, as the end-user often has a fraction of a second in a supermarket, drugstore, online or wherever you can buy items,” says Sally Christiaens, sales manager at MMB. “Certain colours, shapes, functionalities, applying user-associations and brand identity can ensure that the customer chooses your product and not that of the competitor.” Located in Etten-Leur in the Netherlands, MMB has an in-house team of product designers that create optimal cardboard and plastic packaging. Their packaging solutions are focused on combining a look that stands out with ultimate us42  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

er-friendliness, while enticing new and existing consumers to buy the product. “These qualities transform into an opportunity for growth, stability and a strong positioning of the product and brand in the target market,” she says. “We provide a packaging solution that delivers in the short as well as the long term.” MMB, founded in 2005, offers numerous types of plastic and cardboard packaging that are produced in one of their several certified factories. The options include cardboard sleeves, display boxes, folding cartons, bottom and lids, inlays, plastic tubes, custom shaped boxes and more. MMB can also add detailing such as corner windows, hot stamps, UV spots and embossing. As each of their customers face their own challenges, MMB combines knowledge and expertise from various industries for their designs. Rigorously tested, MMB makes sure the packaging is as effective as it is attractive. “We often perform tests to see if the packaging doesn’t

just look good and achieves the objective, but also whether the product stays in the packaging, as a kind of transportation test.” From the initial drawing to the physical samples and the final design, the entire process is completed in close collaboration with MMB’s customers. Maintaining frequent communication, MMB can respond quickly to market changes and alterations of the brand image or product. “We don’t just talk about material specifications,” Christiaens concludes. “Together we develop the packaging that fits the company, brand, product and end-user.”


Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Industry and Innovation  |  Made in the Netherlands

Managing the perfect stay TEXT: FRANK VAN LIESHOUT  |  PHOTOS: MAXXTON

With travellers raising their expectations and accommodation rental companies growing larger and increasingly complex, the need for dedicated software services and consultancy for the hospitality industry has become indispensable. As a specialist global IT provider, Maxxton have developed a unique ERP solution helping accommodation rental businesses to improve their operations, reduce their costs and identify new opportunities. Maxxton are a Dutch company operating on a global scale from offices in the Netherlands, India, the US and the UK. “Our clients include large holiday park operators and serviced apartment providers such as the Dutch Roompot Group, Castle Resorts and Hotels in Hawaii, and Marlin Apartments in London,” says Maxxton CEO Jean-Pierre Mampaey. “We have been in the hospitality business as software providers and consultants for 20 years. Our broad experience in the industry means that we do not only provide highly advanced software, but also under-

stand the market. Our consultants can help our clients to select the software they need and customise it to fit in with their requirements. And they can help them to properly manage the implementation process and ensure a smooth transition.” Jean-Pierre and his team have developed and perfected a holistic ERP approach and a suite of solutions to suit the needs of the most advanced holiday rental organisations. Maxxton’s software packages comprise all operational processes, including check-ins, check-outs, technical and housekeeping services, as well as the often complex financial processing. The packages are modular, so they can be easily customised to the client’s needs. The user-friendly interface can also be customised and because the software is delivered online as a service, it is accessible from any location without the need for a server. The advanced technology running the system guarantees high speed, minimum error and great reliability. Strong connectivity ensures access to online and offline distribution channels. “And last but not least, our

software provides permanent up-to-date insights, which clients can use to identify new opportunities and further grow their business,” Jean-Pierre adds. “This is what keeps us ticking day in, day out, to continue developing our services and provide our customers with the best possible ERP solutions they could wish for.”

Maxxton are an ambitious company looking for equally ambitious people to help them become a global leader:

Issue 49  |  January 2018  |  43

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Industry and Innovation  |  Made in the Netherlands

Schiphol P3.

Zaans Medisch Centrum.


Signs. We usually take them for granted, unless they do not lead us to the right destination. Then we notice them. If you are in a car park and you are wondering where the exit or the ticket machines are, then the signage is wrong. “It has to be clear where you are going from the moment you enter,” says Edwin de Groot, owner and manager of Reklaspits. Reklaspits is specialised in formula styling, signage and light advertising. In the 45 years they have been active, the company has become an authority on this. “We have worked on a lot of different projects. For instance, we have done all the signage at Schiphol Airport, Eindhoven Airport and Rotterdam/The Hague Airport,” explains De Groot, who became owner of Reklaspits in 2011. “One of the recent projects we did was the signage in the Zaans Medisch Centrum, the hospital of Zaandam. With signage in such an environment, you have to keep in mind a lot 44  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

of different factors. Because some people have bad vision or are even blind, others are colour blind, and not everybody speaks or reads the same language. We rose to that challenge with great results.”

A full service organisation “Clients come to us with just an idea, basically a blank sheet of paper. With our design department we start to conceptualise that idea,” De Groot continues. “Because we have our own design, technical, graphic and production departments, we produce and build everything ourselves. From the posters and advertising stands to the signs and light boxes.” For clients, this means they have just one contact for all their needs. “And we can handle tight deadlines, because we do not rely on other manufacturers.”

Sustainability Reklaspits is a fully certified company: for the quality of their products (ISO 9001) and the safety of their products and work

environment (VCA, or Safety, Health and the Environment Checklist Contractors). “We also have the highest Corporate Social Responsibility certification. We check whether the materials we use are child labour free and we recycle as much of the materials as possible. “We do not want to say that we want to start a ripple effect to make the world a better place, we just do that, by conforming us to the high standards of the certification. This is really important to me, because we want to make sure that we leave a better world for generations to come,” De Groot elaborates. “It is really great to see a client come in with an idea and see them leave with a fully finished concept or product that naturally blends into its environment.”



Complete Complete aluminium aluminium hull, hull, extremely extremely economical, economical, seaworthy seaworthy and and very very stable stable Topspeed between 12-25 knots depending on the choice of engine Topspeed between 12-25 knots depending on the choice of engine Suitable Suitable for for open open seas, seas, French French canals canals and and the the inland inland waters waters Spacious Spacious storage storage for for a a3 3 meter meter tender, tender, surfboards surfboards and and bicycles bicycles Large Large electric electric roof roof for for the the ultimate ultimate convertible convertible experience experience


46  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Gaite Jansen


The next stage Actor Gaite Jansen has been a pretty big deal in her native Netherlands for almost a decade now, and thanks to roles in top British television series Peaky Blinders and Line of Duty, the 26-year-old Rotterdam-native is starting to make a name for herself on the global stage. Fresh from her well-received leading role in Ivo van Hove’s production of After the Rehearsal/Persona at London’s Barbican Theatre last autumn, Discover Benelux caught up with Jansen to talk fame, feminism and future roles. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: JANEY VAN IERLAND, HAIR & MAKE-UP: ELLEN VAN EXTER FOR ELLIS FAAS COSMETICS

She may have a fresh face, but Jansen has in fact been working professionally in the acting industry for a decade now. She began taking acting classes aged six and went on to study at the prestigious Maastricht Academy of Dramatic Arts. Her breakthrough performance was in the 2011 arthouse film 170 Hz, where she played troubled deaf teenager Evy and earned a best actress nomination at the Seattle Film Festival and the Netherlands Film Festival. More recently, she has become a familiar face on UK screens thanks primarily to her role playing Russian aristocrat Princess Tatiana Petrovna in series three of the gang drama Peaky Blinders alongside Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy.

A-list “We watch English TV and films in the Netherlands just as much as we do American, and actors like Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy are people I’ve really looked up to. I’ve been lucky to work with them. That’s quite insane for me!” she laughs. Did she ever get a little starstruck? “Well, I have this weird thing where I’m not starstruck when I’m with that actor in the room. I guess I’m lucky because it means I’m fine working with them on set. But then after-

wards I’m like; ‘Oh my God, I just played with Cillian Murphy, didn’t I?’ “Cillian clearly didn’t know who I was, of course, before I came on set and we had to do this big line in the series. He was never judgmental or anything. I always felt welcome from the first moment. He was so open and made me feel comfortable. I’m just happy because when somebody else is good they lift you up, so you can both go to higher acting levels.” Jansen had a lot of fun playing Princess Tatiana, and revelled in the opportunity to really make the character her own. From the extravagant period costumes to her convincing Russian accent, it was a big departure from her previous parts. “She’s so different to what I’m like - in every aspect. She’s the complete opposite of me. I felt I had the freedom to make her quite a character - she’s certainly not shy! That was cool. “With Peaky Blinders they’re not afraid to be gigantic. I think that’s something typically English - English TV is not scared of being ‘too much’, which I really like.”

Rotterdam (or anywhere) Although set in Birmingham, Peaky Blinders is largely filmed in the Northern city of Liverpool, famous for being The Beatles’ hometown. How did Jansen adjust to the famous Liverpudlian accent? She laughs. “When I started filming in Liverpool I thought I spoke English. Of course, I have an accent and everything but I thought I understood English and could speak it. But the accent in Liverpool - I was like; ‘Wait…what?’ “You have to get used to the accent. It’s a completely different language, almost! I loved Liverpool - it’s nice. I went to the Beatles museum which was really cute. Liverpool’s so proud of them - and they should be.” Despite travelling a lot for work, the Dutch capital is where Jansen calls home. However she still spends as much time as possible in Rotterdam, the city where she was born and grew up. “My brother still lives there with his wife and son, so I’m always going back,” she smiles. “The thing I love is that it’s so multicultural in a totally natural way. You walk down the street and every culture and every form of human walks along there. That makes Issue 49  |  January 2018  |  47

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Gaite Jansen

Gaite Jansen in the film Supernova, by Tamar van den Dop.

Gaite Jansen in the film 170 Hz, by Joost van Ginkel.

me feel at home. Where I grew up was just like that. It’s the best place to people-watch.”

Hello, Hollywood In addition to well-established names like Carice van Houten and Famke Janssen, there have been many rising Dutch actors making a name for themselves in Hollywood recently such as Sylvia Hoeks and Sallie Harmsen, who both starred in last year’s blockbuster Blade Runner 2049 alongside Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford. Could we see Jansen heading for ‘La-La Land’ anytime soon? She muses. “That specific city is so career driven…I think it’s a great place to live if you have a great career, but if you are not constantly working, I don’t know if it would be the most fun place to be. Maybe one day I will change my mind, but that city really has to grow on you, I think. Really, it depends - but I like Holland - it’s very grounding. I think I would prefer to at least go back and forth a lot. “I haven’t worked with that many international directors yet, but there are so many I would like to collaborate with Sofia Coppola, Alfonso Cuarón…” The list goes on. 48  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

Gaite Jansen in the television series Peaky Blinders.

One of Jansen’s fellow Dutchies Marwan Kenzari has been cast in the upcoming Guy Richie directed remake of the 1992 Disney classic, Aladdin. Could Jansen see herself starring in a potential live-action remake of another cartoon classic? “Good question! I guess all the things that I’d like to do have already been remade. I would never be able to…but being the lead in a Jungle Book remake would be such a cool part.” This may seem an unusual choice, but the unexpected is exactly what Jansen looks for when considering potential roles. “What excites me the most is if I get a job that’s not like a job I had before,” she explains.

Power of a woman “Something I’ve definitely been aiming for lately is not to be the object of a man’s fantasy. I feel like now I’m older I realise that when I was younger I took some of those roles which aren’t really about being a woman at all. They are really just about a man’s vision of a woman. Those roles never fulfil me because I’m a woman and I don’t feel like walking down the street being all flirtatious all the time. Now, if a role is way more about what being a woman really is, I get super excited.”

This is a sentiment which has been shared by many of Jansen’s fellow female actors, and fortunately there do seem to be far more complex roles for women both in Hollywood and on the arthouse scene these days. But of course there is still progress to be made, with the frequent questioning of female actors on their outfit choices on the red carpet being a growing complaint. Does Jansen enjoy hitting the red carpet? “Well, when I was younger if I had to go on the red carpet I’d sweat forever,” she recalls. “But now it’s in my head that it’s just part of the job, and I even get to like it sometimes. It has plus sides, cos you get to meet new people.” Earlier on in her career, the thought of an interview to promote a film would leave Jansen feeling nervous, with the fame element of being an actor not always sitting well with her. Now, she finds it much easier to cope. “I don’t necessarily like the fame part,” she admits. “I think it’s over-rated. Doctors, nurses and teachers - they should get the fame that actors get. They should be praised for what they do more than we are.” Wise words from a woman who undoubtedly has a great deal more acclaim heading her way.

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Gaite Jansen

Issue 49  |  January 2018  |  49

Discover Benelux  |  Belgium  |  The Ultimate Flemish Brewery & Distillery Guide 2018

Photo: Peter Kim,


Belgium’s best breweries You say Belgium, you think beer. Although the country boasts many cultural and culinary treasures, the golden drink might be its most beloved heritage. And we can assure you: drinking beer is a cultural experience in Belgium - in 2016 Unesco added the drink to its Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list. Belgian beer is known for its wide variety of flavours: from sweet to extremely sour, to bitter – the many breweries in the country have something to suit all tastes. Do not know where to start? We will help you on your way with our extensive brewery guide. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK Photo: Anders!

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Discover Benelux  |  Belgium  |  The Ultimate Flemish Brewery & Distillery Guide 2018

WE RAISE A GLASS TO THESE SUPERB BREWERIES… Brouwerij Liefmans  |  Read more from page 52 A taste as rich as its past: that is Brouwerij Liefmans. Known for its famous Kriek-Brut and Goudenband beers, Liefmans was for a long time helmed by the only female master brewer in Belgium.

Brouwerij De Feniks | Read more from page 60 With master brewer Gino Vantieghem is at the helm, artisanal brewery De Feniks brews custom-made and specialty beers. Vantieghem already has decades of acclaimed brewing experience under his belt.

Brouwerij Bourgogne des Flandres | Read more from page 54 Bourgogne des Flandres occupies a very special place in the Belgian beer landscape. It is a typical example of the Flemish beer blending tradition with old and young beer being mixed judiciously to achieve a perfect balance.

Bossuwé Brewing Co. | Read more from page 62 Seasoned beers for seasoned drinkers: the beers from Bossuwé are perfect for those loving a beery surprise. The brewery was founded in 2016 by Gaëtan Vandenbulcke and Géraldine Legein.

Brouwerij Anders! | Read more from page 56 The name gives it away (Anders means ‘different’ in Dutch): this Belgian brewery does things differently. Committed to enriching the beer world, Anders! brews both traditional beers as well as experimental ones.

Brouwerij ’t Verzet | Read more from page 62 Making honest and quirky beers for the enthusiast who loves a unique character: it is the hallmark of Brouwerij ‘T Verzet. This Belgian brewery opened its doors early 2016, in the town of Anzegem.

Brouwerij Bosteels | Read more from page 58 Brouwerij Bosteels was established by Evarist Bosteels in 1791, staying in the hands of the founding family for many generations. Its beers Kwak, Tripel Karmeliet, and DeuS are beloved by many beer aficionados in Belgium and beyond.

Brouwerij Petre Devos | Read more from page 63 Petre Devos is a historic brewery from Oudenaarde that has created a brand new beer based on the beers of yesteryear. By doing this, it bridges the gap between the old and new beer world.

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Discover Benelux  |  Belgium  |  The Ultimate Flemish Brewery & Distillery Guide 2018


Master blenders since 1696 TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: LIEFMANS

Brewed with love and craftsmanship, steeped in the rich tradition of Belgian beer culture – the beers from Belgian specialty brewery Liefmans equal originality, elegance and quality. With a history as rich as its taste – the founding of Liefmans Brewery dates back to the 17th century – Liefmans’ beers have been beloved by aficionados from all over the world for hundreds of years. Discover Benelux spoke to Mrs Rosa Merckx, the first and for many years the only female master brewer in Belgium, who helmed the company for over 40 years. Liefmans blends all of its most famed beers on site in Oudenaarde, on the 52  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

banks of the River Schelde. It is only in this brewery in the East-Flemish town that you will find the microflora that make Liefmans such a unique beer. Liefmans is proud to fall under the helm of Duvel Moortgat, one of the largest independent brewing groups in Belgium and famous across the world for its game-changing specialty beers.

Blending tradition with innovation “What makes us unique? Very simple: our beers,” Merckx smiles, when asked about Liefmans’ core values. It is this simple answer that captures the Flemish brewery’s essence: by blending hundreds of years of experience with innovation, Liefmans’ portfolio is adorned with award-winning

Discover Benelux  |  Belgium  |  The Ultimate Flemish Brewery & Distillery Guide 2018

beers and unique firsts. Goudenband won a gold medal for five consecutive years at the Brussels Beer Challenge. Liefmans has three crafted beers under its name: the beloved Kriek-Brut (cherry beer), Goudenband and the classic Oud Bruin. After fermenting for a week, during which the typical sour taste is created, they spend from between six months to three years maturing in Liefmans’ cellars. The brewery also produces two popular life-style beers often served ‘On The Rocks’: the summery Fruitesse based on red fruits and “especially loved by ladies”, and the latest addition Yell’Oh – a version of Fruitesse based on yellow fruits such as pineapple. Liefmans’ beers are known for their artisanal taste and are exclusively brewed by master brewers. “A good beer is like a masterful, home-brewed soup,” Merckx continues. “Of course it varies per person, but for me, a good beer tastes ever so slightly mauve. Bad beer tastes blue – a French professor told me that a long time ago. I’ve never forgotten it.”

Shaping history Merckx joined Liefmans in 1946 as secretary to the then-director. “I didn’t know

anything about beer, but I looked representational and I spoke three languages,” she laughs. “In the years around the war, boredom was an ever-present factor, so I did anything to keep myself busy: reading, dancing, you name it. I never thought I would take a job at a brewery, but the director told me I could try it for one month. If I didn’t like it, I could leave anytime. I stayed for 46 years.” And a lot happened, in 46 years. Soon after she started, Merckx’s passion for beer awoke, and the director taught her everything about the business and the creative process - which turned out to be very useful when he sadly passed away too young in 1972. “It was his family who asked me to stay on board and take over the business. Of course I said yes, not least because of the 50 employees working at the brewery.” Soon after she took over Liefmans, Merckx became one of the most respected brewers in the industry, keeping the Liefmans legacy alive and perfecting the brewing process – it was Merckx who changed the somewhat acid beers from Liefmans to the fuller, more ‘sweet-sour’ beer it is now. “It was very much a man’s world,” she continues. “Whenever there were meet-

ings, I was always the only woman. However, that was never a problem: me and my fellow male brewers had a true respect for each other and they had great sympathy for me.” In 1990 Merckx passed on the torch, yet she is still involved in the creative process: “I taste every new beer that leaves our doors.” Her son Olav works also in the brewery, as Beer Ambassador.

A tour through history Liefmans’ character is unmistakably linked to the town of Oudenaarde, famous for the production of mixed fermented sour beers. A visit to the Liefmans brewery has to be applied for and will take you to a different world where nostalgia and history are celebrated: the old brewery has largely been restored so guests can discover the story behind the unique brewing process – and of course try the extensive Liefmans range. The brewery welcomes guests from all over the world. “Belgium is still the land of chocolate and beer,” Merckx concludes. “We are very proud to be protectors of the Belgian beer tradition.” Web:

Mrs Rosa Merckx.

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Photo: Jurgen de Witte



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

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

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

A history of brewing

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

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

Brewing tradition Bourgogne des Flandres is a blended beer, made of ‘Bruinen Os’ mixed with Lambic beer. “Bourgogne des Flandres is a typi54  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

Photo: Jurgen de Witte

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of Loppem, where a farm-brewery was owned by Pierre-Jacques Van Houtryve. It was his son who obtained permission to start a brewery within the city walls of Bruges in 1825: Den Os Brewery. The flagship beer of Den Os came into being just before World War One, when the number of active breweries in Bruges was peaking and the Van Houtryve family also owned the breweries La Marine and Ten Ezele. “Bourgogne des Flandres is one of the very few West Flemish redbrown beers that survived the long-term competition and the destruction caused by World War Two,” Monnissen states. However, like many, Den Os brewery finally had to close its doors in 1957 due to the emergence of British Ales and the damage of the two world wars. Yet the closing down of Den Os meant everything but the end of Bourgogne des Flandres. Since 1957, Michel Van Houtryve supervised various other breweries in continuing the beer according to the authentic family recipe throughout the years, until it came into the hands of the world’s oldest

lambic brewery, Timmermans Brewery in 1980. The recipe was taken over by the famous John Martin Brewery (which also distribute Guinness) in 1990. With Anthony Martin at the helm of the company, Bourgogne des Flandres became part of the Finest Beer Selection and its reputation was reaffirmed with the creation of a new brewery just a stone’s throw from the original Den Os Brewery. It was in 2016 that Bourgogne des Flandres finally returned home. Located a mere 50 metres away from the former La Marine Brewery, the microbrewery is located on the Kartuizerinnenstraat, in the scenic heart of Bruges.

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

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

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


Photo: Jurgen de Witte

Issue 49  |  January 2018  |  55

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Pushing the boundaries of beer making TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  PHOTOS: ANDERS!

Founded only seven years ago, brewery Anders! quickly outgrew its initial set up. By 2016 they had moved to a new location, doubling their capacity, and there are still no signs of them slowing down. So what is Anders! doing differently? We spoke to commercial manager Nicolas Volders to find out more. Anders!, which translates as ‘different’, is a brewery with a twist. Instead of making their own beers, they brew solely for other clients. A recipe for success as it turned out, as every year they have nearly doubled their output. “We have grown really fast, and it’s looking like we will reach maximum capacity again soon,” says Volders.

Finding a niche in the industry From the beginning the concept was clear, to build a brewery where third par56  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

ties could brew their beers. “We started at the height of the craft beer hype when everyone was brewing at home. But it’s difficult for hobby brewers to scale up and produce their beers commercially. We wanted to be a solution for them.”

new beer we have to start over and redo every detail of the process, the boiling times and fermentation times,” Volders explains.

The concept did not just attract hobby brewers and small breweries. Businesses, event organisers and local councils were equally keen to produce beers. “And we even work with some international brands who want to introduce a new beer,” Volders adds. “Their breweries are often too big to run a test recipe, so that is where we come in.”

New ingredients, new challenges Always up for a challenge, Anders! strives to say ‘yes’ to any new request. “We can use different malts, yeasts and hops, and we can even change the water. With every


Discover Benelux  |  Belgium  |  The Ultimate Flemish Brewery & Distillery Guide 2018

The brewery is frequently asked to add unusual aromas, such as herbs, spices or fruit. “In general any ingredient can be added. We try to avoid things like oil-rich ingredients, as it has a negative effect on the foam production. That’s where our brewmaster’s experience comes in!” Volders lists a few ingredients they have brewed with: “Szechuan pepper, lemon grass and even cucumber aromas. We also produced a beer with dried, pressed hazelnuts which had all the oils removed.” They also recently produced a milk stout, a dark beer with lactose, and a New England IPA, which is a fruity, cloudy version of an India Pale Ale.

Scheduling different brews Brewing in batches of 40 to 110 hectolitres, Anders! bridges the gap between hobby brewers and commercial-size breweries. “We give creativity a place,” he says. “Sometimes we only produce a beer as a one-off, other ones are brewed on a regular basis.” By now Anders! has worked together with brewers from all over the world. “Beer enthusiasts are everywhere and there will always be a demand for new,

quality beers.” Everywhere you come in Belgium, you can find beers that are made at our brewery. Since Belgian Beer Culture has become a UNESCO World Heritage, the demand for Belgian beer has even increased. The brewery is in operation 24 hours a day from Sunday night through to Friday night. On average, they run 15 different recipes a week. “It takes a lot of planning, and a lot of cleaning to pull this off every week, but it keeps us on our toes!”

Looking into the future In 2016 Anders! invested in a complete new brewing hall and bottling line, with equipment by GEA from Germany. “It is a highly efficient set up that can handle many different brews. It was only the second of its kind in the world when it became operational,” Volders says. “The new bottling line is much more automated. We are still growing, so we had to consider the future.” This future came sooner than anticipated. While twice the size of the old brewery, Anders! is already nearing its full capacity at 50,000 hectolitres a year. “There

is room for expansion in the hall, but we didn’t expect to push the limit so soon. In 2017 we already did 40,000 hectolitres.”

New recipes for success While some customers come to Anders! with a complete and detailed recipe, others will only have an idea for a beer that they want to try out in real life. He says: “In these instances we will have several conversations to work out a recipe and do multiple tasting sessions with reference beers before we start brewing. We don’t want to end up with 4,000 litres of beer that doesn’t taste right.” Volders admits that using new ingredients in the brewing process continues to be something exciting. “Ingredients don’t always act the way you expect, so it remains a bit of a black box for us!” Thanks to their innovative concept, Anders! has catered for a niche in the industry that does not just push the boundaries of beer production, it has also turned out to be a highly successful business model.




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“It would be like choosing a favourite child,” says Antoine Bosteels, seventh generation brewer of the noted Belgian Brewery Bosteels, when asked which one of his three beers is his favourite. The lack of choice can only be attributed to his enormous passion for his craft, a craft his family has perfected over 200 years of beer-brewing. With a sound focus on tradition, re-investment and careful selection of expert personnel, Bosteels has become somewhat of 58  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

a celebrity in his industry – and there is little doubt why. “I love the business, and I love working on top-quality products,” Bosteels says proudly, underlining that although his family has always been in the business, it was never a given that he would enter the same sphere. “My parents never forced me to take over the brewery. I have cousins as well, so the business could have been given to one of them had I not expressed a desire to take over. I guess my parents were lucky I was so interested in the brewing craft,” says Bosteels.

Discover Benelux  |  Belgium  |  The Ultimate Flemish Brewery & Distillery Guide 2018

Antoine Bosteels is a seventh generation brewer and has enormous passion for his craft. Thanks to the optimal balance between tradition and modern brewery processes, the top quality of Brewery Bosteels’ beers is maintained.

The best team His down-to-earth charisma and extensive knowledge of the industry come together seamlessly as he enthusiastically describes his products. Producing a mere three kinds of beer is rare for a brewery, he explains, emphasising that it is not without intention that he has kept his team small. “Our beers can be likened to our team,” he says confidently, adding: “We don’t have a big team, but we have the best team there is. Nothing less goes for our beers.” One of them is the popular Kwak beer, blessed with a particular story. In Napoleon’s time coachmen would pass by Pauwel Kwak, a Dendermonde brewer, and despair at the fact that they were not allowed to follow their passengers inside for a drink. Solving the issue in literal balance with creativity, Kwak had special glasses blown that could easily be hung from the coaches. Still today, the beer holds the name of the 18th century brewer and is served in the same glass, preserving its distinctive and recognisable taste.

A historic reincarnation As far as stories go, Bosteels’s other beers offer them plentifully. Few match

that of the trigrain brew Tripel Karmeliet, a tale, however, Bosteels himself found difficult to believe upon discovering it. “Tripel Karmeliet has a very characteristic taste, supported by a proportioned mix of wheat, oats and malt,” he says. “We never expected, however, that upon finishing our brew, we’d find an almost identical recipe for the beer in the nearby Monastery Karmeliet. Calculating the recipe we found out that the monks of the monastery had invented a brew 90 per cent like ours in 1679.” The year of 1679 was given an honorary spot on the beer’s label, as a tribute to the first recipe. “It was amazing, surprising and astonishing. Even calculated through modern technology, the recipes are this much alike. It makes the beer historical,” says Bosteels.

‘Beer from heaven’ Perhaps not historical, but equally exclusive, is the delightfully sparkling Deus. Hailed by experts as “stunning” and “unmatchable”, this beer is the closest you will ever get to Champagne, while still retaining a rich beer-like barley flavour. Ideal as an aperitif out of the ordinary,

and named by Bosteels as a “beer from heaven”, the drink is a splendid choice for a night of celebrations – especially if you know some of the story behind its making. “A horizontal fermentation process gives the beer its distinctive flavour, achieved by gradually tilting each bottle to release yeast from the bottle walls and collect all the sediments in its head. The whole process is carried out by expert brewers in France, which does have an effect on the price,” Bosteels says, pausing slightly before continuing: “But if there’s something we don’t do, it’s compromising on quality.”

History, quality and originality The high standard of quality Brewery Bosteels stands for has naturally kept the production local, limiting export to keep a good balance between authentic tradition and the modern brewery processes. Although Brewery Bosteels invests much of its revenue in cutting-edge technology in order to perfect their products, the heart and soul of the brands will always remain in their history – and their provenance. “It’s important to me that my beers are enjoyed in Belgium,” says Bosteels. “Even though the demand for our beers abroad outdoes our current production capacity, I wouldn’t want to change anything. Growth is not a purpose. Quality and growth always have to go hand in hand, and they have to follow each other organically.” Staying true to their philosophy ‘history, quality and originality’, there is little reason to believe that Brewery Bosteels will lose any of its popularity. Web:

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Discover Benelux  |  Belgium  |  The Ultimate Flemish Brewery & Distillery Guide 2018

Breaking the traditions of Belgian beers TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: BROUWERIJ DE FENIKS

Belgium is known for many things and most certainly for its beers. You might know all the larger brands, but hiding in the smaller towns are microbreweries that can produce beers that can rival or even outshine the taste and quality of the big brothers. In the small town of Heule, just a half hour’s drive from Ghent, resides Brouwerij De Feniks (‘Brewery The Phoenix’) where brew master Gino Vantieghem, 48, and his team produce several different frothy goodies, breaking several traditions along the way.

Feniks With a brewery named after the legendary bird, picking out the fiery phoenix as its 60  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

namesake is no coincidence. Vantieghem is somewhat of a legend himself, pioneering the craft beer phenomenon in North America in the early 90s, turning the defunct Riva brewery (where he did an internship) into the thriving Liefmans Breweries and receiving the Master Of The Barley Lifetime Achievement Award at age 37 out of the hands of legendary beer and whisky connoisseur Michael Jackson. Ten years ago Vantieghem stopped brewing, but, like the phoenix, resurrected as the beer master after longtime friend Kurt Decoene asked him to brew something for a friend. Vantieghem and Decoene bought all the necessary equipment and De Feniks now produces around 1,000 hectolitres per year, ramping it up to 10,000 in the next two years.

Trade With a Master’s degree in Bioscience Engineering, Vantieghem knows his beers to a molecular level. Writing his thesis at Stella Artois, getting recruited for the Unibroue company in Chambly, Canada, the Belgian is able to translate all those cold ones into numbers and even though that might clash with the picturesque image of a craftsman, it is exactly the delicate line between art and science that Vantieghem loves to tread. He explains: “You can’t create a good beer if you don’t know the science behind it, but if you’re in the know, that is itself no guarantee for good brews. Everyone can brew, fewer can brew something good, an even smaller percentage can brew something consist-

Discover Benelux  |  Belgium  |  The Ultimate Flemish Brewery & Distillery Guide 2018

ently good and there’s the top level quality breweries who brew something consistently good that can withstand the test of time. That requires the perfect balance between art and science and I’m sure you can train yourself, but inspiration is something that’s there or not.” It is striving for that perfection that keeps a passionate brewer looking and learning to brew the perfect beer.

Product range What defines De Feniks’ product range is what Vantieghem says are qualities that can be distilled from three of the six beers they produce. There’s the IPA called ‘Ceci N’IPA’, oatmeal stout ‘Jazz Black Oatmeal Delight’ and tripel ‘All Good Things Are 3’. Vantieghem: “Beers that are a fusion between the balanced feel of Belgian style beers and the boldness and outspokenness of Anglo-Saxon beers. Take the tripel for example; one of the most defining types of Belgian beers, but we traded the heaviness in for a more fruity, citric taste. Vice versa, the IPA and oatmeal stout are Anglo-Saxon type of brews, but we gave the IPA biscuit malt

and elderberry for a more balanced taste. The oatmeal stout is usually brewed with a neutral type of yeast, so we make it with an abbey yeast that makes way for the dark malt, creating fine scents and a pleasant afterburn.”

Philosophy Twisting the ground rules of Belgian beer, it takes guts, but it follows the philosophy that Vantieghem and Decoene set out for De Feniks. Vantieghem: “We’ve been enjoying many Anglo-Saxon beers lately, but do not want to hide our Belgian heritage. Kurt and I thought exactly the same thing: don’t try to copy it or create the umpteenth Belgian style beer, but come up with something truly unique and something we and our friends would love to drink ourselves.”

China “The original request for beer came from a Chinese friend of Kurt’s and his wife Angela and that got the ball rolling for brewing even more for the Chinese market. You’d expect that with their low alcohol tolerance they would stick to the lighter ones,

but funnily enough, the opposite is true. Our most extreme beers go down incredibly well among the budding middle class in China. Just a few gulps and they’re, let’s say, in real good spirits.”

Honour Brewing is an up close and personal thing for de Feniks. Testimony to this is the McInMemries range of beers. After Patrick Rigole, a good friend of Decoene, passionate lover of beer and whisky, sadly passed away in 2014, Decoene and Vantieghem launched a whiskey barrel-aged beer in honour of him. With this 13.5 per cent beer made with smoked whisky malt and 50-year-old barrels, the two keep the memory of the friend alive and handed out the first batch to the family of Rigole. Vantieghem: “A bittersweet beer and one they thoroughly enjoyed.” It is all made with the same passion that defines De Feniks: “Do what you love best and never give up doing it.” Web:

Gino Vantieghem, Jasper Candaele and Kurt Decoene.

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These beers are the beeriest If trying something new and exciting gets you three gold medals in year one, you know you might be onto something. This is exactly what happened to Bossuwé Brewing Co.’s Géraldine Legein and Gaëtan Vandenbulcke. Adventurous and motivated, they are very much spearheading Belgium’s next craft beer scene. New beers are being released every season. “Each one of them is a playful hybrid of styles and tastes, and different from anything else to be found. We like to tease and surprise people, often beyond the beer itself,” explains Legein.

“The real challenge for innovative brewing is not just aiming for extremes or copying fads. With every release, we work hard to open things up and to obtain a well-balanced final product. That is probably why our beers, despite their radical roots, seem to appeal to such a broad audience.” No wonder ‘Betty B.’, their summer 2017 release, won three Gold Medals at the World Beer Awards. Holding the World’s Best Specialty Rice Beer award, not even a year after starting the company, came as quite a surprise. The urge to experiment coupled with a wacky sense of humour drives the adventure

further. “We love to create and enjoy coming up with crazy ideas that ultimately result in awesome beers. Recently, we launched a sleazy West-Coast IPA as a serenade to The Pit’s, the oldest independent punk venue in the country. And of course, there is MOAB-O!, a disturbing remix of our first ever beer, a transatlantic rye ale. Curious to know more about these beers and where to find them? Check out the website. Web:

Rebellious beers from Brewery ’t Verzet TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: BREWERY ’T VERZET

What started as a hobby, in 2016 resulted in a full-time professional brewery, with six permanent brews, eight beers that change each year and three full-time brewers. Brewery ‘t Verzet (The Resistance) in Anzegem, near Kortrijk, brews traditional Belgian beers with a modern twist. Brewers Alex, Koen and Jens know each other from their studies of Biochemistry in Brewing. “After school we all started to work at big breweries, but our love for beer kept us in touch. In 2011 we started to brew our own beers as a hobby. We rented the brew kettles at other breweries to make those beers,” reminisces Alex. In 2016, ‘t Verzet bought their own brewery and turned professional. “We use local products to brew our beer. Like our ‘Oud Bruin’, a blend of old and new beer, matured in different oak barrels. It is our true masterpiece,” explains Alex. “We also cre62  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

ate different styles of this ‘Oud Bruin’, which are only available once a year. For instance the ‘Oud Bruin Oak Leaf’, where we added oak leaves we picked ourselves. Be sure to try them.” The bottles of Brewery ‘t Verzet are a masterpiece in their own right. “Each beer has its own unique label, which tells the origin story of the beer. A bottle doesn’t always have to have a church or a monk on the label,” smiles Alex. The beers are being sold all over the world, so you have probably tried them already. “But you are more than welcome to take a tour in our brewery and taste them with us.”


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Brewers on a quest for lost heritage So many innovative and exciting things are happening in the world of beer, but Petre Devos finds passion in reviving a forgotten classic. The new generation of this historical brewery brings back a recipe recovered from beer that was made over half a century ago. The story starts back in 1899, when Emmanuel Petre’s great-grandfather August started Petre Devos, a brewery known for its dark ales. Now, Emmanuel is bringing new life into the business, with childhood friends Edward and Karel Vandermeersch by his side. “We want to restore the heritage,” Edward explains. With their fathers and uncles growing up around the brewery in the Belgian town of Oudenaarde, they know the original beer better than anyone. No wonder they discovered the original recipe (with a little help). “We found some old bottles that still contained active yeast and asked the University to analyse it. We know the product inside out.”

They purposely did not start with the original dark beer. “It takes a long time to get the recipe right. Commercialising the blonde beer gave us time to work on the original dark. At the same time, it was key to reach a broad audience to listen to our story and get excited about what was to come.” The plan worked: people are wildly enthusiastic about the blonde and brown ale that are already on the market and cannot


wait for the original dark one to be released. Petre Devos beers are available throughout Belgium, but expansion is on its way. “We want people all over the world to know the story of Petre Devos!” Web: Email:

LEFT: Original photo from the brewery circa 1935. MIDDLE: Mr. Halfbarrel (or Demiton in Flemish), Petre Devos mascot created circa 1930. His name is derived from ‘half pint’ for a head and ‘barrel’ for a body. Poster featured on the Big Bang Theory in Sheldon Coopers’ apartment for ten seasons. RIGHT: Photo taken of Edward (left) and Emmanuel (right) on the same location in the original brewery. Credit: Karel Duerinckx

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Column





An email is a wondrous thing TEXT & PHOTO: STEVE FLINDERS

Or at least it can be. I have just led a writing course for professionals who want to make their work correspondence more effective. After a few hours with them, I can see why. Their replies to my relaxed pre-course message were revealing. One started with: “Dear Mr Flinders, Reference is made to your email below,” which made me feel like a tax office. Indeed their keenness to use the passive at every opportunity suggested that their organisations are run by robots, not people. The next one said: “Morning Steve, ... Hope this helps see you Thursday,” which cheered me up again so I was willing to forgive him the missing comma after ‘helps’. Indeed, comma aversion proved to be an allergy shared by most of the group. Commas signal natural pauses in sentences but I was left gasping for mental breath by the end of some of theirs. I introduced them to fog indexing to help them keep sentence length down. While their sentences were comma-free, they strewed capital letters like used confetti randomly through their prose. CCL 64  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

(Compulsive Capital Lettering) should be classed as an infectious disease. We did make some progress. The first rule of business writing – to KISS (‘Keep It Short and Simple’ or, if you prefer, ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid’) your emails, led to moments of Damascene conversion for some. The idea of mirroring the tone of your correspondent certainly helped the woman who started one email with “Dear esteemed client”.

I did compromise on one issue. When I ranted against the lazy ampersand (‘&’), their addiction was too strong for me. So I have allowed each of them a quota of five for the whole of next year.

I realised two things about emails: 1. Thinking about your reader is not just to anticipate their question: “What’s in it for me?” By providing a little lightness, or a clear explanation of a difficult subject, or a satisfying solution to a problem, you are offering your correspondents a gift which they should receive with gratitude - good for your relationship and for your business. 2. Making your email a small thing of beauty through generous spacing and proper use of punctuation creates an aesthetically pleasing elegance which provides some momentary restfulness for your reader’s eyes, another cause for gratitude.

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  |  Calendar


LingeriePRO Tradefair 28 – 29 January Antwerp, Belgium Antwerp is well known as the fashion capital of Belgium: LingeriePRO Tradefair is its only professional lingerie trade fair. The fair specialises in all aspects of bodyfashion: corsetry, night and loungewear, beachwear, accessories and leg and shapewear.

Luxembourg city.

People’s Business 17 – 18 January Rotterdam, the Netherlands Entrepreneurs from a wide scale of companies and industries will connect with each other during this high-quality knowledge and network platform. The inspirational talks and fruitful networking events will make sure your business gets off to a great start in 2018.

Polyclose 17 – 19 January Ghent, Belgium Every two years, hundreds of exhibitors from dozens of countries do everything to make Polyclose in Ghent a fully-fledged trade fair. Since its first edition in 1991, Polyclose has become the largest event in the Benelux in the area of window, door, sunblind, façade and entrance technology.

Modefabriek 21 -22 January Amsterdam, the Netherlands Modefabriek’s mission is to be an innovative and distinctive business-to business trade event for labels that distinguish

themselves by uniqueness, quality and continuity with an individual vision of fashion in the middle and high segment of the fashion market.

Gevel 23 – 25 January Rotterdam, the Netherlands Gevel is a renowned fair that welcomes architects, consultants, clients and builders to together explore the latest developments in the industry. The event is known to bridge the gap between knowledge and practice and for its strong focus on social context.

Cross-Border Distribution Conference 30 January Luxembourg City, Luxembourg The CBDC will continue to build on the success of previous years, providing an unrivalled forum for regulators, leading asset managers and other market participants to debate and discuss the major issues facing the industry.


Modefabriek. Photo: © Reinier RVDA

Issue 49  |  January 2018  |  65

Discover Benelux  |  Education  |  BEPS International School

Good news for the international community in Brussels TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: BEPS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL

Over the past 45 years, BEPS International School in Brussels has produced confident and independent young learners, catering for pupils aged two and a half to 12. The establishment’s unique teaching concept promoting international mindedness and personal learning has been so successful that as of September it will expand with a new secondary branch. “We are known for developing strong relationships with parents and children alike,” begins head of school Pascale Hertay. “Lots of parents were looking for a secondary school that would do the same.” To meet this challenge, BEPS is opening a secondary school which will combine the well-recognised educational approach of its primary school with the rigour of the International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes. Hertay, who has a wealth of experience from the international school sector, says a large part of the school’s success is its belief that educators should consider how 66  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

pupils personally prefer to learn. “We do not just offer a rigorous curriculum, we offer personal learning experiences. Here, there is no ‘one size fits all’ policy. The support required by each child is different: some need to be challenged whereas others require extra support.” At BEPS, pupils are given personal goals which provide them with invaluable attributes for the future, such as being co-operative and respectful. The school also ensures pupils engage in personal projects in accordance with their own interests. “We offer real experiences to enable them to follow their personal passion. That could mean a student with an interest in science joining the coding club, or gifted writer reporting for the school newspaper.” BEPS is known for continually innovating and updating its teaching methods, and this year has been focusing on helping students develop their emotional intelligence. “Children who are stressed do not learn well,” points out Hertay.

Another example of forward-thinking at BEPS is the new ‘forest school’ approach, where pupils of all ages step outside to learn. “Rather than just learning about insects in the classroom, little ones can go outside and collect them for real.” BEPS secondary school will be located close to the primary school in the heart of Brussels’ most desirable area, close to the Bois de La Cambre. The school’s secondary expansion will be gradual. From this September, years one, two and three of the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) will launch for students from 11 to 14 years old. Following this, BEPS will add one MYP level each year.

An Open Information Evening on ‘BEPS International School Curricula and Approaches’ will take place on 17 January 2018 at 6.30pm. To find out more please visit; or register at


Discover Benelux  |  Property  |  Résidence Altéia

A rare opportunity to live the seaside dream in France TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: CRÉER PROMOTION/RÉSIDENCE ALTEIA

Have you always dreamt of living by the sea? Whether you are looking for a new seaside home, or searching for a stylish pad to spend your holidays and weekends, Résidence Alteia in the French resort of Berck-sur-Mer offers a remarkable opportunity for that dream to come true. Located on the exceptional site of the former Maritime hospital on the beautiful Côte d’Opale, directly opposite the sea, the spacious new apartments at Résidence Alteia have been built to the highest architectural and environmental standards. Apartments in buildings B and C have already been snapped up, but luckily a final selection of stunning apartments are available for 2018. “This is one of the last places where it has been allowed to build on the Côte d’Opale, due to preservation reasons,” explains Créer Promotion’s Francine

Méchin, who is responsible for sales of the Alteia programme. “The programme has been a huge success. Many people who had always dreamt of living by the sea sold their house and moved here. And there have also been a lot of people who bought a second home here - the apartments are a perfect base for weekends and holidays.” Purchasers have so far been a mixture of locals and those from further afield, including quite a lot of Belgians. The latest selection of apartments on offer are located in the former hospital tower, combining modern comfort and contemporary style. Just imagine admiring the sunset with a glass of wine from your large glass balcony... While the sea views are undoubtedly a highlight at Alteia, it is worth noting that the lively town centre of Berck is nearby too. The great thing about having an

apartment at Alteia is you will not be isolated. Berck is not a seaside resort that only comes alive in the summer. There is a lot going on all year round. More information about the apartments at Résidence Alteia can be found via Créer Promotion’s website (see below). The company, which was founded in 1989, specialises in selling property in the Hauts-de-France region. The friendly and accessible team are renowned for their excellent service and long-lasting relationships with clients. “We ensure we look after our clients throughout the entire purchasing process. Whenever they are looking for help and advice, whether technical or commercial, there is always someone here to help.” Web: alteia-appartement-neuf-berck-sur-mer

Issue 49  |  January 2018  |  67

Discover Benelux  |  Feature  |  Tintin and the European narrative

Tintin and the European narrative TEXT: NILS ELMARK  |  PHOTO: MACHIAVEL, DREAMSTIME.COM

We need a new European narrative that will lead us into a modern global future and the arch-European Tintin from Brussels has already told us how to do it. Tintin set foot on the moon the year I was born, although I did not realise it until eight years later when I read Destination Moon in the children’s section of our local Sun68  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

day newspaper. This changed my view on life forever. Every week, I followed my hero and became absorbed in his universe. I was with Tintin on the moon long before Neil Armstrong got there, I climbed the mountains of Tibet, and followed Tintin all the way to Peru and the Temple of The Sun. Before I was 12 I had learnt many things from Tintin. But most of all,

I learned that the world is exciting and nothing to be afraid of. Psychologists claim that when we are 1415 years old we have developed a set of values which we will hold on to for the rest of our lives. We all need a narrative that fences our lives in and helps to describe our identity through examples, actions and stories. It is from our narrative we

Discover Benelux  |  Feature  |  Tintin and the European narrative

European narrative has been successfully realised. The European dream hibernates - we have stopped talking about a new future. And that is disastrous because people, countries and continents move in the direction they talk. This is why we need Tintin again! We need a new European narrative that holds all the basic European values that brought us to where we are today. We should not copy the story of Tintin, we should re-interpret it so it relates to the 21st century’s exponential world, where we Europeans have to find our new role. Tintin was born in Brussels at the start of the global depression. Yet he did not stay in a cosy café to update his social media. He was a child of new globalisation and went on adventures in an uncertain world, always returning to Europe. The beginning of the 20th century resembles the time we live in right now. The modern world of the 1920s experienced an explosion of new rule-breaking technologies and Tintin took it on with open arms. Always ahead of the curve, he paved the way, fed our dreams and helped to open a brave new world to millions of children. Tintin travelled the world with his own set of values and through all 24 stories he was faithful to his European roots. His contribution to the community was his distinctiveness; yet he knew how to interact with other people across cultural borders. He went to Tibet and was accepted there, but he never became a Tibetan. Anyone on the planet can identify with Tintin. draw an action pattern that helps us to deal with all the unexpected difficulties of daily life. The narrative becomes our view of life - and this is where Tintin comes in. Tintin is a product of the last century. The cartoon was printed for the first time in 1929, so should we not then just let him fade away? No - because the universe of Tintin is the arch example of the European narrative that is in dire trouble. In my lifetime Europe has united itself and become strong, we have created prosperity and peace and created an outstanding community, which alas, is now creaking in its joints. Every dream that constituted the

Tintin does not plan his adventures but trusts that the future will bring endless opportunities. Tintin is always willing to take a risk but he is never foolhardy and he always does it for the sake of people. Tintin is self-sacrificing. People may be the reason, but adventurousness is the fuel. He engages in the wildest adventures and when he cannot manage alone he asks for help. Tintin’s adventures are the stories of amazing team achievements, but his team is far from flawless. For example, Captain Haddock is an alcoholic and his dog Snowy lets himself be tempted all the time. Tintin lives with

the flaws of his friends and they repay him with endless loyalty. Difficulties are a vital part of adventure. We have forgotten that in a world where politicians are counted out after a single wrong remark and business leaders are replaced after a single bad annual report. For Hergé and Tintin, difficulties are the prerequisite for success. It is during the crisis we grow and create the foundation for future success. What has all this got to do with the European narrative? Everything! The ethics and actions that gave Tintin and Europe such a formidable progress in the last century are about to disappear in the European narrative. We do not go on bold adventures anymore, we demand a reality without difficulties, we talk money and exclude imperfect people from our community. We have become an audience of Silicon Valley who reads their narrative aloud, while we watch billionaire footballers evade tax payments and see global tech companies drain countries of capital and jobs. This is why we need Tintin back on the European cover. He represents all the elements that a new modern European narrative should be made of. Over a century he taught us how we can bring people together across every conceivable border and move this new diversified community we call Europe into a bright global future that may seem chaotic and threatening at first sight, but eventually proves just to be another exciting adventure. Europe will take its new shape from the way we dream and talk.

Nils Elmark is a consulting futurist at Incepcion in London – a strategy consultancy that helps companies reinvent themselves and get better and braver dreams. An international keynote speaker, journalist and author, he is presently working on a new book about Tintin in the 21st century.

Issue 49  |  January 2018  |  69

Discover Benelux  |  Belgium  |  Hotel & Art Gallery of the Month



Bridging Art Nouveau with modernity in style and luxury Built in 1908 and fully renovated in 2008, the Crowne Plaza Brussels is a jewel of architecture in its own right. Housed in a historical building in a typical Art Nouveau style, the hotel makes the perfect location to soak up the ambiance of a joyful turn-of-thecentury Brussels. What makes the Crowne Plaza Brussels particularly attractive and ideal for a stay in the Belgian capital is its central location, excellent customer service and unique architecture. One of the first Palaces to exist in Europe with 500

rooms, each equipped with its own private bathroom (a rarity at the time), it was already renowned for its comfort and unique style. Entirely renovated less than a decade ago, the team of architects inspired themselves from the work of famous Austrian artist Gustav Klimt, a leading figure of the Art Nouveau movement. It was in particular his piece Stoclet Frieze that captivated their attention - its colours, symmetry and curves were eventually what influenced the entire redecoration of the building. Over time many distinguished guests have stayed within the hotel’s walls, among them:

Gina Lollobrigida, Brigitte Bardot and Grace Kelly. The latter took residence for a period of six months in an apartment made specially for her and the Prince of Monaco on the second floor. Today it is a conference room which has kept its original decoration. With its 354 rooms, two restaurants, 18 meetings rooms and 700-person capacity for special events, the Crowne Plaza Hotel of Brussels awaits you! Web:


A crystal palace Escape into a mesmerising world of glass art at the Glazen Huis museum in Lommel. Driving through the beautiful heathland of the Campine countryside near Lommel, you will be struck by a conical glass spire towering over the town. It is the eye-catching centrepiece of the Glazen Huis (Glass House) glass museum, which opened its doors here ten years ago. Lommel’s connection with the glass industry goes back more than 150 years though. In the mid-1800s, they discovered big layers of fine, silvery white sand underneath the heathland here, containing a high percentage of silica. It is this sand which has ever since been quarried and shipped worldwide for the manufacturing of glass.

Art of glass Inside the museum, visitors will find a colourful international collection of glass objects. “We exhibit everyday glass objects as well as glass 70  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018


design and art objects,” explains museum curator/director Jasmien Vanhoof. “Our main mission is to promote the use of glass in modern art, and we collect glass art and glass related art from all over the world.” Visitors can wander the airy rooms of the listed building over three floors and discover the many wonderful ways in which glass can be turned into P. Samyn and Partners; architects and engineers. Photo: M.F. Plissaert

art. “The museum also frequently invites renowned international glass artists to take up a residency at the Glazen Huis,” Jasmien smiles. “So if you are lucky, you can watch them at work. And if you feel inspired and fancy having a go yourself, you are welcome to take part in one of our glass making workshops. They are open to adults and children from six years up.” Web:

Discover Benelux  |  Belgium  |  Wellness Destination of the Month

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

Experience your own private wellness TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: WELLNESS HASSELT

There are B&Bs, there are wellness resorts, and then there is Wellness Hasselt B&B. Located in the heart of Hasselt, this hotel-turned-spa boasts four exquisite apartments with their own spa and wellness facilities. “Most people don’t leave their rooms for the whole weekend,” smiles owner Ivo Achten. Wellness Hasselt B&B offers all the good things in life. From the moment you step inside your room, the rest of the world is left behind, and paradise is all yours. Wellness Hasselt B&B counts four private apartments. All have their own character and sauna and pool facilities, and they all include a whirlpool, rain shower, steam cabin and infrared sauna. The private 60-square-metre Poolhouse – including private garden – boasts a heated outside pool, a bio sauna, a wood fired Finnish sauna barrel, an infrared sauna with footbath, a Jacuzzi, and no less than four different showers. Boasting the same facilities yet specifically focused on the winter-lovers among us, the Winter Cottage

has a king-size box spring under the sky (hello stargazing!) and the covered terrace provides access to a pool during winter. November saw the opening of the 110-square-metre Wellness Suite: a unique apartment with stunning facilities made from top-notch materials. Alongside a Finnish sauna, a rainshower (including waterfall and steam function with scent and colour therapy) and a Jacuzzi, the Suite boasts a living area with a fireplace, a relaxation corner with a library and a 20-square-metre terrace - paradise on earth! Wellness Hasselt B&B frequently serves as a bridal suite or the backdrop for an anniversary: it has welcomed dozens of newlyweds on their wedding night. “All of our rooms have complete privacy, so guests are completely secluded from the rest of the world,” Achten explains. “Naturally, guests from other rooms have no access to your pool and saunas.” All apartments have a full-service kitchen including a fridge, so leaving your warm

space to go for dinner is not necessary. If you do want to go out, there is plenty of entertainment and culinary goodness just around the corner. The Wellness B&B is located near the lively centre of Hasselt, close to the strip boasting many restaurants and bars. When asked what he likes most about his job, Achten does not have to think for long: “Definitely the faces of the people that are checking out,” he enthuses. “People really come here to escape daily reality. Our Wellness always succeeds in achieving that.”


Issue 49  |  January 2018  |  71

Discover Benelux  |  Gastronomy  |  Les Toques d’Opale

T H E T O Q U E S D ’ O PA L E :

An exclusive club of gourmet delights in Calais TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: TOQUES D’OPALE

France is a foodie paradise, and with its close proximity to both the UK and the Benelux, the region around Calais in northern France makes the perfect destination for a gourmet weekend break. Calais and its surrounding area has plenty to offer tourists in search of fine dining. Well worth a visit are the group of restau72  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

rants and bistros belonging to the exclusive Toques d’Opale society of culinary professionals - the word ‘toque’ refers to the famous white hat worn by chefs, while ‘opale’ refers the magnificent Côte d’Opale (Opal Coast) on which Calais lies. There are a host of different restaurants and bistros to choose from within the Toques

d’Opale club, each with its own distinct flavour. Here, we take you on a mouthwatering tour of Calais’ finest foodie hotspots.

Au Côte d’Argent A superb seafront spot! Sandrine and Bertrand Lefebvre provide a warm welcome at Au Côte d’Argent, which offers mesmerising views of the Channel and

Discover Benelux  |  Gastronomy  |  Les Toques d’Opale

England. Bertrand - who trained with several of the biggest names in French gastronomy – serves delicately made dishes using fresh, local produce. Looking for somewhere to host a banquet or seminar? Au Côte d’Argent also has a private room on the first floor which can cater to up to 60 guests. Au Côte d’Argent 1 digue Gaston Berthe, Calais Tel: +33 (0) 3 21 34 68 07 Web:

Avant-garde by nature, chef Matthieu Colin is constantly on the lookout for ever more innovative recipes, and serves up a range of dishes with an emphasis on fresh fish. Looking for a caterer for a special occasion? Le Grand Bleu offers a catering service. Le Grand Bleu 8 rue Jean Pierre Avron, Calais Tel: +33 (0) 3 21 97 97 98 Web:

Au Côte d’Argent.


offers traditional cuisine and unique flavours. Chef Jean-Pierre and pastry chef Claude-Arnaud serve local and seasonal products. Take your pick from a variety of menus combining the best of land and sea. L’Aquar’aile 255 rue Jean Moulin, Calais Tel: +33 (0) 3 21 34 00 00 Web:

Le Grand Bleu.

L’Histoire Ancienne

Les Dunes

Decorated in an authentic art deco style, L’Histoire Ancienne is a veritable Calais institution. Artisan-restaurateur Patrick Comte offers classic bistro fare with a twist. Expect a mouthwatering dish of the day made using fresh, seasonal produce as well as a range of tempting menus and à la carte dishes. You simply must try the pepper steak flambéed with cognac.

One the other side of Calais, on the way to Cap Blanc-Nez and the other delights of the Opal Coast, is gourmet restaurant Les Dunes. In the restaurant’s warm and spacious surroundings, diners delight in trays of seafood and fresh fish. As well as the incredible seafood platters and lovingly prepared fish of the day, you can also expect vegetarian recipes, seasonal meat and game.

L’Histoire Ancienne 20 rue Royale, Calais Tel: +33 (0) 3 21 34 11 20 Web:

Les Dunes 48 route Nationale, Blériot-Plage Tel: +33 (0) 3 21 34 54 30 Web:

La Sole Meunière .

La Sole Meunière In an elegant setting, the gastronomical restaurant La Sole Meunière offers refined cuisine made using the best of the land and sea. Looking for somewhere to hold your next business meeting or family reunion? La Sole Meunière has a charming reception room, and also provides catering services for various occasions. La Sole Meunière 1 boulevard de la Résistance, Calais Tel: +33 (0) 3 21 34 43 01 Web:

About Toques d’Opale Les Dunes.

L’Histoire Ancienne.

Le Grand Bleu


Located near the port of Calais, gourmet restaurant Le Grand Bleu offers impeccable service and upscale inventive cuisine.

Situated on the Calais seafront with breathtaking views of the North Sea, Calais beach and the English coast, L’Aquar’aile

Toques d’Opale is a Calais-based society which brings together culinary professionals offering highquality cuisine made using the finest products. For more information please visit;

Issue 49  |  January 2018  |  73

Self-portrait with Big Hat (1628-1630) by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), Oil on canvas, 61.5cm x 45cm. Photo: Rubenshuis.

74  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Antwerp Baroque 2018


A city’s love for its beloved genius Over the next three years, anyone with a thirst for art and culture will be spoilt for choice during the Flemish Masters Project. As this exploration of Flanders’ rich heritage unfolds, Discover Benelux finds out what unmissable events await visitors to Antwerp in 2018. TEXT: ISA HEMPHREY

While other regions prepare to celebrate Jan van Eyck, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and other masters of Flemish art, this year the city of Antwerp will pay tribute to its most famous resident: Peter Paul Rubens. This 16th/17th-century Baroque painter’s artistic genius will not only be celebrated at various museums and historic sites around the city, but both his work and the Baroque movement will be rediscovered by contemporary masters such as Luc Tuymans and Jan Fabre. “Flanders is the birthplace of lots of European art and culture. Yet too few people in Belgium and abroad are aware of this,” says Flemish minister for tourism Ben Weyts. With the city of Antwerp and VisitFlanders investing 14.8 million euros on this abundance of culture, no doubt an important discussion on the role of art in our ever-changing society can be had that will intrigue both the seasoned expert and the inquisitive traveller. “International promotion of a concept, like the Flemish Masters, is only successful if the theme is also alive in Flanders. It’s an explicit goal to make Flemings enthusiastic about our Flemish Masters, in the broadest sense of the word,” says Weyts.

Rubens inspires Although he was born in Siegen, in 1577, Rubens received his artistic training in the city of Antwerp. With multiple mentors like Tobias Verhaecht, Rubens would become

an exceptionally skilled artist with an oeuvre that still inspires, including the epic The Miracles of St Francis Xavier (161718). His travels to Italy and exposure to spectacular works from the Renaissance had an enormous influence on his style. He then returned to Antwerp as the official court painter to the Low Countries and continued to be a highly influential figure in the Baroque art movement. Not only was he a prolific painter, but also a skilled diplomat whose greatest success was negotiating a peace deal between Spain and England in 1629. He died in 1640, aged 62, in his beloved Antwerp. Rubens’ creative presence can still be felt in Antwerp today. “Baroque isn’t only about art, it’s also about the art of living. It’s not only present in our buildings and churches, in paintings by Rubens, it’s also in the DNA of Antwerp’s residents,” says alderman for culture, Caroline Bastiaens. “They are hospitable and generous, exuberant and enterprising, and far from modest. We will highlight that aspect during Baroque in the city with a series of events that will bring the Baroque closer to Antwerp’s residents.”

Summer 2018 Antwerp Baroque 2018 will launch at the beginning of June with three days of music, dance, theatre and fireworks dotted around the city, and will also mark the start of exhibitions at major Antwerp museums.

The Rubens House, the former studio and home of the artist, will be showing the first retrospective of the 17th-century female artist Michaelina Wautier (1 June - 2 September) who has remained relatively unknown despite her obvious talent and large-scale paintings. The gallery will also display ten new masterpieces, including work from Rubens, the artists who inspired him and his own students. A contemporary study of Baroque will be curated by Antwerp-based artist Luc Tuymans at the Museum of Contemporary Art (M HKA). Sanguine/Bloedrood (1 June - 16 September) contrasts historical pieces, some selected from the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA), from masters such as Rubens, Goya and Caravaggio, with contemporary artists chosen by Tuymans such as Chuck Close and On Kawara. A more unconventional interpretation of Baroque can be found at the Middelheim Museum at the Experience Traps exhibition (1 June - 23 September). Inspired by Baroque landscape architecture, co-curator and contributing American artist William Forsythe explores typical Baroque motifs like grottos, mazes and fountains through his ‘choreographic objects’. Other contributing artists include light and sound artist Rioyi Ikeda and performance artist Marvin Gaye Chetwynd. Diverting from his usual focus on the 20th and 21st century, Dutch photographer Issue 49  |  January 2018  |  75

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Antwerp Baroque 2018

Museum Aan De Stroom (MAS). Photo: Visit Antwerp.

Paul Kookier will be delving into the Baroque splendour of Rubens and Rembrandt at the Foto Museum (FOMU) from 29 June to 7 October. Meanwhile, the first solo exhibition in Antwerp of young Dutch photographer Athos Burez will be showing at the Museum Aan De Stroom (MAS). Entitled Baroque Burez (from 1 June), his photo series consisting of 30 images and installations will show his distinctively modern take on the Baroque genre using his bizarre signature style.

Monumental churches The omnipresence of Rubens can undoubtedly be felt in the monumental churches of Antwerp. These locations belonged to commissioners of Rubens and his contemporaries and are treasure troves of masterpieces and architecture too good to miss this year. For example, Antwerp’s Cathedral of Our Lady, the highest Gothic church in the Low Countries, holds a remarkable art collection including Rubens’ Elevation of the Cross (1610) and Descent from the Cross (1612-14). St Paul’s Church, completed in 1639, holds 50 paintings including Rubens’ The Vision of St Dominic (1616) on the main altar. Also, in addition to music and dance events 76  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

this year at the Saint Charles Borromeo Church, visitors can also find Rubens’ The Return of the Holy Family from Egypt. Even the final resting place of Rubens is located in Antwerp’s St James’ Church. In the 17th century, Antwerp’s Baroque painters were commissioned by the Order of St Augustine for an altarpiece. The main altar, The Holy Family with Saints, was painted by Rubens. Jacob Jordaens and Antoon Van Dyck adorned the Apollonia and Augustine altars with the Martyrdom of St Apollonia and the Ecstasy of St Augustine. All three of these works are now part of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts and, as part of Antwerp Baroque 2018, these spaces will be permanently filled by the work of renowned Belgian artist Jan Fabre from this August. Visitors more inclined to fashion can find contemporary designs of chasubles, clothing worn by the clergy, at St Andrew’s Church in the heart of Antwerp’s fashion neighbourhood.

Autumn 2018 As the weather turns colder, Antwerp Baroque 2018 will still have a few gems for visitors to discover. At the Snijders & Rockox House, currently undergoing renova-

tion, food photographer Tony Le Duc will curate Cokeyen (28 September - 13 January 2019). Compiling both his own work and that of Frans Snijders, a collaborator of Rubens who specialised in market and hunting scenes and still lifes, Le Duc will present an exhibition with food and ingredients as the focus. Visitors who feel peckish afterwards can indulge in the local Baroque restaurants or food trucks. Another collaborator of Rubens during his lesser-known career as a book designer will be studied at the UNESCO World Heritage Site Museum Plantin-Moretus at the exhibition Baroque Book Design (28 September-6 January 2019). Rubens and his collaboration and friendship with Balthasar I Moretus bore many fruits, including the creation of the Baroque Book, which this exhibition will explore alongside tributes to other notable book designers.

Rubens Experience Centre Following ongoing renovations of the 400-year-old original remnants of the Rubens House, the portico and garden pavilion, the former house of Rubens will be getting a new reception area and ex-

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Antwerp Baroque 2018

perience centre. Due to open in 2020, the centre will be an interactive hub for visitors to gain an intimate look at Rubens’ life virtually guided by the artist himself. The centre has three galleries: the first will focus on Rubens in his studio and home with his friends and family; the second will show a virtual walk through Antwerp, visiting sites related to the artist including St Charles Borromeo’s Church and the houses of his close friends; and the third shows a journey through Italy and Spain where Rubens found inspiration.

Baroque Festival Card The Baroque Festival Card is a pass allowing free admission to all exhibitions and monumental churches related to Antwerp Baroque 2018 as well as discounts to other events. Valid for 48 hours, the pass costs 25 euros and with it you receive a guide and map to Antwerp. The card can be ordered online at:

From Baroque Burez exhibition at the Museum Aan De Stroom (MAS). Photo: Athos Burez.

The design of the Rubens Experience Centre, which VisitFlanders and the City of Antwerp has invested six million euros (around £5.3 million) into, comes from architectural firm Robbrecht & Daem. “We were charmed by their vision, which is based on understanding, respect and admiration for Rubens and that honours the site and the spatial principles that Rubens himself incorporated in his house and garden,” says Caroline Bastiaens. A programme of more events and information on tickets can be found at:

Luc Tuymans at work at Sanguine/ Bloedrood exhibition showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art (M HKA). Photo: Visit Antwerp

From Paul Kookier exhibition as the Fotomuseum (FOMU). Photo: Paul Kookier.

Rubensmarkt. Photo: Visit Antwerp

Issue 49  |  January 2018  |  77

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  New Year Film Guide

Het Leven is Vurrukkulluk. Photo: ©PW-PROOF!!


The movies you need to watch in 2018 TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

Although a relatively small area, the Benelux has produced some beautiful and important films with international allure. Need a break from English spoken productions? Read on for some unmissable cinematographic greatness from the Benelux.

1. Hannah Directed by Andrea Pallaoro, this film is an intimate portrait of a woman drifting between reality and denial when she is left alone to grapple with the consequences of her husband’s imprisonment. Hannah is an Italian and Belgian coproduction. A big part of the film was shot in Brussels, which will mean a feast of recognition for those living in the Belgian capital. Released January 2018. 78  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  New Year Film Guide

Gek van Oranje. Photo: © Pief Weyman

La Holandesa


Bankier van het Verzet. Photo: © Mark van Aller, NL Film 2017

2. Bankier van het Verzet Bankier van het Verzet is the fascinating true story of one of the greatest resistance heroes in the Netherlands. When banker Walraven van Hall is asked in the Second World War if he wants to use his financial contacts for the resistance, he does not hesitate for long. Together with his brother, Gijs van Hall he devises a risky construction to take out large loans with which the resistance can be financed. In cinemas March 2018.

3. Het Leven Is Vurrukkulluk (Life is Delicious) A great Dutch feel-good film about love and desire. In the film we meet Mees and Boelie, whose casual park day quickly changes when they meet the pretty Panda. We see how the marriage of Etta

and Ernst-Jan slowly escalates, and we gaze at the love story of Rosa and Kees: two old lovers whose paths coincidentally cross again after decades. In cinemas January 2018.

4. Patser (Gangsta) Set in Antwerp, Patser shows the story of four dealer friends whose lives spin out of control when they steal a shipment of cocaine. They trigger a full out war between them, an Amsterdam drug lord and the ruthless Colombian cartels. Patser is directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, and is one of the most anticipated Belgian films of 2018. In cinemas January 2018.

5. Gek van Oranje (Orange Fever) It is summer 2010: the Netherlands keeps scoring during the World Cup in

South Africa. The ‘Oranjefans’ increasingly dream of a place in the final, while those with a disinterest in football have the deserted streets for themselves. It is this unusual state of mind that pushes people together or drives them apart after four weeks of the World Cup, nothing is the same anymore. Orange Fever is a wonderful feel-good film. In cinemas February 2018.

6. Messi and Maud (a.k.a. La Holandesa) A chance encounter between a Dutch woman and a Chilean trucker’s young son turns into an epic adventure across Chile’s breath-taking landscapes, and down a road of discovery. La Holandesa is a great story about love, life, and making peace with yourself. Released in April 2018. Issue 49  |  January 2018  |  79

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  La cavalcade de Pétange


Luxembourg’s oldest and most famous party TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: CAVALCADE OF PÉTANGE

The Grand Duchy is well known for its carnivals, but nowhere more so than in the commune of Pétange, south-western Luxembourg. There, you will find the country’s oldest and most prestigious Cavalcade, which this year celebrates its 63rd edition. The Cavalcade of Pétange is a fun and completely free event for all the family, taking place every year during Mi-Carême (Mid-Lent). Serge Breyer is president of Karneval Gemeng Péiteng (KaGePe), the association that has been in charge of organising the Cavalcade since 2008 - but the event’s history goes back way further than that. “In the 1930s the people of Pétange had the idea to go out in the streets and let 80  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

their hair down during Mid-Lent. The event started slowly and grew ever year until World War Two,” begins Breyer. “Then, in the 1950s they decided to start it up again. Incredibly, Pétange has managed to keep that tradition up every year since 1955. Every year the event gets bigger and a little more crazy!”

A royal family Vibrant, diverse and internationally oriented, a highlight of the Cavalcade of Pétange is the five-kilometre procession of revellers walking, on horseback, or riding in vehicles. Leading the way are the locally elected ‘royal family’. “In 1956 the idea of having a carnival prince was conceived. In 1968 they

asked; why not give him a princess? Then in 1974 we saw the introduction of a young couple (a little prince and princess),” explains Breyer. “Last year we also introduced a baby prince and princess, which was a great success!” The baby prince and princess are selected via a photo competition and appear in the official carnival portrait, although that is where their royal obligations end. “We let them stay at home on carnival day!” laughs Breyer. There is always a great deal of suspense over who will be appointed carnival prince every November, while the princesses ball in January sees the election of that year’s carnival princess. The following day there is great excitement at a children’s ball where the child prince and princess are elected.

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  La cavalcade de Pétange

International appeal Pétange is the fifth largest commune in Luxembourg and one of the main attractions is surely its international Cavalcade, as it attracts visitors from far and wide. Every year carnival-goers from across the Grand Duchy and the Greater Region join forces with the Pétange locals. “During carnival all the hotels are full,” smiles Breyer, remembering a time when revellers in “spectacular traditional attire” came all the way from Slovenia to enjoy the party (Pétange is twinned with the Slovenian city of Maribor). Offering something for all the family, the Cavalcade of Pétange is a day for music, dancing and enjoying good food and drink: at last count around three tonnes of sweet treats were distributed, not to mention free beer for the adults. Several songs

have been written specifically for the Cavalcade, and fans can even purchase a special CD. After the carnival procession there is always an amazing atmosphere at the marquee in the Place du Marché (market square), where various musical societies provide a lively soundtrack to the revelry. Hugely popular with little ones is the annual Cavalcade mascot, of which a cuddly toy version is available to buy. This year it will be a Jaguar. “Our sponsors are a garage which sells Jaguars, so it’s a little nod to that,” grins Breyer.

The fun factor The Cavalcade of Pétange is much more than just a one-day celebration, there are plenty of other fun-filled related events such as a ceremony where the new carni-

val prince is given a key to the city. “They always make funny speeches such as ‘free beer for everyone’ or ‘there are no more taxes to pay in Pétange’. It’s a really great night!” Also popular are the carnivalesque shows where silly sketches are performed in front of the ministers from the KaGePe. “We don’t take ourselves too seriously!” concludes Breyer. That fun factor is undoubtedly one of the many reasons behind the Cavalcade of Pétange’s long-running success. Here is to many more years of partying! The 63rd Cavalcade of Pétange will take place on 11 March 2018.

Issue 49  |  January 2018  |  81

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Musée Juif de Belgique

Images from the exhibition Bruxelles: Terre d’Accueil? (Brussels: a Safe Haven?).

Understanding the past and present in Brussels TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: MAXIME COLLIN

As the home of more than 180 nationalities, Belgium’s capital is famously multicultural. Brussels recently celebrated ‘the year of diversity’, with a series of important cultural events taking place across the city. One such example, Bruxelles: Terre d’Accueil? (Brussels: a Safe Haven?), was launched last October and can be seen at the Jewish Museum of Belgium until 18 March. We spoke to Chouna Lomponda, the museum’s head of communication and public relations, to find out more about this significant new exhibition which traces two centuries of immigration in the capital. Bruxelles: Terre d’Accueil? marks an exceptional, temporary reopening for the museum, after it was closed to the public following a tragic shooting in May 2014. 82  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

A collaboration with the Archives de l’Etat (Belgian state archives) and the Centre for Judeo-Moroccan Culture, it is one of the most important ‘’ events. The exhibition is curated by Pascale Alhadeff, Bruno Benvindo and Chantal Kesteloot. Spread over two buildings, the trilingual expo (French, Dutch and English), explores how the Belgian capital transformed into the multicultural city it is today, via the personal testimonies of immigrants, their family photographs and the objects they brought with them.

It is surprising there is not a museum dedicated to immigration in Brussels, given that it is home to so many nationalities: Bruxelles: Terre d’Accueil? allows the public to discover different trajectories through 16 portraits as part of a contemporary exhibition, where 16 witnesses from around the world were filmed. With their words, their accents and their points of view, they tell their life journey and what Brussels represents for them. Coming from Sudan, China, Congo, France, Brazil, Sweden or Syria, they were all born elsewhere.

Open to all

“We look at all groups, not just Jews, even if the historical aspect highlights the different waves which shaped the capital, including Jewish immigration to Belgium. It retraces the itinerary of those who found refuge in Brussels, such as Karl Marx or Leonidas Kestekides, and lesser known people. This

Bruxelles: Terre d’Accueil? presents the different waves of immigration the city has known since 1830 and asks the important question of whether Brussels was a ‘welcoming land’ for them - note there is a question mark in the exhibition’s title.

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Musée Juif de Belgique

exhibition allows us to trace parallels with other cultures,” enthuses Chouna Lomponda. “It has been attracting people of all origins and we’re seeing people we don’t normally see here.” This theme is perfectly in keeping with the Jewish ethic.

Stimulating exchange and reflection Bruxelles: Terre d’Accueil? has been extremely popular with school groups, thanks to an array of material, guided tours and specific workshops which have been made available. After all, it is via education that one can spread understanding of other cultures and break down prejudices. “We have an educational dossier that provides information on those men and women who have come from abroad and helped shape the face of our capital. There are also educational trails which address the theme of migration, deconstruct stereotypes and prejudices, and question the past in the light of the present. This stimulates exchange and reflection.”

Arts, the Jewish Museum of Belgium’s aim is to promote the knowledge and understanding of history, religion and Jewish culture over time and space, emphasising its spiritual and material wealth. The museum encourages visitors of all origins to question the specificities, correspondences and reciprocal borrowings from respective cultural heritages in order to fight intolerance. Besides, look out for online exhibition Le Chantier Poétique de Stéphan Goldrajch, a collaboration between the visual artist Stéphan Goldrajch and photographer Myriam Rispens. The artist initiates the process of developing a ‘poetic project’ that brings into resonance the founding stories of the Bible and the transformation of the building. This original concept consists of following the demolition and reconstruction of the museum through multidisciplinary, poetic and artistic language. For now, the expo can be followed via social media, but

later this year will be presented for real in the newly renovated museum. Le Chantier Poétique de Stéphan Goldrajch can be followed via; Practical information: Bruxelles: Terre d’Accueil? will run until 18 March 2018. Entrance costs ten euros (7 euros reduced rate). For further information visit; You can also connect with the Jewish Museum of Belgium via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Date for your diary: Do not miss Museum Night Fever at the Jewish Museum of Belgium on 3 March 2018!

Bruxelles: Terre d’Accueil? also presents the work of various emerging artists in Brussels including photographers, street artists, sculptors and video makers who offer their vision on the subject of refugees. Look out for film showings, artistic performances, conferences and workshops. “It’s an exhibition which is completely relevant for today, what with the widespread debates about immigration,” points out Chouna Lomponda. “Visitors should come out with a clearer understanding of the past and present.”

Fighting intolerance Situated on rue des Minimes in Brussels’ historical districts of Sablon and Mont des

Chouna Lomponda.

An image from Le Chantier Poétique. Salomé Richard, named most promising female at the Magritte Awards. Photo: © Goldrajch/Rispens

Issue 49  |  January 2018  |  83

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Archéoforum de Liège


A fascinating historical journey TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL  |  PHOTOS: © IPW

The Place Saint-Lambert in Liège may be one of the illustrious Belgian city’s grandest and largest squares, but just below, lies a fascinating, historical journey. Spanning 9,000 years of Liège’s history, the Archéoforum de Liège is a vast and extraordinary archaeological site where you can explore the city’s earliest origins starting as far back as the original prehistoric dwellers’ Neolithic huts. But rather than just admiring objects in glass cases, the Archéoforum allows you to walk amongst the ruins and remains yourself, with a specially designed, family-friendly, iPad tour included in the admission price. The tour also includes specially created, animated films which help bring the past to life as you stand in its midst. “It’s a wonderful experience,” says Frédéric Marchesani, animator at the Archéofo-

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rum. “It doesn’t just cover one period, but takes you through the entire history of the city.” From prehistory the journey continues through Liège’s time as an important outpost in the Roman Empire, taking in the remains of a Gallo-Roman villa. The Place Saint-Lambert was also later the site of Liège’s original Gothic cathedral, but although the building was destroyed during the Revolution, at the Archéoforum you can see the cathedral’s crypt as well as the foundations of other important churches and cathedrals. You can time travel in your choice of English, French, German or Dutch and to make sure your visit is equally fun for all the family, the iPad tour includes games and quizzes for children. Web:

Discover Benelux |  |  Culture |  |  BRAFACalendar Art Fair Discover Benelux  Culture  Lifestyle

Stand Samuel Vanhoegaerden Gallery. Photo: © Emmanuel Crooy

BRAFA 2017. Stand Rodolphe Janssen by A2pix

A L L E Y E S O N B R U S S E L S :

BRAFA welcomes the world’s art galleries TEXT: SIMON WILLMORE

The 63rd edition of the Brussels Art Fair (BRAFA), taking place between 27 January and 4 February at Tour & Taxis in Belgium, is ready to open its doors. The first international art fair of 2018 will bring together 134 galleries and dealers from 16 countries. “We are more international than ever, with a larger number of both exhibitors and visitors from overseas. I’m particularly happy that the number of British exhibitors is the largest it has ever been, at 12. With our growing reputation in the UK, and internationally, we are attracting more dealers and collectors,” explains Bruno Nélis, head of press and communication for BRAFA. Galleries specialising in paintings, sculpture, furniture, archaeology, tribal art, jewellery, ‘haute époque’, silverware, tapestries and even rare books and maps will be on show. Some 15,000 pieces will also be up for sale, all of which have had their authenticity verified by more than 100 experts.

Contemporary artist Christo has been named as the guest of honour this year. The Bulgarian (full name Christo Vladimiroff Javacheff) became renowned for full-sized art installations and imaginative wrapping of monuments, as part of a husband and wife team with the late Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon. Christo’s sculpture Three Store Fronts, first displayed at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven in the 1960s, was specially chosen to be presented at BRAFA 2018. More than 14 metres long and 2.5 metres tall, it will be the largest work ever shown at the fair. “In 2017, we paid homage to a single artist for the first time, in this case Argentinian kinetic and optical artist Julio Le Parc. Now we are delighted to welcome Christo – he’s a star! We’re especially happy that the work he will be presenting was made when he was still a young artist. This will offer something that is not the usual; something that is rarely in exhibitions or books.”

BRAFA’s annual Art Talks programme will this year feature a number of well-known figures including Swiss collector Angela Rosengart, Svetlana Usacheva from the State Tretyakov Gallery of Moscow and Michel Draguet, general director of the Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. “In the wake of the 2017 edition that elicited great enthusiasm and a record number of visitors, the 2018 vintage is forecast as exceptional,” concludes BRAFA chairman Harold t’Kint de Roodenbeke.

Launched in 1956, BRAFA is one of the oldest art fairs in the world and has seen growing attendance numbers, especially recently, rising from 46,000 in 2012 to 61,000 in 2017. The 2018 event will again be held at the 15,400 square-metre Tour & Taxis exhibition space, in a magnificent renovated 20th-century industrial building.

Issue 49  |  January 2018  |  85

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar

National Tulip Day.

Out & About Think January is dark and dull? Think again! A new year means new exciting festivals, mouth-watering culinary events and interesting cultural fairs which will make you forget the icy winter days. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK

Open Air Museum Arnhem. Photo: NBTC

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Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar Brussels Jazz Festival 11 – 20 January Brussels, Belgium Flagey is often considered to be one of Brussels’ most bustling neighbourhoods, so it is no coincidence the city’s biggest jazz festival takes place just there. The event boasts ten days of jazz music by both established international and Belgian talent.

Winter at the Open Air Museum Until 21 January Arnhem, the Netherlands This popular museum takes visitors on a trip through the history of the Netherlands in a most fascinating way. The winter months give the museum that extra feeling of a historic winter wonderland.

Eurosonic Noorderslag 17 - 20 January Groningen, the Netherlands Eurosonic Noorderslag is an annual four-day music showcase festival and one of the Netherlands’ most renowned musical events because of its out-of-the-box programming. This year’s line-up lists Luwten, DeWolff and many exciting new artists.

Speedskating in the Olympic Stadium of Amsterdam 18 January – 28 February Amsterdam, the Netherlands They call themselves ‘the coolest ice-rink in the Netherlands’, and for a good reason: this 400-metre ice rink is located inside the impressive Olympic Stadium. Besides skating, you can also do a curling clinic with friends, or have a cosy dinner next to the rink.

National Tulip Day 20 January Amsterdam, the Netherlands You say the Netherlands, you think tulips. There is even a day completely dedicated to this famous icon. National Tulip Day is also the start of the tulip season. More info via

BRAFA. Photo: Emmanuel Crooÿ

Whisky Weekend 19 – 20 January Amsterdam, the Netherlands You either love or hate it: whisky. People of the first category should not miss the Whisky Weekend, during which they can taste as many whiskies as they like. The event is held at the scenic Posthoornkerk in Amsterdam.

BRAFA (Brussels Art Fair) 27 January – 4 February Brussels, Belgium Art aficionados unite: BRAFA is one of the leading European art and antiques fairs and an absolute must-go-to-event for everyone with an interest in art. The fair shows an incredibly wide variety of specialties, from antiquity to the 21st century.

IMPRO Amsterdam 20 – 27 January Amsterdam, the Netherlands IMPRO Amsterdam brings the best improvisation players from around the world to the stage in Amsterdam and inspires both those who are new to improvisation, and experts. Expect shows, workshops, podcasts, open stages, and much more.

Lichtfestival Gent 31 January – 4 February Ghent, Belgium They say that if you have never spent the night in Ghent you have not really experienced the city. The Belgian hotspot exudes something magical and mysterious at night, ever more enhanced during the city’s light festival.

International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) 24 January – 4 February Rotterdam, the Netherlands The International Film Festival Rotterdam defines it unique character by focusing on new, innovative, independent films and film makers. The festival is a mixture of cinema, film-related visual art exhibitions and live performances.

Pateekes Week 2 – 11 February Antwerp, Belgium The Antwerp Pateekes Week shines a bright light on patisseries, coffee houses and tearooms. All across the city, a special ‘pastry route’ will be set out, so everyone with a love for cake, pastries, and tea will discover the cutest places in the city. Issue 49  |  January 2018  |  87

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar Bruges Beer Festival 3 – 4 February Bruges, Belgium Although Belgium hosts many treasures, specialty beer is definitely one of its most celebrated ones. Bruges Beer Festival is one of the oldest and most authentic beer festivals in the country, with an impressive list of (specialty) beers on offer.

Luxembourg City Film Festival 22 February – 4 March 2018 Luxembourg, City, Luxembourg Something to look forward to: this event promises two weeks’ worth of films and festivities. Luxembourg’s leading cinematic event will showcase a mixture of fiction, animation, and documentary films in its partner cinemas, with various special guests, exhibitions, round tables and workshops adding to the programme. Antwerp in winter. Photo: Visit Flanders

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Luxembourg City Film Festival, Nelly & Mylène Mackay. Photo: Patrick Muller

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Columns


Delvaux dreaming We all know about Surrealism, right? Dalí, melting clocks and lips made into sofas, yeah? All very nice, but a bit passé now though surely? Not very 2018. Well, I would have to disagree. Whizz back a century or so when Surrealism was taking off, and you would find a world fraught with uncertainly in the post-First World War climate. Nobody knew who to trust or believe, or who to turn to for help. In a world with tyrants on both sides of the globe, Brexit, fake news and cats playing keyboards, you have to ask what has changed in the last hundred years. So the Paul Delvaux exhibition at Kunsthal Rotterdam, seems incredibly pertinent and timely. In some ways, Delvaux is the archetypal Surrealist; interested in trains, tunnels, dreams and women - he painted a lot of women. Yet there is more subtlety to Delvaux’s paintings


than these themes suggest. His works are more clunky, less polished than other Surrealists. There is none of the trademark sickly Surrealist slickness about them, and they imply a hidden narrative rather than show their whole hand. They are brooding rather than overt. Throughout the 90 works on show, you can track the development in Delvaux’s career. He was unsure when he set out painting, and had a fascination with De Chirico, Modigliani and Ensor, before steadily experimenting with media and exploring his style. Much like artists do today, Delvaux edited his style along the way to keep up with the times. And so stylistically, Surrealism may seem a thing of the past, but the concepts and concerns that drove it remain today – making Delvaux and Surrealism timeless. See Paul Delvaux, Master of the Dream at Kunsthal Rotterdam until 25 February 2018.


Paul Delvaux, De droom (The Dream), 1935.

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.


De Koninck Lost in Spice Lost in Spice is a recent addition to the beers regularly available from Antwerp’s long-established De Koninck brewery. It is a blonde beer with a light, refreshing taste. It evolved as an experimental special beer but has become established as one of De Konick’s permanent product offerings. De Koninck has been brewing in Antwerp since 1833 and, quirkily, claims to have the second oldest registered business in the city. Only the zoo is older. The brewery’s most popular beer is its pale ale. Locals refer to the beer as ‘Bolleke’, after the goblet shaped glass in which it is served. From a distance it would be easy to confuse a glass of Lost in Spice with lager. Both are golden in colour, effervescent and have clean, white, frothy heads upon being served.

Yet there is no mistaking the aroma of Lost in Spice, which is far more exotic than a standard lager. Ginger dominates the nose. There are hints of lemon, coriander, cardamom and orange in there too. In part that is a result of dry spices being added along with the Hallertau and Salz hops that help give this beer its dry, herby finish. By comparison to its powerful aroma, the taste of Lost in Spice is surprisingly light and fresh. The citrussy tones of this blonde beer are reminiscent of one of the radler-style brews that are currently fashionable and popular. This is an easy-to-drink beer that refreshes the palette. If you enjoy spicy food this is one that pairs well with curries and is even worth trying with Mexican cuisine. Brewer: De Koninck Strength: 5.2 per cent

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

Issue 49  |  January 2018  |  89

Discover Benelux | Music | Benelux Beats



The music from LUWTEN, Tessa Douwstra’s musical alter-ego, encapsulates that much-needed stroll around the block to clear your mind. Although a well-known voice in the Dutch music landscape, Douwstra released her first solo album Luwten late 2017, for which she embraced the sounds of percussionist and producer Frank Wienk (BINKBEATS) and received all-round rave reviews. Discover Benelux spoke to the Dutch singer-songwriter about her debut, stage nerves, and going solo.

So you decided to go solo…and then?

Let us start at the beginning – your debut album Luwten was released in 2017, yet you are no stranger to music. Can you tell us a bit about the course of your musical career?

How has your style changed through the years, music wise?

My interest in music starts a very long time ago – my studies were at the Conservatory in Rotterdam. After graduating, I started playing in music collective Wooden Saints, and later in the band Orlando. Great times, but I gradually found out I wanted to completely do my own thing and be in charge of my own music. 90  |  Issue 49  |  January 2018

First a whole lot of songwriting and arranging. Naturally I knew a lot of people in the business, so I already had an idea who I wanted to use on my first album. Together with them I delved into the studio and created a rough set-up, after which I met up with producer Frank Wienk. With him, the album truly came to completion. It all happened very gradually: along the way you constantly meet new people and get new insights, so that all shapes an album.

I feel more free in the making of my songs: in the past I often made music starting from a certain genre, or another sound that I liked. Now I know myself so well that my starting point is myself.

You will play at the renowned Eurosonic festival this month. What do you prefer: being on stage or in the studio? Tough question, but if I had to choose, I’d go for being in the studio. I have a love-hate relationship with performing: every time I am about to go on stage I ask myself why the hell I am doing this, haha! But that post-show feeling is also the best feeling in the world. Best recent musical discovery? Moses Sumney: great neo-soul music. His album Aromanticism is brilliant. What does the future hold? We have a lot of shows planned in the Netherlands and Belgium, so for now: touring!

Where does the name LUWTEN come from? I think ‘luwte’ is just a beautiful Dutch word, and even more so in plural. Plus it sounds the same in every language.