Hugh van Cutsem’s double life
Metropolis and Nature
A contemporary and extremely elegant Goethe who studies, cultivates and observes Nature, from where he draws the necessary lymph to face today’s pace of life.
That of London, a metropolitan lifestyle that Hugh van Cutsem leads in the pulsing international hub of finance on weekdays.
After which, he returns to Oxfordshire, where he conducts his other activity as a modern-day farmer: “I love going into the city but I can’t contemplate living there”.
Hugh has always been surrounded by nature.
Raised in Suffolk among horses – his grandfather was a famous racing trainer – Hugh with his family and his brothers Edward, Nicholas and William spent their summers in a Norfolk cottage on the edge of the family estate: “They only came to bring us something to eat, otherwise we were completely independent”.
Today van Cutsem allows his own children to do the same when they leave London and visit his home in Oxfordshire: “We are creating the perfect wood. We go on long walks during which I try to convey some of the enthusiasm and sense of freedom I had when I was a boy.
Without being too philosophical, I try to see trees and animals through their eyes and I point out the small details they are likely to appreciate… and this gives me a kick”. The countryside as a mission, a concept absorbed from his father, which has taught him the importance of safeguarding the environment.
The rest is business in the City, where Hugh – born to a Flemish father and a Dutch mother – has acquired a classical culture and education and still feels attracted by two opposite poles: “There is also a community of Europeans in London, and there is a slight difference…..”.
Do you feel very English? “I have absorbed the mannerisms”.
And what about your complex family background? “I was very fortunate to grow up in two dimensions. I have learned to feel at ease in any country I have to live in”.
Endowed with an inborn elegance that accompanies him everywhere.
Hong Kong for instance, a metropolis where Hugh worked for a year when he finished studying economics at Edinburgh University, and gave English lessons to young Chinese students: “To earn some extra money”.