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I S S U E 5 8 | O C TO B E R 2 018

PLUS

JAN SMIT DA R I N G

TO

B E

D I F F E R E N T

P ROMOTI NG B ELGI U M,

THE

A FABULOUS WEDDING INSPIRATION GUIDE FLEMISH INTERIOR DESIGN WITH DISTINCTION MADE IN THE NETHERLANDS BUSINESS, TOURISM AND CULTURE

NETHERLANDS

AND

LUXEMBOURG


Your Shortcut to Benelux

S n a cks

Me al s

Drinks

ba.com

Pap ers

Lounges

Smiles


Discover Benelux  |  Contents

Contents OCTOBER 2018

49

COVER FEATURE

42 42

Jan Smit With a successful career spanning over 20 years, singer Jan Smit is firmly rooted in the Dutch music scene. With his distinctive voice and instantly recognisable paling sound, he is now giving his music a twist with his latest project. For the album Met Andere Woorden, he gave accomplished fellow artists carte blanche to write him a song.

BUSINESS 57

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

FEATURES 80

A fabulous Belgian wedding: The inspiration guide Multifaceted and inspiration, Belgium is a perfect setting for a romantic wedding. From secluded, fairytale castle mansions to creative and scrumptious catering services and more, this special will inspire you for that very special day.

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22

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Space Waste Lab Almere Learn about the dangers of space waste in an interview with artist and inventor Daan Roosegaarde. This month, he will open his latest project, the Space Waste Lab, to help combat this man made cosmic pollution.

Flemish interiors: Design with distinction Punching well above its weight when it comes to design expertise, Flanders is a region full of experienced designers, architects and quality interior brands. While there is a stunning amount of variety to their work, they pride themselves on offering top quality and a sophisticated sense of style.

De Adriaan Windmill The Netherlands would not be complete without its iconic windmills. A number of them can be visited by the public, including De Adriaan in Haarlem. Originally built in the 18th century and recently restored, the mill has had a chequered past surviving tempestuous storms and a blazing fire.

Made in the Netherlands: Celebrating Dutch industry and innovation Innovation, quality and craftsmanship are three qualities that are at the core of Dutch manufacturers and entrepreneurs. In this special, we feature some of our favourite brands from the Netherlands.

Sealcentre Pieterburen Discover how the volunteers at the Sealcentre Pieterburen, in the north of the Netherlands, nurture abandoned seal pups back to health. The dedicated centre rescues numerous seals every year and allows us to learn more about these playful creatures in their natural habitat.

THEMES 13

Company profiles, regulars and more

DON’T MISS 6 74

Fashion Picks  |  8 Desirable Designs Out & About  |  90 Columns

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  3


Discover Benelux  |  Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Discover Benelux Issue 58, October 2018

Published by Scan Group

Matt Antoniak Michiel Stol Ndéla Faye Silke Henkele Simon Willmore Steve Finders Stuart Forster Xandra Boersma

Print Liquid Graphic Ltd

Cover Photo Jim Plasman

Executive Editor Thomas Winther

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

Published 10.2018 ISSN 2054-7218

Creative Director Mads E. Petersen Editor Myriam Gwynned Dijck Copy-editor Karl Batterbee Graphic Designer Mercedes Moulia Contributors Arne Adriaenssens Ella Put Emma Wesseling Eva Menger Karin Venema Lorenza Bacino Malin Norman Martin Pilkington

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: info@discoverbenelux.com www.discoverbenelux.com

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 58  |  October 2018

After this summer’s endless hot and dry days, the nippy mornings and rainy afternoons of October are a welcome change. There is more reason than ever to celebrate this change of the seasons, and why not do so with a visit to the wonderful Benelux countries? In this edition, we show that staying indoors does not have to be a bad thing. In our extensive Flemish interior design special, we feature numerous designers and brands who make our homes, as well as our working environments, ever more pleasant and productive. A small change can go a long way, and can help to declutter your surroundings as well as your mind, allowing you to focus on the things that really matter. Innovation is in the genes of the Dutch, as you will find out in our Made in the Netherlands special. Inventive, original and always high quality, Dutch entrepreneurs create products like no other. Some of them are so commonplace now, that most people do not even consider their origin. In which case, do not be surprised to find out they were indeed crafted by the capable hands of the Dutch. On the cover, we have singer Jan Smit who has just started a new, three-month-long theatre tour. His feel-good music with a high sing-along factor are probably known by every single person in the Netherlands, as well as many people abroad. Aside from being a dedicated father, Smit is known for his work ethic, something he says he got from his upbringing in Volendam. Doing numerous side projects, as well as maintaining a successful two-decade-long career, Smit is not one to sit still. His drive to keep going and to innovate his music are certainly inspirational and a great way to showcase a typical Dutch mentality of niet denken, maar doen; stop thinking and take action. Happy reading!

Myriam Gwynned Dijck, Editor


S A I S O N 2 0 1 8 /2 0 1 9 P O RT R A I T - H O R S C A D R E

PETER BIALOBRZESKI H E I M AT D I E Z W E I T E 1 8/ 09 / 2 01 8 1 7/ 09 / 2 01 9

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SUSAN BARNETT OT I N FA C E / 2 0 1 8 / 2 0 1 9

ISABELLE GRAEFF E X I T 2 8/ 09 / 2 01 8 2 7/ 09 / 2 01 9

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W W W. C L E R VA U X I M A G E . L U

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Photographies © les artistes

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Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks

OCTOBER FASHION PICKS

Looking classy no matter the weather The rains of autumn tell us it is time to start wearing jackets again. Unfortunate? Perhaps, but let us make it as enjoyable as possible by picking a stylish option like a trench coat: the most classic coat there is. TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA  |  PRESS PHOTOS

High fashion Looking for something a bit more highfashion? This slender take on the classic trench, in dark blue, has a fashionable cut and subtle detailing. Easy to combine with other colours, you will want to wear it all year long. €250 www.cosstores.com

Embrace the classics A camel trench coat belongs in any wardrobe. This classic piece of clothing is functional and fashionable at the same time. As they never go out of style, investing in a good trench coat like this one, will give you guaranteed style and joy for years to come. €259 www.bellerose.be

6  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

Let it rain Whoever suggested that one can not look stylish when it is raining, has clearly never seen the coats by Rains. Fashionable and waterproof, this long coat will keep you dry from top to bottom. Having to take a raincheck will be a thing of the past. €135 www.rains.com


Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks

Pretty in pink A long trench coat with stripes makes for the perfect, timeless combination. At Selected Femme, they know all about that. Adding a little bit of colour – light pink, in this case – makes it just that touch more fun. €259 www.selectedfemme.nl

Creative colouring Go bold this autumn and pick a colour that stands out, but does not necessarily scream for attention. Take this rusty brown coat: it is easy to combine with jeans and trainers for a casual outfit, or with your favourite autumn dress for some elegance. €399 www.gant.com

Winter is coming At this time of the year, you can never know when the cold temperatures may hit you. That will not be a problem, however, with this item on your coat rack. Fluffy, warm and exceptionally stylish, you will be ready for whatever the weather throws at you. €140 www.summumwoman.com Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  7


Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Desirable Designs

DESIRABLE DESIGNS

Minimalist is never boring Scandinavian interiors are rising stars, of late. What a lot of homes in northern Europe have in common is their minimalist design. Less is more, so to speak. The trick is to create an interior like that, without potentially living in complete boredom. Why not get a little help from these items? TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA  |  PRESS PHOTOS

1.

2. Lose track of time Hourglasses are making a comeback into people’s homes. Especially spicedup versions, such as this one with magnetic sand. Find a moment to relax, as you slowly watch the passing of the sands of time. €23 www.kikkerland.com

3.

2. 3. Minimal colours, maximum shapes The two Dutch designers of Manava Design know how to play with shapes. They use basic colours and materials and combine them with an extraordinary design. €931 www.manava.design

1. Three is a crowd By having two or three smaller side tables instead of one large one, a room will look optically bigger. These tables are made out of scaffolding wood, which gives them a rougher appearance. €345 www.purewooddesign.be

5.

4. 4. Natural scents Minimalism goes beyond interior design. A beauty regime can also feature products made-up of merely a few natural ingredients. So indulge in a perfume by Abel Odor: they are 100 per cent natural and, as you would expect, will make you smell wonderful too. €98 www.abelodor.com 8  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

5. Get on your high horse Having kids’ toys all over the house can often become a real eye-sore. Not if they look like this, however. This rocking horse is made out of lightweight aluminium, can be used in- and outdoors and is environmental friendly too. €230 www.klevering.nl


Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Galerie Le Beau

French Design exhibition - Charlotte Perriand.

GALERIE LE BEAU, BRUSSELS

When design transcends time TEXT: SIMON WILLMORE  |  PHOTOS: GALERIE LE BEAU

When it comes to design – for clothing, furniture, or architecture – having authenticity to the age and an iconic style are both crucial for a good piece. However, transcending fleeting trends and time periods is something else entirely. This timelessness in design is the focus of Galerie Le Beau, which opened in 2014 on the Place du Sablon, the main art square in Brussels. Here, husband and wife founders, Stanislas Gokelaere and Céline Robinson – a couple who share a passion for 20th century design in particular – have brought together a collection of pieces from mid-century 10  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

designers. The selection includes furniture pieces from Scandinavian, American, French, Brazilian and Italian designers, with the mantra ‘creating a dialogue between furniture, lighting and art’.

Back to his roots While Gokelaere’s family was involved in the art business, he initially went into the field of finance and collected art purely as an amateur. However, the calling was too strong and he eventually decided to open a gallery for his collection. “We have a focus on design from the period between 1940 and 1970,” Gokelaere

begins. “What separates us from other galleries or dealers is that we focus on historic furniture designers and architects without concentrating on their geography or origin.” This collection, naturally, shows many artistic influences, but there is a strong connection to the importance of society and the economy at that point in time, and to the way it affected the design and production of furniture. Gokelaere continues: “You can see the stages design went through in the wake of oncoming modern, industrial development. Particularly in the 1950s, you start to see the consideration for replicating the


Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Galerie Le Beau

products quickly and cheaply for largescale manufacturing – but there is a difference compared to today’s approach. Nowadays, when you think of massmarket furniture, you think of a compromise on quality or design for the sake of profit, but this was not the case back then.”

A balance of quality and profit Of course, profit has a part to play for any business but, he emphasises, for mid-century designers, this economic consideration had little bearing – or at least no negative impact – on the quality of the product or its design. “That is the link between all the designers we exhibit,” Gokelaere continues. “All of them have made their mark on the industry at the time when mass-market production was coming to the fore – but none of them would compromise on design. This exhibition shows the journey of trying to preserve the rules and constraints of true craftsmanship while embracing a more industrialised process, such as with new materials, machinery and technological solutions.”

Jorge Zalszupin armchair.

Brafa, Brussels 2018.

The designers featured at Galerie Le Beau laid the groundwork for everything that happened afterwards: they were instrumental, not just in the manufacturing of furniture at the time, but in the development of the industrial process. Gokelaere adds: “That is what this gallery is promoting and celebrating: the development of fast design with the preservation of authenticity.”

Future expansion and exhibitions This month, a new exhibition titled Blo Void Series will open, displaying pieces from Israeli current industrial artist Ron Arad, and will run until December. Arad is known for bold chrome creations, often combining sweeping curved designs with sharp edges. Among other achievements, Arad won the tender to design the UK Holocaust Memorial in London and designed the ToHA office complex in Tel Aviv, soon to be Israel’s tallest skyscraper. In March, the second Galerie Le Beau will open on the Belgian coast in KnokkeHeist. The municipality is an extremely

PAD LONDON 2016.

exclusive area and is often known as the San Tropez of Belgium. Unsurprisingly, it also has the highest density of art galleries in the country and so it seems like the ideal place to open a new branch. When asked about the future, Gokelaere suggests that, at least for his gallery, perhaps it is more suitable to look back. Gallery visitors can be sure to expect historical design pieces that are archetypal of their time, but are no longer in production. Even though these pieces are obsolete to some extent, he says that looking at them is a way to look back into the techniques and design trends of the past. “What is interesting is that despite the fact that these products are effectively outdated, they somehow always feel contemporary,” he concludes. “That is what makes great design – it feels timeless. No matter the century a piece of furniture is from, it still feels relevant. “That is the message we are trying to promote.” Web: www.galerie-lebeau.com

Stanislas Gokelaere and Céline Robinson.

Ron Arad - Blo Void 2006.

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  11


Enjoy the good life....

The history of De Havixhorst dates back to the Medieval Ages when peasants began settling on the high grounds along the banks of the Reest River on the border between Drenthe and Overijssel. At De Havixhorst you can spend the night in authentic style. The château has thirteen exclusive hotel rooms, and every one of them has its own unique character. Staying at De Havixhorst means spending a few days as a guest of the family. De Havixhorst also welcomes you for a regional dinner, cooked by the chef and his staff. Almost immediately you will understand how De Havixhorst quickly earned its reputation as one of the top Dutch restaurants. Groups ranging from two to 500 people can be accommodated at De Havixhorst. De Havixhorst offers stylish venues for both small and large groups. Expect a charming and authentic ambience with modern facilities. De Havixhorst has years of experience organising celebrations, presentations, events and meetings of all sizes.

www.dehavixhorst.nl

★★★★ Schiphorsterweg 34-36 7966 AC De Schiphorst The Netherlands T: +31 (0)522 44 14 87

info@dehavixhorst.nl


Discover Benelux  |  A Fabulous Belgian Wedding  |  The Inspiration Guide

Wolvenbos. Photo: Jasmijn Brussé Fotografie

A FABULOUS BELGIAN WEDDING:

The inspiration guide The combination of charm, tradition, stunning locations and scrumptious food and drink, makes Belgium a fantastic country to host your wedding. Located in the centre of Europe, it is also perfect for welcoming international guests to the best day of your life. For a dash of romance this October, we have handpicked some magical locations, caterers and travel agents to make the wedding, afterparty and honeymoon into a big success. TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK

Voyages Orion. Photo: AdobeStock

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  13


Discover Benelux  |  A Fabulous Belgian Wedding  |  The Inspiration Guide

If you want to serve drinks that perfectly match your unique character and wedding ambiance, turn to page 19. Here, we have featured the cocktail experts of Mireaus who love to create new drinks. What guest would not like to be served a bespoke cocktail inspired by the couple themselves? And finally, after the big day is over, there is one last joyous event to take place: the honeymoon. On page 20, Voyages Orion showcases its most romantic destinations. From city trips to safaris, cruises and tropical retreats, they can arrange your ideal getaways where you can relax and continue to celebrate your love in style.

Photo: Miraeus

On average, up to 45,000 weddings take place in Belgium every year. This means that on any given week, about 850 couples will tell each other those two magical words, ‘I do’. When it comes to the special day itself, the Belgians are known for their grand, day-long celebrations, often featuring a hundred guests or more. After dinner and before moving on to their first dance, the couple will traditionally cut their wedding cake. In Belgium, this moment is typically accompanied by the song Les Lacs du Connemara. This French chanson recounts a story of love and liberation in Ireland, where Connemara is located. Do not be surprised when you see guests spontaneously jump up and start waving their napkins, this is all part of the Belgian wedding tradition and is sure to get everyone in the mood to dance. To help you celebrate in style, we have put together this inspiration guide to get you excited for this special day, or perhaps to help a family member or loved one in their planning stages. For a fairytale location, turn to page 16 where you can read all about the magical Wolvenbos Castle. Situated just north of Antwerp, the beautifully secluded grounds offer a sense of intimacy as well as stunning views. 14  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

Known for their flavoursome and inventive cuisine, you will know you are in good hands with the Belgians when you are looking for wedding catering. We have featured a young and passionate chef and caterer based in Liège, who is an expert at adding a little romance into the food. You can read about Signedengis and his tasty creations on page 18.

Photo: Singedengis

Photo: Voyages Orion


# W A T C H B E Y O N D

BR 03-94 BLACK MATTE CERAMIC

w w w. b e l l ro ss . co m

Corner Bell & Ross · Rue de la Régence 1 - 4000 Liège . Tél : 0032 (0)4 222 16 23

www.bijouterie-kuypers.com


Discover Benelux  |  The Inspiration Guide  |  Fabulous Belgian Wedding Venues

W O LV E N B O S

Welcome to wonderland TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA  |  PHOTOS: WOLVENBOS

The perfect wedding starts with a perfect location: like Wolvenbos. In the middle of nature, a private and magical place arises: a castle from the 1900s accompanied by a fairytale garden. It is a wonderland where the best day of your life can unfold. The experience of Wolvenbos starts at the entrance, at the stunning wrought iron gate featuring the name and weapon of the estate. This is followed by a long path surrounded by large trees. The castle is nowhere in sight just yet, but will be soon: when you turn right, it arises through the branches. “A magical sight,” says Valerie Christiaen, who is in charge of this remarkable location. 16  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

You have arrived at a beautiful castle, built and lived in during the 1900s. Attached is a spacious terrace, overlooking a large field of grass, a forest and some meadows. You can see it all, yet no one can see you. “That is one of the great aspects of Wolvenbos, it is very private. All 42 hectares are only accessible to wedding guests. You also get your own entrance and parking, belonging to the castle.”

Feeling right at home Back at the castle entrance hall, a great fireplace warms the room. If you go beyond the salon and walk a little further down the hall, you will find a cosy space with a cabinet filled with classic Delft Blue, and an antique bar. The library is not easy

to spot, but definitely worthwhile seeking out. The most important room is the grand hall, with a large dome in the middle creating a comforting light. “On the wall, there are paintings and tapestries; in the middle we can put beautiful round chairs and a table of honour. This is where the dinner usually takes place,” Christiaen says, and adds: “We can place 150 people here for a seated dinner. Throughout the entire castle we wanted to create a warm interior, like you are in someone’s home. Guests have to feel completely welcome.” For those preferring an outdoor wedding rather than being inside for most of the day,


Discover Benelux  |  The Inspiration Guide  |  Fabulous Belgian Wedding Venues

Wolvenbos offers a so-called ‘secret garden’. A name that was given to it for good reason, because this garden is invisible to most visitors. It cannot be seen from the castle, and nor can the castle be seen from the garden. “It also has its own entrance and parking, so you can choose to rent only the garden or only the castle. Or both, for the complete experience, of course.”

Intimate and magical Entering the garden is something special in itself. Look for a cute little house that has a small white and green coloured door. This is where you enter an oasis of peace and quiet. You will see two fields of grass edged with buxus and roses, a water well and large trees that surround the area. “Like you are in Alice in Wonderland. There is a buffet table that can host a dinner for

20 people, and a tent, which is often used for the ceremony, dinner or dance party. It is very intimate and magical.” This location is often used for a day wedding, with a barbecue lunch. The party then starts at around four in the afternoon. There is also the possibility to add multiple extra tents, when hosting a larger wedding. For two years now, Wolvenbos has been available to host weddings, impressing its guests with the large planes of nature and comforting spaces in the castle. “Wolvenbos will keep surprising you for hours. It is filled with small areas that each offer their own kind of magic,” confirms Christiaen. No wonder then, that people regularly request to spend their wedding night in the castle as well. “We have created three

suites on the first floor where you can stay the night and wake up to the sound of birds and have breakfast surrounded by nature. It is an incredible experience that is the perfect extension to your wedding day.”

Long history For those who long to see this magical place, but do not have the prospect of a wedding ahead of them: it is also possible to visit the estate for other occasions. “We offer meeting rooms and organise events and guided tour days. The estate has a very long history, for instance during the First World War. There are still some unique Belgian bunkers to be seen, as well as original trenches. During an hourlong walk you can learn all about it.” Web: www.wolvenbos.be

Photo: Jasmijn Brussé Fotografie

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  17


Discover Benelux  |  The Inspiration Guide  |  Fabulous Belgian Wedding Catering

Signedengis – more than just a catering service TEXT: LORENZA BACINO  |  PHOTOS: SIGNEDENGIS

At only 22 years of age, chef and caterer Pierre-Emmanuel Dengis is punching well above his weight on the Belgian catering scene. After studying hotel management in Namur, Pierre-Emmanuel launched his own company at just 19. Three years later, he and his small dedicated team provide a versatile and personalised catering service that delivers throughout Belgium and Luxembourg – with no extra delivery charges. “All our products are locally sourced from small suppliers,” he explains. “We use the local butcher, baker, fishmonger and cheese-maker. You will not find any frozen foods or microwave ovens here.” Signedengis prides itself on its ability to come up with delicious meat or fish-based menu options with a focus on French, Italian and Asian cuisine. Dietary and allergy requirements are no problem for Signedengis. Starting from 40 euros per head, you will be able to create a fabulous three-course meal.

“We first meet with our client to better understand their requirements, tastes and needs. Then we’ll provide a quote. You can even taste your menu ahead of your special event to make sure it is exactly how you want it.” Wedding catering is what Signedengis does best, taking care of more than just the food. “We help find the best venue for your special day, as well as organise the music, the décor and the whole ambiance,” enthuses Pierre-Emmanuel.

Signedengis and the team are well versed at putting their hand to everything, to ensure that you get the best out of your special day. Contact Pierre-Emmanuel Dengis, managing director on +32 855 11 109 or +32 470 88 39 79. Or email pe.dengis@signedengis.be or info@signedengis.be

Web: www.signedengis.be


Discover Benelux  |  The Inspiration Guide  |  Fabulous Belgian Wedding Catering

Nicolas Oorts and David Vanheesbeke.

Classy cocktail catering TEXT: KARIN VENEMA  |  PHOTOS: MIRAEUS

When a bride-to-be approached Miraeus and asked them if they could cater her wedding with an apple theme, the mixologists had a challenge on their hands. To match the festive decorations and food, they served a delicious, fresh apple cocktail, served in hollowed-out apples. It was a unique and gorgeous-looking drink to top off a beautiful wedding. Six years ago, friends Nicolas Oorts and David Vanheesbeke turned their dreams into reality and started Miraeus. Based in Antwerp, Miraeus specialises in concept cocktail catering, spirit tastings and cocktail workshops. As students, Vanheesbeke and Oorts lived in the Miraeusstraat in Antwerp, where they were first bitten by the cocktail bug. After they finished their studies in economics and law respectively, they both worked in the corporate world for a few years, before they decided to follow their passion and start their own business. “Our slogan is ‘drinks and memories’, because that is the service that we provide, for receptions, business conven-

tions, company events, birthday parties, weddings and other happenings. Our bespoke service is always tailored to the wishes of the client. We can do age-old classics or create something more contemporary − cocktails that match the business values, in the colours of the logo, or with a certain theme… whatever the client can think of. We can fully customise to their needs and wishes,” says Vanheesbeke.

client also gets involved in the development process and tasting of the creations. Obviously, creating cocktails involves a lot of tasting for the mixologists. “Working is not a punishment for me, I love all our creations! Small sips only, though,” laughs Vanheesbeke.

Many high-end events have a Miraeustouch to them, like a recent Max Mara fashion show where Miraeus served classic cocktails in classy glasses. The secret of their success is in the details: using qualified, smartly dressed bartenders, highest quality products, exquisite display materials, and custom-made menus and coasters. Everything fits the style of the event to create a special atmosphere. When a client approaches Miraeus, they will first discuss the brand or business, the event and the atmosphere the client is after. Then the creative juices start flowing and the Miraeus team will design a concept and matching cocktails. The

Green cocktail creations by Mireaus.

Web: www.miraeus.com/en

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  19


Discover Benelux  |  The Inspiration Guide  |  A Fabulous Honeymoon

Escape across the border TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON  |  PHOTOS: VOYAGES ORION

For many in Belgium wanting to go on holiday or a honeymoon, it is far easier to fly from Cologne or Dusseldorf, rather than Brussels. Voyages Orion, based in the German-speaking part of the country, makes a speciality of precisely these options. When David Bocher established Voyages Orion in 2009, it was a one-man operation. Within a year, he had taken on his first employee, and now the company has three busy offices – in Eupen, St Vith and Calamine – and a total of 16 employees. It is a full-service operation, but Orion’s trump card is using the facilities and economies of scale offered by 20  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

near-neighbour Germany for the benefit of its Belgian clients.

Better logistics “Our main office is only 12 kilometres from the German border, and for people in this area and indeed much of Eastern Belgium, the logistics of flying from, say, Cologne or Dusseldorf, make more sense than struggling across to Brussels,” says David. That is far from the only benefit, too. “The German travel market is huge, Europe’s biggest,” he continues, “and consequently, the prices are more competitive, and the range of options far wider than a relatively small country like Belgium can offer.”

All of David’s staff members are bilingual, to facilitate communications with French, Flemish and German-speaking Belgian clients, but also to smooth their daily dealings with major tour operators and flight providers in Germany, with whom over the last nine years they have built up excellent relationships.

Honeymoon travel The company has particular strengths in the cruise market, package holidays, and in the very demanding honeymoon sector. “Honeymoons are a major part of our business,” David adds, “with my colleague Caroline Kleutgen who is a real specialist in that part of the business.”


Discover Benelux  |  The Inspiration Guide  |  A Fabulous Honeymoon

Couples approaching Voyages Orion to enquire about wedding travel can fix a face-to-face meeting, or over the telephone if that is simpler for them, where their requirements, budget and preferences will be discussed. After that, the team will research the best-fit options for them, and present the prospective clients with one or several possibilities for them to consider. “Making all those wedding arrangements can be stressful,” says David, “so we work hard to make the couple’s travel options as stress-free and as closely tailored to their needs and budget as it is possible to get.” Those options are likely to be for places and hotels known personally to people at Voyages Orion: “That’s a major part of what we do, and an enjoyable part,” says David, “building up in-depth knowledge of the resorts and areas we send people to.” Caroline Kleutgen, for instance, as part of her honeymoon brief, has visited

the Maldives, Bali, Singapore, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Mauritius, among other places. It is a tough job, but someone has got to do it!

Classic options Staff members at Orion keep across trends in the wedding travel market, with, for example, the USA in vogue currently for romantic road trips, and a very notable rise in demand for travel to Oman (a destination whose development has impressed David). There has been greater interest too, of late, in honeymoons within Europe: Greece especially, with its excellent climate and competitive prices. But just as with weddings themselves, certain classic options never go out of fashion. “The Maldives, Bali and Mauritius are perennial favourites for honeymoon couples,” says David, “with a huge range of options, great facilities, and the ‘x-factor’ of romance about them.”

A win-win situation Orion has grown every year since it opened for business, in spite of – or perhaps even because of – the rise of the internet. We all know how overwhelming it can be to be faced with the vast amount of information that is easily available via our computer screens, but which is hellishly difficult to sift through and interpret. And anyone planning a wedding has enough complexity to deal with as it is. “We can arrange things rapidly with the client from making noobligation offers to completing the deal just by exchanging emails,” he says, and it is often a win-win situation, saving time and frequently saving money too. “We have all the best offers to hand, and in fact, in many cases, as well as having the expertise to know about the places themselves, thanks to our links with the major German tour operators, we are able to offer better prices.” Web: www.orion-reisen.be

Photo: AdobeStock

Photo: David Stefanie

Photo: AdobeStock

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  21


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

MADE IN THE NETHERLANDS

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

22  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018


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

The high-tech and manufacturing industries in the Netherlands are among the most innovative in the world, thanks to superb facilities and leading research. Dutch technological know-how and products are highly sought-after across Europe and beyond. The Dutch creative industry is particularly renowned in fields such as interior design, gaming, fashion, and architecture. The Netherlands has countless internationally successful fashion designers such as Iris van Herpen, not to mention stylish brands including Scotch & Soda and G-Star RAW. In the design world, the Netherlands is a must-visit for architecture addicts with many of the globe’s most celebrated architects hailing from the Netherlands: from Gerrit Rietveld to Rem Koolhaas, the list is endless. Both nationally and internationally, Dutch architects continue to make their mark with their innovative approach to building, while creatives such as Marcel Wanders epitomise Dutch conceptualism. Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  23


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

T H E O N E S - T O - WAT C H We asked NBTC Holland Marketing for some of their top Dutch design tips… Michael Barnaart van Bergen

Atelier NL

Michael Barnaart van Bergen focuses on knitwear and is celebrated for his comfortable dresses and influences ranging from industrial design, graphic design and art. The collections are produced in limited editions in the Netherlands using traditional methods and can be seen both on the streets and in various international museums. We particularly love his Mondrian-inspired dresses! www.michaelbarnaartvanbergen.com

This design duo have a studio in the Bergmann Church in Eindhoven and are renowned for their homewares. Atelier NL often source clays from around the Netherlands and catalogue their properties and colours, as well as doing the same with sand for glass items. This produces specialist finishes and colours, and celebrates regional diversity. www.ateliernl.com

Omar Munie LES SOEURS ROUGES

LES SOEURS ROUGES, Le Parc Perdu.

Founded in 2009 by the sisters Dorrith de Roode and Marlous de Roode, LES SOEURS ROUGES is a fashion and accessories brand, with creative designs that are handmade by the ladies themselves. Having grown up surrounded by family members active in the fashion industry, their collections are often inspired by history and the lost treasures of their home city; The Hague. www.lessoeursrouges.com Mondrian dress by Michael Barnaart van Bergen.

24  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

The young and talented Dutch designer Omar Munie is celebrated for his handbags, which are considered to be the perfect blend of functionality and design. The creative has many awards to his name including ‘Best Entrepreneur Under the Age of 25’, ‘Most Innovative Entrepreneur 2011’ and a lifetime achievement award in 2013 for a sustainable design bag made from recycled KLM uniforms. www.omarmunie.com One of Omar Munie’s sophisticated handbags.


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

THE BEST OF ‘MADE IN THE NETHERLANDS’ From beauty and design via manufacturing and high-tech, we showcase the Dutch brands you need to know about across a variety of different sectors.

blue®m

Sayuri Cosmetics

Read more from page 26 Give your smile a boost with the dental products by blue®m, which use several powerful yet natural ingredients.

Read more from page 27 Rejuvenate, purify and deeply nourish your skin with Sayuri’s intelligent and high-end cosmetics.

Damn Good Soap Company

Baruti

LaDot Cosmetics

Read more from page 28 Give your beard and body the care they deserve with these bold, homemade male grooming products.

Read more from page 28 Breaking away from the ‘his’ and ‘hers’ perfumes, Baruti creates unexpected aromatic combinations that transcend these labels.

Read more from page 29 Express yourself with a stunning temporary tattoo with stamped-on rhinestones by Europe’s leading temporary tattoo maker.

Collalift

Soap & Gifts and Van der Lovett

Dovox

Read more from page 30 Your beauty routine should start with getting the right nutrients in your body. The supplements by Collalift help to give your skin and body a natural boost.

Read more from page 31 A little bit of pampering can go a long way: the products by Soap & Gifts and male grooming brand Van Der Lovett help you unwind and feel refreshed.

Read more from page 31 No more stale cars and musty houses thanks to the unique, plastic scent cards by Dovox, which emanate a sophisticated perfume for two months or more.

SnörEx

Sunshower

Toplicht

Read more from page 32 Help your partner or yourself enjoy restful nights once again with a unique, personalised device that has proven to reduce snoring at night.

Read more from page 34 Get deep-tissue health benefits from ultraviolet and infrared light, while having a shower. The innovators behind Sunshower offer you precisely this.

Read more from page 36 Go bold with the stylish and trendy lampshades by Toplicht, crafted from luxurious, high-quality materials. These statement pieces instantly create a unique atmosphere.

Schut Papier

DE NOOD

Maxibel

Read more from page 37 This stunning mill makes top quality paper for the fine-art world by combining centuries-old techniques with modern knowledge.

Read more from page 38 If you have ever seen intricate street lanterns in the Netherlands, then these stunning replicas were likely crafted by DE NOOD.

Read more from page 40 A fantastic solution to temporary lighting, Maxibel offers high-powered LED lights that are easy to mount and have been built to last.

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  25


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

The key ingredients: lactoferrin, sodium perborate, xylitol and honey.

Good health starts with your mouth TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: blue ® m

“Your mouth is a mirror of your body. If you take good care of it, it will help your body to stay healthy,” says Nathalie Beck, co-founder of blue®m. They have made it their mission to create oral care products that help your body take care of itself. Why dental care products? “Because the digestive system begins in the mouth.”

Together with Blijdorp, he came up with a range of dental care products, such as toothpaste, mouthwash and oral wound gel, which were dubbed Blue Magic and blue®m, due to the results they achieved. Every product is produced in the Netherlands and exported to 30 countries across Europe and beyond.

‘blue’ movement, as they call it. “Throughout the world there are ‘Blue Zones’: zones where people tend to live happy, healthier and more fulfilled lives, and statistically live longer. There are blue zones, for instance, in Sardinia in Italy and Icaria in Greece. Would it not be great to have those blue zones everywhere?” smiles Beck.

Healthy honey

blue®m came about in 2010 in Zwolle, after a chance encounter between pioneering maxillofacial surgeon Peter Blijdorp and Fokke Jan Middendorp. With more than 25 years of experience in dental surgery and implantology, Blijdorp had become increasingly drawn to finding ways to accelerate the healing of oral wounds.

The products by blue®m – a clinically validated oral health brand, recommended by the best dental specialists – contain active oxygen, extracted from, amongst other things, honey. “Most people think that honey is bad for your teeth, because of the sugar. But honey is rich in hydrogen peroxide and therefore ‘oxygen-rich’, which helps to fight bacteria,” explains Beck. “By applying oxygen, you support the body’s own healing processes, because it stimulates cell division.”

To achieve this, blue®m helps its customers by giving advice on how to live healthier, happier lives, take better care of themselves and get the most out of life. Beck adds: “Oxygen is indispensable in that. We need it to live and we need it to heal ourselves.”

Dental magic “One of his discoveries was the power and healing properties of active oxygen, a pure substance natural to the body,” Beck explains. “Together with his team, he started on a mission: to help as many people as he could.” One of them was Fokke Jan Middendorp. Middendorp saw its potential and wanted the world to benefit from it. 26  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

Another key feature of active oxygen is that it helps to keep the oral flora in balance. “Regular antibacterial ingredients attack all bacteria, including the good ones, and have many negative side effects.” blue®m is about more than just dental care products. It is a philosophy, a

Founders Fokke Jan Middendorp and Peter Blijdorp.

Web: www.bluemcare.com


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

Meet the founders (l.t.r.): Maria Parlak, Jelena Boitsova, Katerina Trofimova.

Mirror, mirror on the wall… TEXT: SILKE HENKELE  |  PHOTOS: SAYURI COSMETICS

…who is the fairest of them all? When it comes to luxurious, intelligent cosmetics that keep you and your skin fair, beautiful, healthy and radiant, Sayuri Cosmetics is a brand definitely worth looking out for. Based in the Netherlands, Sayuri Cosmetics has been revolutionising the market for high-end beauty products since 2012. What makes their products so special? Co-founder Katerina Trofimova explains: “We are true beauty experts and know how to make skin perfect. Our products are comprised of more than 150 highquality, bio-active ingredients that work in dialogue and perfect harmony with the user’s skin, targeting its exact needs.” This is why they call their products ‘intelligent’: with hundreds of efficient individual formulas exclusively created for Sayuri Cosmetics, their beauty products provide the solution to many specific needs. In order to ensure the high quality of Sayuri Cosmetics, all their production units are located in Europe. This gives Katerina,

together with the other two founders, Maria Parlak and Jelena Boitsova, the ability to keep a close eye on the whole research, creation and production process. “When it comes to our skin, we don’t want to compromise. In Sayuri Cosmetics, we have created a series of cosmetic products with unlimited potential. Our product range is the ideal answer to the challenges our skin has to face every day.” Jelena says, and elaborates on Sayuri Cosmetics’ products and their effects: “The Matrix Repair line, for example, guarantees instant lifting and rejuvenating of mature skin. Glowing Skin gives your face its purity and radiance back, while our line HyActive Comfort, instantly moisturises and nourishes the skin.” Beauty products by Sayuri Cosmetics are used by individuals at home, as well as by professionals at work. They are currently aiming to make the products available to the international, high-end beauty market. “While we have only recently launched an exclusive beauty line for professional beauty salons in Russia

and Europe – among them, the exclusive French Dessange beauty salons – we are also actively increasing cooperations with exclusive partners in the Benelux countries,” Maria concludes.

Curious about the effects of Sanyuri Cosmetics beauty products? Maria, Jelena and Katerina offer our readers a special discount when you order your favourite beauty product on their homepage. Get a 25 per cent discount with the code DiscoverSayuri, valid until 31 December 2018.

Web: www.sayuricosmetics.com

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  27


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

Self-care with a masculine touch TEXT: EMMA WESSELING  |  PHOTOS: DAMN GOOD SOAP COMPANY

If you have a beard, making sure it looks good, feels soft and smells fresh is a must. But how do you navigate the crowded market of beard-targeted toiletries? You find a Damn Good Soap Company. If you are in need of a specific product, and you are unable to find it, there is really only one solution: you make it yourself. That is what Jasper van Impelen, owner and founder of Damn Good Soap Company, decided to do. “I was in the shower and realised my wife’s soap had a very distinct feminine smell, while men often wash themselves with soap that is very neutral. That’s how I came up with the idea of making soaps that not only smell, but also look very masculine too, to make pampering and self-care not seem so feminine to men,” he said. Starting off with just their trademark black bars of soap, Damn Good Soap Company quickly grew to making all sorts of cosmetics, specifically targeted to men. Five years ago,

when Damn Good Soap Company was founded, this market was still relatively untapped, allowing for a fast expansion of the company. Van Impelen, however, still focuses on the artisanal aspect of his products. Everything his company sells is homemade and home-tested by Van Impelen and his friends. Aside from the bars of soap, they now also offer various products for the maintenance of beards, solid blocks of eau de cologne and a cream to help repair blistered and damaged hands, that is currently being used quite widespread among many crossfitters, for example. Damn Good Soap Company products are available through their website and various resellers internationally.

Web: www.damngoodsoap.com

Scent explosions Perfumer and fragrance engineer, Spyros Drosopoulos, wants to tell novel stories with his perfumes. Named after the Greek word for gunpowder, Baruti perfumes are explosions of scent. The niche, independent perfume brand is conquering the world with unexpected aromatic combinations. Looking at Baruti’s Kaleidoscopic collection, the first thing that stands out is that the perfumes are not labelled for him or for her. “Smells are individual,” says Drosopoulos. “They should suit the occasion, just like clothes, shoes and accessories. Labelling the perfumes beyond their name would not do justice to that individuality.” The kaleidoscopic packaging design seems a perfect metaphor for the individual arrangement of different elements to create beauty. All of Baruti’s formulas are composed by Spyros Drosopoulos in his laboratory in Amsterdam. Spyros is a former neuroscientist who has always had an appreciation for fragrance. After years of working as a 28  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

TEXT: KARIN VENEMA  |  PHOTOS: BARUTI

scientific researcher and lecturer, he left the academic world to pursue his newly found love – perfumery. “I love to tell stories through smells. Each Baruti fragrance is a persona with its own distinctive character and narrative. In my collaborations with other art disciplines, I explore the boundaries of smell even further. I let go of all laws and regularities. Who says a smell always has to be nice? Just like the DJ or video-artist during live performances, I use my ingredients and creativity to make a sequence of smells that tell my story,” Drosopoulos continues.

Kaleidoscopic collection.

All the words in the world cannot describe a smell explosion adequately, so if you find yourself near a store that stocks Baruti perfumes: go and experience it for yourself. Web: www.baruti.eu

Spyros Drosopoulos.


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

Stunning temporary tattoos stamped with handmade stones TEXT: KARIN VENEMA  |  PHOTOS: LADOT COSMETICS

When beautician Rita Panarelli found out that her favourite supplier of temporary tattoo stamps was going out of business, she and her husband drove straight to France to see the owner. Within two weeks, the deal was done and LaDot Cosmetics was born. “Of course it involved some practical and logistical challenges,” laughs Panarelli. “We had to arrange our own production location and move 46 pallets of equipment and stock to the Netherlands, all whilst the first orders were already coming in! We were so convinced of the quality of this product and the success it would have, that we had to seize the opportunity with both hands.” Twelve years later, LaDot Cosmetics is the largest and most comprehensive temporary tattoo manufacturer in Europe, serving hundreds of thousands of tattoo fans around the world. Their temporary tattoos and other products are completely safe, non-toxic and hypoallergenic. All cosmetics are made

according to their own recipe, and are produced, cruelty free, in the Netherlands. Stone stamp tattoos are probably best known from the beaches of France, where small entrepreneurs sell them to sun-loving tourists. But LaDot Cosmetics also supplies the beauty industry, a big chain of toy shops in Germany, theme parks and independent entertainers that use the stones alongside their face painting businesses, for example. Recently, they started to sell directly to customers through Amazon: their gift sets are bestsellers. The unique stamping system consist of a handmade tattoo stone and an ink-pad. Once the tattoo is stamped on, it can be decorated with glitter, coloured liners and rhinestones. Depending on where you place it on your body, it will last between one to seven days. Because it is alcohol based, it is waterproof and it will not stain your clothes. When you have had enough, you can simply remove the tattoo with makeup remover or baby oil.

Panarelli is constantly reviewing the quality of the production and adding designs and new products to the collection. “Things that have recently been added are neon inks and liners that glow in blacklight, and skin polish, which is a bit like waterproof body paint. I have seen the most beautiful creations made with our cosmetics. I still put temporary tattoos on myself regularly, I’m just in love with this product!”

Web: www.ladotcosmetics.com

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  29


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

Protect your skin with Zonnebruin® and boost your tan.

The Collalift team.

Hair&Nails supplements promote a natural glow.

Beauty really does come from within TEXT: EVA MENGER  |  PHOTOS: ELKE SMIT

Saying that vitamins are good for us would be like declaring that puppies are cute – it is common knowledge. Yet, getting your body to benefit from those powerful agents can be a little trickier than it seems. Collalift provides a solution by offering supplements that will make it a whole lot easier for your body to reap the rewards. Using minerals, amino acids and an endless range of vitamins, theirs is a natural product range aimed at letting your inner beauty thrive. With over 15 years of experience as an international fashion model, director Anja Henneman has always been passionate about beauty. So when she found out that her partner, a professional orthomolecular specialist, developed a new line of beauty supplements based on vitamins and minerals, she was the first to tell him to bring it to market. Collalift products are unique in that they are pure: a quick glance at the ingredients will tell you that both their powders and tablets are completely natural. The Collalift journey started with homeopathic anti-aging supplements, which 30  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

contain the active ingredient biotin. While using botox contributes to a line-free face, Collalift offers a natural way of keeping the skin tight and smooth from the inside. “It is not just suitable for treating facial skin, but provides an equally wonderful solution for combatting lines in the neck and décolleté areas,” says Henneman, who admits that, at 56, it absolutely is her secret to looking younger.

anti-ageing solutions. Does that sound like you? Collalift can be purchased at most Holland & Barrett branches and online at their own webshop, or the one by John Beerens beauty. Former model and Collalift director Anja Henneman.

In addition to an anti-ageing range, Collalift offers homeopathic supplements Hair&Nails and Zonnebruin® tanning food. The latter is made with natural antioxidants like copper and carotene, which all contribute to protecting the skin against sun damage. “And the best thing about it,” Henneman tells us, “is that the combination of carotene and sea algae will help your skin achieve a natural, tanned complexion, while simultaneously, the copper will make it last longer.” What is not to like? Though some people might start a bit earlier than others, Henneman has found that, in general, an increasing amount of men and women are looking for natural

Web: www.collalift.nl


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

For the love of soap Since the very invention of soap, it has become apparent that its power lies in the versatility of fragrance and the countless possibilities in terms of design. Makers of soap can be endlessly creative, and good quality soap gives users a sense of luxury and pampering. Harrie van der Steldt, owner of white-label soap producer Soap World, and Wout Willems of retail brand Soap & Gifts, teamed up in 2015 to co-create a new range of products based on their shared love of soap. In no time, the products became successful and were adopted by retailers throughout the Benelux. The key, according to Willems, is a business model where creativity and sustainability are paramount. “Soap is a wonderful product. Any scent, colour or shape is feasible, whether shaped like a palm tree, a heart or a sea shell. This allows us to play into contemporary trends and themes very easily and quickly.” Soap & Gifts is focused on retailers who wish to offer handmade products with complete concept displays that are easy to set-up,

TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK  |  PHOTOS: SOAP & GIFTS

innovative and trendy. The products are available in novel shapes, colours and fragrances, are of natural origin, not tested on animals and made by hand. In addition, the founders keep the environment in mind and instead of traditional plastic packaging, they use glass bottles and bio-based plastics wherever possible. In 2016, Van der Steldt went on to introduce men’s brand Van Der Lovett, with special beard oils, soaps and aftershave balms, and a beer shampoo. The founder explains: “We saw there was a need for high-quality men’s products in the market. Men are paying more

attention to their appearance and are looking for high-quality but affordable products.” The Van Der Lovett range is available via the online shop and at selected hairdressers, pharmacies and barber shops. Van der Steldt concludes: “Soap is multifunctional. It’s a great way to feel good, but it can also be a lovely addition to any interior or a wonderful present for friends, family or colleagues.” Web: www.soapandgifts.com www.vanderlovett.com

Van Der Lovett’s high-quality range of personal care products for men.

Simple and innovative household products TEXT: KARIN VENEMA  |  PHOTOS: DOVOX

When Dovox co-founder, Gijs Donders, came up with the idea of perfume cards, people would laugh at his ‘silly cards’. Now, six years later, millions of these cards have been produced and can be found in retail outlets all over Europe. Dovox’s technology, that inserts perfume into plastic cards, is unique, as are all of the different scents you can choose from. “I have a knack for recognising trends,” says Donders. “As an entrepreneur at heart, it only felt like the right thing to do to follow up on this simple idea of perfume cards. We offer top quality by specialist production, and we are the only company in the Benelux that uses this technology.” The Dovox perfume cards last for over 60 days and can be used in the car, around the house or anywhere else in which you might want to introduce a pleasant aroma. Far

removed from standard smells such as pine or vanilla, the sophisticated selection of perfumes offers more than ten luxurious scents at an affordable price. “I am a real fan of the Dovox products. I try them all myself and give them to family and friends. When they speak highly to me about them, I know that the product is good,” says Donders. More recently, Dovox has started producing moisture absorbers that can be used around the house, in the car, garage and so on. This, again, is down to a specialist, dry production process that Dovox has come up with on its own. The Dovox products can be found in many supermarkets, discount shops and other household chain shops. “Last time we went skiing, en route I saw our products beautifully displayed in a large German shop. I was glowing with pride! We are conquering the world with Dovox,” Donders concludes.

Web: www.dovox.nl/en/

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  31


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

Relaxed and rested TEXT: KARIN VENEMA  |  PHOTOS: SNÖREX

Imagine waking up tired every day, because your partner disturbs your sleep with their snoring. Or you might suffer from concentration problems at work because of obstructive sleep apnoea. This could all be put behind you, with the revolutionary SnörEx: a custom-made mouth piece that will give you your sleep back. “When we sleep, the muscles and soft tissues in the throat relax. The tongue lowers into the pharynx, which narrows the airway, causing vibrations that can produce a snoring sound and sometimes breathing problems,” says Olivier Tielemans, spokesperson for SomnoClinic. “The SnörEx is a world patented tongue-retaining device that keeps the tongue in the ‘day position’ during sleep and therefore stops the problems.” Snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea are relatively common conditions that can lead to other issues: feeling extremely tired, being unable to concentrate or 32  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

suffering from headaches or a sore throat. The relationship between people can suffer too, when the snorer is banished to the sofa, or the partner decides to hide out in the spare room. “Initially, it’s usually the partner that raises the alarm about snoring or apnoea. They struggle to fall asleep with their spouse snoring next to them, or worry about the interruptions in breathing that disturbs their partner’s sleep. But often, after they have been using the SnörEx a little while, the clients themselves note that they feel more rested after a night’s sleep,” Tielemans continues.

the teeth and start crafting the personalised SnörEx mouthpiece. The exact fitting and manual production is crucial because the mouth is as unique as a fingerprint. At collection, the last fine-tuning takes place and then the tongue-retaining device is ready to go. We guarantee the product’s success and have over 50,000 happy customers,” says Tielemans. One of them is Jan Olaf Boorsma, who testifies: “After years of searching to resolve my snoring problem, it is finally quiet in the bedroom. The SnörEx is the best invention since the bicycle.”

The SomnoClinic is a family business with four locations that has been helping people with snoring and apnoea for 26 years. They offer clients a free initial consultation to discuss their issues and in which an expert will perform several tests. “When the client decides to go ahead with the SnörEx, our experts make an imprint of

Web: www.somnoclinic.com


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

Integrating wellness into your daily ritual TEXT: EVA MENGER  |  PHOTOS: SUNSHOWER

Who would not want to start their day feeling strong, fresh, healthy and relaxed at the same time? It is the ultimate goal, but unfortunately, it is not everyone’s reality – whether that is due to a lack of time, energy or opportunities. With Sunshower, TU Delft graduates Merijn Wegdam and Oscar Meijer, have invented a way for everyone to feel good and enjoy the sun’s radiation and health benefits on a daily basis while taking a shower – even during a long, dark winter spent inside or travelling around. As a former industrial design student at the Netherlands’ top technology university, Wegdam started looking for solutions to the country’s collective lack of vitamin D. “Right from the start in 2003, making it as 34  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

easy as possible for people to safely and efficiently benefit from the sun’s goodness was the absolute main goal,” general director Michael Tulp, who himself has a background in sustainable consumer goods, tells us. After Wegdam discussed his plans with Meijer, who, back then, was a civil technology student at the same university, they collaboratively turned the idea into a start-up. “Raising awareness of the innovative product was tricky at first,” Tulp continues. Sunlight is generally seen as harmful as it can damage the skin, so getting people to see any product using ultraviolet radiation as a safe and healthy option took them some time. “Sure, too much sunlight is incredibly bad for your skin, but too little is equally damaging,”

and that is exactly what the Sunshower team is here to show. The health benefits offered by vitamin D are infinite. As it helps your body absorb calcium, it has proven essential for developing strong bones, and it is also a key booster for your immune system and general muscle function. Most importantly, however, vitamin D deficiency can lead to low mood and tiredness, which is the main reason why so many people suffer from winter depression during the colder, darker months. Exposing yourself to a healthy and safe dose of UV-light every day can thus significantly boost your mood. Back in 2007, a study by the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC), compared vitamin D levels of those who were


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

using Sunshower on a daily basis to those who were not. At the end of the winter, the first group reached an average of 66.0 nmol/L (nanomole per litre), while the second only got to an average of 36.2 nmol/L. A healthy vitamin D level is generally seen as anything above 50 nmol/L, so these outcomes provide evidence that using the Sunshower on a daily basis is an easy and sufficient way of combatting vitamin D deficits. The Sunshower product range includes models with just UV-light as well as ones combining UV-light with infrared radiation. Tulp explains: “The relatively powerful, but brief infrared radiations offer an intense heat which permeates deeply into the skin.” The output has been especially developed for short usage either during or after taking a shower, and boosts health by causing molecules to move. This leaves you with a relaxed feeling, it

de-stresses your body and decreases back- and neck complaints. What is important to mention is that neither of these have a huge effect on your skin colour. They do help fight winter paleness, leaving you with a healthy, natural blush which helps you feel good and look strong – but other than that, Sunshower has no traditional tanning effects. It is for this reason that Sunshower, in close collaboration with LUMC, decided to start a sister company focused on the medical sector, named Dermasun Medical. The Sunshower team creates light therapy solutions especially for treating chronic skin conditions including psoriasis, eczema and sun allergy. “Working with dermatologists and in-house engineers, we are continuously researching what other health benefits vitamin D and infrared radiation might offer,” Tulp says enthusiasti-

cally. “For all we know, vitamin D can benefit our skin in ways we have never heard of, and in order to constantly innovate and reinvent ourselves, we are determined to keep discovering.” Today, about one in ten Dutch households opt for a Sunshower when moving house or renovating their bathroom. Available as built-in models as well as loose parts suitable for cornered cabins, the showers are suitable for almost all bathroom types. So what is next now that the brand has been considered a success in the Netherlands? “Our next challenge is to break into international markets,” Tulp explains, “which, considering we are the first of our kind, we know is going to be tough.” But then again, who does not want to smoothly integrate a bit of wellness into their daily rituals? Web: www.sunshower.nl

The Sunshower is easy to operate.

The Sunshower can be built into almost every bathroom.

Ultraviolet and infrared light can help soothe various skin conditions.

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  35


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

A small impression of the huge selection of lampshades available. Toplicht also offers experimental designs (top right) and works with luxury materials such as suede (bottom).

The Netherlands’ boldest lampshades TEXT: EVA MENGER  |  PHOTOS: DAVE VERBRUGGEN

To create an atmospheric space, it is not just lighting, but the particular shade of lighting required, that plays a central role. Choosing the right lampshade is therefore essential to achieving your desired look – and Dutch company Toplicht can help with just that. As an established lamp and lampshade studio, they are specialised in providing their expertise to hotels, restaurants and other large organisations. “It was 1986 when my parents started creating lampshades up in their tiny attic,” Toplicht owner Dave Verbruggen tells us when asked about the history of his lamp and lampshade business. “They then opened a studio and I used to spend all my summer breaks helping them out, eventually deciding to take it off their hands.” As the market had significantly altered compared to when his parents first started, he soon realised that he had to change things up a little. Keeping a close eye on fashion and design trends is one way of doing so, of course, but Verbruggen also 36  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

feels that it was equally important to take a risk every now and then. “We once designed and manufactured lampshades with fake snake leather on the outside and all gold or silver PVC on the inside; they did not let any light through, but they became so popular that for a few years we didn’t have time to make anything else,” recalls Verbruggen. Bold moves like these make Toplicht stand out from the crowd – instead of following suit, they are always keen to take the lead.

Revealing that close client relationships are at the core of their business, he continues: “At the end of the day, all our lampshades are a product of a collaboration between my clients, leading trends and myself.” And that is why, as a Dutch wholesaler, they still manage to compete with suppliers from India or China, for example.

That is not to say that Verbruggen does not like to tap into existing trends. Luxury materials seen in boutique hotels are suddenly popping up everywhere, and Toplicht’s range shows great appreciation for that, by offering lampshades in velvet, gold leaf or botanical prints. And if you cannot find what you are looking for, Toplicht is open to requests. “Clients can come to us with ideas and we will always do our best to get it for them, as quickly as possible,” Verbruggen says.

Web: www.toplicht.info


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

The most beautiful papermill in the Netherlands TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: SCHUT PAPIER

Society might be increasingly paperless, but high-quality paper is still very important, especially for artists. Schut Papier in Heelsum produces colour-retaining paper for the artistic world, and technical and graphic paper. “We are the smallest and oldest, most traditional and most beautiful paper mill in the Netherlands,” says director René Kort. “Not to mention extremely innovative.” Schut has been producing paper for over 400 years at the same location in the ‘Dutch Mountains’. “The high slopes here allowed the water to run fast through the watermill to power the factory. It was also freshwater, perfect for producing paper,” Kort explains. In 1998, after producing paper for nearly four centuries, Schut Papier became an autonomous operating subsidiary of the French group Exacompta Clairefontaine S.A. Since 1858, Clairefontaine has produced stationery that is recognised as some of the world’s finest paper, with its

well-known, brushed 90gsm (grammes per square metre) vellum. Along with Schut Papier, they are one of the leading paper makers in the fine-art market. Both brands pride themselves on their signature, high-quality production line, where tradition allies with constant development. They continuously push the boundaries of new sorts of paper by following the evolution of tools and technology. “I would love to have grandchildren one day and I want them to enjoy the world as much as we do. So we have to take better care of it,” smiles Kort. That is why Schut focuses on reducing their own environmental footprint as well as reusing materials to make paper. “To us, waste does not exist. It is merely other material that we can use. For instance, unsold denim jeans are chopped up and made into yarn. Fibres are released during that process. Usually those fibres will be incinerated. We have found a

way to reuse those fibres to make paper. So we now have a paper which is 50 per cent jeans and 50 per cent unbleached PFC cellulose.” Schut also makes papers from cocoa beans, bell peppers and other items or leftover materials. “We are a small paper mill, but extremely flexible because of that,” Kort continues, passionately. “Our machine can quickly switch between papers. And with 1,872 different recipes for papers, some as old as Schut itself, we can always make the paper you need, using the latest techniques and creating traditional, quality results.”

Web: www.schutpapier.com

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  37


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

Royal outdoor lighting TEXT: KARIN VENEMA  |  PHOTOS: DE NOOD

Every time the Dutch King WillemAlexander and his family get their picture taken outside their royal home, Thomas Akveld glows with pride. As commercial director at DE NOOD, he looks beyond the monarchs and sees his company’s exclusive outdoor lighting complementing the beautiful premises. DE NOOD was founded in 1924 by Jan de Nood who, as a coppersmith, took great pride in his work. De Nood had a reputation for being an extremely skilled and meticulous craftsman. He laid the foundations for the quality and precision that, over the years, allowed the company to set itself apart from the crowd. His simple, traditional workshop in Middelburg has now grown into a pro38  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

duction unit where the latest techniques and the best equipment are combined with the knowledge and historical experience that makes DE NOOD and its outdoor lighting so unique.

tique glass; gold, silver or chrome plating; security cameras inside in a lantern; engraving of a logo, family name or coat of arms or the combination of different lighting techniques.

Stunning outdoor lighting surrounding the house

Authentic looking replicas

DE NOOD has an extensive collection of classic outdoor lighting. Whether you are looking for lights next to the front door, in the garden, on an entry pillar or façade, above a doorway, on the driveway, by the garage, next to the path or on the balcony; there is a wide range to choose from. They can even design and produce fully customised lighting upon request. For a perfect finish, customers can opt for adjustments such as lacquering in one or multiple colours; faceted or an-

Many of Amsterdam’s 17th century canal houses are illuminated with DE NOOD lanterns. The replicas look so authentic that most people do not question their origin and assume they are original. Of course, this is a huge compliment for DE NOOD, but it also explains why their name is not as well-known as you would think. One of DE NOOD’s customers, Rob Nijman, explains what led him to the company. He wanted to renovate his monumental house in Rotterdam, but wanted to keep the original style of the building and


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

so gladly called upon DE NOOD’s expertise. “Details are very important in a process like this: things such as locks, hinges and the lacquer and colour scheme. The lanterns by DE NOOD belong to that same category. So fitting that you’d think that they had always been there.” All lanterns come with a certificate of authenticity as proof that you have a genuine DE NOOD. They use high-quality materials such as copper, brass and bronze for their exclusive outdoor lighting range, which guarantees high-quality results and enables DE NOOD to give a lifetime guarantee on their outdoor lighting.

Happy customers are key DE NOOD also counts many professionals among its clients, including Mathile Brandts from Villa Pera, who elaborates: “For our listed buildings, a lantern from the correct era is an embellishment that completes the entire project. Our new builds often have a strong connection to the past; old paving, wrought iron verandas and fencing, gates and orangeries; in short, everything that brings atmosphere and ambiance to the living environment. DE NOOD has been our number one goto for outside lighting for years,” he says.

“And with a lifespan of over a hundred years, you can call it an extremely durable product too.” When Akveld is asked how many satisfied customers DE NOOD has, he smiles and says: “Eighteen million. Because 90 per cent of local councils use our services, so the whole of the Netherlands gets to enjoy beautiful street and outdoor lighting.” Web: www.denood.nl/en/home

Classic street lighting with modern technology Their public projects are often initiated when a local citizen uncovers historic evidence for classic lighting in their part of the city. DE NOOD is then asked to recreate the lighting and restore the streets to their former glory. Akveld: “A few years ago, there was a resident from Rotterdam who discovered drawings of the Matenessebrug in the archives that had not been destroyed by the war.” The council of Rotterdam entrusted DE NOOD to make exact replicas of the masts and lanterns, using nothing but these old drawings. He adds: “The materials and craftsmanship are traditional, but we use the latest lighting techniques.” The old harbour of Rotterdam is now a much-loved project in which many historic elements were brought back to life and replicated by DE NOOD. A similar process was used to light up the Dom Square in Utrecht. Always staying on top of the latest developments, DE NOOD works closely with Philips and other Dutch lighting experts. In Breda, for instance, they have lit up the central shopping area with remotely-controlled lights. Now, the main road from the station to the centre always has a fitting atmosphere: on King’s Day, they turn them orange, on Carnival, they change into all colours of the rainbow and, during the Christmas period, they shine red and green. For nightlife revellers, it is possible to display bright, cold light after the bars close, to help the visitors sober up and safely find their way home. Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  39


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

Temporary lighting made to last TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: MAXIBEL

No matter what you build − a highrise building, a ship, an airplane or a tunnel − you need light to construct it. Maxibel in Haarlem produces on-site LED-lighting solutions for every build. “When we say ‘Made in Holland’, we also mean ‘made to last’,” smiles Marco Post, founder and CEO. Maxibel has produced temporary lighting solutions since 2004. “Back then, the European Union decided that light bulbs would no longer be allowed to be manufactured. At my home, I developed an energy-saving lamp that could be used as temporary lighting,” explains Post. He tried to sell the idea, but when that failed, Post decided to produce it himself. From then on, Maxibel has produced different sorts of temporary lighting solutions. In 2011, the company made the switch to LED-lighting. “LED doesn’t just last longer and is energy efficient, it is also safer. There is no mercury in them and when they drop, which does happen sometimes, you don’t have shattered glass.” 40  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

The solutions of Maxibel are being used in all kinds of industries, elaborates Post. “For Damen Shipyards, we developed specific temporary lighting fixtures used during the build of a ship. KLM uses our 30 watt linkable tube light solution when they do maintenance on their airplanes.” Also for Heijmans, a Dutch builder of tunnels, and Nedtrain, which maintains and refurbishes Dutch trains, Maxibel has created specific solutions that meet the needs of the customer.

with a EUR1 certification. “We are proud that we do this here in the Netherlands and because of that, we can handle ‘just in time deliveries’ for our customers – some of which have been with us from the very start – all around Europe and the world,” says Post. “That is why I designed a special ‘Made in Holland’ sticker which we put on all our products. It is our way of telling our customers that this is a quality product, built to last.”

The temporary lighting solutions are portable and easy to mount and dismount at a construction site, in airplanes or in large oil tanks, during inspections. “We do not produce generic products. Each fixture is tailored to the needs of the client. We work together with them to create the best solution. We pride ourselves in our work and our expert ability to help customers design and build customised solutions.” Maxibel produces its fixtures in Haarlem according to all European Standards,

Web: www.maxibel.eu


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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 www.auping.com/en/mattresses


Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Jan Smit

42  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018


Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Jan Smit

JAN SMIT

Daring to be different With his distinctive voice and typical Dutch-language music, anyone in the Netherlands will instantly recognise a Jan Smit song. Playing with this idea, the singer decided to undertake a secret project to surprise both friend and foe, by asking 12 of his fellow artists to write a song for him, carte blanche. After a year and a half, this resulted in his latest album, suitably titled Met Andere Woorden (In Other Words), in which he explores new and unexpected musical genres. TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK  |  PHOTOS: JIM PLASMAN

Not one to sit still, there is a reason why Jan Smit has been able to maintain a successful career spanning more than two decades. The singer became an overnight star, when at the tender age of 11, he was picked out of his boy’s choir to sing Ik zing dit lied voor jou alleen, a song probably everyone in the Netherlands can sing along to. Despite growing up in the spotlight, Jan Smit never lost sight of himself and his upbringing in Volendam helped him to keep his feet firmly on the ground. “I don’t know if you can really say that about yourself, but I think it is a strength to stay among the people,” he says. “I don’t believe in putting on a persona or making a switch.”

Personal stories Now, at 32, the father of three is busier than ever. Aside from his music, often described as ‘paling sound’, he is also a television presenter, awards show host, part of the Dutch supergroup De Toppers and sings for full stadiums all over Germany with KLUBBB3. Grateful for his success, he says: “At a certain point, the agenda for the year is full. I am very happy about what I am allowed to do.” It is the connection with his audience and their personal stories that have always touched him the most, and inspire him to make music. “If you make something that

supports people, or gives people the will to live life to the fullest again, then you automatically get motivated,” he says. “Everyone has a specific song with a certain association; you might always play it when you’re down, or wake up, or take a shower. People also have that with my music, and that is the best compliment I can get.”

Taking a plunge At the heart of his success is his push for self innovation and his drive to work hard. A year and a half ago, this led him to come up with a secret and daring project. Smit asked fellow artists to write him a song and gave them full control over the melody and lyrics. He says: “I decided to do something bold. After my 20-year anniversary last year, I thought of doing something completely different. So I called 12 colleagues to see where it would lead to. The fact it turned out to be so special – and I don’t just say that because I sing the songs – is unexpected. The combinations and the songs are incredible, I'm so proud of it.” After keeping the whole project under wraps for nearly a year and a half, Smit is glad to have released the album last month, and can finally start touring. “If you come up with an idea 14 months ago, then eventually you are dying to the tell the whole world about it. But everyone – Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  43


Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Jan Smit

the 12 people who knew about the plan – kept quiet until the week of release.”

The thrill of the song The requirements for the songs were simple, they had to be written in Dutch and the production would be in hands of Jan Smit himself and his producer Thomas Tol. Aside from that, the artists could do what they wanted with their song. “We only took care of the production. We didn’t make any changes to the songs.” Responding to whether or not there were any surprises among the songs, he astutely replies, “there was nothing but surprises”. He recounts how thrilled and tense he was when he received the songs: “Those were the most exciting moments. Normally, I always write my songs myself. So you have to let go of something and give someone else control. It became a matter of wait and see.” Smit continues, “Take Raccoon or Barry Hay or Sanne Hans, just to give you three examples. You know that they can write fantastic songs, but as soon as you ask them to write a Jan Smit song, they will rush to the drawing board and make you do something completely unexpected.” The end result cuts across the musical genres from pop to schlager, rap and even a bit of jazz. “It is everything mixed together,” he adds.

Making the songs his own Those familiar with the writers will be sure to recognise the artist behind the song. “You can clearly hear the signature of the respective composers. That is what is so great about it,” he says. “Everyone has their own style of writing, a way of building up a song or uses particular chord schemes. That is the fun of it, you immediately hear it.” One of the more challenging songs Smit received was written by rapper Lange Frans. As Smit is not a rapper by trade, Lange Frans adjusted the song to suit his skills and experiences. “I immediately came into my own. He joins in on the rap, and the song is about my hometown and the Dutch funfair, so it is very personal. The lyrics are all perfectly adjusted to my life.” 44  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

Despite these challenges, and the different music styles, Smit found a way to tie all the songs together. He says: “The best compliment I received was from Bart from Raccoon, he said ‘the moment you sing it, it becomes a Jan Smit song.’”

Continuously learning

By the second half of the performance, the atmosphere will change from intimate to exuberant as he will sing his greatest sing-along hits. “It will be the good-old, well-know Jan Smit hits, one after the other, people will leave the theatre while still dancing in procession!”

For Smit, it is important to continue to develop his own skills and gain new experiences. “That isn’t just the case for me, but also my producer, arranger and co-composer Thomas Tol, who is 65 now. Even for him, at that age, he still learned a lot after speaking to the composers and having them in the studio.” This drive to constantly try new things has already led Smit to releasing several music collaborations. “You can just stay where you are; if you want to keep the same sound for 20 years, that is a choice. Then you don’t respond to the times, and you will be overtaken on the left and the right. So I kept ahead of this.” Smit saw this project as an opportunity to show his versatility as well as giving his audience something new and different. “I felt this was a fantastic occasion to show myself from a different side, as well as join the forces of these people who, together, have hundreds of hits to their name. That was the setup.”

In other words With his current tour, Smit will present his new album to his fans, performing in smaller, local theatres. During the first half of the evening, the new songs will be introduced by the writers themselves as they recount their writing processes in short videos. “It will be very intimate,” says Smit. “With this album, you really want to tell what it is about, so doing this in a theatre setting is great. That way, people have a chance to really listen.” While every new album is a risk, Smit is now more than ever eager to play his new songs to his audience and is tentative about the reactions. “I have no idea how people will react,” he admits. “They are all excellent songs, everyone has really done their best so I expect lots of great reactions.”

Met Andere Woorden is out now.

UPCOMING TOUR DATES October 2 4 5 7 12 16 17 29

TheaterHotel De Oranjerie, Roermond Muziekgebouw Frits Philips, Eindhoven Schouwburg Cuijk, Cuijk Theaterhotel Almelo, Almelo Schouwburg Orpheus, Apeldoorn Theater de Tamboer, Hoogeveen Theaters Tilburg, Tilburg Koninklijk Theater Carré, Amsterdam

November 1 8 9 13 15 16 19 21 23 24 28 30 -

Theater de Maaspoort, Venlo Theater Castellum, Alphen Aan Den Rijn Musis Arnhem, Arnhem Theater Heerlen, Heerlen Theater aan de Parade, Den Bosch Schouwburg Amphion, Doetinchem Theater aan het Vrijthof, Maastricht De Goudse Schouwburg, Gouda Theater aan de Schie, Schiedam Philharmonie Haarlem, Haarlem Stadsschouwburg De Harmonie, Leeuwarden Chassé Theater, Breda

Tickets are available via www.jansmit.com


Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Jan Smit

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  45


Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Interiors  |  Design with Distinction

Photo: Detremmerie

FLEMISH INTERIORS:

Design with distinction Do not get fooled by its modest size: Belgium far outperforms itself when it comes to design. Especially Flanders is considered worldwide to be a haven of creativity, with its distinctive interior design industry long contributing to the area’s excellent overall reputation. From well-known contemporary furniture labels to small interior design boutiques – the Flemish are masters at making life more beautiful and comfortable through creative design. In this month’s special, you will find inspiring profiles of some of Flanders’ most exciting interior design companies. TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK AND MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK

Photo: Drisag

46  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018


Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Interiors  |  Design with Distinction

Zetelboetiek (Read more on page 48) Turn your sofa into a true statement piece with the sophisticated, stylish and high-quality pieces by Zetelboetiek. Based near Brussels, their collection comprises edgy and exclusive designs, as well as refined and elegant sofas.

Drisag (Read more on page 52)

TBI Projects (Read more on page 48)

Detremmerie (Read more on page 53) With nearly 80 years of experience, Detremmerie is one of Belgium’s leading bathroom furniture brands. They are known for their limitless combinations by offering countless finishes, colours and handles to perfectly suit your style.

Offices do not have to be dull or predictable with the trendy and stylish office systems in the TBI collection. By using advanced 3D technology, they can even show you the end result before physically moving a single desk.

Time spent at the office should be pleasant and productive, that is the philosophy with which Drisag creates offices. Their designs allow for flexibility and efficiency and are handmade in Belgium according to the highest standards.

VIDA design (Read more on page 49) When Nancy Windels struggled to find the right furniture for herself, she decided to open her own design shop in Roeselare, featuring a stunning yet affordable collection inspired by nature and sustainability.

Architects in Motion (Read more on page 54)

Veja (Read more on page 50) For a stylish bathroom that lasts, visit Veja. Not adhering to fleeting trends, they make sure all their furniture and fixtures are of excellent quality and Veja specialises in creating beautiful bathrooms with built-in accessibility features.

Buro Market (Read more on page 56) Make your office fit around the way you work. Buro Market has extensive experience of crafting contemporary offices that suit alternative workplace strategies, with, for example, sit-stand desks and dedicated brainstorm zones.

Based in Turnhout, Architects in Motion use light as their key to design. Experienced in both interior design as well as building architecture, AIM is continuously looking for new design challenges regionally as well as internationally.

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  47


Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Interiors  |  Design with Distinction

Elegant, timeless and unique design sofas TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: ZETELBOETIEK

A sofa will be part of your interior for a long time. So, instead of choosing something randomly, you should buy something that fits your personality: whether it has a sophisticated or a more creative design. At Zetelboetiek in Steenokkerzeel, close to Brussels Airport, Philippe Huenaerts will help you pick the perfect one. After not being able to find the perfect sofa for himself in Belgium, he found a beautiful, unique and colourful Bretz-sofa abroad. “I thought that Belgium should have its own Bretz shop, so I opened the first Bretz flagship-shop in the country. Bretz has been designing sofas since 1895. The designs are very original, edgy and exclusive, a colourful addition to your interior.” Today, Zetelboetiek is also the most important dealer in Belgium and the Netherlands for sofas by Italian design brand Saba Italia. If looking for a refined, Italian style, then Saba might well be the best choice. “They are extremely comfortable and elegant. Saba Italia

sofas fit well in every house, as well as in highend hotel lounges or office buildings.” Although different in style, both brands are of extremely high quality. They are handmade in Germany (Bretz) and Italy (Saba). Philippe Huenaerts’ love for sofas ensures the best service. “Together, we will look at a sofa that

“Office furniture used to be a bit dull; it all looked the same,” explains TBI project manager Ruben De Schepper. “With the trendy systems of Actiu, the Twist for instance, an office gets a

48  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

Web: www.zetelboetiek.be

Saba Italia New York Suite.

Saba Italia Limes.

Bretz Ohlinda.

No more dull office interiors As a main reseller of trendy and stylish office and warehouse furniture brands such as Haworth, Bralco and Actiu, TBI Projects in Oosterzele near Ghent, designs office interiors in a multitude of styles. Thanks to 3D imaging used for every design, you can create the perfect and modern office interior.

fits your desires, design and budget. And we deliver them ourselves as we want to make sure that everything is perfect, and you can enjoy the sofa for years to come.”

more open and collaborative feel. The desks are easy to connect, so it doesn’t matter if you are looking for one or ten desk systems.” The office furniture by Bralco has a more classic style. “A true Italian design; stylish and classic.” Thanks to the ergonomic designer chairs by Haworth, employees will achieve comfort throughout the workday. “Its approachable design is less machine, more human. They would not stand out in your home.” TBI started designing office and warehouse interiors in 1996. Since then, they have

TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: TBI PROJECTS

designed numerous offices, including for Coca Cola, HoGent and Ghent University. “In 2005, we opened our new showroom, so we can help our clients to design their office interior even better, because they can see the different furniture,” De Schepper continues. “It is important to see how a piece of furniture looks in a certain space. That is why we always make a 3D image of our designs. That personal approach is what clients want and deserve.” Web: www.buro-tbi.be


Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Interiors  |  Design with Distinction

All furniture in the VIDA design store is sustainably made.

Interior design in its finest details.

Enjoy the best place in the world: home TEXT: EVA MENGER  |  PHOTOS: NANCY WINDELS

When Nancy Windels, her husband and their three children moved into a large house in Roeselare, finding the perfect furniture turned out to be an unexpected challenge. And what do you do when you cannot find what you are looking for? Well, you make it yourself. Five years later, VIDA design has grown to 500 square metres’ worth of sustainable, affordable design heaven. With three small children at home, Windels was unable to travel around the country looking for the best lifestyle stores. Instead, she had to make do with what her own city had to offer. “I remember jokingly telling my husband that I might as well start my own store, and instead of telling me I was crazy, he encouraged me to go for it.” Not long after, she opened VIDA design, her very own interior design store in Roeselare. The store distinguishes itself from others by being affordable and entirely sustainable. “It is at the core of our philosophy that things should be designed with humanity, nature and the environment in mind,” Windels emphasises, “and everything we sell responds to that idea in its own, unique way.”

From Yumeko, a Dutch brand producing organic bedding, to Sika-Design, a handmade furniture brand from Denmark, and Klippan, a Swedish producer of eco-woollen rugs: VIDA design offers an inspiring and innovative collection which will effortlessly transform anyone’s house into a homey paradise.

both on the web and in-store, is bound to fill you with ideas.

For those not sure how to go about decorating their own home, Windels and her colleagues are more than happy to offer free, in-store advice. Customers are welcome to bring in pictures of their own living rooms, or examples of interiors they like. “We’ll always do everything we can to help our customers achieve their interior goals,” says Windels, who took a professional interior design course before she opened the store. What is more, their extensive online shop offers plenty of valuable design advice and inspiration. Looking for tips to spice up your student bedroom? Check. Want to learn about the impact of using certain colours in your home? They are here to explain it to you. Even if you are not looking for something specific, VIDA design,

Web: www.vida-design.be

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  49


Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Interiors  |  Design with Distinction

A perfect bathroom for every taste TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA  |  PHOTOS: VEJA BATHROOMS

Classic, Victorian, retro or very modern − there is something for everyone: which sounds like a cliché, but is very true. At Veja Bathrooms, they make sure you get the bathroom of your dreams. It has been a year and a half since An-Benedikte Ceulemans and her husband Pieter De Jaeck took over Veja, which was founded in 1994. But looking at the difference they have made, it might as well have been years. “We’ve changed the showroom and collection completely,” Ceulemans says. “It used to be quite simple: wooden bathroom furni50  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

ture, grey and white tiles… we decided we wanted to show off everything there is to offer.” How much more, exactly, Ceulemans discovered when she composed the new showroom. “We went to interior fairs in Milan and Paris, for example. I’m a big interior enthusiast myself, so luckily I have always been up to date with trends.”

High-quality bathrooms Trends are not the main priority for Veja though. While trends come and go, a bathroom design has to last for over ten

years. “That’s why quality means a lot to us. I ask every supplier before we go into business with them: if I buy your faucet now and ten years from now it breaks, will I be able to order the required parts? If the answer is ‘no’, we’ll simply not buy from them. We have to ensure that the product we sell to our customers is the best and they will not be disappointed.” Craftsmanship and quality are the cornerstones of the company’s ethos. Employees have been working there for a long time: they set the bar high for themselves and know the products thoroughly. “Those


Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Interiors  |  Design with Distinction

years of experience are very helpful for us. We really operate as a team. If we redecorate the showroom, every employee will be asked for advice. They’re the ones that have the most knowhow after all.”

Styles and trends

and elegant. If not, they won’t be added to our showroom.” A recent, very popular addition to the collection, is the Luv bath by Duravit. It is a bath that looks detached but is placed against the wall. “People come to us specifically for this one. It’s ideal for people who don’t have enough space for a completely detached bath. You can combine it with a toilet and bathroom furniture in the same Nordic style.”

When entering the Veja showroom in the Belgian town of Lippelo, you immediately notice the diverse styles on offer. Whether you are a fan of ’30s retro style with Italian marble or terrazzo tiles, or if you rather go for a contemporary look with matte black faucets: the choices are endless.

Physical disabilities

“Budget-wise as well, we offer the top segment, as well as affordable brands. But only those that offer quality, of course, and that have proven their worth over the years,” Ceulemans adds. “We make sure that people do not feel like they could find more choice elsewhere. Yet no matter how different they are, what all our styles have in common is that they are timeless

Another important aspect of the Veja collection is the accessibility features they can build in to a bathroom. “People that have physical disabilities want a beautiful bathroom just like everybody else. The problem is, they usually end up with white plastic handles and such, as if they’re in a clinical environment.” This is definitely not the feeling a stylish bathroom should give. Veja offers electronic faucets, a moveable

washing table and showers with a sliding door, to name a few of their features. And it is all available in the style of your choice. “There are so many possibilities in this area. People underestimate that. What’s popular these days, for example, is the warm-touch chrome. That way, the typical coldness will not put off older people. And we’re also working on adding your bathroom to any home automation system you may have. That way, you can operate things like lights with your smartphone. It might even make it possible for elderly people to keep living in their home longer.” A complete package is what Veja Bathrooms are proud to offer: from the lighting to the bathroom tiles, furniture, towels and carpets, in every style there is. Web: www.vejabadkamers.be

Owners of Veja, An-Benedikte Ceulemans and Pieter De Jaeck.

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  51


Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Interiors  |  Design with Distinction

Outside the Drisag showroom.

Brussels Airport.

Inspiration for the office TEXT: KARIN VENEMA  |  PHOTOS: DRISAG

The Drisag showroom in Northern Belgium is the living embodiment of ‘the new workplace’. In the 1,500-square-metre space, there are people brainstorming, working on their laptops, meeting and relaxing. Functional and aesthetically pleasing, the transparent, flexible workspace is a place of inspiration. Drisag is a family business that has been inspiring offices since 1970. Their furniture and accessories are designed to make people feel good at work. The ergonomic design promotes healthy postures and is handmade in Belgium. Drisag believes that happy employees are more productive and will get better results for the business. At Drisag, along the E313 by Herentals, east of Antwerp, they practice what they preach: their office and showroom are located in the Frame21 building that includes meeting places, sport facilities and a bar. It does not just house the Drisag office staff, but also workers from other local businesses. 52  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

“Happy workers are our motivation to create the most inspiring interior concepts every day,” says Ad Renders, managing partner at Drisag. “People spend a lot of time in the office, so it should be a pleasant and practical place that facilitates their work.” Drisag helps clients create the design and functionality that suits the company’s atmosphere and activities best. Renders: “Nowadays, a lot of businesses want flexibility in their office, so they can adjust it to the task at hand. Therefore, we work on new designs that can transform according to the needs. For example, a table that can turn into a whiteboard, dividing wall or storage cabinet.” Highly innovative and constantly looking for new and better designs, Drisag likes to surprise its customers. They run an interior and design contest twice a year, which is popular with students and budding designers alike. The winning designs are manufactured and sold by Drisag, resulting in fresh input for the office design specialist and publicity for the designer.

When a business wants to change their office environment, a visit to the Drisag showroom will show them the different possibilities. The knowledgeable staff helps them explore and choose: what does their ideal office environment look like, what are the requirements? Next, they design a model of the new look which the customer can review. As soon as the design is approved, Drisag manufactures the pieces in their factory across the road. Everything is produced to a high quality standard, in order to create an inspirational and durable workplace.

Drisag showroom.

Web: www.drisag.be


Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Interiors  |  Design with Distinction

The bathroom of your dreams TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA  |  PHOTOS: DETREMMERIE

Whether it is classic black and white, cosy earth tones or outstanding pink: everything is possible in bathrooms decorated with the adjustable furniture by Detremmerie. A market leader among Belgian bathroom furniture brands, Detremmerie is gearing up for a major anniversary next year. By 2019, they will have been creating outstanding bathroom furniture for 80 years. During those years, three generations have worked on the unique products that make a dream bathroom. “And we keep on growing,” sales intern Matthias Cottenier says. Growing in both sales numbers and the size of their collection. Five years ago, Detremmerie released their signature collection, ‘No Limit’. It is a name that says it all. “There really is no limit when designing your Detremmerie bathroom furniture. You choose everything separately so it’s completely unique,” elaborates Cottenier. With different handles, lighting, 48 colours and finishes − matt, high-gloss or wood-look − and all sorts of different materials, the possibilities are indeed endless.

“We are known for our modern design, but we can make a classic piece as well. That’s the benefit of the customisability of the product.” Those various possibilities mean different pricing ranges as well. Which is also a great benefit for those on a tight budget. “We focus on high and middle segment bathrooms, using materials like marble, but it’s no problem at all to create a low budget version.”

Design fair in Kortrijk (18 to 22 October). “Marble and concrete will be the main materials of our new collection. And we also release the Architecture Line, which is adapted to unusual dimensions. Not your standard bathroom.”

With 424 sales agents in the Benelux, there is always a place nearby where various pieces can be seen. Or, if you prefer to see many of the options at once, then you can visit the showroom in Beveren-Leie, Belgium. “We don’t sell directly from this showroon, but we do showcase over 70 setups here. We also offer a bathroom configurator. By using this computer programme, clients can see precisely what their design would look like and what the price will be. You can change colours, materials, everything.” This autumn, a whole new collection of Detremmerie will be released. It will be shown at the VT Wonen fair in Amsterdam (2 to 7 October), as well as the

Web: www.detremmerie.be

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  53


Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Interiors  |  Design with Distinction

Centre for general wellbeing CAW De Kempen, Turnhout.

Expressiveness, rawness and light TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: ARCHITECTS IN MOTION

Light is probably one of the most important tools for an architect. Both natural and artificial light are elements that give any type of building its soul. “The best natural light in the world I found in Brazil. It gave me so much inspiration for my work,” explains Bart Janssens, associate and co-founder of Architects in Motion (AIM) in Turnhout, one of the leading architectural firms in Belgium. Brazil has always been a personal inspiration for Janssens, ever since he started travelling there years ago. “The architecture of the country attracted me from the moment I came into contact with 54  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

buildings and houses with an expressive and straightforward character, with the use of raw materials like brick and mortar and the use of natural light. Back then, people spoke about ‘brutalism’. I would not call it that anymore. Architecture has evolved so much that you cannot speak of one movement or another anymore.”

it, especially the architecture in the capital Brasilia and the works of Oscar Niemeyer, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Artigas, Lima and the gardens of Burle Marx. It is about expressive buildings and the way they work with light and raw materials. I have not seen any better natural light, that enhances the materials and composition, in my life than I have in Brazil. It gives the architecture so much more soul.”

AIM and Turnhout

That Brazilian building style resembles a lot of the building style from the 1960s in Belgium, in which the DNA from Architects in Motion resides and how they design today. “It is what became known as ‘the School of Turnhout’:

The architect firm in its current shape was formed in 2002, by Bart Janssens and Luc Vanhout, son of renowned architect Carli Vanhout, one of the masters of the School of Turnhout. “AIM is a horizontally structured group of architect-specialists, with six partners managing the projects.


Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Interiors  |  Design with Distinction

In total, AIM has a team of 30 ambitious and talented young people.” Building projects, whether public or private, architects now have to deal with a lot more rules and regulations than they used to. So it is necessary to have someone overseeing the project and the builders. “Sometimes it makes you feel that as an architect, your creativity is being blocked. On the other hand, it forces you to evolve.” AIM is situated in an office complex that was designed in 1965, in the School of Turnhout-style by Carli Vanhout. The building consists of large concrete parts and many windows. Vanhout sr. was responsible for a lot of buildings in Turnhout and De Kempen region at that time, including cultural centre De Warande in the heart of Turnhout. In 2015, AIM won a competition to redesign the building, particularly the concert hall, which officially opened this September. “De Warande is a perfect

example of autonomous structures, constructed in a solid way and connected with each other. Our redesign has kept that feel of raw expression, but brought it back to this age. It feels much ‘lighter’ and welcoming now,” smiles Janssens. That was also the aim for a new wellbeing campus, situated in Turnhout as well. “This is a place that facilitates people who sometimes don’t have a home or just need some extra help. We wanted to make it as open as possible, a place where everybody feels welcome. We used a lot of light and round shapes, because that fitted with its surroundings, especially with the neighbouring former water tower.” Janssens explains.

The Brazilian connection extended During an architectural trip to Brazil in 2016, Janssens came into contact with architect Igor Campos, manager of Estúdio

Private home, Turnhout.

Soudal R&D Centre, Turnhout.

Private home, Gierle.

MRGB based in Brasilia. Janssens developed a special interest in the contemporary architecture of Campos and his colleagues. “The language of forms and the approach of the Brazilian architecture of the past and present felt very close to me and to Architects in Motion,” he elaborates. Janssens and Campos formed a friendship, which led to an integrated collaboration between the two firms. “We have online meetings to discuss ongoing projects and share thoughts and concepts with each other. It is inspiring to both of our teams and helps each of us to evolve and create amazing new designs. Soon, a team of AIM will visit Brazil. What started as trips for personal inspiration, I now have to share with my colleagues,” Janssens concludes with a smile. Web: www.architectsinmotion.be

Head office Tennis Flanders, Brussels.

Cultural centre De Warande, Turnhout.

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  55


Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Interiors  |  Design with Distinction

Crafting the contemporary office TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: BURO MARKET

Alternative workplace strategies, such as flex-working, are rapidly changing the way organisations are structured and offices are laid out. With over 30 years of experience, office furniture company Buro Market knows how to follow trends, yet stay true to its core values. “The essence of Buro Market has always been to build an office space focused on functionality and comfort,” Yuna Clément, marketing co-ordinator of Buro Market explains. Based in Vilvoorde, the Belgian company sells furniture and helps offices with their interior design. In one of their six showrooms, or on their website, clients can buy everything needed for a functional and comfortable work space: from office plants to an entirely new interior. The passionate team at Buro Market is up to the challenge of getting the best out of every work space. Clients can decide to design an office themselves, with products by Buro Market, or they can let the company create the space for them. 56  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

Nowadays, working in an office is not what it used to be, with global, 24/7 access to the internet and the implementation of the New Ways Of Working strategy. And this can prove to be quite a challenge. “Work has become more dynamic in every aspect,” Clément explains. “Nowadays, people are given the freedom to work wherever and whenever they want. Each room in an office fulfils a different role. There are, for example, silent areas, brainstorm rooms and chill-out zones. An office needs to be built to make the most of the work. We hope to help with that new way of working.” ‘Comfort’ is of course the key word according to Clément. “People need to find the comfort of their home in the workspace, which means that from chairs to wall paintings, everything needs to feel like home. Nowadays, ergonomic furniture, such as sit-stand desks, are getting more and more important.” In Buro Market’s striking showrooms, clients can get advice from their experienced

employees. “Everyone is welcome to ask for feedback or advice, and, of course, to request the design of a whole new interior. Our power is always to listen to a client. Sometimes people come in with a big list of requirements, however, often they don’t realise that a small change can make a big impact.” Web: www.buromarket.com


Benelux Business BUSINESS COLUMN | BUSINESS CALENDAR | BUSINESS PROFILES

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60

61

Learning to speak the same language TEXT & PHOTO: STEVE FLINDERS

Once upon a time not so long ago, there was a major food company with a communication problem between its scientists and its marketers. Scientists were presenting new tastes to the marketing people who were ceasing to pay attention after a few minutes. The scientists could not see that the reams of technical data that were so exciting to them were a complete turn-off to the people looking for new product possibilities. Both groups were siloed. The waste was huge.

worked on presentation skills with some accountants from a household-name insurance company and discovered that their default PowerPoint font size was so small as to render their slides almost illegible: bizarre, but easily fixed.

In the case of the food company, we delivered some training that helped R&D and Marketing to understand each other’s expectations and to find a common language. Relations improved, respect developed, synergy occurred.

Agreeing on rules for the conduct of meetings, and spending a few minutes at the end of each one resolving how to do better next time, can have a positive incremental impact on meeting efficiency and effectiveness.

So take time to think about how you and your colleagues communicate and try nudging your habits and theirs in a better direction – continually.

Why is internal corporate communication so often so poor? In the United Kingdom, there is widespread dissatisfaction with the quality of management communication. Many managers I talk to say, resignedly, that they waste up to one day per working week in meetings. Boring business presentations frequently provide the wrong information and add to the frustration. Emails and written reports lack concision.

Understanding our own style of communication and those of others is also helpful. If you and I can identify the differences between my preferred style and yours, then we can try to negotiate a middle way that suits us both; and we can check on how we are doing from time to time.

All of these miseries can be easily rectified. We can all learn to write and present better, through training and also by giving each other quick feedback. This week I

Our communication style can also be influenced by our national, corporate and professional cultures, and we should not underestimate the importance of the last factor here: HR does not necessarily communicate in the same way as finance, so both need to learn to speak each other’s language to harness joint strengths.

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

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  57


Discover Benelux  |  Business Venues  |  Versuz

Belgium’s premier club is the best place for your event TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: VERSUZ

Whether you want to create a spectacular product launch, host a seminar or have the best afterparty you can imagine, there is no better place for these events than Versuz in Hasselt. “It’s not just DJ Mag’s number 49 club in the world, it is a unique venue with endless possibilities,” says Yves Smolders, general manager of Versuz. Versuz is located on the outskirts of Hasselt, close to Antwerp and the Dutch border. “From 2002, you could find us in the city centre near the Albert canal. That area was reallocated and in consultation with the municipality, we moved to Park H,” Smolders explains. Park H is one of the biggest event venues in the Benelux, with two major event 58  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

halls, a theatre, a restaurant and, of course, club Versuz. It is an ultramodern and stylish complex with several multipurpose halls and Belgium’s biggest club that can hold up to 3,000 people. “Each room has its own unique atmosphere and can be adapted to your wishes and the needs of your event.”

Each room has its own style You immediately feel a unique atmosphere from the moment you enter Versuz and walk onto the patio with its relaxed vibe. “It’s perfect for a casual drink with colleagues or as a reception area for your event, no matter what season it is,” continues Smolders. The patio has its own heaters and can be partially covered, should the rain try to interfere with your event.

Smolders says: “It’s no problem getting yourself and your guests in the right mood with our fantastic sound system. And, of course, there’s a fully equipped bar and an on-site snack bar.” Inside Versuz there are different rooms, each with their own theme. The eye-catcher is undoubtedly the main


Discover Benelux  |  Business Venues  |  Versuz

room where everyone can party to their heart’s content during the evenings on which Versuz is open (every Thursday, Saturday and Monday, plus special events on other days). “On Thursdays, Saturdays and Mondays, the biggest DJs play here for up to 2,000 party-loving people. On other days, the venue can be used for your B2B-events, from product launches to conferences,” Smolders continues. “The room is equipped with a mobile stage, large LED screen and more than 200 moving lights, so you don’t have to organise your own. It is all already here, ready to use.”

Whiskey, beer and cocktails For large groups, it is possible to open the balcony, giving a superb view of the spectacle below. In addition to the two bars in the main room, the balcony also has its own fully equipped bar. “Adjacent

to the balcony you can find the VIP-room with cosy armchairs and a sleek interior. Guests in the VIP-room can have their own cloakroom and toilet facilities.” At Versuz, you will also find an exclusive whiskey and cigar lounge, a Belgian beer café and the patron room, perfect for medium-sized events. It has its own sound system and bar, so it can be used as a separate venue. “In the summer months, we also open Ipanema, the coolest pop-up summer beach club. Along with the patio, it is a great venue for a summer wedding or corporate barbecue, for instance.” In the winter months, the beach club transforms into the legendary Moose Bar, a realistically decorated après-ski lodge. All these areas have their own style and unique feel. “Don’t just take my word for it: take the virtual tour on our website and see for yourself,” Smolders smiles.

A complete event for everybody Because Versuz is located at Park H, you can organise any event you want. You can hold a conference in the Ethias Theatre, dine in the superb Ristorante Crudo and have your afterparty at Versuz. Yves Smolders and his team will help you organise your event from A to Z, if needed. He concludes: “We are a flexible partner, which means that you can organise your event yourself and hire Versuz just as a venue, or we can plan the entire event with you, from styling to catering services and hotel arrangements.” With the help of a wide array of concepts, you can create the perfect event, no matter if you are a multinational corporation, a local business owner, a family or a group of friends. Versuz is the perfect venue for everybody. Web: www.versuz.be

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  59


Discover Benelux  |  Business Branding  |  Creating Brand Experience

Isabelle Leleux, Evert-Jan De Kort and Marieke Bueters.

Sodiaal International, corporate story.

Bringing back the human touch TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK  |  PHOTOS: BART VAN DER PERRE / NIKO CAIGNIE / BILL CARON

Sometimes a brand needs time to reflect on their vision and identity. And sometimes a brand needs an outsider to guide them through that process. This is where mad about you steps in. The brand strategy and visual identity agency, mad about you, knows how to guide companies through times of transformation and change. mad about you consists of a strong team of three; Isabelle Leleux, Evert-Jan De Kort and Marieke Bueters. They dive into the world of their clients, helping brands to live up to their full potential. Bueters elaborates on the successful concept: “The three of us complement each other, as we have our own specialities, but also know how

Flowtrack, brand strategy and identity.

60  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

to work together, give feedback and inspire each other.” De Kort explains how the team works on new projects: “We start by listening carefully to the clients. It’s really important for us to learn how management, employees and clients perceive the company. With the information gained, we organise our ‘pride’ workshop to establish what the core values of the brand are. The outcome of such a workshop is a true and engaging story. With that story as a starting point, mad about you then starts developing the visual identity for their client.” mad about you has built an impressive resume, with clients from all over the

SD Worx, employer branding.

world. SD Worx, PostNL, Solvay and Haribo are just a few of its international clients, but also large and influential companies in Belgium such as Telenet, Degroof Petercam and essent.be have asked for their expertise. “The best compliment is hearing our clients say that they feel proud to work for their company again,” says Leleux. “To achieve that, our main task is to bring back the human touch. We restore clarity and unity within a company. And in the end, we deliver a true and full identity.”

Web: www.madaboutyou.eu

Spring Global Delivery Solutions, brand strategy and identity.


Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Calendar

Business Calendar TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: AGILE AMSTERDAM

intertwined and rapidly changing our society. Every year, major players in the tech, design and marketing industry come to Amsterdam for a collective brainstorm session called On Brand. Here, trends are developed, the future of branding is shaped and it might just change marketing as we know it. www.conference.onbrand.me

Business Angel Masterclass: YES SHE CAN! 2 October, Luxembourg city, Luxembourg Less than ten per cent of leading functions in Europe are held by women. Therefore, LBAN has organised an event to empower young women and get them started with their careers through networking training and pitching advice. From senior staff at banks and law firms to family offices, established entrepreneurs and recent graduates, everyone is welcome to join the workshops. www.lban.lu

International Value Investing Conference 2018 23 – 24 October, Luxembourg city, Luxembourg With workshops, inspirational speeches and meetings, the goal of the International Value Investing Conference is to exchange ideas about sustainable investing. How to make sure your investment pays off? And is it worthwhile to invest long-term in a risky project? Financial professionals at the conference will provide visitors answers to these questions and much more information on investing in an open and inspiring environment. www.internationalvalueinvestingconference. com

On Board 2018 29 November 2018, Amsterdam, the Netherlands Learn how Netflix, IBM and Albert Heijn run their HR departments during On Board 2018. This event will go deeper into the constantly changing world of human resources in big and small companies where hiring talent and letting go of employees is a constantly recurring cycle. How do you run a HR department? What is the best way to scout young talent? And most importantly: how do you keep employees happy and motivated? Early bird tickets are available now. www.onboard.amsterdam

Wisdom in Business 5 October, Amsterdam, the Netherlands Running a company, innovating your business and visiting networking events can be stressful. Therefore, an antidote was brought to life: Wisdom in Business. During this one-day event, leaders, as well as employees from all different fields, can learn through several workshops and speeches how meditation and music are powerful tools to find balance and help your companies thrive without stress. www.innerpeaceconference.or

On Brand 2018 11 October, Amsterdam, the Netherlands Exciting times are ahead of us in a world where technology and marketing are Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  61


Discover Benelux  |  Museum of the Month  |  France

Photo: Hugo Maertens

MUSÉE DES BEAUX-ARTS DE CAMBRAI

A grand re-opening with many previously unseen works TEXT: LORENZA BACINO  |  PHOTOS: MUSÉE DES BEAUX-ARTS DE CAMBRAI

Two decades after first opening its doors to the public, the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Cambrai has undergone a radical facelift. Each of the 12 rooms that make up the fine art section of the museum has been completely revamped, revitalised and relit. Visitors can enjoy over 200 works, many previously unseen, as well as experience a totally renovated and modernised interior.

rooms, wallpapers that reflect the century of the artworks displayed in each.

“My background in contemporary art taught me that a work of art is inextricably bound to the space and context in which it’s found,” explains Alice Cornier, director of the Musée de Cambrai for the past four years. “I used the geographical and architectural context to guide me during the designing phase for the new itinerary of the museum.”

Cornier says she wanted to give back a degree of domesticity to the museum. The space was previously a family home and was inhabited until the end of the 19th century. “The building is situated in what remains a residential area of Cambrai, so for the sake of coherence, I wanted to create the feeling that visitors are guests entering a person’s house and admiring their artworks. I think of the people in the portraits as the inhabitants of the house.”

Cornier invited contemporary artists to design new wallpapers for three of the 62  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

The paintings are hung in what may appear to be a rather haphazard way. “We’ve played with how the pictures are displayed. There are intentional imperfections,” says Cornier. Some pictures are hung as low as 30 centimetres from the ground. “So you won’t need to raise your gaze too high to view them.”

Most of the previously unseen works are from the 20th century, in particular the interwar period. Here, visitors will notice a strong emphasis on the female form with one room dedicated to images of women from the ‘20s and ‘30s doing a variety of activities. In fact, ‘the body’ is a central theme running throughout the museum, with more than 90 per cent of images representing a person. The atmosphere in each of the spaces is very different and Cornier hopes visitors will reinterpret what they see and experience in the rooms in a more intimate and cosy way. The ambitious renovations at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Cambrai do not detract from its intimacy. Ambiance and art are fused together here in a symbiotic relationship of equal importance where viewer and artworks create a unique and personal rapport.


Discover Benelux  |  Museum of the Month  |  France

LEFT: Party 3 (2018). Photo: Pedro dos Reis, courtesy of the artist and Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles. RIGHT: Œuvre Blue Collage (Blue collage) (2015). Photo: Marc Domage, courtesy of the artists and gallery Michel Rein, Brussels.

Contemporary artist meets notable, 20th century abstract artworks For the autumn, and in close conjunction with the grand re-opening, the Musée de Cambrai will exhibit the work of a young Brussels-born artist, Farah Atassi. Born in 1981 from Syrian parents, and now living and working in Paris, the colourful geometric canvasses of this young artist are attracting attention on the contemporary art scene. Farah Atassi - Works in Conversation will be Atassi’s first solo exhibition in a French gallery space and she has been given carte-blanche to create her own personal Cambrai project. “Cambrai has a reputation for exhibiting the art of its time,” explains Alice Cornier, “and I want to continue the tradition.” Farah Atassi studied at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des beaux-arts in Paris. Her reputation among contemporary art-watchers is growing, and she was nominated for the Marcel Duchamp prize in 2013. She has previously

exhibited in Geneva and Los Angeles, as well as in Antwerp, Brussels and Le Havre. Her works are in both private and public collections. Included in the Atassi exhibition are also works by some prominent 20th century abstract artists − Victor Vasarely, Aurélie Nemours, Sonia Delaunay to name a few − some of which were donated to the Musée de Cambrai in the early 2000s. Paintings on loan from the Pompidou Centre and Strasbourg’s Museum of Modern Art, complete the selection, with Georges Braque and Marcelle Cahn. “I wanted to use an outside artist to draw attention to these works,” explains Cornier. Atassi’s work will be ‘in conversation’ with the donated pieces, as an artist who has taken her ideas from that time.” Web: www.villedecambrai.com/culture/ le-musee-des-beaux-arts/

Ballet (2015). Photo: Vincent Everart, courtesy of the artists and gallery Michel Rein, Brussels.

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Cambrai re-opens to the public on the weekend of 13 and 14 October. Entry and activities are free. Farah Atassi - Works in Conversation will be on display in the temporary exhibition space from 24 November to 17 March 2019.

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  63


Discover Benelux  |  Museum of the Month  |  Belgium

MUSEUM OF THE MONTH, BELGIUM

Living through the industrial revolution TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: CORLAZZZOLI

What must it have been like to work in a factory in the 1800s? In the Museum of Industry in Ghent, formerly known as MIAT, you will get an answer to that very question, thanks to a new permanent exhibition. “Through witness testimony you will learn about life in the factories over the last three centuries,” explains Hilde Langeraert, curator at the museum. Ghent and its region hold a lot of industrial history, which is on display in the Museum of Industry. It is located in a former cotton spinning mill in the city centre. It also offers an impressive panorama of Ghent from the upper floor: the old city with its towers and the former harbour with its industries. Until recently, this was the Museum for Industry, Labour and Textile (MIAT). But after 40 years of growth and changes, the name does not cover the full story anymore. That is why the museum was rebranded as the Museum of Industry.

Witnesses of the revolution With the re-styling also comes a new permanent exhibition, displaying three 64  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

centuries of industry in Belgium which opens this October. The exhibition consists of four ‘boxes’. “They represent important time frames of the industrial revolution,” elaborates Langeraert. “Each ‘box’ recounts the stories of three main witnesses from a certain period. Through these stories, we learn what living and working was like.” The stories are being told via interviews and artefacts; not just utensils and tools, but, for example, also the rag doll of Juliana, who worked in the flax factory as a young child. “Them telling their story is so much more powerful than us telling it.”

Flemish masterpieces recognised by the local government. The Museum of Industry is bursting with activities, interactive tours, creative workshops, rumbling machines, lively exhibitions, exciting museum games and passionate craftsmen. You can also enjoy experimenting with science and technology in the Tinker Studio, or try things out in the textile or printing studio, which can be done under guidance of the museum’s experts and creative minds. Definitely worth a visit!

Interactive with industry Besides the personal stories and objects, the museum displays a lot of machinery from the early days of the revolution until now. It includes a self-acting spinning machine − which featured in the Belgian film classic Daens – and the iconic Mule Jenny, a machine smuggled into Ghent from the United Kingdom. “Mule Jenny introduced the industrial revolution to the continent and symbolises the growth of the textile industry.” Today, it is one of the

Web: www.industriemuseum.be


La Cuvée des Boscailles Production artisanale de vins de fruits Isabelle et Fabrizio Maseri-Derycke

Un concentré de nature dans votre vin de fruits.

Passion artisanale née en 1988 Production de vins de fruits sains Démarche responsable vis-à-vis de l’environnement

La Cuvée des Boscailles Isabelle et Fabrizio Maseri-Derycke Rue Joseph Bouché 51 B-5310 Bolinne-Eghezée Tél : 0032-81-810036 info@cuveedesboscailles.com www.cuveedesboscailles.com Facebook: Cuvee-des-Boscailles


Discover Benelux  |  Hotel of the Month  |  Belgium

HOTEL OF THE MONTH, BELGIUM

A hotel firmly rooted in the heart of Antwerp TEXT: NDÉLA FAYE  |  PHOTOS: HILTON ANTWERP OLD TOWN

Combining old-world charm with stylish sophistication, the Hilton Antwerp Old Town hotel overlooks the city’s historic town square, the Groenplaats, and some of Belgium’s oldest and finest architecture. Attracting tourists, weekend shoppers, city trippers and business people, the hotel has become a household name among locals and visitors alike. The Hilton Antwerp Old Town hotel transformed the Grand Bazar, a rather rundown department store opened in the late 19th century, into a luxurious fourstar hotel. Alia Beskök, the hotel’s cluster commercial director, says: “The hotel 66  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

is firmly anchored into the city’s history, and we are right in the heart of the historical centre, within a three-minute walk from Antwerp’s Grote Markt Square, and overlooking the stunning 500-year-old Cathedral of Our Lady.” This year marks 25 years since the hotel opened its doors, and they are very proud of reaching this milestone. “The iconic building has been close to the hearts of many locals, and it remains a focal point of the community to this day,” Beskök states. The hotel’s 210 stylish and spacious rooms offer guests the perfect spot for

relaxation. From the Hilton guest rooms to an executive room or suite, the hotel caters to a multitude of visitors. “Our hotel’s gem is the Royal Sinjoor suite, a beautiful duplex suite with a magnificent view over the cathedral and Groenplaats,” Beskök adds. During the summer months, guests booking an executive room or suite can enjoy the executive lounge private rooftop terrace with breathtaking views over the city. Moreover, the hotel is currently converting 29 rooms into spacious double king rooms, which will be a unique feature on the market and appeal to families and visitors from the United States especially.


Discover Benelux  |  Hotel of the Month  |  Belgium

A ballroom and meeting rooms, perfect for all occasions Perhaps the most spectacular feature of the hotel is the Belle Époque ballroom – the largest hotel ballroom in Belgium – seating over 1,200 people. The ballroom boasts a unique domed ceiling, which can be partially opened, as well as a show-stopping chandelier, made of 5,000 crystals. The venue has hosted a number of events, and can be adapted for any kind of occasion: from product launches to weddings, meetings, trade shows, seated dinners and social events. “From big weddings to hosting a boxing ring, and a car show, our ballroom is multifunctional and offers guests the flexibility to transform the room to suit all their needs,” says Beskök. In addition to the ballroom, the hotel also has 13 recently refurbished meeting rooms, with some of them offering those same stunning views onto the Groenplaats square and the Cathedral of Our Lady. “Whether it’s just one speaker or a panel discussion, we can cater to all kinds

of meetings. Our meeting rooms come with all the necessary equipment to hold a successful event, and the rooms are light and airy. We have an on-site catering service, as well as specialist team members available to assist our guests and ensure their event goes as smoothly as possible,” Beskök explains.

Serving the finest local food The hotel’s restaurant, Brasserie Flo Antwerp, serves diners a selection of dishes made from the freshest and finest ingredients, carefully selected by talented chefs. The seasonal menu offers the very best of local cuisine: from wild game to fresh seafood and seasonal vegetables, the eatery is popular among visitors as well as many locals. For this year’s 25th anniversary celebration, Brasserie Flo offers a special menu at 25 euros. “Our traditional brasserie menu is simple and infused with local influences. Again, our restaurant has established itself as a firm favourite among locals, and it is the go-to place for special occasions,

such as Mother’s Day, anniversaries and even proposals. We work closely with local producers and suppliers, and value high-quality ingredients and excellent service above all. Careful consideration has gone into the flavours, but also in creating a visual theatre – resulting in a feast for both the palate and the eye,” the director says. With the hotel’s warm atmosphere and welcoming staff, many of its guests return year after year. “Due to our central location and easy access to other cities, such as Amsterdam, Paris, London and Brussels, we are the ideal place for guests seeking respite during their visit. From chocolates to beer and diamonds, and world-class shopping, our hotel offers visitors an ideal place from which to explore Antwerp. We take pride in providing excellent customer service, and we want all our guests to have a wonderfully memorable stay,” Beskök concludes. Web: www.antwerp.hilton.com

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  67


Discover Benelux  |  Hotel and Culinary Profile of the Month  |  The Netherlands

HOTEL OF THE MONTH, THE NETHERLANDS

TEXT: EVA MENGER  |  PHOTOS: KAREL VANDENBERGHE

Sustainable comfort in the heart of the city 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.

away, and the city centre is within walking distance: options aplenty for any type of guest. With Scheveningen beach around the corner, The Hague is the perfect place to enjoy some fresh air, so grab you coat, 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 seri-

ously. One-hundred per cent organic, the colourful breakfast buffet contains home-grown apples, 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.

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 guests to 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, a skip and a jump

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.

Web: www.hotelcourtgarden.nl

CULINARY PROFILE OF THE MONTH, THE NETHERLANDS

The sweetest shop 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 Lotje is where everyone wants to be, young and old. In the picturesque neighbourhood Zeeheldenkwartier, not far from the city centre of The Hague, the little shop Bij Lotje offers an irresistible selection of ice cream, cakes and teas. “It’s the place where locals and tourists meet, which is quite unique,” admits owner Anouchka MauAsam and continues, “many customers say it’s like being invited to someone’s house.” And Bij Lotje certainly embodies the atmosphere of a family home. Here, children can play whilst their parents catch up over a cup of coffee. And everyone is welcome to grab an ice cream to devour on the sun-soaked terrace. Bij Lotje also offers children’s parties, where partygoers can decorate their own cupcakes. And even better: eat them afterwards. 68  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

TEXT: MALIN NORMAN  |  PHOTOS: ROY BEUSKER

In autumn, the adorable store becomes a cosy living room where guests can enjoy a delicious high tea whilst checking out the passing crowd from the large windows. Bij Lotje has an excellent selection of loose teas, with some 19 different flavours to choose from, and the tea is served with home-made cupcakes. Always focused on the small details, there are also plenty of tea accessories such as pots and timers, perfect as a gift for a loved one. Young or old, Bij Lotje is a place to fall in love with. “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 sweets and ice cream,” smiles Anouchka. Or it could be that everyone is happy because of the fantastic atmosphere in this charming store. Web: www.bijlotje.nl


Discover Benelux  |  Culinary Profile of the Month  |  Luxembourg

CULINARY PROFILE OF THE MONTH, LUXEMBOURG

Bringing farming closer to the community TEXT: NDÉLA FAYE  |  PHOTOS: KASS-HAFF

The Kass-Haff is a biodynamic farm where ethical, sustainable, social and philosophical factors are applied to the day-to-day running of the business. Directors Anja Staudenmayer and Tom Kass, also husband and wife, have established their farm as a focal point at the heart of the community in Rollingen, Luxembourg. The farm’s main products include potatoes, milk and meat. They have 440 chickens, 30 dairy cows and around 50 pigs on the farm, as well as some goats and horses, for educational use. “Our products are carefully produced, and we value ecological, organic methods, with special attention paid to biodynamics,” Kass states. This biodynamic approach to agriculture was first adopted by Rudolf Steiner in 1924. In it, a farm is seen as a closed loop, made up of various organisms that thrive through biodiversity, and it grants equal importance to soil, plant, animal and human health. “One of the big philos-

ophies for us is the wellbeing of our animals,” Kass explains. In 2003, the farm was asked to host visits by Maison de la Nature, an organisation aiming to familiarise young children with nature. Five years ago, the farm moved to a new location, and since then, the idea has grown into a successful business and fun activity for the whole community to partake in. Visitors include nurseries and schools, as well as individuals. “We now have more than 6,000 people visiting each year, ranging from group visits that last a few hours, to birthday parties,” Kass says. The farm’s shop, Naturata, sells potatoes, dairy products and eggs, veal, beef and pork, as well as salami, various grilled sausages, bacon, and ready-cooked meat dishes, among other items. “Our meats are butchered by the local butchers, and we also sell our potatoes through the BioG cooperative, which also processes our farm’s dairy. Fifty per cent of the profit from our shop is reinvested into the farm,” Kass says.

Everything on their farm has been built with visitors in mind. “We want children to be able to interact with and touch the animals, so animal enclosures are easily accessible. This also allows education and knowledge on modern biodynamic farming practices to become more widespread. We have managed to create a big community around us, and our farm’s existence relies on community investors and visitors – and it is thanks to this community that we’ve been able to thrive,” Kass concludes.

Web: www.kass-haff.lu Facebook: kasshaff

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  69


Discover Benelux  |  A Taste of the Benelux  |  Beurre Plaquette

CULINARY PROFILE OF THE MONTH, BELGIUM

Good taste never goes out of fashion TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON  |  PHOTOS: L&L PLAQUETTE

Lionel Plaquette believes that anyone not getting a buzz when tasting butter is buying the wrong brand. He is passionate about the product made for generations by his family, nowadays with some additional gourmet options that elevates it to new levels. When a business has been established by your great-great-great grandparents, it is definitely a family affair. “I’m the sixth generation of my family to run our farm,” says Lionel Plaquette, who now heads L&L Plaquette. “It is in the Ardennes in the South of Belgium, an area famous for its forests, but which also has very rich pasture land, perfect for feeding dairy 70  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

cattle naturally, and thus for producing the wonderful milk at the heart of our butters and yoghurts.”

Tradition and innovation He is thankful for the generations of expertise behind his product: “I am very aware of the ways my parents and grandparents, in particular, worked to their extremely high standards – it is great to have that heritage going back so many years,” he says, “and we pay tribute to that with the traditional packaging, the butter papers, that we continue to use today.” But Lionel has been determined to take that legacy and build on it – hence the

enticing and innovative range now offered by the company to tempt chefs and family cooks alike. So along with the traditional salted and unsalted butters, they now offer truffle butter, butter with shallots and tarragon, with garlic and herbs, with brewing malt, and ginger and onion, among others. “The ginger and onion one pairs superbly with oysters,” he says, “and the truffle butter transforms plain pasta.” The way they supply the butter has changed too: one clever new example – a world first – being the 10 gramme ‘butter bonbons’. These are small pieces of butter wrapped like sweets, aimed especially at the high-end hotel


Discover Benelux  |  Culinary Profile of the Month  |  Belgium

and restaurant market. With some famous names among Plaquette’s clientele, it is important to the business. They sell 30 gramme ingots too, as well as the more usual 100 gramme and 250 gramme packets.

It is all about flavour “There are plenty of products around with clever marketing and fancy packaging, but not much else to recommend them,” says Plaquette, “but what consumers want is great taste, and that is what we give them. When one of our butters hits your taste buds, you know instantly that it is well-made, it is unctuous, full of flavour.” They mainly offer butters made from unpasteurised milk, which he believes brings greater depth of flavour, and a major part of his work in developing the new products has been sourcing the very best raw materials from producers dedicated like him to offering the finest quality. A case in point is the delicate fleur de sel, fine flakes of sea salt, that Beurre Plaquette obtains from Gruissan on the French Mediterranean coast.

– top food stores, chefs and so on – and with the people who supply us with the raw ingredients.” The same outlook applies within his own organisation. “I work with a small team, and they work with me rather than for me – the company has a very horizontal rather than hierarchical structure, we take each person’s views and their lives into account in what we do. It is perhaps a different way of working to most enterprises, but it is what I believe in, and believe is most effective for us.”

Awards and recognition The pursuit of quality – and above all, of flavour – has paid off for the company, as evidenced by some of the names they can cite as customers or partners – La Grande Épicerie Paris, ROB Market Brussels, Julien Ricail, Julien Hazard,

the Academie Culinaire de France and Euro-Toques Belgique. And their products have won prizes too, notably in Wallonia’s prestigious Coq de Cristal culinary event. Plaquette has put enormous effort into developing the company’s range, which now includes yoghurts, and other products like traditional Belgian waffles and pancakes. He is rightly proud of the links his company has built with some big players in the gourmet world – as far afield as Japan. But nearer to home, he also keeps a very close eye on every aspect of production at the company’s base in Mesnil-Saint-Blaise (Houyet) – it is a passion, and it is in his blood. Web: www.beurreplaquette.com info@beurreplaquette.com

Partnership When asked about how he works, Plaquette stresses that partnership is the core of his personal philosophy. “The new products have been developed by working with partners in the markets we supply

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  71


Discover Benelux  |  A Taste of the Benelux  |  Pâtisserie Hoffmann

A TA S T E O F T H E B E N E L U X

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

Luxembourgers like the finer things in life. Master pastry chef and entrepreneur Jean-Marie Hoffmann has built a very special business that aims to provide not just the fine, but 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 72  |  Issue 58  |  October 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

Paris, 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

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


Discover Benelux  |  A Taste of the Benelux  |  Pâtisserie Hoffmann

quality ingredients, like cinnamon from Sri Lanka, and Madagascan vanilla.”

A grand expansion 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 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 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 on 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 is 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: www.patisserie-hoffmann.lu

CEO Jean-Marie Hoffmann.

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  73


Dutch Design Week.

Out & About The month of October promises to be a month of extremes. For those who cannot sit still, there is the Amsterdam Dance Event as well as the Amsterdam Marathon – events perfect for sweeping you off your feet. But for those who prefer to stay in during the chilly October rains, there is a film festival in Ghent and a revelatory Da Vinci exhibition at the Teylers Museum. There is enough to discover to get you all around the Benelux as you enjoy literature, music and sports to their fullest. TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: NBTC ADE.

74  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018


Opening hours

Opening hours Opening hours Discover Benelux  |  Culture 

|  Lifestyle Calendar

from september to from june, september to june, open from 10am to midday open from 10am and to midday fromand 3pm from 3pm to 6pm to 6pm closed on Monday mornings closed on Monday and mornings Tuesdays. and Tuesdays. july and august, july and august, open from 10am to 12.30 open fromand 10am from to 12.30 and 2pm fromto 2pm6pm. to 6pm. closed on Tuesdays.closed on Tuesdays.

from september to june, open from 10am to midday and from 3pm to 6pm closed on Monday mornings and Tuesdays. july and august, open from 10am to 12.30 and from 2pm to 6pm. closed on Tuesdays.

60, rue de l’Impératrice

62600 Berck-sur-Mer

Tel. (00 33) 3 21 84 07 80 accueil.musee@berck-sur-mer.com

60, rue de l’Impératrice

62600 Berck-sur-Mer

Tel. (00 33) 3 21 84 07 80 accueil.musee@berck-sur-mer.com

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  75


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar mix of dance, music and art, several special exhibitions will also be on the programme. www.museumsmile.lu

Amsterdam Dance Event 17-21 October, Amsterdam, the Netherlands With several of the world’s most famous DJs hailing from the Netherlands, it is no surprise that the world’s biggest electronic music festival is organised in Amsterdam. From dusk till dawn, visitors can dance to the beats of artists from all over the world. For a personalised programme, visit the website. www.amsterdam-dance-event.nl

director Felix Van Groeningen, starring Oscarnominee Timothée Chalamet. This international film festival also hosts the World Soundtrack Academy, with its glamorous award ceremony being the high point of the festival. www.filmfestival.be/en

Dutch Design Week 20-28 October, Eindhoven, the Netherlands With vast competition from its Scandinavian neighbours, it is easy to forget that the Netherlands has an impressive variety of design brands of their own. During this nine-day event, the best of Dutch design will be presented all over the city of Eindhoven, with a special focus on design for a sustainable future. Discover new talent whilst admiring the hidden secrets of simple design that is ready to change the way we live. www.ddw.nl

Night of the Museums 13 October, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg This event will also keep you out of bed at night. On the occasion of the Nuit des Musées, museums all over the city of Luxembourg will be open until 1am. A rich and multidisciplinary

Trauliicht Halloween 20 October – 2 November, Munshausen, Luxembourg The Luxembourg Ardennes are known for their mystique landscapes, the ideal place to celebrate Halloween. An old tradition is to use

Dutch Design Week.

Da Vinci at the Teylers Museum 5 October – 6 January, Haarlem, the Netherlands With his work scattered all over the world, this exhibition will give a unique inside look into the world of one of the most famous artist and inventors of the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci. During the exhibition, visitors can see dozens of his paintings and sculptures, including a very special display of The Last Supper. www.teylersmuseum.nl

Nuit Blanche (Sleepless night) 6 October, Brussels, Belgium Night owls assemble! During this special festival, music performances and literature events are held throughout the night in secret hideaways of the city of Brussels. Furthermore, several after-dark sport events and midnight exhibitions will also be organised. It is a festival that combines a bit of everything in just one night, a special treat for those who come alive in the small hours. See the website for the full programme. www.nuitblanche.brussels/en

Film Festival Ghent 9 – 19 October, Ghent, Belgium Belgian cinema is booming. During this tenday event, six world premieres will be held, including Coureur, the debut by cyclist Kenneth Mercken, and Beautiful Boy, by Belgian film 76  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

Teylers Museum Da Vinci.


Experience Escher in The Palace!

Tuesday to Sunday: 11:00 am - 05:00 pm Lange Voorhout 74, 2514 EH, Den Haag, The Netherlands www.escherinthepalace.com


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar

Amsterdam Marathon.

lanterns with frightening faces carved into beets and place these near stables to keep bad spirits and illness away from the animals. Every year, several events are organised around this theme, to keep the tradition alive and the bad spirits far away. www.destination-cle

Amsterdam Marathon 21 October, Amsterdam, the Netherlands Going for a 42 kilometre run was never this beautiful. This run through the heart of the Dutch capital promises to be a visual feast for everyone involved. So it is perhaps time to get your running shoes out of the wardrobe, or simply cheer

Restaurant Rozengeur.

78  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

on one of your mates, all the while being surrounded by the highlights of Amsterdam. www.tcsamsterdammarathon.nl

Crossing the Border 29 October – 4 November, The Hague, the Netherlands Set in the centre of The Hague, Crossing the Border welcomes authors and musicians from all over the world. At its 26th edition, festival guests can expect to meet renowned names during the numerous events organised throughout the multi-day festival, as well as discovering exciting new talents on the multiple stages divided all over town. www.crossingborder.nl

Restaurant Rozengeur Open all month and beyond, Amsterdam, the Netherlands Known for its delicious and authentic Persian cuisine, Restaurant Rozengeur is the perfect place to visit during the transition to the chilly autumn months. With dishes and spices inspired by the Shiraz, it is a unique experience for the senses. All dishes are authentic, with fresh ingredients and home-made bread. www.restaurantrozengeur.nl


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Pieterburen Seal Centre

SEALCENTRE PIETERBUREN:

Come face to face with recovering seals TEXT & PHOTOS: STUART FORSTER

Pieterburen, a village three kilometres inland from the Wadden Sea, has some unusual inhabitants. It is home to a rehabilitation and research centre where injured and ill seals are treated before being released back into the wild. The Sealcentre Pieterburen – located in Groningen province, the Netherlands – offers visitors the opportunity to see recovering seals and learn all about the region’s rich marine ecosystem. The family-friendly centre is 25 kilometres north-west of the city of Groningen. It was opened in 1971 by Lenie ‘t Hart to rehabilitate injured and abandoned seal pups. “At that point in time, the Dutch coastline 80  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

provided habitat for so many seals that the animals carried a bounty. People were paid for each of the animals that they shot,” says Camille Debongnie, a Belgian volunteer spending eight weeks at the centre. Displays and videos within the Sealcentre Pieterburen provide information about the lifecycle of seals and an overview of the Wadden Sea, which in 2009 was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, because of its geological and ecological value. The body of water, whose coastline is characterised by intertidal mudflats, lies between the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark and is home to several seal species. A census undertaken in 2017 es-

timated that the population of grey seals is 5,450, at a ten per cent year-on-year increase. Common seals, alternatively known as harbour seals, also inhabit the Wadden Sea.


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Pieterburen Seal Centre

Humans continue to be a chief threat to the welfare of seals. Post-mortems conducted at the centre have revealed plastic items stuck in the digestive tracts of the animals, and propellers and fishing nets often cause injuries. “It’s mostly the grey seals that get trapped and hurt by fishing nets. They are really curious. They go and see, try things and get stuck. We have had seals with bad, deep cuts,” says Debongnie. Many of the seals being treated at the centre suffer from lungworm, a parasite that enters the mammals’ bodies as larvae while ingesting fish. The worms then work their way into the seals’ lungs. A healthy seal can dive for up to 30 minutes at a time, but the damage caused by lungworms means they can no longer stay submerged for these prolonged periods. Consequently, the seals can not feed themselves and will start to cough up blood. Sometimes these weakened seals are even attacked by seabirds as they lie on the mudflats.

indoor rooms with a small pool. They are then moved to a medium-sized outdoor pool with other seals. Prior to release, they are introduced into a large pool in which the diving seals can be admired under water through windows inside the centre. Initially, the seals are given medicines and fed a ‘fish porridge’ made from salmon. More than 18,000 portions of this porridge are served each year. Then, as they recover, the seals will be fed approximately five kilogrammes of herring each day. Visitors can view the seals being fed between three and four in the afternoon each day. Finally, the seals are weighed before being released. People who adopt a seal are in-

vited to view the animal’s release back into the wild. The seals are taken to the coast and left to enter the sea in their own time. “We aren’t supposed to interact with them because we don’t want them to get used to the presence of people. We want them to return to the wild and not be dependent,” says Debongnie. The Sealcentre Pieterburen is open daily from ten in the morning to five in the afternoon, until the end of October. From November through to the end March, the centre remains closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Web: www.zeehondencentrum.nl/en

“People call us and tell us there’s a seal on the beach that appears not too well. We advise them to keep their distance, not to stress the animal, so that it doesn’t re-enter the water. If it’s out of the water, it is because it’s not good for it to be in the water,” explains Debongnie. The centre trains volunteers who live along the coast. They can ask them to go and see a seal and assess whether it needs attention or not. “Young ones, we have established from research by people here at the centre, can be left alone for more than nine hours… when you see a pup alone on the sand they might not be abandoned. If they are alone for, say, 12 hours, there might be a problem,” she adds. Seals that are brought to the centre are tagged upon arrival, weighed, have blood samples taken, and are treated by vets in lab coats and rubber boots. An operating theatre was added at the Sealcentre Pieterburen in 2014 and so if the vet deems an operation necessary, the seals can be anaesthetised and operated upon here. Over the weeks that follow, the animals move through three stages of recovery. At first, the seals are quarantined in compact Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  81


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Leeuwarden-Fryslân 2018

Explore the North 2017. Photo: © Xanne Wijkamp

Explore the North 2017. Photo: © Marc Henri QuereÌ

LEEUWARDEN-FRYSLÂN 2018

More than just the Capital of Culture TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA

As European Capital of Culture 2018, Leeuwarden has built up quite the reputation. As the title awarded to it would suggest, it is a great city filled with many cultural activities. And no matter if it is 2018 or beyond, Leeuwarden is most definitely worth a visit. As Leeuwarden comes to the end of its time as European Capital of Culture, it is readying itself for the ‘Re-Opening’ ceremony. “We deliberately decided not to do a closing ceremony,” says Jort Klarenbeek, who is in charge of international marketing. With simple reason: there is still so much to do and enjoy in this city in the north of the Netherlands. “We’re organising different kinds of festivals that together create the Re-Opening, a threeweek autumn festival.” From 5 to 23 November, the autumn festival will liven up the streets of Leeuwarden yet again. It is a combination of different cultural events, stretched out over three weeks. One of those events is the 82  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

Northern Film Festival, where young talent will showcase their work and where you can watch different films that have had an impact on cultural themes throughout the region. “Sailing on the Grass is a good example,” Klarenbeek says, and expands: “International filmmakers came to Friesland to make a documentary about the area. There’s an artist from Switzerland filming the Wadden Sea as a counterpart to the Alps for instance.” Another example is Explore the North, a festival that uses locations throughout the city – that are not regularly accessible to the public, like a church or synagogue – as a podium for poetry, music and theatre. Various artists from northern Europe exhibit their arts here. “Like the Danish group Inbetween Music who perform a show called AquaSonic, which is an opera played in five large basins of water.” On to 2019, where festivals that emerged in the context of the Capital of Culture will continue to be held. “With the title Euro-

pean Capital of Culture we’ve started a movement of culture in the city that we’ll definitely keep following.”

Terschelling. Photo: © Hans Jellema

Underwater opera AquaSonic.

Web: www.2018.nl/en


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Museum Dr8888

Friesland: where expressionists reach for the sky TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS  |  PHOTOS: MUSEUM DR8888

Artists from all corners of the world travel to the northern tip of the Netherlands to capture the breathtaking skies of Friesland. But nobody does it as stunningly as the expressionists who have lived here all their life. From mid-October until early next year, they are the centre of attention at Museum Dr8888. Friesland is an island. At least that is what they say in the Netherlands. Isolated in the northwest corner of the Benelux, the region is a little different in almost every aspect. While all of Europe was moving away from expressionism after the Second World War, the artists in Friesland were just about to discover it. “Lots of critics talk patronisingly about Frisian expressionism as if it didn’t mean anything,” Paulo Martina, director and conservator of Museum Dr8888, explains. With their new exhibition Frisian Expressionism: not afraid of the new, the museum gives these artists their rightful recognition by putting their

work next to that of big international masters. “They might not have lived in Paris or Munich, but the quality they offered was just as high.” Joining the Frisian artists are, among others, Willem de Kooning, Ernst Ludwich Kirchner and Constant Permeke. Altogether, the exhibition comprises over 150 paintings. What makes the Frisian expressionists stand out is their interest in the beautiful local landscapes. They have captured the mesmerising Frisian skies in a way that feels new and worldly, yet the local identity and patriotism still drips off of the canvasses. In that way, they did not only reinvent Frisian art, they

have also created an entirely new way to be an expressionist. LEFT: Woman with flowers by Pier Feddema. BELOW: De bargepôlle (1977) by Jan Frearks van der Bij.

Frisian Expressionism: not afraid of the new runs from 14 October until 13 January 2019.

Web: www.museumdrachten.nl


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  De Adriaan Mill

DE ADRIAAN WINDMILL

A museum and wedding venue in Haarlem TEXT & PHOTOS: STUART FORSTER

Haarlem, approximately 19 kilometres west of Amsterdam, was once a city dotted with more than 100 windmills. These days, just eight of those mills exist still, including the restored De Adriaan Windmill, which visitors can tour with a guide to learn about the history of the site and the roles played by mills in the Netherlands.

the Zanderstoren, on the far-side of the Spaarne. Over time, as artillery became increasingly powerful, those defences were rendered ineffective, so the towers were subsequently abandoned and demolished. A businessman from Amsterdam, Adriaan de Boois, saw it as the ideal site for erecting a windmill and, in 1778, he was granted permission to do so.

The urban landmark stands by the River Spaarne and its wooden platform provides outstanding views across the waterway to the city centre. The mill was constructed upon the remains of a tower, known as the Goê Vrouwtoren, that used to be part of Haarlem’s defences. A bridge once linked the Goê Vrouwtoren to another tower,

The mill that bears De Boois’s Christian name was originally constructed to crush tuff stone for making a type of waterproof cement. Over the past 240 years, the Molen de Adriaan, as the windmill is known in Dutch, has been used for a variety of purposes. The original owner also used his mill to grind the bark of oak

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trees for use in tanneries and pigments to make dyes. In 1802, the mill changed ownership and, for more than six decades, the sails provided the power to grind tobacco into snuff. It was only in 1865, when a steam-powered mill was added, that the site began milling grain. By the early 20th century, electricity had begun to replace wind and steam as a means of powering the machinery, resulting in many of the Netherlands’ windmills falling into decline or out of use — in 1920, De Adriaan’s steam engine was replaced by one driven by electricity. Recognising the significance of their sites to the national heritage — more than 15,000 windmills stood in the Netherlands during the


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  De Adriaan Windmill

mid-19th century — the Dutch Windmill Association was formed. In 1925, the De Adriaan Windmill became its first property. However, disaster struck. During a winter storm, late in 1930, wind ripped one of the sails from the mill and, in April 1932, the mill was destroyed by a fire, the cause of which was never established. During the blaze, vast crowd gathered and watched as the flames took a grip of De Adriaan and reduced its wooden structure to ash. Half a century passed by before restoration works would commence. In 1991, the Foundation Molen de Adriaan was established with the aim of rebuilding the windmill. Five years later, a pledge by the municipality to rebuild the landmark, dating from 1963, was discovered in the city archives. That find was a catalyst for garnering the support necessary to finance the reconstruction, which would cost 1.3 million euros. Work on the 7.5-metre-tall brickwork structure at the base of the mill started in 1999 and the official re-opening of De Adriaan was on 23 April 2002 —

exactly 70 years after the blaze that destroyed the original mill. Since the re-opening, volunteers regularly lead guided tours of the windmill. Prior to climbing the mill’s steep staircases to view the grinding wheels, visitors have an opportunity to watch a brief historical documentary about the mill. The tours provide access to the inner workings of the mill plus its outdoor platform, at a height of 12.7 metres. Here, visitors can see how the sails — which have a span of more than 24 metres and can turn at up to 70 kilometres per hour — are set and controlled by a brake. The wooden structure that sits on top of the brickwork base weighs approximately 30 tonnes, yet can be turned so that it faces the wind. Using the brake, the miller can pause the sails, which reach 37 metres into the air at the highest point. The sails have also had different uses in the past. Long before the invention of the telephone, the position of the unmoving sails could convey signals

into the distance. People in the surrounding area could discern if the miller’s family was celebrating or mourning according to the position at which the sails were locked. It takes just 15 minutes to reach Haarlem by train from Amsterdam’s central railway station. The De Adriaan Windmill is approximately a kilometre from the Haarlem station. Tours of Molen de Adriaan last between 30 and 45 minutes, and cost 3.50 euros for adults and one euro for children. The mill is now also used as a meeting and wedding venue. In addition to seeing how grain was milled, displays and intricate models within the attraction explain how windmills across the Netherlands were used to pump and drain water. Known as ‘polder mills’, they helped to reclaim land for purposes such as agriculture. Others were used to saw wood.

Web: www.molenadriaan.nl/en/

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  85


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Discover Almere

Rooftop gardens in the centre of Almere. Photo: Maarten Feenstra

DISCOVER ALMERE

An innovative city and a shopper’s paradise TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: ELJEE BERGWERFF PHOTOGRAPHY

It might be one of the youngest cities in the Netherlands, but Almere has already claimed its position in the top ten of largest ones, citizenwise. Thanks to its unique location, renowned architecture and its striking, modern centre, Almere is the city of the future, according to Nik Smit of Almere City marketing. Almere is in Flevoland, a province that was man made, by closing off the Southsea and partially filling it with land. In the 1970s, the first houses were built. “While the city is only 42 years young, twelve years ago, the city council came up with a plan to modernise the centre 86  |  Issue 58  |  October 2018

in order to create an eye-catching heart to the city. A place where living, working, studying and leisure would go hand in hand,” Smit explains. It resulted in a shopper’s paradise with breathtaking architecture by well-known international architects such as Rem Koolhaas, William Alsop and the firm SANAA. In this setting, over 400 shops open their doors daily to citizens and city trippers. The city features eight squares, each with its own character. It is not difficult to see why Almere’s city centre was recently proclaimed Best Inner City of the Netherlands for the period 2017 to 2020. One can enjoy busy city life at the

Stadhuisplein – especially on market days – and feel the spacious, vibrant flair of this city at the Esplanade.

Three layers of harmonious living and shopping “The city centre effectively consists of three layers,” says Smit, while referring to the Almere Masterplan. “The underground layer is where all the parking lots and public transit are located. This gives visitors all the space they need to enjoy a day of shopping and leisure, without being disturbed by traffic.” Strolling along the beautiful green avenues, you will find a wide range of boutiques


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Discover Almere

varying from high-street favourites such as Zara, H&M, Primark and Rituals to more exclusive brands including Hugo Boss, Hudson’s Bay, KIKO Milano and Superdry. “Het Belfort and Grote Markt are the perfect places at which to have a nice break whilst exploring the centre. These are the restaurant squares, where you can pick your favourite restaurant, be it one with a local speciality cuisine or a world renowned chain-restaurant such as Five Guys or Vapiano, both of which recently opened their doors here.” The third layer is located above all of the shops and is a residential area with houses and gardens, perfectly combining nature with architecture. “Thanks to the residential area and the shops, there is always something going on in the streets. It makes the city lively.”

Innovative Almere As the population continues to grow and more and more people move to the cities, this has a major impact on our food

production, our environmental footprint and how much we pollute. Almere wants to make a difference and create innovative solutions to those issues.

after sunset, and the installation will be displayed multiple times up until January. See page 88 for more information and an exclusive interview with Roosegaarde.

“Look at pollution,” Smit elaborates. “It is not just about Earth anymore, even space is now full of waste.” To make a stand against that, and let people know what is going on, Dutch artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde created the Space Waste Lab, an art installation and exhibition at the Kunstlinie Almere Flevoland (KAF) in Almere. It is accompanied by a working laboratory supported by experts from ESA and NASA, where students and visitors can investigate how to upcycle space waste.

City and nature come together

For Roosegaarde, Almere is the perfect place for his project, with its dedication to innovation and pioneering urban development. The light installation will be held outside the KAF, the cultural centre in the heart of town, near the Weerwater waterfront. It will premiere on 5 October

Almere is a great getaway for those who want to see more than the bustling life of Amsterdam. It is located just 20 minutes from Amsterdam by direct train connection, so perfect if you want to have a day of doing something else. Besides the impressive architecture and shops, the city boasts 42 kilometres of coastline and a rich natural environment. “Take a bicycle ride through the acclaimed Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve or ride along the coast. If you want more excitement, shop till you drop in Almere Centrum, and grab a drink and something to eat at the end of the day at Het Belfort. There is always something to see and to explore: certainly a recipe for a perfect day out.” Web: www.visitalmere.com

Photo: Maarten Feenstra

Skyline Almere. Photo: Jody Ferron

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  87


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Space Waste Lab

A visualisation of the Space Waste Lab in Almere.

Cleaning up space waste in Almere TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: STUDIO ROOSEGAARDE AND MAARTEN FEENSTRA

we are not just polluting Earth, but now space as well.” This waste can damage satellites that are currently in orbit. “And nobody really knows how to fix it.” With his Studio Roosegaarde, he wants to make a start on tackling the problem.

You might not see it with the naked eye, but the orbital space around Earth is littered with debris and junk. To highlight the problem, and to showcase innovative ways of coping with space waste, Dutch artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde launches his latest project Space Waste Lab in Almere.

Art and technology

“Ever since we first reached space, rockets and broken satellites have left debris behind there. Right now, there are more than 29,000 objects larger than ten centimetres floating around the Earth,” explains Roosegaarde. “It is bizarre to realise that

Studio Roosegaarde is a social design lab led by Daan Roosegaarde. Together with his team of designers and engineers, Roosegaarde creates landscapes of the future for a better world. “Our modern cities are no longer liveable. Pollution is threatening our daily lives and our plan-

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et.” Using art and innovative techniques, Roosegaarde wants to stop this pollution. One of the international projects they worked on, was designing and creating so called ‘Smog Free Towers’; the world's first smog vacuum cleaners, which use positive ionisation technology to make clean air in public spaces smog free. The compressed smog particles collected by the towers are used to make ‘Smog Free Rings’, and are already worn by people all over the world. “Showing people what you can make of it, really makes them see the importance of it.”


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Space Waste Lab

A laboratory and art installation About a year and a half ago, Roosegaarde came up with the idea for Space Waste Lab when he was at the office. “The team and I were thinking about how we could apply the designs and the techniques we used in another project to clean our skies and air, when I saw this globe with all these blacks dots on it. From that moment, I was inspired to do something about it.” The Space Waste Lab is a working laboratory and an art installation that will be located at the Kunstlinie Almere Flevoland (KAF) in Almere. “We open with a large installation of LEDs and real-time tracking information, which premieres on 5 and 6 October after sunset, to visualise space waste at an altitude of 200 to 20,000 kilometres.” The indoor exhibition consists of real pieces of space waste accompanied by an educational programme in which space waste experts and amateurs give new perspectives on the subject.

“Almere and Flevoland are pioneering places, where innovation is at the forefront,” says Roosegaarde. “They understand that smart urban development and creating areas with clean air is extremely important. It was a logical choice for us to do the Space Waste Lab here. “ To emphasise how import smart and green urban development is for Almere, the city will host the 2022 Floriade, an international horticultural exhibition. It will have the theme Growing Green Cities. “Almere also supports our principle of ‘schoonheid’,” Roosegaarde continues. “This Dutch word has two meanings: ‘cleanliness’ as in clean air, clean water, clean energy, and ‘beauty’ as in sublime aesthetics and creativity.” For Studio Roosegaarde, the concept of ‘schoonheid’ is a fundamental condition for smart urban environments. “Space waste is the smog of our universe, so we should start to pay more attention to it. When we talk about our project, we get a lot of support,” says Roosegaarde.

André Kuipers, for instance, the Dutch astronaut who has seen the space debris from up close, is one such supporter. And many people have even suggested ways of creating sustainable products. “I’ve heard ideas about 3D-printing on the moon and creating energy from the debris,” Roosegaarde smiles. Following the exhibition, the studio will launch a multi-year project where innovators, students and scientists look for ways to capture space waste and upcycle it into sustainable products. Roosegaarde: “It is going to be a journey, but one we really want to start.” Space Waste Lab can be visited from 5 October until 19 January 2019 at KAF in Almere. Live performances will be held after sunset on 5 and 6 October, 9 and 10 November, 7 and 8 December and 18 and 19 January 2019. Web: www.studioroosegaarde.net

Space Waste Lab Ambassador André Kuipers. Photo: Jelle Draper

The skyline of Almere.

Daan Roosegaarde by Willem de Kam.

Issue 58  |  October 2018  |  89


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Columns

STATES OF AR T

De Keyser returns The life and career of Raoul De Keyser (1930-2012) are testament to not giving up. Born in the small town of Deinze, De Keyser began life as a journalist; writing articles on sport and art for local papers and painting part-time alongside this. He worked from a small farmhouse studio and initially achieved some regional success. But it was not until 1992, having been painting his entire life, that he became internationally acclaimed. Now, he is considered one of the most important Belgian artists of the past 50 years, and S.M.A.K Ghent are opening an expansive retrospective show of De Keyser’s work, oeuvre. The survey show displays the artist’s tentative beginnings right up to the work he was making later on into his life. What remains steadfast throughout, however, are De Keyser’s casual application of paint, his intuitive approach and his largely diminutive scale.

TEXT: MATT ANTONIAK

Whilst others around him were making colossal statement works, this humble man from East Flanders continued to develop his own unique way of working; primarily taking influence from the everyday things he found around him; football pitches, garden hoses and door handles. These might not sound like works that set the world alight, but De Keyser’s understated paintings manage to hold your gaze and command your attention in a peculiar manner. And now, anyone can go and have a look for themselves. The discrete master’s retrospective, oeuvre, is on show at S.M.A.K Ghent until 27 January 2019.

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.

BEER OF THE MONTH

Raoul De Keyser, To Walk (2012). Photo: Courtesy Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp and David Zwirner, New York/London/Hong Kong, and Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin.

TEXT AND PHOTO: STUART FORSTER

La Trappe Tripel La Trappe Tripel is a good beer to savour with or without food. This smooth, easy-todrink tripel shares many of its characteristics with blonde style beers. It is significantly lighter and notably less bitter than many of the tripels that are available, and is typified by a fruity flavour and a refreshing finish.

ment from yeast during bottle fermentation. The aroma of the poured beer bears hints of honey and red fruit. That fruitiness comes through more notably when tasting the beer, which is mildly bitter on the front of the tongue, then gives way to smooth mouthfeel and a dry, pleasant finish.

It is a product of the long-established Koningshoeven Brewery at Berkel-Enschot, north-east of the Dutch city of Tilburg. French Trappist monks settled in the region during 1881 and began brewing on the premises of the abbey three years later. Production was rapidly scaled up, in part to fund the construction of the abbey, and the brewery’s brick malt tower dates back to an expansion in 1891. It is possible to visit the abbey to dine and drink beer.

Both in appearance and taste, this is a beer that could pass as a well-crafted dark blonde. It is a triple that proves palatable to people who rarely venture beyond lagers or light ales yet complex enough to be enjoyed by seasoned beer aficionados.

This tripel is light amber in colour and has a slight cloudiness when poured, due to sedi-

Brewer: Koningshoeven Brewery Strength: 8 per cent

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La Trappe Tripel pairs excellently with mature cheeses, such as Old Amsterdam, plus cheese toasties made with onion and red pepper.

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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H E C T A R E S

O F

H O S P I T A L I T Y

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.

HET ROODE KOPER, JHR. DR. C.J. SANDBERGWEG 82, 3852PV LEUVENUM, THE NETHERLANDS. TEL: +31 (0)577-407393, WWW.ROODEKOPER.NL, E-MAIL: INFO@ROODEKOPER.NL


Profile for Scan Client Publishing

Discover Benelux, Issue 58, October 2018  

Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Discover Benelux, Issue 58, October 2018  

Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.