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Discover Benelux  |  Contents

Contents MARCH 2018





Easter is almost upon us! Anyone with a sweet

Egbert-Jan Weeber

tooth will not want to miss our gourmet guide to

We caught up with Dutch actor Egbert-Jan

the best chocolate and luxury pastries in Flanders.

Weeber to find out more about his role playing Bonifatius, one of the most famous saints in Dutch history, in this summer’s eagerly-an-


Or perhaps you want to sell? Make sure you

friendly and extremely honest: the romantic

check out our guide to the region’s top real es-

comedy favourite also told us about why he

tate experts.

is ready to shake up his image a little bit, and move away from the ‘nice guy’ roles.



as well as profiling the tech companies you need to know about.

doubt the beating heart of Europe. We present our favourite addresses in a city brimming with


architectural gems, fascinating museums and a superb foodie scene.

78 26




van het Verzet (The Resistance Banker) tells the


remarkable real-life story of banker Walraven van

Dutch design is celebrated across the world.

Hall and his brother Gijs. Discover Benelux spoke

From elegant handbags to high-end fashion

to producer Sytze van der Laan.

and much, much more, we showcase the design brands you need to know about.


Sytze van der Laan Q&A Set for release this month, wartime drama Bankier

Made in the Netherlands Avant-garde,

Company profiles, regulars and more We look at the month ahead in Benelux business,

Brussels City Special Belgium’s multi-cultural capital is without


Top Real Estate Agencies in Flanders Are you looking for a new property in Flanders?

ticipated medieval epic Redbad. Laidback,


Easter Chocolates and Luxury Pastries


We enter the musical universe of Dutch electron-

Discover Genk

ic duo Weval - also known as Harm Coolen and Merijn Scholte Albers.

Looking for somewhere different for your next city break? Filled with sunny pavement


cafés, lively shopping streets and numerous cultural attractions, the vibrant city of Genk in Flanders is the perfect destination.

Benelux Beats

6 69

Fashion Picks  |  8 Desirable Designs Out & About  |  81 Columns

Issue 51  |  March 2018  |  3

Discover Benelux  |  Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Discover Benelux Issue 51, March 2018 Published 03.2018 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 Amy Brooke Bas van Duren Cathy van Klaveren Eddi Fiegel Ella Put Frank van Lieshout Juliën L’Ortye

Lorenza Bacino Martin Pilkington Matt Antoniak Michiel Stol Peter Stewart Simon Willmore Steve Flinders Stuart Forster Tim Campbell Xandra Boersma Cover Photo Bowie Verschuuren 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 51  |  March 2018

At last, spring is in the air and like me, you are probably ready to give your wardrobe a much-needed spring clean. This month, in addition to our regular fashion and design features, we bring you a guide to some of the Benelux’s most exciting brands in our ‘Made in the Netherlands’ special. You may have been following the recent shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris as part of ‘fashion week’ season, but here at Discover Benelux we wanted to profile our unique homegrown talent. After all, the very best style is one that is personal and transcendent of fashion. Head to page 26 for plenty of inspiration to update your look. Speaking of image updates, our March cover star Egbert-Jan Weeber told us about how he is ready for his own reinvention in our exclusive interview on page 48. With his classic good looks and on-screen charisma, 36-year-old Weeber has been a staple of the Dutch ‘rom-com’ scene for almost two decades now, although like the Hollywood actor Matthew McConaughey’s famous ‘McConaissance’ a few years ago, Weeber is eager for more edgy roles. Get ready to see him as you have never seen him before in this summer’s medieval epic Redbad, where he plays the English-born monk Bonifatius, complete with a rather fetching ‘tonsure’ hairstyle. Elsewhere in the magazine we are also brimming with ideas to help you make the most of the longer and hopefully slightly warmer days. From a stylish city break in Brussels, to a weekend in the vibrant Flanders city of Genk, there is plenty to inspire throughout this month’s issue. Do not forget to check out our cultural calendar, where you will find art fairs, film festivals, carnival parades and much more - plenty to keep you entertained come rain or shine. Enjoy the March issue!

Anna Villeleger, Editor


Photo credits: Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Tourisme / Maxime COQUARD & Elisa DETREZ @Bestjobers - Shutterkstock - Design: Agence Signe des Temps


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

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks


Earn your stripes! Let us be honest, stripes are practically a staple these days. Are you not yet the owner of a stripy outfit? Then it is about time you started shopping. Whether you are seeking a classic business style, something preppy, or super funky: stripes it is! TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA  |  PRESS PHOTOS

Trendy business It is a versatile item, the striped shirt. Would you combine it with jeans or trousers? A blazer or a sweater? The options are endless. Shirt: €33

Form and function The striped jumper is perfect for spring. It will keep you warm in the morning and stylish at midday. When temperatures rise, you can casually drape it over your shoulders. €119,95

Funky shoes Life is too short to wear boring shoes. So why not try a neat lace up shoe with a funky print for a change? These ones will brighten up your day in a flash. €229,90 Floris van Bommel via 6  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks

Time for spring! With spring in the air, that cosy knitwear can go back into the closet - but it is still too cold for a blouse. A thin sweater might be a good option. Combine with a trendy flared pant and you are good to go. €149

The fun twist Striped blouses are as old as time, and in need of being spiced up a little. Take this one, for example, with its little flared sleeve. Very cute with skinny jeans or a pencil skirt. €89,95 Scotch & Soda via

Embrace the classics Some things never go out of style - for good reason. Why would anybody stop wearing pinstripe pants, for example? Combine this classic with a blazer for a fancy look or try a basic tee if you like it more casual. €44,95 Kiomi via Issue 51  |  March 2018  |  7

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Desirable Designs


Spring clean Spring is finally on its way, making it the perfect time to refresh your home and wardrobe in preparation for sunnier days. With verdant, nature-inspired influences, these sleek designs are sure to lift your mood and brighten up your day. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: PRESS PHOTOS


1. Like a bird A new cushion cover offers a simple and affordable way to liven up your sofa. Featuring a charming, vintage-style motif, this 100 per cent cotton cover would look perfect in a sun-drenched living room or conservatory. € 4,99

2. Go green Create your own green oasis with this Sky Planter from Coolgift, which is is made from 100 per cent recycled material. Perfect to hang on your window frame or even from the ceiling, this innovative design will fill your room with green and improve air quality. € 19,95


5. Natural beauty Looking to brighten up your accessories too? This teak leaf shoulder bag has been made using real leaves. And no need to worry about any eventual springtime showers: the bag’s natural coating makes it waterproof. € 79,50

3. 3. Fly’s eye The stunning Fly’s Eye Porcelain Vase by Krafla was inspired by the designer Buckminster Fuller’s visionary ‘Fly’s Eye’ dome project. Its clever design ensures flowers are separated and supported, meaning each flower gets its deserved care and attention. € 65,00 8  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018


5. 4. Luxury touch Available in three sizes and an array of colours, this luxurious handwoven rug designed by famous Dutch creative Hella Jongerius is just one of many beautiful pieces on offer from renowned rug experts Danskina. € 3050,00 (180 x 240cm)

Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

Photo: ©, Global View, S. Schmitt


The captivating capital of Europe Much more than simply the European Union’s administrative hub, Belgium’s multi-cultural capital is the beating heart of Europe. Famous for its stunning art nouveau facades, charming comic strip route and magnificent Grand Place, the city is home to all manner of cultural delights and a superb foodie scene. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: VISIT.BRUSSELS

Abbaye de la Cambre. Photo: ©, Jean-Paul Remy

10  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

Quick & Flupke (Hergé) © Hergé, Moulinsart Mur BD. Strip Wall Rue Blaes, Blaesstraat. Photo: ©, Jean-Paul Remy

Must-see sites Originally a market place, the magnificent Grand Place must be your first port of call when visiting Brussels. With buildings ranging from Baroque to Gothic eras, the focal point of this beautiful cobblestone square is the spired 15th century city hall. This place is buzzing with classic cafés, so choose your spot and admire away. For a beautiful view of the city head to the Mont des Arts area which is bursting with cultural centres, amazing architecture and must-see museums. Brussels is home to some of Europe’s most prestigious establishments such as the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts and the BELvue history museum, as well as many quirkier establishments. Other hotspots include the breathtaking Royal Palace, not to mention the modern EU quarter and the striking European Parliament building. Brussels is also one of the greenest European capitals, so when the weather is fine take your pick from a host of verdant parks and gardens. Start planning your trip to Brussels now at

Place des Palais. Photo: ©, Eric Danhier

Issue 51  |  March 2018  |  11

Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

Mont des Arts, Kunstberg. Photo: ©, Jean-Paul Remy.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY BLC - Bruxelles Libre Culture 5 - 30 March, Solbosch campus, Université Libre de Bruxelles Calling all culture vultures! This is a unique festival dedicated to cultural diversity comprising street art, cinema, architecture, sculpture, photography, painting, music, dance and theatre. Klarafestival 9 - 30 March, Various locations Held every year in March, Klarafestival presents adventurous performances and concerts with international appeal at numerous venues in Brussels, as well as Antwerp and Bruges.

European Quarter.

12  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

Brussels Design Market 10 -11 March, Tour & Taxis Brussels Design Market is widely regarded as one of the best events in Europe dedicated to 20th century vintage design. A must for both professionals and amateur design aficionados!

BANAD - Brussels Art Nouveau and Art Deco Festival 10 - 25 March, Various locations A festival dedicated to Art Nouveau and Art Deco. This year’s theme is: ‘Hidden treasures and focus on Victor Horta’. The programme includes a host of activities including guided tours, expos and cultural events. Affordable Art Fair Brussels 15 - 18 March, Tour & Taxis This March the tenth edition of the Affordable Art Fair Brussels take place at the fantastic Tour & Taxis site. Admire the work of creatives from all over the world, with an expected 96 local and international galleries set to exhibit. Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival 3 - 15 April, BOZAR Launched in 1983, the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFFF) has become one of the biggest genre festivals in the world. Film fans will flock to the Belgian capital for an array of unmissable avant-premieres.

Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

BOZAR - Henry Le Boeuf Hall

BOZAR - Rotonde Bertouille

Musée Horta dining room, © Paul Louis

Celebrating the master of Art Nouveau in Brussels TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER

Brussels is a city brimming with architectural treasures. And the name most famously associated with the Belgian capital’s Art Nouveau delights is, of course, Victor Horta (1861 – 1947). From Brussels Central railway station to the Belgian Comic Strip Center, not to mention the four magnificent Hortadesigned town houses which are even listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the designer’s masterpieces are endless. Keen to know more? Then check out this year’s jam-packed Horta Inside Out cultural programme… An array of Brussels’ cultural institutions have teamed up to provide the public with an opportunity to (re)discover Horta’s Art Nouveau and Art Deco delights in 2018, via a huge selection of special exhibitions, guided tours, educational activities, organised activities and much more. “Horta is considered one of the most im-

portant names in Art Nouveau architecture, not just in Europe, but internationally too,” begins’ Tineke De Waele. “He was hugely important to Brussels and it was about time a programme was organised to celebrate him!” This month’s Brussels Art Nouveau and Art Deco Festival (BANAD), taking place from 10 - 25 March, has the theme Hidden treasures and focus on Victor Horta. Meanwhile, exhibition aficionados will be spoilt for choice by this year’s Hortainspired cultural agenda. Highlights include Horta & Wolfers at the Cinquantenaire museum, which runs until 30 December and showcases the authentic Horta-designed shop interior of renowned Belgian jeweller Philippe Wolfers. The shop counters have been reinstalled just as Horta designed them so visitors can walk around an identical reconstruction of the store, like wealthy customers of the past.

The programme offers something for all ages, with dedicated events for children too. For example, during the school holidays the Horta Museum is offering special family tours and creative workshops. Also worth exploring are an array of guided tours where the public can explore Horta’s architecture ‘inside and out’. “That’s why the programme is called Horta Inside Out, because you can discover him from every angle,” enthuses De Waele. “You can take tours across different areas of the city on foot, by bike or on a bus. The possibilities are endless!”

Horta inside out To discover more about Horta Inside Out head to the website;

Issue 51  |  March 2018  |  13


SOLD Life in the city center has become an absolute must. Brussels-City and its neighborhood Dansaert / Sainte-Catherine, the most trendy of the capital, make no exception. The Cosmopolitan is made for you : an exceptional place for city dwellers seeking urban perfection.


02 318 18 08

0476 87 97 46

Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

Live jazz in the heart of Brussels at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel TEXT: SIMON WILLMORE  |  PHOTOS: RADISSON BLU ROYAL HOTEL

Brussels’ Grand Place is the cultural and culinary epicentre of the city, where museums, shopping streets, restaurants, boutiques and nightlife abound. Yet, just four minutes’ walk away, is a rather more sophisticated night out, at a series of live music events called ‘Music Off, Jazz On’ at the four-star Radisson Blu Royal Hotel.

For more information, you can contact reception directly or follow the property on social media.

Featuring a modern Art Deco façade, the venue itself is alluring enough thanks to an original 12th century Romanesque wall and a real stream, giving the perfect atmosphere to welcome jazz bands around the piano and below the impressive luminous atrium.

Before heading on a trip to Brussels, visit the Pebblewood Corner for a healthy ‘Super breakfast’ buffet. Guests can choose from an array of breakfast options, including a gluten free station. After a long day wandering around the cobbled streets of the city centre, guests can appreciate an effective work out time in the well-equipped fitness area, which is free for all to use. A relaxing sauna and massages – upon request – are available to calm the mind.

The Atrium restaurant & lounge is welcoming the ‘Music Off, Jazz On’ events. Backed up by live saxophone and electric bass, previous evenings have featured singers Aneta Nayan and Valentina Della Gatta. They are free to attend and are held at the restaurant, which serves delicious cocktails and Belgian cuisine.

Guests will also be able to enjoy their stay in one of the 281 stylish and comfy rooms and suites offering a great range of amenities to provide that extra special touch, including free, high-speed Wi-Fi.

The hotel’s culinary highlight is the twice Michelin-starred and Gault Millauawarded Sea Grill restaurant, which

creates dishes such as monkfish with goose liver and candied chicory. If you want to combine pleasure with business, 18 meeting rooms are displayed all over the property, offering natural daylight and providing all the right elements for successful meetings. Located in the buzzing city centre of Brussels, the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel is only situated four minutes away from the central station which offers direct connections to the airport, the city metro and Europe’s main rail lines. Who knew jazz could be so accessible?

Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Rue du Fosse-aux-Loups 47 B-1000 Brussels Belgium  Tel: +32 (2) 219 28 28  Web: royalhotel-brussels

Issue 51  |  March 2018  |  15

Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

The world of a secret agent TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL  |  PHOTOS: KOEZIO

James Bond is alive and well, and living in Brussels. Or at least, that is true of his alias – John K. Just ten minutes from the centre of Brussels, at Koezio – the vast, 007 – inspired adventure centre at the Docks Bruxsel, special agent John K has developed a secret agent centre with a difference – a live adventure game where you can become a special agent yourself. Open to big and small groups of friends, families or couples, you will be divided in teams of two - five agents. Each team of agents begins their two-hour mission with a briefing from the Bond-style special agent John K. The agents then have to navigate their way through four physical and intellectual stages, taking in an obstacle course, a mystery maze, cracking secret codes, find16  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

ing clues and solving mysteries, in order to become a Koezio Elite Team.

building a team spirit, so that each group can succeed.

It is an intense two hours during which participants experience a range of riveting sensations, whether it is climbing up giant frames or swinging in mid-air as they work their way through the ingeniously devised physical course. Along the way they encounter 007-style set designs with theatrical coloured lights as they battle enigmas and codes. Throughout it all they must do their best to remain focused, confronting searching questions and mustering up courage when faced with the unknown.

At the end of the two-hour course, there is a short ‘debriefing’ session where agents can learn vital lessons about their strengths and weaknesses. They can then relax with a drink or if they are feeling hungry, tuck into pizza or raclette in the centre’s café/restaurant.

You do not need to be particularly sporty or academic as each member of the team has their own individual role to play and what matters most is working together with the others in your group and

The Koezio centre in Brussels opened in 2016 and the aim was to create active games where participants have fun whilst learning about themselves. “The idea was an adventure game in teams but where there were no guns, no weapons and where nobody was fighting each other. A fun game with positive values,” explains founder and creator Bertrand Delgrange, also known as special agent John K.

Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

“James Bond was definitely part of the inspiration,” Delgrange continues. “But it was also very important to us that the game we created was based around human values. What’s most important is not the individual but the team, the cohesion of the team, their different qualities and capabilities. Very often games are based around weapons or with video games you’re sitting alone in a room with a screen and with headphones on, so my idea was to do something that involved real emotions and real human interaction within a group. That’s the most important part of the formula and the most innovative aspect. It’s team building not just for businesses but for the general public – for friends and families too.” This positive attitude has made Koezio a great success with both businesses and schools who value the important team

building values emphasised throughout the missions. In every game or mission, explains Delgrange, there are questions and enigmas to solve. “We can tailor those specifically for teachers. That way children come for two hours and they learn about team spirit, but at the same time they can be working on questions based on the school’s programme and curriculum. This way it’s really ‘edutainment’, combining education and entertainment.” Koezio is open to children who are at least one metre 40 or taller (usually around age nine or ten) and the centres are also hugely popular for family outings, birthday parties, Halloween and themed party nights. Prices range between 15 - 28 euros depending on your chosen package.

Businesses likewise flock to the centre for team building sessions and there are Premium conference rooms and tailored services available for seminars and special events. The centres also have the capacity for large groups of up to 300. Since the first Koezio centre opened in Lille in 2006, tthree further centres have opened in Sénart (south of Paris), Cergy (north of Paris), Brussels, and there are currently plans to open new venues in the Netherlands, Britain, Spain and Germany.” With 130,000 visitors a year to each park, special agent John K is clearly on a mission to succeed. For information and reservations, visit

Bertrand Delgrange

Issue 51  |  March 2018  |  17

Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

Enjoy a first-class stay at this modern hotel in Brussels TEXT: PETER STEWART  |  PHOTOS: THON HOTEL BRUSSELS CITY CENTRE

If you are searching for a hotel that offers an unforgettable experience then look no further than Thon Hotel Brussels City Centre. Situated in the heart of Belgium’s dynamic capital city, just a few minutes walk from trendy Rue Neuve with its shops and restaurants, this hotel has plenty to offer guests.

consists of nothing more than a coffee and a croissant, but not at Thon Hotel Brussels City Centre! Here you can tuck into a generous breakfast buffet with an organic twist; highlights include smoked salmon, freshly baked breads and a wide selection of gluten-free products, as well as freshly prepared fruit juices, homemade smoothies, flavoured ice water and fair-trade coffee.

“The customer experience is at the heart of everything we do here at Thon,” says hotel marketing manager, Céline Batteauw. And you can see this just from the hotel’s impressive facilities. Whether you are looking for a quiet night in front of the television, or are a games addict who likes to compete with friends or family, this hotel has got it covered.

Breakfast is not the only meal the hotel can offer you. If you are hungry after a morning meandering through the city’s old streets or after a day of shopping, then you can stop off at their ‘Grab and Go’ self-service station. Here you will find a wide variety of healthy and tasty lunch, dinner and snack options, all of which are freshly prepared.

There is nothing like starting the day with a good breakfast. In many places this

When it comes to entertainment, you will find plenty to keep you occupied in

the hotel’s very own games room. Inside ‘Time4Fun’ you can select from a number of games for single or multiple players, with popular choices including darts and shuffleboard. This hotel is the first in Belgium to have its own professional shuffleboard, a fun game that offers the perfect lesson in team-building. But if you just fancy a cosy night in front of the box then this hotel can offer that too. Each room comes with a smart TV allowing you to transfer whatever is on your phone onto the big screen, whether it is a laugh-out-loud movie, a good book or your favourite pictures from a perfect day exploring the city. So what are you waiting for? Book today for a stay to remember.

Issue 51  |  March 2018  |  19

Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

L’ A U B E R G E S A I N T- P I E R R E :


Italian flair comes to Belgium Salvatore Ingenito has been lending his unorthodox creative flair to traditional Italian-French cuisine for more than 40 years. The self-taught chef, originally from Naples, was the owner of an establishment in Zaventem on the outskirts of Brussels, when in 2016 an opportunity came knocking. That opportunity was to take over the magnificent L’Auberge Saint-Pierre in WezembeekOppem, a 20-minute drive from the Belgian capital, with his daughters Brenda and Doriana. Now, surrounded by his family, Salvatore likes to take his diners on a journey through France and Italy with his cuisine – and his establishment. “Upon entering our establishment, you will see a beautiful veranda, with a view of the terrace and the garden. There are four rooms, perfectly arranged to organise any special occasion, be it a birthday, anniversary or business meeting,” explains Brenda Ingenito.

Menus are regularly tailor-made for each event and feature seasonal, local, produce such as freshly caught lobster from the on-site pond. The à la carte menu features innovative choices such as beef maki with sesame and Tataki vinaigrette, foie gras and Bavarian melon; Ballotine fillet of sole, stuffed with spinach flavoured with sambuca and coffee powder; or fondant of Charolais beef with fried foie gras and a port reduction. And of course, reminds Brenda, proud Italian chef Salvatore could not leave diners without a choice of pasta, such as spaghetti with lobster and oyster mushrooms. On Tuesday to Friday afternoons, L’Auberge Saint-Pierre offers a threecourse lunch for €23, or, on Saturdays, a five-course lunch for €28.


A centre that always goes the extra mile TEXT: AMY BROOKE  |  PHOTOS: THE INTERNATIONAL AUDITORIUM

Conference centres with top-notch business facilities are ten a penny, but not all offer the personal touch that make visitors return year after year. This is where The International Auditorium excels: its passionate staff consistently go the extra mile to ensure clients have the best possible experience, whatever the scale of their event. “We offer a friendly and flexible service,” says The International Auditorium’s Jan De Koninck. “We don’t want people to worry about something they may have forgotten to order. We always do our best to work with them to offer last-minute solutions, whatever the problem.” Set up in 2000 and holding more than 600 meetings a year, this is something the centre has become extremely good at, putting clients at ease quickly. Ideally located in the heart of the city and with six rooms of varying sizes, as well as an air-conditioned 200-seater theatre-style 20  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

auditorium, The International Auditorium is perfectly equipped to handle all types of events, from international symposia to small-scale company meetings. Each room is fitted with the latest technology, such as ceiling-mounted HD projectors and free high-speed Wi-Fi as standard, while ample natural daylight makes for an enjoyable working experience. International events are well catered for, as both the auditorium and the largest room have stateof-the-art interpreting booths. The quality business service is rounded off with a wide catering offering from in-house caterer, Esstragon, who can provide everything from

welcome drinks to sit-down lunches. The lightfilled 300-capacity lobby is the perfect space for hosting buffets and cocktail receptions. All the above ensure a successful event, but what does success mean to the centre itself? For De Koninck, it is when people want to come back. And come back they certainly do. “The majority of our customers – including NGOs and private companies – return year after year for their executive committee meetings.” Web: en/index.php

© Mireille Roobaert

The Good Life

• Concept One Stop Evening : apéro, diner, soirée en musique • A découvrir : notre nouvelle cuisine au centre du restaurant The Lodge - Restaurant & Bar-Club I Rue des Pêcheries 2 I 1170 Brussels Reservation : +32 2 662 26 66 I e-mail : I website :

Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

A slice of Puglia in West Brussels TEXT: TIM CAMPBELL  |  PHOTOS: L’APPUNTAMENTO

In the quaint village of Groot Bijgaarden, in a shy corner of West Brussels, sits a little piece of Southern Italy. Providing authentic Italian dishes from Puglia, this cosy 70-seat modern restaurant continues to serve some of the best Italian food in Brussels. The owner Antonio Panizza, and his co-owners, are passionately involved in their restaurant. “At L’Appuntamento, cooking has become a form of art,” states Panizza. The team aim to surpass guest’s expectations daily by turning out succulent dishes with fresh meats from nearby farms and organic produce grown locally. Serving up Italian staples such as salads, 15 types of pizza, Osso bucco and a dizzying amount of different pasta dishes, their customer age group varies from three to 83 years old. The attractive terrace garden is an ideal spot when the weather is fine, but the big draw of this casual dining experience is in 22  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

the spring and summer when the flowers bloom. Aromas from the garden match those from the kitchen providing guests with an olfactory overload. In the cooler evenings there are heaters to keep customers warm. The centre piece of the garden is its fountain. During the day diners can have an almost zen-like experience in this tranquil haven eating lunch among flowing water and sunshine. For dinner, the terrace transforms once again; subdued lighting gives guests the feeling of eating in an Italian fairyland on the shores of the Adriatic. The chef, who trained in Italy, changes the menu several times per year. Discerning customers can enjoy delicious main courses such as filet mignon, escalope Milanese, saltimbocca, fresh tagliatelle with lobster and fresh scampi with mushrooms. Traditional appetisers include buffalo mozzarella and beef or salmon

carpaccio. Desserts include the perennially popular tiramisu and panna cotta. The restaurant’s wines and spirits are selectively chosen. Favourites such as chianti, negramaro and primitivo sit side by side with classic aperitifs such as aperol and digestifs including grappa, limoncello and sambuca. Having opened in the spring of 2012, L’Appuntamento is coming up to its sixth anniversary.

Celebrate your next special event at L’Appuntamento. Pre-book early via the website at

©esope - ©Spasiba - ©albanierroz studio





In front of “Tour & Taxi” QUAI DES PÉNICHES 70 * 1000 BRUXELLES * +32 2 229 00 73 Booking :

Near “The hotel****” 47 BD DE WATERLOO * 1000 BRUSSELS * +32-2-514 15 33 Booking :

in partnership with

in partnership with

Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

‘The only authentic fish and chips in Belgium’ TEXT: LORENZA BACINO  |  PHOTOS: BIA MARA

An innovative twist on traditional Irish fish and chips is what draws people to Bia Mara, just off the city’s Grand Place and now also in the EU District’s Place de Londres. “It’s typical Irish street food,” explains general manager Gregory Marlier. “We make the only authentic fish and chips in Belgium – crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside - and it is served with local beer or our own homemade lemonade.” Most of the sustainably sourced fish comes from Norwegian and Swedish waters and only

non-breeding adults are caught using nets which gently skim the surface. “Sustainability is really important to us,” says Marlier. “We are also quick and affordable, serving very generous portions in wooden boxes reminiscent of how things used to be done in Ireland. Prices range from 11-13 euros and people are rarely able to finish it all.” Diners can choose from a variety of more than 20 sauces, including the bestseller – Bia Mara’s very own garlic truffle mayonnaise. Or why not try the tempura batter, where fish is dunked directly into the special Japanese mixture?

Do not forget to try the baby squid tempura. These are gently fried in a casserole dish using the tempura method and served with Bia Mara’s tartar sauce. Each month, fish and chip afficionados can keep abreast with new recipes via Bia Mara’s social media channels and can expect to find spices and flavours from across the globe carefully blended to enhance the flavour of traditional Irish fish and chips. Web:

Wall painting by Charles W. Hargrove Jr. Waelhemstraat 38, 1030 Brussels, Belgium.



The best craft beer bottle shop in Brussels There is a small yet thriving craft beer shop in Brussels that visitors should know about. Located near the Gare de Midi in the trendy St Gilles area, Malt Attacks is accessible, yet off the main tourist drag. Antoine Pierson founded his shop in 2014 and it attracts beer lovers from across Belgium and abroad. “I had a passion for craft beer before I decided to give up my day job and go for it,” explains Antoine. “I couldn’t find the beer I really loved and wanted to buy, so I thought I’d do it myself. “Surprisingly there isn’t much competition, although the situation is changing now, so I managed to start up quite easily.” This cosy shop boasts around 450 labels, stocking popular Belgian craft beers as well as a number of international ones. Locals come in droves to seek out Antoine’s latest finds. “I only choose from independent smallmedium breweries,” explains Antoine. “You 24  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

won’t find any industrial brands in my shop, and I stock about 50/50 Belgian and international craft beers.” The local Belgian beers remain the most popular, along with rarer Lambic and IPA varieties. Prices range from 1.50 euros up to 20 euros per bottle and for Antoine quality, price and honesty remain paramount. Home brewing equipment is available too, and if you own a ‘growler’ (a special glass, ceramic or stainless-steel container), Antoine will refill it with your favourite craft beer so you can enjoy it at your leisure.

18 Avenue Jean Volders 1060 Saint-Gilles (Bruxelles) Open Tues - Sat 11am-7pm Tel: +32 (0)2 534 96 88 Web:

Photo: Cédric De Taeye

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

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Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

TOP TRENDS The Netherlands is brimming with fashion and design inspiration. So now that spring is in the air, what better time to give your wardrobe a little update? We take a look ahead at a few of spring/ summer 2018’s biggest trends.

‘dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade’ which reveals ‘originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking’. The hue was spotted all over the fashion week catwalks and will be hitting the high street in various forms this spring.

Purple rain

Check it out

Did you know that the colour experts at the Pantone Colour Institute declared Ultra Violet as the ‘PANTONE® Color of the Year 2018’. It is described as a

The 90s revival is not going anywhere and one of that decade’s most ubiquitous trends - the heritage check - is back for spring/summer 2018. Checks were

all over the catwalk during fashion week season, adorning everything from caps to trenches, and even summer-ready gowns.

Ruffle some feathers Goodbye clean lines, hello ruffles! The spring/summer catwalks were filled with romantic ruffles. Adorning everything from jumpsuits to Victorian-style blouses, ruffles are extremely flattering and a great way to bring a high-fashion touch to your daily attire. Issue 51  |  March 2018  |  27

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T H E O N E S - T O - WAT C H We asked NBTC Holland Marketing for some of their top Dutch design tips… Michael Barnaart van Bergen Michael Barnaart van Bergen focuses on knitwear and is celebrated for his comfortable dresses and influences ranging from industrial design, graphic design and art. The collections are produced in limited editions in the Netherlands using traditional methods and can be seen both on the streets and in various international museums. We particularly love his Mondrian-inspired dresses!

Omar Munie is celebrated for his handbags.


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

Atelier NL This design duo have a studio in the Bergmannkerk church in Eindhoven and are renowned for their homewares. Atelier NL often source clays from around the Netherlands and catalogue their properties and colours, as well as doing the same with sand for glass items. This produces specialist finishes and colours, and celebrates regional diversity. Omar Munie The young and talented Dutch designer Omar Munie is celebrated for his handbags, which are considered to be the perfect blend of functionality and design. The creative has many awards to his name including ‘Best Entrepreneur Under the Age of 25’, ‘Most Innovative Entrepreneur 2011’ and a lifetime achievement award in 2013 for a sustainable design bag made from recycled KLM uniforms. Mondrian-inspired designs by Michael Barnaart van Bergen.

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands


VENA candy, page 37

Paul Schulten Read more from page 30 Paul Schulten has made a name for himself with daring suits and dresses, unusual materials and a colourful style.

Herna’s Atelier Read more from page 31 Dutchwoman Herna van Dronkelaar has emerged as the go-to designer for bridal and formal dresses.

nOeser Read more from page 31 nOeser creates non-seasonal items for newborns and seasonal fashion outfits for babies and children inspired by on-trend colours.

Giese Leather Products Read more from page 32 From totes to clutches, Giese Leather Products offers a superb collection of bags.

Hi-di-hi Read more from page 32 Dutch label Hi-di-hi specialises in colourful bags and accessories which make passers-by smile.

LM by Lhana Marlet Read more from page 33 With her stunning ‘Made 2 Wear’ collection, designer Lhana Marlet combines fashion with sustainability.

Ledûb Read more from page 34 Fashion brand Ledûb specialises in high-quality shirts for men and offers a range of elegant styles.

Artessorio Read more from page 35 Artessorio specialises in creatively crafted leather handbags and accessories for style-conscious women who are looking for something unique.

LovedbyGaby Read more from page 35 Thanks to a stand-out selection of stylish and custom-made planners, Dutch stationary brand LovedbyGaby has gained popularity.

GJecharro Read more from page 36 Once you wear the exclusive, handmade jewellery of GJecharro you will leave a colourful sparkle wherever you go.

Er Lolah Read more from page 36 Ingrid Mulder and Nancy Buskoop have decided to breathe new life into used luxury scarves by creating new ones out of them.

VENA candy Read more from page 37 VENA candy’s handbag designs are the perfect ‘eye candy’ for women who are not afraid to stand out from the crowd.

Anniestijl Read more from page 38 Handbag label Anniestijl’s handmade, high-quality designs always have a unique twist and a touch of fun.

Moonnick Read more from page 39 Nicole Blaauw’s handbag label Moonnick is renowned for truly unique and excellent quality leather products.

Dutch Tails Read more from page 40 Dutch Tails have made waves with their unique mermaid swimsuit collection, available in a range of colours.

Zijmaakthet Read more from page 40 With the extensive knitting patterns from Zijmaakthet you can be sure to create your own monkey, teddy bear or elephant without any problems.

Weststrate Groep Read more from page 42 Weststrate Groep in Dordrecht specialises in workwear that is resistant to any kind of danger.

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Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

Helping businesses with corporate clothing TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: PAUL SCHULTEN

As one of the Netherlands’ most reputed designers, Paul Schulten is the kind of fashion designer who loves to challenge himself. Tutored by the famous creative Edgar Vos, Schulten designs almost exclusively women’s wear and has made a name for himself with daring suits and dresses, the use of unusual materials and a colourful style that permeates throughout his work. Not content with creating only haute couture, the Dutchman is also famous for his ‘ready-to-wear’ collections and corporate clothing. All one has to do to get a good feel of Schulten’s style is step inside his shopcome-studio in Badhoevedorp, just a stone’s throw from Schiphol Airport. Though the space may be small, the dresses on display make for a mustbrowse selection of garments that fill the room well. Schulten is extremely 30  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

happy with his newfound place, having previously resided in Amsterdam’s arguably most affluent shopping street, P.C. Hooftstraat. “Many tried to buy me out of that place and then somebody came along with an offer I couldn’t refuse,” he grins. “Now I’ve got a place for myself with a showroom, a studio and there’s also the fact that I can practically walk from home to my store.” Schulten’s down-to-earth attitude might be in contrast with the lush dresses he designs, and his approach to design is very much the same: “Whether it’s haute couture, ready-to-wear or corporate fashion: it’s a matter of getting behind that PIN code and learning what makes somebody tick. If it’s a company I’m clothing, I want to know what they stand for. That takes knowledge of three sides that are equally important for haute couture: the creative, technical and

social-psychological sides. It takes more than just a good suit to underline a woman’s identity. I work with many women who work on an international level and want nothing left to chance. A good suit can make all the difference.” The fashion designer has had multiple successes dressing both men and women for different companies such as Spirit Hostess & Promotions, Hotel Okura and its highly regarded Ciel Bleu restaurant. “They’re all in that particular field where representativeness is key. There are many talks between me and the uniform commission that precede, but once I see those people in my clothes, it’s really something special. It feels like being more than just a fashion designer; call it a consultancy firm,” smiles Schulten. Web:

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

Weaving stories into dresses It was always Herna van Dronkelaar’s ardent wish to become a fashion designer and after years of learning, investing and dreaming, her dream came true. Residing in the town of Barneveld, a 45-minute drive from Amsterdam, the Dutchwoman has emerged as the go-to designer for bridal and formal dresses. Under her label Herna’s Atelier (the Dutch word for studio), she combines both her technical and arty sides. A self-taught artist, but a certified designer: this is how Herna van Dronkelaar describes herself. “I was always into designing clothes and was able to turn my hobby into my work.” It is a craft, requiring a high level of insight and unbridled passion for the trade. “Bridal dresses have always been my core business, but lately I’m gravitating more and more towards formal dresses as well, seeing how I can put even more of myself in them,” she explains. “The fabrics can be anything, but I can get really excited by high quality wool or smooth silk. The latter is not easy to work with, but if you can, it’s pure joy.”


There is not much on display in the studio of Van Dronkelaar for a good reason: all of her dresses are custom-made. “I’m only happy with my dresses if they reflect the personality of the customer and feel natural to them. To get to that point, I invite the person over and get a good picture of them, not only in measurements, but personality too. Taking shape sizes requires me to touch people and some are a bit nervous about that at first, but in the end, everybody trusts me. They tell me personal stories and we connect, making that dress, in essence, something we create together. With a unique dress having that finishing touch, the customer goes home with a piece of haute couture.”


‘Their experiences are our canvases’ TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: NOESER

Inspired by her own children, Annuska Toebast–Wensink had the idea to launch a fashion line for newborns and toddlers. Fast forward four years and Dutch fashion brand nOeser has gone worldwide, and is available in 20 countries on three different continents. “Children’s worlds and their experiences are our canvases,” she explains. The name nOeser is inspired by Annuska’s first name, because her friends call her ‘Noes’. The brand creates non-seasonal items for newborns, as well as seasonal fashion outfits for babies and children aged 0 - 8 years, inspired by on-trend colours. “And we have a MOM’s collection, so women can twin with their kids.” Her children’s world led to the creation of the 2018 collection ‘Peter Pan and the Lost Boys’. “My children and I were watching this film and they were just loving it. So the decision was very easy: to create the new collection

based on that,” smiles Annuska. “We launched the new line by organising a kids’ fashion show on a pirate ship, where children could experience the pirate life and their parents learnt about our new collection.” It is important to offer fashionable clothing ‘made for’ children, rather than ‘made by’ children. That is why nOeser ensures its clothes are made by production partners who adhere to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). And together with the relief organisation ‘Free a Girl’, nOeser created a charity sweatshirt, of which the proceeds go to support this good cause. “Children should not be forced into child labour or prostitution. We just want kids to enjoy their dreams and adventures, and to see the world as one big, beautiful playground.” Web:

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Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

Versatile, classic and beautifully made TEXT: CATHY VAN KLAVEREN  |  PHOTOS: GIESE LEATHER PRODUCTS

A good handbag is an absolute essential for most women, especially one that is versatile yet classic. This is exactly what Giese Leather Products has in mind with a stunning collection of bags. Giese Janssen is so passionate about handbags that she went to school to learn the craft. Having graduated recently, she branded her name and launched her own label on 1 November last year. The creative turned her home into an atelier where she designs and manufactures her own line herself. “The investment was all worth it. Every day, I enjoy what I do,” she smiles. Customers are always welcome to visit the atelier. “To learn more about the products and the way they’re made.” Growing up, Janssen loved handbags and working with her hands. “I always had an interest in making things myself. I eventually had to decide during my education what to specialise in. For me, the obvious way to go was making bags.” A decision she has not once regretted.

Because the bags are not made in bulk, customers are sure to have a unique product. The collection varies from a larger type of robust tote, a clutch, a medium bag and as of recently a mini bag. Janssen also makes a complementary wallet to fit inside your bag. “I like black and grey, but I love it when I see someone with a popping colour. My ambitions will always be to add more colours and renew designs.”

Handbags to fall in love with What started out as a one-of-a-kind backpack for her son, turned out to become a thriving brand for women’s handbags. Such is the luck of Dutch designer Sylvia Krens who operates her handbag line, Hi-di-hi, in the city of Maassluis. The designs are sold wholesale, in her store and online. Syvia Krens is a woman of the world, with her accomplishments including graduating as a graphic designer and illustrator, evening classes in marketing, attending a fashion academy and spending years of travelling and painting on top of that. But it was a simple request by her son that kick-started her career in handbags. “He has a fascination for superheroes and drew a picture of a backpack with a hoodie attached to it. When I made it for him, all the kids at school wanted the same one. Things took off from there, I got in touch with an entrepreneur who owns a factory in China and I decided to exclusively design women’s handbags,” she smiles. 32  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

Having to rely on a factory in China, Krens ensures her products are fairly made. “That took some time, but I don’t want to do anything that goes against my morals.” The end result for Krens is a line of handbags that are quite quirky, eschewing the traditional shades of grey and opting for a more colourful palette. “They’re season-inspired colours, not bound by trends and easy to fall in love with. Just like the backpack for my son, if it’s loved and talked about, I’d say ‘mission accomplished’.”

Instagram: @giese.leather.products View and shop the entire collection via


Web: |

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Model: Ama Anim - Model: Caroline de Booij - Make-up: Faïsa Sontodimedjo - Styling: Babette Tielrooij - Photography: Sanja Marusic - Production: Chantal Nolten - nl.linkedin/in/chantynolten.

L H A N A M A R L E T:

Unique prints on sustainable fabrics TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA

Beautiful unique prints on high quality fabrics, made without waste: this is Lhana Marlet. With her ‘Made 2 Wear’ collection, she combines fashion with sustainability. Walking around cities or nature, but also people watching: Marlet seeks inspiration everywhere. “It’s about movement, colours, contrasts and shapes. LM designs are created for free spirits, and so there are a wide variety of inspirational objects.” Mostly, her designs comprise scarves and kimonos. “Timeless pieces you can wear for years, without them going out of style, easily combined with wardrobe basics to create a signature look.”

Unique Marlet’s collection represents individuality and diversity. That is rare in an age where everything is about popularity, notably on the internet. “We’re like robots, everybody looks the same nowadays. I want to change that. When people wear

LM, they wear something unique, as production is limited.”

Special editions Designs can be worn for years, because all fabrics are high quality: silk, cashmere and velvet for this collection. “The Earthings earrings I design as limited editions are made from recycled plastic.” Additionally, Marlet designs special pieces such as leggings, dresses and vintage army jackets. “The thought behind them is the same as with the scarves and kimonos: unique prints on sustainable fabrics.” The vintage army jackets are called the ‘make love not war jacket’. The idea behind them is turning something dark into something beautiful and marching together towards a world without war and violence. “They are about having a voice together – a bond between people that want to fight for a better world.”

Hand-made prints Marlet’s prints are unique, hand-painted, or made through photography and

collages. Each one is personally edited and printed onto fabric. There are new prints in her collection every two months, and each piece is ‘Made 2 Wear’. This means Marlet only starts producing a piece when it is sold through her website. “The vintage jackets are the only exception, I only make ten of those to keep it exclusive. Overproduction is a big issue, I don’t want to contribute to that, in doing so LM stays exclusive.”

Donating to charity The designer’s working methods are not the only thing contributing to the world. Marlet also contributes with her profits, by donating a part to charity. “Together we can help to make the world a better place. A part of all LM profits are donated to a foundation that respects this earth and everything living on it.” Web: Instagram: @lhanamarlet

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Shirts that stay in fashion TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: LEDÛB

Fashion has a few timeless classics and the men’s shirt is rightfully one of them. The apparel is a tried and tested piece of clothing that comes in many shapes and sizes. At Van Winkel Fashion, the brand owner of Ledûb shirts, in the Dutch town of Budel, they know their shirts. As one of the Van Winkel Fashion brands, Ledûb relies on more than 60 years of experience and works with a retailer network that spans more than 400 fashion stores across the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Starting all the way back in the 40s, the Van Winkel family were among the first in the Netherlands to produce men’s shirts on a large scale for different labels. But the family wanted a brand of their own and settled in 1963 on the name Ledûb which is a nifty anagram of Budel, the Van Winkels’ hometown. Given how French fashion was ‘le nec plus ultra at the time’, 34  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

it certainly helped to have a name that sounds like it could have been from anywhere between Paris and Marseille. These days Ledûb is all about shirts in a threefold way: there is the changing, half yearly collection, a line of base shirts, and tailormade shirts that can be purchased through one of the fashion stores that are partnered with Ledûb. “We’re a company that sells quality and doesn’t do much advertising,” explains Anja van den Bersselaar, director at the company. “We’re known for our high quality shirts of which we’re in total control, from thread to the distribution of the end product. The designs are made in-house and the clothes are made in a production facility in Macedonia that we own, ensuring not only high quality but also excellent working conditions where there’s no child labor. We use predominantly non iron and two-ply fabrics as the main materials. New fabrics

such as f.e. stretch have been added along the way. For tailor-made shirts, we’re able to design and produce shirts that fulfil all the consumer’s personal wishes, fashion wise or size wise.” Ledûb has its focus set to the autumn collection 2018. Van den Bersselaar: “We’re very good with colours and see how burgundy, ochre tones and green will dominate the season.” As for longer term plans, the company wants to expand their collection with more fits and increase their export, reaching out to other European countries as well. “Ledûb is a brand that has existed for a long time and is growing at a steady pace, like most family businesses do.” Web:

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Poetic creations by Artessorio Conceived by designer Patray Lui, Artessorio specialises in creatively crafted leather handbags and accessories for elegant and style-conscious women who are looking for something truly unique. Designed by Patray in the Netherlands and made in Italy, Artessorio’s creations feature beautiful patterns and illustration art. The Artessorio story evolved from Patray’s passion for drawing. “I have always found it a wonderful way to express my emotions,” begins the creative, who completed her masters in design in Italy. Combining traditional handicraft with


modern technology, Patray’s designs evoke a timeless yet contemporary style, with their own distinctive texture and silhouette. Patray’s appreciation of Italian artistry is highlighted by the original brand name, which combines two Italian words: ‘arte’ and ‘accessorio’ (art and accessory). “As well as looking for something special and refined with a modern twist, my customers are conscious about product quality and want something that will last a long time, not just one season,” explains the designer, who originates from Hong Kong.

Patray founded Artessorio in 2009, with the brand soon gaining popularity in locations ranging from London to Singapore. After more recently taking a hiatus to raise her baby daughter, the creative is ready to get back to business and excited about the prospects for the future. Artessorio’s distinctive designs include a range of totes, shoulder bags, clutches and crossbody bags. Shop the collection via

A luxurious planner made just for you TEXT: CATHY VAN KLAVEREN  |  PHOTOS: LOVEDBYGABY

Planning is everything, but finding a tool that complements each individual person and their own needs is not always easy. That is, until you discover Dutch brand LovedbyGaby’s stylish, custom-made planners. Gaby van Sandijk has been passionate about stationary since she was a little girl, so it was only natural she would end up launching her own unique stationary business. The LovedbyGaby story began when she was homebound after recovering from an operation and searching for something to do. “I came across photos of planners that were so creatively made, I knew I could do that too. I also felt that regular planners always had something I didn’t like. I wanted something that was luxurious, that wasn’t too expensive.” Everything Van Sandijk made, she shared online. People liked her creations so much,

she got asked to personalise something for them as well. “Sometimes I would work all night,” she recalls. So, she decided to take things to the next level. Van Sandijk expanded her business by using modern machinery. Because she custom makes her designs, it was a worthwhile investment. “I show my clients every draft until they’re satisfied. When people tell me they’re happy with the finished product, I feel really grateful.” In June she will host a unique fair: Passion for Planners, in the Dutch town of Rijswijk, where everyone can see what creative planning is. Just a year and a half ago she began to design her own planners, traveller’s notebooks and pencil cases. Starting with just a stack of paper and an old printer, LovedbyGaby was transformed into a company operating worldwide. Other than planners, Van Sandijk custom makes stickers, dividers, stamps, bookmarks and much more.

Shop the LovedbyGaby stationary collection at

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Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

The bedazzling jewellery of GJecharro TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: GJECHARRO

Once you wear the exclusive, hand-made jewellery of Dutch brand GJecharro you will leave a colourful sparkle wherever you go. Once she found her creative drive, it never stopped. When Roliene Steinbach, owner of GJecharro, worked for juvenile probation she was given an assignment to design a toolkit that would help youngsters better understand the process. Whilst creating the images, she discovered a new passion: being creative. Nowadays Roliene designs magnificent pieces in golden colours with colourful feathers, as well as bright and beautiful natural stones and leather. She started her jewellery brand, GJecharro, in 2013. The label effortlessly combines the best of both worlds: the uniqueness of an individual piece with a twist of modern-day fashion trends. The brand is a reflection of Roliene’s personal style and creative passion as well as a moodboard for her everyday inspiration. “It’s

basically an echo from wherever I go. It could be a certain space, nature, but also the colours of clothing and, of course, my loved ones.” She keeps the latter very close to her: the name GJecharro derives from the names of both her sons, her partner’s and her own. Because GJecharro’s jewellery is all handmade it is unlikely you will see anyone else wearing the same item as you. “It’s all about celebrating diversity, making a real statement and showing off your identity by the jewellery you wear. But it also needs to be wearable: the jewels I design are easy to put on and take off.” Having pursued her creative passion, this is just the beginning for Roliene and her brand GJecharro: “I think you can learn from others and you stand stronger together. It would be wonderful to work together with other creative designers and brands. A big dream come true would be to be featured on the catwalk during fashion week.”


Breathing new life into second-hand scarves TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: ER LOLAH

Most of us are familiar with thrift shops, rife with clothes that have outlasted the purpose for their first owners. Not happy with ‘just buying’ second-hand items, Ingrid Mulder and Nancy Buskoop decided to breathe new life into used luxury scarves by creating new ones out of them. It turned out to be a hit and under the monikor ‘Er Lolah’, the duo created a brand solely dedicated to their unique men’s scarves as ‘Heeren van Lolah’ (Lolah’s gents), and women’s scarves as ‘Madame Lolah’ (Lolah’s madams). Just seeing the expensive prices of good scarves is what pushed the two to the idea of combining second-hand luxury scarves to make new ones. Mulder: “It’s an adventure; travelling all over the world in search of suitable scarves.” Buskoop explains the process: “We’re not looking for specific scarves, instead, we put them next to each other and re-design the beautiful scarves. 36  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

Once picked, we have them thoroughly cleaned, stitch them together, have them cleaned again and do a quality check. The scarf is then ready for a new adventure: online, in shops or during a luxury event.” With Er Lolah, the two are not only capable of creating new scarves, they are just as versed in adjusting existing ones. Mulder: “We have seen our share of scarves that belonged to somebody close, like a grandmother. We can put those together with our vintage scarves for a fantastic new design.” Buskoop: “Custom made, on request and our collection: we can do it all and our scarves are classy and timeless, meaning we make them for no specific age group, but for those who want a nifty accessory for their whole outfit. Generations may pass but the love for vintage will stay.” Web:

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Hand-made handbags to satisfy your ‘candy’ cravings TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: VENA CANDY

“Fashion is a great way to express yourself,” begins Vjerana Stipetic, the talented creative behind VENA candy. Founded in December 2017, the Dutch brand creates hand-made, unique handbags that make women feel truly special. VENA candy designs are colourful, beautifully embellished and often feature splashes of animal print, making them the perfect ‘eye candy’ for women who are not afraid to stand out from the crowd. “I want my bags to make women happy. For them to feel cheered up whenever they see them!” Vjerana - or ‘Vena’ as she is affectionately known by her family – designs and hand-makes every handbag herself. Originally from Croatia, it was during time spent on a ceramics course while on an exchange semester in Turkey that she realised her future was in fashion. “I got a little bit lost for a while and studied busi-

ness administration. But after that Turkey trip my childhood passion for creativity returned,” she grins. The decision to quit her finance masters is one she certainly does not regret: the joy Vjerana takes in her craft is palpable. “I find inspiration everywhere,” she reveals. “I’ll often notice nice colour combinations or shapes when I’m out walking my adorable French bulldog, Zsa Zsa.” There are currently six designs available in VENA candy’s debut ‘Wild Kingdom’ collection, with more creations on the way. Primarily made using high quality faux leather and faux fur, all embellishments are sewn on by hand. Does Vjerana have a favourite design? “Well obviously I love them all! But for sentimental reasons I would have to say ‘Swamp Baby’. It’s the first bag I made since officially launching the business, and from there the whole ‘Wild Kingdom’ theme just evolved.”

So, what is next on the horizon? Growth seems inevitable for the VENA candy brand, which is currently still a onewoman show. “At the moment I do everything: the designing, hand-making and even all the admin. So I would love to build up a small team,” explains Vjerana. “Of course, still keeping everything unique and hand-made. That is what VENA candy is all about.”

Shop the collection at

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‘My eyesight might be impaired, but my dreams have no limits’ TEXT: FRANK VAN LIESHOUT  |  PHOTOS: ANNIESTIJL

A brain tumour left Annemarie Nodelijk blind in one eye and with tunnel vision in the other, but her positive spirit gave her the strength to overcome her disability and build her own designer bag brand: Anniestijl.

for her own handbag label. “I’ve always been obsessed with bags,” she smiles. “So it was an easy choice.”

But then suddenly the skies darkened. A tumour was found in her brain, which had to be removed to save her life. A risky operation followed, which left her blind in one eye and with tunnel vision in the other.

Now, ten years after that fateful event in her life, her brand Anniestijl is rapidly gaining recognition across the Netherlands, not least among a growing group of influential Dutch celebrities. With the help of a team of interns, Annemarie designs and produces premium fashion handbags and clutches, colourful holdalls, eco-friendly shoppers and stylish tote bags for ladies and briefcases for men. They are all handmade in leather or other natural, high quality materials. “And always with a twist or a touch of fun,” she adds. “My bags express a positive statement for everyone to overcome adversity and pursue their passion.”

Doctors told her that she would need to reset her goals in life. Working in fashion would be out of the question. “But fashion was my passion,” she explains. “I just couldn’t envisage my life without it.” While recovering and getting to grips with her disability, she found the determination to finish her degree and make plans

Selling her bags online as well as in shops in Rotterdam and Haarlem, Annemarie is also looking to add a shop in Amsterdam, and in the long term to be represented in big department stores such as De Bijenkorf and possibly abroad as well. “I’ve come a long way, but Anniestijl has only just started,” she says. “We’re active-

Fortune seemed to be smiling on 23-year old Annemarie Nodelijk, as the young fashion student had just moved to New York to work with Dutch designer Daryl van Wouw. “He was one of my heroes,” Annemarie explains. “It was like a dream come true.”

38  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

ly looking for new collaborations, so we can spread our message and inspire other people to follow their dreams as well.”

Annemarie Nodelijk.


Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

Bag it up A self-proclaimed bag freak, Nicole Blaauw was becoming increasingly exhausted by the lack of diversity when it comes to handbags worn by the Dutch. Working as a business analyst with no background in fashion, she took a handbag making course just for fun and discovered a hidden talent. “I wasn’t taking it too seriously and jokingly decided to rent a stall at a fair for self-made handbags. To my surprise, I sold almost every one of them. That, and the fact that my circle of friends wanted to have my bags, was what kick-started my career.” Residing in the Dutch town of Tiel, Nicole never makes two of the same handbag


and her label Moonnick has earned a loyal clientele over the years. Her decision to use leather as her base material was easy. “I love that sturdy product. You don’t have to hem it, it doesn’t thrum and it has a very long lasting life.” Nicole likes to play with colours, combining different types of leathers and experimenting with straps and pouches. “My partner is a painter, so we did our research on what paints can work with leather. An image can be made on any model, so the bags become truly unique and personal.” Nicole also does her own workshops now. “A lot of ideas just happen when interacting with my students.”

With Nicole caught by the leather-fever, she has been branching out to other items as well. “I used to dislike backpacks, but when somebody came here to make one with leather, I was sold. I’m getting more and more into men’s bags, toiletry bags, and have had some fun requests such as making a leather watch holder. I’ve made furniture with leather, magazine holders, wine racks and much more. The possibilities are endless.” Web:


Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

Unleash your inner Ariel Once upon a time, far far away in the Netherlands, there was the six-year-old daughter of Leo and Denise Bergsen who had but one wish: to become a mermaid. Her parents could only find the appropriate swimsuit in Canada and the United States, how quaint. An order was placed, it came with haste, but lo and behold: 40 extra euros of import duties had to be paid. The parents were torn, said: ‘let’s start our own mermaid trade!’, thus; web shop Dutch Tails was born. Denise remembers how her daughter was impressed by Disney films and The Little Mermaid in particular. There are mermaid costumes aplenty, but back then, finding one in which you could also swim with was a challenge. After paying 200 euros in total for a mermaid swimsuit, Denise and her husband searched for a supplier and started their own brand. “We drew patterns by laying kids on the floor and drawing around their feet. We decided on lycra as the base material and now have a line-up of base, sparkle and scale mermaid tails in 19


different colours, monofins (four colours) and more. They’re safe to wear, just lift one foot and you’re already out of it.” The mermaid swimsuit proved to be an instant hit, not just among preteens and toddlers, but adults as well. A game show featured famous Dutch people who had to compete underwater while wearing custom-made Dutch Tails mermaid tails. “We also get a lot of orders from swimming pools where workouts called ‘mermaiding’ are becoming a thing. That makes sense, because if you want to propel yourself forward, you have to work your abdominal mus-

cles, like a dolphin. The fins are adjustable, so adults can definitely enjoy them too.” Web:

The cuddly animals taking the world by storm TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: ZIJMAAKTHET, ANNITA WILSCHUT

Knitting animals might seem quite a challenge at first, but with the extensive knitting patterns from Zijmaakthet you can be sure to create your own monkey, teddy bear or elephant without any problems. This small company began as a hobby in 1999, after owner Annita Wilschut suffered from a heavy stroke that put an end to her successful career as a computer scientist. During that difficult of time of her life, she tried to train her brain by making stuffed animals. “I felt the need to train my brain by designing my own knitting patterns. According to existing patterns you have to knit a lot of different pieces and stitch them all together, the result of which is often not very satisfying. I wanted to knit animals in one piece, making the process easier and the result nicer.” Encouraged by her daughter’s enthusiasm, Annita came up with the idea of making simple 40  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

knitting patterns, which can be used by everyone: “My cuddly animals exist from one piece. You could say that whilst you are knitting, you can see the animal come to life.” The patterns proved to be an unexpected success, and her daughter Anna joined Annita as a partner in the Zijmaakthet company. From Asia to America and from Russia to the United Kingdom, Zijmaakthet’s teddy bear, mouse, elephant and even hippo patterns are wanted all over the world. With more than 15,000 sold, Jacobus the Monkey is the absolute number one. However, according to Annita the power of her stuffed animals is not just in the simplicity of the patterns. “It’s the friendly appeal, not just to children, but also for grown-ups. Eventually it is not the simple knitting patterns, but the strong image of a friendly, cuddly animal that makes us feel comfortable. It is a universal appeal.”


Looking for a unique business gift? Surprise your business relations with a gift of eternal value: a crystal object. Make it even more personal by having it engraved with your company logo or a text.


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Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

Clothing that can stand the heat TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: WESTSTRATE

Heavy-duty work requires heavy-duty clothing. For those that work in fire hazardous or chemical industries, workwear that is resistant to any kind of danger is a must. Weststrate Groep in Dordrecht specialises in such workwear and has proven to be a reliable partner that not only supplies necessary suits, but also has an outstanding distribution network, making sure not a single thing is left to chance when it comes to employee safety. A genuine family company that started in 1905 and became one of the Netherlands’ largest wooden shoe importers after World War II gradually changed into a business that was all about textiles and workwear. Now, with third and fourth generation family Weststrate at the helm, protective workwear is the company’s forte. With many of their clothing items based around durable, aramid fibers, Weststrate supplies suits predominantly to the oil and gas industry, private fire brigades, secu42  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

rity companies and those who work with the transport of dangerous materials. With all the necessary ISO certificates and insourced production facilities, the company produces high-end workwear with their own label ESS-Workwear and are just as capable of producing customised workwear or even private label collections with specifications of anyone’s choosing.   “Our core business is mostly fire-retardant clothing and a lot of innovations start mostly within the world of firefighting. We are in touch with several fire departments and know for a fact that extinguishing fires is just a small part of their job. A lot of the time they’re needed for mechanical damage, like freeing people out of car wrecks. That’s why, together with our supply chain partners, we developed a new type of yarn that’s the base for a wear-retardant fabric that is still useable in fire situations, but has a longer lasting life than regular fire-retardant gear. These type of innovations can be useful for other industries like

laundry companies that rent out workwear exposed to extensive wear and tear.”   As for larger innovations, Weststrate is excited about the usage of I.T. in protective gear, expecting their wear to be tagged with a chip in the long run: “Having work gear chipped would have a lot of advantages; the traceability would be second to none, meaning we can trace back the origins up to which a specific roll of fabric was used, ensuring the overall quality. There’s also the fact that the standardisation of protective gear will only increase, to the point where I expect that a company such as BP will have gates that scan your workwear. If you don’t have the required outfit, you won’t get inside and that’s only for the best. Safety in these industries is key and we’ll help them in any way we can.” Web: discoverbenelux

Chez-Moi Chez-Moi







Ton Ton Schulten Schulten


G Ga a ll e e rr ii e e e en n M Mu u ss e eu um m

TT o on n SS c ch hu u ll tt e en n Emotie en betovering Emotie en betovering

Museum Ton Schulten Ton Schultenplein 1, Ootmarsum Museum Ton Schulten Tel. • 2917631, Ootmarsum Ton 0541 Schultenplein

Chez-Moi Ton Schulten Galerie International Marktstraat 4-6,Schulten Gasthuisstraat Ootmarsum Chez-Moi Ton Galerie3-6, International Tel. 0541 • 291760 Marktstraat 4-6, Gasthuisstraat 3-6, Ootmarsum

Brasserie Restaurant de Pastorie Ton Schultenplein 2, Ootmarsum Brasserie Restaurant de Pastorie Tel. • 2002662, Ootmarsum Ton 0541 Schultenplein

Tel. 0541 • 291763 Openingstijden:* Maandag gesloten Openingstijden:* Dinsdag vrijdag: 11.00-17.00 uur Maandagt/m gesloten Zaterdag: 11.00-17.00 uur Dinsdag t/m vrijdag: 11.00-17.00 uur Zondag: Zaterdag:12.00-17.00 11.00-17.00uur uur

Tel. 0541 • 291760 Openingstijden: Maandag gesloten Openingstijden: Dinsdag t/m vrijdag: 13.00-17.00 uur Maandag gesloten Zaterdag: 11.00-17.00 uur Dinsdag t/m vrijdag: 13.00-17.00 uur Zondag: Zaterdag:13.00-17.00 11.00-17.00uur uur

Tel. 0541 • 200266 Openingstijden:* Maandag gesloten Openingstijden:* Dinsdag t/m zondag: geopend vanaf 10.00 uur Maandag gesloten Lunch: Dinsdag11.00-17.00 t/m zondag:uur geopend vanaf 10.00 uur Diner: 17.30 uur Lunch: vanaf 11.00-17.00 uur

Zondag: 13.00-17.00 uur

Diner: vanaf 17.30 uur

Voor groepen kan op afspraak een rondleiding Zondag: 12.00-17.00 uur door groepen het museum worden. Voor kan verzorgd op afspraak een rondleiding door het museum verzorgd worden. * Kijk voor actuele openingstijden op onze website. * Kijk voor actuele openingstijden op onze website.

Discover Benelux  |  Discover Genk  |  The Ultimate Destination

Kattevennen. Photo: © Hugo Thomassen


Discover Genk Located right on the doorstep of the magnificent Hoge Kempen National Park and brimming with greenery, Genk is renowned for being Flanders’ most verdant city. It is also home to a rich mining history and must-visit industrial museum and cultural centre, the C-mine. Read on to discover more and get planning your trip! PHOTOS: TOURISM GENK

C-mine Expedition. Photo: © Hugo Thomassen

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Discover Benelux  |  Discover Genk  |  The Ultimate Destination

Kattevennen. Photo: © Kris Van de Sande

The must-see C-mine With its sunny pavement cafés, lively shopping streets and atmospheric weekly market (taking place on Thursdays), central Genk is buzzing. The city is bursting with hotspots, but top of your list has to be C-mine, which is based in an old coal-mining complex and offers underground tours. Get ready to put on your helmet and step back in time to the 1950s, when the mine was at its heyday. Highlights include an innovative virtual reality experience. The site is also home to some worldclass exhibitions, with upcoming expo The World of Tim Burton scheduled to open on 15 August. Dedicated to the revered American filmmaker, the exhibition will showcase Burton’s prolific artistic output, featuring everything from drawings and paintings to puppets and sculptural installations.

Step back in time Another name for museum buffs to remember is Bokrijk, which is Belgium’s largest open-air museum. Tucked away

amid extensive woodland, it displays a vast collection of historical buildings from across Flanders, presenting the history of rural life in Belgium. Visitors can marvel at demonstrations by skilled craftsmen or even attend a workshop, should they be feeling crafty.

C-mine. Photo: © Hugo Thomassen

Connect with nature Nature lovers will not want to miss a visit to the beautiful Hoge Kempen National Park, which covers an area of more than 57 square kilometres. One of the six entrances to the park is located in Kattevennen, a perfect spot for walking, cycling and utter relaxation. In the mood for a more outer space adventure? Kattevennen is also where you will find the Cosmodrome with its high-tech, 360-degree projection room. The observatory boasts a particularly large telescope and an automatically revolving platform. What are you waiting for? Start planning your Genk adventure now at

Issue 51  |  March 2018  |  45

Discover Benelux  |  Discover Genk  |  The Ultimate Destination

The perfect place to unwind TEXT: CATHY VAN KLAVEREN  |  PHOTOS: B&B LA MINE COLLINE

Nowadays it is one of the most important industrial cities in Belgium, but Genk was once known for its coal mines. B&B La Mine Colline is the perfect place to accommodate those who want to explore this rich history. The name of the bed and breakfast references the mines that made Genk flourish. La Mine Colline is near Bokrijk, known for its open-air museum. Here, visitors can experience the way people used to work and live in Flanders’ rural areas. It is these areas that have changed rapidly in just a century: Genk transformed from a little town consisting of no more than 2,500 people, to a city of 65,000 inhabitants. Some of the natural scenery was lost due to urbanisation, but not all. Hoge Kempen is the country’s only official national park, and also situated near La Mine Colline. Guests unwind at Gretel Cludts’ home, a house formerly used by engineers, when miners still worked in the area. She has turned her

first floor into three comfortable rooms, each with their own bathroom. “I met people who already owned a B&B and was interested. I have four children and thought to myself: I can make beds, I can clean rooms, so it can’t be that hard.” Cludts has happily been running La Mine Colline since 2006. “The small scale of it makes everything more personal. The nature of a B&B can be a bit invasive on your private space, which is why, for instance, we rebuilt the eating area three years ago. Now, guests have more privacy when they have breakfast.”

As of this year, La Mine Colline is mentioned in the Michelin Guide. To make sure rooms are available check

Enjoy a ‘different’ stay with Different Hotels TEXT: JULIËN L’ORTYE  |  PHOTOS: DIFFERENT HOTELS

When you think of Belgium, you will probably think of places like Antwerp, Brussels, Bruges or Ghent. However, you might forget about the wonderful Genk, in Limburg. When you are up for culture, shopping or relaxation, this city is perfect. Especially when you stay at one of the Different Hotels. We decided to have a chat with Different Hotels’ COO Rachida Naya, to figure out why their hotels are so special. “We try to set up unique hotels, every one of them with their own story. For example: our Carbon Hotel in Genk was among Forbes’ list of the ‘50 best recently opened hotels in the world’. Being close to Germany and the Netherlands and located at the border of Hoge Kempen National Park - the first national park to be set up by the Flemish government - Carbon Hotel offers everything you could wish for. 46  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

In order to live up to their name, Different Hotels is always looking for buildings that tell their own tale. Terhills Hotel (Maasmechelen) for example, served as one of the ‘offices’ of a former colliery, and Eburon Hotel (Tongeren) used to be a monastery. Because of those special stories, every hotel is, indeed, different. “We do not do uniformity,” Naya says. “Some hotels are very trendy and modern, others are more classic and very detailed.” Regarding their guests, Naya says that they would go through the fire for them. “We are always looking for ways to make their stay even more convenient, to see if they need extra attention. For example, to find the perfect restaurant to discover the great hospitality that is renowned in Limburg.” Other things they do in order to please their guests, is anticipating special days, such as Chinese New Year, or World Sleep Day. Going the extra mile, every time, every day. Just to make their guests’ stay a bit different.


Discover Benelux  |  Discover Genk  |  The Ultimate Destination

Race in the tracks of F1 champions TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: KARTING GENK

As many Formula 1 fans know, future F1 champions are born on the tracks of karting circuits. As a low-cost and relatively safe way to introduce young ones to the beauty that is motor racing, this particular form of motor sports paved the way for legends like Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Dutch pride Max Verstappen. It is the latter who learned many of his moves at Karting Genk in Belgium, the largest outdoor karting circuit in Europe and one that is loved by professionals and amateur drivers alike. The smell of rubber, gasoline, meat on the barbecue and of course the unmistakable noise of engines running at eight HP and above: you could be blindfolded near the tracks of Karting Genk and still know exactly where you are. Speaking of blindfolds: “If Max Verstappen were to wear one while driving here, he’d still

finish the course with an impressive time,” says Lise Moermans, marketing manager at Karting Genk. “His dad Jos came here when he was a teen and it was only a matter of time before young Max would master the curves here as well. We have watched him grow, saw him win the European Championship in 2010 and numerous other races. We knew he was a phenomenal talent, long before anyone else could say the same.” There are many reasons that drive people to come to Genk for the circuit. “There’s the track itself which is safe yet also very challenging. The turns are technical, especially the chicane, and the long stretches mean you can really hit the pedal without hesitation. Then there’s the fact we opened up more for the leisure market and found many companies wanted an outing that’s not your standard bowling or trip to a theme park. That is why we offer

the possibility to drive on this famous circuit with rental karts, without needing any karting experience. Furthermore, companies can combine the activity with a meeting in one of our meeting rooms, one has a capacity of up to 100 people and the other for up to 20.” Moermans continues: “There’s catering that can serve groups of up to 350 people and nothing beats a day of work, food and driving. We’re smack dab in the middle of our province’s green heart and with bustling Genk nearby, there’s the possibility of combining a city trip with a visit to Karting Genk. Avid karting fans should come visit us in September when we’re hosting the World Championships and chances are high you’ll see one of F1’s next top talents.” Web:

Issue 51  |  March 2018  |  47

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Egbert-Jan Weeber

48  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Egbert-Jan Weeber

E G B E R T- J A N W E E B E R :

Ready for a reinvention His recent roles include Philippe in romantic adventure film If the Sun Explodes and playing the adorable love interest Timo in Dutch comedy Taal is zeg maar echt mijn ding (Language is kind of my thing) earlier this year. But come June audiences can expect to see Dutch ‘rom-com’ favourite Egbert-Jan Weeber in a very different role: playing Bonifatius, one of the most famous saints in Dutch history, in the medieval epic Redbad. Set to be one of the summer’s biggest blockbusters and also starring Breaking Bad actor Jonathan Banks, we caught up with Weeber to find out more about the must-see movie. Laidback, friendly and extremely honest: Weeber also told us about why he is ready to shake up his image a little bit, and move away from the ‘nice guy’ roles. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: BOWIE VERSCHUUREN

With his classic good looks and on-screen charisma, 36-year-old Weeber has been a staple of the Dutch ‘rom-com’ scene for almost two decades now – something which he is keen not to dismiss. For example, in January’s movie adaptation of the book Taal is zeg maar echt mijn ding he played ‘sweet guy’ Timo. “When I started acting I was always the angry young kid, and now I’ve played the love interest in a lot of romantic comedies. I’m not gonna complain,” he laughs. However, in a similar fashion to Hollywood actor Matthew McConaughey – famed for his ‘McConaissance’ with the 2013 AIDS drama Dallas Buyers Club – Weeber is ready for a reinvention. “I’m hungry for more edginess!” he grins.

Extreme makeover Expect to see Weeber everywhere this June, when the eagerly anticipated historical epic Redbad is released in the

Netherlands. Weeber portrays the famous church reformer Bonifatius, who was murdered at Dokkum in 754, in the Roel Reiné-directed movie. “It was fun to play a real, historical person,” recalls Weeber of playing the English-born monk and sporting the traditional ‘tonsure’ hairstyle. “I had to be bald for four months! Bald on top with this round haircut.” Perhaps not a style Weeber would opt for in real life, but he loved the transformation. “I love extreme stuff and that’s why I liked being bald for four months. Having another look, that already helps a lot in preparing for a role.” Described as a historic, action-packed epic about the growth of Christianity and the adventures and ancient stories surrounding Redbad, King of the Frisians, the film was shot in Denmark, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. It also features Dutch actor Gijs Naber in the role

of Redbad, Breaking Bad star Jonathan Banks, and Danish actor Søren Malling, known for his roles in The Killing and Borgen.

Big issues “It’s quite a big movie,” enthuses Weeber. “It’s a similar topic to the British television series The Last Kingdom. It’s about old Holland when it was like a swamp. We have three big rivers in the middle of Holland and everything in the north of those rivers was called Frisia. There was a tribe of people with a king and they weren’t into Christianity. They had their own beliefs, like what the Celts had before – and the Vikings. They were more connected to nature, instead of rules of fear, you know? But they were attacked from the south, where they had the bible. So really it’s a movie about wars, about religion…There’s quite a political message, that people should be free to believe what they want.” Issue 51  |  March 2018  |  49

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Egbert-Jan Weeber

Hungry for more Weeber would love the opportunity to tackle more period dramas, and is also keen to take on more ‘tough guy’ roles. Watching the BBC crime drama Peaky Blinders, which is set in Birmingham, England, in the aftermath of World War I has been particularly inspiring. “I’ve been binge watching it recently,” smiles the actor. “I love its toughness. I’m really hungry for a little more edginess. To be honest, I’m looking forward to playing more nasty bad guys – not the friendly guy anymore!”

Complete transformation

Egbert Jan Weeber plays Bonifatius in upcoming historical epic Redbad.

Step back in time Redbad is not Weeber’s first time in a historical drama, nor is it his first time collaborating with director Reiné, who has also directed episodes of American TV series such as Black Sails and Inhumans. “I also worked with Reiné on the 2015 movie Michiel de Ruyter,” he points out. Known as Admiral in English, the film – which topped the box office in the Netherlands – told the story of the famous Dutch admiral who was known for his role in the Starring as Timo in romantic comedy Taal is zeg maar echt mijn ding (Language is kind of my thing).

50  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

Anglo-Dutch Wars of the 17th century. “Working with Reiné, everything is bigger than what we are used to in Holland,” explains Weeber. “He’s based in Hollywood and he knows how to make big movies, but on a smaller budget. He’s really efficient and very fast – there’s always such a strong energy on set. He’s a warrior!” It is also the historical aspect of working with Reiné that appeals to Weeber. “After all, so many films in Holland are set in the present day,” he adds.

Another role that appeals to Weeber is playing a soldier. Why? “I’ve never played a soldier, and for me a role is also about considering how I would react in a certain situation. How would I feel?” he muses. “I would also like to do more extreme roles, like when you see an actor train or lose loads of weight. Changes like that really transform you into the role, like Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour. “I really like to put on false teeth or a wig, or a prosthetic nose. I always like to transform completely. My dream role is one where viewers won’t even recognise me. Like they will watch it and say ‘oh wow, that was you?’. “In a perfect world, I would do one film or two films a year, and totally be immersed in the characters,” he concludes. We cannot wait to see what Weeber immerses himself in next.

Playing Philippe in 2016 romantic drama If the Sun Explodes.

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Egbert-Jan Weeber

Issue 51  |  March 2018  |  51

Discover Benelux  |  Chocolate and Luxury Pastries for Easter  |  The Best in Flanders



Chocolate and luxury pastries for Easter Easter is a huge celebration in Belgium. Where better to treat yourself during the upcoming holiday than in Flanders, home to some of the world’s most mouthwatering chocolate and luxury pastry producers. PHOTOS: VISIT FLANDERS

From gourmet Easter eggs filled with hazelnut cream to pancakes, sweet breads and candied fruits, Flanders has plenty of delicacies for you to enjoy after perhaps partaking in the 40 days of Lent. Look out for plenty of Easter egg hunts (also called an ‘eierjacht’ or ‘chasse aux oeufs’) taking place across the region on Easter Sunday, as well as an array of colourful parades on Easter Monday. To get you in the mood for the tastiest holiday of the year, we have ‘hunted down’ some of the best chocolates and luxury pastries in Flanders. Read on and get ready to indulge! 52  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

Photo: Milo Profi

Discover Benelux  |  Chocolate and Luxury Pastries for Easter  |  The Best in Flanders


The most delicious chocolate experience TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: QUETZAL

If heaven on earth exists, it probably looks like Quetzal, the Chocolate Bar. Quetzal offers the universal experience of delicious products and recipes based on four different kinds of melted chocolate. It has everything to satisfy the needs of all chocolate lovers, everywhere. From mouthwatering milkshakes to unforgettable ice cream sundaes, and from fabulous fondues to creamy chocolate milk, at Quetzal all forms of chocolate delights can be found under one roof. With an endless choice of tastes and sometimes unexpected combinations, the possibilities are infinite.  The unique concept came to life when owner of the Quetzal Chocolate Bar, Guy van Puyvelde, lived in Mexico for several years. He felt inspired by the Aztecs and their love for cacao. Van Puyvelde: “Cacao was seen as something so precious by the Aztecs, that they used the cacao beans as money. The Aztec upper

god Quetzalcoatl, also the god of cacao, became the inspiration for our shop’s name.” And just like the Aztecs, Quetzal sees cacao as something very precious. “There is really an eye for detail in everything. It is not just the product itself that makes it special. It’s the taste, the smell, and the structure of the chocolate. All recipes are unique and proprietary, developed for us by the best chocolate experts in the industry. Our brownie for instance is now very famous, and people come from afar to get a piece of it.”  Since its conception almost ten years ago, the Quetzal Chocolate Bar concept has really caught on. “In the coming months we will open more Quetzal locations and we would like to expand to new countries in Europe. We are actively looking for dynamic and enthusiastic entrepreneurs who can help us with this expansion.” Web:

Issue 51  |  March 2018  |  53

Discover Benelux  |  Chocolate and Luxury Pastries for Easter  |  The Best in Flanders

Bringing a slice of happiness to the table TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: HANSSENS BAKERY

Making people happy with a warm welcome, beautiful pastries and delicious cakes: that is what it is all about for Wouter Hanssens and his team at Hanssens Bakery in De Pinte, near Ghent. “We bring a smile by pure taste and warm charm.” “During gloomy times, we all need to enjoy a slice of happiness. And with our pastries, cakes and coffee rolls, that is exactly what we bring!” grins Hanssens. For 18 years, Hanssens Bakery has baked delicious delicacies, all made with pure and natural ingredients, with no additives. “We bake top quality products, create our own recipes and make the classics in our own style.” Appearance and colour are important elements. “People like to see colourful treats; it makes things even more festive.” This can particularly be said for the upcoming Easter breakfasts. “These are even more special family breakfasts, compared to those

of a regular Sunday morning. We’ll have extra luxurious coffee rolls and cakes, with chocolate and red fruits. Perfect for the season, and the Easter holiday,” smiles Hanssens. Throughout the year, Hanssens Bakery adapts its pastries in accordance with the changing of the seasons. “In springtime, we use a lot of colourful fruits and lemon, whereas during autumn and winter, chocolate is more in demand.”  Hanssens Bakery offers an array of cakes for special occasions. “Cake is a part of any celebration,” he concludes. “And we want to make you even happier during that celebration, with the lovely cakes we bake here in our shop, and also custom-make. That way, we can make your smile even bigger!”


Get ready for the haute éclair It is time for the macaron to move along! Right now the name on any self-respecting foodie’s lips is the ‘haute éclair’. Set to open this spring in the hip Belgian cities of Ghent and Antwerp is Chez Claire, a unique new venue specialising in luxurious haute éclairs. With 13 mouthwatering flavours including pistachio, salted caramel crisp and triple dark chocolate, Chez Claire offers a new and seriously improved version of the classic éclair. The foodie hotspot will also offer its own brand of champagne, ‘Cuvée Claire’, so that you can delight in your favourite flavour éclair on the spot, accompanied by a glass of bubbles. In the mood for something less decadent? You can also enjoy a good cup of coffee. And if you want to take your éclair away with you to indulge in later on, Chez Claire offers gift wrapping. Chez Claire is the brainchild of Dries Henau and Yuri Vandenbogaerde, who rose to fame in 2012 with their innovative WASBAR concept, combining a laundrette, café and hairdressing salon allowing customers to get a drink or a 54  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018


haircut while waiting for their washing. For the design of Chez Claire’s interior, Henau and Vandenbogaerde have once again teamed up with Pinkeye, the design studio that worked with them to develop WASBAR’s award-winning concept. Chez Claire will also offer haute éclairs which are suitable for customers with food intoleranc-

es, and the patisserie chef is already experimenting with vegan éclairs to ensure something delicious for everyone. Web: Facebook: Instagram:

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Column





How not to be micro-managed TEXT & PHOTO: STEVE FLINDERS

Being micro-managed is so demoralising. You are constantly pestered, and you feel you are being treated as less than an adult. These thoughts were prompted by my asking one of my sons, a young London professional, what I should write about this month. “Do micro-management,” he answered without hesitation. “Loads of my friends complain about being micro-managed.” Soon after that, I was asked about training a management group. During the exploratory meeting (in the absence of the CEO), I asked about their major challenge: “Micro-management,” was the reply. My reflex both times was to think of situational leadership. This great model shows how managers and teams benefit from the leader handling different individuals and tasks differently, sometimes telling, sometimes selling, sometimes participating, sometimes delegating. The manager uses a quadrant to classify people according to their varying levels of competence, and willingness and/or confidence: some need loads of support, some hardly any. 56  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

Managers also need to understand the distinction between delegation and empowerment. When you delegate, you give someone a task to perform but retain the responsibility for it being carried out. When you empower someone, you give them the task and the responsibility. Knowing when to do which is a skill all managers should cultivate.

questions weekly: 1. What do you think I am doing right? 2. What do you think I am doing wrong? 3. What do you want me to do more of? Once you have started this process, keep up the pressure. Good luck to the micro-managed. If this does not work, let me know and I will think again.

Ideas are all well and good, but how does one get them across to one’s painin-the-bum boss? After all, this kind of manager tends not to be too open about recommendations to change their management style. Try some team solidarity. Your colleagues will feel the same as you. Together you need to tell Mr or Ms Micro-Manager how you feel about their style; and to do this, you need to create a situation where it can happen. HR might or might not provide a facilitator although that is what they are there for. If not, do it yourselves. Get an item on the agenda of the next team meeting. Tell the manager how you collectively feel. Give feedback (the objective of feedback is to improve performance) on their management style. Propose that they ask you these three management

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


veloper, there is plenty to inspire at this two-day event.

European Asset Management Conference 6 - 7 March Luxembourg City, Luxembourg The first edition of the ‘new’ ALFI European Asset Management Conference 2017 was considered a big success, with a pioneering programme entirely dedicated to the European Asset Management community, including investors, asset managers, fund administrators and fund selectors. 2018’s event promises to be even better!

vices with an aim to connect and inspire the dental industry. Expect seminars and workshops led by experts as well as an array of must-visit exhibitors.

Appdevcon 15 - 16 March Amsterdam, the Netherlands Held at the Pathé Arena Multiplex Movie Theater in Amsterdam, Appdevcon is a conference by app developers, for app developers. Whether you are an Android, iOS, Windows, Web, TV or other app de-

The Global Cyber Security & Data Protection Summit 21 - 23 March Amsterdam, the Netherlands Organised by Corporate Parity, the Global Cyber Security & Data Protection Summit welcomes cyber experts from various industries to speak on next level advancements in cyber security tools. Visitors can also learn about developing cyber threats, how they can be dealt with, and much more.

AutoTechnica 25 - 28 March Brussels, Belgium AutoTechnica is the biggest trade fair for automotive professionals in the Benelux. Held at Brussels Expo, the event brings together the industry’s most important brands, producers and suppliers all under one roof.

European E-Commerce Conference 2018 8 March Brussels, Belgium The ninth annual European E-Commerce Conference will take place at The Hotel in Brussels. In partnership with EMOTA, this unmissable conference explores the future of the e-commerce sector in Europe, in the context of technological advancements and worldwide political developments.

Dental Expo Amsterdam 8 - 10 March Amsterdam, the Netherlands This biennial national exhibition focusses on dental products, information and ser-

Dental Expo.

Issue 51  |  March 2018  |  57

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Technology


Offering big opportunities for small businesses TEXT: FRANK VAN LIESHOUT  |  PHOTOS: TEAMLEADER

As Europe’s leading SaaS provider for small SMEs, Teamleader is spreading the gospel of simple, intuitive and affordable cloud software solutions – and backing it up with a great, scalable product and excellent, tailored service. Teamleader was one of Europe’s first software companies to specifically target 58  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

SMEs with up to 50 employees – helping them streamline their customer relation management (CRM), sales process, project management and invoicing.

tal workflow,” CEO Jeroen De Wit remembers. “Soon enough we realised that providing online or cloud software services for SMEs was a real gap in the market.”

“We started back in 2012 as three students doing some odd jobs, helping companies solve their computing and software issues and streamline their digi-

Five years later, targeting this huge demand has resulted in a company with 170 employees across offices in six European countries serving almost 10,000 SMEs.

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Technology

“It’s been an amazing journey,” Jeroen smiles. “Once we had done our research confirming this huge demand, we decided to give it a real go – the rest is history.” Teamleader Profile History Teamleader was set up in 2012. In early 2014, they raised their first investment worth 1 million euros, which they used to build their app and expand into the Netherlands. In 2015 they received another investment of 2.5 million euros and little over a year later they successfully secured their third funding round, worth 10 million euros. Their spectacular growth and successful expansion has not gone unnoticed. In February 2016 they received the coveted Tech Startup Award and in 2017, they were awarded the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Award, crowning Teamleader as Belgium's fastest growing tech company, tripling their revenue in the last three consecutive years. Stats HQ: Ghent, Belgium Number of employees: 170 Countries: 6 Number of SME customers: 10,000 Jeroen De Wit

A single, scalable tool “The digital workspace provides multiple benefits for businesses, their employees and their customers,” Jeroen explains. “CRM, project management and invoicing are all interlinked. With Teamleader you have a single, scalable tool which integrates all these activities - from managing leads, sales and quotations, to planning, time tracking, invoicing and accounting – and allows you to focus on key priorities. Using the tool, you can control the complete process and optimise your workflow. It enables new, more effective ways of working, reduces costs and saves time, but also raises employee engagement and agility, and dramatically improves customer relations.”

Focus on business Still, across Europe there are thousands and thousands of SMEs who use either no digital tools, separate tools which are not integrated or integrated tools which are far too complex, and costly, for the

size and nature of their businesses, according to Jeroen.

focus on core aspects of their processes before they select their software.”

“We believe SMEs should focus on their core business, their passion, the reason they became entrepreneurs in the first place,” he says. “They should not spend hours and hours on peripheral issues such as having to manually track invoices, calculate time spent on projects or follow up quotations. We offer SMEs a single, easyto-use and affordable software solution in the cloud, so they can work smarter, save time and focus on training, innovation and their long term strategy.”

Teamleader's SaaS (Software-as-aService) interface does not only cover the complete workflow from customer relations to invoicing, but also works seamlessly with a range of value-adding tools in the marketplace. “Our software flawlessly integrates with marketing tools such as Unbounce and Mailchimp, accounting tools such as Exact and direct communication tools such as Slack – our customers can easily access and use these tools from our Teamleader interface to rationalise their marketing, accounting or communications.”

Software as a Service One of the guiding principles Teamleader promotes, is to 'adjust your tools to your goals and needs, not the other way about'. “Customers should be wary of software with tons of features, which might bring more trouble than joy, as well as being too expensive,” Jeroen states. “We advise them to critically look at their priorities and

Local approach Explaining the secret of Teamleader's remarkable success, Jeroen underlines that this has not only been down to a great product, but also the excellent service and local support they provide. “For every new market we enter, we make sure we Issue 51  |  March 2018  |  59

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Technology

is that we are rapidly growing into a medium-sized company.” This means Teamleader is proactively looking for ways to make sure they continue to be in touch with SME issues and considerations, even though they are no longer an SME themselves. “We need to nurture our connection with our customers and listen to them. One of the ways we can do this is by building our community so we can hear what they have to say. In the same way that we advise them to first think of what they need before they choose their software, we need to first hear what they say before we develop our software.” Web:

Events Calendar Work Smarter Events 15 May 2018 Ghent, Belgium

do all the necessary research into the specific rules and regulations as well as the relevant cultural specifics,” he explains. “We also make sure the new workforce get all the necessary training here at our European Headquarters in Ghent before we actually start up in their country – this is to allow them to connect with our DNA so they know exactly what we are about. And of course we use their native expertise to ensure positive engagement with prospective new customers. Needless to say, all communications are in our customers' native language.”

Work smarter As well as being supported in their own language, new customers are also provided with free customer onboarding to make sure the transition to Teamleader's software is smooth and stress-free. And the company is actively building a ‘Work Smarter’ community, with offline events and online blogs to share new insights with customers – supporting them in further streamlining their processes. “The great thing is that we can use our growing experience in all these different countries to continuously expand our expertise and improve our services.” This includes helping customers to deal with issues such as GDPR, the EU's new General Data Pro60  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

tection Regulation, so they can rest assured they are in compliance and the data of their own customers is safe and secure.

Keep in touch “The only flipside of Teamleader's expansion is that soon we will no longer be an SME,” Jeroen admits with a smile. “We have always maintained that our software is built by an SME for SMEs. But the truth

24 May 2018 Berlin, Germany 7 June 2018 Amsterdam, Netherlands Teamleader's ‘Work Smarter’ events offer a platform for people and businesses alike that are bitten by digitisation and customer centricity, exchanging new ideas and best practices. See the full programme on

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Technology

T H E I D E A L M AT C H :


Your challenges, our innovation, knowledge and passion Passion, experience and ambition: these are the assets that Mediaan brings to the table. “We solve our customers’ challenges by utilising the best innovative technological solutions, delivered by committed, inspired people,” smiles Marco Peters, managing director at Mediaan Belgium. With more than 30 years of experience, Mediaan manages, designs and builds innovative I.T. solutions for clients in multiple countries. “Technology and innovation are means to solve a business challenge; not the reverse,” explains Peters.

with self-learning algorithms and digital agents, making your business more efficient and effective. Our A.I. model led to an 80 per cent increase in planning accuracy for a big Dutch transportation company.”

new experiences and digital interactions, using the latest technologies available.”

Mixed Reality Another fun example of Mediaan’s technological expertise is so-called ‘Mixed Reality’. “We created a virtual coach for go-kart drivers using smart glasses. Drivers get real-time information on how to improve their driving and the virtual coach incorporates new gamification elements,” explains Peters, a real go-karting enthusiast. “It’s like a real-life version of Mario Kart!”

Artificial Intelligence From their headquarters in Heerlen and offices in Amsterdam, Düsseldorf, Munich, Brussels and Hasselt, they deliver solutions for all kinds of businesses, by using technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (A.I.). “Mediaan supports your organisation and business processes

On location For Peters, the passion of Mediaan’s team of almost 100 employees is what really gives the company its edge: “Mediaan feels like a family company where we stand alongside our clients, both from the office and on location, and create

Looking for creative solutions and improvements enabled by the most advanced technologies that will help your company further? Visit

Discover Benelux  |  Wellness  |  Yoaké, The Ultimate Spa


Discover the benefits of massage at Yoaké Spa TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTO: YOAKÉ, THE ULTIMATE SPA

Did you know that the positive feelings we get during moments of intimacy such as hand-holding or hugging actually have a biological basis? Scientists know that such gestures of tactility increase the release of oxytocin, the socalled ‘happy hormone’ produced in the hypothalamus portion of the brain. Recent research into the positive benefits of touch have shed light on the advantages of massage: we all know that a good massage will relax our muscles, but it seems the benefits go much further. For example, a U.S. study sponsored by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, saw 29 healthy adults being randomly assigned a 45-minute deep-tissue massage, while another group were given a light massage. Those that got the deep tissue massage had a significant de62  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

crease in their levels of cortisol, which is often called the ‘stress hormone’ due to its connection to the stress response. Additionally, the researchers found that the same group had an increase in infection-fighting white blood cells, highlighting a boost to their immune system. Meanwhile, the participants who received a light massage demonstrated increased levels of the ‘happy hormone’ oxytocin. Benefits all around! At Yoaké, The Ultimate Spa, in Luxembourg, manager and owner Odette Tonnaer and her expert team offer an array of personalised massages from around the world in a relaxing atmosphere. From Swedish massage to Ayurvedic Indian techniques, not to mention hot stones and facial massages inspired by the ancient Japanese method of Kobido, treat-

ments will be specially tailored to meet the specific needs of each client. Everything is conceived to promote health and longevity at Yoaké. The Feng-Shui designed architecture and the sumptuous private treatment rooms create a tranquil setting, helping install a sense of equilibrium for mind and body. All therapies have a specific health benefit and are based on a combination of ancient Asian medical knowledge and the latest scientific developments. In addition to its extensive massage menu, the luxurious spa also offers a professional care system to treat all skin types, as well as high-performance skin treatments and body care. Web:

Discover Benelux  |  Restaurant of the Month  |  Luxembourg

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


Located on the rue du Curé in the heart of Luxembourg City, Giallo Caffè Ristorante takes diners on a journey through Italy’s gastronomical delights using only the finest seasonal produce. “Many Italian restaurants in Luxembourg serve up the classics, but we also want our guests to discover new dishes from across the country,” enthuses owner Giacomo Giallombardo. “We have two chefs – one from the north of Italy and one from the south – and they have both worked everywhere.” So from veal ‘à la vénitienne’ to sweet Sicilian ‘cannoli’, you can expect to find influences from all over Italy in this family restaurant’s regularlychanging à la carte menu.   “We change our menu every two weeks, depending on what’s in season,” points out Giacomo.  “The chef literally proposes our menu one week in advance.” While

the dishes on offer may come as a surprise, it can be guaranteed that they will be made using only first-class ingredients.   “We work exclusively with producers from all over Italy, with fresh ingredients arriving two or three times per week. We always select the best of each product.” Menus aways feature a selection of fish, meat, vegetarian and pasta dishes, as well as soups or salads for diners who prefer a lighter option.   Divided into three rooms by a beautiful waterfall, the restaurant’s elegant interior was designed by an Italian architect, with all the furnishings made to measure. “Guests often linger over a meal because they feel so comfortable here,” says Giacomo of the relaxing, classy interior, which would not look out of place in any major European capital. “It is all about attention to detail.” 

The extensive wine and champagne list provides the perfect accompaniment to your meal. “People come to enjoy an early evening aperitivo, and often end up staying for drinks after dinner.” During the week the restaurant is a popular venue for business dinners, while at weekends the heated terrace is a popular afternoon coffee hangout, and the selection of tempting cocktails attract a younger crowd in the evenings.    The restaurant is also family friendly, and offers a children’s menu. “But if your little one wants something different, we’ll adapt to give them whatever they want. We do the same for guests of any age. We always give our customers what they want.”


Issue 51  |  March 2018  |  63


Strategic localisation in the capital of Europe

This Eclectic style house for sale

Typology: Bourgeois house Style: Fine Arts Use: many options possible work & private Renovated: habitable surface area 603 m2

Front picture: protected 1923 fine arts The elegant spirit of large residences has been retained with success in this beautiful classic large mansion with an area of 603 m2: the inside of this Bourgeois house is decorated in the XVIII-th century taste and reinvented. The vestibule immediately places the visitor in the mood of the house: character & elegance. Living room 2 pictures: The large living room of the first floor has been fully panelled. The colours are blue and gold with a little trickle of red. These colours were studied so as harmonise with the very beautiful chimney console-mirror representing a set of dancing nymphs in an antique frame. They are surmounted by cherubs. The 4 seasons reception room picture: four canvas-painted and wall mounted frescoes represent the four seasons. Each season has its bouquets of flowers and its specific central medallion. Large basins and foliage frame the whole. An allegorical medallion is represented in the centre of each panel. The tone of the frescoes is in perfect harmony with the marble fireplace, which is also carved with an allegory and foliage. Decorator : M. Philippe Rampelberg

BELGIUM - BRUSSELS - MONTGOMERY DISTRICT - Quartier ST. MICHEL: Classic elegant unique Mansion Price: by request- Location: 1040 Etterbeek - Habitable surface area: 603m2 - Size of land: 3,36 a - PEB: 282 kWh/m2 - # Spacious Living rooms: 2 - # Offices: 1 & more possible! - # Bedrooms: 5 - # Kitchens: 2 - # Bathrooms: 3 - # Toilets: 5 - # Fire places: 3 - # Wine cellar: 1 # Garage - parking lots: 3 - # Terraces: 3 - # Garden: 1

International School

Brussels Belgium


Contact: Tinne De Lepeleire - +32(0)477 66 33 84 - - BIV 506 650

Parc cinquantenaire Montgomery Unique Mansion for sale


Discover the top real estate agencies in Flanders From vibrant cities like Antwerp to stunning coastal spots such as Knokke-le-Zoute, Flanders is brimming with wonderful places to live. The standard of living is superb, the scenery is stunning and transport links are excellent. Interested in buying or selling in this prosperous region? From luxury villas to slick apartments, the experts profiled in our real estate special will be able to guide you through the process from A - Z. PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK

Issue 51  |  March 2018  |  65

Discover Benelux  |  Where Dreams Come Home  |  Top Real Estate Agencies in Flanders

Luxurious living in Knokke (Zoute) TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: IMMO BROWN

Belgium is full of beautiful places to live, especially on the west coast, in Knokke (Zoute), where the standard of living is outstanding. There is incredible nature and stunning surroundings, the best restaurants and sports facilities, with the beach always nearby. If you are looking for a luxurious property, villa, house, or apartment in this specific region, then IMMO BROWN will most probably find one for you within its extensive offerings. “We have seen a new trend over the past 18 months,” explains Stefaan Geerebaert, who runs IMMO BROWN together with his wife Patricia. “More and more people are 66  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

wanting to leave the crowded cities and move to a permanent base at the seaside, where they have peace and space, instead of busy streets, like the ones you’ll find in most major cities. We often hear of CEOs who will work four days of the week – starting later and ending later to beat traffic – and enjoying extended weekends in their beautiful homes on the coast.”

from generation to generation, we have secured our place in the market in a relatively short time - due to our professionalism,” remarks Geerebaert. “Thanks to our (International) network, in which we have invested a lot, we have an impressive portfolio of properties in the upper sections of the market, in the region’s most beautiful locations.”

The perfect region

And the Knokke region is the perfect place to live. “The Knokke, Het Zoute, Duinbergen and Retranchement areas offer so much beauty, space and luxury,” expresses Geerebaert. “From the astonishing nature in Het Zwin and around the golf course, to the coastal areas on the

IMMO BROWN started ten years ago and in that time they have become the leading real estate agency in the Knokke region, when it comes to high end houses, villas and apartments. “Unlike most real estate agencies, which are usually handed down

Discover Benelux  |  Where Dreams Come Home  |  Top Real Estate Agencies in Flanders

Zeedijk, the Wandeldijk and Albert Beach. Knokke also offers a wide range of amazing restaurants and relaxing night/beach life. If you ask me, there is no better region to live in Belgium.”

Stable market During the past ten years, IMMO BROWN’s clientele has become increasingly international. “About 40 per cent of our clients come from neighbouring countries like the Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourg.” That increase has led Stefaan and Patricia Geerebaert to open a second office in Luxembourg. “Our new office, IMMO BROWN LUXEMBOURG, which is co-led by Patricia and Stefaan Geerebaert together with Frederick Gordts-Vanthournout, is located at 43, Route d’Arlon in Strassen, to accommodate clients in Luxembourg and Germany. They are mostly looking for properties to buy. “At our office in Luxembourg we present Luxembourg properties, but also Knokke properties, with the same enthusiasm and service as we do here in Knokke.” Compared to the housing market in other countries, the Belgian housing market is much more stable. “Over recent years we have seen prices rising, but not as drastically or intensely as in the Netherlands. In Belgium they went up more steadily. So the risk of a drop in property value is much lower than with our neighbours in the north, mostly because the purchase of properties in Knokke is independent of any economic roller coaster but merely induced by an ongoing desire to purchase beautiful properties in order to experience a continuous quality of life.”

Everything is taken care of The team at IMMO BROWN make sure that whenever a client enlists them to buy a house or villa, everything is taken care of. “We pilot your project through the complex real estate rules and legal frameworks.” IMMO BROWN acquires all the necessary documents and reports, from building inspections and town planning information to the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), electric testing, soil certificates (OVAM) and inspection of fuel oil tanks, if applicable. “Once everything is in place, we make up the contracts, so that you can go to the

notary to sign them, knowing everything is in order,” elaborates Geerebaert. Obviously Patricia and Stefaan Geerebaert are also there if you are looking to sell a property. “We will make sure that whenever someone is interested in buying your house, we check everything before going into the negotiations. As an owner, you entrust us with your property and hence an important part of your life. We will not break that trust, and help make the buying or selling of a property as smooth as possible.” Web: 80 Sparrendreef Knokke-Zoute (B)

The quality of living in Knokke (Zoute) is tremendous and has no comparison in the Benelux. That is one of many reasons why the team at IMMO BROWN love what they do, assisting clients with professionalism and knowledge. “We know what this region has to offer and we want to make sure that our clients will experience that, whilst living in a luxurious house, villa, or apartment that embodies everything Knokke stands for: enjoying life to the fullest.” Web: 43 Route d’Arlon Strassen (Lux)

Issue 51  |  March 2018  |  67

Discover Benelux  |  Where Dreams Come Home  |  Top Real Estate Agencies in Flanders

How to sell (or buy) a million euro house TEXT: JULIËN L’ORTYE  |  PHOTOS: EXCLUSIVE HOUSING

We have all done it: scrolling through websites offering luxurious real estate, knowing that we would never be able to afford it. Just to see how the ‘rich’ live. It is an interesting world, the way these properties are being presented to the world. At Exclusive Housing, a Belgian real estate agency, they know everything about it. For example, that the sale of these kinds of houses demands a completely different approach than properties in a lower priced segment. According to director Tom Vandemoortele, this means a process that differs in many ways: “Clients looking for housing like this, expect to be taken care of from beginning to end. Mostly these are people with little time, while a viewing can take up to one and a half hours. They demand that every question can be answered right away, for example.” Because of the lack of time, the presentation of a million euro house varies from the way

houses between 200,000 and 500,000 euros are shown. Therefore, Exclusive Housing offers their clients video presentation: “It’s not very well known in Belgium yet – and it’s not the cheapest way – but we believe it’s the right way to show these houses to the public.” Of course, it is about more than just making lovely, appealing videos of the property – an extraordinary house needs an extraordinary display. That is why the agency is very conscious about the magazines and newspapers they advertise in, such as magazines for doctors or financial papers.

Although they only started their activities just over a year ago, Exclusive Housing has many years of experience, as they segregated from Immo Marina Group, an agency that has existed for more than 17 years. All the more reason to trust these experts with your property – or your search for your dream mansion, of course. Baalsebaan 75 – 3120 Tremelo Tel: + 32 015 70 80 80 Email: Web:

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Profile


Out & About The birds are singing, the days are getting longer and the world’s largest flower garden, the Keukenhof, reopens this month. At last, the first signs of spring are here! We present our pick of the most unmissable events taking place in the Benelux this month. Come rain or shine, there is plenty going on to keep you entertained. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER Rafael Valls Ltd, TEFAF Maastricht. Photo © Loraine Bodewes

Issue 51  |  March 2018  |  69

Galerie Berès, TEFAF Maastricht. Photo © Harry Heut

70  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar

Luxembourg City Film Festival. Soirée Crème Fraîche. Photo CNA Romain Girtgen

Antwerp Chocolate Week 2 - 11 March Antwerp, Belgium Calling all chocoholics! Antwerp Chocolate Week gives those with a sweet tooth the chance to follow a delicious tasting route, strolling past this beautiful city’s many sites and stopping off in all the best chocolate shops to sample their latest creations.

Luxembourg City Film Festival Until 4 March Luxembourg City, Luxembourg Luxembourg’s leading cinematic event showcases a mixture of fiction, animation, and documentary films in its partner cinemas, with special guests, exhibitions, round tables and workshops enhancing the programme.

CinemAsia 6 - 11 March Amsterdam, the Netherlands Cinephiles will not want to miss the 11th edition of this superb event, which puts contemporary Asian cinema in the limelight. The CinemAsia film festival takes place in Amsterdam every March to showcase a range of critically acclaimed films. Screenings will take place at both Kriterion and Rialto.

TEFAF Maastricht 10 - 18 March Maastricht, the Netherlands Featuring more than 275 prestigious dealers from around 20 countries, TEFAF Maastricht is widely regarded as one of the world’s most important fairs for art, antiques and design. Find everything from Old Master paintings to classi-

cal antiquities, contemporary art, photographs, jewellery and 20th century design.

Carnival Parade Pétange 11 March 2018 Pétange, Luxembourg The cavalcade of Pétange is the oldest and largest carnival parade in the Grand Duchy. Fun for all the family and internationally oriented, the prestigious event will this year celebrate its 63rd edition.

Affordable Art Fair Brussels 15 - 18 March Brussels, Belgium This March sees the tenth edition of the Affordable Art Fair Brussels take place at the Issue 51  |  March 2018  |  71

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar

Cavalcade of Pétange.

Monster Hunt 2 is the opening film of CinemAsia 2018.

fantastic Tour & Taxis site. Admire the work of creatives from all over the world, with an expected 96 local and international galleries set to exhibit.

Springbreak Luxembourg 21 - 25 March Luxembourg City, Luxembourg Get in the mood for spring and summer with this five-day event. Taking place every March in Luxembourg-Kirchberg, Springbreak showcases the season’s latest trends in food, wine, electrical appliances, gardening and wellbeing.

Keukenhof 22 March - 13 May Lisse, the Netherlands What better way to celebrate the start of spring than with a visit to the most famous flower park 72  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

THE GIANT GIANT BURROWING BURROWING SCORPION THE SCORPION { Opistophthalmus capensis } blocks the entrance of its { Opistophthalmus capensis } blocks the entrance of its burrow against intruders with large pincers. Don’t worry ! burrow against intruders with large pincers. Don’t worry ! In this museum you are not an intruder ! In this museum you are not an intruder !

New mwanent peNre ts nn h x ibiteio peerman ns exhibitio


CE QUE VOUS NE VERREZ PAS DANS UN AUTRE MUSEE. Heures d’ouverture : mercredi - dimanche : 10h00 - 18h00,mardi : 10h00 - 20h00

Nationalmuseum für Naturgeschichte. Geöffnet mittwochs bis sonntags von 10 bis 18 Uhr, dienstags von 10 bis 20 Uhr Heures d’ouverture : mercredi - dimanche : 10h00 - 18h00,mardi : 10h00 - 20h00 National Museum of Natural History. Open Wednesday - Sunday : 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Tuesday : 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. Nationalmuseum für Naturgeschichte. Geöffnet mittwochs bis sonntags von 10 bis 18 Uhr, dienstags von 10 bis 20 Uhr 25, rue Münster, L-2160 LUXEMBOURG | | #naturmuseelux National Museum of Natural History. Open Wednesday - Sunday : 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Tuesday : 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.

25, rue Münster, L-2160 LUXEMBOURG | |


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar

Tour of Flanders. Photo © Digitalclickx

in the world? More than seven million bulbs will bloom at Keukenhof, which is home to a total of 800 varieties of tulips. This year’s charming theme will be ‘Romance in Flowers’.

Movies that Matter 23 - 31 March The Hague, the Netherlands Amnesty International aims to raise awareness of poignant situations across the world through this thought-provoking film festival. Events will take place at Filmhuis Den Haag and Theater aan het Spui.

Ronde van Vlaanderen 2018 1 April Antwerp, Belgium The Tour of Flanders (Ronde van Vlaanderen), also known as De Ronde (The Tour), is an unmissable one-day road cycling race held in Flanders every spring. This year marks its 102nd edition! 74  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

Affordable Art Fair. Photo: John Carril







1. One Carlton - Knokke-Heist - Belgium 2. Manhattan Center - Brussels - Belgium 3. BNP Paribas Fortis HQ - Brussels - Belgium

4. Deloitte & KPMG HQ - Brussels Airport 5. Quatuor Building - Brussels - Belgium 6. Nike ELC - Laakdal - Belgium

In cooperation with - 1. E&L Architects - 3. BE Baumschlager Eberle - Styfhals & Partners - 4. Deloitte HQ : A2RC ARCHITECTS

We would be pleased to welcome you on our stand at 13-16 March 2018 - Cannes, France

Discover Benelux | Culture | Cinema

The Netherlands’ largest bank heist hits the silver screen TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: BANKIER VAN HET VERZET © MARK VAN ALLER, NL FILM 2017

Dutch cinema has its fair share of highly rated movies set during World War II, with classics like Soldier of Orange or more recently Paul Verhoeven’s Black Book. Producer Sytze van der Laan adds a new title to the period movie genre with Bankier van het Verzet (The Resistance Banker). The film centres around the remarkable real-life story of banker Walraven Van Hall and his brother Gijs. The two were able to sneak away millions of guilders from the Netherlands’ central bank through an elaborate scheme with 27 businesses and a fake pension fund, using the money to help the resistance in any way they could. We caught up with Van Der Laan to find out more. 76  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

Making a movie about the story of the Van Hall brothers was your idea, how did it come to life? I was reading a newspaper about a monument being unveiled at the Frederiksplein in Amsterdam in recognition of what the Van Hall brothers had done. As a bit of a history buff, I was intrigued. I’d never heard of them before, but I dived right in. ‘Wally’ and Gijs were unsung heroes who did the impossible: stealing millions of guilders right under the noses of our occupiers to fund the resistance. What the two did was impactful in more ways than you can count. One example is that by funding the resistance, many Dutchmen didn’t have to report in Germany for forced labour, which in itself was means for Germany to send

more young men to the front. Thanks to the work of the Van Hall brothers, the number of divisions stationed in the Netherlands was much lower than intended and made the liberation that much easier. Did you seek contact with the brothers’ family for the film? I did. As soon as I had the idea of making a movie about the deeds of Walraven and Gijs, I reached out to Wim de Bijl who is a historic advisor at the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam, and he knew Walraven’s two sons and daughter. I asked for their consent and they were a bit hesitant at first, given how there have been others who wanted to translate their dad’s story to the big screen. But those filmmakers painted the

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Cinema

brothers as swashbuckling, gun-wearing action heroes and that’s just not who they were. I told Wally’s son, Aad, I wanted wanted to make a thriller; a match of wits much more in the vein of a movie like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. That got the whole family on board and gave us access to their archives and personal stories. There wouldn’t be a script without them and at every point of writing, we asked for their approval. What was the most surprising thing to hear or read about Walraven?

Is there a lesson to be learned from The Resistance Banker? I like to think so. This movie asks you the question; ‘what would you do if there was a war going on and everything was at stake?’. The famous historian Loe de Jong once said that what the brothers did was the largest individual feat of the resistance and it should be inspiring for anyone who wants to tackle the status quo. Whether it’s somebody in China standing in front of a tank or students in the United States who are standing up against the NRA; the

story of Wally and Gijs shows us you don’t have to lie down and do nothing. It’s also a well-timed movie, since the National Committee of Remembering World War II dubbed 2018 as the ‘Year Of Resistance’. That kind of fell into our lap - or maybe our movie is falling into their laps. Directed by Joram Lürsen, The Resistance Banker stars Barry Atsma, Jacob Derwig and Pierre Bokma. It will be released on 8 March in more than 150 cinemas in the Netherlands, some with English subtitles. International releases will follow.

How he was such an adventurous man with an unmatched knack for leadership. Before he became a banker, he was a captain of a large ship, only to be rejected because of poor eyesight. Once a banker, Wally had to sit through many meetings with his peers. The war was an opportunity for him to show that level of leadership once again and the amount of guts it takes to do what he did. It all amounted to what is possibly one of the largest bank heists ever, with everyone’s life in the balance. Anyone working for the relief fund the brothers helped erect, was aware of the danger it imposed. There was a certain amount of excitement for many of them, but they knew they could wake the dragon at any moment.

Issue 51  |  March 2018  |  77

Photo: Roll Schleich


Bringing history to life TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON  |  PHOTOS: GR-INK

Visitors to Beaufort in Luxembourg’s romantic Haupeschbach Valley can immerse themselves in two distinct periods of history by experiencing its twin castles. The medieval building broods with martial austerity, a ruin that sends the imagination racing back almost a thousand years to when its defensive walls were begun; its Renaissance counterpart, still furnished and decorated for habitation, exudes elegance and civilisation, art and comfort. Beaufort’s contrasting castles sit together as an illustration of changing times and changing priorities. Jacqueline Kuijpers has lived in the Renaissance building for more than 30 78  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

years, stretching back to the time when the last chatelaine, Annemarie LinckelsVolmer, resided in its opulent surroundings. She has worked in both châteaux over that time, so has plenty of suggestions as to what must be seen on a visit: “For the first-time visitor, what really stands out in the medieval castle are the imposing structural elements – the various towers, the well, the spiral staircases, prison, the guardrooms… and people are captivated by the torture chamber, which still contains various torture devices!

Making trips memorable “Actually it’s far from certain the castle ever had such a chamber in reality,” she admits, “but the last owner put it together to educate and fascinate visitors.” Making

sure that visitors enjoy a memorable trip is something still central to the thinking of the two organisations overseeing the use and maintenance of the castles, Les Amis des Châteaux de Beaufort, and the Service des Sites et Monuments Nationaux, with events and activities at the site that help make the most of it. “As regards the Renaissance building,” Jacqueline continues, “it’s the overall experience of seeing a castle in a totally liveable state, complete with all its furniture and decoration, a home in the grandest style, that people find most striking.” To complete the picture of a grand residence there are stables and a fine rose garden, along with another extensive garden that once was part of its magnificent park.

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Beaufort Castles

Grand events The character, history and grandeur of the castles are captured and communicated in different ways. On a rather grand – and decidedly dramatic – scale, the new season (beginning on 24 March) will be marked with a grand opening on 31 March and 1 April, the walls of the medieval castle acting as a giant screen onto which spectacular video-images will be projected. And on 13 May a day of choral singing, arranged with Luxembourg’s Choral Union, will fill the air with music in keeping with the magnificence of the surroundings. But there is a homelier way that one relatively recent part of the Beaufort Castles story is celebrated in every visit to the Renaissance building. “In 1932 M. Linckels

started producing Cassero, a blackcurrant liqueur,” explains Mme Kuijpers, “and in 2009 my husband and I re-started production in the castle cellars. It’s now sold here and in some selected stores in Luxembourg, and a little taste of the drink, which people definitely seem to enjoy, is included in the entry price.” Jean Beck Born in humble circumstances in LuxembourgGrund in 1588

The Linckels family 1928 Edmond Linckels purchases the castles and begins restoration work 1930 M. Linckels begins producing Cassero liqueur in the cellars 1932 the medieval castle re-opened to the public 1934 Edmond marries Annemarie Volmer 1975 Edmond dies 1981 an agreement for the state to take over the castles, but for Annemarie to remain in residence for the rest of her life 2012 Annemarie dies aged 97

Having risen to be a great general, he was made a baron by Ferdinand III in 1637 Civil Governor of the Duchy of Luxembourg in 1642 Started construction of Beaufort’s Renaissance Castle circa 1643 Died 1648, a year before his castle was completed

Opening periods Medieval castle open year round, for visits with guide (on reservation) or without Renaissance castle open March – November, for guided visits in groups of 12 only

At the Magicastle Nights in 2017.

Issue 51  |  March 2018  |  79

Discover Benelux | Culture | La Kunsthalle Mulhouse

A must-see exhibition in Mulhouse Visitors to the city of Mulhouse in eastern France will not want to miss the latest exhibition from contemporary art centre, La Kunsthalle Mulhouse. Open since 15 February, The Live Creature showcases projects from a range of artists from across the globe including the Netherlands’ Aimée Zito Lema, American Allan Kaprow and Teresa Lanceta from Spain. The expo has been curated by Soledad Gutiérrez, who believes the importance of The Live Creature lies in its inclusiveness: “Many people feel that art is often too abstract or too intellectual. But this exhibition proves the opposite - it

Photo: Sébastien North

is accessible on many different levels. Visitors will realise how close art actually is to all of us.” The various works on display range from Lanceta’s tapestries inspired by weavers in the Atlas Mountains to Lema’s video art exploring questions related to the body. The different projects explore the connections between art education and art practice, craftsmanship as a method of relating to the world, the body as a subject of transmission and the relevance of the urban and natural processes surrounding us. “These all become the departure point for understanding art as a device for gaining a better understanding of how we live,” explains Gutiérrez, who cites the 1934 book Art as Ex-


perience by American philosopher John Dewey as an inspiration for the exhibition. In fact, The Live Creature takes its title from the book’s opening chapter. “Dewey’s work has played a massive role in art education and the connection of art and everyday life,” concludes the curator. La Kunsthalle Mulhouse is located at the Foundry, on the University of Haute-Alsace campus. The Live Creature runs until 29 April. MIDDLE: The Live Creature 2018, Teresa Lanceta. RIGHT: The Live Creature, 2018. Anna Craycroft, ‘Object of Learning / Subject of Study’, 2010-2018. © La Kunsthalle. Photos: Sébastien Bozon

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Columns



One of my earliest and most enduring memories of engaging with art came in the year 2000, on a school trip to the Millennium Dome. The Dome was a resounding failure, with the press unanimous in tearing it to shreds due to the millions it had cost. There was, however, one attraction everyone was drawn to; Ron Mueck’s Boy – a 4.5 metre tall sculpture of a young boy crouching. My reaction to the piece was so strong and affective that I can clearly remember how I felt towards the work 18 years later. And it is exactly how I still feel looking at Ron Mueck’s work now; a heady mix of awe, fascination and disturbance. On show at Kunsthal, Rotterdam from 10 March is Hyperrealism Sculpture, a survey of

28 artists’ faithful recreations of the human figure. There is something utterly disconcerting when face to face with one of these sculptures; the stilled movements, the depiction of every pore and blemish is unsettling. But you cannot look away from them – they are the art world equivalent of the pimple popping videos on YouTube, so wrong yet so right. The show at Kunsthal acts almost as a chronological tour through the medium, from its early beginnings with artists experimenting with complex procedures to mimic skin, through to the boom in the 80s and 90s for large-scale sculpture through to todays practitioner’s adding witticism and political statement into the mix. Subtle it is not, but a humorous, necessary and intense experience it is. Hyperrealism Sculpture runs until 1 July 2018.

Tony Matelli, Josh.

Ron Mueck, A Girl.

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.



This white beer – made with certified organic ingredients – is one of a range of four brews currently being produced by the Organic Tribu brewery, whose headquarters are in Loupoigne, between Brussels and Charleroi. The brewery’s labels feature a sassy cartoon depiction of the head of a full-lipped woman with a hairstyle from the 1960s. The colours on the labels of each of the styles of beer produced by Organic Tribu vary: the bottom-half of the Ginette Natural White label is blue. Their design is simple and eye-catching, helping the brewery’s bottles stand out on shelves in bottle shops. The business is the brainchild of four men: friends who profess a passion for environmental matters, a commitment to sustainable agriculture, and, of course, beer and brewing.

Ginette Natural White is, as the name suggests, an organic wheat beer. Its colour is like pale straw and less cloudy in appearance than many of the other white beers on the market. The beer’s aroma is light with fruity, citrusy hints. Its flavour is light too, something that is likely to appeal to people who enjoy a clean, refreshing drink rather than a punchy, heavily hopped ale. There is a faint touch of maltiness to this sweetish beer. All things considered, Ginette Natural White has all the qualities of an easy-to-drink beer that can be quaffed following a lengthy walk or bicycle ride. In terms of pairings with food, this beer slips down well when served with lightly peppered salmon pasta or a goat’s cheese quiche. Brewer: Organic Tribu Strength: 5.0 per cent

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

Issue 51  |  March 2018  |  81

Discover Benelux | Music | Benelux Beats


Musically discovering…Weval TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTO: NICK HELDERMAN

Having met each other in the film industry, Dutch duo Harm Coolen and Merijn Scholte Albers, together known as Weval, were bound to create music with a cinematic feel. With their blend of minimal techno, deep house and krautrock, the Amsterdam-based synth wizards create a sound that does wonders for both mind and body. Their self-titled debut album was released in 2016 on Germany’s legendary Kompakt Records and it earned an 8.0 from music blog Pitchfork. We catch up with the two in their studio, where Coolen and Scholte Albers are working on their follow-up album. After the success of your first album, how do you guys approach the follow-up? Coolen: We’ve been extensively touring since the debut album and made the decision to ease down on that and spend as much time as needed on the next album. 82  |  Issue 51  |  March 2018

Scholte Albers: We usually start with simple melodies, set-ups for something larger and dare to step out of our comfort zones. We’re not only making deep, instrumental tracks, there are a few that have a song-like feel. So does that mean the guys behind the keys are going to sing? Scholte Albers: Not me, I don’t even dare to sing under the shower! Coolen: I have actually recorded some vocals of my own and the idea is that I’ll be singing in future live shows. I’m nervous about that. I took singing lessons, but to stand there with no keys to hide behind, that’s going to be special. You have toured in countries most Dutch bands can only dream about, what is it like to perform outside of the Netherlands? Coolen: It depends on the country and the setting, but what they all have in

common is a much more focused crowd than here in the Netherlands. Scholte Albers: We have a notoriously noisy audience and at times that can be frustrating. Compare that to the insane shows we’ve done in France where everybody was silent during our quieter moments and went bonkers the moment we kicked it up a notch. Suppose you could do a show with an unlimited budget, what would you do? Coolen: Our dream has always been to do a show in the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Scholte Albers: We perform as a duo and at times with a live band. To test out a building like that with our sound would be amazing.


Discover Benelux, Issue 51, March 2018  
Discover Benelux, Issue 51, March 2018  

Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.