Our Christmas greetings 2016

Our Christmas Greetings 2016



Christmas & New Year 2016-17


Dear friends all around Europe - and beyond !


Another year is about to run out. A year which has been very good for us – and very bad for Europe and the world.


We want to wish you a very nice and joyful Christmas and a new and much better New Year for us all.  Do not let the vicious people, the naïve populists or others with negative attitudes to our way of life dominate us, neither now in festive times nor in the future. We are strong. Wir schaffen das! And we should all say and show that “We are all Berliners” these days !



We have enjoyed a year with peace, good health, and pleasant time together with family and great friends, a new exciting day ahead of us each morning, when we wake up. What more can you ask for on a personal basis!  We have enjoyed a lovely time in Rixensart and during the summer as usual in our house in Veddinge Bakker and in Skagen at the Danish coast. We have had very interesting and pleasant holidays in Eifel in Germany, in Mallorca, on a cruise in Croatia, and on a week’s family get-together in Kos, Greece.  And even a bit of boasting:  I (Niels) have been walking even more than last year – 1.538 km! Like the distance from Brussels to Bari in southern Italy. Good fun and good for getting great ideas J


The next generations in our family are also doing very well. Claus in Odense, DK, turned 50 in the summer. And we had the pleasure to celebrate him at a surprise party in our summer house – and later in Kos.  Lasse in Brussels is also doing fine working hard at the Danish embassy here. In the weekends he is often visiting us for a great talk about politics, the world and much more.  And Cecilie and her family in Perth, Western Australia are having a good time “down under”. Great success in their research at the university. And lots of activities with their lovely girls – Anna Maria (10) and Zoe (6).  Right now they are all enjoying holidays in New Zealand.


For the new year we have a number of exciting plans coming up.  End of January we will together with Lasse go to Innsbruck in Austria to meet Cecilie, who will be there for a conference.  In early March we will examine Crete in Greece for a week.  And at the end of March I have invited Claus and Lasse for a birthday week in Venezia in Italy. They have never been there before.  I very much look forward to showing them around.  Mid April the whole family, also “our Australians”, will get together on a very nice place in Denmark to celebrate Liselotte.  WE will all meet again in Denmark in the summer.  And in the autumn it is the BIG trip for us:  we will do a tour around the world !  Including a cruise across the Pacific from Seattle to Sydney (23 days) and a visit to the family in Perth, of course!


As we say:  planning is important.  Failing to plan is planning to fail!



When Europe and the world are concerned we have given 2016 the name: Year of Lies ! If you want to have success, then lie!  We saw it during the referendum campaign in Denmark a year ago. The Dutch had the same experience in their referendum in April. But this was all beaten by the incredible lies and post-factual allegations during the Brexit-campaign in the UK.  This was all overtaken when “the trump card” was played in the US!  The winning candidate managed to use at least 500 documented lies during his campaign, including 71 lies in one speech!  This will be for the Guinness Book of Records !


It is not new that people, also people in high places, lie.  But it is new that millions and millions of people follow them.  I once had a teacher in math, who always asked us – when we had made calculations – to put ourselves the question:  Can this really be true ?!   We believe that citizens always have to put themselves the same question, when doubtful and “new” allegations are presented by some of our politicians.


At the same time we experience that “a certain person“ in the Kremlin seems to be very active in an ongoing cyber war to try to influence politics in our democracies. We already know that he in different ways is financing right-wing extremist parties in several countries.  Now, at least the Americans have proofs that he interfered in their presidential elections via the internet.  Has the same question been put about his possible interference in the Brexit vote?!


As we said in the beginning of this letter we have to stand up to all these negative and dangerous developments.  They are very, very dangerous for the way we live, for our freedom, for our welfare, for our security.


We will have to mobilize sensible people all over Europe to start a “Revolution for Common Sense”.   We cannot just blame the politicians – though most of them are far from impressive.  We have to take developments in our own hands.


We are actively involved in starting a Europe-wide mobilization, not least of young people, to get together to discuss, prepare and present concrete proposals on what we in Europe should do next.  We call it EUROPE’s PEOPLES’ FORUM.  See more HERE.   It will work partly via the internet, and partly by regular meetings.   The result will be proposals, which the politicians will have to listen to and hopefully use. Moving things forward again – addressing the priorities, which a large majority of people see as the most important ones.


This is just one initiative.  Many more are needed.  We all have to SPEAK UP FOR EUROPE.  Not necessarily for what it is now. But for how it has to develop, if we want to ensure, that also our children and grand children can benefit from the same welfare and security as we have had.     Join in!



With these reflections and suggestions for the ways ahead we again want to wish you a great time now at the end of this year and a very happy and exciting year 2017!    We very much look forward to a continued great contact with you.


Warm greetings from the Ardennes Brabanconnes !


Liselotte and Niels

PS: Liselotte wants to give you a small Christmas present:   A recipe for Confiture d’oignons!  A lovely Belgian contribution to a delicious life!




Let’s call it onion marmalade!


This is a very French and very Belgian delicacy. Served especially at Christmas time when huge amounts of the famous (and infamous) foie gras is eaten. Whether it is made from goose- or duck sliver it is certainly delicious and the onion marmalade is the perfect accompaniment.


There are lots of different recipes on the Internet, but this one is quick and easy to prepare.


6 white or red onions

100 grams of sugar

4 tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon of olive oil


1. Peel and slice the onions thinly. Put them in a pot with

the olive oil and let them simmer until clear.


2. Add the sugar and the vinegar, stir well and leave it to cook at medium heat for about 10 minutes until the vinegar has almost evaporated.


3. Put a lid on and let the onions simmer at a low heat for about 1 hour. Stir from time to time.


4. Put the marmalade in a jar – et voila – it’s done.


Enjoy and bon appétit!


Liselotte    ( the Chef )   + a bit:  Niels ( the test pilot J  )



35, Avenue de l’Europe, B-1330 Rixensart, Belgium


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