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I S S U E 6 | J U N E 2014

MEET MILOW’S

DISCOVER BRUSSELS WITH JACQUES BREL

A C O U S T I C

PLUS: DESIGN, CULTURE AND TOURISM

U N I V E R S E

P ROMOTI NG B ELGI U M,

THE

MADE IN THE NETHERLANDS AND E X P LO R E T H E L U X E M B O U R G A R DE N N E S

NETHERLANDS

AND

LUXEMBOURG


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Discover Benelux | Contents

Contents JUNE 2014

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COVER FEATURE 6

to reach by train and the surrounding countryside has history worth visiting.

MILOW Perhaps best known for his distinctive cover of 50 cents’ Ayo Technology, there’s far more to Milow than meets the eye. In our exclusive interview, we’ve got his newest album, Belgian politics and American accents on the agenda.

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Island-hopping, sailing and surfing. The Dutch coastline stretches further than the eye can see and this summer is the perfect time to explore.

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The Luxembourg Ardennes One of Europe’s most stunning regions, the Luxembourg Ardennes are a veritable hotbed of culture, unspoilt natural beauty and cherished traditions. We take a closer look at the city of Wiltz, the Upper Sûre Natural Park and the traditional slate industry and other highlights. In this section we also find our Restaurant of the Month, Les Ecuries du Parc, serving traditional Luxembourg delicacies and our Attraction of the Month is the Festival de Wiltz, a festival set up over 60 years ago which never fails to attract the stars of jazz, classical and world music.

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The Province of Liège With Liège’s ultra-modern and super cool train station, we’d definitely recommend a visit to this Belgian province. Not far from Brussels, it’s easy

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14 -18: A Century has Passed

See & Do Here’s an assortment of excursion ideas to keep you entertained during June. History, urban planning, architecture or nature, it’s all here. Plus, as a special treat we’ve got the Balls & Glory summer meatball recipe for your eyes only.

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Attraction of the Month: Discover Brussels with Jacques Brel If Brussels is the city of Brel, what better place could there be to roam around with his voice in your ear? Run by his daughter, Éditions Jacques Brel have created a city-wide audio tour.

Restaurant of the Month: De Lindehof In Van Gogh’s village of Nuenen is one of Holland’s finest restaurants. Fusing high-class French cuisine with a touch of India and Suriname, diners can expect some extraordinary flavours and some true Surinamese hospitality.

With 2014 marking the centenary of the First World War, we sent Carole Edrich to the premiere of 14-18, the spectacular musical that is making waves across Belgium.

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Hotel of the Month: Pullman Eindhoven Cocagne Ensuring that each guests is treated to a ‘wow moment’ comes high on the list of priorities at this fantastic hotel in Holland’s own Silicon Valley. With its spa and multiple dining concepts, the Pullman is a great place to unwind and its business facilities leave little to be desired, making it ideal for both business and leisure travellers.

Made in the Netherlands

FEATURES

Made in Luxembourg The Grand Duchy comes up trumps once again with sustainable buildings, innovative solar energy initiatives and stylish hair salons.

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As strong advocates of Dutch design, we’ve hand-picked a selection of superb designers, each one top in their field. Whether they’re into diamonds, gemstones, loose leaf teas or watches, each one has that extra special Dutch touch.

SPECIAL THEMES 16

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The Dutch Coastline

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Business Alongside our regulars, we’ve delved into Wallonia and discovered that it’s a very attractive investment opportunity. To find out more turn to our business section where you’ll also find the comprehensive business calendar alongside our regulars.

PLUS 12 Desirable Designs from Benelux | 10 Fashion Picks 68 Luxessed | 64 Out & About | 68 States of Art 70 Shallow Man’s Guide | 70 In their words

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Discover Benelux | Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Discover Benelux

Cover Photo

Issue 6, June 2014

Brantley Gutierrez

Published May 2014

Advertising

ISSN 2054-7218

info@discoverbenelux.com

Published by

Sales & Key Account Managers

Scan Group

Mette Tonnesen Alice Tanghe

Design & Print Liquid Graphic Ltd. Executive Editor Thomas Winther Creative Director Mads E. Petersen Editor Emmie Collinge Contributors Jaime Schwartz Phil Gale Harun Osmanovic Anna Parkin

Corinne Camara Yasmina Haddadi Henk Gieskens Pooja Gurnani Publisher: Scan Group 15B Bell Yard Mews Bermondsey Street London SE1 3TY United Kingdom Phone +44 (0)870 933 0423 Fax +44 (0)870 933 0421 Email: info@discoverbenelux.com

After a rather disappointingly rainy season I’ve got all fingers crossed for a bit more sun this June. We’re bringing it to you this month in the form of Belgian singer Milow, a man whose voice will leave you weak at the knees. Yet there’s far more to him than just a pretty face. His emotions run deep as you’ll soon see once you read our exclusive interview with this summer’s top festival headliner as we chat politics, the American dream and accents. Speaking of accents, I’m encountering more and more varied accents on a daily basis and it’s certainly giving me new perspectives on the region. Loving the diversity, it makes me want to travel directly to the far-flung corners of Benelux. With summer fast approaching, I keep getting asked which festivals I’m going to but I’m afraid I’ll have to disappoint you as this year is going to be festival-free for this editor. However, I don’t know if it has escaped your notice but the Benelux countries are actually the preferred stomping ground of European festival goers, and nowhere more so than Belgium. With Tomorrowland, Rock Werchter and Pukkelpop, this little country encompasses pretty much every single genre and attracts thousands upon thousands of music lovers.

www.discoverbenelux.com

Martin Pilkington Milou van Roon Myriam Dijck Josiah Fisk Matt Antoniak Steve Flinders

On a slightly smaller scale you could turn to the Grand Duchy, whose festivals, despite their smaller size, offer just as much grandeur and spectacle if not more. Oh, and with their National Day on June 23, there could be little more reason for a detour. Meanwhile there’s the Holland Festival, which spans the whole of June and looks rather promising for some worthwhile entertainment.

Anouk Kalmes Simon Woolcot Hilaire Spreuwers Carole Edrich

As always, whatever you decide to do, it’ll be worth having a cheeky look at our Out & About section, as we try to pick up on events that might have slipped under your radar. Have a wonderful month,

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

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

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Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Milow’s Acoustic Universe

Milow’s acoustic universe Jonathan Vandenbroeck, better known as Milow, shot to international fame in 2008 on the back of his stripped-back, acoustic version of 50 Cents’Ayo Technology, but it’s his DIY approach and four successful studio albums which have earned him critical acclaim. As his latest album, Silver Linings, lines the shelves, he talks about Los Angeles, Belgian politics and his “acoustic universe.” TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: BRANTLEY GUTIERREZ

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Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Milow’s Acoustic Universe

“We’ve turned into a generation of control freaks,” explains the 32-year-old Milow, “a generation where we expect everything to go as planned: career, family, the whole shebang.” Was this the motivation behind his current single We Must Be Crazy, a post-modern tale dealing with our fixation on control and turning to technology when things don’t go our way? A keen observer of human interaction, Milow is fascinated by “how we respond when we’re faced with difficulties which we aren’t in control of.” When the on-screen couple’s newborn dies, they turn to technology, creating an ageless robot baby, and we see the couple and Milow aging 50 years whilst the baby remains young. According to the directors it is “a cinematic retro-futuristic spin on the classic Pinocchio story.” The salient video, directed by the acclaimed, young Belgian directing duo Norman Bates, has created a stir amongst Milow fans. “Lots of people are really affected by their first viewing of the video,” he muses, “it’s very odd that people get attached to the robot. Laura Verlinden [the young actress] acts so convincingly.” With music videos now themselves stand-alone pieces of art, Norman Bates explained to Discover Benelux that the concept was one that they were immediately convinced by after hearing the song. “The prosthetic face of Milow contains more than 10,000 pores, and they were made manually. It’s really a labour of love that went into this.”

Silver Linings The concept of ‘every cloud having a silver lining’ is one which takes centre place in his fourth studio album Silver Linings, “hence the name,” says Milow matter-of-factly. “It’s an expression we use every day, and the

aspects of hope get us through difficult situations.” It was hope that got the 32-year-old where he is today: “Pre-2007 I was a procrastinator, student, bartender. Fortunately it was at exactly the time I should have been getting a proper job that my video You Don’t Know broke through– it was either that or get a real job!” His first claim to fame came in 2004 in the final of Humo’s Rock Rally [a battle of the bands-type competition run by the Belgian magazine Humo], and he released his first album in 2006. After recording his own distinctive version of 50 cents’ Ayo Technology in 2008, he subsequently topped the charts in countless European countries. A heartbreaker, skilled wordweaver and all round good guy, Jonathan Vandenbroeck, aka Milow, is now on a hectic press trip around Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland before embarking on a string of headline festival dates across Europe this summer. After spending the last two years in Los Angeles where he was the underdog, Milow feels it prompted him to work harder than he had to. Leaving Belgium at the end of 2011, he admits that he wasn’t at his healthiest, but LA with its unbeatable mix of art, culture and the outdoors gave him a new lease of life. “There are a lot of people living there with unfulfilled career aspirations, but I wasn’t one of them. I already had an audience in Europe and this liberated me.” While in the US, Milow played countless live solo shows to intimate audiences. I wonder if he’s always sung in English and how he felt doing that in front of native speakers. “Growing up in Flanders meant that we watched a lot of subtitled TV and I was a big gamer,” he ad-

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Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Milow’s Acoustic Universe

mits with a chuckle. “I read so many English gaming magazines. I never considered singing in Flemish or French.” “99 per cent of Belgian artists don’t make it out of Belgium,” he explains. “Belgium is way too small for me.” His American twang is noticeable, after all, he spent his final year of high school in San Diego and always harboured dreams of returning. With no foreign accent to betray him, it occurs to me that Americans might not realise he’s from across the pond. “I never try to hide my roots,” he says fervently. “Belgium’s not a great brand I admit, but people are far more open these days to international musicians; it’s not all about American and British artists. Look at Stromae and Selah Sue. It is hard for us to get attention, but I never wanted to miss the chance to sing outside of Belgium. And the language? In America I noticed them hanging onto every word.” Growing up in Western Europe has shaped Milow’s world vision he reveals. “It’s certainly influenced the way I look at the world. Belgium’s known for its surrealist art – but this stretches to its political system as well.” With national and federal elections taking place on May 25, 2014, Milow has a concert in Greece the night before but will definitely be voting as it is mandatory for Belgian citizens. How does he perceive the current political climate in his home country? “The more I travel, the more I see that almost every country has a similar situation. I’ve always been concerned, but I’m a little more optimistic than I was a few years ago. It’s the reaction to a globalising world – people want to control their local issues, and populist parties know how to work this. Belgium has a very fragmented political system.” A graduate of political science, Milow’s cautious when it comes to Belgium’s language divide and the potential for cooperation. “I try not to waste time being frustrated, but I observe and I speak my mind.”

“Acoustic Universe” In Milow’s “acoustic universe”, he does things his own way, and with his strippedback rendition of Ayo Technology since having over 65 million views on Youtube,

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largely thanks to Kanye West’s praise – he published the video on his blog back in November 2008 and said of Milow: “I like the way he just took a popular song and just flipped it. It’s something I thought was a really great feature to put on my blog.” The Belgian’s interpretation quickly gained momentum, and boosted album sales. Often touted as one of Europe’s best DIY artists, I ask Milow to explain his musical progression “I’m not a traditional artist – I didn’t sign with a record label, which at first I wasn’t too happy with – but it has given me complete artistic control. I release everything on my own label, Homerun Records. I started out of necessity but now I’ve got distribution and licensing contracts in other countries, I’m still in control.”

Milow’s back-to-basics approach to his songs has endeared him to audiences across the globe, a passionate advocator of keeping it simple, he’s looking forward to playing with a live band again, which he hasn’t done since 2012. “There’s a whole different energy on stage, and now I’ve got a few albums in my pocket I’m excited to have a choice of songs.” With heartwarming honesty, Milow explains that the UK has always been just out of reach. Despite conquering the rest of Europe, and making music and videos since 2005, he says that he considers each and every release a potential first listen for anyone “I’m leaving a trail of crumbs behind me, always assuming that any song could be someone’s first encounter with me.”

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Discover Benelux | Design | Fashion Picks

J U N E

F A S H I O N

P I C K S :

A masterclass in chic Hark: summer in the Benelux draws near! Will the 21st of June bring us showers of sunlight or just plain old showers? One can never be sure. But one thing is for certain: we’ll all be spoilt for choice when it comes to beautiful local fashions

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BY IMMI ABRAHAM, FASHION GURU AND BLOGGER STYLE4GUYS.BLOGSPOT.CO.UK | PRESS PHOTOS

WOMEN 1: Peter Pilotto SS14 Photo: Yannis Vlamos for style.com A quarter of the fabulous design duo Peter Pilotto is Belgian*, i.e. we can rightfully claim this label as ours! It is fashion law. A Pilotto garment is never void of intricacy, and as straight-forward as this lovely minty get-up seems, it takes a closer gander to see the beautiful embroidery and genius draping (I bet the Belgian quarter did that).

2: Ek Thongprasert necklace (€934) Photo: Net-à-Porter It’s not hard to spot an original Ek Thongprasert piece. Marrying the unlikely combination of silicone and cubic zirconia, this Belgian-based creator has his feet firmly planted in the new era of jewellery design. Everyone will be ogling your chest if you’re out in a Thongprasert necklace, but for all the right reasons.

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3: Essentiel Antwerp top

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(€185) Photo: Essentiel

5: Zoe Karssen top

Starting to sense a recurrent theme here, this Essentiel Antwerp top is also minty fresh! The costume jewellery print is good fun and the slight peplum ruching will have babies clawing at you with glee.

(€130) Photo: Net-à-Porter

4: Theyskens’ Theory shorts (€235) Photo: Net-à-Porter

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Oh look, more mint! Thank you, Olivier Theyskens. Silk crepe shorts with chiffon piping may not be overly practical, but look how lovely everything swishes when you walk around. The emphasis being on the ‘walking around’ part, you can’t sit down in crepe. It’ll crease and you’ll look insane!

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Not joining in the minty merriment is this piece by Amsterdam-based label Zoe Karssen. There’s no better way to make your disgruntlement about the “season of sun ‘n’ fun” known than to show up in a jet black sweatshirt with the word ‘Grinch’ in giant sapphire sequin letters. The scalloped collar is detachable, for extra severity. If you love winter and you know it, clap your hands!

6: G-Star Sunglasses (See in-store for prices) Since launching the G-Star Eyewear collection at New York Fashion Week in 2013, the Dutch brand have got their sights set on gracing our faces with super cool frames. Not content just making sure our legs look good in denim, their collection have styles to suit any face. Amsterdam's Occhiali is your best bet to find the coolest frame in the capital.

*Peter Pilotto consists of talented designers Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos. De Vos is half-Belgian, half-Peruvian and Pilotto is half-Austrian, half-Italian.


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Discover Benelux | Design | Fashion Picks

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3 3: Bernhard Willhelm top (€392) Photo: Farfetch When you say: “Rowan berry, caterpillar and sparrow embroideries”, I screech: “Where do I sign up?” A good botanical-themed needlepoint is never wasted on the likes of me, and this Bernhard Willhelm top delivers.

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4: Raf Simons top

MEN 1: Walter Van Beirendonck SS14 Photo: Filippo Fior for style.com If there’s one show no one wants to miss at fashion week, it’s Walter’s. Geometric shapes run rampant over this suit in the creamiest tinges of yellow, pink and beige. You’ll be the talk of the boardwalk as you stroll by in this.

2: ETQ Amsterdam sneakers (€260) Photo: ETQ These grey nubuck leather high-tops by Amsterdam label ETQ are the ideal off-duty kicks. A cheeky bit of croc leather adorns the heel, injecting a subtle dose of Riviera on your stroll across De Dam*.

(€290) Photo: LN-CC It’s nigh on impossible not to feature Raf Simons every month, there just aren’t many menswear designers who can hold a candle to what he does. This light wool jacquard knit is your favourite summer staple, you just don’t know it yet!

5: Maison Martin Margiela jumper (€690) Photo: Mr Porter Don’t say: “Bloody hell, Helen, you spilt red wine on my greenish yellow jumper by that one fellow!” Scold Helen for messing up your “chartreuse Italian lightweight cashmere Margiela knit”. It adds more gravitas to the situation, doesn’t it?

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*De Dam is a square in the historical heart of Amsterdam. It’s also the site of the Royal Palace, isn’t that nice?

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Discover Benelux | Design | Desirable Designs

Desirable Designs from Benelux It’s the breezy early days of summer and we’re more than ready for some alfresco living. With these envy-inducing Benelux designs, you’ll be set for the season.

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BY EMMIE COLLINGE | PRESS PHOTOS

1: Cheese Board Puzzle Nothing beats a picnic in the sunshine and what picnic would be complete without a round of cheese? Royal VKB’s fun approach to the traditional cheese board caught our eye this month as it not only looks great but it also gives us the excuse to have all sorts of cheese at every opportunity. (€19.95)

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www.royalvkb.com

2 2: Classic AMLETERO notebook We can see ourselves sitting on our balcony scribbling away in these charming notebooks by the Hasselt-based designers Amletero. Dedicated to paper products and honest production, these notebooks stem from a genuine love for the written word. Special binding means pages can be removed, rearranged and replaced. (From €9) www.amletero.be

3: Cubrick afro outdoor collection

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Your time is precious so enjoy it with the Cubrick afro outdoor collection from bastalpe®, made from aluminium and afrormosia wood. Born in Belgium in

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1966, designer Sebastian Talpe has been creating striking furniture since 2007, and we’ve certainly been won over by the timeless aesthetics of this outdoor furniture set. (Price on request) www.bastalpe.be

4: BBQ by Dille & Kamille With temperatures set to soar this summer, it is well worth getting your hands on this small but perfectly proportioned barbeque. Try marinating your meat before grilling to enhance the flavours. We’re all about barbequed chicken with a Lebanese-style salad. (€25)

5: Original storm umbrella by senz° With April showers showing no sign of abating, we've become completely reliant on our asymmetrical senz˚ umbrella. Not only can it handle the wind like nothing else, but it acts as a conversation starter too. Available in a range of colours. (€49.95) www.senzumbrellas.com

6: Lemonade Tap by HEMA No one wants the kids to scream that there’s another fly in their drink so think about one of these handy juice dispensers from the they’ve-got-it-all-and-more Dutch retailer HEMA. Not only is it a pretty addition to any picnic, it’s also only four euros.(€4)

www.dille-kamille.com

www.hema.nl

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Discover Benelux | Design | Be-Designer

The Tolenaere project. Clean Lines of a Fostier space. Photo: Coralie de Nobrega Dos Santos

Beautiful by Design TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTOS: GILLES FOSTIER / CORALIE DE NOBREGA DOS SANTOS

Since launching his architecture company in Brussels in 2006, Gilles Fostier has been a leading figure in Belgian interior design, with his work featured on RTL and in Elle Decoration and DecoImmo among others. Though there are recognisable Fostier design-cues in his work, each commission is carried out to make the best of the structure and the best for the clients, which involves regular discussions over a project’s life: “Three areas overlap here: the needs and personalities of those who will live in a space; the potential and character of that space; and the creative (and practical) skills of the interior architect. Everyone wants their space to be artistically beautiful, but it has to be functional and comfortable at the same time,” he says. What are his design-cues? Clever use of natural light is certainly one, whether that’s a light-well in an old building transforming a gloomy area into the focus of family life, or the skylight at the rear of what’s now a

stunning Brussels duplex bringing illumination to both floors via a narrow mirrored void. Another is not to disregard the past, even in the most contemporary clean-lined design: “We used industrial door-furniture in that duplex as a gesture to the building’s previous manufacturing life. Good interior architecture is about 4D space not 3D.” There’s an environmental aspect to that philosophy as well, doubly relevant during the recession: “People want to conserve things for laudable ecological reasons, and there’s been an understandable reluctance to go for ephemeral fashion statements in interior design, knowing the economic implications – long-term quality is far more attractive.”

The same mind-set informs his furniture design, pieces made from durable materials and by regional craftsmen to reduce any impact on climate change. Soul is something Fostier looks to build into his interiors, something that chimes well with that 4D thinking: “It can challenge the designer, but why shouldn’t say an 18th century or a 1920’s chair be illuminated by a contemporary lamp? At one level this effectively transforms furniture into functional works of art.” That superb duplex shows the same result can be effected on entire spaces. www.be-designer.eu www.my-designer.be

The ceiling in the Brussels duplex before and after the refurbishment. Photos: Gilles Fostier

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Discover Benelux | Culture Feature | 14-18

A century has passed We’re in the enormous Nekkerhal in Mechelen, near Antwerp. Soldiers come at us from the depths of the mists (with a stage as big as two football pitches this is an experience that needs to be seen to be believed). Enduring an unearthly cacophony of explosions, this is a staged battle akin to being on a film set, somewhere on the scale of the Lord of the Rings. 14-18 is a huge majestic and inspirational musical that, like the war it represents, wrings every emotion. The word‘spectacular’doesn’t begin to do it justice. TEXT & PHOTOS: CAROLE EDRICH

Music and song, words and lyrics, the tale woven causes the hairs on the back of your neck to raise. You acknowledge the beauty of the set at the same time as you wonder anew at the atrocity of war, marvel at the imagination of those who created it and wish, really wish, that this fiction was not based on fact. The musical features four best friends who are mobilised on 28th July 1914 as the Great War breaks out. Thoughtful Jan, his younger brother Kamiel, his best friend Fons and headstrong Albert, like the rest of

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the population, are convinced that the hostilities will be short-lived, and the musical accompanies their experience as the war drags on and they discover that this is a war far more brutal than they could possibly have imagined. Jan yearns to see his son and his wife Anna, Kamiel is terrified of any form of violence and Fons shows a softer side when he falls for a pretty nurse called Celine. What follows, a heroic battle for survival, is tackled by the friends with humour, hope and unconditional friendship, and their experiences become a story-inminiature of the Great War as a whole.

There are 115 performers in all (three groups of 15 children spell each other in and out), eleven wifi-operated laser-driven platforms, 1,225 lamps, 3 km of bridges from which the lights and effects are ranged and 350 specially made and historically accurate costumes. It took three years to convert the spacious Nekkerhal, which, originally made for fairs and huge markets, is about the size of London’s ExCeL. 1,500 sqm of seating propels the audience into and out of the action, providing a monumentally immersive experience as you find yourself moving in towards the


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Discover Benelux | Culture Feature | 14-18

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Danny Whitehead who plays Fons, Kayleigh McKnight who plays Anna and Tijl Dauwe, Assistant Director and Company Manager.

action or away from the well simulated war. The performance is choreographed in such a way that the 115 performers sometimes seem far more. I met actors Danny Whitehead and Kayleigh McKnight, together with Company Manager Tijl Dauwe for a snack on the day they were to see the Flemish production for the very first time. After the success of the Flemish language version, it was only a matter of time before the English version, catering to international guests, would be staged. With anticipation rife, it seemed that the immensity of the venue played a part in inspiring them. Gesturing around to indicate this vastness, Kayleigh, who plays Anna in the musical told me: “We have been rehearsing for a while but not here. They told me it was a ‘spectacular’ but I had no idea it would be like this.” Danny added: “There are thirty of us [English language actors] in town rehearsing. It’s a big cast, with a hundred

people on stage and forty-five kids in three groups of fifteen. Just with those numbers you know it’s going to be big, but even trying to grasp that fully is difficult before you come here.” Tijl explains their choice of using English actors: “We wanted to get good people here for the English because there is nothing worse than hearing your own language with a different accent or intonations you wouldn’t use. It’s important

to get it right. For us [Studio 100] we have to pass on knowledge of the Great War. In Belgium it is the forgotten war, when we talk

of wars we think of World War II because we have grandparents who lived then. But it is important that our children understand. Hence the ethos of Studio 100; truth, family values and integrity are part of the production and what we want to convey.” Writing things like this is tricky. Too many superlatives can turn people off. When the superlatives are also clichés, it could also sound corny, but I have to say this production really did blow me away. It’s huge, heart-warming, inspiring and very sad. Trying to describe the ‘silent night’ scene (which I won’t tell you to avoid any spoilers), leaves me in tears and I would never turn down a second opportunity to see 14-18 again. Don’t let the superlatives turn you away, clichés are clichés because sometimes they’re true. Go and see it for yourself. ABOVE MIDDLE: The Silent Night scene; all nations join to celebrate Christmas.

14-18 is a multilingual production aimed at an international audience. It was launched in Flemish Dutch and while it isn’t strictly necessary to understand the words, the English language version does start on 22 May 2014. For visitors who choose to stay in Mechelen, there’s excellent local white beer to be tasted on a brewery tour and a visit to the local war museum comes highly recommended. 14-18 is a collaboration between Belgium’s Studio100, director and Olivier Award nominee Frank Van Laecke, script writer and Flemish Musical Award winner Allard Blom. Music is played by the Royal Flemish Philharmonic Orchestra. English actors are Seffan Harri as Jan, Kayleigh McKnight as Anna, Jonathan Broderick as Kamiel, Danny Whitehead as Fons, Andrew Ryan as Dedecker and Sarah Dungworth as Celine.

Panic as the bombs drop.

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SPECIAL

THEME

The Luxembourg Ardennes... Naturally yours!

Endless forests, green valleys, charming villages and majestic castles… what sounds like the setting for a fairy tale is actually the description of the Luxembourg Ardennes, the rural northern part of the Grand Duchy. While you are unlikely to encounter dwarves, trolls or giants, magic and enchantment are guaranteed. TEXT: ORT ARDENNES LUXEMBOURGEOISES | MAIN PHOTO: ALSAL PHOTOGRAPHY

The main asset of the Luxembourg Ardennes is without a doubt its untamed nature. In order to protect the natural treasures of the region and to ensure sustainable development, two Nature Parks have been created: the Nature Park of the Upper Sûre and the Nature Park Our.

the Middle Ages. There is also plenty to discover in Diekirch; take a stroll through the old quarter, wander along the Sûre promenade, relax on one of the sunny terraces or choose between a large range of museums. The charming towns of Wiltz, Esch-sur-Sûre and Ettelbruck are also always worth a visit.

Of course, the natural assets are not the only attraction of the Luxembourg Ardennes, its cultural life is also remarkable. With a rich and eclectic cultural programme, fortresses from the Middle Ages and museums of all kinds, art and history lovers will not be disappointed. A must-see is the famous exhibition “Family of Man” which was recorded in the UNESCO Memory of the World programme and which is located in the immaculately restored Castle of Clervaux. You can also travel back in time by visiting Vianden; the narrow streets, ramparts with watchtowers and the impressive castle will send you right back to

A perfect way to explore the region is to embark on one of the many hiking or cycling routes. Hiking enthusiasts can choose between cross-border, national, local and thematic trails. Exceptional hiking experiences await you on the high quality trails

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Escapardenne and in the Naturwanderpark Delux. The green north of Luxembourg also offers an extensive network of cycle paths. In addition to the quiet country streets, numerous signposted cycle paths and mountain bike trails invite you to discover the region on two wheels. Whether you opt for a walk through the forests, a bike trip, a family excursion or a tour of the region’s magnificent castles, the Luxembourg Ardennes will enchant you. www.ardennes-lux.lu

Left: The Castle of Clervaux. Middle: Diekirch (Photo: Caroline Graas). Right: Mountain Biking (Photo: Erik Boschman)


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TOP LEFT: The annual Geenzefest takes place on the Monday of Pentecost (Photo:Syndicat d’Initiative de Wiltz). BELOW: Festival de Wiltz attracts thousands of visitors each year (Photo: Jos Scheer). ABOVE RIGHT: Château de Wiltz.

WI LTZ

CI TY:

The capital of the Luxembourg Ardennes TEXT: PHIL GALE | MAIN PHOTO: HERVÉ MONTAIGU

Tucked away in the north-western corner of Luxembourg is Wiltz, the capital of the Luxembourg Ardennes and a must-see location for anyone wanting to experience the rich nature of this area. Starting with the most dominating feature in Wiltz, its Chateau, situated in the high town; this historic building will see you soon immersed in the rich culture of this area. Finished in 1727, it was the ancestral home of the Count of Wiltz. Today it is home to the Brussels Business Institute, Tourist Information and the location of many of Wiltz’s festivals. Built in the traditional style of the region, it is the perfect opening for any visit to Wiltz. From its Jardin de Wiltz, a local park designed and maintained by local artists and people with disabilities, through to its surrounding area, Wiltz has plenty of green

spaces to please all. One of Wiltz’s key attractions is its network of walking and cycling routes. Many make the journey to Wiltz for this reason, making it a firm favourite with the Scouting movement. Wiltz has places to stay for all budgets and to fuel your adventures the city also boasts a range of restaurants to suit every palette, from local gastronomy, made with regionally sourced produce, to international cuisine, all washed down with some of the locally brewed beer. For those who love beer there is a museum on this historic drink at the Chateau and a visit comes highly recommend. Throughout the summer many festivals and performances are held in this beautiful city. Of note is the Geenzefest taking place on the Monday of Pentecost, where the whole of Wiltz turns out in celebration of its history. From June to August the Chateau

is home to the Festival of Wiltz. A large tent is erected for outdoor theatre and musical performances, which will enrich any visit to this cultural city. Another stand-out event is the ‘Nuit des Lampions’, taking place on 20th September, as over 10,000 people come to enjoy an enchanted evening of music and performances all under flaming torchlight, where Wiltz is transformed in a fantasy world full of magical moments, something not to be missed. Wiltz, small, relaxing and surrounded by rich nature, really does live up to its role as the capital of the Luxembourg Ardennes. Thanks to its rich offerings of history, nature, fine dining and culture, the 55km journey from Luxembourg’s capital is certainly worth it. www.wiltz.lu

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Highlights from this summer, from left to right: The ballet Don Quixote and American folk opera Porgy and Bess

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

Stars under the stars TEXT: ANNA PARKIN | PRESS PHOTOS

For more than sixty years superstars of jazz, classical and world music have been flocking to the small town of Wiltz in Northern Luxembourg for its annual outdoor performing arts festival, housed in the grounds of a stunning 16th century chateau.

Kinnen, who first came to work at the festival in the 1970s, has now been its director for 22 years, curating an eclectic mix of first-class artists year after year. Recent highlights that spring to mind include the German violin supremo David Garrett and Canadian jazz pianist and singer Diana Krall.

What better setting than the steps of Wiltz Castle for a festival which cites the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Queen of Jazz, in its back catalogue of performers. The initiative of a handful of locals back in 1953, Festival de Wiltz has established itself as an unmissable event in the Luxembourgeois musical calendar.

“This year I’m most excited about a production of the American folk opera Porgy and Bess,” smiles Kinnen, talking through the programme for the 62nd Festival de Wiltz.

“We’ve welcomed a huge list of stars over the years, where do I begin?” laughs festival director Roland Kinnen. “We’ve had many of the biggest names in jazz. As well as Fitzgerald, the legendary Duke Ellington stands out as a highpoint.”

Running from 27th June to 27th July 2014, this summer’s bill ranges from ballet - Swan Lake and Don Quixote – to Cuban musical spectacular Pasion de Buena Vista. There’ll be performances from German jazz artist Roger Cicero and the Glenn Ambassadors Big Band, a tribute to American big band musician Glenn Miller. Dancing queens will be glad to know there’s even an ABBA tribute group.

Festival de Wiltz is also an opportunity for music lovers to discover new regional talent, with groups from the area taking to the stage to support international acts. This year, young Luxembourgeois jazz group The Marly Marques Quintet will be preceding French-American songstress Cécile McLorin Salvant’s show. Kinnen cites both as ones to watch. In addition to the wide range of music on offer, Kinnen believes a large part of the festival’s success is its unique outdoor amphitheatre. There’s even a movable roof, just in case bad weather strikes. “Our acoustics are excellent,” he beams. “And the castle as a backdrop is just extraordinary.” www.festivalwiltz.lu

From left to right: German jazz artist Roger Cicero, The Swan Lake ballet and the Cuban musical spectacular Pasion de Buena Vista.

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Festival de Wiltz PROGRAMME 2014

27/06 SWAN LAKE *

12/07 THE 10 SOPRANOS

28/06 DON QUIXOTE * * Moscow City Ballet

18/07 PASIÓN DE BUENA VISTA Legends of Cuban Music

04/07 TOSCA ** 05/07 LA TRAVIATA ** 06/07 THE MAGIC OF THE OPERETTA ** ** Opera of Lviv (Ukraine) 09/07 JAZZ PRESTIGE with THE CÉCILE McLORIN SALVANT QUARTET Opening act: The Marly Marques Quintet 11/07 THE GLENN AMBASSADORS BIG BAND Tribute to Glenn Miller

19,20/07 ABBA «THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC» 21/07 FRENCH THEATRE «Les Belles-Sœurs» by Eric Assous 24,25,26/07 PORGY AND BESS Opera by George Gershwin New York Harlem Theatre 27/07 The Festival of Wiltz in cooperation with Stagedoor & Friends of Entertainment present ROGER CICERO & BIG BAND


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National Museum of Military History in Diekirch is considered one of Europe’s top Second World War museums.

A life-size warning to avoid history repeating itself TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: MNHM DIEKIRCH

“Oral accounts bring history to life,” explains Roland Gaul from Diekirch’s National Museum of Military History. “There are numerous parallels from veterans’ accounts: fear, hunger, cold, exhaustion, comradeship and more. Those are human feelings, regardless of nationality, regardless of rank.” At the height of winter 1944/1945, the Luxembourg Ardennes were the stage for one of the Second World War’s bloodiest battles. The mountainous region endured a 41day offensive as the Germans made a lastditch attempt to push back the allied forces. Accompanying the vivid photographs, audio recordings and life-size dioramas is a collection of over 30,000 genuine artefacts. Gaul, an avid historian who grew up in the aftermath of World War II, explains that the museum was created out of a desire to represent the war in a balanced manner. Ever fascinated by local history, his childhood in Diekirch was spent collecting discarded mil-

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itary relics. Years later, a number of local private collectors, himself included, banded together to combine their collection of possessions with stories from American and German veterans.

and cemeteries. For Gaul, the story of young Luxembourgers who fought in allied ranks is a remarkable one, with the most famous Luxembourg-born allied soldier being the then Crown Prince Jean, the future Grand-Duke of Luxembourg who fought as a First Lt. in the Irish Guards.

The spacious museum in Diekirch is now considered one of Europe’s top Second World War museums. Approaching one of the worst events in world history is no easy task, but the museum’s use of life-size dioramas has been very well received. The 12 “recreations of moments frozen in time” are based on frontline footage and oral testimonies, and as Gaul explains, visitors can really envisage themselves in the situation.

“Every veteran, from whichever side, has conveyed their story and concluded that war is tragic and that nothing good comes out of it and that we must all stand together to avoid history repeating itself,” concludes Gaul.

With guided tours, workshops and “living history” programmes for groups, the museum is much more than just staid exhibition cases. The museum also explores the history of Luxembourg’s own military forces since their creation in 1945 as well as organising visits to battlefields, memorials

Special packages with more in-depth visits in the Ardennes can be organised for tour groups. The museum cooperates with Time Travel Company for tours in the Belgian- and Luxembourg Ardennes. www.timetravelcompany.com

www.mnhm.lu


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

A taste of tradition TEXT: ANNA PARKIN | PHOTOS: LES ECURIES DU PARC

good piece of meat, for example,” he says. “There’s something for everyone.”

Housed in an attractive former stable, with views overlooking Clervaux Castle, Les Ecuries du Parc’s idyllic setting is just right for sampling the best of Luxembourg’s hearty and traditional cuisine.

Children will enjoy a trip to the nearby public play area, while parents can take in stunning views over the 12th century Clervaux Castle from the peaceful and florid outdoor terrace. Come winter, the cosy interior with its two open fireplaces is equally inviting.

Seasonal, regional dishes are what Les Ecuries du Parc does best. At the helm of this charming restaurant in the northern town of Clervaux for more than 17 years is owner Marc Arend, a strong believer in the importance of supporting local producers. “We prefer to use regional produce, ham and cheese from the area, local beef… It’s best if you eat seasonally. At the moment I’m really into asparagus, in autumn it’ll be game,” he explains.

a vol-au-vent). Children and fussy eaters may prefer the extensive pizza menu – also available for takeaways. Meanwhile, guests with a sweet tooth will be impressed by the dessert menu, with various homemade sorbets and ice creams.

Hearty dishes on offer here include horse steak with Provencal sauce, veal kidneys in Whisky, Ardennes ham served with fries and salad, and La Bouchée à la Reine Maison (a Luxembourgeois speciality similar to

Arend attributes his restaurant’s success with the wide choice of dishes on offer. “Families love it here because there are so many options on our menu. The kids can enjoy a pizza and their parents can have a

Keen to promote traditional Luxembourgeois cooking, a six-course ‘Letzebuerger’ tasting menu is available on demand at the restaurant. Highlights include grandmother’s soup, local beef with horseradish, and homemade ice cream made with fruit from the garden. Arend is proud of his country’s cuisine, explaining it’s a passion for good food which accounts for his restaurant’s longevity. “We love what we do and always have. It’s why we’re a success!” he smiles. www.staell.lu

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Rolling back the years With a goal to ensure Luxembourg’s bond with the slate industry is never forgotten, Musée de l’Ardoise can be found on a former industrial site in the village of Haut-Martelange. Through guided tours, workshops, and even art exhibitions, visitors are transported back to the site’s slate extracting heyday. TEXT: ANNA PARKIN | PHOTOS: © MUSÉE DE L'ARDOISE

More than just a museum, Musée de l’Ardoise has managed to preserve an entire way of life associated with the slate industry in Luxembourg. Covering an area of eight hectares, visitors can explore the expansive workshops – including splitting, dressing and sawing sheds, the forge and carpenter's shop, the administration building, the miners’ houses and an underground mine – all allowing for a complete insight into the daily lives of the quarrymen in bygone days.

Step back in time For Doris Thilmany, who started out as a volunteer at the museum twenty years ago, the site itself is worth a visit alone. “Our site truly is exceptional. In a relatively small

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space, you’ll find all the elements that were essential for the industry in around 1900,” she explains. “It’s like an entire village has been preserved together with the industry that has created it and re-shaped the valley with huge slate waste screes. It's unique.”

Northern soul Luxembourg’s slate industry began to decline in the 1950s, but it was in the late 1980s when it truly came to an end, with factors such as high extraction costs and a decrease in raw material – as well as the development of synthetic products for roofing – contributing to its demise. There were, of course, social changes too, with the work force being cheaper in countries such as Portugal and Spain.

“Slate was the real industry of the north. It’s fundamental to safeguard our heritage,” adds Thilmany. “Here, you can discover the soul of our region, of the Ardennes.” “Everything here including the architecture of the workers’ houses and the owner’s residence is so symbolic of an entire industry and its people. There’s so much character. All the workshops truly reflect the atmosphere. Still today, you can imagine the workers in days gone by,” she says.

Digging deep Visitors can partake in guided tours to discover the art of slate extraction and processing, with the chance to take a trip on the industrial train, roam around the


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grounds and visit an underground 19th century mine. If you’re planning the latter, remember to wear suitable attire.

Trade up The museum has been conceived as a very animated and interactive visit. There are workshops and classes on offer, where visitors can learn how to cut slate themselves, for example. “The aim is to make the museum as alive as possible,” explains Thilmany. “You might want to take a shower afterwards, but it’s worth it!” she smiles. It’s this modern approach which makes Thilmany ideal for the role she was given four years ago – attracting young people to the museum, mainly via its various educational programmes. “We’ve always kept young people in mind. By attracting them we keep the spirit of the museum alive,” she enthuses. As well as attracting tourists, Thilmany explains the importance of welcoming local youngsters. “When it comes to children and teenagers who live locally, many of their parents or grandparents would have worked here, so they can identify with the place,” she explains.

Stepping stones And for the younger generation, wherever they come from, the museum sends out an important message about the value of labour, and taking pride in one’s work. “Our museum highlights the worth of a proper industry, the process of making things well. These days, we need to show children that things can be made by hand,” she insists.

Musée de l’Ardoise has managed to preserve an entire way of life associated with the slate industry in Luxembourg

May and promote her exhibition, Magrey was invited to work in front of visitors using stone from the village. “We wanted it to be more than just an exhibition; you can also see her working live, which is wonderful!” beams Thilmany.

An up-to-date guide to the museum’s cultural agenda and workshops can be found via its website, and there’s plenty more in the pipeline for the rest of the year. “It’s organising events like this which make our slate museum so alive!” enthuses Thilmany. www.ardoise.lu

Slate of the art Musée de l’Ardoise is also open to cultural events, with initiatives such as the ‘Creative Tourism’, events which combine a trip around the museum and down into the mines with creative workshops afterwards. It’s also known for hosting theatre, jazz and blues concerts and art exhibitions. Recently, the museum approached Elsa Magrey, a young French artist who loves working with stone, inviting her to showcase her slate sculptures on site. To celebrate the annual Journée de l’Ardoise in

ABOVE LEFT: Learn how to cut slate yourself in the museum’s workshops and events. RIGHT: Take a trip on the industrial train, roam around the grounds and visit an underground 19th century mine.

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EDEN – European Destinations of Excellence initiative TEXT: EDEN | PHOTOS: ONT

The European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) is a European Commission initiative which promotes sustainable tourism destination models, enhances the visibility of emerging and lesser known tourist destinations in Europe, creates awareness of Europe's tourism diversity and quality and thereby helps decongesting over-crowded destinations, combating seasonality and rebalancing the tourist flows towards the non-traditional destinations. The initiative is based on annual national competitions which result in the selection of a tourist “destination of excellence” for each participating country. The recipients of the award are emerging, little known European destinations.

A total of 119 destinations from 26 participating countries have been awarded the EDEN prize since 2007, under different annual themes chosen by the Commission together with the relevant national tourism authorities. To date, the themes have focused on rural tourism (2007), local intangible heritage (2008), protected areas (2009), aquatic tourism (2010), tourism and regeneration of physical sites (2011) and accessible tourism (2013). In 2015 EDEN will focus on “Tourism and local gastronomy”.

More information on the EDEN initiative and the awarded destinations may be found at: ec.europa.eu/eden

EDEN is also a platform for sharing good practices across Europe and promoting networking between EDEN destinations. All awarded destinations as well as run-

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Upper Sûre Lake, Schengen Castle and the dance procession at Echternach.

ners-up together form the ''EDEN Network'' which is the biggest and unique network in a field of sustainable tourism worldwide (to date more than 200 destinations take part in the Network). Moreover, in 2012 the majority of the EDEN Network members established an international non-profit organisation, the EDEN Network Association (AISBL).

ECHTERNACH (LUXEMBOURG) – 2008 winner

COMMUNE OF SCHENGEN (LUXEMBOURG) – 2009 winner

THE NATURE PARK OF THE UPPER SÛRE (LUXEMBOURG) – 2010 winner

Echternach’s vibrant dance procession has taken place for over 500 years and is reason enough to pay this Luxembourgian city a visit. Echternach also offers unique themed walks through a scenic mountainous landscape. www.echternach-tourist.lu

With its name craved into the EU history, Commune of Schengen is also known for its natural environment and exquisite wineries. The ‘White Road’ tour runs through gorgeous lands dotted by numerous wineries, so wine-tasting is a must when visiting this region. www.schengen-tourist.lu

Upper Sûre Lake is the largest area of water in Luxembourg and a great spot to try your hand at various water sports. The surrounding rivers are popular with canoeists and there are several cycle routes, suitable for all abilities in the area. www.naturpark-sure.lu

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Relax, have fun and learn simultaneously

Photo: Pierre Haas

TEXT: HARUN OSMANOVIC | PRESS PHOTOS

Tourism, culture, environmental protection, sustainable economic and social development; these are the missions of the Nature Park of Upper Sûre. As a recipient of the Eden award, the park’s objective is to combine the useful and the pleasant.

on the lake. During the two-hour tour you will learn masses of information: from the fauna and flora of the region, the history of the lake from its conception until today, and its status as Luxembourg's largest drinking water reservoir.

For the useful, as Christine Lutgen, the director of the park, explains: “The lake was created in the late 50s to help Luxembourg become independent both energetically and for water. Today we provide close to 80% of Luxembourgish households with drinking water.”

The natural park of the Upper Sûre also offers visitors great opportunities for hiking. Whether you arrive by bike, rent one in a town nearby or just take a walk, the park's mobile application gives you tips and routes around the city Esch-sur-Sûre... but make sure you pay attention or else you will fail the quiz at the end!

For pleasure, everyone will find this in abundance. The park organises a twohour guided nature tour on a solar boat, the only motor-driven leisure boat allowed

You can also pay a visit to the cloth factory in Esch-sur-Sûre. Its building now hosts the office of the Nature Park, but you can still observe the wool-processing machines at

Everyone deserves to enjoy the journey. Our two Superferries sail by day or overnight from Harwich to the Hook of Holland - the most direct route to Holland by ferry from the south of England. Enjoy superb onboard facilities including two stylish restaurants and bars, a blockbuster cinema, !"!#$%!& ()*&!$+( ,-.$)& -)/ %!# 0#&+ , -&& Stena Plus lounge.

work during a guided tour. So whether it’s beaches, sailing, diving, fishing, or horse riding, there’s more than enough to occupy the whole family. www.naturpark-sure.lu

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TOP LEFT: The modern, geometric Cube 521. BOTTOM LEFT: Tigran at Cube 521 on 17.5.2015 (Photo: VahanStepanyan). MIDDLE: Andrej Hermlin and his Swing Dance Orchestra at Cube 521 on 4.1.2015 (Photo: swingdanceorchestra). RIGHT: Dan Tepfer at Cube 521 on 25.10.2014 (Photo:Vincent Soyez).

521 ways to love art TEXT: HARUN OSMANOVIC | PHOTOS: SERGE LUTGEN

Somewhere in the Ardennes, between heaven and earth, there lies a cultural haven, a nest, 521 metres above the sea level... welcome to Cube 521! The modern, geometric building in the Ösling, the northernmost part of Luxembourg, not far from the borders of Germany and Belgium, is perfectly integrated into the natural beauty that surrounds it. The lightness of the architectural masterpiece echoes with the celestial aspirations of the scenery and perfectly fulfils the mission it was given: to become an anchor for the arts and culture of the whole region. Cube 521 has its origin in De klenge Maarnicher festival. After 20 years of hosting the festival in local churches, the region decided to create a space at the crossroad of three countries, a place of convergence to promote artistic excellence.

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In the last seven years, Cube 521, under the direction of Odile Simon, has hosted classical music and jazz concerts, theatre plays by some of the best troupes in Europe, dance shows and exhibitions. But the Cube is much more than that. Cube Jeune, for instance, promotes art and culture amongst the young. Dedicated events are frequently organised and gather hordes of teenagers who will become the art lovers of tomorrow. Cube sur roues – understand ‘Cube on wheels’ – is the branch that takes events to people who cannot come to the venue. Fi-

nally, with a large performance hall, two smaller rooms, a sound, lighting and video system, Cube 521 is the ideal location for holding company events and trade shows with a professional and modern feel. Easily accessible as it is just an hour away from Luxembourg City, Cube 521 will host some of the best events in the region during the second half of 2014. In particular, you will have the opportunity to listen to the Chamber Orchestra of Luxembourg for a musical trip to South America, laugh along with Dimitri Clown for the children and the kid in you, and enjoy a musical adaptation of the film noir Sunset Boulevard. At Christmastime, it’ll be a delight to listen to Vienna's Boy Choir. If you needed a reason to enjoy some art, squarely, the Cube has one - and five hundred twenty more! www.cube521.lu


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LEFT: The Family of Man exhibition © CNA, Romain Girtgen. RIGHT: Cité de l’image: The ‘Middle Class Utopia’ installation by Klaus Pichler ©CDI2014.

The castle and the camera TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PRESS PHOTOS

Housing Edward Steichen’s legendary Family of Man photography exhibition in Clervaux Castle is perhaps pointedly ironic. The Luxembourg-born photographic pioneer saw restoration still in progress when he returned to his native land from America in 1966 to approve the site that had been devastated by fierce fighting during The Battle of the Bulge. “Steichen’s humanist collection of powerful photographic images communicates an enduring message of peace and brotherhood,” says Curator Anke Reitz: “In the post-war period of the Cold War that message was vital.” The 503 photographs, by 273 different photographers including seminal figures like Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Dorothea Lange, were first shown at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1955. “It’s a major landmark in design history, and something that continues to inspire the many photographers who visit,” says Anke. “The exhibition was designed for the general public. These great images communicate very directly,

but guided tours are available, and using i-pad minis now adds another dimension to the visit,” she adds. The charming North Luxembourg town has even more than Steichen’s legendary collection – UNESCO Memory of the World listed in 2003 – to offer photography fans. In striking contrast to the castle’s recently renovated interior exhibition facilities, the town, dubbed Cité de l’Image, makes use of The Ursula Böhmer-installation ‘All Ladies,’ Jardin du Bra’haus II external spaces to display work by ©CDI2014. contemporary exponents: “Every site and in the marketplace. Austrian Klaus Pichler’s has its character and constraints, we try to place ‘Middle Class Utopia’ outside the former breweach photographer’s work in a dialogue with ery explores the microcosmic world of allotthe surrounding environment,” says Annick ments. Dutchman Paul den Hollander’s photos Meyer, Artistic Director of not-for-profit organiof plant-life beyond normal vision fill a small garsation Clervaux – Cité de l’Image: “And there’s den in the town. In the park Parisian Patrick a thematic cohesion too, though we keep that Tourneboeuf investigates ‘consequential inconflexible.” sequentialities’, and Ursula Böhmer’s homage to Europe’s cows fills the brewery garden. It’s a free Currently German photographer Bärbel Praun, feast for the eyes. artist-in-residence in Clervaux in 2012, has installations near the church, on the main street, Open-air settings allow visitors to view the works at leisure, and to reflect: “Each individual reacts in their own way,” says Annick: “It’s a very subjective experience, but always rewarding – doubly so when coupled with the Steichen collection.” For info and opening times visit www.steichencollections.lu www.clervauximage.lu

LEFT: Clervaux Castle © CNA, Romain Girtgen. MIDDLE: ©The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco. RIGHT: Toni FRISSELL ©Library of Congress

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Made in Luxembourg

S P E CI A L

THE ME

Made in Luxembourg – a label to rely on! Premium beer or pasta Made in Luxembourg? Luxury tableware or a high-end kitchen Made in Luxembourg? Dentures or orthopedics Made in Luxembourg? Construction materials or a whole mansion Made in Luxembourg? – You might think: really? Are these products made in Luxembourg? TEXT: CHAMBRE DES MÉTIERS, LUXEMBOURG | PHOTO: MINISTÈRE DU TOURISME

It is more common to associate the Luxembourg origin when talking about cured ham and game pâté, truffles or macaroons. But, the list of products and services “Made in Luxembourg” is exhaustive and satisfies all palettes and wallets! Just keep reading. The label “Made in Luxembourg” was created in 1984 and has existed as a registered trademark ever since. An independent committee awards the label according to strict rules to maintain a level of excellence and quality that can be trusted and reflect the brand of Luxembourg.

"Made in Luxembourg" aims to promote Luxembourgish products and services and therefore identify and establish Luxembourgish companies within an international context. A product or service with this label is of guarantied Luxembourgish origin. The label can therefore be seen as a sign of trust to the client or can help a Luxembourg-based company to differentiate their product from foreign competitors on both the national and international market. The label is granted upon request and following the positive result of assessment

carried out by the Luxembourgish Chamber of trades and skilled crafts, the Chamber of Commerce or based on a common decision. If the label appears on a product or a service which, although literally accurate, is nonetheless susceptible of misleading a potential costumer as to the origin of the product, a request will be refused or the given authorisation subsequently withdrawn. An authorisation of use is at any time product- or service-related and not subject to the whole product range of a company and therefore can only be applied in direct relation to that specific product or service. At the time of writing, 395 companies are authorised to label specified products or services “Made in Luxembourg”. From advertising to zero-carbon bread rolls, whether it’s the service industry or manufacturing, it can and will be proudly of Luxembourg origin!

More information on the label, authorised companies or products and services can be consulted on www.made-in-luxembourg.lu

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Made in Luxembourg

ABOVE LEFT: The seat of Majerus Parmentier Constructions Sàrl in Hosingen. RIGHT: Architectural interior as designed by the forward-thinking company.

M A J E R U S - PA R M E N T I E R C O N S T R U C T I O N S S A R L :

Buildings for Luxembourg’s future TEXT: PHIL GALE | PRESS PHOTOS

It’s undeniable that the process of constructing a new building has an impact on the environment. With an ever-increasing need to create sustainable buildings, Luxembourg’s Majerus-Parmentier Constructions Sarl is creating structures for the future. “The common denominator underlying all our activities remains the concept of sustainable construction,” begins Jean-Luc Majerus, as he explained to Discover Benelux the wide range of building services that their Luxembourg-based company offer. With both internal and external structural work, as well as renewal and restoration work all within the capabilities of this forward-thinking company, Majerus continues: “Increasingly, we have seen more and more demand from our clients for flexible solutions and key-in-hand, whether it’s for passive houses and low energy consumption or for renovations or changes to existing projects.” Knowing what is on offer, most people will ask what are sustainable buildings and why the concept is creating such a stir in the construction industry, Majerus explains: “Sustainable construction creates a her-

itage of quality and a real long-term value because it invests in sustainability and quality. We prefer building with high thermo-insulation clay bricks, which are biologically sound, saving the customer the additional burden of extra external insulation.” Considering the recent change in Luxembourg ruling that all new builds will have to be of passive house standard by 2017, the country is certainly setting a standard. With their country at the forefront of this new construction method, Majerus-Parmentier Constructions Sarl have a host of skilled labour at their fingertips to really make their houses live up to the label ‘Made in Luxembourg’. “As a Luxembourg company that focuses on quality craftsmanship and durability of its products, while combining craftsmanship, traditional practices and technological know-how we are proud that our company was rated in 2013 ‘Made in Luxembourg’.” Majerus expands: “It is a sign of quality for Luxembourg. This label positions us in the local market compared to many companies who come from afar.”

Ecological and cheaper to run, they really do make sense. As a pioneer of this new building philosophy, Majerus concludes: “My staff put all their knowledge at the disposal of the company and as a business owner I feel responsible for them and their families. It is this relationship of mutual trust, a sense of responsibility, not to mention my passion for architecture and craftsmanship that are the basis of my daily motivation to continue down this path.” www.majerus-parmentier.lu

Sustainability in the construction industry is at the forefront of modern-day buildings.

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Made in Luxembourg

LEFT: The IPS® for Village has been successfully installed in Tanzania, Rwanda and Nepal, providing sufficient power for more than 200 households. ABOVE RIGHT: Inside view of an IPS® energy container.

Using sustainable power systems as a meaningful development aid TEXT: Jaime Schwartz | PHOTOS: SOLARtec

trolled and allocated by the IPS® Controller. In extended bad weather a designed 8 kVA diesel generator assures uninterrupted power supply.

When Latifa arrives home after school to her village in Nyakaiga, Tanzania, she helps her mother as usual with the household chores. Now, however, her trip to the central water distribution is short. No longer must she carry heavy water cans from faraway nor hurry to finish her duties before sunset. Back from the well she helps her younger siblings with their homework and prepares the meals. After dinner by lamplight the family goes their separate ways. Latifa exchanges homework with her classmates by mobile phone. Her father listens to a radio agriculture programme and her mother prepares for her lessons at the adult education centre. This describes daily life in the heart of Africa since 2009 and how it could be in any rural area. Unfortunately, instead of being a typical example, Nyakaiga is an exception. The reason for Latifa’s comfortable life is due to the village's access to electricity distributed from an energy station called IPS®. This availability to power was created and implemented by SOLARtec and made pos-

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IPS® Energy Container

sible with financing from the non-profit AMU.lu and the Luxembourgish Ministry. The IPS® for Village has been successfully installed in Tanzania, Rwanda and Nepal, providing sufficient power for more than 200 households. 72 kwp solar panels are installed on pivoting frames which produce about 295 kwh of energy. All technical components – BDAT level – are built inside a certified shelter, applied with aeration and A/C to guarantee the longevity of the batteries. Solar energy is injected by inverters, stored in the integrated battery plant with a capacity of 165 kwh, con-

The IPS® family contains other autarkic power systems, as the IPS® for BTS (telecommunication), the IPS® for COM (satellite/radio) and the IPS® for Water (water distribution). Due to IPS® technology, including a monitoring remote control, costs for maintenance (OPEX) are very low. IPS® technic has a lifespan of over forty years showing a ROI of less than four years (CAPEX), significantly lower than conventional diesel distribution. SOLARtec, founded in 2001, is a specialist in autarkic energy systems. SOLARtec designs and develops tailored “plug + play” energy concepts in off-grid areas. SOLARtec is dedicated to finding innovative solutions for off-grid areas as it has been demonstrated that access to electricity is essential to any economic and social progress.

www.solartec.lu


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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Made in Luxembourg

LEFT: Salon Belle Etoile, mentionned in the guide of the most beautiful salons in the world in 2006 (Photo: Steve Troes). RIGHT: Action at the Barbershop (Photo: Patty Neu).

The place to look and feel good TEXT: HARUN OSMANOVIC | PRESS PHOTOS

Have you ever caught yourself staring into a mirror, wondering just what to do with your hair? You've tried all the possibilities you can imagine but can't decide what would suit you best. Jean-Marie Ferber thinks it shouldn't be that way. After taking over the village salon in Barscharage in1982, originally opened in 1928 by his grandmother, Jean-Marie Ferber has strived to help ladies and gentlemen get custom stylish haircuts that are easy to replicate at home. “This is my passion,” says Mr. Ferber, “innovating and developing avant garde techniques for easyto-live hairstyles that you can maintain in a few brush strokes.”

has a different story, therefore we take personalisation very seriously... it's a bit like creating a custom-made perfume.” If you have a dinner tonight and are short on time, Ferber has created a service called Long Hair Sessions. The premise is simple; clients turn up at the salon with clean and dry hair, choose from among a list of nine stunning looks, and walk out thirty minutes later ready to party. How about men? Well they are taken care of in a stylish barbershop with an extended list of services – haircuts, men's grooming,

close shaving and even relaxing moments like manicures or pedicures. If you want to stand out of the crowd and look “sharp” again, a visit to the Barbershop in Bertrange (Belle-Etoile 1st Floor) should rank highly on your to-do list. Do you think you deserve a treat once again or perhaps it's time you updated your look? Or make it a regular visit? Whatever the reason, your hairstyle doesn't have to hold you back, let the experts from the Ferber salons take care of you. www.ferber.lu

Today, the group counts 12 salons in Luxembourg and is recognised as one of the pioneers in the industry, having recently been awarded the prize for innovation in craftsmanship. There are reasons behind this, as Mr. Ferber explains: “Each client

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Discover Benelux | Mini Theme | Liège

LEFT: The Royal Opera of Wallonia. RIGHT: The striking architecture of Liege’s central station (© FTPL).

The Province of Liège – a central location and lots to do! TEXT: THE PROVINCE OF LIÈGE TOURIST OFFICE | PRESS PHOTOS

The Province of Liège benefits from its exceptional geographical location, equidistant from Paris, London and Berlin. Liège, a remarkable destination, boasts 139 museums and 72 heritage sites and architectural monuments. With attractions such as the Plopsa Coo amusement park, the Remouchamps caves, the Découvertes de Comblain caves, Blegny-Mine (a UNESCO world heritage site) and plenty of tourist spots in the Vallon de la Lembrée area, visitors are unlikely to get bored. The province also has two spa towns and wellness centres (Spa and Chaudfontaine), around 3,000 miles of signposted footpaths (800 routes) and both downhill and cross-country skiing facilities. When it comes to accommodation, the province boasts a range of chateaux and imposing buildings, holiday resorts and over a thousand guest houses.

Museum of Walloon Life, the Grand Curtius museum centre, the Liège-Guillemins TGV station (designed by Santiago Calatrava), and the renovated and extended Royal Opera of Wallonia. More recent projects have included the ultra-modern Théâtre de la Place and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Liège. Take the time to discover the city's historic centre or its designer, trendy shopping complex, and if you like the great outdoors, the Slopes of the Citadelle have more than 80 hectares of green space in the very heart of the city. Liège plays a central role in the 100th anniversary commemoration of the Great War, as the Mémorial Interallié in Liège will be the scene of a major commemoration on the morning of 4 August 2014.

From 2 August 2014 to 30 April 2015, a major exhibition will take place at two sites: Museum of Walloon Life: “Liège dans la tourmente” (Liège in torment) and LiègeGuillemins TGV station: “J’avais 20 ans en 14” (I was twenty in 1914) The province of Liège has its own receptive tourism department within its Tourism Federation. It is your one-stop contact for stays, excursions and ticketing. Working alongside private and institutional players, our multilingual team provides a personalised, high-quality service. As part of the Great War commemorations, we offer a range of options including products designed for groups, a truly unique experience: An overnight stay in a real 1914 fort! www.liegetourisme.be

Liège, a cultural metropolis on everyone's lips Liège, Wallonia’s main tourist city, is known as the Ardent City. With a glorious past and a rich heritage, the city has undergone remarkable renovation work over the years, including the

32 | Issue 6 | June 2014

Left: Fort Eben, a historical gem worth visiting (© FTPL). Middle: Manoir de Lebioles in the town of Spa (© Manoir de Lebioles). Right: Spa Francorchamps Formula 1 Circuit (© B Lorquet).


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Discover Benelux | Mini Theme | Liège

TOP LEFT: Grande Place in Huy seen from the fort. LEFT: Old print of the castle that occupied the hill top before the current fort was built. RIGHT: Fort de Huy.

High above Huy TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PRESS PHOTOS

tions and nights sleeping blanketless on straw – his journal recollections of Huy begin positively: ‘Citadel at top of steep hill with glorious view of Meuse.’ That has not changed: “There is a magnificent panorama that visitors can enjoy from here,” says Mme Javaux. “You can see over the town, the river, the suspension bridge, and across the countryside to villages maybe eight kilometres away.”

Locals still sometimes call the Fort de Huy ‘Li Tchestia’, the old French dialect word for castle, a reminder that the forbidding Napoleonic-era structure dominating the Meuse was preceded by chateaux and even a Roman fortress. The defensive strength of its hilltop position attracted military builders over millennia. The power of the sheer walls to contain rather than repel is, however, paramount in its museum: “The Dutch built it as a barracks in 1818, with Napoleon’s wars still in mind,” says Anne Javaux of Huy’s tourist office. “But in the Second World War it was used by the Germans as a prison for resistance fighters and other internees. “More than 7,000 were held in the fort between 1940 and 1945. The museum is a memorial of those times, with displays that show what existence was like during the occupation, and videos of eyewitnesses bringing that history to life. You can still

see the cachots, the tiny cells where those who made trouble or were due to be interrogated by the Gestapo were held without heat or light.” For British and American visitors one prisoner is of particular interest – P.G. Wodehouse was held in the fort between August 3rd and September 8th 1940. Today there is a small plaque commemorating the writer’s enforced stay. Though Wodehouse like his companions suffered terrible privations – starvation ra-

A pleasant path up the wooded slope brings visitors to the fort. The 15-minute climb allows time to take in the daunting prospect of the fortress-prison from which many were sent to their deaths in concentration camps. The contrast with the stately medieval Collégiale and the cosily narrow older streets of Huy is extraordinary. “Those times must not be forgotten,” says Anne. “So we hope one day this place could become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.” www.pays-de-huy.be

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Discover Benelux | Mini Theme | Liège

An aristocratic approach TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PRESS PHOTOS

The Chateau de Waleffe, already renowned in Belgium as a host of numerous weddings and seminars, is now focusing on organising intimate meetings for smaller groups. Today, Ludovic de Potesta de Waleffe, a direct descendant of the castle's original inhabitants, sees it is an ideal venue for family gatherings and international weddings where group lodgings may be required. The day-to-day activities are run alongside his wife, Marie-Laurence. It’s an unarguably beautiful building and with guest rooms steeped in aristocratic beauty, it’s a stay that many are unlikely to forget. Turning a simple wedding into a stately affair. First built at the turn of the 18th century in the style of Louis XIV on an existing 16th century fortified farmstead, the de Potesta family has preserved their ancestors’ property zealously. Part family home, part spectacular wedding and event venue, part intimate and exclusive guest house, the family are direct descendants of the 17th century Jean de Cortes, Superintendent of

the Spanish army and a forefather of Liege’s industrial heritage. Today, two castles have been formed where one more modest one stood, and as you stroll through the grand interiors, visitors will marvel at the treasures from Jean de Cortes’ extensive travels, lending the house an air of exoticism, with Chinese porcelain vases, rice paper or exotic painting on the ceiling. Today, the running of the house is far more low-key than a century or two ago. Ludovic laughs: “What’s different today? Running water and electricity!” www.waleffe.com

Your Partner in Anglo Dutch Business The Netherlands British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) is the only bilateral non-profit membership organisation solely dedicated to promoting Anglo-Dutch trade and investment. From our start in 1891, we helped thousands of companies and entrepreneurs expanding their business abroad. The Netherlands-British Chamber of Commerce, 125 years experience in Anglo-Dutch trade and investment promotion. Contact us now for: • Access to interesting network events • Participation in NBCC events and working groups • Exclusive access to our intranet membership area • Up to date economic information and market sector intelligence • Market research • Partner searches • Company formation • Virtual office services • Sales support NL Tel.: 070-205 5656

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The Chateau de Waleffe, a family home that doubles as a stunning wedding and events venue.


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Discover Benelux | Feature | BELvue

The BELvue museum is the capital's go-to museum for Belgium history, charting its development since 1830.

BELvue

A nation’s proud capital TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTOS: © BELVUE / F. TOUSSAINT

Brussels is a truly international city, home to the EC, NATO and innumerable multinational companies. So it’s good to be reminded this is also the proud capital of one nation – Belgium. BELvue Museum at its heart does just that.

the present day, each with period decor and music,” explains Mme Oechsner. “The first tells the story of the often violent events that helped to create Belgium – then you look through the windows and realise some of the riots happened right outside.”

“We opened in 2005, funded by the King Baudouin Foundation with a mission to relate the history of the country since it was founded in 1830, and to promote democratic values. If that sounds dry for the kids you needn’t worry, there are activities like treasure hunts, games, and plenty of films and videos to fire the imagination,” says Mathilde Oechsner of the museum.

No riots now but Brussels can be a frenetic city in the midst of which BELvue’s beautiful garden offers a haven of calm. “Especially when the sun shines it’s a great place to take time out,” says Mathilde, “and you can grab a sandwich or a salad at the Green Kitchen restaurant.”

BELvue is housed in a grand 18th-century building next to the Royal Palace, with access possible to the undercroft of Charles V’s Coudenberg stronghold. Its location adds to the atmosphere: “Nine rooms take you from 1830 when Belgium originated to

Temporary exhibitions bring different historical perspectives to BELvue. Between 12th June and 31st August ‘Viva Brazil’ celebrates the links with that vast country: “Belgians constructed some of their first railways, and King Albert I and Queen Elisabeth actually visited Brazil in 1920,” continues Mathilde: “Displays and testimonies

explore major projects involving our countrymen, and look at the many artistic, religious, diplomatic and commercial connections historically and today. And of course, there’s a sporting aspect with the World Cup in Brazil this summer – that we hope Belgium wins!”

Standard adult entry fee €6. Combined BELvue + Coudenberg ticket €10. Free entry to Viva Brazil exhibition. For opening hours and other practical information visit: www.belvue.be

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Discover Benelux | Mini Theme | The Dutch Coastline

A summer retreat on the Dutch coast

Photo: Jacob van Kraaikamp

An irresistible mix of tranquillity, open spaces, breath-taking scenery and some rather spectacular activities is how you’d sum up Texel, one of the Dutch Wadden Islands. Lying at sea, just a twenty minute boat ride from Den Helder, it costs just two euros fifty for a return visit. Could an island retreat be any more enticing? TEXT & PHOTOS: VVV TEXEL | TRANSLATION: EMMIE COLLINGE

Alongside its seven picturesque villages and six museums, Texel has 30km of sandy beach, excellent quality seawater and supervision during the high season on eight of the most popular beach areas. Texel summer days roll by in a haze of freedom and pleasure. Lengthy walks on the beach, splashing in the sea, and watching the sunset in the evenings from the comfort of a beach pavilion. A large part of the island consists of unspoilt natural beauty. For instance, there’s De Slufter, the only area in the Netherlands where saltwater resistant plants flourish such as sea aster and sea thrift, which give the summer months a pink and purple hue. Of course, as fauna and flora bloom in summer and so too do certain activities. Undertakings such as wading or taking a

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trip on a shrimp cutter are at their best when the days are at their longest and spotting a seal while on the TX20 trip can be a moment to remember for the rest of your life.

& Brain in August, a sports and dance festival incorporating the paddling world championships and HavenVistijn on 9 August, a veritable day of delights for fish lovers.

Summer in Texel is, of course, not only to be spent on the beach. There is an array of festivals and special events, adding yet more sparkle to this pocket-sized island. With Round Texel at the end of June standing at the pinnacle of the world’s catamaran racing scene, the chilled-out dance event SunBeats in the middle of July, Body

With little risk of boredom, the island is well suited for lovers of outdoor activities and kitesurfing, sand-yachting and canoeing will add a rush of adrenaline to your stay. A climb up the lighthouse rewards you with a view over the North Sea, the Wadden Sea, Texel and the neighbouring island of Vlieland.

Photo: René Pop

The train from Amsterdam to Den Helder takes approximately 1 hour 15 minutes and the boat to Texel is easily accessible from Den Helder. For more information about the island, travel information and accommodation, please visit www.texel.net


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Discover Benelux | Mini Theme | The Dutch Coastline

TOP LEFT: The two winning boats from 2013 (Photo: Laurens Morel). LEFT: Renee Groeneveld, member of the Delta Lloyd team – the Dutch Olympic sailing team. (Photo: Jasper van Staveren/Sailshoot.com). RIGHT: 2013 winners Karel Begemann and Oscar Zeekant (Photo: Laurens Morel)

Sail hard and keep the island on your right TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: LAURENS MOREL & JASPER VAN STAVEREN/SAILSHOOT.COM

“It’s a spectacular event,” begins last year’s Round Texel winner, Karel Begemann, “but it is very weather-dependant!” He laughs, a proficient sailor since his youth, he completed the 100km round-island route, one of sailing’s toughest long distance events, in a time of 2 hours 46 minutes. Manning the F18 catamaran together with Round Texel veteran Oscar Zeekant, the pair benefitted from the ideal weather conditions but it was a brutal sprint to the finish. It hasn’t always been plain sailing for Begemann; a slow boat and too little wind sabotaged the Dutchman’s first try at Round Texel, while too much wind led to its cancellation the following year. In 2012 he was counting on third time lucky, yet shallow water, trapped daggerboards and a speedy tornado catamaran wreaked destruction on Begemann and Zeekant’s attempt, resulting in a broken boat and low spirits. Winning in 2013 at the 36th staging of the world’s biggest catrace was “naturally very special”, and even more so as it was the pair’s final race together.

“Starting in the North Sea gives you a big swell and some nice waves, but going around the island is a lot calmer with flat water. Physically, it’s very demanding as you wrestle with the boat, but when both the weather and water are calm then you’ve got the mental challenge of pushing on and going faster,” he says matter-of-factly. Jeroen Romkema, two-time participant and member of the organising committee agrees: “It’s an extreme challenge, for pros and non-pros alike. For spectators, it’s brilliant too as hundreds of colourful boats start right in front of your eyes at Paal 17.” The Round Texel (Ronde om Texel) takes place on 28 June and ties in with a week of island-wide on and off-shore events. Recreational sailors are invited to sail

southwards in the Horstocht, or northwards in the Tocht om de Noord events, and windsurfing and kitesurfing will feature too. It’s not surprising to see the sailors try their hand at other events, and as last year’s event was postponed Olympic sailor Renee Groeneveld wowed crowds with her adeptness at kitesurfing too. Texel, the largest Wadden Island, is encircled by a ring of sandy beach. It awakens during this week of sailing as over 500 catamarans take to the water with amateurs sailings against Olympians and World Champions. For the 2014 edition, all fingers are crossed for clear skies and a strong breeze. www.roundtexel.com

The Round Texel attracts thousands to the beach by Paal 17 (Photo: Jasper van Staveren /Sailshoot.com)

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Discover Benelux | Mini Theme | The Dutch Coastline

Follow a sailing course at Aquavitesse and explore Zeeland’s magnificent sights

Setting sail for Zeeland TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: DICK VAN DER VEER (OF AQUAVITESSE)

With its stunning scenery, islands, estuaries and hundreds of miles of coast, Zeeland is the ideal place to set sail. At Aquavitesse, one of the Netherlands’ oldest and most active sailing schools, they know exactly how to make the most of this spectacular area. Set up in 1979, the school is located in Zeeland, the country’s most south-westerly province and the region with the highest amount of sunny days a year. “It’s the serenity, the freedom. We’ve got such an amazing sailing area,” says Marieke Gijzel, who joined Aquavitesse nine years ago, “there are porpoises and even seals here.” The school offers popular sailing classes and runs special courses for children in the summer. It tailors courses for all ages and levels of experience and during the holidays it is even possible to book a floating bungalow.

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Aquavitesse prides itself on its versatility – it sells and rents out boats for sailors and holidaymakers alike and can also arrange business meetings on the water. “It’s the sailing school culture that makes us friendly and sociable and we take this approach in all aspects of the business,” Gijzel adds. “We do a combination of everything. That makes us unique.” It is the variation and outdoor experience that she loves most about her work. “During the summer when it’s busy, I have a lot of contact with our customers, which I really enjoy,” Gijzel says. “What others do for their holiday, I do for a living – it doesn’t get any better than that!” Earlier this year, Aquavitesse moved offices. From a stately building in the harbour of Bruinisse it relocated to a floating office, bringing it right into the middle of the action. “Our floating office is a much better fit

for the business and makes us more personal. It’s the ultimate water experience,” she explains. Paramount at Aquavitesse is a passion for sailing. Having spent the majority of her childhood in Zeeland, Gijzel’s first sailing encounter was as a baby on her parents’ boat. Gijzel also fondly recalls when a former colleague proposed to his fiancée. “Last year, during the Worlds, my friend Michiel proposed during the first match. He raised the sail which said ‘will you marry me?’ That was a very special moment.” Aquavitesse is now open for boat sales, rentals and sailing courses until the end of October. www.aquavitesse.nl


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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Made in the Netherlands

TOP: Globetrotter silver. Photo: Fromanteel BOTTOM LEFT: Photo: Gassan Diamonds BOTTOM RIGHT: Photo: Robert Tamara / Diamond Museum

S P E CI A L

THE ME

Made in the Netherlands TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE

With June being June, and weddings and graduations galore, what could be a better theme than Made in the Netherlands? We’ve compiled a spectacular collection of bespoke artisanal designers from the Lowlands, each of whom is a master of their craft. Whether they have turned their gaze to watches, bracelets, gemstones or tea, our selections are certainly all at the top of their fields.

within layers of gravel. As it’s a rare natural process, diamond mines are not the most common, hence their appeal. Once mined, cutting experts from across the globe deftly cut the rough diamonds, shaping and polishing them ready for the equally as important task of setting them in jewellery. In the Netherlands, a number of spectacularly talented diamond cutters are at work and the traditional methods are still proving their worth.

Jewellery design has been taught at schools, colleges and universities across the Netherlands for years and has spawned generation after generation of talented goldsmiths. Yet, it’s a trade that only a minority master, a trade which allows you to create dazzling and sparkling delights. Once mastered, your skills will be called on time after time, and at the top of your game you could even be asked to create a life-size BigMac made from 24 carat gold…

As men are traditionally expected to splash out a month’s salary on an engagement ring, it might be wise to know what you’re buying into. Diamonds, supposedly first given as an engagement ring by the Austrian Archduke Maximilian in 1477, are “a girl’s best friend.” Composed of 99.95% pure crystallised carbon, they’re found far beneath the Earth’s surface. In their volcanic habitat, diamonds are mined from

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Cutting to the core of the diamond industry Gassan Diamonds is located in a beautifully restored, originally steam-driven diamond factory in Amsterdam, which was built in 1879. Here visitors can view the diamond polishers at their craft, while multilingual guides explain where diamonds are found and how rough diamonds can evolve into dazzling brilliants. TEXT: GASSAN DIAMONDS | PHOTOS: GASSAN DIAMONDS

Loose polished diamonds are exhibited alongside Gassan Diamond’s elaborate jewellery collection. After the free guided tour you are invited for a complimentary drink in our charming coffee shop in the former boiler house and a browse through the boutique.

erations the diamond polishers at Gassan Diamonds have perfected the art of creating optimal reflections in the brilliant cut diamond. The polishers work on the symmetry of the diamonds and the immaculate finish of each of the fifty-seven facets have only one goal in mind: perfect beauty.

For over 400 years, diamond polishers have been perfecting their craft. This is a tradition which has been embraced by Gassan Diamonds and it continues to this day. Gassan Diamonds are proud to introduce a breath-taking and worldwide patented cut: Gassan 121®, with one hundred and twenty-one facets.

This brand-new cut has one hundred and twenty-one facets: 16 additional facets on the top and 48 extra ones on the bottom compared to the traditional round brilliant cut.

Gassan 121® has the unique Gassan DNA; it stands for brilliant quality. For several gen-

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Choices by DL® is a new, innovative and patented jewellery brand designed by Debora Huisman-Leeser, the daughter of the current President-Director of Gassan Diamonds. By using a beautifully simple sys-

tem, you can choose your gold colour preference and vary the stone colour you desire, instantaneously. Each piece of jewellery is created from three elements which are interchangeable and independent from each other. The core of the jewellery (ring/bracelet/earrings) is available in a choice of white, yellow or rose gold. The frames are supplied as a set, including white, yellow and rose gold. The various coloured stones can be matched to any outfit. The mix and match instant system is simple and convenient, allowing its wearers to customise their jewellery to match any outfit you can imagine. www.choicesbydl.com www.gassan.com


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Forging the elements - exquisite jewellery in The Hague The small gallery is a favourite among the Netherlands’rich and famous – sports personalities, television celebrities and even politicians are part of Zee Zand Zilver’s regular clientele. Its exclusive, striking Dutch designs resonate with people across the country, much beyond the size of the artisan jewellery store in The Hague. TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: ZEE ZAND ZILVER

The shop and gallery sells unique, handmade pieces crafted at the on-site workshop. Aside from the stunning jewellery on display and exhibitions of ceramic and glass objects, Zee Zand Zilver offers visitors a glance at its goldsmiths at work, as they shape the precious metals.

Four years ago, Visser followed in his wife’s footsteps and learned the trade after working as an IT consultant and project manager. “It’s wonderful how it connects creativity, skill and emotion,” Visser says. “You create products that last so clients can enjoy them for a very long time.”

Vincent Visser, who runs the store with his wife and gallery founder Queenie Visser, says: “As the workshop is integrated in the gallery, clients can watch the equipment and techniques we use and really experience how jewellery is created. It’s part of our philosophy, demonstrating our craft and all its different stages.”

It is now located at the distinctive Frederik Hendrikplein amid a wealth of other fascinating independent stores and with The Hague’s famous Gemeentemuseum nearby. The street – also known as ‘The Fred’ – was recently crowned the country’s ‘most attractive shopping street’.

Zee Zand Zilver (Sea Sand Silver) started in small premises right by the seashore in 2007. After three years it moved to its current site, but Visser reveals how the name is just as appropriate, “It still reflects the elements; water, sand and precious metal, that are expressed in our creations.” He adds: “Despite our name, we also sell gold jewellery.”

shaped elements of an inherited piece. “Often classic jewellery that has been in the family for decades doesn’t fit with what people wear today,” clarifies Visser. “To keep that emotional connection, we can update it to suit the client’s current taste. This way it can be worn and appreciated by another generation.” Frederik Hendrikplein 53 www.zeezandzilver.nl

ABOVE: Zee Zand Zilver sells exclusive, handmade gold and silver jewellery at their gallery and atelier BELOW: Vincent Visser (left) with his wife, gallery founder, Queenie Visser (right)

The gallery prides itself on its sustainability, 99 per cent of the metals used in the collections are recycled. Zee Zand Zilver’s team of 25 craftsmen and artists – all with individual styles – also specialise in creating new pieces out of heirlooms. Recently, Queenie crafted a bespoke ring and earrings using the gemstone and rose-

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Made in the Netherlands

Catch a sparkle at the Amsterdam Diamond Museum TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: ROBERT TAMARA (DIAMANT MUSEUM)

Located in the heart of the Dutch capital, the Diamond Museum is a true gem standing beside the Van Gogh museum and the Rijksmuseum. It displays Amsterdam’s rich history of 400 years of diamond trade and it is the country’s only museum dedicated exclusively to the glistening mineral. “We want to show that Amsterdam is extremely important for the diamond industry,” explains director and curator Robert Tamara. Almost every single famous stone has been cut or recut in Amsterdam, including the Koh-i-Noor and the Cullinan, the largest diamond ever found. “Everyone always thinks of Antwerp, but there it’s mainly wholesale. Amsterdam City of Diamonds is the global centre of diamond retail,” he says.

In the museum, visitors discover the shimmering world of diamonds through a series of exhibitions and interactive displays – from the formation of diamonds to their unique and much-admired features, and the use of diamonds in modern art.

ABOVE: Catch a glance of the brilliant diamond sparkle that can only truly be seen with your own eyes.

“Diamonds shine so beautifully because they are one of the very few minerals to almost fully reflect all of the light they catch,” continues Tamara, who opened the museum in 2007. “If you cut the stone correctly, you can enhance this even further, bringing the stone to life.”

is popular too, showcasing the development of the royal headpiece in countries across the world. “We have many famous diamonds and jewels on display. These are replicas of course, as the real ones are invaluable,” Tamara says.

A highlight of the museum is a diamond encrusted ape skull – covered in 17,000 stones – as a parody of Damien Hirst’s ‘For the Love of God’. The crown collection

The Diamond Museum is open daily and offers guided tours and diamond workshops on request. www.diamantmuseumamsterdam.nl


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'Day of my Life' was created by Barbara for her own wedding from 14 carat white gold and rosé gold details with an amethyst gemstone from Namibia.

The process, from the initial conversation to the desired end product usually takes around six weeks, but Van Schajik has had the odd impromptu engagement ring to make in a week, while Rotterdam’s Erasmus bridge-inspired Era ring took three months to complete as the idea took shape. “What I love is when someone comes to me with a vague idea, leaving me free to suggest a design. Perhaps they want certain gemstones placed in a ring,” she muses. “Together we come up with something wonderful as these are pieces that you’ll have for the rest of your life,” she says with a wry smile, “so it needs to be something that you really long for.” www.uwgoudsmid.nl www.facebook.com/uwgoudsmidnl www.twitter.com/uwgoudsmid

Designs you desire TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: BARBARA VAN SCHAJIK

Momentarily distracted from her ring making, the talented jewellery-maker Barbara van Schajik explains the concept of uwgoudsmid.nl. “My website is my shop window,” she begins matterof-factly. “People approach me with an idea – as detailed or as vague as they like – and then we sit down, discuss, decide and I create.” Sounds simple? Van Schajik laughs, the easy part, she says, is to define what someone does not want – but pinning down what they do actually like is tougher. “Basically, you could say ‘your wish is my command’, and then together with my skills we can create something that you really want.” As a skilled goldsmith, the Amsterdambased Van Schajik has been in the business for years but her bespoke services have only been available fulltime for the

past ten years to the delight of her customers. “I always make one-off pieces when I’m working and I’ve always loved doing it, but going freelance was a big investment of time and energy – but you get out what you put in.” While she works primarily with gold and silver, she also dabbles in zirconium and other materials. With a vast array of people seeking her accomplished services, where does she draw the line? “Actually,” she admits, “but the main thing is to create jewellery that allows the clients to express themselves.” “And sometimes you just have to think outside the box,” she says with a knowing smile. An example of her innovative talents came in the form of a Big Mac for the fastfood chain McDonalds. Van Schajik explains just how a 14 carat gold lifesize Big Mac came into existence – an enjoyable commission to “get out of your comfort zone.”

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SK EDELSMID:

Steeling our hearts TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: SK-EDELSMID

As a child of a Swiss tool maker, it was perhaps only natural to pursue a career in which metal plays a starring role. After spending her childhood tinkering with tools, Stephanie opened her own jewellery shop in Rotterdam in 1996. Creating bold yet intricate pieces for the SK2 collection, primarily made from stainless steel and often in combination with diamonds, she still works from the same small shop, SK-Edelsmid. After graduating in 1995 from Schoonhoven’s goldsmith and jewellery design school, she was initially content making one-off pieces for her shop but Stephanie hadn’t counted on such demand from other retailers. As more and more wanted to stock her creations, she put her industrial chic designs into production and has since seen demand grow across the globe. “All the production is done in the Netherlands or Germany – I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she says defiantly. “I make

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sure SK is sustainable and ethical – fair hours and fair wages. We use new technologies, and my collection stands out from what is already out there.” Fairness extends to her pricing policy as well, and as the pieces are more often than not made from stainless steel, their price reflects this. A standout piece in the SK2 collection is the Klik steel bracelet with red gold, a bracelet which Stephanie explains grew from her unerring passion to find solutions for problems. “People are always losing bracelets, you hear them say it all the time. So I thought ‘solve it!’ I’ve developed a particular kind of flip clasp and no one has lost this bracelet in the past 12 years.” As a creative, Stephanie’s design process is atypical, much like her creations. Instead of sitting and sketching shapes, it revolves around the concept. She cites the example of a ring with interchangeable stones. “Now this is a really popular new piece,” she ex-

plains, “the stones are pretty hefty, 9mm each, but easy to change.” With wedding rings, an “over-crowded” market, her concept is that of two parts which clasp together; two people as the connectors. “My end products are always 10 times simpler than the initial design,” she laughs. “I have to ask if it works, if it’s feasible, if I like it.” Designing items that you love means that more often than not you’re seen wearing your creations, Stephanie laughs as she defends herself: “I really like my stuff!” www.sk-edelsmid.nl


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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Made in the Netherlands

Specs appeal TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: STEPHAN SCHALKX

Long gone are the days of hiding behind your glasses, as the emergence of collections by top fashion brands has changed the eyewear market for the better. Today, glasses are ranked alongside earrings, necklaces and handbags. Specs have evolved into a fashion accessory in their own right.

us apart.” With stunning eyewear from such names as Bulgari, Chanel, Armani, Prada and Gucci, there really is something to suit everyone’s tastes. The Dutch brand of G-Star have recently launched their own glasses line, Schalkx excitedly reveals. “The G-Star frames offer incredible value for money and are proving very popular.”

Under the guidance of the experienced optician turned shop manager, Stephan Schalkx, the shelves of Amsterdam’s eyewear boutique Occhiali are lined with the season’s hottest trends as well as the failsafe classics, the crème de la crème of glasses, sunglasses and contact lenses.

With three opticians in store to conduct the necessary eye examinations and a number of en trend members of staff on the shop floor, customers’ decisions are easier than ever to reach. “Our staff really know how to get a feel for what the customer wants, and our contact lens specialists work in a bespoke manner to ensure that the lenses we

TOP: Occhiali is Amsterdam’s hottest eyewear boutique, specialising in the trendiest specs, contact lenses and sunglasses. BELOW LEFT: The sunglasses collection by the Dutch denim brand G-Star is proving hugely popular this summer.

select are right for the individual without causing any stress to the eye.” Schalkx is certainly a man who knows his spectacles, and as observing trends is another of his job duties he has his eye firmly on the ball. For 2014 he highlights nostalgia and a penchant for handmade glasses. “We’re noticing that having glasses for certain occasions is definitely happening more and more.” Frames for the office, the computer screen, leisure time and evening wear, Schalkx insists everything can be found within Occhiali’s extensive range. “Thanks to developments in technology, glasses have become fashionable and so much more is possible these days.”

Just outside of the historic city centre lies Amsterdam’s fashion boutique for faces. The glitzy interior invites fashion-conscious shoppers to while away the hours as the staff work earnestly to help select the ideal frame for each customer. Occhiali caters for those looking to grace their face with luxury frames. “We’re an independent boutique,” explains Schalkx. “Our high-end brands and attention to quality are what set

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Home of Vermeers’Girl with a Pearl Earring reopens on 27 June TEXT: MILOU VAN ROON | PHOTOS: IVO HOEKSTRA

Girl with a Pearl Earring, Anatomy Lesson, The Goldfinch; they are easily among the most recognisable paintings in the world, and Mauritshuis in The Hague showcases them with pride. Following a major renovation the Mauritshuis will reopen on the 27th of June to welcome visitors once again. The museum is often described as a ‘jewellery box’ because of the high quality of the collection, which features paintings by Dutch and Flemish masters from the Golden Age. Vermeer, Rubens, Rembrandt, Bruegel, Jan Steen and Carel Fabritius have all found their place in the unique collection of The Mauritshuis. The museum displays three works by Vermeer: the world famous Girl with a Pearl Earring, View of Delft and Diana and her

Nymphs. This makes Mauritshuis a key destination for people interested in the artist. The oldest part of the collection consists of paintings owned in the 18th century by the Stadholder, Prince William V. In 1822 his son, King William I, handed over these paintings to the Dutch state, thus providing the basis of what is now called the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis. Through an audio tour, the stories of the paintings and the Golden Age come to life. Because of the modest size of the museum, which showcases approximately 250 paintings, a trip to the richest period in Dutch history only takes visitors two hours. Mauritshuis is often considered one of the most beautiful small museums in the world,

with its unique lakeside location in the heart of The Hague, a city that is home to the Dutch Parliament and the Royal Family. The Mauritshuis, a UNESCO monument, was originally built between 1633 and 1644 for the Count Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen by the revered Dutch architect Jacob van Campen. After a major renovation the museum now proudly opens the new Royal Dutch Shell Wing on the adjacent site, hereby doubling the museum’s existing floor space. This wing is now linked to the historic building by a new light-filled underground foyer. The new wing provides room for temporary exhibitions, an art workshop, a cafe and other modern visitor facilities. mauritshuis.nl

ABOVE, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Johannes Vermeer, 1632-1675 Girl with a Pearl Earring, c. 1665. Carel Fabritius (1622-1654) The Goldfinch, 1654. Paulus Potter, 1625-1654 The Bull, 1647. Rembrandt, 1606-1669 The anatomy lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, 1632. Rembrandt, 1606-1669 Self-Portrait, 1669, part of collection Mauritshuis, The Hague.

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Made in the Netherlands

ing everything from the past influences the present.” Designed in the Dutch capital, the clockworks are made by expert horologists in the Fromanteel atelier in Bienne, Switzerland. The watches, created from high quality materials, have a luxurious look but are sold for affordable prices.

The journey of a 17th century clockmaker is what makes the Fromanteel watches tick

Silva continues: “We recognised that the brand experience is more important than anything else, it’s the story that has to appeal to customers. The watch is not just a fascinating instrument, but for men it’s primarily become an accessory to complement their style.”

History transformed into timeless watches TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: FROMANTEEL

Almost 400 years ago in Amsterdam, the clockmaker Ahasuerus Fromanteel did something extraordinary. He manufactured a series of revolutionary pendulum clocks which – for the first time in history – could measure seconds as well as minutes. They were the most accurate at the time and became an instant success. This allowed Fromanteel to expand his family business to England, thereby creating the world’s first multinational clockmaker’s firm. This astonishing story inspired entrepreneurs Alfredo Silva (35) and Martijn van Hassel (35) to set up a new brand of watches named after the 17th century clockmaker. Silva says: “It is out of admiration for the family who came so far 400

years ago. The Fromanteel story is the foundation for everything we do.”

Recently, Fromanteel released the ‘Globetrotter’ collection, a name that directly links back to the brand’s origin. “Back then travelling was rare and expensive. Despite that, the family succeeded in opening workshops in Amsterdam, London and Newcastle,” Silva says. “This adventurous and entrepreneurial mentality is reflected in our Globetrotter series.” Now in its 5th year, Fromanteel sells hundreds of men’s watches each month across the world. To celebrate the milestone, it has opened a temporary anniversary store in Amsterdam until June 15th, find out more online. www.fromanteel-watches.com

Fromanteel was founded in 2009, during the economic downturn, out of a desire to bring passion back into their work. Silva, who used to work in advertising, saw his job becoming increasingly sober and found a business partner in his friend and fellow watch enthusiast Van Hassel. “When we got together we decided to do something we both really enjoyed. That’s why we set up our own watch brand,” Silva says. They came across the name by accident while doing their initial market research. Silva explains: “It was by chance we encountered it, but it instantly clicked. It links in with our slogan ‘History Is Now’, mean-

Martijn van Hassel (left) and Alfredo Silva (right).

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Made in the Netherlands Photo: Pascal Maassen

A haven for tea aficionados TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE

Set up just over a year and a half ago, Four Leaves has already become a firm favourite and has torn away regulars from many other Amsterdam institutions. When it comes to choosing our tea, owner Wilfried Herijgens is on hand to impart his wisdom. After scouring Europe’s best tea houses, he settled on stocking tea from the French tea house THEODOR (relatively young but with an incredible talent for tea), and British labels Tea Palace and Tregothnan. In stock to perfectly complement the tea is chocolate from esteemed Belgian chocolatier Pierre Marcolini, whose exclu-

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sivity is renowned and Four Leaves is the only Dutch stockist. After an impromptu redundancy from Amsterdam’s crown court, Herijgens grasped the chance to realise his dream and open his tea shop, which also houses a cosy tea salon. “Now I’m surrounded by things I love, products that I’d have in my own cupboards,” he says. His enthusiasm is infectious as he outlines the best tea for certain times of the day. A true connoisseur, he believes in beginning the day with an unperfumed black tea, a Parisian Breakfast blend, strong Assam or a black tea from Kenya, then, a little later, an extraordinary Oolong Milky or a lighter green tea from China or Korea, the latter one with delicate grassy notes and a hint of saltiness. Ever conscious of the origins of the tea he so lovingly supplies, Herijgens ensures that each tea is naturally, ethically

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Photo: Remi Schouten

Discerning tea drinkers would be wise to visit Four Leaves, Amsterdam’s artisanal tea emporium, hip tea salon and delightful shop. Tea, one of life’s simple pleasures, should be enjoyed in comfort, and the Four Leaves salon is a haven of peace.

Expect to enjoy some of the finest tea from across the globe.

and sustainably produced – and in turn, he produces some of the finest tea to be tasted in the Netherlands. www.fourleaves.nl


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Discover Benelux | See & Do | Beaufort Castle

The Rennaissance castle to the left and the ruins of the medieval Beaufort Castle to the right. Photo: Rol Schleich

Two Castles through time TEXT: HARUN OSMANOVIC | PHOTOS: BOSHUA BOHUMIL KOSTOHRYZ

There is a place, in Beaufort, Luxembourg, where time stands idle, never fixed, in constant search for an equilibrium which cannot be reached in stillness. A place where history just happens! First there is a medieval castle. Built in the 12th century, presumably by Walter de Wiltz, it formerly housed the Knights of Beaufort. Its story is rather tumultuous and in the second half of the 18th century, it was left uninhabited, serving as a quarry for the locals. It was only in the late 1920s that Edmond Linckels, one of the last private owners, began to restore parts of it. Today, the site belongs to the state and is classified as a national monument. Next door you’ll find the Renaissance castle. Beautifully incongruent they stand, like a pair of conjoined fraternal twins. They're

far from identical but their histories are linked by a little slip of time. The Renaissance castle was always inhabited, but it was not until 2012 when the late Mrs Anne Marie Linckels-Volmer, widow of Edmond, passed away, that it was opened to the public. The “younger sibling”, the Renaissance castle, has remained almost intact since being built in 1649 by one of Luxembourg's greats, Jean Baron of Beck. Although a lot of the furniture was stolen during World War II, the Linckels retrieved most of it and furnished the Renaissance castle exquisitely, each room dedicated to an era; from Louis XIV to art déco and neo-classical styles.

dieval castle of Beaufort. Right by the 1643 gate, created by Jean Baron of Beck, the visitors have to cross a bridge connecting the two castles, and enjoy the visit through history and time. The dedicated and scrupulous visitor will certainly take their time and enjoy some Cassero, a local liquor that Edmond Linckels started to produce in the castle cellars in 1930. It is best enjoyed straight or as a Kir with Champagne. If you are really lucky, you might find yourself in the area at the same time as one of your favourite artists; from James Blunt to Patti Smith, Amy Macdonald to Klaus Doldinger, the Beaufort Castle is honoured to welcome the world’s greatest musicians to its grounds. www.beaufort.lu

Today, both castles are open to tourists and enthusiasts. The tour starts in the me-

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Discover Benelux | See & Do | Mini Europe

MI NI

E UR OP E :

Discover the coolest corners of Europe TEXT: PHIL GALE | PRESS PHOTOS

Some argue Brussels is the centre of Europe, and politically this is true, but Mini Europe, situated in the beautiful gardens at the foot of the city’s striking Atomium really is at the heart of this continent. With its 350 scaled models of Europe’s most beautiful locations, Mini Europe offers a unique voyage for young and old alike. Within moments you can experience the Brussels Grand Place, then check your watch as Big Ben strikes, take in the history of the Acropolis and even touch the molten lava of Mount Vesuvius. Sight, sound and touch, Mini Europe stimulates all your senses. Opened in 1989, these 1/25-scale models, with an average production cost of 75,000€, are bursting with Europe’s unique atmosphere. More than just a static replica, you can watch the fall of the Berlin Wall, see the drama of a bullfight in Seville or observe trains running at full speed, this park brings Europe to life through the unequalled craftsmanship and vision of its creators.

With 2014 marking the 25th anniversary of the park, visitors can expect new exhibits to be opened as it continues to develop and improve. There are many special events lined up, from a 1914-18 war remembrance walk in midMay to nightly tours and fireworks throughout summer. Mini Europe grants you a whistle-stop tour of the best of Europe. Even though it is a mere pocket-sized version of the real thing, it brings you the same, lifesized satisfaction of visiting the actual locations. www.minieurope.eu

An edutaining day out Text: HARUN OSMANOVIC | PRESS PHOTOS

Built on the ruins of an old safari park, Chlorophylle is the perfect way to spend a family day out. Located near the town of Manhay, less than one hour from Liege, Chlorophylle is the perfect mix of education and fun. In the heart of the Ardennes, the 10,000 sqm award-winning park will welcome you in five different languages in the amazing setting of a topnotch infrastructure in the middle of the forest. Learn about nature with thirty wooden attractions, including a labyrinth, a walk through the treetops as you follow the ropeways, enjoying the view from the tower and having fun down the slides! The two kilometre walk through the park gives you the perfect opportunity to learn about the environment: try to recognise the different types of trees, discover the significance of bees on our ecosystem and why we should start protecting them. Meanwhile, you need to keep alert, on the lookout for a common buzzard and other birds, butterflies and insects!

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If you feel adventurous you can take your mountain bike outside the park and follow a marked route. Once the day is over you can enjoy a beer and a local, freshly cooked meal at the brasserie of the Chlorophylle park. Whether you are looking for an edutaining weekend activity for your family, or even a remarkable setting for a company seminar, Chlorophylle, with its “5 Soleils” label – the highest touristic award in Wallonia – is the right place for you. You will surely leave reinvigorated and full of memories. www.parcchlorophylle.com


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Discover Benelux | See & Do | Balls & Glory Recipe

Parma Ball & salad with peaches, buffalo mozzarella and basil Lunch can be a challenge. There’s that rush for sustenance, the highly sought-after table at the city’s best eatery and the tick-tock of your treasured hour counting down. But we’re making it easy for you this month. Meet Wim Ballieu, a chef who really knows how to celebrate the seasons. Taken directly from his restaurants in Ghent and Antwerp, they may be simple to execute but they are certainly complex in taste. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PRESS PHOTOS

Wim Ballieu: “This salad is one I swiped from Jamie Oliver and one which has undergone a revolution in the last few years. Add some lemon oil... it’ll be a bit like limoncello!

Lemon oil 20 minutes INGREDIENTS 1 lemon 250 ml olive oil

Parma Ball

METHOD Use a peeler to get some lemon zest. Put the olive oil and lemon zest into a pan and warm them together. Once they’re warm, pour the liquid into a bottle and leave to stand for a few days. Shake well before use.

30 minutes – Serves 4 INGREDIENTS 10 slices of Parma ham Lemon zest 700g minced meat Olive oil

Balls & Glory homemade lemonade METHOD Preheat the oven to 170°C. Finely cut the slices of Parma ham. Grate some lemon zest over the minced meat and mix this together with the Parma ham pieces. Use the minced meat and roll small balls of around 50grams together. Lay the meatballs onto a baking tray and place them in the oven for around 15 minutes. Place the meatballs in a pan and cook until lightly golden.

INGREDIENTS 300 ml lemon juice – 250 gram sugar – a piece of ginger, in slices – fresh mint on the stem – sparkling water METHOD Squeeze the lemons until you have 300 ml of juice. Pour this into a saucepan with the 250g sugar and bring this to the heat. Stir carefully until the sugar has melted. Allow the mixture to thicken and then pour into a sterile bottle. Leave it to cool. This lemon syrup can last for two weeks in the fridge. Create lemonade by putting a little syrup into a glass, add ice cubes, fresh mint, two pieces of ginger and sparkling water. Cheers!

Salad with peaches, mozzarella and basil 10 minutes – Serves 4 INGREDIENTS 6 ripe peaches 3 balls of buffalo mozzarella Salts and pepper A bunch of basil Olive oil METHOD Cut the peaches in two and remove the stone. Slice them in half again. Cut the mozzarella into pieces and place these into a bowl with the peaches. Add freshly ground pepper and sea salt

flakes. Drizzle this mix with olive oil or some delicious lemon oil. Serve with fresh basil leaves. Tip: Try this dish with burrata, a creamier type of mozzarella.

This recipe is taken from Het gehaktballenkookboek - De beste recepten van Balls & Glory (The Meatball Cook Book – The best recipes from Balls & Glory). €24,95 Published by Borgerhoff & Lamberigts.

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HOTEL OF THE MONTH, THE NETHERLANDS

For those ‘wow’moments Situated in Holland’s Silicon Valley, within easy reach of Germany and Belgium, the Pullman Eindhoven Cocagne’s combination of personal attention, well-considered detail and excellent facilities have been put together with one objective: to provide the very best. Their foremost priority is to provide an enjoyable integrated service to every guest, striving to add extra value to everyone’s stay, whether they’re organising a prestigious international conference or joining a loved one for an intimate weekend. TEXT: CAROLE EDRICH | PHOTOS: ABACA CORPORATE-BARBARA ZONZIN

The up-and-coming city of Eindhoven may not be as famous as Brussels or Amsterdam for international guests, but the hightech university and exciting high-tech industries – blossoming in and around the city – ensure the existence of a dynamic business and leisure atmosphere. Eindhoven is also a travel hub, accessible by

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road, rail or air for travellers from all over the world. Therefore it is ideally suited for residential international congresses and events.

Business and Service Pullman Eindhoven Cocagne is an ideal meeting venue. The hotel’s renowned Co-

Meeting Concept service means that the hotel teams ease all the worry that you might encounter while organising your annual conference or residential meetings. With a dedicated Event Manager as a onestop contact there to facilitate and anticipate each and every need, you can rest assured that your event will turn into a


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Discover Benelux | Hotel of the Month | Pullman Eindhoven Cocagne

Photo: Hugo Potharst

The Pullman is an ideal venue for business meetings, whether you are keen to use the large conference room or smaller seminar rooms.

success. Whether it concerns a preplanned action, an ad-hoc idea or last minute requirement, the hotel will fulfil your needs. The hotel provides a personal seamless service as well as special extras, doing everything necessary to take the worry from your work. The hotel team also offer an IT Solutions Manager; a technology expert who ensures the technical feasibility and operational efficiency of the technology you require.

service, regardless of the type of guest. Business-orientated hotel guests want to stay in a hotel that offers great business facilities, but also in a place that takes their leisure time seriously too. Leisure travellers also express the need to feel ‘at home’ in a comfortable environment. Etienne Bouten, whose stylish work recently featured in the prestigious Dutch magazine ‘Stijlvol Wonen’ (living with style), is co-responsible for the creation of the hotel’s elegantly contemporary and comfortable design. He has designed modern rooms which are designed for comfort and utility, with innovative lighting, internet connectivity and a host of very special comforts. You’ll also see his work in the renowned Vestdijk 47 restaurant and the new spa complex, where art, design and comfort are melded into a seamless relaxing whole.

A special kind of service Comfort Enhancing Design Philosophy allows guests to both work and play Since the guest is the first and biggest priority of the hotel, rooms and services have been designed to give the best possible

Besides the ‘hardware’, the software is even more important. “Instead of receptionists we have welcomers,” says Marieke Lamberts-Sicking, the General Manager. She explains how staff members are em-

powered to identify the implicit needs and wishes of guests and act accordingly without having to consult managers. This special orientation in their service, which is implicit in the hotel ethos, means that outward-looking, empathetic staff who can take initiative and demonstrate a predisposition to be able to listen, are recruited. Crucial in this type of service is a kind of respectful friendship. The idea is that guests feel more at home, knowing that their needs are recognised on a personal basis, that they are known and valued as individuals and that they’ll be looked after with a really personal touch. “They [the welcomers] are here 24 hours to help you through your visit, if needed. If you want them to organise something business-wise you can ask, but also for anything else. If you are short of time to buy presents we can help, or if you forget your glasses we will solve your problem.” Ms Lamberts-Sicking explains with quiet pride how all their employees go out of their way to make guests feel comfortable (she calls it the ‘wow’ moment). “One long-term guest kept a photograph of his girlfriend on his desk, so we offered him a nice photo frame as a pres-

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Photo: Hugo Potharst

Discover Benelux | Hotel of the Month | Pullman Eindhoven Cocagne

Observing the chef working in the open kitchen, just one of the four dining concepts at the Pullman Eindhoven Cocagne.

Feeding Body, Mind and Spirit Guests also have access to four different eating concepts: formal restaurant, open kitchen, deli-bar and room service, along with the Vinoteca by Pullman, a comprehensive wine selection of at least 60 different wines. Put these together and food and drink for any time or mood becomes an easy option. Special menus can also be created for all occasions, and can suit anything from intimate informality to large scale formal public events. Search Vestdijk 47 online and you’ll find very satisfied clients vying with each other to find the best superlatives. There’s some dispute as to whether the hospitality, location, food or general design is best, but none about the excellent sustenance or value for money. In the Open Kitchen, guests gather round the Chef’s table, watch their dishes being prepared, discuss aspects of cuisine and even learn more about cooking them-

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selves. This is particularly popular with informal parties and is well reviewed online. For those who need to eat on the trot, the Deli-Bar in the lobby provides comfort food and healthy snacks in eat-in or take-away style.

niversary too. Anniversary muffins with personalised texts were, for instance, given to a client celebrating its 30th anniversary. The hotel patissier created a special chocolate cake which was delivered to the firm.

The new “Fit and Spa Lounge” comprises 2 saunas, a solarium, fitness room, swimming pool and massage salon from which guests have the option of being aided by an experienced fitness instructor. Special touches such as scented candles and a Sensory Shower are particularly popular, the latter enabling guests to select light effects, scents and water intensity to simulate different exotic climates. Combine these with a massage from the spa’s resident masseuse and be transported to a different level of delight.

Everyone’s online feedback is treated with equal respect, whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter or Trip Advisor, each comment is read and answered and real life changes are made as a result. It is this constant pursuit of ways to wow the guests that make the Pullman Eindhoven Cocagne stand out from the competition and be such a special home from home. The best way to find out more is to stay there yourself. www.pullmanhotels.com

The Wow Effect We already mentioned some of the surprises that the hotel has in store to wow their guests. The Wow Effect is as apparent in the big things as in the small. You can find it while checking in: guests are greeted in their own language. But you might be surprised for your company an-

Photo: Hugo Potharst

ent. When another foreign guest mentioned in a conversation that he wanted to learn a little Dutch, we gave him a Dutch phrase book. “


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Discover Benelux | Restaurant of the Month | Restaurant de Lindehof

TOP LEFT: Restaurant de Lindehof in Nuenen, (Photo: Sam Walravens). RIGHT: Soenil Bahadoer, head chef and owner.

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

French food with unforgettable exoticism TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PRESS PHOTOS

A perennial favourite of fine diners from across the globe, the unassuming Restaurant de Lindehof in Van Gogh’s village of Nuenen is a modern classic. Mirroring the proprietor’s own heritage, diners can revel in high class French cuisine blended to perfection with his Indian origins and Surinamese childhood. It may be Michelin-starred but Restaurant de Lindehof in Nuenen has a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere and welcoming hospitality courtesy of Soenil Bahadoer, the restaurant’s long-time head chef and owner. Keen to provide an upmarket dining experience with the ease and nature that Bahadoer himself is used to – customary in Suriname is the collective experience of cooking and eating together – he explains that guests come to De Lindehof to be entertained. He wants to see each and every guest experience a “taste explosion with every bite” as they indulge in

the food that he and the team cook with unbridled passion. After moving to the Netherlands as a boy, Bahadoer wanted to pursue a career as a chef and it wasn’t long before the amiable restaurateur was studying under the top French chefs. He first set foot in De Lindehof’s kitchen in 1995 and took over the reins in 2007. In 2004 the restaurant was awarded its first Michelin-star, an accolade which Bahadoer is understandably proud of, but is a second star on the horizon? “Staying true to my passion is what drives me and I want to always make sure my guests are satisfied,” says Bahadoer, but he admits a second star would not be unwelcome. Describing the food as “refined and innovative with unusual tastes”, the kitchen merges local seasonal produce with the finest ingredients from around the world. A glance at the menu confirms this. Classics

are given a new twist and, while the menu is ever-changing (every four weeks), the dependable mainstays are fish, lamb and delectable poussin. Bahadoer’s current favourites are the zhu hou lacquered Eastern Scheldt lobster with jelly of sea aster, roasted asparagus, kidney beans, salad of fresh herbs and veal gravy, as well as the elusive, underrated John Dory fish with mash of artichoke, poivrade, antiboise of green and red tomato, scallop with a yuzu mustard cream. “Naturally, such complex, intense tastes make the sommeliers’ job a little more challenging,” Bahadoer laughs good-naturedly. The immaculate yet soulful cuisine is accompanied by charming, well-mannered and knowledgeable service, and Bahadoer’s Surinamese charisma lends itself to providing heartfelt hospitality. www.restaurant-delindehof.nl

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Discover Benelux | Attraction of the Month | Belgium

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

Brel guides you through Brussels TEXT: HARUN OSMANOVIC | PHOTOS: © ÉDITIONS JACQUES BREL

Belgium is the land of waffles, beers, mussels and fries among other things. For many people around the globe however, Belgium is first and foremost the country that was home to one of the last century’s greatest poets, Jacques Brel. From his birth in Schaerbeek, a town in the suburbs of Brussels, to his passing away in a suburb of Paris, Brel kept “planting seeds” as his daughter, France Brel, explains. “My father’s ambition was not to become a pop singer per se, he wanted to be a man and plant seeds of truth and sincerity in people.” ABOVE LEFT: Jacques Brel in the film Far West, 1973. TOP RIGHT: Édition Jacques Brel. RIGHT: France Brel

Those seeds are what France and her husband Francis take care of, watering them with documents, exclusive footage and amazing initiatives through the Editions Jacques Brel, Place de la Vieille Halle aux Blés in Brussels, just five minutes away from the Grand Place. The couple have dedicated their life to sharing Jacques’ heritage and are doing a great job at it. As Francis puts it: “there are four Brels; the music and movie star, the theatre man, the writer and more recently the topic of study.” To anyone that carries a bit of Brel with him daily, or anyone visiting Brussels, the Editions are a must stop. France has created a tour of the city with Brel as your guide. That’s right, those interested are welcome to meet her at the Editions and she or her team will give you a map and an audio guide filled with Brel’s interviews and songs. You can even start your tour in the late afternoon, after the museums close at 6pm, making it handy to fit around any work commitments one may have. “Bonjour,” starts Jacques, “Bienvenue...” For close to three hours he’s there with

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you. The audio can be stopped, fast-forwarded, skipped or replayed at your convenience. The playlist starts with Les pavés, right as you step onto the paved street Villers, and follows you as you grab a beer or stop at a restaurant for a meal. When you have a chance, take a few moments to visit the permanent exhibition, ‘J’aime les Belges,’ held at the Editions,

and discover a “more secret Brel as he shares his passion for his homeland with a sense of modesty, humour, derision and sometimes excess.” The Editions Jacques Brel won’t fail to take you back to “the time when Brussels used to sing... when Brussels used to Brussel-up” www.jacquesbrel.be


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Discover Benelux | Special Feature | Jacques Brel

Brel, that poet! From Bowie to Westlife, Jacques Brel has inspired generation after generation. Born in Brussels in 1929, he left an ever-lasting mark on today's world. TEXT: HARUN OSMANOVIC | PHOTOS: © ÉDITIONS JACQUES BREL

Brel’s talents stretched far beyond music. He acted and directed several films, including Far West (1973).

I was home, restlessly waiting for a call, when the telephone rang: - Oui, âllo? - Âllo, Harun? C’est France à l’appareil. It was Brel’s daughter on the line. She called me on the landline, used my first name and it felt like we had known each other for years. “I can’t speak at the set time,” France said, she was with students interested in Brel’s writing, and wanted to know if it was okay to postpone thirty minutes. Of course it was! I had been thinking of the right questions for days, she probably had them all before. I had to convey Brel’s genius to non-French speakers – talk about a mission! I thought if only I could translate some of his lyrics, it would suffice in showing the literary strength of Brel.

“And then... and then... and then there’s Frida Who’s pretty like the sun Who’s love for me is the same As my own love for Frida.”

it in a six syllables rhyme? It’s doomed to fail like trying to recreate the incipit of Nabokov’s Lolita, or describing the chiaroscuro in a painting by Caravaggio to a blind friend.

Cross that out. It doesn’t sound right. What about this: “Who’s pretty like sunshine / And who loves me like I / Yes like I love Frida.”

The translation of Le port d’Amsterdam, to Mort Shuman, must have been an exhausting undertaking, full of disappointment. He did a fine job, of course, but something is missing from the English version, something I can’t quite place my finger on. The ‘fly’ is there but the ‘rancid’ accordion isn’t, the ‘oriflamme’ has been forgotten too, and so has the ‘heart of fries.’ But the main loss in translation? ‘Ocean languors’? Perhaps. Shuman’s version hasn’t got any ‘languor’ whereas Brel paints Amsterdam as slumberous and languorous, submerged in a thick heat. So thick is the heat that one could easily taste

Brel’s text is precise, a mathematical formula no translation can render. Racontent rhymes with compte like two plus two equal four. It couldn’t have been otherwise. In Ces gens là people aren’t speaking to each other, they’re not recounting anything, too worried about the money, all they do is count. A concept easily explained, but how do you translate

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ABOVE: Brel & Barbara, the ballet by Maurice Béjart. BOTTOM LEFT: Jacques Brel’s first film as a director was Franz in 1971. MIDDLE: Jacques and daughter France. RIGHT: Édition Jacques Brel in Brussels.

it, it stays pasted to the tongue. Maybe this is why, in the only version of Amsterdam, a live clip of Brel gleamingly sweating his glee, the great Belgian sticks the tip of his tongue out on the ‘n’ of océanes! To show the crowd the evidence that what he’s interpreting before them is the truth. Brel doesn’t interpret, my friend Julien told me, he paints. Each one of his songs is a fresco with its spectacular landscapes in the background, the detailed portraits of his characters, the modest interiors, the rough texture of a fatherly moustache, but also the sounds and smells – the slurps of Those folks eating soup or the house of The elders which smells of thyme and of the language of yesteryear.

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But who am I to explain Brel, that’s only my version of him, and to each his own. France shared some brelian anecdotes with me.

owns a textile brand. We spent most of our youth wondering what he named the brand after – only recently did we realised it was after the iconic Frida in Brel’s songs.

“Some time ago we went back to the old building where Jacques used to live in his youth,” she explains, “and we met an old man from Africa, he was walking out of the building with his cane, painfully, marked by the time that never stops. We asked him if we could take some pictures. When he realised who we were, he told us ‘you can do whatever you like, Brel taught me French.’”

That’s how global his impact was. His song Vesoul has 133 covers in 24 languages, mathematics indeed. Brel loved the common man, and while everyone else tried to embellish life, he worked at rendering a more truthful and real image, full of happiness but also often despair. He was an observer and understood the beauty of everyday life.

Those stories come by the dozen. The father of Mehdi, an Algerian friend of mine,

He was obsessed by time passing. Surely that must have motivated him to stay a little longer with us in posterity.


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Discover Benelux | Business | Investment

Wallonia’s power of ten TEXT & PHOTO: WALLONIA.BE

Situated in the heart of Europe, Wallonia is a region where the businesses can establish themselves and develop in highly favourable conditions. It's an area of great innovation and competitiveness where men and women can promote their talents, use their expertise and blossom in their work. It's an attractive and competitive region where businesses benefit from intelligent taxation and a wide range of financial, social and environmental support. It's a warm region, where hospitality, culture and tradition come together harmoniously.

Accessibility

businesses an excellent environment in which to grow.

Technical know-how Having 9 universities, 300 research centres, 11,000 researchers and 20 centres of excellence, Wallonia has enormous resources that it makes available to businesses to develop their performance. In Wallonia, effective working offers a major advantage. The ability to generate performance is closely linked to the education system and training, into which substantial investment is made.

Establishing yourself in Wallonia is to do business right in the heart of Europe, just a stone's throw away from all major European cities, key international institutions and the headquarters of a large number of multinationals.

In Wallonia, businesses profit from intelligent and competitive corporation tax, both from the point of view of businesses and non-residents.

With 200 fully equipped business parks, 6 science parks and 1,700 hectares of land immediately available, Wallonie offers

This strategic policy is backed up by considerable financial support at all stages in the development of a business.

Sense of sharing

Quality of life Wallonia is naturally open to the world. It's because of this spirit and the quality of its products that go hand in hand with its modern infrastructure that each year it increases its volume of trade with both its neighbours and the most distant countries. The competitiveness of its businesses is a priority for Wallonia. In a positive social climate, the government and administrative authorities actively contribute to this through close partnerships with businesses and considerable incentives. Nature, culture, leisure: Wallonia makes the most of its appeal, though its friendliness, traditions, sense of hospitality and relaxation. www.investinwallonia.be

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Discover Benelux | Business | Columns

What communicates? TEXT: JOSIAH FISK | PHOTOS: COURTESY OF JOSIAH FISK In the Netherlands, plain language is the law. But what, exactly, does that mean? It’s pretty easy, while struggling with an impenetrable pile of words from a company or government, to catch yourself muttering that there ought to be a law against this sort of thing. In fact, I’m willing to bet a bottle of good Dutch jenever (oude or nieuwe, your choice) that you’ve had that very thought at least once. You’re not alone. Many government entities in the Netherlands support the idea of clarity. Some have even passed laws or regulations requiring it. Yet the Netherlands, like the rest of world, is still awash in reader-unfriendly websites, notices, and other communications. Does that mean the laws aren’t working? According to Tialda Sikkema, a lecturer in legal writing at Hogeschool Utrecht, the answer is mixed. Her research into the matter has so far turned up little direct evidence of enforcement. No Netherlanders, in other words, have done any prison time or paid any fines for abusing their language (or their constituents’ patience). But that doesn’t mean the laws have had no effect. In the US, the Plain Language Act of 2010 has yet to generate any enforcement actions, but it has prompted

Josiah Fisk

a flurry of plain-language activity within the federal government (the law’s target). The same is likely to be true in the Netherlands. To those who doubt the value of plain language laws (a group that includes both supporters and detractors), the main issue is the laws’ vagueness. It’s true the laws are limited to saying, in effect, “your documents should be understandable by ordinary people.” Until definitions of “understandable” and “ordinary people” are developed that work adequately across the entire range of circumstance, vagueness seems destined to rule.

Yet even vagueness isn’t the main issue. Almost by definition, communication requires goodwill on the part of both speaker and listener. (Even then, it often fails, as we know all too well.) And no law was ever written that could compel the existence of goodwill. So will bad communication ever become the exception rather than the rule? I say yes. It’s happening already. Businesses and governments are waking up to the fact that bad communication costs them money. Meanwhile, if the passage of plain language laws helps draw attention to the issue, so much the better.

Josiah Fisk is the head of More Carrot LLC, a clear communications company with offices in Boston and Luxembourg.

Feedback across frontiers TEXT: STEVE FLINDERS | PRESS PHOTO Last month I argued that giving and receiving positive and constructive feedback can make individuals and teams more engaged and productive. Here are five things to think about when giving feedback in an international context. 1. Power. In some countries and organisations, hierarchy is strong and communication is top-down. It may be possible to give feedback to peers but out of the question to give feedback to your boss. Start by encouraging feedback from your own reports instead. Then hierarchy may start to break down below you and your boss might want to get in on the act. 2. Formality. If the organisation has highly developed appraisal systems in place, the giving of informal feedback – short, quick, frequent and immediate – may be seen as a challenge to the accepted way of doing things. Again, feel your way. 3. Personal identity. In some countries and organisations, the individual is prized above the team and in others it’s the opposite. Take care not to single out individuals for praise and feedback in front of team colleagues in more collectively-minded cultures – like many in Asia, for example. (Hofstede’s measures

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of Power Distance can give you a quick idea of how important hierarchy is in different countries: geerthofstede.com) 4. Directness. Communication in some countries and organisations is much less direct than in others. Where people are direct, feedback can be delivered quickly and openly, but if you are a more direct person working in a culture where maintaining face and harmony are prized, be aware of the sensitivities of people who may not be used to this way of talking: soften what you say, use more words, and provide more context, otherwise your counterpart may simply not listen.

Steve Flinders is a director of York Associates (www.york-associates.co.uk). He supports people who work internationally through training and coaching. He’s also a member of the steering group of Coaching York which aspires to make York the coaching capital of the UK (www.coachingyork.co.uk): steveflind@aol.com

5. Language. Praise from North Americans can sometimes seem over the top and insincere to Europeans. Praise from Europeans (if there is any at all) can sometimes seem understated and lacking in passion to North Americans. Discuss your own style with international colleagues. Get feedback and flex it. You can’t create a feedback culture overnight but you can start the process with colleagues with whom you already get on well. If others see and hear that it works, they will start doing it too.

Steve Flinders


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Discover Benelux | Business | Calendar

Benelux Business Calendar TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PRESS PHOTOS

This month has us fixated on the International Festival of Business, the 50-day festival that kicks off in Liverpool in early June. With the stage all set for Benelux Day on 19 June, all eyes will be on opportunities in the Benelux countries and it’ll be interesting to see the outcome. There’s huge potential to be unlocked for companies who are yet to venture across the sea.

MECC Congress venue for FISITA 2014

Green Week 3 – 5 June Brussels, Belgium Green Week’s extensive offering of events, discussions, workshops and sessions have made it the biggest annual conference on European environmental policy. All events are open and free to the public as is the substantial exhibition showcasing green business solutions, NGO activities, local and regional authorities, European and international bodies and more. This year’s theme is Circular Economy, Resource Efficiency & Waste www.greenweek2014.eu Benelux Day at International Festival of Business 19 June 2014 Liverpool, UK Organised by UKTI Benelux, the day will offer insight and impetus for expanding and exporting into the Benelux. British ambassador to Belgium, Jonathan Brenton, said: “British companies will get to see the great business opportunities available to grow their exports in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. And we’ll be promoting the UK as the investment destination of choice for Benelux companies. To win in the global race, our neighbours offer us great opportunities close to home.” www.ifb2014.com FISITA World Automotive Congress 2 – 6 June MECC Maastrict, the Netherlands With the theme ‘Intelligent transport to solve our future mobility, safety and environmental

challenges’, FISITA 2014 approaches the world’s traffic-related environmental problems. The word’s top companies and universities will be present to discuss research and development with regards to vehicle propulsion, dynamics, safety and much more. www.fisita2014.com Havendag | Journee Portuaire | Harbour Day 10 June Luxembourg Embassy to Belgium Attend a business seminar held under the joint patronage of the Embassy of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg to Belgium and Flanders Investment and Trade, exploring the logistics and maritime clusters of Luxembourg and the ports of Antwerp, Ghent and Zeebrugge, www.cluster-maritime.lu

FIFA World cup match between the Netherlands and Australia 18 June McBride’s Sports bar, Craven Cottage, London, UK Watch the crucial World Cup match in style with the Netherlands British Chamber of Commerce at the home of Fulham Football Club. A rare occasion to socialise and network over football, drinks and barbeque, displaying the great Dutch hospitality to your invited clients. All guests who book will be entered in a draw to win a Fulham shirt, signed by Dutch players, John Heitinga and Maarten Stekelenburg. Email info@nbcc.co.uk for more information on booking. www.nbcc.co.uk TOC Europe 24 – 26 June ExCel, London TOC Europe is the global event for people who own, move and handle containerised cargo. www.tocevents-europe.com

FAR LEFT: Liverpool waterfront. LEFT: Prime Minister David Cameron launching IFB in Liverpool in January 2013 (Photos: Liverpool Vision).

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Discover Benelux | Culture | CUT_

Cut_ |Hit for six

CUT_ is an Amsterdam-based electronic music duo consisting of producer Sebastiaan Dutilh and vocalist Belle Doron.

TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: ANDREAS STILLMAN

After recording a cover of Stromae’s Papaoutai last month, the Amsterdam-based duo of producer Sebastiaan Dutilh and vocalist Belle Doron were hit for six. We caught up with the electronic music pair a week after their unassuming music video garnered more than half a million views. On the rhythm of Amsterdam: There is a constant flow of new art projects starting, bands playing, clubs opening. For us this works as a very inspiring environment. Overall people are very open-minded and festivals like Amsterdam Dance Event show how much love there is for music and especially dance music. On that Stromae cover: On the 31st of March we launched our cover-video of Stromae's Papaoutai as a collaboration with Stillman inspired by the strong look of Kraftwerk. It immediately got people’s at-

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tention. And when Mr. Stromae himself posted our video on his wall we reached over half a million views in one week. On improvising: Next to the cover we also released a single called: Twisting and Turning and are currently finishing up our debut EP with our own songs. When we play live we integrate the songs in an improvised musical setting. Sebastiaan does the instrumental part, he controls the electronics and effects with different controllers. Belle sings over this and loops her own voice so different harmonies are created. Lyrics are inspired by events that happened earlier on the day or in the week and are made up on the spot. It makes every show very different and very exciting for us. On nerves: We throw ourselves in the deep end every time we get on stage. Nerves sometimes play up, we’re still hu-

man after all. But that's also the whole excitement of being a musician. We believe that you should always keep challenging yourself in what you do and this form of improvisation works for us. On playing live: We're trying to build bridges between the "live band" feel and an electronic set. We're not interested in pressing play and faking the whole thing. Integrity is high on our list On comparisons: We're both omnivores when it comes to music. There are not a lot of music styles we don't enjoy. This gives us a very broad spectrum to work from. On summer: This summer we'll be busy playing a lot and working hard on new material. There's an EP coming out soon. ww.cutunderscore.com


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Discover Benelux | Culture | Travelling in the EU

Don’t miss the driving delights of Benelux

TEXT: THE AA | PHOTO: NBTC

The most popular destination for UK motorists venturing over the channel is France – and for those venturing further afield, Belgium and Holland may be simply countries that they pass through with little more than a second glance. But they are missing an awful lot because the Benelux countries, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, have a huge amount to offer the more adventurous car-borne traveller. Away from the motorways, driving is truly a joy. The roads are generally quiet, the countryside stunning and there are countless places to discover along the way. It’s hard to beat pulling up in a small town and strolling around historic streets before finding a place for lunch or a coffee – that way you get to sense what life is like for the lo-

cals. What’s more, fuel is generally cheaper than in the UK – Luxembourg offers some of the cheapest petrol prices in Europe. So for carefree motoring, these are countries that are hard to beat but there are a few things to think about before you travel and the AA’s website offers a host of travel advice. Before you set off, check with your car insurer to make sure your comprehensive insurance doesn’t stay behind as soon as you board the ferry. While all EU residents are by law covered for third party claims if they have car insurance, that doesn’t necessarily apply to your comprehensive cover. While some insurers automatically provide cover

throughout Europe for others you need to notify them and some make an additional charge. You will need to take your car’s V5C and your insurance certificate; driving licenses for all those who will be driving and, of course, your passports. It’s not necessary to take an insurance ‘green card’. If your car doesn’t have EC number plates (the EU stars surrounding the letters GB on a blue panel at one end) you will need a GB sticker prominently placed at the rear of the car. You’ll need to arrange travel insurance and European Breakdown Cover as well – the latter could save you a fortune if your car breaks down and needs to be repatriated to the UK. AA’s cover is 24/7. Enjoy some carefree motoring this June!

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Discover Benelux | Culture | Out & About

OUT & ABOUT There’s an eclectic range of events to be enjoyed this June, from striding out through Luxembourg’s charming capital in the city’s marathon, clambering over obstacles in the Belgian Ardennes and sailing in the world’s biggest catamaran race around Texel. Although perhaps you’re after a more calming cultural activity? Rotterdam welcomes architecture aficionados as it hosts the International Architecture Biennale, the Borremans’exhibition continues at Brussels’BOZAR and Marcel Wanders: Pinned up at the Stedelijk comes to an untimely end on 15 June – don’t say we didn’t warn you. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PRESS PHOTOS

ING Night Marathon, Luxembourg 31 May 2014 Luxembourg City, Luxembourg Join Discover Benelux on the start line of the ING Night Marathon in Luxembourg City. We’re heading over to the Grand Duchy to race against thousands of others like-minded souls, and with a marathon, half marathon, relay race and a 5km race as well as children’s races, the streets will echo. Pounding the pavements of one of Europe’s most picturesque cities on a weekend when Luxembourg is set to shine as it offers a host of activities, entertainment and culture alongside the running festival. Criss-cross the city and soak up the carnival atmosphere. www.ing-night-marathon.lu/en/

International Architecture Biennale: Urban by Nature 29 May 2014 – 24 August 2014 Kunsthal Rotterdam, the Netherlands Kunsthal Rotterdam and the Museum of Natural History in Rotterdam are proud to present the sixth International Architecture Biennale. Under the title Urban by Nature, the exhibition explores the growth of cities and the shrinking boundaries between rural and urban spaces. With more than 100 projects from across the globe shown in a variety of mediums, it is a fascinating glimpse into the past, present and future of the city-landscape. www.iabr.nl Casablanca, SMAQ, project Rainmaker – A City Generating Rain

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Discover Benelux | Culture | Out & About A lady of the manor in the trenches 5 June 2014 to 27 October 2014 Every Sunday from 2pm until 6pm, or any day on request. Chateau de Louvignies, Louvignies, Belgium A visit to the picturesque Chateau de Louvignies in rural Belgium brings history to life with its new exhibition celebrating the selflessness of those who took part in the First World War. Drawing on genuine artefacts from residents of the castle itself, the exhibition is a tale of altruism, documenting the lady of castle who transformed it into a hospital during the four year war. www.chateau-louvignies.be Jazz at the Lake 7 June 2014 The Nieuwe Meer, Amsterdam, the Netherlands You’re welcomed to arrive by boat at the Nieuwe Meer, sitting comfortably on deck as you watch the open-air performances by international jazz, soul and funk artists. Sipping your wine and munching on your picnic, an early summer’s evening won’t get much better than this. With performances on and off hard land, it’s a pretty

Midzomerschans on the island of Texel. Photo: VVV Texel and Midzomerschans

spectacular location for some of the world’s finest music. www.jazzatthelake.nl Don’t you know who I am? 13 June 2014 – 14 September 2014 M HKA, Antwerp, Belgium Placing European and global artists together in an attempt to investigate ‘identity politics’ and its relevance today. Spread over two floors in the light and spacious Museum of Modern Art in Antwerp is an exhibition containing specially created works from around 30 artists approaching

the question of what comes after identity politics and how our interest in subjectivity and identity can help us to prepare for the future? www.muhka.be Midzomerschans 21 and 22 June 2014 Texel, the Netherlands The Wadden Island of Texel welcomes visitors to its intimate midsummer cultural festival with a line-up of artists who spend the rest of year wowing large crowds so this is a rare and precious chance to see them in the island’s historic

International Architecture Biennale in Rotterdam deals with the theme Urban by Nature this year. Project Waste Incubator Makoko. © Fabulous Urban

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Discover Benelux | Culture | Out & About

Jazz on the Lake

fort, close to nature and surrounded by the sea. Street theatre and acting, alongside classical and country music, as well as the well-known and well-loved opera Carmen will keep visitors to this area of natural beauty enthralled. www.midzomerschans.nl Beer Passion Weekend 27 – 29 June 2014 Groenplaats, Antwerp, Belgium With over 200 beers to taste from 32 breweries, this is your opportunity for an overview of Belgium’s best beers, choosing your favourite won’t be easy but it will certainly be enjoyable. www.bierpassieweekend.be Genk on Stage 27 - 29 June 2014 Genk, Belgium A free open-air festival in the centre of Genk sounds too good to be true. It’s one of Belgium’s biggest festivals and since its conception in 1982 has welcomed such names as The Human League, Milow and Fun Lovin’ Criminals.

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While the main stage is on the renovated town square, there are four other stages to get you dancing: Mainstream stage, Factor J stage, Tribute stage and Roots-rock stage. genkonstage.genk.be

tal strength of those who dare to compete. With around 15 challenging obstacles to be overcome, it’s a brutal test of will power but one which will certainly leave you satisfied. www.sport.be/battleoftheardennes

Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra 27 June 2014 Echternach, Luxembourg One of the world’s most important musical competitions comes to Luxembourg after the announcement of the winners in Brussels. The winning entrants of the Concours International Reine Ellisabeth competition, set up in 1937, will sing alongside the Philharmonic Orchestra of Luxembourg under the direction of Ulrich Windfuhr. www.trifolion.lu

Round Texel 28 June 2014 Texel, the Netherlands The world’s largest catamaran race circles the island as part of a week of wider watery activities. With Olympians sailing alongside recreational sailors, this is a fantastic opportunity to see a whole other side to the island of Texel. www.roundtexel.com

Battle of the Ardennes 28 June 2014 Durbuy, Belgium A rather different race to your typical 10km or half marathon, the Battle of the Ardennes is a six mile survival race, testing the physical and men-

Summer Festival 28 – 29 June 2014 Antwerp, Belgium With Martin Garrix, Nicky Romero and Sidney Samson on the line-up, this festival in the centre of Antwerp is certainly well suited for dance lovers. www.summerfestival.be


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Business on the go Now also on iPad

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Discover Benelux | Culture | States of Art

States of Art TEXT: MATT ANTONIAK

Politics can be baffling at the best of times (so too can art, of course). Belgian politics are no different, and perhaps even more dizzying than most. Trying to understand the intricacies of the multiple Belgian governments can leave you with a sore head, but there is also a flip side to the situation. As the relationship between politics and art has ever-increased over the past one hundred years, the politics of Belgium have provided the background for works by an exciting and eclectic group of artists. Rene Magritte’s rise to art world demigod began with his interest in politics and the Dada movement. In the wake of widespread disgruntlement in the post-World War One situation, the barmy Dada movement caught the interest of Magritte before he made his name with his apple-abundant paintings in the Surrealist movement.

Since then art and politics have become progressively more and more intertwined, and a plethora of avant-garde artists have produced works that reference Belgium’s political situation. Leonard Nolens’ poetry has assessed Belgian identity, politics have inspired the magic realist novels of Johan Daisne and Hubert Lampo, and the political leanings of Luc Tuymans’ work have repurposed contemporary painting. In recent times the films and documentaries of Sven Augustijnen have tackled the history and politics of this small country resulting in award-winning creations exhibited across the globe. Of course politics is not for everyone. Some people are happy to steer clear, and conversely others are more than happy to let their thoughts be known (we all know them)! But whatever your stance on the matter, perhaps we should all celebrate

politics, if only for providing the stimulus for all the fêted work produced by these Belgians artists and others all over the world!

Artist Rene Magritte in front of his painting The Pilgrim, 1967. Photo: Lothar Wolleh / Source: Wikipedia

What are you? TEXT: ANOUK KALMES | PHOTO: 23ANDME.COM

I was once stopped by the US border patrol when driving through Arizona and they shouted at me: ‘What are you?’ My response was, ‘a human being’. It goes without saying that they didn’t like my reply and I was pulled aside and searched. New people I meet often ask me where I’m from, where I was born and what my origin is. Until yesterday I didn’t really know myself. I was adopted by Luxembourg parents when I was four months old and I have never met my biological parents. Unlike other adoptees, I have never felt the need to search for them but after regularly having to listen to people’s opinion of what they thought I was, I decided to take a DNA test to find out about my genes. At times I’ve wondered, what shapes us human beings. Is it the cultural environment that we grow up in or our genes?

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When I shared the results of my genetic test (which states that I am 98.2 percent East Asian) with my family, colleagues and friends, it became clear that unlike me, they didn’t care much about it. For them I am still the same person. Very often we are quick to judge someone on their looks. For those who are using Tin-

der, you know what I mean. We also have prejudices when we find out people’s age, nationality, religion and so on. At the end of the day though, what truly matters is how a person is. And that determines in the long run, whether relationships (of any kind) will work. So what am I? Knowing what I know now, I am even more inclined to say that I am Luxembourgish but I happen to carry East Asian genes in me. These are two facts that I cannot change. But for the rest of my life, on a daily basis, I have the power to be what I want to be, and for me that would be striving to be a better version of Anouk Kalmes myself by being loving and kind towards others.


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Discover Benelux | Culture | Learn Luxembourgish

On the personal advantages gained from knowing Luxembourgish TEXT: LIZ WENGER | PHOTO: PHILIP WENGER

Can you imagine lying on a hospital bed trying to explain the anesthetic you need to a room full of foreign-speaking doctors? This is what happened to my husband at the beginning of our time in Luxembourg. Learning a foreign language as an adult can seem like a daunting task, especially with a busy work and family schedule. Many people simply don’t have the time to sit in a classroom three times a week and question the utility of knowing an additional language. However, just like my husband not so long ago, you may find yourself in a situation where knowing the local language is immensely useful. Luckily, technology allows for many options when it comes to learning languages: learn new vocabulary on dedicated Facebook and Twitter pages or get an online tutor to teach your target language over Skype when it suits you.

So, knowing that there are ways of learning Luxembourgish, why should you? Of course, there is the question of practicality. Besides my husband’s hospital experience, there are many other times when Luxembourgish will come in handy. From communicating with Government office workers to befriending your neighbours, Luxembourgish makes daily activities that much easier. Knowing the language of the country you visit is definitely a door opener. People really appreciate the effort when you speak to them in their native language and are likely to go out of their way to help you. Understanding Luxembourgish also allows you to work more effectively as you can catch all the nuances of what is being said around you. It can be a real asset to let experts speak in their language as they won’t feel hampered getting complex ideas across.

Learning a language is about improving yourself and your situation at every level: knowing what your neighbours, co-workers, clients and customers are saying, taking part in the social, cultural and political life, and, on a cerebral level, exercising your brain and expanding your mind. Adding Luxembourgish to your repertoire is almost like acquiring a superpower allowing you to make the most out of your Luxembourg experience.

Liz Wenger is a certified Luxembourgish teacher, writer and founder of learnluxembourgish.com, a website focusing on teaching Luxembourgish to English speakers of the world. Join her on twitter @LearnLuxembourg to start learning Luxembourgish today.

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Discover Benelux | Culture | Columns

The Shallow Man’s guide TEXT: SIMON WOOLCOT | PRESS PHOTO

The Amsterdam Shallow Man, a British expat who has lived in Amsterdam for ten years now, has become something of an oracle to his many followers in the area of complex intercultural affairs of the heart. One of the most common bones of contention in dating the Dutch is the critical question, should one go Dutch on a date or not? I've decided to outline the pros and cons of this. The advantages to going Dutch There are a number of advantages to going Dutch, particularly on the first date. • Depending on the reaction of the person you're on a date with you can easily work out if they are a potential gold digger (male or female) • In the age of tinder, it's never been easier to end up on a date with a complete stranger, what if you hate each other? At least by going Dutch you won't lose out financially • Dutch women are incredibly independent and emancipated. I know this to be true as they constantly shout this at each other in cafes and bars. As they are so independent, they would prefer to pay for their own portion of the bill, surely?

The advantages to not going Dutch • In many cultures paying the bill on a first date is considered the gentlemanly thing to do. In spite of what some Dutch women will say, most women appreciate the gesture of a man paying • If the female partner insists on paying the bill, this is so unusual that the man can't help but be impressed and will lead in most cases to him wanting another date where he can reciprocate • What better way to show your date that you're a generous and giving person? • The look of shock on the face of the (Dutch) partner when you insist on paying the bill • The warm feeling that comes with being a gentlemen

From the experiences of the Shallow Man in the Netherlands, my advice is when dating, the person that has instigated the date should at least offer to pay, it's simply good sport. Yes this might not be the Dutch way of doing things, but if we all behaved the same how boring would that be. Don't go Dutch and nine times out of ten your date will appreciate it. Until next time, happy hunting.

Beneluxer: in their words As the British Ambassador to the Netherlands, Sir Geoffrey Adams couldn’t be better placed to offer his perspective on life in the Netherlands. Originally from near Dundee in Scotland, he now lives in The Hague in his role as the British Ambassador. What I miss most about the UK: The wide open spaces of Scotland are what I miss most about the UK. What the UK has that the Netherlands needs: The UK and the Netherlands are natural partners, and have been for hundreds of years. The trading relationship is currently stronger than ever, with iconic brands like Marks & Spencer opening in The Hague and Hema opening in Britain. There’s a constant stream of goods – and ideas – across the North Sea in both directions.

Where I feel most at home in the Netherlands: I feel entirely at home everywhere in the Netherlands. As is well known, most Dutch people speak better English than I do. What I'm looking forward to in 2014: England v Holland in the World Cup Final would be fun...

LEFT: Sir Geoffrey Adams

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Maarten and Johan, the creators of Antletics

Sprightly ants weave a rhyming tale “An ant colony passed by as I enjoyed my breakfast on holiday in Croatia,”begins Antletic’s creator Johan Veldeman excitedly. Struck by the potential of the word Antletics, he immediately claimed it along with the antletics.com website upon his return to Belgium. TEXT: HILAIRE SPREUWERS | PHOTO: ANTLETICS

Yet, the word alone wasn’t enough; there had to be a story too. After a long deliberation, he knew he wanted a character that would appeal to children while offering them that little bit extra in terms of the tale and its potential for language development and learning.

onto paper. He showed them to his friend Maarten, whose first reaction was ‘I can do this, only better.’ For Johan this was a relief, as he reveals: “As I’d written the story through Archie’s eyes, I’d never actually seen him myself so I didn’t have any preconceived ideas.”

“About a year later I woke up with two rhyming verses chanting over and over in my head,” Johan explains. “Now the same two verses form the beginning of Antletics.” The three and a half years it took to create the 1,000 verses which tell Archie’s story were eventful, with Andy evolving into Archie and countless plot twists.

After presenting the first chapter at the esteemed Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the critics were unanimous. But their conclusion of ‘great story, unfitting graphics’ came as a blow to the pair. “My first Archie was more of a cartoon character and the general consensus was that he was too childish. With these comments in mind, we began anew and Maarten created a more Tim Burton-esque kind of ant,” explains the young Belgian word-weaver.

In the meantime, Johan was on the hunt for a graphic designer to translate his ant

“After 9 years, the story is now complete. We have a book of 152 pages and even a 67 minute audiobook,” says Johan with a broad smile. For the audio book, Johan turned to Chris Brooker, formerly of the popular British a cappella band Flying Pickets, to provide the voice over, music and sound effects. For children, Antletics is far more than just a lively tale of intrigue, love and justice, thanks to its rhymes it’s a valuable aid for speech development and language learning too. Antletics is published by Johan at 500ex. www.antletics.com. Johan now is looking for a publisher for a 2nd print.

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Tax Advisory & Tax Compliance Services

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Discover Benelux | Issue 6 | June 2014  

Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Discover Benelux | Issue 6 | June 2014  

Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.