Discover Benelux, Issue 66, June 2019

Page 1

I S S U E 6 6 | J U N E 2 019







Discover Benelux  |  Contents

Contents JUNE 2019



COVER FEATURE 32 Tamino Named after the prince in Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute, 22-year-old Antwerp native Tamino is the grandson of the late Egyptian singer and actor Muharram Fouad. We caught up with the talented artist, who has already earned comparisons to the likes of Jeff Buckley, ahead of his performance at this month’s Couleur Café Festival.


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



Discover Bruges: The City Whose History Made it Great


Top Festivals & Events Guide The Benelux region is bursting with inspiration for music lovers and culture vultures. We present our guide to the top festivals in Flanders and Luxembourg.

36 64

Sacha Polak We caught up with Dutch director Sacha Polak, to find out more about the making of her impressive English-language debut Dirty God.

Belgium’s most celebrated city breathes history and is more than eager to tell you all about its past. Explore some of our favourite addresses in the so-called ‘Venice of the north’.


Exotic Benelux In the mood for an adventure? This feature proves you don’t have to travel far, as we profile the exotic destinations right on your doorstep.



Company profiles, regulars and more


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

Netherlands Special: The Ultimate Destination Join us on a journey across the Netherlands, as we pick out our must-visit destinations, top places to stay, and the finest art and culture spots.

Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  3

Discover Benelux  |  Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Discover Benelux Issue 66, June 2019 Published 06.2019 ISSN 2054-7218 Published by Scan Group Print Uniprint Executive Editor Thomas Winther Creative Director Mads E. Petersen Editor Anna Villeleger Copy-editor Karl Batterbee Graphic Designer Audrey Beullier Feature Writer Arne Adriaenssens Contributors Chérine Koubat Colette Davidson

Eva Menger Frank van Lieshout Hannah Krolle Karin Venema Lorenza Bacino Martin Pilkington Matt Antoniak Maya Witters Michiel Stol Steve Flinders Stuart Forster Thessa Lageman Cover Photo © Ramy Moharam Fouad 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

Welcome to the official start of your summer! As terraces begin to overflow and boats hit the canals, our June issue showcases some of the Benelux region’s most exciting destinations. From a Bruges city special to our pick of the Netherlands’ must-visit attractions, we show you where to go to make the most of the sunshine. Now that festival season is in full swing, who better to grace our cover than Belgian singer-songwriter Tamino. We are huge fans of the 22-year-old’s debut album Amir, and can’t wait for his performance at this month’s Couleur Café Festival in Brussels. If you are also in the mood to enjoy some live music, don’t miss this month’s festival guide brimming with unmissable summer events. Elsewhere in the magazine, you can read my interview with Dutch director Sacha Polak, who told me all about the making of her impressive English-language debut, Dirty God. The drama, which tells the story of a young mum from London left with serious facial burns as the result of an acid attack, has already made a big impact in the Netherlands, and is expected to do the same when it hits UK screens this month. Finally, we explore some of the Benelux region’s more unexpected hotspots. Think sacred temples, Japanese gardens and safari adventures. Our guide to ‘exotic Benelux’ proves you don’t always have to travel great distances to feel far from home. Enjoy the June issue.

Phone: +44 207 407 1937 Email:

Anna Villeleger, Editor

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 June not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without prior permission of Scan Group – a trading name of Scan Magazine Ltd. This magazine contains advertorials/promotional articles.

4  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Fashion Picks


Summertime…and the living is easy Want to make a statement this summer? The following selection will help you find the right wardrobe for sunny days and sultry nights. There are animal prints, retro styles, and strong colours. TEXT: HANNAH KROLLE  |  PRESS PHOTOS

Modern beach look An outfit doesn’t need strong colours to be eye-catching. This casual one convinces with its simplicity. The light material and the loose cut make the shirt an ideal companion for your next trip to the beach or a barbecue with friends. The patterned shorts enhance a tasteful look. Shirt: €99,90 Shorts: €109

Elegant and unique Once the summer season is in full swing, floral patterns are the perfect way to celebrate. Combine with strong colours or, like here, keep it subtle and chic – every combination goes. With many ways of utilising this elegant print, anyone can enjoy it. €99,95

Chic city style Add a little variety to your shorts collection. These lemon ones have a regular fit, pockets at the back and a trendy rolled hem. Team with a white shirt and trainers for a smart-casual aesthetic. €39,99 6  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

Blue cheetah On hot summer days, what could be more pleasing than an airy, light jumpsuit? The supple material and delicate ruches match with the blue and white cheetah print. Pair with flip-flops or heeled sandals – this piece prepares you for many occasions. €35

Precious piece Inspired by YOLKE’s love for vintage, this delicate silk scarf will be your perfect companion for an exquisite look. The supple material and gorgeous flower pattern might make it your favourite accessory. Whether worn delicately around the neck, as a headband, or tied to your favourite bag, the versatile item makes a statement of fashion-awareness. €69,46

Wear yellow, be mellow With these fashionable track pants, you can be sure to have all eyes on you. The distinctive colour and casual side stripes create an ultimate retro look, while the soft double-face jersey and an elastic waistband make them extremely comfortable. Round off the outfit with a subtle top or opt for a hoodie in the same colour – this piece is a must-have for a fresh lifestyle. €99,95 Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  7

Discover Benelux  |  Design  |  Desirable Designs


Exterior design In summertime, we just can’t stay inside. Having breakfast on the terrace, tanning in the garden or having a glass of wine under the stars are just some of the season’s many delights to be enjoyed. These five beautiful design pieces will prepare your garden for your days in the sun. TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS  |  PRESS PHOTOS


3. Beach bunk bed Sun, shade, beds, tables, benches, a bar… the Nauta sunroom has it all. The two-storey construction is all you need for a day in the sun, with room for tanning beds on the roof and a picnic table on the ground floor. In mere minutes, you can transform that dining room into two extra beds, or even a bar. Price on request

3. 1. Hot wheels As sunny as those early summer days may be in the Benelux, the nights can be chilly. To ensure you don’t have to run inside the minute the sun passes the horizon, you can light this cute Quaruba L. With its hidden wheels, it is entirely mobile and ready to heat whichever area of your garden you want to sit in. €1,195


4. Miniature real-estate What child doesn’t want their own house? With the Lola cabana in your garden, that dream can become a reality. The wooden building package doesn’t require any screws or studs, so you can let the future residents lend a helping hand as you construct their new home. Price on request

5. 5. Portable cascade On a hot summer day, playing with cool water appeals to all ages. With the WellWell, water spouts from the ground upwards. With your foot, you can adapt the strength of your spring: from a small fountain to play with to a full-blown shower. €350

2. Picnic in style Picnic tables aren’t usually the prettiest items in your garden. Enter Anker, however! This triangular dining set gets its name from its anchor-shaped corners. With multiple wood and metal varieties in stock, you can pick from combinations galore. From €3,560 8  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019



The city whose history made it great While strolling through Bruges’ streets, its long and rich history comes to life. Halfway through the Middle Ages, the town became a dynamic hub for travellers and salesmen. And to date, the city’s hubbub hasn’t come to rest. Dive into the yesterday, today and tomorrow of Flanders’ most illustrious town. TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS  |  PHOTOS: VISIT FLANDERS

Begijnhof. Photo: Jan D’Hondt

10  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

Discover Benelux  |  Discover Bruges  |  The City Whose History Made It Great

While, at first glance, you would say time stands still in Bruges, the opposite is true. Don’t let the historic facades fool you. Behind them, there are innovative people and businesses built on the city’s future. Experimental coffee bars, funky concept shops, surprising boutique hotels – the city welcomes them all in its monumental alleys. So, those willing to look further than the carriages at the main square and

Heilig Bloed Basiliek. Photo: Jan D’Hondt

the lace ateliers by the water might discover a way more versatile Bruges than the one you see on its postcards. Yet, even when just strolling through its streets and squares, Bruges will surely leave a deep impression. Belgium’s most celebrated city breathes history and is more than eager to tell you all about its past. Visit some of the fascinating muse-

ums, explore the breath-taking streets by yourself or flow through the gothic town by boat. With a myriad of tiny streams and channels carving their way through the city centre, Bruges carries the prestigious nickname the ‘Venice of the north’. By conquering its liquid roads, you will see its iconic sites from a whole new perspective. Treat yourself to an unforgettable getaway and immerse yourself in beautiful Bruges.

Bonifacius Bridge. Photo: Jan D’Hondt

Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  11

Discover Benelux  |  Discover Bruges  |  The City Whose History Made It Great

Belfry. Photo: Jan D’Hondt

12  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

Discover Benelux  |  Discover Bruges  |  The City Whose History Made It Great

OUT IN BRUGES: In a vibrant city like Bruges, there is never a dull moment. These dynamic events will make the historic city’s summer legendary. De Zandfeesten 7 July, 4 August and 22 September

Nothing complements an ancient city like Bruges like a picturesque antique market. For three days in summer, De Zandfeesten turn the city into Flanders’ biggest vintage fair. Riffle through mysterious artefacts and long-forgotten heirlooms and take a piece of the city home with you.

Cirque Plus 12-14 July

Clowns, acrobats, magicians and tightrope walkers: at Cirque Plus, you stum-

ble upon all of them. Behold the most incredible circus acts from national and international talents or try one of their trades yourself. Who knows, perhaps you (or your rug rats) are hidden circus stars.

Benenwerk 10 August

Would you care to dance? What better ballroom can you wish for than one of Bruges’ magnificent squares and parks. For one night a year, music echoes through all of them, inviting the people to come and dance. Each of those tempo-

rary ballrooms features a different kind of music: from disco to folk and from tango to pop.

Vélo Baroque 11 August

Once outside Bruges’ historic centre, a green oasis of tranquillity awaits you. During Vélo Baroque, you can explore this nature, guided by the sound of music. A bike tour brings you from one classical concert to the next, handing you the perfect excuse to give those legs of yours a little rest.

Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  13

A medieval estate with a mission TEXT: CHÉRINE KOUBAT  |  PHOTOS: ADORNES VZW

The Adornes Domain stands in a peaceful part of Bruges, close to and yet secluded from the hustle of tourist hotspots. It exudes a mystical serenity and the intimate feel of a private home. Housing contemporary art exhibitions and a museum, it allows visitors to delve into the history of the city, all the while weaving a subtle narrative around the themes of heritage and identity.

early 15th century. The Italian Adornes, a family of Genoan merchants, settled in Bruges in the 13th century and cemented their position locally through marriages and alliances. They quickly took over key positions in the administrative and economic life of the city and built this beautiful testament to their social prominence. As Véronique de Limburg Stirum explains: “Back then, when you made it, you didn’t get a Ferrari, you built a chapel.”

A rich history

The estate consists of a mansion, the beautifully macabre Jerusalem Chapel, quaint almshouses and a garden. Though it never officially changed hands, the Adornes Domain has had its share of eventful changes. Turned into a convent from the 1830s to the 1980s, it also housed a lace museum until 2014.

The medieval estate and its unique chapel are a fixture of the Sint-Anna quarter, a web of historic, cobbled lanes that have retained their authentic charm. The Adornes Domain has been in Maximilien de Limburg Stirum and his wife Véronique’s family since it was built, in the 14  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

The estate, as it stands today, is the vision of Anselm Adornes, undoubtedly the family’s most famous member. A successful merchant, a patron of the arts and an ambassador for the Duke of Burgundy, he had his fingers in many pies and his eyes firmly set on the future. He built the almshouses – the ancestors of social housing – alongside the chapel for sick, destitute and widowed women. Incredibly, the last resident left her home – now the setting for the multimedia museum exploring the life of Adornes – in the 1950s. Though not much is known about his personality, Adornes’ life seems to suggest he had an inquisitive mind and energy to spare. He set off on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, a 14-month-long jour-

Discover Benelux  |  Discover Bruges  |  Top Art & Culture Spots

ney on foot. “This was a dangerous undertaking. It was a huge act of faith, of course, but also an incredible exploration of the world at the time,” enthuses de Limburg Stirum. Deeply inspired by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, he built the impressive Jerusalem Chapel upon his return. It boasts a stone retable adorned with skull motifs and surmounted by three large, jarringly empty crosses – an arresting sight. The consecrated chapel is also a family mausoleum, with the recumbent figures of Adornes and his wife in Tournai stone epitomising the spiritual and intimate quality of the place. “He was a true Renaissance man and is still a source of inspiration,” says de Limburg Stirum. “He not only created a family heritage but also left his mark on the identity of Bruges itself.”

Preserving and bringing alive De Limburg Stirum fell in love with her husband’s estate as soon as she saw it: “I wanted to share it with the public, but also to rekindle my family’s emotional connection with it.” Opening up and reclaiming this historic landmark went hand in hand as, in de Limburg Stirum’s eyes, preservation without attachment is not sustainable. “It is too costly, both financially and effort wise,” she explains. “So unless you can enjoy the property somehow, your project is doomed.”

It is currently a secondary residence, mainly used for family gatherings, with completely private living quarters. Privacy is part of the appeal, adding a livedin feel that the family is keen to keep alive. They’ve even created a cosy room, dubbed the Scottish Lounge, with comfortable chairs, board games and refreshments for visitors to use freely. De Limburg Stirum firmly believes that heritage should propel us forward and not be a mere symbol of the past, hence the estate’s focus on contemporary art and local talent. Currently on show, until 31 August 2019, are striking, semiabstract tapestries entitled Entropy (meaning the radical decline into disorder) by Studio KrJst. “The show has a beautiful link to Notre-Dame, which was almost burned to the ground. Everything

tends to disintegrate and nothing is reversible. But through a colossal effort and dedication, we can keep these buildings and their stories alive.” A semi-permanent exhibition, called Backstage, is a regular fixture. It documents the trials and tribulations of heritage conservation through a series of photographs, from the technical challenges of changing a light bulb in a medieval building, to Tatler-esque snippets of house parties at the estate. Future plans include opening up a larger part of the garden, creating a sustainable vegetable patch and updating the museum. Adornes Domain (Adornesdomein), 1-3 Peperstraat, Bruges. Web:

Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  15


The eponymous, flagship beer of the Bourgogne des Flandres brewery is a special one. Despite being a century old, this local favourite, now a true classic, continues to surprise with its tangy taste and blend of two unique brewing techniques. True to the spirit of innovation that was at the very heart of its creation, the brewery is back where it all began, with an intoxicatingly playful approach to beer making.

A beer with nine lives “It is one of only two breweries left in Bruges today,” explains brand manager Matthias Deckers, “though the city was home to over 30 active breweries at one point.” Bourgogne des Flandres may seem like a relative newcomer, but its story dates back to a farm-brewery in Loppem 16  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

in 1765. The brewery only opened its doors, under a different name, in Bruges in the 1800s, and its famed concoction was created just before World War I. Despite an eventful journey and the closure of the brewery, the beer lived on, and eventually ended up in the hands of the oldest lambic brewery in the world, Timmermans. “It is brewed in keeping with ancient Flemish traditions,” explains Deckers. “It is a mix of two different styles of beers. The Bruinen Os is a top-fermented dark beer which is brewed on site and blended with lambic from Timmermans, a beer aged in wooden barrels for a year.” The result is a reddish-brown drink with a complex flavour and a sour mouthfeel. According to Deckers, “it is best savoured with a cheese platter and is the ideal drink for aperitif.”

Old techniques, new haunt It has been dubbed the most romantic brewery in the world, and it’s easy to see why. Set in the centre of the medieval city, a mere 80 metres from the belfry, it is housed in a historic brick building complete with a modern and characterful glass walkway. Post-visit tastings are held at the bar, which is open from 11am in a bid to quench the thirst of passers by, and boasts a beautiful terrace overlooking the canals. The loft, where the Bruinen Os beer is currently brewed, exudes malty and hoppy aromas. The space has a cool, trendy feel, combining an eye-catching mix of brewing apparatus and warm, playful touches. The staff wear minimalist graphic black t-shirts stating ‘brew crew’; funny slogans, like

Discover Benelux  |  Discover Bruges  |  Top Places to Eat & Drink

‘save water, drink beer’ are peppered around the interactive tour, and a birdseye view of foamy, fermenting wort in an open cooling basin comes with a warning: ‘Beware the power of yeast’. The visitor-friendly approach is palpable throughout, and a sense of pride permeates each visit. The informative, interactive tour allows visitors to meet the brewer in the loft, tap a beer digitally and take selfies that can be printed on a bottle to take home.

The new frontier The same spirit pervades the production side. Young master brewer Thomas Vandelanotte, born and bred in Bruges, is the man behind the brewery’s adventurous production. A series of ephemeral beers, called Brewer’s Playground, allows him to let loose while exploring new techniques and processes. His creations, all named after songs, are exclusively available at the brewery for a period of three months. Kilning in the Name included oats Vandelanotte kilned himself in the visitor centre kitchen. Love potion N4 was a floral blend of chamomile, mistletoe and violets with a kick of jalapeño and habanero, while Orange Crush, with rosemary and fresh blood oranges, was a fruity and vibrant session IPA. Honing his skills and feeding consumers’ appetite for novelty in one go, Vandelanotte is brimming with ideas. “Today, there are no real limitations. Even recycling a Christmas tree in a creative way is an option,” he enthuses. The sky’s the limit. Visit Information: Visitors can choose to visit the brewery on their own or with a guide. All texts are available in Dutch, French, English and German. Audio guides are also available in Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Chinese and Russian. Bourgogne des Flandres has a lift, making the brewery and bar easy to access for wheelchair users and people with reduced mobility.


Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  17

Fast, fresh and affordable Flemish pasta TEXT: THESSA LAGEMAN  |  PHOTOS: BOCCA

If you’re in Ghent or Bruges and you don’t want to spend hours in an expensive restaurant, deciding to go for a lunch in Bocca Pastabar is always a good idea. While the name is Italian – bocca means mouth – don’t expect traditional Italian food here. “The pastas we’re serving aren’t like the ones you get in Italy,” says manager Jonathan Dewyspelaere, who runs the restaurant with his mother and stepfather. “We adjusted the taste to the Flemish market. For example, the Italians don’t like a lot of sauce and cheese on their pasta, while we love it.” In Bocca’s logo is a smile and the number 15, meaning you can order and eat 18  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

here in 15 minutes. “It’s not easy to find a restaurant where you can sit down for a quick — and fresh — lunch that will cost you so little,” says Dewyspelaere. Unlike in many other restaurants, the pastas and sauces are freshly prepared every day. Apart from eating at Bocca, you can also opt to take away the food or have it delivered to your home or office. First, you choose the size of your box: small for five euros, medium for six euros, or large for seven euros. Next, do you want penne, fusilli or spaghetti? Then choose your sauce: veggie, smoked salmon, four cheeses, or a mixture of sauces, for example. And finally, a topping, such as parmesan, bacon or pine nuts to make the meal complete. Per-

haps you would like to order a soup, salad or a dessert as well?

Pasta of the week Each week, Bocca offers a different ‘pasta of the week’, adjusted to the season’s food. So for example, a cold pasta salad in summer and chicory or a minced meat, cheese and leek sauce in winter. Especially popular is the ‘Bocca’ sauce, which has been sold since 2007. It’s a spicy tomato sauce with cream, served with or without bacon, and with a very secret herb mix. When the first Bocca pasta bar opened in Bruges 12 years ago, the majority of customers were students. “They were happy to find affordable pasta to eat for

Discover Benelux  |  Discover Bruges  |  Top Places to Eat & Drink

a change, instead of fries or a sandwich, during their lunch breaks,” Dewyspelaere explains enthusiastically. He was still a student himself back then and already worked part time in the pasta bar.

Popular After a while, he saw the students bringing their parents as well. “At first, they looked critically at the carton boxes we serve the food in, which are more common for Asian noodles. Some people associate carton boxes with unhealthy fast-food, but once they taste the food, it’s clear we serve fresh food.” Next, he noticed the parents also started to come on their own and soon, they also took their parents. Right now, the pasta bar attracts customers from very young to very old. Bocca is located right in the centre of Bruges and Ghent, near the main shopping streets. Shop assistants, therefore, also frequently find their way to the pasta bar for their lunch breaks. In Bruges, Bocca has one long table, with space for 22 people. “Many people come here on their own,” Dewyspelaere says. “You

don’t feel uncomfortable here like in a regular restaurant where you sit alone at a table. There are newspapers and magazines and always a good atmosphere.”

Sustainability The manager has noticed that sustainability has become more and more important for their customers. “We’re trying to limit our footprint by using eco-friendly boxes, for example, made of recycled carton, and by using local products as much as possible.” Bocca also makes use of the Too Good To Go app, which shows users when a restaurant, supermarket of hotel has food left over. Customers can take away the food in their own packaging for a third of the original price. “Since we use this app, around five portions per day are picked up and we hardly throw away any food anymore.” Many tourists have also found their way to Bocca. Because they were passing by anyway, or because they have checked out websites like TripAdvisor and read positive reviews such as ‘Delicious pasta at an unbeatable price’ and ‘Great value for money’. “Tourists often tell us things

like: I wish you would open a pasta bar in our country too,” smiles Dewyspelaere. A third pasta bar will soon open in Ghent. Interest has come from Amsterdam and Rotterdam as well, to open a Bocca pasta bar as a franchise, so who knows if you’ll be able to eat a Bocca pasta in other parts of the Benelux in the future (soon, we hope). The pasta bar also serves food at events like weddings and company receptions. In summer, Bocca can also be found at food trucks at music festivals in Belgium. Dweersstraat 13, 8000 Brugge Opening hours: Mon-Fri: 11:30am – 8pm Sat: 11:30am – 7pm Sunday: closed Recollettenlei 2, 9000 Gent Opening hours: Mon-Sat: 11:30am – 10pm Sunday: closed


Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  19


In a historic town like Bruges, it is quite an achievement to be the oldest hotel in the city. Yet, Hotel Sablon is just that. Since the 16th century, travellers have been spending the night in the stately mansion during their visit to the low countries. Anno 2019, however, this historic icon received a surprising update. Behind the old brick walls, a visionary hotel concept with a self-willed, modern interior awaits you. When staying in a boutique hotel in Bruges, you usually sleep amongst heavy oak beams and stained-glass windows. All moderate-sized hotels within the city centre tend to opt for this dark, medieval atmosphere which matches the look and feel of the town. “Of course, these hotels can be cosy. Yet, the sameness 22  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

of them all leaves tourists with slim pickings,” explains Christophe Vanswieten, owner of Hotel Sablon. “To create an alternative for this medieval monopoly, we blew a fresh wind through the corridors of Hotel Sablon, one of the oldest hotels in Bruges.” While preserving the listed façade of the building and a few eye-catchers inside (like its impressive doors and staircases), they plastered the brick walls and filled the hotel with modern design and lush materials. The rooms and suites feel homey with their warm colours, spaciousness and sea of light. The glass rain shower or bath in the centre of the room lifts the term ‘ensuite’ to new, contemporary heights. “We wanted a modern interior, without getting caught up in your everyday minimalism. Even with bad weather, we want Hotel

Sablon to be a cosy place to pass some time. Comfortable sofas, a crackling fireplace and a shiny touch of gold in all corners create that welcoming feeling.” In both the rooms and the public spaces, contemporary art adorns the walls. Guarding the staircase, for example, you find two seemingly-medieval busts of women-in-waiting blowing chewing gum bubbles. Just like Hotel Sablon, they harmoniously merge the dark ages with the 21st century.

Champagnes and quirky cocktails Of course, the contemporary atmosphere of the hotel is not solely caused by its beautiful interior. Also, the staff contributes to the informal experience of the hotel. You won’t find a front desk here. The employees will, instead, check you

Discover Benelux  |  Discover Bruges  |  Top Places to Stay

in on a tablet in the salon, while you enjoy a delicious welcome drink. “We also try to limit the paperwork during your check-in to a bare minimum. Instead, our staff will take the time to welcome you and give you some advice on what to visit and do during your stay.” The team members of Hotel Sablon don’t have fixed job descriptions either. Everyone is in charge to do whatever it takes to optimise your stay. Checking you in, carrying your bags to your room, recommending the greatest restaurants in town or even shaking you a cocktail in hotel bar, The Living Room. “Although it is located inside our hotel, The Living Room is open to everyone. As a high-end design bar, it is an exclusive, ‘lounge-y’ place to enjoy a spectacular drink. Our menu mainly features a wide selection of champagnes

and quirky cocktails. In collaboration with The Pharmacy, one of Flanders’ most popular cocktail bars, we gave this place its unique identity, both through design and through its surprising flavours.” During sunny days and sultry nights, the Living Room’s beautiful courtyard opens as well. It forms the perfect backdrop for a relaxing moment in the open air.

Diverse and healthy breakfast To provide you with enough energy for your trip through Bruges, Hotel Sablon offers a diverse and healthy breakfast buffet. Finger-licking good hot dishes, freshly-cut fruit, smoothies, yoghurt with homemade coulis, fruit salad and many other vitamin boosts are added to the wide selection of bread, spreads and other breakfast classics. By using as

many local ingredients and products as possible, the meal is as fresh and delicious as they come and allows you to immerse yourself in Belgian and Bruges culture. “After a decent breakfast like this, our guests are ready to explore the beautiful town. Since we are located merely 300 metres from the main square, it is the perfect starting point for your tour. All the hotspots are within walking distance and many exquisite restaurants are just metres away. From our attic suites, you even have a marvellous view of the Duke’s Palace and the belfry. Our modern oasis is, actually, the perfect hub for your trip back in time.”


Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  23

Discover Benelux  |  Discover Bruges  |  Top Places to Stay

Making guests smile, again and again TEXT: KARIN VENEMA  |  PHOTOS: RADISSON BLU HOTEL

The newly opened Radisson Blu Hotel in Bruges only employs the most enthusiastic staff and empowers them to create memorable moments for the guests. “Our aim is to become the best hotel in Bruges. We are not there yet, but we are going all out to get there,” smiles Patrick D’Hoore, general manager at the hotel. The Radisson Blu Hotel is located in the heart of Bruges and has a total of 109 rooms and

suites, all beautifully designed with the comfort of guests in mind. Located just an eight-minute walk from the city centre, the hotel provides easy access to the best that ‘the Venice of the north’ has to offer. The venue also boasts six meeting rooms that are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and bathed in natural light. “They are situated on the second and 12th floors and offer a beautiful view of Bruges,” says D’Hoore. “For us, every moment matters.

When we hosted the launch of a new product for a pharmaceutical company, they almost completely refurbished our hotel to achieve the right atmosphere. It was hard work, lots of fun and, above all, a great success. I am proud to say that they have already booked for their next event.” The hotel’s cosy BlackSwan restaurant has a multitude of local and Belgian dishes on the menu that are prepared by the dedicated chef and served with a smile. “Our staff form the heart of the hotel. At the end of the day, all hotels have beds and showers. It’s the staff and their involvement that makes the difference: every encounter with a guest is a chance to make them smile. And if we can make our guests smile again and again, we will become the best hotel in Bruges!” concludes D’Hoore. Web:

Echterlive Festival. Photo: Gem Hall Photography


Top events in Flanders and Luxembourg 2019 The Benelux knows how to party. During the summer months, festivals and temporary events pop up in the most unlikely of places. Whether you like Bach, Bastille or barbecue ribs: there is a music, food or cultural festival to suit all tastes. TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS

The Day Before Tomorrow Festival. Photo: Antwerp Entertainment Group

26  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

Discover Benelux  |  Guide  |  Top Festivals & Events 2019

Nothing is as nice as teaming up with likeminded people to celebrate your common passion. During festival season, there are many occasions to do so. Throughout the years, the Benelux region has established an exquisite reputation in designing spectacular line-ups when it comes to music festivals. Big events like Rock Werchter and Pukkelpop have done so for decades, and today, even the smaller festivals learn the tricks of the trade and attract big artists to their humble meadows. With Tomorrowland, Flanders also has the best dance festival in the world on its soil. Its stages are so fascinating that many visitors don’t even check the line-up before booking one of its coveted tickets. Yet, there is more to discover in Flanders and Luxembourg than just music. Art, theatre, cinema and gastronomy hit the road and settle in the open air this summer. Walk from truck to truck and let the aromas of their exotic, refined or surprising dishes take you over. Or sit down in a folding chair or in the grass to enjoy amazing plays and films in an unforgettable set-

Photo: Visit Gent

ting. The green countryside and historic cities of the Benelux are just too beautiful to hide inside all summer. So, head outside and find your perfect festival.

FESTIVALS SPECIAL: These symphonic extravaganzas are just too good to miss out on. Graspop 21 - 23 June, Dessel

During Graspop, the oh-so-peaceful village of Dessel turns into a dark paradise. As one of the biggest metal festivals in the world, it never fails to feature the most popular names of the genre on its line-up.

Couleur Café 28 - 30 June, Brussels

Couleur Café is your annual appointment with exotic symphonies and indie beats in the heart of Europe. Featured on the line-up are talents from all corners of the world. Alongside Sean Paul and DVTCH NORRIS, our very own cover star Tamino will also take the stage.

Photo: Gent Jazz

Gent Jazz Festival 28 June – 9 July, Gent

Photo: Gent Jazz

Photo: Visit Gent

For the 18th time, Gent’s cultural epicentre, De Bijloke, will be the backdrop of the city’s prestigious jazz festival. Among others, Yann Tiersen, Jamie Cullum and Sting will be present this year to celebrate the genre in all its forms. Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  27

Joss Stone. Photo: David Venni

Summer open air festival celebrates Luxembourg TEXT: COLETTE DAVIDSON

The Echterlive Festival, held from 11 to 14 July in Echternach, Luxembourg, is celebrating its 44th edition. But this year, the festival is offering a twist – for the first time, it will swap out its regular programme of classical and jazz music for a variety of musical genres and more local bands. Visitors will also be able to experience the festival’s extensive Food and Art Village, where local specialties will be on display. The Echterlive Festival has long been a mainstay on the international classical and jazz music circuit. Like similar festivals across Europe, Echterlive has hosted some of the world’s best musicians in its two-month concert series. Now, in an attempt to boost visitor numbers and add new vibrancy, festival organ28  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

isers are changing their tune. Instead of two months of concerts, this year’s festival will take place over the course of one long weekend, with four days jam-packed with an eclectic variety of musicians as well as interactive arts and crafts workshops. An extensive food village featuring food trucks from around the region will round out the festivities. All of this, with local heritage in mind. “The idea is to promote the products of the region through the festival,” says Echterlive Festival director Maxime Bender. “Visitors will be able to have an experience in Echternach that they can’t have anywhere else.”

Luxembourg’s heritage The festival, as in previous years, is held in Echternach, an historical abbey

town dating back to the tenth century in Luxembourg’s Mullerthal region. Organisers hope that festival-goers will not only attend the event to experience great music but also to discover more about Luxembourgish history, food and craftsmanship. The first night of the festival will feature Luxembourgish bands while the second night will be devoted to jazz musicians. The third night will showcase world music, notably Malian singer Vieux Farka Touré, and the fourth and final night will see singer Joss Stone as well as Donny McCaslin – who featured on David Bowie’s final album, Blackstar – take the main stage. In keeping with its hope of getting festivalgoers to learn more about Luxembourg

Discover Benelux  |  Guide  |  Top Festivals & Events in Luxembourg 2019

Echternach: Luxembourg’s oldest city

Photo: Pierre Weber

Set along the banks of the Sûre river in the east of the country lies Echternach, Luxembourg’s oldest city. It was once the site of one of the largest Roman villas north of the Alps, built between the first and fifth centuries. In the seventh century, the Benedictine monk Willibrord settled there and created the Benedictine Abbey, and by the 11th century it had become one

through Echterlive, each day of music will include local bands.

themes during their live performances, to showcase the city.

“This way, visitors discover new music or bands they didn’t know before, as well as learning more about the region of Echternach,” says Mr Bender.

Local food and crafts

A star musical line-up Other musicians on this year’s festival lineup include Luxembourgish singer-songwriters Serge Tonnar and Legotrip, hiphop group De Läb Orchästra, French percussionist and composer Anne Paceo, jazz-funk group Electro Deluxe, and electro artist Napoleon Gold & Strings, plus many more. In addition, the Sight & Sound Quartet will present a different video-projectionmapping show on the façade of the abbey for each night of the festival. The four-member artist group will use historical, traditional and contemporary

On top of the wealth of music on offer, the festival will include a Food and Art Village with free entry, featuring beer produced in Echternach as well as wine and food from around the region. Since music is the name of the game, a musical programme as well as street performers will make their appearance on festival grounds. The Food and Art Village will also offer workshops by several artists, including wood carvings and assemblages of animal figures by Christian Sinner, a lantern and lighting installation session by Metty Hoffmann, and a class on how to make musical instruments by Charel Faust. This free portion will run throughout the festival alongside the musicians performing on the main stage.

of Europe’s most influential abbeys. The city’s medieval roots can still be seen in the labyrinthine streets and remains of the ancient city wall, while a host of cultural offerings await. Its Hopping Procession, created in honour of Saint Willibrord, attracts thousands of visitors and pilgrims each year and in 2010 became part of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Mr Bender says that with so many new offerings, there’s always the risk that the festival’s focus this year could mean a different type of visitor. But pushing the festival in an innovative, unique direction is part of its ultimate goal. “We might lose old festival-goers, like those who were only coming for classical music,” says Mr Bender. “But times are changing and we have to move with the times.” Tickets & Info:

Vieux Farka Touré. Photo: Gem Hall Photography

TRIFOLION Echternach - Culture & Congress

Photo: Wehking, Pfadpfinder

Culture holds a strong place in Echternach and nothing could be more exemplary of that than the TRIFOLION Echternach – a leading local, regional and trans-national cultural and convention centre. Each year, the TRIFOLION offers some 170 events, including comedy and entertainment, theatre and dance, exhibitions and concerts. The five-storey, state-of-the-art centre features the Atrium concert hall, seating up to 700 guests and offering unrivalled acoustics, while the Agora auditorium’s circular gallery plays host to conferences and workshops. The TRIFOLION also hosts a regular literature and lecture series, and is dedicated to providing a platform for local and regional artists.

Atrium. Photo: Roland Wehking,Pfadfinder

Donny McCaslin. Photo: Jimmy Fontaine

Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  29

Discover Benelux  |  Guide  |  Top Flemish Festivals & Events 2019


Whether you are new to the music festival scene, or you are a veteran festival goer who wants to enjoy great dance music and a perfect day in an almost fairytale-like environment, on 18 July you simply have to be at The Day Before Tomorrow in Brasschaat, a suburb of Antwerp.

and Gers Pardoel. On the other stages we feature artists and DJs from in and around Antwerp and elsewhere in Belgium.” Throughout the years, TDBT has had a lot of international headliners on stage, such as Dutch rapper Kraantje Pappie, American DJ Felix Da Housecat, UK band The Reflex and many more.

The Day Before Tomorrow (TDBT) is held in Park Brasschaat. “It is one of the most beautiful parks in all of Antwerp,” says Marc Reijntjes, organiser of the festival. This 363-acre public park was created in the 18th century. It holds trees that are over 200 years old, ponds with fountains, and in the centre there is a castle. “It’s just amazing to have a stage with a backdrop like this castle. It makes you almost forget that you are in Belgium,” smiles Reijntjes.

The first edition of TDBT was held six years ago. “The mayor of Brasschaat Jan Jambon and alderwoman Karina Hans wanted to organise a festival for the young people who weren’t able to go to Tomorrowland – one of the biggest festivals in Belgium. They contacted me, and within six weeks we created this,” explains Reijntjes.

TDBT has four different stages, including one in front of the castle with a socalled ‘silent disco’, one on the terrace of the castle, a techno/deep house stage and the main stage, where the headliners perform.“This year, for instance, we have Dutch rappers Bizzey, Yung Felix 30  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

The first edition was aptly called The Day Before Tomorrowland. From the second edition onwards, the festival was known as The Day Before Tomorrow and grew steadily, from 3,000 attendees at the first edition, to an expected 15,000 this year. About two thirds of the visitors are young people. “We wanted it to be a festival in its own right. Sure, there is still a connection; TDBT still takes place

the day before Tomorrowland. But it also has its own significance. There will always be a tomorrow, so celebrate today,” Reijntjes continues. Float away with friends and family as you enjoy great music and a superb atmosphere in exceptional surroundings. “Young and old, ‘newbies’ and veterans, we invite everyone to celebrate The Day Before Tomorrow!”

Tickets, info and line-up:

Discover Benelux  |  Guide  |  Top Flemish Festivals & Events 2019

VestiVille conquers the Belgian festival scene TEXT: MAYA WITTERS  |  PHOTOS: VESTIVAL

Belgium has no shortage of festivals, but this year brings a promising newcomer: VestiVille. The festival in Lommel, successor of the popular Dutch Vestival, is ready to win the hearts of Belgians with a banging line-up including Cardi B, A$AP Rocky and Migos. VestiVille might be a newcomer to the Belgian summer programme, but its organisers boast plenty of experience. “We have been in the events business since 2005,” explains Vestival CEO Aymira Ty. “We started off with indoor parties, then moved onto the outdoor Vestival in 2014, which we organised successfully for four years on different sites.”

When Vestival outgrew the various urban location options in the Netherlands, the organisation decided to hop across the border to Lommel, where the perfect space was found just outside the town centre. As newcomers with towering ambition, VestiVille was subject to initial scrutiny from the council, but was soon given the green light. VestiVille aims to attract a young, fashionable crowd of mainstream music lovers. Its line-up is a resolute choice for chart-topping pop and hip-hop music. The festival will also harbour six themed entertainment areas. These platforms bring all worlds of urban culture together, promoting

beauty, wellness, gaming & e-sports, urban sports, fashion and art. Despite coinciding with the legendary Rock Werchter festival, VestiVille tickets are selling like hotcakes. “We had no other choice for the dates this year, so we knew we had to serve a top-notch line-up to win people over. Our ample experience and great artist relations have helped us book big names,” concludes Ty. Vestiville, 28 - 30 June at Kristalpark Lommel. Check out the line-up and get your tickets at:


Since it is settled in a former Baroque church, Antwerp’s unique concert hall AMUZ, which focuses exclusively on historically informed performances, has always been easy on the eye. Yet, its latest additions, three emerald artworks by the city’s most famous artist, Jan Fabre, add a 21st-century touch to its elaborate décor. When the Saint Augustine Church (where AMUZ, a concert hall for classical music, is housed today) was sanctified four centuries ago, grandmasters – Peter Paul Rubens, Antoon Van Dyck and Jacob Jordaens – adorned the three altars. In the late 1950s, however, these panels were in a bad shape and had to be moved to the Museum of Fine Arts for restoration. The empty spots were filled by three replicas. “Last year, in the light of the Antwerp Baroque festival, the city of

Antwerp decided to replace these copies with more contemporary art,” says Julie Hendrickx, public relations manager at AMUZ. “They asked Jan Fabre – Antwerp’s most famous artist – to reinterpret these three paintings as a salute to the Baroque masters and as a celebration of the church’s 400th birthday.” This resulted in three regally green tableaus. The central one, replacing the painting by Rubens, illustrates a mighty Lamb of God and a gigantic diamond, referring to

Antwerp, the link between Fabre and Rubens. Although from a distance, the masterpieces look like paintings, they are, in fact, made from thousands of shields from real jewel beetles. In the past, Fabre also decorated a ceiling of the Belgian royal palace with these little animals. “These emerald shields fit the Baroque atmosphere of AMUZ like a glove. They cause an explosion of colours and a fascinating play of light, just as vivid as the way Rubens used to capture the world.” Witness the artworks in AMUZ every day from 2pm to 5pm, from 14 July until 14 August, or during one of the many concerts which take place there.


Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  31

32  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Tamino


A mesmerising voice Named after the prince in Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute, Tamino has music in his veins. The 22-year-old Antwerp native, born Tamino Moharam Fouad, is the grandson of the late Egyptian singer and actor Muharram Fouad, and has already earned comparisons to the likes of Jeff Buckley and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke thanks to his ethereal voice and soulful lyrics. Hypnotised by his debut album, Amir, we caught up with the artist ahead of what will undoubtedly be another spellbinding performance at this month’s Couleur Café Festival in Brussels. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: RAMY MOHARAM FOUAD

“I think you really hear the soul through a voice,” begins Tamino, whose own vocals drift from throaty to falsetto with incredible ease. His voice is frequently described by music critics as otherworldly, or ethereal. “I’m not trying to say my soul is ‘ethereal’ but I’m singing from the heart and from the soul,” he affirms. “I’m very happy it resonates with people, and it can take them to their own ethereal places in their minds.”

Naivety Released last year, Amir garnered international acclaim, with the lead track Habibi (Arabic for ‘my love’) in particular showing off the artist’s unique vocal talent and skill as a lyricist. Listening to the record, it’s hard to believe the singer-songwriter is only in his 20s. Yet however mature his musical abilities may be, Tamino’s journey has only just begun. “I feel like there’s a lot of naivety on this album — it was a

lot about feeling things for the first time. I could have only written those songs now, because I am so young,” he muses. “I feel like I’m learning so much.”

Sound of the Nile Tamino began singing at home after school, before being accepted to study music at the Amsterdam Royal Conservatory aged 17. Music had always been a big part of his life, and as he grew up he became more and more interested in discovering his grandfather’s heritage — Muharram Fouad was one of the biggest stars of Egyptian musical cinema in the 1960s and was dubbed ‘The Sound of the Nile’. “Unfortunately he died when I was five,” explains Tamino. “To me, of course the music made a big impact. Then the second impact came from my mother telling me about my grandfather from a very young age and showing me his pictures.”

Idols Talking about his idols, Tamino admits he’s always admired the older generation. Not seduced by the ‘live fast, die young’ attitude that can be fetishised in rock circles, the singer has a far more mature approach. “I never really looked up to, like, teenage idols. For me, I’ve always looked up to somebody who is able to have a long career and go through a lot — the struggles of life — but still make the best out of it, and make beautiful art,” he smiles. “I’m not only talking about artists. I’ve always looked up to older people.”

On the road Currently touring across Europe and with appearances lined up at festivals including the Montreal Jazz Festival in July and Green Man Festival in the UK this August, Tamino has had to get used to life on Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  33

Discover Benelux  |  Cover Interview  |  Tamino

the road, although he still calls Antwerp home. “I enjoy the shows but I hate the travelling,” he admits. “I love being in all those places, but I hate the act of travelling — sitting in a van or on a plane. “But the shows make it all worth it, of course. That’s what gives you the energy to go through to the next one. I especially enjoy seeing so many people of all ages and backgrounds at our shows. I think that’s really what I feel most happy about.”

Missoni Tamino is also looking forward to performing in the States, having already enjoyed a work trip to New York to star in the Italian label Missoni’s Summer 2019 campaign alongside Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen. Both models were shot by acclaimed British photographer Harley Weir. “That was amazing!” recalls Tamino. “I had never been to America before and I flew to New York. I was only 34  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

there for two days and it was the day before my birthday. I did the shoot and it was an amazing team — there was Gisele, who was the female face of the campaign. It was a big honour, of course, and then the day after, I got to spend my birthday in New York. I was very happy!”

Radiohead As well as rubbing shoulders with supermodels, Tamino has earned himself an array of famous admirers, including Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood — who he met following one of his shows in Antwerp. In fact, Greenwood ended up playing bass on Tamino’s album track Indigo Night. Also playing on the album on tracks such as Sun May Shine and So It Goes, are the Nagham Zikrayat orchestra – many of whom are refugees from Iraq and Syria.

Mysterious As well as being keen to explore his Middle Eastern roots, Tamino is passion-

ate about singing in English. Does he ever prefer to vocalise in his native Flemish? “I like English because I like the sound of it,” he reveals. “I feel it’s the best language for me to write songs in. It immediately feels like ‘now I’ve got to make something because it’s a different language’. Maybe I’m more focused and more alert. Also, English just feels more magical to me because it’s not my native language. There’s still something mysterious in a way…”

Inspiration With so much touring going on, has Tamino found time for songwriting recently? “Yeah, here and there!” he grins. “I always try to write, even if I don’t feel like it, but I’ve also taken some time off which has been really good.” Many artists talk about the ‘difficult second album syndrome’, but this isn’t a concern for Tamino, who is happy to wait until he finds the right inspiration. “You’re not gonna write songs about travelling or being in a van or a plane, so first, there needs to be some living!”

Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  35



The ultimate destination From scenic countryside and seaside resorts to vibrant cities and historical hotspots, not to mention some of the world’s finest art and culture venues, the Netherlands has all the ingredients for an unforgettable summer. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTO: NBTC

Vineyard, Limburg.

36  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

Discover Benelux  |  The Ultimate Destination  |  The Netherlands in 2019


Top art and culture In the Netherlands, you will find museums and cultural venues in abundance. In particular, don’t forget to check out some of the many special events and exhibitions taking place as part of the Rijksmuseum’s ‘Year of Rembrandt’, marking the 350th anniversary of the famous artist’s death. Outside the capital, an absolute mustvisit is the Kröller-Müller Museum, a national art museum and sculpture garden, which is located in the stunning surroundings of the Hoge Veluwe National Park. Art aficionados will delight in the the museum’s large collection of Vincent van Gogh paintings.

Lighthouse, Zeeland.


Meanwhile, in Rotterdam, the magnificent Kunsthal is an architectural masterpiece in its own right. Designed by the genius Rem Koolhaas, it showcases the creative works of Dutch and international artists. It is not to be missed! Start planning your trip to the Netherlands now, at


Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  37

Discover Benelux  |  The Ultimate Destination  |  The Netherlands in 2019

Het Loo Palace.

38  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

Discover Benelux  |  The Ultimate Destination  |  The Netherlands in 2019

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY: Vondelpark Open Air Theatre Until September, Amsterdam

Every year between June and September, the Vondelpark Open Air Theatre in Amsterdam presents a jam-packed programme comprising music, festivals, dance, cabaret, children’s theatre and stand-up comedy.

Concert at Sea 27 - 29 June, Brouwersdam, Zeeland

Much more than just a regular music festival, Concert at Sea brings street theatre, superb food and drinks and the beautiful backdrop of Zeeland. Big-name performers include Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Nile Rodgers & Chic and Douwe Bob.

‘t Preuvenemint, Maastricht.

North Sea Jazz Festival 12 - 14 July, Rotterdam

The North Sea Jazz Festival is a must for jazz fans, with the world-class event attracting some of the genre’s biggest names. More than 150 performances will take place over the weekend, spread out over 14 stages.

Zomerfeesten 13 - 19 July Nijmegen, Gelderland

Concert at Sea.

Celebrate the summer with a huge street party. This unmissable event combines outdoor markets, art exhibitions and family activities with live music, theatre and performing arts.

’t Preuvenemint 22 - 25 August, Maastricht

Calling all foodies! ‘t Preuvenemint is a four-day culinary event which takes place on the Vrijthof square in the beautiful city of Maastricht. Sample delicious food and drink accompanied by live music and a festive atmosphere.

‘t Preuvenemint, Maastricht.

Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  39

Self-portrait with Saskia, Rembrandt Van Rijn, 1636. Photo: Janus van den Eijnden

Designer shopping with added Rembrandt TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS  |  PHOTOS: LIMBURG MARKETING

To honour the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt van Rijn’s death, the Netherlands serves as the backdrop for commemoration activities galore this year. Yet, few are as spectacular as what they are doing at the Designer Outlet Roermond. Besides travelling to the Dutch Golden Age in virtual reality or awakening your inner-Rembrandt in the crafts studio, one lucky shopper will go home with an original work by the grandmaster himself. 40  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

“Designer Outlet Roermond is a must for many tourists visiting the Netherlands,” explains Giel Polman, director of Limburg Marketing. “Annually, we welcome eight million eager shoppers in our region to spoil them with high-end brands like Prada, Burberry, Gucci and Hugo Boss. As an outlet, they can offer prices which are way lower than anyone else. In their adorable setting, you can buy yourself that perfect purse or suit for just a fraction of the price.”

This year, however, there will be much more to do than just shopping. During Loving Rembrandt, a series of activities revolving around Rembrandt Van Rijn and his oeuvre, the cosiest shopping street of Limburg takes you back to the days of yore. “In the pop-up virtual reality exhibition, you can enter Rembrandt’s atelier while he is working on his most celebrated work: The Night Watch. As a fly on the wall, you witness a conversation between him and his sponsor about this iconic work.”

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Places to Visit

Young and old can also express themselves in the co-creation studio and paint their own masterpiece; with just a little help from the Dutch master. If painting isn’t your biggest talent, you can attend an etching workshop and carve your way to the top. “Many more exciting activities will be announced during the coming months, so make sure you keep an eye on the website of VVV Middle-Limburg or Designer Outlet Roermond.”

Win a Rembrandt This biggest of all attractions, however, is the exhibition of an original etching by Rembrandt in the middle of the shopping centre. On it, he and his wife, Saskia, are portrayed alongside each other. “Although Rembrandt made multiple self-portraits and portraits of his wife, this etching is the only piece featuring both of them. It shows how much he adored her and how proud he was of her.” But the best is yet to come: the etched love story from the Rembrandts is not only on display to look at, but it is also the grand prize in a dazzling contest. “With so much love on display, we also want to know how in love our shoppers are. In a booth at the Designer Outlet Roermond, our shoppers can record a video in which they tell us what love means to them. The person, couple or group who grasps the essence of love the best, can take the beautiful etching home with them.” The contest ends on 7 July after which the jury deliberates on which love story they prefer. On 15 July, Rembrandt’s birthday, one lucky shopper gets the good news. Afterwards, the piece of art remains exhibited until the end of Loving Rembrandt, on 1 September, when the new lucky owner takes it home with him or her. “And even if you cannot make it to Roermond before 7 July, you can still participate. On the website of Designer Outlet Roermond, you can find a form on which you can write down your heart’s odyssey just as well.”

The cosy centre of Roermond.

Designer Outlet Roermond.

Pierre Cuypers That such a spectacular Rembrandtrelated event takes place in Roermond is hardly a surprise. The city’s mostcelebrated former resident was architect Pierre Cuypers, a visionary design-

Designer Outlet Roermond.

Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  41

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Places to Visit

Self-portrait with Saskia, Rembrandt Van Rijn, 1636.

er who reinvented the Dutch streets. Besides designing the central station of Amsterdam and many other buildings, his main achievement is the design of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, home of Rembrandt’s iconic The Night Watch. “In his mother town, he has created a fair share of breathtaking buildings as well. 42  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

At the tourist office, they can provide you with a map which guides you past all his stunning creations as well as his birth house. To fully immerse yourself into his work, you should pay the Cuypershuis a visit too.” In this museum dedicated to his work and that of his contemporaries, the plans of the Rijksmuseum are on dis-

play. Take the time to gaze at them and explore the iconic cultural temple, which became a synonym for Rembrandt Van Rijn’s craftsmanship. Web:

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Places to Visit Horse riding at National Park De Meinweg. Photo: Petra Lenssen

Maasplassen. Photo: Steven Sweert

M I D D L E - L I M B U R G , A H O L I D AY D E S T I N AT I O N O F M A N Y D E L I G H T S By combining culture, nature and recreation, the region of MiddleLimburg is the perfect getaway for tourists. Located in the narrow pipe between Germany and Belgium, it is also the ideal hub from which to roam Central Europe.

Mother Maas. With the Maasplassen, the region even offers multiple connected big lakes where different type of water sports are key. As the biggest water-skiing water-sports area in the Netherlands, many hours of fun on and in the water are guaranteed.

Few Dutch regions are as versatile as Middle-Limburg. As a green oasis in the densely populated Netherlands, it is the relaxing destination par excellence. In Middle-Limburg’s two national parks (Groote Peel and Meinweg) you can wander the day away while stumbling on a spectacular view every few metres. As a region of water, its citizens adore their vivid river; or, as they call it, their

Away from its nature, you stumble upon a very different Middle-Limburg. The historic centre of Roermond is the perfect spot to dive into the region’s cultural offerings or to do some more shopping. Just a three-minute walk from the Designer Outlet, you can peruse the many stores in the historic heart of the city where a myriad of specialised stores offer a unique range of desirable prod-

ucts. Before or after your shopping spree, you can enjoy the town’s atmosphere on one of the many terraces by the waterfront or at the idyllic squares. Furthermore, Middle-Limburg seems to be located in the centre of the world. Just a short distance away, you can find a myriad of airports on both Belgian (Brussels, Liège and Charleroi), German (CologneBonn and Dusseldorf) and Dutch territory (Eindhoven and Maastricht-Aachen). Those coming from Amsterdam are just a direct train connection away from the city as well. With the Discover Holland Ticket, you get a comfortable train ride and a ten per cent discount at Designer Outlet Roermond for just 19 euros. Web:

Cuypershuis Roermond.

Munsterplein with Munsterkerk. Photo: Petra Lenssen

Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  43

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Places to Visit

A versatile destination with sea view TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS  |  PHOTOS: VEERE

In the beautiful region of Zeeland, mere metres away from the Belgian border, the municipality of Veere awaits you. Built on a peninsula, it is a paradise for beach lovers. But there is more to discover than its clean and cosy coastlines: immerse yourself too in its nature, culture and gastronomy. In 2018, the coastal town of Zoutelande was omnipresent. The eponymous song from the Dutch band BLØF topped the Dutch and Flemish hit parades for months, chanting: “I am glad you are here. In Zoutelande”. And who are we to disagree? The village’s beach is as charming as they come and is surrounded by plenty of other amazing places. In total, the municipality of Veere (of which Zoutelande is a part) counts 13 charming centres and an impressive 34 kilometres of coastline. “Veere is unique in many aspects,” says Rob van der Zwaag, mayor of the town. “As a beach destination, 44  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

cleanliness is paramount for us. In the last five years, we have won the title ‘cleanest beach of the Netherlands’ three times. This year, six of our beaches have also received a Blue Flag, a quality label for safe and neat coasts.” Nonetheless, all these beaches are unique. From nearly-deserted waterfronts to vibrant and lively sandboxes with bars, playgrounds and kiteboarders: the long coast of Veere has it all. However, Veere is more than just another sunscreen scented beach town: it is a place where nature and culture collide. “The days that people expected nothing but sun, sea and sand are over. Tourists, now, also explore our historical centres, cultural activities, wellness facilities, delicacies from the sea and green oases. Behind the dunes of the Oostkapelle beach, a wide forest spreads out, which is unique in the Netherlands. More in the centre of the peninsula, you stumble upon a mosa-

ic of agrarian acres.” In the city centre of Veere, on the other hand, time seems to have stood still. During the 15th century, the peninsula housed the Netherlands’ biggest and mightiest city. When the aristocracy left, innovation stopped, preserving the picturesque buildings in their medieval shape. More futuristic is the storm barrier in front of Veere. After the big flood of 1953, the billion-euro project was set up as the Netherlands’ foremost protection against the unpredictable tide. On the island of Neeltje Jans, the story of the disastrous storm and the view of the impressive dam (from the inside and outside) will leave a lasting impression. “In Veere, you can relax in the broadest sense of the word. There is a myriad of things to do, but, for those who want, it’s the perfect place to do nothing as well.” Web:

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Places to Stay

The luxury urban resort Central in Amsterdam, facing the Royal Palace, you enter the vibrant and unique world of W Amsterdam. As a part of W Hotels, the hotel offers spectacular design, wellness, gastronomy and service in a fivestar environment. “Our characteristic design is our business card,” says Remco Van Kamp, general manager of W Amsterdam. “Our rooms, suites and corridors look very different from what you usually find in five-star hotels. Each of them is a modern masterpiece with a nod to the buildings’ histories. W Amsterdam is housed in two neighbouring


complexes: a former bank and an old telephone centre. Inside the rooms, vault-shaped minibars and lighting disguised as copper cable tubes remind you of the premises’ past.” Yet, W Amsterdam is way more than just a lavish place to sleep. During your waking hours, there is plenty to experience at the hotel. “Our AWAY Spa allows you to leave the city behind and relax. It is built in a former vault and shaped by dark stonework, warm wood and shiny gold. With a swimming pool, saunas, a hammam, plenty of treatments and even a hairdressing station, you will leave reborn.” On the rooftop’s WET Deck, you can

continue relaxing with a drink, a plunge in the pool and the breathtaking view of Amsterdam. On warm summer days, it is also the place to be for the hottest rooftop parties in town. Furthermore, a Dutch design store X BANK, the W Lounge, modern steakhouse MR PORTER and Michelin-star restaurant THE DUCHESS will keep you entertained. “If you want, you can even spend your entire holiday within the hotel’s walls. With its many facilities, W Amsterdam is a luxurious resort in the heart of the metropole.” Web:

Le commencement du monde, Constantin Brancusi, 1924.


Amidst the soothing nature of the Dutch Veluwe, the Kröller-Müller Museum has found its home. The cultural temple opened 80 years ago, displaying solely modern paintings. Nowadays, however, the museum is even more celebrated for its sculpture garden, which was installed over two decades later. During the exhibition The beginning of a new world, its story and that of its founding father unfold. It was 1938 when Helene Kröller-Müller opened the doors of her much-anticipated museum for modern art. Surrounded by nature, she created a house where many a modern master adorned the walls, preluding the era of modern art in the Netherlands. Just a year later, KröllerMüller passed away, leaving strict directions in her will on what would happen with her collection. It could remain exhibited in the museum, yet, no new painting 46  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

could be added to it, dooming the museum to stagnate. “When, after the Second World War, Bram Hammacher took over the lead of the museum, the tide turned,” explains Lies Boelrijk, communication manager of the Kröller-Müller Museum. “He noticed that, while the will talked very explicitly about purchasing paintings, nothing forbade the addition of a sculpture collection.” In that philosophy, he started collecting modern and contemporary statues. In 1961, part of his collection got a new, permanent home in the museum’s sculpture garden, a three-dimensional trip through recent art history.

Start of a new era Until the end of September, the KröllerMüller Museum is looking back on the revolution Hammacher ignited in its house. The exhibition The beginning of a new world explores the evolution of sculpture from the early 19th century

until the 1960s. By bringing the nicest pieces from the museum, its warehouse and even the garden together in one hall, a walk amongst the statues really takes you on a journey through the last two centuries. “There are also numerous world-famous masterpieces on display; Little Owl by Picasso, for example, or Rodin’s La Femme Accroupie. Yet, Le Commencement du Monde by Brancusi received the honour of lending its name to the exhibition. It portrays mankind – or even life in general – in its most primitive shape: the egg. Although it was added to the collection after Hammacher passed over his duties, it remains one of the museum’s most important purchases to date.”

Mondriaan, Picasso and Van Gogh Of course, there is plenty more to discover in the Kröller-Müller Museum than just its temporary exhibition. In the Van de Velde Wing, the original museum wing built by

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Art & Culture Spots

La Femme Accroupie, Auguste Rodin, 1882. Photo: Cary Markerink

The Lover, Vincent Van Gogh. Photo Wieneke Hofland

Helene Kröller-Müller, the biggest names from the modern and contemporary art scene gather. Dutch legends like Van Doesburg and Mondriaan hang alongside international heroes like Gris, Léger, Renoir, Monet, Manet, Picasso and many others. Central in the museum, you stumble upon its humongous Van Gogh collection. With almost 300 pieces of the Dutch master in their possession, the KröllerMüller Museum is amongst the biggest collectors of his. Make sure you take your time to gaze at iconic pieces like The Potato Eaters and The Lover. “Yet, what makes the museum most unique is its location amidst the greenery. On your way here, the relaxing nature of the Veluwe sets you in the perfect mood to immerse yourself into art. Once inside

the museum, you can walk around freely through the spacious chambers and take your time to enjoy their masterpieces. That is a world away from the crowded museums in the city.”

25 hectares, 160 sculptures To disconnect even further, the sculpture garden is the place to be. Spread over 25 hectares of nature, 160 modern sculptures found their place under the stars. “Even those who have hardly visited an art museum before will be able to enjoy an amazing time here. Essentially, you just walk between the plants and trees, while bumping into a piece of art every so often. This allows us to bring all demographics in contact with modern and contemporary art. Therefore, Bram Hammacher is

actually just as much a founding father of the Kröller-Müller Museum as its mother, Helene Kröller-Müller, herself.” The beginning of a new world takes over the Kröller-Müller Museum until 29 September. With your ticket, you can also visit the museum’s permanent collection and its sculpture garden. Audio tours and guided tours are both available in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian and Japanese, while guided tours can also be taken in Spanish and audio tours in Mandarin. As the entire collection is exhibited on the ground floor, people with physical disabilities will encounter no problems while perusing the wonderful art collection. For more practical information and tickets, visit

Meneer Jacques, Oswald Wenckebach. Photo: Marjon Gemmeke

Hoofdstukken, Jan Fabre. Photo: Wieneke Hofland

Sculpture Gallery. Photo: Walter Herfst

Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  47

I’ll Be Your Mirror, 2018. Photo: FMGB Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa, Erika Ede © Joana Vasconcelos

Broaden your horizons at Kunsthal Rotterdam TEXT: MAYA WITTERS

Kunsthal Rotterdam takes up a unique place in the Dutch art landscape. By displaying ever-changing collections on topics ranging from classical etchings to street culture, the landmark institute aims to attract a wide variety of audiences and offer them a taste of the unknown. With three highly contrasting simultaneous exhibitions, this summer promises to be a fascinating time to visit. Kunsthal Rotterdam truly offers a little something for everyone. Architecture buffs will visit for the iconic building designed by Rem Koolhaas and Fuminori 48  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

Hoshino, but they will be sure to find something interesting on the inside, too. Since the institute is not a museum and does not have a permanent collection, it is free to exhibit whatever it feels is most relevant at any given time. “We try to attract diverse audiences by programming very different expositions at the same time,” explains curator Annemarie Nycolaas. “We have seven exhibition halls, which you can visit with one entry ticket. That way, we hope people come for one thing that has caught their eye, but stay to explore the other topics.”

This summer, visitors to Rotterdam can take their pick from a top-notch range of works: large architectural etchings by 18th-century artist Giovanni Piranesi; monumental sculptures by contemporary

Giovanni Battista Piranesi, View of St. Peter’s Square in Rome, 1772 Collection Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Art & Culture Spots

Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos; and a ground-breaking exhibition on the influence of hip-hop culture on fashion in recent history.

Imaginative etchings The reputable Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen recently closed its doors to start a seven-year refurbishment project, but the museum was determined to put its extensive collection to good use. “We jumped on their offer to showcase a part of their collection of etchings. Piranesi was an incredibly imaginative artist, and you could look at his large prints of Roman ruins and imaginary prisons for hours.” Although Piranesi’s etchings are more than two centuries old, they are of unrivalled quality and feel fresh and current. As Piranesi was originally an architect, the buildings in his drawings possess a masterful realistic streak, although most are fictional or enhanced by the artist’s vivid imagination. “The exhibition is very atmospheric and will appeal to a wide audience,” believes Nycolaas. “After all, Piranesi’s work is still an inspiration today for video game designers and filmmakers, including for the Harry Potter film series.”

influence of hip-hop on fashion in the last 40-odd years. “The idea for this exhibition literally grew on the high street. We started noticing shopping racks full of streetwear, not just in mid-range fashion, but in designer lines, too. We wanted to understand how big the influence of hip-hop really is,” explains Nycolaas. Of course, Kunsthal deferred to knowledgeable partners for this project, collaborating with guest curator and Patta brand director Lee Stuart and with HipHopHuis, an organisation that educates and unites people around hiphop. Nycolaas: “It’s hard to capture a street style in an exhibition. That’s why we are not just showing the current hype, but rather the evolution that led to it, through photography, art and video.” HipHopHuis director Aruna Vermeulen believes the exhibition will send a powerful signal. “Our community will now have an opportunity to see their own role models in a museum setting, with stories showing the power of hip-hop. To me that is the story that young people have to be told over and over again: stay true to yourself. Create your own lane, and eventually everyone will try to keep up with you.”

Street Dreams

Feminist sculptures

In stark contrast to the Piranesi exhibition, Street Dreams investigates the

I’m Your Mirror is an impressive careerspanning exhibition of the works of

Jamel Shabazz, A Mother’s Love, Brooklyn, NYC, 1987. Photo: Janette Beckman

Jamel Shabazz, Young Boys, East Flatbush, Brooklyn, NYC, 1981. Photo: Jamel Shabazz

Portuguese visual artist Joana Vasconcelos. Her massive sculptures always carry an activist and feminist streak, while also showing a huge deference to the Portuguese culture, crafts and traditions. Her constructions, which use all sorts of found materials, will be shown in the largest hall at Kunsthal in order to give them breathing space. “We rejoice in lending our largest spaces to a female artist of such renown,” attests Nycolaas. Visitors should expect humorous and exuberant works of art, often bordering on the absurd – like Vasconcelos’ 2012 creation Lilicoptère, a gilded helicopter covered in Swarovski crystals and pink feathers.

The Dizzying Imagination of Piranesi (Boijmans Next Door) is now open and runs until 1 September. Street Dreams. How HipHop took over Fashion runs from 15 June to 15 September. Joana Vasconcelos. I’m Your Mirror runs from 20 July to 17 November. For more information and the full programme, visit You can also find the programme for Kunsthal Live, a series of events all through summer, online.

Jamel Shabazz, Rude Boy, Brooklyn, NYC, 1981. Photo: Jamel Shabazz

Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  49

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Art & Culture Spots

Photo: Romy Finke

Photo: Peter Cox

Photo: Romy Finke

Where contemporary art meets nature TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS

Where nature and culture are often portrayed as each other’s opposites, Castle Wijlre manages to combine them harmoniously. Behind the stately manor, a magical garden of flourishing flowers and contemporary art unfolds. In its pavilions, Dutch digital art pioneer Peter Struycken exhibits his life’s work this year. In the 1980s, Jo and Marlies Eijck bought the deteriorated Castle Wijlre. As avid art collectors, they dreamed of restoring the estate’s lusciousness and housing their modern art collection in it. Sculptures found their place in its spectacular garden and a contemporary art pavilion was built for temporary exhibitions. “In its early days, Castle Wijlre was solely opened to the public for a handful of days a year,” says the estate’s director Brigitte Bloksma. “In 2012, however, the Eijck family decided to let the property to society and opened the garden and its pavilions to the public for nine months a year.” On the domain, art and nature constantly interact with each other. In the courtyard, 50  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

contemporary masterpieces and vivid plants coexist without either one taking the upper hand. “In 2014, the garden won the ‘European Garden Award’, making it one of the continent’s most renowned nice outdoor spaces. The jury described it as a ‘gesamtkunstwerk’, a ‘total artwork’. The synergy between its different elements makes terms like ‘sculpture garden’ or ‘open-air museum’ inadequate. Castle Wijlre is simply a unique phenomenon.” At the Hedge House, the pavilion for contemporary art adjoining the garden, orchids grow above your head while the hens cluck from their glass chicken run. “This way, art becomes very approachable. Looking at paintings and statues goes hand in hand with enjoying the garden or observing the chickens, here. This makes art enjoyable to everyone.” Until the break of winter, Castle Wijlre will be housing a retrospective of the renowned Dutch artist Peter Struycken. As a global pioneer in the field of digital art, he was a founding father of one of contemporary art’s most groundbreaking branches. “For the Hedge

House, he created a unique piece. By combining algorithms with paint, the entire room was adorned with computergenerated black and red rectangles. This way, he shows us what a small part of the universe we are.” In the coach house, a selection of his work from the last 60 years will be on display. For once, the castle’s doors will open up this year as well. Every Sunday, you can visit its beautiful dining room and gaze at its colourful curtains made by Struycken.

Photo: Erik en Petra Hesmerg


Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Art & Culture Spots

Gods Neglected Creatures (oil on canvas, 2018), Paulo Robalo.

Flowers of Amsterdam (mixed media, 2019), Teppo Korte.

A playroom for young talent TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS  |  PHOTOS: PLAY ROOM

If it wasn’t for Stichting White Cube, many young artists wouldn’t be soaring high like they are today. For a decade already, the foundation has been the stepping stone par excellence for promising artists, by forging new connections between them, the industry and their future audience. “I founded Stichting White Cube in 2009 to support promising artists who are in limbo between being an apprentice and conquering museums and galleries themselves,” says art aficionado Jeroen van Paassen. “By hosting international exhibitions with their work, we give these creative prodigies a forum in the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and a myriad of other countries.” At these cultural festivals, artists not only bump into gallery owners with whom they can collaborate, but they also meet their potential audience. “Our artists guide the visitors around themselves. This creates an interesting dynam-

ic between both groups, which adds an extra dimension to the exhibition.” After ten years on the road, Stichting White Cube wanted to settle down. “Travelling around is interesting and nice but forces you to start from scratch everywhere you strike down. Making new contacts, attracting a new audience – those things take time and energy. Besides hosting these temporary, nomadic projects, we also wanted to have a place where we can build something more permanent.” With PLAY room, they have created a proper ‘gallery/project space’ in Zaandam, only a stone’s throw from Amsterdam. Every month, its cosy halls house a new, exciting exhibition. This June, the Portuguese painter Paulo Robalo showcases his extraordinary canvases in their midst. In the PLAY room’s workshop, the Finnish artist Teppo Korte allows you to peek into his colourful, yet political, imagination. “We are more than

just another commercial gallery. Besides selling art, we fill this house with performances and live music. Locals and visitors are invited to stop by and explore what’s happening inside. PLAY room is an exciting open stage to skyrocket the most promising artistic careers from.” 100% FEMALE: From 24 to 27 October, the Grand Church of Alkmaar will become a sanctuary for female artists. During Stichting White Cube’s big exhibition, 100% FEMALE, 100 talented women from all around the globe will show the world what they are worth. Through video art, paintings, statues, performances and many other art forms, they express how it is to be a woman in various different cultures.


Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  51

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Art & Culture Spots

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


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

Metamorphoses The hands-on, interactive exhibition takes us from Escher's school years to his visits as a young man to Italy and Spain, and 52  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

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

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

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


Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Art & Culture Spots

Front view of the new location of Art Gallery O-68 (opens Sept/Oct 2019), before renovation. Photo: Anne-Mie Emons

Simone Albers, Substance IX, 2018, acrylic on canvas. Photo: Simone Albers

Gallery owner Anne-Mie Emons in front of There Where the Ants Live, a painting by Theo Kuijpers. Photo : July Leesberg

A quiet place for art TEXT: EVA MENGER

Art lovers from around the world travel to the Netherlands for Amsterdam’s famous Museum Square, but that’s not where the country’s cultural potential ends. Take the east, for example, where you’ll find endless stretches of luscious greenery including national park ‘De Hoge Veluwe’, which also houses the wonderful Kröller-Müller Museum, home to as many Van Gogh paintings as the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. And then, on a quiet street in the nearby village of Velp, there’s Art Gallery O-68, a charming gallery exhibiting an interesting mixture of work. “It’s an exciting time for us,” gallery owner Anne-Mie Emons tells us. “In the street we’re currently on, there’s a beautiful, little white church. It was built as a gym in the 1880s before it eventually turned into a church. We’ve always talked about how amazing it would be if we could move in there one day, and now it’s finally happening.” 54  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

The move marks a new era for the gallery – one where they’re hoping to take things up a notch. “Every year, I try to take things a little further,” Emons states. “A large number of artists get in touch with me, so I’ve had to become stricter. The most important criterion is, of course, whether I’m personally drawn to someone’s work. But I also look at where an artist can take us. The better the art we exhibit, the higher the chance we’ll be invited to prestigious art fairs.” That’s not to say that the gallery only works with established artists. They aim to create a fine balance between known and new work, offering young talent great exposure and the more established a different, refreshing platform. “Someone I’m working with closely is Simone Albers, who first hosted her graduation show in our gallery, and then joined us at the London Art Fair in January this year,” Emons says proudly. “The recognition she received there was tremendous.”

An eye for detail Visitors of Gallery O-68 can expect a broad selection of work. “My husband and I have been keen art collectors since the 1970s,” Emons explains. “We’ve always enjoyed work that sits in between the abstract and figurative, though since the opening of this gallery in 2011, our exhibitions have become increasingly abstract. It might have something to do with my academic background. I used to be a cell biologist with Wageningen University, so analysing shapes and looking into details is part of my DNA. ” Gallery O-68 organises around six to seven exhibitions a year, and they’re open afternoons, from Thursday to Sunday. Check out their website to see what’s on.


Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Art & Culture Spots The Garden of Earthly Worries, Ozon.

The Garden of Earthly Worries.

The Garden of Earthly Worries, Methane.

Contemporary art on royal soil TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS  |  PHOTOS: PALEIS HET LOO

Paleis Het Loo is often referred to as the Versailles of the low countries and it isn’t hard to see why. The impressive palace and its picture-perfect Baroque garden bring the 17th century alive again. Now that the castle is closed for renovations, the garden has been spruced up with The Garden of Earthly Worries, the latest art project by Daniel Libeskind. “This garden was a prestige project,” says Paul Rem, curator of Paleis Het Loo. “Where this region is the driest in all the Netherlands, this Garden of Eden flourishes and its fountains shoot their water metres-high. In fact, they were the highest fountains in the world and remained active all day long. The ones in Versailles, however, could only perform a few hours a day and were way humbler in size. This way, Willem the Third proved his supremacy: he could control nature.” Anno 2019, we know the consequences of deranging nature like this. The prosperity and plethora we consider normal today make us strip-mine the earth to dangerous extremes. “To highlight this,

the renowned architect Daniel Libeskind (Jewish Museum in Berlin, One World Trade Centre in New York) created an artwork about this dark side of our world domination. The Garden of Earthly Worries shows a globe which has exploded into four pieces, each representing another greenhouse gas. Since they replace four heroic, Baroque statues, the garden no longer emphasises the king’s power, but the consequences of it on our fragile biotope.” The Garden of Earthly Worries is the first contemporary artwork ever to be displayed in the garden and the timing is not coincidental. “The garden and the palace form a whole. The patterns and

Opening in the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix and Daniel Libeskind.

shapes you find in its interior, come back in the garden as well. We have always guarded this harmony, but now that the building is temporarily closed, we saw an opportunity to blow a fresh wind through the maze of hedges.” Whether the pieces of art will disappear upon the palace’s reopening in 2021 is, thus far, unclear. “Probably, the original statues will return. But, who knows? Libeskind’s work is always tailor-made for its location. So, the only good place to feature the piece is in our magnificent garden.” Open, just not as usual Even during Paleis Het Loo’s restoration, there is much to do. Besides its gardens, you should visit the impressive stables which house the royal old-timer collection. Afterwards, a trip to the palace’s roof shows you the garden’s Baroque shapes and patterns in all their glory. When the palace reopens in 2021, an underground museum will be added to the complex, exhibiting the royal family’s most enchanting artefacts.


Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  55

Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Art & Culture Spots

Amsterdam’s bright-red centenarian TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS  |  PHOTOS: MUSEUM HET SCHIP

During the 1920s, the Amsterdam School architecture movement blew a fresh wind through the Dutch architecture sector. With crimson bricks as their material of choice, they made architecture and applied arts for the working class. At Museum Het Schip, their visionary minds open up to the public.

kindergarten, however, now house Museum Het Schip: an altar for the Amsterdam School. Inside the museum, you can discover how the architecture movement became the keystone of the Netherlands’ social housing project and how it united the different classes of society. “They distinguished themselves by building royal structures with cheap materials, like

In 1901, the Dutch parliament voted the Housing Act to put an end to the inhumane living conditions in the suburbs of its cities. Slums would shut down and social housing buildings would rise in their ashes. The most impressive of them all would be Het Schip: a masterpiece of the Amsterdam School. “Architect Michel de Klerk created this building with lots of love for the working class,” says Alice Roegholt, director of Museum Het Schip. “By implementing a post office in the complex, its residents could even bank, call or send letters, and be a part of the modern society.” Today, most of the building is still used for social housing. The post office and the former

bricks. Those were used since the Middle Ages, but the Amsterdam School was the first to ever express themselves with them. By putting them vertically, horizontally, in different colours and so on, they practically painted with brick. In 2019, it’s been exactly a century since the first brick of Het Schip was laid and, since its recent renovation, it now looks better than ever.”



There is something about bright colours which triggers our deepest emotions. The three female artists from Artwork ANT know that like no other. As a collective, they create spectacular canvases which all tell their very own story. “The three of us had followed each other’s work for a while already,” says Talsu Alper, the artist representing the capital T in the collective Artwork ANT. “At one point, we decided to start creating some work together and that went great. So, we never stopped.” Alongside Aylin Erkan and Nezahat Ozturk – respectively the A and the N in the acronym – she now creates epoxy art and fluid art. “For us, creating art is like writing in a diary. We express what we feel and experience in our daily lives. Every piece we create tells a story about us.” To let you pick out the next painting for your 56  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

living room in the best possible conditions, the women of Artwork ANT showcase all their creations in their own, spacious gallery. “Upon appointment, everyone is welcome to discover our work and have a coffee with us. We like explaining the story behind our pieces to potential buyers. This way, they really know what they buy. Upon request, we also create custom-made paintings in the exact colours you request.”

Although their collective is still rather young, Artwork ANT’s work is already exhibited all around the world. The prestigious Hilton hotel chain even features its canvases in their branches on all the continents. “As artists, it feels simply amazing that there is so much interest and enthusiasm. We can hardly keep up with the demand.”


Discover Benelux  |  The Netherlands  |  Top Art & Culture Spots

The role of art in new environments TEXT: EVA MENGER  |  PHOTOS: ROB VERHAGEN/RICK STROOPER

Born in Sukhumi, a Georgian city right by the north-western coast of the Black Sea, artist Giorgi Shengelia has always been around nature. His father an artist and his mother an opera singer, an upbringing centred on exploring his surroundings and creativity laid the foundation for his future. He now lives in Bergen, North Holland, and even though the contrast to his hometown couldn’t be bigger, his artistic vision remains the same. “My father has influenced me hugely,” Giorgi admits. “As director of the Sukhumi Art College, he encouraged me to take art lessons as a boy and I almost immediately decided that this is how I wanted to spend the rest of my life, making art. While many people enjoy creating things, I believe that being an artist is something that you must inherit. It’s either rooted inside you or not.”

Leaving the homeland When the Georgian Civil War broke out in Abkhazia in 1992 to 1993, Giorgi and his family were forced to flee to the coun58  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

try’s capital Tbilisi. Still holding on to his dream to become an artist, Giorgi enrolled in the city’s State Academy of Art and simultaneously shared a small studio with his father. It was during these years that Giorgi found his true style: the abstract, progressive and bold style that eventually took him to the Netherlands.

work is a mixture of abstract and semifigurative, often creating tension between reality and the artificial, the past and the present, the perceptible and the elusive. Recurring themes are ‘reincarnation in new environments’ and ‘the meaning of home’, given up only to explore and reinforce his desire for artistic freedom.

After a few successful years in Amsterdam, Giorgi was offered a place to live in the artistic Dutch village of Bergen in 2003. Surrounded by nature again, the sea, the woods and the quintessentially Dutch dunes of the North Sea coast are all amongst his most celebrated sources of inspiration, though his work also features more mechanical subjects such as aeroplanes and wheels. His

Keen to see his versatile and always surprising work? Giorgi is part of Gallery 32, an organisation in Bergen focused on offering a platform to national and international contemporary artists. Get in touch today to discuss opportunities.

Web: Instagram: @giorgishengelia_art

Discover Benelux  |  Travel  |  TikaTours

Experience Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan TEXT: EVA MENGER  |  PHOTOS: TIKATOURS

Dutch TV game show Wie is de Mol? is known for its many beautiful settings, but when its mind games and thrilling activities unfolded against the backdrop of Georgia last year, viewers found themselves wondering why they had never visited this magnificent country before. Are you one of them? Then meet TikaTours, a Georgian luxury tour operator here to offer you a life-changing travel experience. Operating in all countries in the South Caucasus region of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, TikaTours offers organised trips ranging from the lavish to the adventurous, topped off with a touch of unpredictability. All tours are themed, including wine & gourmet (centred on the country’s wine-making traditions and its eclectic cuisine), adventure & hiking (exploring Georgia’s jaw-dropping scenery), art & culture (diving into the history and celebrating its artists), dance & music, MICE, investment and special VIP tours. TikaTours have been specialising in luxury experiences for 18 years, during which

they’ve had the honour of hosting famous American football player Larry Darnell Fitzgerald, Indonesian celebrity chef Farah Quinn and popular American tennis player Barbara Smith. Due to unmatched experience and a well-connected network, they’re able to offer holiday-goers the most unique experiences time and time again.

terrace is the perfect place to unwind while the barman fixes you your favourite drink. You’ll be spoiled even more when TikaTours takes you to their ancient bathhouse – which happens to be the country’s oldest and largest of its kind – where a sense of luxury, wellbeing and intimate privacy will envelop your body upon entrance.

Unbeatable value

No matter your budget, interests or travel partners: TikaTours will ensure you make the most of your trip to Georgia. Ready to pack your bags? Call or email them today to book the journey of a lifetime.

With a range of luxury properties in their name, TikaTours offers incomparable, ultra-luxury holidays. First, there’s Chateau Svanidze, a medieval manor house with incredible views across the snow-capped mountains of The Caucasus. Here, you’ll be invited to feast on fine cuisine prepared by renowned chefs, enjoy premium local wines and experience the Kakheti region at its best with a charming and knowledgeable private tour guide. Then there’s the extraordinary Marani restaurant, combining traditional Georgian cooking with the most spectacular views of Old Tbilisi (the historic part of the country’s capital). Dishes are fresh, local and eco-friendly and the incredible outdoor

Web: Contact: Phone: +995 551 402 223

Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  59





‘They called me natural wastage’ TEXT & PHOTO: STEVE FLINDERS

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the voice of the human resources profession in the UK, reports that its latest annual health and wellbeing survey shows that more organisations are committing to promoting good mental health and spreading awareness of mental health issues; and that employee well-being is on the agenda of more senior leaders. Morale is up, sickness absence is down. But it also confirms that there is a rising culture of ‘presenteeism’ – feeling obliged to work even when you’re ill – and says that stress levels still remain “much too high”. Nearly 60 per cent of UK absence is stress-related. Stress is a killer. More than ten years of austerity have led to massive job cuts across the public sector with far fewer people left to deal with increasing workloads: 200 NHS nurses committed suicide between 2011 and 2017 – in 2014, at a rate of one a week. Poor management creates stress. Macho bosses who vaunt their own long hours and impose them on others – despite evidence that extra hours at work are increasingly unproductive – are a menace. Claims 60  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

like Elon Musk’s that if you’re not doing an 80-hour week, you’re not showing up, are as irresponsible as they are daft. Research by University College, London also shows that women suffer more stress and depression from longer hours than men, perhaps because they also perform a much larger share of domestic labour. Emails are a particular cause of stress and add to the dangers of burnout. Companies need strict policies to discourage out-ofhours emailing. The British government should follow France’s example and give employees the right to ignore business emails that arrive after hours.

the gig economy or in those workplaces where people with no union protection may live in fear of bullying, threats and arbitrary dismissal. More vigorous legal enforcement would give better protection to the vulnerable and the exploited at work. Training managers to recognise the signs of stress would also help. We need to make a stand against stress.

Stress can lead to behavioural changes – withdrawal or aggression; physical changes – headaches and gastroenteritis; and sickness – heart disease, anxiety and depression. “They called me natural wastage,” said one woman on a recent BBC radio programme about work-related stress. “My manager stole my self-esteem,” said another. Legislation to support stressed-out British workers exists. British employers have a duty of care towards their employees, but that’s no consolation to people in

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


Getting Things Done.

Emerce Next.

TEDxDelft 6 June, Delft, the Netherlands In the spirit of the TED movement, the independent event TEDxDelft is about to enlighten us through eight inspiring talks. With the slogan ‘RE:load your game’, the event will question the theories and facts we take for granted, providing new insights and knowledge instead. Are you ready to RE:think and RE:evaluate everything you know?

Savage Marketing 12 – 13 June, Amsterdam, the Netherlands Savage Marketing is not interested in dry theory or boring speeches. Instead, they zoom in on what’s happening in the sector today and the success formulas of real cases. Go to listen, network and meet your peers over a nice game of air hockey.

Cyber Security and Cloud Expo 19 – 20 June, Amsterdam, the Netherlands In 2019, most companies operate online. Therefore, cybersecurity and cloud eco-

systems are everybody’s business. This year, Europe’s leading fair on the topic strikes down in Amsterdam. With both mind-opening speakers and interesting stalls, you will be prepped to protect your company’s online information.

Getting Things Done Summit 20 – 21 June, Amsterdam, the Netherlands With his bestselling book Getting Things Done, David Allen taught us how to be more productive and realise our dreams. During this two-day event, Allen and 39 other super-productive people from diverse sectors share their secrets on

Savage Marketing.

how to become the most effective version of yourself.

Emerce Next 25 June, Amsterdam, the Netherlands The digital and tech sector changes rapidly. The minute you say or write something, it is often already obsolete. Therefore, Emerce Next is on hand to guide us through what is coming our way. Which technologies are on the edge of breaking through? And what will be the next big thing in the binary world? Alongside pros and peers, you are bound to come up with the right answer.

Emerce Next.

Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  61


Driving is such an everyday activity that people forget it can be fun. At least that’s what Indy Dontje, professional racer and owner of advanced driving centre Rijvaardigheidscentrum Lelystad thinks. With a background in go-kart racing, Dontje has always been aware of the excitement and adrenaline caused by sitting behind the wheel – and it’s his personal mission to share this with others.

driving age. Today, he can look back at many achievements, including a Formula Three race with Dutch-Belgian multichampion Max Verstappen, yearly races in the United States and a permanent place in the German GT3 championships. In addition, he can call himself the owner of one of the Netherlands’ largest go-karting tracks as well as an advanced driving centre.

Dontje was only eight when he first started his kart-racing career and dove into motorsport as soon as he hit legal

Dontje: “The opening of our go-kart track was met with so much enthusiasm that it made me want to expand. I decided to

62  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

Playful learning

speak to The Royal Dutch Touring Club (ANWB), who were next door to us, and now run their former test and training centre. It’s been really great combining my racing career with something completely different.” Changing the course of the training centre to fit his vision towards driving, Dontje offers clients a balance between practicality and fun. “The touring club’s former approach was quite serious and scholastic, but I like to play around with cars and believe this is something we should all do a bit more of. It’s this vision that

Discover Benelux  |  Top Dutch Event Planning  |  Rijvaardigheidscentrum Lelystad

sets me apart from my competition – I want to offer people a unique, adventurous experience while also adding to their driving skills.” It’s for this reason that Rijvaardigheidscentrum Lelystad attracts many companies. Offering an activity that is useful yet enjoyable – not to mention it’s a refreshing alternative to treasure hunts, sports days and bowling competitions – playing around with cars has proven to be the perfect team-building exercise.

Work hard, play hard Dontje: “Our go-kart tracks are magnets for bachelor parties and the like, so applying the same business model to the advanced driving centre was a natural process. Companies can now book a range

of luxury meeting rooms (suitable for ten to a maximum of 200 people) with us in the morning, followed by coffee, tea or a tasty lunch and a great afternoon of fun on the driving court. It’s the perfect day out!” Arrangements include slip courses, accident training, racing simulators and even go-karting. After a coffee and tea reception, guests will receive some training on the essential theory, after which they are invited to get behind the wheel. The highlight of the day? “People go absolutely crazy for the slip control tests, a hydronic system simulating an icy road and an icy, six per cent slope. After spending an hour of learning some new skills, the adrenaline people feel when they realise they can control a car in such conditions is amazing,” Dontje says.

Central location Located right next to Lelystad Airport – which will open for civil aviation next year – and close to a city that’s easy to get to from just about anywhere in the Netherlands, the centre is highly reachable. Therefore. it’s a perfect teambuilding location for companies throughout the country. Dontje: “I love Lelystad and really appreciate being able to do this as a professional racer. It puts a smile on my face every time I see people having a great time at the centre. It makes people realise driving is not just about getting from A to B, and that’s all I could ever wish for!” Web:

Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  63


Nothing screams luxury like having a swimming pool in your garden. But to take a plunge mere metres from your back door, you must first decide which type of pool it is you want. Global player Compass Pools is a trustworthy partner to turn those dreams into reality. By combining the benefits of a monoblock pool with exquisite craftsmanship, they are bound to turn your garden into a tropical Eden that lasts a lifetime. “A monoblock pool gets industrially manufactured in one piece,” says David Holiviers, executive director of Compass Pools Benelux. “Therefore, there are no ugly seams in the tub, making it stronger and more pleasant at your feet.” By 64  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

manufacturing them out of ceramic composite, Compass Pools makes them feel even softer and silkier. To also maximise its strength, they add a layer of carbon as well, a material used in the aviation industry because of its unsurpassed resilience. Don’t take our word for it, however, the 40-year warranty they offer says it all. “The material is also easy to clean. It is so smooth that bacteria will fail to latch onto it. The bit of dirt that manages to stick against its walls, you can easily wash off with a moist rag.”

Self-cleaning and safe And keeping the equally easy. With VANTAGE system, self. “It works with

water fresh will be their groundbreaking your tub will clean ita series of automatic

nozzles, programmed to function whenever you aren’t swimming. They induce a stream throughout the pool which guides all the leaves and dirt straight towards the filter, keeping the water spotless. The only thing left for you to do is emptying the basket once a week.” With a VANTAGE system, you will also have to use less chlorine or salt and your pool will keep warm longer. “To optimise your heating even more, a pool cover is also advised. Every situation is different; therefore, we will always help you decide which cover is most adequate. Not only will it help you economise on energy, but it also saves lives. In combination with a built-in safety border, our laths can carry up to 100 kilogrammes. This way, your children or pets are safe from harm at all times.”

Discover Benelux  |  Profile  |  Compass Pools

180 options

Ready in five days

The biggest misconception people have about monoblock pools is that the choice is very limited. At Compass Pools Benelux, the opposite is true. With 15 different models in 12 colours, you can choose from 180 different pools. “Our experience has taught us that this selection has something for every taste and space. Yet, if you can’t find your pick in our assortment, we can always look in the catalogue of our mother firm, Compass Pools. They produce a total of 30 different models, of which we only offer half in the Benelux. Yet, if you really want one of those, we will go above and beyond to import it.”

Yet, what sets Compass Pools apart the most is its trustworthy service. From the moment you decide to have a pool in your garden, Compass Pools stands by you to offer some non-committal advice. “We first sit down with you to get to know you and your wishes and expectations. We can do that in one of our offices, yet, we prefer meeting at your home, so we can look at your garden ourselves. After decennia in the business, we focus on different things. Will it be hard to get a permit for the pool? Is there enough space for a technical room? Will the pool catch the maximum of sunlight you have in the

garden? Once we understand what it is you want, we put together a quote. Obviously, still free of charge or obligation.” Afterwards, things can go fast. If Compass Pools has your preferred pool in stock, you will be able to plunge within five days to two weeks. “The placement of the pool itself only takes a day. You, however, need two more days to fill it with water and a fourth to add the final touches, like the curbs. On the fifth day, there is nothing left to do but to blow up your lilo and light the barbecue.” Web:

Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  65

Discover Benelux  |  Profile  |  BBI Luxembourg

Preparing hospitality’s future leaders TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON  |  PHOTOS: BBI LUXEMBOURG/ANEFORE

As a major provider of higher education courses to the hospitality and tourism industry, BBI Luxembourg is moving with the times – and ahead of them. “Tourism is an incredibly important employer,” says Hans de Meyer, director of marketing and business development at BBI Luxembourg, “and it’s expanding very quickly – with its need for professional skills growing accordingly. The Accor group, for example, is currently opening a new hotel somewhere in the world about every 36 hours.”

itself and our awareness that we’re preparing people for leading roles in the sector,” says Hans, “and that, for us, is linked with innovation – both what’s new in the world that the students will work in, and their own ability to innovate.” In fact, sustainability and innovation is now a block within the Master’s programme at BBI Luxembourg.

BBI’s mission is to provide students with the skills and qualifications they increasingly need to fill managerial roles in today’s - and tomorrow’s - hospitality and tourism industry.

Areas such as the use of social media, harnessing industry-standard software packages within the programmes, and management simulation games that mimic real-world pressures are all part of the learning environment at BBI, for both Bachelor’s and Master’s students. Candidates this year will have access to the institution’s expertise via its new e-learning programme, for which the deadline for admission is this August.

“A significant change lately in our teaching is greater focus on sustainability in the field, reflecting the mindset of the industry

To allow greater focus on case studies, theses, and other on-campus elements of the programme, BBI is reducing the

66  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

Master’s internship from 12 to six months: “Students want to get the maximum out of their time with us, so that’s a better balance,” says Hans. Moreover, it chimes with the institution’s watchword – ‘BBI Luxembourg, the place where extraordinary people come to life’. Part of that is due to the stimulus of mixing students from many countries: “Our student body on the Wiltz campus this year includes representatives of 25 or more different nationalities,” says de Meyer, “and internship placements for some means exploring other countries new to them.” And with the e-learning Master’s in Hospitality Business Administration offering students across the globe a way to experience that community and its educational benefits from their own home countries, it’s set to be more international still. Web:

Discover Benelux  |  Profile  |  Pâtisserie Hoffmann


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

Luxembourgers like the finer things in life. Master pastry chef and entrepreneur Jean-Marie Hoffmann has built a very special business that aims to provide not just the fine, but the finest. In his youth, Jean-Marie Hoffmann dreamed for a time of becoming a surgeon, but decided that such a life was not for him. Given the meticulous attention to detail demonstrated in his creations, his growing business empire, and his tireless drive to improve both, it is very possible he would have made a mighty medic. The path the now 51-year-old Hoffmann chose was to become a great pastry chef, learning his craft with some prestigious names before deciding that it was time to launch his own operation. “I looked seriously at Venice Beach in California 68  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

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, del-

icate pastries, gâteaux… “We set the highest standards and use the best materials, including flour and fresh cream and milk from Luxembourg; but we also search the world for the topmost quality ingredients, like cinnamon from Sri Lanka, and Madagascan vanilla.”

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

Discover Benelux  |  Profile  |  Pâtisserie Hoffmann

CEO Jean-Marie Hoffmann.

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

Fresh ideas, fresh investment, fresh products Even early on in the process, the signs were positive, sales good, and a good reaction from the workforce was evident. Because of the nature of what they produce, this is something that takes a very special approach – and Hoffmann is appreciative of production director

Michael Weyland. “The scale of the operation, with 18 shops, and many catering companies and other outlets in addition, could be seen as industrial,” Hoffmann says, “But this has to be artisanal, what we do is a craft with so much done by hand, reliant on human skill rather than machinery.” And Hoffmann has no intention of losing what has always been – and remains – the trump card of his business: “If I have a new idea, if we come up with a new product say, we can make it happen – and at the highest level of quality – within the day.” It is a philosophy that matches the nature of the business. In the restaurant, the mouth-watering menu du jour is now truly du jour, changing daily and using the best seasonal produce. The wraps, sandwiches, quiches and salads that form the savoury basis of the traiteur business are truly fresh. The chocolates beneath their glass counters in the shops are miniature works of art, the great classics occasionally joined by new creations; and it is the same too with the pastries, handmade, as enticing on the shelves as they will be later in the day on the tables of Luxembourg’s discerning diners. The whole team is working tirelessly, and it is working successfully too. And they share a vision: “Our goal is to be one of the big names in our sector, not just in Luxembourg but beyond too,” Hoffmann concludes. Web:

Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  69

Your hidden garden in Brussels TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: ANTOINE DECKERS

For business or leisure trips in the heart of Europe, The President Brussels Hotel offers a superb location, spacious rooms and well-equipped conference rooms — not to mention one of the city’s most covetable private gardens. Having just opened after renovation works that were completed in April, the hotel has consolidated its reputation as one of the city’s slickest meeting places. Guests will immediately be impressed as they enter the stylish lobby, conceived by award-winning hotel designer Saar Zafrir. An array of fascinating artworks adorn the walls, adding to the cosmopolitan, classy vibe. 70  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

Easy access The President Brussels Hotel could not be better placed in terms of accessibility. It is only 500 metres from Bruxelles-Nord railway station — where you can catch a direct train to the airport in ten minutes. Meanwhile, the Bruxelles-Midi station, which is served by Eurostar, is just a 15-minute drive away, or ten minutes away by train. Travellers arriving by car will be pleased to know the hotel has a private car park complete with two Tesla chargers. “We’re located right at the entrance of the city, so you avoid all the traffic in the centre,” explains Nicoletta Kostis, director of sales and marketing.

The city’s many business and exhibition centres are in close proximity of the hotel, while metro stations are within walking distance. For those looking to explore Brussels’ many tourist attractions, hotspots such as the worldfamous Grand Place, the Atomium and BOZAR are within easy reach, as is the Tour & Taxis cultural area.

Discover Benelux  |  Hotel of the Month  |  Brussels

Stylish and spacious The hotel offers 296 comfortable, stylish and spacious rooms and suites, all equipped with modern amenities and comfortable bedding. Particularly sought-after are the deluxe garden view rooms, while business travellers will appreciate the business rooms with their integrated workspace. Meanwhile, families can enjoy the space and comfort of a family suite. “We welcome a lot of business travellers during the week, while at the weekends we are popular with families and leisure travellers,” points out Nicoletta.

Haven of peace

A real highlight of the hotel is its private garden, a 3,000 square metre haven of peace and tranquility. “It’s a green eden in the city centre,” enthuses Nicoletta. “That’s really rather unique in Brussels and ideal now that the warmer weather has arrived.” The hotel’s elegant bar and restaurant have also had a total makeover, and have been attracting visitors and locals alike. Head to restaurant Elissa for delicious Mediterranean dishes and sharing plates — perfect for a meal amongst friends or colleagues.

Events of all sizes

The President Hotel is a perfect venue for hosting business events and special occasions. Whether you are organising a meeting, conference, exhibition or personal event such as a wedding,

you are bound to find the right room for you amid the hotel’s 2,000 square metres of space. The hotel offers 16 well-equipped function rooms spread over three floors. There are different spaces to accommodate groups as small as ten all the way up to 400 people for a banquet, or 630 for a cocktail reception. The largest space covers 585 square metres and offers a beautiful view over the gardens. “Whatever you are looking for, we’re sure to have a package to meet your needs,” smiles Nicoletta, adding that the hotel’s dedicated events team are always on hand to ensure everything runs smoothly. A separate catering team are also available to take care of all your event’s culinary requirements.

Top service Whether organising an event, staying at the hotel, or simply visiting for a meal at the restaurant, you can always expect warm, professional service from the hotel’s friendly team. “Our top priority is to make sure our clients are happy,” concludes Nicoletta. DO NOT MISS This July, the 106th edition of the Tour de France will be starting in Brussels (6 - 7 July). This marks the 50th anniversary of Belgian cyclist Eddy Merckx’s first victory in 1969. In honour of this special occasion, The President will be organising a special Tour de France themed event in its beautiful garden.


Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  71

Discover Benelux  |  Hotel of the Month  |  Luxembourg

Sofitel Luxembourg Europe - Luxembourg (ville). Photo: Abaca Corporate/Donja Pitsch


With its prime location on the Kirchberg plateau, the five-star Sofitel Luxembourg Europe delights guests with superb service, luxurious facilities and the finest gastronomy. “A stay at the Sofitel allows you to enjoy French elegance. You can discover the delights of France in Luxembourg,” begins general manager Fernando López Lens. For example, through flagship products, such as MyBed™ bedding or Hermès welcome toiletries, guests benefit from a luxurious French experience. What will initially strike any guest arriving at the Sofitel Luxembourg Europe is its breathtaking avant-garde architecture. Behind its sparkling facade is the Atrium, a glass dome which ensures total brightness throughout the year and creates a feeling of depth, freedom and lightness. “There, you can admire the ballet of everyday life in the hotel,” smiles Mr López Lens. 72  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

The hotel offers 100 bright and spacious rooms, as well as nine opulent suites. “Every element has been carefully considered to play a special role in creating a sense of grandeur and ultimate comfort,” enthuses Mr López Lens. Ranging from 37 to 53 square metres, the rooms are bathed in natural light. All the soothing, sparkling bathrooms are equipped with a deluxe rain shower and bath. The luxury continues when it comes to wining and dining. With gastronomy as a pillar, the Sofitel offers its guests an extraordinary sensory experience. A world tour of flavours awaits, whether you opt for gourmet Italian cuisine at the Oro e Argento restaurant or sample the new menu at Le Stübli, where you can indulge in authentic dishes inspired by Luxembourg in a typical Black Forest chalet style. Sofitel Luxembourg Europe is the only five-star hotel on the Kirchberg plateau,

and is popular with corporate groups and business travellers, such as those working in finance or the European institutions. “We also welcome families coming to discover Luxembourg, who wish to benefit from our exclusive service,” points out Mr López Lens. The Kirchberg conference centre, Mudam modern art museum, and the Philharmonie concert hall are just some of the highlights to be found in this prestigious part of the city. Meanwhile, there are currently many exciting developments happening in the area. “There are new apartments and offices, as well as a new shopping centre, and Mama Shelter set to open in 2020. Thanks to this, Sofitel will benefit many new customers, whether in terms of accommodation, catering, or leisure,” concludes Mr López Lens. Web:

Photo: NBTC


Although they usually come with everlasting memories, faraway trips have their fair share of disadvantages too. They cost handfuls of money, are bad for the environment and force you to endure the discomfort of an aeroplane seat for multiple hours. And why would you travel that far, when everything you want to discover can be found on your doorstep? A desert, tropical beaches, the savanna…the Benelux has it all throughout its humble territory.

A trip through the desert Lommelse Sahara, Lommel, Belgium In the middle of the biggest woods of Flanders, in the beautiful province of Limburg, you can find the Sahara. Not the big desert from Northern Africa, but a smaller sandbox where trees have the greatest difficulties to grow. When the weather allows it, you can hike over the smooth dunes while the burning sun tans your neck. You won’t need to look far for water, however, since a big, blue oasis stretches out in the middle of the white carpet. After conquering the sand, your caravan can head along to the adjoining holiday park for a nice meal, a plunge and a well-deserved night’s rest. 74  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

Sahara. Photo: Bosland

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Exotic Benelux

Meet the big five Beekse Bergen, Hilvarenbeek, the Netherlands Standing eye to eye with the mighty lion during an adventurous safari: it must adorn many a bucket list. In the Dutch animal park Beekse Bergen, this can easily become reality. More than 150 exotic species live amongst each other in big reserves which you can enter by car. Drive past a herd of zebras or let the curious giraffes gaze down at your vehicle. Don’t have a car to enter in? No problem! The park itself also offers bus and boat safaris on which you can spot the animals up close. If you opt for the walking tour instead, you can observe your favourites at your own pace.

Beekse Bergen. Photo: Michael Jansen

Beekse Bergen. Photo: Wikipedia

Beekse Bergen. Photo: Jane Starz

Japanese Garden. Photo: Tourism Hasselt

Japanese Garden. Photo: Tourism Hasselt

The land of the rising sun Japanese Garden, Hasselt, Belgium If not sushi or kimonos, the Japanese are most famous for their characteristic gardens. With sakura trees, water features and lots of patience and perfectionism, they create textbook examples of rest and tranquillity. If you want to witness this unique zen feeling close to home, you must head to the city of Hasselt, where the biggest Japanese garden within European borders is located. Let colours, reflections and scents wash over you and herald the peace bell by swinging a heavy log. In the water, curious koi are swimming alongside each other, occasionally gazing up at their visitors. To top off this Japanese illusion, you can take a tai chi workshop, follow a lesson in calligraphy or take part in a traditional tea ceremony.

Japanese Garden. Photo: Tourism Hasselt

Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  75

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Exotic Benelux

The bison’s territory Veluwe, the Netherlands To share land with the bison, most people head to the Far West. With a Stetson on your head and spurs adorning your shoes, you can conquer the prairie on horseback, searching for the mighty animals. It is, however, much easier to just go the beautiful Veluwe reserve in the Netherlands. By combining woods, white sand and soft-purple heath, both humans and animals enjoy strolling through the diverse landscape. Sheep, boars, red dears…they all consider this natural wonder their home. Yet, the most spectacular inhabitant of the region is the wisent; or the European bison. The animal was close to extinction for decades, but is now restoring its population in the Dutch woods. Unfortunately, it might take you some effort to spot one though, since their territory is shielded from the hiking trails to protect the animals.

Wisent. Photo: Leo Linnartz, ARK Natuurontwikkeling

Veluwe. Photo: NBTC

The sacred temples Villers Abbey, Villers-la-Ville, Belgium Although the Aztec settlements in Mexico and the Inca temples in Peru are a world away from Wallonia, their resemblance to the region’s Catholic heritage is uncanny. Just a stone’s throw from the Belgian capital, you can visit the Villers Abbey. The humongous monastery was finished halfway during the 13th century, making it older than Machu Pichu. Throughout the ages, turbulences like the great iconoclasm, disputes between the church and the Habsburgians and, finally, the French revolution deteriorated the abbey to the mystical ruin it is today. Walk through the chambers of the former palace of spirituality and knowledge and relive its long, dark history.

Villers Abbey. Photo: Tina Sauwens

76  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

Villers Abbey. Photo: Tina Sauwens

Villers Abbey. Photo: Tina Sauwens

Villers Abbey. Photo: Tina Sauwens

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Exotic Benelux

On an uninhabited island Frisian Islands, the Netherlands From Robinson Crusoe to Tom Hanks and the participants of Survivor, nobody is immune to the attraction of an uninhabited island. And, in the north of the Netherlands, you can explore some desolate isles yourself. Three of them, to be exact. Alongside other Frisian Islands like Texel, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog, the small enclaves of Noorderhaaks, Rottumerplaat and Rottumeroog rise above the waves. Although nobody lives on these small islands, their savage nature makes them of interest to many. So as not disturb the local fauna, tourists are not welcome to hit the shores of the first two islands. Yet, to Rottumeroog, you should be able to book yourself an excursion. While sailing through the Frisian sea, you might spot other desolate pieces of land as well, yet, these are too humble in size to carry the name ‘island’.

Rottumeroog. Photo: Joop van Houdt

Lake of the Upper Sûre, Ardennes. Photo: Alfonso Salgueiro

Lake of the Upper Sûre, Ardennes. Photo: Alfonso Salgueiro

Lake of the Upper Sûre, Ardennes. Photo: Alfonso Salgueiro

Lake of the Upper Sûre, Ardennes. Photo: Alfonso Salgueiro

Into the wild

Stolzembourg. Photo: Alfonso Salgueiro

Ardennes, Belgium & Luxembourg The closer you approach the North Pole, the wilder nature tends to become. In sparsely populated districts like Norway, Canada or Alaska, an endless puzzle of lakes and pine trees awaits you. A thousand kilometres southwards, you find the region of the Ardennes, a hilly, green lung which stretches out through most of Wallonia, the north of Luxembourg and a small part of northern France. Hikers will be happy to hear that you can roam the hills for hours without bumping into anyone. You might, however, spot an occasional wild animal like a boar, a dear, or a beaver. In the many picturesque hamlets which you find in the trees’ shadow, you can experience the simple Ardennes life with its tasty food, various beers and warm hospitable people. Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  77

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Exotic Benelux

Oostende. Photo: Visit.Flanders

Terschelling. Photo: NBTC

Photo: NBTC

BENELUX BEACH What is the Benelux if not a region by the sea? With no less than 590 kilometres of coastline, spread over Dutch and Belgian soil, you have plenty of space to lay down your towel. And although there are very few bad choices, we can happily share our ‘must-seas’.

The most vibrant The Benelux’ coastline knows many dynamic cities. The Flemish city of Oostende, for example, is a small metropole with ocean views. During the reign of King Leopold II, the city became a posh getaway for the Belgian aristocracy. Today, the town is a popular destination for all, yet, the monumental buildings from

Scheveningen. Photo: NBTC

78  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

the 20th century remain; including the majestic galleries and hippodrome. During summer, Oostende is also the place to be for a cocktail in a beach bar. In the Netherlands, Scheveningen harmoniously combines the sound of the waves with the town’s ambiance. As part of the busy city of The Hague, it is a little paradise of relaxation in the shadow of the skyscrapers. On New Year’s Eve, huge bonfires are lit on the beach, guaranteeing a fabulous spectacle. During summer, you can gaze at the impressive Kurhaus hotel and the Ferris wheel at the end of the pier; instantly transporting you to Santa Monica.

The widest The North Sea beaches are famous for their width. The widest of them all, you will find on the Frisian Island Terschelling. During low tide, the distance between the dunes and the waves can be longer than a kilometre, making it one of the widest beaches of Europe. When on Terschelling, don’t hesitate to visit the other Frisian Islands as well. Their beaches are known to be the prettiest in all the Netherlands. The pearl-white borders of Schiermonnikoog and Ameland are especially breathtaking.

The sunniest When in need of some sun, you must head to the south. That simple logic also applies in the Netherlands. In Zeeland, the last province before you cross the Belgian border, you have the best odds for a sunny day. On top of that, the region has some of the country’s cosiest coastal villages. Explore Vlissingen, Zoutelande or Cadzand and find nothing but unadulterated local culture in their streets. Those who aim to go even further southwards might end up in De Panne, the last coastal town of the Benelux. Besides its seemingly eternal fields of sand, children will also have a great time in the fun park of Plopsaland.

Castle De Haar. Photo: NBTC

Out & About In June, the summer vibes really start to heat up our day-to-day lives! Unfreeze your joints at the first music festivals and fraternise with the locals over a glass of beer or wine at a cosy degustation. Peek behind doors that are usually closed to the public and explore the Dutch castles and city gardens from the inside. There is plenty to do this month: so what are you waiting for? TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS

Rock Werchter. Photo: Rock Werchter

Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  79

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar

Pinkpop. Photo: BartHeemskerk


Day of the Castle

La Nuit Romantique

8 – 10 June, Landgraaf, the Netherlands With Pinkpop, the Dutch music festival season once again kicks off with a bang. This year, the line-up features dynamic indie bands (Mumford & Sons, Bastille, The Kooks), golden oldies (Fleetwood Mac, The Cure, Golden Earring), great talents from Dutch soil (Anouk, Armin Van Buuren, Kraantje Pappie) and many other must-see entertainers.

10 June, the Netherlands Once a year, at the Day of the Castle, you can pretend to be a king or queen in your own palace. Dozens of authentic castles let down the bridge over their moat and welcome you into their regal chambers. Roam around the courtyards and rooms and bump into the occasional troubadour, falconer or blacksmith.

22 June, Wallonia, Belgium Wallonia has plenty of picturesque hamlets you should absolutely pay a visit to. During La Nuit Romantique (the romantic night), they are the staging area for a myriad of intimate activities. Music, poetry, visual spectacles, gastronomy and many other things take you (and the apple of your eye) on an enchanting journey.

Open Garden Days Wine Taste Enjoy 9 – 10 June, Moselle, Luxembourg In the Moselle region, wine is always the centre of attention. During Wine Taste Enjoy, almost 40 wine castles, cellars and distilleries invite you to taste their liquid gold. Just follow the river and uncork some of the valley’s finest bottles.

Rock Werchter. Photo: Rock Werchter

14 – 16 June, Amsterdam, the Netherlands Many a tourist gazes at the adorable canal houses in the centre of Amsterdam. But what happens behind those iconic facades? During the Open Garden Days, their residents invite you into their modest gardens. Discover these hidden oases in the middle of the city noise and enjoy the blossoming green from the Golden Age.

Hopping procession of Echternach 11 June, Echternach, Luxembourg From a distance, the procession of Echternach looks more like a party or a carnival than a religious parade. Guided by the rhythm, the participants hop from left to right while connected to each other by white bands. The hopping parade starts at the bridge dividing Luxembourg from Germany, passes the historic centre and ends at the Saint Willibrord basilica. 80  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

Oerol Festival 14 – 23 June, Terschelling, the Netherlands Few festivals have a terrain as impressive as Oerol. For ten days, it fills the entire Frisian Island of Terschelling with music and street theatre. In between the exotic beats and tantalising food, there is plenty of space for the spoken word as well. Talks and discussions balance out the festive atmosphere from the island.


Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Calendar

Beer Passion Weekend. Photo:

Open Garden Days, Keizersgracht. Photo: NBTC

Wine Taste Enjoy, Caves St. Martin. Photo: Jonathan Godin-LFT

Ommegang. Photo: Visit.Brussels

Ommegang 26 – 28 June, Brussels, Belgium The impact of the Habsburgians on the capital of Europe cannot be overestimated. During the annual Ommegang parade, 1,400 actors and extras re-enact the arrival of Charles V in the mighty city. Horses, costumes and flags galore fill the streets of the medieval centre while the caravan heads to the main square. Here, a spectacular show of fire, music and equestrian mastery concludes the beautiful night.

Rock Werchter 27 – 30 June, Werchter, Belgium It once started as a small neighbourhood festival, but today it is one of Belgium’s biggest musical celebrations. Throughout the years, Rock Werchter continuously proved its ability to attract world-class artists and rocket-launch undiscovered prodigies. This year, strong women like P!nk and Florence + The Machine adorn the line-up, next to over 100 other amazing artists like Muse, Tool and Greta Van Fleet.

Beer Passion Weekend 28 – 30 June, Antwerp, Belgium 362 days a year, Antwerp is called ‘the city of cookies’, yet from 28 till 30 June, it is without any doubt ‘the city of beer’. On a market at the beautiful Groenplaats, many a brewery present their best brews to the world. Sip from a few interesting ales and explore the incredibly versatile beer culture of the country. Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  81


Every animal has its own story TEXT: FRANK VAN LIESHOUT | PHOTOS: DE ZONNEGLOED

Meet more than 120 species of wild rescue animals who have been given a new home at De Zonnegloed, Europe’s premier wildlife sanctuary. Situated right in the middle of the triangle between Ostend, Dunkirk and Lille, De Zonnegloed covers around 17 acres of Flemish countryside housing more than 350 wild rescue animals. “We look after a wide variety of wild rescue animals from all over the world,” says De Zonnegloed’s founder Karel Ackaert, “ranging from bears, apes, camels and llamas to lizards and monitors, snakes and spiders, and birds of prey. And soon we will also be welcoming a pair of lions, two leopards and a puma.” Each of these animals has their own story, but what they have in common is that 82  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

most of them suffered traumatic experiences and severe maltreatment before they were rescued and found a home here at De Zonnegloed. “The animals come from private homes, circuses, laboratories, zoos that need to close, illegal trade or breeding farms or other places where they were often kept in appalling circumstances or where funds had run out to take proper care of them,” Karel explains. “When animals first arrive here, they are often underfed, injured and traumatised. But the good news is that we can usually win back their trust and nurse them back to a reasonably healthy condition, and that they can stay here in safe surroundings for the rest of their lives.”

Animal welfare Karel set up De Zonnegloed in 2008 together with his wife Lieve De Busscher.

“My background is not in animal care at all, I was actually a banker,” he smiles. “Purely from our love for animals and a mission to educate about treating animals and the natural world with respect, we set up a children’s farm with an educational programme based around animal welfare.” Soon, Karel and Lieve came into contact with rescue centres housing maltreated and abandoned exotic animals. “We were really deeply distressed about the plight of these animals, so we decided to take action and start welcoming exotic species on our farm as well.” Slowly, the farm grew from housing a few species to the 121 they now provide a warm and happy home for. This meant building safe and spacious enclosures for

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Top Flemish Summer Experience

the wild animals, as well as attracting certified keepers and expertise to look after traumatised animals. “At the moment we are working with 15 specialised staff and a large group of dedicated volunteers,” Karel explains. “We need our volunteers as much as our experts, as we receive no government subsidies whatsoever and fully rely on donations, admission fees and income from our gift shop. These funds are not just needed to look after the animals, pay our people and maintain the ground and enclosures, but we are also still expanding to meet the need for more rescue capacity.”

Big cats Currently, the Zonnegloed are building brand new enclosures for five big cats

who were suffering appalling conditions at circuses in France and Poland. “If you saw the state of these animals, you’d be shocked. But sadly, this is the reality, this is how some people still mistreat animals. Fortunately, the Dutch AAP Foundation managed to free the animals, and they are now safe and well looked after in temporary care until we are ready to welcome them here.” Having grown into the premier European sanctuary for wild animals, and the only one in Europe housing such a broad range of different species, De Zonnegloed partners with many national and international animal welfare organisations such as the Dutch AAP Foundation. Through these partnerships, they can exchange information, help other, smaller parks with

their expertise, contribute to various educational programmes and provide a home for animals that have nowhere else to go.

Visitors At the park itself, raising awareness among children and adults is one of the top priorities for Karel and his team. “Young families can visit for a great day out, where they really get to meet the animals and learn more about them. We don’t do shows, because performing is the last thing we want to put these animals through. But we do have three feeding sessions that the public can join, watching the animals being fed and hearing all about their stories, what their habits are and how they came to end up at De Zonnegloed.” For children, there is also plenty of opportunity to play, indoors and outdoors, with several play areas scattered around the park. And in the gift shop people can enjoy a snack and a drink and buy a small souvenir reminding you of a great day out. And remember, all revenue goes to the animals! Contributions welcome: Bank details: BE58 7390 1329 6879 vzw De Zonnegloed - Kasteelweg 22 8640 Oostvleteren BIC : KREDBEBB


Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  83


Seven thousand years of art and history TEXT: LORENZA BACINO  |  PHOTOS: VILLE DE LIÈGE

Belgium’s magnificent Curtius Museum is a stunning building, situated in the historical heart of Liège. Visitors are invited to discover thousands of years of history through collections that were previously dispersed across town, but which are now tastefully displayed across 5,000 square metres. United under one roof are the former Museum of Arms, Museum of Glass, Museum of Archaeology and Decorative Arts, as well as the Museum dedicated to religious artworks and mosan art. The sheer volume of the pieces on display, plus a significant number of artefacts which remain hidden, make the Grand Curtius one of the most important art and history museums in the whole of the country.

weaponry of exceptional technical and artistic skill. Liège still harbours a formidable reputation in the field of arms production and since September 2018, the Arms Museum has occupied the first floor of the Palais Curtius, a majestic 16thcentury red-brick building in typical Liégeois style on the banks of the river Meuse. Housed within is one of the world’s greatest and most diverse collections of arms and weaponry. This space used to belong to the wealthy arms merchant, Jean Curtius (1551-1628), who made his fortune dealing in gunpowder.

Musée d’Armes (Museum of Arms)

These veritable works of art date from the 16th to the 21st century and are true testament to the skill and precision of the local artisans of Liège and beyond.

Originally opened in 1885, the Arms Museum has a strong connection to the history of Liège, which already boasted an international reputation for producing

The weapons on display are visually stunning and of interest to anyone with a passion for the history of humanity.

84  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

Learn about the rich and multi-layered history of the evolution of guns and pistols, both from a technical as well as an aesthetic perspective. These objects perfectly highlight the skill and precision necessary to create such beauty. Admire the intricate detail of the metal engravings and the dexterity in the wooden and ivory carvings. The museum prides itself on focusing on three things: the historic, technical and aesthetic value of the items. This erstwhile tradition remains very much alive in Liège today and visitors will see examples of

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Le Grand Curtius

‘civil arms’ - those used for sport or hunting, as well as examples of revolvers and pistols. Among the 600 weapons on display in the Curtius Palace, are further stunning examples from around the world that make up a collection whose beauty and technical expertise cannot be underestimated.

Thousands of years of history For visitors who have more time on their hands, the Grand Curtius collections span 7,000 years of art and history and include important glassware, earthenware, religious artefacts, archaeological finds and decorative arts.

Glass treasures The museum’s glassware collection comprises some ten thousand pieces dating from Antiquity to the present day. Beginning with Armand Baar’s rich personal collection bought by the city of Liège in 1952, the collection displays examples of glass from ancient Egypt, ancient Rome and the Middle East, as well as from the Islamic world and Venice. Stunning pieces of Bohemian and English crystal and European glass from the 17th and 18th centuries complete this sumptuous display and of special significance are the pieces of Val Saint Lambert crystal.

Revolver de luxe ciselé. Lefaucheux 1870, Fabr liégeoise. Carabine expresss rifle. Syst Holland & Holland, 1902, Londres.

Not to be missed along the route are the wonderful art deco and art nouveau glass treasures. Probably created by chance in the Middle East, the magical material that is glass has been moulded and appropriated by cultures across the world. The items on display constitute a kaleidoscopic array of colour, shape and design. Glass never ceases to fascinate due to its brilliance, its transparency, the diversity of shape, colour, texture and technique used.

Decorative art collection In 1896, Liège decided to place its decorative art collection within the Maison Curtius, which became known as the Archaeological Museum of Liège in 1909. The collec-

tion mainly comprises pieces from the 18th century. Visitors can view beautiful sculptures in marble, ivory, alabaster, terracotta, stone and metal by artists such as Jean Del Cour, Jean Varin, Guillaume Evrard, Arnold Hontoire to name but a few. The works in gold are particularly striking and include Jean-Adrien Grose’s torso-shaped coffee maker from 1763. Permanent collections are free for those under 26. It is recommended that visitors set aside three hours in order to view the entire Grand Curtius collection comprising weapons, glass, decorative arts, archaeology and religious art sections. Web:

Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  85

86  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Film


‘It’s been a really emotional ride!’ Following premieres at the Rotterdam and Sundance film festivals, this month sees the UK release of Dirty God, a deeply moving drama telling the story of a young mum from London left with serious facial burns as the result of an acid attack. We caught up with the film’s Dutch director Sacha Polak, to find out more about the making of her impressive English-language debut. TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER  |  PHOTOS: PABLO DELFOS

First of all, huge congratulations on the film, which has already been a success on both sides of the Atlantic. How was the Sundance Film Festival? S. Polak: It was fantastic! We were the first film they selected. We sent them a really rough cut of the film and already knew at the end of summer that we were selected. That was really special. And we were the opening film of the Rotterdam Film Festival in January — that was on the Wednesday and then the next day

day we flew to Salt Lake City and we had our premiere in America.

Vicky Knight (who plays lead character Jade) is incredible. How was she to work with? S. Polak: Vicky was really important in the process. When I found her I knew I needed to build the rest of the cast around her. It was very difficult for her because she used to hide her body completely, like she’d wear long sleeved

shirts in the summer and she had to be naked in this film. But that’s not a thing that you approach in the first moments… It took some time to build that trust and confidence. She was such a pleasure to work with.

The film has had such a positive reception...

S. Polak: Dirty God has been a really special film for me, and also for Vicky. It’s been a really emotional ride — but a Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  87

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Film

Vicky Knight stars in the film Dirty God, directed by Sacha Polak.

good one. We’ve been travelling through the whole of the Netherlands doing Q&A sessions after the screenings and those talks were really special. People responded so well to Vicky and were really touched by her. They were screaming in the audience ‘you are beautiful’. That was really good. I hope this film will also be well received in the UK and France. I’m really excited and nervous!

You and your co-writer Susanne Farrell visited the Katie Piper Foundation, a burns rehabilitation centre, to prepare for the film… S. Polak: Yes, through the foundation I met up with some burns survivors in a hotel bar. At first that’s really difficult to look at, but after five minutes you forget the scars and you see the person. That was something that I really wanted to 88  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

show in the film — that’s why the opening shot of the film is with the scars. You really look at them and then you really see Jade.

What message do you hope viewers will take away from the film?

S. Polak: I wanted to give a positive feeling at the end, that was important to me and I think also for Vicky who sort of had the same journey as Jade. She really got out of this film feeling much stronger than she did before and she really has that message — she finally feels beautiful after a very, very long time of having these scars and being bullied in her life. She has this feeling now ‘yeah look at me, and if you don’t like it then look away… but I feel confident’. I did want to give that kind of energy to the film, and show Jade not as a victim. She doesn’t always

make the right decisions, but she tries and she goes into the world with humour.

Finally, what can we look forward to from you next? S. Polak: I’m not necessarily keen on making huge budget films or whatever, but I would like to make more films that touch people. I would love to do another film with Vicky. I would like to do a story more based upon her own life. She is talking to agents, as she would love to act more…but for all actors it’s a difficult life. I’m really happy that she has her job as a healthcare assistant. That’s something that gives her a stable life, and she can act on the side. Modern Films will release Dirty God in the UK on 7 June.

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Film

Vicky Knight stars in the film Dirty God, directed by Sacha Polak.

Issue 66  |  June 2019  |  89

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Columns



Set in amongst the steel and iron edifice of BPS22 in Charleroi, Sanam Khatibi presents De Ta Salive Qui Mord – an exhibition that is full of seduction, temptation and excess. Sanam Khatibi is quite rightly one of Belgium’s hottest painters, currently. Enchanted by their dreamy palette, with turquoise waters, verdant trees and hot terracotta earth, her paintings pull you in to a world where men and women appear to frolic happily in the buff. Look closer, however, and you begin to realise that Khatibi’s largeformat canvasses are not all they seem. Like Adam and Eve before them, those present in this apparent Garden of Eden are not having it all their own way. Women have their hair pulled, others are attacked by beasts, whilst animal carcasses lay strewn throughout

the land. Khatibi presents mankind in bestial form, where fear and desire merge and become confused. In this landscape, impulse reigns and power is warped. Alongside the paintings, Khatibi both collects and creates small pseudo-folk sculptures; vases, cups, fruits and animals. Again, whilst

Sanam Khatibi, Under the influence of poison, 2018

being familiar, these trinkets disturb rather than comfort, and are often surrounded by lurking ceramic snakes. The world that Khatibi creates in her installations effortlessly blends a myriad of questions together. She examines the male-female power system, the idea of the west versus the east, danger against desire and the animal against the human. Alarming and alluring in equal parts, it is an exhibition that should not be missed. De Ta Salive Qui Mord opens on 8 June and is on show until 1 September 2019 at BPS22, Charleroi. 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.



This double porter is liquid evidence that the craft beer movement is alive and thriving in the Netherlands. Kompaan’s Vrijbuiter is available from shops in 33 centilitre bottles and poured as one of the 20 draught beers at the brewery’s taproom in The Hague. The taproom was opened during 2015 in Saturnusstraat — next door to the brewery in Binckhorst district, close to the centre of the city — after crowdfunding raised 150,000 euros. Jasper and Jeroen Kompaan formed their company three years prior to that and Vrijbuiter was one of their earliest recipes. On 29 June, the premises will host the Kompaan Beer Fest, at which 12 breweries from the Netherlands and beyond will showcase their products to a backdrop of live music and food. The name of this brew translates to ‘freebooter’ and its colour is as black as the 90  |  Issue 66  |  June 2019

background colour of a skull and crossbones flag. Porter is a style of dark beer sometimes confused with stout, a slightly heavier style of beer. After falling from fashion during the last century, porter has seen a revival in recent years, thanks largely to craft brewers. Vrijbuiter foams up into a smooth beige head when poured, ideally into a gobletshaped glass. The aroma of this beer is a cross between roasted malt and fruitiness, with pleasant hints of figs and aniseed. The flavour of Vrijbuiter is dominated by liquorice with subtle hints of vanilla and chocolate. It has a smooth mouthfeel and leaves a sweetish finish. It pairs well with pulled pork, pit beans and slow-cooked brisket.

Brewer: Kompaan Bier Alcohol content: 7.1 per cent

Stuart Forster was named Journalist of the Year at the 2015, 2016 and 2019 Holland Press Awards. Five generations of his family have been actively involved in the brewing industry.

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.