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I S S U E 7 | J U LY 2 0 1 4

FRANCESCO T R I S TA N O ’S U NCONVENTIONAL

CL ASSICISM

P ROMOTI NG B ELGI U M,

THE

DUTCH DESIGN AND FASHION & OU R P ICKS FOR B R I LLIANT B E N E L U X D E S T I N AT I O N S C R EATO RS AN D C R EATI O N S PLUS: DESIGN, CULTURE AND TOURISM

NETHERLANDS

AND

LUXEMBOURG


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Private Banking.

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www.ing.lu/privatebanking

ING Luxembourg, Société Anonyme – 52, route d’Esch, L-2965 Luxembourg – R.C.S. Luxembourg B.6041


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Discover Benelux | Contents

Contents JULY 2014

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COVER FEATURE 6

Francesco Tristano Classically trained yet unconventional on stage, we catch up with Tristano. A Luxembourger born and bred, he opens up about life in a suitcase, the perils of piano playing and what he has in store in the future.

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Made in Luxembourg As July heralds Amsterdam Fashion Week, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight some delectable Dutch designers whose textiles can be draped, looped or swathed. From wellness designers, holiday homes and flooring specialists to fabric fashionistas, cardboard connoisseurs and barbecuing goddesses.

Visit Flanders Introduced by one of the region’s biggest fans, our Visit Flanders section focuses on the lengthy coastline and Mechelen's museum of human rights.

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See & Do While Alkmaar’s Cheese Museum takes you from cow to cheese via one of Europe's greatest cheese markets, the Belgium Centre de la Gravure et de l'Image imprimée showcases printing throughout the ages, with a summer exhibition focused on Japan.

Destination: Luxembourg Mullerthal & Red Rock Given that it’s July, we’re introducing you to two of Luxembourg’s most interesting regions. Mullerthal, centred on the cool city of Echternach, is paradise in the eyes of mountain bikers and culture vultures alike. The Red Rock Region on the other hand, once the heart of Luxembourg’s mining wealth, spends its summer hosting festivals and extreme competitions.

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Education As the academic year comes to an end, we’ve picked three of the Lowlands’ best establishments for creative learning. For further education in fashion, fine art and foreign languages, look no further than this section.

Chamber Orchestra of Luxembourg Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Martin Pilkington takes a closer look at the Chamber Orchestra of Luxembourg.

SPECIAL THEMES 14

The Dutch capital gets its fashion fix with Amsterdam Fashion Week running from July 4 -14.

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Attractions of the Month: There’s only one way to Experience Brussels, and you can read about it here. Those with 'A Royal Passion for Art' will certainly enjoy a trip to the Luxembourg City Art Museum, housed in the magnificent Villa Vauban.

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Hotels of the Month: Gazing out over the valleys of Luxembourg, the very exclusive Hotel Temps d’Or is a truly luxury hotel. Discreet and uncomplicated, the castle’s surroundings and luxury interior means its guests keep coming back year after year.

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While in the Netherlands it is the turn of Hotel de Beukenhof, who, despite its royal clientele, opens its door to everyone. With an ancient beech tree forming the centrepiece of the garden, it’s a hotel and restaurant that appeals to families and friends.

Restaurant of the Month: Amsterdam’s Wilde Zwijnen quickly became one of our favourite haunts in the capital. Offering much more than the name suggests, their menu is a hit with diners with high demands.

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Business “An imperative of change,” says Tjerrd Hoek, VD of frog design. Joshua Yancey chats to the business strategy mogul of the internationally successful frog design. Alongside Austrian holiday home investments, we’ve got UKTI Fashion and our regulars, Josiah Fisk from Luxembourgbased communication company More Carrot and more wise words from the business-savvy Steve Flinders.

PLUS 12 Desirable Designs from Benelux | 10 Fashion Picks 61 Luxessed | 63 Out & About | 65 States of Art 66 Shallow Man’s Guide | 67 Book Feature

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Discover Benelux | Editor’s Note

Dear Reader,

Discover Benelux

Cover Photo

Issue 7, July 2014

Aymeric Giraudel

Published June 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

Corinne Camara Yasmina Haddadi Henk Gieskens Publisher: Scan Group 15B Bell Yard Mews Bermondsey Street London SE1 3TY United Kingdom

Emmie Collinge Contributors Myriam Dijck Joshua Yancey Janine Sterenborg

With outdoor season in full swing, Benelux is coming up trumps with its open-air theatre, festivals and cinemas. In Ghent, it’s all about DOK, the open-air space that has made a very welcome return to one of Belgium’s hippest cities. In the Netherlands, there’s a plethora of activities to do al fresco, particularly on the coastline. Luxembourg’s highlights come in the form of the Mullerthal region, where you can push yourself on some spectacular mountain bike and hiking trails. Adrenaline fuelled summer activities, what more could you ask for?

Phone +44 (0)870 933 0423 Fax +44 (0)870 933 0421 Email: info@discoverbenelux.com www.discoverbenelux.com

Milou van Roon Berthe van den Hurk Sylvia de Vries Harun Osmanovic Anna Parkin Martin Pilkington Carole Edrich Matt Antoniak Steve Flinders Josiah Fisk Anouk Kalmes Phil Gale Lisa Gerard-Sharp

Our exclusive interview this month comes in the tall frame of Francesco Tristano, a Luxembourger whose nimble fingers cruise the piano, wowing audiences across the globe. As he prepares for his latest classically inspired collaboration, we chatted to him about life, love and other four letter words. Our Dutch design and fashion special really has excelled itself this month – I know, I know, of course I’m going to say this, but I’m genuinely honoured to present some of the Netherlands’ finest designers and the coolest products. From the most stunning swimming pools to luxury scarves via electric bikes and cardboard museums, it’s an eclectic mix. With barbecue season well and truly upon us, we’ve taken on a challenge to see who can host the biggest and the best. What do you pull out of the bag at barbecue season? For me it’s all about the grilled vegetables with some tasty ras el hanout. But have we become too easily pleased with burnt slabs of meat though? Perhaps it’s time we set our barbecuing standards a little higher. No longer content with fast-food, we’re always after the organic, the slow-food, the ecologically sourced, the fair-trade produce, so why are our barbecuing standards so low? There’s a solution though, charging through in form of the Dutch Troy, which you can read about in this issue. On that note, throw another shrimp on the barbie!

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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U N C O N V E N T I O N A L

CLASSICIST Having already spent two thirds of his young life performing on stages across almost all of the seven continents, Luxembourg-born Francesco Tristano, one of this century’s best pianists, opens up about living out of his suitcase, his current project fusing electronics, jazz and his own classical roots, as well as his unconventional piano playing. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: MARIE STAGGAT & AYMERIC GIRAUDEL

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Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Francesco Tristano

Chatting to the charismatic 31-year-old is a pleasure. Eloquent and conscientious, it comes as little surprise that as an eleven year old he was already wise enough to make the decision to focus on his piano playing. Given the choice between being mediocre and the best, he realised that he had the potential to “really improve” if he just rehearsed a little more. It takes a certain kind of child to know what is really worth pursuing, but this is exactly what Tristano did. Largely due to his mother’s own love of classical music, “preferring to listen rather than play”, the household was never quiet. Laughing, he denies that he was a particularly serious boy and admits that practising has always been a bit of a problem. “It takes a lot of discipline, in fact, discipline is essential and that’s not easy when you’re young,” he says. Hours upon hours were spent drawing and painting alongside his piano practice, but he made his own conscious decision to focus solely on piano and it obviously paid off; by the age of 15 his talent had been recognised and he moved to Paris where he spent a year warming up for New York’s esteemed Juilliard School. After turning 16, he embarked on a journey across the Atlantic, settling in the Big Apple where he spent five years studying. With the Juilliard School famous across the globe, Tristano explains that while there are “very specific requirements to enter and graduate from the school,” the interim five years can be spent “doing whatever.” It was in this period in the cultural capital of New York that Tristano first began to experiment with electronic music alongside his classical compositions. “Juilliard is a conservatory,” he explains, “Its purpose is to conserve art and traditions. I wasn’t really encouraged to try new things but teachers only have a limited influence,” he laughs.

struggles to give a definite answer. Most visible are the classical side, the electronics and the amalgamation of the two, but as Tristano explains: “The classical is shielded from the electronics, but they communicate a lot. Where the border is, I just don’t know. I hope there are many facets to my music that are still unknown to me.” With the piano quite clearly the forefather of today’s keyboards and synths, it has taken one young man from Luxembourg to span the centuries and combine their legacies. As far as his audiences are concerned, he’s proud that his shows attract a crossover, proof to him that they’re there regardless of what style he’s playing. His electronic set-up is a complex one on stage, incorporating, naturally, his piano, the Yamaha CFX, which he assuredly says is “absolutely up to my needs in terms of the sound and the technical aspects”, alongside synths, microphones to “capture the sound of the piano” and a laptop and controllers. Using real-time processing during his performances, “the electronic elements start to communicate” and his skills have been lauded and called upon by techno’s elite, including Moritz Von Oswald and Carl Craig.

With classical shows being scheduled around eighteen months in advance, we’ve spotted a date in June 2015 in London that we’re keen to attend. Tristano laughs: “In the classical spectrum this is what happens, the shows are planned way ahead for the subscriptions.” The show that we’ve got in mind is a very exciting collaboration with the German-Japanese Alice Sara Ott, considered one of today’s most skilled classical pianists. “Playing with her is very exciting,” says Tristano. “We met about five years ago and became friends. It was just a matter of time until we started playing together and when we presented the idea to the label to record an album, they loved it.” It’s exciting on many levels, as Ott, with the label of ‘classical pianist’ now has the chance to explore new musical avenues and the audiences of the pair vary greatly. “Ott’s audience are used to romantic, classical music, while my audience are not exactly that – they could be into baroque or rave!” The pair’s first piece has already been very well received by critics and the forthcoming vinyl package with remixes will appeal to both their audiences. For Ott, it’s the chance to “step outside her classical niche” as Tristano makes a welcome return to his classical roots. Having collaborated on an album to be released in

Today, Tristano is known by various audiences for his wholly different styles. As a DJ and producer he’s played some of Europe’s best venues and coolest electronic music parties, including Berlin’s Berghain and London’s Fabric. I ask if he can put his finger on just how multifaceted he is, but he

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Discover Benelux | Cover Feature | Francesco Tristano

relax. It forces me to look away, so Catalonia is ideal for that,” he says. “Barcelona in particular is good for my life. Not only is it really beautiful but it’s not too big. As an urban space it’s pretty amazing.” While he can often be found in Barcelona, he’s still a Luxembourger through and through. With his entire family still in Luxembourg City, he’s there more often than not and reveals with a wry smile that it is more realistic to say that he lives in his suitcase. Playing around 100 shows a year alongside composing, producing and practising is understandably exhausting and Tristano says ruefully that he wishes he was “a little softer” on himself. “I rarely take time off. I allowed myself a full seven days last summer, but they went by far too quickly and I couldn’t stop thinking about work.” He expounds: “My life is the music. Aside from my morning coffee and the time to take care of the people I love, it’s all about the music. I really need to force myself to take a break, to say that I’m not go-

September, Alice explains their eclectic take on the Russian impresario Diaghilev’s music: “That was what Diaghilev wanted – to move away from what was conventional and bourgeois. And that can definitely happen today too. We can demonstrate with these pieces that classical music is not as conservative as many people think.” But returning to his classical stance has its drawbacks, as long hours spent at the piano can lead to back trouble so the 31year-old has taken to playing in an unconventional standing position. Being “quite” tall (he’s 186cm), he finds it rather uncomfortable to sit but tells me that it is not always feasible in a classical environment and the on-stage set-up is often impossible to change. Therefore it’s important for him to take care of his core strength and Tristano is a keen runner. We bond over the ING Luxembourg Night Marathon, which I have entered; a race which he himself has done several years ago and he enthusias-

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tically explains the challenging city route, doing little to calm my nerves. Running along the seashore in Barcelona is one of his releases. From land-locked Luxembourg, this close proximity to the sea has taken on a special significance. “I’ve had my studio in this city for about 10 years now and I love coming to the sea to

ing to compose today, I won’t write 50 emails and I won’t rehearse the Bach pieces. Instead, I’ll go on a bike ride. It’s difficult, but essential.”

SCANDALE by Tristano and Alice Sara Ott comes out in September on the Deutsche Grammophon label.


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Discover Benelux | Design | Desirable Designs

Desirable Designs from Benelux Lusting for a way to jazz up an outfit or July’s endless summer days? Sitting out on your terrace as the kids tear around the garden is all well and good, but you want some design eye-candy to impress the neighbours, right?

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1: Bijoux QréationS

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BY EMMIE COLLINGE | PRESS PHOTOS

Modern and fancy, this jewellery by Bijoux QréationS might just be the thing for you. The Luxembourgish Designer Sandra Quell’s unique take on rings, pendants, earrings and bracelets brings an added sparkle to our summer days. Each piece is handmade and often one-of-akind, incorporating gemstones, enamels and pearls www.monbijou.lu

2: BRIK Brut – ‘A real city slicker’ The Brut is the latest model from the Dutch company BRIK and we can totally see ourselves whizzing around the capital on this. Appealing to confident urban cyclists, it’s a shaft-driven sporty model that makes a statement with its distinct lack of a chain. Made from tough aluminum tubing, it is available in three different colours (super cool dark blue, trendy matte grey and timeless matte black) with either three or seven gears. (From €786) www.brikfietsen.nl

3: Nowruz Rituals Hozan Zangana presents Nowruz Rituals: a design project for all traditions surrounding the Persian New Year celebration. The first creation is a collection of porcelain pedestals for a contemporary Haft Sin table setting, bearing at least seven traditional items start-

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ing with the letter S. These items all symbolise the essence of spring. (€950 – Limited edition) www.nowruzrituals.com

5: JACK Electric Scooter JACK is a clean and modern personal transporter for travelling short distances in urban areas. Thanks to its compact folded dimensions, it couldn’t be a better companion to chuck in the car boot, or take on boats and other public transport (www.jackscooter.com). Design agency Springtime developed the Jack for LEEV Mobility BV, who will launch the product globally this autumn. (€1,530) www.springtime.nl

4: Impressio collection by Bijoux QréationS Bijoux QréationS now offer jewellery with the hand and footprints of your precious little ones. Whether you opt for an elegant pendant or a unique pair of cufflinks from the IMPRESSIO collection, you’ll have those treasured prints with you all the time. Bijoux QréationS have made our lives easier by sending an easy-to-use printing kit with clear instructions on how to take your baby’s prints, and the form, size, text, colour and finish are your choice.

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www.monbijou.lu

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Discover Benelux | Design | Fashion Picks

J U LY

F A S H I O N

P I C K S :

Winsome in white It’s only when the mercury rises that true style bubbles to the surface. It’s easy to wrap thirteen shawls around oneself in winter and call it ‘a layered look’. Looking fab when the last thing you want to do is wear anything at all: that’s the challenge. It’s all about finding the right cut, fit and colour: tints of white immediately spring to mind. Used sparingly – or with trimmings of black – white still reigns as the ultimate shade of chic when there isn’t much shade to speak of.

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

WOMEN 1: Dior Couture by Raf Simons Photo: Yannis Vlamos for style.com Perfection is personified in this cut-out couture coat dress by Raf Simons for Dior. From the slight puff of the sleeves over the half-moon peekaboo holes to the X-crossing of the black trim, you won’t really find a more divine example of white wonder. 2: Skirt by A.F. Vandevorst (€533) Photo: Farfetch Pleats fall like razorblades across this A.F. Vandevorst skirt. Its asymmetry gives it an edge that veers away from the vestal school girl look. A nightmare on the ironing board in all likelihood, but one must suffer for fashion. 3: Shirt by Peter Pilotto (€570) Photo: Net-à-Porter Shelling out 570 big ones for a white shirt might sound like downright ludicrousness, but this is no run of the mill shirt: it has side overlays! You can tuck them in or out and you can flap them absentmindedly while waiting for a friend in a pub. Endless possibilities. 4: Bag by Maison Martin Margiela (€1355) Photo: Net-à-Porter

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3D python print you say? It must be a Margiela! This blurry print will have people squinting their eyes and speed-dialling their ophthalmologist in a way only the Maison with 3 M’s can.

2 5: Clear panel shirt by a. Knackfuss (€343) Photo: Farfetch If side overlays aren’t your thing, what about clear plastic panels on your shirt? Young Belgian designer a. Knackfuss went the extra mile to reinterpret the classic white shirt. Just try to cool off with icy beverages on a hot day, your shirt might fog up.

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Discover Benelux | Design | Fashion Picks

MEN 1: Suit by Viktor & Rolf

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A white suit is usually associated with pimps and/or professional karaoke singers from Odessa. However, when the cut is executed to perfection as in this Viktor & Rolf specimen, the cards are reshuffled. Now the white suit evokes images of summer weddings in Capri, and not of capris worn with bejeweled denim vests. 2: Backpack by Kris Van Assche (€859) Photo: SSense A white croc backpack? Surely the aforementioned pimp karaoke singer has reared his well-gelled head once more? Admittedly, it doesn’t sound great on paper but luckily this Kris Van Assche piece is real. And it’s a showstopper. 3: Shirt by Bernhard Willhelm (€386) Photo: Farfetch

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You’ll never fall short of attention in a Bernhard Willhelm piece and this scissor-print shirt is no different. Why keep all the fun symbols for the itchy labels in your neck? Plaster ‘em on the front! 4: Organic shoes by Rombaut (Price upon request) Photo: Rombaut Eco-fiends will love these boots by Belgian designer Mats Rombauts: this young designer only ever uses natural materials such as fig treebark, cotton canvas and coconut fibres. Pretty sure you could eat these. 5: T-shirt by Ann Demeulemeester (€174) Photo: Mr Porter This wisp-thin Demeulemeester tee is made of lyocell and über-light cotton. The black trim holds the delicate fabric in place, allowing it to fall beautifully as the white cotton billows ever so slightly in the summer breeze. Lovely.

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Discover Benelux | Music | Orchestrating Excellence

Orchestrating Excellence The Chamber Orchestra of Luxembourg (OCL) celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Such milestones traditionally demand reflection that for the OCL may prompt thoughts of continuity and change – and potentially of a new field for these hard-worked and -working musicians to tackle. TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTOS: JULIEN ZIMMER

Continuity for OCL is seeing their founder, Joseph Groben, still an active member of the directing committee: “M. Groben ran the orchestra for 35 years, so his contribution to what we have achieved has been fantastic,” says Administrative Director Pierre Laurent, whose own participation dates back 16 years, first as a violinist then since 2011 in his current role. Change is perhaps most significantly represented by David Reiland, who began his work as the OCL’s artistic and musical director two years ago. “Over the last 18 months or so the orchestra has undergone an amazing metamorphosis,” says Laurent. “There is a new

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dynamism, a new energy about the playing, and that comes through in the quality too.” A glance at the enormous breadth of works in their schedule shows that energy and dynamism are prerequisites for membership of the orchestra. “We have just finished a series of concerts of Beethoven pieces, and are now moving into works by Martinu, Britten and Pärt – the core of our repertoire tends to be 20th century,” says David Reiland. “Then for a ‘homage to jazz’ concert we are doing works by Shostakovich, Milhaud and Copland among others, and we have a Leonard Bernstein programme too.”

Bernstein seems an emblematic choice for the band. Their selection of ‘Lenny’s’ Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, Arias and Barcarolles, Three Meditation from ‘Mass’ and his sonata for clarinet and chamber orchestra provides a snapshot of the composer’s diversity, his music ranging across jazz, classical, sacred, vaudeville and avant garde just as their own repertoire is eclectic. That eclecticism shows up too in their collaborations: “Recently we worked with an Azerbaijani organisation on what might be called world music, and we have an upcoming project where the music of Mozart is to be used for a ballet piece.” Pierre continues: “Plus there is another where break dance is the focus,


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Discover Benelux | Music | Orchestrating Excellence

LEFT: David Reiland leads the Orchestra in last year’s Christmas Concert at their home venue of Mamer’s Kinneksbond (Photo: Artur Kurkowiak). RIGHT: The Chamber Orchestra pride themselves on their musical diversity (Photo: Julien Zimmer).

we’ve worked with people in electronic music, and do a lot in the educational field.” Their season this year also takes in Haydn and by way of contrast (something that seems to be a speciality) music from, or linked to, Argentina – Piazzolla and de Falla are two of the composers to be featured in that. “We have an affinity with the music of both American continents,” says Reiland, “but of course we are also proud of our work promoting Luxembourg composers like Alexander Mullenbach and Marco Pütz.” Luxembourg musicians fill the majority of the orchestra’s chairs, though there are others like percussionist Christopher Hastings from further afield to add an international flavour. David Reiland, as befits the orchestra’s artistic guide, brings both national and international links: “I was born in Belgium, but I am very firmly based in Luxembourg and I have Luxembourg roots too,” he says.

certs, and an excellent auditorium. They also regularly grace the Philharmonie in the capital city, only slightly older and again architecturally dazzling. But the OCL is by no means confined within the Grand Duchy’s borders: “We naturally play concerts nearby in Belgium and France,” says Pierre. “But we have also appeared at festivals around Europe, and in the past have also been privileged to be chosen to play on state visits to Romania and the Netherlands.” There is one thing missing from the orchestra’s musical portfolio – they have yet to make a recording. But that may be about to change. “We cannot say too much about it at present, but there are very real possibilities of a recording on the horizon,” says Pierre Laurent. The plan – such as they are willing to reveal – appears to be completely

in keeping with the philosophy of exploration and inclusivity that drives the group: “What we have in mind is to record pieces by two specific composers from very different eras and of distinctly different musical styles,” says Reiland: “But the two composers do have clear links historically and in metaphysical terms, and in their multifaceted approach to music.” It would be hard to choose a better phrase to sum up the work of the Luxembourg Chamber Orchestra than that last one: ‘multi-faceted approach to music,’ from baroque to ballet via break dance with stops at jazz, variety and world music. Unlike some 40-year-olds this one refuses to slow down. www.ocl.lu

Photo: Artur Kurkowiak

The orchestra has put its own roots down recently in the Kinneksbond in Mamer, about seven miles west of Luxembourg City. The recently opened cultural centre with its elegant ultra-modern architecture provides a fittingly dramatic setting for con-

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Education

A MS TE R DA M

FA S HI ON

A CA DE MY:

Suited and booted for fashion TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PRESS PHOTOS

Since its inauguration last year, Head of School at the Amsterdam Fashion Academy Debbie Pulleyblank’s excitement has grown in synch with the development of the students. With anticipation on the rise for the end-of-year assessments, Debbie explains how the Netherlands got its first British-inspired Fashion Academy, offering an introductory foundation year, a Fashion and Textile Design BA and as well as a BA in Fashion Business. Located in the heart of one of Europe’s trend-setting cities, Amsterdam Fashion Academy’s credentials could not be better: close proximity to the high-end fashion boutiques on P.C Hooftstraat, the museum district, small class-sizes, student-centred approach and a strict emphasis on regular contact with tutors, give students the impetus to create their own collections or fashion-specific business expertise.

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Unbound by convention, the students are encouraged to explore new avenues while honing their skills throughout the three years. Alongside creativity and an eye for innovation, success in the industry relies on fine motor skills such as pattern cutting, tailoring, sewing and knitting too. The 24 contact hours each week are boosted by countless hours spent in the design studio. With lecturers and guests from all corners of the international industry, including the eminent fashion illustrator Piet Paris, John Galliano’s creative director Bill Gaytten and successful designer Rosie Martinez, students are granted a rare close-up of the world of fashion. This blend of industry insight and education, explains Debbie, ensures that the graduates are equipped with the relevant know-how from those active within fashion today. Internships, she adds proudly, are undertaken by each and every student. Whether it’s Tommy Hilfiger or a New York-based fashion house, an expe-

rience such as this is invaluable to the students’ professional development. Given the not-insignificant influence that current affairs and historical events have on fashion, possessing a broader knowledge of trends and their origins has never been more relevant. With lecturer and author of Marketing Fashion, Harriet Posner, at the helm, the Fashion Business students are constantly posed challenges relating to the commercial aspects of fashion. Blogging goes hand-in-hand with their portfolio development and the school’s emphasis on giving students a good grounding remains firmly at the fore of all the activities. The current crop of students, she says, have such a diverse range of strengths and she’s keen to see what the next in-take of students on the horizon will bring. www.amsterdamfashionacademy.com


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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Education

Fine Arts of today and tomorrow TEXT: HARUN OSMANOVIC | PRESS PHOTOS

fore of these changes as they introduce new courses. “We have recently started a class in puppet making because we believe interdisciplinary learning helps students reach a level of maturity,” explains Mr. Bay.

Created in 1756, the Academy of the Fine Arts in Tournai is one of the oldest of its kind in Belgium. Originally, its creation was a response to the need for a qualified workforce in the royal manufacturing industry, and there was a particular demand for delicate china production. Over the centuries, the school has always strived to stay in touch with the contemporary and most modern aspects of our society. Today, the Academy of the Fine Arts in Tournai has integrated the European credit system (ECTS) and is considered as an institution “de type long” – this means that they offer both Bachelor and Masters degrees. Open to the world, approximately 55% of the students are non-Belgian – either completing their entire degree at the school or following the Erasmus programme with a stay of one or two semesters. With its nine options, the Academy is ideal for those wishing to pursue further educa-

tion in drawing, painting, textile design, interior design, advertising, digital arts, graphic design and illustration with a focus on comics. “With its dynamic faculty,” says Director Bernard Bay, “our school makes sure each student goes beyond their initial talent and reaches excellence in their field while receiving a mix of practical, technical and theoretical knowledge.” In today’s fast changing world, both academically and in the industries related to the arts, the school manages to stay at the

Another example of the pioneering spirit shown by the Academy is the Eurometropolitan e-Campus project. A project both technologically and academically forwardthinking, Bay explains: “This cross-country initiative, at the heart of the Eurometropole Lille-Kortrijk-Tournai, promotes courses related to the Internet, and we are proud to be among the first schools to have integrated the ee-campus.” If you have a passion for art, the best way to learn more is to visit the site during one of their Open Days or during the end-ofyear graduate degree shows, when the final year students exhibit their finest art. www.actournai.be

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Education

Tailor-made courses for Dutch, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, English and French are available. Accommodation can be arranged for intensive week-long courses.

A confident case for language learning TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PRESS PHOTOS

Confidence is what it takes to ask for directions in a rural Swiss village, to give a presentation to your American counterparts, or to attend a job interview in your adopted home of the Netherlands. In fits of frustration you might blame your former teachers. What use are verb conjugations when you have to present your profits the following week? Few events are as satisfying as mastering a language, yet confronted by a multitude of courses, you need to find one that suits you. A course that doesn’t match your level can be demoralising and demotivating, as can a course whose syllabus is reminiscent of your school days. What separates the Regina Coeli Language Institute in Vught from other language schools is their emphasis on the individual; no large groups, no cowering in the corner.

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The institute is concerned with pinning down each individual’s objectives, strengths and learning strategies. During an initial informal discussion and tour of the scenic grounds in Vught, the staff will suss out the best way to meet your targets. Surrounded by a team of qualified teachers, each a native speaker of the language they teach, they’ll focus on your speaking, listening, reading, writing and a host of other skills, more often than not in a oneto-one situation. “You aren’t learning a language here,” explains Harm Jan Bouwknegt, the director, matter-of-factly. “You’re learning how to communicate in a foreign language.” Accountancy in English or biochemistry in Italian, Bouwknegt ensures that his staff have the knowledge to teach specialist vocabulary too. With courses in the major Western European languages alongside in-company language learning and business-specific ses-

sions, you can choose what suits you best, be it an an intensive week, a six-month programme or something in between. “Despite our solid reputation, we know we can’t rest on our laurels. While our method of focusing on the individual has already been proven to be successful, we are constantly striving to improve our teaching standards,” explains Bouwknegt. The accolade of ‘Best Educational Institute in the Netherlands’ in 2013 cemented the school’s position as a top language provider. The offspring of one of Europe’s earliest language establishments – originally founded by the Sisters of the Holy Order of St. Augustine in Vught with the mission to educate girls – it has undergone substantial development since 1903 and this looks set to continue. Avanti! www.reginacoeli.com


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Discover Benelux | Mini Theme | The Mullerthal Region

THE

MUL L E R THA L

R E GI ON

Luxembourg’s Little Switzerland The active discovery of nature in this region has existed for almost 300 years. Given its long tradition, the entire hiking system was revised six years ago and the regional hiking track, the Mullerthal Trail, was created. Its three hiking routes of 38, 37 and 37 km offer eventful hiking amidst wonderful nature. TEXT: REGIONAL TOURIST OFFICE MULLERTHAL REGION | PHOTOS: ORT / TH. BICHLER.DE / J. MATHIAS

The Mullerthal Trail’s 112 km lead you through the region’s diverse landscape – Luxembourg’s Little Switzerland. On the three main trail routes, hikers are treated to regional peculiarities; bizarre rocks, mossy forests and quaint stream valleys are interspersed with open pastures. Beautiful viewpoints and cultural sites line the Mullerthal Trail. Each of the three routes has its own character. Route 1 is a glimpse into the region’s typically varied landscape as hikers traverse rocks, woods and meadows. Route 2 leads through the heart of Luxembourg’s Little Switzerland and greets hikers with spectacular rock formations. While rocks characterise Route 3, it’s the enchanting stream valleys and romantic castles which make it so memorable. Receiving the title earlier this year of 'Leading Quality Trails – Best of Europe' by the European Ramblers' Asso-

ciation was a momentous occasion for everyone involved in these trails. Proud of their trails, the 112km route is very well marked with regular signs showing a red M. The cultural highlights of the region include the abbey town of Echternach, the oldest city in the country and the castles of Bourglinster, Larochette and Beaufort. Cycling is also a very important topic in the region. The national bike paths PC 2 and

PC 3 are quite family-friendly and pass over former railway lines. Alongside local cycle tracks and four sporty mountain bike trails, a concept for road cyclists is in the pipeline too. Order your free Pocket Guide of the Mullerthal Trail and other interesting brochures and visit us on our two Facebook pages! www.mullerthal.lu

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Discover Benelux | Mini Theme | The Mullerthal Region

Gazing out over Luxembourg's oldest town with 2,000 years of history confined to 2km.

Hiking amid history TEXT: ANNA PARKIN | PHOTOS: ORTMPSL / KA COMMUNICATIONS

day and joined UNESCO’s Intangible World Cultural Heritage list in 2010.

Echternach is famous for being ‘Luxembourg’s oldest town’, but visitors can expect more than just your typical historical hotspot. Surrounded by the Petite Suisse region’s lush and rocky landscape, this picturesque medieval settlement offers everything from Roman Villa visits to music festivals. Size wise, Echternach is pretty average for Luxembourg, but its countless historical attractions and diverse cultural scene mean it’s anything but – in 2008 the town was named a ‘Destination of Excellence’ by the European Commission. There’s a Roman villa, one of the biggest to be found north of the Alps, and a Benedictine abbey was founded here in 698. At the helm of the town’s tourist office for the past two years, and an Echternach resident for two decades, Raymond Becker concedes it’s the town’s wealth of historical monuments which no doubt first attracts visitors. It’s the Roman villa with its

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From dancing processions to more demanding physical activities, a recreational centre can be found at the town’s entrance. The Mullerthal Region’s dramatic landscape also beckons, with a variety of hiking tracks to choose from. “The area is a walker’s paradise,” enthuses Becker. modern visitors’ centre that he hails “an absolute must-see”. He also advises embarking on a walking tour of the town’s main monuments to get your bearings. “In just two kilometres you’ll cover 2,000 years of history!” he smiles. There’s also a choice of museums, ranging from the Museum of Prehistory & Porcelain to the ‘Centre de documentation sur la procession dansante’ at the Echternach Basilica. The latter explains the history of the town’s famous Dancing Procession, which takes place every year on Whit Tues-

Also worth a mention is the town’s International Festival, which was founded in 1975. It celebrates classical music in spring and jazz in its autumn edition. World renowned, the event has welcomed acts including Gidon Kremer, Krystian Zimerman, Dianne Reeves and The Rebirth Brass Band. “We’re very proud of the festival,” explains Becker. “Next year will be even more important as we’ll be celebrating the 40th anniversary so get ready for a show!” he grins. www.echternach-tourist.lu


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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | The Redrock Region

S OUTH

L UX E MB OUR G’S

R E DR OCK

R E GI ON

Old, New, Borrowed - and Red (though with Blues) There is one obvious thing about South Luxembourg’s Redrock Region: red is the dominant colour of the earth and rocks. Beyond that it’s a treasure-house of the unexpected. TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTOS: COURTESY OF REDROCK TOURIST BOARD

That red tint comes from the iron that once made this an industrial powerhouse of mines and metal-works, and their metamorphosis is one of the first – and most rewarding – surprises. “What’s very exciting is that the industrial sites are undergoing transformation in numerous different projects,” says Lynn Reiter, Manager of the Redrock Tourist Board: “Take Belval. A vibrant new quarter of the town is being created in the old industrial area, but they’ve kept the blast furnace towers, and have constructed platforms for visitors to get a

panorama of Belval and everything going on there from them. It’s truly the old and new coming together.” On July 4th there is a grand opening that starts at 8pm with a concert, before at 11 the furnaces are fired up. Shopping malls, a cinema complex and The Rockhal, Luxembourg’s largest music venue, have already taken shape here. Now the University of Luxembourg is establishing its prime centre on the Belval site, one of many justifications for Lynn’s assertion that Redrock

is Luxembourg’s youngest and most dynamic region, borrowing the best from around the world: “It’s so multi-cultural – there are more than 110 different nationalities represented in the area,” she says. Youthful zest could be why Redrock stages so many diverse events, with sport and music at the fore: “Perhaps the most amazing is the Fishermen’s Friend StrongmanRun,” says Lynn: “It’s extraordinary. We held Luxembourg’s first here in 2013, have another on October 19th in Differ-

Old industrial areas are getting a new lease of life in the trendy Belval district.

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | The Redrock Region

The redrock region is home to the Museums Industry and Railwaypark Fond-de-Gras where visitors can step aboard a steam engine from 1900.

dange, and a third already planned for next year. It’s like a big carnival and a race combined, completely mad and fun.” Fun if you enjoy a 10 mile race through a countryside course with 30 obstacles where you will get wet, muddy and exhausted. Generally in fancy dress. Like she says, it’s a young place. “September and October is festival season here,” says Lynn: “When the weather is still great in Luxembourg. The ‘Terres Rouges Street & Music Festival’ in early September is a combination of music and street fiesta, a mix of well-known artists – big stars among them – and street per-

formers. It attracts the young – of all ages!” Another of those Redrock surprises is the “Anno 1900 Steampunk Convention” in late September, fans of the sci-fi sub-genre heading – in their elegant Victorian outfits – to the region. The summer has its own attractions too, including the Blues Express happening on July 12th: “We have more than 40 international acts appearing, it’s a brilliant day with a very special atmosphere,” says Lynn. One act that may surprise there is Hollywood tough guy Steven Seagal, appearing with his Blues Band.

bonkers StrongmanRun – mountain-biking, running or hiking through some of the loveliest and most interesting spots in the area – and it takes in another part of the industrial legacy here, nature reserves and recreation areas carved from land that once held mines, open cast mines, and steelworks: “Because of what they used to be so many of these nature reserves are close to towns – our office is in Esch-surAlzette, and we have a nature reserve just five minutes’ walk from here, so you don’t need a car to enjoy them.”

The Redrock Challenge on October 11th and 12th is rather more sedate than the

In the Redrock Challenge those natural zones form a chain linking some of the

LEFT: The annual Blues Express takes place every July. MIDDLE: Steampunks are at home here every September for the Anno 1900 Steampunk Convention. RIGHT: Mountain bikers tackle the Redrock Challenge.

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | The Redrock Region

area’s major tourist attractions, which makes it a surprising (that word again) combination of athleticism and culture, though nobody will frown on you if you arrive by car instead. Two sites that Lynn insists must not be missed again make the most of its smokestack past: “In Fond-de-Gras at the Industry and Railway Park you can take a trip on a steam train from 1900 or you can try an old mine train that actually goes underground. And at The National Mining Museum in Rumelange another train that takes you into mine galleries gives you a real feel for working conditions in past times.” As the Fond-de-Gras site hosts both the Steampunk and Blues festivals visitors with foresight can kill at least two birds with one stone there. For architects building the new from the old has proved a fantastic opportunity. Some of the contemporary structures in Belval take the breath away, and in Dudelange an old steel mill and its watertower have been creatively converted as an extension of the National Audio-Visual Centre, making a permanent home for the historic ‘Bitter

Years’ photographic collection: “It was the last exhibition curated by photographer Edward Steichen, who was born in Luxembourg but made his name at the Museum of Modern Art in New York,” Lynn explains: “His ground-breaking collection ‘The Family of Man’ is held at Clervaux Castle further north. That has been registered in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register, and we hope that The Bitter Years will join it there soon.” The Bitter Years photos are a moving documentation of life in rural America in the Depression, the act of viewing them rendered more dramatic by their new home: “You can go up the water tower to get a great view, and as part of the visit experience, as the exhibition is contained in the main mill structure and the tower itself. You ascend in a lift that’s a glass cage so you see everything around you,” Lynn enthuses. If visitors’ bodies and minds are in need of refreshment after all those opportunities for exercise and so many cultural events, Redrock has another – very pleasant – surprise. In a country more famed for its wines the area, former mining country of course, contains Luxembourg’s beer capital,

Bascharage. Along with the sizeable National Brewery there is the more artisanal Beierhaascht, a reminder of the days when every village here made its own ales. It would be almost insulting to visit the town and not take a brewery trip. The village breweries may have gone, but the restaurants they supplied have largely survived: “Compared with other regions we’ve managed to retain our real traditional restaurants, family owners still working in the original buildings they’ve occupied for countless years. They’ve kept their low-ceiling character, and often the typical cuisine of their area. The government has made great efforts to ensure these authentic places are not lost to us, so many of them are now protected by law.” We can all eat and drink to that. Redrock region is an object lesson in how to honour the past by incorporating it in our futures. With youthful energy and creativity, and no little style, the old and new have combined here to make something very different, and something that merits a visit. And the beer‘s good. www.redrock.lu

LEFT: Mining has left its mark on the region and Rumelange's National Mining Museum is worth a visit. RIGHT: Dudelange's old steel mill and water tower have been converted into part of the National Audio-Visual Centre.

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | The Redrock Region

Your carriage awaits (and other exhibits) TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTOS: COURTESY OF MUSEE RURALE

Luxembourg City to Peppange may only take a quarter of an hour, but once there you’re transported back a century and more. And given that one of the tiny town’s three museums is dedicated to horse-drawn carriages, transport seems an apposite word. “The aim of the main – rural – museum is to give a picture of how life was lived in this region in the 19th century by farmers and other ordinary people,” says its Director Percy Lallemang: “And the carriage and foundry museums give additional insights into our past – we are particularly proud of the reconstruction of a medieval forge based on one excavated in nearby forests, and of the carriages once part of the Grand Duke’s own collection.” Those royal conveyances, including one used at the 1919 marriage of Grand Duchess Charlotte, sit alongside humbler examples.

In the late 1990s history enthusiasts Les Amis de l’Histoire du Roeserbann, working with the Luxembourg Ministry of Culture, chose a large and long abandoned farmhouse in Peppange as the perfect home for their planned museum of rural life. The 1840s structure, a protected historical site, is itself testimony to such times, innumerable artefacts now displayed within it – from hand-tools to agricultural machinery – completing the picture. “The collections are important, but we also try to bring history to life,” says M. Lallemang: “For example the gardens are precisely as they were in the 19th century, with period varieties of vegetables.” Live events support that drive: On July 6th there’s a procession of old tractors and vintage cars, and the opportunity to take a

carriage-drive. On the 23rd there’s a workshop on a historic style of rug-making using old clothing scraps. “And later in the year with writer JeanPierre Hoscheit we’re reviving a Luxembourgois tradition – the Uucht, where on dark winter nights people gathered to tell stories.” M Lallemang hopes to revisit the spooky custom of d’Trauliicht brennen too, candles burning eerily in beetroots cut like skulls. After which a glass of something fortifying in the museum’s restaurant could be as much necessity as pleasure! For opening times and other info visit www.musee-peppange.lu

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | The Redrock Region

TOP: For a century and a half the southern region of Luxembourg was dominated by the mining industry. BOTTTOM: Take The National Mining Museum’s underground train right into the heart of the mine.

Behind Luxembourg’s wealthy status TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: MNM

The Grand Duchy’s history is inextricably linked to mining. Glamorous it perhaps isn’t, but the country certainly owes a great deal of its wealth to the determination and grit shown by the thousands of Luxembourgers who delved underground for decades. Once a thriving mining region in Luxembourg’s southwestern corner, Rumelingen’s role in Luxembourg’s prosperous growth shouldn’t be underestimated. Luxembourg, explains Aleksandra Gulbicki from the National Mining Museum, has the iron ore industry to thank for the prosperity it enjoys today. “The mines and the iron ore industry didn’t just lay the foundations for industrial development here, but they’ve shaped this southern region.” Having previously relied on agriculture, Luxembourg’s mining industry boosted the economy and led to the introduction of a commendable welfare system. With iron ore mining reach-

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ing its peak in the 1960s, it gradually declined until 1981 when the last mine in Differdange closed. For the passionate Luxembourger, the National Mining Museum is open as a tribute to each individual mine worker, who risked their lives on a daily basis to work in incredibly hard conditions. “Most visitors are aghast,” she continues. “Astonished at the tough and exhausting conditions in which the miners worked. It wasn’t just physically hard – they worked in pitch darkness by candlelight and the temperature was never higher than 10 degrees Celsius.” For visitors who trek down into the mines, Gulbicki definitely recommends a warm jacket and sensible shoes. “Be prepared for the damp,” she warns. After descending 90 metres into the earth, there’s a motorized train to lead you through the maze of tunnels, each no more than 3metres high.

Alongside the museum’s substantial collection of fossils, interactive visits for school groups are proving very popular. “The kids really get involved in the mine; donning a hard hat and entering the tunnels as if they were miners. They have a go at real-life activities down there, like digging, drilling and blasting, taking home a little souvenir too.” As it can get a little chilly 90 metres under ground, the museum accommodates groups, often welcoming them to barbeque or picnic above ground, where, Gulbicki says, the scars of the mining industry can still be seen today but nature is gradually winning back its land. With mining the key to Luxembourg’s wealth, such trips are invaluable for future generations, many of whom will have ancestors who trod these same tunnels. www.mnm.lu


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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Dutch Design & Fashion

S P E CI A L

THE ME :

DUTCH

DE S I GN

&

FA S HI ON

A GLOSSY BUSINESS CONCEPT As a fashion designer Mart Visser positions himself amongst the very few designers who have carved their very own distinctive style. Since introducing his own couture label, Mart Visser Haute Couture, back in 1992, he has been a pioneer of fashion design in the Netherlands. These days he counts a wide variety of prominent Dutch women among his loyal group of clients from various political, cultural, social and economic backgrounds. TEXT & PHOTOS: MART VISSER

Aside from its tulips, windmills and wooden shoes, our beloved Holland has long been known as a trading nation and this is still fundamental to us. Consider our successful international fashion brands: G-Star, Mexx, Scotch&Soda, all well-known for their casual and typically Dutch down-to earth attitude. Take the renowned photography duo Inez & Vinoodh, Lucas Ossendrijver for Lanvin Men, Haider Ackerman and Victor & Rolf too, all global designers, looked up to by their peers from all seven continents. Our influence isn’t confined to fashion either; interior and furniture design is flourishing with Maarten Baas, Studio Job and Marcel Wanders, each of whom is represented in the collections of the world’s best modern art museums. How can I define what that simple, clean and forward-thinking attitude is that ren-

ders the Dutch touch so famous? I once overheard a Parisian woman claim that the Parisian attitude is within each of the capital’s residents as soon as they open their eyes as a child and see the magnificent architecture, avenues and people of their city. This is perhaps true in Amsterdam too. Unflinchingly popular, Amsterdam’s relaxed and simple approach to life resonates with designers. The city never fails to impress me. As I cycle around or bob along the endless canals in my boat, no two experiences are ever the same and I am confronted by the sheer immensity of the city; hundreds of years of creating and building this city by hand. Monuments, churches, beautiful parks and canal boats, each more impressive than the last.

I’ve got this far without even mentioning how Frans van Mieris, Albert Cuyp, Johannes Vermeer and Rembrandt van Rijn are our global representatives. More than just a small Northern European country, the landscape and society of the Netherlands inspired their choices of light, colour and composition. The Dutch touch is best seen in their works. Our history of trade and design works to continually inspire each and every designer and give us the impetus for a new way of thinking.

Mart’s artwork will be exhibited in the Jan van der Togt Museum from 16 October – 8 December 2014. www.martvisserartwork.com

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Dutch Design & Fashion

July 4 - 14 puts the Netherlands on the international fashion map with Amsterdam Fashion Week.

AMSTERDAM FASHION WEEK

Befitting of a model capital TEXT: AMSTERDAM FASHION WEEK | PRESS PHOTOS

In July Amsterdam will be once again be the domain of Dutch fashion as it celebrates the arrival of Mercedes-Benz FashionWeek Amsterdam, providing a platform for established designers, upcoming talent and commercial labels and brands. Rob Zomer, FashionWeek Nederland’s director, made the following announcement: “During the 21st edition of FashionWeek Amsterdam, we are strengthening the ties between us and companies who desire a closer connection to creative impulses. Our main sponsor, Mercedes-Benz, embraces FashionWeek in its entirety, allowing us to develop our platform for Dutch talent and the Dutch fashion industry as a whole. Alongside Mercedes-Benz, Vodafone is supporting the Fashion LAB programme and with Zalando as the sponsor for 10 Days Downtown we’ve been in a position to create a fantastic array of events for the general public. We are also delighted that

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V&D are on board for Lichting, supporting an initiative from FashionWeek Nederland and HTNK.”

winner of the 2014 edition will be receive generous support from V&D to develop their own label.

S/S ‘15 collections on the main catwalk in the Gashouder

Zalando presents 10 Days Downtown

From the 10th to 14th July, the catwalk in the Gashouder building will steal the limelight as huge names like Claes Iversen, Ready to fish by ILJA and ZERO by Nanine Linning with costumes by Iris van Herpen will grace its walkway. A significant newcomer is JOURMÁIN, a children’s fashion show under the guidance of pro-footballer Jeremain Lens. Whether he’ll be there himself remains to be seen as the show is scheduled for the same day as the FIFA World Cup final in Brazil. Celebrations abound with the return of the male fashion show from Non by Kim, and our attention should also be drawn to Lichting, which is sponsored by V&D this year. Since 2007, seven Dutch fashion academies have entered two graduates into Lichting and the

After the initial success last winter, 10 Days Downtown is getting a well-earned comeback this summer. With Zalando as the latest sponsor and support from the local council of Amsterdam, 10 Days Downtown will capture the whole city. 10 events in 10 days at 10 noteworthy venues, where fashion meets art, music and dance. Kick-off is on 4th July at the Van Gogh Museum with stunning fashion shows and street style takes over the city beach and creative space Roest on Sunday 6th July. Visitors can expect food, photography and music. The Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum and the Handbag Museum Hendrikje will also play host to events and most are free of charge. www.fashionweek.nl


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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Dutch Design & Fashion

Swathed in silk TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: HELLEN VAN BERKEL

Once a rising star within the world of textiles and now a fully-fledged designer, Hellen van Berkel’s lifelong affinity with scarves spurred her on to create her own label. Since setting up HeartMade Prints in 2005, the stylish Dutchwoman continues to lay both her heart and her art onto silk.

major international brands. Once responsible for the high-streets go-to scarves, she branched out into her own high-end scarf range. Adding a narrative edge, her collections are not tied to any particular season but work all year round. Having been commissioned by the Rijksmuseum and allowed exclusive access to the national archives, she’s also designed a stunning history-inspired range which can be found in the museum There are very few outfits that shop, drawing on elements of the wouldn’t benefit from the adDutch golden age and Japanese dition of a van Berkel creation; prints. But when she’s not sketching From the Winter 15 collection, hand embroidered wool combined with printed her intricate designs incorpo- silk lining, size 35 x 180 cm new motifs or defining lines on the computer, her patterns for cushion rate natural elements such as covers, duvets and curtains are also popelaborate birds and flowers while insisting ural as feasibly possible.” Berkel’s calm ular. on a contemporary feel. Yet fleeting fashhand guides the international production ions these are not, as there is a timeless while her one-off hand-woven pieces are To quell any sartorial worries, each Heartquality to van Berkel’s designs. With two also hot property these days. With a sociMade Prints scarf is accompanied by a collections each year, twenty designs are ety that needlessly consumes, the purbeautifully illustrated guide to styling and typrinted onto 100% natural silk and each is chase of an ethical luxury scarf is a wise ing techniques and the delicate fabric almore exquisite than the last. one. Guaranteed to hold its value and not lows the print to appear in its full glory on fall out of fashion, a scarf immediately adds both sides of the silk. a touch of chic to any outfit. Close to van Berkel’s heart is the idea of slowing down. “It’s about breaking down commercialism,” she explains. “I put an A true textile artisan, van Berkel graduated www.hellenvanberkel.nl emphasis on durability and my scarves refrom Eindhoven’s esteemed Design School flect this as they’re long-lasting and as natand forged a name for herself with some

Photo: Feriet Tunc

Photo: Marjon Hoogervorst

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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Dutch Design & Fashion

Innovation is key at the TextielLab: Renowned Dutch fashion designer Jan Taminiau created a striking collection using the tapestry technique tufting (top middle).

At the cutting edge of textiles TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: TOMMY DE LANGE / JOEP VOGELS / CARMIEL DONDERS

The TextielLab is an exceptional place of fashion, art and fabrics and unlike anywhere else in Europe. Machines buzzing across the old factory floor, churn out astonishing creations by top designers. Visitors can come up-close and watch the yarn being weaved and knitted into innovative avant-garde designs. “You can rub shoulders with famous designers and see machinery that’s normally hidden away,” says Hebe Verstappen, head of the TextielLab. “It’s incredible for visitors. We have so many passionate people here, they love sharing their knowledge of different techniques and materials.” The TextielLab, part of the TextielMuseum, also functions as a global hub for textile creatives. It houses all forms of processing techniques including weaving, knitting, embroidery and laser technology. It has an impressive collection of state-of-the-art machines, passementerie equipment and handlooms. Reserved for highly talented students, interior architects, designers and

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artists, the Lab seeks out inventive and original ideas for intake. “It’s exceptional that we have everything under one roof; expertise of every discipline, inspiring collections, the museum doubling as an exhibition platform and a wealth of knowledge at our on-site library. This combination is unique and that’s why we have designers here from across the world.” Verstappen continues. It is located in Tilburg, inside a former 19th century textile factory. The city became famous for its wool and has a rich history of textile production. “You immediately feel the cultural heritage when you enter, the place breathes craftsmanship,” she says. The TextielLab also has a prominent Research and Development agenda. Working with international textile industries and research institutes, it is currently exploring how to build with textiles. “We want to discover what’s possible with textile engineering like weaving with metal or knitting

light emitting facades,” Verstappen explains. “It’s our mission to gather and dispense knowledge and we are keen to initiate many similar projects in the future.” The exhibition ‘Building with textiles’ will be displayed at the TextielMuseum from September. Currently Verstappen is working hard on the launch of household textile label ‘by TextielMuseum’. Craftsmanship and design come together in the collection of high quality table ware and kitchen towels, commissioned by the TextielMuseum and made at the TextielLab. “Expect an exciting collection of masterfully woven fabrics produced by top designers,” Verstappen says. The collection will be available at the webshop and selected retailers from November. The TextielLab can be visited as part of the TextielMuseum entry. For project intake, portfolio and best practices, fill out the online application form. www.textiellab.nl/en


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Clients’ different design requests work as a constant source of creative inspiration for Koorn, resulting in unique and diverse jewellery.

C R A F T I N G Y O U R C R E AT I O N

Jewellery that is purely personal TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: INGE KOORN (DE PIOEN)

While finding the perfect ring or necklace can be a challenge for many, it isn’t at de Pioen. This remarkable goldsmith in Bergen prides itself on creating jewellery according to the exact wishes of their customers. From classical rings to contemporary necklaces, at de Pioen it is the customer who decides the design. “Jewellery is very personal. I invest a lot of time in getting to know our customers,” says designer Inge Koorn. “What kind of person are they, what’s the feeling they give off; this can be quite emotional.” Founded in 1994, de Pioen was set up by Koorn and her business partner, master goldsmith Maarten van der Zon. Koorn continues: “The customer is the real designer, I just help them to articulate and then execute their requests.” At de Pioen, the experience of the production process is important and cus-

tomers are fully involved from concept to finished product. Occasionally, Koorn will invite people to take part themselves. “We always explain a lot about the craft. Sometimes, when I notice the production process really matters to people, I ask if they would like to pour the material with us, or roll out a piece of goldthread,” she says. “When they see the finished piece, it’s not unusual for our customers to shed a few tears.” Alongside creating new items, de Pioen specialises in reusing old jewellery and moulding them into something new. “This can be anything from completely melting down the metal and recasting it, to simply adjusting or adding an element to the existing piece,” Koorn explains. De Pioen is right at home in Bergen, a small artists’ town – about an hour north of Amsterdam – famous for its expressionist

school of painting and with a proud literary history. “It’s a beautiful, leafy and friendly town with a great ambiance. For tourists it’s a wonderful place to stay,” says Koorn. This year, to celebrate its 20th anniversary, de Pioen has joined forces with the nearby Blooming Hotel for the special summer promotion, Briljant Slapen (Brilliant Nights). Booking this two-night package gives you a chance to win a real diamond worth €550 (£450). Koorn explains the experience: “You’ll get to pick a pouch when you check in. This contains a ‘diamond’ which guests can bring to de Pioen where I’ll check whether it’s genuine. If it’s the real diamond, the lucky winner gets to keep it!” The Briljant Slapen offer runs until the end of July. De Pioen goudsmeden is open daily except on Sundays and Mondays. www.pioen.nl

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LEFT: Build your own Night Watch, getting closer to art history whilst being creative. TOP RIGHT: Pyramid-shaped containers for flowers represent the very apogee of 17thcentury Delft blue pottery. RIGHT: This bathtowel is a ‘Lotto’ carpet, characterised by its stylised arabesques and popular with the famous masters of the 17th century, such as Vermeer (100 per cent cotton. Size 70 x 140 cm). BOTTOM: No Holland without tulips. 24 paper tulips can be created from this set.

Hands-on Dutch history in your home TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: PIET DESIGN

Elisabeth Rijkels isn’t just building for the sake of building, she creates an attitude to life. Bridging the gap between history and modernity with her brand Piet Design, her practical and fun products are an accessible gateway to Dutch history, to the Golden Age and the classics. Countless visits to stately homes with her parents led the ever-curious Rijkels to her desk. As a child, she spent hours fiddling with cardboard and other materials, sketching the curious contours of these noble homes. As a teenager, her first creation, a cardboard replica of the extravagant Groeneveld Castle, was exhibited in her hometown of Baarn. Desperate to start her own business, the 17-year-old blushed as her mother had to take the reins and sign the documents. Later, as an aspiring architect studying in Delft, she continued to create these DIYcardboard buildings. Growing the business,

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which she was now old enough to run herself, was tricky while studying but gradually her reputation began to precede her. An office-bound internship with an architecture firm clarified to Elisabeth that her real passion lay in bringing these buildings to life and upon receiving a commission from the state to immortalise almost every single monument in paper, she was off. “Where they all are today I don’t know,” she laughs, “they are made of paper after all!” While many are in postcard size, others are A1 format, and each comes with a detailed guide on its history and how to build it. These DIY-packages can be found today in many of the museum shops in the Netherlands, including the Rijksmuseum and Schiphol’s Rijksmuseum too, as well as many design shops.

With her 3-year-old daughter in mind, she created an immaculately reconstructed Rembrandt’s house, complete with furniture and characters. Her creations, she explains, are best for for 8-88 year olds, but admits that she built the dolls’ house together with her toddler, although we imagine that was largely due to her dexterous hands. Not content just sketching buildings, she expanded the business to give a nod to all the other cherished Dutch items: Delft blue pottery has been reinvented into foldable, buildable vases made from polypropylene; Old Dutch tiles are now fun, soft building bricks; grand Victorian greenhouses are now in handy foldable and expandable plastic form. After being inspired by the originals whilst in the Netherlands, it’d be worth visiting the museum shops where Piet Design products can be found in abundance. www.pietdesign.nl


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United through talent TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: ANNE REINKE / LONNEKE VAN DER PALEN / GAËL ODILON PACCARD

Eleven years of providing glamour to Amsterdam through Young Designers United has left Angelika Groenendijk-Wasylewski more committed than ever to nurturing fledgling designers by stocking their creations in the hip YDU shop in central Amsterdam. Once a novel idea, YDU has now become a regular haunt of fashionistas seeking fresh, exclusive pieces. With high quality a given, the current crop of 25 upcoming designers, primarily Netherlandsbased, presents you with an array of fashionable designs. The premise is simple: after scouring graduate fashion shows, charting their development post-graduation and judging whether they’ll develop “in an interesting direction for YDU”, designers are given a platform in the shop to sell their creations. A fashionista herself, Angelika studied economics back in Germany before spending years travelling the globe. “I just happened to have lots of friends active in fashion, each of them facing different problems in trying to establish their label. I could see that there was a disproportionate distance between the

design piece and the viewer on the market.” “The shop is a platform for up-and-coming as well as more established designers. Through YDU their collections are accessible and they have the luxury of transforming their creative vision into wearable pieces.” She elucidates: “Getting their own atelier and shop in Amsterdam is nigh on impossible given today’s high rents.” Today, YDU has countless regular clients as many designers deliver limited new stock on a weekly basis. With a fluid mix of fresh talent, Angelika loves to see

successful collaborations with upcoming designers continue (she cites Brown Clothes as an example) and new designers are contracted twice a year, with Kind of Moving and No Mode as her current newbies. Given this constant influx of new designs, you’d be hard pressed in Amsterdam to stumble across such a high density of high quality, forward-thinking and stylish pieces. www.ydu.nl

The future in jewellery TEXT: JOSHUA YANCEY | MAIN PHOTO: LARA BOMMARTINI, YOURSTYLE FOTOGRAFIE | MODEL: NIKITA PAAUWE

Throughout history, the arrival of new technologies has heralded exciting new avenues for art and fashion to explore, and the future of 3D printing promises to bring its own unique flavour. At the forefront of this approaching wave is award-winning international jewellery designer, Dario Scapitta. Growing up in Valenza, Italy, a city renowned for its artisan jewellers, Dario has a unique vision that blends the artistry of the past with the technology of the future, creating elegant forms and visually striking pieces. “I take my inspiration from everywhere,” he says, “but then I must think about how to transform that idea into a wearable item.” Starting with a drawing, he then uses sophisticated 3D computer programmes to create highly detailed images of what the final product will look like. This approach allows him to try different looks before even making a prototype, but it is not always necessary. “If you know the rules of how materials and colours work together, you can know almost from the beginning what the fin-

SNAKE bracelet

ture and for those designs to show you what that future will look like. www.darioscapittadesign.com

MONOLITE necklace. Photo: stilnest.com

ished piece will be.” From there, a prototype is made and checked for structural stability as well as to ensure proper proportions. Only then is the final piece brought to production. With exhibits running now in New York and London, as well as recently winning the Silver A’ Design Award in Como, Italy, expect to be seeing more Dario Scapitta Designs in the near fu-

EXTRAVAGANZA neckpiece

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‘With small and painless rejuvenation treatments you can make your appearance correspond with how you feel.’ Dr Farid Kazem

More confidence through a small change TEXT: JANINE STERENBORG | PRESS PHOTOS

There’s more to cosmetic surgery than gossip magazines would have you think. It is about being comfortable with oneself and aging with grace. Those who have gone plastic, have gone too far.

cools unwanted fat, which then disappears painlessly.” CoolSculpting® is only sold to doctors. “Be aware of inferior cooling devices. Fakes from Asia are sold to beauty clinics. The risk of using those goes from no result to frozen skin, which is as bad as a burning wound,” he warns.

Dr. Farid Kazem has over twenty years of experience as an aesthetic plastic surgeon. In his practice in Leimuiden he offers skin, face, body and breast treatments. He was the first plastic surgeon in the Netherlands to adopt skin rejuvenation treatments with state of the art technology like Thermage, Clear&Brilliant and Fraxel laser. His approach is very personal: he wants to get to know you and ensure you get nothing less and definitely nothing more than the treatment you need.

At the age of only six, it was clear Dr. Kazem would be find his future in medicine. “I found needles and Vitamin B12 ampules in my dad’s medical kit and sprayed the B12 into my hay stuffed elephant. I wondered where the moisture went and took a scalpel. Everything had gone into the hay. Fascinating. It was only then that I realised my elephant was ruined. My dad was not happy to say the least. But I fed my curiosity!”

One of the body treatments he offers is CoolSculpting®. “It is a revolutionary medical device to loose fat, developed by Harvard scientists,” Dr. Kazem explains. “It

That boy has grown up into a man who knows when enough is enough. Dr. Kazem explains: “Laser has taken flight in cosmetic surgery during the last twenty years.

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It makes the skin look younger and will give you a boost in confidence.” People ask for smaller treatments at a younger age to age gracefully and without needing major surgery later on. Dr. Kazem adds: “Remember: real happiness is on the inside!”

Dr. Kazem developed the Nefera Skincare Collection from scratch in ten years. “The cream uses nano technology to do its work.” Dr. Kazem explains: “It was very complicated to develop but it really works. One product lasts for six months and due to the dosing nozzle you will not contaminate the product with your fingers”.


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Revolutionising the world one design at a time TEXT: MILOU VAN ROON | PRESS PHOTOS

Design makes a difference in society and therefore designers have to spot opportunities when others don’t. That is precisely why the young creative Industrial Design Studio Bleijh has been garnering attention worldwide. The portfolio of the Amsterdam-based company includes products such as the Loungescape softseating for Royal Ahrend, the world-famous Sandwichbikes and a brand new collaboration with Modular Lighting. “Doors are opening for us right now,” says CEO Basten Leijh. Studio Bleijh has two specific talents: modular thinking and associative design. “Those two things are the main theme of my work,” continues Leijh. After graduating from the Design Academy Eindhoven, he gained popularity a few years later with his Sandwichbikes, a flat-packed bike that customers can assemble themselves. “The power of design lies in seeing where new

techniques and products can be introduced. In this case I merged the furnitureand bicycle world, because I felt the bicycle industry was completely fixed in every aspect.” While many cyclists buy regular bikes that are often limited in terms of colour and style, Bleijh’s customers can select their preferred colour, graphic and design online before they order. “Because we use the lead-time of the furniture industry we are able to produce large numbers of custom-made bikes in six to eight weeks with reasonable prices.” The Softseating for Ahrend is also designed to fit the customer’s needs. Nicknamed ‘Lego for architects’, architects can arrange it in any way they like and the customer can choose the colouring. “I’m personally very proud of the collaboration with Modular Lighting Instruments, for whom we designed a modular lighting system called Médard,” says Leijh. Response so far has been great, he explains: “We were

Basten Leijh, CEO, Studio Bleijh

already established in the bicycle and furniture world, but this step into the lighting industry has made people recognise we are an all-round design studio with fresh concepts for every industry. We are now working on designing footwear.” Leijh wants his designs to contribute to the world. “Whether it is improving a product or bringing a smile to someone’s face when they use it.” He references his company name: Bleijh. “It’s similar to the Dutch word ‘blij’, which means happiness. That’s something I hope to evoke in my costumers.” For more information on Basten Leijh’s products, visit Bleijh.com

ABOVE LEFT AND FAR RIGHT: The famous flat-packed Sandwichbike. TOP RIGHT: Loungescape Softseating. RIGHT: Modular Lighting system ‘Médard’.

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The Dutch Troy has been available since December 2013 for both professionals and individuals. It’s a popular and eye-catching option for restaurants, hotels, beach bars and caterers.

The Trojan horse of BBQs TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: SMILE

Convinced that there had to be more to barbecuing than burnt slabs of meat, three Dutch connoisseurs teamed up in the spring of 2012, combining their expertise and hunger for a new and improved barbecue model. Behold, the Dutch Troy. Now, with the sun at its warmest and our appetite rife for barbecuing, they’ve revealed the fruits of their labour. The love child of industrial designer Edwin Otten (“who knows very little about barbecuing but a lot about design”), the Dutch steel powerhouse Matador (“whose Legendary barbecues taught them exactly how and what can be done with barbecues”) and the passionate Nicole Schuiring, a woman to whom we owe a lot of thanks, the Dutch Troy is a revolutionary new take on American barbecue smokers. Schuiring’s dissatisfaction with everyone’s typical chuck-some-meat-on-a-gasbarbecue-type of barbecue led her to a ceramic model, the lumpwood-fired Grill

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Dome, which she immediately began importing. Inspired, she contacted Matador with her proposition to create a pioneering barbecue with more functions and a better form. But finding the balance between form and function required the cooperation of the three founders and the result is a 300kg wood-driven outdoor kitchen. Far more than just a barbecue, it offers a host of culinary treats. Given its vertical ‘firebox’, the creators have ingeniously created a cell in which the temperature and smoke can be controlled with ease, allowing the barbecuer the luxury of possibilities: pizzas, delicate fish fillets, smoked cuts of meat or whole suckling pigs. Dominant and imposing, the Dutch Troy harks back to the Trojan horse. Produced entirely in the Netherlands, the trio’s em-

phasis on sustainability and eco-friendly production methods is commendable. Having received rave reviews already for its functional interior and impressive exterior, its accolade in the innovation category at the International BBQ Awards 2014 is proof to the innovative trio that their hard work has paid off. “Cooking with wood opens up so many possibilities,” explains Schuiving. “The wood type you choose influences the taste as much as the temperature and the smoke.” Once the sun fades on a summer’s evening the warmth of the Dutch Troy and its glass windowed firebox enhance your experience, both visually and physically with its emitted warmth. This is barbecuing at its best, combining culinary pleasure, aesthetics and companionship. www.dutchtroy.com


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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Dutch Design & Fashion

Architecture in the blood TEXT: TACO DE NEEF, HEAD OF MARKETING, HET NIEUWE INSTITUUT | TRANSLATED BY EMMIE COLLINGE PHOTOS: RONALD TILLEMAN / HET NIEUWE INSTITUUT

Rotterdam’s Het Nieuwe Instituut holds one of the world’s biggest architecture collections. With approximately 500 archives and collections from Dutch architects, town planners and professional organisations, the collection gives you insight into the development of architecture and town planning in the Netherlands between 1850-1980. The collection in its entirety plays a momentous role for the institute and its activities and it is delighted to host the internationally renowned Dutch architect Jaap Bakema’s archive. His architecture office in Rotterdam, Van den Broek and Bakema, was responsible for a number of the most important post-war projects in the Netherlands, such as the Lijnbaan in Rotterdam. Bakema’s work and research are currently on show in the Dutch Pavillion at the Venice Biennale for Architecture. From 7 June to

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23 November, the exhibition entitled Open: A Bakema Celebration is one of the first exploits of the Jaap Bakema Studiecentrum, a collaboration between Het Nieuwe Instituut and the Technical University of Delft where Bakema was a professor in the faculty of architecture. Yet, Het Nieuwe Instituut doesn’t just focus on architecture; design and e-culture are also of significance. Long-running projects link these disciplines. One such initiative is known as ‘Landscape and Interior’, dealing with the diminishing boundary between the rural and the urban landscape as well as the contradictions between inside and outside, private and public, physical and digital. As part of ‘Landscape and Interior’, SeARCH has designed a temporary residence running from 29 May to 28 September in the grounds of Het Nieuwe In-

stituut. Bjarne Mastenbroek, the founder of SeARCH, has described the design of The New Pavillion 2014 as a ‘Yourtopia’, a personal yet utopian vision of life in the 21st century. Themes that affect society, such as the impact of globalisation, the desire for privacy and the almost perverse disparity between rich and poor, have had an undeniable influence on contemporary architecture and they are confronted here. This summer Het Nieuwe Instituut has several exhibitions on the go including WOOD, which runs from 16 May to 10 August, as well as the exhibition Designing Scarcity (28 June - 31 August) which confronts design and innovation in times of scarcity. Het Nieuwe Instituut wishes you a warm welcome in both Rotterdam and Venice this summer.


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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Dutch Design & Fashion

Leather is emotion TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK | PHOTOS: RENE VAN DONGEN

Whether it is because of its luxurious and glamorous appearance, improving the acoustics and sound reduction, or simply the unbeatable feeling of having something absolutely beautiful, the possibilities for leather in your interior are countless. The latest trend when using leather is for the most surprising purposes; tables, floors, walls, headboards and even stairs are covered in leather. Famous interior designers like Jan des Bouvrie and Eric Kuster use the leather Alphenberg supplies for their designs. The Dutch company Alphenberg is a key player in the field of leather flooring, walls and furniture. With sixteen showrooms spread across Europe, America and China, they have become a serious player in the highend interiors market over the past five years. Not only adding value to your interior, Alphenberg leather adds emotion. Customers are so proud and in love with its application, they often apply more Alpenberg leather in their home. As its production is environmentally friendly and the leather is biodegradable and recyclable, this makes Alphenberg leather interesting for projects where sus-

tainability plays an important role. No animal is killed for its skin alone; the meat goes to the meat processing industry. While leather tiles can use 60% of the animal skin, the remaining 40% will be used to create, for example, bracelets and wallets. The technical and functional aspects behind Alpenberg leather are not the only reasons for purchasing it, instead it is the sheer joy that it creates in an interior, immediately enhancing the positivity in the space. This boost is certainly a bonus that cannot be ignored and the proof is in the purchase.

There is an ever-changing collection on offer as the company is constantly producing new colours and patterns. As a result, they are flexible in their delivery; a test sample can be delivered in one day. A satisfied customer is the minimum requirement; an even better result than expected is the aim. Concessions in quality are out of the question. Alphenberg can guarantee high quality of their products, because of their full focus and presence in the entire production process. From skin to tile, Alphenberg is in charge. For more information about Alphenberg visit the website www.alphenberg.com

Alphenberg leather is now the go-to interior leather supplier for high-end interiors, from floors, walls, headboards and more.

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Making a splash with wondrous wellness design A swimming pool can be so much more than just a hall with water. Dutch interior designer Stephen Versteegh is an expert at turning pool houses into immersive wellness experiences. In his unique designs, which are perfected down to the finest detail, he creates bespoke swimming palaces and extraordinary rooms of relaxation. TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PRESS PHOTOS

“The experience is paramount,” says Versteegh. “That is the case for all spaces of course, but it is even more important with wellness – it’s where people relax. I see it as a kind of pleasure ground for adults.” Having worked as an interior designer for many years, Versteegh’s expertise is in wellness architecture for both private and

commercial clients. “Very few designers really dare to take on wellness projects like swimming pools and saunas. Thanks to the realisation of a few beautiful projects, the majority of the requests I get are wellness related,” he says. Versteegh Design was set up in 2010, just as the crisis hit the Netherlands. Versteegh

The classical elegance of a Roman bath house with a modern twist Versteegh: “The symmetry gives the design balance and a stunning, luxurious look that also fits the classical feel of the house. When I show this to people, few believe it’s a privately owned pool!”

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found himself a victim of stringent budget cuts in the struggling interior design industry and was forced to start his own business. But the move quickly became a blessing when the orders started rolling in and now, barely 4 years later, he is on the brink of expanding the company. “Stubbornly I thought I’ll fare just fine on my own back then,” he continues. “In fact, my main


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worry at the moment is to get all the work done in time! It’s so busy right now that I’m planning to expand the studio and hire my first additional staff.” Versteegh specialises in high-end clients who want to do something original with their pool house or sauna. “There is no challenge when people just want a simple swimming pool with beige tiles. I look for clients who want, say, a countryside experience, or a tropical bath house, then I can really create something special,” he says.

A wellness garden, pool and patio to meet your every need Versteegh: “The owner is a keen swimmer so I designed a pool for everyday use with swim current so you can cover miles without turning. The patio is covered, so it can be used in any weather.”

A futuristic pool with a dramatic interaction of light and darkness Versteegh: “This is an exceptional project and my contractor didn’t get why we wanted the whole room painted black. The lights change colours so you can turn it from a blue, Tron-like space into an exotic Asian pool.”

Most interesting about wellness design, explains Versteegh, are all the different elements involved. “All the odd components of wellness design create an exciting challenge. A pool needs to fit within its environment so you need to account for splashing for example, but you can also do interesting things with light, reflections and waterfalls.” Working closely with his clients, Versteegh always aims to cater for all their wishes. Starting the process, he tries to find out what kind of design the people are after; what do they want to feel, see and experience. Then he draws three concept designs and the client will chose the elements they like. “I first focus on the division of the space, where can the pool go, what shape will it be, where will the sauna, showers and whirlpool fit? Once this is decided, I zoom in to get all the details confirmed like materials and furniture. Once this is finalised, the design is practically set in stone. Next, I will draw up all the technical designs so the contractors can start their work.” Versteegh is proud that he stays as close as possible to the ideas of his clients, which distinguishes him from other designers. “You could almost say I don’t really have my own style. What is unique about my designs, and which is how people recognise them, is the quality of them and the high level of detail in their execution,” Versteegh adds.

An upgraded pool house with a modern and sleek style Versteegh: “On this design, I worked very closely with this client, including some long evenings. Together, we found the best solutions for the pool rebuild which you can see in the wonderful details.”

www.versteegh-design.com

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ABOVE LEFT: Pure cashmere woven throws. The softest and warmest wool in the colours of the cashmere goat, thereby preserving the softness of the wool. TOP RIGHT: Yumeko’s organic cotton sateen. RIGHT: The softest merino wool blankets to curl up in. BELOW: Beautiful inside and out, the towels are 100% organic and fair trade.

Guilt-free pleasure TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: YUMEKO

tive chain by travelling to India and Peru, selecting the finest fabrics and sourcing the world’s most ethical farmers and breeders was the next step.

To curl up between Yumeko’s bed linen, duvet covers or one of their mesmerisingly soft woollen throws is to experience but a tiny fraction of the real value of these pieces. Made from ecological, biologically untreated, fair trade and GOTS certified materials, Yumeko’s bedroom and bathroom textiles resonate with luxury. Whether it’s their sumptuous woollen throws, smooth bedding in percale, jersey or sateen cotton, or their plump down duvets from homebred ducks, the appeal goes deeper as it is guilt-free luxury that you’re enjoying. Set up in 2009 by two marketing and communication experts turned environmentally friendly product designers, Yumeko has quickly made a name for itself as a purveyor of the finest textiles. That their vision became an organic textile brand for bathroom and bedroom essentials happened quite by chance. One of the founders of the Amsterdambased company, Stephan Zeijlemaker re-

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calls how their drive to go green led them down many a road, before they looked closer to home, realising that they had little knowledge of the origins of their bed sheets. Curiosity awoken, the duo dived into the issue. Researching the murky depths of the textile supply chain uncovered an overly generous use of pesticides, gallons of water wasted, child labour, poor conditions for the animals and a high percentage of farmers suffering from the insecticides. “From our business acumen, we saw that too much revolved around cost and everything else was neglected,” says Zeijlemaker. Bypassing the destruc-

Everyday essentials, thanks to Yumeko, can now be bought without fear of damaging the environment, the animals or the farmers. With the motto ‘Change the world sleeping’, Yumeko are simultaneously enhancing our lifestyles while voicing their concerns about our careless attitude to consumerism. “We’ve all thought about where our clothes come from,” explains Zeijlemaker, “so why not our bed linen or our bathrobes?” With eco-friendly products now de riguer, what sets Yumeko apart is that their luxuriously soft products possess beauty on the inside and the out. www.yumeko.nl


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Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Dutch Design & Fashion

The perfect location for a fantastic stay on Ameland TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK | PHOTOS: KONTOUR VASTGOED

Long walks on the beach, cycling over crispy shell paths and surrounded by arts and culture, it sure sounds like all the right ingredients for a dream holiday. Ameland, one of the four Dutch inhabited Wadden Islands, is full of nature and has a vibrant culture. Experiencing the true island feeling is not that far away. Just a ten-minute walk from the characteristic village of Nes, there is a unique spot in the dunes: the ‘Strandhuys Poort van Nes’ villas; using the typical Ameland stone, thatched roofs with a generous dormer, and beautiful shutters next to the windows. Each villa is fitted out with high quality materials and has a luxurious appearance, something to enjoy with family and friends. The beach house provides everything within walking or cycling distance; there is a generous selection of restaurants, shops

and museums, and with the nearby Nesser forest and nature reserve Vleijen on your doorstep, there are few better places for a stroll. Discover the whole island by participating in cruises, tours, playing golf, or visit the museums and dive into the fascinating history of Ameland. The sporty daredevils can go skydiving or kite surfing to get a whole new view of the island. Investing in Ameland has proven itself to be a highly valuable investment over the years; there is a high demand for rental of luxury holiday houses on Ameland but the supply

is relatively small. This makes the ‘Strandhuys Poort van Nes’ particularly suitable for renting, which can be fully and professionally managed by Metz Verhuur (Metz rentals), who provide everything from management to rent at a very professional level. Leaving you carefree, with just the question of when to pop over to the island. The combination of its location and a valuable investment makes it a location that merits your appreciation and enjoyment. Real estate developer Kontour Vastgoed can also provide the complete interior design of the house; they have great expertise in the field of design regarding rental properties. There are also some complete proposals, ensuring affordable quality, great usability and a great look. For more information visit the websites: www.eilandvilla-ameland.nl www.kontourvastgoed.nl

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Discover Benelux | Travel Feature | Visit Flanders

Not just sandy beaches, the Flanders coast has monuments, museums, forests and dunes.

T H E F L A N D E R S C O A S T:

Minimum travel, maximum enjoyment TEXT: ANDREW DAINES, DIRECTOR UK AND IRELAND, VISIT FLANDERS | PHOTOS: WESTTOER

With summer now well and truly upon us, I’m looking forward to stretching my legs, getting a little bit of exercise, and some fresh air in my lungs. If that air is sea air, so much the better. So now’s a great time to head to the Belgian coast. Just a short drive from the Channel ports at Calais or Dunkirk (the Belgian border is less than 20 miles from the ferry terminal at Dunkirk), and you’re at De Panne, the first of a dozen Flemish coastal resorts on the 42 mile sandy stretch of the coast of Belgium. The coast is a fantastic place to do some walking and talking in dunes and polders, mud flats and salt marshes. Gazing out over the sea and some terrific beaches, a new portfolio of walking routes has just been developed – over 100 miles of rambling delight in total. There are no fixed start or end points; you start where you wish, with signs detailing various options at 140 intersections. Of course, there’s no

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restaurateurs make the most of the produce that’s close to hand, so you can expect some excellent seafood, from wonderfully fresh fish to unique items such as the tasty Ostend grey LEFT: Andrew Daines, Director UK and Ireland, Visit Flanders shrimps. If you’re a fan of seafood – or just good food – then Ostend is a great place to need to over-exert oneself, for a start, there head for. On 28 and 29 June this year, the are plenty of good cafés that shouldn’t be city by the sea hosted the annual ‘À L’Osmissed. If you’re feeling weary, you can altendaise’, an event that takes place across ways jump on the Kusttram, the world’s Ostend where the city’s fishermen challongest tram line, which covers the entire lenged the city’s top chefs to produce stretch of the Belgian coastline, and has 70 stops along the route. mouth-watering dishes from whatever they’ve caught that morning. Around 20 As with anywhere in Flanders, there are restaurants participated, offering special some fantastic places to eat, be it high menus. Smakelijk! end (the coast has seven restaurants with Michelin stars) or a simple brasserie or www.visitflanders.co.uk/coast café. Not surprisingly, local chefs and www.ostendaise.be/en


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Discover Benelux | Travel Feature | Visit Flanders

When history and human rights collide TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: CHRISTOPHE KETELS

Mid-way between Brussels and Antwerp, 25,000 Jews and Romany gypsies were imprisoned at the Kazerne Dossin barracks between 1942 and 1944 before being herded onto the railway which lay beside the barracks, and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, a place of unspeakable horrors. Today, Europe’s first museum of human rights deals with the unspeakable tragedy that Europe endured while debating current violations of human rights. Confronting the past and drawing parallels with today is a way of educating younger generations, sparking their curiosity and forcing them to consider their actions. Beginning with ‘Mass’, onto ‘Fear’ and then ‘the fate of the imprisoned’, the museum portrays all aspects of the war, facing head on the collaboration of Belgians themselves with the Germans. In chronological order over three floors, the Memorial, Museum and Documentation Centre on Holocaust and Human Rights documents how this persecution escalated and the pattern of

escalation that still happens today, citing Rwanda, Syria or South Africa. Beginning with the increased suppression of Belgium’s Jewish population, the mass propaganda and the influx of immigrants from Eastern Europe, akin to today’s Afghan and Syrian refugees, five individuals’ tales are retold through authentic documents and testimonials. These witnesses, explains the museum's Sara Verhaert, portray the different sides of the story. With one a prisoner of Auschwitz and one in hiding

TOP MIDDLE: The former barracks and deportation centre have been transformed into an insightful and provoking museum of human rights. TOP RIGHT: The Names Room pays its respect to those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis. ABOVE LEFT: Years of hard work has resulted in authentic photos of almost every individual. ABOVE RIGHT: The Dossin Barracks.

as a child, these go hand-in-hand with the museum’s Wall of Portraits. “Giving a face to the people who were deported is one of our objectives,” continues Verhaert. Collected testimonials and dedication over the past 20 years to find photos of those deported from Dossin, has resulted in a moving museum, with over 80% of those deported represented on the Wall of Portraits. The building’s architecture too pays homage to those who suffered here. The renowned architect bOb van Reeth’s design incorporates bricked-up windows, each brick carefully counted to symbolise the 25,484 Jews and 352 gypsies, of which only 5% returned. Parallel to the former barracks and the imposing new building run the disused rail tracks with a carriage upon them, a constant reminder to those who now drive through the city centre. Deportations to Auschwitz-Birkenau are considered one of the previous century’s worst violations against human rights, and by highlighting today’s acts of discrimination, violation and persecution, the museum aims to create a more understanding and just society, a society considerate of others. www.kazernedossin.eu

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Discover Benelux | Travel Feature | Destination Belgium

Destination Belgium Belgium often punches above its weight with its culture, coastal resorts and cheery holiday options. Culture meets kilometre after kilometre of sandy beaches, fine dining meets water sports and hiking meets history. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: SUNPARKS

Many visitors to Belgium stick to the tried and tested route; they pop over to Bruges, giving Antwerp and Brussels a cheery pat on the back, but there’s so much more waiting to be discovered in this pocketsized country. With four different locations spread across the tri-lingual nation, Sunparks, the Belgian holiday resort company, really does have an option for everyone. “It’s true,” says Sunparks’s spokesperson Liesbeth Vandamme enthusiastically, “You name it, we’ve got it covered.” Vandamme could hardly be a better representative; her local knowledge combined with her genuine desire to enhance people’s holidays renders her the ideal holiday organiser. With sheer pleasure, she reels off the locations on offer: two sun-blessed coastal

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resorts, a resort set in the rolling green hills of the Ardennes and one in Belgium’s lake district too, the ‘Kempense Meren’, just outside of the fashion capital of Antwerp. Despite the undeniable differences in backdrop, the four parks are united by certain characteristics: high quality residences, friendly staff, bike hire and swimming pools galore. Each park boasts its own subtropical water paradise, the so-called Aquafun, kept at a temperate 28 degrees Celsius. Whirlpools, saunas, slides (gentle or nerve-wracking), rapids and shrieks of laughter abound. Worried about the weather calling an untimely end to your water-based fun? No need, each park has both covered and

uncovered pools so all that’ll drag you away from the Aquafun will be a rumble in your stomach. The solution to an empty belly can be found in your self-catered holiday home, which comes with a fullyequipped kitchen and dining area (unfortunately no fully-stocked fridge!). Alternatively – as you’re on holiday after all – you might prefer to check out the parks’ various dining options, or venture further afield into the surrounding towns where Belgian chefs show they’re just as deft in the kitchen as their French neighbours. Reconnecting as a family, as a group of friends or a business getaway couldn’t be easier as the holiday homes are made for any number of guests from 2 to 20 people.


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Discover Benelux | Travel Feature | Destination Belgium

TOP LEFT: The resort in the Kempense Meren is surrounded by water and not far from Antwerp, giving you the best of both worlds. LEFT: With four parks across Belgium, the coast, the lake district and the Ardennes, everyone’s tastes can be satisfied – even if you do spend the whole holiday in your private garden! RIGHT: With two coastal resorts De Haan (pictured here) and Oostduinkerke, you can take your pick of a historical region like Flanders Fields or a cultural treat with Bruges on your doorstep.

Each site caters for varying size groups but you’ll have to be early to get the pick of the crop. Those long summer evenings can be spent in style, barbequing and reclining in your private garden. Venturing off-site is highly recommended, and is in fact a must for any visitor to Sunparks. “Think about what you want to get out of your holiday and check out the surrounding area. They’ve all got so many options for day-trips and excursions,” explains Vandamme. “Our motto is to do what you want, when you want and how you want.” Stuck for an idea of how to spend a rainy day? Vandamme recommends popping into the on-site reception. “The receptionists are walking guide books,” she says with a laugh. “They’re the best local friend you could have, with recommendations, dos and don’ts, as well as being able to give you the best discounts on local attractions!”

Flanders Fields is the park of Oostduinkerke aan Zee, where coastal beauty meets history. That’s not only a great location to discover more about the First World War, but it’s also fun for children too as the amusement park of Plopsaland is just around the corner.” For a different pace of life, exploring the Belgium Ardennes on mountain bikes hired from the Ardennes park is a treat for the whole family. With its luscious undulating landscape, castles perched on rocky promontories and picturesque villages lining the valleys, a day trip on bikes will entice, enthral and exhaust. Bikes can be hired from all of Sunparks’ destinations, but a word of warning from Vandamme, “it can be hillier than expected in the Ar-

dennes.” With Belgium offering you a wide choice of locations, what the coast lacks in hills, the Ardennes lack in sand and the Kempense Meren in castles, the destination choice lies solely in your hands. With flexibility for its guests and varied locations as core principles, Sunparks’ reputation for providing happy holidays to a broad spectrum of people has been growing steadily for the past few decades. Now with four parks on its roster, each housing a delightful bunch of well-maintained and much appreciated holiday homes, the parks can be found in vastly different regions within Belgium to ensure that “there is something to match everyone’s tastes.” www.sunparks.com

Coast meets culture As Vandamme puts it: “Are you after culture with a bit of coast? Then your best bet is De Haan aan Zee, you’re just 15 minutes away from the beautiful town of Bruges. Further down the coast, in the middle of

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Discover Benelux | See & Do | Holland’s Cheese Museum

From cow to cheese TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: EVERT WINKELMAN

As Holland’s most famous edible export, cheese is certainly a hot topic. But it’s in the northern Dutch town of Alkmaar where the cheese wheel really gets rolling Frits Verweel from Holland’s Cheese Museum explains how every Friday flocks of people head to Alkmaar’s main square, the Waagplein, for a taste of its traditional cheese market, the largest of its kind in Europe and dating back to the 1500s. But there’s another draw to this small northern town as perched on one side of the square is the Cheese Museum. Set up in 1983 and run entirely by passionate volunteers, it was recently reopened by none other than King Willem Alexander. The charming museum inside the Waaggebouw [Weigh Building] charts the development of cheese from the pastures to our palates. Looking back at production methods over the past centuries, the museum documents how the original makers of this delicacy strived to create the best cheese. Allowing the cows to graze before milking the herd was a process which Verweel says has all but died out. “Small-scale

producers are rare these days,” he says. “Technology has changed all that, but back then they were so proud of their cheese-making, it was an art-form.” This great heritage has left some fascinating artefacts, which are now exhibited in the museum, explains the knowledgeable volunteer. Complex cheese pressers from hundreds of years ago can be seen in one room, while another illuminates visitors to Alkmaar’s inextricable relationship with cheese. The journey from grass to cheese, via milk and butter, is brought to life in a treasure hunt for children. www.kaasmuseum.nl LEFT: King Willem Alexander performing the re-opening ceremony on 6th March 2014 (cutting some Gouda cheese) accompanied by two members of staff. Alkmaar, just 30 minutes from Amsterdam, is right in the middle of Noord-Holland, the region most famous for producing Edam and Gouda, which account for two-thirds of Holland’s cheese exports.


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Discover Benelux | See & Do | History through Design

TOP LEFT AND MIDDLE: ‘Made in Japan’ includes both political and creative messages from the land of the rising sun (Photos: Maria Salamone). FAR LEFT: A. Aoba, We shall overcome, 1989. LEFT: S. Matsunaga, Rights of Humankind, 1989. RIGHT: Workshops and events for young and old enhance the centre's programme (Photo: Vincenzo Chiavetta).

L E C E N T R E D E L A G R A V U R E E T D E L’ I M A G E I M P R I M É E

History through design TEXT: PHIL GALE | PRESS PHOTOS

An era or an age is often best depicted by the design and fashions of that period. From clothes through to buildings, each individual piece represents the style of the day. Yet, there is nothing that captures a time better than its printed artwork. Ever since the discovery of printing, artists have seen it as a medium to express themselves and it is this expression that is exhibited by Le Centre de la Gravure et de l’Image imprimée in La Louvière, Belgium. This summer they have a must-see event, their “Made in Japan” exhibition, where hundreds of pieces of artwork by 33 Japanese artists will be on display. Offering an overview of the land of the rising sun through their prints and graphics, the exhibition encompasses both contemporary and traditional art. For visitors to the exhibition, it’s a rare opportunity to take an in-

depth look into the culture and influences that are at the centre of modern Japan. “Our exhibition comes in two sections: one with pieces that have a calm theme, from documenting the passing of time and growing of children; the other theme is more political,” explains the centre’s director, Catherine De Braekeleer. With Japan hugely influenced by the traumas of the Second World War, printing has long been a way for artists and those with political messages to spread their words, cheaply and with ease. This exhibition of 800 square metres really reflects this, with the stories behind each piece explained in detail. “After looking through our vast collection we saw that there was a large number of pieces by Japanese artists, so we decided to create this exhibition. We have graphic design represented, from 1989 to modern

day and print artists from 1925 to modern day, documenting the whole of World War II and its impact,” De Braekeleer continues. Political message or just visual and aesthetically pleasing as art, the new exhibition at Le Centre de la Gravure et de l’Image imprimée really is a highlight in Belgium this summer. With works from the best Japanese contemporary artists, each piece possesses an invaluable story, capturing a moment in time. De Braekeleer concludes: “Even with the language barrier this really is an exhibition that we are proud of and we can’t wait for it to open, but it is for a short time only,” she warns, “because prints degrade in light, so they will need to be returned to our archive at the end of the summer.” www.centredelagravure.be

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Discover Benelux | Attraction of the Month | Luxembourg

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

A Royal Passion for Art – in Villa Vauban, Luxembourg City Art Museum Luxembourg is celebrating this summer, with an impressive art exhibition to match the national mood. Artistically, Luxembourg punches above its weight. Despite its compact size, the Grand Duchy is a key player on the European cultural stage, as shown in the forthcoming landmark exhibition. Expect romance, royal history and regal works of art. TEXT: LISA GERARD-SHARP | MAIN PHOTO: CHRISTIAN ASCHMAN

Luxembourg is offering visitors a royal welcome this summer. The Grand Duchy commemorates 175 years of independence, with the capital celebrating 20 years as a UNESCO World Heritage site. As if in response, Villa Vauban, Luxembourg City Art Museum, is staging “A Royal Passion for Art.” Boris Fuge, Villa Vauban’s spokesman, explains how this dazzling exhibition reflects Europe’s chequered history and Luxembourg’s role at the heart of it. This is not just a visual feast but a European `Who’s Who’ for its time. This wide-ranging exhibition recalls that `six degrees of separation’ game, with all the royal patrons of art interlinked. William

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Dordrecht and the Dutch Royal collections, II (1792-1849) was both Grand Duke of as well as Luxembourg’s Villa Vauban. Luxembourg and King of the Netherlands, and connected to the Russian court through his wife, Tsarina Anna Pavlovna. The cosmopolitan royal couple were cultivated collectors whose privileged lives offer a window on their taste and times. The sense of a dynastic story continues today, with all three nations involved in loaning the art on dis- Jean-Baptiste van der Hulst (1790-1862), Willem II and Anna Paulovna and play, through the muse- their four children, painted in front of their Brussels residence Palace Tervuren, ums of the Hermitage, around 1826, oil on wood, © Den Haag, Royal Collections


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Discover Benelux | Attraction of the Month | Luxembourg

LEFT: Nicaise de Keyser (1813-1887), Portrait of Grand Duchess Anna Paulovna, 1850, oil on canvas, © Saint-Petersburg, The State Hermitage Museum. MIDDLE: Nicolaas Pieneman (1810-1860), Portrait of King William II, 1849, oil on canvas, © Saint-Petersburg, The State Hermitage Museum. RIGHT: Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682), The Immaculate Conception, oil on canvas, © Detroit, Detroit National Institute of Arts

The story behind the exhibition is an intriguing tale of royal romance, artistic riches, glamour, good fortune and great loss that has universal appeal. We get a sense of how the Tsarina brought undeniable glamour to the strictly Calvinist Dutch court, with some of her splendid wedding dowry on display, gathered from royal residences. Dubbed the ‘Art King’, William II was a passionate collector and amassed the Netherlands’ largest ever art collection, featuring Flemish, French, Italian and Spanish Old Masters, as well as Golden Age Dutch art. Sadly, on the King’s death, his colossal debts led to the dispersal of the collection, auctioned off in 1850, but partly reassembled here. The treats include Flemish and Italian masterpieces by Rubens, Jan Steen, Melzi, Bronzino and Ghirlandaio. But what will touch most visitors are the insights into the moulding of a personal collection, and the poignant portrait of profit and loss that underscores it.

Villa Vauban – art for all seasons Luxembourg City Art Museum, the splendid setting for this exhibition, is a story in itself. Set in lovely gardens, Villa Vauban is home to the city’s collection of Old Masters. Fully revamped, and tripled in size, the bijou 19th-century villa occupies the site of a Vauban fort built by Louis XIV’s legendary

military architect. If suffering from artistic overload, Boris Fuge suggests collapsing in Villa Vauban’s classical gardens: “this is my favourite retreat, an urban oasis, yet so close to the city.” The city’s bedrock collection springs from the generosity of philanthropic Luxembourgers, who may have found fame and fortune abroad, yet wanted to give back to their homeland. In particular, today’s citizens can thank a trio of 19th-century notables who had a passion for art. Bequests by banker and tobacco baron Jean-Pierre Pescatore (who bought some of his paintings at the William II auction), Consul-General Leo Lippmann and arty heir Eugénie Dutreux-Pescatore form the core collections. Naturally, the art reflects the taste of upper-class collectors of their day, devoted to Dutch painting in the Golden Age, along with French landscapes and history scenes. As Fuge sums up: “Although two of these patrons did not live in Luxembourg, they never cut ties with their homeland and still felt patriotic enough to leave us their treasures.” Villa Vauban is both a showcase to the tastes of past patrons and a vehicle for presenting major international exhibitions. Fuge sees the seven city museums as cen-

tral to Luxembourg’s creative, contemporary vibe: “The turning point was when we became European Capital of Culture in 1995, which kick-started the creation of new museums. I’m proud to see such a cluster of museums emerging in such a short time-span.” Villa Vauban’s most emblematic exhibitions are prestigious but representative, with more than a nod to Luxembourg’s artistic riches. “A Royal Passion for Art” fits the bill, touching on Luxembourg but bringing an international dimension. To outsiders, this innate internationalism is still surprising, but not to cosmopolitan insiders, such as Boris Fuge: “How could it ever be otherwise, given Luxembourg’s history, at the heart of Europe?”

“A Royal Passion for Art” is the summer’s star exhibition, running from 12 July to 12 October 2014 in Villa Vauban, Luxembourg City Art Museum (Wed-Mon 10am-6pm). The exhibition is staged in conjunction with the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, the Dutch Royal Collections in the Hague and the Dordrechts Museum. Explore the gorgeous gardens while you are there. Villa Vauban, 18, avenue Emile Reuter, tel: +352 4796 4565, www.villavauban.lu.

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Discover Benelux | Attraction of the Month | Belgium

Once you've seen Experience Brussels it is then time to get out and explore the vibrant capital of Europe.

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

What a capital idea – It’s Brussels at a glance and doesn’t cost a Euro cent TEXT: MARTIN PILKINTON | PHOTOS: COURTESY OF BIP

Travellers arriving at the Central Station in Belgium’s capital may expect the usual stuff at the information centre – leaflets, maps, guides – across the way on Place Royale. With such necessities there’s a more surprising find, the huge interactive (and free!) exhibition – experience Brussels! “It’s the perfect way for visitors to get a feel for the city in its various guises – living city, regional capital, national capital, and at the centre of the European Union,” says Curator Stéphanie Becco: “And because it is so interactive every visitor creates his or her own version, and can focus on the things that interest them – nightlife, customs, history, the different areas.”

the interconnected strands of life in the vibrant city, as Stéphanie explains: “Naturally there’s a room about our special history, another that gives facts and figures - about our transport and population and green spaces... – a special room for kids with games and quizzes and loads of buttons to press and films to watch, one covering music and culture and the fantastic gastronomy.” One salle not to be missed is that where city-dwellers give their personal take on what Brussels means to them, the testimony and full-scale photos of those born in the place alongside newcomers from across Europe and Africa giving an idea of its multi-cultural dynamism.

sentation aspect literally: “A scale-model of the entire city provides an overview at a glance,” says Stéphanie: “It’s something with more impact and meaning than any map.” Some visitors rush round in 10 minutes – there’s no entrance fee so they don’t feel the need to get their money’s worth – but Mme Becco believes an hour is required to make the most of it: “But no longer, as then it’s time to go and experience the real thing, which in the end is the whole point of the exhibition.” Open 10:00 – 18:00 daily except Christmas and New Year’s Days www.biponline.be

Spread over a whole floor of the imposing neo-classical Maison de la Région, the exhibition is a warren of rooms focussed on

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The exhibition that opened in 2008 evolves like the city it represents, a major new element added this June takes that repre-


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Discover Benelux | Hotel of the Month | Luxembourg

HOTEL OF THE MONTH, LUXEMBOURG

A hotel steeped in history TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: TEMPS D’OR

“We’re well hidden,” begins the Count of Ansembourg with a chuckle, “but once you’ve found us, you’ll never get lost again.” Following 13km of sinuous roads from Luxembourg City leads you to one of Europe’s most exclusive boutique hotels. The Temps d’Or hotel, a family residence built in the 12th century, has witnessed insurmountable history but now the doors are open and offering the most comfortable stay possible to those who demand the best. A spectacular rural retreat, the Temps d’Or hotel, tucked in the Eisch Valley, allows for undisturbed days and unparalleled tranquillity. As no children or visitors are permitted to enter the grounds, guests can be sure that their leisure time will be respected. Hand in hand with the idea of unspoilt rest is the hotel’s spa area where the Jacuzzi and sauna await. “We have many influential guests come to stay here from the world of economics,

politics and business,” explains the strategy consultant turned successful hotelier Count of Ansembourg proudly. “They clearly appreciate the hotel and its surroundings.” Perched high above the valley, the opportunities for running, walking and riding are as limitless as the stunning view stretching to the horizon. The count explains that the French troops under Louis XIV destroyed the side of the castle which enjoys the best view in order to aid their defence. After being rebuilt in 1740, the count’s ancestors left the castle uninhabited for centuries. “At one point our family owned most of the seven neighbouring castles,” continues the Count, as he outlines his family’s illustrious past within the Grand Duchy. “I actually also grew up in the lower castle of this valley.” Now renovated, the six-bedroom hotel is housed in this historic wing, granting guests an unforgettable view from within a

castle described by Victor Hugo as ‘admirable.’ While a substantial breakfast is served, there is no on-site restaurant as such, but a “gastronomically brilliant” private chef and traiteur can be arranged. For those looking to dine in the local area, the hotel and their previous guests have compiled a frequently consulted list of recommendations – a must-see before dining out. The Count is keen to explore new opportunities while keeping exclusivity at the hotel’s core. Soon, the hotel will play host to seminars on investing in Europe for leading overseas investors. What’s more, Temps d’Or organise six select weddings a year as this 12th century castle and its vista over Luxembourg’s unspoilt nature combine to form a romantic union. www.tempsdor.com

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Discover Benelux | Hotel of the Month | The Netherlands

TOP: De Beukenhof offers great food and personal service in a casual environment for formal or private gatherings. LEFT: The hotel took its name from the centuries-old beech tree.

HOTEL OF THE MONTH, THE NETHERLANDS

De Beukenhof | La Société – accessible luxury & French Cuisine TEXT: JANINE STERENBORG | PRESS PHOTOS

French cuisine. Experience La Douce France with The French Table, or have a single to five-course dinner, based on seasonal food, while experiencing exquisite personal service.

Whether you want to spend a night in a suite with an infra-red sauna, drop by for a cup of coffee, enjoy a fine wine after work or even get married under a centuries-old beech tree, you can do it in De Beukenhof, a luxury vintage hotel with restaurant, bar and lounge La Société, in the west of the Netherlands. Its location in the centre of the village of Oegstgeest is convenient, yet secluded. De Beukenhof | La Société is surrounded by greenery and harbours a generous, relaxing English country style garden. It makes this venue an ideal place for a casual drink with a good friend as well as a business meeting in a private room. Close to Leiden, the North Sea coast, and with The Hague just a twenty-minute drive away, it is easy to reach. De Beukenhof’s history is intriguing: the earliest stories about an inn in Oegstgeest date

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back to 1355. In 1926 two young entrepreneurs bought the spacious land with an idyllic little white house, in which they started a tearoom, while constructing a beautiful garden outside. In 1948 the tearoom was transformed to De Beukenhof | La Société as we know it today. A history to keep in mind when strolling through the garden! Of course you can still drink a cup of tea in De Beukenhof, though the focus has shifted to gastronomy. Chef Henk Schreuder gets his inspiration from the

If your budget is limited, you can still experience La Société’s gastronomy: with prices as low as €12.50, a luxury lunch from the small menu is certainly affordable. De Beukenhof | La Société is famous for serving meals to among others Maria Callas, the royal family and Liz Taylor, so you can experience their taste for food at La Société. However, De Beukenhof is very accessible and their policy couldn’t be more welcoming. Owner Jacky Weeber: “Anyone is welcome to take a stroll in our garden and a seat in our new outside lounge, even if it is just for a drink!” www.debeukenhof.nl


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Discover Benelux | Restaurant of the Month | The Netherlands

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

Wilde Zwijnen: the great Dutch dine TEXT: CAROLE EDRICH | PHOTOS: WILDE ZWIJNEN / JAN VAN BREDA

Gezellig is a very Dutch concept meaning comfortable, cosy, convivial, quaint, a nice atmosphere, time spent with loved ones and emphatic people and a whole lot more. This concept is embodied in its entirety by the Wilde Zwijnen restaurant. Located in Amsterdam’s eastern borough, the Oost, its authentic shabby-chic décor, friendly staff and sophisticated locally-sourced Dutch cuisine have brought it accolades from all over the world including the New York Times, Wallpaper*, Special Bite, Gault Millau and Trip Advisor. The whole ethos is one of Dutch simplicity. The décor has an authentic, genuine, raw and sustainable feel. Tables are converted barn doors, taps are old cock valves and a wall in the kitchen was constructed with choice bricks and stones from demolished buildings. There is a synergy between old and new, raw and sophisticated and guests linger for hours because of it. The Chef’s Menu changes weekly and while the full set menu is already seasonal, individual dishes change regularly. The cuisine leans towards Dutch country-style cooking, although the chef shies away from the use of the traditionally ‘heavy’ ingredients. Produce is sourced locally. Every autumn, wild boar (for which the restaurant is named) comes from a butcher in the Veluwe, the Wilde Zwijnen team make their own sausages from Baambrugge pork, fish comes from Urk and vegetables like parsnips and purple carrots are supplied by a local farm. Wilde Zwijnen offers exciting vegetarian options, and ‘slow cooking’ is a recurring theme. The Wilde Zwijnen concept was created by three friends with complementary experience in the hospitality and catering industry. Julia Bachrach explains: “In 2009, we

read that the city council planned to put extra effort into developing this particular area in the eastern part of Amsterdam. We had an affinity with the neighbourhood, saw the potential and then found a great space which, after renovation, would provide indoor seating for around 100 and could accommodate another 80 on the terrace.” Since their opening party and the test of the first week, they have not looked back. Julia continues: “It has been very exciting

because you keep asking yourself, what happens once the novelty wears off? What happens after a year? Can we maintain quality? Can we change things around while still safeguarding the essence of the place? We are now in our fifth year and are as busy as we have ever been. ” And so the Wilde Zwijnen’s popularity continues, deservedly. Go and try it yourself. www.wildezwijnen.nl

The founders of Wilde Zwijnen, three friends who saw potential in Amsterdam’s Oost district: Faysel van Thiel, Frenk van Dinther and Julia Bachrach. Photo: Jan van Breda

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Discover Benelux | Business | frog design

ABOVE LEFT: With the NYC Beacon, frog reimagined the payphone to better connect New Yorkers with the city's essential services. BELOW: Unify (formerly Siemens Enterprise Communication) partnered with frog to reimagine workforce collaboration. Photo: frog design and Unify.

Innovation through empathy TEXT: JOSHUA YANCEY | PHOTOS: FROG DESIGN

Founded in 1969, frog is one of the world’s foremost product strategy and design firms. Tjeerd Hoek is Vice President, Creative and joined frog in 2007 after thirteen years at Microsoft where he last served as director of user experience design for the Windows and Media & Entertainment divisions. This background, which focused on the customer’s experience, can be seen in Hoek’s current work with frog. Their mission, he says, “isn’t necessarily always to create an artefact or product, but rather to help companies define and evolve their innovation strategy.” This might involve an organisational change to make different areas of a company work together more efficiently. Such restructuring might seem daunting, but part of frog’s job is to get companies to change the way they think about themselves. In EU firms, this might mean breaking down the walls that separate different divisions in order to foster more risk taking. This is in contrast to the U.S. where companies are of-

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ten led by CEOs who focus on the experience and the value offered to customers as a key part of their long term strategy. It is not fear of failure that stifles innovation in EU companies, he says, but rather a compartmentalisation that narrows thinking, emphasising risk avoidance and a quicker return on investment.

“Companies must have genuine empathy for their customers, and act on it,” he says. This approach takes time and requires long-term thinking, but in the end Hoek maintains that the results are worth the wait. “There are plenty of

ways to analyse data points and cost cutting measures, but they don’t tell you how your customers are using your product. To know that, you must observe them.” Asking them to fill out a questionnaire, in other words, only reveals what the user already knows. To be truly innovative, a company must enter the environment where its products are being used in order to form a deeper understanding. Such close observation leads to the creation of products and solutions that predict a customer’s needs and thereby broaden their expectations while enhancing their experience. Hoek believes that an approach which stresses genuine empathy and understanding of consumers can mitigate the fear of change, and that as long as companies innovate with technology to create product experiences that truly improve people’s lives, they can achieve the sort of big changes that lead to sustained business success. www.frogdesign.com


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Discover Benelux | Business | UKTI

London fashion firms strike a pose in international exports TEXT: PARVEEN THORNHILL, DIRECTOR OF UK TRADE & INVESTMENT LONDON

The London fashion industry has long been a celebrated part of both the culture and economy of London. Renowned international brands such as Stella McCartney and Burberry lead the way in global exports.

vestment (UKTI) can help. The schemes we offer, together with the support of our International Trade Advisers, can help you develop an export strategy, tailored to your business needs and focused on fast tracking you to international success.

The fashion industry is a flagship for innovation and creativity, promoting exporting success that other small and medium sized firms can tap into.

We have six specialist international fashion advisers based in London who understand the industry and can help take your business overseas.

British fashion is never static, and neither should your journey to export. I urge prospective exporters in the fashion industry to follow the example of Smart Turnout; take advantage of the services UKTI has to offer and begin to secure export deals around the world.

Contributing a massive £21 billion to the UK economy and with 70 per cent of its revenues coming from overseas sales, it is clear that the fashion industry thrives on demand from overseas. This global demand shows no sign of fading, with British designers increasingly expanding their export sales in the Far East, the United Arab Emirates and emerging markets across Asia and South America. It’s something I’d like to see continue across the smaller businesses in the fashion industry. This is where UK Trade and In-

London-based menswear company, ‘Smart Turnout’, for instance, used our services. After attending two UKTI trade missions and taking part in our Export Communication Review, a scheme to assist with online sales, the company secured orders in Japan, the United States and South Korea. The proportion of their revenues which have come from exports have gone up 20 per cent.

Parveen Thornhill, Director of UK Trade & Investment London

So pick up the phone and call UKTI on +44 (0)20 7215 5000 or email: export@uktilondon.org.uk to speak to one of our excellent trade advisers and begin your exciting journey towards international success!

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Discover Benelux | Business | Safe Pocket

Be smart and play it Safe Safe Pocket is a pioneering company from Luxembourg that supplies condom pouches to various clients around the globe. TEXT: HARUN OSMANOVIC | PHOTOS: SAFE POCKET

in the late 90s. “I saw an opportunity to put our know-how at the service of clients with a new product that has both societal reasons to exist as well as powerful applications in marketing campaigns.”

In the last couple of decades, people have grown more aware of sexually transmitted diseases, contraception and the importance of using condoms. Younger generations have all been exposed to healthy sexual education, which includes the injunction to always carry one because, after all, luck plays a big role in the matters of the heart. Today, efforts are still being made to provide protection to as many people as possible. One problematic area that needs more attention is the issue of “conceal and carry”, or, in other words the question of packaging. From the condom that is forever in the wallet to the one lost in a handbag or the one that was supposed to be in a pocket but went to the washing machine, chances are your condom might not be so secure by the time your luck strikes. This is where Safe Pocket comes into play with a set of

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Mr Willy Baeckens set himself to work with a team of engineers and created a machine that would safely place condoms in preprinted pouches carrying the visuals of the client. The idea rapidly caught momentum solutions for the safety of users but also as a great and memorable marketing tool. Created in Luxembourg in 1998, Safe Pocket is a brand of Ad-Corner, a familyowned company that has grown into a European leader in the domain of condom pouches. “The idea came from my father,” explains CEO of Safe Pocket Nicolas Baeckens, who started working with Durex


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Discover Benelux | Business | Safe Pocket

song. Evidently, sex remains a fun activity. If your brand wants to join the action promoting safer sex, whether it is to increase brand image or simply to educate people on the benefits of staying protected – or perhaps for both reasons – make sure you contact the small but ambitious Luxembourgish company… because even in marketing it is usually better to play it Safe! ABOVE LEFT: Receiving the Made in Luxembourg certificate 14 May 2014. Mr Carlo Thelen, director general of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (left) and Nicolas Baeckens, the director of Ad-Corner (right).

and Safe Pocket became adopted by various actors. “We have two types of clients,” says Nicolas Baeckens, “one type is the non-profit organisation that aims to democratise and distribute condoms while the other type is using our products as a marketing give-away to reach a certain audience.” As such, Safe Pocket has been very successful and counts some very prestigious clients, such as the Luxembourgish and Belgian governments, the European Commission and the Red Cross, as well as various mutual insurance companies aiming to reach and educate youth on the importance of protection and contraception in Europe but also in Africa. Safe Pocket’s approach is very qualitycentred. “Very few companies manufacture or package condoms in Europe, this is why we pride ourselves on having earned the ‘Made in Luxembourg’ label,” says Mr Baeckens. This label has been granted to Safe Pocket because its entire infrastructure is located in Luxembourg, from the printing to the packaging of the condoms into the pouches. Another element that the company focused on in order to ensure a higher quality of service is to use mostly paper that is certified by the FSC – or Forest Stewardship Council – a label given solely to suppliers that strive to preserve the forests’ fauna and flora. As Mr Baeckens explains: “these are key elements in the mission statement of Safe Pocket.” It is precisely this consistency and attention to detail that has enabled the brand to sign with some of the most famous multination brands. Recently, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, H&M, Sanofi Pasteur as well as the Brussels short film festival have asked Safe Pocket to package give-away condoms to be used at trade shows, stores or various

www.safe-pocket.com

events. Counting on its strong partnership with the Europe’s largest condom manufacturers – Durex, Manix or Pasante – the Luxembourgish family-owned business is always thinking of new packaging ideas to help its clients succeed in their actions. From the classic individual package in different sizes, to the small box containing four condoms with or without a lubricant bag or even a tin box to carry them safely, Mr Baeckens’ team will find the best solution tailored to your needs. Recently, the French electro band Daft Punk was praised for its innovative marketing campaign. Safe Pocket is proud to have modestly but very effectively participated in it by supplying one of the band’s resellers with “Get Lucky” condom pouches carrying the visual of their hit

'Fashion Against AIDS', an initiative from H&M. Whether it's a campaign for safer sex, a marketing give-away or another promotional activities, Safe Pocket's innovative take on condom pouches are a hit.

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Discover Benelux | Business | Columns

What communicates? TEXT: JOSIAH FISK | PHOTOS: COURTESY OF JOSIAH FISK

Would you pay EUR2,000 a year for a financial product you didn’t really understand? Before you answer, consider this: if you live in Luxembourg and Belgium, you could already be doing exactly that. According to Insurance Europe, the association for the EU’s insurance industry, residents of Belgium and Luxembourg spend close to EUR2,000 per capita on life insurance each year. In my book, when you’re spending that kind of money, you want to be clear on what you’re getting. Yet I’m willing to bet that few life insurance customers have a good working knowledge of their policies. With insurance, even more than other complex products, reading the contract – which is the definitive product description – is unlikely to help. Even if you understand what it’s saying (which is hard enough), it can be virtually impossible to know what that information amounts to in practice. It’s a little like trying to figure out how to set the time on your Swiss watch by looking at a diagram of all its gears, springs and ratchets. Even experts find insurance baffling. David Pearlman, the brilliant insurance attorney who invented the

US college savings plan, once said to me, “Whole life insurance is the most complicated product I’ve ever seen. I still don’t fully understand how it works.” Is there hope for the rest of us? I say there is, though it needs to start with better efforts on the part of the insurance companies. There’s a lot they could do. For instance, simplification should be able to reduce contract length by 60% to 75%, if it’s done properly. Adding a how-to-read section can help. So can reorganising the document so

that it follows the product lifecycle. Even just changing some of the jargon can help. Many terms are confusing because they describe things from the insurance company viewJosiah Fisk point, not the customer viewpoint. For instance, “surrender” seems like a strange word to use for making a withdrawal from your policy until you realise that from the company’s standpoint, they’re surrendering your money. In the meantime, though, don’t bother to try reading the contract. Instead, make sure you get a clear explanation from your insurance agent. And if they can’t explain it? My advice: don’t buy!

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

What makes a good manager? TEXT: STEVE FLINDERS | PRESS PHOTO

Most managers become managers because they’re good at something else. Good food scientists, computer programmers, salespeople or whatever, do well enough in their jobs for them one day to be put in charge of some others. Quite a few then discover that a) they have two jobs instead of one, and b) they have no idea how to do the new one because it requires them to exercise a wide and complex range of soft skills which they have not had to use before. I believe personally that people can learn how to manage if they receive support and training, and my first question on my managementfor-beginners courses is usually: What makes a good manager? Over the last twenty years, the answers I have had to this question have changed a lot, and for the better. As Beverly Alimo-Metcalfe, professor of leadership at the University of Bradford argues so convincingly, most leadership studies historically have been based on the findings of research carried out by white middleaged male American academics asking questions about leadership to white middle-aged male American leaders (a subset of the people

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Jared Diamond describes as the atypically WEIRD: from Western, educated, industrialised, rich and democratic societies). Beverly decided instead to ask not the leaders but the led (very often women) for their views about leadership and, happily, their opinions are now seeping through into a far more useful mainstream view of what skills good managers need to exercise. Top of the list for many of my trainees nowadays is listening, but one management role that my trainees often forget is that of team ambassador. If there’s no ambassador representing the team to the outside world (often in boring meetings) and broadcasting the great work that the team is doing, then two things can happen. Your people get demotivated because no-one knows they’re there; and resources dry up because no-one is fighting their corner in the places of power. Alongside this goes the Alex Ferguson role, the buffer: stand up for your people in public, deal with mistakes in private. So work on your representational skills as a manager; and if you’re not very good at that, get someone else in your team to do it for you.

Steve Flinders is a freelance trainer, consultant, writer and coach who helps people develop their communication skills for working internationally. 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

Steve Flinders


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Discover Benelux | Business | Alpine Rentals

In Saalbach-Hinterglemm, one of Austria’s top ski resorts, Kontour Vastgoed have developed a range of holiday apartments and studios, each meeting today’s high standards and providing a great investment opportunity.

A valuable investment and a great vacation TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK | PHOTOS: ALPINE RENTALS

In the middle of the Glemmtal valley in Austria lies the mountain village of Saalbach Hinterglemm. Over the last decade it has evolved into one of Austria’s most popular holiday resorts. No matter what season it is, an unforgettable holiday is guaranteed. Once you’ve parked your car at the start of your holiday, you won’t have to touch it again until departure day. Glemmtal valley provides everything you might need and want during your holiday within walking distance. The ski bus stops in front of your door, the supermarket is down the street, and within ten minutes you are in the vibrant Saalbach town centre. The apartments of ‘Avenida Mountain Lodges Saalbach’ have been attracting growing attention recently. The town of Saalbach Hinterglemm has a rental obligation associated with the building permit of

this project. The apartments are sold as a complete package; they are each immediately ready for rental operations, including the complete inventory from bed to teaspoon, television and Wi-Fi. Not to worry; within the previously selected design packages, you as the owner have several choices of colours and materials. Alpine Rentals will professionally manage the rental of the apartment, providing everything from management to rent in a competent and assured manner. You have nothing to worry about, other than choosing when to come for your own stay

In the winter there are more than 240 kilometres of ski routes, and because of a modern snow cannon installation, snow is guaranteed from December until spring. The other three seasons provide everything for a family vacation; whether you’re a hiker, a thrill seeker or a seeker of rest and tranquility. There are 400 kilometres of hiking routes and 700 kilometres of bicycle routes. All of this with the backdrop of the natural beauty of the Austrian Alps. Austria is a country with a stable, decent property market, without extreme fluctuations or massive projects. There is an attractive efficiency and interest. The strong regulation ensures balance between supply and demand, making it a valuable and solid investment, which you can enjoy yourself with family and friends. www.avenida-oostenrijk.com www.kontourvastgoed.nl

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Discover Benelux | Business | Benelux Buiness Calendar

Benelux Business Calendar TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PRESS PHOTOS

As the 50-day Festival of Business in Liverpool continues, we’ve selected the most relevant events for Benelux business associates. While in Liverpool a stroll down to the docks wouldn’t go amiss and there are some top quality restaurants and shops to be explored in the vibrant city centre.

Theme: Cities, enterprise & urban business – The four key offences under the Bribery Act 2010. – Corporate offence – Failure of commercial organisations to prevent bribery. – Hospitality and promotional expenses – legitimate or not? – Guidance on how commercial organisations can prevent bribery.

Insider Breakfast: Transforming through export: The story of mid-size businesses 2014 1 July Liverpool John Moores University Theme: Knowledge, professional & financial services. Exploring the journey of mid-sized businesses into international markets, this Insider’s Breakfast will confront the opportunities and challenges facing mid-size businesses – from business contacts, to experience, language skills, legislation and markets.

International sales negotiation skills: Preparing to sell internationally 8 July Liverpool Chamber of Commerce Theme: Cities, enterprise & urban business Expanding into international markets brings with it a host of hurdles. This event aims to ease the process by discussing areas that could cause a stumble. The international sales process, culture and language, holidays, communication tools, body language and buying signals all appear on the agenda alongside predictions for the future of international sales.

Welcome to Liverpool: Options for foreign law firms and lawyers in England and Wales 2 July, 16:00 - 17:45 IFB Hub, No. 1 Mann Island. Mann Island, Liverpool Alongside presentations and case studies, regulators and practitioners will discuss the Qualified Lawyers

Transfer Scheme (QLTS), the fast-rack route for foreign lawyers to requalify as solicitors in England and Wales; setting up an office in London; and cross-border practice across the European Union. Pension schemes for employees abroad 2 July Quilter Cheviot Office, St Pauls Square, Liverpool Knowledge, professional & financial services How to trade overseas and not breach the bribery act 4 July Liverpool Chamber of Commerce

IFB closing dinner and awards ceremony 22 July Knowsley Hall, Liverpool

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

UK Tel.: 03333-440 779

Email: info@nbcc.co.uk Or visit:

www.nbcc.co.uk


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Discover Benelux | Business | 247

247 driving decadance TEXT: CAROLE EDRICH | PRESS PHOTOS

In late 2010, Michel Overmars and Patrick Ende, who had known each other for years, created 247, a two-tier parking service for Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. Pragmatic and enthusiastic from the very beginning, those booking the shuttle service in the first two months found themselves upgraded to valet meet-and-greet. Michel explains how the business has flourished: “In the beginning we had a lot of help from family, and friends and a second shuttle arrived in 2011. Oh, how proud we were of our two buses and the little ring route!” The same year saw the introduction of business valet parking with its extra fast booking module and guaranteed space, then The Travel Club (with over 100 affiliated agents) started using their services, too. Now there are three buses, a cadre of staff and two car parks in Aalsmeer, delivering a capacity of over 2000 cars per month. Customers are asked to call 15 minutes before arriving or when at the baggage carousel to ensure they are met on time (some book at the

same time they call). They’ve not just transported people either, but also dogs, kitesurfing kit, skis, and wheelchairs. Washing the car has become quite normal and they’ve even provided flowers! The best recommendations come from their clients. Marty Hirst of Zevenaar says: “We love it. It is much less expensive than long-term parking and instead of dragging your luggage around and taking the pesky airport bus you are met and looked after. It works well and feels very decadent.” If that’s not a great recommendation then I don’t know what is! www.247parking.nl

Lëtzebuergesch TEXT: ANOUK KALMES | PRESS PHOTO

For some reason, people who don’t know me, assume that I don’t speak Luxembourgish even though it’s my mother tongue. On several occasions, I was told that my Luxembourgish is really good. It always makes me chuckle inside. I’d be pretty hopeless if I wasn’t fluent in my first language! In Luxembourg it’s common to be multilingual. From an early age I learned German, French, later in secondary school, English and Spanish. And because these weren’t enough, I also attended Italian and Russian evening classes. So how does this mix translate into daily life? At home and with my Luxembourgish friends, I speak Luxembourgish. At the company where I work, English is the standard. With some colleagues who work cross-border, I will speak in French or German. When I go shopping or eat out, I ini-

tiate the conversation in French. And sometimes I’m surprised when I hear that the other person has an unmistakable Luxembourgish accent. Yes, I make the same assumption about others as they do about me. The advantage of being multilingual is that I have no difficulty in switching instantaneously between the languages. When you are used to the likelihood of others not speaking your first language, you learn to adapt and are prepared to play interpreter when it is required in a mixed group of people. Mastering Germanic and Romance languages also helps to somehow understand other languages that are part of these language groups. When I travel to countries where they speak languages that all totally unrelated to anything I know, it becomes all the more strange to be lost for words. In Tokyo I

would only eat at restaurants with sushi trains or photos on their menu. In Romania I made use of my Point It (picture dictionary) for the first time in my life. Although I am very proud of my mother tongue, I find it a shame that the vocabulary is limited and I sometimes need to incorporate French or English words when I want to express myself. It’s nice though to be one of the 400,000 people in this world that speak this rare language. Anouk K. was born in Seoul and shortly afterwards adopted by Luxembourg parents. She has been documenting her life and travels on her lifestyle blog www.luxessed.com since 2012.

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Discover Benelux | Culture | Travel Advice

TR AV E L

A DV I CE :

Drinking, driving and riding TEXT: THE AA | PHOTO: NBTC

warning triangles that must be placed behind the vehicle to warn other drivers that the car has broken down. In Belgium, local drivers must by law carry a first-aid kit and fire extinguisher so these are recommended for visiting drivers too.

gested roads. It means that drivers on a lane that’s coming to an end or is obstructed must continue until where the lane starts to close up and then merge alternately into the adjacent lane. Drivers in that lane must give way alternately.

Speed limits, which, of course, are marked in km/h are nevertheless similar to the UK – in built up areas the speed limit is typically 50km/h (about 30mph – but there are some 30km/h zones which is 18 mph); outside built up areas 90km/h (about 55mph) and on motorways and dual carriageways with a central reservation, generally 120km/h (74mph).

There is an amazing range of excellent beers in all three countries that really must be tried – but a word about drink-driving: throughout Europe, the limit is 0.5mg per ml of blood, or less (compared with the UK’s 0.8mg). That’s the equivalent of one small beer so just don’t even think of doing it. The penalties can be extremely severe which might include being immediately banned from driving. Speed fines are given on the spot and if you are caught in a hire car the fine will follow you home. Similarly, parking fines may have to be paid on the spot.

In Holland, buses have right of way when leaving bus-stops in built up areas and in many places cyclists have right of way too. In fact cycling is a fantastic way to get around this glorious country and there certainly aren’t many hills! There is a comprehensive national network of cycle routes that are very well maintained so why not leave your car at the hotel, camp site or guest house and hire some bikes? You’ll discover a whole new slower-paced world of sheer enjoyment!

Compulsory equipment in Belgium and Luxembourg includes reflective jackets and

In Belgium, a new law introduced in March this year is called ‘zip merging’ on con-

If you’re heading to the Benelux countries in the comfort of your car, rest assured that the rules of the road are pretty similar in all three countries and on the whole, the road signs are similar to the UK too. Of course, driving on the right is a must and you should be particularly careful if you are emerging from a one-way street onto a two-way road, or on entering roundabouts where the priority may not be as you would expect.

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OUT & ABOUT As Piet Paris’s guest curatorship at Utrecht’s Centraal Museum continues (top tip!), we’ve got your evenings and weekend covered with our definitive guide to this month’s Benelux festivals. After more of a fitness boost than festival vibes? Then the memorable Four Day Marches in the Netherlands might be right up your street. Sensible shoes and some good picnic lunches would be wise. But if it’s an appetising taste of what the world has to offer then hats off to Luxembourg City Tourist Office who bring Luxembourg to life each summer with ‘Summer in the City’, a programme of free music festivals, concerts, street theatre shows and other open air events. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PRESS PHOTOS

World MeYouZik 5 July, Place Guillaume II, place Clairefontaine, rue du St Esprit, Luxembourg Luxembourg City’s open-air music festival World MeYouZik takes place in the centre of the city. With three stages brimming with national and internationally revered musicians, the multicultural entertainment and exotic food draws in thousands of visitors each year. Alongside the music and entertainment, there’s the MeYouVillage where development projects, NGOs and international organisations will highlight their work and increase awareness of world issues. www.meyouzik.lu www.festivals.lcto.lu

Photos: Claude Piscitelli / LCTO

Photo: Daarzijn

Discover Benelux | Culture | Out & About

Blues’n Jazz Rallye 19 July Luxembourg City, Luxembourg Festival Blues’n Jazz Rallye celebrates 20 years in 2014 with 50 concerts in the UNESCO-listed

old city, free entrance, outdoor stages. www.bluesjazzrallye.lu

Over het IJ Festival 3 – 13 July Amsterdam

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Discover Benelux | Culture | Out & About

Bruges welcomes the Cactus Festival in mid-July. Photo: Korneel Cools

The area around the NDSM-wharf is taken over by dramatic scenes of outdoor theatre. While you can expect the unexpected in this edgy expanse of Amsterdam, there is also a special programme of family-friendly shows and music concerts. www.overhetij.nl

Cactus Festival 12-14 July Minnewaterpark, Bruges, Belgium It’s rare to see a line-up that’s so hard to beat these days, but Bruges’s summer festival seems to have got it right. Alongside Selah Sue, M. Ward, Jamie Woon and Oscar & The Wolf, there’s Austra and Massive Attack. Wonderful, joyous summer days await. www.cactusfestival.be

kilometres each day, and the city of Nijmegen has a plethora of supporting activities on simultaneously including tasty food and drink stalls as well as plenty of live music. www.4daagse.nl

Beleuvenissen 18 & 25 July Leuven, Belgium It won’t get much better than these two free evenings of spectacular music in the Belgium university city of Leuven. At four sites across the city, expect national and international musical stars to delight your ears. www.beleuvenissen.be

Rotterdam Unlimited 18 – 20 July Rotterdam, the Netherlands The architectural capital of the Netherlands comes into full coloured bloom this July with its weekend festival Rotterdam Unlimited. Culture is at the top of the list as national and international artists take over the inner city and the streets swarm with the Summer Carnival parade. It’ll be a noisy affair as thousands gather for the Battle of Drums, the street parade and the ‘Queen election.’ www.rotterdamunlimited.com

The Four Day Marches 15 – 18 July Nijmegen, the Netherlands Considered ‘the greatest walking event in the world’, The Four Day Marches, which set off from Nijmegen, have taken on huge significance and now attract keen walkers from across the globe. This year’s event has already attracted a record number of participants with 53,000 walkers going feet first. Over the four day period, walkers can expect to walk between 30 and 50

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LEFT: Leuven's public spaces are taken over by musicians during Beleuvenis, including the city’s OudeMarkt (Photo: Toerisme Leuven). RIGHT: Rotterdam Unlimited’s Summmer Carnival street parade takes place on the Saturday while Sunday plays host to Kool and the Gang and Sidney Samson (Photo: Daarzijn).


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Discover Benelux | Culture | Out & About

The Black MotoCross (Zwarte Cross) 25 – 27 July Lichtenvoorde, the Netherlands Excitement for many comes in the form of motorcycles, loving the thrill of the ride and the freedom to explore at their leisure. For this three day festival, motorbikes fuse with music to offer a huge range of activities, shows, demonstrations, competitions and stunts. It will be a three day festival with a difference as engines are revved and leathers are worn. www.zwartecross.nl

Brussels-on-Sea July Brussels You could be fooled into thinking you’re in the South of France, imagine white sandy beach, kicking back on a deckchair sipping your cocktail. The kids are entertained, they’re busy playing beach volleyball and while you might have forgotten the suncream, there’s shade to be found in the beach huts. A true seaside day out in the capital city of Europe, what could be better?

Moods 23 July – 7 August Bruges, Belgium For 14 days Bruges transforms from a life-size

The Black MotoCross (Zwarte Cross), a heady mix of motorbikes and music.

museum into a haven for music lovers. Nils Frahm, The Magic Numbers, Susanne Vega and many more will grace this picturesque town with their talent. www.moodsbrugge.be

S TATE S

OF

A R T

Collectives and collaboration TEXT & PHOTOS: MATT ANTONIAK

Ever since Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder teamed up on ‘Ebony and Ivory’ the word ‘collaboration’ has often been treated with a resigned air. However, it would appear that a wave of Belgian designers and creatives are making the term reputable again. Contrary to what you may think, working in collaboration, or as a collective, has many positives. Rather than a byword for compromise and mediocrity, their collaborations are exciting, innovative and becoming internationally recognised. For the young creative upstart, working as a collective can be a great choice practically. It allows for greater exposure, can help form an identity and can refine ideas in the fast-moving creative world. But as well as refining ideas, it can have the opposite effect – and produce a mountain of ideas that may not have been thought about otherwise. Jan-Jan van Essche’s and Pietro Celestina’s furniture shop-cum-restaurant-cum-teahouse-cum-

studio at Atelier Solar Shop is tantamount to their endless combined ideas and creations. Last year, art collective Captain Boomer caught the limelight with their installation on the Thames bank. Their brilliant performance/installation of a washed-up whale was an expertly executed piece of collaborative art that drew widespread acclaim. However, it is not just in art and design

that collaboration is thriving. Every week Hadas Can’ani and Charlotte Koopman team up for the Breakfast Club at In De Roscam, Antwerp to whip up exotic meals for brunch-goers under the name Otark productions. There is not a cornflake in sight as the duo serve up chakchoucka and adzhika amid many other global delights. These are amongst the many rescuers of collaboration, those who have reinstated a new belief in the communal act of making and make us ask, why create alone, when you can create together?

Although Matt advocates collaborations, he's more prone to working alone.

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Discover Benelux | Columns | Shallow Man

Things to do when the sun is shining in Amsterdam TEXT: SIMON WOOLCOT | PRESS PHOTO

The Shallow Man must be dreaming, we've had beautiful sunny weather in Amsterdam for three days in a row, which is pretty unusual. With this in mind I thought I'd write an article on things to do in Amsterdam when the sun is shining. Wear huge sunglasses without any sunblock on your face If you want to fit in to the chic Dutch crowd that you'll find posing at some of the finer locations in town, don't apply any sunblock to your face and wear the biggest sunglasses you can find. Remove them after a couple of hours and you'll look just like Kiki the panda. Wear the shortest miniskirt possible then hop on a bike The Shallow Man positively encourages this behavior. Wear a tiny skirt, then cycle along. Give angry looks to any men that happen to be walking in your direction. Remember the motto of owners of exclusive shops, if you don't want the general public to look at your goods, don't put them on display.

Sit anywhere you please It’s a beautiful day, do like the locals and sit anywhere that takes your fancy. Hold an impromptu picnic on the pavement of a narrow street. Sit down in front of an apartment building with your friends having drinks and shouting as loud as you can. Don't worry about people that need to get in or out, pass by or might actually live in the building. Smoke and leave your cigarette butts on the floor as well. It’s a beautiful day; sit wherever you please. Hold a barbeque in a park It’s a magnificent sunny day. What better way to celebrate it than having a barbeque in a public park with thirty or forty close friends? Have lots of beer and wine, bring lots of meat naturally, also sauces, and all other manner of food. Have a great time and then…. just walk away. Leave a huge mess behind you, don't clean up after yourself whatever you do. The local council employs people to clean, why put them out of a job? If you follow the tips provided above, you'll fit into Amsterdam better than a refugee clinging to the undercarriage of a lorry.

For more of the Shallow’s Man Guide to Amsterdam see @Expatshallowman

Thoughts on summer in the city TEXT & PHOTO: SILVIA DE VRIES

This insight instantly lifted my mood. So, I’d say; whenever you are forced to slow down, in Amsterdam or any other city, just look up. The array of buildings, old, new, crooked. The playful ways in which rooftops are shaped, the decorated facades, and the stained glass windows. There’s so much more to see than what meets the eye. Just take a minute to find the not-so-hidden-gems of the city. After all, that’s what summer is all about isn’t it; slowing down, enjoying the weather and, in this case, the city too.

As soon as sunlight manages to outrun the clouds, people take to the streets in Amsterdam. The Amsterdammers, the tourists and the out-of-towners all gather to enjoy the weather and the city. But, despite the lovely weather, it’s not always cause for joy for everyone. On Amsterdam’s small cobbled streets, a crowd quickly forms, forcing you to slow down. For those who need to be somewhere at a certain time, this can become a nuisance. Many a time I’ve found myself irritated by those wandering, aimlessly stopping in the middle of the street to look at buildings, sights or a map. Last week, I once again felt my mood swiftly change upon encountering a group

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of people. They were stood still on the corner of Dam Square, gazing up at the buildings surrounding it. All of a sudden it dawned on me that they had good reason to do so; hundreds of years of architectural history stood before them.

Silvia de Vries is a freelance copywriter & journalist with a fascination for the everyday life. She documents the ‘every day’ through words and photography on her blog 'Elke dag'. She lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


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Discover Benelux | Book Feature | Jip and Janneke

Jip and Janneke cross the channel There’s an Australian called David Colmer to thank for a small number of Dutch books that traverse the channel. A well-spoken amiable man, Colmer is keen to share his knowledge and experience as I catch up with him at his home in Amsterdam where he has lived for two decades. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE | PHOTOS: COURTESY OF DAVID COLMER

career. After meeting his Dutch wife in Berlin, he picked up both languages with ease and began translating books on art history and subtitling television shows until gradually more and more literature appeared on his desk. Today, he’s something of a polymath in the translating world. With Victor Hugo his latest challenge, children’s books in abundance (most significantly Annie M G Schmidt, “the Dutch equivalent of Astrid Lindgren”) and, most recently, his collaboration with the successful novelist Gerbrand Bakker. Having received multiple awards including the highly coveted Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for Bakker’s The Detour, Colmer remains modest about his role, but reveals that he now has the luxury of being a little more selective with the work he accepts. With Jip and Janneke under his belt, we’ve teamed up with the Dutch publishing house Querido to offer three lucky readers one of Schmidt’s popular books in its English translation.

READER COMPETITION Introduce your children to a firm favourite of the Lowlands by entering our competition to win one of three Jip and Janneke books by Annie M. G. Schmidt, unequivocally the Dutch equivalent to the Moomin’s Tove Jansson or Pippi Longstocking’s Astrid Lindgren. Originally written in the 1950s, but most recently published by Querido and translated by David Colmer, these books have lost none of their wit and charm and children from across the globe will love and cherish these characters. To win one of the three books, please send your name and address to: competition@discoverbenelux.com with JIP AND JANNEKE in the subject line.

You would expect an award-winning translator to have dedicated their former years to languages, their head immersed in

books, lifting it only when called for dinner. But away from the world of books, Colmer admits that he rather stumbled into the

Winners will be notified by email by the 30th July 2014, so get your entries in before then.

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Discover Benelux | Issue 7 | July 2014  

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