Discover Benelux | Issue 5 | May 2014

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Discover Benelux | Contents

Contents MAY 2014




Carice van Houten Carice van Houten has shunned the easy Hollywood route of playing one-dimension girlfriends or wives for meaty roles in Dutch dramas, and it has certainly paid off. Now one of the most successful actresses in Europe, she’s found yet more fame in the hit HBO TV series Game of Thrones, which has just begun its fourth season.



WWI in Belgium This year marks the centenary of the First World War, a defining moment in world history that changed the shape of Europe. We put Belgium under the microscope with a closer look at

With produce from its own farm, local wines, an on-site bakery and stunning wine collection, Luxembourg’s Guddesch is a charming restaurant for a hearty meal with a twist.

Dutch design landscape How is it that one country can produce the world’s coolest furniture? Emily Gosling charts the country’s rise to prominence.


See & Do



Springtime sustenance With a food festival on every single weekend in May, Amsterdam’s foodie scene has never been more exciting. We take a look at what’s happening, where and why.


Hotel of the Month (LU) The Mont des Pins hotel in Belgium is a true gem, captivating guests of every generation with its top class cuisine, superb spa area and conference facilities.


Restaurant of the Month (LU, NL) Gracing our pages this month is Amsterdam’s hippest restaurant, MOMO. Set up in 2008, it has added a new swathe of glamour to fine dining in the Dutch capital.

Attraction of the Month (BE, LU) While Luxembourg embraces its past with a huge exhibition dedicated to the Red Cross, we go underground in Belgium at the Domain of the Caves of Han, a truly spectacular underground network of caves below one of Europe’s biggest wild animal parks.

May heralds everyone’s favourite singing competition and we’ve got an exclusive interview with this year’s Dutch entry, The Common Linnets.

Golf in Benelux Don’t trust putt luck, look through our golf guide and better acquaint yourself with Luxembourg’s exclusive golf scene, which naturally everyone is welcome to try. While the Luxembourg scene may be intimate and tranquil, it’s a different story in the Netherlands with over 200 golf courses. Holland Golf Travel is the company in the know when it comes to where to play and where to stay.



Luxembourg’s Wine Region Luxembourg is one of the world's most underrated and least known wine regions, yet its produce ranks among the best, and you'd be wise to try one of their delightful crémants.


Malmedy, the Battle of the Frontiers and Antwerp’s approach to the centenary with its city-wide programme Antwerp 14-18.


Features, Columns and Calendar With the European Business Summit and the Europe-wide elections, May is going to be an interesting month. Regular columnists Josiah Fisk and Steve Flinders offer their take on business communication and how to improve it.

PLUS 11 Desirable Designs from Benelux | 12 Fashion Picks 52 Luxessed | 55 Out & About | 57 States of Art 58 Shallow Man’s Guide | 58 In their words

Issue 5 | May 2014 | 3

Discover Benelux | Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Discover Benelux

Cover Photo

Issue 5, May 2014

Janey van Ierland

Published April 2014


ISSN 2054-7218

Published by

Sales & Key Account Managers

Scan Group

Mette Tonnesen Alice Tanghe

Design & Print Liquid Graphic Ltd. Executive Editor Thomas Winther Creative Director Mads E. Petersen

Pooja Gurnani Corinne Camara Publisher: Scan Group 15B Bell Yard Mews Bermondsey Street London SE1 3TY United Kingdom

Editor Emmie Collinge Contributors Jaime Schwartz Phil Gale

Phone +44 (0)870 933 0423 Fax +44 (0)870 933 0421 Email:

Anna Parkin Lisa Gerard-Sharp Martin Pilkington Harun Osmanovic

When we first started thinking about the possibility of Discover Benelux, it seemed like the ideal outlet for me to share my appreciation for Benelux, offering hints and tips to those travelling there and showcasing all the great inventions to come from the three countries. But over the past six months I’ve been constantly taken aback by the sheer number of exciting ventures, inventions and events that these three countries are splurging out at a rate of knots. I mean, I knew Amsterdam was a cool city but a trendy food festival on every single weekend in May? That’s even beyond my expectations. And Luxembourg? Hip design must be in their genes judging by the talent we’re confronted with at their museums, art galleries and design studios. And of course, not forgetting the adeptness of the Belgians at inventing (almost) everything we’ve ever needed. The Belgian radio station Radio 1 has just hosted a competition to decide on the best Belgian invention of all time. It’s a downright surprising list and some of my favourites are the Jpeg, roll-on deodorant, electric doorbells, pralines and saxophones. This month’s cover is the peach on the pie, and I’m tremendously proud to introduce Carice van Houten. Starring in hit HBO TV series Game of Thrones, probably the most downloaded TV show ever, she’s Dutch to the core and a right laugh to interview. Her latest book has kept me company over the dark winter and it’s one that I doubt I will ever tire of flicking through.

Berthe van den Hurk Emily Gosling Johann Wiebe Immi Abraham Matt Antoniak

On that note, do feel free to flick through to our Out & About section, where you’ll find out where to go this May, which food festivals shouldn’t be missed and where you can find thousands of women running around a park.

Catherine Gomez Anouk Kalmes Steve Flinders Josiah Fisk

We certainly know how to spoil you this month and our golf and wine mini themes could be the ideal impetus for a quick jaunt over to Benelux. Best,

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

4 | Issue 5 | May 2014

Discover real Private Banking At SEB Private Banking, we acknowledge that everyone has a unique set of challenges. It’s why we do not offer ready-made solutions, concentrating instead on developing meaningful, long-lasting financial relationships and making the effort to really understand you and your requirements. Our international network of private banking offices will look after all aspects of your family business finances, from daily transactions to long term investments. Its services cover everything from tailored financial management, through to helping you to optimise the legal and tax structures within which your assets are held. As one of the world’s strongest banks and with more than 150 years of experience in private banking, we have just what it takes to ensure your future prosperity. To find out what SEB can do for your personal wealth, contact us in London: Christian A. Hvamstad +44 (0) 20 7246 4307

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Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Carice van Houten

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Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Carice van Houten

Caught Between Holland and Hollywood Her fans will recognise her as the ethereal red priestess in Game of Thrones, but I encounter Carice van Houten navigating the tight, cobbled corners of Amsterdam’s back streets. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTO: JANEY VAN IERLAND | STYLING: PASCALLE KOLDENHOF HAIR: MARVIN ZWART | MAKE-UP: GERDA KOEKOEK

Although Van Houten has won many Best Actress awards, both in her native country and internationally, and stars in the multiEmmy award-winning hit TV show Game of Thrones, the actress is resolutely Dutch to the core. Confident, somewhat brash and frequently talking about nudity – she’s so typically comfortable she shares tales of her gynaecologist in her book Antiglamour, which she co-wrote with her best friend and fellow actress Halina Reijn. Naturally, her Dutch traits render her friendly and forthright. The 37-year-old grew up in a forest near Utrecht, where her childhood career aspi-

rations revolved around being an actress, singer, children’s author, detective or astronaut. Choosing the right drama academy was a big decision, the 37-year-old explained, as she knew she wanted a broad education and acting on its own wasn’t enough. Decision made, Carice moved to Amsterdam where she has lived ever since and attended one of the Netherlands’ best performing arts schools, where she learned to compose, write and dance – “it was a bit like in Fame,” she says. Before Hollywood called, Van Houten undertook a number of highbrow roles in the Netherlands: beginning with Martin Koolhoven’s drama Suzy Q in 1999, to the harrowing role of Rachel in the critically ac-

claimed Black Book by Paul Verhoeven in 2006, a cancer-struck patient in Love Life and as the South African apartheid poet Ingrid Jonker in Black Butterflies. That her role in Black Book would appeal to an international audience as well, wasn’t something Van Houten had expected, and it wasn’t until she was sat in the audience at Venice Film Festival that she realised how many people were affected by it. The script of this heartrending tale of the Jewish resistance during WWII in occupied Holland, explains Carice, immediately entranced her. “I’d never felt anything like this before – I knew that I had to have the part.” “An old woman came up to me after the screening, and I realised what a universal

Issue 5 | May 2014 | 7

Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Carice van Houten

language acting is. I knew then that if I acted in English I could communicate with as many people as possible and widen my audience. The Dutch industry is tiny compared to Hollywood – we don’t even have trailers. There is a complete lack of hierarchy,” she laughs warmly, “sometimes it might be me helping to move tables!”

same as all other girls, we have the same heart, fears and sorrow. Yes, we do have a glamorous life but there is more to it.” Candid and open, it is not dissimilar to Carice’s approach to social media, which sees her snap-happy with ‘selfies’ as she provokes and teases her fans – “They never expect to get anything back from me when they’re rude to me.”

Challenging over cliché Life sounds incredibly starry but Van Houten is hands-on when it comes to the Dutch film industry. In fact, it is the limits of Hollywood which keep her in Amsterdam. “It has been a dilemma for me; whether to move forward [in Hollywood] or stay in the Netherlands where I’m being offered some meaty female leads,” she laughs. “I like to make it hard for myself, I like a challenge. Of course Hollywood is tempting, it’s eroticising,” she elucidates. Not content with playing a just-a-pretty-face role, she has consciously decided to remain in the Netherlands as faced with the choice of “playing a one-dimensional bitchy girlfriend or nagging wife”, Carice would hands down choose a “great, meaty female lead in the Netherlands.” She colours a little as she declares that she has a luxurious position in the Netherlands that she doesn’t want to give up. Beyond film, Van Houten is something of a polymath, having turned her hand to her second passion, music, and releasing a self-composed indie-pop album See You on The Ice in 2012, which, according to Van Houten, “was always supposed to be an indie record”, writing, and her current venture which include directing and producing what looks likely to be a film about Greta Garbo.

The flipside of glamour Antiglamour is the book that she made with best friend and fellow Dutch actress Halina Reijn. Already in its fifth print run after publication in November 2013, it is 301 pages of brutal honesty and hilarity, confronting issues of body image, dreams, attractive men and the girls’ nether regions. Girls, says Carice, are so easily influenced, and one reason for making the book Antiglamour was to show the flipside of glamour. “We [Halina and I] are just the

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Within the hand-scribbled honesty of the book Antiglamour, Carice opens up about her journey from stage school to film. “Today there are so many girls who just want to be famous but it was never like that for me. Acting was, and is, about expressing myself. It was never about wearing beautiful dresses on the red carpet – although that’s a bonus. Through my work I’ve made some of the coolest friends you can imagine,” she laughs again, a common occurrence during our conversation. Ever modest and self-deprecating, she reels off a list of celebrity friends, counting among them Bill Murray and Rufus Wainwright. Realising she sounds like a show-off, she stops abruptly. “These are people I really admired before and now I know they’re just people too.” Is this how her role in Antony and the Johnsons’ Cut the World music video transpired? “Exactly, we’re just friends. When I was making my album I just couldn’t help hearing his voice on one of the tracks. So in return for his collaboration on my track Particle of Light, I was in his music video. Two-nil to me,” she rounds off triumphantly. An archetypal Dutch girl at heart, starring in one of the biggest budget American cable TV shows of all time, Van Houten is an unconventional Hollywood star. Confident in the nude, and with a strong presence on social media that sees her respond to internet trolls, it’s refreshing to see an actress who has the right priorities

Carice can be seen as the red priestess Melisandre in the fourth season of Game of Thrones which premiered on HBO in April 2014.

Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Carice van Houten

Issue 5 | May 2014 | 9

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Discover Benelux | Design | Desirable Designs

Desirable Designs from Benelux Colour trends aren’t just for the runway –having the right colour scheme is just as important for your interiors. This spring is all about muted, soft hues so consider investing in the collection of stools by Belgian design collective BuzziSpace. Our selection of deceptively simple and functional products continues to raise the bar month after month.




like this woven in Tilburg’s textile museum, how could anyone even consider frowning? 1: Buzzimilk


BuzziMilk’s designer Alain Gilles of BuzziSpace has created the perfect stool, capturing the very essence of our yearning for the simple life with its simple ecofelt cover. Here we’re faced with a stylish, comfortable stool, not dissimilar from the milking stools of days gone by. Hitting the contemporary feel on its head, these stools (with or without a cushion) will settle seamlessly into any office environment. (Price from 295 euros)

2: Twist table


This edgy dining table by the established Brusselsbased company Interni Edition appeals to our aspirations of an airy New York loft apartment. With a sleek minimalist design and table legs like no other, this table could not make a trendier bed for hip fashion and décor magazines to lay their heads. (1,610 euros)


3: Royal VKB French Carafe and Decanter It’s proven that decanting your wine makes it taste better but time after time we make the same lazy mistake of pouring it straight from the bottle – now thanks to design-duo Marleen Kaptein and Stijn Roodnat we can serve a fine red wine or tap water in style. The carafe allows the wine to breathe far better and the petite glasses add a touch of rustic coolness. (Price on request) and

Spending your evenings at the desk? A shadowy space in the office? The innovative Belgian designer Frederic Pieck has come up trumps with this super cool desk lamp. Incorporating an LED lamp reminiscent of a trendy scooter light, and with the option of being battery powered, this desk lamp exceeds our expectations – your regular desk lamp just won’t make the cut now. (50 euros)


4: Grandma’s Buttons tablecloth Once again Kiki van Eijk’s designs have captured our hearts, taking us away from our mundane lives to a world of enchantment and beauty. With a tablecloth

Issue 5 | May 2014 | 11

Discover Benelux | Design | Fashion Picks



P I C K S :

A masterclass in chic With New York, London, Milan and Paris fashion weeks behind us showcasing next autumn’s trends on the runway, we are happy to kick our knee-high boots and shearling coats for lighter wear the next few months as autumn is still far off.




WOMEN Spring has already kicked off in the Benelux and nothing says spring like colours and bold prints but remember to tone it down a notch, keeping it as feminine as ever - think see-through and lace fabrics. Last but not least, what would spring 2014 be without a masculine touch to complete the look, think of white sneakers, structured blazers or boyfriend jeans. 1: Runway Look from Dries Van Noten Photo: Bold floral prints, midi skirts, and see-through silks just to name a few are perfect examples of the feminine take on the runway for Spring 2014. Dries van Noten is as always a master in extravagance and opulence and this look takes a darker twist but retains the key elements of this season. 2: Bracelet from Anne Marie Herckes




Photo: We can’t get enough of gold and this season is no exception. This lovely bracelet from Luxembourg’s Anne Marie Herckes hits the right spot with the beautiful orange tones and flowers just in time for spring. 3: Trainers from Maison Martin Margiella Price: €320. Photo: Nothing says “I’m cooler” this season than a casual white pair of trainers paired with a sleek outfit. What better model than this clean pair from Maison Martin Margiella with a hint of a mix of leather and suede? 4: Silk Camisole from Michael van der Ham Price: €540. Photo: Young Dutchman Michael van der Ham offers fashion-seekers an array of pieces where textures and fabrics intertwine. This spring collection is no stranger to his genre and although it was all about dresses, this beautiful camisole stands out as it sparkles with crystals and metallic sequins forming a beautiful flower on a silk background. 5: Tuxedo Jacket from Haider Ackermann Price: €1125. Photo: Keeping it simple is always in and nothing beats a black and white garment like this oh-so-cool tuxedo. The oversized fit adds the chic touch (read masculine) to any outfit while keeping you warm on the breezy May days. Who said clothes couldn’t be practical at the same time as fashionable?

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Discover Benelux | Design | Fashion Picks

MEN As summer creeps nearer and people's hemlines climb north, we've assembled another lovely selection of Benelux fashion excellence! The amount of talent that has sprung forth from such a small part of the world is astounding and deserves every bit of attention. Plus, you earn extra boasting points if you 'only wear local fashions'. In the Benelux, there are always just a few steps of separation. So who cares if your friends grew their own kale, your mother's butcher's hairdresser went to primary school with the chap who designed your top!


1: SS14 Les Hommes Photo: Yannis Vlamos for This dashing catwalk model looks even snazzier in his spring-summer 2014 outfit from Les Hommes. Designers Bart Vandebosch and Tom Notte are tailoring experts, but keep it real by pairing this suit with a panelled leather t-shirt featuring a particularly appealing pop of blue. M'as-tu vu?* 2: Angelo Van Mol shoes Price: €380. Photo: Angelo Van Mol Meet Angelo Van Mol: after graduating from the prestigious Antwerp fashion academy, Van Mol honed his craft in London's famed Savile Row. Now he's ready to take the menswear game over with his namesake brand. These black dress shoes with glossy tips will set you firmly apart from your peers at the next black tie event. Just be sure to sidestep any puddles of admirative drool.


3: G-Star sunglasses Price: €165. Photo: G-Star Global denim superpower G-Star is one of the Netherlands' biggest fashion assets. Founded in Amsterdam in 1989, the brand has grown into a household name and has expanded into other areas than just your jeans drawer. Pop on these thick-framed acetate shades, hum your life's soundtrack and swagger down the street like the tabloid press is watching your every move. 4: Tim Coppens backpack Price: €282. Photo: Barney’s New York This cognac leather drawstring backpack by Belgian designer Tim Coppens is at the pinnacle of modern luxury luggage. Perfect for 'glamping' – camping in a silk muslin tent with room service (tent service?) – or for climbing the peak of Mount... Monaco?



Tratlehner T-shirt Price: €119. Photo: Tratlehner There's no better way to spend your sunny weekend than to decompress in a deck chair with a new t-shirt on and a drink in hand. Handmade in Amsterdam, this Tratlehner tee is your ultimate companion for this season. The stretched fit, tapered waistband and post card print give it a great casual distinctiveness. *French for “Have you noticed how bloody fabulous I'm looking right about now?”

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Luxembourg’s Wine Region



Experience Luxembourg’s wine region TEXT & PHOTOS: VISIT MOSELLE

Following the famous Route du Vin, a 42km route that winds from Schengen to Wasserbillig, the traveller learns all there is to know about wine making and encounters wine growers in the cellars along the way. The geography of the Moselle region, a hilly landscape cut out of limestone, is the perfect birthplace for viticulture. Flowing between the vineyards where the grapes for the great Moselle wine ripen, the romantic Moselle river forms the border between the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Germany. This is a region to be explored at leisure, whether by boat, by bicycle or on foot!

Land of “Crémant de Luxembourg” The appellation “Crémant de Luxembourg” has recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Thanks to its finesse, elegance and freshness, Luxembourg Crémant has enjoyed unparalleled success, winning awards every year at international competitions. Crémant is made using a traditional method, which was mastered long ago. To reach the pinnacle of quality, it requires hard work in the vineyards and a rigorous selection of grapes and base wines. The grapes must be healthy, nicely ripe and in-

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tact until pressed. A minimum maturation of nine months on the lees is required. Crémant can be produced from a single grape variety or from a blend of several grapes, and can be vintage or not.

and crémants. They offer contemporary high-quality products whose subtle flavours translate the expertise of the winemakers of the Luxembourgish Moselle.

Welcome Europe Gourmet experience The Moselle valley is home to numerous restaurants with a refined traditional cuisine based on terroir produce. This gastronomy based on local products seduces the diner with its simple, straightforward flavours and seasonal fragrances. But first and foremost, it gives you a genuine taste of the authentic Moselle region. Pike with Riesling sauce, and fried fish and crayfish à la luxembourgeoise are some of the greatest culinary specialities of the region. Restaurant owners with the Ambassadeurs label, will help you to discover the best Luxembourgish wines

When you visit Luxembourg’s winegarden, don’t miss Schengen’s European Museum. Situated in the Three Border Region of Germany-France-Luxembourg, the picturesque wine-making village of Schengen was chosen as the setting for the famous signing of the Schengen Agreement on the 14th June 1985. The fact that the Agreement was signed in Luxembourg is testament to the important role that the GrandDuchy played as a mediator between its European neighbours.

The old artisan way of life is perserved at the A Possen museum. BELOW: Wäistuff, the onsite restaurant, serves Luxembourgeoise cuisine and local specialities from this wine region.

Where time stood still Getting to know the wine of the country is part of getting to know the country. Understanding its past helps too. At the A Possen museum in Bech-Kleinmacher you do both together. TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTOS: A POSSEN

“Dr Prosper Kayser created the museum to house his collections,” says Vera Weisgerber, its director: “And to show how life was lived here a century ago.” This being Luxembourg’s wine country, a significant part of that way of life was making, keeping, and enjoying wines. Dr Kayser bought a dilapidated house in this village by the Moselle in 1965, and after two years of restoration, the museum’s doors opened to the public. The antithesis of the glass-display-case-no-talking variety, the intimate feel reflects its very personal origins, even taking its name from former residents. Other houses were added: first one for the wine industry, with cooperage, the vintner’s life, even a treading-trough and of course a cellar; then another for weaving...

“The best way to visit is on one of the thematic guided tours,” Vera advises. “We light the fires in the kitchen and hearth, and use wood and dried vines like they did in 1617 when it was built. A guide can explain the artisan tools and household utensils, and if you want we can take you outside to look at the architecture here, or visit a wine cave.” The museum’s own architecture merits inspection, the walls made of stones collected from fields and streams, not quarried.

There’s hands-on stuff too, like weaving, or in keeping with its extensive collection of ancient toys – including a working train-set recalling a service once vital here – and images of children playing in bygone days, you can even try crafting a teddy bear. With its own restaurant Wäistuff where Marianne Lorenz serves true Luxembourgeoise cuisine like Kuddelflèk (tripe) or pork with broad beans – washed down with wines from a quality local cooperative you get to taste the country too. “We want to preserve everything possible of the old artisan way of life here,” says Vera: “And we do that as much as is practical by recreating an authentic atmosphere in buildings as they were lived in back then.”

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Surrounded by vineyards in the tranquil Moselle Valley, guests have been flocking to Hotel des Vignes for the past thirty years to enjoy a heady mix of good views, good food, and good wine – the hotel even produces its very own Riesling Grand 1er Cru. With just 24 rooms, all offering panoramic views, Hotel des Vignes has an intimate feel, welcoming back its regulars year after year. With such a name, one might expect said regulars to be veritable oenophiles, but as owner and founder Cécile Oswald explains, this isn’t always the case. “I mean, most people enjoy a glass of wine don’t they?” she smiles. “But you don’t have to be a wine connoisseur to stay here! Many people come because they love the calm environment, our beautiful views and unique position.”

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Overlooking both France and Germany, with views over rolling hills, the cultural attractions of Luxembourg City are only 20 minutes away by car. “We have all the tranquillity of the countryside, but we’re not lost!” laughs Oswald. The hotel also welcomes travellers of an athletic persuasion. “The hotel gets quite a few cyclists who’ve travelled all the way from Berlin or Switzerland on their bikes,” she explains. “They can allow themselves some treats when they arrive!” And with a chef hailing from France’s gastronomic Périgord region in charge at the hotel restaurant, this is certainly the place to come for treats. “We like to mix French gastronomy with local produce and regional flavours,” explains Oswald. Duck breast with Pinot Noir sauce and dried figs and Fillet of pike cooked in a cream of Riesling are just some of the specialities

which can be enjoyed from the comfort of the veranda. Concerning the wine list, Oswald keeps an open mind. “We don’t limit ourselves to Luxembourgeois wine,” she says. “We excel in whites, but when you need a powerful red, it’s best to go French.” That said, she encourages guests to try her ‘vin de jardin’, the hotel’s own Riesling Grand 1er Cru. “It’s the king of wines!” she beams.

Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Luxembourg’s Wine Region


Set on the banks of the Moselle River, the Domaine Cep d'Or produces an impressive selection of high quality grapes ranging from Elbling to Riesling, and is renowned for its high quality sparkling wine (Crémant).

Citing a glass of Riesling as his drink of choice, Vesque hasn’t lost any of his ancestor’s passion for winemaking. He’s eager to point out the differences between the wines made in his home country, to those of its close neighbours.

Nestled between the small towns of Stadtbredimus and Ehnen, this visitor-friendly wine estate offers tastings and cellar visits, while on-site amenities include a shop and wine bar, where a resident sommelier is on hand to share his know-how.

“Don’t think this is just the same as in France,” he warns. “We may have many of the same grape varieties as you would find in Alsace, but we have our own climate, this is our own soil, and that changes things. Our wine is very rare, it’s precious.”

At the helm of the Cep d'Or since 2003, owner Jean-Marie Vesque descends from the estate’s original founders, who hailed from the nearby Lorraine region and have been influential in the Luxembourgeois wine scene for centuries.

Although Luxembourg may be best known for its dry whites and sparkling wines, Vesque argues there’s a glass to suit all palates at the Cep d'Or. “We offer twelve different grape varieties, so whether you like something dry, fruity, or sweet, you’ll be happy with your choice!”

RIGHT: Domaine Cep d’Or’s owner Jean-Marie Vesque

For more information:

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Discover Benelux | Design Feature | The Landscape of Dutch Design

The landscape of Dutch design With the opening of Marcel Wanders’ big, bold, brilliant and bonkers retrospective Pinned Up: 25 Years of Design in early February, the spotlight is once again shining over the rich design history of the Netherlands. TEXT: EMILY GOSLING | PRESS PHOTOS

The oft-touted New York Times quote that dubs Wanders ‘The Lady Gaga’ of design is perhaps a cliché worth repeating, and emblematic of the Netherlands’ design story – a glowing narrative of designers that push their disciplines to the very limits, creating work that surprises, delights and challenges.

last two decades and has resulted in a group of very critical and questioning designers in the Netherlands till today.”

signers like Piet Hein Eek,” she explains. “[They saw the designs as] nice for the brain, but it did not sell.”

The Emergence of Droog

Droog was founded by Gijs Bakker and Renny Ramakers, and the launch collection included pieces such as polyurethane and stitched felt washbasins and Tejo Remy’s Chest of Drawers, formed of a precarious-looking stacked series of different recycled drawers.

Ineke Hans, Dutch product designer and founder of Ineke Hans Studio, says: “What is now seen as Dutch Design started off with designers asking critical questions about the role of design and where to go from in the early 90's.

The most recognisably adventurous, playful face of Dutch Design to emerge in the last 25 years is the collective Droog (which translates as ‘dry’, and creates pieces that look anything but) – a wildly innovative bunch of designers whose eclectic, conceptual pieces have shaped Dutch design thinking since their launch in 1993. However, Hans says this wasn't necessarily recognised at the time.

“This attitude of questioning has been taught at the Dutch design schools for the

“In the early 90's the companies did not pay much attention to Droog and the de-

These pieces are redolent of avant garde ideas, looking to experiment with inherited notions of functionality, form and process, while also often creating forms with a charming simplicity.

Issue 5 | May 2014 | 19

Discover Benelux | Design Feature | The Landscape of Dutch Design

ABOVE: Moooi Amsterdam Showroom (Photo: Nicole Marnati / Courtesy of Moooi). BELOW: Chest of drawers for Droog by Tejo Remy. BOTTOM: Tree-trunk bench for Droog by Jurgen Bey (Photos: Gerard van Hees /

Among Droog’s designers and their most iconic pieces are Hella Jongerius and her 2005 Polder sofa; Dick van Hoff with his 2007 Work Lamp; Marcel Wanders, who made his name with the 1996 Knotted Chair; Maarten Baas and Jurgen Bey, creator of the surreal 1999 Treetrunk bench.

The Dutch design attitude Outside of Amsterdam, home to the Rietveld Academie (which produced designers including typography icon Wim Crouwel and industrial designer Henk Stallinga), Eindhoven boasts Design Academy Eindhoven, whose alumni include Maarten Baas, Tord Boontje and Jurgen Bey (Wanders was expelled after his first year there).

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“The critical attitude that is taught at Dutch schools basically creates designers that take nothing for granted and I think that is a very good attitude when you want to work in the design field,” says Hans. Key Dutch design events include Eindhoven’s Dutch Design Week; while Dutch designers such as the Wanders cofounded studio Moooi frequently fly the Dutch design flag at other international shows such as London Design Festival and Milan’s Salone del Mobile.

Stop the boring business Moooi was founded in 2001 by Wanders and Casper Vissers, taking its name from

Discover Benelux | Design Feature | The Landscape of Dutch Design

TOP RIGHT AND PAGE 19: Marcel Wanders Pinned Up at the Stedelijk (Photos: Courtesy of Marcel Wanders). BOTTOM LEFT: Dirk van der Kooij, Flow Dining Chair Two Tone Yellow (Photo: Sanne Kooijmans). MIDDLE: Ineke Hans (Photo: Gerard van Bree). RIGHT: Moooi Amsterdam Showroom (Photo: Nicole Marnati / Courtesy of Moooi).

the Dutch word for ‘beautiful’. The brand prides itself on its very unique and stylised approach to marketing, from its showrooms that look to seem ‘as if someone’s just moved away’– all artfully scattered toys and quirkily arranged products; to the Erwin Olaf-shot promotional photography, depicting human models crammed into boxes with the products. A key Moooi mantra is ‘stop the boring business’. Indeed, a trope uniting Dutch product design is an aversion to ‘boringness’ and a playfulness that makes design more than an aesthetic choice, but a drive to make a space full of excitement and inspiration.

The future of Dutch design So where will Dutch design go from here? According to Hans, more and more emerging designers are becoming autonomous, creating work in smaller batches thanks to more advanced and readily available technology. New designers to look out for include Eindhoven-based Raw Color, founded by Daniera ter Haar & Christoph Brach, and Dirk van der Kooij. “I feel that design is now more related to issues than to tangible objects,” says Hans. “It is nice and good that design has infiltrated in areas as healthcare and city plan-

ning, but there’s a danger of design turning into storytelling only and getting out of touch with making processes and industrial processes. “I believe that it would be so interesting to make some final steps from conceptual design and thinking into the world of industrial production that has been questioned so much by the conceptual Dutch designers.” From their track record, if anyone can help push these less-than-easy design ideas, it’s designers from the Netherlands.

Issue 5 | May 2014 | 21

Discover Benelux | Design Feature | Benthem Crouwel

TOP LEFT: Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam, completed 2012, concert hall covered with approx 120, 000 LED fixtures and seat capacity of 17,000 (Photo: Jannes Linders). TOP RIGHT: Mall Koblenz, Germany, completed in 2012. Approximately 2,900 identical, three-dimensional shaped aluminum elements, painted in three different shades of green, form this distinctive façade (Photo: Jens Kirchner). BOTTOM RIGHT: Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, completed in 2012, museum for modern and contemporary art (Photo: Jannes Linders).


Anticipating architecture’s future while providing for present-day needs A look into how one architectural firm manages to build everyday realities while staying on top of the challenges of changing demands. TEXT: JAIME SCHWARTZ | PHOTOS: BENTHEM CROUWEL

Whether you know it or not, you have most likely experienced a Benthem Crouwel design as they are the architecture firm behind many of the top public institutions and transportation hubs in the Netherlands. Founded in 1979 by Jan Benthem and Mels Crouwel, the firm has maintained its talents for over 30 years creating the practical yet innovative designs behind some of area's most iconic buildings and public projects. Whether it's working on a renovation or building something completely new, the firm has an expert ability to find unequivocal solutions, lending originality to each project. Benthem Crouwel is

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involved in projects worldwide and has developed a strong presence in Germany too.

that sense, actually, all of our projects are unique, and are therefore different from any predecessor.”

For Benthem Crouwel, each project begins by discovering its essence: Analysing a building's future use, the history of its location and determining the sense of place and meaning it has to the public. “From this specific analysis, all design processes commence. As the parameters for the analysis differ from project to project, our design approach almost inevitably leads to distinct solutions and, consecutively, to an individual identity for every design job. In

Since the firm's founding, sustainability has been an integral part of their design process. A project's ecological, economic and social impact are taken into consideration and its final outcome strikes a balance between all three. “We continuously look for the optimal – though not necessarily most obvious – solution to a design problem. We pay close attention to the functionality and internal logic of buildings and complexes. Benthem Crouwel takes pride in

Discover Benelux | Design Feature | Benthem Crouwel

combining a signature style with compactness, simplicity, integrated ecosystems and an efficient use of materials.” Much of the firm's work centres on the cultural and transportation needs of the public. Besides designing popular museums and venues such as the Stedelijk Museum, the Ziggo Dome, and RAI Exhibition and Congress Centre, the firm also tackles some of the Netherlands’ biggest infrastructure projects. For the past 25 years Benthem Crouwel have served as the chief architects for Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, a hub that has become one of the world's most important and acclaimed. “Our approach is broadly valued: Fifty million people travel through Schiphol Airport every year, more than the population of the Republic of Korea.” For the past several years the airport has been voted ‘Europe’s Preferred Airport’ and is ranked fourth worldwide. Their critical accolades and a growing focus towards establishing better commuting options in the Netherlands has pushed Benthem Crouwel to the forefront of several large transportation projects. “Com-

muting is commonplace in a small country like the Netherlands, with a vast metropolitan area of comparatively small centres: even our capital, Amsterdam, has less than one million inhabitants. This explains the large number of railway-related projects that our firm has been involved in.” Recent projects include Rotterdam Central Station, the Randstad metropolitan district, and a brand new, seven station underground metropolitan railway in Amsterdam. “We are now completing five central railway stations, many with high speed links to neighbouring countries and all of these projects will be used by a large number of people. We designed these transport hubs for easy navigation with light, transparent and welcoming structures that have individual appeal. In the future, Utrecht Central Station will accommodate 180 million passengers annually. Every single one of them can expect to be well taken care of, by providing him or her with full comfort, optimal functionality and a contemporary, yet timeless, aesthetic.” Addressing the influence social and technological change has on our engagement

with public space, the firm published Five Archetypes for a Changing World, which has recently been developed into an exhibition too. Inspired by their completion of five exemplary architectural spaces over the past 18 months the publication examines the specific architectural archetypes of these projects, questioning the use and relevance of 19th century names for architectural spaces, such as department store or railway station, in the multiplicity of our rapidly changing world. The publication also outlines how our contemporary expectations have transformed architectural needs, necessitating flexible designs that can adapt to dualities of usage, something the firm has been able successfully respond to. “Benthem Crouwel Architects design for the future and new technologies inspire us to devise innovative solutions. Our approach allows for evolution in our designs, in our architectural language, shape, choice of material, colour, and daylight and/or artificial light influence, continuously and from project to project.”

TOP LEFT: Fletcher Hotel, Amsterdam, completed in 2013. The 60m high hotel, comprised of 120 rooms and an entirely glass facade (Photo: Jannes Linders). BOTTOM LEFT: Partners at Benthem Crouwel, top to bottom and left to right: Marcel Blom, Marten Wassmann, Markus Sporer, Joost Vos, Mels Crouwel, Jan Benthem (Photo: Koos Breukel). RIGHT: Rotterdam Central Station, Rotterdam, completed in 2014. Platforms have a largely transparent roof some 250 metres long spanning the entire track zone (Photo: Jannes Linders).

Issue 5 | May 2014 | 23

Discover Benelux | Design Feature | Equilibre Deco


The interior design mentors TEXT: PHIL GALE | PHOTOS: EQUILIBRE DECO

Interior design is a potential minefield, we want to express ourselves with the decoration of our homes, but don’t know how to transfer our ideas into reality; Equilibre Deco can skilfully mentor you to your perfect interior.

tastes I can mentor you on creating your interior.”

“I am not someone who imposes a design,” starts Katty Chacun, the creative behind Luxembourg’s Equilibre Deco, “I work closely with my clients to find out what they want, then suggest items and give them a full design for their interiors.”

More than just coaching, Equilibre Deco offers a full range of services to complete your interior, Chacun expands: “If you want a design so you can do the work yourself or want me to tell you which shops and artisans to use, I can do that. I offer everything you need – from basic coaching through to project managing the work on your interior, because my aim is to give you the interior you want.”

With 20 years of experience in interiors, Chancun can aid with everything from a colour scheme, room layout and furniture to give you am interior that fits your needs. Chacun continues: “The key is to discover what you want. After getting to know your

The notion of a bespoke design process is certainly a new way of looking at interior design, but Equilibre Deco really does deliver, Chacun concludes: “The space we live in is a reflection of us and with our coaching you can really achieve something personal.”

TOP: A completed kitchen design. BOTTOM: The creative process can be performed collaboratively with Equilibre Deco or they can act as mentors, guiding you through the process. Designers and Artisans d’Art expo:

Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Golf


Founded on June 11, 1991, the Luxembourg Golf Federation (LFG) is set to celebrate its quarter century anniversary in 2016. While originally comprising of a trio of clubs with similar perspectives and goals, the federation’s three founding members (the Golf-Club Club Grand-Ducal, Kiuoka Country Club and Golf-Club Clervaux) are now accompanied by three further golf clubs. As golf grew in popularity in Luxembourg in the nineties, the Grand Duchy witnessed a growth in the development of golf provision with the building of new courses: Golf-Club Gaichel (1993), GolfClub of Luxembourg-Belenhaff (1994) and Christnach Golf & Country Club (1994). The FLG, now representing six affiliated golf clubs, manages approximately 4,000 licences and holds a leading rank among the 60 federations that are members of

the National Olympic Committee of Luxembourg (COSL). Furthermore, the FLG is a member of the European Golf Association (EGA) and the International Golf Federation (IGF). Luxembourg’s history with golf goes back decades and the sport’s influence has been widespread; the EGA was founded in Luxembourg on the 20th November 1937 and had the honour of celebrating its 75th anniversary in Luxembourg in 2012 with its 44 member countries and many invites coming from the R & A St Andrews, IGF, PGA and Ryder cup. With the FLG headquarters established at the Golf of Luxembourg-Belenhaff in Junglinster, its missions and objectives revolve around their desire to promote the sport, making it accessible to many. Encouraging, developing and overseeing golf activities in the Grand Duchy of Luxem-

bourg is one of its key tasks, along with defending the common interests of the affiliated golf clubs in Luxembourg. Providing support and assistance to Luxembourg golfers at a national and international level is a further priority, as is respecting the golfing rules published by the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.

Luxembourg Golf Federation's President Jean-Marie Thoma

Issue 5 | May 2014 | 25

Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Golf

The exquisite pairing of golf and gastronomy in Luxembourg A golfer’s paradise in the heart of the countryside, the family-run Golf de Luxembourg attracts players young and old with its inclusive initiatives, modern approach and friendly atmosphere. And with a charming Club House restaurant serving up classic French and Luxembourgeois specialities, you needn’t be a golfing fan to be seduced. TEXT: ANNA PARKIN | PHOTOS: GOLF DE LUXEMBOURG

Set between Grünewald forest and the popular Petite Suisse region, Golf de Luxembourg is spread across 120 hectares of long and rolling circuits, where natural obstacles emerge via enchanting scenery – a stream, wetlands and shimmering lakes.

Ace location Seduced by this verdant central Luxembourg location, with its panoramic views and land prime for golfing, sibling duo Jean and Marc Weidert originally had the idea for Golf de Luxembourg in the late 1980s. Constructed from scratch, it was designed by Green Concept under the supervision of America’s Larry Kreh, a collaborator with leading architects in both Japan and the States.

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The course has now been up and running for over 20 years and is still under the control of the same family. Despite being just 17 kilometres from Luxembourg City, Golf de Luxembourg’s rural setting makes for a peaceful game. “This is the perfect setting, so calm, surrounded by greenery; you’re playing in the middle of nature!” enthuses Madame Annick Weidert, whose father was central to the conception of the course.

Family friendly Now involved in all aspects of managing the family business, Madame Weidert explains that she and her family are keen for golf to shed its clichéd perception. “Golf must be seen differently. Generally, in Lux-

embourg it isn’t elitist; it isn’t just for certain types of people. We welcome a real mix of players, from the really experienced to families with children,” she explains. “We like to see a real blend of people here and that shows when you look around…” Open daily, Golf de Luxembourg offers lessons and clinics for both members and non-members, while there’s a practice with a chipping green, putting green and three target greens to hone one’s skills. There’s also the compact ‘3 Par 3/27’ course, with nine different starting points and three greens for 27 types of game. For players with a competitive streak, friendly tournaments are arranged by the club.

Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Golf

Regular events such as Ladies Day and Seniors Day ensure that all important mix of clientele, while younger players are enticed thanks to student rates for 21-25 year olds. For even younger players, entry is free for Under-12s of all levels, while Over-12s can enjoy a very modest junior rate. “It’s really important for us to get young people excited about golf,” says Madame Weidert. “We have children as young as six having lessons. Although I would say any earlier than that is a little too young, it’s best to start early.” The assortment of ages playing at Golf de Luxembourg is echoed by the variety of languages that can be heard on site. While around half of the club’s regular golfers are Luxembourgeois, the other half come from around 30 different countries.

Classic to a tee Those visiting from across the Channel will feel particularly at home in Golf de Luxembourg’s charming Club House, which is surrounded by the protected land of an 18th-century farm and makes a popular wedding reception venue. “The Club House was designed with a traditional aesthetic, very much in keeping with the idea of the great classic golf courses,” says Madame Weidert of the 200-year-old building, whose lintel bears the Latin words ‘Deo principi amicoque optimo aperi’ (God, Prince and friend be welcome). It’s the Club House restaurant where golfers come to refuel, whether they want to discuss handicaps from the comfort of the light veranda or switch off and admire the panoramic views over the course from the outdoor terrace. Service is continuous to account for those seemingly never-end-

Golf de Luxembourg, centrally located just outside of Luxembourg's capital, is a rural golfing paradise for beginners to pros.

ing playoffs. “It’s important for players to be able to enjoy a meal whenever they like without their games having to be restricted,” explains Madame Weidert.

Local delicacies Open daily except for Mondays, the restaurant also welcomes the general public, offering moderately priced seasonal food. Among the Luxembourgeois specialities on offer is La Bouchée à la Reine, a type of vol-au-vent filled with chicken and mushrooms, while the dessert menu includes trusted French favourites such as Crème Brûlée and Chocolate Fondant. Head chef David Martinez joined the restaurant in 2005, working his way up to

being at the helm in 2012. A tradition for long-lasting staff extends across the estate. “We’ve had pretty much the same personnel here since the beginning, so when people come back they always see the same familiar and well-loved faces,” explains Madame Weidert. “We’re a club in the truest sense of the word, a proper family business where all of our golfers feel like family too,” she says, keen to emphasise that the mood at Golf de Luxembourg is far from cliquey. “Everyone knows each other here, and we’re always happy to welcome new people into the fold!”

Issue 5 | May 2014 | 27

Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Golf


H U I Z I N G :

On his game, graduating and golf courses The Netherlands is a country known for providing a select bunch of top players, and the limelight once again shone on the lowlands last year as their breakthrough player was promoted to the European Tour for 2014. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | MAIN PHOTO: PETRI OESCHGER / GALLO IMAGES

The well-spoken and bright Daan Huizing, born in Zwolle in 1990, is one of the youngest pro golfers in the world today. Well-rounded enough to fit his training around his university degree in Utrecht, the 23-year-old graduated in April 2013, allowing him to work fulltime on his swing. “There were gaps in my game,” he admits modestly, “so now I’m able to invest more and more time and it’s leading to improvement.” Improvement came immediately after graduation with two wins on the Challenge Tour, for which Huizing gained considerable

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praise – and a rapid promotion to the European Tour. “It all went so quickly last year. I have been working towards the European Tour for so long and now I’m there.” Yet the step up from Challenge to European Tour is a remarkable one, so how is Huizing handling the big time? “In the Challenge Tour there is only a bunch of guys who have the potential to win, but it’s completely different in the European Tour – there is a full field of great players every single week who could win.”

Huizing is talking to Discover Benelux from his home course of The Dutch, twenty kilometres from Rotterdam. His schedule has been hectic and he’s grateful for the week at home in mid-March. “I’m very lucky with the weather this week,” he laughs, it’s an almost balmy 12 degrees Celsius on the day in question and set to rise over the coming weekend. Almost six months every year is spent competing, he calculates: “If I play 25 tournaments a year, and each one lasts a

Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Golf

week, then it’s half the year.” Training comes next on his list of priorities – both mental and physical. “Learning to deal with distractions is really important, and strengthening my routine is also key.” When asked about the physical demands of golf, Huizing replies: “It is not a tough life, but it does take up a substantial amount of hours. They’re long days and I have to forego lots of things as well as staying physically really fit – I think it’s only in Florida where people ride golf buggies, I always walk miles!” Ever conscious that if he lets his game slip, “there is always someone who’ll take your place.”

green and you can practise well here.” His second-favourite home country course is the exclusive Hilversumsche in amongst the trees, while he aspires to play at Augusta. “Playing the Masters would be great. It’s very tough,” says Huizing in awe. “I do like beautiful courses with views, but

St Andrews with its history and tradition is another great course to play.” Huizing will be touching down in Morocco, Spain and China all within the next month, and his goal is to keep the card for the European Tour for the following year.

At home in the Netherlands, Huizing spends his days with his childhood coach. He believes that he wouldn’t have got as far as he has if it hadn’t been for his coach. In his eyes, it is definitely worth putting in the effort to find a good mentor for those looking to embark on a golf career. “Learning correctly from the best is what you need to do,” he explains. “I’ve had the same coach since the year 2000, and now he’s director of golf at The Dutch so I always come here. He doesn’t go everywhere with me though – I normally travel alone to tournaments.” But with golf being such a tight-knit sport, Huizing regularly bumps into other golfers or caddies while travelling to tournaments, and enjoys the camaraderie and respect shown by players. “It’s a gentleman’s game,” he says matter-of-factly, “Everyone’s polite, and we all help each other out.” Growing up with a keen golfing father ensured Huizing’s introduction to the sport. “Plastic clubs on par 3 courses on holiday,” he says with a chuckle. Throughout school he received “more than enough support” to balance textbooks and training, but now the economics degree is behind him he’s delighted to be able to spend as much time as possible outdoors. “Sometimes I’m in sponsorship meetings or inside for a few hours,” he says, “and then when I get outside all I can think is how good it is to be back in the fresh air.” With regards to where to play, it’s a nobrainer for Huizing. “My coach and physio are both at The Dutch, it’s got a good

Daan Huizing during day 3 of the South African Open Championship at Glendower Golf Club on November 23, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo: Luke Walker/Sunshine Tour /Gallo Images

Issue 5 | May 2014 | 29

Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Golf


Don’t leave it to putt luck TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PRESS PHOTOS

As you explore the Netherlands you’ll no doubt stumbled across a number of well-manicured golf courses in amongst the windmills and canals. But with the expertise of Holland Golf Travel you can rest assured that you’ll arrive at these courses in style – rather than stumbling. With over 250 golf courses in the country, there is certainly enough fairway for foreign visitors, says Hans van Rooden, the amiable founder of Holland Golf Travel. A passionate golfer, he’d been on many a foreign golf holiday before setting up the fast-growing company in 2012. A chance meeting with an ambitious acquaintance led to the idea of golf tourism in the Netherlands. A previously unheard-of concept in the lowlands, the company essentially provide package holidays for avid golfers. Included in each of their packages – of which there

are over 30 – is a stay in a luxury hotel, green fees for nearby top golf courses, and a chance to acquaint yourself with Dutch culture, history and cuisine. When asked what’s so attractive about playing golf in the Netherlands, Van Rooden doesn’t hesitate before reeling off a list of reasons: the abundance of courses, the great Dutch infrastructure and the high density of courses. From his own personal and professional experience in the golf industry, it is Van Rooden’s eye for fine detail that is key to the success of the company. He’s keen to highlight the high-end golf experience he provides. Citing the House of Golf package, which includes a stay in the 5* House of Golf hotel in Noordwijk, a picturesque town on the Dutch coast, and daily green fees at Holland’s three most beautiful

courses: Kennemer Golf and Country Club, Noordwijk and The Royal Haagse Golf and Country Club – his personal favourite, he’s quick to add. Playing host to European Tour events certainly testifies to the quality of a course, and nowhere is this more apparent than at The Royal Haagse and Kennemer. Incidentally, the KLM-open in September is held annually at Kennemer and trips around this international competition can be arranged. Transporting your own golf equipment can be a costly business with airlines, but your golf bag worries can be quelled, as naturally Holland Golf Travel are able to provide first-rate clubs. Alternatively, if your club is your slice of treasure, the ease with which the Netherlands can be reached by train or ferry should not be underestimated.

TOP: Kennemer Golf and Country Club in Zandvoort (Photo: BOTTOM LEFT: Hotel Huis ter Duin in the coastal resort of Noordwijk where Holland Golf Travel organise great golfing holidays (Photo: Huis ter Duin). MIDDLE: The Royal Hague-Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club in Wassenaar (Photo: Pauline van Till). RIGHT: Founder Hans van Rooden loves nothing more than spending his days on the golf course (Photo: Hans van Rooden).

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TOP LEFT: The view of Altea from Liberty Resort’s new holiday apartments. BELOW: Park Hunzebergen in Drenthe – a taste of luxury in Holland. RIGHT: Liberty Resorts have luxury bungalows and villas with or without private pools.



From tropical islands, beach resorts and slick urban city breaks, Liberty Resorts’ owner Jeroen van Mierlo has been everywhere, but he finds unquestionable appeal in the classics: France, Spain and his home country of the Netherlands. These countries have long lured sun-seeking travellers from northern Europe to their shores, valleys and cities. With the Dutch company of Liberty Resorts now in charge of the complete management of several luxury villa and bungalow parks, Van Mierlo is keen for everyone to take a slice of the luxury. “Our name stands for freedom. We’re only happy if we’ve contributed to your enjoyment of your holiday. It’s all about the feeling of freedom, like our name,” he explains. “We offer quality over quantity, that’s why none of our luxury parks have more than 100 holiday lets. Every single one of our properties has to meet strict high standards.”

It’s difficult not to be captivated by the surrounding countryside of the villas. Whole days can be spent on the enormous terrace of your pool, or strolling around the region, hailing a buggy and heading to the golf course, the pool or the beach for freshly grilled fish and a swim in the warm water.

harboured a passion for golf. “We offer a special golf-orientated holiday, so why not treat yourself to a week at Domaine les Forges?” he suggests. The 19th century estate is nestled in a rustic retreat, ideal for some undisturbed relaxation and refreshing golf on the neighbouring 27-hole course.

From the chateaus and rivers of France’s Provence, Ardeche or Poitiers, or the tapasfuelled, sun-drenched Costa Blanca, Liberty Resorts have a range of options available. Closer to home is the Park Hunzebergen in the Dutch town of Drenthe, “a place where everyone greets each other on the street.”

For Van Mierlo, their brand new luxury apartments in Altea, Spain, are in the diary for this summer. Built on the mountainside, almost all the apartments offer panoramic views over Altea. Liberty Resort’s villa park in France is a golfer’s paradise, and Van Mierlo has long

1 week stay at a luxury villa at the Domaine les Forges 1 x French breakfast 1 x three course dinner VIP Packet 1 week Greenfee 4 person villa: now just €599. 6 person villa: now just €749. Private pool for an additional €125. This offer is valid up to and including 29 June 2014 and for any holidays after 31 August 2014. Use the code Benelux when booking.

Issue 5 | May 2014 | 31

Discover Benelux | Special Theme | WWI in Belgium

ABOVE LEFT: The travelling exhibition The Great War in general (© IV-NIOOO. Photo: Jerusalem Pierard). RIGHT: The Belgian Military Cemetary in Houthulst (© IV-NIOOO). BELOW: Occupied Belgium was dependant on foreign aid during the war (© Koninklijk Paleis Belgie).


On 4th August 1914, the first German troops crossed the Belgian frontier at Gemmenich. For the Germans on their race to Paris, the neutral country of Belgium was merely a roadblock to be cleared from their path. The fortified cities of Liege and Namur were the first to fall, and the Germans then moved in the direction of the fortified enclosure of Antwerp. Brussels, the capital city, was itself not worth fighting for. After the Fall of Antwerp, the Belgian troops fled in retreat towards the IJzer. Here, in October 1914 the possibility of flooding the IJzer plain was first discussed. This huge mass of water separated the German and Belgian soldiers and stalled the frontline, holding it fast for four years. Life in occupied Belgium was little better. ‘Poor little Belgium’ was able to count on strong international support and received tons of food via the Nationaal Comité voor Hulp en Voeding (National Committee for Aid and Nutrition) which saw the starving Belgians

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through to end of the war. While the First World War came to an end on 11th November 1918, many Belgian women waited in vain for their fathers, husbands, brothers and sons to return. The country and its inhabitants were in pieces. From 2014 to 2018 the first disaster of the 20th century is being commemorated across the globe. The Belgian National Institute for Veterans and Victims of War, set up in the aftermath of the First World War, strongly advocates the Great Commemoration. For this purpose, the Institute has created two travelling exhibitions which are open to the public. The exhibition ‘De Groote Oorlog in grote lijnen’ (The First

World War in brief) sets World War I in an international, Belgian and local context and deals with the basics of the war, The First World War for Dummies you could say. The second exhibition is entitled ‘The Congo and the First World War’ and sheds a light not only on the former Belgian colony during the war, but also on the lives of the 32 Congolese soldiers who fought in Belgian uniforms in Namur, Antwerp and along the IJzer. Both exhibitions are free to visit and information is available in Dutch, French and English. Alongside the exhibitions, the Institute plans to launch a website at the end of 2014 which will list and detail the approximately 40,000 Belgian soldiers who fell during the war. The website will be called ‘The Belgian War Dead Register.’ For more information about the various projects or if you would like to know more about the location and timings of the exhibitions, please visit: or have a look on

Discover Benelux | Special Theme | WWI in Belgium


With 2014 marking the centenary of World War I, visitors will be flocking to the sites of some of the world’s most brutal battles. While many tours commemorating the fallen of the four year war will centre on Ypres and Passchendaele, there is a vast area of Belgium which came under fire during these tumultuous years and which should not be overlooked. The region of Gaume, directly on the border to France, with its warm climate and stunning scenery, bore witness to a tug of war between the French and the Germans. Village of Louppy-sur-Loison

In August 1914 dreadful battles took place on the Franco-Belgian border between the French and German armies. On 22 August 1914, at the peak of the fighting, 81,000 soldiers were killed, injured or made prisoners. Numerous French and Belgian villages were partly destroyed and several hundreds of civilians became the innocent victims of these battles. The Battle of the Frontiers tour offers a wider perspective on the suffering of the military and civilians alike in this southern Belgian province. Gaume’s tourist office have set aside a 48-hour period in which to present an informative yet heart-warming tour of their region. Taking in the citadel of Montmédy, the tragedy of Ethe village, the museum of the Battle of the Frontiers in Gaume, architectural gems of Louppy-surLoison, the Florenville war memorial, the 14-18 walking tour in Rossignol as well as indulging in some of the finest artisanal Belgian chocolates along the way. While it’s a tour that’ll tug at your heart sleeves, it’s also a chance to visit some lesser-known, picturesque Belgian villages with a French twist.

TOUR ITINERARY Day 1: 10:00 am Citadelle de Montmédy This stop offers an understanding of how French soldiers lived in the citadel and also demonstrates what the German occupation meant. The Military Cemetery of Ethe Photo: Adele Reuter

Ethe village Ethe was one of the villages which suffered most during the fighting in August 1914. Musée de la Bataille des Frontières en Gaume in Latour Or Musée Gaumais in Virton An exhibition of paintings by Nester Outer depicting various war scenes, destruction, and civilian life during the First World War. Day 2: 10:00 am Village of Louppy-sur-Loison or Stenay town First World War Guided Walk, Rossignol Florenville War Memorial Price starts at €127 pp. including stay at a 2** hotel or €35 per person per daily excursion. To make a reservation, please contact Gaume’s Maison du Tourisme: Phone: 0032 (0)63 57 89 04

Issue 5 | May 2014 | 33

Discover Benelux | Special Theme | WWI in Belgium

Antwerp builds bridges to commemorate the First World War The stories of the First World War, one of the defining events of the last century, cross borders and continents. Today, entrenched in the psyche of future generations is the concept of peace, and it is peace which pervades Antwerp’s Peace Centre’s approach to the centenary. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PRESS PHOTOS

With three pillars of events focusing on history, refugees and culture, the aim of Antwerp’s Vredescentrum (Peace Centre), a non-profit centre active in providing peace and remembrance education, is to connect the past, present and future as part of the city-wide centenary programme. The Peace Centre’s Ann Govaert explains why they’re at the helm of the commemorations: “Our angle of vision has always been peace and the difficulty to achieve it, and so this commemoration programme, Antwerp 14-18, with over 50 different Belgian and international partners, continues our vision.” Antwerp 14-18 consists of historical walks, lectures, exhibitions, audio trails, art pro-

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jects and more. Finding the balance between supplying knowledge and offering an experience has been the main concern of the centre. “Fortunately we’ve not experienced such a disaster again since the Second World War but it’s still vital for young people to learn about such situations. The human side of the war, of refugees and their experiences, is as important today as it was back then.” “Peace, democracy and freedom,” she pauses for a moment. “These are normal for most of us in Western Europe but there are still countries which are undergoing conflict and the link between the past and present, between Belgium in 1914 and Syria today is

a connection which we’re keen to explore.” With an interactive trail for children exploring peace and conflict, they’re confronted with challenges which require them to work together and build bridges. Govaert speaks proudly of the Peace Centre’s collaboration with seven of Antwerp’s most prominent museums: “Our message is that Antwerp builds bridges. Both figuratively, linking the past and present, across generations, between the different project partners and Belgians and foreigners, but also literally by reconstructing the pontoon bridge which served Antwerp’s residents and refugees well during the early months of the war.”

Discover Benelux | Special Theme | WWI in Belgium

OPPOSITE PAGE: The Peace Bridge which will be reconstructed and passable. ABOVE LEFT: The MuHKA exhibition Panamarenko Universum, a retrospective of one of Antwerp's post-war avant garde artists. TOP MIDDLE: The Moderns. Art during the Great War at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp. BOTTOM MIDDLE: The Refugees at the Van Mieghem Museum. RIGHT: Far from the war at the Red Star Line Museum

After the German’s successful assault on the fortified cities of Liege and Namur in early August 1914, their sights turned to Antwerp, one of northern Europe’s most powerful mercantile cities, and the city soon writhed under the attack, succumbing only after almost three weeks of heavy bombardment. Govaert explains: “At first the city centre was attacked by zeppelins – low-flying, unlit, noiseless airships – which caused lots of destruction and even some deaths. Antwerp-born artist Panamarenko’s exhibition at the museum of modern art (MuHKA) is strongly related to these zeppelins.” Granted the role of National Reduit (Stronghold) in 1830, Antwerp was the country’s final defence and housed the army, royal family and government for a number of weeks in 1914. By early October the fate of Antwerp was sealed. Thousands gathered on the banks of the river Schelde, desperate to cross and seek refuge in the Netherlands, UK or France. Several temporary pontoon bridges were hastily assembled across the river by the army. One of these, the pontoon bridge, 390 metres long, saw tens of thousands of people pass over it until it was blown up on 9 October, 1914. “The pontoon bridge was initially for supplies,” expands Govaert, “but after a time it became an escape route.” Now, the Peace

Bridge will be reconstructed as part of the centenary commemorations and the stories of those who benefitted from its position are being collected. On the first weekend in October, 100,000 people are welcomed to cross the river from right to left, walking in the footsteps of the refugees who fled Antwerp. On the left bank there will be a wide cultural programme on offer, while back in the city the cooperating museums will be open with special temporary exhibitions. While most exhibitions will run between May-December, it is this weekend in October (3, 4, 5) that is the focus. With a 5 euro ticket to cross the bridge, you may also enter all the venues involved, for free or at a discounted rate. The MAS, the MuHKA, FotoMuseum, Red Star Line Museum, Eugeen Van Mieghem, Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, House of Literature and the

Middelheim are some of the venues to host special commemorative centenary events and the spectrum of artists, both from Belgium and abroad is significant. The full list of events is available on

One and a half million citizens made a desperate retreat from the city, with one million seeking refuge in Holland, 250,000 in the UK and 250,000 in France, and the city bid goodbye to 20 per cent of its population over these bridges. The pontoon bridge will be reconstructed by the Belgian and Dutch Armies and opened on October 3-4-5, 2014. Tickets to cross one way on Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday are available at

ABOVE LEFT: The mass exodus out of Antwerp in 1914. RIGHT: Lieutenant H Baldwin, as part of an exhibition entitled Shooting Range – Photography in the firing line. ©FotoMuseum.

Issue 5 | May 2014 | 35

Discover Benelux | Special Theme | WWI in Belgium

A purifying journey through time and nature TEXT: HARUN OSMANOVIC | PRESS PHOTOS

Malmedy, in the East Cantons of Belgium, is a small town with a very unique and thrilling history. The gateway to the high Fens, it is located at the foot of a plateau which was declared a nature reserve in the late 1950s. Malmedy is a get-away destination like no other. The nature, forests and scenery will not fail to seduce you; a pictorial patchwork of colours, it is both pretty and peaceful. However, make no mistake, the tumultuous past of the town will also enthuse every history buff. “Malmedy was one of two Francophone towns that were German before World War One,” explains Jean Maus, Director of the Royal Syndicat d'Initiative of Malmedy. A hundred years later, to commemorate the event, a unique collection of WWI artefacts will be presented.


The exhibition will follow the story of two local soldiers from the time, it will include contemporary uniforms, and will take place in the Malmundarium, an 18th Benedictine monastery whose history alone you ought to discover. “In 2014, we will also hold an exhibition of 60 original etchings by Rembrandt,” says Imelda Heuschen, in charge of the Malmundarium, “along with a show presenting sculptors from Zimbabwe with a very interesting technique using serpentine.” The name of the city presumably comes from the latin expression Malo Mundarum, purifying the evil. Whether you are fond of art, have a passion for the history of Europe or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, take a chance on purity.

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TOP: Malmedy. BOTTOM: The exhibition space at the Malmundarium, a 18th benedictine monastery. Photo: Pierre Coupez

Discover Benelux | See & Do | Clogs Museum and Factory LEFT: Three generations working together at the clogs museum and factory.

The museum shows the life of the clog throughout history. While some have special decorations, others have different shapes. There are some rather special and modern clogs, and it is pretty remarkable to see the ones with high heels and the one adorned with Swarovski crystals. The workshop demonstrates the creation of a Dutch clog in a mere fifteen minutes. “We have a machine that dates back from 1935. It is perfect to show visitors how the clog is made. Modern machines work with the same principle, it is just the technique that speeds up the process.”


The Dutch are world famous for their wooden shoes. There are all kinds of types for all kinds of occasions. Bridal clogs, fishermen’s clogs, peat clogs, ice clogs , smugglers’ clogs. “The smugglers had clogs with a reversed sole. This means that the footprints were in the opposite direction to their real footprints,” explains Kooijman, whose love for clogs is contagious. Willem Kooijman (58) is the proud owner of the clogs museum and factory in ‘De Zaanse Schans’ in Zaandam, near Amsterdam. It remains a family business today, set up by his parents in 1974. Now, the third generation has started working there as well. The wooden shoe may look uncomfortable, but a good clog has an orthopedic foot shape and it’s an official safety shoe. “A car can drive over a clog. There might be a little crack, but your foot will be fine,” says Willem proudly. “The oldest clog found in the Netherlands dates from 1230. The shape hasn’t changed that much since then. That is the power of the Dutch clog.”

Life with clogs is different every day. “I’ve seen the entire world pass through here,” says Willem. “Sumo wrestlers, astronauts, film stars, musicians, politicians. Clogs unite, I’ve seen it in my shop. The Americans standing next to Russians, looking at the making of clogs like brothers.”

Willem’s love for the clog is infectious. “To celebrate our shop’s 40th anniversary (April 2014), we’ve rebuilt the large clog in front of our store. The previous clog was old and affected by the weather, but the new clog is perfect. The proportions are better, but otherwise he is exactly the same. A perfect clog for a 65-foot-tall man!”

Want to experience the traditional Dutch culture? De Zaanse Schans is located just outside Amsterdam. It is a popular tourist attraction with historical houses, farms, museums and windmills. From Amsterdam Central Station take bus 391 (50 minutes) or the train (15 minutes) to Koog-Zaandijk station.

The clogs museum and factory in ‘De Zaanse Schans’ in Zaandam, near Amsterdam.

Issue 5 | May 2014 | 37

Discover Benelux | See & Do | Gastronomic Olympics

Gastronomic Olympics Participating in ‘the Olympics of the kitchen’ represents the pinnacle of any top chef’s career – yet winning in Stockholm this May doesn’t mark the end of it – it’s all about reaching the world final in January 2015 in Lyon, France. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | LE PHOTOGRAPH/SIRHA

Representing Luxembourg at Bocuse D’Or Europe culinary competition is the 33-yearold Damien Klein. The outspoken, tattooed Luxembourger shuns tradition and approaches food with an ardent zeal – a convention which has seen him rise in prominence, star in three TV-cookery series in Germany and Luxembourg, and gain a bit of a rep as a kitchen rebel. Although still relatively young, Klein has long since had the eyes of the culinary elite on him. His avant-garde cuisine first attracted attention at Apoteca in Luxembourg City, and led to bigger and better restaurants in Germany and at home in Luxembourg. With the European championships of the world’s most prestigious gastronomic competition taking place in Stockholm on 7 and 8 May, we catch up with Klein in the kitchen, busy prac-

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tising the complex dishes he’ll have five hours and 35 minutes to complete on the day. Spread over two days, twenty of Europe’s best chefs will prepare two dishes for the 14-member jury. In an atmosphere akin to a football stadium, thousands of spectators will be watching their every move, explains Klein. “Every day is spent training. Since I won the Luxembourg round back in De-

cember this is all I’ve done. The preparation has to be perfect, it has to be exact. I have to capture the flavour of the design,” he says fervently. Each competitor has a select team to assist them with the two dishes. Being held in Sweden, it’s only fitting for local food to take pride of place: the fish plate consists of coalfish, Belon oysters and blue mussels, while Swedish pig represents the meat challenge. “It really does have to look like a work of art,” explains Klein. With twelve countries going further to the world final in Lyon next January, how does Klein rate his chances? “I keep getting asked that,” he laughs modestly, “and I promise you, we are doing our absolute best to get to the final.”

Discover Benelux | See & Do | A Fine Time for Food


The month of May: a fine time for food In a city with hordes of museums, canals and bicycles, it is only fitting that food ranks high on the agenda and this is never truer than in the month of May. Marking Amsterdam’s ode to food is the Food Film Festival, Rolling Kitchens, the Amsterdam Coffee Festival and a whole host of other edible entertainments. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PRESS PHOTOS

For decades, food has been confined to restaurants and cafes, with outside eating revolving around a slightly wobbly and difficult to light barbeque or a less-thangourmet picnic. But over the last few years, our attitude to dining has undergone something of a facelift. The boundaries between fashion and food are becoming ever more blurred. Honing in on the surge of popularity for street food, fashionable chefs are donning denim and plaid, decking out old VW camper vans or ramshackle trailers, and it has never proved so profitable. Gatherings such as Amsterdam’s Weekend van de Rollende Keukens [Weekend of the Rolling Kitchens] is one such weekend

which – when blessed by good weather – entices thousands of hungry hipsters. Igor Sorko of Mister Kitchen, the company responsible for the mass influx of petrol-guzzlers onto the Westergasfabriek terrain, explains that they’re expecting 15,000 people on each day of the final weekend in May. Hip, driveable eateries offering a mindblowing variety of food is not a sight you’ll see every day but it is certainly one that you’ll treasure.

the country, but now Mister Kitchen are inundated with requests from other rolling kitchens. “Over 300 food trucks register but we can only host a maximum of 130 of them,” he sighs. But 130 different food trucks must mean such a plethora of food, what delight shouldn’t be missed? “All Rolling Kitchens are so different that I can't really mention a highlight. But people have to try our Butch&Dutch sausages and our beautiful rhubarb liqueur Rabarcello.”

“We really didn’t see the popularity coming when we first started out seven years ago as a small open air restaurant on De Westergasfabriek,” recounts Sorko. Back then there were only around 25 food trucks in

Nouveau rough “Amsterdam has always had a tradition of having restaurants in special locations – often [in disused or forgotten] industrial areas,” explains Sorko. Consciously choos-

Issue 5 | May 2014 | 39

Discover Benelux | See & Do | A Fine Time for Food

ABOVE AND PREVIOUS PAGE: Sample a mindblowing variety of food in the outdoors at the Amsterdam’s Weekend van de Rollende Keukens (Weekend of the Rolling Kitchens).

ing these nigh on derelict buildings is a statement that appeals to many of Amsterdam’s cool creative types. The current trend, he tells us, has been dubbed ‘nouveau rough’ – Rustic-style eating with meat from rarely-eaten animals and vegetables fresh out the ground. It’s straightforward and simple, using ingredients from bygone eras, with chefs who are often young and recognisable from their tattoos and beards. Hip right across the globe in 2013 and 2014, this edginess doesn’t appear to be subsiding just yet. As Amsterdammers often prefer more intimate affairs, rough and ready locations are easy to come by among the shipyards and docks, and the choice of the NDSM-werf (shipyard) for the Amsterdam Coffee Festival on 2 and 3 May could not be better chosen. Combining coffee and artisan food, music and beverages, these two days will be a flurry of caffeine-fuelled antics, tasting the best from Europe’s top

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baristas. Expect the smell of freshly roasted beans, grilled cheese and oven-fresh cakes.

Trend-setting capitals Yet events are not limited to the odd weekend. Such is the prominence of food in the Dutch capital that even top restaurateurs are branching out and setting themselves up with temporary homes. This worldwide surge in pop-ups is having the same effect from New York to London, Amsterdam to Ankara. Embedded in the foodie scene in Amsterdam is Verity Manley, making up one of the team behind the Taste of Amsterdam, she offers her thoughts on the current trends: “Pop-up restaurants are definitely trending in Amsterdam at the moment – examples are Baut, Robert Kranenborg’s Thrill Grill en Répère. They’re full to the rafters every evening thanks to their refreshing take on your typical restaurant and their limited life – pop-ups are without a doubt ‘in’.

“Also hot in Amsterdam are food trucks – like the ones at Rollende Keukens – and Taste of Amsterdam is collaborating with the Food Truck Company to create a Taste bus, which is going to ride around Amsterdam with a famous chef as a sort of pop-up restaurant.” The capital plays host to the roving event Taste of Amsterdam in Amstelpark in May. A slightly bigger and more established fourday affair now in its sixth year: workshops, celebrity chef demos, films, discussions, tastings and much more. Attracting upwards of 25,000 thousand people, this festival caters to everyone, from the budding cook to the Michelin-starred master.

A date for your diary Another date for your diary is Restaurant Day on 17 May. This initiative invites virtually anyone to open a restaurant for one day only. Happening 4 times a year in 55 countries at the same time, Timo Santala

Discover Benelux | See & Do | A Fine Time for Food

explains in his TED talk about the concept of the Finland-born worldwide food carnival: “We all have dreams and opening up your own café or bar is a very common dream. When kids play, they play home or doctor, but on restaurant day we all play the game together. Anyone can play, anyone can participate.” The February edition of Restaurant Day saw over 60 one-day pop-ups in the Netherlands, with people flinging their garage doors wide open, scouting extra chairs for their kitchens and preparing lavish multi-course meals to delight friends, families and strangers. Sharing in the pleasure of food, and using food as a tool for integrating, is also appealing to City Food Route, an initiative set up by two amiable Amsterdammers, Tine and Floske. Their objective is to open your eyes to what’s available in your neighbourhood. Understated local restaurants, cafes and shops that deserve more attention are visited on their maps that guide you around the city’s districts. Similarly, keen foodies Hungry Birds organise intimate, handpicked tours of the capital’s best-kept foodie hangouts – street food, ethnic food and local specialities all feature. The tours can be tailored so that everyone leaves satisfied. Away from the festivals, marquees and food trucks, the food industry is blossoming on both the big and little screens. With hit TV shows such as Masterchef, Heel Holland Bakt and The Great British BakeOff, Amsterdammers are equally as excited about on-screen delights as on street ones. The Food Film Festival returns on 9, 10 and 11 May for the 4th time after 3 sold-old editions. Food and film combine to enthral mouth and mind, this is a concept created by the Youth Food Movement, a network of young chefs, farmers, and suppliers who advocate a ‘good clean and fair food chain’. Debates, discussions, films, and food provided by Michelin-starred chef Joris Bijdendijk. Food, it seems, can be just as creative and forward thinking as the rest of the capital. Competing with architecture and design, food is carving its own path and harvesting a bountiful crop of attention.

ABOVE: Food Film Fest – Workshops, screenings, discussions and food. Photos: Bart van Baardwijk/Workshop photo: Maartje Strijbis. BELOW: Taste of Amsterdam attracts upwards of 25,000 people

Amsterdam Coffee Festival 2, 3 May Restaurant Day 17 May Food Film Festival 9, 10, 11 May Taste of Amsterdam 15, 16, 17, 18 May The Weekend of the Rolling Kitchens 28, 29, 30 May and 1 June

Issue 5 | May 2014 | 41

Discover Benelux | See & Do | Belgium’s First Barbeque Academy

LEFT: The small but cosy academy is centered around this large dinner table. TOP RIGHT: For the main course an exquisitely grilled duck breast topped with rocket and mango squares. BOTTOM RIGHT: Vegetarians can try some lovely grilled mushrooms with a blue cheese stuffing.

Belgium’s first barbecue academy Two Flemish entrepreneurs and their plan to fire up Belgium's BBQ enthusiasts TEXT & PHOTOS: IMMI ABRAHAM

As you walk up to the door of 'BBQ Academy' in the quiet East-Flemish village of Asper-Gavere, the lovely smoky smell of sizzling food wafts towards you. As barbecue experts, buddies Koen Maes and Tom De Jaeger founded this one of a kind institute due to a rising demand in BBQ workshops. While Tom prepares some hors d'oeuvres al fresco, Koen chats to us about the inner workings of this unique learning place.

Who is this school meant for? KOEN MAES: “This school is for small business owners, barbecue fans, professional caterers, grilling novices. Anyone interested in the art of barbecueing, basically! Our courses range from entry-level to more haute cuisine. We even do corporate teambuilding.” What are this academy's biggest assets? MAES: “Variety, for one. We have a nice ar-

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ray of different barbecue sets, from the famous Green Egg to the Oklahoma smoker – which everyone just calls The Locomotive. We can also bank on our experience, we're both very involved in the barbecue scene both locally and internationally. My partner Tom has won several prizes with his BBQ team and I ran a barbecue catering business for years.”

the Flemish provinces and assert ourselves as a quality label.” So if you have a dad who likes his ribs the shade of burnt granite or a mum who thinks raw cod in some tin foil is the height of sophistication: the BBQ Academy might just be what everyone at the table needs!

What are your goals?

Course info:

MAES: “We want people to really enjoy the act of barbecuing and to learn new tricks. But, we don't see ourselves as know-it-alls: it's very important to have a dialogue with our 'students' and learn from them as well. We'd also love to develop our own barbecue set and we're in talks to do just that! But the bigger picture really is building our brand and expanding. We want to have academies in all five of

One sessions costs €65, VAT incl. Foods and drinks included. Max. 16 heads per course

Contact: BBQ Academy Slaapstraat 29A 9890 Asper-Gavere

Discover Benelux | Hotel of the Month | Belgium

One of Wallonia's gems, can it really get better than the Mont des Pins? A hotel ideal for both business and leisure travellers.


Mont des Pins – Something for everyone TEXT: PHIL GALE | PRESS PHOTOS

The Mont des Pins hotel, tucked away in the Luxembourg Ardennes, really has something for everyone and offers a break that will leave a lingering memory. Hidden in its secluded and charming location, 5 minutes’ drive from the well-known Walloon city of Durbuy, it is a hotel for every generation, and every walk of life. “We have a mixed and very diverse clientele who stay with us, because of the services we have on offer,” begins Sarah Rongere, responsible for marketing and communication. With everything needed for the perfect weekend break and weekday business traveller, Mont des Pins has more than enough for everyone’s wish list, Rongere continues: “With our spa and spa suites (where a private spa is linked to a suite) we are perfect for a weekend break. We also

have state of the art conference facilities, which, mixed with our wide range of rooms, are perfect for a modern day business’ needs. And we are also opening a new ultra-modern gîte on 10 May, 2014. It caters for up to 58 people with kitchen facilities, so while it is naturally perfect for large families, it is also great for team building for businesses.” With the ideal blend of conference and wellness already present, it would be easy to overlook the amazing location. Situated in the rolling green hills of the Ardennes, Mont des Pins has so much more to offer, Rongere explains: “Our diverse nature is reflected in the diversity of our surroundings, with the Luxembourg Ardennes ideal for hikers, mountain bikers and anyone who loves nature, not to forget those who love gastronomy.”

Food is also a central part of Mont des Pins, with their restaurant, Senza, offering a full range of top class cuisine, Rongere elaborates: “All of our ingredients are locally sourced because we want to offer our clients a taste of the region.” Business or pleasure, activities in the local area or relaxing in the luxury rooms and spas, being catered for or cooking for yourself, Mont des Pins has it all, making it a must-stay for anyone travelling in Wallonia.

Domaine Mont-des-Pins Mont des Pins 100, 6941 Durbuy (Bomal-sur-Ourthe), Belgium 0032 8621 2136

Issue 5 | May 2014 | 43

Discover Benelux | Restaurant of the Month | The Netherlands

R E S TA U R A N T O F T H E M O N T H , T H E N E T H E R L A N D S

MOMO: The pinnacle of hip dining TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: MOMO

Standing proudly at the pinnacle of Amsterdam’s hip dining scene is MOMO Restaurant, Bar & Kitchen. Set up in 2008 by the trendsetting cool hunter Yossi Eliyahoo, it quickly redefined the Dutch capital’s approach to dining. By day it’s the place for drinking your coffee or working at your laptop, planning a prosperous start-up, chatting with clients or resting your legs from shopping. At the crossroads of nature and contemporary cool, MOMO, located next to Park Hotel Amsterdam (, is within spitting distance of Vondelpark and PC Hooftstraat, Amsterdam’s answer to Bond Street. The name, Japanese for fresh, blossom and peaches, was chosen by Eliyahoo after much deliberation. For him, Asian cuisine is the most sophisticated cuisine to exist. “Health, taste, exoticism and simplicity define it.” MOMO is open from late morning through until late, with a lunch, dinner menu and

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late night cocktail bar, as well as the chef’s weekly specials. The food emerging from the open kitchen, headed by long-time head chef Hari Shetty, former head chef at NOBU, and a team of the world’s kitchen elite, is made for sharing. Diners are encouraged to order lots of small plates, each one more distinct and tasty than the last. Eliyahoo is particularly fond of the “really special” foie-gras sushi rolls and says the pan-Asian cuisine is perfectly complemented by the cocktail menu, especially designed by award-winning mixologists. A hand-picked team, each specialists in their own field, including designers and chefs, bring Eliyahoo’s vision to fruition. Evenings pass by in a whirl of delightful cocktails as socialising, networking and casual chitchat abound with live DJs every night providing the backdrop. Yossi Eliyahoo came to Amsterdam in 2008 after an overwhelmingly successful restaurant venture in the UK and ap-

proached the Dutch project with ambition and excitement. His aim was to create something that “perfectly complemented the city”, promising “cosmopolitan, highend Asian cuisine with a 360° bar experience.” The concept of the open kitchen and fresh design, he explains, was novel in Amsterdam. Since MOMO’s success, he’s established two further trendy Amsterdam eateries, each with their own distinctive character and clientele. All three restaurants, MOMO, Izakaya Asian kitchen & bar and The Butcher-Burger bar with the most exclusive speakeasy bar, attract celebrities and trendy locals alike. “Glamorous and elegant, as well as being fresh and upcoming,” is Eliyahoo’s description. With recent guests including The Temptations, Rihanna, Drake and Jade Jagger, it is undeniable that MOMO has certainly become something of an Amsterdam institution.

Discover Benelux | Restaurant of the Month | Luxembourg

R E S TA U R A N T O F T H E M O N T H , L U X E M B O U R G

Guddesch: Gastronomic Luxembourg with a twist TEXT: PHIL GALE | PHOTOS: GUDDESCH

Luxembourg is a country with a strong gastronomic culture. Tucked away in the countryside just north of Luxembourg City is Guddesch, a warming restaurant that continues this culture but with a refreshing twist. “Let’s say that all of our clients know where their food comes from when they come to us.” Pia Dentzer starts: “We use produce from our farm and also local produce to offer the best possible Luxembourg and modern French cuisine, all in a relaxed atmosphere.” Since starting as an outlet for their farm produce in 2009, the restaurant has grown, and the farm is not really the main focus of the business now. “We have seen a huge interest in our restaurant, which we know is due to the quality of the food we serve here,” continues Dentzer. From a set menu to À la Carte, Guddesch has something to suit all tastes. “Our set menus change weekly, whilst our À la Carte changes every three months, we are just heading into asparagus season so already planning dishes linked to that.” Guddesch is more than just a restaurant; following its success the owners have decided to add to the services they offer, Dentzer expands: “Since November we have been able to offer rooms, with the

Guddesch has seen extraordinary growth in its popularity since its early days as a simple outlet for its farm produce.

opening of our hotel, as well as our on-site bakery, cooking school and our wine collection.” Diversity is at the core of Guddesch, seeing them offer a wide range of services, but still sticking to their principles of good food. The restaurant, situated on the first floor of the building has the ability to accommodate groups of up to 50 surrounded by Feng Shui inspired décor, Dentzer continues: “We employed an expert in Feng Shui from Austria to help us create a relaxed atmosphere; it is central to allowing our clients to have the best experience.”

With meat from Limousine, fresh produce from local farmers, wine from their collection, Guddesch really has enhanced the idea of Luxembourg gastronomy, Dentzer concludes: “We are really passionate about our restaurant and work hard to provide our clients with everything they need to enjoy our gastronomic delights. Our hotel, courses and events just add to this enjoyment of good cuisine.” With clean lines and simple decor, the Feng Shui of Guddesch is as positive and appealing as the food.

Issue 5 | May 2014 | 45

Discover Benelux | Attraction of the Month | Luxembourg

AT T R A C T I O N O F T H E M O N T H , L U X E M B O U R G


The museum offers both a microcosm of European history and a window onto one of our most beguiling borderlands. The Centenary of the Great War also marks the founding of the Luxembourg Red Cross, showcased in a compelling exhibition. “Help!” also focuses on the significance of the Red Cross to us all. Luxembourg City History Museum is the city in miniature. “It’s a very vertical museum, much like our city itself, all valleys and vertiginous hills,” says spokesman Boris Fuge. “Visitors are often impressed by the spectacular panoramic lift which slices through six floors of the site, linking the upper city to the rock foundations.” Visiting Heads of State have dutifully

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traipsed round the museum but, grins Fuge, “For dignitaries, it’s not exactly a celebrity haunt, more a rainy-day retreat.” Their loss is our gain. The museum mirrors the city that surrounds it. Tucked into a cluster of patrician mansions, it feels besieged by its past, much like the city itself. Battled over by the great powers of the day, Luxembourg has always fought to preserve its heritage. Inside, the sense of `fortress Luxembourg’ emerges, with its ramparts and rock faces. The museum occupies the site of a monkish retreat, according to Fuge: “Here the powerful Abbot of Orval had his city residence, which acted as an embassy and even as a refuge in times of war.”

The city’s strategic setting made it a pawn for its neighbours, including France, the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. The displays help you get to grips with the fortifications, once among the most impregnable in Europe. Here, you can engage with the UNESCO-listed old town, perched on a rocky spur, riven by gorges, riddled by rock passages, and framed by dizzying cliffs. Fuge particularly likes “the hidden corners which reveal secret staircases, vaulted cellars and low-ceilinged rooms.” The museum traces the city’s millennial history from its foundation to its flourishing role at the heart of Europe. But there’s no neglecting broader themes, such as the emergence of Luxembourg as a bastion of European institutions. “We’ve even tackled

Discover Benelux | Attraction of the Month | Luxembourg

OPPOSITE PAGE: View of the Corniche from Luxembourg City History Museum. ABOVE LEFT: Luxembourg City History Museum – set in several patrician townhouses. RIGHT: `The City on Show’ permanent exhibition in the Salle Forteresse (Fortress Room). BELOW: `Help! – The Red Cross in Luxembourg and throughout the world’ exhibition.

witchcraft in a previous exhibition,” smiles Fuge, not that he’s impugning the virtue of Luxembourg’s fairer sex.

First Aid on the frontline “Help!”, the latest exhibition, sees the museum at its boldest and most Eurocentric, suggests Fuge: “By a clever coincidence, the exhibition celebrates both the Centenary of the Luxembourg Red Cross and the origins of the Red Cross movement some fifty years earlier.” The founding of the International Red Cross in 1863 paved the way for the First Geneva Convention a year later. The rest is not just history but an evolving story that touches on how we engage with the world. The exhibition ranges across the organisation’s humanitarian concerns, from delivering First Aid and safeguarding health care to visiting detainees and reuniting families. Given the centenary of Luxembourg Red Cross, Fuge relishes the focus on the local front too: “Although obviously smaller than the French or German Red Cross, ours has always been highly active and supported by citizens, including the patronage of the Grand Duchess herself.” It was founded in response to the outbreak

of the Great War, but rooted in the bloodshed and sacrifice of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, in which Luxembourgers also tended the wounded, albeit as members of the broader Red Cross. Luxembourg’s liberal intelligentsia, including steel magnates, signed up as founding members and made significant bequests to their fledgling Red Cross. The exhibition doesn’t shy away from controversial areas, such as the ineffectual role of the Red Cross in the Nazi era. Luxembourg’s association was forcibly incorporated into the German Red Cross while, on the wider international front, there are charges that the Red Cross failed to champion detainees in the concentration camps. Today’s Luxembourg Red Cross has moved into the social sphere, with a surprisingly radical agenda. “Beyond the

atrocities of war, our Red Cross also tackles significant social issues, such as prostitution, care for the elderly, and subsidised shopping for the underprivileged,” confirms Fuge. “But the locals remain generally supportive, including many who sign up as blood donors.” Nor does the exhibition gloss over the fresh challenges to the Red Cross. It tackles issues such as whether we should offer aid and under what circumstances. “We raise questions but let visitors reach their own conclusions,” says Fuge, as ever, the fairminded Luxembourger. In essence, this is living history, what the museum does best. “Yes, in some ways I have a dream job,” smiles Fuge, “promoting culture and heritage – and opening visitors’ eyes to our world.”

“Help!” – The Red Cross in Luxembourg and throughout the world exhibition runs from 16 May 2014 to 29 March 2015 in Luxembourg City History Museum (Tues-Sun 10am-6pm, until 8pm Thurs). Linger in the lovely gardens and vegetarian-friendly `Am 14’ museum café, 14, rue du St-Esprit, tel. +352 4796 4500,

Issue 5 | May 2014 | 47

Discover Benelux | Attraction of the Month | Belgium

Below 250 hectares of woodland lies the underground network of caves.

AT T R A C T I O N O F T H E M O N T H , B E L G I U M

Glistening stalagmites and grizzly bears TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PRESS PHOTOS

Understanding centuries’ worth of geology helps in part to grasp the uniqueness of this subterranean world. Over 100,000 years ago the river Lesse split and a rogue stream headed off into the limestone rocks of the Massif de Boine. Gradually it paved its way through the hillside, leaving the Caves of Han in its wake. Underneath one of Belgium’s largest wild animal natural reserves runs the river Lesse, surrounded by an underground network of passages, cavernous rooms with rocky ceilings up to 60 metres high, as well as some of the most spectacular stalactites and stalagmites you’ll ever be privy to see. Unbeknownst to the animals that roamed above, the extensive cave network lay dormant until 1815, and public access was granted in 1895. “The caves were used by the very first humans in prehistoric times,” begins Kim de Lescluze from the

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Domain of the Caves of Han, “and there’s proof of their existence in our PrehistoHan museum – jewellery, tools and other artefacts that they left behind.” Set in a 250 hectare expanse of woodland, the entrance to the caves is far more obvious nowadays. Reaching the concealed world is done easily by tram from the village of Hansur-Lesse, near Namur. The home of brown bears, wild boars, lynx and other wild animals is soon to welcome even more endangered animals, with a refuge for vultures and more space for bears. “These are animals that’d struggle in the wild today, perhaps they are injured or circus animals,” explains de Lescluze. With feeding sessions for children, as well safari trips around the park, how close can visitors get to these predators? “They are friendly – but ultimately, they never lose their instincts. Our male bear Willy stands at 3 metres tall – so he’s a little taller than us,” she says with a chuckle.

While above ground it is fascinating to be confronted by these animals on Belgium soil, it is underground where visitors are really impressed. Stalagmites and stalactites create otherworldly reflections in the underground river, and the ever-changing colours never fail to amaze, says de Lescluze. Tour guides lead visitors through two chilly kilometres of caves, while in the fresh air there is both a 2km and a 5km walking route that encompass the best of the wild park. Few attractions can compete with hundreds of thousands of years of history, the world’s natural evolution, a concealed world and some of nature’s most exciting animals.

Discover Benelux | Business | UKTI

UK Trade & Investment hosts webinar series on eCommerce in (and to) Belgium TEXT & PHOTOS: UKTI

UKTI are teaming up with a series of expert speakers to help UK companies with their overseas eCommerce strategy. The series kicked off last month with a general introduction to eCommerce by Pieter Van Bastelarere of COMEOS - The Belgian Federation for Commerce and Services. The webinar was enormously successful, bringing in a varied audience of UK and overseas retailers and eCommerce service providers, all interested in making the most of the opportunities this small, but powerful country has to offer.

shopping online. In 2012 57% of Belgians shopped online, with 30% spending more than â‚Ź150. Given its proximity to the UK and with the number of consumers and value of the market both growing quickly, Belgium should be considered an ideal export market for your business.

Why now?

an overall retail strategy. With the online retail market due to change in 2014 following the implementation of new EU rules, ecommerce opportunities are set to grow along with demand for innovative online retail services and solutions. As a dynamic consumer market, numerous opportunities will be found in Belgium over the coming years.

E-commerce and m-commerce are rapidly growing sectors, and an increasingly important part of any retail strategy. As a leader in this sector in Europe, UK companies are held in high regard for their ability to integrate e-commerce features into

Why Belgium? Located in the heart of Europe, Belgium is a compact multilingual and multicultural country endowed with a strategic location. Belgium represents an accessible market with high potential for British retailers and service providers. When it comes to ecommerce, more and more Belgians are

On 20th May 2014, UK Trade & Investment alongside Lara Jelowicki, Senior Ecommerce Consultant at Practicology, will be hosting our next webinar, centred on the theme of eCommerce strategy for UK firms looking to export to Belgium. For a copy of the recording of the first webinar or to sign up to the next one, please email Wouter Debeyne, Senior Trade Adviser for UK Trade & Investment in Belgium at For more information on opportunities for UK companies in Belgium, follow @UKTI_BE on twitter Photo:

Issue 5 | May 2014 | 49

Discover Benelux | Business | European Business Summit

ABOVE: Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for the Digital Agenda. LEFT MIDDLE: José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission

What does Business expect from the EU over the next five years? TEXT & PHOTOS: EUROPEAN BUSINESS SUMMIT

Business leaders and policy makers to discuss rebuilding a competitive Europe at the 12th European Business Summit in May 2014. 2014 is shaping up to be a year of political changes. The European Parliament (EP) elections in May, the new European Commission appointments in the autumn, as well as a series of local and national elections in member states will bring about a renewed European political landscape. Europeans are now looking beyond the crisis and for the best ways of promoting growth and competitiveness. The EP elections are an opportunity to reflect on the European project and to look at what kind of Europe we need. Growing the digital economy, boosting industrial policy, financing innovation, bridging the skills gap, an energy strategy for Europe, the challenges and opportunities

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of the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership, and maintaining citizens’ trust, are some of the issues that will arise when setting out the business agenda for the next five years.

acting as a platform for business leaders to present their priorities to the European institutions. This year’s theme is “The Business Agenda 2014 – 2019: Rebuilding a Competitive Europe”.

These topics will be discussed in Brussels ten days before the European Parliament elections at the 12th European Business Summit (EBS) on the 14th and 15th of May 2014.

Over the past 12 years, the EBS has become the largest and most influential business forum in Europe. In 2013 the summit welcomed 1700 participants, 80 speakers, and 200 journalists.

The EBS is an initiative of BUSINESSEUROPE and the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB), hosted by the Belgian Ministry for Foreign Affairs at the prestigious Palais d’Egmont in Brussels.

Speakers for this year include President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, European Commissioners, CEOs and the nominees for EU Commission President from the main European parties.

In the words of European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, “the European Business Summit plays a key role in supporting Europe’s large entrepreneurial potential.” EBS 2014 will be no different,

Registrations to attend the 2014 European Business Summit are open to the public. For more information on the programme visit

Discover Benelux | Business | Columns

What communicates? TEXT: JOSIAH FISK | PHOTOS: COURTESY OF JOSIAH FISK Do you enjoy reading about macroeconomic overlays? No? How about currency forwards? Securities lending? Haircut policies? (These are all actual terms from investment prospectuses.) Well, here’s some good news. Every UCITS, OEIC and other collective investment scheme in the EU is now required to publish something called a Key Investor Information Document, or KIID. Unlike a prospectus, which is all about legal protection and regulatory compliance, the KIID is about communication. Each KIID has to say what the investment aims to do, how it intends to do it, and what levels of risk and cost are involved. Not only that, KIIDs are limited to just two pages (except for certain complex investments) and should be in plain language. The KIID is truly innovative. It’s the first investment industry document that is a hybrid between a legal document and a consumer document. So rather than endless lists of possible techniques and risks, a well-written KIID describes the investment’s overall “personality”. The KIID also makes a valuable distinction between the two main types of risk. A numerical scale (from 1 to 7) reflects the investment’s “everyday” risk level, while short descriptions tell you about the “bad

Josiah Fisk day” risks — the ones that occur rarely, but can be significant when they do. So how do today’s KIIDs measure up, communications-wise? Most could be better. Plain language requirements notwithstanding, they often are full of jargon (although at least there’s only two pages of it). But the best ones do communicate. And it’s likely that firms will improve their KIIDs over time. The regulator in Luxembourg, the CSSF, has welcomed innovative thinking about the KIID, and among European regulators has led the way in embracing the spirit of the regulation and not just the letter. That’s important — be-

cause Luxembourg happens to be the EU’s largest center for investment funds. Like healthcare and legal matters, investments are something most of us wish we understood but assume we never will. The KIID represents an effort to change that. It’s a small effort and an imperfect one. But you have to start somewhere. And the KIID is a great start. Josiah Fisk is the head of More Carrot LLC, a clear communications company with offices in Boston and Luxembourg.

Thanks for the feedback TEXT: STEVE FLINDERS | PRESS PHOTO I heard this the other day: “Good job, David.” “Thanks for the feedback.” But David wasn’t actually getting feedback, he was receiving praise. Giving and receiving praise is great but saying “Well done” to someone is not going to help them do better next time. So what is feedback for? In two words, it’s to improve. This distinction is important because constructive feedback – short, quick, simple and frequent – can make people at work both happier and more productive. Understanding the following differences will help you create a feedback culture at work: 1



Praise. Telling someone that they’ve done a good job. (Do you praise people enough? Do you receive enough praise?) Positive feedback. Praise plus a specific reason: “Great job, Katie. You handled those tricky questions really well.” Constructive or developmental feedback. “Next time, I would cut down on the number of slides so we can focus more on you.” This is the one which raises performance.


Negative feedback. I only give negative feedback and use negative language in cases of serious underperformance but I guess Sir Alex Ferguson might disagree so I’ll leave you to make up your own mind on that one. I certainly wouldn’t want to work in a place where the absence of criticism is interpreted as praise, would you? You may not want praise to be over the top, but we all appreciate and are motivated by recognition from time to time.

Steve Flinders is a director of York Associates ( He supports people who work internationally through training and coaching. He’s also a member of the steering group of Coaching York which aspires to make York the coaching capital of the UK (

Management books talk about the feedback sandwich – start with a layer of praise or positive feedback, then provide the meat – the thing that will help me improve my future performance – and then finish with another layer of praise. But actually, I’m only interested in the meat – like at Pixar. Walt Disney's got people to do better work than they imagined they were capable of. He coined the term ‘plussing’ as a way of making an idea even better and he frequently told his animators to plus it, even when they had already produced very good work. Today at Pixar, managers have a very direct way to get feedback called ‘Pixar plussing’. They simply ask: “Just tell me what needs changing.” What about feedback in an international context? I’ll talk about that next time.

Steve Flinders

Issue 5 | May 2014 | 51

Discover Benelux | Business | Calendar

Benelux Business Calendar TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE

With over 500 million citizens in 28 member states, the role of the European Parliament should not be underestimated and events this month will certainly set the direction of the next few years. ABAL Luncheon 12.00, 5 May 2014 Légère Hotel, Munsbach, Luxembourg Last January, Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list was published in the US. The Great Place to Work Institute, with its 25 years’ experience working with leaders of the world’s best workplaces, compiled and analysed the common trends among those firms. Thus Patrice Brun, Managing Director of the Institute in Luxembourg, will highlight how to learn from them and at the same time show how foreseeing and handling those tendencies in companies in Luxembourg is a crucial point when it comes to human capital management and one’s organisational performance.


European Business Summit 14 and 15 May 2014 Palais d’Egmont, Brussels, Belgium As an official media partner to this event, we wholeheartedly advocate the theme for this year’s European Business Summit: “The Business Agenda 2014-2019: Rebuilding a Competitive Europe.” Drawing more than 1,500 participants from over 60 countries to the event, including some of Europe’s most prominent politicians, business leaders and individuals, these two days of seminars, presentations and discussions will cover a range of Europe-wide issues such as finance, industrial growth and global competitiveness.

Belgian National and Federal Elections 25 May 2014 European Parliament Elections 22 - 25 May 2014 With each member state voting for the 751 Members of the European Parliament during these four days, the course of the European Union will be decided by the evening of Sunday 25 May. The next five years of the EU will be shaped by the members elected this month.

Crushing the myth TEXT: ANOUK K. | PRESS PHOTO

I just want to clarify two things: in Luxembourg we don't live in castles or palaces and not everyone is a billionaire. It's surprising and funny to discover what image people have of Luxembourg - provided that they even have heard of it. For those that have and don't mistake it for Brussels or Liechtenstein, they often know that it has one of the highest GDPs in the world. They may assume that everyone is super rich and lives a fairytale life. I'm not denying that people do lead comfortable lives but most of us live in houses or apartments. And I have only ever known of one family, other than the Grand Duke, that lived in a château. When I was in Rio last month and ordered a drink at my hotel, I insisted on paying in cash, instead of having it billed to my room. I just like to pay my dues as soon as I can, in order to avoid surprises later on. 'But for you this is nothing,' the waiter said. I felt insulted and the need to justify myself: No, I don't have a sugar daddy, and yes, I do have to work for a living!

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And that's what most people do. We all need to have a job to stay afloat. There are some ‘lucky’ women and men (!) who are married and can rely on their partners to bring home the bacon. Others live off inheritances. Good for them! Of course, through my travels I occasionally see striking social differences in other countries and I can’t help but draw comparisons with Luxembourg, where the vast majority of people are okay off. But it’s not Beverly Hills and there is no such thing as the Luxembourg dream. I don’t have a cash cow at home and I have to make ends meet at the end of the month. A Finnish girl once told me that in her country there is a saying that ‘being born in Finland, is like winning the lottery’, but when I travelled there, I didn’t see any castles either. Anouk K.

Discover Benelux | Culture | The Common Linnets

songwriters felt at home. Citing Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Waylon Jennings as idols, the pair encountered each other “running around as teenagers on Holland’s small country scene”, and after stints living in said American city, they’re excited to be collaborating as the Common Linnets. With their track entitled Calm After The Storm, they are hoping to surprise the Eurovision audience in Copenhagen this May. Showering praise on Anouk (the Dutch entry for 2013) who finished in ninth place and whose honest approach to the song contest “did everyone a favour, as she redefined the meaning of the contest, bringing it back to the song,” the pair believe people will look differently at the competition this year.


2 0 1 4


I’m a bit star-struck as I chat to the Netherlands’ entry to the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest. Two household names in themselves, the duo of Waylon and Ilse DeLange, the Dutch incarnation of a young Loretta Lynn, are fully committed to their decision to represent their county at an event that even they admit is sometimes more about the act than the song.

that might sound, the pair have been working on a country music album for the past year, channelling their inner Nashville and paying homage to the great country artists who inspired them. “We’re just doing what we normally do,” continues Ilse. “We’re fortunate that we can perform at this Eurovision as true artists, doing what we believe in.”

“But it’s three minutes,” says Waylon passionately. “Three minutes of music that we love, music that we breathe.” As cheesy as

While country music has never grown beyond puberty in the Netherlands, it’s in Nashville, USA, where these two singer-

With seven studio albums and a greatest hits cd already released, Ilse has cemented her position as a darling of the country scene, but how will it feel to play to the 125 million viewers of Eurovision? “It’s just a big arena full of people,” she answers modestly. “With us, it’s what you see is what you get, and we’re staying true to ourselves.” Neither of the pair thought twice when asked to partake, and despite the fear of the dreaded nul points, they’re optimistic and proud that they’re presenting something that “nobody would expect from the Netherlands.” Whether they’ll perhaps regret it a few years? The answer is a defiant ‘no’ from Waylon, “there’ll be no regret in 20 years. We just love country music and take that very seriously.”

Issue 5 | May 2014 | 53

Discover Benelux | Culture | Clean Pete

Introducing: Clean Pete Earlier this year Dutch twins Renee and Loes Wijnhoven released their debut album on Excelsior Records under the name Clean Pete. Now set for release in Belgium on 5 May, the twins are busy touring Benelux and poised for string of festival dates over the coming months. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: DANIQUE VAN KESTEREN – 88 FOREVER

An unagreed-upon registration by cellowielding twin Renee for arguably the biggest music competition in the Netherlands, the Grote Prijs van Nederland, prompted your typical sibling argument. Registration duly retracted, the Brabantborn sisters’ lives resumed: living together, studying together and playing together. But after musing on the issue for a while, other twin Roes was convinced – although still doubtful that anything would come of the competition – and a letter was sent to the organisers asking to reinstate them. Life could have been very different for the 23-year-old twins had this re-think not happened, as sitting on the jury of the Grote Prijs van Nederland was a certain Anne Soldaat, and while the girls didn’t win the singer-songwriter category as hoped, their talent was certainly noted. A few weeks af-

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ter the show Soldaat thought it might not be a bad idea to take the twins on tour with him. An impromptu duet during a soundcheck led the duo to become a trio, and Soldaat can now regularly be seen drumming away with Clean Pete. “Dutch isn’t the easiest language to create beautiful lyrics with,” explains Loes. Choosing to sing in the twin’s native language of Dutch was never a conscious decision, but they love the challenge. “The sounds don’t lend themselves to beauty – not like English with ‘I love you’.” Clean Pete is gentle, heart-warming music that doesn’t immediately jump out at you, deftly weaving tales of love, loss and simple joys, in a style not dissimilar to The Kinks. For the twins, who grew up on a diet of classical music, discovering the guitar

aged 14 was a revolution. Pop music became their calling and the fusion of cello, guitar and their unspoilt voices lends itself to delightful summery-pop.

CLEAN PETE TOUR DATES 2 May, Heartland Festival, Hengelo, NL 3 May, Here Comes The Summer, Vlieland, NL 5 May, Bevrijdingsfestival, Zwolle, NL 9 May, Mezz, Breda, NL 15 May, Music Village, Brussels, BE 18 May, De Nieuwe Bibliotheek, Almere, NL 24 May, Geen Daden Maar Woorden Festival, Den Bosch, NL

Discover Benelux | Culture | Out & About

OUT & ABOUT May heralds the highlight of everyone’s year and don’t deny it. With the annual Eurovision Song Festival in Copenhagen on May 6, our Benelux contenders should not be written off as they have some strong contenders this year – particularly the Dutch dream-duo of Isle DeLange and Waylon. Elsewhere there are tulips galore during the Dutch Flower Parade on the first weekend in May, as a plethora of colourful floats traverse 42km from Noordwijk to Haarlem via Keukenhof. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PRESS PHOTOS

Sticking Around – over 50 years of migration to Ghent 27 April – 2 November 2014 Ghent, Belgium With one in five ‘Gentenaars’ [people of Ghent] originating from other countries, the city has been greatly influenced by the waves of immigration. Ghent’s city museum STAM has created a city-wide exhibition with audio extracts and guided tours, which bring this migration to life, as you encounter the personal stories of some present-day residents as well as those of bygone eras. Amsterdam Tulip Days 3 and 4 May 2014 Amsterdam, the Netherlands. With a glimpse of some brightly coloured tulips, you’ll be smiling for days, so make the most of

these two very special days in Amsterdam. After collecting the pass-partout at Museum van Loon, you’ll be able to explore Amsterdam’s many fine gardens and revel in the abundance of tulips. Love Songs (Veldeke) 4 May 2014 Vooruit, Ghent, Belgium Nine youngsters aged between 13 and 23 spent the past year with theatre director and choreographer Michiel Vandevelde on the hunt for answers to the question of what the concept of love means today. A powerful dance performance focusing on love, the power of groups and ideas that can change the world. Lotto Kites International Ostend, Belgium

10 and 11 May 2014 Two days of colourful and crazy kite flying on the Belgian coast strikes us a wonderful way to while away the hours. Expect kiteshows, workshops, rokkaku fighting, stunt kites and even more cool airborne antics.

Issue 5 | May 2014 | 55

Discover Benelux | Culture | Out & About

ABOVE LEFT: Marikenloop 5km and 10km ladies running race. TOP RIGHT: Mister More Lady Less (Photo:Phile Deprez). BOTTOM RIGHT: The Weekend of the Rolling Kitchens.

Food Film Festival 9, 10 and 11 May 2014 Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam Screenings, invited chefs, special previews and workshops based on food and film and the winning combination of the two. MEGALOPOLIS 14, 15, 22 May 2014 MUDAM, Luxembourg A series of workshops organised as part of MUDAMINI, these two-hour long sessions give six to twelve year olds the chance to design their ideal city, complete with buildings, architectural feats and façades. Taste of Antwerp 15 - 18 May 2014 Waagnatie, Antwerp, Belgium More Michelin stars, more top names from Gault&Millau, more food and more fabulous guests for the 8th staging of this now annual event. Taste of Amsterdam 15 – 18 May 2014 Amstel Park, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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Imagine ‘foodie heaven’ - then come along to this massively popular event and your initial image might not have been so far removed from reality after all. With demonstrations, workshops, tastings, stalls, and entertainment, these four days are set to make your tummy rumble and delight your taste buds. Thomas Ruff exhibition SMAK, Ghent, Belgium 17 May 2014 – 24 August 2014 This exhibition centres on the three decades of genre-influencing photography by the German Thomas Ruff. Showing work from his influential portrait series of the 1980s through to developments in style and playing with light and shadow, at times political and with a critical eye on society. Marikenloop 5km and 10km ladies running race 18 May 2014 Nijmegen, the Netherlands Proud to be “the biggest and loveliest” women’s only race in the Netherlands, females can choose between 5km and 10km on a fast, flat course.

The Weekend of the Rolling Kitchens 28 May to 1 June 2014 Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam, the Netherlands With a mass influx of achingly hip ‘rolling kitchens’, you can expect to see some very cool, pimped up VW camper vans serving some real culinary treats. Not just your typical burger vans, these will be offering pretty much anything for veggies, meat lovers and any other desires you might have. Open daily from 13.00 to 23.00. Mister More Lady Less 25 – 27 May 2014 Location as yet unknown, CarréRotondes, Luxembourg Flemish theatre company Studio Orka have chosen a container in an as-yet-unannounced supermarket car park as the stage for this at times hilarious, at times emotional play, focusing on Mr More and Lady Less in this part-detective-partlovestory.

Discover Benelux | Culture | States of Art


Beautiful and baffling in equal measures, many people have been reeled in by the mysterious allure of Michael Borremans’ works. This month I too was drawn in by the magnetism of his works and visited the As sweet as it gets retrospective at BOZAR, Brussels. Experiencing the works first hand makes for a particularly personal experience. The myriad of references the artist riffs off blur into a hazy splendour, and so the interpretation of the pieces remains subjective. You can proposition theories on political commentary, or you can simply delight in the sheer skill on show. The exhibition is comprehensive without being overwhelming and - judging by the throng of visitors - a huge success. Across town and providing an equally impressive visual experience was the Nathan Sawaya The Art of the Brick at Bourse. The Lego-king’s playful constructions caused endless gasps of ‘whoa’ by children and adults alike. The astonishing sculptures are a refreshingly light-hearted

experience in the excessively serious world of contemporary art. Although rapidly turning into a hub for contemporary art, it would have been amiss to visit Brussels and not experience more than just the art that the city has to offer. Even if Brussels perhaps cannot boast the same blockbuster attractions as its European counterparts, it has a distinct charm that stills reels in holidaymakers. However, the Grote Markt really is one of Brussels’ trump cards; a cobbled square which is ranked amongst the prettiest in Europe. The gothic and baroque architecture blend to breathtaking effect, with museums and restaurants on every corner. After a quick snoop around the boutiques and shops in the trendy Fontainas, we briefly rested our weary legs in the Parc Royal.

However, no trip to Belgium would be complete without sampling some of its famous beer. Hence why we decided to culminate our whistle stop tour with a quick drink at Delirium Monasterium. The beer was so good in fact, that we considered it rude not to sample a few more, and ultimately ended our night tabledancing to rock’n’roll in Sainte-Catherine! Brussels serves up more exciting and diverse artistic offerings next month. The Kunstfestivaldesarts, and Romanian bros Gert and Uwe Tobias’ exhibition at Gladstone gallery are two events in May not to be missed. Whilst in the Netherlands the astounding World Press photo competition continues its remarkable review of 2014 at De Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam.

Michael Borremans The Angel 2013 300 x 200 cm Oil on canvas Courtesy Zeno X Gallery Antwerp. Photo: © Dirk Pauwels.


wrestling with some awkward problems.”

Away from the wilds of Scandinavia, the shady backstreets, seedy bars and houseboats of Amsterdam have a certain appeal to crime novelists. Now home to fictional former detective Pieter Vos, The House of Dolls tells the story of the latest brooding incarnation to emerge from David Hewson. Unable to move on from the inexplicable disappearance of his daughter, Vos is drifting helplessly as his life bumbles along in disarray. Residing on a houseboat on the Prinsengracht canal, in the “very local, very Amsterdam” Jordaan district, Vos is drawn back into the web of the police headquarters on Marnixstraat. Somehow entangled in the city’s organised crime network, Vos’ daughter’s disappearance shows striking similarities to the latest case to wreak havoc on the city.

What works well are Hewson’s intricate descriptions as he expertly delves into the depths of the Dutch capital. As Vos pedals from crime scene to house boat, few British authors are as proficient at David Hewson at capturing the ripples caused by crimes.

With a climate that’s “a little friendlier” than that of Scandinavia, Hewson was immediately drawn to Amsterdam as the setting for The House of Dolls and admits that “while it’s a pretty dark book at times, the people in it aren’t gloomy Danes — they’re bright, sparky Amsterdammers

With the second Amsterdam book already finished and a potential Dutch TV adaptation in the pipeline, it looks like we can expect more brooding canalside disquiet from Pieter Vos and his colleagues.

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Discover Benelux | Culture | Columns


The Shallow Man has lived in Amsterdam for ten years now. People often ask me what specific things I really like about this city. This is a difficult question as there are so many things to love about living here, but here are five things that make it a joy to live here.

smoking. This is also great for my local dry cleaner, who gets a lot of extra business due to my clothes having the wonderful aroma of cigarettes after a night out.

1. Innovative approaches to common health problems Almost every EU member state has banned smoking in public bars to protect the health of employees and customers. In Amsterdam, the innovative and knowledgeable owners of many bars, have discovered that if they allow smoking after 11pm, it is not in the least bit detrimental to health. It's wonderful in 2014 to still be able to visit a smoky bar and not have to worry about the effects of passive

2. Multitasking No one can multitask as well as people in Amsterdam. I see proof of this every day. While cycling, people are busy texting, holding hands with other cyclists, or my personal favourite, passing through a red light while cycling, smoking and sending a text. Only in Amsterdam.

3. An Ugg for all seasons Whether the sun is shining, or it's a freezing cold day, you'll never see so many ladies wearing Ugg boots as in Amsterdam. Indeed I have it on good authority that the people responsible for the Dutch dictionary are considering adding a new collective noun, an Ugg of Dutch women. 4. Brown shoes can be fashionable I've never seen so many brown shoes as I have in Amsterdam. As I stated in my book, the Amsterdam Confessions of a Shallow Man, “Dutch men and brown shoes go together like drones and dead civilians.” 5. Bring the noise There is no greater pleasure than being in an Amsterdam eetcafe, and sitting next to a table of Dutch ladies whose common motto tends to be ‘why speak when you can SHOUT as loud as possible.’ This and the other four items above, are just some of the reasons why I love Amsterdam.

Beneluxer: in their words Johann Wiebe is a Senior Precious Metals Analyst at Thomson Reuters and has been living in London for over 4.5 years. He was born in Bavaria, a province in Southern Germany, but grew up in Helmond, a former textile stronghold in the Netherlands. What I miss most about the Netherlands: Its flexibility with short distance travel. With the UK being an island, you’re dependent on transport across the pond, which limits your freedom of mobility. In the Netherlands, this immediate constraint is not present as we’re part of the mainland; you are always a stone’s throw from a completely different country or culture. What the Netherlands has that the UK needs: A wide selection of desserts based on dairy products. In the Netherlands all across the country you can find a wide selection of different dairy products grouped by the term “vla”. They come in various colours, tastes, textures and even added

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Johann Wiebe

content such as small chocolate pieces or other sweets. Although it’s a poor comparison, the product that would resemble vla best is custard in the UK. Where I feel most at home in the UK: London is my new home. It’s the only city I’ve lived in this country and that will most

likely not change. I like the British countryside, the nature, surroundings and the different people, but life outside the city is, in my opinion, too relaxed and too quiet. I like the fast-paced city lifestyle as it motivates you to make the most out of every minute. What I’m looking forward to in the 2014: This year I’m looking mostly forward to my holidays. First up is a friend’s wedding in an idyllic vineyard in California, then, for the icing on the cake, I am treating myself to a trip to Brazil during the World Cup.

Discover Benelux | Culture | Fifa 2014 World Cup

Ruminations on a Dutch face in the final TEXT: JOHANN WIEBE | PHOTO: DREAMSTIME.COM

their appreciation for the achievement with a cruise through the canals of Amsterdam.

Almost four years ago and for only the third time in history, the Netherlands reached the FIFA World Cup final after beating Brazil and Uruguay in the quarter and semi-finals respectively. Following a bloodcurdling 120 minutes of football in the sweltering heat of South Africa’s FNB Stadium, also known as The Calabash thanks to its resemblance to the tradition African cooking pot, Andres Iniesta of Spain scored the only goal of the evening, securing Spain’s first FIFA World Cup victory.

The national team’s balance of experience and youthful flair has been championed as the reason behind their brush with success and this is reflected in a generation of established professionals that play on a weekly basis with the highest echelons of European football, complemented by a couple of motivated, eager, success-hungry youngsters.

The defeat came as a blow for the Dutch players, staff and supporters, who have been unable to win any meaningful silverware in international football other than the Euro Cup in 1988. However, upon their return to the Netherlands, the Dutch gave their heroes a warm welcome, expressing

At this year’s World Cup in Brazil, the Dutch are pooled together with Chile, Australia and Spain in Group B. Ironically, Spain vs. the Netherlands will be the first match for both nations, bringing back memories of that special night four years ago that ended in joy for the former and tears for the latter.

Despite the fact that the Netherlands managed to qualify pretty convincingly for the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil, expectations of a repeat show in the final have been tempered. On paper, the Dutch still have a decent squad with some promising new faces, however, driven by the debacle during the EURO Cup 2012 in Poland and Ukraine, with not a single victory in the group stage, moderate scepticism of their ability to secure any silverware prevails. Therefore, favourites to win the Copa Mundial 2014 are Argentina, Germany, Spain and of course the hosting nation Brazil. The Dutch Lions will be no more than a dark horse.

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