Saturday, 25 March 2017 18:42

The Hobbit: Drama Review

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On Saturday afternoon, the New World Theatre Club (NWTC) Youth Season put on the first of a 6-performance run of The Hobbit at the Centre Culturel Tramsschapp in Luxembourg-Limpertsberg.

With the stage adaptation by Glyn Robins from the original book by J R R Tolkien, the NWTC youth raised their acting game from their previous productions, most notably "A Modern Take on Five Fantastic Tales - stories from around the world" in March 2016 and "Oh What a Lovely War" in November 2014.

Spurred on by Natalia Sanchez, the NWTC Youth Director and co-director along with Julie Fraser, with Rose Flammant as producer and Valerie Scott as Stage Manager, the production got off slowly and atmospherically with a short sword battle. With the large screen backdrop in action throughout, for both indoor and outdoor scenes, together with a haunting soundtrack, the rest of the set was relatively sparse. This allowed the actors to move around and for the walking scenes to appear realistic. On the other hand, the custumes were stunning - hats off to Hilary Brown and her team!

The play is based on the classic novel, with some just having seen the film series: Bilbo Baggins, a Hobbit, finds himself outside the comfort of his shire as he finds himself as an unwitting accomplice to retrieve the Arkenstone, which Smaug the dragon guards in the mountain that was once the home of the dwarves, with whom he is now travelling.

The acting by the leads was first class, with Magnus Chan authoritive as Gandalf, and Tiernan Taylor wonderfull Bilbo Baggins character which develops from hestitancy to assuredness as the play develops, and Eva Puc as snivelling Gollum. The characters they met on their travels all were distinctive, from the pale goblins to the dark spiders which were a huge hit with the younger members of the audience.

What was a disappointment, though, was the venue. The large space was set up for the centre floor area - plus the stage - to be used by the actors, with seating - mostly tiered - on three sides. Those on any of the tiered seats or the front row were able to see clearly, but those on the few non-tiered seats could only see half the acting area due to people in seats in front of them. And it was quite difficult to hear at times, with the actors moving around and not facing the same way consistently - as a result, much of the dialogue was lost on some of the audience.

But this is a seriously large production, with a huge number of adults in a large crew supporting the young actors in a hugely ambitious production. There are a total of 54 scenes in the production; at the end of the run there are going to be some exhausted thespians, but rather happy ones for accomplishing a significant feat and ambitious project.

Apart from 20+ actors playing Goblins, Elves, Bowmen, Trolls, Spiders, Wolves, Woodsmen, Smaug and Laketowners, the individual cast comprised the following:

Bilbo Baggins - Tiernan Taylor Gandalf - Magnus Chan Thorin - Sophie Boyer Balin - Tali Golergant Bombur - Francesca Andrich Kili - Alexander Sweerts Fili - Benjamin Teppler Gollum - Eva Puc Beorn - Martina Sardelli Bard - Maude Juste Azog  - Noam Golergant Elrond - Holly Fraser Wood Elf King -  Fionn Seery McNulty Master- Abigail Bondenham Captain - Barbara Shkurendo

Tickets cost €18 (members €15, students €12) from or tel: 356339.

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From a professional migration perspective, Luxembourg is ranked #4 in a preferred post-Brexit location accordign to a study published by Movinga, a relocation company active primarily in France and Germany.

The top three positions are held by Dublin, Amsterdam and Valetta, with Luxembourg above other locations including Brussels, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Madrid, Paris and Milan.

The study looked at four main areas: business ecosystem, monthly essentials, lifestyle factors and visiting home, each with various sub-categories.

Luxembourg's income tax rate was 2nd lowest, with its percentage of English comprehension only at 56%, rather surprisingly. House cleaning chargest were the highest, though, The report stated "With the United Kingdom’s inevitable exit from the EU on the horizon, hundreds of thousands of British professionals face the possibility of relocation... No two employees or businesses will thrive in exactly the same environments.2 The study examined which city can offer the best business and lifestyle environment for the archetypal financial and start-up employees.

See  for details.

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On Wednesday this week, the newest crèche in the Sunflower Montessori ever-expanding network has its official opening in Findel, at the Eagle building where there is space for a total of 126 children.

This brings to 390 the grand total of children's places the group facilitates, at its various locations: - Findel 1 (the original crèche; currently undergoing renovation) - Findel Galileo (opened November 2012) - Moutfort (the puropse-built "flagship" créche) - Ersange (opening in November 2015; currently their administrative headquarters) - Bertrange (opened summer 2016) - Brussels (Belgium) - Findel Eagle (opened November 2016)

Although the new crèche is already fully-subscribed, the big development is that Sunflower Montessori is now licenced to also operate as a Foyer du Jour, offering after-school and holiday facilities to childen up to 12 years of age. Naturally, the children are segregated by age, with babies from 3 months the youngest. for such after-school facilities, the group now operates a collection service from a number of schools, including St George's International School, the European Schools in both Kirchberg and Mamer, and the Ecole Francaise.

The Eagle building is primarily offices, with the crèche located on the ground floor. Apart from its classrooms, resting rooms and toilets, plus administrative offices, it also offers a fully-equipped (for small children) gym, where they do dymnastics, musical movement and dance (and have two performances annually) as well as two fenced gardens for different age-ranges. And it also backs onto a forest, so the teachers bring the children from time to time to explore nature without needing to worry about crossing any roads.

While it does not offer its own kitchen, this is intentional as the group avails of a professional chef - specialised in cooking for crèches and taking into consideration a number of food allergies children can have - who uses the specialised kitchen facilities at their Moutfort crèche.

The changing legal framework in Luxembourg

As a new crèche, Sunflower Montessori's Findel Eagle facility falls under the 2013 law and is fully authorised under the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines (ITM), specifically regarding children. currently, therefore, this is a transition period for all existing crèches throughout the Grand Duchy, with the building structures already having had to meet the new standards, with issues pertaining to the numbers and ratios of children, staff qualifications, etc., to be in line by mid-2018.

In 2016, a new law came into force regarding the integration of the pre-school domain into the overall education system in Luxembourg. This implies the adoption of non-formal education into the national framework, with the operators of crèches and foyers du jour required to work with regional agents to develop an education plan - currently there are 22 regional agents throughout the Grand Duchy.

A future step will be the introduction of a pluri-lingualism policy - this is currently in the early stages of preparation, with discussions in parliament already commenced. These are further initiatives since the original shake-up in 2009 when the Luxembourg government introduced the Cheques-Service initiative. And now the Sunflower Montessori group is starting to offer after-school and holiday places for children up to 12 years of age.

Tom O'Dea, Director at Sunflower Montessori, told The Luxembourg Chronicle "We are really impressed at the way the Luxembourg government is using formal education in an early years environment as an integral part of the Luxembourg education system". He added "Rather than seeign this as an abstacle, we see this as a great opportunity to have our educational plan approved nationally".

Photo (L-R): Tom O'Dea, Sam O'Dea, Helen Clarke

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Special Olympics Luxembourg and the Luxembourg Fifty-One Clubs are combinign to organise a Special Olympics / Fifty-One Week-end on 7-9 July 2017 in Ettelbruck, in support of people with intellectual disabilities.


- Friday 7 July: Sports Day, in collaboration with the Ecole Privé Ste Anne in Ettelbruck

- Saturday 8 July & Sunday 9 July: 7-a-side Football Tournament (Franz Toex Challenge) featuring 10 teams

- Saturday 8 July: a Soirée in the Hall Sportif Frankie Hansen in Ettelbruck

Zezinha du Sena, President of the Ladies Club "Gelle Fra" 51 International, stated "The event unites the participating countries under the guiding principles of the fifty-One International organisation: Esteem, Friendship and Tolerance".

Alex Mertzig, Govenor of District 104 Luxembourg of 51-International, said "A great occasion to celebrate the 51st anniversary of our movement".

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Following the success of last year, Bernard-Massard invited four young talented artists to design their cork bottle-tops.

For the 2015 edition, Sumo, Vexx, Line Helleputte and Eric Mangen participated in the contest. This year, the four designers were Keoene, Sandra Lieners, Laure Mackel and Denis Meyers.

The competition, which featured a work by each artist, once again was deemed a great success with wine lovers both in Luxembourg and in Belgium.

With a number of nearly 20,000 visitors, the website has aroused a lot of interest allowing visitors to discover the unique universe of each of the four artists.

The four winners were invited recently to the Bernard-Massard cellars where the awards were presented in the presence of the artists and Antoine Clasen, general manager of Bernard-Massard. The event was held at the family wine cellars in Grevenmacher and featured dishes by the chef Joël Schaeffer and cuvées of Bernard-Massard and Domaine Clos des Rochers.

Each of the four winners will have their design featured on Bernard-Massard cork bottle-tops.

Photo (L-R): Jeannine Jonckheere, Keone, Carole Brack, Laure Mackel, Yves Bartholmé, Sandra Lieners.

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New Spirit, the Luxembourg event management company headed by Carlo Arendt, is currently on stand-by to participate in a cross-channel balloon event.

A Luxembourg team comprising Carlo Arendt and Mathieu Mazzolini is on stand-by, waiting a final call, to be among the 300 pilots to cross the English channel in hot-air balloons. The Datum RPO Cross Channel World Record Flight 2017 event is being organised to beat a world record involving 100 hot air balloons - see

Unfortunately the record attempt will not take place on Friday, 17 March; although the wind direction is described as perfect and the upper winds are also perfect, the surface wind speeds are forecast to remain too high. At around 06:00 on Friday the winds are expected to gust around 13 knots but possibly as much as 19 knots.

The organisers are waiting for the right weather conditions...

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Dimension Data has been certified by the Top Employers Institute as a Global Top Employer for the third year running.

We’re one of ten select organisations on this global list. Staying true to our vision of delivering exceptional value to our clients through our great people, we take pride that our winning culture and world-class work environment have been recognised for the third time globally and for the second time in Luxembourg” stated Cyril de Bazelaire, HR Director of Dimension Data Luxembourg

The Top Employer Institute, an independent global company, runs an annual certification programme to certify organisations that demonstrate an exceptional HR environment and employee offerings. This is the third year the Institute has awarded global accreditation. Thirty Dimension Data countries underwent an in-depth assessment. The results were audited by a third party to ensure the integrity of the Institute’s process. Dimension Data’s people practices and policies were benchmarked at international standards and recognised among the best in the world.

As work and digital business trends transform the world around us, our clients can be confident that we’re making the right investments in the right people, at the right time”, added Olivier Posty, Country Manager of Dimension Data Luxembourg.

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The 2017 St Patrick's celebrations in the Grand Duchy started off on Thursday lunchtime with a formal reception at the Cercle Cité hosted by the Ambassador of Ireland to Luxembourg, Peadar Carpenter.

Around 300 people attended the reception, including former Luxembourg Prime Minister, Jacques Santer, a number of ambassadors including the Dutch Ambassador Peter Kok and the British Ambassador John Marshall, a number of parliamentarians and representatives of the Irish and local business and cultural communities.

After the playing of both the Irish and Luxembourgish national anthems, Ambassador Carpenter addressed the attendees. He Looked back over the past twelve months, including the 1916 Centenary Commemorations, Luxembourg hosting the European Gaelic Championship finals, and also Ireland defeating New Zealand in rugby!

On the econocic front, he said that Ireland reported the highest rate of growth in the EU and that unemployment is heading to drop under 6% this year.

He mentioned Brexit, and is interested to see what will happen concerning Northern Ireland in the upcoming negotiations. He referenced a number of examples of how the criss-birder economies currently work very well, including all Guinness and Baileys products being transported north to be repackaged before being exported, with the volume of Guinness equivalent to 10,000 trucks annually.

Amb Carpenter also referred to there being 6 million people in Britain claiming Irish descent. He stated that "we intend to stay Europeans and share European values" and added that Brexit will involve the most complex political negotiations seen in decades.

He concluded by wishing everyone a happy St Patrick's Day; the event continued with a reception during which Irish savoury and sweet finger food was served.

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The 6Zero1 incubator of social entrpreneurs has been formally inaugurated by Grand-Duke Henri and Grand-Duchess Maria Teresa.

The initiative was opened in Differdange last July under the management of Gontran Poirot - see; almost one hundred people were present for its formal inauguration, including Grand-Duke Henri, Grand-Duchess Maria Teresa and Minister of Labour, Nicolas Schmit and representatives of the Chambre de Commerce and the Chambre des Métiers.

The Grand-Duchesse and shareholders of 6zero1 made speeches about social entrepreneurship and how important is the creation of such a place as 6zero1 to help people develop social enterprises.

6Zero1 can be found at 115a rue Émile Mark in Differdange.

Photo (L-R): Guy Schmit, Nadine Muller, Grand-Duke Henri, Grand-Duchess Maria Teresa, Jean-Christophe Burkel

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One of the key ICT players in Luxembourg, Docler Holding, has now joined forces with AMCHAM, the American Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg, to assist expatriates and their families by supporting them on the local employment market; AMCHAM is following its top mission of taking action against rising social demands by welcoming newcomers, including students, to the region and offering vocational training to them.

Docler Holding, a long-term sponsor of AMCHAM, continues to showcase its enthusiasm for the local market by investing in numerous social projects throughout Luxembourg. In addition to the programme launched by the International Community of Luxembourg (INTCOMLUX) 4 years ago (providing regular language lessons in Luxembourgish, French, German, English and Portuguese), AMCHAM is now keeping the dream alive by creating an International Community Center (ICC) in Bonnevoie. AMCHAM’s vision and goal is to offer language and training courses to the unemployed as well as training in languages, IT and various other industries for post-graduate students. These benefits would also be available to any international students enrolled in the Luxembourgish school system and a whole host of evening classes will start for currently employed people who are looking to develop further professionally.

The ICC has been created following inclusion as a motto and will follow a concept of communities supporting communities. Luxembourg has a proportion of foreigners of more than 46% so it is key for the ICC to enhance integration through bridge building between communities. The centre is also a door open to everyone to ensure independence and empowering people to be the best they can and want to be.

Ensuring a long-term support

So far, 33 computers and accompanying desks have been donated, to fully equip the new centre. Docler Holding has thus offered great support to enable this incredibly important project to develop. Marton Fulop, COO of Docler Holding, said “With over 23 different nationalities in our office in Luxembourg, diversity is essential for our development.. We are looking for experts around the world, and we guarantee that, in Luxembourg, families will find a place to settle and grow. Through the ICC project, we can help both foreigners and students to get a foot in the door.”

This project emphasises our goal of building communities supporting communities. We are convinced of the need and deeply thankful for the first support we have received from certain companies and asbls. This support already set the major milestones of our journey in making this dream a reality,” stated Paul Schonenberg, Chairman and CEO of AMCHAM.

The ICC is located at 7-9 Route de Thionville, L-2611 Luxembourg, tel: 2060-0690 / 691-849195 or email:

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