Discover Benelux, Issue 56, August 2018

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Your Shortcut to Benelux

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Discover Benelux  |  Contents

Contents AUGUST 2018


24 nightlife, boasting world-class museums alongside innovative exhibitions and regal squares. We present the best of both cities.


Sang Hoon Degeimbre We caught up with Michelin-star chef Sang Hoon Degeimbre, who runs the celebrated restaurant L’Air du Temps in Belgium. By mixing tradition with cutting-edge, and ingredients from the restaurant’s own garden, he manages to unite Belgian and Korean cooking into nothing less than culinary magic. Here, the mastermind chef also uses gardening as a metaphor for managing his young team.




Made in Luxembourg


Amsterdam Summer Special Never is Amsterdam more alive than in summer. We showcase the best of the city centre and, for anyone wishing to escape the swarming city crowds, the lesser known areas Oost, Noord and Zuidoost are not to be missed.


78 Harlingen welcomes the 2018 Tall Ships Race More than 50 tall ships will be docked in the port of Harlingen from 3 to 6 August. These sailing ships are participating in the 2018 Tall Ships Race, which you can read all about in this feature.


80 The National Jenever Museum in Schiedam In recent years, gin has, once again, become a fashionable drink. The National Jenever Museum in Schiedam tells the story of gin’s Dutch cousin and offers visitors afternoon jenever tastings.

Spotlight on The Hague & Utrecht With a picturesque medieval centre, café-lined canals and gabled merchants’ houses, Utrecht is an ideal setting for a city break. And The Hague breathes an ambiance of culture, shopping and

Interview with sculptor Johan Creten Johan Creten has been instrumental in revolutionising the use of ceramics in contemporary art. Naked Roots is his first solo show at Scheveningen’s seafront Museum Beelden aan Zee.

Luxembourg’s gastronomy is international yet proud of its local roots. Our guide includes some of the most exciting products currently coming out of Luxembourg.


Company profiles, regulars and more We look at the month ahead in Benelux business, as well as profiling the companies you need to know about.

A Taste of Flanders Flanders is known for fries, beer and chocolate, yet there is so much more to discover. Take a look at our guide with top food and drink tips, as well as upcoming not-to-miss culinary events.




Fashion Picks  |  8 Desirable Designs Out & About  | 82 Columns

Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  3

Discover Benelux  |  Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Discover Benelux Issue 56, August 2018

Published by Scan Group

Martin Pilkington Matt Antoniak Michiel Stol Myriam Dijck Simon Willmore Steve Finders Stuart Forster Xandra Boersma

Print Liquid Graphic Ltd

Cover Photo Culinaire Saisonnier

Executive Editor Thomas Winther

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

Published 08.2018 ISSN 2054-7218

Creative Director Mads E. Petersen Editor Malin Norman Copy-editor Karl Batterbee Graphic Designer Mercedes Moulia Contributors Berthe van den Hurk Eddi Fiegel Ella Put Eva Menger Karin Venema Lorenza Bacino

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 56  |  August 2018

On cue, August is here and that means lots of things. Probably a holiday in some shape or form for some, with travels to near or far-away places, or perhaps a staycation in our hometown – we cannot complain about the weather in northern and central Europe this year, for sure. It might also mean plenty of exciting outdoor activities and fun events such as music festivals. And, not to forget, it undoubtedly also involves food; perhaps barbeques in the garden during warm summer evenings, picnics in the park with a blanket in the shade and some sweet strawberries and refreshing bubbly, or some well-deserved street food to top up the energy supplies when out and about exploring. In this month’s issue, we serve up some of those delicious flavours. For instance, we catch up with celebrated chef Sang Hoon Degeimbre. With a modern approach to traditions, he manages to blend Belgian and Korean cooking into true culinary magic. Sang runs L’Air du Temps, a fabulous restaurant with two Michelin stars so far, and has also introduced his concept SAN with dishes served in bowls, now in three venues across Belgium. Surprisingly humble, this mastermind uses gardening as a metaphor for cooking and for managing his young team. Continuing on the culinary theme, we also have a splendid guide to Luxembourg, a country known for its fusion of international influences yet with great pride in local produce. Our tasty feature on Flanders certainly does not disappoint either, with top foodie tips, events for the diary, and a special treat for beer lovers who want to explore the national brews. And check out our special feature on jenever, the Dutch cousin of gin, which has once again become trendy. Hope you enjoy our appetising August issue! Malin Norman, Editor


Belgium explained in 7 themes and 200 objects

r it Discove mily! fa with the rs Play-tou for le availab from childrenyears 3 to 12

next to the Royal Palace in Brussels

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks


50 shades of pink Those who think pink is only allowed on 12-year-old girls, are tremendously old fashioned. Pink has been rising in popularity for years now and is a trendy colour this summer. And fear not, it is really not that hard to wear. Let us show you just how. TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA  |  PRESS PHOTOS

Fancy pants They are a little daring, to be honest, but also very on trend this summer: pink pants. Combine them with a simple white tee and trainers or pick a colourful shirt if you want to go all out. €238

Pastel pink Pink can be subtle and chic, as proven by this top. The colour and subtle details make it perfect for a day at the office or a fancy dinner. But wear it with jeans and it will be perfect for everyday wear too. €69,95

Palm tree print If any print is seen a lot these days, it is the palm tree. So you will catch two trends in one with this skirt. Perfect for hot summer days! €139 6  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks

Real men wear pink Honestly, they do. It is all about how you wear it. Like here, for example, with basic shorts. Or team it with jeans and classic white trainers. €49,90

Dress up! Whether for a wedding, a regular day at the office or dinner on Saturday night, this jacket will give your outfit just the right amount of a fancy touch. €230,97

There is always an excuse for new shoes Especially if they look like this. The perfect combination of tough shape and luxurious fabrics. And a little touch of pink never hurt anybody, of course. €125 Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  7

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Desirable Designs


Let the sun shine! If it does not, as may often be the case in Benelux, make sure your interior shines instead. And it will, with items like colourful pillows, scented candles and other sunny accessories. TEXT:XANDRA BOERSMA  |  PRESS PHOTOS


3. Change it up Pillows and cushions are usually found on sofas or chairs, but some are simply too beautiful to be sat on. Decorative cushions are a stylish and an eye-catching addition to any room. €39,95


3. 4. Not meant for eating In spite of what you might think, these plates are not for eating off of. They mount perfectly up on any wall, acting as both a decoration and a talking point for guests. €16,95 - €19,95

1. Trouble sleeping? Try a nice cup of organic chamomile tea before going to bed. It will calm you down immediately. There is a reason why it is called the “wonder tea”. €6,95

5. Eye-catcher The phrase ‘eye-catcher’ could practically have been coined for this sofa. It will brighten up your living room, commanding all attention in a second. As it well should, seeing as how beautifully it has been made. €1.730

2. 5.

2. Smells like summer Everyone can use a little more energy from time to time, especially when it is grey and rainy out. This citrus scented candle will give you that needed boost. €25 8  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

You are unique

so is your Auping mattress

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

Discover Benelux  |  Special Theme  |  A Taste of Flanders


For the love of food Flanders is known for fries, beer and chocolate, yet there is so much more to discover. The region has an impressive number of Michelin-starred restaurants, but also fabulous street food. Take a look at our guide with top food and drink tips, as well as not-to-miss culinary events. Enjoy the flavours of Flanders! TEXT: MALIN NORMAN  |  PHOTOS: VISIT FLANDERS

10  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

Discover Benelux  |  Special Theme  |  A Taste of Flanders

For such a small region, Flanders has one of the world’s highest densities of top-class eateries, with 97 Michelin-starred restaurants showing gastronomic craftsmanship of the highest level. However, food lovers can also find phenomenal dishes outside of Michelin restaurants. Chefs take their influence and inspiration from exceptional regional produce, and distinctive crops like endives, asparagus and the hop shoots allow them to get creative.

Take to the streets Mouth-watering, delicious and without pretension: what you see is what you get with street food. The frietkot, or fries stand, is a permanent fixture in many bustling squares, where people from all walks of life

and all nationalities come to enjoy a taste of the golden fries, cooked to perfection and traditionally served in a cone. Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and covered with condiments like creamy mayonnaise – is there anything more satisfying than fries?

Craving something sweet? The delicious waffle was actually invented here. Follow your nose to find the vendors cooking the batter until golden, and choose the topping of your choice: a simple sprinkle of sugar or a more decadent finish. Flanders is also home to some of the world’s finest chocolatiers and is often referred to as the capital of chocolate. Two of the world’s biggest chocolate factories, Callebaut and Puratos, are located here. Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  11

Discover Benelux  |  Special Theme  |  A Taste of Flanders

TOP FOOD AND DRINK TIPS We asked Visit Flanders for their top five foodie tips: Cuberdons The cuberdon is a typical sweet from East Flanders made by Confiserie Geldhof. The cuberdon has to be eaten fresh, otherwise the shell becomes too crispy. RoomeR The elderflower-flavoured drink from Ghent is ideal as an aperitif, cocktail or even as an accompaniment for dessert. RoomeR is 100 per cent natural Belgian craftsmanship. ‘t Dreupelkot This small jenever pub in the heart of Ghent has more than 200 kinds of Bel-

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY: Bollekesfeest 17-19 August, Antwerp The Bollekesfeest festival showcases the Antwerpen’s best assets. The spotlight is on culinary Antwerp and its regional products, plusa “Bolleke Koninck”, or a De Koninck beer. The atmosphere is fun, with local musicians performing in the various squares. You can also explore the city by going on themed walks or bike tours, or taking a boat trip.

gian jenever, a number of which are homemade, like the world-famous vanilla version. Groot Vleeshuis The former butcher’s hall in Ghent offers a wide variety of East Flemish regional products, and the restaurant serves traditional dishes freshly made with local products. Waterzooi Waterzooi is a classic stew from Flanders made of fish, chicken or vegetables with herbs, eggs, cream and butter, and usually served as a soup with a baguette to sop up the liquid.

Hasselt Jenever Festivities 20-21 October, Hasselt During the third weekend in October, jenever flows freely in the centre of Hasselt. On Saturday, drinks are on the 'Borrel Man' who changes water into jenever, and on Sunday, the traditional waiter competition is held. Visitors can take part in the jenever walk or take a ride on the jenever tram. Music fills the streets, adding to the atmosphere.

EAT! Brussels 6-9 September, Brussels A gastronomic gathering arranged for food lovers and gourmets. Here, visitors can discover a hundred or so different food outlets, restaurants, bars, sweets and savoury stalls, plus demonstrations by great chefs. Whether you are with the family or among friends, this will certainly an experience not to be missed. Kookeet Bruges 29 September – 1 October Bruges' top chefs show off their culinary talents. In addition to delicious dishes, visitors can also enjoy cooking demonstrations and plenty of atmosphere. Kookeet is the place to be for anyone who wants some top-quality gastronomic pampering. Each year, more than 100,000 food-lovers visit this culinary festival. 12  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

Kookeet. Photo:Tom Leentjes

For more culinary tips, take a look at

Hasselt. Photo:

Discover Benelux  |  Special Theme  |  A Taste of Flanders

FOR BEER LOVERS: Museum of the Belgian Brewers The rich tradition of Belgian beer is kept alive at the Brewery Museum. Visitors are shown implements, brewing and fermentation tubs, a boiling kettle and the materials that were found in an 18th-century brewery.

Brewery De Koninck right after the war and his father’s untimely death. He led the brewery for more than 50 years. Modeste also means modest, and that is why only small Belgian brewers are invited to this festival. ModesteBierFestival

Bruges Beer Museum The Bruges Beer Museum is set up on the upper floors of the former post office building on the Market. With an iPad mini as a guide, you can discover the most fascinating aspects of beer (and that includes trying some).

Belgian Beer Weekend 7-9 September, Brussels The Belgian Beer Weekend has been dedicated entirely to the national beverage. Throughout the weekend, numerous small, mid-sized and large Belgian breweries will have a wide selection of their products on offer. Here, you can discover the various types of beers that give Belgium its well-deserved reputation. Modeste Beer Festival 6-7 October, Antwerp The Modeste Beer Festival pays a tribute to Modeste Van den Bogaert. He joined the

WE PRESENT OUR PICK OF THE FOOD AND DRINK BRANDS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IN FLANDERS: WIJNEN DE CLERCK/ Wijndomein ENTRE-DEUX-MONTS Wijnen De Clerck is much more than just a wine shop; the store near Kortrijk is like a discovery trail for wine enthusiasts. Read more on page 14

Confiserie Geldhof For over 60 years, Geldhof has been producing cuberdons – a typical Belgian sweet – in its hometown of Eeklo, following a secret recipe dating back to 1873. Read more on page 20



Belgian chocolate, probably the best combination of words. In Erembodegem, Belcolade produces some of the best chocolate in the country. Read more on page 16

Vondelmolen is the largest gingerbread manufacturer in Belgium and produces nearly 300 varieties of gingerbread. Read more on page 22

Philip’s Biscuits

Bakkerij Van Hoorick

In the 1920s, there were around 20 biscuits factories in Antwerp. Most factories have disappeared, but the craft remains at Philip’s Biscuits. Read more on page 18

Belgian Bakkerij Van Hoorick is a true family business where bread and pastries are made with love and a lot of knowledge. Read more on page 21

Acker & Go Distillery

Huize Timmermans

Inspired by Italian grappa and using leftover fruits, Acker & Go Distillery creates a colourful collection of uniquely flavoured spirits. Read more on page 21

In the small town of Rotem-Dilsen, are fields and more fields of grapes. The best wines are made here, by Huize Timmermans. Read more on page 22

Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  13

Discover Benelux  |  Special Theme  |  A Taste of Flanders


Wijnen De Clerck is much more than just a wine shop. Located in a onehectare warehouse near Kortrijk, Belgium, the store is like a discovery trail for wine enthusiasts. Reminiscent of a stylish, minimalistic library, its wooden cabinets allow customers to browse at ease through nearly a thousand different wines. Selling both to individuals, businesses and restaurants, the shop has knowledgeable sommeliers who help its customers select the best wines. Specialising in lesser-known domains, Wijnen De Clerck has many labels in its collection that are hard to get outside of their home region. Manager Bert De Clerck says: “Our main priority is selecting good quality wines for a fair price. We have an important selection of renowned brands but the fo14  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

cus lays on family-run businesses. A few of our wines are available in Belgium or even Europe exclusively through us.”

Belgium’s best sparkling One of these unique brands is Sula from India. Set up in 1999, the vineyard is located near Nashik, about a hundred miles north-east of Mumbai. “We are always open for wines with a different story from outside the classic wine regions, such as this one” he adds. Another label that embodies the approach ‘think globally, act locally’ is Belgian brand Entre-Deux-Monts (Between Two Mountains). Located in the panoramic hillsides of West-Flanders, the wine estate straddles the Red Mountain and the Black Mountain, which inspired the name. They specialise in sparkling wine made according to the ‘méthode traditionnelle’.

Martin Bacquaert and his father from Entre-Deux-Monts.

Discover Benelux  |  Special Theme  |  A Taste of Flanders

“It was set up by a young entrepreneur whose father was a wine merchant. He planted the seeds of his passion by growing the first vines in 2005 on a sundrenched piece of land belonging to his grandfather. Among their successful wines, they won the title ‘Best Belgian Sparkling’ three times with their Wiscoutre Brut and Bacquaert Brut.” Manager Bert De Clerck has one message for yet-to-be-convinced consumers, “Visit the wine estate and try the wines, meet the grower and see how he works. Discover the history of the place and the wine, and you’ll see, you’ll be surprised!’

One bottle, 18 litres Wijnen De Clerck’s perfectly climatised ‘library of wines’ includes bottles from all the traditional regions in Europe, as well as Latin America, South Africa, India and New Zealand. They especially pride themselves on their selection of castle wines from 130 domains in Bordeaux. Bert: “We also offer different bottle sizes, such as six, 12 and 15 litres. We even have a 18-litre Bordeaux, also known as a ‘melchior’, which is great for clubs, big

family events and weddings. These sizes are quite rare and hard to come by.” Furthermore, Wijnen De Clerck has a huge selection of Madeira wines, which covers many years. Their oldest one is from 1834 which was on cask for 200 years and was only bottled in 2000. “A typical present is a Madeira wine from someone’s birth year. Because it is a fortified wine, an opened bottle will keep for at least one or two years. I have one that I opened nearly four years ago, and it’s still fine and I bring it out on special occasions,” he says.

The case that started it all Wijnen De Clerck was founded in 1972, when Bert’s father, Paul, came home from a trip abroad with several bottles of wine. From this first case, he slowly started to build his wine business. By now, the second generation has taken charge, as Bert runs it with his sister Emanuelle. Their father’s passion for wine certainly passed down to them, and they have both completed various wine courses in Belgium and abroad to keep at the top of their game. “We are a young and mo-

tivated company. We don’t want to be the biggest, but we strive to be the best,” Bert adds. Constantly expanding their list of wines, the company follows a strict selection process for new labels. Before one is accepted, they will visit the vineyard personally to see the production process and, of course, taste the wines. He says: “We make sure we do the tasting at a neutral location, like here in the store, so we can judge the wines objectively.”

Personalising your wine While a bottle itself already makes for a wonderful gift, Wijnen De Clerck offers custom-made packaging. Specially aimed at relationship gifts for businesses, they can print personal messages and logos on the packaging. Made-to-order, the bottles can be sent to any postcode in Belgium. Their professional sommeliers will guide you through their Kortrijk store and Wijnen De Clerck is happy to host wine tastings for small groups at request. The wines are also available by the bottle via their webshop and they ship to various locations around the world. Web:

Wijnen De Clerck can arrange wine tastings for groups

Get a Madeira wine from your birth year.

Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  15

Discover Benelux  |  Special Theme  |  A Taste of Flanders

For the love of chocolate TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK  |  PHOTOS: BELCOLADE

Preserving the heritage of real Belgian Chocolate is their biggest goal. The family recipes are still in use and perfected over the years, but the company also safeguards the future of chocolate with their sustainable cacao programme.

Belgian chocolate: probably the best pairing of words. Its reputation has always been one of great taste and superior quality. In the village of Erembodegem, Belcolade, the real Belgian chocolate brand of Puratos, produces some of the best chocolate the country has to offer.

Sustainability as win-win

Belcolade was founded in 1988 and has remained a family business. The owners’ love for chocolate is much more than always pursuing the highest quality ingredients and achieving superior taste.

Puratos’ sustainability programme is called Cacao-Trace. It has all the required parts of sustainable certification, but with an additional element. The fermentation of the cocoa beans is fully under the control of the company. It is just as great wine de-

16  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

pends on how its grapes are fermented, the more expertly fermented the cocoa beans, the better the final chocolate will taste. In post-harvest centres close to cocoa farmers, expert fermenters monitor and improve the fermentation process and check the quality of the cocoa beans. This ensures Belcolade Cacao-Trace chocolate will have a consistently exceptional taste. Laura Remory explains: “Our sustainable cocoa sourcing programme (consistency) is an added value for everyone. From growing the cocoa to the end customer,

Discover Benelux  |  Special Theme  |  A Taste of Flanders

everything is done with a long-term perspective. This is how we improve the taste of our chocolate; by increasing the quality of the ingredients in our chocolate.” Also, elaborating on the close relationship with the farmers, Laura continues:“at Belcolade we love long-term thinking and good partnerships. The farmers are trained and educated on growing the best quality cocoa beans and preserving the fragile ecosystem.”

Per kilogramme of chocolate sold, ten cents goes back to the farming communities. It is comparable to one or two extra months of salary each year. “The love for chocolate ensures the future of chocolate,” says Remory. “By creating value with better tasting chocolate and sharing that value back with cocoa farming communities, we believe we increase the durability and build on a sustainable future for chocolate.”

The chocolate bonus

Puratos has close and long-term relationships with farmers in Vietnam, IvoryCoast, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea. The goal is to expand to more countries every year, however, only if it can be done as a long-term partnership.

For chocolate famers, it can be difficult to provide a good life for their families, and children of the farmers often decide to work elsewhere to make more money. On the other hand, the global demand for good quality chocolate is increasing by the day. “Therefore, we chose to not only pay the Cacao-Trace farmers a premium for good quality cacao, but also to give an additional chocolate bonus.”

Shades of chocolate Besides the strong investment in sustainable production and looking for the world’s best chocolate, Belcolade also

hosts workshops for professionals such as pastry chefs, culinary artists and others involved in chocolate. Remory: “We demonstrate chocolate techniques for professionals, teach them new recipes and we are always innovating.” The latest book Bleu Chocolat illustrates 100 pieces of chocolate art that will blow your mind, the work of Belcolade chocolate genius and artist Stéphane Leroux. “It is all about the survival of the profession and the love for chocolate,” adds Remory. “Chocolate is so much more than only white, brown and dark chocolate. There is a richness and complexity about it that has more than three shades. We want to share that with the world.” Web:

BOTTOM RIGHT, MIDDLE AND LEFT: Chocolate art by artist Stéphane Leroux, from the book Bleu Chocolat.

Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  17

Discover Benelux  |  Special Theme  |  A Taste of Flanders

The “Antwerpse Handjes” from Philip’s Biscuits TEXT: MALIN NORMAN  |  PHOTOS: PHILIP’S BISCUITS

Cookies come in all shapes and sizes. You can make them yourself, delicious and fresh from the oven. Or you can get them from a traditional bakery, which knows the true art of this craft like no other. And where better to go than to “Antwerpen Koekestad” (Antwerp’s Cookie Town)? In 1870, Edward De Beukelaer started a biscuit factory in Antwerp. In the 1920s, there were around 20 biscuits factories in the area: imagine how delicious the city smelled at that time! Most factories have disappeared, but the craft remains at Philip’s Biscuits. 18  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

Philip’s Biscuits is run by Ann GoetgebuerPainblanc and her son Maxim. Their two cookie shops in Antwerp are known for their wide assortment of artisanal biscuits, so called speculoos and many other delicious treats. “What has been established over many years at Philip’s Biscuits is very precious,” says Goetgebuer-Painblanc. “And this will never change. But we want to expand and would like to introduce more people to Philip’s Biscuits. In new premises and via shop-in-shop experiences.” The expansion plans have started and the third shop will open in Mechelen. But the old recipe for cookies is still pre-

served. “This remains our focus. Maxim completed a cooking degree and worked

Discover Benelux  |  Special Theme  |  A Taste of Flanders

for some great chefs, and now he makes our cookies in the traditional way together with some experienced bakers. The old recipes remain, but we also want to offer new creations, for example salt cookies and a larger assortment of chocolate cookies.”

Story of the giant In the two charming shops, with an ambiance that harks back to last century, there is always a bowl of delicious cookies for customers to taste. Make sure to try the Antwerp hands (Antwerpse Handjes). These cookies, in the shape of a hand, have been a typical regional product of Antwerp since 1934. The little hand refers to the legend of the giant Druon Antigoon, who demanded a high toll from the ships that passed by on river Schelde. Boatmen who refused to pay the toll lost their right hand, which the giant chopped off and threw into the river. The Roman hero Silvius Brabo challenged the giant, killed him and chopped off his right hand. The story is fortunately in stark contrast to the delicious taste of the Antwerp Hands. “The recipe consists of sugar,

butter, flour, egg and almonds,” explains Goetgebuer-Painblanc. “We can’t deviate from this but we can give it our own twist. Of course we can’t reveal the secret, but our Antwerp Hands are very light and full of flavor.” Amongst school children, tourists and regular customers, the Antwerp Hand is a favourite of many. But Philip’s Biscuits is also known for its other delicacies; different speculoos, butter biscuits, almond bread, fennel and ginger cookies, angel bread, and many other treats. So if passing by, make sure to explore the assortment.

Handmade cookies All cookies are made according to traditional methods. “It’s important to use only ingredients of the best quality for our cookies. The baking process is very strict, everything is made by hand, insight and a lot of passion for the product. No cookie looks exactly the same, and you will be able to see and taste the result.” The shape and taste of the cookies, as well as the cosy atmosphere and friendly service in the shops, are somewhat complemented by the beautiful packaging.

Every effort is made to enhance the customer experience, and there are special cookie boxes and gift boxes available. This makes the cookies the perfect gift for yourself or a loved one. As Goetgebuer-Painblanc concludes, “we are also happy to work out promotional gifts for companies and, around the holidays, we offer a gift box with nice coffee or tea cups, of course with a delicious assortment of cookies. No wish is too crazy, customer service and quality is our top priority!”

Korte Gasthuisstraat 39 2000 Antwerpen Opening hours: Monday-Saturday 10.00 to 18.00

Oude Koornmarkt 8 2000 Antwerpen Opening hours: Monday-Friday 10.00 to 18.00 Saturday-Sunday 11.00 to 19.00


Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  19

Discover Benelux  |  Special Theme  |  A Taste of Flanders

Cuberdon, the nose-shaped treat TEXT & PHOTO: GELDHOF

The cuberdon is a typically Belgian sweet. It is a dark-red sugary cone with a surprisingly crunchy exterior, giving way to a deliciously soft centre. And it is nose-shaped, hence the popular name of “neuzekes” (little noses). The original cuberdon has a raspberry-flavoured filling, but now you can also enjoy Geldhof cuberdons in other flavours — like apple, blueberry, strawberry, orange, chocolate or lemon. In 1939, 14-year-old Antoine Geldhof (1925-2012) began working at a large confectionery factory in the Ghent area, where he was taught the 19th-century cuberdon recipe by the inventor’s grandson. After the birth of his eldest son Tony Geldhof, Antoine established ‘Confiserie Geldhof’ in the town of Eeklo. After finishing his studies, Tony Geldhof learned the tricks of the trade, from cleaning drains to managing the company. Today, Jo Geldhof, the 3rd generation in line, is managing the company and creating new export opportunities. He aims to fulfill the factory’s dream to merge the two production sites into one site in one location in the future. For over 60 years, Geldhof has been producing cuberdons following a secret recipe dating back to 1873, in its hometown of Eeklo (Province of East Flanders, Belgium). Geldhof cuberdons are made with gum arabic (the hardened sap of the acacia tree). When the Sahel region was struck 20  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

by drought in the 1980s, production was briefly threatened by a gum arabic shortage. However, the company continued its steady growth year after year.

Local product became a national craze These traditional cottage-industry cuberdons are a true delicacy and are officially recognised as a traditionally local Flemish product. Since this recognition, a cuberdon craze in the lovely city of Ghent has grown to cover Belgium as a whole. With a production of over 400 tonnes, Confiserie Geldhof is currently the undisputed market leader. Geldhof also produces ‘snowballs’. Created a century ago, this regional product consists of a light vanilla, coffee, chocolate or speculoos centre, fully coated in delicious Belgian chocolate and a thin layer of icing sugar. The ideal

sweet treat for any occasion, especially during the winter! Geldhof also proposes a range of derived products such as Cuberdon crunch, Cuberdon syrup and marshmallows. In addition to the cuberdons in their many colours and flavours, the Geldhof assortment also includes the one and only genuinely sour sweet, an agar production line, without forgetting the tender Fruity Mellow Cubes. All those sweets can be eaten by children and none of them contains alcohol. In addition, the Agar production line contains no animal fat. Cuberdons and snowballs are genuine regional products, and have been for over a century. However, Geldhof’s ambition is to make them known all around the globe. A nice way to make the world a little sweeter!


Discover Benelux  |  Special Theme  |  A Taste of Flanders

The best of bread Bakkerij Van Hoorick is a true family business where bread and pastries are made with love and a lot of knowledge. Yet, it could also serve as a bright look into the future. With its delicious classic pastries – some filled with the famous Belgium chocolate – and tasty, crispy bread made from scratch, Bakkerij Van Hoorick offers up the perfect mix of craftsmanship and experience. “Our strength lies in the fact that we work with only the best of ingredients. Our aim is to make each pastry a delicious and goodlooking treasure,” co-owner Jade Strobbe explains. Known for its long heritage, the bakery was originally founded in 1855 and has been run by the family since then. And with time comes knowledge and, of course, craftsmanship. “The place of production lays in the back of the store, where we work day and night to create a product of quality. This makes a big difference and is how we differentiate ourselves,” Strobbe explains. Just a stone’s throw away from the bustling city of Antwerp, customers with a sweet tooth


or a love for bread can find the cute little bakery in the town of Melsele. The mouth-watering pastries in the shop’s window, the authentic history and their sophisticated way of working creates a unique atmosphere in the bakery situated in the Belgium countryside. The bakery is run by Jade Strobbe and her partner Thomas Van Hoorick, alongside a team of passionate employees. “We have a clear vision for the future; to create different services and products where even the smallest details are made with the greatest love for the profession. And we want to reunite different skills under one roof, for example working with a butcher.”

Follow Bakkerij Van Hoorick on instagram @bakkerijvanhoorick

Leftover fruits turned into high-quality flavoured spirits TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA  |  PHOTOS: ACKER & GO DISTILLERY

Inspired by Italian grappa and using fruits that are either strangely shaped or leftover for another reason, Acker & Go Distillery creates a colourful collection of uniquely flavoured spirits. In October 2016, Alfred van Acker and Hilde Goosses started their own distillery. Their first product was a gin called Gybergh 42. Their recipe includes elderberry, lavender and hyssop, certainly not your everyday gin, with a flowery, fruity taste and a spicy aftertaste. “It’s ideal as a digestive or aperitif and, of course, as part of the classic gin and tonic,” Van Acker explains. “But the Gybergh is also perfect for food pairing. Have you ever tasted an oyster with a few drops of gin? The combination of the salty oyster and fruity gin is amazing.” Combining food and spirits is not new for Van Acker; it originated in his youth. “My father had a vineyard and this is where the idea arose

for our new product, an Eau de Vie made out of locally produced fruit and press remnants. We wanted to make our own version of the Italian grappa.” The goal is to have the collection of Eau de Vie ready this autumn. “We use leftover fruits, like pears in rare shapes or apples with spots on them. But also leftovers from people with fruit trees in their gardens. The most important thing for us is that the fruit is organically obtained, we don’t want to add pesticides in our bottles.” Does this sound enticing to you? Well then Van Acker has some good news: “Soon, we’ll be hosting tours and tastings at the distillery, and food pairings will play a big part in this.

We want people to get to know the unique taste of our products.” Web:

Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  21

Discover Benelux  |  Special Theme  |  A Taste of Flanders

“So much more than breakfast” “Most of us would think that soft gingerbread is either for breakfast or just a simple snack. “But you can do so much more with it. We have some amazing recipes for soups, stews and tiramisu,” smiles Kris Henderickx, product and marketing manager of Vondelmolen, the largest gingerbread manufacturer in Belgium. For five generations, the mill where it all started has been in the hands of the Born family. It started out as an oil and grain mill and after it was burned down in the Great War, it was rebuilt and the gingerbread production commenced. “The process may be modernised, but the recipe is

still very traditional,” explains Henderickx. “And it has remained a family business. Even during World War II, the family made sure their employees had a job and got paid so that they could take care of their families.” Nowadays, Vondelmolen produces nearly 300 varieties of gingerbread, including under their own name, Henderickx explains. “It’s not just the traditional gingerbreads anymore; we also produce gingerbread with fructose, fruit, chocolate and much more. But all are based on the original recipe that has been in the family for many generations.” The diversity of soft gingerbread is what makes it so great, according to Henderickx.


“Our gingerbread is a renowned regional product. But each region has its own traditions for eating gingerbread and that comes with some surprising recipes. Soft gingerbread can be used for so much more than a healthy breakfast. It’s a treat with every meal.”


Passion for wine since 1978 In the small town of Rotem-Dilsen, hidden away in peace and quiet, are fields and more fields of grapes. The best wines are made here, by Huize Timmermans. As one of the pioneers of Belgium viticulture, Huize Timmermans knows its wine. In the fields in the middle of Flanders, wines like Chardonnay, Kerner, Müller-Thurgau en Würzer are made. Jan Timmermans explains that his passion for wine arose in 1978. “It started with fruit wines, made out of old apples. Soon, I had an orchard with 48 kinds of apples and grapes.” Huize Timmermans wines have an exquisite taste. Partly because the owner has been experimenting with ingredients for many years, but also because the wines are unfiltered. “That way, the original aroma is kept.” By blending different kinds of wines, Huize Timmermans developed De Maaslander. A remarkable mix of apple and grape wine, combining their sours, aromas and tastes into a 22  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018


natural balance of flavours. “We put the wine in a cold cellar and let it age for months. Both will get mixed and bottled delicately. This whole process is done manually and results in a fruity wine with a high level of aroma.” This is just one example of the time and hard work put into experimenting, and has resulted in exclusive wines that can be difficult to get hold of. However, visitors are also very welcome at the vineyard. Here, they can see the different kinds of trees in the orchard and hear all about the vines. Visit the website to make an appointment and experience the unique taste of Huize Timmermans.


Discover Benelux | Section | Sub section


The UFO UFO -- ASTRAnomically Astranomically Delicious! The Delicious! TEXT: : JOKE BOETS


Who else fondly remembers the UFO sweets from their childhood? The UFO-shaped sweets made from edible paper filled Whosherbet, doesn’t remember the UFO sweets theirinchildhood? The South UFO-shaped sweets made from edible filled with with are as popular as ever. And from not only Belgium. From Korea to Canada, everyone lovespaper this sweet! sherbet, are as popular as ever. And not only in Belgium, from South Korea to Canada: everyone loves this sweet! Nobody knows this than better than the Nobody knows this better the confectionery confectionery manufacturer Astra manufacturer Astra Sweets, Sweets, located in Turnhout inlocated the north of Antwerp. in Turnhout in the north of Antwerp.

The UFOs has increased The production production of ofthe the UFOs increased significantly over the years. significantly over the years. “A “A fantastic fantastic achievement achievement which where we we can can be be very very proud proud of,” of,” says Vanherpe, CEO CEO of says Filip Filip Vanherpe, of the the Astra Astra Group. Group. “This “This sweet’s sweet’s growth growth comes comes mainly mainly from from abroad. There is large demand from abroad. There is large demand from countries countries such suchasasSouth SouthKorea, Korea,South SouthAfrica, Africa, Canada Canada andand thethe US.” The UFO has US.” The UFO has thus given given Astra Astra Sweets Sweets a unique positionposition in the a unique confectionery market. in the confectionery market. The UFO sweets on The first UFOappeared sweets first the market in 1950, appeared on the market but their their history in 1950, but history goes goes back much further. back much further. The sherbet-filled The for sherbet-filled wafers have been around more than 60wafers years. have been around for by more than 60 The format was originally used pharmacies The format wasmedicinal originally powders. used by as years. a way of administering pharmacies as a way of administering Later, the medical ingredient was replaced medicinaland powders. medical by sherbet the waferLater, from the edible paper ingredient was replaced by sherbet, and became the UFO we know today. the wafer from edible paper became the UFO the we UFO knowcontinues today. That way, to have a positive

Did the you way, knowdid thatyou youknow can eat UFOs lotseat of By that you incan different ways? If you want a sour explosion, UFOs in lots of different ways and that the put the whole in your Ifmouth at once. If method differs sweet per country? you want a sour you would like something a little less intense, explosion, put the whole sweet in your mouth at let it melt gently on your tongue. Or,intense, if you once. If you’d like something a little less prefer a combination of the two, bite your UFO let it melt gently on your tongue. Or, if you prefer in half, shake the powder into your mouth a combination of the two, bite your UFO in half, separately, and theninto eatyour the edible shake the powder mouthpaper! separately and then eat the edible paper! Astra Sweets is a major player in the confectionery active inin the Astra Sweets sector. is a They majorareplayer the international confectionery market withintheir confectionery sector. They are active the brands Frisia®confectionery , Sweet Paradise, andwith a large (inter)national market their number of private labels. The company’s brands Frisia®, Sweet Paradise, and arange, large which is of made up of a variety gummy sweets, number private labels. Theof company’s range, pick & mix, liquorice, marshmallows, UFOs and which is made up of a variety of gummy sweets, foam sweets, is sold almost all over the world. Pick & Mix, liquorice, marshmallows, UFOs and foam sweets, is sold almost all over the world.

effect, especially on your mood! In 2012, the In 2012,sweet the UFO-shaped was UFO-shaped was declaredsweet a Flemish declared a Flemish regional product. regional product. 00 | Issue 00 | Month 2018

Discover Benelux  |  Special Theme  |  Made in Luxembourg


Outstanding local produce Inspired by its neighbouring countries, Luxembourg’s gastronomy is international yet proud of its local roots. With a long farming heritage, the country has nothing but outstanding local produce resulting in tasty wines, liqueurs and beers, delicious meats and charcuterie, and mouth-watering bread, pastries and sweets. TEXT: MALIN NORMAN  |  PHOTOS: VISIT LUXEMBOURG

Photo: Pâtisserie Hoffmann

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Discover Benelux  |  Special Theme  |  Made in Luxembourg

Farming heritage On the one hand influenced by Germany, France and Belgium, Luxembourg’s gastronomy is also authentic and reflects a way of living. With a long tradition in farming, the country is characterised by agriculture, and cereal crops are widely cultivated. The mills guarantee a high quality of grind, appreciated by bakers and confectioners in particular. And the healthy and tasty meats exceed European quality criteria. Among the greatest culinary delicacies of the Moselle valley are pike in a Riesling sauce, fried fish and home-smoked ham. The best-known speciality of the Ardennes is, of course, Ardennes ham, which is

served almost everywhere with bread as ‘Hameschmier’. Another treat is “eauxde-vie” or noble brandies, as varied as the plants and flowers themselves that produce these delights, and as varied as the drinkers’ tastes.

Photo: Maison viticole Schmit-Fohl

Luxembourg is also an unknown paradise for beer adepts. Besides three large breweries boasting a long tradition, a handful of micro-breweries have been set up in recent years, thus creating a market for craft beers. The local brewers are specialists in white or lager beers, but have expanded their range in recent years to introduce special beers like fruit beers, light beers or non-alcoholic beers. Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  25

Discover Benelux  |  Special Theme  |  Made in Luxembourg

Photo: Musée National d’Art Brassicole

FOR BEER LOVERS: National Brewery Museum In Wiltz, the National Brewery Museum (Musée national d'art brassicole) is housed in the old stables of Wiltz Castle. The exhibits give a glimpse into the long history of beer making and the exciting evolution of beer culture in Luxembourg. Here, visitors can discover the fascinating world of water, hops and malt in a whole new light. Guided tours with beer tastings are available on request.

Big Beer Company In this restaurant, you will find all the elements of the famous Oktoberfest: beer served in one-litre tankards, Bavarian culinary specialities and, above all, a festive atmosphere. Visit the brewing rooms and see the copper boilers at Brauerei, then follow the beer production process through huge plate-glass windows. This year’s Oktoberfest at the brewery takes place 20 September to 10 November. 26  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

Photos: Big Beer Company

Since the creation of the label “Made in Luxembourg” in 1984, 880 companies have been authorised to label specific products and services.

Photo: Musée National d’Art Brassicole

For more information about the Made in Luxembourg label, go to

Discover Benelux  |  Special Theme  |  Made in Luxembourg

Luxembourg’s finest tasting vegetables TEXT: LORENZA BACINO  |  PHOTO: LËTZEBUERGER GEMÉIS

The Kirsch family has been growing and selling vegetables throughout Luxembourg for five generations. “My great grandfather began farming in 1830 and my parents decided to concentrate only on vegetable production,” explains Claude Kirsch, who runs the current venture along with his parents. Produce is grown across four hectares and in 3,000 square metres of greenhouses. “We produce over 20 types of salad,” says Claude, “including batavia, butterhead, oakleaf and six varieties of salanova.” Salad fillers, such as rucola, and Asian mizuna, which, according to Claude, tastes a bit like rucola and mustard, are also available. Whatever can be grown in Luxembourg is found at this family farm. The cycle of the seasons ensures that customers will find a rich variety of vegetables all year. “We’re as close as we can to being fully organic. It’s

important to respect the best time for things to be grown.” The family maintains international contacts from whom recommendations on new types of vegetables are received. Do not hesitate to ask for advice on how to cook anything new. Everything is tried and tested at home first. “I encourage clients to try new things. Chilli, for example, you need to understand how to add it to recipes. I grow 15 varieties of chilli and some of the hottest in the world.” More than 50 different varieties of pot herbs are sold to the retailer ‘La Provençale’, who

sells them to restaurants, caterers and airlines within a range of 300 kilometres around Luxembourg. The Kirsch family vegetable range can be found on Wednesday and Saturday mornings in Luxembourg’s main market in town. Customers can buy directly from the farm from mid-March to mid-December on Wednesday afternoons between 16h and 19h.


Lëtzebuerger Geméis 301, rue des Sept Arpents “Neien Duderhaf” L-1149 Luxembourg Tél.: (+352) 43 35 79 E-Mail:

Quality Children’s Products with a Difference TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL  |  PHOTO: GOLDSTECK

When it comes to creating accessories for babies and children, nobody has a better understanding of what will work and what will not, than a mother of two. This was the original story behind Goldstéck – a family business which has fast been making a name for itself as one of Luxembourg’s top boutique brands for babies, children and their parents. “As a mother to be,” says founder Laure, “I did not want to resort to the usual children’s accessories, but wanted to offer my child something special and personal. With a few ideas in mind I sat down at my sewing machine and soon completed my first creations. As a mother of two vibrant young children, you know what can be useful in your everyday life.” As Laure began producing beautiful, highly individual accessories for her children,

her brother Pit suggested that other parents would welcome the opportunity to buy them and, a business was born. Goldstéck now produce high quality, handmade accessories for not only children, but also adults, ranging from stylishly designed bibs and bicycle baskets made from organic, ethically sourced cotton, to limited edition backpacks and one-off design handbags. There are also innovative creations such as the ‘Bed Pockets’ – cotton pockets which are tied onto the sides of a baby’s cot allowing them to reach their dummy or favourite toy

themselves, and the best-selling ‘Aua! Huesi’ – a soft bunny with a pack inside which can be used hot or cold (from either the fridge, freezer or microwave) for children to use as a comforting compress for aches and pains. The range also includes customised gifts and seasonal products, and all products are available to customers throughout Europe. Web: Facebook: goldsteck Instagram: goldsteck

Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  27

Discover Benelux  |  Special Theme  |  Made in Luxembourg

The sweet smell – and taste – of success TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON  |  PHOTOS: PÂTISSERIE HOFFMANN

Luxembourgers like the fine things in life. Master pastry chef and entrepreneur Jean-Marie Hoffmann has built a very special business that aims to provide the finest. In his youth, Jean-Marie Hoffmann dreamed for a time of becoming a surgeon, but decided that such a life was not for him. Given the meticulous attention to detail demonstrated in his creations, his growing business empire, and his tireless drive to improve both, it is very possible he would have made a mighty medic. The path the now 51-year-old Hoffmann chose was to become a great pastry chef, learning his craft with some prestigious names before deciding that it was time to 28  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

launch his own operation. “I looked seriously at Venice Beach in California as an option, but it wasn’t right for me or what I do.” He wondered about Dubai too, but finally saw that home was best. “Luxembourg has great gastronomic traditions, it’s an ever-more prosperous place where people are willing to pay for the best, and where they appreciate what top quality is,” says Hoffmann, “Like the French, eating well is a part of our culture, our heritage.” Thus, in 1991, he opened his first shop in Bonnevoie, making a name and setting it on the firm financial footing that enabled him to open a second, in Alzingen, in 2001. Making a name for himself included, in 1996, coming second in the pastry-chef world championships in Par-

is, the perfectionism that yielded that result reflected in the products in his shops – ices, sorbets, chocolates, delicate pastries, gâteaux… “We set the highest standards, and use the best materials, including flour and fresh cream and milk from Luxembourg; but we also search the world for the topmost quality ingredi-

18 Avenue de la Porte-Neuve L-2227 Luxembourg.

Discover Benelux  |  Special Theme  |  Made in Luxembourg

ents, like cinnamon from Sri Lanka, and Madagascan vanilla.”

(News) bombe surprise For some people, that relatively simple business would have been enough, especially as it evolved into what is very much a family concern: “My wife has been very important to the company since the start, and my daughter Kelly joined after she became a master pastry-chef. And now my son Dustin is working on the marketing side,” he says. But M. Hoffmann had other ideas. As 2017 ended, it was announced that his company was acquiring the 16 shops, restaurant and production premises of long-established Luxembourg rival Schumacher, investing 16 million euros into upgrading their facilities. “We changed overnight from around 30 employees to 230,” he states, “And to be able to achieve what we want to do with the business, we expect to increase that to 280 or 300 before too long.” The bakery business is known for its anti-social hours, but to integrate the two parts and oversee the new investment

projects Jean-Marie Hoffmann has gone further, actually installing a camp bed in a windowless broom cupboard next to his office in his new production facility in Wormeldange, and spending most nights there.

Fresh ideas, fresh investment, fresh products Even early in the process, the signs were positive, sales good, and a good reaction from the workforce was evident. Because of the nature of what they produce, this is something that takes a very special approach – and Hoffmann is appreciative of production director Michael Weyland. “The scale of the operation, with 18 shops, and many catering companies and other outlets in addition, could be seen as industrial,” Hoffmann says, “But this has to be artisanal, what we do is a craft with so much done by hand, reliant on human skill rather than machinery.” And Hoffmann has no intention of losing what has always been – and remains – the trump card of his business: “If I have a new idea, if we come up with a new product

say, we can make it happen – and at the highest level of quality – within the day.” It’s a philosophy that matches the nature of the business. In the restaurant, the mouth-watering menu du jour is now truly du jour, changing daily and using the best seasonal produce. The wraps, sandwiches, quiches and salads that form the savoury basis of the traiteur business are truly fresh. The chocolates beneath their glass counters in the shops are miniature works of art, the great classics occasionally joined by new creations; and it is the same too with the pastries, handmade, as enticing on the shelves as they will be later in the day on the tables of Luxembourg’s discerning diners. The whole team is working tirelessly, and it is working successfully too. And they share a vision: “Our goal is to be one of the big names in our sector, not just in Luxembourg but beyond too,” Hoffmann concludes. Web:

CEO Jean-Marie Hoffmann.

Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  29

Discover Benelux  |  Special Theme  |  Made in Luxembourg

All in the family: Jos and Jean-Marie – a very traditional boulangerie patisserie TEXT: LORENZA BACINO  |  PHOTO: BOULANGERIE JOS & JEAN-MARIE

Jos and Jean-Marie Neuberg are two brothers with a passion for healthy, wholesome mouth-watering cakes, patisserie, bread and viennoiserie. Their boulangerie has been around for the past 16 years and prides itself on adhering to its artisanal methods. “We work with people, not machinery,” says Jean-Marie. “Our clients want our handmade products made with fresh milk, fairtrade chocolate and quality butters. It’s good oldfashioned, traditional baking, free from artificial colours and flavours. That’s why our products are so tasty and we promote the ‘Made in Luxembourg’ brand.” Whether it is traditional bread, patisserie for a special event, a bespoke christening or birthday extravaganza, anything is possible.” Our viennoiserie is really special,” continues Jean-Marie. ‘We only use free-range eggs and milk, and we let the pastry sit for about 20 hours before we

complete the product. We do our utmost to select the best ingredients to ensure our cakes are the best that can be. This is why our clients come to us again and again. We’re very basic in that regard, but we do have a wide choice and we know our trade inside out.” Jos and Jean-Marie and their specially-trained team provide their products for sale across 15 distribution points in Luxembourg, so there is sure to be one near you if you pay a visit. And if you have a family event - a birthday, a christening or a wedding, check their website and Facebook (links below) for details of where to find JJM products. 4, Zone Industrielle 9166 Mertzig Tel: +352 889286 Fax: +352 889156 Email:

Web: Facebook: JosJeanMarie

Schmit-Fohl: traditional winegrowing with a modern twist TEXT: LORENZA BACINO  |  PHOTO: MAISON VITICOLE SCHMIT-FOHL

The family-run winery Maison Viticole Schmit-Fohl lies in the heart of the picturesque village of Ahn on the banks of the Moselle river. Armand Schmit and his son Nicolas are the 10th and 11th generations of winegrowers in the family – a tradition that dates back to 1792. Armand and his wife Patrizia took on the mantle in 1985 and have built upon the vision of preceding generations by adding their own personal touch; never compromising on the quality of the product, the soil or the vine. “Our business model is based on three edicts: authenticity, sustainability and quality,” explains Armand. “We respect the vines, the earth and the cycle of the seasons by growing vines that will thrive on our soil. We always seek to maintain harmony between science and craft and we want future generations to be able to do the same. Allowing each plot of 30  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

land to evolve over the seasons and express itself is how we obtain the best quality and the most authentically structured wine.” The Schmit-Fohl wines are a delicate balance between dry and fruity. Visitors to the estate can enjoy them in the 1862 vaulted-ceiling cellar and in the tasting room with its warm and welcoming atmosphere. “We value the human dimension of what we do, our family business and the privileged contact we have with our clients. That’s how relationships are built that are inextricably bound to the pleasure our clients take in tasting our different products and the pleasure we take in producing them. Our wines are a true reflection of who we are.”

Group or individual wine tastings are available upon request.

Maison Viticole Schmit-Fohl 8 Rue de Niederdonven L-5401 Ahn (+352) 760231 Web:

Discover Benelux  |  Special Theme  |  Made in Luxembourg

The Jewel in Luxembourg’s Organic Crown TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL  |  PHOTO: DUDEL-MAGIE

What we eat and where it comes from has never been more important. So believes Marc Emering, whose farm produces the award-winning DudelMagie organic chickens and spelt pasta, which you can find in some of Luxembourg’s best independent delis and food shops. The farm, which has been organic since 2004, also has a farm shop open to the public and has even had a visit from the Prime Minister of Luxembourg. The pasta is made from organically produced spelt which can be grown in Luxembourg, rather than the durum wheat used in largescale, commercially produced pasta. Dudel-Magie’s popular specialities include garlic-flavoured pasta, saffron flavoured tagliatelle, green seaweed pasta and three-coloured fusilli, all made using organic herbs. Before the pasta however, came the chickens and, indeed, the eggs! For Emering, Dudel-Magie is more than just a business. Born and raised at the

farm, he is the third generation of his family to run it and, in 2008, he decided to convert it from what was primarily a dairy farm to an organic chicken farm. A few years later, in 2013, there happened to be a surplus of eggs which were considered unsuitable for sale in supermarkets and major retailers, as they were either too small or too large. Wondering what to do with so many eggs, the idea of creating the pasta was born and as spelt can be grown locally in Luxembourg, Marc had the idea of creating the spelt pasta. The farm is now entirely free of pesticides and harmful chemicals, so nothing is genetically modified or harmful to the food chain and, thanks to eco-friendly solar panels, the farm is also energy efficient. The farm has won numerous awards for its eco-friendly and organic credentials, such as the Bio-Agrarpräis and Food Excellence Award, and prides itself on its ethos. “For us, sustainable agriculture is more than just a style of production,” says Emering. “It’s an essential way of life and a vital part of the farm’s future.”

Dudel-Magie’s artisan pasta and organic chickens can be bought direct from the farm shop in Sprinkange, which is less than an hour’s drive from the centre of Luxembourg and is open to the public on Saturday mornings from 9.30 – 12.30.

Dudel-Magie Rue de la Croix 4998 Sprinkange, Luxembourg


Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  31

Photo: Miguel Degroote

32  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Sang Hoon Degeimbre


Crossroads of flavours Celebrated Michelin-star chef Sang Hoon Degeimbre pushes the boundaries of gastronomy. With exceptional local ingredients from his own garden, a surprising innovative approach and heaps of culinary magic, he unites Belgian and Korean cooking. TEXT: MALIN NORMAN  |  PHOTOS: PIETER D'HOOP

Sang Hoon Degeimbre is considered one of the best chefs in Belgium and is frequently featured in international press such as Food and Wine Gazette, Star Chefs, and Fine Dining Lovers. In 2016, he was named Chef of the Year by the Gault & Millau restaurant guide, thanks to his poetic and creative cuisine, and his outstanding restaurant L’Air du Temps has earned two Michelin stars so far. Described as creative, sophisticated and also atypical, Sang mixes tradition with cutting-edge, and certainly puts Belgium at the forefront of international gastronomy. The chef explains that France is still a big influence in Belgian cuisine, yet the country is at the crossroads of Europe and he works to refresh the old concepts. “Tradition is really important, as it’s part of our roots,” he says, and continues: “but if you don’t have modernity, it’s not possible to transmit that tradition.”

to extract flavours, but techniques exist to serve nature and I still believe that taste is more important than looks.”

The constant gardener… L’Air du Temps is the brainchild of Sang and Carine Nosal, a gastronomic restaurant in Liernu in the Belgian countryside. In the middle of the fields, the restaurant sits on a property with five hectares of garden, an old barn and a few luxury rooms for guests to stay the night in, if they so wish after an unforgettable dining experience. Here, Sang expertly fuses farm-to-table cuisine with contemporary culinary techniques.

Under the guidance of chief gardener Benoît Blairvacq, a dedicated team of gardeners cultivate vegetables and herbs for the restaurant. “When I started this restaurant 20 years ago, I was amazed by the terroir. But it’s a big challenge to have an all-year-round garden,” admits Sang. “In this part of the world, we have six months without vegetables. So we harvest from June to November, and then complement by foraging and picking wild herbs and vegetables, as well as preserving for the months without harvest.” The restaurant has around 1.5 tonnes of fermented vegetables, a necessity and,

In his surprising creations, Sang pushes the boundaries and is often praised for his approach. He focuses on fantastic produce and richness of flavours, yet with modern techniques and appearance. The selftaught chef says: “when I started cooking 20 years ago, I had to be open-minded in order to understand what cuisine was really about. I started using different methods Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  33

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Sang Hoon Degeimbre

according to Sang, also in line with his South Korean heritage. “It was a really poor country some 20 years ago and we had to take care of the richness of the ground, so preserving and fermenting was reality.” The chef also highlights the importance of consciousness, sustainability and anti-waste, and explains that the restaurant uses new cooking methods, something he also discussed when invited to do a TED talk a few years ago. “Every month, we cook for more than 1,000 people and want to produce our own energy. For instance, we use old leaves from the garden, which contain 80 per cent water, for steaming lobster and meat.” To mark its 20th anniversary, the two Michelin-star restaurant has been transformed and a new chapter has begun for Sang and his talented team. The new dining room oozes tranquillity and calmness, with a view of the surrounding fields. There is a closer connection between the garden and the restaurant, bringing the guests even closer to nature. “We want people to actually see the garden and be able to understand how our work respects the seasons.”

…and citizen of the world Sang certainly is a modern man, with an international outlook inspired by his diverse roots. Born in Korea, at the age of five he was adopted by a Belgian family. 34  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

“I’m Korean born, a Belgian man and a citizen of the world,” he says. Having first trained as a butcher, Sang worked as a wine sommelier for many years – which he believes has shaped his culinary identity and sensitivity – before eventually starting his own restaurant, L’Air du Temps. Often invited to speak about cooking in different parts of the world, over the years Sang has also explored different approaches and produce. A way of mixing elements from his Asian roots with experiences from travelling was through SAN, now in three different venues. The concept is more approachable with dishes served in bowls, yet still with focus on quality produce and the same cooking techniques. “The content of the bowls is an homage to my trips’ influences.” With four restaurants and some 50 employees in total, Sang returns to the garden concept to explain his management style. “My teacher is my garden,” he says and elaborates further on the metaphor. “When you have a garden, you mix different plants and spices. Each plant can be useful for the others. It’s the same in the kitchen, we are all different plants with different characteristics. In the same way that the gardener has a good eye and understanding of every plant, a chef needs to understand each and every member of his staff.” Sang smiles and admits: “work-

ing with a young team of chefs, you really need to put your ego to the side.” With the latest transformation of L’Air du Temps, the chef and his team are in a good position to claim a third Michelin star, which would be a historic event in Wallonia. “Our work is important every day, regardless of stars, but this would of course be a fantastic honour for the team and their motivation, but also for Belgium.” L’air du temps Rue de la Croix Monet 2 5310 Liernu SAN Bruxelles Rue de Flandre 19 1000 Brussels SAN Sablon Rue Joseph Stevens 12 1000 Brussels SAN Gent Brabantdam 50 9000 Gent

Follow Sang on Instagram for more on his culinary adventures around the world: @degeimbresanghoon.

Photo: Culinaire Saisonnier

Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  35

Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam City Centre Highlights


Discover your Amsterdam Never is Amsterdam more alive than in the summer. And just outside of the city centre, the northern, eastern and south-eastern parts of Amsterdam are the perfect spots for anyone wishing to escape the swarming city crowds. Blend in with the locals in the industrial and creative hub that is Amsterdam Noord and its surrounding waterfront, go vintage shopping in Amsterdam Oost, or get lost in the cultural melting pot of Amsterdam Zuidoost. TEXT: MALIN NORMAN  |  PHOTOS: NBTC AND AMSTERDAM MARKETING

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Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam Highlights

Photo: Koen Smilde

Amsterdam City Centre Read more from page 41 With its cobbled streets and scenic canals bathing in sunshine, the centre of the Dutch capital is the perfect setting in which to lose yourself in a maze of cafés and restaurants, world-class museums and peaceful parks. Where better to start when exploring Amsterdam than Dam Square? With its stunning classical facade, the Royal Palace (Koninklijk Paleis) dominates. Another not-to-be-missed square is Rembrandtplein, particularly if you want to witness, or partake in, some serious partying. And of course the Canal District is everything people expect of Amsterdam: a watery wonderland of iconic canals. The city has over 100 kilometres of canals, the main three being Prinsengracht, Herengracht, and Keizersgracht.

Amsterdam Oost Read more from page 46 Middle Eastern lunchrooms next to cocktail bars, pop-up concept stores next to world-class restaurants: Amsterdam’s East End is a dynamic mix of diverse places and faces. With its wide streets boasting beautiful 19th century buildings, Amsterdam Oost is remarkably green and boasts a disproportionate amount of cultural sights and activities. The area

Beurs van Berlage.

is home to the majestic Tropenmuseum, which, in 1871, was the first colonial museum in the world. Do not skip the Dapperbuurt with its famous Dappermarkt, where bargain shoppers will feel right at home. Looking for some peace and tranquility? Venture somewhat more east for the beautiful green Oosterpark – the first major park built by the city of Amsterdam in 1891.

Amsterdam, Royal Palace.

Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  37

Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam City Centre Highlights

Photo: Marie-Charlotte Pezé

Art Arena Boulevard. Photo: Koen Smilde

Amsterdam Noord Read more from page 51 Laid back waterside hangouts, interesting industrial street art, creative startups: Amsterdam Noord is booming for a reason. Although just a short and free ferry trip away, the northern part of the city has a very different vibe than the nearby city centre, boasting vast green expanses alongside charming little villages, all combined with industrial-looking areas with beautiful terraces and fine restaurants and cafés. The adjacent NDSM Wharf – a former shipyard – is an extension of Amsterdam 38  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

Noord and located on the banks of the River IJ. It has grown into an enormously popular cultural hotspot in recent years by being the backdrop for cool festivals and cultural initiatives such as open-air cinemas and food-truck festivals. If you are looking to get away from the tourist crowds and have a cold drink among the locals while overlooking the scenic IJ River, head north.

Amsterdam Zuidoost Read more from page 51 Amsterdam Zuidoost is a vibrant cultural melting pot, with residents from more than 150 ethnic backgrounds. The area is often unrightfully overlooked by tour-

Photo: Koen Smilde

ists, something that definitely contributes to the authentic feeling of the neighbourhood. Alongside hosting the big residential area De Bijlmer, which was built in the 1960s and ‘70s, Amsterdam Zuidoost also offers a world of entertainment. Famous sports and entertainment venues such as the Amsterdam ArenA (the home of football club Ajax), the Heineken Music Hall and the Ziggo Dome are based in Zuidoost, as is the largest cinema of Amsterdam. If you have had enough of the city’s narrow and crowded streets and would prefer to meet the real locals, Amsterdam Zuidoost is where to go.

Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam Highlights

Photo: Koen Smilde

DO NOT MISS: IJ-Hallen Bargain hunters and shopping lovers unite: IJ-Hallen is Europe’s largest flea market, set on the NDSM Wharf near the IJ River. The market is held one weekend per month and sells almost everything: from second-hand clothes, shoes, antiquities, jewellery, books, and even furniture. Gaasperplas The best part about escaping the city centre? The green spaces. This artificial lake in Amsterdam Zuidoost serves as a recreational area and nature reserve that is made for summer picnics. With more than five kilometres of paths, you can explore the park by foot, bicycle or horseback. Dappermarkt This market is the place to do some very inexpensive shopping, with most products selling for just a few euros. With 250 stands and 160 merchants, Dappermarkt sells everything from clothes, shoes and jewellery,

to (exotic) foods and flowers. Although the market is one of the busiest in the city, the relaxed atmosphere has not changed over the past few years, and you will find mainly locals here. Tropenmuseum Hosted in a beautiful majestic building overlooking Amsterdam’s Oosterpark, this museum tells stories about universal human themes like celebration, prayer and conflict. It has interesting exhibitions all year round. PLLEK One of the many trendy hangouts on Amsterdam Noord. PLLEK is a restaurant and bar built of used shipping containers and exudes the feeling of a beach holiday. On warm summer days, PLLEK feels like a mini summer party, thanks to its beautiful ambiance and cool vibe. To get there, take the ferry from Centraal Station.

Photo: Marie-Charlotte Pezé

Media Markt Arena Boulevard. Photo: Koen Smilde

Start planning your trip to Amsterdam now, at

Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  39

Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam City Centre Highlights

LEFT: ‘The Virgin Sophia’ from the manuscript Geheime Figuren der Rosenkreuzer (before 1785). MIDDLE: Image from Utriusque cosmi historia by Robert Fludd (1617).

Resurrecting rejected and neglected knowledge TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  PHOTO: EMBASSY OF THE FREE MIND

Take a journey through the minds of ancient philosophers, scholars and scientists at the Embassy of the Free Mind in Amsterdam. Open your eyes to wisdom of all ages, from all over the world, and find new insights into nature, the human mind, the divine and the cosmos. The museum and centre for culture, events and free thought encompasses the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, a collection of more than 25,000 books about Hermeticism, mysticism, gnosis, alchemy, Rosicrucians and Kabbalah. Located at the House with the Heads, the Embassy of the Free Mind gives visitors access to this stunning, 17th century city palace. Its name refers to the building’s facade with the heads of six Roman gods. “Both our collection and the House with the Heads carry the DNA of free thinking. With its history of freedom of press,

Amsterdam has been a centre of tolerance and free thinking for over 400 years,” says director Esther Ritman. Upon entering, it is like stepping into the world of Dan Brown’s mystical novels, filled with symbolism, secret knowledge and occult philosophies. This is no coincidence, as the best-selling author consulted the collection for his books, financed the digitisation of the core collection and opened the new museum last year.

to the imagination and reveals universal wisdom. In our museum, we bring them close by storytelling and ‘teaching by images’.” She continues: “We hope that the rejected and neglected knowledge and wisdom that is contained in our books will fire the minds of our visitors and make them realise that we all have our own wisdom. Wisdom connects everything with everyone. The question is: how do we apply that wisdom to our life?”

The museum displays rare books, unique artwork and 200 drawings taken from its extensive book collection. They present the authors’ ideas with fascinating visuals, intricate graphics and curious symbols. One example is the illustration by Robert Fludd from 1617 that depicts the human mind, as different segments expand out of a man’s head in the drawing.

Open from Wednesday to Saturday, the Embassy of the Free Mind offers daily guided tours and hosts regular cultural events and talks. Visitors can pre-order and study items from the book collection (some under supervision) or relax at the museum café.

“This visual language is one many of us don’t know anymore, but it appeals


Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  41

Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam City Centre Highlights


In the Middle East, hummus has been part of the cuisine for ages. “It’s such a healthy and tasty food and we want everybody in Amsterdam to experience our passion for it,” explains Arama of d&a hummus bistro. “It’s part of our DNA.” In search of a new adventure, and due to their love for hummus, Arama and her partner Adi Goldberg started d&a hummus bistro in 2015. “We opened our first bistro in 2015 in Jordaan, a neighbourhood that fitted perfectly with what we want to bring to our guests: a lively and cosy place where everybody is welcome.” Soon after, they opened their second location on Oostenburgergracht in Amsterdam East, right across from ‘t IJ Brewery. “The vintage furniture gives it the authenticity of a Middle Eastern street-food bar.” “Hummus has everything you need nutrition wise, and it is very sustainable to produce,” she continues. It is full of proteins and a real treat for people who are either vegan or veg-

etarian. All hummus dishes are served with free salads and home baked pita bread. You can also choose to have a side dish such as falafel, roasted eggplant, baba ganoush etc. or one of the many warm dishes such as shakshuka, couscous, kebabs and more. And you can order from a selection of fine natural wines and boutique beers. “It can be overwhelming to choose, so we have our a bit of this & a bit of that option, where you can taste everything from the menu. Guests often come back for that,” Arama smiles.

An explosion of flavours “All the different flavours make them special,” says Bastiaan Schaafsma of the Pancake Bakery, the oldest pancake house of Amsterdam and located at one of the most beautiful spots in town. “Like our pancake with bacon, apple and syrup — savoury on the one hand and sweet on the other — it’s an explosion of flavours,” he smiles. This foodie hotspot is located in a narrow 17th century Dutch East India Company (VOC) warehouse on the Prinsengracht, called ‘Hope’. The building is one of three; the one on the left is called ‘Faith’, the one on the right, ‘Love’. “We have a terrace right next to the canal, and when the sun is out, you have an amazing view.” The Pancake Bakery opened its doors in 1973. The Schaafsma family lived above it and in 1980, Bastiaan’s parents took over. On the menu are 75 different pancakes, including gluten free and some vegan options. “More would be too much to choose from, but guests can really have anything they want.” They are all 42  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

“We just want you to feel at home in our bistro, as if you are a guest at our house, enjoying high-quality food and our love for it.” Westerstraat 136 Tel: 020-3416487 Oostenburgergracht 185 Tel: 020-7371676



made with the Pancake Bakery’s own batter. Bastiaan: “My father wanted a batter which always has the same quality. With his brother, a food engineer, he created his own in a laboratory. Nobody has the same batter as we do.” And the guests love it so much that the Pancake Bakery has been awarded multiple awards on review websites such as TripAdvisor. “We are very proud of that, that people love the thing we love to make. The recipe may be simple, but the result is divine.”


Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam City Centre Highlights

LEFT: The name ‘American Hotel’ refers to the previous hotel that stood here, which had been set up according to the American model in 1880. RIGHT: In the 50s, Café Americain was already a celebrity meeting place where Amsterdam came together; now it is an iconic café for everyone, with a beautiful view of the Leidseplein.


As one of Amsterdam’s last purposebuilt grand hotels, the American Hotel Amsterdam offers a unique journey back in time. The stunning turn-of-thecentury building is richly decorated and has a spectacular Art-Deco interior with contemporary touches. For over 100 years, the hotel has turned a visit to Amsterdam into an unforgettable stay. Léon Dijkstra, CEO of Eden Hotels who own the American Hotel, says: “For guests who buckle under the hectic pace of Amsterdam, we want to offer an escape; a place to rest, relax and eat and drink well. The American has everything to meet these needs, and more.” Located on the Leidseplein, the hotel is close to the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh museum, the Vondelpark and the centre. Dijkstra says “It is the perfect starting point for all Amsterdam sights. You step right onto a tour boat at the front of the hotel, shopping is possible in the

Leidsestraat and PC Hooftstraat, all the museums are nearby and the most famous theatres and (pop)music venues are right next to the hotel.”

Americain is so unique in Holland because almost everyone has a story with it. Many people’s parents met here for the first time, or had their first student dinner here.”

Completed in 1902, the building was Amsterdam’s first hotel with modern architecture in Art-Nouveau style. The geometric facade was decorated with eyecatching tableaux of animals and plant life, and has kept its charm for over a century.

With a strong focus on personal service, no request is too much for the hotel. He says: “Our starting point is that we renounce the word ‘no’. We try to read every guest’s needs, and how we can best serve them. A nice example is the personalised cocktail. If a guest wants it, we create a cocktail for them just the way they like it.”

After many refurbishment and upgrades over the years, the rooms now include all the modern comforts and have a striking interior mixing Art-Nouveaux and contemporary design. He adds: “The American is the Grand Old Lady in a new dress. The hotel is steeped in history and in this setting, at the same time we want to offer guests a contemporary experience.” The hotel cafe, still at its original location, features a stunning decor with geometric Art-Deco lampshades and original 1930s oil paintings. Dijkstra explains: “The Café


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Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam City Centre Highlights

Tropical vibes in the centre of Amsterdam TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA  |  PHOTOS: KIRSTEN VAN SANTEN

You will notice when the sun is out in Amsterdam – not just because of the sun itself, but because Waterkant will be packed. This is the largest sun terrace in the city centre, where locals and tourists hang out by the water – relaxing, enjoying a cold drink. When visiting Waterkant, it may be hard to picture that this used to be abandoned territory. A place behind a petrol station where you would not want to be after dark. Now, it is quite the opposite. Colourful lights are dangling above the water, just like the legs of the people who are chilling by the edge. “It was a shame that the area was neglected for so long,” owner Brian Fernandes says. He discovered the location. “I used to go there with friends, bringing my own beer and food, and thought ‘why not give more people the possibility to enjoy this’?” Fernandes visited Suriname on a regular basis. “They have a 44  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

place there where different cultures come together. I wanted to create a place in Amsterdam where everybody feels welcome.” That place is Waterkant. The Surinam inspiration is well represented on the menu – roti, saoto soup and chicken masala – and beer to enjoy together at the long picnic tables. “We hoped that the communal tables would make people who don’t know each other start talking – and they do.” Penders ensures that there is something for everyone on the menu: “It’s important for us that all cultures can come together here. That’s why we also serve burgers, Heineken beer and bitterballen. We’re not in Paramaribo, after all, we’re in Amsterdam.” As of last year, Waterkant also has its own beer brewed by a fellow Amsterdam based business: Brouwerij ‘t IJ. The beer is called Biri and has a tropical taste. According to Fernandes, it is “a craft beer

that’s sweeter and lighter than a regular craft beer – perfect for hot summer days.” Every Friday and Saturday night after 11, we push aside all tables and a DJ will spin some records. This September, Waterkant celebrates its fourth anniversary with a three-day festival called Friyari. “The vibe is amazing; it’s going to be a great party!”


Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam City Centre Highlights

Amsterdam West’s Restaurant Remise47 – edgy, industrial and vintage TEXT: LORENZA BACINO  |  PHOTO: REMISE47

Edgy, industrial, urban and vintage – everyone is very welcome to enjoy the sunny terrace, bar and boardroom of urban bistro Remise47 in Hotel De Hallen in Amsterdam. The food is French-international and alternates with the seasons. Steak tartare or sirloin steak, salads or hamburgers. Enjoy your visit with friends or family, or why not bring along your laptop and be inspired by the surroundings. A drink or a cocktail, tasty bites or a quick snack,

all paired with suitable wines. The sunny terrace too, provides the perfect setting for a special family or corporate event. The urban bistro is built within an old tram depot in hip and happening Amsterdam West. With its large sunny terrace, guests can enjoy a delicious breakfast or extended lunch with colleagues or friends. Attracting business and leisure travellers alike, the properties of the Vondel Hotels collection including Restaurant Remise47 all bear

the blueprint of hotelier and founder, Arjen van den Hof. His vision is one of creating extraordinary interiors through the juxtaposition of contemporary and historical features. And true to his aim, the atmosphere remains familiar and the hospitality always outstanding.

Bellamyplein 47 1053 AT Amsterdam t: +31 (0)20 8 208 675 e:

Opening hours: 7 days a week Restaurant 07.30am - 10pm Bar until 1am



Raising the bar of fine dining in Amsterdam TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  PHOTOS: DISHTALES

He earned his stripes working at star restaurants and putting together culinary concepts. Now, chef Michiel van der Eerde has combined his business knowledge and passion for food to open his own restaurants in Amsterdam. After the runaway success of Baut, he has added two more concepts to his portfolio and will not rest until every guest of his goes home feeling satisfied. Well-known in the Dutch culinary scene for his appearance on the television show Masterchef Holland as a judge, Van der Eerde has incredible drive for his work. This is visible in the way he runs his three restaurants, Baut, C and Zuid. “They are my own restaurants, I don’t 46  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

have any partners so I make sure I am present every day, either stopping by or being in the kitchen.”

tional newspaper, this project was Van der Eerde’s baptism of fire in the competitive Amsterdam restaurant scene.

From dinner to an evening experience

“We opened at the height of the crisis with a pop-up concept that was the first of its kind in Amsterdam. It turned out that this really attracted people and within half a year everyone knew about it,” he said.

After working at multiple star restaurants in the Netherlands, and setting up culinary concepts at IQ Creative for 12 years, Van der Eerde decided it to take matters into his own hands. “I wanted to be able to make the final call on things, and you can’t do that with a boss,” he says. In 2012, this resulted in the opening of Baut – a temporary bar and restaurant combining fine dining with a cultural experience. Originally located on the Wibautstraat, in a former office of a na-

A culinary circus on the move The strength of Baut lies in its straightforward menu of classic dishes with unusual twists that are perfectly suited for shared dining. This, in combination with an unusual setting, music and cultural events, makes a dinner at Baut a unique experience. After one to two years, Baut packs

Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam Oost Highlights

up, changes locations and reinvents itself somewhere new. “Every year we are located in a different part of Amsterdam in an unusual, unused building. We have been in a vacated V&D department store, a former Citroen car garage and an empty conference building.” This January, the ‘moving circus’ of Baut relocated in an old chapel in Amsterdam West.

chefs, involving them in the whole process. C has a international appeal, and we serve star-worthy food.”

Heading south

the success of the business. “Many of the team managers started at the bottom as food runners and worked their way up,” he says.

Then, most recently, Van der Eerde added restaurant Zuid to his portfolio. Located in Amsterdam South, which gave it its name, the restaurant offers visitors a glimpse behind the scenes into Van der Eerde’s style of home cooking. Designed like a cosy living room, the restaurant immediately gives you a feeling of being at home.

He says that this approach trickles down to the dining experience of the guests: “One of the best compliments we can get, is when guests say that they can see how much the staff are enjoying their jobs. When the team is happy, this releases such a huge amount of positive energy, that our guests feel it too.”

From Baut, Van der Eerde went on to opening restaurant C three years later. The name stands for ‘Celsius’, as guests are taken through different cooking temperatures. The menu is grouped into different temperature ranges, to allow guests to discover how little changes in the preparation affects flavour, texture and taste.

“The restaurant is like an extension of my home. We serve accessible, recognisable dishes at an excellent price-quality point. It is a very friendly, warm place, and this level of fine dining wasn’t around before in this neighbourhood.”

You can find Baut on the Spaarndammerstraat in Amsterdam West, book a table at C on the Wibautstraat in the east of the capital, or have a meal at Zuid on the Stadionweg in Amsterdam South. Visit the websites for bookings and more information about their culinary and cultural events.

“It was something that didn’t exist yet,” says Van der Eerde, “It starts at the bar really, which is in the middle of the restaurant alongside the big open kitchen. Here, guests will be served directly by the

Van der Eerde has found that the team is the most important factor in making a restaurant a success. Constantly aiming to improve, Van der Eerde tries to involve every one of his 120 members of staff in

Turning up the heat

Zuid. Photo: Jaap Beyleveld

Baut. Photo: Janneke Nooij

A team effort





Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  47

Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam Oost Highlights

Combining luxury and sustainability TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA  |  PHOTOS: TODAYSBREW

288 hotel rooms, of which ten are suites and one is a luxury suite. That might not sound like the most nature-friendly hotel. But it is. QO Amsterdam was built in a completely new way – circular and sustainable. A truly unique way of eco travelling – the luxurious way. When thinking of eco travelling, luxury is not the first word that comes to mind. Which is why the team at QO Amsterdam wanted to make a change. “Design and lifestyle go very well with sustainability,” general manager Inge van Weert explains. “It’s a new way of luxury: five-star service and top comfort.” Towels are produced using GOTS-certified cotton, carpets are made of recycled fish nets, they bottle their own water and aim for zero waste. The building is specially designed to reduce environmental impact. The floor to ceiling windows, for instance, are a great example of this. “Because of these, 80 per cent of our light is natural daylight. And the walls are made out of re48  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

cycled concrete derived from the old Shell tower in Amsterdam.” After all, waste is not necessarily waste, as is QO’s motto. “It’s raw material that has great potential to be turned into something else,” Van Weert says. For instance, into a unique, luxurious, sustainable hotel with a wellbeing studio and the best possible guest experience.

guests, as well as visitors of the restaurant and bar, that they find it a great place to stay, for work or to enjoy some time off. Which is exactly what we had hoped for. We want everyone to walk out with a smile on their face.”

But QO Amsterdam is not just a hotel. On top of the 21st floor is the Greenhouse. Here, the hotel grows its own edible flowers, cresses and herbs, to be used in the dishes served in the restaurant and the cocktail bar. “You see; this is not just a hotel. We wanted to include our neighbours as well. So we created Dutch eatery Persijn on the ground floor and kitchen Garden & Bar Juniper & Kin on the 21st floor. That way, everyone in Amsterdam can enjoy this new concept.” And responses are overwhelming, according to Van Weert. “We’ve heard from hotel


Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam Oost Highlights

Enjoy Dutch food at its best TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA  |  PHOTOS: TODAYSBREW

A focus on healthy food, locally produced vegetables as the main ingredient of each dish, surprising recipes and pure sauces without heavy cream. This is the innovative cuisine of Dutch eatery Persijn. “It might surprise you what the typical Dutch kitchen has to offer,” general manager Inge van Weert says. “Dutch cuisine is not just ‘stamppot’, as most people – the Dutch included – think.” So called “dubbeldoel” cows that are used for milk, as well as meat, grilled vegetables from local farmers, and herbs originating from the roof of the building, make for quite the varied menu. You will find Persijn on the ground level of brand-new sustainable luxury hotel QO Amsterdam. But that does not mean it is only available for hotel guests. “Quite the contrary! We purposely put the front desk of the hotel on the first floor so the entrance to the restaurant is more welcoming for locals.”

Whereas in many hotels you will find a buffet, at Persijn everything is a là carte. Van Weert explains: “Buffets often provide lots of waste, because you have to make sure there’s plenty of everything. Which is a shame and does not fit our sustainable attitude.” Whether for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just a snack; Persijn will have an inspiring and healthy dish for you. And make sure to visit the bar on the 21st floor, where you can see the Greenhouse that produces the herbs on your plate.


Sustainable cocktails with a view over Amsterdam TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA  |  PHOTOS: TODAYSBREW

Kitchen Garden and Bar. It sounds exotic and it is. Especially considering it hosts a garden filled with herbs and edible flowers. Located on the 21st floor, Juniper & Kin boasts an amazing panoramic view of the city as well. Picture this: you are sipping a delicious cocktail decorated with flowers, enjoying the view of the Amsterdam canals with great company. And you are being environmentally-friendly. How? Because every ingredient in the drink is biologically and mostly locally produced, and the building is built out of recycled concrete with sustainable qualities. Juniper & Kin is part of a project called QO Amsterdam. A sustainable, luxurious hotel that is one of a kind. At the bar, sustainability can be found in the smallest of things. “Here, we have biodegradable straws for example,” general manager Inge van Weert explains. “And we use ingredients from the Netherlands. As many as possible.”

Even more locally, most ingredients actually come from the Greenhouse – literally the venue’s own greenhouse. Herbs and edible flowers grown here provide beautiful decoration as well as flavour. “The plan is to add an aquarium here in the near future, with fish to provide nutrients for the plants, that in their turn purify the water. After completing their life, the fish will be used for dishes in the restaurant. A true circular aquaponics system!” Web:

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A peaceful summer spot for the curious


peace and quiet. What’s more, the hotel is conveniently located right by het IJ, from which the ferry to the up-and-coming Amsterdam North departs roughly three times per hour. Keen to go on a little adventure? No problem. The hotel offers rental bikes for just 17 euros per day.

Slightly off the beaten track, just three tram stops from Amsterdam Central Station and a short 20-minute walk from the increasingly popular Indische Buurt, lies the rather original Lloyd Hotel. Dating back to 1921, it was once where European emigrants prepared themselves for the big move to South America. Nearly a century later, the hotel has become a popular hang-out for both tourists and locals.

Boogert says, “but, what they all have in common is a certain level of curiosity; a need for something unconventional. Everyone can be themselves here.” What makes the hotel a particularly brilliant summer spot is its gorgeous outside terrace, which, as part of new owner Rocco Veenboer’s rebrand of the hotel, has been given a new and exciting look. Full of luscious plants and located on a blind alley, this is where locals go for sun,

By the end of the 20th Century, Zeeburg had long lost its purpose as international port, hence local authorities decided to transform it into a modern residential area. The Lloyd hotel would stay, however, and reopened in 2004. One of the hotel’s most outstanding features is its versatility – both in terms of audience and design. Every single room is different and prices range from high to low, allowing for an infinitely mixed crowd to feel at home there. “Our guests range from creative to corporate and adventurous,” general manager Piet

LEFT: Every room in the Lloyd hotel is unique. Photo: Suzan Baars. RIGHT: The historic hotel used to function as a base for European emigrants travelling to South America using the Royal Dutch Lloyd shipping company. Photo: Dennis Bouman


A perfect place to feel at home TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK  |  PHOTOS: CÔTE WISPE

We all love the experience of sitting on an outside terrace in the middle of the bustling city, while enjoying a great cup of coffee, a piece of pie or a delicious meal. Owner Jessica Sparenberg opened the doors of Côte Wispe in March of this year. The bar-restaurant at the Weesperzijde in the Dutch capital is a place to feel comfortable and at home. It has a great view of the river Amstel, to which Amsterdam owes its name, and the stylish in-

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terior adds to the welcoming atmosphere. For sunny days, the outside terrace offers some of that pleasant liveliness of the city. The menu has something for everyone, whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or if dropping by for a drink. Sparenberg: “Our menu is honest. We prefer fresh and locally produced ingredients – and always make sure to choose quality over quantity.” The founding story of Côte Wispe is no less unique than the place itself. A trusted and valued

crowdfunding website offered the business plan to its investors and within no time, Sparrenberg could start building her dream. “I really love Côte Wispe,” she says. “I’ve been working in the hospitality industry for years, and I still enjoy every bit of it. It’s a great feeling when the customers are able to forget the daily things in life and just enjoy hanging out here with friends or colleagues.” Web:

Discover Benelux  |  Summer Special  |  Amsterdam Noord & Zuidoost Highlights

The greenest place to stay in Amsterdam-North TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: AMSTERDAM FARM LODGE

Whether coming for the agricultural community or just to get away from the hectic city life, there is no quieter, friendlier or greener place to stay in Amsterdam-North than the NoordOogst urban agriculture project and the Amsterdam Farm Lodge. “Who doesn’t want to wake up seeing the chickens roam free on the terrace?” says owner Nicole Schuil, who runs the lodge with her partner Rogier. NoordOogst is a unique urban agriculture initiative in the city, where vegetables are grown. It will run for ten years, until 2027. Located on the old Melkweg Sports area, this project is fully self-reliant. “We always wanted to do something here in the city. Then we came across this special project and started renovating the building in April 2017,” Nicole explains. The Amsterdam Farm Lodge is in a former asylum centre. “In total, we have seven

apartments, fully equipped with three bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen. Each room is different, because we decorated them with recycled materials and second-hand furniture, to be completely sustainable. Apart from the beds, those are new. There’s nothing more important than getting a good night’s sleep,” smiles Rogier. NoordOogst is the perfect place for families to visit, or to enjoy a stay at the Amsterdam Farm Lodge. Here, visitors will find pigs, a butterfly garden, a natural playground, a vegetarian take-away, a brewery, fields with crops, a food forest, a beekeeper, vineyard and a pancake house. Nicole: “We treat our guests as family. As friends, who love the green beauty of the city and NoordOogst as much as we do.” Web:


When experiencing Amsterdam South East, one of the best place to end up at is the Courtyard Amsterdam Arena Atlas and its unique Scandinavian restaurant, GåRD Nordic Kitchen. “A hidden gem in the business and entertainment district,” says Anne Wil Herweijer, sales manager of GåRD Nordic Kitchen. This restaurant, which is often referred to by the locals as their second living room, creates a warm and casual vibe with excellent dishes respecting the traditional Scandinavian cooking techniques like smoking and pickling. Definitely the perfect place to start an evening before heading to a concert in the Ziggo Dome or AFAS Live. “The restaurant feels very cosy, like a family den with couches, rugs and pictures,” explains Herweijer. Due to the success of the restaurant and the trend of the Scandinavian kitchen, GåRD has also opened its doors in other countries like

Belgium, Poland and the UK, and that is only the beginning. Many more new locations are planned to open in the next few years, confirms Herweijer, andcontinues: “We want to offer a new and exciting choice to go for dinner – not just here in Amsterdam where it all started, but all over the world.” One of the favourites on the menu is the flatbread topped with chicken or crispy duck, but you can of course find the classics like Swedish meatballs and Norwegian waffle on the menu also. “It would not be a Nordic restaurant without them,” Herweijer smiles.


Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  51

Utrecht Oudegracht.


Explore the beating hearts of the Netherlands Whilst charming Utrecht has a picturesque medieval centre, café-lined canals and gabled merchants’ houses, it is also a vibrant university town with an equallyvibrant nightlife. On top of this, The Hague is also a fabulous destination in every respect and blends its governmental prowess with a thriving art scene, a welcoming café culture and green parks. TEXT: MALIN NORMAN  |  PHOTOS: NBTC, THE HAGUE MARKETING AND UTRECHT MARKETING Hofvijver.

52  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  The Hague & Ultrecht Highlights

The Hague City Hall.

The Hague: a state-of-the-art city Read more from page 56 The Hague is a shining example of the perfect mix between regal and robust. The seaside city breathes an ambiance of culture, shopping and nightlife, boasting world-class museums alongside innovative exhibitions and regal squares in the midst of artistic neighbourhoods. The Hague is a city with many faces. On the one hand, it exudes a regal and political allure, while on the other hand, the city is a bustling hub of culture, nightlife and trendy and multicultural areas. Add its proximity to the beach to that list, and you may have found the most diverse city in the Netherlands.

Most will think about the palaces of the Dutch Royal family and the city’s famous political landmarks, such as the Binnenhof or the Peace Palace, when mentioning The Hague. Yet the city has so much more to offer: the abundance of boutiques, art galleries, museums, restaurants, cafés and nightlife venues make The Hague a home to everyone, from the seasoned clubber to the curious art aficionado. Districts such as Schilderswijk (a cultural melting pot) and Zeeheldenkwartier (the ‘Venetian’ part of The Hague) beautifully contrast with the Archipelbuurt (a static 19th century district) and Statenkwartier (full of monumental villas), making the city one big maze of interesting architecture and places to discover.

Had enough of the city crowds? The nearby beaches of Kijkduin and Scheveningen provide the ideal backdrop for a relaxing beach walk.

The Hague.

Plan your trip at

Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  53

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  The Hague & Ultrecht Highlights

Flowermarkt Utrecht.

Utrecht: a city of music and culture Read more from page 58 With a picturesque medieval centre, cafélined canals and gabled merchants’ houses, the 2,000-year-old city of Utrecht is an ideal setting for a city break. This vibrant university town has a thriving arts scene and brimming cultural calendar, not to mention world-class museums and architecture recognised by UNESCO. Not to be missed (literally) is the impressive Dom tower, which can be seen from any point in the city and boasts the highest church tower in the Netherlands. Climb the 465 steps to the top and you will be rewarded with breathtaking views over the city. A less strenuous way to 54  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

sightsee is via a relaxing canal cruise, which will show you all the city sites and give you a chance to admire the numerous historical wharf-side houses. If you like museums, then you will love Utrecht. A good place to start is Centraal Museum, which explores Utrecht’s fascinating cultural history via Caravaggisti paintings, modern art, costumes and much more. From philosophy to art, you will find it here. Another renowned Utrecht institution is Museum Catharijneconvent. With impressive artworks by the likes of Rembrandt, Pieter Saenredam and Jan van Scorel, it takes you on a journey through Christianity in the Netherlands.

Also famous is the Het Spoorwegmuseum, the Railway Museum in Utrecht, which preserves historical equipment from the Dutch national railway. Not just for trainspotters, the museum has plenty of attractions for all ages. If you fancy exploring further afield, Utrecht province also offers beautiful landscapes, farmhouses, manors and magnificent castles. Do not miss the De Haar Castle, the biggest and most luxurious in the Netherlands. The verdant park and gardens surrounding it are also worth a visit.

Plan your trip at

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  The Hague & Ultrecht Highlights

Utrecht Oudegracht.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY: Tropical Butterfly Festival Until 16 September, Utrecht The beautiful Botanic Gardens and the Utrecht Science Park form the backdrop for this enchanting festival. In a special greenhouse, visitors can admire the most beautiful butterflies from across the world, including Central and South America, Asia, Africa and Australia. Utrecht Early Music Festival 24 August – 2 September, Utrecht This ten-day festival is held every year in the centre of Utrecht. ‘Early music’ is a collective term for music from the medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods. Enjoy more than 150 concerts, many of which are set against historic inner-city locations. Utrecht Heritage Day 8 September, Utrecht Between 70 to 100 monuments which are not usually accessible, open their doors to the public free of charge based on a new theme each year. There will be an informa-

tion stand at Domplein square where you can pick up a copy of the Monuments Bulletin containing information on all activities and open buildings. Prinsjesfestival 13-18 September, The Hague This free festival offers several festivities and a large market in honour of Prinsjesdag: a political event held every third Tuesday of September, whereby King Willem Alexander delivers his king’s speech about the parliament’s plans for the coming year. Just Peace Festival 21 September, The Hague During this weekend The Hague will celebrate the UN-declared International Day of Peace, boasting a number of festivities such as concerts, running events, and exhibitions. Rrrollend Den Haag 21 September, The Hague A free food festival with dozens of food trucks, music and exquisite bites, all combined in an open-air restaurant on the scenic Lange Voorhout street in the old centre.

Terrace The Hague.

Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  55

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  The Hague Highlights

The fabulous food court TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTO: HOFHOUSE

It is cosmopolitan, sophisticated and situated in a building designed by the beloved Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. Hofhouse is unlike any other food court you have seen before. Close to the bustling city life and next to central station of The Hague, guests will find mouth-watering dishes in a fun and relaxed atmosphere at food court Hofhouse. Run by passionate craftsmen, Hofhouse is the perfect spot at which to start any trip to the city. “We offer our guests a place where they can unwind, but also find new energy for the rest of the day,” Maurits van den Bosch, marketing-director of Hofhouse explains. Designed by the well-known Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, the food court combines architectural elegance with a cosy atmosphere. With eight different foodcorners and one cosmopolitan bar, which serves 56  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

delicious cocktails as well as beers and wines, it is a great spot for business lunches, afternoon drinks or dinners for large groups, but is also appropriate for intimate settings. Van den Bosch: “In a welcoming atmosphere, guests can choose from a great variety of food.” Here, you can enjoy the best quality food options during the day. In the morning, there are delicious croissants and coffee as well as yoghurt and granola at Toastable. Lunch includes classics such as caesar and niçoise salads, as well as hot and healthy soups. Madame Goa is known for a greatselection of sushi and Hawaiian and Asian poke bowls. There are also 100per centpure and homemade burgers at Burgerz, great tacos with a shot of tequila at Mad Mex, as well as unique Kenyan delicacies with delicious hot spices, and Italian antipasti at Joey’s or tasty skewers at Noomi’s.

Hofhouse is also known for its lively calendar. Throughout the year, there is a lot of entertainment on offer, such as groovy jam sessions, and a DJ plays greattunes every Friday. This is most certainly the perfect place to relax and unwind during your stay in The Hague.


Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  The Hague Highlights

The sweetest place in The Hague No wonder this place is called the sweetest in The Hague. With toys, sweets and delicious high tea and ice cream, Bij Lotjeis a place where everyone wants to pay a visit. Bij Lotje embodies the atmosphere of a family living room combined with the feeling of being outside. Here, the children can play whilst the parents catch up over a cup of coffee. And everyone is welcome to grab an ice cream to devour on the sun-soaked terrace.

From August, Bij Lotje will also be able to offer children’s parties, where partygoers can decorate their own cupcakes. And even better: eat them afterwards. As soon as the summer season is over, the cute shopturns into a cosy living room where guests can enjoy a delicious high tea, served with homemade cupcakes, whilst checking out the passing crowd from the large windows. A wide selection of different teas can also be bought.


“The funny thing is that nobody is ever grumpy here. I only ever see happy people come in and leave the store. But it could just be the magic of sweet treats and ice cream,” smiles Anouchka. Or it could well be that everyone is happy because of the truly unique atmosphere that the shop offers to all its visitors.


Sustainable comfort in the heart of the city TEXT: EVA MENGER  |  PHOTO: KAREL VANDENBERGHE

riously. 100 per cent organic, the colourful breakfast buffet contains home-grownapples, pears, strawberries, berries, cucumbers, courgettes, pumpkins and herbs: “you name it, we grow it,” general manager Karel Vandenberghe tells us. An excellent reason to get out of bed in the morning.

The warm and cosy Court Garden Hotel was built entirely with sustainability in mind. Not only has the former office been renovated using nothing but green materials and energy efficient isolation systems, it has also recently opened its very own vegetable garden. The marriage of environmental awareness and calm, relaxing vibes makes this home-away-from-home an ideal place from which to discover the bustle of The Hague.

city centre is within walking distance: options aplenty for any type of guest. With Scheveningen beach around the corner, The Hague is where to be during a summer like this, so grab the swimwear, pack some snacks and make the most of the hotel’s bike rental service. Not quite used to cycling yet? Fret not: tram 1 will take you there in less than 20 minutes. And then there is breakfast, which is something that Court Garden Hotel takes very se-

Whether a first time visitor or here for business, Court Garden Hotel will make everyone feel at home as soon as they walk through the door. Rooms are catered for all needs, and the welcoming hotel lounge invites gueststo help themselves to an organic cuppa whenever they please. As the hotel is located in the lively and historic Zeeheldenkwartier, going out is equally as simple. Popular bars, cafes and restaurants are only a hop, skip and a jump away, and the

LEFT: Guests are welcome to help themselves to coffee or tea in the hotel’s friendly and comfortable lounge. RIGHT: The hotel’s breakfast is entirely organic, including fruit and veg from their own picking garden.


Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  57

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Utrecht Highlights

The authentic Indonesian experience TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK  |  PHOTO: RESTAURANT BLAUW

Indonesian cuisine may be well-known in the Netherlands, but it deserves more fame and glory in the rest of the world. The bustling centre of Utrecht has a fabulous restaurant that offers authentic Indonesian food in a modern and comfortable setting with excellent service. “At Restaurant Blauw, we offer a true Indonesian experience without being oldfashioned,” says restaurant manager Meta van den Boomen. “We have authentic, high-quality food, great service and a warm and welcoming ambiance. All you need to create a lovely experience for our guests.” Indonesian cuisine, with all its different styles, has some characteristics in common. Rice is a basic ingredient and can be found in various dishes, and herbs and spices are also an indispensable part of the Indonesian food culture. It is all about contrast and balance. For instance, to contrast hot flavours, are often fresh or cool complements. Dairy products are 58  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

not used – instead, coconut, peanuts, spice pastes and Kemiri (a kind of nut) are used frequently. The signature dish is the Indonesian rice table; with 17 separate dishes, it is a true feast. Everyone can enjoy the different flavours and combinations that Indonesian cuisine has to offer, whether with fish, meat or vegetables. Van den Boomen: “We serve honest authentic Indonesian food and don’t change the traditional recipes. We simply present the food in a modern way. This is how we distinguish ourselves. And we always explain about the food to our guests, its origins and preparation. This way, people can enjoy the meal even more.” Restaurant Blauw also has a book release coming up in October this year. Titled Blauw, the book offers a culinary adventure through Indonesia. It can be pre-ordered online, and will be in book shops from October this year.

Restaurant Blauw Springweg 64 3511 VT Utrecht

Web: Facebook: restaurantblauw Instagram: restaurantblauw

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Utrecht Highlights

Luscious food in the heart of Utrecht TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK  |  PHOTO: RESTAURANT FLORENT

When in Utrecht and looking for a great restaurant to eat at, Restaurant Florent is a must-visit. Not only does it offer the best Burgundian dishes and fabulous wines, the stylish restaurant is also a wonderful combination of bistro and gourmet. “Whether people want to eat something simple, or have a true gastronomic meal, Restaurant Florent suits all tastes,” says chef Jeroen Brouwer. “We are especially proud of our 3-, 4-, and 5-course choice menus. There is a new version of the menu every month, and it always includes fish, meat and vegetarian options, plus amazing wines that complement the dishes.” Restaurant Florent believes the wine always has to be complementary to the dish, without being predictable. As a result, their wine menu has an unusual selection of old and new world wines. The stylish venue has a warm atmosphere and with an eye-catching feature: the prominent open kitchen is the beat-

ing heart of the restaurant. The industrial ambiance combined with perfectly laid white tables makes the space inviting and comfortable. “Florent is great for any occasion. Here, you can dine luxuriously, have an excellent business dinner, or enjoy a lovely evening with friends and family,” adds Brouwer. “And we only work with pure and fresh produce. No frills, just honest food with lots of flavour.” Not surprisingly, the restaurant has received fantastic reviews. Brouwer elaborates on its success: “the best part of Restaurant Florent is our talented team. We lift each other to a higher level by constantly being creative and innovative. This is how we motivate each other and

how we can offer the best food and such a high-quality service to our guests.” Restaurant Florent is conveniently located in the city centre, within walking distance from Utrecht Central Station and across the corner from the famous Dom church.

Restaurant Florent Visschersplein 75 3511 LX Utrecht

Web: Facebook: florentutrecht Instagram: florentutrecht

Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  59

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Utrecht Highlights

Authentic, honest and above all – delicious TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK  |  PHOTOS: DE RODE VOSCH & DE ZWARTE VOSCH

The Dutch city of Utrecht has everything to offer. Especially since entrepreneur Mark van Kessel opened his Australian restaurant De Rode Vosch.

cocktail. The comfortable atmosphere, the professional hospitality, the high quality of food and the typical ‘no-worries’ style are characteristic for De Rode Vosch.

De Rode Vosch

As an extra touch, De Rode Vosch gives a free welcoming drink and a little snack for those who can prove they are either Australian or have been in Australia by showing their passport stamps.

Australian and maybe a little homesick? Or have you been in Australia and in the mood for a little bit of nostalgia? Or never been there and want to know what their cuisine is like? Located in a monumental building at the centre of the city, De Rode Vosch has everything to provide a great evening. “I noticed that the Australian cuisine was missing in Utrecht,” says the owner. “It was not as famous in the Netherlands and that had to change. Australian food is characterised by the wide range of meat and fish prepared on the barbecue. At De Rode Vosch we use the lava grill to give it that typical flavour.” All dishes are the size of an appetiser, therefore, you can taste several dishes during the evening and share them with friends, family or colleagues, preferably combined with an Australian wine, beer or 60  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

up to 25 people. Some meetings and conferences need more capacity and, therefore, the owner also runs De Witte Vosch and De Zilveren Vosch – professional locations for tailor-made congresses, conferences and meetings.

De Zwarte Vosch De Zwarte Vosch provides the best food from the Spanish cuisine; tapas, pinchos and there are several typical Spanish wines and beers. It is a bar where, just like in Spain, you can try pinchos, a luxurious two-bite dish from a display case. As they work with different importers from Spain and have several Spanish chefs, everything is authentic and fresh. There is no better place at which to imagine yourself in Spain than De Zwarte Vosch in Utrecht. Both venues are also ideal for private dinners, a graduation or promotion drink, a birthday party, a workshop, or meetings for


Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Utrecht Highlights

E X P L O R I S H O T E L U T R E C H T:


To get the sense of living like a true local in Utrecht, a stay at the trendy new boutique hotel Exploris Hotel Utrecht is suggested. In the heart of the vibrant city centre, guests will get an experience well beyond what is expected from a hotel; in fact, this is more like a home away from home. Trendy new boutique hotel Exploris is located on Potterstraat 24, in between Oudegracht and Neude, in Utrecht. The area has a rich history with many historic buildings, and the square opposite the hotel was once a bustling marketplace. “The property used to be an office but had not been used to its full potential for many years. With our new hotel, we are closely connected with partners, shops and stores in the neighbourhood. When staying at Exploris Hotel Utrecht, you can really live like a true local.” Owner Don de Graaf and his wife Linda Peters are responsible for creating the stylish interior decoration of the hotel. Cleverly, they have managed to create a trendy yet cosy atmosphere, providing a home away from home for its guests.

Mixing industrial design with original features – for instance, keeping some of the original beams – each of the 15 rooms is unique, has its own kitchenette and is just one step away from the heart of the city. The hotel first opened its doors in May this year, and the small yet modern concept is growing by the day. It is already quite the success amongst Dutch and international guests alike, with five stars on Google and 8.5 out of 10 on “We have had some wonderful reviews,” admits Don de Graaf. “Our friendly staff makes everyone feel welcome and appreciated, also adding to the guest experience.” The hotel’s operational managers Maarten Barendse and Floris Mak van Waay find the location and the area very special. Across the street are plenty of cosy restaurants, cafés and small shops, and several attractions are within easy walking distance, including the Dom church tower and the Utrecht archives. In addition to services such as a digital concierge, Exploris Hotel Utrecht works closely with local partners such as bike rental with partner SWAP-

fiets and fitness centre Workout. Future plans include more focus on families and friends as expanding the hotel with more affordable economy and economy-plus rooms. It is also possible for guests to rent apartments close by in the same style as the hotel. Take the virtual tour on YouTube: Exploris Hotel Utrecht

Exploris Hotel Utrecht Potterstraat 24 3512 TB Utrecht

E-mail: Web:

Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  61

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Utrecht Highlights

Fresh wood-oven pizza in a cosy setting TEXT: KARIN VENEMA  |  PHOTOS: BASTACOSI

When entering the Bastacosi restaurant on the Bilstraat, guests can spot the wood oven straight away. They might see a member of staff flipping pizza dough or sprinkling fresh ingredients, or guests helping themselves to a drink from the fridge. With its informal, friendly atmosphere, Bastacosi is the perfect place to recharge after exploring Utrecht. “Bart van Aalderen and I have known each other since we were little and, in 2011, we decided to open our own wood-oven pizza restaurant in Utrecht” says co-owner Onno Roberts. And so, Bastacosi was born. Seven years later the business is flourishing with three locations and a mobile wood oven for events. The venues have a dynamic feel to them, with approachable, enthusiastic staff. According to Roberts, working at Bastacosi is fun, “Here you get to talk to guests, work with amazing fresh ingredients, make and bake pizza and much more. Our staff really enjoy their work and

making it a pleasant experience for the guests, and it shows.” Bastacosi means ‘that’s enough’ in Italian, but in this case it can be explained as: ‘what else could you want?’ With good reason; its unique concept certainly makes Bastacosi both a relaxing and satisfying experience. On the menu is a maximum of 15 different pizzas, guaranteeing the quality expected from a traditional Italian wood-oven pizza. Guests can also enjoy a homemade dessert or Italian coffee, and there is a wide selection of cold drinks, Italian beer and wine available. Buon appetito!


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:





Beware of the monkeys TEXT & PHOTO: STEVE FLINDERS

The little warning bell started ringing in my head when she told me: “I’ve spent hours and hours with this guy and it hasn’t made any difference. He always comes up with the same excuses. I really don’t know what to do.” I was talking to the CFO of the German subsidiary of an international company managing a virtual team spread across Europe. One of her local managers was consistently failing to deliver the monthly data she needed to report to the board. ‘He’s giving her his monkey’, I thought. Indeed, it turned out she had quite a few monkeys inhabiting her office, getting in her way, pulling her hair, and asking for attention, as monkeys so often do. Monkey management is central to how managers need to manage and how people work together. It touches on role allocation and delineation, time management, giving and receiving feedback, and the manager’s role in developing her people. Nice managers, managers who can’t say no, managers who are not clear about who

should do what, all take on other people’s monkeys very easily. Only then do they realise their offices have turned into zoos. In today’s flatter, more complex work environment, we have to be more flexible, more collaborative, more nimble and more creative. These require constant negotiation and redefinition of roles and responsibilities – difficult and potentially dangerous, although people in teams with strong relationships can learn to sort out this kind of thing without too much hassle. Managers who see a monkey about to leap onto their shoulders should offer support if and when necessary: the situational leadership model helps managers see whose monkeys need more attention. The priority, however, is to fix SMART objectives with the person reporting to you, and to make an appointment for later to hear how their monkey is getting on. The German manager had certainly provided lots of support but had failed to establish clear objectives and deadlines for her

problem report. Learning about monkey management helped her see almost instantly how she needed to break out of this vicious circle of underperformance. Be clear who owns the monkeys in your working life. Don’t take on any more than you can cope with. And – apologies to animal lovers – use any reasonable means to keep their numbers down.

Steve Flinders is a freelance trainer, writer and coach, based in Malta, who helps people develop their communication and leadership skills for working internationally:

Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  63

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Signum HR & Management

Management advice for ambitious companies TEXT: MALIN NORMAN  |  PHOTO: SIGNUM HR & MANAGEMENT

With the help of Signum HR & Management, managers and CEOs can get full support in all things relating to the crossover between a business and its people. This year, the company also launches its brand-new service, Management Habits. Since its start in 2004, Signum HR & Management has been a successful business partner focused on recruitment, selection and assessments, and (re)organisation with a client base consisting of large corporations such as BP, but also local family businesses, often with international subsidiaries. According to Cathy Gemis, who owns Signum together with Daniël Deleus, the 64  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

company has received plenty of additional questions from its clients over the years, such as, “Can you help us with this conflict? What do we need to do with our customer service department? How can we integrate our warehouses into one location? I have managers, but not a real management team — how do I build that?” So, in response to their clients’ needs, in 2015, Signum took the opportunity for somewhat of a restart. “It was clear that with a width of new ideas, old ideas that had not come into reality yet, and clients who wanted us to help them with ‘more’ than what we had been able to offer before, the company was ready to develop further.”

Helping through stormy waters Signum’s clients require more knowledge, insights, advice – call it a sounding board – in two main areas. The first is how to manage a business through stormy waters. For instance, finding a strategy for growing, downsizing or facing other changes in the market. Here, Signum makes the action plan customised, concrete and practical. Looking at the specific company, its goals and its people, Signum helps build a clear, actionable implementation, which will allow companies to make the necessary changes themselves. It also provides support during the implementation with assessments of people, support in the change process and communication, or

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Signum HR & Management

by giving targeted training, coaching and mentoring for key people in the process. “Reality is always more complex than the best plan can prepare you for,” says Daniël. “During the implementation phase, we are the change facilitators.” Daniël admits that many companies are good at creating strategies, but not in making actual decisions. “Often, our clients have a lot of discussions about their strategy and what to do, but without coming to any concrete agreements. We help them in making it a habit not to stop until they have made a decision.” As part of its implementation support, Signum also provides communication plans including recommended points, channels and timings.

Managing and motivating people The second area where businesses need a bit of help, is how to manage and motivate people. Most of Signum’s clients are so-called knowledge companies, creating added value based on their expertise. But how can they bring on board Signum Penthouse.

the right people, and also lead and keep them? To help managers make their jobs easier, Signum offers unique, hybrid training programnes with integrated mentoring sessions. “We build the practical bridge between the enormous number of interesting theories and approaches that are out there, and we size them to our clients’ needs — so that they can do something with it,” says Daniël. “Then we look at how we can help them sustain the change, and how they can turn what they have learned into new habits, so that it comes naturally.”

on the knowledge that they have, but often, relationships are not given enough attention. One of the habits that can really help a manager in their job is creating this safety, making sure to care for the actual person and not just see them as a technical resource. If you give team members safety and their own space, they will contribute more and come up with more creative ideas. Ultimately, they will feel happier but also perform better.” By the end of this year, Signum will also move into the Signum Penthouse, a more comfortable and centrally located office.

This autumn, Signum is introducing ‘Management Habits’, a new way of building and integrating healthy habits for managers, so that they can feel more at ease in their roles and to help their teams perform better. It will include online resources and face-to-face talks, inspiration sessions and workshops.

Want a sneak preview? Take a look at the brand new blog, where Signum HR & Management shares some of the stories and insights from working with clients. The small changes in mindset and habits can lead to even more professional success.

Cathy elaborates, “It’s about creating psychological safety. Many companies focus


Photo: Stefan Wensing

Daniël Deleus and Cathy Gemis.

Signum Penthouse.

Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  65

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Calendar


PLM to ERP, electronic road pricing. This could save a lot of manual work and increase the quality of the company’s data. During this event in Eindhoven, the tech hub of the Netherlands, visitors will learn how to successfully implant ERP in their business.

The roast of your leadership 2 August, Utrecht, The Netherlands Do not worry, your leadership skills will not be roasted. But with the help of this evening filled with workshops, participants will be able to find out what makes them a great leader and what stands in their way to being the best guide for employees. Even the greatest CEOs have something to improve upon.

Founders First Retreat 24-26 August, Dochamps, Belgium As a founder of a company, it can be difficult to find time for oneself. Therefore, this event, organised for founders by founders, is offering a unique experience in the beautiful Belgian Ardennes. It will be the perfect opportunity to mix and mingle with other founders whilst finding that little bit of rest in one of the most exquisite places in the Benelux.

Global Woman Club – Antwerp Business Breakfast 27 August, Antwerp, Belgium Global Woman Club is an ever growing network of women. In London, Stockholm and Antwerp, women from all over the 66  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

world can get to know each other through one of the many networking events, such as the Antwerp Business Breakfast. Take the opportunity to meet and mingle with ladies from different industries and countries.

How to earn money with an ERP interface 30 August, Eindhoven, The Netherlands According to the organisers of this event, manufacturing companies leave money laying around because they do not link

Meet-up Welfare Organisations by World Start Up Factory 30 August, The Hague, The Netherlands During earlier meet-ups, problems and challenges in the Dutch welfare and health system have been discussed. Now, two months later, different start-ups have come up with a number of potential solutions and the outcomes will be discussed. This promises to be an interesting gathering where past meets present.



Watch the restorers of the ‘Ghent Altarpiece’ by the brothers Van Eyck live at work.

Museum of Fine Arts Ghent

Fernand Scribedreef 1 9000 Ghent Belgium

Discover Benelux  |  Profile  |  Top Entertainment in Flanders

History comes alive with Historalia TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL  |  PHOTO: HISTORALIA

It is not often that you come across an aristocrat turned theatrical impresario, but with Simon de Merode – or officially, Prince Simon de Merode – this is very much the case. With Historialia – a series of lavish historical musicals and Christmas shows performed at some of Belgium’s most spectacular historic castles, Simon de Merode has created not only a source of hugely popular family entertainment, but has also helped to maintain his family heritage. De Merode comes from one of the most illustrious noble families in Belgium with a 68  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

history dating back to the 14th century. He originally studied marketing and business economics in Brussels and America, before working as a brand manager for a well-known beer brand. So what brought about this change of career? The idea of Historalia came about when he decided to join forces with his brothers and sister and buy the estate from the older generation to face the challenge of maintaining the imposing Castle de Merode in Westerlo, which had been in his family for six centuries. With its fairytale moat, distinctive grey turrets and extensive landscaped gardens, the castle,

which is an hour’s drive east of Antwerp and just over an hour from Brussels, has always been a significant local landmark.

Everyone plays a part Initially, the local Mayor wanted to use the estate to promote the history of the village and, in 2012, the castle grounds played host to an amateur production of a musical exploring local history, using local actors. The show was such a success that De Merode had the idea of creating a professional production, this time based around the life of Marie Antoinette, whose mother’s chief lady-in-waiting was one of his ancestors.

Discover Benelux  |  Profile  |  Top Entertainment in Flanders

This time, De Merode hired a professional scriptwriter, director, choreographer and actors, but also used 100 local people of all ages as extras, in order to reinforce the community feeling of the show. “We wanted to create a link between the historic estate and local community,” explains De Merode, “because we believe that if people value historic estates through personal links to those estates, then they will value them and help protect them in the future.” The production attracted 22,000 visitors and De Merode saw that this was something worth continuing. “We realised that this was not only a great way of involving the local community but it was also a wonderful way of using the house itself. The Castle de Merode Westerlo is one of the biggest castles in Belgium and it seemed a shame to simply hire it out as a venue, just for weddings or private functions. I believe the castle is a place that should be enjoyed by everyone in a cultural way.” “The castle has been a focal point of the local community for hundreds of years,”

he continues, “so it’s important for everyone here, not just my family. You feel you have a responsibility to try to maintain it for the next generation.”

From Marie Antoinette to Rubens Over the last few years, Historalia has gone from strength to strength. A subsequent show told the story of King Albert I – Belgium’s ‘Roi Chevalier’ during the First World War – and the shows are now highly elaborate productions featuring spectacular sets, plus sound and light shows, often requiring 18 months of planning and rehearsals. The August 2018 production will centre on arguably the most famous artist of Flanders: Rubens. With a storyline based on individual characters from some of Rubens’s best-known paintings, the show’s set will feature a breathtaking Baroque style façade, an enormous 900-square-metre stage floating on the castle moat, and 250 square metres of LED walls to make Rubens paintings come to life.

Historalia also produces magical Christmas shows in which families can explore the castles. During the one-hour show, children meet a cast of some 50 characters in different rooms around the castle, who eventually lead them to Father Christmas himself. So successful have the shows been, that Historalia’s summer and Christmas shows can now be seen not just at Westerlo Castle but at three other castles across Belgium and Flanders, including Duras (Sint Truiden), Laarne (Ghent) and Vlamertinge (Leper). De Merode also has plans to produce the shows in castles in French-speaking parts of Belgium, as well as abroad. Tickets for Historalia’s Rubens show are priced between 14 euros and 45 euros for the Christmas show and can be bought online at their website, below.


Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  69

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar

Out & About Summer at its best. Enjoy the magic of the canals of Amsterdam during the Grachtenfestival or admire the spectacular show of fireworks in Scheveningen, dance to the break of dawn at Lowlands or enjoy all the festivities during a festival in the beautiful town of Brugge. As always, there is something for everyone. One thing is for sure: you will not get bored this month. TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: NTBC

70  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar

Haarlem Culinair.

Restaurant Rozengeur Open all summer, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Known for its delicious and authentic Persian cuisine, Restaurant Rozengeur is the perfect place to visit during the summer time. With dishes and spices inspired by the Shiraz, it is a unique experience for the senses. All dishes are authentic with fresh ingredients and homemade bread.

Theatre By the Sea 26 July – 4 August, Oostende, Belgium Theatre By the Sea offers a diverse programme of music, literature, dance, comedy and family theatre on several locations around the seaside town of Oostende. It is one of the most important Belgian festivals for young talent to be spotted at and this edition promises to be no different.

Restaurant Rozengeur.

Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  71

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar

Moods 27 July – 9 August, Bruges, Belgium For two full weeks, the picturesque town of Bruges forms the backdrop for a spectacular festival filled with music and fireworks. With eleven indoor and outdoor stages, different music genres will be represented. As with every year, the Moods festival ends with a free dance party.

Haarlem Culinair 2-5 August, Haarlem, The Netherlands Mouth-watering dishes with the historic town of Haarlem as a backdrop, Haarlem Culinair is a festival for everyone that loves good food. Countless restaurants from the region present the very finest of their cuisine.

Theater Festival Boulevard 2 – 12 August, Den Bosch, The Netherlands Discover new acts from the world of performing arts during this ten-day event. In unusual

locations in and around the city centre and the festival square at the foot of the famous St. Jan cathedral, the festival offers a colourful range of workshops, shows, concert and children’s activities.

Sneekweek 3 – 10 August, Sneek, The Netherlands Get ready for the largest sailing event on European inland waterways. Lovers of sailing, but also thousands of celebrants, come to the beautiful town of Sneek to enjoy the competition on water and the spectacular fireworks on the opening night.

Grachten Festival 10 – 19 August, Amsterdam, The Netherlands The Grachten Festival is one of the most beloved events in Amsterdam. Ever since its start in 1998, the festival has attracted visitors from near and far, who come to the Dutch capital to enjoy the music and atmosphere at one of

the most scenic locations in the country: the canals of Amsterdam.

Scheveningen International Fireworks 10 – 18 August, Scheveningen/The Hague, The Netherlands On the beautiful beach side of Scheveningen, artists from all over the world come together in one of the most spectacular competitions of the year: the international fireworks show. What better than spending a hot summer night overlooking mesmerising fireworks at the beach?

Blues Festival 17 – 19 August, Giethoorn, The Netherlands From Friday evening to Sunday morning, the main thing you will hear in the Dutch town of Giethoorn is jazz. Enjoy the music from a boat on the water or with a nice glass of wine at one of the terraces overlooking the scenic canals.

Lowlands 17 – 19 August, Biddinghuizen, The Netherlands This three-day musical festival with over 55,000 visitors per year is one of the biggest festivals in the Benelux. With a good mix of international headliners such as Dua Lipa, War on Drugs and N.E.R.D, as well as many national bands and performances from the world of art, literature and politics, the festival offers something for every festival lover. 72  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018


MOODS! Photo: Tom Leentjes

MOODS! Photo: Tom Leentjes

Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  73

Discover Benelux  |  Luxembourg  |  Museum of the Month


Luxembourg’s Tudors: 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.

Henri Tudor was deeply passionate about the radiating industrial revolution and the plethora of inventions and possibilities it unlocked.

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. 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 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 to plunge into electrical engineering instead. 74  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

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.

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, 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 the castle with its numerous interactive displays welcomes you all year round.

Visit for opening hours and further details.

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Maison de la Culture Nevers Agglomération

Renowned cultural hub in the heart of France This historic town of Nevers, in central France, may have a population of less than 40,000, but when it comes to international culture, the town can easily match many a larger city. Its renowned arts centre Maison de la Culture Nevers Agglomération – or MCNA as it is known locally – led by Director Jean-Luc Revol, has become a hub for the very best in international theatre, visual arts, cinema, dance and music – including jazz, classical, rock and contemporary. The 2018/2019 programme features an impressive list of artists. From acclaimed ballet company Malandain Ballet Biarritz, there is a performance of their new work La Belle et La Bête (Beauty and The Beast) and a new show – ‘Cuisine et Confessions’ (Cooking and Confessions) – from innovative Canadian circus company Les 7 Doigts. On the music front, there is a similarly fascinating and eclectic range of shows. Cult German New Wave singer Nina Hagen will

be performing the songs of Bertholt Brecht, alongside performances from the likes of innovative Irish combo Buille and French musical comedy act Les Coquettes. In 2019, the MCNA building, originally built in 1970, will be given a spectacular, makeover by architects Ateliers O-S, and there are still further plans for extension with a new café area for pre and post show activities and performances, as well as an impressive new roof terrace. MCNA also has an extensive family programme with a variety of children’s shows including puppet shows and other activities, as well as an outreach programme in which


shows are taken to the neighbouring villages, bringing top quality performances to local communities.

Photo: Olivier-Houeix-Yocom

Photo: Helene Pambrun


Discover Benelux  |  Culture Feature  |  Johan Creten

The Herring, 2017.


Johan Creten is a Paris-based artist who was born in Sint-Truiden, Belgium. Creten has been credited in the New York Times as being instrumental in revolutionising the use of ceramics in contemporary art. Naked Roots is his first solo show at Scheveningen’s seafront Museum Beelden aan Zee. “I have got a long history with the Netherlands. It’s an exciting moment on different levels. I love the museum because it is close to the beach…You have people from the art world but also people who come in from the beach because it’s a cloudy day. That direct contact with a very diverse audience is something I find wonderful,” says the artist about the exhibition, which is curated by Joost Bergman and features 50 of his works. 76  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

It also shows objects of inspiration from Creten’s personal collection, including a Renaissance ivory carving.

One of Friesland’s 11 Fountains The artist recently made headlines as one of the 11 international artists who created fountains to commemorate LeeuwardenFriesland being a 2018 European Capital of Culture. Creten’s De Vleermuis stands in Bolsward. Reactions to that work, a bronze bat that gushes water from its mouth, have been mixed. “In the month leading up to the unveiling there was hate mail and petitions against the work: it’s been very controversial. That’s starting to turn now it’s installed and people have seen the piece in Bolsward. We are happy to show the mother model

and studies in the Museum Beelden aan Zee,” comments Creten, who is busy preparing for an exhibition in New York City that will overlap with Naked Roots. Alfred Paintings, a series of ceramic paintings, will be shown at the Perrotin Gallery, on New York City’s Lower East Side, from 8 September to 21 October.

The birth of a sculpture The show in Scheveningen exhibits pieces from Creten’s back-catalogue alongside recent works such as De Vleermuis. “The full-scale model — the mother model — is also in the show. People can see the small study in bronze, studies in ceramic and then one to one model. For people who love sculpture, it is interesting to follow the process as to how a sculpture is born,” he says.

Discover Benelux  |  Culture Feature  |  Johan Creten

“The most recent piece I made, The Herring, is also in the show. It’s a fivemetre-high female figure, a naked woman with a fish in her hands. She’s standing in the courtyard. When I saw the courtyard of the museum I thought ‘what a beautiful space, I want to make a special piece for this space — even if it costs me a fortune and I don’t know what to do with the sculpture in three months!’ I found it a challenge to make a special piece for outside. With the sea and the birds that fly around, I think it’s a beautiful location,” says Creten, who has been at the forefront of altering the long-held perception that ceramics belong in the realm of craft rather than fine art.

A pioneer in his field “I know for sure that in my world I have been a pioneer…I think what I have done with clay and the way I have shown it, has opened a gate for a lot of people,” says Creten, who, as an artist in residence at the Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres, developed a paste that is now widely used by sculptors and began firing clay in a new way. The artist points to his work being shown in the Robert Miller Gallery, in New York, as a key moment in his career and the acceptance of ceramics in the sphere of contemporary art.

art touches political and sexual themes. “A couple of examples in my recent Paris show: people did not dare to even look at them,” he admits. “They are innocent sculptures but, for some people, were so confrontational, that people didn’t look at them. It will take another five or six years before people are comfortable with them,” explains the artist, who first used clay while studying in Ghent.

Travel and cross-cultural influences Moving to Paris’s École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts to pursue sculpture was followed by a series of residences in Mexico, Italy and the USA. “At that time the idea of an artist in residence was very new or non-existent. Today, lots of young artists travel. I enjoyed it tremendously to go from one culture to the next,” says Creten, who strives to create works that convey his feelings even when he’s not present or

when the works are not shown in the context of a gallery space. De Vleermuis may well have achieved that aim. “There was an older woman from Bolsward who came all the way to the opening at Museum Beelden aan Zee after seeing the fountain in Friesland. She said to me, ‘Mr Creten, do you know, this is the first time that I’ve come to a museum and this is a new world for me. I never thought that it would be possible for me.’ That’s what I love about the Museum Beelden aan Zee. You can just walk in from the beach and see the work and be moved by it. See it; look at it; love it or hate it,” says Creten. Naked Roots will continue at the Museum Beelden aan Zee until 23 September. Web:

Creten is aware that his works push the boundaries of what people accept. His

Grande Vague pour Palissy, 2006/2011.

Klein Torso, 2016.

De Hanen-Les coqs, 1994.

Le Baiser, 2013.

Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  77

Discover Benelux  |  Culture Feature  |  Tall Ships Race

Harlingen welcomes the 2018 Tall Ships Race TEXT & PHOTOS: STUART FORSTER

lowing the second of the race’s two legs. The first leg began on 14 July and saw the ships cross the North Sea, departing from Sunderland, in the north-east of England, to Esbjerg in Denmark.

More than 50 tall ships will be docked in the port of Harlingen, in Friesland, from 3 to 6 August. The sailing ships are participating in the 2018 Tall Ships Race, which concludes between the nearby islands of Vlieland and Terschelling.

A programme of entertainment

The ships will sail across the Wadden Sea, one of UNESCO’s natural world heritage sites, into Harlingen, to conclude a journey from the Norwegian port of Stavanger fol-

Several of the participating ships will open their decks to visitors while docked in Harlingen. Highlights of the free-tovisit, four-day programme include a fireworks display, starting at 11pm on 3 Au-

78  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

gust, and a parade of the ships’ crews, through the centre of Harlingen, between 4pm and 6pm on 4 August. Musicians and entertainers will be performing on stages and public squares over each of the four days. The Hubert Heeringer Allstarsband, Makkumer Blues Brothers and Bokito Brass Band count among the acts. A shanty festival, celebrating the songs traditionally enjoyed by sailors, will be held at the Zuiderhaven.

Discover Benelux  |  Culture Feature  |  Tall Ships Race

There will also be entertainment for children, plus a presence by organisations promoting sustainability. A Ferris wheel will offer opportunities for elevated views over the ships and Harlingen, which received city rights back in 1234.

Under the Leeuwarden-Friesland 2018 umbrella As part of celebrations to mark Leeuwarden and the province of Friesland being a 2018 European Capital of Culture, Harlingen will simultaneously host The Sea! The Sea!, during which poets will perform.

Horizontoer, which blends sailing, music and theatre, also begins on the day that the tall ships arrive in Harlingen. Visitors to the city can gain visual impressions conveying local traditions at a photography exhibition at the Zuiderhaven. Meanwhile, The Whale, a fountain designed by artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, can be seen at the Willemshaven.

The tall ships in Harlingen The tall ships race in four categories, according to size and rigging. The largest of the ships that will visit Harlingen is Mir, a

Russian ship with a length of 94.80 metres and 26 sails. While docked in Sunderland the Gulden Leeuw, Morgenster and Wylde Swan provided visitors with opportunities to take short cruises out of the port. Harlingen previously hosted a Tall Ships Race in 2014, when 66 vessels were berthed in the port. Web:

Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  79

Discover Benelux  |  Culture Feature  |  Schiedam

Visiting the Netherlands’ National Jenever Museum in Schiedam TEXT & PHOTO: STUART FORSTER

In recent years, gin has, once again, become a fashionable drink. The spirit was introduced to the United Kingdom from the Netherlands, whose National Jenever Museum tells the story of gin’s Dutch cousin and offers visitors afternoon jenever tastings. The museum occupies premises formerly used by the distiller P. Melchers on the Lange Haven in Schiedam. Located just five minutes’ train journey from Rotterdam, Schiedam is renowned for its distilleries and long-standing association with the jenever industry. Canals running south from the historic city centre connect with the New Meuse, the waterway along which the spirit was exported in bygone 80  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018

times: millions of litres were shipped to London each year at the beginning of the 18th century.

Distilling jenever on the premises On Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays it is possible to observe jenever being produced in the museum’s ground floor distillery, utilising traditional methods and a recipe dating from around 1700. Branded wooden barrels stand stacked in the room, which uses copper vessels for distilling. The heady aroma associated with the process, lingers, and can be smelt even on days when the stills are not in use. The museum shop stocks the Old Schiedam jenever that is distilled on the premises.

Discover Benelux  |  Culture Feature  |  Schiedam

The terms ‘gin’ and ‘jenever’ were largely interchangeable in the 18th century, shortly after William III played a key role in introducing the drink to the United Kingdom. The drink was promoted as an alternative to French spirits, whose import to Britain was banned by the Distilling Act of 1690.

shapes, colours and labels of bottles, some of which are crafted from stoneware, helped differentiate the product to consumers. An old machine, once used for filling stone bottles, can be viewed among artefacts conveying the history of jenever. Its use is explained during guided tours of the museum.

Jenever, of course, has many brands. There is also a significant difference in appearance and flavour between jonge jenever (‘young jenever’) and oude jenever (‘old jenever’).

Marketing jenever was, and still is, a significant activity. The museum’s collection of posters illustrates the evolution of marketing styles and the designs used across the spirit’s global markets.

Marketing bottles of the spirit

Until the end of 2018, the museum is hosting the exhibition 1001 Jenever Labels, which explores the labelling of bottles over the years.

The museum displays an extensive collection of jenever bottles. Bottling the spirit for export fostered the glass industry in the Netherlands. After World War II, drinking habits in the Netherlands changed, and people started to consume more at home than in their local pub. The


Issue 56  |  August 2018  |  81

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Columns



With Leeuwarden being announced as European Capital of Culture for 2018, the folk at the Friesmusem have decided to showcase one of the region’s most famous sons: M.C Escher. Escher’s Journey, on show until 28 October this year, is a trip through Escher’s life – from his beginnings in the Netherlands, to the Mediterranean, Rome and Spain, where he made some of his most famous work. In some respects, due to his popularity and ongoing legacy within calendars and prints in hotel lobbies, Escher’s reputation has been tarnished. In some eyes he is nothing more than a cheap magician. Escher’s Journey takes the focus away from this, avoiding any gimmicks and tricks of the eye, and hones in on an exceptional draughtsman.

After his schooling, he spent much of his time in Italy with his family, before moving there himself in the 1930s. For a man from the flat plains of the Netherlands, he was captivated by the undulating hills and visual richness of Italy. His drawings from here are restrained, highly composed and hauntingly beautiful – and considered by many as some of his best work. Spending time looking at them, you see that they actually inform some of his later, further works of impossible worlds. Escher was never accepted by the art world at the time. He was a creative maverick that people did not know what to think of, and he never received particular acclaim. Now, in

Leeuwarden, nearly 50 years after his death, he is getting the attention he richly deserved. 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.


Achel Blond This blonde beer is ideal to sip on warm summer afternoons. Smooth, refreshing and quietly strong, Achel Blond is the product of the Trappist abbey, dedicated to St Benedict, at Hamont-Achel. The municipality lies on the Belgian-Dutch border, roughly 20 kilometres south of the Dutch city of Eindhoven. The abbey at Achel was founded by Cistercian monks. After dissolution during the French Revolution, the place of worship and contemplation was revived by brothers from Westmalle, that other well-known place of pilgrimage for aficionados of outstanding ales. Unfortunately, during World War I the copper vessels used to brew beer at Achel were plundered by German soldiers — a fate suffered by many Belgian breweries during the conflict. Perhaps surprisingly, brewing was revived just two decades ago. Typical of a Trappist brew82  |  Issue 56  |  August 2018


ery, sales of the 33cl bottles of Achel Blond, help raise funds for the abbey’s upkeep. This ale is dark golden in colour. When poured, it froths up into a white head and releases a fruity, mildly hoppy aroma. The beer has a mild flavour and a dry finish. It does not taste like a strong beer and is rare in that it can be enjoyed as a refreshing drink by seasoned ale lovers — people who normally go for bitter hoppy brews — as well as those who tend to sup lagers. It’s a brew that pairs well with snacks such as bowls of mixed nuts, nachos or cheese platters — the beer’s crisp finish helps cut through the fat. Achel Blond also proves a good accompaniment to a chicken-topped Caesar salad. Brewer: Sint Benedictus Abdij Strength: 8.0 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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Het Roode Koper with its monumental guesthouses, English landscape garden, Michelin-starred restaurant, tennis court, heated outdoor swimming pool and private villa, is one of the most outstanding getaways in The Netherlands. New at the estate is The Poolhouse, a culinary pavilion next to the swimming pool with luxury sunbeds and a lounge terrace, where seasonal summer dishes are served. This gorgeous estate is in the woods in the Veluwe region, the largest uninterrupted area of nature in the Netherlands. Not far from cultural highlights such as Het Loo Palace and De Hoge Veluwe National Park with the world famous Kröller-Müller Museum, and just an hour ’s drive from Amsterdam.