American Club Brussels
An International club with an American heart


ACB News Archive

All our News & Updates in one place.


ACB NEWS Archive

  • 16 Mar 2021 10:10 AM | Anonymous


    Mir Taxes states their mission is to ensure that all clients accomplish their financial goals of taxation while living abroad and remaining compliant to the United States. The objectives are to provide the professional services in completing tax preparation reporting requirements and ensuring compliance and, especially, peace of mind. We also strive to ensure our clients are aware of financial tools that will lead them to meeting their other future economic goals. Whether looking for answers or simply want more information, we believe that good communication is vital to provide excellent customer service. We publish a monthly newsletter highlighting popular tax issues or changes in the U.S. tax laws.

    During this busy tax season of 2021, be sure to reconcile your first two stimulus payments so that you can also receive the third payments being issued by the I.R.S. Contact us at info@mirtaxes.com to determine your eligibility. Find out how to receive your stimulus checks directly into a bank account to avoid depositing into a Belgian bank account and watch the check get eaten up by fees.

    Check out the website for current tax headlines, links to the newsletters and various other tax articles - and be sure to sign up for the newsletter.

    DID YOU KNOW?
    ACB members are eligible for a free initial consultation by contacting us 

  • 16 Feb 2021 10:25 AM | Anonymous

    Curious who helped us design the new ACB Brand? Look no further and learn about our ACB Partner, IDO Design & Animation by Dave Low, a Brussels enthusiast, who shares some sage advice you might need when starting up your brand design.


    When ACB was ready to give a fresh new look to our image, we went to Dave Low from IDO Design & Animation. It was a bit complicated too – how do you combine US & Belgium & Europe, along with community, warmth and a dynamic spirit? Well, we thought it was complicated – but when presented to Dave, he immediately had that glint in his eye, and LOW-and-behold, our creative, colorful, dynamic new brand of ACB was born.

    We asked Dave, how did you become a designer?

    After graduating in 1992, I have always worked in a creative environment - graphics studios, a company that designed toys and games for special needs kids, a technician and lecturer at an art college, designing front-end interfaces for a tech/media company.

    I started IDO Design & Animation following redundancy in 2007. At the time I was living in Ruislip on the outskirts of London and spent a lot of time commuting into the city to do agency design work. As time progressed I started to build a roster of my own clients, including the International School of Brussels about ten years ago. Since then, my work has included a lot of educational organisations as well as SMEs in Brussels and other parts of the world.

    I have developed a deep fondness for Brussels after countless visits, vacations and four brilliant months living in the city over the summer of 2017. COVID has made a lot of things impossible, but being able to hop on a train in St. Pancras and be at Gare du Midi in a coupe of hours to see friends and do work is one of the things I have missed most.


    And now, any advice that you wouldn’t mind sharing for those about to create or re-freshen their brand?

    A brand is more than just a logo. It’s all about the messages that your organisation sends out to your customers - be it expressly written or subliminal - and their response to them. There’s emotion involved - you want to come across in a particular way. Your company will have its own values - trustworthy, fun, dependable, disruptive, edgy, caring etc. There’s almost infinite combinations, and each organisation’s will be unique.

    A good designer will want to work with you to understand the message you want to send out and ensure that it is relevant, up-to-date and consistent across all mediums. Whether it is branded uniforms, a social media campaign, explainer video, a skilled designer will have the experience and knowledge of how to create collateral for you but also implement it.

    I would advise to steer clear of the likes of Wix logo maker and Fiverr. There are great designers out there who will work passionately to help you promote your organisation with a wealth of knowledge to be able to bring to bear on your brand aspirations.

    Working with a designer is like any other relationship. It has to be given time to flourish. Each party has to listen and learn to gain knowledge of the needs, expectations, skills and experience of the other. This in my experience is when the magic happens and you can have the “I’ve just had this crazy idea but…” conversations - which can lead to truly great work!

    In a crowded market it is extremely important to have a roster of happy and engaged clients who not only come back for repeat work but also would recommend you to a colleague or friend. And as with any business, the power of 'word of mouth' - as intangible as it is - should never be underestimated.

    _____

    Reach out. Have a chat on the phone or zoom - we don’t bite and we’d be delighted to see if there’s something we could do to help. Contact Dave Low here: www.davelow.co.uk, davelow@me.com.


  • 28 Jan 2021 5:00 PM | Anonymous

    Join us from 15:30 – 16:30 CET on Wednesday 17th February for an hour with the team at Dunhill Financial.


    They will introduce the American Club of Brussels and take you into all the tax matters surrounding American expats in Belgium.

    This free event is one not to be missed!

    Agenda will be announced closer towards the date.

    Register in advance for this meeting, and after registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

    REGISTER NOW 

  • 28 Jan 2021 3:48 PM | Anonymous

    ACB Talks to Gerald Loftus, new ACB member in Brussels


    During your career as a U.S. diplomat for 23 years (1979-2002) you worked in the Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean and Europe. Your interests include cultural diplomacy, but also historic preservation. How did these come about?

    When I was growing up in rural and suburban Pennsylvania, I was in the Scouts and something of an outdoorsman. I used to joke that I could equally have opted for the Forest Service or the Foreign Service. It was the latter, after several great experiences in my college years, a year's scholarship in Aberdeen, Scotland, a summer volunteering in Ramallah in the West Bank, a summer course in Ireland - which put me on a definite international path. A significant part of my career was spent in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2010, I came out of retirement to head a hybrid cultural institute in Morocco, the Tangier Legation TALIM. I wrote an illustrated book on it: "Lions at the Legation and Other Tales: Two Centuries of American Diplomatic Life in Tangier." 2021 is the bicentennial of the gift of the building to the United States by the Sultan of Morocco. I'd recommend Tangier and the Legation for a visit by ACB members. Discovering this beautiful piece of American history in the winding streets of the Medina is a revelation.

    Are you surprised at how global your life has been?

    I must say, I am thankful that my family felt strangely at home wherever we lived. Our adult children were born in-country during my first two assignments (Barbados and Tunisia), and grew up attending French schools (my wife is from Brittany). They've remained citizens of the world. Going down memory lane can sometimes be painful: I remember walking past our former home above the Consulate offices on the seafront of Oran, Algeria, only to see pigeons roosting in the shell of what had been a beautiful building.

    Question: What are your main coping skills during these Corona times?

    My wife’s delicious cooking, though we also keep our neighborhood restaurant in business. Walks in the countryside or driving to Wépion to buy strawberries – that was our “break out trip,” when leaving Brussels was finally permitted! Luckily during the June heat-wave, we got to spend a few days in the Ardennes. In all, we can’t complain. Being locked down in green Uccle is not so bad.

    What are your three favorite places in Brussels?

    1. Long walks in the Forêt de Soignes.
    2. Museum Villa Empain (Fondation Boghossian) on Ave. Franklin Roosevelt.
    3. Sablon area, especially the quirky bar-resto La Fleur en Papier Doré.

    How did your current role as political commentator come about?

    My years as a diplomat, especially in francophone countries, was useful preparation for a role as a political commentator for Democrats Abroad relating to U.S. politics. But it requires a little prep: try explaining the complexity of the Electoral College and of filibuster in a foreign language, when it is hard enough in our native English! Thankfully, Belgians want to understand our complicated politics.

  • 28 Jan 2021 8:56 AM | Anonymous

    Mark Your Calendar for a GREAT start to 2021


    Guided Tour of the Folon Exhibition at Abbey Villers

    Saturday, 6 February at 11:00 or 13:00

    As part of the 20th anniversary of the Folon Foundation, the prestigious 12th century Villers Abbey is showcasing an exhibition of the twenty monumental and original sculptures by the internationally renowned Belgian artist Jean-Michel Folon. The sculptures placed in the beauty of a monumental, historical and architectural place are confronted with the spirituality contained in the old stones of the Cistercian site, as well as the colours of autumn and winter.

    The ACB is hosting 2 guided tours with a maximum of 4 people in each tour to ensure compliance with current limitations and will be led by expert cultural guide, Yolande d'Yve. The guided tours are offered on Saturday, 6 February at 11:00 or 13:00. The price is 45 EUR per person. Please note that this is a higher than normal price for guided tours! Given current measures, we are doing our best to support local cultural guides and activities, and proceeds will be given to Yolande for both these tours.

    More information about the exhibit: https://villers.be/fr

    Register now

    Questions? Please contact events@americanclubbrussels.org

  • 28 Jan 2021 8:54 AM | Anonymous

    (Re)discover Brussels and it’s hidden treasures


    The ACB is happy to announce the launching of a #ReDiscoverBrussels series which will bring you through a virtual tour every month to uncover what you may – or likely may not – already know about our city surroundings. These events are free for ACB members and open to the public (15 euros per event). Check out some of our themes below as we get ready to announce our next sessions starting in February!

    • Mushroom hunting around Brussels
    • Brussels – a Smart City to discover
    • Up on a rooftop and other unlikely places to find vegetables growing
    • Art Nouveau & our own collection
    • Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate!
    • Quiz Night!
    • A spotlight on wellness time for ourselves

    And more!


  • 28 Jan 2021 8:51 AM | Anonymous

    Stories from the ACB Community: The ACB


    We asked ACB itself to be our first interview in our #100stories series.

    “I remember it like it was yesterday, even though it was 100 years ago. It was the 15th of January in 1921. We were a small group of business people working for the Commission for Relief in Belgium and other war missions. A few years back, many of us has started to plant roots in this beautiful city of Brussels. We started getting together for lunch. Frites were always on our menu (they had been around for quite a while by then, you know). And soon our lunch talks turned to inspiration. On this day, we created a Brussels Club, open to all, and we wanted to continue our great conversations between Americans and Belgians.”

    We are curious to know what has brought our #ACBMembers to Belgium; so, we are asking them, “how did you end up in Brussels?” Look for the stories on Instagram through out 2021.


  • 28 Jan 2021 8:31 AM | Anonymous

    All Eyes on #ACBPartner: Serendip Spa & Yoga


    Serendip Spa & Yoga, an award-winning 5-star luxury wellness escape in the centre of Brussels, has been a member of ACB for the past seven years and a long-standing SME in Brussels for more than fifteen years. Housed in two historical buildings in the Avenue Louise district, they offer massage, yoga classes, wellbeing workshops, yoga and spa products – and a warm cup of tea for whenever you visit.

    ACB asked Serendip – what can we all do right now to bring some wellness into our lives? Here are five ideas from their team on how to bring some much needed self-care into your home & (home)-office.

    • Carve out time for yourself in your day. Put it on your schedule, if you need to. We often de-prioritize our own needs for the sake of others or, often, work. Take a walk in nature. Snuggle into that bubble bath. Find quiet space to just sit comfortably. We all need this right now.
    • Take care about the stresses that you are putting on your body. We don’t realize it sometimes – but stress accumulates, and often, in our muscles. One common place? Our forehead. Lightly massage your temples with slow, circular movements to alleviate headaches.
    • Move. It is quite easy to stay rooted to our (office) chair. Try to incorporate slow stretches in your chair three times a day. Gently move your neck from side to side. Stretch your arms above you and reach for the ceiling. Gently twist to the right and left and glance behind you.
    • Create a warm, enticing space to be. We are spending much, much time at home – and in makeshift home-office environments. Design your space with wellness in mind. Organize objects and remove clutter. Make sure you are sitting properly. Place your favourite scented candle near you.
    • Connect to others. Connection is different right now – and yes, it’s more digital than we’d like it to be. However, it’s still needed. Create fun moments to connect to old friends. Cook together with family. Take part in communities around you – such as ACB. And yes, you can do all this virtually as well.

    The Serendip team offers virtual wellbeing sessions to their customers and company teams. Start the day, the project, the team, the year with a wellbeing approach of guided breathing, stretching and creative exercises with the Serendip team of massage experts, yoga teachers and wellness coaches. You can contact the team for more information at info@serendipspa.com.

  • 18 Nov 2020 10:11 AM | Anonymous

    Thanksgiving 2020


    We are sad to not be able to bring you the traditional ACB Thanksgiving this year - and we are looking forward to its return next year. In the meantime we have put together some suggestions on how to make the most of this holiday. 

    Here are a few suggestions from our community. If you have any ideas for other posts please let us know at info@americanclubbrussels.org.

    Buy the fixings from our newest ACB Partner

    With Thanksgiving around the corner we wanted to introduce you to our newest ACB parter! Welcome to American Groceries Belgium!  They  sell the most diverse and well stocked range of American groceries in the region. To get you Thanksgiving needs met they are offering items such as:

    • Stove Top stuffing in 4 varieties
    • Pumpkin puree
    • Cranberry sauce
    • Gravy mixes

    Read more about this new partner.

    How about a "no cook" option?

    All the amazing food, none of the work! Get your orders in now, for this AMAZING Thanksgiving menu, created by one of our favourite chefs.

  • 18 Nov 2020 9:27 AM | Anonymous

    In this editorial, ACB Member Chair Gwendolyn Bailey spoke with new member Patricia O'Callaghan, who has recently returned to Belgium.


    You say that you “escaped” New York just weeks before Lockdown. That sounds dramatic. How did you manage to plan to come and live in Belgium?  

    Well, in retrospect, I managed to conclude a long career in New York, sell my apartment, and arrive here on 27 February, just weeks before lockdown. Now, I’m enjoying a slower, calmer – and should I say - a more delicious life here in Brussels! For me, Belgium is living up to its reputation as one of the gourmet capitals of Europe.   

    As a dual national – Irish and American – I am grateful to qualify to live in the EU. Memories of student summers in Tournai and Paris are rekindled.  I am glad to now be close to family in Ireland and the U.K.  

    When I lived in New York, I produced a public policy radio show for some years – how we can, and must, actively motivate good public policy still interests me – and Brussels is a good place to experience that.   

    How did moving to America as a college graduate come about – and how would you describe the value of living in America?

    I was quite content to be living in my home town, Cork, working on a daily RTE Radio news show, when “Out of the Blue” I was offered a marketing assignment in sunny San Francisco on a 2-year H-3 visa.  

    I then gained permanent U.S. residence, and eventually U.S. citizenship.   

     “Out of the Blue” is how I describe the many opportunities that would follow.  

    As I was soaking up the sun in California, I thought I should go “global, global, global…”

     “Out of the Blue” I was hired by Transamerica Airlines’ New York base to travel to Africa, Asia, the Middle East, during a 7-year airline career. Our charter flights transported Muslim pilgrims from Nigeria and the Ivory Coast to the Hajj in Mecca. And, whatever the global headlines said  - on Newsweek or Time Magazine – we were there:  transporting Cambodian and Cuban refugees to the U.S. (those were different days!!!) transporting U.S. troops globally (including General Norman Schwarzkopf) and my first trip was to Rio de Janeiro, with a seven-day layover at Carnival time; then a seven-day layover in Seoul, Korea.  Away from home 21 days of the month, we certainly clocked up plenty of air miles!  

    So - America fulfilled its reputation for me as being the "Land of Opportunity".    

    What are things that you like best about Brussels?

    1. La politesse! People here are very helpful and courteous. Belgian family life is admirable.
    2. The food - I LOVE the quality of the food!  Real, honest, seasonal food... I am cooking more (-: 
    3. Eglise Saint-Joseph, Filigranes, streets filled with cyclists, the optimism of the people. 

    In the context of Covid 19, what is the best advice that you find helpful?

    “Count your blessings” is a motto that I always keep in mind.  

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