ZINE Magazine Feb 2013

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#601 Feb 2013

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Their For studentso from 3 trs 18 yea

future is

our focus

Did you know that more parents choose the BSN than any other international school in Holland? With four campuses in The Hague area, The British School offers a caring and stimulating learning environment, with an individual approach that ensures every child can achieve their full potential. The BSN is a thriving and supportive expatriate community made up from over 80 nationalities. Contact us today to arrange a visit and see for yourself why the BSN is the international school of choice.

Admissions: +31 (0)70 315 4077 www.britishschool.nl Page 2

Taste Life!

Kingsalmarkt, the world-famous foodstore! We are known for our wide range of products from countries all over the world. ‘Taste life’ is what we call that. Visit us for your favourite American cornflakes, brownies and soups, British jams and honey, Mexican tortillas, Spanish tapas and ham, Italian coffee and pasta and French cheese. Of course you can pick up the rest of your groceries too.

Rembrandtweg 621, 1181 GV Amstelveen-noord, tel. 020 643 37 51 www.kingsalmarkt.nl info@kingsalmarkt.nl Easily reached by car (free parking) and public transport (5 or 51 tram to Kronenburg) Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 9 am – 6 pm Saturday: 9 am – 5 pm

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it’s fab fe Page 4


/ enjoy

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Click arrows to go t

britsoc/“new website launch britsoc/“ball report” Page 20 events/ “burns night” Page 28 events/ “friday social”Page 36 interview/ “paul ellis” Page 48 restaurant “nick’s nosh” Page family/ “Liège” Page 74 family travels/“brussels” Page literature/ “logbook” Page 92 literature/ “literary quiz nigh interview / “ Margaret Lamb food glorious/ “fish mash ch humour / “joke of the month

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to page

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ht”Page 98 bourne” Page 106 Page 114 heese h” Page 131 Page 7

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Chairman’s Blog S

ince the last issue so much has happened. Firstly, we held a hugely successful Christmas Ball. Thanks to Wouter and Mikaela for making it happen - it’s going to be a hard act to follow. However, we have at least set the date for the next one as being 7th December 2013, so please put the date in your agendas now. Burns Night January also began with a bang and the annual Burns night celebrations. Despite the hiccups due to a hacking attack on our website, all went well. We had a record attendance, entertainment from Margaret Lambourne, who organised the dancing, and John Cameron-Webb, who’s band, The McVities, played some great music. This has to be one of the funniest events in the year. AGM In between all this we had our AGM. For those of you not at the Ball, I can officially say that I will be stepping down as Chairman at the end of June, handing over to Ian Cherington. I am delighted that Ian has agreed to take up the challenge and I think he will be an excellent chairman. He takes up the reins just as the Society has seen some major changes. Rave reviews for the new Britsoc Magazine Last summer we stopped producing the hard copy of our Bulletin. This was with some sadness at the time, but by switching to a digital format, we have dramatically extended the reach of the magazine and, far from making it harder to get advertising, it has in fact been easier. The effect has been an immediate improvement in our finances and a superb magazine that has received rave reviews since its launch. The launch of the new Britsoc Website The second major change has been the revamp of the website. Its official launch took place at the residence of the British Ambassador on 23rd January before a group of more than 60 representatives of organisations that had links to the UK. As part of the revamp we have created a digital platform to enable all these organisations to exchange information and communicate about their events and activities. The new web site also has a much enhanced Calendar function and many other new features. If you have not yet looked at it than check it out on www.britsoc.nl. New marketing and communications committee Our new marketing and communications committee is now up and running with the result that we have already planned several key events for the rest of year, including Bonfire Night, which will be held on 3rd November. Since there were a lot of disappointed families last year, I am pleased that this traditional event is back on our calendar. Festival of Britain One other event that I would recommend you make a note of is the planned Festival of Britain to be held in the grounds of the Keukenhof Gardens on 23rd June 2013. It will be a celebration of all things British, more details will follow about what we plan to contribute. Volunteers needed Finally, our events team is in urgent need of volunteers. Work commitments are taking their toll on the committee, so, if you would like to get involved or have some ideas for events you would like to organise, then please get in touch. As ever my address is chair@britsoc.nl. Best wishes,

Stephen chair@britsoc.nl

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Colophon >


ISSUE # 601

EDITOR IN CHIEF Alison Smith | editor@britsoc.nl EDITORIAL BOARD Ian Cherington | ifcherington@hetnet.nl Dave Thomas | info@nstranslations.nl John Richardson | webeditor@britsoc.nl Stephen Huyton | shuyton@thermopatch.nl


ADVERTISING SALES Zetterij Jan van den Berg | ieee25qr@kpnmail.nl


PUBLISHED BY John Richardson | JohnTheCopywriter.com FLIP MAGAZINE PUBLISHING PLATFORM www.issuu.com PUBLISHED ON www.wordpress.com

SUBSCRIPTIONS AND FEEDBACK Alison Smith | editor@britsoc.nl

www.britcoczine.wordpress.com www.britsoc.nl

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All art is an illusion


with artist, and ex-headmaster,

Paul Ellis Page 44

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events/ “Britsoc w

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website launch�

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Official Launch at the British Amba Page 14


assador’s Residence in the Hague. Page 15

Britsoc Website Official Launch British Ambassador’s Residence 23rd January, The Hague—Today the British Society Of Amsterdam and the Netherlands (Britsoc) officially launched their new website www.britsoc.nl during the second annual Consular Contacts Reception at the British Ambassador’s Residence in the Hague. The idea for the reception came from British Consul in the Netherlands Mr John Cameron-Webb, who has long held a cherished desire to create closer bonds between the various British expat groups and individuals spread across the Netherlands. The reception, held in the early evening, was well attended despite the freezing, snowy conditions. The British Ambassador Mr. Paul Arkwright welcomed the guests and brought Mike Carn, honorary chairman of the Commercial Anglo Dutch Society (CADS), to the front and announced that he has been awarded an OBE, Officer of the Order of the British Empire, in the New Year Honours List by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to charity and Anglo-Dutch business. Mike said he was “Well chuffed”, and would receive his OBE at the Palace in London sometime in March 2013.

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Britsoc: The British Society of Amsterdam and the Netherlands. Serving the British Expat community since 1920.

Next up was Britosoc chairman Stephen Huyton, who spoke briefly about why the society had chosen to strengthen its ties with the broader expat community outside of its normal Amsterdam area. He then gave the floor to writer and Britsoc webmaster John Richardson, who gave a ten minute presentation about the thinking behind the new website, which he then officially launched. One of the key parts of his presentation on the large screen was called Britnet—Britsoc’s Directory of Social and Networking Clubs in the Netherlands. Still in early development, John hopes this will become a key focal point for interaction between the various expat groups and businesses across the Netherlands.

The presentation was then handed back to The British Ambassador Mr. Paul Arkwright who congratulated Britsoc for its efforts and, having not seen the presentation beforehand, was genuinely excited about the future of the idea. Everyone then returned to the roaring fire, a welcome glass and some serious networking. Britsoc: www.britsoc.nl Britnet: http://www.britsoc.nl/britnetregional-social-networking-clubs/ Britnet: http://www.britsoczine.wordpress.com

John also reported that the new online Britsoc magazine, the ZINE, had gone from a readership of 400 when first launched in July/August 2012 to over 4,000 today. He also noted that the printed version, first started in 1920, was last printed in December 2102 after reaching its milestone 600th edition.

John Richardson

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events/ “the ball report�

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Glitz, glamour and gluttony Were the diamonds, abundant on every lady, real? And, had the recent release of Skyfall accounted for the ultra sharp turn-out of our gents? We may never know, but our cast at the Diamond Jubilee Ball in December was one of glitz, glamour and pure ‘fabulousness’.

In the ancient St. Olof’s chapel at the Barbizon Palace Hotel, the stage was set for an evening of entertainment and merriment that would last until the curtain came down in the early hours of Sunday morning. The ball marked the end of a year of Diamond Jubilee celebrations and what a way to end! First we were welcomed with champagne, with the option of a ‘Caret champagne’ – a special glass that held the chance of winning a real diamond, (eventually claimed by Social Friday’s organiser Tracey Taylor who is, no doubt, now pondering how she will have it set – ring, necklace or perhaps some other trinket). And then the food. Ooh, the food. Our Michelin starred (and British) chef, Chris Naylor spoilt us with a fantastic three course meal accompanied by wine that seemed to never stop flowing. And next? Katty Heath, star of ‘Voice of Holland’ treated us to some classics that got everyone in the mood for the dancing that followed. And how we danced…non-stop for many hours before wearily going back out in to night with bruised feet and smiles on our faces! Rebecca Hilliard Footnote: Through ticket sales, sponsorships, raffle and the silent auction, the ball raised in excess of € 2 500 for the year’s chosen charity, the Red Cross.

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Who invited Gordon Brown?

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For more great pics go to http://www.britsoc.nl/photo_gallery/ Page 23

For more great pics go to http://www.britsoc.nl/photo_gallery/ Page 24

“A massive thank you to all our sponsors�

from Chairman Stephen Huyton

A brilliant night was had by all at the Britsoc Diamond Jubilee Ball 2012. Thanks to Wouter, Mikaela & Paula for making it a truly fantastic event Page 25


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“burns night”

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Burns Night 2013 By John Donnelly

Saturday the nineteenth stayed dry and snow-free. Piet, the concierge, opened up for us, and the work could begin. A team of stalwart volunteers turned the British School dining area into a ball-room fit for a Scottish Ceilidh.

Tables were erected, the bar was set up and the food was stacked in the kitchen. The student helpers arrived and the hall was decorated with flags and bunting and the tables were set. The cooks arrived and the smell of Scotch broth was soon drifting about the kitchen. The sound system was put together and tested. The spotlights for the stage could be seen hanging from their rails, but refused resolutely to let themselves be Watch a great video of the night captured by our very own Geoff Dudley. View it here: http://vimeo.com/57929977

lighted. Tracing cables from the spots along floors and down walls to a console at the side of the room gave a clue, till John, our sound engineer, pressed a switch and like it says in the Bible, - let there be light. With things under control, several stalwarts decided to test the working of the bar. William was up to the challenge, and decided to join in. The Macvities had arrived in the meantime and their tuning up was getting the stalwarts into the mood, and the bar was tested again, just to make sure. The piper took his place at the door, and had to be warmed up with a wee dram, ‘- for the chill, you understand.’ By this time the first guests had arrived and Margaret enticed them away from warming up at the bar, to warming up on the floor. As the hall filled up, it was obvious we had another success on our hands. Perhaps it’s telling tales out of school, though it seems to be a public secret anyway, but the booking system went cock-eyed due to a virus on the site, and we were not sure how many people to expect. We set extra places, and ordered extra Haggis, and, surprise, surprise, everything worked out fine on the night. What a team !! Page 28

“The meal commenced after the Macvities had sung the Selkirk Grace. I had not heard this before, and was astonished at the beauty of it. “

Then the Haggis was piped in, and Keith Muirhead addressed it before cutting its throat, - in the nicest possible way, of course. John Cameron-Webb eruditely gave the Immortal Memory, in the course of which, he pre-empted Barak Obama’s inauguration remarks about slavery. Johnny Richardson, humorously, subtly and delicately, (he thought), addressed the Lassies, to be hilariously put to the sword by Louise Hunter in one of the best and funniest replies ever.

I was then indulged, to be allowed to recite a ‘newlydiscovered’ Burns poem, ‘Ode to a Golf-ball.’ Then the fun started in earnest. I have no idea where Margaret gets her energy from, but she marched up and down that hall, encouraging, helping and, on occasion, downright bullying us all into line. I was whacked just watching her.

One prominent member of the Society, who shall remain nameless, enjoyed himself enormously. I wonder if anyone will dare to post a photo. Well, everything is packed away till next year. I hope all our guests enjoyed themselves. If you weren’t there, you missed a super party. Remember to book early for next year; I believe there are already a few bookings.

Thanks to the team for arranging it all, especially the volunteers who turned up at four, worked hard, froze in the chilly reception hall greeting arrivals, slaved after the bar, and who did more than one job. Special thanks to the speakers, the band and singers, cooks and everyone who dug in and helped with clearing up afterwards. Last but not least, a HUGE thank you to the Britisg School and its staff for allowing us the use of their hall.

See more images on http://www.britsoc.nl/photo_gallery/

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BritSoc activities in fab feb/

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/ “bridge to badminton”

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BritSoc Social and Sports Activities For more information go to http://www.britsoc.nl/the-all-in-one-calendar/ SATURDAY



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09 16









Soft Tennis 16.00 .

Soft Tennis 16.00

Literary Quiz Night 19.00 .

Soft Tennis 16.00 .




Soft Tennis 16.00 .


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Squash 19.30


Squash 19.30


Squash 19.30


Squash 19.30

Playgroup 11.00 Badminton 19.00

Scottish dancing 19.30-21:00 Bridge Night 19.30

Social Friday / Pub night 21.00 (2nd Friday)






Playgroup 11.00 Badminton 19.00

19 20

Playgroup 11.00 Badminton 19.00

27 Playgroup 11.00 Badminton 19.00

Bridge Night 19.30 Scottish dancing 19.30-21:00

Bridge Night 19.30 Scottish dancing 19.30-21:00

28 Scottish dancing 19.30-21:00 Bridge Night 19.30

Activity Contact Details:

Social Fridays is Tracey Taylor. Email: socialfridays@hotmail.com Soft tennis is Sharron Reed. Email: s.j.reed@xs4all.nl Bridge is Ruth and Art Max. Email: ruthmax84@yahoo.com Squash is Paul Huxley. Email: prhuxley@gmail.com Scottish Country Dancing. Email: Margaret.Lambourne@ziggo.nl

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Under the expert guidance of Margaret Lambourne, a qualified SCD teacher, Thursday evenings are spent dancing to the strains of Celtic tunes. Swirling in circles or forming up squares, lines or long sets, we learn everything from the proper steps and figures in jig, reel and strathspey time. We change partners for each dance, so you can come on your own and find a partner there. The music and the dancing make you happy, and it’s great exercise, too! And what a bargain, just 3 euros per session! Sessions are held in the British School hall on Anthonie van Dijckstraat in Oud Zuid, from 7:30 to 9 pm.

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events in fab feb/

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“the tara friday social”

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Social Fridays Fr

| @The Tara 21 http://www.heffer.nl/contact.html

Friday 8th February

We are continuing our trial with the 2nd Friday in the month instead, hope you are still able to join us.

http://www.britsoc.nl Sean Jansen Page 36

rom 1:00



Venue: Rokin 85-89, 1012KL Amsterdam Trams: 4,9,14,16,24 and 25 tramstop Rokin. Contact: Tracey Taylor Email: socialfridays@hotmail.com Rogelio Vargas (Spanish Society). Email: Â asociacion@profesionalesholanda.org

This venue is a well known bar amongst the expats.

This Irish bar has an interesting variation of rooms mixing from a trendy modern bar to the classic leather armchair corners and fireplaces. We will meet in the far end of the pub where the rear bar area is exiting to the Nes street entrance. Look out for us near the bar wearing bright pink scarf’s. Social Fridays is a great opportunity to meet new people or catch up with friends - all welcome.

No attendance list, so just show up!

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events in fab feb/ “valentine

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e’s day”

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Forget them Not on

Valentine’s Day

Why not send a delicious double layer miniature individual chocolate cake, “that says L.O.V.E sweeter than any bunch of flowers” from the BritSoc Zine-featured company The English Cake Lady. This can be hand-delivered with a personal message to your Valentine’s door on February 14th, all tied up with a big red ribbon. Sluisstraat 42, Amsterdam .


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The 14th of February is looming large and lovers around the globe may be wondering how to bring a smile to their Valentine’s face. Do not fear! BritSoc to the rescue with some handy tips and ideas. If your Valentine is a chocoholic, here are some of the best and most original chocolate shops in

Amsterdam Chocolàtl – Hazenstraat 25, Amsterdam www.chocolatl.nl. Unlimited Delicious – Harlemmerstraat 122, Amsterdam

www.unlimiteddelicious.nl They also deliver – see webshop. Puccini – Staalstraat 17 & Singel 184, Amsterdam. www.puccinibomboni.com. Hotel Chocolat – Heiligerweg 7, Amsterdam www.hotelchocolat.co.uk. They also deliver – see webshop Unlimited Delicious also run chocolate making workshops which is an original idea for a gift. Why not be more original than sending chocolate and have cupcakes or cake pops delivered to the door on the day? www.amsterdamcupcakecompany.wordpress.com To say it with roses, www.flowerservice.nl are reliable and good value. You could treat your Valentine to a day of relaxation and pampering. Spa Zuiver have an offer for a day at the Spa for two including lunch and a glass of prosecco for € 89. This way, you get to be pampered too! www.spazuiver.nl A romantic dinner is always an option and Amsterdam is full of romantic bistros and restaurants, but which one to choose when you are spoiled for choice? Our new restaurant expert, Nick Nugent, has done a sparkling review of the restaurant at The Movies on the Harlemmerdijk. Dinner and a movie is always a winning combo. For a candlelit dinner for two, Bussia on the Reestraat, de Witte Uyl on the Frans Halsstraat in de Pijp, La Favola on the Amstelveenseweg and Oud Zuid on the Johannes Verhulststraat are all to be recommended. If all else fails, Parfumerie Douglas, DA drugstores and ICI Paris will wrap your gift beautifully for you, but try not to resort to the petrol station for your bouquet and don’t forget….

don’t put your name on the card!

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ads/ “between a rock a

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and a hard place�

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interview of the month /

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“artist paul ellis”

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interview of the month/

“Magical Realism�

Interview with artist, and ex headmaster, Paul Ellis


For portrait commissions contact Paul on paul.ellis@zonnet.nl http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=PJDJivTPF14 Page 48

Do you miss your former career at all?

I miss the interaction with the children and my ex-colleagues, but I don’t miss getting up at 05.30 to catch the train to the Hague. Alison Smith

I first met Paul Ellis at the British School in the Netherlands where he was the Headmaster of the Diamanthorst School, a post he’d held for many years. Last year he took early retirement to pursue his passion for painting and is now a full time artist living in Amsterdam. To continue our series of interviews with expat artists, begun last month with Mike Hayes, I went along to Paul’s studio/home to see how he was getting on, and to find out if following his passion has delivered everything he expected. Do you miss your former career at all? I miss the interaction with the children and my ex-colleagues but I don’t miss getting up at 05.30 to catch the train to the Hague.

So what does your day look like? I get up about 8 a.m. put my slippers on and can start painting. I don’t paint one picture at a time so I can be busy with a number of projects at the same time. Working alone can be an isolating experience so I go out for coffee every day to get out of the house and meet people. Who are your biggest influences? I really like the work of Caspar David Friedrich as he paints with a sensitivity to the view. In portraiture I look to JeanAuguste-Dominique Ingres. The Dutch artists I admire most are Carel Willink, Pyke Koch, Dick Ket and my mentor Kik Zeiler, the leading influence on my work to date. >> Page 49

interview of the month/

These artists demonstrate quality of skill and insight, strong integrity and passion. They create work worthy of contemplation, admiration and enjoyment. I aspire to become that kind of painter and maybe, just maybe I might one day be known as the artist formerly known as Headmaster! Describe the first painting you sold. It’s a painting called The Venetian. I visited the people I sold it to many years later and it was strange to see it again, hanging on someone else’s wall. They said the painting draws a lot of attention and comments from people who visit them so that is very satisfying. I have seen a postcard of this painting and it is fascinating how your eye is immediately drawn to the large masked Venetian in the foreground who seems to be saying something slyly, (even malevolently?) behind his hand towards “offstage”. There is a small figure in another Gondola who you don’t immediately notice. He stands looking quizzically (possibly impatiently?) at the Venetian and within seconds I found myself imagining the various possible scenarios that this scene was depicting and coming up with the cartoon bubbles of dialogue above their heads. How would you describe your “style”? I’m not really striving for a particular style, but if I had to put it in a box I would call it ‘Magical Realism’. My genres are mainly landscapes and portraiture. With my portraits I try to reflect the character of the subject rather than strive for a mirror image. We have photos for that. With my landscapes I like to pose a question and make the viewer think. What is happening here? Or what has just happened? Look at it and make up a story for yourself. Your landscapes show a lot of sky and the clouds are very predominant. The sky is often overlooked in reality and yet a cloudy sky is always changing and telling a story. We protect and respect the earth, the trees, the sea and the countryside but often ignore the sky. A lot of the storytelling in the paintings lies in the sky. When painting clouds you have to “feel” them. Difficult to explain but that’s the way I go about it. My favourite of the paintings Paul showed me has to be the one entitled ‘Stranded’. It depicts an isolated Highland cow (I should mention that Paul is Scottish) on a typically Dutch sand dune with his head turned quizzically towards the onlooker and a great sky forming behind him. I didn’t know this but Angus cows are used in Holland to keep the dune grass down so this was a real situation. This composition is not only striking to the eye but also creates many questions and the allegorical interpretations abound Holland v Scotland, the isolation of the expat, even the title is a Dutch/English play on words. >> Page 50

A lot of the storytelling in the paintings lies in the sky. When painting clouds you have to “feel” them. Difficult to explain but that’s the way I go about it.

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How do you go about starting a new painting? I start with a sketch and maybe some photos, then I paint the composition in a brown/ochre colour until I have what I want, then I start to layer the colours over the top, a bit like the old Dutch Masters did. The compositional stage allows you to make changes before the colours go on definitively. How do you become known in the Art world in Holland? The business side of being an artist takes up more time than you imagine. You have to be canny. You need to know where to exhibit and when to show your work. Many galleries will show initial interest in you, but you have to check that they are dealing in your “type” of art or the exhibition will draw the wrong crowd. You have to be prepared to Network and be totally committed. Self belief and the belief that what you do has a value, is vital. You paint for yourself then find a market that likes your style. It is quite difficult at first to set the right price for your art but the galleries help with this. Part of the enjoyment of my work is to get out and visit galleries here and abroad to see what other artists are busy with and to keep learning from different techniques. Tell me about your Exhibitions. I exhibited in Den Haag in May 2012 which was a great success and at the Galerie Beelden bij Beljon in Oud Beijerland near Rotterdam in 2009/2010. This year I have an exhibition at the Margate Harbour Arm Gallery in the last week of May/first week of June. The theme is Coast to Coast and I have some Margate and Dutch beach landscapes to show – ‘The Way to Margate’ is one, ‘Stranded’ and ‘The Lone Surfer’ will all feature. At the end of this year I will have an exhibition in Amsterdam which will be announced on my website. What is art to you? All Art is an Illusion. As an artist you’re trying to express a view of the world. I like my paintings to create a bit of tension and form a question. I like it if my paintings make the viewer reflect. My paintings are singular, quiet sorts of things. They don’t scream at you but prefer to hang silently on a wall in room to be viewed from time to time for pleasure, contemplation or reflection. My hope is that they continue to give pleasure over time.

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Paul’s website can be found at


The Margate Harbour Arm Gallery exhibition runs from the last week in May to the first week in June 2013

For portrait commissions contact Paul on paul.ellis@zonnet.nl For a look at more of Paul’s work, check out this clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=PJDJivTPF14

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events in fab feb/

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“amsterdam 2013”

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Amsterdam 2013 2013 is a very special year for Amsterdam. Over an eventful and memorable 12 months, the city will celebrate several incredible milestones and anniversaries.

Ten amazing Amsterdam milestones in 2013: 1. 400th anniversary of Amsterdam’s Canal Ring 2. Reopening of the Rijksmuseum 3. 40 years of the Van Gogh Museum 4. 125 years of the Concertgebouw 5. 125 years of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra 6. 225 years of Felix Meritis 7. 175 years of Artis Royal Zoo 8. 100 years of Frans Hals Museum 9. 150 years since the abolition of slavery 10. 400 years of trade between the Netherlands and Russia Source: www.iamsterdam.com

John C. Richardson Page 59

Cultural highlights in February 2013 Stanislavski Opera

The Stanislavski Opera remains one of Russia ’s best-kept treasures. Founded in 1918 as part of the Bolshoi Theatre, before turning independent this...Read more >>

Adriaan Dortsman (1635 -1682) The Ideal Canal

From 8 February until 8 June 2013, Museum Van Loon will revisit the great Amsterdam architecture and design work of Adriaan Dortsman... Read more >>

Chinese New Year

In 2013, Chinese New Year falls on 10 February and will be celebrated on February 10 in Amsterdam. While it may still be...Read more >>

Booming Amsterdam

During the Golden Age, the growth of Amsterdam was spectacular. Trade and shipping from all corners of the globe meant that the city... Read more >>

Homemakers’ Fair Page 60

Amsterdam’s RAI Convention Centre will host the Homemakers’ Fair 2013 from 16 to 24 February 2013...Read more >>

Amsterdam 2013

Source: www.iamsterdam.com

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restaurant reviews/

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“nick’s fav nosh”

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Britsoc food correspondent Nick Nugent Reporting from the four corners of the Amsterdam kitchen The Movies, and De Struisvogel Page 65

“Is this great nosh or what?� Introducing Liverpool-Born, Amsterdam Foodie Nick Nugent.



Liverpool in the north of England. My formative years with food were very typical of a northern lad, we had meat and two veg.

I think I had been to every good restaurant that the east had to offer, at least twice. To say I was looking forward to the opportunity to broaden my Dutch food horizons was an understatement.

As I came into my teenage years and became a surly teenager, I did not like anything that my mum put in front of me, so I forced my poor mum to become more adventurous with the dishes she made. Nevertheless, I still love British favourites such as roast dinners, stews and pies - all good hearty winter stuff.

I work as a distribution manager for a large American company and you will find me travelling around the world tasting everything that it has to offer. At the moment my current assignment is to the Middle East, dealing with both Israel and the Arabic countries and sampling the best of their wares.

I spent nearly five years at Birmingham University studying chemistry where my love for cooking and Indian food began. Since cooking is a bit like chemistry, I always enjoyed the process and I became passionate about it over the years.

Previously I have dealt with CIS countries, Turkey and Africa. I travel extensively for personal pleasure too with trips to China, Australia and a European road trip of ten countries, being the most recent examples.

As soon as I was earning money and was able to start eating at decent restaurants, I used to try to recreate the dishes I had eaten using what I could deduce from my palate, sometimes with good results and sometimes with bad. Nevertheless it helped me to understand the cooking process and how to achieve great looking and tasting food.

I believe this gives me a wide experience of good food which I hope to share with you through this column.

I moved to the Netherlands about five years ago after working for a Dutch company and visiting over a hundred times in ten years (mostly in the East of The Netherlands) before making the permanent move over here. I spent the first four years in Almelo, then Enschede, until I finally moved to the big smoke in January 2012. I was very excited by this move as

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My food philosophy is quite simple; if it looks good and tastes good, then it is good. Price does play some part in my reckoning as, if I am paying fifty euros for a main course then I expect it to look and taste like it’s worth it. I am not a food snob though and I would be happy enough with a one euro burger from a hole in the wall if tastes good too. My aim is to look at the sometimes quirkier side of Amsterdam food, although you will find regular reviews as well.

Nick’s Competition:

Help Nick name his regular Food Column

”I would like to give the column a name and I have some ideas below. But I would like to open it to the readership and get some ideas from you.”

The winner will receive a 50 euro voucher for Nick’s favourite restaurant,

Bussia, on the Reestraat. If you wish him to join you for this experience, he would be happy to accompany you and follow it up with the review. Examples of suggested titles below include:

Epicurious Amsterdam Food(ie) Eat tasty! Eet Smaaklijk Nick’s Nosh Send your ideas to editor@britsoc.nl

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Restaurant Review - The Movies


I live relatively close to Haarlemmerdijk and have often walked past the Movies, which is at the Haarlemmerplein end of the street.

If you are like me, then you try to pick differing food from your companion and sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

“What an nice idea it is to have a restaurant attached to a movie theatre.”

On this occasion I was the loser as my companion picked the wild boar pâté and duck confit, both of which really outshone my choices. The wild boar pâté was rough and ready like a real farmer’s pâté and the flavour was just gamey enough. It was a huge portion too, so I managed to enjoy quite a lot of the left overs.

It’s an art house movie theatre, you don’t tend to get the blockbusters, so I had been waiting for an interesting choice of movie to eat there. Life of Pi was the movie in question. When you book the restaurant and the movie together you get a discount on the meal. Another nice thing is, when you arrive at the restaurant reception, the tickets are there waiting for you. The style of food is bistro They offer some quite simple and elegant dishes. The menu is not extensive - five starters priced at € 8,50 and five mains priced at € 19,00 with supplements if necessary. There is something for everyone in amongst these dishes. The wine list is also five whites and five reds. They like things in fives here it seems. The starter I had was Kalfsmuis, which I had never come across before, but which the internet reliably now tells me is a silverside of veal. This had been seared on the outside and served Carpaccio style with a dressing of tarragon, chicory and orange. I was told this was the most tender part of the veal and indeed this was an accurate description. However, there was something lacking— flavour! The dressing also seemed to clash somewhat with the delicate meat. My main was the cod with parsnip and spinach and a red wine sauce. I am slightly wary of red wine and fish, but the cod was cooked perfectly and the red wine sauce underneath was quite delicately flavoured. The vegetables were simply cooked and tasted ok. Page 68

The duck confit with lentils and green cabbage was excellent. The gamey duck was delicate and the earthy lentils with the cabbage in a stock sauce complimented it extremely well. I had food envy at this point. We picked a bottle of Fleurie to go with it as it is quite a light floral red wine and could just about match both dishes. Although, with the duck, it was spectacular. One other nice thing about this place is that if you do not finish your drinks in the restaurant they are happy to let you take them into the theatre with you. On this occasion we naughtily got a second bottle to take with us as it was so good. To finish we shared the chocolate tart, which was a great ending and just enough to satisfy both of us. The restaurant itself follows the style of the cinema which is quite Art Deco with wood panelling, intricate lights, mirrors and metalwork. It is long and thin with an upstairs for the overflow. I estimated that there was room for around 100 diners in total. If you cannot find a film to watch you will be pleased to know you can dine here without having to book a movie too. I will be back again, maybe even before I spot something to watch!

By Nick Nugent

http://www.themovies.nl/ Page 69

Restaurant Review - De Struisvogel It’s a quite an ordinary French Bistro. Sometimes, when choosing a restaurant, you have to take location into account and, since we were going to Boom Chicago, we wanted to have something close, but not in the touristy area. The Struisvogel seemed an appropriate choice based on distance and quality according to popular review sites. Now, when you call to reserve a restaurant and you can barely hear the person on the other end of the line you wonder what type of restaurant you are going to end up in. Will it be a loud, modern restaurant with tiny portions, or a busy small restaurant? Well it turns out to be the latter in this case. If you book the Struisvogel then you should know they run in two sittings; the first around 6:30 with tables being vacated about 8:15 for the 8:30 sitting. We booked to arrive a bit later than their regular sitting, which they said was an exception in our case because it was not very busy. The restaurant inside is very cosy and it has an excellent layout for the 40 or so covers it can manage per sitting. There is hardly any seats, which have the diner facing the wall and everyone has an interesting view of what is going on so you can do some people watching if there is a blip in the conversation. We were sat quite near the serving area along the window side. There is a bench seat which, if you are sat on it and the place is full, there is some musical chairs required if you want to go the bathroom. Also, surprisingly, the restaurant is not like a dance club in volume as I suspected from my booking call. The speakers are precariously located just behind the serving area next to the telephone and in the doorway of the kitchen! The volume was actually quite acceptable, but the staff must have a difficult time. On a Saturday they have a fixed three course menu price for 25 euro, with supplements for the more expensive dishes.

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I had the pear, blue cheese and walnut salad to start and my companion had the salmon tartare with lentils. The salad was a classic and so not much to go wrong, although I thought it could have had slightly more finesse on the presentation. The pear was left with the skin on, for example, which, if you take it off, offers a more pleasurable eating experience, but it was very ripe so it probably would have fallen apart, had they tried. The salmon tartare was ok, but the lentils accompanying it did not really work. They were very acidic and really did not match the delicate salmon. For mains we both chose the Venison steaks, medium rare. The Venison was cooked well, but the quality was not the highest and so it was lacking in a little flavour and texture. The vegetables served were plentiful if not a little bit too hard for my liking. The service was pretty ok, but as we had arrived a little late, our dessert coincided with everyone else getting the bill. It was over 10 minutes before we could order it. It was unfortunate as we had seen some pretty good desserts coming out; a crumble and a tiramisu being the highlights. However, due to the time, we needed to leave for the show and the crumble, as we were told, would take too long. We were left to have the Parfait and a quick tea before dashing off. The Parfait was tasty and rich and just enough after the mains, actually the best thing we had all night. I like the idea of this place but the execution of the food needs some more attention. On a price/performance measure this place is quite good, but in the overall scheme of things there are better Bistros available.

By Nick Nugent

http://www.restaurantdestruisvogel.nl Page 71

family/ “liège - w

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wallonia’s maastricht”

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Liège - Wallonia’s Maastricht Just 30 minutes from Maastricht by car or train lies Liège. Like Maastricht it dates back to Roman times, has excellent shops, boasts a university and is an important regional centre. But there the similarities stop. Liège is the main city of the former industrial heartland or Wallonia, is very much French speaking and is far more pithy and down-to-earth than its cosmopolitan counterpart. You can do Liège as a long day out, a relaxed weekend away or as a stopover on the way down to Luxembourg or beyond. What is there to see? Loads!

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family/ We’re definitely going back again as we want to visit the Archéoforum (www.archeoforumdeliege.be) and learn about the city’s roman and prehistoric past, but we’ll plan that trip in the summer so we can enjoy the architecture and street life of Liège (and perhaps learn a bit more French to boot).

My son Luc and I opted for a long day out (he loves train journeys) and we went to two museums on a grey December day. We learned about the history of Wallonia at the Wallonian Life Museum. www.viewallonne.be/en/. We then took a break and climbed the 400 odd steps of the Montagne de Bueren to get a panoramic view of the city (in the rain) before heading off to La Maison de la Science (www.masc.ulg.ac.be). Everything at the museum (and on the website) is in French. However, on a Saturday afternoon they have children’s talks and physics experiments with sparks and liquid nitrogen which are so visually impressive that a lack of French is not a barrier. Luc took part in a liquid nitrogen experiment. He had it poured over his hands and survived to tell the tale! There’s also a separate aquarium section in the same building with stunning corals (see the photos).

Tips on Liège Liège is full of history, has several good art museums, excellent shopping and plenty of places to eat out. You can do a whistle stop tour in a day from Amsterdam by car or train but allow for a 4- hour journey each way. But if you have the time, take a long weekend trip and for a contrasting experience combine it with Maastricht. Language is a very sensitive issue in this part of Belgium so even if your school French is rusty you should nevertheless put it to good use ;)! This link on the city’s website gives a good introduction to Liège and what you can experience there: www.liege.be/tourisme-en

Dave Thomas

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m soooooooooo

Here are a few ideas to stop the kids from sh

CORPUS, Oegstgeest (just off the A44 – exit 8, Leiden). Take a journey through the human body – a fun and educational experience. www.corpusexperience.nl

Vincent van Gogh @ The Hermitage. Amstel 51, Amsterdam The Hermitage gallery is housing a temporary exhibition of about 75 paintings and artifacts from the van Gogh Museum while the van G is being renovated. Good for the kids as it is more concentrated and nice to see the paintings displayed in a different way.

Learn to make cupcakes at The Amsterdam Cupcake Company, Molenwerf 14, Amsterdam. Cupcakes are still hot and kids will enjoy creating their own designs. Six per group and all ingredients are fair trade. www. amsterdamcupcakecompany.wordpress.com

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houting “I’m booooored!!” this half term

Ice skating at the Jaap Eden Baan, Radioweg 64, Amsterdam. If the thaw sets in and we lose this freezing weather, this huge ice rink will provide the kids with a healthy outdoor skating fix . Wrap up warm! See www.jaapeden.nl for opening times.

Bon Bon making at Unlimited Delicious, Harlemmerstraat 122, Amsterdam. One for kids and adults. Make your own bon bons…then eat them! There’s a kid’s workshop for 8 children. Recommended age group 8 12 www.unlimiteddelicious.nl

Not in half term but fun to see. Chinese New Year Festival in the Hague Chinatown. February 9th from 11.00 – 18.00 Everything from Chinese markets and food to dragons and firecrackers. A fun spectacle. The schedule is on the website www. chineesnieuwjaarfestival.nl

Dave Thomas

During the school holidays, many museums have special activities for kids so check out the various websites. Page 77

family travel/ “brusse

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Brussels tips

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Brussels tips

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Belgium produces around 220,000 tonnes of chocolate every year. Dave Thomas

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travels/ Brussels tips

Getting there

Planning to go by train? Unless you’re in a hurry don’t take the Fyra. A much cheaper alternative is to go to Roosendaal on a standard NS train and then catch the stop train from Roosendaal to Antwerp. From Antwerp there are frequent intercity trains to Brussels. This takes an hour longer but is less than half the price of Fyra. See http://www.nshispeed.nl/nl/internationale-treinplanner# to plan your journey (Dutch only). Accommodation We recently stayed at the following apartment as a family and were very pleased with the quality and price. It is just a five-minute walk from Brussel Midi train station.


To do

Europarlamentarium www.europarl.europa.eu/visiting/en/parlamentarium.html The European Parliament’s multimedia visitor centre. Here you can learn about the

history of the EU and how the European Parliament works. There are plenty of helpful staff on hand and it is suitable for anyone aged 6 years and older. Magritte Museum www.musee-magritte-museum.be A museum dedicated to the Belgian surrealist artist Rene Magritte. This is definitely worth a visit but make sure you get there just before it opens at 10.00 a.m. so that you can get in, as only a limited number of visitors can enter the museum. The Music Village www.themusicvillage.com My son and I found this place by chance. It is a dedicated jazz cafe for serious jazz lovers. Good music, superb atmosphere and friendly staff. Coudenberg www.coudenberg.com This is the former palace of Brussels. It houses a museum that tells the story of Belgium and an archaeological site where you can see the remains of former parts of the royal district in Brussels.

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poetry/“i wandered lo

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onely as a haggis�

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corner Brussels

gaudy lights hang on balcony opposite party next door corner shop sells odd bottle of liquor tramp on mattress unnoticed by passers by travellers hasten through station hall in the distance a siren wails Algerians spill onto street break from party indoors “fish is good” Moroccan bakery does brisk evening trade cars whizz by to nowhere in particular kebab meat turns slowly on spit South American restaurant full of diners outside a Tunisian staggers in a stupor crowd funnels past tense police officers to floodlit square majestic buildings backdrop to mounting tension assembled nationalities face eastward cooing voices greet midnight fireworks briefly adorn sky crowd disperses past chatting police officers diners in South American restaurant laugh over glass of wine kebab meat turns slowly on spit young street revellers swig champagne cars whizz by - tooting - to nowhere in particular Moroccan bakery’s closed two men clear away remaining bread Algerians continue partying indoors in the distance a siren wails young lonely couple in station hall dance and photograph each other tramp’s vacated his mattress corner shop sells odd bottle of liquor party next door gaudy lights hang on balcony opposite © Dave Thomas 2013

Dave Thomas & John C. Richardson Page 88


God’s Particles The fog lifted and he could see for miles. Reality replacing his imagination. The blue sky was black now. Each light a different age. Some didn’t twinkle. They’re planets. Some of their particles live in him. He then exploded into a supernova. Dispersing different elements across the universe. Scattering his stardust and making new planets. One was blue and had life on it. The rest not. The fog returned. And he went back to his imagination. © John C. Richardson 2013

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literature/ “logbook o

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of the low countries�

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On this world there is enough for people’s need, but not enough for people’s greed�


Everything you have ever forgotten about Dutch history is contained in the timeline of the Low Countries and put against the timeline of what has happened in the wider World, thus creating an unexpected insight into the interaction between the various events. There is a balanced mixture of 2,500 events, included many of the vast Dutch involvements in science, art, inventions and discoveries, contributing to democracy, tolerance and justice, which set the example for many other democracies around the world. Page 92

Logbook of the Low Countries By Wout van der Toorn OBE Logbook of the Low Countries tells the thrilling story of the Netherlands from an unabashedly and traditionally proud point of view. ‘A concise chronicle of its historic moments set against events in world history, featuring highlights from art and science and illustrated with famous quotations’, as its subtitle reads. The result is a rich and often surprising picture of the birth of a nation, its growth and rise to the world’s pre-eminent maritime trading empire in the 17th century, the immediate predecessor to Britain’s. H.E. Mr Jonathon Brenton, British Ambassador to Belgium, concluded in his speech, when accepting the first copy, that this Logbook makes interesting reading material as well as a book of reference. In Logbook you see famous quotations in red print, which give the rigged tone of the logbook-style phrases a lighter touch, and brings a smile to your face, when the irony of the quotation penetrates into your mind. Whether to consider the Low Countries as the frontier zone of the Roman Empire; or the medieval commercial crossroads of North-West Europe; or the cockpit of modern warfare; or the heart of the European Union; or the region of quite remarkable spiritual, intellectual and artistic fertility, the history of the Low Countries never ceases to fascinate its reader. Its author Wout van der Toorn OBE, a Dutch economist, with a keen interest in history, pointed out that also international people living, working or studying in the Low Countries should know more about their (temporarily) adopted country. Logbook of the Low Countries ISBN: 9789088600524; RRP € 24,50 Available at bookshops and via the internet. www.seaside-pubishing.com

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literature/ “master cla

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asses in fiction writing�

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literature/ The English Bookshop, Lauriergracht 71, 1016 RH Amsterdam Opening Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 11:00 am - 6:00 pm .

Tel: +31 (020) 626 42 30


Sunday Master Classes in fiction writing: Beginning, Middle and End

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Eight Sundays

Jan 27, Feb 10, Feb 24, March 10, April 7, April 21, May 5, May 19.

Sundays 14:00 – 16:00

Cost : € 295 + BTW. (21%) = € 356.95

CONTACT: Amsterdamwriterseminars@gmail.com

Details: In this series of classes focused on the craft of fiction, we’ll go step-by-step through the process of writing a short story or novel from beginning, through middle, to end. We’ll start by looking at your ideas, and helping you to plot out a strategy for your story, then work our way through different elements of fiction writing, such as developing characters, propelling the plot forward, writing “scenes” and exploring point of view. The class is focused on getting you actively writing, either working towards completion of a project you’ve already started or starting something new. All lessons will include lecture and in-class writing exercises. We will sometimes look at student work.

Course Structure:

Class One: Conception. What are you working on? We’ll start with your ideas for a narrative and begin to help you plot out a course. Class Two: Opening Lines. First words. Class Three: Developing strong characters. Class four: Narration. Who’s telling the tale? Class Five: Writing “Scenes.” (show don’t tell) Class six: Propelling the plot. (conflicts and triggers) Class seven: Reaching a climax. (yes, totally!) Class Eight: Endings. Or, exiting gracefully. Page 97

e h t e i n n i Who is W

? d n e i r f t s e Pooh’s b

Literary On Saturday 16 February The English Bookshop is hosting another edition of the popular Literary Quiz Night. Several teams of four or five people pitch their literary wits against each other. For each question posed, three possible answers are given. And with just five rounds of five questions it can get nail-bitingly close!

When was K

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ing James B

ible publish


So if you know who Winnie the Pooh’s best friend was, when the King James Bible was published and who wrote Women in Love your team’s in with a chance. And if not then come and join the fun - you may still know more than you think! But don’t delay. Only a limited number of places are available and they sell like Harry Potter novels!

When: Saturday 16 February at 7:00 p.m. Where: The English Bookshop, Lauriergracht 71, 1016 RH Amsterdam Cost: Five euros per person. Drinks available for sale.

Registration required

email: information@englishbookshop.nl Reserve your place today. Put ‘Literary Quiz Night reservation’ in the subject line. You can reserve as a team or reserve as an individual and join a team on the night.

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Small classes and personal attention. At the British School of Amsterdam we get to know each and every student. We provide an all-round education that develops the whole person and delivers academic success. From Early Years to Secondary School, we provide top-class British schooling for everyone from expats to locals seeking an international education. With pupils of more than 40 nationalities, the British School of Amsterdam offers a stimulating and inclusive learning environment for students aged 3 to 18. Non-native English speakers are welcome. Our curriculum leads to the respected British A-Level qualification accepted by universities worldwide. In addition to the formal academic subjects, we teach European languages including Spanish, French, German and Dutch, as well as English as a foreign language.

“Our school is for everyone who wants a top-class British education in the Netherlands� Every day is an open day at the British School of Amsterdam. Why not come along and visit us? For more information, see www.britams.nl, or contact us at +31 (0) 20 67 97 840 or info@britams.nl.


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Amber Age 14 English/Dutch

40 years of graphic experience All graphic and printing services Professional assistance with all your printing demands Or teliusstraat 362hs, 1056 PV AMSTERDAM Tel: 020 6275025 / 06 27305428 E-mail: ieee25qr@kpnmail.nl Member of The British Society of Amsterdam

British Language Training Centre


English & Dutch Courses Teaching English (TEFL) www.bltc.nl Tel. 020 622 3634 SERVIMAN:

all-round handymen are available for all sorts of jobs, big or small, in and around your house.

Almost all disciplines

Cleaning Services Experienced & serious cleaners, regular or occasional for the Amsterdam area.

Very good references! For information, contact Jan at 020 6275025 or 06 27305428 or by email: ieee25qr@kpnmail.nl

Member of The British Society of Amsterdam

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activity of the month/

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“scottish country dancing”

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Get into your stride with Britsoc Scottish Country Dancing

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BritSoc Scottish Country Dance Group Anthonie van Dijckstraat, Amsterdam

Thursdays in termtime 19:30 – 21:00

Cost 5 Euro per session

Would you like to meet people of all ages and backgrounds who enjoy music, dancing, and good company. No dance experience is necessary and partners are not required. It’s a great way to meet new people socially and keep physically active. Interested in trying Scottish Country Dancing?

It’s sometimes elegant; it’s often very lively; and it’s always lots of fun. Danced to the distinctive Scottish jig, reel and strathspey music, it’s good exercise, whether for your legs or your smile. Most of all, it’s social dancing, and it’s a great way to meet people. Because it’s done in a set with a partner, everyone dances with everyone else. So, if you are on your own - don’t worry, - there are always people waiting to dance with you. Come by yourself or with a friend. You do not need to be Scottish to enjoy the fun. Wear flat, softsoled shoes without heels(ballet or jazz type) not trainers and come have a good time. A kilt is not required! Cost is also a plus point. It’s a bargain at 5 Euros a session. What could be more of an incentive than that? Try Scottish Country Dancing. It’s aerobic, good for the body and mind.. and very social. Email: Margaret.Lambourne@ziggo.nl Page 105

Scottish Country Dancing

An Interview with Margaret Lambourne

I began at the age of 12 when the church youth club performed a demonstration in the Methodist Youth Clubs Jamboree at Manchester Free Trade Hall. David Thomas

Scottish Country Dancing is a long-established Britsoc club. Zine interviewed the class leader, Margaret Lambourne, about her passion. What brought you to the Netherlands? I came 30 years ago when my husband was transferred here by his company. How did you get into Scottish Country Dancing? I began at the age of 12 when the church youth club performed a demonstration in the Methodist Youth Clubs Jamboree at Manchester Free Trade Hall. We were asked to give more demonstrations. That meant learning more dances and so it went on. However, I only started to teach dancing after I’d moved here. I took the teaching exams in 1992 and 1997. Now I teach three groups most weeks and I also give workshops and weekends in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.

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What makes Scottish Country Dancing so special? Apart from learning new skills such as the steps and figures, it’s a very social activity as you dance with everyone in turn. Plus it’s good aerobic exercise, makes you laugh, and gets rid of lots of tension. How does Scottish Country Dancing differ from traditional English Barn Dancing? Scottish Country Dancing uses far livelier music than English Barn Dancing. There is also more variety in the steps and figures. For example, Scottish Country Dancing has the very distinctive Strathspey tempo, which is slower than the reels and jigs and is very elegant.


What does Burns Night mean for you? Burns Night is a celebration of the life and poetry of Robert (Rabbie) Burns and consists of some of his poems, particularly the Address to the Haggis that is very tongue in cheek. Burns loved women and so there is a speech about the foibles of the lassies both good and bad. The lassies reply to the lads. Both these speeches can be very funny, depending on the speakers. Then there is The Immortal Memory. The speaker chooses an aspect of Burns’ life and runs with it. There is a certain amount of whisky consumed during the toasts. The meal for the evening is soup, followed by haggis, neaps and tatties with apple pie to finish. Dancing is a very important part of the evening for me and takes place before and after the formalities. When and where do the Scottish Country Dancing classes take place? We dance on Thursday evenings from 19:30 to 21:00 hours at the British School building in Anthonie van Dijckstraat close to the Beethovenstraat and Stadionweg.

What sort of people come? We are a very mixed bunch in terms of background and age. There are Scots, Dutch, Japanese, American and English (me). Everyone who comes is enthusiastic though. Can you describe a typical class evening? After changing into our dancing shoes we begin with warming up and then step practice to improve our steps. We learn or improve the figures we need for the different dances I have chosen for the evening. We walk through each dance and dance it in turn before we dance it through up to eight times (twice each couple). I try to use each rhythm (jig, reel and strathspey) at least once during the class. And what if somebody has two left feet? That doesn’t matter as long as they enjoy themselves and try. I have endless patience and hope it will all work out in the end. Two left feet is not the only problem though. In one of my classes I have three people who do not know their right from their left! What is your fondest dancing memory? That’s a hard one. There have been so many highlights in all my years of dancing and teaching. Dancing in a set with advanced dancers who enjoy doing the dance to the best of their ability and show it, is a highly memorable experience. Yet teaching a class of enthusiastic students to successfully learn a new dance is equally memorable. What, where, when, who, cost What? Scottish Country Dancing Classes Where? British School, Anthonie van Dijckstraat When? Every Thursday from 19: 30 to 21:00 hours Who? Contact Margaret Lambourne (margaret.lambourne@ziggo.nl) Cost? Five euros per lesson

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fun in fab feb/ “reasons to be che

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Reasons to be cheerful…. Or How to survive the post-Christmas blues. I’m writing this in January. The whirlwind that was Christmas and New Year has come and gone and my once-beautiful Christmas tree is a sad rejected thing waiting for the bin men. The only reminders that Christmas happened at all are the two extra inches on my waistline and the blu-tack marks on my freshly painted wall where the Christmas cards once hung. By Alison Smith I’m writing this in January. The whirlwind that was Christmas and New Year has come and gone and my once-beautiful Christmas tree is a sad rejected thing waiting for the bin men. The only reminders that Christmas happened at all are the two extra inches on my waistline and the blu-tack marks on my freshly painted wall where the Christmas cards once hung. Blue Monday The third Monday of January has been awarded the title of Blue Monday due to a combination of post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights and the arrival of unpaid credit card bills. So what is there to smile about? Well, before we all succumb to the symptoms of S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) it’s BritSoc to the rescue with ideas to help keep you smiling. Wrap up warm and get out in the fresh air. Preferably in daylight if your work permits. What’s up L ‘UV’? Apparently one of the major causes of S.A.D. is the lack of UV rays so daylight will help to banish the blues. Why not sign up for a guided walk through Amsterdam ? Amsterdam City Tours offer a variety of themes http://www.amsterdamcitytours.com/walkingtours.html and City Culture Tours arrange entertaining tours with actors dressed as famous Dutch characters – the ROYAL AMSTERDAM tour for example has ‘Queen Beatrix’ showing you the most important spots of the city. You can include guided visits to the Royal Palace, Amsterdam museum, etc, with the Queen as your guide. Fun! http://www.cityculturetours.com/ cityentertainment/?lang=en Boom Chicago If laughter is the best medicine, why not visit Boom Chicago at their new location in the Rozentheater? (Rozengracht 117, Amsterdam) and enjoy a show with dinner and lots of audience participation. Shows are in English and run most evenings. www.boomchicago.nl.

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Cheer up wth Choco Eating chocolate is apparently a great cheerer upper, so why not go to the Metropolitan Deli (Warmoesstraat 135) for some chocolate tasting. Costs only € 7.95 and takes 20 minutes – a quick fix of endorphins! http://metropolitandeli.nl/workshops Spa-ntatic! Why not pamper yourself and relax at one of Amsterdam’s many Spa’s? Spa Zuiver at the Amstelpark comes in under € 10,= per hour and with a max of € 29.25 Monday to Thursday (max € 34 Fri-Sun), www.spazuiver.nl, or try the Chill Out Spa on the Apollolaan www.chilloutspa.nl. For the ladies there is an authentic Hammam on the Zaanstraat where you can bathe in mud and be scrubbed into submisssion then massaged back to life – truly invigorating. www.hammamamsterdam.nl Britsoc Sporting activities chase away the blues Sports are another great way to feel revitalised and to get those endorphins into action. Britsoc to the rescue here. The Society offers many sports on a weekly basis from squash to golf to soft tennis and badminton. All in the company of fellow expats. www.Britsoc.nl Social Fridays The list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a trip to the pub. Here Britsoc comes up trumps once more. Every second Friday of the month we have a “Social Friday” event at a fun pub in Amsterdam, where you can just come along and join in either with friends, or come along alone and meet some new friends. After all, all these ideas are fun, but better done with friends. If all else fails, buy a balloon. As Winnie-the-Pooh famously said, and I quote,

“No-one can be uncheered with a balloon” Cheer Up!

“No-one can be uncheered with a balloon”

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food glorious/ “fis

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sh mash cheese sauce�

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Karen Vivers

How to cook fish mash cheese sauce

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food glorious/ Karen Vivers, originally from Scotland, has

lived here in Amsterdam since 1997, and has set up the Cooking Coach to help inspire people to get back into the kitchen. The basis of the cooking lessons are easy, tasty, healthy recipes. Each course starts with a free introduction session, to make sure that you only cook what you like to eat. As well as cooking lessons, Karen offers Culinary Tours in Amsterdam, is a passionate Food Blogger and works freelance as a Culinary Consultant, specialising in small and medium businesses, helping them get started, grow and deal with commercial challenges.

Haddock with Mixed Vegetable Mash and Cheese and Chive Sauce This dish was inspired by a less than chic ready meal that was quite popular in our house in the 80’s. Do you remember those boil in the bag cod steaks with various sauces? Well, this is my grown up and much more “correct” version. In all fairness, those (almost) ready meals were much more on the right track than some of the horrors you can find in the supermarket today. I say that as I remember that the quality of the fish was fine, it was a decent sized portion and it tasted like it should have tasted. And, the combination of a nice meaty white fish with a cheese, herb or mustard flavoured sauce, is a classic. So, I would like to give Cap’n Birdseye his due! There is a little “pressure point” in this recipe. By that I mean something that requires a little more focus, and perhaps concentration than the other elements, and that is, the sauce. I know this because it took me years to get to grips with what is actually quite an easy technique. Even after watching my mum make creamy smooth béchamel sauces for so long, mine just worked out being lumpy. I’m not ashamed to admit that I have, on more than one occasion, sieved my sauce. Now though, I get perfect results every time.

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Not because I have become a Michelin star chef overnight or because I am channeling Delia Smith every time I make the base for my sauce, no no, something much more simple.

“I use a whisk instead of a wooden spoon.” I know, I can’t believe this simple change has made such a difference, but it feels like magic after all those years of swearing at my lumpy sauces. I’ve mentioned a “béchamel” sauce a few times, this is base of this style of sauce and it refers to making a roux, which is just melted butter and flour and then adding your liquid, in this case milk. I would really encourage you to have a go at this type of sauce as it opens up so many options, using different kinds of cheeses like Dutch cheese, Cheddar, Blue cheese (maybe not with the fish though), grain mustard. This is also the kind of sauce that is used when making lasagna and other baked pasta dishes. I very often make it when I have bits and pieces of cheese or herbs that I want to use up. For example, tarragon with chicken, parsley (flat is best) with fish or chicken. I love this kind of sauce over veg. and mashed potatoes, brings them to a completely different level. Often, this sort of sauce is thought of as being calorie laden and a bit unhealthy. I have a different perspective. For starters, I use skimmed milk instead of cream or whole milk, which a lot of these recipes use, and the amount of butter per person is pretty negligible. With regards cheese, I always go for a strong flavour so that I get more

“bang for my buck”!

By that I mean that a little bit of strong cheese goes a long way. I also like to pack the sauce with lots of fresh herbs, super healthy!

food glorious/ Ingredients for 4 servings For the Haddock: 500gr haddock filets 2 x tsp olive oil Juice of half a lemon Salt and pepper For the Potatoes and Vegetables: 300gr potatoes cut into cubes of about 3cm leaving the skin on The florets of 2 heads of broccoli 150gr of baby spinach Salt and pepper For the Cheese and Chive Sauce: 10gr of unsalted butter 10gr plain flour 30gr grated parmesan 200ml semi-skimmed milk 1 x tsp Dijon mustard 2 x tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped Salt and pepper to taste


1. Start by boiling the potatoes – in a heavy bottomed pan, cover them with plenty of cold water from the tap (enough to cover the broccoli as well – later). Bring to the boil for about 7 minutes, add the broccoli for a further 5 minutes and then drain. Drain the vegetables by pouring them over the spinach in the colander (see step 2). 2. While the potatoes are coming to the boil, rinse the spinach and set it aside in a colander. 3. Also while the potatoes are boiling, line a roasting tray with aluminium foil, place the fish filets in it, drizzle over the olive oil, lemon and add a little salt and pepper. Set the oven to 190 degrees to pre-heat. 4. Once you have drained the vegetables, place them back in the pan in which they boiled (spinach too), turn off the heat where they cooked, put the pan back on that ring and cover it. 5. Put the fish in the oven to cook. 6. Now you can turn your attention to the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan. Not a non-stick pan. 7. Add the flour and mix it, using a metal whisk, until it is covered with the butter (a few seconds). 8. Add about 50 ml of the milk, whisk vigorously, it may be a bit lumpy, don’t worry, keep going.

9. After about 10 seconds add another 50 ml and keep whisking, then another 50ml and so on until all the milk is incorporated. Whisk vigorously on a medium high heat until the sauce is smooth. 10. Turn the heat down quite low, and with a wooden spoon add the cheese and let it melt into the sauce. 11. Add the chives and the Dijon mustard and mix through. 12. If at any point you feel the sauce is too thick, add a little bit of milk. 13. Once the cheese has melted and the chives and Dijon mustard have had a couple of minutes to cook, check for seasoning before serving. 14. Mash the vegetables and potato es roughly, add some seasoning and serve with the fish and sauce.

Tips and Variations •

Although there seems to be a lot of steps, it’s actually quite a simple meal, so don’t be put off.

It can be quite daunting at the beginning stages of the sauce when it is quite lumpy, but keep mixing confidently and it will become smooth. Use a metal whisk. Have all the ingredients ready and close to your cooking area as you will be whisking continuously while adding the milk to the sauce.

If you are not sure about making the sauce, you can make it first and just heat it up when everything else is ready. If the sauce stands around for a while, it has a tendency to thicken, if you feel it is getting too thick, just add a little bit more milk as you heat up.

A very very sneaky, but quick, way to make an easy version of the sauce is to melt the cheese slowly with some crème fraiche in a pan, and add the herbs and mustard. This should be done last minute and on a medium heat.

The Cooking Coach Love Food, Live Healthy www.thecookingcoach.eu Mobile : 06 1424 0009 Email: karen@thecookingcoach.eu Page 117

theatre/ “darling, s

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sweetie, darling�

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http://www.orangeteatheatre.com Page 125

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joke of the month/

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“ha! ha! ho! ho

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Joke of the Month Told by Alison Smith

! ! ! !


! ! !

…Wish you were organized …Not enough time? …Too long to do list? …Trying to get 30 hours per day in 24 hours?

Everything you don’t have time for… Consider it done! !

Personal organization services Expat, relocation services Personal shopping Gift selection and delivering Business and personal travel arrangements Moving coordination Restaurant and Hotel reservation Sporting events and concert tickets Hiring a personal trainer School and kindergarten selection Chefs and catering Pet care coordination Errand running Party planning and custom events Invitations - change of address or birth announcements …Anything and everything… !

Consider it done! Consider it done! Prinses Irenelaan 1 1182 BJ Amstelveen 06-212 47 568 020-3316 521 "#$%&'#(')*"&+#$&,+)*#-./",#$+./0*1! 2220')*"&+#$&,+)*#-./",#$+./0*1! 3#4"&,#!&*!5.6.*#"#!!

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Paddy was planning to travel from Dublin to London for the first time and thought while he was there he would look up his old friend and neighbour, Neil, who had moved to London 2 years before, but he didn’t know his new address. “Why don’t you ask his mother, Mrs Dunn, she’ll probably know the address?” suggested his mother. So Paddy went across the road to Mrs. Dunn’s house and asked for her son’s address. “Ohhhh!”said Mrs Dunn tearfully, “Oive not heard from our Neil for two years. He’s never so much as written a note to his mother in all that toime. The only bit of the address I can remember is that the postcode began with WC, yes dat’s roight, WC something or other.” Well Paddy set off to London and arrived at Paddington train station and when he got off the train he thought his first task would be to find this WC place and visit his old mate Neil. First though, he need the bathroom….and there it was! W.C. ! Right there on the door! He’d found him already! Paddy went up to the door but it was locked so he knocked and shouted. “Hey! Are you Neally Dunn?” “Yes” came small voice from inside, “but I haven’t got any paper” “Well!”, said Paddy “Dats no excuse not to write to your poor mother in Dublin!” Page 131

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