Discover Benelux, Issue 54, June 2018

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Your Shortcut to Benelux

S n a cks

Me al s

Dr inks

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Discover Benelux  |  Contents

Contents JUNE 2018





Tucked away where the rivers Meuse and

Frederique van der Wal Dutch



Sambre meet, Namur was once an important


trading settlement. These days, this is a centre

Frederique van der Wal is living life in full

of art and tourism in Province de Namur. Check

bloom. The down-to-earth beauty reveals that

out our tips of what to see and do when visiting.

her real passion has always been in flowers and the protection of nature. Now running a


successful flower business, Frederique talks about the importance of unwinding and giving back to nature.



ness, as well as profiling the companies you need to know about.

Made in the Netherlands


Holland has a longstanding history of invention, and our guide to the most exciting products and


services coming out of the Netherlands proves

as part of their bid to become the Capital of Culture 2018, the region commissioned 11 ac-

30 Top Festivals & Events in the Netherlands

claimed artists to create 11 distinctive fountains.


rock via design and dance, we present our guide

growing asparagus and is a factor in why the

place this summer.

Limburg province is one of the continent’s principal producers of the ‘white gold’.

Discover West Flanders West Flanders encompasses Belgium’s entire


coastline and is an ideal destination ‒ in particu-


lar during the summer months. Explore gems such as Bruges, Ostend, Ypres and Poperinge.

Asparagus in the Limburg province The soil of the southern Netherlands is ideal for

to some of the best festivals and events taking


11Fountains International Art Project Friesland needed a way to link its 11 cities and,

that tradition is still very much alive today.

From theatre and performing arts to hip-hop and

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



Province de Namur

6 64

Fashion Picks  |  10 Desirable Designs Out & About  |  82 Columns

Issue 54  |  June 2018  |  3

Discover Benelux  |  Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Discover Benelux Issue 54, June 2018

Published by Scan Group

Lorenza Bacino Matt Antoniak Michiel Stol Myriam Dijck Simon Willmore Steve Finders Stuart Forster Xandra Boersma

Print Liquid Graphic Ltd

Cover Photo © 2015 Eric van den Brulle

Executive Editor Thomas Winther

Sales & Key Account Managers Mette Tonnessen Katia Sfihi Micha Cornelisse Petra Foster

Published 06.2018 ISSN 2054-7218

Creative Director Mads E. Petersen Editor Malin Norman Copy-editor Karl Batterbee Graphic Designer Mercedes Moulia Contributors Eddi Fiegel Ella Put Frank van Lieshout Isa Hemphrey Juliën L’Ortye

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 54  |  June 2018

We have an absolutely sparkling magazine for you this month. Starting with our festival guide, where you can read all about the very best festivals and events taking place in the Netherlands during the summer. Ranging from great music to theatre and dance performances to dazzling fireworks. Similarly, our special theme about West Flanders has lots of unmissable events and attractions in the region, and we also include a guide to this summer’s beer festivals that are worth checking out in Belgium and the Netherlands. This reminds me of the many festivals I have visited and also worked at in the past, especially in my twenties. There really is a special vibe going on, whatever the festival. From the anticipation when you buy that ticket to the excitement when the day finally arrives and you get to enter the area together with other curious festival-goers. That buzz and thrill of what is awaiting you. Will it be any good? How many people will be there? What will be the favourite bands or acts, and what will be the biggest surprise? Where is the food and drink to refill with in between the performances? And so on. Always a fantastic experience all in all. Another highlight this month is our interview with the stunning Dutch supermodel turned flower entrepreneur Frederique van der Wal, who no doubt is living life in full bloom. Despite her fantastic success, she is incredibly down-to-earth and talks to us about how important it is to unwind and relax, and just be in the moment. Get inspired by Frederique’s journey and her passion for flowers, and do not forget to check out the health benefits of keeping fresh flowers around. Oh and remember to get those festival tickets booked. Happy summer reading! Malin Norman, Editor

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




Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks


Let’s get wild Truth be told: it is not the most subtle look. But crazy prints are frequently seen in shops this summer. Not to worry however, it is possible to wear this look without looking like a walking work of abstract art. TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA

All-over print It might look a little crazy to you, but not to worry. If you keep the rest of the outfit fairly simple - jeans, trainers; you know the deal – it will give the perfect summer look. € 29,99

Ticket to the tropics Embrace the summer spirit with a funky shirt. Basic colours make this shirt suitable for your everyday outfit, while the print adds just that extra bit of cheerfulness. € 59,95

Subtly crazy Are wild prints too crazy? Think again! If printed on flip flops, they look good on everybody. And the best thing? Seven per cent of the cost goes to the conservation of Brazilian fauna and flora projects. € 18 6  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks

Wrap it up The wrap dress might be the best trend for this summer. It fits everybody, creates a beautiful waistline and looks sexy as well. Especially combined with a funky print. € 119,95

The classy beach look This bathing suit is living proof that one does not necessarily look trashy while wearing leopard top to toe. Because of the pastel colours and subtle print, you will have an instant classy beach look. € 150

Cinderella, the wild way It is not a glass slipper the prince will go for this time, if you wear these beauties. As comfortable as they look and fashionable as well. What is not to love? € 96 8  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018



Ville du Havre - Adolf HIREMY-HIRSCHL, Aphrodite, vers 1893, Huile sur toile,110,7 x 275,6 cm, Galerie Tibermont, Paris © Photo : Florian Kleinefenn

OCEAN IMAGININGS En partenariat avec

DiscoverBenelux 205x127,5 muMa 14-05.indd 1

16/04/2018 15:48


Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Desirable Designs


Bring the beach to you There is no place like home - but in summertime, the beach makes a pretty good runner-up. So why not combine the two? Get yourself some beachy accessories and never leave the house again! TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA


2. Take a minute... sit down and enjoy the moment. Drink a cup of coffee in the sun while listening to the whistling birds outside. Tip: add a fun pillow to this chair. € 359


2. 1. Add a little sunshine Let us be honest, the sun is not always a sure thing in our part of Europe. You can always guarantee it though, by bringing this beauty into your home. € 13,77 4. A warm wake-up Quite literally, because when waking up in an interior like this, you will immediately feel like you are someplace else. Prices vary


3. Brighten up the floor A carpet has two functions: it feels nice on the feet when it gets a little colder outside in the evening and it looks good. This one will do both and will give your room just that little more warmth. € 17


5. Funky vases Adding a little more colour to your interior is easy with vases like these. Choose them in different shapes and colours and you will spice up your interiors in a flash. € 37 10  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

Avec le soutien du Commissariat Général au Tourisme


Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Industry & 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

12  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

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

Leaders of cutting-edge creativity The high tech and manufacturing industries in the Netherlands are among the most innovative in the world, thanks to superb facilities and leading research. Dutch technological know-how and products are highly sought-after across Europe and beyond. The Dutch creative industry is particularly renowned in fields such as interior design, gaming, fashion, and architecture. The Netherlands has countless internationally successful fashion designers such as Iris van Herpen, not to mention stylish brands including Scotch & Soda and G-Star RAW. In the design world, the Netherlands is a must-visit for architecture addicts with many of the globe’s most celebrated 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. Issue 54  |  June 2018  |  13

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Industry & 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

14  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

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 & 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.

Dimitri de Roeck Interiors The excellent craftsmanship of designer Dimitri de Roeck and his team will turn each renovation project into a success story. (Read more from page 16)

Jeroen Elswijk Vioolbouwer With a deep love for classical music and over 25 years of experience, violin maker Jeroen Elswijk repairs, restores and builds new instruments. (Read more from page 18)

Orgelmakerij Steendam Experienced Orgelmakerij Steendam preserves a long tradition of craftsmanship, always prioritising the highest quality and the best sound. (Read more from page 19)

Willemijn de Koning Sieraden From being a lawyer, to opening up a dance school, to starting her own atelier to create jewellery – you could say that Willemijn de Koning is a jack-of-alltrades. (Read more from page 20)

ByLaura Laura Lormann-Zwartelé creates beautiful handmade jewellery under her brand ByLaura, with the idea that each piece of jewellery should have a special meaning. (Read more from page 20)

Oorbellen van Marthje With a strong signature look and excellent craftsmanship, the jewellery from Oorbellen van Marthje stands out from the crowd. (Read more from page 22)

BouwJeBootje BouwJeBootje have created a building kit with which kids can build their own boat. It comes as a complete package, including screws, glue and filler. (Read more from page 23)

Vedette Jachtbouw By educating their staff themselves and using modern-day technologies, Vedette Jachtbouw make sure each and every yacht they deliver is top range. (Read more from page 24)

Novanta Yachtservice Novanta Yachtservice is a one-of-a-kind yacht company, specialising in technical and cosmetic maintenance of GRP motor yachts. (Read more from page 26)

Beekmann Expertise Independent yacht surveyor Beekmann Expertise offers services such as purchase surveys, valuations and investigations, and reports for disputes and settlements. (Read more from page 26)

POTVERDORIE! Potverdorie!’s jams and chutneys are sold at more than 50 delicatessens in and around Amsterdam and throughout the Netherlands. (Read more from page 28)

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 29)

Issue 54  |  June 2018  |  15

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

Design with experience TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: DIMITRI DE ROECK

Whether feeling like redecorating the entire office and house or in need of a new bookshelf, the excellent craftsmanship of designer Dimitri de Roeck and his team will turn each renovation project into a success story. The ever-expanding Dutch interior scene can look back on many successful collaborations in and outside of the Netherlands in the past few years. With over 15 years of experience, interior designer Dimitri de Roeck and his devoted team deliver excellent craftsmanship to any budget and almost every occasion. But what exactly could explain such international success? “We base our work on experience. We hold knowledge on each and every detail of all the renovations that we do,” owner Dimitri de Roeck explains. “This means that when a client hires us, they can count on us in each step of the renovation, no matter the size of the project.” 16  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

Having worked on renovations of restaurants, houses and showrooms, de Roeck explains that listening to the wishes of the client creates the important base to start with. “We listen to clients’ desires. This means also showing the client that we work with passion, patience and expertise. I compare it with handling a baseboard; one can hit it with nails, or glue it with patience. We choose the last one – patience, but with care.”

But even after all these years, the thrill of working on projects still comes from the same place: “In the end, the ultimate joy is simply making beautiful things. However, the biggest reward comes from our clients, seeing them happy and satisfied with the work we do for them. When everything looks exactly as they imagined it to be, our mission is completed.”

A preview of the outstanding craftsmanship can be seen in the 900-square-metre warehouse in Wormerveer, just a stone’s throw away from the eclectic capital Amsterdam. “When I started this company 20 years ago I did not dare to even dream of where we are today,” De Roecks explains. “I was driving around in a rented minivan, doing most of the work myself. Now we have an experienced, devoted team that works incredibly hard to make the most of every project.”


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


With a deep love for classical music and over 25 years of experience, violin maker Jeroen Elswijk has more than a few strings to his bow. Working for a wide range of clients, including an impressive roster of musicians performing on the international concert stage, he repairs, restores as well as builds new instruments. “What I really love about the craft of building a new violin, is how you can combine saw and chisel with intuition and science to shape the sound you want,” Jeroen Elswijk says, explaining his lifelong passion. “The more experienced you become, the more grip you have on this process.” Trading from his workshops in Haarlem and Amstelveen, Elswijk has been in the business for more than 25 years, servicing a wide range of clients, from children and amateurs to seasoned professionals. He started off at 18, building guitars and apprenticing with his father, who was one of the Netherlands’ most famous makers 18  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

of bows for string instruments. By the time he was 20, Elswijk was accepted as an apprentice by the renowned violin maker Paul de Froe.

Stradivari “Before you start building an instrument, you need to determine the sound you want to give it,” Elswijk continues. “A violin which is used for chamber music will be different from a solo violin for the big concert halls.” To actually build the sound that he is looking for, Elswijk relies on his woodworking skills as well as a deep knowledge of the different types and thicknesses of wood he uses for the different parts of the violin. Maple is usually chosen for the back and sides of the violin. Spruce, a very light, yet strong and fine-grained wood, is used for the front. “This means it will produce a clearer sound which can carry further.” As well as the wood, the varnish and especially the primer are important as well. “Some people even say that the primer is the secret of Stradivari’s success!”

After a period of only doing repairs and restorations, Elswijk started building again about two years ago. “I’m loving it,” he smiles. “To be able to experiment with different approaches to violin making and build something that can produce such a beautiful sound, that is totally satisfying, an experience you never get bored of!

Jeroen Elswijk.

Jeroen Elswijk builds, repairs, restores, sells and leases violins, violas, cellos and bows in a wide price range: Web:

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


Skilfully building and restoring church organs, highly experienced Orgelmakerij Steendam preserves a long tradition of craftsmanship, always prioritising the highest quality and the best sound.

involved; “organs are the most difficult instrument to work with as there are a lot of pipes that can be played in many different ways, but they are also technically complicated to build and sometimes it can take several years.”

in close partnership with the clients, and the function of the organ is carefully considered, tuning the organ for the building in which it will be placed. With a staff of five all specialised in the field, clients get the best craftsmen in the industry.

Established by Sicco Steendam in 1986, Orgelmakerij Steendam builds, restores and renovates church organs. Steendam’s main inspiration comes from the organs by the 19th century organ builder C. G. F. Witte, his predecessor Bätz and the organ builder Christian Muller, and the company logo displays the first bars of Johann Sebastian Bach’s greatest Prelude in E minor. Bach used this key as a musical adaptation of the Holy Trinity, and for Steendam it is a statement of his life and craft.

Starting in the business at the age of 18, talented craftsman Steendam has a long history of experience in pneumatic, electro-pneumatic and mechanical organs and is the ideal partner for maintenance, restoration and new-build, as well as valuations of organs and advice on church interiors (usually in line with the organ).

Orgelmakerij Steendam has recently completed a four-year project: the construction of a new three-manual organ for the church of Sogndal in Norway. Most of the pipework came from Norwegian organ builder Jørgensen, dating back to the end of the 19th century, with a new neogothic front based on the building style and ornaments of the church, and the organ also comes with a new computer system. “Every organ is different and we are specialised in working with the 19th century style,” explains Steendam and laughs “life is too short to do it all!”

Working according to traditional methods and always prioritising quality and sound, Steendam explains the level of complexity

Based in Roodeschool, in the northernmost village of the Netherlands, the fully-equipped carpentry workshop has space to build organs up to 16 feet high. In the voicing room, all of the pipework is pre-voiced with a specially built voicing soundboard. Most building work takes place in-house, from design to intonation,


Issue 54  |  June 2018  |  19

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

From advocacy to creating top-notch jewellery TEXT: JULIËN L’ORTYE  |  PHOTOS: WILLEMIJN DE KONING

‘Former lawyer starts own jewellery store’. That would be quite an interesting headline, right? Well, for Willemijn de Koning, this headline became reality. During her childhood, de Koning was already keen on everything shiny and gold. Over the years, that love turned into a hobby, by fashioning stunning rings, beautiful necklaces and more wearable art during her time as a lawyer. However, less than two years ago, she decided to go for it and opened up her own studio in Utrecht. De Koning made this decision after selling the dance school she began after quitting her career in court - laughing: “Yes, I guess I am just someone with a lot of passions.” She admits that it took quite some time before she believed that she could truly succeed in this business: “When I started to learn how to make jewellery in Schoonhoven at a goldsmith, I expected just to create for family and friends.” Because of the very positive response however, which resulted in a lot of new assignments,

her dream to craft and design professionally did come true after all. De Koning really enjoys making her own creations, but it also gives her just as much joy to form rings, earrings and necklaces from already existing jewellery. Vintage or new, what are her favourite materials to use? “Gold, gemstones and pearls,” she answers without hesitation. But what is it exactly that makes her love this business so much? “Jewels are something you will have for the rest of your life. It is part of who you are. And, when something is produced with jewellery from loved ones, you are making sure that the memory that belongs to it, remains intact.” De Koning is working in her atelier with a ‘very personal touch and a lot of love’. Inspired by the person she is creating for and by the materials she is using, each piece becomes a unique one. Web:

A passion for personal jewellery What started as a passion has turned into a profession. With the idea that each piece of jewellery should have a special meaning, Laura Lormann-Zwartelé creates beautiful handmade jewellery under her brand ByLaura. “I was always creative in my mind, but at work, never with my hands,” Laura Lormann-Zwartelé tells as she explains her sudden career switch from criminologist to jewellery designer. Following her passion for creating accessories, she started her jewellery brand ByLaura in 2014. But ByLaura is so much more than an average jewellery brand. Coming from the idea that each bit of jewellery is unique and each personal story earns its own exclusive touch represented in a wearable item, Laura listens to her customers carefully before designing and creating each piece. “Combining the wish of the customer with my own creativity is the most beautiful thing about my job. My designs can be described as 20  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

rough but because I work mostly with silver and gold, they still have a timeless look.” Furthermore, ByLaura offers two more services. “I love creating a new item beginning to end, but I also love doing only a small part of the job, to help others create beautiful items also.” There is its own in-house laser service called Metalscription, where other professionals can have their laser engraving done, such as fingerprints and handwritten text in fine jewellery, but also engraving logos in business gifts. And there is a wholesale department named Slagletterplaatjes, where other jewellery designers can buy handmade stamping blanks and tools,

“From being a lawyer, to opening up a dance school, to starting her own atelier to create jewellery – you could say that Willemijn de Koning is a jack-of-all-trades.”


which are perfect to give a personal touch to an accessory of choice and currently very trendy. “At the end of the day, I am happy when I see customers wearing my jewellery with joy. And it’s just wonderful that my passion has become my profession.” Web:

Is this the real life or is this just fantasy? Gem Kingdom established in 1990, based in Amsterdam, brings exclusive jewelry, combining unusual materials with rich original style. Handmade in the Netherlands. -

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

The jewellery of Marthje Timmermans is available in more than 50 high-end fashion retailers in the Benelux

Creating the perfect sparkle TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: OORBELLEN VAN MARTHJE

In a competitive market, it can be quite a challenge to stand out from the crowd. But with a strong signature look and excellent craftsmanship, one can easily recognise the jewellery of Marthje Timmermans. With a brand philosophy that each and every customer should shine in their own unique way, it might not come as a surprise that customers keep coming back to the atelier of Marthje Timmermans and her business partners Esther Steenbrink and Marianne Roosma. Their jewellery, known under the name Oorbellen van Marthje, can be described as modern classics. A perfect combination of sustainable materials, such as gold-filled, gold-plated, silver, gold, beautiful gemstones and other exciting materials that give the jewellery a modern twist. “Jewellery is easily available these days, which is nice,” designer Timmermans explains. “However, when it comes to quality there is a big difference between com22  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

mercial retail chains and an experienced goldsmith. We started our brand to fill the gap between those two, creating beautiful unique pieces for a decent price.” It proved to be an untapped market. Each piece of jewellery is personalised and unique, both in materials as well as in the technique. Customers can come into the atelier, look around and decide how the jewellery should look over a cup of coffee and some cake. “The most fun part is that we immediately get to work at creating the piece, whilst the customers watch. They literally see their jewellery come to life.” Furthermore, sustainability plays an important role in the designs. “If a piece of jewellery is outdated, we will change it into something new. Jewellery is not there to sit on a shelf, waiting to be used. That’s a waste of material. It’s much nicer to turn it into something new.” Oorbellen van Marthje offers a large selection of jewellery. From small to big and from detailed pieces to extravagant pendants,

there is something for everyone. Yet the jewellery keeps a classical outlook and a strong colour combination. Timmermans: “I think the most important thing is staying true to yourself. We don’t need to have a huge business, the most important thing for us is having happy customers.” Oorbellen van Marthje is available in more than 50 high-end fashion retailers across the Netherlands and Belgium.

Please use code INFLIGHT for 30% discount in the web shop. Offer valid until 1 July 2018.


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

Clean your room, do your homework, build a boat! TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA  |  PHOTOS: BOUWJEBOOTJE

Building a boat sounds more difficult than it actually is. If you ask the guys at BouwJeBootje, that is. They have created a building kit with which kids can build their own boat. Goodbye iPad, hello sailing! “Kids can’t build a boat!” is something BouwJeBootje-founder Caspar ten Berge has heard a lot. But guess what? They can. “I wanted my kids to do something else than look at a computer screen all day long,” Ten Berge explains. “Why not have them build their own boat?” He created several different designs and eventually found the perfect one. The result was a boat that holds 2 kids for safe sailing. He named it Thimo, after his sons Thijs and Morris. It became an immediate success. “I started by giving courses in the neighborhood in which I helped kids build the boat, and soon, other organisations asked me to teach them how to do it.”

Requests started coming in for a bigger boat. One that can hold more people and can be turned into a sailing boat. Back to the drawing board for Ten Berge, though luckily with a little help this time. “Diederik Bekkering approached me. Because he liked the concept so much, he wanted to help and he was very welcome! We are building 200 boats with schools this year as part of the Volvo Ocean Race finish event in The Hague in June.” Not only school classes get to experience the joy of building their own boat, you can order one yourself. “You can build it at home,

it’s a very educational process. It comes as a complete package, including screws, glue and filler. The pre-cut wood is okoumé, the glue is safe to use for kids. It’s relatively easy to build, and lots of fun!” And let’s be honest, what’s a better way to spend your summer than floating around on something you made yourself? See BouwJeBootje during the Volvo Ocean Race Finish event in The Hague on 27 June. Web:



tel. 0031 (0)630154294

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



Excellent quality. If describing Vedette’s yachts in two words, these would be the obvious two. By educating their staff themselves and using modern-day technologies, they make sure each and every yacht they deliver is top range. It started back in 2002 when Hans van Veen opened a shipyard in the Dutch town of Uithoorn. Soon, a wide range of various yachts were being built. “We focus on the right sailing characteristics and excellent technical quality,” Van Veen says, when explaining the fast success of his company. “Our after-sales budget is minimal, because our ships are built with highend quality.” Expansive growth in such a short period required the company to move, and Vedette Jachtbouw now resides in Ter Aar, where there is space for the latest technologies to build ships that are up to 15 24  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

metres long. According to Van Veen, it is challenging to build yachts to be self-supporting at sea, but thorough studies of possible situations by Vedette has made

them an expert in the area and the modern shipyard makes it possible to deliver a yacht in 18 to 35 weeks. “With parallel construction, we are able to manufacture

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

three or four ships at the same time and can deliver around 12 yachts a year.”

Custom built yachts Cruising ships are the main focus of Vedette – yachts with beautiful lines, designed by experts. “We have a few classic yachts varying from eight to 15 metres long built on request.” Clients come from all over the world, recently, for example, from China. “They know high quality ships can be found in Europe and it’s a great compliment that they come to us. We built them two classic ships, reminiscent of the tour boats that used to sail the canals of Amsterdam.” This is an example of a custom built yacht. Whether a classic or modern version, Vedette is able to cater to every need. “Recently, we created a bright orange yacht, but any brand, motor, or specific wish is possible. If you plan on sailing the open sea, for example, you’ll want a stabiliser. This is a valuable technique, but it makes sure your things stay on the table even with the highest of waves.”

A custom built yacht starts with an extensive consultation. “We want to know exactly what the client wants, down to the smallest detail. Have they sailed before? Would they like to sail open ocean or narrow canals? Do they prefer indoor or outdoor steering? Together, we discuss all possibilities and how it will be necessary to enjoy the yacht to the fullest.”

Revive aged ships But Van Veen and his team do not only work on new ships - refit is a big part of their business as well: reviving old ships that do not seem able to sail anymore. “It could be an inheritance for example,” he says. “A classic ship that has quite a few issues that need to be taken care of. Techniques have evolved quickly so we can do a lot more with today’s knowledge. Remove and renew the panelling, add technology; you name it.” So how can a company from a small country like the Netherlands achieve such an international reputation? For Vedette,

its people make all the difference. “The classic way of working for most shipyards is to hire external people per job,” Van Veen explains. “Instead, we have all experts in-house. It’s hard to find people with the right technical knowledge these days, that’s why we educate them ourselves and we strive for the best in every employee. The technique we use to build our yachts requires such an attitude.” Having all possible experts on board - no pun intended - is what makes custom building such a successful part of the company: re-building standard models quickly or building them from scratch. “We make sure the basics are perfectly manufactured, and the way it looks is up to the client to decide.” Do you imagine yourself sailing the waves, wind in your hair on your perfect boat already? We know we do! Web:

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

Sail away with Novanta Novanta Yachtservice is a one-of-a-kind yacht company, specialising in technical and cosmetic maintenance of GRP motor yachts. It combines expertise within the field and passionate craftsmanship at its best. With knowledge about yachts such as Fairline, Princess, Sunseeker, Azimut, Sealine and others, Novanta Yachtservice is up for any challenge when it comes to GRP motor yachts. “We look further than anyone,” owner of Novanta Yachtservice, Andy Vrijhof explains. With a passion for boats from an early age, he


has gained an impressive knowledge throughout his career. “If clients bring their boats to us, mostly in the winter when they are not being used, we look at the total picture. What can be improved? What needs to be renewed? By spring, the boat will feel like new and ready for summer.” With a hands-on mentality, the company has gained recognition over the years. Praised for availability regardless of season, as well as their professional service, which Andy describes as “everything from A to Z”, Novanta makes sure that every sailing season will be a pleasure.

Novanta’s clients come from all over Europe. However, almost 80 per cent of work activities take place in Sint Annaland, situated in Zeeland, the Netherlands. Located in the heart of the Zeeuwse Delta, Novanta is easily accessible. “We have access to 6,600 square metres of storage capacity here and all the materials and tools we need to handle the boats with care, so it’s best for the boats if we do the work here. And ultimately, for the boats’ owners too.” Web:

Expert advice ahead of boat investments TEXT: MALIN NORMAN  |  PHOTOS: BEEKMANN EXPERTISE

When purchasing a sailing or motor boat, it is essential to make sure everything is working and to be aware of potential defects and what level of maintenance and repairs are to be expected. Independent yacht surveyor Beekmann Expertise is here to help. Guido Beekmann has more than 30 years’ experience in the yacht industry. As an independent yacht surveyor with own company Beekmann Expertise, he offers services such as purchase surveys, valuations and investigations. Helping private customers, he also frequently writes reports for parties involved in disputes and settlements. “Clients appreciate that I do the complete survey,” Beekmann says, and continues: “but what I really like is when they join me during the survey of the boat. Then we can go through everything together and they can ask me any questions they might have right then and there.” 26  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

Following the survey, Beekmann writes a report where every part of the boat is described, what state it is in – and most importantly – if there are any defects. He also gives advice on where future maintenance may be needed and the expected costs for repairs. In addition to being a qualified surveyor, Beekmann is also an expert in investigating the hull thickness of aluminium and steel boats. For GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic) boats in particular, it is important to measure the level of


moisture. He explains, “moisture influences the strength of the whole construction. It’s crucial when you are buying a boat to know that it has the same strength as when it was new.” Based in Muiden close to Amsterdam, Beekmann also has many international clients and frequently appears at international boat shows, for instance, boot Düsseldorf in January. Web:

Guido Beekmann.


Complete aluminium hull, extremely economical, seaworthy and very stable Topspeed between 12-25 knots depending on the choice of engine Suitable for open seas, French canals and the inland waters Spacious storage for a 3 meter tender, surfboards and bicycles Large electric roof for the ultimate convertible experience ZOETERWOUDE | THE NETHERLANDS | WWW.MULDERSHIPYARD.NL | +31 (0) 71 561 2325 | INFO@MULDERSHIPYARD.NL

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

Making delicious products from leftovers TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: POTVERDORIE!

Did you know that nearly a third of all the food that is being produced each year is thrown away? And that of all the mangos that are grown, only two per cent are consumed? A lot of the food is thrown away by supermarkets and wholesalers. When Charlotte Heine saw this happening at a supermarket in her hometown of Amsterdam, there was only one thing she could think: ‘Potverdorie!’ (‘By golly!’). “Of course, I already knew it was happening, but when I saw it with my own eyes, I couldn’t believe it,” says Heine of the time she witnessed an employee take out seemingly fine looking fruit to the back of the supermarket in 2015. The fruit was not rotten, but it no longer looked perfect. “When I asked if I could take it with me to make new products, I was referred to the store manager, who was very positive about the idea. From that moment on, we started to collect the fruit every week.” Along with a friend, Joep Weerts, Heine started to make jams and chutneys, using and combining the leftover fruits. 28  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

“Potverdorie! started in our kitchen. Together we would come up with recipes for good, tasty products. We are not cooks by trade, we just like good food and new flavours,” smiles Heine. Soon afterwards, it was no longer just that one supermarket that donated fruit. “We started to look for more places where they throw away food, like markets and such. Then we boldly went to the Food Center Amsterdam, a wholesale market, and told them about Potverdorie!. They were very enthusiastic about the idea. Now we receive whole pallets of fruit,” reveals Heine. More than a year ago, they moved in with another sustainable food producer, in neighbouring Zaandam. “This a professional and certified kitchen, so the production is up to standards. We still make all the jams, chutneys, jelly and pickles ourselves – sometimes with the help of friends.”

ing to make some of the products more permanent because people like them so much. That is why we are talking with producers,” Heine explains. “When they harvest, a lot of the produce is discarded because it doesn’t have the right shape, size or colour, even though there is nothing wrong with the quality. It can still be used to create tasty, high quality products.” Potverdorie! products are sold at more than 50 delicatessens in and around Amsterdam and throughout the Netherlands. “Large caterers are finding us now, proving that people care as much as we do about wastage and want to help us grow, so that everyone can enjoy our products.” Heine concludes: “There is too much food wastage. We want to put a stop to that, and create delicious jams and chutneys in the process.” Potverdorie! - less waste, and a better taste.

The Potverdorie! product range varies, depending on the fruit that is donated. “It gives us the chance to come up with new recipes each week, but we are also look-

Web: Instagram: potverdorienowaste

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Industry & 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

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.”


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Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Unmissable Festivals and Events

Photo: Studio-IK Ingrid Koenen


A summer of cultural highlights The sun is shining and festival season is in the air. From theatre and performing arts to hip-hop and rock via design and dance, we present our guide to some of the best festivals and events taking place in the Netherlands this summer. Grab your diary and start pencilling them in now! TEXT: MALIN NORMAN  |  PHOTOS: NBTC

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Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Unmissable Festivals and Events

Chamber music festival.

Where festivals flourish In the Netherlands, you will find festivals celebrating everything from tulips to seafood and a whole lot more in between. Due to the country’s reputation for producing superstar DJs, there are of course numerous world-renowned dance music festivals, but you can also expect celebrations of world music, classical and jazz to name a few. The Dutch capital plays host to in excess of 300 festivals every year, but that is not where it ends: from north to south and from east to west the country is home to some of the world’s most unique and lively events. Whether you are a foodie, an art lover or a cinephile, an array of festivities await.

A festive legacy The Dutch city of Landgraaf is home to one of the oldest music festivals in the world: Pinkpop. Running since 1970,

North Sea Jazz, Rotterdam.

this pop and rock event is traditionally held during Pentecost and will this year welcome international stars including Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters and Bruno Mars. Another perennial on the festival calendar is Rotterdam’s North Sea Jazz Festival, which began in 1976. Despite always attracting a large crowd, this internationally renowned celebration of new and established names has not lost its informal and friendly atmosphere. This year’s edition will run from 13-15 July. The Netherlands is also a master of the multi-discipline event and the Holland Festival is a perfect example of this. A showcase for international performing arts, which has been running since 1947, displays innovation in realms including film, dance, music, opera and theatre. Performances are held at traditional venues as well as public spaces.

Something for everyone Amsterdam Gay Pride is one of the best, and is the world’s only floating Gay Pride. Every year an array of fabulously decorated boats cruise the canals. You can also expect street parties, open-air performances and many more events. The 2018 edition will run from 28 July - 5 August. Another highlight in the capital is Grachtenfestival (Canal Festival), which takes place every August. The classical music extravaganza sees performances at stunning locations around Amsterdam’s historic canal belt. Meanwhile, in Rotterdam you will find one of the biggest festivals in the Netherlands focusing on diversity. Attracting more than 900,000 visitors from all over Europe, Rotterdam Unlimited is a five-day fiesta combining music, dance, theatre, storytelling and more. This year’s programme will be held from 24 - 28 July. Get ready for a big party! Issue 54  |  June 2018  |  31

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Unmissable Festivals and Events

North Sea Jazz, Rotterdam.

FESTIVAL PICKS We asked NBTC Holland Marketing for their festival picks for Summer 2018: Tong Tong Fair, The Hague 24 May – 3 June The world’s biggest Eurasian Festival. An annual festival that showcases food, culture and music with live cooking demonstrations, lectures and activities for all ages. International Chamber Music Festival, Utrecht 27 June – 1 July The orchestral performances take place in historic and architecturally diverse locations across the city. The festival gathers the world’s top classical musicians performing familiar and new works. Port of Rotterdam North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam 13 – 15 July A must for music lovers! Rotterdam’s world-famous jazz festival is where you can hear styles such as New Orleans jazz, swing, bop, free jazz and avant-garde jazz, and where you can also listen to blues, funk, soul, R&B, hip-hop and Latin. Expect to see jazz legends like Wayne Shorter, Erykah Badu, Paul Anka, Steve Coleman, Candy Dulfer, Alicia Keys, Wynton Marsalis, 32  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

Herbie Hancock, Jamiroquai, and The Zawinul Syndicate, as well as upcoming talents that represent the future of jazz. Scheveningen International Fireworks Festival, The Hague 10 – 18 August An annual festival showcasing the best firework display teams from across the world. Free fireworks displays take place over the sea at Scheveningen. Each display has the same budget and brief and must last 11-13 minutes. The displays take place over four evenings during the two weekends of the festival period. A real spectacle! Grachtenfestival, Amsterdam 10 – 19 August The Grachtenfestival or Canal Festival has been one of the most wonderful cultural events in Amsterdam since 1998. And it is more than that – it is also one of the main annual events for young talents in classical music. It started out as a four-day event but has since evolved into a ten-day classical music marathon To find out more, visit

North Sea Jazz, Rotterdam.

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Unmissable Festivals and Events

FESTIVAL FAVOURITES Read our guide to some of the best upcoming festivals in the Netherlands...

Haringrock 6-7 July, Katwijk aan Zee This classic rock haven is the longest running festival on the Dutch coast and has become an absolute staple in the field of rock music. (Read more from page 34)

Robeco SummerNights 1 July - 31 August, Amsterdam Every year, the stunning Concertgebouw in Amsterdam presents two months of summer concerts with something for everyone - from classical to jazz, and from pop to film scores. (Read more from page 35)

Neverland 14-15 July, Landgraaf The first edition of the Neverland festival is set to become a musical escape to a world where everything is possible, taking place in Landgraaf on 14 and 15 July. (Read more from page 36)

Draaimolen Festival 15 September, Tilburg On 15 September, Draaimolen Festival will celebrate its fifth anniversary with five different stages in the woods of Charlotte Oord, one of the most beautiful locations in Tilburg. (Read more from page 36)

Once in A Blue Moon Festival 25 August, Amsterdam Bos The first edition of Once in a Blue Moon Festival will bring together the best of folk, Americana, country and blues in Amsterdam Bos. (Read more from page 37)

Internationaal Straattheaterfestival Mooi Weer Spelen 22-24 June, Delft For the past 30 years, street theatre festival Mooi Weer Spelen has brought people from all over the world for a weekend full of theatre, music and dance. (Read more from page 38)

Giethoorn Evenementen Various events & dates, Giethoorn Visitors from all over the world can enjoy the quaint atmosphere as well as the many activities organised by Giethoorn Evenementen, a collective of enthusiastic local volunteers. (Read more from page 38)

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Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Unmissable Festivals and Events

JJ Rosa. Photo: Haringrock “Haringrock is set up by a lot of entrepreneurs and volunteers, but the shining star of the organisation is undeniably Ton Frissen.”

Haringrock: the festival that has it all TEXT: JULIËN L’ORTYE  |  PHOTOS: RICHELLE IJLAND

The free festival Haringrock has existed since 1986, but has been growing more and more in the last few years. The reason? The endless efforts of Ton Frissen, who took over in 2013 and made it the huge affair it is today. When it comes to the festival, Frissen, who works full-time in the fishery - not coincidentally one of the largest industries in the city of Katwijk, where Haringrock is held - cannot stop talking about it. “I can go on like this for days,” he says. It shows the intense commitment he has for this festival, which is organised together with the city’s Vrijmarkt, that attracts about 40,000 visitors each year. Next to this, Frissen has set up the Ondernemersplein (‘Entrepreneur Square’), to give local entrepreneurs the opportunity to make a name for themselves. “I think it is important to mention that I am unable to organise this festival all by myself,” he says. “I would be unable to organise this festival without the support of a lot of volunteers and entrepreneurs in Katwijk, 34  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

who – I believe – I should give something back to.” Everyone who has kept an eye on the festival for the last couple of years, has seen that its line-up is getting bigger every time. Last year, the organisation managed to book, for example, Barry Hay Flying V Formation – the new project from the Golden Earring singer – while this year, Haringrock welcomes R&B and funk star JJ Rosa and De Dijk, one of the most well-known bands of all time in the Netherlands.

portant role within the community, as they support one local charity every year. In 2017, they raised money for Huntington’s disease, as one of their volunteers had to deal with this disorder. This year it is the Dirk Kuyt Foundation, which has committed itself to giving disabled people the opportunity to take part in sportive activities. Supporting local business, encouraging the musically talented in the community, giving something back to charities and still being able to present quite a line-up – Haringrock truly has it all.

Next to these relatively big artists, there is a lot of space for unknown talent, Frissen explains. “Actually, the whole concept of the festival is to be a platform for upcoming bands from the area, who can subscribe through our website. This has always been the case, except the way of subscribing was a bit different thirty years ago,” he laughs. Of course, Haringrock already does a lot in return for the support of local entrepreneurs, but the festival has one other im-


Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Unmissable Festivals and Events

Photo: © Tomek Dersu Aaron

Photo: © Ronald Knapp

Photo: © Simon Van Boxtel

The melodious nights of summer TEXT: ELLA PUT

For the 30th year in a row, The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the most striking concert venue in the Benelux, presents a summer filled with cultural entertainment for everyone to enjoy. For two months every summer, Amsterdam becomes the epicentre of the global music scene as The Concertgebouw invites top-flight musicians and other artists from all over the world to perform at its annual Robeco SummerNights.

and huge range of music, there is something for everyone to explore. Whether you want to be swept away by the first Star Wars film A New Hope on a big screen whilst The Antwerp Symphony Orchestra plays the original soundtrack by award-winning composer John Williams live, or enjoy an outstanding youth orchestra, such as South Africa’s MIAGI, or the European Union Youth Orchestra, this year’s Robeco SummerNights offers a great choice of music.

SummerNights offers visitors to Amsterdam the perfect night out in the Netherlands’ most ‘happening’ city. “SUMMERNIGHT MUST-SEES” STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE – Live in Concert, 4 – 7 JULY The first Star Wars film is brought to the big screen with the original soundtrack played live by The Antwerp Symphony Orchestra. This year sees the start of a new tradition of Star Wars films in concert, exclusive to the Concertgebouw. I Culture Orchestra, 26 JULY

“Up to 1988, The Concertgebouw would always close during the summer, as many other Halls still do, but since our first edition in 1989 this combination of summer and a cultural night-out has proven to be a success,” Robeco SummerNights’ programmer Anita Crowe explains. In its 30-year existence, the event has created a programme of high-quality performances with accessible ticket prices which attract a wide and varied audience. Which is exactly what makes the Robeco SummerNights a one-of-a-kind event: with its welcoming atmosphere,

Furthermore, the music genres are numerous. From jazz to film music and from flamenco to classical symphonies, the Robeco Summer Nights are filled with a mix of Dutch-based musicians and international big names such as Dianne Reeves and Laura Mvula. Additionally, there is a summer-themed restaurant where guests can enjoy a delicious meal before the concert, and meet and greets with musicians after many of the events. With accessibility and enjoyment as its two main principles, the Robeco

This expert group of young musicians from Eastern Europe are joined by star violinist Nemanja Radulovic in a scintillating programme including Stravinsky’s epic The Rite of Spring. SUMMER OF SOUL: ARETHA FRANKLIN, 4 AUGUST Exactly 50 years after her legendary performance in The Concertgebouw, American singer Michelle David performs a tribute concert in honour of soul star Aretha Franklin.

Web: robeco-summernights-2018

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Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Unmissable Festivals and Events

A musical escape to a world where everything is possible TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: NEVERLAND

We all like to escape our daily hectic lives sometimes. On 14 and 15 July, you can, by entering a musical world beyond your imagination at Neverland festival in Landgraaf in the south of the Netherlands. For Tim Italiaander, director of the festival, Neverland is a dream come true. “I have always been fascinated by theme parks. It’s like you enter a completely different world where everything is possible. A place where you can escape from real life for a day or two.” The enthusiastic entrepreneur continues elaborating

on the festival’s beginnings: “In recent years me and my partner Rob Schins, who programmed our techno stage, have been to a lot of different festivals all over the world, but we never felt there was something quite like what we had in mind for Neverland: great musical acts in an imaginary world and wonderful setting.” On this first edition of Neverland, there will be three areas: Tree of Neverland, Techno Mine and House Factory. “We are fortunate to have some of the biggest names on at Neverland,” reveals Itialiaander. Legendary acts such as Felix Da Housecat and Audio

Bullys, and also top artists like W&W, Steve Aoki and Above and Beyond will headline the festival. “It’s the only show of Above and Beyond in the Netherlands this year,” Italiaander smiles. “Neverland is a land far, far away with top acts, where great new adventures and experiences are born.” Neverland Festival 14 and 15 July Megaland, Landgraaf Web:

The love for music at Draaimolen Festival TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: DRAAIMOLEN FESTIVAL

On September 15 Draaimolen Festival will celebrate its fifth anniversary in Tilburg. “When you come to Draaimolen, expect great music, awesome stage designs and a day filled with love.” “It’s about the love for electronic music, nothing more, nothing less. Great artists in a perfect surrounding,” says Jip Snoeren, who is part of the team behind Draaimolen Festival. The festival area Charlotte Oord is a historical forest located just outside of Tilburg. “Most of the big electronic music festivals are held in Amsterdam,” Jip explains. “We wanted to create a unique event with the best artists here in the south of the Netherlands. With names such as Nina Kraviz, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Ben UFO and The Black Madonna, we feel that we have accomplished this.” The 2018 edition will have a total of five different stages. “Two of the stages, the Strangelove 36  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

areas, will be curated by Amsterdam DJ Job Jobse. A third area will be hosted by Freerotation, a collective of promoters and artists hailing from Baskerville, Wales. Both curators were granted full artistic freedom. They will camp on the festival grounds the weeks before, and build up their stages themselves,” Snoeren smiles. “Together with these creative minds and artists, we design and build our stages and

visual art in a way that complements the music.” Combined with the stunning area of Charlotte Oord, a perfect atmosphere arises. Draaimolen festival 15 September Charlotte Oord, Tilburg Web:

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Unmissable Festivals and Events

Once in a Blue Moon… With an exciting and promising line-up, including artists such as David Crosby, Seasick Steve, Drive-by Truckers and The Mavericks, the first edition of Once in a Blue Moon Festival will bring together the best of folk, Americana, country and blues in Amsterdam Bos. On 25 August, the idyllic Amsterdam Bos will form the backdrop of the first edition of the Once in a Blue Moon Festival. With a varied line-up and three stages, the festival presents a perfect combination of well-known names, such as The Mavericks, as well as promising Sam Outlaw.


newcomers like, for example, Sam Outlaw, Hiss Golden Messenger and DeWolff. With fresh interpretations of old music genres such as classic country, honky tonk and alt-country, the Americana music scene is once again a growing trend, especially amongst young people. One of the headliners of the festival, Dutch artist Tim Knol, is said to be very happy with this development and the creation of the festival. “The music and the overall atmosphere at Once in a Blue Moon will appeal to a large audience,” he says. Last but not least, the festival’s American inspiration is seen also outside the music as De Wolff. Photo: Satellite June

visitors of the festival can enjoy delicious TexMex food as well as tasty barbecue snacks and Kentucky soul food. Altogether, the promising new Once in a Blue Moon Festival, with the picturesque surroundings of the Amsterdam Bos, the choice of artists and, of course, the mouth-watering food, certainly promises to be the perfect day out and about for anyone: from music purists to festival lovers.


David Crosby. Photo: © Anna Webber

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Unmissable Festivals and Events

Street theatre with a smile Free, good vibes and, above all, fun! For the past 30 years, the street theatre festival Mooi Weer Spelen has brought people from all over the world together in the historical town of Delft for a weekend full of theatre, music and dance. Each year at the beginning of summer, the historical market square of Delft transforms into the stage of the international street theatre festival Mooi Weer Spelen. With its surrounding streets forming the backdrop of the impressive live shows, visitors from all over the world can


enjoy free street acts such as exciting circus performances, hilarious puppetry shows, enchanting magic tricks and dance theatre, and other impressive acts from Friday 22 June until Sunday 24 June. The city comes to life during the three-day event. Thriving from a passion from the diversity of street theatre and the historic surroundings of Delft, it also treasures and celebrates the intimate atmosphere that makes the festival unique, and this is also why many visitors keep coming back. All performances are prepared for an international crowd, meaning

Out and about in the Dutch Venice With scenic watery landscapes and canals, at the little Venice of the north, guests can enjoy a magic boat ride at night with delicious food prepared by renowned chefs and live music. Giethoorn is the perfect spot for cultural festivities with food, music and surrounding water all year long. Being nicknamed the Dutch Venice, the picturesque township of Giethoorn is a unique place in the Benelux. With scenic little canals and no cars allowed, guests from all over the world can enjoy the quaint atmosphere as well as its many activities organised by Giethoorn Evenementen,

a collective of enthusiastic local volunteers who combine their creative minds and passion for organising events with knowledge about the area. “The unique aspect about Giethoorn is the fact that there is so much water and we try to incorporate this as much as possible in our activities,” one of the initiators of Giethoorn Evenementen, Arie Vermije, explains. In the upcoming season, Giethoorn Evenementen offers a diverse range of events for an international audience. For instance, the Shanti Festival, with over 30 folk and shanty bands performing in 15 different locations in the charming town. Furthermore, everyone

that visitors with any language can follow the storylines. The acts can also be viewed from afar at one of the many terraces in the romantic city centre. Highlights of this year’s festival include the theatre spectacle of Odyssee, set on the market square on Saturday. Sunday will be the big family day and visitors can enjoy a show called Polynesian Fireworks, where the audience as well as lettuce heads play a surprising role! Web:


has the chance to take a dip in the canals at the Swim To Fight Cancer event during the first weekend of July. “A lovely yet funny sight. Normally we only see boats drifting on the water, but during that weekend the canals become a sea of colourful swimming caps.” Vermije continues: “It’s wonderful to bring everyone together in this way. Our initiative brings a lot of joy, and since we organise everything together, it has also created a closeknit community.” Web:

Photo: Swim To Fight Cancer

38  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

Photo: Kevin Hatt

40  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Frederique van der Wal


Living life in full bloom Dutch supermodel turned entrepreneur Frederique van der Wal is living life in full bloom. Discover Benelux had a chat with this down-to-earth beauty and founder of Frederique’s Choice, the first lifestyle brand around flowers, about the importance of unwinding and giving back to nature. TEXT: MALIN NORMAN

As one of the world’s top models, Frederique van der Wal has featured on runways and magazine covers such as Vogue and Cosmopolitan, as the face of global fashion and beauty brands including Victoria’s Secret, plus in a number of films, theatre productions and television programmes. When we catch up with the former model, she reveals that her real passion has always been in flowers and the protection of nature. Growing up in The Hague, Frederique moved to New York at the age of 18 to work as a model, where she built an incredibly successful career. However, in this bustling city she missed one crucial thing. “When moving to another country, it’s interesting to see what you miss,” she says, and continues: “in New York, I kept on wondering ‘where are the flowers and plants?’ We grow up surrounded by flowers in the Netherlands and they become a natural part of our life. The seed is planted from birth, so to speak. But flowers turned out to be hard to find and also very expensive in America.”

From an invisible journey… It became a long-term dream of Frederique’s to make flowers a part of everyday life in America. And back in 2005, when her home country the Netherlands named a lily in her honour – called Frederique’s Choice Lily – it all came together. “In the north of Europe, we tend to be quite humble and

don’t put people on pedestals, unlike in America, but this was such a fantastic honour. It made me really proud as flowers are so truly Dutch and a beautiful part of life!” Frederique produced and hosted television documentary The Invisible Journey in collaboration with the Discovery Channel, showing the route of flowers from the fields in Kenya to the markets and auction houses in the Netherlands, and eventually to the customers’ front door in America. Subsequently, she developed the first authentic online brand based around flowers in 2008, which was launched in The Netherlands and called Frederique’s Choice, making flowers accessible online and specialising in handmade designed bouquets by Frederique.

… to home-grown makeover When the time finally came to launch in the US in 2015, Frederique executively produced and co-hosted a television show called HomeGrownMakeover, which aired in 2016 on AETN’s FYI channel as a 10episode series. In the programme, she helped transform urban homes by using flowers and plants, bringing the outdoors in. “Many people in America are not used to handling flowers but despite what people think, you don’t actually need green fingers. You just need to cut them, add and change water – and of course talk to them!”

The down-to-earth entrepreneur admits that even though she has been fortunate with both luck and timing in her modelling career and business, it has been hard and quite a learning curve. “It’s important to recognise that whenever people say Below, Frederique lists the main benefits of keeping fresh flowers around: - They brighten our mood. Colours can affect our mood and behaviour and simply seeing flowers, with their beautiful shades and hues, can improve feelings and moods. - Their scent has been shown to positively affect our state of wellbeing. Adding pleasant aromas is part of interior design, as an integral touch to the overall feel of the home. - Placing flowers in our environments is good for our mental health. Having plants around the office can improve our memory and make us more productive. - Edible flowers are often rich in antioxidants. Flowers add a dash of beauty to any dish and can add nutritional value. - They are therapeutic. Flowers can help patients heal faster, use less pain medication and complain less to staff. - They will get us inspired to clean. Citrusy floral scents can trigger us to want to straighten up. - Flowers are great for communities. Flowers, gardens and parks create environments where families feel better about their neighbourhoods and are more inclined to socialise.

Issue 54  |  June 2018  |  41

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Frederique van der Wal

Frederique with daughter Scyler. Photo: Eric van den Brulle

that things are ‘fantastic’, that’s not the whole story,” she says. “I’ve had plenty of ups and downs, and days when I wonder what on earth I’m doing. Life is not easy, and we don’t always need to be happy. But if we can find what we’re passionate about and what brings meaning to our life, we can feed off that positive energy.” Sharing her experience with others, Frederique has been spreading the message of self-love and turning points in life, for instance during a series of inspiring public talks with Donna D’Cruz.

The nurturing factor Maintaining her focus on sustainability and the protection of nature, Frederique wants to bring her 18-year old daughter on a journey to the Amazon to meet an authentic tribe. As an ambassador for the project Save the Native Forest, she visited the same tribe a few years ago and wants to share the magical experience with her daughter. “I have tried to give her tools to navigate in this world and she’s now ready to fly the nest. Before she begins her new adventure as a university student, I want to show her the rainforest – Mother Earth, the true essence of life. It really changes you, to see something as pure as this. They don’t live by the watch there; they live in tune with nature.” 42  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

Photo: Courtesy of Frederique’s Choice

Despite her busy lifestyle in the big city, Frederique gives the impression of being grounded and emphasises the importance of being in the moment. “These days, we tend to live by lists and focus on what to do with our time, when we would be better off trying to unwind. We are sadly disconnected with nature and especially here in America, you always get the question ‘what’s next?’. But sometimes you need to just be for a while.” To relax, Frederique spends time on her farm in upstate New York, where she can potter around in the garden. “I love the calming effect of gardening, it’s such a meditative thing to nurture the plants – it gets rid of stress and brings balance.” She also stays true to her Dutch heritage by cycling whenever possible. “Yesterday it was drizzling with rain and I went on my bike to a meeting. People here think I’m crazy,” she laughs. “But you know what, sometimes those moments are what make life great!” For more information about Frederique’s Choice, see Also check out and @frederiqueschoice on Instagram.

Frederique is an ambassador of Save the Native Forest. Photo: Courtesy of Frederique’s Choice

Frederique is actively involved in the following charities: Save the Native Forest The foundation Save the Native Forest (STNF) protects strategically located pieces of rainforest, which are most vulnerable to oil- and timber companies and project developers. By doing so, some of the most vulnerable borders between rainforest and the destruction will be secured, well into the deeper regions of the Amazon. To read more, go to Solving Kids’ Cancer Solving Kids’ Cancer focuses on aggressive childhood cancers with low survival rates and helps accelerate new, next-generation treatments, including immunotherapy, cancer vaccines, and new drugs by applying an understanding of the entire childhood cancer research landscape to wisely invest in innovative projects. To read more, go to

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Frederique van der Wal

Photo: Iris Duvekot

Issue 54  |  June 2018  |  43

Discover Benelux  |  Discover West Flanders  |  Introduction


From picture perfect to hops capital West Flanders encompasses Belgium’s entire coastline and is an ideal destination - in particular during the summer months. Explore picture perfect Bruges with its unique medieval charms, feel the breeze at the ‘City by the Sea’ Ostend, discover hidden gems in historic Ypres or head to the hop capital Poperinge. TEXT: MALIN NORMAN  |  PHOTOS: VISIT FLANDERS

44  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

Discover Benelux  |  Discover West Flanders  |  Introduction


Exploring West Flanders Bruges rightly deserves its status as an enchanting tourist mecca. Its history has made it great and earned it the title of a Unesco World Heritage City. The cobbled alleys and photogenic market squares are home to countless culinary and cultural secrets, and exciting events are held on a daily basis.

a refreshing dip in the North Sea. Along the promenade, you will also find many shops, bars and restaurants. Located near the French-Belgian border, Poperinge is called the hop capital of

Flanders. Check out the recently opened National Hop Museum, the Talbot House and the ‘Helleketelbos’ forest. Unless you prefer to go fishing in the Yser river and the ‘Vleterbeek’, or take a covered wagon ride through the city centre.

Hops flower.

Also, Ypres has a long and rich history that will surprise visitors. For instance, the In Flanders Fields Museum tells the story of World War I and is one of the highlights of the city. And well worth a visit are the historical Ypres Cloth Hall (Lakenhallen), the cathedral where the Lion of Flanders is buried and the mediaeval Grand Place. Called the ‘City by the Sea’, Ostend is known for its long beach and promenade. Here, over five and a half miles of sandy beaches invite visitors and locals to indulge in delightful sunbathing and Issue 54  |  June 2018  |  45

Discover Benelux  |  Discover West Flanders  |  Introduction

DO NOT MISS: Talbot House During the Great War, Poperinge was part of unoccupied Belgium. Away from the turmoil of battle in the Ypres Salient, the town became the nerve centre of the British sector. In the heart of this bustling town, the Army chaplains Neville Talbot and Philip "Tubby" Clayton opened a club. From December 1915 onwards, and for more than three years, the House provided rest and recreation to all soldiers coming in, regardless of their rank. Today, as real as then, Talbot House offers a welcoming and friendly stop in Flanders fields.

FOR BEER LOVERS: St. Bernardus Brewery In the most remote corner of West Flanders, a beer is made that will take the fancy of most beer lovers. In Watou, St Bernardus has brewed dark and blond abbey ales since 1946. All beers are brewed with their own yeast, malts of the highest quality and hops from a field right next to the brewery.

In de Vrede The In de Vrede visitor centre in Vleteren hosts the only café on earth where you can taste the "Best Beer in the World", the famous Westvleteren Trappist beer. Unfortunately, the abbey and the brewery are not open to the public. However, visitors are welcome to the "Claustrum", an information area at the In de Vrede meeting centre.

Hopmuseum Poperinge Poperinge's Hop Museum is located in the old "Stadsschaal" or Municipal Scales. An informative audio tour guides you through four floors of history and culture, all the way from the impressive loft to the concluding ground floor. On your way down, local characters like "The Bagger" and "The Nose" will guide you along the four seasons of the hop, historic documents, photographs, scale models and audiovisuals illustrate both the story of this unique building and that of local hop growing, its past and present. 46  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

The Last Post Every evening since 1928, the Last Post has been played under the Menin Gate Memorial in Ieper at eight o'clock sharp. This traditional final salute to the fallen, is played by the buglers in honour of the memory of the soldiers of the former British Empire and its allies, who died in the Ypres Salient during the First World War. The ceremony attracts large crowds, so prompt arrival is recommended.


In Flanders Fields Museum The In Flanders Fields Museum presents the story of the First World War in the West Flanders front region. It is located in the renovated Cloth Halls of Ypres, an important symbol of wartime hardship and later recovery. The permanent exhibition tells the story of the invasion of Belgium and the first months of the mobilisation, the four years trench war in the Westhoek - from the beach of Nieuwpoort to the Leie in Armentières - the end of the war and the permanent remembrance ever since. Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 The renewed Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 (MMP1917) opened its doors in April 2004 and became a nationally recognised museum in 2008. The MMP1917 is located in an environment that was a major battlefield in the First World War and which has since been rebuilt. In Zonnebeke, of which Passchendaele is a sub-municipality, you will also find many traces of the Great War.

Discover Benelux  |  Discover West Flanders  |  Introduction

In Flanders Fields.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY: Traces of War – WWI Archaeology Until 26 August 2018, Ypres Traces of War is a special exhibition taking place at the In Flanders Fields museum in Ypres. It unearths more than 200 excavated objects and presents conflict archaeology visualised like never before. Discover the fascinating items recovered just 30cm below the ground.

WW1, The Battle For The North Sea Until 30 August, Bruges At exhibition “WWI, the battle for the North Sea” in Bruges' Provinciaal Hof on the market square, where the German Navy organised the dreaded U-boat war, visitors can experience the claustrophobic atmosphere of life on board a U-boat and discover many historical objects.

Coming World Remember Me Until 11 November, Palingbeek The idea behind this visual art project is 600,000 hand-made sculptures that represent the 600,000 killed on Belgian soil during the First World War. Located in Palingbeek, a former no man's land in near Ypres, the installation will be free to visit until 11 November 2018.

Beaufort 2018 Until 30 September, Beaufort Beaufort is a triennial art project that extends along the entire Belgian coastline. In Beaufort 2018, the sea will be illuminated as a place that

is both uncontrollable but at the same time links us to the rest of the world.

Ostend Sand Sculpture Festival 23 June – 9 September, Ostend Beach Mickey Mouse is celebrating his 90th Anniversary at the Sand Sculpture Festival on the beach of Ostend. With just sand and water, artists from around the world create a fantasy world full of magic, inspired by Disneyland® Paris and all heroes of Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars.

Hops Field.

Ostend Fireworks Festival 9 July – 13 August, Ostend Every year, a fireworks festival is organised in Ostend, with fireworks shot from the main beach between the Kursaal and the Venetian Galleries. Eight Belgian fireworks makers compete to win – and this guarantees some sparkling fireworks!

Journey’s End 10 October - 12 November 2018, Ypres This Tony Award-winning play first ran in 1928, starring Laurence Olivier. This autumn, there will be a special performance at Het Kruitmagazijn (Gunpowder Store) in Ypres. In a five-star review, the Telegraph said "this production is worth a trip to Belgium". Start planning your trip to West Flanders now, at

Issue 54  |  June 2018  |  47

Discover Benelux  |  Discover West Flanders  |  Top Food, Drink & Sleep Spots

The hotel of family traditions TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  PHOTO: HOTEL LUGANO

A passion for hospitality certainly runs in the Vanhollebeke family. Third generation owner of Hotel Lugano in Knokke, Stefan Vanhollebeke, knows all the tricks of the trade to make his guests feel at home and experience a memorable stay on the Belgian coast. Located just 50 metres from the beach, Hotel Lugano combines the classic hotel experience with a modern and cosy interior. The strong family values of the Vanhollebeke’s has trickled down into the business, with personable staff, a friendly service and a welcoming atmosphere. “Guests aren’t numbers to us; we know them by name. We treat everyone like we would want to be treated ourselves. It is a level of commitment and engagement that you don’t see in many hotels any longer,’ says Stefan Vanhollebeke. Celebrating its 80th anniversary next year, the hotel was opened by Stefan’s grandparents just before World War II broke out. 48  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

After a difficult start, which included occupation of the hotel by German, English and French soldiers, the hotel took off and has undergone many expansions and updates over the years. Stefan, who took over the business 25 years ago, continued where his parents left off. “We work on the hotel every year, sometimes doing big refurbishments, other times we just update the interior. This keeps the hotel fresh and gives our regular guests something new every time,” he says. This long-term commitment to quality has resulted in many guests returning to the hotel year after year, often over multiple generations. “It’s always great when we see regular guests bringing along their children or grandchildren, making their stay here like a family tradition” says Vanhollebeke. “When people say ‘see you next time’ when they leave, it gives us the confirmation that our hard work has paid off.”

The downstairs area of the hotel is largely taken up by restaurant La Terrasse du Zoute (see opposite page) which offers an extensive drinks menu, with fantastic wines, Champagnes and numerous cocktails at the lounge bar. “We actually have more than we list on the menu: if a guests requests a specific drink, then we make sure we have that on offer,” he says.


Discover Benelux  |  Discover West Flanders  |  Top Food, Drink & Sleep Spots


Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the busy coastal town of Knokke by making a stop at La Terrasse du Zoute. Settle down for a refreshing drink, treat yourself to homemade ice cream or enjoy a gastronomic meal under the sun at the spacious outdoor terrace. As one of the largest terraces in Het Zoute, the restaurant is a relaxing oasis in the town’s vibrant shopping district. At just a stone’s throw from the beach, the restaurant is wrapped around the building of Hotel Lugano (see opposite page) and offers lunch, dinner, tapas and aperitifs. “We start in the morning at half past 11, and close in the evening at half past 11. The kitchen is continuously open, so you can always come here for something to eat or drink,” says Stefan Vanhollebeke, owner of La Terrasse du Route and Hotel Lugano. Vanhollebeke did not take half measures when setting up the restaurant in 2009 and invested in a top-of-the range kitch-

en. Taking up nearly half the total floor space, it allows the chefs to maintain an extensive menu of local specialties and international dishes. “We have something for everyone, from classic prawn croquettes, which is a real must-have, to carpaccio and fried cod or lemon sole. We offer prime cuts of beef, such as the filet or rib-eye steak, as well as a tartar of Wagyu,” Vanhollebeke says. “But we also serve a fantastic Thai coconut and cauliflower soup.”

At the bar, mixologists offer a choice of 70 different cocktails, and sommeliers help guests pick from numerous wines and Champagnes. “We only serve premium brands, including a selection of 25 different gins,” Vanhollebeke adds. La Terrasse du Zoute serves a set lunch (weekdays only) and a seasonal threecourse dinner alongside their à la carte menu. Starting in the late afternoon, guests can also order from the tapas menu for smaller bites. Groups of over eight people require a reservation.

The seating area is divided into four different corners, allowing for a quiet drink at the lounge, a relaxing meal in the garden, a cocktail at the indoor bar, or visitors can watch life pass by along the buzzing Kustlaan shopping street. “Each area has its own atmosphere, from trendy to classical,” he says. “We can also accommodate groups and families without making you sit right on top of each other.”


Issue 54  |  June 2018  |  49

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



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  |  Discover West Flanders  |  Top Food, Drink & Sleep Spots

French romance in the heart of Belgium TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: HOTEL AMARYLLIS

Away from the hustle and bustle of city life, guests can unwind whilst enjoying the romantic ambiance of one of the most charming hotels in Flanders, or as some like to call Hotel Amaryllis: the treasure of the west.

After their education, as well as working experience in Budapest, Hanoi and Antwerp, the couple agreed it was time to take the next step. Having opened their first successful hotel in Maldegem, their eyes fell on the picturesque town of Veurne.

When stepping into the idyllic neighbourhood in Veurne, which houses the momentous Amaryllis Hotel, it feels like one is swept away into a romantic fairy tale. With picturesque surroundings such as historic townhouses, parks and beautiful flora, the atmosphere tells the story of a time that once was.

With fourteen large rooms and the historic market of Veurne just a stone’s throw away, the castle-turned-hotel proved to be the perfect location to realise that dream, giving guests a wide range of entertainment in the city centre combined with the feeling of tranquillity at the charming family hotel. Furthermore, it proved to be the perfect spot for lovers of outdoor activities. Guests can cycle between the hotels in Maldegem and Veurne, with the hotel covering luggage services.

Therefore, it does not come as a surprise that Steve Vanbelle and his partner Tineke Gunst chose this particular part of Veurne to open the latest addition to their small chain of hotels in January 2018. “It was a dream come true,” Vanbelle explains. “With both our families working in the hotel and restaurant industries, we were brought up with a love and passion for hospitality from an early age.”

Whether one enjoys an afternoon tea overlooking the breathtaking gardens with fountains, or has a late night cocktail under the Venetian chandelier made out glass, there is a special eye for detail throughout the small corners of the castle.

The couple is very much involved in the everyday life and running of the hotel, creating a unique personal approach. “One of the most important parts of our hotel experience is our personal service. We are the face of the hotel and guests can always find us around.” Since the opening at the beginning of this year, the hotel has received guests from all over the world. Vanbelle: “Or people who used to live in Veurne. When they leave being in awe about our place, we know we did a good job.”


Issue 54  |  June 2018  |  51

Discover Benelux  |  Discover West Flanders  |  Top Food, Drink & Sleep Spots

The perfect countryside getaway TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: DE KLEINE BEVER

In the midst of the West-Flemish polder, De Kleine Bever offers guests a relaxing getaway, whilst taking care of the surrounding nature. Overlooking acres of land, Bed & Breakfast De Kleine Bever is surrounded by uniquely beautiful scenery; it is one of the last socalled open-space landscape in Flanders filled with all sorts of wildlife. Guests can find themselves waking up to the calming sounds of chirping birds and croaking frogs, whilst smelling the freshly baked croissants down the hallway. “We believe that each individual can make a difference,” co-owner of De Kleine Bever Ludwig explains. “My wife Liesbeth and I started a Bed & Breakfast in the midst of nature, where we help people find peace of mind, yet also respect the surrounding landscape.” Nowadays, guests can enjoy the sauna, Jacuzzi or steam bath overlooking the beautiful green-filled panorama or enjoy 52  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

a nice glass of wine in one of the sitting rooms with a cosy fireplace. “We created our own oasis,” Ludwig explains. Situated between two unique bird landscapes, areas protected under European law, the couple started protecting the wildlife from the moment they arrived. And with great success. In the last few years, the deserted nature landscape, which originally was just a small meadow with cows, has reinvented itself and many new animals such as owls, pheasants and frogs have made a home for themselves there. “It’s amazing to see how nature can grow if humans allow it to.” The old bakehouse attached to the farm was given a new purpose when a wellness centre was built. Therefore, it has become a perfect resort to de-stress and get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Ludwig: “Guests relax the moment they set foot here. The tranquility that can be found in this area, is just like the landscape, one-of-a-kind.”

De Kleine Bever is most certainly the ultimate place to relax. Just 15 minutes away from the coast and the town of Ieper and an hour away from the historic town of Bruges, this Bed & Breakfast offers the best of both worlds: a unique location with a peaceful atmosphere where guests can find the ultimate relaxation, and cultural activities just a short car ride away.

Web: - guests will get a free bottle of cava when booking through this link

t r a n s i e n c e season 2018—2019


dancers Ballet Vlaanderen from 08.09.18

LOHENGRIN Richard Wagner from 20.09.18


Akram Khan from 16.10.18

SATYAGRAHA Philip Glass from 18.11.18

LES PÊCHEURS DE PERLES Georges Bizet from 14.12.18


Inger / Ekman from 29.03.19





Tankard / Brown / Brabants from 19.12.18

Cherkaoui / Graham / Béjart from 25.02.19

CARDILLAC Paul Hindemith from 03.02.19


Jacques Fromental Halévy from 10.03.19

Hèctor Parra from 24.04.19

Benjamin Millepied from 19.05.19


Giuseppe Verdi from 21.06.19

Discover Benelux  |  Discover West Flanders  |  Top Food, Drink & Sleep Spots


For honest, homemade pasta, head to Bocca Pastabar in Bruges or Ghent. And look out for the food truck with its delicious pasta at many of this summer’s festivals! Based around the idea of buying fresh pasta for a reasonable price in takeaway boxes, Bocca Pastabar started some 11 years ago and is still going strong today, now with two locations; Bruges and Ghent. Initially targeting students, it is now a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. At this friendly and welcoming pasta bar, customers can either be served at the table for a restaurant feeling or opt for a convenient takeaway. Customers choose the type of pasta they want, one of the delicious sauces to accompany it, and finally the toppings. Every week, there is a ‘pasta of the week’ based on seasonal ingredients. For instance, in winter spicy salsas and broccoli and in summer cold pasta salads with pesto and sun-dried tomatoes. The menu also includes classics such as carbonara, and vegetarian and vegan options, so there is something for everyone. In particular, the tasty sauce called ‘Bocca’ is popular – a spicy tomato sauce with a bit of cream, 54  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

served with or without bacon, and with a secret herb mix. Common for all dishes is that the pasta is fresh. “There are a lot of pasta places in Belgium and some of them have readymade sauces,” says manager Jonathan. But people know that the pasta here is made on a daily basis. They can really taste the fresh ingredients.” Loyal customers appreciate Bocca Pastabar for its affordable price and quality ingredients, with comments such as “awesome food, great value for money” and “quality pasta meals in a box”. And one sums it up: “hot, fresh, tasty, cheap – perfect combo”.

With a focus on sustainability, Bocca Pastabar is also part of the international Too Good To Go food waste revolution. The food is served in eco-friendly takeaway boxes and if an order is cancelled or changed before served, the box is not thrown away. Instead, people can claim these dishes for half price through the Too Good To Go app. “It’s the future. We don’t throw our food away and we hope others follow suit,” says Jonathan. This summer, Bocca Pastabar also has a food truck available at some of the local festivals in Bruges and Ghent. Do not forget to try that special ‘Bocca’ sauce! Dweerstraat 13, 8000 Brugge Opening hours: Mon-Fri: 11:30 – 20:00 Sat: 11:30 – 19:00 Sunday: closed Recollettenlei 2, 9000 Gent Opening hours: Mon-Sat: 11:30 – 22:00 Sunday: closed


THE restaurant to be in Blankenberge! Designed by the famous architect Antoine Pinto, Venitien offers an individual style of gastronomy, where specialities are taken back to the basic preparations of the regional products and closely linked to the seasons. Owner Youri Wymeels and his wife Katrien opts for a good price / quality ratio for their menus and specialities. When booking in advance, this lovely couple will offer you the most beautiful table with a great sea view. De Venitien also has several modern and well-equipped apartments (2 bedrooms) on the Zeedijk van Blankenberge.

Zeedijk 115, Blankenberge


Tel +32 50 41 10 74




Province de Namur Tucked away where the rivers Meuse and Sambre meet, Namur was once an important trading settlement. These days, this is a centre of art and tourism in Province de Namur. Check out our tips of what to see and do when visiting. TEXT: MALIN NORMAN  |  PHOTOS: VISIT NAMUR


56  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Province de Namur


Namur is the capital of Wallonia, located at the junction of the Sambre and Meuse rivers, protected by the Citadel, with winding picturesque pedestrian streets and surrounded by a stunning green setting. Visitors will have plenty to discover, as Namur hosts a number of interesting attractions. For instance, the Provincial Museum of the Ancient Arts of Namur – Treasure of Oignies (TreM.a). Set up in the Town Hall of Gaiffier d’Hestroy, an 18th century listed house, it presents the Middle Ages and Renaissance collections from the Archaeological Society of Namur, and the extraordinary medieval treasures of the priory of Saint-Nicolas d’Oignies. Looking for a place to stay? The Château de Namur, a training hotel and restaurant run by the Province of Namur’s vocational school for hotel management and

catering, welcomes you all year around in a calm and green setting away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The hotel also offers a bar and terrace open when the weather allows, a Sunday brunch, several seminar rooms adapted to cur-

rent needs and areas for your wedding receptions, banquets and other special events. Web:

DO NOT MISS: The Citadel of Namur

La Charlie’s Capitainerie

Built on an impressive rocky spur and overlooking the city, The Citadel of Namur has conserved traces of each period of its 2,000-year-old history. Once a residence for the Counts of Namur in the Middle Ages, then transformed into a holiday home by King Leopold II, it is now a sought-out location for events, guided visits and walks in a verdant surrounding with spectacular views over the city. Aside from the new Visitor Centre, several guided tours are available

Have a drink on the floating terrace in a friendly, retro-chic ambiance. Whether you are a boater in need of rest, a walker, a thrill-seeker or simply a vacationer looking for some relaxation, there is something for everyone! You may also want to participate in or watch various cultural and sporting events (world championships), or watch any number of events in private on the river. Several water sports are offered all year round, suitable for everyone, including Stand Up Paddleboard.

Issue 54  |  June 2018  |  57

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Province de Namur

Jewels and Genius in Namur The name Hugo d’Oignies may not be as famous today as Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci or Rubens, but in the 13th century this exceptional metalworker was known as the genius of his generation. Centuries later, his masterpieces of filigree, gold and silverwork can be seen at the Musée Arts Anciens Namurois in the Wallonian capital of Namur, just under an hour’s drive southeast of Brussels. The museum is considered one of Belgium’s finest and ‘Le Trésor d’Oignies’, or ‘The Oignies Treasure’ as the collection is known, includes meticulously worked golden goblets and double crosses, studded with precious and semi-precious stones. Oignies’ work is however, far from being the only reason for visiting. Housed in a magnificent 18th century mansion, this gem of a museum is also home to both an exceptional sculpture collection showcasing the finest Mosan pieces from the 12th to 16th centuries as well as many


works by the 16th century landscape painter Henri Bles, known for his vast and slightly fantastical landscapes. “What makes the Museum special for me,” says curator Anna Trobec, “is the fact that there are so many magnificent pieces brought together in one place.” The Museum also features temporary exhibitions and this summer, Tamed Flowers (June 2 – September 2) will explore the botanical history of flowers and their uses from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, from medicinal properties and cooking ingredients to symbols of affection. The show will be part of a flower festival

taking place throughout Namur – a wonderful chance to see the town decked out in a blaze of colourful blooms. Web:

Sambre-Orneau, the perfect place for a stopover - where Abbeys, beers and cheeses collide to offer visitors a perfect break TEXT: LORENZA BACINO  |  PHOTOS: MAISON DU TOURISME SAMBRE-ORNEAU

Nestled between the provinces of Namur and Walloon Brabant lies a picturesque corner of unspoiled nature and architectural treasures – Sambre-Orneau makes for an unusual and surprising tourist destination, offering a wide range of activities. You have probably heard about it without even realising. It houses the renowned “Espace de l’Homme de Spy” (The Man of Spy Centre) as well as the site of Napoleon’s final victory at Ligny. A great variety of craft beers can be sampled and enjoyed, such as Bertinchamps or Floreffe. The Sambre-Orneau area includes Floreffe, Gembloux, Jemeppe-sur-Sambre, Sambreville and Sombreffe. The ‘Tous en Sambre-Orneau’ app (in French and Dutch) will help you make the most of your time. Looking for an interesting activity for the weekend? Maybe a hike or a bike ride this afternoon? How about some ideas of where to try some local delicacies? This app 58  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

makes life easy with answers at your fingertips. The geolocation facility can be a great way of finding things to do from your actual position. What better way to make the most of the stay? Whether a walking or hiking enthusiast, or a lover of the countryside or cultural and industrial heritage, you will not be disappointed. Sambre-Orneau and the five entities which make up the area are an ideal choice for escapades. Throughout the year, take advantage of the over 500 kilometres of walking, cycling and driving routes that are on offer. Holidays begin as soon as you hit the road. Sambre-Orneau’s

strategic position makes it an ideal spot to take a break en route. Travellers and pilgrims alike can enjoy visiting the Abbey of Floreffe, the 1815 Ligny Museum, or taking a hike inside the Escaille natural reserve. With its choice of accommodation, museums and restaurants, Sambre-Orneau can welcome large groups of visitors of all ages. And if tasked with organising a tour, their online platform – is the best place to start with over 300 places of interest including museums, accommodation, restaurants and events.

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Province de Namur

Feel the ‘wow factor’ at Château de Namur TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL  |  PHOTOS: CHÂTEAU DE NAMUR

The historic town of Namur in Belgium’s Wallonia region may be best known for its medieval castle, but less than a stone’s throw away you will find the stunning Château de Namur hotel and restaurant. The haute-cuisine restaurant, incorporating Belgium’s top school for chefs, is a destination experience in itself whilst the hotel has recently undergone a lavish one and a half million euro renovation. The 29 newly refurbished rooms feature a glamorous, highly contemporary mix of golds, chocolate browns and damask motifs combined with designer furnishings and bedding, whilst retaining the original period features of the château – such as high ceilings and cornicing. The lighting system is also state-of-theart. Whether guests are feeling ready for love and romance, geared up for a day of business or simply looking for relaxation, they can choose their own ambience according to their mood. “We want guests to feel the ‘wow’ factor in our rooms,” says hotel manager Cédric

Vandervaeren, “and to remember their time here for the quality of their experiences, not just how big the bathrooms are or whether the room was spacious.”

Belgian produce, the menu features innovative interpretations of classic French cuisine with an emphasis on nutritional balance, well-being and sustainability.

The creative wizardry continues with a screen in each room which designs your own personalised work of psychedelic, op-art-style abstract art, complete with changing colours. No two works of art are ever the same and if guests would like to keep their design, this can be arranged.

There is also an added attraction. Alongside the expert professional staff, students from the high-level, in-house catering school are busy learning their trade. As tantalisingly sweet, citrusy crêpes suzettes are flambéed at your table, you can enjoy the fact that your chef for today may well be the superstar of tomorrow.

Another quirky touch is the surreally decadent gilt frame on the wall of each room. Like a 21st century take on a work by Duchamp, behind the glass there is a bottle of champagne and two glasses. A door in the glass – which is specially refrigerated, can be opened and a small message in the frame reads: “In case of emotional emergency, open the door and drink this champagne.” The elegant hotel restaurant meanwhile, with its spectacular views of the surrounding countryside, is equally memorable. Using the freshest, seasonal, local


Issue 54  |  June 2018  |  59





Screw the staff, screw the customer TEXT & PHOTO: STEVE FLINDERS

Do you still write cheques? In Norway they went out years ago, but in Malta, where I live, they are still oiling the wheels of the thriving economy here, and no doubt the thriving black economy too. As a freelancer, I get paid for my services in Malta by cheque and that means having to go to a bricks-and-mortar bank branch to cash them. This has led to experiences which I never thought I would relive, reminiscent of France in the 1980s when the banks were still nationalised and staff treated customers with all the arrogant disdain that French waiters, and civil servants, can muster so impressively. I’m not in the habit of knocking particular companies in this column but this month I have HSBC in my sights. HSBC, along with Bank of Valletta, is one of the two major retail banks in Malta. After queuing in an HSBC branch for more than an hour recently, I asked to speak to the manager. I counted 18 people waiting behind me, many of them el60  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

derly ladies wilting with fatigue. When the assistant manager turned up after another ten minutes, we gave her a piece of our collective mind. Several elderly rebels said that the situation had been getting progressively worse in recent years and that an hour’s wait to speak to a cashier was quite typical nowadays. I registered a formal complaint and left my contact details with the rather uninterested manager but heard nothing. My letter to The Times of Malta also went unacknowledged by HSBC. Customer care is obviously not part of the bank’s concerns in this part of the world.

into the ‘screw the staff and customer’ category. Last year, HSBC made 17.2 billion euros before tax, presumably not enough to justify employing a few more cashiers here. There are rumours that the bank is going to pull out of Malta. Unfortunately, I doubt that the decision-makers are considering this out of shame.

Then I met a woman who had worked for HSBC for twenty years and left after not being able to take any more stress induced by understaffing. Her bitterness rather corroborated my own experiences. I am a believer in stakeholder capitalism. I don’t like companies which pay their top executives millions and the people who do the spadework peanuts. My experience of HSBC is that it falls directly

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  |  CDDS Luxembourg

CDDS: Your trusted AML solutions partner TEXT: SIMON WILLMORE  |  PHOTO: CDDS

In a digital-first era when it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of business contacts – and where regulations around compliance are in fact becoming stricter – it may be difficult to ensure your company has done its due diligence and client background checks properly. CDDS, an independent team of professionals from the areas of compliance, audit, domiciliation, IT and information security, is the leading provider of anti-money laundering (AML) solutions for SMEs in Luxembourg. Philippe Lassine, CEO of CDDS, tells me: “AML obligations become more stringent every year, and this is not going to stop. Our background of more than 25 years in compliance helped us to organise integrated and cost-efficient solutions.” While many fintech and regtech companies are emerging now, CDDS was founded in 2009 and now has offices in Luxembourg,

Malta and Geneva, and a strong reseller network around the world. Today, the company provides AML, due diligence and know your customer (KYC) tools to worldwide finance clients, including corporate service providers, asset and fund managers, law firms, insurance and payment services, banks, and cryptocurrency and gaming companies. Last year, CDDS launched its AML Risk API, allowing instantaneous real-time verification. This can be integrated into existing systems and offers screening against official sanctions and black lists, or PEPs. For enhanced due diligence needs, CDDS also offers AMLspotter, which provides a daily risk assessment for 100 per cent compliance with AML and CFT (combating the financing of terrorism) requirements. AMLspotter has a server solution, installed with the client, and a webbased application available through annual subscription or pay-per-click.

“Who knows your concerns better than former compliance officers? More than 500 companies trust us today and have helped us to improve our solutions built by compliance officers for compliance officers,” concludes Lassine.

For a solution tailored for your business, visit

Your Partner in Anglo Dutch Business The Netherlands British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) is the only bilateral non-profit membership organisation solely dedicated to promoting Anglo-Dutch trade and investment. From our start in 1891, we helped thousands of companies and entrepreneurs expanding their business abroad. The Netherlands-British Chamber of Commerce, 125 years experience in Anglo-Dutch trade and investment promotion. Contact us now for: • Access to interesting network events • Participation in NBCC events and working groups • Exclusive access to our intranet membership area • Up to date economic information and market sector intelligence • Market research • Partner searches • Company formation • Virtual office services • Sales support NL Tel.: 070-205 5656 UK Tel.: 03333-440 779 Email: Or visit:

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Calendar

Business Calendar TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: NBTC

from all over the world. EuroGrowth 2018 promises two days of uninterrupted quality networking and exposure to the most influential leaders, with capital, connections and deals as its three key benefits.

Sustainable Change in Belgium 7 June, Brussels, Belgium What motivates companies to engage in sustainability? What barriers are they experiencing when implementing sustainability? And what is the state of sustainable business in Belgium? The Antwerp Management School and ING are organising an inspiring seminar discussing the topic. The results from a Sustainable Change Study will also be presented.

SME Financing Workshop 7 June, Brussels, Belgium This seminar marks the first anniversary of the agreement signed by the EBF last year to ensure that the loan application process can become a constructive step in the business development of a company. By bringing together representatives of the banking and SME sectors to review the implementation of the agreement across Europe, this day of workshops is aiming to make its participants learn from best practice and to identify objectives for future progress.

The Akin: Future Influence 7 June, Amsterdam, The Netherlands With social media that never sleeps, brands and agencies are re-thinking their 62  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

influencer strategy. How to define your brand and stand out in such a competitive market with thousands of others? How to find out if the data you are receiving is reliable? From politics to pop culture, during this inspiring day at the trendy Hoxton Hotel in Amsterdam, everything relating to the overflow of data in our modern society will be discussed. the-akin-future-of-influence

Savage Marketing 2018 13-14 June, Amsterdam, The Netherlands This event promises to be the perfect place for intelligent marketing for Europe’s leading B2C brands and explores how marketing technology redefines the industry and allows marketers to create data-driven strategies. It is designed to accommodate teams of SEO professionals, email marketing & social media marketers, mobile marketing managers and, of course, marketing leaders.

EuroGrowth 2018 19-20 June, Amsterdam, The Netherlands As the premier source for networking and deal flow in the middle market, EuroGrowth brings together more than 200 professionals, varying from cooperative executives to development officers

Data Innovation Summit 27 June, Brussels, Belgium The place to be for all European data professionals who are passionate about data innovation, digital transformation and artificial intelligence. During this full-day event, over 800 industry professionals will gather to discuss, educate and learn from one another.

Redesign Your Business Model 15 June, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Want to have more ease in generating profit? This one day sprint event organised by Co.Lab will be the perfect thing for you. Experts will be on hand to help redesign your business model by using the Profil Toolkit. A must for every newbie entrepreneur that needs some help or an experienced business owner who wants a breath of fresh air.

The best address for the successful sale of your property - amongst other services. Specialist in the brokerage of residential and commercial property, premium yachts and private jets, Engel & VÜlkers is currently represented by over 800 locations in 34 different countries. Whether you are in Luxembourg, Germany, Spain or in the United States, in the countryside or a major capital, with us you can benefit from a unique, global network and the comprehensive knowledge of local markets offered by our experts in the region – the ideal basis for not only fulfilling your individual requirements but even exceeding them! We are happy to provide a non-binding consultation for the sale of your property. Engel & VÜlkers Luxembourg 51 Boulevard Grande Duchesse-Charlotte . L-1131 Luxembourg Tel. +352 28 26 17 27 . .

Out & About The summer is finally upon us. Time to go up on the rooftops for drinks, enjoy live concerts at festivals or pick up on the latest fashion trends for the new season during exhibitions. Do not forget sun cream, this promises to be a sunny month. Plus, did you know that June is the perfect month to enjoy delicious and fresh Dutch herring? TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: NBTC

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Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar

Rotterdam Rooftop Days 1-3 June, Rotterdam, The Netherlands With the most breathtaking skyline in the Netherlands, climbing the roofs of skyscrapers and others buildings promises to be quite the adventure with the best possible reward after a long way up: a mesmerising view over the skyline of the city which is better known by its nickname, Manhattan on the Maas.

Antwerp, City of Baroques 1-3 June, Antwerp, Belgium Did you know that Antwerp was the most distinctive Baroque city in the Benelux? During these three days in June, the city pulls out the most magical decorations and a lavish programme in which old Baroque meets new with theatre, exhibitions, music and historic walks.

Oranjewoud Festival 1-10 June, Heerenveen, The Netherlands During this week in June, some of the greatest musicians from all over the world gather on the beautiful greens of Oranjewoud to perform from Issue 54  |  June 2018  |  65

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar

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Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar

dusk till dawn. Watch the sunrise whilst listening to Bach or enjoy the last hours of light in one of the lush gardens. A perfect combination of nature and music.

State of Fashion 1 June - 22 July, Arnhem, The Netherlands State of Fashion is known to be a fashion event with a message. Activating the worldwide search for a fairer, cleaner and more sustainable fashion industry, it explores new possibilities during these three weeks with a series of fashion shows and exhibitions.

PINKPOP 15-17 June, Landgraaf, The Netherlands With headliners such as Bruno Mars, The Foo Fighters and Pearl Jam, the biggest open-air festival in The Netherlands and the longest-running in Europe, Pinkpop, will surely be as great as its previous editions. Plus, it has several campsites for its 50,000 visitors.

Oerol Festival 15-24 June, Terschelling, The Netherlands Oerol Festival takes over the entire island of Terschelling with music, theatre, dance and others acts. From the barns to the beach and Issue 54  |  June 2018  |  67

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar from the sheds to the picturesque town centre, everywhere you go you will find cultural activities. Come and enjoy the warm atmosphere at one of the cosiest festivals in the Benelux.

Summer in the city 21 June - 11 September, Luxembourg, Luxembourg Summer in the city has something for everyone. The city of Luxembourg offers free concerts at the Place d’Armes and the Place Guillame II. Furthermore, there will be open-air cinema, markets, exhibitions and street art festivals.

National Day Luxembourg 23 June, Luxembourg On June 23, Luxembourg celebrates its national day. The day starts with the traditional changing of the guards in Luxembourg City, with several festive celebrations taking place during the day. Stroll through the markets or enjoy one of the many concerts before the day ends with magical fireworks.

Festival Mundial 23-24 June, Tilburg, The Netherlands Rumba mixed with folklore from the Balkans, Dutch artists and punk influences. Festival Mundial is a melting pot between pop music and world music, and this is one of the biggest and most diverse festivals in the Benelux. Listen and take the opportunity to experiment yourself.

Feest aan Zee Until 31 December 2018, Schevening, The Hague, The Netherlands In 2018, the city of The Hague is celebrating the 200th anniversary of one of the most beloved seaside resorts in the country, Scheveningen, by organising the Seaside Festival. The city will offer events and exhibitions throughout the year. For example, the spectacular ending of the Volvo Ocean Race - an around the world sailing race across four oceans - will finish in The Hague. And if you are not that into boats, why not enjoy the annual international fireworks festival? 68  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar

Issue 54  |  June 2018  |  69

Discover Benelux  |  Attraction of the Month  |  Luxembourg

Photo: © Carlo Wies Photography


As the Moselle river meanders from Trier in Germany to feed into the Rhine, it passes through both France and Luxembourg and creates not only a beautiful valley landscape but a region rich for viticulture. On the bank of that river lies the Office Régional du Tourisme (ORT) of the eponymous Région Moselle Luxembourgeoise. Nathalie Besch, tourism coordinator there since 2015, is charged with promoting sustainable tourism in the region – and in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg’s flagship viticulture region, promoting tourism means supporting local wine-makers. “Winetourism offers, among other winethemed activities, guided walks through the vineyards with explanations about viticulture, the winemaking process and meeting with local winegrowers – and the possibility to taste Luxembourgish wines and Crémants,” explains Besch. The calendar is packed with wine tourism events: for example, on 21 July, ‘From 70  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

earth to glass’ offers a guided tour of the geology and history of the region’s wine; and on 30 September, ‘Am Herscht’ features a hike through the vineyard during harvest time and a Fiederwaissen wine tasting. Not to be missed are the 2nd and 3rd weekend in September, with the crowning of the new Luxembourgish Wine Queen (7-9 September) and the Riesling Queen (14-16 September). However, Moselle has more than just gastronomy. On 17 June, the IRONMAN 70.3 LUXEMBOURG – Région Moselle comes to Remich; this year will be the sixth Luxembourgish edition of the renowned triathlon. The region has also been involved in cross-border events with Perl in Germany and Sierck-les-Bains in France: the fourth edition of the ‘Borderless Hike’ will take walkers through the ‘border triangle’ between the three countries and naturally features culinary stops along the way. “The best way to discover the region’s landscapes – riverbanks, vineyards, orchards and wide open fields – is by hik-

ing,” says Besch. A riverside walk in Schengen sounds like a wonderful way to see three countries – and there will be a glass of wine or Crémant waiting for you at the end.

Photo: © Rinnen


Discover Benelux  |  Attraction of the Month  |  Brussels

Halles Saint Gery – the Brussels Agora A stunning brick and wrought iron NeoRenaissance structure in the heart of the city, and a meeting place to enjoy heritage, art, culture, performance and food. A former covered market in the heart of Brussels, the Halles Saint Géry in the Ilot SaintGéry is a stunning brick and wrought iron structure by architect Adolph Vanderheggen. It was inaugurated in 1882 in the neo-Renaissance Flemish style and houses a pyramid-shaped fountain from 1802. The market flourished until the end of World War II, was slowly abandoned in the ensuing years, and finally closed in 1977. Revamped and re-opened in 1999, the Halles Saint Géry has evolved into an Agora, a

focal point for exhibitions, conferences, performances, meetings, cafes and more. It covers 2,000 square metres across three floors, marking a crossroads that links the history, culture, arts and identity of Brussels. This remarkable building is a reflection of the multifaceted aspects of the city itself, as well as acting as archive for the Brussels Region. It brings the past and present together in a hybrid blend of inclusivity. Some 250,000 visitors per year come to enjoy more than 25 exhibitions, 50 cultural events that include cinema evenings, and nightclubs hosted by DJ Stet. Themes include: the revolutionary spirit, sexuality, a biennial forum dedicated to technological innovation and a focus on feminine art and style.


Visitors can discover any number of innovative events and ideas here, but they are invited to participate too. The Halles Saint Géry prides itself on welcoming a wide range of people from diverse backgrounds. There is truly something for everyone to enjoy here. Look out for the Street Art exhibition in partnership with Le M.U.R: And Les Halles by Night is not to be missed! Web:

Open seven days a week, from 10am-2am Free entry to exhibitions which are open until 18:00 Late night Thursdays until 22:00 Halles Saint-Gery Place Saint-Gery,1 1000 Brussels +32 2 502 4424

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Pays Seltz-Lauterbourg

Natural Magic in Pays Seltz-Lauterbourg Borderlands are often fascinating places. Not least the towns and countryside around the French and German border, in particular the French region of Seltz-Lauterborg. Just under an hour’s drive north of Strasbourg and less than five minutes from the German border, this fantastically green, fertile region is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets, with scenic cross-border cycle paths, walks amidst a spectacular nature reserve, and a family-friendly beach at Lauterbourg. Whether you fancy yourself wearing a yellow jersey on the Tour de France and have the pedal-speeds to match, or just enjoy a gentle two-wheeled amble through the countryside, there are routes to suit everyone. Wannabe Wiggins can enjoy the famous ‘EuroVelo 15’ Rhine Route which runs alongside the river Rhine to the north or south, towards Strasbourg. There are also eight cross-border itineraries, as well as the Swiss/ Netherlands route which takes in a total of four European countries.

But the countryside is not just for cycling. The breathtaking nature reserve at the Sauer delta is a walkers’ and bird-lovers’ paradise, with no less than 400 different plant species and 182 types of bird. Similarly, Lauterbourg’s Plage des Mouettes (Seagull Beach) has 500 metres of fine sand beach and amazingly clear waters. For family fun, there’s also a water playground complete with sliding ropes, a springboard jump and water toboggan, as well as an inflatable soft-play water park, kayaking and catamarans. Nearby, you will find a fantastic variety of hotels, guesthouses and campsites. And for the


perfect lunch or dinner? The local restaurants are renowned for their exceptional Alsace cuisine. The ideal place to tuck into a tantalising ‘tarte flambée’.

Photo: Stempfer Christophe

Munchhausen. Photo: xxxxxx


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Musée Tudor


A lasting invention and a fascinating museum TEXT & PHOTOS: MUSÉE TUDOR

In the heart of the Luxembourg’s Sauer Valley, acclaimed for its picturesque landscapes, you can find the village of Rosport. You might have come across that name when ordering mineral water in one of Luxembourg’s restaurants, but Rosport is well known beyond its springs. Indeed, the Musée Tudor in Rosport is dedicated to the town’s most famous son, Henri Owen Tudor (1859 - 1928), an engineer of British descent who invented the first practical leadacid accumulator. It all began with John Thomas Tudor, the Welsh-born father of Henri Owen Tudor. He moved to Belgium, France and Luxembourg and ended up being hired at the Loser family’s estate, the Irminenhof in Rosport, as an agricultural engineer in 1839.

to plunge into electrical engineering instead. Henri Tudor was deeply passionate about the radiating industrial revolution and the plethora of inventions and possibilities it unlocked. At the tender age of 23, after finishing his studies in Brussels, he connected the water wheel of the Irminenhof to a dynamo and a system of accumulators in order to power light bulbs and stabilise the system, making his parental house one of the first electrically emblazoned private homes in Luxembourg in 1882.

Over the years, John Tudor not only proposed to Marie Loser, the daughter of the entrepreneur, but he later worked his way up to the mayor’s office of Rosport. The couple had three children, the youngest being Henri.

In 1886, he illuminated Echternach city with its first 34 electrical lanterns, which makes it the earliest street lighting system in the Europe. Henri Tudor had his lead-acid accumulator patented in the same year. The production of accumulators soon begun in Rosport under Henri Tudor’s lead. The exorbitant demand for accumulators required an expansion across Europe, producing several offshoot companies, including the brand VARTA, which still produces batteries.

Rather than following his father’s advice to study at law school, Henri decided

During the rise of Henri Tudor’s accumulator empire, he decided it was time for

a new, classy home for his wealthy wife and the children to come. Rosport castle, also called ‘d’neit Schlass’, was built between 1891 and 1892 and included halls and parlours and a marvellous park surrounding it, which still can be visited. Rosport castle was not only the home of Henri Tudor and his family, it also served as the epicentre for meetings with the local political and economic community. The utterly superb neo-gothic style of the building still amazes and the recreation area surrounding it bares fascinating details like the Wendy House named ‘Poppenheischen’, a very old arboretum and much more. Nowadays, Rosport castle is a classified national monument site and houses the Musée Tudor, inaugurated in 2009 to celebrate Henri Tudor’s 150th birthday. It beautifully presents his invention in its historical and scientific context. The Museum in Rosport and castle with its numerous interactive displays welcomes you all year round. Web:

Issue 54  |  June 2018  |  73

Discover Benelux  |  Culture Feature  |  Beer Events

Photo: Visit Flanders


Summer celebrations of beer TEXT: STUART FORSTER

What could be better than a cold, refreshing beer on a warm summer day? If your answer to that question is several beers, then you may be interested in attending one of the beer festivals being held in Belgium and the Netherlands during June.

Carnivale Brettanomyces in Amsterdam If you like it wild, then this beer festival is for you! The Carnivale Brettanomyces is a celebration of spontaneous or wild fermentation. The seventh edition of the festival will be held in bars, breweries, bottle shops and restaurants across Amsterdam from 21 to 24 June. In addition to providing opportunities to sample beers in which spontaneous fermentation plays a role, the festival features lectures on the history of brewing. Airborne yeast strains are believed to have been responsible for the world’s earliest beers and are still an essential element in some brewing processes, notably the Lambic beers of Belgium. Workshops will be held to discuss brewing techniques and how to pair food with beer. Lectures will cover themes ranging from styles of French beer from the 1800s to early 1900s, to insights into the contemporary brewing culture of Lithuania.

More than 50 breweries will be involved in Carnivale Brettanomyces.

A passionate weekend in Antwerp Over the weekend of 22 to 24 June, the Belgian city of Antwerp will play host to the 19th Beer Passion Weekend. Stalls serving beer and food trucks will be set up on Groenplaats, the central square where a statue of the artist Peter Paul Rubens stands. More than 40 breweries have signed up to participate in this beer festival, which is known as the Bierpassieweekend in Flemish. Visitors will have opportunities to sample more than 200 beers. Upon arrival, attendees need to purchase a 20 cl tasting glass from the reception tent (costing five euros) and will be presented with a catalogue listing the participating breweries and beers available. Tokens, costing two euros each, can be redeemed for most of the festival’s beers. A handful of brews will require two tokens, including Malheur Brut and Deus, whose production processes bear similarities to that used in making Champagne.

and the Dunkirk, in northern France — is hosting its annual seafront Beer Weekend from 15 to 17 June. The summer celebration of Belgian beer was established more than three decades ago and this year coincides with the first weekend of the FIFA World Cup. Brass bands will thump out music as part of a colourful, family-friendly event that embraces the enjoyment of beer within earshot of the North Sea lapping on the shore.

Wallonia’s beer route Summer is also the best time of year to combine cycling with beer consumption. Where better to do that than in a relatively flat country such as Belgium? A total of 65 breweries can be visited along the Wallonia Beer Route. Following sections of the route provides insight into Belgium’s rich brewing heritage and beer culture, which in 2016 was added by UNESCO to the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Beer by the seaside at Middelkerke The municipality of Middelkerke — midway between the Belgian city of Bruges

Village De Chimay. Photo: WBT-JLFlemal

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Discover Benelux  |  Culture Feature  |  11 Fountains International Art Project

Cornelia Parker’s lion fountain in Workum. Photo: Jantina Talsma for Leeuwarden-Friesland European Capital of Culture 2018.

T H E 1 1 F O U N TA I N S O F F R I E S L A N D

Daring to Dream Big TEXT: ISA HEMPHREY

In the winter of 2012, the Netherlands anticipated the announcement of an ice-skating race known as the Elfstedentocht. At the last race in 1997, a crowd of around two million watched speed skater Henk Angenent cross the finish line in under seven hours. For the race to take place, the ice of the entire 200-kilometre canal route around the 11 cities of Friesland must be at least 15 centimetres thick. That year, it was decided conditions were inadequate and the Dutch would have to wait for another particularly cold winter. They are still waiting. The Elfstedentocht is a rarity, since 1909 it has been held 15 times. With the consequences of climate change, how many more cool winters will douse a skater’s feverish optimism? Friesland needed a 76  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

new way to link its 11 cities. So, as part of their bid to become the Capital of Culture 2018, 11 acclaimed artists were comissioned to create 11 distinctive fountains. “The project was primarily conceived as a new, sustainable way to link the 11 cities where once the 11 Cities’ Skating Tour fulfilled this role,” says Claudia Woolgar, creative producer of the Leeuwarden-Friesland European Capital of Culture 2018. Sustainability and the environment are both concepts embraced by the 11Fountains artists. In Sloten, Lucy and Jorge Orta crafted a tower of bronze buckets and tubs overflowing with water. Balancing on top is a bronze boy and girl clutching a peewit, an endangered bird. For Dutch artist Birthe Leemeijer, creator of Dokkum’s fountain, the big issue of climate change will be presented on a human scale to make it relat-

able. Her concrete sculpture is inspired by a photo of an ice formation in the winter of 1963 when even the North Sea froze over. Innovated by the Delft University of Technology, the water of the fountain will freeze and thaw with the weather to create a sculpture that transforms every day with the help of solar energy.

Water and ice Although the gap since the last Elfstedentocht widens, the environmental message of the fountains is not necessarily foreboding. “You know you don’t have to sit around and think about how horrible it is with the planet, that’s not the intention,” says Anna Tilroe, artistic director of 11Fountains. Chinese artist Shen Yuan has created a fountain representing Hindeloopen’s coat of arms: a tree with a stag and doe. This legendary ‘tree

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  11Fountains International Art Project

of life’, recreated by the artist, has been surrounded by locally made giant wooden antlers that act as benches. Similarly, Leemeijer wants to explore our connection with the elements. Therefore, she also proposed to replant the oak trees on Dokkum’s Market that were cut down by Saint Boniface to vanquish the city’s pagan beliefs and establish Christianity in Friesland. “The legends tell that Boniface was cutting the oak down to prove that there was no power in nature and I think you can see this also as a gesture of cutting the very strong connection people had with nature,” she says. The fountains are connected by one element: water. “It’s the source of all life, water is where life begins,” says Tilroe. For Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, the mist over the Frisian fields inspired an unconventional water effect for his fountain in Leeuwarden. “I was very, very touched by the landscape and the strange and beautiful relationship between not only water and air, but the sky and air,” he says. As well as bringing his monumental figurative sculptures to

Friesland, installed around the world, Plensa brought his knowledge of fountain making. His Crown Fountain in Chicago’s Millennium Park displays 1,000 Chicago residents spouting water from their mouths on huge LED screens. “It was my wish to introduce again water in the public space, not as something to be seen but as something to really interact,” he says. Judging by photographs of children playing in the mist at his fountain’s opening in May, this was certainly achieved.

Iepen Mienskip

warden beheld the mist engulfing Plensa’s resin and marble heads at May’s opening ceremony. Technical hurdles were faced by Leemeijer, which is why her ice fountain will be ready later in the year, but there were additional challenges from the community over concerns that partially replacing the Market’s car park with the fountain prevents customers from accessing local businesses. “Not everyone was happy with my proposal, but there are many people who are really excited about the idea that there will be ice in Friesland and in Dokkum,” she says.

What also unites the fountains is held dear to the Frisians and part of their Capital of Culture programme: Community. Each artist was allocated a city and could work with a Fountain Commission consisting of members of the community, or ‘mienskip’ in the Frisian language. “This idea of Frisian identity is very strong here,” says Tilroe. “Here, nothing is anonymous, everybody knows each other.” In Plensa’s case, he initially did not know how to achieve the mist effect. But thanks to a team of volunteers and engineers from the municipality, Leeu-

Tilroe believes she understands these concerns considering the tight-knit community of the cities, one with a population under 750. Fountains after all, in Tilroe’s opinion, are a place for community. Therefore, it was important for her to find artists willing to communicate with the Frisians. “All the artists loved to meet the people and to talk with them and present their concept to them and talk about the location,” she explains. “People are very warm and open to strangers as long as you

TOP LEFT: At the 11Fountains opening ceremony, Birthe Leemeijer carved into a large chunk of ice in Dokkum. Her ice fountain will be unveiled later this year. Photo: Karel Jongsma for Leeuwarden-Friesland European Capital of Culture 2018. BOTTOM LEFT: Stephan Balkenhol’s Fortuna Fountain in the city of Sneek. Photo: 11Fountains for Leeuwarden-Friesland European Capital of Culture 2018. RIGHT: The Leeuwarden fountain displays the first head of a boy Jaume Plensa has created. Photo: Ruben van Vliet for Leeuwarden-Friesland European Capital of Culture 2018.

Issue 54  |  June 2018  |  77

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  11Fountains International Art Project

LEFT: A model of Birthe Leemeijer’s ice fountain to be installed in Dokkum. Photo: Team Horsthuis for Leeuwarden-Friesland European Capital of Culture 2018. RIGHT: British and Argentinian artists Lucy and Jorge Orta’s Peewit fountain in Sloten. Photo: 11Fountains for Leeuwarden-Friesland European Capital of Culture 2018. BOTTOM: Johan Creten’s bat sculpture in Bolsward spews water from its mouth outside the Broerekerk. Photo: Hoge Noorden for Leeuwarden-Friesland European Capital of Culture 2018.

don’t touch their idea of identity.” Choosing Plensa for the project seems obvious given his experience of creating public art in major cities. “I love to work in the public space, from my point of view it’s a kind of a very democratic way to introduce art in the everyday life of people living in the areas,” he reveals. Plensa explains that it takes time for a community to embrace a project like this, but “it’s really beautiful when people feel that this piece belongs to them and they protect and enjoy.” This is a view shared by Johan Creten, renowned ceramic artist and creator of Bolsward’s fountain. “There’s no guarantee that people will adopt the work, that’s always the big question,” he says. For Creten, it was important to retain control of his fountain and not have to compromise. “I think in art, one of the worst things to do is to compromise. So when I accepted to participate in the 11Fountains, it was under the basis that I could make an artwork that I think would fit and would dialogue with the local history and the building.” The church on Broereplein, now in ruins, is where Creten saw the shape of a bat on a façade of the building that inspired his sculpture. His approach may seem risky for creating public art, considering the mixed response to his bat sculpture, but in his view: “that’s the idea”. 78  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

Yet the artists’ outsider view of the 11 cities combined with the commitment of the municipalities in the realisation of the project has been a unifying factor. “In addition, the residents of the cities have said they are learning more about the history of their sister cities through the project,” says Woolgar.

Eyes of a stranger The history of each city is rediscovered through many of the fountains. In Workum, British artist Cornelia Parker enlarged the lions of the city’s coat of arms and placed them on the marina. Made

of Accoya wood by a local artist, water spouts from their claws. German artist Stephan Balkenhol’s fountain depicts a bronze man holding an overflowing ‘Horn of Plenty’ on his shoulder, representing Sneek’s history of prosperity and decline. Harlingen’s fountain by Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla is a lifelike sperm whale near the Zuiderpier that spouts water from its blowhole. American artist Mark Dion chose to explore Stavoren’s fishing history and created a fish sculpture big enough for an adult to stand in its mouth. Japanese artist Shinji Ohmaki found inspiration in IJlst’s stinzen plants, referring to

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  11Fountains International Art Project

objects rotate our solar system, inspired the fountain’s design. The 11Fountains project is part of the ‘Dare to Dream’ aspect of the Capital of Culture programme. “’Dare to Dream’ is about Friesland daring to dream big, to position itself on an international level, despite its size!” says Woolgar. “It is also the storyline with our children’s events, since we should let them dream. The future is theirs.” This was a central theme in Plensa’s fountain depicting a boy and a girl. “They have something that for me is very important, which is a kind of silent conversation with the eyes closed in a kind of dream state attitude,” he says. “They are dreaming surrounded by the mist.”

the city’s horticultural history. Tilroe was often asked why she did not choose Frisian artists for the project, but she theorised that “the eyes of a stranger see different things the people who live there have no knowledge of anymore, they discover how rich their own history is”. This emphasis on history bears another fruit. Tilroe says that the fountains could intensify in meaning and encourage people to create their own stories. In Creten’s particular case, his fountain uncovered a truly unexpected story in Bolsward. Underneath the asphalt where his bat sculpture is now placed, human remains from as far back as the 13th century were discovered during the preparatory digging. This prompted an excavation by archaeologists to uncover the secrets of Broereplein. That a bat will now forever be perched on this site is a fantastic coincidence. In Mayan culture, a bat symbolises darkness, but in Asia it means wealth, and many know of the righteous force of Batman or the terrifying Dracula. It is a creature of many faces. All these elements combined may create what Creten hopes will be a strange location. “Nobody in Bolsward will go to that spot again and not speak about the fact that we’re gliding our cars over the graveyard. And that’s the kind of thing I love,” he says. The story may evolve further due to the sculpture being made of bronze. “Bronze is a material that if people just leave it alone it gets a beautiful greenish patina over the years.

If people touch it, it becomes golden and copper-like,” he says. This is a transformation Creten is certainly excited to see in the future.

Dreaming of the future Who knows what future these permanent fountains will see? For us mere mortals, we must not only wait for the future but should also dream of it and dream big. Astronomer Jan Hendrik Oort, the inspiration behind Jean-Michel Othoniel’s fountain in Franeker, was a big thinker. His hypothesis, that a ‘cloud’ made of billions of comet-like

The Elfstedentocht may be an irreplaceable part of Dutch culture, but what now stands in each Friesian city are the results of community, dreams and discovery. The 11Fountains project presented challenges commonly found in the creation of public art. But, as Plensa explains, “many times when you are working on a new piece, it’s better to dream before even to know if it is possible - because if the dream is fine, it’s always possible”.

To explore each fountain, visit:

TOP LEFT: Shinji Ohmaki’s fountain in IJlst is inspired by Ikebana, a form of Japanese flower arranging. Credit: Simon Bleeker for Leeuwarden-Friesland European Capital of Culture 2018. BOTTOM: Mark Dion’s fish fountain in Stavoren. Photo: Wietze Landman for Leeuwarden-Friesland European Capital of Culture 2018.

Issue 54  |  June 2018  |  79

Discover Benelux  |  Culture Feature  |  Asparagus

The white asparagus season in the Netherlands’ Limburg province TEXT & PHOTOS: STUART FORSTER

St John’s Day on 24 June traditionally marks the end of Europe’s white asparagus season. The soft sandy soil of the southern Netherlands is ideal for growing asparagus and is a factor in why the Limburg province, where two-thirds of the country’s crop is harvested, is one of the continent’s principal producers of the vegetable known to chefs and gourmets as ‘white gold’. Throughout the springtime growing season, the region’s farms regularly transport their harvests to the ZON Auction house in Venlo for sale. A traditional Dutch auction sees that the price to be paid for each lot falls rather than rises over the set duration of bidding. Distributors, restaurants, and food producers compete to purchase the vegetable, whose stalks must be 22 centimetres long. Depending on shape, size 80  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

and colour, the asparagus falls into one of 16 classifications. The highest prices are paid for the coveted, straight ‘AA White’ type, which has a diameter of between 20 and 24 millimetres: this is the type you will typically be served when dining in top restaurants. In the Netherlands and neighbouring Germany, it is the white asparagus that appeals to consumers. Green asparagus tips, which have a stronger flavour, are favoured in the United Kingdom; those are harvested above ground. White asparagus grows below ground in ridges that are labour intensive to shape and maintain, which makes white asparagus more expensive to produce than its green counterpart. Traditionally, harvesting white asparagus begins at the beginning of April. However,

this year’s cold spring weather — which saw freezing temperatures and ground frosts — meant that most farms were unable to send their first harvest to Venlo until after the middle of the month. To satisfy the demand of discerning diners, the tips should remain tightly closed and sunshine should not have coloured the stalks. This involves harvesting before the asparagus is exposed to sunshine — a process that draws approximately 10,000 seasonal workers to Limburg. Astrid Hupkens works alongside her husband Lowie at the Maatschaap Hupkens Neeritter farm near Roermond. She learnt Polish to communicate with the seasonal employees who form their labour force during the asparagus harvest. The couple oversaw the harvest of their first hectare of asparagus in 1990, when a kilogramme

Discover Benelux  |  Food  |  Asparagus

of the crop brought in around six euros. Nine hectares of their land is now dedicated to growing asparagus but each kilo now typically brings in just two euros. “It really was white gold when we started,” jokes Lowie while looking out over a field. Long strips of plastic cover the earth in which the asparagus grows. The plastic is black on one side and white on the other, allowing it to be turned, as required, to deflect the sun’s rays or accelerate the absorption of heat into the ground. Slow-moving wheeled harvesting machines lift the plastic, enabling labourers to cut stalks while progressing along each ridge. “Asparagus is very labour intensive. You need a lot of people to harvest and sort the crop,” explains Lowie. Asparagus is harvested for just ten to 12 weeks each year but the fertilisation, irrigation and formation of the ridges in the field means Lowie has asparagus-related work throughout the year. The plants can be harvested for 12 to 13 years, yielding approximately 10,000 kilogrammes per hectare from the third year after planting. After accounting for wastage during sorting, the Maatschaap Hupkens Neeritter farm typically gets a crop of be-

tween 8,000 to 9,000 kilogrammes from each hectare under production. For the duration of the harvest, Astrid and Lowie also invite a team of local people, most of whom are pensioners, to participate in the sorting process. Harvested asparagus is stored overnight in temperature-controlled boxes containing water, then placed on a conveyor belt for sorting. A laser sensor measures the diameter of each stalk. It is then down to the people to grade the asparagus according to colour, shape and whether or not the tips have opened, placing them in five-kilogramme boxes that are sent to Venlo for auction. Visitors to the region can learn about the asparagus growing process and the importance of agriculture on Limburg’s regional economy at the 26-year-old Musuem de Locht at Melderslo, approximately 10 kilometres north of Venlo. 250 volunteers, many of whom previously worked in farming, provide visitors with explanations and insights into the traditions of farm working in the province that produces roughly two-thirds of all the asparagus grown in the Netherlands. To celebrate that fact, the Museum De Locht holds an asparagus festival on the last Sunday of April every

year. Throughout the year, the museum displays artefacts relating to the evolution of farming and shows a short film about the asparagus production process. For the region’s chefs, the asparagus season brings opportunities to create menus that showcase the ingredient. At the Valuas Restaurant in Venlo, which overlooks the River Maas, Michelin-starred chef Eric Swaghoven and his team serve asparagus in soups, as a snack in the form of bitterballen rolled in breadcrumbs and in the traditional manner, with poached eggs, ham and a butter-based sauce. Meanwhile, at Roermond’s Michelin-starred Restaurant One, chef Edwin Soumang prepares it in dishes made with herbs and vegetables freshly plucked from the restaurant’s garden. Like a clock at a Dutch auction house, time is running down on this year’s white asparagus season. You have until shortly after Midsummer’s Day to try fresh produce from this year’s crop. Or, if you miss the opportunity, you will need to wait until next April. Web:

Issue 54  |  June 2018  |  81

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Columns



Gelatin’s dirty work Brace yourselves - Gelatin are in town. The archdukes of playful interactive artwork arrive in the Netherlands, their new exhibition Vorm - Fellows - Attitude on show at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Love them or hate them, Gelatin are unashamedly direct in their approach to art making. Sometimes this comes across as provocational, or deliberately divisive, but Gelatin bring a warm-hearted openness that never fails to draw a wry smile. The four Austrian artists have pulled off some pretty audacious stunts in the past. In 2000 they shot to fame by secretly building a balcony on the 148th floor of the World Trade Centre. Since then they have placed a 50 metre pink toy rabbit in the Italian alps, constructed a giant nose on the banks of the Danube, and in 2005 exhibited a seven-metre-long icicle made of urine at the Moscow Biennale.

Vorm - Fellows - Attitude is equally as radical and follows a similar excretive path. Amongst the hallowed halls of the Bodon Galleries, Gelatin have created a number of monolithic sculptures of…faeces. Indeed, faeces has somewhat of a famous history within art making, having been used by Piero Manzoni and Wim Delovye in the past. But rather than using it as a tired, subversive metaphor like their predecessors Vorm Fellows - Attitude is a work that captures Gelatin’s infectious, humorous energy and desire to rekindle child-like curiosity. ‘Poop’ is the first sculpture you create as a child, and here it operates as a conversation starter to combat taboos and social convention. Touching the art is welcomed, and visitors are encouraged to put on special costumes made my Gelatin and interact with the work. It is a bold decision, and one that only enhances Gelatin’s reputation as a mystical body.

Vorm - Fellows - Attitude, by Gelatin, courtesy of Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Photo: Aad Hoogendoorn

Exhibition curator Francesco Stocchi sums them up best, comparing them to a bar of soap: ‘as soon as you think you have a grip on them, they slip away from you, leaving their essence in your hands’. Vorm-Fellows-Attitude is on show at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam until 12 August. 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.


Straffe Hendrik Tripel Translate the name of Straffe Hendrik into English and you have ‘Strong Henry’. That is your first indication that this tripel style beer might pack a powerful punch. It is a product of Bruges’ De Halve Maan brewery, run by the Maes family. Over the years, they have had several strong characters known by derivations of the name Henry, hence the name of this product. Henri I took control of a brewery in the centre of Bruges back in 1856. Today, Belgium is widely regarded as a world leader in brewing, yet the second Henri at the brewery’s helm felt compelled to journey to England to investigate brewing techniques. This particular topfermented beer was first served in 1981 at the unveiling of the city’s statue of St Arnold, a patron saint of brewers. The name of the brewery, De Halve Maan, means ‘the half-moon’. The elegant label of this tripel bears an image of a moon with a 82  |  Issue 54  |  June 2018

face. To brewers active years ago, it might have seemed about as feasible to put a man on the moon as it would be to run pipes 3.2 kilometres from a city centre brewery to a bottling plant. Yet in 2016, crowdfunding enabled De Halve Maan to achieve just that, enabling the brewery to remain in the urban core, where it can be visited during guided tours. Its rooftop offers fine views over the city. Straffe Hendrik is a gold-amber beer whose fruity aroma has hints of banana. It has a gentle, rounded, citrusy flavour. It is an easy beer to enjoy on its own or accompanying chicken- or fish-based dishes. Brewer: De Halve Maan Strength: 9.0 per cent Stuart Forster was twice named Journalist of the Year at the 2015 and 2016 Holland Press Awards. Five generations of his family have been actively involved in the brewing industry.


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