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This month, in a survey conducted by ING Luxembourg, 44% of the Grand Duchy's residents said they were ready to have their investment managed or assisted by a robo-adviser, though a quarter of those still expressed a desire for a ‘final approval’.

Robo-advising has exploded in the last few years, with predictions of near-70% annual growth in the market being made over the next five years, which would bring it up to $2.2 trillion. Luxembourg for the meantime will play a small part in that, with only one robo-trading service provider in the market so far, KeyPrivate from Key Trade Bank, but that is sure to change as time passes. 

KeyPrivate, launched in Luxembourg this year, is building on the back of the successful launch in Belgium in 2015 of a service that aims to provide diversified, effortless investment opportunities for those with a minimum of €15,000 to put in. With that in hand, investors simply need to determine what level of risk they’re willing to face, whether they wish to make monthly transfers and the investment period, and the system takes it from there selecting twelve trackers across a global range of commodities, bonds, stocks and cash whose levels are adjusted each month according to movements in the markets. 

But it’s not all digital. Since the software can only go so far, a human committee oversees the process making adjustments where necessary. The humans validate and calibrate the decisions taken by the program, aiming to enrich the returns in the process. 

The system allows service providers to keep costs down, and customers to access a simple, “no-frills” system previously reserved for the ultra-wealthy. Which is not to say that Key Trade don’t have high-net-worth individuals in mind for KeyPrivate, but automation has allowed them to democratise their service too. 

The software behind KeyPrivate was developed by Gambit, a Belgian FinTech company whose program is designed around Modern Portfolio Theory. The Nobel Prize in Economics-winning theory holds that risk-averse investors can construct portfolios that maximise return based on a given level of market risk. The theory holds that it is possible to construct an “efficient frontier” of optimal portfolios delivering the maximum return for a given level of risk through diversification. Its developers, Harry Markowitz and William Sharpe, took the prize in the 1950s, and it seems to be weathering well among investment managers. 

Key Trade does not charge custody fees, and strives to keep execution fees to a minimum, 0.75% per annum, according to managing director Thibault De Barsy. Moreover, the customer’s investment is not locked up for the initial-stated investment period, and can be recovered at any time. 



 atc lauren crisp LeaCGiardano

With the siren call of summer’s beaches sounding ever louder, it may be time to get a little more serious about gym time, if only to save splashing out on new swimwear.

But with an ever-widening range of acronym-heavy options to choose from, just choosing what works best can feel exhausting. And it’s easy to forget that sometimes, the old ways can be just as, if not more, effective as the new, especially when combined with the very latest in modern scientific understanding. This is the basis behind ATC Advanced Training Centre in Windhoff. 

Founded by weight trainer Mark Notschaele, the small ATC gym takes an holistic approach to all of its athletes and members, crafting power lifting programmes that are adapted to each individual’s needs and goals with in-depth on-site assessments, nutritional programmes, personal mentoring that can be followed even when members are abroad and ongoing testing and fine-tuning. This can be done in its own right, or as “back up” for any form of sportsmanship, from cycling to golf, or indeed squash as senior trainer and marketing manager Lauren Crisp found. 

A member of Luxembourg’s national squash team, she turned to weight training in order to up her game, and loved the results so much that she joined the team at ATC. 

And while it’s easy to imagine this all belongs to a world of sweaty, bellowing men, that is not at all the case says Crisp. Contrary to the fears many women express about “bulking up”, she says that is simply not at all likely with the right training, flexing her own neatly toned muscles as she said so.  The highly supportive, almost familial atmosphere at the gym also mitigates powerfully against the grunting, hyper-masculine reputation that power gyms often attract, and in many cases foster. The bright, clean open space at the gym does much of the work in that connection, though the team, and other members, are the critical elements.

When visited the gym, we were subjected to a rigorous analysis that included our body mass index, basic metabolic rate, body cell mass, fat mass, body water, and esoteric measurements such as phase angle, which looks at the relationship between bioelectrical resistance and reactance in humans as a predictor of morbidity and mortality.

Crisp then took us patiently through a series of presses, lifts and extensions carefully monitoring our strengths (and weaknesses) at each phase. At the end, she measured mobility, balance and flexibility to get a broader view of where we stood, or splayed…

As we wobbled under the weight of mere pebbles, a small group worked with a fellow who was lifting what looked like granite boulders by comparison, supporting and encouraging him, and providing a little relief on the rare occasion the colossal weights he was shifting proved a little too much. 

The ATC gym space is small, but packed with neatly stacked fixed and mobile equipment for working every conceivable muscle group. At the centre, an open space gives room for floor and standing work. To the side, a small, mixed-gender changing room is also scrupulously clean.  

ATC has been recognised as Luxembourg’s first “Power Gym” by German blogger Lukas Steffen, who reviews gyms across Europe. ATC scored highly for crossfit, weightlifting, mobility training, and powerlifting (100%). 

They also offer workshops and training sessions such as yoga for strength training — our own session included a short yoga warm up to help loosen and warm up muscles — power lifting seminars, circuit challenges and MMA, among many others. 

They are also linked with The Mountain of Game of Thrones fame, for whom ATC has developed a training  programme that athletes can test themselves against. And in October this year, Rajko Radovic, the fitness star who created Hour of Power will be presenting the Dragan Challenge, described as a simple yet brutal endurance challenge involving the repetitive lifting of two 20kg dumbbells, as well as dedicated master classes on form and technique. More details on the timing and pricing of this will be available soon.  

ATC is different from virtually every gym we’ve ever encountered on a number of levels. Its small space makes it more collegial, but doesn’t seem to have restricted its capacity. As they say themselves, it’s not necessarily for the faint of heart, but the commitment shown by any member will be more than matched by the team. It’s also accessible 24 hours, which means it can be fitted into anyone’s schedule. 

To find out more about how to get started, see the ATC website: 

Photo © Lea C.Giordano: Lauren Crisp at ATC


When David Morrell was writing First Blood, the book that spawned the American strongman Rambo films, he says that the name of his hero was inspired by the Rambo apples that his wife brought home one day from the market. A sweet story that somehow makes a fitting backdrop for an apple that sits proudly at the core of a young Luxembourg company whose mission to restore a lost cider-making tradition is showing some serious muscle. 

Since its founding in 2015, and first production of just 2,000 bottles, Ramborn Cider Haff has rapidly grown its production — over 150,000 bottles last year — its reputation, its list of highly coveted international awards, and now its outreach with the opening of a dedicated multimedia visitor centre and shop. 

In the village of Born which sits on the leafy banks of the River Sûre, Ramborn operates out of a beautifully renovated 18th century farmhouse, with sleek, landscaped gardens neatly dotted with foxglove, hydrangea and lavender that lead towards cool underground cellars, modern production facilities, state-of-the-art visitor centre, and dedicated shop.  

Ramborn Cider is a product of its place, the passion of its people, and the sweetness of a long-untapped resource that is woven across Luxembourg’s landscape, and a genuine commitment to integrity. The small, seven-strong team make up the first formal cider producing company in Luxembourg, even though apple wine or viez production has a history that goes back at least as far as Roman times. 

The idea was inspired when founder and CEO Carlo Hein and two friends took a trip to Edinburgh where, after sampling some of the more famous local whiskys, they settled on a couple of glasses of cider. 

“I didn’t much like it to be honest,” said Hein, reflecting on the moment. But the taste did spark off a train of thought on the orchards that had long formed a backdrop to the friends’ daily lives; orchards whose fruits every year would mostly end up rotting on the ground underneath the branches that bore them. 

So they decided to do something about it. But they did more than that. Ramborn is not just about making cider; the company is dedicated to renewing the landscape, of giving fresh life to existing orchards and also planting new ones, while keeping waste and water usage to a minimum. The company engages with local landowners and with their harvest have just one shot at producing the pressed juice that is transformed into their annual output. They don’t use concentrate or industrial production methods, and the pulp created by the pressing process is recycled. 

As a result, they benefit from the huge range of varieties that grow naturally across the region which allows them to craft different flavours that are unique reflections of where they come from. It also means that every year will be slightly different from the year before as conditions fluctuate, much like wine. 

So far there are four ‘stable’ products including the Original — made with rambo apples and several other traditional varieties — whose medium, crisp flavours and soft sparkle make a refreshing, easy drinker and a perfect opener for anyone who is new to cider-quaffing. The Farmhouse cider is more complex and drier with earthier flavours that would make an excellent pairing with a cheese plate. The Somerset cider blends traditional Luxembourgish apples with the best, tannin-rich apples of Britain’s famed cider-country to produce a vibrant, sparkling, medium dry cider. 

There’s also a perry, whose appealing pinkish gold colour whets the appetite before the first sip is taken. This tannin-rich pear drink is drier than its apple counterparts, and would go down extremely well with a rich summer barbecue. 

But the brewers at Ramborn are keen experimenters too, producing micro-batches of different ciders based on ideas that take their fancy. Thus, Chronicle also tasted a Hopped cider, reflecting a trend taking off across the Atlantic, where hops are added to impart a floral, herby flavour, creating a cider that isn’t unlike pale ale. A couple of single varieties were also on the table, Kingston Black, a very tasty, smooth, rich and round-flavoured cider with a light sparkle, and a local Erbachhoffer, a variety that has been used for making viez (apple wine) in this region for thousands of years. Crafted by Ramborn, the result is a still, earthy and slightly acid cider. 

Ramborn’s mission has taken them down many surprising avenues one feels. Among them, the team took off in late 2015 to explore some of Luxembourg’s forgotten orchards discovering two side by side that between them sport 82 different varieties. So the team at Ramborn did what they do, and produced a special batch of all 82 varieties to create a new cider called Avalon, though we’ll have to wait a little while to taste the results. 

In the meantime, a trip to farm, visitor centre and shop in Born to learn about cider’s important history in the region, the process for production from harvest to bottle, and simply to enjoy the beautiful setting is a worthy half-day out. Tours are available between 14:00 and 18:00 on Wednesdays to Saturdays, and cost €10 per person, or €8 per person for groups of eight or more. 

The shop features, naturally, Ramborn's own product range, and they also host guest ciders that change each month as well as a range of directly related products. 

For more information, including directions, see:

Image: © Nicky Sullivan  

 Yves Reckinger Francine Closener Aly Kaes

A project for the recycling of electricity meters was presented during a workshop of the Employment Forum in Useldange today to Secretary of State for the Economy Francine Closener, Employment Forum President Aly Kaes and Yves Reckinger, head of the Smart Grids project at Creos Luxembourg.

As part of the replacement of traditional meters with smart meters, Creos and the Employment Forum decided to work together to recycle meters according to the principles of the circular economy. Network managers are required not only to install a smart meter for every new connection, but also to replace the existing meter with a smart meter as and when they occur.

In order to respect the principles of the circular economy, the 250,000 electricity meters that will be replaced by Creos by 2020 will be treated by the Forum for Employment. The 120,000 mechanical electrical meters will be disassembled sot that their parts can be resold in isolation. The 130,000 electronic meters can be reused in another country after a brief manipulation by the Employment Forum teams.

Secretary Closener said, "The project fits perfectly into the national strategy for the implementation of the circular economy and the sustainable development strategy adopted following the Rifkin study. Rather than discarding the old counters, Creos and the Employment Fund have developed an ideal recycling solution that meets the principles of circular economy."

Yves Reckinger, head of the "Smart Grids" project at Creos Luxembourg commented that "The collaboration between the Forum for Empire and Creos not only has a positive impact on the environment but also takes into account the social dimension by creating eight new jobs."

Image: Yves Reckinge, Francine Closener and Aly Kaes



Steel company ArcelorMittal and Marcegaglia say that that AM Investco Italy Srl has concluded the exclusive negotiation phase and reached a binding agreement concerning the lease and obligation to purchase Ilva S.p.A and its subsidiaries with the Italian Government for €1.8 billion. 

The formal documents should be completed by 30 June. Intesa Sanpaolo will join the consortium before the transaction is closed. The assets will be transferred to AM Investco free of long term liabilities and financial debt and includes €1 billion of net working capital.

ArcelorMittal says that the agreement provides a unique opportunity to acquire Europe’s largest steelmaking site in Europe’s second-largest steel market. 

The company proposes a robust investment plan to improve the acquisition’s environmental footprint and realise its full potential, and has identified synergies of €310 million to be achieved by 2020. llva is expected to show EBITDA growth in its first year, and free cash flow growth by year three. 

The annual leasing costs of €180 million areto be paid in quarterly installments. Ilva’s assets will be initially leased by AM Investco, with rental payments qualifying as down payments against the purchase price. The lease period is expected to start around the end of this year, subject to regulatory authorisations for a minimum of two years. 

Investments of around €2.4 billion (€2.1 billion net of Riva Group contribution) will be made over a seven-year period, with a capital expenditure of around €1.3 billion on industrial investment including blast furnaces, steel shops and finishing lines. An environment investment of €1.1 billion is anticipated to ensure that llva complies with the Integrated Environmental Authorisation Act. 

There will be an additional €10 million start-up investment in a new research and development (R&D) centre in Taranto, which will initially focus on ensuring a successful deployment of the industrial, environment and commercial plans, while also ensuring a smooth transfer of ArcelorMittal R&D intellectual property and knowledge to enhance operationally efficiency, quality and productivity at all Ilva plants.

llva is expected to add significant value to ArcelorMittal’s European business. It is the second-largest and only integrated steelmaker in Italy, whose main production facility in Taranto is well-located next to one of Europe’s largest deep-water ports. It also has significant steel-finishing capacity in nearby Taranto, Novi Ligure, and Genoa. 

Commenting Lakshmi N. Mittal, Chairman and CEO, ArcelorMittal, said:

“Today marks an important step in the Ilva sales process. We are keen to get started and will now focus on reaching completion as soon as possible,” said Lakshmi N. Mittal, chairman and CEO of ArcelorMIttal. 

“We have a very sound understanding of what needs to be done to improve the performance of the company and, importantly, its relationship with stakeholders and local communities. Our vision is for Ilva to become a benchmark for modern integrated steelmaking and this will be realised through the implementation of our industrial and environmental plans, backed up by significant investment. We have the capital, the technology, the commercial relationships and the management depth to bring about a positive transformation. Stakeholder engagement and transparent dialogue will also be critical in enabling Ilva to rebuild trust with its employees and communities.

“We recognise the trust that is being placed in us as the new owner of Ilva and will take great care to provide Ilva with the responsible and capable leadership it deserves and that will be vital for its future success and sustainability.”


Friday, 16 June 2017 17:27

Cactus Honours Employees' Service

Cactus laureats

As part of their traditional Fête des lauréats, Cactus and Caterman (Restaurants Cactus & Traiteur de Schnékert) have honoured their 208 employees who have given 10 and 25 years of service to the company. 

Each year, Cactus organises its "Laureates' Celebration" to honour employees who have contributed to the group's prosperity for 10 and 25 years. This year, 136 employees were honoured for their 10 years and 72 for 25 years of loyal service.

During a gala dinner, the winners were presented with a gift by Max Leesch, president and managing director of the Cactus Group, Laurent Schonckert, managing director of the Cactus Group and Véronique Muller, human resources manager for Caterman.

Robert Faymonville, Cactus Group's human resources director, said, "We are very proud to be able to organise each year this celebration which marks the 10 or 25 years of seniority of our employees. The high number of winners reflects a corporate culture that emphasises employee satisfaction and fulfilment. We invest a great deal in training with the main objective of motivating our employees."

Acknowledgment by management has been directed to the 72 winners who have been with Cactus for 25 years. They are: 

AZZERI Nadia, GDID Naima, GONCALVES FERREIRA Clara-Maria, GOMES DA SILVA Marie-Josée, FONSECA Marisa, GAAD Hélène, SOBCZYK Gisèle, AZENHA Zelinda, BECKEL Marie-Pierre, DOS SANTOS GOMES Elisa Maria, ORSINI Tatiana, PICCIOLI Alexandra, POESY Nathalie, PONCIN Murielle, BERNI Carole, MANCINI Florence, GOMES DE CARVALHO Maria Casimira, DELGADO DA LUZ Maria Antonia, FOURNELLE Beatrice, KASEL Marcelle, SCHUTTER Jacqueline, JERONIMO MARQUES Helena, KLEINBAUER Mireille, BERNARDES GROU Aida Maria, GOEREND Christel, ARMBRUSTER Astrid, KASEL Martine, NEY Sylviane, TRINQUIER Sandrine, WALLERICH Sabine, DUARTE DA COSTA Maria-Lucia, LEONE Rita, MATTERER Patricia, SEABRA PAULINO Sandra Marisa, NOSKE Brigitte, BOIZET Christine, BERNARD Berthe, GUERIN Joëlle, WILMOTTE Sylvie, MIMECHE Jamila, PETERS Sandra, LUXEMBOURGER Nathalie, MICHEL Nadine, DELACROIX Dany, SOBAC Geraldine, KIEFFER Emmanuel, JAERLING Raphael, BIREL Philippe, DI PINTO Giovanni, KIRCH Georges, WESTER Thierry, KOENIG André, KRIPPES Guido, THOLL Christian, DE JESUS ALVES José-Manuel, LADIKA Boris, ROSMAN Philippe, HAAS Guy, TUAILLON Stephen, QUOIRIN Dany, CREMA Christian, SINNER Steve, CRISPEELS Benoît, MATHIEU Pascal, LAEUFFER Didier, BOUGUELERET Fabrice, MORICONI Denis, PINTO RIBEIRO Lionel, CHRISTMANN Frank, LEFEBVRE Michel, LADRIERE Patrick, RENARD Jean-François.

Image: Cactus' 25 year laureates. © Cactus

corinne cahen IDAHOT declaration

Luxembourg's Family Minister Corinne Cahen today signed the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) Declaration calling for a comprehensive European policy on LGBTI issues. 

The Declaration advocates a global approach to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) issues at European Union level with the aim of ending violence and discrimination against LGBTI people.

The 2017 declaration is a renewal of the declaration signed in 2013, supplemented by minor adaptations. It therefore refers to the recent texts published by the EU institutions in this field, studies published by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the IDAHOT 2014 and 2016 declarations. It also contains an explicit reference to intersex persons. Furthermore, the 2017 Declaration calls for collaboration within the framework of the United Nations and calls on the European Commission to further strengthen its leadership in combating discrimination against LGBTI people.

By signing the Declaration, Luxembourg is committed to advancing the rights of LGBTI people at both national and international levels including and affirmation that Luxembourg “will continue to work to ensure that neither culture, traditions or religion can be invoked to justify any form of discrimination, including discrimination against LGBTI persons."

Friday, 16 June 2017 16:59

Tramsschapp Car Park Free this Weekend

ville de luxembourg logo

As a result of various events taking place this weekend in Luxembourg-Limpertsberg, including the «Glacismaart» on 18 June 2017 on the Place Auguste Laurent and in the courtyard of Lycée de Garçons Luxembourg, the Tramsschapp underground car park (access: avenue Pasteur / exit: rue Ermesinde) will be exceptionally free on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 June.

The public is reminded that the Schuman car park, with 400 parking spaces on the Scheffer Alley in Luxembourg-Limpertsberg, is free every Saturday and Sunday (except during the Schueberfouer).

Friday, 16 June 2017 16:56

City Swears in 57 New Civil Servants

ville de luxembourg logo


Mayor of Luxembourg, Lydie Polfer, today swore in 57 new civil servants employed in the bus services, architect-building, traffic, crèches, human resources, water, hygiene and fire departments And ambulances, parks, parking, sports, vehicles and maintenance, and the Bierger-Center.

national day petange

The programme for the National Festival in Petange has been released with a long line-up over two days on 23 and 24 June, coordinated by Radio 'Peiteng On Air’. 

Between 12:00 and midnight on both days, the celebrations will include plenty of animations for kids, food, and music on two different stages. 

Friday 23 June

13:00: Angel's Majorettes (between stage 1 and stage 2)

13:20: Georges Christen Powershow (stage 1)

14:00: ZChicas (between stage 1 and stage 2)

14:20: Georges Christen Powershow (stage 1)

15:00: Angel's Majorettes (between stage 1 and stage 2)

15:20: Georges Christen Powershow (stage 1)

16:00: ZChicas (between stage 1 and stage 2)

16:30: Christophe Reitz (stage 2)

18:00: Big Band Memory (stage 1)

21:00: Neptun's House Band (stage 2)

23:15: Baila Fuego! Fire & Light Show (stage 3)

24 hours: End


Saturday 24 June

13:00: HMP Strëpp (stage 1)

14:30: Avant-Garde (between stage 1 and stage 2)

15:00: Lata Gouveia (stage 2)

17:00: Stelzentheater Circolo I

17:00: Youri Menna I (stage 1)

17:30: Stelzentheater Circolo II

18:00: Youri Menna II (stage 1)

18:30: Stelzentheater Circolo III

19:00: Heavy Petrol (stage 2)

21:00: Jos Distel Band (stage 2)

24:00: End

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