Discover Benelux, Issue 63, March 2019

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Discover Benelux  |  Contents

Contents MARCH 2019





Ahead of this month’s eagerly anticipated races in Hong Kong and Sanya, we caught up with Belgian Formula E driver Jérôme d’Ambrosio, who has been enjoying great success with his team Mahindra Racing so far this season. Strong, skilled and focused, we think the 33-yearold Brussels native could be the one to watch.


Made in the Netherlands From architecture to fashion, via industrial innovations and technological advancements, the Netherlands is famed worldwide for its distinctive design approach. We profile some of the finest Dutch innovators and creatives.

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Top Places to Visit in the Netherlands Wondering where to go on your next holiday? Inspiration is on offer thanks to this month’s special tourism guide, where we hone in on some of our favourite places in the Netherlands.




Top Flemish Education: Building a Bright Future!

The ‘Caravaggisti’ of Utrecht Currently showing at the Centraal Museum, Utrecht, Caravaggio and Europe is a must-see for art aficionados. We delve into the Italian master’s influence on Dutch artists such as Hendrick ter Brugghen, Dirck van Baburen and Gerrit van Honthorst.

Brussels City: The Capital of Europe Belgium’s multicultural capital is without doubt the beating heart of Europe. We present our guide to a city brimming with architectural gems and cultural hotspots which will attract tourists and locals alike.

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


A Taste of the Benelux Whether you are feeling virtuous or in the mood to treat yourself, this month’s food and drink guide has something to delight all tastes.

Jérôme d’Ambrosio


Speak like a local The Benelux is a fascinating melting pot of different cultures and languages. Our special guide to the region’s various dialects will have you speaking like a native in no time.

DON’T MISS 6 Fashion Picks  |  8 Desirable Designs 74 Out & About  |  86 Columns

From primary school up to PhD level, the Flanders region is renowned internationally for its superb education system. We showcase the region’s finest educational establishments.

Issue 63  |  March 2019  |  3

Discover Benelux  |  Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Discover Benelux Issue 63, March 2019 Published 03.2019 ISSN 2054-7218 Published by Scan Group Print Uniprint

Karin Venema Martin Pilkington Matt Antoniak Michiel Stol Ndéla Faye Pauline Zijdenbos Peter Stewart Steve Flinders Stuart Forster Cover Photo © Hugo Boss

Executive Editor Thomas Winther Creative Director Mads E. Petersen Editor Anna Villeleger Copy-editor Karl Batterbee Graphic Designer Audrey Beullier Feature Writer Arne Adriaenssens

Sales & Key Account Managers Mette Tonnessen Katia Sfihi Micha Cornelisse Petra Foster Publisher: Scan Group 15B Bell Yard Mews Bermondsey Street London SE1 3YT United Kingdom Phone: +44 207 407 1937 Email:

Contributors Eva Menger Isa Hemphrey

Welcome to the March edition of Discover Benelux, where we are – at last – celebrating the end of hibernation season. Crocuses, daffodils and – of course – tulips are popping up across the region, while the famous Keukenhof flower garden in South Holland will open its doors later this month. What better way to signal the start of spring? Now that the days are getting longer and the weather is gradually heating up, crowds are beginning to flock to squares across the Benelux to soak up the much-needed vitamin D. One of the region’s most sought-after outdoor spots has to be the Grand Place in Brussels, which French writer Victor Hugo dubbed the most beautiful square in the world. We could not agree more, and have decided to put Brussels in the limelight this month with a special guide to the city that is also known as the capital of Europe. Elsewhere in the magazine, we have a fascinating feature delving into the influence of Italian master Caravaggio on Dutch artists in the 17th century. To find out more about the ‘Caravaggisti’, do not miss the exhibition Utrecht, Caravaggio and Europe which is running until 24 March at Utrecht’s Centraal Museum. Meanwhile, we take a look at the various dialects that can be heard across the Benelux region on page 80. You may even find some words and phrases which are more familiar than you would expect. For example, ‘Bûter, brea en griene tsiis’ (from the beginning of a famous Frisian proverb) sounds rather similar to its English translation: ‘butter, bread and green cheese’. Finally, do not miss our interview with Belgian racing driver Jérôme d’Ambrosio, who is currently leading the driver standings in the Formula E championship. We will be cheering him on when he represents Mahindra Racing in Hong Kong and Sanya later this month. Enjoy the magazine!

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

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

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Anna Villeleger, Editor

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks


Say hello to Spring Are you looking forward to the day when you can leave the house without a jacket? That day is coming soon – so it is best to start preparing now! While neon and animal prints dominate the spring collections of many international fashion brands, Dutch designers often opt for clean lines and enchanting colours. TEXT: HANNAH KROLLE  |  PRESS PHOTOS

Back to the roots Flowers are always fashionable. This fabulous, double-breasted blouse with long sleeves is a great opportunity to break out of old style habits. The flowing fabric makes it a comfy allrounder: Whether in the office, on holiday or on a date – this stylish piece exudes a statement of self-confidence, creativity and ‘joie de vivre’. €79,95

Go wild, ladies! Do you sometimes feel like jumpsuits do not suit you? Well, this one will. Thanks to its straightcut and attached pockets, this piece is flattering and practical. It keeps you warm in the morning and stylish throughout the day. This versatile item is a must-have for the spring. €122

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Be minimalist Say goodbye to over-the-top designs and set your focus instead on minimalism and quality. Featuring a Nappa leather upper- and full-calf leather lining, this luxurious pair of trainers will last for years – a reliable everyday choice. €250

Foodie Resembling a tiny, ornate cupcake, these earrings are, unfortunately, much too precious to eat. The warm tones of rose and red combine with the harmonic colours of a tender flower. And what better way to add a tasty touch to your outfit than with these shiny earrings? €49,90

Stay smart A return to elegance is the motto for menswear this spring. To the office or down the pub – this classic trench coat is a versatile item for any situation. The casual, grey, knitted pullover and black leather backpack create a cool look together. Trench coat: €255 Pullover: €65 Trousers: €85 Backpack: €159

Colour block Diane von Fürstenberg’s handbag collection proves that colour blocking is chic. This shiny crossbody bag creates an electric look and offers space for party essentials. Clean lines and high-quality leather lend a classic style to this unique accessory. €300 Issue 63  |  March 2019  |  7

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Desirable Designs


The ever-growing interior Open your doors and enjoy the fresh air. Store away your old design pieces during your spring cleaning and replace them with some living ones instead. We should no longer be chopping trees to manufacture pretty things. These five items prove that living materials can brighten up your living room. TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS  |  PRESS PHOTOS



1.The living cupboard We love adding green to our interior, but keeping that flora alive is hard to do. The Pikaplant One, however, takes care of your plants’ drinking needs with its builtin irrigation system. Without electricity, it mimics the natural wet-dry cycle of our planet’s soil. €4,500



4. Moss is in the air

3. Time for nature Summertime approaches and we cannot wait to push our minute hand 360 degrees forward. But why not change your clock altogether. This minimalist, furry clock of moss makes the passing of time a bit more bearable. €192

All plants clear the air, but none do it as well as the TUBE from AtmossfAIR. This nature-covered air filter combines the power of technology with the filtering strength of mother nature. The type of machine and vegetation you end up with depends on the quality of the air in the room. This way, you breathe healthy air while having a fascinating conversation piece dangling above you. Price on request

5. 2. Funky fungi Even without a big garden or tonnes of sunlight, you can still harvest your own crop. These chipper boxes from Permafungi grow colourful mushrooms all year long. Let them cheer up your kitchen and, eventually, flavour up your culinary creations. From €14.50 8  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

5. Magic jar The Pikaplant Jar must be the most low-maintenance plant in the world. Locked in their tiny biotope, these plants have everything they need to survive. As long as you do not open its jar, the two of you are in for a long-term relationship. €70


A country of pioneers The Dutch are born craftsmen and innovators. Throughout the centuries they have proved their abilities to think outside of the box and to turn a small idea into a multinational corporation. To date, ‘made in the Netherlands’ remains a powerful brand to conquer the world with; regardless of the sector. TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS  | PHOTOS: NBTC

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Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Made in the Netherlands

If we wanted to list the Netherlands’ great design successes, the number of pages in this magazine would not suffice. Yet, there is more to Dutch innovation than meets the eye. Dutch architects are, for example, pioneers in building a more sustainable future. They look at it as an inspiring challenge, rather than an annoying hurdle. Of course, the Netherlands is also known for its exquisite taste. Among others, the Delft Blue china and the iconic wooden clogs, prove that Dutch design is timeless. And although it is timeless, it is never boring. This combination of good taste and a nose for businesses makes Dutch entrepreneurs skyrocket to the top. Fést.

Three Dutch design labels to watch Great designers as they are, the Dutch draw much attention in the worlds of fashion, accessories and interior design. These three booming brands are well on their way to becoming very big in their respective fields.

Fést Design should not be a privilege for just the happy few. With that credo interior-design brand Fést creates a myriad of beautiful and affordable items. Best known, are their elegant yet cosy sofas. Pick one from their ‘prêt-à-porter’ collection or order a custom-made one to your specific taste.

Ace & Tate.

Either way, you will be purchasing a qualitative and comfortable eyecatcher that will spruce up your living room in an original and budget-friendly way.

Ace & Tate Ace & Tate puts an end to paying astronomical figures for designer eyewear. They produce high-quality glasses, starting from 100 euros or even less. They do this not by compromising on quality, but by overseeing the chain entirely themselves: from the designer till the consumer. The brand currently has 35 stores spread over eight European countries.

Atelier Charlie Atelier Charlie wants men to express themselves through their outfits. They create small collections to avoid the pitfalls of mass production and produce everything in Italy and Portugal instead of faraway sweatshops. Do not expect a new collection every few months, however. Atelier Charlie adds a new piece to its existing collections only every now and then. Not ever to make the previously released items outdated or irrelevant, but always to reinforce the label’s impressive arsenal.

Atelier Charlie.

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Warm puffer jackets designed for Spoorweg Museum staff.

Beekman’s safety sneaker with McDonald’s logo.

Staff styling with a personal twist TEXT: EVA MENGER  |  PHOTOS: RON STEEMERS

Work uniforms are a funny concept. They are used to create consistency across the workforce, yet a lack of priority means that they are often not in line with the overall brand image. But Dyanne Beekman, well-known Dutch Fashion entrepreneur and owner of the Beekman Group, is here to change that. The Beekman Fashion Group was established in 1996, shortly after Dyanne Beekman first started thriving as a celebrity fashion stylist. Having worked on several successful TV shows, it has always been her core mission to show people that everyone can look good for a reasonable price. Whether it is styling politicians or teenagers, boosting people’s confidence by helping them lift their appearance is always her main goal. The same goes for her staff styling efforts. With Beekman Staff Styling, Dyanne has intensively spent the last few years designing collections for huge companies including McDonald’s, Spoorweg Museum and Roompot Holiday Park. Beekman: “It all started when McDonald’s asked me for advice in 2010. After thorough brand research to abstract the 12  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

brand identity, I developed a clear, visualised vision. Even then I knew it was important to approach staff styling from an unconventional angle.”

Comfort as priority First and foremost, Beekman looks at what she thinks employees would like to wear. “Before I start thinking about a collection, I try to create a support base and collect feedback from all layers of the organisation. Of course, this leads to contrasting visions, but it’s my job to make sure that everybody’s happy in what they wear,” Beekman tells us. It is for this same reason that all her collections have a strong focus on fit. Not only should a uniform be comfortable and allow a person to move freely; it also needs to make people feel confident enough to really show themselves in the workplace. And making sure that designs are suitable for all body types is a huge part of that. Beekman: “A pitfall for many brands is that they tend to completely change course every couple of years. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a fresh look, but I don’t think radical change has to be the answer. That’s why I prefer to make minor changes in the course of time –

though that is not to say that it can’t have a major impact on appearances!” That said, Beekman’s first collection for McDonald’s (2011) did include some surprising elements. “The board of McDyanne Beekman.

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  Beekman Fashion Group

Donald’s Netherlands was surprised that the collection I designed for them was mostly blue, rather than the famous red and yellow. I had to tell them that neither of those colours is actually very flattering. Blue tones, on the other hand, suit pretty much everyone, and they also bring colour to people’s faces – even after a long, tiring day at work,” Beekman explains.

Pioneering Beekman’s creative and unconventional vision has led her to various remarkable successes. For Roompot Holiday Park, Beekman Group was the first to ever design staff uniforms comprising jeans. But that is not all: as they did not want those jeans to fade colour after a while, clearly marking a difference between old and new staff, the group developed a technology that prevents jeans from discolouring. Beekman: “I think that’s definitely what makes us unique. From idea generation to design and production, we do everything ourselves.” “But,” she continues, “My absolute proudest moment has been the Safety Sneaker.” Launched in 2017, this functional yet super fashionable sneaker has won the hearts of many. “Standing

Uniforms for McDonald’s McCafé staff.

on your feet for eight consecutive hours is unbearable without appropriate footwear, but for vanity reasons, many people pick style over functionality. The Safety Sneaker offers both. It looks amazing, makes you feel like you’re walking on clouds, is antibacterial and, last but not least, offers the best slip resistance I’ve ever come across,” Beekman says proudly. “Especially since health specialists started recommending them to their patients, they’re flying over the counter.” In the future, Beekman plans on styling staff for plenty more brands, both in the

Netherlands and beyond. Since former C&A board member Frans ten Berge joined Beekman Group as Managing Director in 2012, the company has started having an increasingly international focus. With McDonald’s staff styling, they are currently active in 14 different countries, but requests from other international brands are also coming in at high speed. Want to find out how Beekman can help your staff look great? Check out her website and get in touch. Web:

The incredibly popular safety sneaker.

Small McDonald’s logo on uniform trousers.

Uniforms for McDonald’s table service staff.

Issue 63  |  March 2019  |  13

Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  EVA

De Curve.

Villa MLH. Photo: Sebastian van Damme

De Curve.

Sustainability with a view TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS  |  PHOTOS: LUUK KRAMER

The era of grey and uninspired office blocks lies behind us. The future is one of green, light and homely working biotopes. Architecture office EVA leads the way with its praised and awarded office building ‘De Curve’. Not only is it easy on the eyes, but it is also very environmentally friendly. In the middle of a depreciated industrial area from the 80s, architect’s office EVA created a glass feat of sustainable engineering. “Our client wanted us to design a transparent building which is also sustainable and energy efficient,” says Maarten Terberg, architect and partner at EVA. “Glass and energy efficiency usually don’t combine well, but with the help of sun protection film, solar panels and many other techniques, we have created an A++++ building.” This philosophy of building sustainably is rooted in EVA’s DNA. “To us, designing environmentally is evident,” says Jeroen Makkink, also partner and architect at EVA. “We aim to reduce our building’s energy consumption as much as possi14  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

ble and don’t stop there. For example, we also opt for screws over welding, since it allows us to reuse the materials in case of demolishing or remodelling.” “Yet, the most environmental thing you can do is making sure your design is adaptable,” Terberg adds. “This way, people will never want to tear it down anymore. In all corners of the low countries, you find buildings which have been there for centuries and have adapted to many purposes throughout the ages.” While glancing at De Curve, its soft, organic shape and the three determined metal belts stand out. “It is actually a two-story rectangle of which we have pushed, rounded and stretched some corners to create a terrace, accentuate the green panorama in the back and generate some supplementary shadow where necessary,” says Terberg. “The metal belt is the common thread guiding you throughout the structure. Inside, all necessary facilities like bathrooms and staircases are hidden in the building’s core, saving the natural light for the ac-

tual working biotope.” By implementing a bold design in an outdated business park like this, EVA has won the award for ‘office building of the year’ from Architectenweb. “Acknowledgement like this is always nice. Especially when it comes from fellow architects. De Curve proves that it is possible to breathe new life into a depreciated area like this. We hope many companies and architect’s offices will join forces to follow its example.” About EVA Utrecht-based architecture office EVA saw the light of day when four independent architects joined forces. As a team, Maarten Terberg, Daniel Biesheuvel, Jeroen Baars and Jeroen Makkink have the versatility to take on houses, offices, schools and big transformations themselves. Quality, sustainability and character are the office’s signatures.


Discover Benelux  |  Dutch Design  |  NITEQ


Meet the experts in railway transport systems TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: NITEQ

Be it via tram, metro or train, the demand for rail travel is continuously on the rise, and the maintenance of rolling stock is becoming increasingly important. To easily and safely move stock around the yard, NITEQ Transport + Handling Systems offers the cleanest, most effective solutions. “It only takes one person with a remote control to man our shunters,” says director Thomas ter Berg. NITEQ has been designing and manufacturing handling systems for train yards in the North-Holland province, just north of Amsterdam, since 1991. “It started with steel rope winch systems. In 1993, we produced our first shunter running on battery power rather than fuel,” explains Ter Berg. Up until then, most shunters were diesel powered and were also used inside the yard buildings. “Breathing in diesel fumes is never good. 16  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

Thanks to our battery powered shunters, we have created an environmentally friendly solution for rail companies, as well as a clean working environment for the people in the yard.” Today, over 400 shunters are bringing trains into yards all over the world.

Custom-made to handle the entire fleet Versatile and flexible shunters are extremely sought-after. NITEQ’s RRMrange perfectly meets the high demand. The RRM is a rail-road vehicle, meaning it can leave the tracks for faster and greater positioning in the yard. It still keeps its power, and is able to shunt up to 1,000 tonnes. Ter Berg continues: “Each rail car or train is different and uses different coupler systems. Our shunters can couple to anyone out there. So one of our shunters can handle your entire fleet.”

This is just one of the many options available for NITEQ customers. “Each shunter is developed and built according to the specific needs of our clients − always with the highest safety standards in mind.” And the best part is that they are extremely easy to use. “The shunters can be controlled from within the cab or via a remote-controlled system, and you can learn how to operate them within a couple of hours. It is basically a matter of turning the key and setting off,” Ter Berg smiles. Fast, reliable and endurable maintenance of trains requires fast, reliable and durable material in the yard. “No matter how your fleet is made up, our shunters will carry the big boys around the yard − and the smaller ones too.” Web:

Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

Mont des Arts. Photo: Eric Danhier


The capital of Europe ‘Bruxelles, ma belle’, is how the locals like to refer to this vibrant, breathtaking and ultra-diverse city. The heart of Europe unfolds around the Grand Place, which French writer Victor Hugo dubbed the most beautiful square in the world. The city continues to surprise tourists and locals with its hidden gems. No matter how long you stay in Brussels, you never quite know what you will discover next. TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS  |  PHOTOS: VISIT.BRUSSELS

Serres Royales de Laeken. Photo: Jean-Paul Remy

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Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe Metro. Photo: Jean-Paul Remy

European Parliament. Photo: S. Schmitt

Grand Place. Photo: Jean-Paul Remy

The city’s population is as diverse as they come, with locals, eurocrats and a multitude of other demographics living next door to each other. As Europe’s control room, the city houses a cross-section of the continent’s population, as well as many intercontinental expats. In total, 182 different nationalities give the city its unique colour, making it the ninth most multicultural town in the world.

Long and rich history And can you blame them for wanting to live here? As the capital of a country with a long and rich history, the city feels like an open-air exposition of art throughout the centuries. The gold-covered, Gothic

Maison Saint-Cyr. Photo: Jean-Paul Remy

main square is one of the city’s main attractions. While strolling through its surrounding streets, you travel five centuries into the future to the ‘fin-de-siècle’ of Victor Horta. As the pioneer of Art Nouveau, he caused an architectural revolution in Paris, Barcelona and many other cities. Since Brussels counts as home to a myriad of these amazing houses, renting or buying one of these to live in is way more realistic than you might think.

be on your to-do list: as should the Atomium, a mammoth construction of nine iron balls, interconnected as if it was a huge atom. The building was built for the world expo in Brussels in 1958 and continues to amaze today. For a few weeks a year, the Belgian king also opens the doors to the royal palace and his stunning greenhouses. If you are lucky enough to be in the city when he does, it is an opportunity you should grasp.

A city of surprises

Brussels cannot wait to surprise and astonish you. So, get on your way to the city of waffles, chocolate, fries and beer and, who knows, you might never want to leave.

If you are not looking for a new home, you can always just come to visit Brussels. Manneken Pis, Mont des Arts and the iconic Rue des Bouchers should definitely

Manneken Pis. Photo: Eric Danhier

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Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

A stylish hotel in the heart of Brussels TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: MOTEL ONE

Offering stylish and affordable accommodation in the heart of the city, this year Motel One Brussels is celebrating its fifth anniversary. As one of the first big international hotels from multi-award-winning German chain Motel One, the hotel has made a name for itself as the perfect place to stay for design-loving tourists and business travellers alike. Motel One currently has 71 hotels across Europe, with the brand becoming famous for its budget design accommodation encapsulated by the slogan; ‘Like the price. Love the design’. “We’re becoming a well-known brand name in the EU area,” proudly states sales manager Elke Woldt. 20  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

“More and more people are hearing about our concept, whether they are people working in EU affairs, or those enjoying a city break. We offer them the atmosphere of a modern four- or five-star hotel, but we are much more affordable.”

Fresh and functional

Motel One Brussels is the largest hotel in the city, with a total of 490 rooms. They all exude the fresh and functional design synonymous with Motel One. “We offer travellers everything that they really need, at a competitive price which is fixed for one year,” points out Elke. In terms of essentials, business travellers will appreciate amenities such as free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and a movable desk in their

room. Meanwhile, rooms come with king size mattresses and Egyptian cotton bed linen as standard, to ensure a restful sleep.

Individual style

Days at Motel One Brussels begin with a delicious buffet breakfast where you will find a wide selection of organic products

Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

and delicious local specialties. All hotels in the group are distinctively Motel One, yet they always have their own individual style and reflect their location too. This notion is perfectly demonstrated by One Lounge – a living room, café and bar in one. Each One Lounge has its own unique design, although an element of recognition will always be apparent – such as the brand’s trademark turquoise colour. “It’s all about creating an inviting atmosphere, somewhere you can relax after a day of meetings or exploring the city,” explains Elke.

Chocolate and lace

There are nods to Belgium’s famous exports including chocolate and lace in the decor at One Lounge Brussels, while a depiction of Leopold I, first King of the Belgians, and his wife Louise, adds a royal touch to the elegant bar, where guests can enjoy light snacks and a delicious drinks menu including some of the finest Belgian beers.

Super hosts If you are looking for a recommendation for dinner, just ask a member of the friendly hotel team. “Whatever you are looking for, we can share our favourite addresses in the city with you, such as where you’ll find the best waffles,” smiles general manager Philippe Delissus. Not sure which museum to visit? Just ask the team for their recommendations. “We’ll be your super hosts. We know everything about the city.”

Enviable location

Ideally placed in the centre of Rue Royale, right behind the magnificent Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula and only a ten-minute walk from the famous Grand Place, many of the city’s hotspots are on the doorstep of Motel One Brussels. The hotel is also just 200 metres from the Parc metro station, within easy reach of the EU institutions.

This enviable location is why the hotel can keep it simple in terms of facilities. After all, who needs a fitness room when there are so many beautiful parks in the surrounding area to go jogging? Not to mention the numerous restaurants and cultural attractions which are close by.

At the heart of city life

Guests hoping to make the most of the city’s many highlights will be pleased to know that Motel One Brussels has partnerships with numerous cultural institutions. For example, hotel guests can enjoy discounts at the recently opened KANAL–Centre Pompidou. As a key location in the city, the hotel gets involved in all major events, and will take part in Brussels Jazz Weekend this May, for example. “We’re very active in local city life,” concludes Philippe. Web:

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Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

Photo: Architect Frank Norrenberg

Photo: Société L’Artboiserie/Patrice Hennaut

Photo: Architect Mouffe


Discover the benefits of wood TEXT: PETER STEWART

If you are searching for more sustainable building materials for your next construction project, then this Brussels-based agency has just the answer. Hout Info Bois offers technical advice regarding the use of wood in construction. Through the use of publications, conferences and training sessions, the agency supports architects, timber professionals, designers and members of the general public from across Belgium who require specialist information on the use of wood in construction. What is more, Hout Info Bois provides extensive information about the forestwood sector, wood species – with much of the wood used in construction across Belgium being responsibly sourced from 22  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

forests across Europe – wood maintenance, and design. “A survey is carried out every two years to assess the importance of wood as a building material,” says Hugues Frère, director of Hout Info Bois, explaining that the use of wood is becoming increasingly popular. “There is a growing interest in the use of wood in construction as it’s a very versatile and durable material. It can be used for everything from extending a building’s height and reinforcing apartment blocks to carrying out home renovations and extensions. It’s also an excellent insulator and buildings made from wood can be constructed relatively quickly,” he adds. “More and more people today are becoming aware of the effects of cli-

mate change and are resorting to more environmentally friendly measures, with wood being one of the best materials to reduce your carbon footprint.”

Photo: Architect Sette Schroeyers

For further information relating to the use of wood in construction, you can visit:

Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe


Enjoy a memorable stay at this sustainable hotel chain in Brussels TEXT: PETER STEWART  |  PHOTOS: THON HOTELS

If you are searching for a hotel that offers an unforgettable experience then look no further than Thon Hotels in Brussels. With five hotels to choose from in top locations across Belgium’s dynamic capital city, and each one perfectly connected to public transport, Thon Hotels has everything you need for your visit, whether for business or pleasure. If you do find yourself in Brussels on business, then let Thon Hotels take care of you. Their five Brussels hotels boast state-of-the-art conference rooms, while one of their properties is able to accommodate up to 400 people, as well as parking and facilities for electric vehicles. There is nothing like starting the day with a good breakfast. Thon Hotels are proud to offer guests a generous breakfast buffet with an organic twist; highlights include salmon and trout – in-keeping with the brand’s Norwegian roots −

freshly baked breads and a wide selection of gluten-free products, as well as freshly prepared fruit juices, homemade smoothies, and Fairtrade-certified coffee. What sets Thon Hotels apart from other hotel groups is their respect for the environment. All their Brussels hotels run on 100 per cent renewable energy enabling them to reduce their carbon footprint. What is more, three of their Brussels hotels are certified with the international Green key eco-label, and two certified with an eco-dynamic enterprise label. The former is achieved by meeting criteria such as environmental management, providing correct information to guests on minimising their consumption of energy and water, and reducing overall waste. As part of their desire to be environmentally responsible, solar panels are used in their Thon Hotel EU – located just 600 metres from the European Commission – where they also have a

purpose-built, rooftop home for bees and other insects. In addition, they run a guest reward and donation scheme with three main social partners: GoodPlanet, Red Cross and Birds Bay. Guests who stay at Thon Hotels for more than one night and choose to hang a green card which says they do not require room cleaning receive a five euros green coin that they can redeem at the bar/restaurant or donate to their chosen association; money raised can help local schools, provide one hot meal for disadvantaged people or feeding a baby hedgehog or squirrel before release. So if you are looking for somewhere that meets all your needs and helps you to do your bit for the planet, then choose Thon Hotels. You will not be disappointed. Do not delay, book today. Web:

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Discover Benelux  |  Brussels City  |  The Capital of Europe

Providing students with key life skills in a fast-paced world TEXT: NDÉLA FAYE  |  PHOTOS: BEPS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL

BEPS International School in Brussels provides high-quality education and develops children’s natural passion for learning, while nurturing their individual talents. The school encourages students to be confident learners and global citizens, helping them learn key life skills and providing them with the tools needed to succeed in the 21st century. Providing internationally recognised education, children from the age of two and a half, and from over 45 nationalities, learn in English in a stimulating atmosphere of cultural diversity that also celebrates each pupil’s mother tongue. Students feel listened to and openly express their views: they and their parents know they are supported as they learn. In 2018, the school launched the exciting first phase of its new secondary school, following the International Baccalaureate. “Parents tell us they struggle to find a secondary school providing the individual attention that characterised BEPS, so we 24  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

decided to open a secondary school. It is a testament to our approach to learning,” says Pascale Hertay, the school’s director.

for their own learning. We are preparing them for their future and provoking them to think critically; ready for a fast-paced, exciting world.”

BEPS has a holistic approach: the strong focus on inquiry-based learning encourages natural curiosity, while supporting personal development and individual abilities and talents. Ms Hertay explains: “Our school provides a rigorous and varied curriculum, which gives students access to universities across the globe. We do not want them to be passive learners: with authentic and hands-on experiences, we want them to take responsibility


Beekse Bergen.


Top places to visit in the Netherlands The Netherlands is an exciting and versatile country. Because of its low geography, water floats throughout the landscape anywhere you look. This unique harmony between meandering streams, dynamic cities and relaxing natural sceneries makes it the ultimate destination for a surprising getaway. TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS  |  PHOTOS: NBTC


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Discover Benelux  |  Top Places to Visit in the Netherlands in 2019  |  The Ultimate Destination


Some places have it all: vibrant city life, breathtaking nature, exciting activities… all while the salty air of the sea rushes through your hair. The Netherlands is a textbook example of such a destination. Spread throughout the country, you will find numerous extraordinary, natural landscapes. Most famous is the Veluwe region, where both impressive national parks and the world-renowned Kröller-Müller Museum treat you with nothing but pure beauty. And even in lesser known areas, the astonishing appeal of nature will dazzle you. In the Maasheggen region, near the eastern border, the seemingly endless maze of hedges and meadows forms a fascinat-

Symbolica, Efteling.

ing backdrop for a walk, or, in line with Dutch tradition, a bike trip. Those who want to get their feet wet, better travel to the western border of the country. The Netherlands’ long coastline with isles and peninsulas galore continues to surprise. The province of Flevoland is especially fascinating, given that its land did not exist up until a few decades ago. The area exits out of artificial polders that were created while draining this particular part of the North Sea. Today, modern cities like Lelystad bring culture and entertainment in abundance. The centre offers lots of great activities and the shores are just a stone’s throw away.

Also, the far-south region of Brabant offers many hidden treasures. Among other places, Tilburg is a vibrant town well worth a visit. The centre is packed with diverse cultural activities and, as a real pedestrian and cycle city, it is great for shopping as well. And, just a few kilometres from the city, great adventures are awaiting you and your family. Be enchanted in the fairytale-world of Efteling and stand eye to eye with the ‘big five’ wild animals in the safari park of the Beekse Bergen. So, get on the road and explore all edges and corners of the Netherlands. There is so much for you to discover!


Agora Theater, Lelystad.

De Pont, Tilburg.

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Discover Benelux  |  Top Places to Visit in the Netherlands in 2019  |  The Ultimate Destination

The beautiful Oostvaardersplassen.

One of the Netherlands’ youngest cities has something for everyone TEXT: EVA MENGER  |  PHOTOS: JASPER PLUIM AND ‘HET FLEVOLANDS ARCHIEF

Built on what is internationally seen as the biggest land reclamation project ever, Lelystad is a city with a short, but interesting history. As the capital of a province that was only made official in the 1980s, it is a modern place full of dynamic developments – including a range of natural reserves, great events and the country’s first ever fashion outlet centre. Flevoland is the 12th and newest province of the Netherlands. Consisting of two large polders – low-lying tracts of land enclosed by dykes and drainage canals – the area was built on land re28  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

claimed from the former North Sea inlet of the Zuiderzee (Southern Sea). Lelystad is located in the larger Flevopolder, which was claimed in the late 1960s and started attracting people from all over the country from 1967 onwards. Fun fact: the city was named after the engineer responsible for its existence. Cornelis Lely engineered the Afsluitdijk causeway, the enclosing dyke that made the reclamation of land possible in the first place. Where the rest of the country is densely populated, Lelystad is spacious. The city offers room for living and working,

but also provides plenty of recreational options. With just a 40-minute direct train journey from Schiphol airport and Amsterdam it is very easy to reach, and a perfect base from which to discover a more northern part of the country.

Lelystad in the making.

Discover Benelux  |  Top Places to Visit in the Netherlands in 2019  |  The Ultimate Destination

A city for everyone “The best thing is that we have something for everyone,” Ina Adema, Mayor of Lelystad, says decidedly. “Fashionistas are drawn here by the Batavia quarter, a new district where, in 2001, the country’s largest fashion outlet centre opened its doors. In this charming village, you’ll be able to shop for an array of international fashion and lifestyle brands – including Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors – at an enormous discount. All while looking out on the city’s beautiful lakes.” For nature lovers, on the other hand, there is a wealth of nature reserves to be explored. Literally meaning ‘new land’, the National Park Nieuw Land is an internationally recognised park known for encouraging interaction between nature and humans. Being a country predominantly located under sea level, the Dutch are experts at making land out of water, and National Park Nieuw Land is the ultimate example of that. It was made by human hands, and includes beautiful and unique reserves designed to let nature do its thing. The most beautiful bird species come and go throughout the year, and all sorts of other animal species have made the park their home.

As Nieuw Land keeps developing itself, every visit is a surprise. Nature will be different every time you come here for a hike, which makes Nieuw Land stand out from other national parks. While other parks are often centred on conservation and consistency, Nieuw Land celebrates change and adventure.

Do not miss… Another key part of Lelystad is its harbours, where visitors can go for a nice, long stroll, or dinner with a view. “Last year we hosted the HISWA for the first time, which is the largest in-water boat show of northern Europe,” Ina Adema tells us. It was a great success, and they are excited to be hosting the next editions. “The organisation was looking for a larger and more centrally situated location, and we could offer them just that,” Ina Adema explains. But that is not the only noteworthy event taking place in Lelystad this year. For fans of historic automobiles, there is the ‘oldtimerdag’ (national old-timer day), including a 60-kilometre-long tour, music performances and a fun market. Want to see tulips? From 13 April to 5 May there will be a special tulip route, spreading

across the areas of Flevoland, Zeewolde and Dronten. These routes – which will be themed after the Golden Age this year – can be followed by foot, bike or car, and take you past the most beautiful flower fields, as well as other local highlights. For the future, Lelystad will be gearing itself up for an increasing flow of tourism. An airport set to be the second airport of Amsterdam is likely to officially open next year and, in anticipation of that, the city is opening more and more hotels. Other future plans are the further development of the Marker Wadden, an artificial archipelago located in one of Europe’s largest freshwater lakes, the Markermeer. These little islands are currently only accessible by private boats, though plans for a public ferry service are also being made. It is the balance between modern developments and a peaceful environment that makes Lelystad so unique and versatile. Keen to find out more? Visit the city’s VVV website for insights, ideas and inspiration. Web:

Shopping in the Batavia Stad Fashion Centre.

Batavia Stad has many great places to eat.

View from the water. Photo: Jasper Pluim

National old-timer day .

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Discover Benelux  |  Top Places to Visit in the Netherlands in 2019  |  The Ultimate Destination

Photo: Freddie de Roeck

A vibrant city, surrounded by nature TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: CITYMARKETING TILBURG

With a long list of outstanding museums, one of the best music venues in the country and a brand-new mustsee library, not to mention plenty of great restaurants, bars and beautiful nature, Tilburg is a vibrant place to visit. “But if you really want to enjoy the city, you have to be outside,” begins Marc Meeuwis, marketing director for the city. “On foot or on a bicycle; it is the best way to ‘feel’ Tilburg”. Tilburg is a city bursting with art and creative talent, as well as lush green spaces, countless events and excellent restaurants to enjoy. “Everything comes together at the Spoorzone, the former Dutch Railway yard next to the train station,” Meeuwis explains. Over the years, this area has been transformed into a place where people live, work, play and relax, all the while keeping its industrial history alive. In January, one of the main buildings, the LocHal, reopened its doors, housing 30  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

a library and exhibition rooms dedicated to contemporary art. And, in a couple of months, the immense city park SpoorPark will open its gates. “It is the biggest citizens’ initiative in the country. People had a say on how it should look and what it should be called,” continues Meeuwis. “For instance, there will be a permanent city-camping site. Who doesn’t want to camp in the heart of the city?” The best way to really discover Tilburg is to get on a bike and just cruise through the city. Cycle along the Wilhelmina Channel to the La Trappe Trappist brewery, where you can enjoy nature and a delicious beer. Looking for a bit more adventure? Then go further south to Safari Park Beekse Bergen, and roam with ‘the big five’. Or go north, along the bicycle highway, advises Meeuwis. “In 25 minutes you will be at either the Efteling theme park or National Park Loonse and Drunense Dunes, where you can mountain bike in sand dunes and stroll through woodlands.”

And at night, after an outstanding day enjoying the beautiful nature that surrounds Tilburg, cycle back to the city and enjoy a drink as you people-watch from one of the many restaurants or bars with terraces on the vibrant Pius Haven harbour. “There is plenty to do inside, but being outdoors makes Tilburg even better. It is the best way to soak up the city’s vibrancy and easygoing nature,” smiles Meeuwis. Sky Mirror (for Hendrik) 2017 Anish Kapoor, Collectie De Pont Museum Tilburg. Photo: Peter Cox


Discover Benelux  |  Top Places to Visit in the Netherlands in 2019  |  The Ultimate Destination


Small meadows, as far as the eye can see, orderly defined by kilometres of hawthorn hedges: this impressive panorama is awaiting you in the rural reserve of Maasheggen. The green oasis next to the Meuse river lies a stone’s throw from Germany and proves how man and nature can elevate one another. UNESCO realised that too and made it the first ‘man and biosphere reserve’ in the Netherlands. “Maasheggen’s views are almost unique in Europe and, by extension, in the entire world,” says Ruben Visser, programme coordinator of Maasheggen UNESCO. “Farmers braid the hedges around their fields to make them impermeable for their livestock. When the razor wire was invented, they stuck with their traditional methods, and still do today.” The tradition of these iconic hedges has long roots in the area. Julius Caesar described them in his book De Bello Gallico, 2,000 years ago. The Roman road crossing the landscape is

yet another tangible souvenir of this place’s long history. In 2018, UNESCO granted Maasheggen’s extraordinary landscape the statute of ‘man and biosphere reserve’. “Unlike other UNESCO programmes, this one doesn’t aim to create stagnated reservations, but encourages us to develop the area even more. Maasheggen got its current shape because of both natural processes and economic interests. Farmers have been collaborating with nature for centuries and, in villages like Boxmeer and Cuijk, the locals have made businesses by preparing traditional specialities like local beers, Maasheggen tea and delicious cheese for centuries already.” As paradoxical as it might sound, the key to preserving this unique harmony between organic and cultural growth lies in progression and innovation. This can keep the authentic local interaction with nature alive. “We are developing this region in a

number of ways. We are restoring the puzzle of hedges and meadows by reinstalling them, there, where they have vanished throughout the years. We are also boosting the local economy by stimulating agriculture and attracting more tourists. The panoramas here are all a traveller could wish for, yet, there is a demand for more facilities. Together with the local community, we are developing more, and improved, biking and walking trails, and facilitating local entrepreneurs to open restaurants, hotels and recreative hotspots which suit the area and its long history like a glove.”


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The Berlitz Schools of Languages of Benelux.


Building a bright future! Flemish education is renowned internationally. According to the prestigious list of Pearson, Belgium has the 18th best educational system in the world. From primary school up to PhD level, Flanders has what it takes to satisfy all your academic cravings. TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS


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Discover Benelux  |  Top Flemish Education  |  Building a Bright Future!

No less than 1,425,416 people are currently studying full-time in Flanders. Most of them are primary or secondary school pupils, but a staggering 250,000 of them are people following a bachelor’s, Masters or PhD programme. This eagerness to learn is stimulated by the region’s high educational standards, its reasonable tuition costs and the superb guidance which is provided along the way.

A good report card

AP Hogeschool.

Vlerick Business School. .

That good report card is, of course, not an achievement of the Flemish colleges and universities alone. Credit where credit is due: primary and secondary schools succeed in tickling their pupils’ curiosity and inquisitiveness. From the age of 12 onwards, Flemish youngsters start exploring their own paths. With the dawn of every new academic year, they can reassess or specialise their field of expertise. In brief, they can choose between four levels: general education (ASO), technical education (TSO), arts educational (KSO) and vocational training (BSO). Each of those offers specialisations galore. In total, you can graduate in 643 different majors, varying from ballet and automotive engineering to sports sciences or even world gastronomy.

tions for the future. Whatever ASO-, TSOor KSO-trajectory you opt for, the diploma you get in the end is an entrance ticket for all colleges and universities. In practice, however, the university benches are mainly filled with ASO-students, whereas TSOand KSO-students usually go to college. BSO-students who want to run for a higher degree have to stay a seventh year in secondary school before the college and university doors open for them.

Opening doors for the future

Something for everyone

Although this system might seem very specific, it does not limit the youngster’s op-

In the field of higher education, the offer is extensive as well. Belgium’s oldest uni-

College of Europe.

versity, the KU Leuven, dates from 1425 and is still rated 81st in the world. Together with the universities in Ghent, Antwerp, Brussels and Hasselt, they offer a wide package of courses in a multitude of domains. Regarding colleges, on the other hand, the list of possible schools and trajectories is long and diverse. This healthy competition stimulates them even more to offer the best possible courses. In this month’s special guide, we present our pick of the region’s finest educational establishments: for everyone from the youngest learners to the perpetual student.


Antwerp Management School

Sustainability College Bruges.

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Discover Benelux  |  Top Flemish Education  |  Building a Bright Future!

A full-time business programme graduation ceremony.

Opening minds to impact the world TEXT: EVA MENGER  |  PHOTOS: ANTWERP MANAGEMENT SCHOOL

Antwerp Management School is celebrating 60 years of international success. Located in the diamond capital of the world, it seems only right for them to celebrate this diamond anniversary. And as if that is not enough reason for a celebration, the institution has also just moved to a brand-new campus, allowing them to continue to grow and provide high-quality, practical business education and management development for graduates, professionals and corporations for another 60 years. Antwerp Management School (AMS) was founded in 1959, after a group of professors came back to Belgium after teaching at various American business 34  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

schools. The founding professors used their experiences to set up a business school that offered the first executive business master’s degrees in Belgium. Initially part of the University of Antwerp, AMS became an independent organisation in 2008. “We’re still closely tied to the University of Antwerp,” dean Steven De Haes tells us. “But our independence allows us to position ourselves as a more agile and market-driven institution. Since learning from real-life business case studies is one of the cornerstones of our educational system, we want to be as embedded within society as possible. We teach our students to put great emphasis on evaluating the human-centred design

of an organisation and to have a holistic approach.”

Embracing their location What makes Antwerp Management School unique is the way in which they embrace their location. Antwerp is a harbour city at heart, with global supply chains and logistics as a strong economic driver. Does that not spark your interest? Do not dismiss Antwerp just yet: the versatile city is equally appealing to engineers, entrepreneurs and creatives alike. With a vast creative sector powered by the number one diamond industry, Antwerp has become an important breeding ground for international fashion brands to flourish in. Still not convinced? Then know that the city is also interna-

Discover Benelux  |  Top Flemish Education  |  Building a Bright Future!

tionally recognised for expertise in the healthcare sector. “The mixture of these industries is unique to Antwerp and absolutely incomparable,” says De Haes. “Our entire portfolio - be it development programmes for companies, graduate education, applied research projects, or development services – always radiates our unique identity.” AMS also uses its local heritage as leverage for global reach. “Whether it’s our student body, faculty expertise or educational approach; performing and delivering as a truly international organisation is a real ambition of ours,” De Haes explains. “The school’s global value is clearly visible when looking at student diversity: programme after programme, they welcome students from over 50 different nationalities. However, having a global perspective also comes with a heavy responsibility to obtain a critical approach to sustainability. Taking a clear and convincing stance in our role as educator of the next generations of society equals constantly aiming to create a sus-

tainable awareness and leadership attitude. Not just in terms of what and how we teach, but also beyond that: our new campus is designed and executed based on the principles of a circular economy. Hence, AMS thus sets the example for sustainable business transformation.”

ers, engineering graduates looking for a way to apply their knowledge to society, or law students wanting to manifest themselves in a specific industry. These full-time courses welcome around 250 students each year.

An open mind The school’s tagline ‘Opening minds to impact the world’, refers to everything from educating and developing their students and professional executives to creatively deal with the world’s paradoxes and coaching them in creating self-aware, critical minds. This approach will allow them to comfortably collaborate with international organisations in the future. Through a range of categorised programmes, AMS offers tailored education for postgraduates, professionals and organisations. In the first category, the school offers specialised Master programmes for graduates wishing to further develop their expertise. Here, you will find, amongst oth-

AMS recently moved into a brand new campus.

The recently opened ‘Boogkeers’ campus.

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Discover Benelux  |  Top Flemish Education  |  Building a Bright Future!

The second category is what the school calls executive education, comprising specialised programmes for professionals with a minimum of five years of work experience in a relevant field. It is a two-year, part-time trajectory, very much tailored to experienced professionals looking for an extra Master’s degree. Whether it is to deepen or broaden their current scope, it is ultimately aimed at preparing them for a next career move. For professionals with senior or expert roles, Antwerp Management School also offers an executive MBA and PhD. Those looking for in-depth information on a certain subject rather than a full degree, can join the AMS one-off, open-to-all master classes encompassing a wealth of relevant subjects.” Lastly, AMS also collaborates with private companies and public institutions or social profit initiatives for co-designed and tailored development tracks. “Companies often go into training with us ahead of a large business transformation. We help management teams create bespoke strategies for implementing change,” De Haes explains. “Since we have our own Research and Valorisation unit, we per-

Head of Antwerp Management School, dean Steven De Haes.

form as thought leaders in all our key domains of expertise.”

International praise With 2,4000 alumni coming from 80 different countries, the school is attracting students from all over the world. A safe choice, it seems, since AMS is internationally accredited and has appeared in various international rankings. Times Higher Education chose the Master in

Global Management as the 16th best International Management programme, and the annual Financial Times ranking put the Master in Management in 45th place worldwide. For the next 60 years, the school plans to stay true to its founding fathers’ philosophy of opening their students’ minds to impact the world. Yet, the transformation that is embedded within their DNA

One of the school’s many open learning spaces.

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Discover Benelux  |  Top Flemish Education  |  Building a Bright Future!

requires them to continuously evolve. “Our new campus is the perfect example of how we incorporate change,” De Haes comments. “It’s very much an illustration of how we see our future: continuously reflecting and questioning ourselves from the outside-in. Seeing functionality as a key player between society and education, it is our ultimate dream to continue to contribute to the development of long-lasting eco-systems and help build and shape the sustainable business leaders of tomorrow. The school’s 60th ‘diamond’ anniversary and opening of the new campus will be celebrated with a big celebration and homecoming in August: with over 2,000 alumni, Antwerp Management School will celebrate its rich, powerful legacy and its ever-promising future. De Haes: “It’s the perfect way to reflect on what we’ve managed to build over all these years, and equally, what we will do to continue down that path in next 60 years.”

Students meet potential employers on the AMS career day.

Web: Facebook: AntwerpManagementSchool Instagram: Antwerpmanagementschool Twitter: @AntwMgtSchool WeChat: AMSinBelgium

An Antwerp Management School lecture.

The design of this staircase reflects the values of the school, which include transparency and connectivity.

An executive programme graduation ceremony.

Issue 63  |  March 2019  |  37

Discover Benelux  |  Top Flemish Education  |  Building a Bright Future!

The university college rooted in Antwerp TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS  |  PHOTOS: AP HOGESCHOOL

For many, the years they spend in college, are the best they ever have. You live on your own for the first time and make new friends while finally working towards achieving your dreams. To make the most out of these magical years, you have to choose the perfect college or an amazing city. At AP Hogeschool, however, you will find both. There, you gain an excellent education in a wide range of domains, while enjoying the amazing city of Antwerp. Antwerp is Belgium’s largest and most vibrant city. With its strongly rejuvenating population, it is – now more than ever – a fertile biotope for innovation and the avant-garde. The city gets its unique atmosphere from the harmonious coexistence of both arts and business. The most prestigious collectives and virtuosos still operate from Rubens’ hometown and, due to its humongous diamond industry and having the second biggest port in Europe, many industrial and business moguls find their way to this global hub as well. 38  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

Practical approach In all corners of this metropole in pocket-size, the bright-red logo of the AP Hogeschool flaunts gorgeous facades. “Our campuses are spread all over town,” explains Pascale De Groote, principal of the university college. “Each campus is housed in an architecturally inspiring building that suits the specific needs of the domain it specialises in. We have laboratories, operation theatres, concert halls, ateliers, gymnasia and even a hall where you can play several organs. By setting up these campuses close to the student’s future workspace, we offer them a very close connection to the field as well. Among others, our healthcare faculty lies next to a big hospital, our science and technical students can look out over the harbour and the performing arts campus shares a building with the city’s biggest cultural temple, DeSingel.” This illustrates the diverse range of topics which can be studied at AP Hogeschool. Youngsters of all stripes will feel welcome at one of their nine campuses. Besides

traditional studies such as nursing, office management, chemistry and teacher training, they offer a few more exceptional (and even unique) studies as well. Students can, for example, opt for a future in integral safety, contemporary dance or music creation and performance art. “Whatever path you choose, we always apply a practical approach. We let successful professionals teach you the tricks of the trade and we present you with many opportunities for fascinating internships; both inside the city and far beyond the Belgian borders.” This prac-

Pascale De Groote. Photo: Lalo+Eva

Discover Benelux  |  Top Flemish Education  |  Building a Bright Future!

Inspired by the city

same city. “Our fashion academy delivers the finest designers in the business,” De Groote states. “Among others, Dirk Bikkembergs, Dries Van Noten and Walter Van Beirendonck learned the trade at AP Hogeschool’s Royal Academy. Among the former students of our conservatory, you find Hollywood actors like Matthias Schoenaerts.”

Outside of the campuses – where the lion’s share of the college experience takes place – the city’s massive array of activities await. The breathtaking historic centre is home to many bars, clubs and cultural hotspots for you to discover. 88 per cent of all Antwerp’s citizens even have a cultural centre less than a 20-minute walk from their front door. Some of the best performers, theatre companies and visual artists in the world come to Antwerp regularly to show the world what they have to offer. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that some of the world’s greatest artists developed their passion and talent in this very

This way, Antwerp and the AP Hogeschool lift each other to the next level. The city inspires the students and those students are stimulated to make a difference in the city. Many amazing internships present themselves around the corner and even during the courses, there is room for interaction with Antwerp. “More often than not, we apply our theory on what happens outside the auditorium. Our social work students can collaborate with the local community during their projects and the business students can peek behind the curtains of the city’s most promising start-ups and busi-

tical approach makes AP Hogeschool a reliable partner in the field of research as well. Both students and teachers explore various topics on a high level and in close collaboration with the outside world. Often, companies or public services even request studies themselves.

nesses. We even see that more and more of our students are setting up a business or becoming a freelancer while studying here. That is just one of the many ways in which AP Hogeschool sets itself apart. Our students’ ambitions are higher than just getting a good mark in June.” AP Hogeschool in numbers: AP Hogeschool has 12,000 students from 104 nationalities. Spread out over nine campuses throughout the metropole, they can choose from 118 different bachelors, masters, (post-) graduate and art programmes. 18 per cent of the 1,353 staff members are partially or entirely involved in academic research.

Want to peek behind the doors of your future college? Take a glance at AP Hogeschool’s campuses on Web:

Photo: Frederik Beyens

Photo: Fred Maeck

Photo: Youreka

Issue 63  |  March 2019  |  39

Discover Benelux  |  Top Flemish Education  |  Building a Bright Future!

The revolutionary Berlitz method was introduced in 1878.

Becoming a global citizen TEXT: EVA MENGER  |  PHOTOS: BERLITZ DATA BANK

How can global communication be improved? That is the question underpinning Berlitz Language School, an institution that has its roots in the United States, but now exists all over the world. With over 500 language centres spread across 70 different countries, it is the ideal place for people to become global citizens. It was 1878 when Maximilian D. Berlitz introduced the revolutionary Berlitz Method in the United States. Centred on providing an immersive experience with native teachers, whilst also focussing on oral communication, this innovative way of learning has forever changed the world of language education. In helping to build 40  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

the confidence of new language speakers, it has become the foundation for effective global communication. When Maximilian D. Berlitz introduced the revolutionary Berlitz Method® in the USA, he changed the way language was taught forever. Based on providing an immersive experience with native teachers and focusing on oral communication, the Berlitz Method® is capable of accelerating learning and building the key foundation for effective communication – learners’ self-confidence.

Various formats “What makes us unique is our ability to offer education in all kinds of formats,”

explains managing director Serge Langerock. At Berlitz, language courses can be taken in almost any way, shape or form, from sitting in a traditional classroom to having a telephone conversation one-on-one. The school wants to cater for people from all over the world, without any limitations. Students can completely tailor their courses to their lifestyle and personal interests. Those who travel a lot can opt for virtual classrooms, while those keen to explore new cultures can sign up for language-focused field trips. Ultimately, all these options can be integrated into a blended formula – held together by some hours of self-study.

Discover Benelux  |  Top Flemish Education  |  Building a Bright Future!


All ages

“There is a fast-growing demand for this kind of flexibility,” Serge Langerock tells us. “People are looking for ways to integrate their education into their individual lifestyle. Not only does this make learning more accessible, but it also promotes individual progress. While an important addition to a well-rounded programme, face-to-face lessons are relatively expensive, and can also keep students from developing at their own pace.”

Berlitz welcomes students as young as four: “More and more parents want to develop their children’s knowledge beyond what they learn in school. We’re living in a competitive world full of high expectations, and learning a second language from a young age can really help someone develop their skill set,” says Serge Langerock. Kids and teens can receive private tutoring in one of the many Berlitz centres or take at-home lessons using a phone or webcam. Wanting to make language learning as much fun as possible for kids, they even offer lan-

Berlitz mostly works with professionals – in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany they even have close ties with the government. Serge Langerock: “In these countries, we’ve been asked to help educate job seekers and migrants navigate their way into the job market. Language, of course, plays a huge part in this, but we also teach them about cultural differences to help them avoid conflicts in the workplace.” In learning how to be open to new cultures and languages, Berlitz teaches their students to become global citizens. Students are encouraged to look at their own culture from a different angle, whilst also exploring the traditions of new, unfamiliar countries. “We teach students to think positively about language education. Taking away the fear of learning a new skill is one of our main objectives,” says Serge Langerock. “Our approach to teaching is an optimistic one; we are a well-considered, effective institution that is predominantly focused on tailoring to the needs of our students.” Berlitz offers language education tailored to individual student needs.

guage camps where learning is alternated with outdoor activities. Becoming a global citizen is easy with the flexible programmes offered by Berlitz. Serge Langerock: “Whether you travel for business, live in the middle of nowhere, or have a very busy lifestyle: there is no situation that we cannot work around, and that’s what we call The Berlitz Experience.”


Berlitz students can learn at their own pace.

Berlitz has students all over the world.

Interaction is an important part of language learning.

The Berlitz method is ideal for students with busy lifestyles.

Berlitz courses are taught online, by phone or in traditional classrooms.

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Discover Benelux  |  Top Flemish Education  |  Building a Bright Future!


The world of business is dynamic and ever-changing. If you snooze, you might just miss the next big innovation or tendency. Lifelong learning is, therefore, the only way to prevent yourself from lagging behind. At Vlerick, the best business school in the Benelux, insight and theory present themselves in a most practical and innovative way. Since its foundation in 1953, Vlerick Business School has grown to become one of Europe’s finest business schools. Its initial goal was to relaunch the Belgian economy after the Second World War and to stimulate entrepreneurship and ambition. “This remains our greatest aim to date,” says Marion Debruyne, dean of the institute. “We have grown and reinvented ourselves a lot throughout the years, yet we still aim to ignite this ‘go-getting attitude’ among our students.” Their geographical playing field, however, has increased significantly over 42  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

recent decades. The school was founded under the wings of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and the Universiteit Gent, the two most prestigious Belgian universities. Today, Vlerick has a big campus in Brussels, too, as well as three collaborations abroad. “We have alliances in New Delhi (India), Cape Town (South Africa) and Beijing (China). There, as well as here in Belgium, we provide top-level education and research with a strong focus on innovation and digital transformation.”

Online MBAs Vlerick is best known for its Masters and MBAs. Its five Masters programmes focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, international management and strategy, financial management, general management and marketing management. “These are pre-experience programmes. You can enrol for them as soon as you graduate. For our MBAs, however, we ask for three years of experience in the

field before you can start. We also offer executive MBAs. These programmes contain the same material as a regular MBA but are scheduled on the weekends only, to allow our students to keep working full-time as well. This is a beneficial system since they can immediately practice what they learn.” If that does not fit in your booked-up calendar, you can opt for Vlerick’s online programme instead. From this year on, you can follow an MBA programme

Marion Debruyne.

Discover Benelux  |  Top Flemish Education  |  Building a Bright Future!

from your laptop at home. “Our goal is to provide as many entrepreneurs and business people as possible with the material they need to reach the top. Our online presence is just the next step in this direction. We have designed an online learning experience that combines synchronous learning (fixed conference calls with your lecturer and fellow students for explanations and discussions) with asynchronous learning (self-study of the provided material, at your own pace and time). This way, we offer a flexible programme without compromising on its quality or its dynamic interaction.”

Live, Learn, Leap Rather than offering a linear studying experience, Vlerick wants to take its students on a so-called ‘learning journey’. “We look at education in the same way as preparing for a holiday,” says Debruyne, explaining the concept. “First you prepare for your trip by looking up

information, exploring what is waiting for you and dreaming about what you will discover. Next, you have the interactive and exciting phase of studying and gaining knowledge. At most schools, this is where the process stops. We, on the other hand, add a third chapter: the ripple effect. “Our mission has only succeeded if we see our alumni turn their newly gained wisdom into action.” Vlerick people are enterprising leaders, who thrive in a fast-changing world.” Flying the flag ‘Live, Learn, Leap’, Vlerick’s journeys surpass the solely academic aspect of education and become genuine preparation for a blossoming career. That does not mean that theory is less important at Vlerick. On the contrary, it shapes the foundation of its practical approach. “One of my favourite quotes is: ‘There is nothing as practical as a good theory’. An academic approach gives you a frame of reference which you can

apply in the field, where everything is a bit foggier and less ideal. Knowing how to handle a situation in perfect circumstances is the ideal way to learn how to handle crises and solve problems. Most of our professors’ feet are rooted in the field, yet, they have their head in academics. Actually, those two worlds are not even as distant as you would first think.” Vlerick in numbers: According to the Financial Times, Vlerick is ranked the 1st business school for executive education of the Benelux and the 15th of Europe. At its three campuses and in four countries, 740 students from 50 different nationalities follow a Masters or MBA programme. In its 66-year history, over 21,000 people from more than 100 countries have graduated from Vlerick.


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Discover Benelux  |  Top Flemish Education  |  Building a Bright Future!


Although the history of learning takes us back millennia, there is always room for new ideas. Today, innovative schools like Sint-Lodewijkscollege in Bruges are replacing the archaic principles of unidirectional learning with modern, immersive methods to transfer knowledge. Just as high as they set the standards for their own pupils, the staff at Sint-Lodewijkscollege strive to improve themselves every single day. “Sint-Lodewijkscollege has always been a reputed secondary school,” says headmaster Koen Seynaeve with pride. “To maintain this high standard, we keep innovating our methods. To us, the most important question is: ‘How can we allow our pupils to understand the material 44  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

in a better way?’. We believe the secret is to show them different ways to think and learn. They don’t just listen to their teachers explaining things to them all the time. Instead, we trigger them to immerse themselves in the matter by looking up information themselves and distilling it into a presentation, a text or even a game. This creative approach makes them more involved in the learning process, which motivates them and reduces their studying time at home.” This philosophy translates to the pupils’ timetables in the shape of many challenging projects. Among other things, the school organises a special activity for its pupils once a week. This can be a lecture from a politician, a visit from a writer,

an interesting film, or an hour of spiritual reflection. “Another project we are particularly proud of is the introduction we give to the world of academic writing. From the first grade onwards, our pupils learn how to read comprehensively and research thoroughly. All of this comes together in a paper they write in the sixth grade. They pick a subject, formulate a research question, immerse themselves

Discover Benelux  |  Top Flemish Education  |  Building a Bright Future!

in the subject and write 20 pages about it. As the magnum opus, they present it in front of an external jury. Many alumni refer to this experience as one of the most useful they had here. It gives them a head-start at college or university.”

who study classical or modern languages, we are building a language centre in which they can practice all four language skills in a digital environment. Science pupils will be able to experiment in our future auditorium.”

State-of-the-art infrastructure

Safety net

Obviously, the priority of SintLodewijkscollege is to enlighten their pupils with plenty of knowledge. As a grammar school, they provide challenging, theoretical studies in five different domains: science, economics, human sciences and both modern and classical languages. “We consider all types of languages to be of vital importance. Those who study Latin or Greek get in touch with the narrative history of culture and mankind throughout mythology. That knowledge remains relevant.” To practise modern languages, pupils can opt to take classes such as history or religion in English instead of Dutch. Since the content of those classes is exam material as well, pupils tend to pay more attention to comprehend the language. During multiple internationalisation projects, they meet peers from different countries who speak foreign languages. That encourages them to practice what they have learned in class in their daily lives as well.

Since youngsters spend a fair share of their woken hours at school, it should be a warm and welcoming place as well. “It is vital for us that the atmosphere among pupils and between them and their teachers is jovial and open. We organise plenty of extra-curricular activities and encourage pupils to take initiative themselves. Our school even has a praesidium in which pupils can organise sports, cultural or other activities themselves. The teachers help them, but they are in charge.”

Top-notch education asks for state-ofthe-art infrastructure. Today, the school is in the process of building three rooms for experimenting and exploring. “For those who study human sciences, we have an immense library with over 150,000 copies in the non-fiction department. For pupils

demic world. “Furthermore, a substantial number of them invest their skills in social projects worldwide. This could be starting a project in a developing country or joining the ranks at an NGO. Just the thought that we might have contributed to this choice confirms that we are on the right track.” Web:

In the classrooms as well, humanity rules. “Since this year, we have a new safety net for pupils who failed one or more subjects during the first semester. Right after the holidays, we give them the chance to liaise with their teacher and figure out where it went wrong. Afterwards, they can study the material again and do another test. If they pass this one, we change their original grade to 50 per cent, giving them better odds to reach the end of the school year.”

Inspiration When Seynaeve looks at how his school evolves, he feels nothing but pride. Their alumni often exceed their own expectations and reach the top in various fields including politics, business and the aca-

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Discover Benelux  |  Top Flemish Education  |  Building a Bright Future!

‘There is no average student, so we focus on the individual’ TEXT: MICHIEL STOL  |  PHOTOS: GO! SCHOLENGROEP 20

The traditional method of a teacher standing at the front of a classroom and talking to a group of 25 students all day is being considered a more and more outdated approach. That is why the Belgian government is restructuring its education system, with the focus to be on coaching each individual student. At GO! Scholengroep 20 Zuid-Oost-Vlaanderen, a trust for 15 elementary and secondary schools in the Zottegem and Geraardsbergen region in Flanders, they have already implemented this new approach to teaching in some of their schools. “Instead of ‘receiving’ an education, the children will now ‘experience’ education,” says Isabelle Truyen, director of the trust. “For decades, education was centred on the ‘average’ student,” Truyen continues. “But the average student doesn’t exist. It meant students that were behind got more attention, while others who were 46  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

more advanced, were not challenged enough.” The new education system lets teachers and students create a more individual route together, with remediation or excellency options. “Involving the students gives them ownership of their education, and that will benefit them.” One of the biggest changes in this new way of teaching, is that courses are combined in clusters. “If students have to do a presentation for English, then why not make it about a project they did for Biology or History?”

groups of up to 120 students,” Truyen explains. “Instead of long lectures, students will get short, 15-minute instruction sessions in small groups of no more than 15. And each group is coached by at least two subject teachers.” This way of teaching, where the subject teachers are co-teaching the students, means a shift in the mindset of the teacher too. “They are each experts in their subject field, but as a team, they are there for the individual student. That is something new and we are training them in this new approach.”

A new classroom and team-teaching

Individual routes with room for remediation and excellency, and focusing on students’ wellbeing while stimulating their ambitions and engagement, is what GO! Scholengroep 20 envisions in their approach to the new education system. “We want our students to enjoy learning and to learn well.”

The new approach also means that the classroom itself has changed. In all of their secondary and elementary schools, Scholengroep 20 has created bigger spaces with much more room for students to work on different subjects in a different way. In Zottegem, they are building an entire future-proof school, developed by Rosan Bosch, B2Ai and Harvard. “Spaces can accommodate


Discover Benelux  |  Top Flemish Education  |  Building a Bright Future!

Students that make a difference – in Gent, Belgium TEXT: PAULINE ZIJDENBOS  |  PHOTOS: HOGENT

At HOGENT, a well-known university college based in Gent, Belgium, students make a difference. It is important for young people nowadays to be able to solve contemporary problems in modern society, which is in a constant state of flux. HOGENT students are stimulated to think outside the box or, as we would say in Flemish: ‘to colour outside the lines’. Having developed a critical thinking mindset at HOGENT, they are being prepared to have a direct impact on the work floor.

is a perfect example of this new, more integrated structure. HOGENT offers mainstream study subjects, but also courses that are unique for Flanders, such as textile, fashion and wood technology and retail management. Although mainly a Dutch-speaking institution, several parts of the HOGENT courses are taught in English for international students coming to Gent. There are many options in the course of a student’s career at HOGENT to do work placements or to go abroad for part of the year.

There is an abundance of courses to choose from. Anyone looking for a handson approach to learning, can enrol in one of the bachelor courses or associate degree courses. Students (current and from other educational institutions) can then follow up their degree with a Master’s programme at HOGENT’s School of Arts or one of the many continuation programmes.

Aäron Plovie, head of HOGENT’s international office, talks enthusiastically about opportunities for students to be part of the future. “In 2016, we were a founding member of the Urban Research and Education Alliance (U!REKA), an alliance of six European Universities of Applied Sciences to develop multidisciplinary strategies for sustainable, future-proof action plans. U!REKA’s motto is ’Shaping Urban Communities. Smart and Sustainable Solutions’. Our stu-

Since the 1990s, many university colleges in Flanders have merged, and HOGENT

dents will gather vast experience by being involved.” Have a look at HOGENT’s informative website to find out more about their innovative, multi-disciplinary research projects and the breadth and depth of courses on offer. They have already earned the HR Excellence in Research label for their commitment to making their institution more attractive for researchers. The UN Development Goals that want to create more sustainability for everyone on our planet are used as a research agenda. HOGENT’s renowned School of Arts has produced some unique creations. One of HOGENT’s alumni, Lukas Dhont, recently found fame at the Cannes film festival with his feature film Girl.

Be part of the new generation of students who will make a difference. Web:

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Discover Benelux  |  Top Flemish Education  |  Building a Bright Future!

Simulation Games.

Students speaking during opening ceremony.



The College of Europe is a postgraduate institute of European Studies with campuses in central Bruges and, since 1992, Natolin, near Warsaw. “We specialise in training the future leaders of Europe,” says Angela O’Neill, the College of Europe’s director of communications and languages. “The diploma opens up careers both in the public and private sector,” she explains, about the institution’s intense, ten-month course. The focus of the Bruges campus is European Union studies and offers Master’s degrees in EU law, politics and governance, international relations and diplomacy or economic studies. “We’ve just launched an exciting new two-year Master of Arts in Transatlantic Affairs,” adds Ms O’Neill. The College was created in the aftermath of World War II. The idea was to encourage cooperation rather than conflict. Each year, the rector takes students to Flanders Fields and talks about the First World War and the importance of cooperation in promoting peace. 48  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

“What makes us different from anywhere else is that we are highly specialised. Some people come to us having already studied European Affairs, including with PhDs. Students live in residences spread over the beautiful city of Bruges. We’re called the College of Europe because we’re based on the Oxbridge college principle. Students live, work and study together and debate European and international affairs at a high level,” explains Ms O’Neill. The alumni from the early days — including Manuel Marín, known as the father of the Erasmus programme — went on to work in and influence the development of institutions such as the European Commission. “Students come together with brilliant ideas and make things happen. They travel together on study trips and contact organisations they want to work for,” says Olivia Taveirne, the head of student affairs and communications manager. Students of 55 global nationalities study at the College. That diversity is celebrated during national weeks encompassing traditional cuisine, cultural activities and

discussions from a country’s or group of countries’ perspective. Students receive intensive training in professional skills, such as negotiating and public speaking, and are provided with access to language courses and career support. Visiting professors, selected for their expertise, teach at the College of Europe. “The programme is renewed each year to cover themes and issues students need to know about,” explains Ms O’Neill. Scholarships are available, providing students from all backgrounds an opportunity to join the College of Europe’s influential international network of alumni.

Students at the Mayor House Bruges.


Discover Benelux  |  Top Flemish Education  |  Building a Bright Future!

Daniel Manteau.

Eline Dieleman (left).

Yentl Tondeleir.

An international hub for learning TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS  |  PHOTOS: ODISEE

Pack up your bags and books and begin your learning journey today. Odisee, one of Flanders’ biggest university colleges, lives up to its name by being a champion of internationalism. Not only does the school encourage its students to cross borders, but it is also a warm home for the many expats who choose to study in Belgium. With six campuses spread across Flanders and Brussels, and nearly 10,000 students, Odisee is one of the region’s biggest university colleges. They offer bachelors, post graduates and bachelorafter-bachelor programmes in the fields of commercial sciences and business studies, industrial science and technology, social and community work, education, health care and biotechnology. Furthermore, their faculties are cultural melting

pots. This year, Odisee’s student board counts 79 different nationalities and no less than 290 students have chosen to spend a semester abroad or take an internship in another country. “The school really motivates us to take a leap,” says Yentl Tondeleir, who studies occupational therapy. As an internship, she went to Poland to work in an orphanage for children with special needs. “They assisted me with the paperwork before I left and gave me emotional support when I was there. Some teachers even came to Poland to see how things were going onlocation. Others called me occasionally.” An international experience is, of course, more than just a relaxing trip. The aim is for the students to explore their trade in another culture and to gain a broader vision of the world. “My internship in Suriname

was an eyeopener,” says nutrition and dietetics student Eline Dieleman. “They eat far more greasy food and carbohydrates than we do here. I had to be flexible and adapt my knowledge to this new context. That was a great lesson for me.” Odisee is not just a launch pad for the many students with foreign aspirations, it is also a beloved destination for students from abroad. “I had heard great things about Belgium and Brussels, so I decided to study there myself,” says Daniel Manteau. Three years ago, he exchanged his hometown of Hong Kong for the capital of Europe to study business management at Odisee. “When I saw the course curriculum, I was immediately convinced. I enrolled and haven’t once regretted my decision. In the beginning, it was challenging to make friends, but our professors gave us many group assignments, through which I met a lot of people. Overall, the Belgian culture is very welcoming. If you are an open-minded student who wants to learn and grow as person, Odisee is definitely the right choice.” Web:

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Discover Benelux  |  Top Flemish Education  |  Building a Bright Future!

The practical academic way towards sustainability TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS  |  PHOTOS: SUSTAINABILITY COLLEGE BRUGES

Essentially, a school is an oasis of factbased knowledge. In that spirit, professor Kurt Deketelaere has founded Sustainability College Bruges: an academy in the broadest sense of the word where information about the feasibility of a durable lifestyle is gathered, used, and spread. Sustainability College Bruges (SCB) was founded in light of the Sustainable Development Goals of 2015. These global resolutions should make our lifestyle more sustainable by the year 2030. “The Sustainability College Bruges looks into four themes within this pact,” says chairman Kurt Deketelaere. “These are energy, the environment, climate change and health and safety.” Unlike most think-tanks and academic organisations, SCB does not approach the subjects with a technological hat, but from a social sciences and humanities perspective. “Technology evolves fast and I am sure we will solve the biggest sustainability

issues soon. The question, however, is how these measurements will affect society. We gather the likes of legal experts, economists and philosophers to answer just that.” Alongside Deketelaere, 40 professors and experts from different fields work with Sustainability College Bruges. Together, they offer continuing education, research, mediation and advisory services. “In our education programme, we create customised training for companies, public institutions or students. We apply a ‘train-the-trainer’ approach and teach our material to the management of those companies and institutions, hoping they will implement it in their daily routines. Many of our projects have an intercontinental touch. Often, non-European companies and governments ask us to organise training on the subject of European legislation on sustainability for them.” Four years into the Sustainable Development Goals, Deketelaere believes in its chances of success. “This last decade, the awareness

around sustainability has increased strongly. Most people now realise that it is time to act, and are willing to contribute to it. The world will not be perfect by 2030, but I do believe it will be a better place.”


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Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Jérôme d’Ambrosio


Racing to victory Now in its fifth season, the electric race series Formula E is becoming increasingly popular worldwide. One name on everybody’s lips is that of 33-year-old Belgian driver Jérôme d’Ambrosio, who sped to victory in a dramatic race at the Marrakesh E-Prix back in January. Currently leading the driver standings in the championship, we caught up with the Brussels-born sportsman ahead of his upcoming races in Hong Kong and Sanya. Strong, focused and full of passion for Formula E, we think d’Ambrosio could well be the one to watch this season. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: HUGO BOSS

“This year I feel like I’m in a winning position,” smiles d’Ambrosio, fresh from his victory in Marrakesh. The win was full of drama, with Portugal’s Antonio Felix da Costa crashing out after being hit by his British team-mate Alexander Sims. “The race was really hard-fought,” says d’Ambrosio, on reaching the top of the podium. “It felt amazing. I was so happy to win and start the season in a strong place.”

Formula E Since making its international launch in the grounds of the Olympic Park in Beijing in 2014, the rise of Formula E has been extraordinary. Today, with 11 teams and 22 drivers on the grid, the championship is home to some of the world’s finest motorsports talent. BMW, Jaguar and Mahindra are just a few of the big-name manufacturers on board, with the competition allowing them to test and develop road-relevant technologies. By racing on the streets, Formula E is helping to perfect the way electric cars are designed, therefore improving the driving experience for regular road-car users across the globe. “The driver has a big impact on the development of the car and I really enjoy doing that,” explains d’Ambrosio, who joined Mahindra Racing for the 2018/19 season after four years competing as part of the

Dragon Racing team. “I love the technical challenge behind Formula E, working on the strategy and all that kind of thing gets me really excited. I can spend hours speaking with the engineer, working on the method and trying to improve the car.”

Globetrotting The Formula E championship boasts one of the most exciting sporting calendars in the world, with 13 races covering five continents in cities including New York, Paris, Hong Kong and Ad Diriyah. “If you tune in to a race, I guarantee you won’t be able to let go of it!” enthuses d’Ambrosio. “It’s a true show. There’s real overtaking happening all the time – you’re not sitting on the sofa for two hours just waiting for one or two exciting laps. “And if you come to watch it live you’ll see how fans can really interact with the driver. We’re closer to the spectators than any other series in the world.” For globetrotter d’Ambrosio, having the opportunity to visit so many thrilling destinations is a major work perk. “One thing I really do enjoy is travelling,” he grins. “Thanks to Formula E, I get the chance to discover the world and learn about new places and cultures. For example, after Hong Kong last year, my fiancé and

I went to Cambodia and Laos, and after Santiago, we went to Patagonia.”

Italian roots He has raced all over the world, scooping Formula E victories in destinations including Mexico City and Berlin, not to mention his most recent win in Marrakesh – but does d’Ambrosio have a favourite place to compete? “All the cities we go to are so amazing. Before a race, I like to kind of disconnect a bit and I’ll often just go to the middle of the city and have dinner with my fiancé, family or friends. I think that probably in terms of the track and in terms of the Friday night dinner, Rome is my favourite city,” smiles d’Ambrosio, who is half Italian and a self-proclaimed foodie. “I really like eating well – one of my biggest expenses is restaurants. I enjoy tasting different food from different countries.” So what is he like in the kitchen? “Oh I’m a very poor cook,” he laughs. “The only thing I cook quite well is spaghetti in my own homemade tomato sauce. It’s basic, but I love it.” Of course it is not all about fine dining and sightseeing: Formula E requires a huge amount of hard work and dedication. “There’s a massive amount of preparation that goes on before the race, a lot of work Issue 63  |  March 2019  |  53

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Jérôme d’Ambrosio

with the team,” he explains. “Then, during the race, it’s so technical and you’re just so focused on what you have to do.”

Early talent d’Ambrosio fell in love with racing at the age of eight after trying his first karting session while on holiday in Spain. “I started out playing football when I was a kid, but after I discovered go-karting, I told my mum and dad; ‘I don’t wanna play football anymore, I wanna be a racing car driver’. It all started there,” he recalls. “My father was a professional football player and my whole family was way more into that. But my parents were so supportive. It was the same for my sister, they always supported us in whatever we wanted to do. The rule was ‘anything you do, you do it properly’. They told us ‘choose what you wanna do and dedicate yourself to whatever it is’. We were very lucky in that respect.” In 1995, d’Ambrosio began karting seriously, winning the Junior Monaco Kart Cup five years later and enjoying a victory at the World Cup Formula A in 2002. At what point did he realise he wanted to make a career out of racing? “It’s funny, because people think you start racing and straight away say, ‘this is what I wanna do’, but the reality is that if you ask a kid what he wants do do for a job, he probably doesn’t properly understand the concept of going to work to make a

Photo: Spacesuit Media/Mahindra Racing, Lou Johnson

living. When you’re young, the approach is more like, ‘I love the sport and I just wanna do it’, but you don’t think much further than that. Then probably when you’re 15 or 16, you have to make decisions about your career and about school. That’s when you realise, ‘okay, this could be a career’. It’s a slow and natural process.”

Road to success During the 2000s d’Ambrosio progressed through the single-seater ranks in Formula Renault and Formula Renault 3.5, before scooping his first major championship title in the inaugural season of International Formula Master in 2007. He then made the leap to competing in the GP2 Series and GP2 Asia Series with DAMS, finishing vice champion in the latter series for the 2008-09 season.

During this period, d’Ambrosio kept his position on the Renault F1 driver development programme and in 2010, Renault F1 appointed him as official test driver. His Formula One race debut came the following season with Marussia Virgin Racing. After a short stint in sportscar racing, d’Ambrosio joined Dragon Racing for the first season of the FIA Formula E Championship in 2014, spending four years with the team before his switch to Mahindra Racing. His passion for Formula E is unequivocal. “I never feel like I’m working because this is my passion,” concludes d’Ambrosio. His advice for any aspiring Formula E drivers out there? “Find what you love and hold on to it. And stand back up every time there’s a bump on the road – there’s a high chance you’ll succeed.” Photo: Spacesuit Media/Mahindra Racing, Shivraj Gohil

Photo: Spacesuit Media/Mahindra Racing, Lou Johnson

54  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

Photo: Spacesuit Media/Mahindra Racing, Shivraj Gohil

Issue 63  |  March 2019  |  55

Discover Benelux  |  Art  |  Utrecht, Caravaggio and Europe


Utrecht’s followers of Caravaggio TEXT: ISA HEMPHREY

An old zen proverb states that to follow the path in any discipline, you must first find the master. Then, you must follow them, walk with them and see through them to finally become the master yourself. In the early 17th century, three young Dutch artists arrived in Rome to walk this path.

journey been far more perilous. They were not pioneers: Dutch artists had travelled to Rome a century before seeking the work of Michelangelo and other virtuosos of the Italian Renaissance. The three Utrecht artists left the comforts of their home and pursued only one master: Caravaggio.

A thousand miles separate the Dutch city of Utrecht and Rome. You can drive it in under 17 hours. For Hendrick ter Brugghen (1588-1629), Dirck van Baburen (ca. 1594/95-1624) and Gerrit van Honthorst (1592-1656), it would have taken much, much longer and the

The ‘Caravaggisti’, the followers of Caravaggio, are not a new subject. There have been many exhibitions on the topic. But at the Centraal Museum, Utrecht, Caravaggio and Europe is the first exhibition to display the Utrecht Caravaggisti alongside their European

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counterparts. One can see with ease what these artists learned from Caravaggio’s biblical narratives, powerful chiaroscuro and dramatic compositions in a side-by-side comparison.

Look to the master Similarly to Giorgio Vasari’s documentation of Renaissance artists in Italy, Flemish writer Karel van Mander wrote artist biographies in his Het Schilderboeck (1604). Included in his book were the contemporary Italian artists in Rome including Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610). Contradicting most written work of the previous century, Van

Discover Benelux  |  Art  |  Utrecht, Caravaggio and Europe

Mander proclaimed Caravaggio as a master they should follow. He wrote of the painter’s insistence that all art is ‘child’s work’ unless it is painted after life. ‘For to paint after drawings, even though they be done after life, is nowise as reliable as to face life and follow Nature with all her different colours’, Van Mander stated. In Utrecht, Ter Brugghen, Van Baburen and Honthorst were already under the tutelage of two great masters: Baroque painter Johannes Moreelse and mannerist painter Abraham Bloemaert. Ironically, their training dictated that drawing was the foundation of a good artist. Bloemaert was an established draughtsman who completed thousands of drawings. However, Honthorst is the only one of the three known to have drawings in his oeuvre. Perhaps it was the Het Schilderboeck that challenged their tutors’ methods, or the freedom from guild restrictions Rome offered, or the chance to follow their predecessors. Whatever the reason, the three artists decided to swap one mentor for another and left their ordinary world. Many other artists from throughout

Europe would also journey to Rome and are included in the exhibition. In fact, of the 2,700 artists listed in Rome, 572 were foreigners. “I think it was perhaps not a very huge tradition, but artists were going [to Rome],” says the curator of the Centraal Museum and the exhibition, Dr. Liesbeth M. Helmus. “But I think it needs a lot of courage because it’s a long and dangerous journey and you don’t even know if you’re coming back.”

Follow the master Ter Brugghen was the first to go, around 1607. Van Baburen and Honthorst both travelled separately, around 1612 or 1613. With Van Mander’s encouragement to young artists to study Caravaggio, was a warning about the city of Rome. While bountiful in opportunities for young artists and its many churches screaming for new religious art, Rome was a dangerous city. Like any major city, there is usually an underbelly of darkness and sleaze. Rome had finally recovered after being brutally ransacked by Charles V and much of the city was being redesigned and reconstructed. The result, as the exhibition catalogue explains, was that the vibrant metropolis became a magnet for beggars, thieves, soldiers,

charlatans and the high population of men led to an increase in prostitution. It was a recipe for drunken brawls, gambling and death. Consequently, in the exhibition you will find many paintings of fortune tellers, card players and ‘merry companies’. Caravaggio has been described as a violent man in a violent world. A genius painter with a destructive life whose career lasted only 18 years. The stories of his life in Rome are shocking. He reportedly attacked a waiter over a plate of artichokes. There is also the story of him allegedly using the corpse of a drowned prostitute as a model in Death of a Virgin (1604). The painting itself was at first rejected for its lack of decorum. He died before reaching 40, apparently of lead poisoning from the very paints he used. He could accurately be called the quintessential rock star of his time. In 1606, Caravaggio attempted to castrate a man, who later died, and was forced to flee Rome. By the time all three Utrecht artists arrived, the mentor they travelled many miles from home to see was gone. There is no evidence that they ever met.

MAIN IMAGE: The Procuress (1625) by Gerard van Honthorst. Collectie Centraal Museum Utrecht. Credit: Centraal Museum, Utrecht / Ernst Moritz. LEFT: The Entombment of Christ (1617/18) by Dirck van Baburen. Collectie Centraal Museum Utrecht. Credit: Centraal Museum, Utrecht / Ernst Moritz. MIDDLE: St Jerome Meditating (1605/06) by Michelangelo Merisi, called Caravaggio. Museu de Montserrat, Montserrat. Credit: Museu de Montserrat. RIGHT: The Entombment of Christ (1602/03) by Michelangelo Merisi, called Caravaggio. Musei Vaticani, Pinacoteca Vaticana, Città del Vaticano. Credit: Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vaticaanstad.

Issue 63  |  March 2019  |  57

Discover Benelux  |  Art  |  Utrecht, Caravaggio and Europe

Thomas’ brow raised in astonishment. Caravaggio did not invent chiaroscuro; his forte was using light to tell the story of the scenes he painted. St Thomas’ shocked expression indicates his transformation from a doubter to a believer and the intricate shading of the deep folds of his forehead communicates this pivotal moment. Ter Brugghen’s version utilises a similar radical composition with key differences. Ter Brugghen reversed the figures to the right of Christ, and St Thomas’ finger does not probe the wound as deeply. Dr. Helmus states that this version is painted so the viewer can feel part of the scene. “It is a kind of open circle so you can join them if you want to,” she says. “The figures are very close to us, not close in an emotional way but in a physical way. So it’s as if you can step in and you are part of the circle looking at what is happening.” This technique was applied by Caravaggio in The Supper at Emmaus (1601), where Christ’s hand is reaching out as if beckoning us towards him.

See through the master

St Sebastian Tended by Irene (1625) by Hendrick ter Brugghen. Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College; R. T. Miller Jr. Fund, 1953. Credit: Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, OH. R. T. Miller Jr. Fund, 1953.256

Walk with the master How limiting would it have been to study Caravaggio’s paintings alone? Dr. Helmus says that would depend on what the three artists actually wanted to learn. “This is, of course, all hypothesis, I don’t know what they wanted to learn,” she says. “I think they were very attracted to this new naturalism, this enormous chiaroscuro and the monumentality of Caravaggio’s paintings because that was something that was completely new.” The Caravaggisti explored similar subjects of the paintings their mentor left behind in Rome, which the exhibition groups together. His The Incredulity of St Thomas (1600/25) is one of the most replicated paintings of the early 17th 58  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

century. The one in the exhibition from the Uffizi is also thought to be a copy. Its composition was radical: the first painting with a small number of three-quarterlength figures in a nondescript place. St Thomas’ finger is being plunged into Christ’s chest wound to prove that he has risen from death. At the centre is St

When a band covers a song, it is not enough to simply copy every note. The best covers are the ones where the original song is taken to new places. Van Baburen certainly took Caravaggio’s monumental altarpiece The Entombment of Christ (1602/03) one step further in his version. In Caravaggio’s piece, which was lent from the Vatican to the exhibition for only four weeks, John the Evangelist and Nicodemus carry the corpse of Christ to his tomb. Behind them are the three Marys: Mary of Cleophas, Mary Magdalene and the Virgin Mary. In Van Baburen’s 1617/18 version, Christ’s head is hanging down and shrouded in shadow

The exhibition has grouped together the common subjects and themes of Caravaggio and his followers. Photo: Centraal Museum, Utrecht / Ernst Moritz

Discover Benelux  |  Art  |  Utrecht, Caravaggio and Europe

and the corpse is resting on a tomb slab rather than being lowered into one. But the key difference is the distorted figures. Nicodemus’ forehead is bulging outwards and his brow is harshly crooked. The face of Mary of Cleophas is unnaturally arched in anguish as she reaches up towards the heavens. For an altarpiece used to inspire faith, it does the job. The faces and poses distorted in their grief create a greater sense of movement than the original and we feel like witnesses to a real moment of sorrow. There is another explanation for Van Baburen’s interpretation. Dr. Helmus stated that the Dutch artists seemed to accept ugliness as part of the world. In his Entombment piece, for example, Van Baburen painted Christ with dirty feet. When asked to elaborate on her statement, Dr. Helmus theorises that they likely did not realise they were more inclusive of ugliness. “Perhaps they were trying to be real realistic painters, but I don’t think they were doing this on purpose or they were aware of this,” she says. She later states: “I think they absorbed in Rome whatever they were seeing or whatever they liked and that they used every experience in their own way. I don’t think that they were trying to emulate Caravaggio.”

Becoming the master The Centraal Museum exhibition is not about competition, as Dr. Helmus ex-

plains. “I think it’s very difficult to compare them,” she says. On the year the art world celebrates 350 years since the death of Rembrandt, much will likely be said on who is the true master of chiaroscuro. Honthorst, the third Utrecht artist, enjoyed more success than the other two, partly because of his expert use of light. He was the first artist to illuminate his scenes with a hidden source of light, like a candle. In Merry Company With a Lute Player (1619/20), for example, the candles are obscured by men to create an ambient glow. This style earned Honthorst the nickname ‘Gherardo delle Notti’, meaning ‘Gerard of the Nights’. Honthorst’s work is an example of how a student becomes a master. Caravaggio never used candlelight in his work. “It’s very strange when you look at the paintings by Caravaggio, it’s very hard to find the source of the light,” says Dr. Helmus. Even Van Mander described the difficulty of painting candlelight. But Honthorst managed to use the artificial light to achieve what Caravaggio did with even greater intensity. The candlelight helped the artist tell the stories he painted. In The Procuress (1625), a candle burns between a courtesan, a man and an old woman wearing a turban. The light bathes the young woman’s beautiful face and full cleavage, but the man reaching into his coin pouch is completely in shadow. Perhaps this symbolises

the man’s dark intentions or that he is ‘in the dark’ about the consequences of his actions. The old procuress’ sinister smile is only slightly illuminated as she watches the exchange she has arranged. With the proximity and position of the candle, our imagination can see far more than just three figures sitting around a table. Although Honthorst owes much of his innovation to Caravaggio, the exhibition proclaims that Gherardo delle Notti’s style should be considered an independent achievement. All three artists eventually returned to Utrecht, having developed their own individual style. It is unlikely that we will ever find out what the great Caravaggio would have thought of his followers if he had stayed in Rome. But it was their risk of travelling to Rome that connected Caravaggio’s style with the next generation of Golden Age Dutch masters, like Rembrandt. Without Ter Brugghen, Van Buburen and Honthorst, the Netherlands would certainly still have had its Golden Age of art. But, as the curator says, it would have looked a bit different. See Utrecht, Caravaggio and Europe at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht before it ends on 24 March.


LEFT: The Debauched Student (1625) by Gerard van Honthorst. Bayerische Staatsgemälde-sammlungen, Alte Pinakothek, München. Credit: Bayerische Staatsgemälde-sammlungen, Alte Pinakothek, München. RIGHT: The Penitent St Peter (1616) by Hendrick ter Brugghen. Collectie Centraal Museum Utrecht. Credit: Centraal Museum, Utrecht / Ernst Moritz.

Issue 63  |  March 2019  |  59





A tale of two managers TEXT & PHOTO: STEVE FLINDERS

Unlike 600 million other people, I am not a Manchester United fan, but I have been intrigued by the contrasting performances of its current and former manager. If you do not follow football, here is some background: Manchester United enjoyed stunning success for years under manager Alex Ferguson until he retired in 2013. Since then, the team has lost its way. Previously the world’s richest club, Real Madrid and Barcelona are now both richer. In May 2016, the club appointed José Mourhino as its new manager. Mourhino has had a stellar career managing the likes of Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Chelsea. But Manchester United’s start to this season was so mediocre – just seven wins from 17 games – that the club sacked him in December. It then appointed a former playing star, Norwegian Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as caretaker. Supersub Solksjaer was the darling of United fans between 1996 and 2007, scoring critical goals on a number of occasions, although he has limited experience as a coach. Since he became manager, Manchester United has won eight games 60  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

in a row. The team is transformed, and is back in the running for honours and glory. New managers often enjoy a bounce, although not of this duration. What interests me is why Mourhino failed while Solksjaer is currently succeeding. I think the answer is love.

everything. Build on what you have, be sensitive to the feel of the place, work on bringing the best out of people, and motivate them to do better. I hope that by the time you read this, Solksjaer will be the new permanent manager of Manchester United.

Mourhino went to Manchester United because of ambition – to manage one of the world’s top clubs. He may be a brilliant tactician but he has a joyless side. His teams have a reputation for being boring; he tries to fit round pegs into square holes – his relationship with several star players at Man U broke down; he disputes refereeing decisions; he makes egotistical claims about himself and derogatory remarks about other managers. In contrast, Solskjaer loves Manchester United. He quickly extended his emotional bond with the club to embrace the squad. Previously listless players are now performing brilliantly. Solksjaer is cheerful and positive with everyone. This is a lesson in cultural fit. In any organisation, new managers should not feel they have to make their mark by changing

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

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Calendar


The Social Conference 21 March, Amsterdam, the Netherlands Presence on social media is vital to remain relevant as a company. During The Social Conference, professionals and academics liaise about the untapped potential of this powerful channel. Apart from many interesting speakers, this year’s programme features a social hackathon, one-on-ones with influencers and professionals, and an introduction to mindfulness, to make room in your head for new ideas.

The Social Conference.

Women Economic Forum 8 – 9 March, Amsterdam, the Netherlands Parallel to the (mainly male) World Economic Forum, the Women Economic Forum hands the microphone to successful and empowering women on the brink of changing the world. They are active in over 150 countries and set up in a handful of locations every year to discuss and put things in motion – not just regarding gender equality, but also concerning other major issues that the world is facing today.

Microsoft Ignite 20 – 21 March, Amsterdam, the Netherlands Microsoft’s annual dive into the goodies of digital technology goes on a tour through Europe this year. During their stop in the Netherlands, developers and tech professionals are welcome to attend the many talks, practical learning sessions and eye-opening keynotes. Pick out the learning path that suits your interests best and start your journey.

E!Sharp Live 21 March, Brussels, Belgium In its magazine, E!Sharp gives you a bimonthly update on the state of the European Union. During its live event in the heart of the continent, they will shine their light on the major developments the union will face in the upcoming months. With Brexit and the elections approaching expeditiously, there is plenty to be discussed.

International HR Forum 28 – 29 March, Amsterdam, the Netherlands Human resources are the most valuable assets of a company. To take your recruitment skills to the next level, the International HR Forum introduces you to top-notch recruiters from major firms around the world. They teach you how to recognise the scent of talent from a broad distance and how social media can be your ally while reinforcing your team.

E!Sharp Live.

Issue 63  |  March 2019  |  61

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Property Hunter

Audrey Papy (left) and Marylin Deby.

Stress-free house hunting in Luxembourg TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: PROPERTY HUNTER

Thanks to its strong economy, excellent living standards and an enviable location at the heart of Western Europe, Luxembourg’s real estate market is thriving. House prices in the Grand Duchy are continuing to rise, and property is in high demand. That is why Marylin Deby and Audrey Papy founded Property Hunter Luxembourg, a personalised service which takes the stress out of house buying: “We founded Property Hunter to help buyers in reaction to an extremely competitive market.” Whether you are renting or buying, Property Hunter will ensure you find the best solution to meet all your property needs. They take over your property search for you, to make sure you find everything you are looking for. “We will go above and beyond to help our clients,” asserts Marylin. Adapting to meet the needs of every individual client, Property Hunter scans the entire market and then conducts 62  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

initial visits, selecting only the very best offers for their clients. They will then present their property selection, giving clients their own honest opinion and advice. Property Hunter will assist you the entire way throughout your buying journey until the signature of the notary act.

Thanks to their in-depth knowledge of the market, Property Hunter are experts at estimating prices and will always tell clients the true value of properties visited. “We spend all day looking at properties, so we really know the market,” points out Audrey.

Customers range from private investors to families looking for their dream home, while the service is popular both with Luxembourg natives and those coming from abroad.

“Unlike estate agents who have to deal with vendors, we are 100 per cent on the side of the buyers and will always advise them about the right property value.”

The market in Luxembourg is so reactive that clients need to be ready to make decisions quickly, and having a service like Property Hunter on hand to offer expert advice makes that much easier to do. They also work proactively with architects or contractors to obtain an estimate of the amount of work to be done before submitting an offer. The main objective of Property Hunter is to provide their clients with all necessary information should they have to react quickly.

For further information visit:

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  BMT Additive

Tool with integrated cooling channels for a brazing process.

The Q20 Arcam printer, based on EBM Technology. With Serkan Yildiz (operations engineer), Ewald Goossens and Geert De Donder.

Demonstrator, shows the capabilities of the EBM printer by minimal use of supports and no deformation.

Combined pinion, rack track assembly showing the AM possibilities. Photo: Jan Peirs

Drawing representing the capabilities on design, design for functionality and design for AM. BMT Additive does their own strength analysis in order to create functional parts which meet the customer’s requirements.

Beyond conventional metal production TEXT: KARIN VENEMA  |  PHOTOS: BMT ADDITIVE

The benefits and implications of 3D metal-printing are numerous. So numerous, that many companies and designers cannot yet oversee all available options. BMT Additive sees it as their mission to help their customers discover these possibilities and use them as input for their product development. This integrated approach is crucial to ensure the maximum value of additive manufacturing. BMT Additive is a subsidiary of the BMT Group, a longstanding giant in the field of engineering services and highprecision metal components. BMT Additive is the only company in Belgium that 3D prints titanium products for external use with Electron Beam Melting technology. They work with clients in the aerospace, offshore and transportation sector, and also co-create industrial machinery and equipment. “Co-creation is the best method to use in the additive manufacturing field that is still growing from its infancy,” says Geert De Donder, business development manager at BMT Additive. “We offer design, printing and finishing to come up with a 64  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

tailored design for functionality, the selected printing technology and finishing steps. This makes us a unique partner for our customers.” 3D metal additive manufacturing creates new possibilities in several industries. For instance, General Electric Company has recently presented the game changing Advanced Turboprop engine, which reduced 855 parts to just 12, by using additive 3D-printing technology. This means less part interfaces, leading to an improved performance. Furthermore, the engine weighs less, is more durable, and has a simplified logistic. “At the moment, our plant is mostly research and development orientated,” says Ewald Goossens, business unit manager at BMT Additive. “We make titanium parts like brackets, valves and sprockets to the highest standards applicable in the industry sectors. At the same time, we are investigating the possibilities of aluminum, high-strength stainless steel and Inconel alloys. Industrial 3D metal-printing is only just getting started, and we are at the forefront of the development.”

BMT Additive works together in several consortia to qualify for big aerospace projects. All the produced parts are subjected to stringent testing, including 100 per cent inspection. Results typically surpass clients’ expectations, due to the expert knowledge and experience available within the company. “I sometimes call us ‘the Steve Jobs of 3D printing’,” smiles De Donder. “20 years ago, nobody imagined what the possibilities for the smartphone would be, and look at them now… The same applies to 3D printing, the possibilities are endless!” Web:

Typical hybrid solution. This part consists of two parts: the body in titanium, and the gear ring made out of S82 British steel. The titanium body is printed, where the gear ring is manufactured in the conventional way. The total concept gives a 40 per cent weight saving. Photo: Jan Peirs

Discover Benelux  |  Business  |  Dilbeek Business Center

David Vandenbeginne.


An essential address for entrepreneurs TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: BUSINESS CENTER

Have you considered expanding your company in Flemish Brabant? Located next to the motorway and only ten minutes from Brussels, the team at Dilbeek Business Center can help you make the most of the province’s exceptional commercial potential. “We help self-employed people with the various aspects of launching their own business,” explains David Vandenbeginne, CEO of Business Center in Dilbeek. A businessman at heart, he founded the company about a year ago to support small- and medium-sized businesses in all their administrative procedures. In this way, Business Center collaborates in particular with respected lawyers and accountants, as well as the Syndicat Neutre pour Indépendants (SNI) in order to make all necessary elements available to their clients and guide them through their projects in the best possible way. One of the main aims of Business Center is to familiarise entrepreneurs with the specific business laws of the Flanders

region, which offer many benefits for self-employed people. It is for this reason that it can sometimes be easier to start a business in the Flanders region, compared to doing so in the Brussels region. For example, it is possible to have your business’ head office domiciled at Business Center for 89 euros per month, without any commitment. The modern facilities are equipped with all the latest technology. Business Center has already helped many entrepreneurs from various countries and a range of different industries to get started. “There has been a huge demand from all different kinds of entrepreneurs: electricians, diamond dealers, construction companies, brokerage firms, estate agents, and caterers, to name a few. It is really rewarding meeting all these people and helping make their project a reality,” continues Vandenbeginne. Dilbeek Business Center has many assets to attract the self-employed, includ-

ing its modern facilities equipped with the latest technology, such as a large projection room, a state-of-the-art co-working space and private offices. Everything is available for them to launch their business and house its headquarters there. Business Center offers a range of services according to the needs of each individual client. It can accommodate all budgets thanks to a range of competitively priced packages.

Want to know more? Address: Ninoofsesteenweg, 64 1700 Dilbeek Tel: 0477 83 00 00 Email: For further information, visit You can also connect with Business Center on social media via Facebook and Instagram.

Issue 63  |  March 2019  |  65

Pâtisserie Hoffmann.


The best food, beverages and more Whether you are feeling virtuous or in the mood for to treat yourself, this month’s food and drink guide has something to delight all tastes. Bon appétit! Le Chef est Une Femme.

66  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

Discover Benelux  |  A Taste of the Benelux  |  Best Food, Beverages and More

A healthy, tasty business card TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS  |  PHOTOS: FRUITSNACKS

Although handing out visiting cards or printed pens never goes out of style, they usually fail to leave a lasting impression. Logofruit likes saying things with fruit instead. They print your company’s logo on an apple or pear, transforming it into a tasty calling-card. So, welcome your next business contacts with an original vitamin boost! In 2005, Karel Paesmans, thirdgeneration fruit farmer, got tired of the inefficacy of his sector. To avoid the auctions, wholesalers and supermarkets altogether, he steered the family business into a new, exciting direction: delivering fruit boxes to companies. “The system already existed in Scandinavia, but Fruitsnacks was the first to do it in Belgium,” says sales and marketing assistant Tatjana Philtjens. “We pack our own apples and pears, together with other seasonal fruit, and deliver them to the clients ourselves. This way, we are in control from the tree till the office.” The boxes became an instant hit on the work floor. Especially after Paesmans convinced the

Belgian government to make them 100 per cent fiscally deductible. A few years later, Paesmans came up with a new B2B-product: Logofruit. He selects the best apples and pears from the orchard and prints logos, texts or drawings on them with special, edible ink. “It is a white or blue paste of potato starch and is entirely tasteless and organic. It is comparable to the paste they use to print the ‘m’ on an M&M.” Before printing, they polish every apple by hand, and afterwards, they print the design on it with a printing plate. Before wrapping them, they check every apple on its quality. “We don’t only print for big companies. NGO’s, small businesses and even families are equally as welcome. We make batches from just 100 apples to ones of a thousand and more. Recently, we’ve even printed 10,000 apples to ship to Qatar to celebrate the anniversary of their independence.” The popularity of the printed produce is due to its many advantages. Not only is

it tasty, original and healthy, but it is also good for the environment. “We keep our ecological footprint as low as possible. We reduce pesticides by using beneficial insects, we run our installations mainly on solar power and we keep our production local.” To top it off, Logofruit donates two cents per apple to Kom Op Tegen Kanker, the Flemish foundation against cancer. “Karel Paesmans overcame cancer a few years ago. To us, this cause is very dear.”


Issue 63  |  March 2019  |  67

Discover Benelux  |  A Taste of the Benelux  |  Best Food, Beverage and More


While many of us can resist the urge for sour, salty or bitter flavours quite easily, a craving for sugar is much harder to suppress. Unfortunately, however, sweet indulgences are often the first to be eliminated from the menu as we aim to lead a healthier lifestyle. Luckily, the new stevia sweetener from Splenda allows us to enjoy true sweetness, while keeping both the taste buds happy and the body healthy. 68  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

Since the break of the new millennium, Splenda has been the leading company in the production of no-calorie sweeteners. Its sucralose-based sugaralternative is a kitchen classic to bake with, to sweeten up hot beverages or to sprinkle on top of desserts or fruit. Now, the Heartland Food Products Group, mother company of Splenda, has come up with a new, innovative product: Splenda Stevia, which claims to have a better taste than other stevia products.

“We always thrive to combine great taste with better-for-you, low-calorie products,” says Henrike Wilkens, marketing director for Heartland EMEA. “Stevia Sweetener is extracted from the leaves of the stevia plant. That makes it a very balanced and healthy alternative to sugar.”

Revolutionary new process Splenda is not the first company to introduce stevia in the food industry. Since the European Food Safety Agency regu-

Discover Benelux  |  A Taste of the Benelux  |  Best Food, Beverages and More

lated it in 2011, many companies have launched products using the plant’s extract instead of sugar. The big issue they came across, however, was its strong, bitter aftertaste. Most companies do not use more than 45 per cent of stevia and supplement it with regular sugar to cover the unpleasant bitterness. Some producers even add other sweeteners, sugar or aromas to mask the aftertaste of their stevia products. But Splenda has now solved this problem. The experts at Heartland’s research centre have discovered a revolutionary process through which they can extract the sweet substance from another part of the plant, eliminating the aftertaste. “So far, companies mainly use Rebaudioside A, which has known disadvantages. Splenda Stevia, on the other hand, gets its unique sweetness by using a stevia leaf extract rich in Reb D, a bettertasting stevia leaf extract which doesn’t have that bitter edge,” adds Henrike.

Product of the year This February, the hard work was rewarded when Splenda Stevia claimed the title ‘Product of the Year’ in the Netherlands. The most important reason for this recognition is the novelty of offering a stevia product with great taste. Important also, is the change of mentality that the

product is about to bring about. “In the past, stevia and other sweeteners were mostly marketed for people who suffer from diabetes and obesity. The available products barely resembled the experience of sugar, didn’t keep their taste promise and thus failed to gain popularity among a broad audience. Our aim is for Splenda Stevia to attract those who just want to live more healthily, more balanced or simply reduce their sugar intake,” points out Henrike. To enjoy the healthy sweetness boost at any moment of the day, the product comes in a variety of sizes and shapes. Its ‘crystal’ form is available in pouches as well as in small sticks. In addition, Splenda Stevia is also available in tablets for coffee or tea, and even in liquid form.

Healthy and tasty products Apart from Splenda Stevia, Heartland offers a range of other healthy and tasty products. Of course, there is the Splenda Sucralose sweetener range and also GoSplash, fresh and fruity water enhancers. And since recently, they also offer the bottled cold-brew coffees of Java House. “The iced coffee section of the supermarket is dominated by drinks with lots of milk, cream and sugar. They are all very heavy and not necessarily healthy. Our Java House products are

different. They are pure, black and taste like coffee.”

Cold brew coffee The Java House cold-brew coffees are brewed with 100 per cent Arabica beans. In a meticulously perfected process, the selected beans are roasted and grind and left to soak in cold water for 12 to 15 hours. This results in a velvety cold drink that is rich in taste but low in bitterness and acidity. “Our refined process guarantees us the perfect, balanced coffee. We keep it 100 per cent authentic without reconstituted coffee, coffee additives, coffee derivatives or preservatives. Our hero products are Arabica Black and Vanilla Black – the Blacks really make the difference in the cold coffee category,” reveals Henrike. Cold brews like these are traditionally enjoyed as the name suggests. And those who enjoy their coffee with a kick might like to mix in something stronger as well, like the popular Espresso Martini. And if you like it a little sweeter, you can always soften up your cold cup of joe with some calorie-free Splenda Stevia, of course. Web:

Splenda brand manager Liene Langin (left) and Henrike Wilkens, marketing director for Heartland EMEA.

Issue 63  |  March 2019  |  69

Discover Benelux  |  A Taste of the Benelux  |  Best Food, Beverage and More


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

Luxembourgers like the finer things in life. Master pastry chef and entrepreneur Jean-Marie Hoffmann has built a very special business that aims to provide not just the fine, but the finest. In his youth, Jean-Marie Hoffmann dreamed for a time of becoming a surgeon, but decided that such a life was not for him. Given the meticulous attention to detail demonstrated in his creations, his growing business empire, and his tireless drive to improve both, it is very possible he would have made a mighty medic. The path the now 51-year-old Hoffmann chose was to become a great pastry chef, learning his craft with some prestigious names before deciding that it was time 70  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

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

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

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

Discover Benelux  |  A Taste of the Benelux  |  Best Food, Beverages and More

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

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

produce, this is something that takes a very special approach – and Hoffmann is appreciative of production director Michael Weyland. “The scale of the operation, with 18 shops, and many catering companies and other outlets in addition, could be seen as industrial,” Hoffmann says, “But this has to be artisanal, what we do is a craft with so much done by hand, reliant on human skill rather than machinery.” And Hoffmann has no intention of losing what has always been – and remains – the trump card of his business: “If I have a new idea, if we come up with a new product say, we can make it happen – and at the highest level of quality – within the day.” It is a philosophy that matches the nature of the business. In the restaurant, the mouth-watering menu du jour is now

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

The bakery business is known for its anti-social hours, but to integrate the two parts and oversee the new investment projects Hoffmann has gone further, actually installing a camp bed in a windowless broom cupboard next to his office in his new production facility in Wormeldange, and spending most nights there.

Fresh ideas, fresh investment, fresh products Even early on in the process, the signs were positive, sales good, and a good reaction from the workforce was evident. Because of the nature of what they

CEO Jean-Marie Hoffmann.

Issue 63  |  March 2019  |  71

Discover Benelux  |  A Taste of the Benelux  |  Best Food, Beverages and More

A unique epicurean hideaway TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: BOSQUE FEVI

It may be just ten kilometres from Luxembourg City, but with its coveted location in the midst of the Gaalgebierg Municipal Park, restaurant Bosque FeVi is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle and indulge in superb Mediterranean cuisine.

stuffed with yuzu and shiso chiboust, perfumed with matcha tea, natural blackberries and coulis.

Foodies will adore the nine-course tasting menu, which begins with manchego liquid ravioli and concludes with greentea ice cream, pine-nut marzipan and blueberries - with a whole host of deliHoused in Esch-sur-Alzette’s luxurious Seven Hotel, restaurant Bosque FeVi cacies in between. Look out for updates to the menu as it changes every two specialises in creative Mediterranean months. and Catalan cuisine. “There are many Italian and Luxembourgish restaurants, The restaurant also offers a selection of so we offer something truly different,” set menus, such as ‘Coolunch’, which explains Violant Tarrach, hotel-restaurant is ideal for those looking for somewhere manager and wife of chef Fernando to enjoy delicious cuisine during their Andreu. “We come from Barcelona, and lunch hour. nearly all the products served up here, come from Spain.” A stunning setting A refined menu The restaurant was entirely renovated in 2017, designed with a modern yet welThe refined menu at Bosque FeVi evolves coming aesthetic in mind. “We wanted with the seasons and boasts a range of a look that was contemporary, but not homemade specialities including hot cold like so many of the ‘industrial style’ tapas, fish, and meat dishes, not to restaurants we see nowadays,” points mention delicious vegetarian and vegan out the manager. options. The dessert menu is also not to be missed, featuring classics such Intimate and welcoming, Bosque FeVi as ‘crema catalana’ and mouthwatering is a popular venue for business lunches delights including cannelloni style mochi 72  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

during the week, and romantic dinners or meals with friends or family at the weekend. The friendly staff always go the extra mile for diners. Surrounded by flower gardens and forest trails, the verdant surroundings ensure a peaceful backdrop. “Our setting is truly exceptional,” smiles Tarrach.

Special events

The restaurant also boasts an elegant banquet room which can be hired out for private or professional events. Whether for a wedding, family party or business meeting, a variety of high-end catering options are available.

Violant Tarrach and Fernando Andreu.

Find out more at:

Discover Benelux  |  A Taste of the Benelux  |  Best Food, Beverages and More


It may not be the first country that springs to mind when you are looking for a great wine, but Belgium in fact has plenty to delight oenophiles. “The sparkling wines made here are particularly great,” says Herman Troch. He should know, since he has been running his own vineyard, Domein de Kluizen near Aalst, for more than 20 years. And the best part is that he produces his wines almost entirely on his own. Domein de Kluizen produces several smooth white wines and a variety of red wines. “My father used to have his own little vineyard as a hobby, which I always liked. So to do this professionally felt natural to me,” he explains. Troch works a lot with grapes that can be found in the Alsace region, because they work the best in the Belgian climate. “That gives us fresher wines, containing less alcohol,” he points out. The pride of Domein de Kluizen is their ‘Optima Noblesweet’, made from the Optima grape, a hybrid of Riesling and

Silvaner grapes. “This is a very sweet dessert wine with aromas of pineapple and honey, but it does not taste ‘sticky’. It’s great for drinking with dessert and cakes.” Today, the vineyard totals almost seven acres in size, with more than 8,800 vines. Troch still does almost all the work himself. “Come picking time, I have some help. But the growing of the grapes and wine production is all done by me.” Troch also loves to show guests around the vineyard and the factory. “With a tasting afterwards – of course,” he smiles.


A foodie favourite in Arlon Located at the heart of the charming Belgian town of Arlon, Le Chef est Une Femme (The Chef is a Woman) has become a must-visit foodie hotspot since opening its doors in 2015. Featured in the Michelin Guide and rated highly by Gault&Millau, the restaurant specialises in modern French cuisine made using fresh, seasonal and local produce. The restaurant’s namesake is Sandrine Brasseur, who worked for 20 years as a social worker before retraining as a chef and following her dream to launch Le Chef est Une Femme. Her idea was to create a contemporary, cosy venue where people could enjoy delicious, home-cooked cuisine in a friendly atmosphere. Housed in the former Le Gaulois establishment, right in the centre of town, the venue was redesigned and renovated before the opening of Le Chef est Une Femme. The restaurant is a favourite among couples and groups of friends, many of whom like to

Herman Troch.


make the most of the superb set-menus: for 37 euros you can enjoy a delicious three-course meal made using the freshest and finest quality ingredients. Also famous are the great value lunchtime menus. “Every Thursday, Friday and Monday lunchtime, you can enjoy a starter and main course for 19 euros,” explains Sandrine. “These are popular with those looking for somewhere to enjoy fresh, quality food during their lunch hour. At lunchtime we also offer suggestions

made with ingredients which have just arrived from the market.” The intimate restaurant can accommodate 20 diners on the ground floor and 20 upstairs. The upstairs banquet room can be privately hired, and is a wonderful venue for celebrating special occasions.

Sandrine Brasseur.


Issue 63  |  March 2019  |  73

Ronde Van Vlaanderen.

Out & About Spring has arrived in the low countries and we are already fuelled up with sunshine. Time to put this freshly gained energy to use: on a bike, a boat or in an enthusiast polonaise. Not ready for a work-out just yet? Then, enjoy the delights of this culture-packed month with film festivals, art fairs and exhibitions galore. TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS HISWA.

74  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar

Schlager Festival. Photo: Roland Hermans

HISWA Amsterdam Boat Show 6 – 10 March, Amsterdam, the Netherlands Water runs through the Dutchman’s veins. The annual boat gathering HISWA is, therefore, a big event in the Netherlands. Gasp at the many mighty rulers of the sea, participate in one of the many activities or buy yourself something nice at the fair. Perhaps even your own proper ship.

screenings, events, workshops and more. No wonder this film festival is one of the fastest growing in Europe.

Antwerp Chocolate Week 8 – 17 March, Antwerp, Belgium Nothing says ‘Belgium’ like a refined piece of chocolate. During its Chocolate Week, the sweet city of Antwerp invites the world for a degustation of this godly treat. For just ten euros, you can buy a pass containing ten

vouchers, with which you can hop in to some of the 35 participating chocolatiers. For one, two or three tickets, they will spoil you with the best products they have in store.

Springbreak 14 – 17 March, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg Spring is the season for positive vibes. During the four-day Springbreak event, innovation, creativity and respect for the environment bub-

Lux Film Fest 7 – 17 March, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg Lux Film Fest, traditionally, fills this tiny country with the biggest films. For 11 days straight, three cinema complexes in the capital screen the great Luxembourgish and foreign pictures of the last year, besides many special

Antwerp Chocolate week. Photo: Pieter D’Hoop

TEFAF. Photo: Natascha Libbert

Issue 63  |  March 2019  |  75

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar ble throughout Luxembourg city. Shop, eat, discover and enjoy yourself at the most unexpected of places and you will discover how warm a spring day in Luxembourg can feel.


Affordable Art Fair 15 – 17 March, Brussels, Belgium Hanging art on your walls is no longer something for only the lucky few. The Affordable Art Fair travels the world, selling pieces of art that you will love for prices you will love even more. Open your mind and dive into the work of artists of various stripes, and buy yourself a masterpiece on a shoestring.

TEFAF 16 – 24 March, Maastricht, the Netherlands Forget Paris! Forget New York! For ten days a year, the eyes of the international art scene are pointed at Maastricht. At TEFAF, you can find the greatest fine arts, antiques and design pieces in the world.

Lux Film Fest. Photo: Romain Girtgen

Wim Delvoye

76  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

Movies That Matter 22 – 30 March, The Hague, the Netherlands In all corners of the world, talented filmmakers create relevant masterpieces which, sadly, never make it to your neighbourhood theatre. During the Movies That Matter festival, these pictures get the attention they deserve. Allow yourself a glance at the other side of the world in the shape of cinematographic masterpieces.

Wim Delvoye 22 March – 21 July, Brussels, Belgium Few artists are as debated as Belgian ‘enfant terrible’ Wim Delvoye. With a pooping machine, tattooed pigs and taxidermy art, he always surprises both friend and foe of his work. Now, the fine arts museum in Brussels opens its doors for him and displays his work in the shadow of Rubens’ masterpieces.

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar

Antwerp Chocolate week. Photo: Visit.Flanders

Schlagerfestival 31 March, Hasselt, Belgium Schlager music, though originally from Germany, is wildly popular among all ages in the Benelux. During the annual Schlagerfestival, the biggest names in showbiz whip-up the immense audience into a deafening sing-along or an endless polonaise. Among others, Vader Abraham, Willy Sommers and De Romeo’s take to the stage this year.

Schlager Festival. Photo: Roland Hermans

Ronde van Vlaanderen 7 April, Flanders, Belgium De Ronde van Vlaanderen (the tour of Flanders) is the highlight of the Belgian cycling season. National and international twowheeled royalty will try to conquer the heavy track through Flanders’ countryside. As a magnum opus, they have to climb the Muur van Geeraardsbergen, a true horror for your calves. Those wanting to give the course a try themselves can participate in the amateur Ronde van Vlaanderen, just one day before.

Ronde Van Vlaanderen. Photo: Tim De Waele

Affordable Art Fair.

Issue 63  |  March 2019  |  77

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Musée Baron Martin

An exceptional art collection in a royal castle TEXT: NDÉLA FAYE

Located in the 18th-century royal Gray Castle in Haute-Saône, in the heart of Franche-Comté in eastern France, Musée Baron Martin has been used as an art and historical museum since 1903. The exceptional setting, along with one of the most extensive art collections in the country, means that the museum offers visitors the perfect opportunity to explore art, history and exhibitions throughout the year. Formerly owned by the Dukes of Burgundy, the Gray castle became a part of the royal estate in the 17th century. From decorative items used by Marie Antoinette and Louis XIV to painted and sculpted masterpieces from medieval times to the 20th century, the castle is brimming with historical artefacts. In addition, the museum’s collection includes more than 600 pieces of local archaeological finds. The museum organises a number of workshops and performances for children, and guided visits are available on request.

Among the museum’s permanent installations, there are a number of temporary exhibitions throughout the year. Running until 24 March 2019, is Benoît Huot’s Immortels, which features magical and mystical animal and anthropomorphic silhouettes, blurring the lines between reality and fairytales and mythology. “From a mummy with flowers on a bright red background to a modern Saint Sebastian boar pierced with arrows, these strange creations and ghostly, magical figures offer a juxtaposition

between the living and the dead; drawing attention to wider themes about the fragmentation of identities in the modern world, global warming and endangered animals,” explains Brigitte Olivier, the museum’s director.

LEFT: Tissot, La Dame à l’ombrelle, oil on canvas, circa 1875. Photo credit: Studio Bernardot RIGHT: Temporary exhibition running until 24 March 2019: Benoît Huot, Immortels H Le Sidaner, Le Dessert, oil on canvas, 1904. Photo credit: Studio Bernardot


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Language

Amsterdam, North Holland, the Netherlands. Photo: NBTC


The Benelux is a fascinating melting pot of cultures and tongues. Although its size is even humbler than that of Scotland, it accounts for three countries, six official languages and a new dialect every few kilometres. So, if you want to add some ‘couleur locale’ to your trip, you better immerse yourself in its regional slang and idioms. With these brief thesauruses, you might just get mistaken for a native.

Hollandic Although most of the world thinks Holland and the Netherlands are one and the same thing, the name only refers to two provinces in the west of the country. With major cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague in its territory, your first trip to the Netherlands will probably bring you there. Its juicy – almost vulgar – dialect is legendary throughout the country. Especially in Amsterdam, you will find the accent and vocabulary in all its glory. To sound like them, pronounce every ‘z’ like an ’s’, every ‘a’ like an ‘o’ and every ‘e’ like an ‘i’. 80  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

Amsterdam, North Holland, the Netherlands. Photo: NBTC

Hollandic Lexicon: Een bakkie leut: A cup of coffee ‘m Smeren: To leave Gein: Fun Schorremorrie: Riff-raff Bavioaene: To work hard

Amsterdam, North Holland, the Netherlands. Photo: NBTC

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Language

Frisian In the Northern-Dutch region of Friesland, things get lost in translation easily. Apart from plain Dutch, the locals speak Frisian, the country’s second official language. Despite its small territory, the tongue knows many variations. The average Dutchman, however, will not understand any of them. Frisian is related to German and Dutch but it sounds more like a marriage between English and a Scandinavian language. With a bit of effort, a Brit might be able to understand a word here and there. ‘Bûter, brea en griene tsiis’ (the beginning of a famous Frisian proverb) sounds surprisingly similar to its English equivalent: ‘butter, bread and green cheese’.

Friesland, the Netherlands

Frisian Lexicon:

Friesland, the Netherlands

Fergees: Gratis Donder del doekje: Parachute Noflik: Cosy Sjoddy!: See you! Tankewol: Thank you

The traditional Frisian clothing.

Limburgish Limburg stretches out on both sides of the Dutch-Belgian border and is the Benelux’ fruit district par excellence. During spring, many tourists go biking among the pink-blossomed trees. Yet, even more famous than its apples and cherries, is the local accent. Limburgians speak slowly and tend to switch from low tones to high ones as if they are singing their sentences. The exact sound varies throughout the region, but overall, they pronounce every ‘i’ as en ‘e’, form their ‘g’s in the back of their throat (as they do in Hebrew) and smuggle a German word into their sentences every now and then. Limburgish Lexicon: Enne?: How are you? Braa kaa: Pretty cold Vies: Very Wablief?: Pardon me? Haije!: See you later!

The fruit blossoms of Limburg, Belgium.

Issue 63  |  March 2019  |  81

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Language

West Flemish With the city of Bruges, the trenches of Ypres and the North Sea beaches, West Flanders is the perfect destination for tourists. Belgians, however, associate the region more with their peculiar dialect, which is considered the most difficult one in the country. A short introduction: every ‘ch’ and ‘g’ become an ‘h’, yet, when there is an ‘h’ at the beginning of a word, it is not pronounced. An ‘aa’ becomes ‘ao’, an ‘ou’ becomes ‘oo’, an ‘oo’ becomes ‘eu’ and an ‘ij’ or ‘ei’ becomes ‘i’. No wonder the Flemish sometimes struggle to understand their compatriots from the west. When featured on television, West Flemish, therefore, always get subtitled.

Bruges, West Flanders, Belgium. Photo: Pieter D’Hoop

The Belgian coast, West Flanders, Belgium. Photo: Visit.Flanders

West Flemish Lexicon: Beire: Fun Jok: Yes Banin: No, it isn’t Tiw wô wi: It is true Een muhenheheuhen: A mosquito’s memory

Bruges, West Flanders, Belgium. Photo: Sarah Bauwens

Tournai, Hainaut, Belgium.

Picard The French region Nord-Pas-de-Calais and the Belgian province of Hainaut are united by the colourful Picard dialect, better known as Ch’ti. With the release of the French blockbuster Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis in 2008, the idiom became loved throughout all of Belgium and 82  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

France. Just like the film’s protagonist Philippe Abrams, most French speakers struggle to understand the Chi’tis’ remarkable pronunciation. Their vowels are nasal and many of the staccato ‘k’s and ‘c’s you find in French get swapped for sizzling ‘ch’s or ‘tch’s.

Picard Lexicon: In.hui: Today Niaf: Funny Tchot: Small Chuque: Sugar Brinderingue: Drunk

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Language

Namur, Belgium. Photo: Tourism Wallonia

Walloon Lexicon: Bondjoû: Hello Diè wåde: Bye Walonreye: Wallonia Lingaedje: Language Målureuzmint: Unfortunately

Namur, Belgium. Photo: Tourism Wallonia

Walloon A century ago, almost all Walloons spoke Walloon, and Walloon only. Today, French has taken the upper-hand in the south of Belgium, leaving Walloon behind as a minority language in the north-west

and centre of the region. Linguists fear it could become extinct before the break of the next century. The Roman language sounds a lot like French but has absorbed some Flemish aspects as well,

both in grammar as in vocabulary. Where speaking is quite doable, writing or reading can be a challenge. They use even more accents than the French do and cut back drastically on the use of vowels.a

Serres Royales de Laeken. Photo: Jean-Paul Remy

Marols Lexicon: E beis: A kiss Awel?: So? Ne broebeleir: A braggart E sozjeke: A blanket E peike en e meike: An old man and woman

Brussels, Belgium. Photo: Visit.Flanders

Marols While most citizens of Brussels prefer a French chat over a Dutch one, the traditional dialect of the city is a perfect synthesis of both tongues. French and Dutch words blend into colourful sentences and so too do their associated grammar rules. Unfortunately, the city’s dialect is about to become extinct. Only in the Marollen district can you still find plenty of native speakers (hence the name Marols). As an undiluted street dialect, Marols counts many weird and hilarious insults. Ask one of the locals and they will happily teach you a few.

The Atomium, Brussels, Belgium. Photo: Gaëtan Miclotte

Issue 63  |  March 2019  |  83

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Language

Luxembourg. Photo: Tourism Luxembourg

Luxembourg. Photo: Tourism Luxembourg Luxembourg. Photo: Tourism Luxembourg

Luxembourgish Is it a language? Is it a German dialect? That discussion divided the Grand Duchy after the Second World War. To take distance from their eastern neighbours, Luxembourgish linguists inked down the rules for their new, official language, to make it sound a bit more French and a bit less German. Today, the language floats in the middle between both. The pronouns like ‘ech’ and ‘du’ still sound very German, where a Frenchman will instantly recognise that a ‘zossiss’ is actually a sausage. Luxembourgish Lexicon: Äddi: Goodbye Villmols merci: Thank you very much Pompljeeën: Firemen Dreimal nichts: Nothing at all Präbeli: Umbrella

84  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019

Luxembourg. Photo: Tourism Luxembourg

Luxembourg. Photo: Tourism Luxembourg

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Columns



Nestled in the very southern tip of the Netherlands, lies Maastricht, a small town rich in history, that for a week in March will become one of Europe’s central destinations for art. From 16 to 24 March, the fine arts, rarities and antique fair TEFAF will open its doors in central Maastricht. Showcasing 7,000 years’ worth of treasures and collectibles, TEFAF is not your usual art fair. Firstly, it is bigger. It is massive. 290+ exhibitors will be at TEFAF 2019. Secondly, it is more eclectic. You can wander round the booths at TEFAF, looking at a collection of precious Roman jewellery one minute, at an 18th-century Alaskan throwing knife the next, before stumbling across a frankly ludicrous amount of Old Masters paintings.

This brings with it the third point that differentiates TEFAF from other art fairs – the money. Now, every art fair oozes money, but it positively pours out of TEFAF. Prices are mind-bogglingly high, and if looking at your eighth rare 1,000,000+ euros painting all gets a bit much for you (or if the 40 euros ticket

price puts you off to begin with), I completely understand. But fear not, for there is more that Maastricht offers. Down on the river lies the Bonnefantenmuseum, a brilliant art museum showing, amongst other exhibitions, a David Lynch solo show until April. The Bonnefanten is also worth a look for its amazing space-rocketcum-lemon-squeezer front façade. And if you like architecture, head to Bureau Europa in the north of the city for a dose of cutting edge design. And if, after all that, you have still not had your fix of art – then Hasselt, Liège, Sittard, Eupen and Aachen are only 30 minutes away! Matt Antoniak is a visual artist and writer living and working in Newcastle, UK. He works mainly in painting and drawing and is a founding member of the art collective M I L K.


Lindemans Cassis Lambic Lindemans Cassis Lambic is brewed at the Lindemans Brewery in Vlezenbeek, a small town roughly ten kilometres south-west of Brussels. It is in Belgium’s Pajottenland, a region famed for its lambic beers brewed by spontaneous fermentation triggered by the Senne Valley’s airborne yeasts. Hour-long guided tours of the Lindemans Brewery can be booked on weekdays, followed by a beer tasting. As labels of Lindemans’ beers intimate, the brewery was founded in 1822. In common with many of today’s craft breweries, the enterprise Joos Frans Lindemans initiated was a sideline to his livelihood — farming — and grew rapidly. Six generations later, the brewery is still a familyrun business. Opening a bottle of Lindemans Cassis is a bit like unwrapping a multi-layered present. The necks of bottles are wrapped in purple foil and, as you would expect, sealed with 86  |  Issue 63  |  March 2019


a cap. Beneath that you will find a cork. Pouring the contents, you could be forgiven for thinking that you are dispensing a half-bottle of sparkling red wine — Lindemans Cassis is a deep purple and foams into an even, pinkish head. Lambic beers are renowned for their sour taste. There is just a hint of that, along with the blackcurrant that you would expect, in the aroma of Lindemans Cassis. Made using lambic beer that has been aged in oak, mixed with blackcurrant concentrate and sweetened, its flavour is fruity and tangy, giving way to a dry finish. This beer is enjoyable to sip on its own. Served in flutes at a party, it makes a viable alternative to kir royale. It pairs well with fruit-topped cheesecake or jam tarts.

Brewer: Brouwerij Lindemans Alcohol content: 3.5 per cent

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

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