Travel & Events 09 Aug 2019

stunning scenic flight helicopter horizons

When you are travelling across the Okavango Delta of Botswana (see previous travel blogs), one of the best ways to get an idea of the terrific scenery is up in the sky. We collaborated with the amazing Helicopter Horizons, which already fly their guests from lodge to lodge with small airplanes. But to experience a unique and even more exciting free feeling, one must really try a scenic helicopter flight! It is one of those things you put on your bucket list. And we must say, it is an absolute must!  We had a stunning flight with Helicopter Horizons, which made our trip even more magical. You can SEE OUR VIDEO HERE, and the images speak for themselves. Helicopter Horizons collaborates with travel organisations such as Wilderness Safaris. In addition to scenic flights, it is also possible to book private transfers, special helicopter safaris, they support with filming and photography. Also – that is what we really appreciate- Helicopter Horizons also supports when help is needed for special wild life assistance. They strive to give back as much and often as they can. Therefore, they for instance collaborate with organisations like the Rhino conservation Botswana (RBC) and Elephants without Borders (EWB). It is also possible to book flights to Makgadikgadi Pans and the Kalahari Desert. For more info, check the website. Photographs by Henk Bothof | Text: Angelique van Os 

Travel & Events 07 Aug 2019

video: 5 reasons why we love wilderness safaris

This Spring Henk and I had an amazing trip with Wilderness Safaris (also see our previous blog about the classic safari trip we made). But we really want to share this video with you. The images speaks for themselves. Soon you can find the profiles of Wilderness on Miljonet.  Hope you also get inspired!  Henk Bothof & Angelique van Os Images by Henk Bothof & Dana Allen (interior)

Travel & Events 07 Aug 2019

classic game drive botswana animalwahalla part 2

No LuckWe move on to the southeast of the Okavango Delta, to Qorokwe, a camp near the vast Moremi Game Reserve. From the air the area of roughly 15,000 km2, filled with canals, lagoons, swamps, reed collars and islets looks spectacular. Nowhere are asphalt roads, no electricity poles, no light pollution. Nothing but wilderness, in which earthly colours alternate. I feel very insignificant in this great country, but also happy: that I can enjoy this geological miracle. The end of the afternoon is approaching. With our new guide Alan, we go looking for lions. Everywhere we meet elephants, giraffes, antelope, birds and monkeys. The lions are nowhere to be seen. In the meantime Alan tells us all about the landscape, about the trees that have a hard time because of the many elephants. They are eaten bald and pushed over. Then we arrive at a vast plain. In the distance there are buffaloes and impalas. An ideal place for a lion to go hunting. We wait a while. But nothing happens. Alan drives on. Because Wilderness has its own concessions, the guides are allowed to drive off road here. This increases the chance to find cats and rhino’s. But no matter how many laps we drive, we don't find any lions. Alan also follows a rhino trail for a while, but without any luck. And the African Wild Dog hasn't been seen in the park for two weeks. The endangered dogs can travel up to sixty kilometers a day, so that's looking for a needle in a haystack. So no luck today.  Soes and sleepThe next game drive starts early again. Because it is already quite hot, Alan drives to a clearing that borders a large pond. Again we don't find a lion's-eye here, but we do find dozens of birds and elephants that cool off among the hippos. We can watch this peaceful scene for hours, but since the lions are not around here, we continue. While Alan drives on quietly, I hear him talking in the walkie-talkie. "Have the lions been spotted?" I ask hopefully. "And while I ask, the guide smiles and says: "Look right in front of you, under that bush." I start to shine glimpse away. There are two young lions puffing in the shade. They are brothers. Soon it turns out that the whole family (nine cats in total) is scattered under the bushes. A little further on two mothers and their one and a half year old sons are puffing in the grass. One of the lionesses looks like a sleeping beauty, with her head resting gracefully on her front leg. Cats sleep an average of 18 to 20 hours a day, so it is not surprising that there is little action. At the end of the day we see more lions! This time it are two adult males that have beautiful dark and long manes. These boys are also lazy and suffer from the heat. Yet there is a lion that walks along our jeep. We can almost touch him. The male hardly seems to be aware of our presence; the only thing he sees and hears is the car and the clicking of the cameras. Well hiddenIt's time to leave Qorokwe and fly on to the crazy area of Vumbura Plains, north of the Okavan Modelta. The Vumbura concession covers an area of 60,000 hectares, and I find it even more varied than the previous parks. Swamps, small islands with palm trees, vast savannas, acacia forests and seasonal flood plains alternate. No wonder there is so much wildlife here. We have set our sights on finding cheetahs and looking for wild dogs. However, the dogs haven't been seen in the area for a couple of days now and have moved to the south. Lettie is our new friendly guide. Also here the guides of Wilderness work well together during game drives. With three cars they scan the area. During the first afternoon trip Lettie finds lions on the trail. Because the cheetahs are nowhere to be seen, we change our plan. That is also part of a good game drive. Lettie hangs every few minutes with his nose above the unpaved path. By the size of the legs he recognizes whether we follow a male or female. It is the Kubo group, says the guide. This is a group with only lionesses and their young. "I see here that they have crossed the road, probably to drink. We zigzag through the bush. It is difficult to search in the dense and high bushes. The car is approaching a clearing. Now it gets confusing. "Look at the prints. Do you see that all the tracks run through each other, as if they doubted where to go", says Lettie pondering. The lions are nowhere to be seen, so Lettie drives back to the road. Unfortunately. Just at that moment a message follows: the others have spotted the group a bit further on. The lionesses and their offspring are well hidden under the bushes. We wait a while, but there is little movement. Through the walkie-talkie a voice resounds again. Lettie answers excitedly and turns to us with a big smile: "By chance a cheetah female has been seen with a number of cubs! On the way Lettie tells us that his colleague in the other car wanted to drive to the buffalo that we had spotted earlier that morning. When they were close by, it turned out that the cheetah had a dubious hunting attitude. And rightly so, because you don't just attack a buffalo. She had probably set her sights on a calf, but it was too well protected by the herd. Meanwhile she has retreated into the bushes. Ten minutes later Lettie drives off road through the bush. I keep finding it unimaginable how the man always manages to find his way without getting lost. In the distance we see the other jeep. Lettie looks surprised when we find the cheetah mother. "Wow! I know this female. She hadn't been spotted for a while. Apparently she has been busy, because we see her cub now for the first time. So for me also a boost. Her cubs are only a few months old." The mother keeps a close eye on us, but is otherwise relaxed. The boy doesn't know the car yet. They look around a bit nervously and when their mother starts moving, they walk in a bit nervously and trot after it. Lettie reacts immediately each time the animals are in a higher gear. At an appropriate distance he turns the car around so we can see them clearly. We stay with the cheetahs for more than half an hour and say goodbye when the foursome falls asleep under a tree. After this crazy morning a fairytale surprise awaits us: in the middle of nature Wilderness has set up a table where a delicious lunch buffet full of salads, soups, meat and fruit awaits us and the other guests. What a misery!  Close brothersThe end of our trip is approaching. The last game drive is approaching. And it will be memorable too. Again we encounter lions. This time there are four brothers. In consultation with Lettie we decide to take our time and stay with the lions. A male keeps an eye on things. The other three are lazily lying next to each other. They have their legs nicely crossed over each other. "These boys are very close. They hunt and eat together. They are three years old now. Only when they start mating do they retreat and possibly become dominant towards each other", says Lettie. Meanwhile, the sun begins to burn and the lions start to move. Together they search for a pool to drink water. Three of the four then plunge into the shady high grass. But one male walks on. He marks his territory spraying by a tree and calls with a kind of crying song to the females we saw earlier. "The lionesses won't let him come near them, because with the cubs there is a chance that he will kill them. Maybe that's why he sounds so pathetic, he probably already knows that it makes no sense", jokes Lettie. And while we're still watching the lions, I review what we have all seen. What a diversity of animals and landscapes we have seen! And in less than six days we have achieved a nice score with four lions, cheetahs and a leopard. Mission accomplished!  MORE TO COME: soon you can also read 7 Game Drive Tips, 5 reasons why we love Wilderness Safaris, a special feature about the waterlife of the Okavango Delta (& Wilderness) and we will share a video about the amazing landscapes we experienced from a scenic helicopter flight above the Delta. Keep you posted! 

Travel & Events 07 Aug 2019

botswana game drives bring a great animalwahalla

If you go on a classic safari, you'll be in the car for hours. You never know what you will encounter. Game drives can increase the excitement considerably or it can turn out to be a disappointment. It's not a 'game' for nothing. We took up the challenge in Botswana, looking for big cats. Game on!  Text: Angelique van Os | Photopgraphy: Henk Bothof & Dana Allen (interior) The sun is gradually setting. Thank God, because it's almost forty degrees. And that before the end of the rainy season, at the beginning of March. The grass is high, in many places a bit yellow. It hasn't rained much. However, the many low shrubs and the rich forest landscape offer shade. The ever-emerging marshy Linyanti river, the many small onion fields and water poles at the edge of the immense Chobe National Park, form the common thread in this colourful and extensive landscape. The Landcruiser follows the dusty, unpaved path. We are quiet, peering in the bush. Cameras ready to shoot, binoculars in hand. Looking for hidden game. "A good game drive is mainly about waiting, finding and recognizing tracks and good teamwork", whispers our guide Andy. "And luck is perhaps the most important factor", he adds with a smile. It's quiet; the predators still seem to be asleep. There are no footprints or faeces to guide us in the right direction. We are looking for big cats: lions, leopards or cheetahs. Here and there a small group of impala's and zebras pass by. And then suddenly, about ten metres from the car, a large group of elephants looms up. Dozens at a time they walk past us. A number of females protect their calves and trumpeting is imminent. The sound vibrates through my body and the adrenaline rises. I've been on safari several times already, but never before have I seen such a large family so close by. These elephants don't get a lot of visitors every day. And it's a good thing that they are wary, because unfortunately the Botswana government has allowed the hunting of the tadpoles again since May 2019. This has to do with the enormous elephant population in the country and the complex human versus wildlife problems. Fortunately, the Linyanti Concession is a well-protected area, supervised by Wilderness Safaris and its Wilderness Wildlife Trust. Wilderness Safaris is a major tour operator within Southern Africa and only has its own concessions. The organisation has been in existence for over 35 years and presents excellent eco-safaris in the high segment.   Devious cat Linyanti borders on the northwest side of Chobe National Park. The remote reserve vessel is a natural paradise of about 125,000 hectares. Driving around in the jeep, shows how rich this area is in a variety of small game. There is always movement. I get used to the many elephants, but they intrigue me time and time again with their idiosyncratic behavior. They splash and spray water with their trunks on top of each other, as if they shower together. The grey skins like to swim between a bed of white water lilies in the swamps and the Linyanti river, which shines in the rising heat. Gallant and agile impalas spread in small groups in the high reed while jumping. They also seek shelter and refreshment, unaware that a crocodile may be lurking. Or a leopard, because this devious cat can sneak noiselessly around shallow water. That leopard - or another cat - we have not spotted today. It is one of the most shy felines and lives solitary, so it's hard to find. Tomorrow we will make another attempt. The next morning we leave at dusk. "A new day, new opportunities", says Andy cheerfully. He babbles something in the walkie-talkie and while we're having breakfast, he drives quietly towards the savannah. "In addition to our car, two other cars are active. We keep in touch when someone sees something, so we can reach the location quickly." Andy is looking forward to it. After half an hour of driving he stops and stares at the ground, looking for tracks. "Hmmmm...I see a lot of things, but no traces of cats." A quarter of an hour later there is a sound from the walkie-talkie. Andy talks quickly in a local language. He hangs up and returns the car. "The other group has found a leopard, it's near here." I jump up from the couch from excitement. We are very lucky, because a two-year-old male has been spotted eating a prey in a tree. I only catch a glimpse of his beautiful coat and contours. Luckily the animal is not impressed by our 4x4 jeep and slowly starts to move after breakfast. The vehicles split, to give the leopard space. Moments later he is wandering through the high grass at ease and walks past our car in a squint. I hold my breath. Then the animal walks over a wooden bridge that the jeeps can cross. The cat screens the swamp for a prey with its sharp vision. There is not much to see. On the other side he marks his territory by a tree and disappears into the forest. The two other jeeps drive away. We decide to turn the car around and park at a water spot at a walking pace. And yes, there is the leopard again. Rttttssshhhh... Despite his speed, the defeated cat sees his next bite - a lizard - shooting into the water. Every animal meets his match. He gives up and disappears into the bushes in search of cooling. What a privilege to be able to follow this animal in this unspoiled nature. And that at seven o'clock in the morning. READ MORE ABOUT OUR CLASSIC GAME DRIVE IN PART 2! 

Gadgets & Trends 20 Jun 2019

watches available

Dear All,I have access to watches direct from manufacturers.Please let me know if there is interest,Many thanks,Timi 

Other 19 Jun 2019

luxury showcase london, 18th july

Dear All,There is a luxury brands showcase in London on the 18th July  at the The Lalit Hotel. Confirmed invitations to over 150 UHNWI.If you would like further info please send me an email to timi@4s-events.com,Many thanks,Timi  

Fashion & Design 10 Jun 2019

rolex day-date 36 vs porsche 2019 ;p

https://www.relojeriaalemana.com/es/brand_details/25/Rolex?cmpid=cpc_pfx_66_11562https://www.porsche-baleares.com/One of the things I love the most about my job is to research for personal shopping.Well, it actually is to go later with my beloved VIP super selected clients and take them shopping to those previously selected places. Just a few weeks ago I had to research some watches and cars.Are you more of a watch kinda man? Or a car kinda guy?    

Cars, Boats & Planes 31 May 2019

a princely debut for top marques supercar show

A PRINCELY DEBUT FOR TOP MARQUES SUPERCAR SHOWThe 16th Edition of Top Marques supercar show opened under brilliant blue skies in Monaco today at the Grimaldi Forum.H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco joined Salim Zeghdar, the newly appointed CEO of the show, along with ambassadors Thierry Boutsen, Eddie Jordan and David Couthard. Mr Zeghdar said: "I would like to sincerely thank H.S.H. Prince Albert II for his presence this morning, as well as our three ambassadors. I am very touched by their support of Top Marques, and I am genuinely delighted by this first day. There is a wonderful atmosphere and I have heard such positive feedback, especially from the exhibitors. I can’t wait for the rest of the show!"Prince Albert sent time visiting all the stands including the 100% electric yacht by X Shore before descending into the Espace Diaghilev to present no less than six world premieres.Zacaria SC, the first ever road-worthy Formula 1 is a unique model manufactured by Zacaria, an Australian workshop. Also, from Australia, Ferox unveiled its’ Azaris, a hybrid laboratory vehicle equipped with six wheels, the back four having no axes and therefore be able to ride over the rough terrain better than any existing vehicle. With a torque similar to that of a Lamborghini Aventador, it can achieve high speeds over any terrain. The e-bike company Stajvelo presented its Beau Rivage, unveiled by S.A.S. Prince Albert II and Thierry Manni, the CEO of the new brand of electric bikes ‘Made in Monaco’.On the two-wheel side, L’Atelier du Gentleman presented the Carbon Zero world premiere, also unveiled by the Sovereign.The iconic British manufacturer McLaren presented it brand new model, the Grand Tourer, in a world premiere.Aston Martin also unveiled a limited edition of its DBS Superleggera, the OHMSS inspired by James Bond On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.  

News, Media & Society 29 May 2019

sunny isles beach florida most exclusive penthouse

Sunny Isles Beach Penthouse For Sale By Katerina BrosdaCall me now +1 (305) 788-9393. There are a few luxury penthouses for sale in Miami, but this is the ultimate penthouse designed for grand-style indoors and outdoors entertainment.

Restaurants & Clubs 28 Mar 2019

in london / mayfair - claridges next friday 5th

In London / Mayfair - Claridges next Friday 5th from 2pm - if anyone fancies a glass of wine!

Restaurants & Clubs 21 Mar 2019

singeasy by the piano works west end

Hidden away in the fun palace of Piano Works West End where live music and comfort food go hand in hand, a new experience has emerged where the audience takes centre stage... SingEasy by The Piano Works allows the audience to request ther favourite pop, rock and musical theatre songs which the musicians not only play but encourage you to singalong! Waiters are very engaging and also take turns in singing but the energy (and choice of songs) makes this hidden room a hit. Every night comes with a different theme; join them on Mondays for a Musical Theatre Takeover with your favourite West End stars, Tuesday SingEasy Goes Drag and Wednesday SingEasy Goes to the Movies with sing-along films from Grease to The Greatest Showman. The party doesn’t stop there, with live music that you can sing-along to until 1am. From Thursday to Saturday enjoy the original SingEasy Experience with a mashup of different styles, from 5pm until 1am followed by a DJ until 3am. Dine and dance with a two-course pre-theatre menu from £15 per person or the two-course dinner menu from £21 per person with a bottomless prosecco option for an additional £20pp. The pre-theatre menu features traditional British favourites with a twist including fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash; or dinner options of shrimp tacos, chicken Caesar salad and rib eye steak. Both come with vegan alternatives including tofish and chips and ‘shepherd’s pie’ with puy lentils, chickpeas, chestnut mushrooms and sweet potato. If it’s just drinks that you’re looking for, book your table at SingEasy and enjoy cocktails from their Top 10 list such as the Dancing Queen, with vodka, Chambord, extra dry martini, lemon juice and chickpea water or the Despacito with koko kanu rum, white wine, lychee purée, coconut cream, apple juice and fresh chillies. Overall, this is an experience for a group of friends, hen party or date night. Whatever the excuse, SingEasy will provide soundtrack you'll never forget. The Piano Works47 Whitcomb Street, London, WC2H 7DHhttps://pianoworks.bar/west-end Tel: 0207 889 1966Email: hello@pianoworks-westend.bar

Cars, Boats & Planes 21 Mar 2019

m/y brigadoon finalist in world superyacht awards

Moonen is excited to announce that the 36-metre superyacht Brigadoon has been nominated in the Boat International World Superyacht Awards 2019! Delivered to her new owners in Summer 2018, Brigadoon is the first hull in the Moonen Martinique line of Dutch-quality, oceangoing motor yachts. This years’ awards ceremony will mark the 14th edition of the annual World Superyacht Awards hosted by Boat International and will be held from 16th - 18th May 2019. The annual event will be hosted in London this year, with previous glamorous ceremonies of the high-profile event taking place in Florence, Amsterdam and Venice.  A luxury yacht with heart & soulBrigadoon is the first yacht built on the semi-custom Martinique 36-metre platform and features naval architecture by Diana Yacht Design in collaboration with Réne Van Der Velden, with the latter also undertaking her exterior design. Nauta Design undertook her interior design together with Studio Indigo, who was responsible for the interior styling and decoration. The Moonen Martinique is one of four of Moonen’s proven superyacht platforms and combines proven performance and seakeeping abilities with the versatility of customisation. Talking of the creation of Brigadoon in close cooperation with her experienced yacht owners, CEO of Moonen Yachts, Johan Dubbelman, explains: “In the case of Brigadoon, the owners entered the construction process just three months before scheduled delivery. As such, the level of customisation possible was relatively limited. However, working tirelessly with the owner and his team, a number of significant modifications were able to be applied - including replacing the bimini on the sun deck with a hard top and removing the Jacuzzi.” The Moonen team worked closely with the London-based designers at Studio Indigo in these last three months to ensure the perfect interior design. “Combined with fantastic interior styling, the finishing touch from the owners together with Studio Indigo really gave the boat heart and soul,” Dubbelman continues. “We delivered a vessel that suits the owners perfectly and we’re honoured and delighted to be recognised for our work on M/Y Brigadoon as a finalist at the upcoming World Superyacht Awards 2019.” In regards to her technical features, Brigadoon’s hull is constructed from high-tensile steel and is teamed with an aluminium superstructure. With a focus on comfortable cruising and technical efficiency, she features a reduced construction weight which leads to higher speeds, lower fuel consumption and exceptionally low noise reduction levels.  She achieved more than 16.5 knots on sea trials - an exceptional feat for a 36-metre steel-hulled yacht! World Superyacht Awards 2019The annual recognition of excellence in the yachting industry, the Boat International World Superyacht Awards are a celebration of the best of the best in the world of luxury yacht construction, design and engineering. Moonen’s 36-metre motor yacht Brigadoon is nominated for best yacht in the semi-displacement or planing motor yachts - 33m to 39.9m category. The whole team at Moonen Yachts is excited to be a finalist and looks forward to attending the Boat International World Superyacht Awards 2019 in May. 

Art & Culture 17 Mar 2019

tefaf 2019, overwhelms in every way (final blog 3)

 I finish my first TEFAF visit with some impressions of Tribal art and design. The Belgium gallery Didier Claes from Brussels’s has several interesting figurines and statues from African countries like Gongo and Gabon made from wood, metal, pigments, vegetal fibers, copper and brass. Kind of intimidating is a big mummy-like statute Vanuatu from the early 20th Century covered with attributes. The Tetela Mask from the 19th Century at stand 604 from Lucas Ratton is a rare beauty. The colored wood is covered with fur and feathers, and the motives and lines give the face a direct expression. Also impressing is the 250 cm high wooden Funeral Post Hempatong (stand 615). The Dayak people from Borneo, Indonesia probably used this 18th-19th Century statute. Moving on to the big embrace by NWC Force Arms. I wonder to who these big wooden arms, curved out of one piece in an over life size, belonged to. Was there more than these arms? What is the symbolism behind it? It was discovered in the Northwest Coast of British Colombia in the late 19th Century (Galerie Meyer- Oceanic & Eskimo Art, stand 605). There is also a great diversity on design at TEFAF. From a funny and stylish Bird Lamp (1952) by the French Roger Capron, to a sophisticated day sofa which seemed to be inspired by ancient Roman art to the famous Lounge chair from 1936 by Marcel Breuer (1902-1981), which is molded and cut from maple plywood with upholstery wool (Jackson Design AB, stand 617). Finally, I have a look at some ancient art from Asia and Iran. From big Buddha’s to a variety of attributes, such as little statues, tableware, trays, utensils and vases. Not to forget some of the antique music books and religious works, that have very detailed notched motives on the cover. In the press corridors I hear voices say that this is one of the best editions of the TEFAF history so far, with a steady high quality of art. So although, after thirty years, it is not too late to get introduced with this amazing art fair. Moreover, this might just be the right timing to discover all these pearls. More info: tefaf.com  TIP: This year TEFAF expands its program with side events in the vivid city center of Maastricht with TEFAF and the City. Read more about this in my other blogs and check tefafandthecity.com Text & photo's: Angelique van Os

Art & Culture 16 Mar 2019

tefaf and the city (blog 3 ronald kolk & tips )

I finish my museum day at the Museum aan het Vrijthof, at the vivid Vrijthof square. Till June 16th the museum shows a tribune to the craftsmanship of the Dutch houte couturier, Ronald Kolk (Amsterdam, 1960). The exhibition, the Girl, the Dress and the Pearl, shows his oeuvre with fifty selected dresses. Also, goldsmith, jewel designer and emailleur Margareth Stalman (Heerlen, 1959), shows a big collection of her work. Because of their mutial respect for each other’s work, they collaborated a number of times for the annual fashion shows that Kolk organized until 2018.The whole museum - ten rooms in total- is transformed into the rich, colorful and highly fashion world of the couturier. Every room has its own theme, and the visitor also gets a glance of Kolkman’s atelier and workshop and the different techniques he uses. His specific extravagant glitter and glamour dresses have been wore by artists and actresses such as Bette Midler, Tina Turner, Grace Jones, Dutch Prinses Laurentien and Liesbeth List. Kolk also designed costumes for the Trocadero Ballet in New York. This exhibition is also the closure of the ‘Kolk era’, because the designer has closed his Haute Couture salon in Amsterdam, and will focus on the support and inspering of young, new designers to adopt their love for craftsmanship. I going home with a lot of impressions. It was a divers day, and only a glance of the TEFAF and the City program. The following weeks there are more interesting concerts, theathre shows and exhibitions to come. Maastrichts also overwhelms with passion for art and great diversity. Looking forward to come back next year! Some other TIPS: (source TEFAF and the City) ·      Lumière Cinema Specials: the film house shows four films which are related to art. First there is Degas: Passion for Perfection; a documentary about the famous French painter and sculptor Edgar Degas. Followed by The Mill and the Cross. Lech Majewski translates Bruegel’s masterpiece The Procession To Calvary into cinema. Starring our own Dutch-American Rutger Hauer as Bruegel. Willem Dafoe shines in his wonderful role as Vincent van Gogh in At Eternity’s Gate, by director Julian Schnabel. And finally, there is The Art Life of David Lynch (see also blog 2). See the website for more info. ·       Official TEFAF Club in the basement bar of the trendy Commons Restaurant in Student Hotel Maastricht. An event with live DJs, cocktails, good company and happy hour from 22:00 to 23:00! ·       The Sphinxpassage is a free, permanent exhibition that embodies the history of the Sphinx factories and the Eiffel building. Approximately 30,000 tiles arranged into 26 chapters recounts the history of both the ceramics industry in Maastricht and the Regout family. This impressive storytelling exhibition was created by using a mix of tableware, designs, old adverts, family portraits, and old transfer prints (a method of decorating enamels or ceramics). And it is very near to the TEFAF Club and Lumiere. ·       Classical music: Philharmonie Zuid-Nederland with Dmitry Liss leads Brahms, Friday March 22nd - Dmitry Liss knows the vigour and venom of romantic, Russian music through and through, nor does the music by Johannes Brahms hold any secrets for him. Liss knows how to combine the poetic idylls of his Second Symphony with ‘sombre contemplation’. He makes Brahms into an experience, ‘an endearing man of flesh and blood’. And Liss also brings along violinist Sergey Krylov. ·      Tune In- Best of Jazz – March 24th. This is a free series of Jazz & Classical Concerts by Conservatorium Maastricht in the Sint Janskerk. On this Sunday afternoon, some of the leading new jazz talents present their own projects. Experience a surprising afternoon with that many facets that jazz has. From beautiful vocals to energetic drums, from small and fragile to large orchestral. See the WEBSITE for more info about the mentioned tips and other program during TEFAF and the city.    Text & images: Angelique van Os ·       

Art & Culture 16 Mar 2019

tefaf and the city (blog 2- microsculpture) 

After having experienced the intense and dark world of David Lynch at the Bonnefantenmuseum (see blog 1), I am cycling to the Natural History Museum of Maastricht. It is pretty crowded on Saturday, especially because families with children can do several activities in the museum today. On the ground floor there is an intimate room, which show a dozen amazing blow-ups of insects. The exhibit is called Microsculpture, and can be visited until the 21rd of April. This is a ground-breaking project by the British photographer Levon Biss. He presents different insects species which reveal breathtaking beauty, powerful colors and the intricate structure of the tiny animals. The insects really come to live on the black backgrounds, and the prinst have a very high quality. Also the images are incredible detailed. You can see the seams and lines of the transparent wings of the deep dark green Orchid cuckoo bee. You almost want to touch the furry skin of the Silver longhorn Beetle. And how about the magnificent patterns of the Jewel longhorned Beetle; it is almost hypnotizing. Biss has worked on macrophotography for the past five years. But actually he is more famous for his work on sports, reportage and portraiture. For Microsculpture he collaborated with the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. The reactions of the visiting children are interesting; on the one hand they are curious and impressed, but insects like the Marion Island Moth, the Flying Saucer Trench Beetle and especially the Tortoise Beetle and the Treehopper are also a bit scary. “They look like aliens”, I hear some kids say. And that is true, but also shows the power of macrophotography. Read in Blog 3 about my last visit to The Girl, the dress and the pearl.  Text & images: Angelique van Os | note: of course the credits of the origional images are of Levon Biss

Art & Culture 16 Mar 2019

tefaf and the city (blog 1 - david lynch expo)

During the ten days of one of the world’s most famous art fair, TEFAF, the city of Maastricht is also extra hip and happening. From 14 to 24 March The city center seems to get the elegance artistic spirit and host special party’s, dinners, music, film and theatre shows, and of course several contemporary exhibitions. Journalist Angelique van Os had a glimpse of the extensive program of this TEFAF and the City and visited three museums in one day. Text & photo’s: Angelique van Os | Portrait by Josh Tellers & archive of the artist After one or two days roam at TEFAF, there is much more to explore in Maastricht. It is the first time that the city presents an extensive international program that is inspired by the fair. It is a collaboration of several forces, like the township of Maastricht, the Provence of Limburg to Maastricht Marketing and Chapeau Magazine.In addition to the MECC Congres which host big events like TEFAF, the city has many other interesting museums with permanent collections and contemporary exhibitions. I started my day with a visit to Some one is in my House (till 28/04) at the Bonnefantenmuseum. This exhibition shows the fascinated, bizarre dark world of cult director David Lynch (1946, Montana). The mysterious filmmaker of surrealist and disturbing movies like Lost Highway, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive and the famous Twin Peak series, actually started his career as an artist. This exhibition is therefore focusing on his art. Over the past four decades he has created a rich oeuvre of paintings, drawings, photography, multi-media collages and installations. Hereby he is always trying to capture, process and translate the images inside his head. This exhibition shows his complete works for the first time outside the USA.Already in the first two rooms, the well-known underbelly, gut feeling comes alive looking at Lynch’s first important academic work, Six Men Getting Sick (1967). Lynch was a student at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and had a revelation in 1966. During this time he found out he wanted to create moving paintings. Six Men… is his first art-combined work of sculpture, installation and audio. Safe placeA red line within the exhibition seems to be the lack of a safe environment, a careful home. In his work, houses have formed a leitmotif for Lynch. Although the filmmaker and artist had a happy childhood and warm memories of it, he experienced several aggressive and violent experiences during his studies in Philadelphia. This is where his work got his dark character. His house in Philly was everything but a safe place; children were shot outside his front door, stones were throne through his windows and burglars were sneaking around. Still, Lynch calls the city his greatest inspiration: “This place had a great mood – factories, smoke, railroads, diners, the strangest characters and the darkest nights (….)”, Lynch explains in the liner notes of the exhibition. DarkThe works of Lynch are everything but beautiful. They are not intent to be. Like his films, the paintings are ominous and dark, full of cryptically notes, using strange materials. Lynch says: “I like to be able to get dirty. I would like to roll in the mud. I like flesh, earth, fire, and smoke. I like organic phenomenon. I would like to bite my paintings. I like meat. I like ointment. I like grease. I like childlike things. I like crude, bad painting in a sophisticated way.” This is exactly how his art looks like. Sometimes even hard aggressive in your face, like the works in room 8, where the atmosphere of violent is dominated in grotesque works like Change the Fucking Channel Fuckface and the man who was shot 0.9502. Violent comedyAnd sometimes one can also find violent comedy in the work; like his latest works from 2009-2010 (room 13) which consist aggressive doll-like figures on large sheets of brown cardboard, mixed with bright lights, real clothing (underpants) in three dimensional elements. Absurdism of David Lync’s view of the world takes over, and it is clear that his movies are not separate from his work. Finally, I walk into the famous setting of the Twin Peaks curtain room. Where everything starts, ends and vanishes. Hearing the famous music score, I can almost see ‘bad evil’ Bob, and feel the spirit of Laura Palmer. I am fully awake after this intense exhibition, ready to explore the world of big and colorful insects of photographer Levon Biss. Read more about the other exhibitions in Blog 2TIP: Lumière Cinema has special film screenings of the films of David Lynch, titled A Retrospective. This include all his classics, and the fascinating documentary David Lynch: The Art Life, about his intimate journey through the formative years of his life. Check the webiste for the dates and time schedules.  

Art & Culture 16 Mar 2019

tefaf 2019, overwhelms in every way (blog 2)

It is not only the variety of the art at TEFAF, what impresses; also the different stands are creating their own different and contrasting vibes. From modern marble objects presented in hard white light and ditto background, and dark mystic antique Asian and African figurines to colorful Classic settings which creates a museum-like atmosphere. Also in terms of food, everything has been thought of. There are several exclusive bars -from sushi to oysters- and during the day many culinary bites and snacks are offered. SoldierI am headed to some modern sections. A masterpiece is Poträt Hugo (Hugo Biallowons) by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938; Galerie Henze & Ketter, stand 444). This striking oil on canvas from 1914 shows Hugo as a soldier. It is part of an intense series of paintings, images and litho’s, which show’s Hugo (who was a friend of Kirchner) during the First World War trenches. 3-dAlso interesting is the outstanding work of Barry X Ball (Fergus McCaffrey, stand 440), which catches my eye. The Sleeping Hemaphtodite (2008-2017) is inspired by the original Greek Thassos marble that is part of the Louvre. The artist used translucent pink Iranian onyx and created this work with the help of an out 3-d printer. Also his Purity bust is intriguing. The moving high-definition color video on plasma display titled Ancestors (2012) by Bill Viola, keeps pulling attention. Simply, because it keeps changing all the time, while the background stays the same.  At the same stand of the Tina Kim Gallery, there is another simple but fine work, which keeps changing: Mirror Gold (2018) by Anish Kapoor.I am continuing to Ben Brown Fine Arts, looking to a big colorful digital C-print, representing the Prado Museum by Vik Muniz. This is probably the most recent work, because it is produced this year.Going back in time again, the David Levy & Associës gallery shows a fine Asian inspired painting of Louis Anquetin (1881-1932) called Torse de Jeune fille, Juliette Vary (ca.1890). And just a bit further, the colorful motives of Robert Delaunay’s Les fenêtres sur la ville, première partie, deuxième motif 1912, is pulling me to the stand after I have finish my lunch at the salad & sandwich bar.Prints Upstairs, at the first floor, there are also several beautiful papers and prints. A good example is The Staircase at 54, rue de Seine, Paris. This is a pastel and gouache on board by Sam Szafran. In the same stand of Stephen Ongpin Fine Art, there is also a small showcase of some beautiful art nouveau and jugend still affiches from magazines like Vogue and Hazar’s Bazar. Finishing some of my modern impressions, I look at Andy Warhol’s Karen Kain, which is a screen print in colors with diamond dust, 1980. But the nice thing is that this print is next to several ancient and rare books from all different themes. That is also the nice thing about TEFAF, the galleries show their own little art worlds with sometimes different time frames, from old to modern.Read more about TEFAF at my final third Blog, Tribal and design. Angelique van Os  

Art & Culture 16 Mar 2019

tefaf 2019, overwhelms in every way (blog 1)

There is the first time for everything. Even for a visit at the widely regarded world’s pre-eminent of fine art, antiques and design: TEFAF Maastricht. Established in 1988, the art event has a rich history and the critical standards of the art are getting higher every year. And for this edition the 279 exhibiting dealers include 40 new galleries, as several new discoveries and unpublished work.  Text & pictures: Angelique van Os I have just passed the entrance and face several ten meter high objects of lush and colorful flowers. In the middle of the space, visitor, mostly looking extravagant and exuberant, can relax on design chairs and sofas, drinking tea and coffee. Doing business and catching up with acquaintances. It is pretty crowded for a preview day. Whereas on the side, the art galleries stands look sophisticated, perfectly highlighted and presenting their masterpieces. Every time it feels like entering a tiny museum. It is obvious: this is where the international art community and where world’s top art dealers and experts comes together.   TEFAF runs three Fairs internationally - TEFAF Maastricht, which covers 7,000 years of art history; TEFAF New York Spring, focused on modern and contemporary art & design; and TEFAF New York Fall, covering fine and decorative art from antiquity to 1920. Also TEFAF represents different aspects of art movements from ancient paintings, antiques, La Haute Joailerie, Tribal, Modern, Design and work on paper. Some new names within the section Modern are Gallery Gmurzynska (USA), Simon Lee Gallery (UK), Pace Gallery (USA), Almine Rech (Belgium) and Sprüth Magers (UK).  Because I am a fan of ancient paintings and art that is where start. One of the first paintings which gets my attention is already a highlight: Femme nue couchée by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919). The fine oil on canvas is presented by the New York gallery Dickinson (stand 402). Also a scene of women bathing in a Morrocan hamman – Les Baigneuses Du Harem, 1901- by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904), shows beautiful colors and details. But there is no time to waste. I am a bit dazzled by tremendous offers of the fair. Some exhibitors have utilized every piece of the wall, creating a collage of paintings varying from landscapes, portraits, folk sceneries and still lives. Chasing treasuresAlso everywhere I look, there are religious scenes varying from the fourteenth till the nineteenth Century. A very ancient and special piece is a small panel on gold of The Virgin and Child by Paolo Veneziano (1200-Venice-1362, in the collection of Haboldt & Co). The expensive work is already sold. And that is no exception. Although the fair just started on Thursday the 14th, and will continue till March 24th, art collectors are chasing these treasures. So who is interesting to buy something in particular or special, has a lot of competition and cannot wait too long. That also counts for the amazing Two boys with a bladder by Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-1797), presented by Lowell Libson & Johnny Yarker LTD. The use of candlelight, surrounded by the dark background lifts the portrait of the boys.A newly discovered painting is Susanna and the Elders (1548) by the Flemish Renaissance Trailblazer Frans Floris de Vriendt (1519/20-1570). This large and early work is unveiled by Carlo Orsi-Trinity Fine Art. The painter was more renowned in his day than Bruegel the Elder. The work shows a careful study of Roman antiques and influences from painters like Raphael. According to the TEFAF curators, the artist displays sensitivity to the handling of flesh, which was exceptional in the Netherlandish art at the time.  TemperaThe Spanish gallery Caylus shows some beautiful panels on wood, like Thomàs Giner’s Saint Martin dividing his Cloak with a bagger (ca. 1460). The clay technique that is used is called Tempera. Because of this, the very detailed relief splashes of the cloth. This technique is only possible to use on wood, because canvas is not strong enough for the clay. Also interesting is a modern photographic transfer on high-fired ceramic by Robert Rauschenberg, called Gilt (1983).        Although there is so much more to see, I have to move on to see other parts of the fair. Read more about my report in the next blog.  TIP: Some highlights that you must not miss:·      Dans le pre en automne a Eragny by Camile Pissarro (1830-1903). Gallery Richard Green, stand 302·      Portrait of a young Lady holding a cat by Antonio d’Ubertino Verdi (Bacchiacca, 1499-1572). Gallery Nicholas Hall, stand 342·      Still life of an illuminated manuscript. Unknown painter. Gallery Salomon Lilian, stand 309see also: tefaf.com EXTRA TIP: This year TEFAF expands its program with side events in the vivid city centre of Maastricht with TEFAF and the City. Read more about this in up-coming blogs.   

Art & Culture 15 Mar 2019

tefaf maastricht weekend

Sometimes Pure Creatives works with guest writers. This weekend our Dutch collegue Angelique van Os (Pureoff theroad.com, Jazzism) is reporting from the divers and impressing international art fair TEFAF Maastricht, which just opened yesterday and continues till March 24th. Let’s see if she is able to spot some of the collectors highlights (see pics), and discover some interesting side events of TEFAFandthecity.com like #DavidLynch expo Someone is in my House. 

News, Media & Society 13 Mar 2019

documentary on entrepreneur

Dear All,I hope this finds you well.I am co producing a documentary that will be featured on Amazon and other VOD platforms on how an entrepreneur turned an idea into a successful business.There are also opportunities available for product placement.If you would like more info or be  featured, please can you send me an email to timi@4s-events.com,Thank you,Kind regards,Timi   

Business 08 Mar 2019

market viewpoints: a g-2 world beckons

By: Manish SinghCrossbridge Capital LLP Chimerica: A G-2 world beckons The Chinese economy of today is a far cry from the days of Chairman Mao Zedong and the “Great Leap Forward” – his second Five Year Plan which lasted from 1958 to 1963 – and proved a complete disaster for China. It left millions of people dead and many more miserable for decades to come. Frank Dikötter a Dutch historian in his excellent book – “The Cultural Revolution: A People’s History, 1962–1976” – has painstakingly gone through the Chinese Communist Party’s own record and declassified letters of complaint, secret police reports, statistics, surveys and other archived papers, to draw the picture of misery that China was in the 1960s. By Dikötter’s count, the Cultural Revolution – formally the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution from 1966 until 1976 – left 45 million dead as Mao forced peasants off their land on to co-operative farms and mindless industrial projects. Mao wanted to lift Chinese steel production by putting the whole nation to work at over 600,000 backyard blast furnaces. Instead, he got famine and tens of millions dead. Mao had been warned by then Soviet Union leader, Nikita Khrushchev, that China’s course to industrialisation risked a famine. Khrushchev knew it from his own knowledge of Josef Stalin’s reckless ambition for industrial power that unleashed a famine in Russia in 1932-33 and killed up to five million in Ukraine, a country land rich and fertile for agriculture. Today however, China is the world’s second-largest economy using its wealth to build “colonies” around the world and the only real challenger to US hegemony. This miraculous turnaround achieved in just over 40 years – beginning with the “reform and opening up” of China in 1979 – has led to multiple years of double-digit growth (see chart below). At a time when American prestige is fading and China’s status is rising and as the US and China work to find a mutually acceptable trade deal and negotiate as equals, it is difficult to imagine how unequal the two nations were in 1979 – the year of the big reforms in China – let alone in 1949 when Mao established the People’s Republic of China (PRC). In 1979 China’s GDP stood at $178bn and was 6% of US GDP. Today, China’s GDP is 63% of US GDP ( chart below). The history of US-China relations is a fascinating read and China has gone from being a pariah state to the US in 1949 to its most important trade relationship in the world. So much so that we are heading into a G-2 world where China and the US will make rules for the rest of the world to follow. Europe is the big loser in all this and only has itself to blame – no structural reforms, low growth, high unemployment and an over-reliance on exports and not domestic demand. Feb. 28th, 2018.

Business 19 Feb 2019

going global

FOUR speaks to Dr. Juerg Steffen, the CEO of the Henley & Partners Group, about the ins and outs of residence and citizenship planning – and how Henley & Partners became the global leaders in this field. Can you tell us a bit about your background, and how you got into your current role?My background is in private banking, with more than 25 years’ experience in this area. I hold a PhD degree in Law and have served as a director of leading private banks in Switzerland and Austria. After joining Henley & Partners, I built up the South East Asia region and worked as Group Chief Operating Officer for a number of years. Now I am delighted to step into my new role as the firm’s CEO. What exactly are the services that Henley & Partners offers, for those that don’t know about the company?We broadly offer two services.We are the industry leader in residence and citizenship planning, providing our clients with an A–Z service that includes real estate acquisition and property management. Alongside our private client business, we are also the preeminent advisor to sovereign states as regards the design and operational development of investment migration programs. Our government advisory practice has raised more than USD 8 billion in foreign direct investment for countries around the world.Because we have been involved in the design, set-up, and operation of the world’s most successful residence and citizenship programs, we understand the application processes for different programs on a very deep level — including the stringent due diligence procedures. For all these reasons, we are extremely well positioned to serve those interested in residence- and citizenship-by-investment, and to advise any sovereign state considering adding an investment migration option to its foreign direct investment strategy. What do you think has led to the increase in high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) in recent years?There are an estimated 18.2 million high-net-worth individuals on the planet, and their collective wealth now sits at over USD 70 trillion. These remarkable numbers are expected to grow continually over the coming years. There are a number of potential reasons for this increase, including the fact that HNWIs are now found all over the world, whereas previously, wealth was concentrated in western markets and in countries of so-called ‘old money’. The rise of emerging markets in the Far East and Middle East, as well as in South America, has created a new class of HNWIs and led to a global increase in wealth. How and why does this affect wealth migration?The majority of millionaires relocate via dual citizenship, work transfers, spousal and family visas, as they have always done. However, the emergence of residence- and citizenship-by-investment programs over the past decade is having a growing impact on global wealth migration trends. Investment migration differs from other forms of migration in that individuals are required to make a significant economic contribution to the host country before they are admitted, as a sort of upfront demonstration of their commitment to the country’s prosperity and wellbeing. In exchange for this extraordinary contribution, individuals obtain either residence or citizenship rights in that country, as the case may be.Because these programs represent such a clear ‘win–win’ both for the countries administering them and for the individuals participating in them, their popularity is growing dramatically, and we expect this to continue. What are the effects of investment migration?Offering citizenship in return for investment is mutually beneficial for both successful applicants and the destination countries they choose. The inflows of funds from citizenship programs are considerable, and the macroeconomic implications for most sectors can be extensive. For receiving countries, wealth migration is a sustainable form of foreign direct investment. Just like traditional foreign direct investment, wealth migration increases the value of the receiving state, bringing in capital to both the public sector — in the form of donations to the government, tax payments, or treasury bond investments — and the private sector — in the form of investments in businesses, start-ups, or real estate.For HNWIs, a second or third passport grants holders the right to travel, trade, and settle in an expanded set of countries and regions, as well as access to all the benefits enjoyed by other citizens of the state in question (education, health care, voting rights, and so on). It also eliminates a great deal of the inconvenience and waiting time surrounding visa applications and passport renewal or replacement processes. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, an additional passport can quite literally save a person’s life in times of political unrest, civil war, and terrorism, or in other delicate political situations. Where do you see most of the HNWIs moving from and migrating to? – And why?For the third year running, Australia has been the most attractive migration destination for high-net-worth individuals: about 10,000 millionaires migrated there last year, mostly from China, India, and the UK. Experts have proposed a range of reasons for this, including lifestyle opportunities, political stability, proximity to Asian business markets, and relative safety for women.After Australia, the US, Canada, and the UAE continue to attract significant numbers of HNWIs, while Malta, Cyprus, Portugal, and Spain are also seen as highly appealing destinations for wealthy individuals in search of increased freedom and mobility. How great is the number of individuals who gain citizenship in a country through financial investment, but do not reside there? And how does this affect global wealth trends?The specific details about where HNWIs choose to reside and for how long is not information that is publicly available. However, it is safe to assume that beneficiaries of citizenship-by-investment are global citizens who often have multiple places of residence and do not see themselves as being tied to a single jurisdiction. It is also important to remember that the number of residence-by-investment programs far outstrips the number of citizenship-by-investment programs. What’s next or what do you predict for future wealth trends?Global citizenship is now an indispensable asset for wealthy individuals seeking to grow their business and increase opportunities for their family in today’s entirely globalized economy. In 2018, more than a third of global ultra-high-net-worth individuals hold an alternative passport, and another 29% are planning to obtain one.In general, we anticipate that overall demand for a second passport among wealthy individuals will continue to increase in 2019. More specifically, countries with residence- and citizenship-by-investment programs now account for about one in five wealthy individual migrations, and the ever-growing popularity of these programs indicates that they will continue to shape overall wealth migration trends.We also believe this demand will be met by increased supply. Sovereign states around the world are seeing the strategic value of investment migration over and above a non-debt baring liquidity injection. Many sovereign states understand that investment migration programs act as a remarkably successful FDI marketing platform that can attract capital and skills to an economy, thereby creating opportunity for all citizens. Want to know more? Head to Henley & Partners to read up further about their services.

Business 14 Feb 2019

deal, no deal or second referendum?

Deal, No Deal or Second referendum? Aricle By:Manish Singh, CFAChief Investment OfficerCrossbridge Capital LLPJanuary, 21th, 2019.Last week, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer the head of the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party in Germany and the likely next Chancellor, as well as over two dozen other German luminaries from the fields of politics, art, industry and sport issued a plea to the UK to change its mind and stay in the European Union (EU). The letter published in The Times of London marks a significant shift in Berlin’s tone. It talks about the role of Britain – “we realise that the freedom we enjoy as Europeans today has in many ways been built and defended by the British people” and its continued importance to Europe’s future – “Without your great nation, this continent would not be what it is today: a community defined by freedom and prosperity.” And goes on to implore –“We would miss Britain as part of the European Union, especially in these troubled times. Therefore, Britons should know: from the bottom of our hearts, we want them to stay.”A bit too late in the day, I’d say. Where were these good people before the referendum in 2016? That was the time for the esteemed leaders of the EU to give then UK Prime Minister David Cameron a worthy deal that he could sell to the British people. Instead, they gave him a bag of crisp hot Brussels air which Cameron tried to present to the British voters as a “great win,” and was repudiated. The realisation is dawning on many in the EU that a No Deal Brexit would hit the EU very hard and is therefore an undesirable outcome.  After hoping and wrongly presuming that the UK would cancel Brexit (a ludicrous thought that only highlights the gulf in understanding between the UK and the Continent), it is only now – after being convinced of the likelihood of collateral damage in its own country – that Germany is taking a more conciliatory approach. The realisation is finally dawning on many in Europe that a No Deal Brexit would hit the EU very hard and is therefore an undesirable outcome.Anyone with any interest in Germany and the EU and where they’re headed, would be well served to read the masterful analysis of the topic in the book Berlin Rules: Europe and the German Way. It is written by Sir Paul Lever, former British Ambassador to Germany and a senior member of the European Commission in Brussels who attended all European Council meetings from February 1979-85. In its institutional form, he suggests that the EU looks and “will continue to look like Germany” and that its “leadership of the EU is geared principally to the defence of German national interests.” His conclusion is that Germany will prevent the creation of the “all-powerful European super-state that ” and in 20 years’ time many (Brits) will have forgotten Britain was ever a member of the EU to make them regret their choice” and “others… may wonder what all the fuss was about.” I recommend the book highly.Last week also saw UK Prime Minister Theresa May suffer the largest parliamentary defeat in British political history, as the House of Commons rejected her Deal on Europe by 432 to 202 votes. By any yardstick, the defeat that May suffered is entirely of her own making. Tin-eared, distant, and reticent don’t even begin to define the approach she took to agreeing a “Withdrawal Agreement” with an intransigent EU. May couldn’t persuade a starving man to eat with the approach she has taken thus far. Tories must fear a terrible drubbing at the elections, if May continues as PM. Thankfully, she has promised she won’t lead the Tories into the next election. So, what’s next?To those who say “No Deal” is off the table or Brexit could be cancelled, I say this – No deal is not “on the table” but it is in the Statute Books. The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 was passed through both Houses of Parliament and became law by Royal Assent on 26 June 2018. 498 of 650 MPs voted to trigger Article 50 i.e. a clear and overwhelming commitment to leave the EU. Over 80% of MPs subsequently were re-elected in 2017 on manifestos pledging to implement Brexit. Legally, in the absence of an agreed deal, the UK, therefore, will leave with “No Deal” on March 29, unless the Article 50 deadline is extended by the mutual agreement of the EU and the UK. A No Deal, however, doesn’t mean “crashing out” as some like to fear monger. It just means agreeing a set of side deals and a temporary return to WTO rules for trading, until new trade deals and arrangements are worked out between both parties.As I said on Bloomberg TV last week- I still believe that the UK will leave the EU with a deal. An extension of Article 50 is likely to give enough time to conclude a deal. There will be a transition period in which the UK will be part of the customs union and at the end of the transition period, the EU and the UK will move on to a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). As far as the UK is concerned the “freedom of movement” of workers is a red line and will not be up for negotiation. The EU doesn’t want a No Deal scenario. Nor does the UK for that matter. A No Deal would be very inconvenient for the UK in the short term, as details of new arrangements are worked out, but it would be a growing tragedy for the EU to lose a nation it has a big trade deficit with. Besides a No Deal at, minimum, means: Immediate halt to the £39 billion “divorce payment” to the EUNo further annual contributions of £13 billion to the EU budgetThe EU’s entire exports to the UK – £341 billion last year would be put at riskA severe macroeconomic calamity for IrelandThis, at a time when the economic woes of Germany (the driver of the EU 27) are growing as it is hit by weaker exports to China and elsewhere, as well as softer demand at home. A German slowdown is already ringing alarm bells in Brussels and at the European Central Bank (ECB). Weaker German growth is very bad news for the rest of the European continent, where many economies are linked to the demands of the German export machine and German consumers. For instance, Germany is France and Italy’s top export destination with 15% of total French exports and 12.5% of total Italian exports going to Germany. A slowdown in Germany would hit France and Italy hard. The possibility of a No Deal or messy Brexit, populism and unrest in France, mounting US protectionism and the slowdown in China all are major headwinds for Germany and the Eurozone. China is Germany’s largest trading partner ahead of the US. If that’s not enough, cast your mind back to last July and the Trump-Juncker conference that temporarily diffused the risk of damaging tariffs on EU auto exports to the US, in return for the EU pledging to work to achieve “zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods.” Fast forward 6 months, and the EU is now being accused by US officials of dragging its feet on trade talks in the hopes of waiting out the Trump administration. It won’t end well if you know what Trump is like. President Donald Trump is about to conclude a trade deal with China. With the Mexico-Canada and China deals completed, all efforts and urgency will go into taking on what Trump likes to call the EU’s “unfair trade deal” with the US that “robs” the US and treats it like a “piggy bank”. Expect fireworks soon. I see a second referendum as the least likely outcome. A general election is more likely than a second referendum. We know that the country is divided roughly down the middle – half favouring Leave and half favouring Remain. A new referendum will only frustrate those who voted to leave and waste valuable time and resources. Even if there were a second referendum, in my opinion, Leave is likely to win again. In a tweet, Robbie Gibb, Director of Communication at 10 Downing Street reminded us as much – “1.9 million Leave voters say they would now vote to Remain. But 2.4 million Remain voters would now vote to Leave. The country hasn’t changed its mind.” Remember also that the voters were told the Brexit referendum was a “once in a lifetime vote” and 3 years is not a lifetime by any stretch of the imagination. For many in the UK – whether Remainer or Brexiteer, a second vote amounts to a violation of democracy. As for GBP/USD, the UK economic data on a relative basis is getting better and the US is unlikely to raise rates until the summer given concern about the economic slowdown in the US. Therefore I see GBP/USD getting to 1.32 by June, creeping up to 1.36 or higher by September and 1.40 or higher next year. Link to the newsletter: https://www.crossbridgeconnect.com/january-2019-market-viewpoints/ --------------------------------------------------Manish Singh, CFAChief Investment OfficerCrossbridge Capital LLP9 South StreetLondon W1K 2XA

Other 24 Jan 2019

the 2019 henley & partners global mobility report

The 2019 Henley Passport Index and Global Mobility ReportThe 2019 Henley Passport Index and Global Mobility Report is a unique publication that brings together commentary from leading scholars and professional experts on the major trends shaping global and regional mobility patterns today.In addition, the report features fresh analysis of the latest developments on the Henley Passport Index, original scholarly research into the relationship between democracy and travel freedom, and on-the-ground insights into the future of migration technology.Download the 2019 Henley Passport Index and Global Mobility Reporthttps://www.henleyglobal.com/files/download/HPI2019/HPI%20Global%20Mobility%20Report_Final_190104.pdf