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An International club with an American heart

ACB News Archive

All our News & Updates in one place.

ACB NEWS Archive

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  • 13 Feb 2023 10:25 AM | Contact ACB (Administrator)

    1. Tell us about your organization and what it does and what is unique about it? 

    With more than 250 venues in more than seventy countries worldwide, the Hard Rock Cafe is aninternationally recognized global brand with a standard that keeps its customers returning.Regardless of where you are in the world, the warm welcome and service you receive is consistent throughout its owned/licensed hotels, casinos, Rock Shops and cafes. Nowhere is this truer than in their Belgium based Hard Rock Cafes located in its capital, Brussels. The Brussels Hard Rock Cafe opened in 2012 and we celebrated the 10 th anniversary last year with a special party and the presence of guests like world renowned Belgian DJ, Daddy K.

    2. What did we learn from speaking with Chady El Bared, General Manager?

    First Hard Rock Cafe opened its door in 1971 in London and grew into one of most recognizable brands in the world. 41 years later, the Hard Rock Cafe came to Brussels’s Grand Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visiting Hard Rock Cafe Brussels is always a memorable experience that lives long in the memory of all who walk through our doors. If ever you find yourself in Brussels and crave classic American fare like burgers, a visit here is an absolute must. We warmly welcome all members of American Club Brussels!

    3. What advice would you give our readers? 

    There is always something happening at the Hard Rock Cafe in Brussels: live music, happy hour, special celebrations, events, and special limited time offers. This week, bring you and your better half to celebrate Valentine's Day with us with live music by Long Island artist, Steffi Pacson, and a special dedicated menu! Steffi Pacson, a Belgium-based pop singer/songwriter, will play at21:30 and will be accompanied by Remo Spezza on drums and Federico Fontana on bass. For more information, click here!

    4. How can people get in touch with you? 

    ACB members are always welcome in Hard Rock Cafe Brussels! We have a longstanding, partnership with ACB and we would like to offer all members a special 10% discount on food, beverages (excluding alcohol drinks), and our merchandise in the shop. Furthermore we are specialized in organizing private events ranging from corporate dinners, birthday celebrations, to cocktail parties and business meetings. If you would like to collaborate with us for your next special event, please contact our sales team at .

    More info about Hard Rock Cafe Brussels:

  • 16 Nov 2022 10:32 AM | Contact ACB (Administrator)

    1.Tell us about your organization and what is unique about it?

    Whether it’s in terms of resources consumption, budget-related costs, or the required workload, doing your own laundry inevitably affects your daily life. So it made us think..

    Why does doing laundry feel so outdated? Everything else experienced a jump in convenience. We can shop and order food online and quickly hire cars to drive us everywhere, yet we still do laundry the same way we did 20 years ago? Why can’t doing laundry be as easy as using an App?

    So we went on a mission to change the way laundry is done so it’s faster and more convenient. Our ideal is for everyone to easily access professional laundry services in a few clicks, which is now possible thanks to our new mobile application. Moreover, in accordance with our values, we developed a fleet of electric scooters to minimise even further the impact of your laundry on the environment.

    Our services are somewhat new and completely unique in Brussels. Therefore we would be eager to hear about your experience!

    2. What did we learn from speaking with Maxime? What advice would you give our readers?

    According to the Journal of Integrative Environmental Sciences, the household sector is responsible for about 21% of all carbon emissions, and laundry cycles account for 8.29% of all households emissions. These percentages might be a little mind-boggling, so here’s another way to look at it: electricity is required to heat the water and run the machines. Large amount of energy goes into manufacturing the laundry machinery, shipping the washer, dryers & soaps. Moreover, people do their laundry weekly, if not daily. This means that washer and dryer energy usage, coupled with the amount of water used for laundry, have a direct impact on your energy consumption.

    However, there are some alternatives out there, namely, making use of professional laundry places. Compared to your home washing machine, a professional laundry place uses 50% less water, 35% less chemicals and 25% less energy. These numbers are an average. Some laundry places, such as the once we are working with, even further diminish the impact of your laundry on the environment.

    3. How can people get in touch with you? 

    ACB members get a special 20% on their first order, using the promo code “ACB2022” on the Wosh website, mobile app or web app.


    Mobile app:

    Web app:

    You can also contact us by email: or phone: +32 2 430 25 96
  • 13 Oct 2022 11:35 AM | Contact ACB (Administrator)

    1.Tell us about your organization and what it does? 

    My main goal is to assist Americans living abroad with their U.S. tax reporting to the IRS, and possibly home state. Since the U.S. requires Americans to annually report their global income, it sometimes becomes confusing to complete the various forms to the IRS. Mir Taxes also likes to keep Americans (clients or not) informed with a (somewhat) monthly Newsletter with tax news and due dates. Anyone can sign up by contacting us or visiting this website. Mir Taxes keeps Americans informed of changes in the tax laws as well as any credits that can be beneficial to the taxpayers especially the Child Tax Credit. Mir Taxes was very involved in informing American expats of how to receive the Economic Impact Payments in 2020 and 2021… and how they can still receive them. What is unique about Mir Taxes? Most U.S.-based tax preparers are not completely savvy about how to process the Form 1040 to the IRS from abroad. Mir Taxes is specialized in helping Americans living abroad, especially Belgium. 

    2. What did we learn from speaking with Carl?

    U.S. Persons (citizens and green card holders) are required to file an annual tax declaration to the IRS in the U.S. by reporting their global income. However, most tax filers will not be double taxed. Mir Taxes can assist to ensure that U.S. Persons are NOT double taxed.

    3. What advice would you give our readers?

    All expats should also be aware that if they have a company in their new home country, that company’s financial statements must be reported to the IRS. By not reporting, the penalties are quite severe. Also, if the aggregate balances of the financial foreign accounts reach $10,000 on any ONE day of the year, all accounts are required to be reported on the FINCEN 114 (FBAR). Penalties are also quite severe for non-reporting.

    If any U.S. Person has not completed their reporting for several years, the IRS allows to file the last three years within an amnesty program to avoid the penalties for failure of filing. Mir Taxes has assisted several Americans to “catch-up” via this program. Keep in mind that “green card holders” are required to file as well even if they leave the U.S. In order to not be subject to the tax filing requirement, the holders must officially return their green cards to the U.S. government… it is not a matter of merely relocating abroad.

    If you experience any issues reporting your tax to the U.S. and are unsure of the procedures and/or consequences, you can contact us at Mir Taxes. 

    4. How can people get in touch with you? 

    For any questions and to arrange a phone call, Skype, or Zoom meeting, you can email us: info@mirtaxes. Alternatively, appointments can be made here. Your first 15-minute informative call is free.

  • 22 Sep 2022 11:21 AM | Contact ACB (Administrator)

    Tell us about Alice Restaurant and Cocktail Bar and what is unique about it?

    Alice Restaurant and Cocktail Bar, previously Rouge Tomate, is undergoing a transformation post-Covid. We changed our concept throughout the past 2 years of Covid-19 so much that the current model and philosophy no longer adhered to the name and reputation of Rouge Tomate. Also, moving forward from such a disastrous period for our sector it makes more sense to reunite our two concepts, restaurant & cocktail bar, under one identity. Our uniqueness and speciality is that we offer a one stop location for a wide variety of possibilities. From just a simple lunch or dinner amongst friends to corporate events or weddings/parties.

    Our weekly menu that features seasonal dishes for all, is competitive and generous. From drinks to food and even cigars, there's something for everyone who's looking to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

    Make sure to check out our lovely garden in the summer too!

    Finally the decor in this aged manor home with modern touches and contemporary design offers a truly unique Brussels vibe.

    What did we learn from speaking with Alex? What advice would you give our readers?

    From a small town kid that grew up in California and moved to Europe my only advice is: "If you can't get carried away then you should!"  

    How can people get in touch with you? 

    For reservations or inquiries please send us an email via or call us at 02/647.40.77 

  • 16 Jun 2022 9:52 AM | Contact ACB (Administrator)

    1.Tell us about your organization and what it does? What is unique about Mint Consult? 

    Mint Consult helps international companies and other employers to optimize their remuneration policy. With expertise in both Belgian and international tax legislation and income tax, we help our clients develop an efficient compensation model. Sven Monsaert is the Managing Director and founder of Mint Consult. Before setting up Mint Consult three years ago, Sven worked for more than fifteen years as Tax Consultant for a large international consultancy company. He now uses his expertise to provide a personalized approach to taxation. For example, he works with US citizens who retire in Belgium and makes sure that his clients get one point of contact for both US and Belgian taxation.

    2. What did we learn from speaking with Sven? 

    This year, a new Belgian expat regime came into force, ending a complex special tax status for expats inherited from the 1980s. The new law allows employers to reimburse or compensate the expatriate on a tax-free basis for the recurring additional costs resulting from the expatriation in Belgium. This can apply to all employment and assignments in Belgium who meet certain criteria and enables expats moving to Belgium to enjoy a more favorable tax system. This reimbursement is limited to 30% of the gross remuneration and capped at a maximum tax free amount of € 90.000. The new expat regime is applicable for an initial 5-year period with a possible 3-year extension. Unlike the old expat regime, where a change of employer meant losing the expat status, the new expat regime is no longer linked exclusively to the employer. It can therefore continue to apply when there is a change of employer. Qualifying expatriates will now be taxable in Belgium on their worldwide income, but are also entitled to invoke the double tax treaties concluded by Belgium. You can find out more about this tax changes on Mint Consult's blog here

    3. What advice would you give our readers?

    If you are a US expat living in Belgium, make sure that reporting obligations in the US and Belgium are aligned. Ensuring the information is reported correctly and having the same adviser responsible for your tax helps to avoid double taxation on your income

    4. How can people get in touch with you? 
    For more information, you can visit the Mint Consult website or contact
  • 26 Apr 2022 1:55 PM | Contact ACB (Administrator)

    Photo credit: Bart Dewaele

    1.Tell us a little about Pathways and what your organization does? What is unique about Pathways?

    Pathways is an asbl/vzw that works with partners to develop creative, problem-solving negotiation skills through workshops, courses, and educational programs. Our approach is based on methodology developed at the Harvard Negotiation Project for transforming negotiation from bargaining or haggling to joint problem-solving.

    I'd say that there are three things that, in particular, make Pathways unique: first, we have a focus on bringing creative negotiation tools and concepts into areas of the educational system where negotiation skills are not typically taught, working in partnership with various departments at universities, university-colleges and secondary schools - in addition to more traditional courses and training programs that we do with individual institutions, companies, and associations. Second, we work with a highly experiential pedagogy, recognizing the importance of interpersonal connection, creativity, and interactivity in the learning process. Finally, in addition to doing programs with individual academic institutions, our flagship programs bring schools and different communities together for joint learning, in particular connecting Dutch-speaking and Francophone institutions for shared programs for their students. By learning and practicing creative negotiation skills together - through simulations, role plays, and games - participants not only develop their own skills, but build new relationships, institutional bridges, and a shared sense of possibility. Currently, all of our workshops are conducted in English.

    2. How did it start?  Why negotiation?

    I started my own career in negotiation training and consulting at a private sector consulting firm in Boston, Vantage Partners, which was founded by one of the authors of the negotiation book "Getting to Yes" along with colleagues from the Harvard Negotiation Project. I learned this interest-based negotiation framework there and, after leaving the firm, had the opportunity to get involved in launching and leading educational projects working with youth together with other colleagues. When I moved to Brussels, some folks involved in educational work heard about the work that I had been doing with schools and thought it would be relevant and adaptable to the Belgian context. With their support, and support from key partners including the U.S. Embassy in Belgium, we launched the Game Changers negotiation skills & exchange program for secondary school students, which was the first project that I ran here in Belgium.

    Why negotiation? Well, we negotiate all the time, in our professional lives, personal lives, social lives, and political lives. If I want something and you want something and we try to reach an agreement about that, that's a negotiation. But, most people don't actively learn and practice this skill, unless they happen to go to certain business or law schools, or get professional training at some point in their career. Most of us just do our best, developing various assumptions and habits along the way that might not actually serve us in reaching our goals effectively. Working with teenagers and young adults is incredibly motivating, because at this point they are really developing their sense of agency, negotiating more and more and trying out different approaches to see what works for them. Equipping them with additional tools for their negotiation toolbox should serve them in different ways throughout their lives.

    3. How can the ACB members apply negotiations everyday and improve this skill?

    First, recognize where and when you are negotiating and towards what purpose. Even informal conversations that strive to reach an agreement (e.g. Where do we go for holiday during the upcoming break? Can I study overseas for a year? Can the bank extend the deadline of our mortgage offer? ) are negotiations and can be approached methodically.

    Second, prepare: who are the parties? What are their interests? How well would different options meet our and their interests or not? What external standards can I reference to explain which options are fair and which are not? What would I and they do to meet our interests if we don't reach agreement? What's our best (and worst) alternative to a negotiated agreement? What kind of relationship with the other party do I have and do I want? Questions like these can help us prepare - and act - in ways that improve the odds of our reaching an outcome that meets our interests and goals, whether by finding a deal, or indeed sometimes by saying "no". 

    Finally, reflect on your experiences. Just as you ought to take the time to prepare, take some time - either on your own or with your team/counterparts - to reflect on the experience. What worked well? What might you try differently next time? Negotiation, like riding a bike or sailing, is a skill that is best developed through practice. You need some key theory to get going and structure your approach, and then the most important thing is to experiment and practice with purpose and attention.

    Learn more about Pathways at
  • 25 Mar 2022 2:22 PM | Contact ACB (Administrator)

    By John Metselaar, ACB Vice President Corporate Partners

    We are thrilled to announce yet another new Corporate Partner, Batmaid.  Let’s take some time here in our March Newsletter to introduce the company to you.  And you may well pay attention!   When I did my onboarding call with Ruben Scheldeman, Batmaid’s Country Launcher for Belgium, and he introduced the company to me I heard myself exclaiming “darn (or a similar word), I should have known about you 8 years ago before my two sons started to live on their own at university (and each changed rooms twice), and mom (and dad) did most of the clean up each time)! 

    Welcome to the American Club of Brussels, Ruben - pleasure to have you join us!   Who is Batmaid?  

    Batmaid is a cleaning company already active in 15 major cities all over Europe, and now also available in Brussels. We offer 5-star quality home cleaning and end-of-tenancy cleanings, easy bookable in just a few clicks via their online platform or mobile app.

    No hassle with calling, mailing or waiting, a home cleaner can be welcomed at your doorstep as soon as 48 hours after you finalized your reservation. 

    House-warming party planned? In-laws want to pay you a visit? Too busy at work? With the possibility to book just once or on a regular basis, Batmaid makes your home shine again!

    Describe Batmaid to me in three words, Ruben. 

    Ah, that’s an easy one. Three key words: 

    Flexible: The no long-term obligations and free cancellation policy, the possibility to book just once (or regularly) and the English speaking customer support makes Batmaid's value. 

    Digital: With our online platform and dedicated mobile app, Batmaid wants to get rid of the burden to get your place clean. Make your booking, change it, give instructions to your home cleaner, all within reach. You can buy anything online, so why not a cleaning?  

    Respect: For too long, home cleaners have lacked recognition for their hard work and have suffered from the precarious working conditions of undeclared workers.

    Our commitment is, therefore, an essential pillar of this industry and one we wish to highlight. At Batmaid, the cleaning agents are employed to fight against precarity and offer them safe working conditions through permanent contracts, a fair salary and the possibility to combine both work and private life. Since our inception, Batmaid have helped more than 5,500 professionals in the home cleaning sector exit the black market by offering them declared and insured job opportunities. 

    What’s in the – very nice and catchy - name, Ruben? 

    Aha, interesting story…  The word "Batmaid" is a way for us to evoke the heroes of the shadows, who do a fantastic job every day in difficult conditions and take care of our homes. Their passion for their work and commitment is something we want to highlight and celebrate!  By choosing Batmaid, you're bringing more justice to the home cleaning industry.

    Last question, Ruben.  While we’re making our way to your website to book, give us just a little piece of advice on how to handle tough cleaning challenges in the home….

    Well, alright, a small but practical one, then.  If you are a fan of ecological cleaning, you must have white vinegar in your cupboards. It is extremely effective in fighting limescale. But did you know that white vinegar is also a great stain remover? Indeed, if your carpet is dirty, white vinegar will be your ally to fight against any encrusted spots. It is equally effective in controlling ants, getting rid of bad smells in your microwave oven, to clean your silverware and for many other things! You can follow us on our social media pages for a bunch of other great cleaning tips & tricks!

    What pleasure to have you as Corporate Partner, Ruben.  And of course you have a special offer for our members as “welcome” gift.  Try out Batmaid with a 20 euro discount on your first cleaning service at – courtesy of The American Club of Brussels.  Life will never be the same again! 

  • 11 Feb 2022 2:42 PM | Contact ACB (Administrator)

    Interview American Groceries Belgium

    By Brooke Peterson, ACB Community Manager

    This February we checked back in with ACB Sponsor American Groceries Belgium to see how things have changed since their business launch in the Fall of 2020.

    I am finding it hard to concentrate right now, because I keep thinking about the Pop Tarts in my kitchen. I have just returned from my interview with ACB Partner American Groceries Belgium (AGB) owner Kristen Crosson - and have brought back some wonderful goodies. We asked Kristen for an update on how things are going for her business, and what is next.

    AGB launched its business in October 2020, and you became an ACB partner shortly after. We spoke with you in November 2020 when things were just getting started for you, so what has happened since your launch?

    The biggest change is that we have expanded in so many ways. We started out with just click and collect offering our items at different pick-up locations around Brussels. Starting in the middle of a pandemic meant that people really wanted to have everything delivered, so we quickly started delivery options in Belgium. We have now expanded our delivery to eight additional countries in Europe including France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Austria, Italy, Portugal and Spain. In addition to expanding our geographical reach, we have tripled our selection of items - which we hope offers something for everyone.

    How do you decide what items to add? How do you know what Americans are missing and craving while abroad?

    We actually decide completely through customer requests, and sometimes we are surprised by what people want . With a big network of wholesalers we are usually able to find what people are looking for, so it is really helpful that we have customers that let us know what they would like us to carry. We also can see what is popular with our customers and make sure to have plenty on hand. Items such as mac & cheese, Goldfish, peanut butter, canned pumpkin, and pickles tend to be our best sellers.

    What are the most surprising and weirdest things that customers have asked you for?

    One thing that surprised us was that originally we were geared more to children with things such as kids’ cereals, but we quickly got a lot of requests for “adult” cereals like plain Cheerios, Grape Nuts and oatmeal. We realized that it is the adults living abroad that miss their favorite things just as much as the kids, if not more.

    In terms of odd things people have requested, we were surprised by the number of people asking for spray cheese, or the fake cheese that comes in a can. In a country with arguably some of the best cheese in the world, why did people want cheese in a spray can? Even stranger is that these requests came mostly from non-Americans.

    I understand you offer in-store shopping. Looking around your store right now, it is really fun to see all of these American food favorites on the shelves. Tell us more about that. 

    Sometimes it is just more fun to shop in person, so we do offer shop by appointment on Saturdays along with our click and collect. This allows people to come into the store in a safe way, following all COVID safety guidelines. We often have people come with their children, which is really cute. I love listening to adults explaining what these American foods are to their kids and how they grew up loving these foods. It is a little trip down memory lane for them and me. We also have a lounge with sofa, TV, and vintage Fisher Price toys for the kids to entertain themselves while their parents shop.

    We have also done some great events at the Wavre location, such as a Halloween craft event this past year. The kids get to have fun making crafts while the adults get to shop in person and socialize with other parents. It was a really fun event and we are planning to do another one for Easter.

    So where to next? What are your plans moving forward? 

    We will continue to add to our selection and countries that we can deliver to. In addition, we are hoping to create more specialized packages that can be ordered as gifts, such as for holidays or birthday parties. It can be frustrating when well meaning grandparents send over treats and then you are stuck with a tax to pay in order to get the package. A great alternative is to have relatives order through AGB - and the gift pack is usually delivered the next business day in Belgium and without the surprise taxes attached.

    We would like to thank American Groceries Belgium for their ongoing support of the club, and of course for the pickles, Goldfish and Pop Tarts.

    Brooke Peterson is the ACB Community Manager

    To help you write your story, contact us at

  • 21 Jan 2022 11:07 AM | Contact ACB (Administrator)

    It’s time to think of New Year Resolutions and our list includes Saving the Planet.   Here we talk with ACB member, Daniel Monteleone, about his arrival in Brussels from the USA and how he is working on environmental matters throughout Europe. 

    Daniel with his wife Carlotta Isabella; How the ELO is Saving the Planet

    Daniel, growing up in Santa Clarita, California, just north of Los Angeles in the 1980’s, did you ever imagine that you would move to Belgium in 2018 to live and work here -and now travel throughout Europe to help Save the Planet?  How did all that come about?

    Well, it’s been more satisfying than I could ever have imagined - to now be working with the European Landowners’ Organization (ELO) in Brussels these past few years, travelling throughout Europe.   I have travelled in Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland.  In each country, the ELO works with stakeholders in agriculture, the environment and rural activities to help promote and maintain a sustainable, prosperous European countryside.  My take-away from my travels is that there are good people everywhere and, for me, Google Translate helps to communicate and to really connect!

    How did you actually end up in Brussels? 

    This journey began when, as a student at California State University Northridge, I was studying the politics of Latin America, the Middle East and Public Administration, and I attended a Model United Nations conference in New York in 2006 -there I met Carlotta, who is now my wife, who works in the EU.   Before moving to Brussels full-time, I experienced her family’s warm welcome in Rome several times, and the unbelievably delicious food in Italy.

    Coincidentally, my great-grandparents left Italy before WWI to travel to the U.S. through Ellis Island.  They slowly made their way across-country to live in the San Fernando Valley, CA.  I thus have American- Italian dual citizenship, which made my integration into Europe smoother than I could have imagined.

    You had previously worked as an Agricultural Statistician at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Des Moines, Iowa   (2013-2018.) Now, here in this part of the world, how are you and the ELO helping farmers to play their part in Saving the Planet?   

    We meet face-to-face with farming communities and stakeholders in each EU country. Farming is very hi-tech now and the ELO has created eNatura2000, an online teaching-tool to connect European land owners and farmers with Land Managers to help cultivate better land management practices.  ELO’s online training modules also assist farmers with the EU Farm to Fork strategy and the European Green Deal, which aim to reduce some of the negative impacts of food production on the environment.   

    One of my favorite projects is Water2Return (W2R) which removes the unfortunate side-effects of slaughterhouse waste and turns it into clean water, clean energy and bio-fertilizer.  As long as we eat farm animals (cows, pigs, turkeys, chickens, etc.) there is waste, but W2R turns negatives into positives. 

    Other ELO projects help young farmers to enter agriculture as a profession, or help to protect pollinators like bees and butterflies.

    Why did Flanders Pig Farmers drive their tractors en masse through Brussels in December to highlight their plight?  What reforms are they hoping for?

    As with many sectors, agriculture was heavily hit by COVID-19.  The farmers, to my knowledge, were seeking to bring attention to the situation they face.  They hope for not only short-term increase in funding, but a long-term solution in a restructuring of the industry. 

    As ordinary citizens, are we, in Brussels, playing our part to Save-the-Planet?

    Well, at a local level, walking, biking, using public transportation and recycling helps.  Also, advocating for greener practices like reduced plastic, energy efficient homes and workplaces – all of these are within our control and can make a big difference.  

    How are you coping with how life has changed due to the Pandemic?

    Netflix helps, and having more family time helps; I am actively involved in Democrats Abroad Brussels. 

    What are three things that you love about Brussels?

    • 1.       We love the international feeling everywhere in Brussels – but not the weather! 
    • 2.       It’s near many great cities – and close to Rome and Paris.
    • 3.       It’s a perfect location to interact with EU institutions, to impact policymakers and stakeholders.

    To help you write your story, contact us at

  • 14 Dec 2021 10:18 AM | Contact ACB (Administrator)

    This month we speak with our newest member, Cindy Lecomte, about her sparkling profession as a gemologist, and what she loves about Belgium! 

    What are things that you love most about Belgium?
    I grew up in Belgium and am very much at home here.  As the family chef, I enjoy slow-cooking and finding quality ingredients in the many food markets in Brussels. I also enjoy a holistic lifestyle, as I do a ‘one-week detox’ once a month (the Martine Fallon program) which helps to keep me feeling vibrant and happy.  I love being surrounded by beautiful Belgian architecture and such varied creative arts.    

    When did you realize that the jewelry profession would be a lifelong passion for you?
    Growing up in Belgium, my family’s interest in jewelry inspired me to study goldsmithing in Antwerp and to specialize in diamonds and gemology – so I am a Gemologist by training (IGI Antwerp).  Antwerp is still today one of the largest diamond centers in the world (about 85% of the world’s rough diamonds pass through Antwerp). The most beautiful diamonds are cut here.  After graduation, I went on to work for prestigious Belgian jewelry houses, including Wolfers Jewelry, official supplier to the Belgian court.  Less than a year ago, after two decades in the jewelry business, I was motivated to start my own service, 
    Gatsby & Me.  I love working as a private jeweler now and creating custom pieces, from the most simple to the most complex.  We have an emotional attachment to our choice of jewelry - it fills our heart!  
    Your website shows beautiful, radiant colors and designs.  
    Yes, I love radiant color such as that of sapphires, spinels or spessartite garnets.  Sapphires are among the most widely used gemstones in a range of colors, especially blue.  The most beautiful sapphires often come from Asia (Kashmir in India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar…) but gemstones are also supplied from Africa and South America.  New discoveries complete the well-known selection of precious stones (rubies, diamonds, sapphires and emeralds) and all are used today by the great jewelry houses. I also create learning events for companies and organizations – which is a popular way to learn more about gemstones. 
    What are your main coping skills during these Covid times?
    Covid has changed the way people dress, as times are somewhat more casual and restricted now.  I’m looking forward to a return of the “glitter and glamour” in life.  Meanwhile, I’m very aware of the good things in my life.  I’m grateful for my home life with my husband and our 10-year old daughter. We feel blessed to have quality family time together, and we take advantage of the beautiful Belgian outdoors as much as possible.   

    We enjoyed speaking with Cindy.  Interested in having your story featured?  Contact us at

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