belgium

Farewell Wim | 9/5/2017


Wim Van Cauteren and his lovely wife Luciana have been beATLe fans as soon as beATL started its journey in June 2014.  For sure we will miss seeing them around!

Wim has been appointed as Trade Commissioner for Flanders & Brussels in Mexico-City where he will work at the Belgian Embassy.  There are a lot of economic links between the US and Mexico which has adopted a lot of American business practices while keeping its Latin flavor.   Also Mexico has, apart from Brazil, the largest economy in Latin-America offering many unexplored opportunities that Wim is excited about.

Luciana and Wim are fluent in Spanish, making the move to such a beautiful country even more attractive; they are both really looking forward to live there.

Wim started working for Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) in June 1998.   His first posting was Riyadh in Saudi Arabia; that was followed by a 7-year stay in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  After Argentina, he went back to Brussels for 2 1/2 years – at FIT’s headquarters, and since 2012, Atlanta became their new home.

His main activities is to give support to Flemish & Brussels export companies, that want to expand into the (Southern) USA.  On the other hand, he also detects US companies that want to cross the Atlantic and invest in Europe which explains why you could see him at numerous conferences, events and exhibitions.

He was also the co-organizer of three large trade missions in his jurisdiction: two Flemish-Dutch trade missions (one to Houston, TX and one to Atlanta, GA) and one Belgian Economic Mission to Texas.

What he loves about his job is getting positive feedback from Belgian and local companies, industry associations and government representatives but the icing on the cake is when a company secures a contract thanks to his introduction!

Wim will never forget the day and night of January 28 in 2014 when a snow and ice storm hit Atlanta!  Here is his story: ‘that night we were organizing a reception for Belgian businessmen that participated at the International Production & Processing Expo in Atlanta, so we could not leave the office early.  We left the office at 11 PM thinking that by that time the highways would be clear. Wrong ! I-75 north was still clogged with cars and there was a complete stand still. We got off the freeway, but we got lost somewhere in midtown and we feared we would have to overnight in our car with freezing temperatures outside. Luckily a Good Samaritan found us and was so nice to give us a ride back to my office in downtown Atlanta. At the office, we had to make a makeshift bed, made of tapestries and old carpets, but we were so happy that we didn’t have to sleep in the car.’

He will always enjoy and feel proud with the headline on the VRT (Flemish Public Television) news that stated that the first joint Flemish-Dutch economic mission in Houston, TX was a success. After several months of preparation, it was very rewarding.

If you ask Wim about his personal best moments in Atlanta, he will tell you about the Sun Dial restaurant in the Westin-hotel downtown where he had a birthday dinner with Luciana … but what made it very special is that on that rainy day, the view was nonexistent giving them the impression of having dinner in the clouds.   And the Belgian beers at the Brick Store Pub will remain a very good souvenir.

His last day in Atlanta is on September 15 … and no, the name of his successor is not known yet.   Check the blog again soon.

Join Flanders Investment & Trade and the Belgian American Chamber of the South on Tuesday, September 5th, so you too can thank Wim for all the great work he has done in the Southeast, wish him all the best on his new mission in Mexico and say goodbye to this super nice couple.

Logistics

  • When: Tuesday, September 5th, 2017 from 6.30 – 8.30 pm
  • Where: Burr & Forman LLP171 17th Street Northwest – 11th floor, Atlanta, GA 30363
  • RSVP by Sept 1st, 2017

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Celebrate 21st of July with beATL | 7/23/2017


2016-03-03 - PCM (1)We have only one National Day so join beATL for a lovely afternoon at the beach with your fellow compatriots on Sunday July 23rd from 12 to 6 pm.

beATLe Diane has reserved a covered pavilion at the Atlanta Yacht Club where we will have our National PicNic, rain or shine!    There will be fun for the whole fam:  you can hit the waves, play in the sand, compete in a game of volleyball or petanque, go kayaking or simply relax.

Please read carefully the Logistics, especially the waiver … and be courteous: use our RSVP system even if you are not joining us…  If you didn’t get a RSVP invitation via email through Whoozin, contact me so I can add you to our emailing/RSVP list.

LOGISTICS

WAIVER: beATL and the Atlanta Yacht Club will not be responsible for in any and all activities associated with the event.  Your family and guests are your sole responsibility and your participation is voluntary.  So no claim for any injury, accident, illness, loss, liability, damage, claim or cost, including actual attorney fees and costs that may arise from or in any way be in connection with the activities of beATL’s and the use of the property and facilities of Atlanta Yacht Club.  There is no lifeguard on duty!

  • When: Sunday July 23rd from 12 to 6 pm – gates won’t open before 12 pm!  Drive slowly towards the gates for access.
  • Where:  Atlanta Yacht Club  | 7120 Yacht Club Dr, Acworth, GA 30102 – Directions.  Be aware of road works populating I-75…
  • Parking: Parking is available on the grass around and in front of the Club House.  Park sensibly to leave enough space for others and do not block any boats!  For your convenience, you can drop off your material and attributes at the pavilion upon arrival.

What to bring (list is not exhaustive):

  • picnic basket to feed your family and guests … food, snacks, cups and plates, silverware, utensils, if needed, napkins, paper towels,…
  • cooler with an assortment of kid-friendly and adult beverages and plenty of ice.  Don’t forget water, corkscrew or bottle opener if needed!
  • if you want to use the grills, bring everything to that effect … charcoal, matches but also cleaning material!  You will be responsible to clean it after use.
  • beach games, ball (beach, volley,…), petanque, frisbee, other sports gear
  • swimming attributes including bathing suit, floaties, water air mattress, kayak, life jacket (a must if you go outside the swimming area),…
  • pail and shovel, bucket, other beach toys, book, magazine, binoculars,…
  • towels, extra clothes, flip flops …
  • beach chairs, beach umbrella  and remember hats, sunglasses, sunscreen and bug repellent.

What not to bring

Weapons of any kind, pets, motorcycles.

More to know

  • the Clubhouse has restrooms including a changing station for babies
  • if you intend to go outside the swimming area, you must wear a life jacket
  • for the sun sensitive souls, there are plenty shady spots under trees or pavilion.  The pavilion has fans and there is an additional portable one.

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VRT NU


For all the Flemish among us … Did you know that you can get access to all VRT programs online via VRT Nu, live? Open a – free – account and enjoy.  The trick: login with a Belgian zip code!

Dive into NWSéén, Canvas, Ketnet, Ketnet Jr., Sport Weekend read Sporza and de redactie.be or listen to Radio 1, Radio 2, Studio Brussel, MNM and Klara.  News, lifestyle, sports, cooking, kids, humor, music, talk shows, human interest, movies, series, culture, documentaries, …

The programs are typically available for as long as one month.  Later on this year, there should be an app for that … but there is already a Facebook page!

In addition, VRT has various additional websites for expats and in other languages:

 

 

 

Luncheon “Belgium – EU – U.S.: Business & Politics” | 06/14/2017


As the political and economic environment in Europe shifts post-Brexit, and in light of major elections that are taking place, Belgium is seizing the moment to gain additional regional influence. Brussels houses most of the EU institutions and, despite of its size, the nation is considered an important global trader.  Join the World Affairs Council of Atlanta as it hosts the Belgian Ambassador to the U.S., Dirk Wouters, for a conversation about where Belgium stands as the European Union goes through reorganization, and what it means for U.S. businesses with presence in this country. On May 25, President Trump attended a summit of NATO nations, and Ambassador Wouters will comment on the outcome of this official meeting.

The luncheon is supported by the Consulate General of Belgium in Atlanta, The Belgian American Chamber of the South, and the Atlanta Council on International Relations.

Logistics

  • When: Wednesday, June 14th, 2017 from 11.30 am to 1.30 pm
  • Where: Commerce Club | 191 Peachtree St NE – 49th floor, Atlanta, GA 30303
  • Parking
  • Cost: BACoS and WACATL Members: $35 – Email Julie for your discount. | Non members: $50.00
  • Registration: click here.

watch Cannes Film Festival films via streaming


Since French is one of our three national languages, watching the Cannes Film Festival movies is a good idea, especially since Belgian actors are involved or films have been co-produced by Belgian companies.  The 70th festival takes place from 17 til 28 May and you can stream it via Sling Television [only available to viewers in the U.S.], on TV5Monde Channel.  For those who don’t know: Sling TV is like Netflix but for live television, no contracts.

The Belgian presence at the festival this year is rather meager but still,

  • L’amant double, an erotic thriller directed by François Ozon, stars Brussels actor Jérémie Renier as Paul.  Among the films partners is a co-production agreement with Belgian outfit Scope Pictures.
  • Loveless, about a couple locked in a bitter divorce when their 12 year-old son disappears, is from Andrej Zvyagintsev and opens the Palme d’Or competition program on May 18.  ‘Les Films du Fleuve‘, a Belgian company created by the famous brothers Jean-Pierre et Luc Dardenne in 1994, is co-producing the movie.
  • The biopic ‘Rodin from Jacques Doillon with Belgian actress Séverine Caneele.  Rodin is being co-produced Belgian outfit Artémis Productions
  • The rider‘, from LA-based Caviar, an award-winning entertainment company founded in Belgium in 2006,  is selected for the Quinzaine Des Réalisateurs.
  • The 12-year old Fantine Harduin [from Mouscron/Moeskroen] is Eve Laurent in ‘Happy end‘, a drama about a family set in Calais with the European refugee crisis as the backdrop, from Michael Haneke.
  • And there is also a Belgian documentary La belge histoire du Festival de Cannes from Henri de Gerlache.

 

a good read about dutch and belgian wines


Many of you have met Cathy Huyghe, wife of our beATLe Chris, during our blind wine tasting or, more recently, the Belgian waffles tasting … Cathy is a dynamic media professional with a special interest in wine and the spirit of hospitality.   She is the author of the award wining book Hungry for Wine: Seeing the World through the Lens of a Wine Glass and currently writes for Forbes.com.

And here is what this posting is all about!  Cathy, deeply interested in the evolution of wine from the Low Countries of Belgium and the Netherlands, recently wrote an article – on Forbes – exploring Discover Dutch Wine: Interviews, Wines, Vineyards, Restaurants, a book by Mariëlla Beukers and Irene de Vette, now translated in English.  Okay, The Netherlands is not Belgium … but close enough.  And since her article clearly spells out ‘Oud-Heverlee‘ – which is undoubtedly in Belgium –  it’s a good read!

 

 

F6


Flight DL 80 left gate F6, on Saturday 3/25 at 6.06 pm as scheduled. Loaded with 218 passengers and a crew of 12, the 767-400 aircraft was ready for its 4,912 nautical miles towards Brussels. Surprisingly only a handful of its occupants was aware that this was the first flight resuming the non-stop service between Atlanta and Brussels! Following the horrors of the awful attacks on Zaventem Airport and the Maelbeek metro station on Tuesday March 22nd, 2016, Delta Airlines had decided to shutter its direct flights between the cities.

Was it the real reason? Probably not … Passengers had already noticed a decrease in the flight schedules and their Atlanta destined planes filled with overbooked JFK-bound travelers. Obviously the decision to terminate this service was not well received, not only by the big companies but also by our local community.  Many stories abound of people missing their connection to Brussels in New York due to the short lay-over. Not to mention that traveling back with chocolate-loaded luggage and exhausted kids through immigration at JFK was not something anybody would relish.

So Saturday was a huge thing.  Gate F6 was heavily decorated with Belgian flags and the passengers were greeted by Papa Smurf [Grand Schtroumpf] and Hefty Smurf [Schtroumpf Costaud], dancing on the rhythm of the saxophone tunes played by Vinnie dressed in Belgian colors. A few short but convivial speeches crowned the event: Consul General Mr. William De Baets welcomed the crowd with his good sense of humor, introducing Larin Hector, General Manager Atlanta Worldport from Delta.  The mic was then handled to Mr. Pieter De Crem, Belgian Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Former Minister of Defence. They all made sure that everyone understood that the Smurfs, Adolph Sax and the distributed chocolate were Belgian made.
Mr. De Crem was the first on board followed by enthusiastic travelers who each received a goodie bag with a box of Neuhaus Classics and a miniature Smurf.

Delta flight schedules are updated every 3 months, based on many factors like projected bookings and types of available aircrafts. The daily non stop flight ATL-BRU takes off at 6.06 pm to reach Zaventem at 8.45 am … until further notice since Delta News indicates “the renewed Atlanta service will operate year-round with a daily service over the summer season.

And a finale note: the movie “Smurfs, The Lost Village” is now in the theaters!

the smurfs in American theaters | 4/7/2017


Belgium is the big mama of numerous famous cartoon characters… And the Smurfs, perhaps because there are so many of them [100], have been our fabulous friends since childhood [for those born after 1958].  Each of us has, at least, one favorite little blue creature.  So smurf your support on April 7th when the three-apples tall guys invade the American screens!  Parade your proudness and let your heart melt.  Les Schtroumpfs | de Smurfen are part of our heritage so don’t hesitate to smurf it in your friends and neighbors’ face!

Synopsis of The Smurfs: The Lost Village – Best friends Smurfette, Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty use a special map that guides them through the Forbidden Forest, an enchanted wonderland that’s filled with magical creatures. Their adventure leads them on a course to discover the biggest secret in Smurf history as they race against time and the evil wizard Gargamel to find a mysterious village.

Belgian honored by Pieter De Crem


Yesterday evening during the re-launch reception of Delta’s non-stop services to Brussels, our compatriot Anton Mertens, an Immigration Partner at Burr & Forman LLP and President of the Belgian American Chamber of the South, has received from the hands of Mr. Pieter De Crem, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade of Belgium, former Minister of Defense of Belgium, the prestigious Knight’s Cross of officer in the Order of Leopold signed King Philippe, King of the Belgians.  A well deserved medal for 20 years of services to our country.

The Order of Leopold (Leopoldsorde, Ordre de Léopold) is one of the three current Belgian national honorary orders of knighthood and is awarded by royal decree.

Congratulations Anton!  We are so proud of you!

 

 

Luncheon with Pieter De Crem | 3/23/2017


Join this luncheon, sponsored by the Consulate General of Belgium, with The Honorable Pieter De Crem, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade of Belgium, former Minister of Defense of Belgium on Thursday March 23rd at the Atlanta Metro Chamber.  Mr. De Crem is visiting our city to celebrate the resuming of the direct flight between Atlanta and Brussels [first flight on Saturday March 25th].

Mr. De Crem will discuss  ‘In the heart of Europe: Belgium, the EU and the transatlantic relationship in challenging times‘ with particular attention to:

  • Trans-Atlantic and bilateral economic relations
  • Business opportunities in Belgium
  • Current situation in Europe and future outlook

Logistics

  • When : Thursday March 23rd, 2017 from 11.45 am to 1.30 pm
  • Where: Metro Atlanta Chamber | 191 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 3400, Atlanta, GA 30303
  • Admission: free
  • RSVP: by March 21st to Sarah Saxner
  • Public Transport: 191 Peachtree Tower is located at the Peachtree Center MARTA station
  • Parking:
    • Metro Atlanta Chamber: 191 Peachtree Tower Parking Garage
    • International Garage: 192 Peachtree Center Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30303
    • Central Parking System: 218 Peachtree St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303
    • Self Park: 221 Peachtree Center Ave, Atlanta, GA 30303
    • Peachtree Center Garage: 161 Peachtree Center Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30303