Discover Benelux, Issue 59, November 2018

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Discover Benelux  |  Contents

Contents NOVEMBER 2018




Innovation runs through the blood of the Dutch. Read about some entrepreneurial businesses with unconventional ways of doing things. They create innovative products, from cosmetics to perfumes, hand-crafted night lights and synthetic pipe networks.

After four years out of the spotlight, singersongwriter Novastar is back with the new album In the Cold Light of Monday. He talks to us about his eventful and emotional musical journey over the past few years, and how he found a fresh sound yet stayed true to his self-taught, melodic pop music.




Top Architects in the Netherlands: Creating Quality of Life This month, Amsterdam will host the World Architecture Festival, where architects from all over the globe come together to celebrate the best designs. In this special, we show why the Netherlands is such a fertile ground for architectural excellence.



Flemish Cosmetic Surgery: Love the New You

FEATURES 101 Bock Beer With the arrival of autumn, beer cafes all over the Netherlands stock their seasonal favourite again. Bock Beer is often a strong, ruby-red brew with sweet undertones. We pulled up a chair and tried some of the best Bock Beers the bars have to offer.

104 Capturing the Soul: Hals and Da Vinci in Haarlem The city of Haarlem unites two eccentric artists with an unrivalled talent for portraiture, as it hosts simultaneous exhibitions of Frans Hals at the Frans Hals Museum and of Leonardo da Vinci at the Teylers Museum. In this special feature, we uncover how they captured faces in such a life-like manner.

Every year, there are incredible developments in the cosmetic surgery industry. Increasingly, issues can be resolved with very minor and precise procedures, or even by using completely non-invasive techniques.



Best Flemish Wellness: Relax, Renew and Revive Take a moment to unwind at some of Flanders’ most relaxing wellness centres, as everyone needs a little quality time with themselves now and again. Also, we feature two swimming-pool builders who can bring a touch of luxury to your home.

Companies, profiles, regulars and more Our regular columnist looks into culture clashes between countries, we proudly feature one of Luxembourg’s best work spaces and we interview an ironworker with a love for making giant metal sculptures.

Designing the Future: Belgium’s Master Architects As Belgians have a strong tradition for building their own houses, it is no surprise they have developed themselves into some excellent architects, where style and history, innovation and simplicity go hand-in-hand.


Made in the Netherlands: Dutch Industry and Innovation


Fashion Picks  |  8 Desirable Designs Out & About  | 110 Columns

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Discover Benelux  |  Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Discover Benelux Issue 59, November 2018 Published 11.2018 ISSN 2054-7218 Published by Scan Group Print Liquid Graphic Ltd Executive Editor Thomas Winther Creative Director Mads E. Petersen Editor Myriam Gwynned Dijck Copy-editor Karl Batterbee Graphic Designer Mercedes Moulia Audrey Beullier Feature Writer Arne Adriaenssens Contributors Anna Villeleger Berthe van den Hurk Eddi Fiegel Ella Put Emma Wesseling Eva Menger Frank van Lieshout Isa Hemphrey

Karin Venema Lidija Liegis Linnea Dunne Lorenza Bacino Martin Pilkington Matt Antoniak Michiel Stol Ndéla Faye Pauline Zijdenbos Silke Henkele Steve Finders Stuart Forster Cover Photo Serge Leblon Sales & Key Account Managers Mette Tonnessen Katia Sfihi Micha Cornelisse Petra Foster Publisher: Scan Group 15B Bell Yard Mews Bermondsey Street London SE1 3YT United Kingdom Phone: +44 (0)870 933 0423 Fax: +44 (0)870 933 0421 Email:

We are a media you can trust. The print circulation of Discover Benelux is audited by the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC), which is the UK body for media measurement.

© All rights reserved. Material contained in this publication may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without prior permission of Scan Group – a trading name of Scan Magazine Ltd. This magazine contains advertorials/promotional articles.

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November is the perfect month for some me-time. As the weather cools down, the days darken and the year slowly draws to a close, why not take a day off and use it for a moment of self-reflection? Before the wonderful but hectic weeks of December begin, packed with festive markets (see page 102), work parties and family dinners, use these weeks to look back over the year, that has – once again – flown by perhaps all too quickly. The first step of self-reflection is being in the right mindset, free of stress and worries. Starting from page 70, we highlight some stunning wellness locations in Flanders, who specialise in making sure you relax and unwind until you have nothing but peace and quiet on your mind. The options are endless, from simply taking a swim outdoors to yoga classes, sauna sessions, massages and more. Once you have put the zen back into your life, let us think about your achievements this year. What was your proudest moment? The time when all your hard work and persistence paid off? That moment when everything seemed just right? Cherish it, but also examine it, because maybe you can work towards repeating that experience in the near future. Would that not be great? In popular terms, this is what mindfulness is all about. It is about living with more awareness and more purpose. It can help you to worry less about the past and future and motivate you to work towards your goals in the present. So take a moment, right now, to schedule a day in the next few weeks when you will give yourself some quality time. Relax and unwind, before you start reflecting on the year that is nearly over and aim towards living the most meaningful and fulfilling life. Enjoy the issue,

Myriam Gwynned Dijck, Editor

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks


Warm for winter Want to keep yourself warm while keeping the planet cool? These sustainable winter pieces will keep you snug on those tough winter days. TEXT: EMMA WESSELING  |  PRESS PHOTOS

Mellow in yellow This warm, wool-mix winter piece will keep you snug and looking fashionable. The yellow colour makes this a true statement jacket that draws the eyes of everyone around you. €140

Fair-weather dresses for winter Do you want to keep wearing your favourite dresses and blouses, but are afraid they are too chilly during the cold and dark winter months? Make them wearable in wintertime by adding a vest over them. This is a great way to add warmth without having to compromise in style.

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Dutch and sustainable Dutch brand Vanilia is an all-time favourite for sustainable clothing that gives off a very elegant vibe. This kimono-style coat will definitely ensure that you maintain all warmth but is still very chic and fitted. €310

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks

High and dry Never mind the rain in this sustainable jacket by Rains. This brand has quickly become a staple for anyone who loves fashion but still wants to keep dry in rain and snow. The trench-coat fit makes it more sophisticated than a regular rain jacket and helps you to stay dry and warm from top to bottom. €100

Township style Dutch brand Rhumaa works together with talented South African artists to give their clothing a real spin. Their designs are not only completely sustainable, they also support local communities in South Africa and the brand even has its own charitable foundation. This cosy cardigan will keep you warm in the office, around town but is also soft enough to snuggle into on the sofa. €249

Knitwear for indoors Keep your energy usage low and add an extra layer inside. In order to keep warm during the day – whether its while you are unwinding on the couch or in a chilly office – knitwear is a musthave. Rhumaa carries a large selection of knitwear for every occasion, while also being completely sustainable.

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Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Desirable Designs


The force of felt Felt is the oldest fabric known to man. The textile has been around for over 8,500 years, but today, it is still a welcome addition to countless modern interiors. So fluff up your habitat a little, from the coffee table to the walls. TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS  |  PRESS PHOTOS


3. Soft light Never underestimate the power of light. The pleasant glow of this handmade, woolly chandelier can brighten up even the chilliest of rooms. These masterpieces come in a wide variety of sizes, and surprise beholders by combining the warm, cream felt with a vibrant colour. From €190

3. 1. Time for felt Times goes so fast, but this clock can soften this inevitability up a little. Underneath its misty, felt exterior, you can find a heart of recycled plastic bottles. Black has never felt so green! €139


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4. The world is in your hands Taking over the world is a tricky business. Taking it up is a little easier. This small and huggable globe is an adorable way to keep track of all the places you have visited (and the ones that are still on the bucket list). €32 5. Cheers in style The terraces of Amsterdam are stacked with people with a drink in their hands, enjoying the beautiful architecture. With these felt coasters, you can do that from your own home as well. Every sip you take from now on, will bring De Wallen and De Dam a little closer to your living room. €17


2. Comfortable minimalism Is it a chair or is it a footrest? Well actually, this pouf can be whatever you need it to be. Its modest size and neutral colour make it implantable in every interior, whether it is a cosy studio or a grand mansion. €50


Benelux  |  Design  Design  |  Galerie xxxx Gokelaere - Le Beau Discover Benelux



When it comes to design – for clothing, furniture, or architecture – authenticity to the age and iconic style are crucial, but the ability of a piece to transcend fashions and time periods is something else entirely. This timelessness is the focus of Galerie Le Beau – Gokelaere, which opened in 2014 on the Place du Sablon, the main art square in Brussels. Here, husband and wife founders, Stanislas and Céline Gokelaere – a couple who share a passion for 20th century design – bring together a selection of pieces from mid-century designers. It includes 10  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

furniture pieces from Scandinavian, American, French, Brazilian and Italian designers, with the mantra ‘to create a dialogue between furniture, lighting and art’. “We have a focus on design from the period between 1940 to 1970,” Stanislas Gokelaere begins. “What separates us from other galleries or dealers is that we do not limit ourselves to specific geography but focus on furniture designers and architects that marked the history of design.” He says that, naturally, their selection shows many artistic influences, but there is a strong connection in rarity, style and refinement.

“That’s the link between all the designers we exhibit,” Stanislas Gokelaere continues. “All of them have made their

The gallery’s founders Stanislas and Céline Gokelaere.

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Galerie Le Beau – Gokelaere

mark on the industry, at the time when mass-market production was coming to the fore – but none of them would compromise on style and execution. It shows the journey of trying to preserve the rules and constraints of true craftsmanship while embracing a more industrialised process, such as new materials, machinery and technological solutions.” The designers featured at Galerie Le Beau – Gokelaere laid the groundwork for everything that happened afterwards; they were instrumental not just in the design at the time but in the development of the industrial process. Stanislas Gokelaere adds: “That’s what this gallery promotes and celebrates; the development of fast design with the preservation of craftsmanship.”

international modernist movement which he drew on to develop his own unique style. To this day, he is considered one of the great masters of mid-century design and architecture. In March, the second Galerie Le Beau – Gokelaere will open in Knokke-Heist, a Belgian coastal region. The municipality is an extremely exclusive area and is known as the Saint Tropez of Belgium. Unsurprisingly, it also has the highest density of art galleries in the country and so it seemed like the ideal place to open a new branch. When asked what else to look out for in the future, Stanislas Gokelaere suggests that, at least for his gallery, what is more suitable is, perhaps, to look back. He says that gallery visitors must be sure to look

out for historic design pieces that are archetypal of their time. “Even though these pieces are from half a century ago, they somehow always feel contemporary,” he concludes. “That’s what makes great design – it feels timeless. No matter the century a piece of furniture is from, it still feels relevant. That’s the message we are trying to promote.” Web:

MAIN IMAGE: Distinct yet timeless design pieces on display at Galerie Le Beau – Gokelaere. TOP LEFT: Wooden coffee table by George Nakashima (USA) from 1979. BOTTOM LEFT: Three-seater sofa by Joaquim Tenreiro (Brazil) from 1958. TOP RIGHT: Lounge chair by Joaquim Tenreiro (Brazil) from the 1950s. BOTTOM RIGHT: The gallery’s display for the Brussels Art Fair (BRAFA).

Future expansion and exhibitions In January, Galerie Le Beau – Gokelaere will participate at the Brussels Art Fair (BRAFA), one of the leading European art and antiques fairs. This year, they will focus on Alvar Aalto, a hugely talented architect and an ardent spokesman for the

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Discover Benelux  |  Designing the Future  |  Belgium’s Master Architects

Alexandru Patrichi.


Belgium’s master architects Belgium knows how to build. All over the country, refined, contemporary architecture dominates the skyline. With their good taste and exquisite craftsmanship, the country is a popular sanctuary for all those with ambitious building plans. TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS


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Discover Benelux  |  Designing the Future  |  Belgium’s Master Architects

Belgians carry a brick in their stomach, at least that is what an old expression says. A life in the country of beer and waffles is not complete until you have built a home for your family. Traditionally, you do it with your own two hands while the sweat is dripping down from your face. Those with two left hands, meanwhile, can always rely on the country’s top-notch architecture and construction industry. Regardless of how you plan to build your palace, the quest always starts in the architect’s office. With the mesmerising Atomium as their national symbol, and two out of ten of the world’s most beautiful train stations on their soil (according to Condé Nast Traveller), Belgians sure know how to handle a pen and a ruler. Out of thin air, they sculpt marvellous monuments that stand out amongst the masses.


FCM Architects.


That is why thousands of people choose Belgian design as the fundament for their homes and offices every year. Its modern, no-nonsense look with determined lines and sparkles of homeliness make it very desirable. Inside the country as well as far beyond its borders. epure.

On page 14, Brussels-based architect’s office AABE talks about building for eternity. Far away from temporary hypes and deciduous materials, they construct sustainable, natural houses that get better with age. In the portfolio of epure, versatility is key. On page 16, you will discover how the firm works for a diverse audience of clients in an even more diverse range of locations. Yet, sustainability remains a common trademark throughout their work. Alexandru Patrichi, a Bruxellois with Romanian roots, stands out with his broad vision on architecture. On page 18, he waltzes from constructing an eccentric tower to renovating an old monastery. His power lies in his adaptability.

Page 19 tells the story of A.linea. Their work serves the needs of their clients and also improves its environment. For them, a building should never be an island but a part of everything surrounding it. FCM Architects are experts in translating the needs of their clients into promising sketches. On page 20, they showcase how big construction projects as well as refined renovations are in safe hands with them. The last architect we want to introduce you to is Gilles Frankignoulle. As a disciple of the ‘less is more-school’ he creates peaceful interiors and exteriors where elegance blossoms in its soberness. On page 22, he teaches us all about the art of editing and deleting.

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Discover Benelux  |  Designing the Future  |  Belgium’s Master Architects

Rain or shine.

Getting better with age TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON  |  PHOTOS: AABE

AABE, a Brussels-based architectural practice, designs beautiful modern structures for clients across the globe. And the architects’ work on materials and their relationship to the sites for which they are destined, means the beauty of their buildings will only increase over time. The practice, founded by Bruno Erpicum three decades ago, is rooted in modernist architectural principles, so focused on form and proportions rather than any decorative additions. But he and his colleagues firmly believe that what they do as architects must continue to change and to evolve. 14  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

A major stage in the practice’s own evolution came at the end of the last decade. “We’d become very aware that many modern buildings look astounding as designs and when they are first built, but within a few years, the hi-tech surfaces can lose their initial beauty, and will continue to deteriorate thereafter,” says Bruno. “We want to create the exact opposite of that, we want the buildings to gain in patina, to become more beautiful over time, thus to be lasting and to become more and more at one with their environment.” The buildings can be found now in 16 different countries, across much of Europe and as far afield as the Caribbean, the

Discover Benelux  |  Designing the Future  |  Belgium’s Master Architects

USA and South Africa. There are therefore some very different environments and climates one has to be aware of, as the practice has. Another of its guiding principles is the absolute need for a building to fit within its generally natural setting, this means that great diversity is required in the materials employed. “Built in 2009, the house known as 'GO' illustrates this new side of our work. The exterior was made using simple limestone, the overarching idea in that case being that here in Belgium, a country that has its fair share of bad weather, it should look as good in the rain as in the sunshine. When it’s raining, the building’s exterior really scintillates. It’s been standing

for nearly ten years now, and over time, it seems to fit increasingly naturally into its environment – it has actually gained in beauty and interest rather than becoming jaded,” says Bruno. He offers, as another example, a house in Corsica designed by AABE, where for the structure to work in its stunning natural setting, they decided to use concrete made with the addition of rock dust incorporating local stone. They had the concrete panels manufactured using forms fitted with planks of wood of varying thicknesses, giving a grooved effect along with some flat horizontal surfaces, where vegetation and coastal sediments would be deposited. “It has become a living struc-

ture, a paean to the passage of time,” he adds. “The nature within which we build must take priority,” he continues, to which end AABE harnesses nature’s own materials for their buildings’ exteriors: “Stone, concrete – made, after all, from sand, water and stone – and various woods, all are natural materials, and all can be used in such a way that they improve with age. Wood, if it is used intelligently, in the right place, can bring magnificent effects as it weathers and develops character, and can last for a very, very long time.” Web:

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Discover Benelux  |  Designing the Future  |  Belgium’s Master Architects

The new headquarter offices and production centre of 100percent light.

Designs focused on wellbeing and functionality TEXT: NDÉLA FAYE  |  PHOTOS: EPURE ARCHITECTS

Based in Brussels, epure is a versatile architectural firm, founded in 1998. The company’s contemporary approach to architecture is innovative, and offers clients tailor-made solutions that fit the surrounding environment. With projects spanning from Belgium to Luxembourg, France, the Netherlands and Egypt, epure’s portfolio covers everything from offices to retail spaces, housing complexes and private homes. At the forefront of epure’s values lies a belief in creating a strong relationship with clients, which they consider to be key to the success of any project. “As a result, whatever size or type of project we are involved in – housing, offices, retail spaces, renovation or construction – our approach is always the same: to work closely with our clients,” says Christophe Bichara, 16  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

epure’s owner. Ranging from big name clients to individuals, no job is too big or small for epure Architects. “Maintaining a confidential and intimate relationship with our clients is of utmost importance to us. This has allowed us to work on several high-profile projects,” he adds.

Combining function and wellbeing The firm’s designs always take into consideration the functionality of the space in question, and the user is the focal point in all designs. “We are detail-oriented, and it is our job to highlight issues and finer details. Everything serves a purpose, and we do not do any useless designs. In offices and housing, people’s wellbeing is the main focus. For example, in an office, gaining an understanding of how people work within the company, will determine how we will organise the office space: whether to have an open-plan office, or

individual cubicles, or to group some departments together. This is only possible when clients have complete confidence in us. It will also guide us in choosing which departments are put next to each other, which can have a big impact on work satisfaction and productivity – something that might not be immediately obvious to outsiders. It is those tiny details that we are able to spot, and we make design recommendations and decisions based on those,” Bichara explains. Environmental sustainability is always taken into consideration when it comes to choosing materials. In renovation projects, epure Architects aims to keep and reuse as many materials as possible, and whenever possible, they favour sourcing wood, glass and stone from somewhere as close to the site as possible, for example, rather than shipping it from

Discover Benelux  |  Designing the Future  |  Belgium’s Master Architects

halfway across the world. “We are always looking for new solutions and developing new technologies to answer each project’s specific needs. Architecture should also respond to environmental imperatives, and integrate sustainable development in the design and development process – and that is exactly what we do,” Bichara states.

Changing attitudes through design solutions One of the firm’s most notable works recently was the refurbishing of the headquarters of the Aliaxis group, in the centre of Brussels. The 4,500-square-metre space proved to be a challenging project: “We needed to transform the existing structure, made up of individual offices, into a new open-space organisation, in order to improve communication within individuals and departments. We wanted to

create a comfortable space that was fully functional and fit for purpose. The spatial design and integrating the company’s branding into small design details, such as the lighting fixtures, was a big undertaking – and one of our projects we are most proud of. Initially, there was some apprehension from the employees about the change – but in the end, every single one of them was pleased. Offices are fascinating places: with small architectural details, it is possible to completely change people’s attitudes,” Bichara says. With another large, exciting project in the pipeline, the team at epure have their hands full. They are involved in a high-profile housing project in Brussels. “It will be a vertical village, that will combine retail, offices and housing – all in one building. This is a very exciting project, as it experiments with co-working and

co-living spaces, is aimed at young people as well as the elderly, and the housing will cater to low-income as well as highincome individuals and families,” epure’s owner says. “Our number one focus is always the wellbeing of people: whether it comes to an apartment building or office, the focal point is always the individual. Because of our close rapport with all our clients, we are able to offer tailor-made, user-friendly solutions to all projects, and ensure all client needs are met. Due to our extensive expertise and focus on every minor detail, from design to completion, we are able to cater to various projects – and share our passion for architecture with everyone,” Bichara concludes. Web:

TOP LEFT: epure Architects transformed the Aliaxis headquarters by reshuffling the office structure into a new open-space organisation. TOP RIGHT: Belgium’s headquarters of WIS (Orascom Telecom) with space planning design. BOTTOM RIGHT: Loulifa is not only a building project but a way of life. The vertical eco-village will combine retail, offices, co-working spaces, co-living and housing apartments.

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Discover Benelux  |  Designing the Future  |  Belgium’s Master Architects House with no walls.

Greenwich Tower in New York.

Pushing the limits of innovation TEXT: NDÉLA FAYE  |  PHOTOS: ALEXANDRU PATRICHI

Alexandru Patrichi is brimming with fresh and dynamic ideas, specialised in architecture, interior design and consulting services. From a monastery to luxury apartments, Patrichi’s portfolio is full of unique projects, showcasing the very best of Europe’s young architecture talent. Now based in the centre of Brussels, Patrichi was born and raised in a small mountain town in Transylvania, Romania. He has achieved a lot in a relatively short amount of time, and part of his uniqueness comes from his unwavering determination and endless curiosity that serves as his biggest source of inspiration. Patrichi studied with Glenn Murcutt, a Pritzker Prize laureate, who was instrumental in teaching him the ins and outs of the trade. Murcutt once said that most of us do ordinary things, and therefore we should strive to do them in an extraordinary way – and these are words Patrichi aims to live and work by. “I never say no to a project, and I am always open to new things,” he says. This has led him 18  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

to various unusual projects, such as the Chiajna Monastery in Bucharest. What sets Patrichi apart is his ability to undertake large projects as well as small ones, and take charge of the whole process: from the initial design stages to completion. “I believe a true architect should do everything from beginning to end. I want to be able to control everything, down to the smallest detail. The design process is a formative experience, and I am constantly learning and evolving; growing with the project,” he says.

of innovation and to improve people’s lives overall. It is essential for each project to be assessed in its own context; integrated in its surroundings and the local culture. The architect’s designs focus on durability and using natural materials whenever possible, as he believes humans are in their most natural state when surrounded by natural materials. “I believe architecture has the power to influence people’s lives – and therefore change them for the better, and that is something I keep in mind with every one of my projects,” he concludes.

Among Patrichi’s most notable works is the Greenhill Park Residence, in collaboration with Archi2000, which is currently under construction in Brussels. Another is the Greenwich Tower in New York, which combines offices, residential areas, a hostel and luxury accommodation. Currently, the architect is working on a number of projects, including villas on the Belgian seaside, as well as a number of bigger apartment projects. He believes architecture has the ability to push the limits


Discover Benelux  |  Designing the Future  |  Belgium’s Master Architects

Architecture for today and tomorrow TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL  |  PHOTOS: A.LINÉA

“Architecture is about reinvention and evolving materials,” begins renowned architect Mikaël Leboutte. His work with firm A.Linéa, in Belgium, has fast been gaining a stellar reputation. With his team of five fellow architects, Leboutte’s practice, based in Huy, Wallonia, near Liège – just over an hour’s drive southeast of Brussels – has become known for the creation of innovative, contemporary buildings across southern Belgium, be they private homes, apartment blocks or retail spaces. Leboutte is keen to create buildings which are not only contemporary and adhere to modernist principles but also environmentally friendly and energy efficient, and this plays a significant part in the choice of materials.

is the creation of buildings which are contemporary but which also reflect and reference the natural environment around them.” He continues: “My architecture is strongly influenced by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and Walter Gropius, particularly in terms of their use of space. Another strong influence is the minimalism of Mies Van Der Rohe and his principle of ‘less is more’, as well as the functionality of Alvar Aalto.” With every project, he takes the time to address the fundamental challenges posed by every commission, ensuring every aspect is entirely suited to the requirements of the brief, from

the materials and style to functionality. Throughout the entire process, aesthetic harmony and balance remain the key focal points, as well as the principles of eco-friendliness. “Our ultimate goal is to realise our clients’ dreams and create buildings which are both harmonious and practical for today and sustainable for the future.” He concludes: “As French existentialist author and thinker André Gide famously once remarked: ‘There are no problems. Only solutions.’” Web:

Leboutte originally graduated from the École d’Architecture San Luc in Liège in 2000 and, two years later, formed his own practice with two other young architects. Over the following few years, he gained immeasurable experience and expertise creating a large number of both private and public commissions. In 2016, he formed Atelier Linéa (A.Linéa). “The core principle behind the company Issue 59  |  November 2018  |  19

Discover Benelux  |  Designing the Future  |  Belgium’s Master Architects

Projecting creative experiences into the future TEXT: LORENZA BACINO  |  PHOTOS: FCM ARCHITECTS

Brussels-based FCM Architects prides itself on going the extra mile with each and every client. FCM meets the challenge head-on by taking the initial concept and pushing the boundaries to ensure its clients get the most from their investment. “We seek to understand the bigger picture and transform obstacles into opportunities. By using our more than 25 years of experience, we take a long-term view of clients’ investment and use our creative vision to take it a step further,” explains founder Thierry Martin.

Architecture with a difference Thierry Martin says that FCM Architects makes sure a construction or renovation project remains sustainable and relevant into the next decade. With an extensive and long-standing track-record of highend showroom construction for sever20  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

al car manufacturers, including Jaguar, Land-Rover and BMW, FCM combines cutting-edge technology with client services, demonstrating a clear understanding of a brand’s DNA. “We listen, digest and follow the initial briefing, but we believe that architecture is about more than just design. It’s about giving something unique. This is what we do,” he says.

The philosophy The FCM team has a wealth of architectural experience and offers helpful guidance each step of the way, from conception to the final design and construction of the original idea. “We want to understand the final goal of each of our projects,” explains Thierry Martin. “Our scope is wide-ranging and each building or renovation is unique and

Discover Benelux  |  Designing the Future  |  Belgium’s Master Architects

has its own ‘raison d’être’. It’s our job to understand that and capitalise on the initial goals through our creativity. We challenge that initial target and we challenge the short-term vision and transform it into something durable. This is our strength. Understanding is not enough, we want to challenge, and push through the inevitable constraints that come with designing urban architecture.”

Vision By its own admission, FCM seeks to push the boundaries, but its architects never lose sight of the initial concept. “Our vision is to make sure the final design reflects our client’s identity and ideas perfectly, whilst at the same time, taking into consideration the limitations of each individual project,” says Thierry Martin. “It is our added value to find solutions. Our aim is to reflect the identity of the client but our vision is to project that idea into the future. We have built a number of long-standing and ongoing relationships with clients based on mutual trust and respect. We treasure these as they increase our knowledge and experience.”

Urban experiences FCM Architects is a company that maintains a human touch even when involved in large-scale projects. FCM’s know-how ranges from the conception phase of

a new build, to the conversion and revamping of historical sites and spaces and the development of innovative commercial projects. They are particularly proud of their Bella Vita project in Waterloo, located just south of Brussels. This project involved the regeneration of an entire abandoned neighbourhood on the site of a former farm school and the renovation of historic buildings. It took the best part of a decade to complete. “We aimed to maintain the historic aspect of the site, but we wanted to transform it into an ‘inter-generational’ village with amenities for both young and old. We believe we succeeded very well in this endeavour which included the creation of 182 flats and 87 houses, as well as various facilities, without losing the identity of the old site.”

Interior design FCM Architects was also involved in the renovation of Radisson Blu in Antwerp and gave it a complete interior design makeover, for all 255 rooms. “We saw the refurbishment more as an ‘experience’ than as a redesign. We sell the product when we work with car showrooms, but we are also strong at selling experiences. In this case, it was a

response to the ever-changing needs of travellers today, combining the right tools with the idea of efficiency and wellness too and maximising creativity and communication at work and during leisure time.”

How FCM works Before taking on a new project, FCM will undertake preliminary studies to better understand the nature of the project. “We’ll look at your project idea both from the visual and technical perspective, so we can analyse the feasibility,” explains Thierry Martin. “Then we’ll help you come up with a concrete concept and idea which will be fine-tuned along the way according to its specifications.” FCM has long-standing relationships with selected suppliers, making the whole process as smooth as possible. At the same time, they ensure transparent and extensive communication channels for all clients. “We want our interiors to be welcoming yet professional – a veritable haven of serenity in an urban context.” FCM’s expert team is always on hand to tackle new challenges. Language is no obstacle either, as FCM works in French, Dutch, English and more – making for some truly internationally-minded offices, located in the heart of Brussels. Web:

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Discover Benelux  |  Designing the Future  |  Belgium’s Master Architects

Sober lines, elegant aesthetics TEXT: MYRIAM DIJCK  |  PHOTOS: ARGILL

It is an art to bring the functionality and aesthetic of a space back to its most essential elements. It requires talent, passion and a critical eye that focuses on detail and leads to harmony that the users will feel with all their senses. Gilles Frankignoulle, a charismatic Brussels-based architect and interior designer, has this particular ability to combine sober lines, contemporary design and versatile materials to deliver the required results. “The lines we draw are pure, clean and modern, and by leveraging the use of materials, we manage to create warm and fluid spaces,” Gilles explains. “People often ask what my style is. We use contemporary lines, while focusing on traditional materials that, today, offer a greater diversity of colours and texture.” The attention to detail and the broad expertise are what set Gilles apart. His company, Argill Architecture, has successfully completed numerous projects in Belgium and abroad, which range from the construction of new private houses to the renovation of existing commercial shops and span from the design of the entire concept to the construction of cus22  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

tomised, built-in furniture. Well-known brands such as Dior and Louis Vuitton have trusted Argill Architecture’s skills for their projects in Brussels. Recently, Gilles was also asked to design three contemporary residences in Russia. Gilles’ powerful and clear lines strike a delicate balance between contrasting with the immediate surroundings and effortlessly blending the structure into the wider area. “Our approach is always to be attentive to the context and the environment. While the character of Argill Architecture is depicted in each of our projects, we ensure that the end result will be fully integrated and will create a

‘dialogue’ with the city or the neighbourhood,” Gilles points out. When it comes to interior design, Argill Architecture’s philosophy is to create a warm and pleasant atmosphere which allows fluidity throughout the spaces. Gilles says: “It is essential to create the right volumes and proportions that correspond to our clients’ needs and requests. When designing interiors, though, it is all about details, and I believe this is what makes Argill Architecture unique.” Web:

Gilles Frankignoulle, architect and interior designer.




Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands  |  Creating Quality of Life

Skyline Rotterdam.


Creating quality of life Dutch architecture is renowned across the globe. From Gerrit Rietveld to Rem Koolhaas, some of the world’s most celebrated architects hail from the Netherlands. Both nationally and internationally, Dutch architects continue to make their mark with their innovative approach to building. In the following pages, we hone in on some of the country’s top architectural agencies. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: NBTC HOLLAND MARKETING

Canal Houses Amsterdam. Photo: Koen Smilde

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Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands  |  Creating Quality of Life

View of Erasmusbrug.

The Netherlands: a country of architectural gems From Gerrit Rietveld to Rem Koolhaas, some of the world’s most celebrated architects hail from the Netherlands. Pay a visit to any Dutch city and the country’s strong architectural legacy will immediately become apparent. From the capital city, whose canal houses are famous the world over, to avant-garde destinations such as Rotterdam, the architectural highlights are endless. In the latter, you will find architectural gems including OMA Timmerhuis and the Erasmus bridge.

Meanwhile, in Utrecht, do not miss Rietveld Schröder House, a 20th century architectural treasure and a UNESCO world heritage site. Designed by Rietveld, it is globally recognised as the most influential domestic building of the early modern period due to its radical approach to design and the use of space.

The Royal Institute of Dutch Architects The Royal Institute of Dutch Architects (BNA) unites almost 1,200 architectural firms. It is the sole professional associ-

ation for Dutch architects and stimulates modern, creative entrepreneurship. We spoke to Fred Schoorl, director of the BNA, who told us why Dutch architecture enjoys a world-renowned reputation. “Our architecture has always aimed to enhance the happiness of its users. Dutch people belong to the happiest in the world. Aesthetic, meaningful cities and environments contribute a great deal to that,” he explains. “Dutch architecture has always created a better quality of life, and I think that is something we can be proud of.” For more information, please visit:

Rietveld Schröder House in Utrecht.


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Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands  |  Creating Quality of Life Reconstruction Styleroom of Thijs Rinsema

Architecture awards 2018 This month, the most impressive Dutch and Flemish architects will be rewarded for their originality and innovation. Hosted by magazine de Architect, the ARC Awards put the spotlights on talented designers in the categories of architecture, interior, furniture, innovation, development, young talent and full oeuvre. It aims to celebrate the power of design to a wider audience. The winners will be announced during the ARC18 Awards Show on 22 November held at the iconic Van Nelle Factory in Rotterdam.

Ferry port Rotterdam.

ARCHITECTURAL HOTSPOTS We spoke to NBTC Holland Marketing about the significance of architecture in the Netherlands, and they told us their top five destinations for design aficionados: Utrecht – Rietveld Schröder House A 20th century architectural gem and a UNESCO world heritage site. The Rietveld Schröder House is a must for lovers of modern architecture, De Stijl, or just the quirky. Designed by Gerrit Rietveld, one of the founding members of the De Stijl, it became the architectural showpiece of the movement. It is globally recognised as the most influential domestic building of the early modern period due to its radical approach to design and the use of space.

Drachten – Van Doesburg-Rinsema House Drachten is the city in which Theo van Doesburg realised his first big commission, designing colour schemes for a complex of 16 middle class homes. Since last year, one of

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these homes is now a museum that is open to the public. The residence will illustrate how De Stijl influenced both the interior and exterior design. On display in the residence are the design drawings of Van Doesburg and works by Thijs and Evert Rinsema in the form of furniture, paintings, and other art expressions, as well as an extensive collection of publications on De Stijl and Dada. Van Doesburg was the founding member of the De Stijl art movement which began in Leiden in 1917.

Rotterdam – a contemporary architectural gem A city that is home to bold, innovative contemporary architecture including floating pavilions, OMA Timmerhuis and the iconic Erasmus bridge. Wander through the city and you will soon be overwhelmed by some of its unusual buildings. This includes the Kubuswoningen that were built in the 1980s. This is a series of unusually shaped homes inspired by the cubism art movement. Another, more recent addition, is the equally

stunning Markthal, completed in 2014. The arch of the building houses over 200 apartments and is also beautifully decorated on the inside.

Schiedam – giant windmills A city famed for its jenever production, made possible by its soaring windmills. Holland and windmills are synonymous, however, Schiedam is home to the world’s tallest windmills. These giants loom above the city; with some reaching 33 metres, only six of the area’s original 20 windmills have survived.

Amsterdam – a historic hub Amsterdam’s canal houses are famous the world over and with good reason. Dating from the Dutch Golden Age, Amsterdam’s oldest houses, with their ornate gabled façades, are a national treasure. Many of these stunning examples of architecture can be found around the city’s 17th century Canal Ring. The Canal Ring is a UNESCOdesignated world heritage site.

Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands  |  Creating Quality of Life

Celebrating, sharing and inspiring outstanding architecture TEXT: LINNEA DUNNE  |  PHOTOS: WORLD ARCHITECTURE FESTIVAL

Last year, World Architecture Festival (WAF) celebrated its tenth anniversary in Berlin around the central theme of Performance. This year, the world’s biggest architecture festival is back with a bang, gathering the best and most fascinating speakers and thinkers in the world of spatial and landscape design for three days of inspiration, competition and excellence in Amsterdam. Founded on a dedication to celebrating, sharing and inspiring outstanding architecture, WAF every year presents an interesting programme of keynote talks from influential speakers within the industry – but at its heart is always a prestigious awards show, with live judging presentations and over 500 short-listed finalists representing firms from all over the globe.

Looking at the dramatic transformation of its host city, this year’s festival will take place 28 to 30 November, and present speakers including Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam, Marieke van Doorninck; director of CRAB Studio, Professor Sir Peter Cook; Li Xiadong, Professor of architecture at Tsinghua University; and Rem Koolhaas, renowned Dutch architect and founder of Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), who will deliver the closing keynote. In conjunction with the main festival is also the INSIDE World Festival of Interiors, co-located and taking place simultaneously with WAF, also with a number of notable keynote speakers, including India Mahdavi, principal of India Mahdavi architecture and design, and Maria Warner Wong, co-founder of WOW.

Following its success last year, WAF will once again offer a bespoke tour through the host city. With a magnificent architectural heritage combined with first-class contemporary buildings, Amsterdam has a unique architectural landscape. This also reflects the vibrant architectural scene across the Netherlands.


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Not that long ago there was a lost area in the heart of the city of Utrecht, today it is a modern, vibrant neighbourhood. By transforming the old air-force headquarters into a contemporary office district, the architects of cepezed have achieved something the government of Utrecht was aspiring to do for years: making the city greener and more sustainable. Since 1989, the district west of Utrecht Central Station was disfigured by the fortified headquarters of the Dutch air force. The heavy, depressing bunker, made out of concrete, became a symbol of the obsolescence of the neighbourhood. Recently, the Dutch architect’s office cepezed sunk its teeth into the mammoth structure, transforming it into the modern public office complex De Knoop. Yet, the spirit of the original building still drifts through the light-flooded corridors. “A transformation is more difficult than starting from scratch,” cepezed director Ronald Schleurholts explains. “Before you can create something, you have to 28  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

analyse the existing building with all its peculiarities and flaws. Only then can you decide which aspects you want to keep, and which ones have to go.” The most visual souvenirs of the old army headquarters are the heavy concrete columns supporting the weight of the building. “You shouldn’t try to erase the original architecture,” Schleurholts continues. “You should preserve its unique value and character. The building should be an inspiration rather than a hurdle.” Having said that, the building is next-to-unrecognisable. In contrast to the original tower, De Knoop is flooded in daylight and has an open and spacious personality. These are two key things that typify the overall portfolio of cepezed. “We design buildings from the inside out,” Schleurholts continues. “We start by satisfying the needs of those who will live and work there. Is there enough daylight? Are there spots to relax in? Is it easy to navigate? Once we’ve tackled those issues, we’ll wrap it up with a nice façade.”

Built for a century Apart from remodelling the building itself, cepezed was asked to create a restaurant on the empty space next to it. It will be temporary, though, lasting 15 years. At the end of this, the city of Utrecht will start another construction project and therefore the initial construction has to go. That inspired Schleurholts and its team to create The Green House, a completely demountable restaurant that grows its own vegetables. “Building temporary constructions goes against our ecological DNA. We don’t want to use valuable materials for 15 years only. That’s why we avoided welding everything together and used screws instead so that the building can be disassembled and rebuilt again. We believe it can be afoot for a century, just not always on the same location.” This long-term vision urges them to use proper and sustainable materials, that can stand the test of time. To make it even more eco-friendly, they furnished the building with recycled resources. The

Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands  |  Creating Quality of Life

bricks on the floor are from the nearby village of Tiel and all the used glass comes from the old headquarters of the air force, the building they transformed in the first place. This natural approach is noticeable in the way of cooking as well. The use of salt is largely replaced by natural herbs and the lion’s share of their vegetables is harvested in the greenhouse on the first floor. Everything on your plate is therefore as green as possible.

Natural crossing experience To top it off, cepezed designed a bridge spanning the rail tracks, connecting De Knoop with the rest of the city. Just like The Green House, the Moreelsebrug is one big kit building. “To assemble the construction, we had to block the tracks,” Scheurholts explains. “To generate the least disruption possible, we’ve designed it to be installed in record time. It only took us 50 hours to put the 300-metre-long bridge into place.” The parallels with De Knoop and The Green House go further than just the way the bridge was constructed. The green, natural experience of the business district continues above the rails too. “Crossing tracks is never really nice. Therefore, we’ve created a more pleasant crossing experience.” The meandering path with trees in the middle and indirect lights on the side, makes you forget what’s happening underneath you.” Today, with the completion of the three projects, a lively and liveable vibe spreads throughout the neighbourhood, realising a long-cherished vision of the Utrecht government: making the city greener and nicer. By transforming a forgotten part of town and connecting it to the rest of the city, they have achieved this ambition. While all three projects stand their ground independently, their mutual synergy elevates the neighbourhood to the next level. Web:

MAIN PHOTO (LEFT): Outside De Knoop. TOP RIGHT: Inside De Knoop. MIDDLE: The Green House. BOTTOM RIGHT: Moreelsebrug.

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Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands  |  Creating Quality of Life


Did you know that doubling the concentration of inhabitants in a city results in a saving of 15 per cent on infrastructure, energy and pollution? Compact cities produce substantially less carbon emissions compared to small villages. Understanding the power of a compact city plan, Archipelontwerpers creates universally applicable design for a sustainable future. Situated in the harbour of The Hague, the office of Archipelontwerpers is just a stone’s throw away from many of the innovative projects it has worked on throughout its 25 years of experience. This includes the harbour itself. “The harbour was home to several extraordinary buildings, such as old warehouses which were no longer being used,” owner of Archipelontwerpers Eric Vreedenburgh explains. “These warehouses were 30  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

scheduled to be demolished. However, when we were asked to design a redevelopment plan for the harbour, we discovered that we didn’t have to start from scratch. By renovating the warehouses and placing steel penthouses on their rooftops, with breathtaking views over the water, the harbour is given a new lease of life. This proved to be a successful approach. Ever since Archipelontwerpers’ redesign of the harbour area, it now houses many offices, start-ups and private homes. This is the architecture firm’s hidden strength, and it has applied this to many other projects such as the Steel Study House II in Leeuwarden, inspired by the functional Bauhaus mindset, as well as the construction of the hypermodern transformation known as Huis Cats, in Bergen op Zoom.

As an architectural office set for the future, Archipelontwerpers is a multidisciplinary company. It is therefore no surprise that ‘archipel’, meaning archipelago, is not only part of the company’s name but also its vision. “The many islands of an archipelago are in some

Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands  |  Creating Quality of Life

way always connected to one another. The same goes for a project: it connects several ideas, technical knowledge and wishes, forming them into one project.” From house design to urban planning as well as interior design, Archipelontwerpers has expertise in many areas. Besides their designing activities, they also perform research in the field of sustainability and rooftop architecture.

A vision for the future “The design philosophy behind Archipelontwerpers is based on the idea that space in inner cities is scarce,” Vreedenburgh explains. “As an architect, you build for the future and therefore you also have to consider this in terms of sustainability and the flexibilisation and reprogramming of buildings.” When looking at the direction of architecture in the Netherlands, Vreedenburgh envisioned a new plan several years ago. “During my walks in the city of The Hague, I saw a lot of rooftops which were left unused. Thanks to their height and flat structure, they could fulfil so many purposes. Imagine the rooftops turned into a ter-

race, a late-night bar or a park overlooking the town. I thought to myself: why not do something with this and diversify the mono-functionality of the city?” ­ Vreedenburgh wrote, several years ago, a book about the necessity of ‘Rooftop Architecture’, and this strategy helped cities, including Rotterdam, London and Copenhagen, to set up new urban strategies to reinvent the city. He explains: “In cities, we tend to expand, but you only really have to look up. Because that is where the future lies for a sustainable solution.”

mission to develop sustainable projects which fulfil the needs of today, yet also allow for the possibilities of future generations. After all, the design of a house or the development of a city is never an isolated task but the result of a continuous process which has taken years, even centuries.” In Vreedenburgh’s eyes, the key to a sustainable future lies first and foremost in buildings becoming energy neutral, and further on in buildings that generate energy. At the same time, these buildings should have character and radiate a pleasant atmosphere.

The purpose of a place According to the rules of Archipelontwerpers, compatibility and sustainability go hand in hand. “Because a compact plan does not allow the infrastructure to spread,” he explains. “Furthermore, you reinvest in something, such as a rooftop, which is already built and you can give the property a new purpose.” Creating structures that can easily be repurposed is another one of Archipelontwerpers strengths. “We see it as our

“But there is so much more to it, which makes it even more exciting,” he explains. “The time is long gone when buildings only had to fulfil one role. Nowadays, an office building can be turned into a school, and that school can later be turned into an apartment complex. Therefore, it is important that buildings and houses are designed with repurposing in mind.” Web:

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Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands  |  Creating Quality of Life

On this page: The redesigned Rabobank branch in Gelderse Vallei, Barneveld, connects the community.


Your office reflects what your company stands for and what its ambitions are. So you want to design it in such a way that your clients understand your company’s visions and your employees feel ‘at home’ enough to help accomplish them. “To come to that design, you have to understand the organisation completely, from management to the employees. Only then will you be able to create the perfect working environment that showcases these ambitions,” explains Eric Wezenberg, architect and owner of Zenber Architects. For every project, Zenber uses three principles to come to the perfect design: dialogue, creativity and pragmatism. “It is not enough to only listen to a client’s desires when it comes to style or colours, and then just start drawing,” continues Wezenberg. “You need to find out where they come from. That is why we never take up a pencil right away. Through dialogue we find out what the organisation aspires to be.” 32  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

That can lead to new insights for the client as well, as Wezenberg found out with their client Rabobank. The bank is in the process of changing itself from an ‘old fashioned’ bank to a bank that is a connecting institute, with regional branches that are at the heart of the community. Zenber designed the new office for the Gelderse Vallei branch in Barneveld, in the centre of the Netherlands. They created a dynamic, open plaza with meeting rooms and conference rooms with information stands, and a catering facility which is open to both clients and employees. “The new office had to be welcoming to both private clients and companies, as well as civil societies who want to use the office for seminars and conferences. The branch now embodies the connection to the community, and clients feel that the bank is there to support them.”

Involving the employees as well Once the vision and ambition are defined by the management, Zenber involves the employees by asking what kind of office

or room they think can help them accomplish these ambitions. Using a scale model, they then visualise that. “The time of cubicles and poorly ventilated work spaces is over,” says Wezenberg. “So the question we ask employees is; how do they envisage the perfect working environment with which to achieve their goals?” A lot of this depends on the work processes of the company. In the case of Rabobank, employees often work directly with clients, so openness is very important. For NN Group, specialised in amongst other investments, financial

Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands  |  Creating Quality of Life

study and even forms of leisure come together. A good design combines this; a lively office with all the services required, together with the possibility for staff members to go outside, into a garden, for instance, or a common area, to recharge.” Of course, plans need to be achievable and within budget. “We are very open about that and keep the clients closely informed on progress and costs. But we are pragmatic enough to adjust plans to that.” During the designing phase, Zenber often comes up with acoustic solutions that are also suitable for people’s homes. They develop these acoustic felt products in their own product design office, WoOL.

On this page: NN Group’s new office perfectly matches their work processes.

planning and IT-development, their offices also needed to have an open feel to them, as well as having the services that benefit these processes, such as innovative conference rooms and break rooms.

tant to have meeting rooms where they could hold scrums, short daily meetings. We designed ‘standing rooms’ for them, with writable walls and digital screens, to visualise their projects and progress.”

An office always has to be tailored to its specific department. Wezenberg: “The financial experts needed rooms where they could hold staff meetings, but also places where they could concentrate easily. For the IT-department, it was impor-

After this dialogue process, the actual designing starts. “Our inspiration comes from everyday life in the city and from more quiet places in the countryside, because an office is not just an office any more. It is a micro society, where work,

By understanding the ambitions of the client, Zenber reflects these in the perfect office interior. “To your clients, your office is the face of your ambitions,” smiles Wezenberg. “At the same time, for your staff, it is the body that helps them realise these ambitions. They have to feel involved, valued and at home at the office, as if it is their own. If an employee prefers to work at home rather than come to the office, then you will never achieve those ambitions.” Web:

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Lounge Moxy by Marriott.

Symbiosis for superb hospitality and office design TEXT: KARIN VENEMA  |  PHOTOS: KONING ELLIS ARCHITECTEN

When the developers of the new Marriott Hotel in Amsterdam, Heren2 and Cycas Hospitality, required a designer for its entire interior, they knew exactly who to turn to. Floor Duijndam, from Atelier Floor, and Suzanne Ellis, from Koning Ellis Architects, joined forces and combined their knowledge in architecture, renovation and interior design to create the exact atmosphere the client was after. With their businesses, Duijndam and Ellis are both well-established in their fields of interior design and architecture respectively, but they feel that there is a need for a more integrated approach to hos34  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

pitality and office design. Amongst their clients are big chain hotels including the Marriott, Hyatt and Mercure, but they also work on public projects such as schools and other international companies, such as NBCUniversal.

Two hotel concepts in one building Duijndam and Ellis took up the complete interior design for the new Marriot Hotel in the Amsterdam docklands area. The newly built structure houses two Marriott hotel concepts across a total of 180 rooms. First there is the trendy Moxy, that attracts a younger clientele who are there for an experience. The other concept is the upgraded Residence Inn, which caters to

guests who stay for an extended period of time. The building also has a restaurant, gym and spa with pool, and on the top floor, there are several meeting rooms and a bar with a fantastic view. “The overall design concept for both hotels refers to the city and to the position in the timber ports,” explains Duijndam. “Concrete, wood, leather and coarse fabrics match the industrial and maritime atmosphere. In the Moxy entrance hall, we placed a real shipping container and the ceiling consists of pallets. The ground floor lobby has a famous Dutch DJs theme, as a reference to a club or lounge.” Ellis adds: “It was an interesting

Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands  |  Creating Quality of Life

challenge to create a lasting environment that works for the practical hotel facilities and is aesthetically pleasing.” The Residence Inn required a different style, much more like a luxurious home away from home. “We opted for the ‘Dutch daylight’ theme, inspired by the works of Vermeer: warm blues combined with ageing wood. This works very well together with the ever-changing clouds drifting by the hotel room windows. Not only Vermeer was inspired by these clouds,” Duijndam laughs. The atrium forms the heart of the building: all the halls look out onto this lovely inside space where you can find large sculptures of sea creatures. Famous artist, Dutch Vincent Mock, crafted these from thousands of razor-sharp metal fish hooks. The look and feel of these shared facilities unite the two hotel concepts, and bring them together with the docklands theme.

Old building becomes local hotspot Showing their versatility, Duijndam and Ellis were also involved in the overhaul of an old government building, located

Dining area Residence Inn.

Studio Residence Inn by Marriott.

next to Haarlem Central station, that had been empty for many years. Frame Offices decided to reinvent the space as a multi-tenant workspace and asked Duijndam and Ellis for the interior design. “Before Frame Offices took it on, it was an anonymous building at the back of the station,” says Duijndam. It was on a prime location, but had been empty and overlooked. “Inside, we created an entrance area, café and several meeting rooms that mixes the look and feel of a hotel lobby with the business-like functionality of an office building.” The establishment of restaurant Vooges Centraal in the building completed the total design where staff and external guests can have a quick coffee, meal or a beer with colleagues. Now it has become a popular meeting point for local residents and tenants alike. It is well-loved for its warm atmosphere and varied seating areas allowing you to mingle and relax, as well as work without being disturbed.

Creating a functional user space In Tilburg, the local council had an interesting challenge: they wanted the closed-

Lobby Moxy by Marriott.

off, dreary back of the Tivoli car park in the city centre to be transformed into a co-working space for creative entrepreneurs, called ‘De Plint’. The new building would be partly inside and partly adjacent to the existing car park. “The assignment was quite complex,” says Ellis. “There was only light coming in from one side and, of course, we had to follow all the current safety regulations. The numerous unusual corners and spaces, under the exit ramps, for example, proved a challenge: but in the end, this was actually what created exceptional features, such as different heights. We used brick walls and large aluminium windows that give the building the appearance of an old factory. The building makes a connection between the 1990s car park and the historic buildings that once stood there. The biggest compliment I heard was when somebody said: ‘has that building not always been there?’”

Web: and

Frame Offices.

De Plint.

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Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands  |  Creating Quality of Life

Markthal Rotterdam.

‘It only works if everything is right’ TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: MVDG ARCHITECTEN

When it comes to interior design for the retail industry, the space has to have high aesthetic value as well as be functional and supportive for the products and the brand. “If a display attracts more attention than the product it is showing, you have the wrong design,” says Mark van der Geest, owner of MVDG Interior Architects. Designing interiors for retail shops requires specific knowledge and insight, explains Van der Geest. “The interior is part of a concept the client has created. So you have to look at it from a different angle. At first, it is less about the architectonic side of it, such as lighting or what 36  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

materials to use. It is more about how the client wants to persuade its customers to buy the products and how the interior can help with that.” Before the actual designing phase starts, Van der Geest spends a lot of time with clients defining the store’s concept and its targeted audience: Who is the customer, what is needed to persuade them to buy a product? “There are 15 factors that play a role in the success of a brand, such as social and technological factors. My expertise touches on four or five of those factors. I take them all into account to come to a good design that has a purpose and fits with the other factors.” With his team of

freelance experts, he then starts working on the actual designs. Van der Geest acquired his expertise during his extensive career in retail interior design and concept development, first for ten years at Bijenkorf (one of the oldest and best known high-end department stores in the Netherlands) and followed by another ten years at Merkx + Girod architects in Amsterdam. “I was educated in retail interior design, so it was a natural step to take on this roll and develop my skills and expertise. I have learned so much over the years, both from the projects I worked on, as well as the many trips I have made abroad to see all kinds

Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands  |  Creating Quality of Life

of projects. Especially in those parts of the world that are not that rich; the balance between aesthetic and functionality in displays is amazing there. It taught me a lot about presentation.” After ten years working at Merkx + Girod, Van der Geest felt it was time for the next step. “The focus there was less on retail, which is my passion and my strong point, so, in 2005, I decided to start my own company, where I could fully focus on my passion for retail interior design.”

The design cannot overshadow the products Since then, Van der Geest has worked with clients like food-market chain Marqt, Douwe Egberts Coffee Cafés and the famous Markthal in Rotterdam. “That was a totally new concept for the Netherlands. We spent nearly two years to come up with the right concept for it. One of the main challenges was making sure the stalls would not overshadow the traders, who would use the units we designed. Also, the flow of people through the Markthal was very important to take into account.” It resulted in multiple pavilions with food-related retail units, which are permanent. “At first there were discussions on using mobile units, which would be stalled outside the hall at night. But for certain fresh products, like meat and fish, you have to have special installations to present and sell them. Using mobile units would mean that some traders would not be able to sell their products. You have to keep that in mind when you develop a concept.”

Marqt Amsterdam.

Chocolate Company.

MVDG’s strength lies not only in the expertise of Van der Geest, but also in his personal involvement in the projects. “With bigger firms, it is not uncommon that after six months or so you need to start a new project and have to hand over your current project to a colleague. I am now involved from start to finish, and try to help with every detail. As a client once put it: ‘You can ask Mark about everything, even about a paperclip he has an opinion.’ For an interior design to work, everything has to be right.” Web:

Jumbo Foodmarkt.

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Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands  |  Creating Quality of Life


The era in which hospitals were entirely clad in ice-cold whiteness lies behind us. Interior designers like Suzanne Holtz smuggle colours and homeliness into the long, depressing corridors, transforming them into a healthy, healing environment. “As an interior designer, you can really make a difference in a patient’s time at the hospital,” Suzanne Holtz explains. “They have to navigate themselves through the clinic towards consultations, tests, operations, scans... nothing but unpleasant things. By using different colours, themes or materials, it’s easier for them to orientate. This takes some of the stress 38  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

away and gives them a feeling of control. They’re at their most vulnerable and deserve a little extra attention.” Since her studio started to design hospital interiors a couple of years ago, Holtz took on many opportunities to change clinical atmospheres in all corners of the Netherlands. “I like how these assignments surpass the light-footedness that interior architecture can have sometimes. Not only do I have to create a nice environment to work and stay in, I must also take the draconically strict regulations for infection prevention into account. It’s the art of making something very functional look as hospitable as possible.”

Suzanne Holtz

Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands  |  Creating Quality of Life

International awards To accomplish this, Holtz always tries to create a hotel-experience. The psychiatric department of the Radboudumc in Nijmegen illustrates this beautifully. By adding a soft layer to the wing, she transformed it into a stunning open space where patients have the clarity and shelter they crave. Dimmable lights, daylight and soft colours are just a couple of the elements that contribute to a smoother, more natural recovery process. The patients are demonstrably calmer, happier and less aggressive than before. All of this resulted in two international awards, including one for Europe’s Best Mental Healthcare Project. Right now, Holtz is adding the final touches to the design of the Amalia Children’s Hospital. For this project, she had to channel a very different mindset. “You have a very broad target group here. Toddlers, as well as youngsters of 17-years-old should feel welcome here. Both boys and girls. In most hospitals, they create an atmosphere with merry figurines or ducklings on the walls. That way, they only reach the youngest segment of their visitors.” Holtz, on the other hand, decided to work with

more age- and gender-neutral themes. The walls are painted in bright colours like blue and purple, while the rooms are in green. To top it off, Tinker Imagineers added abstract murals to tickle the children’s imagination. “A child of three will see objects and stories in it and so do I. It isn’t childish,” Holtz clarifies. “Many kids have to stay here for quite a while. We want to keep stimulating their fantasy throughout the process.” In the light of that philosophy, Holtz has created an indoor park in the central hall. Trees, fake grass and many activities are included.

Cross-pollination Her portfolio is more varied than just hospitals, of course. Many of her clients are hotels, restaurants and theatres. “When you draw for the hospitality sector, you have to understand the concept of their business very well. What product do they offer? What does their brand look like? Who do they want to attract? Thousands of these questions and a very personal approach always lead towards a tailor-made design that matches perfectly with their expectations.” For the Amsterdam restaurant Saffraan aan de Amstel, she interpreted the style of the

Ottoman menu (which stretches from Italian food to Iraqi cuisine) to distil it into a warm, elegant restaurant where locals feel welcome and well at ease. Though projects like this appear lightyears away from the look and feel of a hospital, Holtz loves the cross-pollination between these very different worlds. “The first hospital contacted me because of my work in the hotel sector. They wanted to translate this homely atmosphere within the walls of the clinic. With it, I’ve learned a lot about bacteria-repellent materials. A knowledge I now use in hotels as well.” Therefore, Holtz tries to do as many different things as possible. The only requirement: it should be a complete project. “I never restyle just one room in a house or a building. If I do a project, I want it to be an entire hospital wing, restaurant or house. Not because I don’t want small projects, in fact I do my share of tiny restaurants as well, but because I just don’t see the point in changing the experience of one room while the rest of the building remains untouched.” Web:

Issue 59  |  November 2018  |  39

Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands  |  Creating Quality of Life

‘Designing a home is like a Mondrian painting’ TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK  |  PHOTOS: GEORGE VAN LUIT

A great architect has to be creative and able to understand the customer’s wishes in order to translate them into a good design. “As an architect, you have to deliver something similar to a tailored suit,” says architect George van Luit, “regardless of whether it’s a new construction or a renovation.” With George van Luit’s extensive experience and knowledge, he is also highly attuned to working creatively and realistically within financial, technical and aesthetic frameworks. Every design is created stepby-step in close harmony with the client. Brimming with enthusiasm, Van Luit uses his creativity and professionalism to turn each project into a bespoke, architectural solution. “It all starts with the requirements of the client,” says George van Luit. “The concept of the house must align with each request that is made. Therefore, I must be able to empathise with the client to ful40  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

ly understand what they want, and then translate that into a design.” According to Van Luit, detailing, proportions and choice of materials are key to creating a high-quality design. “Especially with today’s homes, you have to combine the perfect look with clever solutions. Where once the living room was the heart of the house, nowadays, the kitchen is the space where people are most active.”

experienced freelancers – who will, for example, create the detailed 3D drawings – allowing him to fully focus on the design and the clients. A personal approach is, for Van Luit, absolutely indispensable.

Modern techniques also have to be taken into account. Whether it is choice of material, colour, light or even novel techniques and features, each element impacts the final design. George van Luit: “Designing a modern home is much like a Mondrian painting; the white areas are façades, the coloured windows and the black lines are the construction itself.” George van Luit believes close contact and trust is required to create a perfect design. He works with a small team of


Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands  |  Creating Quality of Life


Revitalising a city neighbourhood comes with many challenges. Not only can these areas often be noisy and polluted, there is also the risk of creating a gap between the current inhabitants and their new neighbours. With social participation and intelligent engineering as their weapons of choice, Tangram Architecture & Urban Landscape tackled both issues while creating a new future in one of Amsterdam’s most infamous neighbourhoods. ‘Rhapsody in West’, the name of the complex and its musical note-inspired buildings, are as chipper as the future it faces. Rooted in between the difficult Kolenkit-neighbourhood and the A10 traffic inferno, the location of this residential project (which will open next spring) is somewhat peculiar. Yet, according to architect Bart Mispelblom Beyer, most problems can be fixed with some smart architectural engineering. As co-founder and co-owner of Tangram Architecture & Urban Landscape, he is an expert at designing buildings in function of their

environment. “Traffic brings many inconveniences with it,” Mispelblom explains. “Noise, pollution and stench, to name a few.” By creating some engineering feats, Tangram tackled many of these seemingly unconquerable issues. The notable plectrum-shape of the buildings guides the noise around the complex and diffuses it throughout the city. The absorbing material on the walls weakens the traffic sounds even more. The brilliance of the building construction results in lower energy bills as well. “By intelligently combining solar panels with good insulation, we’ve made the blocks of flats energy-neutral,” Mispelblom states. “It actually produces more energy than the 250 households will use, which allows us to add the remainder back to the power net. That makes it the greenest residential complex in any of the Dutch cities.” By ingeniously implanting a public green oasis inside the complex, the region even seems more open than

before, despite the densification of the landscape. Not all problems can be fixed with smart engineering though. Only a decade ago, the Kolenkit-neighbourhood was known as ‘the worst district in the Netherlands’. Today, multiple renovations and investments have managed to change that tide. “To create harmony between the locals and our project, we’ve been in dialogue with them since the very beginning. We made sure the building serves some of their needs too. Among other things, we’ve provided a place to host computer and language classes, or at which to do homework. We also have an affordable guest room where the friends and family of the residents can stay when they come to visit.” In the end, many locals wanted to live here themselves. That is why a certain portion of the flats is reserved for Kolenkit-citizens only, giving them an advantage on the other 7,000 applicants. Web:

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Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands  |  Creating Quality of Life


“They don’t make ‘em like this anymore!” It is a frequently heard remark while viewing a century-old manor house. Architect’s office Six Architects now proves that the opposite is true. The firm, which specialises in castles and sizeable estates, designed 17 brand-new, majestic mansions, combining the best of two centuries into one breathtaking neighbourhood. The picturesque, sleepy town of Vught is ready to welcome 17 new families. Facing the relaxing Lievevrouwenpark, the impressive manor-houses of La Couronne rise up on the opposite side. Though they look like they carry a long history with them, they are one of the latest constructions in the city. “We build houses with our eye on what history has taught us,” Sir Diederik Six explains. His architect’s office, Six Architects, focuses on the restoration of historic castles and estates and builds high-end villas in a traditional style. “Architecture has always learned from the previous generations. In the 20th century, the modernists broke with that course of events by creating very different things. We, however, think it is better to carry on this legacy and improve the work of our ancestors. You can’t grow without roots.” 42  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

The benefits of this method are numerous. Not only is the static style breathtakingly beautiful, it is also built to last. Durable materials and great isolation elevate these classic houses to the 21st century. “We don’t build exactly like they did decades ago. Our needs are very different from back then. A kitchen is no longer a hidden place in the house where the maid works but is a central living area. La Couronne adapts to these fluctuations of the time.” With six bedrooms and two bathrooms in each villa, the complex is made to live luxuriously. It also opens the door to taking in your parents at old age, like they used to do in mansions like these. For

Impression by Six Architects.

others, the spaces can, for example, be used as a guest room or study. With this project, Six Architects blew a new wind through the commuter neighbourhood of Vught. “Though the village is a wealthy suburb of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, this region was less in demand. The people of Vught prefer to live in the centre, but for those who work in Amsterdam this location is very handy. While the prices in the capital and its suburbs are skyrocketing, a villa in the countryside with a good rail connection is a perfect deal.”


Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands  |  Creating Quality of Life


Going above and beyond the requirements, architect Martin Koldenhof had a clear vision for the transformation of the gloomy farmhouse, the Peelboerderij. With some relatively minor structural adjustments, he achieved maximum impact. Completed in April this year, the Peelboerderij is now flooded with natural light, which beams through a stunning glass section of the roof. The outside of the farmhouse reveals little of the complete metamorphosis that went on inside. An oval roof section was replaced by an impressive glass ‘light ship’, with a dramatic effect. “The original wooden roof is still in place, and the slats of the light ship rest on top of the supporting beams, so structurally, it was quite a straightforward,” he says. Koldenhof, who runs his own architecture firm heer & meester, was picked as the winner with his redesign two years ago. “The design allowed for additional functions, such as hosting weddings or funerals. This wasn’t actually part of the original

brief, I thought of it myself.” This vision proved to be the right one, and since its opening, several weddings as well as funerals have taken place here. Key in the design was keeping the original character of the 1960s building intact. At one end of the farmhouse, he created a seating area in which to relax in a comfortable setting, which doubles as a break-out space without being completely cut off. He says: “We lowered the floor there and kept the three original windows. These small windows face the national park, the Peel, and are almost like living paintings of nature.” Located in Ospel, in the south of the Netherlands, the Peelboerderij now has catering facilities and a visitors’ cafe that is open on the weekends. For events, the main hall can host up to 50 guests in a theatre setting. Despite the large floor plan of the space, it has a diverse and intimate feeling. “The light focuses on the centre of the space so that the sections on the side have a dimmed, more quiet atmosphere,” Koldenhof explains.

The interplay of light and dark clearly shows itself and Koldenhof intentionally respected and preserved this. He concludes: “I show dark, by letting in light, but this also allows you to observe the starry sky and the darkness of an evening in autumn. There are not many places in the country where it is dark enough to see the stars.”

Photo: Martin Koldenhof


Issue 59  |  November 2018  |  43

Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands  |  Creating Quality of Life

John Mosterd.


With the 3D modelling of a construction project, large amounts of data are generated. To streamline the design process, a technique called BIM is used, or Building Information Models. Managing data effectively can greatly benefit almost every single party involved in the design and construction process. That is where Klous + Brandjes Building Advice comes in. “One room can have 500 3D elements, including data. Managing that data is what we love and do best,” smiles manager John Mosterd. According to Mosterd, BIM is widely used in the architectural community, but not all architects have the skills to fully utilise it. “To us, BIM means Building Information Management. We don’t just bring those 3D models together, we also manage all the data and information that comes with them, and we create a full virtual model. This way, clients can take a VR-tour through a building, to ensure the designs do not clash: for instance, whether a wall 44  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

blocks a door. This can save between 11 and 18 per cent in building costs.” Klous + Brandjes has used its know-how for various projects, including for citizenM Hotels and Zoku, a complete hotel or just good 3D R&D support. Besides their VR capabilities, Klous + Brandjes also uses 3D-printing. “We have our own lab, and students are free to come to us to study here. That gives our office so much energy.” Klous + Brandjes also does 3D modelling for their own projects and projects from other architects. “We are working on an amazing project in Florence, Italy, right now. Thirteen buildings of the former factory complex Manifattura Tabacchi are being transformed to various applications,” says Mosterd with a big smile. “We were invited to create the 3D architectural models for the developer, based on the designs by concrete architects Amsterdam. The company, founded in 2010, is a spin off from Klous + Brandjes Architects, and they continue to do modelling for their

mother company. “Back then, it was a logical step to make BIM and 3D modelling a separate entity. It made it possible for us to work on all kinds of projects.” “BIM is commonly just associated with slick 3D models,” explains Mosterd. “And these models are of course very important, but we see BIM as a methodology, based on collaboration and sharing data with all parties involved. It helps with the design and reduces building mistakes. For us, BIM is the norm.”


Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands  |  Creating Quality of Life

Architecture as an export product TEXT: ELLA PUT  |  PHOTOS: XS ARCHITECTEN

They are often referred to as an ‘encyclopaedia of architectural experience’ for their incredible knowledge on the subject. By turning that wealth of knowledge into an innovative export product, XS Architecten is taking the world by storm: in particular, the world of restaurant design. The name of XS Architecten does not derive from anything one might assume. On the contrary: “The X in our name stands for the experience of a well-designed building, when all the needs of every person who enters that building are met,” Pascal Rijnders, co-owner of XS Architecten explains. Their designs are more than just striking buildings or smartly decorated interiors. Each inch of every project has been thoroughly thought-out thanks to the impressive knowledge that the company has gained over the years. “When designing a restaurant, for example, we think of so much more than just

the look and feel. The devil is really in the detail: from the comfort of the chairs, to the sound system in a crowded room or how the restaurant staff uses the fridge or the customer’s route to the toilet. We take care of all of that and design a restaurant which fits every requirement,” Rijnders reveals. Through the use of 3D design, which allows the client to experience the designs before they are built, XS Architecten goes the extra mile for its clients, who come from all over the world. Rijnders: “Our aim is to merge the vision of a marketing department with our technical approach.” From big to small restaurants in Sweden, Iceland and Germany, as well as fast-food chains such as Burger King and KFC, XS Architecten’s global client catalogue is ever-expanding. This has led them to approaching architecture in a novel manner. “With the arrival of BIM software and internet, we can communicate on a global scale. Therefore, we see architecture as something we can export all over the

world, it’s an international formula. Often at times, it is assumed that it’s better to hire a local architect because of contracts and experience. But with all our extensive knowledge, we can apply it to anywhere and work from everywhere in the world. Our goal is to turn our architecture into an export product. A client can hire the architects and we’ll do the rest of the work on location,” Rijders concludes.


Issue 59  |  November 2018  |  45

Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands  |  Creating Quality of Life

Identity-based interiors with a smooth workflow TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: FIRM ARCHITECTS

We spend a lot of time in the office, but often, they can be bleak and uninspiring. Firm architects wants to change this by creating stimulating work spaces. “We want our designs to be beautiful, benefit the employees and inspire awe in visitors,” says Niek Joanknecht, who runs Firm with partner Carolien Roos. “We start by getting to know our client, researching their identity and workflow. Designing is not just about what we think looks good or works on pictures, it is about showing who the client is,” explains Joanknecht. “Besides

that, a determined approach to project management is a necessity in the design process as well: meeting deadlines and delivering what is agreed upon.” Firm is particularly adept at designing interiors for high-end offices that reflect the client’s ambitions. “For Amvest, a real estate investor and manager, we created something that was anything but a standard office; it was all specifically designed and tailor-made. We focused on creating a natural and healthy environment that is open, light and encourages interaction. The central staircase promotes usage over the elevator which deliberately

The compass of every interior One can never judge a book by its cover, and the same goes for a home. As an interior designer, it is Ingrid Verboom’s mission to bring out the best in every house, because only when the inside feels right, will the outside shine too. Ingrid Verboom was brought up with a love for interior design, as her mother was an antiquarian. In keeping with her heritage, Verboom’s interior design firm, DWB2C, is in fact housed in the picturesque, white farmhouse which used to be her family’s antiques store. The name stands for

46  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

‘De Witte Boerderij’, Dutch for ‘The White Farm’, with its house number 2C. DWB2C specialises in interior renovations for homes. Verboom’s speciality lies in her work with light. “Natural daylight can be seen as a compass in every house. Every time I enter a building, I observe where the sun comes up and where it goes down. It’s an element that I like to play with because it contributes to the atmosphere of an interior. Furthermore, windows often provide a mesmerising view to the landscape. After all, windows are the house’s eyes to the outside world.”

moves at a very slow pace and is designed like a 20-square-metre meeting room with a moving view.” The company prides itself on this strong ability to customise. “No office or company is the same, so you cannot use ‘standard’ solutions. That makes it so rewarding for us, designing something that reflects the company and lets us be as creative as possible,” smiles Joanknecht. “But most off all, we just want to have fun with our clients during the process.” Web:


“It might sound simple, but the most important part of my work is to listen to the wishes of my clients. Only after I discover why a client would like to renovate, move or re-decorate, I can start visualising their dream. That tiny bit of extra attention can make a massive change to the final outcome.” She adds: “I run the renovation projects from A to Z. Only after I’m done putting up the last lamp up in the house, that is when I know my work is finished.” Web:

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Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Novastar


The solitary troubadour Exactly one year ago, singer-songwriter Novastar suddenly had to completely change directions for his new album. After working on it for two years, there was a major blow to the process as his producer fell ill. One night, he decided he would not let this get to him, and redrew the plan. This resulted in his captivating new record, In the Cold Light of Monday. TEXT: MYRIAM DIJCK  |  PHOTOS: SERGE LEBLON

Antwerp-based Novastar, whose real name is Joost Zweegers lives and breathes his music, and he has done so from a young age. “It is something I have carried with me my entire life, and it originates from me sitting in my basement every night making music. I’ve been doing this since I was 16,” he says. “Recording an album is a very lengthy process, especially with you putting all your heart and soul into into it. I am so passionately possessed by making music.”

A sudden shift After the successful collaboration for his previous record, Inside Outside, with renowned British producer John Leckie, Novastar was keen to repeat the process for the new record. “Unfortunately, Leckie got ill and had to stop the production,” he says. “I always search for a soundboard and I found that in John Leckie and worked with him for years, also in my Antwerp home where I live. So we had everything prepared to record the album and then he fell ill, and everything fell apart. That was a huge shock.” However, Novastar did not allow himself to just give up. "I am am proud of the fact that one night, I told myself, ‘right he is ill, but this time I am not going to end up in a slump’. Artistic people often live from highs to lows,” he says. “I decided to make something positive out of it, just

push on and open another door. That is how I ended up in Brighton pretty quickly.”

Making a fresh start When he fell ill, Leckie initially offered to help Novastar finish his album by giving him a list of recommended producers who would be up to the task. However, Novastar had other plans. “I didn’t want that, nobody can replace Leckie.” So instead, he went to his keyboard player Mikey Rowe, to get some advice. To his surprise, he got an invitation in return. “He said: ‘Come to Brighton and let’s give it a go ourselves. I bet we can pull it off,’” Novastar recounts. With a two-year pre-production process with Leckie under his belt, Novastar felt like he had to shake things up to really break with his previous plan, and prevent him from looking back. He decided to make some radical changes. “I took an 180-degree turn to head into that new direction. I used to work at night, now we did a nine to five. Everything was turned around, I got a new band, different people in my entourage, to kind of arrive at a new Joost.” After always recording his albums at night, doing normal office hours took some getting used to. The first time he was asked to sing a song at 11 in the morning, he initially refused, but eventually caved in. This lead to a “very fresh sound” as he

describes it. Thanks to this, and the eager audience reception, he sees parallels with his debut album. “I feel like people are very enthusiastic in a way that I recognise from the first records. I don’t know why I felt that, but this is a kind of synchronisation.”

In the cold light of Monday Needless to say, Novastar experienced a rather intense time when he first got to Brighton a year ago, especially the first week of recording. He says: “There are so many things you have to deal with, and everything is about you. So at the end of the week, I asked ‘do you think we did a good job’?” Expecting to sit down with Rowe and go over the past few days, Novastar got an answer he did not expect. “But Mikey said ‘no, we’ll finish up at 5 o’clock and we will see it in the cold light of Monday.’” Immediately, Novastar was caught by the phrase, and wrote it down on a whiteboard in the studio. “It was up there all those months. In the end, I couldn’t think of a better title, and I had been staring at it for ages. So I thought, ‘that is going to be it’.” To him, the title refers to the way he experienced those months, staying in Brighton until February this year. In the mornings, he would take an hour-long walk before entering the studio. “Every day, I walked over Brighton Beach with its abstract blue sky, the autumn sunshine, its curiously Issue 59  |  November 2018  |  49

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Novastar

coloured sea. That entire colour palate is on the record, including Brighton’s somewhat weathered Victorian houses.”

A long wait It turned out that Novastar actually had quite a lot in common with Rowe, including the fact they are the youngest of three brothers and are both self-taught musicians. When Rowe surprised him with an intro he wrote for Longtime, Novastar knew that he was on the right path. This intro, in fact, became the first chords on the record. “I was so touched because he really knew where I wanted to go with my music,” he said. “You could see it in our eyes, it is a kind of musical infatuation. Then you just have to go for it; don’t ask too many questions or analyse too much, just throw yourself into the deep end. And that is what I did.” The song The Laines is in a way an ode to his time in Brighton. The song was originally about laying yourself into the arms of your loved one to unwind, with the title Love That Burns. However, when wandering down the Laines area of Brighton, something clicked. “Everything was just closing for the day, it was getting dark, and I was so overwhelmed by how I was working,” he said. “I thought to myself; ‘Mum, look at me! Look how much I am in my element here with my music’!”

Musical therapy Because of his relationship to his music, he writes a lot of material, but only records about ten per cent of it. At the start, he always finds it hard to pick which songs to develop, but has found a process that works. “It is something that grows,” he explains. “It often transpires that the songs that give you the biggest love/hate relationship are the survivors.” While it took him four years to record this album, Novastar never really sat still, as he diligently works on his music every night. “I never really take a break,” he says. “First and foremost, I make the music for myself, as a kind of addiction.” Even after a concert, no matter how big or small, he admits he has to “kick off” by playing some music for himself after the show at home. “It’s my beating heart in a sense.” 50  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

A British connection Since his previous album, Novastar has picked England as his preferred place to record his album. “It’s always been my dream to work in England and make music with British musicians of a certain level, whom I look up to and hope to get influenced by. I managed to get this done since about six years ago.” Aside from his music, Novastar has one more great passion, which often takes him all around the British Isles: neolithic history. “I’ve probably seen more archeological sites in England than the average Brit. It calms me and it is a little bit comparable to working at night, it is the same elusive feeling, a kind of fantasy world.” A self-proclaimed ‘einzelgänger’, Novastar uses the music and songwriting to process his everyday life. “I am a very emotional and sensitive guy, and I need this to feel good.” He continues: “I am selftaught so I always learn lots of new things, and I play all kinds of things but very much from my emotions. I’m not blocked by the knowledge of music, everything is like an adventure.” This also affects his approach to live performances. “During a concert, I completely shut myself off, not because I want to, but because I just disappear into a kind of trance. Sometimes, when I sing with my eyes half closed, I open them and realise I am somewhere completely different. It just takes over, and no one can get between that.”

In the Cold Light of Monday is out now

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Novastar

Issue 59  |  November 2018  |  51

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Cosmetic Surgery  |  Love the New You

Flemish cosmetic surgery There is nothing wrong with giving nature a little hand and lifting your self-esteem. We guide you through the practices of Flanders’ most trustworthy cosmetic experts. TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS  |  PHOTOS: DREAMSTIME.COM

52  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Cosmetic Surgery  |  Love the New You

Dr. Feriduni Hair Clinic.

If you are interested in plastic surgery, there is no longer anything to be ashamed of, these days. Worldwide, millions of people use it to strive towards personal improvement, more confidence and beauty. Having insecurities about your body, weight or looks can have a huge impact on your life. It can be a hurdle while making friends or finding love, and is known as a common reason for depression and unhappiness. The field of plastic surgery ranges from breast reconstruction and wound healing to the treatment of scars and wrinkles for cosmetic purposes. Plastic surgery researchers are known for their study of the effects of ageing on human tissue, especially the face, with a focus on stopping the sands of time and looking your youthful best for as long as possible. Though the problem is often disregarded as a non-issue, plenty of people are even afraid of looking in the mirror. In Britain,

just under 40 per cent of people are unhappy with their looks. Among women, it is almost 45 per cent. Women continue to drive the demand for cosmetic procedures, accounting for over 85 per cent across the world.

geons is the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), based in the United States. Every year, they investigate the state of aesthetic plastic surgery around the world, and keep track of all procedures in the industry.

How body confident we are, also depends on the place we are born. Indonesians, for instance, can proudly call themselves the most satisfied people. Four out of five would not change a thing about their looks. In Hong Kong however, almost half of the population feel like they could use a makeover. In Belgium, nearly 200,000 procedures are performed a year.

Founded in 1970, ISAPS membership includes over 3,200 of the world’s bestknown and respected reconstructive and aesthetic plastic surgeons in 103 countries on every continent. Thanks to their international reach, they are able to showcase the trends of the industry. We have looked at a few of these, so as to understand the state-of-affairs in this ever changing industry.

Treating unhappiness

In 2016, 10.4 million people underwent plastic surgery. That is an increase of eight per cent from the previous year, with 9.6 million patients. In four out of ten cases, they had surgery on their face or head. Eyelid surgery is especially very popular.

These figures explain the ever-growing popularity of plastic surgery worldwide. Even more than just a beauty treatment, it can be a cure for unhappiness. The world’s leading professional body for board-certified aesthetic plastic sur-

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Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Cosmetic Surgery  |  Love the New You

Another 30 per cent of all operations focus on breast. The lion’s share of these patients are women, though treatments like breasts reduction attract a male audience as well. Nonetheless, breast augmentation with silicone implants remains the number one seller in the plastic surgeon’s office. Yearly, 1.5 million people worldwide choose to get this done. The last 30 per cent of surgical procedures happen elsewhere on the body. Trimming those extra kilos is very popular, in particular. An annual average of two million people opt for an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) or liposuction. With obesity on the rise worldwide, our increasingly sedentary lifestyles are a double-edged sword that causes more insecurities about being overweight, and more and more people look to surgery as a solution. 54  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

Botox is king Not everyone undergoing a cosmetic procedure gets in contact with a scalpel, of course. Most of today’s medical beauty treatments are nonsurgical. This has many advantages, like a lower cost and a shorter (or even no) recuperation period. You also do not have to cope with scars disfiguring your new appearance, and the risk factors are much lower as well. A popular way to go are injectables and, in 2016, 8.5 million were treated with this procedure. Botox, the popular name for Botulinum Toxin, remains the unbeatable king of this category, with five million people getting treated with this in a wide variety of places. Not only can it make wrinkles go away and make your face appear more smooth, when used correctly, it is an effective remedy for excessive sweating, as well. Another 3.3 million sought

salvation in a treatment with hyaluronic acid, a substance that keeps your skin hydrated and makes you look younger. A last option, are the other nonsurgical procedures: 4.5 million people go for this option. Chemical peels, cellulite treatments or laser therapy are just a few of the many procedures that make you look better without cutting or injecting. Some of these only have short-term effects, but this is also reflected in the more modest prices. They are designed to make you look splendid with immediate effect. These figures confirm that the demand for cosmetic procedures is stronger than ever. All over the world, there are record numbers of patients looking to take advantage of the latest innovations in the field of cosmetic surgery.

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Cosmetic Surgery  |  Love the New You

Dr. Phillipe Houtmeyers

Dr. Marianne Mertens

Pro Hair Clinic

Read more from page 56 Dr. Houtmeyers masters the skill of discrete plastic surgery to perfection. Instead of giving imitative beauty to his patients, he optimises their potential in a most natural way.

Read more from page 60 With 30 years of experience in hand and her unstoppable urge to keep up to date, Dr. Mertens is as trustworthy as they come. In her private clinic, she invests her skills in pursuing your dreams.

Read more from page 64 If you are going bald, would you not want you some hair back? At Pro Hair Clinic they give you a ‘freshly trimmed-look’ by adding pigment to your scalp. Believe us: nobody will notice the difference.

Singelberg Clinic

Van Canneyt Clinic

Dr. Feriduni Hair Clinic

Read more from page 57 In this state-of-the-art private clinic, the two doctors get assisted by the most advanced medical technology. This way they leave nothing to chance to give you the best possible treatment.

Read more from page 61 With one foot on both sides of the Channel, Serge Van Canneyt offers top-notch surgery to a diverse, international audience. His personal approach sets him apart from most of the competition.

Read more from page 66 If losing your hair is not an option for you, Dr. Feriduni comes to the rescue. He reduces or stops the hair loss with a medical treatment after which he restores the initial damage with a hair transplant.

The Bellevue Clinic

Coupure Center for Plastic Surgery


Read more from page 58 The patient is always in the centre of attention at The Bellevue Clinic. A highly personal experience in a relaxing atmosphere lets you sleep on both ears during surgery.

Read more from page 62 Doctors Tonnard and Verpaele build bridges between the academic theory and the operation theatre. As medical PhD’s they do not just perform but also innovate plastic surgery worldwide.

Read more from page 68 When science fiction and cosmetic medicine meet, you get Cosmedics. With the help of lasers, fillers and other advanced materials they re-energise your skin and let you glow again.

Issue 59  |  November 2018  |  55

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Cosmetic Surgery  |  Love the New You

Doctor of beauty and confidence TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS  |  PHOTOS: DR. HOUTMEYERS

Consulting a plastic surgeon is a scary step for many. Stepping forward with your complexes makes you feel vulnerable, and this withholds people from grabbing the opportunity. Plastic surgeon Dr. Philippe Houtmeyers, however, is convinced that the right treatment can make many people more beautiful on the in- and outside. Unrecognisable film stars who have been botoxed till the last wrinkle: when it comes to plastic surgery, these extreme examples are all we can think of. “Unrightfully so,” says Belgian cosmetic surgeon Dr. Houtmeyers. “Unlike how they use plastic surgery in the United States, we in Europe strive towards the most natural result possible. My patients expect rejuvenation without it being obvious that they have consulted me.” 56  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

Because of this European mentality, a plastic surgeon serves a very different cause here. No longer do they rebuild people endeavouring utopian perfection. Instead, they solve the anxieties and uncertainties of their patients in a physical way. “We try to rebuild our client’s selfesteem,” Houtmeyers adds. “Feeling beautiful again can do wonders for your mental state and change your entire life.” Houtmeyers is mostly known for his aesthetic surgery of the breast and face. After six years in the hospital operation theatre of Sint-Niklaas, he is considered an authority in the fields of sex-change surgery and breast reconstruction as well. “The most rewarding aspect of my job is to see breast cancer survivors blossom into self-confident and strong women again. For many, the reconstruction is a moment

of closure, after which they can finally turn over this dark page.” That so many of his patients return home happily, is because of the guidance and information they receive. “I hardly ever perform surgery based on a single consultation. During our first meeting, I listen to patients’ wishes and we talk about the diverse possibilities. Afterwards, I give them some time before we schedule a second talk.” This way, he creates clarity for those who come to him with wrong expectations. “Some people assume I can fix all of their problems with a single cut, but that unfortunately isn’t true. I can make people look nicer and feel better, but nobody can create perfection.” Web:

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Dr. Bert Oelbrandt.

Dr. Frans Noorman van der Dussen and Dr. Bert Oelbrandt.


Combining the personal care of a private clinic and the safety of a hospital, the Singelberg Clinic for cosmetic surgery is dedicated to giving its patients renewed confidence.

craniofacial surgery. They both hold several accreditations by Belgian and British medical associations and they regularly attend conferences to stay up to date with new innovations.

Since 2005, the private Singelberg Clinic has made thousands of patients happy with their new selves. “We provide the highest quality cosmetic surgery for a fair price and with proper follow-up,” says Dr. Bert Oelbrandt. He and his colleague Dr. Frans Noorman van der Dussen use the latest techniques to perform a complete range of cosmetic surgical procedures, comprising breast, body, and facial bone procedures such as chin and jaw, cheeks or forehead remodelling.

Private clinic and hospital facilities

Both doctors have gone through a much broader and more thorough training than the average cosmetic surgeon: Dr. Oelbrandt as a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, and Dr. Noorman van der Dussen specialised in maxillofacial and

Intake and follow-up

At the clinic, surgical procedures are performed under deep to moderate intravenous sedation, which helps to minimise post-operative nausea and speed up recovery. More complex procedures are performed under general anaesthetic at the NIAZ® accredited Sint-Jozef hospital. “There, we have a full range of medical specialties, so that even medically compromised patients are in safe hands,” Dr. Noorman van der Dussen explains.

Not only the technical and aesthetic quality of the surgical procedure itself is of the highest importance, the intake and the follow-up are also critical factors to realise a successful end-result. “We take the time

to discuss with our clients their wishes and explain the different possible procedures, so they make a well-considered decision,” says Dr. Oelbrandt. “We also recognise the importance of making sure our clients are well-informed about the post-operative process upfront, which manifests itself in happy and rested patients,” Dr. Noorman van der Dussen adds. After surgery, patients can at any time get into direct contact with their surgeon if they are at all worried. “We believe that direct, personal contact with our patients is of the utmost importance to make them feel safe and give them a positive experience.” The Singelberg Clinic holds weekly consultations in Belgium, as well as monthly ones in London. Web:

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The Bellevue Clinic operates with a simple concept: they provide personalised care, tailored to the patient’s specific wishes. Plastic surgeons Erwin Lemmens and his wife Saskia De Smet are the welcoming hosts. They achieve astonishing results with the newest aesthetic intervention techniques. Numerous happy customers have benefited from laser therapy, plastic and cosmetic surgery, all performed under a local anaesthetic with minimal discomfort. The starting point is a warm welcome in a quiet, discrete atmosphere. This gives a client the opportunity to relax with the surgeon and go over their specific re58  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

quest. After that, the surgeon proposes a treatment plan that takes the wishes and concerns into account. This is discussed extensively, so that the client is wellinformed and can look forward to the treatment with confidence.

niques work best on which zones, and which results can be expected. If the client is not happy six months later, they can come back and we’ll help them free of charge. This can be a very reassuring thought.”

Experienced surgeons working to the highest standard Lemmens is a well-established plastic surgeon with close to 20 years of experience under his belt. His speciality is figure corrections, of which he has completed over 14,000. Lemmens prides himself on his personal approach to guarantee optimal results: “We know from experience which tech-

Erwin Lemmens and his wife Saskia De Smet.

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Cosmetic Surgery  |  Love the New You

Dr. De Smet is also a very experienced plastic surgeon. She mainly focuses on the aesthetic surgery like hair transplants and non-invasive cosmetic treatments like laser therapy and injections with muscle toxins. “We’re both very passionate about our work,” says Lemmens. “We make a great team.” This is confirmed by clients like Kenny Abrahams, who says: “For me, I think it’s great that there are always two plastic surgeons who assess the issues. With the three of us, we discuss what’s the best option for my wrinkles. Also many compliments to the team that always manages to calm me down because I am such a scaredy-cat”.

Facial treatments to suit the client Early signs of ageing can be controlled with minimally invasive methods such as tightening the subcutaneous tissues with a specialised laser, volume recovery at the cheekbones with the injection of body fat, or by minimising the folds under or next to the mouth with a filler or body fat. However, as these phenomena become more pronounced, a surgical correction like an eyebrow lift, eyelid correction, facelift, or neck lift can be requested. “It all depends on the client and where they are in their lives. A lady in her mid-twenties might be ready for some fillers, whilst a middle-aged man goes straight for the eyelid correction and eyebrow lift. Both feel that they look more tired than desired, but the solution is individual,” says De Smet.

Expert laser remedies While certain laser treatments, with ‘class one’ lasers, can be done by professionals without medical training, they will achieve very limited results. At the Bellevue Clinic, they use the most powerful (class four) lasers that can only be operated by doctors. They have six state-of-the-art lasers with 11 different laser systems. Laser therapy can offer amazing results for improvement of skin irregularities, brown pigmentation spots, skin tags, discrete wrinkles, age spots, rosacea, birthmarks, small scars, varicose veins and so on. The Smartlipo is a type of laser that is used together with liposculpture to make the procedure less invasive. The Bellevue Clinic is the only clinic in the Benelux that offers fast and painless tattoo removal. Unlike most lasers, which require at least ten to 15 painful sessions, their specialist laser treatment will remove most of the tattoo in three sessions.

of breast prosthesis under tight clothes. The two plastic surgeons are both present to expertly advise on a fitting decision. “Because men and women can have different opinions on breast size,” laughs Lemmens. “The newest techniques are astonishing for fast results, and pretty much painless,” continues Lemmens. “I wouldn’t call it a ‘lunchtime lypo’, as you do need to recover. But compared to a decade ago, the developments have been remarkable. Just this morning, I helped a young mother with three children to regain her figure. Within half an hour, her belly, hips and thighs were slimmed down. As she stepped out of the clinic, happy tears welled up in her eyes. That’s what I do it for.” Web:



Body contouring to get the right shape Sometimes diets and training do not do the trick when trying to achieve a different body shape. For instance, the so-called ‘jodhpurs’ (fat storage that widens the body just below the hips) is usually almost impossible to train off, or the woman could end up with a gaunt face. A procedure at the Bellevue Clinic can help, however. When you are planning a breast enlargement at the Bellevue Clinic, they always schedule a so-called ‘live sizing’ session, in which you try on different sizes

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Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Cosmetic Surgery  |  Love the New You

Dr. Mertens works with a team of highly skilled nurses.

This aesthetic clinic celebrates positivity TEXT: EVA MENGER  |  PHOTOS: MERTENSMARIANNE.BE

Thirty years have passed since the day Dr. Marianne Mertens first opened the doors of her very own private clinic offering plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgery. Based in a beautiful old building in the heart of Antwerp, Mertens and her team are determined to make people feel comfortable with their own bodies, whether that is with the help of breast surgery, eyelid construction or a full body lift. “What I love most about plastic surgery is the positivity,” Mertens tells us without any hesitation. “We help our patients feel good about their bodies, and even after all these years, their smiling faces are why I love this job so much.” In addition, Mertens admits that she enjoys being able to work with the whole body rather than having to choose a surgical speciality. “From a very young age I was fascinated with surgery, and what I enjoyed about this particular direction is that there’s so much to it.” Mertens’ enthusiasm for the sheer amount of aesthetic techniques available is backed up by the wealth of services offered within the clinic. Facial rejuvenation techniques include dermal fillers, facelifts 60  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

and eyelid corrections, while liposuction treatments range from single arm to full body lifts. And then there is rhinoplasty, otoplasty, abdominoplasty, labiaplasty, and micro needling. Whatever the treatment, Mertens always makes sure to thoroughly research her patients’ bodies, as well as their objectives in advance. “As a plastic surgeon, being able to filter out patients who are not doing it for the right reasons is absolutely crucial,” she states. Therefore, giving yourself plenty of time to carefully consider your motives is always the first step.

in for a breast augmentation when all they need is an uplift,” Mertens explains. In addition to the positivity and variation that comes with running a private surgery clinic, Mertens also likes the fact that it forces her to stay up to date with scientific developments and medical evolutions. That is why her treatments always include the latest aesthetic and rejuvenation techniques around, and even the smallest refinements can make a world of difference to her patients. Web:

At the clinic, new clients are always asked to come in for two separate consultations. During these sessions, Mertens will assess the relevant body areas in order to establish what treatment is needed to achieve a patient’s desired results. “It quite often happens that a patient comes

The private clinic waiting room.

Dr. Mertens has worked as a plastic surgeon for over 30 years.

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Cosmetic Surgery  |  Love the New You

Plastic surgeon without borders TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS  |  PHOTOS: VAN CANNEYT CLINIC

The British prices for plastic surgery exceed the European average royally. Many Brits, therefore, choose to travel abroad to give nature a little hand. By providing exquisite service for reasonable prices, Dr. Serge Van Canneyt is the Flemish saviour for many of them.

it off, he can perform surgery on very short notice. “We always leave openings in our busy agenda for people who have been to a consultation before but weren’t sure yet. When they decide to do it, we can give them an appointment in between one week and a month.”

If you decide to go under the knife, you should not be a penny pincher. Yet, choosing the most expensive option is not necessary either. Van Canneyt Clinic manages to cut costs while still providing a top-notch service. “In a regular clinic, you must always stay the night, for which they charge you high prices,” the doctor explains. “Since we use very advanced anaesthesia, you don’t feel that sick or groggy afterwards. Therefore, you can just go home after a couple of hours.”

These appealing benefits, together with Dr. Van Canneyt’s craftsmanship and the considerable price-gap between British and Belgian plastic surgery, make his work very popular in the United Kingdom. “Many English people are interested in getting affordable surgery with us but don’t want to come to Belgium for a preparing consultation. That’s why I opened offices in London and Nottingham as well. There, we can have the first conversation about their expectations and the possibilities. For the surgery itself, however, they do have to cross the Channel.”

In his private clinic, Dr. Van Canneyt offers plastic surgery in the best of circumstances. With just a handful of patients a day, the institute is a relaxing environment with a very low infection-risk. To top

Close to the private clinic lies a cosy Bed & Breakfast with whom Van Canneyt Clinic has great contacts. “Those who want to,

can stay there for a couple of days after surgery. They offer great post-operative care and prepare healthy and tasty meals to regain your strength. It’s also very close to my home so when a problem occurs, I can be there in no time.” If you bring friends or family with you to Belgium as mental support, the owner of the Bed & Breakfast is more than happy to recommend them the nicest spots to visit in the nearby cities of Ghent and Bruges.

Dr. Serge Van Canneyt.


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Doctors Patrick Tonnard and Alexis Verpaele.

Lifting plastic surgery to a higher level TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: COUPURE PLASTIC SURGERY

For over 20 years, doctors Patrick Tonnard and Alexis Verpaele have not only been performing plastic surgery, but have also been working to advance the science behind cosmetic procedures. They are pioneers in their field, and their scientific breakthroughs are followed closely by professionals throughout the world. “But it all starts with our patients. We want to help them the best way we can and provide the best care in the world,” says Tonnard.

“But we felt that a hospital was not the best location for our surgical interventions as a private clinic,” explains Verpaele.

Two-thirds of the cosmetic procedures doctors Tonnard and Verpaele perform concern the face; the rest of the treatments involve breasts, liposuction and injectables. These can be performed in two locations, in Ghent and Sint-MartensLatem. In 1997, the physicians opened the Coupure Center for Plastic Surgery in Ghent, which was linked to the hospital.

Inspired by patients

62  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

“We wanted a place with the highest medical standards, as well as a location that makes patients feel comfortable.” In 2008 they opened a surgical centre in Sint-Martens-Latem, the Esthetisch Medisch Centrum 2, or E:MC2, just outside Ghent. “To us, E:MC2 stands for the unity of body and mind, with a nod to the relativity of the outer beauty.”

At Coupure, patients can come for the intake, consultations and treatments with injectables. At E:MC2, Tonnard and Verpaele perform surgical treatments. E:MC2 has two fully equipped operating rooms as well as four luxurious suites, where patients can recuperate from their surgery. “It is quite unique that a private

clinic has such operating rooms. But our patients deserve to be treated the best way possible, both during a procedure as well as afterwards,” continues Verpaele. “Our staffs keeps in touch with patients to make sure they recuperate well. Patients appreciate that. Not a week goes by without us receiving a ‘thank you’ note from our patients. That is why we do what we do.” Besides treating patients in their own clinic, they also help people in underdeveloped countries through the NGO See and Smile, which they co-founded in 2006. Each year, they undertake reconstructive plastic surgery missions to countries such as Myanmar to help people with cleft lip and cleft palates.

Driven by science Not only their goal to offer the best care is a huge driver for Tonnard and

Discover Benelux  |  Flemish Cosmetic Surgery  |  Love the New You

Verpaele, but also the science behind cosmetic surgery is extremely important to them. They both completed a PhD in medicine for cosmetic surgery related topics. “No-one has ever done that before in Europe,” says Verpaele. Throughout their careers, the physicians discovered new treatments to advance the profession. In 2002, they discovered a new way to perform facelifts: the minimal-access cranial suspension, or MACS-lift. This uses a short, minimal incision to lift the skin vertically by suspending it from above. “The MACS-lift uses a shorter scar that is in front of the ear, instead of behind, which is much easier to hide,” elaborates Tonnard. “The MACSlift surgery is safer because less skin is raised. And the results of the MACS-lift are much more natural than with a traditional facelift. Sometimes you can see from a 20-metre distance that someone has had ‘something done’. With the MACS-lift, you cannot,” he smiles.

cells in a very easy way. We found clinical proof that these stem cells interact with the existing skin cells and regenerate them. The treatment truly rejuvenates the skin. We, and others, are using our findings as the basis for further research into the stem cells and their application.” They have detailed their discoveries and methods in a medical book, which was laureated with the prestigious Medical Book Award from the British Medical Association last September. “We have also written a layman’s version of the book which is published on our website, to explain the treatment to patients,”

adds Tonnard. They are both highlyregarded speakers at scientific conferences throughout the world. “With our procedures we want to help patients in any way we can. At the same time, we want to lift cosmetic surgery to a higher level,” smiles Verpaele. “It is what drives us, it is our passion,” concludes Tonnard. Web:

They also introduced the use of ’microfat’ and ’nano-fat’ as a natural filler. Verpaele: “Body fat contains stem cells. We have created a method, as well as the instrumentation, to extract those stem

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Always perfectly trimmed ‘hair’ TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: PRO HAIR CLINIC

More and more men who suffer from hair loss are considering hair transplantation. But what if you are not eligible for it, or ready to commit to a surgical procedure? Pro Hair Clinic has a solution: Micro Hair Pigmentation. “After this procedure, people will ask ‘why won’t you grow your hair?’ That is how real it looks,” says Bart Verbeeck, founder and CEO of Pro Hair Clinic. Micro Hair Pigmentation (MHP), also known as Tricopigmentation, is a nonsurgical procedure which uses the latest technology to create the effect of a full head of hair, by depositing nonpermanent pigments on the scalp. “It is an ideal choice for men with an advanced 64  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

hair loss pattern, but who are not ready or eligible for a hair transplant.” Some people do not want to undergo a surgical procedure. Others may not have enough hair left to transplant, in which case a transplant might not take. And some might be too young, because the hair growth or loss is not finished yet. “If you transplant hair too early, then the front side of the head might look good, but behind the transplanted parts, the hairline will start to recede,” explains Verbeeck. “You can imagine what that would look like.”

Creating a ‘shaven-look hairstyle’ MHP enhances the optical density of hair and creates virtual ‘hair stubble’ by depos-

Discover Benelux  |  Top Flemish Aesthetic Treatments  |  Love the New You

iting non-permanent pigments on the scalp, creating the look of a clean-shaven head. “We only use dark – brown or black – pigments, because of the contrast. If you use blond or grey pigments, the contrast between the pigments and the skin is too subtle. You will not be able to see the difference,” elaborates Verbeeck.

founder of the Tricopigmentation technique, and, in 2015, she was recognised by Scalpguru, a global organisation that promotes high-quality MHP. “The consultation can be done either here in our clinic, or via Skype, for our international clients. Together, we will look at the best solution and how to proceed,” says Verbeeck.

The MHP technique is still relatively unknown. “We started to perform MHP in 2012. Since then, we have become the market leader in the Benelux.” Before that, Pro Hair Clinic, located in Heist op den Berg, just outside Antwerp, was already renowned for its hair transplant procedures using the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) method. “I came across this technique after my own hair transplantation failed. It was used in Canada at the time, but not in Europe. So I brought it here and, in 2004, I opened Pro Hair Clinic.”

Once the procedure is planned, it will take two days of three to four hour sessions to pigment a full head. Verbeeck continues: “The beauty of it, is that after the treatment you do not have to take time to recuperate from the treatment. No special regiments or products are needed, you can go on as you did before. And the results are almost instant.”

Instant results Clients who will undergo a MHP treatment, will first have a consultation with practitioner Sabine Dillen, an internationally renowned expert in the field of MHP. Sabine was trained by Milena Lardi, the

blue. And nobody wants a blue glow on their head, right?” Without a repeat procedure, the pigments will fade slowly in about three to five years. “Men used to have three options when it came to hair loss. Accept it, wear a wig or have a transplantation. Thanks to MHP, there is now a fourth, non-invasive option to make it look like you still have all your hair. And nobody will see the difference,” Verbeeck smiles.


Repeat yearly To keep this trimmed hair look, the treatment has to be repeated about every year. Verbeeck: “After a year, the pigments will start to go lighter. That is because we use non-permanent pigments, rather than tattoo pigments. Tattoo pigments might last longer, but contain heavy metals. Not only are those bad for your health, but after about four to five years, they start to turn

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Discover Benelux  |  Top Flemish Aesthetic Treatments  |  Love The New You


Strong, shiny, healthy-looking hair means success, vitality and youthfulness – or at least that is what we like to think. The amount of time an average person spends on their hair is remarkable, especially since it is not something our bodies actually need. Dr. Feriduni, an internationally certified hair surgeon, knows it all too well. Having dedicated the last two decades solely to mastering the skill of hair restoration surgery, he is here to help anyone whose natural mane is slowly disappearing. Hair plays a crucial role in our appearance, so it is no surprise that we collectively like to spend our money on haircuts and styling products. For the same rea66  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

son, many of us are worried about that one day when we could start losing that precious hair. Though, due to fear of waning virility, it is particularly men who are dreading this idea, it can just as negatively affect women. Dr. Feriduni: “Hair loss is a widespread phenomenon of our society. Mostly for hereditary reasons, about one-third of all men between 25 and 40 suffer from a receding hairline, thinner hair and continuing hair loss as they get older. For women, hair loss is mostly characterised by thinning hair during the menopause – a condition that concentrates exclusively on the top of the head. And then there is trichotillomania, a disorder leading to an uncontrollable impulse to pull out one’s

Dr. Feriduni is an internationally certified hair surgeon.

Discover Benelux  |  Top Flemish Aesthetic Treatments  |  Love the New You

own hair, eventually leading to patchy hair loss. But that’s usually the result of wider, psychological factors.” Hair loss can be treated with medical therapy, which can help restore affected or miniaturised hair follicles and boost visible hair regrowth. However, the only way to stop or reduce hair loss is through medication, which can heavily influence the impact of any surgical intervention that might follow. Sometimes, the initial drug-based treatment works so well that patients no longer feel they need a hair transplant. But when they do, Dr. Feriduni is here for them. In his clinic, new patients are always invited for an initial consultation in which all available methods and alternatives are widely discussed and considered. The team cares deeply about the principles of harmony and aesthetics. “The face comprises different elements, and finding the right balance between those elements is essential for our sense of beauty,” Dr. Feriduni explains. “When meeting someone, the first thing we focus on is their head and face, and as such, a full hairline can have a significant impact on one’s aura and attractiveness.”

Other facial features that can help alter your appearance are long, thick eyelashes and full eyebrows, both of which Dr. Feriduni also performs transplantations for. But, he says, “only a very experienced hair surgeon, with both the right theoretical knowledge and practical experience, is able to perfectly put the principles of harmony and aesthetics into practice.” And that is where Dr. Feriduni’s background is so important. After studying medicine, he started his hair transplantation training in various international clinics, ultimately leading him to obtain the American Board Certification for hair restoration surgery in 2012. Thanks to his extensive experience and specialisation within the field, his clinic is now considered to be one of Europe’s leading hair clinics in both aesthetic and reconstructive hair transplant surgery. Having performed over 8,000 hair transplants, Dr. Feriduni is the one to go to for any issues relating to hair loss. Whether it is due to ageing, psychological conditions or an accident; people of all ages are welcome at his clinic based in Hasselt, Belgium. “My youngest patient to date was a

little girl who had a large burn scar on the top of her head. Luckily, we were able to help her by successfully performing a hair transplant – and now she’s a happy teenager with lovely hair,” he recalls. That said, most people coming to the clinic are men aged 20 to 40, typically for a follicular unit extraction (FUE). This is a technique especially used for extracting hairs from a donor area, which are then transplanted into other bald or thinning areas. This minimally invasive technique is incredibly popular, as it does not leave patients with any visible scars, heals within a week and, perhaps most importantly, is as good as painless. In addition to FUE, the clinic’s highly qualified team offers plenty of other hair transplantation methods, but the main goal will always be to create a natural looking hairline. “People should know that there is no need to live their whole life feeling bad about (potential) hair loss,” Dr. Feriduni concludes. “It can be treated with ease, and it will look good.” Web:

The hair transplantation clinic is located in Hasselt, Belgium.

The highly skilled team is devoted to giving their patients the best treatment.

Patient showing hair transplant results.

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Beauty treatments from the future TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS  |  PHOTOS: COSMEDICS

Some moments in life are made for you to shine. Weddings, first dates and anniversaries, to name a few. Nancy Anthone makes it her mission to give you the perfect happy and healthy glow when you need it the most. In her practice, Cosmedics, she lifts people’s self-esteem and potential with just a bit of help from her lasers. The importance of loving yourself can never be overestimated. Yet, on some days, it is easier to cherish your reflection compared to other days. Countless creams and beauty treatments promise salvation, but most of them fail to deliver. 68  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

Doctor Nancy Anthone, however, does have effective solutions. “Many face- and body-issues can be resolved with minimal medical interventions,” Anthone confirms. After working as a house doctor for many years, she immersed herself in cosmetic medicine, a field of expertise she now runs a busy practice in. “The difference between my job and that of a plastic surgeon is that I don’t practice surgery. Scalpels aren’t part of our basic equipment. Instead, we use laser therapy, fillers and other state-of-the-art procedures.” With these methods, she distinguishes her practice from the average beauty parlour

as well. Since a medical degree is required to perform them, most spas cannot offer these services.

Lots of lasers The pride of the practice is Anthone’s wide selection of lasers, with each of them performing a different treatment. “I have lasers for tattoo removal, for treating veins, for collagen stimulation, for removing hair, against acne… I have quite a lot of toys.” To get the most out of them, she intelligently combines them into balanced, all-round cures. “We divide our services into three categories: quick fixes, facials and more invasive treatments. Quick fixes

Discover Benelux  |  Top Flemish Aesthetic Treatments  |  Love the New You

are a great way to cleanse your skin. They only take about half an hour and are applicable on every kind of skin. The effects are immediately visible and stay for a couple of weeks.” A bit more intensive are the facials. They usually take up to one hour and pursue a certain goal. If you want to get rid of those little blackheads, produce more collagen or let your skin glow, this is the way to go. The most personalised services are the more intensive ones. These ones usually tackle bigger problems like acne or rosacea. “The effect of these treatments usually hits a little later but stays visible way longer, up to several months. To get the most out of it you should repeat these cures every so many months. Then it’s easier to maintain a healthy skin than to cleanse it all over again.” Ideally, Anthone likes to combine laser therapies with other treatments such as peeling, fillers, threads and PRP, since they lift each other to the next level. “During a peeling, for example, we take the top layer of your skin off, making your face more responsive. Afterwards, we use laser collagen stimulation and combine this with fillers to provide a beautiful and natural result without the risk of a plastic face.”

Investment in the future Of course, not all people who enter Cosmedics get their problems lasered away. Combating excessive sweating is one of their many specialities for which the lasers stay out of the picture. “Depending on the budget and the body

part you want to treat, there are multiple options to deal with this problem. The most known solution is injecting botox. You can do it almost everywhere on the body and it works very well. The effect stays for several months. The downside is that it can be rather painful. Especially injecting it in hands and feet it is very unpleasant.” To avoid this suffering, there are many alternatives. “With iontophoresis, you can stop sweating by putting your transpiring limbs into a lightly electrified bath of water. It works well and doesn’t hurt at all. The effect only maintains for several

weeks though. For arm pits, the revolutionary Miradry-method can solve your problem for good. It costs a bit more but is an investment.” Despite its similarities with beauty parlours, Anthone does not think she offers wellness. “We don’t do massages, for example. Yes, we do use nice creams and products, but always in combination with our machines and lasers.” Nonetheless, regular clients can save up points which they can exchange for a goodie bag, a VIP treatment and a free facial. For new customers they offer a ten per cent discount on the first facial.


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Discover Benelux  |  Best Flemish Wellness & Beauty Retreats  |  Relax, Renew, Revive


Relax, renew and revive Hurrying, running, stressing, … unfortunately activities like these occupy big parts of our day. Scheduling some zen-time every now and then is key in order to relax and to feel completely renewed. The many exquisite wellness centres in Flanders give you the perfect opportunity to focus on what really matters in life: you. TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS

Waer Waters.

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Discover Benelux  |  Best Flemish Wellness & Beauty  |  Relax, Renew, Revive

There is something magical about the front door of any spa-retreat. Though it often looks mundane, it always separates two completely different worlds. The ‘real’ one with stress, deadlines and obligations and the relaxing one where time does not seem to exist. In Flanders, you can find many of these hidden worlds. Just follow the scent of eucalyptus and essential oils Don your wellness outfit of choice and let the guaranteed crowd-pleasers such as swimming pools, bubble baths, saunas and Turkish baths keep you occupied for hours. Add some refined snacks and health foods to the mix, and you have a complete experience for body and soul. Not completely relaxed yet? A full-body massage or beauty treatment will most certainly take away those final tensions you are holding on to.

Nouv’eau. Photo: Hilde Verbeke

Take a dip in the relaxing baths of Waer Water, on page 72. Every corner of this massive complex offers you another relaxing sensation. Whether it is sweating your stress away in one of the many saunas or cooling yourself down in the ice fountain. For a unique stay at Nooz, you will have to travel to page 74. These personalised wellness and luxury concepts in the countryside and in the city promise you a romantic, relaxing getaway in an intimate environment. The Thermae on page 76 let you relax in a historic context. Thermae Boetfort offers you a royal treatment in a historic castle, Thermae Grimbergen gives you some green wellness in the shadow of the marvellous abbey, and the Thermae Sports Merchtem is perfect for those who want to break a sweat. Up for making a splash in your own back yard? Nouv’eau brings the wellness-experience to your home. On page 78, the manufacturer of stainless steel swimming pools shows you what real, personal luxury looks like. The idea that private pools can be affordable for almost everyone is proven by Bpools on page 80. They cut out the expensive extras and build sustainable pools at socially acceptable prices, in almost any garden setting.


Issue 59  |  November 2018  |  71

Discover Benelux  |  Best Flemish Wellness & Beauty Retreats  |  Relax, Renew, Revive

One beautiful resort with infinite sensations TEXT: KARIN VENEMA  |  PHOTOS: WAER WATERS

Wandering through the 6,000square-metre grounds of wellness resort Waer Waters, there is much to discover. In every nook and cranny, there is another experience waiting, all designed to accommodate a healthy mind in a healthy body. The site offers a huge range of sensations through hydrotherapy, exercise, revitalisation and nutrition: every day of the year. “It’s a holiday crammed into a day,” says Jonas Van Poucke, marketing manager at Waer Waters. “There is so much on offer: steam baths, saunas, plunge pools, swimming ponds, experience showers, an ice fountain, Turkish baths and much, 72  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

much more.” In the sports club, guests can exercise on the fitness equipment or join one of the 51 group lessons, whilst the spa offers massages and other beauty treatments. “To top it off, we have three different food concepts that offer a matching culinary experience. Our guests always leave the resort feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.”

with or without swimwear. Despite being located near Brussels, the resort is set in a tranquil, green environment that allows you to enjoy a gorgeous panoramic view from the outdoor saunas and meadows.

Different zones for a comfortable atmosphere

“Some members pop in before work, others turn up in the evening, for fitness followed by a pampering session, after which they relax in a deckchair in one of the meadows to enjoy the fresh air whilst watching the sunset.”

The wellness area has two separated zones, allowing both clothed and nude guests to relax in their preferred manner. It provides many choices: you can spend your time inside or outside, hot or cold,

Waer Waters sets itself apart with its sheer range of activities and experiences that are on offer. “If you want to experience every facility we have, we recommend coming

Discover Benelux  |  Best Flemish Wellness & Beauty Retreats  |  Relax, Renew, Revive

two whole days,” says Van Poucke. “To maintain a tranquil atmosphere, we make sure we only allow a limited amount of guests in our resort.”

Aufguss sessions that satisfy all senses At Waer Waters, there are hourly Aufguss pouring sessions, both in the nude and the clothed zone of the spa. Aufguss pourings stem from a Finnish tradition where water is mixed with essential oils and poured on the hot stones by a socalled ‘aufguss meister’. This releases marvellous scents and the water vapour fills the room. The aufguss meister uses a billowing towel to disrupt the isolating air layer around the guests. “Our Aufguss shows are one of our main attractions,” says Van Poucke. “The music, lightning and essential oils get fine-tuned to create a specific, special

experience. This can be a deep relaxation session, a Banja session, an Aromatherapy session or other themed sessions, or they can be highly engaging. Some of our aufguss meisters operate on a high level. Participating in their shows is an amazing experience, it’s a proper form of art. I call it a tranquil spectacle.”

Fitness at its finest Regular and sufficient exercise is very important for staying healthy; it energises the mind as well as the body. At Waer Waters, they know how great you can feel after a good workout. The 1,000-square-metre fitness and sports club has everything for an enjoyable exercise experience. It is possible to do guided fitness or work out with a personal trainer, or join one of the group lessons that are on offer during the week. Losing weight, getting fit or ready for skiing or beach holidays; what-

ever your aim is, Waer Waters offers expert advice and guidance.

Wellness food for a healthy body Once robed, visitors to the thermal baths can enjoy a drink and a bite to eat in one of the resort’s three different food concepts. Whether you fancy tapas, pasta, a la carte or want to dip into the food bar buffet, it is all made with fresh ingredients of the best quality. Visiting Waer Waters is a relaxing, revitalising and nutritional treat. Waer Waters is already a big resort, but in early 2019, it is expected to double its size to 12,000 square metres, with more sports and wellness facilities and even a hotel. It will certainly be interesting to discover all the whole new sensations that will be hidden there. Web:

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Discover Benelux  |  Best Flemish Wellness & Beauty Retreats  |  Relax, Renew, Revive

NOOZ duo massages are entirely synchronised.

The wellness concept you have never seen before TEXT: EVA MENGER  |  PHOTOS: NOOZ.BE

To ‘nooz’ means to focus. On yourself, on the experience and, ultimately, on each other. Where taking a loved one out to dinner is a thoughtful gesture, sitting in a restaurant often leads to interruptions – from the waiter topping up your glass of wine to the loud conversations of those around you. Not a bad thing per se, but it can get in the way of experiencing 100 per cent quality time, which is exactly what NOOZ, Belgium’s most innovative wellness centre, aims to change. “Staying in a hotel comes with restrictions,” NOOZ founder Wim Vanacker tells us. “Most hotels offer breakfast until about ten in the morning, which means you might have to get up earlier than you’d like to.” In addition, the often standard74  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

ised receptions and neutral rooms make the experience very anonymous. Both of these examples illustrate Vanacker’s motive for shaping a wellness concept that puts quality time first. At NOOZ, you will receive a personalised welcome and a room that is completely tailored to your personal preferences – including your favourite colours, drinks and music.

One-hundred per cent quality time.

At NOOZ, it is all about sharing experiences, enabling you to give the other person your full attention. You and your companion – which can be anyone from your mother to a colleague – will get the exact same experience at the exact same time. Massages are synchronised so much that masseuses switch sides halfway through – all to make sure you have both been

To nooz or not to nooz …

Discover Benelux  |  Best Flemish Wellness & Beauty Retreats  |  Relax, Renew, Revive

treated by the same person and thus share an identical experience. Vanacker compares it to watching a film. “If you don’t watch it together, it’s not really an experience you can share.” By definition, quality time means to give someone your undivided attention, and in taking away all external stimulation (watching the time, thinking about what you want, observing other people), that is exactly what ‘noozing’ entails. It is available for everyone and can be tailored to anyone’s needs, from those looking for a budget get-away, to people wanting to fully indulge in luxury. NOOZ offers various locations and experiences, including synchronised duo massages, private dining, ‘water&heat’ experiences and a private cinema. Their extraordinary sleeping arrangements run from an enormous, luxury forest to a private island lodge and a private fisherman’s cottage by the sea. Their latest addition is Sky Nooz, a penthouse on the 21st floor overlooking Antwerp. This little island of luxury is the most exclusive Nooz experience to date and has been created with privacy in mind. “We wanted to offer something to international business travellers,” Vanacker explains. “People coming to

Antwerp for business won’t be able to actively seek out quality time, while it’s probably just what they need.” Staying at Sky Nooz will allow professionals to fully focus on their jobs during the day, and come back to a place where they can undisturbedly relax at night.

house into an exotic spa. Or what about a private cinema? The HD projector and high-end speakers will allow you to watch your favourite film from anywhere you like, whether that’s the hammam, sauna, Jacuzzi, your bed or the designated film room.

One-hundred per cent privacy is what Sky Nooz is there to offer. The 270degree view of Antwerp is exclusively available to you and the two to six guests you choose to invite, so there will not be any unfamiliar faces around. What is more, your private butler (who you will not bump into) will ensure that you and your guests get the most out of the experience without having to even think about it. Sky Nooz is ideal for business meetings as the penthouse offers a suite as well as a meeting room. Let your clients come to you and turn your important meetings into comfortable – and thus much more productive – sessions. It is what you were there for after all.

Vanacker: “Where our other Nooz treatments are all about the experience itself, Sky Nooz is a tool for people to offer their guests the ultimate VIP treatment. It’s for professionals who want to get the most out of their business trips, or for people looking to celebrate a very special occasion, far away from reality. Either way, I believe it’s an experience that everyone should have at least once in their lives.”

Sky Nooz is the only one of its kind in Europe, and the range of unique, allinclusive experiences that it offers is overwhelming, to say the least. Fancy a SkyHammam? No problem – Nooz will effortlessly transform your modern pent-

It starts with 100 per cent quality time, and the rest is up to you. Whether you want to focus on private dining, listening to your favourite music or treating your body to a luxurious massage, sauna or Jacuzzi: at Sky Nooz’s 70-metre-high penthouse it is all within hand reach, so that you can focus on bonding with your loved ones.


The magnificent view from the SkyNooz penthouse.

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Discover Benelux  |  Best Flemish Wellness & Beauty Retreats  |  Relax, Renew, Revive


A healthy mind in a healthy body is something we all aspire to. Some days are easier to keep this in mind than others. The Thermae Spa Centres provide the perfect combination to uphold a balanced life, and so getting pampered with a massage, receiving facial treatment and achieving total relaxation have never been so easy. has two different wellness centres in Belgium which provide unique spa facilities and with each site having its own speciality. Thermae Grimbergen is truly a piece of heaven on earth. With over 20 years of experience and constant innovation, it always provides the very latest spa experience without ever losing authenticity. The early-20th-century mansion makes anyone’s day of relaxation a truly unique experience, especially with Thermae Grimbergen’s latest addition; a salt room for Halotherapy. The 400-year-old castle domain of Thermae Boetfort at Melsbroek is nothing short of spectacular. The various saunas, 76  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

swimming pools, whirlpools and relaxation baths all make it one of Belgium’s most beautiful sites. Thermae Boetfort’s latest innovation is the brand-new sauna made out of Kelo-wood. At both Thermae Grimbergen and Thermae Boetfort you can extend the experience by staying at the hotel. “Each month, we provide special treatments. In November, Thermae Grimbergen and Thermae Boetfort offer special rice rituals, which will ready your skin for the upcoming winter. Thermae. com also provides a line of skin care products, exclusively developed by us. The unique line provides something for every skin type and beauty routine, and is very affordable.” If you rather clear your head with physical exercise, then you must visit their allin health club. Themae Sports Merchtem is a must-visit for sports enthusiasts. A complete and diverse range of classes, the latest equipment and the professional guidance of coaches, all guarantee a

qualitative training experience. A recent addition to this facility is the serene and peaceful Zen Studio, where yoga and hot yoga classes are available. “Anyone who wants to reinvigorate their business meetings, teambuilding or sporting days, has come to the right place,” says “We recommend a visit to the thermal baths after meetings. It is an excellent opportunity to relax after work and to strengthen the team spirit. At Thermae Sports Merchtem there are many possibilities for teambuilding and sport events.” For those who prefer a culinary experience after the business meeting or teambuilding event, the restaurants and bars provide an excellent quality menu. Exercise and relaxation has been provided to decrease stress and improve your immune system: at Thermae you can get both at once. Web:

Your Shortcut to Benelux

S na cks

Me al s


Pap ers



Discover Benelux  |  Best Flemish Wellness & Beauty Products  |  Relax, Renew, Revive

Carefree swimming in bespoke stainless steel TEXT: KARIN VENEMA  |  PHOTOS: HILDE VERBEKE

Nouv’eau does not need a showroom. The stainless steel pool maker has numerous satisfied customers who happily show off their stunning, custommade swimming pools to prospective clients. A look into Nouv’eau’s portfolio shows their dedication to precision and craftsmanship and the beautiful look of stainless steel swimming pools. Aside from being made from durable material, a stainless steel swimming pool has many benefits over classic constructions. “The colour of the water is very natural as the material reflects the light and the envi78  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

ronment. The water colour is a mix of blue, grey and green, depending on the weather and the surroundings of the pool. The appearance is timeless and it fits in both modern and classic settings, depending on the finishing,” says Philippe D’hont, manager at Nouv’eau. The smooth, stainless steel surface stops dirt and grime from sticking to the sides. Thanks to the cleaning robot included, there is hardly any maintenance required. Moreover, the material does not become porous under the influence of sunlight and other weather conditions. In fact,

tests have shown that stainless steel swimming pools can last over 75 years. On the other hand, traditional pools usually need to be renovated or replaced after a decade or two.

Discover Benelux  |  Best Flemish Wellness & Beauty Products  |  Relax, Renew, Revive

Stainless steel swimming pools are extremely energy-efficient too. Sun rays are reflected by the stainless steel bottom and sides, heating the water in a natural way. To capture this warmth, Nouv’eau’s pools are completely insulated with sheets of four-centimetre-thick extruded polystyrene foam and a four-centimetre-thick layer of sprayed polyurethane. To further reduce heat loss, the water surface is covered with a solar roller shutter when the pool is not being used.

High quality from start to finish When a potential client contacts Nouv’eau, they will always visit them at home to discuss their wishes and view the logistic situation. D’hont continues: “Our pools consist of a supporting structure of a stainless steel frame in which two-millimetre-thick stainless steel sheets are manually welded together. The welding is done in a specialised welding workshop with the so-called TIG-technique. When the location is difficult to reach or the pool has excessive dimensions, it’s welded on site.” The client can look through Nouv’eau’s portfolio of completed projects and decide which pools they would like to view in person. The company acts as an intermediate but does not come to the viewings unless explicitly asked. “This way, our po-

tential clients get a proper look and hear the real story about their experience with our products and service,” says D’hont. “We aim for 100 per cent satisfied customers and completely trust in our quality and service.” Nouv’eau’s stainless steel swimming pools are custom-made to the highest standards. The client can choose different options for getting in and out of the pool: from corner steps, to a slope that can also be used as a bench or for paddling. The brushed stainless steel plates can be personalised with a design, sketch or logo. There are endless possibilities to create a personalised stainless steel swimming pool that suits the client’s wishes.

Meticulous installation with an eye for detail For outdoor pools, the installation starts with the excavation of the pit, after which a 15-centimetre-thick, level foundation is cast of reinforced concrete. After the pipes are connected, 50 centimetres of stabilised sand is supplied around the pool for extra reinforcement. Once the pool is ready, the finishing can start. Clients can select wood or stone for the curbs and a terrace area. If desired, Nouv’eau can offer a complete garden concept as it collaborates with specialised garden designers.

To enjoy the pool and garden comfortably, Nouv’eau can also construct a pool house along with additional elements such as a bar, shower, toilet, dressing room, sauna, space for a whirlpool and more. Nouv’eau offers a variety of styles: from traditional oak for a rustic atmosphere, to the sleek, minimalist designs for the more contemporary environment.

Considerate aftercare After the pool is installed and ready to use, Nouv’eau will make sure the client can fully focus on their swimming experience. Their service is fast, accurate and complete. The clients can also opt for a service contract to prepare the swimming pool for summer or winter. After a summer of swimming, the pool needs frost protection and covering. The service unburdens the client, allowing them to enjoy a carefree swimming experience. D’hont admits that regrettably, he does not have his own stainless swimming pool at home. “Not yet,” he smiles. “But luckily, my parents have one and some of the clients have become friends, so I still get to see our beautiful swimming pools being enjoyed in real life.” Web:

Photo: studioPSG

Issue 59  |  November 2018  |  79

A piece of paradise in your own back yard TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: BPOOLS

For many holidaymakers, having a swimming pool at the hotel is the ultimate paradise. So what if you could have your own swimming pool in your back yard? Bpools Swimming Pools wants to make that a reality. “Everybody deserves to have their own paradise at home,” says Bas Hendriks, owner of Bpools, who still personally works on every project and at every on-site installation. A swimming pool is still a luxury item, but it only used to be attainable for the lucky few. “I realised that myself, when I was thinking about putting in a pool in my own back yard about eight years ago,” explains Hendriks. They all seemed very expensive, so Hendriks looked into the actual costs and found a way to lower the prices without compromising on 80  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

quality. This led him to starting his own swimming pool company, Bpools. “I began looking at swimming pools from an economical point of view, rather than just from the aesthetic side of it. There are a lot of expensive options, but the question is: do you need them all?” It is a question that Hendriks and his team ask all their clients. “People contact us mostly via Facebook. When they do, the first thing I ask is: ‘What do you know about swimming pools?’ Some have done research, but others have not. So we first talk a lot about what they want, how the pool will fit in their garden and so on.” There are a lot of misconceptions about swimming pools, especially about the maintenance. Hendriks continues: “That

is a fear from the past that keeps lingering on; that maintaining a pool is a lot of work and comes with a lot of extra costs. That is not the case anymore. The regulating systems do almost all the work now – they check the pH-levels, salt levels and other important parameters – and you can let a robot clean the pool for you. Today, all you have to do is take off the pool cover, turn the lights on and go for a swim. The rest is automated.” Bpools builds swimming pools mostly throughout the Benelux and France. They make rectangular swimming pools from concrete with an average size of ten by four metres. The walls of the pools are 30 centimetres wide, so the pool will last ‘several lifetimes’, as Hendriks puts it. “No matter where you live in the world, or on what soil your house is built, our pools

Discover Benelux  |  Best Flemish Wellness & Beauty Products  |  Relax, Renew, Revive

can be installed in any type of ground, just as long as our crane can reach the garden to dig the hole needed.” The best time to build is in autumn or spring. The groundwater levels are low and most people do not use their garden as actively as in the summer. “Installing a pool takes up to four weeks, and afterwards, you probably have to plant new plants or grass.” The first metre of the pool is usually very shallow, about 25 centimetres below the waterline, so that people can lounge at the edge of the pool. “People do not want to swim continuously, they also want to relax in a pool and be able to stand or

lie down, especially children. The wet lounge, as it is called, is perfect for this,” explains Hendriks. Hidden underneath the wet lounge is the system for the rolling shutter cover. “The cover makes the pool safer in the dark. It will not keep your clothes dry when you fall into the pool, but you have a better chance of getting out of the pool. Besides that, the cover helps to maintain the water temperature. It keeps about 80 per cent of the heat inside.” A new trend is solar rolling shutters, which generate heat from the sun. It makes the water temperature rise between four to eight degrees Celsius. “It extends the swimming season from March to

October. During the winter months, the pool goes into ‘hibernation mode’, so you do not have to worry about high energy costs.” A swimming pool is still a large investment, so Hendriks wants to make sure that clients get honest advice before making this important decision. “We want to make swimming pools as affordable as possible. Because everybody deserves a piece of paradise in their own back yard.”

Web: Facebook: bpoolshasselt

Issue 59  |  November 2018  |  81

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

Clog Viktor and Rolf.


Dutch Industry and Innovation Though the Netherlands is as flat as its well-known pancakes, it sure knows how to reach the top. Its water drenched soil is very fertile for generating original ideas and makes a wide range of businesses bloom. Even more than cheese, tulips or clogs, Holland’s main export product nowadays is its innovators. TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS  |  PHOTOS: NBTC

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

Sayuri Cosmetics.

Hout is Prachtig.

With 415 Olympic medals, four Eurovisiontrophies and two Miss World titles, the Dutch are born champions. In a multitude of fields and sectors, the Netherlands is the country to look up to. Desiderius Erasmus, the Heineken-family and – for younger readers – Martin Garrix, are just a small selection of the many who are changing the world with their feet stood firmly on Dutch soil. The country’s location in the heart of Europe has been a huge advantage for Dutch talent. Having eyes and ears in all corners of the continent allows Dutch people to combine the best of different worlds and be ahead of their time: all of this without forsaking their iconic Dutch authenticity. Big export-markets such as London, Paris and Berlin are just a stone’s throw away, looking excitedly to what the lowlands have to offer.


In the world of creams and cosmetics, the three founders of Sayuri Cosmetics are leading ladies in their own right. On page 84, you will discover how their ‘intelligent products’ can bring out the best in you and keep your skin radiant and healthy. Looking for a nice present for children from nought to 99 years old? Tim Zeeman talks passionately about the craftsmanship and creativity he invests in his adorable wooden lamps on page 86. These crafty, handmade designs are all pieces of art in their own right.

Van Kaam.

On page 86, you will get to know Baruti’s Kaleidoscope-perfumes. This independent line of perfumes is designed by a former neuroscientist from Amsterdam. By throwing gender-labelling overboard, he creates individual fragrances for unique people. At the end of our Made in the Netherlands special, we feature the synthetic solution business Van Kaam. With polyethylene pipes as their material of choice, they sculpt impressive and sustainable constructions. Page 88 gives us a glance at the pipe networks they can create deep underground, as well as their enormous ‘dustbin’ in the Rotterdam Harbour.

Issue 59  |  November 2018  |  83

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, 84  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

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 Sayuri 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.


You are unique

so is your Auping mattress

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

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

The luminous side of wood Hout is Prachtig – wood is beautiful! That is the credo under which Tim Zeeman tries to make the world a better place, one plank at a time. Next to his business in timber furniture, he runs a webshop brimming with joyful wooden objects for the youngsters, made piece-by-piece with his own two hands. Zeeman’s love for wood goes way back. The Dutch carpenter is an expert in constructing timber furniture, but his heart went out to his side-business: making wooden objects that spark children’s imagination. Most popular in his webshop, are the wooden lamps which he creates in a wide range of adorable shapes. His personal favourites are the giraffe and the typical Amsterdam-houses. “Most of my lamps are inspired by what I see in daily life or in the books of my children. When I spot something, I start by creating a prototype to see what it looks like. I only make multiple copies of the best designs to sell them on the website.” Even so, every piece is one-of-a-kind. Zeeman crafts all lamps himself, by hand, so


no two of them are exactly alike. If you want to personalise them even more, you can let him add an inscription in the wood: a name or a message, for example. Whatever it takes to make it the perfect, personal souvenir or gift. Many parents, grandparents and godparents adore the items by Hout is Prachtig. Yet, the biggest fans live inside Zeeman’s own house. “My daughters worship these lamps. Their bedroom is starting to look more and more like a showroom.”


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 86  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018


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.

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:

Spyros Drosopoulos.

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

Van Kaam offers synthetic solutions to real-life challenges TEXT: EVA MENGER  |  PHOTOS: VAN KAAM

From ice rinks to tiny houses made out of drain pipes: in addition to being the Netherlands’ top resource for hard PE (polyethylene) plastics, Van Kaam is known to be rather ingenious. Specialising in synthetic pipes, they offer just about everything needed for building an underground network – and if there is anything they cannot get their hands on, they will happily produce it themselves. “When my father started this company back in the early 1990s, there wasn’t very much competition,” Bastiaan van Kaam tells us. Underground pipe networks used to be predominantly made out of concrete, which only lasts up to about 30 years. On the other hand, hard PE plastics are much more durable and can last up to 120 years. All pipes, fittings and attachments offered by Van Kaam are either PP (polypropylene) or HDPE (high-density polyethylene), so their clients will never have to worry about the unexpected release of chlorine, which can occur when using PVC. 88  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

They excel at creating tailor-made solutions, too. “We’ve worked on plenty of exciting projects over the years,” Van Kaam says. “From creating the entire cooling system at Thialf, one of the Netherlands’ largest, below-sea-level ice arenas, to developing solutions for a cleaner, safer and more sustainable environment with engineering company Tauw.” The latter is a particularly impressive project: the hard plastics supplied by Van Kaam have allowed Tauw to build an installation that prevents irresponsibly disposed of, singleuse plastics from entering the sea. The so-called ‘dirt trap’ is placed in the Lekhaven port of Rotterdam, where it catches plastic debris right where it enters the water. It is an innovative and effective solution to a very timely problem, and to prove its success, the local authorities of Friesland have also requested the development of a similar solution. It is these kinds of projects which make Van Kaam stand out. “We like to take on a challenge every now and then,” Van Kaam

confirms, “and in doing so, we’ll always support our clients with new ideas.” Another thing worth mentioning is that they offer extremely fast delivery. All national orders are delivered within 24 hours, and throughout Europe, they will get it to you in no less than 48 hours. “Now that is what we call service,” Van Kaam concludes.

TOP LEFT: The ‘Shoreliner’ is catching plastic in the Lekhaven, Rotterdam (in collaboration with Tauw). Photo: Bastiaan van Kaam. TOP RIGHT: A big, 3,000 millimetre pipe for project Arveon. Photo: Bastiaan van Kaam. BOTTOM RIGHT: Tiny house workshop ‘visit the sewers’ for the World Port Days. Photo: Marieska Visser. BOTTOM: On location: ice rink construction in Thialf. Photo: Bastiaan van Kaam.





Understanding Americans, understanding culture



I’ve just got back from an intense experience, observing orangutans and other wildlife in the Bornean rainforest.

rightness of their way, perhaps justified, in their view, by America’s huge political and economic strength.

our own temporary culture? These are the standard questions to ask whenever we work and live internationally.

The trip was organised by a specialist American travel company and, the rest of the group, that we two Europeans joined, were all American too, as was the group leader, so I had plenty of opportunity to learn about them, as well as about the primates. I had read that both the apes and the Americans were under threat, although, in their different ways, neither seems to be aware of this. The orangutans sometimes look wistful, as if aware of the devastating loss of their habitat, but the Americans never did.

I soon understood the pertinence of Shaw’s quip that America and Britain are two nations divided by a common language: I often had to ask for translations. Sometimes we didn’t understand what they were talking about because they shared a knowledge of places and people which meant nothing to us. Communication is about clarity of context as much as of language.

I’m clear about one thing. The travel company and the leader delivered an incredible set of experiences to its customers with commitment, professionalism and dedication to the environmental cause. My admiration for these Americans has been boosted as a result.

My partner and I had no experience of holidaying with strangers. Part of the success of the trip came from all the group members using their social skills to make it go well. They were nice people. And yet I was aware of something hard to define but maybe what a lot of people also see in us Brits – not arrogance, nor a sense of superiority, but an implicit sense of the

They were hyper-punctual. They used humour to build relationships. They always expected impeccable service and signalled disapproval of anything below par with a momentary reserve. The older ones met the physical demands of the programme with tenacity. So I learnt something about Americans, or did I? Can I legitimately make any generalisations about 320 million Americans from my experience of nine of them, or can I only make statements about this particular group and observe how we negotiated

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

Issue 59  |  November 2018  |  89

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Calendar


TEDxAmsterdam 29 November, Amsterdam, The Netherlands With ‘The Big X’ as its theme, TEDxAmsterdam prepares itself for a spectacular anniversary-edition. Not one with endless archive-footage, but an event focussed on the exciting challenges of tomorrow. A multitude of celebrated and inspiring speakers guide you through the near future with progressiveness as their manual. To top it off, the audience itself will be challenged to channel their revolutionary minds during an enormous brainstorm-session. Photo: © Bas Uterwijk

ThinkDigital 20 November, Brussels, Belgium The world is digitalising and, as an entrepreneur, you cannot fall behind. Luckily, the ThinkDigital Summit provides you with an annual update on where the virtual train is headed and how to catch it. With 25 policy makers, business leaders and academics present, they will explain and debate relevant topics such as the ethical boundaries of artificial intelligence and the role the digital industry can play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

IAPP Europe Data Protection Congress 28-29 November, Brussels, Belgium How has Europe changed, half a year into the General Data Protection Regulation? That question is the main topic of this year’s Europe Data Protection Congress. About 1,000 privacy professionals gather in Brussels to shine their light on the impact of the legislation on the business world, and how they are coping with it. To guard the balance between theory and a hands-on approach, the congress is preceded by two days of certification training and another with workshops. 90  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

European Women in Technology 28-29 November, Amsterdam, The Netherlands While the possibilities of today’s technology are next to limitless, there seems to be a struggle to break a particular glass ceiling. Statistics show that the techsector is overwhelmingly male, which could mean that talented young women may struggle to build a career. This congress takes a female approach to the industry by putting top women from multinationals like IBM and HP in the limelight.

Photo: Think Digital

Gala Marketers 29 November, Luxembourg, Luxembourg One day a year, the Luxembourg marketing sector gathers to pat each other (and themselves) on the back while granting awards to the best in the business. The ceremony is the perfect opportunity to network, fraternise and explore the work of your marketing colleagues. For its tenth anniversary, the organisers reserve a moment to take the audience on a trip through a decade of exquisite Luxembourgian branding.

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.

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

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Atrium Business Park

Atrium Business Park is located in Bertrange, close to Luxembourg City.

Workspaces that make a difference TEXT: SILKE HENKELE  |  PHOTOS: DEKA IMMOBILIEN GMBH

The workspace in Atrium Business Park in Bertrange, approximately three kilometres west of the centre of Luxembourg City, has exactly what modern businesses need. Sporting a singular blend of services and structures that make socialising, working, networking and keeping a healthy work-life balance easier, these workspaces are an obvious choice when it comes to facing the everyday challenges of modern work life.

says Jack Schulte from Deka Immobilien GmbH, the owner of Atrium Business Park. “So, by introducing a number of changes – such as, for example, new signage and digital display boards in each entrance hall, as well as a new landscaping project – we are creating a relaxed, worker-friendly environment that considerably facilitates everyday life. At the request of our tenants, we are also looking into providing more health/sports activities on-site.”

“When we took over the Atrium Business Park in 2016, one of our foremost goals was to improve the feel-good, inspiring and welcoming atmosphere of the facility,”

Offices for individual needs

92  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

Located within comfortable reach of the motorways leading into Belgium, France and Germany, the Atrium Business Park

is easily accessible. By offering the tenants a secure, perfectly adaptable work environment, Atrium Business Park creates a unique ambiance for businesses that focus on inspiring work as well as on the perfect work-life-balance of their employees. “Atrium Business Park matches the requirements of modern people and enterprises,” elaborates Schulte. “For one, our buildings are secured by modern, high-end security systems and ultra modern signage to provide up-to-date guidance.” To cater to the needs of almost any company seeking quality business space, the office space offers great versatility. What

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Atrium Business Park

is more, Regus Business Centres have recently opened a new centre in Atrium Business Park, where they offer flexible offices and designated rooms for rent, for example, for one-off events such as conferences or important business meetings. “Adding to this, the number and types of services simplify the everyday life of the tenants, and further add to the generally positive feeling of our premises,” Schulte says.

More than just a workplace While the adaptable work space at Atrium Business Park is already a big plus, its services are equally important. Adding to its inspiring, modern surroundings, the infrastructure of Atrium Business Park leaves nothing more to be wished for. As Schulte explains: “We are very much aware of the fact that one of the most challenging tasks

of our time is to keep a healthy work-life balance by bringing a variety of demands under one roof. Atrium Business Park is an answer to this challenge. Our services tremendously simplify the lives of the tenants. It starts with a remarkably high number of parking spaces, which is quite unusual for the City of Luxembourg, where parking space is a big issue. The concierge service sees to the everyday needs of the tenants. With three restaurants on site, and food trucks across the street, our tenants never need to go far to have a quick, informal bite with their co-workers or a classy lunch with their business partners.” On top of that, Atrium Business Park also sports a Montessori child daycare centre which offers spaces for up to 60 toddlers between the ages of two months to four years. With opening times on weekdays from seven in the morning to eight in the

More space for ideas at Excio.

Combining wellbeing and comfort.

evening, the centre is perfectly adaptable to the sometimes challenging business hours of a parent.

A perfect location In Atrium Business Park, the owners have conceived an object that fits the requirements of modern businesses and their people. Renowned enterprises like Citi, AG2R La Mondiale, Bâloise, Ricoh, JLL, Regus and Kneip are already resident at Atrium Business Park, and like-minded companies will soon follow. Atrium Business Park is proud to call itself Luxembourg’s best choice for a healthy and productive work-life balance that makes employees feel valued and their work appreciated. Web:

Office space at Vitrum.

More of the space you need.

Issue 59  |  November 2018  |  93

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Ferronnerie Demoulin


The passion David Demoulin harbours for his trade instantly shines through. He is the founder of Ferronnerie Demoulin, an ironworks studio in Luxembourg province. Combining production work with artistic projects, his studio allows him to push his skills to the limit and create unique iron sculptures. “I absolutely adore creating works of art out of iron,” he explains. Twelve years ago, he opened his ‘ferronnerie’ inside his grandfather’s old workshop. The decision was fuelled by a visit to Paris, where he found himself staring up in awe at the city’s wrought-iron balconies. “I decided to just go for it and launch myself into this new adventure,” he explains. “I spent 13 years working in a factory, but producing artistic ironworks is where my heart lies.” Since then, Demoulin’s studio has grown significantly and now measures 750-square-metres. He has five employees who work on a variety of projects: notably, balconies and staircases. However, it is sculpture work that holds a special place in Demoulin’s heart. When he feels inspired, Demoulin will simply go 94  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

ahead and build the artwork he has in mind. So far, his approach has paid off, and all his works have gotten snapped up, including a life-size bear and a giant wild boar. “If I had waited for someone to order a bear, it never would have happened, so I took a risk. Same with the boar, which ended up in France. It’s the only way to get my name out there. My method is to create first and then sell; I’m not Van Gogh,” he laughs.

Luxembourg’s hunting territory and so that gives me my inspiration and represents the place where I live,” Demoulin says. Situated in Tellin, south-east Belgium, Ferronnerie Demoulin offers a wide range of products for any budget for both commercial and private buildings.

With no professional training, Demoulin is totally self-taught. Therefore, he hopes to continuously develop his skills and is always open to ideas and commissions. “I can turn my hand to anything, and the bear I made was my way of demonstrating that.” Demoulin declares that if he could live by his art alone, he would be among the happiest of men. Stairs, terraces, balconies and balustrades are what keep things ticking over for now, but who knows what the future holds? Currently, he has his hands full creating a sculpture out of corten (weathered) steel, of a hunter recharging his gun. “I live in the heart of


Atelier de Ferronnerie, Sculture, Architecture, Atelier de Ferronnerie, Ferronnerie Sculture, Architecture, Ferronnerie Réalisation d’escaliers, de constructions métalliques, Réalisation d’escaliers, terrasses, demétalliques, garde-corps, dede constructions etc... de terrasses, de garde-corps, etc...

MONT DU CARILLON 43, B-6927 TELLIN • TÉL : 084/45 67 60 • GSM : 0476/61 83 97 Email : • MONT DU CARILLON 43, B-6927 TELLIN • TÉL : 084/45 67 60 • GSM : 0476/61 83 97

Discover Benelux  |  Culinary Profile of the Month  |  Pâtisserie Hoffmann

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

Luxembourgers enjoy the finer things in life. Master pastry chef and entrepreneur Jean-Marie Hoffmann has therefore built a very special business that aims to provide the finest. In his youth, Jean-Marie Hoffmann dreamed for a time of becoming a surgeon, but decided that such a life was not for him. Given the meticulous attention to detail demonstrated in his creations, his growing business empire, and his tireless drive to improve both, it is very possible he would have made a mighty medic. The path the now 51-year-old Hoffmann chose was to become a great pastry chef, learning his craft with some prestigious names before deciding that it was time to 96  |  Issue 59  |  November 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 quality ingredi-

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

Discover Benelux  |  Culinary Profile of the Month  |  Pâtisserie Hoffmann

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

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

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

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

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

CEO Jean-Marie Hoffmann.

Issue 59  |  November 2018  |  97


Out & About November is the perfect time to cocoon with a blanket and a Belgian hot chocolate. Yet, defying the bitter cold might be worth its while if you love art, folklore or glühwein. Enjoy loud music and performance at Night of the Proms or partake in somber serenity at the armistice memorial. Here are all the best reasons to don your coat and get out of the house. TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS

John Miles. Photo: © Freya Goossens

98  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar


Brussels Museum Nocturnes Until 6 December, Brussels, Belgium Autumn nights in Brussels are always immersed in culture. Every Thursday evening, you are invited into some of the best museums the city has to offer. Spread out over three months, 76 cultural temples open their doors after twilight to let ‘culturos’ enjoy their collections by a moonlight shadow.

Leonardo da Vinci Until 6 January, Haarlem, The Netherlands Though he passed away 500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci is now somewhat resurrected in Haarlem. The exhibition about the renaissance master has around 30 original drawings of the master on display as well as 30 works of contemporaries, emphasising how Da Vinci was light years ahead of his time. See page 104 for our feature Capturing the Soul.

Frans Hals and the Moderns Until 24 February, Haarlem, The Netherlands Though Frans Hals is one of the foremost ambassadors of the Dutch School, his impact on modernism is sizable as well. Twohundred years after his death, his work inspired modern pioneers like Manet and Van Gogh. Today, their work shares an exhibition with that of their inspiration Hals, proving art is literally timeless. See page 104 for our feature Capturing the Soul.

IDFA. Photo: © Felix Kalkman

Independent Art Festival 8-11 November, Brussels, Belgium Belgian artists are worth exploring. A city as diverse and dynamic as Brussels is a perfect breeding ground for young, eccentric talent. No wonder the iconic American art fair, Independent, picked out the European capital to host its continental edition. Apart from purchasing a piece of art, you can simply hop by to explore the work of many promising artists or to witness an intriguing performance.

Glow 10-17 November, Eindhoven, The Netherlands While fall darkens the Benelux, Eindhoven still bathes in light. The annual Glow-festival illuminates the city with over 30 installations from Dutch artists and international talent. That makes it one of the five biggest light festivals in the world. A walking trail brings you from one mesmerising hotspot to the next to brighten up those autumn-blues.

Last Post 11/11 11 November, Ieper, Belgium Every evening at 8pm sharp, The Last Post reverberates underneath the arches of the Menin Gate in Ypres. The salute for the fallen soldiers of the First World War gives goosebumps to all those who witness it. To commemorate the centennial of the armistice, the city organises a special edition of the Last Post with concerts, speeches and other activities on the side. To top it off, a waterfall of 8,000 red, textile poppies will stream down the bell tower.

International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam 14-25 November, Amsterdam, The Netherlands If you love documentaries, November is the month to travel to Amsterdam. As an annual tradition, docuphiles take over the city for the biggest documentary film festival in the world. Make your own selection of interesting screenings out of the substantial programme and perNocturnes. Photo: © Hidden Raven

Issue 59  |  November 2018  |  99

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar haps you will bump into one of the 2,500 international filmmakers who stop by every year as well.

Saint Nicholas arrival 17 November, Antwerp, Belgium and Zaanstad, The Netherlands “He comes, he comes”! Dutch and Flemish children wave their flags at the docks while Saint Nicolas and his helper Black Pete approach the harbour. On his annual visit to the low lands, the Spanish holy man brings presents to all boys and girls who have been good this year. Go along to welcome him in Zaanland or Antwerp and – if you are lucky – he might even give you something sweet in return.

Photo: © David Laurent


Amsterdam Art Weekend 22-25 November, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Amsterdam has been the home of many worldrenowned artists and still is. During this cultural weekend, you can meet the Rembrandts of tomorrow in their natural habitat. Take a cultural bath at one of the more than 100 inspiring events and satisfy all those burning cravings for art.

Winterlights Christmas Festival 22 November – 24 December, Luxembourg, Luxembourg Grab yourself a cup of ‘glühwein’ or a plate of ‘gromperekichelcher’ and stroll through the picturesque centre of Luxembourg. For one month, its streets and squares transform into a jolly Christmas dream. Fairylike Christmas lights usher you from the more than 100 chalets, past the Saint Nicolas procession, towards the cosy skating rink.

Night of the Proms 23-24 November, Antwerpen, Belgium With its unique combination of pop music and a symphonic orchestra, Night of the Proms enchants thousands of people every year. Seal, Milow and John Miles are just a few of the artists joining the Antwerp Philharmonic Orchestra in the gigantic Sportpaleis-arena this year. Are you not in Antwerp? The Night of the Proms-circus passes Rotterdam and Luxembourg as well on 17 November and 13 December respectively. 100  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

Sinterklaas. Photo: © Sander van der Wel

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Bock Beer



Mirroring the seasonal change in the hues of foliage, observant regulars in beer cafés in the Benelux, particularly the Netherlands, will note that there is a change to the seasonal ales each autumn too. A dark brew — bock beer — flows from taps in bars that pride themselves on serving quality ales. Aficionados eagerly anticipate the beginning of the bock beer season. Sloshing around that first mouthful of the malty, flavourful and lightly hopped beer is a bit like strolling along a tree-lined park on a crisp, sunny morning and kicking a rustling path through fallen leaves. Will the experience live up to expectations? Dutch bock beer is usually a top fermented beer to be brewed in the autumn, tranditionally from the new wheat and barley harvest. It had its origins in Germany but, in recent decades, has become established as a seasonal feature of the brewing scene in the Netherlands. According to legend, the first barrels of what we now know as bock beer, were brewed as far

back as the 14th century in today’s Lower Saxony region of Germany. The city of Einbeck, a member of the Hanseatic League, exported its strong beer to Munich, where it became popular. There are various accounts of why the style became known as bock beer. Was it because of the Bavarian accent when pronouncing Einbock? Perhaps it was the result of some wit deliberately making a play on words? In German, the word ‘bock’ means ‘goat’. That explains why the labels of many of today’s bock beers display stylised depictions of the horned creature. Some say the name is because bock beer can hit you like a charging billy goat; bock beer tends to be stronger than regular beer. From time to time, its effects can catch drinkers unaware. The sweetish beer is packed not only with flavour, but with calories: so ideal for providing energy on autumn and winter days. The malty flavour pairs well with roasted

game meat and geese, plus stews made from the meats of wild boar and deer — fattened animals that are traditionally hunted in north-west Europe before autumn turns to winter. Many Dutch breweries now release an autumn bock beer. These are three bock beers that have impressed beer lovers with their flavour and character: - Hertog Jan’s Bock Beer (6.5 per cent), brewed in Arcen, close to the German border, is regarded as the first Dutch bock beer. The top-fermented beer is widely available on tap and regularly seen in bottles. - Jopen’s Vier Granen Bock (6.5 per cent) is dark ruby in colour and has a delicious, mildly toasted flavour. It is brewed in Haarlem using rye, wheat, oats and barley, hence its name (which means ‘four grains’ or ‘four cereals’). - The Oersop Brewery, based in Nijmegen, produces a bock beer colourfully called Sexy Motherbocker. Packed with an alcohol volume of 8.4 per cent, ordering one is not for the fainthearted.

Issue 59  |  November 2018  |  101

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Christmas Markets


Get into the festive spirit TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS

ing ‘tartiflette’ and other goodies. Away from the shopping spree, you can witness a marvellous light show on the façades of Grand Place

Le Village de Noël de Charleroi 1 December – 7 January, Charleroi, Belgium A modern winter bar and over 50 wooden houses create a cheerful atmosphere in the heart of Charleroi. With 15 new shops on the square, every corner will be full of surprises this year. Make sure you do not miss the traditional visit of Sinterklaas and his nutty helper Black Pete on and around 6 December.

Louvain la Neuve.

Marché de Noël de Amiens


23 November – 29 December, Amiens, France

30 November – 20 December, Louvain-la-

The holiday season starts off wonderfully with

Neuve, Belgium

the immense market in Amiens. Two kilometres

In one of the youngest cities of Belgium, tra-

of festivities and chalets promise you a festive

dition and a modern lifestyle go hand in hand.

walk from morning till evening. After twilight, the

The two main squares become a winter won-

impressive Notre Dame Cathedral becomes the

derland where you can hunt for all your typical

backdrop of a mesmerising video projection. See

Christmas gifts. Five chalets are dedicated to

opposite page for more.

pop-up concepts, in which a rotation of bud-

ding entrepreneurs will sell their products for

Mons, Coeur en Neige

up to to three days only.

8 December – 6 January, Mons, Belgium

A little fairy dust and fake snow transform Grand

Louvain la Neuve. Photo: © Louvain-la-Neige

Place and Marché aux Herbes into magical

Noël a Lille

Christmas paradises. The artisanal market gives

23 November – 30 December, Lille, France The market of Lille now twinkles like never before.

Plaisir Hiver / Winterpret

you plenty of opportunities to find the perfect gift.

The city has invested in new lights to brighten up

30 November – 6 January, Brussels, Belgium

Your kids, however, will be even more enthusias-

the darkest days of the year. Stroll past the more

Twinkling lights guide you through Belgium’s

tic to shake Santa’s hand (if they were good this

than 80 little shops to find the perfect gifts for

beautiful capital passing the ice-skating rink, the

year, that is).

your loved ones (and a couple for yourself).

enormous Ferris wheel and the 200 chalets sell-

Cité de Noël Béthune 24 November – 31 December, Béthune, France The Christmas fair of Béthune is a winter paradise for all ages. While you do your Christmas shopping with a jenever drink and a crepe, your offspring will gasp at the multitude of thrilling activities to tickle their imagination.

102  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018



Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Amiens Christmas Market

Enjoy a plethora of arts and crafts, food stalls and events at the Amiens Christmas Market, opening 23 November.


A magical Christmas experience TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS  |  PHOTOS: NOËL AMIENS

Set in France’s beautiful cathedral town of Amiens, the city will be set alight during the festive season when it hosts its renowned Christmas market. The two-kilometre-long market is set right in the centre of the city. Key attractions include 130 chalets, a big wheel, an ice-rink, an impressive mountain village with a toboggan run, a Father Christmas’ house – which is set in a magical forest filled with surprises – and a plethora of market stalls selling handmade items amongst other things. Isabelle Dheilly directs the Amiens Federation of Traders Associations and organises the Amiens Christmas Market: “This year, we prioritised artisanal, handmade items, many of which are local products. There’s an ironworker who makes decorative iron animals, as well as an artisanal soup producer – you can taste the delicious soup on the spot and leave with your own bottle,” she says. Other popular products include handmade soaps, foie gras, beer, and mulled

wine. “We offer something for everyone, including gifts for children,” says Dheilly. There is even a garderie where parents can leave their children for an hour of face painting and storytelling, while they can do their Christmas shopping. On 14 December, local ice hockey team Gothiques d’Amiens will play a match on the ice-rink and sign autographs afterwards. The market runs through the centre of the city along its longest pedestrianised street, and visitors pass all of Amiens’ most impressive sites, including the UNESCOlisted cathedral, the medieval belfry, the old town and the floating gardens. It is certainly worth visiting in December, when the cathedral is lit-up daily with a magnificent light and sound show. When night falls, the market and city are at their most charming, lit-up by thousands of Christmas lights and decorations. To experience the full magic of it, Dheilly recommends visiting in the evening: “The city’s inhabitants and visitors come to taste the mulled wine or

hot chocolate, and there’s a wonderful atmosphere with the smell of cinnamon and waffles in the air.” Last year, the Amiens Christmas Market was voted the 15th best out of all Christmas markets in Europe, and it is currently the largest in France, with 130 stalls running over two kilometres. This year, it takes place from 23 November until 31 December (it will be closed on 25 December).


Issue 59  |  November 2018  |  103

Discover Benelux  |  Culture Feature  |  Leonardo da Vinci & Frans Hals

The Teylers Museum is displaying a print of Da Vinci's The Last Supper in its original size alongside a copy painted around 1520-40. Photo: Mike Bink


Capturing the soul In Amsterdam, you can share a coffee with a waxwork figure of George Clooney. Many have flocked to Madame Tussauds for that moment of belief that they are in the presence of a celebrity. But this is a tough crowd. Exposure to media has made us experts in recognising stars, testing the waxwork crafter’s ability to create a likeness. Outside the capital, the city of Haarlem is celebrating two artists who occupied themselves with the same challenge as Tussaud’s waxwork sculptors: how to convincingly portray a human being. Centuries apart, but united in their artistic pursuits, Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) and Dutch Golden Age painter Frans Hals (1582/3-1666) are considered masters of portrayal. But what can they teach us about what is required to portray a human being in a convincing way? TEXT: ISA HEMPHREY

Ahead of the 500th anniversary of Da Vinci’s death next year, the Teylers Museum is exhibiting his drawings of faces. Meanwhile, the Frans Hals and the Moderns exhibition explores, 150 years later, how 19th-century modern painters like Vincent van Gogh rediscovered Hals’ portraits.

Inspiration and influence It was German artist Max Liebermann who said that a Frans Hals portrait looks good “because it convinces us”. Hals’ possible influences can perhaps explain what he 104  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

learned about painting convincing portraits. It is believed that Hals made a trip to Antwerp to study important artists of the day, including Peter Paul Rubens, whose loose brushstrokes must have made a “deep impact” on Hals, according to exhibition curator Marrigje Rikken. Rubens and his contemporaries painted ‘study heads’, oil paintings of ordinary people with particular facial characteristics used as models for larger pieces. Being both a virtuoso of brushstrokes and portraying ordinary people, this was what modern painters praised

Hals for. So, could Rubens and his contemporaries have been Hals’ inspiration when he beheld their paintings in Antwerp? While Hals seemed to exclusively paint portraits, Da Vinci ventured into the scientific realm. A significant obsession of his was anatomy and he would dissect cadavers to understand how the human body functioned. The fruit of his labours are found in the detail of his drawings. Shown alongside a print of The Last Supper (c. 1494-98) at the exhibition, is Study

Discover Benelux  |  Culture Feature  |  Leonardo da Vinci & Frans Hals

for the Head of Judas (c. 1494), where a man with a prominent chin is arching his neck away from the viewer. The twist and pull of a labyrinth of interconnecting neck muscles wrapped in skin is on display. The most protruding muscle at the centre of this piece is the sternocleidomastoid muscle, extending from the back of the head to the collarbone. Both artists discovered the value of working from life to convincingly portray someone. While Da Vinci dissected what he sought to portray, Hals only had to observe masterpieces in Antwerp to understand why live models were essential. Liebermann was a huge fan of Hals, making around 30 copies of his paintings in one summer. When asked to compare the copies to the originals, Rikken responds: “I think it’s always a little bit less”. The important difference is that Hals saw the sitter of the portrait himself and therefore the painting reflects that person. “I think it was almost impossible for the modern masters to get the same level of individual-ness,” says Rikken. Yet a popular philosophy of Da Vinci’s era may have influenced his work negatively. Da Vinci expert and guest curator Michael W. Kwakkelstein explains in an exhibition essay that the artist studied the slums of Milan looking for a perfectly

Alongside original paintings by Frans Hals are copies made by 19th-century artists. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij

horrid face to represent the villain Judas in The Last Supper. A philosophy of this time was physiognomy, the theory that a person’s inner character is reflected in their outer appearance. A beautiful person was assumed to have a good soul, while an ugly person would likely be immoral. In Head of a Man, Full Face, and the Head of a Lion (c. 1508-09), a glower-

ing man stares with great intensity at the viewer alongside an overlapping drawing of a lion, indicating a connection between this warrior-type and the ferocious beast. “That particular drawing is a strong indication that Leonardo was at least occupied with the physiognomy theory in quite a serious way,” says exhibition curator Michiel Plomp. Despite his meticulous anatomical studies, physiognomy may have prevented Da Vinci from truly capturing an individual because he could have been attributing a false inner character and soul to the people he portrayed based on their appearance. “Although Leonardo rejected the predictive aspects of physiognomy, he clearly subscribed to the view that facial characteristics reveal man’s inner nature or temperament,” says Kwakkelstein.

Ordinary people

LEFT: A Girl’s Head and Shoulders, Three Quarters to the Left (c. 1490) by Leonardo da Vinci, metalpoint, heightened with white on paper with a pale ochre yellow preparation. Photo: Biblioteca Reale, Turin. RIGHT: Portrait of Pieter Jacobsz Olycan (1629/30) by Frans Hals, Frans Hals Museum, on loan from a private collection. Photo: Margareta Svensson.

Da Vinci flitted between two extremes: the beautiful and the grotesque. For instance, his drawing Head of a Youth with Curly Hair in Profile to the Right (c. 1517) was believed to be either a portrait of his favourite pupil Salai or a representation of his view of ideal beauty. But Da Vinci was also fascinated with observing unconventional faces. An example is Head of an Old Man or Woman in Profile Issue 59  |  November 2018  |  105

Discover Benelux  |  Culture Feature  |  Leonardo da Vinci & Frans Hals

LEFT: Head of a Man, Full Face, and the Head of a Lion (c. 1508-09) by Leonardo da Vinci, red chalk, heightened with white on paper with a red preparation. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. RIGHT: Malle Babbe (1630/35) by Frans Hals, oil on canvas, 74 by 64 centimetres, Gemäldegalerie, SMB, Berlin. Photo: bpk – Jörg P. Anders.

to the Left (c.1490-95), a drawing of an extremely angular face with a very pronounced chin and small nose. Hals took a similar interest in unconventional sitters rather than just the elite or nobility. For example, his piece Malle Babbe (1630-35) is of a Haarlem barmaid who became a patient in a mental institution. Furthermore, Hals was a gifted painter of children, using even looser brushstrokes to capture their spontaneity and laughter in a period where such expressions were rarely painted. Director of the Frans Hals Museum, Ann Demeester, explains that 19th-century painters saw “social realism” in his work, an almost photographic depiction of ordinary life. Choosing to portray ordinary people shows a willingness to explore the rich variety found in nature and humanity. Vasari, a biographer of Renaissance artists, wrote that Da Vinci invited people with unusual faces into his home, gave them wine and told them jokes. He would then observe and draw their raucous laughter which, according to 106  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

Haarlem. While Hals could have painted the lower class as a form of commentary, some of his sitters were wealthy individuals benefitting from the renaissance occurring in the Netherlands. The point is that while both artists strived to create convincing portrayals, they also worked in response to their circumstances. Da Vinci exaggerated his faces to entertain the court of Milan, and Hals may have captured the positivity felt in the Netherlands for the benefit of his newly rich patrons.

Plomp, was something that you did not do if you were from a proper family. It was considered only for the ‘simple’. But while Vasari stated that many of Da Vinci’s drawings of curious heads were drawn from life, others were exaggerated for comical effect. For example, Bust of an Old Man with a Deformed Face in Profile to the Right (c. 1490) is from a group of drawings of grotesque faces manipulated to evoke laughter. They could have been used during his time at the court of Sforza in Milan, where he used these caricatures as decoration for theatre plays.

Masterful techniques

Some 19th-century artists saw Frans Hals as a political activist because he portrayed the lower class. However, in art critic John Berger’s book Ways of Seeing, he states that Hals was the first portraitist to paint human emotions created by capitalism. The Dutch Golden Age resulted from independence from Spanish oppression that brought affluence to the middle class and cities like Haarlem. Present at the exhibition, is Hals’ portrait of Pieter Jacobsz Olycan, a Dutch brewer and mayor of

Present at the Teylers Museum is the metal point A Girl’s Head and Shoulders, Three-Quarters to the Left (c. 1490), known as ‘the Mona Lisa of drawings’. A beautiful woman looks over her shoulder at the viewer, something Kwakkelstein thinks is crucial as it “enhances the psychological link between the viewer and sitter”. The shading of her delicate face is blended perfectly, highlighted with thin scratches of white and sparingly used lines suggesting the neck and hair. This drawing displays two signature Da Vinci techniques. Firstly,

Discover Benelux  |  Culture Feature  |  Leonardo da Vinci & Frans Hals

he used dark lines sparingly because he knew that the eye does not see these lines in real life. Secondly, was his mastery of shading to accurately display the three dimensions of the face. In his paintings, he would apply a glaze to create fine shading and transitions between colours and tones that made brushstrokes almost invisible (known as sfumato). Kwakkelstein explains that the ambiguous corners of the eyes and mouth, enhanced by Da Vinci’s sfumato technique, is what adds power to the expression of the Mona Lisa. The lifelike appearance of Da Vinci’s subjects almost makes him a photographer without a camera. In complete contrast, Hals was a champion of the brushstroke. They flowed sometimes unblended across the crevices of his sitters’ faces. But despite what 19thcentury painters believed about Hals’ work, his portraits were not completed in one toss. Rikken explains that Hals painted in layers from the initial outline to the finished piece, waiting for each layer to dry before continuing. Hals’ technique went out of fashion by the end of the 17th century. “I think it was definitely seen as a novelty,” explains Rikken. Yet, 19th-century artists, many of whom were impressionist painters, recognised his brushwork and admired how he portrayed a fleeting impression in the life of his sitters. Here we have two different styles for portrayal, but the effect is essentially the same. The hyper realness of Da Vinci’s work creates convincing portrayals partly because they look as though they could come alive. The eyes in his Portrait of a Woman (c. 1494) look so real it is as though she is about to blink. In contrast, the brushwork of Hals is so loose and layered, the whole piece becomes animated. In Liebermann’s words, “it is alive”. But they took their pursuits further than just the face: at the Teylers Museum exhibition, you will find an original-size print of The Last Supper. “In The Last Supper, this comes all together, expression and emotion in faces and the body language,” says Plomp. The mural depicts the moment Jesus tells his disciples that one of them will betray him. Instead of painting

these biblical figures as static bodies sitting straight up at a table, Da Vinci has them interacting in immediate reaction to Jesus’ bombshell announcement in a theatrical spectacle. Da Vinci told young painters that the intentions of the minds of the faces and bodies must be clear. For instance, in Leda and the Swan (1506-08), it is clear to see the sensual connection between the woman and the bird. “The most important thing in the end is perhaps that he combined so wonderfully the emotion in the face with body language,” says Plomp. Hals took commissions from the voluntary civic guard, who he would paint in a gathering. In Banquet of the Officers of the St. George Civic Guard (1627), 11 men in ruffs crowd the canvas in all their proud splendour. Each face is characterised, betraying a personality, and every man is interacting with either the viewer or each other in a seemingly blasé manner.

exhibitions show the undiscovered lessons still concealed within their work and it may be the only opportunity to compare their mutual artistic pursuit in one city. No doubt that if they ever met, they would recognise in each other a passion to celebrate the beauty and peculiarity of humanity. Catch the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at the Teylers Museum until 6 January 2019 and Frans Hals and the Moderns at the Frans Hals Museum until 24 February 2019.


Da Vinci and Hals show us that convincing portrayals are about more than getting the dimensions right and recreating what a camera can do in seconds. You must capture a soul, an expression, a fleeting moment in an individual’s life. After all, what use is a portrait of a child with no hint of wonder and spontaneity? How convincing could a drawing of a weathered old man be if we did not see a lifetime written on his expression? How could you do justice to a portrait of an individual without displaying the deep complexities of their mind? Both

TOP: Study for the Head of Judas (c. 1494-98) by Leonardo da Vinci, red chalk on red prepared paper. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. BOTTOM: Frans Hals heavily influenced 19th-century painters in their own portraiture. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij

Issue 59  |  November 2018  |  107

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Escher in the Palace

MIDDLE: Still Life with Mirror (1934), lithograph by M.C.Escher (1898-1972); © The M.C. Escher Company BV, Baarn. RIGHT: Hand with Reflecting Sphere (1935), lithograph by M.C.Escher (1898-1972); © The M.C. Escher Company BV, Baarn.


Visit the world of M.C. Escher and find yourself mesmerised by his famous metamorphoses, fantastic landscapes and impossible architectural shapes – just like so many before you have. Located in the former palace of Queen Emma on The Hague's fashionable Lange Voorhout, Escher in the Palace is a permanent exhibition dedicated to the work and life of 20th-century Dutch artist Maurits Cornelis Escher. Born in 1898, Escher was a unique graphic artist who has intrigued and delighted audiences for decades with his geometrically inspired woodcuts, lithographs and mezzotints. “Throughout his work, Escher captivates us with his dazzling illusions of threedimensional volumes on flat, twodimensional planes," explains general manager Marcel Westerdiep. “He called them his 'inner visions'.”

Metamorphoses The hands-on, interactive exhibition takes us from Escher's school years to his visits as a young man to Italy and Spain, and 108  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

the enduring impact these had on his work from the 1920s onwards. Escher was inspired by the Italian mountains and the fascinating perspectives they offered, so very different from the flat landscape of his native Netherlands. In Spain, he discovered like-minded mathematical spirits in the designers of the intricate decorative patterns of the Alhambra in Granada and the Mezquita in Cordoba. This set him on track to create his spectacular metamorphoses, morphing fish into horses, bees into fish and the Dutch polders into geese flying east and west. At the palace, his spectacular six-metrelong Metamorphosis II is displayed on a custom-built cylinder.

to new generations across the world,” Marcel explains. “Especially young people are fascinated by his work. A quarter of our visitors are under the age of 27, which is a stunning statistic for an art museum.” Marcel believes that it is the enigmatic quality of Escher's work which keeps drawing people to his art. “Escher's art appeals to the imagination, it compels you to keep looking. And while you are getting drawn into these fantastic, impossible perspectives, you are immersed in a magical world of infinity and eternity, the overarching themes in his work. It's just pure genius.”

Magical worlds Although Escher never belonged to any of the great movements in modern art, his work has inspired artists for decades, including filmmaker Christopher Nolan, who famously used Escher's Penrose Steps in his 2010 blockbuster film Inception. “Escher continues to be an inspiration


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Museon

Get ready for takeoff at Museon TEXT: PAULINE ZIJDENBOS  |  PHOTOS: MUSEON

What does it take to live in space, or move to another planet? Museon’s latest Space Travel exhibition shows that with advanced science and technology, we can achieve previously unimaginable goals: to live on other planets. Museon offers the chance to experience firsthand what it is like to be an astronaut and a future inhabitant of a different planet. The interactive exhibition, Space Travel, bridges the gap between humans here and now and those a few decades away: humans in space. You can discover how new technologies apply to our current, daily lives, but also our imagined lives away from Earth. It is aimed at preparing us for this future: to spark interest in creating a more sustainable Earth and boost the desire to live on new planets. A visit to Space Travel is engaging for every age group and will show how to push scientific developments to a new level. Rob de Winter,

head of communications, says: “We hope to stimulate young people’s interest in science and technology by offering them information, fun and active participation. They should ask themselves: how will we survive on a different planet?” Through varied exhibitions, knowledge institute Museon has been educating people about the riches of the Earth for over 100 years. It is known for its successful One Planet exhibition in collaboration with the UN (which set out 17 sustainable growth guidelines), still on display. A new generation in space.

Space Travel, on our way to a new Earth (Reizen in de Ruimte, op weg naar een nieuwe aarde) is on until September 2019. Museon in The Hague is open on Tuesdays to Sundays from 11 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon.


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Columns


Modern master in the meat-market Many artists work across different mediums nowadays. It is very on-trend, the thing ‘du jour’. Very few would be happy to be pigeonholed singly as either ‘a painter’ or ‘a sculptor’. Yet, there are even fewer who can turn their hand to different media as deftly and expertly as Matthew LutzKinoy. The American artist has been known to incorporate painting, poetry, theatre production and ceramics in his grandiose and free-flowing exhibitions. His latest exhibition Sea Spray, at de Vleeshal (‘meat hall’) in Middelburg, is no exception. Showing for the first time in the Netherlands, Lutz-Kinoy has taken the history of de Vleeshal’s market past as his inspiration. He took the idea of the market as a vessel, and turned it into a motif that appears in various guises within the show; most notably in the wicker baskets that fill the floor space of de


Vleeshal. These expertly-made artisan baskets touch on Lutz-Kinoy’s interest in craft and food, and on the social aspect that applies to both of these. In this particular show, he references the act of pickling – important within Dutch cuisine – and fills the giant, floor-toceiling canvases with stained images of fungi and bacteria. Using so many elements, and drawing from such a vast pool of influence, is a holistic way of working that is utterly evocative and creates a completely immersive world. Discover Benelux heartily recommends you to dip your toe into it, by visiting Sea Spray at de Vleeshal, Middelburg, on show until 16 December 2018. Matt Antoniak is a visual artist and writer living and working in Newcastle, UK. He works mainly in painting and drawing and is a founding member of the art collective M I L K.


A Bachelor's Escape, acrylic and charcoal on canvas, by Matthew Lutz-Kinoy (2018). Courtesy of the artist and Mendes Wood DM.


Gulpener Wintervrund If you head to your local beer shop at this time of year, you are likely to see a proliferation of pumpkin-flavoured ales, cinnamonspiced Christmas specials and a host of bock beers. Among these winter specials, you may well spot Gulpener Wintervrund. Wintervrund is produced in the Dutch province of Limburg by the long-established Gulpener Brewery, which started brewing back in 1825. Limburg is known for its agricultural heritage and Gulpner makes use of locally grown hops and barley in producing its impressive annual output of 110,000 hectolitres of beer. Gulpner, an independent brewer, grabbed the attention of Dutch beer lovers in the 1980s by launching a series of special beers, long before craft beer had become ‘en vogue’. More recently, the brewery has participated in a number of collaborations, meaning the Gulpener name is 110  |  Issue 59  |  November 2018

worth looking out for if you fancy trying something unusual. This particular seasonal brew is ebony in colour and features a creamy, fawn head. The aroma of Wintervrund has hints of caramel. It has a rich, sweet flavour with a slightly malty finish, plus a faint hint of liquorice. A factor in that is the use of Hallertauer Taurus hops, one of the strains used in brewing Wintervrund, which is renowned for providing a peppery, spicy finish. Unsurprisingly, this is a beer that pairs well with hearty cuisine such as stews and roast meat. Try it, if you can, instead of wine with a dish made with wild boar. Alternatively, simply slip into a comfy fireside seat on a chilly evening and savour a cold Wintervrund. Brewer: Gulpener Brewery Strength: 8.5 per cent

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



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

Museum of Fine Arts Ghent

Fernand Scribedreef 1 9000 Ghent Belgium

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