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Interview with Yves Lemarchand, Honorary Consul for Belgium in Edinburgh

Date: 
18 February 2014

Yves Lemarchand

What made you decide to move to Scotland? 
In 1986, I met a very nice Swiss girl while on holiday in Thailand. When she told me she was planning to move to Australia, I decided I wanted to leave Brussels and go there as well (she worked in Beijing). As my English had to improve, a friend of mine helped me getting a job at the Sheraton Hotel in Edinburgh. This is where I met my wife and I stayed in Scotland!

Why did you become Honorary Consul of Belgium?
I am very proud to be Belgian and for me it was another step towards helping Belgians in Scotland and doing my best for my country (it also made my mother very proud!)

What does your regular job entail and how do you combine it with being an honorary consul?
21 years ago, I set up the company Experience Scotland. We put together programmes and itineraries (as all dream makers do) for people wanting to come and stay (visit?) in Scotland. My clients vary from individuals (like King Philippe and Queen Mathilde for example), to corporate groups or even sports teams (the Red Devils, PSV Eindhoven, AEK Athens, Standard Liège, RSC Anderlecht, etc….) I combine my function of consul quite easily with my day to day job at‘Experience Scotland’.

How often do you visit Belgium and where do you go?
I go back 5 or 6 times a year. I am lucky to have an office in the small, quiet and beautiful Limbourg! It is always great fun to go back, see my friends and family and eat all those wonderful dishes I miss so much! (boulets de Liège, choucroute, waterzooi, carbonades à la flamande, …)

Which 5 words would you list to describe Belgium?
Inspiring – strong – beautiful – welcoming – creative

What is the image Scots have of Belgium? 
They have a very positive image – and more so after 6th September 2013 (football match Scotland-Belgium) when the Belgians invaded Glasgow. Over 10,000 Belgians came along and had a great time with their Scottish counterparts. When the Red Devils’ Army left, the Tartan Army thanked them for being so nice and creating so much fun. It was a great compliment indeed. They also associate Belgium with chips and chocolate of course – and the headquarters of the European Union.

Which 5 words would you use to describe the UK?
Hard working – friendly – multicultural – animal loving – insular

Can you foresee yourself moving back to Belgium at some stage? 
Anything is possible really – it would be a pleasure. Of course, a lot has changed since I left 25 years ago, but my roots will always be in Belgium. Belgian and proud of it….Belg met trots….Belge et fier de l’être!