Discover Benelux, Issue 53, May 2018

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I S S U E 5 3 | M AY 2 018











Your Shortcut to Benelux

S n a cks

Me al s

Dr inks

Pap ers



Discover Benelux  |  Contents

Contents MAY 2018





with an abundance of culture and gastronomy

Jérémie Renier

around every corner. Also check out the fully-packed calendar of events for the summer.

Belgian actor Jérémie Renier has never been afraid of a challenge. In his latest role(s) in the


François Ozon-directed erotic thriller L’amant Double, he portrays the Parisian psychoana-






We look at the month ahead in Benelux busi-

We caught up with Renier to discuss film, fam-

ness, as well as profiling the companies you

ily and future projects.

need to know about.



Made in the Netherlands


Brussels’ best booths

Holland has a longstanding history of invention

In April, art fairs Art Brussels and Poppositions

and that tradition is still very much alive today.

attracted a buzzing crowd of artists, collec-

This month, we continue our guide to some of

tors, gallerists, and keen art aficionados who

the most exciting products and designs cur-

were swarming Brussels’ cobbled streets for

rently coming out of the Netherlands.

the fairs and exhibition openings.

(Hand)Made in Belgium


Antwerp Art Weekend

Belgium has a tradition of design, art and cul-

Bigger and better than ever, the Antwerp Art

tural heritage, which is still honoured through

Weekend returns for its fourth iteration be-

the country’s innovative and cutting-edge cre-

tween 25-27 May, promising a three-day mar-

ative industry. We take a closer look at some

athon of exhibitions, events and performanc-

of the talented crafters and their handmade

es. We provide a rundown of the best things


to visit during the trip.

Bruges special


Bruges is described as breathtakingly beautiful


Company profiles, regulars and more

lyst Paul and his identical twin brother, Louis.

and picture-postcard perfect. Discover what else is on offer in this medieval yet modern town,

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Fashion Picks  |  8 Desirable Designs Columns  |  86 Out & About

Issue 53  |  May 2018  |  3

Discover Benelux  |  Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Discover Benelux Issue 53, May 2018 Published 05.2018 ISSN 2054-7218 Published by Scan Group Print Liquid Graphic Ltd Executive Editor Thomas Winther Creative Director Mads E. Petersen Editor Malin Norman Copy-editor Karl Batterbee Graphic Designer Mercedes Moulia Contributors Amy Brooke Anna Villeleger Bas van Duren Cathy van Klaveren Eddie Fiegel Ella Put Frank van Lieshout Lorenza Bacino

Martin Pilkington Matt Antoniak Michiel Stol Myriam Dijck Peter Stewart Simon Willmore Steve Flinders Stuart Forster Xandra Boersma Cover Photo 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 53  |  May 2018

Just in time for summer, we are turning up the volume with a fully-packed magazine of new discoveries. In this month’s issue, we meet Belgian actor Jérémie Renier for a chat about preparing for his latest roles in François Ozon’s erotic thriller L’amant Double, where he stars along Marine Vacth and portrays twin brothers Paul and Louis – cleverly illustrating how there are two sides to every story. The film will show in UK cinemas from 1 June. This notion of two sides of a coin leads me to Bruges, the fairy tale medieval city with strong traditions yet a modern edge. Take a look at our Bruges city special for tips on what to see and do in this fascinating destination that is set to capture your heart. We also continue celebrating craftsmanship in our themes Made in the Netherlands and (Hand)Made in Belgium, in line with the current ‘do it yourself’ trend, and focusing on handmade products. Plus, as usual, we share what not to miss in terms of culture and business in the region. Being a craft-beer lover of sorts, I am particularly excited about the new edition of the Good Beer Guide Belgium written by Tim Webb and Joe Stange. Now in its eighth edition, this is a fabulous guide to Belgium’s beers, breweries, bars and beer shops. And whilst on the subject, the more enduring aficionados can head to Liege for the Beer Lovers’ Marathon on 20 May – imagine over 26 miles of beery fun! It is time to plan your new adventures and go explore. Enjoy our buzzing May issue! Malin Norman, Editor

© Bal du Moulin Rouge 2018 - Moulin Rouge® - 1-1028499




Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks


Summer is here! Okay, summer might not be here entirely just yet. But it is never too early to start shopping for it. That is why we have some brand new summer trends for you. Starting this month with beachwear. Get ready to book that much needed weekend trip to the beach! TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA  |  PHOTOS: PRESS PHOTOS

Denim is always a good idea Whether it is spring, summer, autumn or winter: denim is always your way to go. Though on beach days, you might want to switch those denim shorts for a swim-version. Shirt: € 49,99 Shorts: € 49,99 Shoes: € 99,99

Casual combination Every occasion is right for a casual T-shirt with just a little bit of a spike. Like this one, that has a subtle print on it. Perfect to match with those funky swim shorts. € 29,95

Meet in the middle Did you think swimwear for men is either boring or way too ‘out there’ with bright prints and such? Wrong! You can spice up your beach outfit with a subtle print, like stripes on dark blue. € 39.95 6  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks

Take a peek No summer outfit is complete without a pair of sunglasses. To protect your eyes from the bright rays of sunlight of course, but also to be able to sneakily check out everyone that walks by. € 98

Beach body ready With this bikini, every body is ready to hit the beach. The perfect fit and eyecatching colour make it the best outfit to have on a hot summer day. € 144,90

The perfect dress... one you can wear to both the beach and afternoon drinks. Which therefore makes this dress perfect. Throw it on over your bikini and you are good to go. € 159,99 Issue 53  |  May 2018  |  7

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Desirable Designs


Going green Green is the colour of balance and health. So it can never hurt to add a little more of it to your home’s interior. By using plants, for instance. And even if you are not blessed with green fingers, our pick of the latest design items from the Benelux mean you can still add a little bit of that balance to the home. TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA



1. Clean with coasters To avoid circles on the salon table, coasters are the way to go. Even better, if you choose coasters with a fun print like these. € 9,95 &Klevering via


4. Perfecting your home with plants Creating a green oasis inside your home is easier said than done. Which is why Irene Schampaert and Judith Baehner created this book filled with tips on how to create your own peaceful urban jungle. € 34,99

3. Fake it till you make it These days, fake plants do not look as fake as they used to. On the contrary, nobody will be able to tell the difference between a real cactus and this plastic alternative. € 149

2. 2. Sit back and relax The most important part of health and balance is supposed to be getting enough rest. So sit back and enjoy this lovely chair that will match your greenthemed interior perfectly. € 249 8  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

5. Wallflowers Another great way to add plants to your home decor, without actually having to take care of them, is wallpaper. Like this selection with a tropical print. Too much for your home? You can also choose a version with a slightly more subtle jungle print. € 171



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


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

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

Architecture Eindhoven.

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

the Netherlands is a must-visit for architecture addicts with many of the globe’s most celebrated architects hailing from the Netherlands: from Gerrit Rietveld to Rem Koolhaas, the list is endless.

Both nationally and internationally, Dutch architects continue to make their mark with their innovative approach to building, while creatives such as Marcel Wanders epitomise Dutch conceptualism.

Making Gouda pipes.

The Dutch creative industry is particularly renowned in fields such as interior design, gaming, fashion, and architecture. The Netherlands has countless internationally successful fashion designers such as Iris van Herpen, not to mention stylish brands including Scotch & Soda and G-Star RAW. In the design world,

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

Susan Bijl.

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... Susan Bijl Based in Rotterdam, Susan Bijl makes colourful bags that have become iconic. Born from the idea of reducing the waste involved in the production of plastic bags and in line with the ‘less is more’ Dutch design philosophy, the bags are crafted from bluesign-certified Ripstop nylon, the same material used for kites. An instant hit amongst fashion-lovers and designers alike.

Studio Ruig.

Vico Vico is a footwear brand founded in 2012. The design and development takes place in the Netherlands and Italy, and the shoes are handmade in Portugal. Vico is driven by distinctive design, an obsession with details, comfort and European quality, but it is also a movement, created by independent minds seeking to move forward and resist the usual. Joline Jolink. Photo: Marc Deurloo

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Joline Jolink The brand Joline Jolink was founded in 2006 as a tribute to all women who are averse to following the beaten track, with clothes to match their personality. She designs timeless, thoughtful, minimalist designs without fuss. Also, Joline prefers to renew her collection regularly and does not do seasons, or sales. Studio Ruig, Eindhoven Klaartje Glashorster, Inge Hendriks and Sophie Soons, the three designers behind Eindhoven-based studioRUIG, combine sharp intuition and creative urge in women’s fashion. Their carefully designed collections capture an androgynous sensuality, pure materials and a strong use of color. Leather is a favorite offering the ‘RUIG’ component, which is Dutch for ‘rough’, finished in the simplest way possible. Vico.

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

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

Gem Kingdom From necklaces with staring eyes to oversized earrings covered in mystical symbols, Gem Kingdom’s bold and extravagant jewellery is not for those who want to blend in. (Read more from page 14)

Atelier Chris Sommer Take a peek inside Chris Sommer’s atelier, located amidst the meadows and mills of the lowlands, where the goldsmith displays some of his latest creations. (Read more from page 16)

Argo Studios Jewellery Most people only buy jewellery for its aesthetic quality, but Margo Dubovik is aiming to create a more meaningful connection with her company, Argo Studios. (Read more from page 18)

Bodali Jewels Bodali Jewels are fashionable accessories and also pieces of art. A perfect combination of a love for craftsmanship, elegant design and the unique story of the wearer. (Read more from page 19)

We Design With excellent craftsmanship and years of experience, We Design provides people with chronic conditions with handmade, elegant silver braces for fingers, thumbs, hands and wrists. (Read more from page 20)

Schoolkapstok & Binnenruimte Jolanda van Holten created the safe, sustainable and strong Schoolkapstok coat rack in collaboration with designer Marcel Vroon from Binnenruimte. (Read more from page 20)

Jasmina Kuntz Talented furniture designer and master of cabinetmaking Jasmina Kuntz combines art and design into unique pieces of tailor-made furniture and interiors. (Read more from page 23)

K’oak Design Based in Abbenbroek, south of Rotterdam, K’oak Design creates solid wooden doors for IKEA cabinets. A creative solution with luxurious details. (Read more from page 22)

Bureau Vandervorm According to Bureau Vandervorm, based in Naarden, a well-designed office says something about the company and gives the employees a sense of being at home. (Read more from page 24)

Maxxtracks Indoor Ski Slopes Indoor ski slope simulators from Maxxtracks are used in ski centres around the world. The treadmill-like simulators can change speed and incline at the touch of a button. (Read more from page 26)

BikeClip Start-up BikeClip offers a sturdy, compact and versatile stand for every type of bicycle. Its simple yet innovative design has orders rolling in from the Netherlands and abroad. (Read more from page 28)

10XL For two years, 10XL has been producing furniture and even actual ships with the help of only a 3D printer and a lot of plastic waste. (Read more from page 29)

Cupbliss With its positive messages, cups by Cupbliss changes the way we drink our workday coffee, but also the way we think about responsible entrepreneurship. (Read more from page 30)

Issue 53  |  May 2018  |  13

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

Standing out from the jewellery crowd TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  PHOTOS: GEM KINGDOM

From necklaces with staring eyes to oversized earrings covered in mystical symbols, the bold and extravagant jewellery by Gem Kingdom is always instantly recognisable. Combining playful, eclectic designs with contrasting colours and unusual shapes, Gem Kingdom’s jewellery is not for those who want to blend in. Well-loved by Dutch celebrities, Gem Kingdom has built a name for itself all over the world in its 28 years of existence. Popular across Europe and Asia, co-founder Bernard Jongstra, who started the brand with Johanna Titselaar, still cannot get enough of designing new pieces. “We call it the ‘happy business’,” Jongstra begins. “Jewellery is not something essential like, for example, clothes are, as you’d 14  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

get cold without them. People wear jewellery because they find it beautiful and it makes them happy. It gives us a lot of satisfaction, and we have a big, loyal fan base who are always keen to see what we’ll do next.”

quickly picked up internationally. He says: “A jewellery collection only uses a small bit of space, so it can be easily added to the collection of a clothing store.” From this initial success, Gem Kingdom continued to grow every year.

From punk beginnings to a global breakthrough

Mixing and matching

Having met at high school, the pair launched the brand after they started selling their self-made jewellery at street fairs and festivals. Jongstra: “This was the time of punk: you didn’t need a degree or have a background in a certain field, you’d just start doing it.”

Using various materials, including sterling silver, horn, porcelain, pearls, onyx and gemstones, Gem Kingdom designs and assembles the pieces in Amsterdam. While sometimes inspired by classical jewellery, they often use asymmetrical designs, raw-looking materials and mixed pearls or gemstones.

Helped by friends in the fashion industry, the two managed to get their collections on display in various clothing stores at home and abroad. The extravagant and outspoken style of the jewellery was

Gem Kingdom’s unorthodox style immediately grabs attention, and a statement piece acts as a conversation starter. Jongstra continues: “We always create a story around our collections. Usually, this

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

is a tale without an ending, so the wearer can put their own spin on it. On the other hand, customers sometimes have a very strong feeling about a piece, which can completely remove our original story idea.” Jongstra says art and history are major sources of inspiration, mixed with ethnic elements. “We like to combine all kinds of materials and styles. It is like searching for a particular feeling,” he says. “Jewellery is usually bought by a special person or for a specific occasion. So a piece often becomes a personal treasure or memory.”

A surrealistic journey of inspiration One particular style that has always fascinated Jongstra is the Dada. This early-20th century art movement mixes and matches various pictures, shapes and words and puts them together into one surrealistic collage. These elements can be found in their latest collection, DADARAG-TiME. It features strange, exciting and playful designs and some of the pieces even include a special type of polyester that lights up in the dark.

Blurring the line between fiction and reality, many of the pieces are decorated with mystical symbols such as birds, drops, hearts, sun rays, lips, clouds, single eyes, hats and hands. Jongstra explains: “Magritte made several paintings with his bowler hat, so we repeatedly used this icon in the collection. And, for example, the lips are like the ones used by Dali in his artworks.”

When the happy babies were born Another collection that has kept its popularity for years is the Happy Baby range. Every one of these pendants begins with a porcelain baby that is holding its hands out wide, as if ready for an embrace. The standing baby, also known as a ‘kewpie’, is then dressed up in various outfits, for example as a skater, a DJ, a ballet dancer, a superhero or many more. “The idea started when we visited our porcelain manufacturer and he happened to have one of these standing in his atelier. We thought it would be fun to do something with that,” Jongstra explains. “By now we have over 40 different Happy Babies, and every season we add one or two more.”

This month, Gem Kingdom are doing a presentation in Moscow where they will showcase the collections and promote the Happy Babies with a workshop exploring which one suits your personality. This year is also the ten-year anniversary of the Gem Kingdom webshop. To celebrate the event, Gem Kingdom puts new styles of jewellery up for sale online which is exclusively available via the website. Bernard Jongstra.


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


As a matter of (he)art TEXT: GEORGE OCEAN  |  PHOTOS: STUDIO TROMP

Situated in the rural outback of the province of South Holland, right on the bank of an idyllic river called “de Giessen”, we find Chris Sommer’s atelier. It is, safe to say, a surprise to find a goldsmith located amidst the meadows and mills of the lowlands, but it is in no sense an unpleasant one. Our eyes are welcomed by the delightful view of flowers and trees, and the air carries a sweet whiff of lavender. From inside, a couple of blows of a hammer give away the presence of a craftsman. In his beautiful and luminous showroom, Chris displays some of his latest creations. On the side – and delicately hanging around the neck of a mannequin - we find Orleans: a necklace of bobbin-lace gold, diamonds and South Sea keshi, all revolving around a splendid stone of crimson coral. We turn around and away 16  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

from the mannequin, until our eye is caught by a blue spark, drawing us close from aside. In the display, we find Santa Maria: earrings of 18 carat red and white gold on which a beautiful, pear-shaped aquamarine sways lazily under a nimble connection of diamond. “Everything can move in respect to everything else. Everything can breathe and light can spill through. That’s what’s making it look so elegant, while still being significant. How do I make it like this? That I cannot tell you. What I can tell you is that it’s precisely these kind of subtle things that make the job so awesome. People who wear and see it are amazed, intrigued and – above all - happy.” To accompany us along our exploration of the artist’s diverse array of jewellery, Chris presents us with an espresso that

reveals his love for coffee – and for good things in general. On the background we hear jazz, Chris’s favourite music genre, playing softly over the sound system. “Art is about more than items. It’s an experience. A thing of beauty is a joy forever, but only if it can be shared and seen. And more often than you think, beauty hides in the simple and the subtle. With my designs I try to create more than jewellery; more than just beautiful objects and ornaments. I aim for personality, for imagination and inspiration. This, however, always involves people. Matters of art are matters of the heart. A ring can be marvellous – if its beauty doesn’t truly reach people’s hearts, it’s not a true success. Only when a creation serves the person wearing it, only then the creation reaches its full potential. Only then my job is done.”

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

We follow Chris into his workshop where he introduces us to some of the tools and equipment he employs for realising his designs. “The craft of the goldsmith is ancient, but his creations are ever-changing. It’s a necessity to keep improving techniques in order to create refreshing designs. This imposes a challenge on the individual artist, but also on the group of goldsmiths as a whole. And this is where the Dutch Guild of Goldsmiths enters the stage. The guild is a community in which craftsmanship, knowledge and experience are shared amongst fellows. Together we keep advancing our skills while also endowing the new generation with a professional learning environment.” “If someone would have told me thirty years ago that I would one day be the chairman of the national guild and have this gallery, I would have smiled and said I might as well try for president. Jokes aside, life taught me that things we cannot possibly imagine for the future may well come true. I couldn’t have hoped to be where I am today and consider myself a very blessed and lucky man. What the future will bring, I don’t know. I hope to travel more with my wife, write a book about creativity and enjoy many more years of creating matters of he(art). To keep inspiring others with my work: that is my dream.”

Santa Maria.


Chris Sommer.

Issue 53  |  May 2018  |  17

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



Most people only buy jewellery for its aesthetic quality, but Margo Dubovik is aiming to create a more meaningful connection, with her company, Argo Studios. “I started with mini-sculpture five years ago,” starts Dubovik. At the time, of all things, she was working in computer science – and has a Master’s degree in cybernetics – but she ensures me that such turn of events was not too dramatic, because the artistic part of her life also requires technology. The equipment may be cutting-edge, but the inspiration reaches back much further in time, to ancient Japan. “During my childhood, I spent a lot of time in the State Museum of Oriental Art,” explains USSR-born Dubovik, who moved to Amsterdam in 2016. The jewellery beads – netsuke in Japanese – are not just Asian in design; ancient approaches required that such jewellery also 18  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

have a functional aspect. Dubovik’s beads operate as a kind of good luck charm, or ‘introverted artwork’ as she describes it: “The pieces, that you know are there but are not obvious to others, help you to feel connected. Other companies just focus on the look, but my pieces focus on the meaningfulness of the sculpture – they symbolise something.” The symbolism is also clear in her ‘Grim’ series, a study of the journey to the underworld, as represented in different cultures. “Each religion we looked at has a character that transports souls to the afterlife: Yama in Hinduism; Hermes in Greek mythology, the Grim Reaper in the west; Anubis in ancient Egypt,” explains Dubovik. She tells me the collection asks “What comes next?”, displaying more evidence of connections – this time, between life and death. It is this sense of connection that means Dubovik’s clientele are crucial during the design phase of her jewellery. “I have a community where we exchange ideas.

Peace; comfort; strength; energy; these are what people want. People enjoy talking about the jewellery, and participating in the process, so much, that we often become friends.” The designs themselves are prototyped in wax before a metalworking cast is printed. After casting, polishing and painting, they are ready – the manufacturing itself is easy and “can be done in a day,” she assures me. However, the visualisation is the hard part, and certain pieces – like the face of David Bowie – can take more than a year. “My general idea is that we need to enjoy this current moment more, so I have tried to create light-hearted joyful objects that make us feel happier about the now,” concludes Dubovik. That is a design mantra that anyone could agree with. Learn more about Argo Studios at or follow her on social media: and

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

An example of an heirloom with a new and special touch.

Making a wearable work of art TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: BODALI JEWELS

A perfect combination of a love for craftsmanship, elegant design and the unique story of the wearer. Bodali Jewels are not just fashionable accessories but pieces of art. As a trained goldsmith and owner of a rapidly expanding collection of self-made jewellery, it came natural to Maaike Bots to start her own jewellery brand. “I received a lot of compliments about the jewellery I designed and that’s when I thought: let’s pass on my passion and start a brand.” In the atelier of Bodali Jewels, Maaike creates all jewels with handpicked rough and polished gemstones as well as precious silver and gold metals. Customers can also bring in old pieces of jewellery and heirlooms, which can be refashioned or implanted into other rings, necklaces, bracelets or earrings. Or incorporate a special

touch by implanting the fingerprints, ashes or hair of departed loved ones

the final result? It is almost as if materials think along with jewellery.”

A recent example is the antique rings a client got from her grandmother and the client’s own wedding rings that were given a unique touch by implanting the fingerprint of her deceased mother. Maaike: “It’s an honour to transform such precious pieces of jewellery into something new. Whilst keeping the honour of the heirloom in mind, the old memory gets a new touch.”

In addition to designing and creating jewellery, Maaike also teaches workshops in jewellery-making and cutting gemstones, a full day activity including lunch. In June, Maaike becomes instructor in art-clay jewellery and then she will organise workshops for companies, with days and sessions that will include high tea.

When asked what she loves the most about her job, she answers: “Being creative and working together with the client and the materials, they also deliver an important part of the work.” She elaborates: “First and foremost, there is always the idea of a design. But if materials or shapes come to live spontaneously during the process of creation, why not use them in

Even though Maaike has become a master in teaching the art of making jewellery, she lives according to the philosophy that one is never done with learning: “In the future, I hope to learn even more about techniques, materials and, of course, integrate that in my workshops.” Web:

Maaike Bots.

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

The silver lining of WE design WE design has been a cherished maker of jewellery for many years. By combining excellent craftsmanship with years of experience, the Dutch company provides people with chronic conditions with handmade, elegant silver braces for fingers, thumbs, hands and wrists. The most important role of WE design’s jewellery is providing stability and supporting daily functioning for people with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis (MS). However, the elegant silver jewellery is also fashionable, thus WE design’s products are not only made of silver, they also have a stylish silver lining to them. “Most importantly, our designs have to be functional and provide support. But we always try to create organic silhouettes and natural lines according to the shape of the body,” founder of WE design Wouter Engelshoven explains. Originally a goldsmith, the outstanding skills shine through in every design. With 20 years of

experience, he and his passionate team carry the signature of fine craftsmanship combined with the latest medical technology. “All of our braces and splints are made of real silver,” says Engelshoven. “You can wear them anywhere and everywhere. They won’t rust, nor will they absorb moisture.” All braces and splints are custom-made after a request from an orthopaedic engineer, to whom clients have been referred by a medical specialist. The small team of WE design can create the perfect fit in no time.



The underestimated power of a school’s coat rack TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: SCHOOLKAPSTOK & BINNENRUIMTE

Children use it every day, yet there is little or no attention given to the potential problems that an inadequate coat rack could cause at schools. It can get messy, children can hurt themselves on sharp edges and, if worse comes to worst, the coats may contain lice. Luckily, there is a solution. “It was time for a change,” Jolanda van Holten, co-creator of the Schoolkapstok explains. As an interior designer and mother-of-three, she decided to create a coat rack for schools that would be sufficient for everyone involved in a school’s daily activities. In no time, the R3 model was born; a coat rack that was sustainable, strong and, most of all, safe. Coming in several shapes and sizes depending on the wishes of the client, the coat rack contains soft and smooth edges, meaning children do not get hurt and it is easy to clean after a day out and about. Furthermore, 20  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

little wood barriers and nametags divide the small coat hangers. The simple, yet surprisingly efficient solution is not only perfect for school; it can also be used at nurseries, sport associations, libraries or museums. Jolanda: “But it’s also for individual users. We would like to expand our market as much as possible.” And after all, everyone needs a coat rack. Jolanda designed the Schoolkapstok in a successful collaboration with designer Marcel Vroon from Binnenruimte. In the upcoming months, they will introduce a new model. In the shape of a snake, the newly developed coat rack will have a playful element yet keep its functionality. Just like all other designs of the Schoolkapstok, it can be adapted according to any wishes. But most of all, it can bring a little piece of mind. Web:

Safe, sustainable and strong. The coat rack comes in all shapes and sizes and is the perfect accessory for any public or private building.

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.

Looking for a unique business gift? Surprise your business relations with a giftPURE of eternal value: a crystal object. DESIGN, HANDMADE SINCE 1878 Make it even more personal by having it engraved with your company logo or a text.


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

The fine art of furniture making TEXT: MALIN NORMAN  |  PHOTOS: KUNTZ EN MEUBELS

With passion and dedication, furniture designer and master of cabinetmaking, Jasmina Kuntz, combines art and design into unique pieces of furniture and interiors. “Most of the work I do is art to me,” explains Jasmina Kuntz, and elaborates further; “I work with a mix of materials such as wood, glass, plastic and stone. You can really play when working on a design and it’s possible to generate different emotions, making the customers feel a certain way, yet create furniture that they can actually use. This is what craftsmanship is all about.” As a young designer, Kuntz was impressed by the craftsmanship in furniture making as well as the proportions used in architecture. She has been making furniture since 2000 and since 2012, she has combined this traditional knowledge and expertise in cabinetmaking with contemporary design under her own brand, Kuntz en Meubels. The first object where her design language really came together was the impressive striped table Nuca, where Kuntz cleverly blended the use of 22  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

different materials and light and dark colours into a truly stunning design.

and needs, they also establish a personal contact with the designer herself.

Tailor-made and personal

According to Kuntz, designing furniture is indeed a very intimate experience. “I can see that living amongst beautiful things makes people happy. When delivering a piece of furniture, the greatest moment is when I see the look on their faces, then I know I got it right.”

Based in her studio and workshop in Delft, Kuntz designs and manufactures exclusive furniture for living and working spaces. Her beautiful designs include, for example, kitchen tables, chairs, bookcases, cabinets and wardrobes. Based on the first appointment with the customer to map out preferences and the range of possibilities, the designer starts freely sketching on ideas for that particular request – with a firm belief that there are no boundaries when it comes to designing furniture. “For me, it’s like meditation,” Kuntz admits, and continues; “I’m putting a huge part of myself into the work. There are many steps in building furniture and every detail has to be perfect, to guarantee the best quality.” From concept to finished product, Kuntz is in charge of every step of the process – including handcrafting the actual pieces – and the customers get not only unique, tailor-made furniture specified according to their own wishes

Jasmina Kuntz, furniture designer and master of cabinetmaking.


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

An IKEA kitchen with a luxurious touch of K’oak Design TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA  |  PHOTOS: KOAK DESIGN

You have it all figured out: that new kitchen of yours. Original oak cabinets, a concrete kitchen top. It is beautiful, until you get hold of the price: way above budget. Luckily there is a solution called K’oak Design. A combination of an IKEA kitchen and luxurious details. Sandy and Frank Sonnemans went through the exact same process as described above back in 2009. “We did a major renovation in our home, so we wanted an affordable oak kitchen, which turned out to be quite difficult,” Sandy Sonnemans explains. “Then we thought: why not create it ourselves?” One trip to IKEA later, the idea for a new company was born. The K’oak philosophy is quite simple: create solid wooden doors for IKEA cabinets. “We use the same sizes that IKEA does, so it always fits. Customers can choose wood in many different kinds of colours, or go for a whitewash look. We can even do bamboo if that is requested. Your kitchen will be completely

IKEA on the inside, but will look exclusive from the outside.” So if you look at a K’oak Design kitchen, it will not look familiar at all. Not even for the regular IKEA visitor. Sounds good! How do I get one of those? “You can email us your kitchen design, so we can take a look at it and provide some suggestions. Our collection is available on our website, but people come over to our showroom to pick their materials and then we get to work. Within four to six weeks, you have the kitchen of your dreams.” That showroom is located in Abbenbroek, a small town just south of Rotterdam. For many, this is not right around the corner, so coming by is not always an option. “No problem. We have lots of international customers. They get sent a test version of the wood before making a definitive choice. Because both IKEA and we have standard sizes, you don’t have to worry whether it fits.”

So why the, no offense, funny name? Sonnemans laughs: “It’s actually quite simple: the K is for kitchen and, oak, of course, for the material.”


Issue 53  |  May 2018  |  23

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Industry and Innovation  |  Made in the Netherlands Ontwerp DDock.

Ontwerp DZAP. Photo: Fotografie Zibber

Ontwerp Switchs-Studio OK. Photo: Fotografie-Stijn Poelstra

‘Interior design is part of your style’ TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: BUREAU VANDERVORM

A well designed office interior is not just about nice furniture or a beautiful lamp. It says something about the company and gives your employees a sense of being at home. “You have to ask yourself why you want certain furniture. Most people don’t do that, so we ask these questions for them,” says Melvin Schalkx, director of Bureau vandervorm. “Office spaces need to be more efficiently designed and to have multiple purposes. But always keep in mind the users,” elaborates Schalkx. “And the design has to fit within the style of the building as well as the company.” Bureau vandervorm carefully guides its clients from concept to execution. “Whether we are being hired by an architect with a fully developed plan, or by clients that come to us directly with just an idea; we will always be asking these questions, to create the perfect design.” Bureau vandervorm have been working with this passion and tenacity for over 24  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

eight years now, first in Zaandam and now in Naarden. “We all love design and quality furniture,” explains Schalkx. “Even though my background is in business, I have always been fascinated by design and stylish furniture. To put that in practice for all kinds of different clients - from a department of the municipality of Rotterdam and bank branch offices, to multinational companies like Heineken - and create the best interior designs for them is really great.”

One step further “Each client has their own style and wishes,” Schalkx continues. “For instance, for Heineken we have designed a learning centre. That sounds pretty straight forward, but people who use it, also need places where they can meet. So we created several lounge places, where employees and users can talk to each other in private. That makes the room much more efficient. We always try to go one step further.” Bureau vandervorm often incorporate Dutch designers. “They create amazing,

timeless and diverse products that are of high quality, and almost always fit with a concept,” says Schalkx. “The Dutch are amongst the best designers in the world. Take a look at what’s being displayed at the Dutch Design Week each year. We should be more proud of them.” “As a company you want to emit a certain style. The interior design of your office or building is part of that style,” Schalkx smiles. Ontwerp DZAP. Photo: Fotografie Stijn Poelstra


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


Skiing whatever the weather TEXT: STUART FORSTER  |  PHOTOS: MAXXTRACKS

Maxxtracks is a Dutch company whose ski slope simulators are used within approximately 250 indoor ski centres around the world. From China to South Africa, the treadmill-like simulators, whose speed and incline can be changed at the touch of a button by instructors, can currently be found in 26 countries. About 50 are operational within the Netherlands. Their locations include Amsterdam’s Ski Inn and the Skicentrum Heemskerk. Heemskerk, a town 15 kilometres north-west of the Dutch capital, is home to Maxxtracks, a company that started operating in 1991 and now employs around 150 staff. Within the United Kingdom you can find Maxxtracks’ simulators in use at several locations, including the Chel-Ski ski cen26  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

tre in the Chelsea area of London, Skizone at Basingstoke, plus Summit Indoor Adventure in Selby, North Yorkshire. There’s also a slope within the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre at Tidworth in Wiltshire. Jan L.F. Bos is Maxxtracks’ vice-president of marketing and sales. His background is in aviation, as an aircraft engineer, pilot instructor and Fokker’s director of marketing and sales. “Where can you learn flying an airplane best? On a simulator. Why? Because you can repeat exercises and say ‘go again’. That’s precisely what the benefit of this equipment is. You can set the angle and set the speed to meet the requirements of everyone. That’s children of four or five years old to Olympic and World Cup skiers,” he says. In addition to giving everyone from beginners to advanced skiers or snowboard-

ers opportunities to undertake exercises suited to their level of experience, the simulators allow people to pull on their equipment independent of weather and location. “Even if you have a small building you can put one in,” explains Mr Bos, who cites the example of Skieasy at Dukes Meadows in Chiswick: a Maxxtrack ski slope simulator was installed into an area previously utilised as a squash court. “It’s not a gadget, it’s a training apparatus that is meant for people who want to improve their physical and technical skills. We see that people use it every week or every two weeks — like going to the gym — so that once they go to the snow they are very proficient,” says Mr Bos. The ‘speed under ski’ experienced on Maxxtracks’ simulators depends, to a large part, upon the ability of the skier. If

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

they are able to make tight, quick turns then they cover greater distances on the moving surface of the track and the ski speed can easily be the equivalent of between 50 to 60 kilometres per hour or higher. “If you have a beginner, the instructor can put the slope at a lower angle and lower speed. The advantage is that people don’t fall. We train the instructors to look at the body and movement of a person and stop the slope one turn before a person could fall,” explains Mr Bos. Maxxtracks installs two types of slope simulator: the standard ISB2000, which has a length of 12.90 metres and the shorter ISB980, 10.50 metres long. Both offer an effective skiing width of five metres —the minimum needed for making turns. Because skiers do not need to use lifts to return to the top of the slope when

using the simulators, they offer more minutes of practice per hour. Typically, skiers on Maxxtracks simulators experience three blocks of ten minutes of skiing or snowboarding in one hour compared with a run every five minutes of just 12 to 20 seconds at a snowdome. That means beginners can learn to ski between eight to ten times more quickly than on other types of artificial surface.

“Seeing and trying is believing,” continues Mr Bos, whose company’s products have been used during training by skiers of the calibre of Chemmy Alcott, who competed for Great Britain in five Alpine skiing disciplines, the Swiss team and Bode Miller, who won Olympic and World Championship gold while representing the USA. Web:

The Maxxtracks surface consists of dense, hard-wearing fibres that push against skis. That surface requires replacement only after between 5,000 to 6,000 hours of use. “We are dedicated to quality Our ski slopes are designed to have minimum maintenance. I mean only 20 minutes a year. The oldest slope is over 20 years old and still in use every day. A low investment, high profit business.”

Issue 53  |  May 2018  |  27

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

The Dutchman who stood his ground creating the ultimate bike stand TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  PHOTOS: BIKECLIP

It was drive, determination and a clear vision that pushed entrepreneur Maurice Paulssen to bring his design to life. As the founder and CEO of BikeClip, he created a sturdy, compact and versatile stand for every type of bicycle. By now, a year after its launch, the simple yet innovative design has orders rolling in from the Netherlands and abroad. “From the start, I knew my design exactly,” says Paulssen. “I kept the whole process under my own supervision and didn’t let anyone change the concept. Everything had to be right.” His approach paid off, and it resulted in an affordable bike stand made from durable, high-quality materials that is compact on the go and can be clicked together in four simple steps. A keen cyclist himself, Paulssen and his friends found themselves lacking a sturdy bike stand for their touring days. With his experience creating public bicycle stands for Dutch municipalities, Paulssen start28  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

ed sketching his own ultimate design. Taking inspiration from the tried and tested public stands, the movable, compact BikeClip was born. Essential for around the house, the stand made from metal-reinforced plastic and aluminium allows you to put away your bike in an upright position. This saves space in the garage, and keeps the right balance of the bicycle. The water- and weather-proof BikeClip is also light enough to be used on the go, as it weighs just 3.5 kilogrammes. Paulssen continues: “It holds the bicycle by the rear or front fork, so the BikeClip is ideal for cleaning your bike, for maintenance or for doing small repairs, without having to stabilise it or turn it upside down.” The patented v-shape stand sits on top of a durable plastic tank that can be filled with up to ten kilogrammes of water or sand for stability. “The idea comes from parasol stands. Empty, they weigh very little, but while full, they keep the parasol

in one spot,” he explains. “The green silicone layer on the inside of the stand fits any bike without scratching it.” The BikeClip can be ordered from his webshop and comes with a fabric carry bag. You can also see the BikeClip in action at the Belgian Mountain Bike Challenge at La Roche-En-Ardenne from 11 to 13 May. As official partner, the BikeClip will be used by competitors while jet washing their mountain bikes, and it is one of the raffle prizes. Maurice Paulssen.


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

10XL: next level 3D printing TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA  |  PHOTOS: 10XL

3D printing has evolved tremendously in the last couple of years. Partly thanks to 10XL. They produce furniture and even actual ships - that stay afloat! - with the help of only a 3D printer and a lot of plastic waste.

unique way of working: “We combine two techniques: printing and milling. Printing takes a lot of time if you want the end result to be smooth and perfect. If you print it really rough, it goes faster. If you mill it after, the end result is the same.”

It started in the maritime world, where they use an “old fashioned and costly process of producing prototypes of ships”, CEO Gerbert Smits explains. He started the company two years ago, with CCO Linda van Hal and CTO Joep Grapperhaus. “Before manufacturing the actual ship, there’s a prototype made out of different kinds of material, like large plates of wood. It takes a lot of manpower and time. After the prototype is approved, it usually gets destroyed – such a waste.”

A machine for this new way of working did not exist, so they built it themselves. “We started working in a hull yard, one of the oldest in the Netherlands. Which is actually quite funny, because we were working with a brand new technique.” Recently, 10XL moved to a new area, the Duurzaamheidsfabriek in Dordrecht. “As we work with students and other companies a lot, it’s more of a collaboration building.”

“We can do this differently,” Smits and his companions thought. “Printing smaller things was already quite common. Why can’t we print something bigger?” That is how 10XL began. Smits explains their

Back to the prototyping: how do you print something as big as a ship? “Starting with granules, tiny pieces of plastic, we melt and transfer them to the robot through a hose. That robot prints the rough object by moving around in every corner imaginable, which is something completely

new that we developed. Then the object is moved to machine number two, to get rid of the ridges and irregularities.” The result is so impressive, renowned furniture maker Gispen approached 10XL for a collaboration. The result? “A sofa made out of old cabinet doors. Or made out of fifteen thousand bottle caps. We melt it and create new designs. It’s quick, because robots work all hours. If we get the material on Friday, we have six new sofas on Monday. And if you’re done with the design, we can melt it and create something new again.”


Issue 53  |  May 2018  |  29

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

Cupbliss offers that little bit extra with your coffee TEXT: CATHY VAN KLAVEREN  |  PHOTOS: CUPBLISS

They are commonly used by companies everywhere: coffee cups, probably used by every employee when they make their afternoon stroll to the coffee machine. Still, the appearance of these cups could use an update. Meet Cupbliss, a company by the Dutch Rintske Bosma. She not only changes the way we drink our workday coffee, but also the way we think about responsible entrepreneurship. Cups by Cupbliss spread positive messages. Literally. They already stand out just by their vibrant colours alone, but each and every cup has a written note on the exterior: ‘Keep it up!’, ‘Open your heart’ and ‘You’re wonderful’, to name a few. “I want to inspire people to start a conversation with each other and to open up,” Bosma explains. Still, tweaking the appearance of a disposable cup most of us use for coffee is 30  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

not the only thing to what Cupbliss owes its success. When starting the company, Bosma had just one thing in mind: being in service to others. “It means I give away half of the profit I earn.” She donates it to charities her customers choose, but Bosma has her own foundation as well: The Cupbliss Safehouse Foundation was established to help children worldwide that are being sexually exploited. “I always wanted to help children in these circumstances, but I’m not the type of person who then runs off to the other side of the world. I don’t know if I could’ve made a difference that way.” Before Bosma started Cupbliss three years ago, she developed new markets for IT companies. So she already knew how to set up a business. “It’s not like I dreamt about ‘creating the best coffee cup on the market’, but it had to be a product with that one key condition: it had to be something people always need.“

Mission accomplished. Bosma knew how to persuade big companies like L’Oréal and KPMG, so their employees now sip from the positivity spreading cups. “I want to do the things in life that make me happy. My way to be happy, is to make other people happy.”


You are unique

so is your Auping mattress

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

Big Hat, Translucent. Photo: Design by Mai


(Hand)Made in Belgium Small in size, grand in creativity. For centuries, Belgium has boasted a tradition of design, art and cultural heritage, something that is still honoured today through the country’s innovative and cutting-edge creative industry. TEXT: MALIN NORMAN

Photo: Mien Kaba

32  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

Discover Benelux  |  Belgian Design  |  (Hand)Made in Belgium

Photo: © Antwerpen Toerisme & Congres

Tension ring Straight white diamond_18k red gold Au750, white diamond + Earrings Hidden Secret II_18k red gold Au750, morganite 19,05 ct. Photo: Johan Blommaert

Handmade in Belgium Famous for its high level of traditional skills, Belgium is bursting at the seams with passionate creators who are involved on a daily basis with crafting materials into unique pieces. Through the Handmade in Belgium label, UNIZO recognises the producers of genuine, traditional quality products and places modern, traditional craftsmen and women in the spotlight. The organisation also aims to develop a broader platform, raise awareness and encourage young people to embark on trade-related training.

Fashion shop Van Hongo, Antwerp. Photo: ©

Issue 53  |  May 2018  |  33

Discover Benelux  |  Belgian Design  |  (Hand)Made in Belgium

In these times of digitalisation, handicraft is a popular topic in media with a ‘do it yourself’ trend and comeback of ‘handmade’. Many consumers search for authentic products and are fascinated with how a particular handicraft or technique is mastered. The skills of crafters and how they work with their hands, the instruments of their souls, intrigue. And handmade products carry the fragrances of wood, leather or textiles – made with passion and skill. Enjoy the discovery.

Photo: Hortum Hout

Photo: Mien Kaba

Photo: Atelier Devillé

34  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

Skybeamer Marriott Hotel.

Exploring the essence of the object TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  PHOTO: DESIGN BY MAI

Using elegant, minimalistic shapes, designer Mai Waelkens designs large, eye-catching lamps that fill and transform the space they are in. With a very practical yet puritan approach to her work, she likes to bring objects back to their simplest form. Her company, Design By Mai, specialises in setting the atmosphere of a room with grand, statement lamps. “I work intuitively and I find beauty in imperfect objects,” she says. Every piece is handmade, and therefore unique. Waelkens draws inspiration from objects she saw while travelling. The shapes in nature also have a big influence on her. “I am inspired by the world around me,” she explains. “I‘m intrigued by the organ36  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

ic and imperfect aspects of nature, where everything is one of a kind.”

Following the light After getting her degree in interior architecture Waelkens felt a strong attraction to light design. Waelkens explains: “Light design creates a particular ambience that fills a space and affects the mood in a room. I design lighting because it allows me to influence a space: my lamps alter the characteristics of the lighting conditions. They‘re bound to set a different tone.” She continues: “In that sense, my work adds something to the surrounding space, even if that sometimes means delivering lesser light than before. My work generates an atmosphere and it gives people something more than functional light only.”

To Waelkens, lighting must be more than flicking on a switch to see what is on your plate for dinner. She tries to make lighting an experience for her customers. “It was more or less a forced decision to move away from smaller lamps because the competition is so fierce and mass production rules the market,” she explains. “Today, I only produce large exclusive pendants. There is a particular audience that really loves the larger designs and is willing to pay for unique Belgian handmade pieces.”

Beam me up One of her signature designs is the Skybeamer, stretching either 88 or 200 centimetres wide. The lamp consists of two curved disks floating on top of each other,

Discover Benelux  |  Belgian Design  |  (Hand)Made in Belgium

with a line of light beaming from the space between them. Suspended in mid-air like a flying saucer, the Skybeamer instantly captures the imagination. The Skybeamer helps to characterise large spaces; with its dominant size it can break high ceilings and bring balance to vast spaces. Therefore lobbies, lounges and restaurants are keen to embrace the Skybeamer 200. “The design of the Skybeamer can be crystallised into one simple line, the upper curve of the human eye,” she says. “If you hang several Skybeamers together, they create an interesting dynamic because of the light beams they emit. In the dark, they make it seem like you’re in an entirely different world.” During the day it is all about the shape of the object, but at night the object disappears to make way for the projected glow of the beams. Waelkens also created a version of the lamp called Big Hat, which only uses the top shell and generates downlight through an oversized bulb. She says: “Sitting underneath a Big Hat has a cocooning effect, radiating warmth and cosiness. So it makes sense that people hang them in their living or dining rooms, or as an eye-catcher in an entrance.” Giving off a beautiful, warm glow, the translucent Big Hat is a design that is close to Waelkens’ heart. “Unpainted, you can see every fibre of the fibreglass mats that were moulded into shape with resin. All the tiny imperfections are

Big Hat, Translucent.

on display, making the design just really rough and honest. It also generates a soft but direct light through the shell,” she explains.

Going off grid Another design Waelkens prides herself on is the GRID. Available as a large rectangle or a cube, the panels of the lamp consist of a partially see-through grid. Made from lightweight recycled aluminium foam, light passes through a mesh of openings in the side-panels. Casting unexpected light patterns around it, the GRID brings an almost celestial feel to a space. “Thanks to the aluminium, the design of the GRID has a robust and male feel to it,” she says. “But when switched on, its softer side comes out as the light gets projected through the material.”

A delicate process Waelkens is closely involved with the production process. “I make a physical model as soon as I have a few lines on paper. In my head I know exactly what it has to look like. In this stage, I love to experiment, mixing colours, changing drying times to see what I can get out of the materials.” This trial and error stage is what she loves most about the design process. “I love to work with my hands. The tactile element – and I mean making my hands dirty – is an important factor in the making process. A connection ‘happens’ between the initial idea and the lamp that’s being born,” she says.

Skybeamer, black-gold.

Waelkens and her dedicated team of expert craftsmen build all designs by hand. The Skybeamer, Big Hat and GRID are available in various colours , different finishes and bespoke options. Her contact information is found on the website. GRID.


Issue 52  |  April 2018  |  37

Discover Benelux  |  Belgian Design  |  (Hand)Made in Belgium

TOP: Bracelet Hidden Secret, stingray leather-smokey quartz 96,82 ct-18k bronze rose gold Au750. LEFT: Ring Hidden Secret V, 18k yellow gold- 21 ct citrine. MIDDLE: Earrings Square, 18k yellow gold Au750. RIGHT: Princess Ring, 18k cognac gold Au750 - orange champagne diamond 1,11ct.

Wearable sculptures TEXT: ELLA PUT

Rembrandt Jordan is bringing back minimalistic jewellery to an expressive essence by combing craftsmanship with a timeless aesthetic, noble materials and last but not least, a wellbalanced wearing comfort. With a philosophy that jewellery should be an addition to one’s body, the handmade minimalistic designs of Belgian silversmith Rembrandt Jordan are taking the world by storm. Inspired by Alberto Giacometti, Jordan clarifies his work ethics by quoting the late Italian sculptor and painter: “Start by making something out of half a centimetre. That way you will have more chance to catch a glimpse of 38  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

the universe than if you immediately aim to create heaven.”

Serendipity However, before centimetres, there was serendipity. After Jordan finished his studies in 3D design, he quickly learned the ropes of becoming a silversmith during his early twenties in London and Antwerp. He knew he was meant for a creative profession, but it was not until he found an empty gallery store in the midst of his hometown of Antwerp that this vision became reality and he started his jewellery brand. “All of a sudden, I had real business,” he says. “Without planning. A happy accident.” Nowadays

he combines two of his biggest loves: designing and making handmade and wearable jewellery with an architectural touch. “They are my miniature scale sculptures,” Jordan explains. But serendipity, or ‘happy accidents’ as Jordan calls them, have not only followed him in the quest for a store. The often detailed and precise work leaves room for unexpected accidents to happen. “The process of designing and creating jewellery demands technical perfection, yet you also have to leave room for the organic process. Things you did not plan on happening. It’s not only about the final design, but also the process of making

Discover Benelux  |  Belgian Design  |  (Hand)Made in Belgium

it,” Jordan passionately explains. “Because of the precise work, one cannot always foresee everything that will happen whilst making jewellery. Sometimes lines and shapes are created by accident during the process. The interaction between the planned and pure coincidence, as well as the natural interaction and unity with the wearer, is what makes a piece of jewellery one-of-a-kind.”

An addition to one’s body His technical perfection in combination with a keen eye for detail has been a solid key to success for the Belgian silversmith turned jewellery designer. Throughout the years, his minimalistic designs with clear shapes, natural coloured gemstones and diamonds have attracted customers from all over the world. Furthermore, Rembrandt Jordan jewellery was rewarded with the highest quality label of the city of diamonds, Antwerp’s Most Brilliant.

18 carat gold. Furthermore, the alloys are nickel free, user friendly, ethically sourced and durable (originating from recycling by purification). Apart from the atelier, the store of Rembrandt Jordan, which is situated in the beaming heart of Antwerp, houses a gallery where he hosts frequent expositions and cultural events. “My job is my passion. It’s a pleasure to get to work every day. But it takes time to grow into your own style as a designer. When I graduated in 2001, I never thought I

would have a store and run my own business. Just like the process of making jewellery, it has all grown very organically.” When asked about the re-discovered love for craftsmanship, Jordan says that he sees it as a sign of protest against industrialisation and mass production. “Craftsmanship might be time-consuming, but it will always create a unique and personal piece for eternity.” Web:

His sculptural jewellery always contains a deeper story. Jordan elaborates: “A personalised approach and staying close to oneself is always the best starting point to create jewellery that can be cherished for a lifetime, maybe even eternity.” “My jewellery is not romantic nor figurative,” Jordan explains. “It is my philosophy as a designer that a piece of jewellery should be an addition to one’s body, it needs to emphasise the natural beauty of the wearer and should never be to dominant or be uncomfortable.”

Hand-tailored craftsmanship Every piece of jewellery is custom-made and adapted to the wishes of the client with great care. Sometimes customers come into the store with a concept or idea, or bring a diamond that holds a special meaning to them. This formed the basis for the concept of ‘tailored jewellery’, which means that Jordan translates the customer’s idea into a unique, hand-tailored piece that bears his known style and signature, with the client’s personal touch. Rembrandt and his team are more than happy to provide customers with advice, offering a rich palette of nine colours with

Ring Hidden Secret V, 18k red gold-41,11 ct rose quartz + pendant Hidden Secret, 18k red gold-33,11 ct rose quartz. Photo: Johan Blommaert. Model: Christa Brouwer

Issue 53  |  May 2018  |  39


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

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






Discover Benelux  |  Belgian Design  |  (Hand)Made in Belgium

Total quality control for handbags that last TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  PHOTOS: KLAAR DEVILLÉ

It was the birth of her third child that rekindled a long lost passion in Klaar Devillé. After building a career as a Russia analyst, she decided to quit her job and find something new. Soon, her love for fashion came to the fore once again and Devillé went on to launch her very own handbag label. Elegant, luxurious and comfortable handbags with a pure, timeless design became the Klaar Devillé signature style. By now, she has a 15-piece collection including purses, satchels, big shoppers, backpacks and more. “I love it when I see customers fall in love my designs. Some have been coming back for years and now own five or six different bags,” she says. Built to last, the sleek and functional designs do not follow fleeting fashion trends. “Like many women, I have a thing for bags. But the good-quality ones are often overpriced and high-street labels

tend to cut corners on quality,” she explains. Her self-named label bridges this gap in the market. The bags are made from top-quality leather lined with soft and sustainable suede leather. “Over the last ten years, only five people returned to me to get their bags fixed, which I do for free,” she says proudly. “And the majority only needed a replacement for a broken metal lock.” Keeping a close eye on the production process, Devillé makes sure she has full control over the quality. The leather comes from Belgian and Dutch calfs and gets processed in a tannery in Germany. “It is made to my exact specification, including thickness and colour. I choose leather that is sturdy enough but doesn’t make the bags too heavy,” she says. While it was a complete change of direction, there are still elements of Devillé’s

old life that carried through to her fashion label. “I get inspiration from art, in particularly cubism and Russian constructivism. You can see the strong lines and defined shapes reflected in my designs.” In addition to her current collection, Devillé will soon launch her first range for men. “It will comprise six or seven different designs, including two laptop bags. Just like the women’s bags the designs will be pure and sober with strong lines but with extra attention paid to their functionality,” she reveals. The first of the men’s series, Man Bag Martin, is already available on her webshop and you can visit Klaar Devillé’s flagship store in Antwerp for the full collection. Nice detail: each bag carries the official “Handmade in Belgium” label. Web:

Issue 53  |  May 2018  |  41

Discover Benelux  |  Belgian Design  |  (Hand)Made in Belgium

Bringing heart and soul to gardens TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: HORTUM HOUT

Our garden is the one place close by, where we can wonder at nature’s beauty and forget all about the hectic world around us. The wooden garden furniture Lukas de Loore of Hortum-hout designs and builds by hand, brings the heart and soul into that special place. “It’s not about the product, it’s about upgrading your garden”. Hortum-Hout is located near Ghent in Sint-Amandsberg, where De Loore designs and creates all the wooden furniture in his workshop. “I come from an artistic family. My youngest brother is training to become an ebony joiner, whilst the oldest lives in an oak stilt house. Our mother taught us our love for native plants and trees and the way they liven up a garden,” he explains. During his studies, De Loore worked in the gardens of the Succa Castle in Destelbergen, a medieval castle with over 42 acres of gardens, parks and woods. “As an intern, I was often confronted with 42  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

sterile, mundane gardens, but the Succa gardens really inspired me to start my own business of landscaping and creating furniture.” At age 19, De Loore started Hortum-hout and it took off immediately. De Loore initially set out to create a new kind of garden furniture, made out of indigenous wood. “One day I saw my father, who is a visual artist, building a beautiful, big and firm pinewood hennery. An unpretentious object, but with perfect proportions,” continues De Loore. “I knew I wanted to do that also, so I started to focus more on henneries.” He now designs them himself, and they can be altered to the clients’ wishes – for instance, combined with a rabbit hutch. “I go to a lot of garden fairs, to showcase the henneries as well as different kinds of spice boxes, wooden tables and fences. But the coops are often what customers marvel at. They get a lot of appreciation.” And not just in Belgium. “We ship our products all over Europe.”

“People tend to spend a lot of time in their gardens and want to be creative,” says De Loore. “They want handcrafted, honest products, not mass produced furniture. For us at Hortum-hout, the challenge is to create something that is true and honest, whilst also building something beautiful and unique. And my henneries are just that,” he smiles.


Discover Benelux  |  Belgian Design  |  (Hand)Made in Belgium

A unique piece of art to carry every day TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA  |  PHOTOS: MIEN KABA

When looking for the perfect bag, everything is either too small or the colour or design is not right. Mien Kaba can help in finding the perfect, unique bag for every occasion. Mien Kaba is the atelier of Dominique Vieren, located in a former café in the small town of Sint-Andries, near Brugge. Here, Vieren creates the perfect handbag. “I don’t have my own collection or online shop, I only work on assignment,” Vieren explains. “Every handbag starts with a face to face conversation. It’s very important I know who I’m making this bag for. It’s a personal product, not related to any kind of trend or seasonality.” In the atelier, customers can take a look at prototypes, select their design and colour – and materials of course – to create their own unique accessory. Instead of using leathers such as crocodile or snake, Vieren turns to fish. A remarkable choice, but one that supports her vision. “By using the skin of fish like salmon, cod and wolffish, I want to create a counter-

movement against the consumer society we live in. This is a beautiful material that is actually waste from the fish we consume.” As a certified craftswoman, Vieren tries to find new challenges in every piece she makes. One of those challenges was a collaboration with an action painter. “That was an amazing project to do. He painted on leather instead of canvas and I cut pieces out to make into bags. Together, we created truly unique pieces of art.” A Mien Kaba handbag sounds like a valuable item. And it is, but customers definitely get their money’s worth. “I try to make the handbags flexible, meaning you can add and remove parts on the inside or with removable flaps. That way, customers can change the look and feel of the bag completely, without buying a whole new item.” Every time a customer receives their new handbag, Vieren gets nervous. Will they like it? Luckily, they always do. “That look on their face when they unwrap their new handbag is amazing, that’s what I work for.”


INFO & BOOKING +32 (0)486 30 31 35 facebook: bedandbreakfastlandingpoint instagram: bandblandingpoint

3 exquisite modern rooms with all facilities, 10 min. from Brussels National Airport, airport shuttle available on request, close to business parks, located in a nice quiet & green little village.

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Jérémie Renier

44  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Jérémie Renier


The transformer From his film debut aged just 15 in the Dardenne brothers’ gritty drama La Promesse (1996) to portraying French pop icon Claude François in the 2012 biopic Cloclo, it is fair to say Belgian actor Jérémie Renier has always avoided being typecast. He has also never been afraid of a challenge: take, for example, his latest role(s) in the François Ozon-directed erotic thriller L’amant Double, where he portrays the Parisian psychoanalyst Paul and his identical twin brother, Louis. Ahead of the film’s UK release on 1 June, we caught up with 37-year-old Renier to discuss film, family and future projects. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTO: DREAMSTIME.COM

Billed as a ‘daring and sexy thriller’, L’amant Double is loosely based on American writer Joyce Carol Oates’ work Lives of the Twins. It tells the story of a fragile young woman, Chloé, who falls in love with her psychoanalyst, Paul (played by Renier). When the couple move in together, Chloé discovers Paul is concealing a part of his identity, and audiences are introduced to Paul’s very different twin brother, Louis (also played by Renier).

Two sides to every story How did the actor cope with playing two contrasting characters in the same film? “We shot all the scenes with Paul, and then all the scenes with Louis – so I was one character and then the other,” explains Renier. “I prepared a lot and made up my own stories to make the characters real in my head.” The obvious question is whether the actor preferred playing one twin more than the other? “Well, the two characters pleased me for different

reasons. Paul is a more tender character. But I was scared he was too sweet and too paternal compared to Louis, who is arrogant and pretentious. Paul could have been squashed by Louis so I had to find the right medium for Paul to exist. I liked playing them both for different reasons. Paul is more human, whereas Louis is a fantasy character. That is what made it interesting and why we pushed it quite far. It’s quite thrilling to play someone like Louis, who I’m not at all like in real life.” Continues Renier: “I’m an actor for many reasons, but especially to find roles and characters who allow me to discover things I haven’t yet discovered. I was very excited, very quickly, when I read the script. Playing twins in an erotic thriller appealed to me straight way.”

Beautiful memories Another reason Renier was attracted to the project was the opportunity to work

once again with François Ozon. The two previously collaborated on 2010 comedy Potiche, while their first ever experience of working together was the 1999 drama Les Amants Criminels (Criminal Lovers). “That was the first film which really made me want to succeed in this career,” recalls the actor, who starred alongside fellow Belgian Natacha Régnier in the film about high school students who murder one of their classmates. “I was very young, I was 17. It was a complex subject and heavy, but making that film is a beautiful memory. François is a very funny and very generous human.” L’amant Double marked the first time Renier worked alongside another of Ozon’s muses, the French actor Marine Vacth, who plays female protagonist Chloé in the film. “We had both worked with François before but we didn’t know each other,” explains Renier. “She was a real pleasure to work with. We knew we Issue 53  |  May 2018  |  45

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Jérémie Renier

Marine Vacth and Jérémie Renier star in François Ozon’s erotic thriller L’amant Double.

had a film which was not easy [including nude scenes] so very quickly we said; ‘right, we need to go for it!’. We really supported one another. We laughed a lot.”

Cronenberg’s 1988 twisted thriller Dead Ringers about twin gynaecologists who take advantage of the fact that nobody can tell them apart was also on his list.

Getting personal

Family affair

There are a lot of sex scenes in the film, and some of them are quite savage, but both actors took a professional and mature approach. “There are moments that can be a bit awkward, of course, because you have a team there et cetera. But nudity is not something that bothers me. There are other things which bother me more – dancing for example! Or singing. That can be more intimate than nudity sometimes.”

The twin aspect of L’amant Double was particularly interesting for Renier, who is close to his older brother Yannick, also an actor. In fact, the pair have recently released their first film – a thriller named Carnivores – as joint directors.

So how did Renier prepare for the film’s more erotic moments? There were obvious films to watch in advance. The 1986 drama 9 1/2 Weeks starring Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger – famed for its racy refrigerator scene – was a useful film to study. For the scenes relating to sexual domination in Louis and Chloé’s relationship, Renier also watched the 2015 erotic drama Fifty Shades of Grey, while David 46  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

It seems that the filmmaking gene runs in the Renier family, with the actor’s children also taking an interest in the craft. “My oldest son is 17. He is interested in cinema school – not being an actor, but more directing.” So his sons have inherited his talent then? “I don’t know!” he laughs. “Let’s hope they are better than their father!” Jokes aside, Renier does have some wise words for his offspring. “Obviously if they ask me things I will be there. But I prefer for them to make their own mistakes. The only thing I will say is that something really has to excite you.

I was really lucky, but it’s so hard, even when you have ‘made it’. If it pleases you, you need to give it all your energy. It needs to be a real passion, not just something you are doing ‘cos Dad does it.”

The right direction Renier currently divides his time between Spain, France and his native Brussels. “Of course, I am still very attached to Belgium,” smiles the star. “It would be great to work with more directors from different countries, and there are so many great TV series.” That said, he admits directing is what stimulates him the most at the moment. “I do not find enough acting roles which are really rich in transformations. That was what I liked so much with L’amant Double,” he grins.

Directed by François Ozon, L’amant Double stars Jérémie Renier and Marine Vacth. It will show in UK cinemas from 1 June.

3,0 0 0




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



Flemish Primitives - Groeninge Museum. Photo: Visit Bruges, © Jan D’Hondt


Capturing hearts Breathtakingly beautiful and picture-postcard perfect. The historic city centre of Bruges is a prominent World Heritage Site of UNESCO but there is much more to discover in this fairytale medieval town, with an abundance of culture and gastronomy around every corner. TEXT: MALIN NORMAN

Photo: Visit Bruges, © Jan D’Hondt

48  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

Discover Benelux  |  Tourism  |  Bruges Special

Triënnale Brugge 2018. Photo: © Studio KCA Skyscraper (the Bruges Whale)

Bruges is a city that will capture your heart. Its history has made it great and earned it the title of a Unesco World Heritage City. Bruges rightly deserves its status as an enchanting tourist mecca, with its fantastic past, but also its present, being a true gem. The cobbled alleys and photogenic market squares are home to countless culinary and cultural secrets, and exciting events are held on a daily basis. Classic sites such as Groeninge Museum and Hospital Museum go hand in hand with modern discoveries such as the Black Swan Gallery, one of a new breed of art galleries. Of course, shops full of beer and chocolate are plentiful, yet there is so much more to discover in the culinary area. For good reason, Bruges is called one of Europe’s gastronomic centres and boasts an abundance of cafés and restaurants serving

authentic Belgian cuisine as well as international delicacies. Why not try the mouth-watering Mediterranean dishes at The Olive Tree or Restaurant POMPERLUT, or tasty take-away pasta from Bocca Pastabar. And for a cosy place to stay the

night, check in at the peaceful and exclusive guesthouse Number 11, perfect for a romantic getaway, or the award-winning bed & breakfast The Townhouse. They are all waiting to be discovered!

DO NOT MISS: This month is a great time to explore contemporary art and architecture in Bruges. For instance, impressive constructions by contemporary artists and architects worldwide will appear in the historic city centre during Bruges Triennial 2018: Liquid city. From 5 May to 16 September, this art trail with surprising installations spreads right across the city centre to reflect how flexible, fluid and resilient a historic city like Bruges can be at a time when nothing seems certain.

Handmade in Brugge wants to boost Bruges’ profile as a city of inspiring artisans, rooted in long-standing traditions but bursting with innovation and creativity. That is why Handmade in Brugge is opening a unique pop-up store: DE MAKERSREPUBLIEK (the makers’ republic). Step into this impressive indoor greenhouse and discover the production techniques of the past, present and future, thanks to a range of exhibitions.

Issue 53  |  May 2018  |  49

Discover Benelux  |  Tourism  |  Bruges Special

Triënnale Brugge 2018. Photo: © Selgascano Pavillion

VISIT BRUGES’ DATES FOR YOUR DIARY: Beaufort Art Triennial by the sea 30 March - 30 September Once every three years, Beaufort brings national and international artists to the Belgian coast to exhibit their works in the natural setting of the coastal landscape. This is now in its sixth edition. Relive the battle for the North Sea 21 April - 31 August Relive the history of St. George’s Day in 1918 in the exhibition 14-18, the battle for the North Sea, in the Provincial Court on the Market Square. Here, you can experience the stifling conditions on board a U-boat and the tension of the nocturnal British raids. Bruges Triennial 2018: Liquid City 5 May - 16 September Impressive constructions by contemporary artists and architects worldwide will appear in the historic city centre from 5 May to 16 September 2018. They are answers to the consequences of today’s liquid society. Gold 7 May - 13 May A new festival connecting the finest of the Bruges Golden Age: the fascinating history, building heritage, art treasures and,

50  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

above all, music that for centuries has set the tone from Scandinavia to the tip of Italy and from England to Poland. Dwars Door Brugge 13 May Run through the centre of Bruges dwarsdoorbrugge/2017/nl/ Budapest Festival 16 - 19 May Three-day music festival with concerts from the renowned Budapest Festival Orchestra, directed by Iván Fischer. Barrio Cantina 8 - 10 June A fun market where you can order a wide range of world dishes and street food from original food trucks. Feest in ‘t Park 30 June World music festival. Navy Days 30 June - 1 July For two days, you can hop from one impressive ship to the next in Zeebrugge, under the guidance of Belgian and international sailors.

Zandfeesten 1 July, 5 August, 23 September Flanders’ largest antiques and collectables market. Cactusfestival 13 - 15 July For the past 36 years, Bruges has been glowing with anticipation for the national and international heroes that Cactusfestival annually hosts in Minnewaterpark. MOODS! 27 July - 9 August MOODS! lightens up July and August, bringing atmosphere to the centre of Bruges. Spread out over eight concert evenings, the summer music festival offers a wide array of relevant sounds, with the illustrious medieval city of Bruges as a scenery. Start planning your trip to Bruges now, at

Triënnale Brugge 2018. Photo: © Ruimteveldwerk, G.O.D.

Discover Benelux  |  Bruges  |  Top Food, Drink & Sleep Spots

Miles away from the Greek island of Lesvos, Aspa and her family have created a place where guests from all over the world can enjoy a taste of Greece.

A taste of Greece: in the heart of Bruges TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: THE OLIVE TREE

Bringing the warmth of the Greek tradition together with mouth-watering dishes full of fresh ingredients from the Mediterranean cuisine, The Olive Tree in Bruges provides guests with the best of both worlds. When stepping into The Olive Tree in Bruges, guests will immediately sense the essence of Greek culture through the welcoming atmosphere and friendly staff, or, as the Greeks like to call it: ‘filoxenia’ (hospitality) and ‘filotimo’ (love of honour). “They say that food is a reflection of the people who eat it and there is no better way to understand a culture than through its food,” co-owner Aspa Limniou explains. “Our principle is to prepare authentic Greek recipes by keeping all the culinary traditions that were passed on from generation to generation.” The staff includes Aspa’s parents, as well as her brother, cousins and husband, and as well as this, friends from their Greek

island have come along to help too. “It is not a coincidence. We all do this because we all have the same experiences and values. We have built a small community from Lesvos at The Olive Tree, and we proudly promote the island to all our visitors.” The food, as well as the atmosphere, is a beautiful mix of the rich Greek culture. “In the restaurant, every visitor can have a taste of Greece by discovering our specialties through the combinations of dishes, the pure ingredients, the aromas, and our positive energy.” With the restaurant’s name deriving from the celebrated olive trees, it might not come as a surprise that the extra virgin olive oil, also known as ‘liquid gold’ for its medicinal powers, is a key ingredient in all the dishes. “As you may know, the gastronomic wealth of Greece is exceptional, and that is why we choose homemade products of high quality. Everything is fresh. We do not use artificial products.”

When asked what is truly special about The Olive Tree, Aspa answers with a smile: “What is really wonderful, is that ever since we started this restaurant eleven years ago, we’ve become friends with most of our guests. We have friends all around the world and when they return to Bruges, they come to see us. Also, the locals are part of our life, supporting us from the beginning. Many of them have also visited our village, Molyvos, in Lesvos.”


Issue 53  |  May 2018  |  51

Discover Benelux  |  Bruges  |  Top Food, Drink & Sleep Spots

Mediterranean dining within a fairy tale TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: RESTAURANT POMPERLUT

Bruges is known for its historic city centre with numerous medieval buildings and houses. One of the first restaurants in Bruges was established in a red farmhouse in 1612, next to the Queen Astrid Park. Nearly four centuries later it is still there, and has just reopened as restaurant Pomperlut. “It is one of a kind, both the building and our Mediterranean cuisine,” says owner Teo Demets. Entering Pomperlut, which is old Flemish dialect for ‘mushroom’, is like taking a trip back in time. Completely covered in wood, with old chandeliers, unique lamps and a large fireplace, you feel as if you have stepped into ancient Bruges in the 17th century. “Guests often say they feel like they have stepped into a fairy tale. It is really an extraordinary concept here in Bruges,” adds Gigi Demets, who works alongside her son in the restaurant, as does her husband - and Teo’s father, Yves – who is the chef. 52  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

“My dad has been a chef for over 40 years and loves the Mediterranean cuisine, with its healthy food. Unlike most tapas restaurants, which focus on just one of these countries like Spain, France or Greece, we serve dishes that originate from all those countries,” explains Teo. “Of course my dad gives them his own personal twist, like our Mediterranean lamb shank with a special tomato sauce.” The mushroom has also found its way into Pomperlut. Not just in the meals, but also in the interior of the restaurant. Throughout the restaurant you will find decorations inspired by them. The restaurant can seat up to 30 people, which gives it a cozy feel. “We have a downstairs and an upstairs area, where our guests can enjoy their meal in a laidback, family like manor. In the summer months, we also have a terrace that faces the Queen Astrid Park, where we can seat another 20 guests,” Gigi continues.

Besides high quality dishes, which are prepared with fresh ingredients daily by Yves, and lovely desserts prepared by Gigi, it is the whole atmosphere of restaurant Pomperlut that will make your dining experience feel almost magical. “We strive to let you enjoy excellent food in a unique setting you will not find anywhere else in Bruges,” Teo expresses. “Pomperlut will make you feel as if you were in a Harry Potter film for the night.”



B R U G G E - G E N T w w w. b o c c a . b e

Discover Benelux  |  Bruges  |  Top Food, Drink & Sleep Spots

Photo: Koen De Langhe Combing a historic atmosphere with modern day luxury, Number 11 is the perfect place for a getaway in Brugge.

A romantic getaway in Brugge TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: NUMBER 11

In the heart of the picturesque town of Brugge, guests from all over the world can enjoy the romantic atmosphere of the peaceful and exclusive guesthouse Number 11. As soon as you enter the beautiful 17th century building in which the exclusive guesthouse Number 11 is situated, you step into the scene of a romantic fairy tale. Candles are burning, crackling sounds are coming from the fireplace and whilst walking up the steps originating from old castles in France, the windows provide a magnificent view overlooking the historic town of Brugge. In the morning you wake up to the sound of cheering birds and the smell of freshly baked bread. It is no wonder that the charming guesthouse, which is known to be a popular location for wedding proposals, was used as a film set in the Oscar nominated film, In Bruges, featuring Ralph Fiennes and Colin Farrell. With a gorgeous wisteria 54  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

covering the façade of Number 11, the bed and breakfast is also the perfect spot for scenic pictures. “In the summer, people line up outside just for a photo,” owner of the guesthouse Carine Deprez explains. However, Number 11 is more than just a pretty picture. Providing its guests with excellent service, Carine and her team are prepared to go the extra mile for their guests. From surprises such as a small

teddy bear with a welcome note on the bed, to an extensive continental breakfast buffet with fresh fruit and delicious juices, anything can be arranged. “We offer a calm atmosphere in which guests can really feel relaxed and spend time with each other. The other day, somebody wrote in our visitor’s book: ‘long live the power of love’. If Number 11 leaves people which such a feeling, I am very happy!”


E.R./V.U. : Anthony R. Martin • rue du Cerf 191 • 1332 Genval • BELGIUM I Sweet Globe XVIII


B R O U W E R I J - BR U G G E

BREWERY IN THE HEART OF THE CITY Meet the brewer and discover the process of beer blending !

Visit the brewery Every day 10h to 18h (except Monday) Kartuizerinnenstraat 6 • 8000 Brugge only 80m from the belfry Beer brewed carefully, to be consumed with care.

Discover Benelux  |  Bruges  |  Top Food, Drink & Sleep Spots

The tranquil townhouse Just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of the lively city centre of Bruges, guests can find tranquillity in The Townhouse, the luxurious and awardwinning bed & breakfast. Behind a beautiful 19th century façade is Trivago’s number one bed & breakfast in Belgium. Set in the most romantic city of the country, The Townhouse is highly regarded for its personal touch and luxurious ambiance. Guests will find themselves having an instant moment of ‘wow’ when walking into the spacious hallway and admiring the original

ceiling. As a fun fact, the hallway used to be the entrance for coaches, immediately adding a historical touch to the stay. “Considering the long history of Bruges, this 19th century building is relatively new,” co-owner Sandra Barnes jokes. She runs the four-bedroom townhouse along with her husband Jason and two children Maksim and Jules. With a special eye for detail and a personal approach, the bed & breakfast is known to be a favourite amongst many of the city’s visitors. With excellent beds and a fabulous fourcourse breakfast, The Townhouse emphasises the importance of the best service and experience. It also stands out in the crowd because of its exclusive features and the charming garden, where guests can relax after a day out and about. Also, children are very much welcome here. “We shaped The Townhouse with our own family in mind”, says Barnes, and continues; “it is truly wonderful to see that the quality and effort we put into our business translates to happy guests.”


Promotion: 10% off when you book directly with the B&B; Promo code to use: “The Townhouse Bruges”; valid for bookings until 22 December 2018; not in combination with other offers or discounts.


Discover Benelux  |  Bruges  |  Top Art & Culture Spots

Nightlife of a shadow. Photo: Ilona Plaum

A Painters Home. Photo: Hans Vandekerckhove

Impact of the Highly Improbable TEXT: FRANK VAN LIESHOUT

When hopping over to Bruges for the 2018 Triennial this spring and summer, do not forget to pay a visit to the Black Swan Gallery, one of a new breed of art galleries in this historic city. Bruges is famed for its history and cultural heritage, but in recent years a vibrant new art scene has been rearing its head in the medieval Belgian city. One of the latest additions is the Black Swan Gallery, opposite Snaggaard bridge on picturesque Langerei. The name hints at the unexpected and disruptive character of the gallery and the art they show. “As a gallery we do things a little differently from what people might expect,” says Kristoff Tillieu. Together with his partner Lieve De Cuyper, he set up Black Swan a year ago, realising a lifelong passion. “The idea had been in the pipeline for some 15 years.” Black Swan offers a stage for young and established, national and international contemporary artists that they truly believe in, “and not because we think they

will sell well,” as Tillieu puts it. They centre their curated exhibitions around a theme and steer away from the contemporary white cube concept which most galleries adopt. “Art should be an adventure,” Tillieu explains. “This is why we send our visitors on a trail of discovery, immersing them in a labyrinth of art works.” Celebrating art and architecture, the theme of the Bruges Triennial for 2018 is Liquid City. This refers to the importance of the city’s waterways, but also to the fast changing world around us, where old certainties seem to be continuously replaced by a plethora of new uncertainties. Inspired by this theme, Black Swan joins the Triennial route, staging a two-part exhibition entitled Impact of the Highly Improbable. “We have invited 11 artists to explore the evolving viewpoints on architecture and the constant evolution of society. They will touch on contemporary issues such as pollution, immigration and the ever advancing mechanisation of nature,” says Tillieu. “We believe their art is urgent and relevant, and I hope they will inspire the visitors with new insights

and new perspectives – and have a real impact!” Impact of the Highly Improbable opens on 28 April. The first show runs until 3 June, the second show from 17 August to 16 September. 1 VIUNAP. Photo: Nick Ervinck

Stainless history. Photo: Romain Weintzem


Issue 53  |  May 2018  |  57





A dummies’ guide to induction TEXT & PHOTO: STEVE FLINDERS

“You arrive in a new job and nobody tells you what to do. Then the manager who should have told you what to do bullies you because you don’t know what to do.” This was how one young professional described her experience of joining a new company when I asked her about induction. It is a depressingly common experience, particularly in smaller organisations where managers remain unaware of the irony of going to a deal of trouble to recruit a new employee and then doing their best to make that person feel unwelcome. So here is my dummies’ guide to induction. Let me, for once, quote unashamedly from the Wikipedia entry for induction training about its goals: to create a positive atmosphere and a feeling of belonging; provide knowledge of the organisation, its procedures and policies; share organisational values and job-specific information; address concerns. All this is in striking contrast to the typically awfulfirst-day-at-school experience of shaking three or four hands, being shown a desk, and then being left to one’s own devices. 58  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

If your organisation errs towards this kind of brevity, consider these options:

tor (the manager) to whom they can turn in moments of bewilderment.

1. Provide a manual for newcomers so they can read and reread details of the company’s mission, values, procedures, organisation, personnel et al.

7. Make it clear that it is OK to ask and keep asking questions, and that there is no such thing as a stupid question.

2. Do not submit your inductee to instant ’death by powerpoint’ on day one in the mistaken belief that inflicting 200 slides on anyone can achieve the Wikigoals listed above.

These help new people find their feet. Do them and they will more quickly become motivated, well-integrated, productive members of your team – happy bunnies, not frightened rabbits.

3. Have colleagues’ pictures and job titles posted somewhere – online or on a noticeboard or both - so newbies can find out quickly who is who and who does what. 4. Provide an induction manual for managers so they know what they must do for new recruits. 5. Insist that managers schedule lots of time with the newcomer in the initial period, including lunches. 6. Provide new arrivals with an induction buddy as well as an induction men-

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  |  RentMore.Brussels

Résidence Romeo & Juliet.

Get more from your rental with RentMore TEXT: SIMON WILLMORE  |  PHOTOS: RENTMORE.BRUSSELS

Long-stay visitors to Antwerp and Brussels who would like to stay in accommodation with more authentic local character than a hotel, might want to consider RentMore; the servicedapartment rental specialists.

parking. For example, the Romeo & Juliet apartments are sited in Wolvengracht, at the heart of the historical city centre near the city’s Grand Place. The complex faces the La Monnaie theatre and is around the corner from the Place des Martyrs.

Promising to “help you on your way in Brussels and Antwerp”, RentMore has over 20 years of experience in servicedapartment rental, and has particular expertise in serving expats, Eurocrats and employees of international companies.

Within walking distance are the Galeries Saint-Hubert for the shopaholics, Rue Dansaert for the fashionistas and the AB concert hall for the music lovers. Other locations include Roosevelt Square, the Residence Ernest ‘The Garden’, The Squares building in Rue de Bruyn and – coming soon – Universalis Park.

Operating under the umbrella of a wellestablished financial group, the RentMore team’s services include simple repairs such as changing light bulbs, car parking, regular cleaning plus towels and linen change, a digital television and high-speed wireless internet. All of this comes with a professional manner, as the company aims to ‘make life extra comfortable’ for its tenants. Talking of comfort, the accommodations are high-end, secured with badge systems and cameras, wonderfully located and well-equipped, including on-site car

of everything for regular issues – and an emergency number is available around the clock for anything more urgent. Third, the rental company prides itself on ‘a high level of flexibility’ and allows rental terms of six months with the notice period limited to just one month. Vercarre echoes the team’s mantra: “Call today, book, and move tomorrow. The housewarming party can start at any minute!”. It looks like it might be time to get that party started.

The company operates under three missions, of which the first is ‘one price’. RentMore works with an all-in invoice to prevent hidden costs or unseen expenses. “There is so much more to life than combing through bills,” founder Robbie Vercarre tells me as we discuss the company’s approach. RentMore’s second mantra is ‘one point of contact’. This means that each tenant has just one person who takes care


Issue 53  |  May 2018  |  59

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Engel & Völkers Luxembourg

Luxe Living in Luxembourg TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL  |  PHOTOS: ENGEL & VÖLKERS

Luxembourg is renowned for many things. Not least its unequalled location at the heart of Western Europe, its cultural diversity, strong economy and high living standards. Just an hour’s flight from many European capitals, with frequent daily connections, the Grand Duchy also has a broad diversity of architectural styles and consequently a booming property market. Property options range from farmhouses, manor houses and hunting lodges, to townhouses, apartments and villas, and few have more expertise in the field than agents Engel & Völkers. With some 40 years of experience, Engel & Völkers is one of the most successful real estate companies both in Luxembourg and worldwide. Famed for their ability to listen to their clients’ needs, the company has a range of luxurious options and can help clients navigate the choices available to find the perfect property, whether they are buying, selling or renting. “We have a wide selection of prestigious properties across the country,” says Lola Jallais, marketing manager for Engel & Völkers Luxembourg, “enabling us to offer 60  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

our customers a home to meet their personal needs and lifestyle, whether that is a farmhouse on the edge of the Moselle river or a penthouse in the heart of the city.” The breadth and variety of architecture in the country also mirrors the diversity of its cultural landscape. “Luxembourg’s many churches, abbeys and bridges are as much a part of the national architectural heritage as the houses themselves,” she continues, “which are always blended tastefully into their surroundings.” But it is not solely Luxembourg’s architecture which draws people from across the globe to make the country their home. “People come here for many different reasons,” explains Lola. “Some come for professional and/or financial reasons. Others are attracted by the economic and political stability, tax benefits and the wide

range of languages spoken here. The European School and international schools also appeal to young families who want their children to be educated in their mother tongue.” According to Engel & Völkers, Luxembourg City and its nearby suburbs are hotspots for investors. And, for those in search of a private home, there are gems to be found both in the city and beyond, depending on the style of property and lifestyle that people require. Many of the country’s most sought-after properties are located in the capital, with elegant neighbourhoods such as Belair, Merl and Limpertsberg in particularly high demand. Just beyond the city meanwhile, Luxembourg’s many leafy, peaceful villages are also popular choices. Web:

LOCAL EXPERTISE GLOBAL NETWORK As experts of the high-end real estate market, we provide the highest standard of service for qualitative transactions. Offering a wide range of exclusive properties, we commit ourselves entirely to our customers’ satisfaction. Our global marketing strategy combines the know-how of our team with the powerful worldwide network of Engel & Völkers.

51, bld Grande-Duchesse Charlotte  |  L-1331 Luxembourg  |  T. +352 28 26 17 27  |



aapverdië is een cluster

woning. Dat blijkt uit cijfers van Second


van tropische eilandjes in

Home Expo. “Zo’n 350 Belgische

Financieel zit het goed. De

de Atlantische Oceaan,

gezinnen hebben er onlangs een optrekje

registratierechten op Kaapverdië

op enkele honderden

gekocht”, meldt Koen De Zutter,

bedragen amper 3%. Bovendien betaal

kilometers voor de kust van het West-

woordvoerder van Second Home Expo.

je in Kaapverdië geen belastingen op

Afrikaanse Senegal. De oude Portugese

“In totaal is er door de Belgen in de

huurinkomsten in resorts. Het netto

kolonie wint bij de Belgische toeristen

voorbije vijf jaar al voor 87,5 miljoen

investeringsrendement bedraagt dan

snel aan populariteit. Volgens de

euro aan buitenverblijven gekocht

ook minimum 4%. Dat haal je niet

touroperators is Kaapverdië almaar

op een spaarboekje in België. Ook

belangrijker als alternatief voor

Voor de grootste groep van

niet onbelangrijk: de koers van de

bekendere vakantiebestemmingen als

belangstellenden, 55-plussers, gaat

Kaapverdische munteenheid escudo

Tenerife of Gran Canaria.

het puur om een belegging. Negen op

is gekoppeld aan de euro. Er is dus

de tien verhuren het grootste deel van

geen risico op waardeverlies door

Maar het blijft niet bij een éénmalige

het jaar hun vakantiewoning, om zo te

wisselkoersschommelingen. De interesse

vakantietrip. Steeds meer Belgen

kunnen genieten van een gegarandeerde

voor de zonovergoten eilanden-

zien Kaapverdië als interessante

verhuuropbrengst van minstens 4%

groep blijft echter niet beperkt tot de

vastgoedmarkt en kopen er een tweede


Belgen (en Nederlanders). De Britten

“We doen deze investering voor onszelf, maar ook vooral voor onze kinderen.”

hebben Kaapverdië al eerder ontdekt.

overschouwen zeggen genoeg: dit is een

met een minimum van 4% netto (alle

Toch valt de prijsstijging op de lokale

meer dan gewone kans, maar dat is nog

kosten verrekend) en met eigen gebruik

vastgoedmarkt voorlopig mee, met een

niet alles. Ze kunnen het rendementsplan

tijdens de volle opbrengstfase.

groei van +/- 4% per jaar.

bestuderen, de vordering van de bouwplannen zien en een overzicht van

Hoogbouw? Daar hoeft de investeerder

de bezettingsgraad waarnemen. Op die

het niet voor te laten: Kaapverdië

Living on the Beach biedt

manier zijn onze klanten verzekerd van

hanteert strikte regels wanneer het

geïnteresseerden de kans uit verschillende

een zorgeloze investering.

gaat om bouwen, het tegengaan van


overontwikkeling en het behouden van de

investeringen te kiezen. Dat kan al vanaf € 100.000 voor een eigendom.

Een duidelijk en strak financieel plan, én

natuurlijke schoonheid en levenskwaliteit

Geïnteresseerde investeerders nemen

een meer dan aantrekkelijke opbrengst,

van de eilanden. Hoogbouw aan de kust

we mee naar Kaapverdië. Enkele dagen

zowel tijdens de bouwfase als tijdens de

is dan ook verboden. Niet verboden is:

lang kunnen ze bezoeken, evalueren, van

opbrengstfase. Wie gaat daar niet over

tijdig handelen. De prijsstellingen zijn

nabij bekijken en ervan genieten. Een blik

nadenken? Een vast rendement van 7%

immers nog gunstig.

op de mooie interieurs en de omgeving

voor de eerste 5 jaar van uw investering.

en even vanop het balkon het resort

Een gegarandeerde verhuuropbrengst


Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Calendar

Business Calendar TEXT: ELLA PUT Photo: © The Banking Scene

Amsterdam American Business Club. Expect an evening full of fruitful networking and opportunities for business relationships overseas.

EIT Climate-KIC Sustainable land-use partner day 31 May, Brussels, Belgium Sustainability is a must for a successful business venture these days. During this inspiring event, visitors can expect to receive new insights into the world of sustainable land-use as well as network with partners in the industry. It is also the perfect place to get into new collaborations and help develop new ideas for next year’s summit.

and& 2-5 May, Leuven, Belgium This one-of-a-kind summit and festival brings together over 100 inspirational speakers from all over the world to discuss the impact of innovation in health, tech and creativity on future city life. Be prepared to leave the first edition of and& inspired, and to get an insight into the future we might one day live in. Also, according to their own saying: the best beer is served in Leuven. Which might be even more reason to go.

The Banking Scene 2018 8 May, Brussels, Belgium Connect with over 300 banking professionals and other experts in the field, at Belgium’s foremost retail-banking conference. During workshops such as ‘Unbundling of Banking’ or ‘Rebundling of Platforms’, visitors will get an insight into the latest developments in ‘BigTech’ inside and outside of Europe. With renowned speakers and exhibitors, this year’s edi64  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

tion of The Banking Scene promises to be even greater than last year.

Networking Business Event 16 May, Amsterdam, The Netherlands This month, the European Business Centre is opening its door for members of the

#CMFF 2018 31 May, Brussels, Belgium Content, especially within marketing, has proven to be a powerful tool with great impact on consumers. But how can marketers make their content stand out in a time where there is an information overload? Learn more about this at the first edition of Content Marketing Fast Forward. Photo: © Jeroen Verrecht

Discover Benelux  |  Profiles  |  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

New Luxembourg Airfield restaurant takes off TEXT: LORENZA BACINO  |  PHOTOS: AIRFIELD

The recently inaugurated Airfield restaurant began life as the old hunting lodge belonging to Luxembourg’s Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma, husband of the Grand Duchess Charlotte. Although a well-known and well-loved venue for 70 years, it has remained closed for the best part of a decade. That is, until Selim Schiltz (managing director of the Michelin starred La Distillerie at Chateau Bourglinster) and his wife Sandra bought the building in 2015. Since then, they have poured their heart and soul into renovating it into the beautiful industrial-chic venue that can be seen today. Airfield is a family-run business that includes the couple’s two daughters, Laura and Kimberley. Two menus are on offer, one of which is dedicated to vegetarian cuisine with seasonal and locally sourced produce that alternates on a weekly basis. Vari-

ous asparagus dishes come highly recommended and are always on offer as a vegetarian option. From the other menu, specialties include the ribeye black angus and the foie gras de maison. The cocktails of the house are a tempting array of traditional choices with an added Airfield twist. The alcohol-free ‘Lady Marmalade’ cocktail is particularly delicious made with ginger and homemade fruit marmalade. The interior of Airfield has been lovingly renovated using a carefully chosen combination of natural products - steel, wood, cement and leather – which work beautifully together to create a contemporary ambience whilst maintaining the warmth and atmosphere of this turnof-the-century hunting lodge. Only the external walls remain as they were, confirms Selim, and there are some exposed brick walls on the inside too.

The restaurant is made up of two airy spaces with a number of large artworks adorning the walls, successfully complementing the industrial-chic style of the interior and adding a touch of colour. The kitchen is visible from one of the rooms and some clever lighting brings the bottles in the bar area to the fore. Three outside terraces ensure guests enjoy al fresco dining in summer, and a ‘piste de petanqe’, or bowling ground, is on hand nearby. This superbly reconstructed building originally dates from 1918 and is situated on the road to Trêves, some 200 metres from Luxembourg’s airport, hence the name, Airfield. Should guests wish to stay the night, there are seven bedrooms, all newly designed with warm wooden floors, clean lines and thoughtful lighting. Airfield, 6 rue de Trêves au Findel Web:

Issue 53  |  May 2018  |  65

Discover Benelux  |  Profiles  |  Hotel of the Month, Belgium



It would be difficult – or maybe even impossible – to find a hotel closer to the heart of Europe than the Hilton Grand Place in Brussels. And given it is such an amazing venue, why look elsewhere anyway? When Swedish group Pandox bought The Hilton Grand Place Hotel in Brussels for 55 million euros in September 2016 they were buying a great hotel with a fabulous location. They then began a major programme to make it even better. The real estate cliché ‘location, location, location’ holds true in the hotel business too, and The Hilton Grand Place has a 66  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

location second to none: “Brussels is at the centre of Europe politically and economically, and our hotel is in the heart of Brussels,” says Alia Beskok, cluster director of business development. Its address on the Carrefour de l’Europe pretty much says it all – it means the crossroads of Europe – and its centrality within Brussels itself is emphasised by the city’s Central Station standing just opposite.

Investment programme Pandox took to heart that concept of Brussels being at the centre of and intimately linked to Europe in one of the projects it undertook between June 2017 and February this year, in a three million euros investment

programme within the hotel: its stunning restaurant, Sentro Lounge & More, has a name that incorporates the word centre, and melds it with another that speaks volumes about its ambition – senses. “Sentro Lounge & More is almost symbolic of what the hotel is about,” says Alia, “as it makes creative use of Belgian produce, not least the wonderful meat supplied by our partner Dierendonck, a company founded 39 years ago dedicated to sourcing the very best products available, and there are always authentic Belgian dishes and specialties.” Head chef Vincent Masson is passionate about diners being able to experience the

Discover Benelux  |  Profiles  |  Hotel of the Month, Belgium

best local produce and the gastronomic pleasures that can be fashioned with such materials. But it also embraces the best of the rest of Europe, as Vincent Masson himself says: “Sentro Lounge & More is a cuisine combining my desires and local products, but also the opportunity to share the culinary emotions of my different experiences in Europe.” The improvement programme also took in major changes to the breakfast room, the fitness centre, the bar – whose fantastic selection of Belgian beers and fine liqueurs from around the continent echoes Sentro’s approach – the executive lounge and, of course, the rooms themselves. Guests, on arriving in the lobby, can see from the outset that this is a hotel that means business – and pleasure, with its blend of classically refined colours and décor, and the comfort of contemporary furniture – and a well-stocked bar beckoning for business travellers who have had a hard day’s negotiation.

Business and pleasure It is a hotel for leisure travellers too: its double queen rooms are ideal for family

stays, and with famous tourist sites like The Magritte Museum, Manneken Pis, and of course the Grand Place itself all within five minutes’ walk – the Grand Place only a three-minute stroll, in fact. And something new set to be unveiled this May will appeal to younger guests staying at the hotel, a fresco outside the hotel of cartoon characters the Smurfs, produced in collaboration with the hotel as part of the city’s cartoon walking route.

Chocolate as a very edible artform As Alia explains, another of the recent innovations in the hotel is equally attractive for business and leisure clienteles, and in some cases literally puts the cherry on the top of the Hilton Grand Place’s offer: “We’re honoured to host the first Godiva Chocolate Café in Europe, a concept store that, as you’d expect with such a famous Belgian chocolatier, shows why Belgium’s chocolate culture is second to none in the world.” Even a brief glance at the products on offer demonstrates how chocolate can become an art form – albeit a deliciously edible one. There is always the 24-hour accessible fitness centre to work off those extra calories!

Hilton Brussels Grand Place in numbers 224 guest rooms and suites 17 meeting rooms, including two ballrooms holding up to 200 delegates for cocktail receptions Executive Lounge 24-hour room service 24-hour access to fitness room

Within Walking Distance Opposite Brussels’ central train station (direct connection to the airport in 20 minutes and to Brussels South Station, for Thalys, TGV and Eurostar, in 5 minutes) 3 minutes to the Square Convention Centre 10 minutes from the EU district 3 minutes to UNESCO World Heritage site, the Grand Place 5 minutes to the Magritte Museum 5 minutes to the world famous Manneken Pis


Issue 53  |  May 2018  |  67

Discover Benelux  |  Profiles  |  Dutch Food

‘Almost every chocolate bar in the world is produced on one of our machines’ TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: ROYAL DUYVIS WIENE

The heart of the world’s cacao producing industry lies in the Zaan area in the west of the Netherlands, just above Amsterdam. And for more than 130 years, Royal Duyvis Wiener has been producing cocoa and chocolate processing machines in Koog aan de Zaan. “There isn’t a chocolate bar in the world that isn’t produced by one of our machines,” smiles CEO Mirjam van Dijk. The company started out as a repair shop for processing machines for industrial food processors, especially for the cocoa industry. Soon, Royal Duyvis Wiener shifted the focus on building the machines themselves. “We build and deliver machines for the biggest chocolate companies in the world, as well as local chocolatiers and gourmet chefs. People nowadays want to know where their chocolate is coming from and with our machines, the chefs can literally show their process,” explains Van Dijk. The company builds machines for 68  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

every part of the chocolate making chain, from roasting machines to chocolateprocessing machines.

products. Whether it is chocolate, cocoa or nuts; trails can be performed, and methods and recipes tested.”

“We see a lot of growth in Asia for instance, even though chocolate is not ‘native’ over there, like it is here in Europe or the United States, where most of the cocoa beans were being processed. By talking to our customers and working together as partners, we can assess the market needs, and easily scale up and build the machines necessary,” Van Dijk continues.

Royal Duyvis Wiener puts a strong focus on innovation, elaborates Van Dijk. “Optimising process lines and looking at ways to make the lines more sustainable is something that we want, but also our customers too. Our team of food experts and engineers work side by side to analyse taste and optimise performance in collaboration with our clients, who come here from all over the world.”

The biggest testing facility in the world Since every chocolate bar has its own recipe, machines and production lines have to be customised. That is why Royal Duyvis Wiener recently opened a 2,000-square-metre testing facility next to the plant in Koog aan de Zaan. “It is a one of a kind, hi-tech facility,” says Van Dijk. “Here, customers are able to test and analyse the development of their new

Concludes Van Dijk: “And the beautiful view in the testing facility of the Zaan area is an extra bonus.” Mirjam Van Dijk.


Discover Benelux  |  Profiles  |  Dutch Food

Klaver Kaas is well-known for making the most delicious Gouda cheese from scratch.

Craftman’s creamy cheese TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: KLAVER KAAS

Mastering the entire process of making cheese from scratch, the award-winning cheese brand Klaver Kaas produces a true Dutch delicacy. They call themselves cheese makers with passion, and that passion is clearly visible, but most of all - tasted - in the flavoursome cheese by Klaver Kaas. Whether savouring cheese on a sandwich, pizza, pancake, omelette or for a cheese fondue, each meal will be a joy with their cheese. Varying from traditional gouda cheeses to unique new herbal creations, it can actually be tricky to decide which one to taste first. On a farm in the picturesque town of Winkel, north of Amsterdam, the wellknown and respected cheese brand makes sure that from grass to the finished product, everything is about making the best cheese possible. Mixing traditional recipes with modern herbs and techniques, Klaver Kaas creates

fair-trade and delicious cheese. It all starts with taking care of the animals on Klaver Farm, which is situated between the North Sea and IJsselmeer with rich clay soil and good quality grass. “The grass, which the animals are being fed, generates a pure and creamy cheese,” owner Marcel Klaver explains.

Cheese Fair, Klaver Kaas is now known for craftsmanship and honesty. This also explains the continued success behind the brand. And with a hands-on mentality, wellbeing of the animals is still the brand’s number one priority. After all, the tastiest cheese starts with the happiest animals.

For the Klaver family, true craftsmanship is not only the knowledge gained over the years. Knowing that the devil is in the detail, they keep an eye on all the stages of production. For example, the milk from which the cheese is made is selected with utmost care and, over the years, the brand has built strong and sustainable relationships with its suppliers. The Klaver Family founded the cheese brand in the small village of Winkel in 1977. Almost half a decade later, their cheeses have expanded to far greater heights. Having won several International Cheese Awards during the European


Issue 53  |  May 2018  |  69

Discover Benelux  |  Profiles  |  BEPS International School

BEPS trains students to be ‘learners for life’ TEXT: PETER STEWART  |  PHOTOS: BEPS

Over the past 45 years, BEPS International School in Brussels has produced confident and independent young learners, catering for pupils aged two and a half to 12. The establishment’s unique approach and teaching concept promoting international mindedness and personal learning has been so successful that as of September, it will expand with a new secondary branch. This well-established school situated in a leafy corner of the Belgian capital is committed to staying up to date with the latest teaching methods and seeks to provide the very best learning experience to students. “I have just returned from the ECIS conference in Berlin which provides support to a global network of international schools. It gives us plenty of ideas for increasing learning potential in class and making learning as enriching as possible,” says head teacher, Pascale Hertay. 70  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

Hertay, who has a wealth of experience from the international school sector, says a large part of the school’s success is down to its belief that educators should consider pupils’ personal preferences when it comes to learning. “We do not want our students to just be passive learners, taking in everything that a teacher at the front of a class spoon feeds them. Instead, we encourage them to take real responsibility for their learning and work on real projects. We want our students to have an enquiring approach and allow them the freedom and the support to make the right decisions,” she says. “Here at BEPS, we also focus on developing students’ emotional intelligence. Children who are stressed do not learn well,” highlights Hertay. “We’re helping instil in our students the ability to know how to react if they are angry or stressed, for example. And being able to know

how to deal with different situations that present themselves in life can only have a positive effect on students’ learning experience,” she adds. As well as offering a rich and varied academic curriculum, this school attaches great importance to developing students’ general life skills. “We want students to be learners for life,” says Hertay. “We teach our students the importance of international mindedness. We help to foster values such as respect, curiosity and understanding in our students. When they come across something that is done in a different way, for example, we help them to look at something through another person’s point of view. Ultimately, we want to challenge, support and guide our students to ensure they can flourish.”


Photo: NBTC


A world of culture From transience at the opera to art fairs and a journey across the history of the earth, this month has plenty on offer in the world of culture. Plus, some exciting news for beer lovers. And make sure not to miss the calendar of fun things to do! TEXT: MALIN NORMAN

POPPOSITIONS. Photo: © Jeroen Verrecht, Carlos Noronha Feio, narrative projects

Issue 53  |  May 2018  |  71

Akhnaten. Photo: AnnemieAugustijns

The new Opera Ballet Flanders season is all about transience TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN

Uniting both opera and ballet, the Opera Vlaanderen Royal Ballet Flanders in Belgium is a result of a merger in 2014 after the Flanders Royal Ballet and Flemish Opera got together. Unveiling a new theme for its yearly opera season, the topic for 2018/2019 is ‘Impermanence’ and a rather fitting one. The Opera Ballet Flanders will depart with artistic director Aviel Cahn after this season, as he is about to become the general director of Switzerland’s biggest opera house, Le Grand Théâtre de Genève. A perfect time to look back with Cahn on ten years of working with the Opera, what is in store for the upcoming season and slightly unveiling his plans for Genève. 72  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

Well received performances and more visitors than ever before: things are going very well for Opera Vlaanderen and while it is a feat that everybody contributed to, the influence of its artistic director cannot be understated. But Swiss-born Aviel Cahn – who mastered the Dutch language so well, his accent is impeccable – calls it ‘a time for change’, after being part of the opera for ten years by the end of his tenure. “Positions such as these should have a limited life-cycle where five years are needed to build and another five for reaping what has been sown. Working as an artistic director means having inspiration that flows between the audience and the opera and it’s good for that type of energy to have some renewal.”

Transience With that in mind, the theme of ‘Transience’ is aptly chosen. With Cahn leaving the party in 2019, Opera Vlaanderen is setting its sights to new beginnings, but not before what promises to be one of its most exciting seasons yet, bringing back lots of famed directors, conductors and soloists that have left a mark on the company. Cahn: “I can’t wait for our world premiere of an opera based on Jonathan Littell’s bestseller Les Bienveillantes, in English known as The Kindly Ones. It’s a historical fiction story about an SS officer during World War II and the chapters are following the sequence of a Bach Suite. As such, Spanish composer Hèctor Parra made the music for the opera that uses

Discover Benelux  |  Top Culture in Flanders  |  Opera Ballet Vlaanderen

modern, electronic sounds, but the work of Bach slips through the cracks as well. Then there’s the libretto by Händl Klaus who had the Herculean task of converting a 983-page novel to a work of forty pages.” Cahn says with a grin: “In his words: ‘I had to come back from hell for this’, but it was well worth the effort.”

born, Cahn is excited to return to his home country, but notes a difference: “I’m originally from Zurich and Geneva is quite a distance away, complete with a different culture and part of the French-speaking Switzerland. I’m looking forward to it

and promise that I’ll use my connections at Opera Vlaanderen to instigate several collaborations.” Web:

Political A political opera for sure, but that is part of what attracts Cahn to the art form. “I think it’s one of the most outspoken genres yet, where stories are told conveying questions that are relevant decades or even centuries later. We made world news when we did Samson & Delilah with an Israeli and Palestinian director, performed Philip Glass’ Akhnaten about an Egyptian pharaoh who broke with tradition, just when the Arabic spring was happening and there will be a performance of Glass’ Satyagraha in the upcoming season that’s all about Ghandi’s non-violent resistance. An opera like Les Bienveillantes might be about a war that happened over 70 years ago, the question of ‘what would you do with a totalitarian system running the state?’ is one we have the luxury of not having to ask ourselves, but there are countless of countries where that particular struggle is real.”

Samson Et Dalila. Photo: AnnemieAugustijns

Aviel Cahn, artistic director of Opera Vlaanderen. Photo: Filip van Roe

Other highlights of the upcoming season are, according to Cahn, among others, the performance of Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs De Perles by theatre company FC Bergman. The artistic director explains: “An opera that’s one of the best in showing the transience of friendship and love throughout the years. FC Bergman is known for their lavish productions and this one is bound to become an opera that will have people talking long afterwards.”

Geneva As for Cahn himself, becoming the general director of Le Grand Théâtres de Genève is something he is looking forward to, but can not discuss too much about. “There are many plans already being made, but we’ll unveil them once I start there. That happens to be on the day after I quit the Opera Ballet Flanders, so there’s a lot of preparation to be made.” Being SwissIssue 53  |  May 2018  |  73

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Musée d’Art Moderne André Malraux

LEFT: Adolf HIRÉMY-HIRSCHL, Aphrodite,vers 1893, Huile sur toile,110,7 x 275,6 cm, Galerie Tibermont, Paris, © Photo : Florian Kleinefenn. RIGHT: Alexandre SÉON, La Sirène, 1896, Huile sur toile, 75,4 x 48 cm, Musée d’art moderne et contemporain de Saint-Etienne Métropole, © Yves Bresson / Musée d’art moderne et contemporain de Saint-Etienne Métropole. BOTTOM: Laure ALBIN-GUILLOT, Composition à la nageuse, 1937, épreuve gélatino-argentique, 15,1x10,5 cm, Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne, Centre de création industrielle, Paris, achat grâce au mécénat d’Yves Rocher, 2011, © Centre Pompidou – MNAM-CCI- Dist. RMN – Grand Palais/ Guy Carrard © Laure Albin-Guillot / Roger-Viollet

The Art of The Sea TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL

The first thing you notice about MuMa at Le Havre – aka Musée d’Art Moderne André Malraux, is its breathtaking coastal setting. Facing the sea on Normandy’s Seine estuary – just two and a half hour’s drive northwest of Paris, the museum not only houses one of France’s largest collections of Impressionist paintings, but is also the scene of grand-scale exhibitions. The museum’s major show for 2018, ‘Ocean Imaginings: Artists and The Sea – from the 19th century to the present day’, runs from May 5 to September 9 and explores how the sea and ocean have captured the imagination of artists from the late 19th century onwards. The exhibition includes 180 paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, videos, glassware and ceramics by some 100 artists, including major names such as Gustave Moreau, Auguste Rodin, Emile Gallé, Man Ray, Max Ernst, Brassaï and Jean Painlevé, to contemporary artists such as Pierre et Gilles and Elsa Guillaume. The 19th century was a turning point in man’s understanding of the natural world, and the exhibition begins with the 74  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

key developments of 1859. This was the year which saw Charles Darwin publish his landmark Origin of Species, and also the creation of the first French maritime station and laboratory of zoological and marine life at Concarneau. This was soon followed by other maritime stations along the French coast and these new observatories swiftly inspired photographic pioneers such as Jean Painlevé, who began experimenting with underwater photography.

fore concludes with major installations by contemporary artists Elsa Guillaume and Nicolas Floc’h, both of whose work explore these themes. Admission to the Art of the Sea exhibition and the museum’s permanent collection is €10, or free for those under the age of 26.

Over the next few decades, the publication of illustrated volumes detailing an exotic new world of marine fauna were also to prove hugely influential. The symbolists Odilon Redon and Gustave Moreau were particularly inspired, as was the master Art Nouveau glass-maker Émile Gallé, and subsequently many surrealists including Max Ernst, André Breton and Man Ray. In the 21st century, the fears, fantasies and fascination with the sea felt by many artists has been replaced by concern for its future and its sustainability in the light of global warming and increasing levels of marine pollution. The exhibition there-


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle du Luxembourg


Located in Luxembourg City, the National Museum of Natural History takes visitors on a journey across the history of the earth, life, and far beyond. This modern museum was completely renovated from 2015 - 2017, offering a new layout to better display the variety of its collections and to promote a new way to look at nature, its history and its study by museum scientists. As well as showcasing the history of Luxembourg’s inhabitants, regions and landscapes, the museum covers big topics including the evolution of life, of Earth, and the birth of the universe. The two lower floors are dedicated to permanent exhibitions, while the second floor

hosts an array of fascinating temporary expos. “We are an important global institute for research as well as a museum, so our collection is always evolving with new pieces,” points out Patrick Michaely, head of PR and communications at the museum. With a mission to promote environmental awareness and contribute to the conservation of natural heritage, the National Museum of Natural History welcomes visitors of all ages. Special workshops are also organised for children aged 6 - 10, and teenagers aged 11 - 18. An unmissable event is the Science Festival, which takes place every four years. Organised by the National Museum of

Natural History and its partner establishments, the Science Festival is undoubtedly the largest event dedicated to science in Luxembourg. Look out for the next edition in 2019. MUST-SEE EXHIBITIONS: UNexpected Treasures 18 April - 26 August 2018 In honour of 2018 being the European Year of Cultural Heritage, UNexpected Treasures details the discovery of some of Luxembourg’s most unique and important cultural objects. Rock Fossils 7 June - 29 July 2018 Taking place in the vaulted cellars of Neimënster, Rock Fossils explores the secret love between palaeontology and rock music. Michael Benson’s Otherworlds 12 October 2018 - 7 January 2019 Exploring the beauty of our solar system, Otherworlds highlights how the visual legacy of space exploration forms an important chapter in the history of photography. To find out more, visit;

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Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Parc Naturel de la Haute-Sûre

Photo: Guy Krier

Paradise for nature lovers TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER

Situated amid the ancient highlands of the Ardennes, in the northwest of Luxembourg, the Upper Sûre Nature Park is not only a haven for nature lovers - it is also a place where tourism, culture, environmental protection, and economic and social development are all promoted. “The Upper Sûre Nature Park is not a typical park with an enclosure,” explains ecologist Patrick Thommes. “It is an entire region which combines work and recreation in an ecologically useful way.” Set amid breathtakingly beautiful countryside, the park boasts deep valleys, wet meadows, steep forested slopes and a high farmland plateau. At its centre is a reservoir supplying around 70 per cent of Luxembourg households with drinking water. Visitors can discover more about this by taking a guided nature tour via a solar-powered boat. “You’ll learn about the flora and fauna in and around the Upper Sûre reservoir, not 76  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

to mention interesting facts about the history of the lake and the surrounding regions. It’s a great experience and the views are superb,” enthuses Thommes. As well as being Luxembourg’s largest drinking water reservoir, in the summer months the Upper Sûre reservoir is a bathing paradise, and a popular spot for sailing, surfing and other water sports just bring your own equipment! Prefer to stick to dry land? A network of hiking trails covering more than 700 kilometres of natural beauty awaits. Foodies will be happy to discover the range of’ ‘Vum Séi’ (meaning ‘from the lake’) products, comprising everything from tea (Téi vum Séi) to meat (Véi vum Séi) and much more. These come exclusively from producers whose farms are located in the Upper Sûre Nature Park. Culture vultures will not want to miss the ancient cloth factory, Duchfabrik, in the village of Esch-sur-Sûre, which has been restored and acts as a testament to the

art of textile production. There is also a permanent interactive exhibition offering an overview of the landscape and sites of the Éislek region. Also popular for its museums is the picturesque town of Wiltz. The Upper Sûre Nature Park boasts a brimming cultural calendar too. The Festival de Marionnettes (Puppet Festival), which takes place every two years, is coming up in the village of Tadler from the 19 - 21 May.

Duchfabrik. Photo: Caroline Martin


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  MVOS 2018

Get on your bike in Luxembourg and win 13,000 euros’ worth of prizes TEXT: SIMON WILLMORE  |  PHOTOS: VERKÉIERSVERBOND

Nowadays, everyone knows that cycling is a healthy and practical way to get around. Yet, there are still relatively few regular cyclists out there – and even fewer people who commute to work via bicycle on a daily basis. Luxembourg’s Verkéiersverbond (National Public Transport Community) has also noticed this. The agency, part of the country’s Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, has shrewdly noted that “cycling is not about the bike, the gear, the route or even the weather,” nor a person’s ability or physical condition – it is about mindset. This is what the Mam Vëlo op d’Schaff (MVOS) campaign is addressing. It encourages people to sign up in a team of two to four and commute to work or school for at least 15 days, between 15 May and 31 July. “We want to change people’s mentality and encourage everyone to become accustomed to using bikes during the working week,” says Gilles Dostert, the director general of Verkéiersverbond, who has been at the

helm since the start of the project in 2005. Judging by the prizes on offer, the company and its sponsors mean business. First prize is a Camper Comp bike worth 2,500 euros, and runner-up prizes include a trip to Düsseldorf for four and shopping vouchers worth 800 euros. The whole prize pot comes to an impressive 13,000 euros in value. This is the 11th annual MVOS and this year’s event is a special one, because Andy Schleck, the Luxembourgish cyclist and winner of the 2010 Tour de France, has joined the team. “I wanted to help the Verkéiersverbond get as many people on their bikes as possible. A simple sponsorship didn’t cut it for me so I suggested a collaboration,” Schleck explains. In the campaign, he dresses up as people from a variety of professions “to demonstrate how easy it is to ride your bike to work”. Dostert notes that there is potential to change the mentality of commuters towards favouring their bicycles, not least because it is practical: “For distances under five kilometres, cycling is often the

quickest mode of transport, giving you more time for your social life and family.” Luxembourg is also improving its infrastructure, including cycle lanes and storage facilities, and offering bike-sharing schemes. “People who cycle regularly notice how many facilities are missing, such as a changing room, shower, or parking. We are working to make business leaders think about long-term provisions for cyclists,” adds Dostert. “Although the competition lasts until 31 July, we hope people continue to cycle long after the end date.” Schleck agrees: “The campaign focuses on participation rather than performance, so you will be rewarded even if you cycle to work just once or twice a week. I would love to see my sons grow up in a world that suffers less from automobile pollution. Signing up for this challenge will get people to adopt more sustainable habits.” It seems you do not need anything special to join the MVOS, just the right mindset. Registration is open, at

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Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  B4 Events – Dinner in the Sky


If you are looking for an unforgettable dining experience, it is hard to beat Luxembourg’s Dinner in the Sky. After the sell-out success of its first outing last year, the exclusive pop-up is back in May for a second edition that is sure to take your breath away. In a truly unique spin on al fresco dining, 22 guests are lifted to a 45-metre height for a tantalising voyage of gastronomic discovery, all prepared and presented by one of Luxembourg’s 11 Michelin-starred chefs. In this magical experience, guests can enjoy a private audience with a top chef, who will conjure up a selection of delicious dishes, highlighting fresh regional produce. With an accompanying wine flight, the canopy of the Grand Duchy laid out below, and panoramic views of up to three kilometres, it is a truly breathtaking event. On arrival, guests are ushered into the luxurious marquee and greeted with a glass of top-quality champagne to savour 78  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

before take-off. Once safely strapped in, the ‘restaurant’ gently ascends to cruising height while the star chef begins to showcase and serve their chosen menu – comprising several amuse-bouches, a main dish and a dessert. Thanks to the intimate setting, guests have ample opportunity to get up close and personal with the chef. And the experience does not end on touch-down, either: guests can retire to the well-stocked bar to relive the dream over a nightcap or two.

the bright lights by night. Whichever you choose, it is the perfect setting to discover the taste of Luxembourg and see the creations of the country’s top gastronomic talent come to life before your very eyes. This is truly the stuff that culinary dreams are made of. The second edition of Dinner in the Sky takes place from 28 May to 2 June 2018. Tickets can be bought at

Dinner in the Sky is also ideal for companies seeking an original way to present their brand or entertain special clients. The whole event can be customised to your brand colours or logo and you can even extend your experience by booking the lounge area on the ground. With four sittings per day – two at lunch and two at dinner – there is something for everyone, whether you prefer to see the sights by day or soak up the romance of


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Ville de Liège - La Boverie

Liège has it down to a fine art TEXT: AMY BROOKE  |  PHOTOS: VILLE DE LIÈGE - LA BOVERIE

Nestled in the heart of Liège, you will find La Boverie, a renowned fine-arts museum housed in the extended and gorgeously renovated (the works were completed in 2016) former Fine Arts Palace that was originally built for the 1905 World Fair. The museum sits in the idyllic island haven of Le Parc de la Boverie, encircled by the Meuse River. With the beautiful parkland and lake, it is a lovely place to take a walk, have a picnic or just sit and reflect. A graceful footbridge now connects the area to the other bank of the city (and to the new, airy Calatrava-designed Liège-Guillemins station), which was previously divided by railway tracks. The museum’s permanent exhibitions, which showcase the city’s many gems, include works by Gauguin, Chagall, Magritte and Picasso, as well as a vast comics collection, featuring 100 original storyboards from the great Belgian scriptwriters and illustrators, including Hergé (Tintin). La Boverie also hosts a variety of major temporary exhibitions and has a part-

nership with Paris’ Louvre Museum to bring international-calibre exhibitions to the city. Viva Roma! Is the latest exhibition in this partnership. Bringing together 170 paintings and drawings from the Louvre and over 40 other international institutions, including the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, visitors will be able to discover European artists’ fascination with this Italian city of contrasts and pleasures, as they embark on a grand voyage of discovery. Viva Roma! runs until 26 August 2018, Tuesday-Sunday 10am to 6pm, €12. Web:

Issue 53  |  May 2018  |  79

Discover Benelux  |  Culture Feature  |  Art Brussels and Poppositions

Nicolas Party, Xavier Hufkens, Art Brussels 2018. Photo: David Plas


Upon one of the biggest weeks in the Belgian art calendar, I find myself back in the blisteringly hot capital, sweating my way through the art fairs Art Brussels and Poppositions. 19-22 April was the time of the year when the art world descended upon the city, with artists, collectors, gallerists, and keen art aficionados swarming Brussels’ cobbled streets to visit the fairs and the exhibitions opening. First on my agenda was Poppositions, an art fair that isn’t really an art fair. It positions itself as a ‘counterpoint to mainstream fairs’ and delineates itself immediately by refusing to use the typical white-cube booths that you find at most. 80  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

In a similarly unique manner, each year Poppositions finds a new venue, and this year was held in the stunning Atelier Coppens in downtown Brussels. Formerly a banana warehouse before being home to a surrealist designer, the four floors of the art deco building played host to some 30+ galleries and off-spaces from around the globe. I arrived the day after the preview, and wading past the bleary eyes at the front desk I was immediately met with a huge totemic installation by British artist Mat Do, presented by MAMA, Rotterdam. The installation examines contemporary society’s insatiable desire and addictions, and was activated when viewers had their hair cut within the installation,

by hairdressers from the salon DKUK. Indeed, much of Poppositions’ fare held a similar society-based conceptual drive thanks to the curatorial framework based around alternative future existences. Podium from Oslo, and Laagencia from Colombia were highlights on this front. Perhaps thankfully, there were booths that provided a bit of aesthetic meat to digest in this concept-heavy presentation; Brigham Baker’s awning paintings with Dienstgebäude (CH) and Charlie Godet Thomas’ poetic drawings with VITRINE (UK) being good examples. A personal favourite, and a project that in its DNA is inherently tied to Poppositions’ ethos of existing alternatively, was Billytown. From The Hague, and

Discover Benelux  |  Culture Feature  |  Art Brussels and Poppositions

showing Prosper Desmet, Billytown is a studio-provider-cum-art-gallery that is working towards being entirely selfsustainable. The dream for all small art spaces! They offer the freedom of experimentation of an off-space, yet also support their studio artists through exhibitions and art fairs. Getting that balance can be difficult, but they seem to be doing everything right so far. After leaving Poppositions, I prepared myself for what lay ahead. If Poppositions is at one end of the spectrum, Art Brussels is very much at the other. Art Brussels is the largest art fair in the Benelux region, hosting 147 galleries, and celebrating its 50th year. And I was off to the preview. In my experience, there are very distinct stages that you experience at a big fair preview. At the beginning, in the maelstrom of energy and anticipation, you are awash with a sense of excited giddiness – amplified in this instance by being instantly greeted with a great little Michael Borremans painting at Zeno X, (and a waiter hurrying by with a trolley piled high with Belgian beer). After this stage, but still high on the exhilaration of mixing it with the great and the good, you become somewhat overwhelmed by the amount of art work on show. ‘So many great things!’, you think to yourself.

Or are there? Becoming accustomed to the situation and finishing off your third tripel, you begin to realise there is actually some quite bad work on show. This is the point – usually about two hours into the preview – that I call ‘the crash’. What had originally been bypassed in the excitement to begin with, now becomes inescapable. The money. Of course, money is what art fairs are really about. Galleries need to sell work to sustain themselves. But, I like to see galleries bring the same curatorial approach they would to an exhibition in their space. Too often you find the booths to be a lazy inventory of a gallery’s artist roster, and that lessens the experience, personally. At this point in the evening, it is advisable to push on through and keep looking, because some great artwork will be just around the corner. Now you have reached the final part. The heat, the drinks, the art have all combined and as the preview comes to a close you are delirious. You have just seen Frog King Kwok’s exhibition-cum- live performance

Frog King (Kwok Mang Ho), 10 Chancery Lane, Hong Kong, Art Brussels 2018. Photo: David Plas

Miriam Hansen, Comfort and Reassurance, Poppositions 2018.

Ateliers Coppens Place du Nouveau Marché aux Grains 22-23 Nieuwe Graanmarkt-1000, Brussels, Belgium

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Discover Benelux  |  Culture Feature  |  Art Brussels and Poppositions

Art Brussels 2018, Tour & Taxis. Photo: David Plas

at 10 Chancery Lane enthral and terrify visitors in equal measure, and you realise that art is mad, but ultimately glorious. Despite this rollercoaster of emotional states, I was still able to keep my journalistic hat firmly on my head, and can report back on some of the best Benelux-based booths from the fair. Brussels’ mega dealer Xavier Hufkens showed Nicolas Party with one of his trademark installations, and pastel works. Antwerp galleries Sofie van de Velde and PLUS-ONE joined forces to curate a mega show of some 20 artists, and Geukens and de Vil recreated the studio of emerging Belgian artist Sofie Muller. However, the winner of the prized Antoniak Award for best booth goes to Nosbaum Reding, the Luxembourg-based gallery whose booth featured charred black walls and centred around Damien Deroubaix’s playful woodland hut. Fun, cerebral and immersive! 82  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

As I left the fair into the balmy night, I reflected on my whistle stop trip to the capital. They might not be Frieze or Art Basel, and I doubt they want to be, but Poppositions and Art Brussels offer something different. Every conversation I had with people throughout the day was thoughtful, knowledgeable and enthusi-

Sofie Muller, Geukens & De Vil, Art Brussels 2018. Photo David Plas

astic. Each was also accompanied with an assuring lack of pretension. There is a real passion for art here, and it is infectious. I cannot wait to go back. Web:

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Top Culture in Flanders

Base Alpha Gallery, Lieven Segers. Photo: KarinaBeumer

PLUSONE Gallery, Antwan Horfee. Photo: Art Viewer

People with totes. Photo: Karina Beumer

Antwerp Art Weekend 

Returning again for its fourth iteration, the Antwerp Art Weekend is back bigger and better than ever. Belgium’s second city opens its doors 25-27 May for a 3three-day marathon of exhibitions, events and performances. With over 60 museums, galleries and venues hosting events, visitors might not be able to take in all of the city’s vibrant scene. Fear not, here is a run-down of the best things to visit during the trip. Housed in a converted grain silo on the banks of the Scheldt, M HKA has been Antwerp’s leading and most daring art museum for three decades. Dedicated to showing a variety of artists at all stages of their careers, M HKA is vastly respected for its open and outward-looking attitude. During May, the museum presents an exhibition from its permanent collection. Revolving around the themes of image, action and society, the show includes a star-studded line up of post-war Belgian and international artists; Jan Fabre, Mar-

lene Dumas and Belgium’s representative at last year’s Venice Biennale, Dirk Braeckman, amongst others. Essential viewing and a good starting point for a city-wide tour. Just around the corner is Tim van Laere Gallery. A mainstay of the Antwerp art scene since 1997, van Laere has established his eponymous gallery as a big player in the European arts scene. The Art Weekend sees him a show his first exhibition of German painter Friedrich Kunath. Flirting the line between the kitsch and the sublime, Kunath’s airbrushed canvases hold more of a conceptual punch than they first let on. Whilst in this part of town head over to PLUS-ONE and Sofie Van de Velde’s joint enterprise in Nieuw Zuid, where visitors can see Mike Bouchet’s work and Nel Aert’s playful canvases. As well as the larger venues, it is worth checking out the smaller sites to get a

wider picture of the vast artistic spectrum the city has to offer. These are often the spots where artists cut their teeth in exhibition making, and can be the place to find some real gems. Two great places for spotting talent are Trampoline in Zuid and Hole of the Fox in the east. If photography and sculpture is up your street, head to Trampoline to see Sine van Menxel and Dodi Espinosa. If you want to experience something a little different, head to Hole of the Fox for Stef van Looveren’s interactive and immersive video installation. There is plenty more to see and do. If undecided, make your way to De Studio; the acting centre point for the weekend with yet more events and exhibitions. Antwerp is positioning itself as a European centre for culture again, and you will not want to miss out. Web:

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Discover Benelux | Culture | Beer News

Liege hosts Belgium’s Beer Lovers’ Marathon TEXT: STUART FORSTER  |  PHOTOS: MARC-ANTOINE SEPULCHRE

How far would you go to grab a good beer? Does running more than 26 miles sound reasonable? If so, you could consider registering for the Beer Lovers’ Marathon, which will be held on Sunday, 20 May, in the Belgian city of Liege. The event is limited to a maximum of 1,500 participants, who are being encouraged to don fancy dress for the run. The theme for costumes is ‘Far West’, so perhaps cowboys and cowgirls — but surely not pantomime horses — will be seen running through the streets of the Wallonian municipality during the marathon? The emphasis will be on having fun rather than elite performances. Nonetheless, runners must complete the 42.195kilometre course in less than six hours and 30 minutes. Though Belgium has a reputation for being relatively flat, the first quarter of the course is undulating. Participants will have to climb the 374 steps of the Buren Stairs, named in honour of Vincent de Buren. Built in 1881 to link the citadel and city centre, the staircase has an incline of 30 degrees. Three kilometres lat84  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

er, the route encompasses the Rue des Cotillages, which has a steep last couple of hundred metres. Surely after all of that, those beer lovers will have earned a cold one? The Elfique, La Redoubtable and Brasserie de Marsinne will be among the breweries showcasing their products during the event. So too will Chimay, Leffe and La Chouffe: breweries whose products are widely available within the United Kingdom. Runners have the option of sampling 15 different beers along the route of this marathon, which was first held in 2016. Regular food and water supplies will be provided every five kilometres. Musicians, DJs and drummers will be banging out motivation at each of the stops. Participants have the option of joining a free city tour on Monday, 21 May. Perhaps some will still have the strength in their legs to continue to the city’s Brasserie C or the beer cafes dotted around central Liege? Web:

New edition of the Good Beer Guide Belgium published The eighth edition of the Good Beer Guide Belgium, written by Tim Webb and Joe Stange, was published last month by CAMRA, the British-based organisation Campaign for Real Ale, which has more than 188,000 members around the world. The book contains information on Belgium’s beers, breweries, bars and beer shops, making it a useful guide for both ale loving travellers and residents of the country. The Good Beer Guide Belgium highlights beer-related points of interest in the nation’s provinces and urban areas, featuring colour maps. It also has information on where to stay, what to eat and getting about in Belgium. “Belgium is to beer what Speyside is to whisky or Bordeaux to wine. Only we added a pretty comprehensive tour guide to the country alongside,” commented beer writer Tim Webb, who has been involved in all seven of the previous editions of the Good Beer Guide Belgium. His co-author, Joe Stange, a former resident of Belgium, also contributed to the seventh edition of the guide. The paperback book has 384 pages and has a recommended retail price of £14.99.

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Columns


Majority Minority Report TEXT: MATT ANTONIAK

2018 marks an important moment in Antwerp’s history. Joining cities like London, Birmingham, Los Angeles and San Francisco, Antwerp will, for the first time, have more residents with a migrant background than native Belgian residents. Kunsthal Extra City positions itself as reactive to the city; as an organisation that responds to the socio-economic factors bubbling within. Antwerp’s new majority-minority status then, is a fitting subject to be explored. Eating Each Other is the latest ultra-current and supra-local exhibition at Extra City. A group show involving 13 artists, Eating Each Other dissects the notion of citizenship by framing the exhibition around Brazilian poet and theorist Oswald de Andrade’s manifesto from 1928. (Sounds heavy, I know, but it is worth bearing with it.)

In his ‘Cannibalist Manifesto’, de Andrade proposes cannibalising dominant culture by taking it in, digesting it, and then excreting it to create a new form. What this seeks to address is the powerlessness felt by many in the face of prevailing cultures. Hence, the artists involved all use processes of reappropriation to create their own space by reacting to and altering current ideas. Reappropriation is a funny thing though, which can on the one hand be used in an exploitative way, and on the other as a form of resistance. In this multi media exhibition (featuring sculpture, installation and a homemade Lamborghini), all these notions are questioned. It is essential viewing, without providing any definitive answers, but perhaps ultimately concludes by posing a question back to de Andrade. Who is eating and who is being eaten?


Mashid Mohadjerin, Golden Dictator, (2013), in Eating Each Other, Kunsthal Extra City, 2018. Photo: Tomas Uyttendaele. Courtesy of Kunsthal Extra City, Antwerp
Word count: 275

Eating Each Other is open at Kunsthal Extra City, Antwerp until 1 July 2018. 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.


Orval Orval beer is brewed at the 12th century abbey at Villiers-devant-Orval in the south of Belgium, within premises located less than a kilometre from the French border. Labels on the bowling pin-shaped bottles bear a hexagonal logo indicating that this beer is an authentic Trappist product. Brewing was long practiced by the abbey’s Cistercian monks, but the current brewery was established in 1931, employing lay people from the opening, with the aim of creating a source of income to fund the restoration of the monastery. The premises suffered from looting and a destructive fire at the hands of a French Revolutionary force on 23 June 1793, and it was not until 1948 that the abbey’s present church was consecrated. The sale of amber coloured Orval beer helped achieve that goal. The recipe of this top-fermented brew includes the use of dry hops and was concocted back in 1931 by

Martin Pappenheimer, the Bavarian who was appointed as the Orval Brewery’s first master brewer. Around 22 million bottles of beer now come off the Orval Brewery’s production line each year. To justify carrying the Trappist logo, monks continue to be involved in the process, which combines state-of-the-art equipment and tradition. Visitors can tour the premises during the ‘open door days’ which will be held this year on 14 and 15 September (registration to attend opens on 2 May). Orval has a light, hoppy aroma and relatively dry taste. It’s a bottle-conditioned beer so is likely to improve with time. Perhaps one to add to your cellar now for some future celebration? Brewer: Orval Brewery Strength: 6.2 per cent

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

Issue 53  |  May 2018  |  85

Discover Benelux | Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar

Out & About In this month’s Out & About, it is time to go outside again. The weather allows for sipping the first delicious beers on a terrace, or during one of the many festivals. Or how about a nice cycling trip across the Dutch mills on National Mill Day? There is no reason to feel bored during this - hopefully sunny - month filled with exciting activities. TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: NBTC

National Mill Day.

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Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar

Ballet Festival.

Bevrijdingspop 5 May, Haarlem, The Netherlands On Liberation Day, the Dutch commemorate the capitulation of Nazi Germany in 1945. It is celebrated throughout the country with a festival in many large towns. For instance, Bevrijdingspop in Haarlem is a festival that especially focuses on freedom with music, dance performances and other cultural activities.

North Sea Regatta 8-20 May, The Hague, The Netherlands During the North Sea Regatta, thousands of sailing fanatics and other spectators gather in The Hague to enjoy a fully packed programme of marine events. Yachts of all sizes line up and several races will be organised.

Rollende Keukens 9-13 May, Amsterdam, The Netherlands De Rollende Keukens, which can be translated into ‘Rolling Kitchens’, lives up to its name.


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Discover Benelux | Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar During this event, there are plenty of kitchens on wheels seen on the streets in Amsterdam, serving everything from luxurious champagne to casual pizza. Old and young meet up to enjoy a weekend filled with food, fun and laughter.

Breda Jazz Festival 10-13 May, Breda, The Netherlands During this weekend in May, the beautiful city of Breda forms the backdrop for the oldest and largest Jazz Festival in Europe. With performances from musicians all over the world, the around 250,000 visitors are sure in for a treat!

Leeuwarden Flower Market 10 May, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands It is time for the most colourful market of the year! With 200 stalls lined up, the 2018 European cultural capital will transform into a beautiful sea of flowers. Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.

National Mill Day 12-13 May, The Netherlands What would the Land of Mills be without a day especially honouring mills? During this annual event, windmills all across the Netherlands will open their doors for curious visitors.

Budapest Festival 16-19 May, Brugge, Belgium Iván Fischer and his Budapest Festival Orchestra are well known for their lively interpretations of classic music, especially from Hungarian musician Béla Bartók. A must for any lover of music!

Night at the Museum 18-19 May, Luxembourg city, Luxembourg On Nuit des Musées, all museums in Luxembourg will open their doors and entertain visitors not just with their regular collections, but also other special performances from the world of music and art. Museums are open until 1am (some until 2am). 88  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

Flower Market Leeuwarden.

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar

Issue 53  |  May 2018  |  89

Discover Benelux | Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar

Rollende keukens.

Brussels Jazz Weekend 25-27 May, Brussels, Belgium It is for free, it is new and it has the best jazz performances in the world. What more could one wish for? The picturesque locations of the festival, including Brussels’ Grote Markt and the Sint-Katelijneplein, create a beautiful and unique setting for a night out about town.

Gala des Etoiles 26-27 May, Luxembourg city, Luxembourg On this special event, the Grand Théatre in Luxembourg will turn into the beaming heart of the international ballet world. Performances will include a variety of classic ballet, choreographic rarities and contemporary dance. 90  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018